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In which the party explores a supposedly inhabited islands, fries some giant crabs, and joins a local war.

Enough Rope

Apart from anything else Bags of Holding are great for enabling an adventuring party to carry enough rope to achieve just about anything that can be achieved with rope.  In this instance getting the party ashore, and securing the corpse of the sea serpent [1].

Once ashore a camp was set up. Jamir and Lorena took care of the sailors by casting Create Food and Water [2].

As dawn arrived the 1st Mate provided some information about the Gold Atoll.  There are apparently half a dozen settlements, some right on the coast, others in the jungle/swamps.

At this point the party split into three groups: one to assist the crew in salvage efforts, one to head inland to the nearest settlement, one to head round the coast.

At Camp

Jamir, Hector, and the crew had a reasonably productive and relatively pleasant day.

Heading around the coast

Sebastian and Kelain headed east around the coast in the ominous weather, with the territory inland being initially swampy forests before eventually turning to a drier forest.  They found some small craft hauled up on the beaches, some of which will be usable later.

On the south side of the island they discovered a huge crater where the settlement of Landing used to be.  The main crater was about 80’ wide with a series of smaller 30’ craters where buildings used to be.

Kelain and Sebastian continued to head west to circumnavigate the island.

Heading Inland

Eric, Kali, Ronald, and Lorena cut their way south through the jungle in search of Halifax, the nearest inland village. When they got there the village had been sacked, with signs of a pitched battle that included magic (some lightning, magic missiles, some form of necrotic spell). There were about 200 bodies from a town of about 4 – 500.

The Town Guard made a last stand at the southern gate, and there were signs of some of the villagers escaping to the south.

Heading south the party found more bodies, as well as evidence of a large creature passing through.  Eventually there were no more bodies found, but the swampy waterways had also expanded to the point where boats would be usable.

Overall the best estimate was for a sizeable raiding force of about 20 – 30 with magical support, but not an army.  This was supported by the fact that the attackers didn’t (or couldn’t) surround the town.

The party headed back north to the village at this point. To avoid getting lost Lorena cast a Know Direction spell.

On returning to the village the party discovered that elves had arrived on the scene, and were not initially pleased to see Libertas [3].  Fortunately Lorena was able to talk to Lendil and establish that the 4 Elven Rangers were looking for reinforcements.

The Elvish settlement of Grailine elsewhere on the island is also under attack by three tall things leading a host of swampy looking men.  Oh, and apparently there’s a Swamp Prowler, aka a 20 – 30’ eel on the loose as well.

The elves join the party to return to the campsite, just as Sebastian and Kelain return, and are duly impressed by the sea serpent corpse.

According to the elven rangers, 3 of the seven villages on the island have been destroyed and another 3 in addition to Grailine are still holding.  The timeline is Grail about a month ago, Landing about 2 weeks ago, Halifax about a week ago, the first attack on Grailine was about 3 days ago.

Crispy Critter Surprise

The next morning the party, along with the crew, head down the beach towards Grailine. Along the way the party ran into a pair of huge crabs that did not appreciate being interrupted whilst eating sharks [4].

This was a fast but nasty fight. Sebastian and Kali each got grabbed by one of the crabs, and Kali ended the fight unconscious. Eric scored a couple of good fireballs [5], Ronald’s bombs were also effective, as was Sebastian’s weird words.  Hector scored a massively accurate bow strike on one of the crabs.

At least one of the crabs exploded, and crab meat was collected afterwards to supplement the company rations. Jamir and Lorena healed Kali afterwards. Ronald also picked up some choice bits as alchemical ingredients.  The sailors were fairly impressed by this fight.

Joining the Fight

After arriving at the village of Grailine the party is met by the mayor John Gaunt. The defeat of the sea serpent raised a cheer, as did the willingness of the party to assist.  The town has been mostly abandoned and the defence is being run from the Holdfast.

The elves have managed to kill some of their attackers, and are studying the bodies. There are two basic types:

  • The first is a bulky, pale skinned, humanoid of froggish appearance. Ronald, Kelain, and Sebastian think that this is a local amphibious variant of a troglodyte
  • The second is an 8’ tall humanoid with the head of an octopus, crustacean armour, and pincer like claws. This apparently is a piscodaemon from Abaddon.

Daemons are apparently Neutral Evil, can be banished, are resistant to most non-holy attacks and to most other effects to some extent or another.  This one may have weak points where the various types of creature join together, and there is at least one more leading the attacks.

This one was killed by the local cleric who died in the doing, which is not a particularly good sign.

The other piece of information is another confirmation of the 8 month timeline for the troubles starting, with things really getting bad about 3 months ago when Grail fell.

At this point the party started resting up in advance of the attack to come later in the evening.  The plan is to use the sailors and the party as a surprise force to sally forth, punch through the troglodytes, and kill the leader.

Out of Character Commentary

The house rule to take side conversations away from the table worked reasonably well, albeit with fewer people at the table.  I am reasonably confident that I caught all the major details in my notes this time. However should a comment advise otherwise I will make appropriate corrections to the post [6].

By now the timelines are far beyond coincidental.  I suspect that we may be due for a chat with one or more of the guardians in the not too distant future.

The speculation I was worried about last session was that the other stories weren’t exaggerated, and that there were other, bigger sea serpents out there.  The in game information from the elves has removed that worry.  That said, no one has any idea what crushed Landing so that isn’t as much of a reassurance as it might be.

Summary

This was a fun session with a tight focus. I’ll be happily hosting it again this week whilst exams are running at ANU, and it should start with a major fight before we level up to 7th level.



[1] The corpse of the sea serpent, I hasten to remind the reader, is worth about 65,000 GP to the party. i.e Step 1: Kill Serpent. Step 2: Provide Proof. Step 3: PROFIT!


[2] The existence of this spell does make sieges interesting.  Apparently there are places in the various rule books where the implications are discussed.


[3] They did shoot arrows at Libertas, although to no great effect.


[4] Remember that this is a fantasy universe (i.e A Wizard Did It) so the square-cube law does not apply to exoskeletal creatures like the 16’ tall crabs.


[5] Which was something of a relief after the last effort (see Session 13 below).


[6] Actually that is a hint for players to be making comments. Why do you ask?