Session Report: Trade routes return to Sheljar Bay

Over these two sessions the goal was to gain a few clues to the larger arcs around the Scholars and Proctors, while also exploring the place that the group now calls home. Those in the second session also got to used “downtime” of a couple weeks with some player agency.

Session Notes:
This took place over two sessions.
Doceo, Saffron, Samul, and Behn were in the first session.
Aamar joins them for the second one.
The remaining characters are in Sheljar with Ajhenas on the Tower Island, while Telley is on the settled island with the Temple of Wisdom (where the goblins hid) helping the people make a life there.  Maurice, Mansaray, Els and Kuda are working on restoring the two homes on the south end of the Island Inn. Ixnyx cannot shed Brazz as she established a taut-line message system between the three occupied islands.
Shonie is retired and remains in Telse.

Halfing Slums of Sheljar

Behn, Doceo, and Saffron took one of the mulgoblins that committed to their aspirations and the rowboat down to the isle south of the broken bridge. Here they encounter two occupied buildings. One is a small alehouse with a covered dock area, but there are huge reptilian creatures on those docks. The group ignores them and circles the full isle. There’s a field, and a platform, and abandoned hovels.

Except for one home, with its low roof, unwelcoming for the humans, and the poor mulgob NPC, the hearth has a fire and creepy laughter. It turns out to be from a goblin, who has made this place her home. She never stops laughing, and in fact, cripples their NPC with Hideous Laughter. Her continuing attempt to charm others results in a small conflict.

When the group manages to defeat the little one, which takes a bit as she heals herself rather than taking some damage, a small pastel mote flies into the mulgob. That mul then behaves exactly as the little gobkon, but with big fists too. They dispel the magic infecting the mul and then cast Gust of Wind to blow the mote into the sky. There is a nilbog somewhere else in Sheljar now. A problem that could turn up later.

Downtime

With drop in sessions that rarely require the same PCs two times in a row players can collect downtime between sessions. I opened up our final session of 2016 by asking those present how they used the days or weeks that passed. This will now be an off-table discussion, but will be carried forward.

Aamar – The Cleric of Quar has a month of time. This is split between two activities. The first is the granting the blessings of Quar to the lands that will now be farms. These actions mean that when winter comes to the bog-city the few dozen living there will not have to trade for food. He also took an overland trip to the Glass Tower (we will play this as a 1on1 session or through chat).

Behn – He chose to explore a few of the unexplored islands and “kill another one of those creepy ground beasts.” Asked who joins him in slaying the tunneling nightmare he answers. A few players get 1,000 xp for off-camera action.

Doceo – Unloads his cart, and starts making plans for future trade routes. He also works the various crowds and factions to learn what exactly he’s now involved with and how this can help him in the future.

Saffron – The Bard sends a message to her childhood mentor Teegan. There she discovers that Teegan’s brother Rohan is almost certainly The Necromancer, a scholar that Saffron helped kill. Saffron is also worried about how she’s become a killer.

Samul – He needs a boat in order to some day rescue or purchase the freedom of his beloved – Fairuza. So, despite not educated in shipbuilding or piloting he collects a few hulls, about a dozen sails and other supplies. From all of that he gets one barely-able-to-sail seafaring sloop (crew 3, holds 7 others, 1 small covered area, no cabin, moves 20′ under normal conditions).

Pirates and Traders

Gathered and recapping their various activities the group is at the Sheljar Inn (Samul’s palace, just ask him). There, as they chat the clang of Ixnyx taut-line system interrupts. It is the line from the Tower Island where Ajhenas is working with a few muls, a hob, sometimes Kuda, towards building a working defense. The highest tower has noticed ships in Sheljar Bay between the Statue and the shore. In the past the trade ships stay well on the outside of the Statue, with Sheljar still being presumed haunted by the rest of the Western Wildes.

There are two galleons and three ketches. Two of the ketches are firing Firebolts on another ketch. Samul mobilizes his navy. It’s a single sloop. He asks a couple mulgobs to man the sails and Aamar, Behn, Doceo and Saffron join the excursion.

The sloop rushes out past the two galleons, getting close enough that Doceo welcomes them to the protected waters of New Sheljar using Message. The galleons ask for help, their escort is under fire. Their flags declare that they are from the trading family of Qin. The Qin to Mira route was once prosperous, but is now risky. The galleons call the opposition pirates.

Taking one of the pirate ships by surprise, appearing from behind the galleons the sloop has the wind at its back. Saffron casts Walk On Water for the crew of the sloop. Aamar is at the rudder with Saffron besides him. Samul rides the bow while Doceo and Behn are in the center ready to fire on the enemy.

It is a complex fight. Samul, nominally the captain, he thinks, leaps from the ship and sprints across the low waves. Behn and Doceo throw Fireballs at it. Aamar prevents the other two vessels from sinking, though they still burn, by casting Plant Growth on the kelp and seaweed. Later, Doceo leaps from the stern, walking on water as his own vessel provides cover from the attacker.

But the vessel which our Lorebook Hunters are fighting is well armed, and protected by casters. One of those spellmen keeps throws a Fireball at them. Later it casts an Ice Storm. She is not dedicated to an element, just the death of those on the sloop. (Spoiler: it doesn’t work).

That ketch also bombards the sloop with its catapult. And there is a dazzling display of lights that charms half the crew (Hypnotic Pattern). It’s two Archers (Volo’s Guide) also provide additional, deadly, long range support.

Behn goes unconscious shortly after throwing a Fireball back at the damaging caster. A sorcerer should not take two arrows, a fireball and an ice storm. Saffron eventually heals him.

Remember when Samul ran across the waves? Enraged and Frenzied he enters the opposing boats with his chain whipping through the pathetic crew quickly and easily. Even the Archers and mages have little defense, especially when they are bothered from afar by Saffron and Aamar.

Eventually our heroes, though they be a bit grey, take the ship with two of the pirates promising loyalty rather than dying. Doceo searched the captain’s quarters and discovers that they are part of Willan’s group of bandits, thieves and pirates.

Six of the two entrapped and burning vessels are saved as well. The group captures a larger ship, armaments and maybe can take the two ketches trapped in kelp and get something savable from their burning hulks.

The two galleons have sailed off to safety over the horizon. Maybe they’ve made it clear that the inner passage is no longer haunted, certainly protected and now safer than the open seas.

Maybe they’ve also let Willan know that two of his pirate ships are gone.

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