Having been tasked with bringing some Trader’s Guild rum smugglers to justice by Sgt. Brannert, the party began to plan. While Emmett and The Amazing Jack carried out a private errand for parties unknown, Fergus, Barris, and Grak, son of Grok, scouted out the woods surrounding Smuggler’s Cove. Finding multiple possible routes via which the smugglers could smuggle, they concocted a simple scheme in which Grak, the fastest, would keep watch over the cove, determine which route the smugglers took, and hotfoot it down another route to inform the party. The rest of the group would then set up an ambush along that path.
Night fell, and Grak watched as the smugglers unloaded their illicit cargo. Returning to the waiting party, he was briefly pursued by a posted guard, but made it back without incident, and the party took up positions alongside the cart path. Jack created an illusionary tree, knowing that the smugglers would stop to investigate, while the rest of the party hid among the dense underbrush. The smugglers arrived, and a fierce melee ensued – Grak was badly weakened by a ray of enfeeblement, and Barris quickly found himself surrounded and outnumbered. One by one, however, the smugglers fell, and the remaining guards attempted to ignite the rum stores before fleeing, though their fires were quickly quenched by Fergus and Emmett.
Returning to Parth with the entire contingent of smugglers bound and secured, and the Marlettian rum cargo intact, Sgt. Brannert declared the mission a resounding success and gave the party a bonus reward above the agreed-upon pay.
With the reward money and the coin taken off the smugglers, the party found itself with substantial funds, and spent the next day buying useful magical and mundane supplies at the Parthian market.
Fergus suggested that the party attempt to locate Captain Wharton of the Folderol II – he was found in a tavern, hiring siege engineers to work the catapults on his new vessel. He negotiated a contract with the party, in which they would be allowed passage on the Folderol II, and transport to “sites of interest”, in exchange for shares of any treasure found from Folderol-related ventures. The contract signed, the Folderol II set sail the next day, bound for the Obsidian Isles with a detour to the Trinity Archipelago to investigate the treasure map Wharton had given to the party.
The Folderol departed Parth under clear skies, but after a few days of smooth sailing, the ship was beset by severe winds. Wharton was able to maintain the ship’s course, with help from Fergus and Grak, but on the second day of stormy weather, a rogue wave washed Fergus overboard! Skillful piloting allowed Wharton to bring the ship around, while Fergus, thinking quickly, summoned a water elemental to bear himself safely back to the ship.
The Folderol reached the Trinity Archipelago without further incident, and found the island identified on the treasure map. As the island lacked a natural harbor, the party rowed ashore. Making landfall on the volcanic island thick with tropical vegetation, the party made their way under the tall forest canopy towards the tall peak at the center of the island.
Before long, they came across a strange sight – a wild piglet, thrashing and squealing in an enormous spider web. Suddenly, spiders the size of horses dropped down from the forest canopy, and the party was surrounded. Battling bravely back to back, the party defeated the spiders without giving them a chance to envenom any of their number.
The forest has proven itself full of peril – what hazards lie between our heroes and the legendary treasure they seek?