Savage Tide

Chapter 3: The Big City
The adventurers traverse Sasserine in their two days of free time...

Savage Tide

Part I: There Is No Honor
Chapter 3: The Big City

Our Cast:

Poddle (Connor) Kobold Rogue

Daegoth (Trevor S.) Lizardfolk Dragon Shaman

Rapton (David S.) Killoren Cleric of Obad-Hai

Nimlar Sumel (Lance) Elf Ranger

Daelis Eagleheart (David L.) Half-Elf Swashbuckler

Friday, June 25th, 1234 AY

Our heroes, being given two days of leave from their duties at her estate, went on various different missions.

Verael, left the main group and went off on his own for his portion of leave, and wasn’t seen even after the time he had been given. No one was sure where he had gone until much later…

On the morning of the first day that the party had off, Poddle heading to a shady gambling house named Fishlip’s Games. As soon as the kobold walked into the establishment, he could tell that kobold’s were not common in Sasserine, as everyone in the gambling house stopped what they were doing and stared at him. After the initial shock, a charming young noble named Avner Meravanchi approached the kobold and challenged him to a card game. The two played, and Poddle ended up winning a total of forty gold.

Poddle then decided to contact the local black market and try to get a place in the local hierarchy. He asked around and found the black market pretty easily, and then met with a sly rogue named Maverick. After Poddle asked about setting him up with a black market operation, Maverick offered him a deal: if he could capture three dangerous exotic creatures from the surrounding Amedio Jungle, then he would set Poddle up with his own branch of the Sasserine Smuggling Circle, focused on smuggling animals.

Poddle headed out to the nearby coast and began to search through some of the various tide pools that lined the shores. He found a glowfish, a strange little fish that emitted a bright light when in danger to ward off predators. He brought it back to Maverick, but the black marketeer refused to take it. Apparently Poddle had misunderstood and thought that Maverick had just said “exotic” and not “dangerous”.

Poddle, determined to find a creature fitting of the description, bought a fishing net from a peddler in Sasserine and headed out to the coast again, searching in the shallows for a dangerous creature. He found an aquatic snake and managed to capture it, but when he brought it back, Maverick said it wasn’t dangerous enough, and would only count as half an animal. Poddle decided to call it a day.

Rapton, Daegoth, and Poddle (who was taking a break from his search for exotic animals) headed over to the Sasserine Arena to watch a tournament between gladiatorial teams. The heroes started to grin foolishly at each other. Then they headed to the sign-up booths.

They were still short two people, however, since Verael was gone and the tournament called for five in a team, so they headed out to search for candidates. Nimlar sumel2

They met up with two adventurers, Nimlar Sumel (an elven ranger from Azatharia) and Daelis Eagleheart (a half-elf who was a traveling duelist), who they found at the Six Swords Tavern. With almost no introduction, the two unsuspecting companions were dragged into the party, unaware of what they had just got themselves in to. Daelis

Our heroes then headed for the sign-up booths, signed their party up, and waited for their chance at the spotlight. While they waited, they practiced, Nimlar shooting targets with his longbow, Daelis dueling with another swashbuckler, Daegoth hitting a practice dummy, and Rapton praying and memorizing his spells. Poddle, however, wasn’t practicing his martial skill; he was practicing his commercial skill. He walked through the stadium, selling trinkets and illegal goods to unsuspecting customers. He amassed quite a profit, and brought a few ne’er do’ wells into the fold of the SSC (the Sasserine Smuggling Circle).

After an extensive wait, the heroes were finally ready for their chance in the spotlight. They were pitted against the one of groups sponsored by the Iron Brigade (the people who owned the Sasserine Arena), which was actually fairly rare, since the Iron Brigade’s group was the undeniable champion of the Sasserine Arena. The two parties sized each other up, checking for weaknesses. The opposite party was made up of a crude-looking gnome with a scarred face and a short sword, a haughty elf wearing a robe and holding a spell book, a savage human (an Olman) with bone armor and a bone sword, a muscular dwarf with heavy armor and a holy symbol hanging on his neck, and another human wearing earthen-style clothing and carrying a spear. Then the fight began. Ironbrigade

The rules were simple, use any means necessary to defeat the other team. You could not strike at a fallen combatant nor intentionally try to kill another combatant, but powerful healers were always on hand in case of an accident. Nothing else applied. It was all out war.

OOC: The following description is not exactly how the fight took place, because I really can’t remember the details. It is mostly made just for dramatic quality.

Poddle charged, rolling at the last second right next to the gnome and hammering in hard with his warmace. The gnome easily blocked it aside however and came in fast with his short sword, a sneer on his face. Poddle fell to the ground to avoid the fatal thrust and used the momentum of the gnomes’ strike to throw the now not sneering rogue up and over him, with the gnome crash landing about five feet away. Poddle quickly got up and readied his warmace. Then he charged.

Daelis drew his masterly crafted rapier, shaped into the likeness of an eagle by his own hand, and flew into the thick of the combat, his light sword whipping like the wind. He simultaneously fought off both of the humans in the enemy party, holding back the deadly tip of the druid’s spear and the bone carved sword of the barbarian.
“Nimlar! Now would be a good time to start firing some arrows,” the half-elf shouted to his elven companion, now sweating profusely.
A thud and then a grunt from the druid made him smile as he saw the wooden shaft of an arrow protruding from his enemies’ torso, making him fight on all the harder.

Nimlar worked furiously with his bow, often firing two with one shot, but was rarely rewarded with a hit. He seemed to be off his game today. With the shot to the druid his spirit’s lifted, and he got a nick on the barbarian as well, causing the elven ranger to shout in merry glee. A sharp pang caused him to flinch however, and he looked down at his torso to see a trickle of blood flowing from his stomach. A shouted “Huzzah” made him look up, and he saw the enemy wizard smirking haughtily. He would have to save an arrow for that one.

Rapton, his lips mouthing incantations and phrases that no common man could understand, raised his hand as he finished his spell, causing a glimmering object to appear at the rear of the enemy party’s formation, which then quickly shaped into a bird-like figure. The great hawk, twice the size of a normal one, swooped down onto the wizard who was in the back of the enemy party and clawed and bit at the elf ferociously, receiving a piercing scream from its enemy as his robes and flesh were torn to shreds. The hawk screeched and clawed more ferociously, but the wizard fired off a quick spell and then dove off to the side, moaning in pain. Rapton smiled.

And so did Daegoth, as the taste of battle came so easily to his lips once again. He sent his heavy mace crashing down onto the unsuspecting head of the enemy barbarian, who barely managed to get his own weapon up in time to block the attack. The barbarian sent his fist barreling into the stomach of the great lizardfolk, but the attack barely stunned the great creature, let alone wounded him. Daegoth kept pounding away at the enemy, his thoughts (what little he had) washed away as the adrenaline pumped through his veins.

Poddle smashed his warmace into the gnome’s chest, knocking the wind out of the rogue and sending him sprawling. Surprisingly, the small figure started to glow and then he leaped back at the shocked kobold. The dwarf cleric, who had been as of yet unnoticed, laughed a hearty laugh as only a dwarf could do and spit in his hands, chanting up another healing spell. Poddle’s face darkened as he continued combat with the now healed gnome. He was getting ticked.

Daelis was now pitted in combat against the druid, nicking the human once in a while, but rarely getting a good hit. Back and forth they fought their contest, a complex web of strikes and parries. It was a new challenge, since Daelis was unaccustomed to fighting against a spearman this adept at dueling. The druid seemed to know exactly where he was striking, and timed his fluid attacks effortlessly. Finally, amidst the endless routine of their battle, the druid did something unexpected. He sent a bolt of magical energy arcing towards Daelis, barely missing the stunned half-elf, but giving the druid enough time to make a strike with his spear. Daelis cursed his bad luck and grunted through the pain, now getting tired of this contest. He was determined to end it quickly.

Nimlar smirked when his wizard enemy was sent diving by the sudden appearance of the hawk Rapton had summoned. He fitted another arrow into his bow and pulled the string back, letting loose on the barbarian fighting with Daegoth, careful not to hit the lizardfolk. He was rewarded with his enemy’s cry of pain and his now not so effortless struggle to fend off the lizardfolk’s attacks. The elf kept shooting.

Rapton telepathically ordered his hawk to redirect its attack towards the cleric, who was now becoming a major problem. The dwarf was using his healing magic to make their attacks worth naught. Rapton started to chant a new incantation while his hawk started to rain down on the cleric, slowly wearing him out. He finished chant with a shout, when suddenly the ground began to shake. Great tendrils, roots in fact, shot out from the ground grabbing hold of the legs of Rapton’s enemies and holding them fast.

Daegoth was starting to win the battle, as he hammered down at the barbarian with everything he had. The great lizardfolk’s muscles bulged, stretched to their limit as Daegoth kept up his relentless attack. The barbarian cried out in shock as the tendrils that Rapton had unleashed grabbed his leg, causing him to slow and giving Daegoth the opening he had been waiting for. The dragon shaman hit in hard and fast, sending the barbarian tumbling into the waiting roots, which held him down fast.

Poddle was in trouble now, trying to block the quick gnome’s strikes while attempting to get his own attacks in. The gnome suddenly reversed his momentum right in the middle of a swing and sent his short sword slashing across Poddle’s torso, creating a deep gash. Poddle cried out in pain, but kept fighting, determined to beat this belligerent gnome. Then the gnome stopped coming on, held down by the magical tendrils of Rapton’s spell. The gnome cried out and tried to get clear of the roots, but for naught. Poddle smiled and attacked.

Daelis finished off the druid with a well placed backhand swing, sending a team of clerics to collect him. The half-elf then ran towards the next enemy, who happened to be the wizard, who had waited at the side of the battle (out of range of the tendrils) for a chance to strike. The wizard started to chant and pointed his fingers at the swashbuckler, sending darts of magical energy blasting towards the surprised duelist. Daelis took the hit, grimaced, but then tripped and went sprawling. He corrected himself with a roll and was quickly back on his feet, still coming on at the elf. The wizard grabbed out his puny dagger and tried to brace himself for combat, but Daelis hit the tiny blade aside and came in with a piercing stab, effectively taking the wizard out of the match.
“I always thought magic was overrated anyway,” the half-elf smirked.

Nimlar started raining in arrows at the enemy cleric, determined to take him out of the match. The missiles just bounced off the dwarf’s heavy armor, however, and he laughed heartily.
“Bah!” The dwarf said, as another arrow bounced off his armor. “Ye couldn’t hit a dragon with those shots elf!”
“We’ll see about that,” Nimlar said under his breath, drawing another arrow.
He let loose, and the arrow flew into the dwarf’s shoulder, causing the dwarf to be suddenly less sure of himself. To make things worse (for the dwarf, anyway) the magical roots grappled with the dwarf’s legs, seriously hindering his mobility. The cleric was in for a bad day.

Rapton was glad to see that his spell had done its work, as the cries and shouts of the combatants confirmed to him (if not the sight). His summoned hawk had disappeared by now, so he started to chant again, aiming his finger towards Poddle, and sent a wave of healing energy towards him, rejuvenating the Kobold.
“It’s about time, Rapton!” Poddle exclaimed who was still slightly grimacing from the pain of the wound.
Rapton shrugged and started to chant again.

Daegoth smashed his mace down on the barbarian, finishing him (and sending a team of clerics out). Daegoth stopped however, wary of going through the thick tendrils, and looked towards Rapton. He was in the middle of casting a spell however, and the lizardfolk still couldn’t be sure if he could safely tread through the magical roots. He grunted and plowed through the thick vines.

Poddle jumped atop his enemy, bringing his warmace down on the scarred gnome. The gnome sent one final curse his way before he went into unconsciousness. Poddle smiled and surveyed the battlefield. It looked like it was almost over. Poddle could just smell the rewards.

Daelis was also looking over the battlefield, taking in the cheering fans and the fading smell of battle. The only enemy left was the cleric.
“Why did we leave him for last?” Daelis said aloud, puzzled by his newfound companions’ strange strategy.
He shrugged and went in a run towards the dwarf.

Nimlar was almost out of arrows by now, so he waited for precise moments to fire his precious missiles. Seeing an opening as Daegoth and Daelis fought with the cleric, he loosed one of his last arrows, satisfied to see it hit the dwarf’s thigh. The ranger waited for another shot.

Rapton shot another wave of healing energy at Poddle, effectively healing him back to full strength, then drew his heavy mace and headed to help fight the cleric. His magical tendrils had disappeared by now, but he had a feeling the fight was already over.

Daegoth and Daelis made hit after hit against the dwarf, but it seemed like he wouldn’t go down. He kept healing himself and managed to fend off their more serious attacks with his warhammer. But finally, Daegoth got a hit in, right between the dwarf’s eyes, which took him down. The lizardfolk shouted a hearty laugh and a cry of victory. It was over. Metallica

Our heroes had just knocked off the first place champion of the Sasserine Arena, and as of such, they got many rewards. The Iron Brigade allowed each of the heroes to make a request of what they wanted. Poddle got a warforged slave named Metallica (since slavery was legal in the Amedio region), Rapton got a Olman slave named Derek, Daelis got five hundred gold, Nimlar got a magical longbow and one hundred gold, and Daegoth got training with the Dwarven Waraxe from an Iron Brigade member named Urgor Warbeard (he bought a Dwarven Waraxe with his own money however). Derek

After the battle at the Sasserine Arena, Poddle headed out to the Amedio Jungle to search for more exotic creatures. He found a nest of five fire beetles, snuggled in a hollow log, which he managed to capture without too much difficulty. Because Poddle wasn’t in shape (and he was small anyway), he could not drag the net in which was the captured fire beetles very fast, so he was caught in the jungle in the middle of the night. A huge centipede appeared from a nearby shrub and attacked Poddle, but he managed to kill it.

While he was dragging his prize through Shadowshore to give to Maverick, two gnomes attacked him, trying to steal his fire beetles (which were slightly valuable). Poddle managed to knock them both out, so he tied them up and left them in the street naked, laughing all the way back to Maverick’s base of operations. He was wounded however, with two crossbow bolts to the shoulder, so he took the fire beetles to Maverick and then retired to the Vanderboren Manor, getting bandages on his wound and some healing from Rapton.

Saturday, June 26th, 1234 AY

Early in the morning, Poddle got up and had an idea. He bought thirty nets, went through the streets and hired thirty laborers, and set out into the Amedio Jungle, looking for dangerous animals to capture with his helpers.

They found a huge toad, and managed to capture it with only minor injuries to the laborers. Five of the men dragged the creature back to Sasserine, while the rest kept on going through the jungle with their employer.

Next they found a gorilla, which Poddle wanted to keep for himself. The laborers captured without difficulty and dragged it back to the Vanderboren Manor.

After a while, they found a giant spider and some smaller monstrous spiders, which killed two of the men before they could seize them. But seize them they did, and the remaining laborers still headed out with Poddle. War

The last encounter of the day, one with a deinonychus, was disastrous. The dinosaur slaughtered all of the remaining men. Poddle managed to escape, and still had all the other animals in his custody, so he passed the slaughter off as business and went back to Maverick’s place.

He took all of the animals he had captured to Maverick (except for the gorilla, which he kept for himself) and got his go-ahead for starting his own smuggling branch. All he needed now was a base of operations…

Poddle took the gorilla back to the Vanderboren Manor, found a trainer that he could pay to domesticate his new pet, and placed the animal in the basement.

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Chapter 2: Tracking Down Vanthus
The party tries to track down Vanthus, but end up trapped in haunted tunnels!

Savage Tide

Part I: There Is No Honor
Chapter 2: Tracking Down Vanthus

Our Cast

Poddle (Connor) Kobold Rogue

Tahlavel Maran (Seth) Elf Ninja

Tarathial Nightstalker (Trevor S.) Wood Elf Ranger

Maxel Journey (Ian) Human Druid

Drakon Striden (David S.) Human Sorcerer

Alraer (Trevor M.) Raptoran Scout

Verael (Jared) Red-dragon Blooded Fire Elf Paladin of Freedom

Daegoth (Trevor S.) Lizardfolk Dragon Shaman

Rapton (David S.) Killoren Cleric of Obad-Hai

When we last left our heroes, they had just defeated the guardian of the Vanderboren vault and reached the area where the Lavinia’s inheritance was stored. To gain access to the treasure, however, a puzzle of some sorts had to be solved. Ring note

Maxel Journey, using his keen intellect and wisdom, assessed that the note they had found in the hold of the Blue Nixie (which described a set of monsters facing towards either sunrise or sunset) was key to uncovering the combination which he believed was necessary to gaining access to the treasure. He realized that the monstrous statues situated about the room were the connected to the monsters in the note, and also that the combination had to do with two things: the number of eyes the creatures had, and the pillar in the center of the room.

The pillar in the center of the room had the ability to turn the eight pointed star on the top of the ceiling in any direction (pointing the star point colored red at one of the monsters). The party eventually figured out the combination number by turning the pillar so the red star was facing the monster that had the same number of eyes as the one in the note. The number was 6-1-2-4-2. After they inputted the correct number, the indentations in the sides of the chamber slid open, revealing a number of chests.

When the party helped Lavinia open them however, they were shocked to find that all of the chests were empty save for the ones in the last indentation. In those chests they found a small fortune as well as an iron coffer holding a journal. This journal was penned by Larissa Vanderboren, Lavinia’s late mother. It contained many entries and some sketches, all describing or depciting a strange island with exotic creatures. This island was called the Isle of Dread. Journal lv

As the party was preparing to leave Castle Teraknian, Lavinia asked the clerk in charge a question.
“Has anyone been to the vault recently,” Lavinia asked, still puzzled at the lack of money in the vault.
“Why yes,” the clerk said evenly. “Your brother Vanthus has been here multiple times over the past month or so. Hasn’t he told you?”
“No. My brother has been missing for over a month now,” Lavinia said, shocked again by her brother’s changed behavior.
“He has?” The clerk said, shocked as well.
“Will you make sure he does not try to take anymore?” Lavinia asked, after explaining the situation to the clerk.
“Of course, Lady.” The clerk replied, making a quick bow.

The party returned to the Vanderboren manor, where Lavinia met with them.
“I have decided to hire you on as full-time mercenaries, if you agree,” she said, barely concealing hidden anger at Vanthus.
The party did, so she continued.
“I will give you permanent lodging here and provide you with meals, as well as giving you bonuses for individual missions. You’re first task is to track down my brother, Vanthus.” Vanthus01

“Vanthus and I were quite close growing up, since our parents were rarely around. We grew to depend on each other, and got into a fair amount of trouble together. After one particularly complex prank involving several elixirs of love being emptied in the nearby water tower, our childhoods came to an end. I was sent to the Thenalar Academy to the north to live out the next five years of my life, and Vanthus was shipped out to work on our Uncle’s plantation. When we returned to live in the family manor a year ago, we had both changed.

“I know I benefited from my time at Thenalar, but Vanthus apparently thinks this is not true for him. He no longer spent time with me as he had when we were younger, he slept all day, and spent his nights with associates of doubtful character, to put it lightly. Eventually he moved out of the house entirely—I believe he took up with a lover in the Azure District, but I never learned the details.

“When our parent’s died, Vanthus returned for a week to live at the manor, but he had changed even more. Gone was the easy sense of humor I recall fondly from our childhood, and in its place was a bitter cynicism and a morbid streak that sent chills up my spine. After several arguments, Vanthus struck me with his fist. I was shocked, and for a moment I though Vanthus was as well, but an instant later he was back to his new self, all scowls and menace. He gathered his belongings and left—I haven’t seen him since.

“I know something profound happened to my brother at some point to change him, but I’m not sure what it was. I believe he’s fallen in with a bad crowd, perhaps smuggler, or thieves or even killers. Although his attitude might speak otherwise, I hope that it’s not too late, that if he can be brought back to my side I might be able to talk some sense into him and redeem him before he passes forever out of my reach. The problem is, I don’t know where he’s gone. That’s where you come in.

“I want you to find Vanthus and bring him to me unscathed. I recommend asking around about him throughout the city: I doubt he’s hiding in the Champion’s or Noble District, but even those locations may hold clues. My suspicion is that he’s been living with a woman in the Azure District, but even that arose from half-heard rumors. Still, it remains the strongest lead I have.”

Drakon Striden decided that he didn’t have the time for this and left the group, even though his childhood friend Maxel was staying. He bid the group farewell, but seemed angry at Maxel for something. Poddle met a pair of adventurers in a tavern, and decided to recruit them into the group. These adventurers were Verael, the fire elven paladin, and Alraer, the raptoran scout.

Tarathial Nightstalker and Tahlavel Maran decided to stay behind and help Lavinia put her estate back together while Verael, Alraer, Maxel, and Poddle searched for clues to Vanthus’ whereabouts. Poddle and Maxel asked around in the Merchant’s District, but came to a dead end. Verael and Alraer asked around the Champion’s and Cudgel Districts but but turned up nothing as well. It was then that Maxel and Poddle picked up something. Someone they talked to in the Azure District claimed to have saw Vanthus with a woman named Brissa, a pick-pocket turned semi-legitimate artist. Meanwhile, Verael and Alraer asked around in Shadowshore, and got some results. There is no honor

It seems that Vanthus was seen in the company of a known smuggler named Penkus. Penkus was apparently a semi-notorious figure in Shadowshore, known for his drunken binges and violent temper. Recently, the pair were spotted at a boat ship known as “It Still Floats!” It looks as if they got into a heated argument with the owner, a pessimistic dwarf named Panchi.

Verael and Alraer payed a visit to Panchi, where the pair grilled him.
“Okay, okay I sold a boat ta them, but I swear I don’t know where they went! Somewhere ta the west I think…” Panchi admitted nervously, twiddling his thumbs. “They seemed really excited and loaded lots and lots o’ lamp oil, lanterns and rope onta their boat”

Meanwhile, Maxel and Poddle searched for Brissa, the woman whom many had seen with Vanthus, but were out of luck. They had just decided to give up on their fruitless search when a figure appeared from the shadows.

“My name’s Shefton,” the shady-looking half-elf told them. “Are you looking for Vanthus?”
“Yes we are,” Maxel replied, looking at the half-elf suspiciously.
“I can show you where he is, for just five gold pieces,” Shefton said, looking around nervously.
“Wait just a minute,” Poddle objected, extremely suspicious. “Show us where Vanthus is right now, you’re payment is your life.”
“I have guards all around me that will kill you if you try anything,” Shefton said, though not all as confidently as he ought to have.
“I think I’ll take that chance,” Poddle said smugly.

Shefton was bluffing. Shefton

After stopping to pick up Verael and Alraer, the party took Shefton back to the Vanderboren Manor to question him. They got him to talk, and he offered to take them there himself. Vanthus was in some smuggler’s tunnels underneath Parrot Island.

Sunday, June 20th, 1234 AY

Shefton paid for a boat (though not willingly) and the party headed to Parrot Island, which was a small island situated in Sasserine’s harbor that was renowned for it’s parrots (hence the name). When they arrived on the island, Shefton led them down a rarely used path to a trapdoor. The heroes lowered a rope down into the smuggler’s tunnels below and started to descend. Shefton led the way, of course, followed by Verael, then Tarathial, Tahlavel, Maxel, Alraer, and Poddle.

The party reached the bottom of the rope and started to look around, when suddenly the rope they had came down on fell away, leaving them trapped. Our heroes looked up in horror to see Vanthus standing at the trapdoor with a sneer on his face.
“Say hello to Penkus’ ghost for me!” He taunted as he slammed the door down, leaving the heroes in darkness.
Above they could hear rocks being pushed over the entrance, blocking their way out even if they could reach the trapdoor.

They had no choice but to continue through the tunnels and try to find a way to escape.

They started to head out, walking down the only corridor, when they ran head-first into a group of three ravenous-looking shark-headed zombies. The heroes charged valiantly at the zombies, with Verael and Poddle rushing to engage them in melee while Alraer and Maxel shot arrows and threw spears, respectively. Tarathial and Tahlavel started to bombard the zombies with arrows, but to no effect. Verael and Poddle were taken down by the zombies, who proceeded to start eating them alive. Verael and Poddle were on the verge of dying when Shefton of all people showed his true heroics, rushing at the zombie on top of Verael, knocking him off and giving Verael just enough time to recuperate. Zombies

The heroes finally managed to kill the rest of the zombies, but since Verael and Poddle were seriously injured, they were forced to rest at the entrance.

After the rest, they set out to explore the rest of the complex. They took a left and ended up in a large chamber. Four great wooden pillars rose up to support the ceiling, which sagged dangerously in places and was thick with hanging strands of fungus. Several doors lined the walls—one to the west (from which came a muffled sloshing sound), two to the north (the western one of which was badly damaged and hung askew on its one remaining hinge), and two to the east. To the south, the ceiling had collapsed, leaving the southern part of the room choked in debris. A rippling pool of water reached halfway into the room from the wall of stone and rubble. It seemed that a wooden pier once extended into the pool, but all that remained now were several rotting wooden pilings protruding from the water. A man’s body floated face down among them.

The party started to explore the room, and, as they got near the pool of water, were attacked by five huge kelp crabs.

Alraer jumped into the air, aided by his wings, and landed on one of the crabs, riding it crazily in an attempt to kill the being. Tarathial pulled out his longbow and started to rain down arrows on the huge crabs, while Maxel tried to stab a creature with his spear. Poddle charged towards the crab, intending to jump on it and capture it, while Verael and Shefton moved into position with Verael’s fishing net, set on capturing two of the crabs. Tahlavel drew his short swords and attacked. Poddle, seeing Alraer trying to kill one of the crabs, charged and knocked the raptoran off of the crab, while jumping on the crab himself. Verael and Shefton tried to capture the crabs in Verael’s net, but failed miserably and just ended up tangled in their own net. In the end, all the crabs were dead except for one which Verael and Shefton had managed to get in their net. Almost exactly after the battle finished, three more zombies stumbled on the party.

The adventurers managed to fight them off, but were more than a little wounded, so they decided to hole up in this chamber to rest. Verael, calling upon his paladine powers, searched for evil presences in the complex, hoping he could get some information on just what these zombies were. He sensed that the entire complex radiated a faint aura of evil, as well a large number of pinpoints for the stronger auras (he guessed these being the zombies), and a particularly powerful aura that caused his to power to reveal a vision of the creature to him. He saw a horrifying undead creature, wrapped in cloth and holding an unholy symbol, marking him as a cleric.

After the rest, the party headed through the next door, and upon seeing the room, realized the source of the sloshing sound they had heard. The sound came from the churning waters of a sea cave. Fueled by what must have been powerful submerged currents, the water lapped and splashed against the walls of a twisting natural cavern that led to the west. A sandy slope descended from the door down to the edge of the subterranean tide. Dozens of purple and red sea urchins glistened in shallow divots along the ground and lower walls there, their spines glittering with water.

As the party navigated through the sea caves, they realized that different areas of the caverns had different water levels, from eight feet deep at the lowest to ankle deep at the highest. At the end of the caverns was another door, which the heroes went through.

The smell in the chamber was horrific, a cloying stink of rotten meat rose from a bloated seeping body slumped in the middle of the floor. The corpse’s dark, almost black flesh bulged against its armor, ready to burst at the slightest touch. An intricate tattoo of a dragon was barely visible on his shoulder against the diseased flesh, and clutched in one hand was a crumpled scroll.

It was Penkus.

The scroll was a parchment that Penkus had apparently written before his death. It read:

Penkus letter

After reading the notes, the party took Penkus’ armor (though it obviously needed some cleaning), but then the elves in the party (Verael, Tahlavel, and Tarathial) sensed something in the far wall (a secret door). Inside the room after the door were three large sea chests. Poddle managed to jimmy the locks, and the party found inside a large amount of treasure.

There were eight potions of varying color, a wand, and a small jade coffer. Inside the coffer was an earth elemental gem, as the description (in the form of a slip of paper underneath the cushion holding the gem) told them.

After looting the chests, the party started to look for a way out of the caves, since they had searched every room in the complex and still couldn’t figure out a way to get out of the caverns. After about a day of this, they finally set up camp, waiting it out.

Monday, June 21st, 1234 AY

That’s when they heard the gnashing of teeth.

All the zombies that were left in the complex—apparently they had all been hiding in the west wing—were coming for them, lead by the undead cleric Verael had sensed. The party barricaded themselves in the room they had found the treasure, and tried to hold off the tireless zombies. They held them off for about two more days, before they came up with a plan based on a hunch…

Wednesday, June 23rd, 1234 AY

Tarathial had seen one point in the sea caves where the water was deepest, topping off eight feet deep. He speculated that the water in the sea caves came from an outside source, the ocean. There should be a tunnel that connected the waterways, and even though he only guessed, it was their best bet for survival.

They broke down the door and fought valiantly through the swath of zombies, Tarathial leading the bold charge for freedom, when they came face to face with the cleric. The battle was long, hard, and gritty, with Maxel and Alraer going down in the first few moments of the battle, and Tahlavel getting wounded by the cleric, so finally the heroes were forced with desperate action. Tarathial volunteered to stay behind and fend them off while the rest of the party—along with Tahlavel who was wounded and had seemed to contract some sort of illness from the cleric—found the waterways and escaped.

With Tarathial bravely fighting the zombie horde, the other members of the party made it to the sea caves and found exactly what their brave leader had guessed—an underwater passage. They quickly threw off their armor and proceeded to swim through the small passage. Slowly, their air supply began to run out and they realized that the passageway wasn’t going to end anytime soon. The last thing they saw as they drifted into unconsciousness was a strange dolphin swimming at them at high speed…

OOC: The players were switching characters here, since Trevor S. was getting sick of playing a ranger character (he had been one the last campaign as well) and wanted to try out a dragon shaman—an interesting character class from Player’s Handbook II—, Seth (who’s character dies soon after escaping the tunnels) wanted to try out an arcane-type character (a duskblade), David had rolled a really bad character up and wanted to have a chance to roll up a good one, and Ian had moved away (so we killed his character off).

Thursday, June 24th, 1234 AY

Our heroes awakened upon a tropical beach, battered and bruised, but not seriously injured. Tahlavel however, had taken a turn for the worse with the disease he had contracted from the undead cleric. Verael and Poddle looked up to see a strange green-skinned humanoid watching over them. This strange creature was carrying a heavy mace, a green-tainted chain shirt, and the holy symbol of nature hanging from his neck. Amedio shore

“Who are you?” Verael asked, his vision slightly blurred from the trauma he had endured.
“My name is Rapton,” the creature said, inclining his head slightly. “I am a Killoren. My people call these jungles—which your kind has named the Amedio— home.”
“I’ve never heard of Killoren’s,” Poddle said, confused. “And I have lived in this area for many years. Did you’re people just move to this area?”
“No. We were born here,” Rapton said, but before anyone could ask another question, Rapton stood up from his kneeling position. “We should not stay in this area. Many predators call these shores home. Wake your companion.”
Verael stood up and went over to Tahlavel, but when he looked over the elf, he could see the disease spreading across his skin. Rapton

“Do you know where we are?” Verael said, after he had tended to Tahlavel.
“The wild,” Rapton said, looking off into the distance.
“Well I know that,” Verael said, slightly angry at this strange humanoid. “But WHERE?”
“We are about twenty miles from a settlement, if that is what you mean,” Rapton replied. "A port city your kind call “Sasserine” is in that general direction." He pointed down the beach. “If you like, I can lead you there.”
Verael accepted his offer, him and Poddle helping Tahlavel to his feet.

They walked for about an hour when they saw another figure washed ashore by the tide. It was a giant lizard. Daegoth

The creature was huge—humanoid in shape— and probably stood about seven feet tall. The creature’s muscular arms were as thick as Verael’s waist—and Poddle’s head. The lizard only wore a slight loincloth, and seemed barely alive, judging by his shallow breathing. Rapton, calling upon the healing powers of nature, healed the huge lizard, who then opened his eyes.

“Brother, what did you do!?” The lizard exclaimed, speaking in Draconic, which both Verael and Poddle understood. “What did you do…” Then he drifted into unconsciousness again.

After a couple of minutes, the lizard woke again, to see an elf, a kobold, and a fey looking over him. His eyes bulged and he sat up, reaching for where his weapon would be.
“My weapon!” The lizard said, distraught. “What have you done to my weapon!?”
“You didn’t have a weapon on you,” Verael said, helping the lizard up. “My name is Verael, this is Poddle, Tahlavel, and Rapton. Do you remember anything?”
“Yes, me and my brother were taking my father to be buried at sea and—HE TRIED TO KILL ME!”
“Whoa, slow down there partner,” Verael said, holding the crazed lizard down. “Are you from around here?”
“Where is here? This place does not look like my homeland.”
“This is the Amedio, we are a couple of hours away from Sasserine.”
“Those names mean nothing to me. I come from my tribe’s homeland, Gala re Zathos
“The Isle of Dread?”
“You know of my homeland?”
“No, but—well its a long story. Lavinia might be able to explain it better. Let’s help you up. What’s your name?”
“Daegoth”

The party, now including Daegoth, set out for Sasserine. When they returned to the Vanderboren Manor, Lavinia was relieved to see them, but was distressed to learn that not everyone had survived. Tahlavel was quickly taken to a spare guest room and put in the care of Kora (the halfling woman who had brought the letter to the party in the first place), but it looked like it was too late. Even Rapton could do nothing, as he was not familiar with this kind of disease. Then Tahlavel woke up from his delirium, and Poddle rushed to his side.

“Are you alright, Tahlavel?” He asked, hoping for the best.
“I don’t think so. Even now I can feel my body dying.”
There was a long silence.
“Thank you,” Poddle said, tears in his eyes. “For everything.”
“No,” Tahlavel objected. “Thank you.”
Then he died.

Friday, June 25th, 1234 AY

Daegoth and Rapton were introduced to Lavinia, and we’re offered employment by Lavinia. Daegoth, after talking with Lavinia in private for a couple of hours, agreed, though there was obviously some other motive, possibly having to do with the Isle of Dread…
Rapton also accepted, since he had grown interested in the world beyond the jungle. Daegoth was commissioned with new armor and weapons, since his old ones had been lost in the ocean.

More in the next entry….

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Chapter 1: The Beginning
The Savage Tide begins...

Savage Tide

Part I: There Is No Honor
Chapter 1: The Beginning

Our Cast:

Poddle (Connor) Kobold Rogue

Tahlavel Maran (Seth) Elf Ninja

Tarathial Nightstalker (Trevor S.) Wood Elf Ranger

Maxel Journey (Ian) Human Druid

Drakon Striden (David S.) Human Sorcerer

In the bustling seaport city of Sasserine, a band of unlikely heroes are brought together by a single letter, which will change their destinies forever…

Thursday, June 17th, 1234 AY

Each of the heroes had come to Sasserine lately, and had gained the notice of Lavinia Vanderboren, a minor noble. Poddle “Flip-Flop” had just come from the infamous pirate town of Ahato with his former employee and friend Tahlavel Maran. Poddle had just killed a giant snail in the Merchant’s District when it had escaped its cage and caused a ruckus in the market, while Tahlavel had entered a gladiatorial competition in the Sasserine Arena sponsored by the Iron Brigade, which he had won with great honors.

Maxel Journey and Drakon Striden had just come from doing mercenary work in the outlying jungles. When a group of robbers tried to ambush a nobleman, the duo had come to his rescue and driven off the bandits, with Drakon shooting down the thieves with magic while Maxel healed the wounded and battered noble.

Tarathial Nightstalker was hunting down a pack of wolves who had been acting too aggressive lately, and saved a group of nobles from being killed by the beasts.

The letter that each character received said the following:

Lavinia s letter The carrier of the letter was a halfling woman named Kora Whistlegap. The heroes agreed to the dinner, but Poddle was a little uneasy about it (though he still reluctantly agreed). Maxel recalled that Lavinia Vanderboren had just recently inherited her estate from her parents after their untimely death. It seems they had been killed aboard their own ship when a fire broke loose.

Friday, June 18th, 1234 AY

When the heroes individually arrived at the estate that June evening, the same halfling greeted them at the gate and let them come in. They were then sent to the atrium to wait, while Lavinia prepared to greet them. They did not know each other, so got into mild conversation, starting to form a bond. Maxel and Drakon told the rest of the heroes about the news of Lavinia’s parents, since none of them lived in Sasserine and this was only recent news.

Four figures then emerged from the hall and headed towards our heroes. Kora raced behind these figures, which included a jaunty male half-elf dressed in leather armor and armed with a dozen daggers of different shapes, a dark-skinned dwarf with a sour expression dressed in green and brown robes and armed with a scimitar, an attractive but haughty-looking woman dressed in dark purple robes and with a tattoo of a crescent moon on one cheek, and lastly a tall and handsome man dressed in a polished breastplate carrying two short swords.

The tall man stopped, seeing the heroes, and sized them up for a moment before announcing “Hmm. You must be the help Lavinia’s bringing in to do the chores. Best of luck to ya!”

The heroes were slightly offended that they were being considered as “doing the chores”, but still went with Kora to the dining hall when she said Lavinia was ready.

The private dining hall was comfortable and cozy, softly lit by wall-mounted lanterns. A window overlooked the manor’s central courtyard and the carpet was thick and soft. A large portrait hung on the wall, a fine work depicting a handsome young man with a short beard. Standing before the portrait was an attractive human woman wearing a long, flowing blue dress. She smiled as the heroes entered, introducing herself as Lavinia Vanderboren. Laviniavanderboren

“As you may have heard, I recently inherited my parents’ estate. Along with this fine house, unfortunately, came a fine amount of debt owed The Sanction, the harbormaster, and quite a few guildhalls. It seems my parents, for all their success as adventurers, were not as skilled at finance as one might expect. If I’m to get these taxes paid, I’ll need to access my family’s vault under Castle Terakan.

“And that’s the problem, you see. The vaults are magically locked—keyed to special signet rings. Both of my parents had these rings, at least, until recently. My mother lost hers a few months ago. She arranged for a replacement, but it won’t be done for another month or so, too late for me. Which leaves my father’s ring. He never wore it—he had a thing about men wearing jewelry. He kept it hidden somewhere on his ship, the Blue Nixie. The problem there is that the harbormaster’s seized the ship until someone pays for the last four months of mooring. I’ve paid the fines to the man the harbormaster’s put in charge of my ship, a brute named Soller Vark. Yet when I went to claim my ship, Vark’s men wouldn’t let me on board, claiming that I hadn’t yet paid the fines. I spoke to Vark again and he denied ever receiving my payment. My complaints to the harbormaster have fallen on deaf ears—he’s a doddering old fool who trusts his man and won’t relent.

“Vark and his men are up to something on my ship, I know it. What I need is to find out exactly what they’re up to. Unfortunately, Vark’s not the type to react well to diplomacy or logic. I need someone who speaks his language…which is where you come in. If you can find out what he’s using my ship for, or even better, recover the money I paid him, I’ll pay each of you 200 gold in return once I’ve access to my vault.”

Poddle, the kobold, quickly objected to the part about 200 gold, demanding more. Lavinia reluctantly offered to go to 300 gold. They finally agreed that they would get the signet ring and open the vault, and then decide how much they would get depending on how much was in the vault.

They decided to head straight out, even though it was already at least 9 o’clock at night, so Lavinia told them where the Blue Nixie was docked: pier five in the Merchant’s District, between the Merchant’s guildhall and the Smith’s guildhall. Alas, upon our heroes arrival it became apparent that the Blue Nixie was not docked at the pier at all, but was in fact moored moored to a float about 100 feet from the pier’s end.

Maxel, the druid, sent his owl companion to scout the ship, and his bird reported back that there were about five thugs patrolling the deck, though maybe more. Maxel decided to cast a spell which allowed him to speak with animals for a short period of time, so he called a dolphin to him. He asked the dolphin to take them across to the ship. The dolphin splashed him. Tarathial, being a ranger, also tried to reason with the dolphin. It just splashed them and swam away. It was then that they noticed the fact that there was a rental shop renting out boats for 5 gold. After a lengthy discussion of whether to try to steal a boat or to just pay the 5 gold, the heroes decided to rent it legally and took the rowboat out to the Blue Nixie. They took great pains to be silent and managed to get there undetected.

When they neared the Blue Nixie, Drakon cast a spell that made a huge crashing sound seem like it was coming from the bottom of the ship, sending the thugs that were patrolling the deck down into the lower bowels of the ship in a hurry. The heroes quickly climbed up the mooring of the ship and set up an ambush for the thugs when they came back. Poddle and Tahlavel climbed up on the mast to get good ambush positions. Tarathial and Drakon went on the upper deck over the stairs, and Maxel went on to the ledge on the side of the ship to hide. When the thugs came back aboard the deck, the heroes ambushed them, hitting from every side. Tarathial shot an arrow from his longbow…and horribly missed. Poddle jumped off of the mast and killed a thug with a blow to the head from his mighty warmace. Tahlavel wounded one of the thugs with two well thrown shurikens and Drakon blasted darts of magical energy from his finger tips, killing another thug. Maxel threw a spear from his hiding place and finished off the wounded thug, while the remaining two thugs were systematically taken down.

A foul-looking brute with a scarred face (which the heroes recognized as Soller Vark and also dubbed “Scarface”), along with two more thugs (a woman and a man), came up to the upper deck then, where the heroes were waiting for them. Soller vark

The man was taken to the ground with a mace to the groin, and then had his head chopped off by Tarathial. Vark rushed forward and stabbed Tarathial in the stomach, seemingly taking the ranger down. But Maxel came from behind and healed Tarathial with a spell, keeping him in the fight. Drakon cast another spell, putting Vark to sleep but not affecting the remaining thug. But Tahlavel had already took care of that, and the woman dropped dead, an arrow in the back of her head.

When Vark came to, Poddle decided to interrogate him. Poddle grabbed a dagger from Tahlavel and proceeded to cut open Vark’s arm, then grab a bucket of salt water and dump it on the wound. Vark howled in pain. Finally, after much torture at Poddle’s hands, Vark came clean and admitted that he was hired to smuggle some exotic animals and then sell them to a ship crewed by members of the Cabal of Shadows that was supposed to meet them. Then Tarathial killed him. Blue nixie

They then searched the ship thoroughly, and found Lavinia’s father’s signet ring, as well 100 platinum that our adventurers recognized as the fee Lavinia had paid to Vark. They also found a parchment with the signet ring that listed a weird assortment of monsters, and in the cargo hold they discovered the exotic creatures that Vark had been smuggling, including monkeys, parrots, and a huge spider-like creature. They turned in these exotic animals to the city watch (but not before Poddle confiscated three of the parrots; even though he already had a lemur and a parrot of his own). They took the signet ring, the payment, and the parchment back to Lavinia, who thanked them and gave them a place to stay in her mansion for the night. She asked them if they would accompany her to her family vault the next morning, to which Poddle objected, demanding more money for doing it. Lavinia consented and gave them 10 pp each from the money she paid Vark.

Saturday, June 19th, 1234 AY

The next day Lavinia hired a coach to take them from her manor to the High Market in the Noble District, where the group took a ferry over to Castle Terakan (since it was on an island). They spent little time in the castle itself, stopping only to speak to a clerk who verified Lavinia’s identity and her signet, and who then escorted them down a spiral staircase into a large circular chamber under the castle. Castle

Over a dozen five-foot wide hallways radiated out from the central vault chamber, each of these halls were ten feet long and ended at a single iron door—the entrance to the family vault. The clerk did not accompany the group into the vault; he instead bid them good day and returned to his office in the castle above.

Lavinia led them down the hallway to her family vault, where the short passageway ended at another solid-looking iron door. The portal was emblazoned with a simple rune—an eight-pointed star. Above the door, inscribed in a flowing script on a polished silver plaque, was the name “Vanderboren”. A single handle protruded from the door, just below a circular depression bearing the mark of the Vanderboren signet. Lavinia pushed the signet ring she now wore into the depression, and the door flashed once with blue light, then slowly swung open on creaking hinges.

Inside, the floor of the domed chamber was of polished green marble. Two fifteen-foot-wide alcoves had lower ceilings and featured marble pillars carved to resemble coiling snakes. In the center of the room, five similar pillars were embedded into the walls, rising up thirty feet to a dome overhead. Looking up, the dome bore a huge representation of the same eight-pointed star that was engraved on the door to the south. The vault

From around a pillar, a serpentine construction of metal slithered out. The snake was three feet long and looked like a cobra made of dozens of circular iron bands fitted together to form a snake-like body. The construct immediately attacked Tahlavel, who the first one to enter the chamber. The heroes dove into action, with Tahlavel valiantly striding forward to meet the beast. Tahlavel slashed at it with his katanas, but the hard shell repelled the weapon, causing the elf to bounce back in shock. Tarathial rolled to a safe position behind one of the pillars and proceeded to fire upon the construct with arrows, but they all seemed to do nothing. Poddle charged at the creature, bashing it with his warmace while Maxel threw a spear at it. Poddle’s attack seemed to stun the creature for a moment, but Maxel’s spear deflected harmlessly off the creature’s shell. Drakon, who had been chanting an incantation, set forth a burst of magical darts to fling into the creature, but to his surprise, the attack seemed to be absorbed by the construct. Maxel, assessing the situation, came to the conclusion that the cobra was a construct designed to protect the vault from intruders. “Tell it to stop attacking!” Maxel shouted to Lavinia, who looked at him quizzically, but obeyed. The snake seemed to pause, and then slithered away back to the alcove it had been hiding in, waiting for the next intruder. Iron cobra

It was then the group realized that the chamber didn’t seem to have a door. Tarathial searched the area and found that one of the pillars was slightly different from the others. He felt around it for a moment before finding a small switch, which he activated. The snake designs on the walls suddenly animated, writhing aside like living creatures and forming a coiling archway that opened up to the vault.

The octagonal room was supported by a single large pillar with dozens of deep grooves along it’s sides. The seven walls of this room each bore fantastically detailed bas-relief carvings of exotic monsters in threatening poses. Starting at the wall immediately to the west of the entrance to the room and moving clockwise, the carvings depicted a tentacled monster with a glaring red eye and a mouth full of teeth, a looming dragon, a fish-like creature with three eyes and four tentacles, a two headed giant wielding a pair of immense clubs, a spherical creature with four eyestalks and a bulging central eye over a drooling maw, a gorilla-like beast with a fanged maw and six eyes, and finally a towering black spider with seven eyes. Each monster’s eyes consisted of a glittering red stone. The ceiling above was only ten feet high, with the now-familiar eight-pointed star pattern radiating out from the grooved pillar. The arms of this star were black, save for the one pointing south towards the entrance, which was red.

Maxel assessed the chamber and came to the conclusion that it was some kind of puzzle…

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