Sunday, August 5, 2018

Major Arc Completed: The Briars Are Now Mapped

  For those of you who don't know/care my players have been doing a massive arc of mapping some of the wildest, toughest terrain in my campaign setting. The arc started in May of 2017 and finished this weekend, about 15 months of gaming real world, with a few breaks and other sessions. In-universe the adventure spanned about 500 days of travel, mapping, and fighting.

The Weather- The party endured everything from a Summer high temp of 112 degrees (44 degrees to you non-Americans) to a Winter low of -3 (-19 Celsius). There was a gale where sustained winds were 70 mph with gusts to 90 mph (Beufort scale 11 with hurricane force gusts) and separately a tornado touched down 1 mile away and passed within 1/4 mile of the party. Flash floods were also a threat more than once and they hate hail pretty hard, now.

Encounters- They fought everything from a tribe of goblins allied with a giant to two separate kobold tribes. They encountered a full troll clan with a shaman, 3 holy hermits, 3 bandit groups, a full brigand band, and so many small groups of thieves, kobolds, highwaymen, goblins, wild boars, and lone trolls they lost count. Toward the end I stopped mentioning the routine encounters with venomous asps, venomous spiders, normal rats, brush wolves, brush cats, tortoises, etc.

Big Names- They killed Ol' One Fang and Ol' Knobby. They encountered the Red Maiden more than once (with no direct fighting) and lived. They met with Heruhoth, Champion of Kath and foe of the Red Maiden. They met Vasilissa, servant to Baba Yaga, a handful of times and met Baba Yaga herself once. They even saw her Dancing Hut twice. They met the Beginner of the Third Way ( a 14th level Monk of the Three-fold Path) and his disciples as well as one of his students who might be a ninja from Yashima. They dealt with the Man in Green, the Man in Red, and even the Man in Blue. They discovered the hidden Grove of the ranking druid in the region and learned that the druids and the monks don't get along.

Big Ideas- Two mountains nearby seem to be part of a weapon capable of  firing at spelljammers in space. The druids think the Briars are a natural part of the world but the monks think the Briars are the chaotic effects of the Contraption, deep in Skull Mountain. The Eldar (the Men in Colors) might be merchants who will sell anything to anyone, or they might be masters of deceit trying to gain control of the space weapon, or they might be something else. The Red Maiden is probably a rakshasa with a Wand of Polymorph sowing death and fear for Baron Samedhi - whoever he is. Skull Mountain, the Briars, and the Old Road may be older than the elves.

Next Missions- Vasilissa is about to turn 16; when she does she has three tasks to perform for Baba Yaga. If she succeeds she gains a reward. If she fails she is eaten. The party hopes to save her.
The Red Maiden must be destroyed.

The party will split the loot (they held off the entire time!) and gain all experience. I am removing the usual 'only one level at a time' restriction, if it comes up, to reflect the intense nature of the mission.

What's that?
Oh! The map!

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