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5E Witcher: Mother of Monsters

Queenie

Queen of Everything
OOC: thanks! Apologies for having like, zero knowledge about how these things work. I wrote it up the way I did assuming I had failed so I shall go forth...


Elora had stepped away from the herbs, a little afraid to handle that mortar and pestle again. But something was nagging her about it, so she pulled her kit out of her pack and unrolled strange looking tools and similar herbs onto the old craggy table.

Finally she poked her finger into the small bowl, and she breathed a sigh of relief when nothing crazy happened immediately. She scooped her delicate finger along the edge, bringing up a finger covered in flowery residue. She examined it closely, smelled it twice, then licked just a tiny bit off her finger to ascertain its secrets.


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Quickleaf

Legend
[SECTION]The pungent odor smells almost like wet earth or mushrooms, and a taste of the bitter bits of seed and pale purple petals confirms Elora's suspicions. Ergot seeds and feainnewedd. The "white witch" Osfala had taught her well.

Some heads on the wheat grain become tainted with a fungus that gives the grain a shriveled bluish appearance. These grains are known as "ergot seeds", discarded by farmers who often leave such fields to go fallow, fearful that Saint Ergot's Sickness will afflict those eating the "seeds" with hallucinations, sensation of burning in the limbs, and even death. However, herbalists have found medicinal uses for controlled doses of "ergot seeds" ranging from treating headaches to inducing abortions and stopping bleeding after childbirth.

Feainnewedd, which means "Sun’s Child" in the Elder Tongue, is a rare pale purple flower which legend says only grows where Elder Blood has been spilled. While most herbalists know of it only in legend, Elora's apprenticeship to Osfala near the shadow of Dol Blathanna gave her some insights into the actual herbology of feainnewedd. It favors streams, swamps, and lakes; and a poultice can be made from it to temper the suffering of those afflicted with albinism when exposed to sunlight. There are likely further magical uses for the flower among the elves, but such is beyond Elora's ken.[/SECTION]

[SBLOCK=Images of Ergot & Feainnewedd]


[/SBLOCK]

GM: No worries [MENTION=8058]Queenie[/MENTION] :)
 
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Fenris

Adventurer
[SECTION]The pungent odor smells almost like wet earth or mushrooms, and a taste of the bitter bits of seed and pale purple petals confirms Elora's suspicions. Ergot seeds and feainnewedd. The "white witch" Osfala had taught her well.

Some heads on the wheat grain become tainted with a fungus that gives the grain a shriveled bluish appearance. These grains are known as "ergot seeds", discarded by farmers who often leave such fields to go fallow, fearful that Saint Ergot's Sickness will afflict those eating the "seeds" with hallucinations, sensation of burning in the limbs, and even death. However, herbalists have found medicinal uses for controlled doses of "ergot seeds" ranging from treating headaches to inducing abortions and stopping bleeding after childbirth.

Feainnewedd, which means "Sun’s Child" in the Elder Tongue, is a rare pale purple flower which legend says only grows where Elder Blood has been spilled. While most herbalists know of it only in legend, Elora's apprenticeship to Osfala near the shadow of Dol Blathanna gave her some insights into the actual herbology of feainnewedd. It favors streams, swamps, and lakes; and a poultice can be made from it to temper the suffering of those afflicted with albinism when exposed to sunlight. There are likely further magical uses for the flower among the elves, but such is beyond Elora's ken.[/SECTION]

GM: No worries [MENTION=8058]Queenie[/MENTION] :)

OOC: I am a botanist and I approve this message
 

Queenie

Queen of Everything
"Of course! Feainnewedd and Ergot! Neither of these are common herbs, but they must be in the area. Feainnewedd in particular is very rare, a flower of the elves. If we can find some, I can attempt to make this mixture to see if we can get the door open."


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Quickleaf

Legend
GM: Fergus [MENTION=2820]Fenris[/MENTION] saw fallow fields to the west of town - maybe there are ergot seeds?

The other, feainnewedd, would probably require thorough scouting by a body of water, and would be in Tamaran's wheelhouse [MENTION=6798581]Azurewraith[/MENTION].

I'm going to write up a cut scene in a bit...think it might be fun for you as players to get a bit of foreshadowing and get a sense of the Witcher world...
 

Quickleaf

Legend
~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *~ * ~ * ~

Cutscene: Margarita and the Druid’s Circle, part 1 of 2

If there was one thing sorceresses were good at, besides politicking, it was storming off in a huff. Despite her outward attempt to appear cool, Margarita Laux-Antille seethed at witcher Fenris’ retorte. Her heels clomped up the shoddy wooden steps of the podunk ink. ”Not my job,” she hissed, her usually measured and melodious voice trembling with indignation. ”Isn’t it nice to see that even at the edge of the world, witchers are still self-righteous ass… Ohh!” Shoving her door closed and placing an arcane lock upon it, Margarita stumbled over the words in her anger, having to enunciate to get them right. Breathing heavily, she sat down in front of the mirror she’d brought with her, powdering her face and reapplying her eyeshadow to watering eyes. For a moment, she felt that old familiar pain in her legs, and the blonde sorceress squinted at her visage. ”I am in control,” she whispered. ”I am in control,” she hissed slowly with measured self-discipline.

The witcher had challenged her to investigate the druidic circle for the spell Dewch o hyd i'r llwybr (Find the Hidden Path) which offered a way through the magic mists around Dol Blathanna. Margarita was not one to back down from a challenge. She’d relied on a witcher to save her life before, but this time she wouldn’t need one. This time she would do it on her own, without her sisters mired in politics, without her students burnt at the stake by Radovid, and without a witcher. Rising, she slid a few components into her belt pouch along with several slender vials. ”Show me, white-winged one,” she intoned, letting her eyes become milky white, seeing through the eyes of her white raven familiar who flew over the druidic standing stones. Bright light. Good visibility. No sign of bandits, no monsters or witch-hunting mobs, and no so-called “hags.” Slowly, her eyes bled back to their true hazel color. A simple teleport spell would do the trick. After adjusting the crystals in her megascope to allow for a rapid recall should she find herself in distress, Margarita sketched out the magic circle upon the floor with powdered nightmare hoof and hematite, placing red candles at the cardinal directions. An incantation she could have uttered in her sleep, and the megascope flared to life, illuminating the circle. If only she hadn’t still been cooling off from her altercation with Fergus, she might have remembered to include an object corresponding to the site…



If the impact didn’t take the sorceress’ breath away, the cold water filling her lungs did. Her left side sore from smashing into a submerged boulder after the the drop into the lake’s shallows, Margarita came to the surface gasping for air. Pain flooded her body as she crawled to shore, her auburn traveling dress streaked by mud. When at last she was mostly ashore, able to breath again, Margarita clutched her side. Nothing broken, save for her pride. ”Damn it!” she cursed, pounding the mud flats with her fist in frustration. Achingly rising to her feet, the sorceress painted the perfect picture of a sullen lady dumped in mud by her betrothed. She had no one to blame but herself…or so she thought.

Slogging across the mud flats, Margarita made it to the forest’s edge. A quick casting of Yennefer’s tidying up removed most of the dirt saved for the most pernicious and restored her eyeshadow to a semblance of its beauty; the spell was no replacement for a mirror and proper beautification skills, however. Lake and mountains to the south. She had to be near the Lyrian border. That meant her spell had taken her not far south of the Circle of Tagha Bough. ”Margarita, you fool,” she hissed at herself, checking the attunement crystal to her megascope, making sure it was undamaged by her humiliating fall. It had the faintest glow to it. The closer she came to the old druidic circle, the brighter the glow would become, signaling she could return to her megascope…assuming nothing else went wrong! Slowly, Margarita began her way through the forest…

Though she moved slowly thanks to the pain in her side, Margarita made good time in half an hour. However, clouds were moving in with unexpected speed from the northern expanse of the Blue Mountains. A storm front. Pausing, she noted several runes scratched deeply into an alder tree. A runic language, something more primitive than the Elder Tongue…its structure resembled that of cave paintings she’d studied dating back to before the Conjunction…during the time before mankind’s arrival, the time of elves and relicts. What did it mean? Margarita listened to the wind, then held up her arm, allowing her white raven familiar to land on her glove. ”What news do you have for me, precious?” she cooed, stroking the raven’s soft chest plumage. In her mind’s eye, her vision distorted like a bird’s, Margarita could see two people entering the clearing and ascending the small rise to the standing stones: one the size of a massive man in obscuring disheveled robes, the other a lithe blonde female warrior with a vicious scar along her left eye. Not druids, clearly, if one was a woman.

While Margarita was not one to assume the worse, it was better to be prepared than to be caught the fool. Uttering a swift protective incantation, she erected Alzur’s Shield around herself, a barely perceptible blue aura surrounding her and extending outward to form a translucent sphere. Then, gathering her cloak about herself, the intrepid sorceress ascended the hillock towards the standing stones…

~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ * ~ *~ * ~ * ~​
 
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Azurewraith

Explorer
OOC: For a moment there I thought she was going to drown.
"Ill head down to the river and find some Feanniewedd."

Tamaran uses his mental link with his companion to see if he can pick up the scent from the pestle.
 

Quickleaf

Legend
GM: Anyone going with Tamaran? Or are he and his wolf going solo along the river?

I'll continue the cutscene at a later date...I'm either going to wait until you cross paths with Margarita again and reserve part 2 as a "flashback" which she relates to you...or I'll save it for later in the game day to keep pace with the passage of time for your party.
 

Shayuri

First Post
"Not to impose on an elder race," Talashia says with a smirk, "But I think we should avoid splitting up. I wouldn't be surprised if 'old Nan' has surprises in store for those on her trail."
 


Queenie

Queen of Everything
Talashia nods with satisfaction. "Take us where they grow, and we'll watch your back and help you search. Well done, Elora."

"Not to impose on an elder race," Talashia says with a smirk, "But I think we should avoid splitting up. I wouldn't be surprised if 'old Nan' has surprises in store for those on her trail."

"Thank you Tal, it just took a bit of remembering." She thoroughly explains what the plants look like and what kinds of area they can be found in.

"I don't know this area, though, our intrepid elven friend should be the one with that knowledge. And I agree, we shouldn't split up, not now. If we hadn't been at full force last night, something terrible might have happened."

Elora follows the elf to the water and begins her search for the rare purple flower.
 

Shayuri

First Post
"Well your more than welcome to join me, provided you can keep up." Tamaran Smirks back a slight tone of indignation in his voice.

"Ah, the legendary humility and courtesy of the Fair Folk. Truly the stories do it no justice."

Talashia chuckles and follows Elora and Tamaran into the wilds.
 

Quickleaf

Legend


The slow-flowing Arel River is deep enough for canoes and longboats with a shallow draft to maneuver, though the further west it flows the more the river becomes overgrown with weeping willows, alders, oaks, and shrubs. As you reach the bridge at the northern trail into town, you are faced with a dilemma – search upriver (east) toward the hamlet of Upper Posada and ultimately Dol Blathanna, or search downriver (west) toward the dark forest known as the Czernhurst? Upriver would put you closer to elven lands, and possibly would make finding a rare elven herb more likely. While downriver would also allow you to skirt some fallow fields and harvest ergot seeds given a few extra hours.

GM: Whoever rolls will need to decide which direction to go in, or you can decide collectively.

[MENTION=6798581]Azurewraith[/MENTION] assuming Tamaran is taking point, make a DC 18 Survival check or Investigation check to search for Feainnewedd. You have advantage because Elora (and probably other PCs) is Helping you. Friendship. :) If you search upriver, you also get a +1 bonus to your check.

On a success, you must spend 10 hours searching, minus a number of hours equal to the difference between DC 18 and your check result. I'll be making random encounter checks as you search, and the timing may also effect how things unfold with the sorceress Margarita.

On a great success of 23+, same as a success (min. 5 hour search), plus you may choose one of the following:
  • you avoid all random encounters.
  • (if you went upriver) you discover a grove of Feainnewedd, allowing you to harvest six times more than what's strictly needed to fill the mortar-and-pestle.
  • (if you went upriver) you stumble upon an interesting site of exploration, likely something druidic or elven.
  • (if you went downriver) you harvest ergot seeds on a short side trek as part of your search - no additional time required.
  • (if you went downriver) you receive a sign from the sorceress Margarita or her white raven familiar.

On a failure, you spend 10 hours searching to no avail and can't find Feainnewedd. Random encounters still may happen, however. To try again you'll need to consult with a local herbalist, elves, druid, wise woman, or herbarium book and get a better idea of where to search.

On a great failure of 13 or less, you spend 10 hours searching to no avail (same as a failure), and everyone must make a DC 10 Constitution saving throw or suffer a level of exhaustion, and you must choose one of the following:
  • while your party is spread out wide searching, some of you stumble into a deadly encounter with a monster!
  • you are stalked or ambushed by the elven renegade Tamelore, who is after Odvara!
  • (if you went upriver) locals notice you searching and react negatively, assuming the worst about an elf scouting near the village!
  • (if you went downriver) you and Elora confuse purple-colored beggartick blossoms - a poisonous hallucinogen - for Feainnewedd by mistake!
 
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Azurewraith

Explorer
"Heading to Czernhurst would get us closer to the fields, two birds with one stone."Tamaran heads off west seething slightly at the previous comments.
OOC: [roll0]
[roll1]
Just in case the wolf can grab a scent.[roll2] [roll3]
 

Quickleaf

Legend
Making your way downriver, away from the village, you find it slow going both due to the sloped riverbanks and the need to keep your eyes peeled for a rare purple flower no larger than a child's palm. Even covering one mile of river every hour barely allows you enough time to conduct a fairly thorough search. Passing the northern bridge, you notice some farmers watching you quietly as they thresh a golden field of hops. Further west you follow downriver, keeping an eye out for a fallow wheat field where you might easily find some ergot "seeds."

After the first hour, you come to the edge of the fallow fields, a quarter mile stretch of rocks and heather before the edge of the Czernhurst. Squinting your eyes, you can make out what appears to be a stone totem covered in moss at the edge of the woods.

GM: Random encounter check (daytime 18+) _: 1D20 = [17] = 17 no encounter

If you're gathering ergot "seeds" (as part of your great success Survival check), just let me know. If you're doing something else instead, let me know.
 

Shayuri

First Post
Tired of grubbing about for plants, Talashia takes advantage of the distraction offered by the old stone thing and goes to get a better look at the totem. Squinting down at the half-obscured thing, she tries to clear some of the moss away by scraping at it with a dagger.
 

Quickleaf

Legend
A short walk across the heather and stones leads Talashia to the totem. It stands nearly seven-feet tall at the very edge of the Czernhurst, an amalgam of ecstatically dancing women forming the base with a three-sided horned beast at the top – one face facing the NNW, one the SSW, and the third seeming to leer down at the viewer. By clearing away some of the moss, Talashia discovers that the strange rain-weathered shapes engraved throughout the totem were actually originally carved bats. To be this weathered and covered in moss...the totem must be very old indeed.

At the base of the totem are a few lumps of melted orange wax - all that remains of some candles - and dried flower garlands along with a few scattered copper coins now turned blue-green with verdigris.
 

Quickleaf

Legend
GM: Ok, players have spoken, so I'm going with the white raven option for your great success [MENTION=6798581]Azurewraith[/MENTION]. Nice of you to put it to a vote :)


[SECTION]Talashia has barely begun inspecting the totem, when you notice a white bird causing a commotion above the river. Tamaran's wolf is the first to perk its head up, for wolves and ravens have had a strange relationship ever since the dawn of time, a low rumble in its throat drawing Tamaran's attention as well. A white raven flutters down atop the totem, its feathers ruffled and agitated, its pale eyes hyper-vigilant. It croaks once, loudly, to make sure it has Talashia's attention, then chuck-clucks to itself before fixing its breast plumage.[/SECTION]

[SBLOCK=Talashia]@Shayuri recognizes the white raven as Margarita's familiar.[/SBLOCK]

[SBLOCK=Barakor]@Aramalian Barakor's Divine Sense recognizes the white raven as celestial in origin, not a common beast.[/SBLOCK]
 

Halloween Horror For 5E

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