Sunday, April 26, 2020

A Ship on the Saragoss

Art by David Marmor
A Ship on the Saragoss
Our online D&D game set in Ravenloft continues.

The Characters
Tekla Vardagen, half-elf warlock
13 Shattered Mirrors, tabaxi warlock/rogue
Tank Orkerson, half-orc fighter
Gnagar the Bloody, kobold monk
Al', drow cleric

The party had decided that since he had already tried to have them killed once, it was time to deal with Doctor Hesselius Reichmann. Using a key they removed from the doll's pocket, they opened the door to the doctor's operating theater...and were confronted by a horrific scene! Doctor Reichmann was wearing a metal armature onto which was affixed surgical implements such as hypodermic needles, bone saws, and razor-sharp scalpels. The doctor was hunched over a human-animal hybrid on the operating table that he was in the midst of vivisecting. 

The ensuing fight against Doctor Reichmann was brief. The doctor managed to take Gnargar down with a hypodermic needle full of poison, but a well timed spell from Al' gave the rest of the group a golden opportunity to get their licks in while he was briefly incapacitated. 

With the doctor out of the way, the party explored the rest of the complex. They found the doctor's safe and a sword mounted above the desk in his office--Tank quickly became very enamored of the sword, preferring to use it over all other weapons. In the doctor's library they also discovered hidden notebooks in which Reichmann had cribbed ideas and formulas for creating hybrids from Frantisek Markov.

After opening the door to the building's long hall, they found the fruits of Doctor Hesselius Reichmann's experiments: eight cells of hybrid monstrosities, all of which were gripped in the throes of insanity and could not be reasoned with. They also found the basement where the doctor kept miscellaneous meat hanging from the ceiling on hooks--likely the corpses of failed creations and unfortunates who had been lured to the lighthouse. 

The wife's bedroom was raided for its jewelry. The group disconnected the wife's glass casket from the machinery that sustained it, on a hunch that she might revive on her own, but her body simply shuddered gruesomely as life left it entirely. In the morning, the party learned that the doctor had been truthful about at least one thing: a supply shipment arrived on the beach. The sailors who brought it to shore were a rough looking lot wearing red armbands emblazoned with the image of an eel; they found themselves immediately in combat against the crab woman and the hawk man as the heroes rushed to their aid. 

Noting their prowess and that they were well-armed, the first mate of the supply ship, a half-orc named Trask, offered to bring them aboard the Eel King to see if the captain would give them passage away from the island. They were brought below deck to meet Captain Maxim Duchain and his adviser, a Vistani woman going by the name Maledicta. Captain Duchain explained that his pirate crew, the Red Eels, had discovered a mistway that would lead to a rival crew's secret cache on the Saragoss. He told them he would give them passage to their next port of call if the characters would steal aboard the wrecked ship that the Gately Gang were using as a hidden stockpile--specifically, Captain Duchain wanted the group to locate a pair of special spectacles with interchangeable red and blue lenses among the Gately's hoard. Maledicta also told them that there were rumors that the Gately family, who formed the core of the Gang, had interbred with abominations from the sea.

The group haggled a bit and settled on terms: they would keep whatever else beside the lenses they salvaged from the cache and receive a little extra gold to sweeten the deal. The Eel King sailed into the mists, following a path to the Saragoss. The Saragoss proved to be a stretch of vegetation, seaweed, and kelp interwoven with wrecked and decaying ships that stretched as far as the eye could see. One of the ships locked into the mass's perimeter was the cache of the Gately Gang.

After climbing aboard, exploration went well until they began searching what was formerly the captain's cabin. When Gnargar looked under the bed, he saw a metal footlocker...and two horrid eyes staring back at him from a pallid, fish-like face. The fishman cast a spell that made it feel as though the room was plunged into the depths of the sea; the chamber became painfully cold, completely dark (even to their darkvision), and the group could feel monstrous tentacles moving around them. The battle against the Gately warlock did not go well; the group was taking damage each round from the cold and from acidic tentacles brushing against them--and the creature continued to cast spells that summoned more tentacles that dealt necrotic damage.

A damaging strike against the creature finally dispelled the magic that caused the cold and darkness. 13 Shattered Mirrors leaped onto the bed and stabbed the creature in the leg. It scurried out from under the bed, drawing a sword carved from whalebone from its belt. One after another, the members of the group fell to the creature's onslaught--until only Tekla and Tank remained. In the end, however, they were victorious and managed to slay the thing and save their friends from the brink of death. The group barricaded themselves in the captain's quarters to recuperate.

Once they had recovered a bit, the party resumed exploring the ship. After several mundane rooms below deck, they uncovered the Gately Gang's stash: coins, jewelry, an ebony statuette of a woman wearing a cloak of raven feathers, a staff topped with a carved dargon's head, a magical trident, and the sought-after lenses!

Greed may have gotten the better of them at this point. They ventured further down into the hold and found a room with two treasure chests inside. As 13 Shattered Mirrors attempted to search one of the chests for traps, his hand became mired in what turned out to be a mimic. The battle against the mimic was fraught, but again the party prevailed. 13 Shattered Mirrors then attempted to search the other chest for traps because surely it could not be another mimic, and was. This second battle against a mimic went somewhat better for our heroes.

After completing their search, they returned to their rowboat and made their way back to the Eel King where Maxim Duchain was happy to receive the lenses he desired. The Eel King plunged back into the mists and sailed into the harbor of East Riding on the island of Ghastria.