Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Flashpoint: Squibbing & Interrogations

Captain Archer was back this session so he got brought up to speed with the two ships that were taken last session.  Lunjun also reported that he found mysterious water stains in the Chelish caravel's, Dowager's, log book.  Lunjun identified it as an alchemical invisible ink that likely holds some coded information.  He tried to bring it out with heat but that didn't work.  Odds are that there's some kind of alchemical key that will make it visible. 

Archer took the logbook outside and put a page to the sun.  Due to the shadowing he could make out a few symbols through the water stains that he jotted down though most of it was too difficult to truly see. To Lunjun's skilled eye those symbols drawn by Archer looked like some sort of arcane language with a Tienese-style of lettering.  Lunjun used Read Magic and could see an invisible symbol on one of the covers that was likely a cypher mark that would reveal to the trained eye what alchemical concoction and code book to use.  Unfortunately, that symbol's meaning would be known only by the people who invented it.

They could test the paper to figure out the right concoction but the tests would need to destroy some of the sample pages which would forever destroy part of the information.  They tried to learn more from the captain and head of the merchant ship's guard but neither of them knew anything about it.  Lhye used Suggestion to get the captain to relate a timeline of his logbook, where it's been and who might have had contact with it.  I thought that was very clever because it's rare for players to think in terms of 'timelines' and 'chains of evidence'.

The main clues their efforts have is that:

*  Bloodcove was the last place the 'Dowager' had been at port.
*  They were heading to the only open port in Nidal, followed by the Mordant Spire, and then on to Cheliax.
*  The captain dallied with a woman wearing a red dragon scale mask whom he thinks might have actually been several women who looked and sounded similarly, but not the same, yet who wore the same costume.
*  The logbook was taken by the port authorities at Bloodcove by the Aspis Consortium as it is assumed that Chelish merchants are used to high taxation and therefore won't put up as much of an argument as the Shackles locals.
*   They have a silk and gemstone shipment.

Having learned what they could, the crew then dropped off the Chelish merchantmen at a Chelish settlement before going to Rickety Squibs to re-fit the two stolen ships.  Proteus helped them go through the various procedures and they put the Chelish caravel up for the re-fit first.  Proteus managed to talk Rickety into throwing in a free secret compartment on the Exodus due to the fact that had two vessels to re-fit.

For the first five days, while all of this is going on, Lunjun used Water Breathing, several crewmembers, and a magical spell to copper plate the hull of the Egress and the Exodus to prevent fouling and increase the ship's speed.

After those five days, I went to the first encounter at Rickety Squibs' in the 'Raiders of the Fever Seas' campaign book in the Pathfinder series 'Skull & Shackles'.  I'm not running the Skull & Shackles campaign but I have found that book invaluable for Shackles adventures.  The encounter involved a young water naga who pulled a man into the river and attacked him.  Archer waded into the river mouth to have at it with the sword.  In the book it was meant to be 20 feet deep but as it was close to the land and in a drought I had it only four feet deep.  Deep enough for her to hide most of her length below the churning water, though they caught glimpses of her.  Lunjun shot her with magical bolts that did the most damage.  Lhye healed Archer with prehensile hair.  Proteus summoned an octopus and a swarm of piranha (same stats as swarm of bats but they have a swim speed rather than a fly speed). 

In the end, the assaulted man was drowned but not yet dead.  Lhye resuscitated him then turned to the naga.  Proteus explained that she was a sentient creature likely driven mad by the warming salt water laden river mouth that she would've been driven into by other Nagas as the water dried up.  Lhye cast a Sleep Hex and then a Cure Light Wounds spell on the dying Naga.  They took a barrel of cool water from the ship and filled a bathtub with it before placing her medium-sized young body inside it.  Now greatly cooled and in fresh water, she is likely to awaken refreshed and more sane ... for now.

If the drought doesn't break, however, it is only a matter of time.  While she can survive saltwater, ir will madden her as much as a muddy river did as she is of the freshwater variety.  We'll find out next session what the players intend to do to keep her sane.

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