Garden of Evil Report in Legends of Elohey | World Anvil

Garden of Evil

General Summary

Grolm 9, 578
about 4:45 p.m.
  A woman engages five strangers to save her spouse, but vanishingly little is as it seems!   Miss Melinda Naknirore gets to pontificating when she is nervous. And, boy oh boy! is she nervous!   At the SNAFU Posse's instruction, she packs her Pisky Duffel Bag as swiftly as she is able. She keeps in mind that no one is likely to carry anything for her, and that her career in this region probably burned down with her shop. She can't bring the potbelly stove or the boiler. She might not even bother to pack the Device! Books, journals, records, and hard-to-replace components, that's it. Not even a change of clothes.   The SNAFU Posse prepares to confront the sheep hooves they hear coming up the stairs from the Alfredo House upper floor.   If they can take this one out without raising an alarm, MAYBE they can go back down to the door which once opened onto a "north porch".   Maybe!   If!   Otherwise, Bruthazmus at minimum will die in this ranch house. He can't fit into the unfinished half of the attic. He can't break through the stone walls of Alfredo House without bringing tons of stone down on himself. The SNAFU Posse sounded to Miss Melinda like that was a tolerable risk -- perhaps they have faith in the ranger to get himself out alive against a rushing flock of demon-possessed sheep -- but on the other hand, few people of the lands near Sog's Lake would refuse to spend the life of one bugbear.   It's going to be a dangerous scene at the start of this session, either way!  
Find a Place Opening Credits
Generic article | Oct 24, 2020

Back in town:

The SNAFU Posse arrives to find a new kind of horrification:
All of Purgatory Gulch is surrounded by the spiky walls of a single monstrous-sized Barrel Cactus!
Getting inside it is something of a puzzle, which the party tackles from three directions.
  • Harpy Ranger Zhang Sephia flies over its breadth. She finds that there's a puddle-shaped opening at the top center where the barrel cactus did not quite grow together. If she does some particularly fancy flying, she might just be able to fit through the middle of it without cutting herself to ribbons.
  • Most of the posse sticks with the beer cart. They follow the long route across rough terrain to the north, then east, until they find the source of the slow rhythmic thunk thunk noises.
    Miss Melinda, covered in cactus slime, has a rock in her hand. She stands as close as she could get to the backside of her former storefront. She hits the cactus rind again and again and again, trying to dig her way through to whatever remains of her livelihood.
    Shifting to his dire coyote form, Miro Teague gently nudges her aside. He begins to dig at the already weakened spot.
    Chica Alston and Jesse Devonshire keep watch on Miro, Melinda, and the cart. Chef and Lee Chung start foraging for edible ingredients in the surrounding scrubland.
  • Bugbear Ranger Bruthazmus continues eastward as the gigantic cactus winds along the rocky landscape. He finds a spot close to where he thinks the back garden of Jasper Chapel should be. He gets out his supply of Blessed Honey and experiments on the cactus … which does, indeed, smolder as if part of it is undead!
    Once his apprentice is sufficiently engaged in meal preparation, Lee Chung strolls over to see what Bruthazmus is doing. Bruthazmus uses tiny trickles of the Blessed Honey to burn a rectangular door into the cactus rind, thus ensuring that the SNAFU Posse will have multiple emergency exits if necessary.
Inside the town are no humans.
But some of the animals, especially at Oat Livery.
And Scaevola Aemula, slightly tipsy, who openly admits to Sephia that the dryad is here feeding the animals because she knows her ally would wish it of her. The one she serves did not think of the town animals. He would not care about their welfare if he did think of them.
Where are the people of the town? In the clutches of the one whom Scaevola Aemula serves, of course. At his cavate. Those were Scaevola Aemula's precise instructions; she had no alternate interpretation available, and so she must obey.
Lee goes into the ruined ground floor of Purgatory Gulch General Store in search of supplies. Chef thinks of a grand tribal trap used by his native culture to hunt large deer, using long cords and an enhanced heavy weight; he thinks that the imported oil lamps dangling by thick chain from the saloon's ceiling would make a fantastic version of this method, with some assistance from "dragon lady" Sephia. Bart keeps an eye on the hostile Stormborn with one eye and the distraught Pisky alchemist with the other. Sephia peeks into the protected cavern underneath the Purgatory Schoolhouse.
Assorted animal companions buzz or flutter about the area near their chosen people.
Nearly exhausted, Jesse collects a bottle and goblet from Purgatory Saloon and joins his "new girlfriend" for a quiet moment.
And then. . . .
… Perhaps it is the weariness.
Perhaps Scaevola Aemula's frustration is contagious.
Or perhaps the idea comes straight from a moment when a druid chooses to let himself be affected by a mild toxin such as rutabaga-based alcohol.
Never has a druid so fabulously misused the druidic spell Accept Affliction in the history of Edoya!
The ritualistic binding of a being's will into mystic service is not, strictly speaking, an affliction, after all. Not even if it was involuntary, which would most often be the case.
Nevertheless: Human Druid Jesse Devonshire, son of an exacting alchemist on the path to lichdom
takes on the Will-Bound "affliction"
freeing the half-fiend dryad from her compulsions
with the last of the nature-derived power remaining to him for the day.
(( Rule 1: No drinking while the cut scene plays.
I will not be responsible for damage to keyboards. ))
— GM to players, Saturday, September 26th, 2020
Zhang Sephia: OMG!!!!
Jesse Devonshire's Player: ((Well that happened.))
Zhang Sephia looks at Jesse.: What did you do???
Bruthazmus's Player: (( Well, you have always had a knack for triggering aggro on the End Boss!! ))
Jesse Devonshire: Broke a curse.......broke-ish
Zhang Sephia: Are you sure?
Jesse Devonshire: Bent it heavily.
Bruthazmus: And people tell me I'm a "bear in a porcelain store"
Lee Chung comes back from the General Store
Zhang Sephia laughs
Miro Teague: I never heard of breaking a curse with true love hand shake before
Lee Chung: “Who caused that?”
Bruthazmus jerks a thumb at Jessie
Miro Teague: old bright boy over there... points
Lee Chung: “What did you do?”
Jesse Devonshire: Broke a curse.... or bent it.
Miro Teague: and people say i'm the trouble maker....can't blame this one on me
Bruthazmus: Ok, Jessie. How's this work? You're ... what... taking her place in whatever magical enslavement is going on?
Lee Chung: “WHAT?”
Jesse Devonshire: Well, the "Master" hasn't given me any orders.
Zhang Sephia: He didn't sound like anything was broken or bent - except you
Jesse Devonshire: And the punishment might only work on half-demons..
So he might have to try to turn me into a half-demon before he gets his Lieutenant back.
Bruthazmus Turns to Sephia: I don't care what idea I come up with from here on out. You can't tell me its nuts ... cause he just won that prize
Zhang Sephia: Agreed
Miro Teague sighs.: ya know we are going to have to blind fold him and fill his ears or his"new master" will know where we are going and all our plans right?
Zhang Sephia: Well, we can't leave him here - can we?
Miro Teague: or Bart could just knock him out
Bruthazmus eyes Jessie: ... nope. Not right to leave him here.
Jesse Devonshire: Well then let's just leave the plans as they were and not talk about them any more until we finish them. :slight_smile:
Zhang Sephia: Can he read your thoughts now?
Miro Teague: or knock him out
Lee Chung: “Jesse, could you please explain in detail why you thought your course of action would be advantageous to us?”
Bruthazmus Looks to see if Scavala is still around
Jesse Devonshire: There's really not that much going on for him to read if he could.
Zhang Sephia: He does not have to answer to anyone except himself. He is doing what he considers to be right and proper. We do not get to question his reasons - only him timing.
Miro Teague: doesn't mean he couldn't hear through your ears or see through your didn't think this one though did you?
Jesse Devonshire: Next most powerful resource he has are the Jack-O-Lanterns and we can handle those.
Bruthazmus, while looking around for the dryad: ... from what little I know of bindings ... if that lich has any magical sense about Scavela at all .. I bet he'll have felt that
Lee Chung: “It would be good to know his reasons so we don’t inadvertently invalidate them”
Bruthazmus: Which means I doubt we're "nothing" anymore
Miro Teague: I'll remember you said that when we all wake up with our throats cut Princess
Zhang Sephia: That will be a trick
Bruthazmus: Helluva risk, Jessie. But ... we can work with this
Jesse Devonshire: It took him a long time to find out about us stopping the cabbages earlier, nor about anything SA told us.
Bruthazmus thinks.
Lee Chung: “If we can wake up AFTER having our throats cut then we have little to worry about due to being immortal.”
— SNAFU Posse reacts to the Cut Scene,
recorded by a Special Guest Star in advance.
Saturday, September 26th, 2020
Scaevola Aemula stares in astonishment at her own talons.
Scaevola Aemula steps into the nearest medium-sized growing plant and woodsteps out of the area.
Moments later, Scaevola Aemula steps out of the Two Lovers trees at the small cemetery near the Schoolhouse. She runs back to the gathered party.
Scaevola Aemula grabs Jesse Devonshire. She bends him back in a dramatic liplock.
(Jesse can tell that Scaevola Aemula means every implication of this kiss. And that she has no idea, no experience, of how to kiss. Or to be kissed. She is estimating off past observations of others.)
Perhaps we should give them some privacy.
Lee Chung to the rest of the SNAFU Posse
When she lets him back up for air, Scaevola Aemula focuses all of her attention on Jesse's eyes. Nothing else matters to her for a moment.
If you want, I will kill you now. I will do it swiftly.
Scaevola Aemula offers to repay Jesse Devonshire for her freedom by killing him before the Will-Binding goes to work.
Jesse thanks Scaevola Aemula for the offer.
I'll help if you need me to.
Miro Teague finds common ground with the half-fiend dryad at last!
Widening her attention to include the gathered members of the Posse, Scaevola Aemula infodumps as much as she can from her own experiences in servitude.
  • Master Farvald Kerner was not the one who bound her. His master did that. Then she was "given" over to Master Kerner. As a useful tool. She was commanded to serve him.

    She had no ability to choose to disobey. The bound cannot conceive of any choice which would blatantly be against the will of the one they serve. The mind will not comprehend, not imagine, actions or inactions that contravene the master.
  • Master Kerner cannot order the one in his service to do anything which he does not know the bound has the capacity to do. Do not give away your fields of knowledge!
  • Scaevola Aemula gained much experience in creatively interpreting commands … Master Kerner has been thoroughly trained to be excruciatingly precise in the commands he gives.

    Thinking up alternate interpretations, finding loopholes, is exhausting. Difficult. Rare.
  • I had to perform deeds from which I will never be clean.
    Your ally, too, will do things that would not have been his choice if he were free.
    I did things, went places, because I knew that I was to do them.
  • The ones who performed the initial binding still know where Scaevola Aemula's tree is, and how to get there. She must take action to save her tree before they can re-bind her.
Scaevola Aemula got to a point where she felt she had given all the warnings that might be worth extra time. She looked at Jesse again. She then fled back into the Two Lovers, vanishing from the area.
((And the GM's
entire zip code's power
went out all at once, a few thousand residences dark. No internet, no anything.
What timing!))
The SNAFU Posse decides to collect the wagon animals which first carried them into town, plus anything else worth quickly salvaging from the destitute town, and retreat to Arjory Pond, in hope that Yiara will shield them while they get outside of a meal and inside of a sleeping bag. And what to do about Jesse's condition?

Rewards Granted

It turns out that the SNAFU Posse did not do so whole a job when they thought they had stopped the emptying of Purgatory Gulch!. Live and learn! And, with some aggressive strategizin' by the Posse, so will the missing townsfolk!
  • Each member of the SNAFU Posse -- each of the Player Characters plus Chef -- starts at 933 XP for their work outside and inside of Alfredo House .
  • Everyone who is not a ranger adds 600 XP, bringing their personal totals up to 1533 XP! (But Jesse Devonshire keeps on a-readin'!)
  • The Ranger duo of Zhang Sephia and Bruthazmus, who got a chance to use their true skills a little, picked up 800 additional XP, bringing their personal totals up to 1733 XP before they head to Arjory Pond!
  1. The SNAFU Posse faced one Challenging-level Encounter by getting into Alfredo House without raising an alarm, then getting back out before the finally-sounding alarm could catch up with them. A Challenging Encounter award is a total of 3200 XP, split among the six members of the party it becomes about 533 XP apiece.
  3. Everybody had to pull together to fight that flock of grazing Woolies that blocked your escape to the eastern slope! They had almost as many combatants on their side as the SNAFU Posse threw into the battle, on top of which the Woolies were trying to hold time for a duo of Hell Hands to get into range. Sure, one of the Woolies could not aim worth a darn, but two of 'em got into wrasslin' matches with the most physically powerful members of the party. We'll call that a fair shake as an Average Encounter for our APL 6 posse. Total of 2400 XP, split among six people doing their share, that's 400 XP for each of you.
  5. The foursome of Chef, Jesse, Lee, and Miro successfully deceived and avoided two Hell Woolies on their way downslope, for a total of 2400 XP which is split four ways to make another 600 XP apiece.
  7. Bruthazmus and Sephia split the award for a single Hell Woolie on the stairs. 1600 XP total, 800 XP apiece for each of them.
  9. And then there's Jesse Devonshire, who single-handedly resolved half-fiend dryad Scaevola Aemula as a Challenge for the rest of the campaign.
    Scaevola Aemula (as a Will-Bound vassal to Master Kerner) was CR 5, worth 1600 XP.
    So long as the Ministry does not act too quickly to rebind her, Scaevola Aemula is out of reasons to torment the SNAFU Posse.
    Good work, Jesse! You took on the penalty without spreading it across your team. You got yourself added to the list of Unresolved Debits on The Ministry's ledger, the kind of debit that they like to pay off with a shortened life expectancy. I reckon "cabbages the size of my head" are going to be a minor feature in your life story by the time they clear that debt. Those 1600 bonus XP go right along with your new Condition!
General note: Some of you may be within kick-a-rock distance of an experience point accumulation that qualifies you for 7th level, or even a short ways past it. Please remember that you can't Ding! and do the actual leveling up until you have time to train. Right now, it looks like you won't have a chance for that until after the end of this adventure. Record the XP, but don't level yet!

Character(s) interacted with

The Bows of Purgatory Gulch
Lee Chung
-Level Monk 6
Jesse Devonshire
6-Level Druid
Zhang Sephia
6-Level Ranger
Bruthazmus Kele
Nodin Bugbear
6-Level Ranger
Miro Teague
7-Level Sorcerer
Player Journals
20200926 Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Butternut Squash Soup by Jesse Devonshire
Overstaying our welcome by Bruthazmus Kele
Out of house and into trouble by Zhang Sephia
Report Date
26 Sep 2020
Primary Location
Secondary Location

Cover image: by CB Ash


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