In which Donovan was guest played by Mike Reed.
The PCs enter Kaboyo’s (unnamed) village and find it to be built around three massive trees and a number of smaller ones. The village itself consists of a roughly triangular enclosure, with fire pit, storage sheds, and stable, along with various stairways, balconies, decks, ladders, sleeping platforms, and vine bridges. The whole thing extended several hundred feet up into the air, using the trees as primary supports. Several people liken the effect to a cross between the Ewok village in Return of the Jedi and the elven city of Lothlórien as seem in The Two Towers.
The PCs are shown around the village by Kaboyo and notice several things. 1) Everyone looks very fit and well-toned (as is typical for the Well.) 2) The standard mode of dress for men and women is just a loincloth. 3) The village is next to a deep crevice and a length of decking extends over the crevice for disposal of the dead. 4) A large primitive crane also extends over crevice and holds an elevator-like structure.
The crevice is known as the Lands of the Gods (or God’s Land) and seems to be akin to Earth concepts of heaven or paradise. The dead or sent to God’s Land by tossing them into the crevice. After fertility and harvest festivals eight consorts (4 men and 4 women) are lowered down into the crevice to serve the gods. The PCs soon determine the fertility and harvest festival occurs about every nine to ten months or so, and the PCs are honored guests—the village honors its bounty by sharing it with passers by during the festival. As Kaboyo is the only consort to have brought in guests, she gains great honor. The PCs also discover consorts are picked from among the best and brightest of the villagers (who number perhaps 100), selected after various contests and feats of skill.
After getting settled on their sleeping platform and seeing to the animals, the PCs settle in for the feast. The food is mostly fruits and vegetables, along with some meat (bird, monkey, reptile) and insects. Several of the PCs sample the latter, although reactions are mixed (Billy Jo seems to have no problem with the food.) Large amounts of palm wine is used to wash the meal down, with Cyan getting somewhat drunk off of the stuff. After the meal, the villagers start to pair up for the fertility part of the festival. Donovan begs off participating, indicating he needs to care for the sleeping and intoxicated Cyan. Marcus finds out that one doesn’t need to sleep with a village to satisfy with fertility aspect of the festival and goes off to spend time with Vilgerther. Calvin decides he doesn’t trust what’s going on and ends up getting his partner drunk and leaves her pass-out by the fire pit before joining Donovan. Billy Jo and Edward, however, each take a villager up on her offer.
Late that night, Donovan sneaks out of the village and flies down to the bottom of the crevice. He finds it to be roughly 300 feet deep with a river at the bottom. Due to the temperature differences, a layer of mist around 260 feet down hides the bottom of the crevice. The area looks peaceful enough, with the river, a large pool, rocks, a wide swampy area, and mud and sand. There are no gods, slavers, Gatortroopers, or other people to be found. Satisfied, he returns.
The next morning people (slowly) rise and recover. Around noon the festival continues, with dances and rituals enacted (this includes hunts and the like.) Finally, the eight consorts are dressed up with various ornaments, colorful feathers, fine tools and weapons, and are lowered down into the Land of the Gods. The PCs beg off being part of the festival directly and instead pack up their animals and get ready to head out. Vilgerther guides the cart out of the village and back to the Trade Road, while the rest of the PCs decide they really want to see what’s going to happen down in God’s Land. Donovan once again manages to sneak away and drops down into the crevice. Upon landing he sees the consorts exit the elevator and look understandable confused (where are the gods?) As they wander around, Donovan then sees a number of large and dangerous looking creatures start to appear, including a pair of immense and horrific-looking worms rise out of the swamp. One of the consorts is snatched up and the worms start a tug-of-war over the body.
Yelling into his radio for everyone to get down into the crevice NOW! Donovan takes a quick chop at one worm before rocketing up out of the crevice at a speed faster then normal. Meanwhile, Edward grabs Cyan and simply leaps in the crevice, while Billy Jo jumps out and grabs the elevator rope, using it to make his descent. Calvin then follows, leaving Marcus to wait for Donovan.
Edward is the first to arrive on the scene, but a 300 foot drop is a bit much for his Well-granted abilities and he ends up slamming face-first into the swamp, stunned but otherwise okay. Cyan, meanwhile, is perfect fine, although one look at the huge worm-like monsters before her is a bit of a shock. Billy Jo arrives in an explosion of bamboo as he simply drops though the elevator, while Calvin follows. Donovan grabs Marucs and arcs back down into the crevice.
The battle is hampered slightly by the scattered consorts, the swamp water, and the strange nature of the crevice inhabitants. Along with the worms, there are several crab-like monsters and an immense (10 foot long) cross between a cricket and a grasshopper. Billy Jo disposes of the cricket monsters, while Cyan and Edward battle the worms. Calvin is bitten by a worm, and much to his horror finds the teeth got right through his armor and into him! He also finds out the creature doesn’t intend to let go and starts to try and eat it ways through him. Donovan tangles with some of the crab creatures (Donovan is wounded by a claw), while Marcus deals out CREW-assisted abuse on anything in range. When all is said and done, and the monsters defeated, three consorts are dead (two male, one female) and the rest are badly shaken.
Donovan uses his powers to ferry everyone back up to the village. Meanwhile, Cyan and Edward cut the worm free from Calvin’s chest, then pry its teeth off of him. Billy Jo, for his part, collects some teeth and other bits. Marcus decides the worms are immense intestinal parasites, some 12 feet long or so and weighing in at around 600 pounds. He tries not to think too hard about the ecosystem present in the crevice. Upon returning everyone to the village, the PCs pull of a muddle god gambit, telling the villagers the entrance to the Land of the Gods has been overrun by monsters and there should be no more consorts sent down. The surviving consorts back this up, describing immense horrors and other underworld creatures, and lamenting the loss of three of their number. Marcus states the PCs should leave as soon as possible, before the village priest and priestess press the matter too closely. Gathering their gear, they beat feet to the Trade Road, where Vilgerther waits.
Calvin is put in the cart to mend, while one of the grue hides is cut up to repair his rent armor. The party goes as far as they can before it gets too dark and camps. A few days later, the PCs come to a large plaza. The jungle has been slowly decreasing around them, the trees getting shorter and shorter (while the undergrowth gets taller and thicker.) Now its mostly grassy patches that run right up to the cliff edge. The plaza looks to be an extra large way station with the Trade Road running off at an angle down the cliff face to switchback and forth until it reaches the plains.
Donovan and the rest of the PCs go to look out on the plains. They seem fairly flat and much like the American Great Plains must have looked back before the railroad. The grass is upwards of six feet high and stretches as far as the eye can see (there is a dim, dark line on the ‘horizon,’ Donovan suspects it’s the sea.) However, events below soon draw everyone’s attention. A large army, drawn up in distinct regiments, is arrayed across the road. They are arced around a much smaller army, who are near the cliff face. Donovan, who can see events, objects, and people two mails away with remarkable clarity, describes things for everyone else.
The large army glitters in the sun, they obviously are in full armor. The units are in distinct squares and rectangles and not a vast mob. Each unit has its own standard, topped by a stylized double-headed eagle and a ring with eight arrows radiating away from it in all directions. This information makes Edward go a little crazy, which is only further reinforced when Donovan mentions some of the visible unit flags. Apparently, the army has gotten all of its heraldry from the game universe of Warhammer 40,000. The army to the right carries elongated hexagonal shields and doesn’t seem to have any armor (or much of it) as the glitter there comes mostly from spear points.
Donovan then notices a huge man (he must be near 7 feet tall) striding though the army on the left. The PCs presume this must be the Warlord Conan. He comes out to the front lines and apparently shouts to the army on the right. In response, a tall figure, who reminds Donovan of Captain Jiranee, walks forward and answers him, armed with a long spear.
1) The crevice denizens include giant 10 to 14 foot tube worms armed with rings of teeth, six to seven foot long spider crab-like crustaceans, and huge cricket-like creatures about ten feet in length. Donovan also saw more creatures further up and down the valley, but wasn’t sure what they were.
2) The village was mostly bamboo, vines, and shaped wood. They had mostly stone-age tools, along with some metal implements gained via the Trade Road.
3) The general impression of the Warlord Conan’s army was that of the Romans.
4) Edward is convinced the Warlord Conan is a Space Marine primarch. Whatever that is.
You’ve met the following people:
Kaboyo the Forest Person: She looks like a green-skinned Farming Person, although her hair is more feathery, her ears are pointed, and her fingers and toes are quite long (the latter are nearly prehensile.) She seems young (60 seasons or so), attractive, and is dressed in just a worked leather loincloth.
Return to The Well Of The Worlds