Restwell Keep is poised by the edge of the King’s wall, which was built to hold back the horrors that emerge from the chaos scar. Restwell Keep is in transition, as Lord Drysdale has wrested control from the criminal gang known as the “The Blades”. Restwell Keep is home to mercenaries and toughs. For the most part the residents are not especially law abiding, but the groups that have come with Lord Drysdale are upright and devoted to the god Erathis.
The gossip center of the keep is a tavern called the Stumbling Giant, where we find Nyron Darkcaster going on to two long time residents of the keep, wannabe adventures known as Ruz and Ericore, about his ideas to harness the magic of bullywog mud. Ruz appears as most of the other townfolk, though his eyes flash with brash impetuousness. Ericore is dressed in similar robes to Nyron, and his face is shaded by a dark hood, and fidgets with an elaborate staff, dripping with knobs levers and copper tubing.
As Nyron drones on, a huge shadow crosses the table, and the two adventurers look up to see a small human boy in silken finery followed by a 7-foot tall walking suit of armor. The boy seems somewhat oblivious to the walking suit of armor, strides to the bar and demands a glass of cow’s milk. The suit of armor surveys the room, acting as protector for the little tyrant.
Nyron continues his tirade about the properties of bullywog mud, and tells the 2, now distracted adventurers, that there have been rumors of a group of bullywogs who have moved into some ruins just beyond the King’s Wall. He begins to offer rewards for samples of mud and bullywogs. The mention of gold, and a chance to get closer to the Chaos Scar brings Ruz and Ericore back to the conversation, and also draws the attention of the boy – who is berating the bartender for not having cow’s milk. The boy chastises Nyron in a condescending tone that bullywogs cannot be found this far from bodies of water, as they require mud. Nyron takes this opprotunity to spill some more gossip about the ruins being the site of an old sorcerer or Alchemist laboratory, and then speculates about arcane sources of water or mud. The group stike up a small alliance and agree to Nyron’s offer of 30gp for each sample of bullywog mud they can bring back.
During the short distance from Restwell Keep to the King’s wall, the boy introduces himself as Ahten, and his protector as Falchion. Ahten is dressed well, but wears a baby doll about his waist. Ahten seems to know something about bullywogs and lectures the group with what knowledge he has as they complete the journey to the Kings Wall.
Once inside the wall, the band of adventurers moved out for the area where Nyron reported the ruins to be. Ever on their guard, the group managed to find a small valley unmolested by the unspeakable horrors that are said to walk the land near the chaos scar.
Ruz, carrying nothing but a small rod, offers to sneak up close and take a look. The artificer, Ericore, immediately accepts, knowing his ability to keep quiet is not that strong. Ahten, the lad allows Ruz to make the dangerous approach alone, and Falchion silently accepts the command of her tiny master.
As Ruz closes he can see that the foundation and some crumbling walls are all that is left of this building. The area is oddly quiet, but then everything here is odd. Unseen by his comrades, Ruz exerts his racial lineage as a changeling and changes his appearance to that of Bullywog, and creeps closer to the building.
Peering into the building through a ruined corner or wall, Ruz can see the floor covered, even burbling up in some areas, with a think wet mud. He quietly sidles up to the building and slips inside. With the predatory skill of leopard, Ruz checks the front area of the ruin, and finding nothing calls to his merry band to approach. As the other adventurers close in, Ruz slips back into his human form, but tells them all firmly to “…remain clam, even if things get weird!”
Ericore steps up through the whole in the wall where Ruz had entered, but Ahten demands that Falchion, on whose shoulder he sits, approach through the remains of the doorway. Bodyguard and boy reach the landing in front of the door when bullywogs attack!
The creatures must have been hiding in the 3-foot deep mud wallows that cover the floor areas of this ruined building. They begin to close on the adventurers. First a tall bullywog with a spear rushes the walking suit of armor, his charge is powerful, and surprises the construct. Falchion falls prone, and young Ahten rolls from his protector’s shoulder to stand behind her.
Next two ugly (well uglier than the other bullywogs) males close on Falchion and Ahten and then burp up a noxious gas. The cloud of gas affects Falchion and Ahten. There is movement around the rest of the ruins, indicating more bullywogs in the fray.
Ruz reacts with astonishing speed to the attacks…and to the surprise of his new friends he begins to look like a bullywog. He closes on one of the ugliest bullywogs and a magic sword appears in his hand as he drives the cold force of the magic blade into the hideous monster. The bullywog croaks its last breathe and falls to the floor. As the monster dies, Ruz disappears and reappears near Ericore.
Ericore levels his staff at another bullywog with a spear, a snowball burps forth from the copper tubing attached to he staff, but flies past the bullywog and impacts Ruz, causing a blue wrath of cold to burst forth from Ruz. While Ruz seems unaffected, the bullywog with the spear nearby is hurt and becomes enraged.
Ahten has seen the attacks and focused fire on his mighty protector, and with a voice not nearly as human as one would expect commands “get back”, all the while miming the desired affect with a a doll whose head lolls to one side. The gas belching bullywog, and the one that had charged Falchion slide back as if pushed by an unseen hand, giving space to maneuver.
A heretofore-unseen bullywog comes flying in, unstable and not clearly directed as if flung from some sort of frog-throwing catapult. It manages to hit Falchion again, as the spear wielding bullywog that had hit her before jockeys for position. The gas emitting bullywog moves back into position and manages to engulf Ahten and Falchion again in a cloud of horrid vapor.
Falchion is able to get up, and close into melee, calling out her opponents, and forcing them to face her. She makes an attack against on of the bullywogs near to her, but gas and surprise prove too much to overcome.
Ruz turns his attention toward the center of the action where Falchion is taking a beating. Gathering his will, a pale blue flame appears above his brow as he utters a condemnation that shifts the entire line of enemies back and forces them to attack each other, giving his new companions a moment’s breath.
Ericore moves away from the frosted bullywog and towards Falchion, whereupon he initiates the arcane restative in a small blue crystal he keeps on his person, and the effect re-invigorates Falchion, her metal parts seeming to shine more brightly, and her movements more fluid. Ericore makes an attack against frosted bullywog from a small distance, and manages to cause it some distress.
Ahten tries to push the man-toads back again, but this time his efforts are in vain.
The frosted bullywog turns his attention to the metal hulk, and charges her. But her renewed strength allows her to dodge the attack and the bullywog tumbles past her.
In an embarrassing display of 2 left feet, Ruz manages to complete get turned around, but he steels himself and draws on some inner strength to re-try his ploy, only to find his mind befuddled with reality of an actual adventure and battle before him.
With all of the attention focused around the door, Ericore is able to stamp a mystical rune on Ruz’s back, while Falchion dispatches the wildly leaping bullywog. And as Ruz moves into position, Ericore causes fire to burst from the rune, leaving Ruz unscathed, but a dead bullywog in it wake. Ahten punches his doll making the head snap around, and at the same time a bullywog is rocked back as its head seems to make the same sickening motion on its fat neck as the doll had made.
Falchion drops another with her hammer shooting electrical bolts as it crushes a bullywog, and Ruz puts the last of bullywogs down with a sigh of relief.
What will the group do now? Where is the mud coming from? Are there more bullywogs, and therefore more bounty from Nykron? Should they load up just the mud, or the actual bullywogs? how can they carry that? Will the smell of the decaying carcasses call in predators and scavengers they managed to avoid on the trip to the ruins? What was this building? Is there anything else of value here? Will Ruz get his fill of excitement? Will Ericore satiate his thirst for knowledge about the chaos scar? Will Ahten ever lighten up? Will Falchion find a voice of her own? This and more is waiting for the adventurers next week.