Sunday, July 2, 2017

Far Isles Session #65 - Through the Screaming Maw

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 4), with henchman Corvus (Fighter 2)
Chaff (Vivimancer 5), with familiar Pretty Bird and Riding Dog Puppy Whuppy
Awg Wahmn (Calmonari 4)
Pahu-Mahu (Thief 3)
Torak (Cleric 5)

A quick review of those present settled on Pahu Mahu as having the best combination of a) scrawny size and b) potential survivability to take a chance crawling into the narrow shaft. The party tied a rope around his waist, and shoved the light coin and ring of invisibility into his hands, then sent him on his way. As he shimmied along, Pahu Mahu found the slope of the shaft getting steeper and steeper so that when he finally poked his head out into the open after crawling 50-60', the thief was hanging almost head down. And from this perspective, found himself staring into a bizarrely demonic visage about 15' away. It was a huge statue depicting a fat and scaled vaguely humanoid body, with four arms and skinny stick-like legs. The head was stork-like, with eyes in swivel sockets and a crest of skulls.  To Pahu Mahu's relief, the statute did not move. Looking around, he could vaguely see he was hanging above a circular chamber, but the floor below lay in  darkness. Wiggling out of the shaft, he started to lower himself down into the room, while Pretty Bird followed behind to let Chaff look around and report what could be seen to everyone above.  The room came into fuller view as Pahu Mahu descended further; it was circular, about 80' across, with a series of stone balconies along the perimeter from which led stairs to floor level. There was also an exit heading east on the highest balcony, while the floor itself was covered in a thick layer of dust and shadow, making it difficult to see anything.
Screaming Wall

Pahu decided to not touch down, but  used the rope to swing over to the balcony to explore the exit instead. Somewhat creepily, the eyes of the statue swiveled to follow him across the room.  The exit led into a stone-flagged tunnel, which led to a short staircase. The thief headed up the stairs and emerged into more corridor, but this was lined with some sort of padded leather. He steeped forward, and all of a sudden the floor, walls and ceiling began to quiver.  Faces appeared, with mouths opened wide, and a gibbering scream filled the air. Pahu was chilled to his core, and grabbed him spear to try stabbing himself to death and end the nightmare. Luckily he didn't do much damage, and the pain and blood loss shocked him out of his stupor. The faces now started to snap and bite at his legs, so he turned and ran back to the circular chamber. There he shimmied down the rope again until he was just touching the floor. At this point, torches around the gazing demon statue came to life, revealing the full chamber. On the floor Pahu could now see scattered treasure, coins and jewelry. There was also the outline of a great hatch cover, and at the base of the statue stood a lectern with a massive book. The thief scooped up the most valuable looking item in reach, and then climbed back up the rope and out of the shaft to the rest of the party. 

Meanwhile, having followed the action below through Pretty Birds eyes, the rest of the party decided to look for another way in. A party member was sent to walk a line to each cardinal point of the compass; Rodrigo had gone east and after abut 150 feet stumbled over an overgrown pile of stone. He kicked a few aside and noted they seemed to filled a man-made opening in the ground. He went back to gather everyone, and work commenced on excavating the rubble. After about an hour, they'd uncovered a very ancient and worn set of stone stairs going down. The party formed up and headed into the darkness.   The stairs led them into a chamber which was covered in more leathery substance. Careful poking and prodding didn't reveal any faces, and closer examination showed that it was dried and cracked and presumably 'dead'. Three corridors led out of the room. Assuming the one in the west wall led to the gibbering wall and circular chamber, the party checked the ones to the north and south. The north passage ended in a cave-in after just 30-40', while the south led into a corridor similar to the one Pahu had explored, right down to the leathery section (which was thankfully dried up like the entrance chamber).  It led to a rubble and water filled pit, above which arose the jungle canopy and sky. Awg took a quick swim but found nothing on interest in the murky water. So they all headed back to the entrance chamber and brainstormed to find a way past the screaming walls. 

First step was to negate the screaming. Rodrigo handed out bits of tallow from his favorite candle for everyone to plug their ears; except Pahu who opted for sticky tree sap crawling with fire ants. Rodrigo then decided to simply try running the gauntlet, but even though the screaming had no effect, the faces still bit and nipped him as he ran by. Rodrigo retreated, and Chaff then cast a leech blast to suck the sustenance from about half the floor. The party then advanced and simply shot the rest of it to death with pistol and longbow. 


That done, everyone removed the gunk from their ears and headed into the domed chamber. Awg,
The Book
Torak, Corvus and Chaff headed for the floor to gather the scattered treasure (which in addition to platinum coins and jewelry, included a magical trident and a potion), while Rodrigo and Pahu headed over to the lectern. The book, bound in some kind of leather and brass with thick vellum pages,  was huge and pretty much unmovable. The pair turned a few pages, but couldn't read any of the odd alphabet and language in which it was written. It seemed to be a long list of something, interspersed with short written passages. Unable to move the whole thing, they ripped out a few pages for latter study.  As all this was going on, the statues eye's continued to swivel about and watch them all go about their business. And the next order of business was the hatch in the floor. Dusting away the dust revealed a massive round iron door. There was no handle but there was a eye-bolt in the centre; presumably a block and tackle or similar could be hooked there to lift the lid. Because it was much too massive for mere muscle power to move. Not that the party was (too) tempted to do so; the general consensus was opening it would be a '
Very Bad Idea"TM. They did note writing around the edge, where the lid  met the floor. This writing was the same as that in the book, so Chaff copied it down as well for future reference.  


Though tempted to poke around the chamber a bit more, in the end the party decided they were best off taking their loot and calling it a successful day. The statues eyes followed them as they crossed the chamber, but the party emerged back to daylight without incident, and thence back to the "Purple Haze" to continue on their looting way. 

TOTAL XP
11290

GAINS
Jewelry: Ring-500 gp, Ring-20 gp, Earring-500 gp, Tiara-30 gp, Chain-300 gp, Bracelet-30 gp, Earring-20 gp, Sceptre-20 gp, Coffer-1600 gp, Arm band-1800 gp, Belt-500 gp, Comb-100 gp, Clasp-10 gp, Tiara-20 gp, Coffer-200 gp, Arm band-1100 gp, Coronet-400 gp, Pin-1100 gp, Earring-10 gp, Belt-1100 gp, Choker-10 gp, Seal-900 gp, Earring-200gp

400 pp
 Potion of ??? 
Trident ???

KILLS
1 Gibbering Wall Thing

LOSSES
none

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Far Isles Session #64 - One-Shot Pahu

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 4), with henchman Corvus (Fighter 2)
Chaff (Vivimancer 5), with familiar Pretty Bird and Riding Dog Puppy Whuppy
Awg Wahmn (Calmonari 4)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 5), with familiar Hermes and henchman Jaz (Elf 2)
Pahu-Mahu (Thief 3)

With several weeks to kill in Xin while Gorbo whipped up the toxin and anti-toxin, Lynessa whipped the "Purple Haze" and crew into shape, and the spell casters scribbled their new spells, the party took care of a little more business:
  • Awg did the rounds of a few cartographers, looking for maps. Maps of the Far Isles, the area around Xin, and treasure maps if possible. He found little new on the Far Isles; the only places just now starting to appear on the charts were those already well known to the party. Maps of the area around Xin were also largely non existent; it seems that the vivimantic magic infusing the swamp and bayou beyond the city causes the land and water courses to change constantly, making a permanent map nearly useless. He did pick of a map to an isle with "Golden Boats" on it, only 4 days good sail south-est of Xin. 
  • The party also headed to the Flesh Pits to hire a squad of musketeers to help protect the "Purple Haze", especially when the party was absent. The hired a half-dozen hirsute and silk-slashed landsknecht, lead by the gruff Sergeant Rutger, and somehow squeezed them about their crowded ship.
    Landsknecht Marines
  • Chaff led a delegation to visit the Temple of Brall and Munificent Submercer Oha, to try convincing the priest to commune with Brall on their behalf. After a rocky start where-in Chaff insulted the existence of the gods, the priest agree to do so. They asked three questions. Is there still lots of treasure [>5000gp] in the palace at Mandaro-Shanti? (YES). Does the giant god-snake encountered on the previous trip have more than 3 magic items in it's hoard? (NO). Does the giant god-snake have a substantial [>7000gp] treasure hoard (YES).
  • Thinking again about the mysterious shape-shifting Captain de Moncada, the party looked for rumors of any nobles who have been acting weird(er) than usual. They learned that the Margrave Uhlan of the 30 Chains did drop out of the party and spectacle circuit for a few weeks, then mysteriously reappeared. That was much out of character for the  attention-loving playboy.
  • Hoping to avoid further customs payments, the party had a new figurehead carved for the "Purple Haze"; a huge tentacled octopus, hollowed-out inside for use as a secret smuggling hold. 
  • Finally, they took most of their remaining gold (12000gp) and cut a deal with Awg's calmonari brethren. The aquatic craftsmen would use the jewels and gems from the mud Cthulhu cavern to make a magnificent work of art, and the party would split the profit made when it was resold. This would take some time, leaving completion of  this business for their next visit to Xin. 
Margrave Uhlan of the 30 Chains
After a busy visit to Xin, the "Purple Haze" finally proceeded down river and around the Rock of Vexation to the open sea. Lynessa had the crew turn the ship to the south-east and the second voyage to the Lost Jungle Isles was underway. The wind blew a mix of fair and calm, but otherwise the trip this time was uneventful. After seven days they were back where they'd started their exploration the first time; in a cluster of small islands, one of which was the Island of the God-Snake. Which was exactly where they'd decided to go first. Several sneaky options for approaching the lair of the god-snake were discussed, but in the end bull-headed brute force won the day. The party was rowed over to the island by the ship's crew, and with the burly Corvus in the lead, started to hack their way through the jungle to where they suspected the god-snake laired. It took hours of hard work to make any distance in the thick jungle, even with Pretty Bird flying ahead on point. Which was good, for the parrot was able to give them ample warning when it observed signs of something massive coming through the trees. The party spread out among the vines and ferns of the undergrowth, and prepared for battle. Rodrigo used his sword to summon a monkey army, while Kwinsea used the stole to bless the party, and then concealing mist to protect herself. Pahu and Jaz cracked open their paralytic poison to coat a few arrows/bolts. Whatever was approaching was getting closer and closer, shaking the trees as it worked it's way through the branches. Suddenly there appeared, just yards away from Corvus, a massive serpent's head. As it prepared to lunge  at the fighter, Jaz and Pahu loosed their missiles. The elf missed, but Pahu struck right between the eyes, and after a few moments of thrashing about, the huge god-snake became motionless, paralyzed. Stunned at their ease of victory, the party took a few moments to recover before turning on the immobile snake and ensuring it would stay permanently still.
Beehive Dome
That done, the party pushed on, following the snake's apparent path through the jungle. After another hour or so, they emerged into the first real clearing they'd seen on this particular island. The trees here were massive, and around the base it was obvious someone or something had cleared the undergrowth. Also in the clearing was a curious, beehive shaped pile of fitted stone, 20' across and about 10' high. There was no obvious entrance, except of a 1.5' square opening near the top of the dome. Now who was going to squeeze in there ....

TOTAL XP
2400

GAINS
none

KILLS
1 Giant God-Snake

LOSSES
none

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Far Isles Session #63 - That's Not A Ship!!!


DRAMATIS PERSONAE:

Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 4) with henchman Corvus (Fighter 3)
Chaff (Vivimancer 5), with familiar Pretty Bird, and riding dog Puppy Whuppy
Awg Wahmn (Calmonari 4)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 5), with familiar Hermes and henchman Jaz (Elf 2)

Dream Leviathan
On board the "Purple Haze", the party prepared for battle. Chaff and Kwinsea cast some spells to protect themselves and beef up the party in general. Corvus and Chit the crossbowman headed below to the stern cabin windows, so they could snip with their bows. Lynessa had the crew slack the sails and then take cover. Everyone then waited for the enemy ship to approach. It closed fairly rapidly; in fact, both Chaff and Rodrigo noticed the speed of the ship did not change with the change in it's point of sail. That was very odd, and the pair joked that maybe this was another one of those whale-tail ships, like the one they'd had the option to buy. After that brief chuckle, the two looked back at their pursuer once more, and now noted the upper decks and sails of the ship started to waver and fade. In a few moments, it was clear to the two that this was no ship! An illusion of some sort had faded away, showing instead a massive leviathan. It opened it's huge toothed maw and surged forward at the "Purple Haze". Chaff and Rodrigo raised the alarm, and now everyone could see the true form of their foe. Lynessa screamed at the crew, who scrambled for rope and sail to get the ship underway and tuned so she was running before the wind. The leviathan continued to slowly gain, so the party did everything they could to slow it down/beat it down. Arrows and bolts flew, Jaz tossed off a magic missile, and Kwinsea tried to reduce it to a smaller menace (no luck). Once it got close enough, Awg and Chaff got into the fray with their laser pistols. In desperation, they even had the sailors run the raft out behind the ship, with the potion of watery death on it, in the hopes the thing would swallow it and drown. It did swallow the raft and potion, but the magic seemed to have no effect. However, by this point it was started to get irritated and mildly injured by all the missile fire, so it broke of the pursuit, dove and swam away. 

Brain Squid Attack!!
With a sigh of relief, they sailed on. Next morning, islands were visible ahead. Lynessa identified these as the "Krakens Claws", a series of rocky islets off the coast of Langushur between Cha'nrk and Xin. She turned the "Purple Haze" north and informed the party they should be in Xin in a few more days. They did not get far, however, when Corvus called out from the bow that there was a body in the water ahead. Without waiting, he jumped overboard and, using his ring of water walking, strolled over to the floating, face down corpse. The body appeared to be that of an ordinary female sailor, dead quite a few days. The fighter hauled out his sword and proceeded to flip the body over. On the sailors face there clung some sort of crustacean/squid thing, which quick as lightning released itself from the corpse and jumped at Corvus. It struck his face, and proceeded to extend a series of tentacles and proboscis into his mouth and nose until they reached his brain. The thing then started sucking away grey matter. Meanwhile, Chaff was getting the crew to lower him and the ships boat into the water, and Kwinsea dove in to go help as well. Jaz, however, saved the day with a sleep spell that took out both the brain squid and Corvus. When Chaff and Kwinsea reached the prone, floating fighter, they easily slid the squid-thing off his face. Kwinsea claimed it for her own, and imprisoned it into an empty water barrel; she intended to use it to pay her 'live octopus' debt to the aquamancer in Xin. Corvus they hauled back to the ship, and Torak performed the last rites of the Drowned God on the dead sailor before sending her to the deeps. 

The next two days were completely uneventful, until Lynessa brought the "Purple Haze" around the Rock of Vexation and into the stream of the Lorogano River below Xin. As they approached the Tower of the Malphegian Inferno and the raised harbor chain, a small boat  full of the Purple and a customs officer approached and hailed them. After answering some questions, the party allowed the officer aboard to inspect the ship and confirm the story told by Chaff; that they were unsuccessful explorers with little to show for their hardships in the Far Isles. Thankfully most of the treasure they did have was small and easily hidden, so they managed to convince the customs officer they had just a small amount of coin. He let them through after a paltry 4% tax on that small pile of coin, plus a 2% 'donation' to the customs guild. 

Having gotten past the taxman, Lynessa brought the "Purple Haze" into the Fogbound Quays and tied up at one of the jetty's. And then the crew took their back-pay and headed for the taverns, leaving their captain and employers alone on the deck. Leaving Lynessa in charge of repairing and resupplying the "Purple Haze", the rest of the party fanned out across the city in pursuit of their own goals. The party's activities in the City of Visions included:
  • Awg tried to convince Chit to stay on as his loyal retainer. But the corssbowman had had enough adventure, and wasn't too keen on following a fish-man, so he took his gold and walked away;
  • A delegation visited Munificent Submerser Oha at the Temple of Brall, and Brother Keera at the Temple of the Three Virtues, buying up healing potions (5 in total); 
  • To beef up the ships locker, Rodrigo and Corvus went to buy enough powder, shot and muskets to arm a mercenary company. Which attracted the attention of a patrol of the Purple, who left without incident once they were convinced the two weren't smart enough to stage an armed insurrection. Afterwords, they went looking for their old nemesis Sergent Lunt, but could not find him anywhere; 
  • Kwinsea visited her old geezer aquamancer friend and gave him the brain squid in final payment for the spell he'd taught her. She also was able to get him to teach her "Spider Climb", but only after she'd gathered one of every species of barnacle in the area of Xin (all 27). She then locked herself in her cabin and started transcribing spells into her spell book. In this she was joined by the loyal Jaz, who did the same;
  • Chaff went to visit the old alchemist Gorbo, to get him to whip up some venom antitoxin for everyone. He also gave him some of the now dried up paralytic poison, which the old coot could use to whip them up a fresh batch;  and
  • With all the hard work down, Corvus decided to try his luck in the wrestling pits again. With
    Tog & Corvus
    Rodrigo in tow, he found a likely place and plunked down 2000gp in front of the pit bookies. They agreed to his wager but only offered 1.5:1 ods, and insisted that they chose the opponent. Corvus, a little short on grey mater, agreed. After waiting around for awhile, Corvus met his foe. At almost 8' tall, hairy, and arms almost to his knees, Tog looked to be at least half ogre. And he made short work of Corvus, twisting the fighters arms somewhere up behind his head before rubbing his face in the mud. Which left Corvus humiliated and broke.




TOTAL XP
13

GAINS
none

KILLS
none

LOSSES
Some of Corvus' grey matter, most of his gold, and all of his dignity.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Far Isles Session #62 - Going Home

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 4)
Chaff (Vivimancer 5), with familiar Pretty Bird
Awg Wahmn (Calmonari 4)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 5), with familiar Hermes and henchman Jaz (Elf 2)
Pahu-Mahu (Thief 3)

Back at the village, the party settled in for a much needed sleep before making further plans. First order of business in the morning was to check a few recovered items for magical properties. Chaff used Kalandrian Sight to determine the Shark Tooth Spear was a combination of enchantment/alteration magic, while the Stole of the Sacred  was, as expected, alteration magic. A quick scan of the bagged kopru idol proved that it was an object of enchantment/charming. Which immediately made everyone think; what the heck should they do with such an obviously cursed yet monetarily valuable item? They decided to bring it to the attention of Fano the Talking Chief and Umlat the witch doctor. Maybe the locals could help them decide. Fano, of course, led them to the 'real' Chief. Both he and Umlat prostrated themselves before the statuette and asked for it's guidance [Incidentally, Chaff's Kalandrian Sight was still active, and revealed that the statuette was in no way magical]. The the two stood up again, and Fano loudly proclaimed that the Chief had ordered the party and the kopru idol banished at once; they had brought bad taboo onto the village!! There was some inclination to argue, but in the end the party decided to simply leave, paddling back to the temple to rest for the night.

Once settled, the party now had to decide what to do with Abdul el Abdul. Given the length of time since his demise, and the sheer difficulty of getting his festering body out of the volcanic cone, the party reluctantly made the decision to say their last goodbyes.  Abdul el Abdul was sent off to his final rest on a burning pyre, accompanied by his treasured crystal grappling hook. The rest of his stuff the party confiscated. Next order of business was the idol. In memory of Abdul, Awg took up the Terminaxe and used the magical weapon to smash the cursed kopru to a pile of shattered coral and mangled gold. 

After an uneventful night, Chaff summoned the ebony fly and the party proceeded with the airlift out of the crater and back onto the high plateau. By mid afternoon, they'd all made it back to their base camp. There, they found a single crossbowman and Puppy Whuppy. Chit reported that his two companions had fallen in combat to dire wolves while out foraging; he himself survived by slaying one of the beasts and driving the rest off. And then made dire wolf jerky, which was good since the party had not been able to restock on supplies before the villagers kicked then out. Taking up the load of food, the party started the journey back to the "Purple Haze" and the "Loreman's Passage".  That journey was uneventful, the only real encounter happening the next morning when a column of zombies marched off the mountainside, bypassed and completely ignored the party camp, before tumbling over the side of the gorge into the raging river below.  Definitely weird, but that seemed to be the norm on this island. 

Mutiny!
The party picked up their raft along the way to make it a quicker/easier journey back to the ship. As they entered the swampy delta where the river met the sea, the sound of a gunshot was heard from far ahead. From out at sea in fact, and immediately all were concerned there was a problem on their ships. As the rest of the party poled the raft at high speed, Chaff sent Pretty Bird on ahead to see what was going on. Upon it's return, the vivimancer's familiar reported there was just one ship at anchor, and there was some kind of commotion among the humans on deck. By this point the raft had emerged from the swamps, and Awg and Kwinsea dove in to swim to the ship and investigate. It was the "Purple Haze", and the two climbed up the stern to the deck. There, they found Lynessa facing down an agitated crew over a pair of loaded pistols, with one bleeding body already on the deck. As Chaff appeared overhead on the fly, the two tried talking with the crew to see what was wrong. A spokesman was shoved forward, and he told a tale of woes; food rotten and running out, everyone bored and baking under the tropical sun, tired of being at sea for two months, afraid the party was dead and they'd all die in this hellhole too, etc etc etc. The trio also learned that the "Loreman's Passage" crew had mutinied some days before, killed their newly appointed captain, and sailed off. That seems to have given the crew of the "Purple Haze" the idea to do the same. The calmonari, vivimancer and aquamancer reasoned with the surly crew, showing them the treasures they'd recovered, and promising them a bonus if they returned to their duties. Awg also went out to charm a tuna to serve at a feast for the crew.  The party then informed the crew that the "Purple Haze" would soon head back to Xin, making a brief stop back at the native village of Tanaroa to resupply and rest for a few days.

The and crew turned to go about the business of preparing the ship for sea, and the "Purple Haze" was soon underway, heading south. As the end of day approached, the ship passed through a channel between an offshore island and the main Isle of Dread. Rodrigo, standing watch on the forecastle, spied something large and tentacled in the water ahead. The party rushed on deck in response to his cries, and Jaz loosed a magic missile into the monsters flesh. That forced it to dive, leaving everyone unsure of what to do next. That indecision was solved when the beast (now obviously a giant squid), appeared below the ship and proceeded to climb partway up the stern and use it's tentacles and beck to hack at the ship. Jaz cast another magic missile and Chaff tried to calm it's attack with a polyvorousness spell (no luck). Rodrigo and Pahu Mahu slashed at the beast, but that proved difficult as it was some distance below the level of the deck.  As the vicious beast continued to rip at the woodwork, Chaff, Kwinsea and Rodrigo ran below to attack it through the stern windows. Pahu Mahu, gripping his mighty Shark Tooth Spear, jumped off the stern and drove the spear tip into the squids head. Awg choose an easier route, using his sword to levitate close to the beast and then blast it with a laser pistol. The squid's body exploded in a gout of ink and gore, and it's remains slid down into the sea.
Squid Attack

Thinking the monsters lair must be nearby, half the party prepared to dive below and investigate. Awg and Kwinsea had no trouble in the water, and the impetuous Pahu Mahu dove in after them. At which point he (and everyone else) was surprised to find he'd turned into an albino mako shark. Sensing an opportunity, Rodrigo quaffed a potion of water breathing, and climbed on top of the shark to accompany the search in style. The four swam down, and Kwinsea used her speak with aquatic animals to get directions to the giant squids lair, in an old lava tube nearby. There, the party searched through a garbage dump of old planks, sails, and rusty iron, finding just a single potion bottle for their troubles. 

When the four climbed back on board, the "Purple Haze" continued on it's way, reaching the village of Tanaroa the next day. There they bartered for supplies, allowed the crew a few days to rest ashore, and learned that this place was just as full of zombies as the rest of the island. Soon, however, the "Purple Haze" was ready and they set sail for home. The Jungle Isles were left behind, and the ship passed into cooler waters. They encountered no storms and, with a fair south wind, made good time over the next few days. The easy travel continued under clear skies until the fifth day, when the dawn came grey, rainy and foggy.  Which meant when Rodrigo spied a ship on their larboard side, the vessel was already quite close. The two masted ship flew no colours, and as soon as she spied the "Purple Haze", changed course to pursue. Chaff sent Pretty Bird aloft, and through the fog and drizzle the bird spied it's decks packed with armed men. It looked like there was another fight at hand ...

TOTAL XP
1070

GAINS
Potion of Heroism

KILLS
1 Giant Squid

LOSSES
A few crewmen

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Far Isles Session #61 - Saved by the Saves

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 4)
Chaff (Vivimancer 5), with familiar Pretty Bird
Awg Wahmn (Calmonari 4)
Torak (Cleric 5)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 5), with familiar Hermes and henchman Jaz (Elf 2)
Pahu-Mahu (Thief 3) 

The party spent the rest of the day and night resting and recovering in the village. There was a lengthy discussion regarding what to do next. Cut their loses and take their fallen and wounded out of the crater and back to the ship; or brave the kopru and make one last push into the mud caverns to look for more loot. While the ripe smell of rotting Abdul pushed the party initially towards 'option a', they decided in the end to finish their exploration of the mud-pits. That way Abdul el Abdul's sacrifice would not be in vain. Or something like that. 

The party pushed off in their dugout canoes the next morning, joined by one of the only non-geriatric tribe members; Pahu-Mahu. They crossed the lake and passed through the upper temple without event, finding themselves once more on the wide mineral terrace overlooking the hellish cavern. Worried about losing someone to the charms of the kopru, they party roped together like mountaineers before proceeding further. Based on Pretty Bird's previous scouting mission, they headed around the first mud-pit to another series of mineral terraces along the south wall. Being extra cautious, Rodrigo started to hammer spikes into the mineral crust for tie-offs. The party quickly stopped that practice when the crust cracked beneath their feet, threatening them with a dunking in the boiling mud.   The instead opted to run s quickly as possible past the mud pits and up onto the terrace.  Just as they paused to start climbing, however, Torak felt the tell-tale tug at his brain, which told the party the kopru was about. They turned at bay, searching the adjacent mud pit for their enemy. Of it they could see no sign, so everyone climbed up and proceeded to their destination. 

Mineral Spring
These terraces were quite extensive,  and at the highest point a column of steam was seen rising into he air. Approaching closer, the source proved to be a bubbling pool of milky mineral-ly water. Too opaque to see through,  Pahu-Mahu and Jaz  poked into the depths with pole-arms. They found it was just over 10' deep, but there seemed to be another exit to one side at the bottom. No one could think of a good way to explore further without getting scalded, so the party returned to the floor of the cavern to make a run for their next objective; another terrace on the west wall. Once more, just as they were making the last turn before climbing the headwall, the mind- probing of the kopru returned. This time Kwinsea was the target, but the aquamancer held off the mental assault. Scanning the mud-pits again, this time a bulbous head was seen bobbing at the surface about 20' away. The party unleashed a barrage of spells, with a bonewarp from Chaff, magic missiles from Jaz, reduce thanks to Kwinsea, and a spiritual weapon called down from Brall by Torak. The creature shrugged off most of the prestidigitation, and also avoided arows from Pahu-Mahu. Rodrigo meanwhile was backing slowly away from his precarious position at the edge of the mud, and Awg used his sword to levitate above the fray. From there, he opened up with a laser pistol, while Chaff did the same from his lower elevation. Awg hit the kopru with a mighty blast, sending glowing, melted flesh all around. Kwinsea had attached a rope to the thing, and with Rodrigo's help started to haul it closer. It, meanwhile, sent out mental feelers once more, this time targeting Chaff. The vivmancers intellect matching is stature, he could not stop the intrusion, and now felt the need to help the kopru regain their domination over humanity. First step was to save it from the little vivimancer's companions, so Chaff cut his safety rope and started over behind the bulk of the party. He was just about to web the lot of them, and dump them in the boiling mud, when Awg blasted the kopru one more time with laser fire. The creatures head exploded in a spray of blue/green ichor, allowing Rodrigo and Kwinsea to pull the now limp body out of the mud. They examined it from headless head to triple flukes, then cut off a piece to take with them to see if it would regenerate. 

Crystallized Skull
Feeling cocky now, the party moved on to the small terrace they'd been approaching. This was quite narrow, so not all the party could reach the top at the same time. There they encountered another wall of flowstone, which was covering another stone bench. On this one lay a prone, skeletal figure, but  no obvious signs of treasure.Which didn't stop anyone from chipping away at it, and after about a half hour the skull was uncovered. This was no ordinary skull, for it had crystallized into amethyst under the influence of the minerals. The party continued to chip away at the body to see if it was the same, but instead were surprised to find the remains rising up from the bench. It consisted of a long snake-like, skeletal spine, atop which perched the skull.   Kwinsea, standing closest to it, immediately cast a rope trick to tie the creature jaw shut. Jaz tired to stab at it, but her seemingly solid blow glanced off with no effect. The creature now started to sway in a hypnotic dance, weaving back and forth. Awg and Kwinsea both fell into a hypnotic stupor as they watched, while the rest of the party once more unleashed spells and stabbing. Jaz used one of Abdul's magical bolts as a crude dagger and hit, while Rodrigo sliced and diced with his twin swords. Chaff, feeling vulnerable, cast a vitality surge to beef himself up, and Torak chanted a blessing from the drowned god. In the end, it took just one more blow from Rodrigo to fell the creature, which had all this time been trying to speak or scream through tightly bound jaws. Unfortunately, the battle had done severe damage to the crystal skull, which Pahu-Mahu appraised as now being worth just 2200gp rather than the original 7000gp.


The Last Skeleton
After a quick scan for more loot, the party prepared to move out again. Once more they argued over cutting their losses and leaving, vs checking out that one last and vast terrace to the north. In the end, greed overcame caution, and they formed up in marching order once more. They probed a few dead end paths between the pits. Including one where Rodrigo, walking point, broke through the crust and fell into the boiling mud below. Reacting swiftly, the swashbuckler flicked his whip overhead, which Jaz grabbed so the party could haul his blistered body out of the mud. They pushed on carefully now, approaching the great terrace. As they did, they once more observed a kopru observing them from the adjacent mud-pit. With another flurry of spells and lasers, the party retreated behind the cover of a fog cloud from Kwinsea to a nearby rise to face off against the beast. Torak once more blessed the party, and Awg blasted away with his laser pistol, finally burning out the weapons' power-pack. As the kopru emerged from the fog cloud, Pahu-Mahu felt it try to take over his mind, but the native son was able to resist. It's mental attacked having failed, the kopru leapt out of the mud to attack with it's suckered mouth and talon-ed flukes. This proved fatal, as it was cut down by the weapons of the party in relatively short order. Having already determined it wouldn't regenerate, the party left the body and pressed on.  

Climbing the high, broad terraces, they came once more to a familiar flowstone column, hiding skeletal remains. This once was not as thickly covered as the previous two, and a shroud of jewels was obvious. Held in one hand was a spear, the point being a massive shark tooth bound to the shaft by gold wire. Pahu-Mahu quickly chipped this out and claimed it, while the rest of the party chipped away the rest of the skeleton so they could loot the gems.  Nothing arose to attack, and after some time the party's sacks were bulging with treasure. And at that, the decision was made to head back to the surface and the village. The sulfurous cavern was traversed with no problem, and there were no delays in the temple or on the lake. The party, probably for the last time, hauled their canoes up on the beach and headed into the village.

TOTAL XP
12710

GAINS
1 somewhat battered crystal & amethyst skull (2200gp)
More gem and jewelry grave goods (7600gp)
Shark Tooth Spear

KILLS
2 Kopru AKA Mud Cthulhu
1 Crystal-skull necrophidius thing

LOSSES
None

Monday, April 17, 2017

Far Isles Session #60 - Down Among the Mudpits

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 4)
Chaff (Vivimancer 5), with familiar Pretty Bird
Awg Wahmn (Calmonari 4)
Torak (Cleric 4)

Opening the trap door uncovered a shaft leading down 30-40' into a chamber below. The floor was damp but not flooded, and shapes could be seen clustered around the edges of the room. Torak cast a light spell on one of his copper coins and dropped it down the shaft, to better light their destination before anyone crawled down. The shapes proved to be statues, carved out of a sickly green stone shot through with red. None of them seemed to be moving, so Awg volunteered to be lowered into the hole. Spike driven in and rope attached, the calmonari descended. Once below, he/she noted a closed portcullis to the north, and little else beyond the statutes. These ran the gamut from classical nudes to horrific monsters. Given the all clear, the rest of the party descended, and Chaff tried poking around the statues, nudging one with a cantrip to see if it would topple over. He found nothing, so the party decided to head on. It took all four to lift the portcullis, and after hammering in a spike to hold it up, they carefully moved down the straight hallway beyond. About a third of the way down they encountered three crudely dug holes on the right, all about 5' above the floor. Torak looked closely, and noticed signs of old water staining running down the wall below them. It seems that water had flowed through these holes sometimes in the past.

The holes were too small for anyone but Chaff to crawl through, so the party pushed on. After another 20-30', they encountered faint whips of mist. Pushing on further, they discovered the source: a 7' diameter hole in the floor, from which rose a steady stream of steam. On the other side was a closed door. The party dropped a coin in the hole and were rewarded with a splash, which indicated there was water or some other liquid about 50-60' below. Not enamored with the idea of jumping into a pit of boiling water, the party focused on the door instead. Torak listened first, then opened the swollen wooden door, revealing a north-south corridor. To the north descended a set of stairs. To the south was another lowered portcullis, beyond which was another door.  The four lifted and spiked this gate as well, then went to examine the door. This was a stone door, which opened towards them. Remembering the flood of water behind the last stone door they'd opened, the party elected to ignore it for now and descend the stairs instead.

Mud Pits
Said stairs began in a worked corridor, but soon entered a natural passage, before dumping the party on a slick mineral terrace. The air was hot and steamy with a foul sulfur-ish taint. Beyond the terrace they could see a series of mudpots bubbling and bursting, as well as the occasional gas flare and steam burst. Stalactites and stalagmites abounded, growing together into columns in some places. The party moved forward carefully to examine the edge of the terrace, poor Torak unfortunately getting splashed with a burst of hot mud in the process.  They found another narrow terrace leading along the edge of the cavern to the right, about 6-8' below the level of their own terrace.  Spikes were hammered and everyone climbed down and edged along the cavern wall. After dropping down another level, the terrace ended and the party had to continue along a mineral crust path between two bubbling mudpots. And Torak was splashed by another scalding mud burst.  Still hugging the cavern wall, they came to a series of steep terraces, at the top of which was a massive stalactite pillar. Climbing up, everyone clustered around the mineral wonder. Staring intently, Rodrigo noted what appeared to be a human-ish form inside the pillar. Chaff, meanwhile, squeezed into the space between  the pillar and the wall (there being just enough room for the diminutive spell-slinger). From that vantage point he cold see the shape more clearly; it looked to be a human skeleton sitting on a stone bench, but covered in a series of bright colored blotches. Hammers were hauled out, and everyone started chipping away at the pillar. After about a half hour, they broke through to find the colors were actually gems and jewels covering the entire skeleton. More chipping ensued until it was completely uncovered, and the party was rewarded with a couple sacks of gems and jewels as they stripped the remains of it's glittery shroud.

Mineral Crust
The party gazed across the cavern from their high vantage point; it was quite large and they could not see the far side. There was some discussion about the need to press on and find more loot (championed by Chaff) vs pressing their luck while understaffed and on the edge of the unknown (advanced by Awg). In the end they decided to push on just a little further, and the party dropped down onto the mineral crust and moved cautiously deeper into the cavern. They did not get far when Rodrigo caught a glimpse of something in the mudpit over his left shoulder. A living example of the cthulhic visage they'd seen on the cursed statue; round bulbous head, large opaque eyes and a splintered/tentacled mouth. It gazed at Rodrigo, who felt an incessant mental tug at his brain. The swashbuckler forced the mental probe away, however, and shouted a warning to the rest of the party.  Fearful of facing 'the god', everyone turned and ran, the creature paralleling their flight by swimming rapidly through the hot mud. It caught them when the party had to pause at the terrace wall. It grabbed the edge of the mudpit with with webbed hands, and hurled itself at Torak, who was at that moment in the midst of bestowing the blessing of Brall on the party. The creature latched onto the cleric's cheek with it's sphinctered mouth, sucking his blood through rupturing skin. It also tried lashing around Torak with it's three claw-tipped flukes, but the cleric dodged the blow. Meanwhile, Chaff summoned a swarm of crawling insects, vomiting the bugs onto the creature; Rodrigo lashed out and struck with with twin blades, and Awg levitated above the fray. The creature, now bleeding from the sword wounds and distracted by the nipping insects, turned and slipped back into the mud, disappearing from sight. The party took advantage of the reprieve to flee back to the mineral terrace and stairs.

The Kopru
Once more or less safe, the argument about what to do next ensued once more; push on into the caverns or head back upstairs to see what was behind the stone door. In the end, Chaff was overruled and the four headed back up the stairs. But not before the vivimancer sent Pretty Bird on a scouting flight through the cavern to get an idea of the overall layout and extent for when they did return in full strength. Back upstairs, Awg checked it for traps and everyone then tied off to the raised portcullis, expecting a massive flood of water when the door was opened. Which is what did indeed happen. Once the flood of water has finished tumbling down the stairs, the party moved into the now just damp room. Apart from the door on the opposite wall, the room was empty. However, as the party moved towards this new door, Awg hit a near invisible trip wire in the centre of the room. A stone slide aside the the ceiling over the first door, and a spray of oil came down. Where it hit damp pools of water on the floor, the oil burst into a bluish, heavy smoking flame. The open door to the north allowed the smoke to escape, so Torak took him time looking for traps before opening the south door. It led into a long corridor which showed signs of having been 5; deep in water just minutes before. It ended, after a sharp turn, in a blank wall. Halfway down there were again a series of crudely dug hole, this time on both sides of the corridor. Torak took a light and looped back around the the first corridor, and the party could see light shining through the holes in the second corridor. Now they knew the two were linked through the dug passages. As for the other all, there was no way to check it out except to have Chaff crawl in for a look. In wormed the little vivimancer, who found a series of tunnels which converged on a larger chamber. When he stuck his head in there, Chaff was greeted by the chitter of rats. About a dozen giant ones to be exact. He wiggled back a bit and, to keep the rats  bay, webbed the tunnel exit from the room. He then wiggled the rest of the way back to the rest of the party, and after a short discussion of next steps, they headed back to the surface and their canoes to head back to the native village.  

TOTAL XP
9300

GAINS
A gem and jeweled skeletal shroud collection (9300gp)

KILLS
none

LOSSES
none

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Far Isles Session # 59 - Back and There Again

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 4), with henchman Corvus (Fighter 2)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 5), with familiar Hermes and henchman Jaz (Elf 1)
Chaff (Vivimancer 5), with familiar Pretty Bird
Awg Wahmn (Calmonari 3)
Torak (Cleric 4)

The party took a few moments to mourn for the brave Abdul el Abdul. Which proved to be just enough time for Awg to strip him of his magnificent magical armor and the rest of the party to loot him of the rest of his valuables. For safe keeping and all. At about the same moment, the sound of splashing came from behind, and the party turned to see Torak wading towards them. The cleric had been wandering the dinosaur-infested wilderness for the last two weeks trying to catch up with the party. His presence was now much welcomed, as he brought forgotten healing potions and his arsenal of divine magic to help them continue their exploration of the flooded temple.

The next step in that exploration was to wade through the piranha chum and examine the door at the end of the passage. Unlike the doors encountered thus far, this one was not wood, but stone. Closer examination showed that it was sealed around the edge with some sort of a tarry or rubbery gasket. That caused then party to pause, and everyone but the two swimmers (Awg and Kwinsea) and the water walking Corvus retreated to the raised platform. The non-aquatics safe, the trio in the water forced the door open. Once the seal was broken, the door opened in a rush of water, knocking the three in the water about and smashing them up against the walls of the room beyond. Which proved to be plain and unadorned, except for some stone benches around the perimeter of the room and a stone alter sitting in the centre. All of which were now at least partly submerged below 2' of water. The rest of the party now waded in and everyone started to explore. Kwinsea dove underwater to examine the alter, which was covered in the alien patterns they'd seen on the stone box upstairs. Thinking there was a connection with the idol, Awg and Rodrigo placed the cthulhic thing on the alter, taking care to keep it covered up. With a mix of relief and disappointment, nothing happened.

Putting the idol away, Awg swam around under the water. He found, floating in the water, a long heavy cotton scarf, embroidered in crimson and purple, covered in weird symbols or language. When Chaff examined it, he discovered that interwoven within the cotton was a fine platinum mesh. Torak cast detect magic; when the cloth glowed, showing it's enchanted nature, Kwinsea cast read magic and learned that if she (or another arcane spell caster) were to wear the item, it would allow her to cast divine spells in place of arcane spells already memorized. With a slight chance of insanity.

Sizing up their map, the party could see no other way to go on this level except to face the sharks once more. The party formed up and headed back that way, with Crovus handing the ring of water walking to Chaff to allow the under-tall vivimancer to keep his head above the water, and therefore freeing up the door-raft for Abdul's body. Once at the entrance to the shark room, the party redeployed. Abdul el Abdul was shifted off the door and supported by Kwinsea in the back rank, so Corvus could use it as a mantlet to block some of the shark's attacks. Behind him stood Jaz and Rodrigo, armed with trident and spear. In position, they threw the room door open, and tossed in a few handfuls of piranha chum to attack/distract the sharks. This worked well, and Jaz and Rodrigo stabbed away the the inattentive fishes. But getting stabbed got their attention, and the two sharks started to attack Corvus over the top of his door-shield. Rodrigo managed to stab one with a paralytic-poison smeared spear, causing it to go stiff and drift away. It's place was taken by a fresh attacker however, and the two remaining sharks chomped hard on Corvus and felled the fighter. Awg reached forward to haul him out of danger, staunching his wounds and keeping him from drowning. Chaff cast a polyvorousness spell to turn one shark from it's carnivorous ways, but was unsuccessful. Torak flailed out with a spiritual hammer, while Jaz and Rodrigo now sliced away with swords since they were in the front rank. The sharks soon joined the piranhas as chum, Chaff water walking over to the paralyzed shark and ending it's existence after the two still attacking were taken down.

With the fin and fanged menace out of the way, Awg now dove into the room and looked around. It was quite large, with a 20' wide collapsed corridor leading off to the east. There was also a dais in the north-west corner, atop which  sat an oyster larger than even the calmonari had ever seen. Four feet high and six feet across, it's open shell revealed a fist sized black pearl sitting inside. Knowing that sticking his/her arm in the grab the treasure would not likely end well, Awg tried to use aquatic telepathy to speak to the oyster. Alas, it was much too dim to provide meaningful conversation, so the calmonari instead jammed the Terminaxe in the open shell to ensure it stayed open, then pocketed the pearl. The oyster strained it's muscles trying to close, but it could not due to the magical strength of the axe. After some time it relaxed enough for Awg to haul the axe out using the rope attached for just that purpose.

With two fallen comrades no other obvious way to go, the party decided to retreat back to the village to rest and recover. Retracing their steps, Rodrigo borrowed the ring of invisibility from Torak and scouted ahead into the great hall, to make sure there wasn't an ambush waiting for them. There was no sign that anyone had been back, so the rest of the party passed through, climbed ropes up through the smoke hole, and climbed into the dugout canoes to make their way back to the village. Along the way, they decided to have Torak stay invisible with the cursed statue, just in case, a) his sudden appearance or b) the appearance of the statue, caused some kind of stir among the natives. The party landed at the village with no problem, and they were greeted respectfully by Fano and Umlat. The party also noted none of the renegade tribesmen were around (they thought having removed the statue from the temple, whatever curse they were under may have been lifted). That was the chief and witch-doctor's first question; had the renegade tribe been eliminated? The party answered in the affirmative, and then started asking questions of their own. Could Umlat raise Abdul? (No). Kwinsea wanted to see any books they might have (what's a book?). Is the island still taboo? (Yes) Any response when the party described the figure depicted by the cursed statue (none).

They didn't learn much, but the party did get a good nights rest and healing before loading up the canoes and heading back to temple to explore further, leaving Abdul's remains and the recovering Corvus in the village. Back in the main hall, they noted it was still deserted and showed no sign of anyone having been here since they'd left. Now that they had the time and freedom to do so, the party fanned out to search the room for secret doors, looking for ways into the two dusty rooms they'd spied before. It took some time, but hidden entrances were found to both chambers. Torak led the way into the first room, the one which overlooked the landing. He found a dust and cobweb covered room, with three stone levers on the south wall and a small alcove to the west, where one would stand to look through the spy holes. After setting the levers to the middle position with no adverse effect, the cleric then stepped in the alcove. There he disturbed the dust, and something else growing below it, causing him to cough and hack, slowing suffocating to death. Kwinsea rushed in wearing her new stole, and cast cure disease to clear his lungs and keep him alive.

Leaving the first hidden room, the party now converged on the second.  This room was larger, with a layer of sand under the layer of dust. Sweeping the sand aside, Jaz uncovered a trap door in the floor. The party ignored this for now, focusing instead on the alcove with the spy holes. In this one there was a large wooden piston and handle. No one really wanted to step in there and mess with it, nor hang out in the great hall below when it was messed with. So they attached a rope to the piston handle, and everyone climbed up the smoke hole to the surface. From there, the rope was pulled, and a cloud of fine powder shot out of an opening in the carved face, settling over the room below. When nothing else happened, the party descended once more and made for the trap door ....

TOTAL XP
3405

GAINS
1 black, fist sized pearl (3000gp)
Stole of the Sacred

KILLS
3 Albino Mako Cave Sharks

LOSSES
Corvus (temporarily)

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Far Isles Session #58 - Death Among the Fishes

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 4), with henchman Corvus (Fighter 2)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 5), with familiar Hermes and henchman Jaz (Elf 1)
Chaff (Vivimancer 5), with familiar Pretty Bird
Abdul el Abdul (Fighter 5)
Awg Wahmn (Calmonari 3)

Once inside the room with their paralyzed comrades, (plus the bodies of the slain chief and witch-doctor), Jaz, Rodrigo and Abdul el Abdul spiked the door shut to better keep out unwanted visitors. And while waiting for the paralysis to pass, they gave the room a good going over. There was no furniture, just piles of mangy sleeping furs on the floor. Scattered about a fire pit were also numerous bowls and gourds, while on the walls was a wooded rack full of skulls, some newer furs, and dangling charms of bone. Jaz rooted around in the furs and then checked out the skulls, finding a handful of gems hidden inside one of the decorative craniums. Abdul el Abdul searched the two bodies, and was disappointed to find nothing of interest. The trio then looked about for another exit. The smoky and soot-stained room suggested there wasn't even  smoke hole of any consequence, and a search for secret doors confirmed the only way they were getting out was the same way they came in.

And speaking of the door, there was now noticeable activity outside. Feet moving past, sounds of low voices and some other uncertain activity. They soon found out what was going on: the sound of flames crackling and smoke creeping under the door told them someone was trying to smoke them out. The three wet some of the furs and stuffed them under the door to block the smoke, while Abdul el Abdul smashed some skulls to make bone caltrops to spread in front of the entrance just in case. The room was soon filling rapidly with smoke, and there was only a foot or two of fresh air left at floor level when the paralyzed party members finally stirred. With everyone back in fighting form, fighting is the form they chose. Abdul el Abdul hammered the spikes out of the door, and threw it wide open. Outside on the balcony they could faintly see human forms through the haze, fanning the flames and driving the smoke into the room. Abdul el Abdul stabbed blindly into the smoke, and cut down one of the forms, while Corvus shot and paralyzed another with a poisoned arrow. Finally, Kwinsea fired off another fear blast, and the rest of their foes starting running for the exit.

The party let them go, deciding to focus on what they could find deeper in the temple instead of tangling once more with the blasted natives. After quickly breezing through the three rooms off the north balcony (all of which were similar to the chiefs room in terms of contents), the party them formed up and marched into the tunnel below the great carved face. They did not get far before running into a crudely built wall of stone, which had a great stone slab laid upright against it. With some rope, grappling hooks and muscle power, Abdul el Abdul and Corvus hauled it down with a BANG! It was covering a crude opening, through which the party now passed. As the corridor twisted back and forth, they examined the floor, noting signs in the dust ages of the recent passage of human feet. In particular, Corvus noted at one point that the footprints moved to the side of the corridor, avoid the centre altogether. The party wisely decided to do the same, assuming there was some foul trap waiting in the middle. They came to an old wooden door. They first listened, then Awg searched it for traps. The calmonari noted nothing, so Abdul el Abdul added another door to his 'battered down' list, and the party moved on in.

In the centre of this room stood a 4' tall pedestal, on top of which sat a stone box with two hinged doors. The box itself was nondescript, except it was carved with some sort of alien or inhuman abstract geometric patterns. On the floor next to it was a scatting of sticks made of human femurs, a trio of gem inlaid bowls and bits of other old debris. Another door stood on the far wall. Chaff scooped up the bowls (and a few of the bones) as he looked around the floor. The little vivimancer observed that the dust was very disturbed in front of the pedestal, but barely so in front of the other door. A check beyond that door revealed a collapsed corridor; which, after a short time shifting rubble, the party decided to ignore. So it was back to the box on the pedestal. Based on the tales told by Oltau and other hints in the room, the party figured the mind-controlling god-statue was hidden inside the box. Realizing that looking at the statue would be bad news, the party hatched a plan. They all stood behind the pillar, on the opposite side from the box' doors.  Kwinsea held up her mirror so they could see, and Abdul el Abdul opened up the box. Inside was a small statue of gold and coral, depicting a humanoid with a smooth head, large eyes, a tentacled sphinctered mouth, and a body that ended in three long tentacles with flukes. Abdul poked it with a gantlet-ed hand, and the statue wobbled a bit. Well, at least it wasn't nailed down. So Awg hauled out a sack, held it below the statue, which Abdul then proceeded to topple into the bag before wrapping it tightly and placing it in his backpack.

With no where else obvious to go, they party backtracked to the stone slab. There, curious about the 'trap' in the hallway, they grabbed a few heavy stones and tossed them at the floor. After a few hits the floor gave way with a crash, quickly followed by a splash. Looking down into the resulting hole in the floor, the party could see water below. This looked like a job for aquatic Awg and his levitating sword. Tied off with a rope just in case, Awg floated down into the hole, finding him/herself in a water filled room. Looking up, he could see that some rotted beams had given causing the ceiling/floor to collapse. The calmonari poked around the room  a bit, noting that the water was about 4' deep and that a small school of albino fish swarm about below. Awg used the calmonari charm on them, but learned little other than the fish were hungry. A passage led north, and Awg headed that way to explore, passing a half dozen small cells with rusty bars before coming to an east-west corridor. With no obvious danger, Awg called for the rest of the party to climb down the rope, and they were soon all chest deep in water (except Chaff, who floated along on a door Corvus had been using as a mantlet.)

The party now decided to split up, with Abdul el Abdul and Awg Wahman headeing left down the corridor, and the rest checking out a door at the east end of the corridor. Corvus forced the door, which opened into a huge water filled chamber. Probing forward, he noticed the water got much deeper, so Kwinsea volunteered to go for a swim and check it out. She discovered that the water was about 15' deep, but had little chance to search more as she was surprised by the appearance of three albino sharks. Two clamped down great bites on the aquamancer before she was hauled out of the water by Corvus, who then slammed the door shut to keep their attackers barred in the room.

Meanwhile, Abdul and Awg followed the flooded corridor, coming to spot where the passage continued up a short staircase to a platform above the water level. The platform was only about 20' long, at which point stairs led down into the water again. At this point, hearing Kwinsea's screams, the two backtracked to meet the rest of the party.  After binding the aquamancer's wounds, everyone decided the continue along the corridor rather than risk the door and the sharks again. Coming again to the platform, the front rank of Abdul el Abdul and Rodrigo were just starting to descend into the water when they noticed a frenzy of activity below the surface. They retreated just as a pair a giant piranhas broke the surface and madly hurled themselves half out of the water at the two warriors.  The pair stood their ground, slashing away at the toothed fish. Chaff, meanwhile, cast instinct on the two, forcing one to forego attacking the fighters to instead try putting some moves on the other piranha.  Alas, it's place was taken by a previously unseen third fish, and the already weakened Abdul el Abdul was taken down by vicious fishes before the rest of the party finished them off.

TOTAL XP
7220

GAINS
5 gems (1000go, 1200gp, 500gp, 800gp, 50gp)
3 gem inlaid bowls(500gp each)
gold and coral statue of some sphincter-mouthed monstrosity (2000gp, but cursed)

KILLS
2 Native Warriors
3 Giant Albino Piranha

LOSSES
Abdul el Abdul

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Far Isles Session #57 - Taboo Temple Assault, Part Deux

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 4), with henchman Corvus (Fighter 2)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 5), with familiar Hermes and henchman Jaz (Elf 1)
Chaff (Vivimancer 5), with familiar Pretty Bird
Abdul el Abdul (Fighter 5)
Awg Wahmn (Calmonari 3)

The paralyzed members of the party recovered as Jaz, Rodrigo and Corvus rowed across the lake. By the time the two dugouts came in view of the village, the party was fully awake and functional. Their appearance on the lake immediately provoked activity in the village, and a line of spear-armed warriors soon appeared, standing knee deep in the water and along the veranda of a large building on stilts which stood in the lake. The party stood, showing their weapons free hands as a sign of peace. This was answered by a volley of spears from the warriors, all of which fell short and splashed into the water.  The party stopped rowing, and Kwinsea did her best to say "We come in peace" in the doggerel pidgin she'd used on the temple natives. After a little while, a pair of older men appeared on the veranda. They were the "Talking Chief" Faro and the witch doctor Umlat, and they beckoned for the party to come ashore in peace.

The Chief
The party landed, offering the captured Oltau as a peace offering. As they turned the bone warrior over to the villagers, the party noticed everyone they saw was either older or very young. Even the warriors who had confronted them on the beach were well past their prime. As Umlat and the villagers hauled Oltau up the beach where a large bonfire was being prepared, the party questioned Faro about the absence of young people. Faro replied the party must come with him to consult with the true chief. And with that, the old man led them to the large council house out on the lake. There, Faro reverently approached an alcove at the end of the hut, where sat a small well worn statue of an old man. Faro proceeded to address this 'chief', asking him for guidance on what he should tell the party. He seemed to get some reply (although the party heard nothing), for after a few minutes Faro agreed to tell the party about 'Taboo Island'. For generations, the tribe has not gone to the island; he offered no reason beyond 'it is taboo', but did note it was once the abode of old, evil gods. Some months ago, a group of young warriors broke taboo and crossed the lake. At first the tribe assumed they were destroyed by the taboo. But then the raids began. Groups of the renegade warriors would sneak into the village at night and take the young and strong, until the tribe was left as it was today.  Faro, knowing the party had already been to the island, asked if they would return and deal with the renegade tribesmen. He was unclear if he wanted them captured and returned or simply killed off; taboo, it seemed, prevented him from being precise about that.

Abdul el Abdul, meanwhile, has stayed on the beach to watch the proceedings there. In addition to
the bonfire, the rest of the tribe started cooking fires, and soon had a feast of fish, baked yam and turtle soup ready to go. Umlat had supervised the bonfire, which was fanned to blazing hot and forced to burn down quickly, leaving only warm grey ash. Into this Oltau was thrown and rolled around in the remains of the fire until he was coated in grey ash and mild burns. Umlat put one hand on Oltau's face and muttered some words. The witch doctor then declared the warrior 'purified', but still under some kind of enhancement. The witch doctor ordered him bound until he could call on the power of the Lord of the Sky to break the enchantment in the morning.The party was then feasted by the village and scattered among the village huts to rest until morning. 

Next morning, Umlat once more went through some rituals with Oltau and broke the charm which held him in thrall. Questioned, the bone warrior revealed that when he was captured in the one the first raids, he had been brought to worship in front of a statue. The statue depicted a vaguely amphibious humanoid with a smooth head, large eyes and a tentacled, splintered mouth.  After that, the bone warrior become a servant of the 'old gods', charged along with the rest of the renegade tribe with reviving the gods cruel empire.

After hearing the story, Faro once more asked the party to deal with the renegade tribe. To which the party agreed; they were going that way anyhow. Faro offered anything the village could provide to help, but no warriors would accompany them. The taboo still held. The party did get some samples of paralytic poison, as well as  antidote to help protect against the poison of the renegade tribesmen. They then chose to wait until nightfall, and carried their dugouts away from the village, fearing they might be observed by those on the island if they left from the village proper. Reaching the island, they ignored the obvious entrance, and landed on the opposite side. From there they trekked back to the temple, looking for the smoke hole which opened into the main temple chamber. They found it hidden away behind some tumbled ruins. Glancing below, they could see the net back in place. Huddled around the fire were a number of sleeping forms, mostly woman and children. Pacing around were also 4-6 alert guards. The party decided to try a little surprise this time. Rodrigo would stay at the hole, and drop down a few small bombs made using the party's remaining gunpowder. Taking advantage of the confusion caused by the explosions, the party would rush the temple through the main entrance, and take control of the balconies. 

Initially, all went according to plan; bombs exploded, confusion ensued, and the party rushed the balconies. Kwinsea, Corvus and Awg hit the north balcony; Chaff, Jaz, Rodrigo and Abdul el Abdul hit the south. This time they found no one there, but did observe a number of doors leading to who-knows-where. Down below, the guards started to lob spears, while the woman and children ran for the exit; the party responded with laser and crossbow fire. Rodrigo also cut part of the net free from above, and swung down to join the fray. At the same time, the rest of the party cut the other ropes, dropping the net onto several of the warriors below. 

At this point, the plan started to go south. Out of a door on the south balcony burst the chief, his henchman and the witch doctor. Before the party could respond, the witch doctor cast a spell on the northern balcony, holding all three party members there. In response, Chaff cast a web, trapping the witch doctor and one of the henchmen; the witch doctor was eventually hacked to death. Abdul el Abdul, isolated on the far side of the web from the rest of the party, charged in to fight the one henchman facing him. Jaz, Rodrigo and Chaff turned their attentions to the chief. [Chaff also sent Pretty Bird to examine the giant human face carved in the wall over the exit tunnel; the familiar found holes in place of the eyes and observed another dust filled room beyond.] The fight against the chief was going well, and the big warrior was soon slain; but more danger arrived. On the floor below, the entangled warriors got out from under the net and charged the south balcony. One struck Chaff and paralyzed the sub-tall vivimancer.  Meanwhile, one of the doors on the north balcony opened, and a half dozen archers appeared, surrounding the held party members. They made signs that they would kill the prisoners if the party continued to fight, so a truce was called. After some back and forth pantomime, the party offered to trade the webbed chief's henchman for Kwinsea. The warriors agreed, and the tense trade was done. As soon as the archers backs were turned, however, Jaz grabbed the wand of fear from Kwinsea's hand, and loosed some magical terror on them. Most of wariors turned and ran back into the room from which they'd emerged. The chiefs henchman and one other warrior ran into the tunnel leading deeper into the temple complex, while two others tried to jump off the balcony and join them, but broke their necks in the fall. With the great hall temporarily in their control, Jaz, Rodrigo and Abdul el Abdul gathered up their held and paralyzed comrades, then retreated to the chief's room, barring themselves in to await their companions recovery.

TOTAL XP
1040

GAINS
nil

KILLS
5 Native Warriors
1 Renegade Chief
1 Chief's henchman
1 Witch Doctor

LOSSES
nil

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Far Isles Session #56 - Fear Factor

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 5), with familiar Hermes and henchman Jaz (Elf 1)
Chaff (Vivimancer 5), with familiar PrettyBird
Abdul el Abdul (Fighter 5)
Awg Wahmn (Calmonari 3)

As the late afternoon sun began to dip low over the crater rim, the party tied ropes around some of the stone ruins so they could to lower themselves over the side of the hill to the temple entrance below. As the rest of the party descended, Rodrigo and Corvus elected to remain above to watch their backs. The party found themselves standing at the waters edge, with a pair of dugout canoes tied to rickety bamboo piers behind them, and two wide steps in front that led to a landing lined with pillars. Beyond this were a trio of narrow steps leading to another landing and the entrance itself. Shoved into cracks in the red marble of the landing were a series of bamboo poles topped with shrunken heads, skulls, and the odd unidentifiable jawbone. Climbing up to the second platform,  on either side of the steps there was a large stone foot, the remains of a statute that once straddled the stairs. An opening led from this platform into the side of the hill, and a bas-relief of a human holding a lighted brazier was carved in the cliff face to ether side. Abdul el Abdul went over to the left carving to size it up and noticed there were small openings in place of the eyes. Chaff shuffled over and sent Pretty Bird up to have a look. Inside was a very dusty and cobwebbed room, obviously not touched for a millennia. That seemed like a good place to check first, so the party formed up and marched into the darkness.

They did not get far before a pile of debris narrowed the tunnel to a single file squeeze. There was no obvious sign of a ceiling collapse, so they surmised the rubble must have been placed here deliberately. "It's a trap!" exclaimed Awg. Chaff shielded the light coin to let Jaz look ahead with her infravision. Far ahead, at the limits of sight, was a faint glow of fire. Close at hand, beyond the rubble, the elf could see a trio of figures lying in wait. With this new intelligence, the party formed their plan. Kwinsea cast a seasong to lull the three guards into slumber, while Chaff cast meld flesh in an (unsuccessful) attempt to bind them together. No matter; the heavily armored Jaz was ordered forward through the gap to take care of the dozing men. But as she passed the end of the rubble pile, a spear thrust out, glancing off her armor. It would seem they missed one guard, a mighty champion clad in bone armor. Abdul pushed forward to join Jaz in combat. The native warrior was tough, fighting the two even after being hit several times. He also landed a solid jab with his spear on Jaz, who immediately froze; paralyzed. At this point, one of the dozy guards awoke and joined the fray. Worried for the elf's life, Abdul pulled her out of combat, while Awg slapped on his/her demon mask, summoned the power of the new cutlass to levitate above the fight and opened up with laser fire with his/her pistol. This took out the newly awakened guard, while Chaff pushed forward to cast the instinct of fear on the champion. That caused the mighty warrior to turn and run down the tunnel away from the party.

The party paused briefly to dispatch the last two natives. When Jaz did not recover right away, she was left in Pretty Bird's care near the entrance as the rest of the party pushed on without delay. Once more they did not have to go far, bursting into a huge fire-lit chamber. The fire burned in the centre of the room, below an opening in the ceiling covered by a huge net. A balcony ran along the perimeter of the chamber, accessible by stairs on either side of the entrance. It was high enough that it was difficult to see what, if anything, was up there.  Clustered just beyond the fire was a line of native warriors, spears pointed menacingly at the party. Beyond them in one corner quivered the feared champion, while a cluster of woman cowered in the opposite corner. Retreating a little to stand in the entrance, Kwinsea tried speaking to the wariors. And surprisingly, they understood her mismatched native pidgin well enough to communicate. As Awg levitated menacingly and Chaff cast a sparkly cantrip on himself, the aquamancer alternately threatened them with 'mighty magics' and questioned who they were and what they were doing in the ruined temple. She learned they were there to serve the gods of the temple, and they were awestruck enough to lower their weapons and offer to take the party to see the gods, so they too could serve them. After a murmured discussion, the party decided to trust them, and started to head across the room.

They made it as far as the fire before the native perfidery was revealed. Hidden at the corner of the balcony, four men cut the ropes holding the weighted net, such that it dropped onto the party below. Awg, Chaff and Abdul el Abdul were trapped in the net, while Kwinsea rolled out of the way just in time. The native warriors advanced to stab at the trapped adventurers, and on the balcony above there appeared a line of bowman, as well as what appeared to be the chief and his henchman, plus the tribal witch-doctor.  Abdul el Abdul was able to untangle Awg from the ropes, while Chaff cast a web spell on a pair of attackers. The trio then started to crawl out from under the net, but each was stabbed and paralyzed, just like Jaz. This left Kwinsea, who first cast a lightning bolt to cut down most of the attackers on the main floor (and scorching the still cowering champion in the process).  She then whipped out her wand of fear, crying "fear our mighty magic!!" and took aim at the chief. He, the witch-doctor and one of the henchman turned and fled back out of sight. This threw the bowman into disarray, and they too pulled back from the edge in confusion. The two remaining chiefs' henchman were not perturbed, and rushed at the wand wielding wizardess. Kwinsea dodged a blow from one, and then drove both off with successive blasts from the wand.

Danger for now averted, Kwinsea started to pull her paralyzed companions down the tunnel and back to the water's edge. There she found Jaz just awaking, and the two started to load the rest of the party into the dugouts to escape across the lake. Just as they were finishing, the bone clad champion burst onto the steps, followed by five more tribesmen. Kwinsea was struck and paralyzed. The elf dropped the five natives with  sleep spell, but the bone warrior advanced to attack. He was already well battered, however, so the elf knocked him out cold with the flat of her sword and then securely tied and bound her fallen foe. With that, Jaz hauled Kwinsea and the bone warrior into the last canoe, swung around the headland to pick up Rodrigo and Corvus, and then pulled hard for the village on the mainland.  

TOTAL XP
1320

GAINS
nil

KILLS
1 bone-armored champion (captured)
1 chief's henchamn
12 native warriors

LOSSES
none (not permanently at least)