Monday, December 28, 2015

Savage Tide Session 52

The party reconvened in the Dealer's Consortium, with Tyrlandi taking stock of her new domain and going through Kedward's paperwork. She asked the party if they had found Kedward's stash of treasure, and then coyly offered a race to find it. The party spent some time examining the interior but found no sign of secret doors. Outside, Mendel and Faldak examined the outside - eventually spotting the construction was such to accommodate a hole in the foundation. Antony spoke with thin figure lurking in the shadows - who turned out to be a former agent of Kedward's and eager to be a key contact for the new boss. Eventually, they spotted a disturbance in the structure, which they surmised to be a elemental or ethereal creature moving about the brickwork. Inside the building, Zhedd summoned some earth elementals and sent them below in search of a chamber whilst Faldak set about being a good dwarf, and took to digging a hole in the floor. After the elementals failed to return, a second foray was sent and reported back that spiky skinned fiends were present in a chamber  some 40ft below, with a dark aura that mad them feel unwelcome. Tyrlandi emerged from the upper floor, and angrily berated the party for damaging 'her' building. She then revealed that she had located the chamber and Kedward's treasures, and the demons were now under her control. Mendel seemed to set about berating and provoking her, which she did not take well to, and said he would no longer be welcome.

The party then sent some time planning how to get a boat or ship form the Scuttlecove harbour to use in their reconnaissance of the pirate base. Several ships seemed suitable,including Jerome's Up the Nooga, but the problem was to how to escape the maze of scuttled ships in the harbour without arousing suspicion. Then, it suddenly struck the party that Scuttlecove wasn't the only city nearby - on the main island Ne'er-do-Well, the city Crossroads where they met King Koryn could also be a safer place to set out from. Dacien teleported them there, and they spent a few days planning, shopping and spell-scribing there. Antony found a local fisherman named Wetherby, who was persuaded to take them out in a dogger he used for trawling in the seas east of Lesser Ne'er-do-Well.

 Wetherby took them out at dawn, and with a good wind at their back they made good time through the straits. Jerome pointed out the arched stone marker, and there, a half-mile off shore, Wetherby dropped a sea anchor. Most of the party managed to pierce the illusions protecting the pirate base - visible to them as a small scattering of huts around a tower in the midst of a wide saltmarsh. The party, using seeming, set about pretending to be fishermen, whilst Zhedd, invisible and in the guise of a seabird, let for a more detailed reconnoitre. He spent quite some time examining the base, seeing several dishevelled red-skinned figures in gibbets scattered about the base. Occasionally, pirates would emerge from the huts and stroll around swollen, squeaking walkways, on guard or latrine duty. The most remarkable feature was a trio of large petrified trees to the rear of the base, with five ships of various sizes impossibly hanging in their midst. They were connected by rope ladders and rope bridges (string in the picture), and a few pirates were on the decks. Ballistae were visible on the uppermost ship, and at the base, a large elephant-like spider demon stood guard.

Zhedd flew out into the saltmarsh and looked for areas to rendez-vous if things went sour, but as he flew back closer to the ships one of the pirates seemed to notice Zhedd despite his disguise and sounded an alarm - trying also to dispel the invisibility. Three harpies flew out to he ship, invisible, and threw the party into disarray as some were lured overboard - but were eventually fought off. Zhedd flew back to the fishing ship by a roundabout route, but Wetherby felt a tingle as Dacien confirmed they were being scryed. A pirate teleported on board scimitar in hand, but suprised the party as they closed in and it reverted to its true form

The creatures resistances made it a slow battle, but it focussed its many attacks on Mendel in fear of the sun blade he carried. It's scimitars and piercing gaze seemed to carry a supernatural damage that drained the party to their core, and the fishing crew too - the party were to later calculate that this damage would need to be treated in specially consecrated areas into order to be healed. Eventually, the creature sought to escape, and dove into the water, desperately trying to dispel the dimensional anchor Dacien had placed up on it. The party limped back to Crossroads to recover and plan.

Saturday, December 05, 2015

Savage Tide Session 51

The party decided to take up the ruse of selling Rhemus the aranea body parts as an excuse for meeting with the gnome. His dark stone premises near the north gate were covered in skulls and bones - Dacien recognised at least one bone golem hidden amongst the grisly decor. What appeared to be a flesh golem greeted the party at the door, and Felix quickly sketch out a calling card, portraying the party as purveyors of post-mortem pieces. Rhemus later welcomed them in and they discussed business for a short time, hearing of Rhemus' work and interest in the provenance of the body parts; features of the donor creature could impart unique properties, and he told the story of using the hands of a paladin on a flesh golem for a client in Karameikos.

With a rapport built of a potential steady supply of creature parts, talk came around to favours that Rhemus could offer the party - namely an introduction to Kedward Bone. Warily, Rhemus brought up that he could make an introduction, especially using Mendel's Zzonga sample to entice the drug dealer, but was more interested in what the party could do for him. He mentioned Matylda, Kedward's familiar, was in love with him, and he needed a skilled team who could get her away from Kedward's person and bring Matylda to him. The catch was, Kedward would have to be alive to achieve this, or his bond to the familiar would be lost. In return, the party could claim a large emerald Kedward kept in his chambers. Rhemus also explained how Kedward contracted a strange disease on his travels as a pirate and had become a recluse since, possibly linked to the emerald. The party agreed on a course of action, taking on Rhemus' advice that Kedward liked a bit of rough and tumble and could be enticed into melee.. Before they left, Mendel damaged relations with Rhemus by placing part of the Gakarak wood he obtained from  Emerond on to the table - which turned out to be a golem carved from treant wood. the plank was absorbed into the table and Rhemus was unhappy at the potential complication this might cause.

Kedward Bone and his Dire Scythe

Rhemus was true to his word and arranged for a private appointment with Kedward and his advisers. They were led to the dome shaped top of a tower, into Kedward's offices where two people flanked the old pirate at his desk. Kedward was grossly disfigured, bone spurs painfully protruding over his body, and interfering with his breathing and speech.  A large overwrought scythe leant at his side. Kedward talked politely with them, very interested in the supply of zzonga and at pains to stress he had the contacts ready to ensure supply through most of the mainland Alphatian empire. The party almost forgot that they weren't (or at least some of them weren't) professional drug importers, and got lost in the business deal, before Felix made a stage whisper to Antony about peering under a covered pedestal to steal what lay beneath. Kedward's eye flared in anger, and battle started. Faldak rammed the desk into Kedward, toppling him over, but the mage was able to cast time stop and stun the party with mass charm and hold spells. Kedward's companions revelaed themselves to be a mummified druid and a cleric of Masauwu, who were (along with half the party) quickly subdued by Gerald's Holy Word. The druid was blinded, and after stumbling around threw a bag of purple lotus powder into the midst of the room. It was veering over the party'd heads when Mendel shot it out of the air, spraying the powder over himself, Dacien and Faldak. The party were to later find out that this drug was a special preparation of the church of Masauwu, and far from a normal narcotic; Mendel resisted the potent efects, but Dacien and Faldak were less fortunate. Faldak was struck with a curse that meant no one believed a word he uttered. Dacien was struck with an overwhelming compulsion to move overseas to marry. Knowing only one eligible bachelorette in town that met his exacting standards, Dacien immediately teleported to Porphyry House to speak with Tyrlandi

The battle became more fraught as two barbed fiends joined the fray and a wall of force bisected the room and left Mendel exposed. Felix leapt out a window to skirt around the outside of the building. Kedward and Mendel faced off in melee. Gerald's quick thinking managed to heal Mendel just in time before Kedward cut him down. Faldak fled to safety, taking the covered pedestal with him. Meanwhile, Dacien had proposed to Tyrlandi, who spotted an opportunity that was unlikely to come up again, and agreed - sealing it with a blood oath. She joined him on the return to Kedward's, ready to join in the take over of the Dealer's Consortium. She quickly earned her place, dissolving the mummy with a well timed heal. Mendel bought enough time for Felix to crash through the window and finish Kedward with a rapier through the spleen.

The party stabilised Kedward and brought him low with a feeblemind, and recovered Matylda, an imp held in a cage on Kedward's person. The Dealer's Consortium was theirs , which became a wedding present to Tyrlandi. The party sealed the deal with Rhemus by handing over Kedward and the imp. They found a stash of drugs and Kedward's spell book. Elsewhere in the tower, the workforce had fled during the combat, leaving well equipped indoor drug farms and alchemical labs. The party rested overnight, Dacien enjoying his wedding night with Tyrlandi, being waited on by a simulacrum of Mendel. The others, started to examine the pedestal under the cloth, revealing a large uncut emerald - which Gerald's true seeing showed to be alive...

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Savage Tide Session 50

The party left the fleeing arenae sorcerors and hurried to the basement door. Mendel bellowed a few stark words of warning to intimidate any remaining pirates as Dacien released his arcane lock and the party headed down the rickety stairs. The basement was deserted however, as the elven party members secret doors that Faldak confirmed a group of at least ten had fled through. The basement contained a small forge for melting metal down, coins skimming and stamping - Mendel promptly swept the tools into his bag. They also found a jail cell holding a red skinned pirate, with a strange scaly crab-like claw for a right hand. He was unconscious, badly beaten, and in some distress, so the part patched him up and carried him along. They also found a hidden shrine to Demogorgon, with a grotesque statue leering at them as they emerged through the secret door. Amongst the pirate belongings they found a silk bag with a bird embroidered on its front. each time the party put their hand in a yellow canary emerged and fluttered about their heads. They decided to keep this away from Felix for now.

Questioning the captives, it appeared the human knew little of the existence of aranae in the Minting House. The aranae captive was more sullen and offered little more of use. It seemed the coin-skimmers Dacien trapped in the basement had fled through a hidden underground passage, full with sulphurous fumes. The narrow passage seemed a natural fissure, a rarely used escape tunnel. This lead to a trap door in the ceiling, which opened up into an abandoned butchers shop, where a band or aranae and forgers waited in ambush. After a bit of a fraught battle, the party captured two rogues who found themselves hidden and invisible behind Dacien's wall of force. They gave in to questioning but knew little else of importance, seemingly dupes  in the aranae's plan. The party stripped them of their belongings and sent them back to their lives as forgers, neglecting to mention they'd taken all of their equipment and their livelihood.

The party made their way through town, not spotting the cache of magical weapons hidden in the bottom of a traders wheelbarrow, and leaving a squabble between a priest of Thanatos and the gnomish golem maker over a body lying in the gutter. Dacien picked a spot to erect his magnificent mansion as a base of operations for the party. The party entered and explored their new home, other than the host's spacious locked quarters, and shut their prisoners away. After an expansive banquet, Harliss was scryed and found in the Rattlebox, gambling and drunk, so Felix and Antony went to retrieve her.

The others interrogated the prisoners, Dacien ready with an ESP spell to check their thoughts

  • The aranea was stubborn and ready to die for his secrets - although was willing to share information if they sent him home to the Savage Baronies (which Felix felt was a test to assess the party's magical prowess). He wanted the party to die in a battle with the Crimson Fleet, and also baited them to debase themselves and torture him. In the end, he was killed with hte Cymric Dirk
  • The red skinned prisoner called himself Jerome LeShiv, with a brother Longshanks also in the fleeet, He was weak, and ravaged by the 'red curse' the party had seen afflict the pirates of the Sea Reavers  in the Crimson Fleet. His right hand was becoming increasingly crablike. He begged for cinnabryl jewellery, so Anthony handed some over, and it seemed to ease his condition from worsening. He then explained he was also a mutineer from the Fleet (Harliss vouched for him), and stopped in town before making his way home. He mutinied when Cold Captain Wyther was humiliated in front of his (already unsettled) men - by captain Vanthus returning, now a changed dark creature, and beating him into submission and stealing his ship. His ship 'Up the Nooga' was in port. The Eighth Coil captured him for Cold Captain Wyther and were due to take him back. He described the pirate base and its location - 'The Wreck' as it was known is hidden on the north west shore by powerful illusions and magicks that block teleportation. The base was a collection of outbuildings around a strange structure - a series of captured prize ships stacked in a column around a large tree trunk. There were maybe 40-50 pirates still in the base and loyal to the captain, who also had some 'monsters' he kept hidden and at his disposal. One was a demonic creature that his in  a hut near the entrance that used telekinesis to move a boom from the harbour entrance.

Jerome LeShiv

Jerome and Harliss were willing to help the party in their assault on the Wreck. A small group went to check on Jerome's ship which they found abandoned in port. However they were followed back by an invisible aranea who tried to stop them as they re-entered the mansion.This drew a crowd who raised an alarm. Knowing the party would be in trouble leaving the mansion if they waited too long, they resolved to leave as soon as possible. A leaping demon was waiting outside for them, with the aranea. Dacien tried to leave a trap for them as a delayed blast fireball but the aranea caught the party in a web around the deadly gem. Not realising the significance of the gem, Felix tried to burn the web away from the trapped party with a potion of fiery breath - which triggered the fireball and engulfed the party. With several members barely alive, they party limped away and hid at Red Foam Whaling. hoping they would not be found. 
The next morning, Mendel convinced the others to visit Rhemus Caldakar, the golem maker, as a source of potential aid against the pirates.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Savage Tide Session 49

In their hovel, the party further questioned Harliss and discussed what to do next. When talk turned to paying a visit to Tyrlandi, Mendel felt the presence in his mind again as Tyrlandi spoke to him through her greater scrying spell. She informed the party that she had a visit from both the monks and the harpies, looking to cement alliances and unite against the parties efforts in the town - and wondered what had happened next. She did not respond to any further questions.

The city was still bustling an on alert, so, fearing reprisals, the party set to sneak out of the city. They went in the direction of the north gate, but saw a swarm of thugs and leaping demons, so veered across the river. They scanned the eastern perimeter wall for possible exits, and found a gang of street kids gathered round a makeshift exit. Throwing a liberal amount of copper coins in their direction, the party left through the wall and stayed overnight in the shrubland outside using Dacien's rope trick.

The next day, the party looked for another way back into the city. Heading south, they found a path leading from a hatch in the wall toward the rocky shoreline. There, they spotted several bloated corpses, mostly human, but some animal too. The party examined the bodies from afar and saw signs of surgery on the discoloured cadavers - but unwilling to get too close, they left well alone.

Antony snuck through the hatch at the wall and past a priest that was sweeping grime and gore away from the back of a dark stone building and cellar hatch. He passed by and circled round to the front of the building. Two guards with rheumy eyes and blackened eyelids stood staring out to the harbour - around their necks hung black scythe and skull pendants, dark symbols of Thanatos, the entropic Grim Reaper. Antony engaged them in small talk and found out they were waiting for the infirm and injured to be brought to them by those in the city, and were willing to pay for the privilege. Heading back, Antony caught the eye of the priest on cleaning duties and found out that, for a bribe, he was willing to bring out belongings from the bodies that were brought to the temple. Hearing that a pirate of the Crimson Fleet was brought in recently, and wanting a diversion to allow the party to enter, he made the transaction, and acquired a cinnabryl bracelet for Harliss to use.

In the city, the party dodged several patrols to make their way to Porphyry House to speak with Tyrlandi. Her guard, a burly human, and her madam, a gnomish woman, led the party up a secret flight of stairs to the top floor. Tyrlandi, the beautiful exotic woman, was sprawled on a chaise-longe, sucking on lollipop as she waited for them. Her heritage seemed to be part nymph but tainted by entropic fiendish blood. The faint sound of a child crying could be heard. The party recognised the symbol at her neck as that of Talitha, the Queen of Treachery. Tyrlandi greeted them curiously, eager to learn about their aims in the city and seeking to get information from them about their various goals and the information they had learnt about the palace. She answered the parties questions, but demanded locks of hair in return, gaining them from Felix, Antony and Mendel. She explained that she wanted to rule the city, unrivalled, and saw Kedward as her biggest rival once the Crimson Fleet were dealt with. She wanted the harpies in her pocket too. She did share information with the party if they chose to go after Kedward - that Rhemus Caldakar, his gnomish travelling companion of old who was now running a golem making business, was friends on the surface but secretly desired Kedward's imp familiar Matylda, and was plotting to kidnap her. Kedward was also a diabolist and could call upon demons to aid him. She also let the party know that the Eighth Coil wer einfiltrated by araenae, and we paying the harpies to torture and interrogate Harliss - but she had been intercepting the payments to try and keep Harliss alive.

The party left with their information and set about taking on the eighth coil hideout. They tried to sneak round the back of the building but were spotted and a prolonged spellcasting battle ensued, involving pirate thugs and araene sorcerers. Fireballs and lightning bolts rattled the building as the party drove into the ranks, locking several others in the basement. In the end, several aranae escaped via fly, but the party did have one unconscious foe alive for interrogation.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Savage Tide Session 48

(brief synopsis from last session)

The party were resting up in  Dacien's retreat, when Mendel felt the hairs prick up on the back of his neck. Dacien's detect scrying was trigger, as the image of a strange exotic woman appeared in his mind, peering over a pool of rainwater, and clutching two red-stained cobblestones in a blood-soaked rag.

She was idly watching Mendel through her sensor, biting her lip and playing with her hair. A symbol hanged around her neck that Dacien recognised - as an unholy symbol of Talitha, the entropic immortal of thievery, murder and lies. She eventually spoke, and only Mendel heard her  invite the party to Porphyry House, a little petulant they had not been already.

On returning to the city, Antony went looking to buy some real estate. He examined the district around a tower they believed to belong to Kedward Bone. The first house he knocked on was answered by an old gnomish woman who mistook them for body part sellers for the golem business. None of the properties were particularly lavish and well built. Eventually, they found an abandoned slop house come drug den, and started making it their own. However, as the party entered the city to plan their attack on the Harpies, they saw signs they might be being watched, as tiles fell off the roof of a nearby house.

The party planned an assault on the Birdcage to rescue Harliss, which involved an invisible Zhedd and Banshee scouting ahead, and then retuning to the party who were split in two less conspicuous groups. The city gates were shut and "Unite against the Seven Strangers' daubed in paint on their surface, so the city felt even less welcoming than before. Subtlety was lost on the party when it came ot the assault, as Banshee and Zhedd appeared on the streets, and then they teleported en masse into the gilt cage that held Harliss. Confusion effects disrupted the party's efforts, as the tower erupted into a mass brawl of harpies, a demonic statue, and terrified brothel patrons. Eventually the party regained their composure enough to regroup with the unconscious body of Harliss and flee the building. After a small sidetrek to recover a geased Mendel who was setting out to become the town's newest, biggest and not-so-brightest gigolo

One harpy managed to flee the Birdcage, and the city seemed to be on alert as the party regrouped at the doss house. Harliss started to answer their questions...

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Savage Tide Session 47

Outside Red Foam Whaling, Mendel had been patrolling the docks, trying to act nonchalant as he kept an eye on the outside of the building. He hadn't spotted the figure in the shadows opposite the abandoned structure, who ducked back into darkness and cast invisibility. When Mendel heard and saw the effect of Gerald's blade barrier cause the whole building to shudder, he activated his fly spell and dashed to the roof. Spotting the large man-spider attacking Faldak and Antony he let loose a volley of arrows. The invisible figure spider climbed up behind him and sunk a dagger between his ribs, narrowly missing Mendel's spleen.  The large beast below saw the new threat and reacted - two images appeared; one drew upon a psionic aversion to instil a morbid allergy to spiders in those around him, the other charged at Mendel and stabbed him with the scimitar. The images coalesced into one form towering over the archer.

Zhedd started summoning a band of air elementals to try and grapple the foes, and the rest of the party moved to try and join the battle on the roof. Gerald took a chance and called down a flame strike that engulfed the trio fighting on the roof, hoping Mendel would evade the damage. He did - but the foes didnt as they were bathed in fire, which narrowly missed Felix as Dacien telekinesed him to the roof. The final assassin was grappled by the elementals but had enough breath in him to utter the word he needed to dimension door away.

The party gathered the loot from their foes, including 400 gold in skimmed coins suggesting ties to the Eighth Coil, and explored the abandoned building. They found equipment, make up and clothing used to make the building appear haunted, and bunk beds that hadnt been used in some time. A conference room had signs of an attack - chairs overturned, blood spatter and disembodied fingers on the floor. The final room was more disturbing - strips of shed spider skin and exoskeleton hung from the ceiling to fill the room. The party pulled these down from afar to reveal a grotesque effigy depicting Demogorgon - made from stitched together parts from human bodies, and animal parts. Piled hurriedly at the base of this were some treasures and a sack containing the clothing and gear of a female pirate - and the tell-tale earring the party recognised from their adventure in Kraken's cove from Harliss Javell. Perhaps it was her sewn into the effigy... In amongst her belongings they found a scroll, broken seal depicting a harp, from King Koryn's agent that read

Esteemed Tyrlandi, The bearer of this note is a friend and associate of mine. If you could aid her, I would once again be in your debt. Please extend her every courtesy - Zimon Alveneer

The party recovered and next day stopped off at the Rusty Shunt. Lars said he'd just heard that Zimon's body was hanging in the plaza. Tyrlandi, he explained, was a bit of a mystery, but that any visitors would have to per her the proper tribute.

Zhedd scryed for Harliss, clutching the earring as he leant over the pool. A view of a woman, lit by the rising sun, unconscious and badly beaten and dehydrated, lying on a straw-strewn cage floor. This reminded the party of a structure they had seen in the city - the Birdcage, run by the harpies that called themselves the Sister of Lamentation. The party toyed with visiting the Birdcage or Tyrlandi first - and fearing that Tyrlandi may have double-crossed Harliss, decided to explore the Birdcage first. They wandered through the city and found the crooked spire - its walls covered in graphic lewd images of debauchery, pain and pleasure. They mulled around outside, indecisive as Zhedd eventually asked some gulls to fly and and peer in the glass top - but they couldn't see enough to report. Felix caught up with one pirate patron as he was leaving and persuaded him to share some of the details - the brothel was not for the faint-hearted, but that if Felix had the stomach for it, 'Vivisecta' was the one to ask for.

Walking through the city, Felix spotted a passer by try to leave a scrap of paper in one of his colleague's pockets. He grabbed the pickpockets hand and shooed them off - it turned out to be a warning that 'one of the party was not who they seemed' and to come to the Deacon's Aria at midnight to find out more. This building turned out to be a theatre, in the grand guignol style, putting on bloody and visceral displays including a striptease and a play about a doppelganger. The theatre owner, Abethany, was intrigued by the party's tale and interested in having them as consultants to make some of their displays more technically convincing and graphic. Gerald mooted the idea that the party could hire out some of the actors for a private job, and suggested returning once the plans were more concrete.

The party remained in two minds about what to do next, so to stall for time went looking for a suitable 'gift' to give Tyrlandi. They went to the market, but left empty handed after Mendel insulted the perfumer, so went to the docks looking for other ideas. It seemed a city where pirates came to relax rather than sell off their goods, but a word in the right ear might  reveal someone more desperate to be rid of their spoils.They were stopped by a nervous street hustler with a large coat lined with trinkets he tried to off-load to the party. As the party were distracted, some invisible assassin slipped form the crowds on the docks, along with some disguised leaping demons. They pounced on the party, Mendel and Faldak receiving knives in a variety of vital organs, and the demons tried to abduct the others. Antony laid low an assassin with the Cymric Dirk - and was struck by the mental image of the minting House, the assassin's hideout and heart of the Eighth Coil, as its deepest secret was revealed. A passing wizard happened to see the shadowy dagger in action, and uttered a short prayer before attacking the party and trying to claim the dagger for himself. The party later found a holy symbol of Masauwu on him, confirming his interest in that immortal's unholy artifact. The party fought off the attackers in quite public display of power that caught many bystanders in magical effects and drew a larger crowd. Antony was abducted by a leaping demon to an abandoned warehouse. Before the demon could pummel Antony into the ground, he used the bracelet of friends to call Mendel to his side, who dispatched the demon with ease. They left the warehouse to ifnd themselves in the eastern quarter of the city near a dark austere orphanage. Back on the docks, Zhedd's solid fog and Dacien's wall of force kept people at bay long enough for the party to gather themselves, the loot, and escape back to their hideout.

They resolved to rest up and return in the morning. They had three targets - Tyrlandi, the Sisters of Lamentation, and the Eighth Coil. Finding a gift for Tyrlandi was to be first on the list.

Sunday, July 05, 2015

Savage Tide Session 46

The party licked their wounds in Dacien's Secure Shelter. Felix and Faldak were raised, and plans set for travelling back to Farshore in the morning to obtain unguents and diamonds to restore Lenny (now a mongrel dog) and Antony.

A few times Faldak and Felix felt a presence in the back of their minds, trying to intrude on their thoughts; Dacien's detect scrying spell triggered and showed the mage an image of a bald headed monk standing over a font filled with blood, a rictus grin showing on the lower half of a face devoid of skin.

Back at the hideout in Scuttlecove, the party decided to re-enter the city but a bit more discretely. Antony and Felix led a more diplomacy-focussed group, with Faldak as their bodyguard. They tried to sneak back into the city, but were stopped at the gate by a group of thugs. Antony's quick thinking bluffed the groups way past the guards, and they headed straight for the Rusty Shunt inn. The innkeep Lars Landicaster met their entrance with a steely glare and a 'Get out!' - word had gotten around about the attack on the palace, and Lars didn't want any more trouble getting back to him, his inn, and again mentioned that he'd 'seen too many good people die'. Antony and Felix calmed him down and persuaded him to reveal more about what he knew. In the back room of the inn, Lars explained that he hoped the party were good enough to do what needed to be done - if they were smarter about it. Lars knew of the Protectorate - King Koryn's agents in the city - and that they had recently been wiped out to a man. They had a base of operations at Red Foam Whaling - an old pirate hideout that preyed on whalers in the locals seas, but had long since been abandoned for the Protectorate to use as a front. Lars was happy if the King was doing something about the city, curious to see how the party would tip the scales.

They spent the rest of the day traipsing around the city, and avoiding roaming gangs of monks, leaping demons and thugs. The market was an interesting source of potions and magical trinkets, even golems. The queue for the Violated Ogre was greater than the party's interest in seei,ng an ogre being violated. They also stopped by the Rattlebox - a gambling den offering cock fights, rot roulette and five stones run by a grumpy dwarf named Figwater. He'd heard rumours about the palace being haunted but thought it was actually a front for smugglers.

That night the party regrouped, snuck back into the city and made their way down to Red Foam Whaling on the waterfront. The place seemed abandoned, and in a poor state of repair. The party snuck round the side over the water, leaving Mendel on watch outside. On the jetties around the other side, they spotted a dark haried woman trussed up and gagged. Sensing a ruse, Dacien started telekinesing her body towards the party, at which point she turned toward Antony and suggested he kill his mage friend. The fight was on, as three figures - human but with spider-like features to their faces, mandibles, slightly faceted eyes - emerged from hiding and tried to assassinate Faldak.

Gerald summoned a blade barrier to divide the battlefield, having healed Faldak so the dwarf could remain in melee. Dacien hid beneath the piers and cast spells, disintegrating one enemy.His telekinesis held the woman  captive until Felix managed to rip her throat out - causing her to vanish. Zhedd summoned creatures to distract the enemy.

As the batle reached a peak, a larger humanoid - a warped combination of spider and man, almost as if a spider was bursting through the skin of it's human shell - appeared in the air and swept down on Faldak brandishing a scimitar that crackled with dark energy. It slashed at the dwarf and grabbed Antony in its jaws, as the summoned creatures dove towards it.

Outside the building, Mendel looked up from the prostitute he was talking to and heard the cries of battle - and wondered if it was time for him to join yet.

Updated map containing locations and information party has collected

Friday, April 03, 2015

Savage Tide Session 45

The vampires behind the wall of force retreated, calling out about the party's powers and resources and alerting their allies to Mendel's blessed weapons. A deep resonant voice called out "Introduce them to the Eviscerator Scarabs!".
Two giant beetles came down either side of the entrance hall, their black carapace glistening with a sickly green ooze that seeped out from every joint. Their legs were attached to cords of twine that linked them to a web of broken glass and bone that hang form the ceiling.As they waddled forward, their mandibles clacked together with a deep echoing hollow thud, that reverberated around the party's skulls. Felix managed to counteract the effect with his bardsong to allow the others to fight off one beetle whilst the other was trapped behind the wall of force, being mauled by two of Zhedd's summoned crocodiles. Gerald prepared to face what was behind the double doors, and as he saw them start to open, summoned a blade barrier in their place. Unfortunately he was so focussed on the spell, he didn't have time to rest to the fact the doors were being flung off their hinges into the room, and caught a flying lump of oak to the side of the head.
The wall had barely come into existence before a portion of it vanished, and a group of the shabbily-dressed vampires emerged, led by another, agile one in Thothian dress. "Give us the promised one!" they cried, as they crowded in on Dacien. Dacien's disintegrate spell made short work of the head vampire, but the others tried to grapple him away. Zhedd swept down on Banshee to pull him away from the mass of flailing arms just in time.

Another voice echoed in the party's heads - this time telepathically; a thin whispering paranoid voice like dry papyrus. "Who are you? You're here for me? You know my name, don't you!" it fretted. The party ignored this interruption and pressed their advantage in the battle, only to spot a pale evil-looking beholder lurking in the remains of a small ball room, floating above a pit thick with purple, throbbing webbing. Various party members succumbed to it's charm rays but avoided the other effects, as it came into the room. Zhedd caught it within a cloud of solid fog, which when uncovered revealed no sign of the beholder.

The party then prepared to take out the remaining eviscerator scarab behind the wall of force, with Dacien clearing the obstructing solid fog with an anti-magic field. As the wall dropped, the party let loose their attacks, but Dacien was caught out by the on-rushing beetle, and sliced in two by its wickedly sharp mandibles. The party found time to bring Dacien back, noting that they were low on components for further raise dead spells, and Gerald began the casting to remove the charm effects from the party. his casting was interrupted by the antimagic ray of the beholder, re-materialising the other side of the blade barrier. After fighting to another stand-off, the party decided to regroup in daylight in the palace grounds.

Quite crowd of locals had gathers to view the commotion - and Zhedd had spotted two harpies that had flown over to investigate, then abruptly disappeared. The locals quizzed the party on who they were working for and what they were doing, surprised to see someone brave and return from the palace. A quintet of cowled monks, the skinless lower halves of their faces glistening sickly in the sun, watched the party and followed them over the palace wall. They demanded a tax for trespassing from the party, which was paid, but didn't stop the party proceeding, instead going ahead of them into the palace. The party stormed this again, to face the beholder and the monks, who were quickly dispatched. The beholder tried to fend off the party's frontal assault, only to be caught out by Antony leading Dacien over the roof and in through the ceiling. Gerald caught the beholder in a flame strike which was also powerful enough to burn off the strange purple webbing. A second one destroyed the beholder, sending its gaseous form down through the tunnel to the area below.

Trying to press their advantage, the party hurried after, but without preparation blundered into a trap that set off an unholy keening wail. Felix, Antony, Lenny and Faldak fell prey to the scream and their bodies, stiffened as they died of fright, fell into the pit. Dacien telekinesed them back out, as a female creature, her lower half that of a spider, emerged muttered "I think you best leave". The paranoid voice was heard again, and when Mendel asked who it was, it answered in a trembling voice "yes, you would want to know." They asked about Dacien being the 'Promised One', and the spider-lady replied "Not for what he is now, but for what he will become. It is his destiny."

The party fled to the surrounding wilderness to recover and raise their friends, hiding in a secure shelter as they plotted their return to Scuttlecove.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Savage Tide Session 44

Back at Fort Gerard, Stephen was left to use the electronics he had salvaged to begin repairs to the reactor control systems, whatever they were. Faintly Macabre mentioned to Dacien that she thought Stephen’s strength and resolve would continue to weaken due to his proximity to this strange power source – the bloodroot might stave off his craving for now, but would only ever be a temporary effect. Faintly expressed an interest in adventuring and considered meeting the party in Farshore  in the future. Faldak and Mendel took guard duty on the roof of the fort, whilst Zhedd scryed for the Shadow elves to no avail. After a day’s rest and recuperation, the party teleport back to the capital of Emerond.

The capital Izmira was busier than on the party’s last appearance, but as the green-skinned Emerondian’s spotted the party, they dropped to their knees and bowed their heads in hushed whispers. Keen ears made out the phrase “Keeper of the Heart of Emerond” being repeated, and most eyes were following Gerald. The king greeted the party warmly, having heard from his gardeners that the deterioration of the plants had been halted. In the palatial baths, their heads anointed with scented candle, the party reported back (but kept the detail of Stephen’s existence silent) and shared their concerns that the Shadow Elves might return. The king agreed that a small trusted honour guard could be placed under Gerald’s command at the fort – he seemed to accept without question Gerald’s status in the kingdom. By way of thanks, we rewarded the party with several items from his armoury – plant-based weapons, armour and trinkets that might aid them on future quests. He agreed to allow the Church of Asterius to trade for their unique liquor, and also small amounts of the weapons.

The party spent much of the next few days travelling between Farshore and Sasserine, resting, resupplying and catching up on progress. Ji’s monastery was well underway, Mendel checked in with the Church of Asterius and Manthalay to discuss shipping additional cargoes to Farshore (Aloysius has ideas to fleece all parties involved, and set about sourcing appropriate goods). The alchemist had identified the fruits from the Isle of Dread as potent hallucinogens, and thought they could find value in the drug trade or development of alchemical gasses. Antony had Nosmo ferry passengers between Farshore and Sasserine, and also start spreading the word about the new route and port to other ship owners. Dacien asked the Temple of Ixion to send acolytes to Farshore, and teleported some there directly. Zhedd picked up his gloves for the Witchwardens, and then they were set to go.

The next stop was to call in the favour from the Church of Asterius to get the party introduced to King Koryn of Ne’er-do-well – so they could follow up on their leads to track down the shadow pearls in Scuttlecove. Dacien teleported the group to Crossroads, the capital, and went from there to an inn named the Inappropriate Eel. Crossroads was an odd city – beautiful buildings and marble statuary lined the once fine streets, but now were covered in graffiti, defaced and anything of value broken off and sold on. Half the populace were wearing featureless masks and very little eye contact was being made. The party found the inn on the harbour front and, leaving a special coin with the innkeeper, waited to be summoned.

A few hours later, they were shown in to a back room where a handsome man, with perfectly manicured fingers, lounged in a large cushioned chair. He introduced himself as Koryn and explained a bit of the history of Ne’er-do-well, Scuttlecove, and why his and the party’s goals were currently aligned

Ne’er-do-well: originally a kingdom of two islands called Artesia and run by artists, poets and musicians, mismanagement caused it to fall into ruin and become a home for the unfortunate, desperate and criminal elements. Koryn worked to shape this into what he called his ‘anarchy’ – a state where anything is legal, as long as it causes no physical harm, and where people are free – as long as they acknowledge Koryn’s rulership. He was proud that this was a place where people could find whatever they wanted – at a price. The masked visitors were those wishing to keep their presence, motives and identity secret.

Scuttlecove: a small port  on the volcanic swampy island of Lesser Ne’er-do-well, Koryn let his former travelling companions and pirates Kedward Bone and Rhemus Caldakar take up positions there. Kedward was a dashing pirate who fell to the ravages of a disfiguring disease, and became a recluse with strange predelicitions and drug dealing. Rhemus was a gnome sorcerer that has a business selling body parts. About 10 years ago, a group of exile Monks of Dire Hunger from the (Egypt-like) nation of Thothia petitioned Koryn for safe harbour and he allowed them to take residence in Scuttlecove. They built a palace, but then vanished a few years ago, leaving a haunted building behind. A sect of powerful Bellisarian wizards used to run a brothel in Porphyry House, but were ousted by a mysterious woman calling herself Tylrandi – who was seldom if ever seen. A group of coin skimmers, who make a living shaving gold off coins, named the Eighth Coil, had also become quite rich and powerful in the city.

What had raised Koryn's concern was the arrival of the Crimson Fleet, a powerful group consorting with demons and operating from a magically hidden base near Scuttlecove. Now the city was on the brink of civil war between the factions and Koryn feared for his reputation with the Alphatian Empire if this become too unruly, and also that one power group might seek to rival him. He wanted to put down any thoughts of rebellion – at arm’s length with nothing to be traced to him – by having the party investigate what was going on in Scuttlecove and tip the scales in one groups favour as they saw fit. Koryn wanted his anarchists in control.

So, if the party sought out the Crimson Fleet’s hidden base of operations, and took them out, Koryn could see stability returning. And he was willing to offer the party the resources of Ne’er-do-well, the favour of a king, in return. Koryn left at that point, and Felix, a rakasta agent, entered to brief the party further. He had been sent by Koryn to find Zimon Alvaneer, Koryn’s trusted spy in the city, who had disappeared without trace.  When Felix got to the city, he found out the Protectorate, Zimon’s network of agents loyal to Koryn, had been killed to a man. He returned quickly to gather a larger group and help him look into this. One potential port of call in the city was the tavern Rusty Shunt, run by a former pirate Lars Landicaster, who had a noble heart.

The party were shipped in Scuttlecove and saw it for the bustling depraved shithole it was. They saw demonic apes, robed disfigured monks, harpies and other creatures amongst the bustling, fighting crowds. All eyes were on them as they arrived, sizing them up as potential marks. They made it to the Rusty Shunt, but Mendel’s questioning put Lars on edge, and he didn't reveal much. Anthony spoke to the patrons and heard more about the city – apparently dashing female pirate that the party thought might be Harliss Javell was seen asking questions, and might be linked to a group of mutineers from the Crimson Fleet. Lars warned Antony off asking too many questioned, and Felix sensed some regret behind his words that maybe others asking questions in his care hadn't fared well.

The party decided to head through the thronging streets and explore the ‘haunted palace’ first, and in broad daylight (via the Plaza of Hanging Ruin, a mass crucifixion site run by the monks) went over the wall and broke in through the front balcony. In the entrance hall, decorated in Thotian style, they were attacked by shadows that lay hidden in large canopic jars. A vampire entered and told them they were trespassing, and left as swarms of other vampires attacked from either side. Dacien sent an arcane eye after the head vampire, but it stopped working once it got through the keyhole. As the party fought off the vampires, Zhedd and Felix who had been waiting outside on guard, arrived to warn them that a crowd was gathering by the gates outside.

Faction list

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Savage Tide Session 43

Dacien reckoned the party had around 10 seconds before the building would collapse around them. The whole structure groaned and creaked. Rubble fell form one of the floors above, and along with it a giant bloated gruel-encrusted toad, the size of a wagon. The toad splashed into the water that surrounded Mendel. Near what remained of the entrance, other threats were now also visible - a swarm of piranha-like tadpoles, a mass of large rats with exposed brains struggling to stay afloat, and a ghostly female figure flitting between the remnants of a mangled series of pipes. The quiet after the explosion was broken by the sound of whooping and screeching from a band of oversized apes that had also been revealed by the blast.

The party tried to group to escape. Antony manged to topple the cyborg off the seating area and over the balcony, into the waiting mouth of the toad below. Stephen appeared from above, dropping the 3 stories onto what remained of the ground floor with a sickening crunch. Desperation plastered on his pale face, he pleaded to the party. "Please, in here, it's the only thing I can think to undo this! A drinking game, like roulette - it could kill you, but it might repair this damage!" Dacien tried to buy some time by conjuring a pillar of stone to support the floor underneath the reactor, as the party moved into the room Stephen had indicated. By this time, Zhedd had fled, teleporting away with Faldak to try and get to safety. Outside, they both spotted four shadow elves in front of the main complex, one in the process of summoning two large earth elementals. Faldak's eye was caught by the fine dwarven waraxe one of the elves was wielding...

Back inside the temple, Stephen led the players into what he referred to as the games room. A large metal table dominated the room, surrounded by several chairs connected to the ceiling with cables. The centre of the table appeared to the a flat polished gem, within which flickered green pixelated text and the image of a deck of cards. Stephen slammed his hand on the screen, a card appeared and, when nothing happened, jumped up in disgust. Dacien tried next, and a series of cards appeared which left him naked and surrounded by gems.

Gerald and Lenny were next, and suddenly the whole building morphed around them. The frog shaped imagery disappeared to be replaced by sturdy dwarven craftsmanship, the temple of the frog replaced by a plain dwarven fort (DM: struck me after maybe it should have been shaped like a dwarven head?). Lenny's coat all of a sudden looked more thick and glossy, and the sound of mechanical pumping could be heard echoing from the newly formed dungeons below.

In the main entrance chamber, Mendel dispatch the ghostly figure, whose choral wailing was having little effect on the party. The other creatures were caught in the dungeon of the new Fort Gerald. Dacien tried calling out to Weewak but had no response, but dwarven faces built into the wall did respond to questions, and were commanded to pump out the water from the basement. Stephen was extremely grateful to the party, but started to refer to Gerald as 'my liege' and show him deference. Stephen left the party to check on his mechanical creation upstairs, as they explored the rest of the complex. Much of the contents had been reshaped to be of dwarfish design. They found the giant toad in the basement, along with a distillery, and were able to dispatch it with arrow fire. Several explosive devices were collected from around the building, and carefully placed in a bag of holding.

Once the building was clear, Stephen explained that the power output of the complex should prevent further damage to the kingdom of Emerond, but the damage that the shadow elves had inflicted would need additional technology to repair and allow the kingdom to flourish again. This could be found in the craft that brought the 'cyborgs' here - an invisible stealth ovoid. The next day, after Dacien returned to Farshore to buy some clothes and bring along the Witchwarden Theurge Faintly Macabre to help Stephen with his vampiric condition, the party went hunting for the cyborg craft. The tracks from the shadow elves led to a tree and disappeared, but Zhedd communed to find the location of the craft to the southwest. With Banshee's sonar, they found the craft and after a fair bit of experimentation managed to gain access. Antony played with the controls and almost got whisked away into space, but, with Stephen in tow, was able to be rescued by the rest of the party. Stephen cannibalized the crafts electronics and thought he had enough to make a start on repairing the reactor controls.