Expedition 43 -- Nightmares of Quicklings

[[Submitted on time — all attendees get +0.1 HP]]

August 12th, 2017

Raevori +1154 xp, +152 gp, +gorgon petrification organ (250 gp), donated to LMF
Ezra +1049 xp, +292 gp, +silvered battleaxe (110 gp), donated to LMF
Ent +1049 xp, +176 gp, +10 silvered arrows (101 gp), +silvered rapier (125 gp), donated to LMF
Rock +1049 xp, +282 gp, +silvered glaive (120 gp), donated to LMF
Samuel +1049 xp, +402 gp (log writer)
Valerian +1049 xp, +81gp, +10 silvered arrows (101 gp), +2 silvered shortswords (220 gp), donated to LMF

600 gp worth of special metal ingots (kinetic absorbing) claimed by JP (with the last of his GP)
110 gp canister filled with weird magic-reacting breaks-conservation-of-energy gas claimed by Sovan (unless someone else wants it)
350 gp head of the Megamonitor that killed Fær claimed by Sovan

LMF +208 gp, +4 doses of antitoxin (200 gp)

Samuel’s Log

I apologize if I write with too much or little detail.

days one and two

We spent the first few days on foot in known territory. This land’s geography still escapes me, but we traveled through savanna, north of the fortress of some “abyssal guard,” and followed the edge of the dark forest. En route we were beset by lurkers and a behemoth bird. The first threw their lives at our feet (though an unlucky blow knocked Valerian unconscious), sacrificing themselves to the Sunfish’s wide maw. The bird was disadvantaged by the trees and had the sense to leave us be. Compared to my other traveling parties, this lot was particularly blood-thirsty and I fear they would even find a way to kill such a fearsome flier.

We also spied a massive lizard about two hundred feet from our vanguard, as it passed through rolling hills. First, we planned to hide and let it pass. Then Ezra recognized the creature as a known quarry: it had murdered a previous guild-mate, Fær. We dispatched it as it closed the distance between us, and spent the second day burying and freezing its head. I do not know Ezra, but I hope he feels redeemed. There will always be room for mourning in my church. We had quick words with some curious creature who lived in a hut, before finishing our journey to the blasted jungle’s edge.

day three

The jungle reminds me of home: squelching mud, sinkholes, and in the dampness truly remarkable flora. Unlike home, this jungle’s inhabitants are twisted and sick. Amidst the quicksand two humanoids attempted to ambush us. One looked remarkably humanoid, while the other was part snake. We now know they call themselves Wardens, but at the time the encounter was disorienting. They shot at us with something I can only call a magical canon. It was about the size of a crossbow: a long, dull grey tube that launched iron balls that exploded in a shower of arrowheads. I wanted to interrogate the foul beasts but my compatriots slaughtered them. We took their wondrous equipment, though we could not decipher how to work them. We moved on.

Deeper in the jungle, we were assaulted by another party of land-crawlers. I think the first pair was their scouts. This full party had five humanoids, a man with the head of a cobra, and a disturbing creature whose arms gave way to writhing piles of snakes instead of hands. They fell upon us. We retaliated with purpose. The land joined the fight against us, despite my attempts to warn my allies: quicksand and dense foliage thwarted pursuit and navigation. Rock and Raevori nearly succumbed to sloppy muck. Furthermore, the creatures have a fondness for suggestive magics: sly words, laced with magic, tricked our minds. Some of us fled, others interceded against their own allies. Snakes-for-Arms left the battlefield almost immediately, spooked by our prowess. After we dispatched who we could, Cobra-for-Head had the good sense to submit to our interrogation. My allies questioned him and I probed his mind, looking for signs of lies. We learned much from the brief repartee: these Wardens of the Jungle hate the Civilized — those creatures the guild calls LUA – as much as we do. He told us of his kind’s great city and outposts, but warned us that some of the snake-beings within the jungle do not belong to his civilization. He named these outsiders Apostates and told us that nothing will keep the Apostates from assaulting us. He also mentioned that the “red wing” of the cubed warriors—kill bots?—work for the Wardens. We convinced him that we might be a perfect ally, at least temporarily, in the fight against the LUA. Cobra-for-Head took us to one of the Wardens’ outposts. We agreed to return after four nights to meet with Cobra-for-Head’s superiors, and it seems like the Wardens should not assault us as he travel the land (at least until after this meeting). Then, we may be hired to help them destroy the LUA. In a gesture that some may mistake for honor, Cobra-for-Heads gave Valerian his decorative scimitar before we departed. He also mapped out a path through the quicksand to aid navigation, though Ent and Rock were navigating these obstacles fine on their own.

ASIDE: His mind betrayed disturbing images that I will share in kind with interested parties at this weekend’s sermon, but I do not wish to dirty the log with such asides.

After a short rest at the outpost, we returned to a ruined church for further investigations. We found a small panel that required a piece of complex machinery to function. We could not find the parts (nor, I confess, make sense of the apparatus!) and quickly left. We made plans to come back and steal a gnome-sized statue at the altar, but these plans never came to fruition. Soon after we found a ruined amphitheater, from which we pilfered some gorgeous seating. An hour later we had our first run-in with the Apostates: snake-folk who lacked the technology of the other group. Raevori softened them with fireballs and the rest of the party swiftly fell upon them with sword and bow. Soon after, we found a place to rest.

That night, during the third watch, a giant toad swallowed Ent whole. Saving him proved incredibly difficult. It was dark, and difficult to make out, but my allies assure me that this giant toad was unusually aggressive: nearly 50-feet tall (I do confess, it looked 15-feet tall through my bleary eyes), its mouth pulsed with fifty writhing, barbed tongues (I never saw the creature from the front). Raevori caught the leaping foe and ripped a partially-digested Ent from its thoughtless belly. We nearly lost our friend to this horrid creature, and I pray we never run into another in the jungle.

day four

We continued our journey. Early in the day, we found an abandoned star-metal mine, down old wooden stairs hugging a crevasse. We noted it for later. Soon after Rock noticed a small, checkered flag in the deep jungle underbrush. Truly a remarkable perception! The flag marked a buried treasure—a fine obsidian dagger and a scale glove—though none of us could make sense of the flag. Later that day we found more empty ruins to the east, before a large troop of kill-bots intercepted us. We noticed them far enough in advance that we could flee, luckily! There was a pyramidal construct barking orders, and some dozen spherical and cuboidal automatons scattered into the underbrush. We lost our pursuers, but ran into another ambush: three more Apostates shot at our party with poisoned arrows. Rock fell to their masterful salvo, though she was quickly saved. We managed to fight back and killed five of the land-crawlers. The rest fled. They carried a magical gem, which we recovered. As we continued the day, we saw the glint of the Wardens’ city through the jungle, and eventually camped nearby.

day five

Early in the day we discovered another mine, like the other. This mine was peopled by two Apostates. They seemed to be preparing the mine for operation. Valerian sneaked in, invisible, and examined their work before slipping out. We continued south and found a patch of seed-pods just outside the Wardens’ city. We navigated it without difficulty, and later learned that the seed-pods act as something of a “land-moat” for the city’s fortifications.

Here things went weird. If you’re scanning the log for the quickling incident, look no further.

The party approached a cylindrical tower, with a slightly ajar door and long trails of greenish slime. Raevori and Valerian decided to inch forward and peek into the dark opening. Here, the account diverges. From our perspective without, Valerian screamed for their life: it was as if thousands of daggers stabbed them at once, puncturing their sides, their front, their back and tendons. We saw no wounds, but they stumbled backwards and nearly collapsed in the entrance way. Raevori—ten whole feet away—was soon taken by the same violent movement. She lurched back as if daggers plunged into her chest and she nearly lost balance. The rest of the party stood there, stunned into silence. Raevori’s magic eyes and my own familiarity with minor divinities should have warned us. This was a very bizarre, very hateful magic(?). Soon our compatriots were released from their torments. Visions of deaths lingered like vapour trails. Valerian in particular remembers dying: pernicious, unbelievably fast and relentless creatures crawled on them and stabbed with hateful purpose. The memory of this death clouded the rest of their journey with us. I pray to the Sunfish that they find solace.

In the building, we found several star-metal ingots. The building itself had strange mechanical apparatuses, similar (I’m told) to the “pumping house” previously discovered by the party. We filled a canister with some sort of magical vapour, and left.

Later that day we were ambushed by tattooed stalkers. I attempted to speak to them. I think I was drained by the previous experience and Valerian’s continued pain. I wanted to know why they throw their lives away on our swords, over and over, when they know they have no chance. They did not respond. That night, we were attacked by more Apostates as we slept but we made quick work of them.

day six

We kept moving, the previous day’s horrors always in mind. We found another Warden outpost early in the day, near a large crevasse. On a slight incline near the crevasse we spied an Apostate conversing with a well-dressed half-elf: he wore a suit and a cravat, and as we approached he asked us to wait our turn. We sat with him afterwards and learned that he works for the Ebon Bank, located “where the action is hot, across from Xan.” His people seem to deal in dark trades and magical items, and by my intuition he was far from trustworthy. However, his people seemed to take similar issue with the “big and furries,” or LUA. Our most hated foe seems widely disliked in this land! He also told us to avoid the “stripey” ones—their cousins—because the Ebon Bank has dealings with them. He was cordial but insincere, and asked us to meet his people again, albeit in a less public setting. Apparently, our guild is fast becoming unliked in certain circles, much like the LUA themselves. I must confess most of this conversation flew over my head.

Exhausted and wracked by remnants of day five’s dangers, we decided to hole up for the day, dress our wounds. Then we would go meet the Wardens and head home.

That night, some Apostates again tried to assault us, and we dispatched them swiftly. Soon after, however, a truly vicious beast wandered upon our camp. It looked like a giant, metallic bull that breathed out plumes of green gas instead of oxygen. Luckily, we coordinated our attacks well and took the beast down before it could do real damage.

Days seven, eight

We went to meet the Wardens. The outpost had a small army waiting for us: humanoids with their strange hand-canons, vicious Cobra-for-Heads and a collection of Snakes-for-Arms. We tried to have an invisible contingent in case things went poorly, but the Wardens quickly sussed out this plan. They ordered us to present ourselves fairly or we would die as trespassers (at least, this is how I interpreted it). Cooler heads prevailed: we met on fair terms, fully in the open, and took great risk. Their leader goes by the name Asheltakov (Derek note: probably misspelled). The Wardens are interested in hiring us to help maintain some internal balance in the Jungle, which they see as their lawful lands upon which we trespass. They do not trust us enough at this juncture to trade secrets. We offered them some proof that we have infiltrated the city of the LUA before—a map, for example, or bringing along some armour we pilfered from their storehouses. They want this and more such proofs, but warned us that evidence that we are “sneak-thieves” does not prove that we can help manage and protect their region from the LUA in a serious way. However, the meeting went well all things considered. The next time we pass through these lands, we are to return to this outpost and collection something of a job-sheet: a list of tasks that, if we complete, we will be paid and we will be trusted with further information and maybe even an alliance against the LUA. Furthermore, they will pay us for the heads of Apostates, though I do not know how to feel about such dirty work.

A distressing side note: they call their city The Oubliette, and I fear that means it is largely underground. These creatures truly have strayed far from the light and water, and any bargain we make with them is a devilish one.

After the meeting, we traveled back to Sila, stopping en route to collect the head of the giant lizard. We ran into minor problems en route—more toads, these ones of a more manageable size, another behemoth bird, and some stalkers—but the journey home was comparatively peaceful.


Head might not be claimed by Ezra…there’s a bit of a dispute going on.

James_Elcombe JamesMinor

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