We played Venture by Riley Rethal this week, as a group of adventurers commissioned by the royal family to rescue the Prince, lost in the haunted forest. We are well-known in the kingdom for our skill, honor, and (most of us) loyalty: Sebastian the honorable Paladin, Topaz the scavenging Rogue, Dalavarr the weather Wizard, Aloisius the doubting Cleric, and Claresta the impulsive Fighter.
Our adventure begins being called to the palace and taken to a hidden royal garden to meet the Lord Chancellor who explains that our mission is delicate and must be kept secret, but the Prince was lost recently on a hunting mission, pulled into the haunted forest and did not emerge. All fear that the Bane has taken him and recall what we’ve heard of the creature: its rows of razor sharp teeth, that it is a cursed human, that it guards the forest, that it is intelligent, and that it prefers to be left alone. We ride for the point where the Prince was lost. On the road, Topaz decides to unload some items she picked up at the palace: a pair of chainmail gloves that Sebastian accepts without asking their provenance, but Claresta rejects the steel dagger with the runes because it’s too puny a weapon. Sebastian takes a quiet moment to ask Aloisius why the cleric does not trust him. Aloisius explains that the fervor and breadth of the paladin’s faith are disconcerting to him, who has never felt such divine passion, but trusts that he will do his duty.
At last we enter the forest, but we keep finding ourselves emerging back where we started. Dalavarr attempts to conjure a wind to dispel the forest fog, but first the fog envelopes us and as it clears, we find ourselves in a market, populated by fae folk. Dalavarr warns us of the dangers of bargains with the fae, but we find ourselves the object of much attention. One goblin is amused by us and approaches to offer help to the strangers out of place. Learning we seek the Bane, he laughed at us for thinking we could find the what we seek when entering the Bane’s forest, and suggests we return with the intention to fill this bag he hands us with forest bark, which he trades us for a lock of Dalavarr’s half-elven hair.
Taking the goblin’s advice, we return to the forest seeking bark but find, instead, a line of mushrooms marching through the forest. Topaz purloins one and returns to the group, but the mushroom taunts us relentlessly until we give up on them leading us anywhere. After catching up with the other mushrooms, we’re able to trade showing us the bark near the Bane’s home in exchange for creating a new damp place for the mushroom’s home. Topaz sneaks up to the Bane’s window and sees the creature sitting together at a table with the Prince. Sebastian takes the lead and calls out to the Bane, who is suspicious but eventually lets us into the house. The Bane tells us that he will not release his companion and that we must go, but Sebastian volunteers to stay in the Prince’s place. We all agree to come back to visit regularly, so the Bane agrees to release the Prince. We agree to return at least every fortnight, and we bring oxen as a gift.
In the epilogue, Claresta asks the Prince if he can summon woodland creatures to do his chores (No.) while Topaz ponders how to use the royal boon that she’s earned. Dalavarr, having a long-time secret crush on the Prince, spends much of the trip back talking and getting to know the young man. And the Prince agrees to keep the Bane and the pact secret. Once we’ve filled the goblin’s sack, it disappears to return to the fairy realms.