After cleaning bullywug gunk off themselves, the party continued to loot the decaying bullywug corpse they had found, before concluding it was likely the creature was trying to drag itself back beyond the Dalewatch (the ruined fortified wall surrounding the Blackened Dale) having unsuccessfully tangled with a number of Restwell Keep’s well trained guards.
The party trekked towards the Dalewatch, passing through the ruined gatehouse and into the dale beyond. Half a mile from the gatehouse they found a disused and overgrown track leaving the road, evidence of a scuffle and small piles of dirt they recognised to be the disintegrated bodies of several more mud mephits.
Following the path for a hundred meters, Bryth sent his familiar, the owl Strix to scout ahead – reporting back that the remnants of a small ruined keep were ahead.
Approaching the ruins, the party initially were unaware of several bullywugs watching their approach, and as the party entered the keep (finding several large mud wallows among the ruins) they were ambushed by a group of the frog-men, attacking them with spasmodic hops and bony spears.
Having dispatched the bullywugs, the party noticed a lot of footprints heading to and from a debris-filled corner of the ruins. Upon closer inspection they discovered a trap door in the floor leading to the basement.
Heading down the stairs, they found a rotten and bedraggled library full of toppled bookshelves and desks. A steady, thick flow of mud was oozing under double doors at the far end and into a large pool in the middle of the room. As the PCs attempted to cross the pit, they were attacked by several large animated fronds of weed which attempted to pull them under the mud and drown them. After hacking away at the weeds they passed through the pool, and examined the bookcases.
Several journals referred to a goliath sorcerer named Voran Earthmane who had performed research attempting to harness the power of the Elemental Chaos – and had succeeded in creating a potent relic he named the Staff of Earthen Might. Shortly after this, the journal entries stopped.
Passing out of the double doors at the other end, the room the PCs found themselves in was once a laboratory – complete with stone benches with (mostly) ruined equipment. Several more bullywugs and their giant frog companions ambushed them from the mud flowing over the floor and another fight ensued.
The bullywugs dealt with, the PCs forced their way through another set of doors, the mud flowing underneath restricting their ability to be opened. Brute strength from Gendrin won out, and the emerged in a vault, the walls lined with strang apparatus, most of which was smashed. On the far side of the room, a staff sat jutting out of dais, spewing forth the mud oozing through the complex. Moving to investigate, the party was attacked by a large bullywug shaman hiding in the mud.
The shaman filled the room with clawing vines and heated the cleric’s armour until it glowed red hot before finally being subdued, and in the aftermath the party attempted to disable the staff, Bryth recovering it for his own purposes.