The immolation of Tristan James III is a wild success…strangely enough. Faced with a slew of “dishonorable” options, the stalwart paladin chooses to endure the trial of the sun, the result of which is increasing heat, fire, and a change of his base nature. James survives the ordeal, receiving the “blessings” of Pelor, and a new outlook on life — “humanoids are sacred!” Whether this proves a boon remains to be seen.
Yoshi “buys” a boat for the party (“temporarily”), and the party, now accompanied by the blind Blinky McBlindcan’tsee, sets out down the river, in search of the ruins of Ekarr (or something similarly spelled). Before long, they face unexpected foes — a slimy, psionic-powered creature known as an Aboleth and its minions, the Kopru. True to form, Hoit Portique enmehses the Aboleth in his net, then leaps into the water for an impromptu ride (reasoning that, “if it’s messing with me, it CAN’T mess with the party!”). Before long, he is immersed in water and slime. Strangely enough, the slime , which Hoit SNARFS up accidentally, allows him to breathe underwater. The little goblin takes the opportunity to make with the stabby as the creature races through the water in an attempt to dislodge the party hero/fool.
Back at the boat…
Yoshi is once again the pack mule, pulling the boat by rope, as Tristan and Aladar paddle and steer, respectively. Scarmiglione makes with an inspiring song, and the group steers toward the (they hope) safety of land. Having evaded/resisted/gotten luck in avoiding the mind control techniques of their foes, they rush toward the shore, widening the gap between themselves and their pursuers when…Jacqueline, the Gnome Mage, decides it’s time to dive in the water…(because small people love water, evidently). Within seconds, she is dragged underwater by the Kopru.
Things get desperate quickly. With a shout of “My fan base!,” Scarmiglione leaps in the water and swims down to his partner. With a titanic effort, he breaks Jay-Q free! But the Gnomes are still bobbing in the water like corks, two targets for the Kopru.
Back on the ship, a plan quickly takes shape. As Yoshi drags the boat toward shore using his great strength, and Tristan lends a hand in the boat, Laranna imbues Aladar with the ability to fight freely in the water. While this proves helpful LATER, the near term is all about the Monk finally using his newly-developed powers to advantage. Drawing upon his ki reserves, Aladar speeds ACROSS the water toward the swimming gnomes. With a heroic effort that signifies “everyone has their moment,” the Tempest monk grabs the two swimmers and races to land, depositing them safely there.
It’s a minor victory, however, as the Kopru begin to board the boat, and the Aboleth turns to make an other run. Tristan and Laranna hold off the boarding creatures with steel and magic, respectively. Racing back across the water, Aladar joins them in battling the 3 creatures. As Yoshi drags the boat to shallow waters, keeping it safe from the charging Aboleth, who cannot swim there, Jaqueline lets lose with the lightning, frying all 3 Kopru. One of their number sinks to the bottom of the river, while the other two beat a fast retreat.
This lives only the Aboleth. Now free of the boat, Yoshi grabs the Monk, and the two head towards the slimy creature, The battle is brief. Jay-Q sends s Fireball at the creature, softening it up even more. Hoit is singed, but survives. Then, Yoshi arrives, drops the Monk in the water, and brings down the Mouth of Geb on the spongy adversary. Aladar adds his own small portion of martial arts to the assault, receiving a pair of near-paralyzing wounds in the process. Bouyed by Laranna’s spells, which allow them to fight in the water, the two warriors augment Hoit’s previous efforts, and Jaqueline’s spells and the creature…is dead.
The aftermath is all about rest and boat repair. As the party licks its wounds, they are greeted by a man named Tailwind, who has come from upriver. After chatting with him, and determining that he isn’t (or doesn’t seem to be) dangerous, they follow Tailwind downstream toward the next town. On the way, they find evidence of old ruins, which may or may not be Ekar. Though set to split up and investigate, Aladar insists the party stay together, since, during the last encounter, they nearly lost both gems when the gnomes took a swim. Most of the party reluctantly agrees. Of course, Hoit gives the gruop the metaphorical finger, and decides to investigate on his own, while the boats make their way to town. The cliff face he is checking out overlooks the town Tailwind spoke of, so it is hoped that, once again, the intrepid (stupid?) half-goblin cheats fate.
And so the party finds portage in a new town, hopefully one near their goal: a portal to the planes. Once again they have escaped serious harm. Questions emerge, however. Who sent the elemental fire that pushed them toward Millstone? And what of the Aboleth and Kopru, creatures not native to the area, but attacking them nevertheless. That, and the strange visions they have had when grasping more than one stone at the same time , visions of themselves, as seen from above, lend suspicion that perhaps, perhaps they are being watched.
Someday, the whole “leaping on its head” thing is not going to work, and Hoit is going to be sooooooooooooooo dead.
WHY did Jaqueline leap in the water? (Damned “me-too-ism’s” of small people")
Anybody else get the sense that the Gnomes are there to steal our shit? Somehow, they had ALL the artifacts and they didn’t wanna give them back. (mistrust growing….can’t… squelch….suspicion…)
Am I the only one who heard “Tailhook” when the river guy gave his name?
*NO MORE BOATS! EVER! (please?)
Yoshi makes a GREAT pair of oxen. (why are we worried about horses with him around?)
I still wanna know why birdman could walk around xeno-town but human Aladar couldn’t.
Speaking of, we’re FREAKS! Blue, bald lady, big bird man, little green guy, and creepy child-things. The humans are all dysfunctional (daddy issues, guilt issues, and then you have Phineas, the Ferengi mapper). How these guys stay together is anybody’s guess.
I enjoyed being badass for once. Now, of course, I will retire the character.:-)*