Slaves of New Arkos

Five Surveyors and a Hostage Negotiation

Newly loaded with their gear and missing one of their number, the heroes set out to get a lay of the land. As they marched up the nearest mountain, several of their number proved to be athletically challenged causing some minor scrapes and bruises along the journey. Eventually, they managed to find a grassy knoll to overlook what proved to be an island. Three major landmarks stood out in the heroes mind. First, they spotted a watchtower on the north side of the ridge they were standing on. Second, they spied a large temple complex in a swampy area to the east. Third, they saw a massive dwarven-made column far to the north sprouting from a separate mountain range. The intrepid mountain climbers also spotted some small figures to the west around the area where the halfling Brawna was taken. After fighting some of the indigenous animal life, the heroes trekked back to their base camp to get some well deserved rest before rescuing the halfling. In the morning, they made their way up the coast until they crept up to the bullywug watering hole. The former slaves observed the bullywugs for an hour while they formulated their plan. Eventually, they presented themselves openly and attempted to barter with them: some food for the halfling. Some of the bullywugs went underwater to answer the heroes’ request, but they came back with allies and brandished weapons. The heroes quickly dispatched those that failed to swim away, but were left with the difficult situation of how to approach the bullywug lair. They decided to send Gungidum to scout ahead while the others remained topside.

Crates, Creeps, and Crazies
Or Pearls, Pirates, and Prophets

Our heroes began the day overlooking the wreck of a pirate ship in search of a powerful alcohol. While Boswell and Grin remained on the rocky promontory to hold the rope for the heroes, Gungidum, Durn, and Gretch climbed down the slippery rocks to explore the shipwreck. In their search, they accidentally opened an unmarked crate on the ship, revealing a black translucent pearl slightly larger than a human heart. This magical pearl created a shock-wave of necrotic energy which damaged those close by, and sickened those overlooking the scene. It also animated the dozens of dead bodies surrounding the wreck. Soon the heroes were fighting for their lives against the undead horde, and if it weren’t for Durn’s amazing accuracy with a bow, Gretch’s ability to incinerate swaths of zombies at a time, and surprising heroism of Mylon Lushlawlfliphen, Boswell and Grin would have surely died. After the battle, the heroes finished their search of the ship and found three bottles of Skooma and some treasure. While most of the other heroes were distracted with a locked treasure chest, Gretch formed a magical connection with the mysterious black pearl and kept it for himself.
The heroes then focused their efforts towards recovering their stolen weapons. The heroes administered a small amount of Skooma to Proctor and instructed the rest of the noncombatants to hide at the beach, while the heroes stalked along the tree line to find the captain of the slaving ship. After a few hours, they spotted a campfire on the beach where their quarry, a large Wereboar, was torturing an emaciated woman in rags while a disinterested elf woman in robes and a bugbear looked on. In the brief moment when the heroes were listening in to their conversation, the Wereboar was accusing his victim of knowing something about how they found themselves in this situation. After hearing that, the heroes were extremely eager to stop the torture and exact their revenge on the ship’s captain, and so they began the fight in earnest. Unfortunately for the pirates, the heroes handily defeated them even without magic weapons.
After the fight, Durn tended to the wounds of the pirates’ captive, who they learned is named Andraste. In between fits of laughter and sobbing, she spoke strange things about the party.

(to Gungidum and Grin) “Two sons under the sun. One is a true son. Not to say the other is a daughter or a moon; just not a son. The father can tell the difference, but the true son may have to make the father see before he can sit in the gold.”

(to Durn) “We’re locked in history; a noxious mystery; a pox on…sistery? Sister!! Oh, your blood and her blood will weep in her next age. Or not. You only have a moon or two until she’s twice and twice of four. Good thing there’s plenty of moons here.”

(to Boswell) “He who can change contains great chains. Common as death, but rarer than murder.”

(to Gretch) “Your poor mother.”

(to the party) “Eons ago and eons to come. Only one way, but which way is it? The horns of dilemma are…(laughs). Horns!! (laughs) Horns must mourn when this be borne. So forlorn those horns that mourn. They’ll be torn!!”

(to no one in particular) “Someone told me that history repeats itself. At least it definitely can. Or could be. Or won’t be. I suppose the past is as changeable as the future when it’s all said and done.”

As she was spouting out these nonsense phrases, the party walked all the way back to their initial camp to find Brawna missing from their group. Proctor and Mylon told the heroes that the Bullywugs returned and the halfling was able to speak with them. She apparently went with the frog-men willingly, leaving Proctor and Mylon to fend for themselves.

Swashbuckling and Swimming
Buckle that Swash!

Our heroes started the evening on a sinking ship, besieged by Bullywugs, and attacked by a muddy Kraken. When the heroes took damage from staying in the captain’s quarters, they realized they had no choice but to fight. They convinced the five other slaves to try to swim to shore, and joined the fight. At first, the heroes joined with the slavers in killing off the Bullywugs in between dodging the massive blows from the muddy tentacles overhead. Once the Bullywugs were killed however, the heroes turned on their temporary allies out of vengeance for being enslaved (and the search for better weapons). In the middle of the fight, the kraken changed tactics from striking the deck from above to sweeping the deck from side to side. Some heroes responded by hanging off the side of the ship or climbing the rigging, while others hid back in the captain’s quarters. As the ship was coming apart, the swashbuckling slavers continued to swing from mast to mast to kill the heroes. While fighting the slavers, the heroes continued to climb the rigging to avoid the muddy tentacle’s attacks, and they eventually saw a large Bullywug on a large rocky plateau in deep meditation. When their attacks on this Bullywug started to make the tentacles quiver and lose volume, the heroes focused their ranged attacks to stop the muddy monstrosity. With magical energy and crossbow bolts, the heroes killed the shaman controlling the kraken, and the last of the pirates. With the ship sinking, the exhausted heroes each jumped to dry land (some more gracefully than others) and made their way inland to find a place to meet each other and sleep for the night.

The next day, the heroes were planning to track down their missing gear and the slaver captain when they found three of their fellow slaves lying unconscious on the beach. Proctor, an old human man who dislikes knives, Brawna Lockshire, a halfling woman who grew up sailing up and down the Bleakmire delta, and Mylon Lushlawlfliphen, an eladrin male who has yet to make an impression on the heroes. Proctor seemed strangely agitated and encouraged the heroes to search the shipwreck for materials to make shelter. The heroes seemed puzzled by this until Boswell revealed the truth by staring down the feeble old man. Proctor is addicted to Skooma, a magically infused alcohol with extremely unpleasant withdrawal symptoms. Proctor knows that there was some on board and successfully pleaded with the heroes to recover the crate of Skooma. After a three hour walk along the beach, the heroes find themselves back at the rock overlooking the shipwreck. They are greeted by the sight of shattered planks and dead bodies floating in the water. The joint smells of death and the open sea combine into a potent mixture while scores of carrion birds circle overhead.
Voyage Interrupted
A Bad Beginning
The heroes find themselves stripped of their belongings and chained inside a slaver’s three masted clipper, headed to an unknown destination. During the second night of their trip, the ship hit a large rock which freed both Gid, and a giant scorpion. Gid promptly grabbed the guard’s keys and freed the most dangerous looking slaves in the ship. No sooner had the heroes dispatched the elf and the scorpion when a muddy tentacle the size of a large tree burst into the side of the vessel depositing several Bullywugs inside. The heroes had to use whatever gear they could scrape together to fight the vicious frog-men. After defeating two waves of Bullywugs, the former slaves recovered their armor from a chest in the corner. Now fully armored, the slaves set their sights on escaping the ship, but then the tentacle smashed the floor on which most of them were standing whilst sending more enemies into their midst. During the deadly underwater battle, some heroes nearly lost their lives, but thanks to the magic users, they were triumphant in the end. After the battle, they swam through the belly of the ship to reach up through the captain’s quarters. Once they saw that the Captain’s skiff was missing, they crept up through a hole in the poop deck (giggle) to witness the scene above. Dozens of Bullywugs and pirates fight each other in the torrential rain while lightning occasionally illuminates a towering mass of muddy tentacles overshadowing the boat which is slowly breaking apart.

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