For backgrounds on the characters played in this campaign, look here~
Scattered shouts and flickering torchlight spread throughout Tamran in the aftermath of the events within the Church of Razmir, an evening wrought with the flight of panicked acolytes as the city watch descended. With assets and acolytes alike both seized in great quantity, the council of Tamran affected the immediate expulsion of the Razmirans upon receipt of incriminating evidence recovered by our fateful adventurers. Councilwoman Yasgon offered personal thanks to those who had succeeded where prior efforts had failed—and with the turbulent threat to Tamran subsided, the group earned both coin and respite, retiring to the Gar’s Last Meal.
Upon the morning, sights were set next on the pursuit of Iramine: with affairs yet to settle in Tamran, Anselme turned his entrepreneurial efforts first to securing a buyer for the exquisite dagger recovered from Egarthis’s personal belongings. Once more, Kai was solicited by the youth, the foreign lady smuggler noting of potential buyers if transposed to Molthune; despite the young druid’s intrepid capitalism, the price as appraised could not be raised—and nevertheless, such a deal would take time.
Freshly paid and reunited with their stalwart companions Meryk and Zantric, the party saw to the spending of their hard-earned gold, procuring potables, useful tools and magical accoutrements for use in their forthcoming expeditions. Pandora made the curious acquaintance of one Tapani Tihohnen, a barbarian hulk of a man plying a strange mercantile trade offering magical wares to further fund enchanting his sizable greatsword further. After a bout of smooth talking and an exchange of respect, Pandora secured a discount on a comfortable pair of boots (guaranteed spider-free by Tapani) before reuniting with her compatriots.
With information gathered, the group discerned that the trek to the Isle of Terror would unsurprisingly be a perilous one; Captain Walren assured that Iramine’s group would have rounded the edge of Lake Encarthan before making a cross where the channel was most narrow in order to reach the island and minimize exposure to the terrible negative energy storms presently in season. This would have been a significant delay of arrival—which in turn, if the party proved bold enough—meant that a direct approach to the island through the storm could regain precious ground on catching Iramine and the cultists before it was too late.
To brave the maelstrom, however, would require a ship and crew either immensely brave, quite crazy, or both—and after airing their intentions to numerous captains about the docks of Tamran, the group came upon meeting Captain LeVar aboard the ship the Black Sovereign. Captain LeVar proved a man of mettle enough to embark on a journey to the Isle of Terror. Kai and her crew seemed well acquainted with the Captain—with Kai herself encouraging the journey and offering both to pay the party’s passage upon the vessel and comp the cost of smuggling the dagger to a buyer in exchange for her accompaniment to the Isle itself. After an accord was reached, the party then met the remainder of Kai’s assembly: Marrowsplitter, a gnoll with a distaste for paladins, and Torn Tusk the brawny half-orc sorcerer.
With final preparations meted out, the group said their goodbyes to Tamran and boarded the Black Sovereign. The pursuit was on amidst powerful winds and bitter, driving rains as the vessel plunged headlong against the storms surrounding the Isle of Terror; below-decks, Meryk began efforts to unearth more information about the group’s strange counterparts after discerning that several among their number were of rather polarizing alignments. Meryk was able to discover that Captain LeVar seemed to have a potent secret, that Marrowsplitter pined for Kai’s affections among others of similar intent—and that their party sought something of their own upon the Isle of Terror to come. As well, mention was gleaned of Captain Hellstrom—a terror soon visited upon the group in glorious force.
Early on the morn of the second day at the height of a wicked negative energy storm, Pandora spied from the crow’s nest the arrival of a ghostly flying galleon too late to preempt its approach; as the party rushed to the deck of the Black Sovereign, dozens of brine zombies and other undead began to board the ship with earnest while chilling laughter echoed on the high winds. A boarding plank was set between the vessels, and with the emergency of Captain LeVar and Kai’s crew, the melee was at hand. In a race against time, lest their compatriots be overwhelmed and the group be left without a means to conclude their journey, the party moved to board Captain Hellstrom’s ghost ship.
Braving the perils of the adjoining planks over the lurking silhouette of a colossal shark below, Brother Vang strode forth and loosed the power of his badge of faith to create a window for his fellows to board the ghost ship without fear of the winds sending them plummeting to certain doom. Once within the lowest level of the ghost ship, the party was engaged by pirate lacedons in a brief but brutal battle wherein Zantric cleaved a path for his comrades while Anselme and Leone surged ahead; the lion was seized brutally by the ghouls while separated from the others, nearly killed in his paralysis—while above, Anselme was gripped by the mummified first mate before beset by the curse of the deep.
Wild battle sprawled as the party fought their way up the stairs once the last of the lacedons was felled; Pandora and Zantric managed to come to Anselme’s rescue before Emma was able to free herself from the deck battle of the Black Sovereign and join her companions in their struggle. Cassandra became seized by the mummified remnants of a wicked Sally, beset as well by the curse of the deep—while Pandora narrowly avoided such a seawater fate as Brother Vang and Meryk worked their way upward in turn. Once the mummies and lacedons were cleared from the room, the beleaguered party pressed on into the mess hall whereupon they were met by “Cookie” the ghoulish ogre cook. With bloody apron donned and cleaver at hand, the cook met Emma’s charge with an awesome blow which sent the barbarian flying before engaging the others in combat.
Brutal blows were dealt by the hulking chef, but Cookie soon crumbled beneath their combined onslaught; in the chamber beyond, the group was met by Kala the Navigator—an accelerated hoar spirit who rained miserable cold upon the party and proved incredibly difficult to attack. After several rounds of battle, the Kala retreated to the upper deck of the ship with the party in hot pursuit—while assailed by the presence of powerful haunts. Upon reaching the surface of Captain Hellstrom’s ship they discovered the headless apparition at the wheel—before he bellowed out “All hands on deck!” and was joined all too literally; setting the wheel to spin wildly and swinging his way to mid-deck, the final battle was engaged.
A mutinous haunt sprung havoc upon the party, sowing discord among the ranks; as Emma and Zantric tangled with a giant crawling hand and Brother Vang, Cassandra and Meryk were beset by a swarm of its smaller brethren, Pandora hatched a daring maneuver to make her way to the wheel of the ship—enduring the assault of negative energy before the drow was able to halt its wild spin. In the meantime, Anselme and Leone were first to engage Captain Hellstrom himself as terrible blows were dealt. Meryk assailed Cassandra unfailingly throughout several rounds while Emma and Zantric freed themselves long enough to enter melee with the Captain; soon enough, Cassandra turned upon the crawling hands with a bout of flame—making burning hands all too poetic.
Captain Hellstrom fought fiercely as discord continued to foil much of the party’s assault—but soon enough the dullahan was overwhelmed by sheer numbers once Zantric managed to lay him prone with a critical blow. With the Captain defeated a hairsbreadth from disaster (mere seconds before the other party would have surely suffered casualties), the ghost ship was secured long enough for the party to plunder spoils after their pitched and frenzied battle and return victorious to the Black Sovereign.
After a night of rest, the Black Sovereign had dropped anchor off the shore from the Isle of Terror, the ruined remnants of Fort Landing visible from her deck; the plan was laid forth between both parties. Kai and her crew would depart for their destination northward on the island while the party pursued Iramine’s trail—their own endeavors expected to conclude within four days; Captain LeVar would await the party’s return, but without signal by the eleventh morning the Black Sovereign would depart—as waiting any longer would ensure the vessel unable to brave the negative energy storm to escape the island. With a deadline set and little time to waste, both rowboats departed for the island shore and the race was on.
In the ruins of the fort, a pair of graves were discovered, along with a fire pit that suggested the cultists had been there only three days prior; not far from the ruins a pack of warped terror wolves assailed the party but were cut down so swiftly that it was nearly daunting. From there, the group followed the trail of the many cultists on a trek through the swamp as the storm continued to rage all around them; bolts of wicked purple lightning danced across the sky while the distant sounds of terrible creatures haunted the intrepid adventurers. It became clear that it was by virtue of the sacrifices of Iramine’s expedition that the way for the party was secured—and doubtless venturing beyond the path laid ahead would prove perilous for any brave or foolish enough to do so.
Along the way, the party encountered the addled Dusan Dremlock, recognized by the Pathfinders among the party as a member of their organization long since considered lost; recounting ten years stranded upon the Isle of Terror, Dusan painted a frenzied tale of the cultists passing and their destination—the City of Golden Death. Upon Dusan’s insistence, many among the party imparted themselves with the stink of a swollen Otyugh gland before the Pathfinder offered himself as a guide to progress further inland towards the heart of the island. Emma found herself struck by a bolt of negative energy, the lady barbarian suffering a wracking pain from the surge of weather—but enduring it nevertheless as the party pressed on.
Before long, the scene of a terrible and bloody battle was discovered with nine more cultists dead and left where they lay; around them nearly forty warped and mutated lizardfolk were scattered from the carnage, a demonstration of the attrition meted against them no doubt by the heralds accompanying Iramine. Not long after inspection of the scene, however, Anselme spied the return of said lizardfolk—a pair of chieftains and their retinue assaulting the party with poisoned javelins and cudgels. Engaged swiftly by the group, the lizardfolk were quickly cut down—though not before the poison had left Cassandra worse for wear; the party ventured onward, eager to reach their destination before the hour was too late.
At long last, the entrance to Xin-Grafar was reached—Tar-Baphon’s City of Golden Death. More cultists were found dead outside, along with the still-smoking remnants of another firepit: Iramine’s cultists could not be much further ahead by now. Pandora recognized the steady thrumming tick of an ancient mechanism in the immense doors before the passage leading down, and deduced a chilling contraption: once the timer had concluded, the doors would doubtless close, sealing whoever remained within what lay beyond. Gathering themselves and steeling their resolve, the party proceeded onward and downward through more than a thousand feet of switchbacks and twisting tunnels before reaching the antechamber to the city.
Great murals were discovered depicting the vast realm which lay ahead—and upon inspection, the party discovered the sprawl of charcoal-writ notations and calculations sequestered to one side; from the notes they were able to deduce with dread that in a mere sixty-eight hours the city would seal and flood with molten gold, surely dooming any who yet remained within its walls to be entombed forevermore. With a sprawling and chaotic map to the city interred in Pandora’s mind, the party prepared for the race against the clock to find and stop Iramine and to brave the hazards of Tar-Baphon’s City of Golden Death.
See what Emma thought about this session here!
See what Meryk thought about this session here!