Here be Pirates

HbP-II (1-22-2017)
Working for Finn

After some time working the protection racket in the Eastern District, Duncan came by and said that Finn had a bigger job for the party to do.
Duncan said that in the Eastern District, there was a “social club” called the League of Freemen, which had overstepped their bounds as far as the Syndicate was concerned. Fimm wanted the leader(s) of the group eliminated. One name you were given was Rajah.

The party was given a few bracelets that could be used to get in the door. Inside, there were 4 guards and a number of patrons who were indulging in a variety of debaucheries (sex, drug use, etc). The party had to fight past the guards to get up to the second floor, mostly instigated by Eric’s barbarian. One guard had already gone up to warn the occupants of the upper floor.

On the second floor, the fight went against the remaining guard, and initially 2 (but then 4) drake-like creatures and Rajah who was correctly guessed earlier by Jeff to be Rakshasa.
The Rakshasa was casting spells and blinking through most of the fight. During the fight, all 4 drakes were killed as was the guard. The Rakshasa was wounded a little, before he broke off the fight (partially) and went down towards the lower levels. The party bottlenecked on the stairs and Hobie Stone Shaped a hole in the floor to get himself and the barbarian down faster.

The Rakshasa made it down to the lower levels with the party in pursuit, but he disappeared somehow (around a corner, invisible?), before the party could get to the bottom of the stairs. We stopped with the party chasing after him.

HbP-II (1-8-2017)
A funny thing happened on the way back to the ship

The session picked up at the point where the party had just released the prisoners from the thieve’s den under the Brackish Keg. Everyone was in attendance, except Todd.

On the way back to the ship, the party was ambushed in the street by half a dozen people (2 evokers, 2 rogues, and 2 barbarians). The evokers laid down some walls of fire and other fire-based spells, the barbarians waited until they could engage in melee and the rogues circled the area attacking where they could.
Eventually, both barbarians and 1 evoker were killed.

The party then went on to their ship, where they found that in their absence, all of the hobgoblin crew had been killed, and the ship vandalized. In the morning, the dockmaster came and raised our parties docking fees.

Later that day, Finn made an appearance and talked to the group. The net result was he put a word in to get the fees re-adjusted back and offered the party a job.
The party tentatively agreed and went on a few jobs helping a guy named Duncan take up collection monies as part of Finn’s protection racket. Mostly the party just stood around acting like the muscle to enforce the collection.

HbP-II (12-11-16)
Still infiltrating the thieve's guild

We started mid adventure, in the thieve’s guild under the Brackish Keg. Present were: Jeff’s druid, Doug’s alchemist, Roy’s witch, and Hobie’s war priest (Todd’s healer was not with us, but did not start into the guild stronghold last time. Eric’s barbarian started with us last session, but was hand-waved not to be there this week).

In the first level, the party managed to bypass the gates in the prisoner’s area and get into the fight with the barkeep, the cultist and a few guild members. The cultist moved down the stairs to the second level, and we killed the barkeep and remaining thieves on this level.

The witch went invisibly down into the lower level first and saw that more thieves and a gnome had set up a barricade of tables and were ready to fire crossbows at anyone coming down the stairs. The druid in bear-shape came down next, but all of the crossbow shots missed. Hobie and Doug followed. The fight raged in that room for a while.

In the fight, the cultist showed up again, this time in his true form as a serpent person. The gnome (later identified as Trask, second in the guild to Finn), cast mostly defensive spells and attacked occasionally when he had a flank with the thieves. The war priest was taken out of the fight for a few rounds when he was dominated by the serpent cultist.

As the fight wound down, the serpent cultist was killed, Trask escaped by Dimension dooring out, and all but one of the thieves was killed. The last one was keep alive so he could be questioned.

From him, you found out that about 1/2 of the dungeon was used as a training area for the thieves (Hobie briefly interacted with a construct before withdrawing). The party did not explore that area of the hideout.

In another section, there were underground connections to the sewers under Freeport. As soon as Doug noticed something large under the water, the party backed out of the area. The one surviving thief said that the serpent cultists were bringing in the prisoners to the guild to then be sent out with what the thief called a horrible spider thing. The guild is apparently acting as a waypoint/middleman for the slave trade between the cultists and the other group.

All of the prisoners were set free, going back out through the upstairs bar area. The party did not explore further into the guild headquarters nor the sewers.

HbP-II (11-13-2016)
Going into the Thieve's Guild

This is a summary of the session on 11-13-2016

The party started the evening at the front doors of the Brackish Keg, a bar owned and operated by a thieve’s guild run by Finn. We were there to try to investigate it working for Lydon. On the street, it was noticed that a number of the passersby were actually loitering and a number of them were lookouts both for the bar and for each other (that is multiple guilds are keeping tabs on each other).

Entering the small bar, the party encountered the barkeep, a barmaid, and 2 patrons who were obviously guards for the operation and not so much bar patrons. The barkeep denied knowing anyone named Finn.
Eric’s barbarian had a drink and then got into an altercation with one of the patrons. Roy put the other one to sleep. The fight in the bar was brief. The barmaid initially faked innocent, but then flanked Eric and stabbed him along with the other guard. The barkeep fled into the back room. Roy then tied up the sleeping guard, and then put the other one to sleep. The barmaid fled into the back room, and the barbarian followed.
The barkeep was not there, and there were no other obvious exits (Eric had heard a door open and close from the other room).
Jeff flew in as a bat. Doug and Hobie checked and locked the front door.
Eric dropped the barmaid, Jeff stabilized her, and Eric then killed her before finding the secret door, leading down into some lower levels.

As the characters started into the lower levels, at one point Hobie went down a different flight of stairs, set off a fire trap and then came back to the rest of the party.

The main stairs down lead to a long pillared hallway that turned and overlooked an arena-like area. Eric went down the hall and jumped into the arena (the killing floor), with Roy flying invisibly nearby). The other characters started down the hall.

In the arena area, a large door opened and an Umber Hulk rushed out to attack the barbarian. In the hallway, the remaining group was also attacked by the two guards who had woken and untied themselves, and caught up with us invisibly. They flanked the warpriest, while Doug looked for secret doors and the bat maneuvered around, casting spells.

In the first couple of rounds with the Umber Hulk, both Eric and Roy were confused. Jeff was able to move up and put a flaming sphere on the Hulk, along with Doug’s vomited up swarm of spiders.

More thieves, including the barkeep emerged from a secret door behind the party in the long hallway. It was a back and forth melee. Eventually, the Umber Hulk was killed. Jeff had a couple of Ice Storms making movement difficult and then he put up an Obscuring mist to slow everything down (and stop the ranged attacks).

The party re-grouped on the arena floor, and the remaining thieves retreated back down the hall, behind the cover of the mist.

On the arena floor, there were two barred exits. Jeff’s druid walled the smaller one up, just after Doug had seen 3 robed cultists pass by the opening. Behind the other portcullis was a prison area, packed full of prisoners both in cages and chained to the walls. Doug reduced himself and went through the bars, and in the next few rounds unchained a couple of guys. Roy Dim-doored into the area. A second set of bars blocked passage out the other side. On the other side of those bars was one of the cultists who started Magic Missileing Roy and Doug. The Barkeep was also near the cultist. A set of stairs lead down from their area. You briefly glimpsed one of the thieves go through a far door.

This is where we ended for the evening. We will pick up in the middle of the Guild outpost next time.

Here be Pirates II
Back to Freeport vs the Kraken

This is a summary of the session on 10-30-2016

For this campaign, we decided to run some previous characters from my Pirate’s campaign from a couple of years ago.

Present were Jeff (Sea Druid), Roy (witch), Eric (1/2 orc barbarian), Hobie (Undine War Priest), and Todd (Mystic Healer). Absent was Doug (Gnome Alchemist).

We started essentially where we had left off at the end of the previous Pirates campaign. The party has just destroyed the Druid who was attacking the shipping lanes and destroying what she thought were man’s incursions into the natural sea areas. Treasures were divided at the end of the last game.

Some retro-fitting was necessary to bring Hobie’s character in as if he was always there, in order to streamline the story and get started.

As the storms were dissipating after the Druid’s death, a couple of Rocs flew into the campsite. Jeff met them first as a Giant Eagle. They seemed friendly and landed nearby. The male of the pair had been Awakened by the Druid, and could speak Common.

The roc said that before the party arrived, during the peak of the storm, the Druid had summoned a huge “beast from the depths” to disrupt the shipping lanes again by destroying more ships. The party agreed to fly on the backs of the Rocs out to protect the nearby ships.

During the flight, a massive shadow was seen closing on a sailing ship a few hours from the island.

The Rocs dropped the party off on the ship. We had a few rounds to prepare spells before the attack.

The attack came as a number of tentacles started to come up around the ship in the first round of combat. In the second round, 2 larger tentacles came up, and in the third, the body of the Kraken itself surfaced. A large fight ensued. A number of the crew were grappled and killed. Eric’s barbarian was able to attack unimpeded from the Freedom of Movement spell. Hobie’s cleric had a similar round-to-round effect. Roy’s witch and Jeff’s druid both flew around the perimeter raining down spells (Lightning bolts, ice storms, flaming sphere).

Eventually, the Kraken was killed, and none of the PCs dropped (although Eric was a hit from falling).

We helped the captain sail his ship back to the island to get more crew and do some repairs. After fixing the ships, both sailed towards Freeport.

On the way, there was a minor incident where someone tried to cut the steering lines, but it was easily repaired. No one was caught, but it was noticed that the lines were encrusted with brine similar to back when Ned Fletcher (the ghost) would move through solid objects.

The ships arrived in Freeport.

Jeff discovered that his dagger was a ceremonial dagger traditionally used by the Slavers of Cheliax.

A couple of days after arriving in Freeport, we were approached by one of the members of the Captains Council, Captain Jacob Lydon.

After a brief discussion, the party was hired to investigate the disappearances of a number of Freeport citizens (above the normal number of missing people). Lydon suspects the involvement of another Council member, the Halfling Finn. Finn in the previous campaign had tried to purchase your ship, and is presumed to be one of the Freeport guildmasters.

Next session, we start to investigate Finn’s operation at one of his “fronts”

Ship to Ship (7-27-14)
Voyage to the Isle

The party decided to outfit their ship with more weapons, having recovered the light catapult from the wrecked ship in past weeks. We got two light ballistas and installed them on gimbles so that they can be moved from side to side on the ship.

While installing the weaponry, a couple of interesting side bits happened. Someone noticed that there was a curious absence of rats on the ship, and correctly concluded that something was eating them. A search of the ship revealed that the Quasit (from under the warehouse, a couple of adventures ago) was still rummaging about. The party cornered it in the bilge, but it was able to escape invisibly out over the port city.

Also, Neal’s cleric cast a Detect Undead spell and found evidence that there has been an undead presence on the ship recently (from a lingering aura), but he was unable to locate it or determine where it was.

After the weaponry was on-board, the party decided to go back to the Isle of Dread and see what they could find there, as several clues pointing to the Isle have been found here and there.

The voyage started off ok, but after a few days at sea, the party encountered another (smaller) vessel which closed into combat range. (Editor’s note: this is the first time we tried out the ship-to-ship combat rules. They need some work, but should suffice for our purposes). After a few rounds of maneuvering, the ships came together. We did not fire on them, and they seemed not to have any major weapons on their deck, but their deck was largely obscured by a Tiny Hut spell which prevented anyone from seeing about 1/3 of the ship’s deck. The captain of the other ship said he wanted to talk. (Second editor’s note: saying “talk” is entirely different from the later use of the specific word “parley”, which usually means surrender and negotiate terms).

Once the two ships were side to side, the other ship launched animated grapples and the figurehead also animated and moved to attack our ship. The fight across both decks was then engaged. Our hobgoblins stayed at their posts and got off one round of random ballista fire across the aft bow of the ship, but were quickly beset upon by the animated grapples a couple of rounds after the grapples had secured the ships.

Todd’s fighter and Eric’s barbarian went to the other ship and attacked the golem and a summoned dire wolf. Their captain/spellcaster cast spells from behind the opaque sphere. Roy’s witch was invaluable when he dispelled both the Resilient Sphere around Doug’s alchemist (or Doug would have been out of the fight), and when he also Dispelled the Confusion on the Barbarian (which could have sent the battle in an entirely different direction). We destroyed one of the grapples when Doug was able to blast it with bombs, but lost 4 of the Hobgoblin marines in the process (they could not overcome the hardness). Todd and Eric (and Doug) were able to take out the figurehead golem as well, and the party closed on the spellcaster. After a round or so of combat in the Obscurrring Mist Roy had put up, the caster asked to Parley, but the party cut him down anyway. The party is turning out to be quite the bloodthirsty pirates.

After the fight, 4 more of the other ship’s crew was discovered and they quickly surrendered and agreed to crew your ship if you would let them. We have yet to go through the spoils and treasure.

Both ships were damaged in the fight. Our ship from the grapples and from Doug’s bombs, their ship from Doug’s bombs and Jeff’s Druids spells. We will go over the damage later.

Fight in the streets (7-13-14)
Misty nights

(Missing this evening were Jeff and Todd)

After investigating the garrison, the party had recovered the wizard’s body and decided to salvage the catapult. The salvage operation was done over the next couple of days, making sure to only work during the day, and being cautious not to go below decks of the wrecked ship. You did have to pull your own ship alongside it to make the transfer.

During the salvage, you noticed that a group of people on the island entered the garrison that you had just explored the day before. Roy’s witch went to talk to them. The witch wasn’t much of a conversationalist, but did notice that there were around half a dozen or so of the other group (only one came out to talk, a female, fighter-type). They asked about the wizard, and about what had happened to the ship in the cove, and the garrison. Not much info was traded and Roy went back to our own ship.

After the recovery, some of your hobgoblin crew asked to take the long way around the island so they could visit relatives working in the red cabbage fields on the East side of A’Val. You all agreed and set sail, hugging the coast. You noticed a series of caves large enough to fit galleons further North around the island, and at the halfway point noticed that most of the island’s vegetation had been burned away (from the Green Fire). It was just starting to grow back and recover.

Around the Eastern part of the Isle, you made port for a day at Cabbage Crack, one of the other, smaller settlements on the Isle. Cabbage Crack is mostly a farming community for Red Cabbages, which are transported down to Freeport. While in the small port, some of the hobgoblin crew went off, and came back later (drunk), ready to move on. You then set sail for the city of Freeport. In all it took about 4 days to get around the Island from the cove, going the long way (so about 5 days to circumvent the entire island).

Once back in Freeport, you paid your docking fees, and took the body of the wizard and his journal back to the Wizard’s Guild to report your findings. On the way through the twisted streets of the city, the party was stopped by the same woman fighter from the garrison that Roy’s witch had talked to. She blocked your way, and things rapidly escalated into a street fight. Almost immediately, it was apparent that she wasn’t alone. From out of the shadows, and from around the corners of buildings, their party came out. They had: her as a fighter, another male fighter, an archer from down one of the side streets, a halfling rogue, a dwarf cleric and a human wizard. The fight raged over a large area of streets, with various spell effects forcing movement in different ways (Silence, Obscurring Mist), and people trying for different positioning. Eventually, most of them were killed, but their wizard escaped. The Witch followed (flying), but when it was obvious their wizard couldn’t just run, he turned and caught the witch in a Web. Instead of killing the entangled witch, the wizard decided to make good his escape.

The party regrouped and took the body on to the Wizard’s Guild. They were thanked and paid for services and were told that if the Guild had any future jobs, your names would be high on the list of possible employees.

At one point, the navigator you had employed a few weeks back came to the ship with the charts you had left (the ones that seemed erroneous and non-sensical). The navigator had discovered that the star charts actually were accurate, provided you were out among them, instead of on the ocean under them. Looking up from the perspective of a ship, the star charts were useless, but from the heavens themselves, the charts made sense. The navigator had no idea how that might be possible.

Assault on the Wizard's Garrison (6-29-14)
wasps and stings

The party was resting onboard their ship, after just hiring the hobgoblin crew, when the ship was approached by a man claiming to be in the employ of the wizard’s guild of Freeport. The party had come to the attention of the guild after the events of Swagfest. The guild did some checking and discovered that you had a ship and would seem to fit their needs.
The envoy to the guild explained that the wizard’s guild maintains a watch point garrison on the Northwest side of the main isle (A’Val) of the Serpent’s teeth, in a cove under the morning shadow of the island’s volcanoe. A wizard is currently stationed there doing research on the incident of the Green Flames from a few years back. That wizard has recently gone out of communication, and the Guild wants you to investigate and find out what happened and if he is still there or not. All of their scrying of the tower has produced no useful information, and the wizard himself is not showing up in the scrying attempts.

The party agreed to the task (for the fee), and set sail. It is just over a day’s journey, sailing along the Western coast up from Freeport. On the way, you pass the island’s crematorium, in the strait between the main Isle and the Western Isle (Windward). As you approached the cove where the garrison is located, you noticed a half-sunken ship in the cove off a few hundred yards from the shore. The garrison at the distance looks deserted and as if it had suffered some structural damage. You decided to investigate the sunken wreck first.

The party pulled alongside in one of their smaller transport boats and boarded the listing vessel. There was a large hole in the starboard side under the water line, and most of the ship looks like it was scorched and burned (possibly by Fireballs). There were no bodies on the main deck. The ship did not seem to have a name. A few of the party (Todd’s fighter and Eric’s Barbarian, and Neal’s Monk/cleric) went below decks, while most stayed on the main deck. The second deck down was 2/3’s underwater. Floating in the water in the second deck were some of the remains of the ship’s crew. The bodies had been burned to death, and were currently little more than skeletons, as the local fishes have been eating them for about a week. Todd went into the water and swam down to the 3rd deck, which was entirely underwater. More bodies were found, and at this point, the Fighter was attacked by Shadows. In the darkness, and underwater, the Shadows had a substantial advantage, especially once they drained most of Todd’s strength. Todd swam out of the damaged section and to the surface outside the ship. The Shadows moved up through the decking and began attacking Eric. Neal quickly exited up to the main deck. Eric took some strength loss, and also retreated. The Shadows did not follow anyone into the sunlight.

The party then rested the night, Restored lost ability points and decided to investigate the stronghold. The Garrison itself was a small, walled structure, with two towers overlooking the cove and the ocean beyond. Around the tower closer to the shore, at the top giant wasps could be seen to have a nest. They were flying in and out. (One of them had flow out over the ocean and attacked the Flying witch, but it was quickly shot down and it drowned). The party cautiously entered the garrison, under the wasp’s nest, as it was high enough that just moving around did not seem to disturb the wasps. A quick check of the first level did not find anything, but (I forget who) one of you decided to attack a wasp, and so they attacked the party. Most of the party was able to hold the entryway into the keep, but a few of the wasps tore holes in the thatch roof over the central keep and got in behind the front lines. A large wasp joined the fight. Most of the wasps were killed and when the largest was killed, the others seemed to lose interest and flew off.

In the wasp’s nest, you found a rune-covered, flat crystal that radiated of conjuration magic. In the main building, you found an unstoppered iron flask covered in magical runes, and apparently damaged. (It was later determined to be an Efreeti Bottle, but see next).

In the basement of the garrison, you found a large sarcophagus and when it was opened, everyone was transported to a pocket dimension containing large floating boulders that were chained together. You were almost immediately attacked by a previously invisible, enraged Efreet, who started casting Scorching Rays at the party. The two main fighters jumped to the closest rock and engaged in melee, but were pinned down in a Wall of Fire. Both of them hit the Efreet, and did substantial damage. Jeff’s Druid jumped to another boulder which had the corpse of the wizard, and threatened to destroy the crystal. The Efreet immediately started to charge at the Druid, but was cut down by the Fighter and the Barbarian. The Efreet fell off into the void.

The body of the Wizard was recovered, along with his journal. The remnants of the wizard’s journal, in which he recorded that he had seen an unusual amount of shipping activity from the past few weeks, from what looked like military vessels going around the island. Apparently, one of them had come in to the cove, and attacked the garrison, at which point the wizard released the Efreet on them. It sank their ship, but then turned and attacked the garrison. The wizard was able to recapture the Efreet in the pocket dimension, but was not able to get the crystal “key” to get back out, and the Efreet killed him. The party later came in with the key.

In the aftermath, the party recovered on their ship in the cove and decided to salvage the remaining light catapult from the wrecked ship.

Swagfest (6-15-2014)
A break in the adventure

In attendance for the evening were Eric, Doug, Roy, and Neal, so we ran a short, interlude adventure.

While the new crew was preparing the ship and getting settled in, the party went out into the streets around the dock and followed a large crowd gathering in one of the open areas. As it turns out, the day is an annual festival called Swagfest which celebrates founding of Freeport by the first couple of pirate captains (Drac and Francisco).

The party arrived early with most of the crowd and all were greeted by one of the pirate captains who took center stage. As the party was listening to the introductory speech, they noticed a cloaked woman approaching the back of the stage who started to draw a dagger with the apparent intent to kill the speaker. The heroes jumped into action, casting spells to draw attention to her and hold her in place. Eric’s barbarian disarmed her before she could break the hold and when she did, she bolted and tried to run away. The party pusued, but she was able to make it to the docks and into the ocean and got away. The party did recover her dagger which turned out to be magical (+2).

After the disruption, the festivities resumed, as the ale arrived and the games were on. One of the games was a re-inactment of a famous stand by Captain Drac against a dozen fish men (sahaugin). In the game a contestant is tied to a pole to represent Drac tied to the mast of his ship as 12 of the fishmen attack. Everyone who wanted to participate was given padded weapons. The contestant who knocked out the most (or the first to knock out all 12) wins the day. Eric’s Barbarian stepped up to the challenge. At first the attackers only came in 1 or 2 at a time, but then started in as groups. Eric held his own, but started to go down in hps. He Raged about 1/2 way through and then used action points (all 3!) to get uses of great cleave to hit multiple opponents. Eric won the day, knocking out all 12, with a healthy dozen or so hp remaining. For his efforts, his prize was a 100 gp gem. (Neal used a healing burst to revive all those who were unconscious)

Drinking and festivities continued into the afternoon.

As the afternoon wore on, the last of the larger events was held. A large dire rat was tosed into the crowd, with the first person to bring it back (alive) to win. Kind of like a more dangerous greased pig contest. The rat ran off into the city streets, with the crowd and the PCs in pursuit (except for Doug, who couldn’t keep the pace). As the rat got further away, most of the crowd dropped out, until the PCs remained. Part of that had to do with the rat running into Scurvytown.

Eventually, the party saw the rat run into the basement of a deserted building. Neal’s monk was the first one inside to explore. He found the basement stairs and went down to discover a web-covered cellar, containing the now-web-cocooned rat, and a half dozen likewise entrapped townsfolk. Neal’s monk was asked to leave by the large, human-headed spider. When Neal started yelling for help, the thing attacked, with webs and spells.

The barbarian was the next to arrive, but did very little in the fight as he was Held, and couldn’t make the save for multiple rounds, and when he did, the sorcerous spider, recast and held him again. The witch made it down and the fight was really on. The three party members were ultimately successful in killing the spider thing, freeing the townsfolk, and retrieving the already trussed-up rat. They returned to the docks, and were hailed as champions of the festival.

Everyone partied like it was GenCon.

The Pirate Church (5-18 & 6-1-2014)
Delivering the goods

Upon arriving in Freeport, the party decided to go straight to the Pirate God’s Church (the Goddess is Besmara). The structure is actually a ship that was hauled into the city early in its history, and then converted into a Church. You were met at the church by Father Peg-leg who is the cleric in charge, and the only cleric there that you can see.
He gratefully accepted the delivery of the Eye of the Dragon and went and placed it into the eye socket of a large sea turtle statue in an adjoining room. You then went back into the main room when you heard a loud crash from the statue. Quickly investigating, you found the statue on its side and saw the hole in the wall from a Passwall spell close down. Both of the Eyes were now missing. A few of the party rushed out and around the building, but in the busy city streets, did not see anyone running away by the time you got there.

Inside the church, Father Pegleg asked that you help recover the Eyes (again). Roy’s witch scoffed at the idea of helping without the promise of reimbursement, but other members of the party decided to help anyway. As you started to ask the cleric about where to start, you were shown a vision (Pegleg said from Besmara herself) of some caverns under a warehouse where a ritual was taking place. Father Pegleg recognized it and said that you should go there and recover the gems.

At the warehouse, there was no security outside, but inside you encountered 5 guards among the crates, boxes, and supplies. After dispatching the guards and searching around, you found some tracks that lead to a trapdoor under a crate that went down into the caverns under the warehouse. You went down.

The caverns were not very extensive. The rope ladder came down into another storeroom of sorts with a few items (rope, tools, etc), but nothing of interest. The corridor lead off in only one direction. A short distance away, you found an intersection. To the right was another storeroom containing foodstuffs, garments, and the like. To the left was a small bedroom/office space with a single bunk. Searching the space you found notes on rituals and some suspicious cult references. One of the books might have some monetary value to a collector.

At this point, you could start to hear chanting coming from further down the passage. On investigating, you came into a large carvern-like room with about a dozen cultists performing some kind of ritual over a crude stone altar with the two Eyes of the Dragon on it. The fight started when you went in. Todd rushed immediately to the altar going around the surprised cultists and grabbed up the two gems. His interruption altered the course of the ritual. The fight kept going both in the main room and in the hallway, as a quasit had invisibly followed you to this point. After three rounds, the broken ritual manifested a mass of ooze with eyes and mouths and tentacles just above the altar.

This is where we had to break for the week.
When we came back the next session, we resumed the fight. Most of the fight was pretty standard, but a few points were of note.

During the fight, a couple of the cultists shapechanged into the serpantfolk you have already fought (on board your ship). The cultists looked just as surprised to see them as you were. The lead wizard at one point Dimension doored into the corridor behind you taking a couple of his guards with him to block your escape with the gems.
No one attacked the ooze-thing, but it seemed to lash out at whoever was nearby, actually killing at least one of the cultists. After a number of rounds, it vanished again (toward the end of the fight).

In the corridor, Eric’s barbarian had charged in on the Wizard by himself, while everyone else was having a hard time getting around the guards. Eventually, the guards were killed, but the barbarian was in bad shape. The wizard chose to flee up the ladder, with the barbarian a few steps behind him. Jeff’s druid had cast a flaming sphere in the previous rounds and send it up the chute, burning the ladder to ash and dropping the now-unconscious (the sphere took him down, and the fall didn’t help) barbarian back into the room. Roy’s witch flew up after the wizard who was now back in the warehouse. The wizard hit the witch with a couple of Scorching Rays and Roy decided on the better part of valor and turned invisible. The wizard also invisibled and then fled the scene.

The remaining guards below were slain, and the altar room searched. The last of the cultists was actually killed, apparently by the last of the serpentfolk. The serpentfolk got away somehow. In the altar, you found a secret panel which contained a broken compass and some navigational charts, most of which seemed incoherent, but one which would guide you back to the Isle of Dread.

You were able to use some of the rope in the caverns to get back up into the warehouse and from there return the gems to Father Pegleg. He rewarded each of the party with a special coin (a blessing from Besmara), except for Roy, who he gave some gold. Each of the special coins has a different on-time power that can be used.

After your tribulations, you returned to your ship and spent the next few days recovering and trying to hire a crew. It seems that since your arrival, rumors of your ship have been spreading the docks. The claims are various about being captained by demons and being haunted, etc. Effectively, no one seems to want to hire on at this point.

While on your ship one day a halfling approached and introduced himself as Flynn. He noted that you were having a hard time getting a crew and offered to purchase your ship (at about 1/3 its cost). You declined the offer, and he made some casual insinuations that you would continue to have trouble getting a crew. Investigating him later, you learned that Flynn is one of the merchants/head of a thieve’s guilds in Freeport.

After a few more days with no luck getting a crew, your ship was approached by a small gang of hobgoblins who offered to man the ship at the going rates. After some debate among the party, it was decided to crew the ship with the hobgoblins.

This is where we ended for the evening.


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