Session 8: Arodus 1 through Arodus 31, 4710 AR
Upon arrival back at Oleg’s, Alinza, Dorian, Solden, and Richard caught up with Vidarr and prepared to finish exploring the northern Greenbelt. The first settlers and supplies would be arriving at Highpoint by Rova 1, so you all had about a month of summer weather to finish up your exploration.
Over the next two weeks, you all started by surveying the farmland to the west of Oleg’s and then systematically worked your way through the northwest quadrant of the Narlmarches. The weather was overall excellent, save for some fog on the first day, a hail storm on Arodus 3, and some rain on Arodus 11.
Arodus 2 saw the party in the Narlmarches where you came across four voracious Slurks. These disgusting beasts look like slime-covered toads, but with two walrus-like tusks jutting from their upper jaw. The Narlmarches are infested with these magical beasts, and Dorian and Solden knew the following information about these common pests. Slurks are frog-like creatures, the descendants of the failed result of a dwarven attempt to domesticate and breed subterranean frogs as food and labor animals. Though the dwarves failed to create suitable livestock, the sticky frogbeasts are often befriended by other underground races. Slurks are carnivores and have a formidable bite, thanks to their massive tusks. Their true strength, however, lies in their foul-smelling and unnatural secretions. The mucus exuded from the slurk’s back is incredibly sticky and quickly hardens into a powerful resin, a quality the creature turns to its advantage by squirting it at intruders and then waiting for it to harden before closing for the kill. At the same time, the liquid excreted by glands on a slurk’s stomach is incredible slippery, allowing the slurk to keep from being immobilized by its own back slime and also making it extremely hard to grapple or maneuver without its consent. Combined with slurks’ natural ability to climb walls and hang from ceilings with ease, these abilities make the foul-smelling creatures extremely desirable to the regions kobolds and boggards , who domesticate and train the frog-beasts as powerful mounts and guardians. After dispatching the Slurks with relative ease, you all spent the rest of the day disarming a series of bear traps that were set haphazardly throughout the area where they would catch both animals and passing travelers. Vidarr recalled that this area of the forest was known to be the hunting grounds of the currently missing foul-tempered local woodsman Breeg Olivanch, who was the type of person to set the traps without care of catching his fellow hunters and trappers.
Arodus 4 saw you all reaching the rolling plains that marked the western boundaries of your future domain. Amid an overgrown section of blackberries you all found a hidden cairn of stones marking the grave of a long-forgotten prince of the regional Tiger Lord barbarians. Solden posited that this burial came from a time when that tribe’s territory stretched all the way from Numeria to the Narlmarches—patrols from Rostland have forced these barbarians back to the east, and the majority of their cairns were toppled and the bodies looted over the past century and the Tiger Lords have been relegated to the Glenebon Uplands region to the west of the Greenbelt. After some heated discussion, in which Dorian and Richard wanted to loot and desecrate the grave, you all decided to let the grave be for now on the advice of Alinza, who as a devotee of Pharasma took a dim view of disturbing a consecrated burial site.
On Arodus 7, you all survived attacks by a flock of seven Stirges and an Assassin Vine. This latter was a gnarled vine, as thick as a man’s arm and bearing hand-shaped leaves, which convulsed across the ground in an unnatural slither as it sensed the party. Richard was caught in entangling foliage commanded by the creature, but you all used ranged attacks to finish off the creature before it could attack the cavalier. The Stirges, similar to Slurks, are magical beasts that infest the boughs of the Narlmarches. These insectoid creatures have two pairs of bat wings, a tangle of thin legs, and a needle-sharp proboscis that savagely attack humanoids and animals alike and drain them of blood. You also stumbled across the decaying body of a hunter that you identified as the Breeg Olivanch by the presence of his distinctive hatchet nearby. Apparently the crotchety trapper met his end when a deadfall trap that he had been constructing collapsed and crushed him to death. Dorian and Vidarr, though discovered that one of the ropes looked suspiciously like it had been gnawed through, making the accident seem suspicious. That evening, you all encountered a local hunter named Beornhelm. He shared your camp in return for a delicious dinner of Narlmarch hares that he had caught. He warned you all that there were rumors of boggards and also a band of roaming bandits.
The next day, as you were traveling through the forest, a patch of magical grease appeared under Richard’s horse, Duncan. The knight’s skilled horsemanship prevented a fall, but as he recovered, a Kobold jumped out ahead of the party. As Richard lowered his lance to charge, however, Alinza stayed his hand, saying that she heard laughter. Dorian and Vidarr suspected that a fey was playing pranks upon the party and called out appreciation of the joke. This caused a housecat-sized miniature dragon with fine purple scales, butterfly wings, sharp horns, wicked little teeth, and a tail tipped with a barbed stinger to appear. Dorian and Solden recognized this as a Pseudodragon. This creature introduced itself as Perlivash and invited the party to its grove for dinner in return for being such good sports. At the grove, Perlivash introduced you all to its boon companion, a strange 1-1/2 feet tall 10 pound creature with the upper body of a female elf and the lower body of a cricket. She wore her silver long and uncombed. Her skin bore gold markings and her legs were a hue of bright red. She wore no clothes but had a tiny short sword at her waist and long bow, quiver of arrows, and a fiddle strapped to her back. The duo feted the party with wild herbs and mushrooms and Perlivash got quite drunk on the party’s wine. Dorian and Solden recognized this creature as a type of fey known as a Grig. Gigs excel at music, and can create lively ditties simply by sawing their legs against their bodies. Grig music often stirs people to dance, even when the grigs don’t enhance their music with supernatural compulsions. In addition to loving music, grigs enjoy the visual arts, especially paintings and sketches, and they often decorate their homes with bright colors and delightful images. While the dragon was effusive and flamboyant, Tyg-titter-Tut (as the Grig called herself) was shrill and abrasive. Despite this she provided fine music for the party. The pair did not really have any sense of the wider world outside their small part of the forest, although Dorian did coax from Perlivash that he chewed the rope on the deadfall to kill Breeg, who was known as a bully and a thug to the forest animal population. Richard tried to coax the dragon to come serve in Highpoint, but the dragon preferred to remain in the wilderness.
Arodus 9 brought you to the renovated Temple of the Elk. Jhod and Antau were happy to see you. The restored Temple had been blessed by Erastil so that the font out front healed creatures of light wounds once every 24 hours. Jhod complained that some of the local fey were constantly playing pranks on him, but you all amusedly kept quiet about your encounter with Perlivash and Tig-titter-tut. Jhod also complained that the source of the Skunk River directly to the west of temple was infested with a band of Slurks. On the next day, you all cleared out a band of seven of the creatures at the hot springs, although Richard was subjected to their nasty slime attack.
On Arodus 13, you stumbled across a long-forgotten statue of Erastil in his guise as the Stag Father. Richard cleansed and consecrated the statue while Vidarr scoffed. Richard was rewarded with a minor, temporary enchantment on his scimitar which made it more prone to critically slice opponents. Finally, on the 14th, you all stumbled on an ancient Taldan watch post that was infested with seven Boggards. A fierce fight ensued, and the party overcame the creatures despite the leader’s magical croaking. Solden was seriously wounded by an arrow, while Dorian suffered some minor wounds. Vidarr noted that it was unusual for Boggards to come so far east into the Narlmarches in such force. The mystery further deepened when you all found the bodies of another Boggard and Slurk that had been cannibalized by the other Boggards.
Having completed your survey north of the Tuskwater, you all headed back to Oleg’s to restock and head towards the future site of Highpoint to prepare it for settlement. You arrived back at Oleg’s on the 19th. You started out for Highpoint on the 20th and arrived on the 25th. This gave a week to rest, train, and prepare for the first settlers.