The Isle of Dread

Trouble in Farshore

After returning to Farshore from their adventures defeating the aspect of Gorgon, the BARREL WARRIORS returned to find a pair of disastrous occurences: Lavinia had been kidnapped, and the townsfolk were packing up at the apparent order of the Meravanchis. Failing to talk sense into the Meravanchis, the adventurers instead turned to the four members of the town council, and with a little help from Eadbald’s lesser silent metamagic rod and Basil’s charm person spells, managed to convince them to try and talk the townsfolk into staying. The adventurers didn’t wish to waste time to see if they were successful, instead setting off immediately for Breakwater Bay to search for Lavinia. Vex was visited by an image of Harliss in a dream asking for the party to meet her at a certain whaling building within Breakwater Bay (Red Tide?) for more information about Lavinia. Eadbald was adamant about not going, mentioning something about a nightmare from his past, but eventually relented on the condition that he remain on the ship to guard it and not step foot onto land.

The rest of the party was able to locate the pirate haven of Breakwater Bay and dressed as pirates to scope out the city, hoping to discover more information about Vanthus and Lavinia. What they discovered was not encouraging- the Crimson Fleet seemed to be the most feared party in town, but they were by no means the only contenders, with a group of cannibalistic monks, a gnomish necromancer, a wizard with an imp consort, and a pleasure house run by a succubus as well as a shadowy group of Yuan-ti among others vying for the title.

Near sunset the party made their way to the Red Tide whaling building, discovering what appeared to be Harliss collapsed on the ground. Upon reaching her, the corpse dissolved into a succubus, and several Yuan-ti assassins winked into existance along with a Yuan-ti miniboss. One of the assassins slayed Basil instantly. With little room to maneuver, Vendrilk summoned his storm lord power to turn into a whirlwind in an attempt to cover the party and trap the assassins, but the miniboss instead killed him in a single flurry of arrows from his bow. Vex managed to eventually bring down the three assassins singlehandedly, while J’zar made directly for the miniboss. Upon reaching him, the boss sent a wave of terror through the Tiefling, causing him to instead flee to the ship, leaving Vex to face the miniboss alone. After nearly dying to a flurry of arrows, he decided discretion was the better part of valor and fled to the ship. J’zar returned later to discover the Yuan-ti going through Vendrilk’s and Basil’s belongings, but with no way to fight the creature alone, returned to the ship.

A bit later, after Eadbald healed Vex and J’zar, the pair returned to the whaling building with Eadbald’s wand of invisibility only to discover the bodies gone and the blood trail leading out to the main road. They were tracked to a metal terrace deep in the city where several other bodies were shackled and impaled in the ring, with Vendrilk still alive, but only weakly. Basil was impaled on meat hooks nearby, while the rotting body of the Jade Raven dwarf Kaskus Kiel was barely recognizable a bit further down. J’zar, still invisible, created a distraction by burning a nearby building and slicing off one of Basil’s and Kaskus’s fingers and dragging Vendrilk’s alive but unconscious body back home to the ship. With resurrection materials kept stocked on board, Eadbald healed up Vendrilk who was able to resurrect Basil. Unfortunately the pair’s belongings were nowhere to be found, including Basil’s spellbook.

The group plots their next move aboard the Sea Wyvern.

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Gunther's past

He doesn’t really have any secrets to hide, he would likely be happy to tell his story to anyone who asked. Here it is.

Long ago, Gunther was a fungus farmer in the village of Barbas, keeping out of the affairs of the Isle of Dread like all Mongrelmen. His only real contact with the outside world was the occasinal Troglodyte who came to barter. Gunther was almost fanatical about creating the best-tasting fungus dishes he could, and spent many hours learning from every Mongrel and Trog he could find about secret herbs and spices that they knew about. He even began taking clandestine trips to the surface to search for these plants that only grew above the surface.

One day, on one of his trips to the surface, he stumbled across the remains of an adventuring party who had been slain by a rampaging group of dinosaurs. The movement of one seeming corpse caught his attention, and he quickly made his way over to the dying alchemist. Gunther carefully cradled his head in his arms, offered him a sip of water, searched his eyes, and quietly whispered if he knew what the best way to flavor a fungus souffle was. The dying alchemist opened his eyes in confusion, beheld the hideous visage of the ugly Mongrelman, and promptly died in his arms.

While rooting through the corpses of the fallen adventurers, Gunther stumbled upon a treasure trove of information- the Alchemist’s formulae book and equipment, which coincidentally fit Gunther perfectly. Knowing that Barbas would want to split his precious treasure, but still loving his town, he returned into the caves to secretly guard his hidden village while remaining unseen in the shadows under the earth.

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Into the pit

After slaying the troglodyte army, the team managed to capture one of the warriors they were fighting, and free the imprisoned troglodyte as well as the imprisoned human. The human seemed to be under the effect of Feeblemind, and was unresponsive. The captured troglodyte warrior was of no help, and the group bound him for questioning later. The troglodyte who was in the cage was most helpful, and after a few questions, the group managed to discover that the well near the north part of the troglodyte cave led down into a vast underground network of tunnels leading to another troglodyte town, and further downward past many terrors to the meeting place where the troglodytes traded slaves to the lords of dread for shadow pearls.

After taking the bound troglodyte and the feebleminded human to the ship, the group decided to leave them there and venture down to face the lords of dread themselves. As it would be at least a few days’ journey, they packed 20 days worth of supplies and set off to face the lords of dread.

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Teenage Mutilated Ninja Turtles

With the enormous 60-footer shark vanquished, the Barrel Warriors continued their journey up the coast towards the northern bay where the legendary dragon turtle Emraag was known to reside, and occasionally attack passing ships. During the final day of the voyage, the party debated the merits and downsides of paying off the creature rather than slaying it, but in the end, all agreed that such a vile beast should not be allowed to molest traffic to and from Farshore.

The plan was to lure the beast out into the open with the treasure, then ambush it. After preparing themselves to the best of their ability, they sailed into the middle of the bay and Eadbald let loose a mighty trumpet from the aquatic didgeridoo. Several minutes later, they spied the dark form of a massive creature rising from the deeps, and Ranking swiftly cast water walking on the party.

One it surfaced, it bellowed out a challenge in Aquan, which Vex relayed to the party. The party feigned friendship, offering valuable treasure in promise for leaving Farshore’s ships alone. Once it agreed to this purpose, they inquired whether Emraag would be willing to turn on the Crimson Fleet for a price. It agreed to re-negotiate with the pirates if we could match their price. J’zar offered his two magical daggers, and approached the monsterous dragon turtle with the valuable weapons. Both J’zar and Emraag feigned to negotiate while both prepared to attack the other.

Once J’zar came within range, Vendrilk summoned several dolphins behind the beast while J’zar attacked. Vex and Targon jumped down onto the water and ran towards Emraag, while Eadbald and Vendrilk began unloading lightning spells into the beast. Just as the dragon turtle prepared to submerge, Rankin cast the spell that would turn the tide of the battle into the Barrel Warriors’ favor: Major Curse.

Emraag managed to submerge, but from there on out struggled to act. The party was left standing on the surface of the water for several seconds waiting for it to emerge, which it finally did: just beneath the Sea Wyvern, capsizing the ship and sending the crew scattered around the surface of the bay. However, it was from then on out a sitting duck. For the remainder of the battle, the fighters wailed on the giant creature, with Targon doing the majority of the damage with his new Paladin powers and his potent sword, swiftly vanquishing the evil dragon. J’zar landed the slaying blow, and before the beast sank to the bottom, called Vendrilk over to slice off a portion of the beast to create a treasure map and discover the riches of it’s lair.

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Post-battle activities

With Vanthus destroyed and Farshore protected from his last-ditch effort to unleash the chaos of a shadow pearl on the village, Lavinia and the party spent the next few days recovering from the attack and assisting with the dead and dying. Arrangements were made to contact the mage’s guild within Absalom and our treasure cache was taken back to be sold and orders taken for magical items to be purchased, taking roughly a week and a half.

One item purchased was a scroll of locate object in order for Targon to find glittering justice and have it teach him the ways of a paladin. it was located in one of the dockside warehouses in the nest of a strange magical beast that collected magical items, along with J’zar’s missing short sword and a few minor potions and scrolls. Targon swiftly dispatched it with one hit and glittering justice was retrieved. Targon pledged himself to the service of its god and together they have set down the path of learning the ways of a paladin.

Vendrilk and Eadbald assisted with the care and healing of the injured, and Vendrilk finished creating several magical items in his free time.

Vex presumably assisted with labor in shoring up Farshore’s defenses.

J’zar spent a few weeks re-learning some of his abilities, then set off alone to scout the island in search of the Lords of Dread. After a few minor run-ins with some of the island’s denizens, he discovered a dock leading into a cave set in the side of a cliff on the north side of the island, near where the Lords of Dread supposedly made their lair. A sickly-looking dimetron seemed to be sitting near the entrance, though it did not appear overly aggressive. After camping out overnight above the cliff, J’zar spotted several strange creatures exiting the cave and smearing some kind of strange black substance on the dinosaur before returning to the cave. Thinking discretion is the better part of valor, J’zar continued his circuit of the island without exploring the cave.

Upon returning, he found the town of Farshore beginning to mutter against Lavinia, saying her family was cursed and her presence attracted bad fortune. She proposed helping calm the settlement and protecting the various restocking ships coming to and from Farshore by negotiating with or slaying a dragon-turtle known for destroying ships. The turtle is known for residing along the north shore of the Isle of Dread, and so the party agreed to the suggestion, loaded up the Sea Wyvern with supplies, and set out to find the turtle along with a hefty ransom of treasure. Targon continues his paladin training aboard the ship.

A few days out, the ship passed over a swarm of sharks feasting on a squid beneath them. Vendrilk spotted a deeper shadow beneath the squid, so J’zar (being bored) jumped into the water to scope it out, and came face to face with a 60’ long mega shark who promptly attempted to eat him. J’zar immediately flew back out of the water followed by the shark breaching the surface, who then submerged once more. The shark seems to be following the ship with J’zar flying close behind it. Rankin has cast water walking on the party, Vendrilk cast lightning storm and readied an action to call down a bolt should the shark surface again, and both Vex and Targon and standing on the ship’s railing with readied actions to jump down onto the shark if it surfaces. J’zar flew down to the surface and began baiting the shark upwards, which is where we ended the session.

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Bring our your dead indeed

After talking with the pathfinder society office at far shore we were asked to find the village of the lost natives. They had recovered a relic from the mainland during one of their hunting parties. Shortly after they were never heard from again went missing. We grabbed Earl and the local pathfinder society leader and headed off into the forest. Eadbald had decided to stay back at the church to help them not suck so much.

After a bit of searching Vendrilk managed to find the long lost village. After starting to search the area we were jumped by several wraiths. Sadly our conventional weapons and magic didn’t seem to be terribly effective, even the magical weapons didn’t cause as much devastation as usual. During the fight a lone figure appeared out of no where and was struggling to escape the several chains that wrapped around his figure. I broke away from the group to assist in breaking some of the chains on this mysterious figure while the group slung spells at the wraiths. Thankfully just as we managed to get the last chain off the figure a bright flash of white light erupted and banished the wraiths. We learned that this was the chief of the long lost tribe and they have been cursed by the idol they had brought back. He requested that we recover the relic and destroy it so that him and his tribe my be ridden of the curse. Upon asking where this idol was he motioned out towards the coast. The trees seemed to disappear leaving a clear view of three waterlogged ships rising from the sea spewing out creatures as they rose into the sky. We decided that we should go get Eadbald before attempting to tackle three cursed ships and bunch of god knows what else. So we told the man we would be back tomorrow free his people from their suffering.

Upon returning to far shore we found Eadbald and informed him of the situation. We promptly rested and headed out early in the morning. Earl and the pathfinder society agent stayed behind in town for safety reasons of course. Upon reaching the lost village more wraiths spawned, we kept them busy until the chained man re-appeared and quickly turned all focus into freeing him. Once he was free the ships started to rise again much like the previous day so we headed out to meet them. We ran head first into a wave of zombies and lacedons on land first. The zombies weren’t much of a threat as long as you didn’t stand next to them for too long. The lacedons however had some nasty diseases and paralyze to deal with. Most of the initial wave was taken care of by Cerwen’s black tentacles. The few that managed to escape his zone of weird tentacles were easily dispatched by the rest of us.

Now what we didn’t plan on was these three ships circling around us dropping off reinforcements constantly. Each wave brought two shadows, five lacedons, and 10 more zombies. Thankfully Vendrilk was easily able to dispatch the shadows before they could drain anyone’s strength enough to turn them into a shadow. Cerwen and his spider friend were able to block off a huge area and funnel most of the forces into a nice line for Eadbald to throwing lighting through. Vendrilk did however get stuck in the area of web from the spider and had a little bit of chomping from a lacedon before I could get over there to kill the lacedon. We were able to finish off most of the waves before another wave would descend upon us thankfully. We finally figured out a good rhythm and ended up getting ahead of the waves, so Vendrilk turned into a giant bird and took off towards the ships. Cerwen had his spider lady tangle him up in her own webbing, it looked like they had already done this several times in the past. She then climbed up a giant tree dragging him along. Vendrilk was able to pepper the captain with a bunch of lighting, the captain did a drive by grapple with 6 zombies. They all failed to grab onto him and plummeted to the ground hilariously though. The next drive by was a shanking as the captain took a swing at him. Cerwen and spider lady found themselves face to face with two shadows, both of which decided they wanted the spider as their new friend. At one point they had a levitating spider who couldn’t pickup much more than a small rock carrying Cerwen almost like a hot air ballon. Thankfully they managed to dispatch the shadows before they killed the giant spider.

I can only assume the captain was fed up with us because all three ships suddenly changed course and plummeted to the ground. The ships didn’t appear to take any damage from ramming into the ground and dumped the last of their horde out. Vendrilk and J’Zar flew off for the captain while trying to avoid the shadows. J’Zar showed the ones chasing him the light and vanquished them. Cerwen and Spider lady had fun with three more shadows who were in a prime position to mess up Cerwen until he too did some fancy magic. Eadbald and myself were left to deal with the horde of zombies and lacedons. Cerwen managed to find time to trap some of them in more black tentacles thankfully. I managed to cleave through several of them at a time but it still wasn’t enough to stop Eadbald from being overrun. He fell unconscious after trying to bomb them into oblivion. I believe it was at this point J’Zar managed to land the final blow on the captain and as the captain died so did the rest of the monsters. We managed to heal Eadbald back into the world of the living and proceeded to loot the ships before they disappeared.

We finally found the tiny idol and Immediately attempted to sunder it. Even though my blow felt powerful there appeared to be no damage on the idol and the son of a bitch stung me back. We carried it back near to farshore while J’Zar flew ahead to get a ship ready. We hurried onto the ship and set sail for the mainland. Thankfully we had decided to lock the idol up in a chest and work on sealing any of the holes in the chest. At midnight there was green light emitting from the chest and this strange gas seemed to flow out. It was all restricted to the lower decks thanks to being locked in that chest. That could have ended badly if it had hit the upper decks. After arriving at the shore we went back to the evil temple with the invisible gorillas and through the mirror into another dimension. We returned to the room where Earl was going to be sacrificed and the giant stone statue came to life. We tossed the idol into the lava pit and we were instantly showered with lava that had been displaced by an explosive force from the pit.

On our trek back to the great wall we noticed they only had one guard on the wall. After entering the gates we heard loud chanting from what seemed like the entire village. They were in a large circle chanting and praying to their volcano god. As I approached one to ask him why the large prayer circle a huge flame erupted from the middle and was soon replaced by a man-bat figure. He declared that what was stolen or burned be returned to him. He burst into a bunch of tiny bats on fire after making his declaration.

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A Brief Intermission Into Insights Concerning J'zar Cooper

Being an outsider always came naturally to J’zar, being the outsider that he is. From an early age he was excluded and kept hidden from view by his mother from anyone who could show potential interest in his demonic lineage, whether it be the clandestine sort of interest for the blood or fate of a demon’s ill-gotten progeny, or the judgmental sort of interest that would more sooner send him back to his father’s realm. It was an exercise of futility for the young mother, whose vows within the church of Iomedae were cut almost immediately.

J’zar took naturally to life on the streets, his mother steadfast in her devotion to the religion that (in his eyes) ruined their lives, and grew up with a resentment towards their church. He did not stray from the path of good, however, having been raised to be a kind of generous person by his mother, the one person who he trusted and found solace in. Even after joining (conscripted, really, though he was eager enough to prove himself) the thieve’s guild, he specialized in robbing those merchants and blackmailing those officials who, in his eyes, “had it coming”. The guild was, to him, no more than a day job, one that he was particularly adept at (at least, portions of it).

When the opportunity arose to find his own fortune apart from the guild, he lept at it as a change of pace and, in his eyes, the opportunity for promotion. One can only rob the same spots so many times before suspicions arose as to the culprit, and when one gambles continuously, one will eventually lose. While burglering and reconniasance and blackmailing were all important skills for every thief to know, such jobs were akin to washing dishes or seating customers at a restaurant- and J’zar is interested in running his own restaurant someday. To him, the loot is secondary to building a reputation and trustworthy contacts. Information can be deadlier than even the sharpest knife.

He still harbors resentment with Iomaeae’s more fundamentalist followers- both because of the way they have treated him in the past, and because of their hate of demons, many of them can see him as a creature who, in the end, will succumb to his nature. This wrankles him more than anything because he desires nothing more than to prove he has a free will of his own, and is not bound by neither the heavens nor hells- but deep inside, he wonders if that is truly the case. It is true that he is tempted by the baser desires of envy, lust, pride, and wrath- but who isn’t? Does partaking in these sins mean that he has the ability to stumble from his mother’s teachings like every other creature with free will, or is it inevitable that he will fall? Of course he will argue vehemently that it is the former, but every accusation levelled at him reminding him of his demonic heriatige is soured by the little nagging voice of doubt, provoking him to hate- and fear.

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The end of the beginning

After putting down Olangru, the demonic bar’lrgula and his simian lovers, and thereby clearing Fogmire of the haunting presence, our adventurers led the ragged, road-weary band of settlers on the last stage of their journey. With the Great Wall of Dread finally in sight, our band of heroes came across one final conflict- what appeared to be several ill-equipped, yet brave native warriors surrounded by a flock of feathered beasts and being taken out one by one. Without hesitation the party charged into battle, with the rogue and fighter each drawing the ire of two groups, and leaving the oracle to clean up with webs and tentacles and the power of the interstellar void. The alchawitch and druid followed behind and tended to the fallen natives, saving most of them and driving off the remainder of the birds.

The grateful natives, bruised and battered, led the party back to the village of Tanaroa just on the other side of the towering wall keeping out the most dangerous beasts and creatures of the isle, where it came as a bit of a surprise that the town had an odd custom of turning their fallen warriors into zombies. While happy to participate in the feasting of the returning warriors who had proved themselves in battle (with a helping hand by our heroes), the party and settlers both were eager to complete the final stage of their journey. The next morning they hiked to the village of Mora on the shore of the main continent, where they secured passage on primitive seafaring boats to take them out to the island where the settlement of Farshore was located.

To their shock and dismay, when they came close to the village, they were greeted by the sounds of battle and the sight of smoke rising from burning buildings coming from the town. Our adventurers each set off in a different direction to take care of the marauding menace: J’zar flew to the north end of town to rescue a woman trapped inside a burning building, Vendrilk and Cerwen ran south to deal with a pirate chasing around a settler, and Vex went straight for what appeared to be the captain himself. The town was saved by the heroic efforts of the heroes who had apparently arrived just in time, and after putting out the fires, made an emotional reunion with Lavinia who had arrived safe and sound with her crew aboard the Sea Wyvern. Avner had a reunion of his own with the leader of the settlement, one Lord Manthalay Meravanchi, an uncle of his- who appeared to be both surprised and annoyed at the sight of Avner before masking his expression and greeting the sod warmly.

While this was going on, Vex stole the pirate ship and gleefully shooting the few remaining pirates trying to swim for their lives.

The happy reunion was dampened by the grim news that this pirate assault was but a scouting party for the main fleet of Crimson Commandos on their way to the settlement of Farshore. The heroes have precious little time to prepare the meager settlement for the brunt of the assault…

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Urol doesn't have fun in monkey town

Continuing through the monkey dungeon, our brave adventurers heroically loot snake-woman’s smoking hot corpse for any valuables she may still have before continuing on. In the final room of monkey town, they find that Urol has been tied up with a stranger above a fire pit and were being slowly roasted alive. When J’zar flew up to attempt to untie Urol, space-monkeys began teleporting into the room to fight our heroes, and Vex tossed him a rope to help pull Urol and the stranger back to free J’zar up to join in on the fight. Once the monkey was defeated and Urol and the stranger seemed safe, the giant multi-tentacled monkey-statue at the back of the room began to come alive. With some quick healing from the party members and J’zar helpfully distracting the tentacle-monkey-statue by being crushed to death, Vex was able to get in enough sword strikes to take the statue down once and for all. With the threat gone and the forest safe (or safer, at any rate) to pass through once again, they continued on their way.

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The Recap to end all Recaps

The party left on a voyage to bring settlers and supplies to the settlement founded on the isle of dread, leaving on three (?) one ship provided by Lavinia Vanderboren and funded by the Meravanchi Family (Avner’s family) and one ship recovered by the party after it was abandoned by smugglers at Kraken Cove.

The party spies an island with some ancient ruins and stops to investigate One of the NPC passengers, a gnome and an expert on the Isle of Dread, named Urol joined the crew with the requirement that the group stop at the ancient Olman ruined city of Tamoachan. Outside the ruins are a few basilisks and several petrified statues which the party frees (the ones not worn away by wind and rain) before delving into the ruins and discovering a map of an ancient city and some kind of key.

Another island they passed was one that looked as if it were blasted by some evil force. Stopping to investigate, they mercilessly slaughter some innocent -bug-owlbears and capture their young to raise for arena fighting when they get older.

Later on, they are chased by a pirate ship, and manage to damage it enough to flee heroically.

Once out to sea, a slutty settler convinces J’zar to go skinny dipping with her. J’zar swims with the sharks for a while before admitting to the rest of the party what happened. Later on, at the next stop, they discover that their old friend Rowyn Kellani had snuck aboard and attempted to sabotage the entire operation. They beat the tar out of her at the next island stop and summarily had her executed.

After leaving behind a few settlers and crewmembers at the village, they set out once again and were set on by a hurricane that separated the two ships. The one that our brave adventurers set out on wandered into a field of kelp expanded out by the mother of all, who was attempting to cover the whole planet with kelp. They journeyed to the source of the kelp forest and dispatched her, freeing the ship in the process.

Afterwards, they were set upon by a giant squid, and killed that too.

Reaching the isle of dread at long last, they were again set upon by a storm, and the ship broke apart mere yards from the beach. Our brave adventurers rescued the remaining settlers and a few meager provisions, and were congratulating themselves on their clever usage of barrel mechanics when suddenly a T-Rex erupted from the jungle and promptly ate one of the settlers. The heroes killed the beast and decided it tasted a bit like alligator.

The gnome Urol determined that the ship had landed on the northeast part of the island. The bad news: the settlement was located on the southern shore of the island. The good news: there exists a path that would take them through the jungle to the settlement itself.

Our heroes battled their way through the jungle, defeating dinosaurs and -Arroka-terror-bird alike, and receiving a bit of assistance from spider-girl until they came upon a tunnel through one of the mountain ranges. It was then that J’zar felt the evil eye of some horrible being watching their every move, and urged the rest of the party into the safety of the dark burial tunnels filled with mummies. Some of the party members decided to explore amongst the burial nooks of the mummies, drawing the ire of the ancient beings, who rewarded our heroes with crotch rot that could only be cured by heroically fleeing back to spider-girl and begging her assistance with some curse removals. Round two of the mummy-tunnels were much more successful, and the party found a pair of red rods and a pair of blue rods to escape the tunnels to resume the path on the other side of the mountain.

The path continues down the valley of the mountain through the territory of several nasty gargoyle clans, who harass the party until they wake up to a strange sight- several seabirds all staked and splayed with strange wounds in the exact formation of the party as it slept that night. Later that day, they come across a man in their path who stabs himself and jumps off of a cliff. And later still, they find a man staked in a wooden X with infernal writing cut into his chest, the undead creature happy to answer the party’s questions with the same answer every time.

Later that night, three space monkeys phased into the camp, grabbed Urol, and fled. The next morning, our heroes led the unsettled settlers to a large cave fashioned in the likeness of two monkey heads, discovered Urol‘s bloodied belongings, and delved inside to confront the monkey menace. The party solved a riddle that phased them deep into the monkey’s lair, killed several space-apes and regular-apes, discovered Urol‘s fate, and confronted a snake-woman who seemed to be in charge of the joint. The group decimated the snake’s skeletal minions protecting her and charged into the room, defeating snake-girl even as she attempted to flee.

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