"All I know is that this storm is strangely unnatural. its presence angers Gozreh and stings like a personal insult. There's little doubt in my old mind it has something to do with the expedition the Mireborn atacked, mucking about in those old Storm Kindler ruins. Some places are best left alone."
"Stony, I think you are right about the quarry, but if we don't get to the bottom of these unnatural storms, your quarry will be nothing but a large, inaccessible pool of water. And, it may be that the quarry will turn up some information about the missing priest of Erastil and the missing cleric of Gozreh."
"My grandfather used to tell scary stories of the Storm Kindlers who arrived in the delta when he was still a child—some sort of Gozreh cult as he recalled, but selfish and rude and arrogant. He claims they bred storms like other tallfolk breed dogs. They built a small village nearby, and later constructed a temple in the Jungle of Hungry Trees. The entire cult vanished in an enormous storm before my grandfather had grown his first whisker, though, and I have upheld his order to let the ruin rest in peace, wherever it may be...”
"I do not wish to know the location of their heretical center of worship, no matter how old. And I keep my people from seeking it out. However the old village of theirs northwest of here is not hard to find. It may hold some clues. My grandfather found this key there, ages ago," Oozhaaku says, holding out an old worn brass key covered in geometric swirls. "It opens nothing in the village. Perhaps in the temple, wherever it still stands, you shall find its lock."
"Speaking of which, what do you use those eggs for anyway?"
Oozhaaku grows angry. "It is none of your business. That is between Abkhazia and myself."
One of her guards motions to end the conversation from behind her back.
The party decides to rest for the night in Cahshil again, eating smoked fish and hearty root vegetables. Tomorrow they will set out for the old Storm Kindler ruins.
During your dinner at Mud's hut, the guard from the conversation finds you after dinner. "I cannot say much, for fear of Oozaahku's punishment. She is great leader, but very proud. Between Abkhazia and her..." he trails off, eyes full of fear, trying to find the right words to say and failing. "Please, just be here on the Autumnal Equinox, Rova 22, and we may rid ourselves of the terror of Abkhazia once and for all. I cannot say any more..."
He runs off, looking over his shoulder as he dashes away into the evening.
That is in about 40 days, in-game time.
Mud shrugs his shoulders. "Weird man."
"40 days is a long time yet. Let's see where we are in 4 or 5 weeks and then we can decide whether to return here and see what the terror is and who really needs our help. I'm inclined not to trust leaders as they often let their power and position go to their heads. So, I would like to help the halflings, if that makes sense when it comes time to decide. After all there are no coincidences. The gods influence all things and there is a reason, however unknown it may be, to our hearing this plea for relief from an unknown terror. It is odd that Mud seems not to know anything about this Abkhazia." Alset considers Mud and asks him, "Has this guard always been, as you say, wierd?"
"Oozaahku have much respect from Cahshil. I not know inner thoughts. A guard would know more inner thoughts. I care not for politics of other halflings. Friend guard name is Ngoongoo. I not know Ngoongoo much time, but he always stress for Elder Oozaahku." Mud leans in close and winks, saying, "I think Ngoongoo have heart for Oozaahku."
Alset leans over and whispers back, "Never heard the name before. Don't know if it is human, halfling, tiefling, dwarf, mireborn, or some kind of god. This does make me curious, though."
Straightening up and speaking to the party, "I think we've rested and prepared enough. It is time for a last look at our supplies and then be off to that village northwest of here. Oh, and, what are the "Hungry Trees"? What are the hungry for? Are they dangerous?"
The next morning, Stonewall greets Mud and says, "Have you been in the area of these ruins before? What sort of terrain should we expect?"
Stonewall tries to purchase a couple of those hammocks if it will be forested.
Your PCs don't know anything about Abkhazia, other than what the guard just told you.
Asking around the village, Alset finds that "Hungry Trees" is simply a name to counter the Laughing Jungle to the north; none of the halflings know what it means specifically, other than thoughts about people going into the jungle and getting lost, never to be seen again.
Mud and the party are ready to leave at sunrise. Mud shakes his head at Stonewall's questions. "Never been to ruins. No good hunting ground. I expect jungle. Maybe swamp."
One of the local weavers gives Stonewall a half-dozen hammocks for free. She winks coyly at Stonewall.
The group heads out northwest into the jungles, wary of any dangers they may encounter as the sky pours down rain. Since your arrival, the clouds have gathered again and vision has cut in half in the already thick jungle. Your clothes and gear are soaked but the rain brings a welcome fresh scent to thick jungle. As they follow a ridge along the thick trees, Mud hears the deep-throated cry of a giant frilled lizard. He points out the noise, and turns the party along a less direct path. [b"Best avoid lizard,"[/b] Mud says. "He like high path, easy to run down."
After a drenched morning (and not a few misturns in the bog), Mud finds the ruined First Colony of the Storm Kindlers. The roofs of this circle of timber-and-mortar homes have all collapsed, and once-vibrant paint peels away in long strips. Rampant jungle growth obscures the remains of a well, benches, and a human-shaped statue.
1d100 ⇒ 941d100 ⇒ 92
Sorry for not posting, I know it holds everyone up. I should be good this week now.
Alset examines the "human-shaped statue" for religious signs and symbols, specifically of Erastil and Gozreh and perhaps something about the missing priest and cleric.
Knowledge Religion: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (12) + 4 = 16
Stonewall stammers an awkward thank you to the weaver.
Stonewall searches for any recent tracks or signs of activity.
survival: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (5) + 5 = 10
Stonewall also looks to see if he can date the settlement by the building style.
Knowledge (Engineering): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (2) + 6 = 8
Stonewall probably doesn't know anything and just sits down and has a snack when he realizes this. "Mm, honey is perfect on my biscuit."
Alset pulls away the vines from the statue, revealing a hardwood carving rotting with age but still clearly showing a single figure, half man and half woman. He knows this is a typical representation of Gozreh. An inscription is written in Kelish on the bottom, but the only words Alset can make out is the date: 4621 AR. The current year is 4717 AR.
Odie stomps into the houses. The largest is the only one that contains anything of value, and after hacking through weeds and vines he finds a secret sagging compartment in one of the walls. Inside are old papers too decayed to read, a +1 flail, and a silver holy symbol shaped like a shark's fin.
Stonewall finds the few stone walls and broken cockery to be about 90 years old, accounting for deterioration from the local climate. Nothing has been touched (except by nature) for the same amount of time. In one of the sturdier portions of the walls left still standing, the dwarf uncovers a loose stone that hides an old journal wrapped in oilcloth. Most of the book is badly damaged, but is written in Polyglot, and the last few entries speak of severe weather in a nation many miles north of hear and mundane daily routines. The final legible entry reads:
...have decided to exile Chitauli rather than acknowledge his insight and take the bold steps needed to survive. The Eye is a sign from the Wind and the Waves, and if we wish to truly take control of our destiny, we must master the same energies that birthed it. These conservative old fools are content to wring their hands and wait while Lirgen rots around us, and so the true Storm Kindlers depart for the south. Chitauli has agreed to guide...”
800 XP for finding the journal and statue of Gozreh.
"What does this mean?" Mud asks.
Lirgen rots... and Chitauli? Ood ponders this briefly.
kn:history?: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (17) + 5 = 22
"Stonewall, does it say who wrote this journal? Regardless we should keep an eye out for 'The Eye' I suppose. It sounds like this Chitouli figured or learned something of power to the Storm Kindlers found valuable, maybe they kindle storms like the one we had in town somehow."
"I'll take that Flail, I assume no one else wants it. Also, Ood, you take that Headband we got, I think you would get the best use out of it." Stonewall forces the headband into Ood's hands. "Anyone recognize that holy symbol?" AKA can you knowledge religion that alset?
Stonewall leans against the remains of a small section of standing wall and says, "Lets head back to Pridon's Hearth and find out more about that expedition that was attacked and maybe the Boggards. Also, I'm like to go by the quarry as well." He's not actually going to go to the quarry all by himself but it is very important to him.
"Stony, let me look at that shark fin symbol. I might recognize something about it. It could be something of Gozreh or Erastil."
Kn:Religion: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (8) + 4 = 12
"I'm not sure but I think it is . . ."
To the group, "I thought we were going to head north to see if we can eliminate the cause of the disturbances in the weather, whatever is causing it will probably only get stronger the longer we wait. Unless there's a powerful weapon in the quarry, I think it can wait until we return."
Although, now that I think about it. It may be that buffing up by leveling up may be best before we attack the storm badies.
"We may be close to the lizards, but we still don't know where they are exactly. I would like to make contact with them, but wonder if any of our other objectives would help in some way. The quarry and the Ghol Ghan ruins come to mind."
If the storms are of any relation to Lirgen, I don't know if we can afford to wait, but there has not been any peculiar weather since then that we have seen...
"If Pridon's Hearth has another storm like it had when we were last there, the quarry may be more of a lake than a quarry. Since we can't breathe underwater, I think it best to solve the storm problem before returning to the quarry. I think, Ood, that the Ghol Ghan ruins are closer to the lizardfolk anyway."
Mud nods at Ood and says, "To Pridon's Hearth it is. Perhaps the storm is not likely to drown Pridon's Hearth unless another lizardfolk attack happens like it did before?"
The trek back home takes the rest of the day and the next. While marching through a bog, Mud notices a pool of water with slightly grayer complexion than the rest. "Stop!" he says and points to the pool. He tosses a rotten branch at the pool and as the wood touches the pool, it burns and sizzles, as if dipped into a pool of acid.
"That is gray ooze," Mud says. "Like to hide in marshlands. Easy to spot if you look. See, color is gray, not brown and dirty. Water has no algae or debris either. Too clean. Be wary," he says, stepping carefully around the pool. The branch is soon dissolved into nothingness, the pool still again.
You guys seriously have had the worst luck with random encounters.
1d100 ⇒ 971d100 ⇒ 50
"Odie, I have a water skin, but not any glass to try to gather some of the ooze. I fear the water skin, like my skin, would dissolve before I could get it out of the ooze. Good idea though!"
The next day you arrive in Pridon's Hearth. The town is stable, and there is hardly a sign of the storm that ravaged the town a little over a week ago. Another shipment of supplies arrived while you were in the jungle, and a number of townsfolk that recognize are glad to see your return. If you want to purchase anything within your means, they'll have it in stock.
You notice the constant overcast sky is a little brighter here; if you happen by the makeshift palisade where the lizardfolk Reszavaas died, you notice a slight magical aura lingering from her death. Since she was the cause of the storm, the immediate area around the place where she died seems slightly shielded from further stormclouds.
Sheriff Adaela finds you around town and says, "Glad to see you back in one piece. I see the halfling is still with you. I want to hear about what the halflings had to say, and anything else you may have discovered out in the bush. There are a few other things I want to talk to you about as well. Why don't you four come to dinner tonight at my house? I've got a fresh bottle of Eledar whisky."
Feel free to make purchases, ask around for rumors or news, check in on NPCs whose sidequests you've forgotten about, etc.
After setting a time to meet at Adaela's house for dinner, Alset wanders through Pridon's Hearth conversing with people he meets and looking for any religious persons or structure in particular to discuss the news and the events of this "storm" problem. He is generally heading for the plot of land and Erastil's ruined temple that had recently become into their possession.
Where is Adaela's place? It's not marked on the PH map (Regional Map).
One of the old, grizzled men drinking the night recognizes Ood from when they saved the town. He sidles over to Ood's table and squints an eye at the dwarf before asking, "You one of them dwarves that came in on that boat a few weeks back, ain't you? The Cobalt Eye, was it? Well, my buddy Three-Teeth Trout seen it run aground west of here out on that big island at the mouth of the river when he went out fishing yesterday. You should take a gander out there, see if any of them survived."
As Alset wanders around town, Theos Voto The drunk that attacked you and the nobleman when you first set foot on the dock in town. approaches Alset. He looks cleaned up and keeps his eyes downcast. "I wanted to apologize for my previous actions," he says. "I've sobered up and I'm helping rebuild the wall after the storm. When you landed, I had just lost my son and wife and wasn't in my right mind. Take these as thanks." He hands Alset two potions of Touch of the Sea
Yeah Adaela's house isn't in the map from the pdf. It's on one of the big islands without any markers.
And of course you all are welcome to explore the ruined church if you want. Inside there be monsters...
Alset thanks Voto for the gift of the potions and extends his forgiveness and his condolences for his loss. In his mind, Alset knows that the party must put and end to the death and destruction so that others will not have to experience what Voto has gone through.
Stonewall tells the group, "Lets clean out our property, the old Erastil temple. It shouldn't take to long to look things over and maybe find some information on the priest. Also, lets ask Adaela about the expedition that the Gozreh cleric disappeared on. This Hamsa Gadd character seems fishy and Oozaahku seemed to think that the Lizardfold are the ones who attacked them."
I had already been thinking about the temple, i just took forever to post. Also, sorry for my inattentiveness. Had lots of things going on over the weekend.
It is around noon. Ood has finished talking to the locals at the Bloated Unicorn, and Alset has paced around the city enough to see that it has returned to its pre-flooding state for the most part. Odie paces around, nothing but whisky on his mind, and eventually the four of you find yourselves before the ruined temple of Erastil. Tonight at dinner you can ask Adaela your questions. For now, the temple stands before you
The wind whips through broken columns and burnt out walls in the southwest corner of Pridon's Hearth. Alset stands before the ruined Temple of Erastil and wishes he were not alone before such a haunting sight. The black husks of burnt timber litter the ground, and what wood still stands is rotten, crumbling, and covered in thick green moss. The temple barely resembles a building, light clearly visible through the entire structure. The wind moans through the slats, creaking timbers reminding the paladin that the structure may not be so stable. He finds an archway, the wall around it fallen down, and nails his letter to it. He cannot tell whether it was a doorway or window, but that is the only section that does not look about to collapse. The smell of fungus and rotting plant matter fills Alset's nostrils as he hammers his nine that became five theses to the mossy arch. Alone, he dares not step foot inside. More hands and more eyes will be needed to investigate the ruin of the temple of Erastil.
The temple remains unchanged since Alset's last visit. The smell is less severe, and the clouds overhead dim much of the darker corners of the rotting building. I've updated the Wilderness Encounters map with the temple grounds. Ignore the fact it looks like a desert and use your imagination, lol. This is a sidequest of my own making, not in the module.
Stonewall moves carefully into the building eyeing the existing walls and ceiling.
knowledge engineering: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 6 = 7
"We have no idea what happened to the Priest?" He says as investigates the structure.
Well, interesting, Let's take a look around.
check to see if I see anything interesting, otherwise Ood would start walking the perimeter counterclockwise
perception: 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (2) + 10 = 12
Alset looks around at the religious markings on the structure.
Knowledge Religion: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 4 = 7
Alset doesn't find many markings that are discernible.
"Be careful Stony, that roof looks ready to fall in the next puff of wind." Pointing to the dilapidated roof.
Stonewall finds the structure extremely unstable, but due to the level of rot and deterioration in this humid climate, he is unable to ascertain much more. There is only roofing over the central area and the altar; the rest is rotting wood with stone pillars and flooring.
Ood sees that aside from the altar, the rest of the building is so dilapidated that there is little left to even explore. He does notice, however, a small pile of brackish water in the southern area between the freestanding wall and the roofed-in section.
Alset sees the limestone statue before them is broken at the waist, the headless and armless torso covered in moss and lichen at the foot of the statue. He assumes that a temple of Erastil would have a statue of Erastil, however, but cannot tell whether the statue is of that god or not.
Odie heads over to check out the altar. Knowing nothing of religion, he is mostly looking for loot or secret compartments.
Perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (20) + 8 = 28
Everyone in my house is sick, and now I've got it too. ugh
Alset sees the brackish water, which seems oddly "piled" rather than pooled as expected, and attempts to examine it.
Knowledge Nature: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (13) + 1 = 14
Knowledge Geography: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (5) + 7 = 12
Hmmm?. . .
Odie finds the altar and surrounding stone tiles are in remarkably good condition, considering the rest of the temple. Stuffed under the pile of rocks on the southern wall is what looks like a pile of bones. There is moss and lichen covering the altar and floor, except for a triangle on the floor at the back of the altar, as if the altar slides backwards on a pivot. The altar is heavy limestone, but could possibly be moved by brute force, or other means. I don't know if Odie is smart enough to know that there might be a switch to find, but he rolled high enough to know something is up. Also, there are no weird dog statues flanking the altar like the map shows. Pretend they aren't there, lol.
Stonewall notices tracks in the dirt and debris leading from the town toward the altar, as if someone went to and from the altar frequently over the past year. The footprints are recent, child-sized, and the most recent prints perhaps only a month old. Older tracks go back a few months, but any before that were likely washed away during the rainy season. The footsteps are only trackable from where you guys came in from the west to the edge of the steps between the two pillars.
Alset finds that the water is "pooled," not "piled." Woopsie! From their long days in the jungle, Alset knows that such water generally contain some kind of larva of vile insects. And as he peers into the water (without touching it), he sees a mass of wriggling black creatures about the size of a finger in the pool. The leeches (for that is what they are) do not notice Alset, and simply continue to writhe in the pool.