The Razor Coast: Islands and Pirates

Session 21: Sinful Whispers
Dolentla Island

The white whale bore down on the Sea Wyvern. The officers of the ship maneuvered the vessel so the port-side cannon could be fired. Bertram organized a well-placed shot to the beast’s head. Though hurt, the creature went under the ship and attempted to capsize it. The Sea Wyvern listed heavily to one side but was too much for the whale to lift. After a few moments, it was apparent that the creature had left. Ozzy was certain it didn’t act naturally and would have to give it more thought.

The remainder of the day was spent pacifying the new crew and ensuring the regular crewmen kept the ship functioning. Avner continued to be an obnoxious thorn in their side, but not as much as Jacinth Deepwarder. The elf continued to believe she could commandeer the vessel better than Keahilani. The cleric pacified her with a gem-encrusted suit of studded leather armor and a few trinkets.

A few hours later, a yellow-sailed slaver ship hoisted a white flag of truce and asked to parley. Taking precautions and with the Blue Nixie not far away, the Sea Wyvern connected grappling hooks and the officers boarded the slaver ship. The mates of the ship met them and explained that something was wrong with their captain; he seemed to listen too much to the slaves and had released them to do manual chores, while also disarming the regular crew. The mates of the slaver ship asked them to talk to the captain. Captain Hazeltree himself showed up, smiling, with an older Tulita man at his side. Keahilani and Ozzy immediately noticed Hazeltree was charmed and that the Tulita man, K’oku’wa, was feeding him instructions. Joining them in the cabin, while Aleister kept Hazeltree occupied, the others got the truth out of K’oku’wa. He had some spellcasting ability and managed to charm Hazeltree when his people were captured, however he was now out of charm spells and feared for his life. The party agreed to help him. Aleister turned to Hazeltree and promptly put him to sleep.

They burst onto the deck of the slaver ship, K’oku’wa right behind them. When the mates realized what was happening, the ship erupted into chaos as slaves and crewmen alike picked up objects to use as weapons. The four mates might have been easy work for the party, however, as they engaged, two of the crewmen began to shapeshift and turned into large weresharks, shouting about their hunger and need to serve Dajobas. As weresharks turned on both slaves and crew, the party cut through the mates in order to take out the lycanthropes. Bertram exploded one in a volley of gun shot, while Sir Mog, Ozzy and Crikey began to tear the other one apart. Once freed, the Tulita were thankful. They made a bargain with Keahilani: They kept the ship and, in return, would send a delegation to the Port Shaw region to bolster Milliaukau and Kaho Ali’i’s Tulita. The party bid farewell and returned to their own ship and a rendezvous with The Blue Nixie. Jacinth made it clear that the party broke the law and that she would “tell” her uncle when they returned to Port Shaw.

In the distance, two ships with the yellow sails of slavers from Carcass were spotted, likely connected to Hazeltree’s convoy. Lavinia mobilized The Blue Nixie to confront one while the Sea Wyvern took the other. The Jade Ravens wasted no time in setting the slaver ship on fire and began to bombard it with spell and ballista fire. Keahilani urged the crew to intercept the other slaver. Aleister performed deft navigation maneuvers and both cannon were moved to the port side. Once within range, Bertram organized the crew to deliver a volley of cannon fire. Both hit and the slaver ship listed to one side. Keahilani threw a fireball into their rigging and the slavers were at their mercy. While the half-orc captain, his gnome sorcerer and two ballista-wielding ogres put up a fight, Aleister’s Stinking Cloud and Web spells quickly stopped them. Sir Mog attempted a boarding action but fell into the ocean, his plate mail taking him deep. Ozzy was forced to transform into a crocodile to save their comrade. Slaves were freed and allowed to join K’oku’wa on his new vessel. With the ship mostly destroyed, the party towed the surviving crew of both ships to a deserted rock to let nature have its way with them. The enemy of The Blue Nixie simply burned and they left it to its fate.

The next morning they spotted Dolentla Island. Jacinth seemed disturbed by the flotsam and jetsam in the water, gasping when she saw belongings from her old friends. Strangely, no corpses or other signs of violence were seen. The white whale rose again and Jacinth screamed. Again, a cannon ball found its mark, but this time the whale seemed intent on simply smashing the hull of the ship. As it struck wildly, Bertram, Ozzy and Keahilani launched ranged attacks. At last, Aleister put the beast to sleep. Keahilani and Aleister noted a faint magical connection leading to the jungle on Dolentla Island. After debate, they decided not to kill the creature and left without pursuit.

A raft listed in the waves and Aleister flew to retrieve it and tie it to the Sea Wyvern. Figures groaned and moved under a large tarp. Using mage hand from the ship, he lifted the tarp. Three sea hags cackled and got up, their horrific gaze weakening the crew and officers. A fourth, more comely hag, rose and smiled at the party. Bertram identified her as a red hag and more dangerous than the others. Most dangerous was the fact that they could operate as a coven and access deadly powers. Aleister distracted a couple with an agony spell while Keahilani blinded and hurt them with holy power. Sir Mog jumped into the fray along with Crikey and Ozzy. Before the hag sisters could launch a Blight spell, Aleister put one to sleep. Though blind, the red hag used a blood sense ability to locate the party and started the ship on fire with Flamestrike. Once Mog and Crikey went to work while Bertram fired slugs into them, the hags couldn’t last and were soon defeated.

Lavinia chose to anchor some distance away and the party scouted the island, finding that the east and south sides were treacherous and would be difficult to reach. The north and west beaches seemed much easier. Jacinth insisted on coming and they took a row boat to the north beach. Once there,a swarm of stirges erupted from the jungle to drain Aleister and Crikey. The party hacked and slung Burning Hands spells at the swarm until it dissipated. Jacinth, meanwhile, ran screaming towards the jungle before stopping and covering her face, “No! Not again!” Feral, naked humanoids approached from the interior to grab her. A quick Web spell from Aleister slowed them enough for Mog, Crikey and Ozzy to attack. The creatures seemed to fly into a rage and attacked with bare nails and teeth. At last, they killed the feral humans and rescued Jacinth. Oddly, the strange beings showed the magical energy leading into the jungle, similar to the whale.

Darkness came and they set up camp. From the interior of the island came the sounds of wild screams, hoots and the beating of drums.

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Session 20: Prepare for the High Seas!
Escorting the Blue Nixie

Drug dealer corpses littered the sandy beach in the cover. As the party heaped Bonegnaw’s corpse atop the pile, Bethany Razor herself debarked to meet them. The fiery-haired elven woman seemed to gleam in the torch light and was one with the smoke from the cannon fire. Behind her was her first mate, Korg, an imposing minotaur with a large pick axe. Bethany winked at Keahilani and explained that she had been watching the cove for a few days when she saw The Sea Wyvern enter. She knew that was her opportunity, either to take down a major shipment of dragonsmoke or to assist newfound allies.

She took the remaining treasure from a cache in the cove wall, took an inventory of the destroyed dragonsmoke and told the party she’d meet them back in Port Shaw, where she’d put in a good word to Gregory Bonedeuce. Ono and Ozzy were determined to drag the decrepit old barge back with them, which slowed them down considerably. Eventually, they docked in Port Shaw with the new barge and made their way to Fort Stormshield and Bonedeuce. Bethany was there, flirting with the commander and drinking from a goblet. It was clear that Bonedeuce lusted after Razor, but the elven privateer simply winked at him and bid farewell, telling the party she’d “see them around sometime” and to “mind their manners.” She also, on a more serious note, asked them to look out for any sign of her deceased husband, Jacob and the whereabouts of his demise. Keahilani caught a flicker of recognition on Bonedeuce’s face. After she left, Bonedeuce seemed pleased with the destruction of the dragonsmoke trade and rewarded the party well.

Next, they located Milliaukau and Koho Ali’i in the Tulita encampment outside of the Outskirts. The wizened shaman was thrilled with the destruction of the dragonsmoke trade and rewarded them with shamanic tattoos that granted mystical power. Next, Bertram finalized the details of his ambergris contracts and arranged for a tidy sum of 2000 gold pieces through smart shipping contracts, with the majority of the profits returning to himself and Aleister.

Miss Vanderboren sent a runner the next day to locate the party and inform them they would leave in five days. Visiting Lavinia, they found the mansion in a good state of repair. Many folk hurried to and fro preparing for the upcoming journey. The Jade Ravens (Liamae, Tolin, Zan and Kaskus) were also there with Tolin, the ranger leader, taking a dim view of Keahilani and the confidence Lavinia shared with him and the others. The priest of Pele took the opportunity to shame Tolin and, as a consequence, most of the Jade Ravens ignored the party. Kaskus the dwarf, remembering the party saving his life, was the sole exception.

Lavinia took the time to explain that the party would need to accommodate a few important guests, including a priest that was committed to a delivery in a remote cargo pit, a local merchant’s son named Avner who helped fund the expedition and a gnome who sought to explore ruins on a small island. She also introduced them to the elven ambassador, Senegar Deepwarder and his niece, Jacinth. Senegar was a bit warmer than their last encounter, though his niece was the epitome of elven arrogance. Senegar explained that his niece had funded an expedition near Dolentla Island to explore Sammerlock Sails, the site of the old elf conquest of the Tulita islands. Jacinth’s mission went badly when a whale capsized their ship. Terrible humanoids quickly swamped her companions. Jacinth explained that, while she fought valiantly, she was knocked unconscious. They must have believed her dead because she woke later in the dark. She made her way to the beach, found an old crate and floated to the shipping lane where she was picked up. Senegar promised a significant reward of 1000 gp each if they would discreetly return to the island with Jacinth, locate the missing crew (many of them sons and daughters of wealth Port Shaw residents) and return to him.

With only a few days to prepare, they followed Lavinia’s instructions and made way for cargo, foodstuffs and tools to be loaded on the Sea Wyvern. Lavinia wanted to make sure that the colony her parents founded, Farshore, could sustain itself for another year if needed. After all, she explained, it was The Isle of Terror and who knew what dangers the colonists faced on a daily basis? The party not only bought much-needed equipment, but replaced fallen crew. Ono and Bertram bought two nice cannon to complement their arsenal. Officially crewing the ship were Keahilani as captain and surgeon, Bertram (assisting Montgomery Donovan) as Navigator, Ozzy as the chaplain, Shea as the engineer, Aleister as First Mate and Ono backing everyone up as the Gunnery sergeant. They left their new friend, Sir Maug, to guard Lavinia’s estate while they were away.

The party met the crew: Amelia Venkalie who promised to back them up as a second mate, Father Feres, priest of Belon the Wise, Skald, an odd half-elf who muttered to himself and generally avoided eye contact, Urol Forol, gnome explorer and Lirith Veldirose, a flirtatious tomboy. Another crew member, the merchant’s son, Avner Mervanchi, bulled his way through the dockside crowd with a feisty stallion. The man insisted on private quarters and a place for his horse, creating a scene at the docks. Bertram eventually offered his own quarters and a place in the hold for the warhorse. When the hot-headed Avner boarded the ship, Bertram asked Jenkie Barnes, their cabin boy, to send him a bottle of fine wine. Jenkie complied and noted that “captain” Montgomery was doing well. As the party looked on, they saw Montgomery wobble on deck, sing to himself and slur a few ditties to himself before collapsing.

Both The Sea Wyvern and The Blue Nixie departed a few hours later. The weather was perfect and the wind in their favor. That night, Lavinia asked them to dine on her ship. A fine meal of pheasant, peacock, fresh vegetables and fine wine was had. After a few well-placed jabs at the Jade Ravens, the party clambered back over the net that served as a bridge between the two ships. The net snapped and Bertram went swimming. At the same time a ceramic jar shattered, falling from the crow’s nest, and three water mephits attacked, seemingly loosed from the jar. The elementals were quickly dispatched and Bertram retrieved from the water. Ozzy inspected the net and noted that it was cut. Sabotage?

The next day was their first stop. Father Feres went inside the small fort at the cargo pit to make his delivery and returned. After leaving, it was obvious that the priest wasn’t doing well. He seemed sick and complained of stomach issues. Keahilani inspected him and, alarmingly, found that something moved underneath his skin! A parasite of some kind infected him. Working quickly, Ozzy and Keahilani used a combination of Remove Curse and Cure Disease. Feres thanked them profusely and claimed he had no idea what had happened to cause such a sickness.

The next two days introduced a series of “accidents” and attempted murder. In addition to cut ropes, Ono thought he had a dalliance with Lirith, but it seemed the flirtatious warrior charmed him into diving overboard where Ono was quickly set upon by sharks. His friends killed the creatures and helped him onboard. When confronted, Lirith claimed she had no idea what he was talking about and slapped him. A few meals found their wine to be tainted or poisoned. The cook, A’Makua, seemed innocent. Finally, the rest of the party followed Ono as he was again lured by Lirith to the hold. There, they found Ono removing his armor while Lirith danced suggestively in front of him. They broke the power of the charm and revealed Lirith to be none other than a disguised Rowyn Kellani, fallen leader of the Lotus Dragons! Rowyn was filthy, smelly and full of rage. She yelled, “You’ve ruined everything! Kill them, Gut Tugger!” The insidious little dragon emerged from the shadows. Though she used poison and magic and Gut Tugger seemed skilled at his namesake, they were both quickly subdued. Gut Tugger’s corpse was tossed overboard, Rowyn locked in the hold and her person looted.

There was barely time to send word to Lavinia of the stowaway and her identity before a lookout in the crow’s nest yelled, “Ahoy! A white whale off starboard!” Indeed, a whale seemed to be on a collision course with the party. Jacinth seemed to go pale and ran into the nearest cabin.

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Session 19: Against the Drug Dealers
Bonegnaw's Cove

The chimera sputtered and died at Bertram’s feet. Bertram stayed aboard the ship to fill in the gaps created by dead crew members. Archers rained bolts and arrows upon the Sea Wyvern from ledges high up in the cove. With the ship anchored, the party did its best to avoid the sniper fire as they jumped into the stagnant water and raced to the beach. The boom of cannon fire echoed throughout the dim cavern. Another ship came into view, carrying the sound of a female captain ordering her crew. Aleister recognized the ship and the voice as that of Bethany Razor, a pirate-turned-privateer, who rooted out criminals on behalf of Port Shaw. The captain was famous for exploits with her now-deceased husband, Jacob, and for being bold enough to take as her surname the very seas she sailed.

Seemingly, Captain Bethany was on their side and prevented the worst of the archer’s fire. As the privateer battled the snipers, the party stormed the beach. Dozens of thugs and scoundrels assaulted them, some with ranseurs and others with crossbows. A lobster-like chuul emerged from the depths to battle with Ono and Ozzy. Ono’s polearm and Ozzy’s croc tore the beast to shreds. Smugglers on the anchored barge dropped a plank and rushed to help their comrades, uncaging 4 lizard-like cockatrices in the process. The cockatrices bit into various party members, slowing down Ozzy as his bones calcified.

Keahilani healed frantically, channeling and maneuvering to cast Cure spells. To hold off the worst of the cockatrices and thugs, Ozzy cast Entangle and Aleister hexed many of them asleep. Ono cut a path of destruction through the thugs, getting help from a feline humanoid named Sir Maug, who Aleister and Ozzy freed from a sand pit, an apparent amusement for the smugglers. A giggling hyena-headed humanoid emerged from a cave. “I be Bonegnaw. Ye can tell t’ Ring they only get me help over the cut up portions of me body!
Just like I said last time!” The gnoll shot arrows in rapid succession, almost killing Aleister and filling Ozzy with bloody wounds. Aleister hexed Bonegnaw and the gnoll slumbered for brief moments before a hairy white arm scooped him up and dragged him into the shadows.

The bloody brawl went on for many minutes. Finally, the last thug jumped into the water and fled. After healing the party, Keahilani dispelled a clever Spike Growth trap set by gnoll. They entered a narrow cave entrance, Sir Maug and Ono rushing in. Bonegnaw hid behind stalactites while two four-armed girallons emerged from large alcoves. It was almost the end of both Ono and Sir Maug as the ape creatures pummeled them. Quick thinking by Ozzy, Aleister and Keahilani saved the day. With minimal healing and spells left, Ozzy used a summoned stirge and Crikey to push Bonegnaw further into the cave. The desperate gnoll unleashed a torrent of arrows, doing the most harm to human and elf members of the party. Aleister gingerly stepped into the cave and hexed one girallon to sleep. Taking the opportunity, Ono and Sir Maug slew the other before closing with Bonegnaw himself. In close quarters, the gnoll drug lord stood no chance and fell under an onslaught of attacks.

They looted the gnoll’s personal gear and then explored the anchored barge. Within was enough treasure to satisfy the greediest of mercenaries. They burned the large crates of dragonsmoke and plundered the rest. Now, to deal with Bethany Razor. And, perhaps, a future reward from Gregory Bonedeuce and Milliaukau for solving the same problem for each.

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Session 18: Against the Drug Dealers
Return to Port Shaw

The Sealord’s Blessing arrived in Port Shaw after another week of rough seas. Captain Riggs thanked the party profusely for redeeming him and offering another chance at life. Riggs introduced them to his wife, Marla, who not only made a delicious home-cooked eel pie for the party, but manufactured several potions at cost.

Taking their leave of the Captain and his crew, the party was surprised as a barrel of whale oil slipped from the grasp of two ship hands, knocked over a lantern and started a fire on the docks. Catching on fire, the dock master began to curse and scream until Ono bullrushed the hapless man into the water, dousing the flame. Thankful, the dock master turned on the two who were the cause of the accident. “You’ll never work here again, you slobbering drunk! Get out of my sight, Shakes!” The dragoons arrived, thanked the party for its help. Sergeant Darenar leered at the older of the men saying, “It’s a good thing this hammer is mine. You’re not fit to wield it!” With a laugh, they sauntered down the docks.

The younger of the two men introduced himself as Jenkie Barns, cabin boy and all-around helper for Captain Montgomery Donovan. Montgomery “Shakes” Donovan did indeed shake and was quite drunk. Jenkie explained that the Captain was having a rough day and would soon get his vessel, The Vintage, repaired and doing tours again of the Razor Coast. Jenkie went on to explain that Montgomery was the original navigator and captain for the famed adventuring group, The Wave Riders, who disbanded some nine years earlier.

When questioned (and plied with decent grog), Donovan seemed to freeze and shake. He explained it was long ago and he proved himself unworthy. Solomon Trafalgar, their paladin leader, died as the Demon of the Deep dragged him to a watery grave. The remaining survivors included Belok who spent his nights fighting in the Broken Skull, Jalia Ramires who had returned to thieving and hadn’t been seen in a long time and Xander Brim the wizard who was last seen begging in the streets. Of course there was also Aeron Chambers (Donovan spat), who now dubbed himself “Sorcerer Supreme” of the dragoons and had turned his back on all of his old friends. What’s more, Montgomery swore he saw a ghost: The new cleric of Quell, young Zalen Trafalgar, looked just like his old leader, Solomon, and must surely be related.

Taking pity on the captain, they party hired both him and Jenkie to help man the Sea Wyvern. This had the added benefit of giving Aleister a much-needed promotion. After leaving the former hero and his helper in a tavern, the party literally ran into Millaukau and Kaho Ali’i. The foreshadowed chieftain glared at them and Milliaukau reminded them of their commitment to destroy the scourge of dragonsmoke and free the Tulita from its addictive lure. Ono and Ozzy committed to do just that. As they discussed this, a familiar feminine hand touched Bertram on the shoulder and handed him a small purse of gold. The familiar raven-haired beauty from the market place stopped him and said, “Please be kind to Montgomery,” before running down an alley. When Bertram followed, she simply disappeared. He surmised that she was one of the other Wave Riders, Jalia Ramires.

They next sought out Belok Talorg, the half-orc priest of Bowbe, in The Broken Skull. The smells of blood, sweat and despair filled the room. They found the massive half orc sitting alone. He refused to speak to them until they proved their strength and force of will. Ono impressed him slightly by beating him in an arm wrestling match, but the priest said he would get no more until he worked his way up to challenge him. Ono participated in one match and won the battle, but knew may more remained.

Zalen Trafalgar also greeted them warmly, noting that young Jessica was odd but thriving and that Relgin didn’t enjoy his new sobriety, but had remained clean as party of his penance. When confronted by his resemblance to Solomon Trafalgar, Zalen admitted that the famous Wave Rider was his father and he hoped to learn more about the man he barely knew. He asked for the party to find information about his father and to gather the disbanded Wave Riders if possible. Finally, he asked them to seek out signs of the “Ring of the Kraken” and the strange tentacle-mark tattoo they had discovered earlier. He feared the influence of Demogorgon on the Razor Coast and that this might be a growing cult.

Lavinia was next on their list. The Vanderboren estate was in a good state of repair. Lavinia was delighted to see them and shocked when she heard about Colthyn Riggs’ curse. Thankful the party had saved the old family friend, she provided the reward as promised. She wasn’t alone and the “New Wave Riders” (as Keahilani dubbed his team) once again met Gregory Bonadeuce and Barrison Hargrove. Bonadeuce met them with a charming smile and asked how their work in rooting out the source of dragonsmoke went. Hargrove seemed grim and mirthless. The elven diplomat, Senegar Deepwarder, was also there along with Aeron Chambers, the “Sorcerer Supreme”, who wasted little time in belittling Montgomery Donovan and the other Wave Riders.

Lavinia explained that she needed their help in crewing another supply ship to her parents’ old colony of Farshore on the mysterious “Isle of Terror” and would pay handsomely for the party to do so. She would lead a second ship with protection from the Jade Ravens. Along the way, they would make several stops, one of which to “correct” an embarrassment caused by Deepwarder’s daughter where several children of nobles were lost while looking for an ancient elven treasure.

The party committed to returning within nine days. Deciding to tackle the source of dragonsmoke, they began to follow a trail of rumors until they found Gareg Meldenbourne at Barrett’s Barnacles. The drug dealer wouldn’t talk to them until someone smoked the drug. Having found a few refine doses of Black Dragon when they shook down drug dealers earlier in the day, Ono smoked some with Gareg until they discovered the Midnight Deal going down on the docks.

That night at the docks, they watched twenty some drug dealers of various rank doing business. Ono and Ozzy snuck up below the docks and Aleister let loose a Web spell to entangle the criminals. An all out brawl ensued, until Ono, Bertram and Ozzy killed or knocked out the remaining thugs. Keahilani barely saved Ono as he was mobbed by drug dealers and Aleister put to sleep several and shocked others with a ball of lightning. With threats and intimidation, they discovered the location of “Bonegnaw’s Cove” where the leader Bonegnaw resided.

Expertly navigating The Sea Wyvern through treacherous waters, they found the cover and immediately set off the alarms of sentries posted on a cliff. An anchored ship and a wooden platform were in the still water and pirates began to fire crossbows. Someone shouted, “Let loose the beast!” Within moments, a chimera with the head of a green dragon attacked them, spitting acid all over Aleister, Ono and Keahilani before being dispatched by Bertram, Ono and Ozzy. They concentrated fire on the remaining pirates on the cove wall and within the anchored ship.

Other figures were dimly seen on the sandy beach as the criminals prepared for the assault…

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Session 17: The Black Spot
The Engineer

Captain Riggs screamed and turned catatonic in fear. The construct named the Vivisectionist whirled and came to life, snaking in and out with twisting razor-sharp blades. It’s metal body was difficult to damage, but Bertram continued to fire bullets (though his firearm seemed to be waterlogged) while Crush, Ono and Ozzy’s animals tore rents in its body. Brine zombies emerged from another room and attacked the party from the rear. Aleister and Keahilani were forced to expend offensive spells to destroy the undead until their companions defeated the vivisectionist and tore into the zombies as well.

A golden stave rested on one surgical table splattered with blood. In adjoining rooms, they located machinery and a beam of light that would seem to transport people to the deck below. Destroying and looting the machinery, Crush set off several electrical hazards but escaped unscathed. Deducing that the gold stave was a control mechanism, Aleister led the party back to the wall of force and disabled the barrier by pressing the stave against a panel. Inside was a room full of strange, humming machinery and electrical sparks. Three lightning elementals manifested, but were easily defeated. An enormous sapphire beckoned Bertram closer and, with some finesse, was removed. The power to the craft instantly decreased and lighting dimmed. Eerie silence filled the room.

They returned to the room with the transport beam, only to find that it was now deactivated. Preparing flying spells and rope, they descended. They immediately entered the southern door, only to be confronted by the grotesque Engineer himself. He levitated above a strange throne, two large claws clacking. Numerous brain sacs covered the enormous, bulging head and alien eyes looked on. “So, you want to battle me personally…you will all die for your effort!” it gurgled. It appeared the abomination was casting. A vile slasher attacked from one corner while three jade bat constructs flew in to spit acid at the party.

Ono and Crush went toe-to-toe with the vile slasher while Bertram’s gun continued to misfire. Ozzy summoned another crocodile and had Crikey do battle with the slasher while Aleister enlarged Ono and Keahilani cast protection spells. The Jade bats pummeled Ono with acid but Keahilani’s Shield Other spell soaked some of the damage. Suddenly, as Ozzy and others were preparing to take the battle to the Engineer, the illusion on the throne dissipated as the Engineer himself became visible at the opposite end of the room. Flying above the party, he launched Lightning Bolt after Lightning Bolt at the companions. No one escaped unscathed as Shea, Aleister and Keahilani all took the brunt of the electrical attacks. Ono nearly fell and the party spread out to avoid being caught in the lightning path. Enlarged, Ono was the best-equipped to damage the creature and began hacking at its awful form. At last, Bertram aimed one good shot and took out the Engineer once and for all.

“You have…won…nothing,” it rasped. As it died, electricity again filled the room and alarms clanged. Aleister determined that an explosion was imminent. They raced from the alien craft and crept upwards via flight and rope to the wreckage of The Fortune’s Folly. They all entered the row boats and made their way back to The Sealord’s Blessing, just in time to see the rock formation called The Trident erupt in sea water and flame. A concussive boom filled the air and lit up the night sky. First Mate Handerley brought them on board and listened to their tale, taking care with Captain Riggs before ordering the ship to return to Port Shaw.

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Session 16: The Black Spot
Saving Captain Riggs

Searching for Riggs, Ono jumped through the portal and found the column of gas. Jana and Orie took one look at the fleshy walls of the new chamber and climbed back to the surface. Keahilani, having secured the Sealord’s Blessing, followed after his friends. Pulsating, strangely biological walls surrounded them. Brass tubing ran through it like veins. The grey gas billowed from the column and the party began to choke. Keahilani immediately felt clouded and almost lost consciousness. Ono, Ozzy and Aleister began beating down the locked circular door and freed themselves from the trap.

They explored one room and found body parts hang on meat hooks, including a dwarf, dolphins and Tulita fishermen. In others, the seabed floor seemed to have grown through the strange structure as if welded to it. The large, cobbled together zombies animated in another room. Jade spikes in their heads glowed and a grating voice spoke through one of them, pleading for them to leave while the creature repaired its “craft.” It promised to leave as soon as it made repairs. The party ignored it and moved towards another room. The voice promised an agonizing death as it tore them apart slowly and made them power its greatest creation. The “tattered reavers” attacked. It was a near thing. Their claws sliced through Bertram, nearly killing him. Only Aleister’s willpower kept him alive. Keahilani immediately began to heal, barely keeping up with the carnage around him. Bertram recovered and spider climbed up a wall to safety where he attacked with a longbow. Ono managed to say on his feet as he pummeled the reavers and Keahilani healed him. Ozzy summoned a pack of wolves and sent in Crikey to battle. Aleister used spells to attempt to slow the creatures down. The last zombie fell and the party moved onward.

In another chamber, a narrow path traversed a stagnant pool of water. A robed figure materialized at the far end of the chamber and began casting. Aleister obscured him with a cloud of fog. Ono and Bertram crossed the pathway to do battle with the mage. At that moment the bridge collapsed beneath them. While Bertram jumped to safety, Ono fell into the water. Black leech swarms began filling his mouth and ears and latching onto exposed areas. Losing strength, Ono managed to pull himself from the pool. At the same time, Captain Riggs became visible and thrust a rapier into Aleister’s back, mumbling that he was sorry. He began to feint and parry, first attacking Aleister, then Keahilani. The mage seemed to teleport out of the fog cloud and Ono rushed to engage. With one swipe, he realized that the mage was simply an illusion and warned his companions. Though Aleister’s sleep hex didn’t work against Captain Riggs due to a Protection spell, the rest of the party beat him into submission.

Removing Riggs’ ubiquitous gloves, they found an undulating black spot on one hand. Keahilani believed a creature was under his skin; lacking Remove Curse, he began a delicate operation and removed a large, engorged leech. Healing Riggs, they found that the hold on the captain was gone. He explained that the leech’s allowed the “engineer” to control him and he had led many people to their doom and witnessed horrible things. The Engineer performed surgeries on creatures, most often when they were still conscious and alive, using their bodies for some strange purpose. He described it as a tentacled monstrosity with many eyes and brain sacs. Aleister surmised that it was a neh-thalggu, a creature from the black spaces between the stars and often associated with the Great Old Ones. Riggs wanted to leave and seemed traumatized, but the party pressured him into helping them rid the world of the evil. He agreed and said it was the least he could do.

Opening another chamber, they encountered eight zombies with scythes grafted to one arm. They made quick work of the creatures. Aleister and Ozzy helped the party cross the leech pool using Water Walk and other spells, first placing blood in one corner of the pool to distract the vermin. Opening another door, Riggs began to tremble, saying, “No, not here. We must leave! It’s the Vivisectionist!” The room contained metal tables, surgical instruments and machinery of an unknown nature. A strange, elongated instrument with a head full of razors and claws sat on a tripod. It animated and swiveled towards the party. The Vivisectionist attacked…

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Session 15: The Black Spot
Exploring Fortune's Folly

Leaving Falken Drango behind, the party returned to Port Shaw. After completing various sundry tasks, a messenger boy approached Bertram with a note. Their patron, Lavinia Vanderboren, requested an audience. Once at Lavinia’s estate, they found repairs from the bullywug invasion progressing well. Servants were hired and Lavinia seemed in good spirits. Surrounded by paperwork, she commented that she was settling accounts with Mayor Hargrove and others in Port Shaw and felt her finances were in much better shape. With her was a middle-aged human man, Captain Colthyn Riggs.

Lavinia noted that Riggs had done many favors for her parents in the past and now needed a favor himself: Escorting his merchant ship to Freeport. Riggs explained that the biggest dangers were likely pirates or slavers from Carcass, but the possibility always existed for monster attacks. With a promise of 500 gp each from Lavinia upon return, the party agreed. To fill out Captain Riggs’ crew and protection, they hired a gladiator warrior named Jana (after they sobered her up) and a wandering priest of Bowbe named Orie.

They showed up at Riggs’ ship, the Sealord’s Blessing, the next morning. Riggs himself seemed to be holed up in the cabin, but first mate Handerly greeted them warmly. He introduced them to the crew which included Gloomy Gus (a sailor full or bad omens), “Preach” (a soft-spoken apparent priest of Quell who oddly seemed to dabble in poisons) and an odd blue-skinned Tulita man with bulging round eyes named Pawanai (a Tulita blessed/tainted as an undine). The party integrated into the crew and, within an hour, were at sea.

Winds were favorable and Handerly seemed an expert at guiding the craft. He instructed them in various tasks and nautical terms. At midday, Captain Riggs emerged and began barking orders. In all, he seemed a moody leader who frequently yelled at the crew one minute and went completely silent the next. He smelled of rum and appeared not to have slept the night before.

That night, the lookout in the crow’s nest noticed a flickering flame. Riggs was interested in investigating and the party caught glimpses of a wrecked ship a few hundred yards away, illuminated by flickering flame. Looking for volunteers, the captain’s eyes settled on the party. The captain promised one share each (which, since he was captain, seemed overly-generous). Keahilani, Shea and Ozzy stayed aboard while Jana and Orie joined the party in the dinghies. Ono jumped into the open ocean and swam. In moments, they found the shipwreck and realized that a coral reef was pierced by a “trident” of stone pillars. The ship seem to have grounded on one of the trident “tines.” Ono jumped out of the water after seeing the silhouette of a tremendous fish and a school of tiny snappers that Bertram identified as Blood Snapper. They clambered aboard.

On deck, Aleister levitated to the intact crow’s nest to get a better look. Immediately, six filthy four-foot long birds with six legs each jumped from the nest and attacked. Bertram and Aleister recognized them as gryphs, with the ability to implant eggs in hosts. Bertram began firing while Ono and Jana did battle with the things on the deck below. Aleister was quickly grappled and implanted with offspring from the creature’s ovipositor. Orie avoided combat to heal. Oddly, Captain Riggs danced in and out of combat but didn’t engage one foe for long. Once the vile creatures were dead, Orie performed surgery on Aleister and removed three blue, squishy eggs.

They explored the upper cabins, finding evidence of a bloody battle but no corpses. All belongings seemed to have been smashed. Whoever did the damage, they didn’t appear interested in gold since coins were found in abundance. Oddly, Bertram located a belaying pin with sigils similar to the SeaLord’s Blessing as well as handkerchiefs with the initials C.R.

Walking back across the deck, the rotten wood gave away and the party plummeted through the floor and then through the amidsheps deck as well, into the lower cargo hold. Aleister’s Feather Fall spell saved them injury. Once there, they found more evidence of combat, dried blood and wreckage. They looted what they could, until Ono discovered a treasure chest half-submerged in water. The chest came alive and revealed itself to be an aquatic mimic. It attempted to drag Ono into the depths, but the party destroyed it and let it sink into oblivion.

Bertram again located a smuggler’s hold, opened by a disguised button. Pushing it, they located the skeleton of a human man, a tattered journal, old candle and dried ink next to him. The journal told of a young man named Titus who, escaping something he referred to as “tattered reavers”, hid in the secret hold. Too late, he realized it could not be opened from the inside. He penned his last request to return his ring and journal to his mother and noted he would likely die of thirst. He also noted that Captain Riggs was not to blame.

Whirling around, the party saw Riggs descend into a smooth, rock tube that seemed to go below the ship. Ono promised him death and the party pursued. A swirling green mist was seen inside the tube. Ready with feather fall, they began to descend, finding that the mist almost floated them to the bottom. Half way down, the tube widened and the walls were covered with a strange seaweed. The plants came alive and began strangling Aleister and Ono. A few blasts from Bertram’s weapon and hits from Jana and Ono made quick work of the creatures.

At the bottom, they found a jade-colored porthole. After examining it, the porthole slowly swung open. Ono jumped in first, finding himself in an alien environment. Fleshy, almost alive walls seemed to pulse. Strange equipment hummed and pulsated against one wall. A large column swirled with gases. As the rest of the party followed, grey gas erupted from the column covering them all.

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Session 14: Exploring the Nightslink
Harpies, Pirates and Weresharks

With Falken Drango aboard, the party fell under the infamous pirate’s command. He noted their lack of crew and general preparedness, but seemed ecstatic to be free. They managed to pilot the Sea Wyvern north of Port Shaw. Ono, worried about Zalen Trafalgar’s diagnosis after fighting the wereshark in Toe’s Reach, went into town with Keahilani. After discussing prices with Sagacious Samuel, they determined the best course of action would be to hire the wizard to teleport them to Freeport.

They woke the magical merchant in the middle of the night. After hearing their willingness to pay a premium, Samuel woke up and made preparations. Successful with his Teleport spell, Samuel, Ono and Keahilani found themselves in the bustling pirate city. Negotiating with the high priest of Quell for a powerful Heal spell seemed cost prohibitive. Instead, they went to the market and located a merchant with wolfsbane. Buying several doses, Ono promptly made tea with one dose. Keahilani felt confident his friend was cured.

Once back in Port Shaw, they bid Samuel farewell and made their way back to the hidden Sea Wyvern. The party had hired a dozen Tulita men and women to crew the ship. With Drango captaining the vessel, they made their way to the Witch’s Teeth where his ship, the Nightslink, had run aground. The wind was at their sails and they made good time. On day one, they fished bodies from a floating fishing net and identified them as villagers from Toe’s Reach. They said quick funeral rites and gave the bodies back to Quell.

Day two proved deadly. Four harpies swept from the skies, two with bows. They quickly charmed most of the crew. Two Tulita were instantly lost as they attempted to help Bertram fired the ballista. Bertram, Alistair and Drango all leapt overboard in an attempt to reach the flying sirens. Keahilani kept his wits and began healing the party. At last, the harpies were injured enough that they flew back towards the Witch’s Teeth.

By the next morning they located the damaged ship, Nightslink. They carefully boarded and made their way to the hold. Within, a ragged and skinny human man exclaimed in surprise, “Cap’n Drango! Blessed be Quell!” He explained that he was the sole survivor and had come back to look for anything useful to find his way back to the main island. Once questioned by Drango and the party, he grew visibly agitated before transforming into a wereshark. Two others burst from a cabin and the fight was on. Bertram bullets blasted holes while Ono, Ozzy and Crikey began slashing foes apart. Drango himself used a boarding pike to attack his former crew while Aleister had some success with Sleep hexes. Keahilani healed the party. At last, three dead weresharks lay at their feet. After an examination, Keahilani recommended that Bertram, Ono and Ozzy all drink wolfsbane tea.

Drango seemed shaken by the cursed nature of his crew and the necessity to put them down. He told the party it was time to part ways. With a few people to help he could repair the Nightslink and search for the remainder of his crew. Four of the remaining eight Tulita joined Drango with his assurances that he would take them home. Parting ways, the party decided to search out the spire where the harpies nested.

Using wax as a defense against their song, Bertram spider climbed up the spire and tied off a knotted rope for others to follow. The harpies noticed him and quickly dropped Bertram with multiple arrows and maces as he fell under their charm. Ono began the long climb up while Aleister levitated. Others attempted to back up on the small island to gain line of sight. One of the harpy archers rained arrows down on Ono. The dajobasu almost fell of the rope, but made it to the top. Aleister took several arrows in the chest while Bertram blasted at the harpies above and Keahilani threw fireballs. As his fireball exploded, nearly killing Ono, it also dropped several harpies. Ono stumbled to his feet to do battle with the last archer. Together, he and Bertram slew the last creature.

They looted the nest, finding several magical items and piles of coins. With the Tulita crew gathered, they pointed the Sea Wyvern back towards Port Shaw.

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Session 13: The Jawbone Found
Bloody mysteries and strange goings on in Port Shaw

Cleaning the remnants of the brain ooze from their clothing, Keahilani restored as much of Zuka Zuka’s thoughts as possible. Turning a corner, they encountered a briny, black pool of sludge in which floated 15 gelatinous sacks the size of a large animal. They started as several of the sacks bulged against human-like hands and screaming faces. As the dajobasu brothers entered the frothy mixture, a hulking skum erupted from the water. Vestigial tadpoles squirmed on its face and a thick stream of drool streamed from its fanged mouth. As it attacked with a harpoon, six of the “cocoons” burst open and newly-formed skum joined the fight.

The mutant leader was formidable. His harpoon lanced in and out of melee, felling both dajobasu brothers and Keahilani before he could be contained. After reviving Keahilani, Aleister attempted to put the brute to sleep, but focused on the lesser spawn after his hexes failed. Both Aleister and Bertram had flash backs of the Leviathan as they fought, Bertram gaining insight into how to best attack while Aleister couldn’t breath and was overwhelmed briefly. Bertram spider climbed to the ceiling and rained down musket fire as Keahilani channeled the power of Pele to keep the barbarian brothers alive. With many wounds, the mutant slumped into the water and the remainder of the force were dealt with.

Among various jewelry and other valuables, they at last located the Jawbone of Mokoli Ali’i. Though non-magical, after cleaning it they saw its quality and age and carefully wrapped it in cloth. Eight of the cocoons held humans from Port Shaw in various stages of transformation. They found Lester Farrows, ported the rafts to the dockside entry to the sewers and rescued the poor souls.

In Port Shaw again, they took the catatonic townsfolk to Zalen Trafalgar of the Chapterhouse of Quell. The young priest examined them but could only promise to do his best. “With time, they may recover.” Suddenly, he looked in shock at the tentacle “brand” many of them wore on their chest. He hinted that he may have seen this before and asked that they report additional sightings to him. Conferring with Keahilani, he warned that it likely was a sign of Demogorgon’s blessing. He also asked that they look into the plight of Harrok McFayn, a man from the small village of Toe’s Reach just north of Port Shaw. The man was accused of murdering his fellow villagers and Harrok’s daughter, Jessica could not be found. Zalen spoke to many townsfolk and few people believed Harrok capable of such a heinous crime. He asked that the party, specifically Bertram, look into this and fulfill his dedication to Quell.

After leaving the chapterhouse, Zuka Zuka bid his companions farewell, stating he had fulfilled his commitment to the Tulita and now wanted to start his own tribe deep in the jungle. Ono said his goodbyes and the party watched Zuka Zuka disappear into the milling crowd.

On the way to return the Jawbone to Milliauka in the outskirts, the party saw a commotion near the docks. As they pushed through the crowd, they learned that the legendary pirate, Falken Drango, had been captured. Indeed, dragoons escorted a beaten and tattooed man down the gangplank. Some jeered and booed while others were clearly upset and thought of Drango as a people’s hero. He was led to Darenar, the sergeant with the magic hammer, who looked to the crowd for confirmation of his great deed and noted the punishments Drango would face. “Now we can add the murder of his own crew to his list of misdeeds. Any last words, filth?” he asked. Drango spit a bit of blood and looked Darenar in the eyes. "Just one thing you ought to know, ye lordship…these manacles are a bit loose.” At that, the pirate swung the manacles into Darenar’s face, cracking the sergeant’s teeth and spilling him into the filthy waters of the Tide District. Drango ran into the crowd. Aleister hesitated only a moment before putting the pirate to sleep with a hex. As the dragoons closed, Keahilani helped Darenar and slightly healed his smashed face. Darenar promised to put in a good word for them with Gregory Bonedeuce, the commandant.

They met with Milliauka the shaman in the outskirts. The small, independent Tulita settlement was destitute and surviving almost solely on taro and small fish farmed from the tiny ponds near the plantations. Milliauka insisted on a feast and the party presented the Jawbone. The gathered Tulita praised the party as heroes of their tribe and Milliaukau looked at Ono and told him that he was well on his way to removing the taint of Dajobas. The old shaman also introduced them to Kaho Ali’i, who he prophesied would be the next great Ali’i (chieftain) to reunite the Tulita people, using the Jawbone as a banner. Kaho did not seem to trust the party, especially Ono, but followed Milliauka’s lead. Ono, seeing the abject poverty around him, gave Kaho 200 gold pieces to help; the young future chieftain seemed pleased. Milliauka asked two things of the party: 1) of Keahilani, he asked that the priest of Pele locate the missing menehune, the favored servants of Pele and bring them back to the isle. Without them, Pele’s power would never be complete. 2) Begin restoring the blessing of Whale, Turtle and Dolphin by removing the temptation of dragonsmoke and destroying its source. Finally, before leaving, they were joined by Ono’s cousin, Ozzy, a shaman who had learned from Tulita farther inland and wanted to help restore the old ways.

After resting in town and cleaning the sewers from their bodies, they climbed uphill to Fort Stormshield, the garrison of the dragoons. The spoke to the blue coats at the gate and Gregory Bonedeuce himself escorted them inside. His uniform was immaculate, his mustache trimmed to perfection and his words were smooth. The commandant bid them to stay and drink wine with him. After relaxing, he thanked them profusely for stopping Falken Drango and indicated there might be more work in the future. Indeed, he said, they could do a great favor to Port Shaw by finding and destroying the dragonsmoke scourge.

Bonedeuce consented to let them speak to Harrok, though he warned it would do little good since he was a raving mad man. They were escorted to the dungeons. As the rest of the party followed the escorts, Keahilani stopped at Drango’s cell. The pirate had been beaten and spit a wad of blood at Keahilani’s feet. After questioning him for a moment, the priest of Pele heard that Drango didn’t murder his own crew, but that they had run their ship into a reef and had to make repairs. He snuck back to Port Shaw and stole a schooner but was spotted by the dragoons. They chased him back to his ship, the Nightslink, with Falken narrowly beating them to the wreck. There, he found blood and body party strewn everywhere. His hope for assistance dashed, he attempted to flee, but the dragoons eventually caught him. Keahilani healed the man, blessed him and was on his way.

Harrok mumbled and sputtered about his daughter singing lullabies to the “poor injured sailor” and kept repeating something about blood and pieces everywhere. The only coherent sentiment they received was that of rescuing his daugher, Jessica. They left Stormshield and headed up the coast. Signs of carnage were everywhere. Dried blood. Fly-covered entrails. They found blood trails leading form the water to several huts. They went to the only hut that did not have a blood trail and found a man cowering under a bed, half drunk. At last, they found that he was named Relgin McFayn, cousin of Harrok. The man blubbered about his cowardice and how he didn’t save Jessica or the other townsfolk and that a “black shark man” told another shark man to take Jessica and hold her safe until “the basking” occurred. He then saw that the “black shark” talked to Grymmer Reefstead, a rival of Harrok’s.

They raced north of Toe’s Reach and at last found a hovel smeared with blood and decorated with bones still covered in strips of flesh. Someone could be heard inside pacing. Ono decided to knock. At first, a shaky voice asked them to leave. When they wouldn’t, it turned throaty and dropped an octave. The door burst open and a shark man rushed at them, tearing into Ono. Ozzy sent his pet crocodile to entangle and death roll the beast while he himself used a scimitar. Ono cut and slashed. Aleister’s hexes failed him and he realized that silver weapons were likely required to do much damage. Keahilani provided healing to Ono and Ozzy. At last, Bertram stepped up and blew a gaping hole into the wereshark’s torso. Grymmer fell and transformed into a somewhat normal-looking human…with a hole in his chest. On a cot inside was a nine-year old girl. She seemed not the least disturbed by events and asked to see her father. They hauled Grymmer’s corpse, Jessica and Relgin back to Port Shaw. After seeing that Relgin had refused to clean Toe’s Reach and had instead found a bottle, Keahilani promised that redemption would be difficult indeed.

Jessica and Relgin they left with Zalen Trafalgar. They priest took pity upon them both and promised to remove Relgin’s guilt and thirst with excruciating labor. Presenting the corpse, their findings and the testimony of Relgin and Jessica to Bonedeuce, the commandant seemed genuinely concerned but indicated that he couldn’t possibly let Harrok go yet. He promised to send an inquisitor to Toe’s Reach and to ensure the truth would come out. Later, asking to speak to Harrok again, Bonedeuce allowed it and Keahilani was able to slip potions of Invisibility and Blink to Falken Drango with instructions to meet them at the Sea Wyvern. Keahilani noted that they found evidence of a similar attack in Toe’s Reach as the one against the Nightslink.

They readied the Sea Wyvern for a voyage and waited. And waited. Dragoons raced through the streets looking for an escaped Falken Drango. At last, as the sun set and they feared they had been duped, Drango slipped over the side of the ship, looked at his surroundings and asked, " Let’s be off, boyos, and sail into the dark. We have a crew to avenge." Falken Drango seemed a natural captain and began barking orders.

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Session 12: Under Port Shaw
The Sewers Part 2

As the port holes slammed shut and the room filled with water, Shea and Crush leaped into the room to help their friends. Under the sewage-tainted water were six fish men: skum. Keahilani perched on the ledge above the water while Bertram used his Boots of Spider Climbing to adhere to the wall. Aleister fumbled around in the sloshing sewage for a moment before clambering to the ledge. The brothers, Ono and Zuka Zuka, stayed in the water and battled the skum warriors.

The fish men used tridents to inflict heavy wounds. As the party began to drown, Zuka Zuka and Ono cut the skum to ribbons. Bertram fired where he could. The pool filling with blood and water, all of the heroes bent their will to opening a secret under-water portal. With one last heave of strength, the metal portal cracked open to let the water gush into a room beyond.

Torrents of water pushed most of the party into this new area, with the others swimming behind. There, more skum ambushed them, a rogue warlord leading them. The warlord downed several in the party, faster than Keahilani could revive them. As Bertram filled the creature with lead, Aleister put his minions to sleep or otherwise held them from combat. Crush, Zuka Zuka and Ono all surrounded the rogue while Shea ran from the skum warriors and eventually dropped from the many trident wounds. At last, the chieftain fell under their combined might. They looted what they could and fled to find Lester Farrows waiting for them.

On the way out, carnivorous roach swarms attacked the sewer rafts. Keahilani used the power of Pele to ignite one raft while everyone in the part quickly dropped alchemist fire on the raft itself to ignite the swarms. One raft destroyed and the roach swarms scattered, the party clung to the edges of the remaining raft and waded through the sewage. Lester the sewer pirate grumbled and muttered under his breath but led them safely to the docks. With his 100 gold pieces in hand and a hefty bonus to buy a new raft, Lester seemed fine and made his way to the nearest bath house and tavern.

The party picked up gear they had ordered and shopped for a few items to make them more effective in the sewers. Finally, they hired Lester once again and found their way to the skum-infested tunnels. They looked carefully for the Jawbone, but before they could locate anything of value, a brain-shaped ooze attacked them with psionics and domination abilities. Many in the party were staggered or stunned as the creature lashed out to control and drain them of intelligence. At last, they hacked and shot it to slimy bits. The only remaining sound was that of the incessant dripping from the tunnel beyond.

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