Monday, July 6, 2015
Actual Play: Daughters of the Eel (part 2)
Having spotted bone-white bodies scurry just out of sight through the navigation room's window, Herman and Kahl knew they weren't alone on the prison hulk--even if the warden, guards, and prisoners were yet to be discovered. Returning to the quarter deck, the duo decided to explore the rooms beneath the navigation room. An unlocked door revealed a hallway flanked by two doors on each side, a hatch in the floor, and a doorway at the end of the hall. Faint light spilled from underneath the door at the end of the hallway; this was apparently the light they had seen aboard the ship as they approached it by sea. This room seemed to be their best bet for finding the warden, getting the lenses they had been sent to retrieve, and getting off the hulk.
The room at the end of the hallway was furnished in better style than one would expect for a ship; clearly this was the great cabin used by the prison's warden. The room contained a full bed, chests of clothing and other belongings, a desk, and perhaps most oddly, an ornate grandfather clock. (The clock seemed to be a new arrival to the room as a broken-up packing crate lay nearby.) Despite its skillful craftsmanship, there was nothing unusual about the grandfather clock...until the door to the clock's case was opened, that is. Frigid cold seemed to emanate from inside the clock. A wadded up note that appeared to have arrived with the clock perhaps explained its provenance: Just a little something to help you while away the time, Charles. Please remember that lost time is the cost of your betrayal. Love, Vanessa. (1)
As the pair turned to leave the great cabin, Khal felt a shroud of cold-burning darkness descend upon him, bringing agony in its wake. A thin white hand now protruded from underneath the bed, and it seemed to be directing the ruinous cloud of shadow. As the stalwart adventurers prepared to battle this unholy evil, it crept from beneath the bed; their attacker was revealed to be an impossibly-pale woman whose flesh was decorated with occult symbols etched through a process of unhallowed scarification (2). Spells, rapier, and claw met in the dim of battle; Kahl and Herman were triumphant.
A study of the sigils and symbols on the creature's body suggested that she might have been a member of a cult known as the Daughters of the Eel, but at this point little is known about that fell coven (3).
A search of the rooms to the left and right of the hallway discovered that these were the less-lavish rooms used by the prison's guards. Nothing of interest was found within them, so down, down into the bowels of the ship. What had formerly been the orlop deck had been converted into a place of imprisonment. Where sailor's hammocks had once hung were now cells made of rough iron bars. There were no prisoners to be found, however; the iron bed frames that the prisoners would have slept upon were all crumpled into twists of metal wreckage and the floor was encrusted with dried blood.
At the end of the deck was a small room. Above the door to the room was nailed a crude holy symbol, which Kahl recognized as belonging to a faith friendly to his own (4). Perhaps some pious soul had provided for a way for the prisoners to pray for their own salvation while they served their sentences. Inside the room were a few wooden pews and an altar, upon which stood a much-used book of scripture. An investigation of the altar revealed that among the votive candles, incense, and religious pageantry was a leather case...containing two red lenses and two blue. The object of their mission was now in hand!
Toying about with the lenses, Herman made a dreadful discovery: while using the red lenses revealed nothing, using the blue lenses revealed that there were three more pale, scarred women clinging chameleon-like to the walls by the stairs. And the women were beginning to clamber down and approach this makeshift chapel...
TO BE CONTINUED
(1) - Oddly, when this will be brought up to Vanessa later on when the characters meet her, she will merely look puzzled by all this talk of clocks and letters, and pass over it without comment. What could this mean?
(2) - Yes, I stole the idea from these foes from Penny Dreadful's nightcomers. And continuing my 5e tradition, they are simply reskins of some fairly mundane enemies from the Monster Manual. And no, I'm not ready to reveal which ones yet.
(3) - I grabbed the name "Daughters of the Eel" because I had been reading about the Dead Eels gang in Dishonored.
(4) - The symbol belongs to the Church of Saintly Blood, of course.