The Great Escape
Ricter Ironflow and Jarek Zimno are locked in a prison cell. They are shoved in the center of the room by armed guards before the barred door closes behind them. They are without weapon or clue as to why they are imprisoned.
Besides the fairly common looking windowless cell that obviously shows the standard hospitality of a lock-up— (i.e. : cold, damp floor ; walls made of stone; the constant drip drop of some unforseen water source ) the entires jail reeks of skylar fat-burning torches. The smoke is a bit thick in the hallways and tends to gag you at times.
Also, locked up inside with them is a giant of a man with an endless scowl and a need to be in charge. He’s almost as fat as he is tall with thinning greasy limp black hair and a general lack of hygiene ( B.O.)— VORT wears only a stained loin cloth and a half wrap that reaches around one shoulder. He’s not the brightest torch in the room but what he lacks in brains he makes up in brawn. He also has an overbearing need to bully and to fill his belly. He also shows signs of glowmadness—is it an act or is it real?
(Jarek & Ricter take a few moments to introduce themselves before the clanging of gates and a rattle of keys brings them to focus…)
Escorted by two guards Marlow Fontaine walks down the darkened corridor, unbeknown to him, to his cell in the makeshift jail. As he passes one particular cell he notices a wizened, older gentleman with a dusty beard and a shock of white hair locked inside. The man looks like he’s seen better days—maybe a decade or more ago. The man harshly whispers: “You’ll need more than one to fell that tree. “ & “Sometimes cloth makes the best noose.”
These supposed warnings make no sense to the ex-pirate at the time for he is quite vexed by his whereabouts and why he is even being manhandled by these strange “guards” in the first place. Marlow is then tossed into the same cell as the other three. Another introduction ensues.
After the three question each other about the reason behind this perplexing imprisonment (to no avail) they turn their questions towards Vort. The seemingly dull-witted man gives vague answers but declares all bugs and any rations doled out will be his to eat. With that a brittle old man appears at the gate with a steaming bucket of stew and three bowls. He tosses the bowls into the cell and begins to ladle out portions—all while ducking the characters questions.
Vort determines that no one else should possess a bowl besides himself and makes to grab the other unused containers— a cheap ploy to bully the PC’s. A brawl unfolds.
The characters step into action as Ricter uses on bowl as a blunt weapon against Vort. Marlow jumps into the fray as well but becomes a bit overwhelmed by his surroundings and misses his mark on the big brut. The calculating, one-armed mage uses his spells of water divination to snuff the only torch in the room—giving the 3 PC’s an upper hand in the melee. After a few more well placed blows with the bowl, Ricter levels the Vort. The shaken giant bellows a surrender by shouting out a man’s name—Tomas.
Instantly, Tomas Hawke appears—-the same old man who was locked in the adjacent cell— but now cleaned up and dressed in finer garb. Tomas explains the reasoning behind the rouse to the PC’s. (He thought they were hired assassins for Merkas Gladwing— a ruthless crime-lord in Gateway, a member of the Trade Council, and a crooked merchant who would like nothing better than to monopolize the salvage trade within the bustling city.)
Hawke, apologizes profusely and offers the trio some coin for there trouble, a bit of food & drink, a warm bed to rest upon and a quest….
The Lost Son
The somber Tomas Hawke needs to find the whereabouts of his son Allon. He and his crew were lost seven years ago after leaving Gateway on his frigate “The Raven” in a salvage run. Tomas explains that after the death of the young man’s mother Allon became more reckless and sailed great distances for larger hauls, fancying himself a pirate of the skies. However,in this last endeavor all communication between father and son ceased. Tomas fears the worse and just wants to have the boys remains returned to him for a proper burial. He states he will gladly pay 1000 cogs for the venture and provide means for travel. Through investigative skill, Jarek uncovered clues as to possible whereabouts of Allon by checking the family shipment logs and travel records. Tomas agreed that is as good as any place to start—hands the scholarly magus some different island earth samples for a ships waysphere and bids them good luck.
The Chance’s captain and lone crew is a superstitious orc named Karr Luckfinder, named after all the charms he carries. The journey was uneventful but Ricter made fine time between bouts of glow sickness to scour the ships lower cabins to a much needed gleam. He sails the cloudskiff for three days before a smallish island is spotted in the distance. Through the ships looking glass Marlow discerns a splinted Frigate with the name Raven that has crashed into a tower just beyond the shore. As the party begin rowing towards the crash site in an island hopper Karr warns them that he will only stayed anchored for three days—beyond that they’re on their own.
While approaching the island the party is attacked by four stone-throwing barnacle apes. The party quickly dispatches with three of the foul creatures before the fourth scurries off into the ruins. After reaching shore the group search the exterior of the crushed ship hull before surmising the only way to get a better look is scaling the side. Marlow quickly makes the climb and discovers a pyramid of human skulls—obviously left by the islands baranacle apes. He soon finds rope to help haul the curious dwarf and one-armed mage up on deck. After Ricter’s obsessive tour of the ship’s upper deck the trio decide to descend through a opened hatch into the belly of the wreck.
A nauseating wreak of decomposed flesh fills the party’s noses as they reach the lower deck. Marlow, overwhelmed by the stench, dashes back up the ladder to fresher air. Meanwhile, Ricter (with the aid of his bulls-eye lantern) and Marlow scan the wreckage below (to no avail) before the curious dwarf uses his keen eyes to detect five pairs of glowing eyes in the dark. Another group of barnacle apes, led by a much larger corrupted ape, quickly leap into action by attacking the two infiltrators. A nicely thrown glue bomb by Ricter roots two of the apes keeping them firmly stuck to the deck while the two other barnacle apes scramble across the debris, thirsty for blood. The corrupted ape stays back and hurls stones while his minions use teeth and claws to try and dispatch the intruders. Although still recovering from nausea Jarek’s wits are unaffected and casts a spell heightening Marlow’s fighting prowess. This boost was just what the party needed. After a mechanical failure stunted Ricter’s glue bomb abilities it was up to Marlow’s blades to the cull the threat. Hacking apes like knives through butter the barnacle apes were no match.
Jarek, feeling invigorated, soon made the descent back down the lower deck just in time to join the fray— for the corrupted barnacle ape frenzied from the loss of his brethren rushed the party in search of revenge. Although the corrupted ape put up a good fight, doling out as much as he got, it was the well placed ice bolts of the Magus that felled the simian beast.
After a much needed rest (and a quick tally of salvaged goods from the ape’s nest) the party ventured forth through a hidden tunnel snaking through the debris of the crumbled tower inside the lower deck hull. The tunnel opened up onto a partially collapsed platform where the group was once again greeted with the stench of decaying flesh. This time from the lifeless body of an engorged, half-eaten humanoid. By the looks of the creature’s swollen body the group surmises that it most likely was overcome by glowmadness but was killed during transformation. With Ricter’s medical training the group realized the being was feasted upon by an ape——- obviously the same ape that was corrupted soon thereafter by the flesh of the glowmad human.
Stepping past the corpse the party descends a crumbling stairway into a room flooded with void light. Racks of old, corroded weapons line the walls of the tower’s basement room— a room that most likely housed the fortification’s armory. Facing the farthest wall is hideous abomination who gouges deep grooves into the stone while wailing crys of torment. At the creatures feet are four skeletal remains—one which wears the black gloves and mask of Tomas’ lost son Allon. As the heroes enter the room the creature twists around to engage its foes.
The Grisly Puppeteer instantly snaps into action animating the four corpses to do it’s bidding. Through group effort the trio concentrate all blows towards the monstrosity bypassing its skeletal puppets. For they sense if he is killed, so to will they be defeated.
Despite having a strong constitution the creature is no match for the many blows of Marlow’s blades, Ricter’s blows, and the sheer force of Jarek’s spells. With a final bolt unleashed from the Mage’s palm the puppeteer is left a heaping pile of gelatinous mess while the skeletons crumble.
Picking through the remains of the room the heroes find a worthy haul of weapon salvage listed below:
• Adventurer’s Tinderbox – Waterproof flint & steel used to start fires. Can also be used with a touch attack against flammable creatures (1D10 / round); check to see if fire spreads (pg 104 in SWEX)
• 2 Wound Seals – potion cures one wound
• 1 keg of black powder (12 lbs; 60 rounds (pg. 33 of SS)
• 4 remnants of Leather Armor – can be pieced together to make one usable set
• 2 Rusty Muskets
• 2 Long Swords – (Jarek sensed that one sword had magical properties. (+1 damage)
• 2 Spears
• 1 Battle Axe & 1 Flail
• Allon’s pirate mask – grants wearer +1 to all notice rolls Mask of Notice
• Allon’s gloves – plain black gloves with gold Hawk embroidery
• An circular charm with the embossing of a floating behemoth over water
Upon return to the Chance the heroes are greeted by Karr who questions them about their findings on the isle. He is quite taken with the charm that Marlow found and tells the group he will forgo any claim to a stake in the salvage in exchange for the small trinket. The heroes decline the gruff orc’s offer and ask that they rather just set sail for Gateway. (The voidglow-susceptible dwarf once again heads below deck.)
On the third night of their return trip the heroes are startled by blood curdling screams. Luckfinder’s body is engulfed in voidglow which intensifies until Karr cannot be seen at all. A booming voice is then heard from all around:
“I am the god Lightbringer, but before my insanity I was Oceanius, Lord of the Oceans. The disk you found was a holy symbol of my priests. I have not seen its like since before the dawn of the world.”
“Seek these artifacts of the Souls in preparation for the final battle. The fuel that burns in the Queen’s barge; the armor of Orcbane; Festival’s Harp, ignored by my followers; the hammer of the damned dwarf; and the raven staff. Recover them all for soon the Shield will fall again.”
“Begin your quest by seeking Joeseth Truthbearer in Gateway…”
The glow then disappears leaving an enraged ogre where Karr once stood. The heroes quickly jump into action. Despite the efforts of the glowmad ogre to best his enemy passengers his aim falls short and is little match to the mastery of musket, sword & spell. Kerr is quickly dispatched (despite doling harsh wounds) and falls to the deck. A search is then conducted on the remains of the fallen captain— the following “charms” are found:
• Tsurak’s Ring – A gold and jade ring (use unknown)
• Anklet of Nimble Tasks – grants wearer +1 to Agility based rolls
• Ring of the Araneae – grants wearer the Wall Walker ability for 1 round once a day
• Beauregard’s Beetle Brooch – when tossed onto ground brooch animates into a swarm of beetles (medium template) for 2 rounds – acts as difficult terrain – 3 charges
The heroes then take a much needed break before setting sail back to Gateway……