Sunday, July 24, 2016

Far Isles Session #39 - Assault!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TOTAL XP
1315

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

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

LOSSES
 9 Xin soldiers, and the deserter, Sergeant Lunt


Saturday, July 9, 2016

Far Isles Session #38 - Up the River

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

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

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

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

TOTAL XP
1100 (Abdul el Abdul)
50 (Corvus)

GAINS
none

KILLS
none

LOSSES
none

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Far Isles Session #37 - More Loot, Less Death

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TOTAL XP
3815

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

KILLS
none

LOSSES
none

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

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 (Dwarf 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
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