- Shin (level 5), Tabaxi Fighter (Arcane Archer), Outlander; big-game hunter, has no patience for weakness, Shield Guardian Vorn in tow
- Kalohan (level 4), High Elf Wizard (Evoker), Inheritor; noble Elf, ill-suited for adventuring life
- Leon (level 3), Human Monk (Way of Shadow), Outlander; long dead hunter whose tribe worshipped Zotzilaha, has been reincarnated due to recent events
- Anfi (level 2>>3), Locathah Fighter (Eldritch Knight), Outlander; medicinal herbs collector, wants to see how is life above water, Muck Dweller companion in tow
Pursued by the Pick & Axe Dwarves, harassed by batiri Goblins, the PCs had not much choice (1) in going northward, toward the Mistcliffs mountains.
Valley of Mist
The valley ahead was covered in mist. Was it natural? Kalohan inspected it with a Detect Magic and could see small shapes slowly coalescing. She did not wait any further and cast Burning Hands, evaporating the mist-shapes (2) into oblivion.
Later in the day, the PCs could see from their vantage point a rocky promontory with some activity on it. Most impressive was the huge Quetzacoaltus perched on top. Lower, on a ridge, small figures (hard to see what kind of folks they were from the distance) had gathered together for some purpose.
Kalohan and Shin did not agree as to approach the promontory or not and had somewhat of a heated argument about it. (3) Finally, it was decided that Kalohan would go see what was over there, alone, while the rest of the group waited for her. An arduous trek led her up to the ridge and she could now see that the place apparently served for commerce. Aarakocra (bird-folks) owned the place and the Quetzacoaltlus, loaded with leather bags, was their pack animal.
The leader, an energetic female Aarakocra, was also the lead trader. Also present at the moment were two Albino Dwarves (father and son), a Batiri Goblin and three Grungs.
Kalohan spoke with the Aarakocra trader (who spoke common fluently) and asked if there was perhaps a way to get out of this valley? Turned out that maybe they could help each other as the Aarakocra’s trading partners, the Albino Dwarves, were in need of help. There was a recent increase of attacks from lizardish humanoids at night, the Albino Dwarves could not root out their foes as the place where those laired was taboo for them (4). If Kalohan and her friends were able to clean out the threat (5), the Aarakocra, in exchange, could provide airlift transportation near their destination, Port Nyanzaru. They agreed!
The two aforementionned Albino Dwarves, Poï Pà and Poï Pok, would serve as guide up to the creatures’ lair.
The entrance looked like this (6):
There was a lot of footsteps around but no trace of the humanoids yet. There was Giant Wasps though! The PCs killed 3 of the oversized insects and got closer to the portico. In one of the open room, they could see a dead Giant Spider on its back. It started to twitch… Then its bulgy abdomen bursted open and an Insect (wasp) Swarm flew out of it (7)! Horror-struck Kalohan annihilated a big chunk of the swarm with a cathartic Burning Hands…
- They could also have tried to forced their way through but that would have been a big risk as they could not easily take to the river without dumping Vorn, the object of their mission in the first place…
- Mist mephits
- I did not want to sway their decision but to myself I was like « Noooooo! All my prep for naught! »
- In my homebrew Chult, albino dwarves don’t want anything to do with underground places
- The PCs did guess (easy) that the Sting of Decay, a jungle spirit they had vouched to destroy, was the cause of the increase of attacks in the sector
- The remnant of an older civilization
- real-world braconid wasps lay their eggs in their preys, I mean, how cool is that!