Previous Update: Daeyux
This is from the second round of island explorations.
6 November, 24 CLE—With their dominion over Avalon firmly established, the Bilgewater Captains’ Council directed its attention to the nearby island of Emain Ablach. Since its founding, Bilgewater’s nautical bent had been both a blessing and a curse. A blessing for its unrivaled fleets, both military and mercantile, a curse for the difficulty the city had always had in pursuing non-naval endeavors.
Most particularly, Bilgewater hoped that the scrawlings of the Nyrothian indicated that Emain Ablach would hold the key to remedying Bilgewater’s reliance on food imports from other nations. While the sailors and pirates of Bilgewater had fish aplenty, other dishes had to be shipped from the nations of the mainland, giving those nations a hold over the free-spirited sailors which was becoming intolerable.
As was swiftly becoming the norm, however, the initial reports of scouts revealed a situation rather different from what they had been led to expect. The island was filled to bursting with thick jungle, vegetation spilling out even over the shoreline into groves of mangrove trees which rose from the salty sea surrounding the island.
A scouting crew penetrated the mangrove forest, hoping to find some sign of the arable land indicated by the Nyrothian’s information. Instead, they found large, hostile, mobile plants which stalked them through the thick, seemingly endless jungle. These “chlorofiends” as the Bilgewaterns dubbed them, took a heavy toll upon the expedition, killing approximately a quarter of their number, and leaving the majority of the rest with injuries of various severity, many of which soon began to show signs of infection in the dank jungle climate.
The expedition reluctantly decided to return to their boats, intending to report the island as a loss except perhaps as a source of new wood for ships. However, on the final day before they turned back, a human-looking being approached them silently out of the verdant shadows, motioning for them to follow.
The primitive man led them along hidden pathways to a fortified village which seemed to be grown as much as constructed from the jungle around it. There, with the aid of the translation magics they had acquired for the expedition, the sailors learned that a number of small Nyrothian tribes had enclaves throughout the island. These tribes had only the most primitive of technology in most regards, and had no hidden farms. Disappointed, the Bilgewater expedition became interested in the natives only after the tribe’s shaman applied a poultice made from a strange plant native to the island to the wounds of some of the most badly infected wounds of their number. The wounds showed a miraculously swift and thorough recovery, and men who had been scarcely able to walk an hour before were soon reinvigorated and dancing merry jigs in celebration of their renewed lease on life, claiming that they felt better than they had in years, perhaps better than they ever had.
Covert experimentation revealed that, by itself, the plant used by the shaman did little. It was quickly determined that the island’s natives must know some subtle magic or treatment whereby the plant’s healing power could be unlocked.
Decisions for Bilgewater’s Summoners
Two options presented themselves to the Bilgewater expedition. First, they could recommend to the Captains’ Council that they approach the tribes in friendship, hoping to gain usage and control of this miraculous herb both for its healing properties and for its possible ability to bolster the physical characteristics of those it was administered to.
Alternatively, they could recommend that Bilgewater proceed as it originally planned, and use the island as a new breadbasket for the island city-state. The inhabitants and chlorofiends would almost certainly resist efforts to clearcut their jungle for farmland, but the supernaturally enhanced growth of plantlife on the island (most likely a result of its nexus) would ensure that the people of Bilgewater would never want for food again.
Bilgewater has the following stats. Consult the island exploration rules for more information.
- Military: 22 (above average)
- Navy: 80 (very strong)
- Research: 30 (below-average)
- Espionage: 55 (mid-range)
Nami and her Marai give +10 to Research checks. This is added on after the roll is complete.
There are two tasks before Bilgewater. First, there is the matter of repairing the Emain Ablach nexus. Second, there is a region of the island currently overrun by chlorofiends, which the natives will give partial control over to Bilgewater if it can clear it out.
Repairing the Nexus
The nexus is leaking wild magic, disrupting the Emain Ablach ecosystem. It would be a challenge to repair (difficulty 50), but they could make the task easier if they’re willing to engage in a little espionage, sending agents behind the backs of the natives to snoop around and gather more intel. (They could send Katarina or Twisted Fate on this mission, risking injury but increasing odds of success; they already have about 70% odds of success, and that would become more like 90% with help from Kat or TF.)
If Bilgewater succeeds in repairing the nexus, it will have two choices as to how to “tilt” it.
- Resilience: Bilgewater could tilt it toward amplifying the remarkable resilience of the plant life on Emain Ablach, which would flourish even more vibrantly. Maokai has approached Nami through the League, telling her that this magic could allow him to at last take back part of the Shadow Isles. It would also enable them to produce an abundance of food, enough to aid Avalon’s people as they rebuild, winning Favor with the League.
- Hunger: Bilgewater could also refocus the nexus to strengthen the chlorofiends and learn to control this animal-like breed of flora. Zyra is eager for this kind of power, which she could use to create a new jungle under her control. This would allow Bilgewater to create chlorofiends under its control, providing a new military unit.
Part of the island is overrun by dangerous plant-monsters. If Bilgewater can fight through them, the locals have agreed to give them some control over what they make there:
- Cash crops: Would provide a Commerce bonus.
- Staple crops: Would help feed Avalon, winning Favor with the League.
Bilgewater’s spies estimate the Strength of these chlorofiends as 15. They should pose no serious threat; Bilgewater can assign Champions to further increase its odds, though at a 10% risk of injury for each.
They could also use naval bombardment to attack the chlorofiends with fiery munitions. This runs a risk of destroying the land they’re fighting over. This being Emain Ablach, it might recover, but it might not.
Bilgewater decides to try to sneak behind the locals’ backs to get some extra intel on the nexus. They send Twisted Fate on this dangerous mission, and score a critical success. (Twisted Fate is not MIA’d by this mission.) This reduces the difficulty of the Research check to fix the nexus by 17, from 50 to 33.
Bilgewater’s Summoners decided to try to realign the nexus with the aspect of resilience, promoting natural growth and diminishing the mutations that gave rise to the chlorofiends.
They are successful: the nexus is restored. Plant life flourishes all over the island. (This resurgence of growth multiplies harvests across Emain Ablach, providing food for the hungry Avalonians. +30 Favor, and Bilgewater can reroll its next League petition and use the better result.) (Maokai added as Tertiary Champion choice: he believes he can use the restored magic of Emain Ablach to revitalize part of the Shadow Isles.)
Bilgewater then attempts to retake a no-man’s-land swarming with chlorofiends and other plant monsters. It assigns Gangplank to lead the charge. To his dismay, he is ordered not to open fire: they want to reclaim this land for productive use, and won’t risk destroying with heavy artillery what they’re trying to save.
Bilgewater is victorious, but Gangplank is badly injured. He will need about a week of citrus smoothies to recover.
Bilgewater magnanimously decides to use the land to grow staple crops to help feed the recovering Avalon civilization. (+10 Favor.)
Having restored freedom to Avalon and prosperity to Emain Ablach, Bilgewater’s Champions and Summoners are now heroes among the Nyrothians and much praised by the League.
The captains’ council of Bilgewater heard petitions from both Zyra and Maokai. The Twisted Treant proposed that the magical core on Emain Ablach be adjusted in such a way that the twisted plant beasts, or chlorofiends as the sailors had taken to calling them, would be unable to survive, whilst simultaneously further enhancing the growth and prosperity of the normal (that is to say, immobile) plants which covered the island. Zyra’s proposal was, essentially, the opposite. She urged the pirate council to adjust the core to enhance the chlorofiends at the expense of the island’s plants, allowing Bilgewater to control the creatures and utilize them as an army.
While Zyra’s plan did appeal to their baser natures, the captains eventually decided that it might be wise, at least for the time being, to cultivate a less aggressive reputation. Additionally, following Maokai’s plan would allow Bilgewater, for the first time in its history, to become self sufficient in regards to agriculture, and reduce its dependence on foreign imports of grain.
Each captain knew that information was always the strongest ally, and so the council dispatched Twisted Fate to watch the natives of Emain Ablach, hoping for a better understanding of the island’s plant life. The Card Master considered this an odd assignment, as his interest in and knowledge of herbalism was close to nonexistent. Fortunately, his knowledge of stealth was much more comprehensive, and what information he was able to glean from observing the natives was safely returned to the captain’s council.
Nami, due to her magical skill, was assigned to readjust the core, escorted by an elite detachment of Bilgewater Marines, as well as Nautilus and Katarina, to protect her from roving chlorofiends. Gangplank, meanwhile, under his own recognizance, led a force into the jungle of Emain Ablach to clear a patch of land for what he hoped would eventually become the breadbasket of Bilgewater.
The first expedition, led by Nami, ventured forth into the jungle. The privateers of Bilgewater, supported by their champions’ skills, both martial and magical, were successful in fighting back the green monstrosities, soon reaching the center of the island and its magical core. There, Nami began the ritual which would hopefully bend the island to Bilgewater’s will.
Nami had made an important discovery. She had discovered that it was remarkably difficult to concentrate on a sensitive magical ritual with Nautilus fighting nearby.
As she shaped the currents of magic with dextrous fingers, she flinched slightly and nearly fumbled a flow as a massive, humanoid plant monster flew past the corner of her field of vision, the Titan of the Depths’ anchor wedged through its chest. The creature impacted with a tree and exploded into debris.
In addition to his lumbering about, Katarina flickering in and out of sight was its own special sort of distraction. What was bothering the Tidecaller the most, however, was that the ritual wasn’t working.
She was performing it exactly as Maokai had suggested, but it did not seem to be having any effect on the chlorofiends. On top of that, as she had tried to explain to the captains council, plant magic was not exactly her specialty, and she was having great difficulty in modifying the magic’s parameters on the fly. If only she could find something familiar in this…
Wait…what’s that? She froze the flow of magic currently streaming in front of her, examining it closely. It was pulsing with life magic, as was everything on the island, but this seemed somehow familiar…
“It’s Kelp!” she shouted in excitement, causing Katarina’s head to whip around from watching the perimeter of the clearing which housed the core.
“What about kelp?” Shouted the Noxian assassin, rather exasperated.
“It’s kelp…er… A type of seaweed. This magic…it’s splicing characteristics of kelp with the island’s plant life. Kelp can grow up to two feet in a single day, but it’s also resistant to mutation. This magic is making the kelp…I mean, the plants grow much faster than they ought to, but they’re not as resistant to mutation, so sometimes they produce…” She waved absently toward a massive plant creature which had crashed through the forest wall as Katarina leapt atop it and endeavored to saw its head off with her knives.
“Knowing that…” She ducked her head back towards her work, light flashing off of the silvery scales of her fingers. Moments later, the chlorofiends slowed, then stopped, and finally collapsed into piles of mulch.
Nami spun with a bright smile, beaming at the pirates and champions who stared at her, nonplussed. “Finished!”
Gangplank’s expedition set off slightly after Nami’s and attracted most of the plant creatures’ attention, due to their obviously unfriendly intentions for the Emain Ablach’s plant life, as evidenced by their abundant cutting tools.
Indeed, no sooner had they begun to clear a patch of ground for farm land than the jungle seemed to come alive around them, chlorofiends streaming from the greenery like an avenging tide. The brave sailors of Bilgewater fought well, but they were out of their element, and slowly pressed back into the center of the small clearing they had created. Even Gangplank was reduced to shouting orders from the center of the pack after a lucky blow from a plant creature shattered his leg as thoroughly as a ball from a cannon.
All hope seemed lost when the chlorofiends began to slow, and then collapse. Nami had completed the ritual, and the remainder of the Bilgewater agricultural force was safe.
In the aftermath of their two successful expeditions, Bilgewater established an agricultural settlement upon Emain Ablach which, bolstered by the island’s magic, began to show dividends in a fraction of the time normal crops would have taken. This bounty would obviously prove more than sufficient for Bilgewater’s needs, and so it was decided that, in honor of their assistance, the first crop in its entirety, as well as a tithe of all future crops, would be given freely to the inhabitants of Nyroth and Emain Ablach. This generous gesture greatly improved Bilgewater’s relations with both groups, as well as earning great favor from the League of Legends itself.
Unfortunately, Gangplank was forced to withdraw himself from the conflict for a time, citing his wounded leg. Though he was loath to admit it, the feared captain had also had opportunity to pick up a number of tricks of the farming trade during his illustrious career, mostly while posing as a farmer or orchard keeper for one con or another. Oddly enough, this actually made him one of the most knowledgeable Bilgewater members in the agricultural sciences, and his leadership was invaluable in the the initial stages of the farming operations.
Finally, as promised, Maokai agreed to make his name available for petition to join Bilgewater’s forces, as the ritual, as modified by Nami, had inspired given him some insight into the problem of the Shadow Isles, and how it might be partially offset.
Next Update: The Automata