Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Campaign Notes for The Godsharp Saga

In case anyone's interested, here are my notes from running the Godsharp Saga as my weekly home campaign during the past school year. 


12 September 2017: “Out of the Blue”
The PCs, relaxing at a local taverna in a fishing village on the Middle Sea, happened to be present when a wizard arrived; moments later, a strange fog rolled in under the front door. Some of them heard arcane chanting and went to investigate (but not Eitel, because he was apparently busy). In the fog, although they could still hear the chanting, they could not see the source of it. When dretches appeared and attacked, Edward rushed back inside to help the wizard, while Yobari tangled with the one out front and Sicart pursued someone he thought to be an invisible thief. Following his tracks, Sicart learned that he'd boarded a ship, the Fortuitous, that was preparing to set sail. Edward slew one dretch with help from Eitel's magic missiles, but the other one overwhelmed Yobari after the monk succumbed to the sorcerer's sleep spell. Edward and a returning Sicart managed to fend if off until it disappeared, though. In the aftermath, Thaddeus explained how he'd plotted the likely location of a falling star, and then recruited the PCs to help him pursue the thieves.

19 September 2017: “Out of the Blue”
Setting sail from the village, the PCs encountered a storm. While Eitel and Edward headed belowdecks, Sicart and Yobari climbed the ratlines and furled the foresail. A loud thumping brought everyone to the cargo hold, where a rat swarm burst out of the bilge, but Eitel felled it with a sleep spell. 

In the morning, the shp's lookouts spotted land; circumnavigating claw island, they saw masts in the cove. Making a quick plan of attack, the Intrepid sailed alongside and grappled the Fortuitous. After some archery sniping, Yobari jumped aboard and—aided by another sleep spell from Eitel—won the day. 

Interrogating the survivors, the PCs learned that the others had gone ashore looking for a “trading outpost.” They set out in a ship's boat, and had to fight off giant crabs as they landed. Sicart picked up the enemy's trail and led an expedition through the jungle; a leopard pounced on Edward, but Eitel made it sleep, too, before Sicart killed it. 

In the end, the PCs decided to make camp and Thaddeus sent his owl to summon help.

26 September 2017: “Out of the Blue”
Oswald (the owl) found a fishing boat, a charter taking Arcturus to Alacudi village, and led the cleric to Claw Island. There he joined the party and they proceeded inland. They found the trading fort, seemingly abandoned, but discovered weird zombies in the house, which they defeated with swordplay and lots of double-chained kama action. There were also strange, tentacle-headed quadrupeds in the warehouse, along with infected bodies. Sicart was infected, too, but Arcturus helped cure him. 

Moving from the maquis into the swampland, the PCs encountered a patrol of lizard fold and managed to defeat, but not kill, them. Thaddeus used to let Eitel speak with them, and the sorcerer arranged a visit to their village. Their they found the thieves, imprisoned; they learned that what the wizard saw was not a falling star, but what the lizard folk called a “winged house” like travelers use to visit their island.

3 October 2017: “Out of the Blue”
Acting on the lizard folk's information, the PCs sailed out east of the island and found the wreck site. On the sterncastle of the crashed vessel they could see the remains of the helmsman, an elf. Yobari dove into the water and attracted the attention of an aquatic eel, but managed to fight if off. He also saw a crab swarm in the hold and informed the others. Deciding not to venture into its grasp, the PCs instead used ropes aboard their ship to hoist up the downed one and drag it in toward shore. There they made camp for the night, and defeated a nocturnal attack by three sahuagin. Learning that the sharkmen had looted the wreck, the PCs sailed out to their lair, chummed the water, and then ambushed the remaining sahuagin. From them the PCs acquired the elf's magical items, along with a waterproof scroll case. After reading the notes and inquiring about Syeknyg, the PCs learned that the lizard folk regard him as an honored ancestor; they agreed to lead the PCs to his tomb.

17 October 2017: “Out of the Blue”
Accompanied by the lizard folk, the PCs ventured to Syeknyg's tomb; after certain ceremonial preparations, they opened it. The entry was occupied by two ghouls, whom they slew. Further inside they found a statue depicting the lizard man traveler, along with his former bedchamber—which contained some kind of magical orb—and kitchen. There were also four chambers, aligned to the four elements, and each occupied by a creature of that type. They killed the hellhound, shot and ripped apart the caryatic column, defeated the water elemental and fought off the stirges. From the chambers they acquired four plaques inscribed with arcane symbols of the elements, and then fitted them into the sides of a small pyramid held by the statue. That opened a secret door, revealing a new puzzle. The PCs managed to solve it, after suffering a few jolts from the electrical trap. This opened the trapdoor into the upper level, where they found an undamaged aethership.

24 October 2017: “Among the Stars”
The PCs negotiated with the lizard folk to have five accompany them on their voyage beyond the heavens. Furthermore, Captain Josephson will run the trading post; the PCs claimed the Fortuitous for themselves; Thaddeus kept the wrecked Scintilla for his research; five human sailors agreed to join their crew, too. They loaded 500 gp worth of trade goods aboard their ship, along with casks of palm wine, barrels of water, smoked meat and dried fruit, a few caged birds that Sicart caught, and a dead elf in a liquor barrel. The PCs christened their vessel the Homeworld. From research they learned that the elves' Starfort Station was located on a moon of an outer gas giant planet, and so they they raised their vessel up into the sky, beyond the clouds into the star-strewn black of aetherspace, before taking a bearing on Kronos and sailing thither. 

En route, one PC spied an approaching longboat, crewed by clerics of Sol; they proved to be huecuva and the PCs slew them. At another point they saw a blinking light among the asteroids; this turned out to be a will-o'-the-wisp, which they also managed to slay.

31 October 2017: “Among the Stars”
Continuing their voyage, the PCs noticed an approaching ship. It was crewed by a single gnome, along with a formerly caged ravid that had broken loose and was animating objects all over the ship and using them to attack the gnome. Elias steered the Homeworld into a position above and facing this newcomer, and the PCs stormed aboard it. With much swashbuckling, sniping, spellcasting, and sword- and kama-play, they defeated the ravid and rescued the gnome. 

Later a phase spider attacked in the hold of the ship and killed a crew member before the PCs chased it away. 

Finally, reaching the frozen moon of Kronos, the PCs were hailed by an elven galleon; they conversed, and then went “ashore” in their ship's boat. Elias decided to remain as part of the crew instead of staying on the moon.

7 November 2017: “Among the Stars”
The PCs met with the elves, who were led by Admiral Solinus, and reported what they'd learned. They also handed over Captain Quinariel's body, preserved in a barrel of liquor, along with his journals in the waterproof case. Learning that the late elf had worked extensively with with a druid named Mr. Lemuel, they decided to seek out that half-elf in his ice dome garden. 

On arrival there, they were attacked by a decapus that charged up out of the water. They managed to slay it before it dragged away a party member. In the aftermath of the attack Mr. Lemuel welcomed them into his home and workplace; he explained that attacks by unusual monstrosities were becoming more and more common in the area. Moreover, he mentioned that his assistant, an arborling (“tree man”) named Mr. Akham had gone missing during a routine boat trip on the nearby water.
The PCs agreed to go in search of the lost arborling. Following its intended route, they spotted a sunken longboat and dove for it using potions of water breathing. They fought off some fiendish giant crabs, and then found and followed a trail to a cavern entrance guarded by a skum warrior.

14 November 2017: “Among the Stars”
After a night's rest, the PCs headed back to the skum lair. They managed to ambush the guard and slew him before he could raise an alarm, in part because Yobari smashed his conch. Eitel used a mage hand to raise the portcullis. Down one tunnel they found a statue depicting Lamashtu, goddess of monsters; it was actually a caryatid column, but they defeated it. Then Sicart led the party on a slow, quiet killing spree through the skum sleeping quarters. In the deepest part of the caverns they face the skum chieftain—a sorcerer in his own right—and his guards, and managed to defeat them.

21 November 2017: “At a Crossroads”
Finishing up their business on the moon of Kronos, the PCs headed for the Crossroads settlement in the asteroid belt. On arrival they dealt with the port inspector and then fought off a mimic that was posing as flotsam. At the Sign of the Ourobouros tavern, Eitel flirted with a barmaid (Kira), and then Edward urinated on some orc sailors who were harassing her and a brawl ensued. There was much tripping a punching, and Eitel unleashed grease and web spells. The PCs won the fight, and the orcs were forced to flee—but swore they'd have their revenge. 

Heading back to the Homeworld, the PCs were ambushed once again by the phase spider; it almost dragged away Sicart, but Edward slew it with a well-placed arrow. Arcturus cured Sicart's poisoning (again).

5 December 2017: “At a Crossroads”
During the Festival of the Comet, the PCs participated in numerous events. Sicart engaged in armed combat against a number of opponents, including dock workers, orc sailors and even elf soldiers, winning each round. When the two faced off against each other, however, Yobari prevailed. Edward challenged a dockworker and an elf in archery, but was defeated in the end by Captain Corwyn. Yobari also took home a laurel crown for defeating various opponents in unarmed combat. Additionally, Eitel did some carousing and won some gold by wagering on the contests. 

After an evening of celebrating, the prepared for the next day's Asteroid Belt Regatta.

12 December 2017: “At a Crossroads”
For the Regatta, the PCs competed against the orc merchantman Abattoir, the elf galleon Steadfast, and Axelrod the gnome's bark Redoubtable. They kept pace for much of the race, running through open space before entering the belt and dodging asteroids, and even fought off a mi-go attack. It was then, however, that they noticed a cog frozen into the ice of the comet, and decided to approach, draw alongside and go aboard it, and then explore. Due to the heat of the approaching sun, though, chunks of ice from the asteroid began to break free, causing tremors. That also freed a nabasu demon that had been trapped, but the PCs managed to slay it. In the process they recovered the dimensional shackles with which it had been held captive.

9 January 2018: “At a Crossroads”/“Beneath the Sands”
The PCs rigged a towline to the cog, the Venture, and pulled it free of the comet. Upon returning with it to Crossroads, Arcturus went aboard the plague ship and healed its crew. Lieutenant Vanderwald went with the PCs aboard the cog, which they agreed to sell to the Royal Interplanetary Company for 2500 gp (with Governor Reda and Captain Corwyn in attendance). After a few nights in town, the PCs were at the Sign of the Ourobouros when Arcturus heard a strange whispering voice outside the tavern's front door; he alerted his comrades just before a strange cloud of darkness rolled into the place. Wading into it, the PCs found that it concealed a spear-wielding demon. They defeated it, but still had reason to believe that a female spellcaster—whom they were unable to confront—was responsible for this attack. 

Aboard the cog they also found a journal. 

30 January 2018: “Beneath the Sands”
Eitel set out to recruit an artillerist; he found a half-orc named Grosh, who was once part of the Abattoir's crew. The the PCs bought a keg of powder and other equipment for the swivel guns. They read the journal and set a course based upon the information in it. 

Arriving at Tyr, they landed outside the zigurrat. Sicart recognized the mouths of some crude tunnels dug into the ground, and so the PCs waited for something to come out of the tunnels before opening up with their swivel guns. The emerging creature–a rhemoraz—retreated, however, forcing them to go out on foot and engage it. Edward slew it with a shut in the mouth. After that the PCs, led by Sicart, snuck into the ziggurat and murdered a couple of troglodytes before one managed to sound the alarm.

6 February 2018: “Beneath the Sands”
Combat erupts! The PCs pressed the attack down one hallway, until Eitel filled it with a web. One troglodyte managed to escape and summon reinforcements, however, leading to running missile combat in the dining hall between Edward, Sicart and the trogs. The high priest attacked the party from behind, but Eitel hit him with irresistible laughter and Arcturus followed that with searing light.
After defeating those foes, the PCs found a secret staircase in the library and headed upward to explore the next level.

13 February 2018: “Beneath the Sands”
The PCs, led by Sicart, ventured up to the next level. They fought off the mohrg ambush and then recognized the electricity trap built into the elemental lock puzzle. After some deliberation (and a couple of shocks) they solved the puzzle, thereby gaining access to the orrery chamber. They studied the orrery and recognized that it contained a planet in between Tyr and Thonar, where the aseteroid belt currently lies. At the same time, unbeknownst to the, a shadow demons possessed Sicart with a magic jar spell. 

The shadow demon didn't reveal itself until the PCs were approaching Homeworld. At that point Sicart backstabbed Silas, hoping to crash the aethership. Eitel used a web spell to entrap the characters, but then himself was possessed. His fireball killed Silas. The other PCs were able to subdue him, however, and regain control of their vessel, even though the shadow demon escaped.

20 February 2018: “Beyond the Pale”
The PCs went to the City of the Sun first, and there started spreading word about the firearms and gunpowder that they proposed to sell. Arcturus checked in with his church, too. After that they arranged a quick demonstration in a local tavern with a pistol, and promised a bigger demonstration back at the island. 

On sailing to the island, they met with Captain Josephson; he gave his report and the lizard folk had a mostly happy reunion. Yobari donated gold to the widowed wife. The PCs rigged up sailcloth tents for the visitors, arranged various trade goods for sale, and set out copious amounts of food and drink. The demonstrations—of a pistol and a swivel gun—went well; the PCs accepted 5500 gp in earnest money, and Yobari signed the contract for delivery. Sicart captured more wild birds for Mr. Lemuel, and Yobari sent a letter to his abbot. 

At the Temple of Ptah the PCs interviewed two lower-ranking clerics before being directed to the high priest, Imhotep. After hearing their story, he led them down to a secret archive in the catacombs. There they found a large tunnel had been dug into them, and a bulette waited for them. It was accompanied by a succubus who was rummaging through the archive. They managed to slay the bulette and the demon, and thus discovered a bit of poetry—written spontaneously by someone traveling through the belt—that the succubus had sought.

27 February 2018: “Beyond the Pale”
Yobari speculated that the poem refers to Gaea, Kronos, Freya and Tyr; X marks a spot in between them. Presented with that surmise, Imhotep conferred with his people and then presented the PCs with a communication scroll and some incense of meditation. The PCs also haggled for a cargo of chickens. 

En route to Crossroads, the PCs ran into the Redoubtable again. They kept their distance and recognized the medusa who'd kidnapped Captain Axelrod for what she was. Eitel ensnared her in a web, which he and Arcturus followed with a barrage of searing light and fireballs. After that they healed Captain Axelrod and then chastised him. 

On approaching Crossroads, they were accused of piracy, and decided to leave and mull over their options. They believed that Governor Reda's wife, Nora, is the succubus.

13 March 2018: “Beyond the Pale”
While the PCs were deciding what course of action to pursue, they saw the Abattoir approach Crossroads and dock. They decide to maneuver the Homeworld alongside the upper story of the Governor's House and go in through the windows. Sicart went in first, hitting Cornelius Vanderwald with a sap but not felling him. Arcturus cast silence on him and then ran through into the hallway. Edward hit the succubus with ineffectual arrows, and Eitel followed with a fireball that also failed to harm her. Yobari leaped in and hit her with a flurry of blows, again to no effect. Eitel then used a web and Arcturus unleashed searing light. Governor Reda fled into the hall. Yobari switched to his cold iron kama, and they beat the succubus into unconsciousness.

20 March 2018: “Beyond the Pale”
Seeing a woman—indeed, a dryad—fleeing from Captain Cyrus and members of his crew, the PCs stepped in and rescued her. She told her story, about the orcs raiding her home planet, and suggested that Mr. Akham, an arborling, might be able to provide more information. The PCs therefore went back to the frozen geyser moon of Kronos, to speak with Mr. Lemuel's assistant. He told them about the interplanetary portal that leads back to his home planet, which is closely guarded by the Elven Navy. The PCs headed back to Starfort Station to meet with Admiral Solinus, but were attacked by a vrock along the way. They defeated it.

10 April 2018: “Beyond the Pale”
Arriving again at Starfort Station, the PCs met with Admiral Solinus. The discussions went well, but were interrupted by the spectre of Althea, who had died from the loss of her bonded tree. They sent her to eternal rest with a flurry of kama strikes, the channeled power of Sol and three lightning bolts.

With an elven escort the PCs proceeded out into the gas giant's ring, where the elves concealed and guarded the interstellar portal. Taking their ship's longboat through it, they found themselves in another star system, in orbit of the planet Sylvanus. Heading planetside, Eitel used his fey intuition to find the scar in which the necromancer had been working the magic for his foul construction project. There they were attacked by a demented earth elemental and almost lost Yobari and Sicart. They defeated it, however, and then were greeted by Harmony, a lillend. She had much to tell them. 

17 April 2018: “Into the Eye of the Storm”
Armed with what they'd learned from Harmony, the PCs returned through the interstellar portal to the Sol System. They apprised Admiral Solinus of what they knew and then arranged transportation back to the Asteroid Belt aboard an elven galleon. While exploring it they were attacked by a bebelith creeping along their hull. While Edward and Yobari rushed to the attack, Eitel trapped it with black tentacles and then hit with a lightning bolt. Arcturus blasted it with searing light and Sicart swung in from the rigging to sneak attack it. It killed him before the rest of the party could kill it. For that reason they returned to Mr. Lemuel, who conducted a ritual to reincarnate Sicart—as an elf. 

Back in the Belt they found an asteroid in the expected place—based on Yobari's interpretation of the poem—and ventured into the cave inside it. They parleyed with a pair of xorn, and then negotiated with the haunt that remained of the Formian Queen. They promised to destroy the Godsharp, so she told them where to find it: in the eye of the unending Great Storm that swirls through the atmosphere of the gas giant planet Thunar.

24 April 2018: “Into the Eye of the Storm”
Arriving at Thunar, the PCs and their elf allies steered their way into the eye of the storm. During their descent they were attacked by a huge air elemental, but Arcturus dismissed it. Eitel spotted the ship of the dead on the edge of the eye and the PCs charged to attack it. They swept the decks with the elves' cannons—loaded with shot—and thus claimed that ship. They they stormed into the entrance of the hidden temple, alongside which the ship of the dead hung in the air.

Inside they faced off against the succubus, defeating her again, and then sought out Cyril the necromancer and his ghasts. In a hard-fought battle they won the day and thus took possession of the Godsharp.

1 May 2018: “Into the Eye of the Storm”
Upon returning to the moon of Kronos with the Godsharp and telling of their adventure, the PCs heard another story from Admiral Solinus—one that told of an elven expedition to explore a black hole, but that ended in disaster, causing the crew of the arkship to abandon their vessel and flee back to the Sol System through their interstellar portal. The important detail, of course, was that they could find a black hole if they were willing to face the thing that had ruined the expedition. They were willing. 

Traveling through the portal, they arrived in an even more distant system. There they could see the black hole, along with the star on which it fed, along with the derelict arkship. As they approached, three elf musketeers mounted on griffins—and wearing necklaces of adaptation—flew out to attack their longboat. Eitel used lightning bolts, Yobari unhorsed one, Edward delivered a storm of arrows, Sicart defended the boat, and Arcturus kept everyone alive. Moving further past the arkship, however, the PCs were confronted by the weird creature that inhabited it: a colour out of space. 

The PCs managed to run from this strange, incorporeal thing; they reached the event horizon of the black hole and cast in the Godsharp. It was sucked into the absolute darkness and disappeared. At the same time, the colour out of space tried to flee back through the portal, but they ran it down and slew it, and then headed back to the Sol System.

8 May 2018: “Into the Eye of the Storm”
Passing back through the interstellar portal, the PCs found the elves waiting for them—and intending to arrest them. In response Eitel opened an acid pit on their sterncastle; Admiral Solinus managed to spring clear of it, but other officers were not so lucky. Yobari also grappled an officer and threw him bodily into the pit. The sorcerer also made many of the elf crew members fall into a deep slumber. Arcturus tried to dispel magic on the elf commander, but failed; he succeeded, however, to break enchantment, forcing the shadow demon that had possessed him out of his body. Then the cleric jumped into the acid pit to heal the officers trapped in it. The shadow demon tried to flee off of the ship into open space, but Edward and Sicart jumped into the void (wearing necklaces of adaptation) to pursue it, and Eitel eventually slew it with magic missiles

Following the battle the PCs returned to Starfort Station for debriefing, during which they concluded that the demons must be operating out of some stronghold on the Prime Material Plane. Following up on that, they headed to the lawless asteroid freehold known as the Grotto. There they encountered some of the remaining orcs from the crew of the Abattoir; Edward paid them a substantial bribe, thus learning that they'd made numerous runs to a remote island in the Middle Sea on Homeworld. Knowing that, the PCs hired the orcs to pick up the cargo of firearms that they'd purchased from the merchants on Crossroads and deliver it to the buyers with whom they'd met back on Claw Island.

14 May 2018: “Into the Eye of the Storm”
The PCs did some shopping at the Grotto before heading for Homeworld. They did a slow nighttime pass over the Island of the Minotaurs, and Sicart spotted some faint firelight close to the bottom of a waterfall. They set their vessel down on a nearby river and approached through the water, but were themselves noticed. Diplomacy won the day, however, and they learned that these were refugees who were stranded on the island and sought to avoid enslavement. They led the PCs to meet with Amalthea, the nymph guardian of the area. 

She told them more about the minotaurs and their demon allies—including where to find the entrance of their labyrinth, and thus the lair beneath it—and gifted Edward with a lock of her own hair. (Eitel made a good impression on her, of course, but seemed like a bit of an automaton in doing so.) The PCs took a day to deliver the refugees to Alcudi village, and there prepared to strike out against their foes. 

Traveling once again in the Homeworld's longboat, the PCs approached the area described by Amalthea. In front of the cave entrance they saw to metal-skinned, bull-like creatures grazing on the surround rocks; they opted to pepper the monsters with missile fire from a safe altitude, chasing them away.

22 May 2018: “Into the Eye of the Storm”
The PCs brought their longboat alongside the entrance to the labyrinth and ventured inside it. Sicart noticed the infernal automatons that were standing guard, and managed to alert the others, but he did not detect the invisible quasits in the maze. Eitel dropped two of the constructs into an acid pit while the other PCs attacked and defeated the second pair. They also recognized that some sections of the walls could shift, but Sicart disabled the ones he found and the others used detect evil spells along with ranged attacks or area-of-effect spells to find and kill the quasits. 

Moving forward, Sicart and Eitel noticed the minotaurs' approach from multiple directions. Eitel hindered the half-fiend monsters with black tentacles, and then Yobari moved in and dismantled them. At the same time, Arcturus softened up the others with a holy smite before Edward and Sicart slew them with bow and blades. 

In the center of the labyrinth they found a spiral staircase leading downward...

12 June 2018: “Into the Eye of the Storm”
Arriving at the bottom of the stairs, Eitel granted Sicart greater invisibility so that the rogue could do some exploring. The quasits knew to expect intruders, however, and used detect magic spells to search for them, so Sicart slew one and the battle was joined. The PCs made quick work of the normal minotaurs, but then fiendish ones emerged; Eitel trapped them in black tentacles. Arcturus cast holy lance on Edward's bow, and the archer began sniping at them. That was when two vrocks appeared, infecting Edward and Yobari with their spores. Eitel managed to hold one of them, and Edward and Yobari slew first the free one and then the other. Then the glabrezu arrived via greater teleport, and for a time Sicart was forced to face it alone, suffering an unholy blight in the process. The others rallied to his aid, however; Yobari managed to trip the demon, and he and the others did it considerable harm before it used greater teleport to escape. In searching the rest of the stronghold, though, the PCs found its portal to the Abyss, and used dispel magic to seal it once and for all.

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