"You misinterpret me sir, I never said you were to blame, merely pointing out if we are handing out blame, we are equally responsible"
Amara is quite sad, and dearly wants to stay and help the treant but lacks the skills and knowledge in which to do so. At a loss, she heads back to her crew, extremely sad despite getting what she and her crew had fought for.
With a heavy heart Amara re-traces her steps back through the woods, following her markers from before. She passes under the giant trees without seeing them, and passes various pools and that large stone platform.
Before she knows it, she is back at the beach. Her crew has carved out a path from the water to the area above the high tide mark, cutting through the piled driftwood and stone. Brekarv seems to be supervising and looks to her, dark eyes unreadable as always.
'How did it go?"
Amara breathes out, huffing slightly as she considers what happened. "Good news and bad I guess. I lost my sword, which is the bad news, but on the other hand, we got permission to start building our colony - well done on supervising the path creation by the way" she responds smoothly, quietly happy at how Brekarv indirectly assisted in making the situation easier by ensuring some progress was made.
'So we have their blessing?" Brekarv says, either ignoring the compliment or taking it in stride. The cloaked half-orc is hard to read.
Behind him the work is finishing up, and farther still, the ship sits at a calm anchor. The water is a deep rich blue, with a slight green cast. Overhead the sky is clear but evening is coming on.
Zuck, Amara's close tengu friend, appears from behind some driftwood. 'We spending the night ashore?" he asks, 'If so, we'll need to build some fires. Still gets cold this early in the year."
"We have their permission" Amara replies, feeling that blessing wasn't really the correct word to describe the interaction with the tree folk, and wanting to be as precise as possible.
"Excellent idea Zuck, a fire would be welcome, but I'd prefer to use deadwood at the moment if possible, I have a feeling some of the tree folk here wouldn't be super thrilled openly burning a ton of wood during a difficult time. Make sure some of us stay on the boat however, its still a valuable asset that we want to ensure remains seaworthy."
The tengu nods, "Taken care of. I have a skeleton crew aboard her." he sighs, letting out a whistle, "And they will get to sleep in bunks tonight. The rest of us making do on the cold hard ground."
At his command, the crew begins making up several fires and sleeping space, crouching among the piled driftwood and wet ocean stones. The sailors group around ther own fires, playing gambling games or telling stories.
Amara's fire is populated by what passes for the officers. Herself, Zuck, Brekarv, Benold. Qack, the odd gnome, seems to not need sleep and is still investigating the piled driftwood and other debris.
Benold, the heavy former blacksmith says, looking at the fire, "It will be lonely out here."
"Its not going to be that lonely", Amara objected, not entirely agreeing with the rugged blacksmith as she glances around the campfire. "Initially I fully agree, it will be tough, with just who arrived, but if we dig in and make this a proper colony, there's no reason why this place couldn't expand in time - even in the short term, its possible there are other inhabitants or companies just as interested in this place as we are."
Benold looks startled at this and says, 'Do you think people already live here? Like, real people not these plant things." The bulky blacksmith looks into the dark forest with a slightly worried expression.
Zuck says, "Rumor has it cannibals live here, hunting and eating each other." he drops his voice theoretically, leaning in over the crackling fire. "They roam the woods, naked and covered in paint, howling every night. The legends say they seek the eat the very souls of those they find..."
Brekarv snorts but Benold looks concerned and turns to Amara, "Is this true? I was never told this."
Zuck is, of course, pulling his leg
Amara nods seriously "Indeed, I heard they are all seven feet tall, and move with catlike grace, sacrificing many of their victims to some dark god."
The captain pauses for a moment, before grinning slightly at Benold. "We are kidding, Benold, relax. As far as we know, there are no cannibals, but I stress - there is so little we know about this place. It does seem likely there are other things on this island, whether they are human or not - I am unsure."
Everyone nods and is quiet for a moment, enjoying the heat off the fire. While the day had been warm, after the sun set the cool air reminded everyone this was only early spring.
Out at sea, Amara can see the re-assuring outline of her ship, black against the starry night sky.
Then Zuck asks, 'So what do we plan?"
Your short, medium and long term goals if you have any. Perhaps time for a bit of a time skip?
Amara lets the question hang in the air for a certain time before answering. In truth, she had been thinking about this constantly for several days now, planning, preparing, while keeping things fluid in case of the unexpected. SO her response is not a long time coming, but rather a short reflection before responding to her friend.
"In the short term, I'd like to look at establishing a strong outpost here as quickly as possible. The pirates we found I want fully put to work as quickly as possible, lets start on the ground floor of the forest, some of the basics, small temporary shelters, a guard cabin, and so on. I want our trusted sailors on the main ship, only a small group keeping guard - until the pirates fully earn my trust with hard work i don't want them unsupervised on our vessel. Mid term, I'd like to move us permanently up into the trees, it ensure we are safer from predators and hopefully doesn't destroy the forest ecosystem. Its sustainable, so moving to a treetop city is my preferred mid term plan. When things are more established, I'd prefer to begin working deeper on a scouting and trading front, such as building a dock, or perhaps mining any minerals in the area. Lastly, I want diplomatic relations with as many inhabitants that we can for as long as we can. It wont always be possible, but the more allies we have while we are here, the less threats we have, and the more we can establish a stable foothold here. We need foundations first gentlemen, a presence established so we can stand tall and not be blown away by the winds of change and time."
I'm happy going further into detail on plans, prep for city etc, and/time skipping. The key word for Amara is foundation - right now they have nothing concrete, so its time to start locking things down. Stage One (short term) is going to be approached from a defensive mindset, so she wont be expanding out initially until there is a solid shelter etc available. I could go on, but I don't want to overflood.
I think we will time skip shortly but I want to do one more post
Everyone ponders Amara's positive, upbeat words. The way she makes it sound, this should be a difficult but doable task. With hard work and cooperation,m there should be no obstacles beyond their abilities. They all go to sleep dreaming of tree top cities and being citizens of consequence in a growing and prosperous colony.
The next morning however, dashes those hopes.
A cold rain has started, making the entire landscape wet and chill. But worst of all is the news Zuck brings to Amara, hunched over he fire for breakfast.
'Half the pirates and ten colonists are missing. Word is they fled into the wood to avoid labor."
Amara frowns, not altogether surprised by the turn of events but still disappointed by them. "Someone would have led them - you don't make that decision on your own. Try to find out who it was if you can but for now it's business as usual."
The skald stretches a little before coming to a decision. "I'll spread the word to the leashy that we have deserters and that they can use whatever force or action they wish if they spot them. I don't want to see these deserters here again."
Berkarv nods at this rather bald declaration of war against the deserters but Benold speaks up, 'What if they come back, tired, hungry and willing to work? Will you kill them? Seems cruel to punish them do for just one mistake."
And then he mutters, 'And setting foul forest creatures on them seems even worse."
Feel free to reply, just want to pack some more info it
After some digging around it appears it was actually the colonists who led the desertion. Apparently one of them was a former highwayman and, used to living 'rough' convinced the others he could provide for them in the wilds.
Anara gives Brnold a thoughtful look at his comments, not directly dismissing them."Benold, there are probably twenty men in that forest needing food, water, shelter. These are people that don't want to work, so they won't build a shelter, and look for simple options. Therefore the first thing I predict, is for them to take from someone else. If I endorse, not condemn then it provokes retaliation against us for their actions but I'm not setting anything on anyway, just informing the leashy that they can defend themselves if they need to, without upsetting us. There is no declaration of war here, I'm not hunting them down to bring them back - but I'm not supporting them."
At this, the skald gestures to Benold in an expansive motion. "If the Pirates that fled return to me, I have no pity for them - they knew what I asked of them and the consequences if they fled - and some of them did so. As for any returning settlers - perhaps. It strikes me as unfair for everyone else here to work twice as hard to build this place, and then freely welcome those that shirked responsibilites wouldn't you say? That said, I don't have an issue granting mercy to them if the situation called for it - and I would consult you for your opinion first if it ever eventuated"
Benold looks frankly surprised at Amara's understanding answer. Obviously he expected either disdain or dismissal. He says, flattered, 'I would..greatly appreciate that. "
Brekarv however looks quite the reverse at Amara's 'apparent backtracking' but the half-orc says nothing out loud. As usual his face is half hidden by the thick cowls of his robe. His ediolon, the weird flesh bird, is gone, hunting presumably.
Anything else? I thought maybe a short time jump as you set up base camp
The base structures are going to be made of wood, ideally driftwood if possible (since its 'dead' wood and not immediately of use to any natives), with perhaps the "roof" of the shelter containing vegetation or a sort. Its possible we could weave something out of vegetation (like flax) to make a binding agent.
Worth mentioning these initial shelters are on the ground first - eventually though we will move the buildings up into the tree, probably with the help of our gnome friend being amazing at pulleys :)
Initial progress is probably shelters ---> guard or "security' huts ---> ladders, scaffolding ie pre-treetop city construction. I still have plans for like, an actual temple for any of the religious and other useful buildings, but essential shelters are going to be the immediate priority.
The next week is a haze of sweat, work and cold nights. Everyone busies themselves making crude living structures just in the shade of the massive trees. The piled driftwood is a godsend, for both building material and fuel to warm the chilly spring nights. Roughly stacked together wood, covered with light boards and rushes, they keep the worst out.
There are soon a few dozens of them, simple shacks for people to sleep in, at week's end. Amara directs one to be a guard shack of sorts, where the weapons are kept and people are rotated, to keep a watch on any intruders from the forest.
Things go well but at the end of the week Zuck comes to her saying, "All well and good, Captain, but what about food? Not much land to even start a garden here, not that I know how." the sailors is dismissive of the concept of raising food from the ground.
Amara is exceptionally proud of her team, its no small feat to make the progress that they had already made, and if she had the ability to grant a reward to them at this moment she would. Making a mental note to find something, Amara approaches Zuck with a simple response, albiet with a guilty half pause at forgetting something so important after pushing so hard for shelter.
"We should be able to hunt, and eventually clear space to grow or plant. I know the idea of a garden or farming is ideal - its not interesting to me either, but it might be what we need to look at at least initially until we can get supplies. For now, lets focus on any vegetation / plants that we know are healthy, and also look at fishing options, as a way of supplementing out diet. I'll also ask or talk to the forest people as well, to check to see if their are any long term options we could look into."
The tengu nods and goes to talk to the sailors about using some of the small boats for fishing. They have simple nets and such aboard the ship, but to supply a whole colony, they might have to get creative.
Out of nowhere, Qack pops up, covered in dirt and grime having spent the last week working hard. The gnome was useful but quite unstable and Amara had to step in a few times to prevent the gnome from getting smacked by a frustrated colonist.
"What are we going to hunt for?" the gnome says excitedly. "I hear all kinds of strange creatures live in these forests."
Apologies, been in hospital.
Amara frowns a little as Qack appears, before giving a bit of an amused smile. "Hopefully we won't be hunting anything too exotic - at least initially. The general rule of hunting is that you don't go after anything you don't know much about - so as to avoid becoming prey yourself. We could talk to the forest people though and learn what could be a pest and is therefore safe to hunt, and what might be wise to stay clear of. Hunting is an excellent idea, but on its own it won't sustain a colony, and its inherently more risky than other options."
'Why don't we gather the eggs, then?" The gnome says innocently. Seeing the blank look on Amara's face, Qack points to the boughs, hundreds of feet above. "I've climbed up there. There are all sorts of nests with big round eggs in them. We could probably eat those, right?" He says, now trying to start a fire by rubbing to sticks together.
"Maybe, or even hunt said birds if we need to, depending on their size" Amara responds cautiously, still hesitant to snatch resources without knowing a little more about what was in the area, what might be sacred to the forest people or not, what animals might be a threat, and so on.
Qack shurgs distractedly, now focusing on his fire starting abilities.
Meanwhile, Amara takes in the area around here. The small collection of hovels is a start, but it is still little more then a circle of rough shacks, propped against towering trees.
Even over the last week however, spring has come in full force. Amara can feel it in the air. The feeling of life and growing things. Even these ancient trees seem to surge to life, with new needles turning the somber boughs a bright green. The brush along the coast is starting to bloom and the waves have calmed in the tamer weather.
The nights are slightly warmer and the rains less frequent. Summer is coming.
I do have plot stuff incoming, but you are still in the driver's seat for now!
Amara takes a critical look around the small shacks, knowing she has much to do to achieve her vision. That said, the city wouldn't take a week to build, and Amara turns her mind to the problem of ensuring that her colonists would have enough to eat.
Ordering a temporary break for everyone, Amara instead devotes the remaining time to ensuring that all colonists were halfway skilled in combat, and if not, would try and ensure they were relatively trained. The skills would be useful if attacked, or even if they were hunting. Amara also keeps a close eye out for any nearby creatures, wanting to learn more.
Basically I'm using this moment to ensure my colonists at least know how to defend themselves, and to learn a little more about animals etc around us so I can decide and learn whats viable to hunt and whats something to stay away from.
There haven't been as many animals as Amara expected. The sailor isn't sure if this is the natural state of affairs or if her colonists have disturbed the local wildlife. She has seen rabbits, squirrels, and a few deer deeper in the woods. They haven't ventured much to the interior but the small pools and springs seem to be filled with fish and other aquatic creatures. Deeper in the shadows Amara sees other, larger shapes moving about, but nothing clear.
The shoreline is littered with tidepools, filled with crabs, clams and other strange sea life. More familiar with these, a few of the sailors have taken to eating the abundant life found at wave's edge.
Amara also tries to do some training with the colonists but finds them rather resisting. Few have a martial spirit and others are simply lazy. After the huts were built, and some temporary food supplies were found (sea creatures, fish and some berries) most seem far too content to sit around and sleep.
Irritated, Amara decides to reinforce some control.
"Friends, I understand that its been a tough time grinding out a place from nothing. In addition to this, we are handling reduced numbers in a hostile land, handling problems that arise one by one. Its important however, that we push on. Martial spirit for everyone is important, we need to be able to defend ourselves should we run into trouble. Even putting that to one side, martial training is a valuable hunting ability. Several of you had reservations about bringing pirates aboard - without anyone else taking up martial training, am I to assume you are comfortable relying on them to protect you? Are you comfortable defending yourself against the pirates that split from us and are currently in the jungle? If you need time, relaxation, tell me, I understand its value and importance, but I am pushing us now so hard, so that we can be that sustainable colony, to ensure we have the basics not just for tomorrow or the day after, but for the next few weeks or months ahead."
I don't want to turn this into a massive speech, so I'll see how this goes for now.
"Unfortunately, starting from the ground up is really tough, but we have to start somewhere. Don't be concerned about the shacks - its only temporary since the building of the colony will take some time - if we did it all in a day it wouldn't stay up for long. Thats why we lay the groundwork first, then build our colony, and then expand outwards - but you cannot build a colony without the infrastructure to support it - which we haven't built yet." Amara replies, trying to make her colonists understand.
Amara's words sink in, but she feels she needs to do something to raise morale or at least get their minds off the rather primitive current circumstances.
Benold, the former blacksmith comes up to Amara, "I was wondering if we'd go looking for minerals." the bulky man says, "Any colony is going to need iron and copper. I know what the raw ore looks like, part of my trade. I thought maybe we could explore to the feet of those mountains. Maybe even diamonds or gold!"
Brekarv, who is overseeing making of thatch (the half-orc rarely works with his hands but is a good overseer) snorts loud enough to hear.
"If you want to go, then fine Benold, I'm not going to stand in your way. Having said that, I hope you have preparations already in place for some risks you might face. For one thing, we dont have a scouted route, and therefore risk running into something unfriendly. As its also a 3 or 4 day hike, theirs also a small issue of food and water that would need to be managed by the trip. You don't have anyway of bringing any minerals back, assuming you are successful in getting them, and nothing to clear out any caves where creatures might have made themselves home. Also, since the majority if you passed up martial training, if you do run into something that bites back, there isn't a heck of a lot you could do about it. Oh, and you need to ensure this place remains defended as well."
Amara folds her arms firmly. "I'm not killing your buzz, but if you want to peruse this, I expect you to think about how to handle some of the more likely issues before you rush into something greedily."
Benold deflates visibly as Amara's lists the problems with the expedition. At least he is bright enough to know when he is wrong. After a few moment he says, "I'm sorry. Some of the men thought it would be a good morale booster, bringing jewels and gold back into camp. But I see you are right. We are nowhere near ready for such a trip." he sighs heavily, then adds, "Still, we are here for the long haul."
"Its a fine suggestion though Benold, and definitely something we would look to get sorted as quickly as possible. Just...not quite yet at this early stage. Some of this hard work building or learning to fight might be boring, uninteresting, or even just a bit of a grind, but some of the more exciting idea's will require us to have preparations in place first, thats all I ask." Amara puts in, attempting to be upbeat after pulling the rug out from Benolds idea.
O.k, been thinking quite a lot about this.
#1 Priority is going to start working the city back up into the treetops. Its ecological, safer (less predators in the trees) and probably easier to defend. Its also a kinda neat vision so achieving that would be nice.
To go with the above though, I'm willing to listen if there are specific buildings the colonists want. Perhaps a Temple for the religiously inclined, idk, maybe a dance / leisure hall etc. Eventually, I'll also build / upgrade a docks when we actually have goods etc to transport, blacksmith for tools etc, and I'll also go into carts etc if we eventually look at minerals.
With a month to play with, I'd also be looking at some of the essentials such as regular access to water + food be it a combination of farming, fishing, hunting for now. Desalination would also be focus, some easy water transportation system when the city moves up into the trees would also be important.
Theres a lot here in this post, but I'm trying to show the eventual progression before I expand outwards gradually.
Theres a treetop fortress in Hells Vengence: Book 1 called the Court of Spears which is roughly what I'm going for. In general though, I want to be far enough inland to support the construction of the treetop city (because trees on the edge are probably slightly weaker) but close enough to the water for a quick exit if required and/or to keep fishing as a viable past-time. Id prefer to pick an area in the forest that has damp bark / overgrowth which is all the better to be fire resistance.
After much debate they have come up with three ways of starting the tree top city.
1. Cut down a tree and use it as a improvised ramp to get to the tree tops.
2. Build a rope and pulley system (Qack totally says he can do it) but this will take time and much effort. Also risk of dropping people and items.
3. Carving steps right into the trees. not as defensible and may kill some of the trees.
Unless you can think of a 4th, better option?
Just looking at traditional techniques on the internet (while keeping an open mind that some technology might not be possible), couldn't like, a ladder system work?
Maybe something similar to
Intelligence: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (11) - 1 = 10
Knowledge Nature: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (15) + 11 = 26
Amara hadn't really built much of a ladder before, mechanics and pulleys with fairly alien to her. She did know how to tie knots though, and her research on the surrounding fauna, supplemented by her wanderings over the first few weeks meant that she quickly worked out which sort of tree's would work best to begin her city plans, as well as sufficient natural building materials nearby.
Not assuming success at this stage, seeing what my rolls mean
Darn it, I didn't see you posted
Amara gathers the plants and explains her vision, and Qack does the building. It is a slow process, and one that involves a good bit of hacking at redwood bark and laying on planks.
After about a week they have constructed a crude ladder to the lower branches (about 40 feet up). There, they have space to make some tree houses, but truly mastering the techquie may take awhile. Still, ti is safer then living below.
The downside is, for now, everything must pass up a single-file stair set into the ancient tree. Heavy equipment will need rope and pulleys, which they lack the metal to make, at least to make good ones.
Still, it is a start.
Hmm, any good places to get metal?
Pleased with progress, even if it is small progress, Amara decides to visit Benold for some technical expertise on where she could find a stable metal source. She doesn't call him for an audience or anything prim such as this, but instead actively seeks him out.
"Benold, I believe we might need to find sufficient methods to manufacture metal of some description. Being the blacksmith, this is entirely within your area of experience. Would you have anything to recommend, and options for us to look into that might aid us in this endeavor?" the Skald asks curiously.