This weekend we (almost) finished Chapter 5: Into the Fuligin Realm, as the adventurers returned the Staff of the Underworld to Narosain and stole a ship to take them across the Sulphur Sea.
19th Deep Winter, 92 FY
As the victorious adventurers travel back to the Last King with the Staff of the Underworld, they pass through a cavern filled with a huge cloud of floating pixie’s umbrella mushrooms. Half the party decide to pick their way carefully through the twirling fungi; the others rush through as quick as they can. Zygmunt casts fireball to clear a path, then a huge shriekbat attacks, stunning The Gears with its shriek. It grabs Zygmunt and flies off with him, but the paladin manages to escape its grasp. Penumbra banishes the monstrosity, allowing the party to make their way through the rest of the mushrooms and find somewhere to rest.
At the end of the day, the party arrive at the bridge over the Yellow River, guarded by a ghoul patrol. Bubbles, the only member of the group that can speak Darakhul, acts as spokesperson. The characters are allowed to pass after paying a fine for having the wrong paperwork (again).
Penumbra examines the Staff of the Underworld while the group rest; it seems to have no special powers.
22nd Deep Winter
The characters give the staff back to a grateful Narosain. The Last King tells them to seek out Marquis Lazlo Dimas and Marquess Dorva Graysuture, allies of his, in Vandekhul. He also gives them his token (a stone cockroach) and two magic items: verses of vengeance and a scroll of gust of wind. Narosain tells them they should be able to obtain a ship to sail across the Sulphur Sea at the nearby docks, and that it might be worthwhile stopping off at Chandelier Island to obtain ghoulbane oil to use against their enemies.
24th Deep Winter
At the docks, the characters spot two moored ships – the largest looks the most likely to be the Skin Trader, the ship they heard about from Narosain. They head inside the Hearty Spirits Tavern and chat to a pair of ghoul sailors while the ghosts of the drowned float around. The Gears talks to the ghosts and swears an oath to recover their bodies if they will wait outside.
Bubbles goes into the administrative building and tells the ghoul officials the party are here to do a ship inspection. Although the ghouls somehow swallow this unlikely story, she is told she needs to return with the necessary paperwork first. Then, realising that no one knows how to sail a ship, Bubbles goes back to find the two ghoul sailors, now on board their eel-hunting vessel, the Crimson Bloater. She pays them 1 pp each to help the party steal the Skin Trader.
As the adventurers, ghoul sailors, and ghosts mill around the quayside, a female shadow fey disembarks from the Skin Trader and goes into the tavern. Soon afterwards, several ghouls appear on deck, and the characters decide now is the time to strike. Penumbra casts hypnotic pattern, mesmerising all the ghouls, and Zygmunt, The Gears and Herr Biegen board the ship. Louthin summons a swarm of rats from his staff in case the shadow fey returns.
When the vampire captain and two darakhul emerge from below decks, Penumbra uses the Holy Robes of Sister Adelind to create a radiant burst. This injures one of the ghosts too, who retaliates. Then, The Gears turns the undead, destroying all the ghouls and ghasts (including Bubbles’ hired help!) and turning the vampire and all the ghosts. The darakhul hold firm but soon fall to Zygmunt’s Divine Smite. The vampire flees to the end of the jetty, pursued by Louthin, Zygmunt, and Bubbles. When he dives into the water to escape, he is shot by several arrows and sinks below the surface.
Penumbra unties the ship, and The Gears and Biegen unfurl the sails. Zygmunt casts gust of wind and the Skin Trader moves away from the dock, leaving the frustrated ghoul officials behind. The ghosts return to float around The Gears, wailing about their unburied bodies.
Just when the characters think they have made their escape, they spot the Phantom, a large ghoul warship, bearing down on them…
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Main image by Roland Deaconu