Misguided resting place

Welcome to another end of week writeup where we follow our adventurers into the second .

As I mentioned in last nights post I almost went too deep this week, exploring and delving too deeply into several additional complexities once I started to try and put together a logical reason for the creatures (crew, refugees and the like) to be shadow bruised and both undetectable yet not invisible or silenced. But I think settling on the points that I have will be a good middle ground for the adventure so, let’s kick it off.  


Danger in the waterfall

As the sun rose on the third day after they had left Jade Point, the Dancing Drake sailing a bit slower due to the hasty and crude repairs done to the breached hull, the Dock city that controlled the Bay of Five Tails was in sight.

“It’s called the Bay of Five Tails,” Kyoko said, watching her most trusted men stand around the central mast where she noticed some crew and refugees from Jade point tied up, it was reported that there were eleven in total but she could only count five, Choi amongst on of the afflicted. “It’s called such as it is believed that one of our great ancestor dragons, a water spirit that had five tails fought a great battle here and as it brought its great many tails down on its foe the earth shattered before its might and five great channels were carved into the land. Soon these channels filled with rushing sea water as the wounds caused by its strike spread out far and wide forming the marshes, the ones we sailed through and the others further west, and inlets to the sea not far from here.” Several other passengers, Liz and Siu included listened intently to the tail.

“This city we call Shuimu, after the ancestor spirt that fought here and opened up what once was a land locked area and brought trade, wealth and prosperity to the people of this region.” she said smiling as she her remaining crew helped position the ship to dock, her hand reaching out to stroke the wings of a hawk, Takeo, that had flown to her side just as the last of the Shadow Bruised were being rounded up. She looked from the Hawk to the adventurers for Faerun. “He will have to remain in this form for a few days, it seems that he had to call on too much of his clans magic and the change is, not as easy to flow back into human shape as it is to shift to an animal. He did discuss with me before he left his plans, to talk to his master and then to seek out the monks that live within the mountain ranges nearby the City, about two days walk, a week round trip to find the monks and return. I believe this is the best chance we have to learn how to cure and help these people afflicted by the shadow’s curse as well as cure Siu as he has been unable to shake the stone for days and, between you and me, he is not himself.” Kyoko said looking concerned at her ancestor-come-shipmate.

Looking towards the city, the vast open market covered in red, gold, green and blue flags representing different family houses the party were welcomed with a chorus of noise, sights and smells that wafted across the waves and up to the boat as they docked.

“We will keep the afflicted behind bars for a week, then their families may begin to ask questions and I cant risk bad relations with the other major families. In this time I need you to seek out the monks and return with the cure, or knowledge of the cure, so we can begin the process of fighting back against the shadow.” Kyoko said as she picked up the hawk on her arm.

“Takeo will help you, as much as a bird that cant talk can. Just ask and he will do what he can – this mission is as important to him as it is to us. As soon as Siu and the others are healed we will head to my city, where my family rule, and we can begin the fight in earnest.” Kyoko said, grasping the hands of the party members “I am grateful the ancestors let your path cross mine. Please seek provisions with this bag of gold and return back as quickly as you can. I am sorry you can’t rest for long, perhaps half a day at most, but we know nothing of this affliction only that it appears to be from the Shadow in nature and that it makes the host simply not exist. We need to know how to stop it before they get lucky and something irreversible were to happen.”

As the boards were lowered and trade goods, people (some in chains) and the host of other things were taken across to the docks where important looking officials dressed in white robes stood waiting the party set their first foot down in Ryokughan proper.


The purchasing of provisions was made easier due to the gossip that spread like wild fire from the ships crew and the refugees. Tails of the foreigners that has stormed an Oni bastion and bested their leader only after convincing an entire race of notoriously vicious marsh dwelling tribes of toad-kin to turn on their chiefs to fight with them soon spread.  Soon the party were aware of people staring and whispering amongst themselves and when a calculating or criticising eye was cast towards them it was a moment before someone leant against their ear and soon the gaze changed to one of reverence and respect, or fear.

The party were able to acquire most of their supplies with a heavy discount, their newfound fame and reputation preceding them in most vendors but a few, those sponsored by a rival family to the Harimasu’s. Here the prices were increased so much that the savings from the other vendor’s were taken up nearly instantly.

As they left the city the now familiar tawny hawk flew from the top of the gatehouse and drifted along the wind currents above the road towards the mountain ranges in the distance. The horses that Kyoko had found for them proved strong, reliable and fit which enabled them to make good time.

Watching the hawk dart ahead under the canopy of leaves and branches above was the only sign that they were still on the right track, maybe. The hawk had been disappearing for a few moments piercing through the top of the trees before returning a few minutes to indicate the party to continue following. About a day up the mountains the party stopped nearing a small waterfall fed crisp cold pool of water.

Setting up camp not wanting to be travelling these parts at night the party watched as Takeo, the man-hawk flew off towards the mountain peak again to scout the way forward for the next morning, but the party got the feeling that they were lost. Soon the crackle of wood splitting and burning on the firepit greeted the setting of the sun and soon the sounds of singing insects and calls from Nocturnal animals joined the fires chorus.

As the party settled down they marvelled at how quite the surrounding area was. A few birds were high off the ground in nearby trees and calling to one another but the movement of beasts and creatures in the darkening woods beyond their campfire light was never towards them, as if they hesitated to approach the light and party.

Areas of note

Shuimu – A trading hub of a town, many buildings, crowded colourful streets and market stalls as far as the eye can see – if you’ve got the coin someone will have something that you want somewhere within the depths of the city. Notorious for being a neutral city – trading to all folk it is also rife with rivalry with many merchants showing an allegiance to a family or province and in doing so they show preferential treatment, or discrimination, against those who either are allied to their province or family or those who find themselves out of favour.

The Mountains, Shuimu’s ridge – A tall set of mountains to the north of Shuimu, known as Shuimu’s ridge, are the source of many folk tales and stories surrounding nightmarish creatures, strange yet benevolent creatures that take more pleasure in assisting people rather than harming them. Somewhere within the mountains lies a monastery where the monks and sages that call its walls home are both masters in martial arts as well as extraordinary scholars who may know the cure for the Shadow Bruises that are appearing on the crew and passengers of the Dancing Drake.

NPCs

Takeo

Takeo spends most of the adventure in hawk form scouting the area ahead before he notices that the party are in danger where he forces himself to transform into human form and in doing so injures his arm badly.

Environment and running the adventure

The Waterfall – see map

The quiet constant bubble of the waterfall in the background, the thick perfumed flowers bushes and trees all trees give this waterfall a peaceful yet haunting feel. The deepness of the water is deep enough towards the centre of the pool that its above the heads of all but the tallest of humanoid races.

Made with Inkarnate.com – image is 40 x 40 squares

Dark Waterfall cave– see map

Inside the cave, behind the waterfall is a dimly lit area – bioluminescent mushrooms providing some dim lighting throughout the cave which only reveals the source of the sour taste of the pool and the foul smell that greets the party as they enter the cave. A pile of humanoid bones leads up an incline to an elevated natural platform overlooks the dark, deep pools of water beneath.

Made with Inkarnate.com – image is 20×20 squares

Encounter

As the night went on the birds started to get quieter until the only sound was the bubble of the waterfall and crackling of the fire. Despite the coldness of the water there was a sourness to it that caused the party to decide to drink from their water skins instead. Cracking of twigs near the waters edge caused the party to flinch but apart from moss covered rocks and bushes. A few moments later and a hawk crashed through the branches above, shifting and turning into a human as it crashed amongst the group.

“Run you fools. It’s upon you!” Takeo cried as he nursed his left arm.


The creatures that attacked the party from the waterfall pool are short, between that of a dwarf and a halfling, scaled with webbed feet and hands each ending in three vicious fingers complete with long sharped curved claws. Each of them have a bony ridge on top of their heads that created a bowl with water that, by some magical or mystical nature, never spills unless an external force forces the water to spill.

A large ridged shell covers its back and, for some, a bit of their chest. Despite being humanoid almost no body hair grows for both males and females and generally its just enough hair to surround their head bowl. They have enlarged nostrils that flow into a bony growth like beak surrounded their teeth filled mouth and their eyes seem to bulge lightly from their tiny-constantly scowling eye sockets.

The Kappa will fight for food quite viciously but they are also smart enough to know the value in their own lives and are more than likely to flee if the alternative is their death. In this encounter 2-3 Kappa’s should be attacking the party – by now I would believe we would have level 6 characters in the party so that should make the encounter easier. Once one Kappa falls the next wounded most wounded Kappa will retreat and swim back under the waterfall, the next Kappa will do the same but will try and bring down the party member who struck its fellow Kappa down.

Inside the waterfall cave everything is dimly lit, so the Kappa are considered to be lightly obscured. The Kappa female is twice the size of the normal Kappa and so her HP should be doubled. It will be her any any wounded Kappa that managed to escape +3d6 hp healed back to their wounded HP score if they had water left in their head bowls.



Aftermath

Within the cave they find discarded cloth and mundane items that look to belong to travellers and farmers, some farming instruments and daggers / knives would be find discarded. However in a sealed scroll case against a smooth, sloped stone at the top of the ridge (where the large Kappa stood). Inside the scroll case is letters that express dealings between a Junko Toshio and a mercenary gang called “The Fallen Crescent” which appear to be discussing actions taken against Harimasu trading and supply wagons to the north east.


Well that’s it for tonight – including updating the waterfall forest map to include some added effects as well as correcting some layering options. This next week is the last week for the month (that went fast!) where we look at the monastery and what lies beyond that.

Don’t forget to come back each day this next week and as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

The Shadows First move

Welcome to another end of week writeup with our first venture towards the conflict between the adventurers and the shadow directly, well as directly as The Shadow gets for now.

As I mentioned in last nights post I almost went too deep this week, exploring and delving too deeply into several additional complexities once I started to try and put together a logical reason for the creatures (crew, refugees and the like) to be shadow bruised and both undetectable yet not invisible or silenced. But I think settling on the points that I have will be a good middle ground for the adventure so, let’s kick it off.  


Haunted by Shadow

As the ship sailed down the widening River the last signs of the marsh retreated into the wild under a chorus off toad-kin singing songs of praise, protection in and victories to be come.

“It’s nice isn’t it. To be nearly home and be with the first glimmer of hope we’ve had in quite some time” Kyoko began, breathing deeply and looking out across the water and slowly approaching fields be and farmland. “I bet you were be staying to worry weren’t you Takeo” she said turning to the tawny hawk next to her. After a ruffle of feathers Takeo Mei stood next to her.

“When my birds returned without delivering a message I worried, when Jade Point was under siege I also worried. But now I am glad to see that you have made some stalwart companions to usher you home, I knew that they were a good omen, but I don’t remember the Priestess being amongst them earlier.. ” he frowned looking towards the Lizbet as he could sense a strange energy about her.

“She is something else. Single handed turned the Toad-kin into allies. They call her a fallen Star” Kyoko said as she sipped from a cup and watched her. Takeo nodded to Kyoko before walking towards Lizbet and the party of adventurers he met weeks ago.

“I could sense something about you from across the ship. You have a light about you Miss Priestess, one that the darkness and shadow will try and snuff out” Takeo said, nodding to the party as he stopped to stand amongst them, tilting his head listening to a sound that only he could hear.

“Well they have tried already, luckily for me I have had these adventurers, heroes if you will, protect me and shepherd me from harm for now. Even Siu has taken to following a few feet behind me to ensure that I am safe.” she said as the golden scaled beast moved forward making Takeo startle if only for a moment.


“No, I can’t. I won’t. She is the light that will protect us.” he muttered under his breath as he shook his head – the whispers getting louder with each passing moment. His legs walked on their own carrying him next to the railing, around the back of the gathering where the adventurers stood with the person made entirely of blinding light. “No, don’t please. Its a price I cant afford” the man continued as he felt the change happen – suddenly people stopped moving aside, no one looked at him and even the astute and watchful gaze of the man talking to the priestess and the party frowned as if something was missing.

As more people bumped into him he cursed the card game that had won him the stone that was now in his possession, again, a pain on his neck forming as the stone took its mark on him. He couldn’t live like this again, not in the shadow, not without the warmth of others and so with a shuddering sob he drew his long knife, a memento from his father – a fisherman – and drove the point into his chest. He shuddered as the stone fell from his hand and clacked against the railing of the ship and then over the side as he felt his body go cold. All of a sudden people were screaming, the man who appeared to have been watching him before the shadow enacted its price was there in the space he drew his last breath. “The shadow…” he managed to whisper to the man as he felt his eyes close.


Takeo knelt next to the man he remembered seeing, hearing talking to himself as if a mad man then nothing – as if his existence had been wiped from the world. When the body hit the ground he remembered what had been witnessed and heard and as he heard the words “The Shadow” he searched the man for marks – a large, deep bruise had formed on his neck where it met his left shoulder as if a large round object had been forced onto him for some while.

“Kyoko, we need to restrict the priestess and her companions at once. There is darkness afloat these waters”

Areas of note

The Boat – Confined to the lower decks where there is the ability to limit the access to both the passengers and the crew.

NPCs

Koyko Harimasu

After the appearance of the first shadow bruised Kyoko assisted the party of adventurers in finding a place that could be secured and easily defensible before returning to the deck to work with the crew and Takeo in looking for more of the Bruised.

Elizabeth “Lizbet” Scaulder

Liz is worried about the attacks, especially the nature of them as they appear out of no where but generally only as they are killed.

Her concern is two fold, concern for her safety and the safety of those around her as well as the concern for those afflicted by the curse that gave them this shadow-like quality and if they would be able to be cured from the curse.

Siu

Siu spends his time defending and sticking as close to Liz and Kyoko as possible trying to defend them both – when Kyoko goes back above deck to talk to the crew and the other passengers Siu sticks close to Liz.

Takeo

Takeo, after uncovering the initial attacker and talking to the party about the next best steps goes to see his master, where upon finding his clan hall empty returns back to the ship just in time for it to dock.

Environment and running the adventure

The Boat– see map

Encounter

The first encounter, on deck should be like a script, if the party roll a successful Charisma Saving throw vs Stealth check OR Insight vs Stealth will reveal the creature to the one who made the check – but otherwise they don’t see the first shadow bruised until they hit the deck dead.

Takeo and Kyoko will take the party, Liz and Siu downstairs and into one of the sealed crews quarters to discuss the situation. The end goal here is that Takeo will reveal that he doesn’t have all the information and that he will need to talk to his masters further to get more information – he will then leave after that.

Kyoko will ask the Party to pick a place to defend Liz for now, a lockable or sealable space would be good. The closed off quarters are good options (one with two bed is where Liz would be staying currently), the crews quarters with hammocks may be also suitable or even the sealed in holding cell in the centre of the floor. On their way there they would get attacked by one of the Shadow Touched (see above encounter mechanics) who would try and attack Liz (depending on how the Party are moving) if they decide to stay in Liz’s chambers then the attack happens there.

If the Party move around, or change watch, or, every 6 hours another attack will happen until they have been attacked four times in total where the fifth has two shadow touched attacking at once – which is unusual for them,



Aftermath

Shortly after defeating the last of the shadow touched Kyoko appears saying that they believe they have accounted for everyone including those stopped from attacking Liz and the party. While the party have been dealing with the sudden attacks the ship has moved on and the next destination, the final port, lays ahead of them.


Well that’s it for tonight, thanks for dropping by and sticking with me this week while I recover and begin to feel better again. The next few days may also be slow but I plan to still create daily content this next.

Don’t forget to come back each day this week and as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

To catch a Fallen Star

Tonight we will look back at the parties first encounter with the Oni a warrior race who’s goal is to enslave or eradicate the other races of Ryokughan.

So I will continue using this format which I believe is easier for me to collate material and display it – but of you find that its not the easiest way to read it please do let me know!

As with last time Pages 1, 2 and 3 are content pages, the description, flow, random tables, etc. and such that you’ve previously seen.
Page 4 contains all NPCs and portraits to help the DM describe them and a bit about them to help play them out.
Page 5 will be stat blocks and map(s) – all that D&D encounter goodness that you want.

Now I will assume you have read the entire post (a shocking 4844 words long!) and say thanks in advance for reading this – I have expanded, added and adjusted a few things to make sure the adventure flow better.


Don’t forget to come back next week and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe


Part 1 – Moored within the Marsh- 214MoSoR

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.


Areas and places 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.

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

Encounter

Boat and Marsh – 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.

This gives us 20 Toad-kin, 4 Toad-kin Chief and 1 Toad-kin War-chief.

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.

Aftermath: 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.

Notable NPC interactions.

Koyko Harimasu – 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 – 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

Oni Incursion

Welcome to another end of week writeup where this week we have the party travel through the jungle at night, get ambushed (surprise!), find Jade Point and meet the Oni.

This is a bit of a bigger week so I better get a move on it without spending too much time discussing the week.  


Defence of Jade Point

True to her word Varda’s charms saw the party standing on solid ground soon at the base of tangled grove of trees, the now talking Kiri and little feathered bird fetish proving invaluable in their bid to leave the Marsh. Now standing at the edge of the mass of trees which could only be described as a jungle due to the hot, dense mass of trees, roots, bushes and other vegetation it appeared as though they would have a hard time traversing the jungle floor whilst constant drops of warm water dripped down upon them from the heavy canopy above.

The creatures in the jungle were smaller than the marsh, skittish even which meant there was always a noise, a growl, a call or a watching shadow nearby the party as they moved through the dense vegetation and avoided being trapped in the vines, roots and leaves. As night fell the party set up camp whilst Kiri warned them of the many dangers, a list that went on for quite some time. The noises increased in tempo and volume the party began to believe some of the stories the toad-kin told over the flickering embers of the fire and as creatures of the jungle wandered into camp either curious of the light and noise or hungry for what they believed was an easy meal.

After a day walking after one of the worst nights sleep that anyone could remember for some time, including the storm at sea, they stumbled through the edge of the Jungle turned forest and looked down upon the port town which sat at a large cove in the river about a further mile away.

Thick black smoke billowed forth from buildings on the outskirts of the town and evidence of battle could be seen from this distance, fallen bodies and a small camp settled in from the north of where the party had come from the jungle, could be seen cloaked by an constant cloud of mist that defied the wind and cast a massive shadow over the ram shackle camp.

The Toad-kin seemed spooked, jittery even, and when the party finally spoke they jumped in fear. “That’s no brigand or ramshackle force there, that’s an Oni camp – blessed by the shadow. It seems they, the shadow, had a backup plan in case my people could not stop you in the marsh.” he began, fear causing his voice to tremble. “I will go and warn my people, and the ship, there must be another way to where you need to go. To face the Oni is death.”

Looking forward at the town and the ramparts the party discussed on their course of action, tired and low on reserves after the marsh and the jungle they were unsure of what their next move was but knew that they could not stay at the edge of a jungle and that the port was their next stop and best hope at returning back to the ship to re-unit with Kyoko, Siu and Lizbet to reach the Captains home city and lend aid where they could.

Some time later…

The party watched a dark mist flooded the lower recesses around the gap between the rampart and the dock town with morbid interest – memories of the mist and the creatures it bore from Daye still fresh in their minds. As they looked towards the town they noticed two people stride from the town, from this distance they were just two small figures like ants but it was very evident that something that wrong when the one in the back moved suddenly and the front figure collapsed onto the ground. The mist approached the two hungrily and soon it engulfed them, the vapour collapsing around the wall before alarm bells tolled and figures buzzed around the towns crudely constructed barricade like ants defending their nest.

The mist retreated and bodies clad in a grey clothing – or armour, the distance was really doing a disservice to those watching this unfold, were left in its wake – but the two figures that left the safety of the walls were gone.

Taking that as a sign the party made haste down the slight hill from where the jungle grew and head towards the town but they were stopped by the clack of crossbows and the whistling of bolts as projectiles rained down upon them. Tall, vicious grey armour clad humanoids rushed at them as another volley of bolts whizzed around them and landed at their feet. The humanoids had red skin, pointed ears and large flat features that reminded them of goblins and some orcs from their home continent and as the warriors got closer they snarled, revealing their sharpened short tusks and murderous intent in their eyes.

Areas of note

The Marsh– Using the Fetish of the Kookastem the party was able to move across the marsh with relative ease – avoiding the other dangers lurking above and below the water.

The Jungle – The dense trees, roots and vegetation makes travel and visibility of approaching dangers difficult to notice until its too late. Luckily, or maybe unluckily, the thick canopy of trees

Jade Point – A small town of a few hundred people at most who work the docks or provide for those that do. A few smaller farms lay on the outskirts of the town that produce vegetables and grain for the people of the town and their animals but most of the people work on the docks or on the river.

Build with a few 15ft tall walls that protect it from the forest and surrounding areas from wandering brigands – but not a well trained force like the Oni. The outer walls that faced the West have sustained sever damage without the use of siege weapons but large lumbering shadows have been seen over the walls in the ramparts built where the Oni have encamped.

The Oni encampment – Surprisingly well built for something that seemingly sprung up overnight – the 20ft walls are made from trees not native to this area and even watch towers seemed to have been created without the people of Jade Point noticing, well too much.

NPCs

Kiri – a small toad-kin of young years who believes in the old ways. Spirited and savvy he volunteered to help guide the adventures through the marsh and jungle despite thinking thinking their plan foolish. Since receiving the Longsnout talisman he has been able to speak common and is eager to talk to the party and help there where ever he can.

Captain Jake Hart

Young but ambitious Jake happened to near the town of Jade point as they were being besieged by the Oni and him and his small returning regiment of soldiers have defended it for four days – however their numbers decrease every day and Jake has gone missing.

Environment and running the adventure

The Jungle – The party would have some creature visit their camp every few hours during the night whether it is just one leopard (panther) looking for an opportunistic meal, a pack of hyenas (3-5 of them), a hunting pack of lizardfolk (5-8 of them by themselves or 1 shaman and 4 lizardfolk). The Party would not be able to benefit from a good nights rest unless they are able to deal with the visitors by them selves or keep the entire party hidden somehow.

The Field – To the south of the town is where the party appear from the Jungle – about a mile away and slightly up hill. The mist spreads from the Oni Encampment (which is a bit higher from where the party look out from the trees) into the fields below towards the walls of Jade Point and even up to the trees where they are now – raising up to the trees edge when the mist is particularly thick. When the mist is thick any Oni has advantage on stealth checks made while they are within the mist and all other races consider the mist being a heavily obscured area which blocks vision entirely. (A creature effectively suffers from the blinded condition when trying to see something in that area.)

The encampment and Jade point– See Map

Made by me with Inkarnate.com – original can be found here

Encounter

In this encounters let’s 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.

Ambush in the jungle: for each 2 hours interval roll on the below table (or choose!)

d6 ResultEncounter
11 Leopard (panther) approaches the party – if all are asleep it will attack the one furthest from the group – if one is awake then opposed stealth vs perception check is required or the leopard gets a surprise round on the party.
24-5 Hyena’s attack the campsite suddenly, any exposed food or rations is lost as the hyenas eat that first before attempting to grab a PC.
35-8 Lizardfolk attack, shooting the party first before engaging in melee.
44 Lizardfolk attack with a shaman, if there is a member of the party awake and the shaman is detected (stealth vs perception) and if the party is successful the shaman will hold off on attacking immediately and will talk to the party member that is awake. They can sense Lizbet on the party but want to seize her power to protect themselves from the Oni (but will deceive to get it)
5A friendly spirit wanders into the camp and begins to ask questions of them, waking up people if need be, curious about everything and everyone it upturns bags, rummages through sacks but stays away from iron and magical items.
6A sudden close growl or shriek happens – Anyone with passive perception 13+ is woken immediately.

Second part.

The Oni attack the party just outside the Jungle with a rain of arrows first off while being hidden in the fog. 1 Oni captain and 7 Oni attack them, 3 at range and 4 in melee. The captain stands back and issues commands to the melee until 1 drops then she will engage. Whilst not engaged in combat the Captain takes the dodge action. The Oni look to knock out the party not kill them so they only use non-lethal attacks.

Third part– Path a.

If the party parley or get captured by the Oni they end up in the main tent atop a hill where they find Captain Jake tied up – just a they soon are. Then the Oni Shadow Blessed appears and starts to try and get information out of them about Lizbet and Kyoko – and any plans they have. In the tent there are no other Oni’s. The Party can try and subtly escape their bindings (DC14+ depending on what they want to do) but the Oni Shadow Blessed will leave and come back again if she doesn’t get what she wants out of them the first time around. She isn’t above casting charm person on a PC if it gets her information.

Third part– Path b.

If the party don’t get captured by the Oni they could sneak into the ramparts to fight through many Oni, (a few encounters of similar numbers mentioned above) until they reach the tent where they find Captain Jake being tortured by a large female Oni (Oni Shadow Blessed) who will try and capture them by calling out for guards (if any survived) or will try and charm and bewitch many of them to get information from them (see path a)

Third part– Path C.

If the party don’t get captured by the Oni they could make there way to the city where they are captured quickly by friendly but scared troops who take them to a leader, for now, who releases them from their binds and tells them about the Oni and Captain Jake going missing. The leader then advises them of the plan to leave the harbour and save the villagers if they can get a ship into port as they only have a single boat ready to sail but its not enough to save them all but the Dancing Drake would be big enough for those who remain) – but they would also need a diversion to make sure that the people can board a big enough ship and continue up river. Up to the party now if they want to create a diversion, attack the encampment to search for Jake or do something else.





Aftermath

This one is tricky – ideally the Dancing drake makes it into port and people board it and head to the capital. If Captain Jake is rescued or the Oni Shadow blessed is hurt (enough that she turns gaseous form and leaves the tent) then the following morning the fog and most of the encampment is gone. If they don’t go then the city is attacked by double the number of the scouting Oni and survivors (party included) are captured and taken to the Oni Shadow Blessed (play out Path A)


Well that’s it for tonight – the ending was a bit hard this week with a few options – the Oni Shadow blessed is quite cunning and wont risk their life for no amount of information and should flee where possible (unless killed so quickly that they simply can’t flee). The following week (and in the end of month writeup) I will decide on an option but as the DM we should encourage flexibility in how we structure our sessions and there are clear defined paths here which lead in different directions.

Don’t forget to come back next week as we look to finish this months adventure and as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

Varda’s Request

Welcome to another writeup that looks at the past week where this time our party found their ship, the Dancing Drake, in need for repairs after being attacked by toad-kin at the control of their Chieftains and war chief. They set off across the marsh to find help but run into some problem’s.

So instead of re-writing the past week let’s jump into the end of week write-up and the adventure..  


Shaman’s request

The Dancing Drake having suffered a wound to its hull and becoming stuck between marsh banks looked to be in some difficulties. While wondering how to fix it  two unarmed and unarmoured toad-kin approached the crew and were eventually lead to Lizbet and the party. Whilst able to understand common communication seemed hard, body language and communication with hand gestures revealed that these two toad-kin (Kiri and Trip) wished to help those who walked amongst the walking star and could show them the way through the marsh, they think.

The crew and Kyoko both agreed that travelling the marsh would cut days off their travel, considering their ship was grounded until repairs could be made, and it would take a savvy survivalist to lead them through unscathed, particularly the darker deeper parts of the marsh and jungle that lay between them and the port they were travelling to.

The issue is that the Toad-kin could not communicate traditionally but they wanted to take them to someone who commanded the spirits and magic of the swamp to create a charm that would lead them through the worst of the marsh and perhaps find a way to enable the two Toad-kin to communicate with those they wished to serve and assist.

Reluctant to agree they considered their other options, sure that they could find a spell or charm to speak and communicate with the diminutive humanoids they set off on their own, heading in the direction with a compass borrowed from Choi to seek help at the port to retrieve supplies and a crew to repair the dancing drake and get it sailing again.

Kiri and Trip not wanting them to fail followed them but not being able to communicate effectively started to wear down the party and their guides nerves as the marsh got thicker and the sun got lower as the day went on..

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. But having suffered damage to the hull they are need of repair and its currently stuck between two mud banks and taken on water.

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 four feet tall reeds that make traversing these waterways dangerous during the day and lethal at night.

The Marsh hut – A small hut in the marsh which is home to Varda, the toad-kin who needs some reagents for a charm to assist the party.

NPCs

Kiri – a small toad-kin of young years who believes in the old ways. Spirited and savvy he volunteered to help guide the adventures through the swamp despite thinking their plan foolish.

Trip – a larger toad-kin of more advanced years. He is good with his spear and quite experienced at moving about the marsh safely. It’s a rare occurrence that he is taken by surprise.

Varda – a old one footed toad-kin shaman who is fond of cooking and who is rumoured to be so old that she walked amongst the fallen stars. Her name is also rumoured to be a gift from those people who taught her how to speak (elves and draconic).

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 marsh – See Map

Made with Inkarnate.com

Encounter

In this encounters let’s 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..)

The first encounter is more to shock the party into action and drive them to seek aid in crossing the marsh. One, or two (dealers choice) giant marsh newts ambush the toad-kin once they have revealed that they are mostly harmless to anything they they cant fit in their mouth. The newts should swallow one toad-kin and lumber off with the aim being the party to fight it and kill it near the waters edge.

Once it’s (they) are dead a Longsnout Sharptooth will lunge out of the water, not revealing its fleshy flower looking appendages at all, and attack the corpse. Anyone who fails a perception check (vs its stealth) will get hit by the creatures tail as it dives up onto the bank with a successful str saving throw preventing them from being knocked down as it then drags the newt into the water, only once the toad-kin escapes.

Second half.

The walk to Varda’s hut is easy, the toads know the way. She then requests the petals of the Longsnout Sharptooth and feathers of a Mirestrider Kookastem (a four legged fast bird).

The encounter for this can be straight forward where the party hunt the birds and the Longsnout sharptooth or have the Longsnout attack the party during fighting/hunting the Mirestrider as an ambush for the party.

I would picture it as the mire strider fleeing from the party, they almost going to capture it and the Longsnout lunging at the party, first one to come into Range. Jaws closing on both Mirestrider, killing it in a plume of feathers.

The alternative is spotting two bright flowers unlike the others in the marsh growing from a log thats floating in the marsh near the shore. This of course isn’t a log but the Longsnout. There are a lot of ways to run the encounter and the most thematic and challenging for the party would be my preference.





Aftermath

Once the ingredients are given to Varda she produces a talisman for the Toad-kin Kiri which gifts him the ability to speak common and the party a fetish which is a stuffed bird that enables them to see through its eyes gor a hour as it flies above the party at around 100ft off the ground. After its done so it falls to the ground and lays inert until the following dawn.


Well that’s it for tonight, thanks for joining me as we wrapped up this weeks adventure.

Don’t forget to come back next week as we look to continue with this months adventure and don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

Marsh-dweller

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..


Peaceful Marauders

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.

NPCs

Koyko Harimasu

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

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

Encounter

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.


Toad-kin Chief

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

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.


Aftermath

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

Open Sea’s & the Slithering Evil.

Tonight we will look back at the parties first leg of their journey to Kyoko and Siu’s home country as well as their unexpected stopover on Ophidian Island.

So I will continue using this format which I don’t know if its easier but it certainly collates the adventure a bit more for ease of reading.

As with last time Pages 1, 2 and 3 are content pages, the description, flow, random tables, etc. and such that you’ve previously seen.
Page 4 contains all NPCs and portraits to help the DM describe them and a bit about them to help play them out.
Page 5 will be stat blocks and map(s) – all that D&D encounter goodness that you want.

Now I will assume you have read the entire post (although it is ~6700 words long..) and say thanks in advance for reading this – I have expanded, added and adjusted a few things to make sure the adventure flow better.
If you do like this format do let me know, if you don’t also let me know so I can see what I can tweak for next time. this probably was just about as much effort as writing it all from scratch the first time around but this way I think it makes sense.


Don’t forget to come back next week and, as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe


Part 1&2 – Searching for Reason and Facing the truth – 209MoSfR+210MoFT

The high priestess Lizbet and Katya were introduced at last, the party shepherding them into town to ensure the safety of Katya and that they completed their quest. People lined the streets to welcome the returning hero and to bear witness to the high priestess, Lizbet, and the newcomer, Katya, radiating divine magic which radiated the warmth of a spring after a dead cold winter.

Along the rooftops Siu scampered, a little dragonoid that was covered in fur as it watched Lizbet and Katya, praying to the ancestors (of whom he was enslaved to due to his past mistakes) that his plan to convince one of both of them to come with him back to his home country would succeed. There was a growing shadow across the sea which was slowly devouring the land and people of the place he called home many-many years ago, the Harimasu families lands and the villages that were within its borders.

But as he was watching from a safe distance he noticed something dark happening and when he investigated he was attacked by a shadow stitched – a creature that was killed and which is now inhabited by a Shadow-mist creeper. Calling upon his treasured blessing – returning to his humanoid form for 24 hours, something he could use but once a decade he dashed for the temple of Chauntea to try and get the attention of the priestesses, to get their help in healing his wounds.

Successful in his ploy he was unable to treasure and use his blessing to enjoy his human form but instead found himself organising the defence of the priestesses who the creatures would be drawn to hunting down due to the amount of divine (life) energy they radiated. The plan was afterwards, if successful, he would ask for one of them (Lizbet had already had whispers spoken to her whilst she was not aware of his presence, one of his talents) to board the Red Fleets Dancing Drake, Kyoko Harimasu’s ship and sail back to his home country. If they survived that is.


Areas and places of note

The Road to Daye – The road back to Daye is long but easy. Its general downhill slope makes travel easy and the road after the ambush site, where the undead attacked, cleared out to have a sight of all potential threats for miles. Random encounters could be possible but they would be wild beasts, more undead (or fiends) but not brigands and the like would have a rough job trying to get an ambush on the party and their wagon.

Daye Streets – The streets are no more than 30ft wide, enough for a wagon or two to pass comfortably with stalls either side of the road. The buildings that line the road are one or two story predominantly with the odd three story building here and there. Currently there are people from the city lining either side of the street paying respect (silent or otherwise) to the priestess and her procession. The raw energy that comes from Katya would also put people into a shocked state as they are used to the grace and touch from Chauntea (through the temple) but not in such a potent form.
*After the battle* the streets are empty early in the mornings and talk of the creatures and nightmarish sounds from the night before are the talk of the town. Soon though merchants bring their stalls, wagons and carts out and begin to advertise their wares – it truly is a market city where the streets, particularly around the docks, are a source of just about all mundane items and objects you could seek.

The Temple– A large, 50ft x 90 ft building with a large alter and statue to Chauntea being the centre piece of the large prayer room with several rooms off to the sides and a wing for where the priests and priestesses would sleep.
*After the battle* the temple has guest quarters where the party would have been encouraged to stay to rest and heal, as well as to have close in case more creatures appeared in the middle of the night. The people who call this place home, the priests and priestesses are kind, welcoming and excellent cooks believing that Chauntea’s bountiful blessings are meant to be shared to not just he devout but all.

The Docks – Quieter than when the party first stepped upon the docks they are still busy with people from the red fleet still selling the last of their wares. Many of the large red sailed ships have left and several other trading ships have also arrived and they have brought with them not just their normal wares but a small influx of magical items. Different to the lucky trinkets and lesser magical items of the Red fleet these merchants sell potions, scrolls and other wondrous items – if the gold is plentiful enough.
The docks, however, of late have begun to start selling magical items and as the Red fleet begin to head home back across the waves to restock on goods the demand on magical trinkets and items is at a new time high with supply being short and the patience of the customers being little.

Environment and running the adventure

Day1 & Night 1.

Street – No one would dare attack the party, not with the rumour spreading of what they fought in Bracken Hollow nor the spirit they fought in the city. Furthermore the presence of the city guard, the priestess and priests of Chauntea as well as the gathering of folk from the city would make it very difficult to get the drop on them. However once the party reach the Temple of Chauntea they would leave the priestess there and head into the streets.

On the streets they may become the target of the Shadow-mist creepers or the Shadow Stitched beasts – lunging at them n shadow in small violent bursts (up to 3 creatures at once, all mixed species). As night falls a dockworker would attack them – visible seems where the shadow-stuff that holds the flesh together glowing in the moonlight as it attacks them – the intelligence maliciousness would seek to attack the one who was last closest to Katya.

After the fight is over a bell would start ringing from the temple – the urgency and oddness of the hour should be alarming to the party and someone would likely step out from a building and state the obvious (a helpful nudge for the party).

Temple – The centre room once the party get to the temple is where the priests can be found praying to Chauntea, flooding the room around the alter with daylight. Katya, Lizbet, Carline and Paul with a young man who looks to be of the Red Fleets people are currently fighting back a few creatures that attacked the party. As the party fight their way through some of the shadow stitched creatures they notice a dog grab Katya’s robe and drag her from the room, rushing through the side door and into the outside beyond. Lizbet and the others rush after them and into the night beyond.

The dog carries Katya into the streets where the party who give chase encounter more creatures to come and push back at them – Lizbet, Paul, Carline and the young man (Sui) catch up to Katya and separate her from the dog but they are quickly surrounded.

Day 2

Decision– The decision to leave would need to come from the party – Going to go see Siu at the docks wouldn’t be a hard decision (he looks just like a man after all) and Lizbet would ask the party to escort her just in case of a trap before deciding to walk off herself.

The party can tell that she is nervous, perhaps anxious about the decisions to be made and her nerves would be obvious to all (she isn’t one to hide behind a mask).

The boat– Once the party see the boat the decision needs to be made – follow the creature and Kyoko across the waves with Lizbet to help save their people or stay back and wait. Regardless of the decision initially Kyoko will ask that the party and priestess give her a week to give her time to get ready for the voyage back home. This gives the party some time to shop, if they are short of ropes/ arrows / etc. and to find out more bout where they are going from Kyoko, Siu or any of the Red Fleet.

If the party do stay behind then the adventure at the end of the month will come into affect (with the aim of still getting the party to travel across the sea)

Adventure Areas

1st night – Shadow Stitched.

As the party leave Katya if they move through a place with shadow that is too far from people (use DM discretion here) then its likely they will be attacked by the Shadow-stitched. The first attack would have one or two creatures attack but only as the party turn their back, an ambush as if carefully plotted. As one of the creatures dies the other would fall limp and the shadow-mist creeper would flee into the sky where it would dissipate (its energy spent). Examination of the body would reveal it being dead for hours and an arcana check would reveal that a dark magic (enchantment more so than necromancy but it has that tinge) held the corpse together as if possessed.

The second attack would be more feral – as if all control of their will power was gone – the astute party member would note that the creatures almost moved as if commanded or as if puppets to a greater powers will. These creatures would attack from the shadows but into the sunlight where they would flinch and a dark smoke would flow from their stitches – which glow black in the sunlight. As the creatures are killed (three, a cat, a dog and maybe a raven (use the owl block) then a dark mist would escape and bubble in the sunlight before dissipating.


The next encounter would be the temple after the bells start to ring (as the sun finally sets) – the temple would e filled with little creatures, cats, dogs, rats, birds who are in the shadows (away from the sunlight being produced by the priests) except for where Katya and Lizbet are – the creatures are braving the light to get to the princess.

1d4+1 creatures would actively block the path to Chauntea’s chosen and as the party slay the second last one then a large dog would grab a hold of Katya and quickly drag her from the safety of the temple.

In the streets every 60 feet another creature would appear, randomise what it is each time!

Once the party reach Katya and Lizbet + company they would start to get 3~5 creatures attack in waves (every 2 rounds) until an ogre wearing leathers of a dock worker (and looking like he works on the docks) steps forward to fight the party. Once the ogre falls then all of the creatures fall and the dark mist floats into the sky and disappears.

2nd day – Decisions

The aim of day 2 is to get the party to consider shopping for things using the gold they have now as well as tying up any lose ends. They should see going over on the boat a desirable prospect and the right way to progress the story moving forward.


Notable NPC interactions.

Kyoko Harimasu – Interaction with Siu and the party when his true form is revealed, which upon him showing true selflessness he is gifted a more suitable draconic form. See – Twist of fate

Ophidian Island

Hi all and welcome to the end of the week writeup and, the last week of content before I produce the end of month adventure that looks at the last 4 weeks (yup. 4!)

This week we saw our party have to make an emergency stop on a lost island after their ship, the Red Fleets Dancing Drake was attacked by pirates. However unknown to them this island was home to a powerful creature who had claimed the vacant, fertile land as its hunting ground and with its demonic powers it had empowered its servants to kidnap any who dare take refuge on its sandy shores.

So without any more drivel or waffling on let’s get to the write-up!


Ophidian Island

As the storm subsided the party and the crew made their way across the waves their ship having sustained damage from the fighter and the Storm. It was on the second day that the crew saw across the waves and island with tall trees scattered across the island surrounding a lone mountain. Jutting from this mountain was a tall steep spire which towered above the island and into the clouds above.

As the ship limped its way to the sandy shores Kyoko limped forward having sustained a crossbow bolt to her leg during the pirates attack. “Alright crew. We rest here for three days. Get some in wood to repair the ship, get some fresh water and food and we leave. Anyone late to the ship in on the sunrise of the third day gets left behind” she commands and the crew, most of them fully healed from Lizbet, rush off to complete their captains orders.

She beckons for the party. “My maps show this island but warn people to not set up camp, they believe this island to be cursed. Can you keep watch over the crew, Siu and Lizbet to make sure we all leave this island in one piece, or at least the same state we arrived in” she requested, grimacing as she lent the wrong way on her injured leg.

The party nod as Kyoko turns to head back towards her cabin and maps. She had insisted on Lizbet healing her crew before using magic to heal her leg, Lizbet had used all her magic on the crew and was yet to fully recover her magic to heal the captain.

A hour later a group of four crew members run towards where everyone was set up not far from where the ship was moored, the deep water of the cove perfect for a ship of this size.

“we’ve found another ship that looks untouched that would have all the gear we need to make repairs. The other crew are too spooked to enter it and we are finding it hard to get the materials from the trees to make repairs. What should we do?”

Area of note

The breached boat – The crew members that scouted out the beach just north to where the Dancing drake reported in finding a large multi-sailed ship that had a abnormal breaching in its hull that was the ships doom, apparently. The ship itself contains enough material to repair the Dancing Drake and provide spare sail in case something goes wrong, though it wont be Red. However, whilst on and near the ship recovering the materials the party kept seeing glimpses something watching them from the ship – the crew members calling out saying that its the lost crew of the ship who have taken refuge onboard their broken ship.

The Beach – the beach is a mixture of soft, fine sand and smooth pebbles that coat the edge of the island in a welcoming soothing blanket of warmth. The sand, however, is so find that tracks of all kinds seem to melt away quickly with but the faintest of breeze so it’s easy to get lost and not to notice the presence of animals or other creatures until its too late.

The Forest – a relatively humid jungle has sprung up not far from the beach and waters edge. It’s home to mainly snakes of all sizes but any trace of them from when the party first encounter them seem to have disappeared once they enter the jungle in true after the disappearance of their crew and Captain Kyoko.

The Mountains – A large range of mountains has erupted in the centre of the island – large and imposing and so closely clumped together that they could be considered a single large mountain. Fresh water streams form pools at the base of the stone cliffs and, with some time searching, statues of humans bound and constricted by giant snakes can be found littered around the mountains base. Other ruins, evidence of settlement can be found and a large winding staircase was crudely cut into the side of the mountain leading towards a singular jagged spire that juts from the mountain into the sky like a spear piercing the clouds and heavens above.

The temple – at the base of the spire is a large, well crafted temple that is guarded by a large snake statue. The statue is so well crafted that it appears to be a snake until people notice the worn out foot and hand holds that appear to lead up to the snakes snarling jaw where two large blood stained fangs have been a carved out of white stone. These fangs drip with a sickening ichor and appear to have blood seeping into the white stone as the party examine them. The abyssal scripture around the statue states “the faithful, anointed by the serpents venom will be blessed by the serpents gift and will be welcomed as one of the faithful” and only once one of those present has placed blood upon the fangs will the statue briefly come alive and move to the side revealing the steps down. Those who force the snake fang onto their arm as a way of anointing the fangs with their own blood in this manner will feel the affects of snake venom (poisoned) but will feel a sense of unease like a creature is beckoning them into the dark depths below.

The Temple itself is filled with snakes, some forming a single humanoid shape when they encounter the party attacking as a swarm. Behind large sealed double doors an Abyssal Naga waits for the party.

NPCs in this adventure

Choi Fang

Choi is one of the crew members that managed to be spared from the abduction of the the rest of the crew as he was with the party near the other beached ship.

Koyko Harimasu

Kyoko and several other crew members were taken by the snake servants and are unconscious within the temple. As she still suffers a wounded leg (Lizbet being unable to heal her due to her magic needing to replenish and Kyoko insisting the crew take precedence) she is unable to move quickly or defend herself adequately.

“Wild girl”

Living on the island after having escaped the Naga within the temple when her ship’s crew and other passengers were taken after a freak storm ripped a hole in their hull, or so they think it was the storm.

Living on the island with the Naga’s servants has made her cunning, stealthy and self reliant but the potential of leaving with the adventurers made her do something that she swore she wouldn’t do. Hope. She trails the party, wedging the stone serpent statue open so they can escape whilst following behind them making sure that she is there in case she can help them leave with their lives.

NPCs

The Dancing Drakes Crewmates. Several crewmates are with Kyoko and unconscious within the temple. Luckily Siu and Lizbet seem to have been spared (safely onboard the Dancing Drake instead of being on shore)

Environment and running the adventure

The Island

The wind and fine sand makes tracking difficult (other than the site where the crew was ambushed where the volume of disturbance makes the tracks easily readable). Any survival check to look for tracks or signs of life are made with disadvantage on the beach. The sounds of the jungle in the trees, and the wind howling through it makes sound dissipate before it reaches the ears giving disadvantage on perception checks that rely on hearing.

The Temple – Entrance

Simply put, placing blood on the white fangs will cause the door to open. The script is written in Abyssal (except some parts in common have been added saying “Serpents Gift” – referring to the dripping white fangs and the ichor they produce.

Any blood smeared on the fangs will do and the puncture of the skin to place blood will inflict the poisoned condition on the person (DC18 to resist…) but that person will feel a strong connection to the temple afterwards. Many people can voluntarily be poisoned and each of them will gain the following:

-Advantage on saving throws vs charmed, paralyzed and poisoned from snakes or the Abyssal Naga.
-Poisoned condition until the end of a long rest.
-Advantage on perception checks to notice snakes.
-Advantage on Animal handling checks (snakes).

The Temple – Refer to map.

Room 1 appears to be a small entrance room, small shrines litter the walls where the emphasis appears to be on the worship of snakes. There isn’t much else to this room.

Room 2 is a large room that looks like it would have held books and a small library at some stage – the wall opposite the party a decomposed bookcase has crumbled away from the wall and has revealed what used to be a secret door that lead into a small room beyond.

Room 3 and 4 were separated by a wall that has long since fallen down – the rooms appear to have been bedrooms once but have long since rotted away to nothing. Home to snakes with area being warm and humid there may even be several snake egg clutches in these rooms.

Room 5 (and trapped hallway) a small spike trap will shoot upwards on any who step on the pressure plate. DC14 dexterity check will see the person unharmed, if they fail 2d6 piercing damage and their movement speed will be reduced by 10″ until a long rest due to the injuries to their legs.

Just outside the Naga room there is a wide hallway – at the end of this two large Constrictor snakes would be coiled around humanoid statues by the door – they wait like statues until creatures come within 10 ft or they take damage – at which point they throw themselves at the intruders as their Naga commands.

Naga Room a Large hole in the roof (not drawn in as it was decided later) appears the only other way in or out, on the left side there is a hidden trap door that will lead to a small treasure room that is little more than a crawl space. To uncover the room a perception check of DC14 (or investigation once the door becomes cracked – see encounter) will reveal the room.

Encounter

For this fight let’s assume that the party is Level 4 and that they have had a full long rest before coming into the temple. The aim of this temple is to throw a few creatures at them during the temple to wear them down on spell slots and limited abilities to make the Naga fight a bit harder (as it is just a single creature…)

Room 1 will have a Giant poisonous snake and a Swarm of poisonous snakes in a swarm. They attack the first thing they become aware of.

Room 2 will have one Giant Poisonous snake per person in the party with an extra one lurking behind the chests in Room 5.

The hallway to Room 3 and 4 – this area will have several holes in the top of the walls near the roof – as the party members walk by them giant poisonous snakes (three in total) will drop down on the party.

Room 3 and 4 will have a single Swarm of poisonous snakes guarding the clutches of snake eggs.

Room 5 the trap will reset but once triggered it is easy to avoid when someone knows its there. The room itself will have a giant poisonous snake hiding behind the chests and will lunge and bite who ever comes close.

The hallway to the Naga room will have two poisonous snakes come from holes in the walls when the party walks past them – but they will attack before the Giant Constrictor snakes will attack the party (so to not overwhelm them) while these snakes attack the “totally-not-statue-snakes” will remain motionless. Once the party comes within 10ft of the statues the Giant Constrictor Snakes will attack the party and engage them.

Naga Room – the Naga will drop out of the ceiling once the party reach the centre of the room. Along the back wall the crew members and Kyoko can be seen unconscious, drooling and staring open eyed as if hypnotised or charmed. Once the Naga reveals itself it will attempt to charm the parties magic users and then knock the others unconscious (as it did the crew). It doesn’t hold back and doesn’t seem to care about getting injured (knowing it will revive in a few days time) and will guard its resurrection like a closely held secret. Once the Saga is slain it will fall down, convulse and in its death throws it will break the hidden trapdoor – causing a crack to appear and the steps beyond to become visible to those who actively look there.

Swarm of snakes

The snakes will appear in a humanoid form, walking forward on two shaky legs made from snakes slithering together and they will bite their target by throwing long punches and grabbing the party member within range – the arms, legs and body flowing over the target creature as fangs bite into any exposed flesh they can find.


Giant Poisonous Snake

There will be many more of these in the temple than there would be other creatures. They would attack in hall ways and shouldn’t be limited to just rooms. Dropping from holes in the ceiling or from holes in the walls will be the plan with these medium sized snakes.


Giant Constrictor Snakes

The guards for the Naga room – looking like statues as they curl up at the end of the hall.


Abyssal Naga

Horribly vain, evil and malicious this creature doesn’t hold back and will start to try and charm, bite and fight the invaders of its net.

During this fight however it is careful to not hurt or endanger the crew and Kyoko along the back wall having plans to sacrifice them to the greater demon it wants to curry favour with.


Treasure

Distribute the following in the 3 chests in the map

  1. Immoveable rod
  2. 1x Potion of Resistance
  3. Ring of Swimming, Ring of water walking
  4. Potion of animal Friendship
  5. Chime of Opening
  6. Potion of Hill Giant Strength
  7. 4 Art items – each estimated to be worth 250gp each to the right buyer.

Thanks for joining this week where we had a small detour and explored a bit of a dungeon, albeit a short one it was one never the less.

Next week see’s the winddown of march and the hopefully publication of the end of month adventure, it’s a big one so don’t miss out.

Don’t forget to come back this week for the linking adventure titbits and perhaps some Soulbound material (and hopefully an age of sigmar battle report write-up too as I missed out on my game last week..) and as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

The Silverborn lining of Dark clouds

Welcome to the end of the week writeup where we look at whats happening upon Kyoko’s ship – the Red Fleets Dancing Drake.

As the sea throws a Squall at them they also have black sails following them and no way to outrun them short of going through the storm itself.


Silverborn’s Storm

As the party settle into the Dancing Drake as it travels on the waves they encounter a large storm that is approaching them at fast rate. Not only that but they have also a pirate ship following them and gaining on them.

The storm hits hard and Siu is ordered to take Lizbet below deck by Kyoko who suggests to the party to tie ropes around their waist and then to the ship itself to prevent them from being lost to the waves.

Not long after the storm hits the Pirates make their move and attempt to board the ship.

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.

NPCs in this adventure

Elizabeth “Lizbet” Scaulder

Lizbet is taken below deck when the storm hits and will heal those who are able to be healed after the fight happens – however she wont come to the top of the deck (as Siu wont let her).

Koyko Harimasu

Kyoko spends her time between the help, coordinating the crew and looking at her maps in her cabin. When the storm hits and the pirates board the ship she will not leave the helm and will stay there to keep it safe.

NPCs

Random NPCs. The Dancing Drakes Crewmates.

Environment and running the adventure

The Weather

The weather affects on the ship come and go (see Wednesdays post for a full writeup)

When a particularly bad wave hits the boat, a skill check results in a failure that would cause the ship to lurch or shift a DC14 Dexterity check will be required for the party to avoid falling prone on the deck.

Helping the ship

Moving about the deck to tie or untie sails, tie down cargo or hatches and the like or assisting at the helm. This can be done by a DC14 or DC15 Water vehicle check.

Helping/Saving the Crew

To help save a overboard crew member, lift up a crate or barrel of a pinned crewmate or you can roll a DC 14 Athletics or Strength check.

Repelling invaders

To push boarding planks or invaders into the sea a DC12 (or 14 if particularly heavy) Athletic or Strength check will see them in the water. To cut boarding ropes it would be a attack roll with an attack that could destroy or cut the rope (AC 8, HP 10).

The Boat – See Map

Encounter

For this fight let’s assume that the party is Level 4. For this fight Milligan wont appear on deck unless his crew look to be having trouble, which they will with our party, and when he does fight he will bring 3 to 5 of his crew into the fray with him. He uses them much like a sailor uses knots, to hold things in place while he can make the most out of the situation at hand and control the flow of the battle. For this encounter I would have 2 to 3 pirates attacking every 2 rounds, roll a d6 and add the number of pirates that are left fighting the party on the Dancing Drake if the result is 4 or Less then another 2 or 3 pirates will also join the fray.

Once 10 pirates have been dispatched then Milligan and his crew will join. If Milligan drops below 20 HP he will retreat to his ship and if the party look like they will dispatch the rest of his crew easily he will cut the lines (if not already cut) and will flee with his remaining crew to not return. He will plead a parley if he cant escape and is injured.

Milligan Silverborn (Dragonborn Pirate captain)

Born on the seas and pledged to the lord of the waves Milligan grew up with a connection to the weather and to the pirates he called family. After several years he grew so used to the rough seas to the west of Faerun that his proficiency went from something inherent to something mystical and those who fought with him also became like water and wind across the decks of those they sought to plunder from.


Silverborns Crew

The crew that follow Milligan Silverborn are more accustomed to life on the waves and amongst the storms than others and believe that their captain and the sea itself will protect them. As such they rarely wear any armour so their movement can flow across their prey like waves spilling over a deck


Thanks for joining this week. This week there was trouble on the water which overflowed onto the deck and caused issues for the crew and the party. As Pirates boarded they were forced to not only defend the ship but also keep it afloat and on course.

Don’t forget to come back next week as we look to wrap up this months adventure and look at some bonus content for the final adventure.

Oh, and as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe

Siu’s Request

Hi all and welcome to the end of the week writeup – a bit of a slower week I will note but one that I think was needed to ensure that the transition from land to sea was done adequately.

This week we looked at Siu and his request of not only the party but also Priestess Lizbet and Kyoko – his cousins great granddaughter to travel across the sea to help save his families land and homes from the darkness that stirs beyond their borders.


Honour bound request

210SuHBR

Believing that his time was short and that his treasured gift of his humanoid appearance was coming to an end he used his time to warn the priestess and priests of Chauntea of the attack that as coming for them. Using the last few precious hours of his gift he went to do something that he had dreaded for quite some time, approach his family and reveal his true nature in order to begin to make amends for the betrayal he had committed to his closest family members.


Areas and places of note

The Temple– The temple has guest quarters where the party would have been encouraged to stay to rest and heal, as well as to have close in case more creatures appeared in the middle of the night. The people who call this place home, the priests and priestesses are kind, welcoming and excellent cooks believing that Chauntea’s bountiful blessings are meant to be shared to not just he devout but all.

Daye Streets – The streets are empty early in the mornings and talk of the creatures and nightmarish sounds from the night before are the talk of the town. Soon though merchants bring their stalls, wagons and carts out and begin to advertise their wares – it truly is a market city where the streets, particularly around the docks, are a source of just about all mundane items and objects you could seek.

The docks, however, of late have begun to start selling magical items and as the Red fleet begin to head home back across the waves to restock on goods the demand on magical trinkets and items is at a new time high with supply being short and the patience of the customers being little.

The Docks – Quieter than when the party first stepped upon the docks they are still busy with people from the red fleet still selling the last of their wares. Many of the large red sailed ships have left and several other trading ships have also arrived and they have brought with them not just their normal wares but a small influx of magical items. Different to the lucky trinkets and lesser magical items of the Red fleet these merchants sell potions, scrolls and other wondrous items – if the gold is plentiful enough.

People of Bracken Hollow (in this adventure)

Elizabeth “Lizbet” Scaulder

Being swayed by Siu’s plea for aid and her own predestined call to fight a wave of darkness Lizbet has organised for Katya to work with the other sons and daughters of Chauntea – having been instructed by them many years ago she believes that under their guidance Katya will surpass her one day. Having found someone to look after the town and its duties she is, somewhat anxious but resolved on going to help the wondrous merchants of the Red fleet defend their homeland if she is able to assist.

Kyoko Harimasu

Having heard stories of creatures from the mists and shadows able to look inside ones mind and deceive humans in order to devour them since she was little, Kyoko is still uncertain about Siu – but what he has said and a strange familiarity draws her to help him, and believe that he, the priestess and the party could really be able to help her family in the fight against the dark.

Siu

Using the last few hours of his human form he was sure that this was his final hours before a sword, arrow or axe would pierce his flesh the moment his true self was revealed. But to have the blow withheld and his mangy fur that he has hated for as long as he can remember shed to reveal a carpet of golden dragon scales covering his form was a shock. Not sure where the change came from or what spurred it to begin he is glad to be rid of the fur and thankful that he is still able to see his mission through.

The prospect of being free from his mater is beginning to take a back seat to wanting to see his family succeed and the foolhardy hope that they could beat back what lies in the shadow.

Environment and running the adventure

Decision– The decision to leave would need to come from the party – Going to go see Siu at the docks wouldn’t be a hard decision (he looks just like a man after all) and Lizbet would ask the party to escort her just in case of a trap before deciding to walk off herself.

The party can tell that she is nervous, perhaps anxious about the decisions to be made and her nerves would be obvious to all (she isn’t one to hide behind a mask).

The boat– Once the party see the boat the decision needs to be made – follow the creature and Kyoko across the waves with Lizbet to help save their people or stay back and wait. Regardless of the decision initially Kyoko will ask that the party and priestess give her a week to give her time to get ready for the voyage back home. This gives the party some time to shop, if they are short of ropes/ arrows / etc. and to find out more bout where they are going from Kyoko, Siu or any of the Red Fleet.

If the party do stay behind then the adventure at the end of the month will come into affect (with the aim of still getting the party to travel across the sea)


Encounter

There is really only only social encounters this week – talking to Siu, Kyoko and Lizbet about the journey, the apprehension behind it as well as what to expect across the waves as well as any shopping that the party want to do.


Thanks for joining this week – the goal is to really get the party across the sea to Kyoko and Siu’s homeland to experience new adventure, meet new people and creatures as well as fight a dark threat that threatens the stability of the Harimasu family and the countries western boarder.

Don’t forget to come back every day this week to see more content, this week will, hopefully, be the first week of sea voyage and adventure with new twists, turns and encounters for the party to steer through.

Don’t forget to let me know if you are playing through the content here, how you find it as a game master (if you are one) and how your players find it! All critique is good critiques in my view.

Oh, and as always, don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe