You began on the deck of the Sea Ghost, with Tom Stoutly warning you of inclement weather ahead. Not wanting to chance the strength of an unfamiliar anchor chain, he suggested that you all pitch in and follow orders to get the ship back to Saltmarsh safely. Each taking various tasks, you did your best to keep the ship off the rocks and headed toward the distant light of town.
The weather grew worse with each passing mile, and there were times when it felt like you were struggling for each inch of forward progress. Will and Tom did their best to bark orders, but you could see from their faces that they knew things weren’t going well. Inspiration struck Varis, though, when he realized that someone needed to lead the effort (and that Will and Tom lacked those social skills). Boogiestein stepped up and started coordinating efforts and raising morale, and things started to work as more of a machine. Before the storm had a chance to reach its apex, you rounded the turn into Saltmarsh’s rivermouth “harbour”. Things weren’t all good, though, as the ship had too much momentum and struck the dock with a bone-shuddering scrape, causing an unknown amount of damage to both the ship and dock. The ship seemed stable, at least, which Will took as a “good enough” situation. Lesly Luscomb was less impressed, though she did at least seem happy that you all made it back alive (especially her men).
After a quick debrief, and at your request, she brought you to the Town Hall where you put in a fire and settled in to wait for the Council to arrive. Some time later, with the council in attendance, you recounted your tale in full to those assembled. They were alarmed at the news of lizardfolk arming themselves with advanced weaponry. The thought that a colony arming for conflict could be living so close to the town was something that they could not afford to ignore. They sent the party off to get some sleep and to return in the morning.
In the morning, while the paladin dozed, the elves ran some errands. Eventually, a young man named Alfic came to get you. Oceanus was waiting with him at The Silver Raven where you’d spent the night. You returned to the Town Hall.
The council looked like they had not slept, but welcomed you and had some food set out for you. They gave you each the 200gp you were promised for defeating the crew of the Sea Ghost and capturing the ship and smuggled goods. They then sat you down to discuss their resolutions.
First, they have enacted conscription to call up and arm all capable citizens of the town. This won’t be enough to withstand a full scale attack, but it may slow the assault until help can arrive.
Next, they have notified the soldiers at the Hool Wall (the only line of defense against a land-based attack from the Hool Marsh), as well as dispatching a cutter to Redshore Island which is the seat of the Viscounty of Salinmoor (the region of Keoland you are currently in). They hope the viscount will have soldiers to send to Saltmarsh’s aid.
And finally, they need information on the lizardfolk colony. This is where you come in. They offered you 2,500gp (i.e. 500gp each) to scout the lizardfolk base, learn its troop strength, and discover what their plans are.
You agreed to take on this task, and the council seemed grateful for it.
You set off on foot the next morning, with some assistance from Lady Tolivar (a female halfling who always seems dressed for the road). She suggested that you would want to travel during the low tide, as the marsh becomes very difficult to traverse at high tide. Also, she suggested you only travel during the day, as the marsh becomes enshrouded by thick fog at night.
Setting off into the marsh, with Rose keeping watch from above and guiding you along a relatively steady path, you kept up a fast pace for several hours and closed about half of the distance to the River Dunwater (where you expect to find the lair).
You then slowed to a normal pace and so were able to notice an oddity ahead before stumbling into what might be a trap. Rose sent aerial surveillance pictures to Varis of what appeared to be giant frogs waiting by the path, stealthily. Helen used his new “clone” ability to send a double of himself walking along the path. It was then that the ambush was sprung, as several frogmen leapt out of swampy water and tried to drive their spears into the illusory Helen. Thus sprung, combat ensued. Several bullywugs (for that is what they are called) kept up their attack on Helen’s double, while others fought the creatures from range with arrows and spells. Taryn eventually charged ahead on the path to take on the foes directly.
Wave after wave of the bullywugs leapt out of the shadows of the swamp and attacked the party, and many of their attacks found the mark. But through skill and determination you cut the creatures down until their bodies sank into the swamp. You rested for several minutes while Helen granted Fharlanghn’s healing power to each of you.
Acting on an educated hunch, you find the bullywug encampment on a dry patch of ground within a grove of weeping willows to the east of the path. At the encampment, you find some treasure (below) gathered into a well-tied sack. The clearing is marked with a ring of beaten down reeds and grass where you believe the bullywugs slept and ate. The sack is found at the very center of that ring, almost as if it held some especial significance for the creatures.
Experience. You receive 950 XP (158 XP each) for defeating the bullywug horde.
Treasure. 110gp, 5 rubies (50gp each), leather pouch containing a spindle-shaped iridescent stone, a leather cap, and a very nice looking quiver. Examining these items leads you to believe that the stone, cap and quiver might be magical. You will need a short rest (i.e. 1 hour) to assess the magic further.
In addition, the bullywug leader wore a breastplate (now scorched) and carried a longsword. Each of the 18 other bullywugs carried spears and wore hide armor.