Expedition #15: The Unseeing Witnesses

The third ranging expedition; Dark Forest boundaries determined

Silanya Campaign, Expedition 15: December 10th, 2016

Adventurers: Raevori, daughter of Leshanna (logtaker, wizard [Raevori] 3), Finnigan Hillbyrne (rogue 2), Jean-Pierre du Veyrir de la Grand Contumace Saint-Emilion (cleric [Forge] 3), Silverleaf Moonshadow (druid [Moon] 3), Rowan Kyrie’ya (paladin 2), and Wrenn Tana (druid [Moon] 2).

Expedition Length: 5 Days (Day 1 traveling from 04.13 to 05.13 to 06.14. Day 2 traveling from 06.14 to 06.15 to 07.15. Day 3 traveling from 07.15 to 08.16 to 08.15. Day 4 traveling from 08.15 to 09.14 to 09.13. Day 5 traveling from 09.13 to 08.14 to 07.13 to 06.13 to 05.13 to 04.13 to home).

Major Character Changes:

Raevori, Finnigan, and Rowan all own horses now!

An unseeing witnesses’s clinical strikes have damaged the nerves in Silverleaf Moonshaodw’s arm, permanently giving her -1 strength.

Earnings for Expedition:

Note that Silverleaf Moonshadow received 1/6th share, Rowan received a 1/12th + 3/44th share, and all 5 of Raevori, Finnigan, Wrenn Tana, Jean-Pierre, and The Leshanna Memorial Fund for Adventurer Greatness received a 3/22nds share.

Raevori: 425 gp, plus the Horse Justice (150 gp)
Finnigan: 425 gp, plus the Horse Truth (150 gp)
Rowan: 489 gp, plus the Horse Liberty (150 gp)
Silverleaf Moonshadow: 703 gp
Wrenn Tana: 125 gp plus the pike of throwing a lightning bolt while blind (450 gp).
Jean-Pierre: 125 gp, plus the weird bendy scimitar of +1 and 10 ft. reach while blind (450 gp)
Leshanna Memoral Fund for Adventurer Greatness: -422 gp, plus the gloves of +2 dex while unseeing (1000 gp)

725 xp each (before +10% bonus for having an updated character sheet, if applicable)
Raevori levels!
Jean-Pierre levels!

Exploration Summary

We have made the most significant find (from a historical / mystery unravelling perspective) since we met Grandmother Dryad, and possibly the most significant ever: in the center of the Dark Forest (in 06.15), some elven (ish) monks of the old empire still survive, stuck doing various meditation-y things in endless cycles to ward off the corruption. They have just enough spare concentration that you can talk to them, barely.

Other than that, the Dark Forest was, well, dark, so there’s almost certainly a lot more to be found in there. I recommend bringing an owl familiar if you at all can, because exploring it one 60ft radius bubble at a time is going to take forEVer.

Oh, and possibly the coolest thing about the continent so far: in 08.16 there’s a city of steampunk snake-people with weird backpacks of death and giant metal swivel towers of way more death. Also, the jungle sometimes gets poison rain, so watch out for that.

Lastly, just to add to the complex political climate of the Eastern Plains, there’s a fortress of LUA (Large Unnamed Assholes) in 09.14, and they’re for realz, because they have slaves from the Blazing Banner and the Severed Hand and Grey Hills goblinoids, and were parleying with the large dudes who look like allies of the Blazing Banner.

Day by Day Exploration Log:

Day 1:
The third ranging expedition left the wall in a light rain in hex 04.13. We proceed across the quiet, empty eastern plains of 04.13 and 05.13 without incident (crossing the usual bridge), and arrive at the edge of 06.14 (the Dark Forest). Our marching order is established as: the indomitable Rowan Kyrie’ya in the lead, with his 25 hp, the doughty Jean-Pierre in the rear, with his 22 hp, Finnigan riding Silverleaf Moonshadow’s horse Honour in the middle (the only expedition members without darkvision, Honour and Finnigan would be pretty bored in the Dark Forest), being lead by Silverleaf Moonshadow. Wrenn Tana would take the left flank, and Raevori the right.

As we proceeded towards the center of the hex, the ground suddenly gave way under Rowan. He leap to safety, revealing a 20’ deep pit trap in front of an underground door. We stand debating for some time trying to decide if we want to explore this door.

Raevori proposes that one of the two druids wild shape into a bear and then jump into the trap, pretending to be a wounded bear who foolishly became trapped in the pit so we can lure the denizens behind the door outside. Finnigan shuts this plan down as stupid.

Around then, the door cracks open slightly. Jean-Pierre waves and yells “Hello!”

The door slams shut. Finnigan admits that Raevori’s plan might have been a good one after all.

We leave and reach the center of the hex. We see lights a mile to the south, and investigate, finding a bush with many glowing bulbs coated in a sticky resin. There are many small animals dying or dead around the base of this bush, and one is still alive (heart beating) but not breathing. We surmise that the plant’s resin is a powerful paralytic, and try to cut off a bulb as a sample. Wrenn Tana successfully does so and leaps to safety before the other bulbs spray her with the resin (defense mechanism to being injured).

Silverleaf Moonshadow comments that she would love to have one of these in her front yard. “Hey kids, stay off my lawn OR PERISH.”

We find a somewhat secure place to spend the night in the roots of a largish tree. Nothing happens.

Day 2:

We start heading into 06.15. An hour in, we se a brilliant light a mile away (although not blinding like the K’sshan lights). Moving cautiously to investigate, we see a shining kilomonitor (half the size of a megamonitor, with a giant glowing frill) walking around and wisely choose to leave it alone.

In the center of the hex, we find a VERY plain building made of old stones. Rather, we find 5 buildings arranged around a 6th, larger, house. The stone is very plain, and not worn down much at all. The stone is highly microtextured. This is Old Empire Construction. The microtecture is an alphabet, we think. There are guidance patterns going from building to building.

The smallest building has gorgeous acoustics. It fills with speech, but cuts out noise / echo. IT has half a dozen internal rooms. It’s a music hall! We find several brass instruments, and some sheet music.

The second building is locked. The Tumblers are completely silent, but Raevori manages to get it open. It is largely one area, and less well preserved than the music hall. It’s a training hall with dummies, etc. The first small room has a faucet that still has running water. The second room is locked, but Finnigan gets it open. It’s an armory! It has 3 magic items (gloves, pike, weird bendy scimitar) and a bunch of normal weapons, and we take all of them.

The third building has a strange elf-life figure performing a slow dance like routine / monk training. Rowan attempts to play music in time with the flow, but messes up badly, and the figure’s dance breaks. Its visage shifts to appear much stalker-like and it attacks.

In the fight, it is horrifyingly formidable. It easily drops Silverleaf Moonshadow, damaging the nerves in her right arm to the extent that she can’t use them for two days (can’t spellcast), and is resilient to sneak attacks and cries, doding out of the way. Also, it has some ability to block one of the magic missiles in a volley (but not the rest). Rowan calms it down with a natural 20, and we manage to talk to it. It says “This is a place of peace and contemplation. Only those sufficiently strong of mind remain.” How do you remain. “It takes a great deal to remain here. Many who are weak of mind have succumbed and fled. You’re probably met their descendants.” It has been here SINCE THE CHANGE. The change was abrupt. Only a meditative state can keep it here. Some of the masters are still around in the central building. We can com back and ask it more questions, but only a few questions a day before it risks losing focus.

Also, it has had its eyes sewn shut.

In the 4th building, we find a library with rolls of vellum, all brail-like. It’s an elven-derived script, with two extra characters. Many of the words are the same, so Raevori can mostly understand it. There is another elf-life figure here in one of the side rooms with a bunch of scrolls. It is rapidly reading a pile of scrolls (scanning across it with its hand). This is probably how it holds off the corruption.

Raevori takes out a blank sheet of vellum, punches some questions in the lettering of this place, and adds it to the pile. It immediately reads it and write a response, punching holes in a page absurdly rapidly. It writes a whole page in about 10 seconds. The page queries us to confirm that we are ‘descendants of those who fled,’ and gives us information on the surrounding area as it was pre-Corruption. It also says to not take any books at all from the library, as it needs all of them in its ritual focus to hold off the Corruption.

We ask it a short list of questions (in written form). What are the Fela towers/stone magic system? “They were probably benevolent magic at one time, either a magical loci for transmitting something, or part of the Old Empire’s environmental controls / weapons.” What are the obelisks in the Dark Forest? “Just lighting for guests who used to visit.” Can we leave it a long list of questions that it will answer slowly over days to avoid taxing itself and maybe losing focus? “Yes.” WE LEAVE IT A LONG LIST OF QUESTIONS.

The fifth building was the kitchen / mess area, and we don’t find anything of interest.

We decide to skip talking to the terrifying masters and proceed to 07.15.

It seems like the trees on the SE edge of the Dark Forest are dying / not thriving.

We find a lurker rift! This is so far away from the others, it’s probably an entirely new system, and thus a minor point of interest.

We sleep in a hollowed out tree in the live area. We are attacked by two phase spiders (spiders that ambush from by jumping out from the ethereal plane and poison their victims, using the poison to drag them back to the ethereal plane with them) in the night. After surviving the first ambush (Raevori is poisoned, but fights it off), we pretend to fall asleep and then attack them when they return, killing one. The other never returns.

Day 3:

The biome between the Dark Forest and the Jungle is weird. It’s a mix of eyeless animals and lizard-toad-frog things.

Proceeding into 08.16 (returning to the glorious sunlight at last), we find a heavy metal door. Forcing it open, the interior of the building turns out to have a bunch of machinery in it. JP and Raevori are fascinated by this, and made many pages of notes on the mechanism. As best they can tell, the building used to burn natural gas to create steam to turn a turbine, and sits on top of a natural gas reservoir of some kind.

As we’re heading north in 08.16, Jean-Pierre steps on a large seed pod, which explodes in a blast of metallic seeds for 8 points of damage. We realize we’re in a huge field of then, and gingerly make our way out (Wrenn Tana and Rowan also take damage in the process).

Continuing north, we see a city of snake people in 08.16, just south of 08.15. From this route, we confirmed that the eastern two hexes from here are also jungle (see Incarnate) and the southern of those two is actually jungle and hills. The snake-people city is massive, metallic, seems to have some of the mechanisms like the one we found but STILL WORKING, snake-people walking around with weird backpacks and tubes that seem to be weapons, and MASSIVE CANNON TOWERS OF SOME KIND. It’s steampunk, and very cool.

We go north into 08.15, passing a crater lake (some kind of explosion ripped up a huge chunk of jungle and was then mostly filled with water, but the water level is still 10-20 feet down. We see rain rapidly moving towards us, and make like the local animals do and take shelter, using an outcropping + two Web spells from Raevori.

The rain isn’t acid rain so much as poison rain, based on the dead animals we find afterwards. We spend the night in 08.15 in a very secure case, uneventfully.

Day 4:

We go out of the plant-infested southern lands into a gloriously open new hex: 09.14! Here, we see that 10.14 and 10.15 are also plains, and that there’s a massive fortress made of rough-hewn stone in this hex, with a quarry near-by. The fortress doesn’t have a flag, unlike all of the other fortresses and forts on the plains, and is run by a large group of humanoids, so we are calling them LUA (Large Unnamed Assholes). The Asshole, in this case, comes from the fact that they have many slaves in their quarry, who appear to be Grey Hills goblinoids, Blazing Banners, and Severed Hands (no Crested Skulls or Qua). Other large creatures (similar to the large ones allied to the Blazing Banner) are talking to the LUA.

We proceed to 09.13 and spend the night in the Wizard’s Tower, sleeping uneventfully (we don’t find anything new).

Day 5:
We journey through 08.14, 07.13, and 06.13 to 05.13 without incident. In 05.13, we find a chaotic three way melee between half a dozen K’sshan, a half dozen Grey Hills goblinoids, and a dozen Blazing Bannermen. Unsure who is fighting who, we pause. The Blazing Bannermen suddenly surge, dropping three goblinoids and three K’sshan in one round while only losing one of their number. The remaining non-BBs flee.

We engage the BBs. We drop one of the three on horseback as they charge, trap all three horses and both surviving riders in a web+entangle trap and dispatch them, and all 8 BBs on foot die from running through Silverleaf Moonshadow’s spiked growth.

We get some assorted crap, free a captured K’sshan and ‘meet them for the first time’ (there were no other survivors of the previous times, but some K’sshan had already fled and might be watching us, so we wanted to make a good impression, and set the three goblinoids loose to try to make their own way home.

We get three new horse friends!

We make it home.

Complete summary of collected loot:

Phase Spider etherealness gland (counts as 100 xp, gp value TBD)
Paralyzing plant bulb, 25 gp
Old Empire Music, 50 gp once properly transcribed from braille.
Old Empire Brass Instruments, 250 gp
Old Empire Weapons, 150 gp
Stuff from the ridiculous 3-way melee, 95 gp
SUBTOTAL: 570 gp + 100 xp

1 pair of gloves, grants +2 Dex and +1 unarmed damage size to someone who cannot see, 1000 gp
1 pike, grants free trip attempts on hits and can turn into an 8d6 lightning bolt if thrown, once an expedition, only functions if the user is blinded, 450 gp
1 weird final fantasy scimitar (segments, bendy), 10 ft. reach, +1 magic weapon, only functions if actually blinded, 450 gp
SUBTOTAL: 1900 gp

Exploration, hexes:
First in 06.14, 75 gp
First in 06.15, 75 gp
First in 07.15, 100 gp
First in 08.16, 125 gp
First in 08.15, 125 gp
First in 09.14, 150 gp
SUBTOTAL: 650 gp

Exploration, minor points of interest:
Barred Underground Door in 06.14, 50 gp
Lurker Rift in 07.15, 50 gp
Mechanical plant in 08.16, 50 gp
Exploding pod field in 08.16, 50 gp
SUBTOTAL: 200 gp

Exploration, major points of interest:
The Monastery of the Unseeing Witnesses: 175 gp
The City of the Steampunk Snakepeople in 08.16: 225 gp
The Fortress of the LUA in 09.14: 250 gp.
SUBTOTAL: 650 gp

New friends:
The Horse Truth, 150 gp
The Horse Justice, 150 gp
The Horse Liberty, 150 gp
SUBTOTAL: 450 gp

Costs: 3 identify spells (300 gp)

Total experience from monsters defeated:
675 xp

Timely log posting bonus: 100gp

TOTAL: 4320 gp, 4355 xp

1 phase spider gland of etherealness (xp awarded, can probably do something magical with it)
Many pages of notes on a steam turbine run off of natural gas (we think).


Plus an (at least partial) copy of a book from the Witnesses’ library that seemed especially interesting.

James_Elcombe JamesMinor

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