Soanso's Serpent's Skull Campaign

Session 6: Souls for Smuggler's Shiv

Sands in the Hourglass

“It’s been damned near 2 weeks we’ve been stranded on this wretched island, though I must say I cannot complain too loudly as to the accommodations. The others have set to keeping us sheltered and fed, while I have done my best to keep spirits up around here. Tough crowd, though. I guess the comedic tropes of the gnomes don’t translate well to human ears. I really thought that shady Tian was going to run me through; luckily the crooked cleric intervened. Lesson learned- don’t insult a swordsman with no appreciation of highbrow humour. I’ve since clipped my tongue, waiting for the Saviors of the Shiv to return; I only hope that my memory was correct and they aren’t off on a wild kobold chase for the Nightvoice. Ames was a hell of a chap, and a great captain, to boot. If it was here he was lost, I hope to at least bring his name- and his fellow Pathfinders’- to light, so they can be inscribed on the Wall. He was one of the few that stood by me when I was under scrutiny; a deed I can only hope to repay.” – G. Aberwhinge, 29 Erastus 4711

After a brief skirmish with a band of fungal monstrosities, the explorers decide to rest and strategize. The morning brings a new-found strength and determination, and the adventurers set off to explore the wreck on the eastern part of the island. While the ship appears to be intact, it is in fact covered in the same gray, almost colorless fungus that permeates the silent island. What appear to be fungal ropes stretch from the ship’s deck to the mainland; finding these fibers surprisingly strong, the group passes onto the top deck. Max, distrustful of all things moldy, picks his way across the kelp-choked rocks to the ship’s bow, where he wipes away the mold to discover that it is the Nightvoice, the lost Pathfinder ship Gelik had mentioned.

Below deck, the explorers find a tribe of mold-men, more vegepygmies like those encountered the day before. They and their leader are dispatched, and a thorough search of the ship turns up the captain’s log, a brown moldy mess in what is assumed to have been his quarters, and the horrific- and rarely encountered- vegepygmy ancestor worship site. Nineteen piles of neatly stacked bones, each ringed with bits of metal, coins, teeth, and other bits of ephemera occupy the hold. A wand, bracers, potion, and coinage are summarily packed away by the adventurers.

Circling the small atoll, a cave mouth is spotted atop a spire of rocks to the west. Another set of fungal ropes create a crude bridge to the site. The cave entrance is lined with bits of glass, shells, and other trinkets, as if these small baubles are offerings to a god. A low, eerie and inhuman moan can be heard echoing in the cavern. With a sickening wet peeling sound, a vaguely humanoid figure covered in a purplish fungus rises from its torpor to feed upon its latest sacrifices. Max takes a brutal hit to his physical well-being, but the slow, almost humanoid atrocity is killed before it can do further damage. The adventurers return to the island where they left the donkey to recuperate. In the morning, they can see visible signs that the fungus blight is already receding.

Returning to the main island, another shipwreck is spotted and explored. A small pack of zombies is given eternal freedom, and a search of the area uncovers a silver holy symbol of the god Achaekek (pronounced uh-CHAY-kek), patron god of the Red Mantis, with whom Sasha is suspected to have ties. Pezock is again encountered, and reassures the party that the Lady in the Tree is for real a dryad, and suggests they check out his old encampment. They do, finding a lot of broken weapons littering the ground, nest-like structures built into the branches of trees, and Max finds a fine dagger with the symbol of the Red Mantis on the blade. It is nonmagical, but very sharp and pointy.

Finally returning to base camp, the group helps Gelik overcome his fear of spores to cull information from the logbook. It is indeed Havner Ames’ log, and is full of information about the fate of his crew, and possibly himself. The Cocopalm seed they thought to have found on a brief stopover was in fact a deadly fungal pod that inflicted the crew with russet mold and then re-closed, pulsing with foul life. The captain crashed the ship, and then climbed to the top of the rock spire to deposit the foul seed, to keep it from humanity forever; the same location where the violet horror was met. Jask hastily received the nettle berries, eager to treat his patient. It is now just past dusk, 16 days stranded on Smuggler’s Shiv. Gelik stokes the fire; Ishirou and Sasha keep watch, the adventurers rest their bones and enjoy monkey stew, courtesy of Sasha (and perhaps a liberal sprinkling of prestidigitation by Gelik.)

“This disgusting tome! Ach, even its stench is enough to drive one mad! It is indeed Havner’s handwriting, and listening to the explorers tell of the island where they found the wreck assures me that Ames was not a treasonous legionnaire, but a good man who did what was best for us all. But the wizard’s description of the vile abomination in the cave, it sounds like the feared violet fungus, but touched by some deeper evil… There is something amiss on this island, too much chaos, too much sorrow in the bones of the soil itself.” – G. Aberwhinge, 5 Arodus 4711.

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