Wednesday, 2 June 2010

4ed Campaign -- Session 51 -- Sunday 30th May 2010

In which the children of Dagon bring the wrath of their master to the company, and deep in the dark, the true nature of the forces behind Ashenport's curse is discovered...

Roster (Party Level 10th)
Berend - Dwarven Fighter
Elumai - Eladrin Wizard
Finial - Half-elf Paladin
Jonas - Human Rogue/Ranger

Emitting a lifeless, inhuman groan from the pits of whatever passes for their stomachs, the creatures attack. As the rain begins to pour in sheets as heavy as hail, they emerge from the encroaching gloom in quick, darting strides, clearly as comfortable out of the water as in it.

Pulling rusted rapiers off their backs, they slice at Finial while Elumai prepares to unleash flame. The jagged weapons score his flesh, leaving tiny pieces of metal embedded in the wound which immediately begin to fester, but Elumai erupts into a raging inferno, setting most of the fish-men alight with a smell like fish guts roasting on a camp-fire.

Jonas leaps around the edge of the fight and takes a slice out of one of the enemies flanking Finial, but as he does so a massive tsunami bulges out of the stormy seas, crashing with bone-crushing force on the rogue and sending him sprawling up the beach. As the foamy waters recede, he realises that his legs are entangled in thick, grey-green fronds of seaweed reaching out of the waters like thin fingers... which immediately go taut, dragging him across the pebbles towards the water's edge.

In the main melee, blade, tooth and claw flash in the sheets of lightning playing across the sky. The fish-men are brutal foes, with few tricks other than a keen sense of teamwork and sharp blades, but they are slowly beaten down by the company.

Another massive breaker streaks down the length of a nearby jetty and grabs Elumai, dragging her into the water. She struggles to free herself but it's Jonas, who has extricated himself from his own prison, who leaps into the water and hacks at the seaweed in order to free her. The bulbous knuckles of the stuff split and ooze milky liquid into the water, and Jonas's blade quickly does the job. The seaweed thrashes in apparent pain for a moment before receding into the murky seas, leaving a trail of white fluids behind it.

As the two companions emerge, they find their friends victorious on the bloodied, pebbly beach. They make quick council and decide that they should try to track the seaweed fronds to their source. With a ritual of Water Breathing already in place, they plunge into the ferocious seas and, after two hours of careful, exhausting swimming, they emerge onto a small sandy beach a mile down the coastline. The sand is furrowed with glistening trails, as if the seaweed has dragged itself up the beach, heading towards a small, dark cave like an open mouth at the base of a monolithic cliff face stretc

As Jonas scouts the entrance, the company is once-again attacked, this time by a half-crustacean humanoid, who explodes out of the nearby seas with unchecked ferocity. With a massive leap, he makes straight for Jonas, who is clinging to the rock-face above the cave entrance, and swipes at him with two keen pincer-like hands. The rogue responds with a devestating blow, sending the creature flying from the rock-face to land with a bone-crunching thud on the sand below.

The company converges on it. Its long antennae whip from person to person, and suddenly their minds are playing tricks on them, friend becoming foe, and foe becoming friend. Berend, convinced he is defending himself, dents Finial's armour with a crushing blow, then finds himself fleeing in fear, into the cave entrance where he inadvertantly trips a well-placed trap. A loud GONG! sounds throughout the deeper caves, and a column of sticky unguent pours down on his head, sticking him fast to the ground even as he regains his senses.

Elumai, who has been attacking from a safe distance, and Jonas, who has been circling for another opportunity, suddenly find the sand around their feet liquefying, and they're already stuck fast up to their ankles and sinking rapidly before they have a chance to save themselves. Meanwhile the monstrosity is smashing Finial, pincers seeking to free him from the confines of his armor, but the paladin is more than up to the task of defending himself, and his weapons liberate great shards of exo-skeleton from the beast, its soft flesh more and more vulnerable to attack. The beast has little more opportunity to make an impression from this point, gradually broken and defeated by the combined might of the party.

Despite the sounding of the alarm, there is no further activity from the cave. The tunnel beyond has a sandy floor, but is cold and dark; the party strikes up a sunrod, and investigates a cavernous offshoot. The walls and floor of the chamber undulate with a smooth, glassy surface, almost like black ice, and the cave descends sharply down. They toss the sunrod down to the bottom of the cave... and illuminate new enemies, several of the fish-men lurking at the bottom, and something else...

The other creature is a grotesque agglomeration of plasticine flesh and toothy, gasping mouths... a gibbering mouther! As they watch, it not-so-much turns as bulges in their direction, undulating across the smooth rock floor and up the sloping cave towards them. The fish-men take the opportunity -- without much success -- to launch serrated javelins at the company, who instead largely ignore them and decide to focus everything they have on the beast. As the creature sinuates its way towards them, it's subjected to a brutal wave of magic and blade, but still manages to lash out a toothy pseudopod at Jonas as he darts in for an attack.

The mouther closes to just a few feet away from the party, the true aberrant terror of the creature still to be felt...

1 comment:

Wedge said...

As if to balance out the cosmic scales of roleplaying, last week's combat-less session was matched this week by a string of fun little combats which didn't so much test the party as wear them down.

Because this adventure as-written is a little under-powered for the level of the party, I added an environmental hazard to the first combat in the form of the Long Reach of the Sea, a power which allowed the bad guys to unleash a tidal wave on the beach and latch on to the party in order to drag them to a watery doom.

In true form, the party then asked if they could follow the trail of the seaweed back to their source. Doh! Still, it sounded like a good idea to me, and the entire middle section of the adventure was thusly bypassed, and that's just fine by me.