1/30/2014 Session: “You fell in too?!”

Participants: everyone!

We join the party as they’re preparing to leave the Smoking Ogre in Lanmis.  Barundar and Myles are the first outside.  Barundar puffs deeply from his pipe after a long night.  Myles sees this and motions for the pipe, Barundar passes it to him and he draws from it before handing it back to the dwarf with a wink.  The remainder of the group exits the inn and sees the two leaning contentedly against the fence. After all are assembled, the group begins to discuss their next steps.  All are in agreement that moving to the North is likely the best path, but they disagree over paths.  Barundar advocates for avoiding trade roads and venturing due North through the Angmoor swamps towards the Othmidia Highlands, an area that he knows well.  Myles and Ash would prefer the trade roads towards Otemshire via Wenshire. Eventually, the party decides that allowing Myles to visit his family in Otemshire isn’t a bad idea, and they agree to travel the trade roads up the coast.

Options for PathThe group spends the majority of the day on their horses as they head Westward towards Wenshire.  A cold, salty breeze and an overwhelming smell of fish greets them as they approach the village.  They hit the entry of the town just as the sun has begun to set and the fleet of fishing ships have begun to offload their daily hauls.

The party finds the nearest tavern to get a warm meal in their bellies before settling down for the night.  They enter the bar and, to everyone’s surprise the inside smells more like fish than the outside.  Assuming that it’s just due to the concentration of fishermen in the bar, they proceed in and order food and drink.  The stench does nothing to deter Amon from attempting to pick up some of the local ladies.  He quickly manages to offend the bulk of them by assuming that they were “for hire”.

Myles explains that there’s a longstanding rivalry between Wenshire and Otemshire, and voices his disgust over the idea of spending the night in the town.

As the group eats their meal, the notice a painting hanging over the bar.  It’s obviously very old and is covered in soot (“…or maybe distilled fish-stench”, Myles thinks to himself.) from decades of hanging in the tavern.  The painting features a vista of the town, complete with a shining lighthouse.  Amon and Ash look out the window and in the dwindling light are just able to make out the shape of a lighthouse sitting on an island near the entrance to the bay – obviously in disrepair.  Amon and Ash turn to Myles for an explanation.

Myles recalls stories from his youth about the Wenshire lighthouse that used to burn brightly and light the coast, but as he recalls, it fell in a particularly bad storm.  He goes on to explain that each time the town attempted to repair the lighthouse some malady befell the project.

As Ash listens to Myles’ story he inspects the silhouetted lighthouse through the window.  Lightning from a storm out to sea briefly alights the structure.  While he doesn’t see anything specifically, Ash notes that he does have a bad feeling over the town in general.  To which Barundar jokes that it’s probably just the smell of the locals.

Some of the fishermen from across the bar are eyeing the group suspiciously, so as they finish their meals, they decide to camp outside of town rather than stay in town.  As their horses carry them past the bay, everyone notices that the haul of fish from the ships is abnormally large for the relatively small population of the town.   Barundar states that they’ll “consider that curiosity around the campfire.”

[At this point, a small side conversation starts about everyone’s beverage choices for the evening.  My wife is painfully pregnant and was possibly in labor as we were playing, so I was drinking water (for now) along with Damien, Matt and Nathan discuss beer choices and, when pressed, Stan admits that his drink of choice is a caffeine free diet coke.  Just when you think you know a guy…] 

The party travels up the path a ways, leaving the stench of Wenshire behind them.  They travel off the trail in order to set up a camp.  While traversing a lightly wooded area, Ash and Renaldo hear a rustling in the bushes behind the party.  They turn around quickly, but see nothing in the darkness, so the group continues on.  As Myles, Barundar and Amon are busy setting up the camp, Ash casts Light on his mace and checks the bushes once again.  With the aid of the light, he is easily able to see a number of shining eyes looking back at him.  Taken aback, he stammers to the group about, “Sh-sh-shining eyes, lifeless

FIIIISSSSHHHH PEOPLLLEEEE

FIIIISSSSHHHH PEOPLLLEEEE

eyes…. yellow and black… like a doll’s eyes!”  Barundar runs over and, with the light from the mace is easily able to identify the figures in the woods as FISHPEOPLE.

Before the party can react, one of the fishpeople attacks Ash, attempting to swat the light-emitting mace from his hands. [Nathan often uses the word “biff” for a miss, the biff count will be displayed in purple.] [1]

Ash strikes back out of shock, but he also misses.

Renaldo suddenly realizes that he left his greataxe back in the now-refilled ruins at Lanmis but, not about to let a small setback like that stop him, rushes at what appears to be the lead-fishperson and punches him right in his face.  Barundar whips out his heavy crossbow and shoots it as well.

As it turns out, the fishpeople almost had the party entirely surrounded.

We don't always have fights on the world map.. but when we do, they're full of "biffs".

We don’t always have fights on the world map.. but when we do, they’re full of “biffs”.

Amon reaches out and uses his Shocking Grasp to zap a fishperson.  The fishpeople spring into action but are blinded by the light from Ash’s mace and holistically miss the party. [2,3,4 and 5]  Myles was unprepared for the battle is wields his sword in both hands.  Swinging wildly, he nearly eviscerates a fishperson [essentially ending his contribution to this fight, as it turns out].

The boss fishperson reaches out to strike Ash but misses [6] but, in retribution Ash sends and Sacred Flame from his mace, singing the scales on the face of the boss fishperson.  Renaldo continues his punching fury reducing the boss fishperson to a bloody mess near death.  Barundar switches to his scimitars and swings at another of the fishpeople, but misses with both.  Amon shoots a Ray of Frost at a fishperson and it shatters into pieces.

Myles swings again at the gravely wounded fishperson in front of him but fails miserably.  As he pivots on the ground, he loses his footing and flings his sword into the air towards Renaldo.  The sword hits the ground, embedding its point into the ground right at Renaldo’s feet.

The boss fishperson lashes out at Renaldo and Ash with the last of his strength, hitting them both for significant damage.  

"Attacking Renaldo is a futile effort, pain only fuels my rage."

“Attacking Renaldo is a futile effort, pain only fuels my rage.”

Renaldo thanks the gods for the gift of the random sword that just landed at his feet and, taking it, uses it to filet the fishperson boss.  Barundar is sprayed with blood from the boss and rallies in the bloodshed, using it as inspiration to down another of the fishpeople.

Amon shoots another ray of frost wide and Myles, shocked that he just threw his sword to the barbarian scrambles to pull a javelin from his pack.  With it, he attempts to stab the same gravely wounded fishperson in front of him, but fails.

[7 occurs somewhere in here, too] Ash reaches out with his mace and engulfs one of the few remaining fishpeople in a Sacred Flame, wounding him.  Renaldo jumps on the opportunity to use his new-found sword again and stabs the fishperson in the face as the flames subside.  He has the manners to at least thank Ash for the assist.

Barundar has found himself without enemies to attack so he switches back to his crossbow and takes aim at the wounded fishperson in front of Myles but misses.  [Myles might have pushed the fishperson out of the way in an attempt to secure a kill, but who knows, it was dark…]  Now free from Myles’ reach, the slippery wounded fishperson makes a mad dash for Amon and strikes for significant damage against the wizard.  Amon attempts to retaliate but misses due to the severe pain.

Another of the remaining fish people engages Myles and hits, but Myles’ attention is still with the now-fleeing fishperson that he originally wounded.  Myles rears back and throws his javelin at him but misses, the sound of the javelin skittering into the woods signalling his utter failure as a fighter.

As Myles sobs into his mask, Renaldo works his way around and finally slays Myles’ target before it can subdue the wizard.  Standing triumphantly above the fishperson, he lets out a barbaric roar as he continues to stab the corpse over and over, mocking Myles at how easy it is.

The Spiderman pinata in this example represents the fishperson...  You can see lady luck in the background stealing Myles' sword.

The Spiderman pinata in this example represents the fishperson… You can see Lady Luck in the background stealing Myles’ sword.

Barundar is next to act and plunges both scimitars into the gut of the last remaining fishperson but doesn’t quite do enough damage to kill him.  Amon is fed up with the battle and sends three magic missiles into the air that strike down into the last enemy, rending its form into a fine red mist that drifts along the wind.

Amon is OP.

Amon is OP.

Barundar is left standing in an action pose with his formerly-buried-in-fishperson scimitars now left buried in nothing at all.  Myles stomps over to Renaldo and retrieves his sword to much protest from the barbarian, who is left to claim a scimitar [which, as everyone informs him is a most un-barbaric weapon choice] from the cache the party had gotten from Rector.

The party now out of combat, they take time to inspect the corpses that remain.  Each of the fishpeople wore a necklace with a distinctly cultish symbol carved out of an obsidian-like substance, the boss’ was significantly larger than the others and is likely more valuable.  [The 5th necklace from the vaporized fishperson was retrieved from the branches of the trees above…]

LOOT:

5 small obsidian “cultish” necklace bobbles, 2sp each for a total of 10sp.

1 large obsidian “cultish” necklace bobble, 4gp.

The party takes a short rest as Myles tallies the inventory of loot before setting off into the night [with multiple torches now lit] to track the fishpeople’s trail.  The trail leads to a beach, where foot prints are being washed away by a rising tide but the remaining evidence suggests that the fishpeople came directly from the sea.  As everyone ponders this fact and its possible connection to the town and the lighthouse, Ash refers back to his notes and clerical manuals and finally finds a symbol matching that of the necklace.  The book notes that this particular symbol is an offshoot of the CHAOS CULTISTS.  [Fighting the Chaos Cult is one of Ash’s main goals in life.]  Ash convinces the group to travel back to the village of Wenshire to get to the bottom of any cult activity.

The group travels the few miles back to town and arrives at the edge under the cover of night.  They proceed through back allies until they arrive at the bay.  As they survey the scene and the bridge that connects to the ruined lighthouse they easily note the form of a guard patrolling its length.

The party approaches the bridge behind the guard and are proceeding stealthily until Ash kicks an errant bucket into the bay.  The sound pierces an otherwise tranquil night and the guard spins on his heels and heads back towards the party.

"...might..."

“…might…”

Everyone jumps behind barrels or boxes that line the bridge and the party successfully hides from the returning guard.  As he passes, Renaldo inspects his features looking for anything that might reveal an aqueous upbringing.  He reports back to the group that he might have looked slightly amphibian, but that he wasn’t covered in scales or anything obvious like that.

The group reaches the base of the lighthouse without further incident.  A large wooden door stands firmly in place between two stone statues of men.  One statue holds a shield and the other holds a sword pointed out to sea.  Barundar uses his Stone Sense ability to inspect the lighthouse and the statues.  To his surprise he is able to notice “from the craftsmanship” that the stones of the lighthouse and the statues were crafted by Dwarven hands and that the stones came from the Moonshadow Mountains near Nargrim, some 2-300 miles away!  The group makes note of the fact that the Dwarves making statues of men is most curious, but there are no inscriptions present that might provide a hint as to their meaning or who or why they were created.

Myles is able to find a few, heavily eroded scribblings around the door frame, but Ash and Amon are only able to make out a few words, “darkness… light…” but nothing else of note.

Barundar and Myles each throw their shoulders into the door in attempts to force it open, but both are unable to bulge the swollen doors.  Ash looks around and sees signs of the Chaos Cult everywhere around the lighthouse, using these symbols to fuel a holy fire deep within his gut, he rushes through his friends and blasts his way through the door with a thunderous noise.  As Ash plows through the wood the party sees his still-alight mace bounce through a hollow room, then promptly disappear.  The silent night is then filled with the sound of chain mail armor bouncing down stairs.

The party stands outside the lighthouse in shock until calls from the guard shake them from their surprised stupor and they rush inside.  Finding no way to bar the door from the inside, Amon calls upon his arcane abilities and freezes the waterlogged doors shut with a Ray of Frost.

[After much confusion over the layout of the lighthouse, the game continues…]

This is what we had to go with to figure out the layout.

This is what we had to go with to figure out the layout.

This is about what we figured out the layout to be.

This is about what we figured out the layout to be.  It’s safe to say that the lighthouse in Wenshire is not OSHA certified. 

The party is now locked inside the presumed cult-overrun lighthouse.  The guard has arrived to the outside of the door and bangs his weapon against his shield sounding the alarm of intruders.

The party crosses the otherwise empty chamber and finds Ash at the bottom of a sloping set of stairs lying upside down against a locked door at the bottom.  Recognizing that they are on an island in the middle of a bay, the party decides that heading down is almost certainly a bad idea, and instead heads up the spiraling stairs.  They force the door open and find themselves in a dusty and obviously abandoned barracks of sorts, a thick layer of dust covers everything as the continue up the stairs, soon finding themselves on the top of the ruined lighthouse.

In the center of the platform is a raised area that contains an altar of sorts in its center.  Barundar again calls upon his ability to identify stones and can tell that this stone also came from the Moonshadow Mountains and was worked by Dwarves, but the height of the altar would indicate that it, too, was made for use by humans.  The altar consists of a smooth stone column with a platform on top.  In the center of the platform is a [basketball sized] half spherical depression.  No other typical lighthouse apparatuses are present and the altar does not seem to have housed flames.  Amon and Ash [obviously somehow both contributing to the gene pool that spawned Sherlock Holms] provide insight that the lighthouse must be of arcane or divine power.  As the party inspects the altar in more detail Myles looks over the ruined edge of the lighthouse and, far below can make out the form of nearly a dozen furious townsfolk and guards beating at the frozen door below.  Having no other option of progression, the party quickly returns to the basement door that Ash found with his face a few minutes prior.

Ash raises his righteous boot and, still fueled by the hatred of the Chaos Cult, swiftly unhinges the door with a single kick [this time managing to not fall in after it].

Descending into a seemingly naturally formed cavern, the party is soon face to face with a 10′ wide chasm of indeterminate depth.  Myles tries to kick a rock into it to figure out how deep it is, but he is unable to hear the rock hit, as he turns to recommend another way across, he sees Amon, a fire in his eyes, whispering to Renaldo, stoking the flames of pride in the barbarian.

...only instead of falling on the stage, he fell 40'...

…only instead of falling on the stage, he fell 40’…

Without hesitation, Renaldo sprints for the chasm and attempts to launch himself over the divide.  His foot slips at the last second and the party is left in horror as he plummets out of sight.  His screams fade until a very solid thunk echoes through the cavern.

Finding no clear path forward other than to cross the chasm, Myles prepares himself to jump the gap.  He carefully plans his path forward but, in fails in execution and also falls.  He falls for about 40′ but luckily is not hurt that badly.  At the bottom he finds Renaldo holding onto life by a thread.  He calls up to the party topside that the fall “isn’t that bad” but that he “wouldn’t recommend it….”

The sounds at the door back in the chamber above are growing louder as the assailants are slowly breaking their way through the ice.  Amon returns to the chamber and does his best to re-freeze the doors.  He thinks that he’ll be able to buy a little bit more time by doing so.  [As he does this, Renaldo and Myles take what is quite possibly the worst short rest in history, rolling 1’s on EVERY hit dice, for a total healing of 3hp.]  Barundar affixes his rope to a stone and he and Ash use it to descend into the chasm the easy way.   Amon attempts to descend the rope, but his strength falters about half way and he falls [hitting the ground before Barundar even made it down].  Barundar and Ash reach the bottom to find their three companions in mangled states of disrepair, Renaldo and Amon are near death and Myles is still writhing on the ground.  A quick spell from Ash heals the bulk of Amon and Renaldo’s ailments.  [Amon fell into the chasm while Matt was AFK, discovering this fact upon his return, Matt let out a cry of, “YOU FELL IN TOO!?!” before face palming…]

Dwarves are used to climbing in caves, I guess.

Dwarves are used to climbing in caves, I guess.

Barundar channels his Dwarven ancestors and climbs back up the other side of the chasm, driving pitons into the wall along the way to allow for easier climbing for the others.  Everyone climbs up with ease except for Amon, who, being so close to death after his fall cries to be pulled up.  Ash rekindles his fury and drags the wizard up the 40′ length of the pit with ease.

The now-worse-for-wear party stumbles and drags itself through a narrow passage and into another chamber.  The sound of running water fills the stagnant air and light emanates from a platform across the cave.  Upon closer inspection the light is coming from a large [basketball sized] gem lying on the ground across an underground lake that feeds into a waterfall near the edge of the cave.  A small stone bridge connects the area the party stands on and the platform containing the gem.  The party notes that the bridge is quite narrow as it spans the water.

Before anyone knows it [and apparently having learned nothing from Renaldo and Myles’ enthusiasm], Barundar rushes across the bridge for the maguffin.  As he reaches the halfway point, a figure leaps from the water and shoots through the air towards him.  With no time to react, Barundar soon finds himself held in the arms of a large fishperson as he falls towards the water….

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