The Big Dance
January 10, 2009
Sean – Dorian Windseeker, High Elf Ranger/Rogue
Gary – Katan, Half-Hobgoblin Paladin
Bec – Arianne, Grey Elf Cleric of The Lantern
Rebec – Quillathe, Grey Elf Paladin of The Lantern
Steve – Tylock, Human Fighter
Sherry – Michella, Human Wizard
Will – Solveliss, High Elf Sorcerer
Dave – Razik, Human Fighter/Rogue
...and the dance begins! As the applause dies down music fills the chamber and couples take to the floor. Our heroes gradualy become aware of the main intrigues at the ball, namely the politicking going on to determine who will replace Lord Verlaine on the council and how this will affect the balance of power in the city.
This part of the session involved a lot of NPC and intra-party interaction, so we’ll hit the highlights here:
- Tylock and later Michela make friends with Lady Elise, Drac’s main opposition on the council. She introduces them to Petra Fricke, leader of the craftsmen’s guild and her candidate to take the opening on the council
- Arianne introduces herself to Gwendolyn, high preistess of the sea goddess.
- Michela and Solveliss spend some time with Tarmon, head of the Freeport Mages’ Guild
- Razik and Michella dance for a while, checking out the crowd of retainers and hangers-on at the dance.
- Quillathe dances with Sea Lord Drac himself and has an interesting coversation
- Michella spends some time with Arias, leader of the elven pirate faction in the city, and quite a fine singer
- Dorian poses as a servant and sets Quillathe up for a dance with the arrogant human Torsten Roth. Later, when she is speaking to Captain Lydon, reformed pirate leader, Dorian points this out to Torsten, who proceeds to intervene and Captain Lydon finishes the ball sitting at a side table under discreet guard.
- A merchant leader, one Brock Wallace, attempts to convince Tylock and the rest of the party to strike at Drac after he is lured away from the ball. The party discusses for a while, then decides to pass.
- At midnight, as the ball is in full swing, a mad prophet appears and speaks a dire prophecy, then disappears. The ball breaks up soon after as the mood is just not the same.
- Thuron departs after telling the party that he recognizes some of what the prophet refrred to and wants to do some research back at the temple. Tylock fears for his life but the old man-serpent survives.
- The party depatrts soon after this and returns to the quill without incident.
Gathering the next day at the Temple of the Mule, the party decides to follow up on some clues. Thuron has found a fragment of a story related to the old pirate Black Dog that looks like it could lead to an ancient temple of the serpent kingdom where the party might be able to recover an item useful against the Brotherhood. Doing some legwork around the town they eventually talk to Old Gareth, who did some pirating with Black Dog in his youth. After a small payment, he tells the group how to find the entrance to the caves described in the log Thuron found. He also tells them where to buy a boat and about the timing of the local tides.
The band gathers their supplies, gets the boat, and heads out to sea.
They soon locate the landmarks described by Old Gareth and venture inside the cave. Handling is tricky inside the cave and a fair amount of bumps and bruises are collected getting through the initial portion of the tunnels. Quillathe and Michella fall out of the boat and are whisked away by the rushing water. Eventually the amphibous members and the boat emerge (albeit backwards) in a large sea cave. They notice something shining in the darkness but before they can investigate a different something bumps the swimmers legs. This rapidly progresses into clawing and biting the swimmers legs and combat ensues as the party faces off against a pair of turtle-crab-things that the group later identifies as Tojandas. The non-swimming members quickly beach the boat near the light they glimpsed earlier but one of the things crawls up into it anyway, as Katan battles the other one in waist deep water near the beach. Dorian, Razik, and Tylock pull the swimmers out of the water while Solveliss blasts away at the creatures from a distance. The creatures are eventually driven off and the group sits down to rest on the small rocky beach they have claimed.
Quillathe investigates the shine they saw earlier and notices that among the bones scattered on the beach there is a sheathed sword stuck into the ground. The golden hilt reflected the partiy’s lights when they entered the cave. The scabbard is battered black leather of some kind. The pommel is shaped like a clenched fist, while the quillions end in sockets that each hold milky white stones that are perfectly round, almost pearl-like. Unable to resist, she draws the blade…
As the sword bursts into flame, she realizes what she has found. As a shape rises from the sand behind her and an insane babbling fills the air, the rest of the party realizes what she has disturbed. The soul-draining unded creature is clearly tied to the sword somehow and attackes Quillathe immediately, draining bits of her soul with every strike. the ghost-like being is difficult to hurt, but the group is persistent and the wizards do their part, soon reducing the the thing to wisps of drifting smoke and an agonized moan as it disperses. Quillathe, satisfied, snaps the blade back into its sheath and fastens it around her waist.
The team presses on, piling back into the boat and moving towards one of the exits from this large cavern.
In the first, they come to another beach, this one sandy, and with several skeletons impaled on spikes decorating it. The group moves on.
Turning down one passage, the boat is caught in a fast current and pulled along until they come to a wooden barrier, waterlogged and decaying, painted with a warning to stay out. Katan smashes it down and the trip continues. They soon emerge on another beach.
This cave is dominated on one side by what is obviously the remains of some kind of building, fused into the rock. it looks like an outer wall, with a large door still accessible from the cave. In the center of the door is a serpent’s head sculpted out of stone. This matches the description found in Black Dog’s log entry describing how he first found his treasure cave. After some debate, Quillathe places her arm in the seprent’s mouth and attempts to open the door. The serpent begins to bite down on his arm and he yanks it back out whereupon a stream of horrible greenish venom sprays out in a massive stream, washing over serveal party members and weakening them to the point of collapse. Shocked, the group pauses to rethink their approach…
By the Numbers:
NPC’s Encountered: 17 Freeport movers and shakers! Plus Thuron the disguised serpent man, Old Gareth the retired pirate, and old Sammy the used boat salesman
Righteous Kills: 1 Allip returned to the dead, plus 2 Tojandas were at least wounded and driven off
Bodacious Loot: 1 Flame Tongue Sword
DM Notes (2012) - This was probably the most fun I have ever had in a pure roleplay type scene - there was enough going on to give every character something to do, every player was engaged, and I had a sizable roster of NPC's with intertwined agendas to keep the conversations interesting. Much was learned, the party's investment in Freeport was turned up a notch, and potential deals were set up. Then of course they got to go on a small nautical adventure and get in some combat before the evening was over.
Working through these again has made me appreciate (even more than I did at the time) what an interesting spread of encounter types were included in these adventures. I really need to run these again - maybe in Pathfinder.