Dark Heart of the Forest (DM: LSam2)

Dark_Forest.png Continuing their journey to deliver the signet ring to the elf lords, the Heroes of Haldor reached the Oldarch Forest. Well-defended by natural growth and briars, the Oldarch Forest presented as a sunlit grove of ancient trees and idyllic forest pathways. However, upon passing beneath the archway that separates the forest from the grassy plains, the party found itself hurled into a nightmarish realm of chaos, shadow, and madness. Gone was the path and archway. Gone was the sunlight and tranquil atmosphere. Gone was the hope of treating with the elves in a friendly, faerie wonderland.

In an instant the party was utterly lost and in peril. But Lucky Dunbar and Kafika, using their intuition and knowledge of things divine and arcane, determined that the woods were under the influence of a malign presence that lay at the heart of the forest and that their only hope for survival and escape rested with ending its unholy sway over the elven realm.


Session 1: Proceeding only on intuition, the party headed in the direction they sensed was the heart of Oldarch Forest. Some time later, with no warning, elven arrows began falling upon them, striking Ildrynn, Plonk, and Kafika. An elven dog appeared from behind a bush, and with a howl, sprinted to maul Plonk. Lucky Dunbar held up the elven signet ring and yelled out repeatedly: “We mean no harm! We are allies! Cease your fire!” But it was to no avail.

The party was able to trace the trajectory of the arrows to a trio of concealed elven snipers. The elves spoke no words and disturbingly, their eyes were filled with inky blackness. The bow fire was relentless and party members began falling like autumn leaves. Lucky Dunbar had given up attempting to parley and focused only on channeling divine energy to keep those who had fallen from dying, while Scola closed with the nearest archer and Kafika fired force bolt after force bolt.

Unfortunately, the elves were just as formidable in melee as at range and drew out paired elven blades when forced into hand-to-hand combat. Scola, Plonk, and Kafika injured the elven dog – or cooshee – enough to cause it to withdraw to safety and the tide of the battle began to shift in the party’s favor.

A lucky burst of divine positive energy from Dunbar revived the entire party and soon the elves and cooshee fell beneath the adventurers’ combined martial, divine, and arcane power.

Ildrynn: 3925/7500 xp (200 role play, 360 combat, 100 hosting, 50 fun, 2 other)
Kafika: 3910/7500 xp (200 role play, 360 combat, 100 hosting, 200 class, 50 fun)
Lucky Dunbar: 4080/7500 xp (200 role play, 360 combat, 100 hosting, 200 class, 50 fun, 2 other)
Scola: 4145/7500 xp (200 role play, 360 combat, 100 hosting, 200 class, 50 fun, 2 other)
Plonk: 3620/7500 xp (100 role play, 720 combat, 100 gaming materials, 100 class, 50 fun, 4 other)


Session 2: The journey deeper into the Oldarch Forest was not without its own peril as distances stretched, trails shifted, trees moved, and rocks shuffled; all while strange whispers and maddening laughter drifted in the air about them.

Hours passed as they unwrapped the mysteries of the haunting laughter and flitting shadows, made their way through thorny brush, and ultimately came upon a clearing dominated by a muddy bog. Becoming alerted to the dark-hearted elves and hidden mud elemental by Ildrynn’s patient observation, the party fought a bitter fight with their foes and ultimately won. They resumed their trek the following morning after setting camp and resting.

More hours passed as they resisted the depredations of a cloud of tooth mites (the smaller and less dangerous cousins of tooth fairies), became briefly overwhelmed by the maddening whispers when they temporarily lost their way, and successfully moved to the dark heart of the forest without alerting their enemies of their presence.

Ildrynn: 4775/7500 xp (100 role play, 360 combat, 50 fun, 100 class, 240 adventure objective)
Kafika: 4860/7500 xp (100 role play, 360 combat, 200 class, 50 fun, 240 adventure objective)
Lucky Dunbar: 4930/7500 xp (100 role play, 360 combat, 100 class, 50 fun, 240 adventure objective)
Scola: 5095/7500 xp (100 role play, 360 combat, 200 class, 50 fun, 240 adventure objective)
Plonk: 4670/7500 xp (200 role play, 360 combat, 150 class, 100 fun, 240 adventure objective)


Session 3: Arriving at the center of the Oldarch Forest, the party spied a clearing dominated by a blackened tree possessed by the Dark Heart of the Forest. The crumbling walls of fallen ruins and a mysterious obelisk also created curiosity and confusion for the party. Another lost traveler named Evendal Darkstepper appeared upon the scene, but all immediately knew that they were in the same circumstances and that the malign influence of the tree had to be stopped.

Ildrynn had detected movement from behind some of the crumbling walls and alerted his allies. Kafika focused on the tree and listened closely to the maddening whispers that emanated from it – allowing his mind to be filled with chaos and demonic imagery. Plonk was the first to move and when he did so, the Dark Heart of the Forest attacked the reality of space and time surrounding it.

The movement behind the ruins turned out to be the corrupted elven champion Imbryll and a cooshee. The two attacked but Plonk and Ildrynn met their violence with violence of their own.

Kafika focused arcane power upon the various enemies on the field of battle while Evendal attempted to set the tree alight. Lucky Dunbar granted a bit of luck to others when he could and channeled the power of the gods to heal injured allies.

Plonk closed on the Dark Heart of the Forest in single combat but a miscalculation of the situation put him at a disadvantage against the possessed tree. With the simpleton monk being the only creature threatening it, the Dark Heart of the Forest began to pummel him with its thick branches over and over again until Plonk died.

Evendal meanwhile was making incremental progress, having thrown a burning torch against the base of the tree. Scola helped by proving lamp oil to be added to the fire.

The party launched arrows and javelins against the Dark Heart of the Forest’s iron-like bark to limited effect. Though the party had thought of a tree’s vulnerability to fire they had not considered the same of an axe or slashing weapon. Eventually however, a few well-aimed arrow shots coupled with the persistent flames and damage from Kafika’s magic brought the Abysall enemy down. In an unnerving display of evil power, the dead Tree of Life collapsed in ashes as the crimson light of a demonic spirit glowed like a cloud for a moment then let out a horrific scream as it dissipated.

The peaceful spirit of Imbryll appeared before the party and thanked them for releasing the forest from the grip of the Dark Heart of the Forest. He also gifted them with fey-touched items as a reward and to help them in their future adventures. Unfortunately, with the Tree of Life dead and the exorcised elves scattered throughout the lands, the elven nation within the Oldarch Forest is no more. Spending a day or two to carry out the final instructions provided by Imbryll, burying Plonk, and resting, the party then set out to depart the forest.

Evendal Darkstepper: 1660/3000 xp (200 role play, 1040 combat, 100 class, 200 fun/bonus, 120 adventure objective)
Ildrynn: 5865/7500 xp (200 role play, 520 combat, 50 fun, 200 class, 120 adventure objective)
Kafika: 5950/7500 xp (200 role play, 520 combat, 50 fun, 200 class, 120 adventure objective)
Lucky Dunbar: 5970/7500 xp (100 role play, 520 combat, 200 class, 50 fun, 50 snacks, 120 adventure objective)
Plonk: Dead
Scola: 5935/7500 xp (100 role play, 520 combat, 50 fun, 50 snacks, 120 adventure objective)


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