Two weeks ago we rescued Flick Thistlebottom from his untimely demise at the expense of the terrible Cthulusaurus Rex, venturing into Dolurrh and battling Emerald Claw and other undead denizens.
We were told that the ship would take about a week to repair and with all the immediate threats to the ship and its crew had been eliminated work would start immediately. Soon the fallen of trees and the whistling of content men working their craft could be heard ship-wide. As we hired the ship and were not laborers we decided on something other than cutting down trees and fitting timbers to repair holes and the like…but what could we do? Something to take our minds off of things, and what better way to do that than to tell a group of adventurers that there have been rumors for a while now telling of how the famous, maybe the most famous pirate of his day, Captain Ice Heart himself, may have hidden host treasure on this very island. Hook…Line…Sinker.
We were told to seek out the Weeping Skull and if we were able to find it we would be on the right track. Cryptic I know, but we were really just exercising our legs and doing a little site seeing. I mean there couldn’t be anything else on this tiny rock other than the Emerald Claw occultists and Cthulusaurus Rex that would want to harm us…right?
We immediately gathered supplies needed for a journey lasting no more than a week and with the “Weeping Skull” for a geographical reference to follow-up on we started asking questions of the crew before setting out. Fortunately one of the older crew members had heard all the old stories of Captain Ice Heart and how he was a terrible and the most feared pirate of his day. It was also mentioned that no one ever knew what became of the Captain or his ship or treasure. Finally, the captain, Lyra, did mention that there was a dead volcano on the island and that we might want to start our search there.
Not sure if she was being helpful or just trying to rid of us to allow her crew to work in peace I am not sure of but in either case I was personally happy to be off the terra firma and getting to relax a little. For the time being at least.
Sadly, our good times were not to last for long. The first night out while I was on watch, deep into the night as everyone else was sleeping, I started hearing some odd sounds coming from the brush. All around us too. This couldn’t be good. The sounds were hard to pinpoint exactly what they could be but they were close and getting closer. Time to wake everyone up, prepare for the worst and hope for the best. I was pretty sure the Sovereign Host would see me through, and by extension everyone else in the party. But some folks might be smarting after it.
Our night-time rest came crashing to a halt when everything around us exploded into teeth and claws. What appeared like small dinosaurs, and by small I mean 6ft. at the shoulders small, and several swarms of their brood that resembled really angry chickens burst out from all around us and were on us before we could hardly react. The Host must have been paying attention and gave me exceptional perceptive abilities to hear these native stealthy pack-hunters.
Everything got crazy in a hurry. Tarak, our 1/2 Orc rogue, was super quick to engage the natives and rushed the lead adult dino. He let his enemy know he was there by delivering a punishing blow. Not enough to kill or even bloody but enough that it got the dino attention and was the focus of much of the concentrated attacks for the rest of the encounter.
After Tarak’s assault, the natives swarmed all over him knocking him off his feet and started to ravage him en masse. It was brutal but Tarak is one tough hombre and would not be et. (Yes, that was a Firefly/Serenity reference) Finally as the rest of our group managed to collect themselves and go on the offensive, poor Tarak was a mess. He was down, bloodied, but not out.
The battle was 2 adult dino’s like velociraptor like creature called Needle-Toothed Drakes and 3 groups (swarms for terms of the game) of offspring against the five of us Dark Lanterns. No bad odds really except one of our number was seriously injured. Must not have prayed today.
G-Crok rushed to the outside of the mass of 1 adult and 2 swarms that had wreaked havoc on Tarak and set up a one-two combo punch. First I used one of my powers on the adult raptor which had a close blast 3 effect that gave vulnerable 5 damage until the end of my next turn (UeNT) to all enemies in the blast. Then I followed up with my dragon breath. Something to note about my breath weapon, it is a close blast 5 and only affects enemies. Any ally caught in the blast gets a +1 to hit UeNT. Side note ~ One thing to know about swarms is that they take half damage from all missile and melee attacks but not against close burst and blast powers ~ My breath weapon did something on the order of 16-18pts of damage to all 3 enemies hovering over Tarak. I managed to scrag the adult with that, I believe-but maybe not, and bloody (reduce to half health or more) one of the swarms of veloci-chickens.
Vistra our dwarven fighter stepped up and laid into the remaining creatures surrounding our fallen comrade Tarak. She put the hurt on them and took the focus off Tarak…for the moment. Another thing to note about these swarms – if you start your turn next to one of them – you take damage and/or they get to make a free attack to knock you prone, like what happened to Tarak. Vistra’s attack enabled her to bring 2 or 3 of the swarms around her so that she could attack them all. Unfortunately it also brought them closer to Yddrio who most definitely did not want to be next to them. After some wrangling Yddrio and Vistra managed to get things worked out and carnage ensued, Yddrio was not next to any swarms and we were doing well in controlling the vicious little beasts.
Flick finally was able to join in and was able to give some healing to Tarak and get him back into the fight and allowed him to attack. He does things like that, it’s the kind of pixie he is.
Yddrio got on board and added to the punishment we were dishing out. I don’t recall exactly what powers he used or if he was last in the order of if Flick went last. What I do recall is that Tarak get ravaged pretty bad a couple of times and was healed up a couple of times as he was getting close to going unconscious. Vistra and I managed to stay up throughout the fight and take a little heat off the squishies in the party.
In fairly short order we finished up with the veloci-chickens and were ready to go back to sleep for a few more hours of beauty rest.
The next couple days were pretty uneventful. We managed a glimpse of the dead volcano and were making our way towards it when our path took us through some fens. Just our luck that the fens were inhabited by a four-headed hydra. When we initially saw him he was sunning himself near his horde of crystal like things. As he did not appear aggressive and we didn’t need to fight him, we skirted around and left in search of our ultimate goal, pirate booty.
Deep into our second day of trekking through the jungle vegetation all around us there came a break in it and we were able to make out the dead volcano much clearer now. We could hear the sounds of water, maybe a waterfall, not too far off too. We knew we were close and pushed on until we came to a small stream that as we followed it found out was fed by the waterfall that emptied out of a section of rock that when looked at properly, resembled a mans face with the water flowing out from what would be his eye. What luck!
As we moved closer and the vegetation cleared out some we made out a ring of energy encircled by 8 canopic jars on the side of the stream just ahead from us. We noticed that the jars had names on them, a couple we read were Lefty and One-Eyed Pete. The ring of energy was about 10ft. in diameter and all glowy. As we moved towards it some sort of spirits materialized out of thin air. They made me thing they were made from cloud stuff. Partly insubstantial, which we found out made them take only half damage, but with enough distinction to make out humanoid features. One had a nasty looking hook on his left hand and one had an eye-patch.
Before much else could happen we found ourselves locked in another fight. This time with Lefty and One-Eyed Pete and their friends. We managed to destroy one of them but to our dismay, with a flash of light from the ring, the whispy creature re-materialized above the canopic jar ready to do battle again. Turns out these are minions. Something had to be done about that. If they kept re-spawning every time we re-killed them this would not end well for us. They would eventually wear through our defenses and eliminate us through attrition. My job became very clear – destroy the canopic jars before all else.
During the round Tarak engaged one whispy creature and then was swarmed over by 3 more before I managed to get to the jars and as I did earlier with my 1-2 combo, I hit 1 of the four whispy creatures just materializing and blasted out to a range of 3 to encapsulate all four whispy creatures and their jars making them vulnerable 5 UeNT. Then I breathed lightning all over them doing 16 points of damage, which was the exact amount of damage needed to overcome their 15 point resistance. Minions have 1 hit point but these had resist 15 all damage so 16 points was needed to destroy them. Once the jars were destroyed the rest of the whispy creatures we also destroyed. Boo-Ya! Doing it barbarian style oh yeah!
With the minions out-of-the-way we could see that they weren’t the only things hanging around for the waterfall ambiance, there were four shadowy creatures that were out to do us harm as it appeared to us at the time.
Another thing to note about barbarians – that is what G-Croc is, when they kill something they can charge something and make a basic attack. Fortunately I have an At-Will attack that I can use as a basic when charging – Howling Strike – I believe it is. I also get a +2 to my speed of 7 movement which now allowed me to move 9 squared to my next target. I also get temporary hit points. So I charged one of the shadowy creatures and attacked. Sadly as they were shadowy we only did half damage. (Telling a barbarian that he is doing only half damage is like taking candy from a baby – just plain mean)
Vistra joined me away from the rest of the party just beyond some trees and underlying brush next to some old ruins to engage 2 of the shadowy creatures. She hit and was rewarded with temporary hit points. Good stuff to keep her in the fight.
The rest of the group was now dealing with the other 2 shadowy creatures and the now approaching man in robes, presumably Captain Ice Heart himself. But wait, wasn’t he supposed to have been a scourge of the seas over 200 years ago? The answer to that question was revealed as he approached closer and through his tattered clothing you could see bone and rot and decay. His eyes burned with a malevolence that was frightening.
Captain Ice Heart had been found and wasn’t terribly happy about it. He started blasting Tarak, Flick and Yddrio, as he could not see Vistra or myself battling two of his cronies outside his field of vision. His wrath initially came in the form of an icy breath weapon-like attack.
During this battle there were really two battles going on that became one fight; Vistra and I against 2 shadowy creatures beyond the sight and healing of the rest of our party, and Yddrio, Tarak and Flick against 2 shadow creatures plus Captain Ice Heart in all his undead glory.
As the battle raged on, Vistra and I had 1 shadow creature eliminated and the other was in a bad way so I rejoined the fight against Captain Ice Heart. Yddrio was able to use one of his powers to have both the shadows take -2/-4 penalties to attack and at one point, maybe twice, had one shadow attack the other. Gotta love it.
Tarak was doing his thing unleashing punishing amounts of damage which unfortunately turned into less punishing against the shadows, taking only half damage. He did manage to get hit a number of more times himself which caused Flick to keep busy with healing him. As a bard, Flick’s abilities lend themselves to healing, obviously, and sneaky powers that often have an effect that give various bonuses to your party members.
Soon we realized that since Captain Ice Heart himself was in the fray we might as well deal with him since all our powers effected him just file, meaning we did full damage, unlike his incorporeal shadow buddies. Now it was four on one as well all but forgot about his 2 shadows. Vistra was just wrapping up her shadow and would be joining the beat-down on Captain Ice Heart.
Seeing as he was getting the ever love crud kicked out of him and we were largely just ignoring the shadows who were sort of locked down by way of -2/-4 to their attacks courtesy of Yddrio, Captain Ice Hearts used a power that allowed him to basically suck the life force from the shadows, healing himself in the process. Almost immediately we saw that he now was humanoid again instead of the undead lich-thing he was moments before.
The battle raged and things were still not going well for the captain as he several effects on him that really just locked him down. I think there was , prone, dazed and maybe immobilized on him at once. Some of the effects didn’t stack but it was just the way things worked out for us with the powers we were using. After realizing bad things were continuing to happen to him, as a last-ditch effort he transformed into a were-shark. We should have seen that coming.
Sadly nothing much really happened that was terribly exciting after this. We had Captain Ice Heart Locked down, he had limited or no mobility and was flanked on all sides and just could not manage to take anyone down to offer an escape route. In the end G-Croc got to play vulture-warrior (stealing the finishing blow to a bad guy, often with minimal damage).
In the end, we did find Captain Ice Heart’s treasure. There was several thousand gold pieces and some items of magic of various kinds. Looks like some decisions will have to be made in determining who gets what and if we want to replace existing magic items with new. That will be for another day’s writing.
On a personal note: these past several Eberron sessions have some of my favorite. Each session was like a one-off session away from the main storyline but played into the whole story. There is still direction to our game but there has been in-depth stories and lots of connective tissue to make it especially enjoyable for me.
More to come…