Ghosts of Saltmarsh, Session 5

Since we’re all living under stay-at-home orders from the governor during the coronavirus outbreak, we switched our game to Roll20! Life may have ground to a halt, but the game goes on!

Persaadi Norixius, Dragonborn Monster Slayer Ranger
Grothsoron DeNalia, High Elf Battlemaster Artificer
Inanna Bes, Halfing Swashbuckler Rogue
Lord Darius Thornwell, Half-Elf Cleric of Kord (Tempest domain)
Biri Esstyrlynn, Dragonborn Champion Fighter

After a night of carousing, the group decided to check in with Saltmarsh’s resident melancholy druid, Ferrin Kastilar, to make sure he still needed assistance with the situation in Silverstand forest. Ferrin confirmed he still needed help. They left immediately and traveled northwest toward Silverstand. After an uneventful journey, they arrived the next day at a fort on the edge of the forest, Burle. The soldiers there knew little about the goings on in the forest, so the office in charge, Lt. Noname referred them to the ambassador from Dreadwood, a treant called Wander Root.

Wander Root agreed that whatever abominations were in Silverstand needed dealt with, as they were not a natural part of the forest. Before they departed, Grothsorn remarking the ambassador seemed to have resting birch face and there were groans all around. They followed the trail into the Silverstand forest and Persaadi picked up humanoid tracks to follow. The tracks led them to a campsite where they found two mauled bodies. Before they could examine the bodies, arboreal grapplers attacked them from the trees.

The battle was hard-fought, but eventually, they defeated the abominations. They found a few salvageable valuables on the bodies, along with a journal and a burned book in the smoldering embers of the fire. The journal spoke of disturbing dreams, dreams of tentacles beneath oceans that had started when a book mysteriously appeared in one of their packs and a third member of their group. The deceased travelers eventually burned the mysterious tome, but one member of their party had already disappeared. After resting our heroes continued exploring the forest and finally found the third member of the travelers’ group and the final arboreal grappler.

They returned to Burle, but neither the captain of the garrison nor Wander Root knew anything about the mysterious book of which the travelers spoke, so our heroes returned to Saltmarsh. They returned to Ferrin Kastilar for their reward and asked him about the tome. He also was ignorant of its meaning or purpose and suggested they check with Eliander, the captain of the guard who also collected books or Keledek, the town wizard. The group decided to split their investigation: Persaadi, Grothsoron, and Biri would check with Eliander and the town guard, Lord Darius would pay a visit to Keledek along with Inanna, and when there was time, Inanna would see what the more unsavory folk around town knew about it.

The group was determined to discover if this mysterious tome was tied in to any cult activity in the area and how it related to the abominations in Silverstand, and what, if any threat, they posed to Saltmarsh.

Apart from a few hiccups with Roll20’s layers (it’s important to set up your tokens on the correct layer so they’re invisible (if they’re not supposed to be seen when the PCs enter an area) at first and then can be revealed at a dramatically appropriate moment. Otherwise, you disrupt the flow of the game and eventually just give up and drag new copies onto the map only to discover how to fix the problem after the fact. I trust this will not be as big of a problem with the official Ghosts of Saltmarsh content since it’s already set up for me.

The visual effects of the premium features definitely added some ooh and ahhh to the game, even though, bafflingly, there is no lightning VFX. Lightning Bolt is a classic, staple spell. At least, it was. I think a few more sessions of Roll20 will iron out the kinks and things will move along quite smoothly.

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