Swamp Exploration

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Scribe Notes

The adventure takes place at Sith's Revenge

Summary

Adventure: Swamp Exploration
GM: Keith Smith
Session: Summer 808
Night: Saturday Afternoons
Level: Mediumish
Place: Mangere Bridge

Party
  1. Veor, Ice mage Bernard
  2. Thorn, not a fire mage but still can cast some of it.Helen Saggers
  3. Ben Gaul, Non mage Shapechanger Tiger
  4. Starflower, Mind mage
  5. Vanderhan, Non mage warrior


Employer
Gentlefolks Exploratory Society
Mission
To explore the swamp that was created during Safely Underfoot
Pay
Guild Rates + salvage

Warning
If this adventure is run, then it is most likely to be short - say six to seven sessions. Currently, it is hoped that work will begin at our place sometime February and we may be away for the duration. However, nothing is set in stone at this stage.

There will also be a gap around Christmas, and for Battlecry.

Notes

  Starflower: Where’s Veor?
  Guild Security: He’s on ice.

Thorn – female human fighter, party leader
Ben - red-headed and muscular fighter, were-tiger
Starflower – elven mind mage, shapechanger drake
Vanderhan – four-armed human male fighter
Veor – male human ice mage

We met in Room Five. A couple of members of Guild Security were hanging around, somewhat more decoratively than usual. We signed the contract. I ended up being both military scientist and scribe, and Thorn was given the Party Leader hat.

Our employer, Professor Lucius Bellimus, was brought in. He explained how the swamp appeared to have reverted to its state some millions of years ago. We needed to find out what’s changed, what’s in there, and what happened to some perfectly good ruins that used to be there – the ruins of Panjari, no less. Furthermore, he explained, Count Engalton is thinking of putting a road through there.

We discussed how to travel. Approaching from the sea looked best, and the Professor had already hired a suitable vessel. Getting through the surf to the land might be problematic, but in a pinch I could down a strength potion and fly everyone in. Given that we could stack some canoes and a swamp boat in Thorn’s Keep, that might be the simplest solution. We went and bought waters of healing, and waters of strength, and Professor Bellimus cast lesser enchantments for those who need them. We also had a look at the swamp through my crystal ball, and saw tree ferns and a big lumbering creature with a long neck.

Day Two
We sailed on the morning tide, and arrived at Bolton Bay by evening. There were signs of construction and growth everywhere. The wharf wasn’t built yet, so the ship sent in goods by jollyboat. We landed and the boys headed straight for the tent labelled beer. We spent the night at Bolton Manor, somewhat disturbed by the raucous sounds of a party in the village.

Day Three
We returned to the ship, and sailed on. We discussed combat tactics, and concluded that Thorn, Ben and Vanderhan would attack, while Veor and I would employ our magics. Professor Bellimus would act as support mage providing defence spells and strengths of stone. That evening we anchored at Landfall, where there is a watchtower, and a village. I used the crystal to look for the river mouth, and this time I found it. There was indeed a waterfall there, although it was not so sharp a drop as it must have been to begin with, and a small beach nearby, which had apparently formed from the silt carried by the river. The Captain is concerned that we might be delayed, because there are some flying creatures off Rockland that are attacking shipping. We suggest that we might enjoy the pleasant diversion of dealing to these creatures. On learning that other merchants are concerned Veor asks for a meeting. The Captain said that something could be arranged by lunchtime. Before long we have an agreement for a thousand silvers up front, and five thousand on success.

After the meeting I have a private word with the Captain, and shapechange for him. He didn’t turn a hair. Apparently he had done his research, and knew of my reputation.

Day Four
We left at the crack of dawn, and sailed towards the reefs where the gargoyle attacks had occurred. Predictably, they attacked us half way through, but we were ready. I was already in drake form and in the air, while Ben and Veor stood on an ice floe Veor had created. The resulting combat was somewhat confused. Veor tossed ice projectiles, and snowballs in reply to the gargoyle’s fire bolts. One of the gargoyles came up behind me and latched on with its claws, hampering my movement. I screamed my breath weapon, and eventually knocked one out of the sky. Vanderhan, Thorn and Ben fired their missiles, shooting them down. One gargoyle fired the sails, which led to Veor being occupied putting the flames out. Another I clawed and bit until it was stunned and fell. Finally they were down and defeated, except the one on me, which detached as I headed down to land on the deck, and flew off towards the land. I followed it, watching where it went. It flew into a cave, which I noted, before flying back.

The four bodies were looted. They had goggles which aided their perception, and wands with charges of bolt of fire.

It was decided that we would attempt negotiation, that I would be the emissary, and that the party would be landed a mile away, and then I would fly them in closer, inland from the cliffs, and land them above the caves.

This we did, and Veor made a platform of ice for the party to stand on. This at least had the effect of getting the seabirds to back off. He then performed a ritual of binding ice, while I reverted to elf form for a while in order to recast my spells. Then I flew down to the cave opening and waited. There was movement, and I called out first in Common then in Draconic “We wish to talk”. The gargoyle came back and I repeated my request. He nodded nervously, and fetched an older and larger member of his tribe, who spoke better Draconic. I explained that we believed that it was possible to come to a mutually beneficial arrangement. The merchants would supply food for their young in exchange for their service in guarding shipping.

The chief of the gargoyle tribe asked to negotiate with the entirety of our party, and we ended up with an arrangement where we got the goods they had looted from the shipping, but not eaten, in return for an immediate delivery of food. Food would thereafter be delivered regularly by the merchants, in return for safe passage for their ships past the rocks. Some of the gargoyles would relocate to Bolton Bay, since the caves here were rapidly becoming too small for them all. The entire tribe would swear fealty to Lady Thorn. We turned the ship back to Landfall, and purchased some cows and sheep.

Day Five
Having delivered the meat beasts to the gargoyles with some bales of hay and crocks of salt, we sailed on past, heading for the swamp. The ship dropped anchor half a mile out, where we could make out a small rocky beach by the mouth of the river. I took to drake form, and carried Veor to the cliff above the beach, so he could create ice on the beach. The others were rowed in to land by some of the sailors on the ship’s boat. There was a distinct odour of dead seaweed, and we could see long ago eviscerated crabs and sea urchins, among the rocks. Inland, we could see grassland and ferny forest, and some tens of miles away a massive mesa. Something seemed to be flying around out there, but it was too distant to tell what manner of creature it might be.

Suddenly a snake lunged at Vanderhan, but it barely penetrated his hide. Saurus whacked it and that was one dead snake. So rather than Vanderhan being dinner for snake, it became dinner for us. Thorn set up her tower, and I made it into a stew with tomatoes, onions, chilli and rice. The night passes largely uneventfully, aside from strange screeches, howls and shrieks. In the morning, Vanderhan and Thorn are on watch were they spotted a small flock of big weird-looking birds diving into the ocean. Soon they fly back inland, presumably to their nest.

We hauled three of our punts out of the keep, then Thorn collapsed it, and we launched the boats onto the river. After about a mile or so, Vanderhan and Thorn alerted us to the presence of some rather large water lizards. I simply cast a control animal spell on one, and had it attack another. The water erupted in a frenzy of movement, and we were soaked as we paddled away to safety up the river. An hour later, and Ben noticed the fifteen-foot long crocodiles pretending to be logs. We stopped, and I repeated the performance, resulting in a crocodile fight, and more water in the boats. We landed the boats, and portaged them along the bank past the fight. That was when the snake attempted to strangle Thorn by the ankle. She hit it, I tried to cast mental attack at it, but it resisted, and then Ben hit it, and Vanderhan hit it. The snake, evidently deciding this prey wasn’t worth it, slid away into water, and disappeared. Realising that it was severely hurt, and that it would be cruel to leave it to die, I cast telepathy to find it, and we finished it off. Then we hauled it out onto dry land, and butchered it.

By now, it was evening once more, so we planned to set up the keep, and dine on fried snake. Vanderhan and I began foraging, but there was a decided lack of the usual herbs and such. About all there was to be had were some fiddlehead ferns. As we looked for a site for the keep, we were attacked by a slither of snakes, five in all. One of them almost strangled Ben, before they met their various fates… one controlled, one hacked apart, one constricted, one mentally attacked and one slithered away. The controlled one was released, and the others butchered for pot and skin. Bellimus told us that the skins are in fact somewhat magical, and we realised that they would sell well indeed as boot leather. A flock of small pterosaurs descended on the remains.

That night while Ben and I were on watch there was a crashing through the forest. It sounded like one thing was chasing another. There was a tremendous noise, and then all went quiet, before we even got to the point of waking the others.

Day Six
The day dawned bright and clear. And the wildlife was up and active. Big lizards, little lizards, all kinds of lizards…. And insects.

  Starflower (as the animals ran away): “Ah, intelligent wildlife…. It’s so good to meet intelligent wildlife.” 

After packing up the tower, with smoked snake meat, preserved snakeskins, and our punts, we headed out into the forest. Most of the creatures seemed unconcerned at our presence, although Veor had to fend off one predator with walls of ice.

It was nearly lunchtime when we reached the first of the lakes we had spotted earlier. Moments later a large pterosaur alighted by the lakeside, followed by a flock of odd-looking blue birds. The pterosaur flew off… and then the flock dive-bombed us… One got a nasty peck in on Ben as I changed form to breathe on them. Before long they gave up and returned to the trees.

Along the lakeshore we found a number of curious creatures…. Among them were specimens of the three-lobed crustacean dubbed “lunchus valiumus” long ago and far away, by a previous adventuring party. There were giant spiral mollusc shells, and recognisable crabs in the rockpools. I suggested we consider a nice seafood soup for lunch. As we rounded the next point looking for a place to set up the tower we came upon a giant crocodile, fully fifty-five feet long, sunning itself. Once Veor concluded that the skin would be of considerable value, we prepared to take it. I reverted to elf form, and rendered myself indetectable, snuck up, and then cast mental attack on it. The ice elemental Veor had summoned that morning then skewered it through the brain to kill it mercifully. We removed the innards, gutting it, and discovered a remarkable variety of things it had been eating. Then Thorn brought up the tower and we stored it in the basement, which Veor had made nice and chilly. It was another kind of chilli that went into the soup. And it was very tasty indeed.

There seemed little point in moving the tower, so I had Veor cast ice armour on me and went for a swim in drake form. Pleasant enough, but it seemed advisable to exit the water when the lake monster stuck its head out. I then persuaded Veor to make snow, and added sugared berries to made a flavoured ice, a sorbet. It was delicious.

  Veor: “What’s a sorbet?”
  Ben: “It’s a bay that you’ve smacked around a bit.”

That night passed uneventfully.

Day Seven
The morning dawned to the screeching of pterodactyls on the morning wind. Ben tried to bring one down, but failed.

  Ben (in tiger form): “I meant to do that.”

After breakfast we headed out, skirting the lake and heading across the plain towards the Mesa. The plain was covered with long grass, growing above waist height. We saw dragonflies, the occasional pterodactyl, and even some actual birds that had migrated into this area.

Around morning teatime, we saw trees ahead. As we approached the forest, the ground beneath our feet began to vibrate. Then a pair of gigantic creatures, which we later learned from the Professor were called Stegosaurs, came thundering towards us. We dodged to one side, and it soon became obvious why they were running – a pack of Tyrannosaurs were after them. Veor made an ice wall, and we hid behind it. I attempted to control the one that headed in our direction, but for some reason I was unable to control it properly. I was able to distract it somewhat however, and then we ran for the trees.

A couple of hours later, after lunch, we heard a big creature munching on something. Turned out to be another carnosaur munching on its lunch, a dead herbivore. We gave it a wide berth, and found a high point so the professor could observe it in peace. I made tea.

We carried on into the forest. That night we set up the tower, and as we explored the area around the tower, a faerie circle was found nearby. During the night, Veor was on watch on top of the tower when there was a buzzing sound. Turned out to be a swarm of giant mosquitos. So he left his ice elemental to deal with them, and dived through the trapdoor, trapping one halfway as he shut the trap on it. Before long there was nothing left but skewered mosquito parts and one rather smug-looking elemental.

Day Eight
That morning there was more than the usual swarm of pterosaurs, feeding on the bits of mosquito left behind on top of the tower. They were being stalked by a hunting spider the size of a large dog. Being less than fond of spiders, I sent a phantasm after it, and after a bout of fighting its invisible enemy it died. I successfully extracted the poison glands and tested the poison on a pterosaur. It proved to be an effective paralytic agent. A pity we had no way to preserve it.

While that was going Thorn saw the faerie circle activate and something small and invisible flew through it, about pixie sized. It hovered, zipped about a bit, obviously looking about then hopped among the mushrooms before disappearing through the circle again.

We carried on towards the mesa, and by the time we were twenty miles from it, it was apparent that it was going to be an interesting climb. Using the crystal ball I was able to spot a kind of path snaking up the side of the cliff, with a bit of a crevice to cross at one point. Mid-afternoon it began to spot with rain, and rapidly became a thunderstorm, and in the very brief time it took to get the tower up we were soaked. By evening there was water flooding all around the tower.

Day Nine
We woke to find the tower surrounded by wet and mud. It was an exercise getting safely out and not losing the mini-tower. Veor solved the problem by freezing the mud. I went drake to avoid getting stuck in the muck as we headed out.

As we got closer to the mesa the ground became more solid again, and we got dive-bombed by big pterosaurs periodically. The first one missed us, and the second I used my breath weapon on and it fell out of the sky. It was one very confused bird thing when it woke up a minute or so later. The professor cast blending spells on us, and after that if they tried to attack we just stood still and they ignored us. As we got closer we could see that the real difficulty was not the path up to the top, but the two hundred foot cliff we had to scale to get to its beginning.

We spent the time as we walked towards the cliff discussing the best plan of attack. I flew up and landed elegantly… pity about the loose rock under my left hind claw, which nearly caused me to lose my balance. Next up was Vanderhan, free-climbing nimbly as a monkey. We set the ropes, and then the others climbed up. That took a while, and then we had a long climb up the rocky path. It was nearly sunset by the time we reached the top, and stopped to admire the view. Which was stupendous. Apart from one thing… what seemed to be an ugly malignancy in the swamp, perhaps ten miles away and over a mile across.

When we turned around, we saw the next problem… a chasm hundreds of feet deep, separating the party from the main body of the Mesa. We solved this the slow way, Veor making some ice and an igloo, so he could summon an ice elemental, so it could make a bridge. Meanwhile the rest of us made dinner. The top of the mesa, what we could see in the dark, was mostly uneven rock. We found some strange bug-eating plants, and a deep well leading to a cave, probably inhabited by bats.

  Starflower: “Cave… adventurer magnet. Pity I’m not feeling very magnetic this evening.” 

We set up the tower and the night passed mostly uneventfully. Thorn reported that some creatures had come by in the night, small and dark-skinned. We surmised they might be Goblins of some kind, perhaps.

Day Ten
The morning dawned, and it was damp and foggy. It took until mid-morning for the fog lifted so we could see. Everything was dewy wet. Thorn asked me to track the creatures she had seen in the night, and I found a footprint in some moss… the print of a cloven hoof.

  Thorn: “We’ve found the carnivorous forest, but it’s only three feet tall!” 

We started to explore the mesa, and found more strange plants and rock formations. Veor reported that the mana level was fluctuating. We stopped and found that the mana level was variable over time as well as space. Curious.

As we continued we came to an area where with my witchsight I could see flickering vertically lenticular lights, which winked in and out, some of them more rapidly than others. Although Bellamus could not see it, I asked him to detect the auras of the areas where the lights were. The lights appeared to be portals. One led to a faerie plane, another to one of the planes of hell. Veor found a little fae under a rock, along with her dead friends. The little fae could not fly. It seemed that she was used to a place where there was more levity. I used my empathy to give her more fatigue, and Bellamus cast strength on her. Then we searched until we found the right portal, the one to the Tree of Life, and then sent her and her friends home. After that we decided to depart the area, considering it way too dangerous. Suddenly something small, bright and shiny came tumbling out of the Tree of Life portal. It proved to be a non-magical, but valuable, gem - presumably a thank-you gift from the fae.

I cast telepathy and found another sentient mind, hiding down a hole. It was an imp, separated from its master. Which explained the cloven hooves. We spent the afternoon watching pterodactyls nesting, then set up the tower and had an uneventful night.

Day Eleven
Veor made another ice bridge so we could cross back over the chasm, then we made our way across and down. It was much harder than last time, and somewhat slippery. Down the cliff was easier though. We spent the day crossing the plain towards the malignant swamp.

Day Twelve
By lunchtime we come to the marshy shores of a shallow weedy lake. We got out the punts, and poled our way around the shallows. There were giant snakes in there. We punted to a low hill where we could see the malignancy. The water there was brackish, bubbled with decay and smelt bad. The plants looked half decayed, and as we watched, we saw the body of a crocodile floating past. Bellamus attempted to detect the aura in the area, and told us that the magic was planar and that it was attempting to subsume our plane. Not a pleasant thought. In the centre we could see a tall structure sticking out of the mist. We used the crystal balls to investigate, and saw that the structure appeared to have two horn-like peaks, and globular protuberances. As I watched one of these popped and a creature came out. I could not see its form clearly because of the mist, but it appeared to be roughly humanoid. Using the other crystal I looked behind the structure and could make out a pyramid shape.

It was mid-afternoon by now and we decided to go with Veor’s plan to make a great deal of ice and then ride it across the swamp. He got some sleep while I cooked dinner. Then we ate, and Veor made an igloo. As we stood our watches into the night, an odd sense of disquiet crept over us. Then Veor summoned an elemental. Shortly after it was summoned, it started screaming in fear. Then the things started coming out of the swamp. They were most like lizard men of some sort, with some toad thrown in. They had thick horny beige-coloured skin stretched tightly over their bones. That and their prominent teeth made them look rather like ghouls. Some of them had odd-looking glaives, others had strange pistols bonded to their hands and bodies.

("Starflower, just one question... whats a pistol?"- Thorn)

The ensuing battle was relatively brief. I was on watch on top of the tower, so I went inside to wake Thorn and Vanderhan. They, and Professor Bellamus, came out on top of the tower. Vanderhan started taking potshots at the pistoleers, just as they started firing acid at us. Meanwhile the ice elemental retreated into the igloo, followed by the “fire elemental” (actually a phantasm) that was chasing it. Ben and Veor also backed off into the igloo, where from that excellent defensible position they hacked down the creatures wielding glaives. Thorn dropped down the side of the tower, and starting slashing into the rear of the glaive-wielders. I cast teleport to place myself behind the pistoleers, just as one fell to one of Vanderhan’s crossbow bolts. I slashed at the other one, but he retreated from my blades. Then the first one stood up, next to me, and I hacked him down again, while the other one sank back into the swamp. The others finished off the glaive-wielders, and I cast telepathy. There was a peculiar and irritating mental static, though I was able to locate the missing pistoleer, just as resurfaced to shoot at me. That was his undoing.

Veor turned the swamp water to ice around him, and I sent a phantasm after him. Suddenly I felt him simply expire, as if the life had just been cut off from him. The curious thing was that I hadn’t felt any of them actually die. We learned from the Professor’s detect aura that they didn’t fully die until their bodies were burned. So Thorn did the honours, and burned the corpses. Professor Bellamus added that they were Merrogs and their home plane was called Mere. We looted the remains, finding 8 daggers, 6 glaives, and 4 acid pistols usable only by creatures with acid blood.

For the rest of the night, Veor had the elemental create lots and lots of ice so he could make a glacier, on which we would float as it cruised across the swamp.

  Starflower: “Reading adventurers’ minds tends to be counterproductive on so many levels.” 

Day Thirteen
By dawn we had collapsed the tower and settled in behind the icy battlements of Veor’s battle glacier. We advanced at a remorseless crawl across the corrupted swamp, leaving behind us a trail of devastation some fifty feet wide. Half way through the morning we had only made a couple of miles, when we spotted more of those ugly creatures, this time armed with larger projectile weapons. Their first volley, of bolts of lightning, went wild. Veor called “phantasm”, and I cast a counterspell around him. Apparently it worked. We continued to exchange missile fire as more of them started coming out of the swamp towards us. Most of their fire missed, but our fire hit home several times. I spotted one distinctive figure on top of a rock, which appeared to be directing the other monsters, and I quickly drew my fire rifle and shot it, just before a pair of lightning bolts got me. I shot him again and wouldn’t you know it, that triggered my turn for a phantasm… in the form of a great undead dracolich coming straight for me. However, coming my way meant coming straight through the area of the counterspell. So it evaporated, just as another Merrog shot me with a bolt of disruption.

A group of four-legged things engaged Vanderhan, and a spiteer climbed up and shot me. I drew my swords and charged him, but missed. Veor created a wall of ice to discourage the incoming Merrog. In a few seconds I cut down the spitteer who was attacking me. Then snowballs started coming out of the ground around Veor, striking those around Thorn and Vanderhan. I sent a phantasm out to one, which began to back off, to little avail as the sorcerous creature relentlessly destroyed it. Then I managed to successively mental attack another one as it tried to advance on my position, and it fell down, and the ice began to slowly absorb it. Then I was in melee with monsters bearing glaives. After a minute or so they too fell before my blades, and I turned to see Thorn and Ben advancing on the position where the leader had been standing. I teleported to join them, and together we took down the last of the Merrog warband. The leader was nowhere to be found, and had evidently departed after the honourless creature realised his warband had met their match.

We collected their weapons; four of the six lightning projectors, and three of the four disruption projectors had survived, along with a number (10) of the acid pistols as well as six more glaives and 24 daggers.

Then we returned to our giant ice raft and resumed our slow but relentless progress across the swamp. We were only a few hundred feet from the structure we had seen earlier when abruptly the ice raft ground to a juddering halt. There was a thump behind and I looked around to see Veor slumped onto the ice. Professor Bellamus said that he had been struck by a mental attack spell. Moments later a small horde of Merrog emerged from the swamp. Thorn triggered a quickness, as the rest of us made ready. They charged. At their head was a giant Merrog with another one sitting on its shoulder wielding the largest glaive I had ever seen. It went for Vanderhan while I sent a phantasm after it. The phantasm didn’t last long, and then a bunch of wolf-like creatures attacked us and died under our blades. We had almost finished them off when the leading edge of the ice disintegrated in some kind of explosion. Thorn killed the last one in front of me, which gave me the opportunity to manoeuvre in behind the big one Vanderhan was fighting. Two blows, one from each of us, later, and it was down, and its rider was on the ice in front of me. So naturally, I hit it. Vanderhan had to turn to deal with more enemies on the ice. I killed the rider, as more of them came at us. It seemed that the structure in the swamp was somehow generating more as quickly as they fell.

There was no alternative but to change form, so as to knock down masses of foes faster than they could be replaced, and then make it easier for me to reach the structure. This tactic was temporarily effective, but very soon after I screamed them down they got back up again. In sheer frustration I took to the air, and launched myself at the structure, seeing as that was where the new ones were coming from. I was intercepted in mid-air by a creature that looked like a cross between a Merrog, a witch, and a giant spider, flying on black wings, and carrying an icky green mace. I leapt onto her, and learned that her very skin was poisonous. I clawed her until she fell out of the sky, and I felt her finally die, although I have to say that she kept on regenerating in a most annoying fashion. About then, two most unusual things happened…. Bellamus called out that the structure was alive and the source of the incursion, and the bright beam of Vanderhan’s techno-magical arquebus of light began striking across the swamp, first taking out minions, and then pumping into the structure. The very fact that device worked at all was a certain sign that this incursion was contaminating Alusia itself. Minions began dying as the structure, which we will henceforth call the Merrog Hive, began sucking out their life force to regenerate itself.

I took on the remaining magic-using Merrog… we learned later that these should be called Hive Lords. I flew around him in order to close from the rear, and as I attacked, one of my claws lodged in its ribcage. I clawed at it some more as it tried to get away or attack me in return. I had to down yet another healing potion when it scored with a disruption spell, but soon it too was dead. Meanwhile, Thorn and Ben had dealt to the remaining minions, and made their way across the swamp to the Hive. I joined them in hacking at the stinking thing as Vanderhan continued to fire. Finally the Hive succumbed to our multiple martial ministrations. As we struck the final blows, it began to dissolve, simultaneously dematerialising and sinking into the mire before our eyes. Beneath it, in the swamp water we saw what looked like a portal. The contamination seemed to drain down into this hole, and then the hole itself shrank and dissolved and was gone.

  Starflower’s Breath Weapon = Ice Scream Cone!  


Extract from the Professor's Notes

The auras on these creatures do show that they are native to this plane but there has indeed been a temporal displacement.

We saw some present day butterflies and birds in the area so I am not sure about the future of this area. Either the creatures here will start to spread out into the neighbouring areas, although that will be difficult for the land bound creatures because of the mountains, or they will be displaced and die off as the present creatures invade their ecological niches, or the two creatures will co-exist in some sort of balance. I recommend we keep an eye on this area and send in periodic surveys to determine the status of the animal and plant populations. For instance, there are no flowering plants, however, as seeds blow in, this is likely to change. This may adversly affect the native plants and, through them, the giant reptiles etc.

Weather, especially next winter may also be an important factor. Maybe our next survey should be in next spring to see what has happened.

I'm rather concerned about this concentration of portals and believe we should get that entire area divinated and maybe send in a crusade of Michaelines to guard the area against incursions. At least they'd be useful for something. Probably the area of planar weakening was caused by the temporal shift and, hopefully it will heal and disappear over time. Or some of those portals might stabilise. The worst case would be the wound expanding and more portals appearing all over the place. Presumably the planar subsumation in the swamp was also caused by the temporal shift. I guess this proves the saying 'Be careful what you wish for' as such things always have unforseen consequences.

Thorns Gargoyles

A tribe of Gargoyles, wandering since being displaced by activities in the Dark Circle had taken up residence in the Rocklands. Food was hard to find on the edge of the Barrens of Sith and with the tribes numbers being increased by a new hatching of young the existing adult population was unable to forage enough food to feed the tribe, as a result, they had started raiding passing shipping.
After negotiations with the party, the tribe swore fealty to Thorn. As her vassels she is responsible for their welfare and once the young are old enough to travel, the tribe will move to Bolton Bay. In the mean time, with the help of the party, it has been arranged with some of the ships trading the coast for the Gargoyles to give what aid they can to them as they pass though the reefs in the area in return for further food drops.
If the ships wish to continue this arrangement once the tribe moves, some of the Gargoyles will remain in the Rocklands.
An advance party set out for Bolton Bay to scout the northern headland for a suitable cave site for the tribe to make its new perminant home.