After Archer’s Feast, the party decided to venture out of the kingdom to explore it’s immediate surroundings. Before they could leave, they heard a few rumors which might lead to adventures of their own:
1) The Stag Lord has risen from the dead and now stalks the Greenbelt, gathering an army of ghostly bandits from an ancient crypt in the eastern Kamelands.
2) Beware the mad hermit to the south. He speaks to beasts and lives in a hollow tree.
Gurnison was approached by the local flirt, Lily Teskertin, at the local inn. She asked him to return a fine mithral statue of elven craftsmanship, perhaps of religious value. She would reward him with her father’s old cloak of protection and a kiss (or perhaps something more).
Edris was contacted by an alchemist asking her to bring her a waterskin full of troll blood to assist in the production of healing potions. It’s quite dangerous to go alone seeking a troll, but since the party has a great deal of members, it would be a lot easier for them to gather what he wants. He offered a reward of potions worth up to 1200gp.
Once they were ready, the party set off into the west to explore the area in order to exert their influence and possibly claim the area for their new kingdom. In their travels, they happened upon a wagon in the river that was caught upon some rocks. The panicked ponies that were attached to the wagon were attempted to be calmed by a half-elf which the party would discover to be Finnegan Farseer. 10 gnomes were standing upon the shore watching in futility as Finn was their only hope to get the ponies free and to save the wagon and its contents.
Gurnison galloped with Julesy into the river to help free the horses and save the wagon, while Dvalinn quickly made his move to empathize with the ponies to calm them enough that Finn could loose the reins and lead them out of the river. Once the ponies were safe, ropes were thrown to Gurnison for him and the recovered Finn to tie onto the wagon. Once Julesy was setup and ropes were secured to the wagon, Gurnison led Julesy and the wagon safely out of the river.
In unison, the gnomes shouted a cheer showing gratitude for the assistance given to them. The leader of the gnomes introduced himself as Jubilost Narthrople and stated he was on an expedition to find an old Dwarven Outpost which acted as a toll for an old Taldoran trade route to the north. In gratitude he offered a discount of 500gp or a one to one trade on the maps of the southern Greenbelt that Finn had helped him create. Dvalinn wasn’t interested in such a high price, and denied the offer.
Questioning about why the gnomes looked beat up, Narthrople told them that a group of red scaled kobolds had ambushed them as they were trying to figure out how they would ford the river. The ponies became frightened and bolted into the river getting the wagon stuck in the process. The gnomes being capable fighters, especially against kobolds, were able to drive the kobolds off. It was a few minutes later that the party came by and saved their belongings.
All the while, Herne recognized Finn in the water and hid amongst the trees in order to get the drop on him if he made any suspicious moves. Nothing about the entire encounter with the gnomes that seemed too out of the ordinary and Herne felt he couldn’t put an arrow into Finn without due cause.
Leaving the gnomes to their own devices, the party headed off to the northwest to track the kobolds which attacked the gnomes. Unfortunately for the party, they were unable to find the kobolds before they popped out of the trees and ambushed them. The kobolds targeted their horses first with their slings and frightened a few which their riders couldn’t control and galloped off, reducing their number.
It was of no use though, the party was much too strong for the kobolds and one was captured alive out of the eight. Through intimidation and a very large sword, the kobold spoke to them about their tribe called the Blood Claws and chieftain, Guthook. He told them that they were ousted by the Black Fog thieve’s guild and ventured out into the Stolen Lands to settle by the big swamp west of the Narlmarches forest. Now they’ve been living there for a year and have established a foothold even though they had tussled with the “frogmen”.
The party eventually let him go to warn Guthook and his breed that a new kingdom was building and they would not tolerate wickedness or disruption to their civilization. They could either fall in line or die. The kobold quickly agreed as it would save his scales and free him.
The Old Beldame
Continuing to the south east, the party happened across a dilapidated hut on a large hummock in the middle of a swamp near the Tuskwater lake. The hummock was surrounded by a old fence adorned with fetishes and a gate which had an old rusty bell. Inside the fence was a pumpkin headed scarecrow which wasn’t providing much protection as a crow was sitting on its shoulder.
Thinking it would be a good idea to ring the bell before entering the premises, for politeness sake, the party waited until an old green skinned elf woman appeared at the window shouting at them to go away. Through some clever diplomacy, Kiza and Edris were able to peak her interest enough for her to invite the two of them in. As they walked up the pathway, they discovered that the scarecrow was truly a construct set there as a guardian for this woman Kiza knew to be known as the Old Beldame.
Once within her hut, Kiza and Edris were able to find out that the Old Beldame only appeared to be a witch, but in reality, was an old fey-blooded sorceress who’s green-tinged skin and pointed ears were from the blood gaining potency over the years. She had developed a infamous reputation that she didn’t want to deny as it kept people from seeking her out. She enjoyed her solitude.
During the conversation, she told them that she knew a few things about the area they might be interested in: the mad hermit to the west who cut the finger off his hermit brother in the north, the lizardfolk village to the west of Lake Candlemere, the island in Lake Candlemere which is inhabited by will o’ wisps, the lonely barrow to the east of their fair kingdom in the Kamelands, and the Tendriculous the the southeast across the Tuskwater. It was where the Tendriculous is that she asked them to find her black rattlecap mushrooms which she would pay a handsome sum of 100gp per rattlecap head. She couldn’t go there to get them as the Tendriculous is far too dangerous for her to handle alone. She also told them that they could possibly avail themselves to her service: spellcasting, crafting wondrous items, and crafting magical arms and armor. She’d provide these services for typical prices they’d find in a town.
They said their goodbyes and left to finish exploring the area. Before they stopped for the night, one of those will o’ wisps happened upon them and caused all sorts of havoc on the party. Eventually, they brought it down, but it was extremely difficult to do so. Once the will o’ wisp was out of the picture, they decided to make camp a bit a ways a way.