Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Journey to the Forbidden City - 12th of Mirtul, Year of the Ageless One; 447 North Reckoning

Driving rains pounded the explorers beneath gray skies and stifling heat. Two of their numbers, Morok the Half-Ogre and Dragonbait the Paladin pulled and guided their raft upstream from the shoreline amidst tall grasses and other obstructing vegetation.  It seemed like days since they arrived in Chult, Like days since they enjoyed drinks in the Jungle Rat Bistro of Chologodi - getting into a bar fight with the locals and being cast out of the sweaty dive by the Halruuan Wizard who was tending the taps. That was yesterday; today, even the monsoon rains didn't keep stinging and biting insects at bay. They were beginning to understand why this stretch of jungle was known as The Green Hell.

The rest of the party rode on the murky river. Aboard the raft, the woman calling herself Alias leaned her back against the cheap railing. A Pirate called Jolly Rogers - The Gentleman of the Sea sat nearby smoking his pipe, while a mysterious mage known only as The Varktose muttered inconceivable words into his beard.

Slowly, quietly, and deliberately, a clawed scaly black hand made its way over the railing behind the red haired Alias. Just as quickly as it deliberately made its approach, it snatched the red haired lass from the boat, pulling her into the murky depths. the pirate grabbed both of his cutlasses and dived after them. In the cloudy, muddied waters he could make out as to what the attacker was ... some black scaled Gillman with burning coals for eyes. He attempted to assail the Gillman with his swords as Alias wriggled to escape. As soon as Alias freed herself, the Gillman swam with great speed away into the gloomy waters.

Mogumbo, our guide, soon brought us to the spot where we would have to go it on foot. The canopy of the jungle blocked a great deal of the rains, but what it did let through came in giant drops or continual streams. Bird calls echoed in the safety of the canopy as well. and there were other sounds, terrible sounds coming from all around us.

Our guide insisted we go around the higher elevations; it was the least dangerous path and so around the mountains we went. In a day's time we emerged from the rainforest before a grand ravine, in which were vine covered buildings, mold covered ziggurats, Ivy ridden pyramids, and crumbling towers reaching toward the constant rains. To the east we spied a great waterfall flowing from the mountain. We decided we could descend to the Forgotten City with some degree of cover there. As we secured the ropes for repelling, a giant ant the size of a Calashite-Bred Horse assailed us. Where there was one of these insects, there was likely to be more. The quickest of actions had to be taken. The creature was quickly and quietly dispatched with only a few minor injuries sustained by the party. Then, down we descended into the ravine.

The rain was so heavy as to obscure our vision to a steady range of 10-12 feet. This would obviously work against us, but it would also work against any hostile inhabitants of the ravine. The ground was softer here, and our guide told us to be sure of our steps less we become stuck or worse, prey to quicksand.

 As we continued west, a structure of sorts came into view. It was of bamboo construction and approximately 10 feet high. Our wily pirate crawled upon the Half-Ogre's shoulders and dove into the structure. He cautiously ascended the mound within the structure and found a Frogman sitting by a rather large gong. Jolly dispatched the Amphibian Beast-man then disabled the gong. He the signalled for the Half-Ogre to come into the walled off area, which he did by tearing apart the lashed together bamboo stalks. Unfortunately, this made quick a ruckuss, as the bamboo snapped and cracked under then Half-Ogre's great strength.

Frogmen shot out of a crude cave entrance on the western side of the mound like running water. There were no less than 20 hopping about looking for intruders; each one with a grimy looking spear looking for homes in our hearts ...