Shipwrecked and Shiftless




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  1. #1
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    Shipwrecked and Shiftless

    <The first post is brief but subsequent posts will have a more narrative style.>

    This adventure begins on the high seas. The party travels to Kalidan, First Island of Alpasha, where a new trade accord between the crumbling human empire and the leaders of the various Alpshan Fleetmasters will be signed into law.

    Kage (Caw-Gae), a carousing dragonborn adventurer, travels southeast from the Imperial Port City of Borgen following his occasional companion Jetberry. Kage is often found bailing Jetberry out of trouble but her creative spirit and penchant for getting access to fine beer, wine and spirits seems to balance things out in his mind. When push comes to shove Kage knows how to finish a fight, whether with guile or gore.

    Jetberry’s half-elven beauty and charm earned them both passage on one of the empires diplomatic ships – the HMV Gladstone. Jetberry plans to earn a small fortune entertaining the Alpashan merchant princes and perhaps capture a story worth retelling. If she has to spice up that story with some skullduggery or deception - well that’s just part of the creative process.

    Brez also found himself onboard the Gladstone, as it was the most comfortable ship leaving port at the time and he wished to leave quite quickly. It seemed a certain committee had taken an unfortunate interest in his arcane studies. The relative privacy of the western Alpasha Archipelago suddenly seemed very attractive. He travels to Kalidan and perhaps further west in search of a quiet island to ply his trade and hone his craft. A comfortable cabana on a beach wouldn’t hurt either. Do his pursuers know he has left the Empire?

    Aleck had a rough life. His family was exterminated when he was just a boy. A youth filled with minor misbehavior ended abruptly when he was nabbed for a crime he did not commit. He was pressed into service as an ensign in the Imperial Navy but was granted a field commission during the Empires extended campaign in the Bay of Mordrek. He managed to stay alive just long enough to survive the Gnoll Invasion, though significant numbers of his company did not fair so well. The fact that many companies disappeared entirely during that war probably saved him from court martial. After the war he quickly negotiated, cajoled and head cracked his way up the ladder to Warrant Officer of the Gladstone.

    An evening of hijinx and entertainment marked the companions first evening together. The night itself brought disaster. A massive sea monster rose from the sea, slithering it’s tentacles through the portals of the ship and smashing the bottom of it’s hull. A short pitched battle took place on the ships deck. Large clawed tentacles clipped men in half, while slimmer ones dragged sailors off the ship and into the ocean. If that weren't enough, Jetberry noticed turbulence on the surface of the water not far from the ship. The angular beaked body of a Krakken rose from the depths and began smashing the side of the ship. A single massive gem, which radiated strong arcane energy, was clearly visible embedded in the creatures head, just between it’s ink black eyes. Highlights of the battle included Kage soaring through the air at the end of a rope to land on the creatures head, then stabbing it repeatedly, and Jetberry imbuing the strings of her lute with arcane energy to form a makeshift garrot which she used to slice Kage free from a grasping tentacle. The would-be companions fought off the beast, sending it back under the surface with the ships captain stuck in its jaws. An ear piercing keen seemed to come from the gem.

    The calm didn’t last long. As they peered down into the water after the fleeing beast the survivors realized its true purpose. Dozens of tentacles had winnowed their way into the ships portholes and now began to flex and compress. Creaking beams and shattering glass filled their ears as the vessel was torn apart beneath their feet. The survivors rushed for the single life boat at the rear of the ship.

    Brez hastily cast a ritual to summon a floating disc of energy and headed for the Captain’s quarters. There he discovered a locked chest. A quick bit of maneuvering had the ships bed floating on the disc, quintupling its effective surface area and allowing him to fit the chest on with him.

    Aleck and Kage managed to release the life boat from its couplings and lowered it down, with Aleck staying behind to slide down the rope after them. A massive crash lifted the ship partially out of the water. Aleck was knocked off the ships railing as he prepared to climb down and narrowly avoided plunging into the depths. The six of them attempted to paddle away from the doomed ship but four more tentacles slithered out of the water. They were hacked back quickly but not before one damaged the small craft.

    The impact that threw Aleck from the ship proved the final blow as the Gladstone was torn asunder and the beast dragged two great sections of the ship down into the depths, dozens of dead sailors clutched in its tentacles. Fragments of the ship floated to the surface as the survivors quickly tied the small boat to the floating bed, and the four took comfortable positions on the bed. The three sailors were left in the row boat which was gradually taking on water.

    A survey of the contents of the chest reveal 120 gold, 2 pearls, a breathtaking bone carving of a dolphin, a small bolt of fine Daeneth silk with a bold floral motif currently popular in the Alpashan islands, and a well crafted map that seems to have magical properties.
    Last edited by Robtheman; Monday, 19th July, 2010 at 11:43 PM.

 

  • #2
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    The Cast of Characters

    Aleck, Human Warlord

    Brez, Human Wizard
    A most-of-the-time DM who is excited to play as opposed to run the game. Seems set on playing pranks with prestidigitation, etc. Should be fun!

    Jetberry, Half-Elf Minstrel (Bard)
    It wasn't that Jetberry's moral compass was broken, it was that she never had been given one at all.

    As far as Jetberry was concerned, her childhood was normal. She was not bitter about never knowing her father, and having been born the bastard daughter of Delia – a traveling merchant specializing in crystals. Moving every few weeks was normal. New bedfellows in her mother's tent every night, also normal. Celebrating the successful pickpocketing of said bedfellows, normal. Celebrating with a lotus infused hazy afternoon, also normal. Lying to get out of trouble, or even lying just because... normal.

    The only thing that Jetberry found unusual in her life was her uncanny knack for music and magic. Despite her Mother's considerable knowledge of the arcane, Delia handled magic as well as a wizard handles insults, and carried a tune worse than a beetle carrying a bugbear. Jetberry figured that if she herself was already a virtuoso without any training, she must have come from exceptional stock. She was convinced her father was an immensely skilled musician or sorcerer, and that he was possibly wealthy.

    The elven ancestry of her father was evident by her own facial features, yet she knew little actual information about him. And neither did Delia, as she was just as comfortable with the “put-the-sword-in-the-sheath” game as she was with a handshake of introduction. Delia gave Jetberry one object that had belonged to him – a ring which she had pick pocketed from him and had intended to sell. Upon the discovery of her pregnancy she kept the ring as a keepsake - a large, round sapphire in a silver setting, with the image of a dolphin on either side.

    Jetberry wanted to find him, and in her travels often asked the locals if the ring looked familiar. Once she was unified with her father she would feign the adoration she found so mystical in other families. She would feign interest, love and loyalty and use it to her advantage in any way. Because to do so... would be quite normal.


    Kage, Dragonborn Ninja (Assassin, MC Rogue)
    Last edited by Robtheman; Saturday, 17th July, 2010 at 06:23 AM. Reason: Updated backstory for Jetberry

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    Session 1 Technical Notes

    The Krakken was composed of 3 creature types:
    The head: (1) Level 3 elite controller based on a Blue Slime stat block
    The clawed tentacles: (2) Level 2 soldier based on Bloodthorn Vine
    The primary tentacles (8) Level 2 minion controllers based on deleveled Vine Horrors

    The session was built for 5 level 1 characters. One character did not show up. This made it a level +2/3 encounter. The party ended up missing a lot of attacks, but this was remedied by a number of great uses of "Do Something Awesome" encounter cards, which are based entirely on Rel and Piratecats houserule. The sailors helped out a bit by killing some minions and keeping them busy while the party focused on the Clawed Tentacles and the Head.

    Brez used his Do Something Awesome card to hastily cast Tenser's Floating Disc before the ship capsized. Jetberry used hers to use her lute string as a magical garrot, severing the claws off one tentacle and freeing Kage from it's grasp. Kage swung onto the creatures head to stab it, and also inspect the large gem. When Kage was subsequently thrown from the creatures head and clung desperately to the side of the ship, Aleck came to his rescue, hurling him back on deck.

    The intention was to start them off with a bang and leave them in charge of their destiny. The party used all their dailies, encounters and heals and came dangerously close to KO's. I shudder to think what this evil and unaligned party would have done if one of them had been unconscious when the ship capsized.

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    Shipwrecked and Shiftless: Act 2: "Flotsam and Jetsom"

    Act 2: Flotsam and Jetsom

    Special Notes: Brez could not attend so it was two leaders and a striker for this session.

    Scene 1: Shipwrecked and Shiftless

    The relative silence is punctuated by the dull thump of debris on the oceans surface, and the occasional bubble of air floating to the surface from the inner chambers of the Gladstone. A single large piece of the ship dominates the wreckage - the aftcastle of the ship which broke loose. It had been added after the ships construction as a chamber for diplomatic discussions at sea.

    By Brez’ calculations they had only 24 hours before the disc would disappear – dropping the bed, chest and companions into the ocean. Brez had little chance of maintaining it without a dry surface to cast his ritual on. For the time he was exhausted. The effort of forcing the ritual in just a fraction of the normal casting time had left him drained. He entered a meditative trance after explaining the command words for guiding the disc to Jetberry.

    The adventurers took a brief survey of the wreckage by starlight, the bed skirting just above the surface. They hoped to find food and water to aid them in surviving the calmed seas. As luck would have it Jetberry’s keen eyes spotted a cask of water floating just below the surface and Aleck heard the sound of fruit breaking the surface of the water. They netted enough to survive a few days – fewer if they shared with the three rescued sailors in the row boat.

    With that the party turned their attention to the map they’d found in the Captain’s chest. It showed a single dot in the center of the map, as well as a crude illustration of many objects linked together around a central spire. This lay to the NW of the dot. Sealanes were drawn in, none of which were familiar to Aleck. No names or legend appeared on the map.

    Jetberry could tell that the object had been activated about one day prior. Aleck pointed out that things change at sea on a daily basis. She pondered its markings for a while then whispered various arcane words that dealt with location. “Locilum … Areano … Setos … Aha!” Her fingers felt the familiar warmth of arcane energy and a single word, Flotsam, appeared above the crudely illustrated object. A bit more concentration and she added a simple scale of distance in the bottom left corner. It appeared that the black dot was nearly a days travel from Flotsam.

    The party presumed they were the dot. Based on the scale of the map and the lack of other objects on it, they decided Flotsam was their only, and best, bet. As a final bit of security Jetberry tried to reactivate the primary powers of the map, essentially trying to relocate the objects on the map to their present positions. This proved to complex.

    With the map in hand the party set out towards this Flotsam, floating silently above the waver, three sailor companions towed along behind them.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    The wind and waters remained calm through the evening and into the dawn. A brilliant sunrise greeted them and they took the chance to peruse the Captains correspondence – which they’d found in his trunk. The majority of them were from his sweetheart. The woman proved to be Alpashan, and attached to a minor merchant family. It seemed clear that the two were in love, or at least she with him. The last letter

    A few letters were in a strange cipher though. Aleck took time to read through them, comparing the cipher to ones he’d encountered during his campaign in Mordrek. Certain consistencies presented which he shared with Jetberry. She turned her attention to the Captain’s letter to his fiancé, and hers to him, hoping to gain some insight into his personality. With time she managed to deduce bits about the Captain’s character. Aleck’s historical knowledge and Jetberry’s experiences with street gangs (streetwise) and her understand of the Captain’s mind they managed to come up with a partial solution to the cipher.

    It was clear the Captain had been passing fleet schedules for non-military vessels to a man in Flotsam named Davos Millerson. Why this was done was unclear. Payment was never mentioned and dialogue was kept strictly to the facts. Davos responses tended to be simple statements thanking him for the information and occasionally requesting clarification.

    Left with questions and only one place to find answers – or rest, the party pressed on.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    The heat of the sun built quickly. A sweltering wet heat and barely a hint of breeze left them dripping sweat and drinking water as quickly as they could. A makeshift canopy was created from the corner posts of the bed and one sheet, but it did little more than shade their eyes.

    Gazing back to the east with the sun on his back, Aleck noticed one of the sailors slip a flask into his pocket. He was the only one of the seamen that seemed comfortable in the heat.

    “Hey! What have you got there, Francis!” Aleck glared menacingly down the length of the rope.

    “Nothing, sir.”

    “By the sea gods I’ll cut you loose if you keep lyin’ to us,” shouted Kage, taking an interest in the exchange.” <intimidate>

    Francis appeared shaken. He tossed the flask up to the party and hunkered down in the shade of his two companions.

    A little investigation showed it was an infusion of kelpbulb extract and holy water, and had the benefit of bolstering ones endurance. It contained enough to see them through the day and perhaps the next. Each took a slug of the pungent mix and felt somewhat refreshed.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    As evening approached Jetberry had a bit of an epiphany. She reached for the map tucked beneath the corner of the chest and brushed her mind against it again. There. She had it. Uttering a quick series of words, which she had gleaned from Davos Millerson’s letters, she caused the map to shimmer and reform its lines. Her heart sank.

    They had been heading in the right direction, but the location of Flotsam had changed.

    “Uh, guys, I think we might have a problem,” she whispered to the three with her on the bed.

    The four briefly discussed the situation. They had perhaps 3 hours left in the air. The map now indicated Flotsam was a long 6 hour pull to the NE. The decision was reached quickly though Aleck expressed some concern. The party quickly stowed their treasure in their packs.

    “Hey boys, would you like a turn on the bed?” called Jetberry. <diplomacy>

    “Oi, you bet we would, lassy, but will you be stayin’ up there wit’ us?” called Francis? Biggs and Wedge sniggered a bit behind him.

    “Oh then you’d not be able to stretch out. We’ll be fine in the boat for a while. We’ll leave some of the fruit up here for you.” <diplomacy>

    Francis, Biggs and Wedge conferred quickly and agreed. Perhaps their fortunes were turning for the better? The bed floated down and the two groups swapped positions. The bed was a welcome change for the cramped sailors. Wedge hopped up and down on the bed for a bit, offering a quip about the captain that brought grim looks from his buddies. The settled down and Jetberry floated them up into the air, “For cooler air and a touch of breeze.”

    At that Kage cut the rope connecting them to the bed and Aleck began to pull at the oars. The three looked down dumbfounded for a moment from their lofty perch. Then they cursed the four adventurers for all their worth. They could hear them for a long while, despite turning their backs to the dwindling site of a floating bed in the middle of the ocean.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Scene 2: Finding Flotsam

    The kelpbulb infusion helped quite a bit now. Aleck took a two hour stint at the oars, followed by Kage, and then Jetberry. <chase skill challenge>

    Aleck and Kage’s power and agility with the oars let them make headway, though Kage became winded quickly. Jetberry faired less well, though she offered no complaint. At last the 6 hours were up, but nothing appeared on the horizon. Jetberry checked the map again and confirmed they had a bit further to go. Brez roused himself and consented to pull at the oars for a short while. Fortunately he had rested enough and the cooler night air helped him keep fresh. As the 7th hour passed, the party spotted distant lights close to the horizon.

    They pulled closer to the lights and began to make out the shapes of ships bobbing gently in the ocean. Dozens of them. Hundreds of them. They wrapped around to the left and right. Deep amongst them a single shaft of soft glowing material stood against the sky, perhaps 300 feet tall if Jetberry could trust her eyes. It glowed with magical light.

    “Hey! Who’s there?” A shout came out of the jumble of vessels.

    “Gwenilynn, and my companions. We’ve been shipwrecked,” called Jetberry.

    A single light moved back and forth rhythmically against the backdrop. “Bring her in then.”

    They pulled the last 300 feet into Flotsam and were greeted by a human in simple garb wearing a long sash around his chest, and a tall darkskinned Alpashan, his ritual scars clearly visible with just the light of the lantern.

    “Flinn’s my name. Welcome to Flotsam Gwenilynn. Who are your companions?”

    Before he could get a response Aleck appeared to stumble getting out of the boat. His foot crashed down in the center of the boat and he barely avoided going into the water. A second later a explosion of lightning blasted the boat. It came from Kage’s direction.

    “Gah… damn allergies.” Kage dramatically wiped his nose. Aleck checked for scorch marks. He found a few. He also noted, to his satisfaction, that the lifeboats moniker (HMV Gladstone) had come to the surface with the paint side down.

    “Kage’s my name, and this is…”

    Aleck quickly interrupted, rattling off a long and convoluted Elven name. Flinn appeared to buy it.

    “You say your ship was destroyed, but how?”

    “Kraken,” was Kage’s one word answer.

    Flinn’s jaw dropped and the unnamed Alpashan’s eyes widened briefly.

    “I, I see. You’ll be wanting to speak with Davos then and he with you. He’s the Flotilla Master and will know how to help ye’. I’ll take you to accommodations for the night. The Broken Keel is just down the way.”

    ---------------------------------------------------------------------

    Flinn led them into the mass of ships, following a maze of planks. Some floated just above the surface, others linked boats. For every turn they took they passed a dozen others. All were quickly disoriented, even Aleck who was used to unplanned port towns.

    They arrived shortly at what looked to be a large river boat with a dozen tents on the surface, light glowing through the cloth. A clamor of drinks and chatter came from within. Portholes along the side seemed to wink at them, lantern light shifting as shadows were cast by those inside. A large gangplank led up to the top, with a rough iron archway. The sign read the Broken Keel and showed the image of a ship split down the middle.

    Flinn assured them Davos would send for them in the morning and went back to his rounds. The party entered and arranged for rooms, then settled into their chairs wearily. Kage ordered drinks for three then asked if anyone wanted him to order for them.

    Jetberry approached the bouncer. “Hi there,” She offered. “I’m looking for some company tonight.”

    “I’m not for hire,” the man shot back. His voice reminded Jetberry of crushing gravel and breaking bones.

    “You’re not my type,” she countered. “I want a lady,” and described her tastes.

    The man, who called himself Brazen, didn’t bat an eye at her request. “Don’t have our own entertainment, but I can arrange for it.” He assured her someone would knock at her door in a bit.

    Aleck stayed up a bit longer and then retired, as did Brez.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Scene 4: No Way To Treat A Lady of the Night

    A soft tap at the door signaled her companion’s arrival. She opened the door to the looming figure of Brazen. A lovely woman stood beside him (if a bit past her prime). Warm chocolate skin ran beneath the silk wraps she wore draped across one shoulder, toga style. Her hair was long and black, braided into intricate waves that accented the simple wave motif of scars that ran across her forehead, over her ears and down around the nape of her neck. Brazen let it be know he would be just outside.

    Qira offered her name, the stopped mid-sentence as she shut the door, spotting Kage passed out on the other bed. “That will cost double.”

    “Oh don’t worry, you’re all mine. Here lie down. I’ll tie you up.”

    Qira offered no resistance though her eyes narrowed briefly.

    Once the knots were tight Jetberry turned and heeled Kage in the back. “Gruh, whu…?” he responded.

    “What shall I whip her with darling?”

    Qira spoke up now, “You’ll leave no marks. Play only or I’ll bring Brazen in here.”

    Kage roused himself, “You’ll say nothing or we’ll slit your throat you dirty whore.”

    “BRAZEN!”

    *SLAM* “You all right in there Qira?”

    “It’s fine, we’re just playing,” Jetberry assures Qira. “Kage is a bit clumsy when he’s drunk.” <epic diplomacy roll>

    “I see… It’s ok for now Brazen,” she called through the door.

    Jetberry and Kage proceed to grill Qira for information on the town and anything about a sea monster. Though Qira seems alarmed at the mention of the Kraken she hasn’t heard anything that matches up. She does let the party know that the calm winds have been afflicting the area for quite a while. That might be what kept a number of fishing vessels from returning, but with the news of this sea monster she starts to doubt that theory.

    She volunteered more information, speaking quickly. The Captains Coalition, which governs the politics of the free city of Flotsam has been discussing the matter openly. It was no secret, Qira said, that Captain Draku, a retired sometimes pirate wants to organize a military fleet from the few suitable vessels in Flotsam. He would lead it to the NW where the fishing boats have been disappearing to investigate. Captain Fleetfoot, the Halfing trader in charge of the merchants’ Consortium, has objected strongly. He prefered reaching out to one of the Alpashas merchant family’s for protection. Captain Mitchell, nominal head of the independent fishermen, was stuck between them. The situation stood at a deadlock.

    With that she fell silent. Satisfied that her “captive” had shared all she knew Jetberry released her bonds. Qira stood quickly and held out her hand. “20 gold and that’s to keep this between us.” Jetberry paid her without quibbling but Kage could barely conceal his disgust.

    As the door closed behind her Brazen leaded in. “You’ll be gone in the morning and I’ll not see you here again. Understood?”

    Jetberry nodded.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Scene 5: We Know You Know. Wait, What Do We Know?

    The morning brought another beautiful day. The sounds of a bustling town filled their ears. Gulls squawked and children shouted from down allies. Busy steps slapping on the wooden walkways came and went from outside the portholes of their rooms. The party was greeted by Flynn who was waiting on them to wake up. After a quick bite they left to meet Davos Millerson.

    As they walked Jetberry was able to examine the tall glowing object. She could barely make out the arcane halo – it simply looked like a large mast rising out of the wooden mass somewhere in the dnstance.

    Davos’ office was inside a barge, further inside the swarm of vessels. He proved to be human, with a broad open face. His garb was simple, like Flynn’s but the sash across his shoulders and chest was decorated with medals, pins and ribbons. He introduced himself and asked the four for their names and how they arrived at Flotsam.

    Aleck decided he trusted the man and divulged the name of their ship, the HMV Gladstone. Davos’ eyes tightened when he heard of the vessels fate and of its crew (killed to a man). Jetberry and Kage filled him in on the Kraken. Davos seemed disturbed by their preoccupation with the gem and its possible value.

    Then Jetberry and Kage asked the question on the four heroes minds. “We know you were acquainted with the Captain. What was he sharing with you.”

    The question startled Davos a bit, but he recovered quickly. “I’m not sure …”

    “We have the letters you sent to the Captain. We were able to rescue his locker from the wreckage. We cracked your cipher and know he sent you information.”

    “I see. Well it’s nothing to be ashamed of, at least on my account. We stay out of the Empire’s way as best we can. Captain Gilly sent me the listings of Empire ship traffic so I can tell the Captains Coalition where to sale the fleet. There are no pirates here, at least not active ones, if that’s what you were thinking.”

    “What about the sea creature that attacked our ship?” they asked.

    “That is a tougher question. I have not heard of any creature like that at all. Sure in legends and tall tales. Old greybeards talking into their cups, drunken scurvy ridden dogs boasting of their exploits. Nothing serious though. The gem though, seems to smack of magic. I’ll be of no further help to you, but you’ve been of great help to me. If a beast like that has been striking at our fishing vessels, it’s no wonder they haven’t returned. I will spread the word among the Captains. You’ve done us a great service just by surviving to tell your story.”

    “Now, I would imagine you were traveling somewhere. If you wish to continue your journey I can arrange for transport.”

    The party discussed their options and decided they wanted to continue on to the First Island and the accords taking place in Kalidan. Davos stated a vessel would depart at dawn. The trip would cost them nothing but it came with one condition. Under no circumstance should they tell anyone that the vessel had stopped in Flotsam. “It was never here, and neither were you.”

    The Grey Gull would take them to Kalidan in the morning. Davos suggested some areas to avoid and sent them on their way.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Scene 6: Help You With Your Bags Kid?

    The party set out to re-supply. They had left most of their supplies in their rooms when the Kraken attacked, with the exception of Brez who tried to sleep through the initial impact and thus took a moment to grab his items.

    Jetberry worked the crowd a bit, attempting to find a decent place to stay that night. The consensus seemed to point to the Sunken Periscope, which was part way around the periphery of the flotilla. Unfortunately it led through one of the areas Davos warned them about.

    Aleck spent some time searching for javelins and a long spear. He ended up with some short hafted wooden seal hunting spears and a Boarding Spear, used by purchase used by pirates and seadogs to repel attackers or drive back defenders, as the case may be. There is a metal ring about 2 feet from the bottom that wraps about the wooden shaft. A short dull hook is part of the metal portion. The merchant explains it's used to brace the weapon against a ship rail.

    He also picks up a political map of the Alpashan Archipelago from an old boat builder turned hobby historian named Fisk. When asked for books on the Alpashan region he furrowed his brow a bit, then dug through a trunk. He came back up with Marshall's Field Guide to the Saelig Sea and Regions Beyond. It proved to be an old training manual typically given to officials and functionaries of the Empire. Saelig Sea is the name given to the general round region of water between the Alpashan Archipelago and the curving coastline of the northern continent. It contains political advice which is fairly out of date as it was printed over 70 years ago. The general content (where things are, who owns them, and what to expect from local culture) sounds accurate, from what you can confirm.

    As the party wraps up it’s shopping Kage spotted a youngish half-elf, not more than 5 feet tall, peering at him around the edge of a vessel. Kage walked up inconspicuously and nabbed the boy as he got close. The kid struggled briefly then gave up, realizing Kage’s grip was set. “What are you watching me for boy,” Kage growled.

    “I’m not!” the boy squeaked. “I was just … you know … people watching.”

    “I don’t believe you. Who are you?”

    “Clover, sir. Will you let me go please? That hurts…” the youth whined.

    Kage rifled through the kids pockets, coming up with 25 gold. A pretty sum of coin for an urchin. With that he booted the kid and sent him on his way. “Let’s get out of here, he hollered to his companions.”

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Scene 7: FighT! Fight! (or Who Put the Target on Aleck's Back?)

    They moved on to the Sunken Periscope, winnowing their way through the maze of cogs, barges, longboats, skiffs, rafts and the occasional open spaces of water. As they walked they passed by the occasional worker carrying large crocks. Those walking towards the outer edge of the fleet struggled under the weight. Unpleasant smells wafted from the containers. “Chamber pot water…” grunts Brez, who casts a small glamour to waft the stench away from him and towards Kage.

    Jetberry managed to lead them without getting lost too often. The path she selected seemed to lead fairly directly to the Sunken Periscope, by Flotsam standards. After 20 minutes or so Kage stiffened. The sounds of kids shouting had diminished. The only sound was sloshing water and the cry of gulls.

    He peered about and at the path ahead. Something seemed strange about the nearest intersection. The Dragonborn moved forward quietly to examine it and discovered it would have given way beneath his step. He managed to jam the release with a bar of metal. As he stood he noticed some movement above him to his left. “It’s an ambush!” he roared.

    They were in a narrow alley of boats. Two larger ones on the left, with a path leading away between them. The northern of those had tall aft-watch that loomed above the rest of the nearby boats and the paths below. To their right were four smaller craft, with a pair of paths leading off. Kage stood at the intersection with the leftward path, just below the tall aft-watch. Aleck stood 20 feet behind him in the open and Jetberry stood at the rear, near a path leading to the right.

    A figure moved up quietly behind Jetberry from an intersection path. A slight tear of cloth was all she heard, but the creature had not anticipated Kage’s warning. Jetberry shifted and the attack missed her. The creature darted away and through some small vessels. When she saw it again she could tell it was a gnome. It brandished a crossbow and shot at her a quarrel punching into her leg.

    Three Halflings popped up and took shots at Aleck and Kage. Aleck was hit hard three times, and dropped to the deck (-2 hp). Jetberry felt a burst of pain in her head and a warmth as blood poured from a wound on her scalp.

    Kage recovered from the ambush quickly and glared up at the small assailants standing 25 feet above him. He whipped a cord of shadow at the first and jerked it from its perch <crit>. The attack choked the life from the slinger, its corpse plunging down into the water. Jetberry shouted at Aleck to get up, channeling her magic into the words. Aleck roused himself, completely refreshed, and turned to face the Gnome. He managed to slash it before it fle into the shadows.

    The gnome popped up again and shot at Jetberry from among some crates on a longboat. He found his mark again.

    Above them the two remaining Halflings nodded at each other. They plunged their hands into their bags of sling stones and come out with three each. The blur of flying stones was more than Aleck could track. He was pelted three more times and dropped again (0 hp). Kage took a shot as well, but the distance was greater and there were objects in the way, so the other two stones bounce wide.

    Jetberry dug deep for some extra resolve and turned to Aleck, using her second healing spell in as many seconds. Aleck drug himself up to rejoin the fight. His javelin soared high above the Halfings.

    The gnome appeared out of the shadows again. This time its short sword found a gap in Aleck’s armor. Blood spurted from Aleck’s side. The gnome blinked out of sight without moving an inch. From their perch the Halflings attack again. Another stone whizzed at Aleck and found its mark. It is enough to knock him to the ground again, pinned down in the open. Two more stones spun past Kage, one slapping into his side.

    Kage, seeing the gnome hurt his companion then fade from few, roared “Kill that damn thing!” then moved to get onto the boat the Halflings were attacking from. He found a ramp at the front that linked it to the main pathway. Exposed for the moment, he cut the rope holding the mainsail up on this vessel. It unfurled and partially blocked him from site. Next he focused his will and to find some extra energy (action point, second wind).

    Aleck failed a death save. Jetberry moved up and succeeded at a Heal check, consuming Aleck’s second wind. The gnome reappeared behind Jetberry, having never moved, attacked and missed, then scooted off to the south and along a side path.

    Kage cut another rope, and swung out over the alleyway, ("Stunt" encounter card) attempting to get up to the top level and attack the Halfings. (natural 1 athletics) As he tried to climb up while swinging he lost his grip, slipping down. As his swing concluded he slammed against the boat and fell to the boards. He narrowly avoided landing on the trapped intersection (save vs. threatening terrain). Jetberry turned at to the gnome and unleashes a powerful arcane spell but the creature avoided the effects (missed daily).

    Aleck, finally able to make some headway, ran to a spot below the Halflings and hurled a nearby net at them ("Stunt" encounter card). He managed to tangle the creature but was unable to pull it over the edge.

    The gnome attempted to hide below the edge of a boat but Jetberry spotted him. She snagged a rope and fashions a hasty lasso ("Stunt"), which she flung at the gnome (18). Then she jerked him towards her, knocking the fey creature prone and causing significant pain (20).

    One Halfling shot three stones (recharged) at Aleck. One found its mark. The second took a shot at Jetberry but missed. Kage, desperate to get to his quarry, slipped out of Aleck’s shadow and into the shadow of the creature above, then unleashed a violet blast of electricity (racial dragon breath). One Halfing dropped in a heap. The other turned to jump ship a moment later. Kage’s blade found a spot in the short creatures spine.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------

    In a gruff voice filled with lightening and scales, Kage barked out an order, "Keep that ****er alive." He pulled his short sword from the makeshift of meatsheath that was the Halflings back. His reptilian eyes narrowed at the bloody scene in the alleyway of tethered ships. As a trained assasin his gut told him one simple thing, they were targeted. He grabbed the bodies of those dead halflings he can reach and throws them down near where the unsprung trap had been set. "Let's clean up our mess and find a nice quiet place to /talk/ to that pipsqueak."

    Jetberry secured the rope around the gnome rather gruffly. As the gnome squeeked in pain Jetberry barked at him, "Shut up, Stabby!"

    The gnome stared back balefully, waiting to see what would happen next.

    "I'm keeping my full attention on him," said Jetberry. "You boys clean that mess without me."

    After some time to get hearing and vision back, Aleck finally managed to join the conversation. There was a long stare where perhaps one might believe he was seriously considering kicking the gnome. Instead he rubs his head, helmet off and held on his hip.

    "The trap. Good idea. Whoever sent these guys may come looking for them. We need to buy some time or we won't survive to get on that ship."

    Aleck and Kage pulled up the trapdoor and peered into the shaded waters below. A large creature moved upwards from the depths. Before long they notice the repeated shapes of a turtles shell. As it got closer to the surface it seemed to pick up speed. *SPLASH* *SNAP* A disturbingly large snapping turtle lunged up but the distance was too great for it to escape to cage that contained it below the surface. It settled back down a few feet below the surface.

    Aleck walked over, keeping one eye about, and started maneuvering the corpses towards the trapdoor. "Strip 'em" he muttered. This is uncomfortably close to a rather significant and disturbing memory. He goes about it with stiff fingers and workmanlike efficiency.

    The two made quick work of it. The Halfling men were parted from their valuables in a few moments. Jetberry notices the gnome paying particular attention to the actions by the turtle cage. He took it in with a grim expression.

    Kage tossed the punctured corpses into the maw of the giant snapping turtle, watching as the huge amphibian's jaws chomped down upon it's miniscual meal. He turned and looked over at the Gnome Jetberry has secured, "Let's get him aboard one of these ships so he can answer some questions. I got a feeling that all these boats are abandoned or it wouldn't have been so easy for them to jump us here."

    The water churned as the creature crunched bone and gristle into an unrecognizable mess. Blue became a sickly ruddy brown.

    Kage heads for the boat the Halflings were standing on. As they board the craft, dragging the Gnome along behind, they notice a small opening into the rear enclosure. It was 4 feet tall. The Gnome grinned wickedly, "watch your head wyrmling."

    There was a loud THUNK as Kage lifted the Gnome so the front of his skull hit the top of the opening, "Huh. My bad," he said gruffly as he lowered his own head and entered small enclosure.

    (End of Act 2)

    ------------------------------------------------------------

    Will they let the creature live? Who sent the attackers? Will reinforcements show up?

    The party found the following loot: 50 gold; Luckblade +1 (shortsword); an ordinary key; A small coin of unfamiliar mint (a single flame emblazens one side and a single drop of water appears on the back).
    Last edited by Robtheman; Tuesday, 20th July, 2010 at 12:07 AM.

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