Chapter 8: The Voyage of the Scorpion

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About the Saga


Cast of Characters

Notable Quotes

  • None

What Has Come Before

A humanitarian crisis is unfolding in Obsidian Bay. A massive blizzard has suffocated the unprepared frontier town in snow, killing dozens outright and threatening dozens more with death by exposure. Many of the city's ramshackle buildings and patchwork tents have collapsed, leaving hundreds without homes.

Obsidian Bay's heroes are banding together to find supplies, care for the wounded and homeless, and combat the threat of monstrous predators circling the town, but it is not enough. An influx of supplies -- building materials, food, weapons -- is needed or the town itself might falter.

To that end, prominent citizens in the fledgling city banded together to fund a voyage to Gryrax, the capital of the Principality of Ulek. Initiated by the gnome Burgell, the mission quickly gathered momentum as others in the city donated coin toward the expedition.

The Scorpion -- a well known cog and sometime privateer -- has been secured to make the run to Gradsul. It's captain, Raris Armbruster, is promising a swift run down the coast, sea monsters and aquatic goblins be damned!

The Saga

Coldeven 4, CY 515

When Burgell Nackle and Finn Underbow arrived at the Scorpion they found a sturdy ship with a round wooden hull designed for coastal sailing. Her trademark sails, white with a stylized black scorpion on it, have not yet been unfurled.

They also found Johann the Destroyer, patriarch of the Church of St. Cuthbert and one of the leaders of the Griffins Guild waiting for them.

He was joined by Tänévir Calywyn, the young elf that the two adventurers had worked with before, and an eager young human wearing the traditional brown robes of a Billet of St. Cuthbert. Behind them were Cuthbertian soldiers carrying several bronzewood chests, as well as a small steel locker.

The stern high priest strode over to Burgell and slammed a big hand down on his diminutive shoulder. "Burgell Nackle, impressive thing you've put together here. Very impressive. The Griffins Guild approves, and wants to help. The good citizens of Griffins Landing, they want to help too. Some of them didn't remember how much they wanted to help, but a few good knocks with the ol'cudgel brought back those memories."

He motioned to his men to deposit the chests onto the deck of the Scorpion.

"Bronzewood chests've got about 7,000 in gold in 'em. The steel chest? It's got another 500 in platinum. I hear you raised about 3,000, so all told you've got 15,000 gold to buy supplies. Food stuffs are important, but we've got a critical shortfall of lumber; the southern reaches of this demon-damned peninsula have no good forests and we're short on milled wood."

"Seems to me you could use some help, and that chest isn't going to watch itself. This is Tänévir Calywyn, one of my elf friend Willow Wind's followers. Might even get into the Griffins Guild proper one day. He tells me he know you to from that business up at Bloodstone Tower; good work you did there dealing with those orcs, strange business with the tree though. Damn strange."

He turned to the brown-cloaked man next to him, and grasped his shoulder with a meaty hand. "Billet Reginald Wynn. One of my best -- he's got a solid head on his shoulders, he's in the good graces of St. Cuthbert, and Heavens can the man tell a good tale."

"Captain, I'll leave you to your voyage. The Saint bless you and your good works" he said, touching a hand to his holy symbol and then giving Captain Armbruster one of his punishing shoulder squeezes.

When the cleric left, Raris Armbruster turned to his new passengers. "Right then, time to get moving." He barked out a series of cryptic nautical commands that the adventurers could barely follow. "My first mate'll handle getting us out of the bay. Let's talk in my cabin."

The group retired to the captain's quarters, where they found a map of the southern Pomarj coast laid out. "First big challenge is getting past the thrice damned Purple Squids. Those hobgoblins have ships, and they know how to sail them. You'd never think it ... but then, you'd be dead. So the plan is, we sail past that long bay of their's as fast as we can."

"Would sailing at night help?" Tanevir asked?

"Might. Might also jam us up on the rocks. Treacherous waters up there, so the plan is we get underway and flit past them just as the sun's setting. Time it right and we'll be able to see where we're going and then disappear into the dark."

"All told it's 450 nautical miles to Gryrax. Figure about 4 knots a day, and we should be in the city in about four and a half days. Maybe a little less if we're lucky. If they have what we need, then we load up and head back for Obsidian Bay. If they don't, then we'll move on to Gradsul. Now if you're ready, lets get sailing."

Coldeven 5, CY 515

The Scorpion made good time up the coast, and true to his word Captain Armbruster was able to deftly slide past Goblin Bay without drawing attention. They sailed on, counting their blessings while Billet Reginald entertained the crew with folk tales of "The Wise Fool" (a series of allegorical, semi-biographical stories about a man who continuously found himself caught up in other people's schemes, and emerged unscathed through the application of common sense).

Coldeven 6, CY 515

The twilight hours of Coldeven 6 found the Scorpion making good time toward Gryrax, but their good luck wasn't to last. As the ship glided across the waves, the crew began to catch snippets of mesmerizing song. Intrigued, they struggled to hear more, only to realize too late that it was the seductive song of hunting harpies.

The creatures killed several of the mesmerized crew before enough of them were able to shake off the hypnosis and fight back. One of the harpies was taken down by the ship's aft ballista, affectionately called "Stinger", while the heroes slew another. A final harpy escaped, carrying with it one of the crew.

"Well, I guess that confirms we're close to Harpy Isles," one of the dimmer members of the crew said after the attack.

Coldeven 7, CY 515

As the sun rose on Coldeven 7, spotters in the Scorpion's crow's nests caught sight of a black-sailed vessel surging out of the early morning fog.

Armsbruster recognized it as the war cog Draar Tuur ("Death Storm" in Goblin), one of the Purple Squids' vessels. He also knew that the Scorpion was faster than the Draar Tuur, and could outrun it ... assuming everything went perfectly. He ordered his crew to throw the sails open wide, and ordered his weapons crew to man "Stinger".

The Draar Tuur maneuvered between the Scorpion and the shoreline, not catching her but forcing her further out to sea. Armsbruster, knowing the deep water limitations of his ship, was not eager to do this, but saw no other choice -- he needed space and time to outrun the goblin vessel, and the open ocean gave that to him.

It also led him into the goblinoid's trap. Waiting beneath the waves lurked a colossal squid who carried a small warband of aquatic goblins in its tentacles, and was commanded by a purple-skinned hobgoblin shaman. The squid exploded from the sea and began lobbing goblins up on to the Scorpion's deck. They were quickly joined by hobgoblin commandos and their shaman leader.

The battle that followed saw the goblins killed and the squid driven off, but at the coast of a broken foremast and nearly 1/4 of the crew dead. The goblins had little of value, but their shaman wore a black pearl necklace worth 300 gold pieces save for a strange-looking trident. The metal comprising the trident had a swirl motif carved into it and shone with an odd purple sheen. The swirls seemed to shift their position whenever someone wasn't looking directly at the weapon. The adventurers debated throwing it into the ocean, but Burgell decided to keep the weapon.

Coldeven 8-12, CY 515

The Scoprion limped on, struggling to make her way to Gryrax with a broken foremast. They spent the next several days repairing damage to the ship and her rigging, and finally arrived in Gryrax on Coldeven 12, two and a half days later than expected.

After making port, Burgell, Tanevir, and Finn headed ashore and began making inquires about where they might find supplies. They started with the harbormaster, a dour, unhelpful dwarf who could care less about the human catastrophe unfolding in Obsidian Bay.

Further inquires around town revealed that the harbormaster wasn't alone in his opinions. Prince Olinstaad Corond of Ulek, Lord of the Peaks of Haven, has refused to intervene in the Pomarj saying that the campaign in the Lortmills was complete, and the lost Poor March wasn't worth recovering.

The adventurers learned that not everyone agreed with the prince, and that several of these malcontents met at the The Rampaging Manticore. They arranged a meeting with two of leaders of the movement: Mardok Redblade and his mentor Babdar Dragonspike.

Redblade was a young, opportunistic dwarf who's clan rose to prominence in the Hateful Wars. He came of age while his father and brothers were off fighting the orc menace. They all died in the effort, leaving him as the new patriarch of a diminished clan. He had been gathering other young, like-minded dwarves to his banner. Just as importantly, the Redblade clan owned lumber mills in the interior of the Principality.

His compatriot, Dragonspike, has extensive farmland holdings. More than a hundred years older than Redblade, he remembers when the Pomarj was a dwarven protectorate ... and would see it returned to prosperity (if not dwarven rule).

Burgell, Tanevir, and Finn met with the two and explained the dire situation in Obsidian Bay. They were so convincing that not only did Redblade and Dragonspike agree to sell them the needed lumber and food at only slightly above cost, Redblade decided the time had come to act. He pledged that he and the men and women who followed him would travel to Obsidian Bay to reinforce the heroic outpost. They would help rebuild the blizzard-damaged city, and then join the Griffins Guild and her allies in bringing the fight to the orc and goblin invaders.

Taneivr asked Redblade if he new of any wizards who could send a message to the Griffins Guild notifying them that the mission had been a success. Redblade scoffs. "Magic is for the weak. A strong arm, a strong blade -- these are the warrior's weapons! Still, you raise a good point. I'll dispatch three of my fastest ravens to my cousin Mordus Ironfist in Obsidian Bay. He owns a foundry there; good solid dwarf who'll know what to do. It should only take about two days for them to reach the city; more than enough time for you and the Scorpion to get back."


Player Characters

  • Finn: 566 xp
  • Burgell: 566 xp
  • Tanevir: 566 xp



  • None.

Art objects

  • 300 gp black pearl necklace.

Magic items

  • Trident of Fish Command.