Location: the Laekenala Jungles of Halganath
Date: Trilan 12th of 1333 Avard
Valanthe was a member of the Queen's Own, along with her sprite partner Poppy. The entirety of the Fey Wilds trembled fourteen years before whole forests were despoiled and destroyed. None had ever seen undead treants, before, but the terrible woes of that time left haunting marks on all the Fey Wilds. Clues to what happened were scant, and the undead beaten back at heavy costs. A new clue, hwoever, had sent Valanthe into a thick maze of hedges where a broken trunk held new growth, but within the new growth was… something. She touched it with her ironwood blade.
Ghorza, Guardian Paladin of Barith, half-orc raised by the her father among the Toomar Tribes, has had a vision of terrible things to come. Ghorza's sister, Urzoth, had been raised more by their mother's bog orcs in the Wuron Swamps. Urzoth had become a fungal druid, following the more ancient teachings of Mazripos. Urzoth followed her elder sister wherever she went, supporting her in her own way. Both half-orcs could feel an uneasiness in the natural order, perhaps a holdover of the War of the Undead.
Ghorza and Urzoth had been approached by Varsericsh, a dragonborn servant of Sordrunaskashast – leader of the druids of the Dragon Nation. Sordrunaskashast had obtained a log written in a coded language of Nathel's people. The log detailed a strike force being sent to obtain the locations of Karatikan Alliance super weapons that could drain a forest of its primal energies and convert it into arcane power capable of leveling mountains. The dragonborn Varsericsh asked Ghorza and Urzoth to investigate the location detailed in the log, and if possible, learn more. They were told to look for a box of metal or stone that might have either Nathelian or Karatikan runes. Such a sealed box was standard for both sides to contain secret information.
The Karatikan Alliance of druids fell centuries ago in the aftermath of the Storm Wars. Once lush preserves fell into chaos, and the local druids did their best to maintain the natural order as best they could. The Cinnis line of druids had maintained portions of the Laekenala Jungle since the fall. The latest of that line was Karvana. Much information had been lost through the generations, and so she was thrilled to find an ancient treat, so large that he could barely move and so old that he remembered the time from before the Storm Wars. Unfortunately, he was so old that his memory was jumbled and speaking with him was difficult. He was worried, however, about an ancient terror. Something from the Storm War was stirring, and the elder treant wanted Karvana Cinnis to investigate before it was too late.
Valanthe literally fell out of the sky as Karvana observed Ghorza and Urzoth. The four women – two half-orcs, one eladrin, and one human – did not all speak a common language, together. Karvana and Urzoth spoke the druidic tongue, Urzoth and Ghorza spoke the orcish tongue, Ghorza and Karvana spoke the common traders' tongue, and Valanthe and Karvana spoke the elven tongue. All were cautious of the others, worried that they were perhaps after the same evils in all the wrong ways.
A set of ruins nearby told of something ancient. The ruins were partially submerged by a tributary of the Dreneb River, and the only entrance above ground was surrounded by the webbing of giant spiders. All three worried that the answers they sought, lay within the web-encrusted ruins that wound into the canopied hill nearby.
Urzoth managed to make friends with one of the giant spiders, her druidic bond to living things strong enough for her to communicate with one aspect of the colony. Unfortunately, something stronger was in control of the colony: ettercaps. The ettercaps and all of of the spiders of the colony came out of the ruins to show the intruders their strength, before retreating.
Valenthe knew ettercaps. They were one of her mortal enemies, enemies of the Fey Wilds and the Courts. Whatever the reasons for the human and the half… somethings …she knew that ettercap nests had to be destroyed wherever they were.
Working through several languages and building connections, they built a tentative peace between them, and a common goal – go into the ruins, eliminate the ettercap threat, and search for items of power.
Their exploration was slow and laborious. Karvana led the way with fire, melting the webbing away as they went. The two druids led the way, Karavan followed by Urzoth. Valanthe was next, ready to fire her bow in any direction, and Ghorza brought up the rear, her heavy armor a last line of defense for attack from behind.
The ruins were labyrinthine, with many cross-corridors and dead ends. Many of the dead ends held bodies in varying states of decay. The spiders had consumed the fluids within, and what flesh remained was dried and dessicated. Urzoth used her spores to animate one of the skeletons, the rapidly growing spores providing mass and movement for the skeleton's bones. Another body had enough flesh that the fungal spores could become something stronger, more akin to a zombie than anything else.
The bodies they found came from different times and different places, spread among several different races. They were either warriors, or priests, from what few items remained.
At a T-intersection with a dead end, they came under attack from two sides – swarms of spiderlings, giant spiders, and three ettercaps. With the spiderlings all over them, inflicting hundreds of bites, giant spiders hurling gobbets of webbing at them, and the ettercaps slipping in and either biting or garroting and then slipping out, and several of the team trapped behind others, it turned into a vicious brawl.
Within moments, however, the tide turned. Two ettercaps were slain, and many of the spiderlings were destroyed by not one, but two separate druidic 'moon beams'.
Outside the ruins, oblivious to what happened within the spiders' lair, Ghorza's mount lay in the rain near their tent, waiting. His blue tongue tasted the air and heard the songs of the jungle.
DM's Notes: This is an odd campaign, in that there's a unified theme among all the characters – the theme of nature, and feminism. Everyone is having to figure out new companions, new ways of looking at spells, and new ideas on how to work together. This led to some time overflow, so we had to halt the session after just two turns. I do like how the group functions, especially in a first session where they're learning one another and still somewhat distrustful of one another's motives. I look forward to seeing where this group of girls goes.
None to date.