Tl;dr: Adventurers from Ruined Oak set out seeking signs of an ancient city. They were instead found by purple wurms, and rocs, and two different roving bands of machine riding desert nomads. They learned there is a tribal war of sorts occurring in the region and that the ancient city has dwindled down to a small barter settlement. While some adventurers were nearly swallowed or carried off, they all returned safely.
Future Adventure Notes:
•Bring your cold weather clothes for ZHT portal excursions and food for the frozen forest.
•Purple wurms of all sizes seem common in the almost desert northeast of ZHT
•The Nablas tieflings seem friendlier than the Deivaimos aasimar
Session Title : Road to Horndal
Session DM : Neal
Session Date : 13 Jun 2021 @ 21:30 UTC
•”Cartographer” Balthier (Rogue 8)
•”Chronicler” and “Scout” Bardy (Bard 9/Cleric 1)
•Daffodil (Wizard 9)
•”Trailblazer” Faenoa (Fighter 8/ Wizard 2)
• Murdrum (Warlock 2 / Sorcerer 6) with Tiny Servants
•”Leader” Tenfoll’at (Warlock 1/Wizard 9) with Coco the Familiar
An account of my recent adventure,
Tenfoll’at assembled us at Ruined Oak with the intention of trying to find the Horndal place she saw written inside a wurm tunnel on an earlier mission to return from the ZHT portal by land. We set off through the portal to the ZHT location and proceeded in a generally northeast direction, safely, throughout the day. Faenoa was curious about some humanoid tracks that became wolf tracks. (I think they seemed most likely a local druid but sometimes you just let her be her.
Near the end of the first day it got very cold. We let Faenoa try to find dinner and she came back with nothing but some Aged Goodberry Wine. (I think she had it on her to start with) It was good. Very good. We slept peacefully in Daffodil’s tiny hut. The night passed by uneventfully with the exception of Tenfoll’at waking everyone up to look at some rats that she saw outside the hut. We ignored them. (I am a bit cranky when awakened unexpectedly, I admit)
The next day my eyes were seeing better than they have in recent memory, apparently a side effect of the wine. (I should try to find some more.) We continued our general northeastern progression after a northwestern step and camped when the sun set. Faenoa and I found some delicious dwarf deer that were enough to feed everyone. This night was uneventful.
As we travelled the third day, it was warm enough to prompt several of us to switch out of our cold weather clothes. We left the frozen forest and moved into a plains, almost desert. (For environs such as this, the fragile beauty belie the dangerous locale)
Nothing particularly noteworthy happened until we set up camp for the night. Faenoa and I found this large ancient camel that was close to death, and she killed it for food (truthfully I could not bring myself to end this creature I felt some kinship toward). As we dragged it back to camp we got attacked by some purple wurms who tried to steal our prize.
While we were fighting the wurms, a roc flew down and snatched our camel. Then another roc flew down that attacked us while the other one was flying away. Brave Daffodil was nearly carried away but used magic to escape, Murdrum layed blast after blast onto wurms and roc alike. Balthier fire shot after shot (at one point I believe he was riding one of the rocs). At some point during the fight we started to notice incoming dust cloud trails.
We managed to down two wurms and one roc while the other roc fled. Tenfoll’at had the largest wurm of the day banished and it was about to return, when we were approached by two tieflings riding mechanical two-wheeled vehicles. (I believe they had seen the beginning of our fracas and came this way to inspect it.) They asked if we needed help while looking avariciously at the corpse of one of the wurms, One of them used some sort of instrument to make a droning hum sound, (signaling something to the ones further out I assume.)
They offered to buy the dead the Sulusbaluk (during later translation this seems to be the a combination of two infernal words that mean purple and beast respectively,) for 1000 platinum, (if I had not felt time pressured I might have haggled some) but first we asked them to help us fight the returning wurm. After we killed it, they offered us a magic item (a staff of fire) if we left it pristine. (they seem to have some reverence for the creatures, while simultaneously harvesting as much as they could)
They named themselves the Nablus. They brought our attention to another set of incoming dustclouds, (a much larger set), which they found fearsome and wanted to avoid. They named the other group the Deivaimos. In the brief time we had to converse, they said they were trying to collect the spoils of the land while the other group was trying to take all the land.
While they collected what they wanted from the wurms on their “pana” (which I gather was their word for their wheeled machines,) we asked them about Horndal. At first they did not respond, then they laughed and said Horndal was an ancient name for what is now a small barter settlement named Migar. (Alas, we had so many questions for them but they were in a hurry. We did learn that Horndal was named for two tiefling explorers, Horakas and Rexindal)
Seeing the alarm with which the Nablus saw the incoming dustclouds, we hid in Faenoa’s rope trick. We saw many vehicles of differing sizes roaming around, continuously in motion. (the continuous motion seemed to provide a messure of protection from the wurms, we could see the wurms try and fail to stop the machines) As some of them got closer to our position, we could see that the vehicles were covered in blood. (we nearly saw twenty members of the group that was close to us, and they were a fraction of the whole). They were aasimar, but something was wrong right with them. (I would need time, a closer distance, and possibly luck or magic to discern more.) The horde of Deivaimos seemed to pursue the tieflings, unaware of us in our little dimensional pocket.
After they were out of sight, we left the rope trick space and got as quickly as we could into Daffodil’s tiny hut, where we safely spent the night. Having heard that Horndal was naught but a small barter town, we decided to return back to the ZHT portal by a slightly more western path. Nothing particularly noteworthy (atleast to my addled old brain) happened on those two days of travel back to the portal. We arrived back at the portal, swiftly input the LAS code, went through, then travelled to Ruined Oak without disturbance to safely retire for the evening. (I have had my usual mug of ale or two as I write this)