Game Session One July 9, 2011
Truck Thunders, Jake the Snake and Kale of the Pathfinders, Pretoria division, district three, are assigned the task of investigating a marked increase in savage drow activity along the southern border of the civilized lands, near Edgewater. The three are ordered by their commanding officer, Bengel Ramsey, to operate under standard scouting procedures and sent by the Orien/Lyandar lightning rail’s maiden voyage to its southernmost station in Edgewater. They are given 36 hours to investigate, report back via a Sivis communication outpost and board the trains return trip to Pretoria for debriefing. Below is a synopsis of the events that transpired and the information collected by the group.
After preparations for the trip had been made the trio headed to the grand opening of the lightning rail station for boarding. While in line a severely disheveled drow woman pushes her way to the front and begins to shout manic warnings to the boarding passengers, “This rail line is doomed!! The forest will consume you all!! Do not board this train!! The forest is coming, its time… The forest is coming and you will all die!!!! Etc etc etc…”. Jake gets her attention and she tells him that it has been prophesied and there is no stopping it now. Nothing more coherent can be gleaned from the woman before security pulls her from the crowd that had gathered to watch the rail line’s first departure. Jake makes an effort to remember the faces of the woman and the two guards that pulled her away.
About halfway to Edgewater the rail line passes a farming community that is being harassed by a large group of bandits. A Deneith Sentinel assigned to the groups car becomes overwhelmed with a sense of duty and pulls the cars trains emergency stop and hops off the train shouting challenge to the bandits, who immediately break off from the villagers to engage him. The Sentinel is Jaret d’Deneith, noble of the house Deneith. He and three other sentinels engage the bandits with the PCs at their backs supporting them. The result is the death or capture of all but one of the bandits, a grunt. In return for their help Jaret d’Deneith offers them each a letter of favor to be picked up at Edgewater’s Sivis communications outpost. The remainder of the train ride is uneventful. Kale popped is crit cherry on the Bandit Leader!
After arriving in Edgewater the group checks in at the Edgewater Pathfinder Outpost and meet the receptionist Rita Davies and the outposts CO Lechtus Lehman. Lechtus gives the group the go ahead and requests that they try and get a numbers estimate on the ‘enemy’, reminding them of their directive on their way out the door.
While in Edgewater, before heading to the logging encampment Jake speaks with a resident who claims to have seen a scorpion clan drow as well as a drow dressed in what he described as a bunch of plants within the central circle of the city after dark. The same man also claims to have heard rumors from some of the loggers about them as well watching them from the edge of the jungle. After hearing this information the group heads out to the logging encampment discussing the news along the way. Truck Thunders crits on a knowledge check and recalls a blurb in some historic journal about a group that wore a vine armor matching the description they were given by the man in Edgewater. They were referred to as the Forest Cult by the historian and worshipped the idea of an unbridled natural world.
The group arrives at the logging encampment after dark and is greeted by Trent Fenkel the operations director of the Edgewater Logging Group. He discusses the nature and frequency of the sighting with the group. The sightings have been happening with more frequency over the last few weeks (3-4) to the point where they are seen almost every few days. Two loggers in particular seem to notice them more than others and Trent seems to think its because they were soldiers at one point. He suggests the group talk to the two of them in the morning.
That night, against the urging of Truck Thunders, Kale and Jake decide to go scouting in the jungle just outside the camp and a small scouting group of scorpion drow find them. The drow state clearly that Kale and Jake are trespassing on scorpion territory and the scorpion demand they leave despite Jake’s protests. The PCs agree that it isnt worth a fight and begin their retreat out of the jungle… and get lost; and they wander into a huge vine-like creature. The plant makes short work of them both and they are barely able to escape with their lives.
The next morning the group, Truck included this time, make their way to the two loggers who have witnessed the drow scouts the most. The two men relay much of the same information the group received from the man back in Edgewater regarding the descriptions of the drows appearances. They are able to offer a more detailed description of the assumed Forest Cult armor which is quickly supplemented by the two men and most of the group spotting 5 drow wearing vine armor near the edge of the trees. The two groups share cursory glares for a few moments and then the drow each take a step or two back into the trees and vanish from sight.
The group gave the Forest Cultists little time before they started into the Jungle after them following their tracks as best they were able. The tracks led them to a clearing being watched by a trio of scorpion drow scouts. They end up being the same scouts that Jake and Kale were ordered out of their territory by the previous night. This time, however, their encounter goes a bit smoother and are granted tokens of safe passage by the drow in exchange for a complete scouting report on the Forest Cultists. The drow make it clear that the cultists are a serious threat to both themselves and the town of Edgewater and the group suspects that the scorpion are sending them in to scout the cultists in order to prevent the scorpion from earning the ire of the cultists.
A short while later Truck picks back up on the cultists tracks and they follow them for a while longer into the jungle at which point they end abruptly. After some experimentation the group discovers a giant field of conjuration magic that stretches on for a significant distance (beyond their vision) to their right and left right at the end of the tracks. They cannot determine exactly what the effect is, but it is very, very powerful. Upon treading through the underbrush and mosses just to the other side of the field the group sees that the undergrowth and mosses repair their damage almost immediately, leaving no tracks behind. The group decided, with some hesitation, to continue on into the conjuration zone and eventually reached a huge clearing.
Near the center of the clearing a gathering was in progress and as the group made no effort to conceal themselves they became a bit of an interruption. Greater than 50 forest cultists were in the middle of performing a ritual. A large outer circle of cultists wearing vine armor surrounded an inner circle of priests chanting softly in deep concentration. At the very center of this bizarre ritual were a handful of wildly undulating bipedal plant creatures that sporadically emitted an unsettling hissing sound. A very creepy hivemind like series of actions are taken by greater than 50 forest cultists and the deep basso roar of a jungle cat comes from within the outer circle. The group runs.
They get chased down by a Forest Cult Priest in the form of a Jaguar along with his Jaguar companion; after making their way well outside of the conjuration zone. Kale and Truck’s dog Damnit are immediately taken down by the pair and the groups escape routes are cut off. They engage the duo and are losing the battle until the scorpion who granted them safe passage through the jungle arrive to protect them (surprisingly, but perhaps this was their intention). In the scuffle a Strange Artifact is dropped by the priest. The priests companion is killed, but the priest wisely evades capture. Truck Thunders makes certain to revive Kale and make off with the object dropped by the priest in his bag. They eventually escape the jungle and recover.
The group keeps their end of their bargain with the scorpion and pass along what they saw to them before heading back to town. The group assures Trent Fenkel that the loggers should not be concerned with the presence of the scorpion near the forests edge and inform him that they are not permitted to speak further on the subject, but that he will be receiving a report from the Pathfinders shortly. The group reports back via a drop box letter via the house sivis outpost detailing the results of their scouting; and went to bed planning on checking in at the edgewater pathfinders office in the morning before heading home.
—End of session one
Side Note: An apothecary in Pretoria requested of Jake the acquisition of a rare plant that grows to the south known as Moon Lilly.