SC9.03: Shipwrecker, part three – Talos strikes back

The level 9 Rusted Silvers for this session

Vernon von Longsington, human wizard/Conjurer, wielding Surtr’s Scathe;
Garth Ironhewn, mountain dwarf fighter/Battle Master, wielding the Ungart Hammer;
Dain Frostbeard, hill dwarf bard/Lore college, wielding deck of illusions;
Richlen Ilineiros, high elf paladin/Glory oath, wielding Alagondar

The Rusted Silvers begin 100xp below level ten and end on 30. They also burnish the rust off their moniker and become the Silvers again!

The story so far

The Rusted Silvers are well through Lord Neverember’s mission: they are about to bring one of the senior Talos cult wreckers back to Neverwinter! First though, there’s a little matter of an arcane storm off the Sea Elf colony that’s blocking passage to the Lively Dancer, the ship under command of Stands in Tar they have chosen.

The storm is the work of a sahuagin baron working some amazingly intricate plot that involves undead and an altar to Talos… in a vast cavern fashioned of sunken hulks, seemingly built by a kraken!

This baby kraken is just too cute!

Finishing their Short Rest, the Rusted Silvers run a prep check. Both Taba their half-sea-elf guide and Brack their half-orc scout are a little battered but ready to go. There remains only one quadrant of the vast cavern to explore.

Brack peers into the hull but can make little of it. Taba swims forward. Reports seaweed masking much of the right, and a gap on the left.

Siren-song surrounds the party and Brack swims eagerly in! Dain begins a counter-charm; Taba uses their spear to speed after the half-orc:

Two remote-tripped harpoons launch and one strikes home, pinioning Taba! Brack gets to a further hole opposite: an immense tentacle snags him!

Garth uses full speed and races past Taba. The adjoining cave is full of kraken! Rich zips forward at faster pace than his dwarf buddy and grabs an ankle – Brack is on the way to being completely eaten! A Lightning Strike lances from the kraken and harms Vern Rich and Garth.

Dain recollects that krakens are legendary beasts that are said to be the intellect behind undersea cults. Casts Tongues on himself and persuasively calls for a halt!

Two weird fishy Kraken priests swim from the master’s cabin, guarded by swarms of quippers. They don’t seem hostile, as yet…

Some excellent Athletics checks on Rich’s part with Garth helping snatch the dying Brack back out, and in the meantime Taba has made a medicine check to cut the harpoon away from themself.

Fhenimore and Whymsee are strangely formed aquatic versions of kraken priests. They speak in sing-song verse. According to them, Baron Gar Shatterkeel invited them to nurture their ‘baby’ in these caverns. They did think it strange, since sahuagin are not known for their devotion to Talos. They themselves are indifferent to Talos.

The account that the Rusted Silvers present, and the map with notes about the kraken sacrifice to Talos, is more than enough to convince them of the truth!

Mission acc… no wait, let’s attack the seaholder!

Garth smashes the Talos altar. Above them the arcane storm quiets. Mission accomplished! The party gathers all of the magical and non-magical loot and prepares to leave.

“I can’t wait to get out of this damned water. Rich! Your ears look even rounder down here!”

But wait, a thought has occurred to him.

“Ya know… there’s probably loot where that beholder thing is sleeping. Hey Dain, a seaholder is not as bad as a real beholder right?”

“Leave well enough alone laddie!”

“Hey Vern, this draft of Hanseath makes me pretty much invincible right?”

“Heh heh, yep that’s about right Garth”

“Och I’m regretting even mentioning loot and beholders” – Dain

With Brack resting on bare minimum health, the others swim or walk over to the opposite quadrant of the caverns. Garth gleeful, the others reluctant. Taba casts Pass without Trace:

“This means I need to stay pretty close behind you Garth <sigh>”

Garth moves his shield to his back and prepares the draft [takes a full round but can still take bonus action and reaction] then drinks before the sea can purge the flagon. The merry madness of a dwarf Battlerager fills his veins! Rich casts Haste. Vern Dain and Rich move with them – the former two well back – and, controlling the madness bubbling in his veins with a good WIS SV Garth sneaks around until he and Rich are behind the strange floating creature:

Combat! Garth throws everything at the Seaholder including a crit, and Rich gets two good cuts in. From outside the cavern Vern chips in with an unused wand of Magic Missiles (yes, he has a bunch of them).

So much for the surprise round! The creature swivels and Dain Garth and Rich make saves galore! Thanks to Rich’s aura everyone is intact and mobile, and as the creature reaches out for Garth with its two massive lobster-like pincers, Garth vaults over them and crits twice in the thing’s main orb! He keeps smashing, singing a dwarf mining song, until some stray phosphorescence on gold catches his eye!

“If that tankard always has that effect – wow, good choice!” – Taba

Loot: 1400 silver and 350 gold coin

Neverwinter counsel

Once more the Silvers meet the incognito rule of Neverwinter, Lord Dagult Neverember. Dain is introduced all round. He meets lord Dagult, Sgts Minerva and Osclin, and Sr Garaele.

There has been enough time for the Silvers to hand over all of their intel and for the captured mage to be interrogated. Lord Dagult is able to update them:

  • A house or “ship” of Illusk is behind the Talos plot. Its master is a drow, who has two mighty warships at his disposal. They are named after Drizzt’ scimitars.
  • Since by their own admission the Silvers aren’t great at ship combat, and won’t want to tackle those, there remain three legs of the cult’s plot they can deal with. The sahuagin menace they already intend to see to; there is also a mighty roc in the air around the high coast using what was Cryovain’s territory; and the ghost galleon under Fherelai Stormsworn. Now she has Tarbin Tul she is able to sail the galleon and can terrorize the coast again.

“I thought you may well be able to approach and board Fherelai’s galleon by using the Tower of Storms” – Dagult

“Wait, I remember that tower. It was a nightmare to tackle, we were under fire the whole way up,” Garth recalls.

“The alternative would be to trust to this Stands in Tar, she seems a resourceful captain. She could decoy the galleon to board her ship, then you counter-board?”

With the caveat that they will need some seasickness remedy, Garth and Rich are willing, and the other two vote aye.

Lord Dagult says he will arrange for the remedy (he seems not to want to say much about where that would come from in front of Garaele) and she says she will arrange for healing potions for them.

Equipment montage

The city of Neverwinter treats the Silvers as the heroes they are and at least in the genteel quarter, oftentimes they find prices waived.

  • Rich is given a Javelin of Lightning
  • Garth is given a personalized Shield+1 by the senior dwarf armorer of the city.
  • Vern is given Bracers of Defense
  • Dain is given a Ring of Lightning Resistance

Rich hands off his Potion of Heroism, since it hasn’t seemed useful so far.

A factor undertakes, on their behalf, the sale of the articles they did not want to keep.

Dain gains permission to access the city libraries, to research the Tiara of Ebondeath.

They meet Sr Garaele at the docks as they ready to board the Lively Dancer once more. She hands over potions of healing. (Each: 1 Superior, 2 Greater, 4 regular)

Ghost Ship!

The skies darken and a thick mist rises from the water, obscuring sight around the ship. The crew swears and make superstitious signs. Then, from the crow’s nest, a voice screams, “Ghost ship ahead.”

As the party stares up the monstrous shape of a giant skeleton, halbard clutched ready to strike, emerges: the ghastly figurehead of the dreadnaught!

Up behind it, a brazier flares. In its light can be seen brawny half-orcs, ready to hurl boarding nets. An even larger half-orc female, seeming carven from bronze in the flare, yells:

“You are our prisoners! Throw down your weapons as we board!”

Sailing check: to represent the Lively Dancer Dain uses Performance and the other three make a flat Proficiency check. All succeed on at least DC13. The Lively Dancer has succeeded in looking like prey and not being rammed!

Before the words can even register, spectral figures emerge from the mist, swooping down onto the decks. These are half-orcs as well, cutlasses ready, and they set about killing all aboard!

I have made it pretty clear in the various sessions that no-one survives the wreckers. Players are caught somewhat flat-footed. However…

From among the seemingly surprised Lively Dancer crew, some begin fighting back! Stands in Tar, Brack, the bosun and the quartermaster all show their skill. And Vern has had an illusion over his comrades, so that they will have seemed normal sailors. Now, they spring into action!

Inits: Vern, Fherelai, Garth, Lively Dancer/Pirates, Dain, Rich

Vern level a hand up at the priestess: Fire Bolt! She sways easily aside and says:

“I’ll see your Fire Bolt and I’ll raise you a Flame Strike!”

Melee and fire-dodging ensue. Dain attempts to get to Garth through the melee but can’t sneak in. Rich Hastes Garth while deflecting cutlass-strokes. Someone needs to get up to the galleon foredeck!

Get Fherelai!

“Welcome!” Fherelai grins as Vern lands right next to her. She calls up Spirit Guardians even as Vern manages not to be Shoved off deck by her Guardian Spirit. He grins back at her: “say hi to my little friend” and Trades with Garth! Then ducks as the three pirates he has just landed among attempt to end him!

“You can get us up?” – Rich

“Yep, take my hand” – Dain, appearing well behind Fherelai

As Rich rushes the Talos high priestess, three half-orcs Dain is near set out to grab him and toss him overboard.

Meanwhile Garth novas up: he already has Rich’s Haste on him, and delivers blow after blow through Fherelai’s hidden armor. Now it’s his turn to grin: “Now who’s laughing?”

“On me!” she bellows, which perhaps saves Dain’s life and costs her the fight. The three half-orcs immediately drop Dain and rush to stab and slash at Rich – to good effect!

The damage on Garth and Rich is mounting up as, even though they make all their saves, Necrotic and Radiant damage are taking toll. Rich is considering whether to drop out and Lay on Hands: then: he delivers two slashes past Fherelai’s armor and Dain arrives, bringing up his own Spirit Guardians! Fherelai loses concentration and Rich gets a Thunderous Smite past her defenses! She falls!

Meanwhile on the deck of the Lively Dancer flames grow – Fherelai threw a Flame Strike in retaliation at Vern’s attempt with Fire Bolt! But the wily wizard has a new trick up his sleeve – Animate Object! Belaying pins and ropes fly everywhere, blocking the pirates’ attacks, and preserving some of the crew! And as the victors above decide what their next move is, the session ends!

DM Note

Props to Locathah Rising, which I lifted virtually intact(!) for the purposes of linking the sessions prior, to sea elf needs, to The Final Enemy! I don’t know why but unlike most official adventures, Locathah Rising has the challenge rating keyed in extremely well. There’s even faction play! Get it now! And like I did, feel free to chuck out the concept of it being just for one aquatic race, the homely Locathah. At level nine, everyone has access to the deeps. All I did (apart from that) was re-key the bad guys toward a Talos/Sahuagin-based plot (and therefore did away with a carpet of dead seafarers) and change the BBEG’s posture and guards and cleric’s posture and guards. Cons: if all of the aquatic undead are hive-mind, why would they all just wait around? Hence my more proactive approach.

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