Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Islands of Eime Campaign - Session Summary 4

A Brief Account of the Activities of the Party in the Year 640LB, during the Third Week of 10th Month, between the Day of the Cat and the Day of the Frog.

As the sun set in the western sky of the Island of Eime on the Day of the Frog, a small party of weary adventurers stumbled out of the Boundless Buckle mine, located in a southern county of Eime Island, their soot-covered eyes stinging in the thin ambient amber light. Undoubtedly written across each face was the unmistakable mixed confusion of the bittersweet. As in previous adventures, the body count continues to grow. This time no less than four individuals met their grisly end in the bowels of the Tomb of Sybil the Lachrymose. At least it seems these deaths were not in vain as considerable information and treasure was gathered through the exploration made possible by these sacrifices. And, indeed, given the number of fiendish traps the party encountered this time out, there is little doubt that the death of these few helped to prevent the death of all.

Our adventure began with the return of the party to Colony Company Town 2 in search of Dick Maggoty. Through the course of normal resupplying and carousing, the party learned that fast on the trail of "the man with the bat on his face" was a unnamed but intimidating tatooed man of the secret organization, the "Two Eyes". After much discussion, the group decided that the most likely explanation for this manhunt was a torture-aided "recollection" of the now dismembered Hirelings United clerk who had served the party as a black market contact a week earlier. A consensus was then reached to spread a false story of the party's return to Aleine while actually leaving town and returning to their exploration of the Boundless Buckle hoping to hide their tracks.

The deepening intrigue and deliberations of the early evening was set against the raucous backdrop of the official first day of Beerfest -- the near-universally celebrated fall holiday in which the Lord Govenor of the island orders the Trading Company's private casks opened for the free consumption of all for a period of 48 hours. As revelers drank and sang and pissed themselves and passed out in the streets, our party secured the services of a young and proud axe maiden-for-hire and made preparations for departure. And while many slept the evening away in the common room of Lightfoot Krom's Boarding House, both the monk Pym Sykes and the magic user Finneaus Cleg found the time to sow their oats and carouse and wench with the spifflicated throngs in the street.

In the cool light of the morning Cleg found himself the bleak-eyed but proud owner of an expansive dragon skull tatoo splayed from shoulder blade to shoulder blade. At the same time the usually reserved and always sharp monk Pym found himself the object of wide public derision as a result of the drunken spectacle he was told that he had created the night previous. From the vantage point of the present, this now appears to be a portentous moment. Luck, it seems, had chosen that night to forever desert the monk who lived out an order of self-reliance.

After contracting for the services of a new shield bearer- the betrothed of Smutty Booth, a stout and sturdy female by the name of Teenie Tenbar - the party descended once again into the Agora Hills and reentered the ancient tomb complex with an eye toward exploring the hitherto neglected section to the north. By the end of this adventure, it appears that the entire northern section had been successfully mapped by our party, but at a very steep cost: the deaths of a much beloved "hero" of the party as well as a brand new addition. The quietly wise Pym Sykes lost his life to a freak accident while attempting to help his comrades by taking up the obviously risky job of crossing a 15-foot chasm, hand-over-hand, with only a rope around his waist and a makeshift beam made of rope-lashed staffs and materials available at hand. Against the odds, during his climb both this pole and his fail safe rope snapped and he dropped like a stone into the deep darkness never to be heard from again.

The new addition to the party, its second full-share member who had taken vows within the Order of the Son of the Bat, himself went by the name of Baat. Upon meeting our fellows during their resupply mission to Colony Co. Town 2, Baat found himself immediately adopted and taken in by the party (perhaps as a result of the affinity they had once shared for a brother-monk of his). And while Baat helped the party a great deal during his little time as a full-share member (e.g., he fought bravely against the attack of skeletal raven gravebirds as well as took real personal risk in helping the party recover several important treasures, including the special shields and swords of Odo the Warlover and Roark the Benevolent), it is most likely that his final moments had the largest impact on his fellow adventurers, with his eyes bulging and capillaries bursting and distended by the suffocating force of a single long, quick amphibious tail that belonged to a swift, attacking hawktoad. No doubt burnt into the mind of each surviving party member was this scary image: a reminder that the brave and the strong are no less mortal than the rest. It is also possible that the party's stout fighter, Rand, might have been personally affected by this death, as both he and Baat were suffering the effects the same Grave Fever, contracted through their wounds earned in their struggle against the Gravebirds. This Grave Fever is similar to a more common disease, Mummy Rot. Like the Rot, Grave Fever prevents magical healing and causes wounds to heal at 1/10 the normal rate. Thankfully, such a condition can typically be cured by a Cure Disease spell. If only The Eight could gain access to such a spell....

And if only the party's losses had ended with these tragedies. Instead, our fellows spent the better part of four days finishing a careful exploration, treasure-hunt, and mapping of the northern end of the complex, gaining and then losing two more members from its already thin ranks. First, the party was joined by a female monk and fighting man who went by the name Ayak Akai. These new companions were met acting as couriers for the irrepressable Grover Griswold. The female monk was not destined to be long with the party, however, falling to what presumably must have been her death atop a stone pillar that was in the process of collapsing fast into large, deep pit. Such a death, shocking to the rest of the party as it stood by, was apparently triggered by an impetuous grab for what turned out to be a trapped urn of as-yet unidentified scrolls. Her quick death so soon after joining The Eight in that murderous room of urns, was soon followed by the similarly dramatic death of the green axe maiden, Kaari the Younger.

In the end the adventure yielded many interesting and valuable items, ranging from two exceptionally lightweight shields that can be sacrifised to absorb any single attack roll; a brass sculpture of a cat that purrs when stroked but whose function is unknown; a large collection of ancient beeswax preserve that, oddly enough, seems to still be consumable as well as worth several hundred gold pieces; and a large cloth sack cinched at the top that containing 15 5' by 6' diamond cut glass panes. Each of these panes of the clearest glass delicately etched with the same image: a depiction the story of the goddess Eime intentionally drowning her many children to thwart the ambitions of her older consort, Pelor, the god of white magic. This last item alone has an incredible value, likely to fetch the party something in the area of 2250gp when sold to a collector. Along with these items of note the party also worked together to find an ingenious way to cross a partially collapsed stone bridge, and thus gained access to an enormous mural that mapped out in detail a number of large islands in addition to Eime island proper as well as depicting numerous fantastic locations spread across the Northern seas such as "The Royal Forge and Mint of Maristan the Dim," the "Arcane Repository," and the "Great Emerald Mines".

At the end of the exploration of the Room of Urns, the party also discovered the grisly corpse of Teenie Tenbar's father - Ty Tenbar - at the bottom of a pit trap in the very room that took two of their party's lives. After securing the valuable supply of beeswax from the final accesible urn, and having completed their exploration of the northern section, the remaining party members decided to remove themselves from the Tomb of Sybil the Lachrymose and once again lick their wounds and find a way to regroup.

And, after three weeks on the Island of Eime, those PCs who have been lucky enough to survive from the ocean crossing in the Barbarossa until this day are just beginning to feel the benefits that hard experience brings. Let us hope that they themselves survive to see their experience continue to grow in this cruel, capricious, and bloody new world.

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