Don‘t Feed the
Party: Cally, Dexter and DeeDee, Glen, Indarasul, Kepesk, Oxalis, Ssej
Come and sit here, young whippersnapper, and listen to my cautionary tale. Why, thank you, for the compliment, but believe me: I feel older than I look. And part of the reason for that is what I‘m going to tell you now.
The other day, I joined a party of in total eight individuals (counting the familiar as an individual, as he should be), for a foray into the bog in the South.
No, no, I do not mean the outhouse of this fine establishment, I mean the swamp to the south of WMC. There was talk about a cottage in the swamp that people had not dared approach, in addition, there was some weird fog with, people claimed, hallucination-inducing properties, intermingled with pockets of swamp gas, a highly explosive phenomenon, and people would like to know where this fog came from. Before we set out, I did ask around a bit for information on the bog, and was told to steer clear of the gnolls in the east part and to definitely stay as far away as I could from the Dragon who made his lair there, because he had already developed a taste for humanoid flesh. On a brighter note, I had heard there were some „good kobolds“ who had become tentative friends with our people. Still, this of course meant that not all kobolds we would meet would like us and be peaceful.
We set out bright and early one morning and made our way to the bog without any untoward experience. In the swamp, we soon found not only our shoes or feet, for those who don’t wear shoes. like Cally or me, to be muddy, but also an abandoned hut, standing forlorn and lonely, and seemingly not having had any maintenance done to it in a long while.
As we closed in on the hut, we noticed a distinct stench emanating from it, a mixture of rotten meat and sewage. One of us found some tracks on the ground and checks them out, while most of us check the inside of the hut.
In the cabin, we found a table with six chairs – three rare large ones and three rather small ones – arranged around the table on which lay the carcass of a large boar. This wild pig, according to the traces we found, had been downed without any weapons and partially eaten, again without cutlery or other tools. Instead, we did find bite marks, some of them as if from very small mouths, and some of them made from rather large, canine-like fangs. While some of us considers the probability of werecreatures being around, the others concluded these were bite marks of gnolls, an assumption that was underlined by the presence of large humanoid footprints, which also seemed to be gnoll-made, which were among the Prints that had been investigated outside. Also, the smell of sewage we had noticed came from one room in that cabin, which the former occupants had used in lieu of a bog … an outhouse.
Leaving the cabin alone, we set out into the swamp again, following the kobolds’ tracks. Some of us were hoping these tracks belonged to the aforementioned good kobolds.
After a while, these tracks led into a dense mist that was strangely resistant to air movements and behaved more like a wall. Getting through this was no problem, however, and we continued following the tracks.
At some time during our trek, we had to take another rest in the swamp, during which our lookout noticed a large troupe, consisting of a strange mixture of kobolds and gnolls, passing our hideout, but seemingly not noticing us.
The next day, after crossing the fog, we did encounter kobolds, black of color, led by a kobold calling himself Ulta, who freely admitted to worshiping a black Dragon – and seemed to be about as bright as the rest of his tribe – or as bright as a crescent moon in a night when WMC is covered in peasoup fog coming in from the ocean…
Hearing the magic words Dragon, several of the group perked up, elected not to be any smarter than the kobolds and decided – I am still unsure for what reason – to pay the Dragon a visit, despite the warnings handed out in WMC and reiterated by others in the group. Their arguments were, “we’ll just give him a bit of gold and he will be content ” (nevermind that our total wealth amounted to like 17 or so gold pieces, which the warners in the group considered an insult to any Dragon) and “we’re just telling we’re there to bring him an offering and tell him how his statue is progressing” The offering consisted of aforementioned pittance in gold and a single potion…
As we were closing in on the lair of the Dragon, located in a cave in a cul-de-sac valley, Cally and Oxalis refused to enter the valley and meet the Dragon personally.
From what happened there, I only have secondhand information, but it seems that His Highness the Dragon, known colloqiually as ‚Grimmys“ – or did I mishear and it was to be „Grimace“? -considered the “generous offering” an insult and started his retaliation by biting Ulta into two pieces and swallowing him.
Hard to believe, but even though things had already hit rock bottom, they only went downhill from there. From what I can tell, of the five who entered the valley and now tried to dig deeper than rock-bottom, only two, viz. Ssej and Glen, managed to escape the slaughter. After we reunited, they were able to tell us that a heavily scarred gnoll warrior, whose name I unfortunately don’t remember, came into the valley, seemingly unafraid of the Dragon, and telling them “‘l’lI see you on the field of battle”….
After we had passed the wall of fog again, we found another spot to spend the night, during which we could observe a large group of kobolds and gnolls, the size of a small to medium army, heading westward out of the swamp in the direction of the road we were heading for. As that group was much too large for four weakened and powerless individuals to take on, we let them go.
On our way towards the northwest – also aiming for the road – , we sported a set of halfling statues in the woods, well, I am not exactly sure whether we could still call those statues, being like 60 feet or so tall. Despite the difference in size Cally insisted on taking a closer look, but could not make any sense of the inscriptions hewn into the bases of the statutes.
Finally, we made it out of the swamp and back into “civilization”. For us, this civilization in the beginning was the guardhouse on the street, which had been attacked by a mixed army of kobolds and gnolls during the night. They had attacked it with fire but had not been able to breach the post. After a good rest there, we finally made our way back to WMC.
Now, my children,… No, no, I already said that I feel quite old today, what do we learn from this?
Yes, heed the advice of others who have gone before you, always consider your opponent to be much more powerful than you think is, choose your enemies carefully, find your own truth and, most importantly, never deal with a dragon.
What was that? Did you just say there was a fourth rule that belongs with these three? Never trust an elf? Why, you…
Most importantly, though: if you’re offered a chance to meet the dragon called Grimmys, politely decline and then RUN!!!