Monday, January 23, 2012

Investigation: The Horseshoe Isle Settlement (Session 2)

Cast of Characters

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

Battle Aboard the Merry Jane

The previous session ended with The Spooner nearly destroyed, and the PCs raising a white flag in mock surrender to the pirate ship.  The idea was to wait until the ship got close enough that the crew could board them, and then the party would attack.  The Spooner being a small fishing vessel, the pirates shouldn't expect resistance.  As the ship (called The Merry Jane) pulled alongside the Spooner's port, the PCs could see 4 thuggish looking deckhands with grappling hooks nearest to them, clearly preparing to board.  There were also 2 buff looking pirates, 2 pirate archers, and 2 tough-looking pirates that appeared to be in charge.  Before the deckhands could toss their grappling hooks, the party attacked and initiative was rolled.

Zeus rolled highest, and blasted 3 pirates with Searing Orb (1 was a deckhand, which not surprisingly turned out to be a minion).  With 1 enemy down and the other 2 blinded, Mia used Crane's Wings to easily jump aboard the Merry Jane, and she went straight for the blinded pirates.  Keyleth was up next, using Vine Serpents to contain 3 different pirates and setting up her Nature's Growth zone nearby, the limit the mobility of the enemies around Mia.  Nobody else blew any dailies, and Sophie, Keyleth, and Zeus pretty much stayed aboard The Spooner as artillery.  Fen was able to just clear the jump (the distance between the 2 ships was 2 squares) as part of a charge toward one of the archers.  He used an AP to attack the archer again, bloodying him and knocking him prone.  This was the only AP spent during the encounter.

The following are some observations and highlights from the rest of the battle:
  • In general, though we didn't plan for it our party is extremely AoE heavy and also happens to have a lot of forced movement at their disposal.  The fact that Zeus and Keyleth have Hand of Radiance and Magic Stones, respectively, is interesting, and regardless of what Mia is doing she can slide someone with Centered Flurry of Blows.  Though it didn't occur in this battle, I'm keeping an eye out for opportunities to use Magic Stones to group enemies in Fen's aura (MS is a push 2 for her).  Mia can then blast the crap out of them while protected by Fen, and if Fen gets overwhelmed Prescient Warning and Curtain of Steel are great retaliatory attacks (CoS will trigger Fen's Fury, which will score him 16 THP).
  • Vine Serpents absolutely wrecked this encounter.  Most of the pirates in the zone didn't have ranged attacks, so while they were immobilized/restrained they couldn't do anything.  One of the archers was in the zone, but every time he shot out of it he took 9 auto-damage.  Mia (and eventually Fen) parked next to the zone just outside, so once enemies were no longer immobilized/restrained they still took damage for attacking outside of the zone.  Add in the party's proclivity for forced movement and you can see why the enemies went down quickly.
  • Mia was the only combatant to knock someone overboard, using Crane's Wings (with FoB as a backup in case the pirate made her saving throw to avoid getting pushed off).  That pirate was the only one to survive the battle, as Keyleth threw a rope down to her afterwards so they could ask her about the settlement (and gather info on the area's pirates).
  • Fen was never even bloodied, only taking a single hit.  The DM was rolling really badly for attacks most of the night.  Mia was the only PC to take any appreciable damage, but the only healing that had to be dished out was Revitalizing Incantation.  
  • Keyleth rolled a 3 with her Charm Beast attack, and the Elven Accuracy roll was a 2.  Boo.  The DM wasn't too happy to learn that the pirate was dazed anyways, leaving Fen as his only viable target.  
  • Fen went into a Fury late, getting to make only two attacks as a striker.  The first was a bad miss, the second was a charge that critted the last archer (who had only 3 HP left) for 40 damage.  As he sliced the head off of the pirate, he caught the head in mid-air as the body was thrown overboard by the force of the blow, then he slammed the head onto the deck. 

The Settlement

After the battle, the party went below deck of The Spooner and called the crew (and Captain Jack) over to The Merry Jane, their new ship.  Jack immediately went below deck, and the crew requested Mia's assistance as this was a bigger vessel and they were now shorthanded.  Keyleth went up to the crow's nest as lookout.  Sophie, Fen, and Zeus interrogated their captive.  They learned that this area is the territory of the Pirate League, and that they've made it a point to get rid of any settlements they find.  They also learn that Captain Jack was kicked out of the Pirate League, and their captive was responsible for him having only 1 eye.  They also questioned her about the "monstrous tracks" reported by the supply crew, and she informed them that many pirates in the area enslave various monstrous creatures to do their bidding.

It wasn't long before the ship got as close as it could get to the beach, at which point the PCs rowed to shore, taking their captive with them (you know, we never did catch her name...).  The settlement was very primitive with just a few thatched huts and some rudimentary buildings (a mill, shop, etc).  Bodies were indeed everywhere, and Fen (being trained in Heal) went over to them to determine cause of death.  He rolled a 19, which made for a 29 total, so the DM answered pretty much every question I had regarding the injuries.  They had died about a week ago, most of them with slash wounds inflicted by swords.  A few, however, were bludgeoned pretty badly and suffered from bite wounds that were inflicted while the victims were still alive.  Meanwhile, Keyleth decided to investigate the large tracks that were reported, aided by Zeus, Mia, and Sophie.  Keyleth critted her Nature check to ID the tracks, which combined with the +6 from the three aid rolls resulted in a total of 40.  She pretty much instantly recognized them as troll tracks.  The tracks were mixed with humanoid tracks, with a trail leading to the settlement from the woods, and then going back into the woods the way they came.  Knowing that trolls were difficult to take down without acid or fire damage, the party took stock of their resources.  Sophie's Dilettante was Burning Spray, and this was their only fire attack.  At least it was something.

The group (with their captive in tow and gagged now) followed the trail through the woods for about a mile.  At this point they reached a beach, where the tracks ended.  It looked like a small boat had been drug up on the beach, and had likely come from another island about a half mile across open water from this beach.  Using the spyglass that one of the crew members had lent her before the pirate attack, Sophie looked for anything of interest on the other island.  It appeared that there were some smoke plumes coming from the mountainside, and possibly some structures there as well.  They walked back to the settlement, portaged their rowboat through the woods to the second beach, and spent the rest of the day waiting for the cover of darkness, at which point they would row to the island. 

Our DM needed to get some sleep so we ended here.

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