RPG@QUT Matt's D&D

DM log-- Gloomwrought 9

The battle with the semiprofessional pirates on the Blanche-Nef was joined. Our heroes quickly discovered that since all the inhabitants were ghostly, they took less damage than usual from nearly all of their attacks, and they could move down through the floor of the ship at will, making them difficult to pin down. The party was at first bunched up in the aft, but William fired a ballista at them equipped with a huge net that wrapped around Brad and Amos and yanked them toward the prow. Brad grabbed the masthead by the nude fishy bottom to stop from going over the edge into the clouds. There he discovered something interesting: set into the mermaid’s back were two square holes which he realised were the exact size and spacing of the prongs on the shield grip he found in the sunken chest. He strapped on the grip and fit it into the back of the mermaid. She came in two, leaving her fishy half behind. Lightning struck the shield and it crackled with electricity, but Brad was not harmed. The torso collapsed inwards from the back, quickly becoming concave. It was just as heavy as before so now it was extremely dense and hard wood, and a classic curved shield shape. From the front it still looked like a nude woman, down to the belly button, with a hard glossy surface. {This was a Storm Shield, which confers resistance to lightning and thunder damage, and can strike back against enemies with a similar kind of blast.} Brad and Amos tried to fight William, but the fallen nobles were good with their swords and formed a protective phalanx for their master. Aft, the rest of the party fought a similar phalanx protecting Thomas. Both of these bosses had a terrible power: they could manipulate the mind of an enemy, making both him and his friends see the target as a bloated, waterlogged corpse. This was so horrid a transformation it attacked the psyche of all concerned very strongly.

Amos dispatched one of the minor ghosts and something strange happened. Its life force went into a nearby corpse, which animated horribly. The corpse was clutching a barrel and, after spewing out seawater, said in a horrid voice, “The drink! The drink! It undid us all, just as my mother said it would.” Then appeared a new ghost, one of a once-beautiful woman, but also ghostly and drowned-looking, with voluminous, sopping wet skirts. They recognised this as Marie, the drowned sister of William. She seemed to intend no harm. She said, “You have suffered long enough, Jacob. Maybe at last we can undo what has been done, break the cycle, and give ourselves to the Raven Queen as we should”. She raised her hand on which she had a ring. (This was of great interest to the more acquisitive members of the party.) Lightning struck the ring and it glowed with power, becoming substantial. Marie said, “Fear not, Jacob. We’ll go down light as a feather…” and helped the corpse heave the barrel. They both went over the edge of the ship with it, but then let go and the two figures fell downward as slowly as a feather, Marie holding the corpse tight to her chest.

At this point the heroes had an insight: instead of defeating the ghosts, which was of dubious worth since the one that Amos dispatched soon reappeared to fight again, they could give them restful peace by dispelling their torment from the past. They could help the ghosts re-create the tragic events that killed them, and allow them to make different choices, to get them out of the endless loop of despair and recrimination the kept their spirits from leaving the Shadowfell. {The DM explained this in meta terms. The players could end the encounter one of three ways. If the heroes were all cut down, they would be enslaved on the pirate ship, joining the miserable wretches they saw scrubbing the decks with desperate fervour. If either William or Thomas were dispatched, the morale of the other ghosts would break, and the heroes could escape the ship before they rallied again. However, if they kept hitting objectives like the last one with the wine barrel, they could advance the story and eventually resolve it, giving peace to the ghosts and great rewards as a result. They soon discovered that each deck of the ship had an objective, which was satisfied by dispatching a ghost near a faintly glowing object that was significant to the story.}

{The XP from this combat will be tallied in the next log.}

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