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The ships close, and the large galleon is manned by a crew of approximately fifty men. None of the men appear to be armed, and they run up a signal flag as they spot you.
"That is the flag for a commerce vessel."
As the elven vessel approaches into hailing range. A bullhorn is used to shout to you.
"We are traders. We have mostly foodstuffs and equipment."
The trip back is........3d20 ⇒ (9, 17, 20) = 46
uneventful until less than a day of sailing from elvenhome....
a large ship sitting low in the water is spotted following the coast of the mainland but well out to sea. Your ship is easily overtaking the much slower ship from the stern. It is flying the standard of the large human city you recently visited.
Like the uninspiring design of the utilitarian city, the trading vessel you are approaching is built for utillity and cargo capacity. It is running three sails and making fair progress with the winds.
Windfavor, the sea elf, comments:"Those lines on that ship are dull and uninspiring. The shipwright that built that should be quartered. Do we avoid them or hail them? Those dogs are so slow, we could circle around them without!"
Windfavor steers the boat into the large natural harbor. It is obvious the arrival of the ship is a significant event, and a large group is waiting for the ship to arrive. Windfavor slowly guides the ship in, pointing out that the humanoids on this island are quite different.
The are bipedal and most closely resembles humans, but they have a pale cast to their skin, deeply sunken eyes and an emaciated appearance. Overall they seem frail. They are equipped with javelins, throwing axes, light hammers, shortbows, and light crossbows.
Their main manner of dress seems to be gray scholarly robes with differing types of colored braid and embroidery. A very elderly male awaits with a large degree of embroidery on his robe. Most of them hold a single hand high in a 'stationary' wave as a greeting.
"I know many sea shanties to entertain, but many are off-color."
The ship pulls away on a swift, uneventful journey to the island.
3d20 ⇒ (8, 14, 11) = 33
Approaching the large island, Windfavor is careful to spend an entire day reconnoitering the coastline from afar.
There are many small villages, and one massive coastal city built by a natural harbor.
"Where do we wish to land? We stand out in a small village. If the massive harbor does business, strangers may stand out there. But I see the shipping lanes from our continent are basically empty. We may stand out in the large port city too."
Windfavor helps looks at the potions, and perceptive elves quickly discover their nature.
3 oils of keen edge
Obviously the alchemists were no slouches.
After waiting for the wands to be created, Lady Ciedrel talks to the warleader of the wood elves and hires a company after they both travel magically to their camp and hire them. It turns out to be Wil's previous company the party met along the road.
The mercenary company poses as raiders in multiple small groups and draws a response from the Rovagug forces stationed at the critical supply point.
Windfavor prepares the ship and it is stocked with enough supplies for a month of traveling without any forage. As the ship sails, the sea elf introduces his companion, a young half-elf apprentice from Seaview who would like to learn from the admiral.
As the ship heads out, Windfavor explains his plan "Almost all of Rovagug cultists are supplied out of this port. There is single warehouse one of the human spies has told us is the focus of the higher ranking cultists. This is the one we need to go after. Time will be critical here, as this is mostly a raid. We cannot hold for an extended period of time. I am timing our arrival for twilight."
As Windfavor heads straight for home, the journey takes about two days with split watches. The ship is quite easy to sail, and between the captain, the druid, and Suny, the duties on the rest of the group are minimal.
The sleek vessel sails into port. As the news reaches the Queen, a huge reception committee rushes out to meet you. The news of the successful arrival and departure of the wood elves is just more good cheer added to the addition of the Slipstream to the elvish cause.
The elite houses reluctantly rally their support, and the elven artisans and smiths open up their wares to you. A sponsor comes forth from two houses to grant a boon to the returning elves.
A letter of credit for 10,000gp is provided for you to shop in the shops of some of the enchanters and craftsman on the island.
You will need to put together a shopping list in the discussion thread. The first 10,000gp is covered. Some items may be unavailable, but all +1 weapons or armor are now for sale, including elven curved swords and composite longbows of strength.
Windfavor tosses a few fish into the the sea, and a medium sized sea lion appears.
The sea lion is quickly at ease with Eirel, the offered salted fish he downs in a few bites. He seems to be very distressed when Eirel points to the cove. The mannerisms and agitation seem to be similar to those when confronted with his most feared predators.
When Eirel summons his dolphin, the sea lion seems to be trying to dissuade the dolpin from approaching the cove. The sea lion goes so far as to interpose his considerable bulk in the way.
It is quickly obvious that the sea lion would not be distressed by just the two ships anchored offshore. The communication gap does not allow any further sharing of information, but the sea lion seems to follow your ship and is keen on sharing many fish.
Windfavor takes out a potion. "This allows me to create a bubble of air with me underwater. I used one of these on our very first mission. Maybe I could use it to scout if Eirel has problems making sea friends."
It was over a year ago, but Windfavor used a potion to carry a small elven rogue with him underwater and set up a sniping position.
With the fish and Eirel's unique talents, he begins to find a small sea lion interested in him.
+2 for fish, +2 for animal empathy -- 10 charisma gives Eirel a +4 diplomacy roll. I know how you feel about rolling your own dice :-)
The decks of the ships are about 20' above the water.
The sea elf appears with a large assortment of ships stores. It appears salted fish, and barrels of limes were a popular commodity long ago. After tasting the fish, Windfavor finds they go down easier on the salty crackers he finds in another barrel.
"We definitely aren't going to run out of food anytime soon."
witches travel a night? 1 yes: 1d3 ⇒ 2Stealth vs perception stealth/per: 1d20 ⇒ 11d20 ⇒ 18 Moonlight percentage1d100 ⇒ 22
As the Slipstream gets underway, the ship quickly makes up for lost time. The moon is slightly under a quarter moon, so there is little light to see by when it turns dark. Nevertheless, the watchful captain, Windfavor, picks out what he identifies as two ships anchored ashore in the shadows. It takes a few moments as the sails are reduced and the ship closes for the others to pick out the new ship, a large vessel with no sails and two large structures with a long mast at the front. The two ships are completely at a stop in the shallows of a cove anchored about fifty feet offshore. To approach the Slipstream will have to reduce sail to creep closer to the shore.
"We can try an ambush at night in closer quarters, but the mobility of the Slipstream will be neutralized by the shallower waters, or jump them as soon as they hit the open sea tomorrow."
Windfavor picks out what appears to be about five sentries on the deck of the larger, newer vessel.
Okay, as I didn't want to rush people along as was a problem in the wagon encounter.
The Slipstream pulls away from the Divine Hammer and heads after the witch vessels. The Divine Hammer begins to lift out of the water and swiftly take off as series of metal legs on the bottom of the vehicles seem to support the vessel as it takes off at a rapid speed. Although the Slipstream is fast, it becomes obvious it would have no chance of catching the metal ship, even with the wind spirit rushing the ship through the water.
The Slipstream quickly catches the wind and takes off at its own incredible speeds. The windspirit quickly stirs up the water around the ship, and a fine spray of water seems to be in the air as the spirit seems to delight in occasionally pulling surface water up into the air.
The hunt is on. I assume spells are learned.
Windfavor comments: "A somber bunch, those monks. No fun in that port I am sure. Probably not a single bawdy tavern on that hill."
Valias and Variel (the two wood elves) call down to the gray-robed man. "We are headed to the abbey. You can come with us to the abbey, but plans may be changing."
Variel asks of Thalas, "Please hold of your departure till we meet with the monks."
The ascetic and warrior wood elves approach the bridge and meet Master Bopart. After being shown a painting, the two elves disappear to reappear shortly afterward. They seem quite excited, and it appears they are invited to the abbey. Windfavor takes his leave to scout the witches ship some more, as Eirel has the ship well in hand at anchor.
At first the wood elves are very skeptical, but it appears they can follow Master Bopart across to the abbey by walking on the very air well away from the precarious span of disks.
After approximately one hour, Windfavor informs you that the witches are departing up the coast in the approximate direction of Elfhome.
Windfavor speaks, "We could probably catch them later unless we wait too long and they continue to travel at night. I do not know if they would need to travel illuminated or not, but if they do not, we could miss them."
As Wil concentrates on the newcomer, the barely perceptible aura of evil is found on the middle-aged human, well before he is admitted aboard the ship.
The war chief nods at Wil's question, "We need to decipher the scrolls. Now that you have shown it can be done, I think that will encourage our wise ones to try harder. The curses stopped our mages early, but we may need to ask the queen to get involved."
Windfavor has been shown to be perceptive. He was the only one who noticed the assassin's deadly attack on Elorin. But he has little more to reveal about the new ship of the witches.
As the party decides how to handle the newest passenger, who has a faint aura of evil and waits to be allowed aboard, Windfavor looks over the ship with Eirel. Given Eirel's familiarity with the ship, Eirel can use a move action to keep the wind spirit adding to the speed of the ship as well as maintain a general feeling about the ship's health and status. With Windfavor at the helm (and Eirel using a move action), no further crew is needed. In just a few minutes the ship is ready to sail.
Windfavor speaks of the witches.
perception: 1d20 ⇒ 8
"Their new ship was finely made, but definitely not as fast as this. It had a source of fire to make it go and caused smoke to emerge from the rear that quickly dissipated in the air. Their ship was larger, maybe because their delegation was larger. Curiously, the number of slaves I was expecting to see manning the oars was much diminished. This I found curious, but could explain why the rowing boat is being towed."
As the preparations are underway, and the harbor has a single exit channel that is well marked on a chart included with the ship, the anchor is ready to be raised. A single figure in grey robes rushes down to the pier. Waving his hands he speaks in a raised voice, "If you are headed to the wood elves, I would like to ride along."
The seasoned sea elf assesses the situation soberly, "We have a great vessel that has the main advantage of speed. Much of that advantage will be lost in a stern chase. Going against a foe with known magic and siege weapons and some experience with naval combat is highly risky. I would not choose this as my first engagement, but I am extremely averse to risking what is now 90% of the elf navy. Realistically, I say it is a 50-50 shot."
The wood elves discuss things and add their input. "The pick of the lot is still in the monks shipyards--my queen has made that ship a huge priority. I would prefer to return to my queen and see if our scholars can translate and solve the riddle. Since you managed to do it, I will have our mages push to use magic and risk the curse. Although if you wish to pursue the vendetta with the witches, we will support you."
Elorin, the wood elven delegation has made it to the capital and presented the petition. I need a d20 roll - 1-4 rejected with prejudice, 5-10 being considered, 11-15 accepted 16-20 accepted with apology.
"I assume we are giving a lift to the wood elves. Should be no problem to stop off and save them some time. This is probably one of the few modes of transportation that moves faster than they do."
He muses and then continues.
You immediately notice the deck on this vessel is extremely high, and the draft on the ship is extremely deep given the large keel needed to keep it stable while underway. The keel can be raised when sails are lowered to allow 'creeping' in shallows, but the Slipstream is an open sea, deepwater ship.
Seeing the rampant spread of fire on the deck, hearing Will describe the water gushing in from the port side hole, Windfavor sadly gives the order to abandon ship.
"Abandon ship. The water barrel is now highly buoyant, if anyone is in heavy armor, the better be ready to grab on to it."
Windfavor steers the ship away from the galley.
Once again the rustling of pages is heard echoing from the galley and the sweet leathery smell of a freshly bound book tickles the nose. Suny is rapidly swimming towards the ship as the manacles holder her have come loose.
You are touched by Labelas Enoreth--you feel your force of will is stronger than ever (see Talon's alias for the feat to replace the Lady Ciedrel one). A pretty elfin voice momentarily talks instead of the gruff voice of your bench mate. "Better get back to the ship and help the survivors; it looks they are sinking."The manacles slip to the ground opened.
The ballista shot missed the crosspiece of the catapult and Seltyn manages to prevent some of the fire from spreading, but the area burning continues to grow. Smoke begins to pour out of the hold below.
"Hang on tight to something.", the grizzled sea elf shouts. Windfavor steers the ship hard to port to dip the left side below the water line. His desperate maneuvre is rewarded with a crunching sound and water begins to leak into the hold while the ship begins to slow.
The ship with the weakened hull tries to hold given the stress of the turn. save 5 or better: 1d20 ⇒ 2
With the warning, Acrobatic DC 10 to avoid falling prone, missing a Acrobatics DC 5 and a bad tumble.
"I don't think she can hold together much longer. I would have thought elven engineering would have let me try that."
Talon's first shot misses, the second shot almost penetrates the soldiers armor behind the improved cover of the catapult. Azlain has the ballista loaded and ready to fire. The officer on the top of the high deck is calling out numbers to the catapult crew as the basket is locked in place and loaded. Due to the movement of the sprite, slight adjustments are made to the angle of the catapult, so it cannot fire right away.
The range closes to 200' and then holds as the oars begin to pick up. Due to the heroic efforts of Seltyn, Wil, and the bannermaiden the fire is contained and spreads no more.
One of the rowers "Sounds like a bad day to be on the loading crew. Normally the job is easier. I'm glad I'm rowing today." While being watched and rowing, it is not possible to effectively mount another escape attempt.
The captain looks with concern as the fire is halted short of the mast and sail. "I take it we don't want to swing left and dip the port side into the water yet."
Barely more than shoulders and heads are visible from the armored soldiers (it would be a tough shot). The archers are not visible at all.
One more round of actions for everyone.
"This is going to be dicey, their catapult will be more accurate in a stern chase."
As the boat closes to ramming distance, it becomes obvious that Windfavor's maneuvre will easily miss the ram prow by a nice safety margin. It is also clear that the less maneuvrable galley will not be able to maintain an effective pursuit after the pass at the high speed. "They cannot row like that for extended periods of time.", Windfavor informs you. "Our main threat is the catapult now. They will probably get another shot at us."
Talon sees a group of four archers with flaming arrows preparing to fire and takes one out with a well-placed arrow. The remaining arrow misses and flies wide. There are three archers left. They appear to be waiting for something to unleash their volley.
Windfavor perception 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (20) + 12 = 32
Windfavor also points out there is witch up on deck watching the action, but very well hidden.
"Get out our water barrel from down below, if we get rammed, we're going to need it."
Enemy steering roll:
1d20 + 2 ⇒ (15) + 2 = 17
Seltyn or Talon can make Windfavor's roll at +7 on a d20
As the ships bear closer, Windfavor unfurls extra sail and snaps the ship into the wind. His desperate maneuvre tries to avoid the rapidly closing boat DC17 check, the enemy crew is quite good.
The galley is closing fast (100' per round), everyone gets an action at 100' and at point blank range.
A quick inspection by Thalas of Suny and Talon show that their condition is due to a magical disease. As soon as the disease is cured, their weak body chemistry can be repaired through restorative magic.
Windfavor looks at Setlyn, "The sea creature is protective of the waters we are entering, and we are much depleted. Shall we continue on, or return and refit. I would like to see the lady Elorin restored as quickly as possible."
He puts a hand on Setlyn's shoulder. "You did fine in this crisis. Our main mistake was being too trusting of our human castaways. As much as we can be tempted to look at the final results, I think we came out better than I would have expected. By missing the creature with the enchanted missile, I think I threw away our best chance at defeating that monstrosity."
Seeing Suny leap over the side with Talon, Windfavor turns the ship to gain the most speed and throws another line out the back. Wil and the bannermaiden pull Azlain to the boat.
Windfavor shakes his head, "Lady magic is a fickle mistress."
Rushing to the ballista he looks for his target.
Per1d20 + 12 ⇒ (14) + 12 = 26
He fires the carefully loaded magic bolt.
Suny avoids the creature with an acrobatic attack run, gets the creature to release the unconscious ranger and follows him down to get him.
Thalas and Azlain notice the sea creature is right under them!!!
Windfavor moves the tiller and slams the ship hard to starboard (right).
Azlain Will save, Talon CM check at +4 to break free
Lady Ciedrel Rolls2d20 ⇒ (8, 9) = 17
Windfavor Per/SM 2d20 ⇒ (14, 15) = 29
Windfavor takes in the action in and points to Seltyn, "He is fighting the creature. It is a Deep One."
Windfavor fits an arrow to his bow, "Guide us true wizard, these are nasty beasts."
Order of Action
1d20 ⇒ 11
With Seltyn's aid, Windfavor quickly realizes the illusion for what it is. He adds, "That was a masterful illusion, the shadows and drift looked just right for a bit. But now I see it is nothing!"
Unfortunately you are not out of the woods yet, realizing Seltyn is the primary threat, he feels a massive intellect trying to dominate him and turn him into a mindless puppet. He has visions of a vast undersea city with airbreathing slaves like Gretchen serving large sea creatures. Seltyn does not want to be one of them so a Will Save needed with +2 elvish bonus versus enchantment allowed.
Thalas first aid check on Elorin
Will Save still needed.
Will Save will be needed. Make one in a spoiler to save time.
Windfavor draws his bow and sends an arrow at the assassin. An arrow does massive damage to the human. Beset by the arriving reinforcements, and taking one look into Wil's eyes, the assassin deftly leaps overboard and barely avoids Wil's sword. ACR1d20 + 7 ⇒ (11) + 7 = 18
Windfavor calmly nods at Suny. "It is not yet evening, but we can't be sure."
Looking at Seltyn and Talon. "The ballista will do little good running away." Windfavor calmly gets a longbow and quiver out of the ship's stores. He fires a shot at the piece of driftwood the humans were on about 300 feet away.
The days go by as the elven crew refuses to relax their vigilance. On day six of the journey Windfavor explains that you are probably two days from your destination. The winds have been favorable and in midafternoon the winds slow down a bit.
There is a repetitive glint of light to the right
From the vector of the glint of light is a small floating object.
1d20 + 14 ⇒ (12) + 14 = 26
"I spot a glint of light 30 degrees to starboard"
The elves have a ballista. To mount it should take a day. The sides of the boat are a standard waist high wooden rails. Anything higher would slow the ship down and interfere with the ability to tack and swing the sail.
As for stowing a warhorse in the hold. It will take a similar hoist at the landing site or packing a block and tackle and setting it up and unloading the horse. The unloading operation is of moderate difficulty and requires a large tree or pole to attach the equipment to on landing.
Going to an unknown area Windfavor points out bringing the horse is on the risky side.
You board the Sprite, a small single-decked, single-masted cargo ship. A familiar sight for those that rode it on their first journey to the Coastal Kingdom weeks ago.
Windfavor, an aged sea elf with vestigial gills and Grand Admiral of the elven fleet (which is now just the Sprite), prepares to set sail for the Shipyards. A week journey up the coast the opposite way of the jungle tribes, Windfavor supervises the storage of a month of dry goods to last the entire crew. A large tank of spring water is stored on board and should last for a week without replenishment.
"Jump on board and get your sea legs ready. This will be an adventure for some of you landlubbers. Does anyone want me to try and rig a hoist to bring a mount on board? Last time we had a well-behaved animal. In the past we have placed a single warhorse in the cargo hold. Unfortunately we need a similar hoist to get him off the ship, and horsed eat quite a bit in foodstuffs."
Upon noticing Thalas, Seltyn, and Azlain in the library, a grizzled sea elf enters and greets Seltyn, who he obviously already knows, and the two newcomers.
"I can see you are learning of our long history. I will save you much reading of 50 centuries of dull historical lists and records. In the beginning we are told the world was all feyborn and from these the father of all elves was born as totally unusual child with massive strength of character and magic beyond the most powerful of spirits. He went on to create and father our entire race through natural and arcane magic of an unparalleled level."
"After ten elven generations or roughly twenty centuries the elves and feyborn lived unchallenged and in harmony. Some of the elves became corrupted by the power over nature and the world, and in a supreme act of jealousy and rebellion, they created their own creatures to worship them. These creatures were a strange mix of animals, feyborn, and elvenkind. As the pure elves sought to purge these heretics, the heretics made alliances with devils and summoned devils to their aid."
"Knowledge of dwarvenkind is sketchy this far back, but it is known the dwarves had a similar break and droved their evil kind underground at about the same time."
"Although the evil elves and their allies were driven underground, the practice of using magic to create more continued and the goblins and orcs arose as a further threat to elvenkind. The elven dieties and dwarven dieties allied to create the first human dieties which in turn created another race in their image to help the elves and the dwarves in their battles against evil. The first humans quickly multiplied and seemed to easily check the orcs and goblins at every turn."
"Humans, elves and dwarves easily had the upperhand for twenty centuries. Then ten centuries ago the goblin wars began as the underground evil races were no longer content staying out of the sun. Two competing and equally theories have told of a lack of resources underground and a jealousy for those above the ground that drove the first of the goblins to raid and fight aboveground."
"The goblin wars were mostly over 600 hundred years ago, but the final battle only ended over fifty years ago. Six hundred years ago, the rise of the necromancers, the death knights, and the evil cults spread within the human ranks as well as those of the goblins. This delayed the defeat of the goblins and caused problems as the forces of good found another foe--one that operated within their ranks. Many elves and gnomes found themselves upset as the humans treated them increasingly poorly. This culminated with the moving of the elves and dwarves into smaller and smaller 'reservations'."
Windfavor readies the ship for the quick trip back.
"Thank you for saving Silverstrike, he was one of the best elven spies ever. He could pass for human and was masterful with disguises. I think he was theatre trained too."
Off to the coronation.
You are greeted at the dock and shown to your own inn. A two-story affair has been given to you to serve as the new embassy/elven quarters when you are in town. A sign at the door reads, 'Subject to closure at any time due to King's business'.
The inn has comparmentalized rooms. Currently panels/partitions have been moved to make four lavish apartments upstairs. A full common room downstairs that can seat about 40. The staff is a family of four to cook, clean, and serve drinks that arrives for two hour intervals three times a day at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The herald has prepared and delivered here a short speech declaring that the elves look with favor on the human king and wish Derrick and his line well. Two young pages have been assigned to look after you at all times but you have been left on your own. They wait patiently at the door and offer to do any menial tasks.
Windfavor loads the group and takes you on the quick trip to the sheltered harbor. His entrance is less dramatic, but he still manages to rush in and coast up perfectly to the dock after stowing sail.
The dock area is lined with people playing and putting out nets and pots to catch sea creatures.
No one is awaiting your arrival, but a single teenage runner goes through the tower/stairs to town. The block and tackle that was set up to load last time is no longer there.
You may wait or approach the tower.
The tower is completely unguarded with no soldiers (unlike last time).
secret Sea Encounter roll:
1d20 ⇒ 15
secret Coastal Kingdom Rebellion roll:
1d20 ⇒ 19
Now for the good news. The trip back is uneventful and the group returns refreshed as Marlamin provides healing magic to restore everyone to full strength. Windfavor stops at two freshwater rivers to restore the drinking water and the ship's stores easily last.
As you pull into the harbor, two key members of the Queen's inner council are there to greet you with good news. The Coastal Kingdoms have had a full Civil War. There was bloody fighting, but the old government has been overthrown. The new government has requested an emissary and we we were hoping you would return in time to send Elorin.
The young boy returned on a ship sent for him. It appears those favorable to our cause have a strong position in the new government. This young human left, but hopes to return and learn our ways if his return will be allowed. We could not in good faith keep him from his father, who was instrumental in the new changes.
As the human city is so close to the elven kingdom, Windfavor sets sail for home. "I can do some maintenance on the ship and we can replenish supplies. Plus we can find out what the spymaster found out while we were gone."
Talon used a potion and one was used to bring Mar back. The rest you save. That makes 4 total lvl one potions. You will probably get to choose three more when you get back.
As the dryad has secured you safe passage away, you quickly rush back to the beach to signal for Windfavor just past midnight, but he is already there. Windfavor claims he heard the news from a few seagulls who spoke to him that you would be returning and he should be ready. They wailed that, "The lady of bark and moss is no more."
Windfavor pulls out to a sheltered anchorage safely away from shore. He is very taken with the young ape who quite docilely follows Marlamin around. The ape is not a bit afraid of the sea and is somewhat of a natural sailor and follows Windfavors instructions eagerly. (who'd a figured that) "Should we can rest and recover here or sail for home? I hope you gave as good as you got."