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