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.