Tuesday, June 26, 2018

Trouble at Mudwater

A random scenario I rolled up this morning:

The Hunting Party
a hunter by an oak tree, with a turkey over his shoulder
Returning from the turkey hunt.

The rain has finally stopped, though it's still cloudy.  A cold wind is blowing.

You're traveling through an oak forest in a valley, a place of large trees with high-up branches.  This forest is an old, quiet place. You hear little but the wind rattling the branches and the creaking of the trees as they sway.  Large boulders are strewn about, deposited here long ago.  A creek flows down the valley to the southeast.

A voice calls out in the trade pidgin language, telling you to stop.  A group of humans emerge from their hiding places, muskets in hand but not pointed at you.  Their leader is a young man, not yet twenty.  He seems jumpy and nervous.

They're a group of nine in total, with a few lanky dogs following along.  Everyone is bundled up against the cold.  Some are carrying dead turkeys.  By their spiky hair, you might recognize them as people from the Snapping Turtle tribe, famous for being tireless runners and eager traders.

They were on their way home from a hunting trip when they spotted something unusual: large footprints and fresh droppings in the woods, like those of a panther, but bigger.  They followed the signs to this valley, but the trail has since gone cold.  Now they're not sure if they're hunting or being hunted.  Anything could be hiding amongst the boulders and fallen logs.

If you'd like to travel with them, they'd appreciate the extra pair of eyes.

(The big cat is very hungry and has been watching them for a while, staying downwind.  It would prefer to just grab the turkeys, but if anyone wanders off from the group, fresh meat would be even better.  If the humans spot the cat and put up any resistance, it'll run off.)

Heading downstream, the valley flattens out.  The oaks gradually give way to aspens with white bark and yellow leaves.  The trees are closer together here with plenty of undergrowth, making it hard to see very far ahead.

The Village
fog on the marsh
Fog on the marsh.

The weather turns overcast and a fog moves in.  The aspen forest ends at a marshy lakeshore.  Mudwater is the name of this lake, according to the humans.  Their village is on the far shore, a few hours' walk from here.

It turns out to be a well-hidden village, only betrayed by a thin column of smoke rising from the red-leafed maples above the lake.  You can hear the rhythmic sound of someone chopping down a tree somewhere nearby in the fog.

The village consists of four grass huts with a few small dugout canoes outside.  Some old women have a fire going to keep warm as they mash up something in bowls; rice for some kind of drink, apparently.  They're glad to see the group return, but they have some urgent news.

One of the young men translates for you as best he can.  There's another village nearby, at a place called Little Gulch.  The people from Little Gulch keep trying to gather rice from Mudwater Lake even though they're not supposed to, and now it seems they've stolen one of Mudwater's boats.

The hunters discuss matters for a bit and decide it's time to go and steal something from Little Gulch in return, maybe take a few captives while they're at it.  Unbeknownst to the people of Mudwater, Little Gulch had nothing to do with the missing boat.

Things are about to get ugly.

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