March 14-27, 2016
The Blue Nixie
Thursday October 26
Ship Sized Fogbank
|The Blue Nixie is shrouded in a strange fog|
Halmar says "Blue Nixie is the ship you're asking about, right?"
Silver responds, "Aye, you know of it?"
Halmar says "I’ve heard of this Vark fellow, too. Giving the harbormasters a bad name if you ask me. I might know where to find the Nixie though." He walks past the office toward the water.
Everyone follows and Silver exclaims, "Oh? That would be helpful"
Halmar says "But I’m going to need something for my information. More than you gave Belgan."
Silver looks to the other two. "I don't have much left - could one of you guys help here?" she sets a hand on Arn's shoulder, and adds quietly "peacefully if possible."
Seeker quietly hands Silver three gold and she nods to Seeker. "Thanks". She turns to Halmar, and hands him the coins looking him in the eye. "I expect this is more than enough."
He takes the offered coins and points out into the harbor, "There it is," he says, pointing to what appears to be a ship sized fog bank with three masts poking out of the top. "And from what I heard, it might be pulling up anchor tonight." He looks around nervously, "I’m not trying to be a jerk or anything, I hope you understand, But Vark and his men are a nasty sort and I have a family."
No one says anything to him but they just look at him solemnly. Halmar nods and hurries off after the scribe, Belgan.
The narrow sliver of the moon shines between gaps in the cloudy, still sky. The air in the harbor area is cool but hangs heavy with moisture. Fortis easily notices that the fog surrounding the ship is probably magical in nature. The ship bobs gently about 250 feet from the end of the nearest dock, and appears to be no closer to any others nearby.
|The moon is just a sliver over the Essanos harbor|
Silver looks at her companions and says “Well, it sounds like we need to do something about this ship tonight. Are we finding a boat to take us there? I imagine all that armor might make swimming a bit difficult. Maybe we could borrow a launch from the Tiny Titan if they’re still in port. Otherwise, maybe we can convince one of those little boats that runs around to take us there. Oh, and Fortis, could you go and get Valinya?”
Silver waits to hear if there are any other ideas, otherwise she heads off in search of some sort of shuttle.
Silver does not have to look far, moored halfway out on the dock the group is standing near is a small fishing boat. It looks as if it could easily hold 4-5 folk. Two sets of oars are laying atop a pile of fishing nets. A quick glance shows that there is no one working on this particular dock though some people can be seen working near a ship on the surrounding docks (to the north and west) but there are no lanterns or lights on this dock and it is quite dark and safe to assume that activity on the dock would not be very visible from other vantage points. There are two other boats moored to this dock, both a bit bigger and more heavily secured to the pilings and quite possibly manned. None of the Rivermen’s craft can be seen anywhere nearby either, making the small fishing craft the best bet.
|The Blue Nixie was not docked where it was expected|
Silver motions in the direction of the fishing boat. “How does that fishing boat sound? It’s pretty dark, so we should be able to borrow it. We can start out in that while Fortis gets Valinya. They shouldn’t have any problem catching up to us on the water.” Silver pauses a moment. “We should be quiet anyways, in case someone is sleeping there or something.” Silver heads down the dock as quietly as she can, watching for any sign of trouble.
Seeker grins wolfishly and makes his way quietly towards the boat. He stays low. When he gets close to the boat, he turns and waves Moonscar forward. He turns his nose to the wind, searching for any scent of hidden fishermen.
There does not appear to be any fishermen present in or near the fishing boat, just the strong presence of not-so-fresh fish that overpowers even the most inefficient of noses. The water laps quietly at the sturdy, slime covered piers below the dock. The creak of wood is almost as ever-present as the fish smell. Occasional shouts can be heard from nearby
docks as workers toil away loading and unloading vessels. The fishing boat rocks gently a few yards down below the level of the high pier. Pegs have been nailed into the side of one of the piers to allow someone to climb down to the smaller boat.
Silver looks about for a bit of cover on the dock. “Since I doubt they’ll be friendly when we arrive, I should probably change now.” With that, She ducks down beside a crate and changes back to draconic form over the course of a couple of seconds. She keeps her wings tucked tight and stays low to the dock, moving back over to the side of the wooden platform. She lies down and peeks her head over the side down at the boat as the others climb down the pegs to the boat below. “I’ll follow along in the air once you get farther out.”
“Right. I’ll go get Val and meet you as soon as we can.” As he is about to take flight he pauses to glance over his shoulder at the supernatural protection shrouding the boat. Looking as Seeker he asks “Before I go though, I think that might be the same Mist I use to shroud us in our encampments at night. I might have a hand at dispelling it once we get close… would you want to attack through the mist without warning or would you rather I try to clear it before you go in?”
Catching Seeker’s gestures the Kankoran pauses to sweep the area with eyes, ears and nose before making his way forward, strolling casually across the strand and down the pier.
At first it appears as though Fortis has forgotten his mission to retrieve Val as he heads out towards the ship. Things go fine at first but the warm shallow water produces an unexpected thermal updraft which leave the Ellyl spinning in the air for a moment. Those who can still see him from the dock probably think it either odd or amusing, depending on their demeanor. The seagull appears quite clumsy as it tumbles through the air awkwardly before recovering its upright orientation. “What the hell was that? Oh, errrmmm…. Squawk!”
After his mishap, Fortis decides to abandon the odd currents and return to find Valinya. He flies at a dignified pace, not sprinting, and attempts to recover as much of his avian dignity as he can while wearing a seagull gossamer.
As Fortis flies off, the rest of the group unties the boat and Arn starts pulling the oars, leading them into the very dark harbor. Once away from the docks, it becomes incredibly hard to see, even for those with superior night vision. Seeker crouches in the front of the small wooden craft, scanning the black water between him and their destination. For a protected harbor, there is a bit of swell in the water and he has to grab the edge of the boat a few times. Arn sits in the middle, facing backward pulling on the oars and propelling the small boat swiftly through the water, trying to be as quiet as he can be. Moonscar sits in the rear of the boat, watching the dock behind them disappear into darkness, keeping an eye out for anyone or anything besides Silver to come sneaking up behind them. The white sliver of a moon slides behind some encroaching clouds and the entire area is thrust into darkness. Seeker keeps Arn on track with softly barked directions. Soon the little fishing boat is approaching the other nearby moored ship, and is within 100 feet of the Blue Nixie. The strange fog bank continues to surround the ship like a wispy shroud. Only a vague outline and the dark lines of three masts jutting up out of the top of the fog can be seen against the near complete blackness of the harbor. The flickering lights of the Shadowshore can be seen blinking an eighth of a mile further on past the bobbing blackness that is the Blue Nixie.
The druid watches all about quietly through the trip, preoccupied in thought and finally comments quietly, “Hopefully we’ll learn more on board, but I really would like to have one of the others check magically to ensure that the young lady and her maid are both who they appear to be. After all the attempts on her family’s lives, if they were completely successful then this could be a very convenient set-up to eliminate their last remaining allies. I assume the opposition knows of their relationship with the Guardians - that being most likely what started their troubles in the first place. I hope it’s just moonshadow, but let’s be extra careful til we’re certain of things. . .”
Back at the Fox and Hound, spotting his quarry Fortis fights down the instinct to make part of the illusion splotch a white splotch onto Valinya’s shoulder. He mumbles to himself “As funny as it might seem, I should save that kind of humor for Arn… He can take it.” Then circles over her position before alighting on her shoulder and whispering in her ear “Squawk… The others are ahead, preparing to row a boat out to the Blue Nixie. We need to go help them. If they are already away from the dock when we arrive, as I expect they will be, then we will have to fly out to support them. Follow me.” Fortis hops off of her shoulder and, keeping a moderate pace, leads her back toward the dock.
Silver follows the boat to the end of the dock and hunkers down there, watching them as they slowly work their way out towards the magical fog bank. Once they are a good ways out, she looks down at the water in annoyance. “Probably better to swim. And I just had a bath too…” With that, she slips over the end of the dock and into the water as quietly as reasonable, then starts swimming after the boat so she can keep it within view. She swims mostly underwater but near the surface, occasionally popping her head out to breath and keep her bearings. Once getting a bit closer to them she moves off to the side a bit, to come alongside their starboard at a bit of a distance, then keeps pace from there.
After leaving the Fox and Hound Valinya finds a secluded spot to shift into her form of air. “Ready now, though I can’t go too fast. Unless you prefer my eagle form, but then I doubt you could keep up. Well, lead on Fortis! And let’s fly above the rooftops … less interference you know.” Rising up Valinya floats as quickly as she can, following Fortis.
The ‘squawk’ given by the mysterious seagull sounds suspiciously like ‘aloft’ to anyone who is both near enough and interested in paying attention to the utterances of a gull. Fortis flies directly back to the pier and continues out over the harbor on a course to overtake the purloined rowboat. Upon reaching their destination he perches on the tallest available object which, this being a mastless small craft, is Seeker’s head. “Pardon the intrusion my friend. I know you probably do not appreciate my violation of your personal space, but I’m trying to get a stable and lofty place from which I can observe the upcoming thaumatological phenomenon without having to be distracted by random splashes or irreverent air currents. As uncomfortable as this must be for you I assure you that I am not particularly keen on the arrangement either and I must examine that fog before we get much closer.“ The Ellyl peers at the shrouded ship, mumbling a few whispered phrases that even Seeker’s very keen and extremely proximate ears would have difficulty understanding, again presuming anyone were interested in the half whispered, half mumbled incantations of a bedraggled and cheeky seagull.
Seeker grumbles at being used as a perch, but holds steady for the seagull. “Remember, if the mist is magical and you can figure out how to dispel it, we don’t want to do that until the last moment. It will pretty much announce our arrival and alert the mage and his friends on the Nixie.”
|The companions quietly approach the ship-sized fogbank|
As the small rowboat approaches the large, dark mass of the Blue Nixie, the wind picks up a bit from the south, though it does not increase much down at the level of the water, Valinya has to maneuver a bit to keep herself in one spot relative to the craft. Fortis crouches and has to grab a handful of Seeker’s hair for a moment, eliciting a subvocal growl from the Wolfen. The ship is about 100 feet away, floating in the dark waters of the Essanos harbor. The sharp sound of the wind snapping through its various flags, furled sails and ropes can be heard clearly, though they can barely be seen in the dark, overcast night. Some twinkling, muted lights can be seen through the mist clinging to the boat, but they are amorphous and hard to pinpoint. Strangely, even though the wind has picked up and bit, the fog is not moving with it and it continues to cling to the ship, though from this distance it becomes evident that the fog seems to be centered on the deck area of the ship and does not extend down to the water below.
Remembering something, Silver ducks back around behind the small boat rowing towards the ship. She pokes her head up a bit higher out of the water and looks all around, but focusing mostly off to the North-West. There was another ship on the move in this general direction, best to make sure it’s not about to run us over...
Silver sees that the other ship has moved on past and is now well away from either the Blue Nixie or the team’s rowboat. There does not appear to be any other activity in the general vicinity.
Seeker gazes up at the seagull on his head. “When you’re done, we need more scouting. Can you tell if there are access points below decks we could try to access? It seems like the magical mists are only up on the deck.” He looks at Valinya. “Since from what I recall, those in those mists can see just fine, can you whip up a fog bank of our own to obscure this boat as we get closer? I just get the feeling they’re drawing a bead on us under cover of their magic.”
“While I CAN do that I can't move it with us. And if I do it they will definitely know we are planning something.” The Ellyl thinks for a moment.”Maybe there is something else I can try. Would you like us to concentrate on removing the watch? A Daze spell may be just the thing to win our secrecy without actually attacking the sentry. Valinya, do you have a better opportunity to remove the sentry in vaporous form or negate this fog? Whichever you choose to attempt I will work on countering the other obstacle.”
Silver comes back around the back-side of the small boat. She talks quietly to the Kankoran, since he is the closest. “There’s a lookout of some sort up on the highest spar. If nobody has ideas for silencing him without raising an alarm, I’ll swim around to the far side and get their attention. That should give you all time to get on deck. Any other ideas?”
While Silver waits a moment for responses, she casts a spell on herself.
Seeker squints into the darkness trying to see the lookout. “Well, ideally either Fortis or Valinya would render that lookout senseless while coming in from above him so they stood a better chance of remaining undetected. Once the sentry was dealt with, we’d approach from the stern of the ship and climb up to the captain’s cabin, where we’d enter stealthily. Valinya could clear the ship with her spell that covers it with poison gas. We search the cabin and deal with the random crew that seek shelter below decks. Then we hop back into the boat and sail away.”
Arn pauses in his rowing, wiping the brow from his head, “So what’s the plan? Am I still rowing you all out to this Blue Nixie or what?”
Moonscar nods and asks, “So how do you want to get up topside? Once closer if I can get above the fog I can target anyone in the rigging.”
“Well, I figured when we got close to the ship I could toss you up first,” says Seeker. “The flying folk have their own ways, so then it would just be Arn and I to make our way up as quickly as we could.”
Fortis bends all the way forward to peer at Seeker, upside down, over his own snout “I thought you were planning to find a way in through the windows at the stern?”
The Kankoran nods again, “Do you have a stronger rope? I’m not sure my spider cord will hold you in your armor but once on deck I can drop a line. If you don’t have a grapple we can tie your rope to mine, leave my line for a safety or gear line.” He pauses and shrugs at the Ellyl, “If Seeker’s aim is good we could combine them - though I think they’ll be alerted when I crash through the window.” He then tucks Sunstroke through the back of his harness and begins checking his climbing gear.
”We are exposed and in a suspicious location out here. We need to act now, either moving forward, moving away or moving past. I propose we have Val tackle the sentry. I will work on the fog, Seeker and Moonscar gain access to help Arn climb up and Silver tackle any unexpected issues until we are stable… either by distraction or direct interference.” Fortis glances around sternly. “Improve that plan, reject that plan or execute that plan… we need to get going.”
Seeker grins, “Okay, then, let’s get to it. Val, Fortis, get going. Arn, take us around the stern. Silver, you take a different route - keep our options open. Move it.”
Fortis considers how to approach his casting, thinking of attempting to time it for when the more physical types are about to enter the cabin windows. Having estimated the cabin at no more than 4 yards wide he targets the hexes centering two yards beyond the windows, midships. He is about to begin Counterspelling the Mystic Mist before he reconsiders the plan yet again.
As Arn maneuvers the boat into position the druid chimes in once more, “Unless we can sail the Nixie back to the docks we should to tie the boat off so it doesn’t drift. Actually, we should anyway in case we have to bug out. So I’m on point? Once topside do you want me to drop a line? Cover? Assuming I don’t have to start sweeping the deck with Sunstroke first - hoping there’s no one waiting.”
Valinya floats off, heading up and toward the ship as quickly as she can while Silver swims quickly away from the fishing boat in the opposite direction, hoping to make it around to the other side. Arn pulls on the oars, turning the small boat toward the rear of the Blue Nixie, hoping to hide behind the higher rear deck. Fortis zooms off to try to make a quick recon of the ship. As Arn paddles you closer, you can hear the sounds of movement from the Nixie over the sound of the harbor. Quite muffled talking and sounds of shipboard working can be heard as well as the occasional sound of animals and birds. No one can be seen aboard the ship as the fog covers the decks and railings. After a moment, the lookout’s position is blocked by the bulk of the ship and Arn pivots the small craft to make his approach. Momentarily, Valinya comes floating up and smiles, stating that she has disabled the sentry and that she saw Silver floating in the water out ahead of the ship. Fortis then flies back up, in seagull form, and perches on the edge of the boat while giving his report. He says there are, in fact, some windows along the back of the ship, not very tall and half covered by the fog, but big enough to slip through if opened and also that there were several rope ladders, ropes, trailings of nets and other various ways to climb up onto the boat from the water level. He also indicates that his flyby did not give him any further insight to the source of the fog, other than it does somewhat remind him of the Mystic Mist spell he has been known to cast, though it does not look exactly the same.
Moonscar fingers the nageteppo in his webbing as he asks him, “If it works the same - they see normally inside - and can be blinded normally as well?”
Arn continues to pull the oars, sliding the small wooden craft toward the larger shape that is the Blue Nixie. When the boat reaches the 15 yard mark, a voice calls out “Ahoy!” and a lit torch comes spinning out of the dark fog off the back of the ship. It twists through the air and hits the water sizzling about 3 yards in front of the boat. The twang of crossbows alerts Seeker’s highly trained reflexes to impending danger. Immediately following that comes a volley of crossbow bolts and a javelin. One bolt strikes Seeker in the chest before he can even consider dodging out of the way of the remaining projectiles. Another of the bolts strikes Arn in the back, but the rowing Dwarf does not even notice as it bounces off of his armor.
Savagely whispering a string of Danzi profanity the little Kankoran drops to a kneeling position and the boat’s stern as he readies his bow. “Sis, Cousin Magpie, can one of you make them glow or something up there so I can see my targets?”
|The deck of the Blue Nixie cannot be seen from any angle due to the thick fog|
Silver hears the call out from the stern of the ship, and sees torchlight briefly reflected on the water from back there. Here we go. She takes note of which side of the ship the anchor line is coming from, then ducks under water to move towards but just to the outside of that line, building up speed in preparation for breaching the surface next turn to take flight.
The first bolt sticks right through Seeker’s plate armor, sending a streaks of pain through his body. The second bolt bounces off his shoulder and he somehow manages to dodge the larger javelin. It thunks into the deck directly between his legs where it lodges itself, vibrating slowly.
Seeker grunts in pain. “Ow! Okay, so we weren’t that sneaky. Let’s get up there. Val, give us some covering fire. Arn, just row faster. Brother, get ready to climb.” I hope Silver is giving them something else to think about.
From above Valinya considers her options briefly then sings a melody that feels strangely reassuring to those who hear. “I’ve warded you from the missiles” she says to Seeker as she places a magical spell on him. With a “oh” of surprise she realizes that her spell was unusually effective and that she herself is also warded.
Moonscar looks at him quizzically for a moment then nods silently as he returns his bow to carry. “Would be sheer luck to hit anyone from the boat.”
The precocious seagull launches itself off of the edge of the boat at an angle out to the Port side of the Blue Nixie, looking into the mist with his enhanced vision seeking a target for an attack next turn. Fortis thinks to himself that, even if the crossbowmen could reload fast enough to shoot again quickly the speed of their target and the size of the illusion compared to his actual size should keep him relatively safe for the moment. He plans to size up his opponents and snipe the closest one when he gets the chance. Apparently plans can change in the blink of an eye.
Another crossbow twangs in the fog at the rear of the ship and the bolt flies right at Seeker again. Trusting in Valinya, Seeker remains still as the bolt comes directly at him before changing direction at the very last second and plunging into the water to his left. A muffled curse can be heard from the ship above.
Time for some attention Silver thinks to herself. ... but not too much, no display of flames. Dock workers would see that. On that thought, Silver bursts from the surface of the water with a great crash of water and flapping of wings to become airborne. She growls loudly as she ascends, changing directions and making to cross above the bowsprit and around to the port side of the ship.
|Sizing up the situation|
Realizing that since he cannot see into the preternatural fog with his normal magesight and not having time to cast an additional spell to see into what he still assumes is a Mystic Mist spell Fortis reformulates his plan. He centers a wide area Rain of Stones spell on the group of shadowy figures.
Sensing the potential for an ugly encounter Valinya quickly tries for a more diplomatic option. Moving quickly toward the fog and she hopes ship she shouts, “We come in peace on behalf of Lavina Vanderboren, please hold your fire.”
Following through with his attack Fortis calls into existence a Rain of Stones to shower the fantail of the ship to injure the crossbowmen and drive them to seek cover. As soon as he is finished casting Fortis banks quickly away from the ship, opening the distance between himself and the opponents attacking his companions. At the moment he thinks it might be a good idea to loop around and try to detect what their reaction to the attack is, if of course they are kind enough to panic and give him and his friends an opportunity to maneuver unmolested by continued crossbow fire. “I’ll bet they weren’t expecting that, hmm… I wonder if Valinya’s Missile Shield on Seeker would protect him from the stones in my spell? Probably, since they must be a derivative of the Stone Missile spell which is warded by Missile Shield. I’ll have to remember that combination for a tactical advantage to keep opponents clear of Seeker and Arn in melee.”
The sound of Valinya’s attempt at conversation is quickly drown out by the thunderous sound of thousands of rocks raining down on the deck of the Blue Nixie. Some of them are missing the deck and splashing into the water near the back end of the boat as well, making a sound like a waterfall. Cries and curses come from the aft deck of the Blue Nixie amid the crashing rocks. Seeker holds tightly to the edge of the little boat, anticipating his arrival at the Blue Nixie.
|Some windows can be seen just below the edge of the fog that clings to the main deck|
Fortis spends a moment to cast Mage Sight in the hopes that it will allow him to see into the fog and assess the situation.
As Fortis finishes casting the spell, he sees the fog around the edge of the boat shimmer and fade. He is still aware of it, and it looks considerably different than the mist of his own Mystic Mist, but he can see through it. He cannot see anyone up on the edge of the rail and is too low to see over the top of the aft deck until he floats upward several yards to where he can see just over the top rail. He can see both the aft and part of the fore deck, though is not high or close enough to see down onto the main deck yet.
The little Kankoran removes his cloak, uncovering his webbing and gear as he shifts forward from sitting on the back bench and into a stable crouching stance right in front of Arn, saying softly to his companions, “Buddy checks.” He then looks the dwarf over quickly to make sure his assorted equipment is secure and ready for the climb. He does the same for Seeker next while wrapping his entire cloak securely around his fore arm “Looks like I’m not going over the rail; how do you want to do this?”
Hearing the rain of stones Valinya momentarily closes her eyes and suppresses a heavy sigh. “Boys, always going for the stick first instead of the carrot … like the enjoy violence,” she thinks to herself. Adjusting her plans she continues to quickly move forward, rising to the level of where she thinks the deck should be. “At this point,” she thinks, “the quickest and least damaging solution is to incapacitate the crew.” Looking carefully ahead she seeks the crew even as she prepares a mystical song of bedazzlement. And if she’s lucky she can spot someone who may be in charge and … gently coerce him/her into calling for a cease-fire.
Valinya, now well above the rail of the top deck and moving along the port side, just skirting the area of raining stones, realizes she still cannot see into the obvious magical fog. Knowing she will not be able to dispel or circumvent it without a little knowledge, she begins thinking about what her next song will be.
Silver levels off and flies alongside the port bow of the ship, making her way to the mid-ship area. As she flies, she breathes a small bit of flame, causing her maw to gain a fiery glow and expel some smoke. That’ll help if they’re night-blind. Perhaps they’ll think I’m about to set fire to the ship...
As Silver swings around the front edge of the ship, she notices that the entire deck, from the fore deck to the aft deck, are covered in the same, thick shimmering fog. She can see the three masts sticking up out of it, but cannot see anything or anyone on the deck at all, though there are several areas where swirling dark shadows move around, possibly indicating where someone might be, but considering the nature of the magical mist, she is not certain.
Preparing himself for the climb, Seeker draws on his connection with Wolvenar. Grant me your blessing, Wolvenar, that I might aid my friends in this battle.
The Ellyl takes advantage of the momentary lull in the battle to gain altitude for a better view of the situation. He ascends above boom - height (well above the easy reach of humans standing on the deck) and circles back to observe the place his opponents recently occupied. He is looking at a number of things; Any persistent dangers, any possibility of the spell damaging the actual ship, any place his companions could secure a defensible area to assemble before moving forward, any unusual cargo stored on deck, any blatant signs of demons or demonic involvement, heraldic or cultural indications of who was firing crossbows at us, signs of magic use… his brain runs through a huge number of questions before he remembers he needs to concentrate on things immediately perilous. Unraveling the mystery of who is on the ship and why can wait until after we have defeated them. On that note, if there are still hostile guards maybe it is time for some of these Daisies to bask in the light.
Arn furiously rows the small boat closer and closer, now with about a yard. Seeker is close enough he could reach out and touch the edge of the rudder of the larger ship. “Are we there yet, lads?” Arn says, exhaustedly.
Silver ends her display of flames as she flies alongside the ship making for roughly the middle of the ship. She gains a bit of altitude, and watches out for any protruding rigging. Would be nice if I could hear what was going on on-deck. Ah well, should be there soon.
Valinya floats up a few more yards as she sings a quick little song to herself while looking over the fog shrouded ship. As she finishes she cocks her head to one side with a slightly puzzled look and then smiles. Down in the boat, Seeker and Moonscar wait patiently for the Blue Nixie to get just a little bit closer.
With one last, final grunt, Arn pushes the rowboat forward, turning it as he does. The craft bumps into the rudder, which is turned sideways, nearly flat against the stern of the Blue Nixie. He drops the oars in the bottom of the boat and grabs on to the wet and weathered wood, “Go on, boys, get up there,” he shouts, “I’ll take care o’ our ride and get meself up there somehow in a moment. Just promise ye’ll save some fun for me!” He nods his head upward toward the deck where thousands of magical stones nearly make it impossible to hear the Dwarf, despite the fact that he is just a few feet away.
It’s a (Boarding) Party
Seeker’s green eyes flash as he grabs on to the rudder and starts hauling himself up towards the rear windows. Sounds like it’d be best to go in belowdecks. Fortis has rendered the aft deck safe from foes for a bit. Gotta move fast and get inside, or they’ll start thinking and move to attack from exactly where I want to go!
Seeker is able to pull himself up to the left side window and just barely get his head up high enough to see in. The window is very very dirty and the room is dark inside. The room fills the last 12 feet or so of the ship. He can barely make out some furniture and a bed. He sees a door off to the left that either leads to another room or out onto the main deck.
After Seeker moves to the Nixie, Moonscar carefully begins moving forward to try to get into position to make the climb next. Unfortunately the boat is shifting and rocking too much because of Seeker’s departure and the Kankoran nearly loses his balance and tumbles into the water. Arn grabs his belt and settles him back into his original position. “Sit down, Talks, I’ll move the boat up so you can climb out that way once Seeker is out of the way, don’t ye be trying to climb all over the place, there aint no room fer that!”
|Seeker begins his climb up the rudder|
Continuing to move forward, Silver suddenly drops down to just above the railing on the side of the ship, then turns into the fog, and lands feet first just on the other side of the railing with a thump. She looks around to see what she can see in the mist, and tries to hear something over the incredible racket coming from the stern of the ship. Now what the heck are they hiding here?
Just as Silver lands within the fog, she is blasted by a forceful and freezing blast as an icy sphere slams into her. She feels a tinge of uneasiness as she settles to the deck, somewhat concerned about the thick fog pressing in around her. Even with her good eyesight, Silver can only see a few yards in front of her. To her right, she spies some rope ladders going from the rail up to the rigging above. To her left she sees a small trough of water resting against the outside rail and straight ahead she sees the edge of the net covered main hold opening.
|Silver lands on the fog shrouded deck|
Before she can even get her bearings again, she feels something else strike her from the right, turns her head and sees a javelin laying on the deck at her feet. Hmm, she thinks, at least I got their attention. She then thinks she hears someone from that direction say something in Wolfen, though she cannot quite be sure.
After a quick observation of the chaotic scene below Fortis decides to settle himself into the rigging beyond the effect of the rain of stones in a sniping position and provide a deadly distraction for our confused opponents to concern themselves with, or not at their peril.
|Fortis and valinya take up positions on a high spar|
Before Seeker can even consider how he is going to get through the window, it smashes right in front of his face as the familiar sight of Arn’s bat mace goes flying through it. The big Wolfen has to duck when Olum Kanat Sican comes flying back through the now broken window. From over his shoulder, he hears Arn cry out, barely audible over the din, “Tis the least I could do to help!” Arn starts trying to secure the fishing boat while Moonscar moves past him, more carefully this time, and readies himself to climb up after Seeker.
Meanwhile, up above, Fortis settles himself in on one of the spars of the rear mast, just outside the range of his Rain of Stones. Valinya floats up next to him, singing quietly, lost in a spell.
Silver is hit by another icy blast, this time she is sure it is coming from somewhere forward and to the right of her current position, though she is completely turned around as to where she actually is right now. Luckily, this magical assault does not penetrate her thick dragonscale and magical armor.
Preparing to begin his ascent, the Kankoran’s toenails have just found purchase on the rudder when he hears a faint sound above him which he's somehow certain is out of place in the incessant drumming. He looks up in bewilderment just in time to see the well meaning dwarf’s mace pass close to his head in it’s return trajectory and follows it back to the hand of it's wielder. Arn sees his eyes suddenly open wide as the significance of what just happened dawns upon him and with a stunned expression of sheer disbelief the druid cries out, “Oohhhh, fuuckk meeee!!!” Closing his eyes, he bows his head for a moment, shaking it as he takes a deep breath to compose himself. He opens his eye’s and addresses the culprit in a soft, pained voice asking, “Uncle. You *are* aware of the fact that I don’t wear shoes, aren’t you?”
Silver looks around Hey, I could have sworn… with the impact of the ice sphere, she thinks OK, that way. She moves towards where she’s guessing the ice sphere came from, keeping in mind there’s an open-ish hold somewhere. New plan. Find someone and show the rest why they should abandon ship.
|Silver encounters some hostile Coyle|
Silver moves forward and after just a few tentative steps she sees not one but two foes available, both Coyles. The first Coyle, ahead and off to the left strikes quite a strange picture. This Coyle is tall and skinny as the first one, but it’s all of it’s fur has been dyed different shades of blue, with much of it braided and tied together in unkempt strands. The blue Coyle quickly steps back, out of a water trough that he had been standing in. He disappears into the mist. The other one stands ahead and to her right, next to one of the Blue Nixie’s jolly boats, dressed in leather armor and wielding a long, two handed axe. He looks like a sailor, long and lanky with a vicious sneer visible on it’s snout. He handles the axe deftly and quickly steps up, taking a swing at Silver’s neck. Movement in the fog behind this one indicates that there may be a third nearby opponent to deal with.
Silver ducks back from the axe and stops, growling at the Coyle. That blue one looked interesting, but this guy is begging to be dealt with first. Ah well, those ice pellets don’t hurt too much...
Fortis thinks to himself ‘That blue Coyle looks like the most interesting target on the open deck.’ Careful to remain out of the coyle’s line of sight he gathers a measure of distilled sunlight and prepares to throw it at the unsuspecting, and oddly coiffed, blue Coyle. He judges the distance and the appealing, but less likely, chance of hitting his target in the head.
As Fortis watches the blue-haired Coyle, he sees him fling a some sort of white projectile at Silver, obviously some type of magical attack, Fortis thinks.
Seeing the pathway cleared by Arn’s timely and highly destructive move, Seeker quickly seizes the advantage and grabs the corners of the window, pulling himself through. Tumbling to the floor, he rolls and brings himself up, scanning the room for threats. The thundering of Fortis’ magical attack makes hearing anything in the room impossible.
|Seeker enters the stateroom|
Seeker quickly finds the ceiling of this small, dark stateroom. He has to nearly bend over at the middle in this cramped space. He also feels his hands are raw where they scraped on the broken glass in the window sill. Broken and empty bottles roll around on the floor beneath the Wolfen’s feet. He can make out a good sized bunk in the far right corner and a few pieces of small furniture against the walls around the room. A broken chair sits ahead and to to the front of his current position. Seeker hopes he will not have to fight in these cramped quarters knowing he won’t even have room to properly swing his sword.
From his perch on the spar, Fortis sees several sailors, some Human and some Coyle running around, this way and that. The blue haired Coyle remains standing near the main mast, watching Silver and the other Coyle fight.
As Silver gazes into the mist, he sees the axe wielding Coyle leap forward again and swing a powerful overhead blow right at his neck!
Silver ducks back again, then finally counters at the Coyle, snapping back at his head.
The Coyle leaps back from this attack, narrowly missing having his face bit off by a Dragon. As the Coyle retreats, another icy bolt flies out of the mist at Silver from the left. Silver makes an awkward attempt to dodge the speeding missile but fails. The frozen projectile strikes her in the flank but does not penetrate her magically bolstered Dragon-hide.
Down in the aft cabin, Seeker feels broken glass from the window crunching under his feet as he moves into the near pitch black room. He can now see a narrow sliver of light coming from along the edges and bottom of the single door.
Muttering in impressive range of obscenities in roughly half a dozen languages, Moonscar angrily begins his climb up the rudder.
Using the cacophony of Fortis’ spell as cover, Seeker crosses the cabin and cracks the door, trying to assess the tactical layout beyond.
As Seeker carefully pushes the door open, he is momentarily surprised when it is yanked all the way open. Two surprised Human sailors stand there starting in awe at the huge, hunched over Wolfen staring at them from the dark. “Oh, shit!” the second one stammers, Seeker more reading his lips than hearing the curse over the cacophony from above.
Thinking quickly, Seeker takes a wild swing and punches the first sailor in the face, hoping for a quick knockout. He growls as the cramped quarters throw off his aim, and the foe flinches back just in time.
Sensing the need to see more, Valinya floats toward where she thinks the deck is to see what is going on and how she can help.
|Valinya moves down to the deck|
Valinya floats down toward the deck, she feels a twinge of apprehension when she passes into the magical fog. She lands on the aft deck at the top of a set of wooden steps that lead up from the main deck. She can only see a few yards in any direction and sees no immediate threats. The sound of the Rain of Stones to her right is filling her head with thunder.
Deciding that the distance is too great to target the head this turn Fortis builds his sunbolt.
The Turning of the Tide
“Kill that cur!” Seeker hears yet a third Human in the other cabin yell. Looking over the shoulders of the two in front of him, he sees the speaker raise a vial to his lips and drink its contents then step out of sight to the right, the room’s door blocking his view. The two sailors in front of him both have cutlasses and small bucklers ready though both men hesitate before attacking, still surprised at the sight of Seeker!
|Seeker sees some surprised sailors|
Valinya is startled by the sudden appearance of a white, magical sphere appearing out of the mist in front of her and streaking past, just barely missing her. She sees it strike the railing off to her left, covering it with sparkling frost.
The Coyle attacking Silver steps back up and swings his long axe in another graceful arc at the Dragon’s neck. The strike misses and Silver realizes that her opponent has over extended himself, leaving a wide opening for the counter-attack. But before she can attack, Silver feels an incredible burning sensation from her rear as she realizes another Coyle has come up from behind her and is attempting to chop her tail off!
|Silver is surrounded by axe wielding Coyle pirates|
From his perch on the spar above, Fortis sees the blue-haired Coyle turn away from Silver and fling yet another of his magical attacks at Valinya this time. Before he can utter a warning, the
bolt flies at the Elven maid but fortunately misses her, striking the railing next to her. He also sees several Coyle beginning to surround Silver on the deck below, one attacking from in front, one attacking from behind and another approaching from the rear as well. The Humans on deck all seem to be running away from the action.
While he continues to get the fishing boat tied up securely, Arn watches Moonscar scramble up the backside of the Blue Nixie. “Ya better be saving some fun for me up there! Tell Seeker to watch out for Valinya! I’ll be on me way as soon as I get this knot tied! Dammit!”
Silver lets out a loud snarl at her tail being cut. In response, she winds up, turns in place and uses her momentum to follow through and smack the coyle with her bleeding tail. She connects hard with the coyle on his side, sending him sprawling into the net covering the hold, his axe tumbling from his grip. Now turned, Silver glares at the second Coyle.
But the other Coyle is not within her limited range of vision in this nasty magical fog and the sound of stones pounding on the aft deck makes tracking him by sound impossible.
Feeling his ire rise at the attack on Valinya Fortis plants the sunbolt in the coyles chest, hoping to end his attacks, if not his life. “Take that you fluffy punk, bet you aren’t feeling so lucky now.”
The Sunbolt strikes the Coyle and lights him up with a magical brightness that everyone can see for a moment, despite the magical fog. The effect of this particular bolt is more intense than Fortis expected it to be! The blue haired Coyle shrieks and falls down, landing in the main hold cargo netting as well.
His outrage vindicated, Fortis makes a mental note to muse about the circumstances of that wildly successful attack. ‘Was it the target? Or the altitude? Could the surrounding mist have affected the spell in some way?’ However it came to pass he is delighted that the outrageously impolite and visually offensive Coyle is no longer a problem. “It takes a certain masculinity to wear THAT blue well… and you did not have it.”
“Cur? That’s really hurtful, Human.” Seeker takes care with his next punch, still going for the sailor’s face.
The surprised sailor manages to dodge Seeker’s well aimed punch then leaps forward into the room swinging his blade clumsily in the doorway and somehow manages to strike true. The other sailor likewise rushes into the room, running past Seeker to take a wild swing at his back!
Seeker skips back out of the way of the first attack, almost supernaturally nimble. Then his training kicks in and he bats aside the second cutlass, moving its attack off-line with the back of his huge paw. “Oh, men, you have made a bad mistake.”
|Moonscar climbs up and joins Seeker in the fray|
Still grumbling, Moonscar scrambles angrily to the window just in time to see the sailors trying to flank Seeker as one of them conveniently moves to stand with his back to the window just a few feet in front of him. His lips curl back from his teeth in a vicious snarling grin as he thinks, “Well, that problem’s solved. They’ve sent me a walking throw rug. And here I was thinking that they had no understanding of basic hospitality.” Ensuring that he has a secure purchase, he ducks his head just below the window sill to avoid being seen by his intended target’s shipmate and gathers himself for the coming leap.
Eyes widening at the near miss Valinya shifts to react but not faster than Fortis’s sunbolt. Determined to join the fray Valinya moves onto the deck more, seeking a foe which she finally sees. Inhaling, she prepares to sing a song flirting with disaster.
|Valinya spots a fleeing crewman|
As Valinya moves along the deck, keeping the railing separating the aft deck with the main deck on her left. As she passes the ship’s wheel, she notices some commotion going on down below. Is theJust beneath her, on the main deck, a couple of sailors rush up to what must be a door. One opens it and the other runs through. Behind her, she can feel some of the smaller pebbles of the Rain of Stones crashing down on the deck and bouncing into, and through, her airy form.
Shifting back a bit to reduce the rain of rubble around her Valinya quickly sings a lightning bolt into being and quickly launches it at the crewman she has in her sights.
The bolt of electricity courses from Valinya’s hands down into the sailor’s body. He stiffens and shakes for a moment before falling to the ground, face down.
His surprise revealed Fortis decides to fire rapidly at the pirates attacking Silver on the deck. He begins throwing Sunbolts as quickly as he can.
Fortis’s Sunbolt hits its intended target but has no visible effect.
Seeing his opportunity Moonscar leaps through the window on top of the nearest sailor. He fails to get a grip on his knife as he tries to snatch it from his harness and ends up empty handed as he latches onto the startled sailor. Snarling in frustration he holds doggedly as his victim makes a futile attempt to get free, holding him by his shield arm while wrapping his right arm tightly around the man’s torso.
The grappled sailor tries to pivot and throw Moonscar off, but is unable to dislodge the scrappy Kankoran.
Seeker, seeing that his backup has arrived, steps in to the second sailor, raining blows on him. The low ceiling is still making his attacks difficult, and he misses. “Mother puss bucket!” he swears. He looks around, trying to figure out how to deal with these cramped quarters. His hands drop slightly as he ponders this problem, almost ignoring the sailors attacking him.
The Human sneers at Seeker, clearly realizing that he is struggling to maneuver in the cramped quarters of the cabin. He lashes out with a low slash with his cutlass at Seeker’s waist then disappears back through the doorway into the other room.
Still pondering the challenge of the current terrain (How would Dad handle this? Jump on him? Crap!) he sees Moonscar fly through the window, tackling his other target. Good. Focus on what’s in front of you. Seeker bats aside another attack and snarls as the the sailor retreats out of sight.
Down on the main deck, Fortis and Valinya both see two humans rush out of the aft deck cabin, step over the downed sailor and move toward the bow of the ship. They quickly pass out of Valinya’s limited visibility and disappear into the fog. Fortis also notices another Coyle rushing up to attack Silver.
Another Coyle rushes up to Silver from the front of the ship and lets loose with a wild swing of her axe. Silver watches it arc through the air like quicksilver before descending directly toward her neck! Fortunately for Silver, the blow is just a glancing one and she feels fine, ready to take on her attackers!
Silver hisses at the Coyle that managed to get a hit in on her, then turns and jumps off the deck and out of the mist. She opens her wings and curves left right away towards the aft of the ship. Dammit, I need to find the others. They’re just going to get behind me again at this rate. Hmm, I wonder how hard those rocks are coming down.
As Silver heads toward the rear of the ship, she spies Fortis perched on a spar just above the ship and fog, right outside of the magical area of raining rocks. She does not see any of her other companions and still cannot see through the thick magical fog covering the ship.
With a small smile of satisfaction at the results of her spell Valinya watches the other pirates move along and quietly floats down the stairs, stalking while preparing to sing again. She quickly spies another pirate and without hesitation sings a different, dissonant melody seeking to lock up his mind for a bit. If I can get to the door of the hold I might be able to stem the tide here and wrap up this little incursion, she thinks.
Valinya smiles to herself, knowing that her spell was cast true and expects the man to stop cold, dazed in his tracks, but instead, he glances over his shoulder at her and smirks before angling toward the jolly boat along the rail. Instead of stopping at the jolly boat, though, he hops up onto it and leaps over the side of the Blue Nixie, disappearing over the rail!
Snarling viciously, the Kankoran bites the side of his foe’s neck. His teeth sink in firmly, eliciting a satisfying scream of pain as Moonscar shakes his head slightly, splattering blood across both of their faces and confirming that his aim was true. Now that he has a third solid grappling point, he releases his arm around the man’s torso and snatches his long knife from his harness, preparing to bury it in the hapless sailor’s kidney.
|It's starting to get hot in here!|
The grappled sailor cries out again and rams his head backward, trying to catch Moonscar in the face with the back of his skull! Fortunately for Moonscar, the Kankoran has him grappled at such an angle that the strike misses easily. Moonscar and Seeker’s attention is suddenly drawn to the next room by a short yelp just as the thundering sound from above stops. A bright glow coupled with the distinctive smell of wood, and something else, burning fills their canine noses.
Seeker sees that Moonscar has things well in paw, and charges after the fleeing sailor. He turns to go through the door only to find the sailor waiting for him. The poor sailor is surrounded in flames!
The sailor leaps forward, trying to push past Seeker. He throws his blade and shield down, “I’m done, Wolfen, I’m done!” he shouts as he tries to angle past the large Wolfen. “The ship’s on fire! I gotta get outta here!”
Seeker snarls, “Fine. Get out. And don’t cross my path again.” He steps aside to let the wretch pass. “Little Brother! Let him go. We have real problems,” and muzzlepoints at the flames. He bellows, “VALINYA! SILVER! GET THIS FIRE OFF MY SHIP!”
The frantic sailor runs past Seeker and his eyes and mouth pop open wide as he sees Moonscar climbing on his friend’s back, biting his throat out! He stutter steps for a second, considers saying something then continues on to the broken window, the broken glass crunching under his booted feet.
Up above and outside the ship, Valinya and Silver hear a muffled cry that sounds like Seeker yelling about fire. By the sound of it, he must be somewhere below the aft deck, possibly the cabins there or further below.
Seeing an opportunity to end at least part of the fight without further bloodshed Fortis drops the Rain of Stones and shouts into the sudden silence “Throw down your weapons or be destroyed” He briefly considers glaring at the naughty pirates to convey the seriousness of the threat, but then recognizes that as an illusory seagull out of easy visual range his expressions may completely underwhelm the warning.
Fortis sees the one Human crewmember that had been blasted by Valinya’s close range lightning writing on the deck. Of the two that ran out of the cabin just a moment ago, one leaps off the starboard rail and disappears while the other sprints toward the bow of the ship. The two Coyle that had been attacking Silver each slowly take a step back, holding their long axes in front of them defensively. Another fleeing Human at the far end of the deck disappears down a flight of stairs leading below. The two Coyle (one of which is the blue-haired spellcaster) laying in the cargo net struggle a bit to move around but make no real attempts at doing anything.
Silver follows along the side of the ship finally seeing the fishing boat and Arn, who apparently is still fiddling with a rope. Ah, guess they went inside under the rock spell. Wait is that smoke?
Smoke begins to fill the cabin where Seeker and Moonscar are, a small wisp of it starts trailing out the broken aft window. Silver sees and smells the smoke as she approaches. Down below in the fishing boat, Arn looks up, a concerned look in his eye. “The big’un and the lil’un went in through that window! Better go check on ‘em, Silver!” the Dwarf calls up to the Dragon.
The sailor in the cabin pulls himself up into the frame of the broken window and looks out into the black of night, estimating his jump to avoid hitting the fishing boat below when he suddenly makes a strange, choking noise and falls back into the cabin, landing on his ass. “D-d-d-dragon!” he stammers.
On the deck, Fortis sees that his command to drop weapons and surrender have been largely ignored. Two Coyle and one Human continue to flee toward the bow of the ship, though the two Coyle laying in the cargo hold netting just lay there with their hands out. The stunned Human near the aft cabin lays face down, twitching occasionally.
Hearing and seeing what she does, Silver arcs her way around to the window on the rear of the ship. She grabs hold of the broken window’s frame, folds her wings, and pokes her head through to see what’s inside. “Where is this fire? It wasn’t me, dammit!”
Seeking to be of help, Valinya floats along the deck until she spies someone.
Moonscar looks over the man’s shoulder at has friend quizzically and shrugs. He waves his blade in front of the man’s face to get his attention before pointing it at his cutlass and mumbling around his bloody mouthful, “Raahb yuurrr reaabonn!”
Clearly understanding the intent of Moonscar’s words, the sailor lets his cutlass clang to the floor and throws his hands out in front of him, palms out, in a sign of surrender. He drops to his knees, Moonscar’s extra weight almost forcing him all the way to the floor. “Quarter, quarter! I give,” he says, not much more than a pained whisper.
Seeker sighs, then takes a deep breath and charges through the flames. Heading towards the only open door, he bursts out into the open, mentally sighing in relief as he stands up, stretching to his full height.
Seeker bursts through the flaming cabin and out into the magical fog on the deck of the Blue Nixie. At first he is a bit confused then realizes where he is and looks around, trying to figure out where he is. His best guess is on the main deck in front of the aft deck cabin. He feels something shift under his feet and realizes he is standing on the legs of a Human lying prone on the deck. The smell of burnt hair fills his sensitive nostrils.
Once the sailor surrenders Moonscar releases him and starts spitting and clearing his throat. “Gah! What the hell have you been eating? That’s the most disgusting thing I’ve tasted since I tried to make cave mole stew! Now get out of here! I mean out of the city; the jungle’s nice this time of year I’m sure.” He looks at the other sailor on the floor and says, “Yeah, she’s with us. That’s the In window.” He points at the other one saying, “Use the Out window!” Then proceeds to follow Seeker, shaking his head and muttering.
|Silver flies in through the window to join in the fun|
Moonscar sees that the next cabin is completely filled with flames that reach from the floor to the ceiling. Seeker is nowhere in sight. An open door and a closed door can be seen across the cabin about 10 feet away. The open door opens toward the bow of the ship, the closed door opens to the starboard side. He dashes through the flame toward the open door, the flames lick at him, burning flesh and fur but in an instant he is standing behind Seeker on the main deck, gazing out into the thick, magical fog. One writhing Human lays on the planks beneath Seeker’s feet.
Seeing his very reasonable demand to disarm being flagrantly ignored by the all but defeated enemy Fortis continues to whittle away at the recalcitrant pirates by throwing sunbolts at them.
Fortis’s Sunbolt finds its mark easily, striking the fleeing Human in the back. He stumbles and stops, throwing his cutlass away and putting his hands out to his sides, “I yield!” he cries out loudly.
Session NotesThis session really took off! It ended up being 27 pages of full on GURPS combat goodness. It is slow and drawn out, but doing a detailed combat via play by post style can really let the GURPS combat system shine. Using Roll20 to manage everything for us as we do it is just icing on the cake!
This combat was played out over several different areas and elevations of a ship that was shrouded in a sort of Mystic Mist. Some folk could barely see in front of their faces, while others could see right through the fog or were in places that the fog didn't exist.
Multiple decks of the ship, flying PCs and a slow boat rowed by a Dwarf all had their place in this one. It was truly an amazing experience and I tip my hat to my awesome players who made it happen!
Cast of Characters:
+Arne Jamtgaard plays Seeker, a teenage Wolfen Warlord
+Ben Zittere plays Fortis, an Ellyl trickster and Mage
+Stephen Kolmetz plays Valinya, an Elven Wildsong Mage
+Amergin O'Kai plays Moonscar, the esoteric Kankoran Druid