SC8.07: Thunder Cliffs, part three – New Paths to Follow

The level eight Rusted Silvers for this session

Dain Frostbeard, hill dwarf bard, wielding spells;
Vernon von Longsington, human wizard, wielding the staff, Surtr’s Scathe;
Richlen Ilineiros, high elf paladin, wielding his longsword Alagondar;
Garth Ironhewn, mountain dwarf fighter, wielding the Ungart Hammer

The Rusted Silvers begin 15XP below level 9 and GAIN LEVEL 9!

The story so far

The Rusted Silvers are on the trail of kidnapped young bard Tarbin Tul! Pursuing into the Talos Cult stronghold, Thunder Cliffs, they wreck the wreckers and hack the hags down. But low on health and spells, when reinforcements are heard, it’s time to grab whatever loot’s to hand, and hide!

Hiding, Healing and What Have We Here?

We kick off with Arcana for Vern, History for Dain, either for Rich, and Survival for Garth as the latter is assessing best concealment options.

As Vern sweeps up the now-black staff that the chieftainess hag bore, he spots a gold and blue false eye peeping from a hag eye-socket.

“Best leave it laddie, those are chancy things,” Dain warns but, with a fine Sleight of Hand check, Vern hooks it out and heads to where Garth is pointing:

“Under the water here, where the hags came from,” says Garth urgently, “never mind the fishies!”

Rich runs back from sweeping up any loot to hand in the mage’s cave, and he too plunges underwater.

Minutes later the enemy fan out as far as the water they are in, but finding it very deep, retreat. Rich can hear a commanding voice and something about moving out, but in the context it’s not clear.

Only Rich makes the Perception check at this point so no concrete information is possible. It’s at this point that the enemy captain has ordered a rearguard party to remain while he ferries Tarbin Tul away.

As they rest underwater, surrounded by weird but harmless cave fish, Vern points to a glowing passage entrance. The others touch it but cannot pass through. Vern can – as long as he’s holding the eye! After some experimentation they discover that he can extend a hand in, and others can pass through. But for now, that’s something they leave. They just relax and take a

Short Rest – Dain rolls ALL the HD, Garth doesn’t need to roll any.

Stealthy Wizard!

An hour or so later Vern has attuned Surtr’s Scathe, a legendary item! He has some spell slots back, Garth has his fighter powers back, and Dain has his Bardic Inspiration back.

“Just treat me as an underpowered fighter now, I’m with you,” Rich assures them all.

“Well that’s good, now we just have to figure out how dangerous those reinforcements are,” Vern proposes.

Plans are briefly discussed: “I have Invisibility for a stealthy type,” Vern adds. Unconsciously some of them glance about for Dakeyras the silent wood elf but he is not there. “It’s you Vern, you are the stealthy one!”

“Uh-oh!”

The tide has seen its peak and is receding, leaving a few feet of shingle. While the others remain in earshot Vern becomes invisible and rounds the bend of cliff to the next patch of shingle beach. It’s not as broad as the first, and terminates in a remarkable wreck, perched stern-outward up the cliff a little way. Near at hand a cave lets in from the shingle’s level.

Vern stealthily (as he fondly imagines) creeps along the s-bend passage and comes in sight of four pirates, taking their ease over flagons and totting up supplies. He’s immediately heard!

With a cry one rushes along the passage and cannons into the invisible wizard. Vern Disengages, flees, and Misty Steps the last yards out within sight of his comrades!

“HALPPP!”

Inits: Rich/Garth, pirate, Vern, pirate, Dain, other pirates

The Secret Harbor

This phase of the battle is relatively easy. These are mere pirates, easily outmatched individually. Rich and Garth leapfrog one another in a fierce pursuit with Vern and Dain keeping up and chipping in to put down wounded pirates. The four men are put down with no harm to our heroes.

Hastily, they begin damping a spreading fire, caused by a carelessly-aimed Firebolt (and is there any other type?) from Rich. Vern uses Surtr’s Scathe to Control Flames and the remains are extinguished.

They have captured a cargo-storing cavern. Beyond a rather rickety looking wharf, a sizeable ship is berthed. And there looks to be more room for even larger ships. This must be how the cult (and pirates before them – witness the Chimera Crew’s testimony) are able to hide so easily!

They have little time to do more than look about: the enemy commander has taken charge and a thick mist billows out across the wharf and passage. Crossbows snap and they all dive for cover!

Fireballs and Floating Drow!

In reckless need, someone flings an entire Necklace of Fireballs and Dain and Rich miss their DEX SV! Ouch! The good news is that most of the crates are still some use as cover against further missiles. As three thugs advance out of the fog to use crossbows, Vern sends them running with Lightning Bolt. Then their chief, a dark elf bearing twin swords, rushes Rich: stabs effectively, then flips up overhead onto the ceiling! Garth rushes, leaps up off Rich, and hammers the drow! Rich takes a run back and leaps, cutting deep! The drow follows Rich, drops down to attack again, and casts Darkness. Garth blunders along the cave wall and hammers in the darkness, hitting his intended target! Dain brings up his last high level spell, Spirit Guardians again, and the drow is dead! As are two of the pirates.

The remaining two pirates help their wizard snipe then charge at Vern but he is able to get back out of harm’s way. He uses Aganazzer’s Scorcher as well as the extra fire he’s absorbed from the Fireball to decide their fate. The wizard flees: Garth rushes after him, vaults over Vern and over the ships’s side and lands on the wizard!

“Do we need to interrogate him?” – Dain

“Yep, we need information!” – Garth

Victory!

The Rusted Silvers can’t resist that secret passage. But prudently, they decide to light a signal fire to bring in the Lively Dancer. The seas are calmed now that the hags are dead, and a prize crew comes ashore to help loot and take the ship away. And the Silvers board the Lively Dancer and take a hard-earned Long Rest.

XP: Level nine!

Loot

From the first set of caverns

Surtr’s Scathe:

Staff, legendary, requires attunement by a wizard or guild-bonded spellcaster. On attunement any rival arcane foci the wielder possesses shatter. The wielder may only de-attune the staff after a great quest to meet the remove curse requirements.

This dark length of fire-giant tendon can be used as a quarterstaff. The staff holds spells sacred to Surtr and reveals them as the caster grows. These spells do not need to be scribed into the caster’s spellbook (or equivalent).

Each revealed spell below can be cast once without requiring a spell slot or material component, otherwise as described in the rules. It cannot be cast again through the staff until the following night. However, the staff “knows” the spell, and the caster can use their own spell slot to cast it as long as they are using the staff as their arcane focus.

Tier 1: Control Flames, Create Bonfire, and Firebolt.

The staff acts as a Proficiency -2 magic weapon, and adds 2 to spell attacks.

Tier 2: Burning Hands, Chromatic Orb (but fire only), Aganazzar’s Scorcher, Continual Flame, and Scorching Ray.

The property Absorb Elements activates. While wielding the staff, its owner has Resistance to incoming energy, requiring a Reaction. The next time the staff is used with either a range attack or melee attack, proficiency-2d6 are added as fire damage. This property is permanent and does not need recharging.

Hag loot (other than the staff)

Trident of Fish Command (value 800 gold coin)

Periapt of Health (retail value 5000 gold coin)

A blue-and-gold false eye, ripped from a hag eye-socket.

An enchanted entrance to stairs leading up, accessible only by using the false eye!

Mage loot (gold coin retail value in brackets)

Wand of Magic Missiles (7 empty spaces) regains 1d6 + 1 expended charges daily at dawn. Once fully expended roll 1d20, on a 1 the wand crumbles to dust. (8000)

Ring of Warmth (1000)

Potion of Vitality (960)

Ruby and pearl ring (800) – pearls are very small, not useful as spell components.

Keoghtom’s Ointment (120)

Philter of Love (90)

Chests/Barrels of loot (other than the chest marked ‘gold’ which explodes) – appx resale value 2000 gold coin excl tar

1. Southern brocade

2. Spice

3. Porcelain

4. Elven-weave cloth

5. Fine pewter tableware

6. A block of polishing wax

7. 3 tuns of tar (huge, difficult to maneuver even by rolling)

General loot from corpses

296 gold coin worth of copper, silver and a few gold coins

1100 gold coin worth of weapons and armor (very heavy, obv)

A jar of moustache and beard wax

A handkerchief with the initials “F.S.” stitched on one corner.

Four sets of Thieves Tools

A wooden holy symbol of Fharlanghn suspended from a circlet of wooden beads, all highly polished.

A richly embroidered silk scarf.

A pewter ring with large pearl inset, pearl has a secret compartment.

A crystal shard that changes color depending on how it is held up to the light.

A preserved pair of ears that look to be goblin.

A sack of glass marbles, lighter and better at tripping opponents than a standard sack of stones.

A handful of berries commonly known to be poisonous.

From the Secret Harbor caverns

The pirate captain’s quarters, hastily evacuated, give up a forgotten surveying map, noting the location of the Dwarf mine nearby and its relation to Thunder Cliffs. It looks as though the captain suspects but is not sure of some hidden cavern beyond the mine.

Magic Items

A ring formed of a thorny vine knotted on itself: Aside from appearance, identical to Wand of Entangle.

Two Hairs of The Drow Queen: This cord is almost as thin as a hair, but reflects moon and starlight like white fire. Each is as Rope of the Master.

Six small feathers tied together with twine: Anchor Token – six one-shot uses.

A silver rod that makes no noise when it strikes anything – Rod of Deafness: holds three charges, recovers d3 charges per day. CON SV DV15.

A deck of 29 cards, all of which are blank: Deck of Illusions, but each card is one-shot.

A cursed hammer that bends every nail it strikes.

7 healing potions (2d4+2)

Non-magical goods

A small sailing ship (40′ at waterline, 6’8 draft, typical complement 24).

Two matched superb quality shortswords, and matching scabbards (500) and a superb dagger and sheath (50)

Part-used vial of weapon-suitable poison (3 doses left)

Semi-precious dice set (50 gold)

364 gold coin worth of copper, silver and a couple dozen gold coin.

Brawler’s Grill: Metal strips to lie across one’s teeth, giving a menacing grin. (10?)

600 gold coin worth of weapons and armor.

More tar barrels, coils of rope, and non-prized goods such as timber, lime, cut stone, woolen cloth, pottery. (150-1500 depending how patient one is at auctioning them)

Interrogation-worthy prisoner

The wizard Garrett carries a letter of marque from a Talos-friendly Luskan house named Ship Rethnor. Aside from Fherelai Stormsworn’s operations, he will be able to reveal to Lord Neverember a deep-laid plot by Baenre. Getting this prisoner safely to Neverwinter will be an important quest step!

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