Previously On Castle Amber
Our last session saw our intrepid explorers using magic books to leave the cursed mansion of furniture horrors, and emerge into a pleasant meadow in a wider forest. Near them was a fountain with coins laying inside and a locked chest attached.
Before the party can investigate, Bean’s backpack tears open, revealing a demonic being in the exact shape of the figurine that had been held there.
After dispatching the quarrelsome demon, bean examined the fountain, causing a huge, gelatinous creature to emerge. It slammed Bean a few times, but the party was, in the end, victorious.
After getting directions from a bird, the group saw a bridge and noticed a humanoid creature with hooves and horns approaching it. It seemed to request passage over the bridge, promising that its fatter, juicier brothers would be along soon.
From under the bridge came a rumbling, annoyed voice, “Okay, I’ll wait.”
Session 5 (I think?) – The Night of Fours
(It’s the night of fours because I think all of us started out by rolling 4s)
After cursing the faun for selling out his brothers, Diomedes climbed a tree to see if he can get a better view of what’s under the bridge. He can see the entire bridge, and a path on the other side that goes to the right and out of sight. He also gets a great view … some other foliage (there a was a great detailed description, but I couldn’t keep up). Also, there was a wall that went up to the dome that surrounds the forest.
Diomedes came back down and told the group what he saw. Bean went up to the bridge and said “Hellooooo!”
“Hello.” Replied an annoyed grumbly voiced.
“We heard you were hungry and brought you a snack.”
A large, greenish, leathery-skinned, foul-smelling, dumb-looking, creature emerged from under the bridge. You could tell it was the type that that liked to start arguments on the internet.
“What food do you have?” It asked.
“I have apples!” Bean replied helpfully.
“I want MEAT!” the Troll growled.
“Um, I have some …rations.” And tosses over some jerky from his rations.
The troll gobbled it down and complained about the small portion size and said it should eat our heroes instead.
“You do not want to eat us. We are very dry and stringy.” Diomedes said helpfully.
“Hmmm… Give me bite, and if you dry and stringy, I let you pass. If you nice and juicy like you look, I eat you.”
“You should not eat us. You should eat at restaurant.”
“What is restaurant? Does it taste good? Is it juicy?”
The group tried to convince the troll that the now-dead gelatinous creature by the fountain is “restaurant” and is, indeed, very juicy.
The troll is not convinced and charged Diomedes. Diomedes tried to fire off an arrow, but misses as the Troll thunders toward him. Bean blocked a claw as it nearly took off Diomedes head and then it missed with a vicious bite in front of Diomedes nose.
Diomedes responded with a slash to the Troll’s belly.
Everard shot his crossbow, the bolt lodging in the creature’s arm.
Zaya threw a dart, hitting the face!
Sinitsa’s eyes glowed red and a flame shot from her fingers to the troll!
Bean poked with his rapier but couldn’t get a good angle. Miss!
Beset on all sides, the confused troll missed and missed again.
The brave explorers hit a few more times and the troll turned and sprinted back to the bridge, disappearing underneath.
Diomedes looked under the bridge, and found it clinging to the underside. He shot an arrow and scratched it. Everard took shot and narrowly missed. Zaya solidly embeds a dart in the trolls arm.
The troll dropped down and ran back to the group, so Bean ran at it, anime style, giving it jab in the cheek! The troll responded by scratching Bean with a claw and then biting down hard with its wide, ugly mouth. With the air pushed out of him, Bean bravely passed out. With meal in mouth, the troll turned and once again tried to get away.
Diomedes slashed at it as it retreated, leaving a gash on it’s back. It growled in pain, muffled by the sound of Bean limply held in its mouth.
Everard fired another bolt but missed, while Zaya ran forward stabbing with her javelin and also unleashed a flurry of hand and foot strikes, driving it back.
Sinitsa produced a flame in her hand and tried to throw it at the beast, but majestically misfired, and slipped, knocking her head into a tree and falling unconscious.
Bean breaths in a deep breath and wakes up, in the troll’s mouth!
(nat 20 on death save, heck yeah!)
Diomedes, Zaya and Everard each hit the troll and it runs off again to hide under the bridge where it can eat its delicious meal of Bean-meat while holding on to the underside of the bridge. (crunchy on the outside, squishy in the middle!)
Everard shot a crossbow bolt into the leg! Diomedes shot another arrow, and Zaya threw another dart.
Bean shakes himself awake and braces his legs against the bridge and pushes hard, cause both him and the troll to fall to the ground separately. The troll, without even a pause, runs off to the forest, disappearing to the foliage.
The party regrouped around Sinitsa and carried her to a spot in the underbrush that Diomedes found. While the others rested, Diomedes attached a note to his bird-friends leg, saying “do you need help?”
Diomedes then wandered the area, declaring it to be safe. Everard, however, noticed a giant snake sneaking up on Diomedes and alerted everybody. Diomedes managed to talk to the snake and diplomatically convince it to go back into the forest. Watching it leave, the group also noticed a huge shadow pass above.
Looking up, every sees a huge hawk fly over, seemingly looking for something. Not wanting to get caught by the hawk, the group scooted through the underbrush to get more cover. After a time, Diomede’s bird came back with a response of “Yes. ~Kavitha.”
This got everybody’s attention, as that was the name in Bean’s book!
The group continues to scoot through the underbrush, dragging Sinitsa’s unconscious body with them. After a time, they see it open up to a path perpendicular to them, and off in the distance there’s a horse and a human figure standing next to a tree. Getting closer, they see the figure is wearing a daffodil dress, is blonde, young and happens to be leaning against a deep black unicorn.
Zaya emerged from the forest, saying “Hello! We mean you no harm. Can we talk?”
“Yes, of course!” the lady said, “Are you the one that sent the note with the bird?”
“I know who sent the note. What’s your name?”
“I am Kavitha.” The lady says politely, “And you?”
“My name is Zaya Nasherria. It’s a pleasure to meet you!” Zaya said as she approached. “Are you in Danger?”
“You are not from here. The danger is not immediate, but it is dire.”
“Can you tell me what happened?”
“Of course.” She walked closer, at which point the group also noticed a chest near the tree.
Bean, impatient, burst from the brush and declared, “I got your note!”
The lady looked at Bean, his body covered in wounds and brambles and twigs and gasped. “You’re hurt! Come over here where it’s safe!”
The others carry out Sinitsa and join the gathering at the tree, while Bean shows her the note that had been in his book.
“Oh,” She said with a glance at the disheveled halfling, “This wasn’t meant for you. Who are you?”
“I’m Bean!” Bean said proudly.
“Well, you’ll have to do. Come this way to rest.” She patted the unicorn fondly and said, “This is Midnight, my friend.”
The group follows Kavitha to a set of doors, where she says “You can rest here. How did you get hurt?”
“We fought a troll!”
“Foul creature. How did you even get here?”
Bean looked thoughtful, said “There was a house … and some books … and some chairs that tried to kill us …” then shrugged.
“I see. You look like you need rest. On the other side of these doors you’ll be safe for as long as you need. It’s the entry way to the castle.”
“Are there other people in the castle?” Everard asked.
“Yes, quite a few. Except, I can’t find my friend Janeth. I was visiting her and now don’t know where she is.”
“Is that why you’re out here? To look for your friend?” Zaya asked.
“No, I was trapped here. I don’t know why or how, but I have some ideas. Here, you’ll be safe.” She opened the doors and revealed a set of yellowish stone steps leading off to … nothingness. A deep, black, void surrounded the steps.
“Um, what’s that?” Everard asked skeptically.
“That’s the problem. We’re trapped here by nothingness. I believe it’s a curse that transported the whole castle.”
“Will the void get closer?”
“No. It doesn’t change, it just stops anybody from getting in, or out.”
The party went out the impressive entryway, over the side of the steps and set up camp on the small grassy area not yet taken by the void. After a Looong rest, everybody emerges feeling better … except, Sinitsa, who hasn’t awoken.
Kavitha rose and dusted off her dress. She examined the group and said “Well, that was a while. You all look much better.”
“Did anything happen out here while we were gone?” Zaya asked.
“Oh, nothing to be concerned about. So, you came far with that note.”
“Yes, we were searching for you to make sure you were okay. Can we help you find your friend, Janeth?”
“Yes, that would be wonderful. If you could break this damn curse, it would be even better. That’s what I was seeking help with. Well, it can’t be helped. Yes, please go find Janeth. She should be in the West Wing.”
“Or, there is one of the … occupants here who might know more. Her name is Madame Camilla d’Amberville and she should be in the East Wing.”
Diomedes perked up and said, “Oh, d’Amberville! Like Isadore.”
“Oh, you know of the others here?” She said “I have seen Isadora, but not Isabella. Not for some time. If you go find Janeth, her chambers are in the West Wing, third door on the right.”
“Are you a d’Amberville?” Zaya asked.
“Ah, no. I’m just a guest, a visitor. I was visiting Janeth and now no one can leave, as you can see.” She looks around, and continues. “The d’Ambervilles are great mages, so this must have been an even greater magic. Where they come from, magic is outlawed, so they are very cautious. This means you should be, as well.”
“Do they practice black magic?” Zaya asked.
“There are many of them, so I wouldn’t be surprised. Janeth will know more. It is the second door on the left”
(Okay, did I get that wrong in my notes? First I typed 3rd on the right, and then 2nd on the left, so either I got it wrong in my haste, or she’s confused … ?)
(I think the 2nd door on the left was PART OF the instructions to find Madam Camilla Amber)
“Where even is the castle?” Bean asked.
“You are in it. This forest is part of the castle. It’s their creation. The d’Ambervilles, they like to experiment.”
“Oh …” Bean said, “How do we get to the East or West wings?”
“Just follow the path through the forest. The East Wing is to the right, the West Wing is to the left.”
Diomedes looked astonished. “They made this whole forest? They must be like gods, then.”
“Yes, they are very powerful and resourceful. There is more I need to tell you. If you go to the East Wing, there is some kind of … evil that lurks in the throne room. If you want to go there, I can protect one of you from it. Just stay away from the throne. And also, be kind to the animals of the forest.”
She looks down at Sinitsa, “Your friend can stay with us. She’ll be safe.”
We look skeptical and then Diomedes hears a voice in his head that says “She will be safe, you can trust us.”
The unicorn, Midnight, gives Diomedes a significant look. Zaya examines Sinitsa and thinks she has a head injury and might be unconscious for a while.
Diomedes leaves a note and the party decides to go to the West Wing with no trouble, since they would only be checking on Janeth. (hahaha! “No trouble”) They head down the path toward the West Wing and after a few minutes Everard notices a rustling in the trees. He stopped and looked into the forest and recognized a tree, kind of. It’s like the ones in the arboretum, except much larger. Tentacles flew out to grab our heroes!
After some difficulty, including Diomedes almost getting eaten by the tree, everybody ran down the road dodging tentacles. Unfortunately, further down the road Everard saw another tree start to move.
Currently, our heroes are still in front of tree one with tentacle-vines lashing out at them, trying to decide how they can fight a tree with all their stabby weapons that don’t do much damage. Rapiers, crossbow bolts, arrows, darts and javelin don’t do much to tree bark. If only someone could set fire to these evil trees… 😉