Colo'shi

Nasty, Brutish, and Long
Session 2: Wed October 26

Arlen, Murmer, T'an S'en, and Jebs have returned to D'Orshan and begun to brace the villagers for an attack they fear is immanent. But as they fortify the wall and plan their deployment, a bedraggled runner from the Protection staggers in to the village. Gurthark (for this is the runner's name) informs them, between gasps, that a much larger and strategically vital village, Nana'shan, may already be under siege. Protection forces from two other villages are already on their way.

Despite the urgency, the party decides that Gurthark must rest before they can continue on, so they pass some time in D'Orshan. But as the sun gets low, in rushes a scout—the jungle creatures are headed this way! Our heroes keep the city gates, and the villagers man the walls.

Creatures leap from the jungle, and to the attack! First come a wave of reptilian beasts, the size of large dogs, with tails that bear a club-like object at the end. Our heroes face two of them. They don't prove too difficult, but by the time they're defeated, a beast the size of a small barn, with vicious horns and skin like boiled leather, has burst through the undergrowth and is heading for the village gates! And shortly behind it are three more of the dog-things, one closer in size to a leopard!

There are some close calls, but the party—and the village—survives with no actual loss of life. The characters stay on for the night to rest, to heal their wounds, and to argue about whether to head straight for Nana'shan (as instructed) or to explore the tantalizing ruins just a little out of the way. Duty prevails, and the characters, being given a heroes' farewell, make their way towards the (likely) besieged town.

That day passes uneventfully, but the next day the party's amulets send a signal! A member of the Protection (or at least someone who's got an amulet) is up ahead needs help (or wants our heroes to think they do)!

The heroes hurry towards the amulet, watchful for a trap but anxious for the life of a fellow Protection member. And indeed, a Protection member it turns out to be—a heavily wounded woman who calls out to them. The party's best fighters run towards her, but before they can reach her she falls dead, a spear protruding from her back. And it's obvious where the spear came from—it's what looks like another set of adventurers, but from a twisted dimension. They walk upright and carry weapons, but they're (gasp!) not human. It's also obvious they're not friendly, so the battle is joined.

These baddies are tough, and so's the landscape—although it's harsh on heroes and chads alike. The trees try to ensnare and entangle people, but to those who escape, they provide both cover and a combat boost—firing needles in the same direction as any attack made from within. The fight rages for a long, long time—the single heavily armored chad and a robed chad that casts spells are eventually brought down, but it takes a minutes-long war of attrition before everything is settled. Our heroes are battered and bloody by the time the last chad falls.

Even so, there's only time for a short rest (and a search of the bodies—though the weapons and armor generally seem crude, and so the heroes take only the robed chad's sword, they were carrying something of note: flat stones, about the size and shape of coins, with unidentifiable runes on them) before they hurry off towards Nana'shan to help with what they're sure is impending disaster. But when they get there, they discover that the disaster has already happened—days ago. There are many dead chads, but even more dead humans. Not a living soul seems to remain.

After this anticlimax, the heroes decide to rest up for the night and track the origin of the chads' tracks. They came from the ruins! Or, it turns out, something just a little ways off from the ruins—an obelisk of a smooth, white material, referred to as a Spire (there are only two in all of Colo'Shi). Tracks lead from this obelisk, but none lead to it, so the party decides that it must have been the origin of these chads, or at least their gateway into this world.

Initial searches of the obelisk are fruitless—it's as smooth and featureless as it appears at first glance. But when Arlen approaches it closely, his bracelet glows—as do two previously invisible runes, and a circular depression appears below the rune. Arlen recognizes one of the runes as meaning something like "Go" or "Travel," and the other meaning something like "Home" in an arcane script, although using the two of them to mean "Go Home" would be unidiomatic.

The depression looks just the right size for a stone "coin," but the ones from the dead chads are immediately spat out. But the characters search the ruins and discover similar coins that have symbols close—tho not identical—to the symbols on the coins procured from the chads. The characters hold hands, the coin is inserted in the depression, and a door opens into the dark.

DM Note: Excellent write up! There's a lot of info there. I made a very few tiny corrections. The coins from the ruins have a symbol that is similar to the symbol on the coins you got off the chads. I also noted that the obelisk is referred to as a Spire. Thanks for putting in the effort to create such a great record of the session – much appreciated!

DM Note: I have changed (ever so slightly) the description of runes and circular depression on The Spire. When Arlen's bracelet is in proximity, both runes AND the circular depression appear (i.e., the runes do not function as buttons).

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Plant Perils and Ape-ocalypse!
Session One: Wed Oct 12

After character and backstory intros, the party is brought before Pran Paroo, an officer ranking directly below the leader of The Protection (Kan Amnar), who describes a terrible new danger to The People. Several villages throughout Colo'shi have been attacked by a previously unknown race of humanoids, who kill and loot (often taking odd objects rather than valuables) before disappearing back to the steaming jungle. The party is instructed to travel to D'Orshan (a village relatively near The Edge) with great haste, as an attack could fall on that location at any time.

DM Note: In recorded history, The People have never encountered another species like this. They are used to encountering countless variations of strange plants and beasts from the jungle, but they have never met another tool-using species. This had caused immense uproar amongst the entire population aware of the attacks. So far, there are no reasonable theories regarding where they may have come from. (Unreasonable theories, of course, abound.)

DM Note: In normal circumstances, such a group would be led by a seasoned veteran. Kan Amnar, however, has made the decision to send all available personnel to defend the most valuable villages. This decision has been met with some arguments, but Kan is firm in his belief that the attack (or invasion?) must be repelled at all costs. This explains the circumstance of a relatively untrained team being sent. The Protection is simply too short-staffed to defend every village. As it is, Kan has had to make the extremely difficult call regarding which villages receive aid.

After saying farewell (perhaps for the last time?) Arlen, Murmer, T'an S'en, and Jebs trudge westward hastily but resolutely…

Three days of uneventful jungle slogging bring the party to the battlemat: for some reason, this gentle creek before them seems a bit… off. Bubbling slowly, its noxious vapors waft towards the party, and then – is that plant advancing towards us? Of course it is! Welcome to the jungle, baby! Roll for initiative!

A spray of poisoned thorns perforates the party, and then they spring into action: Jebs hits the dirt, cocking his crossbow to let bolts fly, while T'an S'en and Murmer (after a few potshots) bravely advance through the creek, whose acid scorches their flesh. Battle is joined, and the party's blades hack at 3 "shooty plants", who are knocked down but quickly regenerate. Murmer leaps across the creek to pummel a "bitey plant", but the potted pestilence pounces, and begins to draw him into its grotesque maw… "feed me!"

Working together, Jebs and T'an S'en drag one plant, then another, into the acidic waters of the creek, which prevents their regrowth. Arlen keeps Murmer from turning into plant food, and finally the leafy villains are dispatched. 

After a short rest, the group continues on Jebs' "shortcut" route, and a day later, the village of [ insert village here ] appears in a clearing ahead. 

The headman of the village, Borla D'Orshan (Borla means "village leader") is consulted, and after some discussion of the current peril, it is agreed that while the village works to strengthen the stockade walls and other defenses, the party will look into the disappearance of a villager, who was snatched from a patrol a few days ago. Bread is broken, and beds are made for the weary adventurers. Once 8 hours of sleep have elapsed, fulfilling the D&D 5th edition requirements for a long rest, the group awakes and trudges warily but heedlessly northward, following the path described by their scrawny native guide.

The patch of jungle where the hapless villager was snatched is located, and Jebs examines the trees and vines in the area, performing some creepy ritual which makes the party a bit nervous. He declares that the man who was snatched was fearful and surprised, but not like "what the hell is that thing!?!?!" kind of scared, more like "here we go again!!!". So, what could it mean?

A vague trail is discovered to the north, and so the party follows it…

After an hour or so, rustling is heard overhead, and then, whoosh! Whoosh! In quick succession, one party member after another is snatched into the leaves above. WTF! Time for some Theatre of the Mind! 

Exotic ape-like assailants have decided to feast on man-flesh today, and we're on the menu! The sinister simian savages swiftly seize the party members, and it's every man for himself! With some clever teamwork, hooting, and general chaos, the apes are beaten back, and miraculously, no one is even missing any limbs…(although Murmer sustained mortal wounds: see addendum)

The mystery of the disappearing villager thus solved, Jebs, T'an S'en, Arlen, and Murmer return to D'Orshan with their scrawny (but now blooded) guide. It appears that some force is driving the apes and other jungle denizens southward… what could that be?

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DM Notes:

Some of the names above may differ slightly from those provided during the session. Let's just say that I had a computer syncing problem and lost a few details. If anybody took notes and wants to correct me, go for it.

Here are some other tidbits of info that the party learned during the session. None of these seem strange to the characters, even if they do to the players. After all, this is all the characters have ever known:

• History has traditionally been oral. Recently (the last few generations), some people are starting to write things down.

• The Edge of land consists of un-scalable rock walls. Every few years somebody dies in an attempt to get over them, but nobody ever has.

• Flying animals seem to "top out" at a certain altitude.

• The Protection employs a few Calling Orbs that are strategically positioned throughout the land.

• Members of The Protection wear amulets that receive instantaneous signals from Calling Orbs within range (approximately 8 miles). The wearer of the amulet immediately understands the direction that he/she must travel in order to reach the Calling Orb. Members may also use their amulets to call for help. This only has a range of approximately 1.5 miles. Any other member of The Protection within range will instantly know which direction to travel to reach the individual that made the call. Members of The Protection are trained to only use this feature when aid will result in a positive outcome for The People in general. E.g., it would be frowned upon to use it to simply call other members of The Protection to their likely demise.

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Colo'shi Adventure Log
blog kept (mostly) by players

In general, this will be a place for the campaign players to log adventure notes, partially to keep track of things, but mostly just for fun.

Before our first session, I will try to use this in "player secret mode" so that each character can develop a little bit prior to the party coming together. I will also use these developments to help develop the overall story, from initial meetings all the way through mini-plots for each character.

Please let me know when you are ready to start doing some one-on-one RP'ing. Your character doesn't have to be finished yet – perhaps this will even help in that regard. We can do as much of this as you personally want to do, time permitting, but in any case I recommend that you allow at least a week prior to our first session so we have some time for a little back and forth.

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