Foray into the Forest of the Frog King
Ah! So ye been to the top of Drugars Ridge and ye wish to know more about what we call the beauty mark of the forbidden forest? Though the rumors will have you believe that it is a spot where the demons frolicked long ago and now only evil lurks. tis true, but not how you think. My great grandfather was friends with the one who brought it into being
In a time before the Frog king came to lord over the Forbidden forest, and the agreement was made, this town kept a scouting post there. My great grandfather said that he and an old greedy soldier turned up some treasure. Rather than turn it to the kingdom, the rightful owner, his friends greed go the best of him.
Enter the Kingdom of Frog King in search of Treasure. What deal will you have to strike to get out alive?
Thick Jungle-like forest is marred a Barren Dark spot where nothing grows, ruins of the outpost at the center of the spot. The Forbidden forest near the city is known to be inhabited by a Cult of sentient frog people, living in the swampy end of the Forest. They guard the forest and keep humans from interfering with the balance. Rumors of a great and powerful item is said to hide in the ruins. No-one who has dared entered the forest to retrieve it have returned.
Long ago, when the city was just a trading town, Roger and his friend, Jaret, found a Powerful magic item while investigating a cave/hollow in the nearby cliff. Jaret, a budding wizard, was determined to figure out the items effects. Roger just wished to turn it over to the duke, and let the court magicians handle it, as it was truly property of the kingdom. After many failed attempts Jarets greed took over and he decided to just pry some of the jewels out and sell them. Roger argued loudly against doing it eventually leaving to walk off some of his anger. This argument is what caught Arronjus attention way up in the trees. Below him the human outpost was alive with after dinner reveries. He saw the flash of gold through the window and decided to see what happened. After Roger left, momentarily hushing the activity at the post, Jaret took out his dagger and began working. Arronju and Roger saw a staccato succession of great green and purple flashes. In that moment Arronju jumped for his life. Some of the outpost was disintegrated, and the rest was flung into the surrounding forest.
The magical energies dissipated through the forest, irrevocably scaring the outpost area, and altering many of the creatures, making it far more dangerous for the average traveler. It also magically changed him into the beast he is now.
When Arronju came to, the forest looked smaller, he felt unusual sensations from what felt like his ribs. As he righted himself he saw his longbow and quiver, now toy-like near his hand. As he straightened and stretched, he noticed wings protruding from his back. Realizing that he changed but was otherwise unharmed, he cautiously moved back to the outpost clearing. Thats when he saw the devastation of both the forest and the outpost. Human bodies lay strewn and broken, all about the smoking ruins. He found and picked up the golden item from the ruins, strangely in perfect condition next to a marked chest.
When Roger came to, he ran back to the outpost to see the same ruined area Arronju saw.
Crying for his lost friends and companions he walked towards the husk of a building. Only to find Arronju, now the monstrous Frog-Dragon beast, grab the golden item he and Jaret argued about. He pulled his sword to avenge his friend, thinking the beast has spawned from the item somehow. Arronju, startled, belched a plume of noxious gases, sending Roger reeling, coughing, and sputtering. Arronju used this moment to croak, Your people are no longer welcome. Roger, surprised and outmatched, ran from the clearing, still coughing and spitting up. He made his way out, reporting the incredible tale of the Inter-dimensional Monster guardians in the forest of evil.
Arronju decided to become the dragon-like guardian of the object and took the role of King. His view that humans are just a danger to the balance of life was solidified in the explosion event. He soon realized the strength of his position and created his kingdom dedicated to keeping balance in his forest. Hes used it to keep the forest and its changed denizens safe from the humans and their propensity to destroy what they dont understand and fear. Forest dwellers all love him for his service and protection.
Room One: Entrance and Guardian
A Helpful Voice
The party encounters a Dryad or other tree spirit. The spirit warns the party that they must turn back or catch the attention/wrath of Dragon King Arronju. She appears to be helpful, and will send them to the ruins they seek, but Via the Large Chasm. So the Frog King knows where to meet them. (if they survive getting there.) The spirits notify the Kings straight after the party leaves.
The Chasm is a long rope bridge. The ropes are actually Webbing created by the spiders that live beneath it on either side. They dont attack until the party is near the middle. And they typically move in underneath. As this bridge is actually part of their web the spiders are right at home. The spider dens are under the bridge in the cliff-side.
Variant: The PCs could also be attacked by the King while they cross the bridge. All the while being shot at from one or both sides be frogmen.
Room Two: Puzzle or Roleplaying Challenge
The Beauty Mark
When the PCs reach the black mark, they find numerous bodies in various states of decay. Some of which are undead who attack the PCs for disturbing their resting place. One of which is Jaret, the unfortunate soul who tried to pry the gem from the item, liberating some of the energy and thereby causing the destruction you see. As they fight, the undead spirit of Jaret accuses the party of trying stealing whats right-fully his. He laughs menacingly, that hes hidden it. That no one will find it. He thinks its of course hidden in a trapped chest in the outpost cellar. Jarets journal is there too. The journal is mostly destroyed. A couple entries are left. One entry (written entirely in an ancient tongue) describes that the chest is trapped and has a riddle-the answer is the original name of the oldest Tavern in the city. The last journal entry is about how he has yet to find the activation words for the item and is therefore only worth the gems in it, which he will try and pry out.
When they find the chest, they read the same riddle inscribe in the same ancient tongue on the chest. If spoken, the trap doesnt go off. In the chest they will find some items of interest. But not the item they are seeking.
Room Three: Trick or Setback
Looking for This?
When they climb from the cellar they are met by a force of frog people and Frog King Arronju. The king is a massive frogman with large membrane wings. He is encrusted in pond scum and routinely licking his eyeballs with his tongue. His breath is noxious, and his back is covered in poisonous puss filled warts. He uses an enormous bow and javelin size arrows which he has coated with the poison he secretes from his back. Strikingly on him is a beautifully crafted golden, jewel encrusted item. The King asks them if they are looking for this item, and he chortles in pleasure. He gives the group two choices. The first is to leave now in peace, or to make their way to his throne. At which point the party can make him a fair offer for the item. As he leaves, he laughs and says, If you can make it.
Some frog folk leave with him (hopping in the cover of the tree canopy), and some stay and attack. They are tree frog people and typically stay in the concealment of they trees, and use what magic they know to hinder the parties progress. Often they will wait until the party has run into something else, and at the in-opportune moment, attack.
The frogmen always leave when they are about 50% health.
Room Four: Climax, Big Battle or Conflict
The village is up in the trees, however the throne is in the heart of the swamp on an island in a pond. When the party makes it to the village, they will be met with silence.
They Fight: The frogmen are instructed to take out the weakest of the party first, if they start fighting, they will be subdued and brought before the King.
They Parley: Otherwise they will detect a faint path to the Island. The party is offered, as an alternative to further bloodshed, they are asked to fight a duel with the tribes best warrior.
The Duel: The first to land 3 blows shall keep the item. The Warrior uses a neurotoxin that is secreted from its back to coat the blade. Each hit hinders the challenger. The fight is conducted in the bogs. There are variations of deep to shallow bogs and small islands of land. The frog warrior always uses terrain to his advantage (sinking below sight) also can use his tongue to trip the challenger. If the party wins, the history of the item and the tribe is explained when the given. The group is then asked to make help forge a treaty between the neighboring settlement and his people. If they lose he gives them another chance. They must trade an item of his choice and have them forge peace. If they get a peace agreement, then the party can have the item as payment.
Lastly if the PCs get fed up and just starts attacking, then the king gets involved. If they succeed against him, before he is killed, He asks for mercy. He tells them of the events surrounding the item and how he just wishes to regain the peace they once had. He will gladly hand over the item for his life and those of his people. He begs them as a favor to help forge a treaty.
Room Five: Reward, Revelation, Plot Twist
If the King isnt dead, when the item is finally and reluctantly handed over, The King shows his relief at giving it up. If asked why, Arronju explains he would get impulses to protect the item which is one of the driving forces behind creating his kingdom. And that lately he has had strong impulses to leave his kingdom. It was tearing him up, as he couldnt leave his people.
If the king isnt alive, he person holding the item will dream about traveling, as if to coming home to a loving family member, with this ache of longing to be there.