Sunday, June 26, 2016

Far Isles Session #36 - Curiosity Killed the Cleric

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TOTAL XP
5557

GAINS
800sp
950gp
195pp
Set of Blue Silk Sheets
Shell cameo
12 silver place settings
Porcelain teapot
Bolt of blue silk
Quartz orb
Small crystal vial full of liquid
3 scrolls (unknown content)

KILLS
12 flying monkeys
1 animated, bearded, bronze statue

LOSSES
Torak
Rodrigo (Temporary) 

Friday, June 10, 2016

Far Isles Session #35 - Flying Monkeys and Resurrection (Redux)

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 1), with henchman Nico (Specialist 1)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 4), with familiar Hermes and henchman, Xavier (Swashbuckler 2)
Abdul el Abdul (Fighter 4)
WHO WERE LATER JOINED BY:
Jaz (Elf 1)
Corvus (Fighter 1)
Otock (Fighter 1)

As the party brainstormed how to best get everyone up to the cloud tower, Chaff and No. 7 suddenly remembered an important experiment they had to run with the three eared rabbits. Torak likewise recalled today was the Day of the Putrid Deep, an important observance of the Bloated One. So the three hightailed it back to the ship, leaving the rest of the short-handed party to tackle the tower. At lest Chaff left the ebony fly in Rodrigo's care, so the five adventurers were simply airlifted one by one to the balconey at the top of the main tower. A door opened out onto the balcony from the tower, so Abdul el Abdul pulled it boldly open. Inside, it reeked of monkey feces and and unwashed animal. Strew about the room was a litter of silk and other cloth, and a large oak throne stood at the far end. And the room was also occupied by eight of the flying monkeys. Abdul el Abdul, Xavier, Roderigo and Nico rushed into the room to fight the beasts, but Kwinsea hung back and cast a seasong, which put all but one to sleep. This last monkey, seeing his comrades fall, quickly surrendered.

Abdul el Abdul, Rodrigo, and Nico started to root around the room for treasure and simultaneously slit some monkey throats. Amidst the silk and monkey crap, they found a wonderful set of golden plate armor (which Abdul claimed and donned), a pearl necklace, and piles of gold and platinum coins. They also found two baby flying monkeys, one of which took a liking to Abdul el Abdul and would not let go of his leg. They also located a trapdoor hidden under the detritus. Meanwhile, Kwinsea tied up the remaining flying monkey (wings and all) and took him outside to interrogate. Through a series of grunts and gestures, she gleaned that there were no other monkeys about, the person(?) they served was gone, and the trap door was simply a hatch for throwing garbage out of the cloud tower. She relayed this information inside, and Abdul el Abdul opened the door and started shoving dead monkeys through it. He was only able to get a couple through before everyone realized their captive was a lying monkey; Abdul el Abdul found himself staring into a seething mass of flying monkeys who were rising through the air and headed right for him.

Abdul el Abdul slammed the trap door shut and then stood on top of it, keeping the monkeys from getting in the room. As the party tried to figure out how to get out of this one, Kwinsea shouted from outside; more than a dozen monkeys had flown out of windows bellow her and were headed their way. The aquamancer shoved their dishonest captive over the edge of the tower, then joined the rest of the party inside. Rodrigo make a bomb out of gunpowder and oil, and he and Abdul el Abdul dropped it through the trap door. There was a loud BOOM and the sound of screaming monkeys, but the pressure from below was abated only momentarily. Meanwhile, the rest of the monkeys flew into the room through the open windows, and the party was now trapped. A furious fight ensured, and it was not long before Kwinsea, Nico and Xavier had fallen victim to the flashing monkey sabres. It looked hopeless, but Abdul el Abdul then recalled the flying monkey rugrat clinging to his leg. The fighter grabbed the cute, furry little creature and put his axe to it's throat. The monkeys got the implied threat, lowered their blades, and backed away. Through a series hand gestures, Rodrigo and Abdul el Abdul let the monkeys know that the little ones (Rodrigo had grabbed the second baby and was likewise threatening it) would live if the monkeys let them escape. The flying monkeys cleared a path to the door, and Rodrigo and Abdul el Abdul (dragging Kwinsea's body with them) made their way out onto the balcony where the ebony fly was parked.   Abdul el Abdul leap on the fly, tossed his fuzzy hostage to Rodrigo, and headed back to the "Purple Haze"  at top speed. Rodrigo then recalled the fly, and after dropping most of his and Kwinsea's equipment, threw the aquamancers body over the fly and then climbed aboard himself. As the fly vaulted into the air, Rodrigo tossed the two baby monkeys onto the balcony. He to headed for the "Purple Haze", but was this time was pursued by a half dozen flying monkeys. He managed to keep ahead of them though, and the monkeys turned around once the fly pitched on the ship's desk.

Captain Lynessa turned the ship towards the anchorage, and after several days of uneventful sail, they were back in "civilization". Once more they carried the body of their fallen comrade to Bellephrone to seek her assistance in bring back the mage. After a little jovial ribbing about their luck, the witch agreed to run Kwinsea through the vat once more to bring her back to life. The price was steep though; the iron rose, pearl necklace and Abdul el Abduls' new shiny golden armor.

While waiting for Kwinsea to be simmered back to life, Rodrigo and Abdul el Abdul went about some other business. First of all, they went to recruit some hired muscle to help in their next assault on the cloud tower. They found a pair of fighters, the beefy brute Corvus and the weedy looking Otock, and a spry elf by the name of Jaz. Abdul el Abdul tried to recruit Nilex the Whiskey Priest, but to no avail. It seems the cleric was deathly afraid of boats and was not going anywhere that involved travel over water. Which begged the question of how he made it to the Anchorage in the first place, but the drink sodden priest couldn't remember exactly how that had happened. They also went slumming around the shantytown, making discrete inquires about monkey poison. This bore fruit, and they were approached by Mikal, one of the adventurers who'd become the rulers/enforcers/entrepreneurs of the ramshackle little settlement. He offered to sell them enough poison to kill a troop of monkeys for the bargain basement price of 1000gp. Although that didn't seem like much of a bargain, they decided to take the deal.

After a quick stop on board the "Three Sided Coin" to get some supplies from Jobber Wok, they pickup up a resurrected Kwinsea from Bellephone and headed back to the cloud tower. Again, it was an uneventful voyage, and they were soon back at the rain sodden village. Rodrigo summoned the ebony fly, and lifted off carrying a huge cargo net full of poisoned monkey chow. He dropped this on top of the monkey's tower, and then dove for the ship below before he could be seen. Now to see if their efforts at pest control worked ...


TOTAL XP
2210

GAINS
Golden Plate Mail (800gp)
Pearl Necklace (1200gp)

KILLS
14 flying monkeys

LOSSES
Kwinsea (Temporarily)
Xavier
Nico


Saturday, May 28, 2016

Far Isles Session #34 - Resurrection and Flying Monkeys

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Chaff (Vivimancer 4), familiar Pretty Bird, and riding hound Stinky Dog
Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 1), with henchman Nico (Specialist 1)
WHO WERE LATER RE-JOINED BY:
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 4), with familiar Hermes and henchman, Xavier (Swashbuckler 2)
Abdul el Abdul (Fighter 4)
Torak (Cleric 4)
"No 7" (Halfling 1)

Climbing back up to the control tower, Chaff's first order of action was to park the fly and loot the bodies of his companions. Specifically the ring of invisibility from Torak and the prismatic ray gem from Kwinsea, but a lot of other magical bling as well. You know, just in case he makes it out but has to leave them behind. The stubby vivimancer slipped on the ring, and sent Pretty Bird to stand watch on the stairs for any sign of the Eld's return. He then set about looking for a way out, noting right away that one of the black display panels was cracked open, revealing a pink flesh-like layer behind it. Poking around with a dagger, he discovered this layer was about a foot and  a half thick. On the other side of this layer was what appeared to be the hard metal/plastic outer surface of the tower dome. Chaff then gathered up gunpowder from all the bodies, and tamped it into the hole using Abdul's shield. He lit the fuse, ducked down the stairs, and hid there as the blast shook the tower and filled it with smoke. After a few minutes, when the smoke began to thin, Chaff went to check his handiwork. Unfortunately, the blast didn't make a hole. But it did appear to weaken it a bit, so the vivimancer tried breaking it down with axe, sword, and staff. But with no luck. So he gathered up the last of the gunpowder, and tried one more blast. Once again, there was no hole. But this time it did attract attention, and Pretty Bird squawked a warning that Major Xhom was charging up the stairs. The Eld warrior charged at Chaff, who by this time was mounted on the fly and buzzing near the ceiling. Major Xhom cursed the 'idiotic vat feed' who was destroying his barge, but he could do nothing about it as Chaff floated out of range of the vibrating axe and started to bombard him from above. The Eld retreated down the stairs once more, and Chaff again turned his attention to the blast area. It looked even weaker, but still withstood battering with weapons. So Chaff mounted the fly and made a mad charge at the wall, hoping to bash through.

Ebony Fly (Pre- Crash)
Which this time he did! However, the force of the blow did so much damage to the fly that it reverted back to figurine form, and followed a ballistic arc through the opening, to land with a 'plop' in the ocean below. Chaff, who had fallen off when the fly changed form, cursed like a sailor and started to gather bodies. Using rope, he lowered these one by one (and none to gently) down to the deck 70' below. And then proceeded to drag them back to the beach, and signaled the ship's boat to come take them away. All the while, he was thankfully and curiously unmolested by Eld or ghuls. Once back on board, Chaff ordered Linessa to turn the "Purple Haze" about and head straight for the Anchorage. His companions had a date with a witch and a vat of resurrection.

Four days sail found the "Purple Haze" back on the crowded Anchorage. Outside in the roads were two warships, one from Xin and one from the city of Visryi. Inside were a number of exploring vessels, and three merchant ships. But Chaff had no interest in them right now, and had the crew row him and the somewhat ripe bodies of Kwinsea, Abdul el Abdul and Torak over to the beach. From there, they carried the bodies overland to the boar-surrounded hut of Bellephrone the Incontatrix. There, Chaff opened negotiations for the use of her vat  to bring back his companions. After listening to his story, the witch agreed to resurrect the three, in return for some scrolls and a spellbook. She also had Chaff promise that if the party was able to free the Golden Barge, she wanted it! And she had a task for them to perform, a delivery to a colleague in the swampy hinterlands beyond Xin.  Chaff tried to argue, but in the end agree to the terms. His three dead companions were stripped and shoved in the vat, and the vivmancer was told to return in 2 days to retrieve them.

Chaff did as he was told, coming back two days later. This time, he was not alone. Rodrigo, a dashing swordsman, with his shadier companion, Nico, had met the vivimancer on the strand and decided to hitch their fortunes to his. Reaching the hut, they found their companions awaiting them, a little worst for wear. Plus Kwinsea had grown a lions tail and Torak's tongue had shrunk in size so the cleric could now only communicate in squeaky mumbles. But otherwise they were good, so the newly reformed party headed back to the anchorage, went shopping with the merchant Jobber Wok, and then raised sail and turned the "Purple Haze" back towards the Golden Barge. They made it in record time, catching a roaring gale that blew them through a previously unseen rocky archipelago, and dropped them at the great sandbar at the end of the second day. However, to their dismay, the barge was gone. As was the strange cube on the island. A search of the shore revealed a silver disk lying in the sand where the barge had been run ashore. Abdul el Abdul touched it, and disk projected an image showing the barge being re-floated while the voice of Under Commandant Xolt mocked them for doing all the hard work and permitting the Eld free their ship.

Much more cursing ensued, but there was nothing else that could be done. Well, except to get the lion tailed Kwinsea and her familier Hermes to go for a swim and look for the lost ebony fly. Which, by some stroke of luck, she found. The party then conferred, and decided to head back to the Magic Isles and the cloud tower they'd chekced out before chasing after the zombie raft and stumbling upon the cursed barge. So they raised sail, and in a raging blizzard, headed north again.

Flying Monkey
Good winds got them there in a single day, and they dropped anchor off the little island with the rain-soaked village under the immobile thunderhead and tower. Dropped ashore by the ships boat, they started to explore the village. It was soon obvious it was deserted, and cleared of anything of interest. After exploring for sometime, Chaff looked up at the cloud tower and noted three winged shapes descending towards them. Everyone took cover in a house, and moments later a trio of winged monkeys landed in the street outside. They were dressed in red brocade vests and fez, and carried sabres plus long guns made of glass and wrapped in coils of copper wire. A fight ensued, with energy blasts from the monkey's guns answered with musketry and swordplay from the party. And soon the three monkeys were dead. Picking over the bodies, the party was most interested in the guns.  These did not have an obvious trigger, and it took the brainy Kwinsea a while to discover they needed to be grasped in a particular way (a particular monkey way) to use.

That done, attention turned once more to the cloud and tower. Chaff mounted the ebony fly and scouted the cloud tower. In addition to the portion sticking below, he observed more extensive structures on top of the cloud. On one tower, he also saw a weird weapon, like an up-sized version of the flying monkey guns. But he saw no other creatures. Back with the party, he decided to send Pretty Bird up to scout the tower. Through the birds' eyes,  Chaff saw a bronze door set inside the tower, with a small ledge below it. He also saw, hanging from the inside walls, were a dozen sets of rusty manacles, jangling in the wind. Now, how to get up there ...

TOTAL XP
45

GAINS
None

KILLS
3 flying monkeys

LOSSES
None

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