So this session, for the first time, the party doesn’t wake up in the foyer – they wake up in what seems to be the center of some sort of indoor conservatory or utterly massive greenhouse. There is a large fountain with gargoyle statues and pool nearby, and paths leading to the south and to the north – and the party can see the lid of chest that is buried in the ground at the base of the fountain.
With something like fifteen feet of water (to all inspection and detection) separating them from it.
The party is also, yet again, containing a new (but old) character. This time it is someone who both Kyril and Katalyn know, a lusty and busty sh’dai female who is known called Karin – who seems to be both a duelist of some sort and a Tantric. Concerned about the welfare of her henchmen, Kyril assures her that they are “probably fine” and the party quickly fills her in on what has been going on – equally disappointed that she has no better clue what is going on than they. Sadly, Karin seems to have taken the place of Frater Nikolai, so that leaves Sorer Isabella as the ranking Society of Light cleric, with Frater Gregor and Brother Illya undoubtedly concerned with what was happen without the primary healer and leader of the party present.
In any case, Ketzl decides to strip down and wade out across the water (up to his armpits!) to check out the chest…
…and is promptly attacked by the giant amoeba that inhabits the entire bottom of the tank.
Now, luckily, they had tied a rope around his chest and Tier yanked him out almost immediately, as other folks are reaching in trying to grab him (and getting attacked in turn), but there was a scene of mass confusion and a riot of action as spells were cast (including an incredibly useful Faerie Fire by Karin) and short work was made of the monster (give Taloth shots at point-blank range and he is positively nasty…).
Fast-forward a few minutes and now Ketzl, Gregor, and Tier are all wading towards the fountain, everybody is waiting for the gargoyles to animate or start spitting acid or something absolutely vile and they are startled to realize that someone is walking down the path from the north. The woman, who is dressed in rather fine but plain clothing, stops as she sees the group, gazes at them with a mixture of horror and anger, cries, “You killed Hymie!” and then shouts “Attack!” which results in the entire forest flinging pine comes, twigs, branches, etc at the party.
(“Hymie” was the generic name for all sorts of generic bad guys in SD’s campaign, actually the name for all sorts of generic folks period – it was long before Kenny…)
This attack was the result of me trying to make sense of an absolutely worthless spell list on a wandering NPC member of the Amber family. Perhaps the most useless one of the entire family actually – which also had me realizing that evidently the spell progression charts were significantly different in Expert D&D because none of these people have enough spells for their level. But in any case I had to decided what you could do when you essentially had the ability to Charm Plants an infinite number of times on the entire forest and this made the most sense – it essentially became a 1d4+11 (the NPC’s level) AOE attack, save for half (and the people in the water saved for half or none since they could duck under the water).
The problem was that it also nailed the familiars…
Unfortunately I can’t remember the exact series of events (and my spouse is gone for the weekend, she keeps an amazing game log) but though some quick action on the various healers part, and really pissed of Kyril (who subsequently Arcane Blasted the lady), and some unfortunately ineffective action on the part of Brother Illya and Taloth the lady had been taken down, familiars were saved, and the forest stopped going berserk… The party also made it to the buried chest and was almost disappointed to discover it wasn’t trapped or anything bizarre and found a great deal of silver and another of the strange silver keys.
It has also prompted me to come up with an interesting solution for how to explain all of the wandering mages who seem to have no spellbooks (as well as no bedrooms) and provide a funky mechanic for the mages to possibly get what they all want – more spells!
After gathering themselves up, and peering down both paths (actually the Valdamir the Bard investigated a bit down both, to shouts that if got himself killed wandering off it was his own damn fault), they decided to head north and see where the lady came from. Ignoring the squirrels that were evidently storing transformed-into-gold acorns in an old tree, they came to a large set of doors that actually looked like they led to a Church of the Lords of Light chapel, complete with Argentos, etc. This was obviously something that the Society of Light folks couldn’t pass up, and really, I think most everyone wanted to get out of the forest at that point.
So in they go, to find a large chapel of the Church of the Lords of Light, though with some subtly disturbing mosaics and frescos (a bit too erotic – it was decided that they must be more Kistathian influenced), lined with not-very-saintly statues of what seems to be members of the Amber family. As the party spread out to investigate, two of the statues animated – one touching Kyril and the other pressing an ornate golden ring into Mika’s hand.
And then the Amber Light rose about everyone again!