Session # 2 Recap
[27 Ches 1372]
The early hours of morning bring the promise of a warm, sunny day to the shipwrecked survivors of Waukeen's Grace. Shortly after the survivors rise, however, ominous gray clouds suddenly form, seemingly from nowhere. The wind picks up, rain starts to fall heavily, and once again the survivors find themselves in the midst of a terrible storm. From the partial shelter of their lean-to, the survivors notice a glowing object moving quickly towards shore from the ocean. Seconds later, the object can be made out: a ship in flames!
While Borya stays behind to guard young Tazi and the injured Illanus, Rolen and Nakor head for where the ship is likely to run aground on shore. As they walk, figures emerge from the treeline and lurch across the beach and into the water. They half swim and half float towards the burning hulk, and even in the darkness the disfigured, distorted bodies are visible in the light reflected from the flames. They are walking corpses, veritable nightmares given form. Gathering his courage, Nakor shoots an arrow into the back of one of them, and it doesn't even notice.
Aboard the ship, all is chaos. Flames lick at the main deck and the masts, passengers run screaming back and forth, and more of the monstrosities carry out their mission of destruction. Two adventurers fight side by side to survive: Cain, a young cleric of Kossuth the Flamelord, and Fargrim, a seasoned Dwarven
Battlerager from the Northern city of Mirabar. They decide that jumping into the water is safer than staying onboard, and plunge in. Fargrim manages to barely keep afloat by treading water, but Cain, already badly hurt by one of the creatures, begins to sink under the weight of his heavy armor.
Fortunately, Rolen and Nakor decide to intervene. Tying a rope to a large piece of driftwood, Rolen floats out to where Cain is flailing and together the two make it back to shore, as does Fargrim. As the ship crashes into shore and is beached, a roiling red mist begins to roll in from out of the treeline, quickly covering everything in its path. The mist puts out the flames, but seems to bring the dead passengers on-board the ship back into a mockery of life. The deathless abominations throw themselves off the ship, reckless of the fall, and begin to march toward the interior of the island. The adventurers decide to engage two of the creatures in battle. The fighting is difficult, as Rolen's punches, Fargrim's warhammer, and Cain's mace have limited effect. Eventually, the two creatures are returned to eternal sleep, with the only serious injury to the adventurers resulting from Fargrim losing his grip during a powerful backswing and knocking himself unconscious with his own weapon.
With the battle over and the remaining undead having disappeared into the treeline, the adventurers compare notes and realize they have similar stories to tell. Nakor decides to search the beached ship for anything of value. He narrowly avoids falling through a cracked portion of the deck and reaches the hold. Inside, he finds spices, tapestries, and other bulk goods along with a hidden coin purse. He pockets the latter and returns to the others. Nakor and Rolen lead Fargrim and Cain to the lean-to, where they discover that Borya is missing. Tazi claims the warrior heard a sound from the forest and went to investigate, but never returned.
The four adventurers decide to head into the treeline and towards the mysterious tower they can discern further on. With Rolen leading, however, they lose their way. Rolen tries to climb a tree in order to get his bearings, but slips on the wet bark and falls, cracking his skull on a rock. Fortunately, Cain is able to draw upon the powers granted by Kossuth to heal the wounds with a flash of divine heat. Fargrim decides to climb the tree and is surprisingly spry; he spots both the tower toward the center of the island and a small wisp of smoke emanating to the south. The group decides to heads toward the smoke, but again the dark interior of the island confuses them and they become lost, realizing their mistake only when they reach the coastline and have to follow it back to the lean-to. Stymied and exhausted, they decide to rest for the evening.
[28 Ches 1372]
Once again, the adventurers trek into the jungle. This time, they adopt the clever plan of tying decorative belts found washed up on shore around trees to mark their movements. Some hours later, the group comes upon a long trench that curves out of sight to either side of them. Rolen throws a log into the bottom of the trench and the group watches in horror as the wood is devoured by a swarm of fast-moving fist-sized leeches. Nakor, however, is confident he can simply jump across, but his estimates of his own leaping prowess are sorely in error and he falls right into the bottom of the trench! The blood-leeches are on him in a flash; although his allies manage to pull him out quickly with a rope, Nakor is in trouble as one of the leeches bites right into his jugular! Flames shoot from Cain's palms, scorching both Nakor and one of the leeches. Rolen tries to punch one of them, but his punch inadvertently hits Nakor right in the solar-plexus, knocking him unconscious. Things go from bad to worse when Fargrim tries to grab and throw one of the leeches off of Nakor; the leech clamps on to Fargrim instead, and the dwarf trips, hits his head, and falls unconscious as well! Eventually the comedy of errors ends with the slugs destroyed, but Cain is forced to expend more healing spells.
The group decides that an alternative to jumping must be found. Working together, they search for a tall tree and Fargrim chops it down with an axe. Stripping the tree of branches, they drag it over to the trench and laboriously stand it up and then tip it over, forming a bridge across. With careful use of ropes to avoid falling, the four adventurers manage to traverse the trench. It's been an exhausting day, however, and several of the adventurers are still wounded. They decide to rest for the night and begin the next day's assault on the mysterious tower in better fighting shape.
Director's Commentary (March 28, 2013)
This was a memorably hilarious session. The PCs simply had the worst luck: Rolen fell while trying to climb a tree and almost died from his wounds, Nakor rolled terribly while trying to jump a ditch full of monstrous blood-leeches and was lucky to survive, Rolen then tried to punch one of the leeches off of Nakor but rolls a natural 1 instead and knocks Nakor into negatives, Fargrim tried to assist and also rolls a natural 1 and the critical fumble card he draws knocks him unconscious too (and the latter was incredibly bad luck, as the character had drawn the exact same card earlier in the session while fighting undead!). Terrible luck, but great fun, and amazing that no one actually died with rolls so poor.
I liked how this session started, with the flaming ships crashing onto the beach with two PCs trapped aboard. Cain established right from the get go that with heavy armor, there was no way he was going to do anything athletic, and that has remained constant throughout the campaign (as has his indispensability to the party with his healing spells). Nakor also started a memorable streak: finding treasure, sneaking it into his pack, and not telling the others! The player who ran Borya in the first session didn't return, so I had a little fun with the character as an NPC in a few sessions' time. One of the things I liked about this adventure was that, early on, it made the PCs see how skills that seem somewhat useless at first (Knowledge: Nature, Survival, Climb, etc.) can have a big impact on success.