Episode Five - Island Secrets
Episode Five: Island Secrets (Level 5)
Vash and Ichtaca wake Tobias, telling him they plan to return to the city briefly to see about restoring Vash’s missing eye. Tobias then finds a note under his door from his mafia recruiter, telling him that a boat will pick him up around sunset for his promised tour. Anducaid visits as well, but seems distant and strange, and tells Tobias that it isn’t “safe” for him to spend time with the group right now, but that he will rejoin them later. With nothing else to do, Tobias and Lyda spend a pleasant day wandering the shops, gardens, and beaches of Otheshayr Island.
Meanwhile, Ichtaca and Vash sneak onto the ferry back to Athelshoth. As they leave the docks, a strange vibration fills the air and ripples the water, as though a giant soundless bell has sounded. They seek out Arbiter Ayrathun, who is helping out with the Nemelethe clinic. He has prepared a salve to restore Vash’s missing eye. It will take several days, and be excruciatingly painful, he warns the drow. Ichtaca and Vash overhear an interesting conversation about doctors and patients in the clinic seeing ghosts, and question the staff, search the premises and examine patients to learn more. Though neither has ever encountered one, both become convinced that vampires have been here. Several of the most endangered patients have been bitten, and strangely, although they are weakened and near death, the venom from the bite seems to have slowed the progression of the disease. Witnesses saw ghostly, fleeting figures, one a well-dressed man dangling some sort of crystal lense from a chain as he leaned over a stricken patient. Intrigued, but unable to learn any more, Vash and Ichtaca head for the market district to find a disguise for Ichtaca, who is supposed to be dead. They buy clothing and jewelery from a Goltaraim trader, whom Vash pays generously with a stolen gem from the casino vault. Ichtaca practices his goltalair accent, and the two men return by ferry to the island.
Tobias and Lyda, while meandering along a beach, have noticed a strange vibration out in the lake, as though some massive, heavy creature is thumping along on the lake-bed. It appears to be circling the island. Tobias rents a pleasure-boat, and the couple head out into the water to follow the disturbance. Tobias senses a strong magical aura below, perhaps an item of great power. Whatever it is, it turns away from the island, making a bee-line for Athelshoth harbor. Vash and Ichtaca’s ferry passes over the thing, and Tobias senses it deep below, seeming to pause, moving back and forth as if confused, before it resumes its path for Athelshoth. No longer able to pursue it if he wants to keep his appointment, Tobias directs the crew to head back to the casino.
Jethashae Moul arrives, taking Tobias and Lyda to a craggy grotto, where they sail directly into a cliff-side cave. They are given a tour of a dock bustling with activity, as burly workers unload shipments of firearms, alcohol, exotic trade items, narcotics, medicine and other valuable cargo. Heavily armed guards keep watch. The caves above have been transformed into an experimental hospital. Overseer Huleath is directing what he thinks will be “the family’s” most lucrative endeavor yet; finding a cure for the Nemelethe by any means necessary, so they can sell it at ridiculous prices. Lyda and Tobias are horrified at the brutally efficient methods he is using to research possible cures, and struggle to feign disinterest as several bodies are being loaded onto a crude elevator and hauled up to a tunnel to be carried off and dumped into the sewage pits “for the Otyugh.”
The “valuable cargo” that the Souliaydach family has bought is a man, Olliash, one of the missing researchers from Menachem university. He has one volume of his notes with him, but the other volumes, and the other two researchers, were not brought in by the pirates, and may have been lost in a shipwreck. His journal details several herbs that may, in small doses, be of use in treating the Némelethe, but cannot be ethically tested, due to their toxic nature. Olliash is delirious with fever, but he is chained to a table, being forced to compound herbs. He and the other doctors are being forced to treat groups of patients with experimental cures, and dozens have already died. Huleath brags to Tobias and Lyda about the operation, and sets both of them to work, sending them into a side room with a batch of toxic bloodroot extract to administer to a group of patients.
Meanwhile, Vash and Ichtaca rent a boat and follow in the guise of hapless pleasure-boaters, drawing much attention with their antics before they vanish from sight. They hide their craft on a beach nearby, and sneak through the forests nearby, searching for a back entrance. They find a tunnel leading into a series of caves that are being used to process sewage from all the island facilities, and navigate a series of rickety wooden walkways over open cesspools. A vast creature moves in the sewage below, and Vash recognizes the vile stench of an Otyugh, which they wisely avoid antagonizing. The pair emerge near a ledge above the makeshift hospital, and quickly hide from the guards hauling out bodies. Stealthily, they assassinate two more guards. Tobias and Lyda charge out of the side room and attack Huleath, and Vash and Ichtaca join the fray, firing newly stolen guns. Ichtaca leaps onto the elevator, cutting the rope and crashing noisily to the floor below, then charging into combat with wild axe swings. Vash breaks his fall on a guard, then hammers away at foe after foe with his maul. Tobias lashes out with psionic magic, lifting Huleath high into the air and dangling him above a dangerous table full of combustibles. Lyda runs to free Olliash from his bonds, freeing the researcher, but giving Huleath a chance to lash out at her and rip in to her neck and arm with a magical vampiric flail that heals him even as it scores her flesh. He teleports away from Tobias’s psionic hold, cackling as her life energy heals his wounds. Tobias charges forward, interposing himself between the woman and her attacker, grabbing Huleath with is mind, and slamming the mobster into the table. The impact kills Huleath, but the explosion nearly kills Olliash, and Tobias has to move quickly to shield the reeling Lyda from the wave of chemical fire.
The prisoners begin to escape, the worst off being carried by the others, but they need more time to reach the waiting boat. The fight becomes desperate. Each of the heroes are shot repeatedly, and a swordsman rips into Ichtaca’s belly with lethal intent. Lyda, confused and bleeding from several gunshot wounds, staggers and cries out as her latent psionic talent manifests in chaotic, uncontrollable bursts. She connects mentally with each of her allies, sharing their pain and transmitting hers to them, and their foes. Tobias falls under heavy fire, crawling for cover in a trail of his own blood. She runs to aid him, closing over his wounds just in time to be shot in the back and fall senseless over him. Vash is surrounded by attackers, holding his own but unable to run to aid the others. He sees Ichtaca fall, Tobias and Lyda are down, and the drow makes a grim last stand near the entryway. Ichtaca finds his feet and carves a bloody path to Vash’s side. Behind them, Tobias stands, reaching out with his power and causing men to fall screaming to the ground in death. Lyda staggers to her feet, firing her twin pistols into the throng.
Every few seconds more guards arrive from the passageway to the docks below, the captives are still escaping, and the heroes desperately need to buy time. Seeing a pile of powder kegs near an ammunition assembly area, they formulate a desperate plan. Vash leaps into the narrow space, holding back dozens of men with wild gunshots, as Lyda efficiently works just behind him, loading guns and passing them forward. Ichtaca hauls barrels, stacking them all around the drow, which horrifies the heathfolk attackers, who can only attack now with blades to avoid a catastrophic explosion. Tobias struggles to help move the kegs, but is too physically weak to manage them. Time is running out, and he decides he must reveal his powers to his allies. He calls out for Vash and Lyda to fall back, and levitates the remaining kegs, shoving them into the tunnel just as his companions retreat from it. They run to the upper tunnel, and Lyda fires back to ignite the casks.
A huge explosion fills the chamber, expanding fast towards them. The four run for their lives, barely keeping ahead of the wave of fire. Rickety wooden walkways collapse just behind them as they run over the Otyugh pits. Exhausted, Lyda falls, and Tobas wraps himself in psionic power to save her. He scoops her up and leads the way, flying out of the caves just ahead of his running comrades, who escape just ahead of a shockwave of heat and fire. As the heroes reach the overloaded boat, they hear a series of huge explosions from the caves behind them. Angry mobsters swarm the beaches, running towards them, and they push off into the lake, the little vessel riding low in the water under the weight of all the refugees. Only one of the three boats at the Souliaydach secret dock survived the blast, and even with its damaged state, the mafia are in hot pursuit. The group works fast. Lyda passes out guns to those capable of firing, and leads a barrage of gunfire. Ichtaca howls defiance at his distant foe, then takes a higher vantage point, his sharp eyes allowing him to point out key targets to Lyda and her makeshift firing squad. Vash flings drow magic at the opposing crew, setting fire to mast and sail. Tobias invades the mind of the helmsman and the captain, and both men abandon their posts in a sudden brawl, determined to strangle one another. The ship veers heavily, taking on water through the already damaged hull, and Tobias rips at the rudders and helm with the force of his mind. The enemy vessel sinks into the lake, and the daring escape is complete.
Ghosts at the Clinic Skill Challenge: 200 xp
Avoiding combat with the Otyugh: 100 xp
Secret Base Combat: 1,500 xp
Escaping Otheshayr Island Skill Challenge: 1,000 xp
Rescuing the patients and doctors: 100 xp
Rescuing Olliash Doel and his notebook: 100 xp
Awesome cinematic escape sequence: 200 xp
Creative problem solving: 100 xp
Roleplay and staying in character: 100 xp
Total XP 3,400, divided by 3 players, is 1,134 each. You were at 5,768 cumulative, but are now at 6,902 each. You should level up after the next session.
Tobias found a vampiric heavy flail on Huleath’s body, and retrieved 10 gp in local currency from various fallen Souliaydach mobsters. He also gathered two potions of cure light wounds, and two potions of cure moderate wounds from the potion rack.
Vash and Lyda retrieved 15 pistols and 10 flintlock rifles from the Souliaydach lair. Lyda can craft ammunition for said firearms, stats on request.
For rescuing the researcher Olliash Doel, and one of his journals, Losoran pays you each 25 gp in local currency. He will pay more if you can retrieve the rest of the journals and researchers from the mafia, the pirates, or the shipwreck, whichever has them.
Professor Jennish is making one item for each of you out of the hide or bones of the aquatic black dragon you slew in the library. This can be any one magical item that he could reasonably know how to make, up to level 10. They will be ready by the conference end, in three weeks. (He recommends flashy matching outfits of dragon-scale and hide, but your call. Tobias may want resplendent boots to match his resplendent finery item set.)
Excellent in-character email last week, everyone. 2 action points for each of you instead of one this time!