Voulez-vous coucher avec moi?

Posted: October 21, 2012 by mearrin69 in Gaming
Tags: , , , ,

This Sunday in Skull & Shackles the PCs got down to exploring the island, looking for provisions for the Man’s Promise. Last session they had climbed a small outcropping of rock and spied some areas of interest.

The group talked it over and decided the best course of action would be to take the gig west along the coast to the ruined fishing village and then follow the path from there through the swamp to the large tent they had seen in the southwestern part of the swamp. From there they could venture further south toward the coconut palm grove and the overgrown crop field.

They pulled the gig ashore near the village and hid it well, in case any shipwreck survivors on the island might want it for themselves, then explored the ruins. The buildings of the village were all raised on stilts; prudent engineering, considering the entire area would probably be swamped at high tide. Most were barely standing and it was clear that the village had been abandoned for some time, likely decades. The tides had washed away any tracks that might have shown signs of recent activity and there was little clue as to what sort of people these may have been so the group headed south into the swamp, picking up traces of an old path that would allow them to avoid the worst of the swamp’s bogs and quicksand.

Not far from the village they reached a particularly boggy area that had, long ago, been made crossable by a small wooden bridge. The bridge had decayed to nearly nothing, however, leaving only a path of wooden pilings jutting from the muck. Wading or swimming across would be difficult at best and climbing the thin branches that arced above the area would be nearly impossible without extreme skill. Valana sized up the situation and decided that she could probably cross by jumping from piling to piling. They tied off a rope on a sturdy tree and she took the other end to tie on a tree across the bog, creating a makeshift bridge the others could shimmy across.

Valana accomplished her task with little effort, landing on the other side with a fancy display of acrobatics. She tied off the rope and the others began to cross. Unknown to the group, two rather large frogs had been submerged in the mire, watching the newcomers with interest. The hungry amphibians waited until Afari was almost to the other side and then struck, one lashed out with his long tongue and grabbed Afari’s hand, trying to pull him from the rope bridge. The other went for Keeya but missed his target and then tried for Killian. Afari and Shiera struck at the frogs with magical bolts while the others juggled bows while hanging from the rope. The scuffle went on for a few seconds until Keeya remembered herself and sang the frogs to sleep. They sank back into the bog and our friends finished crossing safely.

They followed the treacherous path for a while longer until Keeya began to pick up on the excitement of her pet raven, which had been flying over their heads to keep a lookout for trouble. They proceeded cautiously from that point and soon began to detect what had enticed the bird: the smell of decaying flesh. They stopped and Valana again took the lead, creeping stealthily up the path. Above the trees, she caught sight of the huge tent they had spied from the outcropping and caught a whiff of cheap perfume coming from that direction. She edged on carefully until she could see the tent in full. The path showed signs of much coming and going; bare human footprints and, oddly, what appeared to be the tracks of a woman’s high-heeled slipper. The area was littered with decomposing humanoid body parts. The tent itself bore roughly drawn caricatures of human faces in garish makeup. She headed back to the group to report and they decided to try to sneak past the gory spectacle; as leaving the path and crossing the wild swamp itself would likely prove more dangerous than whatever might be living there.

They were none too stealthy in their approach, however, and the tent’s denizens were ready for them, having heard the group bumbling down the path and taken up ambush positions. As they approached the tent, a scantily dressed slattern emerged from it and charged Valana (MA: See picture. Paizo artists, in the future please refrain from including undead underboob in your works. It’s just…disturbing.) She shouted to her hidden companions, “More customers! Grab them, my beauties!” whereupon two more of the ghoulish creatures emerged from the brush and made for Keeya. Both Valana and Keeya were rooted to the spot (MA: my favorite…not…phrase from the old Commodore 64 game Telengard. The ghouls were killer in that game too.) Killian rushed in to help, tripped the harlot that was mauling Keeya, only to be bitten on the ankle in return. He too stood frozen in fear.

As the creatures continued to gnaw and claw the petrified trio, Shiera and Afari pondered how to help. Shiera channeled the healing power of Besmara, causing the ghouls some discomfort, while Afari decided the best course of action would be to keep the monsters where they stood by making the ground around them slick with grease. (MA: This was a good move. I was worried about a TPK at this point because Shiera was only dealing a couple of points a round via channel and Afari’s acid splash damage was, on average, similar. Grease made the ghouls reconsider attacking the others, instead deciding they would just finish the meals they had on hand and deal with the rest later.) In fear for her friends, Shiera finally summoned the full fury of Besmara and sent the vile undead things to their final rest.

Shiera saw to her friends’ wounds, patching them up as best she could, though there was little she could do about the possibility they may have contracted some disease from the foul things. Then they explored the tent, a nasty place filled with decaying body parts and the rags of revealing clothing. In it they found a ship’s chest bearing a bronze plate inscribed with the name Infernus, which Killian thought might have belonged to a Chelish vessel. Given the nature of the clothing and accessories in the tent, it seemed likely that the creatures they had just fought had been Infernus’ ship’s whores who had somehow contracted ghoul fever. They recovered the few treasures that could be discovered in the whores’ boudoir and left the swamp. 

Back on firmer ground, the group followed the path south as it neared a beautiful white sand beach and the coconut palm beach they had seen from the outcropping. The trees were full of ripe coconuts and many had fallen to the ground. They noticed shattered coconuts at the base of a few of the trees and then saw that those trees each held a rather large coconut crab. The group decided to bring the gig around later to collect some coconuts, leaving the crabs alone for now. They continued along the path to the south, nearing the overgrown field. When they reached a fork in the road they decided to leave the field, too, for later and instead head up to the ridge and the survivor encampment they had seen there.

Along the rough, steeply rising path they found grisly totems: severed ghoul heads mounted on sticks, flies and other vermin infesting the rotting flesh. These were placed by the unknown survivor, the group surmised, to warn away the ghouls. At the top of the ridge they found a well-constructed stockade surrounding a large tree, draped with the remains of a sail, and a small lodge. The gate to the stockade was open and they entered cautiously. Inside they found a fresh-water spring and noticed a spyglass affixed to the south wall of the stockade. Killian, who had recently been speculating about why spyglasses were so expensive, went over to examine it. Looking through he saw that it was fixed and focused on a cove on the southwestern shore of the island…and that two grindylows were happily splashing in the surf there. Even better, they were wearing Sandara Quinn’s tricorn and Concho’s befeathered purple pimp hat!

Meanwhile, Valana pushed open the door to the lodge and beheld a grisly sight: a hooded corpse dangling from a Chelish hangman’s collar, an overturned stool beneath his feet. By the smell of things, the man had been dead for quite some time. The awful stench had, in fact, attracted a huge swarm of insects…and these flew straight at Valana’s face as she opened the door!

That’s where we left it on Sunday. We’ll find out what happens with Valana’s face-full of bugs and maybe something of the sad story of the last survivor of the Infernus next session. Stay tuned.

NB: The title of this post is, of course, a line from the song Lady Marmalade. LL began referring to the whores’ boudoir as the “Ghoul-in Rouge” at some point during the session. If I’ve never said so before, LL is one of those rare humans who could rake in millions of credits a year on the comedy circuit in Dralasite space. This behavior is exacerbated by the curiously potent maple-wheat ale homebrew I bring from time to time. I do encourage it because to try to suppress it would only make things much worse later on. If you don’t have lots of little earthquakes you’re going to eventually get a building-leveler…

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