The Portal to the Feywild can be encountered by tracking the party investigating the missing shepherds or when heading to an elven city to find the secret of the Lune and Scour pendants. The party may hire a competent tracker in Alindas if they do not have one.
The forest contains one skeleton for every odd party member and one skeleton horse for every even party member. The skeletons can ride the horses, and both may attack when doing so. The bones of the skeletons are cracked and have huge flat teeth indentations in them. A party guide or Alindas hunters in the adventurer’s pub remark that this looks like the doing of a wolfbiter. A DC 15 nature check will reveal the same.
Friendly sprites inhabit the feywild side, but refuse to come out till the skeletons are dealt with as their attacks are completely ineffective. (at dm’s discretion they may heal).
Stepping into the mushroom ring or the glowing circles transfers a character to the other version of the map.
Sample loot is below in the party log, but one important item is the shepherd’s guide journal.
A competent tracker can follow the skeleton’s trail from the Wolfbiter’s Pasture.
The chest has an ice trap that does 1d10 damage on breaking or rolling less than 15 on a lock-picking attempt. If discerned it can be disarmed with a dc 10 lockpicking attempt (failure trips it) and the chest opens with a 12.
The chest contains a moonwood branch for each party member.
The 7th of Morningtide
One of our party has died and came back … wrong. Our dwarf is obsessed with defending the living world from the dire threat … of a small circle of mushrooms. Granted these have grown up around a portal to the feywild, but we have interrogated him thoroughly, and he is convinced the threat has nothing to do with that portal, but is inherent to the small, speckled, cherry colored fungi. What that threat is exactly, he cannot say.
Honestly, this brings to mind the stories of the godstouched who meet fatal mischance in their quests. The blessings of the gods are enough to make one practically immortal, but when fate and circumstance manage to render you so badly shredded that even that blessing wears thin, the universe, wroth at such offense to the natural order wreaks a merry vengeance. It is quite devastating but sometimes possible to remedy this state, provided it does not immediately render the subject non-living or non-sentient.
unreadable map (looks like gibberish)
3 Branches, unknown, magical
some badly rotted saddles
one is completely shredded by you guys
3 badly used swords
7 pieces hard tack
Guide up top reflect a lot of lessons learned the hard way. Here’s what happened:
They found their portal. They also found the unfortunate skeletons from a previous quest shepherd’s second rate party. The shepherd had gotten ambushed by something out of his league as they’d find out when they looted his journal after the battle. But for the party, the more pressing matter were the hard hitting skelatonized warhorses the undead were riding and the fact that those on the feywild side could see and attack (for half damage) those still in base reality. Those in the base reality could hit for full damage, but could not see those in the feywild, a marked disadvantage. Not to mention the most experienced member of the party thought it would be fun to hide out the first half of the battle in an illusory bush.
I removed the planned grasping underground traps and had the sprites who lived in the glade aid the party… but the sprites pretty much just have a sleep attack, and the party’s second wizard only had sleep prepped himself and hadn’t bothered to fill in his additional level 2 spells (to be fair he didn’t want to cheat by grabbing something specifically for the skellies). So by the end of the session: 2 of the 3 sprites were squished, the party was just about dead and completely surrounded, and they weren’t all that enthusiastic about the next session. I would like to point out that the party is only level 2, completely new to the game, excepting mr. bushwizard. Also this was my first campaign as DM.
I had a couple weeks for damage control, reminded the party about the ridiculous random deaths chart we’d agreed on before the first session, and got wizard number 2 to study his scrolls. Next session rolls around and the players are actually business. I’ve realized the remaining sprite is much more useful as a flying healer and penciled in the necessary skills and items. He gets two players into the positive integers before they abandon him (splat). To be fair, there were pressing matters at hand, because the skeletons killed their fighter and only meat shield. However the rest of the party is back on their feet, and have finally had the bright idea to climb some trees. They break for the feywild and roll a good number of successful stealth checks while wizard #2 distracts them with the spells he’s just “remembered.”
I’ve ruled that skeletons aren’t great climbers and the old wood forest is about as resilient to rusted blades and undead hooves as the average gazebo. So the fact the entire party (minus the dead dwarf fighter) are long range combatants means there isn’t much left in this fight.
Things get interesting when the party realizes the sprites are all dead and can’t tell them anything about the chest they find sitting in the feywild. The rogue tries to pick the lock and gets hit by a magical ice trap, freezing her solid and doing 2 D10 damage, if i remember right. So bushmage finds the picks and after checking that the only trap’s been sprung, gives it the old college try. He rolls badly enough to snap the picks off in the lock.
Flavorwise the PC’s are blessed by the gods in this campaign, giving them strength and potential beyond mere mortals. This includes the ability to survive ridiculous amounts of damage. The universe itself abhors a thing in nature that refuses to die when it should. So the dwarf has to roll on the random death chart to see what happens when the will of the gods conflicts with the will of the universe. It ends non-messily. His random death: “Norian Ironhouse pulls a ‘thou shalt not pass’ on nearest enemy or inanimate object. He means it.”
The nearest item is the rightmost ring of little red mushrooms you see round the trees/portals in the picture up top. He will be unwilling to leave this place and will urge others to flee until the grave threat the mushrooms pose to the very cosmos has been ended, in an extremely convincing manner.
The other players are still more interested in the chest and manage to convince the dwarf to come over and bash it open with his war ax, telling him it could help end the threat of the mushrooms. He fails a bluff check and smashes it, finding the sprite’s secret catch of several moonwood branches and one toad. This and the other two toads they find in the glade are put to astonishingly good use later.
This being the third time the party has lied to him transparently for their convenience (the first being to convince him to take part in a cold blooded murder, the second when they initially tried to talk him down from the mushroom ring), the lawful good dwarf sulks back to his vigil.
But then bushwizard remembers that an earlier history check revealed that the portals are artificially anchored into the moonwood trees in their center for stability. And disrupting that is violently explosive. Like “they never find the body and you leveled an unspecified amount of forest, if you’re lucky,” violently explosive. They hadn’t pulled it out during the fight because the dwarf had been lying right in the middle of the most relevant portal. With bushmage’s arcana check, he’s relatively certain that 40 feet should be safe. The dwarf refuses to stand more than 35 feet away. The rest of the party is 50 and the bushwizard lights the tree, knocking everybody on their backs and hitting the dwarf with an additional 1d6 damage (he got pretty lucky).
This left a molten smoking crater leaking magical energies and proved to be sufficient proof that particular ring of mushrooms was no longer a threat.