Party of Scoundrels

Tides of Dread (Part I)
Savage Tide AP Part V

The colony of Farshore has survived on its own for years, a secluded and struggling hamlet perched on the western shore or the tiny island or Temute. An island dwarfed by the savage landscape across a narrow channel to the north, a landscape of rugged mountains, tangled jungles, and trackless swamps. This is the Isle of Dread, and its resources and hidden treasures are matched only by its peril. Yet for all these dangers, what may bring doom to Farshore is not an invasion of inhuman monsters from the mainland, but an invasion of all-too-human monsters from across the sea.

The Heroes arrive at Farshore to discover it under attack by pirates. After aiding the colony’s defense, the Heroes are reunited with Lavinia Vanderboren. She tells them of her own troubles at sea, and of the new problem facing the colony. A pirate captured during the attack reveals that he and his mates were merely scouts. The Crimson Fleet knows of the colony’s location, and in approximately two months, they will arrive in force to take what they can and bum the rest.

Before this event, the Heroes are called upon to do what they can to prepare Farshore for the attack. Some of these tasks can he handled quickly and locally, but the most important missions take the Heroes onto the mainland of the Isle of Dread, where they’ll need to forge alliances with native peoples, secure access to natural resources, recover and repair the Sea Wyvern, and even face down the physical manifestation of an ancient Olman god.

When the Crimson Fleet arrives, the heroes’ accomplishments will be the determining factor in the ensuing battle… or will they neglect to negate the biggest factor of all. . .

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Here There Be Monsters
Savage Tide AP Part IV

A long, perilous ocean journey behind them, another begins. The crew of the Sea Wyvern finds itself investigating the Isle of Dread. Their destination lies well over 150 miles to the south. the jungles are heavy with the threat of the island’s terrible inhabitants, yet the unknown enemies are far more sinister, far more than just dinosaurs hunt the vast jungles. Before long, a cunning fiend picks up their trail, and its duplicitous master demands their sacrifice.

The sea wyvern is holed, impaled on a reef a few hundred feet from shore, having left only one option for its survivors – a dangerous overland journey to Farshore. As the heroes take stock of the situation, a hungry tyrannosaurus wanders out of the jungle looking for a quick meal. After dealing with the beast, their expert Ural Forol plots the most likely route taken to survive. Before the party leaves the shore, they gather up all the provisions they can find while they go in search of Farshore.

The journey to Farshore takes the heroes through a jungle inhabited by large predatory bird-like creatures and hungry dinosaurs. After encountering an outcast Aranea, the Heroes come to an ancient underground ruin manned by monstrous scavengers and the restless dead. As they leave, they can’t shake the suspicion that they are being watched.

On the other side of the mountains, the trail winds along a stretch of shoreline cliffs. A primitive band of gargoyles strikes at the party numerous times before they can leave the cliffs for the island interior. This transition is hampered by a number of mishaps, and eventually the group heads into the island interior.

The Heroes then find themselves in a fog-shrouded jungle with no apparent way out. That night, the fiend who has been silently stalking them (a simian demon known as a bar-Igura) finally strikes, abducting Urol in the process.

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The Sea Wyvern's Wake
Savage Tide AP Part III

All ocean voyages are fraught with peril, yet a voyage to the infamous Isle of Dread might seem to some old salts to be deliberate goading of the gods of the sea. Many of those who attempted the voyage before and manged to return to civilization often choose not to speak of the trials they experienced on the dangerous route, yet those whose lips can be loosened by a draught of grog whisper amazing stories… tales of pirates, sea monsters, terrifying storms, and perhaps most harrowing of hall, of a strange and sinister land without land, a floating graveyard of dead ships mired in a sargasso the size of an island. the place has many names, but its most well-known may be it’s most apt – Journey’s End.

Their betrayl now obvious, Lavinia has lost her ship, her fortune, and her hope for any change, locking herself in her manor. The scoundrels have joined the Lotus Dragons, and having previously captured a ship, one of their first missions has them taking a long journey south to visit and resupply the colony of Farshore on the Isle of Dread. Their journey takes them from the city of Sasserine along the coast of the Amedio Jungle, and along the way they encounter several dangers and perils, including possible treachery from within. After a quick stop at the infamous ruins of Tamoachan to do a bit of exploring, they must contend with a vicious hydra.

Eventually, they hit the open sea and arrive at an immense sargasso sea in which dozens of ancient ships lie lodged. The Sea Wyvern becomes enmeshed in the creepy seaweed as well. In order to free their ship and continue onward, they must defeat the vine horrors of the sargasso and slay the heart of the seaweed, a plant monster known as the Mother of All. Finally, they reach the Isle of Dread after a tremendous storm… but not the way they intended.

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The Bullywug Gambit
The Scoundrels brave the Savage Tide. . .

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Fortunately for Vanthus Vanderboren, lack of ambition has never been a problem. Now the Vanderborens’ prodigal son slinks east along the coast to Blood Bay, lured by rumors of an incredible prize kept in a smuggler’s hideout called Kraken’s Cove. Yet what he is destined to find there is far more than a lucrative bit of banditry. What awaits him is the Savage Tide.

Unbeknownst to Lavinia Vanderboren she has been betrayed, but the scoundrels are still seeking Vanthus for their new employer, Guildmistress Rowyn Kellani. “Borrowing” the Blue Nixie and spurred on by discoveries made after joining the Lotus Dragons, the heroes seek out Kraken’s Cove nestled within the scarlet reaches of Blood Bay. savagepirate.jpg Expecting to find a secret pirate hideout, the heroes instead discover the place in the grips of utter bedlam. Arriving shortly after Vanthus releases the Savage Tide, the heroes must contend with savage flesh-eating pirates. To make matters worse, this particular crew was transporting dangerous and exotic creatures in the holds of their ships, and now their deadly cargo, infected by the Abyssal energies of the Tide, had escaped. Mutated man and deformed beast alike haunted the cove’s twisting passageways as the party navigate the caverns of Kraken’s Cove while enduring an onslaught of savage enemies.

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Eventually, in the darkest depths they encounter Captain Harliss Javell, one of the few pirates to survive the Savage Tide intact. Impressed with her combat prowess, the party parlays and learns that she sent her first mate and a band of frog-like bullywug conscripts into Sasserine to extract revenge for Vanthus at the Vanderboren Manor, erroneously assuming the cowardly man fled there from Kraken’s Cove. wormfallfestival.jpg The party races back to Vanderboren Manor to save their presumed patron from suffering at the slimy hands of bullywug mercenaries.

To their surprise, in order to reach the manor the heroes must first navigate a city in the throes of a wild celebration. Parades and revelry reign in the streets, and the heroes must wind their way through the wild throng to Vanderboren Manor. The heroes reach Vanderboren Manor with little time to lose. Inside, Drevoraz Kabran, Captain Harliss Javell’s first mate, had captured Lavinia and her household.

“Stopping” the pirates with a parlay (but really just giving them a secret command from their new ally to stand down), the party pretended to “free” Lavinia, further earning the naive noble’s trust.

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There is No Honor
The Party of Scoundrels twist the fates. . .

The city of Sasserine is still finding its feet after emerging from a century of oppressive rule during which the traditional thieves’ guilds were destroyed. Dozens of minor guilds now squabble for control of the city’s underworld, one guild in particular has risen above the in-fighting, and is now poised to become a major player in city politics.

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This is the Lotus Dragons, a band of murderers, burglars, and smugglers led by a charismatic and ambitious woman named Rowyn Kellani – a woman who just happens to be the daughter of one of the city’s noble families. When Rowyn enters an alliance with the scion of another noble family, a scoundrel named Vanthus vanderboren, the final piece of her plan falls into place and she prepares to seize control of the city’s seatrade.

Yet for all of her scheming and plotting, Rowyn’s capacity for evil and cruelty pales in comparison to that of her new lover. Vanthus, in an attempt to prove his value and worth to the Lotus Dragons (and to impress it’s beautiful guildmistress), recently committed a horrendous crime. Knowing his parents had just purchased a new ship and were planning on taking a relaxing trip up the coast, he smuggled a dozen barrels of alchemist’s fire into the ship’s hold and arranged for an"accident." The resulting fire burned the ship to the waterline and left its crew (and Vanthus’s parents) dead.

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Alas, his plan to inherit his estate (and then use its resources to bolster the Lotus Dragons) fell through when a reading of his parents’ will revealed that the estate was to be passed along entirely to his older sister Lavinia Vanderboren. lavinia2EDIT.jpgSeething with rage but unwilling to take drastic action against his sister, Vanthus did what he could to rob the family vault before she could claim its riches. Fortunately, he was able to make off with enough money to ensure his place in the guild – and after he abandoned the competition in a series of undead-haunted smuggler’s tunnels, his position high in the Lotus Dragon’s ranks was ensured.

The adventure begins as the party gathers at Vanderboren Manor. They’ve earned quite a reputation as reliable, yet underhanded mercenaries, and through their bartender benefactor Lavinia asks them to aid her in securing access to her family’s vault, the key to which is hidden on her father’s ship. She tells them she has the Jade Ravens serving her, but needs a less… public… group to do some bidding. Once she learns the true nature of her estate, empty vaults and all, Lavinia turns her attention to her true concern. Her brother Vanthus has been missing for weeks. She’s heard rumors that he’s fallen in with some unsavory types, but hopes he can be convinced to return to civilized society. She sends the party out on his trail, and their investigations lead them to a small smuggler’s complex under Parrot Island. There, Vanthus springs a trap and locks them in the tunnels, forcing them to navigate an escape while dealing with the hungry undead that dwell within. They eventually emerge, having Kamui swim them one by one past the poisonous urchins lining an underwater tunnel.

Having learned that Vanthus has taken up with a much more dangerous thieves guild called the Lotus Dragons. They locate the guildhouse, and discover the guild is preparing to take control of the city’s sea trade. rowynkellani.jpg After multiple attempts to raid the guild end in failure, they decide to take a more stealthy approach. Arriving face to face with the guildmistress herself, she is most impressed with their skill and offers them a chance to join, replacing her lost crew.

They accept.

Alas, despite betraying their employer Vanthus is no where to be found, although clues as to his trail are located. Rowyn explains he has betrayed the guild also, and made for Kraken’s Cove. She gives the new recruits their first assignment, pursuing the defector.

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Deep in the Dwarven stronghold

Party journeyed on into the natural cave network, and freed the hobbits & arcadian. He thanked them for saving him, but refused to demean himself by dressing as an orc. He agreed to follow behind the party, in order to not give up their disguise.
The party wandered into the orc quarters, and with his hatred burning arcadian drew his bow. Jack reacted qickly, clobbering arcadian and tossing him on the floor in front of the orcs, playing it off as if he escaped & snuck up on them. The party pummeled arcadian into submission with fist & weapon, and allowed the orcs to haul him to the prison once again.
This was only a ruse. They ambushed his captors when the chance arose. Battered and bruised but still alive, arcadian got the message: staying alive was more important than his antics. They proceeded through the orc commons, and spent a couple hours moving crates and barrels blocking the path into a tunnel. The clutter had been plugging up the tunnel for a reason, and for their hard work they were rewarded with an attack by Stirges, which they fended off easily. They approached the door to the north, and trigger a spray of alchemists fire which engulfed them.
In a nearby room they encountered and orc shaman, and after dispatching her proceeded down the grand stairs.
The stairs continued for some time, finally being intersected by a rushing stream that exit a crevice on one side, and entered one on the other side. Kain, Felina, Kamui & Errandor continued down the natural steps into the large cavern below. Arcadian & Jack Christ decided to enter the crevice & scale the steep decline the stream rushed down.they slipped and tumbled down, crashing into a small natural cavern. The room housed a dwarven corpse & a stirge nest.
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The creatures stirred, & Jack grabbed the corpse, threw it in the rushing stream, and rode it down the crevice. Arcadian attempted to follow suit, but instead of sliding safely down the cascade of water, he tumbled clumsily, landing hard in the room where the stream exited the wall – right in front of the party, who stood at the base of the steps. The party fended off the stirges, and Jack looted the dwarven corpse. Exhausted, the party made camp & rested.
Incredibly beaten, arcadian stayed behind to rest while the party moved on. The stream exited the room under a primitive mud wall to the east. Seeing reptile/bird tracks & slither marks near it, the party decided to wade under it in the neck deep stream, and entered another large cavern.
Foul smell, rotten remnants of game corpses hanging on the wall, something lived here. The party was jumped by Troglodytes on ledges above them, and as Kamui, Felina, Kain, & Errandor scrambled out of the stream and onto the ledges to fight back, Captain Jack simply stood in the water &, after drying his pistol powder, shot the trogs dead. At the far end of the cavern, the stream pooled, and then continued to carve small tunnels throughout the cave complex. Near the pool, a mud wall similar to the one the swam under caught their attention, & they decided to smash through it.
Doing so revealed a room full of dwarven sepulchers. Most were empty and unused, but in a couple of them the party found some treasure. Mor amazing than the tombs though was the cavern just down the steps.
The great cavern known as the Glitterhame was easily a hundred feet across, and went an unknown distance into the endless dark.Giant fungi as tall as a human & glowing puffballs 3 hands wide grew there, and the party was able to make rations of it, and much to the delite of the pirate, collect some of the puffball juice for later distillation. Such rations could give them enough food to explore the caverns and dwarven ruins for days!
Faced with the prospect of wandering further into the wide open darkness, Kain, Jack, & Kamui left the party at rest and snuck down some nearby stairs. In this small cavern, the river, literally and figuratively the lifeblood of the caverns, toppled of a ledge, creating a waterfall that dropped an unknown distance into the darkness. Following even more stairs even deeper into the earth, they eventually came across the cavern at the base of the waterfall and some old dwarven store rooms.
Inside the damp store rooms, piles of expired foodstuffs, crates, barrels, and small pools of water waited. As they took their time searching for loot, a Grey Ooze attacked! As Kamui & kain struggled with the creature, Jack continued searcvhing the room. Deciding to flee, they were joined by the now awake party members, and all traveled up river through the cavern.
In a room with a number of stalactites & stalagmites, an especially odd one drew the attention of Kain. …

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Into the Dwarven stronghold
Silence & sneaking win the day as the party slips into the dwarven fortress

High on adventure from their last bounty, the party decided to delve deeper hoping for a larger payout. Having heard the rumors of Durgeddin’s Vault, they were employed by one Baron Althon to retrieve what remains of Durgeddin’s famous arms. Felina tapped into her savings & purchased a carriage & a few horses, making the week long journey to the Stone Tooth that much more manageable.

Upon approaching the small town of Blasingdell, the party was introduced to the mayor, Sir Miles Berrick. He directed them towards Stone Tooth, and offered a bounty for proof of every orc slain.
Locating the Stone Tooth was not hard, the landmark sat atop a massive hill. The party travelled up the hillside trail, noting the tracks left by orc patrols. Finally reaching the peak of the hill and the base of the Stone Tooth, they followed the trail into the canyon below.

The canyon eventually sloped down to a hairpin bend, where the party spotted a couple orc sentries. Acting quickly, Jack Christ disguised himself as an orc, and wandered down the path. Distracting his “fellow” orcs with an offering of rum, Kain & Felina slinked up in tandem behind the orcs, dropping them quickly & quietly with killing blows. Noticing the arrow slits in the wall along the approach, the party snuck carefully under the windows as the pirate strolled by, unnoticed as an orc. His disguise was so effective, he convinced the orc archers to open the mountain door for him. For their folly, they were rewarded with the sharp end of the thieves weapons.

Inside the dwarven door, they decided to disguise the entire party as orcs. In front of them waited the endless darkness of a giant chasm, the slight sound of rushing water emanating from hundreds of feet below. Only a narrow, frayed rope bridge allowed them to cross, and Kamuai spotted two snarling orcs hiding on the other side. Once again, Jack Christ proceeded the party, distracting the orcs with a combination of wits, rum, & devilweed.
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As the other members were crossing the bridge, Felina slipped, plummeting into the darkness. With the same blinding speed he draws his blade, the samurai darted his hand towards the falling thief, barely catching her by the fingertips, sparing her certain death from the fall.
They proceeded across the creaking rope bridge, catching the distracted orcs unaware. Jack Christ grumbled in his best attempt at orcish, “Beware, this rum will hit you,” as the party’s weapons came crashing down on the unsuspecting orcs.

Continuing into the dungeon, Kamui & Felina wandered past a dwarven statue – which promptly dropped its jaw & blasted a cloud of noxious gas in their faces, leaving them feeling ill & weak.
In the doorway beyond the statue, the party entered what appeared to be the orc barracks, a large room with bunks & a group of orcs resting & eating. Quickly, with the rogues sneaking through the darkness to flank the orcs, the rest of the party approached the group, and Jack Crist lit a sunrod, blinding & stunning the orcs. Errandor slammed his axe through one of the orcs, pinning him against the wall. The leader of the orcs chucked a couple axes at the party, both missing their mark, and charged at Jack Christ. Kamui’s blade met him across the waist, and only half the orc made it to the pirate.

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Dwarven Descent
Will greed get the better of the party, drawing them deep into the earth in search of riches?

A few centuries past, the great dwarven smith Durgeddin the Black carved a secret stronghold from the caverns riddling a hill known as the Stone Tooth. Laboring cease-lessly in their halls under the mountain, Durgeddin’s clan forged enchanted weapons for use in their vendetta against the orcs that had driven them out of their old homes. Durgeddin and his followers are long dead, but the dwarf-hold is not empty. Deadly peril waits in the caverns beneath the Stone Tooth, as well as Durgeddin’s hidden armory of matchless weaponry.
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Two centuries ago, Durgeddin the Black was driven from his home by a horde of fierce orcs and trolls. They plundered his ancestral halls and slew all they could catch. Fleeing his enemies, Durgeddin led the destitute remnants of his clan in search of a new
home. After years of wandering, the dwarves discovered a great cavern system beneath the Stone Tooth, which is a rugged, forested hill crowned by a bare rocky crag. There Durgeddin and his followers founded the secret strong hold of Khundrukar—the Glitterhame. About one hundred years ago, one of Durgeddin’s clans-men was captured by orcs during a raid, and a powerful orc tribe learned the secret of their enemy’s stronghold. The orcish chieftains raised a great army and marched on Khundrukar. In a hard-fought siege lasting months, the orcs tunneled around the dwarven defenses and stormed the place, putting all within to the sword. The monsters
abandoned the scene, carrying off wagonloads of booty. In the years since the great battle, various goblin or orc bands have occupied the Glitterhame and used the dwarf-hold as a base for their raids. At other times, the caverns have lain empty except for the mindless and
bloodthirsty monsters that haunt such places. Today legends of Durgeddin’s Vengeance, the Smith’s War, and the extraor dinary blades he forged in anger still surface from time to time in the lands near the Stone Tooth.

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Gorgoldand's Gauntlet
A band of scoundrels brave the traps & puzzles of the gauntlet.

Sitting in the basement of the tavern, Kajn holds the scrap of parchment bearing a map to the gauntlet. He’s going to ask the rest of the scoundrels, but he already knows the answer. The treasure would be enough, but some of them were adrenaline junkies and liked the danger. Like that Jack Christ, he was a curiosity that annoyed him to no end. Always blabbering on half drunk, talking shit, and constantly getting the party into shenanigans. And that was when he wasn’t trying to be annoying; often he was busy pulling “pranks” that were more dangerous than funny. Felina was always up for some fun… when she was around. Samurais and barbarians tended to have a habit of following, so they’d be in. If his buddy Arcadian were here, he’d also be in. Kajn hadn’t seen him much since they’d arrived in Sasserine, and even when he did he refused to say where he’d been.

“Do you guys wanna run this Gorgoldand guy’s gauntlet and get that treasure?” Kajn asked already knowing the answer. A series of nods and no argument meant it would be their next endeavor.

He couldn’t remember where the map came from any more than , only that it way to a treasure stash in a cave network known as the “Gauntlet”. No other details, only that treasure waits at the end. They may have procured the map anywhere; in some stolen goods, in a previously found treasure hoard, buried in their own stash, maybe the tavern keeper?

He was the only common link they all shared, the tavern keeper. His basement was like an orphanage for the worst kind of scoundrels. It was a good deal for all involved: they got to come and go freely from the basement and had access to food and drink above; the bartender was ensured with a steady flow of coin (legitimate and not), access to rumors and the black market, and some measure of protection. They were after all in the slums of Sasserine, one of the worst and most dangerous areas.

Before long they set off for the Gauntlet. It’s location wasn’t exactly public knowledge, but it wasn’t much of a secret either. It was almost a right of passage for many rogues to seek out the gauntlet and run it. Few debate the prize at the end, and even few have even won it… and stayed alive.

Following the map eventually leads to the top of a cliff overlooking a large lake. A metal piton hammered into the stone near the edge of the cliff gives silent testimony that others have been this way before, although the rope is missing. A narrow cave, the entrance to Gorgoldand’s Gauntlet appeared to be about sixty feet below.

gorgoldandspider.jpgDescending with little trouble, they enter the gauntlet, essentially a network of caves. The first trap was laughably underwhelming: A thin, frail rope looped into a snare, with the words “Put Fut Her” scrawled on the ground. No one triggered the trap. As they crossed the room though, a “spider” leaped from the ceiling. Or rather it hung from the ceiling, where it was stabbed. Instead of blood, a noxious green gas poured forth, revealing the artificial nature of the spider trap. It seemed that other than the scurrying and chittering that can be heard in the darkness, always just out of site and stopping whenever they investigate, there was little worry in the gauntlet.

After clearing a chasm over an underground river, they entered a room divided by a scalable wall about eight feet high. Climbing over it, they were met on the other side by a rust monster! Dissolving weapon after weapon as the barbarian attacked, they slayed the creature after binding it with rope.

The next room contained a long grid, clearly some of the squares trapped and some safe. Sending the rogue in first, their assumptions were assured when he would step on the wrong one and end up paralyzed. The wandering ronin Kamui embarrassed them all when he cleared the grid untouched, leaping and twisting from safe square to safe square by chance alone.

Beyond the grid room they found a door, and beyond that a narrow corridor. Unlike the rest of the natural cave network seen so far, this passageway is carved into the rock; the floor, the ceiling, and walls are smooth. Each of the ascending steps has a single word engraved on its front face; the words all glow slightly, making them easy to read even in the gloom of the corridor. Solving the puzzle easily they were rewarded with the door to an armory… of sorts. The weapons mounted on the wall ended up being the key to the room’s puzzle, as did the skeleton statues in the room beyond.

Their reward was the hoard of Gorgoldand. a nice pile of coins and gems, deep enough to hold a golden longsword standing upright in it.

The golden longsword began to float and the pile of coins and gems swirled into the form of a dragon, with shining red rubies for eyes. It attacked the scoundrels, fighting to the death, at which point the coins showered the floor along with the clanking longsword.

They claimed their prize and exiting the gauntlet (which looped back almost like a question mark) set off to return “home” to the Plucked Parrot Inn.

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