This is Episode 3 of the critically acclaimed DnD story, “Dads, Daughters, and DND.” Be sure to check out the previous episodes before watching this one. The link is given below in the description.
Selana the Bard and Elven Princess saved a strange little mushroom person from a swamp monster, which was kidnapping the sweet little mushrooms. Aww! She successfully rescued the mushrooms but was captured by the hideous swamp monster! What will transpire next? Next means now, right this instant, this video!
DM: The vines squeeze around you, pressing your arms against your sides. It's getting harder and harder to breathe as the vines go taut.
Selana: “Let me go!” I try to break out of the vines.
DM: You flex your arms against the vines and kick away. But the vines don’t budge an inch and a deep rumbling growl rolls out of the swamp monster. Before you can do anything else the vines begin to retract, pulling you toward the swamp monster. The quicksand holds onto your legs and for a moment there is a silent struggle between the swamp monster and the quicksand. Then with a wet PLOP your legs pull free and you are being dragged toward the swamp monster like a fish on a line. You are pulled upright in front of the monster, his hot breath smelling like leftover spinach.
Selana: The vines are like his fingers, basically?
DM: More or less.
Selana: I bite down on the vines. HARD.
DM: Alright! Your teeth sink into the vine wrapped around your shoulders and collar bone. It’s a little more rubbery than you would have thought. The swamp monster bellows out in shock and pain, and the vines fall away from you immediately.
Gardener: “OW! What the heck! What kind of ‘thank you’ is that?”
Selana: “Excuse me? Why would I thank you?” - I draw my sword.
Gardener: “I just saved your life from that quicksand. You’re welcome. Oh and thank you for freeing those cursed little mushrooms. Now I have to catch them again before they poison the entire swamp. Seriously, you people!”
DM: The swamp monster crosses his arms. He is visibly disappointed with you.
Selana: “Wait! What do you mean ‘you people’?”
Gardener: "Ever since that idiot hunter came and killed the black dragon that lived in the swamp, evil creatures have been popping up trying to take the place over. I mean, sure, the black dragon was pretty awful in his own right but he kept to himself and let me tend to my garden.”
Selana: “Slow down! Hunter? Do you mean, Teyus the Hunter? What garden? What’re you talking about?”
Gardener: “Guy with a shiny bow and a self-righteous attitude? I don’t remember his name but I remember that his arrogance cost him his life. I’m the Gardener; this is my garden and my home. That you’re actively trying to destroy… Thanks again for that! So if you wouldn’t mind leaving so I can figure out what I’m going to do about the fungi trying to poison everything, that would be grand.”
Selana: “So you weren’t going to eat them?”
Gardener: “Eat them?! Is that what they told you? HAH! These myconid are poison incarnate. They spread their poison killing everything they touch and grow more of themselves from the decay they leave behind. One of the more invasive creatures from the Underdark and now they’re running free, probably headed to the Spring to finish what they started. And if they do that the entire swamp will be poisoned.”
Selana: “Is there anything I can do to help? I feel a little responsible --”
Gardener: “A little responsible? Only a little?”
Selana: “Alright! A lot responsible. What can I do to fix it?”
Gardener: “Well . . . I suppose you can’t really make anything worse. And your heart was in the right place . . . We need to get to the Spring before they do.”
Selana: “Where is the Spring?”
Gardener: “It’s in the heart of the swamp in the lair of the black dragon . . .”
Selana: “You said the black dragon was dead.”
Gardener: “Honestly . . . It’s what it was called when the dragon was alive. I haven’t gotten around to naming it something different. We’re going to call it the Poison Spring if you keep asking me questions.”
Selana: “It was more of a statement--”
Gardener: “Excuse me?” (lots of attitude)
Selana: “Nothing. Lead the way.”
DM: The Gardener stomps away in a huff. You can hear him muttering to himself. You can’t quite make out the words but his tone is higher pitched than his normal talking voice.
Selana: Is he mocking me?
Selana: Big jerk salad . . .
DM: The Gardener wades through the swamp water in an unwavering straight line.
Selana: I guess I follow him.
DM: You trudge through the murky water and mud after him. Expecting ground the next time you step and it not being there, is a bit of a surprise as you plunge beneath the water. You come up thrashing and sputtering and the Gardener is standing in front of you with a smirk on his face.
Gardener: “Are you alright?”
Selana: “I’m fine!”
DM: Vines wrap around your waist and he hoists you up out of the water and places you on his shoulders.
Gardener: “It’ll be faster. Relax.”
DM: Before you can protest he lumbers forward, taking long powerful strides that cut through the water with ease. You begrudgingly admit to yourself that it is faster and you settle in on his leafy shoulders.
Selana: “So what’s your plan when we get to the Spring?”
DM: He emits a low hum that sounds like bullfrogs singing.
Gardener: “It’s going to be a little complicated. I’m sworn to protect life so I can’t kill another living creature. That’s why I had them trapped in cages.”
Selana: “So I have to stop them by myself?”
Gardener: “I never said that. I said I can’t kill them. We’ll figure something out.”
DM: He goes silent and you get the impression that he doesn’t want to talk about it further. The view from his shoulders gives you the opportunity to appreciate the splendor of the swamp. You can now see that everything has been carefully manicured and tended to. Plants have enough space to grow, animals have enough to feed themselves and be content. All of the life buzzing, hopping, and swimming, that the Gardener has taken care of are now at risk.
Selana: I’m going to stop them. I say it more for myself than for the Gardener.
DM: The Gardener pushes through a dense wall of large ferns, revealing a small lake with an island in the center. Towering from the island is a hollow tree stump. The size of the stump makes your head spin as you imagine the tree that must have stood here at its full height. The Gardener hesitates a moment before wading through the lake.
Gardener: “It was magnificent . . .” (in awe at the memory of the tree)
DM: He shakes his head as if he is trying to shake away the memory. Then steels himself.
Gardener: “Let’s go.”
DM: He plunges into the lake with determination. Leaves on his back stand on end, and small thorns begin to sprout all over his body. You can feel his anger literally growing with each stride toward the island. His feet find purchase on the slick mud leading up to the island. He reaches up and takes you off of his shoulders, then gently sets you down on dry ground.
Gardener: “I believe in you.”
Selana: I get my bow and ready an arrow. - “Let’s do this.”
DM: Massive roots spread across the island, each one taller than two of you. The side of the stump has been ripped open, creating a cavernous opening. As you approach you can see old, weathered scoring on the wood and bark from massive claws all around the opening. And from the darkness you can hear what sounds like chanting. Like some kind of ritual is being performed.
Selana: “We need to get in there now!”
DM: The gardener nods and follows you into the stump. Your eyes quickly adjust to the dimmer light, giving you the opportunity to look around. In the center of the stump is a shimmering pool of water. Some kind of magical light is glowing from beneath the surface of the pool. Standing in a circle around the edge of the pool is the entire mushroom people village. Twelve in all and they are chanting in a language you don’t understand. You can see that beneath their feet the ground is turning black with rot, and the rot is slowly spreading toward the water. They don’t know you’re here yet.
Selana: I draw my bow and take aim at the closest mushroom and then fire.
DM: Being caught completely by surprise the myconid doesn’t stand a chance. The arrow hits him in the cap, spinning him around. The momentum threw him to the ground, hurting badly. The other myconids pause their chanting to see what happened to their companion. As they turn, you get a good look at them. Their appearance has changed, the cute little mushroom humanoids have transformed. Spikes have grown out of the purple splotches on their caps, their rubbery fingers have elongated to narrow dagger like claws. They glare at you with deep crimson eyes that are now barely more than slits. This gave them a menacing, monstrous appearance. You recognize Sporill standing on the opposite side of the pond from you. He is much larger than his companions; his mouth splits impossibly wide, like when he had smiled at you earlier. But that smile has been replaced with a mouth full of venomous fangs that drip purple venom.
Evil Sporill: “Thank you for helping free my friends. We couldn’t have done it without you . . .”
DM: Sporill gnashes his teeth.
Gardener: “Don’t let them bite you!”
DM: With that warning the Gardener thrusts his arms into the ground. Vines burst from beneath two of the mushrooms, entangling them and holding them fast. The others are now moving away from the pool of glowing water; with venomous fangs bared, they are now stalking toward you. You can attack again.
Selana: Alright, I will try to shoot at one of them.
DM: Your arrow skips off of the closest mushroom. It leaves a small cut on its cap but is otherwise unharmed.
Selana: I cast Hold Person!
DM: Awesome, the mushroom freezes in place. He looks down at his legs, confused as to why he isn’t walking anymore.
Gardener: “Great job! I’ll finish this one.”
DM: He fashions a cage out of vines and slams it down over the mushroom, locking him inside. Four down, eight to go. Sporill hisses at you from across the pool as he watches as his companions are rendered useless. A wicked smile spreads across his face and he takes a step into the pool. He howls in pain as his leg is magically burned by the water, but he still trudges forward deeper into the water. The water pulses violently, visibly recoiling at Sporill invading it. His spiked cap slips beneath the water’s surface and vanishes. The light strobes, you can feel it panicking. A burst of light flashes out of the pond, almost blinding you. It flickers weakly, then the light winks out, bathing the interior of the stump in complete darkness.
Selana: I can see pretty well in the dark. Right?
DM: Oh yeah. You sure can. With your darkvision you can see the mushrooms form a defensive line in front of the pool. And behind them you see what looks like oil building up on the surface of the once pristine water.
Gardener: “We’re too late . . . the whole swamp is doomed!”
Selana: No. I draw my sword and run toward the line of mushrooms.
DM: They are intimidated by your charge, not expecting you to do so. The gardener is also surprised by your charge but follows right behind you.
Selana: I want to spin through them, chopping up as much mushroom as I can.
DM: Your sword cleanly slices through the first mushroom sending bits of fungus flying as you spin around like a ballerina executing a perfect pirouette. The gardener slams into another one, sending it flying into the pool. The other mushrooms attack, their claws scoring hits on the gardener, tearing off chunks of plant and vine. One tries to bite you but his venomous fangs don’t manage to pierce the leather armor on your arm. From the black oily water of the pool a clawed hand emerges; its fingers dig into the ground and it begins to drag the rest of itself out of the water. Sporill’s large mushroom cap breaks the surface. The vile water runs off in small black waterfalls. He is larger now, and a strange light pulses from inside of him, making the purple splotches glow brightly. Before he completely emerges you can take a hit at him.
Selana: I swing my sword with both hands down on his head!
DM: Your savage chop splits Sporill’s cap. Purple liquid pours out of the wound and it hits the ground with an acidic hiss. One of the other mushrooms rakes his claws across your back to deal 3 damage. Distracted, you turn to look at your attacker. You don’t see Sporill’s fist flying through the air until it connects with your face, sending you flying through the air. You slam into the far wall of the stump, the impact knocking the wind out of you. The gardener grapples with Sporill, while the remaining mushrooms slash at his legs and back with their claws. He’s in trouble.
Selana: I try to catch my breath, and then get my bow off my back.
DM: You pull the bow over your shoulder to discover that it’s in two pieces. It broke when you hit the wall.
Selana: What am I going to do?
DM: Sporill slashes the gardener across the chest. Vines and plants fly off in large chunks.
Selana: Okay, can I search for a rock or something to throw?
DM: There is a large rock covered in grime and mud at your feet. It’s big enough to throw and possibly hurt something.
Selana: I pick the rock up and chuck it at Sporill.
DM: The rock hits Sporill in the back with a dull thud that he ignores completely. Something catches your eye in the mud at your feet that the rock was covering.
Selana: I reach down and grab it.
DM: It’s stuck pretty well, but after a few desperate tugs you pull it out. Even beneath the decades of mud, grime, and muck you can see the ornate details carved into the bow you’re holding.
Selana: Is this Teyus’ bow? I wipe away as much mud as possible.
DM: It looks like what the legends describe. The shaft of the bow is covered in intricately carved golden leaves. You can see every detail and even after all this time they look incredibly lifelike. You’re sure this is the legendary hunter’s bow. You can feel its strength and power. It calls out for you to draw it and let loose an arrow. But you notice that there is no string on the bow.
Selana: I hold it out and pull back as if there is a string on the bow.
DM: As you begin to draw the non-existent bow string, energy crackles to life between your fingers and you are holding a glowing golden arrow.
Selana: Awesome. “Hey Sporill! You’re the worst pizza topping!” And I let the arrow go!
DM: Sporill takes 2 damage from your sort of vicious mockery and turns to look at you as the golden arrow explodes against him. Enraged, he pushes the gardener away and charges at you.
Selana: I keep shooting!
DM: Your next arrow slams into his chest, leaving a charred circle of flesh where it impacted. It smells pungent--
Selana: So how mushrooms normally smell?
DM: (laugh) Sure. Your next arrow goes wide. Sporill opens his mouth wide, baring his fangs as he rapidly closes in on the distance. You have enough time for one more shot before he gets to you.
Selana: Alright, I got this. I fire.
DM: The magical arrow hits Sporill in the face. He screams out in pain and, desperate, he throws himself forward at you.
Selana: Can I dodge?
DM: Roll to see if you can Acrobatics out of the way. Because of the wall behind you, you have disadvantage.
Selana: How bad is a 1?
DM: Oh no. (pause) Okay. You try to tumble past him and trip forward. You reach out to catch yourself and place your arm directly into Sporill’s mouth. And he bites down. Venomous fangs sink into your arm. Vines wrap around Sporill’s feet and he is yanked backward, pulling your arm free. The gardener, beaten and battered, reels Sporill in who is thrashing and trying to claw at the ground to stop himself.
Selana: I’m going to finish this. Can I still fire my bow?
DM: You can. Right now the wound is pretty superficial but you can feel the venom spreading in your veins.
Selana: I aim at his head and fire.
DM: The arrow plunges into the top of the cap; there is a brief delay and then an explosion. Chunks of mushroom spray in every direction like fungus confetti. The remaining mushrooms that can still move flee the stump.
Gardener: “Don’t worry about them. I’ll take care of them later.”
DM: He limps over to the pool of water and gingerly walks in. You can see him wince in pain as his body dips beneath the black waters. A dull light blooms beneath the water. A shard of light breaks through the oily layer floating on the water, then another and another. In a brilliant flash the stump is lit up like midday. The light fades as Gardener limps out of the crystalline glowing pond. All of the poison has been burned away.
Selana: I rush over to the Gardener. “Are you okay?”
Gardener: “I’ll be fine and so will the swamp, thanks to you.”
DM: He sees your arm and gasps.
Gardener: “It bit you? Oh no… this is… I was too slow.”
Selana: “I’ll be fine, it's just a scratch.”
Gardener: “I’m afraid not. I don’t know if there’s an anti-venom for their bite. If you wait too long…”
DM: He can’t finish his statement. His head hangs low and his body shakes with pain and grief.
Selana: “Then I guess I’ll find the anti-venom.”
DM: The necromancer walks across the lake as if the water was solid ground, his undead goblin Bagle following close behind. They walk into the stump, the heart of the swamp glowing contently in the center. He walks toward it and peers into the crystalline pond.
Necromancer: “I’m not here for you today.”
DM: The light dims a little at the necromancer’s words. He turns his attention to a large mound of dirt and mud built up against the far wall. He wipes away a layer of grime, revealing a thick yellowed bone. Bagle has his nose in the air sniffing around like a dog trying to catch a scent.
Bagle: She was here!
Necromancer: Bagle, if you would please focus.
DM: Bagle grumbles a bit but walks over to the mound of dirt and begins scraping away. It’s not long before the majority of the dragon’s skeleton is uncovered. The necromancer places a palm on the dragon’s skull.
Necromancer: “You’ve rested long enough . . .”
DM: Dark energy seeps out of the necromancer’s palm into the bones of the dragon. They begin to quiver and shake as the energy spreads. The legs move slowly, creaking loudly. Mud and dirt cascade off as the dragon stands on weak legs. It shakes like a dog throwing dirt all over Bagle. It shakes a final time, causing a heap of bones to slip free of its ribcage. A skeleton garbed in ornate leather armor hits the ground with a clatter and a metallic thud. The bones of the skeleton’s right hand have been melted and fused to the hilt of a glimmering longsword.
Necromancer: Oh, Teyus. You fool. (melancholy)
DM: He turns and walks out of the stump -- Bagle, and undead dragon in tow.