Secrets of the Sands

Second Session
Under the Sea

- Our ship arrives over Auberdine, an outpost of the Sun Empire on the edge of one of Kri’s larger islands
- it sunk into the ocean centuries ago, under mysterious circumstances.
- “ground shoved it into the ocean”
- people stay out of this area, ship avoid it
- expeditions go missing

- Our assignment is to find the lab of a mage named Andrathath and retrieve his research
- Tehlmar was being super cagey about this “research,” we don’t know what its deal is
- He drew us a map of the city from memory, says he spent a lot of time researching the city. Does not seem old enough to have lived there himself

- After Saidi casts a water breathing spell, we ride the anchor down into the center of the city. NPCs stay behind.
- Nhobu turns into a hunter shark, tows Saidi and Faylen. Krom overestimates his swimming abilities and tows Kane.
- Giant sharks show up, try to herd us away from the cave we’re heading toward. We can’t out-swim them, so we let ourself be herded.
- Mermaids appear, who were controlling the sharks. Leira, their leader, says she can’t let us explore. They’re missing a group of twelve that usually patrol the area, last contact was about a week ago.
- Say that there are different accounts as to what happened to this city. Merfolk pulled city into the ocean? City launched an attack, destroyed tribe? Something about an experiment?
- City is at the edge of their tribe’s territory

- We split into two groups: Saidi, Faylen, and Nhobu go with three of the merfolk, Krom and Kane go with the other three.
- Kane senses a strong energy from one of the caves.
- The other group runs into corrupted merfolk (we’ve been calling them Naga). Twelve of them attack one of the other merfolk patrols. Three of the merfolk are dragged off, three escape.
- We fight eight of the naga. Take out a couple of them and the rest escape into the caves. Leira wants to call for reinforcements. We stay behind to explore without supervision.
- Saidi discovers that thunder-based spells are maybe not the best underwater.
- Nhobu gets a bit light-headed from ingesting corrupted flesh.

- Decide to check out the cave where Kane felt a powerful energy.
- Nhobu scouts ahead as an octopus, area is clear except for one extra-strong naga. Nhobu blasts ink at it, then the rest of the group attacks.
- Kane drains some of its lifeforce.
- Nhobu grapples its arm and whaps it with a tentacle.
- Faylen shows remarkable ability at darting around and doing a lot of damage, despite being underwater.
- Krom rages.
- Saidi casts some spells? Probably?
- We defeat it and climb up into an air pocket.

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Conscripted
First Letter To Lysander

First Letter to Lysander (delivered via coerced seagull)

Change of plans. Off the Barge. Letters intercepted. Struck a deal. Possible solution to our problem? Details forthcoming. All my love, Faylen.

Followup letter (Written in thieves cant and illusory script, awaiting access to regular postal services)

Lysander,

I don’t know when this letter will reach you, or even when I’ll be able to send it. Hopefully by the time you’re reading this, you’ll have already figured out most of it yourself, or I will have gotten some other form of communication through to you. If not: Surprise! I’m no longer being held prisoner on the Barge. Two days ago, an elf named Tehlmar swept into the Barge like he owned it (he might – very powerful, very rich, very old, very magical, and everyone on the ship bent the knee) and started gathering up a few of the most notorious prisoners. I thought I’d been keeping a low profile (unlike the others, at least two of whom have outright tried to jump ship to escape), but Tehlmar called me for an introduction, presented me with the last letter I sent you, and asked if I was the one who wrote it. I can’t fathom how he got his hands on it – how attentively every last ship must be watched for him to have caught on – but he indicated that he was aware of our situation, and willing to help resolve it if I agreed to aid him in a task that would utilize my “unique skillset.”

Given that he had effectively cut off my line of communication – and the threat implicit in his knowledge of where the letters were going – I agreed. If he makes good on his word, so much the better, but at the very least he seems… well, honorable enough to leave you alone now that I’m bound to his service (fairly literally, in fact, by a magical cuff, the exact properties of which I’m still endeavoring to unravel). We have a crew of ten, not counting the elf: seven prisoners including myself, a guard transferred from the Barge, and two humans that came with the ship. The last two particularly pique my curiosity, because they bear the markings of the Black Pearl. They’re both good swordsmen and able sailors, but I can’t help but mistrust them (and the elf’s methods for keeping them here) every time I see those tattoos.

Three of our crew are orcs, and they have been – predictably – fighting constantly since we boarded, but the others are somewhat more… amicable? I use the term loosely. My friend from the kitchens is with us, and I seem to have befriended a small, rather feral gnome. One of our number I’ve hardly seen, as she’s spent the entire voyage so far underneath one of the bunks creating elaborate chalk drawings and mumbling under her breath. But at least she isn’t hurting anyone? There’s a tiefling standing watch over her, though I can’t for the life of me imagine what he’s doing here.

In any event, the parameters of our task seem straightforward enough: we are to sail for Kri, where we will investigate the submerged ruins of an underwater city, seeking the lost workshop of a sun elf our employer refuses to name. The great irony is that I would have taken this job in a heartbeat if he had approached me as a businessman rather than a captor; it’s laughable how well suited I am to the task (so much moreso than he seems to realize), and I’m as curious (if not as desperate) as he is to find out what’s hidden in the ruins. But given the circumstances, I can’t help but mistrust the situation. I dislike being bound, and despite his obvious knowledge of my situation and promise to remedy it, the only firm assurance he’ll give us about an end date is “when we find what he’s looking for,” which feels a bit like binding my soul to a ghost ship – especially given her existing crew, and the uncanny magic that-

Hm, apparently that I’m not supposed to share. She’s a hell of a boat, though, and a pleasure to crew. Whatever happens, at least I’m on the water again. The expedition is well equipped and thoughtfully manned, and as long as I’m with this elf, whatever his intentions, I believe that you and the boys will be safe.

Wherever and whenever this reaches you, I hope it’s in good health. With all my love,

Faylen

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First Session
Conscripted

- Ship arrives at the Barge. Prisoners are herded inside
- Krom takes opportunity to attack his guard and jumps off the barge onto the new ship. Gets conscripted by tall dark elf.
- Elf surprises Faylen in the kitchen, tells her he’ll help with her “situation.” Conscripted.
- Surprises Saidi too cause we’re bad at perception rolls. Conscripted.
- Tells Nhobu they’ll be able to commune with nature again if they cooperate. Conscripted. Turns into badger and does a happy dance.
- Kane was waiting for the elf, is willingly conscripted. Creepy laughter was involved.
- We all get gold bracelets/collars.
- We’d all been on the Barge for 3-9 months.

- Elf’s name is Tehlmar, middle-aged, magical, powerful.
- Wants us to retrieve artifacts related to his ancestry (?)
- First stop is the Isles of Kri, four days away. Going to investigate underwater ruins of a city.

- Ship is magical, has a heartbeat, steers itself (needs a name)
- Two middle-aged human males (Vance and Harley) with tattoos of a pirate group whose ship went down. Harley drinks.
- Mug the Blue Shaman, male orc who hates Krom for tricking him into eating poison mushrooms (also cause Krom beat him up as soon as they saw each other on the ship)
- Mazoga, female orc guard, used to watch over Nhobu’s “sun time,” now here to keep an eye on us (?)
- Lucky, male tiefling, stood watch over Kane and converted to her religion. Tried to escape and got beaten up. Kane used the distraction to deface shrines to other gods.

- Vance helped Faylen practice fighting
- Nhobu brewed healing potions for everyone and won 2 gold from Harley after learning how to play cards from Faylen (cheated).
- We all outfitted ourselves with supplies for the upcoming expedition.
- Krom helped around the ship and hit on Mazoga.
- Kane drew more pictures of her serpent god.
- Spellcasters discussed spells to prepare.

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