Sunday, August 28, 2016

Far Isles Session # 42 - We Have the Conch!

Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 3), with henchman Corvus (Fighter 1)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 4), with familiar Hermes
Abdul el Abdul (Fighter 5), with henchman Otock (Dwarf 1)
Chaff (Vivimancer 4), familiar Pretty Bird, riding dog Puppy Whuppy
"No 7" (Halfling 2)
Aug-Wahmn (Calmonari 1)

Satyr Head
Before proceeding, Chaff rook a few moments to loot Torek's body of potentially useful magic items, ring of invisibility  and light dagger. As this was underway, a newcomer arrived amid the chaos; Awg-Wahmn, a calmonari guest of Rodrigo's recent bacchanalian brouhaha. As the new addition to the group settled in, Rodrigo lit a torch and lead the party down a wide corridor towards the sound of the running water. It led into a room covered in blue and yellow tile, with gaudy and misshaped brass ornaments on the walls. The sound emanated from a fountain in one corner, the water pouring from a bearded, leering satyrs' head, into a large basin. Abdul el Abdul strolled over the the satyr and was about to yank it off the wall when Chaff stopped him. The vivimancer had noticed hidden shelves behind the head, and proceeded to use his cantrips to lift a collection of bottles filled with scented powders and oils off the shelf and onto the floor. One would not budge, so Abdul el Abdul simply grabbed it and placed it with the rest. Meanwhile, Kwinsea poked around in the bottom of the fountain and in the drain, hoping to find a bit of lost treasure or two.  But with no luck.

Moving on, Rodrigo and Corvus once more took the lead, entering a long narrow passage. At one end was a set of stairs going down, and at the other was  the doorway leading into the High Priests wine storage. In the middle lay another room, lit by the soft glow of moonlight beaming through rounds glass windows in the domed ceiling.  The light all focused on a silver decanter which sat on a pedestal in the centre of the room.  Kwinsea, Otock and Awg-Wahmn immediately had a sense of danger and started to search from the door to the pillar for traps. They found nothing, but upon reaching the pillar noted the decanter was covered in alchemical symbols.  Awg-Wahmn glanced inside the decanter, and saw it contained a clear liquid, perhaps water, as well as droplets of distillate clinging to the sides of the neck. After much consideration and debate, the calmonari touched the water, and luckily nothing happened except a feeling of sanctification.  So Awg-Wahmn emptied his waterskin and filled it with the mystery liquid before pocketing the now empty vessel.

The Hand Print
That exploration complete, the party headed for the stairs, entering a room which chilled them with an unnatural cold. The acoustics were likewise icily sharp, the party footsteps echoing with ponderous doom as they passed through to exit a pair of archways in the south wall. These led to another domed room with a pool. Abdul el Abdul glanced into the water, observing another chamber at the bottom. This looked like a job for one of the water-breathers, so Awg-Wahmn stripped down, tied a rope around his waist, and dove in. The rest of the party immediately saw the pool fill with blood as the calmonari yanked frantically on the rope. When he emerged from the water, Awg-Wahmn was covered in long razor-like lacerations, reporting there were some sort of invisible blades around the walls of the pool. Chaff, poking around with his bone staff, confirmed the location of the blades. With the danger now known, Kwinsea dove into the water, emerging in a magically suspended column of water in a plain dungeon room.  She swam back up to report her findings, and the party started to prepare to dive down to explore. Rodrigo and Corvus first did a quick scout of this floor, to make sure they were not leaving any danger or enemies in their rear. Finding nothing but prayer spaces and a library, they returned and joined the dive. Kwninsea, meanwhile, went back to the first cold room to try figuring out what was causing the chill. As she stood in silent contemplation, a ghostly figure appeared and reached out to touch the aquamancer over her heart. The figure then disappeared as she screamed, and Kwinsea immediately felt as if a heavy load had been placed on her shoulders. Further investigation also showed a golden hand print was now burned into the skin over her heart.

Now donewith this level, a series of ropes were strung to allow easy travel down the water column to the lower level.  Once gathered below, everyone felt a sense of sinister foreboding in the air, and resolved to search quickly for the conch. They were also well aware that time was running short if they wanted to emerge from the temple before sunrise sent it back to the dream-realms. The party swiftly passed through a room with another fountain, a large chamber with eight sealed stone wells, a room of junk storage, and several seemingly empty rooms. They at last entered yet anther domed room decorated in yellow and blue tile. A second archway opened into a dimly lite room filled with a scattering of treasures.  Kwinsea, Otock and Awg-Wahmn once more started to search the entrance for traps, but Chaff, Rodrigo and Corvus decided to carefully huge to edge of the passage to get into the treasure room. But found themselves instead in an identical blue and yellow domed room, which looked back on the treasure room and their companions on the far side. They had somehow passed through  the treasure room without stopping.

Meanwhile, the trap-searchers had not turned up any danger, but Kwinsea did read an inscription on the floor. It stated "MAY ONLY THE LIGHT OF YOUR PURPOSE LEAD".  After some thought and discussion, the party decided to cover their light sources and try entering the treasure room again. This time it worked, and all found themselves safely in the room.  A golden pattern of watchful eyes covered the black dome overhead. The room was lit by an amber glow from a basin of fluid in the centre, which also contained some red and gold fish.  Around the basin lay many objects, including:
  • six heavy silver decanters;
  • a large iron bound chest;
  • three sets of blue plate mail on stands;
  • a scimitar in a mother-of-pearl scabbard;
  • a series of glass prisms on a brass table;
  • a small yellowish box made of some unknown substance; and
  • a gold and silver gilded conch.
The Eyes
Although everyone was eager to grab the conch and other treasure, the building sense of oppression made them wary. Awg-Wahmn used aquatic telepathy to 'speak' with the fish in the basin. He received from his piscean friends a sense that overwhelming malevolence, doom and terror awaited them if they lingered. That got action. Focusing first on the conch, Chaff tried to cantrip it off its pedestal, but with no success. The party was then hit with a feeling of sharp pressure and a metallic taste in their mouths, adding to the sense of oppression. Feeling the need to move fast, Rodrigo used his sword to knock the conch into a sack held by Corvus. Everyone then headed at full speed out of the treasure room. Abdul el Abdul grabbed the scimitar on the way, and Chaff doubled back to grab the strange box. As he was leaving the treasure room with his loot, however, the little vivimancer felt an overwhelming force, as if he was being pulled apart limb from limb. He stumbled back to the entry room to join the rest of the party, and they started to discuss how to get the rest of the treasure.  They didn't talk long, however, as Rodrigo now experienced the same rending force as Chaff, quickly followed by Otock being torn to shreds and scattered about the room by the same force. That got everyone moving, and FAST! Without pause, the party rushed back to the water column, swam back up to ground level, recovered Torak's body, and ran out of the temple just as the eastern sky was brightening with the rising of the sun. They watched for a while as the image of the temple began to waver, before finally disappearing in the first rays of sunlight to leave just the ruined and deserted plaza once more.


6 bottles of bath salts
6 bottles of bath oil (one magical?)
silver decanter covered in alchemical symbols
Scimitar in a mother-of-pearl scabbard
Weird yellowish box



Saturday, August 6, 2016

Far Isles Session # 41 - "Give Us the Conch!"

Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 3), with henchman Corvus (Fighter 1)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 4), with familiar Hermes
Abdul el Abdul (Fighter 5), with henchman Otock (Dwarf 1)
Chaff (Vivimancer 4), familiar Pretty Bird, riding dog Puppy Whuppy, henchman "No 7" (Halfling 2)
Torak (Cleric 4)

With everyone back in Xin, Torak now rejoined the party to inform them that the proper time had come to delve into the phantasmal Temple of the Sea Demon and recover the conch of the sea demon for the Drowned God. The moon and the stars would be just right a few nights hence. Which left just enough time for Rodrigo, flush with cash and martial vigor, to rent the “Hangman and Witch” for a big party with all his friends and a whole lot of other people who just showed up. Including a few non-friendly types, such as the two cloaked and daggered figures who tried to shank Corvus in the alley. Luckily, they were somewhat inept assassins, as the beefy fighter heard them approach and stabbed one in the face, while the other fled into the night.  Examining the body in the moonlight, Corvus noted that the man had a faint circle tattooed on his forehead.

The Party
Meanwhile, back inside the tavern, the party had gotten a little out of control. Somewhere in the ruckus, Rodrigo was trying to do swashbuckley things with the candles in the chandelier. And in his drunken state, dropped a handful of lit candles in the straw on the floor. The ensuing conflagration burnt the decrepit old tavern to the ground, and by morning nothing was left but smoldering cinders. The remaining revelers didn’t seem aware that Rodriogo was responsible, but a few noted a man had made a circuit of the crowd watching the tavern burned, whispering sly hints that he knew who was responsible. The mystery man had disappeared by the time The Purple and fire watch arrived. A few wags in the area noted burning the place wasn’t a bad idea; at least it took care of the rats that infested the place.

Abdul el Abdul's New Armor
The party quietly nursed their hangovers throughout the day, and then buckled on their armor (including Abdul el Abdul in the fancy new armor looted from the Cha'nrk Marshal Commandant) and weapons when night fell. Following the directions provided by the Temple of Brall, the party weaved their way through back alleys until they reached an abandoned plaza. There was no-one about, but in the centre stood a slightly mirage-like black, boxy structure.  There was no visible entrance or window, except at the base of the dome that formed one end of the temple. There, faint light leaked out through a pillared opening. With Torak and Abdul el Abdul in the lead, the party headed for the light. Reaching the entrance, they glanced inside, spying a large pool which filled most of the space. Apart from a circular stairwell that curved up the wall and another pillared opening, the main point of interest was the man standing next to the pool. Dressed in charcoal robes and with face hidden, he noted Torak and Abdul el Abdul in the entrance and challenged them: “Who dares enter the sanctuary of the Sea Demon without leave? Identify yourselves!”  Abdul el Abdul stumbled out am innocuous reply, while Torak identified himself as a priest of the temple of Brall. With that revelation, the figures straightened, and he shouted “Heretic! Worshiper of the false human aspect of the Sea Demon! Feel the wrath of the depths!” The priest stared to chant, and a cloud of mist arose from the pool, filling most of the room and blocking the party’s view.  Rushing forward, those near the front of the line moved around the edge of the room to where the priest had stood. There, they found him in the process of turning and running out through the other pillared entrance. He didn’t make it, as Kwinsea used command rope to tie his feet, while Abdul el Abdul took advantage of his immobility to hack him to death.

Taking a momentary breather, the party decided to head up the stairs. With Abdul el Abdul once more in the lead (and Kwinsea standing guard at the back, watching for any intrusion through the pillared opening), the party climbed quickly. At the top was a door of black wood, which the fighter easily opened. On the other side was a narrow, rail-less span which arced though the night sky to a second door in the other half of the temple. Carefully, the fighter crossed the span, giving everyone else the signal to follow when he reached the other side unscathed.  Once everyone had gathered behind him, the fighter once more proved his worth as a door opener and barged through the portal and into a room on the other side.

The High Priest
At first glance, the room was largely empty, except for a pile of pillows in one corner and a long curtain draped across one side.  On the pillows lay another priest, somewhat better dressed than the last, laying back and smoking a water pipe. Startled he jumped up as the party barged in, each one yelling “Give us the Conch!!” as they charged upon the confused man. He didn’t stay confused for long, breathing a cloud of mist at Chaff that paralyzing the vivmancer and his riding hound. A flurry of attacks followed as the priest cast another spell, yelled for help, and then died under a flurry of blows. There was a short lull as Torak cast a cure spell on Chaff to release him from paralysis, and others had a quick look behind the curtain and around the room to make sure there were no other surprises waiting.

The surprise instead came through the same door they’d entered, which now burst open and a pack of priests rushed in with tridents at the ready. The priests slashed wildly, drawing much blood. Focusing many of their attacks on the heretical Torak, they dealt the cleric the hand of death. Meanwhile, Chaff melded two of the priests together, and the rest of the party fought back furiously with sword and axe and trident and pistol. As the priests started to fall, one facing off against Corvus managed to bull rush past the big fighter and dove into the pillows on the floor, frantically trying to reach something below them. He never reached whatever he was looking for, as Corvus decapitated the man with a mighty swing of his two-handed sword. At about the same time, the two melded priests disengaged and shuffled towards the door. They made good progress considering their impediment, but Rodrigo chased them out onto the bridge. He stabbed one to death, and as the body fell over the edge, it dragged it’s still melded companion with him to a screaming death below.  

Back inside the room, Torak's remains were gently laid in a few pillows to be dealt with later, and everyone started searching the space. Corvus pushed the pillows aside and found a trap door hidden beneath them. Kwinsea when to check behind the curtain, and found crates, barrels and amphorae filled with wine (a bottle of which she pocketed). There was also a door, at which Abdul el Abdul and Otock had a listen, but heard nothing. Corvus also noted a series of niches in the wall behind the pillows, each holding a grotesquely misshapen lead figure.  Chaff and No 7 went through the opening in the north wall, where they found a low table surrounded by more pillows. On the table was a silver censer and an ewar of wine, plus a mass of papers. Reading a few, Chaff discovered these described a hidden dream city that existed parallel and opposition to Xin, sections of which could be reached through one's dreams. There was not enough detail to tell you how to do so, and it certainly did read like the ravings of a madman.  But C|haff pocketed them just the same

Two additional exits led out of this room, so Chaff led a group to check out one and Rodrigo headed for the other. Chaff found a small room containing a shallow font filled with water. Three tiny vials sat on the rim, arranged in a triangular formation. While Kwinsea checked for secret doors, Chaff sniffed each of the vials. One smelled familiar, but the vivimancer couldn't quite place it. Regardless, he pocketed all three for later examination and/or use. Rodrigo meanwhile, glanced into a wide empty hall. The swashbuckler heard nothing, but caught the sound of running water somewhere ahead ...

1200 (Rodrigo)

3gp, 1sp
silver censer 
A bottle of fine (?) wine
3 potions (?)
A whole bunch of tridents

9 Lesser Priests of the Sea Demon
1 High Priest of the Sea Demon


Sunday, July 31, 2016

Far Isles Session #40 - The Pale Lady

Kwinsea (Aquamancer 4), with familiar Hermes and henchman Jaz (Elf 1)
Abdul el Abdul (Fighter 5), with henchman Otock (Dwarf 1)
Chaff (Vivimancer 4), familiar Pretty Bird, and henchman "No 7" (Halfling 1)

Pushing on, the party continued up the winding river, having to make a few decisions along the way about which channel to follow. Late in the afternoon, as they were coming upon another branch in the river, they first had to deal with a threat from above. As they passed under a grove of overhanging swamp cypress, three black snakes dropped onto the boat and raft. One each landed on Kwinsea and Jaz. The aquamancer escaped with just a small scratch, but the one on the elf bit deep and injected venom. Jaz dropped like a stone, frothing at the mouth. Kwinsea jumped in the water to avoid getting bitten again, and Chaff used instinct to force all three serpents to flee into the river. Otock bravely jumped from raft to boat, and successfully sucked the poison from the fallen elf, leaving her limp but hanging to life.

Fire Pig
When that ruckus died down, the party was forced to once more make a choice about direction. The northernmost channel became quite shallow, with mudbanks and sandbanks making it a difficult stream to navigate. It was also teeming with crocodiles. Chaff sent Pretty Bird aloft to scout, and the bird reported back with a bewildering array of possible paths ahead. In the end, the party decided to take the widest channel, which led to the west. They did not go far, however, as night was falling. Finding a suitable spot, they pulled the raft and boat up on a bank and got ready to kindle a fire. Before they could do much, they saw a small canoe come around the bend, silhouetted against the setting sun. Everyone went silent, and waited to see what danger approached. It turned out to be three men and a pig, the porcine occupant hogtied and with a heavy leather bag over its head. The men seemed to be talking about hunting or searching for something, and were headed back to Xin after having no luck in their search.  At this point, Abdul el Abdul shouted a challenge. The three men turned with  start, and the pig let out a low squeal. Relived to see there was no immediate danger, but still quite vary, the three (Jaro, Murl and Goz)  fell into conversation with the party. They remained coy when questioned about what they were doing here in the back swamps. And everyone was quite curious about the pig. They were told it was a decoy, and when pressed about the hood, Jarro whipped it off the creatures head for a demonstration. Under the hood was a regular boars head, but when it opened it's mouth, a gout of fire shot out. This was no regular pig. The three men were obviously quite knowledgeable about these swamps, so Chaff tried to convince them to join up with the party. When they showed no interest in this proposal, the party instead pumped them for information on the swamp and The Pale Lady. The swamp, they learned, was crawling with chameleon-men, crocodiles and pteranodon. Of the Pale Lady, they knew nothing. But did mention a weird spot further upriver, populated by midget adventurers in the services of some 'lady'. Pleasantries complete, the 'hunters' continued on, tracked for a while by Pretty Bird, who learned they were looking for plants or something similar.

After an uneventful night, the party pushed out into the stream once more and continued on their way. There were fewer channels now, and the land was getting higher and drier as they approached mountains on the horizon. They passed a chain of ox-bow lakes that seemed to lead north, but elected to continue along the river instead.This proved to be a poor choice when they were attacked again, this time by a band of chameleon-men who dropped on them from the trees above. The chameleon-men tried to take a captive using nets, but the party's swords and a meld flesh spell from Chaff ended that plan, leaving two of them dead on the deck, and the rest fleeing through then trees. 

Just a few hours later, they finally poled the raft to their destination. Off on the left bank, a man-made canal joined the river, and waiting there in the tall grass were two tiny figures. Dressed and equip as adventurers, but only 2' tall, the pair challenged  the party in their high squeaky voices. Once informed of the delivery from Bellephrone, the pair waved the raft and boat down the canal. It led into a long narrow bayou, at the end of which stood a massive cypress. Height-wise, it was impressive but not particularly notable. The roots, however, spread wide and high, formed a large entrance leading under the tree. As it was dry ground under the roots, the party carried the box ashore and headed deep into the tangle. It didn't take long before they came to a shimmering curtain of light, like sunlight reflecting off a spray of water. Chaff cautiously pushed his staff through the curtain, and it came back unharmed. That made the party feel a little safer, so they marched straight through. To their surprise, they found themselves standing in a field of flowers under bright sunlight. Scattered throughout the fields were pairs of the midget-adventurers, overseeing strange emaciated rabbit-creatures that were tending the flowers. At the end of the field stood a structure, a series of interconnected domes formed out of rose briers. Intercepted once more by midget-adventurers, the party stated their purpose and were directed to see "The Lady" in the brier structure.

Entrance to the Realm of the Pale Lady
The party came to a pair of bronze bound wooden doors guarded by a pair of midget-adventurers. These opened the portals and let the party inside, where they found a most unusual sight. In the centre of the room, flanked by more midget-adventurers, was The Pale Lady. White of skin, hair, and even eyes, she sat on a cascading throne of water, wearing nothing but a crown of thrones. Haughtily and sharply, she demanded to know their business. Informed of their burden, she accepted the box from Bellephrone, "the one who sees all in the Isles", and then brusquely ordered them out. Chaff engaged the frightful lady in conversation, asking if there might be some boon for fulfilling their task. First of all insisting that 'the cattle' (Abdul el Abdul, Otock, No 7) leave, she did deign to engage Kwinsea, and especially Chaff, in a terse conversation. She offered a boon, either a look in her mirror (which would allow them to locate anything they desired in the world), or teaching a spell. Or a chance to learn the word of creation, which she frankly did not recommend, noting that mere mortals cold not handle the power. In the end, Chaff and Kwinsea took the easy route, and choose to learn a spell. While they discussed which of them would accept the boon, the Lady spoke again. She offered to teach a second spell, in return for Chaff spending the night with her. That sounded OK to him, so while Kwinsea bedded down in the audience chamber and the rest of the party in the fields, Chaff spent the night with a fairy goddess ...

The Pale Lady
... and awoke in the morning, in a haze reminiscent of cheap wine and expensive perfume, to find that she was very visibly pregnant! And not interested in further companionship; she taught the spells to Kwinsea and Chaff, and then abruptly forced them to leave. Picking up Abdul el Abdul, Otock, and No 7 on the way, everyone trudged silently back to raft and boat for the journey back.

The journey back was largely uneventful, until the pteranodon attacked just before they reached the ruined fort where Rodrigo, Corvus and Captain Solond awaited. The prehistoric creature dove from the sky and at the raft, which everyone was frantically trying to get in under the trees for protection. After a few unsuccessful passes, the boat and raft were safely hidden, and the creature had been pummeled with missile fire and rope work by Kwinsea. It crashed into the water, and as it flailed about and tried to rise back into the sky, a final burst of missile fire finished it off.

The rest of the journey was likewise uneventful. They transported Captian Soland and several of his men back to the Palace of the Faceless Inquisitor in Xin, where the officer arranged for more transport to go back and get his men. The party, meanwhile, scattered again about their respective urban business:
  • Chaff went looking for apprentice mages, so he could get them drunk and drain some blood (to pay for the spells he wanted from the vivimancer Volana).  He was successful, but took too much blood from one poor fellow. He was on his way to dying of shock until Chaff forced a potion of healing down his throat, before rolling the unconscious mage into the alley with his companion;
  • Chaff and No 7 then went on a bender, the vivmancer to wipe the memories of his night with the Pale Lady from his brain, and No 7 to celebrtae being out of the gods-forsaken swamp.  Chaff ended up arrested for some bad prank involving removing someones toe and putting in their drink. But thanks to the intervention of Captain Solond, got away with just a small fine. No. 7 ended up with a tattoo of "Smoke if You Got 'Em" with  a rather limp and phallic looking stogy beneath;
  • Kwinsea also went looking for spells, hopefully without having to sacrifice anyone. She did track down a scruffy, smelly old aquamancer on the docks who agree to teach her in return for gold and a live octopus. Gold delivered, but octopus still to come. 
  • Abdul el Abdul was the sober one this time, and went looking for rumors of the "San Lorenzo" and the shape shifting Captain Moncada. He found out that the ship was in port and captain-less, Higo de Moncada having disappeared just after they delivered their dinosaur captive to a buyer in the Decadent Menagerie
The party also hit the taverns to hunt down rumors of the Far Isles:

  • A new archipelago had been discovered and was open for exploration to the north-east. Well populated by humans, and overrun by pirates. And a dragon in the service of the pirates. 
  • Several vessels were still plying the Jungle Isles to the south, bringing back dinosaur parts and outlandish treasure. And leaving behind a few lost ships and men.
  • One drunk sailor, who claimed to be a former crew member from the "Waverunner", told them of a miles' wide cluster of sea stacks, grottoes, and arches, studded with secret shrines, hidden treasure vaults, and walls of gems. And something about pink fluffy unicorns, so who knows if he's talking the truth ...

A few new spells, courtesy of The Pale Lady

2 chameleon-men
1 Pteranodon

Jaz (temporarily)

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Far Isles Session #39 - Assault!!

Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 2), with henchman Corvus (Fighter 1)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 4), with familiar Hermes and henchman Jaz (Elf 1)
Abdul el Abdul (Fighter 5), with henchman Otock (Dwarf 1)
Chaff (Vivimancer 4), familiar Pretty Bird, and henchman "No 7" (Halfling 1)

Having made a gentleman's agreement, it was now left for the party and Captain Solond to agree on a plan for the assault. Soland had planned a diversionary attack across the sand spit, with the main  assault force, ferried over by the party, hitting the ruined fort from the side. Chaff, speaking for the party, suggested two flank attacks with covering fire from the sand spit, which was the plan they settled upon. They also wrung from a reluctant Sergent Lunt that, in the event Captain Soland fell in the assault, the Sergent would honor the agreement with the party. Plans made, the Xin troops and the party spent the rest of the day preparing for that night's attack.

It was after midnight when the troops started to move. The night was dark, except for the fires burning in both Xin and Cha’nrk camps. The northern attacking group, led by Sergent Lunt and accompanied by Otock, Abdul el Abdul, Corvus, Rodrigo, was ferried across to the fort first, relying on the dwarf's infravision to navigate. The Xin musketeers and pikemen were dropped ashore, accompanied by the Sergent plus Corvus and Rodrigo. Abdul el Abdul and Otock the poled away to pick up the second group for the southern attack. Back on shore, surprise was almost lost at once as the group tripped a picket of Cha'nrk crossbowmen. One of the pickets turned to run back and alert the fort, but he was cut down by missile fire from Corvus and Rodrigo. The second, after loosing a few bolts, was hunted down and skewered by the Xin pikemen. After a few more tense minutes, it was clear the fort had not been altered by the ruckus, and everyone could breath easier again.

Meanwhile, Otock and Abdul el Abdul picked up Captain Soland and the southern team, and dropped them off ashore. Abdul el Abdul stayed with this group while Otock poled the raft back to the sandbar to await events. The two assault groups then began to carefully move towards the ruined fort, with Lunt subtly, to Rodrigo's rage and frustration, holding back his half of the assault. As these landings were taking place, Kwinsea and Jaz carried Chaff and No 7 upstream in the ships' boat so the vivmancer could summon the ebony fly unobserved, and fly into position near the fort for their part in the plan. The vivimancer and hench-halfling flew over the Cha'nrk camp and dropped three powder keg-bombs into the lines of tents. These went off with a resounding flash and boom, but did little damage. It was, however, the signal for the attack to begin. The few musketeers left on the sandbar started to lay down covering fire, Jaz slept the few guards on the wall, and Captain Solond and Abdul el Abdul led their assault group up on the ruined walls of the fort. Sergent Lunt was still slowing down his troops though, so Rodrigo resorted to a combination of exhortation, curses and kicks to get the group going, leaving Lunt to fade away into the night. Now led by Rodrigo and Corvus, they also stormed the walls and started to open fire into the Cha'nrk camp below.

The Assault
Which was good timing, as things were already going badly for Captain Soland and Abdul el Abdul's team.  As they mounted the wall, they could see the Cha'nrk troops milling about as a magnificently armored officer tried to get them in order. There also emerged from one tent a frightful figure, dressed in red, black and copper robes, and with a full black beard from which a stream of smoke arose. This figure raised it's hands and pointed at Captain Soland and Abdul el Abdul, both of whom were immediately held in place. Seeing both of their leaders taken out of action, the southern assault team lost heart and turned to flee into the night. All of the Cha'nrk troops now turned their attention to the northern assault group led by Rodrigo. Muskets blazed and men fell on both sides, but the tide was definitely turning against Xin. Chaff and No. 7 returned on the fly, giving support with pistol fire and spore cloud. They focused their attention on the mystery robed figure, as did a handful of the Xin musketeers on the north wall. Rodrigo and Corvus led the Xin pikemen into the Cha'rnk ranks as their commander gathered his troops to counterattack. Chaff, however, took the commander out of the picture by webbing him along with some Cha'nrk and Xin troops.

Insidiator Kolo
As this was going on, the well-targeted robed figure called some nearby Cha'nrk troops to him, and the group began to retreat from the battle. The figure also animated some of the fallen to provide more protection. Alas, this was in vain as he fell to another round of musketry, just as Jaz and Otock arrived from offshore to snipe a few zombies before the remainder of the undead waded into the river and disappeared.

This was all too much for the surviving Cha'nrk soldiers, and they threw down their arms and surrendered. The remaining Xin troops, led once more by a recovered Captain Soland, began to gather prisoners while the party began looting the fallen. They stripped the fine red and black plate mail from the Cha'nrk officer (Commander Phraz), and also relived him of a string of garnet gems. From the fallen Insidiator they took a gold and garnet circlet and a filled silver hip flask. The bulk of the troops, unfortunately, had nothing to take.

It was a long night, but everything was under control by daylight. The Xin soldiers who'd fled   returned to the camp, but there was no sight of Sergent Lunt.  Seeing the depleted ranks of the Xin musketeers and pikemen, Rodrigo and Corvus elected to stay at the fort and assist Captain Soland.  The rest of the party pushed off to continue their journey upstream, with Jaz and Chaff asleep in the boat to rest and regain spells. Their sleep was rudely interrupted a few hours later however, when a group of four crocodiles slide off a mudbank and into the river, headed for the raft. Kwinsea held them off with tidal force, while pistol shots and a grappling hook from Abdul el Abdul convinced the reptiles that there were easier meals to be had.  Abdul el Abdul did haul in the one dead croc, however, and proceeded to skin it to make some boots for  Otock.


String of red jasper on a leather string [300gp]
Gold and garnet circlet [500gp]
Silver hip flask [Potion of Plant Control, flask worth 25gp]
Plate mail - red and black with a flame on the breastplate

Cha’nrk killed: 1 Insidiator, 9 soldiers
Cha’nrk captured: 1 commander, 11 soldiers.
1 zombie
1 crocodile

 9 Xin soldiers, and the deserter, Sergeant Lunt

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Far Isles Session #38 - Up the River

Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 2), with henchman Corvus (Fighter 1)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 4), with familiar Hermes and henchman Jaz (Elf 1)
Abdul el Abdul (Fighter 4), with henchman Otock (Dwarf 1)
Chaff (Vivimancer 4), familiar Pretty Bird, and henchman "No 7" (Halfling 1)
Torak (Cleric 4)

Although still not convinced they'd looted everything possible from the cloud tower, the party decided to head back to the Anchorage to pick up the crate from Bellephrone. That way they could do some business in Xin before heading upriver to deliver the package to the "The White Lady". Although they almost didn't make it back, as an early winter storm blew in from the north and battered and smashed their rigging and masts, leaving the "Purple Haze" to limp into the Anchorage for some hasty repairs by Captain Lynessa and the crew. They weren't going to stay long, however, and final repairs would have to wait until they reached Xin. While the crew worked away, the party headed over the hill to pick up the box from the witch. It was huge, made of dark wood and sealed with wax and and magical glyphs. And weighed a ton, which made carrying to back a struggle for the henchman. They also decided to check in with Nalco, who's rowboat was still the only vessel at anchor in the harbour. As they approached, however, one of the boy-mages apprentices stepped out on deck and warned them away, saying his master was not accepting visitors at the moment. When the party persisted, the apprentice waved Nalco's two flesh golems on deck to make his point clear: go away

The party took the hint, thus returning to the "Purple Haze". After waiting another day for repairs to be done and the storm to blow over, Captain Lynessa turned the ship towards the mainland and three uneventful days later they were approaching the Tower of the Maphelgian Infernos at the approaches to the city. They were somewhat surprised to find a huge chain stretched across the river, and a pair of boats filled with soldiers riding in mid stream. Hailing the "Purple Haze", the officer in charge asked permission to come aboard for a customs inspection. There was some worried muttering between party members about the box, but in the end they decided not to make a fuss and let the inspectors aboard. Chaff questioned the officer in charge as they went about their business, wondering why the chain and inspection. Was the war with Cha'nrk still on? The officer replied that the war had ended, and this was all a way to help Xin pay for the cost of said war. And speaking of the box, the officers had some pointed questions about it's contents. The party decided truth would probably work best in this case, and admitted they had no idea what was in it, but was undoubtedly something of great magic given the source and the destination.  At that story, the officer sent for a scrysman, who climbed aboard and cast a few spells on the cargo. In the end, the inspectors agreed to let them through with the box on the stipulation that it stayed aboard ship and closed the whole time they were in port. After claiming their 200gp customs fee, the officers left, the chain was lowered, and the "Purple Haze" proceeded upriver to the Vithian Gates and the Fogbound Quays.

Once docked, the crew was given half their pay and let loose upon the taverns and inns of the docks, while Captain Lynessa started gathering supplies to repair the ship once the crew recovered from hangover and the pox. Meanwhile, the party scattered across Xin to address a range of business they had individually and collectively in the decadent city:
  • First stop was raft shopping, something big enough to carry the box and most of the party.
    Elven Throwing Star
    200gp later they had a good stout raft on the deck of the "Purple Haze". Everyone also stocked up on new supplies, new armor, elven throwing stars for Jaz,  a new riding dog named 'Puppy-Whuppy' for Chaff, and a pistol buckler for No 7;
  • Abdul el Abdul, dragging Otock with him,  tagged along with the sailors and went on a massive bender of wine, woman and lotus. When he finally recovered, he felt more able than ever to tackle the rigors of the adventuring road. And also wondered why he had 'Otock' tattooed across his back;
  • The party followed Torak to The Collegium district to find the biggest temple of the Drowned God,  to hit them up for healing potions. The high priest shooed out the party, but did provide potions to Torak for a rock bottom donation of 300gp each.  Torak also mumblingly inquired about help with his afflictions; the swollen tongue and misplaced hand.  The high priest made some remarks about the Bloated One not concerned about one's fate during life and the cleric should focus on the fate off all the in depths of death. However, he did offer a glimmer of hope. The priest told a tale to Torak of a blasphemous and heretical sect of the Downed God known as the Cult of the Sea Demon. Long and hard fought were the struggles between the mainstream temple and the heretics, but in the end the established priests of Brall won. The victory, however, was incomplete. For somehow the cult was able to move their temple out of this dimension and into the place of dream and illusion. Today, the plaza where it once stood lay empty, except on nights when the stars and moon were aligned, when it would reappear out of the evening mists. The high priest tasked Torak with recovering from that temple the Conch of the Sea Demon, an important and powerful artifact of the Drowned God. If the cleric did so, the Drowned God would surely cure him. Torak, accepted without hesitation or consultation, and and made note of the night the temple would appear;
  • While in the Collegium, Kwinsea searched out the Lyceum of Mellifluous Magisters, to inquire about instruction in new aquamancer spells. The masters were quite willing. However, Kwinsea changed her mind when she learned that in partial payment she would have to join the Lyceum in the rituals of Ysridyl, appeasing the goddess by sacrificing a youth at the height of the winter storm season, throwing him or her off the cliffs and into the sea;
  • Chaff meanwhile went looking for scholars to whom he could sell the contents of the library from the cloud tower. There was vigorous bidding, and in the end he was able to get 3000gp for the books and globe. He did speak to one scholar specializing in magical musical instruments, and learned the organ in the cloud tower was probably powered by forces from the elemental plane of water;
  • Chaff also headed for the Flesh Pits to acquire new vivimancer spells. He ran into his old friend,
    Tolk the Brute
    Cetus the corspseman. Cetus set him up with a new contact, the corpulent lady vivimancer Volana. In payment for spell instruction, however, she demanded a pint of blood from Chaff (and/or any other spellcaster for that matter). That didn't sound like a good idea to Chaff, so he too walked about empty handed;
  • Last stop were the fighting arenas, oddly enough jammed in check by jowl with the institutes and temples of the Collegium. Corvus decided to enter the wrestling matches, taking on a great hairy beast by the name of Tolk the Brute. It was close, but the amateur Corvus took out the champion Tolk in three rounds, and party walked away with a massive purse thanks to the 6:1 odds against the brawny henchman.  They also walked away with a lot of bad feelings on the part of Tolk the Brute and the book-makers who had to pay out ...
Thankfully, Captain Lynessa and the crew had the "Purple Haze" ready to sail as soon as business in Xin was complete. Turning inland this time, the ship slowly made it's way up the slow flowing Loragano River and into the hinterlands of Langushur. Three days in, they reached the tributary up which their package had to go, so the party transferred to the raft and ship's boat for the rest of the journey. Poling their way through bayou and swamp, past towering swamp cyperss and overhanging vines, they made pretty good progress up the winding river. At least until they came around one hairpin bend to find a vast mudbank, shrouded in smoke, jutting out into the river.  Through the haze, they could see men milling about. Closer inspection showed they were a company of musketeers and pikemen under the purple and black flag of Xin, facing off against a ruined fort on the river bank, over which hung the red and bronze banner of Cha'nrk. As the raft and boat slowly approached, an officer hailed them and ordered them, in the name of the Faceless Inquisitor, to come ashore. Weighing to odds of surviving a barrage of musket fire vs their fate if they went ashore, the party decided to land. 
Under Siege
On shore they were met by the officer, Captain Soland and his second, Sergent Lunt. The party learned the musketeers had chased a party of Cha'nrk raiders up the river and cornered them in this old tumbled fort. However, both parties had lost their boats and were now stranded. Captain Soland was still determined to complete his mission and wipe out the raiders, although without boats the only way to attack was frontally across a narrow spit. The sight of bodies scattered between the mudbank and the fort showed that battle plan wasn't working too well. Captain Soland insisted that the party turn over their craft to him and assist in the assault, after which the musketeers would use the boats to return to Xin. The party protested, saying they had  important business upriver, but even the news that the war was ended ("I've had no new orders") was not enough to sway the Captain. Although Sergent Lunt showed more interest in the rumor of ceased hostilities (Corvus later questioned the NCO and learned he wasn't interested in dying in a pointless assault if the war was over). In the end, the party agree to help with the attack on the Cha'nrk fort, but they would then continue up the river on their mission. On the way back, they would pick up the Captain and a few of his men to bring them back to Xin, where they could arrange for a boat to come out and recover the rest of the men.

1100 (Abdul el Abdul)
50 (Corvus)




Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Far Isles Session #37 - More Loot, Less Death

Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 2), with henchman Corvus (Fighter 1)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 4), with familiar Hermes and henchman Jaz (Elf 1)
Abdul el Abdul (Fighter 4), with henchman Otock (Dwarf 1)
Chaff (Vivimancer 4), familiar Pretty Bird, and henchman "No 7" (Halfling 1)
Torak (Cleric 4)

The party had the "Purple Haze" turned about and sailed towards the Anchorage, mainly to have something done about their dear, departed, destroyed cleric. On the way, Chaff examined the remaining three scrolls. Which luckily didn't explode, and contained several spells: control weather, feather fall, and lightning bolt. These he turned over to Kwinsea, they being more part of her repetroie than his. The party also experimented with the glass guns seized from the monkeys, and were dismayed to find that they ceased to function once the cloud castle/island  dropped out of sight below the horizon.

Having encountered nothing along the way but a curious pod of seals, the "Purple Haze" sailed into the sheltered cove that formed their home base, arriving just ahead of the first winter gale. They found the anchorage deserted, except for the little rowboat that showed Nalco the Boy-Mage was back. There was also the shattered remains of a ship on the rocks outside the entrance, which on closer inspection turned out to be the "Savage Sisters". Kwinsea, with the help of Hermes, dove into the water to examine the wreck below and above. The ship's keel was broken in two, and scattered about the ocean floor was a mess of busted and ruined supplies, shattered pieces from the hull, and a scattering of sailors bodies. On deck, the scene was much the same, and Kwinsea recognized the bodies of the captain and ogreish first mate. The aquamancer filched a gold ring from the captain ear, and pilfered the ships log from her cabin before returning to her own ship. The log was mostly nondescript, but the most recent entries detailed the  ships' exploration of the Jungle Isles and a golden pyramid of which the party had heard in previous rumors.

That done, the ship anchored and Torak was rowed ashore with his pallbearers to carry him to Bellephrone. Once more having a fine chuckle at the party's misfortune, the witch agree use her vat to bring the cleric back from the clutches of He Who Hides Secrets in the Depths, taking a selection of treasure and a box of black lotus in payment. Everyone then headed for the much depopulated shantytown, and found that with the winter storm's on the way, few ships were sailing the Far Isles. They did find a mustachioed musketeer named Svel to fix No. 7's jammed pistol, and enough action at the card tables for Otock to win a few GP.

The party returned to Bellephrone's the next day to pick up Torak. The cleric emerged from the vat a little worse for wear, his left hand having gotten grafted to his ankle. Bellephrone also informed them that the package they had agreed to deliver for her was now ready. She waved towards a massive wooden box, sealed with wax and taking up almost half the hut. She did not insist on them taking it now, but would offer no further services until they kept their bargain and delivered it to the hinterlands of Langushur as they'd previously agreed.

But for now, they were determined to hit the cloud tower once more and finish plundering the place, convinced as they were that it still hid secrets and treasures. The previous storm had blown over, and two days of fair sailing had them back on target. Once more shuttled to the tower via the ebony fly, the party started in the flying-monkey barracks. Trashing it once again, they found nothing new, and turned their attention to the lower trapdoor. This opened in the lower shaft of the tower, and they could see far below, the bronze door and platform they'd previously discovered. After much uncoiling  and knoting of rope, No. 7 was lowered down to check the door and unlock it if necessary. It was open, however, and the halfling proceeded through in order to leave room on the platform for the next person. On the other side of the door was a passage, and alongside the door was a long pole with a hook on one end, plus a couple of empty metal buckets.

Once everyone had gathered inside the door, the party proceeded down the passage. It led to a platform hanging over a circular pool of water. Far above in the ceiling was a trap door, but there was no means by which to reach it. Everyone immediately suspected the pool was more than just a pool. It was poked and prodded with poles, buckets, and ropes, but nothing happened. Jaz and Otock then had the lights dimmed and used their infravison, which showed an amorphous cooler mass moving about in the water. Torak cast detect evil, and yes indeed it was. Eventually, Jaz was cajoled into leaning over the side to be lowered to the water and touched it. This provoked a response, and the elf was hauled to safety just ahead of a raging mass of water that shot up from the surface. That discouraged anyone else from probing more in the pool.

Unsure of how to reach the trapdoor above without risking a fall into the evil pool, Kwinsea, Jaz, Abdul el Abdul and Corvus decided to make their way back to the temple to search for secret doors in  the floor. This revealed nothing, and they all returned below to try a new plan. Torak and Corvus  began hammering iron spikes into the walls, and looping rope through those anchors to allow everyone to reach the trapdoor. Beyond the trapdoor were a series of rooms, which were all thoroughly ransacked and  the contents largely destroyed. These was a kitchen, a lab or workroom, small barracks or servant quarters, and a storage or equipment room. The party ransacked it all once more, uncovering a bag of diamond dust and a butterfly collection mounted in a frame. But  nothing else of interest.

So, back down to the pool they went. Thinking the water creature might be guarding something in the pool, Kwinsea cast a tidal force to keep it at bay while her familiar Hermes was dropped into the water to have a look. Scanning quickly, as he had only a half minute before the water thing broke free, the waterskin-clad crab found a scattering of bones and old junk at the bottom, but no treasure.

Still convinced they had missed something, the party headed back to the bedchamber with the fancy lights. Chaff was able to remove one of the tubes, which remained lit. Unable to think of an immediate practical use for a 10' tall glass tube of lighting, he put it back. Another scan of the library and platform at the top of the tower uncovered nothing new, while a visit to the roof mounted cannon on the other tower was exciting. The cannon was charged using a big hand cranked wheel, and No 7 and Abdul el Abdul took aim at one of the buildings in the village below. A massive electrical bolt shot out of the glass and copper cannon, blasting the house to soggy smithereens. Sadly, no one could conceive of any way to remove the cannon and mount in a more useful place.

Finally done searching, the party went back to the library and used the fly to carry all the books and the shell globe down to the "Purple Haze" before themselves then returning to the ship. 


Bag of diamond dust (500gp)
Butterfly collection (15gp)
A complete arcane and astronomical library (3000gp)
Wooden and shell globe of an unknown world (300gp)



Sunday, June 26, 2016

Far Isles Session #36 - Curiosity Killed the Cleric

Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 1), with henchman Corvus (Fighter 1)
Chaff (Vivimancer 4), familiar Pretty Bird, and henchman "No 7" (Halfling 1)
Torak (Cleric 4)

The party waited a few hours after Rodrigo returned from his poisoned monkey-chow bombing run before sending Pretty Bird up to investigate. The parrot noted there were three immobile flying monkeys on the top of the tower, presumably deceased from eating the poisoned food. As the bird circled, another group of the apes emerged and several started chowing down. When these started to keel over from the poison, the few remaining apes got very angry and started shoving the poisoned food and dead apes off the tower.
Thunderhead Manse

Uncertain if they'd gotten all the remaining flying apes, Chaff next sent Pretty Bird to check out the the next part of the cloud complex; a square, pillared building connected to the ape tower by a narrow stone bridge. It appeared to be a temple of sorts, with an outer pillared cloister and an inner sanctum with solid walls. The whole structure was made of a fine, cream coloured marble. The party decided to land here, and had the fly transport them one by one up to the cloister. Once there, they parked the fly and cautiously entered the inner temple. They found a large room with a blue and green mosaic floor, at the far of which stood the 10' tall statue of a bearded scholar, and a set of verdigris covered bronze double doors.  Several party members examined the mosaic floor, trying to find a pattern of clue. But apart from  a general sense of order and 'rightness', none could decipher a deeper meaning. They next turned their attention to the doors, and Chaff sent No. 7 to investigate. As she approached the door, however, she noted the statute turned towards her and raised it's fists as if ready to spar with the cigar smoking halfling. No 7 reacted quickly, however, as did the rest of the party. A trio of pistols were raised and the room erupted in a loud crash of musketry and smoke. One ball, unfortunately, hit No 7 rather than the statue. As everyone else started reloading, Chaff dropped a web spell on the statue to hold it in place. Chaff, No. 7 and Corvus turned to beat on the statute with sword and staff, but everyone was surprised when 4 flying apes appeared behind them and attacked. With the statue still encased in Chaff's web, they turned to deal with the new foe. More pistol fire ensued, which took out a couple of flying apes. Unfortunately, Torak's misfired and exploded, showing both him and No.7 with shrapnel. A few sword strokes from Rodrigo, a  spore cloud from Chaff, and a trio of tossed daggers soon ended the monkey threat.

Turning back to the statue, the party could see that it was almost free of the web. So Chaff cast another web, and everyone turned their attention on their bronze foe. In spite of multiple hits, the statute broke free of the web and cut down poor Rodrigo just before it was finally sliced in twain by the mighty Corvus. The swashbuckler still clung to life, however, so he was bundled onto the fly  and  returned to the "Purple Haze" to recover in sick bay. With the statue gone, No.7 now approached the bronze doors, deftly picked the lock, and with Corvus' help threw open the portals.

On the other side was what appeared to be ornate bedchamber, with a dark oak wardrobe and footlocker, a shell and bronze bed, and steep stairs heading up. Of more immediate notice, however, was the series of glass tubes filled with discharges of lighting which illuminated the room.  This was matched by an organ which had the pipes replaced by similar, but smaller tubes. While the rest of the party fanned out to explore the room (No. 7 filching a fine set of blue silk sheets from the footlocker), Torak sat at the organ to practice a few tunes. His long latent musical talent came through, and the cleric was soon belting out a jaunty jingle. As he did, the lighting in the organ tubes flared higher and the sounds of the rainstorm outside became louder. And then he played another tune; and another, and another, and another ... as the sweat poured off Torak's brow, it was apparent the cleric was trapped at the keys. Corvus flexed his muscles, grabbed the cleric in a bear hug, and hauled him away from the infernal instrument. 

Cleric go "Boom!"
Eager to put as much distance as possible between him and the organ, Torak led the party up the stairs to a library or study. Tall bookshelves filled the walls, although only one section was filled with tomes. There was also a huge shell-inlaid wood globe in the center of the room, depicting an unfamiliar world, and a fixed ladder led to a trapdoor in the ceiling. Everyone started hauling books off the shelves. Flipping through them, they found most were rather serous treatises on magic, alchemy and astronomy. Torak found a bundle of scrolls, and started to examine them. As he unrolled the first, however, it exploded in a brilliant flash of light. The cleric was thrown right across the room, to crumble dead in a smoking heap at the base of the ladder.  That discouraged anyone else from looking at the scrolls, but Chaff did pocket them for future examination. The party decided to get Torak's body back to the fly to return him back to the ship, but not before No 7 and Chaff made a quick check of the level above. It was an open platform with a roof supported by pillars, and a turquoise inlaid magical circle in the center. 

They carried the cleric back to the fly and sent him on his way. They then decided, short-handed as they were once more, to go finish off the flying apes and get the treasure left behind last time. They made their way into the tower chamber where they'd fought the ape's last time. It was now deserted, but they could hear movement in the chamber below. As No. 7 and Chaff readied their pistols, Corvus threw open the trap door. One ape died in a rattle of pistol fire, and a second was cleaved in half by Corvus' great-sword when it tried to fly up through the door. The other two wisely turned and fled out through the windows, quickly disappearing from sight into the clouds. Triumphant, it was left to Chaff, Corvus and No 7 to simply gather the coins and miscellaneous valuables scattered throughout the monkey-litter, and then head back to the "Purple Haze" to plan their next moves.


Set of Blue Silk Sheets (100gp)
Shell cameo (125gp)
12 silver place settings (12gp)
Porcelain teapot (10 gp)
Bolt of blue silk (500gp)
Quartz orb (90gp)
Small crystal vial full of liquid [perfume] (500gp]
3 scrolls (control weather, feather fall, and lightning bolt)

12 flying monkeys
1 animated, bearded, bronze statue

Rodrigo (Temporary)