Tablets of Fate

Island of the Thunder Lizards
to the primeval past

Deposing the Reef Giants

The confrontation with the Reef Lord began with a line of triton sentries charging the party. The warriors dispatched most of them efficiently, but following closely were a megalodon and a giant octopus. The shark knifed through the water and tore into Blynk, chomping down and ravaging the cultist like a ragdoll, as merfolk warriors swam to his assistance prodding the beast with spears until it eventually let go and died. The spellcaster’s magics ruptured the octopus’s body, killing it and releasing a could of ink. Into the bloody, inky tempest charged the Reef Lord himself, and his queen the Reef Lady kicking up a whirlpool around her. They made quick work of the merfolk escort. But where was Biff? Sinbreena Dim Doored away to try to find him as the Reef Lord’s onslaught began.

Late to the party, Biff Wellington moments later came torpedoing in through the leviathan’s maw. He launched himself straight at the Reef Lord, intercepting giant’s charge at the vulnerable clerics as Tosh prayed to heal Blynk’s grievous bite wounds. But the valiant Wellington seemed to have underestimated the Reef Lord, who blithely turned aside the spiraling half-ogre’s massive blade.

Having Dim-Doored back against the esophageal wall of the leviathan, Taliyana cast a Lightning Bolt, which went off behind the reef giants in a sparkling explosion through the water – the happy arcs of electricity danced along the backs of the Reef Lord and Lady like so much dandelion fuzz. They seemed only angered however, as each drew back their enormous tridents and drove them into their nearest foes: the Reef Lord’s slammed full into Biff’s face, tearing out some teeth, while the Reef Lady’s plunged into Korog’s chest before she twisted it back out, as the gnoll burbled a piteous howl.

Meanwhile, Sylas the wolf doggie-paddled up to one of the two remaining triton sentries and bit savagely into his leg, holding him and chewing as he flailed with his spear. And the clerics now regained their composure; each prayed to Heat the Metal of the reef giants’ tridents, hoping to complicate their tactical plans. It seemed to work, for after a few second of renewed assaults on Biff and Korog, they each released their grip and let their enormous weapons float away, boiling the water around them!

Biff now exploited the Reef Lord’s momentary distraction at his burning trident, and hacked his two-handed sword deep into the giant’s midsection, wrenching it back out with a gout of blood and a bit of entrails. Korog too rallied for a couple of substantial slices into the Reef Lady with his Longsword of Perspiration. Tali summoned another Lightning explosion just then, which again slightly zapped the Reef Lady, but this time it powerfully jolted the Reef Lord himself, who, still leaking entrails, went motionless in the water and floated away from Biff, lifeless. Wellington turned to regard with cold fury the other remaining triton who had sidled up behind him to prod his back with a spear, and cleanly slashed him in half.

The Reef Lady was now enraged by the defeat of her husband (and her own serious wounds and loss of her trident), and she reached out and wrapped her powerful hands around Korog’s throat, fixing him with a glare of pure hate and throttling him as he feebly swished his sword through the water. Tosh behind him was praying fervently for the gnoll to survive the rage choke. Blynk meanwhile swam over to where the last triton was locked in combat with Sylas the wolf. He meant to drive his blade through the triton’s ribs from behind, but with all the ink and blood in the water there, he bumped into the foe instead – the triton whirled around and slashed Blynk across the chest with his spear. Biff saw what was going on though, and launched himself over in time to remove the triton sentry’s head before he could do any more damage.

As Tosh burbled some wry combat advice to the beleaguered Korog, such as “Stick her with the pointy end,” the Reef Lady hunched down, and then kicked backwards, driving herself (the gnoll in tow) back down into the darkness of the leviathan’s gullet… right past where Taliyana had secreted herself! She sniped the passing giant with a salvo of Magic Missiles, ending the reign of the reef giant tyrants and releasing the sputtering gnoll.

Victory!

The party regrouped, and Tosh announced that he had Withdrawn during the battle to Divine a clue from Petraeus about how to achieve the party’s goal. He was told cryptically by the god, “Put some back into it… or was that the other way around?” From that, the clever hin worked out that some investigation of the leviathan’s spine was in order, and indeed it turned out that the Reef Lord had carved out a sort of vault system in several of the sea monster’s vertebrae. Inside, the party found several chests of treasure, and a Tablet of Fate (which mesmerized them all for a few moments), and a glowing black short sword that perhaps was the Death Key asked for by the Lich Lord Ras’Nassi.

Back to the Surface World

Further, at the leviathan’s blow-hole was docked another gnomish diving bell. They piled in, worked out how the mechanisms inside must function, and used the vehicle to ascend back to the surface, adjacent to the Lich Lord’s zaratan island.

They came ashore and repeated their hike up the zaratan’s central mountain, past the rows of dormant skeletal warriors, into the mountain stronghold, and met Ras’Nassi once again in his gloomy throne room, where he had a feast prepared for them to eat as they debriefed him. He was thrilled at their retrieval of the Death Key, and drooled a little bit as he caressed the darkly glowing blade.

His last obligation with them was to fulfill his agreement to send them back in time several thousand years, to before the Island of the Thunder Lizards had been destroyed. He explained that they could then conduct their search, and when they had found the second Eye of Lizera (actually another Tablet of Fate), they could return by merely encanting his name, “Ras’Nassi,” which would transport them back to the present without any time having elapsed here. Then finally they would use the Death Key on him, his spirit would be released from his bodily prison, and their business together would be concluded.

To the Savage Past

They took a few days to rest and recover, and when they were ready all returned to Ras’Nassi’s throne room. He began an arcane chant, and mystical blue energy slowly coalesced around Biff, Korog, Blynk, and Tosh. Suddenly they each felt intense vertigo as they were pulled into a coruscating blue tunnel…

…and they slid out of the tunnel just above the ocean, a few hundred feet from a prehistoric tropical island, naked as the day they were born. (Ras’Nassi’s chronomancy only works on biological material – not on their gear.) They plopped into the water, terrified and sputtering, and frantically began paddling for shore. Tosh and Biff used their uncanny abilities to Command Beasts to summon some friendly dolphins to facilitate their swim.

Staggering up onto the beach, they took stock of their situation. Blynk assessed the terrain and determined that signs of activity were present – humanoid and larger tracks were evident running up and down the shore. Farther up the beach was a tropical jungle, and mountain peaks could be seen in the distance. The occasional shriek and growl came from the jungle, but Blynk hiked up to the tree line, climbed a tree, and found several coconuts which he threw at Biff, playfully conking the half-ogre on his thick skull. Korog began procuring basic necessities like fresh water, food, firewood, etc. and started a fire to ward off scavengers while Biff and Tosh began fashioning crude wooden spears and stone hatchets, but Blynk appeared to just wander farther and father off into the jungle… he didn’t come back.

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Aquatic Quagmire
Sectarian Violence Under the Sea

They brought their captive into the next ship through the stern porthole. This was a small craft, full of jail cells in which a few merfolk languished, evidently awaiting their trial by combat. Freeing them and continuing on into the next ship, the party encountered a strike force of merfolk, making ready to break in and rescue the merfolk prisoners! This team welcomed the party, thanked them for breaking up the gladiatorial business, and led them back into yet another vessel.

This next ship was a massive upturned freighter, apparently converted into a kind of merfolk town square. Up at the bow was a raised dias and alter, where a triton priest stood sermonizing before a congregation of merfolk seated in several rows of pews. Towards the stern was an iron cage, suspended from the ship’s hull, containing a snarling saguahin shaman.

As the party settled down to rest for a moment, the priest bemoaned his failure to solve a riddle given to him by his divinations, and inquired of his congregation:

Riddle me this!
I spread and rise you can’t hold me down
Have enough of me you will probably die but not drown
Dark I am, I emerge from destruction
As a verb I’m a detriment to health, otherwise I serve no function
What am I?

It must have merely taken an outside perspective to solve, for Korog quickly grunted, “It’s obviously smoke.” Indeed, at this utterance, the saguahin in the cage at the back began hissing and shrieking, as his flesh began to smolder and sizzle. The triton’s god must have been waiting on their understanding to punish this heretical shaman. The congregation rejoiced, and in a moment when the saguahin collapsed and stopped thrashing about, his body was removed from the cage, butchered, and a feast of smoked fish was prepared.

Over the meal, the triton priest came to thank the party, and spoke with them for some time. He relayed a brief history of the current sea floor dynamics. According to their history, the Reef Lord who the party is after is actually the 3rd Reef Lord. The saguahin Saline Bath cult (colloquially known as the Bathists) used to be the dominant thugs of the original Reef Lord’s brutal authoritarian regime, terrorizing the merfolk and often invading the land for captors who would be “bathptized” into slaves. But this practiced angered the surface-dwellers, and with their foreign intervention, the merfolk resistance was able to remove the Reef Lord from power, and a new Reef Lord was installed who was really just a Selkie water-elementalist. This “Moist Mage” as he was also known engaged in an aggressive policy of “de-Bathification,” purging the Reef Lord’s domain of the cruel saguahin cult and replacing them with docile but surfacer-friendly merfolk. Now, the saguahin have been resenting this new order for decades, and have been hiding out in the arctic caves on the undersides of icebergs, biding their time. Now these ICELESS extremists as they are known, are slowly conquering territory once again, advancing inexorably back into the Reef Lord’s domain. In fact they have recently assassinated the Moist Mage, and a new reef giant (in league with the surface-dwelling giants) has just taken his place, hence the recent upheaval. Now the subservient merfolk live in fear of persecution by the Reef Lord and hope the party can subdue him.

Finally, the party ate their fill and had a chance to rest. Then the merfolk escorted them through a few more ships, including a pleasure barge, to a final shop with a huge porthole door, painted with a mural of a giant castle entrance. The merfolk explained that beyond this door was the sunken corpse of a leviathan, which the Reef Lord was using as his stronghold.

The party opened the door, flooding the ship. They swam through the entrance, a humongous toothy maw, into a dark, fleshy corridor. A few merfolk spearmen escorted them, and they traveled some distance before encountering a triton sentry, who quickly alerted the Reef Lord. The giant lord of the sea, along with his queen, several sentries, a giant shark, and a giant octopus soon came hurtling down the corridor, and battle was joined!

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Are You Not Entertained?!?
The Thirst Games

With their chamber rapidly flooding, there was no time to pause and rest. Tosh opened the only remaining intact porthole to reveal a wooden corridor slanting upwards. He began to scramble up it, followed by everyone else.

Tosh carefully opened the porthole on the other end of the corridor, revealing a scene of gruesome entertainment unfolding below. A large upturned carrack had been built a kind of gladiatorial combat arena, and all around on the remnants of what had been the deck were perched more of the abominable saguahin fish men. They hooted and jeered at the carnage that was on display below where, on the muddy sea floor, a trio of mermen stood back to back, squaring off against a fearsome 40’ long minotaur-lizard on the one hand, and a revolting octopoid morkoth on the other!

The party burst forth onto what was, for all practical purposes, a wooden catwalk around the ships hull. Tosh ran right, careening into a saguahin, taking him behind the knee with a sword slash, and almost knocking him off. Korog and Blynk leapt down into the mud, taking a couple of guards unaware, as Blynk created a globe of darkness in the corner of the ship. Taliyana, astride her wolf familiar, padded after Tosh, slinging magic missiles down into an increasingly chaotic arena. Sinbreena strode in the other direction, moving left on the catwalk towards a row of saguahin who were just rising to their feet and clutching their spears – she summoned a Bigby’s Forceful Hand, basically a hand-shaped plane of force that began to slowly push forward ahead of her, shoving against the saguahin and pushing them back into each other. A few lost their balance and fell to the mud pit below, but this just caught the attention of the giant lizard. The great beast looked up at the Sha’ir, stood up on it’s hind legs, and began clawing and nipping at her, slicing her grievously. Across the ship, Taliyana let loose a mighty bolt of lightning from her staff at the morkoth… but the bolt seemed to simply bounce off the thing’s rubbery skin and flew right back at her, jolting her and Sylas! Ahead, Tosh continued his mad charge across the catwalk, plunging his short sword into another bewildered saguahin and kicking him down to the mud pit below. Several others got their bearings and begin hurling daggers and spears to little effect.

Without warning, back near the entrance porthole, a puff of smoke preceded the appearance of a small but rotund gnome clad all in grey robes. Had anyone been looking, they would have seen his eyes narrow with malice as he caught sight of Sinbreena fending off those lizard claws, and he began stalking towards her, incanting. Then Tipton, the Grand Evoker, come seeking vengeance from another dimension, shouted, “Oy! Bitch! Ya think you can steal MY choke spells do ya! Here I got another spell for ya, since ya seem to like ’em so much! FOGBOLT!” and he hurled a puffy white glob at her, which struck and grew about her, now covering her with a clingy, dense cloud of fog.

Sinbreena stumbled back from the edge, avoiding the lizard, and focused her sight through Maximus to locate the gnome’s position, then willed a searing bolt of fire to strike him from her ring. Across the ship, Taliyana noticed the commotion too, and fired off another salvo of magic missiles to strike the offending gnome. Tipton staggered to his knees, whimpering and beating out the flames on his cloak, before uttering one more incantation, and blinking back out of existence.

Down below, Korog was laying waste to a small crowd of saguahin, crushing their poor fishy skulls. A ring of broken bodies lay all about him. Nearby, Blynk stood with bow raised, shooting arrow after arrow into the large monsters and saguahin. He paused every now and then to utter a prayer, Heating the Metal manacles and collars of the large monsters, further enraging them.

Sinbreena donned her Icicle of Isolation and descended into the pit. She was invisible now, but so too was everyone else from her perspective. She staggered over to the other side of the ship, climbed back up, removed the necklace, and found herself behind a couple more saguahin who were bracing to receive Tosh’s charge. She drew her poisoned stilleto and viciously shanked one in the back.

Korog charged up and finished off the Morkoth while Taliyana chanced another lightning bolt, this time at the lizard, which burned through it ending it’s life. Korog then charged up the charred beast to the catwalk, to ponce back down on the remaining saguahin, leaving only one alive with the point of Tosh’s sword at its neck. It surrendered.

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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)…

aspidochelone_by_janiceduke-d5fffjx.jpg

…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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