Here be Pirates

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Arriving at Freeport
(addendum information)

You gather along the ship’s rail to get your first look at Freeport. After all of the stories of the notorious pirate city, it seems smaller than you expected, but you can see from the variety of ships at anchor that its reputation for being a place where anything goes is well deserved. A tall, elegant elven clipper is docked just yards from a squat and deadly looking orc privateer. As your ship gets closer to the dockside you can see members of almost every race you have ever heard of among the sailors and merchants going about their business.
“A brave sight it be, aye?” You try not to jump as Captain Fletcher materializes beside you. He heaves a deep sigh, and wipes an insubstantial tear away with one lace cuff.
“I never thought to see Freeport again,” he says, “but here we be, safe and sound. Now all that be left to do is to convey the gem to th’ Pirate God’s templeā€¦ along w’ me bones, o’ course, and our association be ended. I shall go to my much-deserved rest, while ye, me good mates, go on to lead happy and prosperous lives. Perhaps at the last, which I trust, be many years hence, we shall meet again, and tip back some fine ale together o’er the grand adventures we’ve shared.”
Captain Fletcher turns his attention to the city. “See yon building, far to the larboard end o’ the piers there?” he continues. "That be the left-hand side to ye land lubbers. That grand establishment be the Last Resort, said ta be the finest lodgings in Freeport. Forgive me for saying that ye’ll look a bit rougher than the usual mugs they git, but with some coin and a bit o’ luck, I reckon they’ll let you stay fer a while. Away on the starboard side o’town be Scurytown, and well named it be, at that. I’ve toasted the spoils and drunk away me sorrows many a time after some daring exploit in tha end o’ town. Perhaps when ye’ve the time ye’ll visit the Chumhouse. There it be, on the end o’ the pier there, an’ drink t’ th’ fond memory o’ old Ned Fletcher. Have a care fer yer valuables there, though, fer it draws all manner o’scurvy bilge rats to it.
"And that be Freeport in a bottle, mates. Merchants with thar wealth at th’ one end, and rogues w’ their daggers a’ th’ other. Them walls in the middlebe the Old City, where the Captain’s Council be, and well placed they are, ha’ way between the merchants and the cut throats.
“Now, the temple o’ the God o’ th’ Pirates be in th’ temple district, as ye might expect, and th’ be behind th’ Merchant District. See the Last Resort? th’ grand hotel I pointed out t’ye? Starting from there, ye goes more or less nor’east through the Merchant District, wit’ all its big, fancy houses, fer a little under ha’ a mile. Ye’ll be able t’ tell when ye come to th’ Temple District. The Temple o’ the Pirate God’ll be about th’ first one ye’ll come to that way. Easy enough to spot, it be, for it ‘ll have the Jolly Rodger a’ grinning down above it. I’ll meet ye there. Best that I don’ go wit’ ye through th’ city proper. A gentleman in me condition might draw unwelcome attention.”

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Pirate Attack (5-4-2014)
fight on the decks

The Blue Ray was on its way to the city of Freeport,.

A few days after the serpent attack, the crew seemed unsettled and called the acting captain (Neal’s character) down to the crew quarters. One of the crewmen was dead in his bunk. A search revealed that a posioned dagger had been placed beneath his hammock so that when he laid down, it stabbed him and ultimately killed him. The poison was the same type as from the serpent bites. Not having much else to go on, people went back about their jobs.

It was about this time that the watch crew in the crow’s nest directed you to the horizon. In the distance, behind you, you spotted another ship. After a day, it was obvious that the ship was following you and in fact gaining on you.
The party decided to keep going instead of returning to the Isle of Dread. The other ship continued to close. A few preparations were made.

The other ship was a smaller, single masted caravel which pulled up parallel to your ship a few hundred yards off the port. They then raised the jolly roger and started to close. In the three rounds before the ships came together, a few ranged weapons were fired, but none hit at that distance with the cover. Two previously invisible, flying wizards sent fireballs into your ship’s rigging and downed a number of your crew. Your first mate was at the helm and failed his maneuver checks to try to out maneuver the other ships, given his skill and the damage.

The two ships came together, side by side and the pirate ship lowered a series of grappling planks onto yours and they boarded across the planks and by swinging over on ropes. The fight then raged across the decks. Eric’s barabarian was towards the forecastle, Todd’s fighter was on the main deck, and everyone else was on the portcastle. The leader of the pirates came across, saying that your lives would be spared if you surrendered. Of course, the party elected to fight. It was a bloody and long fight. The pirate captain repeated his offer (more than once), but everyone kept fighting. About half of your crew stayed below decks. Most were killed. A number of the raiding pirates were killed. The fight turned against you slightly when the wizards cast Haste on the raiders.

The barbarian ended up on the other ship before he went down. Later, Roy’s witch was able to get to him and heal him (to stabilize) and then fly him back to your own ship.

Eventually, the pirate captain was killed and the rest of the crew started to retreat to their own ship and break off. Neither of the wizards had been hurt much at all (both had Protection from Arrows, and other defenses up), so they were still flying around targeting what they could.

As the remaining pirates started to get their own ship going, Todd’s fighter jumped to their ship and basically tried to parley with one of the wizards, who was at the helm at that time. The parley fell through when Doug’s alchemist threw his last bomb at the wizard. Both wizards then attacked Todd’s fighter and took him down into negatives. At this point the ships were drifting apart. The witch was able to get in and recover the fighter before the two ships got too far from each other.

Both ships limped away from the fight. Theirs for lack of a crew, yours for lack of a crew and damage to the rigging.

As their ship faded to the horizon, you continued on to Freeport with the remaining crew still alive. In addition to the party, you have 10 crewmen, and the first mate. To fully run the ship requires 20 crew.

We will pick up from there when next we meet.

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The Eye of the Dragon (4-6-2014)
recovered treasure

Back in the lair of the Sahaugin:
The party had just come up out of the water into the chamber as a Serpent person was finishing a summoning ritual for an undead/demon creature.
The party went in for the fight and ultimately killed both the serpent person and the summoned evil. In the Serpent’s hands you found both the Eye of the Dragon (the gem that captain Fletcher asked you to recover and return to the Temple in Freeport) and a wavy green dagger (the Emerald Dagger).
You returned to the ship and with the gem and the bones of the captain and crew who died, sailed weakly around the coast. Without a full crew, the ship was difficult to manage, but you made it to the small city at the Southern end of the Isle of Dread (for which the Captain supplied a map). In the city, after a week or more, you were able to fill out the crew with some new recruits, and identify the Emerald Dagger.

The Dagger is plus 2, and can enhance some knowledge checks and aid in Summoning spells, as well as use a poison damage attack (plus 1d6 damage) 3/day. The sage who identified the blade said it was an evil, nasty blade.
The Gem radiated a weak level of Divination magics.

Jeff’s character got the dagger. Neal’s character carries the gem.

The ship then set sail for Freeport. A few days into the journey, Todd’s character was on deck late at night when a couple of the crewmen changed shape into serpent people and attacked. Most other party members were in their quarters or scattered around the Ray in various places.

Below decks, in the fore castle room, Neal and Doug were attacked by serpent people. They hissed that they wanted the gem and when you didn’t give it up, they attacked. Doug did a lot of fire damage and eventually with the help of the rest of the party filtering in from other areas or their own fights, all of the serpent people were killed. A number of party members were poisoned (either by the bite attacks or by poison on the blades of the snakes). As it turns out, none of the crew you hired were serpent people, they had apparently snuck on board and assumed crew appearances to get in close before attacking.

This is where we ended.

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The Fish men lair (3-23-2014)
underwater combat

After agreeing to help Captain Fletcher, he supplied the party with potions of water breathing (one per person) and directed you to a partially submerged cave entrance off of the cove.
The party took one of the two dingys from the Blue Ray and went to the cave. Inside, the first chamber was guarded by a 5 sahaugin and their pet grindylows. The party was successful in destroying all of them.
After the first chamber, the party found the chamber with the bones of the fallen crew from the Ray. In the refuse room, the party was attacked by a group of aquatic serpents (actually minor aquatic dragons), but were successful in destroying all of them and recovering the gnawed bones of the crew and captain. Since these were the only two rooms above water, the party returned to the ship to recover and wait a day before going deeper into the lair.
While waiting on the Ray that evening, some of the party saw a huge Tyranosaurus cross by in the near jungle just off of the cove. It did not venture out into the water, and we didn’t go after it.
The next day, again at low tide, the party went into the sahaugin’s lair once more.
All of the remaining passages went under the water into the caves, so the group downed their potions and went swimming (all except Doug’s alchemist, who spit his back up for use later).
In the first entirely underwater room, there were 4 large, 4-armed sahaugin, who attacked when the party entered. A hail of stones from Jeff’s druid and an Obscurring mist slowed combat down a little, but three of the fish-men were killed. One escaped to warn the other denizens of the lair.
Following the one out eventually lead the party to a side chamber with the leader of the sahaugin, a fish-woman cleric, and her pet, an enlarged grindylow that could swallow people whole. The sahaugin that had escaped from the previous battle was also there. The fight took place mostly in the opening between the hallway and the chamber. Once the big grindylow was killed, the fish-woman wasn’t as much of a challenge. You did recover a magic harpoon from her that would return to the thrower after each use.
Continuing to explore the lair lead the party to another side chamber off the other side of the corridors. This chamber is a little higher than the others, and as the party comes up into it, it is an air-filled room only partially submerged.
As the party rises up out of the water into the room, you see a snake-like humanoid finishing a spell/ritual in front of a serpent altar. The snake-human holds a fist sized green sapphire in one hand (the Eye of the Dragon described by Cap’n Fletcher) and a wavy green dagger in the other.
The air in the chamber shivers and distorts as the ritual finishes and something evil seems to flood the room.
This is where we will resume next session.

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Off the 1st Island (3-9-2014)
going a-rafting

After resting, the party went back up to the top of the small island and tried again to get into the dome, but only briefly, as Eric’s barbarian lost yet another weapon against the clockwork construct. The party again retreated and went exploring in the cave-like opening on the other side of the ruins.
In the small cave, the party was attacked by two Gibbering mothers, one from the front and one from the back of the adventuring line-up. Todd’s fighter went down from a badly thrown bomb from the alchemist, and Eric’s barbarian held the front while the rest of the party concentrated on the Mouther at he back. The party prevailed and in the small cave (which was the Hag’s lair), they found a few items and the Swan maiden’s feathered cloak.
After returning the cloak to her, she told the party about a raft that they could use to get off of the island, and when they could do it. The island apparently takes a circuitous route through the ocean, but at one point comes close to another, larger island that the party could try to get to.
On the appointed day, the party set off on the raft. With them were the few remaining crew from the original ship and its first mate.
As they were on their journey, the raft was attacked by a group of Sharks in the open waters, but the Sharks were either killed or driven off. No crewmen were lost.
After a couple of days, a large, mist-shrouded region appeared and the raft was drawn by the currents into it. Coming out the other side, you saw the next large Island, and from you direction, a small galleon anchored in a cove.
Approaching the galleon cautiously (the name on the side is the Blue Ray), the party did not see any one aboard.
On board, there were no crew, and an exploration of the ship did not turn up anyone, but you did discover that there seems to have been a fight on board, and it seems to have occurred recently.
Suddenly, the incorporeal ghost of the Captain (Ned Fletcher) appeared and introduced himself. There had been a fight on board that took the lives of the crew and captain. “Fish men” (Sahaugin) had attacked and killed or taken to be eaten the crew. The ship was left anchored, possibly as bait to bring in unwary explorers or scavengers. The captain asked for your help in recovering two things: his bones for a proper burial and the Eye of the Dragon, a large gem the captain says he was supposed to recover and take back to the Church of the Pirate God in Freeport.
Since Freeport was your original destination and you craved adventure, you all agreed to the task.

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