Serpent’s Skull, Book 1, Session 5

Arodus 16

 

Oswald spent the morning repairing his gun.

 

The party had known the night before that their new camp was near the hunting grounds of a Shiv Dragon, but they had been too beat by the horrible encounter at the cannibal village to seek out the danger and destroy it. They set out before the heat of the day to fight it, and made fairly quick work of the beast, taking the meat back to camp to add to their rations.

There were no rains and the rest of the day was spent quietly at camp until near nightfall, when it cooled enough to try and move the camp. They knew that the village was still inhabited, but thought it would make the ideal place to set up a safer, more permanent camp until they found some way off of the island. They moved camp to the jungle about an hour from the village and planned a night raid on the remaining cannibals.

 

The plan was to be stealthy. The best laid plans of rats and gnomes oft go astray. Because of the rat, of course. The party soon found themselves fighting nine barbarian men and an old woman who seemed to have mystical powers. The party spent more of this encounter hiding in the jungle, falling prone often and keeping to cover, this had been Oswald and Yosemite’s saving strategy in the previous battle and it served the party fairly well. Though Korva was dropped before the battle was done, it lasted less than a minute and Jask was nearby to heal the party.

They made a cursory check of the compound to search for dangers before bedding down for the night. They found signs of cannibalism and butchery, human jerky and skeletal remains, but also signs that Captain Kovack and Ieana had been there in rations stamped in the same way they had been on the Jenivere. The found a shrine to Asmodius, and a figurehead of that god that seemed to be about 70 years old. One of the structures was an unfinished lighthouse. There was also a hut that contained an alchemical lab. They found the entrance to an underground chamber, presumably the ruins that Og-log had mentioned. Establishing that there was no immediate threat within the village, they moved the camp there  and put a watch on for the night. They called it a night in the wee hours.

 

Arodus 17

 

Korva and Yosemite awoke feeling sore in body and mind respectively.

The party pooled their endure elements and spent the whole day cleaning up the cannibal muck in the village. Oswald and Ken focused on crafting antiplagues.

 

Arodus 18

 

That morning Korva didn’t feel any worse from her red ache. Yosemite’s mindfire was still raging, so he thought it would be a good idea to get himself lowered into the chamber underneath the village. There he found an uneven floor, littered with blood, bones and debris, with a tunnel leading into the gloom. The rest of the party joined him below.

 

The tunnel sloped up and opened onto a chamber with a few Festrogs. The fight was swift but Jumper, the crocodile, got diseased.

 

On the ground, written on a piece of leather in blood,  the party found a letter written by the Captain of the Jenivere. He expressed regret for having brought his ship and her crew to this doomed island, explaining that he was enslaved to a “serpentine demon”, the missing Ieana. He asked that whoever reads the letter destroy the creature he has become and seek out Ieana and slay her as well.

 

In another chamber they found more ghouls, feasting on a great pile of bloodied bones. They made very quick work of them and examined the room. It seemed to be a temple to Ydersius, a serpentfolk god. There was a low stone altar that had a necromantic aura. The walls were covered in Aklo text. No one in the party could read it, but they copied down a bit of text that had been cleared of dust recently and planned to ask there rest of their companions aboveground if they could decipher it.

 

They moved deeper into the underground structure, where they could hear the slight lapping of waves and smell dank sea air. Listening closely they heard something slither into the water. One chamber was mostly under water, with a slender cliff circumventing it, the series of tunnels all echoed with the lapping of water, but it was the central, wider tunnel that the party entered. They found a number of ghouls, which seemed an easy target, until another one, clearly female, emerged from the water and channeled negative energy, greatly damaging the party. Korva and Jumper had moved into the chamber first, and two ghouls immediately attacked them, paralyzing both, while another ghoul made its way around to the back of the party and paralyzed Oswald. Ken was nearest and began to focus disrupt undead on the latter ghoul, while Yosemite fired his gun point blank and Eshe cast buffs on Bamidele, who in turn attempted to bite and claw at the ghouls. It was a very tight spot, and moving without taking attacks was very difficult. All the while the female ghoul was casting spells, channeling energy and dominating the battle.

Eshe attempted to pull Korva and Jumper out of the range of attacks while they were still paralyzed and, and while she managed to heal Korva, paralyzed and near death, took enough damage to fall herself, causing Bamidele to return to his home plane.

Oswald attempted to stealthily move into surprising places, taking flying leaps from cliff to cliff.

Ken summoned a mount for the movement speed and healed Eshe. Now Eshe was reduced to throwing her chakrams and summoning eagles. As soon as Korva recovered from her paralysis, she too summoned eagles every round, surrounding and distracting the cleric ghoul. Ken cast grease behind the cleric so her escape would be hindered. Jumper and the eagles focused on the cleric while Yosemite worked on the other ghouls, who had flanked him in one of the narrow tunnels.

The grease trick worked, and as the cleric ghoul turned to flee, she fell. The rest of the ghouls taken care of, Yosemite ran up and dealt the killing blow with his handaxe.

After disposing of this threat, the party returned to the surface for healing from Jask and asked Aerys if she could read their scrawled Aklo notes from the walls below: All Glory to Great Ydersius. She followed them down to translate more and the acquired what appeared to be instructions for a ritual involving something called The Tide Stone.

Serpent’s Skull, Book 1, Session 4

Arodus 11

Yosemite was finally feeling better, but Ken felt weak in the morning.

The party spent the day recovering from their ordeal the day before and the diseases that had ravaged various members throughout the past week.

The first order of their day in camp was to interrogate the barbarian they had captured. The man responded visibly to Infernal, but no other language. Aerys and Ken had little luck speaking to him, however, and Eshe tried to infer diplomacy through her attitude and hand signals, but he wouldn’t even look at her. They party decided to have Ken attempt to charm him the following day and moved on to other tasks.

They spent the cool parts of the day scavenging for alchemical supplies to help them fight off the constant disease they were being wracked with. They were beset by skeletons while looking for supplies, but made quick work of them. Yosemite collected bits of their broken scimitars for gunsmithing supplies.

Ken and Oswald spent a good amount of time attempting to craft a dose of anti-plague, but failed.

Arodus 12

Ken cast Charm Person on the barbarian and learned his name. Og-log.

Og-log informed Ken that he had lived on the island all his life. He knew of no way off and came from a village of 24 cannibals. He spoke of various aspects of the island. A grove of spirit trees that his people avoid, and the winged blood drinker who they made sacrifices to on the red mountain. He also spoke of the ruins underneath his village where their god and afterlife reside. He also told them that two people, matching the descriptions of Captain Kovack and Ieana had arrived in the village and been greeted by their chief. He had not seen them leave.

Afterward they hypnotized the barbarian, requesting “Guide us safely to your village and introduce us there as friends.”

Arodus 13.

The day was spent in scavenging and crafting anti-plagues. Finally the party was beginning to recover and stay on top of the rampant disease of the island.

Arodus 14.

The party made a plan to move camp once again. As they scouted along, Og-log felt compelled by his hypnotism to point out features along the trail, indicating an area where a sacred building resides. They found a new likely spot to camp and set out to eliminate the surrounding dangers. First the encountered a spider, though it tried to hinder them with its web, they eventually took it down, Oswald dealing the killing blow with his newfound spellslinging powers.

The next threat to their campsite was a lizard. They made even quicker work of it, with Oswald disabling it and Bamidele chomping it to oblivion. They collected the meat from the lizard and returned to camp with it.

Overnight the party was awoken by a swarm of bats attacking the campsite. With torches,  persistence and Korva’s produce flame, they eliminated the bats. Everyone was slightly damaged by the ordeal and Jask channeled positive energy to heal the group.

Arodus 15

The day was spent gathering alchemical supplies until noon. The rains started early and everyone thought it was a good omen for the day.

They asked Og-log to guide them to his village, and he led the way. They reached the village around 5:30pm and Og-log grunted to a Shiv-dragon, the same type of lizard they had fought before, that the party were “friends.” While the lizard ignored Og-log’s entrance to the village, it clearly did not answer to his verbal commands, and immediately attacked the party. Bamidele took it out in a single round and the group followed Og-log into the village. He looked confused as he said, “These are friends,” and then headed into one of the structures.

Various people were milling about the village and they clearly didn’t take Og-log seriously. They flexed and raged and a dramatic and horrible battle followed. Eshe fell almost immediately to a thrown javelin, but managed to stabilize quickly. This eliminated Bamidele from the battle as well.

Ken began to dig around for potions. Korva was the next party member to fall. Ken poured a potion into Eshe and she regained consciousness, shocked by the sudden carnage around her. Ken had moved on to Korva.

As Yosemite and Oswald attempted to control the battlefield with their guns, Eshe summoned an eagle and Ken cured Korva. Korva added a summoned stirge to the mix and Eshe began to throw chakrams into the fray.

Eventually Ken managed to fascinate a couple of the barbarians, but there were so many of them it was overwhelming. And just as things seemed like they might be under control, an extremely burly man and a group of women emerged from one of the structures.

The strongest looking barbarian, clearly the chief, took Jumper out of the fight.

Korva summoned one last eagle and fled the fight, Eshe quickly moved away, intending to follow, seeing the battle as a complete loss they both felt responsibility to get back to the camp and protect their comrades there. They were amazed to hear the sounds of battle continue behind them, feeling both heartened and nervous every time they heard a shot from Yosemite or Oswald’s guns.

Ken attempted to color spray, and managed to hit the chief and one of his wives. Eshe was still near enough to summon one last eagle before she took off at full tilt.

Shortly after the colorspray, Ken fell unconscious from a particularly brutal hit, leaving Oswald stealthily hiding throughout the brush, throwing fallen javelins as he found them, and Yosemite running dangerously low on ammunition. Again when they felt they had control of the battlefield, more enemies joined the fight. This time it was caged skeletons, who began to crawl out of their corral. Yosemite got the blow on the chief that sent him spiraling into unconsciousness. A long game of barbarian and skeleton vs rat and gnome followed, with Oswald hiding on one side of the carnage and Yosemite the other, until both the small creatures were victorious. Counting the 14 corpses they could tell they had not completely eliminated the barbarian village. Oswald quickly sent up dancing lights, signalling to Eshe and Korva to return. They grabbed the amulets from the barbarian’s necks and carried the unconscious Ken and Jumper back to camp. Though miraculously everyone survived it didn’t quite feel like a true victory.

Jask healed the party and they decided it was best to move camp, since Og-log may have had a chance to tell the remaining villagers where they were situated.

Serpent’s Skull, Book 1, Session 3

Arodus 8

 

In previous scouting the party had noticed a couple of wrecks along the Eastern shore. While they were on their way to investigate them, they again encountered the group of small monkeys, but the monkeys just screeched and went deeper into the jungle.

 

The first shipwreck was unnamed. Oswald scouted ahead and saw four zombies standing listlessly on the crumbling deck. He signalled for the rest of the party to follow him and a quick skirmish ensued, with Bamidele, Korva and Jumper dealing the killing blows. The party was rewarded for their efforts with the discovery of coins, art and gems belowdecks, but nothing of use for escaping the island.

They returned to camp to acquire healing from Jask and to rest through the heat of the day. After the rains came they set out again to investigate the second shipwreck they had spied. It was far off shore against a small island and the party thought over how best to approach it from sometime. Eshe dismissed Bamidele and summoned a dolphin, which Oswald rode over to the island, after working out a code with his innate dancing lights ability to request another dolphin. Written on the side of this boat were the words “Brandywine Latrine”, not one of the wrecks they were searching for, but he continued to investigate in the hopes that he would find some usable supplies aboard. It was completely bereft of anything of use and Eshe sent another dolphin over to retrieve the gnome.

 

The party returned to camp.

 

Arodus 9

 

Eshe and Yosemite awoke feeling the effects of mindfire. They ate the last of the viper nettle berries to try and fight of the disease but neither of them could say for sure if it had helped.

 

The day was extremely hot, but the party set off on the game trail they had discovered. It was much quicker travel, but unfortunately they had not anticipated the traps that lay along it. Bamidele was in the lead as usual and when the net scooped him up and thrust him against great spikes, he vanished to his home plane.

Somewhat disheartened to lose Bamidele for the rest of the day, the party carefully continued along the trail, Oswald and Korva searching for traps. After Oswald triggered a trap which narrowly missed him, the party decided to move off of the trail and set up a new camp. They found an area which was mostly defensible, but could tell it was within the hunting area of something that scuttles. They went in search of this creature to eliminate the threat to camp.

 

On a nearby beach they encountered a crab. Without Bamidele, Eshe summoned an eagle, and the rest of the party made quick work of the crab, especially Korva’s crocodile, Jumper, who dealt the killing blow and happily ate some of the crab right on the spot.

 

Arodus 10

 

Eshe awoke feeling much better. Yosemite was still feeling the ravages of mindfire, however.

 

Bamidele again took the lead on the game trails, searching for traps along the way. They made good time and moved the camp again, getting it set up just before the noontime heat. It was a long five hours before the rains came.

 

The trail forked, and the party took the way that led towards the shore. They found the remains of a camp. It looked like a collection of six or so nests, the area was littered with broken sawtooth sabers and daggers, but they found one high quality dagger. The design on it was familiar. After a moment they realized that it matched the tattoo on Sasha’s back.

 

They looked along the shoreline and spied a colossal crab. They carefully headed back inland to avoid the beast.

As they headed along the untried trail, Bamidele spied another trap in a valley between two cliffs. Oswald successfully disabled it, but a sudden and clearly controlled yank upon the rope sent him sailing into the spikes set into the cliff wall. The party attempted to climb the sheer wall, with much scrambling and difficulty. Bamidele made the most progress, but by the time he reached the top, Oswald was bleeding at the top, a fearsome barbarian standing over his small, broken body. Bamidele attacked him and he was heavily damaged, Korva was the next to make it up the cliff face, after catching Eshe, who had fallen, Ken and Yosemite realized that they stood little chance of making it up the wall and stood helplessly at the bottom, trying to get the Barbarian within their sights. Bamidele chased the barbarian until he begin to feel the effects of distance from Eshe, and just as he had given up, the barbarian suddenly dropped to the ground in front of him. Eshe continued to attempt the climb, but fell again and dropped unconscious, thus sending Bamidele back to his home plane. Korva dragged the unconscious barbarian back to the party, tied him up, and they dragged him, while carrying the completely broken body of their poor gnomish comrade back to camp.

In the spoils of the treasure they had dug up with Ishorou they had found a scroll of raise dead. Jask used this to bring Oswald back and the party spent a sobering evening thinking over their life choices. They all felt very different upon reaching level 2.