Campaign Journal #13
A Record of Events by Uriah Orlok
Erathday, Aprantus 19, 1017 A.G.
Another failed day of rest…
We got to an early start, departing at the same time as Bennik and Surina who were destined for the Seven Pillar Hall of Saruun Khel to venture into the Underdark. Ungus gave her a letter to be passed onto Faren when the pair went through Fallcrest. On our horses the journey to Tor’s hold was short and we were shown to the town elder, Bran Torson, He explained that difficulties his people were having with the bullywugs. Also, he heard about the Iron Circle’s military types making themselves known in the southern Nentir Vale. The Iron Circle usually kept a low profile, but some in their ranks are acting more obnoxious of late. Sarthel, their main hold was technically outside the Nentir Vale and perhaps someone needed to return the troublemakers to there. Torson then told us about the town of Marl who had their entire population turned into refugees by the Iron Circle. If such was true, then Ungus should lead us to take care of such a nuisance.
A young woman from the town, Catryn, led us near to the exterior of Toadwallow Caverns. Getting there by the afternoon was not easy thanks to the murky and muddy swap conditions along the way. We stayed quiet as we got closer, in effort to keep the element of surprise on our side. Part of staying both quiet and unstuck in mud, we had to dismount from our horses. As we were ready to head to the caverns on foot, Catryn let her fascination with seeing a knight, let alone a female knight, be known to Mari. When we were away from the farm girl, Serago spoke from my bag saying that he wanted to be let out. He argued to be positioned on my shoulder, while Peli and I argued that he should be put on a staff instead. The old wizard got mad when Peli said to just put him back in the back and spit fire at the ranger. Not wanting to argue past that point, I put the shining silver skull on my shoulder. However, if the old master was to hurt any of my companions again, I would find a way to destroy the skull’s magic now and forever.
We snuck up to the base of the caverns and Mari was most apt to climb up first. Ungus went on the other side of a stream that ran out of the cavern’s mouth and got up too. He helped me up after he was up, but Peli decided to go up via his own route by climbing up the short waterfall, but the water was rancid and he was quick to get out of it. Seeing into the cavern, there were two bullywugs sitting behind a pile of mushrooms. I hit them both with a force orb and Mari charged at the one I centered my attack on. Peli used his bow finesse to finish that one off. Ungus moved up to block the remaining sentry’s escape. I then walked across the stream to get in front of Peli to launch a magic missile at the bullywug. I could ten see two more of the humanoid frogs and heard the fluttering of wings.
Mari moved up to attack one of the newly arrived bullywugs and bloodied it with a single strike. The sentry let out this vocal noise that somehow knocked Ungus down. Peli let out two arrows, passing on both sides of my head. The first killed the sentry standing over Ungus and the other killed the one in front of Mari. The remaining bullywug in the room jumped and kicked Ungus while he was down. The flying creatures revealed themselves as three stirges and they flew above Mari, Peli, and myself. They all tried some attack, but they all missed. Ungus healed himself from the ground, but looked weakened from over-indulging in the foul air and backed up a step. I unleashed fire above me to hit the two stirges near me. Mari doesn’t do well versus enemies of the flying variety and missed. Peli shot two arrows again, killing the two singed stirges. The remaining bullywug backed up and threw a javelin at Ungus that missed badly. The last stirge bit Mari and latched itself on her like an overgrown mosquito. Ungus tried to do something, but failed so I frosted the ‘wug. Mari pulled the stirge off of her and killed it with one swing. Peli then shot the ‘wug for the first time and ended our initial siege of the caverns.
Of course, there were more inside. Ungus found some helpful mushrooms and only I didn’t partake. I lit a torch so we could better see inside. Peli moved up to scout the way with his clearer-seeing eyes and we all heard a load croak. We heard the scuffling of many pairs of feet heading towards us and I could tell that Peli was being surrounded. From my position at the time I heard a weird belching, which I found out later was some sort of attack made by bullywugs. I moved into the fray cautiously and frosted a bullywug to kill it. Seeing that these were weaker toads, I wanted to just move up to blast them all. These grey oozes appeared from the darkness to attack Peli and I, but they failed. Peli teleported out of harm’s way, for the time being, and killed an overgrown toad again. Ungus channeled his deity to give us some aid in the battle and sent a few of our enemies away from him. A bullywug was already face-to-face with Peli and I felt that I should get closer to him so he wasn’t fighting alone. The remaining ‘wugs charged at those they could, but I barely felt the attack that hit me thanks to Ungus. I gave a ‘wug some blue energy and it died. I then moved to get flanking on the ‘wug in front of Peli. However, Peli shot an ooze that came toward us as he moved away from it. Behind me I could hear Mari’s sword cut into the other ooze.
It was then the leader of the bullywugs, a bit fat specimen of their species, hit me with two strong attacks from the safety of a large dragon skull. The ‘wug near me belched at me, but the previous poisonous attack from its leader must have buffered me from it. I hit the rude creature with a blue bolt and it died the two others of its size I killed. Then I moved closer to the skull and gave the creature within a taste of my fire. Mari told me that she was then flanked by the oozes. Peli then tried to shot at the fat ‘wug, but missed. Mari killed one ooze and then Ungus killed the last minor ‘wug. The fat ‘wug tried to discharge some energy at Peli and I, but missed. I force orbed it, and then the remaining fast-moving ooze attacked and weakened me. Peli killed the ooze and his second arrow finally hit the big ‘wug. Mari, despite the fat ‘wug being inside the skull, charged at the last enemy within the cavern. The fat ‘wug hit Mari and I with his discharge this time around and I went unconscious.
I awoke soon after and could, for a third time, feel the shadow magic on my soul. Somehow, I still felt dazed. Peli shot two arrows at fat ‘wug and hit with one of them. Mari landed the final blow by stabbing the smelly toad with her sword through an opening in the skull. The battle over, I went to the cavern entrance to get fresh air and ponder the effects of repeated instances of shadow magic on my person. The others, I’m told, went to looting the cavern and smashing bullywug eggs so the infestation would end. As we prepared to leave Toadwallow Caverns behind us, we saw a more fit big bullywug along with two smaller ones and two frogs. And then, leashed behind this bullywug champion—as he pronounced in Primordial and Mari told me such later, there was a young halfling boy. How I didn’t see or hear them coming from my perch at the cavern entrance is beyond me.
We all climbed down from the caverns and we could vaguely see the large warlock we left unconscious in Col-Fen. Not pleased with the day’s events thus far and feeling a boldness because of the shadow magic working in me, I moved up to the newcomers without fear. I frosted the closest frog and waited for their retort. The two, regular-sized bullywugs moved to cover. Their champion charged at me with a spear, but I didn’t care. Charging forced the champion to drop his captive and the Halfling fled into the dense foliage. The warlock came toward us a bit and blasted the champion with some attack I was unfamiliar with. Ungus then moved away from the cavern’s stench and did something to the champion that I was unaware of in terms of its effects. He also invigorated me, but I felt weakened like he did back in the caverns. Mari let out a yell and moved to strike the champion. Peli shot an arrow between Mari and I to draw the champion’s blood.
To my surprise, one of the frogs jumped near Mari, shot out its tongue and swallowed her. The other frog tried to do the same to me, but missed. Three enemies in range, I burned the two frogs and the champion. Both ‘wugs threw javelins at me. The warlock moved closer and Ungus said to attack the, “Fat Frog,” and the warlock did so with his glowing sword. Ungus gave me some more vigor, but I should have told him to try and free Mari instead. Peli bloodied one frog and then killed the one with Mari still inside. The bloody frog moved closer to the warlock and swallowed him. I used a force orb to hit the champion and the remaining frog, but my attacks didn’t hurt as much as usual because of the foul air. The two ‘wugs through javelins at Ungus, but only one hit the dwarf. The champion vocalized some attack, but it failed to do anything and then he missed Ungus with two other attacks. Ungus’ turn, he hit the champion twice and it finally croaked.
Reappearing from inside the frog was first the warlock and then Mari escaped her decomposing prison. Peli finished off the frog in his usual fashion. I moved closer to the boulders where the two leaderless ‘wugs attacked from and gave the closest one to me a blue bolt. Javelins flew again, but only the warlock was hit. Seeing that they were already defeated, the ‘wugs tried to hop off, but the warlock was in pursuit. He used some attack and hit the one I hadn’t. I moved closer and gave the one I hit another blue bolt. The warlock pursued him into the underbrush and I heard another dying croak. Not to be outdone, I wanted to kill another ‘wug for myself. Peli shot two arrows into the trees, but they both missed. I then casually put my staff across my shoulders and leveled a final blue bolt into the trees and felled the last of the known bullywugs in the region.
Ungus went to talk to the hiding halfling, while Mari and the warlock tried to clean themselves off. Technically, my magic could have done that for them, but I still wasn’t in the mood to be useful. During this exchange Catryn came up saying that she heard our voices and figured it was safe to come out. The boy, of some Reedfoot Clan along the White River, wanted for us to escort him back to his home right away, but we needed our rest. We returned to our horses and headed back to Tor’s Hold with the intention to spend the night. On the way though, we spotted smoke in the direction of a farm just two miles from the town. Catryn said it housed a half-elf woman and her two kids. As we drew closer it seemed that it was members of the Iron Circle attacking the farm. That was all the information needed for Ungus to trudge ahead and through away the notion of strategy or stealth. While there weren’t a lot of assailants at the farm, it was still better to err on the side of caution than to give into recklessness.
Bellowing and such, Ungus alerted the brigands to our presence. Mari moved closer to the farm house as four bolts came at her, two of which struck. Two wolves hopped over the house’s retaining wall to attack Mari as well, but they both missed. Peli moved enough so he could hit a wolf with one of his two loosed arrows. Ungus moved up to the wall and tried to be diplomatic with those whose best line of thought in attacking a farm was setting fire to an outhouse. The only good thing Ungus’ efforts did was to point out who led the brigands so I could focus my attacks on him. As I was about to act, the charismatic yet informal warlock, Nevitash, bluffed the brigands into thinking he was a dark adept—the Iron Circle’s arcane users—that was escorting an initiate—me—to Sarthel. The brigands believed Nevitash and he got them to disperse back to their camp.
The lady farmer and her children were grateful and let us spend the night in their home. She gave us more information about the Iron Circle plaguing the Harkenwold and informed us there is a resistance centered in Albridge. This resistance can almost match the Iron Circle’s numbers, but probably need aid from other groups in the region. One of which is the Woodsinger Elves who are having problems of their own that need to be alleviated before they can aid the resistance. There might have been other stuff said and done this day, but I was too fatigued or didn’t care enough to commit such information to paper.