A cheer rises up from among the colonists as they scramble to the deck of the Peregrine. After six long weeks at sea, they are eager to catch a glimpse of their new home. What begins as a small dot of green on the horizon steadily begins to grow in size as you get closer, and soon you can make out the tree-covered ridges, rivers, and beaches of the island of Ancorato.
A breeze from the ocean breaks up the warm, humid air a bit. Today, the salty scent is tinged with something else. The smell of opportunity. Of adventure. Of a new beginning in a place far removed from the Inner Sea Region.
It will only be a few hours now before you reach your destination.
Simon rubs his hands together, and looks out over the settlement in anticipation.
"Ah, Azlant! Tomorrow your secrets will be secrets no more and when the books speak of those secrets they will forever be associated with SIMON Hollybaker."
Looking around for the rest of the team, he calls out to them. "Friends, can you believe we are finally here? I'm excited to get started right away, but let's take a night to get our land legs under us again and learn the lay of the village first.
I wonder if they will assign us a specific portion of the island to explore or if we should plan out the excursion ourselves?"
A few minutes pass before the sound of heavy, metal-clad footfalls come from below decks. "'ang on a minute, I'm comin'. I'm comin'."
The door below decks opens, revealing a beautiful, fair-skinned young woman with a shock of unkempt red hair that falls past her shoulders. Dressed as she is in Andoren breastplate and carrying a variety of sharp objects, she cuts an intimidating and eye-catching figure. She stretches and yawns, rubbing her eyes.
"It's about time." Victrix says as she steps over to the rail. "Thought I was gonna go stir-crazy on this ship--not many chances for privacy or stretchin' my legs." She rests one hand on the hilt of her massive axe. "Moight at least get a chance ta put some colonial fears ta rest, eh?"
It had been a very long trip for Emalliandra, she hadn't spent so long in such a confined place with people for, well, as long as she could remember. Truth be told she found herself starting to go a bit stir crazy as the weeks went by and as a consequence the cry of "land ho" got her immediate attention. She headed up on deck to see where they were headed, a land that had a strange pull on her she couldn't understand...yet.
As she arrived on deck she saw Simon and Victrix, two of her companions in the days ahead and approached them. She had her long blond hair pulled up in a tail at the crown of her head, the long locks flowing down her back to her waist, and had the usual, rather skimpy, garments that she always seemed to wear on. She arrived just in time to hear Victrix' comment about stretching her legs and couldn't help a wicked little smile as she said, "If that's all you wanted I'd have been happy to help." Her rich voice with it's odd accent was laden with innuendo and she'd gained a reputation for a flirt. So far as anyone could determine she never went farther, just enjoyed teasing people.
Reaching the railing the human woman with a near timeless beauty about her stood next to Simon and looked out at the land, "It doesn't look like much, but then we're a long ways away still." She stretched, her arms going up over her head and her back arching before she said, "It will be good to reach land again. I thought I'd jump overboard and swim if I was stuck here much longer."
"If that's all you wanted I'd have been happy to help."
Victrix arches her eyebrow and gives her a smirk. "I don't doubt yeh would've been. But I'd need a good foight ta really wake me up after bein' stuck on this ship fer so long."
"It will be good to reach land again. I thought I'd jump overboard and swim if I was stuck here much longer."
She looks out across the water. "I don't think that'd be a good idea--waves still look too rough."
"I mean, I'D probably be able ta swim that distance. Not interested in findin' out fer real yet."
"It doesn't look like much, but then we're a long ways away still."
Lost in thought, it takes Simon a moment to realize that Emalliandra has spoken.
"What's that? Oh, you mean the town?
Well, it's more of a base camp than a town, I suppose. In the days ahead, we'll be spending most of our time underground in the dark, wet tunnels beneath the island.
Can you imagine it? Nobody has been in these tunnels for ten thousand years! The wonders that must be in store for us..."
I am swapping out my Shield Extract for Monkey Fish
Emma rolled her eyes at Victrix' words, "If I was serious about it I'd just summon something to carry me there. Why do the work myself when I can make something else do it?"
Her gaze turned to Simon as she responded to his words, "I meant the land in general, but the town as well I suppose. At least it will be something new, maybe we'll even find something of interest." Her expression shifted slightly then going from amused to perplexed. Whatever thought she had she kept to herself though as she stared wistfully at the approaching land.
Kip leapt through the rigging just below the ship's crow's nest when the call went out. "I told you I saw land! I told you!" While that was true, Kip had claimed to have spotted over a dozen times the last few days.
As he scrambled down to the growing crowd on the deck below, he joined Victrix and Lyra at the rails, squeezing between the two ladies. "Can you imagine the adventures we're going to have exploring the whole island? You don't think the current colonists already finished exploring it do you?" After a few moments staring off in wonder, the grippli seemed to deflate. "Do you realize what this means? We went the whole trip without getting to fight off a giant sea monster... Do you think I can convince the captain to sail about for a few more weeks until we find one?"
Lyra laughs at Kip. The strawberry blonde half-elf is of average height and slender build, with blue-green eyes and a lopsided smile. Her hair is pulled back in a ponytail and she wears sturdy but comfortable clothes. A backpack is slung over her shoulder.
"The first wave of colonists have only been here six months! I'm sure there's plenty of secrets left for us to discover. As for sea monsters, I don't think you'll have any luck on that end. Besides, they all probably heard the great Kip Blacklake was on his way and fled in terror!"
Only a short time later, the Peregrine sails into a natural bay with a sandy beach within rowing distance for the ship's boats. As the crew begins to untie one of the smaller boats to lower it into the water, the sailors pass a spyglass among themselves and finally hand it back to the captain. Captain Jacob Markosi peers at the island for a moment before grunting and handing the spyglass to expedition leader Ramona Avandth. "You should see this," he says quietly. Ramona's natural tan complexion has deepened from the weeks at sea. She keeps her brown hair cut short. She accepts the spyglass and peers toward the shore.
When she lowers the scope, she is clearly distressed but trying to hide the worry in her green eyes. She approaches and motions toward the far side of the deck, away from where most of the other colonists have congregated. "Can I have a word with you?" she asks.
Once you have some privacy, she continues. "We have a problem," Ramona says bluntly. She offers you the spyglass. "Something is wrong. Nobody’s in sight. There’s no smoke from cook fires or the smithy. Some of the buildings look burned out." A look through the glass confirms her observations.
"Sailors can’t keep their mouths shut. Soon all the other colonists are going to hear about this—if they can’t see for themselves already—and things could become…tense.
"I want the four of you to take the boat ashore and check out the settlement. I'm going to ask Captain Markosi to sail north along the island's coast to as secondary landing site determined by the expedition's surveyors as an alternative spot to found a colony. The site was later designated as an emergency extraction point should any danger befall the first wave of colonists. With luck, we might find some people there who can tell us what's going on.
"After you have a chance to check out Talmandor's Bounty, the ship will rendezvous with you at this secondary location, whereupon I will make a final determination on where the rest of the colonists should disembark."
Victrix's expression turns grim. "I was wond'rin' why no one was sailin' out ta meet us."
"Roight--we'll get ta the bottom o' this."
Simon gets very serious upon viewing the empty outpost.
"Don't worry, we shall get to the bottom of what happened and report to you as quickly as possible."
Turning to the group, he admonishes them. "When we get ashore, let's be methodical in our searching. Stick to the streets and call out for people until we determine if anyone remains.
Once we have made sure that everyone is safe, we can do a more thorough inspection of the buildings looking for clues.
Now, I can lend my arms to the oars, but I am not much of a boatsman. Does anyone have experience piloting a vessel like this?"
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Emma watched the town as it came closer and they entered the bay. She noticed the way the various sailors were reacting and so when Ramona approached and spoke to them Emmalliandra paid attention. She went with her when requested and looked through the spyglass when given an opportunity.
As Ramona spoke to them and made her request Emma nodded and said, "I agree, this needs to be investigated and I think you've come to the right people for the task." She considered and said, "How far is it to the secondary sight? How many days of provisions will we need to get there?"
Kip gulped audibly when he had his turn with the spyglass. "I wanted an opportunity to chase off monsters and such, but not at the expense of the townsfolk. We'll figure out what happened in no time!" Kip wasted no time bounding to the boat and clambered out before suddenly turning and rushing back. "Ah... which way is north?"
Ramona points to the beach. "That way is east, so--" She turns to her left. "--that way is north. Good luck, friends. Stay safe."
The excited chatter aboard the ship slowly turns to concerned murmurs as the colonists realize what is going on. Ramona does her best to keep everybody calm as the four of you climb in the boat and start heading towards shore. The bay's waters are calm, with only a gentle rocking of the ship's boat. The shore is approximately three hundred feet to the east.
Kip: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (10) + 5 = 15
Simon: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (1) + 4 = 5
Victrix: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (19) + 3 = 22
You row across the bay, closing the distance to the dock. You are still about fifty feet away when Victrix spots movement in the murky water. She shouts out a warning just before two creatures emerge on either side of the boat--unsightly monsters that resemble goblins from the waist up and greasy octopi from the waist down!
Kip: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (18) + 3 = 21
Simon: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 2 = 4
Victrix: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3
Grindylows: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (8) + 2 = 10
Kip is able to act before the creatures can. A Knowledge (dungeoneering) check can identify the creatures.
The creatures are adjacent to the boat on either side, which is 10 feet wide by 20 feet long. Fighting them from inside the boat is challenging. PCs who remain seated take a –2 penalty on attack rolls. A character can negate this penalty by standing up and attacking, but anyone standing in the boat must attempt a DC 10 Acrobatics check each round in which they attack. Success means they remain standing until they attack again. A PC who fails must attempt a DC 10 Reflex save. If successful, the PC immediately sits back down as a free action (standing back up is a move action, as normal), but a PC who fails this save falls overboard into an adjacent square.
Knowledge(Dungeon): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (1) + 8 = 9
* An auspicious start to this adventure...
Kip leapt to his feet, rapier flashing a moment after the nasty creatures broke the surface. "Sea monsters!" Kip cried excitedly.
Rapier: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (15) + 4 = 19, Damage: 1d4 - 1 ⇒ (1) - 1 = 0
Unfortunately, his blade failed to pierce the rubbery hide of the creature, though it did appear to leave a small bruise from the impact.
Yay for minimum of 1 point nonlethal damage! Fencing grace will be nice someday.
Acrobatics (DC10): 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8
Reflex (DC10): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (14) + 3 = 17
Kip's exuberance for finally seeing a fight caused him to overbalance with his lunge and after an awkward wobble, found himself sitting back down in the boat.
You know, I forgot about my inspiration (which is free for Knowledge checks). If it is not too late, I'll take a chance that the dc is really low Inspiration: 1d6 ⇒ 6
So that would be a 15 total, if allowed
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That's fine, Simon
Simon recognizes the creatures as grindylows, sadistic aberrations that take immense pleasure in others’ misfortunes and the spread of mayhem!
Kip jumps up and stabs one of the grindylows, but his blade doesn't seem to do much harm to it! As the grippli falls back into the boat, the creature retaliates, but it misses the small frog-man! The other one attacks Victrix, stabbing her with its spear!
Spear vs. Kip: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3
Spear vs. Victrix: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (15) + 2 = 17
Damage: 1d6 + 1 ⇒ (6) + 1 = 7
7 damage to Victrix!
Round 1: Actions
Move Action: Draw Greataxe
Standard Action: Chop with Greataxe!
Victrix whirls on the little beastie that stabbed her, bringing her axe to bear and swinging it hard!
"You little s~+%!"
Power Attack *Sitting*: 1d20 + 4 - 2 ⇒ (19) + 4 - 2 = 21
Damage (grr so close to a crit): 1d12 + 9 ⇒ (9) + 9 = 18
Even when she's sitting down, Victrix does not take threats to her life sitting down.
Simon's immediate concern is with the oars. The last thing the party wants is to be stranded in the middle of the water and need to swim ashore.
Standard Action: Secure the oars in the boat.
Move Action: Stand Up
Knowledge (dungeoneering): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (5) + 8 = 13
The sudden appearance of the strange creatures caught Emma off guard. She panicked for a few seconds and was a bit slow to react but when she did she was quick. She focused a moment and glyphs leapt from her hand to lay on the water and begin to whirl. An instant later a creature, not unlike a dolphin, leapt from within the magic and struck out at the nearest of the grindylows with the power of heaven aiding it's blow.
I'll burn an Arcane Point to cast summon monster 1 (std action). The summoned dolphin will appear behind the less injured of the grindylows, prefferably flanking, and use smite evil as it attacks.
Cast Defensively (if needed): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (1) + 5 = 6
Hope I don't need that...
celestial (aug) dolphin w/ flank/smite(+2 attack vs evil): 1d20 + 5 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 5 + 2 + 2 = 151d4 + 3 ⇒ (2) + 3 = 5
Kip stood again, though a bit less excitedly than before, and reached out at the uninjured octo-goblin. Gerald suddenly inflated, and a burst of water erupted from the grippli's outstretched hand.
Wave Strike (touch): 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (3) + 3 = 6
Acrobatics (DC 10): 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (11) + 2 = 13
Emma summons a celestial dolphin, which slams its snout into the closest grindylow. It crumples under the powerful blow, falling unconscious!
As Simon secures the oars in the boat, Victrix looses her axe and brings it down on the other grindylow, splitting its skull! Blood and brains leak from the wound as it falls backward, floating belly-up!
In the distance, you can hear the cheers of the Peregrine's crew and the colonists as they witness your victory. You see them waving to you as the ship sails around a corner of the island and out of sight.
With the grindylows defeated, you can make it the rest of the way to the dock unimpeded. A solitary dock extends from the beach into the bay. The construction is solid and looks recent, suitable for tying off a small boat, although no watercraft are visible. The beach inclines to the east before giving way to grass and trees. Further on in that direction, buildings and a palisade wall stand on the rise.
Looking into the water, you can spot a canoe on the sea floor at a depth of ten feet.
The grindylows only have a Small-sized spear each on them.
"Good work, team. Now we know that grindylows are not very dangerous, at least in small numbers. They really seem to be nothing more than aquatic goblins."
Simon scans the town, looking for any obvious signs of life, then stops to consider the sunken canoe.
He starts unloading the party's gear onto the dock as he continues.
"That canoe worries me. Those grindylows might be intentionally sinking watercraft in order to strand people.
We might want to drag the boat onshore and hide it. We should also investigate that canoe to see what caused it to sink.
I am a fair swimmer, though I am sure you are far better, Kip. Perhaps you could investigate the canoe while Victrix and I try to hide the boat? Emalliandra, can you wait on the dock here and keep an eye out for more grindylows while Kip is swimming?
Tell me if you think I am being too cautious."
Actually not great until level 2 when I get a swim speed and the ability to breathe underwater, but I'll be happy to go down to investigate.
"Seems like a good idea to me. But first, let me see where the squiblin gotcha Victrix. It looked like it hurt." Kip scooped up some of the sea water and croaked, causing the water to begin to glow. Dripping the glowing water on the wound caused the water to froth for a moment, then the wound almost completely closed.
Cure Light: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (5) + 1 = 6
Victrix stretches and sighs in relief. "Thanks, Kip."
"Now, let's get ta gettin' this canoe ashore, eh?" She grabs the tip of the canoe and more or less starts hauling it out of the water by herself.
18 Strength, yo!
Victrix and Simon--well, mostly Victrix--haul the ship's boat out of the water, finding some nearby palm fronds to conceal it with. Meanwhile, Kip dives down into the water and swims up to the canoe while Emma keeps watch from the dock.
Once the grippli is down there, it's evident the canoe has a large hole in its bottom hull. It's also evident that a creature has claimed the sunken boat as its own--a waterlogged gremlin that has lobster claws for hands and an almost canine face with webbed ears. It lets out a startled shriek when it emerges from the hole to see Kip nearby!
Kip: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (13) + 3 = 16
Simon: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (7) + 3 = 10
Victrix: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (10) + 1 = 11
Gremlin: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (5) + 4 = 9
Everybody can go before the gremlin. Emma can see what's happening underwater and shout a warning to Simon and Victrix, who are about 30 feet from the dock. The gremlin and Kip are both 10 feet underwater.
A Knowledge (nature) check can identify the creature.
Round 1: Actions
Move Action: Run to the dock!
Free Action: Drop Greataxe
Standard Action: Draw Spear
Victrix sighs. "Oh, what now?"
Then she starts running to the dock, ditching her massive axe for a more modest spear. "Better fer killin' things underwater."
Kip croaked in surprise and quickly swam for the surface.
Swim: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (11) + 2 = 13
Breaking the surface he wasted no time clambering up onto the dock beside Emma. "There's a hole in the bottom of the boat and a big lobster-dog-man moved in!" Calming a bit, Kip nodded enthusiastically while adding, "He might be friendly, but I surprised him so much I thought it best I come up here to let him calm down before trying to talk to him."
Hearing Kip's shouts, Simon runs back to the dock and draws his dagger.
"Quick, get out of the water! Best to deal with it where we have the advantage."
Nature is not my area of expertise
Seeing the sudden appearnce of...something, Emma looked at ti a second to try and identify it but had no clue what it was. She looked to where Simon and Victrix were and said, "We might have trouble, Kip found something underwater!" With that she prepared to summon another dolphin, but only if it looked like Kip was going to be in trouble down there.
Round 2: Actions
Move Action: Move closer to the edge of the dock
Standard Action: Ready Action: Attack the gremlin if it surfaces
Victrix inches closer to the dock's edge as Kip tries to befriend it.
Readied Power Attack: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (4) + 4 = 8
"No idea. But if it throws some kinda beastie at us, I'm stabbin' it."
Simon will nervously wait next to Vitrix, just hoping to be helpful and not in the way.
Ready an AA to give Vitrix a bonus to hit.
Melee AA: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (8) + 2 = 10
-Posted with Wayfinder
The gremlin finishes its spell, and everybody starts to feel very sleepy!
Everybody must make a DC 10 Will save or fall asleep, as per the sleep spell!
Emma Will: 1d20 ⇒ 18
As it swims towards you with claws clacking, Emma's readied action goes off. She summons another celestial dolphin! It rams the gremlin with its bottle-nose, smiting the evil critter! The gremlin crumples under the blow, dying!
Slam w/Smite Evil: 1d20 + 5 + 2 ⇒ (19) + 5 + 2 = 26
Damage: 1d4 + 3 ⇒ (4) + 3 = 7
Well, that's one way to win a fight.
Will Save: 1d20 ⇒ 9
Victrix promptly falls face-first to the dock and starts snoring.
Will: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (20) + 5 = 25
"Aww... well this doesn't bode well for the first wave of colonists. We've only been to shore for a minute and we've already been attacked twice. Hopefully the colonists were able to escape if a bunch of these guys attacked them." With the threat gone, Kip dove down to the sunken canoe once more to check it for additional clues or valuable treasure.
Emma shakes Victrix gently to wake her up as Kip dives back down to check out the canoe. There's a wicker basket and a fishing pole near the boat, but nothing else of value.
The canoe seems to be of recent construction, and it was likely built on this island. Upon closer examination, Kip notices that the hole was created from inside the canoe, not from underneath, and was punctured by a tool or weapon.
If you have the proper tools, a DC 15 Craft (woodworking) or Craft (ships) can repair the canoe.
Kip surfaced a short time later and reported what he had found beneath the waves. "Looks like that guy might have intentionally sank the canoe to keep the settlers from leaving with it. We should probably hurry on to the town now. There's no telling what creepy beasties have infested the place!"
"hzzzmuh-huh?" Victrix blinks and forces herself to her feet. "Oh."
"Let's." The berserker walks back to the end of the dock and retrieves her axe, putting her spear away and readying it in its stead.
A well-worn path in the grass rises up a slope toward a cluster of buildings to the east. The buildings are arranged in a rough triangle, with each point ending in a wooden circular enclosure with rectangular notches cut intermittently, like battlements. These round enclosures are clearly meant to be three points of a wooden palisade fence, which would enclose this first group of buildings once completed. The palisade fence, however, is complete only along the southeastern side of the triangle and is obviously unfinished elsewhere. The grass around the settlement looks like it was cropped at one point, and many paths exist between locations in the settlement, but in less well-trafficked spots, the grass has started to regrow.
All the buildings are constructed of either rough timber or mud bricks set in a wooden frame, and have pitched thatch roofs. Many have open window frames, but only a few have actual shutters or even a canvas curtain for privacy. Doors are basic, wooden affairs, too simple for locks, and some buildings lack them entirely. The construction is new, quite rough and unfinished.
There are no tracks in the sand leading from the dock to the colony. The entire settlement is dead quiet. The only sounds are the waves lapping gently onto shore.
Just outside the palisade stands a group of seven canvas pavilion tents, all of which are large enough to shelter two to three people each. All but two tents have collapsed due to wind, rain, and lack of maintenance. The two that remain standing lean haphazardly and do not appear to have been entered for a long time. Grass has begun to grow around them.
Victrix blinks in confusion as she looks upon the desolate settlement. "...huh..."
"OI!" She calls into the settlement, keeping her axe at the ready.
She makes sure to keep an ear out for a reply.
Perception?: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (20) + 3 = 23
"Creepy... Looks like they were staying in those tents while they were working on the more permanent buildings? Let's check the tents first," Kip suggested as he approached the dilapidated tents.
Will: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 = 5
Falls asleep and gets woken up. Glad the dolphin was able to take the thing out.
After making their way into the town, starts calling out "HELLO!" every few hundred feet, hoping for a response.
During the breaks when they are listening for a response, he opines quietly.
"Stranger and stranger. It would probably take weeks for grass to grow around fallen tents like that. It appears as if construction of the town was progressing nicely and then everyone disappeared."
Assuming there is no response to our shouting:
"Well, it is clear that wherever the settlers went, they are no longer here. It is fortunate that we at least have not found any bodies or other sign of battle yet. Perhaps they yet live and will be able to tell us why they left.
They could be at the secondary site as we speak.
Still, let's leave no stone unturned. We should start our search inside the palisade. This was likely where most of the settlers had started to live while construction continued."
He will look around and point to the house at the Eastern peak of the triangle.
"Let's start with that house, then split into two groups and make our way around the houses lining the walls."
"...and get targeted by whatever's caused the colonists ta disappear?" Victrix scoffs. "Not on yer life. We're stickin' together."
"Splittin' the unit leads ta nothin' but trouble."
"As you wish. Slow and steady wins the day.
In that case, let's start with this house right here ", pointing to one just to the left (north) of the path coming from the docks, " and work our way clockwise."
"Roight. Let's go."