RPG@QUT Matt's D&D

DM log-- Gloomwrought 8

We last left our heroes in the tomb, about to fight Tal Lorvas. The battle broke out again. As feared, Tal Lorvas drained every bit of energy from Malik, dispatching him to who knows where. In Zepher’s father’s face was a look of shock and betrayal, but just before dissolving, it changed to one of confusion, perhaps realisation.

The battle was tough, as Tal used the revival to stun everyone and get into a defensible position behind the huge zombie. Zepher recognised that she spoke to the zombie and skeletons in a guttural tongue that matched what he had heard from the demons: Abyssal. {Give 1 Plot Point to Zepher for tying world facts into the story.} Soon the nasty revenant was destroyed, and the ring containing her life force went dark.

Left behind were Malik’s things but aside from spell components, nothing significant—it seemed that Malik did not move here intentionally but was adventuring here when he was trapped by Tal. However, though Malik’s staff cracked irreparably as he vanished, the gem atop it may have been salvageable—it was half-ghostly, with one side being insubstantial, the other side solid, with a gradient in between. Zepher kept it.

Getting out of the tomb was itself dangerous. The necrotic energy there drained them of life as they struggled to raise the door. Zepher cast Wizard’s Escape on them all to get out from under the crack they were able to create by lifting the heavy door a bit. They worked their way out of the tomb.

They backtracked on the path that Zepher and Brad took to get to the tomb {give 1 Plot Point to Brad and Zepher for recalling the details}, but when they got to the sewer channel, they continued to follow it downstream to seek an outlet. Everyone was feeling the effects of the various maladies from the Shadowfell’s gloom. {Give 1 Plot Point to each for fun roleplaying of these afflictions.} Theren was fearful of the water and clambered onto Brad’s back. They reached the end: the sewer opened onto the sea, several meters down. The climb up the cliff seemed difficult and slimy. A short distance out in the water, a boat was tied up and apparently empty. Theren fearfully recalled the sea was probably full of hags and otyughs. {Give 1 Plot Point to Theren for using world knowledge.} As they considered their options, Brad gave into his impulsiveness and jumped in, taking Theren by surprise {with an initiative contest}. Brad manfully swam to the boat and hauled it back, making use of his newly discovered rope skills. The rest of the party decided to jump in. Bastian, overcome by malaise, slumped and fell sideways into the water, vanishing under the waves. It took some swimming and a bit of drowning to resolve this crisis, and they all ended up on the boat more or less intact. {Give another 1 Plot Point to Brad and Bastian for extensive RP of afflictions to the point of self-endangerment.} The boat was in fact empty, but a puddle of stinky, ash-strewn bilge implied that someone was here not too long ago.

As they tried to pretend they knew how to set sail, they heard a familiar wheezing cough. In the corner was a black birdlike figure— the Dark One that they last saw on the raft. He was thankfully not bitter about the theft and subsequent destruction of his family heirloom raft, and offered to pilot the boat. He eyed the compass, the gems of which now were now glowing. The more intelligent members of the party figured out how to read the compass to know not only the dead reckoning direction of the ship but also, thanks to the added bit they found in the sunken chest, the direction and speed of the ship, making it possible to intercept. The Dark One was not told about the pirate ship, and navigated as asked. At one point, far out to sea with the lights of Gloomwrought barely visible on the horizon, the Dark One said that this part of the sea was ruled by an angry god who demanded a show of faith in the calm seas, or else the seas would storm. Put out gold and other wealth on the deck of the boat, he said, and Zepher complied with his illusory pile of gold, making a great show. On they went.

First a dot in the gloomy distance, then growing fast, a ship appeared, sailing through the air. It seemed to sight them and head in their direction. Soon it descended and landed with a splash close to them. It was a magnificent ship, made of an odd mix of materials: solid-looking timber but slightly transparent sails and cannons on the deck. The sea formed a shallow bowl all around them, water pouring in, making it impossible to leave. The Dark One cackled nastily: “At last. I hope the stories are true about the crew of the Blanche-Nef. Being buggered by a gang of waterlogged ghosts would serve you right.” He vanished in a puff of dark mist.

Our heroes were a captive audience as they watched an amateurish but hearty stage play. First a pier faded into view with a gangway connecting the ship to a ghostly shore. Barrels of wine were loaded on by human workers singing a work song in a foreign tongue. Then a stream of royal youth proceeded down the pier and boarded the ship. The insightful members of the party realised these youth were the same people they saw before as the workers, in different costumes. The royals began to drink and dance, increasingly drunkenly. Then entered a young, human, clean-shaven man in a long yellow silken coat, with a large cane, but a strangely rustic hat. He had piercing blue eyes and athletic frame, rapier at his side, high heeled boots with curled-up toes. He was flamboyant, decadent, and a bit catty. He did a kind of introductory monologue on the gangway, addressing our heroes as the audience. He was glad to be leaving this country for home, though he expected to come back soon to enjoy his inheritance. He lamented that his royal father, the king, left hours ago but he had not set off yet— the wine and guests were so late arriving.

Then entered a captain in a heavy woollen blue coat, short and a bit chubby, with a grand beard and moustache. He seemed ambitious, driven, eager to please. The man in the yellow coat called the new arrival Captain Thomas, who greeted him back as “My lord Aetheling” rejoined by “Call me William my good man, on this ship YOU are of a rank equal to mine”, and after an exaggerated show of trying to let the other board the ship first, they walked toward the prow arm in arm. William praised Thomas’ skill, but all this had an edge of bitter sarcasm. William wanted to catch his father’s ship and Thomas agreed with a similar sarcastic edge: how can he refuse the son of the king? Thomas said this is the better ship, and she’ll be especially lively since we’re about to take her maidenhead (slapping the masthead—a carved wooden nude mermaid—on the painted bum). William said lay to rowing at all speed then. Thomas ordered the crew, again played by the same company of people in new outfits while others still played the part of the now very drunken nobles. William drank with the partying nobles and commanded the crew join in: wine would make them row faster.

Clerics of an unknown order came down the pier to bless the ship’s maiden voyage, but were turned away by William and the royals with jeers. Clerics accused them all of buggery and cursed them. The ship cast off from the pier, which pulled away as ghostly waves streamed down the side of the ship, though it was not really moving through the water— again all this looking like a stage set. But far above, real clouds were starting to form. This grand play continued with much rowing, carousing, dancing, and fornicating. An argument broke out between William and Thomas about the course to take—it was safer to go one way but shorter to go another way. William cajoled Thomas into taking the short cut. Suddenly the ship hit a submerged rock and rapidly sank as the crew panicked. William was loaded onto a skiff by a servant, and rowed away, calling for the others to swim to shore, it is still within sight, follow him. William and his ghostly skiff came close to our heroes’ boat. Desperately William looked back and pointed out a woman in the water, triggering a hammy performance of how he could not leave his dear sister Marie, “though she is by another mother” (this with a leer by William). He ordered the skiff back with a great show of bravery, calling to Marie. But the others in the water swam to the skiff faster and despite William’s protest, clambered onto the skiff in droves until it sank, taking all down with it. The very real rain was now pouring down and the wind was whipping up great waves. Thomas came into view, holding a broken part of mast. Another survivor told him that William drowned. Thomas said “I cannot face the king to deliver this tragic news”, let go, and sank. There was a moment of silence with nothing but the heaving waves under the flashes of lightning. Our heroes applauded uncertainly.

Then the sea swelled as the ship arose again, right under them. Their boat was scooped up onto a platform off the aft of the ship which held the skiff, so as the ship rose, the heroes’ boat rose with it. It kept rising up out of the water. The ship was now a ruin, a mass of rotting wood and tattered sails tied with fouled ropes. Bloated corpses and seaweed were strewn on the deck. Several ghostly figures stood with swords in hand, wearing wet and torn clothes that once were fit for royalty. Standing on each upper deck of the ship were two figures. Near them was a bloated, translucent figure shaped like a balloon about to pop, with a rotting and wet blue coat and captain’s cap. He was gripping the wheel of the ship with bony knuckles and kept his back turned but it must have been Thomas. On the far deck stood William, also ghostly pale and translucent. His cheeks were hollow and his eyes ravaged with rage and death. His magnificent yellow coat hung wet and stained and tattered. He pointed at the heroes, helpless in their little boat hanging off the aft of the great ship. They were all rising very fast now through thick stormclouds, lightning striking all around them. William bared his teeth and intoned: “Yo ho. Yo ho. A pirate’s life for you.” His eyes narrowed as he saw Theren and screamed: “THERE’S my fucking hat!”

{The XP from the combat with Tal Lorvas, the zombie, and 4 skeletons was 1050 XP for 175 each , and subsequent good adventuring gives another 100 each, so give 275 XP each.}

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