Saturday, May 26, 2018

Far Isles Session #86 - Among the Dungeon Vermin

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 6)
Awg Wahmn (Calmonari 6)
Torak (Cleric 6)
Chaff (Vivimancer 6), with familiar Pretty Bird
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 6), with familiar Hermes

With the disappearance of the lighting went the constant crackle and crash of the electrical storm, dropping the party into an eerie silence. Awg took advantage of this to listen for any clues or foes around them, and was rewarded with a scratching sounds somewhere to the west. The party decide to move in that general direction and made for the door in the south wall. As they did, the lighting once more started to flicker overhead, and within a few minutes it was the same extensive storm as it was before the mechanism was cranked.  

Storage Egg
Beyond the dark quartz door was an east west corridor, which the party followed west into a small room. It was empty, with another exit to the south. Awg, in front of the marching order, was suspicious, so the calmonari carefully inspected the floor before proceeding into the room. No traps were found, but he/she noted this floor was freakishly clean and completely devoid of the dust, crumbled bits of wall material and miscellaneous trash noted in the previous rooms. Uncertain of what that foretold, the party moved forward cautiously into another, similar room. The difference here was in an alcove to the east, where a number of items seems to float in the air or perhaps were stuck to the wall; a helmet, pair of swords, and a few other items. Chaff shoved to the front of the line, and starred intently at the items, hoping to glean their nature. He noted they were somewhat hazy in appearance, and then to the vivmancers surprise, they lurched towards him! Chaff was able to dodge away from the gelatinous bulk that tried to slam into him, then whipped out his wheelock and buried a bullet in the mass. The party started to do a fighting withdrawal, making attacks as they backed up. Kwinsea tried a lighting bolt, but it appeared to have no effect. Torak and Rodrigo lobbed flasks of oil and hit, while Awg followed with a flaming torch. The gelatinous cube burst into flames, and after a half minute or so had collapsed into a liquid-y pool of bubbling goo. The party picked the still warm items out of the slime. This included the jeweled helmet, which Awg claimed and awkwardly perched  on his.her head (it not being made to fit a clamonari's skull structure). The swords Rodrigo examined, and found them to be of fairly poor quality. There was a dark quartz potion bottle which Torak claimed, and discovered after a little experimentation that it was a potion of flying.  The last things of interest were four head sized chucks of quartz; they looked like pieces of the walls that had broken loose for some reason. Chaff looked them over and discovered one was covered in a crude scrawl of writing. It was in Teroclidian, of which the little vivimancer had a rough understanding. The writing spoke of a God Who Walks Among Men having gone insane, trying to use his elemental powers to escape the captivity imposed by the mists. That made them all think immediately of Empyrius, thinking that perhaps they'd found his lair after-all. 

But they would still need to find him, so the party moved on. Backtracking, they explored the eastern branch of the corridor. This led by a roundabout route to a long, narrow room. There were exits to the north and south, and it was dominated  by a trio of strange tanks. They were egg shaped and supported by metal lattice work; for all intents and purposes, they looked very much like the large egg structure in which they were currently exploring. Two of them contained fluid and occupants; the first a weird, large metal sea urchin (which Awg didn't recognize), and the second a primitive hominid with long clawed fingers. Awg tapped on the tanks to rouse the creatures, but close examination confirmed they dead rather than in suspended animation. The third tank was broken open (from the outside it appeared), and contained nothing but signs of dried fluid and broken crystal.  Kwinsea started poking around the base of the eggs, and noticed that each one had three ornate dials, each inscribed with the numbers 1-3.  She didn't touch them, but did make note of the current settings (322, 332, 133 respectively).

Blue and White Ant
Further investigation was interrupted by the sound of many feet approaching from the south entrance. Everyone pulled back into the passage, out of sight. Rodrigo stuck a mirror around the corner to see what what coming, and observed a small swarm of molted blue and white, man sized ants heading their way. After a quick whispered discussion to decide weather to fight or flee, the party choose fight as they'd eyed a good tactile setup. Chaff used his web spell to block off the room between the outer wall and the first egg, which left open a narrow gap between the egg and wall. Rodrigo, Awg and Torak positioned themselves there so they would only have to deal with one ant at a time. By this point, their formic foes has noted the party's presence, and headed their way. Several tried climbing the walls, but didn't seem able to grip properly. A pair also investigated the web, leaving the other half dozen to make for the gap. One of these skittered up on top of the egg, and proceeded to clamp its mandibles down on Awg's skull, while a second made for the gap. Awg made short work of his opponent with a swing of the Terminaxe. Overall, the three front line fighters had a relatively easy time of hewing down the ants one or two at a time, although Awg continued to get bitten frequently and deeply from the ones on top of the egg. In the end, the party prevailed and stood triumphant over a pile of dismembered giant insects.

Slitherrat
After a quick root through giant bug parts failed to uncover anything interesting, the party turned and headed north. This led them to a door which, based on Awg's earlier listening, likely led to the source of the scratching sounds. Nothing could be heard at the door, so they hauled it open to reveal a small 10'x15' room with another door. Awg headed over and listened at this one too; and once more heard the scratching sounds. Torak walked up to the door and knocked, at which point the scratching stopped. Moments later it started up again, and next thing the party knew, there were strange, glassy looking rat/ferret creatures emerging from the walls of the room and attacking them with electrical shocking bites. While Awg, Rodrigo and Torak swung away at the critters, Chaff got the door open so he and Kwinsea could get out of harms way. Unfortunately, they'd forgotten their foes could move through walls and Kwinea was attacked from behind by another pair of the creatures. In the end they were able to defeat them with no significant hurt inflicted on the party, opening the way into the room beyond. It was pretty much empty, except for a plain wooden chest against the far wall. It was tipped over, with the opening facing the wall. Using the Terminaxe as a shovel, Awg scooped out contents onto the floor in front of them. It proved to be a mix of cut quartz stones and coloured gems, a potion bottle (another potion of flying) a chunk of silver weighting about 200lbs, a well-made dagger, and three golf-ball sized round crystalline rocks, inside which a blue light flicked. Rodrigo examined the dagger, and noted it to be of good build quality. He also observed writing on the hilt, and passed it to Chaff to read. However, the vivimancer could not decipher the text this time, it being an unknown language and not Terocolidian ...

TOTAL XP
8140*

GAINS
Bejeweled Helmet
100 cut quartz crystals
20 assorted gems
Chunk of silver
2 potions of flying
dagger -1 (Cursed)
2 swords
3 golf-ball sized stones, glowing blue inside

KILLS
9 blue and white molted giant ants
5 slitherats
1 gelatinous cube

LOSSES
None

*2xp per gp rule in effects

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Far Isles Session # 85 - Spire of Iron and Crystal

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 6)
Awg Wahmn (Calmonari 6)
Torak (Cleric 6)
Chaff (Vivimancer 6), with familiar Pretty Bird and riding dog Puppy Whuppy
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 6), with familiar Hermes

Before proceeding any further, the party had additional questions for Korun the Creekman. First of all, they had him sketch out a map of the Coral Cays.  The blue man complied, and was able to give a fairly detailed chart of the closest islands. The lair of his former wereshark employer was nearby, so Korun knew this area well. He pointed out Dusek's island, as well as the location of one of the Amazon tribes with whom they'd crossed spears. He was also able to point out in a more general sense the location of the Blue Amazons, a weird long persistent storm, a variety of ruins and a general sense of where to find other islands. He was oddly evasive about where to find the Creekmen, giving a general and vague location with no details. When asked where they might find more information on Empyrius, Korun suggested the Creekmen elders had a great store of old tales that might help. So in the end, the party headed up the island chain towards the purported location of the Creekman villages. 

Blue Amazon
Fighting contrary winds once again, they didn't make it too far before having to drop anchor for the night. Scanning the horizon in the failing light, Torak noted some activity several hundred yards off the bow. He first called up Awg for a look, then the rest of the party. Rodrigo scurried up to the crows nest with his spyglass, and spotted a trio of blue-skinned women, riding dolphins and driving a pack of sharks away at spear point. They moved off, not noticing or paying attention to the ship, until the sharks finally gave up and swam away. The dolphin riders then turned to the north-west, and likewise dove and disappeared. When this excitement was over, Kwinsea decided to summon an aquatic creature and then speak to it in an attempt to learn more about the isles. A large sea turtle responded to her summons, and ponderously answered her questions. The aqumancer learned the storm isle had been that way forever; there was a city of underwater humans or humanoids somewhere to their west; and that if they wanted 'shiny' things, they should seek out the stone ruins of the 'turtle-men' and collect the fragments of their shells. All of which was interesting, but not of immediate use for finding Empyrius. 

Next day opened with a pod of giant great white sharks approaching the ship. Rodrigo, on watch, had the musketeers roused and put to work driving them off. Amidst great grumbling and complaining, the ships' guards fired a volley, striking one of the beasts. That was enough to scare them off, the two non-wounded animals nipping at their bleeding colleague as they swam away. The musketeers went back to their hammocks, the sailors arose, and the "No Man's Sea" sailed forth again. The wind had shifted to the north-east so they made better time over the next few days. They sailed past a beach with stone turtle-man ruins, then past the scary elemental storm island, before cutting south-west around the Blue Amazon islands towards the Creekmen. Along the way, Chaff plied Korun with liquor to find out why he was so evasive about the Creekmen. In the end, there was nothing sinister to learn. With so many enemies in the Cays, the Creekmen were just very wary of giving away any information on their hidden villages or their way of life. Korun had no intention of showing the party the location of the villages; he expected them to drop him off-shore and he'd head home alone. And bring back an elder or two to talk later on.  When the vivimancer passed this along to the rest of the party, there was some conniving thought put to tracking their guide. But in the end, they decided to trust the blue man to return. So when they finally dropped anchor off the massive mangrove swamp of an island to which Korun had directed them, they let him take the ships boats into the creeks, hoping he'd return. And then they waited. In the meantime, Awg went looking for 'pretties' to bring back to H'sslik if they ever happened back that way again. The calmonari was rewarded with a pretty purple fish he'd never seen before, which went right into one of their holding tanks. Kwinsea also took the time to summon once more, this time getting a visit from a trio of swordfish.  She pumped them for information on the Creekmen, but the saltwater fish could tell her little about the land-dwellers. 

In the end, their trust in mankind was rewarded when Korun returned a couple days later with a boat-full of Creekmen. The party let them aboard the "No Man's Sea", and threw a great feast to impress their guests. And afterwards listened the the accompanying elder (Talos) spin tales of the past deeds of the Creekmen and their Terocolid forebearers.  It would seem the Terroclids were a very militaristic people, divided into many petty and warring island-states under the nominal rule of a High Tyrant. Each petty kingdom had it's own "God Who Walked Among Men", providing counsel and assiting those in power. And in return were worshiped and supported by their human followers. Empyrius was a"God" of a state at the northern edge of the island chain, but exactly where Talos couldn't say. The party asked Talos what had caused the fall of the Terocolids, and were told the women-folk (who it seemed had been treated as little better than chattel-slaves)  has risen up under a leader by the name of Damarius the Liberator and destroyed them all. The Amazons were the descendants of those women. Asked about other places they might learn more, Talos directed them to the fallen remnants of the Terocolids. In particular, there was a ruined temple ofrsomething on nearby high cliff. He also told them of a weird structure, consisting of four giant crystal eggs in an iron lattice. It had stood on a low limestone ridge on a nearby cay as long as anyone could remember. But none had ever gotten inside as there was no obvious entrance. 

The feast over and day getting short, the Creekmen prepared to leave. Chaff asked how they'd get back to their village, since they weren't keeping the ships boat. Korun grinned, then whistled loudly. Out of the nearby creeks came a small flotilla of Creekmen. It seems the Creekmen didn't fully trust the party and kept a ace up their sleeves. But they left without incident, leaving the party to decide what to do next. It came down to heading north to wander about looking for Empyrius. Or hitting one of the locations Talos reveled, looking for answers and maybe some loot. In the end, loot prevailed, and the party decided the eggs sounded like the most likely place to find cool stuff. As they headed there, they passed bu the other ruins as well. It was difficult to see as there was a heavy rain and mist, but they were surprised to see a beam of moving light on the headland near the ruins. 

Spire of Iron and Crystal
They pushed on however, reaching the eggs later in the day. Chaff summoned the fly and took off on patrol. From overhead there were a couple of possible entrances. At the topmost point of the topmost egg, there was a narrow opening apparently leading inside. On the second egg down was a small balcony, hidden from view below by the ironwork. There was no door to be seen, but maybe something could be discovered on closer inspection. Chaff buzzed down to pick up Kwinsea and dropped her on the balcony to search; but the aquamancer could find nothing. So through the hole it was. Chaff ferried everyone up to the top, one by one, then lowered them down the tube on a rope tied to one of the fly's legs. Torak went down first, squeezing down the steep, narrow passage.  As he did, the cleric was shocked to find the upper part of the egg filled with mist and lightning. Thankfully not hurting him. Below he could see  a maze of rooms, all of which appeared open at the top, but detail was sparse due to the obscuring light and cloud. He safely made it to the bottom, landing in an octagonal room. The walls were made of a smokey quartz-like substance, and in three walls were doors made of a similar but darker material. Overhead was nothing but mist and crashing lightning, and the air had a definite electrical smell. Underfoot was a small hole in the floor, covered by a grate and with a fan whirling inside. Close inspection revealed a series of small tubes which were collecting some sort of fluid from the air and draining it to parts unknown below.

The rest of the party joined Torak, leaving the fly hovering overhead. They then headed out to explore, starting with the northern door.  This room was essentially empty, except for a hidden pit trap (which Chaff fell into) and strange symbols carved into the quartz walls (which the mages identified as being elemental in nature). They pushed on to the next room, finding a large set of cranks and gears on the north wall. While there was some trepidation about messing with it, Awg boldly strode forward and  put the mechanism in motion. And found that as he/she worked it, the lighting overhead started to die down, until it stopped completely, plunging the party into darkness ...

TOTAL XP
850 (exploration XP)

GAINS
Some Knowledge

KILLS
None

LOSSES
None