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The Dark Squad in the Secrets of Saltmarsh #137 Into the Mere of the Dead Men Part 2.


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Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
Dark Squad in the Secrets of Saltmarsh

Session #095: Saltmarsh Shenanigans.

Dark Squad (in alphabetical order, no egos here).
Daktari/Dak (played by Haggis) Male Human Uthgardt Sky Pony Barbarian Lvl 8
New Tricks/Newt (played by Bear) Male Tabaxi Warlock Lvl 8
Nicholai Barbaros Kostyiev/Nicky (played by George) Male Dhampir Cleric of Twilight 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

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. Vinnie needs to be back for the next Saltmarsh Council meeting on the 1st Kythorn (June).
  2. Awaiting new answers to new questions from the priests at Fallowstone Holy, info will be sent to Saltmarsh for around the 10th of Kythorn (June).
  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?
  5. Blackedge and the Goblin Stair?
  6. To join the Pact of the Wild Flame you need to find the hidden weapons left to fight Ashardalon, these are in a dragon-in-flight shaped barrow in Farrow Woods.
  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 95, and actually an amalgam of two sessions, let me explain- I've accumulated quite a number of add-ons/DLCs etc. with my Fantasy Ground Unity VTT, and in the last big update something broke. I was getting yards of error messages when attempting to do all manner of formerly innocuous activities, like putting tokens on a map.

So, we did a little adventuring- getting the Dark Squad from Farhill Mine and back to Saltmarsh, and then we attempted to fix whatever was broken with FGU, I'm not very IT orientated. Confession- I've never owned a mobile phone, I don't own a TV, and the next most technologically advanced device in my office (after this desktop PC- now 10+ years old) is... looks around, well... there's nothing else technology wise in the room. Maybe the exercise bike, but the digital read-out on that stopped working last night, so... I've got an air-purifier? Does that count as tech?

Sorry, my life- so, FGU got (mostly) fixed, and we spent the rest of the session fine-combing the various PCs ditching out broken macros, fixing spells that don't work properly and... well, general maintenance. It's also mad the amount of crap that these fellows have hidden away in their PCs inventories. Newt's Chest of Horrors contains all manner of strange items- a preserved wight's hand, mandibles from a maw demon, and the grisly mementos of a dozen other enemies.

So, late spring cleaning.

Last bit on this- Fantasy Grounds Unity is great, the fixing proved to be easy- it was all a matter of me having missed various updates for a variety of the add-ons that we run, some of this not my fault- I bought the add-ons from the DMs Guild (or similar) but the updates were only available via the Fantasy Grounds Forge. But it all got sorted. I think I've mentioned this before- I'm not very good with technology, not frightened of it, just not as bothered/interested in it as I perhaps should be. Be assured, my (home) office is full of... books, now there's a technology I'm very at home with.

Back to the game/explanation.

And so last week's (two weeks ago now) mini session has been mashed in with this last session, I think I could have explained that much quicker.

Oh, and the fix stuff wot broke session was also the hottest day of the for-like-ever.

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It was 41 degrees C in Lincolnshire, my home patch.

Farhill Mine...

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The Dark Squad chat with Manistrad Copperlocks and her right-hand dwarf, Golf Kindle.

And while Farhill Mine is all running smoothly, better than smoothly they're on a hot silver streak down deep- the Dark Squad receive a little extra money from Manistrad for their previous work here, only 200gp but it's a pleasant surprise for the Squad.

But that's not all- Saltmarsh, for the dwarves of Farhill, has become a no-go area. Manistrad has even shut up the mining HQ they had set-up in the town. The dwarves only go to the place to collect shipments and supplies, otherwise- it's off-limits.

The reason- the towns folk regularly fling insults and worse, particularly on/around the docks area, the ill-feeling is building, threatening to spill over. Something must be done about it...

Hey! Weren't the Dark Squad originally hired by Gundren Rockseeker to smooth/improve relations between Farhill Mine and Saltmarsh, I think so?

So, slaughtering gargantuan undead dragons is all very well, Manistrad explains, but it doesn't help the mine.

The Dark Squad are set their task.

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And so off they go to Saltmarsh.

Here it is...

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Saltmarsh, in all its glory.

Keep in mind that Nicky has never seen Saltmarsh before, and the so the rest of the crew are talking him through the sites and sounds of the town.

The first of which is a crowd of what look to be fisher folk who are assailing (only verbally mind) the Watch House, Vinnie investigates briefly (with his Saltmarsh Councillor hat on) and discovers that the irate folk are protesting the fact that six fishing boat captains are languishing in gaol, charged with smuggling.

Eventually Vinnie disperses the mob, like every politician, he hands out gold to the crowd and pays them off, promising that he will look into this matter at the next council meeting (tomorrow night).

We move on with the tour.

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Sharkfin Bridge, another Saltmarsh highlight.

The Squad know that any Elf (or Half-Elf) that passes over the bridge feels... well, a bit queasy, Buggles and Ram have both been affected by this in the past. Nicky feels nothing, but when the Dark Squad tell him about the Pact of the Flame text that is visible through the rotting brickwork on the underside of the central span of the bridge. Well, Nicky investigates- alas this causes much consternation with the common folk here, mainly because the spider climbing Dhampir just walks over the side of the bridge- sticking to the surface as he goes, obviously.

The folk in Saltmarsh are clearly not used to seeing this kind of thing, although the terror is lessened somewhat when Nicky's voice echoes up from below.

“I thay, it's swimply marv-ell-us!”

Nicholai sounds a lot like a simpering, lisping, wet ninny.

Eventually we move on.

And after another twenty minutes or so of intros to various folk and places that the Dark Squad have previously visited et al, it's back to the Dark Squad house.

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The house needs an airing, Newt's room is a little stinky- it could be the dead cat. Note, Nicky is given Buggles' old room.

And that was pretty much all we did in the first mini-session, except to also go through some Downtime activity ideas, because the deal is Bear (who plays Newt) is away for the next three weeks. Therefore, the rest of the Squad is going to do a little investigating (and other things) in Saltmarsh, as well as a few Downtime projects.

Newt's Downtime activity, and keep in mind the Squad are going to be spending the next month in town, well... where do I start-

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I know what you are thinking, I'm thinking it too. Apostrophe!

Alas, that's all I can tell you about how, or why, or... anything, really. We'll play out Newt's Downtime School of Magic activities when he gets back from his holi-bobs.

It's not going to be good.

I will be very surprised if there are not casualties.

Keep in mind that Newt thinks that proper magic (his magic- which mostly involves fire and terror) is only doled out to mortals that pledge their allegiance (and souls) to fiery (or silver-tongued) demons and devils.

So, the curriculum at Newt the Magnificent's Magnificent School of Magic may need a little close-scrutiny.

But that was all they did in the mini session.

Then, the week after, the Squad (without Newt) swing into action.

Oh, and the Squad also get paid by Winston, the halfling fence/shop-owner that the adventurers send all their treasure item finds to, just over 400gp each.

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That's the “Faithful Quartermasters”, the local 'curiosity shop', proprietor Captain Xanderos, a female tiefling in piratical attire.

Over the course of the next month Nicholai acquires a +1 Shield, while Ram eventually gets his hands on (after some low rolls) a +1 Longbow, we're using the Downtime rules here. Alas the above transactions also prove to be expensive (bad rolls), and soon after Nicky is left with 3gp to spend for the rest of the month (only 20 days left of it).

Vinnie, again with his Saltmarsh Councillor hat on, heads out onto the streets to get the low down, the vox populi- nobody on the docks has a kind word to say about the dwarves of Farhill, also the catch is down for the year (the dwarves are to blame), the docks are not getting the investments needed- things are falling apart (the dwarves are to blame), and the Council favours the dwarves (the dwarves are to blame), and, of course... six good honest fishing boat captains are languishing in gaol (the dwarves are to blame).

The docksiders are very unhappy (the dwarves are to blame).

Remarkably (after several great rolls, including a '20') Vinnie, accompanied by Daktari (that's worth mentioning), finds himself spending time in the back room of The Broken Net, with Kreb Shenk.

Kreb is the voice of the people.

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All friends together. That's nice, this must be the role-playing bit of RPGs that people told me about.

Let's just take a moment. The Broken Net is a brigand/pirate/fisherfolk/scumbag tavern, proprietor the big surly racist- Kreb Shenk. The last Squad member to venture here was Ram, he fled when the good folk started throwing things (from tankards to knives) at his head.

So, Councillor Delvino (Vinnie, remember) has a pleasant chat- he can be incredibly eloquent when he wants to be. The racist Shenk plays his part well, he doesn't hate dwarves as much as hanker for the good times of old, before the money grubbing sawn off dirt diggers hit town. He's a patriot, and a traditionalist.

Vinnie and Daktari are invited back to the Net, any time- there'll always be a drink behind the bar for the pair.

Note, Vinnie is taking the temperature at this point, he's not offering the cure.

Then...

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That's the Saltmarsh Town Hall, which can only mean one thing...

TINSEL CANNONS EXPLODE!


RAZZAMATAZZ MUSIC BEGINS!

COUNCIL MEETING!

ACTION!

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Order!

There's a lot about potholes, then a major investigation as to the benefits (or otherwise) of implementing a single cart flow system between Tappits Lane and Stroop Avenue, leading to Furrow's End.

Daktari has plus five on his filibuster.

But I'm prevaricating, the good folk in the open council session are actually pretty incensed.

There's a lot of chatter, and I mean- a lot of chatter, in this bit and the closed council session that follows, maybe ninety minutes to two hours of play. Including daring swooping emotionally charged speeches by the young Councillor Delvino. Although, for every piece of eloquence from the stalwart Druid the DM, in the guise of various NPC folk- but mostly Councillor Anders Solmor, has a repost, and as arrogant as it is to write this- the DM, and Anders, scores more hits than the Druid.

But we'll get to that.

So, the big discussions are about the following-

The fishing captains/smugglers in gaol.

The dock folk's hatred of the dwarves of Farhill.

Obvious, ain't it.

About 75% of the citizens at the open session want the fishing captains freed, new investment in traditional enterprises (fishing) and, ultimately, for the council to bar the dwarves from the town- or some less/more violent version of the same.

One other important point to note from the open session of the Council- a well-meaning and concerned citizen of Saltmarsh reports to the authorities that he (or possibly she) has heard rumours that an illegal (and very possibly nefarious) unlicensed magic school may be opening its doors (in an effort to corrupt the youth) in the town.

The level of consternation increases.

Nice work!

I wonder who that well-meaning and concerned citizen could have been, whoever it was I am certain that their conscience is clear.

We move on.

To the closed session of the Council, and there's a vote- after approx. forty minutes of speeches (including a potted history of the fishing families of Saltmarsh), back and forth.

Just to remind ourselves the Saltmarsh council consists of-

Eda Oweland (Chair, and from a traditional fishing family and with ten generations in Saltmarsh)
Gellen Primewater (from a fishing family, same as Eda)
Anders Solmor (from a fishing family- same as Eda, latterly turned entrepreneur)
Eliander Fireborn (Head of the Watch, an outsider although in-post for eight years)
Vincenzo Delvino (Farhill Mine representative, in-post one month, has spent six days (in total) in Saltmarsh)

There's plenty of discussion about what to do to ease the tensions in the town- the fisher folk versus the dwarves, Vinnie (and others) will attempt to build some bridges- note all of this chatter is very positive.

That is until we get to the issue of the arrested fishing boat captains/smugglers, and there's the aforementioned back and forth between Vinnie and Anders (and Eliander, briefly- see below), and it's heated at times.

Eliander Fireborn is so insulted by the usually silver-tongued Vinnie's words- basically, Vinnie states, Eliander isn't up to the job- it's a little nicer than that, but not by a lot, that the Watch leader walks out of the meeting.

So, after the speeches there's the voting.

Vinnie wants the fishing boat captains/smugglers to be let out of gaol and made to serve the town in order to pay off their debts/taxes, alas the vote goes against him, but it's a close call- Gellan Primewater is on the Druid's side, but no-one else is convinced.

Then, more chatter until the end of the meeting, as the remaining councillors question Vinnie about the Dark Squad's activities in the last month, alas a lot of the adventurer's tale is severely/entirely redacted. There's no mention of fighting undead gargantuan dragons, or trips into space.

Eda Oweland wants to know when Vinnie is going to get a proper job.

We all do, Eda. We all do.

Then, more Downtime and more investigations as the month slips by, oh and after a bit of investigation and some skill checks, and spell casting, Vinnie has his Mummy Rot style curse removed.

So, some more Downtime stuff-

Vincenzo sets up his alchemy lab, and using the recipes he gained from Arty Swell, he gets to potion making, and he makes a bunch of them- topping up his comrades supplies.

Nicholai in the meantime, and with a little help from Vinnie, gets to spend a tenday in the Saltmarsh Town Council archives. Note, Vinnie greases the palm of a clerk- Dickie Vagabond, in order to make this happen.

Nicky is searching local records for any mention of people and organisations that the Dark Squad are at present involved with, ostensibly- Ub, the Pact of the Flame, any of the previous incarnations of the Dark Squad- including the previous mob that adventured here two centuries past- Randall the Black (mad gnome warlock), Rambles 'Shambles' Bowspirit (halfling killer from Lowhill), Antonio De La Crane (posh kid druid alchemist) & Giggles (crazy wood elf).

After his time at the Town Hall Nicky goes to talk (and visit) with Krag, he's the sexton of the Saltmarsh Cemetery, and also the local historian.

Nicky learns the following from the Twon Hall archives- Rambles Bowspirit (nearly 200 years ago) was charged with the murder of Antonio De La Crane, alas the halfling escaped justice by fleeing aboard a merchant ship called The Empress of the Sea.

But... in Saltmarsh cometary, and more specifically, in the De La Crane crypt there (the Dark Squad have been here before) are the sarcophagi of all of the members of the De La Crane family, only the tomb of Antonio De La Crane has never been sealed, it's empty.

The De La Crane family, Krag explains, faded to nothing- they were reduced to penury, only their tombs remain- their holdings, fortune and favour all fled.

Great work from Nicky.

Vinnie also takes a meeting with Dickie Vagabond, his new pet clerk, and sets him to his task, he wants Dickie to put in the over time and go through the classified archive and find the location of the De La Crane manse. The Dark Squad are searching for this place, but here's the thing, Dickie- as it turns out has a conscience, or else the information he discovers is so sensitive that Vinnie has, in the end, to attend a very hush-hush meeting with the senior clerk in the Snapping Line Inn, and then persuade and pay through the nose for Dickie's big reveal.

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In the shadows at the Snapping Line Inn, secret meetings and bags of cash- Vinnie is really taking to local politics.

But, here's the red hot secret.

The De La Crane manse was bought by Petra Solmor (deceased mother of Anders Solmor) about fifty years ago, it is situated on the headland known as The Leap, a series of high cliffs to the south of Saltmarsh on the estuary of the Dunwater River.

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See the Dark Squad token on the map, and south is to the left, that's where the De La Crane, now Solmor, manse is.

Note, The Choke is a delta at the entrance to the Dunwater River, a series of mangrove-like tidal islands, and across The Choke, well- that's the Mere of Dead Men.

Also note, Ram does other stuff while the above is going on- including commissioning a local artist to come up with a drawing of Buggles and Gwen (remember that pair). The half-elven rogue (and the Dark Squad) are now/still seeking to locate this duo, funny how that all came about.

The local artist of note is Kiorna Kester, she runs the leather-goods store, and is also an expert skinner and tanner. This is the lady that Newt visits, and freaks out, regularly- usually the tabaxi has the hand/face/tongue/scrotum of something nasty that he would like making into a plush or a bean-bag (or similar). This is also the lady that Buggles (& Gwen) freaked out when they visited the store, and so when Ram turns up, alas there's nothing the rogue can do to persuade Kiorna to revisit the memory of Buggles' first visit. But eventually he finds someone else to do his drawings.

Remember Kev (who plays Ram) your doing the drawing.

Ram, however is also keen to visit the nearby halfling village of Lowhill, the former home of Rambles Bowspirit, he'll be leading this expedition in the next session.

Last piece of news.

One evening, after all of the above has happened, Councillor Vincenzo Delvino returns to the Dark Squad's abode to discover a letter waiting for him, he and his companions are invited to visit with Anders Solmor at his home, for dinner...

But that's for the next session.

Reminder no game on the 2nd, more investigations on the 9th, and Bear/Newt will be back on the 16th- at which point you'll be adventuring again.

Stay safe and well you lovely people.

Cheers the Dark Squad and goonalan.
 

carborundum

Adventurer
Thanks for the update. I do hope nothing untoward occurs to further colour the townfolks' opinion of the hard-working dwarves.
Have a nice holiday!
 
Last edited:


Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
Dark Squad in the Secrets of Saltmarsh

Session #096: Saltmarsh Shenanigans Part 2.

Dark Squad (in alphabetical order, no egos here).
Daktari/Dak (played by Haggis) Male Human Uthgardt Sky Pony Barbarian Lvl 8
New Tricks/Newt (played by Bear) Male Tabaxi Warlock Lvl 8
Nicholai Barbaros Kostyiev/Nicky (played by George) Male Dhampir Cleric of Twilight 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

NPCs (in order of appearance).
Garumn Male Mountain Dwarf Paladin of Moradin Lvl 5 RIP*
Tarbin Tul (played by goonalan) Male Human Bard RETIRED
Inverna Nightbreeze (played by George) Female Wood Elf Fighter Lvl 8 (Sidekick) 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-

THIS IS GOING TO GET A SORT OUT IN THE NEXT SESSION- PROMISE.

  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 Cemetary).
  2. Nightshade is in the Deep Dreadwood- except she's not there any more, 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 2. ABOVE.
  6. NEW The De La Crane Manse is on The Leap, and Anders Solmor would like the Squad to check it out.
  7. NEW Bonnie Bowspirit, grand-daughter of Rambles, will show the Squad to the missing halfling killer's tomb, on the 6th of Flamerule.
This is session 96, and the Dark Squad are still in Saltmarsh, making friends and influencing people, well. Newt's not in-game, so... they are genuinely making friends and influencing people, and nobody has been on fire for what seems to be ages.

I miss him.

But first, Ram's homework from last week- the rogue was looking to get some artistically able Saltmarsh citizen to knock him up a wanted poster (or similar) for Buggles (and Gwen). He found someone to do this eventually, but that just meant that Kev (that plays Ram) needed to bring the proof this session, and so...

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Buggles in all of his glory! Warning: Do Not Approach, he's armed and dangerous.

But here's what else happened during the Dark Squad's sojourn in Saltmarsh for the month of Kython (June, that's good monster hunting weather).

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The Dark Squad house (I know, it's quite something isn't it- as you can see me and my bro- Kev, are incredible artists) and Mrs Bad-Crumble's screams bring all the residents of the house running to her side.

The conversation went a little like this-

“'Elp me! 'Elp me members of the Dark Squad! Der's a ruddy great toad-demon in my kitchen! Aw lawks a lummy, I'm dun fer I tell's ya!”

Then, when none of the Dark Squad can see the 'great toad-demon' in the kitchen, Mrs Bad-Crumble further explains.

“E's 'iding but I can spots-it. See der, Mr V? E's 'iding in the shadow of me broom, in der corner. Ya seez it Mr V?”

Note to Mrs Bad-Crumble the members of the Dark Squad are- Mr V, Mr R, Mr D (said with a leer and a gap-toothed coquettish grin), Young Master N and the Cat (as in- "der Cats gawn owt Mr V").

Back to the action...

And then a nine foot tall (and wide with it) toad style humanoid (Demon?) steps out from behind the broom that Mrs Bad-Crumble is pointing at. The creature rushes forwards flailing and growling as it comes, and then stops short to pantomime it's pain, the horrid creature looks desperate- it's constantly clutching at its throat.

“The paw kweture seems to bwe chowking!”

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Nicky to the rescue, the Twilight Cleric rushes over and gives the great toad-thing several thumping slaps on the back, and eventually- after much hawking and coughing, a large mucus slathered hairball flies out.

I say hairball- Bobby, is a Korred.

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Ralph (unidentifed- the toad-thing) and Bobby (a Korred).

The Dark Squad eventually remember, Granny Frogwart sent them a note to say that this pair would be coming to see the Squad, with news...

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Note received in session 78.

Granny F had suggested that she might be able to get a message or else broker a meeting with the missing hag- Nightshade, remember the Dark Squad need her to go back to the Land of Bad Dead Ancestors, so that Garumn can be set free.

And so, well... Bobby is chatty, and seemingly not keen to pass on whatever message Granny F has sent along. He wants to waffle, and then he wants to eat, and then he wants some money, and then he wants to drink... But you get me, eventually- and with patience, the Dark Squad learn the following-

Nightshade is gone (either dead or fled) her lair in the Deep Dreadwood is still ram-jam full of all manner of undead abominations- Granny F initially suspected that Nightshade was building an undead army, but... she's gone. Point of fact Granny F has asked, and searched, everywhere- Nightshade is no where to found, not a whisper.

Which is less than helpful.

But also, new news- a ruddy big Red Dragon has been seen flying around/over the Dreadwood. Just to make clear- Granny F has never seen (or heard of) this great beast before, and apparently the wyrm is enormous.

Again, not helpful.

The Dark Squad, obviously, have further questions, and Granny F (and Bobby) thought they might. Bobby has therefore brought them a gift (which he then sells to the Dark Squad for 100gp). A magic rope, actually a six inch long piece of raggedy string with a knot in one end.

The magical rope (string) can be used to point the wearer to Granny F's location in the Mere of Dead Men, the hag is using her travelling home at the moment- she's on the move, hence the need for the item. Final note, the string needs to be worn- which in this instance means tied around the wearers Johnson, remember Granny F knows that the Squad are all males.

Daktari takes the device and slips it on, Bobby explains again that the string only functions in the Mere of the Dead Men, but Daktari- to be certain- insists he will wear it always.

It takes all sorts.

Eventually, after being given a packed lunch and some booze to go Ralph & Bobby depart- the same way as they arrived- Ralph swallows Bobby, and then seemingly turns into a shadow.

Note, Ralph- save for the choking, has not said a word throughout the entire visit, that is until the last.

“I'd just like to say I've had an absolutely splendid time, you've been the most accommodating of hosts, and that sherry trifle was quite simply delicious.” Ralph (the big toad-demon-thingy) sounds even more posh and polite than Nicky, and that's going some.

Next up, Ram leads his comrades on a trip to Lowhill, just a reminder- Rambles 'Shambles' Bowspirit (of the Eyes in the Night) lived here, two or more centuries ago. So, a few questions are in order.

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Lowhill is an idyll.

The Squad eventually wander into Bungo Chubb, he's the mayor of Lowhill and 'yes' he's heard of the Bowspirit clan but that was all a very long time ago, and they've moved on- or else died, basically there's no news to be told.

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The Dark Squad are not so easily dissuaded, when in doubt they take folk to the pub (The Mapmaker Tavern) and get a round or two in, and then ask their various questions. Vinnie, and Ram- most odd, both make short but impassioned speeches to the gathered citizens, about how important it is that they find Rambles 'Shambles' Bowspirit, or else his earthly remains. The druid makes clear- “ze 'ole of 'umanity may depend up-on zis!”

But no-one here is buying, although they'll drink the drinks proffered. Rufus Tosscobble, proprietor of the tavern, has never even heard of the Bowspirit family, and he's been living in Lowhill for the best part of a century. Keep in mind the whole Rambles thing was 200 years in the past.

The folk here are, of course, lying through their teeth- Vinnie has made a number of checks now, and he's convinced- he tells his friends (on the hush-hush) which encourages a few more desperate please for info.

But, nothing.

Eventually Flannel Uphill, a stern looking female halfling- with a few friends, insists that the Squad try looking elsewhere. Remarkably the Squad decide not to push things, a little more digging may be needed but that's for another time- they head back to Saltmarsh.

More stuff follows...

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Including a diner engagement at the Solmor Mansion that's Anders with the guys and his butler, Chivers- that's nice. Note, spot the ornamental fish pond to the left of the image, Daktari spends a good part of the diner relaxing (and skinny-dipping) in here.

The Granny F Detector String is still in place.

So, lots and lots of chatter follows- the tales of the Dark Squad, Anders' story- growing up in Saltmarsh, and then we get to the politics- and the two Counsellors, with help from their friends reach an accord. It's all about Saltmarsh, the pair even commission (and pay) for Nicky to canvas public opinion about what needs to be done to improve the people's mood.

Then, after the hearty congrats for fixing the rift, Vinnie, sorry- Councillor Delvino asks Anders (Councillor Solmor) about the old De La Crane Manse. If you remember last session Vinnie discovered from his new found friend (he gave the guy 50gp) at the Town Hall, Dickie Vagabond, that Anders has been investigating his claim to this old house, situated on The Leap- overlooking the Dunwater River (and the Mere of Dead Men).

The druid is a little suspicious of Anders, but he needn't have been.

So, long story short- Anders only found the deeds to this place a few months back, in his dead mother's papers. He checked the veracity of the paperwork at the Town Hall (with Dickie Vagabond) and then employed two local 'characters' to go and check the place out. Although, that was five days ago and he's not heard from the pair yet. However, having spoken to the mother of the two ne'er-do-wells he employed for this task (Neddy & Teddy Shakeshaft) he's not overly concerned. Mother Shakeshaft told Anders, “they'll be pissed in a ditch, m'Lord. Won't see 'em again until the money yew paid um is drunk.”

Anders further divulges- Neddy Shakeshaft is a little... well, the rough fellow knows how to open a locked door (particularly when no-one else is around); while his brother- Teddy, is a six foot eight monster of a man, and a member of the Saltmarsh Town Guard. The pair were recommended for the job.

Vinnie, all heart, opines that he and his friends should check it out- free and gratis, Anders is of course delighted.

A very pleasant evening is had by all.

Then, a few nights later at the Dark Squad house...

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Nicky is awoken of a night- there's a halfling throwing stones up at his window- and now signing for him to come outside, down to the street below. It's very late. Ever cautious Nicky wakes his colleagues en route to the door.

And when the Dark Squad are arranged (Note, Nicky is flying- it's the only method he has for moving quietly) the halfling, still motioning for the Squad to follow, leads the gang on a merry chase through Saltmarsh- in the shadows.

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All the way to the dilapidated beach huts of Crabbers Cove, and waiting for the Squad there are a bunch more halflings, including a young lady who introduces herself as Bonnie Bowspirit, grand-daughter of Rambles. Or as she has it- “mad grandpappy Bowspirit.”

There follows much more chatter, Bonnie needs to be convinced that the Dark Squad aren't just crazy treasure hunters, or else... well, they're not the bad guys. Eventually this comes to pass and Bonnie makes her offer, here's the story-

After killing Antonio De La Crane Rambles fled to Lowhill, alas folk there were very unimpressed, and... well, Rambles (who keep in mind was a psychotic killer) met his end. To make clear, Rambles didn't get on the Empress of the Sea (as discovered in a previous session) and flee the region.

But, Bonnie knows where Rambles is buried (with all of his possessions*), a dwarf friend of his built his tomb, and she knows how to get in to it- you just need to be at the right place, at the right time, and know the password.

*The Dark Squad are, of course, after Rambles' maze button.

So, she'll tell all if the Dark Squad will pay her and her friends 2,500gp, the money they need to get away from Lowhill (and its dark secret) for ever, and make new lives for themselves elsewhere. Bonnie makes clear, she is selling out her family name, and in the process bringing shame to Lowhill- this is no small thing.

We go back and forth for a while- haggling, eventually a price is agreed- 1,500gp and papers of introduction for Bonnie and her gang with Gundren Rockseeker, the Dark Squad's dwarven patron in Neverwinter.

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Bonnie and her gang will meet the Squad on the track between Gedge and Lowhill, on the 6th of Flamerule (next month) at nine bells (or thereabouts) there's a way stone at the spot. Bring the money and the papers- if everything is good she'll get them into the tomb of Rambles 'Shambles' Bowspirit.

The deal is done.

Just to note, some of the PCs have a naughty word-ton of money still. Daktari, for example, spends next to nothing (a few healing potions, maybe), he's got nearly 200pp on his sheet. Newt and Nicky on the other hand are both on their uppers- the latter has a little more than 10gp. Newt, until he got paid by Winston the Saltmarsh fence in the last session, had a similar amount.

Then, another diner invitation. Gellan Primewater calls on the Dark Squad one evening, to invite them all over to his place for a repast.

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Gellan's butler is Captain Bernard Scoggins (complete with eye patch, hook for right hand, and peg-leg). Although butler is pushing it- Scoggins is the first to table when the food arrives.

The Squad, and in particular Councillor Delvino, chat a good long while with Gellan, and it's pretty much the same kind of thing as with Anders Solmor. Gellan however is old skool, while Anders was all new ideas. Vinnie can see the divide.

Here's the oddity for the evening, prior to their departure- after a pleasant repast, Gellan asks the Squad if there's anything he can do for them. Lots of semi-worthy answers follow- a pay rise for Mrs Bad-Crumble (Gellan is the Dark Squad's landlord, and Mrs Bad-Crumble's employer), a survey of the Saltmarsh citizen's needs and wants, Ram would like to go out on a fishing boat (he used to be a sailor)- Vinnie also wouldn't mind a trip to sea. That kind of guff.

Gellan makes his intentions clear- WHAT DO YOU WANT? Money? Position? Etc. He is looking to buy the Squad's favour, or else Vinnie's.

The Dark Squad politely decline (how different this would have been if Newt was here) and then pleasantly extricate themselves from the situation.

And so, that's all we got done this session, and Bear (Newt) will be back for the next one- possibly; Jim, Bear and George are at a festival this weekend and will not be getting home until Mon/Tues and so... perhaps, the worst for wear, may cover it.

Next session we need to finish off the following-

Vinnie go and see Eliander Fireborn (head of the Watch) you insulted him in the council meeting.

Nicky's survey of the commonfolk.

Ram and Vinnie go fishing.

Another chat with Gellan (about the above survey).

Oh, and I'm particularly looking forward to Newt the Magnificent's Magnificent School of Magic.

No, honestly- we all are.

Stay safe and well you lovely people.

Cheers the Dark Squad and goonalan.
 




Goonalan

Legend
Supporter
Dark Squad in the Secrets of Saltmarsh

Session #097a: Saltmarsh Shenanigans Part 3.

Dark Squad (in alphabetical order, no egos here).
Daktari/Dak (played by Haggis) Male Human Uthgardt Sky Pony Barbarian Lvl 8
New Tricks/Newt (played by Bear) Male Tabaxi Warlock Lvl 8
Nicholai Barbaros Kostyiev/Nicky (played by George) Male Dhampir Cleric of Twilight 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


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And here we all are...

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-

THIS IS GOING TO GET A SORT OUT IN THE NEXT SESSION- PROMISE [I LIED].


  1. The De La Crane Manse is on The Leap, and Anders Solmor would like the Squad to check it out.
  2. Bonnie Bowspirit, grand-daughter of Rambles, will show the Squad to the missing halfling killer's tomb, on the 6th of Flamerule.
  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 97a, and still the Dark Squad are in Saltmarsh, making friends and influencing people, although... Newt's back.

WARNING: It is going to get creepy.

Fairly quickly.

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Remember?

Come on, let's get this over with...

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Look, I put some effort in ahead of this session, here's how Newt (maybe) imagines his Magnificent School of Magic to look.

The reality...

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Which isn't so bad, and look- there's Professor Newt!

But the first tenday of Newt's downtime is spent on an exhaustive circuit, the tabaxi is visiting a variety of places in Saltmarsh- wherever folk gather, to spread the word, and of course to entertain. Newt always puts on a show.

The Warlock's in search of students, folk that want to learn magic- and at this point the magic in question is mostly close-up, sleight-of-hand, and maybe a few cantrips (mostly Prestidigitation).

And Newt the Magnificent's Magnificent School of Magic is free to attend, and so why wouldn't you?

The clever bastard!

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That's right, Newt is after children. Gulp! The Tabaxi is the child-catcher.

Note, in the left hand chat window- '22' for Performance (for the Downtime meet-and-greet shows) and '27' for his Persuassion, to convince folk to allow their kids to come and see the magic.

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Jim (playing Vin & Dak) helpfully positions Newt's Fireball, but unfortunately the spell's AoE includes glorious Newt- some mistake surely.

Jim shakes his head- no mistake.

We watch on, mostly through our hands, or from behind the sofa.

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Esmeralda, a sulky merchant's daughter, is made chalk-monitor on the first day.

Then in the second tenday of Newt's downtime the tabaxi gets to work, teaching the children the basics of magic, and keep in mind this isn't spell-flavoured magic (at this point) he's imparting- more sleight-of-hand and all the theatre to go with it, conjurer's tricks.

But he's keeping his beady eye on the kids.

Oh, the DM worries, Bear- please don't do or say anything bad...

The tabaxi is trying to determine if there's any latent magical talent in the class.

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There is- that's Sabrina on the left, and she's the new head girl.

Note, there are two others in the class that display some talent, but their skills- Newt thinks, are more mundane than arcane, the other pair are good at tricks.

Also note, Newt's down to eleven students- one of them went home.

And the last tenday of the Tabaxi's downtime? More teaching, and that includes extra lessons for the three students that are ahead of the class.

And a new subject/thought is introduced to these three high-flyers.

Newt tells them this, actually it's beyond telling, he inculcates the following instruction into the select trio-

“You are better than all of the others. You are special. You are chosen.”

With a hefty side salad of the following-

“They are less than you. They are ordinary. They are disposable.”

So, nothing to worry about here then...

That was a month's worth of Newt-flavoured downtime, in maybe six rolls- most of 'em 20+.

Insidious. Not a word you get to use often. I fear I may have to use it more.

I honestly dread to think where the cat-man scamp is going to go with this, but that's an ever-present concern, so hey-ho, we press on with the last of the Dark Squad's Saltmarsh activities.

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Vinnie meets with Eliander Fireborn, head of the Saltmarsh Watch, ostensibly to say he's sorry about the things he said at the last council meeting, eventually- after plenty of chatter from the silver-tongued druid, Eliander relents.

The druid is back in the Watch Captain's good-books, no-one (so far) can stay mad at Vinnie for long.

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Meantime Nicky spends a tenday on and around the Saltmarsh docks- a hive of activity, as can be seen.

The dhampir makes use of multiple castings of Eagle's Splendour, and eventually folk (after he's been stood around for maybe five days) start to take notice- and to answer his queries.

A list of issues/concerns is put together by Nicky, most of it is to do with the good folk here seeing their livelihood disappear, or else lose its edge- the dwarves are the new money in town. Saltmarsh used to live or fall by that day's catch, fishermen were important folk- they may not have ruled the waves but they held a certain amount of sway on the docks, and in the town.

But now- dwarves!

Let's be clear, some of the docksider's concerns can be precised thusly- their racists.

A good number of folk here just seem to hate the dwarves.

Nicky collates his report, and then prior to the next Council meeting goes to meet with both Anders Solmor and Gellan Primewater (separately) to show them his results. Anders is perhaps less impressed than he should be, although this clearly isn't his specialism; Gellan however is very interested, the council member even commits to helping more- financially. One of the solutions offered for the docksider's problem is to set up a sea-person's mission, a place for injured or unemployed fisher-folk to sleep, eat, find employment, meet with others etc.

Gellan agrees to co-finance this.

It's D&D, but of a different kind.

Then... well, Ram and Vinnie spend a day out at sea on a fishing boat, but that doesn't go well- I get the pair to make their social skill tests, after a little RP, just to see how their visit proceeds. The dice hate 'em, from memory the results- '1' and a '3', plus bonuses of course.

The pair always seem to be getting in the way of the grumpy sailors, eventually the pair take it in turns to go for a dip in the briny. Note, they decide not to go swimming together because there's really no guarantee that the fisher-folk are going to stick around to pick them up again when they surface.

Ram discovers little, the rogue sailed the Sea of Swords for many years, and has been in it plenty of times before, but the ability to breath and move underwater (Mariner's Armour & Water Breathing from Vinnie) is still new to him, and so... there's nothing he can discover.

Vinnie uses his druidic magic to locate the nearest shark, it's about 100 yards away- and then to wildshape into a fellow apex predator and visit with the dull fellow.

Here's the thing, the pair (Ram & Vinnie) are looking for the sahuagin, the Sea Devils, when Newt and Daktari had their vision of these nasty aquatics attacking (their favourite place) Ashby, then the Soggy's were led by a four-armed hulking Sahuagin Baron. The Dark Squad are after this fellow, they want to put an end to the Soggy threat. They really do like Ashby.

So, the plan is this- go underwater and try to figure out where and why the Soggys are at/up to?

The method?

Talking to a lone random shark and (for Ram)... looking about a bit.

The plan goes as well as can be expected, the pair go for a pleasant dip, and Vinnie makes a new boring friend-

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Marvin (the shark) dun't know nuthin'.

Then... the 1st of Flamerule Saltmarsh Council meeting, and there are lots of ideas generated- all taken from Nicky's report, which the Dhampir has to present at the closed session after. There are no more images to go with this bit because we were travelling at a hundred miles an hour at this point- eager to get on.

So, resolutions are made- new ventures plotted (although they're yet to be costed) and the Dark Squad now need to find a way to get the Farhill Mine to pay for some (all) of this, whatever the cost.

More on this sort of thing to follow.

But that's enough for part A of this write up, it's time for the Dark Squad to head out again- to the De La Crane Manse up on The Leap, overlooking the Dunwater River, beyond which lies the Mere of Dead Men.

Nice!

Stay safe and well you lovely people.

Cheers the Dark Squad and goonalan.
 

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