The Architects of Betrayal (TAB) 32: Operation 'Exploit My Player's Greed' is a go
Updated: Aug 3
First I'd like to state that there was no charybdis attack. But that's only because the group agreed that when (not if) they rolled yet another attack by the cuddly little monsters they would instead do a little treasure hunt I'd set up. Of course I didn't say it was a treasure hunt. I didn't really need to. They were on a boat. They had found a treasure map.
Long story short, a hurricane blew their ship (please keep your mind out of the gutter) off course to a deserted island where it ran aground on some rock outcroppings in the bay. The next morning the bitter old man came on deck, with an excited lilt to his uncoordinated step. They witnessed him pull the map out, examine it, and compare it to the cove they were currently run aground on. Repeat steps 2 and 3 for . . . well for some time.
Needless to say this drew the attention of Tanic (who was attempting to help repair the rigging . . . badly) and Quagrim. So it's no surprise that when the old geezer hurried back below, the chaos twins followed him to where he pulled the captain aside. And eavesdropped on the conversation.
What they learned was that:
1) The old geezer owned the business that in turn owned the boat they were on. This led to a bit of trepidation on Tanic's behalf.
2) They were currently in pirate waters.
3) The captain would not release people to take the old man (his boss) to the island.
4) The old man seemed hell bent on going.
That's as far as the argument got before Tanic knocked on the door, asking what he could do to help. Of course the captain was rather suspicious of this timely offer, but the old man didn't care. He secured their help, with the offer of 500 gold pieces each, in escorting him around the island, packed his bag, and left.
Chaos and greed quickly rounded up the rest of their group (except for Zubat who was already on the island, apparently engaged in some imaginary dogfight) and immediately flew to the island. This left Vex to row the unmitigated bastard. To be fair, I'd probably have done the same. I mean, who wants to take a boat ride with a guy who gets sea sick while becalmed on a galleon?
Trust me, its no picnic. He alternated between throwing up over the side of the boat and nitpicking her seamanship (seawomanship? seapersonship?), her strength, her intelligence, etc.
Which served him in good stead when the boat ran ashore and he fell, breaking his arm. To her credit Vex tried to heal him with a lesser restoration spell in spite of his venomous attitude. But as it turned out it was possible the old bastard had a reason to be so bitter, for the spell took no effect.
In the end, he was forced to confide that he'd been cursed into this feeble state some hundreds of years before. He told them he believed there was an artifact in the treasure horde that would be capable of removing his curse. Realizing he couldn't continue (a dubious proposition with two unbroken arms) he gave them the map and a chunk of unprocessed salt. As Tanic (yes of course he darted up as the map was presented) took the salt an outline of the island they were on formed, with one section filled in. When they arrived at this location they found a vein of salt. Tanic began passing it out. As he did, a new area on the map began to fill in along with a different riddle:
I am sharp and yet round, Sometimes black or dark brown, I can cover the taste, When prepped with less than haste, And oft sternutation abounds
Upon reaching this new area they found several items including peppercorn plants. As they collected them a new area appeared. This happened several times with the following riddles:
What points the way without a hand, It floats on water but exists on land.
What gets around while remaining stationary, sometimes directing and sometimes suspending, but always the key to travel?
Ten Men's Strength, Ten Men's Length, Ten Men can't break it, Yet a young boy walks off with it What am I?
A cube has 6, a pyramid 4, and the person reading this, one.
In the next three locations they found a compass, a boat's wheel, and a coil of rope. The last location referred to a face carved in a mountain. As they entered they were hit with an anti-magic field that none of them were able to break through. And the riddle changed to:
That worthy shall inherit all Bring with you the tests in total If ye be not prepared Interred shall be your fare
The first room that confronted them was filled with Prismatic Walls. Beth and Clint were able to figure out that they had to use the compass to navigate through the illusory sections of these walls. Once through that maze they ran into a Brass Golem. Given that they had no access to magic this was an interesting fight for the group. Or it would have been if the gnome hadn't crit the poor thing, dealing over a hundred damage in a single shot. If it weren't for the fact that I've been maximizing hit points for my little minions he would have forced a massive damage roll. Well . . . you know, if golems were vulnerable to such.
The next room was completely smooth with a hundred foot chasm at the end. On the other end was a smooth door. In the center of the room was a 2 ft well filled with water. 50 ft down the well they saw a lever with a bubble of air on it. Adam quickly figured out that they had to add salt to the water to increase it's density, thus making the bubble of air more buoyant.
As the lever raised, a draw bridge began to extend across the chasm. A door on the opposite end opened. In the next room was a Mithril Golem that just happened to be facing the wrong way because, well . . . because I set him their backwards. This was a much tougher fight for the group, but between Chaos and Greed the golem eventually fell. The rest of the session consisted of me arguing with Greed about whether or not they could loot the Golem. In the end I let them recover half the materials it was comprised of, but informed them that they were only worth 10% their value as they had to be re-smelted.