Conquering the Barbarian Altanis: Session 8


Character Class Description
Alric Fighter level 1 Tall, broad-shouldered avatar of masculinity. Obligatory horned helmet and majestic blonde mustache included.
Melvin Magic-user level 1 Introduces himself as “Melvin the Magnificent.” Known as “Melvin the Mediocre.”
Belanor Elf level 1 Mohawk-rocking ex-slave on a path of vengeance.
Gon'd'elf Elf level 1 “Surely magnificent, am I not?” is his favourite opener. Works every time, 40% of the time.
Lir Cleric level 1 A tall lanky worshipper of Ragtha dressed in grand blue robes covered with fish motifs.

Dewsnap 20th, Spiritday

Having buried Richter, our band of heroes was ready to find the treasure so many have already died for. With nothing but their memory to count on, they decided to follow whatever notable markers they could remember.

It was a marvellous day, sunny and bereft of any wind. As soon as they set off, they've encountered a most curious thing—a piece of leather armour standing upright, as if someone invisible is wearing it. Traumatised by their previous experiences, they opted for circumventing it in the broadest possible arc.

Next thing they've encountered was what seemed to be a piece of wall, standing all alone. Their cautious approach to it paid off, since Alric, their vanguard, was greeted by a warning shot between his legs. “Not a step closer!”

Banter ensued, and our brave adventurers managed to persuade the defender to let them in, in exchange for a nice cup of tea. As they came closer to the structure, it became apparent that it was a wall of an old building, now long gone. They also noticed there was a smaller, supporting wall, which they couldn't see as they approached it. Two sides still stand but the grassland has reclaimed all the area around the walls. The two walls, only a story high, are at right angles to each other and protrude awkwardly out of the plain.

To their surprise, the inside of a bigger wall was covered in a magnificent mosaic, depicting a scene of a mountain above a blue lake, beneath a clear blue sky. No such scene was around them.

Cullan, Eoghan, and Donnan, three men with unerring likeness, made this ruin their home. They invited the party to their humble campfire, each sitting on a box. The latter seemed to fascinate Belanor to no end, and he struck up a bargain to take a peek into one. Few rubs and a peel later, he found that the contents were indeed what the men had told him—dried food, oil, bedrolls, and some trinkets.

Disappointed, our party left. “Watch out for the ogre!” was the last thing they heard from these open-air connoisseurs.

Elves were the first to pick up the crushing sound of rapids; something they went towards to. There it was, a powerful river was running rampantly in the chasm some sixty feet below them, frothing and crashing against boulders. A make-shift “bridge” was withing sight as well. If one could call a large tree rolled over the chasm a bridge, that is. A fine specimen, probably some hundred feet tall in its heyday, now laid there, devoid of any branches.

One by one; each party member carefully crossed the bridge; finding themselves in a thick, dark forest. It was a lively day, and wildlife was abundant. Songs of thousand birds could be heard, sometimes in sweet unison, sometimes in deafening cacophony. Gon'd'elf tried to sing with them, but alas, it wasn't always as melodious as he might've thought.

Trying their luck, the party decided to veer off-path, in order to cut their travel time. After some time they found themselves at a proverbial crossroads—the path in front of them seemed to descend into marsh, wetlands covered by tall woods; whilst the path north seemed to go deeper into the forest.

The ground surrounding the junction was completely blanketed with a vibrant, blue clover, the bright full blooms almost glowing in the gloom of the woods. Hundreds of rainbow-coloured butterflies were hovering and darting above the clovers. Idyllic scene was interrupted by a viper ambushing Belanor. But wait! His elvish fast reflexes allowed him to grab the assaulting viper mid-air, grabbing him right behind the head. A milking conversation ensued, resulting in poor viper being squeezed for two drops of its venom... Before they smashed its tiny head on the ground.

Satisfied with their heroics, our band opted for the northern, drier route. It didn't take them long to notice that the forest here seemed to get quieter and lighter. There seemed to be less trees, but those there were, were indeed astounding in their size. Some of them were towering over hundred feet tall, spanning ten to twenty feet across. There was some solemn quality to the air; as if they are entering a place of care. That and mushroom covered ground. Hundreds of tiny red-headed mushrooms carpeted the ground. Lir could smell their poisonous nature just in time to prevent Melvin from rolling in them “for academic purposes only.”

Their journey was driven to a halt by two ginormous trees that have grown toward each other over millennia past, their great roots intertwining and forming a latticework wall that completely barred the path. Melvin did notice that part of the roots resembled ladders, so, as all careful mages do, decided to check where do they lead to. Face first.

Surviving the climb, he found a small nest at the top, some three feet in diameter. There were some tiny clothes and shoes there, as well as small iron box. He was wise enough to ask one of the heavily clad warrior folk to inspect it further. Belanor was next to climb, replacing Melvin, for the ladder was wide enough for barely one person. Just as elf was reaching out for the box, he felt an immense force pushing his chest, sending him flying some twenty feet back. Surprised, and distressed, the party threw some rocks up there, only to find them flying back straight at them. They were quick to leave this place at rest.

Wetlands it was.

Swamp has penetrated through the forest edges, soaking the ground for meters. Intense smells lingered in the air—sweet aroma of blooming flowers intermingled with stench of decaying wood and sulphurous bubbles. The whole place seemed to have a life of its own.

The party formed a single rank file, treading mush grounds as carefully as they could. It wasn't long until they found themselves waist deep in chilly water. Wading through they encountered a portly rat grinning at them from distance, smelly bubbles popping around him. No one was in the mood for that. They did see a large tree some hundred feet away from the, too. And it seemed to stand on a dry piece of land, something they desired the most at this very moment.

Some twenty minutes of wading through chest-deep marsh later, and they were finally there. Isn't it weird how sometimes things seem much closer than they really are?

The “island” seemed to be bereft of any living trees, except the particularly large one. There seemed to be some human-sized mushrooms around.


Parties exploration was abruptly interrupted by a piercing shriek.


Another one joined in.


And a third one went of.

“Uh, it's time to go.” Gon'd'elf uttered just as towering, gaunt, lanky figure stepped out of the tree's shade.

There it stood, its black, leathery and warty skin glistening in the dim sunlight.

There it stood, its nose hanging like a limp snout, its two bright-red eyes gazing straight into the soul of our brave adventurers.

There it stood, its jaw wide open, drool dripping down its chin.

“Fall back behind me!” Alric shouted, positioning himself between the black horror and other party members.

The creature took its time, strolling menacingly towards Alric. It was only then our brave warrior could see how large the deformed horror was, towering over him by at least three heads.

The creature swung its sharp talon—missing Alric by an inch. The warrior rolled masterfully, confusing the creature in the process, making it slip whilst attempting to catch him. The demon face-planted with might, and was seemingly dazed and disoriented.

Belanor shot an arrow which found its target, and the rest, encouraged by Alric's dodge, ganged up on the creature.

Bravery or stupidity?

No hits connected. They kept going at it, but alas, their weapons have proven to be most ineffective. And they could all see the moment creature got back to its senses. Oh, they could.

Melvin felt the creatures claws ripping into his shoulders, its strong grip squeezing him with no mercy. The last thing he saw was a gaping maw full of disgusting, rotting teeth.

The creature bit his head off, popped his skull like a cherry tomato, and then spat the remains at Alric. The warrior was next. The creature clawed into him with disturbing glee, cackling at Alric's impotent allies.

Alric tried. He really did. But he passed out from the grievous wounds; wounds that would've killed any lesser man.

“What are you crying for?!” the creature mocked Gon'd'elf in its broken tongue. It torn asunder Lir, throwing his limbs and jaw into Belanor, downing him next. It was perhaps Belanor who had the most luck of all, since his death was fast and only moderately grotesque.

Gon'd'elf fled, crying, running, begging, pleading, praying, sprinting, swimming... He fled, as the creature cackled and mocked him. He fled, as the creature dragged the bloody remains of his friends into depth, into hell.

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