Into the Black
Last we left our intrepid hero's. They had just found out that they was a ship on the other side of the island that will take them to the Black Isles. Well they immediately set across the island to reach this boat. They traveled over the tropical island. Past the sugar cane fields, bamboo groves, and grassy fields. Finally coming down to the opposite shore. In the distance on the ocean the skies turn from bright blue. To a hazy gray, black. A cobble stone path leads down to a stone archway. the archway leads to a stone dock. All around the archway, the plants are dead and brown. To add to the evil, dead, feeling a corpse lies next to the archway. The characters come down to the archway. Phineas notices a slip of paper sticking out of the corpses pocket. He removes it to find part of a decoder of a strange language. (I would put it here. But blogger defies me!) Its this point that the characters step onto the dock. A viking long boat rises from the water. This damp and moldy hull is attached by a harness to a large white draft horse. This horse is dripping wet, draped with sea weed.
They board the ship. As the last character gets on. The horse starts to trot. Walking on water so to speak. It pulls it at a brisk pace. They quickly enter a thick dark, dense fog. They finally arrive at a stone dock at one of the Black Isles. Gaylen casts a light spell. Which pierces the fog lighting up a small area.
Before them is a great stair case carved into the cliff. They walk up it to the top which is a small outcropping. From it leads rope bridges one on each side. Everything enshrouded in fog. Long story short they travel through a maze of rope bridges. From out cropping to outcropping. Some of the outcroppings have ruins on them. Most of the outcroppings are guarded by Kuo-Toa. Each encounter was a different mix of regular Kuo-Toa, 3rd lvl clerics (Whips), and 8th lvl Kuo-Toa fighters. (Although in hind site I did mess up. The 8th lvl fighters should of had multiple attacks, besides the additional bite attack. But next time, eh?) Phineas in one of these combats got to try out one of his new bear warrior transformation abilities. Which was pretty cool. Anyways they made their way through the maze. Ending up at a tunnel entrance. On each side of the tunnels mouth are stairs carved into the stone. On a ledge directly above the tunnel. Is a zombie that is crucified. Its eyes have been replaced by fake ones made of gold. Well the characters cut the gold eyes out of the zombie. While doing this they find an envelope, in the zombies pocket. They open it to find another piece of the strange language decoder.
They then set up camp for the night. Which is a relative concept here. Since it is always dark and so densely foggy. During the "night" they are attacked by a small group of Kuo-Toa. Which they make quick work of. They finish the night. Then proceed into the tunnel.
They come to the first room honed out of the rock. A 20x30 affair, occupied by 6 warriors. They cut through their ranks quickly. They move ahead the tunnels split right, left, and straight ahead. The travel straight ahead into a 30x30 room. They are attacked by three clerics. They quickly kill them off. (Which unbeknownst (sp?) to them were building up to a lightning bolt attack. Oh, well.)
Again they move forward. Into a circular room containing a fountain. This fountains has strange characters, and images carved into it. It does appear that it contains water. Barnaby goes back and fetches one of the cleric corpses. Throwing it in the fountain. Nothing seems to happen. Although it does appear to contain saltwater.
They continue north (forward) coming to a four way intersection. Again they proceed forward. (Which not coincidentally is the direction the key points) They enter a large room. The walls contain carvings of strange creatures, and people. In the center is a viking long boat made out of stone. Resting in a pool of red. They are attacked by four clerics, yelling something at them in a language they don't understand. They attack two on each side. So the barbarian brothers attack/defend one side. The other side is defended by Gaylen the druid and his bear companion. They defeat them. (Although it takes Gaylen a little longer than the barbarians. Go figure.) They now get a better look at the long boat. In the center near the mast is a statue of what appears to be a bearded human carrying a great club. At his feet lies another statue this one of an attractive human woman armed with a dagger. They find nothing of value though.
At the back of the room is an intersection. They proceed like the rest moving north/forward. They travel down a short tunnel. That opens up into a huge room. As they enter a giant slab of stone slides down behind them. The other doors leading out seemed to be blocked by stone as well. Except in front of them is a gigantic set of wooden double doors. Above them is a small balcony.
From this balcony a Kuo-Toa steps forward. He yells down to the characters. Speaking in common. He says to them "You must be very strong to have made it this far. But this is far as you will travel. My child is hungry, and you will be a perfect meal." (Or something to that effect anyway.) :-)
The double doors open and out walks a Juvenile Siege Crab. (I created this creature as I wanted to use a siege crab. But CR14 was just to much for them.)
Siege Crab, Juvenile
Vermin, Huge, Aquatic
Hd: 15d8+100 (167 Hp)
Speed: 60' (12 squares), Swim 60'
AC: AC: 24 (size -2, Dex -2, +13 Natural, +5 Deflection)AC: 24, Touch: 11, Flat-footed: 24
Base Attack/Grapple: +11/+26
Attack: Claw +16 melee (2d6+7)
Full Attack: 4 Claws +16 melee (2d6+7)
Special Attacks: Constrict 2d6+7, improved grab, Trample 2d6+10
Special Qualities: Amphibious, Damage Reduction 5/-, Darkvision 60', Vermin traits
Saves: Fort +22, Ref +8, Will +10
Abilities: Str 25, Dex 6, Con 16, Int -, Wis 10, Cha 2
Skills: +10 Swim
Feats: Cleave, Great Cleave, Power Attack
Environment: Warm Aquatic
Challenge Rating: 10
(This is a creature I created, with some help fine tuning it from Graham, The Chatty DM, and Dave the Game. All of whom I would like to thank for their help.)
Well a tumultuous battle erupts. The barbarians pulled out all the stops, rage, bulls strength, and etc. It was a challenging fight. That nearly spelled ruin for the characters. But they emerged victorious. They even chased off the Kuo-Toa on the balcony. This is where we ended the session.
Next week, On to the Black Isle of the Dead
The Business of Beheadings, Talking Corpses, Algohorror - How the Real Madame Tussaud Built a Business Out of Beheadings (Betsy Golden Kellem, *Atlas Obscura*) How 'Talking' Corpses Were Once Used to Solve Murder...
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