Posted on December 16, 2013
Castaway Diary, day 24, concluded.A character death. Or was it… MURDER? Where better to hide a dead barbarian than among a whole pile of dead barbarians? Nah, it wasn’t murder, just your average vicious undead attack and disadvantageous terrain combined with some crazy dice rolling from the GM. Which doesn’t really matter as the end of this episode sees Uun dead as a doornail. Death is never really forever in D&D… not as long as there is a body, a high level cleric around and a light to not run into. Anyway, that wraps up day 24: perhaps the bloodiest day in our Pathfinder group’s history? I’m trying to think when the body count may have been higher: 33 human Barbarians, 1 Giant Lizard, 6 Shiv Festrogs, 4 skeletons, 1 Giant Spider. On the job today: Aerys – The GM PC who everyone loves! Because she is so awesome at everything! Yet unwilling to take a share of the loot! Floki – Discovering something about his Ranger nature and now definitely bow-curious. Malicia – Popping in just in time to see everything go wrong. Nobody – Maybe gonna donate that gun to Orny, since Orny at least finds a use for it. Orny – Ooh, is Orny conflicted about Uun’s death: He and Uun got in a fight just before Uun died so Orny never got a chance to tell Uun.. how not conflicted he would be if Uun died. Uun – Sleeping with the fish oil. As usual. Victor – Really regretting not getting a full face helm, for those rare occasions when his face ends up full of someone else’s pus. Here’s how it all went down after the blindingly bright cluster of lightning strikes to the west: Nobody and Victor immediately ran to a vantage point to see what was going on. Nobody ran to the balcony on the middle floor of the lighthouse and could see that the storm had abruptly stopped, but little else as the squat lighthouse barely breaks the tree line at its highest point. Victor, on the other hand, could see that a glittering black wall had risen behind the red mountain to the east, a mass of water that must surely be taller than most of the peaks on the island. The dark outline of Red Mountain remained taller than the wall of water, but… well, mountains are supposed to do that, waves aren’t. As he watched, though, the wave never fell, instead it stayed in place. Floki (remember that guy?) had been guarding the rear escape route, a noble and strategically vital role that had, nevertheless, kept him away from the day’s slaughter. But with the sudden silence, followed by the distant grinding noise and rumble felt through the island, he perked his ears up. The sound, while new to him, had been described many times before by old salts during Floki’s sailing days with the Blodvin marines. A grinding sound that you could tell was far away, but very loud; that’s how they always described the drawback of a tidal wave. The inundation part sounds like “Sploosh, I just knocked your beachfront hotel to pieces”, but the drawback doesn’t sound like water at all, but like the world’s largest millstone slowly getting to work. Shouting a warning to everyone, he scrambled up and over the wall of barbarian corpses and into the lighthouse in order to get a better look. So with all of them crowding the top of the lighthouse in order to find a better view, they all gazed out at the post-storm darkness and could see the faint wisps of fires from the Red Mountain and behind that land mass, the sea mass of the great immobile wave. Opinion was divided on where to go. It became clear that the tidal wave wasn’t behaving as one might expect a tidal wave to behave. In fact tidal wave was a poor descriptor since it wasn’t tidal at all, but rather a vast wall of water. Some thought they should go low, to get away from the inundation… somehow. While others thought they should go high. As it was, the split in opinion caused raised tensions and when it looked like Uun was about to act precipitously, Orny put him to sleep. Again. Uun awoke, furious and raging, punched Orny out; before lifting the witch’s body above his head. Cooler heads stepped in at this point and Victor healed Orny, but the animosity was palpable. Clearly, with everyone’s blood up, they needed to give themselves more to do, so it was agreed that they’d venture down into the hole; of which, Uun noted, the barbarians had been terrified. Descending the rope that Uun had already tested, they brought the shitty, spluttering, probably human-fat candles with them as they ventured into the hole. Orny cast Dancing Lights into the cave to light their way. Inside they found a largish round cave, littered with the cracked bones and scraps that had been visible from the top. The gore covered cave floor held little of interest and so they made towards the single narrow passage way that led from the cave. Floki went first, stealthily creeping along the natural tunnel in the rock, creeping further into the darkness. Uun wasn’t interested in making a stealthy approach though, so he ran past the hidden Ulfen and reached the end of the tunnel. At least, the walls widened, it was so dark here Uun wasn’t able to see much of anything at all. But he came to a stop when he smelled the stench of carrion and waited, spear ready. Nobody and Victor progressed along the passage, stepping past Floki, who just waited and sighed, Victor had brought up his Detect Evil ability and suddenly got a ping, not too far from where Uun was standing, he shouted a warning to the wary Shoanti, who prepared himself and his spear. As bestial grey shapes lunged out of the darkness, he whirled his spear, his finely honed reflexes allowing him to strike out before they had even reached him. One creature fell, dead after showering Uun in a spray of virulent pus. As the cork at the top of the bottleneck, all the vile undead creatures clawed and bit at Uun. While he was able to avoid the needlelike teeth in their snapping, canine mouths, he wasn’t able to fend off the vicious claw attacks which raked him horribly. At the back of the line, Aerys and Orny prepared for the fight – Orny had cast Light on Nobody’s gun, allowing everyone to see a bit better when he reached the head of the tunnel and let off his starter pistol… in the super enclosed space. Orny also cast Guidance on Aerys’ next shot with her bow and the one-eyed poet-archer sent a shaft through the head of the first undead she could draw a bead on through the frantic melee. Victor waded into melee just as Uun was – for all intents and purposes – torn apart by the undead beasts. They savaged his body as he fell, tearing chunks of flesh and gorging on barbarian. Victor struck out at the creatures, his blow slicing through the bulging pustules that covered their flesh, drenching him in the diseased pus too, yet the pure spirit of Iomedae that dwells within Victor would allow no disease to take purchase. The undead exchanged blows and bites with Victor too, gnashing through weak spots in his armour and tearing off chunks to eat. Victor was the bastion behind which the others sheltered and Orny, having failed to make a wand work, cast Guidances on Aerys and Floki who sent in a deadly – no, like seriously deadly – rain of arrows on Victor’s assailants. Malicia, having heard the commotion, abandoned her post at the top of the hole and ran down to catch up. Seeing the situation, she whipped out a Cure Light Wounds potion and made her way to the head of the bottleneck, passing the potion on to the desperate Victor as his initial success in combat deserted him and he struggled to keep up with the undead’s attacks. Floki and Aerys, however were keyed in and took out the last of the creatures with arrows. The party rushed in to the cave these things had inhabited and examined Uun. Uun was dead. They made the decision to withdraw to camp, where they are pretty certain either Percy or Jask has the Raise Dead scroll they found in Ishiro’s hoard. Malicia, meanwhile had searched the cave, a sloping teardrop shaped room with one exit and half-a-dozen little alcoves. In one of the alcoves, she found a scrap of leather armour, inscribed with a message. As she read it she realized that this was important and read it to the group. It was the last confession of Captain Kovack in which he takes full responsibility for the deliberate wrecking of the Jenivere and the demise of her passengers and crew. While he assumes all blame, he claims to have been bewitched by “a serpentine demon” in “a Varisian’s skin” and clearly name Ileana, the quiet, spectacularly sea-sick Varisian student of history as his bewitcher. She had abandoned him here to die a gruesome and distressingly un-final death, while she went on to the Red Mountain, for some reason Kovack did not know. In his last words before, presumably unlife took him, he requested that the reader seek vengeance upon Ileana. This, combined with Uun’s death, turned out to be a bit of a game changer: the goal of defeating the cannibals to acquire their lighthouse was such a momentous undertaking which as soon as it was completed was followed by several more things to add to their Smuggler’s Shiv To Do list. How Ileana’s interest in Red Mountain coincides with the strange storm that centered on there or the massive wall of water, is anyone’s guess at the moment – but it seems connected to why Captain Kovack was driven to wreck the Jenivere. If it is, then it means everything that the party has suffered – ranging from death to theft of block and tackle – has been because Ileana was interested in the Red Mountain. It also gives them a prime suspect for who took the second glass rod from the Chelish Lighthouse. Hauling their dead friend/tolerated a-hole (depending on who you asked) back through the tunnel, the party retreated back to the surface, hauling up the rope and setting watch. They decided what to do with the dead barbarians (that they weren’t keeping) and eventually decided to use the big prepared fire to burn the bodies. Aerys volunteered to go fetch the rest of the Castaways, who should be done with their cannibal-timewasting by now and will have regrouped (assuming success) at Pezock’s Crab-camp. Aerys will bring them back, presumably in just under three days. A quick mental calculation informed the party that they have 9 days to cast Raise Dead on Uun. Anything after that, his body will be too far gone to bring back. They didn’t know whether Jask or Percy had possession of the scroll, but I did and I guess they find out as soon as they get back to the lighthouse: Percy does. They resolved to spend the three days between this night and the regrouping exploring the caves in which Uun perished. Although they haven’t searched the camp either, so they may want to look into that. Floki and Aerys stood watch for the remainder of the night. Six hours or so after the cataclysmic lightning strike on the Red Mountain, Aerys heard a distant noise and peering through the darkness she saw the dark wall of water start to glitter, then form surf on its vertical surface and then suddenly collapse downwards. So at least THAT is back to normal.