Slaves of the Sea of the World

July 3: A Foggy Night
In which a will-o-the-wisp is the first problem

Highlights:
- On the way to the wall, the Romosi ships anchored in a sheltered bay for the night
- In the middle of the night, the party woke up hearing whispers and feeling a ghostly presence
- A will-o-the-wisp was discovered and began to flee, attacking as it went
- Eglath quickly put on the cloak and hat, which increased his defensive capabilities significantly. Unfortunately, the cloak and hat started to bite and claw at him.
- Fortunately, the will-o-the-wisp was killed before it could get away with all of the information that the cloakers overheard.

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June 26: Ghost Ship Whack-a-Zombie
In which an entire zombie pirate army is sunk

Highlights:
- After defeating LeChuck, the party found themselves surrounded by 12 zombie ships. Six Romosi ships were spotted on the horizon, but would they make it in time?
- Luckily, they figured out how to work the ghost cannons. Boom! Sail away! Boom! Sail away! The slow zombie ships didn’t stand a chance!
- With all of the enemy ships sunk, they searched the ship and found three golden scepters, a gold-clasped cloak, and a fine tri-corner hat.
- The Romosi ships approached, cleaning up the floating zombies on the way
- A Romosi General boarded the ghost ship with his personal guard, accompanied by two Dragonborn dressed in heavy plate mail.
- The Romosi had heard about the undead army and the six ships were coming to rescue Al Tuna. They thanked the party for saving them a lot of work.
- They had also heard that Barbotto was still alive in his fortress at the Rock of Gabriel (a.k.a. the Rock of Barbotto). They asked the party to help them infiltrate it.
- The Dragonborn were planning to return immediately to the Wall of the Covenant, where attacks from creatures from the Sea of Black were getting worse every night
- The party decided to go first to the Rock, then to the Wall

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June 17: Post-Hiatus Summary
In which the plot is summarized heroically

TL;DR: Heroes escape slave prison, assist a slave rebellion, repel an undead horde, foil a reptilian plot, prevent Kas from returning, defend a city from more undead, and commandeer a ghost ship

Our heroes started humbly as slaves, escaping their gladiatorial prison in Al Alga with a pirate named Captain Black. He lead them to the Cave of Farnoosh, where he let his companions be eaten by a sandworm but was denied entrance by the Djinn. Using their newly found Recorder of Farnoosh to summon Windy the Wind Elemental, our heroes freed the Djinn and recovered the Gem of Farnoosh, which they brought to Al Tria.

In Al Tria, they met a clueless sultan, an evil sultana, and a clever vizier named Jafar. A riff-raff street rat and his monkey helped them discover that the sultana was poisoning the vizier to sleep and sneaking out every night… After being attacked by an assassin, they figured out that the Sultana was seeing none other than Captain Black! With that sorted out, Jafar got word of some problems with the undead in Alexi, so the party set sail. On the way, that pesky Captain Black caught up with them and attacked them at sea. No problem, they defeated his pirates and took him captive. Then ruthlessly executed him on Monkey Island.

Our heroes knew that Alexi was run by Razorclaw (cat-like) shifters who had enslaved the Longclaw (dog-like) shifters. Naturally, upon arriving in Alexi, our heroes caused a bit of disturbance at their famous library, but not before learning of some noteworthy prophecies. The slaves will rise up and cleanse the world of evil. The slaves will restore the Light of Alexi and the great tide of light will wash the world clean.

It didn’t take the party long to stumble upon the local Cult of Sehanine. But upon further investigation, and werewolves, they discovered their true idol: a huge black statue of the Hand of Vecna, shrouded in darkness. One by one they fell asleep beside the statue and awoke beside the same statue, but in another temple entirely. A servant of Vecna efficiently extracted their plans, then allowed his pet Nothics to kill them, dancing around and laughing maniacally. They awoke in the temple in Alexi, but could not shake the memory of their deaths.

Further resolved to set things right, our heroes were able to meet with the Brothers of Bad Wolf, who revealed a Longtooth plot to rise up and overthrow their oppressors at the next full moon. They decided that would be the night they would restore the Light of Alexi… the Gem of Farnoosh. They snuck onto the island which houses the Lighthouse of Alexi (What’s in the backpack? Cats) and made their way through the catacombs. In the basement of the Lighthouse, they found a sexy vampire in a room with extremely lifelike fur rugs. It was in that room that they found the Sword of Kas. They knew from old stories that the sword was created by Vecna, the lich god, for his first lieutenant, Kas. Kas rewarded his former master by using it to cut off Vecna’s hand and gouge out his eye. The Sword offers great power to any who grasp it, but wielders may end up betraying what they love most. Perhaps by chance, the sword chose Eglath for its owner.

Our heroes fought their way to the top of the tower, where they found the ancient protector of the Lighthouse of Alexi: an angel named Phostophilius. He was a collector of fine weapons and was very interested in seeing Eglath’s new sword and the Gem of Farnoosh. Insistent, in fact. When Merl mentioned the name of Vecna, Phostophilius called forth a host of angels to attack, but the party prevailed. After helping themselves to some fine new weapons, they made their way to the roof to replace the light with the Gem of Farnoosh. That is, after fighting a Dracolich.

As they looked around, they could see riots in the streets and a small army trying to cross the bridge to Cleo’s palace. When they restored the Light of Alexi, a blinding light sweeps across the city. An undead army, just outside the gates, burst into flames. The tides suddenly rushed out, and the army of Longtooth rebels stormed the palace. Our heroes rushed to the palace, found Cleo, and convinced the Longtooth to let her live and make peace between their peoples.

They made their way back to Al Tria, where Jafar has been making progress in getting the nobles to agree to abolish slavery. There’s just one main holdout: a Lizardfolk named Count Drachen. Upon hearing that Drachen was hosting a party, our heroes snuck into his estate to crash it. There, they learned of an alliance between Lizardfolk and Yuan-ti, led by a Dragonborn named Ulhar Dragonblood. They followed Ulhar back to his lair on Maltis, at the ancient Temple of G’gantica, where he using captured women to give birth to draconic monsters. They quickly put an end to that plan, killed Ulhar, and found letters to his main allies in the war against the mammals: Count Drachen, of Al Tria; the Vizier of Al Tuna; the Sultan of Al Alga; the Lizardfolk Chief on Maltis; the Yuan-Ti head priestess on Sissa; the Dragonborn Chief on Corsa; and the Dark Lord Barbotto.

They put these letters in the capable hands of Jafar. He issued a warrant for the arrest of Count Drachen and the party was happy to help with that. Inspector Nazem al-Nazem assisted in the arrest, and an elf wizard named Dayereth was tied up in Drachen’s basement.

With Al Tria cleaned up, they headed back to Al Tuna to confront the Vizier who is allied with the reptiles. On the way, they were attacked by some undead ghouls and skin kites… There had always been pirates, but travel sure was getting dangerous.

Once in Al Tuna, they found Merl’s cousin’s friend the butcher and decided to send the evil Vizier a note inside a plate of meat to lure him out of the palace. Surprisingly, this worked, and he turned up at a beach at midnight with an entourage. When confronted, all of them turned into snake people, then turned into dead snake people. On the vizier, they found a snake-shaped key, which they soon found out was the key to a temple out in the desert….

Inside the Snake Temple, they found a series of portals. One of them led to a dark hall lined with gargoyles, with a dark hooded figure sitting in a distant throne. They quickly learn that she is Medusa, and she holds the Silver Mask of Kas. The Yuan-ti have been trying to get her mask to complete a ritual to reincarnate Kas, the Betrayer, Kas the Bloody-Handed, Kas the Destroyer. Our heroes agreed to stop this ritual, so she allowed them to leave.

They eventually fought their way to the ritual itself. An enormously fat Yuan-Ti named Obysseus was leading the ceremony, with a suit of plate armor assembled in the centre. He used his snakelike charm to force Eglath to bring the Sword of Kas to him and the ritual was complete. As Obysseus died, a shadow appeared in the armour. Fortunately, Kas had not yet regained his full power. Knowing he would be defeated, he turned to mist and made for the door, but did not make it fast enough. With one final blow, the mist evaporated and he was no longer in this world.

Our heroes brought the remaining slaves back to Al Tuna, where they quickly discovered the undead forces at sea had found its way to shore. There had been undead attacks every night, getting stronger as they claimed more of their own. The villagers were gathering in the palace every night, with the exception of the dwarves of the Stone Temple of Moradin. The party decided to hold their ground there that night. When the zombie horde attacked, they were ready. Although they weren’t quite ready for the tongue-lashing, pouncing, and exploding zombies, and they definitely weren’t ready for the huge, powerful tank of a zombie.

Beaten and bruised, they were able to catch a few hours of rest. But later that night, some dark horsemen investigated the scene. The party quickly set up an ambush. When Merl played “hot cross buns” on the Recorder of Farnoosh to summon Windy the Air Elemental, one rider looked up at her and removed his hood. Immediately she recognized him as Captain Black. Impossible! she thought. We buried him on Monkey Island!

“That song… YOU!!!” Captain black shouted. “You will die for what you did!” Naturally, they killed Captain Black AGAIN. They followed the other riders toward the harbour, but lost their trail.

Finding some people taking refuge at a ship-turned-tavern called the Styx Oarsmen, the party was suspicious of the shifty-looking crow-like Kenku playing dice in the corner. Following an unsuccessful break-in to the Kenku rooms upstairs, they were kicked out of the bar. So much for that lead.

Dawn was approaching, and the sky was heavy and grey. Alarms went off at the palace; there was a flotilla of ships approaching! Quickly, they boarded their ship and sailed out to investigate. A dozen dark ships with black, tattered sails approached. At their centre was a ghostly ship, surrounded by fog. Unfazed by their lack of military support, our heroes made straight for it. The captain of the ship, a ghost with a fiery beard named LeChuck, sent his ghost pirates to his ship’s defense. When he was nearly defeated, he hopped in his ghostly lifeboat and flew off, leaving our heroes to explore his ship.

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May 9, 2012: The Styx Oarsman Kenku
In which a Kenku gets kinky

In which a Kenku gets kinky

Highlights:
- When the fight appeared to be lost, Captain Black and the Black Riders tried to retreat. The riders made it away, but Eglath ran down Captain Black and showed no mercy.
- The party searched as hard as they could for the Black Riders, but couldn’t find them. They rode toward the harbour, but seem to have disappeared.
- Most of the town was deserted, but the Styx Oarsman was full. The tough crowd in the ship-turned-bar decided they could handle any undead that wanted to pick a fight, and they wouldn’t be caught dead taking shelter in the palace.
- Some Kenku playing dice at a table in the corner seemed suspicious. Merl and Dayereth decided to check the rooms upstairs for any evidence that the Kenku were involved with Vecna. Unfortunately, there were a couple Kenku in the rooms, who quickly decided to ambush the intruders. After a brief scuffle, Merl managed to escape.
- Dayereth tried to smooth things over with a little diplomacy. Critical success: he seduced the lady Kenku and came away with a black feather cloak that lets him feather fall or fly briefly.

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April 12, 2012: The Return of Captain Black
In which the dead nemesis won't stay dead

The tank caught up with Eglath and punched him with both fists, sending him flying down the street. He lay motionless as the tank beat his chest and roared. The tank noticed Aed fighting some smaller zombies and charged toward him. After the party cleared up the rest of the horde, the tank wasn’t much of a problem as they focused their fire on him.

Dragging Eglath back inside, the party took a well-deserved rest. Although the head Dwarf was upset about all the broken windows, he thanked the party and opened a cask of fine ale.

As the party slept, Dayereth meditated in the tower, keeping watch. A few hours later, in the dead of night, four horsemen dressed in black cloaks rode slowly up the road on what appeared to be undead black horses.

Dayereth signalled the party to be alert as the horsemen carefully examined the battle scene. Slowly, one of the horsemen looked up at the tower and pointed his long, narrow sword upward. That’s when Nazem decided to act. He jumped out of the window and commanded the riders to state their business. “DEATH,” they all replied in raspy, hoarse voices. They charged at Nazem, trampling him with their horses and stabbing at him with their life-draining swords. Aed ran to his assistance as Dayereth and Merl attacked from the rooftop and window.

When Merl played “hot cross buns” on the Recorder of Farnoosh to summon Windy the Air Elemental, one rider looked up at her and removed his hood. Immediately she recognized him as Captain Black. Impossible! she thought. We buried him on Monkey Island!

“That song… YOU!!!” Captain black shouted. “You will die for what you did!”

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March 7, 2012: Back to Al Tuna
In which Al Tuna is not the same as before

Highlights:
- (The party leveled up to Level 5!)
- Nazem had a bit of a religious experience and decided to become a full-time cleric
- Eglath, finally free of the Sword of Kas’ influence, refused to pick it up from where Kas dropped it. Nazem decided he’d carry it, although he’s no good with a short sword.
- The party briefly considered paying Medusa another visit, but decided they didn’t really want the Silver Mask of Kas.
- They rounded up the freed slaves and led them out the front doors. They had a bit of a scare with the Megaraptor skeleton coming to life and chasing after them, but they managed to get out of the doors and into safety.
- They led the freed slaves back to Al Tuna. As they approached, they saw more crows than people. Doors and windows were broken and dried blood was everywhere, but they saw no corpses. Merl’s cousin’s friend the butcher was nowhere to be seen.
- The only people they saw were small groups of armed men. Everyone else hid inside. For the past few nights, a growing number of the living dead had been attacking the town.
- The party went to visit the Sultan, who had decided to bring all the villagers inside the palace walls at night. He said that some villagers were holding out in town, and the party offered to help protect them that night. They planned to follow the undead at the end of the night to find out where they were coming from.

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February 29, 2012: The Awakening of Kas
In which Kas the Betrayer returns, briefly, to the world

As the once-furious Yuan-Ti shaman lay dying, the disgusting puddle of gibbering mouther leaked across the floor. The five adventurers cautiously took a moment to rest.

While they debated finding a place to rest for the night, Merl snuck down the stairs, silent as a mouse. In the dark lower chamber, the same shape as the upper, there was a great pillar in the centre of the room but nothing else. On the far side of the room, a wide set of stairs led deep below. Already she could hear the chanting. She crept partway down the stairs until she could see a red light and two rows of robed figures facing away from her. Over and over they chanted:
Gethrisja, gethrisja, gethrisja putole! Gethrisja karif putole!

Back at the top of the stairs, Nazem translated the chant for her:
Gone, gone, gone beyond! Gone altogether beyond!

Medusa had told the party that the Yuan-Ti were planning a ritual to return Kas to the world, but she would not give them the Silver Mask of Kas to help them. Kas the Bloody-Handed, they knew, was the most trusted lieutenant to Vecna before the lich ascended to Godhood. He betrayed Vecna in an attempt to usurp his power and, in the ensuing struggle, cut off Vecna’s left hand and gouged out his left eye. Vecna emerged victorious and banished Kas the Betrayer to the far planes.

Dayereth urged them to stop the ritual immediately. Lead with a fireball and charge in. Merl urged caution, and suggested Eglath leave the Sword of Kas behind. He rather liked the sword and would not hear of it. He would, however, keep it sheathed. They agreed to proceed with caution, creeping halfway down the stairs before Aed made a sound with his feet loud enough for two of the robed figures to turn around and raise the alarm.

The robed figures were humanoid in shape, but snakelike in appearance. There were nearly a score of them evenly spaced throughout the octagonal room, all still chanting:
Gone, gone, gone beyond! Gone altogether beyond!

At the front of the room was the hugest Yuan-Ti anyone had ever seen: Obysseus. He was standing before an altar with a sword, a shield, and a set of plate armour placed upon it. The armour and shield were grey and blue with ornate gold. Two braziers belched thick smoke beside the altar. Obysseus urged the robed snake-men to continue chanting as they fought the intruders. The serpents attacked the three melee fighters equally at first, but then one of them spotted Eglath’s prized sword and cried, “MASTER, HE HAS THE SWORD!”

Immediately they focused their attack on Eglath. Obysseus used his snake-like charm to dominate Eglath, who went straight to the altar to offer up his prized Sword of Kas. While her mage hand was not fast enough to pluck the sword from his hands, Merl tried to drag Eglath away from the snake. It was no use; Obysseus walked over and snatched the sword from his hands. He began a new chant, beginning quietly but rising in volume:
Confn, confn confn udoka! Confn sva hesi meage!
Return, return, return to us! Return in service to us!

The adventurers attacked Obysseus with fervor, but they were weak from the smoke surrounding the altar. He continued to chant, clutching the Sword of Kas with all his might. He died chanting. the Sword of Kas fell to the floor. Suddenly, a shadow appeared in the armour, slowly growing darker. Hoping it might help, Eglath thrust the Sword of Kas into the hot coals of the brazier. Still the shadow grew darker. Aed pushed over the other brazier, which gradually burnt out.

The shadow became a man. Or what once was a man. Kas the Bloody-Handed, Kas the Betrayer, Kas the Destroyer. His face was pale white and twisted in anger and confusion. Looking around, he spotted Eglath with his sword. “My sword,” he commanded, his hand held out. “Yes, master” replied Eglath. Once again dominated, he handed the sword to Kas, who showed his fangs in what could almost be considered a smile. To Eglath he said, “For that you might be spared. The rest of you shall die.”

Having used nearly all their strength on Obysseus, the adventurers considered retreating from this reincarnated vampiric demi-god. However, they quickly discovered that he was not returned with his original power. Lying on the ground, beaten down by these mere mortals, he realized he was defeated too late. He turned to mist in hopes of escape, but was slain on his way to the door despite his insubstantial form. As the mist dissipated, the adventurers knew that they had emerged victorious.

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February 22, 2012: Medusa's Lair and Finding the Yuan-Ti Ritual
In which Medusa is sweet-talked and the plot thickens

The party had a quick rest and decided to explore the dark pillared room through the portal. It was completely dark, so they lit the hooded thieves’ lanterns they recently found. Four rows of immense white pillars were spaced evenly throughout the hall. Along the middle row, stone gargoyles stood in niches in the pillars. They looked incredibly life-like and had some magical essence to them. Toward the end of the row of pillars, a crowd of green marble Yuan-ti statues were cluttered about in a variety of poses, ranging from mid-combat to fleeing in terror. At the end of the row of pillars sat a hooded figure in a dark robe with a shining silver mask. Upon closer inspection, it was a female, reptilian form.

Suddenly, she spoke: “First he sends a diplomat. Next, he sends a thief. Then he sends an army. What, pray tell, are you?” Initially mistrustful, she awoke three of the gargoyles to block the portal. Nazem managed to convince her that they were not allies of “him”. Eglath introduced himself (twice) and she reciprocated: “I am Medusa. I see you have heard of me.”

They eventually found out that the Yuan-Ti are called The Vanguard of Zehir and they are lead by someone called Obysseus. They are after her mask, the Silver Mask of Kas, for a ritual. (Eglath almost blurted out “Hey, I have the Sword of Kas!” but luckily, Aed clasped his hand over Eglath’s mouth.) She told them that the Vanguard seeks to bring Kas back to this plane. Medusa’s sister was a former lover of Kas and Medusa does not want to see him return. The party offered to stop the ritual and she granted them leave to go.

After escaping Medusa’s lair, Dayereth quickly disabled the portal. He then experimented with the gemstone combinations on the portal gate to see if it leads anywhere else. After three failed attempts at four-colour combinations, the gemstones no longer lit up. They decided to try the three portals they saw on the fourth floor. Upon careful inspection, Nazem noticed that five of the gemstones showed more finger grime on them. They guessed the combination on the fifth of five possible permutations.

Without hesitation, Eglath charged through the portal. He landed in an octagonal room with stairs leading down and noticed a smaller octagon-shaped crack in the floor. The rest of the party followed, careful not to be inside the smaller octagon. The smaller octagon slid away to reveal a hideous gibbering mouther! They quickly attacked the mouther with all their might. Only Merl was prepared for the Yuan-ti shaman who came up the stairs. Enraged, the shaman fought to the death to defend the ongoing ritual…


Alternate gibbering mouther (not so horrifying), courtesy of Alina Pete’s Weregeek:

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February 8, 2012: Fight to the Portal
In which the Yuan-Ti hold the stairs to defend a glowing portal

Highlights:

- Rations, adventuring gear, weapons and armour were found in the storage rooms in the dungeon. The freed slaves helped themselves to anything the party didn’t take and were asked to stayed in the dungeon until the party returns.
- The party went back upstairs, through the strangely quiet fortress, to the last door they hadn’t tried. Inside were a set of stairs leading up to two Yuan-ti swordsmen, four archers, and a spell-casting leader!
- When they killed the swordsmen and reached the top of the stairs, they saw what the Yuan-ti were guarding: a portal arch, similar to the ones on the fourth floor, but glowing blue!
- The leader left the last two archers behind and ran for the portal, but Eglath and Nazem charged through and caught him in a dark room with pillars. Each pillar was guarded by a stone gargoyle in its niche. They killed the Yuan-ti and left him there.
- The portal had twelve gemstones of different colours and four of them were lit with a magical glow. When another gem was touched, all of the gemstones went dark and the portal disappeared. When the same four gems were touched again, the portal re-appeared. Dayereth took careful notes about the gemstones.


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January 11, 2012: The haunted, stinky dungeon
In which (some of) the slaves are found and rescued!

Highlights:

  • The party chased the two archers down the stairs, but they seemed to have disappeared…
  • They found themselves in an open area that overlooked the great hall below. The great hall contained the skeleton of a huge dinosaur which they determined to be not unmagical.
  • All the rooms on that floor turned out to be barracks and guest rooms. The footlockers were looted for all they were worth.
  • Strangely, they saw no more Yuan-Ti anywhere. It seemed as though they were all up to something…
  • On the main floor, sneaking past the dinosaur skeleton, they found a torture chamber with stairs leading down to the dungeon. There, they found rows and rows of small cells, some of which contained human prisoners. A huge garbage pit filled the entire dungeon with its stench.
  • After freeing a few prisoners (and splitting themselves apart), a Yuan-Ti ghost ambushed Dayereth in a cell and pushed him THROUGH the wall into the next locked cell.
  • The party eventually defeated the ghost guard and freed the slaves. They found storage rooms filled with armour, weapons and supplies.
  • Eglath decided he’d better check the garbage for treasure. Instead, he found tentacles which grabbed him and pulled him into the pit. The rest of the party helped free him and defeat the disgusting Otyugh.
  • It turned out there was something of value in that pit: a pair of white linen bracers which were, astonishingly, perfectly clean! They seemed to have some healing properties…




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