Twenty-Third Session (23 page pdf) – “Monster Island, Part 3″ – The pirate command staff messes with an arcane Azlanti orrery. And then they go into what they are pretty sure is the bowels of some vast beast. And Jaren the Jinx returns!
Another session of From Shore to Sea; we’re getting our money’s worth out of this one!
Our pirates bumble their way through the arcane workings of the Azlanti island. It’s an interesting challenge – the three of them don’t have a lot of book learnin’ between them, but trial and error wins the day, with a little extra slack.
They can’t read any of the Azlanti writings since they used both scrolls of comprehend languages already. I came up with a good “see the lines of magic” special effect for the Necklace of Alvis, making it more cool than “+5 to spellcraft in the orrery.”
They pretty much just investigated and intuited what to do about the orrery, even without going through all the nonsense the module says. “Spellcraft check DC 40?” What the fuck? Forget that. They didn’t even need to go raise dead guys in the graveyard or read the plaques. They found some shattered crystal, saw the tower zooming by, and figured “Well of course we need a new lens and I’m sure they’re in there…” and bing bang boom they went up, got a lens, put it in, and deactivated the domination amplification rune. They didn’t know they did that, or why they needed to do it, or what it did, but by gum they did it.
Then they met Sarah, Jaren’s wife. GM rule #1, never have some unrelated hapless NPC when they can be somehow related to the PCs instead. She was all sad, but they made her come along anyway, and then once they went up the tower they all were happy they’d done something and went scurrying down – Serpent was the one who noticed Sarah wasn’t with them and turned around to see what was up. She did the classic “tell him I loved him…” I like it when I can give players those real oh-shit moments.
[P.S. Van Helsing is just the most shitful movie ever… It’s playing while I write this… OMG]
A recurring theme was Gareb and Slasher Jim running to be the first to loot fallen enemies. I enjoyed how when Wogan was faced off trident-to-trident with a fish-man they stood by taking bets. There was quite an argument when Serpent ran in and killed it; everyone in the whole discussion felt aggrieved.
Then Jaren the Jinx resurfaces. His jinxiness is much less now – it used to turn any crit into a crit failure. Now it just makes me draw on the fumble deck (well, I use the iPad app) whenever there’s a natural 1. This makes the party not kill him out of hand. Surprisingly, Wogan is normally the most amiable member of the party, but he was very much in favor of killing Jaren out of hand. He gets under his skin somehow.
When they went down under the ziggurat, they were totally convinced they were headed down the gullet and into the bowels of some huge creature. Fun stuff.
I like how my “examine the area don’t just roll” plan is making for more interesting things even during combat – in the final fight, Sindawe really did just happen across and then use that aberration bane spear without knowing what it was, and was really impressed when it wasted a cloaker out of hand!
Next time, the finale!