Thursday, December 15, 2016

Far Isles Session #52 - Dragons and Pirates

Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 4), with henchman Corvus (Fighter 2)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 5), with familiar Hermes and henchman Jaz (Elf 1)
Chaff (Vivimancer 5), with familiar PrettyBird and riding dog PuppyWhuppy
Abdul el Abdul (Fighter 4)
Aug Wahmn (Calmonari 3)

There was animated discussion among the party regarding where they should first land on the island. The rugged mountains weren't going to work, and Abdul el Abdul, for one, expressed a visceral hatred for any further jungle slogs. They summoned Pablo, the sailor hired off of the "San Lorenzo", to pick his brain. He confirmed this island looked like the one he'd visited on the dinosaur hunting trip. He informed the party that the terrain stayed much the same in both directions; mountainous to the west and jungle/swamp to the east, at least until it also turned mountainous. The "San Lorenzo" did not go all the way around the island, but only a day's sail to both east and west before finding their dinosaur, capturing it and returning to Xin. Based on that information, the decision was made to circumnavigate the island and find the best place to land. First, Rodrigo and Corvus transferred to the "Loreman's Passage" to keep their erstwhile foes in check. The two ships then proceeded east around the island. Staying somewhat offshore to avoid the reefs, they sailed past more mountains, jungle and swamp, as well as signs of villages along the south-eastern edge of the island.

Sea Dragon
Here, they risked a closer look by sailing into a large bay.  As they crossed behind ae barrier reef, however, their exploration was interrupted by a disturbance in the water, several hundred yards ahead. A few moments later, a serpentine head rose above the surface. Turning, it spied the pair of ships and began to swim closer. As it did, Awg Wahmn blurted out "sea dragon!", which gave everyone a chill and sent them scrambling for weapons. The calmonari used his/her aquatic telepathy to determine the creatures intent. Thankfully, it seemed more curious rather than hostile, so Kwinsea cast speak with aquatic animals and, as soon as it pulled close to the "Purple Haze", engaged it in conversation . Although intelligent, the dragon could not speak, so questioning had to be of the 'nod for yes, shake head for no' variety. They learned the sea dragon knew little about the island itself, and that there was another not so friendly sea dragon that dwelt off the northern end of the island. When asked if there was anything the party could do for it on the land, Awg Wahmn sensed a change of emotion to greed as the dragons eyes flashed and it began to get excited. It started to swim, stopping a few times as if to signal the two ships to follow. This they did, and the dragon led them out of the bay to a group of small islands to the west of the main island. Reaching this at sunrise the next day, the dragon started swimming towards the shore of one particular island, then looped back towards the two ships. Awg Wahmn also sensed an increase in the greed emotion, so the party got the idea that there was treasure on that island that the dragon wanted.

Taking the hint, the two ships slowly approached the shore, taking care to not run aground. Which
seemed prudent, for once they were a few hundred yards offshore, they noted an old shipwreck at one end of the beach. Along that beach lay four outrigger canoes, flanked by a pair of watchtowers. A third tower could be seen further inland, atop a low knoll. In the valley between beach and knoll was a collection of grass huts. From their now closer vantage point, the party could see little activity among the huts, but there were definitely people in the towers. Chaff sent Pretty Bird scouting around the edge of the village. The parrot found a thorn fence about 5' high surrounding it, and much more activity as the watchers in the tower started to rouse the rest of the village. After noting one larger and fancier hunt, and dodging an errant crossbow bolt, the bird returned to Chaff to report. It appeared this was not native village; there were no children and everyone looked more like sailors and cutthroats than headhunters.

Armed cutthroats began to rush to the beach, overturning two of the canoes for cover, and started to lay a barrage of crossbow fire on the "Purple Haze". Lynessa ordered the crew to bring the ship out of range, as the party responded with a catapulted ball of burning pitch (which fell short) and a flight of arrows and bolts (which scored a couple of hits). Aug Wahmn and Kwnisea slipped into the water over the stern and started swimming towards the wreck on the beach. It appeared to have been here for some months at least, as it was partly buried in the sand. There were also signs of salvage, with planks, supplies and sails missing. The duo slipped ashore behind the wreck, and now that everyone's attention was drawn to the two ships off shore, started to move inland towards the fancy hunt, .

Back on the water, the "Purple Haze" lobbed a second ball of burning pitch at the beach. This one scored a direct hit on one of the overturned canoes, and flaming pitch splashed over the sheltering crossbowmen, burning them to cinders.  At about this point, two pirate crews rushed to the remaining canoes and put them in the water, pulling hard to reach the "Purple Haze" before she could do much more damage. As Rodrigo swung across to the "Purple Haze" from the "Loreman's Passage to help (leaving Corvus to keep an eye on the captured ship and crew), Jaz cast a sleep spell. That knocked out the rowers in one canoe, which started to drift back towards the beach. A tall man, obviously the leader, stood in the bows of the second canoe, encouraging the buccaneers to row harder.  Meanwhile, the catapult was ready again. The approaching canoe was too close, so it was fired at the beach, hitting the second overturned canoe and likewise burning the pirates sheltered there to death. The man in the approaching canoe looked at the devastation on the beach, then turned back to look at the "Purple Haze". Reaching over his shoulder, he drew a big two-handed sword and dropped it over the side. He then raised his hands in the air, and his crew stopped rowing and likewise made signs of surrender.

As the rest of the party accepted the surrender of the pirates and started towards the beach in the ship's boat, Awg Wahmn and Kwinsea got into the large hut. It was non-descipt except for the large locked chest to one side. Awg Wahmn was about to pick the crude mechanism,  but inside they found nothing but sails. They then moved on to the inland watchtower, which was deserted. From there, they could see the rest of the party gathering in the surrendering pirates. They also noted a cave opening just to the east of the tower. The two headed back to the beach to meet the rest of the party, and Kwinsea discovered she could understand the pirates strange speech enough to converse. Asked about the cave, the pirate leader indicated their treasure was hidden in there. That was enough to get Chaff, Awg Wahmn and Kwinsea headed that way, with the pirate leader marching point, as Rodrigo, Jaz and Abdul el Abdul tied up the prisoners bad started to check out the rest of the huts. Chaff cast a dim light cantrip on the leaders hat, so when he entered the cave they could see it was pretty much as described; a 40' wide cavern with a large iron box to one side. Suddenly however, the leader dropped to the floor, and a half dozen men swinging cutlasses jumped out of the shadows and fell on the three adventurers. Chaff took a bad hit, and Awh Wahmn was cut down one attacker with his sword. The three then made a tactical retreat, as the pirate leader and 5 survivor men ran deeper into the cave. They didn't get far though, as Kwinsea loosed a lightning bolt into the cave and cut down the 5 pirates. The leader, though hit, kept going, disappearing into a small tunnel dug at the far end.

The Escape Cave
By this time, Rodrigo and Abdul el Abdul arrived. The swashbuckler used his sword of simian summonding to call for some monkey assistance, and sent the hooting pack into the tunnel after the pirate leader. The rest followed, crawling down a tunnel hundreds of feet in length before emerging into a cave, open to the sea, on the far side of the island. There was no sign of their quarry, and the monkeys now drifted back into the jungle, so everyone headed back to the cave. Chaff, having earlier relived the leader of a a key and ring (which turned out to be a ring of water walking), unlocked the chest. Inside was a pile of copper, silver and electrum coins, as well as a fistful of gems, a sword and a scroll case. Puting their prisoners to works, the party started to bag the treasure and carry it back to he ships boat and thence onto the "Purple Haze".

Meanwhile, further search of the huts by Rodrigo had uncovered almost 40 prisoners chained inside. These were natives, captured from the villages the party had recently sailed past, and destined for a life as slaves. Questioned, they revealed dinosaurs could be found on the northern end of the big island, which they called the "Isle of Dread". They also told a tale of  ancient city built in the central highlands of the island. A city built by the gods and said to be filled with treasure beyond imagining ...  


17gems (1300gp total)
ring of water walking
cutlass +1 [Detect Metal, Levitate 3/day] with a creepy pirate voice 
Scroll - 1/Shield

17 pirates (+24 captured)


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