Monday, June 3, 2013

On to Codaver

The Heroes of Tara set sail for The Wall Lighthouse, an anchorage point half way between Tara and Codaver. They witnessed a caravelle following them from afar with likely bad intentions, but it was too heavily laden to catch the small, fast, empty ship of the heroes. The heroes made their anchorage and left the boat to proceed on foot. The Wall was now heavily defended by soldiers, thanks to income from the nearby salt mine.

They made their way through the badlands without trouble, arriving at Khu Sim Sim in the afternoon. The village in the badlands is in a lake valley, their homes on tall pillars of rock with wood suspension bridges in a semi circle. In the center of the lake is an island with standing stones. The stones draw the salt from the lake and are placed on a conjunction with the elemental plane of earth.

The party was at Khu Sim Sim because Maedoch wanted his follower, White Feather, to visit his home village. White Feather was now a half elf but even more shocking was no longer deaf, as the villagers puncture their ear drums to avoid their top predator, harpies. After much discussion in sign language, the village elder, Black Feather, decided White Feather could go through the ritual when he decides to return to the village for good. A party was thrown, and as is the tradition, new seed was sown, so to speak.

The next day the party returned to their ship and proceeded up the coast. As they slowly threaded the needle of treacherous rocks along the coast, the ship was attacked by an enormous octopus, a giant spyglass. It plucked several crewmen off the deck, including the captain, and submerged in an inky cloud as the party attempted to destroy it. It jetted away, badly injured, as Calderon jumped into the ocean and dove beyond the cloud. His Magic Missile spell, at the far extent of its range, was just enough to kill the creature. Aedh also dove into the water from his position flying over the battle and administered Water Breathing potions to the badly injured crewmen.

With the crew back on board, the ship continued north and again, the caravelle was following far behind. Halfway through the day, they came upon what appeared to be a castaway, an old man on a piece of flotsam off to their left.  As the ship came into range, Calderon, ever suspicious, cast a Detect Magic on the man, finding he indeed radiated magic. With enough time it was determined to be a Transmutation spell, and as the ship got closer, Calderon cast a Dispel Magic, which immediately submerged the bit of flotsam as the man transformed into a large bronze dragon.

 "Well, that's never happened before." Bruneus said in surprise. The dragon went on to tell the party how he patrols these waters for pirates and evil doers, punishing them as warranted. As he's fairly young, he's only been doing this for a hundred years or so.

When told of the caravelle and their clearly evil intentions, Bruneus asked the captain to take the ship further out to determine if their being followed might just be a coincidence. When the captain did so, the caravelle made clear course adjustments to follow and Bruneus became perturbed. He jumped overboard and a moment later a cloud fog could be seen in front of the caravelle. As the ship entered the cloud, flashes from within the cloud and shouts of surprise could be heard nearly a quarter mile from the ship. As the caravelle emerged from the fog cloud, it could be seen both its masts were in shambles, hanging off the side of their ship.

Bruneus appeared back aboard the ship and Calderon insisted they take the caravelle. Bruneus believed the damage done was punishment enough and would not assist in such an act. After much argument the party agreed with Bruneus and they headed to Codaver, albeit at a much higher speed, which Calderon believed was due to dragon magic from Bruneus.

As the party approached Codaver, a small ship came out to great them. It was the young sheriff, Kelda Skeen, and two of her deputies. She warned the parry not to land. Codaver was unsafe. Visitors were not welcome and many people who have visited have simply gone missing. Still, if they wished to dock, she wouldn't stop them. The party thanked the sheriff for her advice and decided to dock anyway.

Codaver turned out to be an insular community, a mixed race group of Northmen and Yan-Ki who cared little for outsiders and who exhibited outward signs of racism, except for Verdandi, a token half elf bard at Seamus' Tavern. The entire town smelled of rotting fish and exposed shoreline and it cloyed on clothing and in nostrils even when left behind. The party was greeted by Strom, the town grumpy soothsayer, who smelled horribly of dog, who threatened bad things if they did not leave.

Everyone told the party to leave, that they were in danger, and when the party discovered a problem with local farmers gone missing, they decided to take up the challenge. People thought they were crazy, except for Strom, who thought it was an excellent idea. He mumbled something about "two birds with one stone."

The party left town and headed to the nearby farms. Two farms were situated next to each other with a cairn on the hillside above. Giant holes in the fields led the party to believe familiar monsters were around, likely bulettes, common nuisances in the badlands. Entering the farmhouses, they discovered large holes in each, with blood around the holes where the hapless family was likely killed.

Rather than jump into dangerous holes, the party investigated the cairn on the hill above. Calderon used magic to open the door and Sfiri used her tracking skills to determine the caign had been entered before, but perhaps decades ago. The door had a name in Northman engraved on it, Solveig. History spoke of this Northman warrior priestess of Hel. She was a hero of battle who led her troops to victory over the cyclops of Redstone Island. She had little regard for her own men, the legend told, but she was an excellent general. This was likely her tomb.

The party proceeded down the subterranean passage, passing various graves, robbed long ago. As the approached a curve, they noticed a breach in the wall, with debris in the corridor, as well as a flickering red glow next to it, on a solid steel door. A malfunctioning magic mouth asked them to speak the name of the fallen warrior, but refused to open when the password was given. The red glow was a powerful protection ward, infused with infernal energy. The debris pattern indicated whatever came through the wall attempted to bash the door, despite the magical protections.

Proceeding down the breach passageway, the party came to a four way intersection. A loud chirp could be heard as two bulette's emerged from the side passages and a small one appeared ahead, apparently giving orders to the first two and rushing forward heedlessly itself. The small bulette had a red glow about it and exuded a powerful acid. It also turned out to have a poisonous bite, as Aedh, the cleric spent most of the combat attempting not to die from its toxic poison.

Calderon was later able to surmise that the infernal bulette was likely effected by the magic in the cairn. As bulettes are thought to be the creation of a mad wizard, they are perhaps susceptible to magical mutations.

The battle was furious but the bulettes were finally defeated, the small one charmed by Calderon, but not after being enfeebled by Sfiri. With a charmed bulette, Calderon was able to get it to breech the tomb of Solveig, after which the party was happy to loot her of her belongings.

Treasure: +1 Chainmail, +1 Flaming Giant Bane Morningstar, Masterwork Dagger (2),
Belt of giant strength +2, Iron unholy symbol of Hel.