Well, it was the weekend following Thanksgiving, so a low turnout was to be expected. Three gamers joined me at the Reaper Game Store to propel the adventures forward: Steven, playing Cain (Human M-U), Alex (Half-elf FTR/Acrobat); and Alex’s henchwoman Lamitha (Human THF); Dallas playing Anallia (Elf CLC/RGR), Barlyn (Dwarf CLC), and Barlyn’s henchwoman Dawn (Elf CLC); and Don, playing Barton (Half-elf M-U/THF). (During this period Barton has decided that he needs a sidekick as well.)
The festivities began while the main group was at the ruined tower they discovered the last time. While they were away, a group of their fishy friends attempted to board the ship in the dead of night. Fortunately, one of the four marines on duty as an anchor watch was alert and spotted them, sounding the alarm. More marines came boiling up from the deck, along with the ship master Ophidon (run by Don), and Lamitha and Dawn. A desperate battle ensued. Lamitha missed several shots with her hand crossbows, Ophidon spent much of the battle engaged with one of the foes, but Dawn’s combined bless and chant spells assisted the marines in turning the tide, although five of them went down (incapacitated; fortunately for the group they weren’t dead) before Lamitha, engaging in hand-to-hand, assisted two of the marines in turning the enemy’s flank. Once the flank was turned and the fish-men’s leader was taken out, the few remaining survivors managed to get overboard and back into the water. Dawn began healing the incapacitated marines, and all seemed well….until Ophidon noticed the ship was riding lower and lower in the water. The group had potions of water breathing (which had been left by the main group with the ship, as most of them have magic items that allow water breathing as well) but decided that they didn’t have enough combat power to go face the fish-men in their own element
- especially since they noticed that there were crescent-shaped dorsal fins in the water but no apparent thrashing or fighting. (They made the logical conclusion that the fish-men are friendly with sharks, of all creatures.) So instead, Ophidon ordered the ship’s crew to man the oars and managed to row the ship to the shallows and essentially beach it. He then began repairs.
When the main party returned they were not pleased to discover that the Razorwind was not where they had left it. However, the magic-users used their mending spells to accelerate the repair process, and the group began to analyze a journal from the former owner of the tower. They discovered that the ruins on Karina are not Khaurava, as most have always believed, but actually belonged to the Mauryas, a dynasty allied to Lemuria. The sage Gupchandros, some 400 years previously, had embarked on a study of the archipelago, but apparently lost his men in the process, and appears to have been slain by a vampire.
Armed with this information the group debated their next step. After a bit of wrangling, and looking over the map, they decided that the southeastern island, Gorantla, was the most likely location of the pirates’ base, and that they would investigate it. As they approached, they saw a ship approaching them. And another. And a third.
Barton and Anallia argued that they needed to capture at least one of the ships by boarding it; Alex argued that three on one is heavy odds for a naval battle. The Razorwind turned and exchanged trebuchet fire with the first ship. Fortunately for their cause, Barlyn’s special burning holy water, placed on the trebuchet ammunition, made the difference, and soon the first pirate was a burning hulk. The second pirate began to fire. Cain, fearing the damage the Razorwind was accumulating, cast fly on himself and flew high over the second ship, and then put a fireball in the center of its deck! This didn’t sink it, and it continued to fire, holing the Razorwind again. However, a second fireball reduced it to burning splinters.
Now Anallia and Barton were emphatic that the group needed to capture the third ship. So with Barton having case invisibility on himself, Cain dropped Anallia at the head of its mainmast, Barton at the front, and himself at the head of the foremast. Barton saw the enemy ship’s crew lined up along both gunwales prepared to repel boarders, and pulled out his wand of lightning, sending a forked stroke that only left one survivor, who promptly surrendered.
A search of the ship and some interrogation of the two prisoners they had captured (Cain having pulled one from the sea before the sharks got him) revealed the location of the pirate base on Gorantla; in addition there was a little loot, and an unusual device: a brass cylinder with a piece of glass at each end. Barton looked through both ends and saw no changes in what he saw. (No, it is not a telescope.) When they did a detect magic on it it did radiate magic. An identify only showed that it was a navigational/transportation device. Fortunately, the captain’s log told the tale:
“I’m not sure I trust this transport to Scrox……I’m supposed to find the stone peak of Stom somewhere in the sea, look at it through the tube, and say “Empless.” I have my doubts that this will even work, but orders are orders, and you better not piss off Al-Yaman."
Now the group needed a plan to take out the base. They learned about the base defenses from the prisoners, and decided to sail the captured ship (now renamed the Valkyrie under the command of Anallia) with one of the prisoners holding up the tattered flag of the Razorwind from the prow, as though they had won a difficult battle, with a phantasmal force hiding the true crew from the pirates. Unknown to the group, however, the pirates saw through the illusion. The group sneaked ashore under invisibility 10’ radius but as they split their forces to take out the base’s trebuchets, Alex’s group became visible. Therefore, Cain and Barlyn scrambled to a rooftop to take out the trebuchet there, Alex and Lamitha attempted to use stealth to get to their target, and Barton’s group took out the one in the opposite corner of the base. However, a large number of orcs then proceeded to come out, firing arrows, and releasing the trolls!
Cain managed to fireball the 5 trolls before they could disperse, killing two of them outright, but the remaining three came after him and Barlyn. Alex managed a sneak attack on the base’s commander to keep him off Lamitha while she disabled the third trebuchet. Anallia leaped from the wall and engaged two squads of orcs in melee, while Barton and Dawn proceeded to disable another trebuchet. Meanwhile, on the roof, Barlyn engaged the strongest troll and clapped two of his burning holy water vials directly on the troll’s ears! [he got one critical hit] When asked whether he would be burned himself, he serenely replied that his god would protect him. The blow slew the troll, but both troll and Barlyn fell from the rooftop, and Barlyn’s god did not protect him. (“Barlyn enjoys it. It’s a holy burn.”) In the meantime, Alex finished off the base commander and the base’s magic-user (who put the most anemic lightning bolt anyone’s ever seen into him.) Once Barton put his own lightning bolt onto a couple of squads of orcs it was all over but for the mopping up.
The group ended up taking some 19 captives from the pirates and freeing a number of lizard man slaves, as well as discovering the pirate’s loot. Said loot included bracers of armor AC 5 and a ring of protection +1.
They have determined to repatriate the lizard men, handing over the 19 captives to the lizard men themselves to help rebuild their villages, then likely will head back to Kajalla to repair the ship and engage in training.