Emerald Enclave Portals
By Jeff Quick
of the Great Dale
in the Forests of the Great Dale is practically archetypal: People outside
the forest are attempting to exploit the forests' resources with no regard
for the balance or long-term usefulness of the trees, animals, and mineral
resources they harvest.
druids were happy to have the Emerald Enclave provide support and assistance
to their efforts and at first welcomed their involvement. Soon after,
things started getting ugly.
assigned a sharp, competent half-orc druid/barbarian, Shumash Jaundiceeye
(CN half-orc Drd9/Bbn6), to assist, along with two subordinate half-orc
druids. Shumash is cunning, powerful, and has excellent instincts for
both conflict and nature. He also has all the personal skills of a dire
boar. Shumash knows how to get what he wants -- as long as it doesn't
involve working with others very closely.
immediately upon arrival through the portal, Shumash determined
that the local druid circles in the Great Forests were almost wholly incompetent
and could only be trusted with the simplest tasks. Even those tasks required
painstaking amounts of handholding, in Shumash's estimation.
druids, who had been handling things nicely for the entire history of
the forests, naturally resented Shumash's constant condescension and bullying.
Shumash could be dismissed easily if he wasn't right most of the time.
In truth, sometimes Shumash does know better than the local druids. And
he isn't slow or gentle in telling local druids exactly when and how they're
approached by someone about his combative behavior, Shumash informs the
locals that the Enclave sent him, and he takes orders only from his superiors
there. When the Great Forest druids attempt to contact the Enclave, they
are shuffled around from person to person or have their concerns dismissed
after being told that Shumash is an excellent Caretaker and that the Great
Forest druids have full access to his capabilities.
hierarchical runaround weren't enough, the druids have a couple of other
reasons to be suspicious of Shumash's presence and motives.
Shumash is secretive about the portal that he uses to travel between
the Great Dale Forests and his headquarters on Ilghon. No one knows where
it is, what it looks like, how it operates, or how often he uses it. He
becomes belligerent if anyone asks more than one question about it.
subordinates have virtually disappeared since his arrival. They are never
seen in common meetings and rarely seen anywhere else. They talk to no
one except Shumash, and even then speak only in Orc. Sometimes, late at
night, under cloudy skies, murmurings in Orc can be heard coming from
Shumash's tent, and his subordinates are seen leaving after long, quiet
conversations. Predictably, Shumash does not discuss these meetings with
the local druids, and he becomes intensely angry when questioned about
Shumash seems to be resistant to divination and mind-reading spells. Information
gleaned indicates that he is preparing "to lead a great defeat in
the forests parallel."
of the Great Dale Forests are not all sissies, but they're at a loss on
how to deal with the situation, and they would like a resolution soon.
Rejecting the Emerald Enclave's appointed Caretaker would be bad form.
Shumash is so purposeful and strong-willed that subtle redirection proves
fruitless. Reasoning with him has failed repeatedly. Some are beginning
to suspect that Shumash is up to no good, though no one wants to move
without proof. The only thing they know is the location and customs of
the orc tribe from which Shumash comes. The tribe lives near the Great
Glacier and is known for its violent confrontation and deep reverence
tidbit the druids have learned from animal spies concerns ritual combat
from Shumash's tribe. If the druids can find someone to defeat Shumash
in ritual combat without killing him, he must (according to tribal tradition)
open his mind and heart to the winner. Whether Shumash still considers
himself bound by tribal law is a mystery, but it seems to be the best
to Incorporate the Forests of the Great Dale Portal Into Your Campaign
- Shumash might listen
to another half-orc who speaks his "language." If the party
has a brutish half-orc who could at all be sympathetic, they are asked
to try to "reason" with Jaundiceeye in a ritual battle.
- If the party doesn't
conveniently have a half-orc, the druids ask the party to go to Shumash's
home tribe and escort a suitable orc back to fight him.
- One of the local
druids might request that the PCs speak to the Emerald Enclave on their
behalf in the hopes of getting their attention, or at least learning
why the Caretakers are so unhelpful in their helpfulness.
- Shumash's protectiveness
of the portal's location is suspicious to say the least. The
druids might ask the PCs to find the portal and watch for what
Shumash is up to with it.
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