While Talathel is primarily concerned with maintaining a reasonable vigil on the crew of the ship, he ends up spotting something else entirely. An enormous hand reaches out of the water, grasping towards the handsome sailor...
Talathel and anyone else who can beat a DC 20 perception check may act! I'll roll initiative after everyone gets a chance, or maybe when I get bored and want to start the combat!
Random Sea Encounter Check: 1d1000 ⇒ 776
The party departs Aragnak's island with another month to burn before returning. Frankly, after all that's happened this summer month, that month feels like an eternity... who knows, you might be contemplating eternities of various sorts by then.
The crew hoists sails and scoots in close to the mainland, dodging shoals and reefs as they seek a good landing to unload you folks.
One of the sailors leans against the rail, grinning and talking, the sea breeze blowing his long hair around his face and his bronzed, muscular shoulders. He rambles about how scary Aragnak is, about how much he likes the life of the sea-dog, about how the disintegration of Rivenrake means they can make money bringing arms into the island, and then make money bringing refugees out. "It's amazing, people will literally give you everything they own, and all you gotta do is go on a boat ride! Well, you have to dodge pirates, monsters, patrols, and whatnot. But it's a boat ride!"
Anyone want to talk with the blockade runners?
Perception/profession: the walls are crumbling, but tall. The gates are collapsed. Aragnak seems to prefer flying out of the fort, so there's no clear way in from this angle. Aragnak has bandoliers of items and treasures slung across his great bulk.
Arcana: the heat rolling off of Aragnak is potentially dangerous.
Survival: No signs of minions outside the fort.
Reptile's mood: Haughty, arrogant, domineering, evil, and all that feeds into... lustful. Lustful in total-jerk creep red dragon way.
The dragon approaches Anzath, stretching out his neck until his head lingers above the kneeling warrior. He leers at her for a moment, and she can feel the warmth of his fiery blood.
"Ženska bi morala biti bolj ponosna na svoj videz. Tu je ogrlica za vas. Pokažite ga služabnikom Orcusa, ko jih vidite, in jim povejte, da sem ga poslal."
A woman should take more pride in her appearance. Here's a necklace for you. Show it to the servants of Orcus, when you see them, and tell them I sent it.
He hooks a strand of beads from around his own neck and places it around Anzath's. His hot breath makes beads of sweat stand out on Anzath's face... it's the heat, right?
"Všeč mi je, da vam dam nakit, temni vilin. Pridite čez en mesec z drugo ponudbo zame in vam bom dal zapestnico ali lepo obleko. Takšna ramena si zaslužijo svile, ne mitrila. In če padeš v dvorane prekletih, bi me morda celo mikalo, da bi prišel po tvoje telo. Bodite neustrašni in zberite mi veliko zakladov!"
I like giving you jewelry, dark elf. Come in a month's time with another offering for me, and I'll give you a bracelet or a nice dress. Such shoulders deserve silks, not mithril. And If you fall in the halls of the damned, I might even be tempted to come for your body. Be fearless, and gather me many treasures!
With that, he snatches up her offering and that of the boatmen, then, beating his mighty wings, he takes to the air and circles back to the fortress perched on the high rock of the island. The party is buffeted by the air currents generated by the dragon's rising. The smugglers shrug and start back to their sloop.
Unless someone has more to say to him, just let me know!
Anzath's gift is a Type 4 Necklace of Fireballs.
"V globini so tisti, ki bi izpodbijali mojo oblast nad to deželo. Ne ljubim Orcusa ali njegovih hlapcev. Pripeljite jim ogenj in drugo smrt v imenu Rdečega zmaja Rivenrake-a in zelo bom vesel vas, pustolovci."
There are those in the depths that would challenge my authority over this land. I do not love Orcus or his servants. Bring them fire and a second death in the name of the Red Dragon of Rivenrake and I will be well pleased with you, adventurers.
Aurora is no experienced draconic psychologist, but she can sense that the dragon's pure arrogance in his exercise of power has led him to feel truly amused by Anzath's halfhearted submission (even as he recognizes it becoming gradually more genuine). His greed is piqued by Anzath's framing of the expedition as an investment... he's not unhappy.
More soon! Feel free to keep talking to him.
Sense Motive: 1d20 + 23 ⇒ (18) + 23 = 41
Smejiš me, vilin. Še vedno si slab lažnivec. Vaša jeza je jasno videti, vaši načrti za maščevanje meni so očitni. Zaupam vaši jezi bolj, kot bi zaupal vaši dobri volji. Sprejel bom vašo ponudbo. Že nekaj tednov ste bili v moji službi, vaša jeza bo minila, ko boste izvedeli, kako ime Aragnak straši vaše sovražnike! Opazoval sem te. Vaše izginotje v mesto moških se je zdelo dramatično. Kaj ste videli v globinah pod Rappanom Athukom?
You make me laugh, elf. You are still a bad liar. Your anger is clear to see, your plans for revenge against me are obvious. I trust your anger more than I would trust your goodwill. I will accept your offering. You have only been in my service for a few weeks, your anger will pass when you learn how the name of Aragnak terrifies your enemies! I have been watching you. Your disappearance to the city of men was fittingly dramatic. What have you seen in the depths below Rappan Athuk?
The dragon raises its mighty wings as he speaks, and as he pronounces the name of the Dungeon of Graves he roars out the syllables with all of his mighty force. The stones of the harbor and the old fortress resound Rappanom Athukom! Rappanom Athukom! Rappanom Athukom!
Aragnak beats his wings and rises into the air beyond his stone walls. Soon, the massive drake is wheeling over the party, keeping his distance while thoroughly scoping you out. “Med vami so novinci. Ali mi prinesejo tudi poklon?”
There are newcomers among you. Do they also bring me tribute?
He is clearly not scared of you after his assessment. The mighty, Huge dragon casts a few spells while airborne before swooping down in to a skidding halt on the beach by the dock. He looks a bit excited as he eyes everyone's fancy new equipment. “Imate tako lepe stvari!”
You have such nice things!
Appraise: 1d20 + 23 ⇒ (18) + 23 = 41
Aragnak knows that you’re completely decked out with all the wonderful things you’ve just purchased in Riddleport! He is impressed with your taste and discernment and looks eager to start piling it all up in his lair.
A voice booms down from the ruined fortress, echoing off the scrubby (and scorched, in places) seaside vegetation. The men unloading the ship drop to their knees. "Prišel si, služabnik! Bilo je modro od tebe. Kakšen počast imate za Rdečega zmaja?" Echoes resound across the harbor.
You have come, servant! It was wise of you. What tribute do you have for the Red Dragon?
Slovenian is succchhh a good Draconic--imagine those syllables in a big ol' Parthuunax voice!
Let's get this party going again! I cleared the loot sheet--you should all have your possessions figured out and posted in character sheets by now. I'll fill up the loot sheet as you find stuff. I left the shares in the First National, of course. Tragershen: you've got the Spike of Anoma, I think.
The island is about ten miles long--you've seen it on Bristleback's map, so you know roughly how it is shaped. But you don't need to go 'splorin' right now, because the boatmen point out a ruined stone fort commanding the small natural harbor you've just entered. A plume of smoke rises from within the walls. "That's Himself."
Also good to note: they navigated the vessel through a series of complicated reefs on your way into the island. Once inside, they tie up to the decrepit docks and begin unloading treasure chests.
The morning of the 29th finds you onboard the ship and just outside a small harbor on Aragnak's Isle. The blockade runners have a small chest of treats for the beast already prepared. You may go ashore or make plans or whatever you'd like. After dealing with the dragon, the blockade runners will drop you on the mainland, but they balk at taking you all the way upriver to Zelkor's Ferry without more pay.
Elma Bourse leads the party through the winding streets of Riddleport. Her guards (some of your recognize them as survivors of the first expedition, Sarge and the Private) follow—the private soldier keeps you just in eyesight, and the old warrior keeps just behind the pup. That way anyone tailing you is sure to be noticed. “I can deal with these types because they know I’m careful,” explains Elma. She leads you ever-closer to the floating shantytown of houseboats on the periphery of the port. She leads you over unstable, half-rotten piers among the stench of the city’s sewers and the fishmarket—this is a place of the broken-down. Looking back for a signal from her guards, she nods to a particularly ratty (not wereratty) looking hobo who then shoves open a door of a soot-begrimed floating longhouse, the kind usually used as the cheapest of warehouses. But this one is different.
Inside, a sleek sloop floats in a pool of water. Elma nods at the men who spring to the alert with a flash of steel and a crackle of magic syllables. “It’s you. These the ones?”
Elma quickly arranges passage for all of you, handing over a sack of Anzath’s gold. While Tragershen’s plan to drop off the party and summon Aragnak is discussed, the blockade runners surprise everybody by explaining that they would prefer to go directly to the isle. “We know ‘im. It’s our whole secret, ya see. Named the dang boat ‘Red Dragon’ after ‘im, but it’s the gold we pass ‘im that makes it safe for us ta operate in waters that are forbidden to others. It’s worth it to keep the onyx flowin’ to the necromancers… in these dark times, we also run those what can pay us off the island, and we sometimes facilitate a lil’ ransom. It’s a living. Just gotta remember with dragons: don’ laugh, don’ lie, don’ steal. An’ pay.”
Thus the party departs the city of Riddleport for the Isle of Aragnak. They have new equipment, crafting supplies, and the experience gathered through a narrow escape in the Dungeon of Graves. Now, to face the dragon. But first, you must face the sea. The Red Dragon departs in the dark and rain of the evening...
Random Sea Encounter!!!!: 1d1000 ⇒ 540
Random Sea Encounter!!!!: 1d1000 ⇒ 997
Other than a disturbing large shark fin and a bobbing corpse, you see nothing special on your outward journey.
Maybe we could have a ship drop us at the mouth of the river that leads up to Zelkor's Ferry? We can camp there until the dragon comes to us. It wouldn't be far for the dragon to fly. He would know where to go due to the ring. And we could honestly say we didn't go to the island because we didn't want to violate the sanctity of its lair.
This is also a fine plan.
Anzath, seeking information, begins wandering the city. She finds that her underdark accent and directness of manner combine to make everyone she meets instantly and deeply suspicious. "Vat do you know ov ze dragon?" isn't a good way to make friends in Riddleport.
Elma is more helpful, explaining that while Captain Lamb would need an immense amount of money to risk the approach to Aragnak's isle, a few grey characters might be willing to take her on one of their blockade runners. These sharp characters run smuggling and ransom operations across the battle lines developing on Rivenrake Island. "Not to be trusted, but they also don't seek or ask for much of trust. In their fleetest sloop, you might get there in a day and a half. They like those waters because the navies don't trespass near the dragon after he attacked the fleet." Anzath could bribe her way onto one of these vessels for about 1000 GP, with additional passengers added at a lower rate of 100 GP/head (most of the expense is to cover running the sloop into Aragnak's isle).
Sylvester is less helpful, but not for lack of trying. He's mostly confused. "I couldn't risk my life visiting a dragon. I'm very much needed alive. I could sell you scrolls of the spells you seek, I suppose. I'd give you a discount. 4500 GP for a scroll of Scrying and three of Teleport. I won't sell you less than three, it's... it's not always the most reliable of spells. Your wizard could use the scrolls to see where you're going and then get you there."
Options! Feel free to chime in if you have any cool ideas on how to sort this out, folks. Tragershen: Good point, but I might ask for your list of to-be-created items before you leave town to reflect that you can't just bring generic magic supplies, you've got to bring the right ones.
I hope everyone is having a good time shopping! I think that it might make your options clearer if you had a plan for dealing with the dragon. If you can get him off your back for a month somehow, particularly if you can do so without leaving town, you can settle in for 39 days worth of crafting before you have to deal with him again.
Important to remember that your wizard has graciously taken Craft Wondrous Item and Craft Magic Arms and Armor! And Scribe Scroll, and that means he can collaborate with our other casters on scrolls if you'd like.
Tragershen is capable of upgrading Talathel's spear, I think, and he can make you any Belt, as well. Spellcraft rolls required, of course!
8000 GP minus 2000 for starting at +1 divided by 2 for crafting = 3000 GP for the +2, Tal, and will take Tragershen six days (the magical smithy rental fee can be part of the price). Caster level 6.
The belt would be 4000 divided by 2 for crafting - 2000 GP and will take Trag two days. Caster level 8.
Magic Item Creation has the relevant rules.
You have 9 days until the dragon deadline, so there's still that to figure out (creativity encouraged).
Sylvester proves his worth as an ally to the party several times over. Nothin' like a Good-aligned wizard.
He and Tragershen study the Spike of Anoma and find a disturbing artifact indeed. In its everyday, wieldable self, it is a +3 Spell Storing Dagger. It is truly ancient. Sylvester draws your attention to its uneven serrations, which suggest that it might also be a key. It is worth several fortunes. Sylvester wants to keep it in the temple, but he's worried that you might need it someday, and he can't offer to pay full market value right now, considering the damage the Efreeti Bottle has done to the temple budget. He counsels you to not sell it to anyone (except maybe to him, later, or for a discount), no matter the price: “Don’t sell keys before you know what doors they unlock… hmm, I think I just coined a new proverb.”
Google King Tut's amazing meteoric steel dagger, add black jewel in pommel and serrations, and you'll have the idea.
Sylvester reassures Anzath that he or a powerful temple cleric could allow her to slip off the ring by removing the curse within it and confirms that yes, it would be risky to do so. “You’d be exposed to the holder of the Jailer’s Ring paired with your Prisoner’s Ring, especially if they are paying close attention to what you’re doing. Knowing dragons, Aragnak is probably mesmerized by the Status effect granted by the ring, sitting on a pile of gold, grinning to himself. I wouldn’t allow a Remove Curse to be cast on temple grounds, as I don’t want to risk the dragon’s wrath, but I could sell you a scroll, should you ever be in a position to remove it safely. Or perhaps Aurora or Tragershen will be able to help you. Just be careful, I’ll know who to blame if Aragnak the Red suddenly appears over Riddleport.”
Elma is overjoyed to see the party and assists in all shopping. She takes careful note of how much you’re spending, gleefully calling it an “investment” and generously offering her “share in the take” to be reinvested in the project. Her storefront dangles a large banner advertising genuine goods from Rappan Athuk (arriving eventually) and includes an invitation to outside investment and cardboard replicas of the various treasures you’ve already found (and a few she just made up). The shop also includes a small set of rooms upstairs for her employees (Elma lives in the garret). The building also contains a back room full of empty shelves. Elma offers it to Tragershen as a teleport location. The wizard might feel a little odd, sitting in a dingy little back room intended to someday hold the treasure of Orcus.
On to shopping notes!
Uh, I sold everything, forgot I tagged the dagger for him.
I can retroactively hoard things for him, though! It'll just come out of everyone's share, but shouldn't make a super significant difference.
Tragershen: I'm not going to trick you with Aragnak--if you give him swords+ value, he'll likely be satisfied for the month. Two blades and a bag of holding full of gold is a safe bet.
Ho Ho Ho!
Value of loot you're selling: 88000
Spike of Anoma worth at least 32000, but stay tuned for a post I haven’t written yet that will explain why you ought not to sell it.
So, the party is actually above WBL as a whole. In my prior experience with Rappan Athuk, that's likely to stay true and even intensify as we move forward. WBL has no meaning in Rappan Athuk, where extreme and unfair danger is compensated with unbalanced treasure. You should use that to your advantage. Purchase your items and services with care!
Crafters: consider the amount of time you need to craft. And Aragnak’s looming deadline.
Custom items: If you want to special order an item, let me know, and the blacksmith/wizard/whatnot will create it; but they also need to take the time necessary to execute a commission. And also consider that Tragershen has invested heavily in crafting feats, but still needs the days to use them.
If you want to wander into the shops and see what’s for sale, let me know and I’ll populate a market using random treasure generators. No time to do so just now, I'm afraid.
Name Current Diff-Tal Share Payout
Tal 18100 0 5760 5760
If anyone wants to keep a thing out of the "Up for Grabs" section of the Loot sheet, I'll adjust all of your shares. Note that the above calculations reserve nothing in particular for the dragon and sells the +3 dagger. It’ll be somewhat cheaper if you decide to throw Aragnak some scavenged blades or the Helm of Comprehend Languages or whatnot, but I wanted to get this out to you. We can adjust as necessary.
There are no ships sailing until the end of the month, when the Laughing Dolphin makes its run. Of course, you could pay Captain Lamb to leave early.
I’ll try to get that post on the Spike and on the Prisoner’s Ring for you folk tonight, maybe even the market stuff, but it might wait ‘till tomorrow!
Turning to Anzath, "Dark one, I dub thee my agent in the darkness below my island. Find what you can and bring it to me on the full moon of the fourth month. If you find things worth more than these blades, you may keep the blades and your life, and you may continue working for me. I will now give you a gift. If you miss your appointment while you yet live, I will find you and take my treasure from your ashes."
Aragnak is a greedy old dragon, so you really only need to keep him interested (without, of course, trying to lie to him again). Your magic blades are worth about 4000 gold, so if you trust him to keep his word, stuff worth (purchase price) 4-5kish GP buys you another month of mercy. There's plenty on the sheet that is unclaimed to build a bribe.
If you gave him more than you had to, he might be impressed and offer you something back.
Everyone: almost time to go shopping! Will figure it out today.
Talathel Rhuiren wrote:
I haven't added gold for a while, but I don't recall a gold split lately.
Hasn't been a chance to shop much, so I don't think it's mattered.
Thanks for getting your money totals in! Talathel makes me wonder: are you all submitting sell value or purchase price of your items? Should have thought of that before asking for totals, sorry!
Aurora Fallowarc wrote:
...and a bunch of spellcasters who shrug and sit on piles of gold because there's nothing they want to buy...
That's never been a problem for the casters I've known.
Ok, looks like folk are leaning toward option #1, evenly distributed wealth for the good of the soviet!
How 'bout everyone dumps their gear and its value into their own google sheet. If you already have something on the big Loot, add your name to the "In Possession of" column, and highlight anything that you are said to possess in the current Loot sheet but don't possess in game.
We'll compare totals once they are totted up. I also want to write about the Spike of Anoma, which is a pretty valuable lil artifact...
Time for some loot division stuff! How would you all like to do it this time?
A few options for you to rank in preference...
1. We could pause for a wealth audit, see how everyone's WBL is stacking up, and divide the loot with an eye to final parity with each player's wealth even. With so much spare coin, I doubt anyone would have to sell something they'd rather keep, but it's a possibility.
2. You could do a thing we did in one game where you pay for found items with your share of the coin, but at a rate of 75% of face value (the party would get 50% if they sold it at the market, so the rest of the party gets a bit richer, but the user would pay 100% if they bought it at the market, so the individual who takes the item gets a relative deal). In some ways, this is like 1, but it's a little less total in its approach.
3. You could say, "forget it, I'm an adventurer, not an accountant!" And then everyone will claim what they want from the pile and I'll liquidate the rest and divide the proceeds evenly. Someone might get higher WBL than someone else, but it's a team game, so who cares?
Happy to add 4. or more options if someone has a good idea in mind.
Sylvester nods and says, "See, whad I tell ya? Raise him and banish him to Rappan Athuk as penance and he'll be doing us all a service."
The paladin says, "Let the sinner burn. We don't need his help."
Sylvester narrows his white eyelids and says, "The captain of paladins should bring to mind his last Atonement spell, remember how you learned that you can't "hear" innocence or guilt in a scream. And the one before that, how's your son, how's his mother? And the one before that, whatever happened to that goblin orphanage?"
The high priestess sighs as she wrestles the captain of paladins back into his seat. "Enough. I am satisfied. We will raise and restore your friends and equip you either with our own goods, or with the coin to find what you need elsewhere, as fairly established by the market value of the efreeti bottle. This disgusting display should never leave this room. The wizard will take an Atonement for committing evil through compulsion--if it doesn't 'take' we'll know that he's got deeper issues to plumb, and I might reverse my decision."
The dead are raised and restored one negative level each, carrying one forward. You pay for two scrolls of Teleport. After all that, you still have an account of 55000 GP (I'm rounding a bit) at the Temple of Sarenrae, which I've added to the Loot Sheet in lieu of the Efreeti Bottle. You can spend it wherever, but if you want something that the Temple of Sarenrae would have in stock, you might be able to get it at a discount.
Unless anyone has something to change/add...
Tragershen returns to life and gets back to work--with Sylvester's assistance, he identifies the dagger as a +3. How he's feeling, I'll leave for him to describe.
Bedlam is back! His negative levels weigh heavily on his shoulders. I'll let him scrub one off now like Trag and Mone, leaving him with two fresh neg levels, one removable per week.
Mone is back! The temple had a scroll of Raise Animal Companion available for the wolf, paid for with the efreeti proceeds.
You aren't in any danger, so feel free to describe any actions/reactions you'd like. When you're ready, you can find a safe inn in town somewhere. Vael Dahl appears and offers to keep watch tonight so that you can all get a nice long sleep.
"SILENCE, SLAYER!" The high priests are furious. The captain of the paladins steps forward and says, "I sentence the elf to cremation and the scattering of his ashes on the sea. His penalty will be an eternity in the company of his unethical decisions!!"
But Sylvester turns from the corpse and says in a calmer voice, "Sir, I believe the Nethysians. You can't send someone on a mission to Rappan Athuk and expect them to come out clean. We learned something today (praise Nethys and the Lady): we learned that a plague demon named Necator was the downfall of our monastery. The demon over-played its hand by implanting a Mark of Treachery on this wizard. I know that glabrezu use this technique in their evil whimsy. We can take our vengeance at a later date. Furthermore, is there any penalty you could devise that furthers the aims of Sarenrae more than merely sending him and his friends back to that fell place where I found them? I think not."
As debate erupts across the room, Sylvester scuttles over to the altar and begins Prestidigitating the statue.
The high priestess calls for silence, then speaks. "Let us ask him directly. The Mark has left his body."
She casts Speak with Dead on Tragershen, and asks him the following questions: "Why did you desecrate the temple? Are you evil? Were you compelled to be evil? How did you learn about Necator? Will you return to the Rappan Athuk? Will you fight the evil within that place?
Tragershen's punctured lungs suddenly fill with air, and he answers (if he'd like to live) the priestess' questions!
Necator hates Orcus almost as much as he hates Sarenrae. Demons, ya know? They don't get along well with anyone.
You called it with Sarenrae's focus on redemption. They'll give you a chance... once I have a chance to type it up! Everyone else may feel free to act out their reactions to the scene in the meantime.
Well, everyone but Bedlam. I'll have you up and running again tomorrow, Beds!