Black Sails over Leudendorf
The Sunken Fortress of Moab Cys’Varion
Deep beneath a fortress that lies at the bottom of Crystal Lake, the adventurers face a terrible dilemma. The genetically enhanced mutant soldiers of Moab Cys’Varion are coming. If the adventurers stand, then they are likely to be killed or captured. But if they flee, then Moab’s soldiers will seal the secret entrance—and likely all hope of returning to the sunken fortress again. Then, the super soldiers will pursue the adventurers relentlessly, possibly all the way to Captain Caladon and the Sea Lion. With Draya succumbing to the venom of mad dwarves, and Gabriella’s healing powers expended, what can the remaining three adventurers do?
The situation is bleak. Any outcome seems grim. Could hope come in the form of aid from the Sea Lion, or have they come this far only to perish without ever seeing the golden sands of Yarashad?
Human Druid Barbarian
October 13, 740
Act II, Scene XII: Several Hours Ago…
Teodor, from the crow’s nest of the Sea Lion, spots Orlan’s mountain lion animal companion prowling back and forth along the short in the spot where the adventurers first make landfall. He tells the others, and Ketham and Romany resolve to investigate what is happening. Tianna remains behind, though it is evident that the long delay is creating concern in Captain Caladon. First, his ship is getting dangerously low on supplies; if they do not make landfall on this poisoned island soon, they will be forced to try their luck at one of the other three. Second, the mutants are a breed of supersoldiers, and they include amphibians; the good captain does not like seeing his most able-bodied defenders continue to leave the ship while the Sea Lion sits just off shore, an obvious target.
Caladon sends one of his crewmen, Bart, with them. Bart is a capable warrior, having been a pit fighter in Richemulot before running to the sea. If the adventurers find that their companions have met a grisly end, then Caladon trusts Bart to make his way back to the Sea Lion with the news.
When Ketham, Romany and Bart reach shore, this time unmolested by mutant fishmen, they find the lion restless and eager to lead them into the dense jungle. The lion guides them in a direct route, much straighter than the one the adventurers used previously, directly to the entrance to the many-headed dragon’s lair. From there, it is a simple matter to find the shaft entrance, and the debris-strewn tunnel to the sunken fortress’ exposed cell.
They arrive just in time to hear a terrible bellow, as the four-armed smith falls…and the four chittering derro run away.
Act II, Scene XIII: Moab’s Response
The adventurers reunite in the ruined guard room. Behind them, Gabriella and Draya have begun escorting Moab’s prisoners towards the surface. Ketham and Romany are quickly briefed on the situation, and there is little time to create a plan before guards pour into the dungeons to answer the sounded alarm. Ketham quickly begins delivering orders, laying out a plan to which his companions offer personal tweaks and help.
Kari, still cloaked in invisibility, sneaked in the direction of the rallying troops. Climbing the steps to the next floor of the undersea palace, she found an officer shouting orders to troops. Men formed ranks in preparation to plunge into the dungeons and rout the adventurers. Kari returned with the news and to aid in setting the stage for Ketham’s ambush.
At the foot of the stairs, she lays out a pouch of suffer dust, alchemical dust that will be stirred by the passage of Moab’s men, and beleaguer them with congestion and disorientation.
Across the steps, Rook scatters the remainder of his bullets that have not been spent or loaded.
These two and Romany and Bart extinguish the torches placed along the walls in the corridor connecting the guard room to the steps. In the dim light, it is all but impossible to see the scattered bullets. Then they wedge the mutant blacksmith’s hammer across the corridor to provide one more obstacle.
Romany and Bart do not return to the guard room with Kari and Rook. Romany and Bart duck into one of the side rooms in the corridor. It is revealed to be a midden infested with large rats lurking in a low-ceilinged tunnel beyond a collapsed portion of wall. From this vantage, Romany utters a divination, allowing her to reach out to the minds of the men rallying above. She locks onto the thoughts of the officer in charge of the troops, determining several salient points. First, that the adventurers still have several minutes before the troops are ready. Second, that more soldiers are coming. Third, that the officer is concerned because his men are taking too long to muster, and that Moab—who is below the adventurers right now—will ascend from his chambers and punish him. Romany passes along the information as best she can.
In the guard room, the adventurers use the broken table to block the corridor they have turned into a death tunnel. A quick study reveals that the pale-skinned, mad dwarves have not returned to from the south. The passage to the east, still blocked by a lowered portcullis, also seems to hold no threats. The north portcullis still stands open, allowing a single escape route along the path back to the pyrohydra’s lair.
Behind the table, Ketham and Rook take cover. Orlan, with javelins at the ready, stands more visible than the others but still dimly lit by the torches from the blocked passages.
When the adventurers are ready, they decide to push the guards hard and bring them before they are ready. Rook begins to cry out in dwarven, calling for assistance. The officer receives word of the cries and pushes his troops into the dungeons in a haphazard rush. The first men hit the bullets and plunge face-first onto the bare stone floor and the scattered suffer dust. Those push on, past the door behind which Romany and Bart are hidden, and the other guard drive forward. The wedged hammer sends others sprawling, as well. The first men to stagger, bleary-eyed and bruised, to the overturned table find Rook’s pistol and Ketham’s arrows awaiting them. Orlan begins to hurl javelins into the press of mutant soldiers.
Moab’s men begin to fall. The balls on the steps send more than one man tumbling into the unseen cloud of suffer dust, and the darkness conceals the wedged hammer until the stumbling feet of Moab’s soldiers cast it flush against the corridor wall. Those who reach the overturned table meet a sure end. Ketham, Rook and Orlan rain destruction upon those who had come to annihilate them, holding the guardroom chokepoint with ease.
The first moment of concern comes when a desperate watch captain shouts to his men to move the bodies out of the way. Knowing that their hidey hole is about to be revealed, Romany tosses a potion to Bart. Though the adventurers were never able to identify the potion with any finality, they suspected that it would turn whoever drank it invisible. Now, she prays they were right in that assessment, and she ducks behind the swing of the door. Bart obeys the lady, quaffing the potion.
When the door swings open, the midden appears to be empty. The desperate men, embattled against the men in the guard room, do not glance behind the door. They simply shove the bodies of their fallen friends and brothers-in-arms into the foul-smelling room before returning to the battle. Bart has disappeared.
The next hiccup in the plan is far more severe. Moab Cys’Varion has emerged from the levels below. He has crept, invisibly, to the guard room entrance opposite the one the adventurers are defending. From his vantage he observes the intruders to his undersea fortress. And then he intones a spell of chain lightning. The blast strikes Orlan and Ketham and Rook and then bounces down the nearby corridor to also strike Kari. The lightning deals telling blows, and only luck keeps several of the adventurers from being burned to a crisp.
Moab ducks around the corner, but not before he is spotted. The adventurers know that their ultimate goal is within reach.
Kari intones a second-circle spell to magically seal the portcullis barring the oncoming soldiers. Though she knows she is trapping Romany and Bart among the enemy masses, she knows that her three warrior companions will need to devote their full attention to Moab if they are to survive confronting him. The adventurers give chase to the fleeing pirate lord, leaving the soldiers to struggle against the sealed portal. Others are coming, the call has gone up that Moab’s lieutenants are on their way.
Moab’s flight carries him around a winding series of chambers and connecting halls. His circuitous route gives him a chance to utter some additional defensive magicks, hastening himself. Between the powers of his enchanted robe—about which the Chief warned the adventurers—and his potent abjurations, Moab proves a capable opponent. When Ketham launches an arrow at him, the missile stops in mid-air. When the archer brings the battle in melee, he is felled in instants and left with a lingering, wrenched back injury.
Orlan, Kari and Rook get Ketham on his feet again by a use of Kari’s wand of stabilization and an enchanted “potion of power,” though the energy the potion grants is short-lived. Rook and Orlan continue to drive against Moab, but Ketham spots more trouble coming. A pair of warhorse-sized spiders with blade-like legs have magically appeared in an adjoining hall. Vaguely, the adventurers recall that one of Moab’s lieutenants is a conjurer.
Orlan conjures a blade of pure druidical flame, but the drow pirate lord’s natural magic resistance, amplified by his magical robes, renders him immune to the dweomer. That, coupled with the sight of massive vermin encroaching, is enough to send the adventurers into retreat. Moab escapes, and the adventurers race their way back to the guard room. As they flee, they slay the conjured spiders and then slam down the portcullis behind them. They take up a defensive position in the dungeon corridor north of the guard room, firing arrows into the multiplying defenders, now led by Moab’s lieutenants. With Romany and Bart still trapped in the midden, well behind enemy lines, the adventurers face a test of loyalty. If they retreat and save their own lives, then they are assuredly leaving their friends to fates worse than death. But if they stay, they are guaranteed to perish—or worse—in the effort.
Moab’s lieutenants take turns attempting to overcome Kari’s seal on the guard room portcullis. Rook and Ketham injure or kill them as they approach. A stalemate of sorts seems to be forming. When the mad dwarves emerge from the south, firing their mechanical crossbows through the closed portcullis bars, Ketham proves the better archer. He kills one of the dwarves and sends the others scampering out of sight.
The decision is made. The adventurers will strike. Orlan changes shape and flies into the dimly lit passage over the heads of the soldiers. He uses divine magic to warp the wood of the door to the midden, and then he flutters inside. There, he encounters Romany and Bart, covered in offal and dressing in the garb of dead soldiers. They had attempted to find an escape by crawling into the rat warren at the rear of this room. The lightless tunnel had turned out to be infested with rats, including at least one the size of a dog. It was also a dead end. Their current plan, before Orlan’s arrival, was to drag two dead warriors into the warren, and the lie among the corpses clad in the dead men’s armor. Hopefully, the would be dragged to an unguarded chamber when the battle was over, and they could make an escape from there.
Orlan rallies his two companions. They will make a break for it. Bart agrees, emboldened by the power of his companions, and Romany nods her agreement, as well. Orlan utters an abjuration over Bart, hoping that the defensive magicks will serve the pirate well in the battle to come.
The master of the fortress, however, is not to be forgotten so easily. From his sanctum below the dungeon level, Moab scrys upon the adventurers, noting their position. Then, summoning his imp familiar, he teleports to the corridor between Ketham and Rook and Kari. He sends his familiar to deal with Kari, and then he unleashes a forked bolt of lightning through the warriors. This blast leaves Ketham and Rook near death on the ground. Moab makes his way to the portcullis, banishing the magicks Kari placed and opening the portcullis.
Just then, two things happen. First, Orlan leads the charge from the midden, occupying all the surviving soldiers.
Second, Kari injures Moab’s imp familiar. The blow is a telling one, and it has an obvious impact upon the drow pirate lord himself. The imp retreats and Kari, panicked, flees in the opposite direction, racing after Gabriella and Draya.
The battle comes down to Orlan, Romany and Bart against Moab’s remaining lieutenants, his arrayed soldiers, and the pirate lord himself. Hani’Barakis, Moab’s drow general, shouts a warning just before the door opens. He has used a divination to realize that the intruders are preparing an offensive. Orlan leads the charge, and in the first instants the adventurers cut down waiting soldiers as if scything wheat. Then the retaliation comes. Bart is slain outright, and Orlan begins to suffer injuries. A disruption of another spell from Hani’Barakis restores all of Orlan’s health in a wild surge of arcane magicks just as Moab enters the fray.
Orlan seems up to the task, but Moab strikes with his dreaded nine-lives stealer, a black-bladed sword capable of feasting upon the souls of those it slays. Orlan nearly falls, but his power as a member of the Renewer sect of druids keeps him standing, though terribly injured.
Romany strikes then, hurling knives not at Moab but at the imp, still hovering what it believed to be a safe distance away. The infernal creature falls, slain, and Moab staggers in agony, his powers crushingly reduced. Undead and vindictive, though, Moab’s first thoughts are not of flight. They are of vengeance. A dead sea dog lies at his feet. A horribly wounded druid stands before him. And a knife-wielding gypsy poses the greatest threat. A veteran of the drow kingdoms, gladiatorial arenas, and the bloody naval battles of Yarash’s Full Fathom Five, Moab feels that his vengeance will be sweet.
He attacks Romany. She dodges and endures the assault.
Too late, Moab realizes that Orlan’s maul is in motion. The raging barbarian-druid strikes, driving the injured pirate lord into the floor.
Then Orlan bellows, driving off the remainder of Moab’s lieutenants, watch officers, and soldiers. Injuries are sustained, especially by Gaspar, the conjurer, who is pinned beneath a crashing portcullis, then freed when the winch is unceremoniously turned to raise the portcullis to allow others to flee.
The adventurers know that their wounds are severe, and that hundreds of soldiers will soon pour down the steps after them. They do what they can to bandage their friends. Ketham rises, now with a cracked skull to complement his wrenched back. Rook, too, has sustained a serious injury. But they are able to put one foot before the other. Romany quickly grabs any items that appear to be valuable, including the spyglass tied to Moab’s belt.
They flee into the caverns beyond the dungeons, through the lair of the Chief’s “many-headed, fire-breathing monster,” and up to the surface. Along the way they catch up with Kari, and then Gabriella, Draya and the released prisoners from Moab’s dungeon.
Act II, Scene XIV: The Sea Lion
The adventurers return to the Sea Lion that evening. A couple of Moab’s prisoners stay with them. Others set out for the mutant village on the south side of the island.
Captain Caladon and his crew are saddened by news of Bart’s death. Romany tells the tale of how the former Richemulan pit fighter gave his life valiantly, a genuine hero in his last moments. The men are heartened by the story, and they are grateful to the adventurers for bringing the body for a proper burial at sea.
October 14, 740
Act II, Scene XV: In Search of Relics and Needed Supplies
Lucien spent the night studying the spyglass. He returns it to the adventurers in the morning with a brief explanation of what it seems capable of doing. Again, now that the little scholar has slipped beyond Hell’s Triangle, the fog of Harrimast’s obscurement has lifted. Much of what his researched revealed to him has come together in new and enlightening ways. Though it is all old information, he has found the ability to put it to use in a way that connects that legends of the Full Fathom Five with their relics.
Yarash gave Moab the magical spyglass to do his bidding. The item is made of pure gold and never shows the slightest scratch or tarnish. Its lenses are smooth crystal and are unbreakable by normal or magical means. In addition to performing its mundane function, the spyglass has a number of magical abilities. Foremost among them is the ability to create gates between points through solid obstacles and to distant points. Roughly, creating a gate through 100 feet or less of solid matter or between two points within line of sight within a quarter mile of each other is a straightforward task. Anything more—such as creating a tunnel through a thicker barrier or opening a gate to a place farther than a quarter mile or not in line of sight—embodies a complex task. Creating a portal between planes of existence, such as back to the Lands of Mist, is more or less impossible for a mortal, as Moab obviously discovered over the past century and a half.
In addition, the spyglass has a number of secondary properties, all accessible with a straightforward conviction test.
· Anyone looking through the spyglass can see as if using a true seeing dweomer.
· The spyglass can function as a crystal ball.
· The spyglass can be used as a focus when casting an arcane spell to increase their potency. This ability can only be used after a day spent in preparation and requires the user to make a concentration check at a DC equal to the spell’s circle +3 at the end of the day or the casting fails with a wild surge. Successfully focused spells take effect with double the usual range, area of effect or with a -2 penalty to any allowed saving throw.
With the spyglass added to their repertoire, the adventurers talk about where they should go next.
Rook points out indications from the map. The island marked with a pistol appears to be forested, while the other two look to be inhabited (Bell) or volcanic (Hook). The giant, flying skull, Ketham says, flew to the island marked with the pistol. Kari reviews what the adventurers have learned about each island.
It will take about a week for Ketham to recover from his great injuries, but after a single day Rook has recovered.
In this time, Kari and Lucien should be able to perform identifications on most of the items the adventurers have come across in their recent expeditions.
Mid-way between the two islands, the Sea Lion halts.
Old Griz officiates a burial at sea for Bart.
Off shore of the forested, pistol-marked island, Orlan goes ashore with Caladon’s crewmen to get food and fresh water. They have strict orders to avoid trouble and take no chances at bringing danger upon the ship while the adventurers are still recovering from their battle against Moab.
Before Captain Caladon sends men ashore, Ketham uses the spyglass to look for the flying skull. He barely spots the skull, but then he turns his attention to the Kraken’s Claw. This he finds immediately. It is off the shore of this same island. Looking closer, he sees that Baumann is in her chamber with her first mate.
October 15 – October 22, 740
Act II, Scene XVI: Relics and Arcane Devices
Kari and Lucien are able to determine the following details about the items taken from Moab and his lieutenants:
Elfin katana: Chaotic Katana +1
Potion labeled “swimming” in Elfin
A non-magical dagger and cutlass
An enchanted horse totem necklace. It radiates Abjuration (Wards) magic and possesses no command words to trigger its power.
An enchanted two-handed sword. It also radiates Abjuration (Wards) magic.
Moab’s black robes: Lucien determines that these are black robes of the archmagi; they would cripple all but the most evil of wizards who don them. The adventurers shy away from these cursed garments.
Moab’s Nine Lives Stealer; an Evil Longsword +2, Nine Lives Stealer (9 lives remaining)
A potion marked with a skull. It radiates Necromancy (Negative Energy) magic.