They questioned a couple of bandit prisoners, got no useful information about the deal their Leader had had with The Old Man in the Marsh, and put them to the sword in front of the villagers.
It was determined that Fogwater as a viable village was done with it's compliment of adult males cut by 90%, and that the PC's would attempt to escort the remaining townsfolk to the neighbouring town of Cliffwater on the other side of the Whitefen...
...pretty much straight across the acknowledged domain of The Old Man.
Allright, we spent a fair amount of time getting food ordered and just generally assholing around this week so we got started late and didn't get a lot of gaming done, what we did get done however was pretty great.
The PC's got the women, children and handful of men together and--with the help of Relg the Hunter
(an NPC hunter who had helped them out earlier and the now-defunct Village of Fogwater's main source of fresh meat)--set out in an attempt to lead the remaining populace to the town of Cliffwater, on the other side of Whitefen Swamp.
The party almost immediately realized that they had literally no clue how to actually get to Cliffwater, the few flat bottomed swamp rafts avaialable were not going to be able to hold everyone (not even close) and none of the PC's or remaining villagers were boatsmen in any event. So it was decided to skirt the edge of the Swamp following what passes for a "road" (less marshy than average ground) and hope that the swamp was basically circular and that they would eventually find Cliffwater (which they do actually know to be on "the edge of Whitefen Swamp") Relg
claimed to know the route, but--as was clear to both Norovis
the Gorhanite Priest and Balthazar
the Wizard (who both made great rolls to sense bullshit)--he was clearly just saying this to calm the villagers.
So they set out, planning to make about 20 miles/day...not really reckoning that using women and children to pull a 4 wheeled wagon of ore across marshy land might slow them. the first day out, they made 3 miles.
And the first night out, they were attacked by sort of "Toad Featured, leather-skinned men" (Re-skinned Goblins from the Monsters section) whom they drove off, with little in the way of casualties. The children were in a turmoil though, as were about half o the village womenfolk, who wanted to turn back. Only a decently rousing speech by the High PER Gorhanite priest got everyone back onside. The warriors Theegis
privately put forward a "f*ck this sh*t
" proposal to the rest of the group, suggesting that the villagers were more trouble than they were worth, and a quick debate about the fact that these were people they had known their entire lives
got party members grudgingly back on the same page.
Next morning, a new plan was formulated around the idea that since the "Swamplings" as they were named by the group, seemed disorganized and not exactly formidable, the group had likely not been an attack force, but rather scouts. This led to the speculation that --as many of them had gotten away--they would likely be back in force sooner than later.
The plan was for Relg
(who has the "lucky roll" thing that gives and extra 5' of movement) to take off ahead to Cliffwater, buy a couple of mules, or oxen or whatever draft animal they could actually afford with their so far meagre treasure, and come back and get the wagon of ore moving
. Relg claimed that it was probably 4 days there, and another 4 back. So the group decided to move off the road and into the Slate Wastes
, the extremely shitty badlands that stretch away from Whitefen. It was determined that on 1/2 rations, and coupled with Norovis
' ability to cast "Food of the Gods" or whatever that spell is called, the main body of the group would be able to last until Relg
So the group set up in a group of semi-defensible standing stones a mile or so inland, and Theegis
worked out a schedule for standing watch that took into account surliness
, being drunk
and a general distaste for the idea of waiting around like sheep at a slaughterhouse
. The grousing was killing morale, until Norovis
, quite literally, made food rain down from the sky for the kids.Relg
got about a half-day's journey until they came across what looked like a massive termite mound about 100 yards out onto the swamp. They saw several of the Swamplings scuttling around on the outside of it, several trending a fire on top of it, clearly manufacturing a pile of fire-hardened spears. Relg
mentioned that this is always where he though the Old Man's lair was, but he had never seen any life or movement on it previously. Given that the Swamplings (and Possibly the Old Man) were girding to attack, the pair decided to turn back and alert the rest of the party.
When they arrived, and delivered the news (and after revisiting the "f*ck this sh*t"
plan a second time) it was decided that they should try a frontal assault on the Swamplings at what quickly became known as "The hive". Everyone was little unclear and a lot
apprehensive about covering the 100 yards of marsh between the hive and shoreline, but lacking any other viable plan, they set off...leaving the adult villagers armed with a collection of the Bandit's Machetes, Truncheons and Light Crossbows and some really basic instruction on their use.
They arrived at about twilight, assuming that since the last attack came at night, they could expect some of the Swamplings to be out. Vanator
the assassin scouted ahead and discovered that there was a path of reasonably dry boulders (clearly deliberately placed) forming a path from shoreline to The Hive.
So with the worry of swimming through leech and possibly Swampling infested marshland out of the way, the party flew into action...going with their usual "Balthazar
on the fighters" opener, and planning their headlong charge.
rolled a natural 1...and the spell misfire roll resulted in them all being shrunk down to about 6" in height for the next day or so
He managed to not roll Corruption at least.
So the new plan was "RUN FOR IT", but it was really unclear how they were going to get off the first boulder and back to the shoreline given their new size...
...until Theegis the Murderer
suggested that they should be trying to go to the hive, seeing as how they were pretty much invisible at this size. There was still no real way to cover the intervening 100 yards using the now "mountains-separated-by swampland" size boulders as stepping stones, until Balthazar
used his Animal Summoning
spell and some bat fur from the swarm at the Gorhanite Shrine to summon a bunch of flying steeds for them...
As the game ended they were flying across the swamp to The Hive, with about an hour left in the spell mishap, hope to scout and infiltrate before they reverted to normal size.
This has pretty much become our group's new "Lemons to Lemonade" example