You can read about the previous game session by following the link. This post is somewhat long, so I've put it behind a cut.
Day 6, Month 6, Year 3 After the Night of Fire (ANoF)
...and realise that they are drowning! The player characters begin to strike their way to the surface, but are menaced by what appear to be two large, fish-like beings in the water. While Devron Sharpis and Kiarra Foxten are able to protect themselves with their knives as they swim for the surface, the others aren't so lucky. Torvu Peng, being a Rover, is able to hold his own, but Keana, Teela Goran, and Barm Vaks struggle in the water. It is Teela Goran who saves them, stretching her magic such that she is able to wrap seaweed-like vines from the bottom around the two so-called Devilfish, thus allowing the player characters to swim to the surface. The player characters find themselves in the lake, having no idea how they got there. The characters make a desperate swim for the shore, Torvu Peng reaching it well before the others. He grabs a spear and an extra knife, and heads back into the water, and is able to keep the devilfish at bay, while the rest make it back to shore, worn and bedraggled.
Deciding to move their campsite away from the lake somewhat, the player characters take stock of their situation, and find that other than a few claw marks, most of them have not been seriously wounded, athough Torvu and Devron have several deep wounds. Making the best of things, the player characters camp again for the night, and wake after what remains of a dreamless night's sleep.
The morning dawns bright and sunny, but soon turns a bit rainy. The player characters take care of breakfast, and after packing up head out, Barm leading the way, as the player characters continue their trip back to Wilkerson Dale. After several hours of uneventful walking, the rain stops and the sun comes out. Continuing their travels, the characters come upon what appears to be a forest of some sort, but as they get closer they find that it is a forest of petrified trees, each tree having copper and silver apples hanging off the branches with leaves of the same colour. They can smell woodsmoke, and see a small hut some distance away along the edge of the forest.
The party cautiously makes their way towards the hut, with Torvu Peng and Kiarra Foxten taking the lead. When they reach the hut, the door opens and they are greeted by a dark-haired, seemingly wizened old hermit with a small staff made of petrified wood. He tells them his name is Old Hemadan, and that he has always lived on the edge of these woods. It is plain from his reaction that Hemadan distrusts the characters, and they feel "odd" around him. After chatting with him for several hours, Teela notices several strange things that she brings to Devron Sharpis's attention - furtive movement on the edge of the petrified forest, the fact that there are no animals despite Hermadan's offer of fresh milk, and the little, wood-like gnarled carvings all over the place.
When Devron makes the seemingly sudden decision to have the party leave before sunset, the hermit expresses his alarm, but Devron is adamant, despite the protests of several of the other player characters. Old Hermadan is having none of this, and he orders the wooden carvings to attack - they are wood warps! The player characters are hard pressed to destroy the small wood carvings, given their sheer numbers, but eventually the characters are able to destroy them all, as well as killing the old hermit. They decide to take refuge in his hut for the night before travelling on the next day, as they need time to heal from their wounds.
Morning sees a cool and chilly day, but the party collects several small items and some food from Hermadan's hut before they proceed on their way. The day is occupied by some banter, a bit of hunting, and a modicum of good comraderie, and the relationship between Keana and Kiarra grows somewhat strained as it becomes clear that the young sister has taken a shine to Torvu Peng, who remains oblvious to it all.
Around mid-day, the characters come upon a series of ancient ruins. They almost miss the ruins, covered in vines and plant matter as they are, and they seem somewhat ancient. The player characters move through the overgrown ruins cautiously, weapons at the ready, and hear the sound of moaning and groaning. They come upon a goblin merchant, bemoaning his fate, and it becomes clear that his wagon's wheel is trapped in mud. The player characters and the merchant, Gorv'nak, are cautious towards each other. Torvu Peng observes that there are no animals hitched to the harness, and the merchant tells them that he lost the animals to some of the wildlife in the area after the wagon became trapped. The characters make a deal with the merchant to get the wagon wheels free in exchange for some food and a few trinkets that Teela Goran and Kiarra Foxten take a shine to.
Once the player characters free the wagon's wheels, Torvu and Gorv'nak engage in a serious battle of mercantile wits in terms of the player characters getting a good deal from the wily goblin merchant. Once they conclude their business, Gorv'nak tells the characters to be careful as they traverse the ruins - there are some "pretty strange beasties" there. The characters thank the merchant for the warning, and then depart on their way.
Needless to say, the player characters decide to examine and scavenge in the ruins while they travel, but do agree to be extra cautious. They come upon several ruined buildings, and take some time to study them before gaining egress. Their curiosity nearly costs them their lives, as the player characters are accosted by six scab rats of middling size, whose nest area they encroach upon. The fight with the scab rats is deadly for the creatures, although both Devron and Barm take several wounds. After binding their wounds, Teela tells them that she doesn't believe they have infected wounds, but will keep an eye on them for several days.
The player characters travel on for several hours past the ruins, and finally reach a small stream by a clearing. They decide this is a good place to stop for the evening, and set up camp for the night.
As you can see, the travelogue Desolation game continued this session, since the purpose of this scenario really is to get them back to the community of Wilkerson Dale, but give them a bit of danger and knowledge as well. The players commented to me afterwards that they're enjoying the "continuation of the relaunch" of the campaign, and that they'd forgotten how interesting, different, and deadly the world of Desolation can be. Kathy and Joanne in particular enjoyed the whole encounter with the hermit, and several of the others commented on how much use Teela and Torvu were in this particular session. SteveB laughed, and said that he was glad to see that Devron's combat skills weren't getting rusty!
Good session all told, even if I didn't get home until very late that night. :)