It started as a simple Dungeon Run…
Five adventurers forever linked by their discovery of The Secret Keeper’s Amulet, an object of incredible magic that brings chaos to them wherever they go. It also allows you, the watchers of the time stream, to send them your thoughts, your feelings, and your forces of good and evil.
Their quest? To find and free the legendary Wardens of Ain, towering 100-foot tall beings that have protected the realms for generations. That is, until these Wardens started disappearing. An order of Wizards known as The Natural Order has been tracking these disappearances, with operatives dispatched across the lands, attempting to locate the captured Wardens and find out who is imprisoning them.
Our team has already freed one Warden - a Storm Warden - and, in doing so, unlocked buried memories within its consciousness that revealed information about Ain’s lost history from before the War of Ideas. As the Amulet Bearers, they are the only people able to unlock more of these memories, the secrets needed to piece together what happened and discover what threat may be returning to ravage Ain once again.
But before seeking the next Warden, Siv, Fahima, James, Uggo, and Lily took a detour to the city of Terlis, in an attempt to uncover more information that could shed light on their quest. Unfortunately, their contact with a Scholar of the Natural Order there was sabotaged by a group of thieves bent on acquisition of the very same information. And even as our team gave chase and investigated the thieves themselves, both in and out of the city, their progress was stymied as the foes always managed to stay one step ahead.
All was not in vain however, as new, powerful items were acquired, weapons upgraded, and relationships strengthened within the group. A visit to a strange mystic in the Shantytown north of Terlis found Lily trapped, and spun the team off on a frantic adventure to free her. It also resulted in urgent, cryptic words for Fahima as the mystic attempted to read her fortune, which seemed to indicate an ominous danger looming. Even more troubling, an acrimonious encounter with a wizard named Audric Lucern inside the city, resulted in the apparent framing of the team for murder, after he was found killed in the exact manner by which Uggo had threatened him.
Wanted and watched, warned and worried, our team fled Terlis, many leads left unpursued, many questions left unanswered. They escaped through a portal linking them to a new member of the Natural Order, who purportedly has a lead on the location of another captured Warden. So, as they had done twice before, they once again boldly, blindly stepped into a magical void to meet the next step of their destiny…
And they emerged, here. At sea. In the bowels of a ship, creaking and rocking on the ocean. Their noses full of salt air and pine tar, sweat and alcohol.
Part I: All aboard
Surrounded by boxes, barrels and crates of all kinds of supplies, the party arrive in the steerage (lowest) deck of a ship. Lanterns suspended from the ceiling rock back and forth as the ship can be felt swaying. They hear voices close by.
Suddenly squid made of potato and pineapple appears at Siv 's feet causing Lily to sneeze due to her allergy to the fruit. Siv shares the strange food item with Uggo and heads off to stealthily investigate the voices; he spies a group of people playing cards and drinking - he is noticed by all three, but they pay him no mind.
Lily is overcome by insanity, possibly an allergic reaction, and angrily mocks three of her companions while Siv approaches the card players. One of the players, Stinky Steef, invites Siv to play 'High Card' and welcomes the team on board the Tardy Plunder and explains that the captain is not happy about the destination, The Deep Reef, chosen by 'Nauseous ' who has chartered the ship and its crew. Siv has the urge to play and while shuffling the deck of cards, attempts to palm one of them but is caught doing so. Steef then brings out another deck which Maud, another of the players, shuffles as Siv bets 16 gold and a gem. Flipping over their cards at the same time, Siv comes out on top with the King of Hearts to Steef's Queen of Spades, Siv wins a fair 25 gold pieces.
After a long day, the party decide upon a rum nightcap before bedding down for the night, Uggo immediately grabs a barrel and supporting it on his shoulder starts drinking. Fahima conjures a jug and Uggo decants rum into it for her, while Lily join Uggo drinking directly from the barrel - which is not her first time doing so!
James questions Lily on her recent disappearance and she responds explaining in song form:
Everyone toasts to Lily & dinner!
James raises a concern with Fahima's love of all living creatures, even those endangering the party which prompted the Wizard to reveal more about herself. The party are understanding of her feelings and work through some best practices for altercations and the safe word 'Hamlet ' is decided upon for use when a monster should be spared.
Uggo's recently acquired maul is named the orcish word for family (Bajrak), a subject which leads him to recite a heartfelt poem directed at Lily; they share a touching moment.
James confides to Siv that he feels doubts about his place in the party and his relationship with the Tabaxi in particular. In reply, Siv admits that Lily is his sole reason for continuing on this 'mission'.
The party bed down for the night in the steerage deck.
Upon waking, it is immediately clear that Meep has finally hatched from her egg state.
With stronger sea legs than James, Lily advises him how to deal with seasickness as they head to the top deck of the vessel where they see water speeding by as they cut through the briney, propelled by the large unfurled sails. Gulls circle overhead in the crisp, clean sea air, a halfling is in the Crow's Nest and there is hive of activity. As they walk onto the deck, they are noticed by Sharn who greets them tersely.
The Genasi interrupts Siv while he is introducing the team and blurts out 'Fa-hooly' as her pseudonym.
Upon learning that Lily is from Bingle , the orc, Sharn, expresses her condolences as she explains the terrible recent attacks on the island and losses to the her crew.
Devastated at hearing this and worried for her family, Lily takes some alone time toward the front of the ship, Fahima watches over her from a distance. They then share a touching conversation as Fahima consoles Lily who now regrets having left her family to a fate unknown.
Siv approaches the helm and has an awkward conversation with Loudmouth the Mute - the helmsman, and then moves to the Captain's State Room where he is welcomed by Captain Mervis Blowhard who assures him that The Tardy Plunder is such a speedy vessel that it did the entire Castle Rum in less than 12 pint sips!
The pair then discuss the division of any treasure that they might find and toast to their deal.
James and Uggo find Claudiette the Elven Mage who is feeling the 'nauseating' effects of motion sickness and manages to explain her reasoning for chartering the ship to get to the Deep Reef and locate the Typhoon Warden .
James can't handle the effects of Claudiette's reaction to seasickness and mutually loses his ability to hold down his breakfast. Soon after that, the team reunite at Claudiette's quarters in the fo'c's'le and discuss the trajectory of the ship, especially given Lily's recent news; using a newfound ability to charm, Lily charms Blowhard into returning to Bingle.
Part II: Weathering the storm
Still enamoured with Lily, Mervis describes the night time attacks on Bingle, from where they had just come, in which they lost four crew members and then calls on Olo , the ship's cook, to embellish the story. He tells of horrifying, toothed and armed sea-creatures that came to land and ravaged the isle and took his hand upon which he was wearing a deeply significant ring given to him by his Merfolk bride-to-be.
"Everyone I have ever known is on Bingle!" emplores Lily.
The Tardy Plunder immediately makes a U-turn following Mervis' order to Loudmouth that the ship should 'TURN AROUND!'.
James just manages to hold back the effects of the heavy swaying.
The crew of the ship, busy on the deck, don't react well to the recent decision to return to such a dangerous location, but as Claudiette had assured Mervis that they would pull their weight on the Plunder, the party get to work helping out.
Our heroes spend a long day working on the ship and getting to know the crew, but when it comes to hitting the head, they haven't earned enough respect yet to sleep in the cots of the crew members who fell to the monsters in the Bingle attack.
As the below deck area reminds Uggo of caves, he decides to join the crew members on the night watch and eventually beds down in the life raft on the top deck. Fahooly pesters Olo about Merfolk, but comes away from the conversation not knowing much more than how much Olo loves his betrothed. Siv and Lily talk about possible plans for dealing with the unknown threat on Bingle and then things are interrupted by a loud clanging bell and someone calling 'STORM! STORM".
As the ship pitches and yaws violently, everyone hears tremendous thunder cracking close by, and terrible wind howls outside accompanied by driving rain that is battering the ship from all sides. 'Crrraacck!' the sound of splitting wood and Blowhard's shouted orders to the crew can be heard abovedeck.
The party make their way to the top deck as do most of the crew. There are clearly things to be done given the tumultuous weather. All doing their best, Siv throws a life preserver to Honker, who was washed overboard by a giant wave. Uggo also falls overboard as the ship lurches, Lily and Fahima make there way to the top deck as soon as they can. James rushes up to the confront the storm on deck and Uggo fails to gain a good hold on Siv's attempt at rescue, Blowhard helps Siv hold on to the rope in any case.
After an amazing throw, helped in part by the powers of the amulet, Siv manages to place another life preserver directly over Uggo and secures him. In turn, despite turning and flipping in the cresting whitewater whipped up by the storm, Uggo manages to directly hook Honker in the shoulder and secure him, as if the good luck is being payed forward.
Lily makes it to the top deck just as another massive wave crashes over the ship and she gathers the party to concentrate; they pool the power of their minds and with the help of the amulet they join in a communal, psychic effort, and manage to levitate Uggo from the writhing sea. Uggo himself pulls hand over hand up the rope.
The rain stops, the wind stops and then as an eerie calm comes over the scene, the party turn to see Willoughby the Halfling walk from the crow's nest and fall to his crushing death on the upper deck.
The swooping of giant wings can be heard along with a strangely beautiful, haunting song...