Chapter 5: Crossfire Trail Plot in Legends of Elohey | World Anvil

Chapter 5: Crossfire Trail

The Snafu Posse goes to Tarntaise Farm around one thirty in the morning on Grolm 8th.

Plot points/Scenes

Investigation at Tarntaise Farm


Field explorations:

The fields are all supposed to have scarecrows, one to a field. They got knocked down in the hurricane.
As of this afternoon, most of the fields had poles for scarecrows set up, and two fields had scarecrows rebuilt and placed. Supplies for making additional scarecrows can be found in the barn.
Tonight there are three scarecrows. One of them is Jackson Tarntaise, overlooking the prize heirloom rutabaga field "Pa" Quentin Tarntaise showed off to Jesse today. Jackson is dying. He was assaulted by Children of the Briar. His pole is surrounded by (number of PCs investigating +2) "huge dark green shrubs" (see Forester's Bane).

Also in the fields: assorted Ravenous Tumbleweed tumbleweeds, especially when someone wanders too far off the plot.


Barn explorations:

The barn in back was a long, somehow flattened-looking thing, designed to keep its farmhands from having to climb a lot of stairs or ladders in their daily work. The chicken coop ran under one half of the barn, the bunny hutch under the other half.
Tarntaise Farm description

The bunnies are now "bunnicula" vampire bunnies: abchanito . They will swarm as soon as anyone enters the barn.

Inside the barn are
  • stored crops in barrels or sacks,
  • a bin full of Clem's glazed but rough-made jugs for future sales of soup
  • the wagon,
  • supplies to make five more scarecrows,
  • harvesting equipment.
  • Several uncut wheels of beer cheese are stored in a stone lined underground bin with a reinforced trap door clearly visible.
  • Also in the barn are extremely large casks of rutabaga beer, organized by stages of fermentation and readiness.
No further hazards are in the barn after the bunniculas are defeated -- clearly there USED TO BE some Blood-sucking Cabbage, but the bunnies sucked the juice out of 'em.

House explorations:

The house is dark.

The hearth is cold.
Clues found in kitchen:
The dishes are halfway washed.
There's a half-baked chicken rutabaga gratin ( ) in the oven. The evening lanterns were never lit.
The perpetual vat of beer cheese soup has gone bad. Chunks of premixed "more" are wrapped in waxed cloth and stored in the cold cellar.
Clues found wandering around house:
Laundry hangs on the umbrella clothesline off the back porch.
Six adults lived here, based on the laundry in question. There's one bedroom with shelf beds built into the wall for for young children, this room is a little dusty.
The dining table seats up to ten.
Careful investigation and a good story or a good roll:
In the bedroom closest to the kitchen can be found (under the bed) a loosely bound journal with several drafts of a letter to " The Ministry " requesting to hire a "consultant". The farmers of Purgatory Gulch want their crops enhanced to repel encroaching ranch animals, since fences seem to instigate fights and sabotage. The farmers tried a few things on their own but the ranchers have "taken steps" to counter everything the farmers can do.
These letters were dated after the harvest season of 575.
Finally! A solid starting date for "the troubles"! At least on the farmer side.

Miro's investigations:

Miro Teague will at some point wander off and look into things. It's his schtick.
He winds up in a short stretch of road facing down a "Halfling Gunslinger": boots with spurs, check. Cowboy-style longcoat, check. Hostile body language, check. Body language shows he's getting ready to quickdraw a weapon in a side holster, check. Oatman hat: CHECK
This is in fact three Children of the Briar (each about a foot tall) piled up in a coat. I need the Baldur's Gate Noise for the monsters that rode on each other's shoulders? Anyway the "sidearm" they will go for is actually the ranged attack on and once Miro busts their "armor" (the coat) they will split into their three selves and try to entangle him.
The top one will be wearing the Oatman Band of Sleeping at the start of the combat.

Hour of the Dead

The smart thing to do after the farmhouse investigation is to stay put. Patch up Jackson Tarntaise, if he survived. Patch up selves/one another. Get some rest! It is now the Hour of the Dead (about 3:00 in the morning) and not a time when smart people go wandering out into the dangerous darkness.

The less smart thing to do is to go out into scrubland and camp.

The fairly unsmart thing to do is to go to either The Last Stand of the Whistling Wind (and investigate the reports of twinkling lights) or Arjory Pond (sure, you'll get there after sunrise, if you get there at all) and talk to someone else. Rest should happen before further trouble-seeking happens.

If some of the party goes to "the scar": Yathue Ilphendurl will use her banshee abilities to drive them back toward Tarntaise. She does not know that Jackson has been rescued / already died. She does know that Scaevola Aemula lurks about this night, trying again to raise the priestess's remains as a revenant.
If some of the party heads north toward Arjory Pond overland without first getting at least 6 hours of rest:
  • Swarm 'em with Ravenous Tumbleweed Ravenous Tumbleweeds.
  • And Briarseed Children.
  • In groups of twenty or so.
  • Capture them and drag them off to meet Farvald Kerner in the heart of Oatman Canyon, who will make them an offer they won't survive refusing.
If Zhang Sephia flies north toward Arjory Pond without first getting at least 6 hours of rest:

GM to PC: I need you to (1) Buy me some time, and simultaneously (2) Creep the party out and also make them feel guilty. Please make some appropriate "oh dear" type comments, then get yourself a drink refresh or a snack or something because you are Not Available To Fellow Posse Members. With sinister overtones.

Private chat with Sephia: You have two areas of concern. There's a residue of low-hanging smoke wafting north out of the center of Oatman Canyon. That's weird. Also the area around Arjory Pond looks a lot more overgrown/overhung than it used to be!

The resident and dominant force of this area is Yiara the "Naiad". She is a bald cypress dryad who got transplanted to this unlikely habitat centuries ago. She is old, somewhat set in her ways, somewhat remote from mammalian and reptilian sentient concerns.
Yiara is going to be a limited source of information and help, a possible source of treasure, and a giant opportunity for inventive roleplay.
For one thing: she won't speak any language but Kayam! That is going to be the rangers and the druid, unless someone casts a Comprehend Languages type of spell.
  • Remind Lee Chung:
  • The students of Purgatory Schoolhouse gave you an afternoon lesson about the naiad of Arjory Pond. Check out the articles for Arjory Pond and for Yiara as much as you please.
  • They did specifically and with great enthusiasm go over the ritual for approaching the pond and getting a bucket of water. Also there were some probably exaggerated or mythologized stories of awful things happening to people who got greedy, or who did the ritual wrong.
  • All citizens of Purgatory Gulch are careful to stand at the shore to say, clearly and precisely, how much water they wish to take -- for what purpose -- and what repayment they offer before they dip a ladle in Arjory Pond to fill their skein or bucket.
  • The students also included a few mentions of the naiad sometimes attending someone's grandparent's or great-uncle's funeral. Sometimes this is a story the kids are repeating which supposedly happened before they were born.
  • The last bit of rumor that you picked up from the students that afternoon was that Mr. Bianchi only lives here in Purgatory Gulch because the naiad decided he was going to. All the other goblin people come for merchant visits and then leave after a week or so.

The pond is freshly overgrown -- literally. The tree canopy has been accelerated and twisted to give translucent visual cover over almost all of the pond, leaving only the center completely exposed to the sky. Sunlight dapples through the tiny gaps in the sky as if making polka dots in a green sheet.

  • Yiara knows more than other people think she knows. She knows there's something TRULY EVIL that sometimes creeps into her territory. She can't do much about it because the bloody stupid farmers are being stupid.
  • Yiara has 2 members of the Bicchieri Caravan. They are battle-shocked and barely communicative. Yiara is not entirely sure what to do with them. She is concerned that if they die, they will raise as revenants. She also thinks they have scurvy and so keeps trying to feed them citric-soaked grain mush. She will only agree to hand them over if the party commits to transporting them either east or northeast for at least two days, to get them well out of the danger area.
Deep in the heart of her pond is a spring, magically sourced. The heart of the spring is on a pirate ship, which is where Yiara "lives".



Jackson Tarntaise's tale

callback to plot of Crossfire Trail, novel by Louis L'Amour, movie starring Tom Selleck
After the Snafu Posse visited the farm this afternoon, Pa was in a good mood. Seemed not to suspect that Jackson might have passed the Padre any of that information. We got on with the rest of the day's work, checking the fields, weeding the danged tumbleweeds, driving off them as has rolled in, walking the perimeter, all of that.
About an hour before the sun touched the horizon, I heard the banshee wail.
I was at the well when it happened, drawing water for the evening washing. The wail rolled off the hills to the north, of course. It'ud have to, wouldn't it?
I knew Pa was supposed to be weeding the heirloom field to the east, Ma would be either in the kitchen or else refilling the wood bin for the stove. Silas and Clem had the dogs with them in the south fields, chasing 'weeds. What worried me was Faylene -- she usually refills the water trough for the rabbits in the afternoon and then goes to check the roadside stand.
I ran around the house as fast as I could. I didn't even stop to drop the quarter-full bucket.
All I could think was, I got to get to Faylene, we got to get into the house.
There was this ... this monster. Just walking in past the roadside stand. Skin looked kind of like the Lich Tree behind Miss Melinda's shop. Sorta blue-purple hair. Faylene gazed up at its face like she was seeing the prettiest butterfly on top of the holiday tree.
I yelled my wife's name to try to snap her out of it, threw the bucket at the monster.
That's the last thing I remember.
You gotta save my wife. Please. Save Faylene. I couldn't get to her in time.
Plot type
Chapter 5: Creepier effects for increased tension
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Articles under Chapter 5: Crossfire Trail

Cover image: by CB Ash


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