Castaway Diary, Day 8.

GOATRDONE
 
I assume you are familiar with the works of Larry Van Pelt. I trust that you are.
 
Orny has been casting Guidance a lot. A LOT. Because absent anything to get all witchy on, those Orisons, or Cantrips, or whatever witches call their things are about the only aid he can do in some situations. We broke that trend last night with a proper Hex getting called down… on a fish. But still… it wasn’t Guidance. Which is too bad because every time Guidance gets cast I think about the process by which a witch casts that spell. Orny’s Goat tells him how to do it in the morning. And then Orny casts it the spell and the spell the target how to do a thing. That guidance really comes from Orny’s Goat. Which made me think of the Larry Van Pelt illustrations and how far you could take that goat. Far, it turns out. 
 
Anyway… full boat last night, with some folks stretching their 2nd level abilities and others making their way out of 1st. XP seems to be perplexingly uneven this campaign, and I’m not sure why. I think I have it sussed though.
 
Waking up in the upturned hull of the Golden Bow, having spent a night wondering about the man on the beach and the meaning of the totem, the group discussed where to go next.
 
Victor and Malicia checked out the totem, but Orny’s theory seems the most plausible; that it is a territorial marker created by people who are passingly familiar with the symbolism and rituals of witchcraft. That said, he can’t tell if it is a welcome mat or a warning. Floki took a moment to remind everyone of the rumour that a marooned Chelish crew had inhabited the island a few generations ago and turned to cannibalism and savagery.
 
Rain-ocean-beach-wallpaper 
 
Floki took another moment to try to identify the direction in which the man left, but was hampered in this by the untimely rain that had been going all morning. All week, so far, the island’s climate has been predictable – night/warm/hot/really hot/rainstorm/hot/warm/night – but some larger weather system cruised overhead, turning the sea slate grey, loosing a persistent misty rain and cutting their visibility down quite a bit.
 
They made use of the morning hours to progress south along the shoreline until they reached the temporary shelter that someone had erected. There wasn’t much else to do here, but at least it is a landmark with which they are familiar and they could verify that it hadn’t been reused since they were here last.
 
At this point, there is a break in the plateau that forms the spine of this spiral arm of the island. They investigated it briefly when they were looking for a better source of water. That gap between plateaus permits access to the inner rim of the island’s spiral arm. 
 
They decided to proceed south along the cliffside, rather than heading too far inland or sticking to the shore – food was becoming an issue and they thought they could break into foraging teams and scrounge up enough stuff to keep them going. In this, it must be said, they achieved their goal and then some – each foraging team coming back with enough that they had gathered almost three day’s worth of  food for the party. It was a mix of edible ferns, fruit, nuts and briefly surprised jungle critters.
 
 
Heading further south after this break, Malicia, who wasn’t leading the party – Floki was guiding them – but ranging out amongst the jungle undergrowth in which she is increasingly at home, spotted something down at the shore.
 
The shore, at this point consisted of a series of drops: From the jungle, down 10 feet to a rocky ledge, which was 15 feet above the crashing ocean. She could see the stern of a wreck, wedged into some rocks although not easily, what with the rain. Using the Orny-mended telescope, she could see a tilted mast, broken and disjointed from the ship, with a length of rope trailing from the top of the broken mast to some point higher up in the jungle.
 
Shiv Day 8
 
The party hurried down from their vantage point on the bluff, using some pooled rope resources, and found the bow of the ship shattered and overgrown but up 25ft from the sea level in the jungle. Whatever tidal surge carried the ship this far must have been crazy-powerful.  A tilted mast seemed to be the anchor of the other end of the rope from the stern.
 
As they approached they noticed a few things. Malicia, circling around the bow found the ship’s title, The Bloody Doll. The ship had been here – they were guessing – six months or so. Not long, not recent either. The mast had been propped on a leaning palm tree and wedged into place. The rope itself was obviously added later to the broken mast. But the biggest clue that this wasn’t a naturally occurring zipline was the series of symbols carved into the mast. They puzzled over these for a moment until Percy stepped forward to put his considerable linguistic abilities to use, only to find that the symbols were Tengu pictographs: ‘Payment’ ‘At Interval’ ‘Received’, roughly speaking, “Taxed”. 
 
There was a lot of talking at this point and Uun didn’t have no time for jibber jabber. Uun is a man of action. He clambered up the mast, took hold of the rope and began to hand over hand towards the wrecked stern. He got about halfway and the rope snapped above him, the slick rope slipping from his hands and dumping him into the water. Not phased, Uun twisted gracefully in the air and entered the crashing waters like a knife. He surfaced, but as he did so a fin broke the surface of the water near him.  Not a dolphin fin either.
  
You know what is a good google image search? "Shark". It gets you cool images like this. You know what is a terrible google image search? "Shark" + the name of any limb. Baaaaarf.

You know what is a good google image search? “Shark”. It gets you cool images like this. You know what is a terrible google image search? “Shark” + the name of any limb. Baaaaarf.

 
The shark was on him in a second, and only a shouted warning from the shore allowed Uun to twist in the water and prepare himself for the attack. The shark, pretty much just a dreadful toothy maw with massive propulsion system behind it, savaged Uun, tearing a chunk from his thigh. He swam towards the wreck, but the shark mauled him again and again. The wounds should have claimed him there and then, but he somehow found the will to struggle on towards one of the rocks  that wedged the wreck fast. He managed to get his arms up on the rock. The shark closed in and opened its mouth for one last, bisecting bite on the barbarian, but at the last second, Uun kicked out with both his legs, set his feet against the shark’s nose and used its lunge to propel the rest of him out of the water. The shark, denied a brawny pair of legs to feast on for a while, slipped beneath the waves and disappeared.
 
 
Shock the Pope? That’s what happens when you try, I guess.

 

Back on the shore, while this drama was going on, the rest of the party had been struggling to see the action through the pouring rain and get close enough to help. But Orny was ideally placed to see the shark circle back around again and pass between the wreck and the shore. Orny hexed that shark with a Hex of Slumber, which is a thing Orny can do; in fact he was able to do it all 1st level, but that was wall to wall undead and it never came up. Anyway, the Hex flicked the big switch on the shark’s brain that causes it to rest between feedings and it fell asleep. And as we all know, sharks gotta keep moving, so it just trucked on out of there. I think, since most fish don’t rollover and take a nap, but keep swimming while asleep Hex of Slumber is a good value for money effect against them: you make them sleep and also go away.  
 
Most everyone descended to the rocky ledge, Percy helped out by casting Light on rocks and chucking them into the sea. Floki was trying to get another line to the ship set up. Eventually he did, using a shovel as a grapple and throwing the line into the rain. It draped across the gunwales and when pulled back up, wedged tight between two cleats on the side. It was a different matter to get across, with both Victor and Floki struggling somewhat. Rolifson wasn’t going to wait for the paladin, and used him to clamber up onto the rope and over when Victor took too long.
 

Lara Croft, they are not.

 
Further along the shore, a second line was set up, upon which Nobody hoisted himself, before falling into the brine too. His powder wasn’t that dry to begin with, what with the rain, but his everything is wet now. He swam through the choppy water and hauled himself up onto the ship.
 
Malicia meanwhile had been using the telescope to scout out the ship and when Percy threw in a Light-bearing rock, she could have sworn she saw several humanoid forms swim away into the shadows of the wreck. She told the party this as they were crossing but also became aware of someone moving in the jungle behind them. The person or animal or dire animal or magical beast was moving quietly but not quietly enough, moving around the wreck towards the shore north of them. Victor turned back and gave his ride on the rope to Orny, who started carefully crossing. Victor hopped back up to the jungle level and stood by Malicia, guarding the approach to the ship.
 
Floki and Rolifson, having made it across, opened the doors to the quarterdeck and found a small hallway that led to three more doors. The hallway was lined with pegs, as though for storing coats or supplies, but they were all empty now. Rolifson laid his head against one of the doors and listened, and although he heard nothing in the cabin beyond, he heard a muffled thumping below decks, the reverberation audible through the tight woodwork of the ship.
 
Uun, helping out with the line attaching, complained about the lack of healers being sent over. In truth, he was very, very badly injured. Percy arrived, via zipline on the deck of the ship. And had no sooner stepped on board when a grey hand shot out of the water under the shattered deck and grasped his ankle. He hopped out of the way quickly, but not before he could feel some sort of trace poison effect in his touched leg – a kind of leaden numbness. The hand disappeared as quickly as it had appeared…
 
Also a terrible thing to search for...

Also a terrible thing to search for…

 
 
 

3 Comments on “Castaway Diary, Day 8.

  1. Point of record…wasn’t Nobody drowning and not on the ship?
    Point of Cherry Tree Chopping…Victor got the shovel grapple to work because Floki is apparently a sissy armed girl thrower.

  2. My map has Nobody within arms reach of the rock ship and mast. He had been briefly drowning and failing to swim.

    I was going to let Floki’s wee-lassie-arm fade into the mist of history. Victor, in general, did a great job going around being helpful.

  3. Hmmm, rolling out the map, I have two ‘N’s marked, one near the ship, one further away. Did Nobody get bitten in half and I didn’t remember?

    Seems like kind of thing I’d remember.

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