Seventh Session (14 page pdf) – “Children of the Void” – Rescued from an island in the Varisian Gulf by a friendly ship, the PCs make it to the Devil’s Elbow and find the place under siege. They try to rescue the Cyphermage contingent on the island and end up needing rescuing themselves. All this and more, in the latest installment of Reavers on the Seas of Fate.
This session was fun; it started with all the PCs clinging to rocks to avoid the embrace of a heaving sea, and it ends with the PCs clinging to a different set of rocks to avoid the embrace of a heaving sea.
The first part of the session was slow but fun. The Reavers were marooned on an island after their swan boat got ripped apart by angry orca. Sindawe “made it up” to Mama Watanna, but that didn’t get them any closer to shore. They made the most of their time being stranded, however – lots of inter-character role-playing. Tommy’s player Kevin was gone this session (with some complicated excuse involving the former guitar player for Dokken) and I subbed in for him, mainly in the vein of making off-color suggestions whenever the topic of Serpent’s mother came up. Serpent (Paul) was trying to send animal messengers to people he thought might help them, but Sindawe (Chris) hijacked some of them to send anonymous threatening letters to Bojask at the Gold Goblin, which set the tone for subsequent hilarity.
There was also more serious scenes, the most serious of which was Sindawe talking with Hatshepsut. It turns out she had full memory of what happened beneath the waves, when Mama Watanna possessed her body (“rode her,” in voodoo terms) and made love to Sindawe. I had a hard time with some of this – I had meant to ask a woman beforehand (one who would humor such a demented question) as to what a coherent reaction might be in this situation – this guy I just made love to for the first time apparently had some previous thing with a goddess who then possessed me and had sex with him with my body but as her… It’s more complicated than that even but this is a blog post. Anyway, Sindawe RPed it well and did awesome on a couple Sense Motive and Diplomacy checks, so things didn’t go real bad (with Hatshepsut, getting on her bad side often results in a trip to the ER). Talk about complexity. I had to resort to more explanation out of character than I like, but I had trouble forming that all in character. In the end, Hatshepsut was a little impressed by Sindawe’s courage (or foolhardiness) in defying a goddess to be with her. Though she’s not 100% sold on it.
Beforehand, I had put together a solid timeline of what all was transpiring back in Riddleport and on Devil’s Elbow, so given their timeline of sending calls for help it took five days to get rescue (even though they were only a half day from Riddleport). In this case, it was Captain Creesy, whose crew was in ill humor after having a fire set aboardship by saboteurs in port.
I use some random weather tables for the sea voyages, and my rolls indicated first a windstorm, which required all the PCs to really exert their sea legs (and Wogan to use a wind fan) and then the next roll upped the level to hurricane strength! Apparently the first winter storm from the northeast was a bitch and a half. Luckily they all have very high Profession: Sailor skills and came through without significant damage (and even stayed on course).
Then it was time for the island itself, with weird zombies that have a big ass tongue-tentacle. The PCs were very lucky in that Sindawe critted with his very first shot and realized that they had to attack the tongues – you could attack the zombie all you wanted and it would keep coming. So they got through that easy enough and went to help the Cyphermages in the Witchlight.
Then Serpent got an unfortunate surprise. Fenella Bromathan, who he’s been suspecting is his mother or sister or something, had been wounded by the monsters on the island and was on her way to turning into a zombie herself. This led to a great session of roleplaying. She is all educated and Cyphermagey, but now with death looming she fell back on the ways of her people, the Ulfen.
“I need your help. I know none of the mages will have the courage to do what needs to be done. They are too civilized; they won’t be able to accept our ways. I am a wizard, but first, I am Ulfen.”
Serpent nods. “I can arrange for a pyre, I think.”
She says, “It will be good to die under the open sky.”
Over the strenuous objections of the remaining Cyphermages, they took Fenella up to the roof, built a pyre, and saw her off Ulfen style. Beforehand, she passed on a locket to Serpent that might have a clue to his origins!
They interacted with the surviving Cyphermages. I got their names and descriptions from daemonslye’s SD Pathfinder Beta conversion PDFs – Fustinius the Balding, Eli the 12-year-old prodigy, Jean-Jacques, and Georges St. Maarten. They explained that the monsters were resistant to magic and killed half their number before they locked themselves in the Witchlight.
Then the monsters attacked. They look a lot like Sammael from the Hellboy movie. I have changed them a lot from their Second Darkness writeup to fit my campaign arc; their high DR was part of that and made them a mighty tough fight. In the midst of it, the tower the PCs are in topples and rolls down a cliff! In the Children of the Void adventure there’s a great mini-game where the PCs are in the tumbling tower, monsters are still attacking, and it gets really crazy. Everyone but two of the Cyphermages survived, though – Georges was killed by Saluthra when he panicked and tried to unbar the door, and Jean-Jacques died in the tower tumble. In the end, they were all clutching the rocky beach at the base of the cliff; luckily salt water affects the monsters like acid and they are momentarily safe from attack.
I really enjoyed this session, it ranged from hardcore roleplay to fun roleplay to action setpiece. Woot!