Apologies for the late posting schedule– a busy two weeks for me, and no session last week. We shall however press onwards!
Having spent a bit of downtime hanging around their capital city of Elbat Dnuor, the party was now ready to set off again. Taking along their newfound un-crazy hermit friend, they made their way north to old Bokken’s hut, the *other* crazy hermit they last saw about a year ago. Upon arriving, Bokken greeted them, and then gasped with amazement at the sight of this other man– his brother! “My brother! You have returned! It’s been so long, I…I thought you had perished!” A happy tearful reunion followed, wherein Bokken revealed that his brother had run off to the southern Narlmarshes many decades ago after some….thing…that happened, he couldn’t recall. Unfortunately, both men were so addled with age and possible dementia that neither could remember the brother’s name– but that did not stop a celebration! Bokken, so happy to have his brother returned to him, rushed into his hut, fumbled around with some vials, and came out to hand the party a number of potions and oils, a gift for the group!
The next morning it was time to set off for more exploration. Gavriil the Human Arcanist wanted to map out more of the territory to the north-west, and so they set off in that direction, stopping by Oleg’s Trading Post on their way to see how Oleg and Svetlana Leveton were doing. The traders seemed to be doing well-off; the trading post had a new structure for housing added on in order to help accommodate the larger than normal travelers moving through the area towards Tolemac, and most of the bandit heads that the party had given Oleg were taken down from the poles along the walls– most of them.
Moving on from there, a few days were spent exploring the northern reaches of the Narlmarshes and onto the plains beyond them. A few days in, Elysia the Half-Elven Ranger spied a pile of rocks perched in a peculiar way– and they were stacked in such a way as to make themselves stand out. Pointing out this feature to her friends, the group approached. Eneko the Human Bard, after a few moments of inspection, declared the pile to be a burial cairn, one which was used a long time ago by the Tiger Lord Barbarians, a tribal group of fearsome warriors. Deciding that disturbing the body would result in no long-term consequences, the cairn was carefully deconstructed and the body examined. It was old, and the only thing of value found upon the body was a strangely decorated ring, which Gavriil was able to identify as a Ring of Swimming. Satisfied, though not wishing to keep the ring for personal use (“If we need to cross water, we can just use magic!”), the group piled the rocks back up in the proper formation, then left the cairn behind.
The next few days saw the exploration of the plains to the west of the Narlmarshes, mapping out the area but finding nothing of great interest. Apparently satisfied with the mapped area, the group cut back east into the forest, where they found the origin of the Skunk river– two bubbling hot springs, which had become home to several territorial giant frogs! Gavriil marked down the spot on the party map as one deserving some development– these hot springs could become a great spa and relaxation area, if only someone shooed those frogs away! The party continued moving to the south, where they found an old statue of Erastil in the forest. Taking note so that they could inform the priests when they returned to Elbat Dnuor, the group decided that they would head just to the east, where they could visit their Boggard friend they had met in the swamp there some time ago– the Arcanist had decided to learn how to speak Boggard just so that he could communicate with the creature!
Arriving late in the day at the Boggard’s lair, Noruas the Human Gunslinger’s ears perked up– she could hear guttural trollish undertones, along with many broken phrases in Common! Thankfully, Eneko had learned to speak Troll, and as the party moved around an old broken-down building, they came upon the scene of three trolls, large and shaggy, standing over their Boggard friend and his pet Sluurk. One troll, with a blue cap upon his head, was attempting to communicate with the Boggard in broken Common, while the Boggard was attempting to do the same– neither seemed to be having much success, and the two remaining trolls seemed to be full of frustration and ready to resort to violence. Gavriil and Eneko began to mediate– The troll speaking to Eneko in Troll, who relayed the information to Gavriil in Common, who then spoke it to the Boggard in his own language. The troll, an emissary from Lord Hargulka, told the Boggard “Squishfrog will join Lord Hargulka’s kingdom,” in more of a statement than a question. The Boggard did not wish for this to happen, and expressed as such.
After some negotiation, it seemed clear that the trolls were not willing to take no for an answer– until Noruas took it upon herself to impress upon them the wisdom of respecting the Boggard’s wishes, warning the trolls to back off and leave him alone. The troll diplomat, disgusted, turned his back and motioned for his party to follow him– “We will leave the squishfrog alone….for now.” After a few more steps, they were interrupted as Noruas, unhappy with this threat, leveled her musket and fired at the diplomat, reducing him to shreds.
The remaining two trolls roared! Turning, they attacked the party, clawing at the group with razor-sharp claws, roaring that Hargulka would have their heads for this atrocity! When the second of three trolls was slain in short order, the last, taking stock of the situation, made the wiser choice and ran, heading south out of the party’s sight. The boggard thanked the PC’s for their help, and let them know that from here on out they would be welcome in his swamp, and could stay there whenever they liked.
Having dealt with the trolls, the next stop in the party’s journey was south to Tatzleford, to see how it had been coming along since they helped Loy and Latricia Rezbin get the town on its feet. An inn, blacksmith, and several small shops were but a few of the things they spied in their visit, and they met with the mayor and his wife in the central town hall to discuss how things were going. Upon hearing of the trolls in the area, Loy became excessively nervous, due to the vastly limited ability of his citizens to defend themselves– one of the conditions of their founding was that they would have no standing military or defense force, and that Tolemac would come to their aid if need be. After some time, Eneko and Elysia were able to put to rest any fears that Loy had– though he was still a little nervous about their presence.
South again– and this time, the party stumbled into the middle of a delicate situation! A clearing, several tree stumps surrounding a pool of water, and a group of angry men with axes standing around it; facing them, two men dressed in similar garb and also wielding axes were standing knee-deep in the pond, and floating further out in the pond was a Nixie, a fey creature who make their homes in pools of water. One man, the leader of these apparent loggers named Corax, was busy yelling at the Nixie Melianse, who he claimed had charmed his men after they had cut down some of their latest find– this valuable grove of Coachwood trees. Speaking with Melianse, her side of the story was that these loggers had come to destroy her trees, and that she wasn’t about to let them defile nature like that– loggers were evil, cutting down ancient trees before their time, for naught but personal gain!
After some talk back and forth, a good compromise was reached– Melianse would release the two loggers from her charmed graces, and the druids of The Green Faith would come from Elbat Dnuor to replant her Coachwood trees; Corax and his loggers, on the other hand, would follow the party back to the capital, where they would be signed up to work in some of the state-sponsored logging camps to keep them happy. The situation thus averted, the group made a beeline back to the capital, where they had business to settle briefly before attending to the duties of state.
Taking two weeks to settle kingdom affairs, during which the frog pond and statue of Erastil were claimed as territories, and a trade route was established between Elbat Dnuor and Restov in order to help boost the kingdom’s economy– much needed, as they’d been living pretty hand-to-mouth in their kingdom for awhile, spending the taxes they collected as soon as they could. Additionally, Eneko went on another date that Noruas set up for him, and their garrison was filled with the Seventh Lodovkan Platoon, the promised military regiment promised from House Lodovka upon fulfilling their responsibilities to the house. After inspecting the troops, the leaders decided to put their kingdom General, Davik Azaezel, in charge of the army– and now they were a properly defended kingdom!
After they spent their time managing their domain, the party was ready to set out to explore again– they still had not found the lands claimed by ‘Lord Hargulka,’ and were still contending with the rumors of troll activity to the south. Following along the Tuskwater, the PC’s went south of the Old Beldame’s hut, exploring along the shore of the lake there, and spying what they’d heard was called Candlemere– a haunted island in the middle of the lake, where it is said no one who visits ever comes back. Stymied by the lack of ways across the water (who needs rings of swimming, it had already been sold for cash!), instead of heading back for the boat they had constructed some time ago, the group decided to continue onwards instead– and look, they were pretty close to that Lizardman camp that Jubilost Narthropple had warned them about! Perhaps they’d pay them a visit….
Tolemac, month 17: