Chapter 5: Endless Shades of Grey
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
-Robert Frost, Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening
Dr. Ludwig Von Mordenheim opened the shutter to his rickety black carriage to gaze upon the view outside, as his driver Hubert led the two large draft horses along the seldom-used road overgrown with weeds. Ludwig looked through the glass and out and over a thousand foot high cliff of red granite down into the Lake of Red Tears, named for its waters reflecting off the red granite cliffs, making the water appear blood red. He had done it. Ludwig had reached the Forlorn Forest. In his nature classes at the University of Dementlieu, he had learned that the Forlorn Forest's herbal wealth was unmatched. As an herbalist, it was a forest Ludwig long sought to explore.
The carriage came to a sudden halt.
"Je'spanst!" he heard Hubert call, who was driving the horses. Hubert had been a driver in the service of the Mordenheim family for as many years as Ludwig could remember. The word meant "phantom", or "bogeyman".
"The horse! Is twitching his eye and won't move!" Hubert called out. The horses would likely go no further.
Ludwig made a calculated decision. Here he was, in the Forlorn Forest. He had heard stories of the accursed Castle Tristenoira on the farside of the Lake of Red Tears. But he was in a part of the forest far from there. The worst he might fear here were wolves, easily scared off by a loud gun shot. There were no towns in the forest, only a rumor of goblyns far to the south. He was in the perfect place to search for exotic herbs. With grim optimism, he donned his tall black hat and opened the door to his plush, cushioned carriage, stepping outside.
The flora was a dense forest of mixed evergreens and hemlocks. Oak, fir, black pine, and beech dominated the area he was in, with the occaissioal willow tree or yew. Small, thorny locust trees grew in thick tangles in many places. That is where many herbs would be, and poisons. Poison ivy, poison sumac, weep-my-lassie, hag's crepe mold, and a host of others found, most found nowhere else but this forest. Ludwig entered his carriage and changed into his doctor's outfit and mask for safety reasons. It would protect him from the poison ivy and thorns and other possible dangers. Grabbing his belongings, he entered the nearest grove of thorns in search of herbs.
Returning near nightfall, Ludwig was well stocked with many of the herbs he sought. Hubert was waiting for him. Tipping their hats to each other with a goodendach, they were on their way to their long trek back north, through the war-torn southwest region of Barovia, through Borca and Falkovnia. Or, there was the Musarde river...
In the end, Ludwig and Hubert backtracked to the road south towards Kartakass, sold their carriage and horses in Cortton for a ride on a river boat with one Captain Nathan Timothy down the Rithm River to Lake Pel, continuing on the Nharov River that separated the Tepurish Forest from the Border Edge Mountains of Sithicus. The Nharov river washed into the larger Gundar River, and together, Captain Nathan Timothy, Ludwig, and Hubert sailed through Invidia, passing the large city of Karina and Castle Lupet. They then sailed north through the forests of Verbrek where wolves howled at night, on through Richemulot and Piper's Bog, the city of Pont-A-Museau and Chateau de Marius Eibenal, castle of the Renier family. They sailed across Lake Kriegvogul along the southwest side, clear of the Falkovnian side of the immense lake. And finally, to the Musarde River, that led to the civilized lands of the north. Ludwig tipped his hat to Captain Timothy, who Hubert paid a small fee. In Port-a-Lucine, Hubert purchased a black carriage and two new draft horses.
"He will live, won't he?" the damsel pleaded.
Ludwig was warm inside Schloss Aubrecker, and was being well paid to be here as doctor. Gerta was the warmly niece of his current patient. The two sat by the warm hearth as a blizzard roared outside. Gerta showed a polite interest in Ludwig's travels, but mostly, she was naively deluded that her uncle would live much longer. Ludwig had done all he could. The man was simply dying of old age. Who knew how much longer he would linger - perhaps a day, perhaps months?
Quickly Gerta rose and soon returned with dinner for Ludwig, an endless succession of worscht and ham, roasted goose, calf sweetbreads, venison stuffed with red cabbage, suarefleesch, schnad, sweet pastries, blood pudding, and a glass of kjinipse, a strong Lamordian dry liquor made nowhere else, but rapidly growing in popularity in Port-a-Lucine.
As she handed him the glass, he saw her hands trembled. She wrung her hands together, standing before Ludwig as the scent of all the food assaulted his nostrils, as the lovely damsel nervously awaited the doctor's reply. Gerta was dainty and lean with an attractive build and wiry limbs. She never smiled. She was tall, but not nearly as tall as Ludwig. She was blessed with a well-defined chin and cheekbones, her skin extremely fair. Sometimes, when she looked away, musing upon her bedridden uncle, only one eye strayed. The other seemed to stare directly at Ludwig, and glow a frosty shade of slate blue. Her slightly wavy, flaxen blonde hair was trimmed to a medium length - for short tresses were the mark of a harlot. She wore a heavy woolen dress with a high collar and long, tight sleeves, along with a snug, stiff white bonnet. All her clothes were devoid of color. Each day, she would be dressed in black, white, and endless shades of grey.
Horse 1: nervous eye twitch, gruff and suspicious
Horse 2: protruding chin, Courage feat
Hubert the Driver traits: black hands, alcohol breath, multiple personalities, deluded
Knowledge (nature) d20+16= 35. knows of all the possible valuable herbs and poisons in the Forlorn Forest.
Profession (herbalist) checks (d20+8) and Perception checks (d20+10) to find them...
Goblyn Lime 20, 16. Finds one dose of this poisonous fruit.
Raineater Toadstool 21, 16. Finds one dose of this toadstool.
Whiteshoot Root 18, 14. Finds one dose of this root.
Baron's Bane 14, 16. Finds one dose of this poison oil.
Tatterleaf Dust 14, 12. doesn't find a tatterleaf root.
Tri-Poison Oil 28, 12. Finds all three minor poisons to mix together to have one dose of this poison oil.
Deadly Nightshade 20, 23. Finds 3 doses of this poison.
Erl Queen's Lace 28, 20. Finds 4 doses of this poison.
Ghost Threads 26, 26. Finds patch of 8 ghost thread plants (8 doses), a very rare and supernatural poison.
Mausskul Mushroom 23, 17. Finds one mushroom equalling 1 dose.
Mournberries 20, 28. Gather bushel of 14 mournberries from a mournberry tree (14 doses)
Red Worm Mushroom 13, 17. doesn't find a red worm mushroom.
Weep-my-lassie 18, 28. finds 8 doses of this poison dewdrop.
Hag's Crepe 23, 25. finds 6 doses of this poison, a poisonous herb-dust.
Lung-Eater Puffball 15, 21. captures one floating spore of this fungus sprout, 1 dose of this inhaled poison
Olc-blath Pollen 17, 25. captures two spores of this fungus sprout, 2 doses of this inhaled poison.
Wight Fern Spores 21, 23. captures two spores of this fungus sprout, 2 doses of this supernatural inhaled poison.
Details about these herbs and poisons will be up on the PF conversion and Ravenloft rules thread under a post "New Poisons".
The search takes a day.
The travel takes a few weeks.
NEW HORSE TRAITS!
Horse 1: hoofs quiver and shake, rude.
Horse 2: rat-like features, strong opinions on politics
Gerta traits: stray eye, strange glowing eyes, naive, no sense of humor.
Last edited by Bong Bellowsmoke; 07-03-2013 at 10:21 AM.
The Red Condor shrieked at Sir Darvig in full wrath. Wings flapped storms of fire across the sky. "The Mage-God grows in power swifter than it appears to Paladine. This I know. A warning," Sargonnas told Darvigl, "for you to give to Paladine in your prayers."
“I will,” Darvig uttered.