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 Its eyes have been replaced by fake ones made of gold.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) Int: -2 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) Space/Reach: 10'/5' 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 Organization: Solitary Challenge Rating: 10 Treasure: None Alignment: Neutral (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.
Today's session was quick and combat heavy. Last time we found the party at the Inn. Turning in for the night. They were awoken by a servant boy. Freaking out yelling that the village is under attack. The party gears up and goes outside. They see an orange bridge made out of light. That has formed between the island and the island across the straights. An army of Dracotaurs is forming up to cross. Mean while advanced troops have already arrived on the island. Occupying the light house. (Which is more or less a step pyramid. With light reflecting mechanism.) With what appears to be their leader on the top of the light house. A Black Dragon (a young adult black dragon to be exact).
The village Chief tells the group. That the light house is an ancient weapon. If they can get to the top and figure it out. They can use it to fight off the invasion.
So the battle begins. They first engage three dracotaurs on the way to the light house. They quickly learn to close to melee quickly to prevent the dracotaurs from spiting globs of fire at them. They then battle two dracotaurs, and a 4th lvl barbarian dracotaur on the first tier. They quickly defeat them. They then move to engage the 4 regular dracotaurs on the second tier. The kill these then proceed to the third tier. Which is guarded by two 4th lvl barbarian dracotaurs. (They sounded like the Bart and Gurnie characters from the Bob and Tom morning show. A little inside joke for the group. Which they all enjoyed.)
Then came the final battle. They reached the top of the lighthouse. They exchanged banter for a moment. The dragon saying something along the lines of "You must be strong to make it this far. But it ends here. Mothers plan to rule the world is unstoppable."
They then fight. It went quicker than I expected. If I had it to do over I would have done some things a little differently. I don't think I really used the dragon to the best of its abilities. But next I'll know better! The dragon opened in traditional fashion with a breath weapon attack. then proceeded with bite, claw, and so on. I didn't bother to use any spells. As they only have a smattering of first level poop at that level. Its natural attacks were/are far more potent.
Well they of course defeat the dragon. Then they turn their attention to the light house mechanism. Gaylen makes a successful general knowledge roll. Figuring out how to use the light house. He directs the others. The barbarian brothers utilise their strength to open up the iris of the mechanism. While Gaylen and Hudson aim the reflector. A great beam of energy surges from it. Destroying the bridge. Depositing the dracotaurs not burned up to the sea.
Having destroyed the invasion. They reset the mechanism. Being of the blood thirsty variety. They carve up the dragons hide. So they can have it made into armor. They then meet with the overjoyed villagers. Teh plantation owners and shop keeps reward the characters for defending their island. They receive a necklace of fireballs, a headband of minor blasting, two ioun stones, Quaals feather token, healing potion, and a duck call. I think that kind of a lot of stuff. But I figured that they wont be getting much in the future. Not to mention the kind of are getting jipped on the dragons treasure.
The town asks them where they are going next. Then say "The Black Isles". They are then told that no one goes their. That no ship will take them. Hudson hears some one say "I know a way." Then someone else says shut up, don't tell them. They tell the person to speak up. He says the Dock of the Dead on the other side of the ocean. The Black Ferry will take them. Then the crowd pipes up again. Telling them that no one returns from the Black Isles.
So next time to the Dock of the Dead, and into the black.
I'm sure you folks out there is intarweb land have heard the news. Gary Gygax the father of the RPG industry has passed away. Sad day indeed. I would like to thank him for creating something that has meant a lot to me. Giving me years of memories, and fun to cherish. Along with many more to come. Thank you, Gary. You'll be sorely missed.
The gladiator arena went well. I think the group had a lot of fun with it. After the end part of the island adventures. I was going to just have the group return to Sandpoint. But I think now I will have the group return to Erlands Keep. For more arena fun. This time though I think it needs to be a team battle. Rather a series of team battles. So they can bet on battles too. As I think that was a fun element as well.
Well we played as per usual. The last series of adventures I didn't do an actual play log/review. As I was using modules and such. That and quite frankly I was a little burned out doing the reviews. But now, we have started the part of the campaign that is all my creation. So with no further ado...
Of Keys and Islands We picked up where we left off at Sandpoint. The characters reunited with Hudson the master thrower. They then sought out a ship to take them to their next destination, Erlands Keep. Erlands Keep is an island about a week and a half's journey north into the sea.
Well they finally find a ship willing to take them. They negotiate a price, and actually save some gold on the deal. (Phineas, actually had a really good diplomacy roll) Well they were a couple days into the journey when they were attacked by pirates. They spotted a ship with black sails, which promptly intercepted them. Their was a limited exchange between the ships ballistas, and catapults. The ships then grappled and the pirates invaded their ship. The group fought a variety of evil humaniods. Goblins, hobgoblins, bugbeears, orcs, gnolls, and ogres. They successfully and quickly fought them off.
The rest of the journey was pretty uneventful, finally reaching Erlands Keep. Erlands Keep is basically a small island consisting of a small mountain. The Keep its self is carved out of the mountain. With a small walled off area, protecting the entrance to the keep. Outside the wall is a town composed of shacks, shanties, and tents. A den of scoundrels, pirates and thieves. The dwarves have very little to do with the town. They protect their interests. (The docks, the keep, and shipping.) Other than that the town is on its own.
Any ways the characters arrive here. They immediately head for the center of town, where the action is. As they do. They see a huge earth elemental walk out of the ocean. It starts to smash tents, and shacks. Sifting though the ruins. Looking for something. Well being of the heroic sort. They attack the elemental. It is a long battle. At first the elemental ignored them, continuing its search. But annoyed by their attacks it starts to fight them directly. Hudson didn't engage the elemental. He went looking for help. He found a Skullcrusher Ogre named Grunt. He immediately flailed his way through the crowd running from the elemental. Helping the characters fight the elemental. They damage it a great deal. It (the elemental) finally decides to retreat. They characters (the barbarian brothers, in particular) strike the final blows. Killing it. It collapses in to the surf in a heap.
They are surrounded by grateful folks. They inquire about how they can make some money. As they will need gold to buy passage to the next island. (The Suzes Island) It is suggested to them. Being as powerful as they are that they try their hand at the arena. Before they go though. They are approached by a half elf named Kiev. He asks them to deliver a package to the Suzes Island. He promises them 500 gold pieces on delivery. He gives them a potion of cure moderate wounds as a gesture of good faith. He tells them to meet a contact. At thepig rock hill when they arrive at the islands. They then go to the arena. There is one slot left open. Barnaby volunteers to fight in the arena. The only rules to the arena are this. No throwing the match, no healing between rounds, and no spells/potions. Other than that anything goes.
The brackets shake out like this. Barnaby (3rd lvl barbarian/3rd lvl fighter)[odds 2-1] vs. Kutter (regular, goblin)[2-1] Sark (3rd lvl Darfellan, barbarian)[3-1] vs. Fitz (4th lvl Ork barbarian)[2-1] Bansh (3rd lvl Hadozee, ranger)[2-1] vs. Bark (2nd lvl Gnoll, Ranger)[3-1] Steeb (3rd lvl Human Fighter)[3-1] vs. Grunt (Skullcrusher Ogre)[2-1]
The other characters bet on the fights and the results are pretty much what is expected. Their were varying odds on the fighters as well.
The winners were, Barnaby Fitz Bansh Grunt
The battles outside of the players was decided like so. A 1d4 was rolled for each fighter the highest roll won the match. Ties were rerolled till a winner was found. Then a d4 for was rolled to see how many times the winner was struck in the fight. Then a d6 was rolled for each hit. This damage was taken off the fighters remaining hit points.
The next battles were, Barnaby [2-1] vs. Fitz [3-1] Bansh [3-1] vs. Grunt [2-1]
The winners were, Barnaby Bansh (Who was a supprise winner. One of the players had bet on Bansh and made out well.)
It was down to Barnaby [2-1] and Bansh [3-1]. Barnaby made quick work of the Hadozee ranger.
He won the grand prize, 2000 gold pieces. They then found lodging for the night. At the best "Inn" they could find. I use that term loosely as it was a wooden shack. The next day they booked passage with a ship to the Suzes Islands. This time they were not very successful at negotiating with them. Paying full asking price.
They have a very uneventful journey the seas are a little rough. But not to bad. They arrive at the Suzes Islands. It is a tropical island. Primarily consisting of different grasses. The main export is sugar. As there are large sugar cane plantations here. As they pull up to the docks. They see a large stepped circular pyramid. Which at the top has a bright light shining in all directions. Its referred to as the light house. Its an ancient fixture. That no one remembers the origin of. As they depart the boat they encounter the primary race on the island. The "Wild Elves". Imagine skinny native Hawaiians, with pointy ears and blond hair. They welcome them with flower leas. As they approach the village a leopard charges them. The villagers seem indifferent to it. Saying things like "Shoo!", "Go, away". Talking to it like it was a house cat. Well as the cat charges, the druid Gaylen casts charm animal on it. Immediately befriending it.
Well being mid day they ask of the location of the pig rock hill. They are told where to find it, and head their immediately. To meet the contact. The pig rock hill is a large hill that had several large rock formations protruding from the earth. The natives carved them into giant pig statues. Their they find a short man in a hooded cloak. He is half goblin, half red dragon. They quickly exchange their items. The players giving him the gems. While he gives them a sack of 500 gold pieces. He then turns from them walking away. Suddenly his cloak turns into a set of bat wings and he flies off. As he does this. From behind some rocks two Dracotaurs, reveal themselves and attack. The group battles them defeating them. They then return to the town. Where they talk about eh dracotaurs in the inn. They are told that the dracotaurs live on the island across the straights. That occasionally a couple will find their way across and attack. But they never have been able to cross en,mass. The characters then go to bed for the night. This is where we ended the session for today.
I am thought to be exiled gentry, a vagabond, a scandalous rogue, a troubadour, armchair tactician, amateur grifter, self taught mechanic, would be author, adventurer, rogue scholar, traveler of strange lands, and an all round near do well.