:: Yes, at last, a game report! You will see it's quite a lot more condensed than the old one, and it starts a few sessions later (the players decided they really wanted to get back to pirate hunting, and a little bit of Deus Ex Machina was employed to see that happen). However, this covers about six sessions of gaming and outlines a full "chapter" of their story. Enjoy!::
(12/8/1472) 18:40 – 19:10 arrive in Draxian tower trapped within magic circle. Mages bring it down. Secret doors located and opened. iron golems attack. Jaeger sneaks through the battle and to one of the doors leading from outer area. Hears low chanting from beyond. Other rooms searched. Scrolls recovered and Remove Affliction Elixirs. Group move to door and opening it (after removing a bit designed to exhaust its targets) , see only utter darkness.
19:10 – 19:30: The darkness is lowered by Thatari, and a flight of stairs is seen. A trap glyph is located in the ceiling, and the group can see that darkness still shrouds the lower steps. This too is lowered, and another glyph removed. More darkness..and again, it is removed. However, as this falls, so a room is seen beyond, within which stand two draxian apprenta, arms raised as they call on their power, a translucent mephit of steam and shadow darting around them.
A battle immediately ensues. Caught up in the fight, the group forget that there may be a final trap, and an Infernal Transposition Glyph is triggered, turning a stretch of the stairs and chamber into a zone of hellish terrain. This wounds the apprenta as well as the group, although the warlock manages to force reality back to where it belongs with the brute manipulation of the local dimensional fabric (He also marvels at the dimensional locks that must be in place on the tower to prevent such a transposition ripping reality open in this area of wounded reality).
19:30 – 19:35: The battle is tough but the group are victorious. There are three portals leading from the area, and the apprentices each bear a sigil that seems to be the key to opening them. However, concerned that they may be forced into a battle they should avoid, and worried by their increasingly weary state, the group decide to leave these chambers be, and head through the secret door.
19:35 – 19:45: Another flight of bloodmarble steps, which widens as it enters a huge ornate circular chamber of polished bloodmarble. In the middle of the room stand four floor to ceiling columns carved from onyx. These have been crafted to depict humans and daemons involved in sickening sexual acts, and a bloody light oozes from them painting the room in shadowy radiance. Either side of the room, two rune scribed portals lead elsewhere, whilst dead ahead a huge pair of gold and obsidian doors, bound in cold iron and worked with warding glyphs, leads...outside perhaps? However, the group's attention is taken up by the massive thing - a flesh golem, though made from the unnatural parts of daemons rather than mortals - that snarls and roars between the pillars, flexing its malformed, clawed hands, and whipping, sting-tipped tail. It stands just over 12' tall, and has a mass of hideous heads stitched directly to its chest.
The daemonflesh golem leaps to attack, unleashing a blast of raw chaotic power amongst the group. Hitting hard, the Chaos Hammer stuns Varracuda and Shnecke, dazes Jaeger and Thatari, and misses Grigori. An epic battle unfolds, in which the group's resources are all but depleted. The golem however is eventually destroyed through cunning as much as strength of arms, for whilst the battle rages,the assassin examines the ornate doors. Almost at once he recognises the layers of deadly spells woven into it, and with this in mind - and being reluctant to try and disable the complex, interwoven glyphs, he hatches a plan. The golem is lured close to the doors, and then hurled against them by the swordmage. As it hits the doors, so its massive bulk forces them apart, triggering a maelstrom of destruction as the wards trigger. Shredding, clawing power evaporates the golem, its destruction sending echoes of wild magic through the hall, and the doors vanish in the apocalypse of released might, revealing the storm blasted streets beyond. From somewhere nearby, a thickly accented voice howls with rage, and the group decide to head out of the tower whilst they can.
19:45 – 20:05: The island is in the midst of an unnatural storm - both a physical and metaphysical storm. Buildings lie destroyed, and bodies are strewn everywhere. The group make their way to a nameless inn, and find it almost deserted, the only inhabitants being a gibbering sailor driven mad by the sights he has seen (he is quietly drained of his blood by Grigori and Shnecke), and a sobbing, but sane, red-haired barmaid named Beth.
20:05 – 06:00 (13/8/1472): The group settled into the Inn, availing themselves of the profits and the best alcohol in the house, and then spend some times settling in. The assassin finds an antique shield brooch, which he recognises as an ancient Silver Guard symbol - enchanted to absorb force damage. Outside the storm rages, the only living soul they witness being a man - naked and bleeding - running howling through the slashing rain, vanishing in the stinging fogs. At about 03:00 the storm stops as if turned off, and eerie silence envelops the island, punctuated now and then by distant screams or the crackle of unleashed magic.
06:00 – 10:40: Beth is offered a place on board the SC, which she accepts. The group set about trying to find some additional supplies in the city, whilst the assassin heads down to the docks to see if the SC is still moored there. (The group realise that the Geas has ended on them, as technically, they have fulfilled their part of the bargain - the portal is now closed by their hand).
The harbour is choked with wreckage, the ships that were moored there smashed in the unleashed power of the planar collapse. Several ships are fused with the cliff sides over looking the harbour. None appear to be the SC.
The assassin also spots a Draxian - almost certainly the one who's tower they trashed - stalking along the harbour front, his fury shimmering around him in a nimbus of bloody shadows. He senses that something unseen and impossibly foul follows the diabolist, and knowing that he would be killed were he to be spotted, he slinks back to the inn.
Grigori enacts a ritual and makes contact with Caleph. He is heartened to learn that the SC has survived, though it is damaged and listing hard to port. Caleph agrees to bring the ship back to what is left of the Carrion Port, in order to collect the group.
Out at the edge of his vision, the assassin notices a small, armoured ship cutting through the waters towards the port. Straining his eyes, he sees it's name - "The Soliloquy".
10:40 – 11:10: Returning to the group, it is decided to head down to the northern side of the island, and to try and locate a boat, to sail out to meet the SC. it is also decided that the group will stop by the Swaervar'Tritul temple to see if Rodag is there. They move through the streets, disgusted by the swarming flies and screaming seagulls that feed on the bloating bodies of those slain in the upheavals, and soon locate several small rowing boats that have weathered a devastation, ideal for sailing out to meet the SC.
11:10 – 11:55: The group heads to the temple of Swaervar'Tritul, and find it empty; the icon of the Sea God warped by whatever power briefly lay here - its once noble features corrupted by horn-like eruptions of weeping coral, that ooze and fester in the still heat. A cleric lies dead and bloated; pecked by seagulls and swarming with maggots, in the entrance, though it is not Rodag.
A search of the temple shows it to be empty. However, as they wait there, a group of sailors arrives - one of them wounded, their foot bloated and discoloured. The group approach them, and Grigori mends the wounded man's foot. They agree to join the crew of the SC. Three are Vaedanci sailors, the last, a Dohr'Khustan.
11:55 – 22:30: The group await nightfall. From the bell tower (where a single bell tolls morosely in the unpleasantly warm, death-scented air), Jaeger scans the island from signs of life. Where the shift mines were, a brilliantly glowing chasm now yawns, beams of radiance reaching into the skies like burning spears.
As night falls, only a few lights shine in the black ruin of the Carrion Port, one of them being the bloody, smoky energies that rise over the blade and thorn studded tower of the Draxian. The group wait for the moon (only a few days from being full) to rise before they head out into the streets, glad that the night has at least brought some relief from the gulls and flies - though rats now gnaw on the dead and chase foully through the shattered streets.
22:30 – 23:15 The group make their way to the shore without incident, and with their new allies rowing, soon meet with the SC - though she is far more wounded then the group imagined she would be; listing hard to port, the cannons there almost facing down into the waves.
23:15 – 00:30 (14/8/1472): They immediately meet with a weary Caleph, who has managed to keep the crew loyal to the group, and tells the party of several individuals that have tried to usurp their authority (although he warns many are commenting on the ill favour that seems to follow this vessel).
Principle amongst these is a so-called missionary of the Goddess Rithuen'Ardana named Vensk.
Vensk it seems is a manipulative snake-oil salesman of a man - always talking of his great power, but exhibiting only charlatanism, fake healing, and suggestion. This has not stopped him gaining a small following amongst the displaced of the crew, and he has, of late, voiced some rather less than friendly opinions of the group.
It is decided that he will be watched and then disposed of, the assassin assuring the group that he can make him vanish with disturbing silence.
The group's attention then turns to the matter of what to do next. It is decided that the first task will be to get the ship patched up, so it can make the dangerous journey to the next nearest port - the "black port" (pirate / lawless port) of Scarathane. Scarathane is a violent, anarchic port located within the corpse of a rumbling, dormant volcano, known by local pirates as Isola degli dei ruggente (Island of the Roaring God). Controlled by a syndicate of three powerful organisations (the Cult of Zargor, the pirates of the Feccia Del Mare (scum of the sea) and the surface dwelling, psionically potent Dwaer'Syth of lost Athrandia).
However, to get there, the ship must pass through a deadly region of islets inhabited by pirates, who's water teem with daemonically infused Sahuagin. In order to stand a chance, the SC must be patched up – at least enough that she can bring her port armaments to bear. It is therefore agreed that the ship will seek out an island somewhere nearby, so that temporary repairs can be made.
The ten most trusted crew members are also singled out and given the task of keeping an eye on the mood and morale of the crew and the refugees. They agree to do so, becoming the ships chosen men.
14/8/1472 – 18/8/1472) A course is set, and the SC heads out. Jaeger shadows Vensk, but after a few days is unable to find him. During his search for him, he discovers that several other refugees are missing, and he tells the rest of the group.
11:00 – 14:00: A thorough search of the ship is made, and no sign of the con man found. All that remains is his copy of “Common Prayers for the Adventurer”, his holy symbol and his boots. Realising that he can solve the mystery quite easily, Grigori enacts a ritual to read the psychic vibrations of Vensk's holy book – and makes a chilling discovery. The last person to speak to him was none other than Beth.
14:40 – 15:15: Grigori and Shnecke arrange to meet with Beth in the captain's quarters, the assassin lurking in the room, masked by his shadow magic. Although not in the chamber, both Thatari and Varracuda lurk nearby, ears pricked for even the slightest hint of trouble.
Beth arrives, and when asked about the fake holy man seems to grow angry and frustrated. Grigori, realising something is wrong, but unsure of what, tries to calm her, but her rage grows with each second. Then, before the horrified adventurers, she leaps at the priest, her beauty shredding as her true form – that of a sag titted, twisted old woman with huge claws, a hooked nose, and glowing yellow eyes – rips free.
”HAG!” screams the priest, summoning his magic. “Fools!” Screams the hag, “You had to meddle didn't you?”
Within moments, the luxurious splendour of the captain's quarters is reduced to ruin as the group battle the Brine Hag. She is a truly deadly foe, and it takes almost everything they have to even draw blood. By this time, the room is awash with corrosive slush, poison tipped urchin spines and other manifestations of fey magic, and each adventurer is almost at their limit. Luckily, as soon as her warty, sagging flesh is actually cut, the hag seems to lose any stomach for the battle, and with a shriek of rage, she transforms into briny water, and flows through the floor, escaping the group, and fleeing to who knows where...
Word spreads quickly through the ship, and morale takes another hit. People mutter about the SC being cursed, and dark tales spread like a sickness through the crew as they tell ever more wild tales about the party and past events.
(18/8/1472 – 21/8/1472): Grigori and the chosen men work hard to calm the raw emotions, and manage to reassure many. However, there remains an undercurrent of fear and foreboding, which hangs over the crew like a cloak.
22:15 – 22:35: However, as night draws up her hood, so the source of the glow becomes apparent – a flotilla of impossible, huge chunks of burning, frozen fire, floating in the sea; huge glassy things, who's upper reaches blaze with an almost colourless flame, the waters of the ocean seething and boiling where they touch them. Worse, creatures of elemental fire can be seen dancing and fighting within the infernos atop the “firebergs”, and it is feared that they may try and attack the SC should it draw too close to them. The heat coming from them is horrific, and an emergency meeting is called to decide how to proceed.
The meeting is tense, with arguments for going around the elemental hazard and for going through. Eventually however, it is decided that it would be safer to try and wend through the strange phenomena, rather then risk skirting too close to uncharted, possibly deadly waters.
23:00 – 05:20: All non-crew are confined to their quarters (where once again, the muttering begins about the SC being “cursed”), and the crew grimly prepare to act on the orders of their bizarre captains. It takes them roughly six hours, but incredibly, the ship manages to move through the “fireberg” flotilla with barely a scorch, despite falling chunks of frozen fire, errantly lobbed fireballs, and surging bursts of superheated water.
(26/8/1472): 10:05: Four more days pass, and land is spotted!