Tales of the Brunch Club 005 “The Bitch Bog”

Fantasy Illustration of Bullywug Scouting Party.

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Welcome to Episode 5 of the Rescued by Dragons podcast: The ongoing tale of a weekly Dungeons and Dragons campaign played by a group of friends in Portland, Maine.

My name is Dominic White and I invite you to picture yourself in a cozy, torch-lit tavern, ale in hand, gathered around a table with other listeners, waiting to hear the next chapter in the tale of… The Brunch Club.

But first, a quick recap of our previous episode…

The Brunch Club made good use of their time in the Sturgeon jail to get some rest and heal from the injuries they suffered in the potion bandits’ ambush. Grath showed up and secured their release. On the way back to Wyhill they battled a vicious Hyena, and caught up to the bandit that had escaped the town guard. Back in Wyhil they got paid. Grath learned Elora was at “full health”. And on their first evening in the Bitch Bog, they were greeted with an ominous, taunting voice swirling around them in a dark mist.

And now, Episode 5: “The Bitch Bog”

As the deep, chilling voice faded from the night, The Brunch Club eyed each other nervously. Elora moved first and got to work rekindling the fire that had been extinguished by the mist.

“It sounds like we’ve got some things to discuss.” she said, matter of factly once the fire was burning again. “Let’s appease this creepy ass voice and talk some shit out.”

Salys’s voice cracked a little as she spoke up. “I just want to start by saying my dad was not a good man. I know that you really aren’t supposed to trade your dad away for magic, but it seemed like the lesser of two evils at the time. There was this horrible creature with dozens of eyes and hundreds of teeth tormenting Root Run! We all thought we were doomed until that thing came to me in my dad’s house and offered a deal. I’d give him my dad and in return the creature would give me crazy magical power and leave Root Run alone. After all the things my dad put me through growing up I agreed to the creatures terms with less hesitation than I’d like to admit, but it was three birds with one stone.”

Salys tore her gaze away from the fire and hazarded a glance at her compatriots’ faces. Vorjhon’s scaly brow was furrowed, but Drusilla spoke up and assured Salys that no one was judging her.
After a few tense moments Vorjhon broke the silence. “You all know my story. I shared with you when we met first. I think voice shooting in dark, trying to make us suspicious of each other. I do not think words about me true, so I don’t think words about all you ture either. But, I would still like to hear stories.”

Elorra admitted she didn’t have much to share because the voice was right, she didn’t know who she was. She couldn’t remember anything before meeting Salys on the road out of the Sable Forest towards Sturgeon. She decided these people might be the best chance she had so far to figure out how to get her memories back.

A long near-silence fell over the group with only the soft crackle of the sputtering fire in the group’s ears. Drusilla suggested it was time for bed. As she began to sort out her bed roll and find a dry-ish patch of ground in the bog, Vorjhon questioned why the group had yet to hear her story. “There must be more to Raven Queen cleric than gloomy wardrobe and silver hair.”

Drusilla glared at him. “Has anyone ever told you you’d make a beautiful pair of boots?”

The lunar elf’s tone wasn’t serious, but there was an edge to her words that made Vorjhon think she wasn’t entirely kidding. After her annoyance subsided, Drusilla begrudgingly shared a few personal details about how she ended up in the northern frontier lands of Elnon.

She shared with them how her home, the city An’Allara, was once a shining beacon in a lush swamp, but was now literally and figuratively a ghost town. The swamp that was once teaming with life dried up and the populace found themselves riddled with a number of diseases. Over the years the population slowly dwindled until she was the last survivor. The world had already renamed her homeland “The Swamp of Sorrows” but she hadn’t given up on learning what caused the blight, and hopefully finding a way to restore her home. She took a prophecy a sage had given her in her final days and was searching for answers within it. She hoped the vast knowledge within the walls of the Crystal Spire Library in the city of Elnor would shed some light and help guide her.

The party asked Drusilla to share the prophecy with them, but Drusilla was hesitant.

Elora pointed out that if there ever was a good time to put some faith in people, it’d be here and now, trapped in a swamp, surrounded by swirling mists and omnipresent voices that seem to know more about them than they did.

Drusilla relented and pulled a rolled up piece of parchment from one of her bags and undid its black silk ribbon. Her voice was shaky as she spoke.

When black meets silver in a world of white
On paths Untraveled, to shed new light
Seed of sable but cousin of crimson
False life seeks death and by lust is driven
The weak now strong with untapped power
Though power ‘twas gained in the darkest hour
Unexpected, untested, untravelled, unfolds
Horrors of haunting, origins untold
By end, will be cleansed and anew will begin
Power without and strength within.

Drusilla rolled up the scroll, and put it back in her bag. The mist swirled and the cold air in the bog gnawed at their bones, just as the creeping voice gnawed at their minds. Salys mentioned that Drusilla’s reading caused goose bumps to ripple across her skin and scooted herself a little closer to the fire to try to warm up, and to fend off the dark. Once the group finally settled in to try and rest for the night, Elora mentioned how she’d feel a lot safer if they’d huddled together for the night.

“Like a snuggle circle?” asked Salys.

“I guess so. A swamp snuggle circle.” the silly name helped to comfort the wood elf.

Later in the night Elora left the snuggle circle to begin her watch. A little while in she spotted a huge water snake slithering through the muck towards them, but was able to dispatch it quickly and quietly with an arrow through its head. The rest of the night passed without incident and morning soon came upon them.

The chilly air of night was replaced by the chilly air of morning as winter was beginning to set in in these northern lands. The group navigated through the swamp, utilizing what was left of the old boardwalk folks used to use to travel before it became too dangerous to maintain.

Just past mid-day they encountered a small party of strange looking creatures. They were the size of small statured men, but with rounded backs and elongated heads with muddy green skin making them look like some kind of frog men. This small group looked like a scouting party and they hoped they would pass them by without mind, but the frog men proved to be very territorial and it soon became clear they wouldn’t be allowed to pass without a fight.

Salys blasted a few with her signature green magic missiles as one of the frogmen engaged Vorjhon. Drusilla launched a silvery bolt of guiding energy toward the one that had engaged Vorjhon and loudly cursed as the bolt sailed wide over the creature’s head. Vorjhon used the momentary distraction to dispatch his enemy with his warhammer while Elora skewered the rest with a few more well placed arrows.

Click Image To Enlarge
Bullywugs in the Bitch Bog
Artwork by Dominic White

After a short rest, and keeping an eye out for more of the creatures, which Elora identified as Bullywugs, they continued on.

They continued following the boardwalk but noticed it was deteriorating more quickly the further into the bog they went, succumbing to the rot and neglect. Late into the afternoon, Elora signaled urgently for everyone to stop. She seemed alarmed as she pointed ahead towards a somewhat large gray-blue lizard sunning itself on the rotted planks of the boardwalk directly in their path. Elora quietly informed the group that that lizard was, in fact, a Basilisk. A creature that had been many a careless adventurer’s downfall. With just its gaze, the basilisk could turn any one of them to stone. The rest of the party members quickly agreed that it was best to avoid the basilisk by trudging through the swamp around it. The group slowly backed away from the creature. When Vorjhon put his full combined weight of a dragonborn wearing splint mail on one of the rotting boards, it creaked loudly. The blood in their veins ran cold as they saw the peacefully sleeping lizard open its eyes, raise its head, and stare directly towards them.

This story will continue next week in Episode 6.

Episode 5 was written by Brian Messmer with help from Dominic White.

Valuable contributions to the story were added by the role playing of:

More information about Rescued by Dragons and ways to support this podcast can be found at RescuedByDragons.com. You can follow us on instagram at RescuedbyDragons and on Twitter @rescuedragons.

Thank you very much for listening Please join us next week to find out, along with the rest of us, what‘s going to happen next!