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Posted on August 30, 2013
Castaway Diary, Days 13, 14, 15, 16, 17 & 18.
There are three words in modern colloquial vocabulary in Scotland to describe activity without result:
I’m not sure which one I’d say we were doing yesterday, but six calendar days went past and I think most players would agree that there wasn’t THAT much getting done.
Part of that is losing track of what is going on. Beyond how butthurt I get that some players don’t read the blog entries I will pimp it for being a place I make sure I record everything you need to know for upcoming sessions. For that reason, I’ll direct players to their camp experiences on day 11 HERE. They picked up a bunch of quests and learned a bunch of stuff about their fellow castaways that – while not necessary, at all – would save some time if they decide to do certain things. We’ve got two weeks before we play again and I’m sure they’ll have a plan or two by then.
I’m pleased that I didn’t have to stop the game and tell the players that they were fucking up; eventually they worked their own way back on track. They just lost a few days doing it. Of course, as far as they know, there’s no reason to hurry, other than the food store that they put a significant dent in and the overall dangerousness of their tropical paradise…
Floki, Rolifson, Victor, Malicia, Percy, Orny, Nobody and Uun were joined this week by Ishiro.
- Faffing: Which is descended from a description of idle flapping, putting not much effort in and to no effect.
- Foutering: Which suggests aimless work, or effort expended in small, individually inconsequential achievements.
- Fannying: The least polite and most misogynistic as it invokes the image of ladyparts overall uselessness as a tool. Lots of effort, poor results.
The thirteenth day on the island was one of relative togetherness, as the castaways worked to improve their camp. Barriers were set up with timber taken from the nearby jungle, which was hacked back to permit better lines of sight. Paths were cut in visible areas and snares were set in non-path areas. It didn’t make a fortress of the place, but it is certainly harder to sneak up on the camp undetected now. Fortunately, the esprit de corps is good just now, even though their hopefulness took a hit from the attack by the savages.
On the two week anniversary of their shipwreck, they rose early; Percy to acknowledge the sunrise with prayers and meditation, Orny to commune with his goat and everyone else to just get some meager breakfast and get ready for the trip. Jask brought Rolifson down to the beach, where Percy awaited the dawn. He sat in the sand and talked quietly for a while, not intruding on the meditations of the others, but in some way assisting it. He talked about Nethys, of the way the mysteries of magic reveal themselves to different people and he talked about the similarities between different traditions, getting into some core truths about magic. Passively, Percy’s mind was spinning with the knowledge Jask was dropping on him as he continued to attend the rising of the sun.
Not very much fun to be AROUNDERU!
When they walked away from the beach, all three felt a good deal more confident and knowledgeable about casting spells. Super helpful, that Jask, isn’t he? He must know all kinds of things…
The castaways set off with Ishiro, taking the jungle route to the spire-topped hill. They talked to him a bit about his map. How come it smelled like onion? He didn’t think it did. What happens if you hold it up to the light? Nothing. What happens if I see you roll poorly for your Perception and then I hold it up to the light and try to roll better? Nothing. Is there anything magic about it? No. Does anyone know anything about onion juice inks? No. Can I Sense Motive on Ishiro? Sure. Can I Sense Motive on Ishiro since I saw everyone else roll shitty? Sure. Can I Sense Motive on the map? No. And so on and so on.
The jungle trail is starting to grow back, but using it again helps keep it fresh. They journeyed all day and by the end of the day had reached the hill that Ishiro’s map indicated. Spires of volcanic rock still there, small holes they had scraped still there, rock perforated with holes still there. Metal snake probably still there. Well, too late to get anything done, so after giving Ishiro the guided tour of what they had started so far, they set up camp, but decided not to light a fire, lest they should give away their position to the savages… who found them anyway.
Everyone had turned in and was sleeping lightly amidst the tall grasses on the hillside. Uun had first watch. Uun did not see the savages coming until they were more or less right on top of him. With a blood-curdling chorus of shrieks, four savages burst from the tall grass and covered the distance to Uun, scything him down with their axes.
Everyone was awake in an instant and (mostly) moved to engage the threat. Malicia ran into the tall grasses before stealthily circling back into a melee, Rolifson also maintaining his distance between himself and the melee at first. Floki moved to engage two savages that ran around one side of a rock spire, and was joined by Ishiro. Orny, Nobody and Victor moved to the other side of the rock to face off against the other two.
Orny put a Hex of Slumber on one of the savages and then used the opportunity to withdraw as Victor and Nobody picked up the slack. Nobody pointed a gun at a person and shot them. It was quite something to see. The enraged savage continued on and Victor, having done his Paladin due diligence and made sure these guys were evil, smote him. The smiting continued for a little bit as the savage was incapable of landing a telling blow against Victor, then suddenly all the smiting was done.
On the other side of the rock, Malicia, Ishiro and Floki had the two savages pinned. Ishiro and Malicia landed two sneak attacks against one opponent. Combined with the horrific damage done by Rolifson’s Acid Splash, that finished him off. Orny appeared and laid the Hex of Slumber on the remaining opponent who fell to the ground asleep seconds before Ishiro removed his head with his very nice katana and a successful Coup De Grace.
Rolifson also sprayed the last living, but slumbering savage with Acid Splash, which is great if you want to keep them off counters, but just makes them mad otherwise. The savage leapt up, and Floki had the presence of mind to strike him as he rose, knocking him unconscious again. They were left with the awkward and alignment-endangering situation of having a captive.
Tying him up and then waking him up by healing him a little, the party had no fixed plan and no particular way of talking to him, given that the type of Infernal these folks seem to speak is idiosyncratic at best. That didn’t stop Uun (healed back to consciousness, but not terribly far) playing Bad Cop/Bad Cop with Sgt Leftfist and Constable Righty. Punching the hissing savage’s sharpened teeth until a satisfying number of them splintered, he didn’t learn how they had tracked the party or what they wanted or any of the things Keifer Sutherland usually asks.
Orny took over, injecting a Bad Cop/Spooky Cop dimension into the proceedings. He was able to calm the man down enough that the savage mumbled something in infernal, but made the mistake of establishing a dialogue a little too close to the captive’s face, botching his Remember-Hannibal-Lecter roll and had his nose savaged by the man and his mouth full of sharpened/broken teeth.
See them? There, in the long – ah, they chopped you to pieces.
Floki wondered if he might just be hungry, but the man didn’t eat the sliced off part of his fallen comrade that he was offered. So everyone agreed there was little to do with him and they murdered him. The savage, not Floki. They then went back and forward with the best way to dispose of the bodies, but I lost interest after “behead them and roll them off a cliff”, so that’s what happened.
They went back to bed and slept more soundly when other people, not the badly injured and oblivious Barbarian, where on watch. The rest of the night passed peacefully and in the morning, they woke before the sun rose to catch the shafts of light play against the sloping hillside. Their plan was to take the map, hold it in the circle of light that the rock produced and then… something. Wait for something to be revealed. Then treasure.
They already knew the order in which the spots would appear, so they were set up for the sun rising above the horizon, casting the shadow of the rock against the hill and the spots appearing within the shadow. Aaaand nothing. That didn’t do a single thing. Convinced it must be doing something that they just couldn’t see, they resolved to get up the next morning and try the exact same thing. Meanwhile they spent the day examining rocks, digging shallow holes, digging holes beside rocks, trying to climb rocks and trying out a bunch of other stuff. So passed the fifteenth day on the island.
The rigours of sleeping out of doors and enduring the heat had an effect on people – Orny and Percy flirted with tropical ailments but were able to see them off, but the utterly luckless Uun developed Boot Soup, a nasty fungal infection that first paralyzes living tissue and then liquefies it as it digests the tissue. In the early stages, it took some of the pep out of his strut.
On the morning of the sixteenth day they tried the map-in-the-light trick again, but were none the wiser for this application either. By this time Ishiro was truly dispirited, in his usualy tight-lipped way. While everyone else thought of their next effort-rich project for the day, Orny tried to think if there was anyone he knew who might know about invisible inks. If only they had someone who had spent an entire evening babbling about all of the ciphers, codes and hidden messages he expected to find in Captain Kinkarian’s log book but hadn’t found, but presumably knew what they were looking for… OH GOD JASK IS A SPY.
It’s not working…
After confirming that no-one could communicate with someone who was on the other side of the island, they packed up and headed back to ask Jask about onion juice on documents.
It took them another day of jungle trampling to get back to the camp. Jask was more than happy to answer the question – sure you can hide messages in invisible ink using onion juice. Onion juice, lemon juice, urine in a pinch, yes, lots of things can be used as invisible ink, were you guys never 9? The secret to revealing onion juice is to get it hot, the onion juice turns brown faster than the rest of the paper. Even on a fancy treasure map, using presumably specially-made onion-juice based ink, the result would be the same.
So they got the map from Ishiro and held it close to a naked flame, careful not to let the island winds burn the fucking thing before they could properly read it. Sure enough, an image came in to view. Two spires of rock, with a circle between them and dotted horizontal lines marking tangents at the top and bottom of the circle. And a big E above the circle. This, they realized, corresponded to the position of the rising sun (which is kind of the bullshit thing about this whole treasure pit, because the sun doesn’t rise in exactly the same spot every morning, but the writers ignored that in their vague write up of the area) against two spires of volcanic rock that lay off the coast near the hill. While they were asking Jask for help, he cured Uun’s Boot Soup. You know what the cure for Boot Soup is? Carving off the numb, fungus-riddled flesh, then casting healing spells until the foot is all better. Then burning the dripping flesh and then scouring your hands with steel wool and barfing for the rest of the day.
Back to the hill everyone! That’s how the seventeeth day went.
Oh, you forgot the black guy was a spy? Again.
On the morning of the eighteenth day, the sun found them waiting with baited breath as it rose between to spires out at sea and when the circle on the map lined up with the position indicated in the onion juice drawing, they all whipped their heads around. The only spot indicated on the hillside was one they had labeled Spot G. Leaping in to Uun’s 3’ hole, they started digging again, this time three healthy if slightly starving men, hauling dirt out of there like champions. After only an hour or so they had dug down over 10’ when their shovels hit wood. Orny cast Dancing Lights for them. What three sweaty and stripped men might be doing under disco lights in a place called the G Spot is anyone’s guess, but I bet one of them claims to be putting himself through college.
Day 11-18 map. That jungle track is going to be a three lane highway soon. How ARE the savages finding you?!
Clearing the dirt, they found a thick wooden plug, bound with iron fittings and on top, some sort of age-crushed skeleton in rotted leather armour. Victor cast Detect Evil and could find nothing and Orny cast Detect Magic and could find nothing. Lifting the skeleton out, they turned to Nobody for engineering advice. He hooked them up a rudimentary, but perfectly satisfactory rope pulley system, making ingenious use of the few possessions they had. With a mighty pull on the two ends of rope, the plug lifted out.
Beneath was a short drop and then a collection of old timbers spanning the hole, which continued down far past where they had been digging. This was, as the map suggested, a pit. Malicia clambered down to check for traps, so was on guard when the timbers gave way under her. Throwing arms and legs out to brace herself in this large pit, she scrambled up sending a shower of dirt and splinters down into the darkness behind the timbers, which landed with a splash.
By the Dancing Lights they could see the timbers were bobbing around in a pool of water, 50’ below the surface. Uun attached a rope to the heavy wooden plug and abseiled down to check it out, Floki ready to follow him down. Uun had just broken the surface of the water and slipped in up to his waist when two greyish figures lunged out of the water at him. A pair of Lacedons sank their fangs into him and the Barbarian went stiff as a board and fell from the rope. Those at the top of the pit looked on in horror as two pairs of grey arms emerged from the water and dragged Uun beneath the surface.
Welcome to the G Spot ladies, I’ll be working up a sweat in the Man Hole all night long…
Nobody sprung into action, leaping across the pit and sliding down the rope at breakneck speed, firing a shot at the grey figures beneath the water just before he hit the surface. Everyone else piled on to the rope and began climbing down more sensibly at first, but then with more haste as Nobody was stricken with paralysis and dragged beneath the water. Uun and Nobody bobbed back to the surface, but were pushed under by all the people coming down the rope. Orny, never one for climbing, slipped on the rope and plummeted past everyone, hitting the water/timber/angry undead/paralysed friend gumbo at the bottom of the pit and was also shredded by the aquatic ghouls.
Uun, what nice legs you have…
Victor and Floki waded in (figuratively, since their feet don’t reach the bottom of the pit) and Percy channeled positive energy (after Matt actually read the Channel Energy entry, teaching us something we didn’t know about Clerics even though we’ve been playing this game for fucking years) and hurt the undead, then followed up with a diving beak attack as he descended into the pool. It’s kind of like a bottomless death-star trash compactor, but all the trash is your dead and dying friends. The Lacedons having been put back to death, floated there for a bit as everyone a) tried to get their unconscious/paralyzed friends above water and b) tried to get the taste of Lacedon bathwater out of their mouths.
Uun and Orny need healing to be conscious. Nobody has swum back to the surface after having regained the use of his limbs. And that’s where we left the party, treading water, butt to balls, down a pit, on a desert island.
Oh, there’ll be cuddling.