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Session 5 Edit
After breakfast, the six humans packed up their camp and headed toward the ruins and the tower. Paul discovered the remains of an old road heading from the forest path to the former castle, but the road was completely overgrown by prairie grass and decades, maybe centuries of plant growth and dirt. Still, it was mostly even terrain, particularly when Paul used his magic to burn away swaths of grass from the old road.
As they approached the ruins, they found what was once an impressive square fortress in complete decay. The walls had been constructed of layers of masonry and dirt, and the centuries had not been kind to them. The walls had mostly tumbled down, turning into mounds of dirt and brick about ten feet high and twenty feet thick. Weeds and scrubby bushes grew in the remains of the wall. The heavy wooden gate had long-since decayed, and brittle beams lay in rambling piles across the entrance to the fort. At the four corners, the masonry towers seemed to have been built with more care and stood a little taller, with their hollow, roofless bulk reaching up about fifteen to twenty feet before ending in jagged brick edges. Dave peered in to the southeast tower and saw a number of absolutely gigantic beetles.
Dave cast a spell that turned himself invisible and began to creep around the ruins and check the place out. He found an empty, tumble-down barracks on the east wall, a mostly-intact building that looked like officers' quarters on the north wall, a somewhat together stable on the west wall, and an overgrown, creepy-looking orchard that had taken over the southwest corner. The giant bugs crawling around the southwest corner were about the size of Volkswagens.
Dave came back and reappeared, giving the rest of the group the run-down of what he found. Sam was a little puzzled that Dave had stayed clear of the tower itself, but they could see the forty-foot tower with its blue-glowing field of light pretty clearly from the outside.
When the discussion died down, they heard someone politely clear his throat from behind them. Swiftly readying weapons and turning, the group found themselves about fifty feet away from an individual who for all the world looked like a prototypical male elven ranger from fantasy illustrations. He wore a longsword and a shortsword at either hip, with a beautifully made bow and quiver slung over his shoulder.
The elf held up his hands in a gesture of peace and introduced himself in accented English. The elf’s name was Lassier, and he had been sent to the tower on a quest from the elven nations. He sought to recover an artifact, and was hoping to join forces with the... whatever they were. The elf said that he wasn’t sure what the humans were and had never seen anything like them, though they were about the size of orcs. Weird, pale-skinned orcs with no tusks and noses that looked like a cross between elf noses and dwarf noses. And oddly round ears.
The group accepted Lassier’s offer, and tried to explain what they were and where they were from. Lassier had never heard such a tall tale, but he was polite about his disbelief. Together, the group entered the ruins and made their way around.
Paul and Sam immediately approached the round tower standing in the center of the ruins. It rose some forty feet from the ground and looked to be made from expertly-crafted marble. Some ten inches from the outer walls of the tower glowed a blue force field - resistant to any investigation and radiating powerful magic.
Also, there was a terrifying ghost.
A ghost flitted inside the force field like a trapped moth trying to get to the light. When it was near Sam and Paul it seemed to spot them and its form shifted from amorphous into a roughly humanoid form and let out a horrific moan.
Sam and Paul had encountered far worse in their lives, and just kind of shrugged. “Meh.”
The ghost seemed to be confused, and continued to wail away and make a racket until the guys grew bored and moved at least fifty feet away from the tower.
As they investigated the courtyard of the runes, the giant beetles that Dave had originally spotted finally noticed the adventurers and came out to see what they tasted like. Paul swiftly learned that his electricity spell worked amazingly well on water buffalo-sized insects.
They investigated the officer’s quarters and found a couple rooms and a trap door that opened to a ladder that went underground. For the moment they opted not to follow it. The group also found a wide and slippery sinkhole that appeared to go very deep underground. In the dilapidated stable, the group found a ridiculous amount of bats, as well as a hole that went underground. Lassier crept up and peered inside... and counted at least three owlbears sleeping in an underground cave. The owlbears were like a black bear covered in feathers, with giant beaks and talons. The ranger knew better than to tangle with the dangerous beasts and recommended that they be avoided.
Finally, they visited the orchard and found it occupied by an assassin vine. The animated vine put up a fight, but in the end got its butt kicked. They decided to rest up and see if they could find an entrance to the tower underground in the morning.
Continue to Session 6