Tales of the Ghosts of Saltmarsh, and 1,000 Teet (A D&D 5e Short Story)

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  • Post last modified:November 30, 2021
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Day #01

We find ourselves in Saltmarsh; a small fishing village town which has become a hot spot for pirates like the Sea Princes – who kidnap people and sell them into slavery. Keolynd (?), the kingdom who controls the land has begun taking more interest in the village. A group of dwarves have arrived to scope the area for mining. Some fear the authority of the kingdom is stifling the community. Smugglers and pirates aren’t happy about the kingdom having more of a presence within the village, neither.

Our crew has just revealed a smuggling ring based out of a house in the town and we’ve been invited to a council meeting.

When we get there, we’re tepedly congratulated before being asked to check out what the lizardfolk were doing purchasing weapons from the smuggling ring we broke up. We’re told the Lizardfolk are known to wander around the marshy area towards the Dunwater head, where the river meets the ocean. We are given a ship to get us up there, and decide to take the job in hopes of getting the info and getting the 200 gp award. We spend the night and set off in the morning.

When we arrive at the head, we are welcomed by a large rock face, 80 ft at it’s peak, surrounded by marshlands. We walk up a mucky trail and, taking a fork in the road, we stumble upon some marsh creatures and their Dragonfolk owners, who chase us down and refuse to let us walk away.

A fight breaks out and before Grannick has taken down one of the lizard beasts. Treb unleashes hellfire and brimstone from a collapsible pocket cannon. As their crew dwindles under the cold steel of our weapons, and the flames of our contraptions, the tides change and they begin to retreat in hopes of “[warning] the others about [us]”.

As they tuck their tale from battle, we embrace the change in momentum and kill of a few more of their crew; chasing down the last standing lizard. As we cumbersomely chase him, down, Treb comes barreling towards him and, throwing his axe from a good 9 paces, knocks him down with a giant knot on his head.

The session ends as we catch up to our grounded opponent, panting, and covered in rotten boggy muck…

Day #02

We drag his body back to the boat and get info out of him: His name is Meegarut, and we tell him to take us to his queen.

Grannik turns himself into a Giant Lizard, and we march towards the caves. As we enter the caves, and in a blink Shade Walker heads one way while Grannik – disguised as a lizard – heads the other, sneaking through the cave’s corridors ahead of the group, who amasses wuite the crew as they meet the queen. Outside the door, Grannik gets cold feet and turns himself back into his Druid form.

We tell the Queen – who introduces herself as Othokent – why we’ve come, release Meegarut from his rope, and after a bit of coaxing she proposes we hang out for a day and see what kind of work they can give us to prove our worthiness.

While the others get to doing lizardfolk chores, Shade Walker hangs back and spend the night in a closet on the other side of a door from them. Grannik lies through his teeth, telling the shaman that the tides are in his favour. Confused… but somewhat convinced… the shaman accepts this news, and… rested up… the crew sets out to continue their chores.

Day #03

Shade Walker rejoins the crew, and we head towards a fight breaking out – we re-enter the room wehre the queen had been previously and met with a bunch of Locathah (Fish people), Koalinth (Coral), and Murrfolk. We meet Sauriv, who tell us the Sehowgen are coming to destroy them. He tells us about a large crocodile 12 miles up river that they’ve named “1,000 teeth”. After some negotiating we agree to 200gp per eyeball if we slay this giant crocodile and we headed off towards our boat, free from lizard chores.

As we left the cave, Shadewalker retrieves some armour and a sword he had scavenged previously. The armour was in tatters but the sword was pristine, so Ciaran took it and from the outside he seems to be enjoying his new hardware.

The shipmates weren’t jazzed about the extra leg of the trip, but with a bit of negotiation we set off up the river. When we arrived, Treb fashioned a large treble hook out of the armour.

We make it glow, then make a fake frog, and treb jiggles the rope. Wventually we get a bite which turn out to be two giant snakes…

Grannik falls in and gets squeezed up by one of the snakes, while shooting at the other and getting the killing blow.

The snake carrying him retreated back under the boat, and after chasing them down – and some ferocious fighting by our shipmates – we kill the second snake, dragging Grannik back on board, and bringing him back to consciousness…

Day #04

We decide to spend the night on the boat to recover and while doing so, we trap a man with a herd of rats who tells us that the giant beast could be found 1 mile east and hurries off into the night. We pack up and… in a matter of hours we’re headed up river to find 1,000 teeth.

When we arrive we stumble across a hut, surrounded by the remains of other huts. Shadewalker runs ahead to check things out, and the others are following behind when all of a sudden, we are attacked by tens, if not hundreds of frogs. We fight them off, and seek shelter in the hut after scouring it for goods and picking up a potion, and a new spell scroll (Hold Person?).

An hour after crashing, we hear loud croaks, and a human/frog/lizard with a crocodile’s head atop its own.

Day #05

As the frogs approach, Grannik lights up the nearest thing he can see and dusts a frog in the dim evening light.

A frog, riding atop another frog, with an alligator head on top of his head rides into the yard and then seemingly disappears… After a moment of confusing silence he comes crashing through the ceiling of the hut atop his trusty froggy steed, and stabs Ciaran into infinity, knocking him unconscious.

A battle ensues… Treb does a lot of damage while protecting Ciaran, while Grannik picks at the frog with his bow & arrow from outside the hut, after making short work of the frogs who accompanied the Frog King alongside Shade Walker. After some time, the Frog King stumbles outside bruised and battered, fleaing Treb and his great axe. Unwittingly, the frog hops right in front of Shade Walker and Grannik who kill him on site.

After checking on Grannik, we check the Frog King’s body and loot some finely crafted leather armour, stitched with ancient bone carvings. We hunker down, and after a stressed-filled night of keeping watch we began tracking 1,000 Teeth at thebreak of dawn. Grannik finds a track but determines it’s old and that the great beast hasn’t been around in some time. That leads us to conclude the Rat Man sent us in the wrong direction… but for what? Was he looking to attack the boat? We hurry back to the boat to check on it and sure enough, the crew has been attacked in the night by a pack of rats that swam over from across the swamp. We put two and two together.

In the mean time, Grannik’s have a look around and sussed out tracks that are a lot fresher, so we’re in the right place. Maybe the rat bastard was trying to have us leave, but why? We decide to get to the bottom of it…

Day #06

We decide to move the boat down river so as to move away from where the Rat Bastard knew we’d set anchor for the evening. We hum and haw over who to chase… 1,000 Teeth, the beast who ‘d come for or the Rat Bastard who sent us a few hundred yards in the wrong direction. The answer is obvious and we head off after the Rat man…

After getting ourselves lost, Ciaran’s 1,000 yard radarpicks up on him and we head toward the signal. After a long hour we stumble upon a cave which… rats in cave… Some rats come out to attack us and get lit up with a giant mound of spikes.

We head in and run into a cavern full of rats. A fight, breaks out, Shadewalker breaks off to another area, seeing a black puddle, and a raised platform. He heads to the platform and with a crit roll – recognizes a the sewer plans… right as focusing in a drip of black liquid lands on his arm and begins to burn before a giant drop lands in front of him and reaches out to attack..

Battle ensues, Shadewalker collapses twice and gets brought back to life twice, before Ciaran slashes the acidic being cleanly in half. Eventually we distinguish it, and but our weapons are mangled.

Ciaran smashes a sacred shrine and God sends him a message. We spend the night waiting for Rat Man to come home, with the code word “BUCK WILD” to go… buck wild.

Shortly after we doze off Treb yells, “Buck Wild!” but it turns out to be nothing but a bunch of rats – we blow some to smithereens and others run away like christmas lights into the swamp.

We spend the night, wake up and cairn eats mud. Treb casts Investigation and figures out that it’s a short term madness perhaps imbued upon him after desecrating a sacred shrine. Grannik casts Lesser Restoration to get rid of the curse and it appears to work. In the morning we are deciding whether to wait out Rat Man, or to head back towards the ship, following the tracks in the other direction for 1,000 Teeth then coming back for Rat Man.

Day #07

We head back to the boat and one of the shipmates isn’t doing well. Grannik appears to heal him after casting, Lesser Resortation.

After that we head out towards the house of 1,000 teeth. Shadewalker runs ahead until Grannik picks up on something and upon closer inspection we see a large mound a long 20 yards in the distance. We try coaxing 1000 teeth by skipping a rock towards it, enshrined with a spell that makes it squeal like a pig… After hearing no reaction or sound, we head onwards.

As we approach we take note to be stealthy, and while most in the party were able to do a good job, Ciaran didn’t seem to get the memo and kept trudging loudly through the muck, at one point, falling through some sticks up to his upper thigh. As he clamoured to his feet, we stopped to regroup and plan our attack… did we want to go in the water and inside the dam or did we… THWACK! Ciaran is knocked into the water by a giant tail, as thick as a tree trunk. His body lay there, lifeless. Grannik casts a blue shimmer atop the beast to trace it underwater, it hits, but it quickly fades. Shadewalker tries to pull him back ashore, but fails.

1,000 Teeth spotted off the coast of Saltmarsh
Rare sighting of 1,000 Teeth on the Florida Coast, just north of Saltmarsh

Treb (or Ciaran casts an animal or some sort of splash in the water, to attract 1,000 Teeth towards him and Shadewalker but instead of falling for the bait it comes ashore it attacks Treb (or Ciaran), and gets away. After seeing a few arrows hit their mark, Grannik summoned a powerful column of moonbeam which forced Thousand Teeth to retreat while the rest of the party made their way towards the island in the center of the swamp.

As the great beast fades into the dark water Shadewalker leaps atop of its back, before falling off and quickly swimming across the boggy water to the beasts lair. As he arrives his foot sinks in and he finds himself at the center of a buzzing swarm of mud hornets. He quickly dives under water and swims to get away, getting ashore on the other side safely. Grannik follows and swims ashore right into the same swarm of hornets; through which he starts firing arrows like sparks of a sparkler.

Further down the shoreline, Treb shoots his crossbow across the pond attached to a length of hempen twine, which catches purchase on the far shore, before pulling himself across the pond and directly into another hornets nest. He has flashbacks to watching his ten year brother get swarmed to death as a child. Quickly, Ciaran jumps to action and brings him back to consciousness… for a brief moment… As he stands up, he is re-swarmed and drops like a sack of broken doorknobs.

While Ciaran takesa knee to help bring Treb back to consciousness, a legend was born…

Over the years, the story was honed and polished to describe an arrow, as fast as a strike of lightning came hurling from a sawrm of hornets as large as a tree of a thousand years. The arrow whistled across the morning’s battle and caught the great beast through a spot spot behind its jaw, tearing out the back side of the skull like paper.

To avoid the remaining swarm of hornets, the crew hurried off inside the beast’s lair for cover, stumbling across a healthy pile of jewelry. After things calmed down (and Treb had begun to sober up), we sat around the damp dam – once home to a giant beast – now protecting us from the elements of the swamp, and without a word spoken we looked around at one another, nodding in solidarity, and that day a legend was born.

Grannik, Slayer of 1,000 Teeth

Day #08

Treb gets to hollowing out the corpse of 1,000 Teeth, so that we can drag it back to the boat. After a long few hours, we drag it back to boat, through the dark for the last hour .

Eventually we get back to the boat and pass out from exhaustion. We decide to spare the Rat Bastard for the moment, deliver the gator back to the lizardfolk, head back to saltmarsh to warn them of the rat bastard’s plan of their sewer, and then, if asked we can go back and kill him with reason.

In the dark of the night, while keeping watch, Treb chefs up a mountain of gator jerky which turns out to be the best food anyone’s eaten in a long, long time… Turns out the guy can cook! 👨🏻‍🍳

We head back to the lizardfolk cave, and as we get a half day out, Treb begins sewing up the carcas of the croc, which we ride in atop a wave, like a giant reptilian paddle board. We surf that right into the Lizardfolk’s harbour and into the cave’s, where the lizardfolk stand around dumbfounded. Eventually word gets to the Queen who arrives hastily with a crew in tow. She happily pays us and we retreat to more private quarters where the Queen has some people bring great spreads of food.

She pitches us o fighting the Sahuagin, a crew of thousands, who have been pillaging small towns and communities in the area, in an attempt to take them over. As a final gesture she leads us down, down, down into a dark area where the doors are clad with iron bars. In the last cell of the dungeon, we see a Sahuagin and have a short convo with him where he basically says they were invading places – big stack take little stack.

With that, we decide to head to Saltmarsh to bring the information we’ve gleaned, and hatch a plan to bring a nobleman from the lizardfolk to accompany us back to Saltmarsh as added proof. The Queen agrees and sends Mirik, her right-hand man. The lizardfolk gather around as news has traveled that we killed 1000 Teeth. They throw a feast in our honour, Drinks began flowing and as we are sitting around drinking we talk with the various lizardfolk and friends. Eventually we’re introduced by Thurkear to a young girl who will travel with us to Saltmarsh – he introduces her as Vyth. When she meets the slayer of 1000 Teeth they instantly hit it off and Grannik, – drunk as a skunk – lays it on thick. He casts spell after spell drooling over this girl and makes a giant rose out of rushing water. She blushes and runs off, and as Grannik makes the walk of shame back to the table he casts a giant fog ball that instantly clears out half the room, and we spend the rest of the evening busting his balls, drinking mud slop and feeling merry.

The next morning, we set off. Grannik continues to flirt with Vyth and again he fogs himself out in embarrassment… it’s becoming obvious that he has yet to mature into his role as Slayer of 1000 Teeth.

Casually, we enter the port with the body of 1,000 Teeth on deck of our trusty ship…

Day #09

We pull into the harbour of Saltmarsh… Home sweet home.

The wharf is bustling with people, so the Lizardfolk we’re traveling with decide to keep a low profile. Wide-eyed, they walk along with us into town.

We head to city council, and have the guards fetch counsellor Ghellan Primewater, a fashionable foppish fellow. We retreat to his office and over a glass of brandy, we share the news that the Sahuagin are rampaging the nearby towns.

On the surface, he seems nonchalant, but Grannik notices that his ears perk up at the mention of ‘Sahuagin’.

After sharing the news, Primewater asks us to wait around for the other counsel members. When they arrive, we share our news and Mirik and Vyth share their story, warning the counsel members of Saltmarsh of how the Sahuagin might have chosen Saltmarsh next, mentioning the old hermit Rat Bastard.

We get paid 200gp a piece and the council say they need some time to thikn on it. We head out to repair our wares… Shadewalker buys himself a new rapier, and after a failed test run, Treb decides against the 300 gp buying himself a novel twist on an old classic weapon… a crossbow equipped with a grappling hook.

We walk next door and Ciaran buys himself some new scalemail. After that, Treb decides to stop in at a tent inhabited by a clairvoyant, who identifies herself as Lady Tiva, who doesn’t want to help due to the danger that a hag’s eye might bring. Shadewalker downplays her fear as nonsense, and pulls it out of its bag, to which she shrieks to put it away. We do, and she divulges that the hag’s eye likely comes from the Dreadwood.

At a tavern we meet a tall half-orc named Vertheg, who says that a Aubreck Drallion – a merchant prince – has sent for us, and asked us to meet at the Drallion Manor in the morning. We continue drinking late into the night, and fall asleep.

When we wake up, we feel great (leveling up to level 5), and head to Prince Drallion’s to talk.

His place is run down, and but the door is ajar, so we let ourselves in. His half-orc servant answers and soon Prince Drallion tells us his story, of how he’s fallen on hard times. A decade ago, he put all his wealth & belongings in a chest, enchanted with spells, on his boat which ‘went missing’. He says his boat, The Emperor of the Waves has been seen 50 knots off shore. He’s hired a boat called The Soul of Winter manned by a crew of dwarves, and captained by Wolgar Windrune. They will take us there, and provisions will be provided. He offers 10,000 GP upon retrieval, with a 200gp down payment, before mentioning that it looked like a ghost ship the last time it was seen and that he’s unsure what happened to the crew… no one ever found .

The crew steps aside and after a quick chat we decide we can’t pass up 10,000 GP, and accept. After quickly swinging by the armory, we head out but not before Grannik seals the deal with Vyth.

We meet the captain, Wolgar, and get comfortable in our quarters as we set off towards the ghost ship. Shadewalker meets with a smuggler on board named Duli who divulges an illegal dice game but doesn’t have much else in the way of news.

After a few days, the ship appears through the fog…

in saltmarsh, old guy hired us for ghost ship – Aubrick Drallion, who’d fallen on bad times –

he offers 10,000 gp

he has an old hollowed out manor, spacious dusty home and his man servant. he hired us to go after a chest – when business was booming, he combined his weatlh into deeds which were held in an enchanted chest, ship went missing, for years, recent report that it’d been seen.

we think it’s the ghost ship.

he hired a ship ‘Soul of Winter’ and crew of 25 dwarves to ferry us out (4 day travel to where it was seen). we were the landing party.

He also brought some supplies, namely: two light crossbows with twenty bolts each, five 50-foot coils of rope, two grappling hooks, twelve torches, two healer’s kits, six vials of antitoxin, two potions of healing, and two sacks for carrying treasure out of the ship.

we get there…

we find a spider god servant, found a sacrifice room, went down into hold, the kraken ripped in through the sides ,we escape with an enchanted chest and bust out, get out on the row boat.

We approach the Emporer of the Waves, equipt with Drallion, and as we lower

  • shadewalker grpapling hooks up, no one aboard, but the place looks eery and empty,
  • shrine to lolth, a devious/twisted spider Goddess, worshipped by several cults known as the drough (pronounced ‘draow’). As Treb meanders in to read the runes, Ciaran sees movement in the shadows, “SPIDER!” he shouts while unleashing an a lightning bolt at it.
  • we fight is, and after thieving some jewels we head down where we find a trap door latched shut. WE open the door into a waist-high flooded room, with rubble floating around. Everyone heads down, with Shadewalker hanging back in fear for a moment before catching up.
  • We start busting open crates, and one particular crate, carved with the letter A, has a large blue metal chest with no obvious openings… As we’re crowbaring the rest of the boxes open, and ransacking at will, Grannik notices movement in the water, as a Ghastly monster jumps out to attack Ciaran, with others looming in the shadows behind. a giant tree trunk of a tentacle crashes through the wall
  • treb and shadewalker grab the chest and start hauling it across the ship’s floor
  • Ciaran and Grannik start firing back. Before long

Day #10

While Grannik and Shadewalker row furiously away from the silhouette of a sinking ship, being gobbled by the Kraken as it plummets to the dark water it floated atop of mere moments ago, Treb gets to tinkering with the box, in an attempt to open it. After minutes of fiddling, and handling, humming and hawing, Ciaran musters to courage whether he’s made any headroom and if so, what he’s been able to find out.

“It appears,” he says, “that we’re dealing with ‘a box’ of sorts”.

Everyone looks around at each other confusedly, and to break the awkward silence Ciaran points out that the box has a large ‘A’ crest on the side of it. Startled, as if it had slipped him by, Treb fumbles the box to face him, and mumbles something about how that was the obvious part.

Dumbfounded, and with no idea how to unlock the box we’d retrieved, we hoist the box up into the ship and after a pint with the captain – Treb insisted – he gifts us a couple bottles of alcohol for a job well done.

Following Shadewalker’s lead, Ciaran and Treb lie down to sleep, and while Grannik walks the ship at night, he feels a low resonance which turns out to be a pod of whales, that he spoke about all morning the morning after.

While the others slept, Treb takes a second look at the box and discerns it’s magically sealed and would need some sort of spell to open it. He figures we could figure out how to counter the magical lock, but when asked what that might entail he brushes it off, “protective magic? Impossible.”

falls asleep on the job, and has nothing to report. We spend three more days on that rolling icy sea before getting back to the Saltmarsh port. After a brief goodbye with the dwarves – we head back to the Drallion manor.

With the chest hidden, Ciaran negotiates an extra 5000hp and a small plot of land with a house on it. We head to checkout the house – located in Crabby Cove – and after finding it full of crabs, the rest of us start clearing them out while Treb carves some fancy tools and gets to cookin’ a crab feast. We spent the night mostly unpinced and in the morning we head to meet Aubrick Drallion, who is to accompany to Torm (the True), duty, loyalty, and righteousness – a lawful good/wholesome leader whose emblem is the White Gauntlet on a right hand.

As we head to meet up with Sir Aubrick, Grannik runs into Vyth who gifts him some magical serpent Scale Armour.

Day #11

We gossip around the bunk about Grannik‘s new armour and what he did to earn it. He stays tight lipped and behind closed doors the rest of the team wonders if he’s making it all up and he spent our camp gold on it.

In rusty scale male, Drallion comes thudding down the hallway, apparently ready for battle. When not looking, Grannik flicks his wrist, and casts a quick gust of wind which tosses Aubrick onto his ass. He assures us he can protect himself in battle, and no one has the guts to tell him he’s a dead duck.

On the road, Treb dives into a giant Saltmarsh diatribe, talking about how it resides on the outskirts of a great kingdom, called Keoland. A nearby town, Seaton (sea-tun), went from a bustling fishing village to a fortified city.

Saltmarsh has stayed to be more of a fishing village, which brings with it a dark underbelly of thieves, smugglers, and ne’erdowels. Saltmarsh has a dwarven slavery ring who mine silver. Saltmarshian’s are in somewhat of a social/political battle to avoid becoming like Seaton.

Grannik and Ciaran hear a rumbling which they insist on checking out, much to Shadewalker‘s chagrin.

We begin walking into the corn field to see what the rumbling is when we hear an explosion 50 feet ahead of us… we look around at each other, half worried, and half interested.

As we are discussing what to do next, we are blasted with dirt as a giant serpent with four heads comes blasting up through the soil, and galloping through the corn fields toward us.

As it charges us, we begin attacking, when out of the soil behind it, a giant dark skinned barbarian creature comes flying like a bat out of hell, swinging his axe and throwing javelins with incredible might. We continue to fight and when Shadewalker finally kills the beast, we turn to the hulk of a character to ask his name and where he came from. He introduces himself as Captain Zsuirad (zwee-rad) who’s looking for his lost brother and – wondering if he could be in the next town over – decides to tag along.

We continue on the path unscathed until we arrive at the White Gauntlet of Torm, and being invited into the gated community, we find a man to witness the transaction… He draws up a quick contract, and we sign to officially do the a deal with Aubrick, each getting 2500 gold pieces and 125 platinum pieces.

After finishing the transaction, we head to the tavern with Aubrick, and drink – to Torm! – while discussing our next moves. Aubrick plans to head back to Saltmarsh with some hired help, but our ears perk up when he mentions he’d put us in contact with someone who acquire magical items for us. We enthusiastically ask to put us in touch.

After spitballing ideas around – going back to bludgeon the Rat Bastard druid, warn the naval town of Seaton about the impending Sahuagin attack – we realize how close we are to the Dreadwood and decide it makes the most sense to head out looking for hags, to find out more about the eye that Treb‘s been lugging around.

To sweeten the sauce, we decide to pre-emptively ask around town about the Dreadwood and the Hag’s, to see if there are any open bounties, or information we should know, or needed preparation.

Once decided, we drunkenly put our hands together in the middle of the table and have a cheer, before retreating back to the hotel, bunked two to a room (Aubrick with Trebuchet, Captain Zsuirad with Shadewalker, and Grannik with Ciaran). 😴

Day #12

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