Spindrift on the Astral Sea

Part 4.2: Investigations and their Result

FLYNN AND MELIAN

Flynn and Melian returned to Tramorn, who was less than delighted to see them after their dealings earlier in the day. He was even less pleased when they showed him the Ring of Vecna, and hastily closed the shop so that he could talk with them in private. He told them that they should leave, that the less they had to do with the cult of Vecna the better it would be for them and the longer they would probably live. He told them of a disturbing rumour that the Raven Queen was gone and might never return, and that the captain of her Deathless Guard and his son were missing, along with the alchemist who had owned the store across the street. They left by the back door, not wanting to bring further trouble to him.

ODO AND AQUELLE

Odo and Aquelle went to the Cracked Keel in the hopes that liquor would loosen people’s tongues. The inn looked like it had been formed by multiple ships crashing together, and then never coming apart again. Like all dock-side inns, drinks were flowing freely and whores were plying their trade. Odo and Aquelle decided to buy a round for the house, thinking that it would be the quickest way to make friends. In the ensuing celebrations, Odo found a gnome who was already deep in his cups and plied him for information. He told him that he was worried about the fires on the docks, and mentioned that people had been vanishing around the city. He also showed him his trinket. Surprisingly, this was not a euphemism for a certain body part, but a real amulet that was meant to keep him from drowning in the Astral Sea, real, of course, being a very subjective term. Its maker was one of the people who had gone missing, and it was believed that the cult was behind her disappearance.

Meanwhile, Aquelle was drinking the surrounding sailors beneath the tables, and hearing similar rumours. She noticed that one man was holding back to the side, and asked about him. The sailors told her that his name was Karl, and he’d come back all meh after being hired by some weird guys in robes (the ale had made them eloquent). At that point, Karl got up and made to leave. Aquelle tried to pursue, but was too drunk to get through the crowd and ran into Flynn who had just come through the door. It had much the same effect on her as running into a tree. Fortunately, Odo observed him leaving too, and shapeshifted into a Revenant to follow him. Shadowing Karl down the street, he saw him duck into an alley, reach out and touch the wall, and open up a door where there was no door before. Odo tried to do likewise, but could not work out its secrets.

ADARA AND PIETER

Adara and Pieter returned to Father Melathius in order to see if his inquires had turned up any useful information. Security was high around the Temple of the Hooded Lantern, and the guards were reluctant to let them speak to Father Melathius. Eventually, though, they were able to get through to him, and learnt worrying news from him. The cult was hiring muscle, and had made several citizens disappear over the past few weeks. He also said that there seemed to be some new individual in the House of the Eye, known only as the Eye.

INTO THE HOUSE

When the entire party was back at the ship after its investigations, everyone went to the alley where Odo had seen Karl disappear. After some time and experimentation, they found the hidden button in the wall, and opened up a dark doorway with a staircase leading downwards. Flynn covered the group with undergrowth, and they slowly made their way into the building. Nearby, they could hear the sounds of guttural conversation, and knew that goblins must be ahead. Once they reached the bottom of the stairs, they could see two hobgoblins and three goblins having a conversation around a brazier. (Sadly, it was not a brassiere, or else the adventure may have been a lot more sexy.) In the ensuing fight, the braziers turned out to be traps, which would move along rails and spit fire. After a brief scuffle and a couple of minor burns, the party subdued the goblins, and were confronted with a number of doors ahead of them. The middle one was strongly barred, and had deep scrapes on the ground in front of it. They were not sure whether it was intended to keep intruders out, or, worse, to keep something in.

Throwing caution to the wind (and other cliches), they chose to open the door. Inside, the air smelled musty and damp, the floor was covered with mushrooms of various shapes and colours, and they could hear the deep, predatory grunt of animals. . . .

APPENDIX: LIST OF THE MISSING AFTER OUR INVESTIGATIONS

Jalissa – Shrine of Aion – Knowledge
Sartanian – Castellan – House Harskill
Kartenix – Captain of the Deathless Guard
Thurn – Kartenix’s son
Myrtala
Zeriska – Trinket Peddler
Adronsius – Alchemist

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Part 4.1: The Ship Aflame

No notice is taken of a little evil, but when it increases it strikes the eye. – Aristotle
-
We found the Oathkeeper burning when we returned to the docks. It was not the only ship that was on fire. Wherever I looked, sailors were running to and from their boats with buckets of water and sand, trying to douse the flames. I could see Aquelle amongst them, her hair blazing with its own light, desperately trying to hold back the conflagration. Before we could go and help her, however, the crewmen from our own ship hailed us and told us that the captain needed to see us.

The scene below decks was equally grim. Melian was bent over the captain, tending to his wounds. He was naked from the waist upwards, and the pink, puckered seam of a new scar ran across his belly. I had no doubt that the wound would have been fatal if our bard had not been there.

Despite his terrible injury, Belmorn was able to tell us what had happened to him. Apparently, the same House of the Eye of Vecna that had tried to assassinate Malathius at the temple of Pelor had attacked the harbour, setting fire to the ships and killing their crews. He claimed that this sort of overt attack was out of character for them. In the past, they had been known for working in the shadows, like all creatures of the darkness and night. Odo interrupted at this point, his voice as smarmy and ingratiating as a roadside trader attempting to peddle miracle potions. As he had heard from his sources, cults of Vecna were unusually well-entrenched in Gloomwrought. Normally, they were rooted up before they could become established, but this shadowy, mad city apparently provided fertile ground for them to flourish. Here, they sought power through discovering and keeping secrets. (I fear that I cannot fully capture his tone of voice without breaking several holy vows.)

Belmorn had heard even more troubling rumours. Impossible as it seems, the Cult of Orcus – demon prince and lord of the undead, may the light of the Silver Flame protect us all from his grasp – was said to have attacked the Raven Queen herself, and have destroyed her. I do not know how you would kill a god, let alone one who has dominion over death itself. Nonetheless, the tyrant Nerull once fell at her hand many eons again, and she may now have followed him to wherever gods go when they no longer exist.

Rumours are all very well, but we clearly needed more substantial information before we could act. We decided to split up into three parties. Pieter and I would return to Father Malathius and find out what his queries had unearthed; Melian and Flynn would go to the merchant Tramorn Wyrmeye, who seemed well-connected within the city; Odo and Aquelle, when she rejoined us, would go to the Cracked Keel, the tavern near the docks. (I suspect that Odo’s motives for suggesting that line of investigation were not entirely pure.) We agreed to meet back at the ship when the gong for midnight sounded – though midnight does not look too different to high noon in dark Gloomwrought – and went our separate ways into the city.

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In the Temple of Pelor in Gloomwrought

Gloomwrought is well-named, as I felt a shadow pass across my soul the moment I entered its port. The voices, which I thought had faded, began to speak to me again, whispering to me of fire and blood, telling me to seek vengeance on the man who killed me. I do not like to remember those voices, and so I will say no more of them.

Pelor symbolOnce we had finished the captain’s business, Pieter and I went seeking a place of light in this city of darkness. The light of the Silver Flame has not penetrated the gloom, but Pelor’s sun has managed to cast a ray in the city. Although they have not seen the true light, I appreciate their sense of order and justice, the service they offer to the sick and needy.

Yet, even their temple has been contaminated. The cleric there offered Pieter and I a blessing, and asked his acolyte, Gebwin, to bring the sacred oils of anointing. Gebwin, however, betrayed his high calling, and would have stabbed him in the back with a dagger, had I not seen the weapon. I cried out that he would not defile that place of worship, and quick-thinking Pieter changed places with the cleric and felled his assailant with a single chop to his temple. Pieter is a dangerous man; his blow shattered bone and killed him instantly. As he died, he spoke of an eye that sees all. The cleric believes that he may be a servant of a cult devoted to the Eye of Vecna, a name which seems oddly familiar. Perhaps I knew of this Vecna in a past life.

I have taken the evil, black ring that was on Gebwin’s body, and will investigate this matter further.

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Part the Third: In which the Party Makes a Narrow Escape and a Good Deal
Fire. Why does it always have to be fire?

With the rooms of the Astral Chateau crumbling around us, the party grabs whatever they could safely carry (Gwenny included) and made a dash for the gangplank of the Oathkeeper. Our previous escape route suddenly blocked, we detour through the kitchens and come to a skidding halt in front of two black ‘trees’ newly planted by the door.

As expected, a fight ensues – with minimal damage to anyone this time, save for some horrific psychic screaming that occurs whenever the trees are struck. Unnerving doesn’t seem to explain the strangeness of it.

Despite their best efforts, the trees are defeated (along with their minions), leaving the gangplank free once more. Melian, with Gwenny on her back, peeks out the door and finds the Oathkeeper in combat with a huge, black-tentacled beast … crushing the very chateau we are inside. This causes the party to begin to panic just a little bit. A tiny bit. The panic was mostly from the gangplank drifting farther and farther away from the door, with a small percentage tentacle-related.

Melian, with Gwenny on her back, takes a running leap and Fey Steps her way onto the ship. Flynn follows, then throws a rope back to the others still in the rapidly sqashing building. Pieter leaps and catches the rope, with Adara doing the same (albeit a little less quickly). Aquelle makes an epic jump…misses the rope…but is saved at the last moment by a quick catch on Adara’s part. Only Odo remains…who eventually jumps for the rope after his insistent pleas for help fall on Melian’s deaf ears.

As the party sprints onboard, we are immediately called up onto the decks. The tentacled ship is attempting to catch and crush the Oathkeeper. The party, directed by the captain, springs into action, aiding the crew and the captain to reconfigure the sails and attempt to divert more power into the Arcane engine.

It is of no use – the black ship continues to gain on us. Finally, Belmorn realizes he has no other choice. Springing down to the main deck, he activates a hidden arcane circle on the decks. The masthead comes alive, turning it’s great key and activating a portal in front of the ship. As the party looks on, the Oathkeeper slips through the portal, the black ship shut out behind. Around them is nothing but darkness and the sound of lapping water.

Belmorn is intrigued by the story that the party tells. He believes that the abomination they were fighting might very well be from the Far Realms, something that the majority of the party is not happy to hear. After checking up on Gwenny, who is shaken but safe belowdecks, the captain inspects the loot they brought back from the manor.

All of the objects seem magically safe, and are distributed throughout the party, except for two. The great leatherbound tome, which Odo is quite interested in, is not only impossible to open, but appears to be magically sealed. He places the Tome in his cabin for safekeeping. The other is a jade statue of a ruffly humanoid figure. When placed in the arcane circle, the runes switch from blue to black, and the ship itself is shaken. Belmorn wisely decides not to investigate the statue further, and it too is tucked safely belowdecks.

Once the items are identified and distributed, Belmorn gives the rest of the bad news. The ship is badly damaged, and must be repaired. He has brought us all to Gloomwrought, the home of the Raven Queen. It is dangerous, depressing, and he warns all of us to be on our best behavior.

The Oathkeeper pulls up and docks in the Drowned Quarter. Belmorn tells the party that there is a merchant friend of his, a skeevy dragonborn named Tramorn, who should have all the supplies we need. He’ll also try to swindle you out of every last copper you have, so be ready. He advances you 250gp to pay for the lumber, and the party heads into Gloomwrought to find the merchant.

Tramorn is indeed skeevy, and does indeed drive a hard bargain, but Melian apparently posesses a silver tongue, and talks the dragonborn into some very VERY good deals. Though, she later wonders if it was because Odo was so irritating that he’d do anything to get them out of the shop. Lumber and other sundries purchased, the party splits up: Pieter and Adara head to the Temple of the Hooden Lantern, while the rest of the party heads back to the docks.

Their leisurely stroll home is interrupted by the general mayhem of the docks erupting into flames. They run back to the ship, and are dismayed to find the Oathkeeper and several surrounding ships on fire. The party leaps into action, helping put the fires out and searching for survivors. Melian finds the captain, gravely wounded, in his cabin. After she heals him, he reveals that someone set fire to the ship, took Gwenny, the gold, the statue and the book. The crew was killed on the way to the firefighting equipment.

The rest of the party finds and kills one of the assassins. He is dressed nondescriptly (and unsurprisingly in black), except for a thin onyx band on his left pinkie. Inscribed on the ring is a runic inscription reading:

We shall see his secrets and bind those that would seek out his power. We are the Eyes of Vecna.

All seems bleak for a moment…until we remember we still have the Tracking Crystal.

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Part the First: In which the Party is Rudely Awakened
At least no one said it was supposed to be a three-hour tour

Apologies for this not being in-character. I was distracted by drawing stick figures, and sadly most of my notes were about what I was doing. Feel free to add more stuff!

The party has been on the Spelljammer “Oathkeeper” for about a week or so. The Oathkeeper is a modified galleon, and some believe it might have been seaworthy at some point (the layer of barnacles is a pretty good hint). It’s other main distinction is the masthead – a skeleton holding a huge bronze key.

The captain, Belmorn, has only had the ship for a little over a year. He acquired all of our contracts, and we’re in the process of working off our year and a day.

The game opens as we are returning from a salvage operation centered on a ruined spelljammer – and by ruined they meant burned to a crisp. About a tenth of the cargo in the Oathkeeper’s hold was bolts of expensive spidersilk, favored greatly by the [[Feywild: Summer Court | Summer Court]].

In the middle of the night, most of the party was rudely awakened from our hammocks by the skuttling of feet and hushed, guttural language. Peeking into the hold outside of our sleeping area, several people spotted squat, small figures creeping around, breaking into containers.

There was a slight thought of maybe sneaking up on the, but Aquelle, the Swordmage, decided t take measures into her own hands and call them out. As expected, combat broke out.

After several rounds of fighting in the cargo hold, jumping over cannons, slapping people in half, and making a general fiery mess of the place, we emerged victorious over the goblins.

A quick check downstairs revealed that the goblins had broken into almost all the chests, but hadn’t taken anything incredibly valuable. Instead, they focused on things that looked magic (though they were barely visible as being magical).

Melian followed the sounds of continued fighting to the upper deck, where she chanced to see the final two goblins backed up against the mainmast. One was franticaly smashing at a gem in the middle of an amulet while the other stood by. A portal opened, and a hideously ugly, much larger goblinesque being reached through. He smashed one of the goblins with his axe, killing him instantly, then tore the amulet out off the second goblin’s hands. The portal closed behind him. The remaining goblin wisely surrendered.

Two of our fellow crew members were killed in the fray. The decision was made to return to Sigil with all haste to return their bodies to their families.

While the party itself was checking over the bodies of the fallen goblins and determining what was taken, Melian went to make friends with the prisoner. He revealed that he was little more than a lackey, and a poorly treated one at that. When plied with soup, he told her that his big bosses were concerned with only ‘magic’ and the amulet. She left him with his soup to tell the captain how cooperative he was being.

The captain, upon hearing the information gathered from the prisoner, revealed that the amulet came from his private belongings, not the salvage operation. We set sail for Sigil to return the fallen crew members and find out why someone took the Captain’s amulet.

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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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