Posts made in April, 2018

Chris’s scenario recap (Pcon 43)

My run was “The Cave of Wonder” a very simple poster in line with my art skills. 

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The actual name of my scenario was “Journey to the Center of the Mole People” for reasons that will become obvious around the second run. I offered chances to hunt for dinosaurs and other time lost creatures as well as crystal mutants, but my run was mostly centered on the meta plot about the changing of the Gods. 

My first run was with

Barry “Bare” Trap
Green
Gronk
Irwin Stevens, (Soon to be named Kangaroo Lizard Wrangler)
Jack “Lucky” Rabi
Tenacity
 
Our Heros ™ were tasked with exploring a newly discovered permanent teleport circle and bringing back any unusual animals found. After some brief preparation they were lead to hole in the ground with magical runic circle inside it. Some brief investigation discovered that the runes include the symbol of Magus a long lost god and the following statement in a long forgotten tongue “This is the door to my hiding place, to follow me is to die for I run from death”
 
On the other side of the teleport there is a cave covered with softly glowing pink crystals. After some investigation they manage to pull all the giant crystal spiders in a fight of about 10 rounds winning pretty easily and thereby avoid the ambush, backstabbing, webbing and slow poisons. More investigation they find a decapitated lizard the size of a horse filled with Rat/Snake hybrids. A nice swarm with weakness poison! This eats some AOE fire and none are recovered for the Menagerie. Finally they encounter the first big fight, a t-rex! 150HP, 2 attacks a round doing an average of 33 pts a hit! A nice fight, should really tax the party you’d think. If they were still poisoned might even lead to a fatality or two. Instead Irwin Stevens sits up straight, his eyes glowing “THIS IS WHAT I DESIGNED MY CHARACTER FOR!!” Yes, my big fight ran into a character specifically designed around winning that fight instantly. So now that fights over and Irwin is riding the T-rex as they exit the cave into the Land of the Mole People.
 
The Land is an oddly distorted underground cavern, the air is supersaturated with magic making detect magic trigger a con save or stun for 1d4 rounds. Distances do not match with travel times and there is a giant D12 shape glowing red in the sky. 
 
The players take all this in and go exploring a bit where they chance to find a fight in progress between some 7 ft tool naked mole rat barbarians and a pack of raptors lead by a mutant crystal raptor. They get a chance to watch the fight and learn that crystal powered mutants cancel spells, clerics of Magus are a thing and raptor packs with AOE magic defenses are nasty. After a brief debate they decide to help the more people looking side and jump into the fight. The remaining Mole People, having no idea what’s going on, bug out leaving one berserker to hold off the party if they turn out to be evil. However, they ignore him and instead whip out some AOE heals and he runs for it after the raptors go down. As a side effect of the heals, one of the down Mole People wakes back up and they manage to have a nice chat and arrange to meet the Speaks-with-God. 
 
So the party (which contains no clerics or people in armor higher than chain) wait around to see what happens. Lo and behold a group of Mole People approach with 2 barbarians for every PC, 2 wizards and a cleric of Magus. Just dripping with powerful magic items if they dare to take them. However, the players decline to take the bait and instead talk to the Mole People learning that magic is ridiculously empowered, the only god they know is Magus, they have no healing magic, they are fighting the “Hard Shells” who take them and use their bodies (“Aha, slavers! says the party”) and that the Mole People are able to learn new magic just by carefully observing it. 
 
Finally they learn the location of the city of the Hard Shells and make arrangements for to how signal peaceful intentions on meeting the Mole People (Drop all weapons and lay down on your back with your hands over your head) Sadly, this last piece of information doesn’t make it into the notes. 
 

My second run was with:

Arlahk Dawntusk
Bobbins Kettleblack
Claw
Dershawkin
Malon aka Kit
Pollein
Professor Paelias Galanodel


 
This group was more interested in the glowing dodecahedron in the sky and head that way with scouting by familiar. In this way they soon encounter a civilized looking naked mole rat named Vert in heavy armor that had been lost in the wilderness. No one remarks on how  Vert always keeps his teeth clenched while talking.  He treats the group as saviors, tells them he lost his mount and gear during a hunt and asks if they will escort him back to the city. Interested in getting a native guide, they agree and he activates an item that hastes everyone within 30 feet while in use. Under the affects of this they rush to the city with a very brief fight with some hasted raptors that they easily win. Once they reach the city Vert deactivates the item and they all receive 3 levels of exhaustion.
 Given the severe penalties from the exhaustion, the party is very cautious moving through the city, the citizens give them some odd looks but generally ignore the party with Vert. Many strange and wondrous devices are seen, boxes with moving pictures, clocks that fit on a wrist, large moving boxes on wheels to name just a few. They hole up at Vert’s house to try and recover, Vert suggests they take their feet off and get some rest, he is going to take a nap and then get a reward for them for saving him. He mentions that he might need to go for the Ritual of Renewal at the Temple of Magus. 
 
At this point, the players decide to split the party.
While most of the group tries to rest, Claw decides to search the house and the Professor and Dershawkin go to find the Temple of Magus that had been mentioned for the Ritual of Renewal. Utilizing care and diligence, the two external party members make it to the Temple without incident, discovering that it’s in the center of town and has a moat around it of some odd non-liquid. Meanwhile Claw has found that Vert’s is hanging in an empty room from two wooden rods on the wall with his head tilted back and mouth wide open. After some poking, it’s concluded that Vert is alive. In the next room is a giant tub of dirt with large holes in it which disgorges a giant millipede after being disturbed. The millipede asks in Verts voice why they are awake and suggests some food, then goes through a hole in the wall to the room with Vert is who soon walks out. 

 
At this point the party realizes that Vert is just a Meat Suit for a giant Millipede and that everyone in the city except them are actually giant millipedes that like to wear Meat Suits. 
 
The Professor and Dershawkin are met by a priest who starts pushing for them to have the Ritual of Renewal “You’ll feel like all new people!”, they decline and book it as soon they can, chased by the priest and some guards. They are able to evade with the help of invisibility and sneaking, but a sharp smell fills the air from the temple outward spread from each person as they smell it. 
 
Meanwhile the remainder of the party are lunching with Vert who has taken a liking to Claw and given him some of his favorite gear to wear. “Yeah, that fits nice. You’re going to be a good look. Here take these two weapons, why not get yourself used to pulling them out and putting them back, really build that into a reflex.” Claw is disturbed by the overtones, but likes the gear. 
 
There is some communication via sending, and the party reunites. Vert comments on the Alarm Scent filling the air, but is charmed into compliance and helps the party escape from the city. On the way back to Hunters Hall, they have a brief fight with a regular mole person and end up binding everyone  with rope and gags and delivering them to menagerie. 
 
 
 

My third run was with:

 
 
“Big Dick” Richard William Johnson
Bones
Diegona Godsteel
Kuu
Selna
Tenacity
Virago


 
 
This time when the party teleports in they are met with a ring of heavily armed Mole People riding giant star nosed moles who demand the return of their kidnapped companion. This leads to a cross connection with Megan’s run as the players sneak into the menagerie using some connections to find and return the Mole Person without further complications. The party is somewhat fractious and has some “friends like these moments” when they decide to drop a magic grenade into the teleport circle that happens to have the side effect of causing unstable magical side effects blending things together. 
 
After returning the kidnapped Mole Person, the group is recruited into helping with the war that has broken out among the Mole People vs the City of the Hard Shells. Bolstered by the magics they had learned from the previous parties, the Mole People are laying siege to the city, while the Hard Shells fight back with magi-tech including giant battle mechs, self powered cannons and all manner of atrocity. The party uses several illusion spells to create a distraction and run through the gaps in the fight, taking some hits but overall getting through lightly scathed. Once behind the lines they get lucky with a magical surge to teleport to get inside the city after a brief fight with a fomorian giant.  Using stealth and magic the party heads to the Temple at the center of the city where the Mole People have told them lies the core of the Hard Shells power. Dodging patrols in the mostly empty city, they get to the temple without incident and sneak in. 
 
Inside they discover that the temple is a mostly a hollow shell with streams filled with large millipedes running down the sides in 4 streams of not-liquid and in the middle is a great pool of non-liquid acting like liquid that is filled with large millipedes turning into giant millipedes and floating in the middle of the room is a giant glowing red brick box shining down on the pool. The party reflects on the mysterious glowing box, the pool teeming with (brain eating body controlling parasites) and decides that they have successfully scouted, and it’s someone else problem to actual do the work.  
 
Bones: I run for it. 
Diegona: I run for it. 
Tenacity: I run a little way, but stop and hold my action.  
Richard Johnson:  I shoot the corner of the glowing brick box!   -  The brick falls out easily, releasing an even brighter glow! The giant millipedes (brain eating parasites) start to get bigger, the pool is frothing as the swarm is agitated! 
Ku: Ooooh, I use telekinises to try and throw a grenade into the open hole in the box! (hands over hotlisted magic grenade of merging effects that he threw in the middle of the land of magic empowerment) Oops, wild surge! (In the middle of the temple of the god of magic where literally a pool of liquid magic fills the floor)
Tenacity: I use my held action to fireball the box, I should be just outside the blast radius.
Everyone else still inside the blast radius: Wait, what?
Grenade is empowered by the ambient magic, swelling in size! Telekenisis warped by the wild surge goes wild! Fireball is empowered by the ambient magic swelling in size! Grenade absorbs fireball! Combined empowered mutating wild surged grenade fireball detonates!
*SLOW MO SOUNDLESS EXPLOSION WASHES OVER PARTY*
Fade to black
———-
Ku wakes up in an endless white room getting boomed at “WHAT DID YOU DO! YOU SHOULD NOT BE HERE! SOME OF YOU ARE DEVOTED TO MY FELLOW GODS!” Magus proceeds to drop all kinds of information on Ku about how the gods work, how they change every so often, the purpose of the contests, and what Magus specifically is looking for to win his long overdue contest. (a way to transfer bodies while keeping consciousness and all powers) Then the GOD OF MAGIC asks Ku what he wants, Ku has done him a service and is being granted a boon.
The rest of the party is not permitted to offer suggestions.
After some thought, Ku says “I would like to go to an Inn.” (THE REST OF THE PARTY IS REMINDED THEY AREN’T PRESENT FOR THE CONVERSATION) ”AN INN. YOUR WISH, YOUR HEARTS DESIRE IS TO GO TO AN INN.” (Shush! You can’t offer suggestions!) ”A good inn!” “GRANTED!!”
———-
Fade in
Everyone is sitting around in the Inn they used as the base of operations for the heist at the start of the session. The room is otherwise empty. “YOUR REQUEST HAS BEEN GRANTED. I WILL NOT LEAVE YOU EMPTY HANDED. FOR YOUR SERVICE, I WILL RAIN TREASURE UPON YOU.” A shower of magic items falls from the air around Ku, clattering off the floor ( I play 52 pickup with a stack of magic items all over the players)

My fourth run was with:

Adrie
Nash
Phynian
Ripper
Shofar
Toblorone
Vetran
Sent in to find out what happened to the last party since they didn’t come back via the teleport circle, this group walks into devastation. The Mole People have lost the war and are scattered in camps trying to protect themselves from the brain eating giant millipedes that want them for meat suits. They find one such camp and after some back and forth Adrie teaches them the ways of Aru making this the first true conversion of the Mole People who have been starving for true option for their faith. He is amazed at how easily they find the way to Aru and convert to being level 1 clerics.
The Mole People guide the party to the city where they discover that the wondrous machines no longer work along the way that the constant empowerment of magic is now more fickle. Dodging patrols and traps they make it into the temple in the middle of the city. Using stinking cloud to extremely good effect (millipedes cannot vomit) they are able to get past the ensuited (meat suited) guards and use magic to scout the temple finding that it is roughly 1/3 full of empty meat suits and chock full of giant (brain eating) millipedes as described in my previous run. However, this time there is no glowing brick box, but instead a number of glowing red blocks scattered around and a glowing humanoid figure at the bottom of the pool of not-liquid (swarming with giant (brain eating) millipedes. This time the millipedes are stirred up and notice the party, luckily the party realizes that some of the millipedes are swimming back up the streams on the walls to try and get to the meat suits. The party counters with area of effect attacks, alert fighting tracking the millipedes and summoned elementals that are empowered by the ambient magic and become both independent and amiable to the requests made. it’s
The elementals are used to bring up the glowing figure after some side effects from the pool and after some experimenting the party realizes that it matches the impression of the inside of the red blocks and the residue left from Magus’s shelter is successfully contained. Without the constant flow of excess magic, the pool of liquid magic starts to fade and the large millipedes stop mutating into giant (brain eating, intelligent) millipedes. The power of the Hard Shells is broken, the Mole People are saved!
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Alex’s Scenario Recap (Pcon 43)

Gotta Catch ‘em All

Overview

1800 years ago was supposed to be Iniki’s contest, but Iniki has no use for Ronkel’s machinations, and so Iniki’s “competition” was to flood the world and not be replaced.  So Iniki sent Ophelia, avatar of Storms and Drowning, to destroy civilization. El, a moleperson and high priestess of Magus, came forth from the underdark to gather four compatriots.  They built a giant humanoid construct that they piloted together to defeat Ophelia and send her back to to the depths. This device was too dangerous to be allowed to fall into the wrong hands, and so they disabled certain important systems and scattered the pieces around the world.

When Hione announced this year’s competition, Ophelia awoke from her slumber, and continued her original mission.  Over the course of seven expeditions, the players discovered the existence of the construct, found the necessary parts to fix it, all the while making other captures for the menagerie, and finally learned how to work together to control it and used it to defeat Ophelia and make her part of the menagerie.

The Lightning Squirrel

Enticed by the following words on the poster:

Like fresh air?
Like being in the great outdoors?
Then capture creatures for Whiggam!

 

Bire Fringent, Elven Ranger

DerShawkin, Gnome Rogue

Jolynn Huxley, Half-Elf Fighter

Lazlo “Squeaks” McGee, Gnome Warlock

Loafe, Half-Elf Warlock

Raymond Stiggyn, Human Monk

Usidoor Neckbeard, Half-Elf Druid

 

The party was tasked by Delilah Zyland (see Megan’s runs) with retrieving a lightning squirrel for the menagerie.  They don’t know much about the squirrel, except that it’s a rare creature native to Whiggam, and can be found in the woods near Whiggam’s Institute for Arcane Studies.  They party traveled there without incident looked for Professor Tulgey. He wasn’t in his office and the passing students suggested that he’s rarely there. Going through his notes, they find out out some information on the Lightning Squirrel, some extinct creatures like the jub jub bird, and that there exists a larger cousin to the shambling mound, the spotted and herbaceous backson, which the Professor believes may have played a role in the jub jub bird’s extinction.  The party figured the poor Professor may have been eaten, but the students assured them that the Professor is often out for several weeks to months at a time. All they have to do, according to the students, is go off the path, then Tulgey will eventually find them, but try not to disturb the animals too much if they don’t want Tulgey to be in a bad mood.

 

The next day they set out along animal paths into the deeper woods, pausing every so often to detect Lightning Squirrels (5 mile radius, sadly not finding any) and Spotted and Herbaceous Backsons (finding some *every* time, but not wanting to fight one right away).

 

Setting camp for the night, they’re approached by Professor Tulgey, who is checking in to make sure they’re not disturbing the animals.  He approves of their careful campfire building, though of course he’d prefer they not use fire at all. The party mentions the Contest, and the Professor is quite firm in his belief that the Menagerie is a terrible idea.  Quickly rethinking their approach, they casually ask him about the habits of the Lightning Squirrel, purely out of academic interest. He becomes animated in discussion, and offers to take them to a spot where has has sighted a Squirrel before.

The next day they travel to the blind, and while they’re waiting for a Lightning Squirrel to appear, there is commotion not far off.  Two people come crashing through the woods, claiming to be students attacked by backsons. A yowl of a large cat can be heard in the distance.  ”That’s an Angrak windsteed! They’re not native to these woods!” cries the Professor, and he rushes off in the direction of the sound. The two students went off to find help, and the party decided this was the time to go off in search of the nearest Lightning Squirrel!  They do find one, but it eludes their initial attempts to trap it, and runs off to its lair, a hole in a small hill covered in grapevine.

Exploring a way to trap the squirrel in its nest, they discover that the hill hides a much larger structure of demihuman manufacture.  Negotiating a truce with the squirrels (the one they followed has a mate and baby squirrels!) they explore inside and find the following projected image message:

“Welcome; I am El, the high priestess of Magus.  This temple was built to protect the people from <static> storms and drowning.  We managed to send Ophelia back <static>, but we fear what could happen if the temple fell into the wrong hands.  Therefore, we, the original knights, Gretta Opusdottir, Riven <static>, Kusakabe of Orviska, Broseph of Illselia, and myself, decided to hide the temple and certain vital systems until it was needed again.”

There was a system of tunnels under the surface, and several panels revealing complex machinery.  At each of these panels, something appeared to have been removed, and the panel labeled in undecipherable script.  In the tunnel system they discovered a lamp; when its light was shone on the script, it revealed the names of each system removed.

The party promised all the nuts the squirrel family could eat, and left quickly before Professor Tulgey found them out.  However, upon returning to the Institute, they learned that Tulgey’s head had been thrown into the courtyard by a group of windsteed-mounted Angrak warriors, declaring that the thief had been punished.  Deciding that it was probably best if no one questioned them about Tulgey’s death, they claimed not to have encountered him in the woods, and returned triumphant to the menagerie.

GM note: the two “students” in the woods were Godonia agents disguised as Whiggamites.  They had stolen the windsteed and were trying to make it look like Whiggam was responsible for the theft, in order to sow discord.

 

Irontown

We need brave adventurers to travel to Eren to secure a shipment of Greenheart wood!  Possible creature capture!

 

Adrie, Half-Orc Cleric of Aru

DerShawkin, Gnome Rogue

Kuu, Tiefling Sorcerer

Nash, Human Cleric of Hione

Phynian, Human Sorcerer

Rigger, Elven Fighter

Shofar Walowitz, Half-Elf Bard

Vassago, Half-Elf Warlock

Vetran, Elf Cleric of Ratri

 

“It’s much easier to lie when I think it’s the truth.”  Vetran

 

Faced with a choice of missions, they decide to participate in a trade mission for Greenheart wood in Eren.  During their sea voyage, they encounter refugees from Firviria, which has been ravaged by Hurricane Ophelia. They pause to help repair some of the most damaged ships and see to the most wounded, and Adrie directs them to Aru temples in Whiggam where they can find shelter, Sending to those temples to be prepared for the refugees.  Vetran, IIRC?, discovers that a few specimens from Firviria’s menagerie were rescued in the refugee fleet, and they determine to report this later in order to bolster Whiggam’s menagerie, once the Firvirians are resettled.

 

In Eren, the shipment of Greenheart wood from the interior has been delayed, and the party travels into the forest to determine what happened, following an expedition of Eren Paladins.  They discover a trail of toppled wagons laden with Greenheart wood, their crews apparently murdered by animals of the forest. Upon reaching the Greenheart logging camp, they find a few survivors, and the Paladins have gone further into the forest, cutting down Greenheart trees in search of “the one” that they believe is controlling the attacking animals of the forest.  The party is able to convince them to stop until the Queen of Eren can decide what to do here; they make it out with the desired shipment of Greenheart wood, but are concerned that Eren has cut too many of these trees.

We want… a Flywheel!

We need brave adventurers to escort Professor Maynard on a mission to Vandorel – a missing piece of the Temple of El and a possible creature capture are at stake!

Davos Rosencrantz, Human Bard

Galarin, Half-Elf Druid

Grandmaster Bato, Human Monk

Mr. (Elwig) Mackena, Human Warlock

Ryld, Elven Monk

Urist Vorpalbeard, Dwarven Fighter

 

During the sea voyage to Vandorel, they spied in the distance a Godonian airship of orcs and hobgoblins.  It was traveling slowly enough that they could catch up, just at the edge of their Fly range, and decided to attack.  In a daring raid, they defeated the enemy Godonian Heroes on top of the bag of the airship, but before they could overpower the crew, the orcish crew cut the gondola and scuttled the airship, sacrificing themselves.  There were a few tense moments as Ryld and Grandmaster Bato fell into the ocean and had to be retrieved before drowning, and Mr. Mackena nearly fell off the bag, but managed to catch hold of a rope thrown by Davos.

 

Continuing on, they discovered the cave of the “Legendary Black Beast” of Vandorel, which hid in the darkness of its cave.  They cautiously entered, leaving lights on the walls as they went, while Mr. Mackena’s familiar (an imp) waited outside as a lookout.  They eventually discovered a seemingly empty nest, which Professor Maynard eagerly explored for clues to the writings of Broseph of Illselia.  Mr. Mackena’s imp reported that the lights visible from outside the cave were being snuffed. When the imp went in to investigate, it was eaten (running theme; see the “Never Gonna Give You Up” expedition) by a huge creature of surprising stealth.  A waiting game ensued, with the party expecting an attack, and the Beast creeping about hoping for a good opening to strike. The party manages to Locate the Beast while it’s within Faerie Fire range, and lights it up.  The Beast is a Huge reptilian creature, with green scales and only two legs, numerous eyes and teeth, brown hair on his head, and a pair of horns.  Galarin transforms into a giant turtle in order to provide a target for the Beast, and while its mouth is full, the party brings it down while trying to avoid its tail sweeps.

 

It’s then that Professor Maynard excitedly reports finding some Ancient Bones and a Flywheel Gear (the Regenerative System) in the nest, along with some of Broseph’s writings.

 

GM note: During the fight on the bag of the airship, there was a sequence of 1, 20, 1, 20 rolled for Mr. Mackena to fall off the bag, then catch a thrown rope, then Davos to slip while the rope thrown to Mr. Mackena tangled about his ankles, then catch another line attached to the bag.

Tonari no Totoro


We need brave adventurers to travel to Orviska to investigate a lead on a missing piece of the Temple of El!  Cover provided by a trade mission for sorghum and rice.

 

Richard William Johnson, Human Fighter

Green, Human Druid

Irwin Stevens, Kangaroo Lizard Wrangler, Human Bard

Jack “Lucky” Rabi, Human Sorcerer

 

In their own words:

Upon arriving in Orviska, we were met by a ranking trade official named Ukeuith.  At his request, we headed to Kusakabe province to assist with the removal of a haunt in a local home.  Upon arriving we discovered that the local governing family had all died under less than normal circumstances.  Further inquiry** found that a young girl named May was the only surviving heir, being hidden as an orphan by the rest of the village.  The trade official had been trying to remove the locals’ claim to the area by destroying the home and line of the family. When he showed up to meet us with around twenty men, we were ready for him.  While Green launched a surprise moonlight spell, Irwin grappled and pinned him while RWJ sniped his men, and a polymorphed Lucky, in kangaroo lizard form***, bit one in half (he got better) and forced the rest to surrender.  We let the men go after ensuring their silence. Ukeuith we forced to come with us to Whiggam in order to ensure his exile from Orviska. We managed to find a piece from the Magus temple, the Power Drive System.

 

**Inquiry preceded by “I’m not very smart, but I’m very good at jumping to conclusions. — RWJ”

 

*** a “kangaroo lizard” looks surprisingly like a tyrannosaurus rex

 

Never Gonna Give You Up

Caim Vorgies, Tiefling Warlock

Koura, Human Warlock

Toblerone, Gnome Wizard (and Toblerone’s four zombies)

Vashi Vorgies, Tiefling Cleric of Aru

 

The party is told of an “Auxiliary Menagerie” that Pervanda has for dangerous creatures not yet integrated into their main menagerie.  Whiggam isn’t sure what’s kept there, but the party should go have a look around and bring back whatever they can. Starting from a point off the remote coast, they sent an impish familiar to scout around.  There were five puffy pink things in cages, kept out of earshot from one another, plus a cave mouth that was being guarded. The imp ventured into the cave, and the last images Kouri received was a flash of teeth, claws, and white fur.

 

They bluffed their way past the guards by posing as contractors who were there to fix some of the outer walls, with the zombies disguised as workmen, and also to transport “uh, the creature”.  The guards laughed at this last bit, but allowed them through the gate in the barricade to retrieve the Killer of the Cave of Pervannog. The zombies went first, and at the mouth of the cave, were attacked by a creature with the appearance of a small, white rabbit.  The Killer of Pervannog didn’t like the taste of zombie, so it fled back into the cave. Toblerone animated some darts, and sent them after the rabbit. The guards wanted to know why the “workman” wasn’t killed, figured out they were zombies, and started firing at the party.  In turn the party distracted the guards with a figurine of Bob West, which began telling them a story that they couldn’t ignore.

 

With a few lucky hits, the party managed to knock the Killer of Pervannog unconscious, and flee as the guards roused from the story.  Another unique creature added to Whiggam’s menagerie!

 

GM note: the “pink things” not retrieved by the party are a mob creature called the Rykrol; when encountered individually, each one would speak a single word, “gonna”, “up”, “give”, “never”, “you”.  If brought within earshot of each other, they say the words in the order in the name of the expedition.

Flight of the Porgs

We need brave adventurers to travel to the remote Isle of Achto to capture creatures in the path of the Hurricane Ophelia!

 

Dr. Odde IV, Human Wizard

Grusk Lager, Dwarf Fighter

Pollein, Human Paladin

 

The party encounters a number of other groups collecting the near-flightless, cliff-dwelling birds, and all decide to keep an eye on each other, but cooperate to save as many creatures as possible.  They discover a group from Angrak has been to the top of the island, where one of their party has been “lost” to the a mad hermit. Investigating, the party finds a red dragonborn listening to the teachings of a human in weather-beaten robes.

 

A sampling:

“Ronkel is the same.  Ronkel is the only true god, though all gods could be like Ronkel if they only knew.  Aside from Ronkel, Iniki is the only one who is unchanged, and therein lies the paradox of Iniki who is both always changing and yet unchanged. The legacy of El is failure, for Iniki still flooded the world.  Don’t be a warrior, work together! Hione was once the Hermit, but then became Hione.”

 

Dr. Odde concluded that he wants some outside verification on what the mad hermit is saying, attempts to Contact Higher Plane, and goes insane.  Everything his fellow adventurers say is complete nonsense, yet he understands when the mad hermit tells him, “It’s time for Hione to end.”

 

The party flees the island with their catch and has Dr. Odde restored at Hunter’s Hall.  He decides he wants that question answered and attempts to Contact Higher Plane, and goes insane AGAIN.

 

GM note: Dr. Odde was using my cursed dice.

Whiggam Rim

Let’s go fight a hurricane in a robot in a fantasy setting! — Ripper

 

Adrie, Half-Orc Cleric of Aru, “Green Lion”

Nash, Human Cleric of Hione, “Rainbow Belt”

Phynian, Human Sorcerer, “Blue Lion”

Ripper, Elven Fighter, “Red Lion”

Shofar Walowitz, Half-Elf Bard, “Yellow Lion”

Vetran, Elf Cleric, “Black Lion”

 

Our heroes, with the missing pieces from the Temple of El, decipher the instructions that tell in what order the pieces should be reattached.  Success! Each takes a position within the temple, and they practice moving together (you might have seen them walking in sync through Campus Club).  They then set off to defeat Ophelia, positioning themselves downriver of the Dymarip. Ophelia arrived, and a titanic struggle ensued, in which neither side could gain the upper hand.  The Temple of El creaked, and began to take structural damage (“Point to the part of this picture of Voltron where Ophelia hurt you.” -Phynian). Nerves frayed and tempers flared, but the party eventually discovered how to truly work as one, knock Ophelia unconscious, and transport it to the Whiggam Menagerie.

 

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York’s Scenario Recap (Pcon 43)

Session 1: Leomund’s Tiny House

PCs: Adrie, Half-Orc Cleric (Tim DeCapio); Giltun, Dragonborn Warlock
(Elissa Hoeger); Nash, Human Cleric (Mykl Sandusky); Phynian, Human
Sorcerer (George McBride); Ripper, Elf Fighter (Corwin Knaff); Shofar
Walowitz, Half-Elf Bard (Alan Zitomer); Vassago, Half-Elf Warlock
(Colleen Moore); Vetran, Elf Cleric (Ron Seidel)

Our Heroes were recruited by Miroslav, a human Cleric of Hione, for an expedition into Whiggam’s mountains. Doing library research, he had
found fragmentary notes about a long-vanished Warlock who had spoken,
occasionally, of a land holding many bizarre creatures found nowhere
else in the world. Tracking these clues, he found no more about the
land (except that it was on some continent other than Whiggam), but he
managed to pin down the identity of the Warlock, a gnome named
Leomund. (No, not *that* Leomund. Apparently this Gnome admired the
ancient wizard and spell-creator Leomund so much that he adopted it as
his magical name when he came into his powers. The Gnome’s original
name is lost to history.) He had established that Leomund vanished
about 80 years ago, and had found the location of his remote,
fortified home.

Guided by Miroslav, the party swiftly traveled into the mountains,
learning at the last town in the foothills that this particular
stretch of mountains had an evil reputation — “nobody goes there,
it’s scary.” As they climbed toward the presumed location of Leomund’s
home, they began to hear the eerie peals of a distant bell, which
brought on increasing feelings of unease. The bell rang once every 15
minutes, and the sound came from ahead of them, growing louder (and
making them increasingly nervous) as they traveled. Eventually they
reached a clear slope leading up to a structure at the peak of a
ridgeline, which both matched the location on Miroslav’s map and could
be clearly identified as the source of the mysterious bell sound,
which at close range induced fear so strong that it could be briefly
paralyzing.

Approaching the house, they were attacked by a trio of Galeb Duhr, or
rather by one Galeb Duhr and two boulders it had animated into minions
with physical abilities equal to its own. Though bruised and battered,
Our Heroes prevailed, only to discover a problem. Leomund, a recluse
with no interest in entertaining visitors, had built a house to suit
himself — a solidly-built stone structure with a 4-foot-high roof and
a 3-foot-tall door. It was at this point that our adventurers
realized, with some chagrin, that they hadn’t thought to recruit
anyone Small for this expedition. The house had an attached
observatory that was a 20-foot-diameter half-dome, which offered
plenty of room inside, but unfortunately had no exterior doors.

The smaller and slenderer members of the party squeezed through the
door and found that the main house appeared to be solely living
quarters. A puzzle-lock on the door to the observatory was quickly
solved. Another puzzle-lock in the middle of the observatory area
opened a trapdoor into stairs leading down. This stairway apparently
had been intended to pass large loads at times and so was wide and
high enough for the party members to descend at a crouch, rather than
squeezing through in a crawl. The party’s Half-Orc, however, had to
leave his armor outside the building entirely, since there was no way
he could squeeze through the front door wearing it.

At a landing on the stairs a bizarre creature sketched itself in the
air from the lines and angles of the  stairway; fully formed, it
looked more like a wireframe animation than a solid object, but it
proved capable of dealing large amounts of slashing damage as the many
thin lines of its structure cut through armor and flesh. Although
resistant to many weapons it succumbed to magical fire, and the party
made their way to the bottom and Leomund’s true workroom.

This was dominated by a mural occupying the entirety of one wall. A
sinister landscape beneath an impossible night sky held shadowy hints
of menacing creatures lurking behind various elements of the terrain;
in the foreground was a brightly-painted image of a cloaked,
staff-wielding Gnome with his back to the viewer. As the party
watched, the bell-tone sounded from the mural, somehow not frightening
when they could see its source, and the picture animated. Dark
creatures emerged from the landscape and charged toward the viewers,
while the painted Gnome fought them off with Warlock cantrips and
spells, and the power of his staff. Once the last of the onslaught was
done, the painted Gnome froze back into immobility.

The animated picture produced sounds, including some comments from the
Warlock suggesting that he was trying to keep the creatures from
getting past him. On the next animation cycle the party discovered
that they could fire missiles and spells into the mural and affect the
animated creatures in it. This caught the attention of the painted
Gnome, who turned to face them and apparently could see them. Although
only snippets of conversation were possible as the painting froze
after each wave of attackers was done, the party conveyed an offer of
help and the Gnome asked them to get turpentine and wipe his painted
image from the mural. When they did so they found that a live,
three-dimensional Gnome was emerging from the wall as the paint was
erased.

Ultimately Leomund thanked them for the rescue and explained that the
mural was a portal for accessing the realm of the Great Old One from
which he (and many other Warlocks) drew power. He had intended to use
it to attack and seal off a pathway by which other denizens of that
alien realm could attack the living world. The portal was so designed
that only images could pass either way, a safety feature that he
thought would keep it from being used as an alternate invasion route
itself. He had circumvented that safeguard by painting himself into
the mural with Nolzur’s Pigments, thereby putting an image into the
mural-world that was also real. To his chagrin he learned that his own
presence in the mural made it a two-way pathway that the monstrous
denizens of the other world could use to escape – unless he stopped
them. Fortunately he found that after each onslaught there came a
brief period of immobility which functioned as a rest. but he was
unable to extricate himself until someone outside the mural could
remove the paint. Once he was out, the mural was once more impassable.

Grateful for his rescue, and shocked to learn that he had been trapped
in the mural for eighty years, Leomund told his rescuers that the land
of exotic animals they wanted to find was in the Deep Forest on the
continent of Surelant. He told them a few particulars, including the
fact that the people of the Deep Forest were secretive, suspicious of
outsiders, and tended to use mindpowers of the local fauna to befuddle
uninvited guests. He recommended making friendly contact, with
patience and persistence, as the best way to get access to the animals
of the Deep Forest. Leomund also, as a token of gratitude, gave the
party a quantity of magical gear he had used in his earlier
adventuring days.

LITERARY SOURCES: This scenario was inspired by the writings of HP
Lovecraft, with just a touch of Looney Tunes.

Session 2: Explore the Forest!

PCs: Amaya Rein, Human Monk (Hannah Tandy); Farryn, Elf Ranger
(Danielle Coates); Hildur, Dwarf Barbarian (Clara Shikhelman); Lilith
Stormweather, Tiefling Cleric (Sydney Chiang); Oswin Hornblower,
Halfling Bard (Kevin Lee); Sycorax, Tiefling Cleric (Kayli Marshall);
Vitis Vinifera, Half-Elf Ranger (Riley Chiang)

Surelant is a continent friendly to Whiggam. Since every continent is
trying to build up their own Menagerie, collecting animals from
Surelant’s Great Forest might risk straining relations. Fortunately,
the folk of Surelant believe that the depths of the Great Forest
(hereafter simply the Deep Forest) is populated entirely by ignorant
yokels who cannot possibly have anything of interest to trade. Whiggam
was able to negotiate a deal where Whiggam adventurers would have a
free hand in the Deep Forest, under the sole condition that if they
retrieved more than one of any particular exotic animal not found
elsewhere, they would leave one with the Surelant authorities. Whiggam
also learned that, while the Deep Forest dwellers had relatively
little contact with the outside world, they did sell exotic timbers
and unique apothecary formulations in exchange for precious metals,
platinum especially.
Travel between Whiggam and Surelant involves a long sea voyage –
essentially halfway around the World, about the same distance sailing
west or east. When this expedition launched, storms at sea made the
western route impassable, so the trip involved sailing eastward
between Eldruent-Vangruldear and Melkanth, both continents hostile to
Whiggam. There are two reasonable places to make landfall in Surelant,
Westport on the extreme western tip of the island (which serves the
Great West Road, running from the coast to the Great Forest), and
Norbury in the northern mountains, which connects directly to the
Great Forest through a steep but short mountain pass. The players
elected to take the more northerly sea route, passing closer to EV to
land at Norbury.
Sure enough, about 2/3 of the way to Surelant a large EV ship was
spotted and changed course to shadow the Whiggam courier carrying the
party, staying about 3 miles back. The PCs sent a raven (a character’s
familiar) carrying a small rock with a message tied to it; the message
said they had the means to defend themselves and would do so if
attacked. After receiving the message the EV ship dropped back to 5
miles separation but continued shadowing the party. The players
deduced that the EV ship wasn’t going to attack but intended to shadow
them to wherever they were going in search of Menagerie finds.
The players hatched a scheme where during the dead of night their
courier would pass close to shore and drop them off in a lifeboat,
which they would quickly row to shore and hide. They felt that with
two rangers, one of whom specialized in coastal terrain, they could
make their way overland to Norbury and reach the pass without too much
delay.
Coming into sight of Norbury Harbor, they could see their Whiggam
courier (which had been instructed to wait and bring them back, and
supplied with ample funds for docking fees) anchored at a wharf, with
the large EV ship that had shadowed them anchored about three slots
away. The party split at this point, one contingent going to scout the
pass, one going to the Surelant authorities to make sure their mission
was acceptable, and one group (the party Bard, posing as a wealthy EV
merchant on holiday) went to ask questions on the EV ship. Results:
the pass looked to be in good shape for travel, the Surelant
authorities were quite supportive of the Whiggam mission and happy to
sell them additional travel supplies at cost, and the EV captain was
cozened into admitting that he was on the lookout for the Whiggam ship
to send out a party of adventurers and had a group of sailors with
land and wilderness skills ready to go follow them
whenever they appeared. Our Heroes avoided this headache by simply
making for their planned rendezvous out-of-town without ever going
back to their own ship.
Travel through the mountain pass involved an encounter with a gang of
bandits led by a middling-high level Warlock, who used Hallucinatory
Terrain to set up an ambush. The fight was made lively by taking place
on a narrow ledge between a rising cliff and a ravine; jockeying for
position to push an enemy into the ravine was a major tactic.
Arriving at the Great Forest, the party quickly made friendly contact
with the Foresters, a mixed society of elves, half-elves, and humans,
with elves in the majority. They were taught recognition signs for
friendly passage, and warned that the Deep Foresters were a
suspicious, unfriendly bunch who had nothing of interest aside from
the herbal concoctions and exotic timber that they sold for trade
goods. Undaunted, Our Heroes pressed on, until one day two members of
the party succeeded in a difficult saving throw and saw that their
comrades had suddenly fallen into a trance and they were being
confronted by people in forest-camouflage clothing holding small,
furry, big-eyed creatures facing toward the party.
The big-eyed creatures are Spirit Tarsiers, and the Deep Foresters
explained that they have a gaze attack that can put people into a
trance where they don’t remember anything that happened. Their plan
had been to knock out the party members, transport them past the Deep
Forest, and  let them continue through the forest without ever seeing
anything of interest. With two of the party having saved, though, the
amnesia approach was off the table. The party called attention to
their trade “goods” (essentially money, given the prior information
that the Deep Foresters accepted gold and platinum as payment), and
persuaded Rudra, leader of the Deep Forest scouts, to bring them to
their village to negotiate with the headwoman.
The PCs were treading carefully and on their best behavior as they
were led into Ni-Hau, an almost invisible village in the Deep Forest.
Like the outer villages, it was inhabited by a mix of Elves,
Half-Elves, and Humans, but for some reason Humans were the largest
part of the population in the Deep Forest. All the buildings were
treehouses, their walls obscured by layers of live leaves; all access
involved rope ladders which could be raised from above. This was
explained as a necessary defense against the more dangerous
inhabitants of the Deep Forest.
Negotiations with village headwoman Durga went well. The PCs confirmed
the existence of a number of creatures known nowhere else in the
world, and negotiated the conditions for future parties to come on
collection expeditions. The primary condition was that new expeditions
should bring a suitable fee, and MUST check in at Ni-Hau and get a
guide before proceeding further into the Deep Forest. Some creatures,
it was explained, could be captured and taken away safely, but others
needed to be left alone; the distinctions would be long and difficult
to explain, hence the necessity for a native guide.
The party then returned home without incident, bringing along one
Menagerie specimen: a Spirit Tarsier that had been “tamed” and was
used to human contact.

LITERARY SOURCES: Assorted Cold War spy fiction; Conan Doyle’s “Lost World”

Session 3: Negotiations and Captures

PCs: Bobbins Kettleblack, Dragonborn Fighter (Andrew DeMario);
DerShawkin, Gnome Rogue (Michael Brokes); Fencili Hartthsol, Gnome
Warlock (Stevie Chudomelka); Malon (aka Kit), Half-Elf Rogue (Lee
Mendelson);  Vassago, Half-Elf Warlock (Colleen Moore)

–THE OFFICIAL STORY–
The expedition got to the Deep Forest without any seagoing
difficulties. Arriving at Ni-Hau, they had an in-depth discussion with
Headwoman Durga about what exactly they might hope to retrieve. They
arrived at a list of creatures guaranteed unknown in the outside
world, which might have some specimens that could be collected without
harm:
1. Carnivorous Sunflowers, a powerful and dangerous Medium-sized
ambulatory plant.
2. Lightning Panthers, apparently close relatives of normal panthers
with silver-stippled black fur and silvery vibrissae (whiskers). They
have a lightning “breath weapon” which they use for defense and
hunting (they don’t actually breathe lightning, they project it from
their electrically conductive whiskers).
3. Culverins, a Medium-sized ambush predator who have a long snout and
the ability to shoot pebbles from it at high speed.
4. The Spirit Basilisk, a Large reptilian predator/scavenger only
vaguely similar to true basilisks. It has no gaze weapon; instead,
whenever it is hungry, angry, or frightened, it emanates a psychic
paralysis field in a radius around itself. To make matters worse, it
is completely immune to magic.
5. Razorwings, Small flying reptilian predators. Their wings are
rigid, like an insect’s, and as the name advertises have razor-sharp
leading edges. They fly at very high speeds, like fixed-wing aircraft,
growing organs beneath their wings that function as pulse jets.
6. Forest Behemoth. Gargantuan reptilian herbivore. Impressive only
for its size and tremendously tough armor.
7. Monopods. Medium plant creatures that resemble large mushrooms when
at rest; in motion, they kick off from the ground with a single
powerful foot (the “stem”) and use a wide, thin mantle (the “cap”) to
maneuver aerodynamically, even being able to glide considerable
distances without having to touch down again. Monopods are sentient,
though less intelligent than humans; a number of them have learned the
Common tongue. (They understand its spoken form, but lacking voices,
can only reply by writing on the ground with their powerful slashing
tails.)
8. Sentient carpenter ants. More specifically, a ten-foot-tall ant
mound houses an ant colony with collective intelligence. No individual
ant is particularly bright, but the colony can reason, act, and
communicate about as well as a human being. As with the monopods, the
colony living near Ni-Hau understands spoken Common and replies by
arranging large numbers of ants into written letters.
The party was quickly able to negotiate with the sentient creatures;
a breeding pair of Monopods were pleased to become an exhibit, and the
ant mound was eager to send off a young queen to found a new colony in
a welcoming environment. Following native guide Rudra, the party
stalked and killed a carnivorous sunflower without coming into range
of its narcotic perfume (kudos to highly effective missile fire from
the party Rogues), collecting 100+ seeds and suitable mulch for
sprouting them. [Note on mistreatment: Carnivorous sunflowers are NOT
sentient and are unrelentingly aggressive against any animal in range
of their senses. Moreover, being killed causes them to set seed and is
therefore an important part of their reproductive cycle.] The party
was attempting to capture a Culverin but eventually decided that they
needed to return home with the prizes they had in hand.
LITERARY SOURCES: Appalachian folklore, assorted fantasy and SF by
Piers Anthony, John Varley, Mercedes Lackey, E.E. Smith. And of course
you should be able to figure out which of the eight creatures is an
homage to A Certain Movie.

–WHAT REALLY HAPPENED–
This is what earned the expedition a Friends Like These award, for
managing to be trustworthy friends AND traitors at the same time. They
promised the Deep Foresters that they would keep their secrets, and
true to their word did not mention any of this on their expedition
reports, nor, as far as I could tell, in conversation with other
players. Everything mentioned above is true and happened approximately
as described, but a great deal else went on…
***
The first clue that something was odd about the Deep Forest community
was when Fencili the Warlock used her Awakened Mind class feature to
mindspeak Rudra the scout leader. He *replied* telepathically,
admonishing her that she was being rude and should be very circumspect
in using that power.
***
Another clue showed up during the negotiations with Headwoman Durga.
While others spoke with her, Bobbins, a Battlemaster, used a class
feature to gauge his relative abilities against the Headwoman. Bear in
mind, this is a large, powerfully built Dragonborn in the prime of
life, comparing himself to a petite elderly Human woman. The GM was
obliged to report:
“She’s stronger than you are. She’s faster than you are. She’s tougher
than you are. She’s smarter than you are, wiser than you, and more
charismatic than you.”
***
But the real revelation came when the party’s scouting allowed them to
hear a crash of falling wood and a feline scream. Native guide Rudra
took off toward the sound without paying the slightest attention to
them; the PCs followed as best they might. They arrived to see Rudra
lifting a large fallen branch off a badly injured Lightning Panther.
Then they saw the cat morph into a badly injured Human girl who bore a
strong resemblance to Rudra. They offered healing potions, but Rudra
waved them away while talking softly to his daughter – talking her
through the process of drawing her bones back together and into their
proper places, closing the rents in her skin and refastening her
muscles to their attachment points.
At this point, Rudra decided that his best course was to explain more
fully to the outsiders and try to engage their sympathies. A fraction
of the Deep Forest folk (about half the “humans”, about 10% of the
“half-elves”) are secretly natural shapeshifters. [DM's note: these
are not monsters from any standard supplement. I invented them for
this scenario, just as I did the weirder animals.] They keep this a
deep secret, not to deceive their neighbors, but to deceive their own
children; their children are born as completely normal members of
their apparent race, and show no sign of being unusual until their
powers start to develop after puberty. The Shifters have learned
through bitter history that nothing is more toxic to a child’s
personality than the sense of entitlement that comes from being raised
to see themselves as different from and better than the people around
them. So they live among non-shapeshifting folk, as members of the
community, in order to raise their children as responsible people
rather than self-centered monsters.
But once their powers start to manifest, adolescent Shifters need
practice with them. All of the Deep Foresters spend increasing amounts
of time alone in the forest during their teenage years, learning how
to live alongside the Forest creatures. The non-shapeshifting
Foresters simply don’t realize that some of their neighbors spend that
training time *being* Forest creatures. That’s the real reason they
wanted to vet the selections of hunting parties; many creatures might
actually be adolescent Shifters, and only the telepathic Shifters
could tell the difference. Thus the guides, and thus the accident:
Rudra’s teenage daughter was shadowing her father, feeling very proud
of her ability to be silent and unseen in animal form, and missed a
jump leading to a catastrophic fall.
The party all agreed to keep the Shifters’ secrets and asked if a
Shifter would be willing to come to the Menagerie – surely such a
remarkable being would be a prize display. Rudra explained that the
Whiggam Menagerie already had a Shifter in residence. It turns out
that there is no such animal as the Spirit Tarsier. As part of
concealing their own possession of mindpowers, they invented a
fictitious animal with mindpowers and had mature Shifters turn into
them as needed,  to provide sightings in the forest and to be “tamed
and trained” specimens when a Forest patrol needed to befuddle
strangers.
In exchange for the party’s commitment to secrecy, the Shifter
villages of Ni-Hau agreed to help more actively with future
expeditions from Whiggam. One particular item of assistance was that
the village herbalists would distill, from the remains of the
Sunflower the party had killed, a nonmagical drug that would help the
next Whiggam expedition subdue a Spirit Basilisk.

Session 4: Bring ‘Em Home

PCs: Davos Rosencrantz, Human Bard (Matt Reichardt); Galarin, Half-Elf
Druid (William Reichardt); Grandmaster Bato, Human Monk (Chris
Reichardt); Urist Vorpalbeard, Dwarf Fighter (Joshua Reichardt)

The mission brief for this expedition was simple: thanks to trade and
negotiation which had led to good relations with previous expeditions,
the Deep Foresters of Surelant would have a number of captive animals
ready to transport, needing only supervision from the Whiggam party to
get them back to the Menagerie. It was known that one of those beasts
was a Forest Behemoth, which could not possibly be brought across the
steep passes to Norbury. The plan therefore was for the party to bring
the animals out of the forest along the Great East-West Road of
Surelant that runs to Westport on the western tip of the continent. A
large cargo ship with a specially-built hold would be used to
transport the Behemoth (as well as the more manageable animals).
Travel to the Deep Forest proceeded well, and on arrival the part
found waiting for them a docile Behemoth and rolling cages containing
a breeding pair of Lightning Panthers. An additional bonus was
available if the party chose to attempt it: the villagers had a
substantial supply of sedative on hand, which could be used to knock
out a Spirit Basilisk and keep it unconscious until its arrival in
Whiggam, However, none of the Foresters had been willing to volunteer
to administer it to a live Basilisk. The Whiggam party was welcome to
attempt the feat themselves. After brief consultation, they decided to
go ahead.
The capture was well-planned and successful. Native guides brought the
party to within a mile of the Spirit Basilisk’s current den, the
closest they were willing to approach. Galarin used Commune with
Nature to find a clearing with the best possible features for an
ambush site. The party killed a deer and set the carcass in the middle
of the clearing; then, while the remaining party members lurked at a
distance (and safely out of paralysis radius), Grandmaster Bato dosed
the carcass with sleep drug and then butchered it quickly and messily,
so that the smell of blood and carrion rose quickly from the remains.
The Grandmaster raced to safety using his enhanced movement, although
such speed was unneccessary; while the Basilisk woke up the instant
the wind carried the smell of the kill to its den, it took several
combat turns to reach the clearing. While the party hid, it ambled up,
devoured the deer carcass in a disturbingly small number of bites, and
presently fell over unconscious. The party hauled it back to the rest
of their caravan on a wheeled travois and set up a drugging schedule
to make very sure it would stay unconscious untill delivered.
The overland trip to embark on the ship for Whiggam proved uneventful
but the sea voyage to Whiggam had to contend with a pirate attack.
More precisely, the attacking ship appeared to be a privateer out of
Melkanth seeking to seize the PC’s ship and claim the prize beasts for
themselves. The pirate’s initial attack plan was severely impaired
when Galarin used Control Water to capsize their ship. However, two
Sorcerers took to the air with Fly spells and moved to attack.
Clustering at the facing rail, preparing to meet the oncoming
Sorcerers, the party overlooked the arrival of a quintet of rogues
wearing Cloaks of the Manta Ray who had swum under their ship to board
on the far side. All except Grandmaster Bato failed to save against
the Wand of Fear wielded by one of the rogues. Davos and Urist dove
overside into the ocean, while Galarin, who had taken the Wild Shape
of a water elemental, simply poured himself belowdecks to hide in the
ballast. Bato charged across the deck to engage the rogues in melee,
only to find himself caught in a Web spell from one of the oncoming
sorcerers.
Gato learned very quickly why it is a bad idea to find yourself
restrained while facing multiple rogues making coordinated melee
attacks with poisoned blades. Fortunately, both Davos and Galarin made
successful saves to break out of the Fear effect as soon as they broke
line of sight to the Rogue who had created it. Urist, unfortunately,
did not, and being in possession of his own Cloak of the Manta Ray was
swimming away from the ship at high speed. Ultimately, it took him
three tries to make his save, which meant a total of six turns of
combat spent swimming away from and then back to the cargo ship. Bato
was at 0 hit points and had failed two death saves when he was rescued
by a healing spell from Davos. Meanwhile, Galarin the Elemental was
battling with several rogues and the high-level Warlock who had landed
atop the Behemoth’s pen, while the Sorcerers flew about flinging
cantrips at whoever seemed a likely target. The battle raged for
several turns, with the attackers taking some casualties while
inflicting massive damage on the PCs. When Urist finally returned to
the ship, accompanied by a pike-wielding penguin he had summoned from
the Menagerie using an item, the attackers not yet slain decided it
was time to flee.
No further hostile encounters took place and the PCs arrived safely at
the Menagerie with their cargo of unique and impressive animals.

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