A Forest perhaps involving Doom, but not calling it that

Today we will replay Siege of Sardath, and I say “we” because my sweetie and I are playing together, with one of us reading and the other making the choices. I played SoS back in 2015, and I remember that it was a very difficult book with a lot of mandatory items and a lot of red herrings. But it’s been a while, and here we go…

Skill 11, Stamina 20, Luck 8 — Not bad!

A Lurking Evil, a Message, an Assassination, a Weird Wizard

The back story is that we’re happy wood folks, living in harmony with the forest, but lately the forest has turned hostile and out of balance. It’s not just global warming — something evil is corrupting the forest. And tonight, a traveler has made it through the forest, to bring a warning about the evil… and to murder us and take our shape and our place.

Damn, this book does not mess around. Page 1 begins in media res, with the shapeshifter growing wings and claws, and leaping at us! We pull out out our swords and fend him off, and after a few rounds he gives up and flees, leaping from the window and flying away scot-free. And the bastard swiped our council signet rings too. The foreword said that that ring was our most precious possession, too, so I sense some foreshadowing here.

So, now the council agrees that they need to send a pair of adventurers through the forest and to Sardath, to root out this evil and destroy it. Their selection of chumpion (see what I did there? lol) is based on the classic “who smelt it, dealt it” method. Since we’re the ones who noticed the evil, we get to take care of it too. Yeah, that’s management.

Our first stop is the local wizard and astrologer. He has a ritual, he says, which may help me out, except that nobody has ever survived it. Wow, this guy needs some tips on salesmanship. As we walk into the room, he says that I’m being unwise and shouldn’t be here. What the hell, doc? Buy hey, in for a penny, in for a pound, as they say. I steel myself and brace for the worst, dice at the ready. Turns out that there was no ritual; he just knocked on his magic mirror, a spirit appeared in the mirror (in beautiful 5.1 Dolby sound) and said that I need a magical amulet from a witch here in the forest, and that was that. No threat to life nor limb, certainly no basis for “nooo-ooo-body has ever surviii-ii-iived” creepiness.

We back slowly out his door, trying to not make eye contact nor to break into a run, until we get clear of the house and bolt down the street. And finally, we’re on our quest.

The Quest Begins

Our first daring escape is a potion seller. Well, it wasn’t a daring escape as much as arguing over the power of his strongest potions relative to my constitution. The argument becomes heated and emotional, but ultimately I relent and apologize for calling him a rascal. We admit that my pride was hurt at his implication that I could not handle his potions, and I lashed out in anger. He accepts my apology, and suggests that perhaps his second-shelf potions are better suited to an adventurer of my caliber. We part on agreeable terms, and the lady and I grab a Love Potion No. 1 for when we camp out tonight. bum-chicka-bow-wooow…

We mosey down to the harbor, prep the boat, and head up the river. We don’t even have to roll for being eaten by a wood maggot or pricking our thumb on a poisonous splinter taken from the Death Wood Tree and instantly dying, or other such goofy FF shenanigans. Ha, ha, I kid, I kid… (no, I’m not kidding, you know it happens)

The trip downstream is largely uneventful, except noting that some vandals have torn down one of the bridges, and at nightfall we stop to make camp. But, we see two humanoid-batlike things fly overhead, kind of like the guy who tried to kill us last night. Whatever they’re up to cannot be good, so we decide to investigate. We find two of them, and they’re definitely winged dark elves, apparently breaking into a tomb. (pro adventurer tip: dark elves are not to be confused with Drow elves. Drow is a copyrighted patent pending tm and these are tooooootally not at all derivative works)

I’m the kind of hero who won’t tolerate such disrespect for the honorable dead, and we kill both of them easily. Then I see that it’s the tomb of that witch we’re supposed to see, … and we decide to break into the tomb to see if there’s useful loot. Because that”s what heroes do.

Inside the Tomb

Inside the tomb, we find the witch’s mummy and the amulet that I assume is the one we’re supposed to grab.

In a not at all shocking lack of plot twist, the mummy inside the tomb turns into the ghost of the witch, and tries to attack us. I never would have guessed! Fortunately, our swordsmanship and dexterity gave us a glimpse as the mummy/ghost came at us, that it was guarding a hidden door behind it. (why does Skill mean seeing a door? if you have to ask, you wouldn’t understand) We dodge around the ghost and through the door, just in time for a cave-in to prevent the incorporeal ghost from passing through it and continuing it attack… for some reason…

Anyway, loot chamber.

We find the amulet, a heavy golden thing with Cthulhu on it. I hope it’s fine Innsmouth workmanship, but sadly it is not. It’s a cheap knockoff made of nickel and gold plate. It’s not even Cthulhu, but a brain slayer which itself is the off-brand knockoff of a mind flayer (again, pat pend, tm, R, K, pareve, gluten-free, please do not sue we swear this is a completely original work). The thing is freakin’ heavy and we get -2 skill when we wear it, but we’re warned that when the time comes that we need it, it will be too late to put it on. Geez, foreshadow much?

Second, a gorgeous silver shield. As we reach for it, a mirror demon comes out. It has a skill 8 to our 11, but still, it gets a lucky roll and we are dragged

screaming

into its dimension

without even dying first.

And our adventure ends here.