Privateer

Episode 105 Recap
Bread for the Oracle, Stone for the Rest

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Back in town, the adventurers found themselves quite busy. They became aware that the green wyrm wanted to meet with them and tried to find out for the town magistrate and Sheriff Durri what the wyrm could want from them.

In the meantime, Fraas and Shah acquire a sail to be used as a cloak for the giant oracle, and the rest of the group decide to acquire provisions (tons of flour, etc. for bread baking and some rounds of cheese) in order to feed the him. They reenter the tunnels via Archibald’s tavern and what can only be described as a “bread baking montage” ensues. The oracle is fed and given his newly fashioned cloak, and seems very happy. When helping him don the cloak, Fraas notices that the oracle’s body is merged with the rock of the tunnels, which very well explains why he kept trying, but couldn’t stand up.

After returning from the tunnels, the group takes their meeting with Lord Garland. After apologizing for keeping tabs on the group, and specifically to Rand for judging him harshly for his brother’s crimes of piracy, he implores the group to tell him what they have found out on this mote, but the party is reluctant. After a short and awkward silence, he states that he is not a fool and asks how the party travelled into the Griffon Tower and then reemerged in the storeroom of the tavern. The group quickly realizes he knows about the tunnels. Mid-chat the group takes a highly disrespectful private aside to discuss what to reveal to the green wyrm. At this point, Sentinel recants almost everything, including what they found out about the spyglass, but choosing to omit commenting on the encounter with the stone giant. This is done much to a silently seething Rand’s chagrin. The dragon seems to already know about the draconic portal at Griffon Tower, or at least that there was something to the place, but he mentions that the griffons would harass him if he ever came near. He states that he hated conflict and taking life, and did so only when required and with great sadness. The wyrm also denies that Boko had been killed. He insists that he had spotted Boko on a pirate ship escaping to the south, and affirmed that his eyesight was very good.

The green wyrm tells the group that he will be leaving the mote soon. His family has called him and it is not the kind of summons he could refuse. He says he doesn’t know when he would be back, that it would be at the very least three months from now, with the possibility of an indefinite leave. He commends the group on working together and wants them to continue doing what that are doing and to look out for the good of the town. He tells them if they need any help, his representative could assist us, and that one will be on the way shortly.

The group finishes up the conversation, questioning the wyrm on his spying banner, which he claims was not his doing, but that “it must’ve been an aide with perhaps too much initiative,” and they also ask about the two children from the Gnoll attack. Lord Garland says they are quite healthy and happy, and being seen to. He also reveals that he has many ‘caretakers,’ implying that he has a large community in the north. Finally and forcefully, he states that his home is still his domain, and that the rule forbidding traveling past the offering point in the North still applies in his absence.

The party returns to Griffon Tower to see if touching a different stone on the draconic portal teleports to a different location, which is does not. Before traveling through, however, they notice the dirt around the tower was freshly scuffled, and there were tracks leading within to the black disc.

They re-enter the dungeon only to find its paths drastically changed. All the tunnels loop back on themselves with only a subset of the original paths available.

They travel down one tunnel and discover a trap and two dead men. The bodies are looted and after much searching, it is concluded that the trapdoor might be the only way out. Some stones of the trap are loosed to reveal a ladder leading into darkness. Zinn ties a rope around herself and is lowered into the pit, where she sees some shallow water beneath. She tosses some rations into the water and thinks she detects some movement. Suddenly she is latched onto by the tongue of cave crab that was scrambling across the ceiling of the chamber. Rand scurries down the ladder and jumps to save her, but the both end up falling into the water. The rest of the group rush down the ladder and manage to fight off and scare away the crab-like beasts. It is then that they all notice a bunch of stone statues in the water and on the shore of the shallow pool with a tunnel leading beyond. They notice on of the stone statues resembles Isolinde, but the fingers on one of her hands are broken off.

From the tunnel a basilisk emerges and engages the group. Sentinel is turned to stone in an attempt to melee with it, leaving Rand and Zinn to finish it off. Zinn recalls from her expert tutelage under Jackmerius that basilisk blood can be used to bring statues back to flesh. They harvest enough for three statues and given that there are only a few intact statues, Sentinel, Isolinde, a child, a gnome and an armor clad man. Impatient with discussions, Zinn tosses the blood on Sentinel, Isolinde and a knight.

Shah cauterizes isolinde’s finger wound and she retells that two men had grabbed her when she came down from Griffon Tower and dragged her into the tunnels. They were killed by the trap and somehow she ended up in the pit with the basilisk. The knight bursts into tears upon seeing the stone statue of the child, runs to cry over the boy, saying he was supposed to protect him. Rand recognizes this knight, it is his former mentor, the paladin Zidan.

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Episode 104 Recap
Of Spyglasses, Portals and Giants

Aven arrives at the tower on horseback, wielding another of Draugarland’s banners, which is quickly snapped when suspected of being another of the Wyrm’s augury devices. When the group magically checks Aven’s alliances, his horse is outed as evil and is thusly slain by Bork as it tries to flee and it dissolves into shadows.

The party continue their exploration of the tower by working their way through the mess of spiderwebs with their torches. They discover on one of the tower levels, a pair of bedrolls, one large, one smaller, some socks, as well as some more nasty baby spiders that are swiftly slaughtered and the remaining egg sacs smashed.

Above them is a locked hatch that leads to the top of the tower. It is here the group find a funeral pyre and a griffon keeping guard. Gfedcba attempts to talk to the griffin, whereby the party discovers the pyre was for Boko. Strangely, the griffon dies soon thereafter, seemingly linked to Boko. Rand discovers a piece of Boko’s toy in the pyre, the same clue which originally led the party to the grove.

That night, Fraas reveals to Rand and Zinnaerris that Boko had snuck the spyglass onto his person the night of Boko’s death. After assuaging Fraas’s fear that telling others about the spyglass would not make him a target for the pirates, Zinnaerris takes a look through the spyglass, seeing nothing but darkness. Fraas and Rand next try to look through the spyglass to see if they could see anything. Both see a pinpoint of light in the north, but otherwise nothing.

Zinnaerris again attempts to look through, only this time, instantly vanishes from sight, leaving the spyglass to drop where her feet once stood. The rest of the party is quickly roused from sleep and each take turns (perhaps foolishly) looking through the spyglass. After experimentation, only Fraas, Rand, Aven, and Shah see the pinpoint of light, while Sentinel feels a strange pull from the darkness he sees with the device. Bork decides to try and let the darkness pull and overtake him in order to follow and potentially aid Zinn, and he vanishes just as she had. Gfedcba, perhaps wisely, decides to forgo looking into the scope.

Fraas takes another look into the telescope, this time looking down at his feet and notices a much bigger source of light coming from the base of the tower. As the remaining party members are trying to figure out what this light was, it is revealed why the spyglass may have worked differently for Aven and Shah; like Fraas they are both outsiders, an Undine and Ifrit, respectively. Although Rand claims humanhood, the others are less than silently suspicious.

Under the ground at the base of the tower they uncover a large dragon-carved black metal disc. Suspecting that this could be a portal and thus another way to transport to where Zinn had gone, one by they touch the metal and vanish from sight. Before following, Rand sets Isolinde free from bondage, and makes sure to grab Zinn and Bork’s belongings. He bends to touch the portal and vanishes.

The group, except for Zinn, now find themselves in a hallway of a strange shifting dungeon. As they explore deeper, another group of Shadows advance on them, however this time Fraas and Rand discovered that they were attracted to the spyglass, because when Rand had it in his hands, a raspy “Raaaaaaaaaaand” echoed throughout the halls.

During the escape, the group fall down a trap slide ending in a large hallway and here, while still running from the Shadows, they finally meet up with Zinnaerris, who is safe, but shouting “FRIENDLY GIANT!!!” Before the group could make any sense of this, the horde of shadows were upon them. It was looking hopeless, the group runs away while in a moment of desperate bravery Rand stands to sacrifice himself and stop their advance. Suddenly, a bright sphere of light flashes from Rand, a supernova dissolving the shadows and saving the group from imminent doom. Lots of “I told you he wasn’t human” were thrown about.

The gang of adventurers gather their composure, and while glad to see Zinn again, immediately start to understand what “friendly giant” had meant. On the throne of this great hall they had stumbled into, sits a wizened and very sleepy elder storm giant. They gently awaken him and are told that he is 1100 years old (much longer than a typical storm giant’s lifespan?) and of his history with the green wyrm (or was it the green wyrm’s ancestors?). He refers to a pair of wyrms that had destroyed his family’s town, the ruins upon which Griffton now stands. He did not remember entirely how or why he is in this chamber, but that he was stuck here by his family for protection. The group notices that the only other exits from this room are into a servants quarters and kitchen, and another entrance closed up by dragon-carved black metal similar to that of the griffon tower portal, although this disc seemed to be inert for teleport, and did not radiate any sort of magic.

After the giant has again dozed off, the group heads back into the tunnels, but not before Bork again tries teleporting into the spyglass. Eventually they reach Bork in the room where they first entered the tunnels and he takes them down a path toward a bustling murmur leading toward a bright white portal. After passing through, the party find themselves in the back storeroom of the Griffton tavern, the Fallen Angel. The group sneak as casually as possible out through the boisterous tavern and make for individual home bases, agreeing to rest up and discuss what they’ve discovered the next morning.

Coming back to the tavern the next morning, Archibald Bush, the tavern owner doesn’t seem to know the full extent of the tunnels, for when he tried to re-enter the dungeon, the tunnel instantly shifted, merely providing him with a secret extra storeroom. “There are clearly much to these tunnels we do not understand.”

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Episode 103 Recap
A Secret Lurks In The Shadows

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The party had not been long in the Barduk family mine when it became clear that interrogating Isolinde would be of little use. The elven piratess knew nothing of the larger game being played around her, certainly not enough to make sense of what had gone on that terrible night. She didn’t know what the pirates wanted from Boko, or why they had killed him. Isolinde knew only that she was in love with Blackhail, that he had betrayed her, and that she would do everything in her power to help the party bring him to justice. So she said.

Zinnaerris scowled. Frustrated, exhausted, and enraged at Isolinde’s apparent ignorance, she felt an ancient rage stirring within her, but she knew better than to act on it. Instead, she thumbed the curved edge of her battle axe and paced.

“Shhhhhhhhh!” someone said abruptly. Rand stopped questioning, and the party stood still. A soft, chilling hiss flowed through the cavern. There was a long moment of silence, then it began again. This time it was louder and they were able to make out a word: “Fraaaaaaaaaaassssss.”

The hiss became a whisper as it grew louder and more crisp. Suddenly a group of shadows passed through the stone wall, headed directly for the party. “Fraaaaaaaaaaas.” Everyone looked at Fraas, whose pale face and slack jaw proved he knew no more than they about why these wretched creatures were calling his name. They attempted to fight but soon learned these creatures could be destroyed only with magic. Fraas was able to fend them off with a spell, but only after Isolinde saved his life with a protection spell. The party barely managed to escape with their lives.

Once outside the cave, the adventurers decided to offer Isolinde the chance to join their group. She accepted.

Stunned by recent events and unsure of what to do next, the party decided to head to Jack’s house to see if he could tell them anything about the mysterious shadows in the Barduk mine. When they arrived, they found Jack acting very strangely. He insisted he was much too tired to talk, and would be happy to oblige in the morning. The party spent the night, but when morning arrives, Jack never came downstairs. Zinnaerris made a nice breakfast of fried eggs and goat bacon for the group, but Jack’s sat there, uneaten. Zinnearris made a frown out of the goat bacon to express her displeasure when Jack finally did emerge, but he never did. Finally Zinnaerris ventured upstairs and knocked on his door. No answer. She cautiosly opened the door only to find Jack’s bead empty and stripped of sheets. The bedsheets were tied into a rope that trailed out the window. The party ran outside and saw footprints from the base of the house, but which stopped a few feet later, as if Jack had simply vanished.

The party decided to venture back into town to rest and heal. Isolinde waited on the outskirts of town to avoid capture. Rand and Fraas went to Quinnla Tealeaf, the town’s halfling clerif, to receive healing from their encounter with the shadows. Meanwhile, Bork spent some time studying the banner the green wyrm had given them and determined that it had a clairvoyance/clairaudience-type effect. They party decided it would be best to leave the banner rolled up in the temple when they next ventured out.

While he was resting, Fraas quietly noticed something in his pocket, something Boko had slipped in there when he wasn’t paying attention.

While going about his business in town, Shah discovered that there were bounties on Boko, Isolinde and Blackhail, and that Boko had been spotted on a pirate ship fleeing the Jannian Navy to the South. When he shared this with the group, many heads were scratched as they’d surely seen Boko killed the night before.

Rand returned home to see his parents. His father seemed more distraught by his son’s disgrace than anything else.

The party decides to go explore Griffon tower. Upon arrival, they look inside to find giant spiderwebs covering giant steps. They also notice a conspicuous scroll in the middle of the floor. Zinn decides to climb the tower and look inside the second story window to get a better view of what might be lurking inside. When she reaches in, she feels a breeze and swats it. A huge spider, with a strange human face, phases in and attacks at her. She falls but Fraas slows her descent with a feather fall spell and she lands safely. The party fights two nasty “phase spiders” and slays them easily. During the fray, Fraas manages to capture a note that’s lying in the middle of the floor on the first level. It’s from Boko:

“To friends new and old, If you’re reading this, I’m dead.
I am sure you’ve found it by now, and this is where you use it.
Be careful, these old paths aren’t as safe as they used to be.
Sorry for the secrecy. There are old things on this rock,
things older than the green wyrm, and names are dangerous.”

- Boko

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Episode 102: Scimitar Rock, Part Two
It looks like these heroes might need a hand.

Campaign date: 2 Ayez (Month of Steam) – 425 A.R.

Lord garland 3 The heroes cautiously approached the great green Wyrm perched atop Jackmerius Stringfellow’s tower, only to discover that it was an repeating illusion, and that Lord Garland (pictured at left in elven form) was inside, conferring with the visibly-shaken wizard, to whom they overheard the instruction, “You know what you must do.” The Lord of Griffton, ever the champion of noble etiquette, commissioned the party to investigate the reasons for the gnoll attack, providing them with his battle standard to let any would-be attackers know that the party was “under his protection” and promising a reward.

After much debate about their motives, and learning that the Jannian Navy was delayed, the heroes began tracking the gnolls. After a soggy three-day trek into the Westwood of Scimitar Rock, noticing an omnipresent, distant rustling in the jungle at night as well as a growing stench of rot, the party discovered the feral gnolls’ makeshift camp — but the gnolls had been brutally massacred. At the rear of the camp was a wooden cage containing a gnome who was trying his best to remain absolutely motionless.

Ashen undead Stirred to “life” by the heroes’ intrusion, one of the dead gnolls nearest the cage bolted upright, his movements impossibly quick, whipped his ruined head around on what remained of his spine, and rushed the party. He savaged them with his half-mandible, and a strange, wet clucking sound emanated from the back of his rotting throat. This call to arms woke many more of the fallen foes to unlife, and, rising all around them, they mobbed the group, which struggled to survive until the timely application of fire disintegrated the enemies into a spray of cindery ash.

Matters quickly went even worse as the freed gnome captive informed his new allies of two new threats: the pirates of the Summerstar, who he had escaped after they disembarked far south of the Bay of Griffton, and the hunters that decimated the gnolls — a chorus of reptilian screeching and rending claws and teeth in the inky blackness of night.

The party began their trek back to town, and along the way noticed (by climbing a tree) that there was a visible “line” in the distant forest canopy where the lush green colors changed, suddenly, to a unnaturally darker shade.

As the party camped for the night, they heard the sounds of something stalking the camp’s periphery. Heedless of danger, they charged it, only to discover that their foe (or foes) were invisible. The invisible threat bit Rand’s torch-carrying hand clean off, cauterizing the wound instantly with acid, and the paladin fell unconscious. The party used a combination of waving Lord Garland’s banner, a fear spell, and alchemical bombs to drive away the foe(s.)

The party hustled back to town and took Rand to the healer. The healer cured both Rand and Aven of some sort of disease they contracted, and Rand slowly regained his vigor. Rand’s father Baz Barduk, with Gfedcba’s help, fashioned a metal claw so that Rand could wield his earthbreaker.

During the downtime, Gfedcba and Aven combined to perform the greatest act of music that the mote had ever heard. A dragon roar in the far north was heard as the music died down. A young farm couple named their newborn “Aven Maestro Harkshire,” as he was born during the epic performance. As well, it was revealed that Lord Garland had ‘adopted’ the two children orphaned by the starving gnolls’ attack on the farmstead, taking them north to be raised “with every advantage.”

The party encountered Lord Garland, Captain Mordren and an Admiral of the Jannian Navy with a very severe personality in the tavern. Lord Garland paid the grouo fifty platinum pieces for their services to the Griffton. Captain Mordren, speaking on behalf of the Navy, asked Rand where to find Boko, and told him that he was in trouble. The party left to find Boko first, and it appeared as though Archibald Bush somehow signaled for the tavern patrons to crowd the table around the Navy men, so that their pursuit would be hindered. Gfedcba and Fraas used their wiles to delay the pursuing sailors further while Rand and the others hurried to find Boko.

At the Barduk home, Bork noticed a loose floorboard by meticulously hopping on each one. In a hollow, they discovered a piece of leather that clearly wrapped some sort of small cylinder, and part of a children’s toy. Rand puzzled over the toy for a few moments before realizing that it was one piece of a toy he and Boko used to play with in a certain secluded grove on the outskirts of the farms. The party hurried there.

Arriving at the grove, the group found Boko being threatened by pirates, led by two elves, a male and a female. The female elf said “he’s telling the truth, he doesn’t have it,” and the male elf quick-drew a strange device which seemed to explode in his hand — and Boko’s skull exploded in turn.

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The group charged the pirates and cut them down, but not before the gunslinger summoned his rescue: “Draugarlond!” Lord Garland teleported right next to the pirate, transformed into his huge, terrifying wyrm form, and then flew away with the pirate on his neck. The gunslinger (made invisible by his partner) yelled out, “what about her?” to which Draugarlond growled out, “Not in the contract.” The piratical elven lady surrendered, obviously shocked at her friend’s abandonment.

Our heroes led this elf woman — named Isolindë — to the Barduk family’s new aerum mine and interrogated her. She offered help freely, though she did not know the details of the plan. She shared the names of her now ex-lover, Galóndil — better known as Blackhail, captain of the Summerstar, and the greater group to which he belonged. This group, known as the Agarchanar, elven for “Brothers in Blood,” is led by Lómil-Galdor, known as ‘the Viper,’ and the self-styled King in the Void. He captains the Greyswan, the flagship of his fleet, and the base was revealed to be in the far south, in dragon-controlled lands known as the Drag-Suar Motes.

Notes: Rand used his detect evil ability to view Draugarlônd for the first time and was nearly overwhelmed by the power of his aura. He was rendered shaking and speechless for his trouble. Lord Garland conscripted Sentinel to be his companion on patrol of the town, choosing to “take a more active role in the protection of Griffton.” Aven identified the symbol hastily scratched into the ground of the gnoll camp as referring to the Patron of the Gnolls.

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Sneak Peek at Episode 102: Scimitar Rock, Part Two
When it rains..

Campaign date: 2 Ayez (Month of Steam) – 425 A.R.

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Parleying with Draugarlônd?

Griffton has suffered its worst attack in decades, the Jannian Navy arrives with a surprising guest and an even more surprising request, and the heroes must deal with the green dragon Draugarlônd, who has perched atop Jackmerius’s tower. Familiar and unfamiliar foes threaten the uneasy peace of Scimitar Rock. And to make matters worse, someone in Griffton is not who they seem to be …

COMING SOON

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Episode 101: Scimitar Rock, Part One
New arrivals and new troubles.

Campaign date: 1 Ayez (Month of Steam) – 425 A.R.

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The griffons of Scimitar Rock watch over those who enter its bay.

The spring months preceding this first Winesday of summer were peaceful, yet saw many exciting events and new arrivals to Scimitar Rock. An aerum vein was discovered, foretelling great prosperity for the town of Griffton, and the mostly-dwarven Barduk family set about the construction of a mine. The gnome-captained trading barge Azkar docked on this first of Steam and a mysterious ironborn disembarked, marking the last of the new travelers. While some of the citizens thought them to be possibly villainous, town’s newest guests proved themselves to be heroes, when they answered the alarm bell to fight off a ravenous pack of starving gnolls who had devoured a pair of farmers and two thirds of the Griffton patrol. The heroes rescued the farm children from certain doom and the outlying homesteaders took refuge behind the town’s wooden palisade. Sorrow gripped Griffton as the mourning residents buried their dead and pondered their uncertain fates on the eve of the Jannian Navy’s biannual appearance. After seeking the advice of Sheriff Durri, the party decided to pay a visit to the wizard outside of town, and upon their arrival discovered Dragaurlônd, the great green wyrm Patron of the Rock, perched atop the tower.

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Notes: Fraas (John), a lithe male human with strange blue tattoos covering his body, also arrived on the Azkar, continuing his mission to explore and catalog the natural world. Arriving on the prior months’ trade ships were Shah (Neil), a flamboyant male half-elf with a penchant for the womenfolk of Griffton, and Bork (Rich), an alchemically-inclined, obsidian-eyed, slate-grey deep gnome — a rare sight on Scimitar Rock! Leading the robed, ironborn Sentinel (Derek) and these two adventurers in the slaughter of the gnolls was the civilized, female half-orc spell-sword Zinnaerris (Allison) — long time apprentice of the town’s wizard — and the earthsmasher-wielding Rand Barduk (Aaron), the adopted human son of the Barduk dwarves. In the weeks before this battle, and after he wowed Baz Barduk with his alchemical skill, Bork and the heroes quested to gather sassone leaf, and unfortunately leaarned that stirges sometimes nest near sassone bushes. Sentinel found the trail of an old elven friend Verion to have gone cold. Shah showed great initiative in providing a valuable service to the community, earning many pieces of gold in the process. Bork initially was convinced that Sentinel was a lich. (In fact, he still might be .. so Bork remains wary.)

Warforged

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