ACT 1: Smuggler’s Shiv
Session 1: Shipwrecked! [Apr 9, 2020]
In the crowded docks of the bustling port city of Rizzi, a handful of passengers line up to board the merchant vessel, the Jenivere. The ship prepares for its continuing voyage from far eastern Mekphatis to the former colony, Viana on the western shores of the Dragon Peninsula. There are a number of interesting people lining up to board this vessel.
We first meet an intrepid minor nobleman from Loyolla, named Lox Blenderbottom. A sire of the Blenderbottom trade network working out of the small city of Servel in the wild forests of Loyolla. His family has been slowly growing their business empire in Loyolla and beyond, but the family’s enterprise has fallen short since the tragic disappearance of family’s leaders many years ago. Lox, blessed with traces of Nomen heritage, is a practiced sorcerer, who studied his innate talents under the famed sorcerer, Shin Fane. Lox is now seeking to find the whereabouts of his missing parents in Viana.
Next, we meet Flax Pinebriar, a fit and hardy half-elf warrior who travels with his younger, naive brother, a half-orc named Ginkgo. The two adopted brothers, both raised by a family of pixies and other fey creatures in the depths of the forest, now seek out their third brother, a dwarf named Bracken, in the colony of Viana, where he is rumored to have traveled in search of wealth and fame.
Next, we meet a hulking Noradrie warrior, a warpriest of the mighty God of Courage, Hethroth. His name is Hiorvard Tjorvisson and he is currently serving as a mercenary and bodyguard to the older Migaran merchant, Rambar Torillo, who also boards the boat with stacks of numerous wares. Hiorvard seeks only battle and the chance to prove himself for the glory of Hethroth and his village.
Last on board is Gor Ponga, of the international trade network, the Ponganese Trading Company, based in Ashara, Eshlien. Gor, an elf, serves as the Chief of Geological Prospecting and Mineral Acquisitions for the extensive merchant family. He is a well-practiced scholar and alchemist looking to assess a number of sites for mines in the region outside of the city of Viana. He also is quite eager to check out the ancient Xaya ruins in the area while he is there.
The first few days on the boat are rather quiet and peaceful, as everyone gets used to being in tight quarters with each other. Captain Alizandru Kovack and his first mate, Alton Devers, then invite all the passengers together for a meal in the ship’s galley. Captain Kovack is a boistrous, but friendly man. His first mate is quiet and calm. We then meet a few more passengers who were already on board the ship.
Aerys Mavato is a severe half-elf woman. Although quite beautiful in appearance, she seems to try and hide this fact and doesn’t appreciate the attention of men. She is often seen scribbling into her notebook, although she rarely left her tiny quarters the entire trip.
Next is, Gelik Aberwhinge, a sharply dressed gnome from Elmo. Gelik spends much of his time writing in the ships’ common areas, and takes every opportunity to tell long-winded stories, boast of past journeys, or quip about anything in his field of view.
The next passenger, is a painfully shy and bookish Astonian scholar named Ieana. Ieana is traveling to Viana to explore the ancient ruins there. Rumors aboard the ship alternately suggest that she’s the Jenivere’s owner, a Kalruan agent, or Captain Kovack’s secret lover. Ieana, however, keeps mostly to herself, and grows more intent on her studies with each mile the ship travels closer to Viana.
Next is Eilaf, a scruffy human of Noradrie heritage. Eilaf boarded at Korratus and waits to reach Viana with a quiet eagerness. Aloof and perhaps somewhat rude, he gives the impression of one who has had a hard life but finds himself currently without direction. He mentions of settling the last of his debts.
The next passenger is Sasha Nevah, a red-haired human who boarded the Jenivere in Korenhold. Over the trip, the woman’s somber demeanor has gradually faded, revealing a boisterous and optimistic personality. She is missing her left pinky finger and mentions something about her mother cutting it off.
The last passenger at the meal is Rambar Torillo, an up-and-coming merchant from Rizzi who hopes his new business venture, a plantation in Viana, will be his ticket to wealth and success. He seems desperate to make lucrative contracts with the other merchants on board.
During the joint meal, the passengers also learn that the Jenivere picked up a prisoner that sits in the brig. Hiorvard heads down there one evening to chat with the prisoner. His name is Jask Derindi and he is a Selicean accountant from Viana. He claims he was framed for treason and fled Viana nearly ten years ago, but has just recently been found again and caught. He awaits punishment and likely death when the Jenivere reaches Viana.
Everyone has a reasonably enjoyable trip over the many days the Jenivere sails the wide oceans of the Inner Sea towards Viana. Captain Kovack then calls for another dinner with all the passengers as the ship gets closer to Viana. However, as everyone begins to eat the meal, they suddenly feel nauseous and sick, their heads spin and everything goes dark.
Hiorvard awakens on a strange beach as a large crustacean, a eurypterid, bites at his leg. He immediately begins attacking the creature, both with his magic and pummeling it with his fists. Lox then awakens and blasts one of the other giant eurypterids. Gor rushes to a pile of items, mixes a quick alchemical mixture, and throws an alchemist’s fire at the third creature. Flax then grabs his sword and cuts the beast in half. The first creature then flees into the ocean.
As everyone awakens, they find that almost all the passengers are accounted for, strangely dragged onto the beach. All their belongings, too, have been brought up on the beach. There are many missing people from the Jenivere, however, including: Captain Kovack, First Mate Devers, the ship’s cook, all the ship’s ten crew members, Ieana the scholar, the half-orc Ginkgo, and the merchant Rambar. Flax screams out for his missing brother, but sees nothing. He does see the Jenivere, broken and shattered on the rocky shores to the north.
Hiorvard, Flax, Gor, and Lox head towards the ship as Aerys, Galik, Sasha, Eliaf, and Jask try to shake off the strange sickness affecting everyone. Hiorvard and Flax bravely climb the high cliffs near the broken ship and then leap into the violent waters to climb onto the vessel. Lox and Gor watch from ashore. The two warriors first find the broken remnants of one of the lifeboats, tied to the Jenivere. Someone must have used it recently.
Hiorvard and Flax then search the remains of the vessel, finding ample amounts of food in the larder and important camping supplies in the supply room. They also find the corpse of the cook in the larder, though they did not examine it closely. They then find Alton Dever’s corpse in the supply room, he seems to have been stabbed by a rapier, but then succumbed to eurypterid venom.
Flax and Hiorvard load up the remaining life boat with the supplies and Hiorvard lowers Flax and the boat into the waters. Flax then manages to ride boat through the violent waves to the beach where the other passengers awaken. Hiorvard then explores the captain’s cabin, finding important maps and charts, various items and trinkets, and the captain’s log. Hiorvard then expertly swims back to Lox and Gor, and they all return to the others.
The group of survivors then prepare a campsite, using the supplies they found, stringing the canvases between the trees in the nearby jungle and clearing underbrush with the shovels. As the late afternoon hits, rain pours down upon the island and everyone huddles under the shelter. During this time, the survivors figure out they are on the island known as Smuggler’s Shiv. A dangerous island known to house numerous shipwrecks, as its rocky coasts draw in dangerous waves. Most ships steer clear of the island and it has failed to be settled numerous times. Additionally, the heroes read Captain Kovack’s log and it seems he was slowly possessed by madness. He seemingly was in love with Ieana and grew possessive of her. Then by her request, he steered the Jeniver towards Smuggler’s Shiv on purpose, hoping to start a new life with her there. He then mentions “something must be done about the crew” in his last entry. He also mentions suspecting his first mate of being in love with her as well.
The survivors then begin to realize that it was likely Alton Devers who carried each of them to shore and safety. And perhaps it was the Captain who stabbed him in the wreckage, out of jealousy. Now, both Captain Kovack and Ieana are missing.
The survivors then allocate duties, deciding that Flax, Lox, Hiorvard, and Gor should explore the island, while Aerys serves as a guard, Gelik provides camp entertainment, Eilaf serves as a camp defender, Jask serves as a medic, and Sasha hunts and gathers for food and water.
The group chats much throughout the night and Hiorvard is able to get on Jask’s good side after vouching for his right to be unchained. Jask then mentions that it is likely that there is a ship, named the Brine Demon that wrecked on the island. It was commanded by Captain Kinkarian, a pirate from the Fire Islands, and a member of the conspiracy that framed Jask. Jask asks the explorers to find the Brine Demon and they may find proof of his innocence.
The survivors then get some sleep and prepare for another hot and arduous day surviving on Smuggler’s Shiv.
Session 2: Dinosaurs, Snakes, and Zombies! Oh My! [Apr 16, 2020]
The intrepid survivors rest the night away. Over the night, Hiorvard sees some strange glowing light in the surf and suspects it to be a phosphorescent algae in the water. Additionally, Lox has a horrible nightmare where he relives the shipwreck of the Jenivere in an abstract form and awakens to the sharp sting of a nightmare eurypterid.
The heroes prepare themselves for the day of exploration, and Lox, Flax, Gor, and Hiorvard head out into the wilds, following the tall rocky cliffside on the northern shore of Smuggler’s Shiv. After a few hours of hiking along the shoreline, they see a ruined ship wrecked along the rocks to the north. They decide to ignore it and press on. Then a short while later, they come to the end of the western cliffs where they find a nest of flying pterosaurs, specifically dimophodons.
The heroes choose to avoid these flying beasts and instead head back towards camp. As they do so, they are accosted by a large black-scaled snake, a black mamba. It coils up on its hind and leaps upon Hiorvard, biting into his arm. The wound is so painful that Hiorvard falls to the ground unconscious, as the venom pumps into his blood. Flax leaps at the snake and hacks it with his sword. Gor then rushes to Hiorvard and heals him with a powerful alchemical elixir. Lox then blasts the snake with magical bolts of energy, felling it.
The heroes are able to patch up Hiorvard somewhat and they return to camp. Jask tends to Hiorvard’s wounds and the heroes chat a short while with the others at camp. They then decide to return to the wilds, this time heading east along the cliffs.
They pass another dimorphodon’s nest and choose to sneak their way through the nearby jungle instead of upsetting the creatures. The heroes then follow the cliffs down the southeast shoreline where they find another ship wreckage. This time the heroes climb down the rocky trails towards the ruined vessel. As they reach the rocky beach, the afternoon torrential rain falls upon them and they rush towards the vessel to seek cover.
The four heroes huddle in the ruins of the overturned ship, the hot steamy air clinging to them, and a foul odor emanates into their nostrils. They then hear the shuffling of humanoid forms in the darkness, moving towards them. They turn to see four bloated corpses, zombies reaching for them hungrily. Flax calls for a retreat and flips out into the rain and readies his sword to strike and cover his friends’ exits. Gor then throws a burning bomb upon the creatures, blasting it with fire and setting it aflame. Lox rushes out into the rain and throws a ball of fire to a zombie inside. Hiorvard then bravely brandishes his axe and cuts down three of the zombies with furious slices. Soon the zombies are chopped to pieces and the heroes spend the rest of the rainy afternoon huddled in the malodorous wreckage.
After the rain ceases and evening draws near, the heroes continue southward along the coast. They soon come across another sandy beach, a small cove like the one they had awoken upon. They climb down to the campsite and find the remains of a makeshift shelter, a neat pile of firewood, and a burned out campfire. With some more searching, the heroes find Captain Kovack’s tri-corner hat and a few bright-colored scarves that belonged to Ieana. The heroes determine that Ieana and the Captain likely stayed here last night. The heroes also find vague remnants of tracks that lead on into the jungles to the south. They decide to follow the tracks and head deeper into the think jungle foliage.
After a mile of following the vague tracks in the wet soil, they come across a small waterfall and a flowing stream. The tracks seem to disappear into the flowing water and the heroes cannot ascertain where they went from there. With the sun sinking, the heroes decide to head back to the camp, follow the same path they took. Before long the four of them are gathered with the other five survivors.
For the next couple hours as the sun sets, the heroes chat with their fellow survivors and get to know them better. They eventually get on friendly terms with each of them.
Aerys confides that she is an alcoholic and desperately needs something to drink. However, she notes that the island may contain some rare viper nettle berries that are known to be a good cure for any addiction. She mentions an epic poem that she working on, but won’t say more at this time. She says that she was heading to Viana to secure employment on a pirate vessel, as she has always dreamed of having her own ship someday.
Gelik explains that he had to flee Elmo because he was caught trying to sell fake Arathian artifacts. He also lost his station with the Historical Society. However, he tells a tale of a Historical Society ship called the Nightvoice, that had ventured to the farthest reaches of the known world. THe ship had sent word via magic that it was returning to Viana shortly, but it never arrived. This was many years ago, and Gelik believes that the Nightvoice might have shipwrecked on Smuggler’s Shiv. If the heroes were able to retrieve the ship’s ledger, it would greatly restore his status with the Historical Society should they ever return to Viana. Gelik was originally heading to Viana to try and restore his status by exploring the Xaya ruins there.
Eilaf does say too much. But he elaborates that when he was a boy, his family sold him to the Ariana Consortium, a power, and seedy trade empire that spans the known world. He worked as a mercenary for the Consortium all his life to pay off his family’s debts. He was heading to Viana to sign the final contract confirming that his debts had been paid. He then mentions that after he paid off his debts, he intended to come to Smuggler’s Shiv anyway and seek out an old pirate treasure that was buried there. He suggests they retrieve the treasure while they are here. He shows the heroes the map and asks them to bring him along when they are ready to seek it out.
Jask mentions how he had no interest in going to Viana as he was likely to be hung for treason. However, he reiterates that if they can find the Brine Demon, which is rumored to have crashed on Smuggler’s Shiv, he may be able to find proof of his innocence and restore his good name with the Viana Government.
Sasha opens up as well. She explains how her mother is an influential member of the Crimson Blades, the notorious assassins guild. The Crimson Blades are known as ruthless killers, always willing to kill for coin, no questions asked. Sasha explains how her mother cut off her pinky finger for defying her as a child. Now, her mother has lost patience with her, since Sasha has made it clear she does not want to be an assassin. Her mother has given her one last chance to prove herself, with some sort of assignment in Viana. Hence, Sasha seems delighted to be stranded on Smuggler’s Shiv, away from her forced duties. She expresses her interest in animals and asks the heroes to find a baby dimorphodon in the jungle so that she can raise it as a pet.
The heroes then head to sleep for the night. During the long nightwatch, Gor and Eilaf see more than just the usual glowing surf of phosphorescent algae, they see a glowing humanoid form in the water. The two head out to the shoreline and peer in the water. The see a ghostly form reaching towards the surface at them, desperate to escape their watery doom. However, the ghost eventually fades away. Likewise, Flax has an awful dream that involved eating a meal on the Jenivere, but finding a horrid snake in her soup that bit her tongue.
The next day, the heroes prepare for another foray into the wild jungles of Smuggler’s Shiv…
Session 3: Omens of Darkness [Apr 23, 2020]
The intrepid survivors welcome a new day upon the island of Smuggler’s Shiv. Lox, Flax, Gor, and Hiorvard head out to explore more of the surrounding jungles. They head back the way they had gone the previous day, hoping to find more signs of Captain Kovack and Ieana’s trek. They reach the point where the two stream join. They find no more additional signs of the Captain and Ieana, but they do find a large patch of viper nettles. The tall herbaceous plants each have numerous blood-red six-inch thorns. In the center of the patch is an outcropping of the plant’s bitter red berries. Knowing that these berries could help Aerys with her alcoholism, the explorers try to devise a way to reach them. However, after much discussion, they decide to leave the berries for the time being.
The explorers then decide to follow the south-heading joined-stream, which follows the descending terrain into a small rocky cove down at the eastern shore of the island. As the explorers walk out onto the rocks, they see another large ship cast upon the jagged shore. Much like the others, this ship will never sail again. However, the explorers note that the visage of a large demon is exposed upon the boat’s front. They believe the ship to be the one Jask had mentioned, the Brine Demon, the ship of Captain Kinkarian, a pirate of the Fire Islands.
The explorers step into the ruined vessel to search for any signs of useful equipment. Hiorvard slams the door to the captain’s quarters open and finds nothing more than a ruined desk. There is a skeleton drapped over the desk clutching at a small wooden coffer that has been seemingly extracted from a secret compartment in the desk’s drawer. The explorers find the coffer to be locked and Flax expertly picks at it until it opens. Inside they find a few small coins; a black, curved dagger; a small elixir; and a golden heart-shaped locket. Inside the locket is a tiny picture of a beauty half-elven woman with red hair, the name “Aeshamara” is etched inside. Hiorvard then finds in another drawer of the desk, numerous ledgers and journals of Captain Kinkarian. He takes them, suspecting that these are the accounts that could help Jask prove his innocence.
The explorers leave the ruined ship behind and head west into the thicker jungles as the land rises back upwards. The explorers then find a wayward boot-print left in a spot of mud, believing it to belong to Captain Kovack. The continue through the hot and humid foliage as the sun ascends. Sweat drips from their brows as they press on. They then come across a muddy game trail heading perpendicular to their heading. It seems poorly used but does suggest that someone had made this trail and kept it somewhat clear from being overtaken by the jungle flora.
The explorers decide to follow the trail to the south where the land rises up gently. However, before they get very far, Hiorvard’s boot is snagged on a crude twine stretched over the game trail. Immediately, a number of crude stone spears falls upon the explorers, scratching them up but thankfully not impaling them. Additionally, Hiorvard finds he is lucky to have not caught his foot in the snare or he would have been pulled into the trees by his foot where more spikes awaited him.
The explorers grow a bit worried at these traps, but continue onward towards the end of the trail. They find themselves atop a high cliffside that overlooks a salty channel separating another part of the island. The southern outreach stands high, with a large looming mountain that bares would looks like red rock upon its peak. Also, near the cliff’s edge is a lone shack that seems to have been left unfinished. There is a pentagram scrawled into the side of the crude wooden planks. The explorers enter the shack and find a rusty, faded-blood colored pentagram upon the wall and numerous human teeth pressed into the wooden planks of the wall.
The explorers fill quite wary of their recent discovery, and head back north to find the grove of berries. The eventually construct a crude walkway of broken branches and logs to traverse across the thorny plants. They are able to successfully gather numerous handfuls of the soft, red berries. The explorers then continue back as the heavy afternoon rains descend upon the island. They decide to try and steal a baby dimorphodon for Sasha from the nest on the way back.
Hiorvard throws a mighty javelin at one of the adult beasts, but it only causes them to scatter and descend upon the explorers. The battle is quick and soon the adult dimorphodons are felled and the explorers are able to return to camp with two little babies.
There is much chatter and celebration as the explorers return to camp. Sasha is overjoyed with her two new dimorphodon pets and Jask is perhaps more joyful as he begins to comb through Captain Kinkarian’s accounts to find proof of his innocence. Aerys eagerly eats handfuls of the viper nettle berries, despite their bitter taste. She immediately seems to relax as her symptoms are reduced.
The survivors then head of to sleep and set the night watch.
Session 4: Hillside View [May 3rd, 2020]
The intrepid survivors find the night relatively uneventful, at least until just an hour before sunrise. Flax and Eilaf stand watch late into the night and see more of the phosphorescent algae floating in the surf. They think they see another humanoid form in the water. Eilaf hangs back as Flax steps up and looks into the water. He then sees a ghostly form of a pirate captain step out of the water and charge towards him.
Flax calls out for help as the ghost let’s out a baleful moan that sends Eilaf fleeing into the jungles. The other survivors wake up to the sounds and charge out to help. The ghostly captain is recognized as Captain Kinkarian of the Brine Demon. He keeps screaming for Flax to “give it back” as he laments his lost Aeshamara. Hiorvard suggests the captain may be looking for his lost dagger. Hiorvard, Gor, and Lox move in to aid Flax and together they are able to destroy the ghost quickly.
With morning now upon them, the survivors have a group meeting and decide that the four explorers would pack provision to allow them to stay the nights away from camp. They intend to explore father south and deeper into the island’s interior. The four explorers head out, promising to keep an eye out for the Nightvoice for Gelik and a bare hilltop facing the east where Eilaf’s treasure may be buried.
The explorers follow their previous paths heading far south down to where they found the game trail. They decide to climb the hill eastward, where they are soon accosted by a snake that attacks Flax, but the young warrior quickly dispatches the creature. The explorers then reach a large flat hilltop with a wide view around them. With the two jutted rocks rising out of the sea to the east, the explorers believe this spot to be the treasure site that Eilaf was looking for. The explorers also see a large mountain to the south on another spur of the island on the other side of the channel. The mountain seems to contain exposed red rocks at its peak.
The afternoon rains soon drench the group, but they decide to continue exploring rather than risk shelter in the dangerous shack they found previously. The explorers head back along the game trail, this time following it north and west. They come across another snare trap in the trail’s path and Lox is grab by the snare and pulled into a tree where numerous crude spears impale him. With Lox dying up in the tree, Hiorvard climbs up swiftly and cuts the sorcerer down where they are able to quickly revive him and tend his wounds. The explorers then press on, following the game trail to the northern bay.
The explorers come across a trio of driftwood shacks, mostly ruined and destroyed out on the bay’s sandy coast. They also notice a single humanoid figure standing out near the shacks. Flax and Gor sneak up to the edge of the foliage and look upon the figure. They find it is a rotted corpse, though its body is infused with a snaking vine plant. After much deliberation, Flax charges at the zombie as Gor throws alchemical bombs. They destroy the beast quite quickly. The explorers then search through the driftwood shacks, but find little of interest save a pale remnant of a bloody pentagram on one of the walls.
The explorers head back to the top of the flat hilltop and decide to camp there, hoping to see the rising sun in the morning and pin-point the digging spot for Eilaf’s treasure. As the explorers sit around the camp, they begin to consider the trials and tribulations over the past few days.
ACT 2: Island Exploration
Session 5: Crabs and Fungi [May 13th, 2020]
The intrepid survivors rest for the night on the bald hilltop, hoping to see the sun rise between the rocks and narrow in on the exact spot for Eilaf’s secret treasure. Late in the night, Lox sees the ghostly form of Captain Kinkarian again appear. The ghostly captain charges at Flax demanding for him to “give it back!” Hiorvard, Gor, and Flax try to fight back against the captain, but it seems unaffected by their attacks. Lox then tries to reason with it asking and tries to get the dagger they found in the Brine Demon. Flax then realizes that captain is after the locket he found. He offers the locket to the ghost. The captain takes the locket and seems to be at peace and fades away.
After resting, the survivors find the exact spot and mark it with a hole for the future dig. The survivors then head westward along the game trail to the northern coast, they decide to follow the northern coast westward along the water, hoping to find the Nightvoice. They come across a giant crab’s nest and try to sneak past it. However, Hiorvard unfortunately catches the attention of the beast and it reaches out and grabs him it its massive claw. Flax chops at it as Lox throws spells and Gor throws bombs. Eventually the beast is destroyed and they tend to Hiorvard’s wounds.
The survivors continue onward to the west where they come across small encampment of crude shelters made of driftwood and palm fronds. It looks like the camp has been abandoned for a few years. Gor comes across a rusty dagger that bears a symbol of the Crimson Blades, the notorious assassins cult of the Fire Islands. From this vantage, the survivors see a massive crab off to the west, it is the size of a small house. The survivors approach the crab cautiously, seeing that it is likely dead. However, as they get closer its claws strike out up and down, smacking Lox and Hiorvard.
The survivors then learn that the giant crab is being manipulated by someone inside. Lox and Gor manage to talk the person down and an old sun-baked man comes out asking if they are figments of his imagination. He names himself as Pezock and invites them into his giant crab home. They share a meal of smoked fish as Pezock explains that he has been on the island for a few years and has slowly lost his mind, talking to imaginary people. He does explain that there are very dangerous people on the island as well, he calls them the flesh-eaters, and says that he saw them took some people likely from the Jenivere’s shipwreck. Pezock also saw Captian Kovack and Ieana walk through the jungles towards the south and the camp of the flesh-eaters.
The survivors say farewell to Pezock, who seems content to live in his crab, and head westward. They find that the tide has dropped low and there is now a path of rocks to the smaller island to the northwest. The survivors cross the rocks onto an island, travel around it, and head towards another smaller island to the north. The northern island seems bleak and gray, covered in a strange fungus. As the survivors climb onto the fungal island, they find it completely silent, covered in strange fungal “plants”. The survivors continue northward where they find a shipwreck cast upon the rocks. They get closer to the ship and find it matches the description of the Nightvoice from Galik.
There are numerous strands of fungus that span from the rocky, fungal island to the ship, which is covered in the fungus as well. The survivors climb across the fungal ropes and head onto the ship. They head into the captain’s quarters and find a dusty log in the desk. It seems near indecipherable now. The survivors decide to head back to the bald hilltop to rest for the night and explore the rest of the ship another time. On their way back, they survivors are attacked by a two fungal humanoids.
The survivors dispatch them quickly, but Lox is infected by poisonous spores. The survivors treat their wounds and continue on, making it all the way back to the bald hilltop by nightfall. Over the night, Gor deciphers the log from the Nightvoice, and find it has the names that Galik is looking for. Additionally, it tells a tale of the Captain of the Nightvoice trying to be rid of a strange fungal pod they found far to the south. The captain intentionally crashed the Nightvoice on Smuggler’s Shiv as the fungus overtook his ship, he wanted to spare the continent from the strange pod. In his last entry, the captain says he is bringing the pod to a cave on the eastern end of the small island to keep it away from the world.
The survivors rest for the night and discuss their endeavors for the next day.
Session 6: Treasure and the Watching Eyes [May 21st, 2020]
The survivors rest for the night on the bald hilltop. Over the course of the night, Hiorvard sees glowing red eyes in the distance, hidden among the jungle flora. He does not see a creature or anything dangerous, but the eyes watch him for some time. When the eyes disappear, he hears the sounds of large flapping wings. The next morning, as the explorers head out, they find a few corpses of small monkeys hanging on a tree near where Hiorvard saw the red eyes. The monkeys had been completely drained of blood.
The explorers head back the long established path back to the base camp of the other survivors. They arrive sometime after noon and they chat with Eilaf and tell the aged Noradrie warrior that it is time to dig up the treasure. They return to the bald hill, arriving some time in the evening with the shovels from camp. They begin digging at the spot, slowly excavating a wide hole. The eventually come across the skeleton of a dwarf wearing some ragged and ruined leather armor. They take it as a sign that they are in the right spot and continue until they reach some sort of wooden platform.
After much discussion, the survivors decide to tie a rope to the wooden plug and pull it open, worried that there may be a long shaft beneath it. With much pull, primarily by Hiorvard and Eilaf, the wooden plug is removed and a deep shaft is exposed. A foul smell emanates from the dark shaft that descends into darkness. The walls are composed of mud and a rotted wood scaffolding. Hiorvard drops a torch tied to a rope and reveals water about 40 feet below. Eilaf volunteers to descend on a rope down into shaft. At the water, the rope grows short and he drops into the water, keeping his hand around the rope as he feels for something below the water’s surface. However, Eilaf seems to be pulled below the water and disappears.
Unsure of what happened to Eilaf, Hiorvard throws a javelin down into the water and Lox summons a swarm of frogs. Neither of these approaches seem effective. Then, a humanoid monstrous creature climbs out of the shaft quickly and slashes at the others with yellowed sharp claws. Lox blasts it with magic and makes some distance. Flax and Hiorvard charge at the monster as Gor throws bombs and fires crossbow bolts at it. They identify it as some sort of undead ghoul that the pirate, Captain Quilling, must have trapped down there intentionally to guard his treasure. Eilaf scrambles trying to get out of the water but eventually grabs the rope and begins to climb.
The second ghoul climbs out going up and attacking Flax, who takes a nasty bite in his neck. The others then fell the beast before it can do anymore harm. Flax begins to feel quite woozy and Gor determines that his friend has succumbed to ghoul fever, and is slowly becoming a ghoul himself. They decide to treat the disease later that night. In the meantime, Eilaf returns to the water and disappears for at least 5 minutes. Hiorvard and the others grow suspicious and Hiorvard climbs down after him. He downs a potion of water breathing and gills sprout on his neck. He then plunges into the water and finds a small tunnel that leads into a carved out chamber with a stale pocket of air. In the dark chamber, he finds Eilaf squatting near a large air-tight chest. Eilaf explains that the chest is locked and he needs help.
The two burly Noradrie manage to pull the chest through the water, tie it to a rope, and are able to pull it up out of the shaft. Flax then expertly picks the lock on the chest and they open it to reveal the grand treasures of Captain Quilling. They find hundreds of coins, of gold, silver, and copper. They also find a small bag of gems, a magical sword, and a magical potion that can give life to the dead. Gor identifies the sword, it is a famed weapon wielded by the early crusaders of Korenell, called Judicator. Eilaf takes the small pouch of gems as his share of the treasure and thanks the explorers again for their help.
The five of them rest the night on the bald hill. In the night, Gor sees the red eyes and hears the flapping wings again. But cannot see the creature in full. The explorers then all return to the base camp and convince the others to pack up and move the camp to the bald hill. They all arrive that evening and set up a new camp on the defensible hill top. The exposed hill offers the occasional cool breeze that is quite the respite from the hot, humid jungles near the beach. Everyone rests for the night, but during the watch, Hiorvard and Jask hear the flapping sound again, as if a large creature was flying overhead. Then something falls into the camp, right into the smoldering campfire. It is the blood-drained body of a small goat.
Session 7: Fungus Island [Jun 19th, 2020]
The survivors spend much time discussing their next move as they awaken the next morning to cooked goat. There is some concern about what caused the blood-drained goat to drop within their camp, but for now, it is an easy source of food. The four explorers decide to return to the fungus island and continue exploring the rest of the Nightvoice and then look for the cavern in which Captain Quelling wrote about.
The journey to the northwest portion of the island is uneventful. However, when Lox, Flax, Hiorvard, and Gor reach the shores, they find the tide is still quite high and presents a more dangerous path to the smaller islands. The explorers decide to wait for an hour or two, having a pleasant lunch by the shore, until the tide recedes and the path across the rocks is clear. The explorers cross the many rocks onto the smaller island. They then cross the second path to the shores of the fungal island.
The explorers head immediately to the wreckage of the Nightvoice, crossing the chasm from the cliffside to the ship lodge upon the rocks via the numerous fungal ropes that stretch from the island. Upon reaching the wrecked ship, the explorers head down into the storage hold where a fungus-covered door blocks their path. Hiorvard kicks the door open and reveals a large cargo hold. There are numerous piles of skeletons covered in fungal growths and three vegepygmies that charge at them. One of them is much larger than the other two and wields a mighty greatsword.
Hiorvard and Flax hold the line as Gor throws bombs and Lox throws spells from the rear. The vegepygmies blast the area with a cloud of spores that conceals much of the combat, but the explorers are victorious and the vegepygmies are quickly defeated. The explorers gather the many treasures of the ship and Hiorvard dons a new set of plate armor. The explorers then leave the wrecked ship and cross back over to the fungal island.
The explorers cross the islands silent interior as they make their way to the cavern on the eastern side, mentioned by Captain Quilling in his log. They soon find a spike of rock jutting off the shore with numerous fungal ropes stretching out to it. The explorers bravely cross the ropes, with Lox nearly falling, but he managed to save himself and continue. On the top of the rock spire they find large cavern. Inside the dark recess they find numerous hanging threads of fungus and on the far wall is a skeleton embedded into the wall covered in a darker violet fungus. It writhes and moans as it leaps out sending a sticky tentacle of fungus at Hiorvard.
The Noradrie warrior is inflicted by the poisonous touch as Flax moves in to hack at the creature. Hiorvard hacks at it as well, trying to overcome the poisonous spores in his body. With Lox’s spells and Gor’s bombs, the heroes are able to fell the great creature. Gor then treats Hiorvard before he succumbs to the deadly poison. As the creature is felled, the explorers notice that the fungus begins to quickly decay and turn into a brown sludge. They quickly cross back to the island before the fungal ropes decay where they find that the fungus is dying everywhere with the felling of its source.
The heroes hear the sound of birds chirping as they cross the barren island and return to the shores of Smuggler’s Shiv proper. They head back towards camp as the sun begins to dip low. When they reach the crossroads of the hunting trails, they are ambushed by three angry cannibals. They manage to fell two of them quickly and subdue the last one. They find they cannot speak the language the cannibal uses, so Hiorvard knocks him out and they take the unconscious man with them to the camp.
When the heroes return to camp, they find that the other survivors had been attacked by the cannibals, but managed to scare them off. Hiorvard awakens the prisoner, hoping to get some information. Gelik recognizes the language as a strange and old dialect of Toldan, a language of Kalrua. However, the prisoner seems little more than a feral animal as he curses and promises death upon his captors. The heroes decide to let the man go as they talk with the other survivors and decide what to next. There is much fear and trepidation now that night has fallen and the cannibals are certain to know where there camp lies.
Session 8: The Dryad [Jul 23th, 2020]
The survivors spend a fretful night worried about more cannibal attacks. However, no attack comes and they awaken the next morning to prepare for another expedition into the island. Lox, Gor, Flax, and Hiorvard head back across the island, following along the northern coast to the northwestern extent. They then head south along the western coast. They find little more than broken shipwrecks. The explorers eventually come across a quiet bay that has a crude tangle of ropes that climb up to the cliff above.
Hiorvard bravely climbs up to the top of the cliffside and finds another hunting trail. The rest of the explorers join Hiorvard, although Lox nearly falls and gains some minor injuries. The explorers decide to follow the waters and head to the south through the thick jungle. They are accosted by two giant spiders that strike at Hiorvard and Lox. Lox takes a nasty bite and nearly succumbs to the venom. Flax slams one of the spiders with such a devastating blow with Judicator that the spider explodes into icky bits. They then fell the remaining spider and barely save Lox’s life as Gor pours down alchemical concoctions.
The explorers take a long break during the afternoon rains, trying to treat Lox’s injuries, but do not have much luck. Eventually the rains subside and Lox is feeling somewhat better. As the fog and rains die down, they are able to see a massive banyan tree rise above the jungle canopy to the southwest. Flax notes a familiar feeling about the tree, but can’t make out why.
The explorers decide to head towards the massive tree. From the high vantage they see a beautiful sunset descend along the western horizon over the ocean. It is then that they are greeted by Aycenia, a powerful dryad, or tree spirit of the banyan tree.
She greatly thanks the heroes for defeating the foul fungus on the northern island, as she feared the blight would spread across all of Smuggler’s Shiv. In return for their work in defeating the blight, she offers to watch over them when they rest and to heal them with her magic. She even uses her tree stride ability to check in on the other camp of survivors.
She informs them that she has been a resident of the island for many centuries. She watched the Kalruans build the lighthouse in the island’s southwestern corner and then abandon it. She watched another ship wreck upon the shore and over the generations descend into cannibalism. She tells them that most of those that shipwreck on the island are eventually eaten by the cannibals.
She shares much of the island topography with them, pointing out the lighthouse and Red Mountain. She tells them to be wary of the great, foul beast that dwells near Red Mountain, suggesting it may have a draconic nature. She tells of strange ancient ruins upon the island near the mountain that predates her arrival here.
She also tells them that there is a great evil on the island that she believes is responsible for all the shipwrecks and the many tortured souls and ghosts that result from these wrecks. She does not know where it resides, however.
The heroes sleep for the night as Aycenia watches over them. The next morning, they decide to head eastward through the jungle, then from there, follow the cannibal’s hunting trails eastward towards Red Mountain and the ancient ruins. They manage to make great progress, and avoid a few of the cannibal’s traps along the way. They eventually come to a rope bridge that Gor determines is safe to traverse. After they cross the rope bridge, they head up along the switchbacked trail up the mountain side. It is then that they hear the sound of large flapping wings in the jungle nearby as something seems to be approaching.
Session 9: The Chupacabra [Aug 6th, 2020]
Hiorvard, Gor, Lox, and Flax stand shocked as they watch a large winged dragon-like creature fly towards them, it’s gaping maw wide. It grabs Hiovard in its jaw and drains his blood. The beast is a strange winged chupacabra.
The others try to strike at the beast, but realize it may be beyond their skills. Hiorvard falls from numerous claws and bites, then Lox falls as well. They decide to run and Gor sends out his miniature griffon, Griff to distract the chupacabra. Using the extra time, Flax and Gor manage to get Hiorvard and Lox back on their feet and the four of them flee. Through their shared empathic connection, Gor realizes that Griff has been killed by the beast.
The heroes regroup near the rope bridge, trying to decide where they will go next. They go over all that they know about the island, and find that there is likely no way to get off. The decide to return to the camp and see what the other survivors think about the situation. On the way back to camp, they notice an abandoned hut on a hillside. The heroes head up to the hut and find piles of skulls, bones, and other offferings in front of the makeshift building. Gor and Flax sneak into the hut and discover a journal that was likely penned by the captain of the Thrune’s Fang, the ship that brought the people who would become the cannibals to the island.
Through the journal it is clear that this Nylithati brought the crew to cannibalism in just ten years of being stranded on the island. It is also curious as to what immortality does the captain refer.
The heroes take the journal and continue to the camp, passing through a narrow gulge with two 50 foot high cliffs on either side. Hiorvard then trips a trap and three cannibals appear throwing javelins down at the heroes, trapped in the gulge. The heroes blast the cannibals with fire, flasks, and javelins as they try to flee. The cannibals then wield mighty clubs and charge down the hill towards them. Two of the cannibals trip on the way down, but eventually reach Flax, as Lox and Hiorvard try to hold a new line. Flax flees behind the line, blasting them with fire, as Lox does likewise. Gor throws a few well-placed bombs as Hiorvard then cuts the final cannibal’s skull in two.
The heroes treat their wounds as best they can, though Hiovard is finding that Flax’s “natural” remedies tend to do more harm than good. The heroes eventually reach the top of the bald hill in the night. The survivors, especially Eilaf, have built fortifications around the top of the hill, giving them more protection from future attacks. The heroes relate the stories of their travels, and find that little to no activity has passed at the camp. After a long night of rest, the heroes and survivors begin to discuss their plans.
Session 10: The Rescue of Ginkgo [Aug 21st, 2020]
Hiorvard, Gor, Lox, and Flax sit with the other survivors (Gelik, Jask, Sasha, Eilaf, and Aerys). The next morning has come and they feel well rested after their ambush with the cannibals the previous day. After much discussion, the heroes decide to sneak over to the cannibal’s camp near the lighthouse and at least learn how many there are and what resources they might have.
Sasha agrees to accompany the others, since she is well-skilled in stealth and subterfuge. The five of them set out, leaving the others to keep the camp defended and safe. The travelers follow the old hunting trails down to the southwestern portion of the island, taking most of the day to arrive on the rocky peninsula. The heroes sneak into the deep reaches of the jungle and decide to send Gor, Flax, and Sasha into the camp, since they are most skilled in being stealthy. Hiorvard and Lox stay behind.
Gor leads the way, bringing the other two to the edge of the cannibal camp. They see a strange animal pen, except rather than animals, it contains four undead skeletons standing there in foreboding silence. They also see a number of crude buildings all huddled under the tall stone lighthouse. They also see a giant lizard guarding the north path into the camp.
The three sneaks head around to the south end of the camp and can see a campfire in the center of the encampment. There are numerous cannibals playing drums and dancing with their javelins and clubs. They also see a large butchery where many human parts are hung and strewn about two tables. Two butchers hack away at what looks like a human corpse, the tattered clothing of a Jenivere crewman cast aside. In a caged yard near the butchery they also see a lone half-orc tied to a post near a large refuse pit. It is Flax’s lost brother, Ginkgo.
The three return to Hiorvard and Lox in the eastern jungles and discuss a plan to rescue the half-orc, before he is butchered with the rest of the Jenivere’s crew. Sasha and Flax decide to sneak over near Ginkgo while Gor, Hiorvard, and Lox create a distraction on the northeastern side of the camp. Each group gets into position and Lox begins the distraction by blasting the guardian lizard with powerful magical bolts of force.
The lizard rushes at Lox, who is a bit overwhelmed. Gor throws some bombs at it and Hiorvard rushes in to sever its neck with his axe. Soon four cannibals come charging toward them as Gor and Lox manage to flee and hide in the nearby jungle. Hiorvard, however, is forced to face them in hand-to-hand combat. The proud warrior is easily able to hold his shield up and defend against the poorly trained cannibals. Lox and Gor come out to help Hiorvard deal with the threat, all of them not yet sure if they should flee.
Meanwhile, at the southwestern portion of the camp, the two butchers rush out towards the distraction as Sasha and Flax sneak through the smelly refuse pit. They climb up the far wall and enter the slave pen. As Flax approaches the unconscious Ginkgo, he notices that his brother’s legs have both been severed at the knee-caps. Bloody stumps, seared by fire, are all that remain of his legs. Flax gives Ginkgo a healing elixir, awakening him, and unties him. Flax then hoists the young half-orc upon his back and he and Sasha sneak out of the pen, through the refuse pit, and back into the cover of the jungle. The sounds of combat echo off the northern cliffs…
Session 11: Flight of the Rescuers [Sep 17th 2020]
Flax and Sasha rush through the thick jungles, trying to get to the rendezvous point, Ginkgo bouncing on Flax’s back. They hear the sounds of battle off to the north and try to intervene and find their friends.
Meanwhile, Hiorvard holds off four of the cannibals along the northern path, while Gor assists by throwing a few bombs. Lox hides in the nearby foliage, throwing a few spells. The battle takes a dark turn and Hiovard and Gor try to flee down the path to the northeast, leaving Lox somewhat forgotten in the jungle. Four the of the cannibals follow Hiorvard and Gor, but the two butchers head into the jungles, striking at a panicked Lox. Lox blasts them with magic as they hack at him. He then summons a bloodseeker. The giant mosquito-like creature sucks the blood out of one of the cannibals, felling him. The other butcher, however, slays the blood seeker then knocks Lox to the ground. The bucher then hacks at Lox’s unconscious body, trying to get chunks of meat from the sorcerer.
Flax and Sasha then charge into the combat. Flax throws Ginkgo off his shoulders and hacks at the cannibal. Gor and Hiorvard then return, after felling the other four cannibals, and help finish off the last butcher. The team is able to revive Lox and the six of them scurry off along the path away from the cannibal camp. The rescue was a success.
Evening draws near and the sun gets low. As darkness descends over the island of Smuggler’s Shiv, the clear light of the stars twinkle above. However, a few thunderous strikes of lightning crackle somewhere near Red Mountain, despite no clouds hanging in the sky. The heroes have little time to dwell on this mystery as Flax finds them a suitable hiding place to camp and treat their wounds. They rest for the night and head out the next morning to the base camp on top of the bald hill.
The reach the base camp and spend the rest of the day recovering and talking with Ginkgo, learning what few pieces of information the half-orc picked up during his time with the cannibals. He tells them about how he and many of the Jenivere crew tried to build shelters on the western beaches, but were then captured by the cannibals. He watched as each member of the crew was slowly eaten by the cannibals. It seems they were wary of his green-tinted skin and thus only ate his legs to “taste” him. He claims to have seen an old revered woman with the cannibals who spoke to Ieana at some point.
After some discussion, the heroes and the other survivors decide to wage an attack on the remaining cannibals, knowing there to be only a score of so remaining. They pack up the old camp and set out first thing in the morning. They reach the outskirts of the cannibal camp near noon and hide away in the jungles to discuss the attack plan and whether they will send a group of scouts to gather more information before the final attack.
Session 12: Assault on the Cannibal Camp [Oct 15th 2020]
The band of survivors march forward and discuss their plan on the outskirts of the cannibal camp. They really want to send in a scouting party to get more information. They decide to send Sasha, Gor, and Flax into the camp to see how many cannibals remain. However, before the group can split off, they find a young woman rushing towards them.
The woman has white hair and lavender eyes and an unworldly look to her. A dark brown fox runs at her side. She introduces herself as Lelandra and explains that her ship wrecked on the island a week ago and she has been a prisoner of the cannibals since then. The attack on the camp the previous day unintentionally gave Lelandra the opportunity to escape and she had been wandering the jungle through the night.
Lelandra stays back with the other survivors, feasting on much needed food and drink. In the meantime, Sasha, Gor, and Flax search the cannibal camp, discovering only 4-5 cannibals near the camp’s center. They return to the others and they devise a plan to prepare an ambush for the cannibals in the jungles as Lelandra’s fox, named Orin, draws the cannibals to their prepared assault. Orin reluctantly agrees and sets out to draw the cannibals.
Shortly later, a human-form Orin rushes desperately towards the lone of survivors as a large pack of cannibals chase after him. The heroes hold the line and face off against the cannibals in a fierce battle. Lelandra shows off her witch magic as she and Lox blast the cannibals with spells. Gor throws many explosive bombs. Hiorvard, Eilaf, Flax, Sasha, and Aerys strike with their weapons and try to hold the line to protect the others. Gelik recites a poem of triumph during the whole ordeal as Jask abjures protective wards.
The heroes eventually defeat the cannibals with some injuries. Aerys and Sasha are both nearly killed, and a cannibal takes a bite out of Sasha’s arm. But thanks to Lelandra’s healing magic, their lives were saved. The group patches up their wounds as best they can with mundane means and a few of Gor’s elixirs. They then head towards the camp.
Flax, Gor, Lox, Hiorvard, and Lelandra head into the center of the camp, as the others hang back to tend to their wound some more. The heroes find the camp is relatively quiet as they see many of the makeshift huts of the cannibals. However, they then hear the sound of unruly cannibals screaming out threats in a garbled form of the Toldan language. An aged woman steps out with a mighty staff, leading some cannibals and her skeletal minions. The heroes try to hold off the enemies, but soon a door opens and the leader of the cannibals, Klorak the Red makes an appearance and chases Lox away. The cannibal chieftain then slashes at Lelandra.
Things begin to look grim as Gor is knocked down by the cannibals. However, the heroes then hear the sound of Eilaf, Gelik, Sasha, Aerys, and Jask running around the corner to aid them.
Session 13: The Lighthouse and the Cavern [Oct 29th 2020]
The heroes and survivors throws spells and weapons at the final cannibals and their chieftan. Malikadna the witch and her skeleton minions continue to slash at Hiorvard, who continues to hold them off. Klorak charges towards Lelandra and Lox, but Lox confuses the chieftan, and he returns to the others and strikes at Hiorvard.
Flax and Gor both are nearly felled by the witch, but soon the survivors come into help and Aerys strikes at Malikadna. Soon only Klorak remains, but he manages to cut down Hiorvard, Sasha, and Eilaf. In the end, Lelandra manages to hex the chieftan as Lox and Flax blast him with freezing magic, felling him.
With the cannibals defeated, the heroes tend to their wounds and look about the camp. They manage to find a number of magical potions, elixirs, an ancient Xaya battlaxe, named Wyrm’s Fang, and powerful wand. The spend the rest of the day clearing out the bodies and making camp. They then spend the next few days looking into the hole in the center of the camp and repairing the lighthouse mechanisms.
They learn that the cavern below has a side shaft that looks like it was carved out by small clawed hands. They decide to leave it be for now. After four days of work, Gor is able to get the lighthouse working again. They set a regular rotation to ensure a fire is always burning, hoping to attract a rescue ship. The heroes then spend a lot of time in discussion, trying to figure out where to go next. They list a few things that they know.
1) Aycenia the dryad had warned them about an ancient evil somewhere on the island. 2) According to Ginkyo and Lelandra, Ieana came to the cannibal camp and went down into the cavern with a screaming Captain Kovack. She hasn’t been seen since. 3) Strange cloud-less lightning was spotted near Red Mountain a few days ago.
Red Mountain seems to loom on the eastern side of the island, so they decide to head that way to face the winged chupacabra.
Session 14: Altar of Blood & The Cavern of Ghouls [Nov 13th 2020]
The heroes head out across the jungle expanse of Smuggler’s Shiv. By noon, they reach the rope bridge that crosses the deep ravine towards the trail that heads up to the summit of Red Mountain. They are quite cautious, looking for any signs of the winged chupacabra that assaulted them last time. However, things seem quiet and they make their way to the summit of Red Mountain.
At the top of the mountain, they see the vast expanse of Smuggler’s Shiv from end to end. But more despairingly, they see only the blue waters of the Inner Sea stretching from horizon to horizon. They examine the rock formations at the top of the spire, and Gor finds that there is an unusual amount of iron in the stones, as if numerous sacrifices have been made on this rock. This evidence combined with bits of human sinew in a patch of grass confirms that the cannibals were likely making sacrifices to the chupacabra upon this stone. Although it still seemed unusual that the stone was so infused with blood.
The heroes head down the mountain towards the west, following another little-used trail. It ends up on a cliffside overlooking a sound that pushes into the land. They see a shipwreck wedged in the tight waters down below. At the end of the trail are four monoliths, each bearing a Xayan-esque sigil of a snake. Centered between the stones is a small 3-ft high pyramid with a depressed cup upon the top and rivets to allow liquid to drip down into a basin at the base of the pyramid.
After some examination, Lelandra cuts her hand and drips blood into the basin. The many Xaya glyphs upon the stone give off a faint glow for a moment as if activated by the dripping blood. However, Lelandra is certain there is more to the ritual that unlocks these stones. She determines they would need more information to proceed.
The heroes return to camp as the heavy afternoon rains fall and evening nears. They share their explorations with the others. Hiorvard insists they head down into the cavern beneath the camp and explore its depths. The others agree and they all climb down into the dark cavern. They follow the narrow tunnels with Hiorvard and Flax leading the way and Sasha holding the rear.
They soon enter a strange cavern filled with many bones and six pod-like alcoves on one end. Before they can explore further, the heroes are attacked by two festrogs, crude ghoul-like undead monstrosities that eat flesh.
The battle is quick, but Sasha takes a near fatal wound. Thanks to Hiorvard, she recovers and Lox treats her wounds after the festrogs are defeated. The heroes then find a scrawled note written upon a scrap of leather armor, penned in blood.
I am Captain Alizandru Kovack, betrayer of my crew and destroyer of the good ship Jenivere. Hell would be a welcome escape from what hideous unlife looms before me, but it is no less a punishment than I deserve. That I was enslaved mind and body to a serpentine demon who wore a Astonian’s skin does not pardon me. It is my weakness that led the Jenivere, her crew, and her passengers to their doom. That Ieana has abandoned me here is nothing more than the fate I deserve. I do not beg forgiveness, but I despair that she lives still, and that she seeks something dire on this forsaken isle—she seemed particularly interested in Red Mountain. If you read this and you be a kind soul, seek out what I have become and destroy me, and then seek out Ieana and slay her as well. And to those whose lives I have helped destroy, I can only apologize from this, my dark cradle and darker grave.
The heroes continue on through the dark narrow tunnels, wary of Captain Kovack’s state. They ponder on Ieana’s true form and what purpose this “serpentine demon” had for wrecking the ship upon the island. They come into a tall cavern, built like a silo, with a spiraling ledge around the edge. Numerous offshoots head out from this room.
The heroes take the nearest offshoot to the east where they soon find themselves entering some sort of ancient cathedral. There are four prison cells along the walls and a great pile of bones to the south. To the north a massive ash-caked door is clutched in a snake’s maw of stone. The walls are covered in scenes of upright snake-people feasting and torturing humanity.
Before the heroes can process the hideous scene before them, they are attacked by two more festrogs and two hideous ghouls. The hungry undead surround them as Flax, Hiorvard, and Shasha hold a defensive wall to protect the others. The battle is fierce and the heroes take many wounds. Lelandra blasts the undead with powerful bursts of positive energy as Hiorvard chops at them with his blessed axe. Flax cleaves them with her mighty sword as Gor throws well-placed bombs and Lox unleashes a flurry of spells. In the end, the undead are destroyed.
The heroes realize their spells are depleted and they are fatigued from the long day. They decide to climb back out of the cavern and rest for the night. They reflect on their experiences and prepare themselves for exploring the dark cathedral the next morning.
ACT 3: The Deception of Serpents
Session 15: The Caves of the Mother [Dec 3rd, 2020]
The heroes return to the dark depths of the caverns beneath the lighthouse. The fetid wet caverns still smell just as rank and filled with a vile humidity. They return to the cathedral and explore it in more detail. Lelandra learns that the coiling collection of bones seems like a totem for those that worship snakes. The heroes then gather upon the northern door where they notice a bit of ash and a broken vial nearby. Gor and Flax recognizes the contents of the vial as a healing tonic, while Gor and Lox both recognize the ash as remnant of a magical fire ward. Flax then recognizes that the vial was one carried by Ieana upon the ship.
Hiorvard then kicks in the door and charges into the next chamber. The heroes find a small altar and three scenes depicting powerful rituals performed by the ancient serpentfolk. Gor recognizes the scenes as depicting the island of Smuggler’s Shiv. The final scene shows the serpentfolk lowering the seas through a ritual where they interact with the four monoliths near Red Mountain. There is writing nearby in an unusual script that has been recently cleared of dust. Gor makes a carbon copy of the serpentfolk writing to analyze later.
The heroes then continue their explorations of the caverns, finding another scrawled note in the strange script. Gor copies it also. Lelandra hears something stirring ahead, but loses it in the cavern. The heroes then come to a large cavern leading out to caverns near the sea. They are then accosted by a band of ghouls led by a withered powerful ghast that Flax believes to be Nylithati from the Thrune’s Fang.
The heroes tear down the ghouls one by one. Hiorvard and Flax cut them down with their blades as Lox and Lelandra blast them with spells. Gor throws explosive bombs from the rear. Eventually, the ghouls are slain the the taint of Nylithati is destroyed. Lelandra explores the dark recess of the cavern and finds Nylithati’s nest and a few magical trinkets. The heroes return to the surface.
They identify the items, there is a magical hat for Lox, a protective brooch for Flax, and a dog figurine for Lelandra. As they rest, Gelik is quite interested in their discoveries and he can read the ancient serpentfolk script, calling the language, Aklo. He reads the instructions that were next to the pictograms:
To Command the Very Tides to Rise Up and Eschew What Lies Below:
Empower the Four Sentinel Runes with the Blood of a Thinking
Creature Tempered by the Kiss of a Serpent’s Tongue.
Anoint the Tide Stone with Waters Brought from the Sea in a Vessel of
Invoke the Lord’s Sacred Name to Wrap His Coils around the Sea Itself
that He Might Lay Bare What Lies Below and Cast Down Your Enemies
on the Waves above.
He also reads the small note, All glory to Great Ydersius. Hiorvard recognizes the name Ydersius as an ancient serpentfolk deity of great power. However, stories say a great hero cut off his head and he slivered away into the caverns beneath the earth. He is now known as the Headless King, a symbol of immortality.
The heroes decide to rest and hang around the camp through the evening and rest for the night. Early the morning, the heroes set out across the island towards Red Mountain. Hiorvard carries his helmet filled with sea water, to perform the ritual at the monoliths. However, as the heroes reach the rickety wood bridge heading up to the mountain, they hear a powerful roar. The winged chupacabra flies down from the sky towards Flax, who is half-way across the chasm.
Session 16: The Vampiric Doors [Dec 10th, 2020]
The chupacabra soars towards Flax, its claws and teeth barred out in front of him. Flax scrables back along the rickety bridge to the cliffside and readies his sword. The beast detours and slashes at Hiorvard as Lox and Lelandra pelt it with spells. Gor throws some well-placed bombs as Flax and Hiorvard hack and slash at the beast. The chupacabra grabs Hiorvard and bites upon his neck, draining his blood. But then it takes too many painful blows and attempts to flee. Lox and Lelandra blast it with rays of freezing energy and knock it out of the sky.
The heroes take a break under the trees to tend to their wounds and wait for the afternoon rains to cease. They then proceed towards the monoliths and perform the ritual. As they scream the name of the Headless King, Ydersius, to the sky, a great bolt of lightning leaps to the clouds, tearing through the heroes. They take much pain and burns and are deafened for many minutes after the blast. But the heroes then see that the water in the nearby bay has descended, opening a path to the southern cliffside where a great stone door rumbles open.
The heroes discuss whether to continue or to head back, given their injuries. In the end, they decide to head all the way back to camp, reaching the lighthouse well after the sun had set. They discuss the ruins with the other survivors, convincing Sasha to accompany them to ensure they do not get stuck in the unknown ruins. The others are more concerned with attracting a ship to rescue them. The next morning, the heroes set back out to the monolith, reaching the ruins as the afternoon rains begin. They find the water has recessed and returned to normal. So, they perform the ritual again, this time ensuring they are safely away from the bolt of lightning as the ritual completes.
The heroes then scramble down the cliffside and walk along the sand and rocky shoals, finding many ocean critters uncomfortably pulled out of the water. The heroes explore the remnants of a broken ship, soon finding it occupied by an insane and curious water mephit, named Ekubus, that likely was once a familiar to the ship’s former captain. Ekubus tells the heroes he saw a “funny-looking” person head to the doors the first time the water descended. The person had the head and tail of a snake. The mephit tries to convince the heroes to fight off a few nearby foes, a large sea urchin and a shark, however, the heroes decline and head towards the doors. Sasha heads up to the monolith, prepared to perform the ritual again if the doors close.
The heroes find images of vampires feasting upon unsuspecting maidens carved into the doors. Gor identifies the images as belonging to the ancient Xaya people. Lelandra also knows these images belong to the Cult of Zura, the demon queen of cannibals and vampires. The heroes cautiously enter the darkness, climbing up stairs into the ancient Xaya ruin.
They find a large cathedral-like great hall in the darkness. As soon as they enter, numerous serpentfolk skeletons throw javelins down at them from a high balcony and two more charge in from the corners. The battle is fierce and quick, with the heroes destroying the skeletons. However, one takes off down a side corridor on the upper platform. The heroes look about ready to explore the ruins.
Session 17: The Ancient Xaya Temple of Zura [Jan 7th, 2021]
The heroes step into the wide chamber at the entrance of the temple, examining the numerous carvings and depictions of vampires and cannibals, all devoted to the demon-goddess Zura. After treating their wounds, the heroes search the massive chamber, coming across a trapdoor in the floor. Flax examines it and Gor opens it, finding the rotten door breaks off in his hand. They look down a short 10 foot shaft into a natural cavern filled with a pile of calcified bones. They hear a faint scurrying of something in the darkness and Lox immediately suggests his greatest fear, dolls. But they can see nothing.
The heroes then decide to pursue the upper floors where some of the serpentfolk skeletons had fled. Flax climbs the rough stone of one of the columns to the balcony, 40 feet above the floor. He sees the final serpentfolk skeleton collapse from the continuing burn of alchemist’s fire. He then ties off a rope and the others are able to follow him. The heroes head to the western door into a dark chamber. One of the walls is covered in ancient Xaya prayers. Gor reads the ancient language, finding the prayers all reference the demoness Zura and their devotion to her. However, some of the phrases speak of returning to a city called Sava-Xi to get their revenge. Gor explains to the others that this may be a major archeological find, as the Xaya city of Sava-Xi was believed to be the northern most metropolis of the great Xaya Empire (circa 3000 years ago). However, the city was never found and explorers and scholars have been searching for decades since records first mentioned the city’s existence.
Gor also finds a magical eyepiece that will aid his crafting. The heroes move on to the north into a set of very narrow halls. Alcoves show remnants of wood and paper, likely a great scriptorium where ancient records and scrolls were kept. However, only dust remains of these records. The heroes then find four human-like skeletons arise and strike at them. The battle is difficult in the tight corridors and Hiorvard charges in at them only to be quickly overwhelmed and nearly killed. The others are more cautious and slowly defeat the skeletons with well-placed spells and bombs.
The heroes revive Hiorvard and decide to close the doors and rest for an hour or so to tend to their wounds. During this time, Gor finds a few alchemical elixirs tucked into the dusty cubbies of the scriptorium. The heroes then head back out of the chamber and decide to cross the walkway to the eastern side. They open the double doors and Flax and Hiorvard lead the way down the long corridor beyond it. After twenty feet, both warriors soon find their feet fail beneath them as a massive trap door opens up under them. They fall 20 feet down into a pit filled with barbed spears.
Thankfully Flax and Hiorvard are not killed by the fall and are barely pierced by the spears. However, as they climb off the floor of the pit, they hear the scurrying sound again. Lox then screams as his fears prove real. Two dolls composed of bones appear and strike at the heroes above the pit and one more strikes at Flax and Hiorvard down in the pit.
Gor examines the dolls and learns they are constructs called soulbound dolls, where evil spellcasters imprison the souls of their enemies inside to serve as eternal minions. The dolls leap at them, biting with poisonous fangs and touching them with powerful negative energy. With some good teamwork, the heroes are able to destroy the dolls. Due to the many injuries, the heroes decide to leave the temple and head back to Sasha and the stones outside. They plan to rest for the remainder of the day and return to the temple the next morning.
Session 18: Blood, Blobs, and Blades [Jan 21st, 2021]
The heroes create a small camp outside the stone obelisks and rest for the remainder of the day and though the night. The next morning, they perform the ritual again to lower the waters in the bay and head back down into the ancient Xaya temple of Zura as Sasha stays behind to keep the passage open.
The heroes climb up the rope they had left onto the upper balcony in the main entry-chamber and head east past the pit trap that nearly claimed Hiorvard and Flax’s lives. They come to ‘T’-junction and head north towards a door. Lelandra scouts ahead to check out the door, but another pit trap opens up in front of her. Thankfully, the agile witch was able to pull back before she fell upon the spikes below. She opens the door into the next chamber and finds a large pool of seemingly fresh blood. The tang of iron and copper fill the air. Flax joins her in the chamber and helps to examine the room. Lelandra then summons a dog, using her onyx figurine, to further search the room and the basin of blood.
As this investigation goes on, Gor and Lox are attacked by a massive blob of eyes and mouths that crawls out of the pit. It begins babbling with such an incoherent cacophony of voices that it strikes at the very psyche of the heroes. Flax and Gor seems particularly affected and begin to lash out without seemingly understanding their surroundings. Gor begins striking at the creature, but Flax pulls forth his mighty sword and cuts the onyx dog in half. The poor animal returns to its figurine form.
Lox examines the creature and recognizes it as a gibbering mouther, a strange, alien beast with unknown origins. He recommends they strike it with bludgeoning weapons. However, as he makes this announcement, the mouther moves quickly upon him and devours and engulfs him. Lox screams for help as he disappears under the undulating folds of the fleshy mouths and eyes. The others move quickly as Hiorvard and Flax begin to strike at the beast. Hiorvard summons an axe of pure force, but Flax simple resigns to punching the many faces of the creature. Gor throws some well-placed bombs as Lelandra blasts it with ice and fire.
The beast bites and injures the heroes greatly, but eventually succumbs to their desperate attacks. The creature is cut open and collapses and the unconscious body of Lox rolls out. The heroes revive Lox, finding him barely alive. They treat their wounds as best they can, and continue onward into the room with the bloody basin.
Lox and Gor notice the basin has a magical aura, one that likely keeps the blood within fresh. Lox attempts to dispel that magic, but finds it is beyond his abilities to do so. It is shortly after that moment, that massive bronze plates fall in front of the doors of the room and massive swinging scythe blades swing down from the ceiling. In a hysterical panic, the heroes try to save themselves. Hiorvard and Lox drop to the floor as Lelandra hides behind a pillar. Flax panics and leaps into the basin of blood, desperately trying to find something inside. Another blade cuts down, slicing through Lox and nearly killing him. Gor is able to revive Lox, but he is nearly cut down again shortly after. Hiorvard then cuts his hand, hoping that his blood may activate something, he then runs his bloody hand over the wall and door, and then the pillar. It is then that he accidently trips a tiny, nearly imperceptible button on the pillar that causes the blades to retract and the bronze plates to pull back into hidden compartments.
The heroes embarrassingly compose themselves after their panic and prepare for more exploration…
Session 19: Ieana Revealed [Feb 4th, 2021]
The heroes treat their wounds and overcome their panic after the deadly trap subsided. After some discussion, they decide to return to the outside and rest for some time to recover from their wounds. They spend the rest of the day hanging out in camp. Gor gathers some ingredients and puts together fresh concoctions and elixirs. Lox practices some spellcraft while Lelandra consults with Orin. Flax, Sasha, and Hiorvard spar for a bit trying to keep their fighting skills honed. After a relatively relaxing day, the heroes rest for the night. The next morning, they perform the powerful ritual again to lower the waters in the channel and to open the doors into the ancient Xaya temple of Zura.
The heroes head up the stairs and head across the bridge and over the pit traps back into the blood-basin room. They press the button on the column to ensure that the blade trap does not reactivate as they enter. They then open the northern door into a small vestibule that contains another, far more ornate, door. Gor and Lelandra believe that the next room is likely the temple itself and that worshippers of Zura would have bathed in the blood of the previous room to “cleanse” themselves before entering into the temple.
Hiorvard pushes through the door and reveals a massive cathedral chamber. Decoratively carved columns hold up an elaborate, vaulted ceiling. An altar on an upper dais features two glowing bloodstones that weep blood down into a wide channel that runs down the length of the room and drips out through bars on the eastern end. A great statue of the demon-goddess Zura, a nude woman with bat wings for hands and talons for feet, dominates the back of the upper dais. As the heroes enter, Flax notices a flash of mist near the upper dais and suddenly they see a female zass serpentfolk wearing remnants of Ieana’s garb.
She introduces herself as Yarzoth as she steps forward, walking with such superiority as if she was speaking to mere cattle. She explains how she has been trying to reach this island and this temple for years. That she wouldn’t let all her work go to waste for the likes of mammals. She cries out, “Ydersius will rise again!” as she sends forth skeletal minions to strike at the heroes. She stands back behind the altar and casts powerful psychic spells. First, she sends a fit of paranoia into Hiorvard, who finds he can no longer trust his companions. Then she blinds Flax, cutting off his mind from his eyes.
Hiorvard summons the spectral axe of Hethroth to strike out at the skeletons as Flax swings blindly with his fists. Lelandra summons a globe of fire to strike out and heals her companions. Lox summons a mighty pony to help crush the skeletons, supplementing his summoned minion with targeted spells. Gor throws many well-placed bombs at both the skeletons and Yarzoth. The serpentfolk then charges at Gor and saps her strength with a vampiric spell. Yarzoth then uses her uncanny mind-magic to send Gor off to seek comforts back at camp. Thankfully, the others are able to focus their efforts on the Yarzoth, and Lox finishes her off with a great blast of magical bolts.
With Yarzoth defeated, Lelandra chases after Gor and they return to the others. Flax’s vision eventually returns and Hiorvard overcomes his paranoia. The heroes treat their wounds and decide to explore the cathedral. Gor gathers a number of items from Yarzoth’s belongings, including some coins, two potions, a magic wand, and a strange occult pendant. Lox takes the wand and Lelandra takes the pendant. The heroes then discover that the great evil that Aycenia warned them about seemed to be the altar of Zura itself. Both Hiorvard and Lox recognize the great power of the altar and Lox can see the magical ley-lines of dark energy emanating from the altar stretch out to the rest of the island.
Hiorvard summons the holy power of the Noradrie gods into his hands and slams that fist into the altar. The altar cracks and breaks and a great blast of energy sweeps everyone off their feet as the island itself rumbles. The evil of the altar is defeated and the dangers of Smuggler’s Shiv, including the dangerous waters, the ghostly forms at night, the cannibalistic inclinations, and the overall dread; all immediate dissipate. There is a great sense of relief as the dark feeling at the back of everyone’s mind, present since they had arrived on the island, was suddenly gone.
Lox ensures that the altar no longer possesses a magical aura, but then notices that the statue of Zura radiates some magic. An inscription at its base says in ancient Xaya, “Let me taste of fresh blood.” Hiorvard immediately cuts his hands and touches it to the mouth of the statue. He and his gear all explode into a burst of tiny blood droplets, a red mist in the air, and is sucked into a small hole in the wall. He is gone. The others panic for a moment, but Hiorvard then reappears a short moment later. He explains there is a small room on the other side and a means to return.
Gor and Lelandra decide to join him into the other chamber, touching their hands to the statue and reappearing in a small X-shaped room. Gor notices that the walls of the room are covered with ancient Xaya writings that would take weeks or months to decipher. They find a pile of journals and notes next to a bedroll and some supplies. It seems Yarzoth was copying all these inscriptions and had already begun to decipher the ancient writings. They take her journals and notes, as well as a powerful Xaya staff of healing and leave the room. However, Hiorvard returns to examine a secret compartment. When he opens it, a blast of magical dust transforms and curses him. When the warpriest returns to the others, they find he has an ugly bestial, bat-like form. A final curse from Zura.
The heroes leave the ruins, find Sasha, and head back to the lighthouse and camp…
ACT 4: The Expedition
Session 20: The Expedition of a Lifetime [Feb 18th, 2021]
The heroes spend the next few days talking with Aycenia the dryad and exploring the last remnants of the ancient Zura temple. Ekebus the water mephit inform them that the sea urchin has been dealt with and offer them the three potions that it guarded. The heroes then explore the cavern behind the Zura altar and discover a magical runestone that grants additional power to Flax’s Judicator. Flax also speaks with Aycenia about restoring Ginkgo’s legs. She only offers him a temporary fix, creating tree-like legs that attached to his stumps. Ginkgo is able to walk again, albeit at a much slower pace.
The heroes spend a few days talking about the findings in Yarzoth’s notes. Gelik is able to decipher that the notes contain a route to the lost city of Sava-Xi. The Xaya who created the temple of Zura were vampires expelled from the city. The city of Sava-Xi is hidden by a magical barrier that hides it from view and protects the city from outsiders. These vampires knew they would return someday, so they laid out notes that detail a route to the Xaya outpost of Tazion. In Tazion, they describe something called the “pillar of lights” that can guide them back to Sava-Xi. Gelik, however, is unable to decipher all the notes and thus does not know the exact location of Tazion.
The heroes are then rescued by a ship, led by the Viana government. The ship is a small scout ship that was sent to find them from Viana. The heroes spend the next few days traveling the rough waters before they reach the port of Viana. The city is mostly a large harbor with some stone buildings of northern-style. A grand wall surrounds the city center with a sea of small huts outside the city’s walls.
Upon exiting the ship, the heroes speak with the local port authority who gets their names and confirms they live. Hiorvard learns that he has a debt to the Ariana Constortium for the death of Rambar Torillo. However, he believes this debt is a lie and an attempt for the Consortium to extort him. Gor learns about a letter waiting for him, however, he does not pick it up.
The other survivors say their farewell. Eilaf runs off to the Ariana Consortium, determined to sell information about the Tazion route to Sava-Xi. Sasha gloomily heads into the city and Aerys heads to the harbor. Jask disguises himself and heads to the administration buildings to clear his name.
The heroes meet with the Historical Society, meeting a man named Amivor Glaur. He takes in Gelik and chatises the scholar for selling artifacts in Rizzi. But he confirms that the news of the Nightvoice and the notes to Tazion will clear his name. Amivor tells Flax that his brother Bracken was lost on a recent expedition into the jungles. He apologizes and says he has not given up hope for him. Amivor makes an offer to the heroes to leads an expedition to Sava-Xi. However, he tells the heroes to send the notes to be deciphered by a local scholar named Tabard Novidus. The heroes bring the notes to Tabard and pay extra to have them deciphered quickly.
For the next few days, the heroes do some shopping and restock their supplies. They are also given offers by four others groups, also interested in mounting expeditions to Sava-Xi. The Crimson Blades, the Free Pirates of the Fire Islands, the Ariana Consortium, and the Viana Government all lay out offers to them. Eventually the heroes choose to go with the Historical Society and meet with their premier Xaya scholar, an aged dwarf named Dodak. Dodak mentions a strange shaman of the local Ijo tribe called the Tempest who could help heal Ginkgo and Hiorvard. Additionally, they would want to recruit this man to help as a guide on the expedition.
Session 21: Insurgent Uprising [Mar 4th, 2021]
The heroes have restocked their supplies and spent the last few days waiting for Tabard to finish deciphering Yarzoth’s notes from the Xaya temple of Zura. Gor reads a letter from his secret lover, Rogerina, finding that she is waiting for him in Kalabata. The heroes chat with Amivor Glaur and Dodak about their expedition and they believe it will take about a week to get the supplies and everything ready. In the meantime, Amivor asks the heroes to head to the Historical Society’s warehouse by the docks to get a crate with some supplies for them.
The heroes decide to head over to Tabard’s office first to gather the translated notes, however, they find some broken glass out on the boardwalk near the office. They push past a guard to enter the building and find Tabard trying to clean up the disheveled office. The place looks ransacked with numerous books and items flung about. Tabard says he was robbed the previous night and that the thieves manage to steal one of his early maps to the ruins of Tazion. Which means one of the other rival groups likely knows the way to the ruin.
Tabard, however, does have the notes translated, as they were kept in a highly-secure safe. He apologizes for his breach of security. He goes over his final recommendations for a route to the ruins of Tazion, highlighting a secret route through the lost Fzumi salt mine. Gor recognizes that name, as his family was interested in acquiring that property. Tabard suggests that the land route with the shortcut through the salt mine will be rather quicker than trying to secure a boat route to Kalabata.
The heroes take the notes and head back to the Historical Society office. On the way, they hear a crowd of people screaming as people rush towards them down the narrow street. It seems a pack of rabid dogs has been unleashed on the street. The heroes jump into action with Flax and Gor firing projectiles past the crowd at the dogs. Lox summons a war pony to strike at them as Lelandra summons a ball of fire. Hiovard decides to avoid the crowds and breaks down a nearby door where he finds a middle-aged couple sitting down to some stew. They couple are so frightened by his entrance and appearance they stand fearful in the corner.
The heroes take out the dogs as the crowd nearly tramples them to get away. The heroes then hear that a series of fires have been set by insurgents down by the warehouses. The heroes rush to the warehouses were they find a band of leather-clad, dark-skinned warriors throwing alchemist’s fires upon the buildings. The heroes charge in, with Flax cutting down two of them with quick slices of his mighty sword. The others throw spells and try to keep them from escaping. Lox is ambushed from behind, but Hiorvard charges at the man, showing his frightening visage as he claws at the insurgent with his malformed hand. The insurgents try to flee as the fires continue to expand and burn, growing each moment with the seaside breeze…
Session 22: Kidnapped! [Mar 18th, 2021]
The heroes continue to strike at the remaining insurgents, felling the last few as the fires continue to roar on the warehouses. With the insurgents defeated, the heroes notice that numerous local people surround them wanting to help with the fire. The heroes lead a bucket-brigade to bring nearby sea water from the docks to throw on the growing flames. Gor uses a heat-protection elixir to take the most dangerous final position in the heat-filled warehouses. After over an hour of working furiously, the fires are quelled and most of the supplies are saved.
The heroes peer through some of the crates with the Historical Societies label on them. They find mostly food, exploration supplies, and tools for expeditions. They also grab the recently arrived crate that Amivor asked them to retrieve. As the heroes head back towards the Historical Society office, Amivor runs towards them. He seems quite frantic as he explains that the insurgents kidnapped Dodak the Scholar. He also tells them that the insurgents have gathered at the South Arcadian Whaling Company’s office on the dock-shore. The heroes decide to head that way.
As they reach the area, Gor and Flax sneak around the building, getting a lay of the land. The company’s compound is surrounded by a high stone wall with a beach access. As Flax and Gor sneak around the building, one of the insurgents, hidden in a scouting tower, spots them and fires arrows at them. Then the leader of the insurgents, a man named Umagro, calls out to them. He shows them that he has Dodak, with a knife to the old dwarf’s neck. Gor rushes back to the others and Lox decides to perform some diplomacy to save Dodak. However, Lox forgets to call out to the leader of the insurgents and simply marches to the front door. When he opens the door, the insurgents see a well-armed man approaching them and assume they are being attacked. Combat breaks out on the compound.
Meanwhile, Flax leaps over the stone wall onto the beach and comes around, climbing over a massive whale corpse, to attack the insurgents from behind. The other charge through the front door with Hiorvard cutting down insurgents in the main office as Lox and Lelandra blast them with spells and Gor throws well-placed bombs. The heroes cut down the insurgents in the office and they rush out into the courtyard. They find a much injured Flax holding off against the many insurgents. Lelandra rushes forward to heal Flax with her staff.
Above the action, Umagro appears again and makes many unrealistic political demands, threatening Dodak’s throat with his knife. As the heroes continue to strike against the insurgents, Umagro seems to have had enough. He slits Dodak’s throat and throws the old dwarf off the roof. The dwarf’s body slams into the cobblestones below in a broken heap as blood pours down his torn throat. Gor rushes to the injured dwarf and pours a healing elixir onto the wound and bandages it as best he can, barely saving the dwarf’s life. The heroes look upon Umagro as the fight continues…
Session 23: Insurgents Defeated [Apr 15th, 2021]
Flax charges up the ladder to face Umagro and the remaining insurgent. Lox and Gor follow Flax, just as Flax cuts down the insurgent. He then charges at Umagro. The two warriors battle on the top of the roof as Lox and Gor try to assist. Umagro then cuts down Flax and charges at Lox, successfully pushing Lox off the side of the building. Lox manages to grab a desperate hold on the side, dangling there from the rooftop. The crowd of townsfolk gasp as they see this unfold. Umagro then raises his mace and slams it into Lox’s head, knocking the sorcerer off the roof onto the hard cobblestones below.
Umagro then turns towards Gor and Flax as Gor pours down healing tonics into the fallen half-elf’s mouth. He curses the Northerners with each step as he heads towards them. Gor runs from the maddened insurgent as Hiorvard reaches the top of the roof. Flax tries to rise, grabbing his sword in both hands and slamming down a desperate attack, but Umagro blocks the blade easily and slams Flax with his mace, seemingly killing Flax outright. Gor and Hiorvard watch as Flax seems to fall once more, presumed dead.
Umagro charges at Hiorvard and the two face off as Gor tries to climb down, but falls down the ladder. Lox and Lelandra throw spells from the ground now that Umagro can be seen on the edge of the roof. Gor decides to stay and fight and returns to the top of the roof, throwing his last remaining bombs. Hiorvard then strikes the final blow that knocks Umagro down for good. Gor rushes to Flax’s side and finds that Flax barely breathes.
The heroes gather Umagro and revive Flax. They are able to question Umagro briefly before the town guards arrive. They find a letter on him that suggest one of the rival groups incited Umagro and the insurgents to attack the Historical Society under the ruse that they were plotting an inland attack on the natives rather than an expedition.
I know you have found three more of your agents dead in the streets. I know who killed them. They oppose your cause. The Historical Society has ever been at the beck and call of the rich and powerful interests of the North. They will never see liberation given to what they see as the “savages of the South”. Even now they are planning an all out elimination of your followers. They want to ensure that the Ijo and Zenja remain ever loyal servants who feel blessed to receive the crumbs of your labors.
But worry not, you have allies as well. I have located their weapons cache. It is in a warehouse on the docks district. You must strike immediately, as they are gearing up for an attack. Additionally, they have an office as well where you can find their leaders. Eliminate them before they eliminate you. These animals will stop at nothing to end your lives and see your cause fade into the dark annuls of history.
– Your Ally
[ The back of the letter has a crude map of the city, marking the HS warehouse and office building.]
The guards take Umagro away and the heroes head back to the Historical Society office to escort Dodak and talk about what happened with Amivor. The heroes rest for the night and return the next day to plan with Amivor. He hands them each a magical compass, called a wayfinder, as a gift for choosing the Historical Society for the expedition to find Tazion and Sava-Xi. Amivor then sends the heroes off to find the local guide, the mysterious man known as The Tempest.
The heroes head out on a rowboat along the north shore along the Pallid Bluffs, after four hours of rowing, they come to a high cliff overlooking the sea. They see a small cave opening on the side of the cliff where they believe the Tempest dwells. They are forced to anchor their small boat far from the cliff due to the large rocks blocking their passage. They climb out of the boat and wade their way through the shallow water, trying to be careful with the waves pulling and pushing them. They are then accosted by a trio of giant grabs that snap at them with their pincers…