Dark Squad in the Secrets of Saltmarsh
Session #086: Revelations.
Dark Squad (in alphabetical order, no egos here).
Daktari (played by Haggis) Male Human Uthgardt Sky Pony Barbarian Lvl 8
New Tricks (played by Bear) Male Tabaxi Warlock Lvl 8
Nicholai Barbaros Kostyiev (played by George) Male Dhampir Cleric of Twilight Lvl 8
Ramshambo (played by Kev) Male Half-Elf Rogue/Fighter Lvl 7/1
Vincenzo (played by Haggis) Male Shifter (Wildhunt) Druid Lvl 8
Ubmo (played by Goonalan) Supreme Being Lvl 1
*Trapped in the Land of the Bad Dead Ancestors.
Gerald (Bat/Giant Bat) servant/mount of New Tricks
Owly (Owl) Vinnie’s familiar
The Dark Squad’s to-do list-
- Return to Fallowstone Holy, church of Oghma, pick up info (Witch's Tor & Pact of the Flame, although the Dark Squad probably know all about this stuff already). What else do you need to find out about? See below.
- Warn Ashby- the Soggy's (Sahuagin) are coming!
- Vinnie needs to be back for the next Saltmarsh Council meeting on the 1st Kythorn (June).
- Find the other four Symbols of Ub, one was left in Deepbridge (Duergar fortress in the Underdark). The others need to be found, they belonged to- Rambles 'Shambles' Bowspirit (halfling killer), Antonio De La Crane (posh kid druid alchemist) & Giggles (crazy wood elf). All of these folk lived in the Saltmarsh region, the Dark Squad have found the De La Crane Manse (in the Dreadwood) and the De La Crane Crypt (in Saltmarsh Cemetary).
- Nightshade is in the Deep Dreadwood?
- Blackedge and the Goblin Stair?
- To join the Pact of the Wild Flame you need to find the hidden weapons left to fight Ashardalon, these are in a dragon-in-flight shaped barrow in Farrow Woods.
- To join the Pact of the Wild Flame prepare the Witch's Tor for the coming of the starfall, the Witch's Tor is in the Drowned Forest, in the Mere of the Dead Men.
- To join the Pact of the Wild Flame track down the last member of the Pact, a wild elf adventurer called Giggles- and finally put her spirit to rest, and also recover her maze button. Location unknown. SEE 2. ABOVE.
The Dark Squad, after their Moon Pool visions, have decided to stop off in Ubton, a town that has adorned their map of the region for quite some time, the town of Ub, that may be worth investigating. The settlement, as it turns out (or else the fortified walls) were constructed (paid for) by a dwarf called Ub, he found the town effectively nearly three hundred years ago.
Ubton, the town of Ub, and it really is a very nice place- well maintained and, well... just really nice.
And as the Dark Squad have discovered, Ub's son- Dargan Ub still lives and works here, he's the captain of the watch, and so a visit is on the cards. It takes a while to locate Dargan, but eventually- after a strained explanation the Dark Squad get a chance to question the son of Ub.
As stated above, this isn't an easy conversation, keep in mind the Squad are of the opinion that Ub is/was a primordial and/or god-like-being (shaped like a dwarf) who has been on Toril since the very beginning. How do you tell someone that? So, we go around the houses, and Vinnie and Nicky in tandem are a delight, even Newt gets involved- and he's polite with it.
Yep, you read that right. I've no idea what was going on.
But here's the thing, Vinnie makes sure that neither he nor his compatriots let the cat out of the bag, the questions asked are with regard to the activities of the Eyes in the Night, the adventuring party that included Ub in its ranks.
And so... after much chatter the Squad learn that Ub abandoned his son and wife (now deceased) when Dargan was just eight years old (200+ years ago), Ub went adventuring, never to return- his loss broke Dargan's mother's heart. As I said, it's a hard conversation, but the PCs say all the right things, are very sympathetic, and as importantly some of them roll stupid high with their checks.
At one point the chatty pair (Vinnie and Nicky) managed five checks in a row all 20+ with their charm offensive.
So moved is Dargan that he takes the time to lead the Squad into the basement of the town hall, in which languishes a life-size stone statue of a short, plainly dressed dwarf- the figure has a coin in his hand. The coin is, of course, a maze button- not a real one (the PCs make lots of checks) but a sculpted version of the real thing. This is Ub, but the PCs have seen him before, as Durgeddin the Black on a sarcophagi in the Glitterhame, all the way back in the Forge of Fury adventure. Also, on another sarcophagi in the dwarven halls beneath Squabblepot, and... in statue form along with the Dwarven gods, in the passageway chambers that lead to Tao.
Ub, pardon the pun, is becoming ubiquitous.
But, that's all there is to find out from Dargan, the Dark Squad learn that Ub was a family dwarf before he was an adventurer.
He's had many lives, it seems.
Then, the Dark Squad are back on the road, they want to get to Fallowstone Holy, to find the answers to the questions they asked there earlier, they hired/paid the adherents of Oghma and Deneir to do the research.
The road to Fallowstone, note the Witch Wood, and in it the Bandit's Lair- that becomes relevant a little later, keep reading...
The trip is uneventful, all summer country lanes and beautiful weather, nothing untoward, they make their way to the temple and soon after get into action- more chatter. Just to say the Dark Squad have more questions/topics/subjects that they're keen to employ the good folk here to further examine, so- there's plenty to be done here.
Fallowstone Holy, with Sister Annabolezia (Deneir) and Brother Schenk (Oghma).
In fact so keen are the Dark Squad to regale the brothers and sisters of the temple with their tales, and in doing so get a bunch more questions asked, that they eventually persuade the fellows here to allow them to stay the night. The Dark Squad are very generous with their donations, and also keen to spend more money on a variety of other research subjects.
They learn, that-
The Pact of the Wild Flame is/was an ancient elven organisation purported to have been active in this region, although- a very long time ago. The only recent (well, fairly recent- 200+ years ago) mention of the organisation is in the histories of Lowden, the local guards there reported a battle outside of the town taking place on Witch Hill (in the Witch Wood). Involved in the fracas was a local, and somewhat renown (at the time), adventuring party lead by a dwarf called Ub, versus a dragon (possibly black) and forces that may have belonged to either the Red Wizards of Thay or the Cult of the Dragon.
Note, the PCs have been to Witch Wood, they chased a bunch of bandits back to their lair there, actually within the bandit lair itself Newt unleashed a pair of wights on himself and the rest of the Squad. After the battle was won the Dark Squad noted that the wights were Thayan warriors (in life), so... that fits with the above.
And the Eyes in the Night, it seems, were also good at their job.
We move on...
To the Witch's Tor, which was the other topic the Dark Squad asked the priest's here to examine, but again- the PCs have since learned a lot more about this place, including its location, but the new info is that the Witch's Tor is a very modern name for a haunted spot in the Drowned Forest, said latterly to be inhabited by spooky lights (and possibly the undead, dark fey, hags- that kind of thing).
But that's not the news- the Witch's Tor is actually an ancient elven ruin, from millennia past, one of many such ruins that can be found in the Mere of the Dead Men, its archaic elven names translates as- the beacon gate.
So, that fits too, and now the Dark Squad are on a roll.
There follows another hour or so (real time) of chatter, and more questions- many of which will require more research, basically the info will not be available for at least a tenday, and the PCs are paying premium rates, they spend/donate the best part of 500gp here.
But, there are more revelations.
The Dark Squad ask the priest's about the three missing adventurers, members of the Eyes in the Night, that they are looking for...
Giggles, the wild elf, no information available, alas.
Antonio De La Crane, well- that's local news, 200+ years ago and the De La Cranes were the big money in the Saltmarsh region, Antonio was however the last male sire, and he, well he was murdered by...
Rambles 'Shambles' Bowspirit, a halfling ex-pirate/smuggler, from Lowhill, a halfling village situated just outside of Saltmarsh. Or so the story goes, although Rambles was never caught or tried for the slaying.
So, a little more information to add to the investigation.
Then early the next day, rise and shine, and back on the road- next stop- Ashby, to tell the good folk there that the soggy's (sahuagin) are coming.
Another beautiful late spring, early summer's day and the Dark Squad are making good time...
Here they all are, the Dark Squad on their mounts- note Ram is on Spartacus, his giant goat, while leading his riding horse- Carruthers. Vinnie is mounted on his riding horse- Persephone. Daktari on his warhorse- Ramvin (paid for by Ram & Vinnie). Nicky is perched on Alouicious, his very fat pony. While Newt is grumbling on the back of Unlucky Colin, his nervous third mount (clue: his previous two mounts died/killed by the warlock).
Then, there are lots of noises coming from over the hill on the road ahead, screeching and shouting, and... goblins, note the PCs at this juncture made five perception checks (or similar) and the lowest was... well, over 20.
Therefore less than a minute later when a trail of goblin wolf (and worg) riders coming rushing down the road, and across the nearby fields, well- there's a Spike Growth spell waiting for them, and also Daktari and Nicky standing in the middle of the road as bait.
The PCs have parked their horses and are about their business, note Nicky's theory here was to talk to the goblins to see what they wanted. Not bad, but then he rolled a '4' on his initiative, and then the war started.
It's a massacre, and particularly so because the encounter is 1000 XP worth of goblins and wolves, no threat at all, but the Dark Squad go hog heaven and a majority of the enemy get shredded, blasted, and/or maimed in short order.
Berk, a forest goblin archer, he ended up stranded in Vinnie's Spike Growth spell clutching onto the waystone in the road, trying desperately not to get shot by Newt or Ram, and to not fall into the Spike Growth, he saw what it did to the wolf he was riding.
Berk lives for approx. six more seconds.
Nimby, forest goblin worg rider. Six seconds later Ram manages to shoot an arrow through the goblin's head from nearly 100 feet away. Nimby's head explodes like a ripe cantaloupe.
So, in order of circles- Vinnie's Spike Growth with Berk still holding onto the waystone within. Nicky's Twilight-Healing nonsense, and then Vinnie drops a Plant Growth (the real big circle). Why? You'd have to ask him.
The fight is done in just over ten seconds.
But here's the thing, a little later the Squad discover that the goblin loot is, well... stuff that they have clearly robbed from a house/home nearby.
And so it proves, the Dark Squad- lead by Daktari and Vinnie, find their way following the goblin's trail to a large-ish house (clearly not a peasant's abode) a little way off the road, the place has clearly been attacked.
The Dark Squad cautiously head in, 'hello'ing and making their presence known, no replies- and the rooms here are a mess, with blood aplenty pooled in places on the floor, and on the furniture, the ceiling and the walls.
That's not good.
There's a sound- upstairs, a loud thump.
Ram is sent up to investigate, and soon after it all gets a little bit crazy.
Over the course of the next few minutes various items of furniture snatch themselves up from their resting places and hurl themselves at members of the Dark Squad. Daktari gets framed by a large landscape picture as it slams down from the wall on top of him, Ram gets hit by a chair, but... there are no enemies to see.
The rest of the Dark Squad come running, except for Newt, he heads outside, you'd have to ask him why.
The PCs are on the look out for anything odd/strange- what's going on here? The smarter members of the gang are shouting out for the violence to stop. Nicky and Vinnie very quickly work out that they are likely dealing with the angry spirits of those that (recently) died here (maybe, it's a working theory).
Eventually, after several more attacks the pair (Nicky & Vinnie) manage to calm the violence, and then figure out a way to communicate with the malevolence- paper and pencil are deployed and a moment later the pencil is picked up and used, the scrawl says- “they killed us!”
It must be said however that Newt deals with a similar situation, in a different room in the house, and in his own inimitable way. He offers the equally violent spirit that he encounters (it threw a bed frame at him) a one way trip to hell to sit at his master's side (is he referring to Belphegor or Far-Fer-Nar, who knows). Remarkably (after a '20') Newts threats have the same reaction, the violent spirit quietens.
So, that's nice.
But it's also the end of the session.
Stay safe and well you lovely people.
Cheers the Dark Squad and goonalan.