"If there's room in the boat for one more, I'll go," Misha volunteers eagerly, finishing fixing some broad leaves to to the top of the shelter with her twine. "Seems like a good job for an explorer, right?"
The Varisian receives his bird back to him with a sigh of relief. After hearing Una's report, he turned around and told the rest. "There is some water on the island, although that doesn't seem to be as big of a deal with Raff. There are a lot of shipwrecks around, so if we don't find what we are looking for on the Jenivere, we might be able to find useful things in those as well. There are a few more predators in the south, so we need to be wary before we venture there."
"I'll stay with the injured man, I can do a better job protecting him than I can in the surf.
The group split into two factions. Vargbrandr and Tshilaba joined Sasha, Aerys and the others on the beach, while N'Gawa, Henry, Misha, Zababa, Rafflesia and Siera made their way to the rowboat. The low tide made the journey shorter and altogether less perilous. They had little trouble setting their fixed boat to water, and rowing the deceptively placid waters. Siera's years of experience warned her, though - as soon as the small pool of water was swelling again, the channel would become dangerous - as Alton so tragically had learned.
You reach the derelict husk of the once-proud ship Jenivere. Her shattered hull could be seen even ashore, where even a cursory glace would have told anyone she'd never see the open sea again. Now, on the awkwardly-tilted floor, that notion becomes a sad reality. The stern is at least halfway secure, wedged between two sharp rocks that dug into the wood. The bow, previously almost broken off, has seemingly been washed away during the storm, leaving the ship-corpse bisected. Even now, at low tide, each wave sends a shudder through her remains, and it is a matter of little time until Gozreh claims the last remains of the Jenivere.
Percention, DC 10
Perception, DC 15
The second half of the survivors settle into their makeshift shelter, with the strange smell of the centipede meat still heavy in the air. Ishirou takes time to examine the construction, muttering silent phrases. "We're not half done here. This will hold the night and some rain, but a real storm, as our midday downpour and then some, will still be trouble. We got at least another day of work ahead of us." His comment is not well-received, with both Gaelik and Jask rolling their eyes at the estimation of the Tian.
Aerys pensively approached Tshilaba. "I'm sorry, but out of us misfits you seem one of the few with a captain's head. We need to talk, in private if possible." The half-elf seemed a bit too thoughtful of the conversation to be of any pleasant topic, but Sasha, in her trademark loud mouth, helpfully suggested "Sand's pretty dry, and you'd not find softer pillows anyway, so feel free. We're staying where we are, and try not to eat the entire centipede before you return." It gained her a withering look from Aerys, but no further comment.
Gaelik muttered something to himself, and his clothes shed their small tears and signs of wear, returning to a pristine state even here on this forsaken island. For the first time since they woke up ashore, the gnome smiled.
Misha looks about, generally trying to be on the alert for both trouble and anything (or anyone) of value.
Perception 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (2) + 4 = 6
But there is far too much going on for her to be able to take note of any one thing.
"I don't think we're going to be able to salvage much out of her, Siera..." comiserated Zababa to the crew member of the now-shattered ship. "We should keep an eye out, all the same, for whatever may still be left."
Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (9) + 6 = 15
Zababa lookst N'gawa with a mischievious look in his eyes.
"Well, N'gawa - there's only one way to find out!" At this, Zababa jumps over the side of the boat in a splash.
1d20 + 4 ⇒ (12) + 4 = 16
Coming up with a grin, "Well, my friend, it appears someone can indeed swim these waters!"
Henry searches about the Jenivere, hoping that anything useful still remains and that the efforts with the rowboat were not in vain.
Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (16) + 6 = 22
"I've some skill swimming, but this surf looks to be more than an amateur like myself can handle safely. Maybe with a rope tied around my waist I could give it a go, but we better have spied something worth the risk before I plunge into those waters."
Tshilaba smiled at Ishirou, "Don't worry too much my friend, palaces are never built in a day. We will have something serviceable soon. If you feel energetic enough to complain about it, go ahead and work on it. I will be back in a minute to help, although you will have to tell me what to do, because I'm pretty clueless about such things."
The Varisian smiled back at Sasha and comically stuck out his belly. "I've got a pillow right here if you need one, it will stay softer if you leave me some food." Before she had time to respond, he laughed as if it was all a big joke on everyone's part and not some vitriolic mess. Last thing they needed was people turning on each other. Who knew what was actually on this island?
He led Aerys across the beach out of earshot, which wasn't very far considering the surf. "I don't know about the head of a captain, but my ears work fine. What's your trouble?"
Siera looks down on the water, her eyes scanning the depths for hidden perils and tracing a safe route to the wreck. She seems deeply concentraded, but suddenly shouts out:
A gulp of my leftover ale for whoever reaches the 'vere first!
She jumps from the boat and pierces the surface of the water like an arrow, emerging a good 15 feet away with a smile on her face.
C'mon, we don't have all day!
Swim check: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (15) + 4 = 19
I am not sure why you'd want to swim to the wreck when you have a now-servicable rowboat... but be that as it may.
Siera and Zababa jumped into the trecherous surf surrounding the Jenivere, and immediately found out just how bad an idea that was. While the old salt Siera could hold her own (though not make any progress) against the eddies surprisingly-strong and swiftly-turning currents, Zababa just barely avoided disaster. His head went under several times, but both of them managed to climb back into the boat none the worse for wear... shaken but not really hurt.
Those not fighting for their lives in the treacherous waters had more time to examine the wreckage. There would no major trouble getting on deck. The lower decks had probably caved in on the rocks, with most of them sliced off. The crew quarters, most of the cargo hold... gone. That explained the generous helping of flotsom and salvage. The captains cabin, the larders and the ship's supply room held out, though. More relevant was frantic knocking and smashing sounds, as if someone or something was trying to batter down a door. The sound emanated from below the deck (tilted about 30° away from the rowboat as it was), and close to the new waterline.
Aerys sighed, and took a long sip from her bottle. She turned back towards the group, and let out another sharp breath. The alcohol-smell was vile, as if the rotgut she consumed had been brewed inside an old boot. "If you say so. I've been at sea a few times. Never shipwrecked or marooned, Besmara be praised. But I've heard my share of stories about either. I know a thing few know, and die because of. We're a large group, but we're still our own worst enemies. Sooner or later someone will crack. Bawl. Scream. Demand to go on a fool's errant. Hang herself" she shot a glance at Sasha, who answered with a pointed *who-me* gesture. "Being stuck in company not of your choosing is harsh. Being somewhere with no hope is harsher. Idle hands are the worst. So we'll need to keep everyone busy. Make sure people speak their minds, and make the hard choices without looking back. Backbiting and power plays are suicide."
Jask made a short, dismissive hissing sound. "Well, lady. I for one just missed my gallow's dance, and am not entirely in a hurry to catch up." He declared, quite abruptly. The tensions immediately began to rise.
I think I missed the "deceptively" in the "deceptively placid waters" description above!
Soaking wet for the third or fourth time today, Zababa squelched across the main deck towards the ship's supply room - reluctant to approach again the unfortunate experience with the dangerous waters surrounding the ship.
"Siera, is there anything in particular from the ships' supplies we should be looking for? Anything from the Captain's cabin? I'm sure he kept some of the better spirits for himself!"
"The captain's cabin, the larder, and the ship's supply room were more than we could have hoped for, this is good luck indeed. Let's start with the captain's cabin, any thing that may help Alton is likely to be stashed away among the captain's personal gear." Henry suggests to the others.
The knocking sound below deck keeps Henry on edge. Still unsure of what caused the wreck, he's torn between thoughts of stowaway monsters or were-captains and possible survivors from the wreck still trapped on the ship.
"Let's load up the rowboat with all the goods that we can before we check on that knocking sound. I've got a bad feeling about this."
Henry moves along with N'gawa across the ship's deck, heading for the captain's cabin.
Tshilaba smiled at Aerys, but his face was pained a little as he was trying to explain things to her. Talking to a drunk was often like this. He kept his voice low to address her concerns.
"Leadership requires either respect or fear to work. I'm already trying the former even though my drunken escapades last night have surely worn that thin. It's a better option if only it allows me to sleep at night. If that doesn't work, I can go the other route if necessary.
I appreciate your concerns, and I will do my best to address them. In the meantime, why don't you go and help Ishirou with the shelter? Keep our hands busy? Hmm?"
Diplomacy:1d20 + 11 ⇒ (10) + 11 = 21
Somehow Jask had followed them over to their "private" meeting, and the Varisian addressed him as well. "Crazy situations make people crazy. No telling what they might do. It's a good reason to make friends instead of enemies. No one here is at fault for our perdicament, let's throw that passion of yours into something useful. I know your story, but what are your talents? Besides paperwork, that is"
With a hissing slither Varg's waraxe was yanked from it's sheath and launched through the air, spinning end over end before burying itself three inches into the side of a tree. The dwarf stomped over and ripped the axe out, ignoring the shower of bark and wood that followed. "This is what I do. I kill things. I defend things, defend people. I accomplish the mission no matter the odds. I mean to get off this forsaken rock alive. Help me and I'll die for you. Hinder me and I'll leave you to die."
Misha shakes her head at Henry. "Let's check on the knocking sound first. If it's a crewman alive, we need to pull them aboard first, and if it's something waiting to eat us, I don't want to invite it to catch us unawares."
She takes one of the oars, ready to row toward the sound, trying to hone in on it.
Perception 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9
Rafflesia nods at Henry's notion of the captain's cabin being the best prospect, though she gazes back at the island - she knows Gozreh has planted something in the jungle that will help Alton. Not like this..., she stares back at the tottered ship, this... dependance on man's forethought to pack properly. A wry grin at the double meaning.
Though, a small side glance, I am curious about that sound.
[EDIT due to Misha's post:] Rafflesia turns to Misha, the wry grin turning mischievous, and places a hand on her shoulder. Be it support, back-getting, or friendship, one couldn't necessarily tell. "Yes, let's." Perception: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (8) + 4 = 12
Henry stops in his tracks, recognizing the wisdom of Misha's words. "Yes, good thinking Misha, lets find what's making that racket first, then we'll explore the ship."
Seeking out the sound, Henry makes his way toward it with weapon drawn.
Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (5) + 6 = 11
if needed, Initiative: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (9) + 4 = 13
With what you remembered from the time spend aboard the Jenivere, the captain's cabin should be the easiest accessible, without going even close to the knocking sounds. The supplies would mean descending below deck, potentially meeting whatever was making the ruckus, and the larder was closest to the sounds.
As an explanation: When Vargbrandr voiced his objection to "secrecy", Aerys turned around and held her little speech in full view of everyone. Had to make a choice, and including a player usually beats excluding ;)
The dwarf's thrown axe had the dramatic effect he had been hoping for - all eyes were upon him.
Rolling Intimidate for Vargbrandr
1d20 ⇒ 4
A small stiletto appeared between Sasha's fingers scarcely after the the axe had met its mark. "Good to know where we all stand, Sir Dwarf. I for my part offer you a different deal: Threaten me again, and you'll die for me."
It was Gelik who seemingly had the coolest head. "Stop this nonsense. I'm sure Alton would spit on the lot of you, had he any water to give. Throwing weapons and threats around like it's the Taldan mating season." He announced, stepping between the quarrel that was forming. "I am a gnome. Used to be laughed at. Pretty good at entertaining the right crowd, too. But this is the worst joke I ever heard. Listen to yourselves, both of you!"
"If that knocking sound means someone's here, it sounds like the larder is the closest we can get. And, if there is someone down there, you should be close at hand, Rafflesia."
Zababa - confident that a pantry, at least, should be unlocked - headed below to try the door.
Henry follows Zababa to the pantry, weapon still at the ready, just in case any lurking creatures attack. Quietly, to Zababa and the others making their way below deck, "Something made this boat veer of course and wreck on the rocks, I hope whatever is knocking about didn't have a hand in that."
Straining his senses, Henry tries to determine exactly where the sound is coming from, hoping to catch faint cries for help and not something sinister or crazed.
if needed, Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (9) + 6 = 15
Shore party is inactive, it seems... so I'll merely update for the boarding party
Zababa, Henry and Siera eagerly attempted to discern what was going on inside the Jenivere, listening intently on the stairwell that led towards the supplies and larder. The sounds were loud, they were uncontrolled, and they were hard. Not like someone knocking for help or trying to batter down a door, but like rock hitting on wood.
A hissing, chittering sound could be heard between knocks, angry and intense, soon joined by another, overlapping one.
"That's no trapped passenger and if it's what caused this ship to wreck I'm not sure we need to meet it, but if we want to get anything from the supply room or larder we'll need to get past it. Seems unlikely that something in with the food would have caused a ship to go off course, more likely it's a local creature investigating the wreck."
Henry looks about at the others for their thoughts on the plan of action?
"On the other hand, if we find something in the captain's cabin to help Alton maybe we skip this fight and get back to shore with haste, making sure we don't need to use any healing on ourselves, or get ourselves caught by the tides out on this wreck. I'm thinking we should check the captain's cabin first, then decide on the larder and supply room."
"The larder doesn't concern me too much. It would be nice to have the food, but we can find food on the island. But the supply hold, that could be useful." N'gawa looks at the others. "But that doesn't mean we need to go there now. I'm fine with checking out the Captain's cabin first."
Sorry for the delay, I had a rough weekend, including a 15 hour workday today.
Tshilaba groaned in exasperation. A vein on his forehead began throbbing. "What the hells is wrong with you people? Do you need to ridden with a whip to cooperate? Acting like uncivilized brute beasts tearing at each other for scraps of what? Do you need your mothers to shipwreck here and come and twist your ears and tell you to at least pretend to be nice? Let us not resort to cannibalism on the first day!"
The Varisian straightened out his shirt and cleared his throat, trying to gain composure. "Varg, you want to get off of this island, so do I. Sasha, leaving someone behind if they hinder them from leaving the island alive is hardly a threat unless you plan to do so. Why you would have a problem with him leaving the island alive? Or anyone? I can guarantee you this, if anyone attacks anyone else unprovoked like this, it's not going to be a one on one fight."
"And everyone, we seem to have gotten into the bad habit of butting into other people's conversations. I ask Aerys a question and Jask answers. I ask Jask a question and Varg answers. And then Sasha interrupts. Would anyone mind if I actually finish a conversation with anyone? Or if I decide to step into the woods to poop, will someone else want to wipe?"
"The only way we are getting off the island is if we find a boat that can get us off. None of us can build one. So either we find one that we can salvage, or we find some way to signal nearby boats. If this place is as out of the way is we have been told, then salvage looks like the best option. But if all of you can't just sit there and let people see what can be done about that, maybe you should spend your energy building a big signal fire instead?"
"So at the very least, let's at least pretend to cooperate for a week or two until we find out more about our situation and how dire it actually is, and maybe we can try not to kill someone who might be useful later at least as a decoy, okay?"
Diplomacy check to improve attitudes: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (11) + 11 = 22
Diplomacy check to make reasonable request to calm down and do something useful. 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (7) + 11 = 18
I am assuming Misha and Rafflesia are still with the rowboat at the moment
"You think there's a way to secure this?" Misha asks Rafflesia. "I don't want us to get too separated, but I don't want to lose our ride back to shore either." Misha leans anxiously toward the direction the other three left.
"You speak true Zababa, with all that thumping it's bound to get through the door. Let us deal with this menace on our own terms and not let it ambush us later. Prepare yourselves, I'll open the door, let's strike this thing before it can strike us."
Henry holds his weapon at the ready and prepares to open the door once his companions are also ready for the surprise attack.
once the door is open, Perception to see what's behind it: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (9) + 6 = 15
assuming it's a creature to attack, Initiative: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (7) + 4 = 11
Attack (if animal +2/+2): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (14) + 5 = 191d4 + 4 ⇒ (4) + 4 = 8
Zababa draws his dagger (I'm assuming a cramped ship's passageway doesn't leave enough space to use a sling) in cautious preparation for whatever lurks on the other side of the door.
In a moment of levity, though, he jokes, "N'gawa, you're bigger than me so you can go first!"
Perception for after the door is opened: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (18) + 6 = 24
Misha nods gratefully, eager to see what's happening. She climbs off and into the ship. "Give a shout if anything happens, and I'll do the same!"
Tshilaba's outburst put everyone in place at least to some degree. Vargbrandr steps back half a step from Sasha, who lets her weapons vanish as swiftly as they appeared, and turned her head somewhat sheepishly. It was Gelik, the gnome, who finally spoke. "Well said. We should probably all take a step back, and ask ourselves if the others feel not exactly as we ourselves do. Then, when we have realized we are only hurting ourselves, we put up guard shifts, have some of that centipede meat - i for one am starving - and discuss our options in a sensible, civil fashion."
The door to the lower parts of the Jenivere came open with a shudder and a bang - a hinge had probably burst after that last bit of strain. Below, they saw a scene as if out of a nightmare. Blood and bits of flesh had stained the corridor, and two insectoid monstrosities were taking turns hurling themselves against a rapidly splintering door. Eurypterids from the look of it, or "sea scorpions", as they had been named all too fittingly. Clad in chitinous armor on par with some lower-grade metal ones, two sharp claws and a venomous stinger.
It seemed the smell of fresh air and the sudden movement startled them very little, since they rapidly abandoned their battering work, and turned on what they considered easier prey.
Rafflesia and Misha can join the fight on round 3, if it lasts that long. Everyone who hasn't already should roll initiative now.
Initiative: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7
When the door banged open, Zababa recoiled at the sight of the sea scorpions.
"Eww, gross! Kill it, N'gawa! Kill it!"
Perhaps more unexpected than this less than machismic reaction to the scorpions, was his lack of reaction to the carnage in the room behind them.