The Road Less Travelled

Book 3 - Session 1

The Trouble with Trees

during the party’s journey home, they stumbled upon a very unfortunate hamlet whose inhabitants had apparently been turned into trees by some sort of contamination in their well water.investigation found signs that orcs had ransacked the village’s valuables after they had been turned. Ent tracks were also found near the well. Berengar spoke to a dog in the village who was not much help saying what had happened, but was useful in following the orcs back to their lair.

along the way it became apparent that the Orc and Ent tracks both lead to the same place, a cave leading into a large, round hilltop. after several yards the cave joins a massive cavern, easily over a thousand feet across, and 150 feet high. the ground and ceiling are covered in stalagmites and stalactites of various sizes. strangely, there are numerous patches of weird vegetation growing in large cultivated patches of earth. the sun does not reach this place, it is instead lit by a dim purple haze of eye-aching light which emanates from dozens of crystals which look to have been forcibly embedded in some of the stalactites. an inspection of the crystals with mage sight reveals that they give off an aura of darkness, which permeates the room.

closer inspection of the garden sections revealed many plants with strange properties ranging from harmless walking poppies to exploding apples to ambulatory camouflaged fungus monsters.they also encountered mutated animals, such as a gigantic bat, enormous aggressive rats, and a pair of grizzly bears addicted to some sort of tranquilizing flower.they met a dryad who was being kept captive by a wicked ent, named nockmort, who began this garden. she too had been mutated and was ashamed of her appearance. she explained that the ent had forced her to begin bonding with a pine in the cavern’s central grove, and then pulled her away and locked her up until she promised to obey him. the party released her and Berengar brought her back to the surface while trying to reason her out of bonding with the mutated tree.

after this the rest of the party proceeded to head to the center grove. just outside of it the stone in front of them rose up and asked them for the password. not having any idea the party hesitated too long and a fight ensued. the stone creature had the upper hand but was being slowly chipped away. Pietri and Felix, not having anything that could hurt the stone creature thought to distract the beast. Pietri turned himself to mist and Felix flew above the creature’s reach. they proceeded to head into the grove taunting the creature. the creature, apparently compelled to prevent intruders but unable to harm these two, shuddered and fell apart. a black cloud left the stone, assaulting Pietri’s mist form and knocking him out. Sir Leo attacked the creature with a holy spell, dispersing the black mist which shortly vanished. after the fight he explained that that had been a demon bound to the stone. he also revealed that the area of the grove is desecrated ground