Castaway Diary , days 32, 33 and 34.

Okay, second attempt. There is a lot of text here and I hope I’m faithfully recounting the events as they transpired. Someone pipe up if they think I’m off and we’ll resolve what actually went down. It’s way easier to look at a list of combat actions and tell exactly what happened, but this session had no combat, just feelings and motivations and talking. I have a sneaking suspicion that next session’s awkward dinner may be some combination of Initiative checks and Sense Motives…
On deck for this session:
Uun; tying up loose ends and then shredding a ball of yarn.
Victor; like your kindly, politically-incorrect uncle, that you’re kind of waiting to say something terrible to a foreign person. 
Floki; going against the Floki. Gettit? Flow-ki. It’s his name. And he disagreed with everyone.
Malicia; primed for a life of adventure/premature death by sticking her beak into assassin guild business.
Also check out Rolland’s take in the comments.
Having sailed off into the sunset, the former-castaways now had a day left before they made it to the port of Eleder. The trip on board the Red Gull was by no means luxurious, but it served to acclimate them to contact with people other than themselves. Victor, having impressed the crew the previous day by being a) handsome and b) willing to give them a silver coin for their troubles, continued to make friends by providing them with clean, pure water – something that is otherwise non-existent on the home leg of a sea voyage.
Gelik, meanwhile, stayed below decks with Ileana’s notes, working to translate all he could. Ishiro was distracted and when he and Floki briefly discussed the treasure they had buried on Smuggler’s Shiv, Ishiro assured him it would be safe, since no-one else knew where it was buried – at least the number of people who knew where it lay was limited. However, Ishiro still didn’t want the news disseminated further than it had to.
Aerys, sitting on the bowsprit, totally at home on the ship and making notes in her book was paid a visit by Uun. These conversations have previously only ever gone one way – Uun somehow offending her with his efforts to be friendly. Maybe it was the cool sea breeze, maybe it was the hope of a return to civilization, maybe it was Aerys seeing through the bluster to the good heart Uun keeps telling everyone he has, but she was welcome of the chat. They squared some things up – how come we don’t get on? how come you killed the cleric? how come you didn’t want my booze? how come you thought giving desert island hooch to someone desperate to kick an addiction was a good idea? – so by the end of their chat they both felt better about having been stranded with each other. More like Snuggler’s Shiv, amiriteguys?
Nobody and Orny begged off socializing, with both of them feeling under the weather, while Rolifson – remember that guy? – stayed in his cabin or sat unobtrusively in the background, which is what Halflings do anyway. Malicia seemed ready to sleep the voyage away which makes sense after her various watch duties on the day the Red Gull appeared. So that left Sasha, bouncing around the deck waiting for something to do. There was nothing sailing-wise to help with, Ishiro had already tried to offer help and the crew were as bored as their passengers at the slow steady pace of their travel to Eleder. Victor decided to occupy Sasha’s time with some friendly sparring on the big open deck of the whaling brig and Floki organised a book among the lazing crew.Victor was able to emerge from the flurry of dirty tricks clever moves that Sasha has in her repertoire but she was undettered and up for fighting Uun in the next bout. Floki sided with Uun and made his money when the barbarian took Sasha down too. Now the crew demanded that the two men fight each other so Victor and Uun squared off and Uun emerged victorious again. Some hours pleasantly passed, The lookout called out that cliffs that loom on either side of the bay that houses Eleder was appearing over the horizon and sure enough, they entered a busy area of shipping.
The Captain, Aulek Tegerten, appeared on the deck to start preparations for docking and unloading/loading as Whaling ships that aren’t out skinning whales to death aren’t making their money. However, he did wonder if he could have a word in private with the ex-castaways. In his cabin he commiserated with them about their stay on the island and reiterated how glad he was to have picked them up, since he hoped that act would turn his own luck around. Upon arriving in Eleder he always stays at the Seven Palms Caravanserai, a high quality, large inn that services merchants and wealthy travellers. He would be delighted if the party would accept his invitation to stay there while they found their feet. He offered to pay for a two night stay for each of the party and he thought they would enjoy its amenities, especially its bathhouse, as they recover from their ordeal and attend to whatever delayed business they may have. The party was grateful and effusive with thanks. Aulek also advised them to get a Porter as soon as they arrived, the pushier the better and asked that they stay out of the way while the ship docks. They were happy to do both and took up positions on the foredeck as the city came into view.
A natural bay interrupting a line of cliffs, Eleder is one of the area’s only deep water harbours, meaning some truly huge ships can anchor right next to the city streets. As you get further from the city itself the ships get smaller so the effect is a slope of bobbing masts up to the city itself. As they drew nearer, they saw light Mwangi vessels skimming across the water manned by bollock-naked black-skinned men who actively traversed the rigging and spars like they had done nothing else their entire life. Closer they saw ships and designs from every area of the known world. But before they could progress too far into the bay, the Red Gull docked at one of the many wooden docks that all-but covered the bay.
Making their way down the wooden piers, packed with goods and stevedores coming and going, they reached the end of the piers and the start of the city – one massive sprawling market laid out between the water’s edge and the dock buildings. Here, they saw the chaotic diversity of the marketplace: sunburned northern merchants haggling with bored-looking Qadiran traders; Vudrani caravan guards arguing in their warbling tongue; Knots of tall, black-skinned men wrapped in cloaks made of shining banana leaves; Tian sailors unloading cargo under the prim gaze of Sargavan colonials and everywhere there are Mwangi of all shapes and sizes, some in skins and furs, others in curious hide armours, yet others in swathes of rich and brightly patterned cloth. Near the entrance to the piers, a press of Porters jockeyed for position behind the guards that stopped them from plying the piers for custom, but they didn’t manage to reach them before a Porter appeared before them offering his services. The man’s name was Ilo and assuming that he’d bribed the guards or cleverly hidden himself in place, they hired him on the spot.

You may remember such scenes from your dentist’s office waiting room wall.

Ilo guided them through the city to their destination, with several small Mwangi boys carrying their possessions for them and a few larger ones clearing a way for them. They had a little time to take in the atmosphere of Portside, one of the three Colonial neighborhoods of Eleder. The architecture of the city is undoubtedly Chelish but adapted to the climate, so the buildings tend to be lower, wider with central courtyards of water gardens, shaded cloisters and broad, grilled windows set to catch the breezes. Other than these allowances, the gothic style popular in Cheliax for the past few centuries is still evident in the roof tiling, decorated doorways and windows and in the wrought ironwork. The other noticeable Cherish peculiarity is the fashion worn by colonials, and some Mwangi – the clothes are new, yet cut in styles out of date by at least a hundred years. The colonists dress exactly as they did prior to Cheliax’s civil war. For comparison, it would be like us visiting a country where everyone dressed in Edwardian top hats and tails. Again there are some small allowances in the clothing made to the heat and sun, but by and large colonials in Eleder need to stay in the shade, and not too far from fans and cool drinks.
Anyway local color aside, they arrived at the Seven Palms Caravanserai in the early evening. A large former horse stable, the building has been converted into a really really nice guest inn. The rooms are small, but private and face into the inner courtyard which has been filled with shaded and screened gardens. Captain Tegerten had bought everyone rooms near one of the corners and their doors all looked out onto the same pleasant garden. Uun planned to take a trip or two in the city the next day, so he paid Ilo to leave a runner outside the inn so that he could fetch guides and porters as needed.

I’m going to put this puppy here because I made the mistake of doing an internet image search for bath house. Don’t do it.

Everyone was pretty keen to hit the bathhouse, a large separate building behind the Caravanserai with numerous individual tubs in one room that could be curtained off for privacy or revealed for socializing. Amidst steam and soap, the ex-castaways sank into the first hot water in a long time. Aerys and Sasha delighted in the bath and even Uun took the opportunity to wash the month old fish oil off. The group of bathers chatted happily as servants brought chilled wine and fruit juices and took the travelers clothes and armor off for cleaning. Several took the opportunity to order new sets of clothes from the inn’s valet.
About this point someone noticed that Ishiro and Rolifson never made it to the bathhouse. They certainly had seemed like they were going to make it in there, but they never showed up and the party did not lay eyes on them again. After bathing, bed – an actual honest to goodness bed – although Uun passed his up to sleep in the garden, waiting for Rolifson and Ishiro to return, but they never did and he fell asleep underneath a mosquito net placed there by bemused hotel servants.
The following morning they awoke and found a serving boy waiting for them outside their rooms. Apparently someone wanted to meet them for breakfast. Sasha, Aerys, Malicia and Gelik couldn’t be woken, while Nobody and Orny still complained of not feeling well, so Victor, Uun and Floki headed down to the Caravanserai’s refectory.
There they met Dargan Etters, a well-dressed middle-aged merchant who was enjoying the shot out of some Huevos Rancheros or something. He had a table to himself and bade them join him. I’ll try to recreate the pitch he made after introductions as accurately as I recall it; players, let me know if you got a different feel:
“It has come to light that you have made a remarkable discovery on the island of Smuggler’s Shiv. We have it from Ishiro, a trusted former associate of ours that you have found a way to discover Saventh Yhi. I represent a group of business-minded people who intend to mount an expedition to Tazion. Once there we will uncover the route to the lost city of Saventh Yhi. We will travel to Saventh Yhi, where we intend to loot and plunder every scrap of worthwhile treasure from the lost city: strip it bare as quickly as we can and then return to civilization very wealthy men.”
“I want you on board with this. It will happen without you, but I’d rather have your expertise. I’m offering you the chance to blaze a trail for us – go ahead of the expedition caravan, set up resupply points and clear the trail of any dangers. You will not need to worry about the logistics of your journey, food, water and so on. We’ll take care of all that stuff. We’ll send along an expert on survival and dealing with the natives too. What I’m proposing that you get out of this is 500gp each, as soon as you sign up, to outfit yourself as you see fit. You’ll receive double that once the expedition reaches Saventh Yhi. At that point, we’ll hold your contract fulfilled, and you can choose to walk away with as much looted treasure as you can carry or you can renegotiate a further contract as I am sure you skills will remain useful to you. Since we have it on Ishiro’s good authority that you are a formidable group of problem solvers, we’ll also give you each up to 500gp worth of scrolls and potions from our own supply.”
They had a few questions about this. First, is this guy Evil? Which Victor answered by excusing himself, bringing up Detect Evil and then looking the guy over. No, it turns out, he wasn’t evil. Who did he represent? The Aspis Consortium, which he described as a profit-driven trade network and Floki remembered as a super-ruthless, strictly hierarchical profit-driven trade network with deep pockets.
Etters was happy to give them a short while to think about it, but he wanted to get his caravan rolling one week from now, so they shouldn’t take forever. That’s fine, said Uun, post a runner outside the inn in case we need to get in touch with you, otherwise we’ll meet you back here tomorrow night for some dinner  and make our decision then. Etters finished his Huevos Rancheros and bottomless coffee and left leaving them to their breakfasts.
Returning to their rooms they overheard low voices coming from Gelik’s room and a finally awake Malicia. No taste for worms, I take it? Checking in on the gnome, they found him poring over his notes and translations with another man, who the gnome introduced as Venture Captain Finze Bellaugh of the Eleder Pathfinder Lodge. Want to hear something weird: THEY were planning  an expedition too.
Bellaugh told them that the Eleder Lodge was the last Pathfinder lodge in Sargava and that the Society was in trouble in this part of the world. A new source of exploration potential and ancient knowledge could really turn things around for the Lodge. They’d have to get there first, before less savory characters showed up, as news of the discovery was bound to spread. He could offer them 400gp per person signing on bonus, although this was talked up to 500gp to match the Aspis Consortium’s bid. Plus, 1000gp if the expedition made it to Saventh Yhi although there was the distinct implication that this had to happen before other interests made it to Saventh  Yhi. In addition, Bellaugh dangled the possibility of Field Commissions into the Pathfinder Society, a treat that Gelik assured them would mean a life of adventure supported across the known world by likeminded souls. Although he just spent the last month trying not to die on Cannibal Island with the rest of you, so maybe you’d manage fine by yourselves. Bellaugh stressed that the knowledge contained in these ancient cities was too valuable, too dangerous to be left in the hands of more ruthless explorers. That’s fine, said Uun, post a runner outside the inn in case we need to get in touch with you, otherwise we’ll meet you back here tomorrow night for some dinner  and make our decision then.
They left Gelik’s room but had barely walked the length of themselves before Aerys presented them with a third offer, albeit indirectly. She had someone they should meet before they considered the offer she had a most certainly been eavesdropping on. Leading them through the city, Aerys remained tightlipped as they made their way back to the docks. They approached a large vessel, a substantial frigate and were almost on board before noticing that the lounging sailors on the adjacent pier were all a little too studiously relaxing. This was almost certainly a pirate ship.
The suspicion was confirmed when they boarded and Aerys introduced them to Captain Kassata Lewynn of the Last Hurrah, a “free” ship out of the Shackles. Technically Sargava and the Free Captains have an alliance, but in the same way that extortionists and the extorted have an alliance. Sargava isn’t in a position to complain about the pirates, let’s put it that way.

We’re buddies with Sargava!

According to Aerys, the party is a capable and adventuresome bunch, able to overcome all sorts of obstacles. Also, according to Aerys, the party has uncovered the location of a way to discover a fabled lost city. Captain Lewynn wants in on this. Her plan – send an expedition to Saventh Yhi, plunder it for all its worth, cart the plunder to the nearest deep river, stick it all on boats and sail off into the west to buy herself her own island and a seat on the Council of Captains. And if they’ll agree to help her do it, she’ll give each of them *thunk* a pre-minting platinum rod. When the expedition reaches this lost city full of booty, *thunkthunk* two more. As an incentive to sign up with her, she’ll either give you each a swashbuckler bodyguard/porter/dogsbody of your very own OR *thunk* another rod to keep the first one happy. So, basically; everybody would get 1000gp now, 1000gp later or 500gp now if they want a buccaneer of their own as a man servant. There weren’t as many questions for Captain Lewynn because pirates. Although, Aerys, were you a pirate? Yea. That’s fine, said Uun, post a runner outside our inn in case we need to get in touch with you, otherwise we’ll meet you back there tomorrow night for some dinner and make our decision then.

I guess it could have been white gold. The light wasn’t very clear in there.

They head back to the Seven Palms to think a bit more on this and get some things done. First order of business was to get all their booty transferred into a more portable exchangeable form, which they did. Then Victor and Uun need to go find the big temple of Iomedae, because that’s kind of his job and because he desperately needed Restoration, respectively.  They were also keen to check out the ‘other’ temple of Iomedae, the native one. It was an interesting feature of worship in Sargava that the native populations had recast Iomedae as a Mwangi warrior maiden, replete with hide shield and shortspears. I think Victor is a little torn on the whole thing.
They also called in at the humble temple of Nethys, really just a small private chapel, to let them know that Jask was dead. The initial reception wasn’t too friendly. Jask Derindi’s treachery had cast the church of Nethys in a pretty bad light and that had lasted for a while. His spying was not done on behalf of Nethys, rather he had worked for the Sargavan government, based in Eleder. If they want to clear Jask’s name posthumously, that’s where they should go.
Meanwhile… back at the Seven Palms, Malicia was keeping an eye on Sasha. She’d previously noted that Sasha had made some modifications to her room… slightly substantial ones like removing the doors from her closet, filling the space beneath her bed with stuff and loosening the grill from her window. Relaxing during the heat of the day, Malicia heard the grill slide out of place and then be replaced and so went to carefully investigate. She found Sasha’s room slightly ajar and entered to find Sasha gone. She went over to check the bed and as she did so, the door clicked closed behind her. Malicia turned to find a figure standing on the doorway, clad in red armor with a peculiar, insectoid helm. At its sides hung many curved blades of differing length, but all with the same deep serrations seen on the blades outside Pezzock’s camp.
The figure removed its helm, revealing the unreadable eyes of an elf woman. She imparted to Malicia that they knew of the expedition to Saventh Yhi and that they had their own reasons for wanting to find it. Refusing to help them or helping some other party would be detrimental to the long term health of the party. They’d pay, of course, they’d pay well. Their signing bonus was that they’d give them 500gp in cash and 500gp in poisons and anti-toxins. Once they got to Saventh Yhi, they’d match the other offers, but they have no interest in the treasure of the city. Instead they seek only an ancient and forgotten temple that the city is supposed to hold. It’d be safe to say that the creepy delivery of the threatening offer didn’t sway Malicia much and the elf left.
Sasha slunk back some time later, not particularly perturbed by the visit, more sullen about it though. She didn’t seem to believe that she was in any danger, but she wouldn’t vouch for the party’s safety.
There then followed some discussion about how they were going to decide before dinner. After some quick discussions it came to Victor and Malicia favoring the Pathfinder’s approach, while Uun was split between Pathfinders and Pirates (right?), while Floki put the Pathfinders on the bottom of his run-off voting list and would much rather work with the Aspis Consortium. None thought they should bow to the threats of the Red Mantis Assassin, which is usually exactly what happens right before someone gets murdered to prove a point.
So, the loot is sold and the profits split, Orny and Nobody are coming down with some ailment, Uun is cured of half of his level problems with another Restoration to go and the party has been courted by four powerful regional factions who think they’d be the best choice to lead an expedition to Saventh Yhi in a week’s time.
And you have a very awkward dinner date coming up where it looks like you’ll be making the Pathfinder Society very happy and the other three… less so.

One Comment on “Castaway Diary , days 32, 33 and 34.

  1. Rolland sent this to me while the comments were busted – LOOKS LIKE COMMENTS BACK ON THE MENU BOYZ!:

    Here’s my opinion on patrons:

    Aspis Consortium – Floki’s got on the ship to Eleder because he’s on a research trip. It’s his task to learn about trade in southern Avistan and Garund. He’s doing this so the Blodvin family business, which is actually trading not channel smiting, can grow from a regional player into a transcontinental operation. The Aspsis Consortium seem like they would be good business contacts and apear to be above the board legally. This would be my first choice.

    Pirates – Same reason but it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have these guys on your side in the same way it’s not bad to have the mob on your side. It’s distastefully but maybe less so than a couple trade ships being lost. This would be my second choice.

    Pathfinders – I don’t have a good role playing reason to dislike the Pathfinders so I shouldn’t have put them on the bottom like I did last week. I don’t have a good role playing reason to like them either. Personally I feel like we got a feel for this group in RotRL and it would be nice to learn more about the other factions in the game though. This is my whatever vote.

    Red Mantis – There is no good reason to join with these guys.

    My notes from last week:

    We pooled resources to remove one of Unn’s negative levels. We figured this would give him a fighting chance should he ever be dominated again.

    This means each player’s current cut of the island loot is 579.143 gp

    We didn’t do any actual shopping except to get new clothes, take a bath and throw around some tips (Elo is king of porters).

    We were approached by members of the Pathfinders, Aspis Consortium, Red Mantis and a free captain of the Shackles. Each one wants to get to the lost city of Saventhei and wants our help. Each one offered us 500 gp (each I think) for equipment plus a little extra:

    Probable Membership into the Pathfinder society plus first dibs on anything we can take out of Saventhei

    500 gp worth of loot from the Aspis Consortium’s magic loot bin plus first dibs on anything we can carry out of Saventhei

    A bar of platinum that I think is valued at 500 gp from the pirate plus first dibs

    The Red Mantis offered everything in Saventhei because they only care about some temple. Also they won’t kill us…yet.

    We invited each representative to dinner at the Four Palms Sirah hotel, where we’re being comped by the captain of the whaling ship, for dinner tomorrow with the promise of an answer. Why? Because it’s more fun to give an awkward FOAD that a polite no, that’s why. Opinion is leaning toward taking the Pathfinder offer. Alignment clashes prevent Victor from joining the Aspsis Constortium (I’m uncertain as to why these guys are bad) and the Red Mantis (assassinations are evil acts even if they’re Nazi’s Mr. Tarantino).

    Also Unn visited the temple of Nethys and brought up that Jask was an okay dude and totally not guilty of whatever it was that he was accused of. He promised to bring along the book that is going to clear his name. It’s unclear to me if he later did this or the promise still needs to be kept.