Monday, January 16, 2012

Investigation: The Horseshoe Isle Settlement (Session 1)


Keyleth Arwyl:  Elven Protector Druid (Circle of Shelter, Beastwalker Circle)
Fen Silverfang:  Longtooth Shifter Berserker (Temperate Lands)
Sophia Vermillion:  Half-Elven Valorous Bard
Miyako "Mia" Sotoko:  Human Centered Breath Monk
Zeus:  Dwarven Wrathful Invoker


The Red Frogs are finally back in action after a several-week hiatus!  The DM for this campaign decided to scrap the Prologue that we previously ran because of the time gap and changing ideas.  Worked out well though, because since then Heroes of the Feywild was released, and now I get to run some new builds from it (Keyleth and Fen) instead of being locked into playing Lyra and Berylis again.  Worth noting is that when Sophie was leveled, she took some new powers from that book as well (Revitalizing Incantation and Prescient Warning).  The combo I'm thinking about is that when Fen is getting clobbered by several enemies Sophie will use Prescient Warning, and then immediately afterwards I'll go into a Fury via Curtain of Steel.  Should prove to be a pretty devastating nova round, especially if I follow it up with an action point on Fen's next turn.

Another point worth noting is that this party is very AoE heavy.  All of Mia's encounter powers are bursts (even if they may not be the best power of that level), Zeus is very AoE heavy (actually, he often spams Hand of Radiance), and Keyleth and Sophie both have their fair share of area attacks (Keyleth has Magic Stones, which can be used to clump enemies to set up her burst/blast-happy allies).

The Village of Tarvarin

Our heroes begin in their headquarters (technically an unspecified satellite HQ, as the main headquarters in Fallcrest has established geography that conflicts with this adventure's needs).  They learn that the guild has been contracted by the Gold Coast Trading Co., which has been trying to establish settlements fairly heavily along the Strait of the Winds.  There is a heavy pirate presence in the area, and GCTC hopes to secure the location with a strong presence there.  They lost contact with a recent settlement on Horseshoe Isle about a month ago, and the latest re-supply ship found the village ravaged.  Material goods were looted and bodies were scattered about like confetti.  The supply ship's crew quickly retreated without further investigation, as they noticed large, monstrous tracks and feared for their lives.  GCTC wants the Red Frogs to investigate further.

The party heads south down the road to the village of Tarvarin, 3 days away, which sits across the Strait.  On the way there they encounter bandits who try to rob Fen.  Big mistake.  Keyleth, disguised as a dog, is the only one who notices and she barks a warning.  The party attacks and quickly dispatches the bandits.  Fen is the only one to specify a non-lethal "kill shot" on the bandit who robbed him, no less.  He takes her weapons and armor (and the party splits the gold that the bandits had) and dump them in a hidden spot down the road.  His way of teaching her a lesson.  Overall, the encounter was ridiculously easy and was over in just 2 rounds.  Keyleth and Mia were the only ones to even get hit (once each, Mia's being an OA she provoked), with Fen never getting the chance to Fury.

When the party reaches town they check into the first inn they see, the Upturned Mug.  At this point the player of Sophie and Mia went to pick up food, and he authorized me to control his characters.  Big mistake I guess.  I had Sophie go drink-for-drink with Zeus, and she ended up passing out after puking her guts out in the alley.  She woke up with a (female) Half-Orc and a fun new rash (which we all assumed was herpes...this was more the DM's fault than mine, I just wanted her to be hung over in the morning since she's the party face).  Quote of the night from Sophie's player:  "This was never supposed to happen." 

In the morning Keyleth and Zeus took point talking with Gils Brooks, GCTC's owner/manager.  He gave more details, and was unfortunately unable to spare a ship at the moment.  The party did get the name of one of his contacts at the docks; One-Eyed Captain Jack (those of you who remember the original prologue will see some similarities here).  They found him later, and Sophie was feeling well enough to haggle with him (Words of Friendship) on the price (including possible hazard pay) for passage on his fishing schooner.  He told them to be ready by morning, and Zeus and Fen invited him to have a drink with them later at the Upturned Mug (despite the fact that he was already cradling a bottle of rum). 


With passage on a ship secured, Sophie, Keyleth, and Fen headed to a local temple to Melora to see if Sophie could get her rash cleared up (Keyleth's Senses of the Wild confirmed that it was indeed a disease, though she couldn't identify it specifically).  The Remove Affliction ritual proved pricier than expected, so Sophie tried to haggle to work out a deal.  Keyleth (who had spent much of her childhood/young adulthood professionally collecting herbs for an apothecary in the Feywild city of Shinaelestra) identified the requisite components (via a Nature check) and offered to reduce the cost by providing the components.  After a less successful nature check, she came back with a smaller bundle than expected barely putting a dent in the cost.  She offered to continue collecting on their journey so that when they returned she could provide the temple with a fairly large stock of components, knocking the price down as far as possible. 

While she was out collecting (with Fen's assistance) Sophie tried other negotiation tactics with Brother Gabriel, the priest.  He revealed that there may be one other thing she could do for him; in an adjacent town someone from one of the temples there (allegedly) stole a holy book from him.  It's rumored that they've gotten involved with some dark practices (necromancy), and Brother Gabriel wants Sophie to gather some intel on the situation and return the book.  This would earn her a major discount on the ritual.  Sophie tried to get him to perform the ritual first, but he insisted that if she wanted the discount, he needed his book first.

Afterwards they all met up at the Upturned Mug for drinks.  Sophie performed for tips (while being hit on by Captain Jack the whole time), Zeus drank everyone under the table, and Keyleth and Fen retired early enough to be the first up in the morning (needing to kick Jack awake, as he'd passed out in his booth).  They all followed Jack to his schooner (named The Spooner), and met his first mate (Levi) and the other 4 crew members. 

All seemed to be going well until they spotted a large ship in the distance.  The Spooner was fighting the current to get to Horseshoe Isle, while this new ship had the current on its side.  It soon became obvious that they were being pursued.  Levi was at the helm, Jack still being drunk.  Sophie got a spyglass from one of the crew members and noticed that the crew of the other ship were definitely moving around a lot on deck.  It soon became obvious that they were loading cannons.  Shortly afterward, The Spooner took a hit to the hull.  They were about 300 yards out from the island and only had a single dingy that could fit 5.  While desperately trying to think of a course of action and coming up with nothing particularly brilliant, the ship took another hit to the deck.  Sophie jumped away in time, but one of the crew members was tossed overboard, limp as a rag doll.  Keyleth ordered the remaining crew below deck to start lashing Jack's rum barrels together into a makeshift raft.  Jack dejectedly went below deck after muttering that "you (the PCs) might actually be kept alive for ransom, but they'll just kill me and the crew."

When they were still a couple hundred yards out from the isle and it was obvious that The Spooner couldn't take another direct hit, Keyleth ordered the party to quickly put together a makeshift white flag to signal that they surrender.  The party agreed that their only chance was to get close enough to allow the pirates to board.  They stood a much better chance against the crew than The Spooner did against those guns, and if successful they would have a new ship.

It was at this point that we called it a night, since there is a pretty large battle coming up.  Keyleth, Zeus, and Sophie all have forced movement powers so the best tactic is obviously going to be to try to knock the pirates overboard (while avoiding being knocked overboard themselves!).  Should be fun.

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