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 party began by waiting until cover of night to paddle over to the next island in the chain. During this time Keyleth gathered some more ritual components to reduce the cost of Sophie's Remove Affliction ritual. Under an overcast sky, they set out. Zeus and Fen rowed, while the 3 girls acted as lookouts. The pirate captive was gagged and tied up. About halfway to the other island Sophie spotted 3 shark fins heading toward their small boat. Mia wins initiative, but the best she can do is throw a dagger at one of the sharks. Soon they're charging at the boat, attacking those on board. At one point one of the sharks grabbed Fen, threatening to pull him under. It wouldn't have gotten far, however, since Fen had been using Run Down to keep it slowed, and it was also in Keyleth's Nature's Growth zone (a tangle of seaweed). Keyleth used Charm Beast on an adjacent shark, and then commanded it to attack the one grabbing Fen (which was a kill).
A couple of rounds after the first shark is bloodied, 3 more sharks appear, attracted by the scent of blood. They all attack the bottom of the boat, severely damaging it. At first everyone tries to stay in the boat, but once the reinforcements arrived Mia jumped in the water to use her burst attacks more effectively (only 1 shark remained adjacent to the boat at the water's surface). Shortly afterwards Fen jumped in to get as many of the sharks in his defender's aura as possible in an effort to keep them from attacking the boat. Keyleth soon followed, using Wild Shape to turn into a sea turtle before using Predator's Flurry to daze 2 of the sharks (because sea turtles beating up sharks is awesome). The one shark still above water wouldn't go down too easily with just Sophie and Zeus taking potshots at it, and it used one of its final actions to attack the boat, finally destroying it. Under too much stress already, it fell apart and Sophie and Zeus fell prone in the water (both were wearing chainmail, and had Athletics scores of 2 and 1, respectively). Fortunately, either Fen or Mia (I can't remember) killed the last shark, and Keyleth immediately rushed underwater to save the bound and gagged captive, who was sinking.
Fen let Zeus use his large (wooden) shield as a paddleboard, and they swam the rest of the distance to the other island. Fen propped the prisoner up onto some boat debris, and dragged her (him having the highest Athletics bonus). Everyone ensured they would at least stay afloat by utilizing pieces of wreckage. Only Sophie failed her Endurance check, slowing the others down and losing a healing surge in the process.
The swim took quite a long time, and it was about 5 am by the time they reached the island. They were exhausted, and Keyleth did a quick sweep of the beach to look for tracks (which she found), and they made camp in a densely vegetated spot away from the tracks. Zeus took first watch, and it was during his watch that they were ambushed (he failed his Perception check). During the surprise round, he was peppered with arrows and brought down to bloodied. Initiative was rolled, with the PCs generally moving more quickly than the monsters (only Fen rolled low).
The opposition consisted of 6 humans; 2 archers and 4 melee fighters, 2 of which were beefier than the others. Keyleth summoned a Pack Wolf next to one of the weaker melee guys and an archer, and used an Action Point to Charm a nearby strong melee guy. The wolf knocked the weaker guy prone. Being prone (having been woken up), Mia was forced to simply chuck a dagger. Zeus used his usual tactic of blasting guys with Hand of Radiance, as well as using his second wind. On Fen's turn he stood up (minor action, thanks to Acrobat Boots) and charged the 2 enemies near the Pack Wolf, protecting it and keeping the enemies in his aura. The archer didn't fare too well in this scenario.
Mia's nova round consisted of a move+attack a bunch of guys encounter power, followed by Spinning Leopard Maneuver (a similar daily) via an AP. She ended up hitting every single enemy on the field, ending near the guys tied up by Fen's aura. Her total damage was 150 for that round (there was a crit in there). Speaking of crits, Keyleth had some odd luck; she rolled two crits, but one was Charm Beast (no damage), and the other was with her Pack Wolf (no crit dice thanks to the lack of the Implement keyword on SNA). She also crit-succeeded a saving throw. Frustrating to see nothing special happen for all of those 20s!
Zeus, Fen, and Mia all got beaten up a fair amount, but nobody went down. Keyleth's Pack Wolf was never hit (and only attacked once), so it got 4 or 5 attacks in. To be fair, the DM thought it was like the Shaman's SC and so didn't attack it, but even so it was protected by Fen the majority of the time anyways. Even though nobody was in much danger, a couple of dailies were used and almost everyone used an AP. Certainly the most challenging encounter of the adventure so far, and it was fun as well. Still, this DM tends to lean to the easy side when building encounters, and it's something I've mentioned before. This was a good start (being a random encounter and all), and I hope the upcoming encounters are very challenging.
For now, this was where we ended the session. We played a little under 3 hours, and there was only a little bit of roleplaying with most of the session being the 2 encounters. On average, that's a little over an hour for each encounter which is longer than I prefer. It is worth noting that the cats provided a lot of distractions (from watching their antics, to cleaning up after they'd knock something over, to keeping them off the table) so we weren't running at full efficiency, and there seemed to be a lot of thinking over options when it came to a player's turn. Even my turns took a little longer than usual, and I have my characters' powers pretty much memorized. I guess I just wasn't thinking ahead as much before my turns came up (especially with Keyleth, who is more tactically complex than Fen being a controller and all). While I really enjoy playing Druids, they really do require you to be on your game. A good portion of their control comes from positioning enemies (and/or yourself) just right after dazing/proning them to deny actions and/or generate OAs. While it's certainly engaging most of the time, sometimes I wish control consisted of more straightforward effects like stun, blind, and dominate as opposed to dazes and prones. I can't wait until I pick up Repel Charge in Paragon, as this will make my positioning options more flexible.
Anyways, that's all for now. The DM hopes we'll be done in one more session, but I personally have my doubts, lol.