Making their way into the swamp, as said before, Grot could smell nothing but goblin and mud in the surrounding area. But for the next couple of days, the group would spend more time avoiding falling into deeper bits of the swamp than any thing else. Sometimes they didn’t avoid it, but the Warrior-Wizard discovered a laundry spell in the 7.5 expansion set, entitled Codex Incantatum (or some such), so things weren’t completely miserable. Not like I was trying to make the player-characters miserable or anything, what with it raining most of the time and being in the 50’s and 60’s during the day. A definite lack of solid ground could keep the group searching for a suitable camp site well past twilight.
The provisions were starting to get low, as the last bit of big cat meat was more than a bit gamy. But before they could get to hunting, they came to something a bit odd. At the bottom of a basin area, the group spied what could only be described as a nest of very thick vines, ending in human-torso sized flowers shaped like unopened tulips. In the middle of the nest were hobb-sized bean pods with large lumps in them, sometimes four, usually three. Before they could investigate this strange group of flora, Rhyea heard something coming from around the corner.
The delvers slid into the shrubs around them just before a large band of goblins came around the far bend. There were more than a dozen of them, six of which were obviously warriors, as they had a special uniform armor piece. On their right forearm they wore a yellow arm-band that continued into a leather flap that covered the rest of the arm and shoulder to taper off into two tips that were tied before the left shoulder. Besides the warriors, the rest were mostly female who carried wicker baskets. When they approached the flowers around the nest all reared up and opened their petals to reveal sharp teeth and snake-like tongues. When the “Snap Dragons” recognized the approaching goblin’s scent they relaxed and coo’ed like pets. Some of the women fed the plant beasts little vermin that were in their baskets while others went to work on the giant green beans.
The women working on the bean pods, cut open the flaps and pulled out very large cabbage-looking things, which they placed gingerly into an empty basket. From another basket, the goblins would lift out doll-sized goblin things that looked almost like roots but were also flaccid. Once the transaction was complete, the goblins would fold where they had cut back together, and carry the cabbage-looking things over to a nearby stream/pond where they plopped the items into. The cabbages would bob for a second then start to sink into the water, the woman would then give her baskets to a warrior and then walk into the water themselves. When all the bean pods had been completed, the remaining goblins wandered back around the bend.
Rhyea looked at everyone for some sort of glimmer of comprehension. Pyrrenia said that she’d seen dyrads and some elves do something like that before to make babies in times of great crisis, but with trees. Grot was pretty sure he could think of different ways of making babies that didn’t require so much gardening. Rufus had no idea, but whatever just happened didn’t look “right” to him. The hobb tried to sneak up, but the snap dragons scented her fast and had her hoofing it back to the group in no time. She got Grot to give it a try, but the snap dragons weren’t just accepting any old goblin. He escaped within an inch of his life.
With this mystery in mind, the group decided to concentrate on gathering more food for the journey ahead. I ruled that everyone who wanted to hunt would do so alone, as that is how I have hunted in the past, at least when hunting wasn’t an excuse for beer-drinking and shooting junk. Rhyea, as to be expected, found trouble in a blink. Four regular old goblins carrying a swamp deer, about as large as a tall dog, who drooped their catch when they spotted the hobb who had shot an arrow at them.
The hobb never one for being slow-witted, devised a great battle strategy, which was to RUN back towards the camp area, where Grot, too much of a samurai to hunt, was practicing Karate Kid maneuvers. So the fight went kind of quick. And by the end of it, Rhyea had “bagged a deer” so to speak. Rufus had some luck himself, two deer and some rabbits before the afternoon sun slipped behind the spire looming in the west. Pyrrenia came back empty-handed, never one for roughing it anyway. And with very little time to loose, Grot and Rhyea convinced everyone that the party should continue traveling before cleaning their catches.
(more to come)