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May 2022 – Run Ashore; Strange Things from the Woods


All across the continent, people talk about the various things going on. From the intense raid on Nightriver territories, and Branthur’s response condemning the actions of these “honorless brigands”, to the rumors and drama revolving around Council Member Celestial Arragonnes of the City-State of Newhope. Word has it that the Council will be making a public statement soon and  Prince Aylin of Aylin’s Reach has gone on record yet again saying that he condemns the actions of the Celestial. It seems like the recent declaration from most of the combined Ulven Clan leadership has many worried about what the future holds; will more Ulven become aggressive or apprehensive toward colonists? Will the Ulven directly interfere and control some of the projects and efforts of colonist groups? Only time will tell.

Despite all of this going on, Duchess Madeline D’Argent of the City-State of Newhope has allocated resources to put together a smaller voyage north to the Outlands. A call has gone out for volunteers to come and assist with checking in on the small outpost that was built in the beach-landing area and if possible to expand on its construction. Two ships are being packed with cargo, construction materials, and volunteers to head back north. It has been a year since the outpost has been staffed, so its status is unknown at this time. A small sign-on bonus is being paid to all who volunteer, with opportunities for those with unique and specialized skills and materials to contribute to the overall goals.

With the efforts of the previous large-scale expedition, the coastline was mapped fairly well and the routes through and around the dangerous reef are noted, meaning that getting to the beach by the outpost should be relatively easy. However, the lands further inland from that landing were not mapped very well and not much is known about the area. Sailors whisper about the fate of the volunteers found to be killed on the first expedition and wonder if such a voyage is safe so far away from the defenses of friendly territory and the outposts on the Shield. Volunteers have begun to sign up, excited to either return to the Outlands or see it for the first time, and help expand on the known territory and perhaps map out additional locations unknown to anyone else.

The two ships that set sail for this voyage were laden down with supplies, building materials, and crammed with volunteers and crew, it was obvious that this would be a cramped voyage. Personal space is non-existent on either ship, leading to more than a few miffed helpers and grumbles.

The voyage the prior year allowed the accurate mapping of the coastline along with the dangerous reef that leads into the only suitable beach to anchor near and send supplies to shore.

However, things never go according to plan. A sizable storm swelled up very quickly, taking even seasoned sailors by surprise. With expert skill the crew of both ships were able to navigate the storm and move along the coastline. However, as the boats were trying to navigate the reef, the crew last control of one of the ships and it slammed into the reef and then steering clear before they got stuck.

Taking on water, the Captain of the ship made a choice; beach the ship before it fills with water and sinks. Landing hard on the sands, the ship was saved from going under but the wooden beams of the ship were damaged considerably by the reef. Water-logged and toss about, half of the volunteers and crew were able to leave the ship and move the supplies to the outpost

The voyage to the Outlands has taken a considerable turn early on. Without a second ship, there is no way to get everyone safely back to known territory; only half of the people here will be able to fit on the single boat.

This leaves everyone with a challenge; focus on maintaining and expanding the outpost, use supplies to fix the ship, or attempt to do both?



The reality of the situation settled over the members of the expedition. The concept of having to travel out into the uncharted and potentially Mordok-filled woods to gather lumber for the outpost was already a difficult pill to swallow, but now that same lumber became the sole ticket to an easy return home. If the ship wasn’t fixed then half the people in the expedition would have to find a different route home.

Work crews assembled quickly under the direction of one of the ships’ Captains and with the expertise of the engineering officers they set out to locate and harvest the necessary lumber. Their first trip confirmed the fears that spread through the camp in whispers: there were in fact Mordok in these woods. The Mordok pushed the crews back to the outpost and several followed shortly after. The Mordok seemed to indicate that the expedition should leave the area, but when they did not receive the response they wanted they attacked. Though wounds were taken, the Mordok eventually broke against the defending line.

The expedition soon learned that there was more than Mordok in the woods. An unknown Syndar was found camping out in the woods. No one knew her origin and she was not trusting of the expeditionary forces, at least not enough to share much information. All she would reveal was that she was there on a hunt and that the expedition was not ready for the things that lurked in the woods and that the Mordok should be the least of their worries. She did seem to have some sort of an uneasy truce with the Mordok, some type of a mutual respect to stay out of each other’s way.

Throughout the rest of the day work crews were consistently harangued by the presence of Mordok in the area, but through it all they were able to gather enough lumber to repair the boats. Only one thing stood in their way: how were they to treat the lumber to keep the ship watertight for the return voyage? Luckily a member of the expedition recalled a traditional alchemical reagent used to seal ships: the oil of a moonflower. The only hangup is that moonflowers only condense their oils in the dark of night.

An expedition was put together to go and scout the locations of the moonflowers. A small copse of flowers was found in the dimming twilight and it appeared at first glance as if they had already condensed their oils. Even with the pressure from local Mordok, four flowers were harvested. But then a soul-piercing scream echoed through the forest. The expeditionary forces looked down the nearby trail as a strange pale figure limped toward them with a twitchy, jerky gait. The nearby Mordok screamed, dropped their weapons, and fled into the dense trees. Taking their cue from the Mordok, the expedition too ran through the woods to try to escape, but were cut off by three more of the strange beasts. The strange Syndar emerged from the woods to challenge the beasts to fight and as the party formed a line, a fight broke out with the strange Syndar fighting on the side of the expeditionary forces. No matter what was thrown at them, the beasts seemed almost impervious to any form of attack. They would be battered and fall back, only to return to fight in moments. At one point one of the four beasts let loose an ear shattering scream and in unison all of the beasts produced bolts of pure black energy. Two of the beasts stepped forward to deliver these death bolts, but were intercepted by the strange Syndar. Many bore witness as the crackling, frantic energy of the bolts washed off her skin like water off a duck’s back leaving her entirely intact.

The party retreated and made it back to camp. Unfortunately they found that the flowers had been harvested too early and they had not fully condensed their oils. The remaining two flowers in the woods would have to be harvested in the dead of night should the forces hope to repair the ship. An additional volunteer force was mustered, now with the knowledge of the beasts in the woods, and sent out to collect the flowers. An attempt was made at stealth, but the beasts seemed well enough equipped to handle the dark of the night and soon an all-out battle again commenced in the woods. Unfortunately this time not everyone was able to make it back to the outpost alive, but the deaths in the woods were not in vain as the flowers were able to be harvested. The expeditionary forces holled up in the outpost for the rest of the night, convinced that their lantern light kept the beasts at bay. In the relative quiet and calm of the outpost several patients who’d tangled with the bizarre creatures presented themselves to healers with uniquely destructive jagged lacerations or strange magical ailments. All were able to be treated, but the new wounds and illnesses gave reason for alarm.

The next day came and all rejoiced for having survived the night. The strange Syndar returned to the outpost with a bag in hand. She showed a few people and revealed it to be the head of one of the beasts in the woods and explained that it was those that she was there to hunt. She made it known that they are called yolqui (yoll-kooee), but many in the outpost began calling them Salt-Men and Salt-Beasts due to the overwhelming scent of saltwater on their hides.

It looked as though they were nearly all set to sail, but a few more trees were needed the next day before the tide came in. The volunteers set out to retrieve the trees, confident that they could handle the Mordok in the woods. Unfortunately it seemed their theory that the strange new beasts feared the light was unfounded. A small group of the beasts still roamed the woods in the light of day and were seen tearing open and eating the entrails of an unlucky Mordok. Luckily the party was able to sneak through the woods and gather the necessary lumber. 

In a final show of force or desperate hunger, the yolqui attacked the outpost. Again they produced incredible magical force from their bodies and felled multiple defenders with death magic, but in an unforeseen turn of events, a pair of Mordok appeared and also began to attack the brutal creatures. In the end the Mordok fell and one of the yolqui was seen standing over its body and making strange gestures before vanishing with it into the mana stream with a loud scream. Immediately the other yolqui in the area stopped their assault and tore off into the woods. Moments later the sounds of the Mordok being brutally torn apart echoed through the trees.

At this point the ship was repaired, and not a moment too soon. Though the outpost was largely ignored, the party survived their bizarre and alarming expedition to the Outlands. Though they did not complete what they had set out to do, all who survived will return to Newhope with stories of experiences that will be hard to explain.

Click here for photos of the event!

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