Old Growth, Part 2

Last week I wrote about the first session of my new campaign. This week, I wanted to follow up by talking about session 2!

We picked up right after the big cursed wolf fight, and I have to say, I was a little touched by the way the characters reacted to what had happened; Grell buried the wolf and said a prayer over it, which I thought was sweet. Valeryn checked the mummy hand to make sure it was safe to carry, while Lionel made sure the cave was secure–it was late in the day at this point, so the party decided to stay and rest before moving on. They even had some cute roleplaying banter before turning in for the night! You love to see it.

As the set out the next day, they noticed something odd: they kept seeing these patches of green-grey mold, which were getting more frequent the further they got into the forest. Their examinations proved fruitless, as none of them had ever seen mold like this before.

Eventually, they spied a clearing that seemed to have a small campsite set up. Lionel rushed in and put his hand on the shoulder of a figure seated in the middle of the camp, which turned out to be a very dead Arzin Greybeard–one of the members of the missing expedition.

Arzin was coated in the same unpleasant mold the group had seen throughout the forest; even worse, two of the three tents in the camp were also coated in the stuff. A dead wolf–also partially coated in mold–lay nearby, several arrows sticking out of it.

The one tent that was mold-free appeared to belong to Violetwing, the hunter of the group, who seemed to have left in a hurry. As Valeryn examined Arzin’s body and Lionel looked around the camp, Grell investigated the tent that was most affected by the mold… and discovered a sentient fungal colony inside that let out a low moan before attacking!

As the fungal colony sprang to life, Arzin’s body began to move, and he arose as a mold-controlled zombie; soon, Cree Vallow stumbled out of the one unexamined tent in an identical state.

This combat took most of the rest of the session, but it was a lot of fun. The players were creeped out by the mold-monsters, and things felt a lot more dynamic than the wolf fight. The zombies kept Valeryn and Lionel busy in the center of camp while Grell tried to handle the mold-monster (actually a Grothlut that I made some modifications to; the zombies were Plague Zombies with the Disgusting Pustules trait, meant to be fungal spores rather than fluid in this case).

It was cool to see Lionel dancing back and forth between zombies, helping defend Valeryn when Arzin grabbed her. Valeryn used an awesome healing burst spell that dealt serious damage to the zombies while helping out her friends, and she also covered herself in magic thorns to make grabbing her less appealing. Meanwhile, the mold-monster tried to get out of Grell’s reach while shooting little spore-bombs around the campsite, dealing splash damage. There was a lot going on, but the most memorable part was toward the end of the fight.

Arzin and Cree had already been dealt with, so Lionel charged toward the mold-monster and… rolled a natural 1 on his attack. Tough break, but not all was lost: before leaving town, the party had chatted with the friendly Priest Eldin, who had bestowed everyone with a Traveler’s Blessing. They could activate that blessing to re-roll a natural 1 at some point during this journey. Lionel used the blessing to re-roll and… got another nat 1.

I mean, I had to do something, right? Two natural 1s in a row–one of them magically assisted!–is cause to make things a bit worse.

As Lionel’s sword arced down toward the mold-monster, it split in two, and Lionel stumbled forward into the spot it had been standing, leaving him flanked by mold-monsters. It was getting out of hand; now there were two of them!

Grell charged over and shoved Lionel out of the way, taking his place in the danger-zone. Luckily, the fight ended shortly after (you do not want to get in way of Grell’s flail), but man, that was a cool moment.

After laying the bodies of Arzin and Cree to rest, the group set out once more to find Violetwing–but as they departed the camp, they saw a strange figure watching them from between the trees…

That’s where we left things. Our next session is tomorrow and I can’t wait to see how it goes!

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