It started off as a rather regular adventurous trip… at least from my limited experience. We, a varied group of individuals met at the tavern in White Moon Cove. Saurok-Khan, a lizard person, Misaka the odd but amusing human, Rhagor the Dragonborn, Leofyr who I believe is partially Elven, Tsion who is… something of the sort, too, and myself, gnome and the shortest of the bunch. With Saurok-Khan blazing our trails and Tsion serving as scout, we made very quick and uneventful headway North towards the Neathy Woods, intent on visiting and exploring them a little.
We stopped to rest at a nearby inn for the night, where we met a Firbolg that called himself Patumal, or Pat to friends. After conversing with him for a while, we discovered he had a bug problem back in his forest and he agreed to pay in gold in exchange for dealing with it. Seeing as we had no better or more specific aim in mind, we accepted and met him the following day when we reached the woods. He used an odd means of communication – a loud clap that he would somehow hear and seem to be summoned by.
Even more unusual was the fact that trees seemed to part for him and that he had a colony of giant snails he looked after. It was this colony that we would be helping to protect by dealing with giant wasps hassling them at a nearby lake. Patumal, as friendly and inert as he might seem, is likely hiding a little more than the eye suggests, for he seems to be quite a powerful entity in his own rights if he can control the woods as he seems to do. I suspect he is some sort of druid. In any case, after Misaka rolled around in apparently precious snail goo and filled her backpack with the stuff, we headed further in towards the described lake.
At first it was quiet and uninhabited, but before long we were charged at by two of these big wasps. Whether they where attracted to Misaka’s gooey person or they had just happened to be passing by could not be definitively determined. We made relatively quick work of these two wasps, but we barely managed to kill them before three more joined the fray, one of which came straight at me – and I really do not like being in the thick of the action. Fortunately, a well-placed spell had the undesired company rolling in the dirt snickering in uncontrollable laughter… and let me state for the record that a laughing wasp is an eerie and troubling sight.
Alas it didn’t take too long to recover and shrug off the effects of this spell, but I had thankfully managed to put some distance between myself and it in that time. It didn’t take much longer to deal with these three than the previous two, all in all. We discussed next steps and searched the spilled innards of the wasps where we discovered some precious gems which I put in my backpack to sell and share the returns from it between the group later. As these discussions took place, we noticed an acrid, acidic smell and suddenly a couple more wasps flew out of different spots in the trees and towards a similar one, which seemed to be the source of this smell.
Initially I thought they were fleeing from something, but it turns out they were likely retreating to their nest, so we followed them and the scent there. This is where things got trickier. A gigantic crater-like hive was dug in a clearing of the forest, at the bottom of which we could see a huge beetle-like monster we could only surmise to be the colony’s queen. Resting atop its expansive back were two wasps, perhaps the same ones we saw flying this way. Some smaller flying bugs were also in the vicinity as well as a number of pods which I can only assume to be new additions to the group being gestated.
Perhaps overconfident with the success we’d been having thus far, we foolishly decided to engage this unknown, massive threat. I soon realized we had screwed up for the beetle shrugged off my laughing spell with ease and lunged at me quicker than I thought was possible for a creature that size. With one vicious blow of its tail, I lost consciousness, only to reawaken a few moments later restrained by the beetle’s tail curled tightly around me. One of my companions (probably Rhagor?) had healed me, and soon after the heroic Saurok-Khan had yanked me out of the bug’s hold and pushed me out of its reach.
The rest is quite fuzzy… I believe I lost consciousness again at one point after trying to repay the favour by slowing down the beetle with a cold cantrip so it couldn’t hit the lizard-man as we tried to make a run for it. Just like my previous spell, this was not effective and my lights went out again as it hit me instead when I tried to run. I woke up some time later after Leofyr had dragged my unconscious form out of harm’s way. The rest of the party hadn’t fared much better. Like myself, Rhagor and Misaka needed some healing cast upon them to re-awaken and Tsion and Leofyr were looking quite banged up, too.
As I looked around for Saurok-Khan, intent on thanking him profusely for his aid in my escape, I realised he was not among us. When I asked I was informed he’d been downed and taken by the insects into their hive. This was a tough pill to swallow, for I would not be here to write this log if it wasn’t for the brave lizardfolk who yanked me out of the devilish bug’s clutches… and I was unable to return the favour. I was not powerful enough. Not smart enough. Just… not enough. This must change, and I’ve since sworn to become stronger and more effective as an adventurer and war-mage. For Saurok-Khan, and the selfless example of courage he set. May he find peace in the afterlife.
The journey back to Patumal was thankfully uneventful, though marred by the solemn sullenness of losing a companion. His attempt at humour to lighten the mood didn’t help much, but a song I overheard Leo singing in the night eased my guilt slightly. We were fed and provided shelter by Pat, who paid us the promised sum and whom we promised to try and enlist more experienced and deadly adventurers to deal with the wasps and their queen. We then traveled back to White Moon Cove.
N.B. – If you decide to go after the queen in her hive, I would recommend extreme caution. It is faster and quicker to react than anything that size ought to be, seemingly able to do more things more quickly than what you’d reasonably expect. The bugs do seem to have a tendency to be clustered all together however, particularly when hanging around in their hive. Alas, I have not had the opportunity to learn the Fireball spell yet, but a couple of those thrown in the hive at the start of any battle would likely be highly effective. And a lot of healers – the queen is able to take a lot of punishment and deal it back in kind.