A big celebration – all the prominent members of Home. “Sounds as of Jabal got his comeuppance – that his fate is much that that of the foul Sultan Malik, the former ruler of the Jinn. Here, you shall always be ‘As favored as Martek’." says the Pasha.
The Pasha bestowes the following gifts on the group:
- A coffee serving set – +2 to any Persuasion/Reaction for Al-Shirkuh natives/those entrenched in culture due to its fine craftsmanship and obvious favor the PCs
- Blood of the Marid – A Bloodstone (see Gemstones) necklace for Areceli – the gem contains a single Bennie that can be used to re-roll a healing check once per session.
- Marqod’s Blessings – A 2-Wound Healing Potion for each member of the group
- Each PCs may obtain an Alchemical item of their choice (Novice or Seasoned Power) for free from the townsfolk.
After a night of festivities, the group sets sail for the new island revealed by the Blue Lens. As the Spirit of Suleiman pulls out of port, the group sees a crowd form. Capitan Rafiq shakes his scimitar at the departing ship. There are a number of women, some angry, some looking forlorn. A number of angry men are in the crowd as well. The group turns to Naji, who smiles sheepishly.
Island of Beasts.
Naji informs the group the island indicated on the map is one sailors all avoid – it is an island of foul humanoid beasts. As they approach, the island does not look inhabited. There is a ridge of hills running along the spine of the island. Upon circling the island, they do spot a lagoon with crude outrigger boats.
The group approaches the island at dusk with most using their Necklaces of the Sea. As they near the beach, an emaciated man breaks from the jungle cover and rushes to the surf. His is quickly shot by figures lurking in the foliage. A quick fight reveals them to be Orcs. They have unusually finely crafted weapons and all bear a symbol of an eye with a lightening bolt for an iris.
The group makes it look like the dead man killed the orcs and move to set up camp a distance away. They set double watch, but that does not seem to help them when Tabari and Salim were paired together. As they sat facing outward, someone darts between them and back into the jungle! Then the pursing orcs show up. A fierce hand to hand fight occurs with the heroes being victorious.
The next day, they follow the trail into the jungle. They come upon a small fort with a wooden palisade. After some scouting, they see a two prisoners lashed to posts in the center of the fort. Occasionally, a foul orc would wander over and whip one of the men.
The orcs are not all that observant and they pay for that lapse in judgement. After some plotting, the group decides they plan of assault. Tabari and Salim enter using Sirocco after Araceli takes out the guard in the tower with her bow. Menivis and Ahmed scale the wooden wall. Araceli then climbs the wall herself.
In general, things go to plan. Ahmed nearly bit off more than he could chew when burst into the barracks area, but the group was able to rally. The group then discovers the prisoners in the pit, about 20 in all. They learn of the mines and where the ore is taken, but they do not know the masters of the stone castle deeper in the island.
Here is the view of events from Ahmed’s point of view:
“Fine weaponry for their kind,” growled Menevis, kicking a sword from the grip of a dead beast man.
Ahmed was letting the dervish flows calm around after the heat of battle. He looked around the primitive fortification at the carnage. There were prisoners that needed attention but he took a moment to reflect.
The old map had led them here, following yet another X. This small island was nearly uncharted and the X had been fairly indiscriminate, giving them no guidance to their goal: the last page of the old man’s book, the way to open the door and discover the fate of the famous Sinbad.
“Why are creatures such as these in the middle of the ocean in a fortification against no one keeping prisoners alive? Were the escaped prisoners we saw let go for sport or did they actually escape? Where did they think they could go? We’ve seen no boats or ships. And where it that last page hidden. We’ll have to search here but this would be a strange place for it to be hidden.”
Ahmed wiped his swords on the cloak of a fallen defender and slung them over his back.
Their path was full of twists, turns and tests. He began to feel as if their search was like one of Sinbad’s journeys, full of challenge and death. That realization made him smile. He and his friends had become talked about in ports, their deeds retold. Was it hubris to think they could walk in the footsteps of Sinbad and solve the mystery to find the legend’s tomb? What if in Suleiman’s wisdom they could find Sinbad alive? Trapped by some enchantment they could break? The possibilities…
As they started to work on the chains securing the prison pits, his mind drifted unbidden to the dream of his tribe. The usurper and the thought of returning home to lead them had played on his mind ever since that night in Jabal’s Tower. What if it was not some fantasy woven by that foul necromancer? What if his brother and the tribe suffered that way even now? It had been long since he’d had word of his people and he felt the draw to home.
It just was not strong enough to overcome his need for adventure…
(note, I was using a smaller scale map of the famous Moathouse from ToEE for this scene).
After a rough and sweaty trip, the heroes find the keep. They see a bit of smoke from one tower and hear the occasional ringing of a metal hammer on metal. The group decides to work they way to a secluded place, come down into the ravine protecting the keep, and work their way in to the rear of the keep. By late afternoon, they arrive to their desired point. Araceli easily scales the rocky crag and the wall of the keep. The rest are reluctantly ferried by Sirocco.
Once up to the roof of the keep, they come forward and see a pair of orcs across the courtyard. They are gathering up ore and taking it into the tower to a smelter. Araceli manages to pick off two orcs and two cyclops* before the alarm is raised!
- funny silly moment – when the first cyclops appears, Ahmed’s Notice was rather poor – so the player jokingly called out “centaur!” So we redubbed this the Ilse of misfit Centaurs – a centaur with One Leg Hindrance (presuming it cuts the number of legs in half) and One Eye Hindrance would look like a cyclops.
What happened next is best described by Menivis:
It had sounded like a good idea at the time. Ariceli had already taken down two orcs and a pair of cyclops at the gate house. Now the doors to the main keep stood open but no one ventured out of the darkness within. Stalemate.
Menivis and Ahmed grabbed a rope, looped it over a vent pipe in the roof and together trotted to the edge above the doors. With deep breaths and a count of three they swung over the edge, letting the rope ends catch the roof line and swing them thru the open doors to land amid their foes, hoping to gain surprise.
And the world seemed to end in a blur of motion, the sharp twang of bowstrings, the clash of steel and the roaring crackle and flash of sorcerous lightning. In but a heartbeat both Menivis and Ahmed were wounded but three of their foes were down. More lightning, more clashing of steel, more blood on the stone floor. The indignant cry of a dark priest of Adad, the shattering of furniture. Then the rest of the party arrived in their own hail of spell craft and arrows. A few more moments and it was done. The keep was theirs.
[In game terms, the orcs and Cyclops in the keep were on hold. Both PCs, the orcs, and the cyclops all rolled 5s for Agility – a massive simultaneous fight!]
In clearing out the keep, the group found yet another Lens, three of the Lightning Javelins, and one Orc survivor. The orc noted the Cyclops worshipped Adid, the Father of Storms. The orc tribe was known as the Eye of Adid. He knows that there is a monstrously large cyclops on the island, purported to be a offspring of Adid on the island. That is who the cyclops of this keep provided their labor.
It was then that an unearthly howl of rage and pain was heard across the island. The orc fainted in fright. The very walls of the keep rumbled. The group decided to flee, especially when they saw what was bellowing The Orc was right, it was a gargantuan cyclops. It seemed to be searching for something…or someone. But its eyesight seemed even more poor than the other cyclopes they had encountered.
It was a harrowing flight back to the ship. The Spirit of Suleiman was quickly turning the bend into the lagoon and barely made it out of there under the onslaught of the thrown rocks of the behemoth. With Tabari’s languages spell still running, he heard the beast call upon his father for vengeance. As the Spirit escaped to sea, a storm began to brew…