On Monday, April 14th, Year 4, five Citadel House adventurers, including a new arrival (Osiris) and Aronis who has been suffering from a curse of nearly 200 pounds burden, gather to travel to the fey forest in search of a cure for Aronis. They hire an ox to carry Aronis, load on 10 days of food each, expecting to go at least to the Sleeping Satyr (a fey tavern on the edge of the Blood Wood) some 50-60 miles away through satyr lands. They are:
- Verdis (HuS): Level 7 Human Fighter (who has been there before)
- Phineas: Talking rock companion
- Aronis (WaB): Level 3 Human Magic-user (who must be cured)
- Sylviana (CooB): Level 1 Satyr Thief (who is familiar with satyr lands and the Sleeping Satyr)
- Conan (MiM): Level 1 Elf Magic-user (Fire and Wind)
- Osiris (CoB): Level 1 Elf Magic-user (Life and Death)
Their journey to the Sleeping Satyr is relatively uneventful, with Verdis well received in the village nearest the Vale. Along the way, they are joined by a pair of satyrs at the invitation of Sylviana who are eager to visit the fey tavern, having been told that the Vale folk will be picking up the tab. They arrive around 3 in the afternoon on Wednesday the 16th.
Once inside the magically large tavern, Sylviana introduces Verdis to Viera the innkeeper as the one paying the tab and orders Seeing Wine for her and her two satyr friends. While they take a table, Verdis talks to Viera about lifting the weighty curse on Aronis. She recognizes him as the victim as he staggers into the common room and directs him to a sturdy chair. She indicates she can help, for a price, and Verdis presents his axe from his time as a bandit as a payment in the form of an object with emotional and sentimental value, as he had done on his last visit with his old hunting knife.
Viera looks the axe over and her face darkens. She explains that while the axe has great energies stored in it, she cannot sell such a thing. She can tell it was used to murder many innocents and that the power it holds cannot be used for any good thing. (HuS said “I didn’t even think about that.” and I thought ‘neither did I until I started thinking about how she would evaluate the axe.’ Wow I love this game! Items used for evil are now a black market treasure among fey looking to wreak havoc.) She concedes that it is her duty to keep the axe out of other fey hands and takes it in exchange for information about how Aronis can have the curse lifted: the Anthropterist Rod must be given to a fey who accepts it willingly in return. She adds that she could accept the rod, for a price.
Knowing the rod has inherent value and that she is taking advantage of their desperation, Verdis suggests they could take the rod to another fey, at which Viera announces loudly to the rest of the common room (many of whose occupants are fey) that they are in desperate need of a fey receive the Anthropterist Rod. At this, three fey approach the bar, eagerly listening for what Verdis is offering in return for the favor. Verdis says “the rod goes to the first one willing to take it without any additional payment.” (This made me pause, I haven’t studied Game Theory enough for this kind of play, but neither have the fey of Haven.) One of the fey, looking like a tall human with grey skin and white beard, immediately accepts the offer. Before Aronis can hand it over, though, another fey of the same variety offers to pay a pint of Boistrous Beer for the rod. The original fey counters with 4 pints of Cleansing Cider, only to be matched by 4 pints of Boistrous Beer. Aronis accepts the beer and the fey snatches the rod from him before the other can make another offer. He feels the weight immediately lifted from his shoulders.
With their mission accomplished, Verdis considers the advancing hour of the afternoon and asks Viera how much rooms cost. She indicates that the three satyrs have run up a tab of 3 gold pieces and that a room would be another gold piece. Verdis can tell she is gouging him out of spite for his victory in the negotiations, but pays for the drinks and then rounds up the party to leave, hoping to put some distance between themselves and the Blood Wood before nightfall.
Sylviana stays behind, suffering vivid hallucinations until the wee hours of the night, particpating in a musical battle with a couple other satyrs, and receiving a room for free on account of her bringing such generous customers to the inn. She doesn’t wake until 11 the next day and hurries to catch them.
Meanwhile, the rest of the party sets a camp a couple hours from the Sleeping Satyr. During Aronis’ watch, he becomes aware of scuttling in the woods near their camp and wakes up the rest of the party. They go to investigate the sound and hear it coming from either side of them. Verdis goes one way and Aronis the other with Osiris following Verdis and Conan following Aronis.
While Verdis and Osiris search, there is a sudden cry from Verdis’ belt in elvish. Mukdue, his sentient bag of holding, calls for help but is cut off abruptly, his cries coming from a stone’s throw away in the woods. Verdis pursues the cries, Osiris close behind, and as they gain on the elvish screams for rescue the thief abandones the bag for Verdis to retrieve. He continues the chase, but the creature vanishes before he can catch it. Mukdue is grateful and Phineas relays reassurances before Verdis realizes the danger to their camp rushing back in time to save the tent before a third phase sprite finishes taking it down. This is enough for Verdis to resolve on breaking camp immediately to get an early start before dawn and avoid another incident.
Meanwhile, Aronis, running blindly in the dark woods, senses magic flaring nearby with range involved and hits the dirt, to Conan’s confusion. Lying on the ground, Aronis realizes his Animal Creating Baret is missing. He can sense its presence and follows it to a nearby tree. Climbing it, he soon sees a phase sprite holding his hat. Casually climbing towards it, he attempts to grab it, but it vanishes out of his grasp.
He leaps from the tree in pursuit of his hat’s magical aura, Conan following cluelessly. As he runs, he comes across a confused rabbit and leaps over an angry badger. Conan stops to fight the badger, slaying it and taking care of other necessary business. Aronis continues, getting close enough to cast a mighty gust of wind that blows the phase sprite from its feet and into a tree. It drops the hat and teleports away.
Aronis retrieves his baret and returns the way he came, hiding when he comes upon Conan to observe his disgusting act. When it is finished, they return to camp to find Verdis tearing it down, first Conan, then Aronis not far behind. They help disassemble the camp and set out in the twilight hours before sunrise.
They make rapid progress but as they go the wind picks up and by noon it is howling at around 70 mph out of the South. Holding to the ox, they manage to press on and arrive in the satyr village near the Vale by sunset. Sylviana, pushing sure-footedly with the wind into the night, arrives in the village before too late. She shelters behind the party’s tent, whose strobing shell of diamond protects them from the worst of the wind. The night passes with fitful sleep with the howling of the wind and the constant sound of debris against the shell.
In the morning of Friday the 18th, the wind is still raging and they decide to stay until it ends, at least through the day, Sylviana knowing these types of storms rarely last more than a day or two. They pass the day in the sunken hut of the local Dance Caller who presented them their gifts on their previous visits. The day is full of jokes and fun including Verdis’ Everash Pipe and Aronis’ Baret of Animals. They spend the night in the large hut and when the wind is still blowing come Saturday morning, they decide to go anyway and make at least some progress.
The shelter of the forest trees allows them to travel at near normal speeds for the ox, but they suspect that when they get out into the open of the Vale they will be in danger and unable to make camp. Since the ruined castle is on the way, they decide to sleep there, hoping to learn something about its haunted nature that the satyrs frequently refer to. Sylviana and Osiris spend some time investigating the castle before turning in, but find nothing new in particular.
During the night, the wind finally stops and Sunday morning they hurry the remaining distance to Citadel arriving in time for most of them to attend their weekly meetings. On Monday, Verdis and Aronis sell their Boistrous Beer to the tavern keeper at Citadel House, making 3 silver each.
Verdis and Conan level up.
This mission happened entirely as a result of Aronis obtaining the Anthropterist Rod, an item designed using the concepts outlined my my item creation document A Blessing and a Curse. If you’d like similar items that can drive a side quest in your campaign, you’ll love that tool.