Rose and Thorn: Session 12

D&D is a good thing when you’ve had an otherwise bad day. Even when I walk in super frazzled and fairly unprepared, even by my own standards, I think we still manage to make a pretty good go of it. It’s so cathartic, after a full day of day-job-drudgery, to just get to be creative and improvisational and to have the exact degree of disregard for the rules that you want. I think that’s part of why D&D is having a kind of renaissance right now, as people discover its potential as a creative outlet that some of us might not get elsewhere.

 

The Party:

Danyar, gnome rogue-warlock

Semaj, human fighter

Alkar, elf mystic

Zavin, human paladin

Max, halfling bard, with Dogstein, dog

 

The Setting:

The City of Silverrun, in the Wayride Mountains

The Westward Road to Weavescore

 

The Story So Far:

After their first run-in with the newly founded (in Silverrun, at least) Faith of the Seven-Faced God, all of the group felt that they had some things they’d like to take care of. After all, life is always bustling in the biggest trade city in this region, and they all knew well enough that there was no time to waste. So, for a day or two, they all went their separate ways to get down to business.

Zavin stuck close to the new temple, still masquerading as a newly-loyal acolyte to the Seven-Faced God. He spoke with other acolytes and discreetly watched the comings and goings of the priest, Levrand, who still seemed a little too squeaky clean. He continued his readings of the Creed of Seven Sorrows and at Alkar’s request, he went in search of a holy symbol for this new god. He realized that they were being stored in Levrand’s as-yet uninhabited personal quarters within the temple building. He successfully snuck in and retrieved a symbol for Alkar and Semaj to use in their little scheme.

Speaking of Semaj, almost immediately after the first sermon at the temple, he excused himself to take care of a private matter. He tracked down a man who he’d identified a week or so prior, a man who cruelly beat his wife and drank their little money away each night. Semaj had decided that the time was right to dispose of the man, and after he had done so, he escorted the wife to a shelter where she could be taken care of for the time being. With that taken care of, Semaj made a great show of confessing to Levrand, who encouraged him to pray for forgiveness, to pray for mercy, and to pray for temperance.

Alkar had something else in mind, already set on turning the other temples of the city against Levrand and the Seven-Faced God. He went to the temple to Mystra, goddess of magic – one of the largest temples in the city, conveniently – and kidnapped a low-ranking priest with Semaj’s help. They knocked him unconscious, carved the symbol of the Seven-Faced God into his back, and left him in a barrel (of course) in the center of the city where he would quickly be found. The outrage spread through the city like wildfire, and Levrand met with Duke Rhys himself to renounce the murder and insist that his religion would never condone such an atrocity.

Danyar decided to do what he could to scope out Levrand’s residence before he moved into the temple and security around him increased. He snuck in each day for two days and did a thorough search of the place for anything suspicious or untoward. He found little in the study, where he expected to find perhaps some arcane or evil tomes – he found instead many copies of the Creed of Seven Sorrows in numerous languages, some of which he recognized and some he didn’t. But when he made his way into the cellar, he found the first truly suspicious thing – two miniature casks of wine laced with a mild sedative. He took the casks to their potionmaster friend Stovak to confirm what they were.

Max kept an eye on Levrand’s comings and goings as well, tracking when he was at home and when he was at the temple. After discussing it with the group, he worked to provision them for the journey they were planning to take. They’d learned that the Faith of the Seven-Faced God was evidently more prominent and established in the western city of Weavescore; this was where Levrand’s funding to commission the opulent sculpture and refurbish the old building had come from. That kind of money, they well knew, required either very wealthy merchants or the nobility itself. After eavesdropping on some conversations of Levrand’s, Zavin could confirm that they would be dealing with at least one noble who was involved with the temple.

Once they hit the road, knowing it would be twelve days’ journeying to get to Weavescore, they expected nearly a fortnight of boring travel. After all, the landscape between the two cities was almost entirely farmland; the Weavescore region was known to be the breadbasket of this part of the world. On the third day out from the city, however, they’d stopped to repair a wagon wheel on a road next to a vineyard when Danyar, Alkar, and Max spotted something emerging from the tangled vines by their feet. More than half a dozen vine blights slithered out to attack.

Fortunately for the party, the vine blights were just smart enough that they could use things like psionic attacks or spells like Tasha’s Hideous Laughter on the creeping, whispering vines. Max slashed at the ones in front of him with his sword, while using his bardic Cutting Words to make them falter when they attacked. Semaj used his soulknife powers to summon blades of fire to make wide sweeping blows at the creatures. Zavin crushed the vines under his enormous maul, while Danyar used Firebolt to pick more of them off one by one. The vines were quickly destroyed, but not before several party members took nasty scrapes from their thorns.

Covered in grape juice, Zavin marched right up to the house of the vineyard owner and demanded compensation for his trouble in removing the blights. The vintner paid only exasperatedly – no one likes to disagree with grape-covered men with mauls – and explained that a druid had been attacking many of the local farms, claiming that she was trying to turn the land back to its natural, wild state. He indicated that he simply thought she was a little crazy, but when asked where she was going, he gave them the information.

For the next two days, the group pursued the rogue druid (not to be confused with a multiclassed rogue-druid, which would be an interesting combo). They reached an area of scrubby forest and decided to see if they could attract her to them. They made sure to very safely light a fire nearby, clearing the brush around the area and surrounding the fire with stones. Still, they wafted the smoke into the air, and Semaj made a great deal of noise about being so glad to be out of civilization and out in the wilderness.

A booming voice emerged from the underbrush behind them, demanding to know what they were doing on this land, who they were, and what they wanted. They answered simply, as yet unsure if they wanted to befriend the druid or make her knock it the hell off. Still, better safe than sorry, and they gave honest answers. After some hesitation, an unexpected figure emerged from the brush – a surprisingly young (barely an adult) and small half-elf woman, who introduced herself as Allarine Starwood.

Session 11

Session 13

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