Swarm

The party returns to Skelleth, a grueling three week journey in the summer after saving the petrified people of Mormoreth (Search for a Cure). Most of the party goes to rest and avoid the Forgotten King, Cyrus hangs out in the inn, tormenting the barkeep by using his Metamorphasis power to imitate people. The Forgotten King chastises Cyrus and tells him to bring writing material. He dictates a journey to Cyrus, and explains that the book he seeks is within the ruins of the city at the end of the journey. Cyrus goes and rounds up his comrades and explains the King has given them their next task. Needless to say, they are a little put out, but agree to saddle up and ride out of town the next day. They are distressed that the directions lead them into the Hammered Lands, an area of destruction created when one of the ancient countries drew down the wrath of the gods and were laid to waste.

Its a long journey, but the party sets out and travels without much incident. But, two weeks into the journey, Kiriana reins her horse out of formation and heads up a side trail, sword drawn. She seems to be sleepwalking and the rest of the party catches up to her and Jozan wakes her up. She doesn't know why she turned up the trail, but feels there is something wrong ahead. They ride onto investigate. They find a seemingly deserted town, but there is a body laying in the open. A peasant, he has been stabbed and possibly attacked by animals after death. His flesh has a discolored look that suggests death by poison. Ulayoth notices that he hears no birdsong or other animals. They move in to search the town.

Kiriana spots a blond woman wrapped in a blanket on the other side of town, she walks away into the woods when she spots them. The party follows her and call out to her. She turns when they get close and her eyes glow a vile green. Her skin splits and shreds as the creature inside expands to normal size, it is some sort of demonic wasp. Kiriana attacks as Jozan spots five more swooping down on the party. Jozan plants and activates the Pennant of Protection from Evil as the party is attacked. Fenric Summons a group of lizard men, then some land lampreys and another group of lizard men during the fight. Antonio wades in with his cutlass while his hireling uses the magic crossbow to attack flying wasps. The party fights off and defeats the six demon wasps.

They head in the direction the first demon was leading them and find a mound of dirt from an underground hive. Two more demon wasp sentries attack them, then they decide to attack the nest. Fenric casts Fireball down inside, but four more demons emerge just as the Fireball detonates. They defeat them with the help of some summoned killer frogs and gnolls.The gnolls are sent to explore the opening and report a tunnel with a green glow. the party decides to rest overnight and explore the tunnel in the morning.

The next day they enter the hive and follow the tunnel. They find a large chamber, the missing villagers are unconscious from the wasps' poison and covered with demon wasp eggs. The queen demon wasp is hiding on the ceiling Invisible and attacks the party from behind. Fenric summons more Killer Frogs and gian toads and the party defeats the queen. The villagers are rescued, the eggs are destroyed. The party spends several days in the village while Jozan uses Neutralize Poison to help the villagers recover. Once everyone is up and around with some healing and food, the party continues their journey.

Quotes and smart remarks
Kevin "I prefer a hireling that dissolves after battle"
Jim "There's a side road off the main trail" Dave S "The sign reads 'Sidequest'…"
"She's got a case of the railroads"
"He died from a case of the railroads"
Matt did a great TV commercial style monologue about railroading in RPGs, for example; "Orcs in your basement? Sounds like a case of the railroads!"
Mike (referring to Jim's quick sketch of the battle): "It's a cave drawing of Matt's death"