Smitty's aim is true. The bullet strikes the tainted dryad, but she seems unaffected by the injury.
The first of the dryads continues to swipe at the great cat.
1d20 + 7 ⇒ (8) + 7 = 15
The other steps forward and attacks Rhodes.
1d20 + 7 ⇒ (14) + 7 = 21
Green areas are difficult terrain. The bordered area is still under the effect of the entangle spell.
Each of you have a similar experience next. While your resolve does not waver, the faint song continues unabated. A vaguely humanoid figure takes shape in the Mist. It seems to approach, although it does not move. The figure resolves into the lifeless and pale face of a child. The figure seems to sing, although its lips do not move. The apparition floats past and dissolves into the Mist beyond you.
Sylvia's bomb hits its mark, and the twisted dryad shrieks in agony.
Reflex save vs flaming sphere: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (17) + 9 = 26
The other dryad dodges smartly out of the path of the ball of flame conjured by the druid.
Trina's bullet hits its mark, but the fey creature seems resistance to wounds from ordinary lead. The bullet falls to the ground and the creature merely sneers back defiantly.
Giving a chance for Rhodes and Smitty.
To those few who heard it at first, the sound grows until everyone can hear it. The tremulous voice of a singing child is carried along by the Mists. You think you can pinpoint the direction from which it comes. The singing is slow and sounds somehow hollow.
You hear Darra's voice ahead of you, "Do not heed that sound. Stay close and follow. Leandro speaks wisdom."
Smitty Reflex: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (14) + 8 = 22
"You should be more concerned about saving yourselves," one of the creatures sneers in a voice that is hollow and sinister. She leaps at Rhodes, swiping with her twisted claws.
1d20 + 7 ⇒ (13) + 7 = 20
The other seems somewhat beguiled by Jerry's lion. "This one brought his kitty. Pretty kitty, such a pity." She claws at the beast.
1d20 + 7 ⇒ (11) + 7 = 18
Smitty: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (12) + 6 = 18
Two female figures seem to emerge from nearby tree trunks. They seem to meld away from the blackened arbors, and bear much resemblance to the blighted wood themselves. Their skin resembles the blackened bark, and their fingers twist like gnarled branches, ending in sharp claws. Their eyes glow a wicked yellow and project pure malice.
Knowledge (Nature) DC 18:
These figures might once have been dryads. Clearly whatever has tainted their trees has tainted them as well. How they may be altered by this condition you do not know.
The first of them commands the withered undergrowth to come to life. Twisted roots and desiccated ferns reach out to ensnare your feet
Entangle vs all: DC 15 Reflex
The other sneers and makes an arcane gesture. Jerry and Caladrel suddenly feel tired.
Deep slumber vs Jerry and Caladrel: DC 17 Will save
Rhodes still has an action in the surprise round.
Dark green areas are difficult terrain due to undergrowth. See the bordered region for the area of the entangle effect.
Rhodes may take a single action, then:
The length of twine seems to pull you onward as Darra leads you on an inscrutable route through the Misty wastes. What you can see of the landscape scarcely changes. Withered wisps of short grass crunch beneath your feet, dotted with stones and pebbles. Swirls of chilly fog drift around your feet and stretch out to brush your face. Faint, indistinct sounds seem to travel across the void to your ears from every direction at once.
Perception checks please.
Luce is clearly alarmed by something in the trees. How effectively can she communicate that to you? I am okay with her heads-up being sufficient to allow you to act during the surprise round.
You see some movement in two of the nearby trees. Dark figures seem to emerging from the trunks themselves, as if they dwelled directly inside the trunks.
Can I have initiative from everyone please? Those not mentioned above have no notion of what might be going on, although you no doubt sense the unholiness of this place.
As you make your preparations, Tannis's eyes scan the valley behind you. Another thin howl pierces the night and the ranger shudders visibly.
I am assuming this order for your twinings. Please tell me if it should be otherwise: Darra, Tannis, Leandro, Eliva, Res, Tybalt, Anuqa, Andrzej.
Once you are ready, Darra steps forward through the Misty curtain. Single file as you are, each party member is faced with that undulating wall of vapor which you must enter blindly, following the lead of the twine ahead of you.
Once you have entered the Mist::
Stepping through that first veil, you find yourself in a featureless landscape shrouded by heavy fog. The earth beneath your feet is barren. You can see little beyond a range of 5 to 10 feet. Staying close, you can see your nearest companions and sometimes even two in each direction, but beyond that they trail off in the poor visibility. You are no doubt grateful for the lifeline connecting you.
Res and Eliva:
As a reminder, you have been in the Mists before, when you first arrived. The experience was unpleasant.
When you were transported to Ravenloft, it was via the Mists. The experience was most likely an unpleasant one, but you emerged in one piece.
It is unlikely you have ever been in the Mists. I assume you would have avoided them whenever possible. If you have entered them as part of your backstory, let me know.
Have you ever been in the Mists? Most Ravenloft natives avoid them, but as a Vistani, it is possible you have been guided through them at some point. Let me know if that would be part of your backstory.
I do not believe you have ever been in the Mists. You were summoned directly to Ravenloft and all of your subsequent experiences were in lands connected by regular land borders, so would have skipped that unpleasant experience. This is new for you.
"We must stay close," Darra says. "Link hands, even, since the Mists have a way of obscuring even the person beside you."
She quickly leads the way across the grassy vale to the gentle rise on the far side. A faint howl echos through the starlit night, but it is at some distance. Before you rises an undulating curtain of thick gray mist through which you can see nothing.
"Are you ready?" she asks.
You make your way into the forest's twisted embrace, the withered leaves crumbling beneath your step. Jerry is no doubt pleased to observe that your tracks are easy to follow. Indeed, while following the week-old trail of the constable was a very difficult endeavor, the lot of you crashing through the forest yesterday left a clear path for you to retrace all the way back to Nathan's cottage.
The forest path is dark and dreary, and the cottage is as abandoned as you left it. From there, you can see the northwestern forest path to which Gindel referred:
"Follow the trail onward to the northwest until you reach a small brook. The brook leads downstream to the depression. As it reaches that point, the brook tumbles into a shallow gorge. If you follow the game trail to your left, it winds down to the bottom."
Andrzej finds nothing of interest on the three werewolf pack members, but the bard who led them has some interesting trinkets:
A masterwork flute made of gold. The instrument is worth easily 500 gp.
Darra agrees with Tybalt. "We should not tarry longer than necessary. We should make for the Mists. If there are more wolves on their way, they will not follow us there. With some good fortune, we may pass quickly and unnoticed through the Misty Realms and into Souraigne."
The sturdy knock seems to echo within the tiny house, but no other sound greets your ear. When Jerry tries the handle, he finds the door unlocked. It opens with a noisy creak, but again there is no other sound.
The house looks like it was poorly kept for the last many days, and the occupants put no real effort into tidying the place when they departed. A nearly empty soup pot attracts a lonely fly beside the cold hearth. A quick search reveals that the house is thoroughly unoccupied, including the chamber in which the Smythe girl was kept.
Lord Wallingham sees you off, and you again set off across the pastoral countryside surrounding His Lordship's manor. Having taken the route before, you easily find your way to the Smythe's farm, still affected by the mysterious blight, and the twisted wood beyond. Its bare branches seem to beckon you onward.
With a mighty blow, Leandro cuts down the leader of the werewolf gang. The creature of the night falls to the ground, soaking the grass with his blood.
Tybalt, assuming you are going to direct your Intimidate at the other werewolf instead, the check fails. If you would have done something else, let me know.
Res's attack fails to strike the remaining werewolf.
Anuqa and Eliva are up.
Res fails to strike the werewolf, but Eliva's arrow strikes the bard squarely.
The cornered werewolf strikes at Andrzej with both of his clawed hands before backing away from his well-armed opponents.
1d20 + 9 ⇒ (5) + 9 = 14
Tannis moves to flank the bard and swings with his sword, wounding the creature with his silvered blade.
1d20 + 9 ⇒ (15) + 9 = 24
Darra sends a bolt of frost at the beleaguered werewolf near Andrzej.
1d20 + 4 ⇒ (7) + 4 = 11
The werewolf bard tries to shake the hideous laughter but cannot do so. He continues to whoop horribly.
Will save: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (7) + 6 = 13
Believe it or not, Leandro, the 17 hits.
Leandro just manages to strike the werewolf, who appears to be nearly dead at this point. The creature snarls with rage.
Werewolf 4 Will save: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (7) + 6 = 13
The werewolf bard looks defiantly at Tybalt, but then begins to laugh, slowly at first and then in a shrill howl.
Eliva and Res are up.
With the boons bestowed by his comrades, Andrzej's sword strikes true, deeply wounding the snarling lycanthrope.
The singing werewolf steps away from Tannis and regards the ranger with a sneer. "Are you having fun yet?" he says in growling voice.
1d20 + 2 ⇒ (13) + 2 = 15
Tannis resists the werewolf's magic and redoubles his resolve against his foes.
Eliva’s arrow strikes the werewolf squarely in the throat. It collapses with a sickly gurgle.
Tannis approaches the werewolf bard with his sword at the ready.
1d20 + 9 ⇒ (11) + 9 = 20
The other werewolf claws at Leandro.
Attack 1: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (9) + 8 = 17
Darra unleashes another pair of magic missiles at the bard.
2d4 + 2 ⇒ (4, 2) + 2 = 8
Andrzej is up.
"There were many familiar faces and a few of Lady Belinda's friends I did not know," Lady Rowena says.
Returning to the topic at hand, Lady Philomena offers, "I do not know who removed the volume or why, but if you are looking for that sort of information, the scholar who wrote it is still an emeritus professor at the University. Professor Allerman. I understand the University retired him before his time because they did not care for his research, but he is still around that place. Perhaps if you continue your exploration you could bring your findings to him."
It would take you a few days to reach the University by land, or a solid day by train, switching at the capital to different line.
Leandro wounds the werewolf in front of him which cries out in agony as the silver blade sears his flesh. Still, he manages to avoid Anuqa's grasp.
Res strikes the other werewolf with a powerful blow. The werewolf struggles to stay on his feet and has nearly succumbed to his injuries.
Eliva and Tybalt are up.
The werewolf at a distance continues his song, but adds a few arcane gestures. A pattern of shimmering colors and shapes appears in your midst, which can distract the unwary from the melee.
Hypnotic pattern: HD effected 2d4 + 4 ⇒ (2, 1) + 4 = 7
Leandro (needs to roll a save)
"I recall it was here when we first came for the start of the season," Lady Philomena explains. Many lordly families have two residences: a country estate for the summer and a townhouse in the capital for the winter. "I recall seeing it as I was looking for some light reading."
"You probably settled upon the encyclopedia," Lady Rowena cajoles.
"It was here then," Lady Philomena says, unperturbed by her sister, "but is not now."
"There have been countless people through here," Lady Rowena says with some frustration. "Maids, footmen..."
"Now understand, I run a tight ship!" Longworth interjects defensively.
"...not to mention a large crowd for the garden party," Lady Rowena finishes.
You don't detect any dishonesty.
The girls are somewhat taken aback by Sylvia's forwardness. "Last year," Lady Rowena says. "They were wedded in town and the feast was here."
Lady Philomena appraises Sylvia's question. Then she remarks with a girlish grin, "I do not believe Lady Belinda has touched a book in her life." Lady Rowena scolds her for the insult, although you sense she was actually rather amused by it.
Jerry gets the sense that while Lady Philomena does not share her older sister's love for adventure, she is a curious and intelligent girl, very much at home in the family's library.
Trina's search if the shelves does not turn up the book in question or anything else terribly useful.
Tybalt's whip fails to ensnare a werewolf. Anuqa mutters an incantation and his hand becomes coated with white frost. He steps up to the werewolf engaged with Leandro and reaches out his hand. Frigid touch
1d20 + 4 ⇒ (6) + 4 = 10
While the werewolf dodges smartly out of the way, the sorcerer's hand remains coated with frost.
The werewolf in front of Res howls as Eliva's silver arrow pierces him soundly. He renews his assault, ducking Res's sword just before it would strike him. He swipes at Eliva with his wicked claws, his fangs bared with dark fury.
1d20 + 8 ⇒ (16) + 8 = 24
By my count, Eliva has taken 24 points of damage and is on 6 hp.
The other werewolf swipes with his claws at Leandro.
1d20 + 8 ⇒ (17) + 8 = 25
Darra unleashes a ray of fire at the singing werewolf. Scorching ray
1d20 + 4 ⇒ (6) + 4 = 10
Interesting. My dice are on fire when I am attacking the PC's, but not so much when a roll would help them.
While Jerry certainly offered an appropriate apology for the topic of conversation, Lady Belinda appears uncomfortable, and when the meal has ended, she excuses herself.
Lord Wallingham informs you that Longworth the butler sees to the lord's personal library and can assist you in your search. Ladies Rowena and Philomena join you in the library.
"There are few books here that deal with anything other than dull history or things like rhetoric and mathematics," Philomena says with some frustration. "Father insists on wholesome books only. But," she says with a mischievous grin, "there was always an odd one that I do not believe he knew about. Ways of the Ancients it was called. I suppose he and Longworth assumed it was about history, but there were all sorts of dark things recounted in there. If I recall, it is right..." she scans a high shelf and her eyes seem to settle upon a gap between two volumes where another clearly once resided. "It is not here," she says with her eyebrows raised. "Longworth, who has taken this volume?"
The butler's brow furrows as he scans the shelf. "I do not believe anyone has. But of course you girls are always moving the books about."
"We do nothing of the sort," Lady Rowena says, "and I for one do not even recall the work of which my sister speaks."
Leandro: Werewolf 3 was coming from the south. If you are wielding your glaive then you get an AoO, but if you are wielding the longsword, you would not.
Andrzej's swing misses the werewolf.
Like the other two, the werewolf that has kept its distance shifts horrifically into a wolf-man hybrid. To your further horror, the wolf begins to sing. It is a bleak, snarling sort of song, praising the pack and whetting the appetites of his cohorts with thoughts of fresh meat. The two werewolves before you seem emboldened by his encouragement.
He has inspired courage.
Leandro extends his divine power to bolster your defenses against the foul attackers. Tannis the ranger produces a silver shortsword which he swings at the beast attacking Res. The silver blade sears the werewolf's flesh.
1d20 + 9 ⇒ (12) + 9 = 21
Lord Wallingham looks at a loss for words at Jerry's request and mutters something to the effect, "We will see if they can accommodate."
He leaves you to retire to your chambers and rest. Supper is, again, a formal affair with many courses. Jerry is pleased to note that liver has been incorporated into the menu. Lady Philomena and Lady Rowena seem very interested in your adventures, although Lady Belinda seems ill at ease among adventurers.
"What manner of monster did you slay," Lady Philomena asks with wide eyes.
Eliva takes aim again at the snarling creature and unleashes another arrow. The wolf yelps like a wounded dog as the arrow imbeds itself in the beast's haunch.
1d20 + 11 ⇒ (18) + 11 = 29
Its fur dripping blood and its snarls growing ever more enraged, the first wolf charges at Eliva in retaliation. He tries to drag her off her feet.
1d20 + 11 ⇒ (7) + 11 = 18
Two of the other werewolves rise onto their rear legs and, with a grinding of bone and rending of flesh, transform into half man, half wolf beasts. They snarl and drool before advancing on your position.
Darra steps back and releases another pair of magic missiles at the wounded wolf.
2d4 + 2 ⇒ (1, 2) + 2 = 5
With another shrill yelp, the werewolf collapses to the ground, overcome by its wounds.
Lord Wallingham absorb's Jerry's report with appropriate gravity. "I can see it was a most perilous exploration. And the druid Gindel, you say? I had little hope that he still lived. Wonders never cease." He seems somewhat cheered by this news, but it is not enough to relieve the great weight that presses upon him from the other details of your adventure.
"Yes, you are free to peruse the library, but I suspect you will find little on evil spirits or the like. It is best to shield impressionable eyes from such subjects."
"You are, of course, all welcome to stay here tonight. You are doing these lands a great service. I hope you will join us again for supper, if you are feeling sufficiently well."
To Sylvia he says, "I have received word that the Smythes arrived in the village and are staying at Henley House under the care of the vicar." He adds dismissively, "I had no word of their mount."
The constable continues to draw away whenever you get too close. He seems particularly unnerved by your appearance. He says nothing more but fidgets in his agitation.
To Trina's dismay, the constable seems entirely uninterested in food. He seems to regard every passerby as a threat, and appears tense, but does not try to flee.
Those of you at the manor are ushered inside to a sitting a room where, after a few minutes, Lord Wallingham arrives. "I am so glad to see you well," he says. "What have you found?"
The party boosts its defenses as Eliva lets loose an arrow, which strikes one of the wolves solidly. Focusing their attacks on a single target, your allies try to make the best of their advantage.
Anuqa sends some magic missiles hurtling at the same werewolf struck by Eliva's arrow. 3d4 + 3 ⇒ (4, 2, 2) + 3 = 11
Andrzej and Tannis fire arrows at it as well.
The first werewolf is badly wounded.
Res steps forth and bestows his curse upon the werewolves.
Eliva is up
Werewolves 1-3: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (10) + 7 = 17
The wolves snarl and sniff in frustration.
Given your ruse, I will treat this as surprise. You can all act in the surprise round, in any order, after which the initiative order will be:
"Oh yes," Nathan says to Sylvia, "from the cabin, you could be there in an hour at most."
You struggle to restrain the old Constable as he tries to pull back into the wood, but you are able to trudge on back to the edge of the forest. You cross the rotted field, past the Smythe house (which is unoccupied) and onward toward Wallingham Manor.
Where do you want to head, the village or the manor?
Nathan nods. "Yes, I fear the constable may be... unpredictable... on our journey."
You make your preparations and set back out on the trail the way you came. Gindel must almost be carried, so delicate is the old druid's condition.
At first, the constable looks around wildly, seemingly afraid of everything. After you have covered a short distance, however, he becomes preoccupied. "Must go back," he mutters repeatedly. "Must go. Must go. The Black Sun." He pulls at his bounds as if to head deeper into the wood. "BE KIND TO ME! I WILL BE FAITHFUL TO YOU MASTER!" He screams this loudly, but there are no natural things in this wood to be alarmed by his voice. He refuses to answer any questions directed at him or even acknowledge your presences, but pulls continuously at his bonds.