Saturday, May 17, 2014

Wolfbang, the frog protector

 During the winter, a new group of treasure hunters visited the moathouse, and finding the upper levels virtually entry, took their time searching the dungeon area, and found a hidden staircase leading to a still lower level. The survivors of that expedition shared news of their adventures back in Hommlet. New rumors of strange, bestial creatures circulated the village. Burne the wizard, and a few others with rare sensibilities, kenned a change in the environment that suggested the treasure hunters had unwittingly re-opened a source of magical energies or knowledge. Burner convinced the elders that it was time for Hommlet to establish an official claim to the moathouse and its contents. He proposed that a force of vermin-hunters, led by several of his own men-at-arms, and supported by Hommlet's militia clear out any remaining giant frogs or other similar odious creatures that laired in the ground level of the moathouse. This would allow a garrison force to secure the entrance until the village decided on a plan to exploit the magic resources below.

Jaroo, Hommlet's chief druid and a member of the council, was muted in his opposition to the plan to eradicate a species from its natural home. He provided sound reasons to delay the extermination plan, and in the meantime called on his fellows to send a young druid who could help him save thee frogs.

The druid college sent Wolfbang, a headstrong and bellicose initiate who arrived in Hommlet with his pet wolf and a donkey laden with spears. Jaroo explained his plan. The frogs days at moathouse were numbered, that was clear. But there was an expansive swamp south of Hommlet that would provide a better home. Wolfbang should hire some assistants and transfer as many frogs as possible from the moathouse to the swamp. 

Wolfbang talked to some of the treasure hunters who had previously visited the moathouse. Gerilynn and Phoebe accepted the job, making terms with Jaroo that involved payment of 10 gold pieces for each successfully re-located frog.

The group started by surveying the swamp, seeking a suitable new home for the frogs. The swamp seemed to extend for miles in the area south and east of Hommlet, becoming progressively swampier in the area near the moat house. They were surprised to find signs of human habitation, a criss-cross of narrow tracks through the trees and mud.

Next, the group approached the moathouse. Gerilynn, based on several previous experiences, explained to the others that frogs, if hungry, would attack anything living that made its presence known. The party came to within 30 yards of the muddy water surrounding the moathouse, and then began throwing stones and clods of dirt to attract the frogs' attention. 

Sure enough the frogs came. Wolfbang accosted the largest of the frogs and made it understand that he was not food. The second largest frog lashed at Phoebe with its long sticky tongue and began to draw it toward its mouth. Phoebe drew her sword and severed the tongue-- that frog retreated to the water. Several smaller specimens lingered on the edge of the water.

The remaining large frog made Wolfbang understand that it was still hungry and that if he was not food, then there should be food somewhere else close by. It looked meaningfully at Gerilynn.

And so Gerilynn started to run. The frog ran after her. Wolfbang, Phoebe, and the wolf followed the large frog while the smaller frogs followed them.

The merry chase led away from the moathouse and toward the swamp. Gerilynn sprinted toward one of the few trees suitable for climbing, and pulled herself into it. Wolfbang, Phoebe, and the wolf ran into the swamp. The smaller frogs began to gain on them in the thick mud, but the advantage was reversed once the party reached one of the tracks they'd located earlier. 

The large frog, finding it couldn't reach Gerilynn with its tongue, joined the smaller frogs in their pursuit of the main party. After waiting to be sure it was safe, Gerilynn climbed down, and returned to Hommlet on the path through the woods.

Running on the trail, Wolfbang and Phoebe discovered they could easily outrun the frogs, but varied their pace enough to lead their pursuers well into the swamp. Only when the shadows were lengthening toward the end of the day, did they run their hardest and complete their escape.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Beatriss and Tetsukishi return to Khanbaliq

After their victory, Beatriss and Tetsukishi left Tempat Larang and settled with their companions for several weeks in a good-sized village nearby. They traded a small ruby for a couple huts and also hired servants to manage the household. They made plans for their return to Pasar, debating how they would avoid the vampire swamp.

They made plans for their return to Pasar, debating how they would avoid the vampire swamp. Before they had made any final decisions, they were awakened one morning by their servants, warning them t requirhat there were imperial servants in the village, asking questions about them—and based on discussions among the villagers, it seemed likely that someone would answer those questions.

Rather than run away, the company asked to meet the soldiers. They were three, and they were still asleep when Beatriss and Tetsukichi arrived. Thrown on their back foot by their sudden good fortune, the soldiers couldn’t help but hide their happiness, and when they tried to assume an intimidating air, and demand that Tetsukichi return with them to Khanbaliq and explain himself to the empire, the company’s eagerness (“Sure, can we leave today?”) knocked them flat. There were questions about Gwinch, Goyat, and Kawabi, but after some bluffing about a need for proof about Tetsukichi’s victory, the soldiers agreed that they had enough success to show at least to justify a report to their superiors if not to the Emperor himself.

The journey back was slow. The party’s maps were poor and their memories were foggy. Everything was green and there was no horizon. IMG_3144

Slow, but uneventful, as return journeys often are. The travelers stopped in one village where the soldiers rested while the party members accepted work on a construction project. Not only did this help them avoid having to pay for bowls of rice with rubies, it also let them find out some information the vampire swamp. One of the workers pulled Beatriss aside, eager to pass on some secret information. He told her that she could meet “the others” in a field near a village on the other side of the swamp. And he gave her detailed instructions for avoiding the dangers of the swamp. He also stressed the importance of her bringing the ones she was traveling with. After this, the worker challenged Tetsukichi to a friendly, no-weapons fight. Tetsukichi accept the fight and was hurt quite badly by the worker’s strange maneuvers. The priests intervened with their magic. The worker shrugged off the spells, but ended the fight, winking at Beatriss as he walked away.

The workers instructions proved helpful. The journey through the swamp was long, but they avoided not only the vampire, but also the giant leeches, and the plague that, according to the soldiers, had killed many of their companions. Weeks later as they wee nearing Pasar, Beatriss recommend a detour based on the mysterious worker’s comments the field where she would meet “the others.”

The field was full of snakes and the snakes led the party to a hole in the ground. The party walked down into the hole and encountered more snakes, these ones translucent spectral forms that flew through the air. Tetsukichi hinted that perhaps they did not want to meet “the others. Beatriss reluctantly agreed.

The group reached Pasar. The soldiers made a report to their commanders. The commanders questioned the party, and like their subordinates seemed satisfied that they could not return home claiming success. Also in Pasar were Beatriss’s children and Tetsukichi’s family. After a happy reunion, Su-Laing explained that she had demanded to be escorted over the mountains to find her husband. She explained that the Sansar clan, hemmed in by lizardfolk and imperial harassers had deserted its grazing grounds near Menkan and migrated westwards. Kreppu-san and Sukh,two brave warriors, and Shoji, a shaman had assisted them in their encounterswith lizardfolk and guardian statues. Sadly, Su-Laing’s maidservant had been killed by the guardian statue. The fox-children’s nurses had died in the high cold mountain.     

After a week or so of organizing and false starts, Beatriss & Tetsukichi, escorted by the imperial soldiers, now numbering over a hundred, made its way north and east.
china - south yunnan

They passed through Quitokai, finding the squalid village now engulfed by an imperial garrison. Menkan, too, had an even stronger martial and imperial presence. 

After several weeks of uneventful travel through the empire, the party reached the capital, and were brought before the Emperor. The Emperor’s ministers were visibly surprised by His Imperial Majesty’s delighted and trusting interest in the party’s outlandish tale, and then surprised everyone when he announced he knew the exact date when they had triumphed over Goyat. Without revealing how he knew, he announced the date, and the party confirmed that he was correct.

The Emperor showered gifts on Tetsukichi and Golfo (who had officially received the mission) and also on Beatriss (whose joint leadership was likewise commendable). He informed Tetsukichi and Golfo that he would call on them again in the future, and give them additional opportunities to win honor and esteem for themselves and the Sansar clan. Turning to Beatriss, he asked her accept a post in Imperial City. Would she the Supreme Commander of the Guards of the Women’s Palace? The position was important and also delicate, as the Emperor was loath to allow the Palace’s resident to come in contact with any man. And yet Beatriss’s fighting prowess and martial leadership seemed to exceed that of most of the men in his Empire. Beatriss, however, declined, and the Emperor did not argue. 

The Emperor dismissed the heroes. Tetsukichi and Golfo were instructed to take up residence in a walled compound in the Green Zone as official representatives of the Sansar clan. Beatriss was provided an apartment within the Imperial City itself.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Wolfbang's Journal #3

We went went into a cave in a moathouse because it had magic? I Searched with this elf guy called Dan Darian who was trying to get this magic stones that was total awesome it could teach you epic spells. It Was kinda weird he used alot of water and a lot of other stuff to try to get the stone? To get to the moathouse we had to get pass Berns minion. I ended up killing them. NOW I CAN BRAG ABOUT GETTING KICK O-U-T OUT OF TOWN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!