Tag Archives: story hour

Reavers on the Seas of Fate – Season Three, Seventh Session

Seventh Session (12 page pdf) – “The Sun Temple Colony” – The crew finds the lost Andoran colony built atop an Azlanti ruin.  They fall in with religious extremists as an Azlanti artifact nearly burns their ship to the waterline! Then they start poking around the island.

lost_citiesI liked doing the Sun Temple Colony after I did From Shore To Sea, because they were used to the WoW-like architecture of the Azlanti, and even knew to talk to the will-o-wisp streetlights in Aklo… But first they get lit up by the main attribute of the Sun Temple Colony, its big ol’ sun-focusing floating lens.

The Sun Temple Colony is from the Lost Cities of Golarion supplement. The intent here is that there’s parts of it about 10 CRs above the party’s level, so they have to keep it a bit on the down-low and play the locals against each other. They meet the “free” colonists and learn about the cult, the God-touched and breeder varieties. And they get a mascot, the impressionable 15-year-old Lefty.

Sindawe gets to exercise his captaining skills, which is generally “issue orders and then beat the nearest crewman unconscious since he’s clearly not moving fast enough.” They do get loot shares; this is probably the best place to give the pirate crewmen treasure because they are a thousand miles from anywhere they can spend it.

Then, it’s off to hexcrawl and explore the island!

 

 

Reavers on the Seas of Fate – Season Three, Sixth Session

Sixth Session (12 page pdf) – “Quest for Azlant” – The crew sees some hot action against the Mordant Spire Elves as they fight a skimmer to the bitter end. Then they investigate the weird dangers of Azlant, finally arriving at the Sun Temple Colony.

mordantspireThe fight against the Mordant Spire Elf skimmer is very different from their previous naval combats.  The elf ships are small and nimble, with small but very expert crews. Sindawe was shocked when they handily outsailed him and then the magic started – elementals, an unseen servant dropping the ToA’s anchor, fireballs, glitterdusts, fly, invisibility, and much much more!

And they maroon the female elf captain, eschewing torture, rape, etc., possibly as a result of last session’s heart-to-heart on the subject of pirate ethics. They do enjoy taking all the elves’ masks however! The Mordant Spire elves consider the Azlanti islands a “no go” area so patrol it and drive off outsiders. Didn’t work in this case, but it was a solid combat!

Then the crystal pillar they come across and decide not to enter is directly from a legend about real-life St. Brendan the Navigator I read in some book of exploration stories.

And finally they reach the place they end up staying a while – the Sun Temple Colony!

Reavers on the Seas of Fate – Season Three, Fifth Session

Fifth Session (15 page pdf) – “Island Tour” – The Teeth of Araska crawls through the sunken spires of lost Azlant looking for Morgann Baumann and the Black Bunyip.  And one crew member falls to MURDER! But a new and unusual  member joins the crew.

The Teeth of Araska ventures into the shattered remnants of lost Azlant in the middle of the Arcadian Ocean. Much of the action is ship-navigation, storms, and minor random encounters. Except for Tommy murdering Bojask over dinner.

Tommy’s player had to leave the game but we keep in touch.  Last time we talked he told me “Tommy’s totally against slavery, and he’s not going to put up with Bojask and his elven rape slave.” So at officer’s mess one night, he death attacks Bojask right in front of the other PCs, which they find appropriately shocking. Then there’s a lot of discussion and hashing over ethics and morals and feelings and practicalities…  This provides them an opportunity to actually discuss and introspect about the crew’s slaving and raping and whatnot, up till now it’s been happening as snap decisions without real party discussion.

And then, they find J.J. the seamunculus! He turns into a hilarious long-term NPC, an “anatomically correct” aquatic homunculus that a flamboyantly-dressed wizard made… He makes the PCs a mix of entertained and uncomfortable, just how it should be.

I like sessions like this where there’s some stuff going on but it serves mainly as a backdrop for PC/PC and PC/NPC interactions. The PCs are very invested in their ship and crew and are happy to go into great detail with them. Heck, it’s these roleplay sessions that turn into 15 page summaries like this one, as opposed to the combat ones where it’s 8 pages of “someone hit somebody.” Enjoy!

Best line:

Jaren the Jinx shouts out, “Buoy Ho!” The crew becomes so embroiled in making ribald jokes at this they nearly miss what he’s pointing at.

Reavers on the Seas of Fate – Season Three, Fourth Session

Fourth Session (10 page pdf) – “Zombie Proof” – as if zombie barbarians and zombie Red Mantis assassins aren’t enough, the crew ventures beneath the waves to the wreck of the Tammeraut, following their own fates.

In this session, we resume in mid-fight as the zombies threaten to overwhelm the hermitage on Firewatch Island. When they all have to fall back and barricade themselves into the scriptorium to avoid the undead hordes comes my favorite dialogue of the session:

Daphne says, “It’s days like this I’m glad I was kidnapped by pirates.”

I turned the spellcasting into a mini-game to race against time, and when Wogan and Janore finally got the spell cast they doubled down on the existing storm to waterspouts that cleansed the island of zombies!

The generic ghost that’s the end of Tammeraut’s Fate is instead part of the legacy of the shadow phantom-haunted members of the small band that got Cypher-glyphs exploded into them at the climax of Season One, Madness in Riddleport. The ongoing theme of the corruption of that kind of magic continues!  And then, they depart with a spell that can find them the Black Bunyip and Morgan Baumann!

Reavers on the Seas of Fate – Season Three, Third Session

Third Session (17 page pdf) – “Reindeer Games” – Survivors are found in the monastery! And then, it’s John Carpenter’s “The Fog” time as waterlogged zombies besiege the place.

We continue with the classic Tammeraut’s Fate from Dungeon Magazine. The first part is all investigation and talking to Janore, the remaining hermit worth talking to.  It gets more lively with the (advanced) peryton attack that almost kills Sindawe. The party was grumped that it snuck up on them “in the sky” but the belfry has only pretty narrow windows and a roof and all, it’s not high visibility unless you walk around sticking your head out to look up and down.

My favorite part was when they had the ship send a longboat – the pirates didn’t know anything was up, so when Sindawe told them “send spears, there may be an undead attack tonight” they thought he was being coy, and returned dressed as zombies. “The disappointed pirates return to their ship, pausing to moan for brains from time to time.”

Then they encounter two hags… I wasn’t even thinking, in the adventure it’s just like Sea Hag (2).  But of course the PCs immediately came to the conclusion that Janore must be the third hag in the coven. (Heck in our current Carrion Crown campaign, the party’s ready to lynch three sisters who live together on the grounds that they’re surely witches or hags.)

This was nice and sandboxy – “Here’s a location, harden it against an undead attack!” They came up with every plan they could, then when night falls they fight a very large supply of draugr (drowned Vikings) while Wogan and Janore use a scroll to whip the storm into a hurricane. The dramatic finale, next time!

Reavers on the Seas of Fate – Season Three, Second Session

Second Session (15 page pdf) – “Tammeraut’s Fate” – The  Teeth of Araska crosses the Arcadian Ocean headed for Azlant, and finds an abandoned monastery on Firewatch Island, the first major waypoint in the islands. What’s going on?

The crew wavecrawls their way West across the Arcadian Ocean. As usual I use a mix of random weather generation and the Today at Sea encounter generator.

Crazy ships!  Ghost ships!  Bad storms! They become concerned their ship is haunted! It was really just a couple coincidences but I enjoyed how quickly a couple unexplained minor occurrences turned into a major witch hunt; welcome to shipboard life.

And finally they reach Firewatch Island, home to a lone monastery – and the location of famed Dungeon Magazine adventure Tammeraut’s Fate! Dungeon #106, written by none other than Greg A. Vaughan. Think John Carpenter’s “The Fog” and you’ll be on track. Besides a peryton it seems abandoned, but something bad happened recently… More on that next time!

Reavers on the Seas of Fate – Season Three, First Session

First Session (17 page pdf) – “Reavers of the Coast” – The group decides to embrace their piracy and raid the little Chelish logging town of Hollobrae. But can they live with the results?

Warning, adult content.

In the first session of Season Three the Reavers get on the road – well, the open ocean – and want to raid a town. OK, I think. Every adventure module ever wastes 10 pages of its limited space on “here’s another shitty little starting town” so I pulled some old third party modules I’m unlikely to use as written, pop one open, oh look it’s the logging town of Hollobrae. It’s from an old Fiery Dragon module called “The Silver Summoning.” Little crap town, VIPs in town for an elf-human wedding. I plunk it down in Cheliax and we’re ready to go. Cleverly, they send in a scouting party first, who figures out what’s up and gets Lavender Lil invited to be the entertainment at the bachelor party.

They devise a careful multi-pronged assault plan on the town that starts to go awry immediately. Turns out there’s a sorceress in the inn who Glitterdusts the pirates (after they murder her uncle the bartender), this makes the fight with the locals and bachelors harder than they planned. The inn and people there were largely detailed in the Silver Summoning adventure and so it added a nice layer of realism and complexity to the NPC interaction. There were lots of great little moments, especially because they took the crewmen they know the best with them. Sevgi went upstairs and had a real round by round knock-down-drag-out with a bachelor that reminded us of the knife fight in Saving Private Ryan. Then in an anticlimactic moment, they met Martino Marcellano, a Chelish noble who used to own Bel, Sevgi, and the ex-slave members of the crew! He’s a hotshot duelist but Wogan blinded him and Sindawe beat him unconscious with no opposition. Dang it.

Then Wogan and Sindawe got to the “bachelor party room” – it was funny, they peek through the keyhole, see a sick orgy with Lil, Tommy,  Seyanna the succubus (allegedly back in Riddleport) and some rakes. By the time they gather Serpent and bust in there’s no succubus but everyone is dead except Lil and Tommy. He claims “poison.” Wogan really did investigate the keyhole after to make sure it was “reading right.”

They head out, loot, and as the ship bombards the town they leave, taking the sorceress from the inn and Marcellano. The group that hit the armory decided to go out on their own initiative and kidnapped a bunch of elf women from the bride’s party!

One of the things I like to do in evil campaigns is to test the PCs.  See what their limits are. As they fought off a couple devils from the local church of Asmodeus’ quick response team, Serpent actually tried to free as many of the women as he could in the confusion – three of the five thankfully got away as a result.  (Marcellano escaped on his own recognizance to torment them later.) None of the three pirate command staff were in favor of taking the women really, but Sindawe didn’t want the morale complications from saying no and Wogan’s a pretty “go with the flow” kind of guy. Serpent was willing to help them escape but once they were at sea with the last two he didn’t stick up for them.

Then we have the moral interaction play itself out.  Sindawe didn’t see a way out of letting the agitated crew auction for the elf women (Nariel and Natulcien). Morale and mutiny is a real thing, so he didn’t do the ethical thing but it was probably the practical thing. So Bojask the half-orc rapist gets one, and Tommy and Lil get one (actually they bid for her out of compassion, to keep her relatively safe – don’t tell anyone; a couple of the other pirates did too – Little Mike is a nice guy at heart). Similarly, Samaritha saves Daphne the sorceress’ life by promising to keep her Dominated – she is forced to sign the Articles by Sindawe in exchange for this “favor” though. The rest of the time is trying to ignore the screaming.  (Yes, I laid it on thick to try to generate guilt.)  Captive women on a ship, pirates… You know that this is going to cause a lot of turmoil going forward.  And stay tuned, it does! No bad deed goes unpunished in the long run. It’s hard to blaze a path between “pirate” and “psycho dirtbag” especially when you have a large group that’s a mix of those, and that’s part of what we’re exploring in this campaign.

Reavers on the Seas of Fate – Season Three

The Reavers on the Seas of Fate campaign isn’t dead, far from it! But with my busy life/work/gaming schedule, I run out of time allocated to it when prepping for the game itself, and so haven’t been blogging about it.  But we’ve been playing biweekly in the intervening year and a half since you’ve seen a post on it, taking session summaries and all!

For newcomers, Reavers is a Pathfinder campaign of my own device, mashing up Paizo’s Golarion (especially Riddleport from the Second Darkness adventure path), Green Ronin’s Freeport, and Razor Coast, plus anything else I have lying around, into one mega pirate campaign. The PCs are pirates of great violence and tenacity – a Mwangi martial artist, an Ulfen nature warrior, and a portly gun-toting priest of Gozreh the sea god.

To recap, in Season One (2009-2010), “Shadows in Riddleport,” the PCs started their life as sailors, made friends and enemies in Riddleport, did some pirating stints aboard the Wandering Dagger, and went through the “Death in Freeport” trilogy mixed up with the Second Darkness Adventure Path, resulting in unmaking serpent man Elias Tammerhawk and interrupting a ritual atop the Riddleport Light that resulted in a tsunami hitting the city. They meet such colorful folk as Samaritha the serpent woman, Clegg Zincher the crime lord, Hatshepsut the monk/priestess from a lost age, Thalios Dondrel son of Mordekai the naked pirate, Lavender Lil the tiefling hooker, Jaren the Jinx the cursed ex-pirate and son of the famous Black Dog, Glapion the voodoo man, and Mama Watanna the voodoo water goddess.

In Season Two (2010-2012), “Eros and Thanatos,” they deal with their shadow-tainted fate from the interrupted ritual – first dealing with the aftermath of the tsunami (Carrion Hill), heading to a nearby island that’s somehow involved (Children of the Void), and returning to find the Cypher Lodge taken over by the phantoms. But, they also get their own pirate ship, the Teeth of Araska, and set out to forge their own destiny as true pirates! They end up going to get Jaren the Jinx to help them find a place on a treasure map Sindawe’s father left him, but have a disturbing stint on a ruined Azlanti island near an Innsmouthian town (From Shore to Sea). And at long last, Serpent and Samaritha tie the knot!

Now welcome to Season Three (2012-2013), “Et In Arcadia Ego,” in which our pirates head out to sunken Azlant in search of treasure and find a lot more than they bargained for. Zombies! Lost colonies! Vampire strippers! Children! Elves! Strap in and come along with us for the ride.  In two weeks is the campaign’s four year anniversary!

 

Jade Regent – The Empty Throne, Session Five

Fifth Session (7 page pdf) – Campaign Finale! We roll hard on the Jade Regent and his overlord/lackeys. It’s over fast – is it a TPK, or do we liberate the country of Minkai?  Read on, Will Robinson!

Empty Throne

Jade Regent – The Empty Throne, Session Four

Fourth Session (12 page pdf) – We go on a hostage rescue raid and kill a good bit of the palace’s defenders in the bargain. And then the propaganda war begins! Plus, we set up V’lk in a deadly one-on-one with the Raven Prince, the Regent’s pet ninja master.

This was a lively time.  First, we went to rescue the captured women of Kasai from the Imperial Palace.  Our usual scry, teleport, kill strategy is tried and true, but we sure get some resistance this time. The three spider woman wardens in there with them are tough, and then a mess of Typhoon Guards join them.

We get in a tight spot when the Typhoons kill one of the women and threaten to kill them all if we don’t surrender.  In an inspired bit of mayhem, V’lk uses a Major Image (illusion) to show Harwynian breathing fire on all the hostages, “killing” them. That got a big “holy shit!” from friends and foes alike.

The second tight spot was when we saw more women across the courtyard in another building and more Typhoon Guards coming.  Harwynian scooted over there and teleported out that contingent while we Wall of Iced inside our room and mopped up. Tactics FTW! I was really pleased with the whole group’s performance.

Speaking of performances, we’re not to the most awesome part yet. We start in with some standard insurgency work and decide to lure out the Jade Regent’s pet ninja, the Raven Prince. V’lk challenges him to a ninja showdown and then we put on a performance of The Cuckolded Cuckoo, the play we took (and Yoshihiro adapted) from the crazy tengu we killed in Brinewall. V’lk was working backstage… But not really V’lk, another Major Image.  His Hide outstripped the Raven Prince’s Perception, and the ninja appeared and stabbed the illusion.  The illusory V’lk pled for his life and dragged himself from the gloating tengu ninja – he went for the death strike just to have the illusion disappear as he got helle-backstabbed by V’lk. And down he goes!  Clean kill Naruto style! Ninja style chest bumps all around, after the curtain fell on our play ended – with the death of the Cuckolded Cuckoo. Literary irony FTW!

A little hooker negotiation, and we’re set up for the finale next time on Jade Regent!

Jade Regent – The Empty Throne, Session Three

Third Session (12 page pdf) – We continue to kill already-dead emperors in the Well of Demons.  They’re livelier than you’d think. There’s devils and demons and daemons and whatever else they could think of.  And then we fight Lo Pan!

First, after a conversation with the totally worthless kami who guards the holy waters (his main superpower appears to be “tastes good in butter”), we go back into the rift and fight stuff.  First up are giant spellcasting boggards!  Or hydrodaemons, as it turns out. With summoned water elementals and spell-likes and them being in the water it takes a really long time. Then, an undead samurai. And a nightwing. And a lich. Finally we get the dead Emperor’s body and finish up this big ol’ vision quest! And level to 13.

Not too much else to tell about this one – we basically grinded the heck out of a bunch of high-CR baddies!

Jade Regent – The Empty Throne, Session Two

Second Session (16 page pdf) – It’s down into the demon rift under the Shrine Island for us. We don’t mind the normal Type III  and IV demons so much but when I spend half a combat in a demon’s vajayjay – that’s a little extreme.

My character Yoshihiro meets a good angel type ancestor of his – but discovers he has to kill a weird twisted one.  Check out this puppy:

Venedaemon

The Gylou, or Handmaiden Devil – but the name on the image is “Venedaemon.” She pulls you up into her… “Tentacle cage” in her nether regions. Guess where I end up.

We headed down into the Well of Demons and every encounter there was hardcore.  They mixed demons and devils and daemons and undead and whatever they could think of that was high CR. We cut our way through erinyes and a masked devil before we get tentacle girl.  Luckily my buddies killed her fast when she “enveloped” me.

Then we had a funny time with the fish-men.  They were sitting there talking about “killing that Commie.”  It took us a minute of scratching our heads to realize that they meant kami, a Japanese nature spirit. We determined they were “Republicans” and tried to negotiate with them, but with a large group someone or other is going to initiate combat within a round of contact, so we just kill them too.

These combats are a big game of rocket tag.  I can’t take a big boss down in one round but pretty much can in two.  So a lot of the time I run up, hit them once and hurt them, they full attack me for most of my hit points, then I hit them for all their hit points. I really don’t like the damage inflation in Pathfinder and 3.5e in general. These critters had enough weird abilities that it was a little more interesting, but even so, a lot of it is exchange of “here’s 100 points of damage, enjoy!”