Monday, May 23, 2016

Far Isles Session #33 - Death on the Barge

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 4), with familiar Hermes
Chaff (Vivimancer 4), familiar Pretty Bird, and riding hound Stinky Dog
Abdul el Abdul (Fighter 4)
Torak (Cleric 4)
Beuford Bumbletoes (Halfling 1)

Although their original attempts to  form an alliance of convenience with their Eld captive wasn't successful, Chaff was determined to try once more. This time he tried grovelling and debasing himself (and his companions) before the "all powerful, and clearly superior to us unintelligent man-apes, super-being Eld". This seemed to work better than threats, and the Eld (whose name was Under-Commandant Xolt) accepted the party into his service as they tried to wrest control of the vessel from the ghuls. Xolt agreed to lead them to the control center for the barge, which lay in the tallest tower at the stern of the vessel. When questioned about the barge, Xolt snootily informed them that the barge was capable of inter-dimensional travel. There were also some heated words about the Eld Overmind, and the seeming lack of effort on it's part to recover the barge by sending enough Eld to do so. Xolt made it very clear that the Overmind knew exactly what it was doing, the sure brainless man-monkeys as the party could not possibly understand such higher functioning intelligence.

Once inside, Xolt took up a strategic position in the rear of the party and directed them to the side of the barge they had not explored ("Typical brainless vat-fuel. Not an intelligent thought among them!") He led them to a regular ebony door, which Abdul opened to reveal a very strange room on the other side. The walls and ceiling were lined with sacs made of a veined, flesh like material. He didn't like the look of that, so the fighter grabbed the glass ball from the weapon tower and tossed it inside. It burst into a fireball, and started to burn and crisp the sacs. "You fool!!" shouted Xolt. "You'll destroy the barge! Put it out! put it out!". A little hesitant at first, the party did rush in to put out the flames, and then to cut open some of the undamaged sacks. Out of them poured blood, gore and soft pinkish skeletons. More ominously was the sound of Xolt, who'd remained in the corridor outside, locking them in the room. Moments latter, a side door burst open and a half dozen ghuls charged in. These were cut down with sword and the last charge on Chaff's paralyzation wand. That complete, the party continued to cut down sacs, while Chaff checked the other two doors exiting the room. These led into nearly identical rooms with all surfaces covered in some sort of black, tarry substance. In one of the rooms, however, the light from Chaff's coin could penetrate no more than a few inches.

He couldn't look for long, however, as they were once again attacked by a half dozen ghuls. Swords and axes swung, spells flew, and the six were defeated. Only to be replaced by three more who had to be cut down, then two more after that! They ghuls were being drawn on the party likes bees to honey! In between assaults, Abdul el Abdul kicked down the locked door, only to find the Under-Commandant was long gone. But at least the onslaught of ghuls seemed to be done now, and the last of the sacs were cut down and destroyed. The party was much battered and bruised, but decided to push on to the last tower anyway, hoping to gain control of the barge. Heading out the door through which the ghuls had come, the party passed down a corridor and through a few valve doors along the way. As they passed though one door, Abdul el Abdul noticed the door ahead just closing. The party charged into the room, but found it apparently empty, except for the long pinkish divans along the wall and expensive rugs on the floor. However, as they pushed on across the room, they were surprised by a half-dozen more ghuls who'd been siting near invisible on the divans. Another desperate fight ensued, with Beuford falling dead to the ghuls axes and everyone else battered to within an inch of their lives. But still the party moved on.

Pushing through the next door, they found themselves at last at the base of the stern tower. It had the same metal mesh stairs going up. The center shaft was not open, but filled with a humming metal core. Taking it a bit more stealthy this time, Torak put on his ring of invisibility and took point up the stairs, the rest of the party following his lead. As the top of the stairs came in view, the cleric was greeted by an imposing sight. A 14' tall four-armed ape stood in the doorway, next to a pile of wooden barrels. It did not see Torak, but when the rest of the party rounded the turn, the ape picked up a barrel and hurled it down the stairs. Torak jumped out of the way, but the rest of the party was knocked off their feet and tumbled to the bottom of the stairs. More attempts to climb lead to more barrels and tumbling, until Chaff summoned the ebony fly and started to attack the ape from above the stairs with pistol fire. The apes aim wasn't good when trying to a flying object, and after some time the great beast fell dead in the doorway. At that, the rest of the battered party rushed up the stairs behind the flying Chaff, and burst into the room at the top of the tower.

There, against a backdrop of a weird wired throne and black flat panel displays, stood their erstwhile ally Under-Commandant Xolt and a second Eld, Major Xhom. With insults flying, the two tore into the party, and very quickly Kwinsea, Abdul el Abdul and Torak were all dead on the deck. Only Chaff escaped the slim sword and vibrating axe of the Eld pair, as he flew out of their reach and bombarded the two with oil and fire. The Eld endured this for a while, cursing the vivimancer, before turning and retreating down the stairs. Chaff followed, and continued to bombard the two (who were slowed by a rope Kwinsea had tied on the exit door when they'd come through the first time). The Eld managed to get it open though, leaving Chaff flying on the other side, trying to figure out what to do next . . .

TOTAL XP
1390

GAINS
None
KILLS
16 translucent pink ghuls
1 four-armed giant ape

LOSSES
Beuford
Abdul el Abdul
Torak
Kwinsea 

Sunday, May 15, 2016

Far Isles Session #32 - The Golden Barge, Part #2

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 4), with familiar Hermes, and henchman Xavier (Swashbuckler 2)
Chaff (Vivimancer 4), with henchman "No. 7" (Halfling 1), familiar Pretty Bird, and riding hound Stinky Dog
Abdul el Abdul (Fighter 4)
Torak (Cleric 4)
Beuford Bumbletoes (Halfling 1)

The party made a quick search of the galley, finding nothing of interest beyond a collection of fine steel cooking implements. Taking stock of their own supplies, they decided it was best to go back to the "Purple Haze" to rest, re-memorize and refit. They were not waylaid on the way back, and after taking care of on-board business, the full party headed back to the golden barge the next day, this time in daylight. Climbing the ramp and crossing the deck, they notice there were a few more piles of bones. At about the same moment, three more of the translucent men came running across the deck towards them, nearly invisible in the midday sun.  The three fell upon the party, flailing away with battleaxe and exhortations to give up their weak flesh. One was quickly cut down, which caused to other two to turn and head for the valve door leading into the barge, yelling 'heathens! apostates!' as they ran". The party followed, hoping to catch them before they got away and spreading the alarm, but the duo got clean away.

Ammunition?
Once inside the entry tower, they decided to head up the stairs this time rather than pursue deeper into the barge right away. They climbed the open-mesh metal stairway to a trap-door, very much like the the first tower they'd investigated. Chaff had No.7 take the lead, and the halfling threw open the door and climbed into the tower. The roof here was intact, and in the centre stood a huge crossbow-like weapon mounted on a pintle mount. A mass of heavy hoses ran from the weapon and into the floor, and there was a hole in the tower roof in the direction the weapon was pointed. Around the tower walls were steel racks, designed to hold round objects about the size of a grapefruit. They were empty though, except for a single round glass ball filled with some amber fluid (which Abdul el Abdul claimed). Closer examination of the weapon revealed a chamber at the end about the size of the round ball. They also found that when it was moved on the pintle mount, the hole in the roof moved with it, so there was a always a clear field of fire. There was a brief discussion about dismounting the weapon and bringing it back to the "Purple Haze", but that didn't seem feasible. As the party turned to leave it, however, Kwinsea recalled the scorch marks at the bottom of the tower. Worried that it could be turned on them as they passed through the tower on the way in or out of the barge, she decided to disable the weapon by cutting the hoses. Which, unfortunately, proved to be filled with high pressure, hot hydraulic fluid, leaving the aquamancer with some nasty burns.

The party headed back into the long room with the sorted clothes, and this time took a different door. Abdul el Abdul opened a door into a small dinning room, with a long mahogany table laden with platters of grilled meat. That's about all he had time to see, however, as a trio of translucent ghuls jumped out of hiding and swung their axes at his head. Abdul el Abdul charged at the closest ghul, pushing it back to allow more of the party into melee. A short period of sword swinging followed, which left their three foes dead on the floor. A quick look about revealed nothing of interest except the three silver patters (which got stuffed in a pack), so the party headed back to the galley to explore deeper into the heart of the barge.

Passing through the galley, they noted the bodies from their fight the night before were gone. Chaff cast Kalandrain sight, hoping to find a magical meat cleaver, but to no avail. With Xavier in the lead, they made their way to the other door, which the henchman opened. On the other side was a huge room, occupied by 10 translucent ghuls. Two big gronky ghuls stood on a low dais, apparently preaching to the 'congregation'. But the service ended when Xavier opened the door, and they all rushed over to the poor swashbuckler. He was quickly cut down, but was saved from death by No.7 binding his wounds. Beuford jumped on top of the fallen henchman and started swinging at the ghuls, while Chaff used his paralyzation wand to cut down the the numbers a bit. This was followed by a bonewarp on the biggest ghul (who Chaff noted was swinging a magical axe), turning it's arms into useless sponge, and Kwinsea cleared a path into the room using tidal force to push back the crowd in front of the door. That allowed the party to pour in the door (and over Xavier), and there followed a long drawn out fight. No. 7 was cut down by a mighty axe blow, but was likewise saved from death by the timely intervention of Torak. In the end, the party did prevail and stood triumphant over a mess of pink, jelly-ish bodies. Abdul el Abdul claimed the magic axe. It was a finely crafted weapon, covered in highly detailed insect engravings, which seemed to crawl about the  head of the axe when you stared at it.

Eld Leader
Pushing bodies aside, they searched the room. There were a number of other exists, which given their currently battered condition, no one wanted to check right now. Other than the bodies and dais, the only other item of note in the room were three rings carved into the floor around that dais. About a foot in diameter and recessed a little into the floor, the three glowed a faint blue. The party puzzled over these for awhile, but could not figure out what they did. In the end, they decided the best course of action was to retreat back to the ship with the fallen henchman. They made it out of the barge without incident, and rowed back to the "Purple Haze" to rest and resupply. They returned to the beach the next day and made it to the barge without incident. However, as they ascended the bow ramp, the party was ambushed by a trio of the galactic space-elves. It was a short fight, as Chaff sent two running in fear using instinct, while Kwinsea tied up the leader with command rope. The party questioned their captive bfore going further on the barge. In between his ranting and raving about 'hairless apes, fit only for the protein vats' and other such diatribes, the party manged to deduce that the space-elf things (aka The Eld) were the original owners of the golden barge, but for some reason had lost and could not regain control of it from the translucent ghuls. The party tired to negotiate a deal where the two groups could team up to recapture the vessels, but the Eld wasn't about to treat with 'low-intelligence scum destined for the fuel cells' as anything close to an equal in any such arrangement.

TOTAL XP
2435

GAINS
3 Silver Platters (50gp each)
Jeweled Harness (300gp)
The Terminaxe (Battle Axe +1, covered in crawly insect designs)

KILLS
13 translucent pink ghuls
2 larger, and scarier, pink ghuls

LOSSES
Xavier (temporarily)
"No. 7" (temporarily)

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Far Isles Session #31 - The Golden Barge, Part #1

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 4), with familiar Hermes, and henchman Xavier (Swashbuckler 2)
Chaff (Vivimancer 4), with henchman "No. 7" (Halfling 1), familiar Pretty Bird, and riding hound Stinky Dog
Abdul el Abdul (Fighter 4)
Beuford Bumbletoes (Halfling 1)

Translucent Ghul
The barge was about 360 feet long and 180 feet wide, topped by a massive golden dome and pieced by five towers. The dome, they could now see, shone with a faint blue glow.  At the bow was a long ramp, so the party formed up and headed that way. As they crossed the darkened deck, they encountered a number of rows of human bones, piled in neat pyramids. As they approached the fourth row of bones, Chaffs light coin revealed three humanoid figures at work, arranging the bones. They were androgynous and nearly invisible, with translucent pink bodies,  under which was a darker  pink skeleton and not much else. The three had sensed the party's approach, and loped over towards them, each waving a femur overhead and chanting something about "more converts to free from their flesh prisons".  No flesh was freed however (except for a bonk to the head for Abdul el Abdul), and the three where quickly dispatched. A search of them and the bone piles revealed nothing of interest, so the party moved on across the deck until they reached the main dome. At a point where one of the towers pierced the dome, they found an usual door. It was made of a bronzed metal, and in the center was a large valve. Xavier was convinced to go and try it out, and after a few turns, the door opened with faint 'whoosh'. Everyone filed inside, and found a round room with stairs going up, a scorch mark on the floor, and another valve door on the opposite wall. After some discussion, the party decided to focus on getting deeper towards the center of the barge to, so Xavier was send ahead to open the next door.

They were first greeted with a odd smell of flesh and microbial growth. Looking in, Xavier could see a long chamber, with a red rug on the floor and piles of sorted clothing. Sorting the clothing were three more of the pink translucent creatures, who turned on Xavier, screaming paeans  of the corruptibly of the flesh as they rushed over to hack at the henchman with their battle axes. Xavier pulled back, Kwinsea cast tidal force to push two of the three away, and then the party unloaded a round of pistol fire before rushing into the room and wiping out the creatures. They checked one pile of clothes, as well as under the rug, but found nothing of interest.  So they pushed on deeper into the dome, passing through a normal set of ebony double doors and into a long corridor. A number of doors led off the passageway, so they chose one, and headed through. On the other side was a room, burned from top to bottom. Nothing could be seen except four melted lumps of metal, round and about 2 feet across. Xavier and Kwinsea went over to poke at the piles a little, but again found nothing great interest so the party moved on.

Two-Headed Vulture
Behind the next door they found the base of another tower, with a door leading further into the barge and a staircase leading up. This time they decided to head up, but as they started to climb, Abdul el Abdul was skewered from below the open metal lattice by a previously unseen translucent man. Abdul el Abdul and Xavier jumped down off the stairs to fight the creature, while Kwinsea and No.7 slashed at it from above (the rest of the party being stuck too high on the stairs to help). That hazard eliminated, they continued up the stairs, which ended at a trap door. No. 7, being at the front of the column, opened the door. Beyond it was the top of the tower, exposed to the night sky thanks to a broken dome. The halfling stuck her head higher, to be greeted by a loud screech and a most unusual sight; a giant two head vulture with a tentacle growing out of it's chest. It perched, at the other side of the tower from the trapdoor, on a nest of sticks and flotsam. No. 7 cautious emerged onto the top of the tower, and waited for the rest of the party to follow as the vulture flapped it's wings and glared. But no one else was forthcoming, as Beuford refused to move and was blocking the line. Hoping to save his hench-halfling,  Chaff tired to bonewarp the bird, but to no avail. No. 7 unloaded a pistol at it and rushed over to fight, at which point the logjam was cleared when Beuford decided to join her in combat. It wasn't much of a fight though, as the vulture fled after taking a few hits, leaving the party and nest behind. Buried in the nest was a humanoid skeleton with a weirdly elongated, egg shaped skull, as well as an intricately carved ring of copper about a foot in diameter.

The party headed back down the stairs before the vulture returned, and continued deeper into the barge. Through the next door they found the galley, with three of the translucent pink men in aprons and chefs hats grilling what appeared to be 'long pig' over a charcoal fire. These did not attack at once, but instead exhorted the party to 'consume the flesh to shed their own corrupting flesh' and to 'throw off the bonds of the meat demon that hold them in thrall' and other such nonsense. Chaff tried to question them and get more information, but all he was able to find out was the weird space elves they'd met earlier had been expelled from the barge and, like ever other 'unsaved' humanoid, were now unwelcome corrupted flesh-creatures.  All this time, the three chefs tried to force the cooking meet on the party (except, oddly enough, Kwinsea and the two halflings). Eventually, they decided instead to add the party to their BBQ and jumped over the charcoal pit swinging meat cleavers. The ensuring battle attracted more of the creatures, who burst through the door behind the party and laid into them with battle axes. No-one ended up on the grill, however, and the chefs and serving staff were left dead on  the floor ... 

TOTAL XP
845

GAINS
Carved copper ring, 1 foot in diameter

KILLS
13 translucent, pink fleshed humanoids

LOSSES
None

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Far Isles Session #30 - In Hot Pursuit

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 4), with familiar Hermes, and henchman Xavier (Swashbuckler 2)
Chaff (Vivimancer 4), with henchman "No. 7" (Halfling 1), familiar Pretty Bird, and riding hound Stinky Dog
Torak (Cleric 4)
Beuford Bumbletoes (Halfling 1)

The "Purple Haze" continued to slog forward against the stubborn wind, in pursuit of the zombie raft. Thanks to the wind, they made very little headway day after day. They did notice that the raft now appeared to be disintegrating, as bodies and parts of crocodiles started to drift past them as the days wore on. Chaff (now fully recovered), flew high above the ship on the ebony fly to see if there was any sign of the rafts' ultimate destination. He saw nothing in that south-easterly direction. Behind them to the north-west he spied the Magic Isles from whence they'd come, noting there were still a lot of isles they had not explored for wizard towers. To the north-east was a cloud bank that looked to lay over distant land, while due west was a long (15+ mile) sandbar.

Attack!
In spite of there being no destination in sight, the party decided to push on another few says. Eventually, the raft disintegrated completely, leaving them sailing blindly on it's previous course. At one point, Pretty Bird flying cover spotted the "Divine Providence" coming up behind them, but it turned away to the west when it spotted the "Purple Haze". On the fourth day, just as the raft completely disintegrated, they finally spotted something ahead. Not land, but a fleet of 4 huge outrigger canoes manned by garishly outfitted jungle tribesmen. Upon sighting the "Purple Haze", these tuned to intercept. The party didn't like the idea of  letting 20 fierce native warriors get too close to them, so they had the captain turn the ship about as they manned the catapult. A ball of flaming pitch smashed into one canoe, catching the vessel on fire and flinging a couple of burning natives overboard. It veered aside, but the other three canoes came on, and were soon too close to use the catapult. While the crew worked the sails, the party lined the rail and opened fire with muskets, pistols and crossbow. Kwinsea dove into the water and, keeping below the surface (thanks to Hermes' water breathing ability), came up below the two lead canoes and tied them together with attach rope. These two slowed, and lost direction and momentum as a result, but the fourth one still pressed on. In this canoe was what appeared to be the leader or witchdocter, so the party focused their fire on him. Chaff tried to meld flesh without success, but did use instinct to good effect, causing several of the tribesmen to turn on their fellows and try to eat them! This was all too much for the raiding party, and the canoes all now turned away in retreat, but not before the party splatted one with a final ball of burning pitch.

The Golden Barge
On the next day, they party finally decided to abandon the 'chase'. Rather than head straight back to the Magic Isles though, they headed due west to the sandbar. Now with a more favorable wind, they reached the island in the afternoon. It was indeed a long sandbar, anchored at one end by a rocky bluff, and at the other by a low, marshy island. Sailing about they spied only two notable structures. One was a perfectly square black building, on low knoll on the marshy island. After the ship had been in view for awhile, a trio of figures emerged to watch them sail by. They were humanoid, dressed in outlandish armor. The other structure was a massive golden barge, run aground on the sandbar. There was no sign of life around it, but the party decided to wait for nightfall before landing, unsure who or what they might encounter. Lynessa also didn't want to risk bringing the "Purple Haze" too close to shore, especially given the crew shortage. So the party went ashore in the ships boat, landing just down the beach from the barge. The two halflings were sent to scout ahead, but were challenged when about 40' from the barge. "Halt there, you hairless monkeys! Stand back or face our wrath, you useless wastes of protein!" The rest of the party rushed up, and now they could see three figures, much like those they'd spied earlier in the day; tall, skinny, vaguely elf-like, dressed in outlandish armor and armed with wickedly barbed pole-arms. They stood under the prow of the barge. After some further trading of insults, swords were draw and a fight begun. Kwinsea tied up the leader with command rope, while the halflings and Xavier closed with weapons. It was proving to be a tough fight, so Chaff dropped a web, trapping the leader and one other (plus No 7 and Beuford), while the third fled into the darkness. The halflings were cut free, the two elf-things  dispatched, and everyone's attention turned to the barge ...

TOTAL XP
895

GAINS
None

KILLS
9 cannibals
2 Freakish Space-Elf Things 

LOSSES
None

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Far Isles Session #29 - The Zombie Raft

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Abdul el Abdul (Fighter 4)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 4), with familiar Hermes
Torak (Cleric 4)
Beuford Bumbletoes (Halfling 3)

The party had Lynessa turn the "Purple Haze" about to chase down the raft. Once they were close enough, Abdul el Abdul and a few sailors latched onto the squishy edge with rope and grappling hooks, joining the raft and ship together. The could now see that the  mass of dead crocodiles, humanoids, and assorted swamp life that made up the raft was not still but quivering with movement. In fact, as they watched, a quartet of moss covered, half rotten bodies untangled themselves from the bulk of the raft and began to shuffle towards the ship. As the crew retreated to the rigging and the stern of the ship, the party unleashed a rain of missile fire and paralyzation rays to take them out. That done, the party passed over the ropes to the raft, and proceeded to the grass hut. Seeing no door, Beuford stuck his hand through the grass hut, only to have it grabbed by something on the other side. He pulled his hand back, and the party proceeded to tear the hut down to get inside. Inside were three more of the moss covered zombies, which were quickly dispatched. That done, they looked around the remains of the hut. There was little to see except for some creepy bone and grass charms hanging from the ceiling, and a 5' wide hole in both the floor and ceiling.  Tying a couple of coils of rope together, Kwinsea then used attach rope to secure it to the ship, there being nothing else on the raft solid enough to hold it. And then down the hole went the rope, followed by Abdul el Abdul and Beuford. About 40' down they entered a chamber deep in the raft, with walls and floor and ceiling an undulating mass of bodies. Also in the chamber were a trio of deathly looking wolves, who fell on Abdul el Abdul and Beuford with a vengeance, paralyzing both. Torak and Kwinsea then dropped into the chamber, and between the borrowed paralyzation wand and a lot of stabbing, the three wolves were defeated.

Once Abdul el Abdul and Beuford were brought back to normal using a couple of potions of healing, the party headed for the only unique feature of the room, a stout oak door. After several attempts to open it failed, Abdul el Abdul noted the door was just built into the mass of bodies which formed the walls. So he proceeded to cut away around the frame, and soon the door was removed and the path free. On the other side they found a passageway writhing with arms and hands, trying to grab at them. There were also two stairs built out of the quivering flesh, on leading up and one down. The party headed down, with Beuford in the lead. Their exploration ended after about 30' in front of a wall of flesh. And a pit trap, into which Beuford fell. Luckily he avoided the spikes sticking out of the fetid water at the bottom.

Iron Rose
The rest of the party hauled Beuford out, and headed back to take the upper stairs. This corridor was longer, and was similarly alive with clutching hands. Beuford again triggered a trap, this time the rib cage of some huge beast which sprang out of the floor. Luck was with the halfling again, as he managed to dodge the sharpened bone. His luck shortly ran out though, when the passage opened into a small room. At the far end they could see, hiding behind what appeared to be a 10' iron rose, the mysterious figure they had battled above. Between the party and him, however, stood two desiccated and undead guardians. They leveled their cold blades at Beuford, who stood alone in the front rank, and the halfling shivered as they drained away much of his vitality and power. Kwinsea once more whipped out the borrowed paralyzation wand and froze all three opponents, who were then dispatched by bladed means. The party gathered up the silver coins scattered about the writhing floor, and looted a dagger (which cast a circle of light when unsheathed) and a bone staff from the mysterious figure. Abdul meanwhile, pulled down the iron rose.  It was unadorned, but subsequent investigation showed it to be magical. That was good enough reason to take it along, so the party dragged it back through the tunnels of clutching hands to the chamber below the hut. Where they were dismayed to find their rope was missing. Abdul tried climbing up, but the writhing walls did not allow good grip, and he fell before making it halfway. In the end, the party hatched a plan to send Hermes up the shaft with the ebony fly attached to some more rope. Once above "ground" they summoned the fly, and everyone climbed up the rope as it hovered overhead. And hauled up the iron rose.

Everyone looked about for the "Purple Haze", which now stood off several hundred yards to the west. There was a commotion on deck, a fight of some sort. Leaping aboard the fly, Beuford launched himself at the ship, finding the crew battling a quartet of the moss covered zombies from the raft. He leapt  into the fray, and the fly returned to the raft to ferry the others over. They soon destroyed the last of the zombies, but not before four of the crew were also dead. This put the rest in a bitter mood, and they made no move to listen when given the order to raise sail and pursue the raft. Abdul el Abdul brought them around, however, by offering the thousand silver coins they'd just recovered from the zombie raft. That got the crew to work, and the "Purple Haze" was soon in hot pursuit of the raft, which had continued on it's previous heading roughly east south-east.  Well, slow pursuit, as they were sailing directly into the wind, and Lynessa had to continuously tack the ship back and forth to keep the raft in sight. This continued on for days, and they left the Magic Isles behind, still following the raft in the hopes it was leading them somewhere interesting ...

TOTAL XP
1588

GAINS
1000sp
magic dagger & staff from the Zombie Master
Iron Rose

KILLS
11 zombies
3 ghouls wolves
2 wights
Zombie Master

LOSSES
4 sailors
Most of Beuford's levels

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Far Isles Session #28 - No Rest for the Weary

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Abdul el Abdul (Fighter 4)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 4), with familiar Hermes, and henchman Xavier (Swashbuckler 2)
"No. 7" (Halfling 1)
Torak (Cleric 4)
Beuford Bumbletoes (Halfling 3)

With Chaff out of action, they party decided to first sail about the Magic Isles, looking for the Cloud Tower and any other sights worthy of exploration. But only after No. 7 captured a few of the three eared bunnies for Chaff to cuddle while he recovered. Raising sail, the "Purple Haze" headed north-east, and after passing several small chains of islands, soon hauled in view of a place they recognized; the Blue Tower. There was some talk of going ashore to see if they'd missed anything on their last visit, but then someone remembered the two 'guests' they'd robbed and abandoned there. Figuring they wouldn't be welcomed with open arms, the party had the crew turn the ship about. Now that they knew where they were, they headed back to the Lightning Tower to recovered the silver they'd had to leave behind. This was done with no interference, so they turned about once more and headed in the direction the tribal chief had told them the Cloud Tower lay.

Cloud Tower
The party found the Cloud Tower without much trouble. They found an island, over which floated a large black cloud dumping rain on an abandoned town below. That was odd enough, since otherwise the sky was clear and a brilliant blue. Doubly odd was the lower half of a tower that stuck out of the bottom of the cloud. The "Purple Haze" circled the island, but nothing else of interest was observed. Again, reluctant to tangle with any danger without Chaff, the party decided to anchor here for the night and then continue exploration of the Magic Isles, coming back to Cloud Tower at a latter time. To speed up the process, Kwinsea volunteered to seasong the vivmancer to sleep each night to aid in his recovery.

The Aquatic Horror
However, the rest for the remainder of the party was not as complete and pleasant. Just before dawn, No.7 was on watch. The halfling was observing the tower, and noted a few shapes emerged from the cloud, flew around it and the island below, before returning from whence they came. At about the same time, she heard a scraping sound on the rail behind her. Turning, No. 7 saw a dripping horror climb onto the deck. A demonic visage topped a body covered in spikes and barbs, a body the colour of old bronze and covered in seaweed and slime.  The halfling raised the alarm as the beast fell upon her. Luckily, No. 7 was both quick on her feet and  armored like a tank, and held off the thing while the rest of the party rushed up from below deck to help. They found, however, that most of their weapons could not hurt it; only Abdul with his magic sword could seem to do it any harm. So the two heavily armored halflings, No. 7 and Beuford, held the creatures' attention while Abdul chopped at it, finally cleaving the thing in half. After a quick investigation of the remains, it was dumped overboard. And with the sun coming up, the crew was roused and the "Purple Haze" got underway, the party having decided this was probably not the best place to stay anchored while Chaff recovered.

Mystery Figure
They sailed north again to explore and find a quiet place to anchor for a few days. They passed though another chain of islands, with a few notable locations (a pair of islands, one a blistering hot sandbar, the other a mountain obscured by a raging snowstorm; another sandbar that shifted under the effects of wind and waves such that it's location was never the same twice). But the ship moved on,  finally dropping anchor off the island that floated 1 foot above the waves. For some reason, this seemed to the party like a safe spot. And for the most part it was, except when Xavier spied a raft of some sort drifting down the channel from the north west. As it came closer, they could see it was about 100' across, and at one end was a small grass hut. The raft was also not made of logs or any other normal material, but appeared to be a mass of dead crocodiles! A lone figure stood on the roof of the hut, a cadaverous human dressed in dirty robes. He/it stared at the party, who tried to communicate but received no response. At least until someone decided to cast a spell at him, at which point the figure cast a spell of it's own and started to levitate above the raft and the ship. A duel ensued, with pistol fire and spells from the ship countered by more spells from the mystery figure. The figure was able to confuse the party, such that Kwinsea turned to attack Xavier and Beuford attacked No7. Beuford quickly battered his fellow halfling down, while Xavier jumped into the rigging and climbed away from his employer, while at the same time trying to swing out towards the levitating figure to slash at it with his sword. That unfortunately did not work, and Kwinsea was able to use her prismatic ray gem to blast her henchman out of the rigging. By this time, the rest of the party had blasted away at the  levitating figure, such that it had descended back into the hut and disappeared. They then turned attention to subduing Beuford and Kwinsea before they could so more harm. Luckily both No. 7 and Xavier were not dead, but would be joining Chaff in the sick bay for some time. Meanwhile, Lynessa and the crew had gotten the "Purple Haze" underway to put some space between them and the zombie raft while the remaining party members decided what to do next ...

TOTAL XP
2328

GAINS
18283sp


KILLS
1 aquatic horror

LOSSES
No. 7 (temporarily)
Xavier (temporarily) 

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Far Isles Session #27 - Voyage of the "Purple Haze"

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Abdul el Abdul (Fighter 4)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 4), with familiar Hermes, and henchman Xavier (Swashbuckler 2)
Chaff (Vivimancer 4), with henchman "No. 7" (Halfling 1) with familiar Pretty Bird, and riding hound Stinky Dog
Torak (Cleric 3)
Beuford Bumbletoes (Halfling 3)

Captain Lynessa
In spite of having to keep steady watch over their newfound wealth, the wait for passage to Xin was largely uneventful. They found the city now on a war footing, which was of little interest to the party, who were most concerned with using their new-found wealth to get a ship of their own. They first turned their coin into more portable forms (thanks to Phandar the moneychanger), then went shopping for a vessel. They passed on the haunted ship, the high speed privateer, the dilapidated hulk, and the boat with a real whale's tale grafted onto the back (although Kwinsea was tempted). In the end, they settled on the "Purple Haze", a small sailing ship that once plied the waters of the Cold Nar, and which was built to withstand the punishing ice of those northern waters. They figured the extra structural reinforcement could help given the trouble they tended to get into. With a vessel in hand, they next had to find a captain and crew (Abdul el Abdul convinced the rest of the party that he could act as navigator). They settled on a captain by the name of Lynessa; young, new in the role but with lots of previous experience as a first mate. And in spite of her youth, unwilling to take crap from anyone As she proved when Abdul el Abdul got a bit cheeky and she drove a dirk through his shirtsleeves and pinned him to the tavern wall. An impressed party hired her on the spot and set her to work hiring crew and provisioning their new ship. Chaff also picked up a new henchman, a cigar smoking lady halfling he affectionately nicknamed "No. 7".

A few days later, the party sailed the newly re-purposed "Purple Haze" out of Xin and around the Rock of Vexation, heading for the Anchorage and the Far Isles. They'd decided to forgo waiting for an escorted convoy, figuring they could handle any Chan'rk naval marauders all on their own. But they didn't expect trouble from gulls. Kwinsea was on watch in the crows-nest in the late afternoon when she spied a flock of seagulls approaching from the north. These headed straight for the ship, and ended up in among the rigging and sails, which they started to tear to pieces. Kwinsea shouted a warning to the deck, then cast seasong to send a large proportion of the birds into a slumber and thence crashing to the desk or into the water. Chaff, meanwhile, had arrived on deck and lit a pistol. Dodging falling birds, he fired a shot that decapitated one gull, and the noise and smoke was enough to scare the rest away to the north west.
Flock of Seagulls
The rest of the this leg of the voyage passed uneventfully, and they arrived at the Anchorage late in the afternoon on the third day out of Xin. There they found the familiar "Divine Providence" and "Magnificent Marios", as well as the newcomer "Quall's Folly". And a vessel that made Chaff and Abdul el Abdul's blood boil; the "San Lorenzo", which had abandoned them  on the island with the crazed cultists. There was some talk of storming the ship and killing the captain (whatever or whoever it was), but the cooler heads of the newer party members prevailed. Instead Kwinsea, Xavier, Torak and No. 7 rowed the ships' boat ashore to snoop around the shantytown for information on both the "San Lorenzo" and "Quall's Folly". "Quall's Folly", they learned, was owned and captained by a fellow named Quall, fifth son of a minor noble from the old Imperium lands. He'd taken his inheritance and bought this large vessel, and was now sailing the world trying to make his fortune.  He was just back from a series of islands covered in ancient tombs, and his crew flashed weird coins and wove tales of the bejeweled grave goods their exploring crew had recovered.  Next, tracking down a couple of sailors from the "San Lorenzo", they learned little had changed since Chaff and Abdul el Abdul had been marooned. Captain Higo de Moncada was still in charge (odd, since they seen him dead on the beach), although he had become a stricter disciplinarian in the intervening months. They too were now exploring the Far Isles, and were headed back to Xin after a trip to the Jungle Isles. Apparently they had a small dinosaur aboard which Captain de Moncada wished to sell to one of the uber-rich of Xin.

In the end, everyone decided to just ignore the "San Lorenzo", at least for the time being. While the crew repaired the damages caused by the gulls, Kwinsea paid a visit to Bellephrane. She asked the witch some information about shape-shifters and what they might be dealing with in "Captain de Moncada". The aquamancer also asked her about any as yet unexplored areas of the Far Isles. The witch replied with a grin that if Kwinsea brought a suitable gift next time she visited, there may be some information to be had on new lands to explore.

The Coffin
Business on land complete, the "Purple Haze" weighed anchor and headed towards the Magic Isles. Or at least they hoped so, since they were relying on Abdul el Adbul's navigation skill (and directional crystal). Having traveled in the belly of the whale the last two times, they knew in general they had to head north east, but weren't really sure how far away the isles lay. And whales didn't have to deal with contrary winds, as they found themselves sailing close hauled into the wind for days on end. The monotony at least was relieved when Xavier, standing watch on the third day out,  spied a box floating the the water, off their starboard bow. They had Lynessa bring the "Purple Haze" around to intercept the box, which when they got closer, looked very much like a coffin.  No one was really keen on bringing that aboard, so Kwinsea used rope trick to attach the coffin to the ship and left it trailing astern. While the captain and crew looked on bemusedly, the party discussed what to do with their discovery. Torak volunteered to go out atop the coffin and examine it, so the ship's boat was lowered and the dark cleric so placed. As Chaff and "No. 7" buzzed nearby on the ebony fly, Torak cast detect evil on the coffin, and to no ones surprise he announced that it was indeed evil.  Nevertheless, he started to tear open the waterlogged coffin, and inside found a quite waterlogged corpse. Which sat up and spewed a vomitous stream on the cleric. Barely maintaining his balance, Torak lashed out at the undead creature, supported by Chaff and No. 7, and it was soon dead again. Searching the coffin before cutting it loose, nothing was uncovered but a strange pearl inscribed with a magicians sigil, found buried in the creatures flesh.

Cyclopean Stones
Continuing northeast, they ignored a pillar of smoke rising far to the west, and after several more days made landfall. Presumably the Magic Isles, but they didn't recognize the location. There were a couple of larger islands, several miles long. One was flat and swampy, the other hilly with a pair of mountain peaks linked by a high plateau. Circling the two isles, they found a small cove on the north side of the mountainous island, where they decided to drop anchor. A stream fell from the plateau and into the cove, so Chaff and "No.7" flew the ebony fly up to explore. They found the plateau was covered in grass and shrubs, and seemed to be overrun by a species of three-eared rabbits. The stream ran out of a lake, and in the centre of the lake was a pile of massive stones, 30-50 feet on a side. Closer inspection showed they were ancient, covered in moss and lichen, but were obviously worked by intelligent hands. Numerous gaps led between the stones as well, so Chaff and "No.7 flew back to the "Purple Haze" to rouse the rest of the party to explore.

Reaching the lake after a slog up the mountain, they found that most of the gaps between the stones
The Skeleton on the Throne
ended after only a few feet. One, however, twisted deeper into the pile. The party headed into the darkness, squeezing single file down the winding passage. After a few minutes, the passage opened into a large chamber. Abdul el Abdul, at the front of the column, moved cautiously into the room. It was about 60' in diameter, and when halfway across, the fighter noted a throne at the far end. It was massive, and on it sat a giant skeleton.   A muffled voice spoke, demanding to know who disturbed the darkness. Abdul tried to placate the voice, but it grew angry and insisted it would tear the souls from the intruders for their impertinence! At that, the massive skeleton stood, and two others (smaller, but still quite large) emerged from behind the throne.  The trio advanced, and the party retreated, but not before the undead landed a few blows were landed on Beuford. Huddled back in the tunnel where their massive foes could not reach, the party discussed what to do next. Although leaving entirely was an option, they decided to turn and fight. Or rather, they sent one of the henchman to fight. Xavier was loaded down with every available flask of oil, then used his potion of levitation to rise to the top of the chamber out of the skeletons reach. He proceeded to (ineptly) bombard the largest one with oil. Meanwhile, Chaff borrowed Torak's ring of invisibility and crept into the chamber. Once Xavier was done, the vivimancer cast a cantrip to set the  giant skeleton alight. Which worked well, and it went up like a giant torch. Unfortunately, it still 'lived', and turned, along with it's two companions, on the now visible Chaff. The little vivimancer tried to run, but was not fast enough. He was hit by three blows from the skeletons' giant mauls, throwing him all the way across the chamber, to lie broken and dying near the entrance. Kwinsea used a rope trick to haul Chaff in and bind his wounds, while Xavier came back to load up on everyone's pistols, which he used to shoot the skeletons from his lofty location, until all were dead. With that, everyone entered the chamber to search for treasure. They found nothing except the helm worn by the giant; on the front was a starburst pattern made of gems. These were pried free (there being no way the helm would fit through the tunnel), and then the party picked up Chaff and headed back to the "Purple Haze" to rest and decide on their next course of action.

TOTAL XP
1599

GAINS
1 sigil inscribed pearl (100gp)
20 turquoise gems (25g each)

KILLS
1 Drowned Dead
3 Giant Skeletons
Approx. 150 seagulls

LOSSES
Chaff (temporarily)