Sunday, March 27, 2016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

1 Drowned Dead
3 Giant Skeletons
Approx. 150 seagulls

Chaff (temporarily)

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Far Isles Session #26 - The Motherload

Abdul el Abdul (Fighter 3)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 3), with familiar Hermes, and henchman Xavier (Swashbuckler 1)
Chaff (Vivimancer 3), with familiar Pretty Bird, riding hound Stinky Dog
Torak (Cleric 2)
Beuford Bumbletoes (Halfling 2)

The party made several more attempts to figure out the telescope, including throwing some of the frozen blood  into the coal pile. All that happened in that case was the blood animated and tried to bludgeon Chaff to death. They also went back over the tower, looking for secret doors in likely places, convinced the wizard still had a stash of treasure hidden somewhere.  That lead to hours of futile searching which revealed nothing, except an old diary and key which Abdul el Abduel found in one of the servants rooms. The search also revealed that the pool in the telescope room was acid (as it was emptied to look for a secret door at the bottom), and that the fish turned into a protein goo when placed in regular water. The diary revealed nothing they didn't already know i.e. Calcidius was a raving lunatic.  Then someone realized the elevator had 5 settings on the dial, and they had only used it to access 3 floors. So Kwinsea and Xavier squeezed in and went to look at floors "1" and "2". Floor "2" proved to be the morgue/laboratory they'd already explored. But floor "1" was certainly more promising. Peeping out of the elevator shaft, the duo spied a largely empty room with a dozen large chests at the far end, and a quartet of levers on the south wall, just a few steps away.

Sensing a trap, the two weren't about to go into the room alone, and instead went back to gather the rest of the party. When they all stepped out, the first thing they noticed were shimmering curtains of light stretched across the room. Kwinsea scooped up a handful of dust and dirt to throw at barrier, and the debris exploded in a flash of blue light. Trapped it was then.  Attention turned now to the levers. No one was really keen on playing with the levers, but Torak was convinced to 'volunteer', while everyone else hid in the elevator shaft or an alcove just around the corner. The rest of the party coached the dark cleric on various combinations of the levers to try, which he dutifully did to no ill effect. Except for a bad shock at one point, and at various points when he trapped himself and the others where they were behind new force-fields. But it also seemed to do nothing to the shimmering curtains of blue light. Then Kwinsea thought that maybe the force-fields were changing, but visually stayed the same. She directed Torak to go back to levering, and she started tossing coins at the force-fields. And found she was right; different combinations of levers raised or lowered different force-fields. That figured out, Abdul el Abdul  ran up to the pile of stone copper pieces and filled a bag to use in place of their precious coins. And after burning through several dozen stone coins, they figured out the right combination to lower all the fields and give them access to the treasure chests.

Once everyone made it to the other side of the room, Kwinsea started checking the chests for trap. As the aquamancer gave each a thumbs up, Abdul el Abdul would carefully open the chest away from him (just in case Kwinsea missed something). And inside they found a mother load of treasure; piles of gold and silver coins beyond their wildest dreams. They also found a curious set of crystal dice (which detected a magic when Torak checked) and a small black box filled with black lotus powder.  In fact there was so much treasure, it wasn't going to all fit in the boat. Still, the party began the laborious task of hauling chests up the elevator shaft, and then dragging them across the lighting blasted moonscape that surrounded the tower. Which took some time, and resulted in Torak and Beuford both getting zapped by lighting as they toiled with the heavy chests. But soon it was all on boat, and the partly gingerly placed the heavily laden vessel in the water. Abdul el Abdul then hauled out the horn and summoned the whale, who dutifully swallowed them up up and brought them back to the anchorage.

There they found Nalco waiting for them, and they settled down to business, negotiating for magic items. In the end, the pre-adolescent wizard  took the Dice of Many Things, Demon in a Jar, and Magical Ice Chest. He also wanted the ebony fly, but Abdul el Abdul eloquently convinced him to let the party keep it, and maybe they could work together again. To which Nalco agreed, but at this point he was no longer interest in sponsoring further exploration of the Magic Isles. He was instead headed back to his permanent tower to study the items the party had already recovered. When asked about the stoned-wizard Nysul, they were informed the blue wizard had been brought back to flesh, several magic items taken from him, and he was then 'sold' to some unspecified entity for an unspecified purpose. In the end, it was thought best not to pry.

Now the party was left with the problem of how to lug all that treasure back to Xin, as they now had visions of buying their own boat to continue their explorations. They learned that war still raged between Xin and Chan'rk, and the ships currently at the anchorage were there only because a warship from Xin had escorted them. It appeared the Faceless Inquisitor saw value in the continued exploration of the Isles, even in time of war.  At the anchorage, in addition to Nalco, were the merchant Marios in the "Magnificent Marios", the long suffering "Divine Providence" and a new ship in a grey and white camouflage pattern, the "Waverunner". They had a brief conversation with the captain, a fellow with all gold teeth by the name of Atli the Golden. They got the impression he was a shady opportunist looking to a make quick gold piece under questionable circumstances. Atli had no current plans, and was just looking for hints of where to go to explore/loot. The "Divine Providence" was likewise between jobs (and once more without an away crew), but the crew had been around for a long time and had a few rumors to trade. In particular:
  • Another ship reported finding a long sand bar connecting a series of small islands. And run aground on that sandbar was a huge golden barge that sparkled like gold in the sunlight.  The ship tried to approach but were driven off by humanoids that looked something like elves in weird armor. 
  • The party's old employer, Loremaster Yorik, was no more. He'd found information on a place called the "Temple of the Sea-Mother" in which could be found the "Egg of the Sea-Mother", a huge flawless pearl worth a fortune in gold. Yorik wasn't interested in going after it (no knowledge to be had there), but his away crew mutinied and killed him. Now they're trying to find the temple, as are several other vessels to whom they drunkenly blurted the story.
  • There had been a series of ships exploring some southern jungle isles, and there they'd found dinosaurs. The uber-rich of Xin were outfitting expeditions to capture some specimens for their extravagant palaces and wildlife enclosures that make up the Decadent Menangerie district of Xin. The ships had brought back no dinosaurs as yet (and several have not returned), but they have brought back rumors from the natives of the isles. In in a particular tells of a temple of gold set in an extinct volcano in the centre of one island.
While all interesting, the party now  was simply going to wait for a new convoy to form up and then hopefully get passage back to Xin with their piles of treasure.


Crystal Egg (5000gp)
Box of Black Lotus
Dice of Many Things

Flask of animated blood
Some poor little fishes