Tobold's Blog
Saturday, March 17, 2018
 
Elemental Evil: Sessions 15

In the previous session the group had cleared out the keep of elemental evil earth, leaving fire as the last keep to attack and get the fourth magical key from. A previous encounter with a druid had given them the information that an unknown druidic circle called the Circle of the Scarlet Moon had sent word throughout the Dessarin Valley was performing the Rite of the Wicker Giant, a ritual that was said to restore nature's balance in the troubled region. As the location was at the same place as their ancient dwarven map showed for the fourth keep, they knew that this must be the elemental evil fire cult.

At the location they found a tower with a crumbled wall around it on top of a hill. Before stood the Wicker Giant, a huge giant-shaped bonfire that seemed to burn without being consumed. On the slopes of the hill were various camp sites, with smaller bonfires. All those fires caused a certain haze, lightly obscuring vision. The group visited the first camp site and met the druid they had previously saved. He told them the ritual would take place tomorrow, and nobody was allowed to go up the hill until then. The druids with him were celebrating in anticipation.

The group used the haze to sneak past the other camps and up the hill. The scouted that besides the tower and the Wicker Giant there was a pit with 3 hell hounds and a guard. Two figures danced around the Wicker Giant, and two guards were patrolling the scaffolding around the tower. At this point a very long discussion about what to do ensued. Finally the group went over the crumbled wall to approach the tower from the side away from the Wicker Giant and pit. They killed the guards coming under a silence spell without alerting the cultists on the other side of the tower. Then they entered the tower, and found room with a big hole in the floor and a staircase going up. Two more guards were in that room, which they killed, but this time without the silence. So we ended the session when they heard more guards being alerted a floor up.

I must say this session depressed me a bit. We got so little done, just compare this to the other post today of the other group I am playing with. People weren't focused on the game, and had a hard time to make decisions. I think I need to do something to increase motivation, making the story a bit clearer, in spite of the group not making much effort to gather information. I was also slightly annoyed by the Princes of the Apocalypse chapter on this place: One discussed option was to wait for the Rite of the Wicker Giant. Fortunately they didn't do that, because I found out that this option wasn't foreseen in the book, and there was zero information what exactly the fire cult had planned to achieve with that ritual, and why they had invited the druids to it. There are some vague hints that the cult wants to recruit some, and sacrifice the others, but the sequence of events would have to be improvised by me if the group had chosen to wait.

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