Saturday, September 30, 2017

Far Isles Session #71 - H'sslik the Lizard Wizard from Beyond Time

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Chaff (Vivimancer 5), with familiar Pretty Bird and Riding Dog Puppy Whuppy
Awg Wahmn (Calmonari 5)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 5), with familiar Hermes 
Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 5) 


As the party stood staring at the sphincter in the floor, Torak suddenly disappeared and was replaced by Rodrigo, thanks to some kind of weird space-time continuum hiccup. Nonplussed, the rest of the party turned back to the floor. Still nervous about jumping in the hole, they questioned their captive once more. The lizard man confirmed his master lay below, that there was an uncertain number of other lizard men around, and the lizard men had captured a number of sailors from the wreck of the "Star Runner" (two of which were still alive). When asked what happened to the other humans, the lizard man replied with a grin that they were 'used', whatever that was supposed to mean. Regardless, the party decided to checkout the other two membrane doors before trying to go below.

Beyond the first was a generally empty, fleshy space, but with four pools in the floor. One of which was surrounded by a dozen silver poles, 6' tall. Against the far wall was another of the egg-structures. The party cautiously checked the pools. They were filled with a thick yellow, microbiological smelling liquid. Lowering poles, ropes and sacks into the liquid caused no harm to the objects. Questioning their captive did not result in any useful information about the pools, but further prodding about the egg revealed he and his companions had 'slept in them until the world changed'. Humm, some sort of statis field or time machine it would seem.  Chaff went over to the  silver poles, and cautiously tried pulling one out of the floor. It came easily, the hole in the floor closing moments later. Not sure of it's purpose, the little vivmancer carried it away none the less. Moving next to the last membrane door, the party found that this opened into yet another similar looking room. This one was characterized by a line of six statis-eggs along the far wall, and another elevator platform like the one they used to enter the central dome. In addition, lashed to the walls and floor and ceiling by tendrils growing out of the dome was a large collection of objects. Close inspection showed these were mundane things such as ropes and tools and barrels, but of wholly alien manufacture.

Taking leave of this last room, the party returned to the odd passage in the floor. Many plans of how to get down the hole and into the area where 'the master' lurked hatched, but in the end Chaff volunteered to peak through. But only after tying a rope around his waist which Awg would hold just in case.  Chaff squeezed his head into the sphincter; Awg could feel the vivimancer being sucked away, but the calmonari was able to hold tight and pull him out. Once he popped out, Chaff reported that a long tube formed on the other side, leading down into the room below. He couldn't see much of the room itself, however, just that it was of similar structure as those above but larger in size. Well, just as well to go down, so with Chaff taking lead, the party slipped one by one through the sphincter.

H'sslik the Lizard Wizard
Chaff landed first, finding himself in a round chamber. There were four membrane doors leading out, three of which were on the other side of a large pool of water. In the centre was a series of tables or benches of organic origin, seemingly formed out of the fleshy floor of the room. Standing there was an old lizard man in robes, puttering away at something on the benches, while facing Chaff were two more of the Neanderthal-ish lizard men, clubs and nets raised. Chaff raised his hands to show he meant no harm, keeping his distance from the guards. As the others started to arrive, the two guards continued to hold back, while the old wizard turned to see what was going on with only mild interest. When the captive lizard man appeared out of the tube, the two guards hissed and growled in anger, and that was enough for Chaff. He dropped a web, catching two guards (including their first captive) and the lizard wizard in the sticky strands. The sole remaining guard stood it's ground warily, and the lizard wizard looked on the party with full interest now, mostly looking annoyed. Unable to move thanks to the web, he did make a few weird croaking sounds and then cocked his head to one side as if listening. Awg pulled out the Mother of Pearl Egg and addressed the lizard wizard. The calmonari assured him, as one aquatic creature to another, that the party meant no harm.  They were merely being cautious, and were curious about this place. Awg then passed the egg to the lizard wizard and told him it would allow him to speak with them, but they would have to pass it back and forth to have a conversation. Holing the egg in his clawed hand, the lizard wizard (H'sslik by name) hissed that he could understand the party and could converse without the egg if they would free him from the web. That wasn't about to happen right now, so the two sides talked through the egg and through the protection of the web.

The conversation was long and winding and difficult to follow at times, but the party learned quite a
Basil the Talking Fish
bit. First of all, H'sslik and his guards hailed from a time long past when the master races ruled these isles and men were no more than 'ape-slaves'. Just how long ago that was the party couldn't tell for sure as H'sslik kept referring to an untranslatable period of time called a 'saros'; but it was certainly in the range of thousands of years. When the ape-slaves rose in revolt, H'sslik chose to escape by hiding his dome in the jungle  and going into statis (i.e the eggs); unfortunately, he miscalculated the statis field and they ended up staying under much longer than planned. The party also gradually came to learn the H'sslik was not quite right in the head; it seems that when he finally came out of statis, the long duration had fried more than a few neurons. The first thing he observed when he emerged was the tropical fish swimming in the lagoon, and he has been obsessed with 'his pretties' ever since. He was the one creating the weird hybrids the party encountered in the bay, and they could see more mutant fish swimming about in the pool of water. Some of the fish were raw material, and some hybrids. Including a talking fish by the name of Basil, who now had the brain and voice box of a sailor from the "Star Runner". They learned many of the crew survived the wreck, but were captured on shore by the lizard men. They were then put in tanks full of water or fluid, given sustenance and air by tubes. The crew were removed one by one and disappeared, and when it was Basil's turn, he ended by on a dissecting table in the middle of the room. Next thing he knew his consciousness was in the body of a fish; where he was now quite happy.  Basil also pointed out a few of the other mutant fish, including one covered in pearls.

While the conversation was going on, Chaff checked out the membrane doors. Each led into a narrow curved room with tanks formed into the walls. Each room held a different type of creature; the first held two humans from the "Star Runner", floating in fluid and sustained by tubes growing from the walls. The other three contained tropical fish, amphibians (frogs, salamanders, turtles, etc), and mollusks (clams, scallops, oysters, etc) respectively. When he returned and asked H'sslik about them, the lizard wizard confirmed they were raw materials for his experiments. Chaff questioned him about that, all the while poking around at the work benches. The vivmancer learned that H'sslik seemed to be practicing some combination of ur-vivimancy combined with surgery and some kind of innate mental abilities to make his creatures. He also learned that the dome was somehow an extension of H'sslik, and provided sustenance, power and life force to him. It also acted as a recorder or memory, and H'sslik could see what had happened throughout his long statis, as least what happened in the general vicinity of the dome and island. He told the party about the mists, how they would come and go, and each time they lifted different creatures would appear to explore. It seemed the mists somehow moved the Far Isles from place to place or from time to time, and would lift to allow those on the periphery to enter the isles. When queried about the time frame, H'sslik was a bit vague, but each lifting of the mist was relatively short, just a few years at most before they closed in again for a very long time, isolating the isles mostly from each other and whatever was in the outside world for 'many saros'.

By this time the party had decided H'sslik was basically harmless, and decided to cut he and his henchmen loose. They talked to him about the pools in the room above, and he told them they were for healing and rejuvenation. When asked if the party could use them, he seemed OK with the idea, but warned they were not tuned to 'ape-slave' physiology. Still worth trying, so Kwinsea headed back to the "Purple Haze" to bribe Jaz into taking a dip.  The elf was strong-armed into resting in the pool overnight, and when pulled out the next morning was fulling healed and functional. Unfortunately, her tongue had grown to enormous size and strength. knocking her front teeth out when she tried to talk. And of course, she was now unable to cast spells until that little problem could be solved. While Kwinsea gathered Jaz's teeth, the rest of the party negotiated with  H'sslik. They agreed to bring him back example of new pretty fish found in their exploration; in return, they could make use of the pools for healing. The lizard wizard agreed; he also provided some info about the surrounding islands. In particular, that the other island labeled on Ondry's map has a 'ape-slave' city on it; or at least did about 20-30 years ago, which was the time limit of the dome's monitoring ability. With that information, Kwinsea finally deciphered the writing on the map; it was 'smoking ruin'. Well, didn't look like there was a city there now.

Isle of the Smoking Ruins
With that, the party took their leave of H'sslik and returned to the "Purple Haze". They directed Lynessa to set sail to the east, and after a half day fair sailing arrived off the smoking island. It consisted of a volcanic peak, long dormant based on the amount of jungle grown right to the top. They anchored off a shallow bay where there were signs of civilization; a few wooden docks with boats tied up. They were in poor repair, and several boasts had slipped their lines and either run aground or sunk. If didn't look like anyone had been here for weeks or months. There was also sign of a road or path leading up the mountain to a plateau or hanging valley, where a thin wisp of smoke rose into the air. The party opted to not go ashore right away, but had Lynessa sail around the island first. They found nothing else of interest, and anchored once more off the shallow bay for the night. The night passed without incident, at least until Chaff came on watch just as dawn was breaking. He spied a sail, glowing warmly in the light of the rising sun, bearing down on them from then northwest. He raised the alarm, and the party and crew rushed on deck to prepare for what may come ...

TOTAL XP
4080

GAINS
1 six foot silver pole

KILLS
2 Neanderthal-ish Lizardman (Captured)
H'sslik the Lizard Wizard from Beyond Time (Captured)

LOSSES
None

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Far Isles Session # 70 - The Dome

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Chaff (Vivimancer 5), with familiar Pretty Bird and Riding Dog Puppy Whuppy
Awg Wahmn (Calmonari 5)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 5), with familiar Hermes 
Torak (Cleric 5) 


The Dome (Pretty-Bird View)
With no obvious entrance into the jungle, Kwinsea and Awg elected to slide into the surf, looking for an intelligent looking fish for the calmonari to charm, and on which the aquamancer could cast speak with aquatic animals. Meanwhile, Torak sent his troglodyte zombies to beat the tree line and see if anything was flushed out by the activity; nothing was. In the water, the swimming duo encountered the same array of weirdly mutated tropical fish, before settling on another fang fish for their conversation. While the creature was of little intelligence, it did tell them there were no sharks or other large fish-like things around, and there was a ship wreck off the end of the beach. Investigating, they found the relatively new wreck of a vessel of Xin-ish design named the "Star Runner".  It had run aground on a rock off the end of the beach, leaving a few partially decomposed bodies among the debris but not nearly enough to account for the full crew. Awg and Kwinsea guessed any survivors may have made it ashore after running aground. There was little else of interest, so they returned to the beach, questioning their toothed friend some more along the way. They learned that it (and presumably all the rest of the weird fish) were created or born on the island itself. The fish told of a non-human 'upright' creature who made the fishes, and that the fish had swum out though a tunnel under the island to reach the open sea. Asked to show them the tunnel, the fish led them to a spot about 10' off the beach. Brushing away some sand with his fins, he revealed a partially sand-clogged opening , consisting of a 3' diamter round tube of some rubbery or leathery material. Kwinsea and Awg returned to the beach to confer with the rest of the party, where Chaff now sent Pretty Bird aloft to check out the interior. He spied, through the parrots eyes, a strange fleshy dome about 100' high sitting in a depression in the jungle. The jungle was a little thinner in this area, and there were some signs of cleared paths and similar intelligent activity. 

Everyone decided using the ebony fly to reach the dome was easier than swimming/crawling through the tube. So with a tearful goodbye from Awg's new fishy friend, the party was airlifted one by one into the jungle. Once there, they circumnavigated the dome, looking for a way in. There was no obvious door though the rubbery/leathery material, but on the south-east side was a 7' diameter circle of thin membrane. Torak pushed the hilt of his dagger into the taut material, which after a bit of force gave way, and the dagger seemed to pass inside the structure. Awg meanwhile put his ear to the dome to listen; there was nothing to hear but the calmonari did note that the material was warmer than would be expected based on the surrounding air temperature. Though starting to get slightly creeped out, the party decided to enter. Although Kwinsea gulped back an antitoxin dose just in case. 


Green Spitter
Inside, the dome looked like an paleontological greenhouse, with a riot of primitive ferns, vines, and massive, colourful flowers. They could see a pool of water off to the right, and in the middle was another structure of the same rubbery/ leathery material.  As the party circled around it, they found the greenhouse was torus-shaped with a tapering tower (which joined with the roof overhead) filling the centre. The pool (and a second one found further along) was of salt water. They were not deep, but the bottoms were rather undulating so it was difficult to see clearly was was down there.  It was also difficult to see through the green riot of plants, so when a 8' tall frilled dinosaur-like creature burst out of the undergrowth, the party was surprised.  It lunged at Torak and his undead henchman, spitting at the cleric's face. Torak dodged, but then the beast lashed out with claws and teeth as the cleric retreated behind his zombie bodyguards. Meanwhile, Awg scrambled up a vine to get a better shot with his laser pistol, while Kwinsea used her prismatic ray gem, unfortunately hitting one of the zombies which was at the same time being chewed on by the green spitter.  Chaff finished off that zombie (oops!) with another laser shot, while the green spitter chomped the second undead to pieces, opening up a path to attack the party. It did not last long, however, as a couple of laser blasts from Awg and stabbing from the party brought it down. None to soon, as a second spitter attacked from behind, bit it fell quickly to more laser blasts, pistol shots, and a bonewarp from Chaff. 


Primitive Lizardman
The party performed some first aid while Awg plucked a dino tooth from one of the fallen to add to his collection. And Torak used animate dead to replace his lost troglodytes zombies with a new improved green spitter zombie. With the zombie in the lead, the party continued their exploration of the eerily quiet jungle-scape. They once more found no obvious (or non-obvious) doors into the interior. Kwnisea did find one unusual thing; a 2' by 1' shelf in the side of the inner wall, forming an alcove just about the right shape and size to stand in. As the rest of the party gathered round to look, the aquamancer bravely stepped onto the shelf. The wall began to ripple and in a matter of seconds, it had engulfed the spellcaster. She had the sensation of being swallowed upward, and the rest of the party could see a Kwinsea-shaped bulge rise just over halfway up the wall before disappearing. She had in fact been vomited into the interior of the structure, and was standing in a mostly empty room formed of the same leathery/rubbery material. The floor was oddly lumpy, there was a white egg-like structure against  the north wall, and another membrane door to the west. And in the centre was a huge, primitive looking lizardman scooping and slurping handfuls of something liquid out of a fleshy font in the middle of the room. It turned on Kwinsea, and grabbing up a big club and net, cautiously approved. Kwinsea tried to talk to it, but it continued to advance, so she choose the cast tidal force to keep it away. The lizardman hissed in rage as the rest of the party (less the zombie spitter and Puppy Whuppy) started to arrive, and it turned in rage to Kwinsea. Unable to reach the aquanacer, the lizardman seemed to think hard and suddenly a series of flesh pillars rose out of the floor to trap Kwinsea in a corner. The rest of the party tied and bound the creature, who was then convinced by threat of force to drop the pillars. It did, and Kwinsea, after trying all her linguistic skill, learned she could have a very stilted conversation with the lizardman using her shaky grasp of troglodyte. It spoke about a master which they figured out was another lizardman or similar, not the dome itself. She also asked it about the egg; Chaff had examined that thing, which was open on the front and full of tendrils that tried to grab his staff when it stuck it in the cavity. The lizardman indicated he had been in the egg once, but it wasn't clear what the purpose the thing served.

They party then moved on, out through the membrane door with the lizardman in the lead. The next chamber was even more empty than the first. There were membrane doors to the north and west, while in the centre of the room was a sphincter-like structure in the floor. When prodded, the lizardman revealed it led down to the Master. The party also noticed the walls, curved convex towards them in this room, seem to move slightly in and out in a bellows-like motion. Now what ...

TOTAL XP
520

GAINS
None

KILLS
1 Neanderthal-ish Lizardman (Captured)
2 Green Spitters

LOSSES
None

Friday, September 1, 2017

Far Isles Session #69 - The Deal Goes South

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 5) with henchman Corvus (Fighter 3)
Awg Wahmn (Calmonari 5)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 5), with familiar Hermes 
Torak (Cleric 5) 


Sizing up their somewhat perilous situation, Awg decided to stop gorging on the buffet and have a serous discussion with Ondry. The calmonari frankly laid out what he saw was going on; matters were coming to an impasse and seemed likely to end in a welter of blood and death. Maybe instead the two parties could come to an amicable arrangement from which they would both benefit?  Ondry twitched slightly and licked his lips at the mention of blood, but pulled himself to together and agree that they could make a deal. He wanted passage home, and offered to pay the party for transporting him and a small entourage back to the Coral Cays. When asked who would be in this entourage, Ondry mentioned a few troglodyte servants and his children. Children, asked Kwinsea? At that, Ondry pulled open his voluminous shirt to reveal two small, grey-skinned humanoids suckling at his chest. When the aquamancer questioned him further about the children, Ondry gruffly and rudely rebuffed her, making some comments about woman should have stayed subservient and the like. When questioned about payment for passage, he offered 3000g and a pair of magic items. Questioned about those items, Ondry started to rage and snarl about 'not having taken my whole household with me' and stated some of the reward would be paid upon arrival in the Coral Cays. To prove he did have coinage to give, Ondry reach behind his seat, pulled out a handful of gold coin,s and scattered them on the floor at the party's feet. 

Feeling a bit stuck between a rock and a hard-place (and hoping they could better deal with the strange man when they had him on board the "Purple Haze" on their own terms, and without all his supporting troglodytes), the party agreed to the bargain. Ondry heaved himself out of his cushioned  chairs, and started to direct some of the troglodytes to start packing his belongs. He didn't speak to them, but relied on pointing and gestures. Kwinsea confirmed Ondry could not actually speak troglodyte by addressing him in her slight grasp of that language, provoking another misogynistic barrage of snarls from him.  This gave her an idea, so with Rodrigo along for protection, she went to talk to the rest of the troglodytes, to find out more about Ondry and maybe flip the reptile-men to their side. She learned only that they regarded him as a god, mainly due to his size and strength and ability to turn into a blessed 'monsterous' form. They were reluctant to let Ondry leave them, but bowed to the will of their god to leave, hoping he would return. And they most certainly were not going to turn against him.

Meanwhile, Awg swam out towards the "Purple Haze" to prepare the ship and crew for their 'guest'.
Ondry
This left Corvus (and an invisible Torak) alone in the pavilion with Ondry. The grey-skinned man surreptitiously eyed the big fighter, occasionally twitching and snarling. After Kwinsea, Rodrigo and Awg had been gone a short while, Ondry finally lost control. With a snarl and a roar, he suddenly transformed into a much taller, much more muscular figure, with a sharks head and mighty clawed fists. With his two 'children' in tow, the were-shark charged across the room and fell on the unfortunate fighter.  Corvus managed to dodge some blows, but the three beasts were to much, and it was not long before a massive bite from Ondry ended the fighter's life. Before he expired, Corvus was able to yell a warning to the rest of the party, including sharp-eared Awg who had nearly reached the "Purple Haze". The calmonari turned around and started to swim back to shore to help, while Kwinsea and Rodrigo turned to leave the troglodytes and rush to help. As she ran, however, Kwinsea tried to talk to the troglodytes once more, to get them to help the party. But the reptile-men once more were not convinced, and though momentarily confused by what was going on, it was likely they would fall on the party's rear in the coming fight. So Kwinsea stopped and aimed her wand of fear, sending all but one troglodyte running away in fear. And that last one, finding himself now alone, turned and joined his fellows in their flight.

Back in the tent, Torak now came into view, surprising the were-shark and his lessor kin and the remaining troglodytes. The cleric held one lessor were-shark, then commanded the other to commit 'patricide'. He then found himself pinned against the tent wall by a pair of troglodyte servants, and ineffectually flailed away at the pair as they struck at him with their spears. Rodrigo then arrived, leaping over his fallen henchman to drive at Ondry with his swords. As he sliced and diced, Kwinsea rushed in and lined up for a lightning bolt on Ondry and his children. By this point, the were-shark was starting to look battered, and tried to bull-rush past Rodrigo and run for the sea. He didn't make it though, as the swashbuckler cut him down as he passed by. That still left one lessor were-shark and a handful of troglodyte servants, which despite all the party's efforts, still managed to stay standing. Kwinsea used her tidal force to push them back, which allowed Rodrigo to cut them down one by one and finally rescue Torak from his assailants. By this point, however, the feared troglodytes had returned and the party found themselves once more in a fight. Awg also arrived by this point to help out, Torak donned his invisibility ring once more to hide from further attacks, and Rodrigo flipped  over a table to knock several of his attackers off their feet. In the end it was too much for the now leaderless troglodytes, and the remainder turned and fled into the jungle. 
Ondry's Map
With the battle over, the party now helped themselves to Ondry's reward. While Rodrigo swept a silver tea-set and crystal decanter off the table and into a sack, Kwinsea searched behind the chair where a pile of pillows, throws, and full sacks lay. The sacks were stuffed with human body parts in various states of decay, and at the bottom of all the clutter was a locked chest. Kwinsea and Awg both checked it for traps, and finding nothing, had Rodrigo pry it open with Corvus' crowbar. Inside they found a pile of gold and silver coins, but nothing more (even after Kwinsea checked the bottom for secret compartments).  They did find a crude map, however. It showed a string of islands just east of their current location, and then a gap of several days sailing to another island; this chart seemed to show the route Ondry had taken to reach the isle of the stone ships. Several of the islands along the way were labeled; one with 'fish' and another with '???? ruins".

Having looted the pavilion, they party discussed whether they should check out the nearby quarry pits. They decided not to, having learned earlier they were the home of the troglodytes, and a) not wanting to fight more troglodytes at the moment and b) figuring the reptile-men had little of value anyway. So they buried the unfortunate Corvus (after taking his stuff), then hauled their loot back to the reef and used the ships boat to bring it and them aboard the "Purple Haze". Examining Ondry's map, they decided to follow his track back to the Coral Cays and see what adventure awaited them in those new isles. Along the way they would check out the other islands. So after a night's rest (and another trip to the island by Torak to animate a pair of fallen troglodytes as zombie servants), they had Lynessa raise sail and fighting a NE wind, headed to the east. 

Bite-y Fish
It was mid afternoon when they reached the first island on the chart, the one marked 'fish'. It was a rather nondescript jungle covered island, with a rocky wave-crashed shore on the north side and a small shallow cove with a white sandy beach on the south. Lynessa would take the "Purple Haze" no closer as the water as too shallow, so they party had the ships' boat lowered into the water to row ashore. Torak had his odoriferous zombie servants man the oars, which drove both Kwinsea and Awg into the water the swim behind, while Rodrigo and the cleric stayed aboard. As they crossed the shallow bay, they could see a riot of weird and colourful fish swimming about. Awg used his aquatic telepathy to get a sense of their intent, and got mostly neutral fishy thoughts and a bit of hostility. The hostility became evident as they moved towards shore, as there were two attacks. One by a large fish that shot a long sticky tongue at Rodrigo and tried to haul him in the water; the swashbuckler was able to cut the tongue off before tumbling overboard and the wounded fish swam away. The second was a great toothed monster that tried to chomp on Awg and Kwinsea in the water; Kwnisea swallowed her revulsion and climbed into the boat while Awg used the shark tooth spear to transform into a mako shark to out-fang the fish and kill it. After that, they reached the beach without further incident. Looking around, they could see nothing but sand and jungle with no obvious route into the greenery. What to do now ....

TOTAL XP
3106

GAINS
Elaborate Silver Tea Service (500gp)
Crystal Decanter (150gp total)
321gp
2300sp

KILLS
Ondry the Were-Shark
Two lessor were-shark 'children'
5 subservient troglodytes

LOSSES
Corvus

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Far Isles Session # 68 - The Last Ship and New 'Friends'

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 5) 
Chaff (Vivimancer 5), with familiar Pretty Bird and Riding Dog Puppy Whuppy
Awg Wahmn (Calmonari 5)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 5), with familiar Hermes 
Corvus (Fighter 3)
Torak (Cleric 5) 
Golden Khopesh

With the battle over, Chaff picked up a chunk of shattered bronze destroyer and placed it on one of the entry trap pressure plates. This activated the trap and locked the spears and statues in place, so he did the same with the second pressure plate. This now left the party a safe escape route if needed. Because now they were going to mess with the black skull altar. While everyone else backed away to the far end of the chamber, Corvus went over to examine the skull. He noted that the the top was hinged, so he stood off to one side, stuck the edge of his sword in the gap and levered it open. When nothing blew up or leapt out at the fighter the rest of the party crowded around to look. Inside was a body, curled up to fit in the cramped space, and clutching a golden curved sword. Torak noted that something didn't look right about the body; it appeared to be covered in  fuzzy orange growth. Suspecting some sort of deadly mold, the combined brainpower of the party started to formulate a plan. Various options involving fire and water were rejected, there being a fear of destroying any spellbooks, scrolls or other fragile treasure that may be below the body. In the end, Awg was strong-armed into levitating over the open skull. He looped a grappling hook and rope over a wooded beam, and lowered the hook into the skull. As it approached  the mummified corpse, Chaff came close enough to cast a cantrip, to nudge the hook under the corpse's armpit.  Chaff and Awg then joined the rest of the party to heave on the rope. Unfortunately, instead of lifting the body, they ripped off the arm in a cloud of orange dust. Once the dust settled a bit, the process was repeated with the other arm, and this time it worked. Soon the moldy, sword-clutching mummy was swaying in the air. 

Confused
All this work did disturb some of the mold, so Chaff cantriped a tiny rain-cloud to make a safe path to the skull so they could peak inside. Where they unfortunately found nothing. So in order to get the sword, they cut the rope and the corpse fell to the floor, smashing into pieces and raising a huge cloud of orange mold.  This looked like it would take some time to dissipate, so some of the party started to carry the suits of bronze armour (and Jaz) out to the garish boat to take away as spoils. As he was returning to the stone ship on his second trip, Rodrigo spied a ghostly figure approaching from the edge of the jungle. It looked remarkably like the corpse they'd tumbled out of the ceremonial boat in the first tomb, dressed in pounded bark robes. It started to approach the swashbuckler, but when he ran into the stone ship to warn the others, the ghost passed through the thick stone of the ship and confronted the party in mid-looting. It gazed around looking somewhat confused : "Oooooo ... What desecration is this? Who has defiled the dead? Is it those reptile men? And what are you doing here?" The spirit seemed a little befuddled and unsure, so some quick thinking and talking by the party convinced it they we're cleaning up the mess left by the despoiling reptile men. And once told the party would hunt down the perpetrators and destroy them, the spirit toddled off through the wall and disappeared into the jungle once more.  After breathing a sign of relief (and posting watch to ensure Mr. Ghosty didn't return), the party finished looting. Awg levitated over the moldy floor and gently picked up the sword. It proved to be made of solid gold with a cutting edge of diamond. Definitely a ceremonial object and not a real weapon.  

Looting and desecration complete, the party decided to once more settle in for the night, making camp in the recently looted chamber (after first resting the traps, just in case they had late-night visitors). The night passed without trouble, and they now moved on to looting/exploring third stone ship. After a little more poking and prodding at the sprung traps and triggers in the bow of the ship, they climbed the fallen rubble of the stone sail to peer down into the stern. The shiny copper-sheathed walls of the room blazed with light reflected from their light coin. This room also had an uncomfortably low ceiling, barely 6 feet high. A fact which made everyone uncomfortable with the idea of entering said room, even to explore the alter with large shiny skull at the far end, and the pit full of what looked be gold dust in front of it. Instead, Kwinsea used her crystal heart on one of the four monstrously envisaged statues in the room and used that surrogate to explore. The aquamancer had her animated statue  scoop up some of the golden dust into a sack and bring it back. Unfortunately for looting's sake, Chaff's greedy eye immediately identified it as simple fools gold. The statue was sent back to dredge the pit, and this time pulled up some skeletal remains wearing a worn brown cassock and a bloodstone armband. Kwinsea directed the animated help to the alter to recover the weird skull and bring it over to the waiting party. As the statue lifted the large skull, however, there was a slight shudder and a grinding sound. Right away, the party could see the ceiling of the room start to descend, the platforms holding the statues and the alter sinking into the floor. Kwinsea frantically directed her statue to return, but it did not get far before it was trapped by the descending ceiling and shattered into a thousand pieces.  Kwinsea then even more frantically tried using a rope trick to recover the crystal heart, but was unsuccessful. Moments later, the ceiling passed the top of the wall where the party was gathered, blocking all access to the chamber. 

The party dutifully waited for a few hours, and spent some time fiddling with the broken traps and triggers in the front chamber, hoping that the ceiling would rise again. Alas, it was all to no avail, and it appeared the crystal heart and anything else worth looting were sealed in for all time. With a disappointed sigh, they returned to the ceremonial boat, loaded it up with the treasure they did get, and hauled it all back through the jungle to the lagoon.  They crossed that sheltered body of water without being bothered by the giant eels, then waited for high tide to man-handle the boat over the reef and rowed back to the "Purple Haze". Along the way Awg tinkered with and talked to the mother of pearl egg, and discovered it allowed him to speak the languages of most intelligent aquatic humanoids. Which seemed a fitting item for the aquatic humanoid to own. 


Inside the Pavilion
Back aboard the "Purple Haze", a council of war ... err, looting was held. Rather than give up completely on the island, they decided to sail around to the other side and check out the location marked 'quarry' on their map. Sailing around the island was easy, as was locating the quarry. Even through the now pouring rain, deep water filled pits could be seen just a few score yards above the high tide line. Surprisingly, there was another structure nearby; a colorful tent-like pavilion, open facing the water but closed on the other three sides. The party couldn't see anything inside the tent, but about a dozen troglodytes were observed moving in and out and about the tent. Well, nothing more to be done but to go visit. But crossing the reef was going to be a problem.  With no way to get the ship's boat across, the party opted for more unconventional means of travel.  Awg and Kwinsea would swim over to the shingle beach, Chaff summoned the ebony fly to carry him over, and Corvus could make good use of the ring of water walking. That left Rodrigo and Torak ; so the swashbuckler used the shark tooth spear to transform into a mako shark, and the cleric (who first donned the invisibility ring) hopped on it's back for the ride in. And thus the landing was made, the motley collection of invaders being less than stealthy and were being met by a battle line of troglodytes standing between them and the pavilion. A short Mexican standoff ensued, and Kwinsea tried to engage the reptile-men in conversation, using the smattering of troglodyte she'd picked up during the couple of violent encounters with the things over the last few days. The stilted conversation was interrupted, however, by a voice from deep inside the pavilion.  "Please, come and join me for a glass of wine and a mid-day meal" came the polite yet sinister voice. The troglodyte line parted, and the party warily moved forward and into the tent. There, seated at the far end, behind a pair of tables laden with food and drink, was a tall, muscular man. He was grey skinned and well dressed, and reclined on a sedan chair piled high with silks and pillows. After some initial hesitancy, the party did partake of the banquet table and started to converse with their mysterious host. His name was Ondry, and hailed from lands to the east known as the Coral Kingdoms or Coral Cays. When the great fog bank lifted a year ago, he decided to sail west to explore, and found himself shipwrecked on this shore, the lone survivor out of all the ship's company. He'd 'befriended' the troglodytes, and they now served him. When questioned about the Coral Cays, he made reference to white beaches and blue lagoons, tribes of fierce amazons and unusual giants, and mountains of gold. All through the conversation, they party noted several odd things about their host. One, he was barely suppressing a strange twitch and seemed to be physically forcing himself to stay calm and seated. They also noted signs of something writhing around under the fine silk shirt he wore.  Meanwhile, a glance over their shoulders revealed a crowd of troglodytes had crowded into the opening of the tent behind them. Things did not look good ...


TOTAL XP
5050

GAINS
Golden ceremonial khopesh sword with diamond edge (5000gp)
5 sets of bronze armor (50gp total)

KILLS
nil

LOSSES
nil

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Far Isles Session #67 - More Fun with Statues

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 5) 
Chaff (Vivimancer 5), with familiar Pretty Bird and Riding Dog Puppy Whuppy
Awg Wahmn (Calmonari 5)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 5), with familiar Hermes and henchman Jaz (Elf 2)
Corvus (Fighter 3)

The shocked party watched Pahu's body float in circles for a few moments before their thoughts turned to next steps. Obviously no one wanted to step in the water at this point, but Kwinsea reminded them she could use the crystal heart to animate one of the statues out front; presumably a stone statue would not suffer the same acidic fate as Pahu.  All agreed, so Kwinsea and Jaz headed for the octopus headed statue, taking care to peer out of the entrance before stepping into the open. Unfortunately, they didn't look up, and as the pair stepped into the open, a group of seven troglodytes sprang down off the deck of the stone ship in an odoriferous ambush. Jaz started retching from the smell,while Kwinsea was stabbed repeatedly by the reptilians' spears.  The rest of the party heard their screams, however, and rushed to assist. In the meantime, Kwinsea used the crystal heart to animate the statue and scurried behind it for protection. Chaff dropped a spore cloud to incapacitate one creature, and then instinct sent two others running into the jungle. Rodrigo blasted one with his fancy new wheel-lock pistol (spraying Jaz with blood and gore in the process), then drew blades to assist Corvus and Jaz in melee. It was too much for the troglodytes, and all were soon cut down with the exception of one that leapt back up onto the ship's deck and melted into the jungle. 


The Egg
After a round of first aid, the party headed back into the ship with their new statue companion, just in time to see Awg levitate over the pool and haul Pahu's body to safety. Everyone then looted the body of useful items, in particular the Terminaxe (Corvus) and the Shark Spear (Awg). Then came the decision; how to best utilize the octo-head statue? One option was to ride it across the pool one at a time, but concerns were raised about how to get out again if sometime untoward happened  to the statue once they were on the other side. So the party decided to just send it into the pool to do battle. Kwinsea ordered it forward, and before it reached halfway to the door on the opposite side of the room, the water started to stir and a quartet of grey, slimy pseudopods burst from the surface to start pounding on the statue. It fought back and landed several blows, but was soon overwhelmed and collapsed into a pile of stony rubble. While, brute force didn't seem to work, so the party called on brute magical force instead. Kwinsea zapped the pool with a lightning bolt, while Jaz used a magic missile and Awg a laser pistol to to put the finhsing touches on the oozy things. The calmonari then used aquatic telepathy to check for other inhabitants, and finding none, led the party into the pool.  The statue in the alcove proved to be another octopus headed humanoid, but this one made of badly corroded iron. The altar was another black stone block like the first, but on top of this one was a large egg made of mother of pearl. As Awg reached for the egg, everyone yelled for him to stop until they were safety out of (potential) harms way on the other side of the new door. Their paranoia was for naught, however, as nothing happened when Awg lifted to egg. 

The room on the other side of the door was dominated by a 20' long boat, built of jungle hardwoods and intricately, but garishly, carved. It sat upon a low stone platform, and behind it in a niche in the wall were three wooden chests carved with similar designs. Rodrigo checked out the boat,  finding it both seaworthy and occupied. Laying in the bottom was a mummified body, dressed in a robe made of bark and wearing a circlet of sea-shells. The swashbuckler carefully lifted the circlet away with the tip of his sword, then gently lifted the robe to see what what underneath it. When he was done, Chaff bullied over and jumped in the boat, hauling the desiccated corpse out of the way and dumping it on the floor in order to better search beneath it for treasures. He found nothing, and the party as a whole turned their attention to the chests. After checking for traps, each was opened in turn. Inside each were 3-4 sets of skeletal human remains, several of which were covered in silver leaf. The silvered skulls were scooped up and dropped in Awg's treasure sack. A kalandrian sight from Chaff revealed nothing in the chamber was magic, although the bulls-eye shield and mother-of-pearl egg glowed magic. Someone then got the idea to move the boat. Everyone lent a hand to lift it up, uncovering an open box below the boat containing oars, sails, and rigging. All of it well-waxed to protect it from the ravages of time, and as result in perfect  condition. But not magical. After a bit of grumbling about cheap burial customs, the parry decided to take the boat with them as their reward. It look a lot of swearing and time to manhandle the heavy and awkward  vessel outside, but in the end they had recovered a new boat for themselves. In the middle of the jungle.

The Boat

Having looted and ransacked the first stone ship, the party moved on to the second. The piles of bones were humanoid, not human, and neatly stacked around the alter. The alter itself was of the same black stone as the other two, but carved in the shape of an overturned dory. There was a small gap between the gunwales and the floor, so Kwinsea coxed a nervous Hermes out of his waterskin to scamper under and have a look. The hermit crab found nothing but stone, and scurried back to safety. On top of the alter sat a giant clam shell filled with tiny bones; fish bones in fact. After various party members poked and prodded at the bones for a bit, Chaff simply tipped the whole shell and contents onto the floor where it smashed into pieces. He then headed over to one of the stone doors and hauled it open. It opened into a room with two raised platforms flanking a passage down the centre, leading into another room just beyond sight. On each platform stood three bronze statues in the form of fishermen or whalers, each holding a wickedly large spear/harpoon. Sensing a trap, the party proceeded cautiously. They first used a rope and grappling hook to try pulling down a statue, but even with their combined strength, it would not budge. Kwinsea cast rope trick to remotely tie up the statues on the right, and Chaff cast web on two out of three on the left. This way they hoped to immobilize the statues and be able to make safe passage. Rodrigo then volunteered to dash down the centre aisle to test the effectiveness of the countermeasures. He made it past the first two guardians, but as he passed the second, the swashbuckler felt a pressure plate 'click' underfoot. The two centre statues sprang to life, the deadly spears slashing down. The one on the webbed side was restrained by Chaff's spell, but the other broke through the rope and drove down at Rodrigo. He dogged out of the way, but in the process stumbled in front of the last pair and received two deep wounds across his back for his trouble. He skidded into the far room, finding himself standing in front of a a huge bronze statue with four sickle-sword wielding arms. Along the walls were suits of bronze plate mail, each paired with a curved sword and intricate pole-arm also made of bronze. At the far end of the room was a large skull carved out of the same black stone as the alters.

Bronze Destroyer
Rodrigo waited for everyone else to arrive before exploring; Chaff, Jaz and Corvus managed to squeeze along behind and over the statues, although the fighter slipped and fell at the very end, landing on the pressure plate and getting stabbed for his trouble. Kwinsea used a scroll of spider climb to scramble over safety, and Awg elected to stay where he was for now and keep Puppy Whuppy company (the dog having been left behind). Kwinsea used the stole of the sacred to cast a bless spell, expecting trouble from the bronze guardian before too much longer. In fact, when Rodrigo walked over to a suit of plate mail and started to carefully lift it off the rack, the great bronze statue animated and the four curved blades slashed out at four different targets. Both Kwinsea and Chaff were nearly eviscerated in the process,and the two squishy mages retreated behind their more heavily armored companions.  Corvus, Rodrigo and Jaz carved great chunks of bronze out of their attacker, and for the most part managed to doge and parry it's blows. All except Jaz, who, moments before Corvus dealt the guardian a death blow, was opened up by two sword blows to the midriff and fell to the floor. The elf managed to survive, however, thanks to Kwinsea rushing over an binding her wounds as soon as the fighting stopped ...



TOTAL XP
3022

GAINS
Intricately, but garishly, carved wooded boat (3000gp)
Circlet of shells (50gp)
4 Silvered skulls (25gp each)
Mother of Pearl Egg

KILLS
4 Troglodytes
4 Grey Oozes
1 Bronze Destroyer

LOSSES
Octo-head Statue
Jaz (temporarily) 

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Far Isles Session # 66 - The Stone Ships

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 5), with henchman Corvus (Fighter 3)
Chaff (Vivimancer 5), with familiar Pretty Bird and Riding Dog Puppy Whuppy
Awg Wahmn (Calmonari 5)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 5), with familiar Hermes and henchman Jaz (Elf 2)
Pahu-Mahu (Thief 4)

Once aboard ship, the party had Lynessa and the crew prepare to get under way immediately; just in case someone on the island noted the dead god-snake and wanted to do something about it. When it came to determining where to go, Awg was quite adamant that the party should forget about returning to the ruins of Mandro-Shanti. He waved his treasure map around and insisted they look for island with the boats of gold instead. No one could see any reason to  argue, so Lynessa turned the "Purple Haze" closed hauled to the wind and head north-west. After a few hours sailing, land appeared on the horizon. Getting closer, it proved to be a few small islands. Most were jungle covered with no discernible features from offshore, while one consisted of a rocky peak surrounded man-tall razor grass. A smattering of bare rocks rounded out the mini-archipelago. Consulting Awg's map, they found that none of the islands appeared to match, so Lynessa was ordered to circumnavigate the islands and then strike out to the east. As the "Purple Haze" rounded the islands and passed the open sounds between them, the party and crew were treated to the sight of a battle underway between two lots of native warriors in dugout canoes. Deciding it best to not get involved, they instead watched the seemingly mostly ceremonial fight under they passed out of view.  


Giant Eel
It was late in the day when another island came into view, this one about 6 miles long and, on closer inspection, very much like the one on Awg's map. Right down to the impassable reef, which at this low tide barely allowed their ship to pass through and close with the beach. According to the map, the boats of gold were further south, toward the other end of the island. Hoping to avoid another jungle trek, Awg,  Kwinsea and a shark-transformed Pahu decided to dive into the islands lagoon and look for a way for at least the ship's boat to get through the reef. They found no passable breaks in the rock, not even one that looked hopeful for high tide. They did encounter a pair of giant eels who approached and circled menacingly. Awg used his aquatic telepathy to pass along feelings of warmth and friendship, and in return sensed the creatures were mostly interested in defending their territory in the lagoon from any intruders i.e. the party. Kwinsea surfaced and cast speak with aquatic animals to better negotiate and gather information on the island. The eels were not interested in letting the party pass through or even stay any longer. They could tell Kwinsea little about the island, other than some sort of human or humanoid lived there and could be see along the waters edge at times. Feeling increasingly threatened, the trio turned back to return to the ship, Awg and Kwinsea having to help Pahu for the last bit as his shark transformation wore off and he was left floundering about in the water. 


Jungle Troglodyte
Reporting back to the rest of the party, they decided there was little choice but to trek overland; during the swimming trio's absence, Chaff and Rodrigo had located a narrow path leading south. Chaff sent Pretty Bird aloft before they started out, but nothing could be seem through the thick jungle canopy. Along the way they encounter wild boar twice, but the porcine wanderers ran away when approached. Of more significance was an ambush by troglodytes, the odoriferous reptile-men being the humanoid inhabitants noted by the giant eels. Things got off to a rocky start, with Chaff, Rodrigo, Pahu and Jaz all getting violently ill from the troglodytes smell. But some well placed blows and a tidal force from Kwinsea soon resulted in three dead troglodytes, while the remaining two melted into the jungle and fled. 

Pushing  on, it was a approaching dark when the party finally emerged into a clearing and first laid eyes on the so called 'boats of gold'. There was no gold to be seen. Instead, emerging from the jungle were the prows of three stone ships, each  about the size of the "Purple Haze". A closer look showed they were built of stone block rather than somehow magically transformed from wooden ships. Two still had massive stone sails towering above the decks, while the sail on the eastern-most ship had fallen into rubble. In front of each ship stood a statue. From west to east these were: an octopus headed humanoid, a humanoid shark monster, and a boar headed man. In front of the shark-man were three poles driven upright into the ground; it looked as if someone or something had been lashed to them fairly recently. Pahu scouted toward the centre ship and noted signs of footprints entering an opening in the stone prow. By now it was almost completely dark, so the party decided to scramble up to the deck of the octopus-man ship and camp for the night.

Nothing untoward interrupted their rest, and in the morning the party continued their exploration of the ships. Each had an opening in the prow, accessible at the end of a short earthen ramp. Before deciding which to tackle first, they peered into each opening. The western ship contained a stone alter with a verdigris-stained copper door beyond. In the second ship was another alter and more doors, plus piles of bones stacked around. In the third there was once more an alter, plus a couple of smashed and fallen statues. Closer examination revealed pits dug in the floor, some flagstones marked with 'X', and what appeared to be triggered and broken spear traps lining the walls. Beyond there was no doors, as the fallen stone sail had smashed the mid-section of the ship into rubble.

With little to differentiate the three, the party decided to go back to the first, westernmost ship and investigate. After first checking the entrance for traps, Pahu headed for the door. It was only copper sheathed, and was decorated with a spiral of rivets. Awg, Kwinsea and Jaz observed a similar spiral groove carved into the otherwise plain stone alter, with signs of what may have been old blood as well. Chaff, Rodrigo and Corvus checked out the wall, finding them caved with heraldic and stylized sea creatures. Scattered along the base was a mess of broken leather, wood and  bronze shields. Jaz grabbed the one which appeared to be in the best shape; a copper sheathed wooden shield with concentric red circles on the front.  


The Pool
Moving back to the door, Pahu checked it for traps. Finding none, Awg pushed it open. On the other side of the threshold was a narrow step, beyond which the room was filled with a cloudy, reddish liquid. On the opposite wall about 30' away was another door, while to the east and west were alcoves. The east one contained was appeared to be another alter, while to the west was some sort of statue. Pahu stuck a finger in the water, and when nothing happened he tasted the liquid. As far as he could tell, it was simply dirty, rusty water, so the the thief jumped in to search around. He didn't get far before he stepped on something slimy and squishy below the water's surface, and to the horror of the rest of the party, Pahu started to scream and thrash about until he suddenly shuddered and became very still. Then fell backwards into the water, dead. As his body floated back towards the party, everyone could see the thief's lower legs had been stripped away leaving only bone from the knee down ... 

TOTAL XP
114

GAINS
Bulls-Eye Shield

KILLS
3 Troglodytes

LOSSES
Pahu-Mahu

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Far Isles Session #65 - Through the Screaming Maw

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 4), with henchman Corvus (Fighter 2)
Chaff (Vivimancer 5), with familiar Pretty Bird and Riding Dog Puppy Whuppy
Awg Wahmn (Calmonari 4)
Pahu-Mahu (Thief 3)
Torak (Cleric 5)

A quick review of those present settled on Pahu Mahu as having the best combination of a) scrawny size and b) potential survivability to take a chance crawling into the narrow shaft. The party tied a rope around his waist, and shoved the light coin and ring of invisibility into his hands, then sent him on his way. As he shimmied along, Pahu Mahu found the slope of the shaft getting steeper and steeper so that when he finally poked his head out into the open after crawling 50-60', the thief was hanging almost head down. And from this perspective, found himself staring into a bizarrely demonic visage about 15' away. It was a huge statue depicting a fat and scaled vaguely humanoid body, with four arms and skinny stick-like legs. The head was stork-like, with eyes in swivel sockets and a crest of skulls.  To Pahu Mahu's relief, the statute did not move. Looking around, he could vaguely see he was hanging above a circular chamber, but the floor below lay in  darkness. Wiggling out of the shaft, he started to lower himself down into the room, while Pretty Bird followed behind to let Chaff look around and report what could be seen to everyone above.  The room came into fuller view as Pahu Mahu descended further; it was circular, about 80' across, with a series of stone balconies along the perimeter from which led stairs to floor level. There was also an exit heading east on the highest balcony, while the floor itself was covered in a thick layer of dust and shadow, making it difficult to see anything.
Screaming Wall

Pahu decided to not touch down, but  used the rope to swing over to the balcony to explore the exit instead. Somewhat creepily, the eyes of the statue swiveled to follow him across the room.  The exit led into a stone-flagged tunnel, which led to a short staircase. The thief headed up the stairs and emerged into more corridor, but this was lined with some sort of padded leather. He steeped forward, and all of a sudden the floor, walls and ceiling began to quiver.  Faces appeared, with mouths opened wide, and a gibbering scream filled the air. Pahu was chilled to his core, and grabbed him spear to try stabbing himself to death and end the nightmare. Luckily he didn't do much damage, and the pain and blood loss shocked him out of his stupor. The faces now started to snap and bite at his legs, so he turned and ran back to the circular chamber. There he shimmied down the rope again until he was just touching the floor. At this point, torches around the gazing demon statue came to life, revealing the full chamber. On the floor Pahu could now see scattered treasure, coins and jewelry. There was also the outline of a great hatch cover, and at the base of the statue stood a lectern with a massive book. The thief scooped up the most valuable looking item in reach, and then climbed back up the rope and out of the shaft to the rest of the party. 

Meanwhile, having followed the action below through Pretty Birds eyes, the rest of the party decided to look for another way in. A party member was sent to walk a line to each cardinal point of the compass; Rodrigo had gone east and after abut 150 feet stumbled over an overgrown pile of stone. He kicked a few aside and noted they seemed to filled a man-made opening in the ground. He went back to gather everyone, and work commenced on excavating the rubble. After about an hour, they'd uncovered a very ancient and worn set of stone stairs going down. The party formed up and headed into the darkness.   The stairs led them into a chamber which was covered in more leathery substance. Careful poking and prodding didn't reveal any faces, and closer examination showed that it was dried and cracked and presumably 'dead'. Three corridors led out of the room. Assuming the one in the west wall led to the gibbering wall and circular chamber, the party checked the ones to the north and south. The north passage ended in a cave-in after just 30-40', while the south led into a corridor similar to the one Pahu had explored, right down to the leathery section (which was thankfully dried up like the entrance chamber).  It led to a rubble and water filled pit, above which arose the jungle canopy and sky. Awg took a quick swim but found nothing on interest in the murky water. So they all headed back to the entrance chamber and brainstormed to find a way past the screaming walls. 

First step was to negate the screaming. Rodrigo handed out bits of tallow from his favorite candle for everyone to plug their ears; except Pahu who opted for sticky tree sap crawling with fire ants. Rodrigo then decided to simply try running the gauntlet, but even though the screaming had no effect, the faces still bit and nipped him as he ran by. Rodrigo retreated, and Chaff then cast a leech blast to suck the sustenance from about half the floor. The party then advanced and simply shot the rest of it to death with pistol and longbow. 


That done, everyone removed the gunk from their ears and headed into the domed chamber. Awg,
The Book
Torak, Corvus and Chaff headed for the floor to gather the scattered treasure (which in addition to platinum coins and jewelry, included a magical trident and a potion), while Rodrigo and Pahu headed over to the lectern. The book, bound in some kind of leather and brass with thick vellum pages,  was huge and pretty much unmovable. The pair turned a few pages, but couldn't read any of the odd alphabet and language in which it was written. It seemed to be a long list of something, interspersed with short written passages. Unable to move the whole thing, they ripped out a few pages for latter study.  As all this was going on, the statues eye's continued to swivel about and watch them all go about their business. And the next order of business was the hatch in the floor. Dusting away the dust revealed a massive round iron door. There was no handle but there was a eye-bolt in the centre; presumably a block and tackle or similar could be hooked there to lift the lid. Because it was much too massive for mere muscle power to move. Not that the party was (too) tempted to do so; the general consensus was opening it would be a '
Very Bad Idea"TM. They did note writing around the edge, where the lid  met the floor. This writing was the same as that in the book, so Chaff copied it down as well for future reference.  


Though tempted to poke around the chamber a bit more, in the end the party decided they were best off taking their loot and calling it a successful day. The statues eyes followed them as they crossed the chamber, but the party emerged back to daylight without incident, and thence back to the "Purple Haze" to continue on their looting way. 

TOTAL XP
11290

GAINS
Jewelry: Ring-500 gp, Ring-20 gp, Earring-500 gp, Tiara-30 gp, Chain-300 gp, Bracelet-30 gp, Earring-20 gp, Sceptre-20 gp, Coffer-1600 gp, Arm band-1800 gp, Belt-500 gp, Comb-100 gp, Clasp-10 gp, Tiara-20 gp, Coffer-200 gp, Arm band-1100 gp, Coronet-400 gp, Pin-1100 gp, Earring-10 gp, Belt-1100 gp, Choker-10 gp, Seal-900 gp, Earring-200gp

400 pp
 Potion of ??? 
Trident +1

KILLS
1 Gibbering Wall Thing

LOSSES
none

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Far Isles Session #64 - One-Shot Pahu

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 4), with henchman Corvus (Fighter 2)
Chaff (Vivimancer 5), with familiar Pretty Bird and Riding Dog Puppy Whuppy
Awg Wahmn (Calmonari 4)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 5), with familiar Hermes and henchman Jaz (Elf 2)
Pahu-Mahu (Thief 3)

With several weeks to kill in Xin while Gorbo whipped up the toxin and anti-toxin, Lynessa whipped the "Purple Haze" and crew into shape, and the spell casters scribbled their new spells, the party took care of a little more business:
  • Awg did the rounds of a few cartographers, looking for maps. Maps of the Far Isles, the area around Xin, and treasure maps if possible. He found little new on the Far Isles; the only places just now starting to appear on the charts were those already well known to the party. Maps of the area around Xin were also largely non existent; it seems that the vivimantic magic infusing the swamp and bayou beyond the city causes the land and water courses to change constantly, making a permanent map nearly useless. He did pick of a map to an isle with "Golden Boats" on it, only 4 days good sail south-est of Xin. 
  • The party also headed to the Flesh Pits to hire a squad of musketeers to help protect the "Purple Haze", especially when the party was absent. The hired a half-dozen hirsute and silk-slashed landsknecht, lead by the gruff Sergeant Rutger, and somehow squeezed them about their crowded ship.
    Landsknecht Marines
  • Chaff led a delegation to visit the Temple of Brall and Munificent Submercer Oha, to try convincing the priest to commune with Brall on their behalf. After a rocky start where-in Chaff insulted the existence of the gods, the priest agree to do so. They asked three questions. Is there still lots of treasure [>5000gp] in the palace at Mandaro-Shanti? (YES). Does the giant god-snake encountered on the previous trip have more than 3 magic items in it's hoard? (NO). Does the giant god-snake have a substantial [>7000gp] treasure hoard (YES).
  • Thinking again about the mysterious shape-shifting Captain de Moncada, the party looked for rumors of any nobles who have been acting weird(er) than usual. They learned that the Margrave Uhlan of the 30 Chains did drop out of the party and spectacle circuit for a few weeks, then mysteriously reappeared. That was much out of character for the  attention-loving playboy.
  • Hoping to avoid further customs payments, the party had a new figurehead carved for the "Purple Haze"; a huge tentacled octopus, hollowed-out inside for use as a secret smuggling hold. 
  • Finally, they took most of their remaining gold (12000gp) and cut a deal with Awg's calmonari brethren. The aquatic craftsmen would use the jewels and gems from the mud Cthulhu cavern to make a magnificent work of art, and the party would split the profit made when it was resold. This would take some time, leaving completion of  this business for their next visit to Xin. 
Margrave Uhlan of the 30 Chains
After a busy visit to Xin, the "Purple Haze" finally proceeded down river and around the Rock of Vexation to the open sea. Lynessa had the crew turn the ship to the south-east and the second voyage to the Lost Jungle Isles was underway. The wind blew a mix of fair and calm, but otherwise the trip this time was uneventful. After seven days they were back where they'd started their exploration the first time; in a cluster of small islands, one of which was the Island of the God-Snake. Which was exactly where they'd decided to go first. Several sneaky options for approaching the lair of the god-snake were discussed, but in the end bull-headed brute force won the day. The party was rowed over to the island by the ship's crew, and with the burly Corvus in the lead, started to hack their way through the jungle to where they suspected the god-snake laired. It took hours of hard work to make any distance in the thick jungle, even with Pretty Bird flying ahead on point. Which was good, for the parrot was able to give them ample warning when it observed signs of something massive coming through the trees. The party spread out among the vines and ferns of the undergrowth, and prepared for battle. Rodrigo used his sword to summon a monkey army, while Kwinsea used the stole to bless the party, and then concealing mist to protect herself. Pahu and Jaz cracked open their paralytic poison to coat a few arrows/bolts. Whatever was approaching was getting closer and closer, shaking the trees as it worked it's way through the branches. Suddenly there appeared, just yards away from Corvus, a massive serpent's head. As it prepared to lunge  at the fighter, Jaz and Pahu loosed their missiles. The elf missed, but Pahu struck right between the eyes, and after a few moments of thrashing about, the huge god-snake became motionless, paralyzed. Stunned at their ease of victory, the party took a few moments to recover before turning on the immobile snake and ensuring it would stay permanently still.
Beehive Dome
That done, the party pushed on, following the snake's apparent path through the jungle. After another hour or so, they emerged into the first real clearing they'd seen on this particular island. The trees here were massive, and around the base it was obvious someone or something had cleared the undergrowth. Also in the clearing was a curious, beehive shaped pile of fitted stone, 20' across and about 10' high. There was no obvious entrance, except of a 1.5' square opening near the top of the dome. Now who was going to squeeze in there ....

TOTAL XP
2400

GAINS
none

KILLS
1 Giant God-Snake

LOSSES
none

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Far Isles Session #63 - That's Not A Ship!!!


DRAMATIS PERSONAE:

Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 4) with henchman Corvus (Fighter 3)
Chaff (Vivimancer 5), with familiar Pretty Bird, and riding dog Puppy Whuppy
Awg Wahmn (Calmonari 4)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 5), with familiar Hermes and henchman Jaz (Elf 2)

Dream Leviathan
On board the "Purple Haze", the party prepared for battle. Chaff and Kwinsea cast some spells to protect themselves and beef up the party in general. Corvus and Chit the crossbowman headed below to the stern cabin windows, so they could snip with their bows. Lynessa had the crew slack the sails and then take cover. Everyone then waited for the enemy ship to approach. It closed fairly rapidly; in fact, both Chaff and Rodrigo noticed the speed of the ship did not change with the change in it's point of sail. That was very odd, and the pair joked that maybe this was another one of those whale-tail ships, like the one they'd had the option to buy. After that brief chuckle, the two looked back at their pursuer once more, and now noted the upper decks and sails of the ship started to waver and fade. In a few moments, it was clear to the two that this was no ship! An illusion of some sort had faded away, showing instead a massive leviathan. It opened it's huge toothed maw and surged forward at the "Purple Haze". Chaff and Rodrigo raised the alarm, and now everyone could see the true form of their foe. Lynessa screamed at the crew, who scrambled for rope and sail to get the ship underway and tuned so she was running before the wind. The leviathan continued to slowly gain, so the party did everything they could to slow it down/beat it down. Arrows and bolts flew, Jaz tossed off a magic missile, and Kwinsea tried to reduce it to a smaller menace (no luck). Once it got close enough, Awg and Chaff got into the fray with their laser pistols. In desperation, they even had the sailors run the raft out behind the ship, with the potion of watery death on it, in the hopes the thing would swallow it and drown. It did swallow the raft and potion, but the magic seemed to have no effect. However, by this point it was started to get irritated and mildly injured by all the missile fire, so it broke of the pursuit, dove and swam away. 

Brain Squid Attack!!
With a sigh of relief, they sailed on. Next morning, islands were visible ahead. Lynessa identified these as the "Krakens Claws", a series of rocky islets off the coast of Langushur between Cha'nrk and Xin. She turned the "Purple Haze" north and informed the party they should be in Xin in a few more days. They did not get far, however, when Corvus called out from the bow that there was a body in the water ahead. Without waiting, he jumped overboard and, using his ring of water walking, strolled over to the floating, face down corpse. The body appeared to be that of an ordinary female sailor, dead quite a few days. The fighter hauled out his sword and proceeded to flip the body over. On the sailors face there clung some sort of crustacean/squid thing, which quick as lightning released itself from the corpse and jumped at Corvus. It struck his face, and proceeded to extend a series of tentacles and proboscis into his mouth and nose until they reached his brain. The thing then started sucking away grey matter. Meanwhile, Chaff was getting the crew to lower him and the ships boat into the water, and Kwinsea dove in to go help as well. Jaz, however, saved the day with a sleep spell that took out both the brain squid and Corvus. When Chaff and Kwinsea reached the prone, floating fighter, they easily slid the squid-thing off his face. Kwinsea claimed it for her own, and imprisoned it into an empty water barrel; she intended to use it to pay her 'live octopus' debt to the aquamancer in Xin. Corvus they hauled back to the ship, and Torak performed the last rites of the Drowned God on the dead sailor before sending her to the deeps. 

The next two days were completely uneventful, until Lynessa brought the "Purple Haze" around the Rock of Vexation and into the stream of the Lorogano River below Xin. As they approached the Tower of the Malphegian Inferno and the raised harbor chain, a small boat  full of the Purple and a customs officer approached and hailed them. After answering some questions, the party allowed the officer aboard to inspect the ship and confirm the story told by Chaff; that they were unsuccessful explorers with little to show for their hardships in the Far Isles. Thankfully most of the treasure they did have was small and easily hidden, so they managed to convince the customs officer they had just a small amount of coin. He let them through after a paltry 4% tax on that small pile of coin, plus a 2% 'donation' to the customs guild. 

Having gotten past the taxman, Lynessa brought the "Purple Haze" into the Fogbound Quays and tied up at one of the jetty's. And then the crew took their back-pay and headed for the taverns, leaving their captain and employers alone on the deck. Leaving Lynessa in charge of repairing and resupplying the "Purple Haze", the rest of the party fanned out across the city in pursuit of their own goals. The party's activities in the City of Visions included:
  • Awg tried to convince Chit to stay on as his loyal retainer. But the corssbowman had had enough adventure, and wasn't too keen on following a fish-man, so he took his gold and walked away;
  • A delegation visited Munificent Submerser Oha at the Temple of Brall, and Brother Keera at the Temple of the Three Virtues, buying up healing potions (5 in total); 
  • To beef up the ships locker, Rodrigo and Corvus went to buy enough powder, shot and muskets to arm a mercenary company. Which attracted the attention of a patrol of the Purple, who left without incident once they were convinced the two weren't smart enough to stage an armed insurrection. Afterwords, they went looking for their old nemesis Sergent Lunt, but could not find him anywhere; 
  • Kwinsea visited her old geezer aquamancer friend and gave him the brain squid in final payment for the spell he'd taught her. She also was able to get him to teach her "Spider Climb", but only after she'd gathered one of every species of barnacle in the area of Xin (all 27). She then locked herself in her cabin and started transcribing spells into her spell book. In this she was joined by the loyal Jaz, who did the same;
  • Chaff went to visit the old alchemist Gorbo, to get him to whip up some venom antitoxin for everyone. He also gave him some of the now dried up paralytic poison, which the old coot could use to whip them up a fresh batch;  and
  • With all the hard work down, Corvus decided to try his luck in the wrestling pits again. With
    Tog & Corvus
    Rodrigo in tow, he found a likely place and plunked down 2000gp in front of the pit bookies. They agreed to his wager but only offered 1.5:1 ods, and insisted that they chose the opponent. Corvus, a little short on grey mater, agreed. After waiting around for awhile, Corvus met his foe. At almost 8' tall, hairy, and arms almost to his knees, Tog looked to be at least half ogre. And he made short work of Corvus, twisting the fighters arms somewhere up behind his head before rubbing his face in the mud. Which left Corvus humiliated and broke.




TOTAL XP
13

GAINS
none

KILLS
none

LOSSES
Some of Corvus' grey matter, most of his gold, and all of his dignity.