We played a scenario called "Spider Island" that was designed by one of the guys in the group. Besides the regular treasure on the table, each player placed 2 clutches of spider eggs (For a total of 14 in play (2 x 7 players =14). These eggs, from various degrees of extra-large Tree Spiders, are considered a valuable commodity in magical circles, and for each one recovered the crew got 10 Experience Points and 15 Gold Coins. We used a specialized Random Encounter table with the following results: 1-5: Roll on the regular Random Encounter table, 6-11: Tree Spider, 12-15: Large Tree Spider, 16-18: Huge Tree Spider, 19-20: Giant Tree Spider. Besides there being a chance of treasure recovery generating an encounter as normal, recovering spider eggs also had the chance to generate an encounter.
I wasn't very lucky with my set-up zone this time, drawing chip #6, and getting the second to last choice of location. This got me a spot in the center of the table on the side of the table with 4 players. Treasure wise, though, I was happy with the opportunities in front of my zone.
As I mentioned in my last write-up, I had gone against conventional wisdom in the stating of my Heritor, adding her free extra stat point to her Movement score, instead of the more usual Fight or Health choice I hoped this, combined with her Wraithwalk Ability, would allow her to grab stuff quickly, and get back to safety quickly. (As a note, we rolled for our Heritor abilities randomly at the end of final game of last year. We rolled for 6 Abilities, and could discard our least favorite and choose which would be our primary. I ended up with Backswing (primary), Wratihwalk, Spellshield, Leap, and Waterlung.) In the last game my speed and Wraithwalk helped me snag the Central Treasure. Now was my chance to see if it would work again, especially with an odd number of players where each Central Treasure had the potential to be challenged by three opposed Crews (Since there were 7 players, but only 3 Central Treasures)
|A view of the table.|
Barley Gimblehill, the Halfling and recently realized Heritor, sat on the deck of the Jolly Scallop and soaked in the sun while reveling in the simple fact that she, a simple tavern server just a few months ago, now found herself aboard a ship of the sea living a life of adventure. Her eyes, and thoughts, turned to her new friend, and Warden, Tork; who stood at the front of the ship, a seagull sitting on his arm. The Halfling girl wouldn't have believed it a few months ago, but now, seeing the large Human Warden apparently having an intense discussion with seabird simply amused her; and the Heritor pondered what in the world the two could be talking about. Fish?
After a few more minutes of back-and-forth cawing and chuttering between seabird and man, the gull flew off. Tork adjusting his sleeve where the bird had been perched, turned, and walked in his slow lumbering gait across the deck towards Barley.
"Well? What was that all about?" she asked smiling, as the big man approached. Without answering, the Warden folded his body slowly down into a cross-legged position seated next to the Heritor. Tork was silent for a couple minutes, not answering; which didn't bother Barley, as she was familiar now with the gentle Human's quiet ways. Finally, he spoke, as his eyes fixed on the wood deck beneath his feet. "Bird say ships, Heritor ships, are heading, " Tork looked up scanned the horizon, and pointed his whole hand about 30 degrees off the front prow of the ship, "...East. For big island."
Barley wrinkled her brow in thought. What did they know that she didn't? Should they go too, to check it out? Could it be a source of clues to the Crystal Pool? The Pool itself? In a flash Barley jumped up. "Come on Tork! We won't be left out of this adventure. Let's follow and see what's to be found." And the little Heritor trotted away on her large Halfling feet to prepare and alert the ship's Captain and the Crew.
Tork stood slowly. Bewildered by the small Halfling's speed. We watched her make her way down the deck, and disappear inside the door in the quarterdeck. As if an after thought, he said to no one in particular as he stared at where the Heritor had passed through the door, "Danger. Bird say Danger. Big spiders. I don't like spiders." And he shrugged, and followed after the little Heritor.
|Initial Crew arrangement in their starting zone.|
As they progressed, the party could begin to see ancient ruins, crumbling and vine covered, alongside the path in the jungle. Then the towering top of what looked like an old temple came into view above the trees. Barley halted the crew and assigned commands before they went any further. She knew there were other Heritors about, so warned everyone to be cautious. The little Halfling instructed Perkin, her Scout, as well as Lily, the Crossbow-woman, and Crewman Link Smitter to stick with her. And she told the Half-Halfling Archer Billy Wizzit, as well as the Crewmen Corel Bink, and Fernando (who was new to this party; replacing the badly wounded Archer, Jikam Wizzit, Billy's brother.) to go with Tork. Fernando was the only Halfling she had ever seen with a mustache! Billy tormented him that he must have Human blood in his family tree somewhere. But the mustachioed crewman insisted he was just an exceptional Halfling. The Crew-folk, Ginsink Damum, and Habby Wilkersnit were left to their own initiative to help out where needed.
As they continued through the web-draped jungle, the large temple came fully into view on their front left. The party could see large webs crisscrossed between its decaying columns. Beside it sat a low structure that looked like some kind of ceremonial pool. Directly to their front, Barley could see the remains of a high wall made from huge stone blocks. If she leaned a little to the left, she could see that on the other side of the wall there appeared to be a large stone face...some deity perhaps... silky webbing covered it like a veil. On their right was a large obelisk, its top long crumbled and gone. The Halfling Heritor did a double take, as there at the base of the obelisk there appeared to be a large sword stuck partway, directly into the stonework. It's bright blade gleaming in the afternoon sun.
|Barley, Perkin, and Lily run to the high wall with the effigy on the other side, and spot the sword (Central Treasure) in the nearby obelisk. On their left, Link has started climbing the wall.|
Meanwhile, Tork had lead his group over to check the pool first. Nearing the low wall around the edge, the big Warden and Fernando peered into the murky water that remained in the bottom of the structure. It did not take them long before both noticed a small chest half sticking out of the green slime that covered the surface of the water. The Archer, Billy Wizzit, jogged past the two, and took up a position in some thick brush between the pool and the temple; he thought he saw moment on the far side. Crewman Corel, trailing behind, was totally distracted by the immense temple, and wandered awe-struck in its direction.
Fernando knew it was up to him to get the treasure, and looked around for Corel to help him. Seeing the short, (even for a Halfling), Crewman had already wandered off towards the temple, the mustachioed Halfling called to Habby instead, who was was just passing by along with Ginsink. Crew-woman Ginsink continued on towards a clutch of spider eggs she had spotted in a nest by some strange purple plants not far past the pool; and Habby went to help Fernando with the chest. While the two Halflings cautiously climbed the low wall around the murky water, Tork turned to the jungle behind them in the direction from which they had approached the area, and let out a strange, long, undulating, half-humming, yell. (Casts Summon Animal.) In the distance, high in the sky, a Giant Wasp appeared and buzzed towards the Warden.
|Over by the pool, a treasure is spotted in its murky waters, but Cassilda Blackmane's Crew is dangerously close...|
Behind Barley and Perkin, back on the high wall, Link had finally reached the top and was surprised to find a rather expensive looking 2-handed axe laying up there; partially covered in rotting vegetation, webs, and the bones of some small mammals and birds. He could immediately tell it was finely crafted. The Halfling sailor looked around a moment puzzled as to how it might have gotten up there, totally forgetting his assignment of scouting the area. Link did take notice of Lily the Crossbow-woman, who had separated from Barley and Perkin, and was moving off to the edge of a long narrow strip of jungle to the Crewman's right to keep an eye on the Gnomes.
Lily may have been trying to keep an eye on the Gnomes, but they quickly laid eyes on her, and a crossbow bolt, and then an arrow whizzed by her. She tried to duck back a little further into the shadows of the jungle.
|Barley and Perkin rush to the obelisk to get the sword, as Lily moves off to the corner of a patch of jungle to cover the Gnome Crew with her Crossbow.|
Tork then called to Billy and attempted an Envenom spell on the arrow the Archer had notched in his bow, but he had not cleared the Wasp's thoughts fully from his mind, and he failed the casting attempt. Nearby, in the pool, Fernando laid his hands on the slimy chest, and heaved it from the water. Habby stood nearby to offer assistance if needed, and to generally keep an eye out for danger.
Just past the pool, Ginsink had reached the clutch of eggs, and cut them loose from their webbed encasement and carefully stuffed them into her pack. Glancing back, she caught sight of her fellow Crewman, Corel, who had now reached the temple and had begun to climb its tall foundation.
Then, suddenly from around some impenetrable brush just past the far corner of the temple, the Heritor Cassilda Blackmane appeared, tall and imposing, her jet black hair falling around her shoulders. She noticed Billy the Archer in the brush by the pool, and reacted quickly; picking up a melon sized piece of crumbled masonry from the ruined temple and hurling it with force and agility at the Archer. Before Billy Wizzit could react, the projectile hit him square in the temple sending him reeling backward, a large gash on his head (Reduced to 1 HP) The ground beneath him seemed to rock and the scenery spun. He fought for consciousness and as he did he had the vague impression of a green feminine figure rushing towards him, and then a hot pain in his shoulder, and then the world went black and the Archer fell backwards into the grass. Cassilda Blackmane's Pearl Diver stood there for a moment making sure the Archer did not get back up, wiping her sword blade on the leaves of a nearby bush.
|In the pool, Fernando and Habby recover the treasure, as over on the left Cassilda's green Pearl Diver takes out Billy the Archer. Near the upper right of the photo, Ginsink recovers a clutch of eggs.|
While the Gnome Heritor had been aiming at Lily, the Gnome Archer had been ranging his arrow at Perkin the Scout, who was standing with Barley on the Obelisk. While the Halfling Heritor was mostly obscured from view, the Gnome had a clear shot at the back of the Scout. With a sharp twang of the string he released his arrow, and it struck Perkin in his right thigh. (-4 HP) He let out a gasp of pain. Seeing the shaft in his leg, Barley knew she had to act quickly. The little Heritor tugged with all her might at the blade in the stone base of the obelisk, and with burning in her blood, she managed to pull the steel blade free. Jumping down awkwardly with the long weapon, she turned and offered a hand to Perkin to help the wounded Scout climb down as well. They were mostly blocked from view now from the Gnomes and the Humans by the tall base of the obelisk, but Barley knew they were far from safe yet.
The Gnomes weren't safe yet either with Tork's Giant Wasp in their ranks. The huge insect tormented the Gnome Crossbowman (In contact, but refuses to fight), but a nearby Gnome Crewman had had enough, and charged the beast. Quickly the Wasp struck, before the attacker knew what hit him; jabbing its large stinger into the unfortunate Gnome's chest. (I roll a 20 for it's attack!) The Gnome Crewman dropped to the ground instantly dead.
Over by the pool, Tork watched in shock as Billy was brought down. He then noticed the injured Scout, Perkin, climbing down from the obelisk, and attempted to cast Water of Life on him, but was too distracted by the fallen Archer, and what's more, the strange green woman he could now see standing just on the other side of the brush were Billy had been standing. The Warden puzzled over the strange sight of the green person standing there, and the had the realization that the girl must have been the one to hurt Billy.
Meanwhile, Fernando and Habby were dragging the chest safely from the pool. As the two Crewmen worked with the chest, Ginsink trotted by with her load of eggs and said, "See you back at the ship, boys!" as she made her way past them and headed on to the rendezvous point. Not far away, on the high wall, Link dropped his find of the 2-handed axe off the top, and it landed with a thud in the grass. He then climbed down and retrieved it, and joined Ginny, Fernando, and Habby on the path back to the landing boats.
|Treasures in hand, the Crew makes for the rendezvous spot. Barley is against the high wall in the upper right of the photo...|
Over by the Pool, Tork's curiosity and anger got the best of him, and he approached the green-skinned Pearl Diver. "Why you hurt him!?" he demanded, pointing at the fallen Billy. "You bad person!" (I engage to keep her occupied, but being well aware of my starting Warden's +1 Fight, I declined combat.) For her part, Cassilda's Pearl Diver was rather threatened by this huge bear of a man coming at her yelling and gesturing; so, quickly she brandished her blade and took a swing at Tork. She missed, and Tork in reflexive response swung the blunt side of his axe at the side of her head. It contacted the girl's skull like a hammer, and she staggered backwards, her jaw dislocated and her eyebrow gashed and bleeding (I roll a 20, and push her out of combat). Tork said simply, "You go away now." And with that the Pearl Diver turned tail and ran.
The Warden only watched the strange green girl flee for a moment, because there was a sudden stab of pain in his temple. The Wasp was mortally wounded, and the Beast Warden could sense it. While Tork had been dealing with the Pearl Diver, four of the Gnomes (+8 combat bonus) had encircled the flying beast. With so many targets to keep track of, the huge insect had faltered and fallen to a quick sword attack from behind.
Then, suddenly, way back where the crew had first entered the temple area, there came a cry for help from Ginsink the Crew-woman, as she saw a pair of animated Skeleton warriors come into view. The rest of the party looked in Ginny's direction and those who could, moved to act. Perkin looked at Barley, "Will you be okay?" he asked the Heritor.
"Yes.", she replied, "Go. Help her." And, as the Scout moved off to help the Crew-woman, the Halfling Heritor pressed her back against the wall, and concentrating, felt as her body began to melt into the stone work. (I use Wraithwalk ability.) In a minute she had passed through, and was safely on the other side; out of the reach of enemy missile weapons. The stern face of the idol on the wall looked down at her as if disapproving.
|...and passes through the wall using Wraithwalk, to avoid any enemy missiles.|
While everything had been going on, Crewman Corel had slowly been scaling one of the temple columns to see what he could see from on top. He had finally reached the flat stones of the architrave running across the top of the columns; and standing, noticed a small chest resting atop the point of the pediment. He also noticed a pair of large hairy chitinous legs slowly rising from the opposite corner of the temple. He stood in shock as more of the Huge Tree Spider came into view as it slowly crawled up the far side. It was almost as big as one of their landing boats! He could see its sparkling glassy eyes considering him. Every instinct in the Crewman's little body told him to flee; but he knew that in all likelihood the beast could move faster than he could climb down the columns, and jumping down would be certain death. Bravely he brandished his sword, and took slow hesitant steps towards the monster. For its part, the Spider seemed hesitant as well. Then, all of a sudden, it turned away and started heading back down the column it had crawled up! Corel stood there a moment in disbelief. Had he scared it off? Whatever the reason the little Halfling knew this was his chance, and he rushed forward and grabbed the chest, then turned and moved as quick as he could, while dragging the heavy box back towards his corner of the temple; praying the Spider didn't change its mind. (Unbeknownst to Corel, the Spider was actually controlled by the Warden, Tyrel Tallguy, to my left; and he had sent it to challenge the treasure. But then another Huge Tree Spider had appeared in that player's area of operations, and he needed to call his controlled Spider back down to occupy/fight the newly arrived "wild" Spider.)
|Crewman Corel faces an 8-legged dilemma.|
By this time, Ginsink had reached the corner of the Temple, and Corel dropped the chest down. Both she and Tork, watched the sturdy box as it fell and landed with a dull thud and the muffled clinking of what sounded like coins. Neither of them noticed the Soldier Crab that had darted from the shadows of the jungle only a dozen yards behind them. Quickly, it scuttered towards Ginny, who was bending over and picking up the heavy box. The beast's claws clacking together in anticipation of a fresh meal. That sound, however, was enough to alert the Crew-woman. She stood and turned, and let out a short cry of surprise as the crab was upon her with no time to draw her sword. Tork, heard the cry, and looking up quickly assessed the situation. With speed and determination he worked his Control Animal spell again, calling out to the consciousness of the Crab. In an instant he was inside the beast's mind, but it resisted his call with a meal so close and tempting. Tork strained his mind, forcing his will upon the Crab (Pushed spell for -2 HP), and finally he was there in the creature's thoughts. Ultimately, the big crustacean didn't have the Will to resist. With the monster's claws snapping just inches from Ginny's throat, Tork took control, and called the animal off. It hesitated a moment, but then lowered its claws and scuttled a step back. Ginny let out a deep breath and wiped her brow with the back of her sleeve. Looking at the big Beast Warden, she said, "That was close. Thank you, Tork." The large Human smiled shyly and simply nodded; then sent the Soldier Crab scurrying off towards the other side of the temple where Arkhan the Cruel's Crew were. Back over where they had first entered the temple area, Tork could see Barley in the distance move with her prize further into the jungle and safety. (Barley exits table.)
|In the nick of time, Tork takes Control of the Soldier Crab, as its pincers move within inches of Crew-woman Ginsink.|
Ginny now had secured the chest, and she and Tork made their way towards the rendezvous. But their ordeal was not over yet. A Gnome Archer had crept through the jungle and brush, until he was just in range of the Halfling Crew-woman. Notching an arrow, he let if fly, and his hit Ginny squarely in the back. She cried out in pain and fell forward, and desperately tried to not pass out, as she crawled with her load towards safety. (1 HP left, and she exited the table). Tork ran up to her, and seeing her wounded state, picked her and her chest of coins up, and rushed with her to the waiting boats.
|The finally tally and toll.|
But there had been a cost. Three of the party had fallen in battle that day. And while Habby had only been knocked out and would be Fine; Lily was Badly Wounded from the Goblin Heritor's Trick Shot, and would be out of action for weeks while she recovered. Likewise, the blow the Archer Billy Wizzit had received to the head from Cassilda Blackmane's rock, had left him badly concussed (Badly Wounded), and he too would be unable to go ashore for a long time.
On the good side though, Billy's Brother, Jikham, was almost fully recovered from his Bad Wound on their first outing, and would certainly be needed on their next adventure. Barley pondered where that might be, but for right now she was exhausted from the day's events, and knew bed was where she wanted to travel to at the moment. Tork, too, was yawning in his big chair opposite her desk. The pair said their goodnights, and the big Warden made his way from the Heritor's cabin and headed up to sleep, as he always did, upon the deck; close to the open sky and the rolling waves where the cry of the seabirds, and song of the whales were his lullaby.
Wow, what a game! Four treasures, including one of the Central Treasures recovered! Not sure how long this luck will last, but I am enjoying it while I have it. So far my rush-the- Central-Treasure tactic is working, aided by my 7" move and my Wraithwalk ability. Finding the Divining rods this time, won't help with the Central Treasure, but will hopefully help with nabbing more regular treasure.
I have to say, I think I was also greatly helped this game by the lucky happenstance of the Gnomes taking down the Heritor, Safar the Seafarer, on the first turn. This caused the Human player to want instant revenge on them, and the Gnomes were forced to deal with them. Both got heavily embroiled with each other, leaving my Crew, for the most part, to their own devices.
I can't believe I found two more Magic/Superior 2-Handed Weapons, after finding the one last month! Totally unusable with my Halfling Crew, and the Specialists I picked. Why can't I find just a plain old magic sword! :) The only bright side is that when I eventually make it back to port, they will be like money in the bank. I've been waiting for a Specialist's death for sailing back to the mainland, but if I find many more unusable magic weapons, I may have to go back simply to cash in my loot.
Luckily, we didn't seem to generate as many Spiders as we expected (Everyone's post-picking-up-treasure Random Encounter rolls were just too low to generate anything.) But, I will say, the Spiders we did generate were all down the big end of the spectrum, including 2 of the Giant ones. Luckily, none entered directly in my entry zone, and I only encountered few late in the game. I did however seem to get the regular Random monsters, including the 2 Skeletons, and the Soldier Crab. Having a Beast Warden really pays off in these cases.
Another interesting thing about this game was that no Warden ever cast Cloud Cover. It's the first time in forever that I can remember exploring in full sun. And, as expected we all took archery hits because of it.
It was a long hard fought game, going to 9 turns, and once again I kept track of my Initiative Chip draws: T1- 3, T2- 6, T3- 5, T4- 1, T5- 1, T6- 3, T7- 3, T8- 5, T9- 2; for an average Initiative of 3.2 out of 7 possible Chips. Not bad at all compared to last month's average of 5 out of 8 possible Chips, and nicely below the average draw in general. Hopefully I can keep up this trend in the months ahead.
I won't have to wait long, to test my luck again; as our next game is coming up on March 9th.