NicksCF

Outer Islands, second session
From the Runes of Skagharin

Enom Tor

Blood in the snow

It was Wodensday the 21st of Baelmonth, a still, cold day. Skagharin and his friends trudged through through the silent snowy woods towards the beacon tower of Enom Tor. Expecting trouble, Skagharin had donned his mail shirt and carried his new double-handed hammer. Apart from the mail it was almost like his old mining days. Suddenly — THWACK, he walked into a low hanging branch. He needed to keep his mind on the present.

They had not gone far before Freilin spotted a large splash of blood on the snow. Nearby was the oversized paw print of some kind of giant feline. Lions? Wild cats? There was no body and no drag marks. They moved on cautiously, staying upwind of the bloodstain.

The tower

The tower was built on a wide undercroft. There was no sign of life as they approached, so Freilin, Moonshadow and Frankie crept past the door, which was hanging half off its hinges. Dintari and Skagharin stood guard outside — until the sudden scrape and crash of furniture alerted them that all was not well.

Monstrous felines

displacer-beast.pngThey found a chaotic scene. Furniture was scattered and upended. In the doorway of the bedroom were two bizarre cat-like creatures, jet black with clawed tentacles waving menacingly from their hindquarters. Frankie was trying to push a table to block the doorway, but was straining and struggling. Moonshadow and Freilin readied their bows to either side.

Skagharin rushed to the table and shoved with considerable force. The table screeched to the door, but the cat-thing was faster. It burst through, knocking the table over onto Frankie and the dwarf — only to receive Moonshadow’s arrow through its eye at point blank range. It shuddered and collapsed.

The second black tentacular feline leaped through, swatting Skagharin with its tentacles as it did so. If he had not been wearing mail, the vicious claws would have ended his life. As it was he was bruised and winded from the blow. The creature seemed to shimmer when his companions struck at it; they often missed. Raising his hammer high Skagharin smashed the creature’s spine. Moonshadow blasted it almost simultaneously with his pretty pretty magical darts. For the first time ever Skagharin saw a gleam of respect in the elf’s eyes.

After the fight

All was quiet once the dreadful cat-things had been killed. Skagharin and Freilin had both been wounded. When Skagharin tried to physick Freilin, the stunted one passed out from the pain. Moonshadow did a similar botched job on Skagharin’s wound. Elves!

Meanwhile, Dintari and Frankie explored. They found a kitchen and pantry and they cooked up some food while waiting for Freilin to regain consciousness. Moonshadow found a locked chest with some gold, a silver dagger and two potions. Skagharin claimed the dagger, and Freilin (when he awoke) drank one potion and revived considerably.

The Cellar

They continued to explore. In the cellar were four zombies who pursued them up the stairs and were easily destroyed. The cellar contained alchemical ingredients, some of which were valuable.

Heights of the tower

Leaving the cellar, they ascended the stairs, past a storeroom and up to a trapdoor which felt strangely warm. Pushing through the trapdoor they found themselves in a light-filled room, full of steamy vegetation. The air was warm and earthy. The walls were made of white-coloured glass. An iron spiral staircase wound up through the centre of the room. Chained to the floor was a strange bird-headed humanoid. Frankie gave the creature some food and cautiously approached. The bird-man seemed non-hostile and intelligent, so Frankie unlocked its manacles. The birdman ran out and downstairs.

The Bellows Fellow

Above the garden was the top of the tower. The beacon was there, unlit. A solitary zombie pumped a bellows which had become detached from the foghorn. Frankie rushed over and killed the zombie. The tower was quiet, no sign of the mage Carthadon. It seemed the beasts below had escaped from captivity and..maybe eaten him? Skagharin looked down at the island below, then looked around him. Where was Moonshadow?

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Outer Islands, first session
From the Runes of Skagharin

The Outer Islands

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A winter voyage

It was the 16th day of Baelmonth, winter time and not the best for sea voyaging. Nevertheless Skagharin and his crew reckoned it would be possible to make the Isle of Scarsy. Skagharin knew of the place through his travels up and down this coast. He estimated about three days’ sail. Fortune’s fickle though; he estimated wrongly. Soon Lassa’s Grace was outfitted and the city of Criggen Varas slipped away abaft the beam.

Corpse afloat

After a day or so, Frankie spotted what looked like a raft with a castaway aboard. Skagharin steered the ship close by and Frankie jumped down to investigate. As he did so, Skagharin heard a noise on the other side of the ship. He turned and saw fish-like boarders creeping up over the railing.

Sea-devil attack!

Moonshadow, Freilin, Dintari and Skagharin rushed to defend their ship. More fish-men emerged from the sea, firing crossbow bolts from the water. Meanwhile Frankie found only a bloated corpse on the raft below — a baited trap! The battle was short and sharp. Skagharin and Freilin were wounded with arrows but the sea-devils were driven off the boat and back to the briny depths.

Man overboard

A day after the seadevil attack a sudden gust of wind almost tipped the boat over. Everyone was jolted, but Dintari stumbled and fell overboard. Frankie tied a rope to himself and swan dived — only to crack his head on the railing and plummet into the water unconscious. Two men overboard! Cursing, Skagharin dived in to save his friend (who was a poor swimmer), while the elves hauled Frankie aboard. Wet and bedraggled, they continued their voyage to the Isle of Scarsy.

Isle of Scarsy

Lassa’s Grace floated into Scarsy Harbour after six days at sea. Scarsy Town was a typical small fishing village. The crew disembarked and made their way to a harbourside tavern. After some warming ales, the locals recommended a visit to the local lord, Lord Urgyle. They were more reticent with regard to Ragnar of Derndorth, though they did mention a colony of dwarves elsewhere on the island.

Meeting with Lord Urgyle

It was a short trip up the hill to Lord Urgyle’s manor. After a brief wait he granted them an audience. As it turned out, his opinion of Ragnar of Derndorth was low: “a smuggler and a thief”. Dintari gave him the impression that Ragnar was wanted for further punishment by Owain of Criggen Varas. Urgyle agreed to hand over the dwarf in exchange for help with a certain matter. The nearby beacon tower of Carthadon had gone dark, except for a strange shimmering light a week ago. The healer in charge of the tower had made no report. Urgyle wanted someone to investigate. Dintari agreed to perform the task.

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Ereworn Coast, fifth session
From the Runes of Skagharin

Sea voyage to Criggen Varas

Farewell to Brutarl

Lassa’s Grace made ready to cast off from Skull Island and its miserable village. But Brutarl was having none of it. He plucked his weapons and some treasures from the hold and strode off into the hills, barely looking back.

Aground…at sea

Things were a lot quieter without impatient Brutarl around. The ship sailed through the waves and Skagharin was slightly cheered by finally having another halfway competent sailor on board. But Fate punishes those who get too cocky, and there was a terrible wrenching sound as the boat struck a submerged rock. Skagharin cursed but Lassa’s Grace did not break up and he managed to steer the her out of danger. He ignored Moonshadow’s scornful gaze. If that preening alien would spend as much time learning to sail as combing his hair these dangers might never have happened!

Tower in the sea

The next day, Freilen spotted a strange tower in the sea. Skagharin altered course to investigate. It was a stone tower with shuttered windows. Its closed wooden door was very close to sea level, though not awash. The crew disembarked to investigate. Frankie heard a strange splash near the boat, but saw nothing. Frelin considered climbing up to the tower window. Suddenly the tower trembled. Skagharin ordered everyone back to the boat. No sooner than they had boarded Lassa’s Grace and cast off, the mysterious tower sank beneath the waves.

Criggen Varas

On the fourth day at sea they sighted Criggen Varas. They paid the harbour taxes and went ashore. Dintari, Skagharin and Frankie visited the market place to sell their treasures, while the elves remained aboard. Skagharin let Dintari do the talking.

After selling their wares, the crew of Lassa’s Grace sought the merchant Owain, father of the unfortunate Melisana. His mansion was up on the hill.

The house of Owain

Owain was very distressed to hear of his daughter’s death. The adventurers retired to their inn but later received a message from the merchant. He apologised for his rudeness and invited them to share his hospitality, but please not to attend his daughter’s funeral. The mansion was very comfortable after the rigours of the last few weeks.

Skagharin spent some time training. After all he had seen, he had decided he needed more skill in heavy combat, not just tavern-brawling. And if it were to be heavy, no bones about it then. None of this prancing about like an elf. He bought himself a huge double-handed hammer, quite similar to his mining sledgehammers of old; it would crack skulls as well as rocks if necessary.

Adventurers’ bond

Later, Owain sent for the adventurers again. There was, he said, a dwarf named Ragnar of Derndorth, a trading partner from Scarsy, one of the outer islands of Ellesland. This Ragnar had disappeared a few months back, and Owain was keen to contact him over some unpaid debts. Owain agreed to pay 400 gold if Ragnar could be found.

Skagharin, Moonshadow, Dintari, Freilin and Frankie eyed each other. They had faced many dangers together. They agreed to stay together and adventure aboard Lassa’s Grace, sharing any treasure gained. Dintari accepted Owain’s offer.
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Ereworn Coast, fourth session
From the Runes of Skagharin

Top of the sink hole

Skagharin heaved himself to the top of the sinkhole, along with his companions. He noted with distaste that Dintari had carried the demon-worshipping priest up with them. The priest still lived, though he was unconscious. “What did you bring him up for?”, he asked irritably. Dintari shrugged. A chilly grey sky pressed down on Skull Island. Skagharin shivered. The priest Alefric led them back to his stone temple, where the fires of Brigantia still roared in the hearth. Moonshadow was injured; he slumped in the corner. They tied and gagged the priest. Skagharin examined the strange crystal. It was orange in colour, glowed slightly, and was like no rock Skagharin had seen on earth or under it.

Fire and food

It had been an eventful night, but Skagharin did not feel like rest. He wandered the island with Alefric in search of food, but also to scout out the territory by daylight. Alefric pointed out a small bay with a usable dinghy pulled ashore. “The villagers used it,” he said. The two also passed a deeper sinkhole, and the old watchtower which was now a nesting place for eagles. Alefric and Skagharin climbed up and down the cliffs to gather eggs for breakfast.

When they returned to the temple, Freilen had been interrogating the prisoner. Freilen said the priest had offered him great wealth. Skagharin was skeptical. “The only wealth in this entire village is the inkeeper’ s better stuffs — but we saw none of that.” Freilen noted consternation in the priest’ s eyes at the mention of the inn.

When everyone was up and breakfasted, they decided to investigate the eagles’ tower. They dragged the priest along too.

Eagles of the tower

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The eagles swooped and keened over the tower. How to get them to move on without killing them? Skagharin glanced at the demon-priest in disgust. This one would happily have ended all their lives; Freilen pointed out a skeleton at the base of the tower and Skagharin nodded. They staked out the priest, still bound and gagged. One of the eagles swooped to investigate, and Brutarl and Moonshadow advanced to the tower. The other eagle swooped to attack, but Skagharin threw a rock at it and it dispersed, giving the warriors their chance to make the safety of the tower. They reached the top soon afterwards and lit a huge fire. Screaming with rage, the eagles flew away from the tower. The demon priest was dead. Skagharin and Dintari hurled his eyeless body into the sinkhole.

Ill-gotten gains

They bade farewell to Alefric, who from now on would be able to man the old lighthouse, and departed Skull Island. They returned to the inn in the village, the Silver Halyard. Captain Rakehell was there, behind the bar now. Skagharin comiserated with him on the loss of his ship, making no mention of the strange crystal. Brutarl and Skagharin started drinking, while Moonshadow and Freilen investigated below. After only a few drinks, Skagharin heard noises below. He descended and saw a cellar stuffed with barrels and bolts of cloth — stolen from wrecked ships. Freilen, Moonshadow and a strange human were staring at the contents of a chest. Skagharin stuck his head in to admire the gold. Moonshadow started guiltily. “And who is this?” asked Skagharin of the stranger.

“Frankie, a navigator held captive by the wreckers.”

Skagharin rubbed his chin. Navigator, eh? Lassa’s Grace had need of competent crew. Adlek had been brave, but not competent. Maybe this newcomer would sail with them?

Frankie joined them, and they loaded as much loot as they could in Lassa’s Grace, and set sail with the morning tide.

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Ereworn Coast, third session
From the Runes of Skagharin

Skull Island

Beneath the Island

Adlek spied a tunnel across the dark water from the wrecked Black Pearl. The others used barrels and rope to get themselves over the lake. The tunnel seemed unused, and had a salty smell. It led up beneath the island. At the first junction they turned right (both ways smelled fishy to Skagharin) but the tunnel was soon submerged. They returned the other way and found themselves on a ledge near the bottom of a deep shaft.

Bottom of the well

Coins glinted below, and Brutarl leaped for them. Skagharin ignored him and pondered the ascent. The walls were very smooth and difficult — but not impossible — to climb. Brutarl complained that the coins were worthless and Skagharin rolled his eyes. Then Freilen, the strange ugly elf muttered some incantation and began to creep up the smooth sides of the well like a weird spider. Skagharin shuddered slightly, but watched as the elf made it to the top, and reported in a whisper that it was open air above. The elf may have used magic, but the rest of them would need something more tangible. Skagharin and Dintari returned to wreck to retrieve some rope and a barrel. These things in hand and lifted to the top by Freilen, it was a fairly quick matter to haul everyone to the surface.

The stone building

They emerged from a well near a stone building with shuttered windows, surrounded by a high stone wall. There was light behind the shutters, but they decided to explore around first. They reached a corner of the compound and saw strangely active trees, which whipped at them. They beat a retreat from the trees and Moonshadow slipped his knife under the latch of the shutters.

“WHO’S THERE?” came a voice from within. The shutters were thrown open by an old man in white robes.

Priest of Brigantia

Dintari asked him if he had wrecked the ship below but he denied it. He said the villagers were demon-worshippers; that they had done this deed. The man identified himself as Alefric, a priest of Brigantia. He calmed the wild trees and invited the crew into his temple, which was warmed by a huge flaming hearth.

Alefric told the tale of Skull Island, of how a great wave had washed over it and drowned its inhabitants; of the old signal tower now abandoned and a nesting place for eagles; and of the demon-worshipping villagers who slipped about between the village and the island by means of tunnels and sinkholes. The old man offered to take the adventurers to one of these sinkholes this very night. They agreed.

The sink-hole

The old man led them past the ruins of the village to a deep hole in the ground. He cleared some vegetation to reveal ancient stone steps leading down. Moonshadow and Freilen descended, supposedly stealthily, but Skagharin could hear them clattering away below.

Descent

Unfortunately, Skagharin was not the only one to hear the elves. There was the sound of fighting from below, and Skagharin and the rest hurried down the steps to help. They came into a lighted chamber at the bottom, filled with candles and the flayed skins of bizarre sea creatures. Moonshadow, looking paler than usual, clutched a bloody wound. On the floor was a dead harpooner in bloodied robes.

Cave of the Cultists

They followed a corridor from the underground shrine. Ahead was the sound of chanting. Adlek, Moonshadow and Freilen crept ahead to observe a cave with an underground lake filled with villager cultists. On a promontory in the lake stood the priest with a dagger in one hand and a glowing gem in the other. A sacrificial victim lay shrouded below him.

Moonshadow and Freilen immediately tried to shoot the priest with arrows. Brutarl charged and roared his battle cry — but the strange accoustics of the water cave dampened his voice to a weak whisper. The cultists were unaffected. Dintari and Skagharin advanced, along with Alefric, whose staff blazed with fire. Skagharin lit an oil flask on the staff and flung it into the cultists, who had pulled out cudgels and were advancing. Brutarl and Dintari pulled out their swords and began to hack and slay. Suddenly darkness enveloped all; the evil priest had cast some magic at the cave entrance. But Alefric performed some counterspell and the darkness lifted

A watery grave

The priest was punctured with arrows from the elves, but it did not stop him from sacrificing his victim. As he fought, Skagharin noticed disturbingly large ripples forming on the surface of the dark cave water. Skagharin heard a sickening crack and Adlek screamed as a cultist clubbed him down. The priest collapsed and the fight was turning against the cultists, but now the presence in the water was making itself felt. It was time to retreat. Skagharin leaped to the promontory, grabbed the gem and was going to grab Adlek, but the sailor shook his head. Skagharin rushed for the door as a great wave erupted from the cave, flooding the tunnel, bashing the survivors against the walls. With great effort, Skagharin retained his footing and made it to the sinkhole, where the rising water lapped against the steps. He made it up and rejoined his companions, battered but alive — except for Adlek who had perished in the waters below.

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Ereworn Coast session #2, 4th October 2013
From the Runes of Skagharin

Midnight’s ebb tide

The tower and the rope

They came to the clifftop. A tower stood there, next to an iron ring with a rope hanging down to the ocean. Skagharin lowered himself down the rope while Dintari stood guard above. Skagharin kept an eye out for caves during his descent, but saw nothing. The rope trailed in the heaving waves below. Skagharin returned to where Dintari waited. The others had gone into the tower, except for Freilen, who stood quietly at the cliff’s edge watching the sea. Dintari and Skagharin shrugged to each other and entered the tower.

Near the dim entryway was a pile of driftwood. Skagharin selected a piece with a label: ‘The Black…’. The Black Pearl had been the drunken captain’s ship, thought Skagharin. He and Dintari ascended the spiral stairs and found Lorien Moonshadow, Brutarl and the new sailor Adlek Veltani standing over the corpse of a rock-thing, possibly a gargoyle. There was a large unlit signal fire built from driftwood on the top of the tower nearby. Although it was late afternoon, Skull island was only barely visible through raggedy clouds.

A drab meal

There was nought to be done until the tide turned, so the adventurers returned to the Silver Halyard in the village. The mad captain was gone; only the sour barkeep to serve them a tasteless meal. At midnight’s ebb tide they ventured back to the cliffs, pale in the moonlight, and this time the rope touched dry land.

Down among the Teeth

200px  the children of captain grant  by  douard riou 137They descended, one after the other, to the moist sand dune and the sharp peaks of the rocks known as the Teeth. The wrecks of various ships lay marooned among them. They passed first one, then another, seeking the Black Pearl. From one hulk they heard noises and saw footprints leading from the water. They hurried on.

The sea cave

With the tide out, Skull Island was now a peninsula rather than an island, and it loomed up in the darkness ahead. Lorien Moonshadow saw a huge cave in its near side, and drag marks and footprints indicated a wreck had been towed inside. The androgynous elf disappeared into the darkness to investigate, shadowed very closely by his ugly friend Freilin.

The Black Pearl, discovered

Moonshadow returned, saying the cave was large and the ship was within. Not wanting to linger for the tide to take them, Skagharin and the others entered the cave, which was wide and sandy-floored. They marched for some time, following the boat tracks. At length they arrived in a subterranean lake, lit dimly by glowing fungi. In the lake was the wreck they sought — the Black Pearl.

Zombies ahoy!

Adlek swam out to the boat and climbed up to the foc’sle. Before he could take a look around, shambling zombies emerged from belowdecks and shuffled towards him. Moonshadow and Freilin drew their long bows and began to rain arrows on the hideous crew. Brutarl and Skagharin immediately headed to the water. Skagharin was a good swimmer but the barbarian shot past him and clambered effortlessly up the side of the hulk. Dintari, none too good a swimmer tried hurling a rock, then shrugged and waded carefully into the water.

Adlek was holding off the zombies at the stairs to the forecastle when Brutarl arrived. Brutarl wielded Peacemaker and chopped zombies left and right, while arrows rained down from the elves on shore. Dintari and Skagharin arrived. Dintari charged to join the fight while Skagharin hurled belaying pins at the undead. Soon, their corpses were dismembered and still.

Rum ration

The ship had been stripped of all valuables except an intact barrel of rum, which Skagharin broke and doled out to the others. It was good rum, but where was the treasure they sought? Deeper in this sea cave, no doubt. Skull Island held more mysteries.

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Ereworn Coast session #1, 1st February 2013
From the Runes of Skagharin

Return to Vorgenheim

Lassa’s Grace returned to Vorgenheim. A foreign-looking sailor noted her arrival. He asked Skagharin if he could join the crew. Skagharin looked him up and down.
“Can you sail?” he asked.
“Certainly!”
“You are hired.”
Without another word Skagharin walked up the hill with his companions to Eorl Vorgen’s hall.

Eorl Vorgen was true to his word. He rewarded the adventurers with a bag of gold, and repairs from Vorgenheim’s shipwright. When these were done, it was time to depart from Vorgenheim.

Bad weather off Ereworn

The destination was Criggen Varas, the capital of Cornumbria and the home of Melisana’s family. Dintari and the others had suggested they travel there to inform her father of her death. Skagharin set sail for the west coast of Ellesland, past Ereworn and Glissom (familar coasts to him). While on the Erewornian coast, he saw a huge storm coming. To Skagharin’s disgust, the new sailor proved a liar; he could not sail at all. Having no competent crew, Skagharin guided Lassa’s Grace to a small bay to wait out the storm. All night long the thunder rolled and lightning flashed, but the boat was safe.

Skull Island

The next day, Lassa’s Grace passed Skull Island, a knob of rock separated from the mainland by a partially-submerged causeway. A number of wrecked ships were there, including some quite recent arrivals. The crew were keen to investigate, but did not want to risk Lassa’s Grace in dangerous waters. They pulled the boat on to the pebbly beach of a nearby village.

Tales in the Silver Halyard

Skagharin, Dintari, Moonshadow, Freilen and Brutarl entered the village and paused at the creaking sign of the Silver Halyard. There they found a sodden sea captain, who told them of being wrecked the previous night, and the treasure he was carrying to Criggen Varas. At the word ‘treasure’, everyone sat up. Skagharin and Dintari tried to get the captain as drunk as possible, and then they all sneaked out of the village along the cliff-path towards the lighthouse at Skull Island.

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Reaver's Isle, session #6, 4th January 2013
From the Runes of Skagharin

Daylight on Reaver’s Isle

Skagharin emerged from the underground feeling quite satisfied. He found Thulanders moving to and fro, taking supplies from the stockade to their boats. Svein Karlssen was among them. With him were several slaves including a queer-looking, quiet short one — some kind of extremely ugly Elf by the looks of it. Skagharin felt uneasy. "We leave by the morning tide, " said Karlssen. “This one goes with you.” He gestured to the odd slave.

“What are we, some sort of elder race clearing house?” muttered Skagharin under his breath, but neither Moonshadow nor the others said anything, so Skagharin shrugged and said “Our boat lies this way. Can you sail?”

“No,” said the ugly stranger.

Bodies on the beach

They marched north. Parius expressed a desire to visit the stone circle in the swamp. “Didn’t you have enough of being sucked under the earth there last time?” asked the dwarf. But Parius said it was different now, and he lingered alone to perform some ritual. Skagharin, Dintari, Brutarl, Moonshadow and the new stranger, who called himself Freilen marched north to the bay.

When they got to the dunes they spied figures on the beach. Armed figures, surrounding a bound figure. “I have some skill with scouting,” said Freilen. “I can see who they are.” He crept off, unusually quietly. Lorien Moonshadow waved his hands and disappeared. Damnable elves and their ways! Skagharin was glad to be rid of them. “What are we waiting for?” said Brutarl, spoiling for a fight. Skagharin marvelled at his unusual forbearance.

The fight came. “Three goblins surrounding a woman.” said Freilin, returning as quietly as he’d left. It must be Melisana! Down on the beach, Lorien had already begun the attack, popping out of invisibility. Brutarl and Dintari rushed down the dunes to join the fight. Freilen and Skagharin threw some rocks (and Skagharin noticed a third rock thrower to their right), then Skagharin pulled out his daggers and joined the fight. Soon the goblins were dead or dying, but Melisana was also beyond help. Dintari fell to his knees, distraught.

The evening tide

Parius joined them at the boat and they gave Melisana a burial at sea. Dintari recalled that her family lived at Criggen Varras in Cornumbria, so they resolved to travel there after collecting their reward at Vorgenheim. There was one more passenger (Skagharin rolled his eyes). The third rock-thrower in the dunes was of course Jorry Muttonchops, the escaped halfling slave. The evening tide came in and Lassa’s Grace sailed away from Reaver’s Isle.

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Reavers' Isle, session #5, 27th April 2012
From the Runes of Skagharin

Pool of Evil

Brutarl was bored. He followed the tunnel to the dark grotto, followed by Moonshadow, Parius and (somewhat reluctantly) Skagharin and Dintari. The pool of dark water was surrounded by murals depicting men and women taking the healing waters. “Something Evil is here,” whispered Parius.
Johnny automatic waves personifiedA watery female figure was standing in the centre of the pool, seemingly on the surface of the water. “Come, bathe in my waters!” she smiled.
Brutarl stepped into the water, much to the consternation of his colleagues.
“Come back, Brutarl,” said Parius.
At the cave entrance, Dintari and Skagharin began looping a lasso to capture the unruly barbarian and drag him from the pool if necessary.
Brutarl noticed some still bodies in the corner of the room. “What about those?”
The lady chuckled. “The healing waters…did not agree with them!”
Moonshadow nocked an arrow and aimed it at the watery woman, whose eyes had begun to glow like fire. Brutarl stepped back. Then Moonshadow loosed his arrow and all Hell broke loose. Watery tentacles streamed towards Brutarl and Parius, wrapping around Parius’ throat. Brutarl whipped his magical knife ZKKK and slashed one watery tentacle in half. Moonshadow’s bowstring broke and he and Brutarl decided to retreat from the watery monster. Parius nearly choked but Dintari and Skagharin dragged him back to the tunnel. Skagharin had seen plenty of half-drowned men; he immediately administered ‘Sailor´s Medicine’.

Escape Tunnel

Brutarl, somewhat chastened, followed the others down the long draughty tunnel through which they suspected the evil skeleton-master priest had made his escape earlier. Dintari and Skagharin led the way, looking and listening. Their caution paid off. Dintari spotted a concealed pit with wooden planks pulled over on to the far side. Skagharin climbed around a small ledge and pushed the planks back to the others, who then crossed safely. Later, Dintari spotted a trip wire connected to a deadfall trap. While he and Skagharin debated whether to try to disarm it, Brutarl lost patience, stepped over the trip wire and continued along the corridor. Moonshadow and Parius followed. Skagharin listened to their footsteps for a while and heard no agonised screams; he and Dintari stepped over the wire and followed.

Spider tower

The passage ended at a trap door in the ceiling. Climbing the metal rungs, Skagharin found himself in a ruined tower. Moonshadow was staring into a dark doorway. Skagharin heard rustlings and scuttlings and saw webs within. “Spiders. Best shut the door.” But Moonshadow went in, waving a flaming torch. The spiders came, five of them as big as dogs. Moonshadow, Dintari and Skagharin fought them off quickly. Two tried to escape, but Dintari pierced one with a thrown dagger and Parius (weeping quietly) crushed one with his staff. Moonshadow found the husk of a corpse within, still wearing a gold ring.

The trapdoor had emerged in late afternoon in the woods just south of the stockade. Skagharin could see the vikings moving back and forth to their ship. He spotted Svein Karlssen, who told him they would be leaving on the morning tide. Skagharin was untired, but Moonshadow and Parius desired to rest so they returned to the stockade.

Return to the Pool

The spirit

They awoke refreshed and descended the storeroom steps once more. This time they examined the boarded-up door in the round room. There was a stone corridor with six niches along it. At the end was a round room with a stone slab bearing a skeleton. At once a fearful apparition appeared.
WHO DISTURBS MY REST? WHY CAN I NOT REST IN PEACE?” it demanded.
Parius, Brutarl and Moonshadow panicked and fled down the corridor. Only Skagharin and Dintari remained.
“Why can you not rest in peace, spirit?” asked Skagharin, unfazed by the spirits of human dead.
ANOTHER CAME AND STOLE AWAY MY SKULL. THAT IS WHY I CANNOT REST.”
Skagharin thought. Six empty niches, six skeletons in the priest’s antechamber. “I think we can find your skull, spirit.”
“IF YOU DO THIS I WILL REWARD THEE

Dintari and Skagharin hurried back to the round room, pausing to collect their cowering companions from one of the niches. They proceeded straight to the priest’s rooms and searched in vain for the missing skull.

“Maybe we could give him another skull?” suggested Skagharin.

“I think he would know the difference.” Years ago, as a caravan guard, Dintari had read rather too much of some old books, and he recalled references to evil rituals involving skulls which could contaminate an area. The pool! The source of the bane afflicting the island. The skull must be there.

How to get ahead

This time, there was a plan. Brutarl and Moonshadow would attack and distract attention while Skagharin and Dintari (whose weapons were in any case useless against the water creature) would try to find the skull. They entered the grotto. The woman stood there smiling as before, but the chatter was limited. Moonshadow immediately blasted her with his magic. This time it worked and she screamed with anger. The watery tentacles snaked from the pool toward Brutarl (brandishing ZKKK) and Moonshadow.

Liftarn skull 1Skagharin was no sneak but he hoped that the watery thing’s attention was elsewhere as he moved closer to the dark water. He could see Dintari’s torch moving around on the other side of the chamber, and his friends battling the monster. Beyond the waterfall he spotted — a long ledge with a flash of something white. It had to be the skull. He climbed up on the slippery mural which ran around the cave, and made his way to the ledge. One of the watery tentacles lashed at him and he almost lost his balance, but then he grabbed the skull and ran towards Dintari’s torchlight. He clambered down. There was unearthly screaming and he could sense the water rising. The two ran for the exit, hoping the others were following. They did not stop running until they reached the spirit’s resting place.

Reward, and reward

YOU HAVE RESTORED MY SKULL. NOW I MAY REST. BENEATH MY SLAB ARE MY WORLDLY GOODS. THEY ARE YOURS.”

Skagharin and Dintari lifted the slab and found a round shield, a short spear and a pair of bracers. They returned to the others where they found the grotto peaceful and calm, a much smaller trickle of water falling from the ceiling. Parius was wearing a big grin and babbling about the balance being restored and earth and water elementals and whatnot supernatural shenanigans. But Skagharin was pleased for his friend, and for himself. Things had worked out well.

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Reavers' Isle, session #4, 30th March 2012
From the Runes of Skagharin

Translators note: this fragment of the Runes of Skagharin was incomplete; the author’s carvings were partially burnt.

To the victor the spoils

  • Karlssen wounded “To the victor the spoils.”
  • Parius: "O the violence!
  • Dintari and Skagharin free the slaves
  • Trapped chest of gold
  • Skagharin and Lorien each suspect poison

Tales by firelight

  • Vikings say they will deal with the ship but do nothing and it escapes
  • tales and ale of inferior quality

Silent guardians

  • Into the dungeon – water, a draft, boarded up
  • Johnny automatic dancing skeletonsSkeletons – Dintari, Moonshadow, Skagharin retreat; Brutarl charges
  • Dintari bashes one to pieces with his shield: “Next time you’ll remember to drink your milk!”
  • SKagharin hits one with Parius’ staff
  • Moonshadow’s charlatan spells fail spectacularly
  • Brutarl smashes several, and Lorien efficiently takes out a couple
  • Evil priest den and unholy shrine (Parius cleanses)
  • But the priest has escaped on the ship
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