[Day 30. A ship is hired, the opposition is hinted at, and the expedition starts.]
[This game uses the Pathfinder 1E roleplaying game. Game sessions happen once a week. This session happened January 4, 2021.]
[SPOILERS! If you are likely to adventure through the Shattered Star Adventure Path from Paizo, this campaign will be spoilers all the way down.]
Marativy – female ratfolk 5th level Ninja
Zitch Grimreaper – male ratfolk 5th level Witch with a donkey rat (capybara) familiar
Roscuro – male ratfolk 5th level Monk
Templeton von Trapp – male ratfolk 5th level Summoner (Synthesist)
Swamprover – female grippli 4th level Wizard
Winston – male ratfolk 5th level Gunslinger
Auto – a clockwork servant fixated on Winston [whom we totally forgot about until Session 6]
Gridik – male blue kobold 1st level Wizard (Invoker)
Mel – male halfling Cook (Expert of unknown level)
Alice – female halfling Bodyguard (Warrior of unknown level)
Flo’ – female gnome Bodyguard (Warrior of unknown level)
[NOTE: At some point in our expedition planning, we discovered how expensive buying a ship’s boat was going to be and changed out plan to hiking the peninsula under the influence of Communal Ant Haul and Nature’s Paths. This would allow us to arrive at our proposed camp site in half a day instead of a full day without the major expense of the boats. We hoped that the first expedition would be profitable enough that buying the boats would be realistic. This happened during Session 1, but I neglected to note it.]
Day 30, Noon
The Ratpack met at the Blue Rodent, including our newest member, Swamprover. We briefed Marativy on our plans for the expedition and she updated us on what she had learned while investigating Frederick’s kidnapping. While she had few clues as to where he might be, she had learned that all of the gluttony related Thassilonian artifacts Frederick had were what was stolen. This suggested that someone might have the shard related to gluttony. [I just thought of another possibility, but we didn’t when we were playing, so I’ll keep it to myself for now.] This sparked a thought for Roscuro. He had Marativy pull out her drawing of the completed Sihedron with the colors showing. Plotting the two shards the Ratpack already had [Pride and Greed], a pattern of how the shards were linked was determined. The shard the Ratpack was looking for would most likely be the shard for Lust. Working the pattern backward, the shard pointing to Pride would be the shard for Gluttony! This suggested that the owner of the Gluttony shard might be actively looking for the Ratpack. [In hindsight, I don’t think so, but it does indicate another faction is actively looking for shards.]
The Ratpack went to Heidmarch Manor, the Pathfinder Society lodge in Magnimar, and reported in to Venture-Captain Sheila Heidmarch, co-head of the lodge. She provided the group with the Ioun Stone that would nullify the curse on the Lust shard, a pink and green sphere that made its user more charismatic. After a short discussion, it was assigned to Templeton. [Swamprover made a solid case for assigning it to her, but the ratfolk were not yet ready to share out critical magic items to someone who had just joined the group and had not proven themselves.]
Templeton and Swamprover went to speak with Sabriyya Kalmeralm about hiring a ship. Marativy shadowed the two for their security and her curiosity. After asking people wearing Sabriyya’s colors in Dockway for directions, the trio ended up at the Kalmeralm merchant house. At first they were told Sabriyya was busy, but when they mentioned they were with the Pathfinder Society, the sales rep went and conferred with others in the back office. When he returned, he told Templeton and Swamprover that she would see them now. They were escorted to her office and announced. Marativy broke in through a window and found an adjacent room to secretly listen in from.
Sabriyya was interested in establishing a trade enclave in the Mushfens to trade with the local boggart and troglodyte clans for medicinal herbs that grow in the swamp. She agrees to provide transportation for the groups expedition in exchange for negotiating a meeting between some of the local tribes and representatives of her merchant house. This seems very reasonable [and inexpensive], so Templeton agreed to the deal. As all were ready to start, it was further agreed that the ship would sail the next day and the Ratpack needed to be at a specific dock and berth at dawn the next day. Templeton accepted this and left. Marativy was able to leave the merchant house unobserved. [Ninjas gotta ninja.]
Templeton met back up with the rest of the Ratpack and explained the deal. All agreed it was reasonable. Roscuro went to his suppliers and told them exactly where to deliver the expedition’s supplies.
Day 31 – Expedition Day 1
The Ratpack and the other members of their expedition arrived at the designated dock and berth. There was the ship, Fortune Found, with Captain Bennett Kalmeralm [human male] waiting for them. Introductions were made and everything and everyone was loaded aboard the ship. The ship set sail just as the sun was breaking the horizon.
After five hours of sailing across the bay, the Fortune Found arrived just north of the Lady’s Cape. The 200-foot statue of the Runelord was clearly visible to the south east, as were the waves indicating the shoals and reefs that encircled the cape. While the ship’s boat was being loaded with the expedition’s supplies, Roscuro asked the captain to borrow his spyglass. Curious, the captain asked why Roscuro wanted it. Roscuro explained that the map the ratfolk had was vague about the placement of the shoals and he wanted to see if there were any gaps the ratfolk could steer a small boat through on later expeditions. The captain accepted this and lent Roscuro the spyglass so Roscuro could look. The captain also informed Roscuro that there were known gaps in the shoals large enough for small boats to get through, but reefclaws and other monsters able to sink boats small enough for the gaps laired amongst the shoals. Roscuro remembered Templeton’s story of fighting a couple reefclaws when retrieving the sea ghoul’s treasure [near the end of Book 1 of the adventure path] and decided he wanted nothing to do with them here. Very unfortunate.
Looking through the spyglass at the peninsula to the south, Roscuro noticed smoke rising from one of the islands at the base of the peninsula, possibly the eastern end of the larger island. The amount of smoke was small, suggesting a campfire of some sort. Roscuro made note of it in his journal – the Ratpack would need to walk past the area on their way in and see what it was.
It took two trips to get all the supplies and expedition members to shore. Once there, Roscuro confirmed with the first mate that this spot is where the ratfolk and company would meet the Fortune Found in eight days. Swamprover cast Communal Ant Haul twice on the four strongest members of the group, allowing them to carry the bulk of the supplies without being more than lightly encumbered. Zitch cast Nature’s Paths multiple times to allow faster travel and the group set out.
Roscuro set a path around the lagoon enclosed by the cape and attendant islands. Roscuro wanted to take the slightly longer way in rather than island hopping for two reasons: first, no swimming, and second, he wanted to know who or what lived on the cape while the group was healthy. Injured from dungeon delving and carrying loot on the way out would be a poor way to meet any locals.
After getting to the base of the cape from their landing point, the Ratpack could see the thin line of smoke was from the smaller of the two islands at the mouth of the lagoon. A rickety wooden bridge connected the island to the cape and their planned path would take them right by it. Not wanting to get slowed down [the spells on the group were only good for 4 hours – the estimated time it would take to get to the campsite], Roscuro redirected the group south around a small forest. He also asked Marativy to go scout the island and see who or what was there. Templeton volunteered to follow her at a distance incase she needed backup. This was a risk as he carried most of the food supplies, so Roscuro emphasized no contact if at all possible.
Marativy ghosted over to the wooden bridge and climbed across in the understructure. Templeton stayed on the cape, realizing his weight would cause the bridge to make noise. The island was ringed by tall sand dunes with the campfire smoke coming from within that ring. Marativy peeked over the crest of one of the dunes and saw a ramshackle hut with a campfire going in front of it. A half-orc was tending to a pot of something on the fire. Marativy stayed in position long enough to be satisfied the half-orc was likely alone and then retreated. Rather than chase the rest of the expedition around the small forest, she and Templeton took the shorter path along the shore, taking effort to not be visible to the half-orc’s camp. When they met back up with the rest of the group, she reported what she had seen. Roscuro thanked her and made note of the findings in his journal.
The expedition continued to follow the shoreline of the lagoon until they came across a cove full of sleeping crocodiles. Looking at their map, the group could bypass the crocodiles and stick to the shoreline, but that would put them between some hills and the shore, which might be exposed and limiting in options if anything attacked. They decided to cut straight south between the hills and a small lake on the cape until they reached Slug Creek, a slow but wide river that ran most of the length of the cape. There they smelled a horrid stench, wafting in from some place east of them. Roscuro made note of it, suspecting troglodytes might be the source.
Shortly after 2:00 PM
The expedition followed the river to where it went by a large tidal area. The tide was going out, exposing a half-mile long stretch of wet sand. [Please don't @ me on the weird geography - I know and there is nothing I can do about it.] Roscuro made note of when the time and what the tide was doing. One of the group’s planned escape routes from the Lady’s Light involved the long sand bar/island on the opposite side of the bay that would be covered during high tide. It would be good to have some idea of when the tides happened.
The expedition continued past the tidal area, careful to stay above the high-tide mark. Just past the three hour mark, at a narrow area where the cape started to curve back towards the mainland, the group spotted a large group of giant frogs, sunning themselves. The frogs seemed well fed and took no notice of the expedition, so the group left them alone and pressed on.
Just before the Communal Ant Haul spells faded out, the expedition arrived at the Lady’s Light, the 200-foot statue of the Runelord of Lust. The statue was carved from basalt and set on a massive slab of stone, apparently carved out of it. The statue held high a scepter, the top of which contained a bright light source. A quick scout of the area provided an adequate spot to camp near the base of the statue. The tents and supplies were unpacked and set up and watches were established for the night. It was decided that the two camp guards would not stand night watch as they would be guarding the camp during the day while the adventurers were [hopefully] exploring the dungeon.
Once they found the entrance.
End of Session
[We skipped a week and everyone attended remotely this session and the next two because I was exposed to Covid19 by a friend who came over to boardgame…without mentioning his doctor had sent him to have a Covid test due to a cough and the result had not returned yet. He tested positive. I tested positive but no one else exposed did, so we were lucky in that regard. I was lucky in that my case of Covid was fairly mild. He was asymptomatic the entire time and only ever had a cough, a common set of circumstances for this disease. Several positive tests later, he has finally tested negative. I haven’t been re-tested yet, but it has been four weeks since I last had symptoms. My plan is to get a test this week (Feb. 1-5) so I have a negative result on record. This will allow me to get the vaccine and not worry about catching Covid a second time.]
[It became necessary to work out what time of year it was in game and the Other GM set it as Autumn. We still don’t have a month, but at least we know what season it is supposed to be.]
Session 3 [Not Yet Typed Up]