Across The Thornwaste

Despite the DM’s insistence that he is providing a sandbox world where every choice is valid, the players somehow spot the dayglow flashing rails leading off towards the Ghostlord, and decide to follow them.

After days of travel the party find themselves in a vile arid land of twisted, barbed vegetation, treacherous ravines and razor-sharp rocks. The sun beats down remorselessly, carrion birds circle overhead, but on the plus side no creature would be mad enough to live out here in such a blasted wilderness.

This of course is the cue for an ambush by a rag-tag bunch of creatures, who have absolutely not been assembled because the DM happens to have their minis lying about and has yet to make use of them. Instead it seems as if they are somehow being controlled to coordinate their attack, and they do so most effectively. A redspwan firebelcher, well, belches fire, a big spiked snaky thing poisons everything around it whilst from above harpies spew burning clouds of ash and a griffon makes straffing runs with its deadly claws. Add in the ravines and the bushes with the 6-inch thorns that hurt like hell when you land in them, and their party have their work cut out.

Tetsu, as point man,  becomes the immediate focus, and takes a hell of a beating before being knocked into a ravine. He decides to stay down there where it is safe. Thovar also takes massive damage, and then gets knocked into the ravine too, along with the firebelcher that decides barbecue dwarf is on the menu. Death is not far.

It is largely thanks to Brynn’s healing prowess, Brick’s new 20-on-every-sided dice and Artheon’s uber-munchkin build that the party survive at all. Stinking clouds and insane damage-dealing finally win the day, but the party have taken quite a battering. Someone, it seems, does not like them (and I’m not just talking about the DM).

Another day’s travel and at last the party find themselves gazing up at a truly intimidating sight. A massive lion of dull tawny stone crouches, as if ready to pounce, rising fully eighty feet above their heads. Carved from the very landscape, this is a monolith of quite terrifying  proportions. What manner of creature could create such a dread marvel, and what unspoken horror does its fearsome  aspect signify?

Or, as one poetic soul more succinctly puts it, “Oh look, it’s a dungeon.”

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