Monday, May 23, 2016

Howl From the South: Running and Rolls

Welcome loyal Greyhawkers, today is the tenth 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 (cart-dodging captain, human rogue)
Sabriel Loreweaver (mating first-mate, human bard)
Tyrrus Bandale (level-blown bosun, human fighter)
Kuma Sand (smarter surgeon, human druid)
Ostyn (detecting deckhand, human fighter)

and Lash Driftwood (queen-pleasing quartermaster, sea elf ranger)

When last we saw the crew of the Envy, they were in the port of Blue for some much needed repairs and some drunken revelry after having escaped the clutches of the sahuagin for the second time. Laying about a common room in the Low Tide Inn, they were roused by the familiar face of Cpt. Kendrick, the gun runner they had met a week ago. Handsome Kendrick welcomed them to his home port and admitted that he was in fact the leader of a faction called the Blue Port Confederation, independent pirates allied with the ruling Council of Three and the Slavelords. Kenrick extended an invitation to Cpt. Cullen and any other of his Sea Prince friends (or in Sabriel's case with benefits) to attend an important meeting of sailors from "their profession" at the home of one of the port's councilmen. He bid them good day and left the inn.

Tyrrus at this point was still missing so Cullen went off in search of his strong man. The rest of the crew departed the inn to return to the pinnace to freshen up for the meeting later. Lash on the other hand had more pressing matters. He met with his sea-elf cousin Eristen at the docks where the two made side plans for a quick trip down the coast to the undersea kingdom of the sea elves in order to return the queen's long lost crown; recovered recently from the throne room of the sahuagin capital. Cullen found Tyrrus intact coming out of an alley hung-over short some money. His eyes widened however when a pair of street rogues bumped Cullen from behind and stole a pouch. The chase was on.

Meanwhile in another part of town a ruckus was heard by Ostyn, Sabriel and Kuma as they walked toward the docks. In the market screams of "OGRE!" and an overturned cart of food had them worried. Sure enough, their friend Ogie had left the ship smelling food and was now being chased by three guards with crossbows. Sabriel yelled to the guards that it was her ogre to no avail so the trio gave chase as well. Sabriel navigated the crowd easily yet was in turn chased by a pack of yapping dogs, eventually overtaking the slower winded guards. Ostyn dodged around a crowd of peasants and beggars who had gathered for the spilled food but was also swift enough to gain. Kuma was athletic if not lucky and had bolted just in time to avoid the impediments Ostyn faced. Ogie lumbered along with fists full of food yet he heard and understood Ostyn's call to run for the ship. Doing so Ogie took a sharp turn down a side street. two of the guards gave up trying to stop the thundering beast while the third slowed for a hip shot at Ogie, the bolt whistling wide. Kuma bounded around the bend missing the wall narrowly, Ostyn kept rushing and Sabriel acrobatically leaped over barrels to continue the race to their vessel. The last guard started to run again after reloading, but a passing beer cart went in front of the ogre and next thing he knew Ogie had vanished. The others knew better and made for the Envy to scold their large friend as he gnawed on free food.

On the other side of the quarter, Cullen and Tyrrus chased a thief who bragged his name was Speedy. Cullen indeed had trouble following Speedy, wagon after cart  got in his way, he had to go around over and once under the vehicles to keep up. Tyrrus on the other hand caught up to the second thief once he crashed into an alley wall. After several stomach punches the man gave up and admitted he was part of the Blue Gang, the city's only organized crime faction. Indeed, the money Tyrrus got off him was not stolen technically, it was pay from his boss for collecting the protection money from other Blue citizens. Cullen too finally reached Speedy and with a quick draw and lunge stabbed him in the leg, dropping the nimble thief and the stolen purse. Cullen interrogated him and learned the same as Tyrrus. Threats were made to each other but Speedy was in no position to intimidate the cut-throat captain, he lived for now. The pair returned to the ship after their exercise and the whole party left that evening to meet with some other captains.

At the house of Councilman Festerling, crews from many local pirate factions gathered to talk about the South Province's armada and their offenses to the code of the sea and a possible alliance with their old rivals the Iron League. Among them, Kendrick introduced the crew of the Envy to Captain Sasha Dirk of the Osprem's Kiss. the representative from the Lordship of the Isles. Dirk's scar over her heart only distracted from her grim stare at Sabriel and the others as they spoke to Kendrick. Dirk was a defacto rep from the Iron League and trusted few in the room, especially one Captain Davis of the Reaver. Most there were glad to see a crew from the Sea Princes and wanted their views to be brought west to Prince Jeon II. Cullen also had tense words of warning with the half-orc councilman, Brik whose Blue Gang is a security force of sorts. Amid the gathered discussion and arguments, Cullen tended to side with Kendrick on most matters which seemed to please him greatly.

Then, the agent of the Crimson Fleet, Captain Anneka Folksan spoke; she had met the crew when they were still on the Sea Hag. Their battle at sea had gave her the captaincy of the Seahorse. She aptly mentioned a rumor that one of the legendary Blades of Corusk had been sighted. Most there knew of those blades in pirate lore and they wondered if it was an omen to unite and fight the Provincial Navy. Sabriel stood and drew Dreamsinger much to Cullen and the other's horror. The whole room was silenced but they knew somehow the Sea Princes must be on their side now. Kendrick ended the meeting so Sabriel could exit without much more attention, though an elven first mate swordsman did approach her to say he had last seen her rapier decades ago at a fencing school in Port Toli. The other Blade of Corusk he saw there was a great sword. They now had a lead.

Off under the sea, Lash and Eristen went before the king and queen of the sea elf city of Mythlemora. Their exploits were heard at great length, the whole of their court were excited to know the sahuagin king was slain and his throne disrupted. What more the queen's crown was back on her brow. Feeling the importance of the occasion Lash then drew the longsword Stalker, another artifact gained from their quest in the sahuagin city. The sea elves were stunned in awe for the blue-black blade was known to their people in the past, when a nameless ranger once battled alongside them against the sea devils but was lost. The king had seen enough, he offered the low born ranger Lash the position of royal warden. Much to Lash's chagrin he looked at the black spot on his hand, a reminder of his quest to the Fivefold Council and kindly turned down the title. The queen didn't want Lash to leave empty handed, so for his modesty she gave him a magical crystal pendant that if used in dire need, would send for the aid of the sea elf nation. Eristen looked to Lash and informed him she would carry onward to Drawmij's undersea palace from here instead of returning to Blue. She advised he bring the crew back to the archmage so could look at the blades all together again.

A week later several rendezvous later, the Envy rapidly deployed its sails and ventured off to the west at Lash and Mallon the mage's behest, to consult again with the Archmage of the Azure, Drawmij. This time there was no need to anchor off the white cliffs and climb to his surface abode. Using their aquatic items, the crew dove from the pinnace and swam down to the remote undersea palace. Here, they were greeted by a waiting Drawmij and Eristen. Drawmij was eager to study Stalker and learn the resonating effects of the blades, but then Dreamsinger alerted Sabriel:

 "You are glad to be in a familiar place, feeling at ease in this unreachable location. Yet, there is still a nagging premonition, as if danger is already lurking here waiting to spring out from the darkness to envelope you in maddening death."

Sabriel's vision troubled her and she immediately felt unsafe in the palace, which then riled the others because her dreams usually came true. Drawmij tried assuage their fears claiming his magical wards and defenses, but went to check on them anyhow. Lash used Stalker to turn invisible and followed the wizard not trusting him. Ostyn searched about the palace looking for engineering faults in the strange undersea abode. The rest were led to Drawmij's game room to hopefully relax. The room was fully appointed in furnishings and gamely diversions, but setting in the middle of one table lay a pair of dice bearing the symbol of Olidammara god of rogues. Momentarily forgetting possible danger, Tyrrus had heard tell of magical dice and cards so wondered if this wizard had such a pair. 

Picking them up he cast Olidammara's Dice and both faces came up on the comedy/tragedy mask, the worst result possible. Tyrrus recoiled and felt an emptiness as if his confidence waned or he forgot much of his training. Not daunted at all Sabriel gave the ivory cubes a chance and also was cursed by her result of four, she suddenly felt ill, as if weak. Kuma bravely grabbed the cubes and hoped his supernatural luck would pay off, and it did, as his total of ten granted him a greater understanding of everything. Cullen lastly felt pressured into trying his hand and merely gained some insight into his swordplay for a time being, which was good because throughout the palace a loud metal crash echoed through the halls. Some danger had indeed come to Drawmij's palace.

To be continued...

Campaign notes: The guys got to play with my actual set of Olid's Dice (pictured above). The 3.5 rules on them required me to retrofit them to 5E rules. I was entirely amused that the first in-game roll came up double 1's. Poor Tyrrus did indeed lose a level permanently. And the others? Well I'll post my Olid Dice list another time in case Ostyn and Lash want to still try the dice. More later.


Jason Raabis said...

Trouble in Drawmij's abode?! This is gonna be good! Is this upcoming session based on any published material?

Mike Bridges said...

None at all haha! This may be a more freewheeling part of the quest.
I think from here on, the only thing based on published material is Howl From the North's 2 remaining Blades of Corusk. And I heavily changed those too. Terrible mod.