Tuesday, April 1, 2014

RL #16: Shadows in the Forest

Picking up after a couple months off, the PCs assembled a contingent of eight that included Rooks and four other able-bodied men and took to the forest trails outside Morningsong. Shortly after reaching the first outpost, they encountered a twelve-foot tall bear, which advanced toward them aggressively before being held fast by Leilana's entangle. Moving fast, the contingent circled around it and pressed on until it fell out of sight. From there, they reached the river-crossing, and elected to follow the stream downriver.

Toward late afternoon, one of the men-at-arms, Vedrane, spotted a fast, fleeting movement on the opposite shore. Investigating from afar but finding nothing, the party hoped (but did not truly believe) that the sighting was simply a large fox. Continuing on, the contingent arrived at a previously uncharted fork in the river as twilight began to set in. The fork led away from the opposing bank, into the open mouth of a small cave. Rooks pondered the strange formation, doubly concerned that it seemingly had sprung up from nowhere, as Morningsong's hunters travelled this route often.

Deciding to camp for the night, a fire was set ablaze and watches were arranged. In the early hours of the morning Nora caught sight of two yellow eyes peering near the cave opening, but as with the earlier phantom, a shake of her head and they were gone. Unsettled, Nora awakened Leilana and passed the remainder of the night in the druid's company.

Rooks advised that the river could likely be crossed a short way further down, so the party continued on, traversed the shallows, then doubled back. Near the cave mouth was a semi-concealed rocky passage that led behind the stream, into a cavern and along a precarious ledge that ended in a man-sized tunnel. The river fork itself poured down a fifty-foot waterfall, ending in darkness below. Wary of delving too deep underground, the contingent marched back upriver, back to the outpost, and finally back to Morningsong before nightfall.

In the village, the PCs and Rooks convened privately with Jorah, Kleigha, and Aginot. The older residents of Morningsong showed grave concern for the findings, citing similar happenings from twenty-five years ago, when hunters would return from the forest bearing tales of inexplicable new landmarks amid well-known territory. Their most serious failing, they believed, all those years past, was in neglecting to root out the evil that threatened them until it was almost too late. As such, Jorah particularly impressed the need to investigate further, and not again leave the village's fate to mere chance.

DM's Commentary

This was a tough one, starting back after some time off. It's always hard to get your head back into the game and recall all that transpired previously. The party's investigative approach, too, didn't feel all that exciting, though it did uncover some interesting new details. No XP to award right now, we just need to play again soon so that we don't feel the lag next time too.

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