016. Revenge on Presto, Part 2

 

 

Presto’s tower sits in the center of a perfectly circular lake.  The lake seems to have been drained, leaving a 60 foot high drop before them, and the tower’s door straight ahead, some 600 feet away.  The druid that is with them pulls out a signaling horn and blows on it.  The doors open, and two druid guards peer out.  Soon, they hear the rushing of water and see the lake’s water is rising, eventually rising to 60 feet.  Then, the druid guards get into two wooden row-boats, and slowly row across the lake to fetch them.  The party climbs into the boats, and head toward the tower.  Halfway back to the tower, they hear a clap of thunder and a booming voice.  It is Presto, and he knows that TTT is there.  He sends Archers on Eagles to try and kill them, but the party manages to kill them and make their way into the tower.

In the tower, they find the mechanism to raise and lower the lake, and lower the lake again..  They also find a mysterious set of pylons flanking a door, and learn that the pylons create a deadly lightning bolt between them when anyone passes through.  They learn from the guards that they must head to the bottom of the tower to deactivate the pylons.  They head down and fight Desert Basilisks, Archers, Druids and Soldiers on their way down.   While looting the bodies, Monicrunk finds some herbs and a pipe, and decides to pocket the herbs.  At the end of the first day, they choose to camp in the soldier’s bunk in one of the lower levels.  

While Monicrunk is taking her watch, she is startled by a Majestic Tiger that sneaks up to her and attempts to parley.  The Tiger urges them to join Presto, and to give him their Cubes.  Monicrunk refuses to join, so the tiger leaves.

At the bottom, they find a flooded room.  Monicrunk dons her Ring Save & Closeof Water Breathing and heads into the room, only to find a huge, shadowy creature swimming below.  She rushes back.  The party decides to head back up and Flood the Lake again, which does in fact drain the water from the lowest level of the tower.  Back down there, they fight a Gigantic Turtle, and Barlo narrowly escapes death (again).  With the turtle dead, they find the mechanism and deactivate the lightning pylons.  Heading back up, the party finds a Lightning Sword and give it to Juxmonochrome.

On the 2nd level of the tower, the party fights another set of Druids and some Worgs.  During this fight Monicrunk takes some serious damage, so she digs into her pouch and grabs the herbs and shoves them into her mouth.  These herbs are not for healing. Monicrunk sees visions of bleeding walls, 3 headed dogs, and spiders emerging from Barlo’s armor.  She also sees a Majestic Tiger emerge to watch the fight.  The party realizes that Monicrunk is tripping balls at this point, but also realize that the tiger is real!  Monicrunk wraps her arms around the tiger to give it a hug, but D’unda wants none of the tiger and fires an arrow at it, hurting the tiger.  At this point, the tiger transforms into a human, revealing himself to be Presto.

The fight with Presto ensues.  Presto manages to summon several dozen worgs to aid his fight, but it is not enough and the party slays Presto.  

As they stoop to inspect the dead body of presto, they hear a loud sound of a war horn from above, and the worgs flee...

015. Revenge on Presto, Part 1

The vessel of Ekrakk is actually a Giant, Walking Suit of Armor, with a cockpit and everything.  The cube activates it enough for them to be able to talk to it, but not enough to power the suit itself.  Ekrakk explains that they need the Sapling of the Evertree to power the suit.  Presto!  they have to get Presto!  They find a secret shortcut leading out that is only accessible using the cube, and head back to TTT to forge a plan.

While resting up and plotting a way to get the sapling back, they discover that the cube also has another power.  If inserted into the Obelisk, the cube activates that creates a huge dome of interlaced vines, which shields the tower.  This shield is seemingly impenetrable.  While leaving the shield up, a fierce thunderstorm rocks the dome and lasts for an entire day and night.  Lightning strikes the dome a few times, but nothing but a few stray drops of rainwater can penetrate the dome.  After the storm subsides, the party equips themselves and heads out, going west toward the Sacred Forest and toward Presto's Tower.  The last thing they decide to do is leave Slim and Grassfoot in charge of the tower, keeping the cubes and leaving the shield up.  Every night, at dusk, Slim is to open the shield to see if the party has returned.  

On their way, they find a recently left camp.  It looks like druids had camped there the previous two nights, an hour’s walk from the tower.  Were they responsible for the storm?

They find the Sacred forest.  It seems to be teeming with evil emanations, and the trees are screaming to D’unda in pain.  Barlo is having nightmares of the resurrection of an evil, black god, and he sees the black roots of a sapling tree becoming flood vessels, feeding a dark heart and giving birth to a great evil.  The party finds some of the trees becoming animated and attacking them.  They also find Queen’s Soldiers and Druids patrolling the forest, looking for Team Triple Toss.  The party manages to kill a few sentries, but soon find themselves overwhelmed.  Toggaf manages to charm one of the Soldiers and a Druid and convinces them that they are working for Presto, and need to be led to Presto’s tower.  The perilous journey through the forest lasts 15 days, but they eventually find Presto’s tower.


 

009. Druid's Temple

The stags walk through the forest as easily as a fish swims through water.  It takes them only a day to reach the clearing that reveals an ancient druid temple, carved in the stump of a giant, long-dead tree.

They enter the large oaken doors of the temple, carved with figures of stags and elven druids.  The walls, floors, and ceiling are a smooth wood, with no seams in the structure to be seen.  Twisting passages lead to long-abandoned rooms, with centuries-old evidence of the rituals that druids once performance there.

Now, they find lizardmen and other evil creatures have taken it over.  They even find a young poison dragon, which they manage to kill (and take its claws).  

The center of the temple holds the statue of a druidic demi-god, who conceals the hidden entrance to the sapling.  Speaking the name of his one true love (after some research from the party) opens the hidden door, and reveals a room with a floor of thick, dark soil.  A single beam of sunlight shines down upon a small, green sapling.

When they approach the sapling, a carved face in the back wall comes to life and commands the intruders to stop what they are doing!  The party draws their swords, ready to fight what comes, when the face suddently changes expressions...

"The oldest father!  The one who makes the trees grow!  You have returned!"  The party turns to D'Understanding, looking at him quizzically.  The face continues, "you must take the sapling and protect it.  The druidic hierarchy is corrupted by the queen.  Please, please protect it with your life."

The carefully dig out the sapling and put it in a sack.  They leave the temple and waiting for them is Presto, atop a black stag, surrounded by a score of spear wielding lizardmen. Just as the party thinks they are going to be skewered, the white stags bound out of the woods and allow the party to hop aboard.  The stags fly through the forest at an astonishing pace, hardly making a sound.  The stags stop just short of the wooded boundary, where they let the party get off.  The party leaves the sacred woods, not knowing where they are…

Map of the Druid Temple

 

008. Journey to the Sacred Woods (in which exposition happens)

They seek the wisdom of Corvus the Black for D'Understanding's new predicament.  He, incidentally, had no idea where they were since he teleported them to Turbo's keep.  They explain everything that had happened, and he asks them to seek the council of Torus Whitetail, the Archdruid who lives in the Sacred Woods outside of Parthen.  

Not only is Torus one of the few who can break D’understanding’s curse; if druids are involved in the evil act of conjuring spider demons, maybe Torus can help bring the druids back in line.  He also believes that Turbo may have taken up residence in an Old Castle south of Ashvin.  (new adventure hook)  He sent another party to seek intelligence of Turbo’s whereabouts, but all but one was slain.  Barlo the Brave, the cleric of that party, is the only survivor, and he offers to join the party.  Adventuring parties are few and far between, most seeking fame and glory in the Parthen Tournament, which seems safer than chasing demons and zombies.

 

Also, during their time in the tombs, a group of goblins managed to break into the temple and kidnap the boy again!  Corvus the Black tells the party that it is a dangerous time, and that something is leaking evil into the world.  (exposition time)  Turbo seeks the Divine Cubes, which are keys to a place where Turbo believes lies an incredible weapon.  The party must find out who else seeks these cubes, and make sure they do not fall into the wrong hands. (cliche much?)   Corvus the Black also tells the party about his father, Corvus the Red, who was the archmage at Krshmir.  Corvus the Red also believed in the prophecy of the divine cubes, but something evil came from the mountains and slew most of Krshmir.  Corvus the Black and his mother only barely escaped to Ashvin.  The city was sealed off and no one has been to Krshmir and lived to tell about it. (okay enough exposition and adventure hook-setting)

The party needs a new name, so they calls themselves “Team Triple Toss.”  The name comes from our poor interpretation of the rules for missile weapons in the first few sessions. 

The next day, the party takes a ferry southwest to Parthen City the human capital, where they gather intel about the forest.  It is taken over by lizardmen in the north, and a coup in the Druidic Hiearchy has seen a new Archdruid, Presto, take the place of Torus.  They enter the vast Sacred Woods, which spans a 100 miles or more.  It takes them 10 days to find the cabin of Torus Whitetail, who is frail and without friends.  

Torus urges the party to head to the Temple of the Evertree in the sacred woods to take the Sapling of a new evertree before Presto takes it.  The evertree is a powerful thing, and the one who cares for it can raise it to be a mighty forest of mysterious and magical powers.  He offers the party some white stags to take them to the temple.

The Map of the Sacred Woods is Below.  I used it as an overland/hex map.  Each day if they were on a path they could move two hexes, if they were in the woods, they could only move one and there was a % chance they could get lost and go a random direction.