Sunday, February 02, 2014

Savage Tide Session 31

Peering out the window of Dacien's hut on last watch, Zhedd and Antony spotted movement in the long grass of the swampy savannah of the plateau. Using the spyglass, they appeared to be lizardfolk. Waking the others, they ventured outside and called out. A cautious reply came back in broken common, as a large lizardfolk warrior stepped forth, with some smaller companions behind him. He introduced himself as Rissashtak, a ranger/cleric of Ixion and part of a warband led by Noltus Innersol. As Rissashtak became assured the party were not part of the evil on the island, he explained that Noltus had led a warband of humans, lizardfolk, phanaton and rakasta to the plateau to confront the dark machinations of the kopru. They appeared to be operating from an island in a lake at the centre of the plateau, and Noltus had led a scouting party there, planning to rendez-vous with the band last night on the northern shore of the lake. The lake was seen as taboo by the lizards, for Kalaktatla himself guarded its waters, so Noltus only took a select few lizardfolk warriors with him that were willing to risk the wrath of their patron deity. But he had not returned. Rissashtak offered to escort the party back to camp to wait for Noltus, or to visit a human village on the southern shore of the lake that might hold more information. The party decided to follow the lizardkin to their camp first.

The lizardfolk camp was little more than a camouflaged set of mounds dug into the swamp to hide them from observation. There was no sign of Noltus here, so Rissashtak offered what hospitality he could, before pointing the party in the direction of the human settlement. He promised to try to contact the party if Noltus should return.

Heading west, the party came upon the settlement only to find it deserted. Crude huts were left abandoned, and Faldak saw signed of combat - humanoids attacking the village from both sides whilst something snake-like emerged form the water. Approaching the central hut, that was built out over the lake, a strange mist started to form around the party. Suddenly, a telepathic voice entered all their minds, accusing them of hiding their true nature and demanding they leave the sacred site. Realising that Antony's ring of mind shielding might be what the creatures referred to, Antony removed the ring and managed to placate the invisible assailants. They turned out to be couatls, servants of the immortal Ka or Kalaktatla, the protector of lost cultures.

They had been summoned here by the chieftain Űmläüt, who had called upon them for aid the battle that took place here, but sadly too late. The cleric was one of Ka's most favoured, honouring some of the most ancient practices of his worship on Mystara, and so his body was being treated with the reverence it deserved. The couatl allowed the party to speak with his body and question him, so the party rested whilst the couatl finished their ceremonial preparations of the body. The next morning, as Stefanie prepared her spells, the other found a small pteranodon in the village, clutching a stone upon which was written the letter 'N'.Stefanie used a sending to clarify that this signified the return of Noltus to the lizard camp. Pressing on withthe questioning pof the priests body, the party learnt that a band of skinwalkers had attacked the village, led by a strange demonic ghoul-like creature, and aided by a bulbous-eyed eel demon. Dacien recognised the description of the eel creature as a wastrilith, a most evil and magical aquatic demon. Űmläüt
 also informed the party that he realised now in death how the kopru had manipulated the villagers their whole lives, leading many to the island  in the centre of the lake, but for what reason he could not say.

As the party set out to retuirn to Rissashtak, they were set upon by a flock of wyverns, which were quickly fought off, although Stefanie too a viscious poisonous barb to the stomach. Weakened, she pressed on wit hthe others into camp, where they met with Noltus - a loud brash Ostlander cleric, who warmly welcomed them and bade them to share a feast. Bulgan, Noltus' bloodhound wombled over, and started sniffing the party members, particularly the spell casters, as Noltus explained he had been well trained to sniff out necromantic components to help the righteous missionary hunt down evil dabblers in undeath. Stefanie grew suspicious, and moved to the side to cast a divination, but Bulgan followed her. in the midst of her spell, the bloodhound suddenly transformed into a horrific giant babboon-like creature, which proceeded (and succeeded) to chew her face off.

Noltus suddenly vanished, and the band of lizardfolk set upon each other - with Rissashtak looking horrified and confused in their midst. It appeared 'Noltus' and his band of lizardkin had used some power to shapeshift, and were in fact a demonic party from the island on the plateau. A drawn out battle ensued, which left only Rissashtak from the warband standing. Stefanie's death was a blow to the party, and they decided to return to Sasserine to have her raised. Rissashtak vowed vengeance on the skinwalkers and, picking up Noltus' weapon, asked to come with the party.

In Sasserine, Lady Silvermane/Gwynwharwf brought Stefanie back whilst Mendel sought out Aloyisus to have some goods fenced on the party's behalf. The party then returned to the plateau to explore the island. From the shores, they could see an entrance built into the cliffs on the western face of the island, looking like some ancient temple. The water around the entrance was interspersed with floating pontoons. The party decided to fly over the lake and into the jungle behind the cliffs. The thick vegetation here showed little signs of habitation, bar some ancient abandoned ziggurats and other more tumbledown stone structures. The party encountered another band of skinwalkers on the trail, which they dispatched, and made preparations to explore the island further.