Party: Snails (Leader), River (Trailblazer), Birk (Scout), Shozhu, Nag’ini, Rose
Rose’s War Diary, First Mission
it is finally time for me to head out onto a real mission. the sightseeing tour i’ve been on before with gaz was interesting, but it also showed me the dangers of this island when i learned that the next team heading into that abandoned mine got wiped out, with only one survivor. a human by the name of “snails” has gathered a team to guard road builders while they work on the road to the north. nag’ini will also join us, so i at least know one other member of the team to be capable. hopefully, the rest will be so, too.
we head out through the portal to ruined oak to meet up with the road builders. for half of our team, including me, it is the first trip through a portal. being warned of the dangers, we brace ourselves for the experience, but sune was with us and aside from an eerie feeling and some disorientation, we passed this first hurdle unscathed. we head onwards to the town, and before long meet with our charges. we also make a short stop at the bitter dwarf inn to get fresh water and some provisions for the trip, then head out right away as this’ll be a multi-day trip through the wild. thanks to the efforts of the foreman of the road builders, we make good time.
our night was mostly uneventful. the goat birk and i found last night will last us at least another day, so we’re doing well on that front too. in good spirits, we set out to the west. near the outpost, we encountered another area like the one gaz had warned us about on the sightseeing tour. nag’ini was quicker than i was to warn the others not to cast spells in this area of wild magic. we quickly moved on, but a short distance outside the zone we got ambushed by a group of ankle-biting critters and their flying support. it was a well-set ambush, too, letting us guards and the wagons pass and then striking at the undefended rear, instantly electrocuting one of the workers. the flying creatures were quite annoying with their ability to create zones of silence, but at least we were able to quickly exit those zones to return fire with our magic and rally the defense. the opposition was quickly squashed, with no further loss of life, but i still feel like i failed the workers. it seems they are accustomed to the harsh circumstances of life on this island, though, and quickly loaded their fallen comrade onto their wagons for later burial.
we pressed on, and in the evening before the road would turn north we decided to make a small detour to the south-west to an inn at the beginning of a pass through the mountains, on the assumption that we can spend the night there in safety. With the pass being blocked, only one person was minding the inn, but granted us shelter for the night.
another uneventful night. we set out in the early hours of the morning towards the north, making our way to the end of the road to start out work there. a few hours along the way, we encountered a female goliath coming our way. despite her being blind, she seemed quite capable of taking care of herself. we exchanged pleasantries and information about the way ahead, then parted ways. she warned us about a maze to the north, so we’ll make sure to stay out of that for this mission. another mission might investigate this later on, though, when they’re not on guard duty.
we also found some hot springs on the way, but other than it possibly being a good place for a spa once we’ve civilized this island, there was little of interest there. as we set up camp, birk and i went out hunting again, but this time what we found was a bit too much for us to attempt to slay. birk called the creatures axe-beaks, and studied them for a while to be able to transform himself into one later on. having failed on our hunt for food, we consumed the goodberries birk created for us the night before in wise foresight, before settling in for the night. we’ll keep out an eye for those axe-beaks during the night watch. i pray to sune we will not have to mess with those creatures while guarding civilians.
sune has heard my prayers, and the night passed uneventful again. we shouldn’t be far from the end of the road now. we head out, and soon reach it. the road builders start with their work while we keep our heads on a swivel. we find some more hot springs, and also a burned down building while we extend the road. the building seems to have burned down a while ago though, and there is no immediate threat that we can identify.
the local wildlife mostly leaves us alone, so the road building makes good progress. in the evening, birk and i again try to bolster our provisions by hunting for food, and it probably was what saved the expedition. following the trails of some strange animal that seems to have taken flight from an unknown threat, we get ambushed by a toothy critter and a beautiful woman that reminded me of a nymph or a dryad, with the skimpy clothing and her skills at hiding and all that. she tries to cast some sort of spell on birk, but with him transforming into a large bear his mind was able to resist it. and with us fortunately being close to the camp, his shouts had been loud enough to raise the alarm and get us assistance quickly. and that assistance was sorely needed, as another creature with a large razor teleported out of the shadows and almost cut my throat before dancing out of range again. the speed of that creature was unreal! the only thing i can come up with to confer the threat of this creature is: it’s like a quickling, just a lot larger. about elf-sized, i’d say, though i have no idea if it was a short or tall example of its kind.
in the hopes of the dryad-nymph-looking creature being in charge and being reasonable, i tried to parley with them, but to no avail. at least the team was extremely capable and despite the unbelievable speed of the razor-demon and the dryad-nymph, we managed to defeat them without losing anyone, but it was very close. had we not had many people with healing capabilities, we would not have stood a chance. we captured the dryad-nymph alive, and tried to interrogate her, but her elusive answers seemed to focus on misleading us. just about the only information i think is accurate enough to include in this journal is, that in this area there’s several tribes like this one – family-groups from her telling. they don’t seem to have an organized leadership though, so there’s nobody to really negotiate with.
as things went south with the interrogation, and it became clear that we could not end this peacefully, the creature started another spell. it seems like the gods themselves intervened to show us what the effect of that spell would be, as all our spells, bolts, claws and swords went wide before it was completed: it summoned a huge tree, with corpses hanging from the branches! we don’t know what that would do if it had time to act, as we redoubled out efforts and took her down, banishing the tree by slaying her.
i don’t want to imagine what would have happened if those creatures had tried to ambush us during the night: with that teleporting from the shadows and the quick blade-work of that demon, it might be able to close the range and kill a night guard before they could sound the alarm! i cannot overstate the importance of future teams heading into that area to have at least one spellcaster capable of casting the alarm ritual with them, so that they can ward the camp against such tactics!
fortunately, this night too has passed uneventful. well… mostly, that is. at some point during the night, the skull of a giant humanoid has appeared near the camp. giant as in, the skull alone weighs probably about 200 pounds. and appeared as in, it wasn’t there when i was standing watch, but was there in the morning as if it had been there for ages. there was no trace of magic or the rest of the body or any clue how it got there. the road builders finished up the segment they’ve been working on, and we decided it to be best to return to ruined oak to report on the new threats discovered.
when setting up camp for the night, we encountered the female goliath again, her being on her return trip herself. we’re sharing the campsite for the night.
having had another uneventful night, we part way with the goliath. we passed through an area that felt unimaginably evil, but nothing ambushed us in it. i’m starting to hate these wandering zones of weirdness. or are they plopping up and vanish instead of wandering? i don’t really want to know, but i think i should make an effort to find out – might help with surviving this place. we manage to reach the outpost, and make camp in the safety of its walls.
the hopefully last night of the trip has passed uneventfully, too. sune willing, we shall reach ruined oak by evening.
on our way, we were fortunate enough to spot some sort of tree walking across the road ahead of us. we decided that we don’t really want to get into its way, and slowed down a bit to give it a wide berth. after passing the spot, we hurried up for a while to make up for lost time.
as we reached the bridge, there was a turtle shell boat piloted by halflings trying to make its way downriver. we helped them pass underneath the bridge, then went on our way.
we’ve arrived back at the safety of ruined oak, having lost only one of the workers on this mission. considering what we encountered at the far end of this trip, this could have gone so much worse.
praise be unto sune for guiding us through this!
Important Parts and Conclusions
- Strong recommendation for future expeditions towards the MID gate to have someone with them to perform the alarm ritual
- <description of the razor demon> can teleport between shadows, is as fast as a quickling, and very skilled with its razor
- <description of the dryad-nymph>spellcaster, uses a net that i have no idea where she keeps it, also very quick and deadly. can summon a huge tree with corpses hanging from its branches. tree vanishes with death of dryad-nymph. capabilities of hanging-tree unknown
- <description of toothy child-beast/pet of those two> lesser threat
- the three creatures above formed a family. there’s a meeting place for the families, but no central leadership. families will not honour agreements made with other families