The Black Flood

Adventure On!
What Happened Next

The ‘Jormungandr’ arrived in Sapphire Port this morning. We went down to see it for ourselves. This is amazing! We saw it sink during the hurricane. Anyway we got to work on helping with the crew that survived. Grotto took a count of who did and who didn’t. They were all cared for by the port authorities.

We still couldn’t find Bob! We sent a message. We got a response, written in donkey. Bob no longer wants to be with us. We didn’t care for him very well while on the ship and after we got to port. I don’t blame him. I do hope he finds another owner that he likes better. I still remember the password and how to reset it!

I got all my gear and went back to the ghosts in the field. They ghost touched all my mundane items. I really want to help these guys. They’re not like me. They can’t adventure. My theory is that if they succeed in something they failed at then they will crossover. In other words, they must succeed in defending the city. I thanked them and hoped to see them again.

Muldoon asked the 3 remaining pirates, who joined the ‘Jormungandr’ crew, about the dinos. They say the creatures came from Burning. Where’s that? They also directed him to an area in the city. A man was caring for them by letting people come and feed them. This did offset his cost some. Muldoon got Bluebeard back. The dinos looked a lot better than the last time I saw them. Muldoon decided to sell the other dinos to the man for 120 pp. He said they would be trained for city defense. Muldoon divided the pp and gave Grotto, Nin and me 30 pp each. We needed to know more about where they came from. So we located the library.

While in the library we found info on Burning. It’s an island that separated from Tull long ago. The reason its called Burning is that the land is so hot that one must wear special fire resistant shoes. How the creatures there live there, I don’t know.

I also located a wizard in the library that could tell me about the 4 quills and the small wooden box I have. He agreed for 30 gp each. Well, I started with the box with “Listless” on it. He said it was a folding boat. They are quite common in this area and he didn’t charge me for the info. The quills were different. Quill #1 (green & blue peacock-looking) records pictures, memories, conversations on parchment or paper. Quill #2 (brown & white, fluffy & soft) encodes anything written with it. Quill#3 (a phoenix feather) records conversations. Quill #4 (rainbow feathers from base to tip) empowers any spell written by it. A wizard would truly love this one. I paid the wizard 120 gp and thanked him for the info.

We went back to the inn and found Darkwing, the humanoid crow merchant, there. Muldoon asked discreetly about a special item. Darkwing took us into a special hidden section of his cart. Muldoon purchased a vial of pufferfish poison for 200 gp. It seems Bluebeard can consume poison and not affect him. This gets stored in his body and when he bites something or someone, he can leave poison behind. Muldoon wants to keep this ability ready in case we need it on our journey. The poison in the vial is concentrated, so Muldoon must use small amounts in Bluebeard’s food. This purchase almost broke Muldoon. After we left Darkwing, Muldoon lamented he needed cash. Well, I loaned him the 30 pp he gave me. I have an IOU for it. He’ll use it to purchase special oils needed for his prestige class. After that we went back to the inn.

At the inn, we slept well, had breakfast, and packed our stuff to leave. We went back to the docks to visit the crew of the ‘Jormungandr’ one last time. We got hugs and farewells. Grotto will be overseeing Devon’s favor to the ship’s wizard. We also got a warning about slavers. Devon will no longer be traveling with us.

We are now on our way to Orbrect to see the dwarves there. We need diamonds for Devon’s favor.

As we traveled, we meet a group of four with the symbol of Heirotus on their attire. Their leader, Korn Whitehand, who actually had a white arm that he didn’t use much, gave us a warning about the undead in the area. He also spoke of lizards in the swamp, an area we may have to cross later. His three apprentices were Korvestral Lightshield, Alidur Smithson, and Dureg Foresight. They also gave we more info. If you find yourselves in danger, head west. Find the water. The undead can’t cross water. Good intel for the future. I also noted they had weapons, armor, and carried large bags. The bags contained the ashes of the undead they had destroyed. We wished them well and thanked them before continuing our journey.

Night was approaching and we made camp. Grotto and I took care of the animals. Nin made a fire. Muldoon went hunting. He got a really big buck and had to contact Nin to bring one of the horses to help get it back to camp. We all ate quite well. Muldoon put a few drops of the pufferfish poison in the meat and fed it to Bluebeard. Grotto had several spices to flavor the meat and vegetables. We all ate well. We decided on who would take first watch.

Grotto got the first watch. She sees a fire floating in the air but not coming in our direction. It disappears. I took next watch. It was uneventful. Nin took the third watch. He got a little surprise when Spew made noise while lurking in the brush outside the camp. Otherwise Nin’s watch was uneventful too.

Morning came and Muldoon made coffee for all of us. Spew tries the coffee and doesn’t like it. Muldoon hisses at him for his opinion. Spew spits peanut butter all over Muldoon because the dragon was offended. That doesn’t take much to do. This is not the first time this has happened. On the positive side, we have some good peanut butter to add to our travel food. Spew was quite satisfied.

We break camp and travel North. We see the past in the form of the remains of villages. There is a heaviness that we all can feel. Muldoon and Grotto search a destroyed house and find a vial of purple liquid. The nearly ruined label says ‘A Night’s Rest’. The potion allows the drinker to recover from fatigue. The main ingredient is Elvishside (Elvishshade?). Nin knows about this. He also knows about the war that did all this damage. It was a short war but very destructive. Assassinations of the various royal families were tried, some succeeded, and reduced their power. It was nice of Nin to share the knowledge.

We made camp again as nightfall approached. Muldoon went hunting again and brought back rabbits. Grotto added the spices and vegetables again. Once more Muldoon put a few drops of the poison on Bluebeard’s meat. A few more times and that dino will be very advantageous in a fight. While dinner was cooking, I checked the area. I found hoofprints that didn’t belong to a horse nor a deer. I was an unknown creature.

Suddenly Bluebeard stood up and looked in the same direction I had found the prints. Nin cast a spell (detect undead). There is a zombie coming towards our camp! It’s eyes are red and filled with hate! It hates the living! I feel it and I’m paralyzed! I’m a ghost how does this happen?

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End of competition, and forced relocation
In which we score some stuff and Gau-Lok is forced to say "farewell".

Time for the classic “Capture the Flag!” competition! Gau-Lok is muscle who distracts opposing nuns. Sisters of the Teal Habit must have been glorious back in day, because nuns are amazingly strong! But Gau-Lok getting off-topic.

Nin make own attempt to distract nuns, but Ninget tossed back for his trouble and KO’d. Gau-Lok keep another Nun occupied and and make attempt to keep her away from others. Nun stronger that look, but training under them has improved Gau-Lok’s wrestling ability! So Gau-Lok manage to keep her occupied!

Verna managed to get flag, but Mother Superior use something that forces her to flee. Gau-Lok hear it, and make attempt to jump over. Nun Gau-Lok was wrestling with get fast one in and keep Gau-Lok from occupied. Gau-Lok break loose and try again. By then, Lobo already at area and managed to get flag. Another nun had Lobo by tail, so Gau-Lok make attempt to get her off him.

It worked! Gau-Lok hoisted nun over head and Lobo wins it for us!

After the competition, Mother Superior impressed with group. She described Nin as “cute” and apologized to Verna for “turning” her. Spirit Halfling must be vulnerable to powers of cleric. Superior originally thought Gau-Lok only in it for himself, but display of teamwork dispelled those fears. Every goliath knows this: teamwork is key to victory! Gau-Lok gain spell to use once per day; it improved poison resistance but leaves subject nauseated for a bit.

Gau-Lok return and met up with Devon. Devon completed Belt of Ogre Power, and putting it on made Gau-Lok feel like Gau-Lok could take on the world! Gau-Lok also returned to the blacksmith’s place and retrieved Greataxe! Greataxe now even greater!

When we return to journey, wizard named Darkwing was met. Rest of group already met him, and Gau-Lok receive message. Gau-Lok not understand it; it look like Gau-Lok is some kind of item?! And Darkwing expect Gau-Lok to get into bag and go with him?! Gau-Lok OUTRAGED! If Gau-Lok go with him, Gau-Lok abandon any chance of stopping Grougalorum and liberating people from Grougalorum’s rule!

Gau-Lok not given choice, but Gau-Lok intends to return. Gau-Lok asked Devon to hand Muldoon 40 of Gau-Lok gp; it was least Gau-Lok could give. Gau-Lok should’ve requested one of the mirror disks. Even though they felt very, very, very wrong, they would’ve still been useful.

Before Gau-Lok leave, Gau-Lok went to library and did research on Black Flood. Gau-Lok took notes and passed them on to Devon. Gau-Lok needed some answers about Uncle Gurren, and what happened between him and Black Flood. Gau-Lok learned it used undead and demons, but Gau-Lok researched the latter accordingly.

After Gau-Lok was dropped off, Gau-Lok met requester. He inquire if Gau-Lok was the hard hitting type. Gau-Lok answered truthfully, and Gau-Lok met his companions. It will take a lot of getting used to, but Gau-Lok hopes it won’t come to inner violence…

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Capture the Flag!
Battle with the Sisters of the Teal Habit

We had a starting area. Mother Superior and 3 Sisters opposed us. We had to capture their flag in the middle of this barrier filled arena. Mother Superior was guarding the flag. I went incorporeal and walked through a barrier and then underground to the flag area. She cast a mist spell and it blocked everyone’s vision. I came up within arm’s reach of the flag. I felt tingly for a moment, but shook it off. I got the flag and began hiding behind the barriers to meet with Lobo, who was in wolf form.

Meanwhile, our newest party member, Nin, put on a dress and distracted a Nun. He shouted “Muffin’s escaped! Muffin’s escaped!” He also pretended to be frightened of this. He jumped into her arms. She held him quite nicely. However, when he realized this he really was afraid. She tossed him back to the starting point. He got knocked out, but only for a few seconds. He kept her attention during the battle.

Grotto, who was still on Brother Lady Beard, managed to distract Mother Superior, but not before she ‘turned’ me. As a ghost I panicked and dropped the flag.

Gau-lok bull rushed the second nun. They grappled. Gau-lok heard the shouts of Grotto about me dropping the flag. He let go of the nun, jumped over the barrier, and grabbed the flag. Lobo ran in and took it from Gau-lok. Lobo ran towards our starting base, but the second nun caught up with him. She grappled him and managed to grab his tail. Lobo yelped at this. I got unpanicked and flew to the group. I landed on the second nun and started swatting and yelling at her to let go. She didn’t like it much. Gau-lok came and grappled her again. She let go of Lobo’s tail. He ran to the starting point. WE WON!

Once it was over I got an apology from Mother Superior about using ‘turning’ on me. I’m not mad. It’s all about being a ghost. I’m going to have to figure out a way to defend against this in the future. Everyone went back to the main compound.

That evening we graduated at the dinner feast. Everyone ate, including me. Devon showed up outside. For some reason a food fight ensued. Strawberry dessert was thrown around the room. One flew out the window where he was standing and he caught it. I bet he ate it quickly. Mother Superior gave me a spell. I can use it once per day. It’s called Blessed Aim. I’m sure to use in the future. Afterwards we went back to the inn.

I collected my gear and headed back to the field where I spoke to the ghosts. They rubbed ectoplasm on my jade dagger, backpack, and amulet. They are now ghost touched and I can use them even when I’m incorporeal. I also asked if they had seen Bob, the donkey. They said no. I thanked them and headed back to the inn.

Darkwing was there. He had a letter for Gau-lok. My big buddy had to leave. I patted his kneecap good-bye. I hope he returns soon. We’re now without muscle in our party.

We also had mail. It was an invitation to the Gazebo Brothers Circus. Grotto had some bad info about them. We opted not to accept. I kept the invitation as a souvenir.

We heard a loud commotion from the docks. The ship, ‘Jormungandr’, had just pulled into port. How did that happen? We watched it sink during the hurricane.
Stay tuned! This is going to be a good one.

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Sapphire Port Finally!

I’ve a bit of catching up to do.

About a month ago we all transported to this weird dungeon with dragons and other creatures inside. We met up with another group and I hid my ‘condition’. We did more talking than fighting. We got attacked by some undead creature and my ‘condition’ got revealed to the new people. Muldoon struck a large drum. Then we heard a lot of roaring, like someone woke up in a bad mood. A strange ogre with a monocle appeared and told us to put the dragons back to sleep. We were able to do so with the green one, but not the red one. He was a whiny thing! I even ‘faked’ my death again to please him and it didn’t work! Grotto ended up with weird pseudodragon that barfs peanut butter and poos chocolate with peanut butter inside. She named it Spew. I got a really big, beautiful white feather. I don’t know if its magic or not, but I like it. I forget what the rest of the members got. Then we got teleported back to our original place.

Well the hurricane finally let up. We were all so tired just from keeping everyone else from being washed overboard. Unfortunately Lightfoot didn’t make it, but he was the only one. Being a ghost certainly helped. I flew around in all that wind and believe me that wasn’t easy.

I found some really neat stuff in the pirate captain’s quarters. I got to keep this cloth star chart that’s magical. It’ll be good for getting directions when there are no stars out. I also got this cool solid jade dagger. It’s not magical, but the box it was in is. Has “Listless” carved on the back. I haven’t figured out what that means yet.

We finally made it to Sapphire Port! Once the authorities took care of the remaining slaves and everyone else who was hurt, we had a long rest at a small center where we were taken, cleaned up, and fed. Once everyone was back to normal, we went to get our passport into the city and the festival.

Getting the passport was a long process for me. First we had to walk along this long hall, but I noticed nothing unusual. I was told to enter a room and I waited. And waited. And waited. And waited. Finally two officials came in. One was a big paladin and the other was an official with the city. They some how knew I was a ghost. The paladin wanted to send me away, but the other guy didn’t. I told him I was an adventuring ghost and I didn’t harm people. I enjoy traveling and I belonged to a party of adventurers. They could vouch for me. I was given a special badge I have to wear at all times. My passport says “Apparition – Approved”. Once that was over, we were reunited. We headed for the city. We found an inn and got rooms. Since my cinnamon was getting low, I found a merchant and purchased an entire pound. This should keep me going for a long while. Gau-lok left his great axe to have it enhanced. It’ll be ready in two days. Devon got some new robes. I even got a traveling outfit. I look quite nice! We met a high elf named Nin and he’s joined our party. We really needed a cleric.

The festival was in full swing by the time we got there. We found a large board with a list of the games to play. First up Dragon Racing! Well, these were lizards painted different colors. Muldoon chose orange. Nin, the new guy that joined us and a cleric, chose bronze. Grotto chose red. Devon chose blue. I chose purple. Gau-lok wasn’t good with animals so he didn’t participate. Well Grotto won and my ‘dragon’ came in last. Dumb, stupid purple-painted lizard! Next we tossed Kobolds (really hay-stuffed dolls) through a hole for points. I only got 6 points. Didn’t win anything, but had fun tossing something. This was day one.

On day two, Gau-lok signed up for the drinking contest. Muldoon disappeared and didn’t enter. We actually finished the Seeker’s Find Game. The prize was a leather box with a Seeker’s Compass inside. Neat! Spew entered the pie eating contest! I wonder if he’ll be barfing up peanut butter any time soon. I completely forgot about this and so I didn’t bet on his win. Bummer! Gau-lok won the drinking contest later that day. I was his cheering section.

We went to find Lobo and learned he lives in a nice part of town. He has two roommates and he’s in training with the Sisters of the Teal Habit. He took us to the temple and we met some of the people there. Most were nuns. We were invited to train with them. We decided to take course and got to stay at the Temple. We also got to meet Brother Lady Beard, a VERY energetic young man who’s quite devoted to the Sisters. He helped Grotto around the grounds. We were given rooms in the dormitory for the night.

The wake up call was down right strange. We all got tossed from our beds into the pool by a Sister with great strength. Not that anyone needs that to toss me. The idea was that in order to eat breakfast you had to get past the nuns guarding the edges of the pool. Gau-lok made this really big jump and got out. Grotto was perched on Brother Lady Beard’s back and did the same. Gau-lok bull-rushed a nun and Nin got out. I went incorporeal and surfaced behind the nuns. Devon stayed at the inn and worked on some spells, so he didn’t participate. We got breakfast. However we had to clean up afterwards. We didn’t do so well with the task and the Sisters finished.

Our next task was really strange. We had to walk Mother Superior’s pet Dire Polar Bear named Muffin, a gift from their god Kord. We were given a lanyard with a big hook with a big hunk of meat attached to it. We were lead to a big field. Muffin was released and chased after the one holding the lanyard with the meat. The lanyard would change color when the bear had enough exercise. It started red, then orange, yellow and then green. This task was complicated by 3 zombies. Muffin charged them and turned one into a chew toy. The other 2 continued after us, Gau-lok took care of them. Gotta love the big guy. The hook opened up and the meat falls to the ground. Muffin was quite happy with his breakfast as he didn’t eat anyone in the party. We successfully completely this task.

I met a few more ghosts like me out in the field. I’m going to visit them later.

Lunch was served and more menial chores to be done. The next challenge was to Capture the Flag! We have to go up against Mother Superior and 3 other Sisters of the Teal Habit!

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The festival
Wherein we got together and played games.

Gau-Lok still reeling from storm. It was miracle we all made it. Gau-Lok believe miracle to be work of Kavaki the Ram-Lord. Gau-Lok now follow Kavaki as god of strength and victory against all odds. Gau-Lok’s heart goes out to all those who didn’t make it. Gau-Lok wasn’t strong when Gau-Lok should have, and Gau-Lok let a life slip from hands. most of the crew were killed, including Nicholai and the guy who liked Muldoon. Gau-Lok feel extra guilty for that since that was life that slipped from Gau-Lok hands…

The captain, first mate Corr, cabin boy Lobo, and Cooky were only survivors of crew. Lobo still sore about losing match.

We made it to Port and settled down for a bit, A festival was just starting, so group got to relax a lot. Lots of games to compete in! Gau-Lok competitive like any good Goliath! But…some games not for Gau-Lok. Lizard racing needed player to be good with animals, and Gau-Lok not good with animals. Grotto was, and she won! She even chose red lizard, so Gau-Lok wonders if red lizards go faster…

Tug of war came in, and Gau-Lok teamed up with Muldoon and elf. We won! Gau-Lok joined arm wrestling. Gau-Lok underestimated opponent at first, but Gau-Lok pulled through. Muldoon joined, too. Muldoon put up great fight, but opponents too big and burly. Gau-Lok feel bad for Muldoon.

But Gau-Lok made new buddy! New buddy Half-Ogre named Thunk. We both banned from one game because game got broke twice, but we still competed.

Gau-Lok lost again to Muldoon. Gau-Lok have no clue where Muldoon stuffs eaten food. Muldoon bottomless pit. Thunk competed too, and Thunk did better than Gau-Lok. Way to go Thunk!

Gau-Lok drop off Greataxe for enhancement. Will drop by in two days to pick it up. Also, Devon stayed at inn to make Gau-Lok some strength-boosting gauntlets. Gau-ok pitched in blood and money to help make them.

Next day, Gau-Lok refreshed, and a new person joined group. He was same elf who joined up, and his name was Nin. Group finished up scavanger hunt, and we got some stuff. Gau-Lok not able to use stuff, but Gau-Lok don’t mind. Gau-Lok won drinking contest, but it not same without Muldoon. Muldoon missing someplace, and Gau-Lok got no chance to even score. We have another go later.

We go to Sisters of the Teal like what Lobo said. We actually found Lobo after a training session. Boy was out of it. Gau-Lok learn why when, in morning, Gau-Lok was dragged out of bed and thrown into large and deep pool y these ladies. WITH ONE HAND! These ladies are powerful, and been through lots to get this tough. They must have gained tremendous glory. Had to jump out of pool to get breakfast for team effort. Gau-Lok is Goliath! Goliaths jump good! And Gau-Lok clear edge! Verna tried to got on, but no success. So Verna use ghost powers and phase out. Easy!

Nin try duping Nuns, but no success. He eventually climb out, but they prepared to knock him back in. Gau-Lok help Nin out by getting one nun out of way! Nuns may be powerful, but Nuns still smaller than Gau-Lok, and Gau-Lok still trained in bull rushing!

After breakfast, we had to clean up everything! Gau-Lok on sweeping duty. Easy at first, but Gau-Lok started tiring out. We made it…somehow…

Next was feeding pet. Pet was dire polar bear. We succeed…and we had to fight zombies. Nin lured pet over to one zombe and got it taken out. Gau-Lok found big piece of wood and slammed other two! Pulverized zombies! Zombie not challenge for Gau-Lok, so not a fight but skirmish.

Now we’re stuck with four Nuns who can throw us with one hand with little effort, a maze, and we gotta capture flag. Lobo helping us, but it not easy.

It all game for Gau-Lok. Gau-Lok wonder if others feel same way. Gau-Lok don’t think so…

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"V"ery typical night for Muldoon

Little does the group know that while everybody was asleep on the first night of the festival, I snuck out to see what trouble I could hunt. And by trouble, I mean booze.

During my solo adventure, I noticed a theme in my beverage conquests. I drank vodka while crooning songs from the north with a party of barbarians. I met a sketchy elf with an interesting wine that he dubbed “vinsato”. Finally I drank a classy fellow under the table with something he called “vermouth.”

A lot of V’s tonight. I was wondering if that letter held any special significance, but before I solved that riddle, I passed out like a log.

On my 300lb log.

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At the Mercy of Mother Nature
And she's not in a good mood.

This adventure finds the party trapped at sea. The Jormungandr’s rudder is broken, and the Cold Dead Fish’s mast has been toppled. The Cold Dead Fish can be repaired, and that is what the crew, party members included, set to do. With Gau-lok, Muldoon, and Verna in the cargo hold, either keeping the dinosaurs occupied, searching for things, or retrieving the back-up mast, the repairing process is underway. Meanwhile, Devon learns an arcane Create Water spell from the injured ship wizard Nikolai Robilard, which he uses to help quench the thirst of the crew, the party, and the extra sixty mouths they now need to feed. Grotto, a bit hindered due to her missing foot, has been helping Ratchet care for the injuries of the slaves the party found in the hull of the Cold Dead Fish. One of whom, Cesaire Lark, a dark-haired elf man, strikes up conversation with Grotto and helps with the medical attention.

The work is tedious and hard, but in order for any chance of survival, all must be moved to the Cold Dead Fish, as it is the only boat that is sea-worthy at the moment.

Among the strange items the party finds in the captain’s quarters is an old, tarnished sword that apparently has a mind of its own.

After a couple days of hard labor and logging records for the various slaves, the party wakes to a grim visage in the distance. A hurricane is brewing, and with the ships already in a wrecked state, this could mean certain death for our adventurers.

Devon urges Nikolai to use magic outside of his ability to help calm the storm, which Nikolai does, but only if Devon assists. Otherwise, he could go into arcane overload and severely damage himself. The two together cast magic more powerful than either of them could cast separately, and it seems to have little effect on the storm at present. However, even as the magic is cast, it drains some of their life force to compensate.

Will the adventurers reach Sapphire Port or will the might of the sea take them? Will Devon ever see his brothers again? Will Verna ever get her ghost-touched weapons?!

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That Time You Fought Dinosaurs on the Open Ocean
AND IT MADE SENSE!

Upon opening the door to the Captain’s quarters, the party sees a line of men waiting for them. Four are clad with axes and wicked-looking whips, and the bugger in the middle looks very much like a captain. Battle ensues after some half-assed commentary, and despite the pirates holding their own for a while, one of them falls.

Then the floor underneath the adventurers opens into darkness, dropping all but Muldoon and Verna below deck. After a cryptic warning from the Captain, they join the others to protect them from some impending danger.

Down below, the party lands in filthy, reeking muck, appearing to consist of feces, slime, and gore. Devon can’t help but vomit at the horrid stench.

A chirping sound is second herald to any danger in the room, and the party turns to find an odd-looking bird creature looking up at them. It appears to have feathers, brilliantly colored in white, blue, orange, and brown, but its face is much more similar to that of a lizard. It has a long snout of very sharp teeth, and on each of its two feet is a very nasty sharp claw that’s tapping the wooden floor lightly. It looks at you with strange eyes, tilting its head this way and that and chirping.

Only Verna knows what comes next, and she barely has time to prepare for the sudden attack that rakes across the party like a vicious wave. Four more of these bird creatures dash around crates and barrels, leaping over some of them to slash and bite at the new food presented to them. As the party defends themselves, Muldoon finds the creatures oddly adorable, especially the one that’s currently trying to eat his face with great gusto. Two more strange bird creatures dash out from the darkness. These look different from the others, having long next and mostly blue feathers. They run quickly and slash open backpacks to speedily grab something inside and dart off with it. Muldoon loses his Dragonbite Bitter cask and his metal tin of coffee. Gau-Lok and Devon lose trail rations, never to be found again.

What’s worse is that the larger creatures seem to be poisonous. Grotto and Gau-Lok fall to the poison, unable to move from its paralytic agent, and then with a triumphant shriek, one of the creatures jumps on Grotto and pins her to the ground. Verna, knowing what comes next, tries to make it to her friend in time, but is not quick enough to stop the beast from ripping off Grotto’s leg just below the knee. Grotto passes out from the pain, but thankfully stops just shy of bleeding to death.

Verna and Muldoon take note of the deplorable condition the creatures have been left in. They are all starving, and when Muldoon reaches for the beef jerky in his ripped open back pack, he immediately gets the creature’s attention as he tries to use his innate animal magnetism to calm the beast but fails. It is too interested in the small amount of food that was presented to it, and it ran out too quickly.

However, the behavior seems to confuse it and the other dinosaurs in sight. As more beef jerky is offered, more bird creatures move over to inspect it and get their piece, and Muldoon manages to calm the creatures.

Verna, seeing her chance, ghosts through the heavy, iron-clad door at the far end of the room and finds a sight that makes her heart sink into her stomach. She is in a new room lined with benches, with four bodies shackled to each bench. The living ones are starved and using what little strength they have to row and row and row. Their backs are heavily scored with lash marks, and their legs have atrophied from being unable to move. There is no escape this way.

Verna flies out of the cargo hold and goes to the Jormungandr for aid. With Gau-Lok out of commission, there is no other way to move the heavy grate over the only means of escape. Gathering Corr, Sheldon, Jumper, and any one else able to give aid, they return and pry the grate off. As Muldoon keeps the beasts distracted, each of the party is rescued from the pin of the strange bird creatures. Muldoon is hauled up with one of the man-eaters, a creature he dubs Bluebeard, much to the strange looks of those around them. For the time being, Bluebeard is placated with food from the kitchen, with Cookie screaming something about cleanliness regulations.

Grotto and Gau-Lok is rushed to Ratchet, the ship surgeon. Gau-Lok is healed slightly via a strange herb, and Grotto is immediately cleaned off and examined, her wounds bound.

Driven by anger, Gau-Lok and the others return to take the pirates. Verna freezes the deck over the Captain’s quarters, and Gau-Lok smashes it into thousands of tiny frozen wood parts that rain down over the four remaining pirates, who surrender immediately in the face of an angry Gau-Lok, a dozen angry pirate hunters, a miffed Verna holding her pink dagger, and a snarky-looking Muldoon with a familiar toothed bird-lizard thing looming over his head.

After stripping down at Devon’s order, the four are frogmarched naked into into a cell. Verna begins to search through the Captain’s quarters, and finds several magic items and a bag of black onyx gems in a secret side panel. She is unable to determine what the magic items do at the present time. Devon is busy helping get the slaves out of the cargo hold. They are, understandably, shaken and confused at the situation.

When Grotto comes to, Ratchet calls for Lobo to carry her to the rest of her friends, as she is unable to move on her own. Gau-Lok, Muldoon, and the crew are giving death glares to the naked pirates, who seem less than impressed by it. When Grotto shows up, she notices that one of them is signing to her with subtle hand gestures.

The interrogation begins. The first refuses to talk, and they throw him back in his prison. The second one, intimidated by the presence of the group, says that he doesn’t know anything, that they don’t tell him anything. The third, the one that was signing, says he wants to trade information for something that doesn’t end in him dying, and he will only speak once the Captain gives his word that will be the deal. The Captain joins the conversation and agrees.

He says his name is Bill, and he, like many of the Redrum Pirates, were shanghaied into service under penalty of death. He says that there’s something big going on at headquarters, that they found something they’d been looking for, and that the Cold Dead Fish was going to head back to headquarters after dropping off the slaves to some necromancer named Worm Lord on Eldin. He doesn’t know who Worm Lord really is, but he knows that he takes the live ones and the dead ones for whatever he uses them for. Since he’s a necromancer, that’s expected. He also says the captain isn’t the one dressed like the captain. He’s a ruse to let the captain get away, and the real captain is the one with the birthmark at his hip.

They let him dress for the duration of the conversation, and when he’s returned to the prison, it is in boxers. They give the others boxers as well, and when he’s angrily interrogated as to what he said to gain the boxers when he’s back in the cell, he makes a seething remark regarding the pathetic state of their genitalia and leaves it at that.

The adventures are warned of the dire situation ahead of them. They are two weeks away from port, with one ship with a destroyed rudder, one ship with destroyed masts, sixty new mouths to feed, and numerous people with injuries. All the Mers will be sent into the ocean to fish for more food, and that leaves the Jormungandr with a skeleton crew, and now two ships need personnel to man them.

The adventurers get the feeling that there will not be very much sleep during the next two weeks…

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Pirate Attack
One way to train for a long, upcoming battle

Red Rum Pirate’s assault through Gau-Lok’s eyes.

Gau-Lok wake up to sound of alarm. Pirates approaching, so must get ready for fighting. Gau-Lok gonna enjoy dis! But Muldoon missing out. Gau-Lok hope he gets trophy from dis when he wakes up…

So Gau-Lok got on deck. Pirate ship run around Jormungandr and ram into rear after shooting volleys. Gau-Lok get on their ship and power way through. Verna da Spirit Halfling turned Pirate into Pirate-Pop. Gau-Lok impressed! Gau-Lok knock down tower-thingy with Pirate snipers; it make big bang. Two Pirates go overboard.

Gau-Lok got blown up by Jormungandr Wizard spell, but Pirate casters got it worse, so all good. Gau-Lok not amused by being blown up, though! Gang recuperates, go in, wreck more pirates, and then we happen onto Pirate Captain. Pirate Captain try bribing us, we no listen, combat breaks out! Muldoon joins in. What took Muldoon so long! Muldoon miss fight!

Gau-Lok don’t know what happen, but Gau-Lok felt sudden change. No longer full feral, but still tough enough to kick ass! Gau-Lok try out new moves. Steel Wind tears into two goons, but no Pirate Captain. Fight go on for while. Gau-Lok angered by “Gray Smurf” comment, but Gau-Lok have no idea why. Pirate pull trapdoor and drop us into pit.

Gau-Lok never seen these creatures before. They remind Gau-Lok of tiny green Grougalorums. Gau-Lok want Grougalorum brought down!! Grougalorum make home tribe suffer! Grougalorum pa for dat! Gau-Lok getting too off topic, so Gau-Lok get back to topic.

These thingies fast, and hit lots. They poisonous, and Gau-Lok fall to poison. Gau-Lok nail one before falling to poison, though, but it tough enough to live. Gau-Lok see injured Grotto, but Gau-Lok have no idea if Grotto dead. Gau-Lok can’t move, Gau-Lok fear not able to defeat Grougalorum if killed and eaten by these thingies. Thingies stop attacking, so relief.

Muldoon do something about thingies, thingies start liking him. Jormangandr Crew arrive to help. Grotto got medic first. She need it most. She survive. Gau-Lok got hauled out second. Gau-Lok recover mobility, test Iron Heart Surge.

IRON HEART SURGE IS MAGNIFICENT!!!

Grotto live, so all good. Devon work out plan. Gau-Lok jump gun and go for it before plan fully formalated. Verna fast enough to get there and freeze deck above Pirate Captain. GAU-LOK MOUNTAIN HAMMER!! Mountain Hammer smash open ceiling, stuff fall on Pirate heads. One Pirate confirmed dead from earlier fight.

Gau-Lok still insulted and angry. Gau-Lok overcome by anger and nearly attack helpless foes. Muldoon voice of reason. Muldoon warn about lack of glory this way. Muldoon Reason Voice snap Gau-Lok out of it. Gau-lok regret dis move. Gau-lok owe Muldoon.

Grotto interrogate Pirates, learn much from shanghaied Pirate. Pirate Captain was disguised, but has birthmark on hip that other Pirates no have.

Jormangandr now dragging ruined Pirate Ship. Two more weeks on this ship. Verna and Devon found 60 slaves. Slaves now freemen. Dis good. Everyone needs freedom. Dis enslavement reminds Gau-Lok of Grougalorum’s hostile takeover of Goliath lands. Gau-Lok will take out Grougalorum! But Gau-Lok may need help. Gau-Lok should remember to bring up Grougalorum. Gau-Lok already whisper it to sleeping Muldoon. Muldoon smile in sleep at sound of large trophy. Gau-Lok think of having everyone share backstories so we know what we’re fighting for…

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Verna's Ghostly Adventures
The Red Rum Pirates

Verna SandshifterWell, this was an encounter to remember. A ship belonging to the Red Rum Pirates attacked our ship today. As usual we had to fight our way through the minions. They actually rammed us in the rear. These guys are serious! We fought our way to their ship. Too bad Muldoon was still sleeping. He missed a good opportunity for a trophy or two. My buddy Gau-Lok got a great swing on the mast of the pirate’s ship and toppled it. I used my Ice Wand on their ship to create icy patches so they had watch their step or slide down. I also created a pirate-cicle! Which was totally cool, and this is coming from a desert halfling. I’m going to miss these wands when they’re empty.

Muldoon finally woke up and joined us once he learned what was happening.

We found the Captain’s office and got into it him and four of his henchmen. One of them tried to hit me with a scourge whip, but it just passed through me. The look on his face was priceless! I love this being a ghost! However just when things were looking good, one of them threw a javelin and released a trap door. Gau-Lok, Devon, and Grotto all fell to a lower deck. Me, I just floated for moment with the hostiles staring at me. Then one of them said I had a choice to stay here and fight alone or go down with my friends. I floated down.

The lower deck was smelly but nothing like that bothers me much. I heard a sound that I was familiar with. These pirates had dinosaurs in here! These guys weren’t normal either. To make matters worse these pirates had the audacity to have two small swindlespitters! These are sacred to desert dwellers! They steal the eggs of larger dinosaurs. It’s a balance of nature thing. These we didn’t harm, but they did manage to steal Muldoon’s coffee. I’m not sure if they would like it if they managed to open the container.

I noticed the grate on the ceiling which allowed for air. It wasn’t secured. I finally flew threw the door on the opposite end of the hold and found the slaves rowing. There was a grate in the ceiling. I flew to get some help. Everyone who could came running. The Captain and his henchmen had locked themselves in the Captain’s Quarters. We decided not to attack the door as the trapdoor was still operational. We decided to go from above. I shot an ice arrow at the floor and Gau-Lok hit the ice patch with his great axe. It shattered the floor. With the reinforcements, we surrounded the pirates and made them strip naked. That was an eye full! Anyway the interrogation is ongoing.

I stayed behind to see what this Captain had hiding. I managed to find all the log books. Perhaps there’s something in there about their plans. Muldoon is looking through them. It took a little time but I found his sliding panel with some goodies in it.

Gotta go for now.

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