Well, due to a large number of changes in the time sink known as “Real Life,” I haven’t been able to update the adventure log in a timely manner, although we have been continuing the adventure. Following will be a number of highlights:
1/10/15: Due to a somewhat light turnout the group determined that they needed to explore the remainder of the islands surrounding the central island of Verdonna prior to attempting to discover what was wrong with it. They explored the island of Priya more thoroughly, discovering the remains of an ancient wall which appeared to date back to the Lemurian Civil War. Barton also attempted to engage in more trade, and unfortunately lost some money at it; he decided that he might wait on further attempts until his skill is greater.
1/24/15: The Five Sisters at peace: A more full-up group this time traveled to the remaining outlying island, Karina, to explore it. They discovered a strange apparition: a ruined castle which sometimes looked ruined and other times looked intact. Knowing from previous discoveries that the tiger symbol on the walls was that of the Maurya clan, they approached and told the guards that they were warriors of that clan, and were passed inside. Again, once inside the castle they had a case of “double vision,” seeing the ruins but also seeing the castle intact. Looking out the gate, some saw the sea, while others saw broad lowland fields. They proceeded to explore the castle, but were attacked by a large number of shadows, which they fought off without too much difficulty. Carefully choosing the path that appeared intact in the “ruins” view, they made their way to the second floor, where in a bedroom they heard women crying. Entering the room, they discovered three young ladies, richly dressed, sitting on a large bed. Two were crying inconsolably; the third appeared angry. She began to speak.
She told them that they she was Verdonna, and that the two other girls were her sisters, Priya and Karina. (Strange coincidence with the names of the islands, n’est pas?) and they were weeping for their two other sisters, Kinsalla and Gorantla. Kinsalla had been married to Pandu, and Gorantla to Khauru, of the Lemurian Gupta dynasty, but both were murdered the same day, apparently each by agents of the other’s husband. (Ostensibly, this would have been in order to guarantee succession of the killer’s children.) Approached by agents of Elthedoros, the King of Theravashtra, they agreed to his plan to avenge them, and gave his agent earrings belonging to their slain sisters.
However, all was not as it seemed. The earrings were used to mystically bind the slain girls to demons, which proceeded to lead Pandava and Khaurava warriors into an eternal battle seeking for a vengeance that would never come. The three remaining sisters were trapped in a never ending cycle of grief and rage, and Kinsalla and Gorantla were trapped by the demons. The only way to free them would be to touch each demon with the matching earring and then slay it. (The demons were invulnerable until then.) Naturally, such heroes as ours agreed to undertake the quest.
They sailed into the unceasing fog that surrounded Verdonna, made landfall, and searched inland. It was not difficult to find a battle raging — hundreds if not thousands of skeletal warriors shot and stabbed each other, only to rise again after a few minutes to begin all over again. Behind each skeletal army was a beautiful girl with a family resemblance to the other three exhorting them to greater efforts.
Using stealth and invisibility Barton and Alex snuck up behind the two girls. (Fortunately, they guessed correctly which earring belonged to which girl — well, they had a 50-50 chance) while the remainder of the party tried to fight off outlying skeletons that thought they were their enemies. Alex clapped the earring onto the demon, saw it change form, and engaged it in hand-to-hand combat. Barton attempted to be more subtle, and attempted to use his pick pockets ability to place the earring into the girl’s sari. This failed unfortunately, and the demon turned on him and injured him severely before he was able to touch it with the earring. By this time Alex had dispatched his demon and came charging through the two armies to help. He outmaneuvered the skeletons and was able to assist Barton in slaying the second demon, at which time the skeletal warriors crumbled to dust, and the fog lifted — the sun shone down onto the island of Verdonna for the first time in two thousand years. The group, rather wounded at this point, reboarded their vessels and returned to Kajalla to recover.
2/7/15: The group found itself being asked for help in Kajalla by a representative of the lizard man tribe near Tolepur, and by a representative of Tolepur itself. It seems the lizard men had lost a number of their people to an unknown assailant, while the farming villages near Tolepur were being raided from the sea by parties unknown — parties which generally did not leave survivors. (Note: we had several new players this day and I rather expected a good old party split, but my hints were ostentatiously ignored.) The group gathered and sailed to Tolepur. There was not much information forthcoming in the city, so the entire group set out to assist the lizard men. From the lizard man village they were able to track down the losses to a cave in the side of a hill. Not knowing what was in the cave, but fearing the worst, the group arranged a number of missile fighters and spell casters inside the tree line while Barton and Alex climbed the hill to see if there was a back door.
Of course there was a back door. Dragons hate not having a back door. Dragons that have extremely keen hearing and the ability to use spells hate it even more. In this case, the male dragon had already emerged invisibly from the shaft in the top of the hill and blasted Alex and Barton with acid (being a black dragon, naturally.) Almost slain from the dragon breath, they beat a hasty retreat, while Cain managed to hit the dragon with a lightning bolt and the rest of the party moved in to cover the lower cave entrance. However, they were guarding the cave entrance after the dragon had gotten out, and the female dragon became visible and hit the covering group with another breath, killing one and injuring several others. The dragons were no match for the entire party though, and although they retreated back into the cave to consume healing potions, they were soon dispatched. Their hoard was taken, they were skinned for acid-proof armor, and the group went triumphantly to the lizard man village, where the shaman was able to raise the dead dwarf. Ominously, however, in the cave they did find a pair of eggshells that had been cracked in half and were covered in dust….
Returning to Tolepur, the party then explored up the coast looking for the raiders. It didn’t take long to find them — there were a couple of double-hulled canoes beached near a campsite. The creatures at the campsite took to their canoes and charged the ship as soon as they saw it. They appeared to be canine-headed humanoids, armed only with primitive weapons, and extraordinarily ferocious, not appearing to know how to surrender. This battle went by rather quickly, however, what with the powerful magic the party could bring to bear. At this point the group accepted the thanks of Tolepur and returned to Kajalla.
2/21/15: However, something else happened while they were on the island. On this particular day only Don (Barton) and Derek (Gerhardt the Paladin, who had missed a number of previous adventures) were available. As a consequence, we retconned that the small group left on the ship had included Gerhardt, and he and Raj (along with Dawn the cleric, who had also been left on the ship) departed for the interior of the island, following a compulsion Gerhardt was feeling. Coming up on a knoll, they saw two black dragons (remember those eggshells?) tormenting another creature. Gerhardt felt a burst of affection for the victim, and raced forward to heal it, while the others engaged the dragons. Fortunately, these were very young dragons, and although the group took some lumps, they were able to slay them. Backtracking to the dragons’ lair they found not much of a hoard, but what there was included a fragment of the Lemuriad! They discovered that the creature that had been tormented was a lawful good ajalung, a creature also known as an “iron dragon,” which is a semi-aquatic creature who volunteered to be Gerhardt’s companion and mount.
Exploring the dragons’ lair further, they found there was a secret entrance to an ancient tunnel complex guarded by some undead, which were slain. At the end of the tunnel, however, was an invisible undead creature which opened their discussions with a fireball which killed Raj and wounded the rest. However, it was dispatched without too much more difficulty, and Raj was revived by a scroll Dawn discovered. They were able to return to the ship in time to join the rest of the group in returning to Kajalla.
More catching up to come……