Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Far Isles Session # 66 - The Stone Ships

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

Once aboard ship, the party had Lynessa and the crew prepare to get under way immediately; just in case someone on the island noted the dead god-snake and wanted to do something about it. When it came to determining where to go, Awg was quite adamant that the party should forget about returning to the ruins of Mandro-Shanti. He waved his treasure map around and insisted they look for island with the boats of gold instead. No one could see any reason to  argue, so Lynessa turned the "Purple Haze" closed hauled to the wind and head north-west. After a few hours sailing, land appeared on the horizon. Getting closer, it proved to be a few small islands. Most were jungle covered with no discernible features from offshore, while one consisted of a rocky peak surrounded man-tall razor grass. A smattering of bare rocks rounded out the mini-archipelago. Consulting Awg's map, they found that none of the islands appeared to match, so Lynessa was ordered to circumnavigate the islands and then strike out to the east. As the "Purple Haze" rounded the islands and passed the open sounds between them, the party and crew were treated to the sight of a battle underway between two lots of native warriors in dugout canoes. Deciding it best to not get involved, they instead watched the seemingly mostly ceremonial fight under they passed out of view.  

Giant Eel
It was late in the day when another island came into view, this one about 6 miles long and, on closer inspection, very much like the one on Awg's map. Right down to the impassable reef, which at this low tide barely allowed their ship to pass through and close with the beach. According to the map, the boats of gold were further south, toward the other end of the island. Hoping to avoid another jungle trek, Awg,  Kwinsea and a shark-transformed Pahu decided to dive into the islands lagoon and look for a way for at least the ship's boat to get through the reef. They found no passable breaks in the rock, not even one that looked hopeful for high tide. They did encounter a pair of giant eels who approached and circled menacingly. Awg used his aquatic telepathy to pass along feelings of warmth and friendship, and in return sensed the creatures were mostly interested in defending their territory in the lagoon from any intruders i.e. the party. Kwinsea surfaced and cast speak with aquatic animals to better negotiate and gather information on the island. The eels were not interested in letting the party pass through or even stay any longer. They could tell Kwinsea little about the island, other than some sort of human or humanoid lived there and could be see along the waters edge at times. Feeling increasingly threatened, the trio turned back to return to the ship, Awg and Kwinsea having to help Pahu for the last bit as his shark transformation wore off and he was left floundering about in the water. 

Jungle Troglodyte
Reporting back to the rest of the party, they decided there was little choice but to trek overland; during the swimming trio's absence, Chaff and Rodrigo had located a narrow path leading south. Chaff sent Pretty Bird aloft before they started out, but nothing could be seem through the thick jungle canopy. Along the way they encounter wild boar twice, but the porcine wanderers ran away when approached. Of more significance was an ambush by troglodytes, the odoriferous reptile-men being the humanoid inhabitants noted by the giant eels. Things got off to a rocky start, with Chaff, Rodrigo, Pahu and Jaz all getting violently ill from the troglodytes smell. But some well placed blows and a tidal force from Kwinsea soon resulted in three dead troglodytes, while the remaining two melted into the jungle and fled. 

Pushing  on, it was a approaching dark when the party finally emerged into a clearing and first laid eyes on the so called 'boats of gold'. There was no gold to be seen. Instead, emerging from the jungle were the prows of three stone ships, each  about the size of the "Purple Haze". A closer look showed they were built of stone block rather than somehow magically transformed from wooden ships. Two still had massive stone sails towering above the decks, while the sail on the eastern-most ship had fallen into rubble. In front of each ship stood a statue. From west to east these were: an octopus headed humanoid, a humanoid shark monster, and a boar headed man. In front of the shark-man were three poles driven upright into the ground; it looked as if someone or something had been lashed to them fairly recently. Pahu scouted toward the centre ship and noted signs of footprints entering an opening in the stone prow. By now it was almost completely dark, so the party decided to scramble up to the deck of the octopus-man ship and camp for the night.

Nothing untoward interrupted their rest, and in the morning the party continued their exploration of the ships. Each had an opening in the prow, accessible at the end of a short earthen ramp. Before deciding which to tackle first, they peered into each opening. The western ship contained a stone alter with a verdigris-stained copper door beyond. In the second ship was another alter and more doors, plus piles of bones stacked around. In the third there was once more an alter, plus a couple of smashed and fallen statues. Closer examination revealed pits dug in the floor, some flagstones marked with 'X', and what appeared to be triggered and broken spear traps lining the walls. Beyond there was no doors, as the fallen stone sail had smashed the mid-section of the ship into rubble.

With little to differentiate the three, the party decided to go back to the first, westernmost ship and investigate. After first checking the entrance for traps, Pahu headed for the door. It was only copper sheathed, and was decorated with a spiral of rivets. Awg, Kwinsea and Jaz observed a similar spiral groove carved into the otherwise plain stone alter, with signs of what may have been old blood as well. Chaff, Rodrigo and Corvus checked out the wall, finding them caved with heraldic and stylized sea creatures. Scattered along the base was a mess of broken leather, wood and  bronze shields. Jaz grabbed the one which appeared to be in the best shape; a copper sheathed wooden shield with concentric red circles on the front.  

The Pool
Moving back to the door, Pahu checked it for traps. Finding none, Awg pushed it open. On the other side of the threshold was a narrow step, beyond which the room was filled with a cloudy, reddish liquid. On the opposite wall about 30' away was another door, while to the east and west were alcoves. The east one contained was appeared to be another alter, while to the west was some sort of statue. Pahu stuck a finger in the water, and when nothing happened he tasted the liquid. As far as he could tell, it was simply dirty, rusty water, so the the thief jumped in to search around. He didn't get far before he stepped on something slimy and squishy below the water's surface, and to the horror of the rest of the party, Pahu started to scream and thrash about until he suddenly shuddered and became very still. Then fell backwards into the water, dead. As his body floated back towards the party, everyone could see the thief's lower legs had been stripped away leaving only bone from the knee down ... 


Bulls-Eye Shield

3 Troglodytes


Sunday, July 2, 2017

Far Isles Session #65 - Through the Screaming Maw

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. 


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 +1

1 Gibbering Wall Thing