The Dark Squad in the Secrets of Saltmarsh #132 The Threat to Saltmarsh.

Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
Dark Squad in the Secrets of Saltmarsh

Session #126: The Summoner.

Dark Squad (in alphabetical order, no egos here).

Daktari/Dak (played by Haggis) Male Human Uthgardt Sky Pony Barbarian Lvl 9
Fellowyn Silverstream (played by George) Male Eladrin Wizard Bladesinger Lvl 9
New Tricks/Newt (played by Bear) Male Tabaxi Warlock Lvl 9
Ramshambo/Ram (played by Kev) Male Half-Elf Rogue/Fighter Lvl 7/2
Vincenzo/Vinnie (played by Haggis) Male Shifter (Wildhunt) Druid Lvl 9

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 EXPLODED
Ubdug (played by Goonalan) Supreme Being Lvl 2 (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 Cemetery).
  4. Nightshade is in the Deep Dreadwood- except she's not there anymore, 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 126, and this is probs (again) going to be a short-ish write up, maybe a few more pictures in this one, but… it’s a slugfest, and level 9- with high level spells, is proving to be tough/slow going.

It doesn’t help, of course, that the dang DM gone and pumped up the bad guys some more also, again. We had a chat about this at the end of the session- was it too much? The players thought not, they liked the added challenge, even though it slowed things down a notch or two.

Just for info I am now completely ignoring HD ranges for the bad guys, at least with regard to hit points- they all have more these days- some, much more. Likewise, ACs, attacks, and to hit & damage have all been ‘improved’, for all of the bad guys.

The Dark Squad are still proving to be up to the job, but there are no (very few) easy kills these days, or so it seems- so far.

Oh, and during the shopping extravaganza a few sessions back Fellowyn, being very poor- no gold, had to borrow money from Daktari.

Daktari has easily got 2,000gp (possibly more) just doing nothing, his major/only expense is hair products- he wants for nothing else. So, the pair negotiated a deal- the deal being, Fellowyn can have an interest free loan if he guarantees, from this point on, to put some ‘bloody’ pants on (Ram says this, quite a lot).

So, here’s the new Fellowyn-

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He’s lot buffer than I expected. Note Fellowyn’s token has changed, as depicted above, to reflect the new dynamic.

But, back to it…

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Here we are again, the Moonboar is being ganged up upon- but he has his Fire Shield running, and so the two water horses (water elementals in equine form) and the Dark Tide Knight are suffering- they’re not at all happy. There’s also another archer on the roof plugging away at the wildshaped druid.

Meantime Daktari has cornered an archer, and was steadily- to this point, beating her (a female heavily tattooed half-orc) down when another mounted Dark Tide Knight came clattering down the lane and lanced him in the back, the barbarian is suffering.

Ram and Newt are the artillery, Ubdug has just re-assembled after falling out of the Town Hall window last session (it’s three stories down).

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And here’s the new buff Fellowyn (top of the above image), the half-orc archer on the roof over from the ancient wizard is only just hanging on- it’s a two storey fall for her if she lets go. Fellowyn therefore casts a Suggestion spell upon the dangling enemy- she must ‘report to the nearest Watch Station, hand yourself in, and explain your role in the fracas in the market’. The half-orc archer fails her save spectacularly (with a ‘1’), she therefore clambers down from the roof and rushes off to surrender.

Fellowyn is getting much better/smarter.

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The water horses either expire, or else flee the fiery druid, as do many of the other enemies- the fight is done.

But here’s the thing, while the fighting was going on (about 7-8 turns in total) the PCs have been making Perception checks- one/turn each, free of charge, and I’ve been sending some of them (the ones with very high rolls) whispers… there’s a strange deep, monotonous (and loud) gargling noise on the breeze, it’s coming from the docks.

And so, the Dark Squad race to the docks, glugging a few potions of healing along the way, and en route (mostly) Newt and the Moonboar explain- the voice/sound/noise that can be heard every now and then, coming on the wind, is a mixture of the Primordial, Infernal and, maybe a couple of other languages- there’s some Aquan, perhaps, in there somewhere.

Newt however is certain- it’s a summoning spell, or else ritual, that is being invoked.

But, when the Squad get to the docks, they find… there’s nothing much going on there, or else the docks are at full capacity, there are at least fifty or sixty citizens of Saltmarsh present, all of them stood statue- they have all stopped what they were doing to try to make out whatever is being said.

The words are… mesmerising? Is that the word?

To make clear the various dock workers et al have not been charmed, they just can’t pin down where the sound is coming from- the often gargling/glottal speech seems to come from out to sea, then from up above, and at times from down below, or from the water in the docks, else from the alleys that lead there. It is… all encompassing.

Not even the Dark Squad can detect where the sound is coming from.

This goes on for a little while, until the DM relents and allows the PCs to make an Insight check or two. Success.

My clue, where does the Dark Squad know on the docks? Which building hereabouts have they been to before?

And eventually, after a short while spent racing through the various dockside alleys, the Dark Squad do indeed recognise a building on the docks.

Warehouse #3, the Blevins Warehouse, the Squad with the help of the dwarven Slagg’s did some deliveries too and from this place, back when they first arrived in Saltmarsh, and at the behest of the Farhill Mine dwarves. Blevins turned out to be a not very nice fellow, although the Dark Squad back then were not too friendly either (at times). Later still the Squad found Blevins (and his family) dead- all of them murdered, the former sacrificed. Blevins, the Dark Squad have learned, was some sort of cultist- possibly a death cultist, but this has not been investigated thus far.

Anyway, here’s the Blevin’s warehouse-

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Newt is on his Broom of Flying; he’s spotted more surly looking half-orcs in the warehouse yard below (he however has not been spotted). Meantime Ram and Daktari have just burst into the warehouse, through one of the double loading doors that leads out onto the docks.

The half-orc berserkers within the warehouse are furious about being disturbed.

The sound, the summoning spell- is very definitely coming from in here.

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Ubdug unleashes some sort of lightning storm spell, the Squad’s respect for the (annoyingly) loud Modron goes up a notch.

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Ubdug joins Daktari in combat. He really is a hero!

The Supreme Being to the rescue.

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Ubdug is smashed to pieces seconds later, his remains land in the skiff tied to the dock hereby, the Modron’s lightning/storm thing goes away.

Everyone has a bad word to say about Ubdug.

Oh, and Daktari is surrounded, and these tattooed half-orcs- like the previous lot (the archers) are tough buggers, and my dice are on fire- I just keep hitting, not for a lot of damage, of course, but there are a lot of hits.

They’re pesky, that’s what they are.

I’ll settle for pesky right now.

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Here we are some more, over on the (top) right of this image are a set of stairs that lead up to a door- more tattooed hollering half-orcs come rushing out the door and down the stairs, the Dark Squad are surrounded (sorta).

Note Newt is still on his broom, flinging Belphegor’s Fiery Blasts et al.

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Then the source of the noise (the summoning spell) turns up and interrupts his ritual to fling some death magic of his own at the Squad, alas Fellowyn successfully Counterspells my guy instantly.

This guy is a six-foot-something fishy/human fellow, with tentacle appendages either side of his face, he looks tough and mean, and certainly he’s in charge here.

A turn or so later and the evil fish-dude summons a lightning storm overhead, and then… Vincenzo (the Moonboar is gone), seconds later, dispels the storm.

The PCs won’t let me play. Buggers!

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I think that’s Newt’s Synaptic Static (or some such) that’s going on now.

Note Daktari is dishing it out, but slowly, he’s helped by the fact that many of the half-orc berserkers are glowing like Christmas trees thanks to Vinnie’s Faerie Fire. Ubdug is back alive again- nobody cheer, while Fellowyn is (almost) taking a beating- he’s positioned himself between the warehouse wall and a dockside crane, blocking the way to his buddies, and he’s Dodging as much as he can.

The Dark Squad are doing this, but… it’s defo another step up.

Not as easy as previous.

Pat on the back for me.

And that’s what we got up to.

But just to say, Monster Knowledge checks, maybe an idea for next time fellers.

Stay safe and well you lovely people.

Cheers the Dark Squad and goonalan.
 

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Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
Dark Squad in the Secrets of Saltmarsh

Session #127: Love Will Tear Us Apart (Again).

Dark Squad (in alphabetical order, no egos here).

Daktari/Dak (played by Haggis) Male Human Uthgardt Sky Pony Barbarian Lvl 9
Fellowyn Silverstream (played by George) Male Eladrin Wizard Bladesinger Lvl 9
New Tricks/Newt (played by Bear) Male Tabaxi Warlock Lvl 9
Ramshambo/Ram (played by Kev) Male Half-Elf Rogue/Fighter Lvl 7/2
Vincenzo/Vinnie (played by Haggis) Male Shifter (Wildhunt) Druid Lvl 9

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 EXPLODED
Ubdug (played by Goonalan) Supreme Being Lvl 2 (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 Cemetery).
  4. Nightshade is in the Deep Dreadwood- except she's not there anymore, 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 127, and we are back, back on it.

Here we go… 2… 3… 4…

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Remember this, the Blevins warehouse- the town of Saltmarsh is under attack, or else a very big bad dude is in the process of summoning something. The big bad dude, with tentacle sideburns- remember him, has nipped back inside the building, that’s why he isn’t in the image above.

The reason for his retreat is, well, so far he has tried and failed three times to unleash various flavours of nasty magic, the nasty magic in question being a trio of 4th level spells, which I will not name here. However, every time he tries to unleash the hurt- either Vinnie Dispels the Magic a moment later- before it really gets going, or else Fellowyn Counterspells it straight away, and that’s the end of that.

So, my big bad guy is as frustrated as heck- I share his pain.

A little later on, actually about ninety minutes later, the PCs (Fellowyn) remember that they need to Monster Knowledge check this guy- it turns out the foul fellow is a Kraken Priest, this new information, when it comes to light, puts the cat amongst the pigeons.

Kraken Priest + Summoning Spell/Ritual = Kraken.

Again, not good, but… the PCs don’t figure this out for another hour-and-a-half and so until then- ignorance is bliss.

In the image above Newt is whizzing around on his newly acquired Flying Broom (& blasting, of course), he loves this by the way- the broom is his new fave toy. Daktari is in the thick of things, doling out insults to the half-orc Talos worshipping berserkers, who reply in kind. Note both sides in this exchange speak cod Russian.

Random Half-Orc: “I am attacking yew! Yew dead now!”

Daktari: “Tank yew for yor attacks on me. Yor attacks on me are important to me- a customer representative of me- called Shatterspike (Dak’s fave magical blade, he has a few), will be wid yew shortly. Please continue to hit me sum more.”

Daktari is only happy when he is surrounded.

The rest of the gang are trying to stay out of too much trouble- Fellowyn blocking the progress of the half-orc berserkers, Ram nipping in for the kill, and Vinnie- well, as it turns out the druid has already expended his wildshapes for the day. Vinnie is therefore reduced to using his Staff of Birdcalling (Ka-Kaaa, that’s the noise it makes when it hits an enemy) in conjunction with Shillelagh to bonk a few folk on the head for approx. six points of damage a time. Not optimum but…

The repeated ‘Ka-Kaa’ makes us laugh.

The half-orc berserker’s, just for info, don’t hit hard- but they do hit a lot (they’re Reckless, all of the time) and they have approx. 100 HP each, just a little less actually.

Oh, and the half-orc berserker to the north is in the water- Vinnie hit a mob of them with a Confusion spell earlier which caused several of them to stand around drooling for a while, and this poor sap to run off the dock and into the briny.

He’s not a great swimmer as it turns out, a ‘1’ a little later and this particular half-orc sinks beneath the waves- never to be seen again.

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Half-orc berserkers are made to suffer, and this goes on for a while- say another forty or so more minutes.

Until…

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The top half of the warehouse suddenly explodes- bits of wood and stone rain down upon the good guys and the bad guys alike.

For almost no damage whatsoever.

That was a DC 15-ish save for half damage, 3d8 bludgeoning from the flying debris and my damage roll on FGU- ‘1’, ‘1’ & a ‘2’.

Earlier the big bad Kraken Priest sent a tidal wave out of the docks and into the rolling melee down below. That was 3d6 bludgeoning damage with the same save as above- I rolled ‘5’ damage in total that time.

So, that didn’t work, either.

But now the Kraken Priest has summoned a waterspout to pick him up (shattering the top of the warehouse in the process) and to whisk him away to freedom.

At least that was my plan.

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That’s the Kraken Priest atop his waterspout top left of the above image, only he’s sixty feet further away from the warehouse now- but there’s no map for where he’s at.

It’s at this point that George (Fellowyn) remembers about last session’s write up and the need for a Monster Knowledge check.

This guy is a Kraken Priest, Fellowyn lets the other PCs know, and soon after the screaming starts.

But only briefly.

Fellowyn casts a spherical Wall of Force around the escaping Kraken Priest and… we spend the next thirty or so minutes working out how moveable versus immobile the spherical Wall of Force is. At the end of the half hour internet search the ruling by the DM is as follows- Fellowyn can hold the Wall of Force in situ (atop the sixty or so foot high waterspout) but only if he expends his Action every turn to do so. Not doing this will result in the Wall of Force descending (not rapidly) into the ocean- gravity takes effect, sorta.

The solution is agreeable to all.

Wall of Force is broken but… I can style this one out, I (your glorious DM) am still confident.

We go back to the fracas on the docks.

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A few things have changed here, but not much- the Kraken Priest is still doing his best impression of the boy in the bubble. Although the waterspout he summoned earlier has now moved over to thrash at Newt on his flying broom. But my damage rolls are terrible again.

Ram and the gang are cleaning up the half-orc berserkers nicely, notice the chat window- that’s a 46 damage Crit hit with Sneak from the rogue.

Note Ubdug, the Supreme Being, has climbed atop a dockside crane (it’s only a very small crane- about 6 feet high) and is pummelling the half-orc to his south in the head with his tiny Modron fists while screaming-

“I willlll protectttt yewwww Rammmm!”

Best grating Dalek voice please.

Ubdug even manages to get a laugh or two out of a few of the PCs- they’re softening.

The Modron even lands a few hits, and keep in mind the Supreme Being is +3 to hit with his little fists.

All is fairly well with the world.

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Here we all are again- the last berserker standing is just about to become recumbent; the Kraken Priest is…

It’s at this point that Fellowyn decides to allow his spherical Wall of Force prison to descend into the briny, the plan is Newt is going to blast the sphere and its contents back to the shore.

Remember the force bubble and its furious contents are sixty feet away from the docks.

The Wall of Force prison descends, touches the ocean and…

Bloooooooooooooop!

Is gone… beneath the waves.

The particularly perceptive pair (Ram and Fellowyn) are convinced that something large and very possibly tentacular just plucked the sphere from the surface and dragged it down below.

Either way- the Kraken Priest, and his prison, are gone.

See- styled it out.

Newt is furious, although only for a short while- his broom has improved his mood considerably.

The fighting is finally over, and thirty or so seconds later and the sound of the howling wind and surging waves has finally gone away- now that the Kraken Priest and his sixty-foot-tall waterspout have departed.

In the newfound silence several PCs begin to hear… the sound of screaming, the noise seems to be coming from the Saltmarsh docks area.

Oh dear.

Just in time for our first break of the session.

We’re back…

Just to say, Vinnie is almost out of spells here, Newt is out; Fellowyn and Daktari have taken a beating, in fact everyone is sporting cuts and bruises aplenty.

Nice!

The druid casts some Healing Vitality-thingy, I’m sorry I don’t remember the names of all of the spells- I never really had a lot of time for the Player’s Handbook. I never play D&D, just GM. Anyway, the ten round dash back to the docks involves ten rounds of healing (coincidence, I think no), and some of them need it.

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The docks- nice ain’t it.

A tide of humanity is fleeing the docks, running for their lives.

I used to do crowd scenes on Fantasy Grounds but these days I don’t bother much because a ton more tokens tends to slow things down, and get in the way on the screen.

The Dark Squad head on, pushing their way onto the docks proper.

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Right at the bottom, can you see it? That’s a Water Elemental tossing around a couple of dock workers like rag dolls.

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The Dark Squad close in, Ram and Newt manage to get a few shots off- even Daktari throws a javelin or two en route to the fracas.

Daktari also declares the following as he rushes into combat-

“I apply shower gel now; it is bath time!”

The fighting starts, but what do you know…

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There are more than enough Water Elementals to go around.

Daktari keeps up his monologue about the regenerative powers of Water Elementals with regard to hair care.

The Elementals use their Whelm ability- engulfing and attempting to drown the PCs as often as it recharges, and I’ve made it so it recharges a lot.

“It is refreshing wishy-washy, I feel almost spiritually cleansed- withiny and withouty”

Daktari declares after escaping again from the watery clutches of one of the pair of Water Elementals targeting him.

Ubdug fares less well, the Whelm attack is taking its toll- Vinnie (in the picture above) is hurt some more, and much less adept at escaping the Water Elemental’s clutches.

Note, Ram is back on the shore- plugging away with his bow.

We get to here-

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Daktari, still fighting- but taking some good hits though, his hair however is looking even more fantastic. Fellowyn has taken evasive action- he ran away. Truth be told so has Vinnie, or else made a tactical retreat- to Ram. The Water Elemental, that was previously hosing the druid, lumbers after the screaming Vinnie.

Newt, still on his broom, still blasting away.

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Fellowyn doesn’t get too far away when this fellow turns up- actually the creature suddenly steps out of a wave that lashes over the dock just in front of the ancient Wizard, blocking his path. Fellowyn quickly identifies the creature- a Water Elemental Myrmidon, a warrior champion of his kind, if you like.

The Master of Blade & Song (his self-applied title, he says this a lot) runs back the way he came.

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Vinnie also leaves Ram to his fate.

There’s a lot of retreating going on these days with the Dark Squad.

The druid is very much aware that he’s not made for the toe-to-toe melee.

Ram’s taking hits too.

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There’s Fellowyn, having Misty Stepped away from the Myrmidon he’s looking for somewhere safe to operate from.

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Here’s where it started (in the last hour of the session) to get really good.

Vinnie and Ram have been Whelmed again- the druid is hurt real bad, he’s down below ten hit points. As Jim said at the time- Vinnie hasn’t been this badly hurt since he was sixth level.

But that’s not the good stuff.

Ubdug, the Supreme Being regenerates next to Ram, and finally… at last, he opens up.

Just to note, when Ubdug (and before him Ubmo) regenerate they reappear in a space next to their ‘master’, for Ubmo that was Vinnie, for Ubdug that’s Ram. It takes an entire turn to regenerate, Ubdug can do nothing else, so… he chats.

“What is it alllll for Rammmmm?”

Remember grating Dalek-voice.

“Why are we here? Rammmmmmmm.”

“I cannot fathom the depths of this existence, Rammmmmm.”

“It seems at times to be so tawdry, Rammmm.”

“So… Fleeting.”

“Rammmmmm?”

“To what end?”

“Rammmmmm?”

“If it wasn’t for the special connection that we share…”

“Rammmmmm?”

“I don’t know what I would do.”

That kind of thing, only there’s also a little Sartre, a quote from L’Etranger (Camus) and a brief discourse on the positive aspects of nihilism.

While this is going on.

And believe me it goes on- every turn from hereon in until the end of the session, and even at odd moments in between the other PCs turns.

To make clear, prior to this Ubdug has always expressed himself in the same few stock phrases- “I am the Supreme Being, I will save you Ram!”, variants on that kind of thing.

This is…

Heartfelt.

Erudite.

Funny as…

Particularly because Ram, played by my brother Kev, is easily the least talkative member of the Dark Squad, and mostly untroubled by deep thoughts. Ram 99% of the time is ‘yes’, ‘no’, and ‘let’s stop talking about it and just get it done’, that kind of thing.

So, Ram (and Kev, bless him) has to dig deep.

There’s a point a little later on in which Ubdug asks-

“Shall we hold hands?”

“Rammmmmm?”

To which a much-subdued Ram responds, “I would if I could Ubdug, but”, the rogue indicates the flashing blades he wields- one in each hand, and then just shrugs.

“You are in my heart.”

“Rammmmmm?”

Ubdug responds.

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Keep in mind the pair are fighting for their lives, and just one hit is enough to make Ubdug go away, at least for a short while.

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George (playing Fellowyn), so juvenile.

The fight rolls on, and it would be fair to say that the Dark Squad these days, since we have been back, are not having things their own way.

So, time for our second five-minute break of the session.

And then…

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The Dark Squad’s situation has changed slightly. It’s not an improvement.

The funny bit here is almost all of the players were so zoomed in to their particular bit of the fight that… well, I think it was Newt who put it best.

“Oh-oh!”

A moment later and the other three players scroll out to discover the new additions to the dockside fracas for themselves.

The tentacles are enormous, it’s a Kraken.

The Kraken.

Mr. Kraken, if it likes- frankly it can pick its own moniker.

But oddly the tentacles slowly, almost sinuously arise from the depths- no rush.

There follows much in the way of panicked conversation between the PCs, and a few Monster Knowledge checks about the aforesaid Kraken. I guess the guys must be shouting this stuff to each other.

There’s also a lot of fighting still going on.

And so, over the next few turns the tentacles sway, and flex, and unfurl, and stretch, and… they don’t bother anyone else. Much.

The fighting goes on some more.

Then, at last, the tentacles take to questing.

Searching.

One great tentacular monstrosity hovers, briefly, over Ram & Ubdug, it seems to be- at least for a moment or two, intent on crushing the pair- who are still discussing mortality, ethics and the meaning of phrases like ‘the greater good’. While trying to fight off a Water Elemental.

But then the huge tentacle changes its mind and slithers off and as if walking on tippy-toes makes its way to Vinnie, but… stops short- no, that’s not the one.

A different tentacle does something similar with Fellowyn, goes to snap, and wrap, itself around the ancient Eladrin but then… stops short.

A different tentacle, the same- but with Daktari.

Then they find the object of their quest.

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And their writhing dance is sex on suckered stalks, they curl, and furl, they seethe, and coil- this roiling demonstration of… whatever it is that’s going on here, it leaves not a mark on the Kraken’s object of desire- Newt.

The tentacles caress, but not quite touch, the cat on the broomstick, who is… unnerved.

No bad thing.

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George, you really should grow up, it’s not the playground.

Good work.

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We get to here.

Newt is trying to escape the nearly-caresses of the ginormous tentacles, and still flying around blasting away at the watery enemies below.

Ubdug and Ram (with a tiny bit of help from Vinnie- Produce Flame, on repeat) have managed to take down the Water Elemental that was menacing them.

Here’s a thing.

Since their romance started neither of the pair have taken a hit.

They however have been hitting hard.

That’s why the Water Elemental Myrmidon has had to come over to deal with them.

Down south Fellowyn and Daktari (but 99% Daktari) have taken down one of the Water Elementals and left the other only just hanging on to life.

It’s at that point that the Kraken Priest is deposited by yet another one of the massive tentacles, on a nearby pier.

Sans Wall of Force, of course.

Here’s Johnny!

Just a few more pictures, but that was pretty much the final action of the piece, except, well… read on (and admire the lovely piccies- good work this week, guys- particularly you George).

12723.jpg

Ubdug and Ram, the toughest test of their love yet.

And…

12724.jpg

The largest tentacle yet, this great protrusion of rubbery flesh rises easily over a hundred feet out of the ocean, it is covered with eyes.

It lashes out, unfurls and with the lightest of touches taps Newt, just once, on the top of his furry head.

Newt has a thought.

Just one.

It is this.

[Sigh]-[PoP!]

And then the Warlock, his broom and his crazy jibber-jabber are gone.

Disappeared.

And that’s the end of the session.

12725.jpg

Here’s the big picture, note Ram and Ubdug are situated beneath, and therefore unseen, in the shadow of the large eye tentacle.

And that’s what we got up to last Tuesday night, I had a great time.

Stay safe and well you lovely people.

Cheers the Dark Squad and goonalan.
 


Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
Dark Squad in the Secrets of Saltmarsh

Session #128: The Secret Mr. Timpkins.

Dark Squad (in alphabetical order, no egos here).

Daktari/Dak (played by Haggis) Male Human Uthgardt Sky Pony Barbarian Lvl 9
Fellowyn Silverstream (played by George) Male Eladrin Wizard Bladesinger Lvl 9
New Tricks/Newt (played by Bear) Male Tabaxi Warlock Lvl 9
Ramshambo/Ram (played by Kev) Male Half-Elf Rogue/Fighter Lvl 7/2
Vincenzo/Vinnie (played by Haggis) Male Shifter (Wildhunt) Druid Lvl 9

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 EXPLODED
Ubdug (played by Goonalan) Supreme Being Lvl 2 (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 Cemetery).
  4. Nightshade is in the Deep Dreadwood- except she's not there anymore, 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 128, and here’s some more.

12725.jpg

Here’s the big picture, note Ram and Ubdug are situated beneath, and therefore unseen, in the shadow of the large eye tentacle.

Newt is gone- disappeared, and the rest of the guys are out of all their stuff (more or less) and fighting for their lives.

Oh well.

12800.jpg

Here’s a better picture of everyone. Except Newt.

12801.jpg

Fighting, fighting… fighting.

12802.jpg

Fighting, fighting, fighting. Note Daktari has just taken a Thunderstopper- the Kraken Priest basically sets off a Thunderstorm/Blast in the barbarian’s heart. I can’t remember the actual power, and whether I made it up or not, but it was 5d10 Thunder damage and then some extras.

Jim, very soon after, said- ‘I think Dak might die!”

But he doesn’t.

12803.jpg

Fellowyn for the win.

One Polymorph spell later and we have Daky Kong.

Replete with around 160 hit points.

Note the MVP (Fellowyn) did his thing and then got the hell out of dodge. The Master of Blade & Song is learning to be the plain old Master of Magic. Clever Magic to be precise.

But I know what you are thinking.

So, am I.

12804.jpg

Here’s Newt.

He’s on the bottom of the ocean.

The very bottom-bottom.

In what was once a very fine undersea settlement of some kind, the place is deserted, however.

His Flying Broom isn’t working.

Now at this point I want to declare my hand.

I was certain, as in 100% certain (not that certainty has gradations) that Newt did not have any items that would allow him to breath underwater.

What I didn’t account for was him buying a Potion of Water Breathing in his very last shopping trip to Saltmarsh.

So, Newt swigs his potion and lives.

That was so far away from my intention.

But hey-ho, we live (alas) and learn.

Newt goes for a swim-plod, he hates water- remember, and he’s not the world’s best swimmer (he’s a big cat/pussy remember).

Anyway…

12805.jpg

Oh, look there’s an ancient stone structure on the bottom of the sea here, a temple of some sort, but… that’s not helping- Newt’s colleagues’ meantime are fighting for their lives.

Newt continues his swim.

12806.jpg

They are very big shells, the Warlock takes a moment to examine the very big shells, and then remembers… his colleagues are fighting for their lives.

12807.jpg

Very big shells indeed, and a pile of ancient sunken boats and galleons, and a mountain of… stuff.

Fighting for their lives.

12808.jpg

Under the sea, under the sea. Darling it's better. Down where it's wetter. Hmm-Hm-Hmm-HM.

12809.jpg

Newt pootles.

12810.jpg

Ah, yes. Normal service is resumed.

I think Newt screamed “Crikey!” at this point- it may have been a different word but, you get the gist.

Where were we?

12811.jpg

In truth Newt’s colleagues are doing fine, although the Kraken Priest is no push over- Daky Kong has just got tagged for another 5d10 Thunder damage.

But Newt.

12812.jpg

Newt’s chatting with the Leviathan, or as he will be known to Newt from this moment on-

“I”, the single letter, the toll of the unfathomed depths, floods Newt’s tiny fizzing brain with its reverberating sound. Causing the tabaxi to wriggle-writhe and shudder.

“I am the secret Mr. Timpkins.”

12813.gif

Newt shuddering.

The secret Mr Timpkins steadies Newt’s St. Vitus dance (by grasping him with one of its titanic tentacles), and then when the tabaxi is somewhat better calmed, the Leviathan plucks out one of the warlock’s eyeballs- and eats it.

I think I rolled 3d20 damage here. D20s so rarely get a trot out damage-wise, I thought it would be a nice/instructional change-up.

Newt’s bleeding ocular orifice is not situations vacant for too long.

The Leviathan cracks its maw again and another floating eyeball flutters and bobs its way out- the swimming oracle locates the braced Newt and zooms straight to the spot.

There’s a noise, two noises.

A sigh, as if from on high- and at the same time from all around.

Followed by a PoP!

Newt’s new eye is in place.

Newt and the secret Mr. Timpkins chat a while.

Newt does lickspittle hard.

“My glorious Master! I am unworthy of…”

Newt and the secret Mr. Timpkins cut a deal.

Here’s the essence of it.

The Leviathan is a primordial being.

The Leviathan works for [Sigh!]-[PoP!]- as does Newt, of course, they are therefore on the same side.

The Leviathan has been summoned by the Talos worshippers to destroy Saltmarsh.

The Leviathan cannot destroy Saltmarsh.

[Sigh!]-[PoP!] insists not.

Therefore Newt (in a few moments time) must successfully (and convincingly) play the part of a tyrannical power mad magic of the gods enhanced spell-slinging lunatic.

And save the day.

He must singlehandedly save Saltmarsh by mortally wounding the Leviathan, causing it to flee.

The Leviathan will limp off badly wounded, swearing Newt’s destruction. and from then on assume the position of spy in the enemy (Talos) camp.

He will be, the secret Mr Timpkins.

I swear it all makes perfect sense to me.

Newt’s okay with the performance thing.

Ranting megalomaniac- check!

Spell slinging lunatic- double-check.

Grandstanding, loud-mouthed, oafish buffoon- double your money!

12814.gif

Back on the docks, the storm has hit- the great tentacles are starting to make a show of tearing things apart.

They’re in action now.

12815.jpg

Remember Ram and Ubdug, their newfound love and respect thing, no- me neither, they’re so last session. The pair are still fighting, still trying to beat down the Myrmidon.

Blimey but the weather has come in.

12816.jpg

Daky Kong is too tuff! The Kraken Priest is dead.

12817.jpg

What’s happening here? Daky Kong having killed the Kraken Priest then uses the fishy-feller’s body as a missile against the Myrmidon. A hit, but no cigar.

And then…

Well Newt comes back, back on his Broom of Flying, and so he whizzes around a bit- shouting the odds a lot, and blasting away two or so of the towering tentacles every turn, and…

Do you know, there’s not one picture of any of this on Discord.

What does that say about Newt’s status here… that must be hard to take.

Just to note, and I’ve said this before, when Newt goes off on one- Bear, giving voice to Newt, generally starts screaming down his microphone at us/all-and-sundry. The thing is… his microphone cuts out a lot when he does this, I mean for the end of every sentence.

We’ve been at this the best part of three years, I still have no idea what he’s saying- but he says it a lot, and it sounds very vehement.

So, that’s nice.

Get it all out.

The rest then was the finale, and Ben did a fine rendition of psychopathic Newt, but- well, there’s nothing new to tell, or to hear.

For info Newt was also channeling a variety of ongoing illusions (although very minor) to enhance his shots, also to equip himself with a booming voice so that he could (un)successfully narrate his victory show.

Not sure who he thinks he’s narrating too/for, the only fools that aren’t out of the storm, away from the docks (and the Leviathan) and the death and destruction, are… the Dark Squad.

But Newt narrates every incident, and it’s a fine show- culminating in the Leviathan lurching/doggie-paddling away to fight another day, swearing vengeance in primordial as it departs back to the depths.

The storm also heads back out to sea.

Saltmarsh is saved.

The rest… the rest was mostly more chatter.

To note.

The Dark Squad somewhat battered and broken have saved the day- they are lauded to the high heavens by the various people of Saltmarsh, including by the three Council members, who are now all very aware that the Dark Squad are the heroes of the town.

All three of the councilors, it becomes quickly apparent, are a little weary of the Dark Squad’s sudden fame.

There’s more to this but maybe next time.

Obviously, the Squad finish up their Council Meeting, and then move on to interrogating the Talos worshipping half-orc archer that Fellowyn compelled to hand herself over to the Watch. The Squad learn a few things, including the fact that Talos is working for the prophecy- the Time of Shadow is coming. Keep in mind the archer is a flunky, so no great details- more that the storm is coming.

The half-orc is executed soon after.

12819.jpg

In the meantime, and we are still killing time here, waiting for Ram’s boat to come in. Anyway- Daktari is back to moneylending, he’s in accountant mode.

Fellowyn is out of cash again, and already owes Daktari a chunk of change, but now everyone needs more healing, they expended quite a lot of stuff either during or else while running between the fights in the last few sessions.

So, the bank of Daktari (in cod-Russian please)-

“So, please sitting down, Mr Fellowyn. I have look your accounts and had special word with manager. I think we can do good deal today!”

Fellowyn gets his money, I forget what it was for.

12820.jpg

Wheelies?

Ram, and others, are concerned that Ubdug is missing out on the upgrades here.

Wheelies are the suggestion.

Ubdug is very loud but only a little obnoxious as he patiently explains (again) that he is… “THE SUPREME BEING!” Basically, he doesn’t need an upgrade.

He cannot be upgraded he’s… the SUPREME BEING!

Then Ram explains what wheelies are.

Ubdug wants a pair.

And the rest of the session was spent rolling up some extra characters for another little thing I might have going on.

And that’s what we got up to, I had a great time.

Then it’s a week off and then we’re back again (tomorrow, the 12th). It’s time for Ram’s boat.

Stay safe and well you lovely people.

Cheers the Dark Squad and goonalan.
 



Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
Dark Squad in the Secrets of Saltmarsh

Session #129: EXTERMINATE!

Dark Squad (in alphabetical order, no egos here).

Daktari/Dak (played by Haggis) Male Human Uthgardt Sky Pony Barbarian Lvl 9
Fellowyn Silverstream (played by George) Male Eladrin Wizard Bladesinger Lvl 9
New Tricks/Newt (played by Bear) Male Tabaxi Warlock Lvl 9
Ramshambo/Ram (played by Kev) Male Half-Elf Rogue/Fighter Lvl 7/2
Vincenzo/Vinnie (played by Haggis) Male Shifter (Wildhunt) Druid Lvl 9

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 EXPLODED
Ubdug (played by Goonalan) Supreme Being Lvl 2 (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 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.”
  2. 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 Cemetery).
  3. Nightshade is in the Deep Dreadwood- except she's not there anymore, but a big red dragon is?
  4. Blackedge and the Goblin Stair?
  5. 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.
  6. 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 129, and here we go again…

But first a note from the author- these are getting shorter, it’s because I just don’t have the time these days, for some strange reason work has gone and got really busy, and so… apologies, and I don’t usually get a second run through these before posting.

So, the quality has definitely dipped.

Sozza.

12900.jpg

What do we have here? That’s chez Dark Squad, and the Squad are in a huddle- yes, they huddle, even in the house. Mrs. Badcrumble (the lady wot does for them- cooks, cleans, gets Mr. N’s fish from the market etc.) has just delivered some very interesting news.

Note Mrs Badcrumble is obviously Mrs Miggins from Black Adder (via Eddie Izzard), and she talks the same (as the former).

“Oh, he was a lovely man Mr. R, a real ‘andsome man, and so polite- attentive even.” Mrs Badcrumble finishes with a giggle- girlish, of course.

“And what did he say again?” Ram enquires once more.

“He said to leave a message for Mr. N, to say that- now let me get this right- he said, ‘they ‘ave not given up- they are arming to invade Saltmarsh. You are not safe’. Yes that was it- that’s exactly what he said.”

“And iz name again, Madame Mauvis-Crumb-bell?” Vinnie asks, again.

“Mr. Timpkins! I’ve told you this a dozen times- a real gennel-man he was. Now if you’ll excuse me I’ve got to go and tidy up Mr. D’s pomades and lotions, he’s got unguent on my mirror again.”

And off Mrs Badcrumble trots.

In short, Mr. Timpkins has been to the house, while the Dark Squad were out shopping and doing- and, well- see above.

Vinnie, very soon after (the huddle), heads off to the Town Council, and once there eventually gets a meeting with a pair of his fellow councilors, at which he (clumsily) explains that Saltmarsh is going to be invaded, possibly by crazed Talos worshippers. Possibly, sometime very soon.

Obviously, this news doesn’t go down well- there’s a lot of fingers pointing, all of the digits aimed at the Dark Squad, the accusation being that the Dark Squad have brought this on the town.

Remarkably Vinnie manages to turn this accusation around, his winning line, something like-

“I zink zis iz not ze case. After-all, if we were not ‘ere to save Saltmarsh, I zink zer town from zer ‘ow yoo say- Krack-un, zen Saltmarsh would already be gone, n’est pas?”

It’s not the winning point but it shuts Eda Oweland (head of the Council) and Gellen Primewater up. Needless to say, there’ll be more on this when the Dark Squad get back from securing Ram’s new boat.

Speaking of which.

The smuggler’s boat is arriving sometime between the 14th and 17th of Flamerule, that’s when the moon and tides are best aligned to get a bit of smuggling done- Ram determined this a while back.

The council meeting and intermission Talos/Kraken-related fracas, took place on the evening of the 10th of Flamerule.

The Dark Squad have been killing time since then.

Therefore, the Dark Squad move back into the manse on the cliffs, the old De La Crane place, the place that the smugglers were laired.

And on their first night there, on the 14th?

A boat, out to sea, signals the shore.

The Dark Squad have a copy of the signals, and besides- Ram has done this kind of thing before, they therefore send their signal back, and receive the all clear in reply- time to row out to meet the ship.

Or else to make their way to the target, and so-

Newt is the first to get eyes on the boat, he’s on his flying broom, and with Gerald his bat familiar in close proximity.

Next to arrive is Vinnie, who makes his way to the far side of the vessel in the guise of a very large Shark, the druid has also already summoned Gaspar (that’s his friendly air elemental).

Next to arrive is Ram, and again to the dark side of the ship- Ram is water walking, although he’s also water breathing enabled; in point of fact- all of the Dark Squad have water walking and water breathing cast upon them, they’re also communicating via telepathy (telepathic bond).

So, that’s nice.

Last to arrive, in the rowboat are Fellowyn (with disguise self to appear as Sanbalet aka The Master, the illusionist smuggler leader at the manse (RIP)) and with Daktari at the oars. The big barbarian is hooded and cloaked, and he sounds (not that he speaks much) a lot like Grayham (one of the bad guys from the manse that tried picking on Dak, Dak killed him).

Note, Ubdug is stashed in the pile of contraband in the rowboat.

The Supreme Being looks like a pair of shiny metal crates.

Anyway…

12901.jpg
Top left, Newt on his broomstick hovering way above the pirate in the crow’s nest. On the deck below (bottom image) four members of the crew look to the shore- three more pirates and a very big (muscular) looking feller with long thick (and lustrous) hair. A leader type, no doubt.

12902.jpg

Everyone’s here!

Let the plan commence, and it goes like clockwork- everyone (that needs to be) stealthy is stealthy to this point, and ‘The Master’s’ hail to the ship is convincing- although why has the Wizard come out to the ship? That’s a little odd.

But then a few performance and/or deception checks and Fellowyn and Dak are up and on the deck, and everything is hunky-dory.

In cod Russian if you please-

“Yes, I am Gray-hum! Pleasing to meet you.”

12903.jpg

That is until Fellowyn suggests to the pirate in charge that he takes a moment to discover how far down beneath the ship he can swim, and even with advantage on his save that’s not good enough.

And so, seemingly apropos nothing much really, Bloody Bjorn Siggardsson, the saltiest (and meanest) bastard pirate on the Sword Sea (or else top 5) leaps over the rail and plunges into the ocean- grinning!

Daktari, a moment later, declares that- “I am not Gray-Hum! Ha-ha!”, and then tries to cut the nearest gawping pirate in half.

It kicks off.

So, fighting…

Although it’s probably worth noting that when this session ends (which is a while yet) Bloody Bjorn is still swimming down into the depths beneath the boat.

He had approx. 200 hit points and a big bag of tough love to dish out.

It never seems to work out for me, and I’ve upped the stats for all of these guys tremendously (including saves- all with advantage), I’m cheating massively here.

I think three of the bad fellers have 20+HD.

Anyway…

Fighting, fighting, fighting.

12904.jpg
Fellowyn kills a pirate, it happens so infrequently (Fellowyn killing anything) that someone (possibly George, who plays Fellowyn) saw fit to take a snap of it.

12905.jpg
Vinnie sends Gaspar up to play with the pirate in the crow’s nest. Ram nearly guts another pirate, and soon after all is pretty much chaos and screaming, on deck. Note the pirates here have around 60-or so HP each, good ACs (and saves), multiple attacks, sneak attack damage- when it fits, and the ability to Dash, Disengage etc.

12906.jpg

One of the doors to the interior of the ship opens and this guy can be seen within the cabin, at least by the Moonboar who has just scurried up the side of the ship.

That ain’t no ordinary pirate.

12907.jpg
Moments later a tidal wave smashes down onto the ship, slams the Moonboar hard, and then picks the transformed druid up and tosses him back into the sea.

But again, all of the Dark Squad have water walking cast on them, so- a little hurt but no great harm.

The wizard steps back into his cabin and shuts the door.

Also, in the image above- Ubdug has failed for the last three turns to climb from the rowboat into the ship proper. He too is water walking, so- no great shakes but not optimal.

The hold is open- a fat pirate (boss) emerges and gets into Daktari’s face, a short while later this massively built (again, fat) pirate boss- with a hook in place of one hand, is- as it turns out- a proper fighter. He uses his hook hand to slice- catch- grab & restrain Daktari, and then spin the barbarian about him- positioning Dak before more attackers as and when they emerge from the hold.

Daktari is, of course, raging- he soaks up a lot of hurt.

This fat, hook hand fellow is very tough, and swears like a… well, a pirate.

You will also note in the image above… Ram has become Were-Ram. Keep in mind Ram is all the while hooded and crouched, usually in shadow, but every now and then Dak can hear Were-Ram mutter, and it sounds… odd.

“It tries to hurtss us! Yes, it does! We hurtss it back-first, we hurtss it bad! Real bad! Yesssss!”

So, just to say the moon is just short of full, and Ram failed his first save with a ‘1’, his inspiration point try again, was also a fail.

So, Were-Ram.

12908.jpg

Synaptic Static, or whatever it’s called- Newt’s spreading the love, and I am failing saving throws (even with advantage) all the while.

You’ll note to the south west(-ish) of the boat is the pirate from the crow’s nest, Gaspar threw him out to sea.

Bloody Bjorn is still swimming down beneath the ship.

Two hundred hit points- right there.

But here’s the latest arrival- in the synaptic static- positioned between Gaspar and Fellowyn, that’s the captain of the ship, who has plenty to say- mostly confidence boosting stuff to get his crew into action.

The captain has a lot of cool tricks, including casting the equivalent of a bless spell on all of his comrades in the fight. He also has a poisoned off-hand crossbow shot which thunks into Were-Ram’s cloaked back (and with extra sneak attack).

Note, there are more pirates emerging from the hold, and via other doors- some of these are big tough fellows. The fat blokes have over 100 HP each, multiple attacks, and a few extra tricks.

12909.jpg

And from yet another cabin a pair of spiked shield and club wielding lizardfolk appear and get into the fight. Barking at each other, all the while, in their strange tongue.

Hang on, lizardfolk?

What are they doing on a pirate ship?

Is the question that nobody says, but everyone was (most likely) thinking?

Right? Fellers?

Note, at this point the caster has tried and failed to cast a couple more spells- but Fellowyn keeps on counterspelling. Although the eladrin mage has already taking a good kicking, even the Moonboar has suffered a lot of hurt (for him) at this point.

12910.jpg

Just as the pirate to the south clambers up and back onto the vessel (having been thrown out of the crow’s nest by Gaspar) the air elemental arrives back on deck and sends yet another pirate up and over the side of the ship, and into the sea (top left).

You’ll note we are around six or so turns in here. Ubdug has still not managed to climb up onto the deck of the ship.

And then… he does.

12911.jpg

Ubdug delivers a shatter spell to the pirate masses, and keep in mind it’s a random roll to see what Ubdug attacks with every turn.

Dak is in the centre of the sprawling bevvy of pirates, so he takes a little bit of a beating. But Ubdug’s damage rolls are tremendous, and so pirates die and/or suffer.

We’re seven turns in (now, Ubdug pretty much always rolls below 3 on his initiative) and that was by far the biggest hit of the evening.

I AM THE SUPREME BEING!

Oh, and the Dark Squad have taught Ubdug a new word, the duodrone asked them for a little help earlier, before they embarked to the pirate ship. Ubdug wanted something new to shout at the enemies of the Dark Squad, something terrifying, and that would leave those that heard him in no doubt that death was coming for them…

EXTERMINATE! EXTERMINATE!

You know the voice.

And that’s pretty much all we did last Tuesday night. I had a lot of fun- I could have had more fun, if Bloody Bjorn had made it to the fight.

Stay safe and well you lovely people.

Cheers the Dark Squad and goonalan.
 

carborundum

Adventurer
Sounds like fun, and with bad guys failing the odd save the party maybe even felt... competent? Acting their level? :)
Good for them!

As for the work monster, no apologies necessary! We've all been there and appreciate your time
 

Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
Dark Squad in the Secrets of Saltmarsh

Session #130: Pirates Vs Dark Squad.

Dark Squad (in alphabetical order, no egos here).

Daktari/Dak (played by Haggis) Male Human Uthgardt Sky Pony Barbarian Lvl 9
Fellowyn Silverstream (played by George) Male Eladrin Wizard Bladesinger Lvl 9
New Tricks/Newt (played by Bear) Male Tabaxi Warlock Lvl 9
Ramshambo/Ram (played by Kev) Male Half-Elf Rogue/Fighter Lvl 7/2
Vincenzo/Vinnie (played by Haggis) Male Shifter (Wildhunt) Druid Lvl 9

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 EXPLODED
Ubdug (played by Goonalan) Supreme Being Lvl 2 (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 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.”
  2. 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 Cemetery).
  3. Nightshade is in the Deep Dreadwood- except she's not there anymore, but a big red dragon is?
  4. Blackedge and the Goblin Stair?
  5. 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.
  6. 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 130, and guess what, that’s right- fighting, fighting, fighting.

We started at 7.30-ish, the fight concluded at 10.56 PM, so just four minutes left in the session for the PCs to crow, and that’s your cracker.

Oh, and that’s right- the Dark Squad won, so- suspense over.

But for a good long while… I had ‘em on the ropes (maybe).

Here are the pictures, and just a few words- there’s only so much you can say about fighting, fighting, fighting.

13000.jpg

Where are we at- the Dark Squad are on the pirate/smuggler’s ship- let’s go top to bottom and left to right with the image above. Top left(ish) a pirate in the water- thrown there by Gaspar, no doubt. Next row down there’s a cabin here with lizardfolk in it- the PCs have no idea why. Note, one of the lizardfolk seems to be a caster of some sort.

Next up, that’s Were-Ram (he’s a wererat, and he speaks funny), the fat pirate boss to the left of Were-Ram has a hook for a hand, and the ability to hook/grab a PC and then pivot them on the spot- thereby delivering Ram to the waiting swords and blades of other pirates.

The Moonboar is just taking in the sights, while Gaspar (Vinnie’s Water Elemental friend) is kicking pirate backside- he keeps flinging my poor buggers off the boat.

Daktari has had enough of the pirate wizard, it’s a home invasion Daki-style, although the pirate wizard proves much harder to hit (with a little magical help he has an AC of 21).

Fellowyn is trying his best to stay out of the fracas, he’s down to his last 15-20 HP and at this point almost out of spells. Keep in mind he has successfully counterspelled all but one of the pirate wizard’s attacks (including at least two fourth level spells).

He’s very annoying.

The other pirate boss, just next to the ‘up’ is actually the captain of the ship, in reality he’s up on the poop deck (but it’s easier to have all combatants on just one map) and he’s firing poisoned crossbow bolts into anyone that gets too close- Newt has stopped a few of these already.

Speaking of which, Newt is north of this image, only a little way- but very much up, the warlock is still scooting around on his broom of flying.

Oh, but ignore Vinnie to the south of the ship, he’s not in play (the Moonboar is) but it’s handy to have his token in reach of proceedings.

So, here we all are again.

13001.jpg

Ubdug has been having a rough time of it- it took him maybe five turns to climb up into the boat, and since then- well, he got off a great shatter spell but recently- Ubdug is pretty much getting killed every turn.

And on the turns when he rematerializes, when he can take no other action other than to reassemble, well- Ubdug has been chatting a lot (still) with Ram.

Remember, Dalek voice.

“It is all so bleak, Ram!”

“Each time the end comes I am transported to an ashen plain, only zeroes as far as the eye can see, just… zeroes.”

Note, Ubdug (and Ubmo before him) are big fans of binary- they particularly like the ‘ones’, they’re not big fans of the ‘zeroes’ however, hence Ubdug’s lament.

Every time the modron dies he comes back with more tales from the dark/zero side.

“There is nothing, Ram! Many nothings- in all directions.”

“I am surrounded by nothings, Ram!”

Or else Ubdug just screams- “ZERO!” repeatedly, and at inconvenient moments.

It’s like the DM is trying to be funny/annoying.

Ubdug gets desperate.

More remarkably, now that Ubdug has been accepted by the Squad, then the other players are now much more sympathetic to the modron’s plight.

Spontaneously, towards the very end of the fight- at which point Ubdug has ‘died’ maybe half-a-dozen times (at least) Ram starts chanting- “One and one and one…

Incredibly all of the other players join in.

In a very odd way, it is delightful.

13002.jpg

We’ve moved on a bit- note the pirate wizard has joined the captain of the ship on the poop deck, how you ask- simples, the wizard seems able to teleport about the ship (or at least that’s initially what the PCs think), it’s actually just misty step he’s employing.

The PCs figure this out about fifteen minutes from the end.

The Moonboar and Daktari have new targets as two more pirates emerge from their cabins and get into the fight, note the (stout) fellow positioned between the Moonboar and Dak is starkers- so, much easier to hit.

13003.jpg

Gaspar gets into Whirlwind mode again; he’s actually positioned over the three targets shown.

13004.jpg

The air elemental flings the enemies about.

Alas Were-Ram is connected to the hook handed pirate boss, and so when the fat fellow is flung off the ship by Gaspar, Were-Ram is sent flying too.

Although he has water walking cast on him, and so he bounces (a bit, but still takes damage) when he lands on the water.

13005.jpg

Were Ram is trying to get free (top left) of the hook handed pirate boss, he eventually succeeds, and also gets a few cuts in on the semi-submerged fat fellow.

13006.jpg

But once Hooky is free of Were-Ram he dives down and swims away. Note, the PCs are really mopping up the pirates now.

But here’s the thing- there were two flavours of pirate- the first a Thug-meets-Gladiator mash-up, the second variety a Spy meets Swashbuckler variant- with a nice sneak attack hit. They’re tough this mob, but… nowhere near as tough as pirate bosses here.

There are four pirate bosses, all of them with 20+ HD (the captain has 30+ HD). They all have good ACs, and each of them has two or three extra powers. The hook handed guy gets to restrain folk (with his hook) and then spin his target around (repeatedly) to reposition. The wizard- well, is a wizard. The captain of the ship makes speeches which dish out a bless like spell effect- only without the need for concentration checks; he also has the ability (every turn) to make his fellow pirates re-roll missed attacks.

Then there’s Bloody Bjorn- remember him, he went over the side in the opening moments of this fracas, well- I miss him. He has nearly as many HD as the captain- and he hits hard. Where’s he? Well, he’s not on any of the images seen so far- Fellowyn suggested he see how far he can swim down beneath the ship, but- he’ll be back.

Oh yes, he will.

Also note, the lizardfolk spellcaster (badly wounded) has also gone over the side of the ship- but of his own volition, he too is getting away.

In fact, it’s at this point that one or two of the PCs start to think- ‘I think we might want to capture one of these guy’s alive.”

That’s the chatter through what follows.

13007.jpg

Here’s George’s giant screen-splay, and with the pirate captain and wizard seen on the poop deck.

If you get in real close you should be able to see the following-

Ram has given up trying to get at the fat hook handed pirate boss, the wererat is heading back to the ship.

Daktari has taken a real beating- soon after the image the barbarian is reduced to just 3 hit points, in one turn he gets shot in the back by the pirate captain three times (with extra poison damage on all three hits).

Even the Moonboar has to dip inside the wizard pirate’s cabin to get out of the way of the artillery on the poop deck.

The pirate wizard about now is reduced to throwing out Ray’s of Frost, but they hurt too.

There’s a point here when several of the PCs are of the opinion that… we could lose this.

13008.jpg

And so Fellowyn makes a (very big) monkey out of Daktari again.

Daky Kong!

The barbarian goes from having three hit points to having 159.

Bastard.

Note Fellowyn is down to less than ten hit points, he now has nothing but cantrips left, and so he spends most turns from hereon in hiding in the stinky lizardfolk’s former cabin. Stepping into the doorway only briefly to aim his firebolts (and the like).

13010.jpg

Bloody Bjorn climbs over the rail of the ship- dripping wet and very angry.

“I’m BACK!”

13011.jpg

And the next thing you know the Moonboar is down to just seven hit points left, and Vinnie doesn’t have another wildshape to use.

It’s at this point I said- ‘you might be right; I could maybe win this…’

Note, the pirate wizard has also just misty stepped clear of Daky Kong.

13012.jpg

The Moonboar is gone- Vinnie is back, and Vinnie talks tough but he’s a very squishy PC- crap AC, not great hit points etc.

Alas, just moments after the above image Gaspar and Daky Kong pulverises the pirate captain- dead.

13013.jpg

But now Daky Kong is beating on Bloody Bjorn- the big ape briefly tried throwing barrels (while George- who runs the sounds channel for our adventures/fights, played the Donkey Kong theme tune) but the big ape kept on missing.

Also note Gaspar is gone, this after Vinnie took a hit a failed his concentration check.

Were Ram is going after the pirate wizard.

13014.jpg

The pirate wizard misty steps away again.

13015.jpg

But Were Ram is not letting the fellow get away.

13016.jpg

But moments later the pirate wizard dives into the briny and… he can breathe underwater.

Fellowyn (water walking) and Newt (broom flying) are trying to blast the wizard to the surface.

Note, Vinnie has already had to disengage and retreat into a cabin- I told you he’s very squishy.

Keep in mind the PCs are still trying to secure a prisoner here.

13017.jpg

Bloody Bjorn has had enough- he too abandon’s ship.

But Ubdug goes straight over the side- after the pirate, and moments later the modron makes only his second attack roll of the fight, he only made one attack (a devastating shatter spell) in the entire of the last session.

Ubdug (on just one hit point- his leap into the sea inflicted six points of damage, he has seven HP max) kills Bloody Bjorn.

And… there are no more pictures.

Were Ram ceases his water walking spell/ability, and then dives in and swims down to the pirate wizard (note Were Ram has water breathing already cast on him, he’s also wearing Mariner’s Armour)- the pair fight/flee/grab/grapple for about another three turns worth of action.

Descending deeper into the watery murk all the while.

Until eventually- the wizard (now down to only ten or so hit points) signals his surrender and points to the surface, Were Ram nods, and then lets the wizard swim up- at which point to cries of “Nooooooo!” from his colleagues around the VTT, Were Ram stabs the fellow in the back.

He’s dead Jim.

And that’s pretty much all we did last Tuesday night. I had a lot of fun- note, through the above, and on his every turn Were Ram was keeping up a creepy commentary of ongoing events. Remember all the PCs are telepathically linked.

“Us gonna stabby-stab him good, make ‘im bleed. Yes, sir. Bloody-bloody blood. Nice and red…”

Which was nice.

Stay safe and well you lovely people.

Cheers the Dark Squad and goonalan.
 

Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
Dark Squad in the Secrets of Saltmarsh

Session #131: The Sea Ghost.

Dark Squad (in alphabetical order, no egos here).

Daktari/Dak (played by Haggis) Male Human Uthgardt Sky Pony Barbarian Lvl 9
Fellowyn Silverstream (played by George) Male Eladrin Wizard Bladesinger Lvl 9
New Tricks/Newt (played by Bear) Male Tabaxi Warlock Lvl 9
Ramshambo/Ram (played by Kev) Male Half-Elf Rogue/Fighter Lvl 7/2
Vincenzo/Vinnie (played by Haggis) Male Shifter (Wildhunt) Druid Lvl 9

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 EXPLODED
Ubdug (played by Goonalan) Supreme Being Lvl 2 (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. 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 Cemetery).
  2. Nightshade is in the Deep Dreadwood- except she's not there anymore, but a big red dragon is?
  3. Blackedge and the Goblin Stair?
  4. 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.
  5. 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 1. ABOVE.

This is session 131, and the PCs spent the entire of it searching their way through their new ship, when I say ‘their’ new ship, I actually mean Ram’s new ship. When Newt tries to scratch the fiery emblem of his equally fiery master (Belphegor) into the planks of the deck, well- Ram ain’t having none of that.

It helps Ram’s cause that at the time (and throughout) he was less Ram, and more Were Ram- in his hybrid ratty form, the other PCs have been looking for outward signs of Ram’s new demeanor- does the latest lycanthrope to join the Dark Squad wish to murder his comrades in their sleep?

The jury is alas out, as of yet, Were Ram however is certainly crueler than good ol’ murderous Ram.

And so… the Sea Ghost.

Oh, and that too is a revelation- the name of the ship because…

“Tell Wildroot that you wish to join the pact of flame, resist the urge to burn the woodsman to the ground- he will set you to your task.”

“Discover the last ancestor, she that lives under the cover of darkness- the hag will have the answers.”

“When the hands move the end will have begun.”

“WAIT!”

“For the pale dwarf without a face to beg you- only then should you take the ghost home.”

The above was told to Newt by Bel(phegor) all the way back at the start.

So, the guy’s have met Wildroot- are about joining the Pact of the Flame (maybe)- they are (sorta) in pursuit of the hag, Nightshade. They think the hands are from a device called a clock- although they have not found either the clock or the hands yet. The pale dwarf… that must be Ub (although why ‘without a face’, suspicions are the dwarf will be masked), and at last… ‘take the ghost home’.

Is the Sea Ghost the ghost they need to take home?

Where's home?

Oddly the figurehead of the Sea Ghost is… a small pale (painted white- but ancient and very weathered) dwarf, with a bald head and thick chin-strap beard.

Who looks a lot like Durgeddin the Black/Ub.

The Dark Squad have seen graven images of Ub previously- likewise a ghostly dwarven wizard told them that Durgeddin/Ub was short for his race, and pale of complexion. The Dark Squad think he must be an albino.

So, the confusion continues.

Now back to the boat, and the session.

Oh, and keep an eye out for the bit where Newt comes very close to killing himself, my sides were aching for a good while after.

Here goes…

13100.jpg
Here we all are again, I’m not sure why Ram, sorry- Were Ram is outside Newt’s Tiny Hut. Anyway, it’s time for a well-earned breather, as can be seen by the blood drops, some folk have taken a thorough kicking.

Pat on the back for me.

13101.jpg

Then the search begins… badly, as is so often the case.

Do you know what this group needs- a leader.

So, three different searches are taking place in the above image, very soon after however it becomes apparent that none of the searches can proceed because… well, a rogue is needed to clear the way- there are traps here.

It only takes us 30 or so minutes to fathom this.

And so…

13102.jpg

Cabin the first to be properly searched, although point of fact Ram discovers a cleaver like blade trap (the hard way) that had he not been in wererat form would have taken his hand clean off. That was 12d6 damage right there. It’s at this point that the rest of the PCs remember why it is that they let Ram deal with this kind of stuff.

You’ll note in the above image that all of the other members of the Dark Squad, except for Fellowyn, are outside of the cabin- that’s not by accident, nor is it happenstance.

Just to recap the two images above, image #1- all of the PCs charge into their nearest cabin in search of pirate gold- a trap is found, or at least suspected, and then, image #2- everyone remembers what a rogue is for (not just Christmas).

As for Fellowyn, he’s sitting in a stuffed armchair sipping from a silver goblet filled with a dark and full-bodied fruity red. He knows no fear our Fellowyn, or else he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer.

This is the pirate wizard’s cabin, and so soon after Newt and Fellowyn are purring (and murmuring) in delight- a big fat spell book is located, as is a scroll, a few potions and a small bag of gold.

Very satisfying.

The next cabin to be searched belongs to the pirate captain, alas there are no pictures of this event- the search, which is a shame because there’s quite a haul in there, including- good quality sea charts of the local area, and specifically around Saltmarsh and the Mere of Dead Men. Within the clutch of maps is found a much cruder image, another very poorly drawn map, it seems to indicate (the PCs think) the location of the lizardfolk’s lair (within the Mere of Dead Men but on the coast).

What’s more there’s a (formerly trapped and locked chest, thanks Ram) containing lots of crudely minted ingots of electrum.

There’s more, the crude map to the lizardfolk lair (maybe), and the electrum ingots all bare a lizardfolk-like pictogram. They are definitely connected.

There are lots more papers here to sort through- and some more gold, and a few more potions (all healing variants, which a number of PCs have need of- they’ve burnt through their stocks again, some of ‘em).

Then a crude contract of sorts is discovered- it seems the smugglers/pirates are supplying ironware to the lizardfolk, again the document is ‘signed’ with the same pictogram.

And now the cogs are really starting to turn.

Newt reminds his colleagues that Mr. Timpkins said that their enemies (the Talos worshipping mob) were arming for an invasion (of Saltmarsh). Interesting.

13103.jpg

Into the lizardfolk’s former quarters, and beneath each hammock is a newly minted (unmarked- no smith’s symbol) weapon. There’s also another (formerly trapped and locked, thanks again Ram) chest in here containing yet more electrum ingots, all with the same crude pictogram.

The lizardfolk are definitely buying weapons, they’re arming.

13104.jpg

The search continues into the deck below, and it’s at this point- in the hold, that the Dark Squad discover that they are suddenly rich.

Although, ‘rich’ needs to be put in context.

Daktari has a lot of loans out, and maybe a few hundred GP still salted away; Fellowyn is massively in debt (to Daktari); Newt spends every penny he gets- all of the time, gold tends to burn a hole in his pocket; Vinnie and Ram have a bit of gold in reserve, but… for about 40-50 sessions now the Dark Squad have been while not poor, certainly not well off.

I did that.

The hold is full of bolts of silk, barrels of wine and brandy and other equally saleable stuff. The Dark Squad did a deal with the Saltmarsh council, any merchandise liberated from the pirate/smuggler’s ship is to be sold and the profits split 50/50. Nice.

Newt is already working out what next he can buy.

Just to make clear, Newt buys/collects grisly mementos of his adventures- preserved bits of tentacles, a wight’s hand injected with some embalming agent, a stuffed… but you get me. Newt’s basement room in the Dark Squad house is not for the squeamish.

It's a lot like Newt in that respect.

We move on…

13105.jpg

More cabins = more treasure, although there’s less gold here than in the in the big boss’ sea chest’s on the deck above.

But what's this...

Then, while the rest of the Dark Squad are rushing off to see what the next haul will bring- Ram discovers a secret compartment, and within… bundles and bundles of newly minted weapons, there’s even a shield in here with a much more stylized version of the lizardfolk pictogram.

Again, none of the weapons have maker’s/smith’s marks.

The lizardfolk were definitely buying arms (and armour) and it seems from the maps found, the Sea Ghost’s next stop was to deliver the armaments.

13106.jpg

Ram and Fellowyn are looking for another hidden chamber here, you’ll note again that the rest of the Dark Squad are, as usual, not getting too close to the action (or traps).

Ram has found a trap in every cabin searched so far.

13107.jpg

Were-Ram finds a way in at last, and then rouses the emaciated (and manacled) elf within the secret place.

And then…

The Dark Squad conspire to make things very difficult for themselves, but you know- they roleplay the heck out of it.

Ram wakes the elf.

The thing you need to keep in mind is Were-Ram says stuff like-

“Us want to kill it, maybe eat it- stringy, but… maybe us just watch it die. Wakey-wakey!”

Were-Ram pokes the manacled elf with his sword a bit while issuing threats and snarling at the poor chained-up fellow.

Vincenzo is, of course, at this point trying to get back to the action- and trying to take charge.

However, now every member of the Dark Squad wants in on the action.

Alas, in the short elbow-based fracas that ensues, somehow…

13108.jpg

Newt manages to make his way into the small chamber. So, there’s a five foot something cloaked and terrifying wererat in there accompanied by a seven-foot-tall maniacal cat-man.

Oh, and Newt is being his usual charming self.

“Let me enspell this vagabond stowaway, I will peel back his mind and unearth all of his lusts, loves and terrors; and then- when I am sated, well- you can have your fill- eat him up for all I care, Ram.”

A very short while later the terrified elf is back to being unconscious, and now situated in a growing puddle of his own urine.

The Dark Squad, much to Vinnie’s chagrin, decide to lock the poor fellow back in his cell, with a little food and water in easy reach- they’re not entirely heartless.

They’ll be back.

13109.jpg

This image shows the moment that Vinnie and Daktari managed, at last, to get the scary rat-man and cat-man to shut up and vacate the room. Too late, the manacled elf has already been terrified back into unconsciousness.

As above, we’ll get back to this guy next session.

Oh, but… Were Ram thinks he recognizes the elf in the cell. But for the life of him, he cannot remember where from.

Note, Ram at this point has also tried at least twice to take charge of his emotions and change back to human form.

To no avail.

We go on- through the pirate crew’s cabin, a bit more coin but nothing much else to see.

Which just leaves the bilges.

13110.jpg
Here’s Newt, paddling in the filth and scummy water in the bilges- he spotted a glint of gold down there, so now he’s in hot pursuit.

Which, very soon after brings us to this image-

13111.jpg

Let me explain, while Newt is mooching about in the filth in the bilges a swarm of small maggoty-worms surge up from the mud and filth. A clutch of these squirming things manages to wriggle up the tabaxi’s legs and into his dense fur.

Soon after, a number of the deadly worms have begun burrowing their way into Newt’s flesh.

They’re rot grubs of course, a swarm of them.

Actually, more than one swarm.

Newt quickly escapes the bilges, luckily avoiding yet more bites from the writhing swarm(s), he describes his agony to his comrades- although most of them witnessed the action in the bilges.

The Dark Squad have been here before- Vinnie had an encounter with a single Rot Grub back in session #99, or at least just one of the little maggots tried to burrow its way through his flesh and into his heart/brain.

Newt, in the same session, had six of the squirming worms inside of him- it took a wall of fire (flame directed inwards) to purge him of the maggoty taint.

Here we are again.

Then the DM rolls 5d6 damage for Newt and informs the poor fellow that another 5d6 damage will be with him this time next turn.

Panic ensues.

Culminating in Fellowyn firing a firebolt into one of the newly created fleshy burrows, and then Newt unleashing five (or maybe six) scorching rays into his own flesh.

I’d like to say Newt’s colleagues are all doing their best to help.

I’d like to, but I can’t.

Were Ram squats beside the screaming thrashing warlock, the wererat clutches a small vial in his hand, knowing full-well that the contents of the flask will kill all the flesh eating bugs within Newt instantly.

Were Ram is content to watch and wait, and hiss (laughter) and grin.

More remarkably the fiery (mostly self-inflicted) ministrations manage to kill all five of the rot grubs within the tabaxi warlock.

Newt survives self-immolation.

Once again.

Were Ram puts his unused potion back into its slot on his belt, content to watch the cat-thing squirm for a while longer.

Note, one of Newt’s scorching rays went high-wide-and-handsome, and burned Vinnie up a bit- there was something for everyone (me) in that fight.

I loved it.

And that’s what we did.

That was the best part of four hours, minus breaks.

Stay safe and well you lovely people.

Cheers the Dark Squad and goonalan.
 

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