Disclaimer: This is Part IV in a now four part series (possibly six part series) that is looking at my thought and creation process for the last quest that our local D&D group played. The short of it is that I bought a booster pack of pre-painted miniatures with the intent on writing a quest that included each of the miniatures. Part I went into my initial thoughts with each of the miniatures, Part II looked at the developing story, and Part III dealt with Gauntlet Charles' inclusion in the story and how involving his sister and husband inadvertently allowed me to conceive of the rest of the story (more or less).
So now that we know that Horwan Greenpatch is injured and with the mining camp in the Trielta Hills, the PC's have an incentive to head there to find out what happened, which further continued the story. Along the way, I decided to have the swamp nearing the edge of the road to the Trielta Hills, but did not have any kind of encounter. I guess if the PC's had started to wander off the road, I would have had Gauntlet Charles suggest that they stick to the road and find out what happened to his sister's husband.
Once in the Trielta Hills, I had an encounter planned in order to draw out the story and the play time. Our local group is only able to meet about once a month and those sessions last anywhere from five to eight hours, so I felt that I needed some padding. However, while we were actually playing the story, I decided to cut out this encounter because I felt that it was no longer needed and the story was progressing along at a semi-slow, but consistent clip; meaning the following event could have drug out the session by another hour or two.
- The idea was to have the Gnomes on guard and slightly worried when the PC's arrived; I did initially have them looking over their shoulders towards the mining camp.
- The Gnome guards asked the PC's for help as they were obviously well armed and the mining camp did not have anything in the way of soldiers; the guards themselves were more lookouts/sentries than actual guards.
- The previous day, the miners had broken through into a chamber that contained a carrion crawler nest and two miners were taken, the foreman included.
- I decided to have one of the taken Gnomes be the foreman as it made the decision to go after a carrion crawler nest more pressing than have it be just run-of-the-mill miners.
- The battle would have included a carrion crawler matron (my own creation*) and a handful of carrion crawler grubs (again, my own creation*). After the encounter, the PCs would have discovered that the foreman and other miner were already dead and mostly eaten by the carrion crawler grubs.
- The PC's would have then been taken to see Horwan who was recovering very comfortably despite having one of his legs amputated, which again, was the reason why he had not returned; and being a Halfling, was enjoying the comforts of recuperating.
- During the conversation, Horwan mentions that the stranger they met along the way was wearing an orange and purple sash, which seemed an odd color combination considering he was wearing an otherwise plan wool cloak.
- It was my hope that the group would recognize the sash that Cruenthas was wearing, which is what he was wearing when he first met the PC's waaaaay back during their first meeting, which happened about a year ago in real time. I was really hoping that at least one person in the group would actually remember because this created motivation for the group to further investigate the swamp and attacking Bullywugs.
Once the PC's had interacted with Horwan and found out about Cruenthas' involvement, it was my hope that they would be gung-ho to head after the guy, or at least his last known location. I was still kind of worried about how this section would play out since from Horwan's story, the attack had happened a while ago (weeks I believe, but I cannot remember what I told the group when we actually played). In my outline, all I had written was the option to take Horwan back to Triel and, at the very least, show them the general area where their caravan was attacked. This then lead to next encounter.
- The swamp had begun to overtake the road the PC's took north to the Trielta Hills, mainly so that the PCs would not have to go looking for it.
- After a few minutes, they would be attacked by a small force of Bullywugs.
- My original intention was for the battle to last for a couple of rounds despite the fact that Bullywugs only had about 25 HP each, but my plan was to try and overwhelm the PC's, but not to kill them.
- After a number of Bullywugs were killed, Bara Gol'iza, who could be seen "floating" off in the distance, would send out some kind of psychic blast to subdue the Bullywugs knowing that this group was not directly related to the attack that Cruenthas had made against them.
- I had even set up an event to have a Bullywug Captain kill one of the other Bullywug grunts to show that they were in fact standing down.
- Had the PC's continued to attack with the intent of killing them all, which I wasn't too concerned about happening. . .I guess I did not really have a plan besides questioning the PC's alignment and their actions against a now non-aggressive foe.
- Bara Gol'iza would then communicate through one of the Bullywugs about how she knows that they are not the foe that they had previously fought. That the human wizard had fled off to the East, skipping magically (perhaps some variant of the spell misty step) across the swamp after collecting a satchel full of mud/clay.
You know what, let us make this series and rounded five part series (which may in fact turn into six, but I will do my best to not draw it out much longer) because I still have yet to introduce the Clay Golem encounter, of which I will only talk about the parts that the group discovered and not everything from the outline as it contains information that was never meant to be revealed. So with any luck, Part V will appear on Monday March 5th as Friday will be my half of the Monthly Update; and now I am considering doing a Part VI that will involve more cut out content, which really is not as much as I might think. Or maybe it is.