Monday, November 28, 2016

Far Isles Session #51 - Boarding Action!

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 4), with henchman Corvus (Fighter 2)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 4), with familiar Hermes and henchman Jaz (Elf 1)
Chaff (Vivimancer 5), with familiar PrettyBird and riding dog PuppyWhuppy
Abdul el Abdul (Fighter 4)
Aug Wahmn (Calmonari 2)
Torak (Cleric 4) [NPC]

The party picked over the barrels and crates, all of which they recognized as coming from the "Purple Haze". Turning over one barrel, Chaff found a short note carved  in the side: 'attacked, fleeing, send message when back'. Well, that didn't tell them much they hadn't already learned from the octopus, but at least they had some supplies. Since Pretty Bird hadn't seen anything, Chaff decided to summon the ebony fly, and he and Kwinsea headed off to do a wider sweep of the area to look for their lost ship. Meanwhile, the rest of the party set up camp and started gathering wood to build a signal fire if that became necessary (Rodrigo narrowly missing getting stung by giant centipedes as he rooted through the underbrush).

Chaff and Kwinsea headed east from the cove, towards a trio of small islands on the other side of the sound. One was dominated by a tall tower of rock, behind which the sharp eyed Kwinsea spied a mast. Chaff brought the fly in low over the spire, and as he did they could see a man jump out of a dead tree, run towards to edge of the spire and start shouting. As the fly buzzed past him and over the edge, Chaff and Kwinsea could see a ship hiding in the lee of the isle. It was not the "Purple Haze", but the battered "Loreman's Passage". They also saw bustling activity on the deck below, as sailors started to raise sail, and a half dozen crossbowmen raised their weapons and fired on the flying spies. Both Chaff and Kwinsea were stuck by multiple bolts, so they quickly turned away and beat back towards the rest of the party. As they crossed the sound, they could see the "Loreman's Passage" coming around the small isle and then settling in to patrol the waters rather than pursue their flying foes.

Jungle Trek
After stopping to inform the rest of the party of what had happened (and to get a few cures from Torak), Chaff and Kwinsea jumped on the fly once more to scout the western edge of the Mandaro-Shanti island. At the southern tip there was a small islet separated from the main island by a narrow passage. It was overhung by trees and vines, but the sharp eyed Kwinsea once more spied a mast in the mess. Dropping to the deck, they were thrilled to find the "Purple Haze" waiting for them. The crew was likewise happy to see them, and Lynessa filled them in on the details of their escape.With the fly now exhausted for the day, Chaff sent PrettyBird back to the rest of the party with the news, and instructed them to move over land where the island was narrowest so they could meet the "Purple Haze" without the "Loreman's Passage" knowing they'd all rejoined their ship. Luckily, Abdul el Abdul, Rodrigo, Awg Wahmn, Torak, Corvus and Jaz were able to chop their way through the jungle overnight without getting lost or eaten by some large jungle beast.

With everyone now on board, the party burned with a desire for revenge on the "Loreman's Passage" and the band of ruffians who were running the ship. Unfortunately, the day dawned with heavy rain followed by thick fog, and they couldn't see much further than the end of the bowsprit. Lynessa slowly and carefully brought the  "Purple Haze" around the island and anchored at the entrance to the sound to wait out the weather. Thankfully, the next day dawned clear and bright, so they  raised sail and looped around the outer isles to come up on the last known location of the "Loreman's Passage" from behind. And luckily, they found their foe in much the same place as they'd left her two days ago. The party had Lynessa and the crew crowd on as much sail as possible; the "Loreman's Passage" did likewise, coming around and raising sail. The party, meanwhile, loaded up the catapult. Once in range, they let loose, aiming for the rigging and mast to try slowing down the approaching ship.  In this they were successful, but the two vessels were still closing fast. On the fore-deck of the "Loreman's Passage" stood the five adventurers, while in the rigging were a half dozen crossbowmen. As soon as they were in range, the party loosed a hail of pistol and bow shot, all of which missed. Chaff then cast instinct on one of the adventurers, who turned in a rage to attack one of his companions! Jaz followed with a sleep spell, which dropped most of the crew (cracking a few skulls on the deck as they fell from the rigging), which caused the ship the shudder and sway as it started to loose steerage. Finally, Kwinsea used tidal force to push all but one of the adventurers across the deck and over the rail into the sea. The three armored fighters sank like a stone and were not seen again,  but a pair of lightly encumbered men saved themselves and were left treading water.

Rodrigo, Ho!
As the two ships passed each other, Awg Wahmn dove in to take the surrender of the two in the water. The rest of the party tried to board the "Loreman's Passage", but were unable to get safely aboard the wildly swaying ship. It took some time to get the "Purple Haze" turned about to pursue, but the battered "Loreman's Passage" didn't have a chance. Coming alongside this time, Rodrigo swung from his perch in the crowsnest into the rigging of the  "Loreman's Passage", cutting down one of the men-at-arms stationed there. The rest of the party jumped the railing and rushed the last adventurer and the men at-arms. There was a short fight, but in the end all surrendered. That didn't save Rolf, the last adventurer, as Abdul el Abdul cut him down anyway. The party did accept the surrender of the rest of the men-at-arms as well as of the ship itself. They found their old companion,  Rold the erstwhile first mate, in charge of the ship. And likewise recognized the handful of crew who remained alive. After some discussion, it was decided that the men-at-arms would be pressed into helping crew the "Loreman's Passage", Lynessa's first mate would take over as captain, and both Rold and the magic user Dorban (one of those rescued from the water by Awg Wahmn)  would be kept prisoner on the "Purple Haze".

Meanwhile, Kwinsea and Awg Wahmn dove down to recover the bodies of the drowned adventurers, but were successful in finding just one in the deep water. From the body they recovered a handful of magical crossbow bolts, as well as a collection of gold bangles. They also relieved Dorban of his gold bangles and spell book, and gagged the magic user just in case. The party also flipped through the "Loreman's Passage" log and took down some notes on the location of the "Temple of the Sea Mother". They learned from Rold and the crew that the adventurers hadn't done much exploring of the "Temple", they being content mostly with attacking and robbing the other parties returning from the dungeons. But as far as they knew, no one had yet recovered the great pearl, the Egg of the Sea other.

After hauling the "Loreman's Passage" ashore for a few days to make repairs, the party decided to head towards the large island to the south and take up their half-forgotten plan to capture a dinosaur. Approaching the island, they observed a rocky and mountainous shore  to the west, and thick jungle and swamp to the east. The mountains came right down to the sea and offered no anchorage, but there was one cove which was less rugged, as well as a few locations along the jungle shore that looked promising ...

TOTAL XP
1700

GAINS
Pile of gold bangles (1200gp)
7 crossbow bolts
potion
Spellbook - 1/Sleep, 1/Read Magic, 1/Shield, 1/Magic Aura, 2/Scare, 2/Web, 2/Stinking Cloud 
A slightly battered "Loreman's Passage"
5 men-at arms and 1 magic user (Dorban) captured  

KILLS
'The Dudes' - Martlet, Gusso, Breen & Rolf
1 man-at-arms

LOSSES
none

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Far Isles Session #50 - Spiders and Suprises

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 4), with henchman Corvus (Fighter 2)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 4), with familiar Hermes and henchman Jaz (Elf 1)
Chaff (Vivimancer 5), familiar PrettyBird, riding dog PuppyWhuppy & henchman"No 7" (Halfling 2)
Abdul el Abdul (Fighter 4)
Aug Wahmn (Calmonari 2)
Torak (Cleric 4) [NPC]

As Chaff, No 7 and the menagerie ran in to join them, the party moved through the ruined east wall , finding a chamber with an empty pool at the centre. Looking around, they observed a mosaic on the wall they'd through which they'd come, showing what appeared to be the gatehouse with the city in the background. Abdul el Abdul looked really hard and squinted, and realized that scattered throughout the background were half hidden images of room walls opening and revealing hidden rooms or passages. But the mosaic was such a ruined jumble it wasn't really clear, so Kwinsea cast her reversed erosion spell to restore the crumbled artwork. It was then clear that the secret doors/walls were linked by faint red lines to the well and the palace, although the exact terminus of the lines was not clear.

Spider Attack!
Having learned all their fooling around in the well might have had some effect after all, the party moved on to loot some more. In the surrounding corridors, they found a pair of circular stairwells going down, and a pair of straight stairs going up.  They checked one stairwell and determined it descended deeper than the first level of the dungeon. Before descending, however, the consensus was to finish exploring above ground first. Climbing up, the party emerged onto the ruined balcony, they searched through destroyed furniture and stirge nests , finding a few coins and lapis lazuli gems for their efforts.  Moving on, they entered the northern side of another balcony, which overlooked the large entry chamber on the first floor. On the far side of the balcony was an open doorway which appeared to lead into some chambers. The party headed that way, and when they reach the opening and looked in, found a room covered in large, thick webs. And then heard the scurrying of many feet approaching from the inside. Abdul el Abdul and No 7 took up position in the doorway, the fighter wielding the mighty Terminaxe and the halfling a brace of laser pistols. They never had the opportunity to use them, however, as the spiders scurried out of the webs and sank a poisoned bite into each. Both fell to the floor, foaming at the mouth and twitching before finally stopping stone dead. A flurry of flighting from the rest of the party took out a few spiders, but others could be heard approaching. Kwinsea hauled out her wand of fear and sent the arachnids scurrying out through a hole in the wall and into the ruined city below.

Sadly putting their fallen aside for now, they remaining party members looted a trio of web-filled rooms. One was a ruined bedchamber with nothing of interest but some inlaid gems in the rotting bed frame. In the other room were six tall wardrobes, containing a mix of giant spider eggs (quickly destroyed), a larder of dead animals wrapped in webs, and the body of a dead warrior treated the same. They relieved the dead warrior of his few coins, then opened the last wardrobe to find a massive mirror of magnificent workmanship. They laid this alongside their fallen for later collection before heading west to explore the rest of this floor.

First encountered was a long narrow chamber with a lapis lazuli decorated bronze throne at each end. On each sat a skeletal form, clad only in tattered rags. Kwinsea entered the room with the intent of prying out the gems. As she did so, the aquamancer was barely able to resist the urge to sit on one of the thrones herself. She was also finding it increasingly difficult to breath, so Torak cast a delay poison on her so she could get on with the looting. While she was doing so, Awg Wahmn went to check one of the other hallways leading beyond the room of thrones. In it he found an odd sight; a series of stones floating in mid air with similar stones scattered on the floor. Chaff came up and poked at one, which wobbled back and forth a bit before coming to rest in it's original place. Meanwhile Rodrigo and Corvus explored another hallway, which led to a large bronze door carved with the image of a woman lying in repose. On either side was a large censor out of which billowed a thick, yellow, acrid smoke. They went back to get the poison-poof Kwinsea to have a closer look. The door was solid and had no obvious handle; it looked like it needed some battering or other brute force to get it open. So the censors were covered with sacks to keep down the smoke level, and Corvus came up to help her get the door open. After much hacking for little effect (and some inhalation damage fro Corvus), the aquamancer attached  a rope to the door, and the collective strength of the party was able to haul in down, with a resounding 'thud' as it hit the floor.

Scarab Broach
Beyond the door was a tiny 10' chamber. A fire pit sat in the centre, a tiny barred window opened the outside at the far end, and a low stone bench lay to each side. Under each bench was a small stone coffer. These the party hauled away from the area of yellow smoke, and then broke them open. In one was a beautiful gold and tourmaline scarab broach, and a plain and smooth black stone. In the other was a demonic bronze mask and a small, sealed ceramic jar. All these items were scooped up, and the party headed for the circular stairs, to check out what further treasure lay down below.

After a few twists and turns, the party found themselves in a large room lined with bas-reliefs of what appeared to be warrior kings of Mandaro-Shanti. In front of each, carved in the floor, was a hieroglyphic. Kwinsea consulted her language notes and determined the glyphs were names, probably of the kings depicted. She stood in front of one, then another, and spoke the name as best she could. But nothing seemed to happen. Meanwhile, Chaff and a few others moved off to check another corridor, which led to a room with a massive press. Stacked against the walls were ingots of metal; gold, silver, copper and bronze. After a closer look, Chaff discovered the press was for minting coins. He called over the burly Corvus, and with his help placed an ingot of copper on the plates, which the fighter then transformed into monkey-embossed coinage with a hard turn of the press. Impressed, Chaff decided he wanted all the cold and silver turned into monkey coinage before the party moved on.

When done, the party did indeed move along.  Following a twisting corridor, they next came to a room with a blazing pit of fire in the centre. The heat was intense, and the party had to run quickly through to the opposite exit to avoid getting too crisped. Continuing on, they next emerged into a room which Torak immediately recognized. This was one of the rooms he'd explored before, with the five statues;
  • One of black volcanic rock depicting an evil looking human-like creature with six arms with tusked mouth. It held a skeleton in two of its arms, a corpse in two of its arms, and its last two hands were empty; 
  • Bronze statue of a seated humanoid creature with four arms. It held a baby in two arms, and a cow in each of the other two hands;
  • Clay statue of a fat sitting human with the head of a crocodile, holding an axe;
  • Wooden statue of a standing woman with the head of a long-beaked bird, very long fingers and hair that reached to her bare feet; and
  • Grey stone statue of a four armed human figure with the head of a gazelle. In one hand wass a bolt of lightning in one hand, a cloud in another, and a large ornate black basin in its lap.
Torak approached the gazelle statue to examine the bowl. As he did, a thunderous, bubbling voice spoke, saying “I am Cho-Oda, protector of the jungles; begone from my presence, mortal vermin, carriers of plague and madness. You have cursed me, and I shall take my revenge upon you and all your filthy kind.” At that point, a black oozy mass began to rise from the bowl and prepared to lash out at Torak. He and the rest of the party, however, had had enough a this point, and turned and fled from the wrath of Cho-Oda.

Stopping just long enough to collect Abdul el Abdul and No 7, the party trekked back through the jungle to rendezvous with the "Purple Haze". Unfortunately, when they arrived, their ship was gone. A small collection of barrels and crates lay on the strand. Chaff sent Pretty Bird aloft to look about, but the bird could see nothing of the ship or anything else of import in the immediate area. Kwinsea dove into the cove and tracked down an octopus. She cast charm aquatic animal on the tentacled beast, and it revealed that a second 'man-shell' had arrived and driven off the first, just a day or so ago.  Well, now what. At least Chaff found the missing  "death" hachimaki which he used to bring Abdul el Abdul back one more time ...

TOTAL XP
5671

GAINS
30gp
5sp
5 lapis lazuli gems (5x 10gp)
Collection of lapis lazuli furniture decoration (550gp)
Collection of gold and lapis lazuli bits and bobs (320gp)
Gems pried from cursed thrones (110gp)
Gold and gem scarab (2000gp)
Small ceramic jar, sealed
1200gp & 2100sp of newly minted coins
Fancy mirror (1000gp)
Bronze demon mask
Luckstone +1

KILLS
4 Giant Spiders

LOSSES
Abdul el Abdul
No. 7

Monday, October 24, 2016

Far Isles Session # 49 - More Monkey Business

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 4), with henchman Corvus (Fighter 2)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 4), with familiar Hermes and henchman Jaz (Elf 1)
Abdul el Abdul (Fighter 4)
Aug Wahmn (Calmonari 2)
Torak (Cleric 4) [NPC]

Raising sail, the party had Lynessa turn the "Purple Haze" back towards the Anchorage, to bring Abdul el Abdul's rapidly purifying remains to the witch Bellephrone. The first couple of days sailing brought fair weather, but wind on the beam, resulting in slower than ideal progress. There was a little excitement on the second day, when Corvus spied something approaching from the north. Whatever it was appeared to be following the wind. The party had Lynessa turn the ship around to start tacking towards it. After a few hours fighting the wind, 'it' turned out to be a woman on a raft made of coconuts lashed together. The woman, native looking and wearing an odd mix of palm frond skirt and crude gold jewelry, waved her arms in the air and screamed indecipherably at the approaching ship. The two vessels continued to close, however, and when the raft was almost abeam of the ship, the young woman stopped screaming and reached into a nearby sack. She emerged with two coconuts, which she hurled at the "Purple Haze", one of which whacked Kwinsea up the side of the head. That made the aquamancer mad, so she tied the woman up with command rope. With the raft now safe to board, the party descended on the woman, relieved her of her gold, and determined she was totally and irretrievably mad. So they left her aboard the raft, and turned away before the spell ended and before they they had to face another barrage of coconuts.

Winter Storm
That adventure over, the ship faced another one the next day, when a winter storm raged out of the north, tossed the "Purple Haze" about and shredded sail, lines and spars. They also completely lost control of sailing direction, and when the storm finally abated the next day, they found themselves far off course. Thanks to Abdul el Abdul's directional crystal, they were able to figure out they were further north than expected, but with no idea how far away. Regardless, they turned about to head back towards the crystal caves, and hopefully thence to the Anchorage. With fair wind they made good time, and after a few days encounter land. In fact, they encountered the island at which they'd sheltered from the last winter storm, on their outward journey to the Jungle Isles. Knowing now where they were, the "Purple Haze" was turned to the north-west and in a couple of more days they were 'home'. 

In the shelter of the port they found three vessels:
  • "Valorous Star", the floating warehouse of the over-perfumed elf, Lifjin;
  • "Loreman's Passage", the former ship of their erstwhile employer Yorik, looking rather worst for wear.; and
  • a ship with a hull made of skins stretched over some sort of framework, loaded to the gunnels with felled logs. 
Focusing on the task at hand, the party prepared to go ashore with Abdul el Abdul's body. They were interrupted, however, by a boat approaching from the "Loreman's Passage". In it were four disreputable looking, heavily armed, characters. They hailed the "Purple Haze" and asked what their business was in the Anchorage. When told they were resting the crew, repairing the ship, and raising the fighter, the quartet showed much interest in the prospect of the party leaving the "Purple Haze". The four tried to squeeze more information out of them, specifically where they'd been and how much gold they'd recovered. When the party continued to be tight lipped, the four rowed back to the "Loreman's Passage". Meanwhile, Aug Wahmn dove overboard on the opposite side of the "Purple Haze", and them swam with one ear to the bottom of the retreating rowboat. By some miracle, the calmonari was able to listen in on the occupants conversation. It would appear the four were looking for easy pickings, and thought they might be able to storm the "Purple Haze" and take her over when the party was away with Bellephrone. When  Aug Wahmn swam back and relayed this information, the party changed their plans. Half the party would go ashore with Abdul el Abdul (keeping one eye open for ambush), while the other half would guard the ship. Having thus covered all their bases, the half-party brought Abdul el Abdul to the sardonic Bellephrone. The witch agreed to bring the fallen fighter back in return for the last magical silk hachimaki ('water'). The party also asked her to identify some of their newly acquired magic items; specifically, the scimitar carried by Awg Wahmn, the leather armor and short sword from the king's tomb, and the pair of wands Kwinsea was carrying. This Bellephrone was glad to do for a price of 4000gp. She took Abdul's' body and the five items, and told the party to return on the morrow.

With no unpleasant incidents from the occupants of the "Loreman's Passage", the half-party returned to the hut in the pine wood the next day. There they found Abdul el Abdul waiting for them, a little wheezier than before and buck naked. As the fighter donned the clothes and armor the party had brought with them, everyone gathered around the hear about the magic items:
  • The scimitar was a mighty +2 weapon, but was cursed. Every time the wielder drew the blade in anger, he/she would first have to wet the blade with his/her own blood before using it in battle;
  • The armor was +3 leather which would bind wounds suffered by the wearer;
  • The short sword was a +3 weapon, which could summon simian servants; and
  • the wands were a wand of secret door detection  and a wand of fear
Thus better informed of their capabilities, the party returned to their ship. The crew had repaired the storm damage, so they hoisted sail and headed back towards the Jungle Isles. They decided along the way to head back to the lost city of the Madaro-Shanti, and a few days fair sail found the ship back at anchor off the island of the black mist.The party jumped ashore, and worked their way back through  the jungle and into the ruined city. They met no notable opposition along the way, and made straight for the palace. Passing through the large entry chamber, they first explored the pillared halls from which the first ghoul monkeys had attacked. Finding nothing of interest there, they moved on down a narrow passage to a series of partly ruined rooms and alcoves. One they recognized as the room where they'd fought zombies from down below. The entrance to a second room was blocked by a massive pile of rubble. While climbing up, the party disturbed a quartet of giant centipedes which were dispatched with ease thanks to Jax's sleep spell. 

In the next two alcoves contained, respectively, a lion statue and a wooden chest. The statue was looked over quickly, and when nothing of note was found, attention turned to the chest. It appeared in remarkably good condition considering the ruined state of most of the other woodwork examined thus far. Awg Wahmn carefully examined it, and noted that it wasn't quite as solid as it would appear at first glance. A yellow, powdery substance extruded between the cracks and rot of the wood, seemingly holding it together.  The calmonari decided it best not to disturb at close range, so he/she retreated and let Abdul el Abdul shoot it with a crossbow bolt. It went right through, and a cloud of yellow dust billowed into the air. Rodrigo then decided to saturate the chest with water before holding his breath and breaking it open. Inside was a pile of mildewed fibres, a handful of strange gold coins, and a set of gleaming bronze greaves and bracers, plus matching helmet. 

Stirge
Washing off and taking the loot, the party pushed on into the next room. This was a large chamber, with the ceiling two stories above supported by pillars. Overlooking it on the floor above was a partially tumbled balcony. There was little time to look around, however, as a cacophony of hooting howls announced the presence of ghoul monkeys, hiding behind the pillars. As the mad simians descended on the party, there arose from the balcony above another threat; a flock of strange bird-like creatures with very long beaks. These flew down to join the attack, and two scored hits on Torak and Rodrigo, inserting their beaks deep into their bodies and sucking their blood. Luckily, the ghoul monkeys and birds were eliminated without any loss, leaving the party looking around and decide what to do next ...


TOTAL XP
1062

GAINS
Bronze greaves, bracers, and helmet [AC6]
Collection of crude gold jewelry (900gp)
15gp

KILLS
6 Ghoul Monkeys
4 Giant Centipedes
5 Stirges 

LOSSES
none

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Far Isles Session #47 & #48 - Out of the Ruins

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 3), with henchman Corvus (Fighter 2)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 4), with familiar Hermes and henchman Jaz (Elf 1)
Abdul el Abdul (Fighter 5)
Chaff (Vivimancer 5), familiar PrettyBird, riding dog PuppyWhuppy & henchman"No 7" (Halfling 2)
Torak (Cleric 4)

There was a short debate on whether the party should focus on the ruins of the palace or check out the dungeons below. In the end they decided on the dungeon, and everyone climbed down though the pit. Heading cautiously to the opening through which the ghoul monkeys had emerged, they found a room unsurprising covered in monkey feces. Along the north wall were three barrels and in the north-west corner a 10'x10' alcove. Abdul el Abdul headed towards the barrels, while Kwinsea and Corvus went to check out the alcove. Out of it sprang another hanu-naga, which sank it's fangs into Kwinsea and crushed the aquamancer in its constructing coils. Although terribly injured, she fought off the effects of the poison and the monkey-snake quickly fell to a few well placed blows. At about the same time, a single ghoul monkey appeared in the doorway, whom Rodrigo dispatched  with a single sword blow. With that excitement over, Chaff shuffled forward to dig around in the alcove for treasure, finding a pile of mixed coins. Meanwhile, Abdul el Abdul opened one barrel, finding it filled with a pungent liquid and a dead monkey. The other two contained the liquid but no monkey. Torak had a sniff of the liquid and declared it to be some sort of necromantic nectar.

Hanu-Naga
Heading next out of the southern opening, the party moved down a hallway, passing an arched opening on the left and then came to a spot where the ceiling had collapsed, partially blocking the passage. Light could be seen filtering from above, so Abdul el Abdul climbed up to look. A ruined room greeted his gaze, as did 5 shuffling zombies. The fighter dropped back down into the hole as the undead approached. Torak raised his holy symbol and called on the power of the Drowned God to turn three of them away. The party then turned on the remaining two, destroying them. They then had to destroy the first three, they having returned after a short while. Once more there was discussion of where to explore; dungeon or palace. Once more, the vote was dungeon and the party moved on. They next entered a room filled with plain stone sarcophagi. Popping off a lid revealed a mummy inside, wearing plain copper jewelry. Kwinsea and Corvus started to poke at the body, raising a cloud of dust that caused both the hack and cough. Meanwhile, the rest of the lids were opened revealing the same contents. In the end, it didn't seem worth risking poisoning or disease to get a few copper trinkets, so the bodies were left in peace.

Moving on, they party briefly examined an embalming room, with stone tables and jars of embalming fluids lining the walls. Further on they found a pool full of rushing water. Kwinsea poked her head in, finding it was a natural stream and flowing much to fast to risk a swim. Further on, they encounter a hallway and alcove full of barrels. No monkeys this time, just barrels of brackish water and soured wine, one of which got dumped on the floor just for fun.

The next room was unexceptional, with the exception of what appeared to be a pile of vomitous refuse in one corner. This turned out to be some sort of protoplasmic monster which flowed over to attack the party. After one weapon attack split the thing in two, the party focused a shower of flaming oil and torches on the creature, and No 7 blasted at it with her new laser pistol. It was in relatively short order destroyed, leaving an unformed mass of goo crusted over with burns. This was absolutely fascinating to Chaff's vivimantic heart, so he and No 7 stayed behind to examine and dissect the mass while the other moved on.

The party backtracked along the corridor, following a few twists and turns before coming to a section with three doors. Abdul el Abdul checked the first and Jaz the second, neither hearing anything on the other side.  Abdul el Abdul kicked open his door, revealing a small room filled with more sarcophagi, plus a large black iron torch in a scone by the door. These sarcophagi were a little fancier than the previous lot, with images of the apparent occupants painted on the front. These images showed richly dressed folk, so the party started to plan on how to open the lids and see if they were actually rich. In the end, they hooked a pair of grapples on the lid, and Abdel el Abdul and Corvus pulled it off and onto the floor in a cloud of dust and an echoing crash. Once the dust settled, the party examined the inside, finding another mummy. This one wore silver jewelry, of which it was carefully relieved. The other sarcophagi were treated likewise, while Rodrigo followed behind cutting up the bodies and burning them, as well as checking the bottom of each tomb for false or secret compartments. Each body was relieved of a similar selection of tarnished silver jewelry, and one gave up a large silver mace as well.

Sarcophagi
 Before checking the door Jaz had examined, the party tried the third. Smashing it open, on the other side they found another room identical to the last sarcophagi chamber. Except these tombs were very richly decorated, with the lids inlaid with lapis lazuli. These were treated like the last lot, with lids removed, electrum jewelry looted, and bodies diced and burned. The party also took the time to pry the lapis lazuli out of the lids.   In one sarcophagi, the mummy clutched a pair of ebony sticks which Kwinsea claimed, assuming they were were wands. Each was inscribed with Mandaro-Shanti runes, one of which had something to do with 'fear', the other with 'find secret, hidden, disguised'.

One more lot of desecration complete, the party headed back to Jaz's door. Opening it, on the other side they found a 10' corridor which opened into a circular room. In the centre of the room stood the marble statue of a naked man holding a spear. When Abdul el Abdul approached closer to the main room, he noted there were cracks in the floor running east to west, as if someone had set the stones too far apart when laying them. That was suspicious, so he and Corvus went back to one of the sarcophagi rooms and grabbed a lid. They carried it back to the circular room and tossed it on the floor. It hit with a loud BOOM, and they saw that the impact caused the sections of floor to move a little. The party spent a few minutes discussing how to tackle the floor, when all of a sudden and with no warning, the 'slats' of the floor turned 90 degrees, revealing a shallow crawlspace filled with broken crystal. Moments later, the floor swung shut. The party also looked around the room once more, noting there were crystal torches mounted on the walls at about the height of the statues spear. All in all, everyone smelled a trap.

They waited and tried several things to get the floor to open again, including prying it open.  But it seemed very solid now. In the end, Corvus and Abdul el Abdul used a grapple to hook onto the statues spear arm, while Torak scooted across the floor to examine it more closely. He found the statue's eyes consisted of huge sapphires, and in a flash the cleric had a dagger out and climbed up on the statue to pry one out. At that moment, the statue started to turn, lowering it's spear a little. Corvus and Abdul el Abdul were able to hold it in place, as Torak held on tight and continued to pry out the gems. A beam of light shot out of the spear, but did no harm thanks to Corvus and Abdul el Abdul. Torak, now with gems in hand, crawled back across the floor to rejoin the party.

Tomb of King Tallaharka
Leaving the circular room behind, the party pushed on down the corridor. It turned once more, leading to a verdigris covered copper door. Opposite the door was a 10'x10' alcove. Kwinsea used her new 'secret/hidden' wand to see if there was something in the alcove, but to no avail. Torak then opened the copper door, revealing a chamber  with a single copper sarcophagus at the centre, over which hung a glowing ball of light. There were two other doors leading out, one made of bronze and the other of iron. Abdul el Abdul boldly strode into the room towards the iron door. As he passed the sarcophagus, a ghostly head appeared above it and said "Here lies King Tallaharka of Madaro-Shanti. Turn back, for defiling his rest will bring you naught but woe" before sinking back into the sarcophagus. Abdul el Abdul shrugged and continued on, followed by the rest of the party. As each person passed the sarcophagus, the head emerged and repeated its warning. Even for Torak, who donned his ring of invisibility for his passage. Now all at the iron door, they tried opening it but it was locked, so Abdul el Abdul had to force it open. In the room on the other side was a set of stairs going down, while in the centre was a wicker brier, at each end of which knelt a mummy. Rodrigo convinced Kwinsea to torch the mummies with a cantrip,and in the flickering flames the party could now see a mosaic on the far wall which depicted four hanu-naga. They could also see a series of gold objects lined up along the edge of the stairs. Abdul el Abdul and Rodrigo headed for the treasure, finding a gold box (containing gold trimmed robes),  plus a gold ewer, cup and bowl. When they disturbed the treasure, however, one of the hanu-naga in the mosaic burst out of the wall in a clatter of coloured tiles. It lunged forward at the fighter and swashbuckler, biting and constructing Abdul el Abdul. The fighter, alas, was not able to resist the poison and in moments dropped frothing at the mouth and twitching, before lying very still and dead. Fearing the effects of the bite on someone else, Kwinsea used a rope trick to tie the creatures jaws shut, allowing Rodrigo, Jaz and Torak to stab and slice it to death.

While everyone else took a moment to recover, Torak put on his ring of invisibility and scouted down the stairs, light dagger in hand. He quickly checked a couple of rooms. One was filled with more mosaics, this time picturing strange beings with human bodies and animal heads, while then other contained statues of the same.   He then came back upstairs and whipped out his stack of scrolls and use delay poison on Abdul el Abdul. With a cough and a spit, the fighter opened his eyes and stood again, wondering why everyone was looking at him so strange? No one had the heart to tell him he had just an hour extra to live, but instead let him lead the way back into the tomb of King Tallaharka to see what might be found in that sarcophagus.
There, everyone headed over to the copper door to allow a quick escape in case anything/everything went wrong. Again, the lid was removed with grapples. But this time, something emerged from the sarcophagus. A huge, scared, naked man sat up. Kwinsea immediately cast another rope trick, tying it's legs together and keeping it from getting out of it's tomb. When Torak was unable to turn the beast, the fighters rushed in and made short work of chopping their immobile foe to pieces. They hauled the body out, and Rodrigo once more checked the bottom for false compartments. which this time he found! Opening it up uncovered a mummy, dressed in finely tooled leather armor and holding a short sword on it's breast. The party immediately started to strip the armor from the body, no one noticing a ghostly spirit rising up and forming above them. Abdul el Abdul did notice it when an incorporeal hand brushed by his head, leaving a deep chill in it's wake. A second blow connected with the fighter, and Abdul el Abdul felt his vitality and energy drain from his body. Kwinsea now whipped out her lightning bolt scroll, using it the blast the ghostly form into ethereal mist. 

The party finished looting the sword and armor, at which point Abdul el Abdul started to froth at the mouth again and fell dead to the floor once more. Taking stock of their resources and losses, the party decided to head back to the "Purple Haze" and get out of the black mist before it did any harm. Carrying Abdul's' body, they collected Aug-Wahmn on the way, and after several days travel though the jungle were once more back abroad ship.

TOTAL XP
Session #47
1190

Session #48
12180

GAINS
Session #47
110gp
250sp
400cp

Session #48
5 sets silver funeraly jewelry (20gp each)
1 ceremonial silver mace (50gp)
5 sets electrum funeraly jewelry (1000gp each)
2 sapphire eyes (2000gp each)
5 sets of lapis lazuli sarcophagi gems (500gp total)
gold box, with gold trimmed robe inside (450gp & 30gp)
golden ewer, cup and bowl (150go, 60go, 40gp)
Leather Armor +3, Sutured Wounds
Short Sword +3, Simian Summoning
Wand of secret door detection  
Wand of fear

KILLS
Session #47
1 hanu-naga
1 ghoul monkey
1 ochre jelly
5 zombies

Session #48
1 hanu-naga
1 giant zombie
1 ghostly spirit of the great King Tallaharka of Mandaro-Shanti

LOSSES
Session #47
None

Session #48
Abdul el Abdul (poisoned, killed, brought back, level drained, dies again)

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Far Isles Session #46 - From Well to Palace

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 3)
Corvus (Fighter 2)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 4), with familiar Hermes and henchman Jaz (Elf 1)
Abdul el Abdul (Fighter 5)
Chaff (Vivimancer 5), familiar PrettyBird, riding dog PuppyWhuppy & henchman"No 7" (Halfling 2)

The party expended a significant amount of brain power trying to puzzle their way through the secret of the rotating platforms. They came up with several options to try:
  • Swing the animated statue down to the lowest platform to see if that surface stayed steady when you avoided stepping on the upper surfaces. The statue hit the platform and flipped off the edge, going in the drink until No.7 lowered a rope and everyone hauled it back up (only to have it go inanimate once again after all that work);
  • Chaff summoned the ebony fly so he could get at the door without stepping on the upper platforms, on the assumption the spinning motion activated the lock on the door. Alas, this didn't work;
  • Kwinsea used her water  breathing to search below the surface of the piranha-plagued pool for another door, exit, or some other clue. This required something to distract the piranhas, so Abdul el Abdul and Corvus went back to the dead gorilla-centaurs and hacked off a few pieces to throw in the water and draw the fishes attention. That only worked so well, and the aquamancer did get rather bitten. She also didn't see anything of interest below the water.
In the end, they decided to tempt fate and turn the wheels. Corvus, being the biggest brute of the lot, was volunteered for this step. The first wheel was very hard to turn, and it was a few minutes before it turned all the way. A little testing with rope and grappling hook showed the second platform was now steady. So down went Corvus, turning the next wheel, and then finally to the lowest platform and turning the final wheel. When the rest of the party saw that Corvus was done (and was being shredded by piranha leaping out of the water), they rushed down posthaste. Opening the door, they found a tunnel, which led to a shaft and ladder going down. Above was a stone ceiling, and below was water. Just above the waters edge, however, was another door.

Gems
Down the ladder, and with Abdul el Abdul in the lead, into the door, the party advanced. Inside were three large stone blocks, each sitting atop a metal grate over a 20' deep pit. The room was also bone-dry, unlike the damp series of chambers they'd had to traverse thus far. After poking around for a bit, the party noted a couple of other key points. First, the ceiling above was polished like a mirror. It, however, did not reflect the simultaneous scene below it, but rather reflected what happens a few moments later in time i.e. it could be used to see the result of a action before it was taken. The other interesting point was the blocks were not so massive after-all, but seemed to float as light as a feather on the grates. The party proceeded to push the three blocks to the left, revealing behind each a small niche. In one lay a collection of gems, in the other a trio of silk hachimaki  inscribed with writing in the language of Madaro-Shanti which Kwinsea was able to roughly translate as  'water', 'dead', 'heal'. A search for secret doors or compartments in the alcoves and in  the dry pits revealed nothing more. Meanwhile, Abdul el Abdul has donned the hachimaki inscribed "heal", upon which the writing fading by half as he simultaneously had some health restored. 

Not convinced everything of value or interest had been found, the party decided to search in the water below the shaft. After first checking for piranhas, Kwinsea dove in and  swam below. She passed down a short shaft, then across a water filled chamber, and a short distance up another shaft. The shaft continued above, but there was no obvious way to climb. Going back to report, the party decided to leave her in the shaft and go back to the surface to re-set the well an see where the water carried the aquamancer.  What she found is the first shaft was filled with water (temporally blocked by a stone slab when they accessed the dry room) and ended at the top in a round 'bulb' with a weird stone torus on the ceiling. Several passages branched off this shaft, presumably leading to the series of chambers in the well. 

Death Monkey
While interesting, this exploration didn't reveal any further treasure or chambers, so the party headed back to the gatehouse to rest for the night and check on Awg-Wahmn. Next morning they headed for the palace, passing through the massive gate into an equally massive ruined hall. Along the north wall was a series of pillars, carved in the form of men and woman. Along the south wall a series of openings could be seem. On both sides rose three, room length and foot tall steps. Further on in the chamber was a pit in the floor, and a clay statue of a besital, naked half man/half monkey. Kwinsea immediately whipped out the crystal heart to animate the thing. Which was good, since just as Rodrigo was approaching the southern openings to check what was on the other side, a screaming mass of monkeys came pouring out and fell on the party. These did not look quite alive, and after  a close fight involving sword, spell, monkey statue and laser pistol, they were definitely now not alive. Rooting through the bodies the party found nothing, an for a lark Chaff tired the "death" hachimaki on one of the bodies. The monkey immediately healed of it's wounds and leapt to life, throwing itself at Chaff's feet. 

Before dealing with his new monkey henchman, Chaff had No. 7 lowered on a rope down into the pit. Once safely below the halfling was joined by Abdul el Abdul. The two found themselves in a chamber covered in bones, a mix of human and animal. They rooted through them for a moment, but didn't have much time as another screaming hoard of death-monkeys came pouring out of an opening in the north wall. The halfling and fighter luckily made it to the rope and were hauled up before too much damage was done, as Kwinsea held back the monkeys with a tidal force. They were eventually finished off by a mix of spells and missiles, leaving the party to decide what to do next ...

TOTAL XP
480

GAINS
5 Citrine (5 x 50gp)
3 Turquoise (3 x 20gp)
2 Blue Quartz (2 x 10gp)
3 magical silk hachimaki ('water', 'dead', 'heal')

KILLS
25 Ghoul Monkeys

LOSSES
none

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Far Isles Session #45 - Down the Well

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 3), with henchman Corvus (Fighter 2)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 4), with familiar Hermes and henchman Jaz (Elf 1)
Abdul el Abdul (Fighter 5)
Chaff (Vivimancer 5), familiar PrettyBird, riding dog PuppyWhuppy & henchman"No 7" (Halfling 2)
Aug-Wahmn (Calmonari 1)
Torak (Cleric 4)

One look at the jungle convinced the party that poling the raft up the river would be easier than another slog through the tangled tropical undergrowth. And they did make pretty good progress for the reminder of that first day and the early hours of the next, until the river became too shallow and rapid to proceed. By this time, however, the remains of an old roadway were visible on the south bank. Heading ashore and tying up the raft, they found the massive paving stones heaved and cracked and anything but easy to travel over. But certainly easier than the thick jungle. They had not gone far when, coming around a bend, they spied the crumpled form of a body on the road ahead. Upon closer investigation, it was obvious the body had been here many years, as little was left except the skeleton, some old rags, a rusted dagger and backpack. Kwinsea dug into the backpack and among the ruined remains of basic equipment was a book wrapped in oilcloth. While the others settled down for lunch, the aquamancer read through what turned out to be a journal, written in an oddly archaic but still generally understandable Common.  It told of a previous group of explorers who had found the lost city, named Madaro-Shanti. The journal contained some information this previous party had gleaned from the ruins, including a handy 'Rosetta Stone' allowing at least partial translation of inscriptions in the ruined city. Kwinsea learned that the city fell many years ago to a dark army, which laid it and the surrounding jungle under a curse. The curse drove one of the protector sprints of the jungle, Cho-Oda, insane. From its insanity arose the black mist, which would drain the life from all living creatures if they spent more than  a few days in its midst.  There was also an unusual statement buried in the text, simply saying "The Well Moves the Walls".

After lunch and story time, the party moved on again, and shortly encountered a strange situation. They'd been fighting jungle insects all the way, but as they passed through the latest fog of mosquitoes, the buzzing of the insects shifted and seemed to chant "Cho-Oda, Cho-Oda". The insects soon dissipated, however, with no other words.  It was not long after this that they noted the black mist staring to thicken, and the party was soon slogging through a thoroughly dead jungle where visibility came and went in accordance with the mists. After some hours of trudging through this bleak landscape, they could see through gaps in the black mist that the jungle was opening up. The road had led them to what would seem to be the ruins of the city. Little remained but fallen stone. The only obviously still standing structures were a massive gatehouse through which the road entered the city, and a large palace or similar building which could be seen near the centre of the ruins.

Gorilla-Centaur
The party deiced to skirt around the gatehouse, since the city walls themselves were fallen into ruin. Except Abdul el Abdul, who felt he had to approach the gatehouse proper and attempt to lift the massive portcullis found there. That didn't work, so he joined the rest of the party going around the structure. Which was good, as they were soon in need of the fighters help. As the party came around the side of the gatehouse, there galloped out of the mists a pair of strange creatures; gorilla-centaurs with the upper body of a gorilla on the lower body of a jungle antelope. These bellowed and smashed into the ranks of the party. One was cut down fairly quickly, while the second soon followed, but not before lashing out at Aug-Wahnm and crushing the calmonari below its body as it fell. Thankfully Aug-Wahnm survived (albeit at deaths door) and Torak bound his wounds and pulled his body out of the fighting line. For now four more  gorilla-centaurs  charged out of the mist. By this point the party had made it way towards the gatehouse, and were climbing the stairs they'd found leading to the top floor.  Rodrigo and Abdul el Abdul held the bottom of the stairs, Abdul el Abdul getting clawed, bitten and horribly crushed in a ape-hug by one gorilla-centaur. Meanwhile, from the stairs above, Jaz cast a sleep spell and Chaff a meld flesh. This left one gorilla-centaur asleep (soon to be permanently dispatched by Torak), and two others stumbling around as they were now joined at the arms. These two did not last long, falling to swords blows and a pistol shot from No 7. The last still living gorilla-centaurs turned to flee, but was likewise cut down.

Safe again, at least for the time being, the party grabbed Awg-Wahnm and carried his body up to the top floor of the gatehouse. Inside was an ancient charnel house, with bones lying shin-deep on the floor. It appeared the last defenders died to a man fighting. In the centre of the room also stood a large winch. The party rooted around in the bones, finding a leather purse with 5gp and a silver-studded leather hauberk. Abdul then went to the winch, and with relative ease turned it. From the sounds emanating from below, it would seem the portcullis that had defeated him before was now open. No. 7 climbed a ladder to the roof to look around, but thanks to the black mist there was little more to see than was visible from ground level. She did report movement of some sort to the north-east, and confirmed the large structure to the south-east was relatively intact and appeared to be a palace. After first making Awg-Wahnm comfortable, as they planned to leave him here to rest rather than drag him along, the party decided to head for the palace forthwith.

The party reached the palace without interference. There, in the courtyard in front of the building,  they also found a well. Square and ornately carved, it had two unusual features. The first was four stones head, one at each corner. The other was four handprints, one on each side. Torak looked closely at the heads and noticed that instead of pupils, those with open eyes have arrows circling in either a clockwise or counterclockwise direction. Each, with a single two-eyed exception, also had three eyes. As for the handprints, they were carved intaglio, but were unremarkable. Remembering the line from the journal about "The Well Moves the Walls", the party made various efforts to more or twist the well. Nothing happened, however, until four of them put hands in the carvings. A gurgling sound was heard, and Chaff could see (through Pretty Birds eyes) that the well was drained and mostly dry. At the bottom of the well shaft was a room, still damp with water on the floor, but otherwise accessible.
Stone Heads
After some discussion, it was determined Kwinsea would go down to investigate, figuring the aquamancer would survive any accidental release of water that would drown the rest. At the bottom of the well was a room, with a large brass valve/wheel set in the floor. On the east wall a steady pinprick stream of water arched into the room, while to the north was a niche 5' above the floor and holding a carved stone head similar to those above. After shouted consultation with her comrades above, Kwinsea turned the wheel on the floor clockwise (the only way it would go). As she did, the floor around it started to drop incrementally to form a circular staircase going down. So down she went, into a room with about a foot of water on the floor and two bronze wheels; one in the floor and one in the wall. At this point, the party above started examining the stone heads, and particular the eyes, assuming these were a clue as to how to turn the wheels. Shouting down directions, they told Kwinsea to turn the wheel on the wall clockwise and the one on the floor counterclockwise. Which once more worked, as a stone slab on the floor slide aside, allowing the water to drain and revealing a ladder going down.

By this time, with everything going without incident, the rest of the party followed Kwinsea down the well to the third room. This one had three wheels, one on the floor under three feet of water, and two on the walls. In the centre of the room was the rusted iron statue of a warrior, standing with spear and shield. There was also another niche in the north wall, this one about 15' above the floor. Based on their understanding of the eyes, the party started turning wheels. And immediately a section of wall opened on the east side and water began to pour in. The party tired to stop it by turning wheels back, but to no avail. As the water rose, the party started to climb back up to the previous room, but not before those still standing in the water were zapped by a shock of electricity emerging from the bronze wheels. That got them moving faster, and everyone was soon above. They decided in fact to go all the way up, resetting the well with the handprints above, and starting afresh. They had to do this five times before the proper steps were discovered; place a weight on a pressure plate in the niche, which unlocked all three wheels to turn clockwise. This opened a shaft in the floor, with another ladder leading down.
Down the Well

The ladder led into a room half submerged in water, with three platforms projecting from the wall. On each was a bronze wheel, and there was a door on lowermost platform. Once more, the water breathing Kwinsea was elected to scout ahead, and she jumped onto the first platform. Which promptly pivoted and dumped her into the water below. Where she was viciously attacked by a swarm of piranhas. Hauled back to the upper chamber via a rope lowered by her companions, she used the crystal heart to animate the iron statue so she could use it as a piranha guard. She and Rodrigo (and the statue) then splashed their way down into the water again and struggled through piranhas over to the lowest platform. Where the found the door solidly locked. The pair then decided to return above, taking the statue with them, to discuss with the rest of the party what to do next ...

TOTAL XP
565

GAINS
A silver-studded leather hauberk (20gp)
5 gp

KILLS
5 gorilla centaurs

LOSSES
Aug-Wahmn (temporarily) 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Far Isles Session #44 - Jungle, Ho!

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 3), with henchman Corvus (Fighter 2)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 4), with familiar Hermes and henchman Jaz (Elf 1)
Abdul el Abdul (Fighter 5)
Chaff (Vivimancer 5), familiar PrettyBird, riding dog PuppyWhuppy & henchman"No 7" (Halfling 2)
Aug-Wahmn (Calmonari 1)

Gorbo of Jalwar
Just as the party was about to embark, Chaff suddenly remembered he still hadn't identified the potions and oil from the temple of the sea demon. He asked around the Collegium, hoping the learned types there could help. In the end he was directed to go find the alchemist Gorbo of Jalwar in the Blackmilk, that dreary and dark slum down on the river. He found the dilapidated old building with a sign out front advertising the services of an alchemist, an apothecary, and a sage. Chaff chose the first  option, and headed down into the acrid basement. There he met the short, round, Gorbo, who after some wheeling and dealing offered to identify the four items for a paltry 800gp.  Chaff learned therefore that he was the proud owner of a potion of healing, potion of watery death, and a potion of water breathing. The bottle of bath oil was actually oil of true seeing, which applied to the eyelids allowed one to see through illusions. Abdul el Abdul, who'd tagged along for the fun, attempted to get the fast talking little man to tell him about the scimitar. Alas Gorbo was not an expert on weapons, and instead chased the fighter out of the basement in a scowling fit. Outside, Abdul el Abdul shrugged and passed the scimitar along to Awg-Wahmn for the calmonari to try.

Back at the "Purple Haze", Captain Lynessa informed them it was quite stormy and they'd be fighting a head wind, so they choose to lay low and wait out the inclement weather. The next day was still brisk, but the wind had swung around to the south-west, giving them a fast voyage  to the Anchorage, reaching the isle in just one day. They encountered another vessel along the way, which turned out to be the sad-sack "Two for Trouble" headed to the same location. At the Anchorage already were Nalco's rowboat, the merchant Marios, as well as the "Serpents Revenge" and "Quall's Folly". The party decided to ignore all the vessels at anchor, and headed over the hill to report to Bellephrone on the successful delivery of the box to the Pale Lady.  Which the witch seemed to already know. Curious that.

With no fanfare or lights, the party had Captain Lynessa take the "Purple Haze" out to sea in the pre-dawn darkness, and they set course for the south-east and the Lost Jungle Isles. They made good progress on the first day, but sunrise on the second found the ship tossed and turned in the grips of a winter storm. Luckily they sighted land ahead, and the crew skillfully brought the "Purple Haze" into a wooded cove to wait out the gale. It lifted the next day, and after a quick circumnavigation of the island (which consisted of a central peak, a mix of forest and meadow, a possible town in a sheltered harbour, and a lot of sheep and goats) before raising sail once again and plotting course to the south-east.

Snake Rider
Another day of fair sail brought them to what looked like their goal; a small group of jungle-covered islands appeared over the horizon. Checking their log notes and questioning Pablo, the crewman hired away from the "San Lorenzo", they weren't sure if they were in the thick of dinosaur country yet. But they seemed to be on the right track.  Of the four islands, only one attracted any immediate interest.  There, columns of smoke climbed into the sky, hinting at some sort of civilized or intelligent life. The party decided to land ashore, taking the ships' boat in through the rocky reefs to land on the thoroughly overgrown island. There was no sign of any civilization at this level, nor anything in the way of a trias. So the bigger brutes in the party took turns hacking through the thick undergrowth, taking hours to make scant progress. While taking for a bit of a breather, however, Rodrigo glanced up into the canopy and discovered they were not alone. Giant snakes was slithering through the branches above them, surprisingly ridden by outlandishly decorated tribesmen. The party tried to communicate in all the languages they know, but without much luck. They tried offering a gift of coins and metal objects, leaving it on the ground and backing away. The trio took the offering, and as the natives spoke among themselves, Rodrigo discovered he understood bits and pieces of their conversation as it sounded a lot like the pidgin  he'd heard in his previous swashbuckling travels. The natives were talking about giving the offerings to Ungobungo, the Great Serpent, apparently their god. Through a combination of Chaff's pantomime and Rodrigo's snip-its of language, the party was able to convince the three snake-riders to take them to their tribal chief.

Carried by the snake riders, the party made it to the centre of the island much faster than they would on foot. They found that the tribe did not live on the ground, but on platforms suspended from the jungle trees. In fact it appeared that the natives never touched the ground but lived a nearly competently arboreal existence with their snakes. Of which a half dozen (with riders) now gazed on the party as they met with the chief. The party made further gifts to the chief, but he was unimpressed with trinkets and copper pieces. Although there was little glitter of gem and jewelry to be seen on the tribesmen, the chief seemed to expect such gifts 'as offerings to Ungobungo the Great Serpent'. He was placated by a gem and jeweled dagger, and answered the parties questions as best he could given the communication difficulties. They learned there were no other human inhabitants on the surrounding isles, nor were there dinosaurs. They did glean that all the tribes treasure was offered to the Great Serpent, who lived in the tallest trees at the north end of the island. While this information caused party ears to perk up, in the end they decided to take their leave of the natives and return to the "Purple Haze". The next day, however, they did scout the north end of the island, with Chaff and No. 7 buzzing the jungle on the fly. There were signs of something enormous moving in the treetops, but nothing could be seen through the thick canopy. While the idea of looting a snake-god was tempting, the party decided to move on and stick to their original quest; go find some dinosaurs to capture for sale in Xin.

Which was not easy, as the wind had now shifted, such that the ship was sailing in irons as they tried to head south-east. It took Lynessa and the crew three days of constant tacking to inch the "Purple Haze" towards the next island. This one was much larger, stretching almost a hundred miles from north to south. Although it was covered by thick jungle to the north, towards the south it was a mix man-high sword grass and blasted, bare rock. From the jungle itself drifted occasional tendrils of black mist or fog. They circumnavigated the island, and found a tidy cove on the east side into which flowed a fairly substantial river. The tandem pair of Awg-Wahmn the calmonari and Kwinsea the aquamancer found a school of sillago swimming in the river, and proceeded to question the fish for information about the jungle upstream.  Their piscian informant told them of the ruins of a human city, long abandoned. That seemed like a place to check out for loot, so the party decided to put dinosaur hunting aside for awhile and explore the ruined city.

TOTAL XP
825

GAINS
none

KILLS
none

LOSSES
A few trinkets, coins and a jeweled dagger