Posted on June 17, 2011
The Acts of the Lords of Rannick, XXI
Kerplak was less interested in getting shitfaced/laid (done it!) so went off to explore the town. Galduria is primarily a timber and grain hub, with docks that service the barges on Ember Lake, warehouses and a pretty decent economy. The quality of the stores appeared to be good and there was a preponderance of stores catering to the arcane needs of the Twilight College, Varisia’s third largest school of magic. (Also known as the Safety Hogwarts).
Kerplak noticed that the people leaving the taverns to return to their homes were stopping by the docks on the lakeside. Shoving his way to the front of the crowd, he watched the massed shoal of Ember Lake salamanders swim just beneath the surface of the water. Possessing several bio-luminescent glands on their backs, the salamanders glow brightly under the water, creating a twinkling mass that darts quickly around the lake waters. The shoal cut to and fro, describing complex patterns in the waters before moving off to a further part of the lake. Kerplak’s eyes were huge.
In the morning, Dagfinn was up early, having stayed at the Temple Tavern where fewer people knew of his shameful performance. He went shopping, stocking up on healing potions. The town makes a specialty of ‘boost potions’, the type that add +4 to a stat, your “Animal’s Associated Positive Feature” spells. But no-one was biting. There were some magic items, but for some reason no-one wanted the Wand of Rope Trick, even though that’s like having access to an invisible treehouse at all times. C’mon, that’s awesome.
Corwin, having said farewell to his ‘dancing partner’ because she had to get home before her husband realised she was gone, made inquiries down at the docks re: passage up the rest of Ember Lake. After some back and forth about whether to take the lakeshore road to Wolf’s Ear or get passage on a barge heading that way across the lake. In terms of speed, neither came out ahead – both modes of travel would get you to Wolf’s Ear a little before dark. But the barge would let them rest their horses and avoid Churlwood, a notorious haunt of bandit gangs.
They boarded the good barge Bersa after coughing up their 6gp (not the 30gp that I initially said, although as it turns out, none of that matters) for the 60 mile sail up the lake. The amiable captain of the barge, who only ever wanted to ply his peaceful trade on the tranquil lake, was dropping off a bunch of provisions to Wolf’s Ear and had plenty of room for a few passengers and their horses. Once they had set off, they made a reasonable pace, for a barge. All very pleasant and calm until about 6 hours out of Galduria they spotted another smaller but faster vessel bearing down on them. A quick check of the deck through Kerplak’s spyglass showed armed men, readying bows and flying a renegade flag. Lake Pirates! Like real Pirates, but a little less so.
While the party sprang into action, the Captain sprang into abject submission; instructing everyone to remain calm and let these pirates take whatever they want. Corwin found this so objectionable that he tried bending the Capt. to his will with an Intimdate check but succeeded only in terrifying the man into abandoning ship. He leapt overboard, leaving Corwin to rally the other two bargemen and find a place for Ash to hide. He fixed them up with some makeshift boat-weaponry and prepared them for buckle swashing.
Kerplak, finding a vantage point whipped out his new-fangled, highly experimental grenade launcher and lobbed one at distance towards the boat. the smoke grenade went off on the boat’s deck, causing it to stream smoke behind it as it cut through the water and surprising the crap out of the assembled pirates. Dagfinn and Kerplak traded missile fire with the pirates, with one of the barge’s crewmen shot down as he tried to adjust the sails. The pirates seemed particularly adept at hitting Dagfinn and Corwin when he wasn’t tending to the barge’s course.
Albedon first cast Sleet Storm, pummeling the pirates and their boat with hail. Then he smoked his pipe for a bit. Yep, then a bit more. Little bit more. Alright, then he cast Wall of Fire. You can cast Wall of Fire in a ring, which any sensible person would be reluctant to cross. These pirates, however, were moving as quickly as the boat that carried them and had no real say over whether to stay in or out of the Wall of Fire. Woomf! Up goes the boat and the crew are scorched to death. Their last wild attempt at course correction robs them of their momentum and their flaming vessel slows down as it pulls ahead of the barge.
The barge, with one remaining crewman at the helm, inches towards the conflagration. Corwin chose to stay on deck while Albedon (not bothered by fire with his Resistance to Fire spell up), Dagfinn and Kerplak ( taking himself out the worst of the danger by downing a Levitate potion and using a boathook to propel himself along) went over to the burning craft. The boat was in danger of structural collapse, but braving the smoke and flames, they gave the place a quick search.
Dagfinn found the dead pirates weaponry and armour (looked like deserters wearing a Roderic’s Cove uniform) ascetaining that the bows they had been using were magical. Kerplak found a chest and quickly popped the lock open, discovering a wealth of gold and potions inside. He called out to Corwin to come help him, while secreting handfuls of coin in his Varisian scarf’s hidden pockets. Venturing below decks, Albedon found a low cabin with minimal personal effects, so he returned topside and taking the pirate’s chest, Dimension Doored back to the safety of the barge, such as that was, being a floating wooden platform perilously close to a burning wooden platform.
While Dagfinn divested the remaining pirates of their gear and Kerplak ventured below deck, the main mast came loose and split the hull, shearing the boat in two. Corwin and Dagfinn returned to the barge, while Kerplak made a lunge for a box he had found. The boat was sinking fast, but with his superb Fly skill, Kerplak was able to haul himself towards the box like and astronaut, before kicking off and into the roiling water around the flooding hatch. One brief Swim check later and he popped up like a cork, clutching the box as he poled himself away from the quickly sinking pirate vessel.
Peering through their haul, as the barge recommenced its progress towards Wolf’s Ear was where we left them, I now cede the rest of my time to gentlemen from the great state of Owlbearia.
Actually, no, there was a lot of book-keeping left undone because we went so late last night.
First; the Compleat Adventurer: this was a toss up between Corwin intimidating the Captain clean over the side of his own barge or Dagfinn’s Too Cool For Galduria vocal stylings fiasco. I’m a fan of fiascos, so I’m going to give it to Dagfinn. A bard monopolizing the attention of an entire tavern is something as iconic as pointy hats on wizards or fighters kicking down dungeon doors. It is part of the game on a spiritual level. So for it to go so staggeringly wrong amused me. I believe it added to the fullness of the bard experience.+100XP.
Second; 2240XP for vanquishing the goblin ambushers without breaking a sweat and fending off the pirates with lethal force.
Third; the total haul from the pirate boat was:
5 longswords, 5 daggers, 5 +1 longbows, a masterwork breastplate, Kerplak’s box containing 2 potions of Invisibility, Albedon’s chest containing 3 potions of Cure Serious Wounds, Cloak of Resistance +1. The money was already split up.
I think that’s it.