Thursday, May 18, 2017

The Colony - Turn 13 - Mapping

The party begins their first outdoor excursion. With a time limit on their contract, they've decided to head out immediately rather than take advantage of the Oakfell foreman's limited hospitality.

Start Date: July 21, 1027, Afternoon
Start Status: Get Going
Start Location: Oakfell

The Turn

Lists revised per discussion:

White Tulip: Smoke, Rennard, Shade, Zenobe, Mendel, One-eye, Maarek, Hagan, Sim
Exploring: Xon, Adrienne, Nogg, Aaron, Brigg, Candle, Kessel, Jinx, Javiera

OOC: the revised map will show some areas that the group hasn't explored because they can see further than they can map.

Because they're working with a limited timeframe, the party decides to use the rest of the afternoon to get going with their mapping job. Adrienne tells Bino, the foreman, that they're heading out and may or may not be back. To speed the mapping process Aaron and Kessel suggest the party members split up and spread out to cover more ground. The goal is to keep two main groups within 100 to 200 yards of each other so they can provide support if something unforeseen happens.

The afternoon's exploration goes smoothly. The workers from Oakfell have cleared trees and made several rough paths that crisscross the area northeast of the camp. A few small streams flow across the area, heading south to the coast. The trees are a mix of familiar and unfamiliar hardwoods, and their shade provides welcome relief from the hot sun. The ground slowly rises and the trees thin out as the party moves northeast. This area is obviously valuable as a source of wood, but you suspect the powers that be already know that.

The sun is just above the western horizon when the trees finally give out. There's a grassy plain ahead. The forest's edge curves away southeast, and low hills rise to the north and east. A herd of something large and four-legged wanders along the edge of the eastern hills, but they're too far away to make out clearly. "I hope those aren't hunters," says Xon.

"I think they're some kind of antelope," says Kessel. "It looks like some have horns and they're sticking together for protection."

"Protection from what?" mutters Javiera.

The group sets camp beneath the limbs of a sprawling tree with huge leaves. The night passes quietly. The sole disturbance comes in the form of tiny biting insects that seem intent on depriving everyone of their blood.

July 22

The party is up early the next day. The skies are dotted with puffy clouds and the air is warm and still. They spend the best part of the morning scouting the open plains. The herd animals are visible in the distance and at one point you get close enough to see they are fairly large, 500 to 600 pounds. They have streaked gray and black hides and prominent horns that look wickedly sharp. Aaron notes the herd as a potential food source on his map.

After lunch, the party moves south into the woods.The trees here are very similar to those near Oakfell. and Javiera notes the potential source of lumber on her map. Kessel and Candle are both somewhat surprised by the lack of wildlife. Aside from birds and a few small mammals, chiefly squirrels, they've seen no other animals. "Maybe there's some large predator in the area that's chased everything else away," says Kessel.

"Could be, but wouldn't we see its trail somewhere?"

"Maybe it doesn't leave a trail. They mentioned shadowy figures in the woods back at the lumber camp. Maybe it's something unnatural."

"There's a pleasant thought," mutters Jinx.

The party discovers two additional features as they continue their exploration. The first is an isolated hill with a bald, rocky top to the southeast. There's an old fire ring (unused for at least a year according to the ranger) atop the hill. The second is a stream that winds north to south through the area. The party uses the last available daylight to head northeast, making camp at the edge of the woods. Beyond the trees, the land is covered in scrubby growth. "Looks like a sunny march tomorrow," says Adrienne.

Before bedding down for the night, Candle boils water and adds leaves and roots he gathered during the day. "Wipe this on your skin. It should keep the bugs away."

July 23

After spending quiet night sans bug bites, the party heads northeast into the scrubby plain. The weather is even hotter, and a gusty breeze tugs at cloaks and hats. "I think we may get some rain in the next day or two," says Kessel, and Candle agrees.

The terrain here is unremarkable. Many of the trees have long thorns growing from their branches and trunks, and the wiry shrubs form almost impenetrable walls of greenery. The party travels a winding course between these obstacles and the occasional ravine that cuts across the plain. Just before lunch, Kessel calls a halt. The others gather around and he points down into a narrow ravine. Bones. A lot of bones. A gust of wind brings the scent of rotten flesh to the party, indicating that at least some of these bones are fairly fresh.


The ravine is about 30 yards long and runs east to west. The east end is fairly shallow, but the west end is a good 10 yards deep. The whole thing is about 5 to 15 yards wide. Its walls are a mix of stone and earth with patches of undergrowth here and there. A fallen tree and a tangle of dense shrubs form a roof over the west end of the ravine.

The bones are scattered all along the floor. Most appear to be from animals, you can see at least two pairs of horns like those on the antelope you saw yesterday, but there is also a human skull down there. The ground at the shallow end of the ravine is scraped and torn up, and there are some big claw marks on the ground. While the ground is quite dry now, runnels and channels in the ravine walls indicate water flows down the slopes from time to time. Who knows where it goes?

Meanwhile, Back at the Tulip

The days and nights pass quietly at the hostel. Party members maintain their watch on the cellars and common areas of the hostel, but nothing untoward happens. Several party members spend time and money looking for information about the Old City, colonists who were here before the plague, magical organizations, and freelance businesses that operate outside the guilds. They find out...

  • There aren't many old colonists around in the city. Apparently, most have moved outside the walls. 
  • Rennard puts his foot in it when he pokes his nose into one of the caverns down along the docks. It's being used as a warehouse, and the owners were displeased with his attention. Only his charm got him out of a potentially sticky situation.
  • Smoke finds a few merchants who do not belong to one of the guilds, but they all operate in the poorest section of town, the Arches. Their wares are rather pitiful.
  • Hagan finds a merchant, Beri Farder, who deals in magician's accessories. He suggests Hagan may want to check out The Calico Cat, a tavern at the south end of Top Bank.


Apparently, you guys are pretty terrible at chasing down rumors. Or the dice hate you. Possibly both.

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