Tablets of Fate

Further Down Under
Ship to ship progress

The party moved through a porthole into a small adjoining ship. Korog popped open the door, revealing a trio of snarling saguahin leaning over a table on which was strapped a bloody and battered half-elf, who they were evidently torturing. They clubbed and blasted the vile fishmen to death, and Tosh undid their victim’s bonds. He turned out to be an assassin/cultist named Blink “Rodgers” Ayi who had been treasure hunting with pirates, when the Reef Lord got ahold of their ship and dragged them down to the sea floor to add to his labyrinth. Blynk decided to join the group.

Then exited via the opposite porthole, which led into another large iron diving bell. This time Korog opened the hatch much more slowly and quietly, and peering through, a large clan of more saguahin could be seen in some kind of revelry. Taliyana stepped past Korog, leveled her staff, and discharged a massive thunderbolt into the crowd! This initiated a furious assault, which left 20 of the fish men dead at the hand of the party, their king butchered from behind by the stealthy Blynk.

A pool in the corner led to an underwater tunnel which came up inside another upside-down longship. Blynk and Tosh went ahead to check it out. Emerging from the water, they were greeted by a hail of spines, shot by a group of poisonous silver urchins lining the ceiling there. While the puncture wounds stung, luckily they both resisted the poison, and returned to warn their comrades. As the rest contrived ways to breathe underwater, Sinbreena swam ahead and, from beneath the surface, willed her new fire ring to incinerate the pesky urchins. When it was safe, the rest of the party emerged, standing in water a couple of feet deep.

Then Tosh went ahead to check out another porthole in the ship’s hull. Beyond a short corridor he found another submerged hatch. Opening it revealed a massive water-filled cargo freight ship, and several dark hulking forms floating within. One of them stirred at the commotion, and began darting over towards Tosh… it was a 16’ saltwater vodyanoi – legendary aquatic cousins of umber hulks. Tosh burbled “Nope,” and quickly spun the hatch closed again, backpedaling down the corridor to the longship.

Seconds later, a horrible rending sound echoed through the longship’s hull. The vodyanoi had torn the entire hatch off, and was smashing it’s way through the corridor! Tosh warned the party what was coming and they brandished their weapons. In a few more seconds, the massive green rubbery form tore off the inside hatch, and lumbered into the long ship! Korog, Biff, and Tosh stood ready to meet it, assailing it with blows and as it clawed and bit them. Blynk climbed up to the ceiling and readied his bow, as Sin and Tali made ready to cast spells. But before they could, another vodyanoi crashed right through the side hull of the ship, directly in front of Taliyana! A torrent of sea water poured in with it, quickly raising the water line by an inch per second. It bore down on Tali, slapping with it’s webbed claws, but her Stoneskin spell protected her from the worst of it. She conjured illusory Mirror Images, stepped back, and jolted the monster with electricity as Sin tried to Charm it. Blynk fired on it from above.

Meanwhile, the others slew the first vodyanoi to breach the ship, and Biff drove his massive 2-handed sword hilt-deep into the gut of another that crawled in behind it, wrenching it out as Korog and Tosh finished it off. Then the enraged half-ogre roared a challenge, leveled his bloody sword, and launched himself onto the torrent of on-rushing water, torpedoing himself to slam into the next vodyanoi, knocking it back into the cargo freighter, and there running it through.

Sin, Tali, and Blynk finally blasted the the other one to death, and could see a fifth one lurking outside the hull breach, surrounded by a swarm of electric eels! They began surging shocks through the water, jolting Sin and Tali, but finally the spellcasters summoned enough magic to blast them all to oblivion. The vodyanoi assault had been survived, though the party was bloody and bruised, in a rapidly-flooding creaky boat on the bottom of the sea.

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To the Reef Lord's Demesnes
Our heroes get wet and wild!

The next day they returned to Ras’Nassi’s mountain castle, and prepared for their mission. They would submerge through a pool in the island’s center (although the island turned out to be a giant turtle known as a zaratan)…

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…and head for an opening in a wrecked submersible gnomish diving bell that would lead to the Reef Lord’s demesnes – a labyrinth constructed of ships wrecked by reef giants and dragged to the bottom of an undersea trench. They drank some potions of water-breathing and began their descent!

2 miles later, they found themselves inside the rusting diving bell. Biff found a hatch and cranked the wheel until it popped inward, and the water filling the diving bell gushed forward into an upside down longship that contained an air pocket. The party tumbled inside and closed the hatch behind them, sealing out the ocean water. On the sandy floor inside the room created by the upside down ship, they found a corroded statue of a warrior clutching a spear, and with it a Ring of Free Action! After pausing to investigate their new environment, they found another hatch to the West and opened that too… it lead to a short but dry passageway of wood, leading to yet another hatch.

Biff stepped through first, and saw another upturned longship, dimly illuminated with torches. A foot or so of water covered the floor, and in the center of the space two voluptuous, scantily-clad, blue-skinned female humanoids sat at a table playing Go Fish. They turned at the sound of the hatch opening and when they saw Biff, abruptly stood up, knocking over the table and drawing curved blades! Biff bellowed and charged in, swinging his 2-handed sword and delivering a powerful chop that send the first female splashing to the floor, trying to hold her guts in. In a flurry of fur, Korog swept past and charged the second one, swatting her sword out of her hand with his flind bar. She lept at him, trying to wrap her arms and legs about him, but he whirled out of the way.

Meanwhile Tosh, Sin, and Tali crept in behind the fray. Suddenly Tosh screamed as something punctured his shoulder from behind! He and the spellcasters wheeled around, but nothing was there save a subtle ripple in the water. Tali thrust her lighting staff into the water at her feet and let loose a surge of electricity, which elicited a scream of “Ahh! Bitch!” .Now something jabbed at Tali, cracking off more Stone Skin, but she lunged and grabbed ahold of what seemed to be an invisible spear or javelin. Sin threw a dagger and hit some invisible foe, who them seemed to slump into the water putting up no more fight. Behind them Korog was savagely clubbing the other blue female to death, while Biff was trussing up the one he had downed (and barely containing an urge to ravish that sweet, sweet Sirene flesh). Tali stepped over him and thrust her newfound glowing javelin through the Sirene’s neck, killing her instantly. The threat was quelled.

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S.O.S.
Taking Respite in the Lich Lord's Warm Embrace

As dark clouds began forming on the horizon, Sinbreena’s djinn found an Animate Dead spell, and she put it to good use on the slain crew. Ten of the charred corpses rose and, able to understand simple commands, managed to perform rudimentary crew tasks such as rowing. The ship set off away from the rocks to get its bearings, as the party considered an undersea expedition to find the ruins of the lost city of the thunder lizards.

Storm clouds were rapidly approaching, and the waves rose to great swells. But just then, the ship lurched violently under their feet! The party spilled to the deck. From below decks could be heard a terrified scream! Something had smashed into the ship from below, tearing a ragged 4’ hole in the hull, and water was gushing in fast! Quick-thinking Taliyana commanded that a zombie be folded in two and stuffed into the hole, then magically Enlarged to fill the breach while more permanent repair materials could be found. The now fat zombie groaned piteously, but held fast. Nevertheless, again the ship lurched, and this time a crack fractured the hull on the other side, leaking more water.

“Full ahead!” shouted Captain Dan, as the party rushed back up to the deck. Biff and Korog were making ready to dive overboard to determine the source of the attack, as the wind howled and water sprayed their faces. Was it some foul kraken of the deep? They tethered themselves with rope, and Sinbreena imbued them with the temporary ability to Breathe under water, and they dove over.

Sin took to the air, hovering over the choppy waters and peering down, hoping for some glimpse of whatever horror from the deep was after them. Suddenly it seemed as though the storm clouds glowered at Sinbreena with spite, as a tendril of black cloud whipped at her from the sky, swatting her down and plunging her into the roiling sea! But that couldn’t be the case, who ever heard of a spiteful cloud? That would be absurd. It must have been some arbitrary gust of wind that just happened to catch her off guard, right? Riiiight?!? But then another tendril slapped at Taliyana on the deck, ramming her hard into the railing, and this was followed by a sparking streak of lightning surging into her! Fortunately, she had a layer of Stone Skin that was blasted off, and she was otherwise unharmed. A second bolt struck Tosh though, singeing the poor halfling and prompting him to tumble down belowdecks after Sylas and Rocky and Dan, all fleeing the storm-tossed elements.

In the relative quiet below the surface, Biff and Korog searched about for the cause of the ship’s damage. Before long they detected a massive shape growing in the distance… it revealed itself to be a megalodon, a giant-sized shark! Korog tried to scream but was muffled by the water. Biff though relaxed and concentrated, persuading the beast through some kind of uncanny telepathy that it had better prospects elsewhere. It circled around and swam away back into the deep!

Meanwhile up above Taliyana struggled to her feet and composed herself, then glared up at the storm clouds. Sensing some malevolent presence, she shrieked her defiance at it and loosed a massive fireball straight upwards. Some few hundred feet in the sky it detonated, and there was an unearthly howling sound. A second bolt of lightning surged downwards into Taliyana, shearing off more Stone Skin, and then yet another black gust of wind rushed in at her, bodily lifting her up off the deck and hurling her into the sea with what almost seemed like vengeance. Fortunately, Sinbreena had surfaced, and flew over to where Taliyana had gone under, plunging back under to grab the elf and bear her back up to the surface, into the air, and then heaving her, sputtering, back up onto the deck of the ship. Sin now sensed the storm elemental too, raised her fire ring, and willed her own fiery explosion in the heart of the black clouds! KA-THOOOM. Another howl was heard.

Taliyana fired more magic spells upward, and gradually the winds and lightning began to abate. Captain Dan called “Land Ho!” and indeed the ship, despite taking on water, was coming up to a small island at great speed as it came out the storm. Sin flew up on ahead to find a safe landing spot so repairs could be made to the ship. But as they slid through the waves, closer and closer, Sin couldn’t calculate an appropriate angle. She must’ve been distracted by the seagulls wheeling about overhead. She flew frantically to and fro, signalling first this way then that, but Captain Dan couldn’t understand her plan (if she had one). He signaled the zombies at the oars to reverse, trying desperately to slow down, but to no avail! The ship ran aground, crashing violently on the rocks and caving in the front quarter of the hull. The party all spilled out onto the beach, bruised and soggy but thankful to be on solid ground.

The next few hours were spent securing the wrecked ship, unloading supplies, hunting for food and gathering healing herbs, and erecting a Secure Shelter to spend the night in. The party finally collapsed in exhaustion inside, as the untiring zombies stood guard outside and felled a few trees for wood in case of the need to repair or build a new ship.

Next morning the party mounted an expedition up the shore, inland towards what seemed to be a small central mountain. Hiking through the vegetation, they came to a large clearing in which had been neatly laid one hundred humanoid skeletons! There were ten rows and ten columns of gleaming white bone. Odd. Tali poked one, but it remained inert, so the party eventually decided just to move on. Further up the slopes a second grid of 100 skeletons was discovered, though these appeared to have been shod in iron. They too lay unmoving, in precisely arranged rows. Finally, even further up, yet a third phalanx of skeletons had been laid out, these too shod in iron, but these each had gleaming weapons, oiled and in good condition, laying next to them: axes, spears, swords, and the like. Things were getting curiouser and curiouser!

Further up the slope from this 3rd phalanx could be seen the entrance to a hall, built into the mountain. The party continued to ascend to this entrance, at which point a pair of great bronze doors creaked open seemingly automatically. The party paused to consider and inspect the area, but then boldly trudged in through the open doors. They entered a cavernous hall, apparently of exquisite dwarven architecture. Statues of great warriors and fearsome monsters punctuated the intricate geometric designs carved in the walls. A few held torches, illuminating the path ahead which lead to another set of gleaming bronze doors. These too creaked open.

The party stepped through into a great throne room, which was so large that the rear of it would have been shrouded in darkness if it weren’t for the two giant 20’ tall skeletons with bonfires blazing in their chests, who stood flanking a raised stone dias with a marble throne atop it. Perched on the throne was a black-robed figure, who now stood as the party hesitantly inched in. The figure was a tall, gaunt, pallid human male with steely eyes. He threw his arms outward in a magnanimous gesture of welcome, and his voice boomed a courteous greeting. He clapped his hands, and from the shadows lining the room, a team of human skeletons scuttled out, carrying trestle tables, chairs, and platters of food and wine, placing them before the throne dias. The figure introduced himself as Ras’Nassi, a lich lord and self-described demi-god. They party cautiuosly sat and began eating the dubious fare, while they listened to his story. It seems that he knew of their quest, and had a deal for them. He was interested in recovering an artifact of the thunder lizards known as the “Death Key” and in exchange for the party retrieving this from the undersea lair of the Reef Lord, he would transport them back in time to when the island of the thunder lizards was still intact so they could collect the Tablet of Fate before it gets destroyed. After some discussion, they agreed to the deal, and went back to their shelter on the coast for the night.

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To The Island of the Thunder Lizards
Pirate Ambush

After a week’s voyage, they came to the place where the island was supposed to be according to Taliyana’s reckoning. There were just some rock fragments poking up from the sea! On one of them was perched a voluptuous young lady, beckoning them. She turned out to be a nereid, a sea nymph compelled to act as a lure for a trap that was about to be sprung. Suddenly, 3 pirate warships appeared all around, coming out from behind rock formations, and descended on the party! Fireballs and assorted magical sabotage made short work of one. Another came along side and Gith boarders made a bloody entry, but were repelled. Magical attacks and catapult fire decimated the party’s crew of villagers. The third ship came careening in, disabled and blinded, and smashed violently into the party’s ship, nearly cracking it in two. Luckily, everyone jumped ship and took over the Giths’ vessel. Captain Dan was the only surviving member of the Scurvy Crew. The other ships slowly sank together, locked in a deadly embrace. Another, 4th pirate ship, could be seen slipping away off in the distance as the party caught their breath and began to explore their new ship. They found, among other things, a small library of Gith texts, with scrawling indicating they may have been searching for a Tablet, too!

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To The West Coast
(knock knock) Land Shark

Coming to the coast now, the party stopped at a small fishing village. The mayor agreed to furnish them with a boat if they helped stop a pair of rampaging land-sharks. They laid out some bait and ambushed the bullettes, slaughtering them after Korog had a chunk taken out of him, and Silas slunk off with his tail between his legs. Making good on their word, the villagers gave the party a deep-sea fishing vessel. Ten villagers even agreed to sign on as Captain Dan’s Scurvy Crew, though Sinbreena paid them double Taliyana’s stingy offer. They loaded up with provisions, and set sail.

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Lair of the Crimson Death Mist
and also freaky zombies

The party then tromped Westward through the swamps, heading for the coast, to seek out the mythical island of the thunder-lizards in hopes of finding another tablet (the lost second Eye of Lizera). On the outskirts of the swamp they encountered some grotesque zombies, and then stumbled upon the lair of a crimson death mist in an ancient mausoleum. Inside, Sinbreena found a cache of treasure and a powerful ring of fire. The party vanquished the crimson death mist, burned out the mausoleum, and moved on.

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The Lizardman Tablet!
Perpetrating a Henious Hoax

They followed a trail of destruction from the giants back to a large lizardman village. Taliyana used illusion magic to convince the lizardman king that she was a dragon envoy from their mythical terrible thunder-lizard ancestor gods, and they became friendly. Back at the village, the PCs agreed to provide a human sacrifice in exchange for knowledge of the next Tablet. They secretly polymorphed a frog into a human. Tosh and Taliyana perpetrated an elaborate con on the lizardmen, leaving them in a state of acute spiritual confusion while Sinbrena infiltrated their pyramid and made off with their precious Tablet (one of the two so-called Eyes of Lizera, the other of which was lost millenia ago, initiating a process of devolution in their species according to their folklore).

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Into the Swamplands
Searching for Lizardmen

The rest of the group (now numbering 5: Korog, Sinbrena, Taliyana, Biff, and Tosh) wrapped up their business, packed up some supplies, and headed off back to the Eastern swamplands to pursue the clue about the next tablet. They brought Bill the horse, Rocky the tressym, Sylas the worg, Dusty the young air elemental, and Max the djinn.

They hiked up out of the canyon, and proceeded West straight out into the swamps, South of their previous path along the river. After a couple days of trudging through sludge, suddenly two jungle giants spring an ambush! Bill was killed and Sinbreena was seriously wounded, but the party prevailed.

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Face Your Feyr
Plumbing the Depths

Before meeting with the Council, the party decided to deal with the impending environmental crisis and collected the gnome inventor and his depth charge (the “Enema”) from hiding. They headed down to the Erid Butthole, constructed a make-shift bunker out of debris, and deployed the Enema.

BOOM! A massive bubble burst from the toxic waste pit, spattering the area with foul slime. Out slithered a Greater Feyr: a writhing, amorphous distillation of all the hate, fear, and hopelessness of New Eridell’s downtrodden citizens. Its baleful eyes beamed concentrated waves of terror and despair this way and that. It was the most abhorrent thing Korog had ever seen, and he immediately turned tail and fled. Sinbreena, too, hastily retreated, but then began summoning goblins into the fray. Biff, however, roared and leapt forward over the barrier into battle, hacking and chopping even as the thing’s loathsome tentacles snapped around his limbs. Murdock let arrow after arrow fly, most bouncing off the thing’s rubbery skin, as Tailyana flew overhead launching magical salvos to little effect. Tosh hunkered down, praying furiously for Petraeus’s influence to mess with the being’s composition. Eventually, Korog rallied and came charging back with a flurry of blows; Sinbreena, too, charged; Taliyana slew lesser monsters emerging from the muck; Biff hacked off tentacles trying to violate him; Murdock kept “firing” arrows; Tosh grew to Doublin’ stature in size and in confidence, and dove headlong into the Feyr’s mouth to drain its very life force from within as everyone else just kept assailing it from without! Finally its spirit was overcome and it deflated, its negativity fading in the indomitable light of the party’s courage and fellowship. The toxic sludge gurgled as it receded back down into the pit.

Now having some legitimacy as the Saviors of the City, the party cleaned up and went back to the protests outside of the capitol building to treat with the Council. Just in time, too, as Drizzimmy was once again attempting to incite the crowd to violence, and Vladius would have been only too happy to have the Guard respond in kind. Taliyana quickly tazed him unconscious.

Vladius then escorted the party, along with Chomski and a few of the rabble, into a closed-door meeting with the Council. After some heated negotiations, they agreed to some modest concessions for the workers and a seat for Chomski on the Council to represent them. They also rewarded the party for averting a toxic waste disaster, by granting them a mansion estate on the upper level of the city, and lots of money. They took the money but donated the mansion to Chomski, to turn into a commune / union hall for the workers. Most of the party used the money to upgrade their equipment, and Tosh planted a seed-church among the newly nomadic Hin tribe while Sinbreena donated the Hedge Wizard’s magic seeds to to the new nomadic Hin (and traded her Sickle of the Harvest for a Ring of Sustenance.)

In the ensuing days, Murdock and Gortas mingled with the undercity’s rogueish elements. They found employment, filling several vacancies in the Theives’ Guild resulting from the riots and political upheaval. Ironblood found people listening to what he had to say in the drinkholes and slophouses of the Shantytown, and soon he had a following calling him guru. He decided to stay and minister to his diverse humanoid flock.

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The Hedge Wizard
Radical Revolutionaries and Eco-Terrorists

Sinbreena discovered a secret hatch underneath the bar. A passage led to another structure, in which the party met Haakma the beastman and Peero the hin. The two were firming up a pact between their respective terrorist organizations, The Wild and Dondella Revani. They asked the party to assassinate a corrupt druid-turned-agromancer, nick-named “The Hedge Wizard,” who’s been terraforming the lush Eastern forests into flat farmland to feed New Eridell’s expanding population (and in the process displacing Hin villages, too). The party agreed if, in exchange, the terrorists would disrupt New Eridell’s food convoys in order to increase unrest among the masses (and provide Murdock with a Hin prostitute).

Then the party set off to find the Hedge Wizard. His keep was in the center of a small but dense forest on the edge of the Bread Basket, and was defended by a number of ferocious plants. Although Korog was nearly devoured by a man-eating tree, the party managed to subdue the foliage. Sinbreena infiltrated the door-less tower in wraithform, and with Taliyana’s and Dusty’s help, fought and killed the Hedge Wizard before discovering that he had become trapped in his own tower when his plants turned against him.

Having left the Tower of the Hedge Wizard a smoking ruin, the party returned to New Eridell. On the edge of town, Taliyana released am experimental Bird Flu into the crow population, to deteriorate their vision and hinder the surveillance of Vladius, the Master of Murders.

As they entered the lower levels of the city, the party observed that tensions were high. As promised, Peero and Haakma had hijacked food supplies and struck at granaries. Drizzimmy was riling up the workers, but Taliyana intimidated him into silence for the time being…

The gnome Chomski furiously confronts the party over their involvement with terrorist activities, claiming violence will undermine the legitimacy of the workers’ cause. They mollify him by giving him the stolen food supplies to distribute, and occupy him with the task of preparing to make demands of the Ruling Council. Meanwhile, Tosh attracts a crowd of Hinfolk and preaches the virtues of a nomadic lifestlye, changing their perspective on losing their villages.

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