Monday, June 6, 2016

Howl From the South: Blobs and Bottles

Welcome Greyhawk fans, today is the eleventh 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?

Dramatis personae:

Cullen (cagey captain, human rogue)
Sabriel Loreweaver (mouthy first-mate, human bard)
Tyrrus Bandale (binged bosun, human fighter)
Kuma Sand (shouting surgeon, human druid)
Ostyn (drinking deckhand, human fighter)

When last we saw the crew they were busy dicing with fate until they heard a crash of metal echo throughout Drawmij's undersea palace. Ostyn had already been investigating and was rushing to find the others, while invisible Lash had not been seen since he went to follow the archmage. Heading out of the game room they navigated the maze of halls until they came upon iron doors to a large chamber. A door at the far end had been broken off it's hinges and hit the other door ajar; in the center of the chamber was an old cracked summoning circle that hadn't been used in ages. Sticking to the ceiling in view of Tyrrus and the others was something oozing and sticking with a sentient malevolence, its large form slowly dripped down to the floor and seeped amorphously down through the crack to a level below. That is when Mallon the mage came running up out of breath with a small empty chest in both hands.

Evidently the old palace once belonged to the grand druid Meno and he stored or imprisoned things from farther realms here so that they could not affect the natural world above. This creature was one such horror and now had to be captured in one of Drawmij's magic chests. The crew had little time to reflect or look for Lash, so they just drew weapons, but not before Mallon directed Tyrrus to break a glass covering on an alcove marked "In Dire Times Break Glass". As cool mists rolled out of the alcove they retrieved a purple bag filled with six potions useful in dealing with the monster. Their labels read:

Red: Healing?
Green: Healing+
Blue: Hero's Heart
Brown: Caution: Giant Strength
Yellow: Anti-Acid
Orange: Ironskin

With the vials in hand, the group descended steps to a lower level, which Kuma suspected was where it would try to find a way out of the palace. Ostyn immediately stopped at an intersection and found the crack in the ceiling from where it funneled down, but to his dismay it had split into two blobs on impact, one going left, the other right. They turned left as a party and decided to tackle the horror as one unit.

Through a set of iron double-doors Cullen and fighters led them into a shrine. To one side bubbled a fountain dedicated to the sea elf god Deep Sashelas, to the other a fountain dedicated to Eadro, the merfolk deity. At the far end was the largest fountain with statues depicting the sea deity pair Xerbo and Osprem. Cullen followed along the wall and saw a line of ooze trailing from statue to pond while Tyrrus went up the middle and Ostyn gawked to the right. The line snapped back like a bowstring to the far fountain and out crashed a pile of tendrils and greenish slime, hovering over the muscle bound sailor.

Captain Cullen and Tyrrus Bandale's flashing blades whirled and slashed through the mass of sticky ooze clearly damaging it but the resistance they felt was trying. Kuma by the entrance raised a hand and a glowing radiance surrounded the creature making it eerie as hell, but easier to target in the dim shrine. Sabriel laughed at the thing, mocking it to no effect, the creature's otherworldly form was not having her insults. Her words did Ostyn however as he rushed in next to bludgeon the thing with the dwarven warhammer he recovered from the sahuagin. Ooze splattered about but sticky strands stuck to his weapons as well. Where pieces of the creature fell to the floor it turned to ash or solidified into other substances. Mallon began to cautiously collect these fragments in his chest when the horror lashed out with several tendril of slime, wrapping around those nearby. The touch of the slime burned at their skin and clothes.

Cullen's blades anxiously tore at the tendril to free himself, the ropy substance just as hard to cut as the monster. The druid Kuma then had enough of this abomination and charged in to help, Greenswathe bared at last. His first strike was a greenish arc and did more damage than any, causing more of the nightmare matter to splatter to the ground. The others began to cut and extract themselves from the acid goo, when Sabriel sang a bardic melody that seemed to gain the horror's attention. Confused, it just hung there dripping and swaying. The opening gave Tyrrus and the others a chance to strike fast at the central mass; even Sabriel's Dreamsinger was unsheathed and the two Blades of Corusk fighting together seemed to hum with life. The creature weakened and shrunk in stature, finally snapped out of its reverie and unleashed a wave of acid upon all around it. Their reflexes were sharp yet splashes of acid still scalded their flesh and marred their equipment. Cullen dashed back in leveled the remaining blob till it dissolved and solidified into chunks of disparate matter. Mallon hurriedly collected the pieces in the magic chest while the others caught their breath and bound their acid wounds. They knew there was another, this time they would prepare.

Heading back the other way down the hall, the group paused to use their potions. Ostyn defied caution and took the brown vial. His muscles immediately burst and grew till he was freakishly strong as a cloud giant. Tyrrus downed the blue potion and felt a surge of heroic bravery unlike never before, he was ready to rush into danger. Cullen then sipped down the orange potion, his body felt tough yet still supple as if he could stop steel. Then Sabriel not wanting to be left out, quaffed the yellow and felt nothing. Yet. the healing potions were saved. And Tyrrus bowled on into the next chamber, a diving room with racks, lockers and a winch activated hatch covering a way out of the palace. the second slime lurked over the hatch, it's strands blocking the way as it tried to eat through the steel.

Cullen speedy as ever cut through the web-like net that was in their way and began to strike at more lines of acid goo in his way. The main mass was stuck to the ceiling fifteen feet above. Sabriel inspired her comrades into battle and on a hunch tried her same song of confusion on the other half of the monster. Amazingly the thing swayed in the same manner and didn't send tendrils out. This gave the others a chance to sever all acid lines it made to the hatch thus preventing it from leaving. Then, Tyrrus feeling supernaturally brave yelled to the supernaturally strong Ostyn to throw him! Ostyn gladly grabbed his crewmate and hurled him with speed up to the clinging creature. Tyrrus' blade flashed on the way up and down, splattering bits of the beast to the floor as before for Mallon to scoop up. Still confused the monster made no resistance, so Kuma and Sabriel combined their innate magic to send waves of thunderous sound at it. The rippling energy broke more of it apart and pushed it into a corner. The insane blob finally snapped out of the delirium and tendrils of acid grabbed at all within reach, even Sabriel who was pleased to see that her potion had indeed worked.

Tyrrus and Ostyn began tearing at the tendrils with their strength while Kuma, scimitar in hand, pushed it back again with waves of thunder. Sabriel's rapier swiped more of its blob-form apart until it too gurgled and gushed out acid in all directions. Everyone was ready for this however and were barely scalded, especially invulnerable Cullen and Sabriel. Kuma however was hit full on and fell to the ground unconscious and steaming in a pool of acid. Ostyn mustered all his giant strength and smashed the ooze at the same time Dreamsinger cleaved the remaining part to the ground where it immediately turned to solid black cinders. Mallon quickly got help in collecting the bits in the chest while Sabriel tended to the fallen druid. A healing word and a red potion gave him the vitality to move again. Weary, Tyrrus polished off the green potion hoping for more than his acid burns to go away, he was let down. 

The group returned to a common room to rest and share a smoke, whereupon Drawmij finally returned to thank them; a wave of his hand sent the monster and the bound chest to the Ethereal Plane. He spent the remainder of their stay explaining the nuances of their swords' resonating powers. They knew two together could cast a mass sleep effect, and three crossed could teleport, but they had no idea the strength of the magic was such it could potentially teleport their ship! Drawmij concluded with a plea for for the questing crew to act as other blade-bearers had in history and unite the factions of the seas against a common evil: the South Provincial Armada. To that end he also side-tasked them to rescue kidnapped dwarf-smiths of the Iron Hills from the Armada and to recover ancient plans made by the ancient inventor Kwalish. The same magi-tech used in Drawmij's diving sphere were used to construct the Armada's horrendously unstoppable warship, the Tyrannic. For now however, the crew knew the next day they would have to return to the surface and sail away from these dangers to Port Toli where they might find a lead to the next Blade of Corusk.

to be continued...

Campaign notes: this week was special cause the potions used in the encounter with the oozing horror were REAL. Yup, I bought some glass vials with cork stoppers, and filled them with colorful random, yet edible liquids. To get the game effects, the players had to physically drink the mystery liquids. It was a fun time for all! Check it out: 

1 comment:

Jason R said...

So I was surfing Canonfire and stumbled upon this thread:

The discussion references some sources regarding Drawmij and his undersea fortress. I noticed you hadn't commented in that thread. Your session write-ups kicked my imagination into gear and I was just wondering if you pulled from the same reference material as discussed in the thread, or if you had some additional sources?