Good session last night. Action, planning, some resolution, new mysteries, more action!
Let’s get stuck in right away.
Reeling back into the jungle under the ferocious assault of the dimorphodon’s guarding their nests, Floki, Orny and Gelik scrambled for safety. At the bottom of the cliff the exhausted Uun, hauled himself up into the rocks while Nobody took the break in attacks to go fetch his gun and Malicia dusted herself off after her unplanned descent. The pterosaurs retreated too, wheeling out to a safe distance and squawking furiously at the interlopers, but otherwise staying away from them.
Percy and Victor appeared at this point, with Floki joining Rolifson in the all important rearguard. Percy dispensed some quick healing and Victor laid a hand on Uun that made him feel slightly better. Probably not enough to make up for the Paladin touching him. Where was everyone else, they asked. Buggered if we know was the general consensus. Malicia had successfully snuck onto the cliff before her fall. Uun had leapt from some distance down the cliff while everyone was being attacked and Nobody had taken his pterochute ride while the area was covered in mist. So it was all somewhat mysterious. Less mysterious was Uun’s voice, faint above the crash of the surf, jungle noise and squawking of the dimorphodons. Percy was able to pick it out and leaning over the edge of the cliff, he saw Nobody with a clearly badly injured Uun and no-less massively messed up Malicia. Real ‘beak around the back of the head’ stuff.
With Victor’s assistance, Percy slipped out over the edge of the cliff, using the rope to descend. The sight of some other vaguely avian creature coming to steal their vaguely-avian eggs infuriated the dimorphodons and they swooped in to mob Sarenrae’s faithful servant. Nobody and Malicia were waiting for them, however and as soon as they were in range, loosed bullets and arrows at the creatures. Percy, having made it to a thin ledge, drew his bastard sword and held his ground as they used their Fly-by-attack. The missile fire was too much for them, with Nobody evidently finding his stride with this gun. He has, after all, been shooting into the air an awful lot, it starts to be effective when your enemies are up there too.
Fuck these cliffs. They’ve almost killed two PCs so far.
The dimorphodons ushered into extinction, Percy carefully made his way along the ledge to were the nesting material was piled around two long eggs, warm in the heat of the sun. Percy did his best Emperor Penguin impression while the party figured out what to do next. Simple things like lack of bags was making this harder than it should. They didn’t appear to have too much of a time crunch though, although the faster anyone could shut the barbarian up about needing healing, the better. They converged on Percy’s ledge, albeit slowly. Malicia, having packed some pitons and a hammer – LIKE A PROPER ADVENTURER – painstakingly created a safe climbing route up the sea-wet wall of cliff beneath Percy. She climbed up and they put the eggs in her satchel, lowered a rope for Nobody and Uun and then attached the satchel to Uun’s rope at the top of the cliff. Victor hauled the satchel up carefully and then as soon as Malicia climbed, handed them off to her, assuming she’d know what to do with them.
Uun received the healing he desperately needed from Percy then began telling everyone else who should be carrying potions. That’s what I remember anyway. Meanwhile, there was more healing to be had once everyone climbed/had been pulled up the cliff, as Orny having set up his cauldron and brewed a potion of CLW while everyone rested. What’s crucial at this point is that they didn’t discuss NOT giving an egg to Sasha. Uun kept the potion that Orny had brewed up out of Bon G Ripper’s bathwater.
It’s good for what ails you!
The weather, at this point, started to take a turn for the worse, but Nobody and Malicia noticed that it was taking a turn for the spooky too. Heavy rain was expected at this time of the day, but the clouds had not formed as they usually do; the rain was neither an ocean squall or the usual mid-day rainforest effect. The clouds that carried it showed a strong rotation, gathering suddenly and moving in a fairly tight circle. Flickers of lightning amidst the clouds could be seen but nothing forked to the ground. The cloud gathered densely and darkened the skies above them, but they realised as they moved through the jungle and onto the shores of the big bay, the storm seemed to be localised above the island – specifically above the south eastern area, roughly close to the Red Mountain. A mile or so beyond the mouth of the bay, they could see sunlight and calm seas.
They arrived back into camp and set to turning in their quests, which brought to light that everyone except Malicia was on the same page about giving the eggs to Sasha. Call it maternal instinct, healthy distrust of an assassin, or hysterical female jealousy hormones, but Malicia wasn’t on board with handing the eggs over to Sasha. Everyone – but let’s single out Victor in particular – let Sasha know that they’d eggs-eeded eggs-pectations and brought two back for her, oblivious to Malicia’s non-verbal signals. If Sasha noticed this discord, she said nothing, apparently overwhelmed with excitement at having two pets. She went off to create a warm nest for the lil-dimorphies. Aerys was busy scribbling in her book, sweating and grinding her teeth, alone in her hut. She took the offered Viper Berries and swallowed down three of them. She grimaced, then laid down to let them do their work as they detox-ed the living shit out of her. Everyone else took shelter from the weird weather as the sun set.
Not evil, but not good, obviously.
Around the cook fire that night, everyone was in high spirits, including Aerys, who joined them for their meager meal of cooked fish and plantains, but ate like it was the best stuff in the world. There was a general agreement among the party that the time had come to move against the cannibal tribe and take possession of the old Chelish lighthouse. Pezzock wasn’t so sure about any of it really; he’d survived on the island by being dangerous enough, but not too dangerous. Going up against the cannibals and failing would mean his days as the island’s ruler would probably come to a nasty end. But he did want the cannibals gone and wasn’t sure a frontal assault on the lighthouse camp would work, given the sheer number of cannibals that inhabit it, his estimate being 30+.
Aerys and Jask suggested that facing 30 or more cannibals was something they could avoid if they could lure at least some of the cannibals out in a raiding party. Jask pointed out and Pezzock confirmed that the cannibals reliably came looking for shipwrecked survivors to eat. A camp fire after a storm – such as the one that had died down shortly after sunset – was a pretty good sign that there were new arrivals. The tribe typically sent out parties of 6-8 guys to go pick them off.
Gelik was keen to avoid actual combat, but did think his skills, in combination with Sasha’s could be used to lure the raiding party; the idea seemed to tickle the gnome’s fancy. Sasha was up for anything and Ishiro just seemed to be waiting for someone to tell him what to do. Pezzock’s reluctance to help was worn away by Orny’s inspiring speech about Pezzock’s place in the future of the cannibal-less island. While there was no doubt that he knew the island better than anyone else in the group, it was eventually settled that he would man the crab and provide the Distracting Group with a fallback position. Also, who else would look after the eggs?
So they formulated the following plan – Jask, Sasha, Gelik and Ishiro would make up the Distracting Group, lighting two early morning campfires that were certain to be seen by the cannibals. When the raiding parties arrived they would lure them north, away from the lighthouse, buying the Assault Group time to storm the lighthouse camp. The Distractors would eventually return to Pezzock’s camp and the Assault group could either deal with however many raiders return, or quit the lighthouse because it wasn’t worth defending – depending on what they find there. The Assault Group would be Aerys + the PCs. This is gonna go great!
Early next morning, the Distractors left before the sun rose, to get smoky campfires set up at two points on the island. The spellcasters observed their rituals and the Assaulters set off south, using the cannibal trails to penetrate the dense jungle valleys that led to the southwestern tip of the island. Reaching a confluence of two paths they saw that the path leading northeast had been recently trampled with some haste. assuming this was a good sign, they made to carry on, but Malicia – on point – held up a hand to call for quiet. She had heard human voices, male and gruff from the jungle to the east. No one else had, but as she listened, able to tune out the buzz and noise of the jungle, she heard some shouted commands, then some laughter.
While everyone else waited in reserve, Nobody and Malicia slipped into the jungle and crept closer to the hilltop from whence the voices came. To their surprise, the undergrowth suddenly stopped and they appeared to be standing to one side of a stairway. the stone was weathered and mossy, but there was clearly a stone stairway either cut into the side of the hill or laid into the side of the hill. Glancing up and down, Malicia saw that letters had been carved into a step and read with some surprise the words “WE ARE BEING PUNISHED” chiseled into the stone in Common. the stairs lid to the top of the hill and it became obvious that the voices, which could be heard occasionally came from the other side of the top of the hill, but not too far away. Nobody could pick out phrases in the guttural conversation and noted that whoever it was spoke in a pidgin Infernal. “Two remain, move, bed.” followed by laughter. There were other utterances within their speech, but these must have been idiosyncratic to this dialect because Nobody didn’t understand them. They also listened as there was a loud, distant splash, followed by an admonition and then a rhythmic squeaking.
At this point, the two slipped out on to the stairway and crept up, finding more steps with carved statements – “WE WERE UNWORTHY” and “THIS ISLAND IS OUR PRISON”. Unfortunately, Malicia was so busy reading the carving that she scared up a covey of Shrieking Ptarmigans, which made a dreadful racket as they shot up into the trees. Nobody and Malicia froze and listened as they heard a few interrogatives float over the crest of the hill. They slipped back into the undergrowth on the other side of the stairway as two figures appeared at the head of the stairs; savage cannibal tribesmen. One stood at the head of the stairs as the other probed further down, cautiously.
Having heard the alarm cry of the Shrieking Ptarmigans, the rest of the Assault Party entered the jungle, some silently, some not. At this crashing sound the man at the head of the stairs signalled and three more men appeared and ran down the stairs, which was just as well, because the first guy down had begun to get an inkling that there was maybe someone hiding really close to him…
Orny flicked off a Slumber Hex at a wildly running cannibal and the man went down like a sack of drowsy puppies. Victor broke cover and sliced one cannibal badly, then as another leapt his sleeping tribesman, caught that man a telling blow. Aerys stepped out and loosed a shot at the first man Victor injured, lifting him off his feet with the force of the shot and making sure he did not rise again. Uun charged with his spear and caught the second man Victor had wounded, impaling him. The cannibals thrashed at Victor with their rusty axes but the paladin’s armour was more than a match for their attempts.
Yeah, okay, that would really hurt.
Malicia and Nobody emerged from hiding. Nobody shooting one of Victor’s attackers at close range in the leg, forcing the man to fall to a more convenient height for Nobody to pistol whip the man with the tooth-lined butt of his pistol. The man’s throat was shredded in a blur of shark teeth and he fell to the ground dead. Malicia stepped out and sank her blade into the last standing cannibal, the man who had directed the others, causing a terrible wound before Victor stepped in finished the man off. That left only the sleeper and as Malicia stood over him to deliver the Coup de Grace, Aerys knocked another arrow and timed her shot with Malicia’s. Surprisingly – or not if you’ve been paying attention to our Coup de Grace attempts so far – the man survived the assassination attempt, but only long enough to see a charging Orny burst from the jungle with a dagger in his hands and plunge it into the man’s heart.
We left them, catching their breath but largely unhurt on the stone stairway that leads to the top of the little hill…