We had another D&D session on Monday. Krag the half-orc barbarian had been dominating the arena battles (predictably enough), so I figured it was time to change to an environment that would favor other characters.
Consequently, the group was approached by someone they had met on their previous body-guarding assignment. This individual, Lucius, wanted them to travel to the Hawkwood Forest northwest of the city and determine why some foresters sent to harvest from a darkwood grove had not returned.
The party’s Halfling ranger, Wellby, handled most of the negotiations. Amusing though he can be, it may not be the best idea to have a pathological boaster with a charisma penalty handle your negotiations. He claimed that the party sorcerer, Kechara, could call lightning from the sky, something that Lucius promptly asked to see demonstrated. As Kechara could not, in fact, do any such thing (yet), the negotiated fee for their services suffered somewhat.
The fee settled, the party traveled up river to the village of Myre, situated at the edge of the forest. Their contacts there were Alian, a local “leather merchant” who relied totally on his apprentice to do any actual leather working, and the huntress who had actually spotted the darkwood grove in question. Her directions to grove were not exactly precise: “Travel upstream to the first tributary from the north bank, follow that to the rocky strand with the waterfall and turn west on the game trail until you see a hill with a limestone outcrop. From there you’ll be able to see the grove.”
Those simple directions would require a DC 15 Survival check for every landmark to avoid getting lost, not to mention a DC 15 Knowledge (nature) check to recognize the darkwood grove from a distance when looking for it from the hilltop. I figured this would be a chance for either the druid, Eileen, or Wellby to shine. As it turns out, Eileen has a Survival check of around +11, so navigating to the darkwood grove was a piece of cake for her. I was hoping the party would blow at least one of the Survival checks, as I was going to inflict a random encounter on them every time they failed one, but Eileen never missed a step.
The threat at the grove was a group of Twigblights, small plant creatures from the Monster Manual II that like to fertilize themselves with fresh blood. These are CR 1/3 creatures, and knowing the devastating nature of Krag, I threw ten of them at the party (although they didn’t all enter combat at the same time). According to the encounter calculator, this would be a “very difficult” fight, but it turned out to be only moderately difficult, at most.
So the most interesting part of the evening turned out to be earlier, in Myre, when Wellby got drunk, annoyed pretty much everyone, and was knocked out by a frustrated Krag. To relieve their frustrations, the other party members dumped Wellby into a horse trough to sleep off his drunk. Upon waking, he decided to break into the inn and “tea bag” Krag, but didn’t move quietly enough. Krag flung him across the room, where he was pummeled into submission by irate inn patrons and sent to the village lockup for the rest of the night.