Even though I finished Fallout 4, this post still didn’t get done for two months. Blame Handsome Jack.
Fireday, 9th of Warmshade, 4433 (continued)
In the Maze of Menhirs, after defeating the rune-covered ropers, the party examines the glowing green crystals that grow at the base of a stalagmite in this area. Anmor (or Chresin? or Ulm?) determines that the crystals are vaguely magical, but cannot discern their purpose. To be safe, the party gathers up every last one of the crystals and stuffs them into backpacks and bags. Anmor also deciphers the runes on the dead ropers and the stalgmites. They are written in Druidic—their topics vary wildly. Some of them detail aspects of the natural world like local weather patterns or the eating habits of sharks, while others are simply gibberish. The party continues wandering through the maze, until they come to a flooded area.
Pool of Red Crystals
A murky tidal pool thick with moldering driftwood and clumps of seaweed fills this bowlshaped opening in the ruins. Growing from this tangle of wood and water is an immense black plant. Its roots coil out through the surrounding water and its twisted trunk supports eight rubbery-looking dark branches that sway gently in the wind.
The strange and ominous plant floating on this pool’s surface turns out to be a dangerous predator called an octopus tree. It tries to eat some party members while screening others off with a wall of thorns. It also calls lightning. The party prevails and dives in the pool to find a bed of red crystals at the bottom. Still unsure of the crystals’ purpose, the party gathers up every last one, then continues wandering through the maze.
The PCs recognize a McGuffin when they see one, particularly when they are different colors. Anyone remember the Whispering Cairn?
This section of the ruin seems more dilapidated than the rest; an entire section of wall to the south here has collapsed into a sizable mound of broken stone at some time in the distant past.
Someone, still detecting magic from examining the crystals, recognizes that the pile of rubble is an illusion. Disbelieving it reveals simple campsite consisting of a bedroll and an unlit campfire. Searching the campsite, the party turns up some black feathers, but nothing else. Certain this campsite has something to do with Kendra, but unable to do anything about it, the party continues wandering through the maze.
What once may have been a collection of four impressive statues of marble and basalt has been reduced to a pile of shattered rubble. Fragments of the statues lie in heaps throughout this area.
Absolutely certain the statues are going to come to life, the party proceeds carefully. They are pleasantly surprised when they aren’t attacked. A search of the area reveals traces of blood sheltered from the constant drizzling rain by an overhanging rock, indicating a battle took place here. Furthermore, someone notices a strange flickering blue glow coming from below the fallen torso of one of the statues. Although the statue weighs 500 pounds, a little effort from Kullen is enough reveal a swath of shattered blue crystals on the ground below the statue. The party gathers up all of the broken pieces and continues wandering through the maze until they come out in an open area on the other side.
Portal of Storms
A circular disc hewn from obsidian lies here, its rim decorated with strange runes. At three points around the disc’s circumference, stylized eyes have been carved, each with a shallow hollow carved within to represent the pupil.
Anmor translates the runes on the disc. They repeat a simple phrase in Druidic: “Return my eyes to me, and I shall gaze through the storm.” Detect magic reveals that the platform exudes teleportation magic. Even without these clues, the party’s sure of what they need to do: stick the crystals in the eye sockets. But, of course, the broken blue crystals are in pieces, and no amount of puzzling will put them together enough to fit perfectly in the socket. So Anmor greater teleports back to his school at the Citadel of Tomes (or to Ut Prandur or Tula or somewhere) to get a scroll of make whole. The rest of the party waits, prepared to be ambushed by Kendra while Anmor is gone.
Spiritday, 10th of Warmshade, 4433
Anmor returns with his scroll and is pleasantly surprised to discover that Kendra did not show up. As a result, his party was not murdered in his absence, nor did they rob him of his righteous vengeance. He fixes the crystal and the party sticks the variously colored McGuffins in the eyesockets, guessing as best they can about which one goes where. Doing so causes the runes along the disc’s rim to glow with the colors of the gemstones, these colors fading into each other as the runes wind around the circle toward the next crystal in line. As expected, a portal opens atop the pedestal. At the same time, the portal exudes a powerful aura of Neutrality, causing the (highly Lawful Good) Granuel to turn away from it and refuse to go near. Somehow (Dispel magic? Tying him up and dragging him through? Bashing him on the head?), the party manages to get him to enter anyway.
The Demi-Plane of Last Resort
The sudden shift in environment is shocking and overwhelming for a moment. The sound of the raging tempest is gone, replaced by a gentle wind carrying birdsongs and the drone of buzzing insects. The sky above is overcast, yet it doesn’t seem ready to storm.
The edge of a sprawling black forest, dense and overgrown, fills the view in one direction. Tall trees sag with branches heavy with moss, their dark eaves dropping to the ground in some places. From within comes a cacophony of insects and singing birds. Now and then, a ghostly green glow appears within, only to fade moments later, as if whatever creature was generating the light was afraid to be seen.
In the other directions grassy hills rise. Opposite the forest, these hills eventually become a range of rocky, barren mountains. A flash of brilliant lightning ignites the sky above the mountains for a moment, and the distant peal of muted thunder echoes down the slopes a few moments after.
The party is now on the Demi-Plane of Last Resort, which consists of Tilagos Island as it was before the Order of the Storm hid it away (see here for a refresher). Anmor is disappointed to see that there’s no immediate evidence of a library of any kind. The DM is kind enough to give them a map, which they will use to plan their further explorations. Before they can examine the map in detail, a group of four enigmatic figures emerges directly from inside the trees at the edge of the woods (transport via plants, for the record). One of them introduces himself.
“I am Tylanthros, guardian of this realm. We are the Last Resort, as surely as the trees and stones and sea and air around you. We protect the secrets of this island from all trespassers. You have mastered the portal of storms, and therefore must be brave, but it remains to be seen if you belong here at all. Why have you come to Last Resort?”
The party explains they’re looking for a library, so Tylanthros and his friends launch into a scripted dialog, which the party refrains, for once, from interrupting.
“You seek the Fountain, although you do not yet realize it. The Fountain of Dreams is linked to all things in Last Resort. The earth, the dark trees of the Doomshroud, the clouds above, my life and that of my brothers are a part of it. If the waters are consumed, the Order of the Storm’s rite is undone. The secrets kept from the world will be released, and the great creatures of legend imprisoned here on this isle shall be unleashed upon the Prime once more. You say you are heroes? This remains to be seen. Accomplish four tasks and prove yourselves to be the heroes of old returned. The Fountain shall not be despoiled lightly.”
The strange creature looks at his four brothers, then back to you. “The Fountain of Dreams shall know those destined for its gifts in but one way. It will know them by the Trials of Tilagos. Survive these trials, and you may slake your thirst on what you seek. Fail, and Last Resort shall be your grave. I am Tylanthros, and the first trial is the Claiming of Krathanos’s Golden Belt.”
A second of the quartet of creatures speaks up next. “I am Beskawahn, and the second trial is the Silence of the Doomshroud’s Mournful Song."
The third speaks. “I am Thadimar, and the third trial is the Death of the Thorn Vale Nightmare.”
Finally, the last creature speaks. “I am Sayren-Lei, and the final trial is the Harvest of the Living Feather of the Roc King.”
Tylanthros speaks again. “These trials complete, return here and we shall show you the Fountain of Dreams. Until then, we shall watch. And wait.”
The party then asks about Kendra, to which Tylanthros responds:
“You speak of the woman with the rotting hand? She has come to Tilagos with her flock, seeking knowledge as you do. Even as you linger, they seek to complete the tasks we have named. If they outspeed you, then the secrets of the Fountain are theirs. Who claims the secrets of the Fountain matters little to us, for once these secrets are claimed our role in Last Resort has come to an end.”
Given their priorities, I’m pretty sure the party asked their questions in the opposite order: Kendra, then the library, but I’m too lazy to rewrite the boxtext script to reflect that.
The party tries to ask more questions, like about what exactly the trials entail (e.g., Who’s Krathanos? What’s a Doomshroud?), but fail the diplomacy check required to get the Wild Watchers to answer. The enigmatic quartet merges with the trees again and disappears.
Anmor tries some divination magic and confirms that Kendra’s here. She seems to be at the edge of the mountains to the north. The party loads up on buff spells and Anmor tries to teleport them right to her. His teleportation fails and the group soon discovers that teleport spells don’t work on this plane. Therefore, they start walking, cutting through the woods to head in Kendra’s direction.
This particular forest is a lonesome, alien landscape. Its black, monolithic trees appear to shift unnaturally without the aid of wind. The canopy blocks out the dim light provided by the overcast skies, and the forest is dark as night as a result. The drooping trees continuously weep a thick black ichor. This sap is oily and foul smelling.
Airday, 11th of Warmshade through Waterday, 12th of Warmshade, 4433
In spite of the unpleasant surroundings, the party goes unmolested and makes reasonable speed through the forest. Anmor’s divination magic shows that Kendra is leaving the mountains and heading toward the forest. The group continues on a course to intercept her. By the end of the third day in the woods, however, Anmor’s magic shows that Kendra is now out on the plains and moving much faster than expected. In fact, she’s like on the other side of the woods now and their intercept course is ruined. The group will surely not to be able to catch her, so they decide to try and continue north and look for some of the trials instead. They figure the Roc King’s probably in the mountains, right?
Earthday, 13th of Warmshade, 4433
At the start of the day the party emerges from the north side of the forest. In spite of the more pleasant environment, it is here they find themselves attacked. A group of extra-big displacer beasts (Pack Lords) assaults the party, but the group defeats the creatures rather easily. The party continues northwest towards the mountains, using restoration spells to negate their fatigue and make double the progress.
If an entire displacer beast pack is made up of Pack Lords, what is the lord of the pack called? The Pack Lord Pack Pack Lord?
Fireday, 14th of Warmshade and Spiritday 15th of Warmshade, 4433
The party skirts the edge of the mountains then ascends, climbing to the top of what is obviously the highest peak. Though the climb is harrowing (did I forget to ask for climb checks?), the party ascends to the top without trouble. Here they find a huge nest that, unfortunately, contains a very dead gigantic roc, sprawled in a shallow lake of blood. It looks like Kendra’s been here already and has prevented the party from Harvesting the Living Feather of the Roc King. Discouraged, the party descends the mountain.
Airday, 16th of Warmshade through Earthday, 18th of Warmshade, 4433
The party struggles west-southwest through the mountains towards the top of a valley that could offer easy descent to the plains in the direction where they now know Kendra to be. They reach the head of this valley to discover that it teems with wild underbrush bedecked with vicious irony thorns growing as long as six inches each. The thorns grow to a height of 10 feet in the vale, and no trail or track leads through them.
“Vicious irony” thorns is a direct quote from the module. Isn’t that ironic, don’t you think? Given that the party thought the valley would be easier going?
Fireday, 19th of Warmshade, 4433
When wake in the morning, some of the party members report suffering from horrid, vivid nightmares of being stalked and killed by monsters, demons, cruel enemies, etc. Shrugging off this odd occurrence, our heroes continue their travels.
I’m fairly certain I either forgot to have the nightmares happen or that everyone made their save. But they make what happens next more interesting, so I’m retconning them in.
The party starts pushing its way through the thorns and is soon assaulted by an extra-large bullette (Landshark!). They defeat it in a battle so forgettable that I completely forgot to include it in my first pass through this writeup (even though I had it in my XP accounting).
The party decides to continue along the side slopes of the valley, preferring the rugged terrain to the pointy (ironic) thorns at the bottom of the valley. This route proves a fortunate choice, as the clear view allows them to spot a cave some distance up the slope on the side they’re traveling. Clouds of steam constantly vent up from the cave opening. The party investigates.
The cave is filled with steam, so Anmor summons some creepy giant bats and sends them in. He can see with their senses and, as the bats fly through the cave, notes two wide crevasses that nearly cross the cavern. The crevasses constantly vent the thick clouds of steam that waft along the ceiling to escape via the cave mouth. Reaching the other end of the cave, the bats find a nightmarish creature known, appropriately, as a nightmare beast and engage in battle. Some party members (Kullen at least) blindly leap the crevasses to join the bats and the group eventually defeats the creature (whose name was Harrodroth, not that it matters).
Strewn about the far end of the cavern is a tangle of corpses and some treasure. For now, though, the party stops to rest, satisfied with the reasonable conclusion that they have achieved the Death of the Thorn Vale Nightmare, preventing Kendra from completing that trial.
XP totals at the end of the session 28:
* Anmor 125,637
* Ulm and Chresin 123,798
* Granuel 115,583
* Kullen 122,058
Kullen should level up to 16th now. Granuel will reach 16th sometime during Session 29 (if he survives).