Last night the party was given three immediate plot hooks they could pursue (or continue along with the existing plot hooks – but the main one of which they had already taken care of when they killed a god last session and leveled up from 3 to 4).
Of the three, they ignored the dragon that has taken over an ancient holding to the north of the city, ignored whatever it was that has significantly disturbed the dwarven clan they’ve been investigating, and decided to find out why the local swamp critters weren’t showing up to talk to the party druid anymore.
Walking straight into one of the absolute funniest adventures ever to be printed in Dungeon Magazine (issue 41) – Old Man Katan and the Incredible, Edible, Dancing Mushroom Band!
SPOILERS BELOW (although the adventure was modified from the one in the issue to fit the particular swamp in our game a bit better).
Old Man Katan smokes a lot of “swamp weed stogies”. Massive blunts that keep him high, and also chase away the local stirges. In fact, Old Man Katan doesn’t know there are stirges killing off all the local wildlife because they won’t come near him because of the acrid horrendous smoke from his massive blunts.
Finally figuring this all out from the local mushrooms via a comprehend languages spell, the party sets out to find out where all these stirges are coming from.
They grab a few of the old man’s blunts, and ask to borrow his boat. “I raised that boat from a wee punt… it doesn’t behave well for others. She’s grown nice and big hasn’t she?” So they bring Old Man Katan along for the trip because the boat won’t behave for anyone else… The discover the floor of the boat is a bit tacky to the touch “Well, I did tar her down nicely to keep her from leaking of course” says the old man. The Paladin/Sorcerer looks at me and asks “is it… a MIMIC?!”
I couldn’t keep a straight face. Because yes. It is a mimic. It wrecked and replaced his little punt when he first moved to the swamp and was going to eat him when they went out fishing the next day. Just as it was about to eat him, he caught a fish and tossed it into the bottom of the boat.
“Give a mimic a fish and it will eat for a day… Give a mimic a fisherman and it will eat for years!”
“Jesus! Did I SAY that? Or just think it? Was I talking? Did they hear me? I glanced over at the druid, but he seemed oblivious…”
It took until a bit later for the CHARACTERS to figure this out (after the players did). Further into the swamp they found old man Katan’s cat, and when the druid cast speak with animals the first thing the cat said was to be careful because that boat’s a bloody mimic. The fighter kept poking the boat with a stick, while the monk decided that 37 feet up a tree was the appropriate place to be for this conversation.
“Dude… can you stop with the poking? I get it, my cover’s been blown.”
Next scene is the party sitting around on a small island, monk still in the tree, with a mimic sitting beside them looking basically like a giant clam or similar (sans shell) with a boat for a face, discussing the next stage in their plan.
“How long can we maintain? I wonder. How long before one of us starts raving and jabbering at this mimic? What will it think then? This same lonely swamp was the last known home of the Frog Cult. Will it make that grim connection..”
Finally, they approach the lair of the Swamp Beast / Bog Monster that they believe controls the stirges. As they approach his island of vines and creepers the island begins to disgorge massive clouds of stirges into the sky and the party desperately lights up their remaining blunts while the Swamp Beast climbs out of the island. Old Man Katan (who’s been unable to smoke all that day because they were rationing the remaining weed) gladly puffed away at two blunts at once.
“Uh, guys, this shit is hitting me harder than usual… That island over there is TALKING TO ME”
“Dude… we can’t stop here… this is stirge country!”
The adventure conclusion was the Druid convincing the Swamp Beast (it was explained to him that the name Swamp Beast was a good one, it has gravitas… now the Swamp Beast calls itself “The Swamp Beast with Gravy” because it has no clue what gravitas is) to get rid of its massive swarm of remote-controlled stirges because they were killing off EVERYTHING in the swamps. So the stirges flew off to sea (and some poor shipping lane got shut down for a week or so), and the party went off to the stirges’ hatching lagoon to destroy the next generation of eggs.
And thus the swamp was saved by the power of weed.
“But our trip was different. It was a classic affirmation of everything right and true and decent in the national character. It was a gross, physical salute to the fantastic possibilities of life in this country-but only for those with lots of hit points. And we were chock full of those.”
(Source: Dyson’s Dodecahedron)