Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Far Isles Session #73 - Dragon Rising

Chaff (Vivimancer 5), with familiar Pretty Bird and Riding Dog Puppy Whuppy
Torak (Cleric 5) and his zombie servitors
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 5), with familiar Hermes and henchman Jaz (Elf 2)
Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 5) 

The party split up their prisoners and led the two musketeers away, one by one, for interrogation. They mostly wanted to learn if there was any sort of bounty on Atli's head, given his apparent long history of smuggling and nautical skulduggery. The first, Ulthos, stood by his employer, convinced the party would just kill him anyway. Which they did when the musketeer proved unwilling to cooperate. Hathos was more pliable, but really could tell them nothing beyond "I'm sure he's wanted somewhere on the shores of the seventeen seas"; so he too was dispatched. Followed shortly by Alti himself, whom Torak drowned in the red pool which had claimed Pahu Mahu. The cleric, having offered up his sacrifice to Brall, removed the dead smugglers golden teeth. And then animated both Alti and Uthos as zombie servants. It now being dark, the party set camp for the night, then trekked back to the "Purple Haze" without further incident. 

Once there, they had Lynessa raise sail and bring them back to the Smoking Island, where this tawdry affair had begun. Reaching it  after a couple of short days of sailing, they found the island much as they left it. Smoke still rose from the slopes of the island peak, and on the shore the docks and scattered boats still lay, undisturbed. The party rowed ashore in the ships boat, and there found a path leading up the jungled slope. They climbed for about an hour, until the switch-backing trail started to level off and run more or less straight to the north. The trees started to thin a little, and ahead they could see the source of the mysterious smoke. A low saddle between the main mountain peak and secondary spur was covered in what appeared to be a field of ash. There was definitely the smell of an old fire present, but occasionally a more sulfurous odor emerged as well. Maybe the volcanic peak was more active that it seemed? 
Field of Ash
Moving closer and into the open,  the party could see a ravine between them and the ash covered slope. A pair of stone pillars stood on each side of the ravine. It looked very much like a bridge once spanned the chasm, but there was now nothing left. The party  contemplated trying to go around the ravine, but realized the combination of almost impassible jungle and steep slopes would make that both difficult and time consuming. Rodrigo then got the idea to summon some monkey's with his simian sword, and then Torak could use his scroll of speak with animals  to question the creatures about what happened here. The swashbuckler was soon surrounded by a hooting hoard, whom he directed to his good friend Torak for questioning. It took a few minutes to get useful information out of them, but Torak learned that until a few months ago, a town of humans occupied what was now the field of ash. The monkeys weren't immediately clear on what burned the town, some 'big fire' or 'scary fire'. Probed more deeply about the source of the flames, the monkeys answered that it was a 'flying fire beast'. And at almost the same moment, from the far side of the ash covered slope, there came the snapping sound of leathery wings . Turning, the party observed a terrifying sight; rising from the far side of the saddle was a red dragon. And as it rose into the air, it was obviously headed their way. 

The Dragon
Though the dragons appeared to be on the smaller side, the first instinct was to run. But right away , they were afraid if they did so, the dragon would simply torch the "Purple Haze" and strand them on this island. Instead, the party scattered for cover among the rocks and trees along the edge of the ravine, all the time the dragon flying closer. The spell-casters cast their protective spells, and Rodrigo figured this was as good a time as any to quaff that potion of heroism he'd been lugging around. He also directed his monkey cohort to the edge of the ravine ,in the hope they would distract the dragon. As the dragon drew close, it opened it's maw to release a cone of liquid fire, catching Rodrigo and a band of monkeys in the flames, The monkeys were incinerated, and Rodrigo burned badly and barely hanging on to life. The party then retaliated, Kwinsea striking the flying beast with a lightning bolt and Chaff vomiting an insect swarm which engulfed and enraged the beast. Pistol shots from Rodrigo and Jaz missed, but the shock of the lighting and insects turned it away, and it flew back over the rise from whence it came. 

The party first breathed a sigh of relief, thanking their luck and their gods for their survival. Torak healed Rodrigo, and then animated a couple of crisped monkeys to join his other two zombies. Weighing options, the party decided to strike out across the burned town and deal with the dragon now, when it was obviously wounded, rather than retreat and face it later. Chaff sent Pretty Bird into the sky to look for the dragon, but the bird could see nothing but ruins. Checking the mountains edge revealed  no cave opening or similar dragon-ish lairs, but there were a number of large wells or cisterns scattered throughout the burned town that might be it's home. There was a also a crack on the slope of the main peak from which  a trickle of smoke arose. The party, however, opted to focus on the wells. Chaff summoned the ebony fly to transport everyone over the ravine. Rodrigo borrowed the ring of invisibility from Torak and walked point ahead of the party. The rest of the party marched behind,  following a skirmish line of zombies. Which was good, as the ruins were not safe. Hidden among the chocking ash and charred bits of wood were a number of deep pits, some of which released a gout of blistering fire when breached. A couple of zombies were lost this way, and Jaz was badly burned by one fire trap. But everyone else escaped unscathed. 

When they reached the first well, Rodrigo, grasping Torak's light dagger in his teeth, was lowered down on a rope. He found it was a large cistern, empty but for a foot or two of murky water on the bottom. The party then moved on, heading for the largest cistern opening. This stood in the centre of a large plaza. While the rest of the party waited at the edge, the invisible swashbuckler crept forward to look. He, however, didn't realize dragons had an exceptional sense of smell. Just as he was about to look over the edge, there was a roar, and the dragon emerged from the well with a vengeance. As it snapped it's wings to climb into the air, the dragon also snapped it's mouth and claws at Rodrigo, nearly crushing and slashing him to death. This didn't deter the swashbuckler though. As the rest of the party opened up with spell and missile, Rodrigo swung the grappling hook he'd been carrying, caught it on one of the dragon's horns, and then scrambled up to the top of it's head. The beast reached back to try clawing the swashbuckler off his back, but Rodrigo dodged, and stabbed down with his swords. Only one penetrated the reptilian scales, but it drove deep into it's brain. The dragon shuddered, then it's eye's rolled back and it collapsed dead on top of Torak's zombies.

The Hoard
After taking a breather, the battered Rodrigo insisted on being the first down in the dragons lair. He leapt atop the ebony fly,  and buzzed down into the cistern. Below he saw a much larger chamber than in the previous cistern. And in place of stagnate water, this one held the dragon' hoard. A layer of gold and silver covered most of the floor; a mix of coins, gems, jewelry and decorative gewgaws obviously recovered from the ruined town. And barred behind a rough portcullis of jungle logs were 6 young women, crying out and screaming at Rodrigo in some unknown language. For now, the swashbuckler had other things to do. Grabbing a single goblet, he rose fly once more up the well to tell the party they' hit pay dirt ...


Atli the Golden's Gold Teeth (150gp)
A Mixed Dragon's Hoard; gold & silver coin, gems & jewelry, golden gewgaws, etc (55800gp)
Magical gem
Instant Fortress
Scroll - Protection Against Undead 

Atli the Golden [Captain of the 'Waverunner']
Uthos & Halthos [Rigging-Rat Musketeers]
1 Young Adult Red Dragon

Amazingly, None

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