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L'amore tra i mostri: Session 5, Q1b-3

Continuing the romantic adventures of...
Captain Carlino Orsini, human fighter, soldier, beginning to regain his confidence
Don Pantaloni d'Oro, elf illusionist, noble, beginning to question this adventuring thing
Liliana Casale, human rogue, spy, beginning to be honest with others (or is she?)
Gino "The Oak" Leone, human druid, guide, beginning to explore the Wilds with gusto!

1b. What actions consistent with the heroic motivation do the heroes take that bring them into conflict with a looming hostility inherent within the setting?

Be the PCs first:
Encounter: infiltration
Place: Northern Wilds, morning
To explore the forests surrounding the tower in order to better secure the area, Gino leads Orsini, Don Pantaloni, and Liliana on a planned day-long expedition due north. They travel at a moderate pace; Gino is navigating, Orsini and Liliana are keeping watch, and Don Pantaloni is trying not to get too dirty.

Be the GM next: 
Story Cube: filling a hole
After only an hour's trip (1 mile), the group is attacked by an ankheg that emerges from a hole in the ground. The group is unsurprised thanks to Liliana's careful watch. Still, the giant bug is able to charge at Gino and [critical hit] viciously clamps its acid-soaked mandibles around the big man's waist.

Be the PCs once more: 
Don Pantaloni blasts the beast with his newest spell, Scorching Rays, and Orsini cuts into it with his new magical sword. Gino is freed from the creature's grip and, raising his huge club, crushes the ankheg's head, finishing it off. Though Gino suffers from an amount of piercing and acid damage that would have killed any of the others, the druid calls it a "flesh wound," rests a moment, drinks a healing potion and something much stronger than wine, and then is ready to move on. Before he does so, he [recall nature lore] tells the others that an ankheg burrowing through a thick forest such as this one is a bit unusual. They need to investigate. Gino turns into a dog and sniffs out a trail.

2. What unusual event occurs soon afterwards? 

Be the GM first:
Story Cube: apple
Encounter: intrigue & pursuit
Place: Northern Wilds, a few minutes later
After a few minutes of following dog-Gino, the group is surprised by the sudden appearance of a dryad as she materializes from out of the trunk of a tree. The dryad acknowledges dog-Gino with a nod, and then she turns a tempting, alluring gaze on Orsini.

Be the PCs next:
Orsini, still too cynical to be charmed, is unaffected by the beautiful fey lady's powers. Don Pantaloni tells the dryad that she has charmed him, but, as he is an elf, the dryad knows that his claim is a lie and a poor attempt at seduction. Dog-Gino gives the dryad a bark.

Be the GM once more:
The dryad nods to dog-Gino, fades into a tree, and then materializes out of another one 20 feet away. She silently beckons for the group to follow.

3. What elements of the results of Q1a or Q1b and Q2 suddenly get twisted together in a surprising manner, increasing the danger to the heroic motivation?

Be the GM first:
Story Cube: bandit
Encounter: revelation
Place: Northern Wilds, 20 minutes later
After following the dryad for almost a half-mile, the group is led to a strange sight. In and around another ankheg hole are the bodies of orcs clearly killed by ankhegs, one dead ankheg on its back, and several broken ankheg eggs.

Be the PCs next: 
Gino turns back into a human. He [recall nature lore] tells the others that orcs try to train ankheg hatchlings to be mounts or pets. This scene looks like an orc raid to steal ankheg eggs. Liliana [search] discovers [Story Cube: crab] that one of the orcs is wearing a crab-shaped piece of jewelry pinned to its loathsome rags. Orsini [recall military lore] recognizes the crab jewelry as the fibula of one of the Merchant Prince's expeditionary naval orders, the Sea Claws. At least one of ships of the Sea Claws had struck out for the northern reaches of Vitalia and never returned. [See THIS January post for more - and that's why doing the solo RPG thing really requires at least some pre-established setting info!] Surely, this orc's possession of the crab fibula does not bode well.

Be the GM once more:
The dryad points to the crab jewelry in Orsini's hand, and then points to the north - and deeper into the Wilds. Then, she disappears into a tree...

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