In the clearing in front of you is a massive tree fort built of a hodgepodge of branches and other vegetation. The Unsworn approaches Unstealthily, so the inhabitants of the fort can Unstrenuously hear you coming. A spherical spore blasts forth from the top of the structure as if launched from a cannon and hits the ground in front of you. You can’t help but inhale the cloud of powder that bursts into the air, but are able to shake off any psychotropic effects.
Well, not Trig. Her mind is the exception. Affected by the spore, she suddenly finds herself transported to another place. The forest is gone, and its place is nothing but featureless ocean. The tree fort in front of her has been swapped out with a majestic pirate ship – its flag shows a stylized rose. Trig is forced to swim for her life. Looking around, she can see her friends have been swapped out with various, unfriendly-looking sea creatures. She herself is now a crab. At the helm of the ship, a Pirate Queen directs her humanoid crew of pirates to attack, and they begin to do so.
Meanwhile, back in the real world, the rest of the Unsworn continue to see the gnarled tree fort – no ocean or pirates of any kind. A kind of witch woman barks attack orders…
… directing a troop of minuscule, snarling old men, wearing metal boots and blood-red pointed caps. These are Redcaps – wicked fey.
In response, you all lay siege to the tree fort / pirate ship and are eventually able to defeat the redcaps / pirates. Trig turns into an eagle and fire bombs the ship mercilessly with various druidic spells. This clues Nim and Dov in to her real identity. At the conclusion of the fight, a tiny silver frog emerges from Dovienya’s pocket and hops away. The Forest Witch / Pirate Queen is actually the Broken Thorn, suffering from the same spore fantasy, reliving her former glorious life on the seas. Nim dispels the cursed magic on both her and Trig. Now healed and restored to sanity, the pirate-turned-outlaw expresses her heartfelt thanks and leaves on foot for Odyphaidron. After this incident, another silver frog hops down from Dov’s pocket and follows after the recovering spore victim.
Within the ship fort, the remains of a human are found on a dining table, eaten by the evil crew who thought he was a fish. With the help of Dov, Trig is able to identify him as the missing druid he was sent to investigate. At the base of the ship a secret door is found, leading into the druid temple below.
The decor of this dungeon is covered in esoteric druidic lore, with each chamber in sequence corresponding to one of the four seasons. Trig is able to read the Ogham (druidic) script on the walls and follow the instructions to delve deeper. Much to the gnome’s annoyance, there are riddles that need solving to make progress, but her new friends valiantly endure them and provide the correct answers. Finally in the last chamber, Trig performs an elaborate ritual with a feather and the milpreve to create a bogun, a sort of plant / stone golem guardian. The large animated figure leads you to the mystic chamber of the Nemeton – the druidic seal blocking access to/from other planes.
You discover the seal is broken (!). And a strange purple root is growing out of it. In the shadows beyond, Trig spots movement and proceeds forward to investigate. She is promptly shot by a crossbow bolt, however, and crumples to the ground asleep. Enemies emerge from the darkness and begin to attack – dark elves! After you fight them off with the help of the bogun, a female drow (who looks like the leader), wielding a staff with tentacles at the top, steps out to give you the stink eye. She then takes flight back into the shadows.
Once combat is over, Nim uses her starknife to carve out a stake from the purple root. The unsavory thing she fashions is like a crude spear and pulses with dark magical energy. This is the “Splinter from the Tree of the Dead” which she was directed to get from one of her visions. The bogun, meanwhile, sets to work repairing the seal and prepares to guard the Nemeton in perpetuity. It gladly accepts a farewell gift of flowers to burn inside its head. One more silver frog hops out of Dov’s pocket, and there are now 7 silver coins from the celestial guardian remaining.
The Unsworn make their way back to the surface. Once topside, you notice the forest around the tree fort is no longer corrupted by the fey plane. Dov notices that three good deeds have been performed:
2) Showing mercy for the Broken Thorn
3) Sealing up the Nemeton to prevent further corruption
As you all walk, Nim looks between Dovienya, and Trig, wheels turning furiously. Right on cue, however, one of her bootlaces gets tangled up in a length of twine that seems to have thrown itself out of her pack of its own volition, quickly unraveling both into some nettles. A high-pitched elven swear word ensues. “Oh, uh, Dovienya… I think don’t know how to lace up these Paradonian boots properly, could you help me? Just for a second?” She tilts her head to one side in the universal symbol for sidebar conversation this way.
Dovienya, completely oblivious to Nim’s signals, walks over and starts examining her boots. “Yeah, it looks like you used some twine along with the laces? These boots don’t really work that way. Just the laces should be enough to keep them on.” Fortunately his close examination of the boots leaves him near enough for a quiet conversation.
“I’ve never seen a dragon in person before.” The word rushed out of Trig as her eyes sparkled eagerly. The corner of her mouth tugged up for the span of two heart beats before she took a deep breath and regained her composure. She went on in her more normal tone of voice. “Truth be told I was wondering where to head next. I don’t want to head back the way I came. I’m afraid I’d be expected to volunteer for something I have no intention of volunteering for. I see that leading to an awkward conversation at best. Babysitting a walking tree watching a hole in the ground is not how I intend to spend my time. Still too much to see.” Her eyes flickered to Daisy then to Dovienya and back to Daisy as if looking for a reaction. Seeing no reaction from Daisy to her statements and having never seen much of any reaction to anything she said from Dovienya her eyes locked on to Nim. “I think you all need to talk about this before we go any further together though. Informed consent and all. Just my being here may make your journey harder. Do you want to start us off,” she asked Nim, “or should I?”
Daisy broke out of her dragon-slaying reverie at this. “Oh, are you a criminal? We’re all criminals too, so it’s no big deal. I mean, Dov’s really a criminal. Me and Nim just got a caught in a misunderstanding. Those guards are so touchy. But anyway…” she shrugged.
Nim hides her face behind her voluminous sleeves for a moment, and a tin dining plate falls off its place hooked to her travel pack, rolling away. “Oh no, it’s rolling to th– nevermind. Well… Daisy. You see, the reason we needed to all stop and discuss Trig — who is very helpful, by the way, with vision… stuff… and obviously with those pirates! — because she’s a Wisdom, sworn to upholding Mother Nature’s balance.”
Daisy……..stares for a long, awkward moment. Her eyes dart from Nim to Trig to Nim to Trig again. One might almost see the gears turning in her head, and not producing anything particularly helpful or productive. Finally, she looks down at Ambrosius and grumps at him, “And YOU approved this?” Ambrosius just gives a doggy “whuff” of a shrug and a fractional wag of his tail. Daisy sighs and drops her head into her palm. “Of COURSE we have a druid now. It’s not like anyone NORMAL or SENSIBLE would go along with this….” she waves her arms vaguely in the air, “stuff. Alright, let’s go find the magic frog and see if he grants us a wish.”And with that, she nudges Ambrosius and sets off in the direction they’d been heading.
You think you’re getting near Odyphaidron’s stream when suddenly a figure steps out from behind a tree in front of you.
It’s the Broken Thorn! Since you last saw her, she’s had a couple of days to recover from her ordeal and looks much better. She’s all in ranger greens and browns – more like how you imagine a legendary Robin Hood-type would look like.
Since you’ve committed three good deeds in his forest, you get Oddy’s Boon. Present him with a single magical weapon and he will further enchant it to better serve the forces of goodness in the world. He will make it Glamered, as well as “Good” for the purpose of overcoming damage resistance – i.e., more effective against demons and devils. Dovienya presents his rapier to the magic frog, and Voila! It gets glamered good.
To Be Continued…