A rose by any other name is just as deadly
Players: Maximus, Servant Grimsbane, Xenon, Arkose, Xeren and Tar.
After recovering from the after party at the Swollen Tooth and returning to Ruined Oak, Xenon was once again desiring to go see his family in the Underdark. Fortunately, Maximus and Arkose were at the Bitter Dwarf looking over the mission board along with Servant and Xeren and the board seem to be thin on mission request now, so Xenon and I told them about our latest adventure to the Underdark and the group seem eager to travel there.
I had done a couple of Jobs with Maximus and Arkose in the past and was confident of their abilities to handle themselves but felt justified to warned them about how more dangerous the Underdark would be. The other two I didn’t know but there seem to be something familiar about them, perhaps I read about them in the logs at White Moon.
The journey back to the entrance to the Underdark was pleasant enough, yet moments from reaching the cave mouth a spied a group of flying creatures descending upon us. As they came closer I took up position in front of the group with my shield and scimitar raised and shouted out at them in the tongue of beasts and told them they would be better off find easier prey than us. They inspected us for a moment before taking my words as true and flying away. While they were inspecting us, I fought of my urge to study them to learn their form and to put the safety of the party first.
We then entered the Underdark and for the most part the area did not look like it had been disturbed since my last trip. The sounds and echoes of the ghosts bickering could still be heard down the hallway, and while it did peak the interests of the new members the group decided to press onward.
We reach the intersection where the northern hall was blocked by the iron gate and the soot trail ran north to south. We decided to travel down the southern hall as Xenon felt that was the correct way to the Underdark. He was correct as we finally exited the hallway into a very large cavern filled it strange mushroom trees and foliage that I had never seen before.
That is when we spotted them. They were a group of strange plants arranged in a cluster. Xenon indicated to us that they were dangerous and challenging. However, I knew that look on Arkose’s face and how deep his hatred of plants were, so a fight at this point was inevitable. Arkose wanted me to charge them, but I was still reeling in my mind the last couple of experiences I have had with plants on this island with, entanglement, grapples, poison, disease, and explosive thorn to name a few. So, I was hesitant to engage these plants without knowing what they were capable of. It turns out this was a very wise decision on my part.
While I can never say that my party members lack courage and bravery there were obvious mistakes that were made from the beginning. Outside discussing using an enlarge spell before attacking no pre-coordination took place nor did we talk about or rehearse actions on the objective.
Issue #1: The battle began with Arkose, under the influence of an enlarge spell, and Maximus charging at the plant creatures. Arkose had planned to use his ability to enhance his Maul attack to strike multiple creatures however Maximus was unaware of this and had placed himself to close to Arkose, for Arkose to effectively pull off the attack. This caused Arkose to have to shift to the other side of the plants putting him farther away from the support members and making the support member be closer to the plants.
“It was also at this point we discovered the plants were able to blur their appearance which made it much harder to hit them. However, the blurring was not the worst part, it seemed these plants had a strong connection to the mental world and were able to not only attack our minds from a great distance but inflict retaliatory anguish to those around them each time they were injured. These attacks were very powerful, rendering Maximus unconscious within the very first moment of combat, and even I, while standing 50ft away, was almost brought down before I could even act.”
Issue #2: The use of Area effect damage spell compounded the damage that the frontline was taking. As I mentioned each time the plants were damage they retaliated so Arkose and Maximus who were surrounded by the plants were being assaulted by two to three plants for every one of our area attacks.
Issue #3: While we did manage, largely thanks to the sheer amount of healing spells and good berries we had, to all survive the encounter. There had not been any agreement on how we should handle disengaging from the fight or how we could have split them up or assign priorities. Had we had fewer healers, Arkose was less dense, or a little less luck many would have died.
I felt helpless in this fight. Even staying at range, I was quickly knocked unconscious and then revived by a good berry from Xenon. [ good berry gives you 1hp]. I then changed into a bear, but I quickly realized that entering melee would be suicidal, as even if I did manage to land a hit the retaliatory attacks would inflict more damage on Maximus and Arkose, creating an even greater healing need. Not to mention that I would be more easily hit in this form and just two of their attacks would make me have to revert. While in the bear form I was unable to cast any spell, so I was relegated to having to flee back into the hallway and wait to see if there were any survivors I could heal after the battle.
We did finally manage to kill all the plant creatures, thanks to Arkose’s rock chunking and Xeren flaming sphere taking out the last of them, but we were all spent mentally and physically. I used up the last of my power for the day and healed all I could, but the group was still badly hurt.
We retreated the way we came and took shelter in the room where I had been poked in the eye before and settled down for a rest. Some time after my watch I was awoken and informed that there was a group of goblins coming down the hallway towards our group. Servant has commanded his imp to watch that hallway and the imp was now relaying this information back to him. Arkose braced the door with his body and the goblins attempt to enter the room were thwarted. Then a fight broke out between the goblins and the imp and somehow the door was either opened or broken down.
We quickly dispatch the ones that did not flee and finished out our rest. Having enough fun for the day we headed back to the surface and traveled to the Swollen Tooth for a victory mug of rum.