Another week, another session:
For session 2 the players were:
-Maxcan7 (https://weirdwonderfulworlds.blogspot.com/), as Mr. Fox and his War Dogs
-TheisticGilthoniel (http://pilgrimtemple.blogspot.com/), as Ibrahim the Adept
-Renefor (https://falseidolstla.blogspot.com/) as Velasco the Heterodox Monk
We began this session at the pinecone knight outpost where the last session left off, with a winded hedgehog monk stumbling up. This was Velasco, sent by the Count to make sure the party was still alive. Velasco quickly acclimated to the strangeness of the world beyond the armoire, grounded by his familiarity with Mr. Fox, his war dogs, and Sir Alistair. They passed time talking to the pinecones about the land, and heard of the mice who religiously forswore clothing, and of the ermines who savoured their flesh.
The party held to their promise to return medication to the injured comrade of the pinecone knight by the armoire's entrance, and went south. This time they avoided the Couturier Spider's well by a wide margin. Despite their caution, tragedy struck, and one of the war dogs was abducted by a giant bat with fanciful fabric wings swooping out from the darkness.
An enlightening out-of-character discussion of bats, wasps, and the times they've tormented us followed.
True to their word, the party gave the life-saving medicine Sir Alistair had won in his duel with Captain Amberdrip to the watchful pinecone knights. The as-yet-unnamed pinecone knight who was the first creatue they met in the armoire's world joined them as a guide to the palace of its liege, the King in the Pines. It also warned them of the Daunt, the King's brutal right hand man/monster, a creature who could not be killed as simply as other mortals.
On the relatively uneventful return journey back to the swamp the party picked up a golden locket, holding a portrait of a younger Countess, as well as her brother who the Count had slain during the war.
While passing through the glade where the mannequette pirates were hanged, Ibrahim decided to question some of the corpses, learning the following from their wightly whispers:
-They were all hanged by the Daunt
-Snow foxes are all tricksters who speak in opposites
-Though made of wood, mannequettes mimic the functions of life like breathing, and are dependent on them for continued animation
-Mannequettes take on the roles and personalities of what they're dressed as
After this grave conversation the party relaxes with the pinecone knights at the outpost. Velasco wins over a convert with his unorthodox stories of the archons and their love. They learn that turpentine is distilled from pine resin, and the War Dogs receive a wash of the stuff to knock off their fleas.
The next morning they head north to the outpost's dock, currently swarming with swimming beetles tearing away at dumped chum. Mr. Fox dumps the War Dogs' shed fleas in, which turn out to be a particularly delightful treat for the beetles. Ibrahim trades one of his rings to a sketchy pinecone guard who goes by 'Mesquite' for the pinecone's raft, hidden under a pile of silken leaves, and they set off on the directions of the nameless knight to the King's palace.
While paddling north through the giant waterlogged turnips the party encounters another strange crew boating through the mist: one, wistful and lackadaisical, who seems to speak from the party's own perspectives, and the other with a grotesquely concave chest that could only wheeze. As the odd pair drew closer they seemed to suck the air out of the party's lungs, and with a burst of strength Velasco powered them away.
Then in the middle of the swamp the party encounters an even more bizarre sight: a wide whirlpool whipped into motion by froggy people racing giant, greasy swamp-swans. They're able to push against the current and drift to an observation platform. There the race's bookie, another froggy man going by "B.K.", makes them an intriguing offer: make it so none of the racers survive, and he'll split the winnings of his long-odds gamble with them. Ibrahim takes him up on the offer, and permanently sacrifices a point of his HP for the power to cast a 'Become Delicious' spell on a lagging racer. It came up a perfect 6. As the other racers lapped him, their swans lashed out at the newfound treat, tearing him apart and churning the water into a feeding ground for the birds and the marine predators similarly enticed.
TheisticGilthoniel claimed this to be the second most awful thing he's done in a game so far.
Apalled and impressed in equal measure, B.K. pointed them towards the gambling barge 'I Wanna Die' to collect the winnings. Night falls as the party heads over, and through the darkness screams and the sounds of struggle greet them. The barge is under siege by a moving tree!
After a brief scuffle of maneuvering and hurled turnip-chunks, Mr. Fox has the idea to tie turpentine-soaked rags to the unnamed pinecone's crossbow bolts, and fire them at the drier sackcloth-hung boughs at the tree's crown. This works marvelously, and the tree hurls itself into the water to douse itself.
The waves stirred up by the tree's impact knock the War Dogs and Ibrahim overboard. Fortunately this doesn't attract any beetles, or worse. The party receives a hero's welcome by the relieved gamblers, and the session closes out there.
What awaits our heroes next time? Is this truly the last of the killer tree? Will they find the source of the growing rotten-pork stench, and is it indeed decomposing turnips building up to a catastrophic explosion as surmised? Will they be able to collect the ill-gotten gains from their race-ending atrocity? Only time and the dice can tell.