Skull Pile llustration by Alex Damaceno @gnarledmonster "The World of Weirth is a setting much like a Hyborian Age, with danger at every turn, Swords & Sorcery magic, demons and mad prophets. Check the world of Weirth tab above for more info, including a draft of the Player’s Guide.

This episode is loosely based on the LFG Adventure Framework Dead Tree Grove, from the Midlands Low Magic Sandbox Setting.

Episode 5: The Blasted Grove

The expedition has reached the spot where Shavaligan believes the Witch to reside.

Shavaligan finally steps forward, from the mud, holding an amphora in her hands. She is shouting, “Sorceress! Sorceress! We beseech thee! We come bearing fine gifts for a boon! Gifts for a boon!”

Other than the waving branches and rustling leaves, there is no sound or motion upon the mound. The trees seem to be waving their branches at you, their roots coil and writhe like snakes…

Shazoruval sees the animated trees and shouts, “This way!” leading the party along the shore into the bushes. They force their way through for a few minutes, leaving the monstrous trees behind, but the trees have not stopped following. They wobble and weave along on their pale, tentacle-like roots.

The party comes to a small stream, flowing from uphill down into the swamp. It is only about 6’ across, everyone is able to get across, though Shazoruval used her spear as a bridge of sorts, and left it behind.

Suddenly, shuffling up the channel, two enormous Half-Dragons go by, seemingly unaware of our party’s presence. Taking advantage of this lucky break, they follow the stream uphill, to a small clearing, about 15-20 yards across.

Weirth Half-dragons

The party is able to out-pace the animated trees for a bit, giving them some breathing space to make a plan. Near the top of the hill, over a pile of deadfall, is the remains of a wattle-and-daub hut, a very large campfire site and a cairn, about 4 feet tall and 5 across. Jutting from the top of the cairn is a wooden pole. Kosas and Shadoravan go forward to check it out. The hut is a ruin, has been abandoned for quite a while. There was a very large fire in the firepit some time ago, but the ash has all turned to a smooth layer of cement.

Kosas climbs the cairn for a better view of the animated trees, they are still coming!

While climbing he feels an odd sensation, like a trickle of cold water down his spine.

The top of the cairn is a good place to shoot at the animated trees, as they finally catch up and burst from the underbrush. Shavanuxil and Gonuxal drag Baxagos out of reach, then rush in with their spears.

Irganos moves, carefully and quietly, to the side, then throws some sticks to draw the trees’ attention away. He attracts one.

The rest, six of them, have a brief flurry of activity, slashing away at the party, before succumbing to their arrows and spears. The trees are just so slow, yet relentless. When an animated tree dies, its wound simply gushes with red-black ichor, thick as mud and smelling of ammonia.

Shavaligan and one of her Men-at-Arms get attacked heavily, he died and she was found later, nearly unconscious.

While Shazoruval and Shavanoxil were treating wounds and dispensing wine, Kosas starts to break down the cairn, discovering a large iron cauldron. Arnbjorg gets a good look at the carvings on the pole, determines they are a hex of departure and some runes she does not know.
The Witch's Cauldron - Low Fantasy Gaming

They remove the cauldron, again, Arnbjorg is able to identify the markings on the iron vessel, the icon of LATRABOS – the two-headed snake in a circle – Chaos god of magic and Arcane knowledge.

They decide that since there is no witch here, they will take the cauldron and sell it. But first will assemble the cairn and replace the pole.

They re-assembled the cairn, around the pole with the Hex of Departure. Kosas and Phalderanos hear a noise in the brush, on the other side of the clearing. Shazoruval is getting a little jumpy, so Kosas, Phalderanos, and Shadoravan go to investigate, bows at the ready.

They find a small animal, apparently trapped and struggling, a little faun, a baby Marsh Deer no bigger than a hound pupper. The cruel thorns of the brambles are caught in its skin.

The three get out knives and cut the creature loose, suffering more than a few cuts and punctures from whipping bramble vines. Oddly, the brambles stick and do not bleed.
Once the faun is free it gambols away, running across the top of the water like a phantom. The characters that freed the faun feel a sensation like a thin stream of cold water down your spine as the faun runs away.

Satisfied with their “Good Deed”, the party prepares to return to the boats and camp overnight on the water.

Kosas and Pagos made a frame to carry the cauldron, and the party made their way back along to the shoreline. They got in their boats and rowed across the channel, where they moored the boats. The night was strangely uneventful, and all were able to rest well.

The powerful Chaos aura of the cauldron kept all creatures at bay during the night, though they only really noticed there were no flying, biting insects tonight.

Stay tuned!

LFG Playtest Campaign 1The Shadow of Evil Chaos is an experiment with a new (to me) game system, Low Fantasy Gaming, and a new magic hack designed to bring the atmosphere of danger from the pulp novels of Swords & Sorcery. We are playing fully online over a Discord Voice server, using some home-brew maps, art and characters designed on the HeroForge 3D printing site. Follow all of the posts here: LFG Playtest Campaign 1.

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