Pirates of the Forgotten Realms

2.3: Carneval of Doom(tm)

Leaving Kraken’s Cove in the Sea Wyvern (now re-christened the Sea Crab), Our Heroes recovered the Blue Nixie and set sail for Sasserine.

After five days at sea, the crew returned home in the middle of the festivities commemorating the independence of Sasserine, with fireworks lighting the skies and streets packed with drunken revelers. In a hurry to get back to Vanderboren Manor, the PCs sailed pretty much right up to the manor gates and parked their ship (leaving their new friend Javin Swiftrunner to mind the boat).

Some of the people out in the streets were apparently out to get our heroes, and they were momentarily assaulted by a group of jugglers on stilts. Fortunately, the would-be hitmen were less than competent at whacking people who could see it coming, and they were foiled in the act. Still, it was evident that the party had made more than their share of enemies in town.

Arriving shortly thereafter at Vanderboren Manor, the party found the front door ajar and three vicious frog-men on guard in the main hall. Making short work of the guards, they rushed up the stairs to find Lavinia Vanderboren, Kora Whistlegap, Tolin Kientai, and Zan Oldavin, all hostages of a half-orc pirate and the shaman of the frog-people. The two gave our heroes quite a bit of trouble before they convinced the pirate that Vanthus Vanderboren was no friend of theirs. At that, he ran off into the night, and the shaman fell to their attacks soon after.

Lady Lavinia managed to save her maid, and told the Party that their troubles were far from over; The manor was overrun with the savage frog-people…

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2.2: Burning Sails

With repairs recently completed on The Blue Nixie, and Lady Lavinia Vanderboren determined to capture her brother, she had allowed the party to take the ship (captained by Gregory Stormwind) to Blood Bay. There they hoped to find Vanthus Vanderboren, who had planned a raid on the Crimson Fleet hideout. The hideout was situated in caves in a small cove protected by a dangerous reef, known locally as Kraken Cove (see [[2.1: Where There’s Smoke | 2.1: Where There’s Smoke]]).

Approaching Kraken Cove overland, it was apparent that whatever had happened in Kraken Cove, it had affected nearly all living creatures for at least a mile around. Gorm had identified a residual magic field in the area, and Mobius felt it was evil enough to detect. While some creatures were not affected, those who resisted the transformation were quickly set upon by the deformed savage creatures. In a few cases, the mutations were so extreme that the creature did not survive the transformation process; malformed bodies and body parts littered the jungle, the beach, and floated belly-up in the cove.

Within the pirates’ caves, the PC’s had to contend with several transformed pirates, a mutated deinonychus, and even one of Vanthus’s unfortunate girlfriends. Eventually the party encountered Captain Harliss Javell, one of the few pirates to have resisted being transformed and last survivor of the pirate crews in the cove. From her they discovered that Vanthus and Brissa had shattered a large magical black pearl, and that had apparently been the cause of the magical plague. Figuring that Vanthus had fled back to Sasserine, Harliss had set her first mate on course to Vanderboren Manor to exact revenge for her ships and crew.

Our heroes also freed the sole remaining survivor of the pirates’ captives, Javin Swiftrunner.

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2.1: Where There's Smoke

In which the PC’s finish the business at hand in Sasserine, and embark on a mission to ambush Vanthus Vanderboren as he’s ambushing some pirates of the notorious Crimson Fleet. Unfortunately, they might not be the only ones with that idea…

With a couple of days to burn before the presentation ceremony, our heroes attempt tto learn a few years’ worth of charm school. Nobody decides they have better things to do, so they avoid embarrassing themselves in front of the city’s nobles. The night before the presentation ceremony, watchman Vilmar Overlander appears at the door of Vanderboren Manor with some of Vanthus’s letters found in the Lotus Dragons’ lair.

One hint found in the letters is that Vanthus intends to ambush some pirates out at Kraken Cove, a hideout some distance from the city, and steal their treasure. These happen to be pirates with ties to the Crimson Fleet. Vanthus knows this, which indicates he is either supremely arrogant, overconfident, or utterly foolhardy.

During the party, they discover that Rowan Kellani has somehow escaped from the dungeon.

Taking their leave from the party, our heroes rush down to the Blue Nixie and head for Kraken Cove. After five uneventful days’ sailing along the swampy coast, they arrive at Blood Bay in time to see a plume of black smoke on the horizon.

Deciding they’d rather not fight a bunch of angry pirates in ship-to-ship combat, our heroes go ashore and trek through the jungle, only to find the after-effects of some nasty magic has turned the beasts into twisted, murderous versions. They are set upon by monkeys with too many teeth and random bone-spurs jutting through open sores.

Finally they come across Kraken cove, only to discover that the pirate fleet, and most of the bay, is in flames—it appears that the barrels of alchemists’ fire Vanthus used on the pirates hit a cargo of whale oil, sending them all up in oily black smoke.

The PC’s start working their way down a rickety, narrow staircase of rotten planks set into the cliff face down to the beach, until one falls off into the water below, dragging the rest with…just as one of the burning ships finally snaps its ropes and goes careening into the cliff face, smashing the remaining stairs and leaving them in the flaming water. They are saved from drowning/burning by a hastily-conjured octopus and dragged, gasping, onto the beach. The beach that is littered with debris and miscellaneous body parts…

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1.4: There is no Honor

Background:

The Taxidermists’ Guild in Dead Dog Alley conceals a complex smugglers’ operation in their basement: The Lotus Dragons were small-time opium runners until one Rowan Kellani took an interest in them a few years back. With her ruthless management (and more importantly, her family’s money) the Lotus Dragons grew to dominate the shipping protection rackets in Sasserine. The major obstacle to their total control over the harbor and comings and goings of ships was the old harbormaster, Keltar Islaran. Thus it was, a couple of nights ago while the PC’s were busy fighting off zombie pirates under Parrot Island, thanks to Vanthus Vanderboren, Islaran was brutally eviscerated as he lay sleeping. In the absence of an Islaran heir, House Kellani stood to gain control of Shadowside.

Enter Our Heroes:

Having found the dying curse of Penkus in the death-trap that was the Parrot Island catacombs directing them to exact their vengeance upon Vanthus where he ‘Lay in the lap of the Lotus’, the party wasted no time in seeking out the Lotus Dragons’ hideout. If you want to break into a hive of scum and villainy, the best time to do so is at three in the afternoon, when everyone is either out doing jobs or sleeping.

Given that the Taxidermists’ Guildmaster, one Nemien Roblach, was as corrupt as they come, Our Heroes heroically bribed their way past him, by joining the guild and paying a ridonkulous “Application Fee” for the privilege.

With Wellby Thornside (Bee) running interference, the PC’s found the secret door, disabled the alarm system, opened the trap door, and went down the ladder. They found an underground complex and proceeded to miraculously completely avoid raising an alert. The only thing that made much noise was an angry Rhagodessa watch-beast, which was conveniently chained up so it couldn’t go rampaging through the complex. They unceremoniously shot it until it expired.

The zombie bugbear that was supposed to raise the alarm didn’t last that long either.

Finally, confronting the Lady of the Lotus in her lounge lair, they were offered the classic Evil Overlord’s Offer: You are clearly more competent than my current henchmen, so why don’t you come work for me? (Note: the PC’s actually could have taken this offer if they weren’t such goody-two-shoes, and didn’t mind working with Rowan to get to Vanthus. Insert comment about Omelettes & Eggs here.)

Aided by a pair of Gorm’s crabs, they took down Rowan and her pet drake, and Gregory narrowly stopped her from escaping via potion of gaseous form. The PC’s took the unconscious Rowan and crept back out the way they came, intimidating Roblach on the way out.

Delivering her to the only contact they trusted in the City Watch, Our Heroes returned to Lavinia Vanderboren with no further information on Vanthus, but having earned the thanks of the Dawn Council for their efforts.

LOOT:

+1 Rapier (value 2320gp)
+1 Leather Armor (value 1160gp)
MW Buckler (value 165gp)
MW hand crossbow with 10 bolts (value 400gp)
potion (you’re pretty sure this is healing of some sort)
wand of Animate Dead (only 5 charges, so 450gp)
wand of Charm Person (650gp)
alabaster statuette: succubus (350gp)
onyx statuette: displacer beast (100gp)
silver statuette: unicorn (500gp)
two jewelry boxes: Necklaces & bracelets worth 300gp, rings & earrings worth 500gp
Misc perfumes worth 240gp
4x Alarm Chimes (20gp each)
2x Silver Lamps (10gp each)

Total value: 7235 (although you may want to apportion the equipment differently)

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1.3: One Huecuva Night

After Our Heroes hid in the tiny room at the base of the shaft and tried to sleep, they heard shuffling out in the hallway. Noting that the small hallway would force their enemies to come at them one at a time (and that Zombies only get a partial move), they elected to wait until their foes came to them. This proved to be a sound tactical decision: The zombies shuffled down the hallway one by one and went down under a hail of slashing weapons, one by one.

Once the undead were safely re-dead, the PC’s finished their nap.

Rising at nine the next morning, they explored the rest of the smugglers’ hideout: Three rooms, 25’ square, connected by long hallways. A passageway west led through tide pools with crabs and sea urchins to the corpse of Penkus and his dying curse, plus the smugglers’ treasure.

That treasure included a small jade coffer holding an Earth Elemental gem, which the PC’s used to escape the underground trap and haul up their booty. Returning to Vanderboren manor, they broke open the chest, but not before reporting to Lady Lavinia Vanderboren that her brother was Not Very Nice At All.

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1.2: Beneath Parrot Island

Still in search of Vanthus Vanderboren, Our Heroes took the Li’l A’tuin, The Turtle Taxi of Sasserine. to the end of Parrot Island. They proceeded up the trail to the top of the island, finding a small clearing and tripping over a stone trap door. The trap door led down a 5’-wide shaft into the heart of the island, 30’ down, so naturally the PC’s threw a rope down and climbed down to investigate.

No sooner had the last party member reached to small room at the bottom of the shaft than Vanthus emerged from hiding at the top, cut the rope, and then slammed the door shut. Amid his taunts and jeers, they heard the ominous sounds of boulders being dragged on top of the door.

Now trapped in an old smugglers’ hideout, the PC’s decided to explore the tunnels, unaware that the previous occupants were no longer alive, but still quite hungry!

Thus far, our heroes have dismantled nine of the ravenous zombie pirates, and turned their leader (a huecuva (zombie cleric)), locking him away in the eastern rooms. They estimate that they have another ten minutes before the heucuva recovers from the turning and comes back after them. In the meantime, they’ve found remnants (mostly bones with teethmarks, but a few bits of usable equipment) of the last adventurers to enter these passageways.

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1.1: It's All Your Vault

As soon as Lady Lavinia Vanderboren got her father’s signet ring from the Blue Nixie, she wanted the PCs to help her get into the Vanderboren family vault. She hadn’t been there, but had heard that the noble families typically use security systems for their hoards.

The PC’s and Lavinia arrived the next morning, and the clerk on duty showed them to the main vault door. The signet ring acts as a key, and it opened.

In the first room of the vault, an Iron Cobra construct lay in wait. It chewed them up pretty badly, thanks to its Damage Reduction, but was no match for Nary’s ridonkulous damage output. They had it nearly dismantled when it shut down at the sight of the signet ring (apparently a key in more ways than one).

In room #2, our heroes found an octagonal room with a big, grooved central pillar. Each side of the octagon has a bas-relief statue of a monster, each with a different number of eyes (1-7, in order) made of inset garnets (which I thought would be an obvious clue, since it was the only detail mentioned). The ceiling was another clue, being a large black eight-pointed star, with one red point facing the entrance. The PCs had to discover by accident that the central pillar rotates, and the whole room was basically a big combination lock.

Opening the vaults, Lady Lavinia then discovered that her brother had emptied the family fortune from the vault before she got there. All that remained were a smattering of silver and a big stack of paperwork (largely IOUs). Concerned, Lavinia asked the PC’s to track down her brother, one Vanthus Vanderboren.

Asking around, they then found that Vanthus had been seen around town in the company of some ne’er-do-wells (and his apparent girlfriend, one Brissa Santos) until about a ten-day ago. The last person they’ve found that has seen him (with assistance from Gregory’s friend in the Watch) was a grumpy dwarf named Panchi, proprietor of a boat shop in Shadowshore District (“It Still Floats!”). Panchi told that Vanthus showed up with a friend, having a heated argument, and they bought a rowboat. They loaded plenty of lamp oil into the boat and headed due west from his dock.

Hearing that, Gorm & Gregory Stormwind cleverly decided to look around the island that was right in front of them, and spent all the next day heading upriver and discovering the culinary delights of lizardfolk cuisine. Mobius cleverly decided to remain in bed instead. It wasn’t until they returned and resumed asking around the seediest side of town that someone looking to make a fast buck offered to sell them some info on Vanthus’ whereabouts.

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Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.

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1.0: Reclaiming the Blue Nixie

Background:

Having inherited the family business, Lady Lavinia Vanderboren has also inherited all of their debts and obligations. One primary remaining asset of the family business is the Blue Nixie, but it has been impounded by the harbormaster of Sasserine for nonpayment of docking fees. Lavinia paid the fees to the harbormaster’s minion, Soller Vark, but failed to get a receipt, and he pocketed the gold, claiming she hadn’t paid. With little recourse, Lady Lavinia asked the Jade Ravens to find someone with plausible deniability to get back her gold or her ship or both.

First Encounters:

  • Mobius wandered into town and, seeing the senseless violence of the gladiator games, did his best to help those involved as a healer. Here he ran into Kaskus Kiel.
  • Gregory Stormwind ran into Vilmar Overlander in a seedy bar, who warned him about the clientele. Sympathetic to the Vanderborens after their recent tragedy, Vilmar referred Gregory to Lady Lavinia.
  • Gorm found the invitation left by Gregory Stormwind in that seedy bar and, thinking it was for a party, showed up purely by accident.
  • Nary was looking for subtle work and so met with Zan Oldavin, who tailed her for a day and decided she was worth referring to Lady Lavinia. Thus, she was hired on independently of the other three.

Gathering Information:

the Blue Nixie was no longer at port; Soller Vark had moved it out into the harbor, and was using it to smuggle rare and dangerous animals through the city. Fortunately for the PCs, Soller Vark is a known figure of the docklands, as were his habits of joining the (illegal) monstrous pit fights. There, they heard he was seen boarding the Nixie a day ago when it was moved out into the harbor.

Nary, deciding on the subtle approach, jumped into the filthy, stinking harbor, and swam out to the boat, where she played at being a mugging victim thrown overboard. Vark’s abysmally stupid henchmen hauled her aboard until Vark emerged from the captain’s cabin and, wisely paranoid, had them throw her back in.

At this point the other three PC’s arrived at the dock and saw Nary thrashing about in the water, and decided it was a lovely afternoon for a swim. Gorm summoned an octopus to fondle Japanese schoolgirls jet them out to the Nixie underwater, so they popped to the surface on the opposite side of the ship from Miss Subtlety.

Attack!:

Climbing onto the _Nixie_’s deck, they witnessed Vark and his thugs raining crossbow bolts on Nary‘s head and laughing, and proceeded to kick their asses. Nary hauled herself out of the drink to join them at this. It was Super-Effective. In short order, the PC’s burned all of their luck but slaughtered or drove off all the thugs, and captured Vark. They then dealt with the dangerous monster Vark had in the hold by staying out of range and peppering it with crossbow bolts (a good idea, since it would’ve taken them out at that point).

Aftermath:

Bringing the Nixie back into port, the PCs took a bath before reporting to Lady Lavinia that the ship and her gold had been recovered. She paid them off out of the proceeds, and went to the ship to recover her mother’s signet ring (which, she said, was the key to the family vault). She offered the PCs continued employment. The Jade Ravens were left to guard and clean up the ship, and Kaskus Kiel took charge of the remaining animals, promising to return them to the wild.

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