Sunday, February 21, 2016

Five Shall Be One: Treasures and Tracking

Welcome Greyhawkers, today is the third installment of my new 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 intrigue and escapades will the crew of the Sea Hag get into this week? Read on, and beware, this story may contain spoilers!

Dramatis personae:

Cullen (cut-throat captain, human rogue)
Sabriel Loreweaver (frightened first-mate, human bard)
Tyrrus Bandale (bossy bosun, human fighter)
Kuma Sand (sanguine surgeon, human druid)
Ostyn (driven deckhand, human fighter)

and Lash Driftwood (aquatic quartermaster, sea elf ranger)

When last we saw our courageous cadre of crustacean catchers they had been given a quest most perilous by the Fivefold Council to aid the similarly cursed half-elf mage named Mallon. The city guard of Sasserine knew better than to mess with the Council, so all the captives with black spots on their hand were immediately released and escorted back to the docks. Captain Cragg, understood the gravity of the situation and since he wasn't chosen by the Council he went to his first mate, Cullen and solemnly passed the captaincy of the Sea Hag to him. Gathering his things Cragg wished all the crew luck on their new voyage and announced that he was retiring at long last. Before departing, he gave Cullen his prized flintlock pistol, a gift given to him long ago by the father of Prince Jeon II. He assured the newly-minted captain it would come in handy in the future.

Mallon for his worth came aboard their ship; he had need to ally with these marked-sailors and confided that he had already been researching the location of a great Suloise sword (once wielded by a bard) lost in a ruin within the jungles of the Amedio. Hidden within a cloak pocket, Mallon showed a map marked with a route to the coast of the jungle and from there inland to an ancient Olman city on the banks of Storm Lake. There, they needed to find a location called the Temple of Shadows. Extra supplies were obtained, Cullen handled promotions among his crew and shares were allocated before setting off. Their first day out of Sasserine, it rained steadily but the crew worked hard heading in a easterly direction along the coast. That is when look-out Four-eyes Fuller spotted an approaching sail in the hazy drizzle. What was worse, it raised a crimson flag emblazoned with a black horned skull. A pirate ship of the rival Crimson Fleet.

The ship in question was the Sea Horse, infamous in Jeklea Bay for preying on fishermen and crab-boats. Captained by the fanatical Cpt. Mulsever, they out-maneuvered the tired Sea Hag crew and were closing fast in their smaller vessel. A parley flag went up next and the Sea Horse hailed the crabbing-ship to allow them aboard to forfeit some booty in return for safe passage in these waters. Ostyn and Lash had encountered Mulsever before however, and knew he was honorable enough except he always maimed one person as a way to instill fear in defenseless fishermen. Captain Cullen allowed the Sea Horse to run up alongside and put down a plank to cross, like they had done dozens of times to every ship save the Sea Hag. Brash Mulsever himself, wearing studded leather and a bright crimson sash was ready to go across first, gloating loudly to his men how he finally caught Capt Cragg and the fastest crab-ship in the south. However, Cragg wasn't present...

Tyrrus got a running start and leaped across the divide to the Sea Horse and was soon knocking pirates overboard into the clear waters. Cullen was first to dash across the plank to directly surprise Mulsever with two sword driving into the overconfident pirate. His first mate, the stunning Anneka watched at his side in awe, her fist clenched around a small object ready to throw. Ostyn was right behind his captain also pressing the shocked Mulsever with flashing blades, then from the crow's nest, the sharpshooting ranger Lash flung one arrow into Mulsever and dropped him dead on the deck. What happened next was remarkable. The crew of the Sea Horse surrendered and cheered the crabbers for ridding them of the maniac pirate captain. The captain was relieved of his valuables, while Anneka was charmed by the equally insulting or flattering charms of Sabriel and soon was handing over the object in her hand - a magic bead from a necklace of three she wore. Anneka was reasoned with and willingly cooperated so she could live and inherit the Sea Horse. As she was charmed she gladly gave away her jewelry, her silvered longsword and the necklace of (fireball) missiles among other things. Mallon came out of hiding and was surprised to see the danger had passed so soon. With the plunderers plundered, the two ships parted in the night and the skies cleared by dawn.

Twitchy Ted Tindall had been a continual screw up on the Sea Hag since Cullen joined and now that he was captain, the latest work injury was enough. Taking the injured Twitchy to his cabin, he remarked that he would never mess up again and quickly dispatched him, took him on deck and dumped him in the bay in front of everyone. The crew was stunned, save Cruel Colin who knew Ted had it coming. Sabriel soothed the worried crew with her kind words about Ted how he was terminally ill anyhow. The men of the Sea Hag could hardly argue, but things were now troublesome. That evening they reached the mouth of a small river that bored into the Amedio Jungle, nearby was an abandoned fort and pier. The Sea Hag was left here while the away team would strike off into the jungle to follow Mallon's directions.

Taking a launch, they followed the unmarked, meandering river, aptly named the Sabriel River by their glory-seeking bard. The jungle loomed all about them but floating on the river, nothing dared bother them for a few days travel save for the lectures of the sagacious mage Mallon. Sabriel's sleep magics made sure the trip was much quieter. At a ford between two streams they disembarked from the boat and hid it onshore. From this point Lash led them safely into the jungle, swiftly blazing a path with ease toward the distant Storm Lake. Again, the jungle thrived with noise and smells, but the their arduous trek was made safe by the combined skills of the party. It wasn't long before signs of ruins became apparent in the dense jungle. The tangle of trees eventually gave way to a great Olman city laying in rubble on the banks of a gloomy, thundering lake stretching to the horizon.

With a storm fast approaching, Lash got an uneasy feeling that undead were in this area, and he spotted tracks and signs that proved his fears. Sabriel began conjuring colorful lights upon objects for each of her comrades as night encroached. Exposed to the elements, they decided to venture farther in to seek shelter and it was before the entrance of an old hill-side temple of a bat-god, that they saw the hulking body of a gorilla, laying lifeless in the mud. Undaunted, Tyrrus went up to the dead ape to extract some teeth as a souvenir yet to everyone's shock (especially the revolted bard) a large green worm bored out of the ape's mouth and tried to bite the fighter! Swatting it off in disgust, Tyrrus cleaved the corpse apart with his huge sword and made sure if the ape was undead it wouldn't get up. The worm became lost as rain poured down. The group retreated into the temple's entrance tunnel to get dry and possibly get a long deserved rest. Lightning flashed outside silhouetting things moving about in the broken city.

Their rest over, the seven roused from their uneven slumber to turn around and explore down the narrow dusty tunnel behind them. Newly cast cantrips of dim red light surrounded the single-file party while roguish Cullen stealthily searched ahead. Around a corner he heard a shuffling noise, likely a source of the tracks in the city and possibly the green worm. A hand shot up to halt the party so he could scout closer, but once he saw it, Cullen ran in fear to the midst of his compatriots. It wasn't long before Lash too fell away in unshakable fear and poor Sabriel screamed in horror as she too saw a zombie lumbering after them, its eyes, mouth and limbs writhing with unholy green worms. The first to conquer his fear was Ostyn and as he stabbed at the zombie with his newly procured silver sword, the thing began to thrash with clawed fingers and dripped worms as it reached out. Kuma, a druid abhorred the unnatural being and tried to stab at it from a distance with his spear but it pressed on until Ostyn managed to knock it down with a deft maneuver. Tyrrus brazenly jumped ahead to run it through while it was prone, but to their dismay the thing was regenerating. Even from the ground, a tenacious undead hand grabbed Tyrrus' ankle and with it a worm nearly bored into his skin again. The thing flailed and tried to stand but with the others fending it off, Kuma managed to finally set it ablaze with a torch. The others recovered from their fright and watched as the foul thing smoldered and crackled with the sound of popping worms. That had only been the first room.

To be continued...

Campaign notes: As I have explained more than once, this is adapted from the module Five Shall Be One. One thing of note is the map below, showing a part of the Amedio Jungle. In the original mod, Mallon's map is of the Bandit Kingdoms and the Bluff Hills found in the cold north. It took a good stretch of imagination to chance locations like this, but I like my results. Hand-drawn maps are the best. Check it out:


Valkaun_Dain said...


SirXaris said...

Two things:

First, you earn extra respect from me for your frequent alliteration. I love it! :)

Second, rivers practically never split like that, except at deltas, which are always at the very end of the river. I know there is a canon map that shows most of the rivers in the southern Amedio splitting that way, but it is wrong. ;)


Mike Bridges said...

Haha yah Xaris Greyhawk is full of river mysteries.

Thanks for the kudos! :)