Welcome to another writeup that looks at the past week where this time our party have ventured across the sea to Ryokughan and were on the last leg of the journey where normally peace loving toad-kin have been rallied into a heaving mass of amphibious aggressors who have been told by their dark patron to stop the Dancing Drake for their debt to be paid.
So instead of re-writing the past week let’s jump into the end of week write-up and the adventure..
Sailing towards the continent of Ryokughan the party start to relax with the setting of the sun as the ship sail are pulled in and several great oars are produced from portholes on the side of the ship.
As the ship moves through the marsh and the lanterns are lit across the deck of the ship one of the crew, Choi, mentioned to them.
“Don’t follow lights in this jungle. Not during the night and definitely not during the day” Choi fang mentioned as he wound up a length of rope as he finished tying up one of the sails. “There are witches and fell spirits in these marshes that would love for nothing more than the easy meal of someone who doesn’t know the rule of these lands. ”
When the question is asked, “What’s that?” Choi replies with a grin, “Don’t follow the lights.. All light casts a shadow and the smaller the light the bigger the shadow” before he walked off below deck to get a meal in before a long night of navigating through the marsh.
Meanwhile deeper in the marsh Kiri and Trip, two toad-kin who had been summoned by their large and more violent chiefs met and shared a meal. The war chief; a large, violent and terribly powerful member of their kind had received orders from The Shadow to ensure none of the crew upon the Dancing Drake survived their trip through the Marsh.
Area of note
The boat – The Red Fleets Dancing Drake is where the party find themselves calling the ship home, for the time being at least.
The Marsh – The marsh is small islands of mud and root systems of the bushes and reeds that grow in this otherwise deep waterway. Those who fall overboard are treated with deep water, slippery mud banks and thick 4feet tall reeds that make traversing these waterways dangerous during the day and lethal at night.
Kyoko spends her time fighting off toad-kin as they swarm the helm – attempting to keep the little humanoids(ish) from running the ship aground.
Elizabeth “Lizbet” Scaulder
When Lizbet appears on deck, her divine magic appears as if she was a fallen star. The Toad-kin cease fighting and drop to their knees in worship as the vision that walks before them is like a tale sung from campfires from their elders.
Siu is in a good mood, nervous and anxiety being this close to his home land in a very long time when he senses danger and Lizbet moves to go up on deck he races forward to protect her. To the Toad-kin he appears as an emissary of the ancient ones – dragons. His fangs, claws and shimmering gold scales cause lesser toads to jump overboard and those brave enough to hold fast dare not strike him
As well as random NPCs. The Dancing Drakes Crewmates Choi Fang takes a more active role this adventure.
Environment and running the adventure
The Marsh banks – If someone was to fall overboard a DC10 Dexterity check would be required to stand up safely on the river bank (or they fall prone), made with disadvantage if the person on the bank is wearing heavy armour. The islands are 5ft by 10ft on average with some longer but skinnier, and some 10ft by 10ft banks of mid and reeds sporadically spread out either side of the deep river.
The Boat – See Map
In this encounter lets assume that our party of 4 have all reached level 5, I think that would be fitting for being this far in the adventure-year. (disclaimer – forgotten from Fridays writeup – the Goblin and whale are placeholders for the CR..)
That is a lot of critters and yes it does say deadly, but if we break it down into how these creatures fight then it will make more sense.
These creatures will send through the foot soldiers, the humble toad-kin, first before the chiefs will be riled up to fight. If the chiefs begin to falter (and they do easily not being dumb creatures and valuing their life more highly than most things) then the war-chief will wade into the thick of things to dish out discipline and intimidate through violence the lesser toads.
Once Lizbet arrives the toad-kin will stop fighting and three chiefs will arrive the War chief falls and they will use their bully ability to get toad-kin’s to fight the party (despite them not wanting to and it being very obvious that they don’t want to. The Toad-kin (not chief) will had disadvantage on attack rolls when they are fighting in this part of the fight.
Once the Chiefs die then the War-chief will appear, with a second larger chief and they will then attempt to kill the party – using their size and weight to bully the toad-kin who are reluctant into fighting.
Toad-kin War – Chief
While the Toad-kin are a peaceful those particularly blessed by the shadow grow to large intimidating sizes, the smallest at which being the size of the largest of a faerun orc, and with their size comes a hunger for violence and destruction.
Whilst violent and destructive these war chiefs of the toad-kin are cunning, calculating and meticulous in their planning utilising and commanding great throngs of lesser toad-kin usually by bulling and intimidating the clan chiefs and eating the smaller toads who defy them. True servants to the shadow these creatures have forgotten the way of their people, the worship of light, life and nature and seek only the glorification of themselves and the gratification of brutality.
The war chief toad-kin occasionally reaches large size, gaining a thicker hide, mightier constitution and more cunning after surviving so long. These Large ogre sized creatures are rare but extremely powerful and should be feared due to the sheer volume of clans that they bully into service.
The chief of a clan of toad-kin is larger than most, broad chested, heavy and brutal. Blessed by the taint they received by the shadow they bully lesser toad-kin into doing what they want using their size and powerful bodies to get their way and keep control over their people.
Still somewhat superstitious they look for signs that align to their plans and are quick to point out bad omens that would put their plan or right to rule in favour.
These toad-kin are only second to the largest of their kind and take orders from only them. These large toad-kin chiefs emerge from the dank, dark, murky waters of the marsh and jungles to launch raids and attacks on other races for the betterment of themselves.
The toad-kin by itself is unimpressive. Small (about 3ft tall) but fast and nimble it uses its large powerful legs to hop around the marsh to catch food and forage. Servants and cowards they serve their chief with total loyalty and only their superstitious nature will overrule the orders and commands that is barked at them.
Once the war chief dies a dark mist will escape from its lungs as it exhales the last time and will fly away to the north. The Toad-kin will throw down their weapons and appear joyous at the death of the chiefs, maybe not all of them but a majority will and they will attempt to communicate with the party if they can; led by Kiri and Trip.
Well that’s it for tonight, thanks for joining me as we wrapped up this weeks adventure and I am looking forward to party members falling overboard.. I mean learning the true nature of the toad-kin – who I am sure we will explore more of in the near future!
Don’t forget to come back next week as we look to continue with this months adventure oh, and as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe