739 The Druidic Portal – Lv-4 Adventure

The twisted tree effigies look to the sky; always waiting for the right time to rip the fabric of reality and create a verdant path to the Woodlands Realm.

Ancient Druidic Text

In the outskirts of the Elderwood, surround­ed by the most ancient oaks and the secrets of a bygone era, lies the Circle of the Celes­tial Trees, a druidic portal long lost to the annals of time. This arcane structure is composed of a large, magic circle, meticulously etched with runes that pulse with a dormant power, unseen but deeply felt by those attuned to its otherworldly energies. Surrounding this circle are four monolithic pedestals, each cradling a stone effigy of a twisted tree. These effigies boast myri­ad branches that reach skyward, yearning for a caress of the wind. At the heart of each tree, a single eye gazes eternally upward, watching the skies sternly.

Legend holds that the druidic portal serves as a gate­way to the Woodlands Realm; the homeland of fey crea­tures. However, this portal does not yield its secrets light­ly. It awakens from its slumber only during the equinoxes, when day and night find themselves in perfect harmony, and the veil between worlds grows thin. It is then that the runes upon the magic circle blaze to life.

Fey Guardians

Four meditative, aloof centaurs have taken on the role of keeping the druidic portal safe from prying eyes and evil hands. The presence of mortals during the equi­nox is not initially welcome (see Guardians of the Por­tal). These centaur oracles have spent decades decipher­ing omens in the skies to better understand the portal.

At the moment they are worried because the approach­ing portal opening caused Eldertown, a small hamlet, to disappear into thin air (see Adventure Hooks). One cen­taur has volunteered to look for survivors in the Wood­lands Realm once the gateway through is opened.

Adventure Hook

The Eclipse Ritual. A scroll discovered in a derelict li­brary hints at an astral alignment that shall empower the druidic portal, opening a path to the Woodlands Realm for those brave enough to cross the veil of worlds. This event coincides with the spring equinox, a night when the forest becomes alive with magic and danger. Adven­turers looking for access into the world of fey must come here for it is the only chance to reach it (0 XP).

The Last Wish. A dying druid entrusts the characters with his final mission: to reach the Circle of the Celes­tial Trees during the equinox and plant a seed from an ancient, withering tree. This act, the druid claims, shall renew the forest’s magic and allow the eon-old tree to be reborn. Alas, the fey guardians of the druidic circle do not agree with the druid’s dying wish (0 XP).

The Vanishing. Eldertown, a hamlet on the edge of the Elderwood, has vanished overnight, leaving behind a ghostly void. The only clue is a faint arcane trail that leads to the Circle of the Celestial Trees. The fate of the town and its people remains unknown but the secret to restoring them to life lies in the druidic circle. The char­acters are tasked with consulting the fey there to find out what can be done to retrieve those lives (500 gp, 4 XP).

Level 4 Adventure

  • Danger. Risky. Check for a Random Encounter every 2 crawling rounds and after loud noises (4-in-6 chance).
  • Verdant Aura. On the day of the equinox, the air car­ries a current of verdant energy from the Woodlands Realm. Plants grow faster and animals become fleeting­ly sentient as the path toward the fey realm approaches.
1 A mischievous pixie, hidden within the foliage, whispers riddles to the adventurers, promising a magical boon if they guess right.
2 A towering treant, guardian of the Elderwood, approaches solemnly, questioning the adventurers’ intentions and offering wis­dom about the natural world in exchange for a vow to protect the forest. It fights only in self-defense, being a pacifist.
3 Forty rabbits approach the characters and ask for nuts or seeds. The rabbits follow the party for a week if they comply.
4 A dryad, tears streaming down her face, seeks comfort and assistance to heal her blighted tree. Her tree is a few hours away from the druidic circle. The dryad offers a vial of life-lengthening dew to those who aid her.
5 A majestic stag with a coat that gleams like moonlight, a fey spirit, comes to cross the path into the Woodlands Realm.
6 Two druids approach the party (Reaction check). They have come to witness the path between worlds.

1. The Slithering Path

The road is seldom used as it doubles south of the Elder­wood and leads to the ancient druidic ruins. Only lone hunters and forest inhabitants ever use it.

  • Reactive Flora. As the characters approach the dru­idic circle, grass, herbs, and flowers swing in the wind and follow their movements as if aware of their presence.

2. The Forest Path

This trail swings north and reaches the Elderwood; a 1-hour walk dotted with picturesque landscapes as one approaches the sprawling depths of the forest. The path leads to a small elvish hamlet near the forest tree-line.

3. The Tree Effigies

Each of the effigies is set on top of a 5-foot-tall granite pedestal. The effigies, while complex, are symmetrical and identical. Each is 20 feet tall and radiates a faint magical aura that the detect magic spell reveals. The in­tricate sculptures bear fine, intricate carvings of druidic runes that recount the creation myths of the world.

4. Circle of the Celestial Trees

The druidic circle is roughly 35 feet in diameter and has been partly retaken by nature as patches of grass and moss grow on it, obscuring the runes that empower it. This portal has connected the adjacent planes twice per year for eons on end. The fey creatures consider it sa­cred and a proud heritage of past eras when the creation of such powerful artifacts was possible. If the characters damage the effigies or the druidic circle in any way, all fey beings present take great insult; the characters are deemed foul and unworthy of the path between worlds.

Guardians of the Portal

The characters’ arrival does not go unnoticed by the animals and fey around the circle. Four centaurs approach the party to gauge their intentions. If the characters seek to use the portal or plant the druid’s seed (see Adventure Hooks), the centaurs claim they must first prove their martial prowess to earn such right. They do not fight to the death. After overcoming this challenge, the characters are allowed to proceed.

During the equinox, the runes glow as the air parts to reveal the portal to the Woodlands Realm. The characters can then cross into the other plane. If the seed is planted, it sprouts into a seedling at dawn. Alas, it shall take decades for it to reach its full growth.

The Missing Hamlet

If the characters inquire about the missing settlement of Eldertown, the centaurs admit they recently became aware of it. They ignore what happened but are sure that the townsfolk must have been transported to the sprawling depths of the Woodlands Realm. One of them, named Natolli, offers to accompany the party to the other plane as a guide. He too wants to fix this mistake.

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