The party had just finished fishing the coins and magic items out of the Weirborough
lake, when Lisk
vanished. At that same moment, Tiddles the Partizan
"Wh-- what, where am I? what's been happening? Why arent we in metal and stone hallways anymore??" He asked
The party briefly filled him in on all the important bits. The river is poisoned and cursed. They're on floor two now. They got some nice maps. Samo
had his boat stolen, and Vigo
was nearly punched in the face.
So the party gathered their belongings, their soul coins and their magic goods, and made their way back to the dock. Heading straight for Alfrida's boat, they called up to them "we brought payment! We're here to rent the boat!"
Remi hurried Alfrida away, before returning. He said with a friendly grin, "So, the agreed upon 8 soul coins correct? You new people are so kind, I'd hate to charge you Alfrida's full price. We'll keep this a secret between us"
The party shared uncertain looks, before handing over the 8 soul coins to Remi. The old elf called over his shoulder "Alfrida! They're renting the boat!". Alfrida returned from the lower decks of the ship with a smile on her face. It was always a good day when one received a new bundle of soul coins. She looked at the party, before asking "So, do any of you know how to captain a ship? If not, you're going to have to go talk to Nob
. See, Remi and I actually dont go out on the river anymore, so you'll need a captain. And it's actually probably in your best interest to talk to him anyways, as he sells rope and fishing supplies, useful for any trip down-river!"
The 4 adventurers shared a collective sigh, before climbing down from the boat, and walking back along the docks. In the distance they heard Alfrida call out "we'll prepare the boat for your voyage while you're talking to Nob!"
The party approached Nobs shop. Snickers could be heard from the party, as they elbowed eachother with raised eyebrows at the name "Nob".
"Welcome to my fishing shop!" The approachable Lizardman said "What can I help you with! I have fishing supplies and rope here. Basic rods, sticks, string, and even some fancy clockwork contraptions!" Nob
stood 6' 6" tall, with playful eyes and a friendly demeanor. "Fishing supplies are great for a voyage down-river! At the start of the trip, one can find a lot of magical items and soul coins in the river bed! My fishing rods and hooks are especially designed for snatching those items up."
He leaned forward "but you gotta watch out, there's a might strong sea serpent that prowls those waters -- he likes to try and yank unsuspecting fisher-people overboard! Jacob has a standing bounty on that thing, 10 soul coins! If we manage to catch it, I'll pay you the 10 soul coins and bring the body back to Jacob for proof."
Tiddles immediately strode forward and asked "How much for the sticks and string?"
Nob shrugged. "You can just take em, honestly. They arent worth much and I prefer to help people out in any way I can, with regards to fishing."
The jack-of-all-trades bard happily snatched up the stick and string. He turned around, and hunched over his new materials, and started tapping a beat on his shield while pondering them. Then, in a flurry of motion, he spun the string and tied the sticks, crafting them into a quality basic fishing rod. Nob raised his eyebrows appreciatively. "If you want a really worthwhile rod, this here clockwork rod, I'll part with it for a soul coin!"
Opal looked at Tiddles and said "How many of them soul coins you got? pass one over to me, I want that fancy clockwork rod!" Tiddles rummaged through his purse, and took out 1 of his 5 soul coins, flipping it over to the witch so she could buy the new rod.
Naro and Ryder surveyed the shopping, and shrugged. Ryder stepped forward and said "I guess I'll take a stick and string for now", while Tiddles nodded and said "Yeah I'll take another too! Also, we need a captain."
With the shopping done, Nob clapped his hands. "So! Captaining a boat eh?"
Upon hearing that he'd be captaining Alfrida's boat, Nob beamed "Ah my favourite boat! This is the start of a great day! Lets be off!" He strode out of his shop, not waiting for the party to follow him.
After a brief exchange between the party, Nob, and Alfrida, the party was set. Opal decided now was the time to help everyone out with her witch powers -- by giving them a scar she could cast magic through. As soon as she touched Naro, he screamed out in pain. "AAHHH IT BUUUUUUUURNS!"
Opal stared wide eyed at Naro. "Its...not... supposed to hurt...?" She said slowly. Naro stared angrily at her, and sulked onto the boat. Nob was at the helm, and Tiddles yelled "Shotgun crows nest!" before shimmying up the mast as fast as his bardic strength would allow. Naro stood on the prow, and brooded about how he hated fish, and scars.
Opal and Ryder stood about the middle of the boat.
"Off we go!" called Nob, joyously.
The boat began to slowly move out of the dock, and before long the party was sailing away down-stream, and Weirborough
vanished behind the bend in the river.
After an hour or so, Nob called down to the party. "Well, this here's about the area where the fishing for items is the best! If you want to give it a shot, I suggest you go for it".
Tiddles shimmied his way down from the crows nest, and began watching.
Opal quickly strode over to the railing, and grabbed the fancy clockwork fishing rod. She expertly cast it overboard, and begun to wait. Suddenly, there was a great pull at the line -- something massive and strong had grabbed her hook. She reeled on the line, pulling back as hard as she could, but whatever she had hooked was far stronger. It pulled her towards the edge of the boat with great speed, and Opal only managed to just react in time to avoid falling in, by letting go of the rod and grabbing the railing.
"NOOO my fishing rod!!" She cried out. "Naro, get it! Get the rod!"
Naro looked at her from the prow, with a look of pure frustrated bewilderment. "NO" he yelled back.
Opal retreated from the edge of the boat, angry. "Well that was a waste"
Tiddles ignored Opals misfortune, and excitedly said "My turn!"
He took his homemade fishing rod out, and cast it overboard, expectantly. Moments after casting, he managed to hook onto something. After seeing what Opal had gone through, he knew what he had hooked was much lighter. He pulled on the string and pulled in what appeared to be a gleaming sapphire breastplate.
Opal glared at the luck that Tiddles had.
Tiddles ignored the glare as well, and proudly held up his catch. "Damn! This is nice!" He started looking at it and thinking about it -- had he heard any legends of this chest piece? what about its worth, was it valuable? was it magical? He frowned as he realized the answer to all the questions he had were no.
Opal walked over, and looked at it. "....that's an ooze. A sapphire ooze."
The ooze immediately turned back into ooze form, and fell through Tiddles' hands to the floor. It bounced on the floor, and bubbled happily at the party.
Opal continued "It's like a mithril chest plate. It will form its self into armor for you to wear, however once it takes enough damage, it will revert to ooze form and fall to the floor, leaving you exposed."
Tiddles eyed the ooze, and surveyed his own glass-steel armor. The ooze bubbled happily again. Tiddles looked around, and asked "Anyone need this armor?" The party looked back slightly disgusted, all responding with various forms of "no".
The ooze made sad bubbling noises.
Tiddles frowned, and took off his glass steel armor. "I cant say no to a selfless being choosing to protect me. Plus, sapphire blue looks dope". The ooze bubbled happily, and quicky assumed its armor form again. Tiddles took off his regular armor, and stowed it in his pack, then donning the bright crystalline sapphire blue armor.
"My turn!" Said Ryder. "Mind making me a fishing rod, Tiddles?"
The bard approached, grabbed the materials, and got to work. His fingers slipped though, and everything he had assembled fell apart. "Sorry Ryder, guess you gotta use a stick and string." Ryder frowned, shrugged, and cast his line overboard with skill.
He left the line to troll in the water for a minute or so, before snagging something small. He pulled in his string and found an ornate silver pendant. "Back to Opal we go" he thought, heading over towards the witch. "Hey Opal I've got some things for you to look at!" pulling out the 3 crystals from the Jaxton
. "What do you suppose these are?"
Opal looked at the crystals in his hand, and pointed at them "Those are ioun stones. The orange ones are mighty rare, they'll protect you from death once! The pale pink one gives you +1 to your AC. For both stones, you gotta release them around your head, and it'll slowly orbit your head, givin you the powers." She continued "As for the necklace, that's a voice amplification pendant. Wearin it will give your voice 10 times the volume!"
"Neat" said Ryder. He passed the pendant to Tiddles, and one of his death protection stones to Naro.
"Really." Said Opal "Not going to give a death protection item to the healer. Well. Okay then"
Ryder eyed the elf, and then put out his hand. On his palm was the pale pink ioun stone. "Here, have this one!" Opal took it, and smiled "Thanks!"
From the back of the boat, Nob called "How goes fishin?? That clockwork rod is pretty good eh?"
Opal frowned "I lost the rod. Some damn heavy thing pulled it right outta mah hands."
Nob responded "well damn! I'm pretty sure Alfrida's got another one stored below decks. If you guys are really careful with it, I wont tell her we borrowed it. Tiddles why dont you go take a look for it?"
Tiddles went below deck, and began rummaging around, finding the clockwork rod behind a beer cask. He tucked the cask into his pouch, and came back out with the rod. "Sorry it took so long, there's a lot in there!"
"No worries, glad you found the rod" said Nob. "Find anything else?"
Tiddles beamed as he said "Nope!"
Opal grabbed the rod out of Tiddles hands, and said "Okay, this time, we need someone STRONG
Naro stayed at the prow of the boat.
Naro said "I dont want anything to do with this, I hate fish"
Naro had his head turned by Markus.
Markus pulled Naro towards the rest of the party.
Naro said "I KNOW WE'RE STRONG BUT FISH SUCK"
Markus pulled Naro harder.
"FIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIiiiiiiiiine WE'LL DO IT. Mar--markus, MARKUS STOP. I said OKAY. Lets grab that rod, and try some fishing, jeeze."
Naro walked up to Opal, and grabbed the fishing rod out of her hands. He strode to the edge of the boat, and cast the line overboard. "So how does this even work?" He shook the rod a few times, and reeled nothing in. He grunted, and cast the line out again. This time he hooked something, something huge. It pulled on the line with incredible strength, but Naro pulled back much harder.
The water at the side of the boat began to froth as they saw a massive 15' sea serpent writhing about in the water. With one more massive yank, Naro pulled the beast aboard -- it sailed over-head, and landed behind him. It was cornered between Naro and Ryder, and flanked by Tiddles and Opal to the rear.
"Holy shit!" cried Nob.
Naro charged forward and attempted to punch the serpent, but his fist slipped on its slimy scales. Tiddles decided to instead use a sharp weapon, and swung it at the beast, slicing a massive gash into its side.
Opal thought quickly, seeing that it might try to flop its way overboard. She focused and cast a web spell on it, trapping it in sticky webs where it lay.
The sea serpent, while briefly stuck, managed to break some of the webbing. It writhed forward 5'. Ryder looked at it in alarm, and attempted to cast a spell, but the serpent took the opportunity and sunk its teeth into the human infront of it. Poison began to flow through Ryder's veins, and he lost his concentration on the spell.
Naro called out "I'll get revenge for you!!" And attempted 3 separate slams on the snake. All 3 just slid off the hard and slimy scales. "FUCK"
Tiddles again used his sword, slicing open more cuts into the snake, spilling its dark green blood on them. Opal stepped around Kir, and pointed her hands at the gaping wound. "LIGHTNING!" She called, and blasted a bolt right into the open wound. The serpent seized and twitched as the electricity coursed through its body; its scales smoked as the heat dissipated.
Ryder took this opportunity to cast another spell. The serpent, not dead yet, again took a bite out of him, but Ryder was intensely focused and got his spell off -- suddenly he and Kir switched spaces. Kir, upon arrival, immediately brought his greatsword down on the head of the sea snake, and decapitated it. Its smoking, bloody body writhed headless on the floor for a few moments before gradually growing still.
"I hate fish" responded Naro.
After packing the body into the hold, and paying the party their 10 soul coins, Nob requested that Tiddles get back up in the crows nest. "The river changes often here, and I need you to tell me if we should take the left bank or right bank, to avoid the majority of rapids!"
Tiddles eagerly climbed up, and scouted ahead. The rapids caused a fair amount of fog however, and it was hard to see. Through the foggy view, he couldnt see which side was safest, so he guessed. "Left!" he called down.
"Allright! Tie yourself on up there!" Called Nob. "Here comes the rapids, everyone stand near the mast, and tie yourself on if you arent sure!".
Only Tiddles tied himself down, while everyone else held on to the mast. Luckily, Tiddles had guessed right, and the boat took the easier rapids. However it was still a nervewracking ordeal, as the boat swayed left and right and bounced through the rapids. Naro, Opal, and Ryder manged to hold on, but Kir's grip slipped, and he got sent overboard, splashing into the water. Thinking quickly, Ryder de-summoned his eidolon.
"Holy shit!" Said Nob "Your friend just fell overboard! We should stop!"
"Nah" said Ryder "It's alright."
Nob stared at Ryder, before responding "Damn, savage."
About an hour later, Nob sent Tiddles up to the crows nest again. "Around these parts there's often some raiders that like to try to take advantage of us! Head on up there and let me know if you see anything!"
Tiddles ascended the mast, and began looking around. After a few minutes, he spied a small tributary connecting to The Spillway
. Peeking out around the bank, he saw the tip of a small single rowboat. "We've got company!" He called down, giving the party time to prepare. "They're gonna try to throw hooks onto our boat, and attach themselves to us!" Said Nob "We need to take out their boat, or remove the hooks when they hit us!"
Naro cast a massive wall of wind along the side of the boat, surprising everyone. "You can do magic???" they asked, incredulously.
Naro just stared back at them, uttering a single "yeah?"
As the raiding row-boat rounded the corner, and pulled up along side the party's large boat, Ryder re-summoned Kir. To his surprise, Kir was now a dark shade of blue. Ryder felt like Kir was mildly stronger as well, albeit temporarily. Opal opened her mouth and let out a silent scream, directing it at the raider boat. The boat trembled, and a few planks shook loose, but it appeared to withstand her attack.
With a flourish, Tiddles lept from the crows nest. However, he landed directly in a puddle of slippery serpent blood -- they hadnt cleaned it up. His feet slipped out from underneath him, and he tumbled over the edge into the water. With a splash, he crashed into the river, and panicked. "I cant swim!!" he called out. He could drink though! In his panic, he rummaged through his pack, and grabbed a potion of tree shape. He couldnt swim, but he could float! He downed the potion, and turned into a tree, floating along side the boat.
"Holy shit the river turned him into a tree!" said the raiders along side the boat. "The poor fuck got turned into a tree!"
Opal thought quickly for how to rescue Tiddles. Thinking of the scar she placed on all her party members before, she realized she could give Tiddles the power of flight for one minute. Not seeing that he was now a tree, she called "Hang on a moment Tiddles! I got you!", and cast a flight hex through the scar on her friend.
As the raiders began attempting to through their hooks onto the boat through the windwall, Ryder pat Kir on the back, buffing him with heroics. Kir ran at the edge of the boat and lept over, landing in the raiders boat with a thud. He swung his massive sword down, and cut the nearest raider in half.
Tiddles felt that he was now able to fly, and ended his tree form. He flew up onto the deck, and immediately cast a spell on the nearest raider to him. The raider fell to his knees and began sobbing.
Naro, not yet done with spellcasting, decided to pull out his teleportation spell. He dissapeared from the deck of Alfrida's boat, and appeared next to the pirate priest on the raider rowboat. "waddaFUCK WOAH" yelled out the priest in surprise. Naro slammed all of Markus's fists into the priests face, and caved it in. The remaining raider that wasnt incapacitated via sobs looked his companions, and muttered "fuck this" diving into the river. He swam away, as the party dealt with the remaining pirate.
Everyone got back onto the boat after the brief altercation. "Tiddles, what happened to your hands??" asked Ryder. Tiddles looked down at saw that his finger nails were now dyed bright orange. "Guess the river got me" responded the bard. He shrugged, and climbed back up the crows nest. "Toss a rope over the side this time!" yelled Nob "it makes it easier to get down!". Tiddles tossed a rope over the edge of the crows nest, with no intent to use it.
They cruised along the river for another few moments. Tiddles looked at his fingernails, and felt his bruised pride from failing his leap before. A tear came to his eye. "Dont let em see you cry" he said to himself. Looking further down river, he thought he could see another raider boat. "I think we have more company!" he yelled down.
Naro prepared again by casting another large windwall, along side the boat.
This time, two raiding boats rounded the corner, one of them featuring what appeared to be the captain. Opal cast an aggressive thunder cloud in the nearest boat, and vaporized the person steering the boat. The two nearest pirates saw this, and freaked out, both attempting to get to the back of their rowboat to steer it. One of them dashed right into the thundercloud, and was vaporized as well. The other sidestepped it, and grabbed hold of the rudder.
The captain pirate sent his boat around side the party's boat, and approached from the opposite side, avoiding the windwall. The pirates on board began throwing their hooks up onto the party boat, snagging a couple of them onto it. While Naro and Ryder began prying the hooks off the railing, Tiddles ignored the rope from the crows nest, and leaped to the deck below, sticking the landing. Opal gave light applause, before sliding her storm cloud onto another pirate, vaporizing him again.
Tiddles made his way over to Naro and Ryder, and stepped up onto the railing. He slammed his rapier against his shield, and a huge blast of sound radiated out. Two of the pirates infront of him had blood spurt out of their ears, and they fell over dead.
Suddenly there was a bang as the first pirate boat, no longer being steered by anyone due to Opals storm cloud, hit the front of the party's boat. It got shunted to the side, and the final pirate on that boat fell backwards into Opal's cloud, and was vaporized just like his friends.
That left only the captains boat, with 2 remaining members on it. Opal whipped one of her Tarot cards at the captain. The card plastered to his face, and through the card, she inflicted serious wounds. The captain had gashes rapidly appear all across his body, and the entirety of his blood spilled out of him. The empty body fell overboard, and vanished. Tiddles jumped down into the boat with the remaining pirate. "WHERE IS YOUR BASE?" he yelled at the remaining terrified pirate. He gestured with his chin, trembling. "U--u-u-p that stream! there's no one left up there, w-w-w-e all came down to r-r-aid any boat we could, we're almost out of supplies there and we need a bigger b-b-b-oat!".
The party got back onto their boat, and began debating about whether or not they should raid the raiders. While they talked, the final pirate boat drifted to shore. The remaining pirate looked around, then hopped out and jogged away. The party looked over board, seeing that he was gone. They were about to tell him that they decided not to raid the pirate camp, but as the final pirate to tell was gone, they simply shrugged. They asked Nob to drop anchor, as they were incredibly tired. Nob obliged, and offered to take first watch. He and Kir stood at the prow, and as the party drifted off to sleep, they could hear Nob chatting with the silent eidolon. "You know, one of these days, I'm gonna make it up to floor 4 and sail for the rest of time." Nob said dreamily. It was silent for a while, before the lizardman continued. "I gotta thank you. You're a good listener".
After waking up and refreshing their spells, the party asked Nob to continue the voyage. "We're nearing The Split
" He said "We're probably going to get attacked by the giant octopus -- it always happens here. Good thing we're in this big boat, it ties up most of its arms"
Half an hour later, the party reached the split. There was a great frothing of water in front of the boat, and a large thud as the boat was stopped by something massive under the water. Four giant tentacles rapidly reached up out of the water, and grabbed hold of the boat. "It's here!" yelled Nob. "Stand back from the edges!"
Opal dropped another aggressive thundercloud onto one of the tentacles. The tentacle was too fast though, and moved out of the way. Kir, Naro, and Tiddles ran forward and began hacking at the nearest tentacles to them. Naro's fists slipped off the slippery tentacles, missing every attack, while Tiddles and Kir sank their steel into the beasts limbs. The octopus surfaced, bursting through the surface of the lake in wrath.
It slapped it's other 4 tentacles onto the deck, and began attacking. It smacked Naro twice, and then grabbed him, lifting him into the air. With the other two, it smacked Kir once, and then missed the second and grab. Tiddles took a step back, and slid a soul coin into his bracelet, giving him the power to play two songs at once. With his music, he inspired courage in all his party members, and heroism in Naro, who was struggling in the grasp of a tentacle.
Opal pointed her hands at the head of the octopus, and blasted a lightning bolt through it. This hurt the beast, and it narrowed its eyes in anger towards the boat. It threw Naro downwards at the deck. Naro bounced hard off the deck, raising another 3' in the air from the bounce, just high enough for the octopuses second attack to whiff below him. Naro got up in anger, and threw 3 huge slam attacks against the tentacle that had grappled him. One missed, but two struck true, bruising the appendage. Kir and Tiddles swung their swords, slicing into the octopus.
Opal focused her mind on the image of a toad. She planned to polymorph the octopus against its will. She focused all of her energy on the spell, and let it fly -- but the octopus resisted.
However, the octopus had taken enough damage, and saw that it was out-classed. It dropped all its tentacles, and with a cloud of black ink, fled into the depths.
"Holy shit, did you kill it???" yelled Nob in joy. Tiddles responded "Yeah we defeated it!"
Nob smiled appreciatively "Wow! Great! So it'll never be back!"
Tiddles responded. "Yeah! Well. Maybe. It's not dead. But we sure scared it away!"
"Anyways" said Nob, eyeing Tiddles incredulously. "You gotta decide which place you want to go to now. Left takes you to the militaristic Tamworth
, right takes you to the artisan merchant town of Beachcastle
. You guys gotta pick now."
The party huddled together, and began discussing their options, as Time
crawled to a halt within Synthacrosia once again.