Sunday, April 17, 2016

Five Shall Be One: Treasures and Teeth

Welcome home Greyhawk mavens, today is the ninth installment of my ongoing 5E Hold of Sea Princes reboot of the 2E modules Five Shall Be One and Howl From the North, set in the south seas. What sort of high adventure will the crew of the Envy get into this week? Read on, and beware, this story may contain spoilers!

Dramatis personae:

Cullen (cut-up captain, human rogue)
Sabriel Loreweaver (fascinating first-mate, human bard)
Tyrrus Bandale (blood-letting bosun, human fighter)
Kuma Sand (steady surgeon, human druid)
Ostyn (destructive deckhand, human fighter)

and Lash Driftwood (quirky quartermaster, sea elf ranger)

When last we saw the crew, they were descending into the bowels of the royal palace in the capital of the sahuagin empire. The sleep-song produced by the combined power of Dreamsinger and Greenswathe still echoed above as they searched the hollow inner tower. The group swam downward through chamber after chamber, one with weapons and tools, one painted like a map of the undersea floor, another decorated with trophies of the ship raids, and another a museum of undersea kingdom exhibits. 

At the bottom of the well-like tower they finally entered the vestibule of the palace. A chamber spread out before them laid in obsidian with glowing globes above set like stars. A pair of four-armed royal guards floated near a double-door while a mob of warriors swam in their direction near another door framed in the skeletal jaws of a great shark. In the center of the room an idol with an stone eye began to throb with an eerie reddish radiance like in Sabriel's visions. The magical light proved to be the bane of the intruders as they sprang to the attack. Sabriel swiftly sang her own sleep spell toward the sea devils and a couple slowed to a stop in the mid-stride. Lash's arrows bore through the murky water to strike another behind them. Ostyn, emboldened by the their earlier success swam into the fray and missed wildly, bothered by the red light. Kuma Sand surprisingly arrived on the scene behind the party, the affable sea druid made no mention of how he got to the center of the city alone, but he had only needed to follow the trail of carnage and sleeping sahuagin to catch up to them. Further inspired by their reinforcements, Mallon the mage tapped Tyrrus' shoulder and hasted him into combat along side the stabbing blades of Eristen, Captain Cullen and Sabriel; bloodied sahuagin warriors began to be dismembered in the water.

The two royal guards roused the sleeping sahuagin and threw them into the front line, even as Lash began to mark one of them and sent stinging arrows their way. A four-armed sahuagin then swam at Ostyn who deftly parried back teeth and multiple claws. Kuma's magic caused the large guard to glow in an outline in the darkened chamber making it easier to attack by the cleaving Tyrrus Bandale and Sabriel Loreweaver. Tyrrus' blade flashed a few times and then the bard's thin magic blade ran through the creature's arm pinning it long enough for Lash to put a killing arrow into it. The second guard however frenzied at the sight of blood and Cullen took the brunt of the four-armed beast's claws, he fell backwards just as Mallon tried to hand him a healing potion. Eristen the sea elf wrapped-up the guard and aided Tyrrus who sprang to his ally's defense, his long blade severed the monster's spine while Kuma swiftly saved Cullen's life, binding the horrible sahuagin bite he received. Ostyn stabbed the dead guard in frustration while Sabriel darkly stashed a sea devil arm to give to Ogie the ogre for a snack. That is when she was hit with another waking-dream:

You anxiously seek the Blade of Corusk in the undersea city. You sense it is plunged into utter darkness. You shiver, feeling bitter cold and blackness numbing you. Evil is gathering all around and a desperate move must be made.

There was little time to rest however, Ostyn broke the idol with some tools, while the roused Sabriel sang a haunting healing song to Cullen until he was good enough to move. Lash investigated a door beyond the shark jaws, testing it for traps with a sahuagin corpse, then beyond found a piled wealth of pearls and a chest filled golden eel bracelets and even more pearls, one the size of a fist. Side-tracked by riches, the undersea pirates had looked to move on when a second raiding party nearly took them unaware from a side hall. A four-armed sahuagin prince, wearing pearly bracers and wielding a spear led the charge, but Cullen, even in his weakened state was much too fast for the devils, especially wearing the Cloak of the Manta Ray. Two warriors were diced up within moments. Lash's barbed arrows streaked and fell two more of his hated enemies while Ostyn thrashed another with his dual weapons. Tyrrus meanwhile, went for the prince predictably and was astounded that his armor and speed was greater, every attack was turned away. Smelling his fresh injuries, the prince couldn't contain himself and swam at Cullen, knocking aside the two warriors and soon even more needle-like teeth and bony nails were tearing up the roguish leader yet again. 

The whispering psychic magic of Sabriel knocked the monster away from Cullen just in time and the huge sahuagin was pinned by a net-like web cast by cowering Mallon. Dripping with blood and aided by the skills of Kuma, the determined Cullen angrily shot back at the restrained prince and stabbed him before disengaging in time for Lash to put a finishing arrow in its eye. The creature hung dead in the web and his bracers were taken and worn as a trophy by the mocking sea elf ranger, Lash. The party again caught their breath, regrouped and made sure they were ready to press on through the pearly double-doors. What lay beyond was a marvelous sight. A grand hall lined floor to ceiling with sharks teeth of all sizes. Not to be distracted for too long Lash swam at the fore and crashed through the doors at the other end and stumbled into the great hall of the Throne of Teeth.

 Lash gazed up to see the vaulted chamber of the throne room, it's design and shimmering colors were unmistakable, they were inside the mother-of-all-mollusks. At the far end on his coral throne, framed in curtains of seaweed, sat the huge four-armed king of the sahuagin, his fearsome eyes and sharp teeth sneering while his pet shark circled overhead in the murky shadows. Warriors lurked at the fringes while to his side stood the king's consort, the heavily muscled, long taloned high priestess of their demonic god, Sekolah, To the king's other side was a huge white shark statue of Sekolah and another priestess standing before a low well that was filled with icy darkness. It had to be the black well that Drawmij had sent them after! Lastly, floating directly in front of the king was another prince of the city and his glare was the worst for Lash wore his brother's pearl bracers. It screamed a guttural call to attack from all sides.

Tyrrus and Cullen both streaked through the chamber juking away from the prince to instead cleave down the priestess by the well; her bloody body soon misted around the unholy statue behind her. Near by the well they could feel the horrible chill emanating from it. The enraged prince swiftly lunged at Lash and struck at him with a wicked trident and gnashing teeth. Kuma, standing behind the retreating ranger lit up the sahuagin prince with a fiery glow to allow Eristen and Ostyn to gang up on the four-armed monster. As the battle ensued, scheming Sabriel focused her attention at the throne, her bardic skill allowed her to magically speaking many tongues and so she now spoke alluring words to the royal pair and miraculously they both fell for her charms, becoming content enough to watch the battle unfold for the time being.

Lash shook off his wounds and drew one of the sahuagin slaying arrows Drawmij had gifted him, for the first time and loosed it with expert marksmanship. The arrow penetrated the breastplate of the prince, who dropped his trident and howled madly and painfully shook to a still death. Across the chamber however, the eye of the shark statue opened and fired a profane beam of energy over the head of Cullen and Tyrrus, to strike feeble Mallon, driving him back injured. Kuma thrust out a hand and thundered a magical wave knocking out more of the mass of sahuagin warriors. The king and his consort continued to watch the bloodshed with amusement, for even charmed, sahuagin were sadistic. The great shark then reacted smelling the blood in the water, it came at Lash next with a wounding bite, but was soon surrounded by stabbing and slicing attacks, finished off by eye-gouging point of Dreamsinger. There was no time to celebrate though, the statue's eye shot a beam at Ostyn causing him to furiously swim at it to bust up the offending object. All the sea devil warriors and the prince were chum in the water when the king finally stood up with the high priestess at his side. They seemed grimly ready, only to be struck by Kuma's familiar faerie fires. The king, taller than any sahuagin they'd seen, was aghast at the death of his pet and charged with severe speed at Sabriel. Cullen and Tyrrus darted to intercept him however, cutting at his legs and one blade even left a mark from brow to chin. The four-armed king was undaunted and his iron spear bit into Sabriel's arm and his fangs tore into her shoulder. The priestess only watched on and in her native tongue, actually encouraged the interlopers to kill the king so she could rule!

Sensing it was the right moment, Lash drew another sahuagin-bane arrow and his aim was again true- the potent magical shaft pierced the thick scales of the king and he too shook and writhed in place, screaming in an ear-piercing tone till he hung there motionless, eyes staring up to the ceiling of his throne room. Sabriel deftly turned to question her charmed victim, the only living sahuagin remaining, as to where the king kept his treasured weapons. She pointed at the black well and its impenetrable void, snarling with a laugh that they had better get what they came for quickly for the king's death-shriek was calling the armies of the city to the throne as they dallied. Cullen wasted no time and reached into the well, the cold was so numbing he could barely feel his arm when he pulled out a dwarvish warhammer, surely taken from a recent raid. Tyrrus, Kuma and Ostyn all hastened to help by groping into the well next, the chill driving them back either weakened or withered. Sabriel went to speak to the consort again but she had escaped behind the seaweed curtain to a secret tunnel leading to the Mirodian Deep.

Tyrrus then took a deep breath and reached into the inky cold one more time, this time pulling free a long sword, made of black adamantine and blue steel. It was the legendary blade Stalker. Shivering and now hearing the arrival of the sahuagin horde, the surface raiders followed through the secret sea tunnels to the outside and swam anxiously in a long winding effort to get back to their magical diving sphere. Then to their horror a mass of sahuagin had already discovered it, their only mode of transport had been destroyed by their profane magic. Dismayed and defeated, the group knew they couldn't out swim the horde for long. That is when the trio of reunited blades began to glow and hum. Sabriel quickly drew Dreamsinger and called for the other two blades to touch. In a building surge of magical energy the entire party vanished, whisked away from danger to reappear thousands of feet above, on the deck of the Envy where a very surprised ogre woke from his slumber.

To be continued...

Campaign notes: Thus concludes my 5E adaptation of Five Shall Be One. Thanks go out to Carl Sargent, Bruce Cordell and artist Jeff Easley. I'll be continuing on to the next module Howl From the North next, plus I will have the 5E conversion stats for Stalker soon for your enjoyment!

No comments: