Sunday, November 15, 2015

Far Isles Session #13 - 13 Days in a Leaky Boat

Abdul el Abdul (Fighter 2)
Azimer (Calmonari 3)
Chaff (Vivimancer 2), with familiar Dirty Bird
Ragnar (Cleric 1)

With a steady south wind, the gig made good time throughout the morning. With such fair sailing, the party hoped to reach the mainland in just a few days if there were no interruptions. Which of course was not going to be the case, and on the second watch of the morning (Chaff's) came their first interruption. Chaff had Dirty Bird flying cover overhead, and through the bird's eyes, the vivimancer could see a disturbance on the surface about a half mile ahead. In a few more minutes, the water began to bubble and steam, and shortly after that a gout of lava shot into the sky. A new volcanic island was being born dead ahead! After a quick discussion, the party decided to loop around the eruptions,  and changed course to give it a wide berth.

Smooth sailing continued through the remainder of the day and the next two. It was on Azimer's watch, just before down on the fourth day, when the next. nearly permanent, interruption to their travels occurred. As the calmonari sat at the tiler, looking into the water rushing past, there all of a sudden erupted from the ocean four grappling hooks. Two latched on the bow, and two at the stern. Azimer saw the lines attached to then go taught, and felt as something or someone started to pull the boat down! He/she jumped into action, stumbling over the sleeping forms in the bottom of the boat before reaching Abdul el Abdul's sword and using it to cut one of the bow lines. Shouting and kicking the rouse the others, the calmonari cut the second bow line, which caused the gig's bow to lurch up in the air as the stern was dragged further down. A this point, Chaff finally roused himself and tackled the stern lines to prevent the boat from being swamped.  Just as the lines were cut, four wicked looking sahuagin fish-men emerged from the water and scrambled aboard. They lashed out at Chaff, Azimer and the now awake Abdul el Abdul and Hester with their tridents, slashing deeply into flesh. Azimer and Abdul el Abdul responded in kind with their blades, while Chaff was able to light his match cord and get a shot off with his pistol. His bullet grazed the sahuagin trying to skewer him, and the noise and smoke of the blast startled all their foes. Fearing this newfangled device, the sahuagin turned and dove back into the depths, but not before Abdul el Abdul was able to kill one by stabbing it right in the back as it turned away.
Everyone stopped to catch their breath and bind their wounds. Azimer glanced below the water to ensure the sahuagin were gone, and then they all went to check out the dead one in the bow.  Curiously, it had a long seaweed rope tied around it's waist, at the end of which floated a large, closed giant clam shell. The party hauled it aboard and examined it a little closer. It was closed tight and showed no obvious markings. Well, giant clam roasted in it's shell sounded like a good break from gull jerky and iron rations, so a fire was lit and the shell suspended over it with the grappling hooks Abdul el Abdul had recovered. After just a few minutes there came a banging sound and muffled shouts from inside the shell! Grabbing a blade, they pried the shell open and out tumbled a man! Once over the initial shock, the party turned to questioning their new boat-mate. He introduced himself as Ragnar, who until a few hours before had been chaplain on a trading vessel. He'd been snatched off the deck by a group of 8-10 sahuagin, stripped and stuffed into this shell, and hauled off into the deeps. Luckily, the shell was sealed and watertight, and he was dragged along with the sea-devils until they encountered the gig. Which, incidentally, was starting to get pretty crowded now that there was a new person aboard, so the party decided now the time had come to bid poor Einer goodbye. His body was laid on one of the halves of the shell, doused in oil, lit, and set adrift.

Their journey continued, but just around noon they spied mountains on the western horizon. Dirty Bird was sent aloft, and from his aerial vantage point Chaff could see they were approaching the mainland. A few more hours of sailing and they began to see a scattering a small fishing boats. Hailing one, they hauled alongside to figure out where they'd made their landfall. Just off the city of Cha'nrk on the Langushur coast they were told. Plying the fisherman with what was left of their wine and questioning him, they soon found they did not like the sound of Cha'nrk. Built on the slopes of the volcano they could see smoking ahead of them, it was a cruelly militant theocracy ruled by the cult of a volcano/fire god. Slaves worked mines on the slopes of the volcano, and manned the oars of the city's fleet. Visitors were not particularly made to feel welcome, and life was strictly regulated. The party thanked the fisherman and let him go on his way. After an inventory of their remaining food (and a reminder from Ragnar that he could call on the favor of his god to make the salt water drinkable and spoiled food palatable), the party decided to push on and follow the shore north until they reach the city of Xin from whence they'd started months before. As decadent as it may be, at least they knew the place!

Unfortunately for them, the wind rose and shifted overnight, and they found themselves fighting a blustery headwind on their journey north. The little gig slogged day after day, rising and falling on the waves. And they were pretty much the only ones foolish enough to be on the water in these conditions, as no other vessels were seen for days as they followed the mountainous coast. After days of slow progress, the mountainous terrain on the port side changed  to swamp. Chaff and Dirty Bird were on watch when the parrot finally spied another vessel, a small sailing ship overtaking them from behind.The ship flew no ensign, and looked suspiciously un-merchant like. The uncouth figures clustered on deck didn't look too friendly either. Knowing the ship couldn't yet see them, Chaff turned the gig to port and headed for the mangrove swamp a mile away. There they hide in among the trees and reeds and waited for the ship to sail by before proceeding.

After another couple days of slow sailing, the land started to swing to the west and a great rocky island came into view; the Rock of Vexation, which marked the approaches to the Loragano River and the city of Xin. They sailed up the river, reaching the city just as dusk began to fall and the fires lite in the Tower of the Malphegian Infernos guarding the approaches to the city. A pilot boat with a squad of the Purple aboard, met them in mid stream After a few perfunctory questions, the gig was allows to proceed upstream to pass through the brass Vithian Gates and into the Pool to dock at the Fogbound Quays.  Once ashore, everyone kissed the ground, and Chaff then went looking for someone to buy the gig, as none of them ever wanted to set foot in the damn thing again. He managed to squeeze 150gp out of one cagey boat seller by the name of Abdul. Meanwhile, the others started asking around the docks for coming and goings of exploration vessels. It seemed that rumors were beginning to trickle back about the treasures and lands being found in the Far Isles, but not much was heard that the party didn't already know. They did hear tales of new and strange vessels seen on the eastern seas, as the people of the Far Isles started to explore beyond their previously mist-girded prisons. Asking after some vessels they knew, apparently the "Serpents Revenge" had recently been in port, selling load of slaves to the pens in the Flesh Pits. They also learned the "San Lorenzo" had been in port, loading up on supplies and heading out for parts unknown. When questioned about who now sailed the "San Lorenzo" the party was surprised to find that Captain de Moncada was still in charge! Odd, since they'd seen his dead body washed ashore on the cultist's island.

With night falling, the party first went looking for a patrol of the Purple. Giving Hester a bag of gold to help her on her way, they turned their matronly hanger-on over to the care of the authorities. They then went in search of an inn, coming to the somewhat ironically named "The Growling Duke". Nothing fancy, but at least it didn't rock back and forth, so they took a pair of rooms for the night. Unfortunately, it was not as restful a night as hoped. In the wee hours of the morning, Azimer heard a noise at the door, like a key or pick in the lock. The calmonari woke Ragnar (with whom he/she was sharing the room) and the two hid behind the door. It opened, and into the room crept four thugs, armed with rope and belaying pins. They headed for the two beds, but were surprised when Azimer and Ragnar jumped them from behind. The cleric came out swinging and knocked one out cold, while Azimer trapped two in his/her net. The fourth turned and ran down the hall and out of the inn. By this time Chaff, and the heavy sleeper Abdul el Abdul, arrived and the interrogation began. It seemed that the goons were there to kidnap them for some nefarious purpose, mading reference to a 'he' that told them the tired travelers would be an easy mark. Having squeezed what info they could from them, the thugs were stripped of all their goods and clothes and shoved out into the night.

Rising the next day, everyone first went out to restock on supplies (including a scruffy goblin servant Chaff managed to rustle up) and change their treasure into a more manageable and portable format. And then they went looking for work, specifically another exploring vessel headed for the Far Isles. The only one in port at the moment was the "Imperious", a huge sailing ship.  Asking some questions, the party quickly decided it didn't sound promising; the captain was described as some sort of power-mad marionette. With no other immediate options, they hunkered down to drink at "The Growling Duke", checking back at the quays every morning. After a few days, another ship arrived in port, en-route to the Far Isles. A small and shabby ship, the "Lormans Passage" was under the command of Loremaster Yorik of Vale. They met the scrawny and scruffy loremaster and his rotund first mate, Rold, and offered their services. Yorik it seemed was looking to document all the new and strange things in the Far Isles, and he interrogated the party and wrote out all their experiences thus far. He was eager to sail the seas and see the wonders himself. Abdul el Abdul took out his magical crystal and showed it to Yorik, showing how it always turned to point in the same direction. The fighter told the loremaster that it undoubtedly pointed to some weird and wonderful place worthy of the academics interest, and the party would let him take them there. Excitedly, Yorik agreed, and a deal was struck where the party would get most of any treasure recovered; although Rold reminded his captain he needed some portion of treasure to pay the crew and upkeep of the ship. In return, the party would turnover any written materials and artifacts, copy immovable inscriptions, and in general ensure the loremaster had plenty of new lore to record and consider.


Proceeds from the sale of the "San Lorenzo's" gig (150gp)

1 sahuagin
3 thugs (defeated and humiliated)


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