Those Dripping Bones

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Summary

Adventure:Those Dripping Bones
GM:Bernard
Session: Summer 814
Night: Wednesday normally
Location: TBA
Level: Medium/Chewy

Party:

  • Keith Smith -- Aqualina Pasifikan f. Hu. Water-mage
  • Helen Saggers -- Rowan f. elv Binder; & Staff MilSci
  • Ian Anderson -- Sau Rus m. Hu Necro (D)
  • Ian Wood -- Sir Wojer m. elf warrior; some Air college Leader;
  • Michael Parkinson -- Hagan non-Mage mechanician, Gigolo, Arm/Weaponsmith; multi-Artisan; Herbalist 7 (L) Scribe


House Rules: Opposed rolling will be in use.
Warriors please use new rules.
Due to party size, Mil Sci time out to be timed, and all players to have actions ready within 5 seconds of being asked in combat (Clarification questions permitted).
Bonus award for Mil Sci taking care of this themselves.

Employer:
Pasifikan Tribal Shamans.

Mission:
The Shamans from Pasifika have noticed that travel magic in the area is no longer as effective as it used to be, and this effect seems to becoming worse.
Additionally vague rumours are coming from the now far off southern islands of dark rituals occurring in the smaller villages under the local shamans.
These incidents may or may not be connected however the Shamans wish the Travel Magic issue solved.

Pay:
20,000sp each (advanced to the guild). Expenses for each individual are expected to be paid from this.
20 Arcane Points
30,000sp for discovering the cause of the travel magic failing, and fixing it if possible.
Additional Arcane points may also be awarded
Additional payments possible for solving of things above & beyond the initial brief.

Diary

CHAP-1

The Job & the pay

The Employer, Kei Nui Palani (Dignified Large & Free), is a Polynesian lord in shell armour, with 2 flunkies Malee Kalanee & Kiowa Kalanee, whose names indicates they have at least knightly status, so Aqualina tells us.

KP outlined the problem & our potential pay, that is when he wasn’t correcting what Aqualina said or reproaching on account of neglecting her heritage or forgetting the Ways of her People, f’rinstance “Stars ARE important when navigating, Aqualina”, which is a bit rough on Amiable Akkers (as she is sometimes known behind her very attractive back), cos that’s nothing compared with what she’s blurted out about the Guild or her Party on many a mission.
Aqualina: "I have learnt something in my years at the guild, contrary to popular belief".

THE PROBLEM : Seems Pasiphika is having problems travel magic (with waters, clouds, ‘n’ stuff) that started three weeks ago: bewitched boats are no faster than a good-but-unspelled vessel. It’s not the mages, it is the magic itself, cos they’re much faster when they come north but a weak mage still doesn’t go as fast as a powerful mage. Effect ceased 300 miles north of the shallow water [the plateau]

OUR REWARD : 20k for expenses; 30k more for finding out; bonuses if we actually solve the matter. Plus arcane points.

Employer will not come back initially, cos he may have to talk to the elves and is clearly not keen on it; so himself gave us Token of authority (Aquababe has it, so don’t let her forget it) and advised

  • Kalea Niele (Bright & Curious) will be highest priest-shaman at the Temple to talk to on this matter”.
  • “See Pono Ualoheke Akua' (Righteous God has listened) if people need resurrecting”.

We got stores, Greaters, and headed off on horses to the portal in the Sea of Grass. The journey was quiet despite some brigands or possibly toll-collectors ... the subtle distinction was lost on us. Also trouble was avoided with some knights because Sau Rus thought discrete leather easier to travel in than his Bone Armour.

Stranger at the Gate

At the Lake near the Trilithic Gates to various places, including our Destination, Sau Rus sensed undead. While Hagan prepared a quick dinner with bonus herbs, a humanoid, perfectly human looking, in black approaches the party:
Rowan: “It’s strange to see a gentleman out here by himself”.
Gent-in-Black: It would be odd ... were I actually by myself.
[GTN: Deathknight. DA: currently controlling 30 “units”]

The Gentleman tried to sell us discounted truesilver armour, recently scarred & dented, but no longer required by its former wearers; unfortunately we declined and the business was too hot urgent for someone to come for it in a month or two from, for example, the Seagate Guild which is notoriously accommodating in the second-hand possessions market. He couldn't wait; and declined our offer to melt it on the spot ... to make it easier to sell as scrap.

On Pasifikan Shores

Come thru at late afternoon. Dark cloud on the East horizon -- BIG dark cloud, totally obscuring the view of the volcanic island in that vicinity. By evening, we reached the trade centre -- call it a city, growing fast. The walls have been enlarged, not by clumsy elementals but Proper Walls built by hundreds of workmen per day. We went to the inn near the land-gate. A sliver each (or 10 for the entire room) so, same-diff, we 5 moved in with our the horses. Rowan's Golem cleaned up & crushed lavender was spread about.

We got info from the mercenaries/hands -- winds for the boats have been slow; ditto currents. But the mages don’t seem to be getting as tired (for low level mages). There's not lots of watermages trading (only 20 to 30 maged boats total). Less runs, therefore cutting down on the numbers of crew.

DAY ONE (ie Next day), Aqualina, Rowen, & Sau Rus went to lower pasifika (10 mi away) expects to travel at 7 mph, only went less than 3 mph but the spell is still active; Waveriding should have been 22mph; was 7MPH ...

In general ALL Travel magic is about a third of the speed, but lasts three times as long.

Bumps (& Broken Bones) in the night

That night Sau Rus detected undead within 600’, but NO number, direction, or type. A blue-eyed Kitten turned up after loose talk from Acqualina & demands fish, speaking a little Horse (sick!). That-which-will-not-be-named (and his free-reign pennies) was suspected and WEIRD stuff happened:

  1. Sau Rus disappeared for 12 minutes (we couldn’t find him). He said that Kitten Blue-eyes was trying to talk to him, but the sound was distorted, broken syllables. He'd experienced this before (perhaps) but couldn’t place it.
  2. Then SR came back and the cat “squidged out” – not normal shadow walk, or teleport, or other forms of winking out.
  3. Aq started a Waters of vision for info on the volcano/cloud. Hagen raised her morale slightly, but she still failed to make a 2xWP; and allegedly decided to aid what was coming through rather than hinder it.
  4. At once, a Shadow Form appeared in the room: Hagan leapt in & punched it soundly from behind; magically taking FIVE grievous wounds himself: bleeding profusely, missing an ear; with disabled 1ry arm, 2ndry shoulder & 2ndry arm; and a bleeding leg.
  5. It then swept the rest of the room.SR received broken Pelvis; Rowan has broken chest; ("Come back here, I've still got a leg to kick you with"). Four of the 5 horses were seriously crippled. And then the S. Form distorted out.
  6. The suspiciously untouched Aqualina mentioned sensing something Dragonlike and went for help -- Given the violence & screams, the others in the Inn were aware of "goings-on".

Aqualina's [first?] Nomination for Stupidest Adventurer

Aqualina was advised by the Innkeeper to get Healers (ie, indigenous priestly sorts, as she should have rememeberd, being a native), but went instead to the religious Knights of Baranor to allegedly ask for help:
Aqualina: “I was doing a Waters of vision when I AIDED something coming through ..." (and it went downhill from there). Or did she accidentally-on-purpose wanted to get rid of the Binder, Necromance, & elf for some alone-time with the Gigolo & his body chocolate?
Short story: knights tromp in; 4 horses put down, but the Necromancer wasn't; the party were healed at the Kinghts of Baranor compound; taking up to four days for Rowen and SR in the infirmary; Hagan, after the ear was attached, helping out with Herbalist stuff. Sau Rus had a bad time of it, being restrained and preached at for four days while his pelvis was reconstructed ... all on consecrated ground: "See he is recovering, all his limbs are twitching”

Hagan, to Sau Rus: "Stop slapping Aqualina on the head ... you can't put any weight into it until your pelvis is cured."

Party takes in the various Shrines

We visited the shrine of Iti-Manuka to see if they know anything odd about travel magic or if they know what is going on. He is but a simple priest, so he said, who suggested we should visit the temples of Papa (healer Earth-mother) & Rangi (Sky father). These are a Double-Temple: One (Rangi’s, up stairs, raised from the ground) symbolically over the other (Papa’s, down steps into the Earth). We descended into a natural cave, which comfortable & comforting, like a super-large Hobbit Hole.

Under prompting, Aqualina produced the Authority, and the acoloyte came back later with a cackling wise-women (called “the Mother”). The slow travel is effecting them severely because word that a healer is needed is much slower in coming and it’s slower to get a healer where she is needed ... they now need about SIX times the current number of healers. [MilSci Logistics Alert] NB: The Resurrector travels!

The mother advised:

  • It is possible that Aqualina was, in fact, seeing the future instead. [>>>Could Philosophers of magic, or a watermage, confirm this?]
  • The old ways (Blood magic) is rumoured to have returned.

Chap 2: The Voyage begins

In the underground cave of Papa, the party wibbled over “Where do we go from here?” After enough of such hesitant pfaffle to bore an elf (!), Sir Wojer anounces “Lets go east to the volcanic cone. That’s why he’s leader.

We bought a 21’ canoe (for 1000sp). The used-canoe salesman threw in lots of optional extras like netting between the hull & out-rigger, but no mast or sail: It weighs a ton; it carries a ton. We’d already noticed that the unrest from unemployed sailors — because the travel is so slow, labour cost would have tripled if most sailors hadn’t been laid off, and the rest desperate to work for much lower wages.

There were three sail-driven, proper, large boats in the harbour: a normal cog (or “ship”), and two different double-canoes. We chose one of the latter, called Cat-à-meringue (ick! Sounds disgusting), which was about to leave on a trading run ... East then South. We were given free passage because of SW’s air magic: together with their magic current, the ship can now rip along at 15mph! Which is considered fast, these days, so we get to Waiheke (pron. Why-Hecky) by dusk rather than dawn the next day. They pulled up on the beach; unloaded junk; loading up different stuff. During the trip, our mages noticed that the mana itself was stop-starting with travel magic

Next day, we entered under the cloud. Getting closer, we saw a twin-coned Island (Kailua Kona) spewing thick black smoke, lightning flickering around the peaks. Up the slope of onecone we see some buildings: the temple of Pelé. The Harbour village was a bit more fortified – there’ve been Lots of monsters lately, since the big island rose from the sea: zombies, sahuagin, adventurers , ‘n’ shit. The Cat is heading south an hour after dawn; they’ll drop off our canoe if we’re not back from the Temple by then.

We headed up to the temple. Beyond the Offering statue, the. accolytes we met said the High Priest was up on the peak communing with the Deity. We encountered a less lofty holy dude : Kalei Nili (30 yr old, m), When he said “You’re the Help!”, we realised coincidentally he’s the person the employer told us to meet. Lucky break! SirW introduced us.

K.N. CONFIRMED: All the islands and the merfolk & the sea elves are experiencing the Slowing; also Wind-speaking also effected. The southern islands’ ancestors have prompted their people to return to the old way. SW notices that Northern Boundary of the Effect is about the equator. Sognificant?

What’s causing it?

Kalei Nili offered to take a specific divinary question up to the High priest, and we settled on: What change is occurring to the balance of the Powers? ***IS THIS RIGHT?

Meanwhile, before we were confused by any further input, the party wildly conjectured on what the cause or Big Picture reason might be:

  1. SauRus did a Philosopher guess and thought it might be a god, or calimar, but NOT the Powers
  2. Possibly it’s a "Natural causes": a Side-efect of someone swiping something shiny they shouldn’t have.
  3. Curse from, one of the many powerful nasties recently killed. Some party-members insisted on Naming probable suspects -– which is kind of stupid (especially if they’re right!)
  4. Curse from, one of the many powerful demons interested in the area or in a position to flex muscles given how many souls have been trading hands recently; plus the recent power fluctions in Lets-call-it-Heck. Naturally, some party-members insisted on Naming ... ditto ditto)
  5. It a pre-invasion Deliberate Magic Effect to stop people fleeing at high speed. (especially if the invaders want slaves, sacrifices, food, or other Icky-ness.
  6. For example a Kraken or other attack from the Depths
  7. Or Drow invasion (now that the one in the north has bogged down).Likewise a Drow beach-head in the Sea of Grass is not a good idea.
  8. Or Calimar invasion, given that it is both anti-magical and decreasing the effectiveness of the Healer priests & others.
  9. The logistic crippling of the Healer service, together the labour unrest from unemployed and economic instability from the increased costs of trade goods and the anticipated scarcity (higher costs for far fewer items arriving per week), would cause riots, destabilise the existing authorities, creating discord & disaffection in the larger towns ... strife that would benefit an invader.

SauRus: But we’re better, more rash than the priests.”
Sir Woger: “Rash is Not an abbreviation of Rational.”

The reading

The 8-line reading was:

Star Bright / Dark Hosts Cry / Rejoice / Ancestor Ascended / To Downward Throne / Death / Horrors Abound / Gates Open

Clearly this confirmed Drow invasion; Demonic or Underworld revolution; and/ Or Local Spirits descending to the Big Time; Necromancy; the Gates of Heck or some other plane.


Clearly this confirmed Drow invasion; Demonic or Underworld revolution; and/ Or Local Spirits descending to the Big Time; Necromancy; the Gates of Heck or some other plane.

Next stop: Manoe

In the morning we went down down & boarded the “ship”. At Dusk, get to Manoe. Nearby Sea-Elves trade sea-goods & nodules of Iron, Silver, and “Mongoosium” for finished metal products: weapons, tools, buckles. Also Black shells from “Iron Crabs” (semi-magical, substantial creatures), that are smithed like Iron weapons at the local Human village. The god of weather (Tawhere) is worshipped in the local village. No further info for Acqualina.

The sea elves didn’t understand anything special about “Downward Throne”, nor does it have any submarine significance for them. The Next day we raced along at 20 mph !! The next island has a “magical cloud” extend out about a fuzzy mile.

Blood rites

Suspicions were confirmed: The magic in the air was ancestor protection. We also noticed the new religious construction. The conjecture of blood-rite practices was is promptly, openly confirmed by the local priest of Ra. They were preparing for a feast – so the traders didn’t want to bother them now, but were happy to catch them next time. Our canoe was unloaded. Initially, we didn’t want to stay for the “feast”: but we talked to the locals.

The Shaman of Ra sensed the Dangers in the deep, back when he first noticed that the travel magic was a little slow:
“The magic was just a little slow thenThe sea felt wrong as I flew around the island and I felt several Holes, or it may have been the same one moving. Felt empty and twisted. (not no life—empty and twisted). I spoke to the ancestors 2 months ago and they advised to recommence the Old Ways. Other villages are not involved, but our rites also protect them.”

We attended the ceremony, as spectators, although SW was in a preliminary bout. The Weapons are all Ranked 10 ‘smithed (to do less damage): the local speciality was somewhat spear-like, used partly as a Spear, partly as a Quarterstaff.

At the end of the contests, those with the Sight noticed fatigue stream from all attendees flow through the shaman to the victor cutting himself and a pulse shoot from the self-bleeding victor into the altar and then a powerful pulse shoot out & plunge into the sea — about a couple of thousand points. The Ancestor protection was definitely stronger. All participants & spectators were fatigued, but no permanent damage had been done.

His Sea-elf majesty is unavailable

We set Double Watches, with dark sight. In the morning, a protection cloud still extended out from the boat about 5 feet (we later noticed a 2’ protection halo on SirWojer). We travelled the 50 miles to and Aqualina prepared to visit the Sea-elf king. Hagan lowered a bright light in a crystal shard on a rope so that she could re-find the boat. Fortunately nothing else found us. Amazingly, Aqualina dropped down and WAS at the sea-elf City. She was dissed & threatened by the first guard so, when she surfaced, Aqualina was advised by all the other courtiers how to behave with bureaucracy, how to intimidate, and how to dress properly.

Aqualina: “But I already do have Dress appropriately”. Sir Woger & Hagen (together): “Real-ly ???”

Naturally, Aqualina still didn’t get to see the King, no matter how much she claimed she knew him intimately and had performed “valuable services” in the past; but an appropriate message was relayed to a relevant courtier.

Chap.3

Old ways at Tuitangi

We arrived at Tuitangi on the morning of the 23rd.
SauRus, the necromancer: “I try to Detect Undead
Rowan (MilSci): “You mean Summon Undead, don’t you”?
Aqualina: “That’s only because the undead have a better Detect Detecting range than you have a Detect Undead range. Like how your voice carries beyond the point from which you can hear its echo”.

It was a volcanic isle about 10 miles across: a steep-sided volcano, with a few shelf-like plateaus on it. Its ancestor cloud had much sharper edges and extended out to the water but, seemingly, not centred on the peak. We head to the village. It was quiet: very few people visible, given the size of the village. A fisher said most people were up at the plateau, working on the building a newly fashioned altar to the ancestors.

We followed a narrow, hacked bush-track and climbed the cliff using the provided rope-ladder, reaching a flat area, with a waterfall & pool in view, also discarded carrying baskets near the altar that is being built by locals in a dream-like state. The altar definitely contains mana. An assistant shaman, on a water break explained, “They are buildging an altar to the ancestors, because they are protecting us from the dangers”.

Interview with an Ancestor

Hagan can speak to the spirit of a place: not ghosts, but any animus or genius loci (in the rare case when one exists), So he tried to. He felt his eardrums burst and fell over unconscious, when the ISLAND replied, VERY VERY loudly. Acqualina and Sir Wojer carried the ruggedly handsome but undeniably heavy body (320 lb, including armour & worn gear) over to the pool to revive him. Besides Sir Wojer was dying to shower under the refreshing (possibly sacred) waterfall. Hagan was brought round, although confused ... why so many painful bumps on his head if he fell over only once? Fortunately he knew Alusian sign language.

Sir Wojer, the elf: “Why should One learn this ‘Silent Speech’?”
Aqualina, the human: “Because otherwise I can talk behind your back and you won’t know what I’m saying”.
Sir Wojer: “But I don’t pay attention to what you say anyway”.

Aqualina tried to pass herself as a shamen of her island, but the shaman knew better. Hagan was persuaded he didn’t need ears for voices in his head and conversed with the spirit to whom the altar was being raised: Malia Keala Kaimi Kekipi (Bitter Pathway Seeker Rebel), Guardian ancestor of the village. We were informed that:

  1. MKKK was the one protecting the island
  2. Particularly protecting them from “Things [that] are passing in the deeps.”
  3. Some other ancestors are on the island, but they move.
  4. The only help that MKKK wanted from us was to bleed on his altar

The Shamans were directing work crews in paving patterns around the altar — the paving is very high quality and seamless: even rubbing the edges repeatedly on cloth so they fit closely. SauRus recognised some stylised symbols very like those associated with M*RM*R, the Duke of Thrones.

We left the plateau for some experimentation (and to maybe, somehow, “borrow” a transient ancestor). A little bleeding demonstrated that Everywhere on the island is feeding the newly-altarred plateau.

Saurus summoned a friendly spirit for a Q&A session... and it turned out to be our altar spirit (again). Things were a mite confused by Hagan & Aqualina also asking questions, since it turns out that it only had to answer Saurus’s questions honestly and we forgot who asked what.
Q:What powerful forces have been arising in this area? A: “The gods and those under them”.
More Answers:
There are things moving in the deep, I’m keeping them away // I haven’t been to see then // The protection keeps them out, something like a forbidding // it is dependent on the power put in it // I only allow through what is natural. // protection is provided across several islands // All who wish may become my descendants

SauTus talked to a shaman taking time out for some food & drink for more background. “They [Pasifikans] don’t lose connection with our ancestors, unless you away for a long time”. Aq was flustered & embarrassed.
Aqualina: “I know I’ve been lax in my ancestors recently”. [Scribe confused by new euphemism?]

We Decide not to go to Aq’s home island, since we didn’t need [another] necromancer.

Flighty Leader AWOL

Sir Woger flew up to about 20,000 ft, breaking out of the protection (which lay broad but not high, encasing the island) at about half-a-mile up, continuing up through the clouds and ash, but was still in the slow-fly area as he started to pass out. Coming down from his High (ie, after the air deprivation), he decided to summon an ash cloud ...but only get an ordinary cloud, with a little lightning. He decided to abandon the party for three days, without warning, and buggered off towards Mangere, napping on his cloud. Not encountering any flying carnivores, not even while he slept, SW successfully awoke, and flew down to talk to the local shaman (who greeted him friendly & discussed the recent changes. SW took back to Tuatangi a person who’d been visiting his cousins at Mangere.

Meanwhile (3 days worth)

After an hour the party was concerned; after two we’re variously annoyed or bored and, with gorram leader making a portentous Pretentious Return, we left to do better things. Netted for lunch in the shallows, until Aqualina went for a swim in the lagoon with Hagan watching closely, for signs of danger and to practise his sketching. Then Aqualina sank beneath the water for ages: We assumed it was more unannounced mage rituals, so we left to build a hut to wait in (for Aqualina, Woger, whatever). The Locals helped & we shared a meal. Perhaps we should have started a pool to wager who’d bet the next idiot to leave without telling the party or MilSci, but there weren’t enough left to make it worth the effort.

SauRus made a copy of the pattern of the stones. No obvious side-effects. Aqualina briefly returned normally, then abnormally disappeared for a few days. Hagan fletched. Rowan did presumably-evil Bindery stuff, but at least we knew where she & most of her puppets were.

Bloody dance marathon

SW returned at dusk, 24 hrs before The scheduled blood rite: A night of barefoot dancing under the full moon. Next day, the returning leader had us looking for Aqualina. MKKK said she wasn’t within his realm: he acknowledged there could be holes in the protection, but he didn’t know of any. With his hearing back to normal, Hagan question dolphins, promising more fish if they look closely. They did, but still no watery bint.

Rested before the knees-up that night. After a night of dancing, just dancing, mana leached off the dancers (at Dawn? Moonfall?). There was Large Pulse of Energy from the east that roughly coincided with Aqualina’s return.

By Noon that day (the 28TH), we were fully rested. SauRus has possibly been seduced into becoming a minion of the Island’s ancestor.


Chapter 4

While Aqualina was summoning a water elemental, we fished and considered. Sir Woger suspects the Mana goes from east to west? That is, the same direct as the pulse in the previous (combat) blood right. Aqualina told the elemental to go an hour ahead of us (whatever that means) and we never saw it again.


Bertie

SauRus summoned a sentient coral snake that Rowan & he'd met previously in this part of the World. A light approached with a wake behind, surprisingly large. SW prepared flying (just on himself) and Aqualina was about to slip over the side, to avoid the fast swimming sea-snake, until persuaded otherwise. A 10’ head on a 20’ neck emerged, Golden & Glowing brightly.

Fortunately we decide not to turn him in 10pt armour (like that would have been easy or non-fatal) because he was friendly to all of us, not just SauRus. Also talkative:
"There are things in the spirit realm & the real world. Even in the spirit realm, the travel magic is slow. Fire & light magicks are good against the things."

SauRus told Bertie the astrology reading. Bertie knows where there are several gates:
"Temple out east; Gates go other places, places that don’t exist, Not here-here, over-there here." Bertie stays away from the gates, cos bad things are around them – not Horrors or Things, but bad, bad things.
Told about the shamans & altars, Bertie considered investigating (Rowen explains this means eating it). SR gives it some invested to snack on. Bertie teaches the party, a captive audience, how to summon him in future. He said the elemental was probably were eaten by the things.
Q:The things/Badwater/Holes are in the deeps too?
A:Yes, and the Things in the Deep were stirred up to.

We deduce "Something" is obviously stirring things up; somebody’s decided to summon all this mana. Yes there is protection magics, but it is being used to fuel some other Big Plan. Meanwhile Bertie was interested in going to the altar island, so he went.

Follow the mana trail

SirWoger used his mana sight & tracking abilities to follow the trace/trail of the mana flow ... walking along the shallow sea-floor with a spider-silk rope up to a float & a flag. Since we'd slept til noon, he carried on through the night & we arrived back at an island with a very familiar altar on a headland. Yesterday morning they finished the dance all night ritual too. His ancestors came from the neighbouring island. The shaman can detect the Protection (& must actively look for it), but couldn’t see the Rush/Flow of Mana as SW does. The Shaman of Ra feels this Mana Flow is quite important (but don’t know what it means). We decide to head to Kailua Kona, as per Employer's instructions, to inform them of what we've sorta found out.

There was a large bite taken out of the aura of protection just east of Manoe. (DA confirms ablative and it used up enough as needed) Sir W casts flight on himself and eventually casts on us too. We stayed in the boat rowing, with only 2 sleeping at a time. Arrive evening of the 30th at Kailua Kona. Which has no special "Island Protection" yet.

Welcomed back by KN; we told him that the holes were horrors from some gates. The reason they’re leaving may well be because there are disturbances in the places beyond the gates because of the accumulation of the power ... made stronger by the Southern shamans’ own attempts to protect the islands using the old ways. SW suspects that SOMETHING is going to seize the growing power to ascend a THRONE and leave behind LOADS of said disturbed horrors and bad things will ensue. We agree!

Sacrifices to be made & Aqualina nowhere in sight

Aqualina went alone down to the water to commune. Everyone else went up to the Volcano's edge, which is an Air place of power, amongst other things, We sacrificed: magical items or things they have put personal effort & cost into (eg, Hagan's Rank-10 Silver & Iron Battle-axe that took weeks to make). Everyone saw something different but similar:

  • SW saw a white orb that swirled, just off the edge, but within arms-reach. His arm stops just short and it flowed over him and then he couldn’t see it anymore.
  • SR saw 2 different orbs, but choses the swirly black one.
  • Rowan chose the swirly green orb over brown one
  • Hgn picked red over green or white (cos white was too knightly pretentious; green was personally comfortably herb-like, but lucky blood-red was probably better for the party).

Sir Woger had a vision: He saw a dark orb ... that vanished, replaced by a Thing like what absent Aqualina summoned... which vanished, replaced by a drop of blood. SW heard a voice in the wings: "Seek that which stirred both the horrors and the blood. The origins lie deeper than you have gone so far ... Deeper into the story, you are on the right trail ..." SW then felt that there was air power swirling around him: he could choose to keep it all for himself or try to share it.

SauRus took necro power & could keep it for itself or share it. He chose to share it.

Hagan had apparently taken Fire power, which as a professional smith he decided to keep to himself, since he would use as requested by any other party-member, because he such a nice guy (the fact he has single-digit WP is purely coincidental). Whereupon he had to make a will-power check, that was so mediocre-possibly-bad, that he used a one-off magic-resistance reroll: and got another choice Red globe or Yellow globe. Since Yellow was the colour of sun & life, he chose to share that one with the party and just made an 8xWP roll (thank goodness for Greaters)

Backstory: Horrors, Ursula, vile orbs

Rowan & SR finally remembered something that might be useful. Better late than never? (which is why "late" means the same as "dead")

On a previous mission some Destinian stole a very, very, similar Bold textorb, plus armour, etc from a Horror in a temple in the jungle. ("Oh, that must have been the Temple Bertie was talking about")
The party was hired to find the items & return them to where they were stolen from to avoid it “waking up”. The item was associated with horrors. The lich took the orb [part of a horror god], the Ark [that turned all around it into Undead, eg the Destinians that had just opened it], & two plaques [containing forbidden horror magic] that said he was going to send to Ursula the sea witch. Naturally the party filched the rest.

What are we going to do?

Party leader needs to know: Do we...

  1. Go to Seagate to question the ex-witch seeking redemption (2 wks round trip)
  2. OR send Whispering Winds to their shaman in Seagate (a week, round trip)
  3. Or go to Atlantica, which is where Ursula was (having captured the king) — which is roughly where the horrors are headed.

There was some rubbish talked about going to the edge of the plateau to view the horrors for ourselves: but that's dangerous-stupid & probably unnecessary, especially if the answer is #3. To prepare for our voyage, we all Learn the "cleaning rite", which will give us some protection from Horrors/Holes

As a result of the Sacrifices, we All have necrogeny talent ... And we All have Smoking magma
[Hagan: "That scares me so much it’s going straight into the scribe notes"]

Chap. 5: Options & Actions

Since the whispering wind to Seagate will take 7-8 days, SW had 7 dwarves options to investigate:

  1. Go to the nearby Deepses & pokes it
  2. Go to the Destinian Undead – just 150’ down in the Sargasso sea
  3. Go to Myth Ithe – are they effected by the undead? Or are they real elves. Have they seen more of the horrors?
  4. Go to Leto rocks (where the Leech was before)
  5. Muck with the major altar, since it is abnormally powerful
  6. Check the Island voice – is it perhaps the voice of a Horror
  7. MKKK, the ancestor: what is it? Why so strong? Has a major horror convinced a local shaman to provide it with power? Is the Ancestor an agent & is his Power the island?

Rowan & SauRus know what the Orb looks like, but can’t Locate. Nor are any of the local priests able to BOTH pull a head open sufficiently (ie, to rummage/read the contents) AND to locate

The local spirit of Kailua Kona & other discussions

Following party-leader instruction, Hagan spake unto the spirit of the island: “O Spirit of this place, may we beseech you to answer, very quietly, our questions”...
Whereupon the Goddess Pele appeared (perhaps because we were discussing our options in Her most important Public Temple). Hagan was unharmed but everyone else in the room lost their ablative armour (84 pts damage). The explosion violently flung Aqualina backwards out the window: very Courtesan-like etiquette to maintain the proper facing.

Pele’s advice about the undead, the Horrors, and all other problems was succinct & consistent: “BURN IT” Although she was more detailed about the orb, which should be Burnt in Her Volcano. When it was mentioned that the Horrors are all underwater, she said “It will be hard, but you should be able to do it.” and de-manifested.

There were suggestions about Creating bubbles on the sea floor in which fire could be cast, til it was realised that Magical Magma was both Fire & Earth and that Air was not necessary, but we would have to be standing on the Bottom of the Sea. We still don’t know what they look like, except perhaps the confusing Thing that Aqualina summoned in the Inn. The previous party didn’t encounters in the horrors in the real worlds only those thy had possessed: the actual horrors were only met in the spirit world.

Advice from the Fire Priest, Death Priestess, & 3 killer Whales

Talked with KN about gates & doorways: The previous Party is sure that they were assured, at the time, that the Gate was closed. Possibly the Orb is enticing the horrors through that wouldn’t have been able to come thru normally. But that would mean the horrors would be radiating out from Atlantica, not heading towards it.

The Island of giant Statues has Necro & runic magic (both sorts of evil college); also Undead on the island (distant ancestral undead from the times of ancient myth)

Sir W considers sending whispering wind, or perhaps the bardic equivalent (since that would go under water) to ask The Leech where the orb is. SW realised that the mechanism assisting or enabling the horrors to cross over also had also increased the efficacy of the blood magic, or enabled the ancestors to benefit from them more effectively.

Mauli Lahina Akuma, (which means Dark-skinned moon of the earth) entered cowled. She is the High priestess of the Death Goddess and deals with rune magics. She recognised SOME of the symbols:

  1. Eases the passage of a venerable ancestor to the Spirit realm rather the realm of the dead;
  2. Opening the Gate to the Spirit Realm;
  3. Control or augment the undead.

But some of them were totally unknown to her or any to shamans/priests here: however SauRus thought those ones may be vaguely similar to symbols at the Jungle pyramid/temple.

Aqualina summoned 3 killer whales & asked about dead spot in the water & strange things in the deep.
A: Don’t do the deeps.
Q: There is dead ocean where they are.
A: Know they are there for a while and eventually you go far enough away that you don’t sense it
A: They say there are more in the south
Q:How far south? // A: Next island down (that was where our canoe was bit).

On Sir Woger’s suggestion, Aqualina communed with Tangeroa
Response: “Why Have You Called O child?”, but He didn’t seem keen of giving answers. Aqualina is told to find out more holes

Sargasso Sea of Un-Destinian Undead

We reached the Sargasso. Aqualina summoned & bound a water elemental while SauRus detected one shipload of undead, but low on greater undead. The earth was miles below, but we strolled across the dead, dried Sargasso top-layer. SR sensed 2 spectres, 6 wights, & lesser undead. We wandered down through the living sagasso & water, were challenged, respond, and eventualy invited on board.

The leech had told them they were undead. They were still willing to trade,
Rowan: “Just because they’re Undead, it hasn’t stopped them from being Destinian”.

Malia (their friend from before, i.e. leech) had explained about the box they opened. But they’re not letting it get them down — “life’, as it were, must go on. They hadn’t seen the horrors, but had heard the whale songs about it. We offered to take back letters to their kin to explain they are doing well but will some time before they come home.

There was some discussion between Sir Woger & the Mechanician on how to raise a ship (see forthcoming paper), but soon realised that it was counter-productive to let the wrecked company know the party had a mechanician for the taking. Fortunately the UnDestinians intended to go the organic way: they were expecting the ship to become sentient undead.

They wanted to give a ship in exchange for a crew, because they were going to sail home, expanding their fleet as they went: “We wouldn’t board an innocent ship, only one that deserved it”.

Two very different Malia KKs

Back at the island, for more info, we Summoned Bertie with the newly learnt rite, with SauRus generously providing the necessary snacks (selected investeds & potions). The leech’s full name is Malia Keala Kaimi Pauo’le. Previous Party didn’t get the Leech’s college so we asked Bertie:
“College? Oh, Don’t know that, but he does lots of magic ... more than me”

The Big barrier around Tuitangi (MKK Kekepi’s Island) was too scary for Bertie. Likewise there’s someone powerful in Atlantica, v powerful artefact ... So Bertie doesn’t go there, although “Gods here are OK with me”. [Aq says this is the King & his Device. Unlikely to be orb]. Typical self-styled royalty: powermad, more upitty than gods, seizing power & artefacts that are much better off in Guild hands.

At Kulai Kona, there was also aBig Barrier around the temple (so doesn’t go near it), but not around the island itself. There was mutual misunderstanding over the barriers, artefacts, etc.
Bertie (to Sir Woger): “If I took you to the spirit world, what you would see is very different” Party-member: “So why don’t you? Take our party-leader, I mean.”

So, Once Again, the party-leader leaves the entire party behind and boogies off except this time:

  1. We know he actually has left, not just inconsiderately died out-of-range & unrecoverable.
  2. We know where & why & that it is actually related to our mission
  3. He’s not alone
  4. We have reasonable expectations that he’ll probably return.

They went to MKK Kekepi’s island (encountered a smallish horror on the way, which damaged Bertie somewhat, but he still ate it). SW went thru the barrier alone and up to the altar (that’s got so much mana, Bertie’s mouth watered). Here is MKKK’s explanation:

  • The runes about the altar are to bring power into the Spirit realm (otherwise the Horrors could invade the Island). The power was being bound to protect the wards.
  • MKKK can feel the things out there, because some of them ate his descendants, so he got other descendants to send out their senses, and was told what those descendants of his found out.
  • The horros have power of their own.
  • MKKK's senses don’t reach far enough to answer SW’s Qn about the distant-horror temple-gate hypothesis.
  • There had been stories of the old ways when he, MKKK, was alive.
  • Now this talk of dead gods [SW had explained about the orb being a d.g.’s eyeball], unspeakable horrors that disappeared before the War of tears.
  • MKKK doesn’t recognised the name MKKP at all.
  • MKKK knows only the descendants that are connected to him.
  • MKKK’s BACKSTORY: Was an agent, in life, of the sky-father (& fell on his 2nd pilgrimage to the gt statues island, which is always risker than the 1st; but, because he was pacted, his soul returned through the god realm to his island, becoming a spirit there as an agent of all the gods).

Bertie keeps tabs on the bigger ones to keep away from them. He don’t track them, so much as sense their presence to stay away. Even small ones can hurt him.

A Shaman explained to us that MK3 is so old as to be almost mythical. The Only one with a name like that He was a Sprirt walker and had a powerful long life, even though he was not originally trained to be a shaman. He had Grt-grt-grt-grdchildren at the time he made his 2nd pilgrimage. And some of his offspring had visions of him some time after his death. But he was not recorded as a known ancestral spiritual until a thousand years after his death. There are no known other MKK-Anythings, MKKK was an outsider not in with the usual shaman crowd. Hence his name, since Malia Keala Kaimi Kekipi means Bitter pathway seeker Rebel. The bad-apple Malia need not be a relative, probably isn't since Shamans often have transitional names (kinda like an adventuring name that some humans & most elves adopt to avoid endangering or embarrassing their families). MKKP was probably a transitional name in life. Malia Keala Kaimi Pauo’le means Bitter pathway seeker Neverending

Chap 6: After the Orb &/or Lich

Morning of the 5th of heat. Now that we’ve our answers from Seagate and four scrolls of Locate, we decided to go out to investigate Ursula’s cave for orbs and clues.

After specifically failing to Locate the orb, the party realised we’d forgot that the Wind-Whisper response said Ursula said she didn’t have it. Apparently she was telling the truth. Aqualina navigated brilliantly, even without using magice to increase her chances, and we were at the almost-exact place (about 10 mi north of Atlantica) midmorning on the 7th. She went all fishy-tailled, cast magic on the party and led us swimming, or possibly being towed, to the cave. A couple of lost arms later, we persuaded the new tenant (a large octopus) that he’s more likely to end up lunch than we were & it left.

Supposedly the Leech had been studying the orb, because he didn’t have a soul to be corrupted. The prev.party had already searched the cave. No surprises that it was empty except for three leather scroll cases in her a secret compartment that WE found, that they couldn’t ... maybe because the octopus had broken the secret door.

The scrolls

Definitely trapped, warded, &/or cursed. Sir Woger instructed Aqualina to summon & control some small octopussies to go fetch. Each disappeared in a puff of yellow (readily identified as brimstone). After an hour, Binder says the scroll-case contents are protected by resetting portal to the plane of V*LPH*R (aka Sea Ducky). Possibly a Reverse-craypot?

Rowan casts a Blanch Counterspell and Sir Woger, technically the most resistableresisting party-member steps in and opened a case -- Wow, the lengths he’ll go to abandon the party (Joke! this time) It was in Aldaran (ye olde-timey Elf-speech), a time-based travel-log of where Ursula went & who she saw. The Ward is on the scrolls themselves, so we can’t take them with us. Sheesh, and you thought your sister was protective of her diary.

  • Didn’t record directions
  • In hours or days, with nothing under 2 hours recorded
  • But it’s 2 hrs to the edge, so she probably travelled atRk20 mage-current: conveniently 1-hex (25 mi.) per hour on our current map.
  • 10 hrs to the Lich lair

One lair done, another to go

As a last sweep, Hagen pulled out his Shard of light, now lava-lamp coloured. Bubbles of steam rise from the floor & the place quickly got hotter. After quick experimentation, Sir Woger insists the scribe notes show that [quote] “One can roast marshmallows underwater” while everyone else was calmly rushing for the exit. We fled ASAP to avoid becoming Party Bouillabaisse and Brave, Brave Sir Woger caught us up.

There was a LARGE THUMP as we rapidly swam from the hot scene.
Aqualina: “That’ll be the sea-cave collapsing”
Semi-guilty Semi-firemage (looking back): “No, it’s kinda bigger than that...”
Through the steam & flash-broiled fish was the red glow of Pasifika’s newest underwater volcano

On the afternoon of the 9th, SauRus tried to locate the Leech & get two fuzzyish NW. Sir Woger & SauRus fly about trying to get a better fix, without luck. Obviously the Lair next on the list for volcanoing is in that direction. The only obvious landmark roughly thataways was Tuitangi (MKKK’s Island).

The Aha! moment

... Confirmed a few hours later when a Plated sea serpent with a plated knight on its back emerged from that heading. It looked really tough, so the party-leader hailed it:
Sir Woger (to the knight in plate on an armoured sea serpent): “Greetings! Well met! Wish you to break words with us?”
Armoured knight: “Who are you? What do you want?”
Sir Woger: “Why are you out here?”
[Death] Knight (staring at Saurus): “I’ve been dispatched by my master, investigating who is looking.”
(Staring cos he’s a necro? or because he was the one Locating the Lich?)
Sir Woger: “Don’t tell him your name, SauRus”
SauRus: We seek your Master, Malia. The Destinians said he has a magic item that we’d like to purchase.” (He describes the Orb aka Dead God’s Eye)
Death Knight: “Come back in 5 days & we’ll negotiate”
SauRus: “Excellent. Thank you! We will”
Hagen (to Rowan after the DK has left): “As an Evil binder, Any idea why that powerful artefact will be worth a lot less immediately after the Summer Solstice?”
Rowan: “Because it’s the tool to let the Lich Ascend To A Downward Throne.”
Chorus of party Members murmuring other bits of the prophecy: “Death”, “Gates open”, “Horrors abound”.

Aqualina is torn

Sir Woger sent a whispering wind (R6) to the adept on the island warning that the Lich is on Tuitangi in a pocket hidden from MKKK’s senses and intends usurping the Island’s power.

As we crossed the Island’s protective barrier, Aqualina was smacked off the canoe, into our wake.
Sir Woger: Have you been cavorting with demons again?
Aqualina: Not cavorting. Not recently

DA on Aqualina as to what caused her to be repulsed? Answer: “Horror”:
Sir Woger: “You’re possessed. We don’t want to kill you.”
Aqualina: “Didn’t stop a previous party doing it”
Scribe: “Ah, so there’s a legal precedent that the guild has already accepted”

Aqualina approached the barrier again and tried to pass through. Her Body ripped in two revealing a horror, Which strikes the barrier & we hear/feel it. While everyone else prepares, Sir Woger leaps to Aqualina’s body with unnecessarily flashy heroics and engages the Horror. SauRus’s magical hand picks up one half of Aqualina; while Rowen's now-animated rope gets the other. Hagen, as instructed BURNS the Horror. The horror was killed, but it grievously gave Sir Woger double concussions (i.e., it threw a double “70” to finish) –-losing 8 agility & 16 Endurance total.

Safely(?) on the island of the hidden Lich

And so we reached the shore safely discussing, as the golems paddles why no death buzz was noticed by the remaining party-members (Curiously the allegedly evil binder is neutral: Hagen being life-aspected; while SW & SR are both Death-groupies). Because the Soul cannot cross the barrier here??? Because the Horror had been wearing Aqualina like a body-sock for days??? However, a DA established that Aqualina did die when she was recently rent, not any earlier on the adventure. So we guess that the death was not sensed because it happened outside the barrier. What are the implications for missing descendants? and what happens when people (eg, us) are killed or de-souled on the island within the barrier?

SauRus enhanced his range but didn’t notice undead, bound or free, w/in 1200' ... but it's a big island. Aqualina's body was Itemised (possibly Mended too) & buried in the sand, for technical reasons, so that Saurus could interrogate chat with her, free from any possessed influence or control. It is clear that bad-Undead-Malia is in a pocket area that Protecting-Ancestor cannot detect

Hagan used a rare-herbs potion (Rk7) to repair Sir Woger’s cracked head in half a day (just his double concussion). The Shamans won’t be back until tomorrow so we decided to head up to the summit, the holy place for shaman.

Sir Woger, our chief range, led us through the jungle up towards the mountain — on an optimal path surprisingly.
Rowan: "cos he was clutching his splitting head and looking at the ground for once".
Party leader: “You’re a sick individual”
(It must be true, cos it was the Elf that said it & no-one know sick like elves).

Walking to the Lair of the Lich

When we'd cleared the trees, SirW Summoned down an ash cloud, and flew us towards the summit but were were blown away as we approached. Looping around and Trying from a separate direction, it happed again. So Sir Woger took another hour & spoke to the wind. It's keeping away people who don’t follow the proper rite of approach — i.e., walking up the mountain-side.

So we had to go back down and walk up the proper way, getting there about 1 am (because of the hours of airmage pfaffery). No shaman about at the Summit. SauRus gets an Undead ping, but can’t be more precise (because the Leech is shielded). SauRus sees tracks that aren't ours, leading around the top and then down into down into the caldera. We investigate briefly but Sir Woger is still down a lot of endurance & fatigue. Apparently he needed to sleep to get it back, so we sleep until morning.

Morning dawns to a completely clear sky. The *entire sky* is clear; unnaturally so. The air is magical, so Rowan sorta Divinated it. We were in a sanctified (but not consecrated) area, with the air protecting the area. We decided to fly down and see the shaman, to see what can be done about the state of Acqualina and keep him abreast of the troubling news.

Mil Sci

Marching Order

Buffs

Magic Rk Effects Dur S.W H S R A x
Water Breathing 20 Allows seeing through fog 21 hours - YYY Y - Y -
Resist Cold 12 Staying warm 13 hours - ? - - - -
Waterproofing 8 Staying dry Objects: 45 days, Entities: 27 hours - Y Y - - -
Necrogency 20 -6 Draining,-25 infection,+65% v fear 25 hours - Y Y - Y -
Wraith Cloak 13 +20 def, -4 Dmg,+14 Stealth 7 hours - Y Y - Y -
Spectral Weapon 13 +14 SC, +5 Dmg 18 mins - n - - Y -
Dark Vision 8 130 foot See in Dark 9 hours - - Y - - -
- - - - - -

Map

Map of Pasifika with 25 mile hex grid overlay.
Islands other than Rangiwhero are not represented to scale, simply location. Pasifika-uw2-25hex.png

Loot

SP

Items

Gifts

Invocation of Bertie

Bertie is a friendly Coral Serpent able to move in & out of the spirit realm. He typically manifests as a one foot long brightly coloured coral snake, but has been seen to be up to 200' long in the past also. His Aura strength is Avatar, and he has no GTN. Most DA questions will return no answer.
He may be invoked with an hour long ritual in a safe location, with a 1% chance per 50sp spent on it. (100% for 5000sp). A bonus 20% chance is added for the following. Philosopher Field Aquatics (Natural World), Philosopher Field Magical Animals (Natural World), Beast Master Snakes/Serpents or similar, Ability to speak to Snakes/Serpents/Aquatics/Creatures of Light. He will never answer a call in a spot where another power is likely turn up who could beat him in a fight.
When invoked he will typically be helpful and may know a bit about the area, especially the conditions in the spirit plane. He is especially knowledgeable in anything related to Water, Solar Celestial or E&E magics.
He will cast spells & rituals at Rk 20 from those colleges on the spot for the party for 'snacks' in the form of Invested Items, Potions, or Gems, requiring 1000sp value + material component value per spell, though he can supply the correct material component so only the price must be covered.
He will also guide the party safely through the spirit realm, for the price of 1000sp of 'snacks' per 25 miles travelled, being about an hour to travel that distance.
He will not fight any powerful entities being somewhat of a coward in that sense, even though he is actually exceptionally powerful himself, nor will he take the party through the realm of a hostile power on the spirit plane. He is honest in his dealings with the party and will not deliberately try to mislead them.
Shaped Items & numbers of powerful invested items may give him access to additional colleges of magic, so these kind of sacrifices should be noted.

Talents

Party: Necrogeny, Rank 6.

Spells

Party: Smoking Magma, Rank 6.
Party: Resistance to Light, Rank 6.
Sir Wojer: Barrier of Wind, Rank 6.
Sir Wojer: Wind Storm, Rank 6.
Hagan: Fire College.

Calendar

Summer

  Moonday Duesday W'ansday Th'rsday Frysday Reapsday Sunday
Moon0.jpg Beltane
Meadow (1)
  1 Guild Meeting 2 Prep Work 3 Left Seagate 4   5 White Lotus 6 Seagate Light Festival
Moon1.jpg 7   8   9   10   11 Arrived Beth Salem/Pasifika 12 Vision Mistake 13  
Moon2.jpg 14 New Moon 15   16   17 Healing Finished 18 Shrine Visits 19 Waiheke; 20 Kailua Kona
Moon3.jpg 21 Manuae 22 Pukapuka 23 Tuatangi 24 Party Separates. 25   26 Sir Wojer Returns 27 Aquilina Returns
Blood Rite
Moon0.jpg 28 Party leaves Tuatangi.
Full Moon
29   30 Party arrives Kailua Kona  
Heat (2)
  1   2   3   4 Seagate Guildmasters Ball
Moon1.jpg 5   6   7   8   9   10 Seagate Races 11 The Duke of Carzala's Summer Ball
Moon2.jpg 12 New Moon 13   14 Midsummers
 Eve
 (Faerie Day)
15 Solstice Maleah Keala Kaimi Pili Lani (Bitter Pathway Seeker Close to Heaven) Ascended. Some gates opened in/near South Deeps to beyond the veils. 16   17 Seagate Summer Fair Day 18 Seagate Summer Fair Day
Moon3.jpg 19   20   21   22   23   24 The Castellan of Brastor's Summer Ball 25  
Moon0.jpg 26 Full Moon 27   28   29   30    
Breeze (3)
  1   2  
Moon1.jpg 3 Day of Death 4   5   6   7   8   9  
Moon2.jpg 10 New Moon 11   12   13   14   15   16  
Moon3.jpg 17   18   19   20   21   22   23  
Moon0.jpg 24 Full Moon 25   26   27   28   29   30