Thaerin's Raiders

New Blood or What's Better Than Pirates? Zombie Pirates
Unfortunately, when the DM has a bad night, everyone has a bad night

So what do you get when your DM spends two weeks thinking about the next game night and decides 10 minutes before game time what to do? @$$&*(^, that’s what.

Our intrepid party rested up below decks during the storm and awoke refreshed and ready for a new day. They found some cool pirate booty too! The search of the captain’s quarters turned up a magic chest, several riddles and his log with entries to his lady Verdanna Smithfield, complete with arguably some of the worst poetry since …ugh, damn, just the worst crap ever. Luckily for the lady Verdanna, the captain was killed, sparing her from actually having to read this crap and pretend to like it.

The party didn’t even have to share the booty, since Eldak and Styx turned up missing, presumed washed overboard. Well, nary a tear was shed for the young ranger and his dire wolf pup. Anyway, a voice from off the port side of the ship beckoned to the party. Turns out it was the quartermaster. Having observed the party he determined that maybe he could help his position by offering his seamanship skills to our party. Well, his attitude sucked so the party told him to piss off. So he did. But not before pointing out to the party a ship on the horizon off the starboard side and closing fast.

So the party worked together, figured out some basics and off they went with their sails unfurled.

As the new ship closed in, it was apparent that there would be a confrontation. Bristling with cannons, the new ship drew in close before it’s shabby crew of ZOMBIE pirates (yes, that’s right! ZOMBIE pirates) launched several ropes across the deck of the Carnage, including one particularly large and menacing combo that proceeded to hook onto the main mast. Tied off on the other end to the main mast of the ZOMBIE pirate ship, this would have been just another boarding until the ZOMBIE pirate ship slammed into a reef, causing a sudden stop. The Carnage, however, continued forward when the slack in the mast hook ran out. The Carnage suddenly lurched to starboard as it cut wildly around the bow of the ZOMBIE pirate vessel. As it came around to starboard, a zombie with an itchy trigger finger fired a cannon shot, blasting an eight foot hole in the bow of the Carnage. In the mean while, as the Carnage circled around, the rope proceeded to destroy just about every structure and disgusting ZOMBIE on the top deck. Slowing to a halt, the Carnage is now pointing south, with the ZOMBIE pirate ship to starboard, a mere fifteen feet away. The remaining zombies magically teleport to the deck of the Carnage and commence their attack.

Four weeks earlier, on the other side of the sea, a sleek sailboat makes its was along the coast. On board are two very special passengers. They say you can go your entire life without meeting a deva. So what are the odds of two of them finding each other? That’s what happened though when Fynn and Adara discovered each other in Shamarok, just north of Abha. They decided to travel together, both anxious for the opportunity to interact with another of their own kind. And so on a day like any other they booked passage to Abha. The short three hour run down the coast was usually faster and easier than the overland journey because the desert was a particularly dangerous place and water travel always appealed to Fynn. The first sign of a problem was when Adara noticed Fynn fall asleep suddenly. Confusion turned to alarm as Adara’s vision blurred and everything went gray.

When they awoke, they quickly learned that they were onboard a different ship. Stripped of their armor and weapons, Fynn tested the bars and found them solid. Adara checked the window and confirmed the same. Banging on the bars caught the attention of one of their captors. At that moment something else became clear: the crew were ZOMBIES! For over a day Fynn and Adara worked on finding a way out of their predicament. Just when they were ready to give up, they heard the sounds of footsteps running overhead. Shouts and taunts from the crew lead them to believe something was up. And then came the terrible lurch. When the ship slammed into the reef, the lone guard was pitched forward with such force that his head was removed by a low hanging chain. Luckily, the cell key was tossed off the peg to within reach of Fynn, who quickly snatched the key and opened the door. Adara searched the closet and found their gear. Suited up and particularly pissed off, the devas headed for the stairs.

Reaching the top, they were amazed at the sight before them. A thick cloud covered nearly all of the deck of the ZOMBIE pirate ship. It looked like something had destroyed just about everything that was recognizable on the deck. Several zombie body parts lay strewn about intermittent thick streaks of dark blood. entrails and various internal organs.

The battle was on! The party was dealing with the magically transported zombies. Adara quickly engaged one in front of her. Fynn decided to climb over to the Carnage. Unfortunately, she slipped and fell into the drink. Well, she deftly recovered and climbed back up to try again. And she fell again. Ok, so for party actions go it was a less than stellar start. In Feziwick’s fog, several pirate ZOMBIES fell overboard. As the pirate ship listed, one unfortunate ZOMBIE was caught between the ships as they brushed against each other and found himself crushed like a grape, complete with the squishy sound and all the juicy goodness one would expect from something so ripe! Adara managed to get to the Carnage without teleporting and the party cut the massive mast hook rope, freeing her from the ZOMBIE pirate ship.

Well, the battle was soon over and the party with two new members quickly resumed their journey.

Some additional searching turned up a couple of children. A cute little girl and her foul-mouth whelp of a brother.

Determined to catch up with the dastardly Skamos, our party makes a deal with the unmanageable brat in exchange for his help. Ilessa just wanted to eat them. Well, the little hellspawn manages to sabotage the anchors, and as the party is busily dropping sails, the anchor chains unwind and the ends fly off their spindles into the drink. When an angry Thaerin chases the boy into the galley, he finds they’ve abandoned ship and are swimming furiously toward the island. He dives from the window himself as Feziwick zots them to within an inch of their lives. Thaerin catches up with them and offers them one chance to live, which they wisely accept. But the quartermaster is rowing quickly toward Thaerin and when he’s close enough, swings the oar at Thaerin’s head. He misses and quick as a bunny Thaerin climbs into the boat. With a menacing stare, he asks the quartermaster if he really wants to get into it and the quartermaster, already not having the best of weeks, surrenders. Everybody gets back on board the Carnage and the two badly injured children are tossed below decks. The quartermaster tries once again to assert himself and Ilessa bitch-slaps him into next week. So he sucks it up and makes the best deal he can. He’ll get the party to La Rose Noir in two days, which should be a full day ahead of Skamos!

It's what's for dinner.

As the party figures out how to row the boat (yeah, there was a learning curve here), they again find themselves in hot pursuit of Skamos. They have the island in sight and are really, really sure that’s where he has gone. They are sharp. They are focused. Gods help anyone…hey look! A pirate ship! Let’s attack it! And they do. Survival clearly in jeopardy, members down for the count, some near unconsciousness, Ellie unleashes a can of whoop ass of gargantuan proportions. Insults, songs enough attitude to inspire the dead, the halfling sliced and diced her way through the ranks. When the warden went down and was nearly lost to the unforgiving sea, it was the minuscule bard to the rescue. But the best was yet to come. It is said that inspiration flows from wildly divergent sources and on this day, and in this place it flowed in the form of a hat. Yup. When the captain joined the fight, his cockades on display for all to see, Ellie knew right then those cockades belonged in her hands. And no one would keep her from her prize. And no one did. In a mighty and unexpected fury, Ellie dispatched the captain with extreme prejudice and no remorse. The fight over, Ellie would sleep well tonight with the captain’s cockades in her bed.

Get Skamos! or What Damn Crystal Are We After Anyway?
Because ambiguity is the dm's friend.

Having avoided a slow and boring death in the flood trap, the wizard Einer, of Goblin Ambush fame, uses magic to release the portcullis leading into the cavern beneath the lighthouse. Illuminated by a series of mirrors placed strategically throughout the huge cavern, our heroes are immediately beset upon by a hungry Otyugh, thick tentacles reaching out to find its next meal. With poise and precision, they free themselves from the vise-like grip of the sewer denizen just in time to deal with the orcs and hags. As the battle rages, the party sees Skamos head up the staircase into the main section of the lighthouse. Quickly dispatching the last of the grotesque hags, Ilessa darts for the stairs, only to come upon a shimmering wall. Luckily, Einer knows that this is a trap, an exploding wall. A quick decision is made to toss a dead orc into the wall. The body detonates the trap, makes a nasty mess and our party is off and running. By the time they reach the top, Skamos is gone. The window is broken and as they peer out, they see him rowing north in a longboat. The smell of smoke turns out to be the rope, set on fire by Skamos to prevent the party from following. Quite satisfied with themselves, our heroes return to the basement to find another way out of the lighthouse. In a room in the basement they discover the father of the lighthouse keeper. They found the son too, but he had no head and the hags had been working on him for a while so that was kinda gross and pops didn’t take it well. But the party told him the crystal was safe. Well, it turns out that the bright and shiny crystal everyone sees shining bright from the top of the lighthouse isn’t the Dragonstar crystal. And Skamos got that one. They are told how to get to the lighthouse boat and off they go again.

Is Pulling the Red Lever Ever A Good Idea?

Once Bandu departs, the party manages to open a large oak door. Beyond it seems to be rocky walls as the tunnel leads into the rock beneath the lighthouse. Well, they find themselves in a large room with a door blocked by a portcullis. There is a red lever on the wall so they naturally pull the lever. Which springs the trap. Which lowers steel doors over the entrance and the door in front of them. Which starts the water pouring in through small fissures in the wall. They do try lot’s of things to get the water to stop. They do get the water to stop finally by prying open drains. But not before Ellie , the halfling loses some dignity points by riding her little 2’8” self on a floating barrel to keep from drowning in three feet of water.

Bandu or Oh Shit, What's the AC for a Cyclops?

After a painfully slow progression, our party meets Bandu. Bandu the cyclops to be precise.

Usually myopic, Ilessa decides to jump in with both…well, she takes a whack at the cyclops. Well, as you can imagine, that doesn’t go over well with Bandu and he proceeds to whack Ilessa back in what can only be described as a shining moment of enlightenment for her. Talking suddenly moved up on the “List of Preferred Methods of Dealing With A Cyclops”. (what, you don’t have a list like that?) Well, it turns out that Bandu isn’t happy. He is having separation issues and doesn’t like being cooped up in the lighthouse. In a deluge of bullshit unequaled, at least so far, the party talks Bandu through his issues. He really does start to feel better about himself, and realizes that his new friends like him for who he is. He decides to follow his own dreams and heads out to return to the woods. (Give it two hours and he’ll be in a Calgon bubble bath with scented candles and mandolin music in the background.)

Before he departs though, Bandu let’s slip the name of his employer: Skamos.

The Serpent's Eye

As they approach the lighthouse, they observe that the lighthouse is actually part of a larger complex. A long set of stairs leads to the main house. Well, always cautious, the party marches right up the front steps and knocks on the door.

A young boy answers the door and tells the party to go away. He’s not allowed to talk to strangers and, to be honest, there aren’t many stranger than the lot of them. The boy shuts the door. Always thinking outside the box, our party tries a different tactic. They knock again. This time, the boy doesn’t even open the door. Eventually though, he does open the door and the party more or less forces their way in using the Jehovah’s Witness encounter power. Apparently the 12 year old boy is no match for our level 4 heroes. Unfortunately, the boy is a hostage. The upside is that not one member of our party gives a damn about the boy, which has a tendency to reduce hostage value significantly. They attack the eight assorted bandits along with their mage boss. Luckily the perch chosen by the mage was only eight feet high, so Thaerin just yanked his magical ass to a severe beat down. Ilessa found a new squeeze but as usual, the relationship didn’t last. They managed to subdue one of the bandits but he makes a run for it and leaps through the front window. This was actually a pretty good plan for the bandit, you know, getting away and all. He just didn’t know that the window was forty feet above the jagged cliff rocks. C’est La Vie. Luckily the boy survived. So did his mom and several of the city guards but dad was tortured and killed. An unconscious bandit lay on the floor. The party binds him, frees the hostages, scopes the room and returns to question the bandit that killed the father. Unfortunately, mom decides to dole out a little “you killed my man” revenge and now they have a dead bandit where once was an unconscious one. They do find out from one of the hostages that the boss is after the Dragonstar Crystal. Not too sure yet what that is but hey, it’s good to have goals. A glowing barrier prevents our party from investigating the loft so off they go into the middle section of the lighthouse complex.

Einer's Shining Moment or How To Spring an Ambush

Our party heads to the shrine of Caetas, just north of Perle de Magie, Gorainnes major port city and the conduit for virtually all international trade.

When they arrive, they meet a greasy, twitchy little fellow named Devry LeChar, the mayor of Perle de Magie. He quickly appraises the party and decides his options are limited. It seems that nearly half of the expected cargo ships have failed to arrive. This is unacceptable. He sent several groups of city guards to the lighthouse to investigate but none have returned. Of course, he doesn’t mention that part to the party. “Just check out the lighthouse.” he says “Make sure everything is ok and I’ll pay you 200gp for your trouble.”

Being unemployed and looking for something to do, the party agrees and heads off to the Serpent’s Eye lighthouse. As they travel through the woods, about a mile from the clearing leading to the cliffs where the lighthouse sits, Our party notices a tree blocking the road ahead and someone or something skulking around the tree.

Always on the alert, the party stops the wagon. The wizard Einer leaps from the wagon and, pulling a page from some dead guy’s playbook, shouts “Ok, we know this is an ambush, you can all come out now!” So they do. A dozen goblins pour out of the woods on both sides of the road and, believe it or not, attack the party. In a disgusting display of luck, the party rather quickly dispatches the ambush party and manages to resist killing Einer.

They manage to get the wagon around the giant tree and continue on their way to the lighthouse.


So our adventure begins just like so many others. Boy meets snake girl. Boy rescues snake girl. Snake girl decides not to eat boy. They meet some strangers and head off on an adventure. Boy slips into a coma and dies. Girl moves on.

Ok, maybe I glanced over some details so I’ll start once again.

Is our journey any more or less sweet when our destination is unknown? Or is it our sense of wonderment at the possibilities that lie ahead. When we leave behind our homes and those we hold dear or when we have no home to which we may return. The journey of a thousand miles still begins with a single step…

Our story begins with a decision, as all great stories do. It is said that a boy only truly becomes a man the day his father dies. No one knows this better than Eldak, gamekeeper of the southern forest of Fort St. Anne. His father, Graendithas, served as master warden for the Governor for nearly 25 years. Upon his death, Eldak assumed his father’s role as warden. On a day like any other, when the morning dew sparkled in the sunlight like so many astral diamonds, something was out of place. Silence. The forest is never truly silent. Eldak gathered his weapons and sought the source of disquiet. Sadistic laughter. The hiss. Eldak crept closer to the sound. The Drow! Legends and stories passed from father to son flooded his memory. Dark elves, evil denizens of the underworld. In his forest. His forest! Two of them. Young. One sitting on a log. One poking a large cage on a cart. “Oh what a handsome reward you’ll fetch!” Eldak maneuvered to get a better view. To his amazement, the cage contained a beast unlike any he’d ever seen! Clearly a female, head and torso of a woman, but the lower half a snake! His first instinct, to kill the dark elves where they stood. His second to rescue the tormented creature. And so the decision was made. Eldak waited patiently, maneuvering closer to the cage. Remembering his father’s teachings, he carefully concealed his presence from the adolescent elves. He waited for them to fall into slumber but they only sat facing away from the cage. Ah, yes, they don’t actually sleep at all. Some sort of a trance and…oh yes, they are aware! Ilyssa was furious. Oh, of course she wanted nothing more than to tear these insolent children to pieces but the source of her fury was herself. To be captured was embarrassing enough but by these two buffoons…and that sadistic bastard with the stick. She knew too well what she wanted to do with that stick. “I’ll take it from him and shove it so far up his…” HEAT!…careful not to alert her captors, Ilyssa observed the stranger. “He’s patient.” One hour turned into three. Human…but not as clumsy as most. Still, she thought, if he stalked me that way he’d be dead by now. Eldak felt the tiny serpent cross his boot. Up his leg, to his wrist, up his arm. And in draconic “the key is on the front of the cart”. Ilyssa could respect a patient hunter but being in this Merrshaulk forsaken cage was humiliating beyond description. Eldak handed the key to Ilyssa and signaled readiness to attack. Ilyssa slowly turned the key. “Click” Eldak fired his arrow into the first elf. With a look of disbelief at the arrow protruding from his throat and with the slurpy wet gurgling that replaced his breath the last vestige of life drained from his eyes as he slumped to the ground. In the next instant, the elf with the stick took flight. A second arrow from Eldak sliced his ear. Ilyssa sprang from the cage. Eldak was momentarily distracted by the speed and power as she propelled herself from the cage. Eldak began to pursue.

All the anger and frustration at being a prisoner, at having lost her freedom, at having failed to protect herself exploded in the lunge. The dark elf was knocked off his feet. Tumbling over and looking up into the slitted eyes of the furious yuan-ti half blood proceeded proceeded to cry. “Pathetic” she thought. Ilyssa wrapped herself around the boy. And then it began. Just uncomfortable at first. Then tighter. Seconds later, breathing is difficult. Cannot draw a breath. The gaze. Ilyssa looking into his eyes and relishing the end of his life. Slipping slowly into unconsciousness, Ilyssa suddenly put every ounce of her immense strength into the squeeze. Eldak could hear the ribs snap like twigs and with a subtle twist, the spine gave way like a heavy branch under the wet spring snow. As Ilyssa released her grip on her captor, she turned a wary eye toward Eldak. An arrow knocked, Ilyssa studied her rescuer. He rescued her. Cautious but still, he isn’t looking at me like the others have. Being alone is dangerous. Too dangerous even for her. There is safety in numbers, even human numbers. A shudder ran through her as the words left her mouth. “Thank you”. Eldak spoke “You can come back to my home tonight”. They searched he bodies. Ilyssa recovered her weapons, two finely crafted fighting fans. Eldak found a small parchment written in elven. They began the trip back to Eldak’s cabin.

Tesla Holt arrived shortly after Eldak left that morning. He had departed two days prior, intending to travel to Kaath, a small kobold village to the west of Ft. St. Anne. When he awoke on the first morning, he was startled to find three Drow staring at him. Surprise quickly morphed into terror as his brain registered that these heads had no bodies. Blood dripped from several trees surrounding the clearing. A large tree trunk not 15 feet away from where he slumbered peacefully was obviously where the worst of the butchery took place. How could he have slept through this? Why did his alarms not sound? The only item besides the lifeless heads was a scroll possessing the seal of the head Logician of the Scholarium of Arcana. It read simply “Return to Eldak.”

As Tesla showed Eldak the scroll, a faint ringing could be heard. It seemed to come from all around them. This was followed a slight vibration. The scroll, they began to glow. The scroll became as a wisp of bright smoke, and drifted towards the room center. As the smoke began to coalesce, Eldak saw the form of a beautiful woman appear. After a moment, she spoke. Eldak heard her say “Not since the dark time has our world faced a threat like that which we face now. But only in darkness can the light of our souls truly shine.” Tesla stared as he heard his master’s strong words continue “This is the path to true knowledge and power. You will write your destiny as you travel forth. “ Ilyssa stared with wonder as Alasster continued “protect yourself in numbers. When your moment of greatness arrives, you will know when it is time to fulfill your purpose and redeem yourself.” And the final instruction: “Travel to the woods north of Perle de Magie, to the shrine of Ceates. There you will meet a man. This is where your future begins. Where it ends cannot be seen.” With the last word, the apparition fades into darkness. “In the morning, we travel.”


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