Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Of Blood and Demons and... Bricks?! (Part 1 - The Birds, the Bees, and the Trees)

After the frightful surprise attack, Rin, Wendy, Adam, and John all woke up to find themselves in a creepy chapel. The chapel was situated on top of a hill and nothing but plains and more hills could be seen for miles around. Dark clouds floated in the skies and the occasional lightning struck far away. They tried to leave, but some strange barrier prevented them leaving the chapel grounds.

Returning inside, they noticed at the center of the large chapel a large floating red orb. Beneath it they found a chalice and a cryptic message with a list of items. Seeing as they had no way out, they set out to find these items in hope that it might give them some clues as to where they are. 

The party decided to explore the western door of the chapel and they exited to what appears to be a small garden. The dirt here was dried up with dead weeds wherever. Some stone statues were in the back, littering the front of a rundown mausoleum. And at the center of the whole mess stood an enormous tree. At the foot of the tree stood a tombstone. As the party moved in to look, a loud and chilling caw startled them. A large and, oddly enough, evil looking crow landed on top of the tree and gave them the start. Before they could gather their courage again, the tree shook violently and a wave of spores were unleashed.

The tree turns out to be a Hangman Tree and the spores were a hallucinogens to make weak willed people think the tree is harmless while it works to take them out. Adam's, John's, and Wendy's were immediately hazed and the tree used the opportunity to entangle them in it's roots. Rin frantically tried to bring down the tree slashing at it and hurling insults in Sylvan. The tree mocks her as it continues to slowly strangle the rest of the party as they tried to break out of their stupor. Rin notices the crow still perched on top of the tree, and in the moment of desperation, shot and killed it. The tree suddenly freezes up and the remaining members quickly regains their senses and untangles themselves. Taking advantage of the situation, the party made short work of the tree and moments later, the tree can crashing down. Searching around the now down tree, they found a skeleton, but also a blackened, half rotted heart buried underneath it. It appeared to be one of the items they were searching for and was confirmed when they returned it to the chalice to see it dissolve into liquid. To ensure that the party would be protected from troubles in the area, Wendy took the skull off the skeleton and stuck it on a long branch torn from the hangman tree to warn future aggressors to be careful.

The party decided to take a look to the eastern exit and discovered a small courtyard. The floor was layered with beaten cobblestone and at the center of the courtyard was a chest. Suspicious, John approached cautiously. His caution was spot on, as the floor gave away to reveal that the chest was surrounded on all sides by a pit. He almost fell in and grabbed the ledge, but that wasn't the end of it. Ghouls has taken up residence in the pit and seeing a new prey, they immediately jumped and clawed at him. He manages to kick them off before rolling back onto the ground. At this point, Rin makes a leap across the pit and lands near the chest. She easily pops the lock open, scooping out a small pile of coins, She then secures one end of a rope into the ground and then throws it across to the other side with a hook and walks it back to mainland. John, not content with getting clawed, brings out his shotgun and wipes out all the ghouls as revenge. However, as he descends into the pit to check their bodies, a swarm of killer wasps erupts from each of their body. He climbs up as fast as he can, but they catch up to him easily and proceeds to sting him. Combined with the poison from the stings and the venom from the ghouls, John slams into the floor immobile. Wendy rushes to his rescue, summoning a small fire elemental to try and burn the wasp, though it met with little success. The swarms were too large and many, but it served it's purpose as a distracting, allowing everyone to rush back into the chapel and slam the door shut behind them.

While John was recovering, the rest of the party noticed the mausoleum they left unchecked in the back of the garden. Rin scouts ahead and notices a Basilisk sitting in there. Then it clicked, the statues were all former living beings frozen in stone by that beast. Rin rushes in with cover from Wendy and Adam and makes short work of the stone lizard. Using the blood, Rin tries to bring back one of the statues back to life. She luckily manages to get a captain, who was in charge of leading a group of vampire slayers to kill a vampire lord who was rumored to live here. Thanking them for freeing him, he gave them a choice of one of his weapon, with Wendy taking a flaming shortbow. He proceeds to leave the chapel, and as he approaches the barrier, he just vanishes, leaving the party even more mystified.

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