- Four people lay on cots on the back of a wagon, bumping along through a forest. Sunlight streaming through the trees stirs our protagonists from restful wake to a world they don’t recall.
Recap[edit | edit source]
“Along For The Ride”[edit | edit source]
Stephanie's Character is first to fully react upon waking, grabbing for her shortsword (which somewhat slipped away from her in her sleep), and her other hand going into the wagon wall, as if reaching for something else. Geneviève's Character jumps at the sound of the hand against the wagon, belying a skittish nature as she immediately attempts to find somewhere to hide.
Anna's Character sits up, stretching and yawning awake, wiping the hair out of her eyes in an attempt at humanity first thing in the morning [EL: We’ve all been there.] She, upon setting eyes on Jess's Character, immediately compliments her beauty, which Jess's Character accepts in a “isn’t that quaint” fashion. Noting that the cart has a driver, Jess's Character tries to get his attention, seeing that he appears from behind to be an elf in a green cloak. Anna's Character starts petting Jess's Character’s hair admiringly.
The driver turns to answer Jess's Character’s questions, staring at her with oily black featureless eyes. His only response is that “You must be brought to the Duke of Blades.” he then turns back to pay attention to the road. Jess's Character polls the group for ideas about what to do. Anna's Character responds to the question with a question. What’s your name? Well, Jess's Character doesn’t know. Neither does Anna's Character from her glances around, but then decides to identify herself as Tree. She then volunteers the name Hair for Jess's Character, which they agree to until a better name comes along. Tree then goes to smell Stephanie's Character’s hair, which smells of sweat and grime, and gets Tree a ‘keep back’.
Hair, having ascertained the basic nature of Tree and Stephanie's Character, turns to Geneviève's Character, who reacts timidly. Hair decides that Geneviève's Character shall be called Bunny, on account of her nervousness, and Stephanie's Character informally addressed as Pointy McSwordstab, on account of having the sword. Which is pointy, as Tree identifies.
Hair suggests they NOT attend the proscribed meeting with the Duke of Blades. Tree also asks if there is any dessert, which there isn’t, currently, but Tree now wishes to be called Dessert. Hair, trying to play along, solicits Dessert’s help by saying there is Dessert back the way they came.
Bunny announces she has a problem; She doesn’t know who her Master is. Hair assures her that it is not the Duke of Blades, and then inserts herself as Bunny’s owner, and having bought all of her things.
Meanwhile, Pointy McSwordstab has bailed out of the cart and has started running. Dessert, seeing this, jumps off and chases in a frolicking way. As soon as they do, the cart stops, the driver gets off, and repeats his statement. “You must be brought to the Duke of Blades”. He then draws his shortsword, and advances.
“First Blood” Bunny abandons the cart as the driver approaches, the group backing away as much as possible. Dessert inquires if she feels any magical aptitude at the moment; she doesn’t, at least not while just standing there. Bunny tries to hide in the nearest bush. [EL: Gen here tries to imply she has rogue abilities by saying she Hides in Shadows]. The driver cries out “This is for your father” before charging the party.
Dessert tries to project positive energy at the driver [EL: Anna feeling out to see if she has magic again], but gets shoved to the side by Pointy McSwordstab, who sets herself to receive the oncoming elf. Hair tries to throw a dagger at the charger, but misses, and Bunny attempts to surrender on the spot. the elf charges, right into Pointy McSwordstab's sword, which impales him. Not being a zombie, a sword through the body proves to be quite fatal, the elf dropping to the ground. Pointy McSwordstab, for whatever reason, drops her sword and backs away at the sight of what she’s done. Tree observes that the black-eyed elf is no longer black-eyed, while looting the body. Bunny fetches Pointy McSwordstab's sword, and proffers it back to the swordswoman.
Hair goes and retrieves her dagger, noticing the cart’s donkey now available. Meanwhile, Rainman says a prayer over the elf, and Bunny strips him down to his undergarments, folding the clothes and leaves them neatly beside him.
Bunny and Rainman get into a linguistic conundrum about the words maid/made when Rainman goes into one of her technical existential explanations; this gives Victoria the very temporary name of Matter until clarified. Victoria claims the elf’s shortsword when it is offered up by Bunny, and then herds the group into the cart to get a move on back the opposite direction that they were going previously. Bunny offers to drive for “Lady” Victoria.
“A Bunch of Fun Guys”[edit | edit source]
15 minutes or so later, the group becomes aware of a humming noise, a few people strong. A bit of looking around later, the source is identified as a group of 2 ½ foot tall mushrooms that are waving back and forth.
Rainman immediately hops out of the cart to go join the mushrooms, sitting in their circle and joining in the humming. As the cart draws to a halt, the largest of the mushrooms turns around, a face on the side of it, which begins to speak, asking who they are. Rainman introduces herself as Toad.
The mushroom ‘king’ asks for the group’s aid in finding a cool damp place to shelter. Pointy McSwordstab advises caution, suggesting the giant, talking mushrooms might be poisonous. [EL: Because THAT warning is coming on time if the mushrooms are talking to you already. Don’t do shrooms, kids.] The king refutes that, saying they are fine to touch and move. Toad reads the aura of the mushroom [EL: Not sure if this is an actual ability or Neal just having fun.]
Bunny starts moving the mushrooms into the cart. While she does so, she asks if the mushrooms spotted the group moving through a short time ago. He says they did not. Between Bunny and Victoria, the group finds out that the mushroom is 20 years old, hasn’t seen a human before, and that this is an Elf-wood. He has not seen an elf with black oily eyes. Toad skips ahead to go find a place for the mushrooms to rest; a cool dark location would be best. She seems to have a knowledge of natural things from somewhere. After a while of searching, and finding nothing, the group hits upon the idea of building a small hut for the mushrooms. Toad produces a schematic nearly instantly, prompting Victoria to question where she got so much knowledge. Toad just assumes everyone has the knowledge, and when she’s told they don’t, she shrugs and wanders off to start working on it. As she goes, she advises "Cloud” (Pointy) to avoid killing any dryads or other living things while gathering saplings to make the hut out of.
[EL: At this point, Anna reveals her character has an INT of 16. Steph reveals her character has a STR of 16 also.]
Quickly constructing the hut, the mushroom king shows his appreciation by giving the group some fear powder, which Toad collects. [EL: that… he seems to spore from himself. So… yeah. good going with the ‘safe to handle’ bit.]
Waking the next morning, the group finds the mushrooms to be inanimate, normal mushrooms planted in the ground. Victoria tries to talk to them to get some directions, to no avail. Bunny finds the mushrooms’ song to be a fleeting memory, unable to recall it properly.
[EL: Gen reveals her INT to be 10.]
“Keepers of the Forest”[edit | edit source]
Mushroom examines her necklace while wandering around looking for cute creatures; a circle with a very small inscribed person on it with filigree around the outside. Victoria tries to approach Cloud, but gets some sword-point direction waving instead indicating that she wants to move on. Bunny has climbed a tree to scout around, and sees… forest. More forest, a bit of creek, not much more.
Mushroom tries to exert her energy again out in the forest, but.. nothing happens. As they regroup to move on, Cloud is practicing her swordarm. With rather bad results, landing face-first on the ground. As she rises, she notices an elf hiding in a bush watching them. When their eyes meet, the elf bolts, followed by the party.
The elf makes a run for a while, but soon turns to face his pursuers. He, of course, speaks elvish, leading to a language barrier that Mushroom manages to overcome. [EL: The conversation is not relayed to the group at first, and so I am unable to give what information the elf provides her.] The elf apparently felt threatened by Cloud's sword, which she apologizes for. The elf (Cortharaes) suggests the group go to his village, that the elder may be of help. Mushroom renames herself Follow. He leads them down the right path.
Follow asks if all elves look alike, but when the elf seems to take umbrage, says nothing further.
A few hours of travel later, they arrive in the middle of a village, only noticeable when pointed out to them. Beautiful stained glass windows of houses hidden into tree and stone. When he calls out, various elves start to show themselves, approximately 30 in total. Follow inquires of the village if they know of the driver elf, who they identify as a royal guard, of the elf king; that black eyes are the sign of a dark curse. When Follow inquires if the elf king is a dark ruler, the elder of the village speaks up in common. The elf king is a good and just ruler, and that none of his guard should be cursed. He suggests that the group is being sought by someone, and that they must leave, for they bring danger upon the village with their presence. That if they do not know who they are, they should not seek to find out for their own good. Follow offers and performs a “Uptown Funk Mushroom Dance” for the village, which receives a mild applause. When she asks about her pendant, the elder informs her that she is blessed to have it, and to not take it off; it will protect her in dire need. [EL: Anna reveals her DEX is 9, and comments that her CHA is “not good either”] Cortharaes leads the group out of the village, leaving the cart behind, explaining that it won’t be able to get through the forest. Furthermore, he says the cart belongs to the elves, so they’ll keep it. Bunny notices a symbol on the cart as they depart; stag horns poking through a crown. [EL: Most polite cart-jacking ever.]
“Deeper and Deeper”[edit | edit source]
The group is led deeper into the wood, less light penetrating the canopy. Follow is collecting petals as they go. About an hour later, the group is pretty much lost, following Kol-theris. Eventually he comes to a halt outside a small cave, suggesting they stop there for a time, before the group continues on their journey east so that they’ll be safe. When they inquire about potential dangers, they are told they are most dangerous to themselves; to only kill what they need to, and keep their eyes about them. They decide to camp out in the cave that night, to make a fresh start in the morning. Kol-theris and Victoria share a moment as he departs.
A time later, the group’s evening relaxation is interrupted by the sound of metal on stone from… beneath them?
The ground nearby disturbs, and rises, a small hole opening and a pickaxe being tossed out of it. A few moments later, a small bespectacled person climbs out. He seems surprised by the humans’ presence. On second look around, he seems to be lost. On reacting to the gnome, who introduces himself as Grumples, saying “oh bother”, Follow renames herself PoohBear. Because reasons.
After wading through the idiom-filled language of common-folk, and most certainly not beating on any elves of any sort, the group and Grumples have a discussion about humans, and nature, and Mycenids. Victoria inquires of Grumples about the jewelry she’s wearing (which is considerable) to see if he can identify where they might come from. The diamond ring definitely wasn’t from the elf-wood. He suggests the group go down to the gnomes’ trading center to inquire about it.
Cloud helpfully points out that they cant fit down the tunnel that Grumples has made for himself. He considers that for a moment, then disappears back into the tunnel for a moment. Meanwhile, Cloud, Victoria and PoohBear practice their handstands. Which they’re rather good at. [EL: Cloud has DEX 7. Victoria has DEX 15.] Bunny assists Victoria.
Grumples returns, carrying a big blue bottle, which he states is a Polymorph potion. It will turn them into rabbits, so they can follow him. Bunny takes a sip and…. is a Bunny. She can still understand common, and reacts when spoken to, so PoohBear sips the potion as well. Cloud seems cautious about how long the potion will last, but sips as well, followed by Victoria. [EL: I’m uncertain if the rabbits’ colorations are meaningful data, but for the record: Bunny became a brown rabbit, PoohBear into a white one, Cloud into a white/brown mix, and Victoria a black rabbit.]
They descend into Grumples’ tunnel, the gnome holding aloft a glowing rock to use for light. The tunnel goes down and down, not exactly the most efficient or focussed path, but it gets to where it needs to go. Eventually the group emerges into a large cavern that must be 50 feet tall, lit dimly by more of the glowing rocks. Grumples introduces the place as the Gnome Homeland, Gunderfunk.
He suggests the group stick together in the land of little people, on account of humans being murderous violent creatures. As week 1 draws to a close, the polymorph potion wears off, the humans returning to their normal form, and sending Gunderfunk into a panic as humans suddenly appear in their midst.
- Recap from EtoileLion on reddit. Editorial notes are theirs.