With the huge crop of boars meat, the expeditionary scouts are freed from hunting duty and are sent to map out the surrounding area. They are ordered to prioritize their own safety as a reliable general overview is more important at this stage than in depth reports of local hostile forces.
Territory to the south is controlled by Hobgoblins:
- Militaristic, very tactical.
- Force size unknown due to unknown size of territory.
- Local force has a well defended village/stronghold.
- At least 50 hobgoblin warriors and 60 kobolds garrisoned there.
- Regular patrols in their territory of 4-7 Hobgoblins.
- Must have a leader, but was unable to locate.
- Well geared.
Kobolds do not appear to work for the hobgoblins. The arrangement appears more mutual – as if they serve a common master or cause.
Kobolds have an underground complex. They can be seen taking regular small caravans north along the same route as the hobgoblin quarry caravan.
Bands of 6-12 kobolds patrol the wilderness immediately around their complex.
Territory to the north is controlled by Gnolls:
- Appear tribal. Poor discipline. Strength leads.
- Aggressive but not particularly tactical.
- Large and unsettling. Scouts moved quietly further north until they reached the ruined coastal city mentioned earlier.
City to the north:
The ruins of what was once a great coastal city has been spotted 3 days north. An eerie feeling overcame the scouts as they approached, building to dread. Rangers were gone most of the week at this point, and needed to return. They opted to note the city presence but not investigate further.
Scouts found a strange open roofed structure. It did not appear to be ruins despite the roof. Upon discussing this with the elves, the elves confirm that the wizards tower is sometimes located in that location. The foundations of the tower remain in place as the tower “moves” from one location to another.
The elves are wary of magical boobie-traps.
Three watch towers in various states of disrepair were located to the north, south, and west.
The tower to the west appears to be directly west of the underground stronghold, near to, but on the other side of, the elvish steading. There were animal and hobgoblin bones littered on the ground just outside. The scouts did not venture in.
Upon hearing of this ruined tower, the elves explain that the tower once housed an emissary to their lands. They raided it after the inhabitants were driven off/killed a few hundred years ago – eliminating all clues to the nearby presence of elves.
The tower to the north is in use by creatures similar to the “orcs” that were imprisoned at camp, only these were much larger. Observation is that there are probably between 20 and 30 warriors stationed there.
The tower to the south is overrun by vegetation and large… insectoid creatures? It is still standing but is in rough shape.
Dens and predatory activity:
The river appears to be a gathering ground for both predators and prey.
Groups of very large predators were spotted hunting along the river; both felines and canines were observed. Scouts retreated.
Giant birds are occasionally observed in the distant sky. They do not appear to hunt in this area normally.
A decision is made to explore the Western tower first due to it’s proximity to the elvish grove. The party sets out. Along the way, they come across reasonably fresh remains (i.e. a week or two old) of a couple of humans. Evidence at the scene suggests they were run down and killed by a hobgoblin pack. After judging the area currently safe, the party deigns to bury the remains. A few personal belongings are collected in hopes of returning them to family, should the party come across these unfortunate souls settlement.
Digging the graves takes the remainder of daylight so the party sets camp rather than pressing on. During the night, the party encounters a group of dryads who attempt to lure them into the woods. The situation is resolved without bloodshed. Come morning, the party presses on towards the watch tower.