The Dark Squad in the Secrets of Saltmarsh #111 It's A Trap!

Goonalan

Hero
Supporter
Dark Squad in the Secrets of Saltmarsh

Session #105: Die Hard.

Dark Squad (in alphabetical order, no egos here).
Daktari/Dak (played by Haggis) Male Human Uthgardt Sky Pony Barbarian Lvl 8
Fellowyn Silverstream (played by George) Male Eladrin Wizard Bladesinger Lvl 8
New Tricks/Newt (played by Bear) Male Tabaxi Warlock Lvl 8
Ramshambo/Ram (played by Kev) Male Half-Elf Rogue/Fighter Lvl 7/1
Vincenzo/Vinnie (played by Haggis) Male Shifter (Wildhunt) Druid Lvl 8

DEAD PCs
Nicholai Barbaros Kostyiev/Nicky (played by George) Male Dhampir Cleric of Twilight Lvl 8 RIP

NPCs
Inverna Nightbreeze (played by George) Female Wood Elf Fighter Lvl 8 (Sidekick) RETIRED
Garumn Male Mountain Dwarf Paladin of Moradin Lvl 5 RIP*
Tarbin Tul (played by goonalan) Male Human Bard RETIRED
Ubmo (played by Goonalan) Supreme Being Lvl 1 (When we remember)
*Trapped in the Land of the Bad Dead Ancestors.

Servants/Familiars
Gerald (Bat/Giant Bat) servant/mount of New Tricks
Owly (Owl) Vinnie’s familiar

The Dark Squad’s to-do list-

  1. The De La Crane Manse is on The Leap, and Anders Solmor would like the Squad to check it out, it's also the ancestral home of the De La Crane family, and the Squad are looking for Antonio De La Crane- see below.
  2. Bonnie Bowspirit, grand-daughter of Rambles, will show the Squad to the missing halfling killer's tomb, on the 6th of Flamerule- see below.
  3. 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 from Lowhill), 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).
  4. Nightshade is in the Deep Dreadwood- except she's not there any more, but a big red dragon is?
  5. Blackedge and the Goblin Stair?
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
This is session 105, and the Dark Squad are down in the Choke, a marshy delta region at the point where the Dunwater River spills out into the Sea of Swords. The area is permanently swathed in mist and fog, the adventurers saw a light down here, briefly- when they were exploring the De La Crane manse. Last session they discovered (and slaughtered, save one) a bunch of dishevelled humans who pointed them in the direction of a ruined lighthouse, and the mad Talos priest that lives there (with a bunch of harpies). The Dark Squad are closing in...

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The Dark Squad make use of a rowboat, the exhausted Daktari had been dragging the vessel through the swamp for the last five or so hours, but Ram was right to insist that they bring it- the tide is in now.

So, first oddity, Ram is the first to clamber (silently and sneakily) onto the wet rocks here and discover a barred (actually chained) blowhole style-pit, a place for prisoners to be kept. The pit looks to be empty and yet moments later a voice comes from within.

“I thay! Are you the here-ohs? Have you come to fwee my mithtress?”

Twenty minutes later, when all of the Dark Squad have assembled, they start to make sense of their new interviewee- the speaker in the pit is a very big crab. Long story short, the big crab- Thir Bwian (Sir Brian) is in reality a Sea Elf, who while investigating this place with his mistress (we'll get to her) was transformed into his present condition. Thir Bwian paves the way for a chat with his now dead mistress who is, well... some sort of terrifying ghost.

Note, Vinnie tries to Dispel the Magic on Thir Bwian- it doesn't work.

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Lady Miraal, she's really not very happy about being (un)dead.

Another twenty minutes of knife-edge chatter later and the spirit of Lady Miraal eventually agrees to allow the Dark Squad to pass- although the adventurers have sworn to recover the ghostly Sea Elf's magical conch- now held by the mad Talos priest, resident of the lighthouse- dead ahead.

Note, we got close with the above conversation- Lady Miraal was looking for any excuse to punish the Dark Squad for their intrusion, the spirit it seems seeks vengeance on all that live, keep in mind that any form of diplomacy, with Newt present, is often protracted and not without it's moments...

“Mademoiselle, we are tres zimpathetic to your plight- we will return to you zis conch shell you seek, and free you from zis undead indignity.” Vinnie concludes.

But in the silence that follows, as Lady Miraal considers the druid's latest honeyed words.

“Now get out of the way you watery bint or I'll immolate you and turn you to steam!” Newt adds with a snarl.

Which, obviously, necessitates another helping of honey from the druid and his friends.

It goes back and forth for a while.

But eventually the Dark Squad pass on (and now with Pass Without Trace in action)- and they've been told that the mad Talos priest is at home, as are his harpy minions, so quietly- cautiously.

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Up a winding path to the rocky summit, and keep in mind with the mist and fog the Dark Squad can't see very far ahead.

Ram, as always, leads the way- into a low building at the base of the lighthouse, very cautiously the rogue heads the gang in.

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A foyer leads to a temple dedicated to Talos, atop the altar a stone statue/representation of jagged, arcing lightning bolts. Odd, there's a buzzing sound coming from here.

The various members of the Dark Squad continue their investigations, while Ram presses on- into a walled compound- exposed to the fog and the night. There's an ancient tree here, and in its treacherous spiked branches are half-a-dozen harpies, on their nests.

Note, the above screen shot was taken too soon, the harpies not yet on screen.

Also note that Ram's stealth check at this point was '38' (Pass Without Trace remember), and so the rogue slips in, and then back out again.

He tells his friends.

Newt doesn't hesitate, he rushes towards the newly spotted enemies.

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It's about to get Firebally!

And here we go again...

Newt's Fireball severely wounds all of the harpies, all of them are left mortally wounded, and in the ensuing short fracas- as the various members of the Dark Squad (mostly with higher Initiative) pop in to the exterior compound to shoot or spell another harpy or two dead.

None survive.

The Players are in hog heaven, and there's much giggling- they got me, but they really haven't- because I know what comes next.

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Moesko, ugly half-orc priest of Talos, slams open the door to his room, and then fires a Lightning Bolt into the Squad- Ubmo (the Supreme Being) is destroyed instantly.

Point of fact during what follows Ubmo explodes three times in quick succession, each time reforming- perfectly unharmed, hovering just next to Vinnie.

Moesko is an aged and very rough looking half-orc, oddly he's outfitted in a thick rubbery armour- possibly the hide of several octopi. Moesko mostly grunts and makes threats- he's no style-

“Talos DESTROY!”
“LIGHTNING bad you DEAD!”

That kind of thing.

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But this is the Dark Squad and so, they take the heat and keep on dishing out the hurt.

Moesko gets desperate, he grabs out a large and beautiful conch shell (Lady Miraal needs this) and sounds it, calling another (far nastier) harpy to the fight.

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The newly arrived harpy, situated just beyond the barred window of the Talos shrine, is singing her dissonant song, and yet... none of the members of the Squad fail their saves (thanks to an Inspiration Point for Daktari, and Dark One's Own Luck for Newt), which is a shame as this particular tune would have left them all paralyzed.

You'll also note that Moesko has taken a beating in the above images- four blood drops on his token already.

However, at this point the half-orc priest of Talos has transformed, he has a boar's head and tusks- he looks a lot like Vinnie, the Moonboar, and he can still cast spells.

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And we go on for a while...

Fellowyn has Misty Stepped beyond the half-orc, note the bladesinger is also Hasted at this point.

The harpy at the window has already tried another, more charming, song- and yet still none of the Dark Squad have failed their saves. They're mostly ignoring the harpy, because... well, they keep hitting Moesko and the DM keeps saying, or something very similar-

“Moesko, is exhausted- bleeding out, on his last legs, and yet- after your terrifying attack he staggers back, rights himself, shrugs off the hurt and fights on.”

In-game every time the PCs deliver a killing blow to Moesko the DM instantly heals him back to 1 hit point (and removes all conditions).

Every time.

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So, maybe two or three turns later, and...

The Players are really pissed.

Moesko has given ground but... the Talos priest, seemingly, cannot be killed- and the PCs are starting to fret.

Meantime the terrifying (and very tough) harpy has given up with her charms and taken to flying into the Talos shrine to claw at various members of the Squad- retreating every time.

Newt and Ram concentrate their efforts on the harpy, keeping the flying terror at bay.

But back at the front line and Moesko, well- he still cannot be killed.

The PCs/Players were of the opinion that they just had to put Moesko down X times and one would stick, well, that can't be right because at this point Moesko should have been dead six (or more) times over.

He keeps not dying.

The Players are starting to scratch their heads.

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The latest idea is that somehow the buzzing shrine of Talos is keeping the half-orc priest alive, Fellowyn shatters the stone carved arcing lightning bolts and he and his two close companions- Ram & Newt are hit by another full-force Lightning Bolt.

The shrine is wrecked.

But still Moesko won't die.

So, that's not it.

Also note the nasty harpy when reduced to not very many hit points has already flown away, escaping into the fog and mist- quickly out of sight.

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Moesko and his new found Dark Squad friends are still doing their special dance, note at this point Daktari has stopped stabbing the half-orc Talos priest, he's grappling the boar-headed beast, and dragging the struggling brute towards a filled water butt.

The barbarian (smart lad) is going to drown Moesko.

However, while the fight continues Ram and the Hasted bladesinger, Fellowyn, have made it all the way to the top of the lighthouse, note the image on the right is not quite right (but it was the only map I had to hand).

Within a ten foot metal bowl (fastened to the wooden floor) is a pool of dark blue liquid, the surface of the fluid is sheathed in a layer of tiny buzzing lightning bolts. Liquid lightning, or something similar.

Fellowyn and Ram try to figure it out, while the fight below goes on, the pair quickly discover that there's a copper rod/pipe which descends from the lightning bowl here to the Talos shrine (the altar) below.

The pair work together to severe this connection.

Success!

However, Moesko still cannot be killed.

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Moesko is in the water butt- face down, and Vinnie is rabbit punching the hog-headed half-orc in the gut, knocking the wind out of their near-immortal enemy.

Daktari is shouting a lot, remember in cod Russian.

“You are cheater! You die now! You die hard!”

Eventually the pair- Moesko and Daktari, are exchanging unfriendly banter, there's also a little name calling, although Moesko has finally to concede that Daktari has 'hair like silky'.

Daktari loves his hair.

Note, Newt is just stuck for what to do for the best, he's tried blasting Moesko, searching the Talos shrine, trying to speed-read the books here...

All to no avail, so far.

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Moesko full on transforms into a boar, and during the change manages to escape Daktari's grasp.

Levels of frustration (for the Players) increase dramatically.

Although maybe a turn or so later and the half-orc, subject to Vinnie's Moonbeam, has to transform back into his real (half-orc) form.

Soon after he's also being grappled again, by Daktari, although Vinnie has also applied a set of manacles to the Talos priest's legs, note he rolled a '20' to do this so- it works.

But Moesko still will not die.

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Back up in the lighthouse, and it has come to this- the rogue has got pitons and a hammer out and is in the process of trying to hammer an iron spike into the base of the huge bowl full of liquid lightning.

He's been at this task for two turns so far.

Drip [three seconds later] Drip.

That's where he's at, although why he's doing this... your guess is as good as mine.

Moesko yet lives.

But that's all we had time for- more of this kind of thing next time, promise you.

Stay safe and well you lovely people.

Cheers the Dark Squad and goonalan.

Oh, just an aside- we've rolled up some nice WFRP characters, we're going to try to fit a little bit of this (on Foundry) into the repertoire. Just a heads up.
 

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Goonalan

Hero
Supporter
Dark Squad in the Secrets of Saltmarsh

Session #106: Die! Die! Die! YOU BASTARD, DIE!

Dark Squad (in alphabetical order, no egos here).
Daktari/Dak (played by Haggis) Male Human Uthgardt Sky Pony Barbarian Lvl 8
Fellowyn Silverstream (played by George) Male Eladrin Wizard Bladesinger Lvl 8
New Tricks/Newt (played by Bear) Male Tabaxi Warlock Lvl 8
Ramshambo/Ram (played by Kev) Male Half-Elf Rogue/Fighter Lvl 7/1
Vincenzo/Vinnie (played by Haggis) Male Shifter (Wildhunt) Druid Lvl 8

DEAD PCs
Nicholai Barbaros Kostyiev/Nicky (played by George) Male Dhampir Cleric of Twilight Lvl 8 RIP

NPCs
Inverna Nightbreeze (played by George) Female Wood Elf Fighter Lvl 8 (Sidekick) RETIRED
Garumn Male Mountain Dwarf Paladin of Moradin Lvl 5 RIP*
Tarbin Tul (played by goonalan) Male Human Bard RETIRED
Ubmo (played by Goonalan) Supreme Being Lvl 1 (When we remember)
*Trapped in the Land of the Bad Dead Ancestors.

Servants/Familiars
Gerald (Bat/Giant Bat) servant/mount of New Tricks
Owly (Owl) Vinnie’s familiar

The Dark Squad’s to-do list-


  1. The De La Crane Manse is on The Leap, and Anders Solmor would like the Squad to check it out, it's also the ancestral home of the De La Crane family, and the Squad are looking for Antonio De La Crane- see below.
  2. Bonnie Bowspirit, grand-daughter of Rambles, will show the Squad to the missing halfling killer's tomb, on the 6th of Flamerule- see below.
  3. The smuggler's ship will be turning up sometime between the 14th and 17th of Flamerule, the Dark Squad (and particularly Ram) are keen to meet the vessel, particularly Ram- why, because as the rogue said- “I'm getting a boat.”
  4. 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 from Lowhill), 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).
  5. Nightshade is in the Deep Dreadwood- except she's not there any more, but a big red dragon is?
  6. Blackedge and the Goblin Stair?
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
This is session 106, the Dark Squad are situated down in the Choke (the confluence of the Dunwater River and the Sea of Swords) within a ruined lighthouse, latterly re-purposed for Talos related activities. The adventurers have seen off a flight of harpies but are at present struggling (really struggling) to kill the half-orc priest of Talos here (Moesko). This fellow started off with a few Lightning Bolts, then a Thunder Blast, before transforming into a strange Moonboar/Wereboar type creature, at which point he started butting folk in the face.

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At present Daktari & Vinnie (as the Moonboar) have Moesko grappled, restrained (manacled around his ankles) and are dunking the gnarly priest of Talos in a water butt- they're trying to drown the poor fellow.

The issue being... well, Moesko doesn't die.

It looks like he's about to pass over, and then... he shakes it off- the moment is gone and Moesko fights on, and early on in this session and the half-orc terror suddenly starts hitting again- including Dak with a Crit headbutt to the face (accompanied by great damage roll).

Things are not exactly going to plan for the Dark Squad- see the title of this instalment, this kind of thing gets shouted a lot, and by a variety of folk.

Apparently, it's frustrating- you don't say.

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George (playing Fellowyn) helps us to visualise this titanic struggle. Just in case you are unsure, that's (left to right) Vinnie (as the Moonboar), Moesko- half-orc Talos priest & Daktari- badly beaten and exhausted barbarian (with great hair).

Excellent work George, I'll not kill Fellowyn for at least five more sessions, you've earned that much.

Meantime, while all of this is going on Ram is upstairs in the tower of the lighthouse- where the light is, only the light here isn't a light. Within the upper chamber is a ten foot wide metal bowl (where the fire/light should go) filled with a blue/purple liquid which seems to exude lightning.

Remember Talos is the god of storms.

Ram is trying to empty the bowl, he's not sure why- but it's something to do. Over the course of the next few turns the rogue enlarges the hole he has made in the metal bowl, a little while later and the liquid is pouring out.

And we go back and forth for a while, and when I say a while, I mean maybe another ten to twelve turns, with Moesko not dying- landing a hit every now and then, and the Dark Squad maintaining their grapple, and... racking their brains for some way to kill this half-orc bastard.

But then they figure it.

Newt and Fellowyn get involved, the pair manage to cut, rend and tear Moesko's strange armour from him. I described Moesko's attire (right back at the start of this) to the PCs thusly- he's wearing a gimp suit, only it seems to be made from the stitched together hides of a dozen or more octopi, tentacles still attached. It's not a pleasant sight.

Well, well... the scarred body of Moesko is revealed beneath the gimp suit, the oddity being there's a fist shape hole where the half-orc's heart should be.

The Dark Squad do the maths very quickly-

Moesko has no heart + he cannot be killed = find the heart & destroy it.

Note, last session, and on a couple of occasions towards the end I asked all of the players involved in the fracas with the half-orc to make Perception/Insight checks, I was looking for a '20', something to allow me to give them a clue- to get them to the missing heart, but nothing. The PCs were (seemingly) content just to try new and different ways to kill the fellow, so... I left them to it.

But the secret is out.

Find the heart and destroy it.

Newt and Fellowyn are on it- although the bladesinger's Haste (et al) has ended and so he's back to being a doddering old dude.

The pair cannot find the heart, not even outside in the harpy's tree- which Newt climbs, such is the desperation- Newt hates climbing, jumping etc.

But the heart is in the bowl upstairs at the top of the lighthouse, it takes a while- until most of the liquid has drained away, but it's a biggish heart- and beating away.

Ram stabs it.

It stops beating- dead.

Lots of things happen at once.

But let's back up for a moment, in the rounds prior to this Vinnie (as the Moonboar) has been whispering sweet nothing's to Moesko, while he and Dak have had him in their grasp.

“It does not 'ave to end zis way, mes amis?”

&

“Cease yer strugg-ell! Let us speak in peace...”

He's always trying to save the souls of the damned and/or lost.

But throughout the druid's diatribe the priest of Talos has just continued to struggle and fight on, only stopping once to whisper his reply-

“The storm is coming.”

And then, at the last, when Ram stabs the newly revealed heart above- Moesko dies, but with a smile on his face.

And outside, sitting in the harpy's tree, Newt gets to see the show.

The area surrounding the Tower of Storms is suddenly bathed in daylight, or so it seems, as the clouds above part as a single gigantic bolt of lightning, as broad and bold as the lighthouse itself, slams down into the building and destroys it.

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Almost.

Newt, Dak & Vinnie are reduced to single digit hit points (I think it was 16d8 damage, but I rolled lowish = 44 lightning damage, and there were plenty of failed saves).

Upstairs, Fellowyn is down and dying, while Ram somehow manages to dive under the now wrenched-free-of-its-mooring metal bowl, the rogue (wouldn't you know it) avoids all hurt.

Then the tower sways and begins its collapse.

To make clear, the Tower of Storms is on Initiative '0' and it has a 44% chance of collapsing every turn, 44 lightning damage remember.

Lots of things happen at once.

Again.

Or still.

Newt and Ram start screaming-

“It's collapsing- GET OUT!”

That kind of thing.

Ram (at the top of the tower) dives over to the fallen Fellowyn and empties a Potion of Healing into the bladesinger, and then screams in his face (see above) before rushing off down the stairs leaving the doddering mortally wounded old man to his fate.

Down below the various other members of the Dark Squad rush to escape.

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Daktari is broken TM, he is however also in spider stance and scuttling down the cliffs here.

No, the area outside of the tower is still bathed in a glowing furze from the previous massive electrical discharge, winds swirl and gust- sucked in and out, while the tower itself leans and totters, small sections of masonry peel away and plunge- either into the sea or into the cluster of buildings below.

“GET OUT!”

Gets repeated, a lot.

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I said there was a 44% chance for the tower to collapse, well- first roll is an '89', no collapse.

Note, Fellowyn (see the image above) has climbed out of the top storey of the tower and is clinging on, trying to work out which way the building is going to topple, at which point he's going to leap clear while casting a Featherfall spell on himself.

Well, that's the plan.

Mad as a box of frogs.

But we love him.

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Second collapse check and I roll '93', and still the tower doesn't fall.

The DM confidently states- another roll of 90+ and the Tower of Storms stays standing.

The Dark Squad are still mid-scarper, Vinnie- as the Moonboar, is leading the fleeing manoeuvre, he is therefore the first to arrive at the broken shell of a boat that is inhabited by Lady Miraal (who is a very nasty ghost-remember).

The screaming spectral elf snarls and claws at Vinnie's face, reminding the Moonboar (by screaming in his face) of their deal- “MY CONCH SHELL?”

And the strangest thing is its actually Vinnie that has the shell, he took it from Moesko when he and Dak were grappling the half-orc bastard, and so... he hands the beautiful shell over, and the spirit harridan turns in an instant into a beautifully sensual spirit lovely, who with a smile that could melt hearts departs this place.

Note while this is going on, and during the scramble to escape, both Ram and Newt have both managed to conjure '1's on their respective Athletics checks, the pair were trying to find short cuts down the rocky slopes hereabouts, in order to outpace the toppling tower.

Both '1's result in falling face plants (and prone conditions- and a little hurt) Ram is a touch embarrassed, but Newt's 'little damage' is enough to leave him on just one hit point.

And then I roll for the Tower of Storms again- see the image above, chat window- top left, and I roll a '99'.

Bloody hell, the tower stops its wicked dance, it stops tottering, the lightning furze fades and some semblance of reality returns.

The Dark Squad watch and wait for a short while, they're blowing hard- a little (very little) healing gets shared around.

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Then, after an hour in Newt's Tiny Hut, and a little more healing, although Daktari, Newt and Fellowyn are all out of Healing HD, the Dark Squad very cautiously explore the tower.

There's treasure to find, coin and gems but nothing interesting or exciting, save perhaps a dozen or so books that were kept in the Talos temple, these too are taken.

The Dark Squad are done, more remarkably they find their way back in the rowing boat from the island and all the way back to the smuggler's caves beneath the ancient ruin of the De La Crane manse. This after a '20' Survival check from Vinnie, the Moonboar clearly remembers the route, even in the mist and fog (and darkness, it's now nighttime).

It's just past midnight when the Dark Squad lay down their weary heads to rest, this in the former bunkroom of the smugglers, tomorrow (the 4th of Flamerule) they'll head back to Saltmarsh and report back in.

But now, well... this is a short session, the last hour is devoted to installing Foundry on my PC, which takes more than the sixty minutes allotted, but we're getting there- WFRP to follow.

With that in mind, for the Players- next session, back to Saltmarsh, you all have some stuff to do- get ready for your meeting with Bonnie Bowspirit, she's going to show you the way into the tomb of her great grampa- Rambles 'Shambles' Bowspirit. But once we're happy with this then I'd like to try a little more Foundry time, and get your characters built and ready to roll.

Stay safe and well you lovely people.

Cheers the Dark Squad and goonalan.

PS Sorry for the break in proceedings, the reason- my PC died, completely and then got raised from the dead, briefly, before expiring again. It has now (but whisper this) been resurrected, although I suspect that very little of it is actually any part of my old PC, regardless (fingers-crossed) we're back.

Next session is on Tuesday 29th, although Ram will be absent- we're just going to be doing a couple of days in Saltmarsh, reporting back and then getting ready for the Squad's next adventure- into the tomb of Rambles 'Shambles' Bowspirit. That's scheduled for the evening of the 6th of Flamerule, it's the morning of the 4th when we get back to it with you waking in the manse.

Then, we'll be installing Foundry (again) and making your WFRP PCs, I want to get a session of WFRP in before Christmas, if possible, let's see how we get on.

Love you all lots, and it's good to be back (not that we were away for long).

Cheers goonalan.
 


Goonalan

Hero
Supporter
Damn, 16d8! You don't mess around!
Well done the Dark Squad!

In real life I wear a cardigan with my slippers, always a shirt and tie to work- with sensible shoes, and never have a bad word to say about anyone. I'm outgoing and friendly, a delight in company. I am mild mannered in all things- balanced, sanguine, sated. I'm not here to score points, just along for the beautiful ride.

But they rile me, maaaaan! And I can't take it anymore!

Also, I may have built some of this stuff back when they had the uber-Cleric aboard, remember him, I forget what he was called.

Oh, and Squad you'll need to get Nicky's body back to Saltmarsh and remember he's a 'dead' weight in all of that platemail.

Didn't do him any good though did it?

All of that platemail.

Real shame for...

What was his name again?

Cheers goonalan.
 


Goonalan

Hero
Supporter
Dark Squad in the Secrets of Saltmarsh

Session #107: Bits & Bobs in Saltmarsh.

Dark Squad (in alphabetical order, no egos here).
Daktari/Dak (played by Haggis) Male Human Uthgardt Sky Pony Barbarian Lvl 8
Fellowyn Silverstream (played by George) Male Eladrin Wizard Bladesinger Lvl 8
New Tricks/Newt (played by Bear) Male Tabaxi Warlock Lvl 8
Ramshambo/Ram (played by Kev) Male Half-Elf Rogue/Fighter Lvl 7/1
Vincenzo/Vinnie (played by Haggis) Male Shifter (Wildhunt) Druid Lvl 8

DEAD PCs
Nicholai Barbaros Kostyiev/Nicky (played by George) Male Dhampir Cleric of Twilight Lvl 8 RIP

NPCs
Inverna Nightbreeze (played by George) Female Wood Elf Fighter Lvl 8 (Sidekick) RETIRED
Garumn Male Mountain Dwarf Paladin of Moradin Lvl 5 RIP*
Tarbin Tul (played by goonalan) Male Human Bard RETIRED
Ubmo (played by Goonalan) Supreme Being Lvl 1 (When we remember)
*Trapped in the Land of the Bad Dead Ancestors.

Servants/Familiars
Gerald (Bat/Giant Bat) servant/mount of New Tricks
Owly (Owl) Vinnie’s familiar

The Dark Squad’s to-do list-

  1. The De La Crane Manse is on The Leap, and Anders Solmor would like the Squad to check it out, it's also the ancestral home of the De La Crane family, and the Squad are looking for Antonio De La Crane- see below.
  2. Bonnie Bowspirit, grand-daughter of Rambles, will show the Squad to the missing halfling killer's tomb, on the 6th of Flamerule- see below.
  3. The smuggler's ship will be turning up sometime between the 14th and 17th of Flamerule, the Dark Squad (and particularly Ram) are keen to meet the vessel, particularly Ram- why, because as the rogue said- “I'm getting a boat.”
  4. 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 from Lowhill), 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).
  5. Nightshade is in the Deep Dreadwood- except she's not there any more, but a big red dragon is?
  6. Blackedge and the Goblin Stair?
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
This is session 107a, let me explain- my PC broke- big time, and then miraculously got fixed, and then broke again- and then... eventually, it got fixed again. Although it required some major surgery, and a donor or two. Then Kev (playing Ram) was away for the next session/week we could schedule- but the rest of us played anyway, although only for a bit because we were also trying to get Foundry to work. Then- at the very last minute, Jim (playing Daktari & Vinnie) was afk for the session after.

So, it's a bit of a bumpy ride at the moment, but- unless anything else goes on we should be at it Dark Squad-wise, and in-game this coming Tuesday evening (6th December).

It doesn't help that we are trying to also learn our way around Foundry, which is proving to be a lot more difficult than we first anticipated- it took over two hours to work out how to instal it. We are aiming to play some WFRP 4th edition on Foundry, we spent two hours at this last session, and managed to get maybe two thirds through creating characters. Actually, we've already created characters (online, several weeks ago) it took us two hours to not quite get to the end of filling in the character sheets.

Foundry, and the WFRP rules system, look to be magnificent but the learning curve is soooo very steep, if it wasn't for the players cajoling me on I'd have abandoned it weeks ago. There seems to be only very limited instructions for both the VTT and the game system, what video tutorials exist for the WFRP system on Foundry are old (already) and serve only to guide new users through a previous iteration/incarnation. If you don't know what you are doing- and we don't, then it's hard to work out how to do things there.

Keep in mind, and I want to make this absolutely clear- I'm an old git who is terrified of computers, and the folk who created Foundry and/or the WFRP system for it are, imho, geniuses. So, keep that in mind, I'm very glad they did it- I wish it was easier to fathom for the non-PC literate, but still... incredibly glad they did it all the same.

Does anyone that reads this use Foundry? (either of you?) And understand how to use the WFRP system thereon? It would be fantastic to find someone to ask rather than to have to rely on the good folk on the Foundry/WFRP Discord channel.

Anyone?

But back to the game, keep in mind we are just ticking over here- the rule is we don't do anything too interesting or exciting if not all of the players are in game.

So, it's mostly administration. The Dark Squad, having just long rested, abandon the De La Crane manse and trudge back to Saltmarsh, in town- and after a few false starts, it doesn't help that this is Fellowyn's first visit to the Saltmarsh. Keep in mind the bladesinger is wearing a towelling white bath robe, a pair of y-fronts, a wizard's hat and fluffy slippers. Nothing else.

Fellowyn is mocked and laughed at, a crowd gathers- it further doesn't help that Newt sees this event as an opportunity to spread the word, to entertain the gathered mockers with a song- further tales of the Dark Squad.

It really really doesn't help when Fellowyn tries dancing to Newt's tune.

The resulting skill checks- a '1' followed by a '2', and things fall apart.

Eventually the Squad find their friend Winston (a local halfling 'merchant') and then hire a wagon from him and return to the manse to clear out all of the potentially valuable smuggled goods that were stored in the caves beneath the old ruined house.

This, and their return to Saltmarsh fully laden, takes the rest of the day. At the end of which they are knackered.

Then, it's back at last to the Dark Squad house.

10700.jpg

There are not many images for this brief write-up. That's Buggles' old room (bottom left)- now Fellowyn's. That's Mrs Badcrumble (top right) the Dark Squad's cook and cleaning lady- she welcomes the Squad home. Lastly (bottom right) is Anders Solmor, the present owner of the De La Crane manse. The Squad need to report back to Anders, but first things first.

The next morning...

It's the 5th of Flamerule, and the Dark Squad are back to adventuring on the night of the 6th- they will be meeting up with Bonnie Bowspirit, the halfling granddaughter of Rambles 'Shambles' Bowspirit, who will (for 1500gp) show the Squad how to get into Rambles' tomb. Note, the Squad have learned that the tomb was built by dwarves (possibly Ub- and friends) and is hidden in the same cliffs and hills (Hightop) in which the following are located- the Farhill Mine, the hidden Squabblepot (gnome) settlement- which in turn led down into the lair of Randall the Black (and the entrance to Tao).

Remember, from the to-do list above-

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 from Lowhill), 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).

The Dark Squad have only found one of the Symbols of Ub- the maze button given to them way back by the Sky Pony barbarians.

The remaining four Symbols of Ub, previously owned by the members of the Eyes in the Night, are located-

Randal the Black's token was taken by the duergar that captured and tortured him, it's located in an Underdark fortress called Deepbridge, the Dark Squad know where this place is, they've been there before (sort of).

Rambles 'Shambles' Bowspirit's token was reportedly buried with his remains in his tomb- the Dark Squad are on it.

Antonio De La Crane's token, well... possibly in the well at the De La Crane manse. The Squad are at present of the opinion that Antonio is still alive (more likely- un-alive, as in he's joined the undead) and is laired down the De La Crane well.

Giggles' token- no information.

Sorry, writing it out just so that we're all on the same page, and because we've been on a break.

So, back to the here and then... the 5th of Flamerule sees a flurry of activity; the Squad sell a variety of treasures they snaffled from the manse, then acquire a little more equipment- mainly healing potions, although this is Saltmarsh- there's not a magic shop here, and so only a few such potions are available, and there's no time for Vinnie to manufacture more.

Then, a meeting with Anders Solmor to report back, the Squad tell the dark tale of their time in the De La Crane manse, and then on to the Talos worshippers lightning lighthouse. Anders is... gobsmacked about covers it. There follows lots of chatter, and Anders is focussed in on the smuggling ring that was inhabiting the manse- he wants it smashed/destroyed. To this end Anders decides to call an extraordinary meeting of the Saltmarsh Town Council (scheduled for the 10th Flamerule) in which he proposes to- a) reward the Dark Squad for the good that they have done so far, and b) to commission the Squad to find/attack/destroy the smuggler's ship. Getting rid of the smugglers will, Anders thinks, make Saltmarsh a much better place.

The Dark Squad concur.

Arrangements are made, the Squad need to be back to Saltmarsh by the 10th of Flamerule.

10701.jpg

Here's a massive image- click on it to see the full size original (and what an original). Just to say, from left to right, the lighthouse is in The Choke, the De La Crane manse is up on the leap, follow the coast along to Saltmarsh, and on the evening of the 6th the Squad need to be at the indicated spot between Gedge and Lowhill to meet with Bonnie Bowspirit.

Next, well... Newt's magic school is still in business.

10702.jpg


Newt manifests Gerald, his bat familiar, and then after further simple (mostly sleight of hand) instruction he asks his faithful pupils to bring a creature (like Gerald) with them to the next class.

The sorcerer's 'special' pupils (it's getting creepy again) stay back after the class (Sabrina, Willow, and I forget the others- Newt has this all written down). He has further specific instruction for his 'special' children.

Long story short, as Bear/Newt explained to this DM, he wants to be the patreon of some or all of his 'special' pupils, in the way that Belphegor (and Humphrey) are to him...

The DM makes it clear to Newt that he's a long way shy of being able to grant magical powers to others yet, however- should he have something good to sell, then, well- his present Masters are always on the look-out for a bargain.

More of this kind of darkness to follow.

Undoubtedly.

Then, with the 5th well and truly done the Dark Squad ready themselves some more for their next adventure, and then set of to meet Bonnie Bowspirit.

Only... well, Ram has been reading, while a lot of the above was going on the rogue has read, cover-to-cover, the diary of the Master (actually name- Sanbalet). Note this guy was the wizard in charge of the on-shore element of the smuggling operation at the De La Crane manse. The interesting information garnered from Sanbalet's diary follows-
  1. originally the smuggling operation was based in the Mere of the Dead Men, but it was attacked and overrun, no information by what or whom.
  2. the survivors set up in the De La Crane manse, and were using an old (ruined) lighthouse to signal to their ship.
  3. the big boss of the smuggling operation is called the Captain, he or she lives in Saltmarsh.
  4. the Talos worshippers moved into the lighthouse about a year ago, this caused big problems until the Captain did a deal with them.
  5. Sanbalet thinks about joining the Talos group, they're very powerful.
  6. the Talos worshippers are waiting for a boat called the Dreadnought.
  7. the Talos worshippers are also slavers, Sanbalet is glad he didn't try to join them, he's seen enough, he's considering getting out of the smuggling business.
At which point the Dark Squad arrive on the scene and make all of the Master's worries go away.

So, the smuggling operation is being run from Saltmarsh, and the Talos mob are slavers- no one is happy with any of this.

Next session, we're just going to be playing D&D, remember that- it's time for the Dark Squad to meet again with Bonnie Bowspirit, and from there... the tomb of Rambles 'Shambles'.

Stay safe and well you lovely people.

Cheers the Dark Squad and goonalan.
 

Goonalan

Hero
Supporter
Dark Squad in the Secrets of Saltmarsh

Session #108: The Shambles in the Shambles Tomb

Dark Squad (in alphabetical order, no egos here).
Daktari/Dak (played by Haggis) Male Human Uthgardt Sky Pony Barbarian Lvl 8
Fellowyn Silverstream (played by George) Male Eladrin Wizard Bladesinger Lvl 8
New Tricks/Newt (played by Bear) Male Tabaxi Warlock Lvl 8
Ramshambo/Ram (played by Kev) Male Half-Elf Rogue/Fighter Lvl 7/1
Vincenzo/Vinnie (played by Haggis) Male Shifter (Wildhunt) Druid Lvl 8

DEAD PCs
Nicholai Barbaros Kostyiev/Nicky (played by George) Male Dhampir Cleric of Twilight Lvl 8 RIP

NPCs
Inverna Nightbreeze (played by George) Female Wood Elf Fighter Lvl 8 (Sidekick) RETIRED
Garumn Male Mountain Dwarf Paladin of Moradin Lvl 5 RIP*
Tarbin Tul (played by goonalan) Male Human Bard RETIRED
Ubmo (played by Goonalan) Supreme Being Lvl 1 (When we remember)
*Trapped in the Land of the Bad Dead Ancestors.

Servants/Familiars
Gerald (Bat/Giant Bat) servant/mount of New Tricks
Owly (Owl) Vinnie’s familiar

The Dark Squad’s to-do list-


  1. Bonnie Bowspirit, grand-daughter of Rambles, will show the Squad to the missing halfling killer's tomb, on the 6th of Flamerule.
  2. An extraordinary meeting of the Saltmarsh Town Council, the Dark Squad are going to get hired to end the smuggling menace (see below), scheduled for 10th Flamerule.
  3. The smuggler's ship will be turning up sometime between the 14th and 17th of Flamerule, the Dark Squad (and particularly Ram) are keen to meet the vessel, particularly Ram- why, because as the rogue said- “I'm getting a boat.”
  4. 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 from Lowhill), 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).
  5. Nightshade is in the Deep Dreadwood- except she's not there any more, but a big red dragon is?
  6. Blackedge and the Goblin Stair?
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
This is session 108, and we didn't get much done, although.... there were several very good reasons for this- high level(-ish) play, and the need to look lots of things up in the rules; a degree of ineptitude- we've been away from the game for a bit; and... I (your studious DM) upped the threat level and kicked the crap out of a few folk. Which caused a little consternation in the ranks.

But as always we begin at the beginning.

It's the 6th of Flamerule, the Dark Squad have made the journey along the coast road to Gedge (I sent a picture of the village but none of the players deigned to screen shot it) and then onwards towards Lowhill (a halfling village) along a rutted dry cart track, as instructed previously by Bonnie Bowspirit.

And sure enough, there they are- Bonnie and her crew (three young male halflings) intercept the Squad and direct them a little way off the beaten track and eventually to another ancient stone circle.

The Dark Squad are not that interested in their surroundings however, they're concentrating their efforts on staying alive, several of them think that this meeting is a set up and they're about to get jumped.

As it turns out, and after a bit of chatter, that's not the case- Bonnie and her co-conspirators are as nervous as the PCs but not about to break their word- keep in mind these four halflings are selling out their village. The money they are about to receive from the Dark Squad (1500gp) will pay for them to take a boat to elsewhere and to start their lives afresh.

So, there's a little back and forth, the counting of the money and then...

10800.jpg

The four halflings do a little dance within the stone circle, it's a little shambolic, and several of the PCs are making rolls trying to fathom what's going on here, because this doesn't look like anything serious. It looks, for want of a better phrase- made up.

Then, the dancing stops.

And a little way down the hill a series of steps have seemingly just appeared, the ancient stone stair descends to two equally ancient stone doors.

Welcome to the tomb of Rambles 'Shambles' Bowspirit.

The Dark Squad are not quite sure what to make of events, soon after they are however happy to hand over the cash.

Bonnie attempts to sell the Squad a few clues as to what awaits them in the tomb.

There's a little back-and-forth as negotiations continue for a little while, Newt is particularly unhappy with events so far- he really wanted this whole thing to be a set up, he wanted to blast a few halflings (and put his cash back in his pocket). Wiser folk do the deal, and Bonnie reveals a few extra details (for another 350gp)-

  1. The Dark Squad need to find their way into the middle of the tomb.
  2. The coins and gems in the central tomb are all fakes- don't waste your time on them.
  3. There's a guardian in the central chamber- a dwarf made of stone.
  4. A bad spirit haunts the tomb, angry and terrifying, and lastly-
  5. Rambles 'Shambles' Bowspirit, Bonnie's great-grandaddy, was a real bad bastard- which translates to- 'be careful in there'.
The Dark Squad crave more details but, Bonnie tells them again- she's only been in the tomb once previously.

And with that the halflings are gone, back down the hill and as far away as they can get.

One of the doors to the tomb is ajar, and after a series of checks Ram enters silently, sneakily & very carefully.

10801.jpg

We're adventuring again, it's been a while.

And so it goes, slow- slow-slow.

It takes nearly twenty minutes (real time) to check out about a hundred or so feet of the circular inner corridor.

Then, apropos absolutely nothing, someone (I think it was Newt) gets clawed in the back, and then moments later Fellowyn suffers the same fate. It becomes obvious that whatever is attacking (and then moving quickly away) is invisible (even after it has attacked), and that there are at least two of them in here.

There's a lot of shouting, a lot of readied actions, and a fair amount of swearing.

Even when Daktari manages to land a hit on one of the invisible foes- blood flies, a hissing noise is briefly heard, and then... the still invisible attackers move off again...

It's getting frustrating.

Obviously, not for me- I'm having a ball.

Eventually Newt, holding a manifested Gerald (his bat familiar) to his head and 'looking' through Gerald's eyes/senses spots the foe. The attackers are hairless, sexless humanoids- feral looking (ghoul-like) and entirely insubstantial. Newt can only make out the outline of the creatures, the warlock's monster knowledge check is an '8', so- he has no idea what they are.

That said, with the help of a little Faerie Fire (from Vinnie), one of the attackers is hunted down and slaughtered- even dead the creature is just an hazy outline. More failed monster knowledge checks follow.

However the attacks don't stop.

Newt, still using Gerald's senses, manages to spot another of the strange humanoids, this nasty chap claws Fellowyn, the old man is left a little flustered, as it turns out the Dark Squad do not possess many spells that allow them to see invisible foes.

Shame that.

It's like the DM has checked out the PCs resources- just cruel.

We move on.

10803.jpg

To here- to the north, Fellowyn has just filled the corridor ahead of him with his Web spell, one of the invisible buggers is trapped in there. That's a dead invisible dude lying beside Ram. Last bit- there's something much bigger in the space between Newt & Dak, Vinnie and Ubmo.

How do the Dark Squad learn this?

Well, shadows shift and shape and two almost indistinct great clawed hands lash out at Daktari, with a follow up bite attack. The barbarian is bloodied and beyond in an instant. All three attacks are hits (one of them a Crit) and Dak goes from full (83 HP) to maybe a quarter of that in seconds.

Worse, whatever just hit him has also scrambled his mind, the barbarian is left Stunned- gawping, spitting and shouting out random phrases.

Newt is quickly to the scene with his Gerald-enhanced vision, he spies Dak's attacker, and wishes he hadn't.

10804.jpg


It's a ghostly troll like creature swathed in shadow, he tells his friends- which doesn't help things much. His monster knowledge check is something around '3'.

Vinnie quickly transforms into the Moonboar, and then gets his Fire Shield up and running; Newt fails to land a hit with one of his 'big spells' (I forget which- the ghostly troll made his save), and then someone- perhaps it was Ram, lands a hit on the beast. Suddenly the ghostly troll becomes much more visible, although still transparent (as shown above).

Note, several PCs also try to identify this new attacker, more monster knowledge checks- all of them spectacularly low rolls.

The spectral troll claws (with another Crit) Daktari once more- the barbarian drops unconscious.

Note, SPOILER ALERT- five seconds later and Ram & Fellowyn will both get a potion of healing (each) into the barbarian, however the big man is still stunned (Wis DC 15 save), and still stunned ninety minutes later at the end of this session.

10805.jpg

The Dark Squad concentrate fire, note Ram steps into the fight- his rapier and scimitar slice, and then he steps away again. Which is why he almost never gets hurt. It's a swashbuckler skill.

10806.jpg

See that circle around the troll- that's Newt's Wall of Fire, which makes it hard for those outside to hit the beast but... it's worth it, particularly as Vinnie has also managed to Confuse the spectral enemy- and I (your glorious DM) have managed to roll 'do nothing' on the Confusion table three turns in a row.

The Dark Squad are winning.

Note, the other invisible humanoids seem to have stopped their attacks.

But then the winning stops.

10807.jpg

The still confused ghostly troll rolls to move in a random direction on the Confusion table, and off he goes- stepping through the wall just to the left of him.

Bugger!

There's a lot of swearing/shouting- sometimes in combination.

There also follows a brief moment for recriminations, but then Fellowyn starts shouting, and then pointing.

The ghostly troll (still failing its saving throws versus Confusion) is stood only a hundred or so feet away from the now bickering Dark Squad, just a little way around the corner (if a circular corridor can have a corner- it can't).

10808.jpg

The Benny Hill theme tune plays as the Dark Squad (in a conga line) rush towards the nasty troll.

They're just arriving on the scene, when...

10809.jpg

The ghostly troll (still confused) rolls to 'run' again, and rushes off through the doors highlighted by the circle on the map above.

The Benny Hill theme music continues.

The swearing has reached red hot levels.

And that's your cracker- that's all we did, and keep in mind people that this was a three-and-a-half hour session, with only a couple of five minute breaks. All of the PCs have spent almost all of their Inspiration Points, they've been hard at it in this one.

Although with not much to show from it.

Note- there has been talk (already) about a retreat from the tomb (after this fight is done, perhaps even before) and so I'd just like to pose the following question to the PCs, or rather to the Players-

“How long do you think that the entrance to Rambles 'Shambles' Bowspirit's tomb is going to remain 'open' if you exit this place?”

Be warned, this is your shot. I asked repeatedly back in Saltmarsh- 'are you ready?'

Oh, and I've ratcheted up the difficulty level a turn or two. You may have noticed.

Stay safe and well you lovely people.

Cheers the Dark Squad and goonalan.
 
Last edited:

Goonalan

Hero
Supporter
Dark Squad in the Secrets of Saltmarsh


Session #109: The Rat Bastard.


Dark Squad (in alphabetical order, no egos here).
Daktari/Dak (played by Haggis) Male Human Uthgardt Sky Pony Barbarian Lvl 8
Fellowyn Silverstream (played by George) Male Eladrin Wizard Bladesinger Lvl 8
New Tricks/Newt (played by Bear) Male Tabaxi Warlock Lvl 8
Ramshambo/Ram (played by Kev) Male Half-Elf Rogue/Fighter Lvl 7/1
Vincenzo/Vinnie (played by Haggis) Male Shifter (Wildhunt) Druid Lvl 8

DEAD PCs
Nicholai Barbaros Kostyiev/Nicky (played by George) Male Dhampir Cleric of Twilight Lvl 8 RIP


NPCs
Inverna Nightbreeze (played by George) Female Wood Elf Fighter Lvl 8 (Sidekick) RETIRED
Garumn Male Mountain Dwarf Paladin of Moradin Lvl 5 RIP*
Tarbin Tul (played by goonalan) Male Human Bard RETIRED
Ubmo (played by Goonalan) Supreme Being Lvl 1 (When we remember)
*Trapped in the Land of the Bad Dead Ancestors.


Servants/Familiars
Gerald (Bat/Giant Bat) servant/mount of New Tricks
Owly (Owl) Vinnie’s familiar

The Dark Squad’s to-do list-



  1. An extraordinary meeting of the Saltmarsh Town Council, the Dark Squad are going to get hired to end the smuggling menace (see below), scheduled for 10th Flamerule.
  2. The smuggler's ship will be turning up sometime between the 14th and 17th of Flamerule, the Dark Squad (and particularly Ram) are keen to meet the vessel, particularly Ram- why, because as the rogue said- “I'm getting a boat.”
  3. 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 from Lowhill), 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).
  4. Nightshade is in the Deep Dreadwood- except she's not there any more, but a big red dragon is?
  5. Blackedge and the Goblin Stair?
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
This is session 109, and we're back. This after the usual Christmas and New Year madness, throughout which we were unable to arrange a game, and then... when we finally got the opportunity- my PC died. Big time- no coming back, I'm typing this with a new (much improved) desk top PC, keep in mind I bought the last PC off the shelf (from Tesco) in 2010, and for less than £300. So, it did good.

We're back.

It's the 6th of Flamerule and the Dark Squad are in the tomb of Rambles 'Shambles' Bowspirit, they've been shown the way in by Rambles' grand-daughter- Bonnie Bowspirit. The Dark Squad have paid good money to get there way in here (1,850gp, and that's a lot of money for the Dark Squad). Furthermore the PCs have worked out that if they leave the tomb then it will not be here on their return, this is a one-shot deal, Bonnie and her friends seemed to summon the entrance to the dungeon with their little dance (see last session).

Within, well- there's a ghostly troll that took a liking to Daktari, knocking the barbarian onto his backside in just two turns of the fight getting started (although there was one massive Crit hit in there for over 50 damage to the barbarian).

Then... Vinnie (actually the Moonboar) managed to hit the ghostly terror with a Confusion spell, the spectral troll has been gibbering and prevaricating ever since (unable to roll the Wisdom DC 16 save it needs to dispel the magic).

Things took a turn for the better and the Dark Squad scored some good hits, but then the troll ran off, which it's very good at as it runs through walls. But here's the thing- it cannot escape the tomb.

Caught up, good.

Let's get on with it.

10900.jpg

Look at the lovely picture, somehow since we've been away Fantasy Grounds Unity has got much better looking. Note, Ram has found the ghostly troll- it's cowering in the corner, trying to 'shush' the rogue staring at it, slightly bewildered. Note, Daktari is at the back of the queue, he's taking a slow wander back to the action- swigging potions of healing as he goes.

He's not well again.

The vultures gather... for my poor spectral troll, note at this point the poor beast has failed to make maybe seven saves in a row, although that's not so hard to believe when you learn that the DC is 16 and it has -1 on it's Wisdom save.

They got me.

10901.jpg

The Dark Squad take it in turns to step into melee (or ranged), do their thing, and then step away again. The spectral troll is confused remember, it has no reactions.

10902.jpg

It doesn't last.

There is cheering, and that was just short of 6,000 XP worth of bad guy, again keep in mind before the Confusion spell it managed to reduce Daktari from his full (80 or so HP) to zero in just two turns, and also do a chunk of damage (down to bloodied) to Fellowyn. It was a ferocious bastard, but only very briefly.

The Dark Squad (i.e. Newt) erect their Tiny Hut and gather inside to heal and chunter (moan and bicker) about how things are not going so well, so far... in the Shambles tomb.

There follows a brief discussion, about resources and the like, and the fact that this is their one and only shot at this place. Then, after the mithering, it's out of the hut and time to start breaking the various sarcophagi (and the like) open. Looking for... well, mostly treasure.

10903.jpg

Oddly there's not much treasure to be found, and this place is starting to remind the Squad of many other places that they have explored previously on their adventures in the Saltmarsh region. There are more skeleton mask wearing dwarven statues here- like in the shrine to Abbathor they investigated right at the start (while rescuing Bang & Olafsson), and also a lot like the area beneath the well at the De La Crane manse on the cliffs.

The search goes on with Ram creeping ahead a way, checking things out and then finding the next door to open, Daktari is called forward every now and then to put his shoulder to the portals that in time have become choked and blocked by debris.

It looks like no-one has been here for a long while.

And keep in mind that the Dark Squad are being very cautious because before the spectral troll hit they were also being hunted through the corridors by some other spectral beings- a group (they thought) of barely visible humanoids.

The creatures, the DM can confirm, have since departed the tomb, but the PCs don't know that.

10904.jpg

Into a much larger chamber, and there's another fancy sarcophagi here, and the Dark Squad have been opening and searching these- they really are keen to get their money back. Perhaps more importantly, up the stairs in this chamber are a pair of double doors, which Ram is certain must lead into the central tomb. The place that Bonnie Bowspirit told them that they must go, and also warned them of the illusory treasure there, and the stony guardian.

The sarcophagi here, as it happens, takes a while to open, and yet- all it contains are a pair of cracked and flawed very low value gems.

The Squad are beginning to chafe.

There's something not quite right here.

But onwards, and into the central chamber...

10905.jpg

And then, after five to ten minutes of the PCs slowly creeping closer- one square at a time (at times) the observers work out the following-

The treasure here is indeed illusory, and the magic pretty badly done. It wouldn't fool anyone for more than a few seconds.

There are no traps to be found, which was not at all what they were expecting.

The sarcophagi bears the legend-

Rambles 'Shambles' Bowspirit, the meanest halfling that ever sailed the Sea of Swords.

Although someone, with a chisel- that's intent, has added the following statement in a (chiselled) scrawl-

Rat Bastard!

So, that's nice.

A little while later, after lots of standing around- checking- more chatter- more standing around- more checking, and... the sarcophagi gets opened.

Odd, it's full to the brim with cool clear water.

At which point however the Earth Elemental Myrmidon (with a little extra kick) emerges from the floor of the chamber and rips into... Daktari, he's always in the wrong place at the right time.

10906.jpg

Here's Johnny!

Dak is bloodied in an instant.

A mixture of bludgeoning from the rock hammer and fair amount of thunder damage.

As it turns out the wordless elemental guardian hits very hard, but... here's the thing. The Dark Squad hit hard too, and they are legion (at times).

10907.jpg

Action shot! Gurn with delight or else claw at your own eyes as you witness Fellowyn's bathrobe flapping wide open as he streaks (this word was chosen carefully) towards the foe.

Keep in mind Fellowyn only ever wears his fluffy slippers, his towelling bathrobe, his budgie-smugglers (y-fronts) and his wizard's hat; and all in white. Well, off white.

The elemental guardian doesn't last long- about three or four turns, and yes- he had the best part of 250 hit points and an AC of around 20. They don't mess around the Dark Squad.

So, job done, but hang on- what the hell, the sarcophagi- the tomb of Rambles 'Shambles' Bowspirit contains (as stated previously) cool clear water.

But here's the thing, there's no bottom to the sarcophagi, the water seems to go on- and some of the Squad are certain that they can see a light down there.

There follows a good ten to twenty minutes of puzzling, with a few associated (tremendously low) skill checks, although George (playing Fellowyn) is very quick to the solution. Which is finally revealed to all when one of the low-rolling Squad manage to conjure something more than ten on a Skill Check.

There was a mad low-rolling streak here, just prior to this Ram had managed to roll a double '1' with advantage. During the course of the next ten D20 skill check rolls six more of them are '1's.

So, in the end- this is a portal.

Like the portal within a sarcophagi the Dark Squad found beneath the Saltmarsh cemetery, which lead them to some great hall of the Pact of the Wild Flame.

Only it seems they have to swim to the portal.

More chatter follows, most of which is Newt-flavoured, the tabaxi doesn't do water.

If only he could spend an hour and re-equip (attune) his helm of underwater action, alas he cannot because the Cursed Luckstone he is wearing cannot be de-attuned, or at least not through the usual methods, and even when he throws it away it comes back.

Full disclosure, Newt has also come to understand that the Cursed Luckstone has blessed him with disadvantage on all of his saving throws, and so... he's a little bit more cautious than usual atm.

Ram dives in, actually, truth be told- Ram dived in about five seconds after the portal idea came up, he has balls of steel the lad.

The rogue swims down and disappears into the light.

Eventually, some more reluctant than others- although Daktari should be applauded for bombing into the sarcophagi/pool and by so doing soaking his remaining colleagues, anyway- they all go for a brief swim and into the light.

Again, full disclosure, while the sarcophagi exists beyond this space the water is just a short (twenty feet tall) cylinder of liquid- with the entrance at the top into the tomb, and the light at the bottom. Surrounding the cylinder of water? Nothing- or else, inky blackness.

The Dark Squad, all of 'em, and all bone dry- appear gathered in an odd little ante-room, the ten by ten chamber has no ceiling- or at least it appears that way, there's a light however somewhere very far above.

Of more interest however are the larger broken wooden doors that lead into a large barrel ceilinged pillared hall, lit by six smoking braziers. It looks very dwarven.

Ram is sent in.

Seconds later the flickering image of a scurvy (and tasty) looking halfling flickers into life.

Flickers is the word, it quickly becomes apparent that the image is another poorly maintained (or just low-powered) illusion.

Well, immediately obvious to all but one of the members of the Dark Squad- see later.

10908.jpg

However, it- or rather Rambles, has a lot to say. Ignore the skeletons in the picture for now, we'll get to them in a minute.

Here goes Rambles-

“Ahoy there, Rambles Bowspirit, Halfling Pirate Captain, Assassin, Expert Thief, and all round nice guy. Welcome to my tomb ya scurvy landlubbers.”

And between each fresh announcement the flickering halfling scoundrel delights in movement- capering, bowing, gesturing, guffawing, hectoring and the like.

“You will, of course- me hearties, be here to relieve me of my hard won treasure, which lies below- and what treasures I have gathered, my hoard is truly amazing.”

“I don't know who you are, but then again- neither do I care, because...”

“You scurvy dogs are mine now- and your treasures shall join my horde.”

“So, without any further ado, here are the rules-”

“RULE ONE: First Bell starts the game.”

“RULE TWO: The Seventh Bell opens the way drown, I mean down.”

“And...”

“RULE THREE: Don't hang around!”

“Any questions?”


At which point the flickering fool taps his foot for a minute, all through Daktari's questions- the barbarian is the only one that hasn't figured out by this point that Rambles is an illusion.

The Sky Pony's comments get more provocative the longer Rambles remains tight-lipped.

Daktari is furious, Jim has a lot of fun with it.

“I am waiting, for answer- you are provoking my ire tremendously. You little-person, sea-gypsy!”

Remember, in cod-Russian. Daktari, you will note, has been reading.

Eventually flickering Rambles goes on-

“No?”

“Then let the fun begin.”

“DONG!”


A ship's bell rings.

And nothing happens.

Which is a little disappointing, the Dark Squad drift about- looking here and there, the consensus is the place is long abandoned and very dwarven.

A very short time later (maybe six or so seconds) a ships's bell rings twice and three skeletons appear, as if from nowhere, the three rickety members of the undead attack the Dark Squad- but, the distraction doesn't last long.

The skeletons are just a nuisance.

The ship's bell keeps on ringing.

It rings twice again.

And then twice again.

And then three times.

And by now the Dark Squad have all the clues they need (or are going to get).

They're looking for something- best guess is the way out, and they have to find it by the seventh bell.

At least that's their best shot at the answer, atm.

10909.jpg

The search is on.

A short while later Newt opens a room and releases a zombie from the guard chamber within, although- sorry, there are no pictures of this, then the zombie seems to vanish, or else... well, it's not where it was.

A short while later the zombie reappears, it's crawling on the ceiling and then spewing spider swarms at Newt, that's nice.

The combat is short and to the point- the zombie is blasted by the warlock and then quickly broken by Daktari.

10910.jpg

A little while later, and in another side room- Ram is attacked by a spectral dwarf, again- the undead is very similar (the same) to the attackers in the Tomb of Abbathor (back with Bang & Olafsson).

Then it gets all kind of wonky.

10911.jpg

The steps down have been found- a variety of PCs have fled down them, they are at the lowest point in the above image. Only the PCs emerge from the stairs down back into the small ante room (at the top of the image). The same chamber from which they first entered this place.

Like in a loop.

Oh, and when the PCs step back into the dwarven hall from the ante-chamber the flickering Rambles turns back on again, and begins his spiel once more.

The DM insists on voicing this.

Every time.

It doesn't get annoying.

Some more skeletons show up, when the ship's bell tolls four times, or at least the first time it tolls four times.

Daktari tries to see how far he can climb in the ante-chamber (he's wearing his Slippers of Spider-Climbing). The answer is- very far.

A skeleton appears at the bottom of the shaft like chamber and starts shooting its bow at the barbarian.

Daktari descends a way and then leaps down and crushes the miscreant, although not without a few bruises to himself.

The fighting goes on, although... fighting? It's not really that, the skeletons are a push-over, sure they manage to land a hit every now and then, but... a scratch. That's all.

The zombie coughing up spiders was a little tougher, but nothing to worry about, the same for the spectral dwarf. Low level threat, that's all- no danger for the Dark Squad they can keep this up for... ever?

But that's where the session ends...

10912.jpg

With a handful of skeletons still menacing the Squad and the guys- well, shouting a variety of things, opening doors, scurrying about and... well, let's be generous and say taking in the scenery.

Not just heedlessly (headlessly) running around.

No, not that.

At least don't say that.

That would put a slight damper on our first session back.

It's good to be back.

Stay safe and well you lovely people, that's everyone except the members of the Dark Squad.

Cheers the Dark Squad and goonalan.
 



Goonalan

Hero
Supporter
Dark Squad in the Secrets of Saltmarsh

Session #110: The Bells.

Dark Squad (in alphabetical order, no egos here).
Daktari/Dak (played by Haggis) Male Human Uthgardt Sky Pony Barbarian Lvl 8
Fellowyn Silverstream (played by George) Male Eladrin Wizard Bladesinger Lvl 8
New Tricks/Newt (played by Bear) Male Tabaxi Warlock Lvl 8
Ramshambo/Ram (played by Kev) Male Half-Elf Rogue/Fighter Lvl 7/1
Vincenzo/Vinnie (played by Haggis) Male Shifter (Wildhunt) Druid Lvl 8

DEAD PCs
Nicholai Barbaros Kostyiev/Nicky (played by George) Male Dhampir Cleric of Twilight Lvl 8 RIP

NPCs
Inverna Nightbreeze (played by George) Female Wood Elf Fighter Lvl 8 (Sidekick) RETIRED
Garumn Male Mountain Dwarf Paladin of Moradin Lvl 5 RIP*
Tarbin Tul (played by goonalan) Male Human Bard RETIRED
Ubmo (played by Goonalan) Supreme Being Lvl 1 (When we remember)
*Trapped in the Land of the Bad Dead Ancestors.

Servants/Familiars
Gerald (Bat/Giant Bat) servant/mount of New Tricks
Owly (Owl) Vinnie’s familiar

The Dark Squad’s to-do list-


  1. An extraordinary meeting of the Saltmarsh Town Council, the Dark Squad are going to get hired to end the smuggling menace (see below), scheduled for 10th Flamerule.
  2. The smuggler's ship will be turning up sometime between the 14th and 17th of Flamerule, the Dark Squad (and particularly Ram) are keen to meet the vessel, particularly Ram- why, because as the rogue said- “I'm getting a boat.”
  3. 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 from Lowhill), 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).
  4. Nightshade is in the Deep Dreadwood- except she's not there any more, but a big red dragon is?
  5. Blackedge and the Goblin Stair?
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

This is session 110, and there's a lot of running around, and... I think it's fair to say- a lot of anger and resentment building. Strap in.

The Dark Squad are on the run in the tomb of Rambles Shambles Bowspirit, halfling bastard and ex-member of the Eyes in the Night- a bunch of adventurers from two hundred years past that bear more than a passing resemblance to the afore-titled Dark Squad.

The Squad are after Rambles' button, and his treasure.

And so when a flickering illusionary version of Rambles sets the Dark Squad running last session, well.. they've since been beset by ceiling-crawling zombies, spooky spirits and lots of skeletons, while in pursuit of the exit to this strange (dwarven) dungeon.

Oh, and a ships bell rings the hour every six or so seconds (let's call it every turn), last session we got up to the bell tolling four times. The Dark Squad know (because the flickering Rambles said) that something happens when the bell tolls seven times.

And so on it goes with some very frustrated PCs running hither and yon, searching high and low, and... they eventually find a secret chamber.

This is it.

11000.jpg
And a thorough(-ish) search reveals some magic flavoured treasure, a pair of (unidentified) boots and a sack of mostly coin. But nothing else, and no other way out- or down (remember the stairs down here, when descended, just teleport the PC back to the start of the map).*

*It is worth noting that four out of the five PCs have tried to exit down the stairs only to be catapulted back to the beginning- the Dark Squad are at present camped on the lower reaches of this particular learning curve.

Then on sixth bell a bunch more skeletons appear most of them scrambling up the stairs (the only exit the Dark Squad have discovered) and straight at the PCs. Seconds later the seventh bell tolls, the stairs fill with water, do you remember Rambles' line-

RULE TWO: The Seventh Bell opens the way drown, I mean down.”

Get it?

11001.jpg

Therefore the Squad smash their way through the last few skeletal defenders and all of them dive into the water that now fills the stairs.

And for each a light suddenly engulfs them and blammo... they're somewhere else (and as dry as a bone).

11002.jpg

The somewhere else continues on the dwarven theme, the place looks to be an old abandoned guardroom, and flickering in the corner is a badly spelled Rambles, who has little to say- he does however sound a little truculent when he's saying it.

Then a ships bell rings.

Just once.

There is swearing from the PCs, or was it the Players, actually it could have been both.

The Dark Squad are on the run again, trying to find the next exit before the bell toll seven.

11003.jpg

There are locked doors here, and that slows the PCs down a little- as do the randomly appearing skeletons, oh... and look there's a ghoul.

It briefly gets exciting.

But it's also at this point that the Dark Squad start to work out (a little perhaps) what's going on here.

They're getting shafted, they think, by a dead halfling.

The following sequence of images- all sent during the ghoul fight, perhaps illustrate the Dark Squads mood.

11004.jpg

Skeletons and a ghoul.

11005.jpg

Skeletons and a ghoul.

11006.jpg

Skeletons and a ghoul.

11007.jpg

Skeletons and a ghoul.

11008.jpg

Victory! The ghoul is dead.

Only it doesn't feel like the Dark Squad are winning.

It feels a lot like the little tinker in the corner of the above images is winning.

11009.jpg

Every bad thing is dead, but the Dark Squad are still not happy.

There's just no pleasing some people.

11010.jpg

More searching = more skeletons.

11011.jpg

Oh look, more skeletons.

11012.jpg

Ah-ha a well, the Dark Squad like wells. The way down?

Daktari climbs down the well, and... a flash of blinding light and he appears back in the entrance to this level.

11013.jpg

The search goes on.

The bell continues to toll its way to seven.

And then swarms of bats start exiting the well, and suddenly everyone is back in a real big rush, particularly because the bells are still ringing, and they're going much quicker this time through their repertoire (one toll to seven tolls).

Note back up on level it took (from memory) sixteen turns to get from one bell toll to seven.

11014.jpg

Newt finds the way drown, I mean- of course- down.

It only took thirteen turns this time to get from the one bell toll to seven bells here.

Some of the Dark Squad are puffing hard.

Then, when the ship's bell tolls seven times the stairs fill up with water and...

The Dark Squad dive in.

A flash of light!

And...

11015.jpg

That's the flickering Rambles in the corner- the five foot circle marker on the map.

Rambles is very popular.

He doesn't have much to say, again.

But as soon as he's done- a ship's bell rings.

Just once.

The Dark Squad are in an ancient sewer system, and the stench is terrible, and... well, save for the DM then no-one is particularly happy.

Ram made a speech.

Which is a sure fire indicator that things are not going well.

If I take all the swear words out then it'd be about a quarter of its original length. It's possibly Ram's longest speech to date, with the swear words in.

In precis-

I'm not playing this game, I'm going to find the exit fast- count the bells and then, well- I ain't going down. I'm not doing what that little rat bastard crook told us to do!

Then, well we finished early because some folk were tired (and frustrated/emotional) but then of course nobody wanted to leave Discord- everyone had something to say (not me) and the four players rattled on trying to figure out what to do for the best for the next twenty minutes. Me, listening in, giggling (with the mic off) every now and then.

So, something might be going drown, I mean down, next session.

Stay safe and well you lovely people.

Cheers the Dark Squad and goonalan.
 

Goonalan

Hero
Supporter
Dark Squad in the Secrets of Saltmarsh

Session #111: It's A Trap!

Dark Squad (in alphabetical order, no egos here).
Daktari/Dak (played by Haggis) Male Human Uthgardt Sky Pony Barbarian Lvl 8
Fellowyn Silverstream (played by George) Male Eladrin Wizard Bladesinger Lvl 8
New Tricks/Newt (played by Bear) Male Tabaxi Warlock Lvl 8
Ramshambo/Ram (played by Kev) Male Half-Elf Rogue/Fighter Lvl 7/1
Vincenzo/Vinnie (played by Haggis) Male Shifter (Wildhunt) Druid Lvl 8

DEAD PCs
Nicholai Barbaros Kostyiev/Nicky (played by George) Male Dhampir Cleric of Twilight Lvl 8 RIP

NPCs
Inverna Nightbreeze (played by George) Female Wood Elf Fighter Lvl 8 (Sidekick) RETIRED
Garumn Male Mountain Dwarf Paladin of Moradin Lvl 5 RIP*
Tarbin Tul (played by goonalan) Male Human Bard RETIRED
Ubmo (played by Goonalan) Supreme Being Lvl 1 (When we remember)
*Trapped in the Land of the Bad Dead Ancestors.

Servants/Familiars
Gerald (Bat/Giant Bat) servant/mount of New Tricks
Owly (Owl) Vinnie’s familiar

The Dark Squad’s to-do list-

  1. An extraordinary meeting of the Saltmarsh Town Council, the Dark Squad are going to get hired to end the smuggling menace (see below), scheduled for 10th Flamerule.
  2. The smuggler's ship will be turning up sometime between the 14th and 17th of Flamerule, the Dark Squad (and particularly Ram) are keen to meet the vessel, particularly Ram- why, because as the rogue said- “I'm getting a boat.”
  3. 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 from Lowhill), 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).
  4. Nightshade is in the Deep Dreadwood- except she's not there any more, but a big red dragon is?
  5. Blackedge and the Goblin Stair?
  6. 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.
  7. 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.

This is session 111, and turn up the volume on the Benny Hill theme tune, we're on the run again...

11100.jpg

The Dark Squad descend (once again) into another dungeon area, a sewer this time, and a flickering image of Rambles 'Shambles' Bowspirit pops up, berates them a moment for surviving thus far, and... a ship's bell rings.

And then there are skeletons.

Heads up, from now to the end of this session all of the PCs, (except when they are attacking or being attacked- although even sometimes then) are running full pelt, all of the time. Just burning through bonus actions, and inspiration points, and misty step spells, and... it's full on.

Except for the bit when they're all just standing around- bickering, but that's towards the end.

We'll get to that- promise.

The reason for all of the running around?

There are more enemies here, when the skeletons turn up they bring friends, three waves of the skinny buggers over the course of events on thie level, and with ten or twelve undead in each new gang.

11101.jpg

The Dark Squad are taking care of business.

The ships' bell is still counting up to seven tolls.

Remember the Dark Squad have to find the way down in time for the seventh bell, at which point the exit stairs will fill with water and... the Dark Squad dive in, encounter a light, and- ZOOM, they teleport/tumble down the stairs and into the next level of the dungeon.

Easy as that.

It took seventeen turns to get to seven tolls on the first level of the dungeon, fifteen turns on the second, and this one... thirteen turns.

The Dark Squad notice the change and just... well, spread out- by which I mean without any plan they just run hither and yon.

It was such fun to watch.

11102.jpg

The first wave of skeletons are dispatched- everyone spread out.

Keep in mind the backdrop to this- the PCs are obviously shouting this to each other, in game, because the players are definitely shouting at/to each other out of game. The topic is- do we go down again? Do we keep doing this?

Ram is very definitely in the 'no' camp, at several points because the bell keeps on ringing faster now, well... at several points he's the only one in the 'no' camp.

Jim, playing both Vinnie (the Moonboar) and Daktari, is very trepidatious with regard to breaking the rules...

11103.jpg

Then Newt gets attacked by this guy, who isn't much for small talk.

All of the Dark Squad therefore have to run back to help Newt out, the warlock is a little on the squishy side.

This event improves no-one's mood.

Although, I was fairly sanguine about it all.

11104.jpg

Then run away again, and Ram has found the stairs down, which is fortunate because this image was taken in the twelfth turn, and so... moments later the stairs fill with water as the ship's bell tolls seven times.

The way down is open.

Alas the thirteenth turn also sees the arrival of another gang of undead.

11105.jpg

And a Carrion Crawler, on the ceiling above the fast running sewer, which scared the bejesus out of the Moonboar.

While the action unfolds (over the next few turns) the following events are on repeat-

Skeletons show up and are smashed down, blown apart, etc.

The bell tolling seven, repeatedly, the same seven bells on every turn.

The Moonboar attempts to talk Ram (and the other members of the Squad) into diving into the water-filled stairs.

Ram argues vehemently against this.

The pair agree to disagree- no-one does anything else much (except see above).

To make absolutely clear- Ram offers no reason for disobeying Shambles' rules, nor does he offer an opinion as to what is going to happen should they not descend- he doesn't know, and he's not prepared to guess.

And yet somehow he says enough to break the spell.

Every turn the grinning DM asks the players in initiative order (note we've been in initiative now since the end of session 109) “What are you doing?”

They are all readying an action (various) but other than that (and the bickering) none of them are moving a muscle.

They're not getting into the water.

Just to note, if you look at the pictures so far you'll note that the PCs are starting to look wounded. Daktari & the Moonboar are both beyond bloodied, Fellowyn has been running around on less than ten hit points for quite a while now. Newt is keeping himself topped up with temporary hit points thanks to one of his gruesome warlock powers (I forget what it's called), even Ram is down 25% of his HP, and that almost never happens.

There's been no time to heal.

Except maybe now.

Okay.

Ready.

The next picture in Discord is this-

11107.jpg

What are we looking at here? Hang on, this isn't even the same level of the dungeon! What's going on?

And so, here's what the above image shows.

In the lead is a hasted Fellowyn, screaming with his flapping robe being worn like a cape. Close behind is the triple move every turn Ram. Behind these two by some measure are the puffing, chuffing big lads- the Moonboar and Daktari, and with the usually racy Newt bringing up the rear.

Note, the stairs down to the sewer level the Dark Squad were just exploring are just to the south of Newt in the above map.

So, how the hell did we get here?

Well, let me start off by saying that the entire dungeon is a trap.

The further down you explore the harder it is to get out.

I found maps and populated six levels of this, just in case.

Ram figured it in three, actually he started moaning big style during the second level of the dungeon.

But, let's go back a moment.

Back to seven bells ringing on the sewer level below this one.

What happened next?

Easy, the bells stopped ringing, for a short while.

The Dark Squad continued to stand around- ostensibly doing nothing, being aware- watching out, with associated readied actions, that kind of thing.

But nothing keeps on happening.

And so the bickering begins again.

And the water is still filling the stairs down.

The exit still seems to be available.

But then, the ship's bell starts to ring again.

Six bells.

Five bells.

Four bells.

The PCs have one turn of actions available for each of the above, basically the bells ring (counting down) once per turn.

The Dark Squad however are still doing nothing.

Maybe just a little bit of bickering still.

Although, Ram is developing a new theory.

He articulates it thusly- “Something is going to happen.”

He's not wrong.

Three bells.

And the ringing is accompanied by a grinding noise followed by a hollow WHUMP which is so loud, and resonates so deeply, that the Dark Squad feel it in their feet first, at least one of them (Newt) is knocked over, such is the force.

Insight/Intuition checks follow- because the Dark Squad are now screaming questions at the GM.

Remarkably both the Moonboar and Daktari roll natural 20's, and so, I'm up for telling.

My line was something like-

“Looking around you can see the mortar in the myriad bricks and tiles that hold the stones in place here is being squeezed out of its various crevices. Crushed. The whole dungeon, or at least as far you can see seems to ripple, the stone agitated. It's as if the entire structure has been set free... the brakes are off.”

And moments later-

“The entire dungeon complex is starting to descend- and it's getting quicker, scratch that- you remember the water. The entire dungeon is sinking, and any second now the water is going to come in.”

And when I say the water is going to come in...

“You are going to be either crushed (by the wave) or drowned, if you don't get out.”

“At least that's what you intuit.”

Two bells.

The walls and floors dance and surge, the area is quite definitely descending, and in the same instant being crushed.

"RUN!"

The quote in unattributed because they all kinda screamed/shouted it at once.

The Dark Squad run.

Note, Newt falls over again.

One bell and things are going really badly for the area around the stairs here.

Basically a wall of water surges up from the stairwell, while at the same time the southern 50% of the sewer map collapses (sinks) and, well... ceases to be/exist.

But the Dark Squad are not here to see this.

They can hear it however, as the passages and corridors they were previously exploring are torn apart by the forces that have been unleashed.

It's a roar like the end of the world.

But nothing much to see.

Yet.

But let's just take a moment.

Ram kept on remarking, during the Dark Squad's dungeon sojourn here, how he was surprised that there weren't more, or indeed- any, traps.

Well, now he has found the trap. Good on him, I say!

11108.jpg

See the grey/blue wall to the right (east) that's a surging wall of water beyond which all things are in the process of being unmade. Oh, and that's the Moonboar, Dak, Ram and Ubmo- screaming (save for Ubmo- he just keeps making an electronic gurgling sound) as they rush to get away.

Note, it's at this point- scrambling up the stairs that Daktari falls over.

Further note, see the PC tokens up top left- all their inspiration points are spent.

All gone.

But, that's it.

That's pretty much where we got to, we were slightly over time already you see, save to say there was one more round of this.

Although no good pictures to show you.

I think there was a fair amount of panic going on at the time, not conducive to remembering to take screen shots it seems.

And so...

Fellowyn and Ram have made it all the way back to the entrance to the dungeon, which- if you remember, is an odd-looking little chamber- only ten feet square but with a ceiling way up above, possibly hundreds of feet overhead.

Like the bottom of a shaft.

Daktari tried climbing up it earlier, if you remember, he got maybe forty or so feet up before abandoning the sport- mainly because a skeleton appeared and started shooting at him from down below.

Well, if only he had continued on, by which I mean- up.

This would have been a much shorter dungeon.

There seems to be a light up there, at least two hundred feet more up the shaft.

The Dark Squad spotted this when they first arrived here, the kindly DM told them all about it, and Daktari saw it again when he did his bit of climbing.

So, to make a portal we need.

Water.

And a light.

Well, that seems to be how it has worked previously.

The water is coming.

In fact the last action of the session is for the DM to tell Bear that his PC (actually, and Ubmo), that's Newt- of course, will be hit by the full force of the wave first thing at the start of the next session.

So, I'm looking forward to that.

Of course the wave isn't going to stop at Newt, the rest of the PCs are going to have to brace for impact soon after.

Last bit, when I thought of this trap I checked, before springing it on the PCs, to make sure that they all (if they share) have the wherewithal to survive it, a Potion of Climbing is the cheapest one in the book, I think. Water Breathing would be nice too, but- not absolutely necessary because the water is going to give the Dark Squad a hand (maybe) to the portal.

No game this Tuesday coming (7th) and so we'll be trying to get into Foundry some more.

Oh, and you got down to the third level of the dungeon, that's 2d10 bludgeoning damage per level = 6d10 bludgeoning damage when the wave hits.

Brace! Brace! Brace!

Toodles.

Stay safe and well you lovely people.

Cheers the Dark Squad and goonalan.
 



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