Part II: The Bullywug Gambit
Chapter 7: Save Lavinia!
Poddle (Connor) Kobold Rogue
Striker (Seth) Tainted Human Duskblade
Daegoth (Trevor) Lizardfolk Dragon Shaman
Rapton (David S.) Killoren Cleric of Nature
Daelis Eagleheart (David L.) Half-Elf Swashbuckler
Tuesday, June 29th, 1234 AY
Striker headed out with Zagon to track down the mysterious figure that captured Daegoth. They tracked him through the jungle for two hours before the captor took the lizardfolk on a boat heading upstream on the Emerald River. The two luckily found an old fishing boat that was still serviceable and managed to pole upstream, hot on the trail of Daegoth.
At 4:00 A.M., the heroes came to a wooden village that stood on stilts. Buildings in the tiny frontier town hung suspended over the water at various heights, from docks just inches above the water to well-to-do houses several stories high, all linked by ropes and ladders and narrow boardwalks. The village was completely empty except for some small animal nests, abandoned by their original builders and left to the wilderness. The two met Rapton and his Olman slave Derek there, who were investigating a disturbance in nature, which led them to the abandoned village. Within a small tree-house they found four people: Daegoth, the elven bounty hunter that captured him, and two of his thugs. Striker, Zagon, Derek, and Rapton managed to free the lizardfolk and kill the other three, unfortunately before they could find out more information from them. Daegoth knew one thing though: the bounty hunter worked for his brother.
The heroes took their fishing skiff and floated downstream back to Sasserine, arriving at about 10:30 A.M. at the city, which was still in full swing of the Festival of the Dead. The five managed to find a good pier to moor at, and made it the Vanderboren Manor with no trouble. They sneaked up to the manor and took the back entrance to the ballroom, then crossing over to the next room when they heard Poddle, Nimlar, and Daelis in the dining hall.
The party reunited, and set off to go upstairs to save Lavinia. The stairs led to the kitchen, a cramped chamber filled with stoves, basins, and preparation counters that were large enough to prepare a banquet.
Hiding in the corner was Churtle, the kobold cook/poison-maker that now worked for Lavinia. She hid in the kitchen when she heard the fight downstairs, and managed to escape notice, but was injured when she hit her head on a counter-top. She had managed to slow the bleeding but she was weak and delirious. Nimlar offered to stay behind and tend to the poor kobold’s wounds, and Kaskus and Liamae planned to hold down the fort here to, convinced that they were just in the way of the heroes saving Lavinia and their comrades. Striker had grabbed a piece of bread and began to munch on it, but dropped it immediately when five Bullywugs burst into the room, croaking thickly-accented war cries.
Poddle, always quick on his feet, charged the first Bullywug, slamming his club into the frog-man’s knee-cap and shattering bone. The frog croaked in pain, clutching his injured knee and leaving his defenses wide open.
Another of the Bullywugs charged Poddle, but the kobold dodged the clumsy blow. The Bullywug suddenly made a strange “Blourp” sound as a javelin wizzed by his head. Derek squinted, cursing himself silently for missing the attack.
Daegoth, heaving a javelin from his back, ran up and hurled the weapon across the room at a frog-man, seriously injuring the Bullywug.
Striker, rushing up to the front lines with his swords swinging, finished off the Bullywug with a quick strike from his longsword. The frog-man clutched his throat as he stumbled and then fell to the floor.
A Bullywug adjacent to the Duskblade made a lucky strike, crushing Striker’s arm and causing him to withdraw in pain, stunned. He stumbled right into another Bullywug, who luckily missed with his flimsy club.
Zagon, rushing forward with his spear held aloft and yelling out his tribal war cries, scored a glancing blow against a Bullywug, which just barely stunned the frog-man, not causing any serious damage.
Rapton, his lips chanting incantations, raised his hands and cast a spell which summoned a great hound. The dog materialized behind a Bullywug, who tried to croak in fear as the celestial canine bit out his throat.
Poddle, running and jumping onto his ape, rode the gorilla and hit a Bullywug with his club, killing the frog with a blow to the head.
Passing through the adjacent room (a training hall holding some mundane weapons), and then heading up the stairs, the heroes reached the second floor, where the bedrooms were located, and where the heroes hoped Lavinia was.
Hearing sounds from the master bedroom, the heroes prepared their weapons and then burst into the room.
The room was dark and cloying; the shutters were closed, and the air smelled of a rank combination of body odor and swamp mud. The desk, chairs, and most other furniture in this room had all been draped with white canvas dust covers, giving the place the eerie feeling of a tomb. Only the large four-poster bed in the northwest was uncovered, its dust covers lying in a heap to one side.
Four hostages were strapped to chairs in the center of the room: Lavinia, who regarded her captors silently with eyes narrowed in fury, Tolin Kientai and Zan Oldavin, the other Jade Ravens, who were unconscious, and Kora Whistlegap, whose throat was slit open.
Standing to the left was a Bullwug cleric, his lips already moving in spell-casting, and standing over Lavinia with a scimitar to her neck was a half-orc.
“Lay down your arms, or I’ll chop off you’re pretty little employer’s head!” The half-orc said, regarding the heroes with cold eyes.
The party had other ideas.
Poddle jumped atop his ape and rode it charging at the Bullywug cleric, striking at the frog-man with his club and scoring a blow. The Bullywug cried out in terror as Poddle’s ape tore his claws through his saggy skin.
Lavinia, who had apparently released herself from her bonds, bolted for the safety of the heroes, though Drevoraz cried out in anger and attempted to strike at her. Lavinia dodged the clumsy strike and made it to the party, who protected her behind them.
Zagon, rushing with his spear and flanking the saggy cleric, scored a hit with his spear, tearing through the Bullywug’s flesh. Rapton as well rushed the cleric and scored a hit, his heavy mace crushing the frog’s knee.
This was just not the cleric’s day.
The Bullywug, finally finishing his spell, summoned two gigantic spiders, which immediately attacked the party with their fangs. Zagon was hit, his arm torn by the sharp fangs, but managed to shrug off any lasting effects of the venomous attack. The second spider attempted to attack the ape, but missed.
Daegoth, charging Drevoraz, attempted to grapple the half-orc…and got thoroughly owned. Kabran sidestepped the clumsy attempt and brought his own strength against the lizardfolk, the two now locked in combat.
“Stop this violence and try reasoning this out!” Striker yelled at the half-orc, trying to solve the situation peacefully “I will start by offering you 172 gold!”
“See that’s the thing,” Striker said. “We both want that.”
“I’ll give you a chance to convince me of that…” He started to say, but the cleric grew enraged.
“We were told that blood would be spilled for the Lord of the Depths! Achai will not be denied!!”
And with that, the cleric signed his death warrant.
The cleric, Poddle, and his ape fought it out, none scoring any hits, but keeping the other occupied. Zagon, taking that opportunity, scored a major it against the cleric, and the frog seemed about to fall.
Rapton finished off the cleric with a well placed blow to the head.
“I didn’t like him anyways,” Drevoraz remarked.
The heroes then proceeded to explain the situation, about Vanthus, what he had done, and how he was not going to be coming to the manor anytime soon.
“I believe you,” Drevoraz said, thoroughly convinced. “Please, just give me safe passage out of the city. I won’t bother you anymore.”
“What do you know about the Isle of Dread?” Daegoth asked, ignoring the plea.
“The name sounds familiar…I know that the Dragon Armada has interests there, but nothing else”
“Do you know anything about Tahlavel Maran?” Striker asked, still not knowing that the object of his revenge was buried in a grave just outside these walls.
“Now that’s a name I haven’t heard in a long time. He used to work for the Dragon Armada, and he was a quite infamous assassin, but he disappeared a few years ago, and no one has seen him since.”
“Tahlavel is dead,” Poddle remarked, talking to Striker.
Striker retreated, shocked and angry at this newfound relevation.
“Do you have a sister?” Rapton asked.
The room went silent.
“I used to,” the half-orc said through clenched teeth. “But she died a couple of years ago.”
“Okay fine!” Rapton said. “Just wondering…”
Drevoraz then turned the conversation back to his release.
“I will give you my scimitar and my belt, which are both magical, in exchange for my safe release”
After a VERY LONG argument about what to do with Drevoraz, the party finally asked for Lavinia’s opinion. She said that Drevoraz was a criminal, and needed to be turned in to face justice. The heroes did not want to be on the wrong side of the Dragon Armada, so they made sure Lavinia made it expressively clear that SHE was turning him in, not them.
After the events of the day, Lavinia awarded all of the heroes a thousand gold, as well as increasing their monthly stipend to two hundred gold.
The heroes then went on a shopping spree, selling all of the treasure they had gained over the course of their adventures and buying some new gear.
Poddle bought some potions of repairing, so that he would be able to heal Metallica when he was disabled again. He also replaced his destroyed warmace with a greatsword, making him a very odd kobold rogue.
Daegoth bought an improved dwarven waraxe and tower shield, making him near unstoppable. The lizardfolk also identified one of numerous rings the party had found as a ring of swimming, took it, and also claimed Drevoraz’s magical belt as his own.
He felt considerably stronger after that.
Rapton bought some scrolls to help round out his spell-casting, as well as helping with other party member’s bargaining.
Wednesday, June 30th, 1234 AY
Rapton joined The Sanction as a diplomat representing the Killoren, and was made an official citizen of Sasserine, and a respected one at that. Also, aspiring to the nobility, Rapton began to court Lavinia, who, though confused, was willing to give the cleric a chance to gain her approval.
Daegoth and Daelis, going back to the Sasserine Arena, were offered a position in the Iron Brigade, since they were both skilled fighters and Urgor Warbeard (a prominent member of the Iron Brigade) was friends with Daegoth.
They gladly accepted.
Striker, who was searching for a place to research a thing he had been wondering since learning of Tahlavel’s death, found the local Noseon lodge. The organization, The Noseon Society, was a group of explorers, researchers, and treasure-hunters that spanned the continent. Striker, who was very knowledgeable in the study of geography, asked to join the Society (offering the nautical charts found in Kraken’s Cove as a donation), and was accepted. He immediately began research on the mythical Assassin Training Grounds, where Tahlavel was rumored to have trained.
Meanwhile, Rapton and Poddle planned on returning to the Lotus Dragon guildhouse and renovating it, but while they were gone, the Sunrise Watch had taken over the thieves’ guild and confiscated any treasure.
It turns out that the Lotus Dragons were on the verge of taking over Sasserine’s harbor when the heroes had ended their dominion with a timely raid. As such, all of the heroes were given invitations to attend a banquet in their honor a couple of days away.
Anyway, Rapton, using his new-found status as a valued citizen of Sasserine, managed to arrange an opportunity to buy the Lotus Dragon guildhouse back from the district watch. After legally gaining the late thieves’ guild, Rapton and Poddle planned to renovate the location into a hotel. Gaining the support of Aniphastus Knowlern (the district noble), they planned to do major renovations (with financial aid from Knowlern, who would then get 50% of all profits) and convert the guildhouse into a fully functional hotel and resort, complete with dinner theater, gambling, and the popular “Swimming with the Dolphins”.
Hiring laborers to start the construction and renovation, the two then decided to find out if there was anything they could do so Rapton could rise higher in the ranks of The Sanction. They were given a mission to open up trade relations and possible alliance opportunities with Rapton’s people, the Killoren, who had just recently appeared in the area.
Setting off to Katha (one of the most peaceful of the Killoren settlements), they were greeted with open arms by the leaders of the fey. Rapton did not come from this particular village, but his racial heritage alone earned him the respect necessary to be able to be diplomatic with the fey.
The village of Katha agreed to make an alliance with the city-state of Sasserine and open trade relations if Rapton and Poddle did something for them. A local creature was becoming increasingly aggressive and attacking creatures wantonly, disturbing the balance of the area. They were to kill the beast.
Thursday, July 1st, 1234 AY
It wasn’t long before a crocodile reared its ugly head from the algae-laden waters.
They captured it.
Rapton and Poddle (with Metallica in tow) managed to find the location of the beast’s lair, and the heroes sneaked up to the entrance to see a towering draconic menace sleeping in a large burrow-den. Bones littered the ground nearby, testament to the aggressive nature of the Dracotaur.
Poddle, using his amazing skill at stealth, managed to sneak around the creature without waking it up and attacked it from behind, severely injuring the beast. Then Metallica and Rapton finished it off.
Relations with the village of Katha were successfully opened.
The heroes then met at the Vanderboren Manor to decide what to do next…