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WotBS Bill T's Second War of the Burning Sky: Shelter from the Storm [more spoilers than you can shake a stick adorned with ribbons and kerchiefs at!]


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Bill T.

Explorer
Dramatis Personae
  • Basel, an Innenotdaran (aka grey) elf evoker from Gabal's school who previously made his living as a baker, with his familiar Simon, a cat from Seaquen's docks.
  • Dämmek, a brainy and brawny human swordswoman with keen senses and the Living Blade.
  • Gusle, a seela bard who escaped captivity from a circus before coming to Gate Pass. This player has been through the first few chapters already, so she was able to fill Torrent's role as guide, and her familiar Sparky, a rat from beneath Seaquen.
  • Jesús Tillamook, a half-elf cloistered cleric of the Stormbringer Phoenix, a sect of the Stormchaser Eagle that is dedicated to finding the Aquiline Heart so that they can reincarnate the Eagle.
When Basel gets back to their island, he encounters Gusle rubbing Sparky with some sort of strange-smelling unguent. Puzzled, he asks her what she's doing. "Oh, I got this kit from a lady in town. She says it'll make him into my familiar!"

"Oh! Should I get me one of those kits for Simon, too?" asks Basel. Basel does ultimately get a kit, but it contains catnip incense rather than weird goo.

Anyhow, after a good night's sleep after constructing a temple and barracks for hundreds, the heroes set forth to see if they can convince Natalie to spend the day in jail in hopes of keeping Naizelasa from getting terribly bent out of shape and eating Seaquen's nascent navy. Gusle wants Jesús to use one of the elixirs of luuv they got from H'andea, but Jesús isn't interested. He already has Nat wrapped around his finger (or whatever) anyhow. However, when he meets Natalie in her room at Roger's Jollies and tries to convince her to participate in their plan, she's adamant that she can't leave, as she has to make sure Roger's and its employees are safe.

He eventually comes to realize that Natalie is under some sort of compulsion. Fed up with the delay, Gusle (who has been listening in via message this whole time) suggests it's time to bop Natalie on the head and chuck her in a cell. Jesús is appalled by this suggestion of domestic abuse, so the rest of the heroes make their way into the brothel. Dämmek beats her allies up the stairs and then beats Natalie with the living blade as Basel and Gusle explain what's going on to Roger's madame. Jesús is still unwilling to attack Natalie, but he does walk past her to cast guidance on Dämmek, much to Nat's confusion and dismay.

This was the first time Dämmek had gotten serious about power attacking, and it only took her a couple of blows to knock Natalie out despite the penalty for using the blade non-lethally.

The heroes get Natalie tucked away in a cell in the Lyceum, and Naizelasa berates her in said cell loudly and angrily. The heroes are glad Naizelasa didn't get vicious, because they don't think they could have done anything to stop her.

Amazingly enough, the heroes then get to relax for several days -- no one tries to kill them, and no one needs their assistance. They quickly find themselves needing to get ready for the big event at the Wayfarer's Theater, and are eager to see the show.

The first two acts pass quickly enough, and then several of the heroes spot Giorgio rushing up the stairs, hands bloody. All the heroes go rushing off to find out what's up -- except Jesús, who finds the theater fascinating and insists on staying put lest he miss the opening of the third act. Eventually, upon hearing the confusing situation above decks from Gusle, he decides to head up as well, although he briefly considers going to look for the show's manager to complain.

Above decks, the storm rages as the heroes try to understand what's going on. The sides of the ship burst into flame. Basel recognizes the flames as teleportation-related and immediately understands the danger they're all in. A little bird lands on the orc guarding the captain's quarters, where Giorgio is doing...something.

Eventually, seeing that the heroes are going to make a fuss, Giorgio uses Wayfarer's Step to teleport into the rigging, and things quickly turn violent. One of the barrels near the main mast casts a spell, and the orc starts swinging his axe, nearly bringing down Jesús, who has been nearest the captain's quarters and still demanding to speak to the manager. Basel suggests to Dämmek that she throw the barrel overboard. She moves into position -- and the barrel explodes beside her, inflicting some hefty damage upon her and another hero, one of whom goes down, so Gusle has Sparky deliver a charge from one of her healing wands.

Gusle tries to use her Spellbreaker's Song to prevent further spellcasting, but the other barrel seems unaffected by her efforts -- it, and Giorgio, continue to cast spells. It doesn't help that the halfling sailor hiding under the stairs up to the foredeck, who they belatedly realize is Nira, moves back and starts attacking Gusle. Her first two blows are fairly ineffectual, although Gusle is aggravated by the fact that she's been poisoned again, but the third lands a substantial amount of damage. Nira is soon thereafter persuaded to abandon ship after she sees her allies fall.

The second barrel explodes, dealing more fire damage, and then the heroes hear something curious -- muffled attempts to call out by someone in one of the cabins at the bow of the ship. Gusle screams out "It's just ghost sound," but Basel wants to make sure, so she has Simon go investigate. Simon then hears something on the bowsprit, so he heads out to the very tip -- and bumps into someone invisible! "Oh goody," mutters Gulse, "I'll glitterdust them so we can deal with them," but too late. The person on the tip of the bowsprit kicks off the spar, and kicks Simon in the process, revealing himself to be an aquatic elf as he dives into the sea. Basel is totally puzzled by the aquatic elf.

...as he should be. The "elf" was actually a halfling transmuter who works for Paradim. He (and his little bird) were helping with the attack in place of Brutus, who the heroes captured shortly after reaching Seaquen. He'd used ventriloquism to cast buff spells on the bad guys without revealing his position, hoping to bait the heroes into attacking one of the fire barrels. It didn't quite work, but it got the heroes close enough to at least one barrel for Giorgio to make good use of them.

Dämmek body-slams the orc into the aft bulkhead of the main deck, which isn't enough to bring him down, but her next blow with the living blade is enough to do the job.

More fun with power attack!

Katrina, somewhat stymied for most of the fight, realizes that Giorgio makes a perfect target. She launches a fireball above his head, incinerating the rigging around him. Giorgio falls gently to the deck, surrounded by enemies.

Jesús, in the meantime, had been fruitlessly flinging flaming produce at the attackers, but gives up and instead works on breaking open the hatch into the theater proper so that the audience can escape before everyone is incinerated by the ship's teleporting. Just as he does that, however, Basel, worried that the ship might teleport before they can get to the teleportation mechanism to figure out how to shut it down, throws a fireball into the captain's quarters, ruining the teleportation mechanism and melting Dämmek's hair.

Giorgio, cornered by himself, surrenders, groveling. Basel holds his sword to Giorgio's throat and demands he turn over the control for the ship's teleportation, so Giorgio quickly drops the ring. They then demand he lose his weapons and other serious magics. He complies but, as they start to gag him, he suddenly teleports out of their hands to a somewhat nearby ferry heading to the harbor's east shore. His sudden departure shocks and greatly annoys the heroes.

The audience has started streaming out from below, and Basel pulls Sheena and Simeon into what's left of the captain's quarters and explains what happened as the ship makes its way to dock. They are very surprised by some of the things they learned, but Sheena is totally unimpressed by Giorgio's teleporting away, despite Basel's attempt to impress on her how astonishing it was.

...or something like that. I'm sure I don't remember the order of events, so I focused on each character instead. The telling is probably better than what happened in play anyhow -- the battle went slowly enough that the players were complaining and wondering if they'd missed their turn.

I had a really hard time figuring how to have Katrina contribute, as the rest of the fight's participants were all jumbled up and most of her options would probably injure her allies more than whoever she might target. I should have had Nira attack Katrina, which would have given them both something useful to do, especially since Nira had been getting ready to death attack Katrina from the start.

Finally, Gusle calls in one the favors promised the heroes by the temple's founders to get her the dexterity damage she took from the poison on Nira's sword healed.

We next play on the 14th.
 

COMING SOON: 5 Plug-In Settlements for your 5E Game

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