The Octopus’s Maw

Braving the risks, the crew dove down to the colossal octopus lurking in its lair below and managed to swim into its beak, passing through the thin and emerging in the Sunless Sea on a black sand beach. Nearby was a mushroom farm being worked by slaves. Convincing the slaves of their good intent, the crew learned that three of their sailors who had been pulled overboard in the octopus attack were alive here in the Sunless Sea; one was hiding, while two had been wounded and were captured by drow.

Retrieving their sailor and taking along the one slave brave enough to dare escape, the crew followed the road toward the nearby drow city. There they discovered a slave market by the docks and, through the clever use of disguises, managed to extract their two remaining crew. They made for the docks where a slaver ship was moored and got into a scuffle with the two orcs manning the vessel but managed to hold off the oncoming drow guards long enough to escape.

The crew followed another slaver ship ascending up another thin towards the surface world and got into a running battle with that ship and with a drow ship chasing them. They managed to destroy the drow ship and emerged on the surface, cornered by the orc slaver, but just in the nick of time a volley of burning barrels from the Fisher Price My First Taupe Clipper put an end to the battle.

Investigating the slaver ship, the crew found a satchel containing jagged crystal pieces that appeared to have once been something now shattered. Carefully reassembling it, they realized it was a magic crystal chest, containing several items of value.

Unrest on the Lower Decks

Trouble began when the crew decided they needed to deal with the man who had been spying on them for Enoch Guth. There was no consensus on what punishment would be appropriate. Queequeg wanted to question him and let him go, finally cutting all ties with the Aigéan Trading Co., but Old Bill acted on his own before he could be stopped and executed the spy.

Upon hearing about this, the rest of the sailors objected and showed their dissent by quitting. Only two remained: The Captain and one other, both with some uncertainty and each with their own reason for staying. Needing new sailors to crew the boat, the crew went to the taverns to recruit. In order to assuage the fears of prospective sailors, Old Bill stepped down as captain of the Fisher Price My First Taupe Clipper and was replaced by Queequeg.

While in Areen Port, they also investigated the Old Mariner’s Library, a collection of all manner of writings relating to the sea and those who traverse it. The library is divided into two sections, “Truth” and “Tales”, and the crew found promising information in both, including a treasure map. With a little more investigation and the help of a cartographer’s daughter, they located the treasure on a beach on Oileán Beag, not far from one of the thins on Oileán Mór.

They retrieved the treasure, having to deal with a snake and a boar to do so, and then went to investigate the thin. There, in a lagoon of inky water, they encountered the guardian of this thin, a colossal octopus. They fought off the octopus’s tentacles and forced it to withdraw, but during the battle they glimpsed the thin within the octopus’s beak.

BEES!

While awaiting the tide shifting and the whirlpool reversing, the crew explored the mushroom forest and soon came upon an unusual fortress or outpost of some kind. Approaching cautiously and scouting ahead with Knotty, they were attacked by a concealed crossbowman. A fight ensued as the crew rushed the outpost and battled their way inside, dispatching several Drow and recovering a treasure chest, before withdrawing from the area when a larger force of Drow approached.

Back aboard the Fisher Price My First Taupe Clipper, the crew examined the loot. Among some valuables and magic items, there were two books: one was a travelogue by a pilgrim seeking to learn about all the religions across the Sunless Sea, the other was a treatise on relations between the Drow and the Sea Elves in sea elvish.

Resuming their journey to complete the trading mission, the crew was dismayed to learn the cargo of salted hides destined for Greater Tros’s tanneries had contracted some kind of fungus, possibly from spores brought back from the Sunless Sea. Further troubles arose on the final leg of the journey, carrying a cargo hold full of bees. Due to penalties on their promised earnings, they would fall just short of the final 18,000$ payment needed to get out from debt to Aigéan Trading Co.

That is when they were approached by Enoch Guth. He knew they had been to the Sunless Sea and recovered a treasure, thanks to a spy among the crew, and promised to cancel the last of the debt in exchange for the large stash of coins recovered. After that deal was completed, he offered the crew a new deal: they could take up the position left vacant when Capt. Goodyear Tristan died, and become Aigéan Trading Co.’s agents in the field.

The Whirlpool Thin

After exploring and debating the three contract opportunities they had found, the crew eventually opted (with some reluctance) to turn down the lucrative “volunteer” prisoner colonist transport contract and instead take the trading mission contract. By itself, it would not put them above the 18,000$ profit line needed to finish paying off their debt, but they hoped to be able to work into the voyage the smuggling job offered by Malachim.

Seeing that Waveless Cay is only a slight detour from the planned route, and that it was one of the locations indicated by the oracle to be a “thin”, the crew altered course to investigate. Directing their search to the point marked on the map, they discovered a secluded and hard to find cove. As the tide went out, a whirlpool formed, and Zenevieva and Queequeg braved a swim through the dangerous waters. In the course of this, Zen revealed to her crewmates that she had Sea Elf ancestry and that it gave her the ability to breath underwater.

As the whirlpool sucked them down, they found themselves ejected by an upwelling of water in a different place: the Sunless Sea. Zen used one of the ropes to swim back and bring Orlando and Bill Bawney down, and the crew began to explore their new, strange surroundings before being attacked by a pair of fungal crawlers.

fungal-crawler
A fungal crawler.

The Slaver Platform

Concluding their business with the oracle in Durovernum, the crew set out to return to their ship on the other side of Diveon. Crossing the mountains through a high pass, they were buffeted by howling winds and nearly ambushed by a troll. In the ensuing fight, Queequeg was bitten on the ass.

After dispatching the troll and returning to their ship, the crew made out for home. Navigational troubles lead them off course, and they discovered something on the horizon. Approaching the strange platform, they prepared for a cautiously friendly greeting until they saw a familiar banner: blue and white stripes, with an emblem of a manacled man, the same as the sails on the slaver vessel they had previously encountered.

slaver sails sm

After fighting off the slaver’s attacking boats and a small submersible, they steered clear of the platform and resumed sailing for Areen Port. Once there, they sought out potential contracts for a fourth and final profitable voyage and found three: a trading mission to Greater Tros, an off-the-books transport job for a Brondite named David Malachim, and a request to transport “volunteer” prisoner colonists to a recently chartered colony.

Consulting the Oracle

Realizing that the Black Corsair attacked whenever an artifact bearing the strange runes was at sea, the crew decided to entrust their mask to someone on land. They brought it to Orlando’s forested elven homeland, some distance from the coast, to leave it with his father, but traveling there involved crossing a small lake on a ferry. During the crossing, they were surprised to learn that the Corsair could appear suddenly, not only at sea but on any body of water. The ferry was destroyed, but the crew managed to make it to shore and leave the mask with Orlando’s elf clan, and were in turn gifted magic items to aid them.

Returning to Areen Port, Old Bill visited the Dying Orphan and accepted a promisingly profitable charter job from some robed representatives of the Chandlers’ Guild for a fee of 15,000$. Together with a shipment of Orlando’s elf clan’s wooden armor, the crew hoped to make another profitable voyage for the Aigéan Trading Co. and make another step towards getting out from under the debt. The chandlers requested the crew make for Lesser Tros and remain at that port for up to 3 days while they conducted their business.

Meanwhile, the crew visited a sea cave, following a rumor of a hermit who knew of the Storytellers. After a short confrontation with some over-sized crabs that ended peacefully, Queequeg met with the hermit. Unfortunately he was unable to correctly complete the rite the hermit requested of him, and the hermit denied the crew passage deeper into the cave to learn what they might about the Storytellers.

Back aboard the Fisher Price My First Taupe Clipper, the crew tried not to be too creeped out as they observed the chandlers conducting their business. Soon after a candle was magically snuffed out and one of the chandlers returned to the ship with shouts of alarm coming from the port town, they requested the crew make sail and depart in the dead of night without clearance of the harbormaster.

Making a detour to Diveon, the crew traveled overland from the lee side to Durovernum to meet with the oracle who had translated the runed plate for Capt. Goodyear Tristan. For a fee, she translated the rubbings of the mask runes and revealed that they were a list of 20 locations known as “thins”, 13 of which she was able to pinpoint on a map. For a steeper fee, she revealed some secrets about Tristan’s visit, namely that the plate had been inscribed prior to melior gens settlement in the region and was attributed to an elf king named Kireg Callac, and perhaps more interestingly that the previous translation was paid for by the Aigéan Trading Co.

And Queequeg made a friend of one of the crabs, christening him Ishmael.

Quarantine

The Fisher Price My First Taupe Clipper returned to dock at Areen Port, while the crew attempted to understand the meaning and importance of the mask they found. Upon speaking to him, the old sailor knew without a doubt that the crew had recovered the mask, as he had heard rumors that the Black Corsair had been sighted shadowing their ship.

After two days in port, restocking the ship and allowing the hired seamen some leave, the crew discover that the port has been quarantined. With some investigation, it appears that the truth behind the quarantine is not quite what has been presented. Judging by the Arnum Navy warships that depart the harbor and return later in tatters, the crew guess that it may be the Black Corsair attacking ships that try to leave.

Meanwhile, a courier delivered a package to Orlando Turner. Burned into the wood of the crate was a brief message:
“Greenleaf”-
With compliments.
Mr. True
Inside the crate was a bottle of the Old Rumbullion, an antique liquor of great value.

Trying to find answers, the crew seek out the old sailor again, but discover he has been arrested, allegedly for fraud. It takes two attempts to extricate him from the City Guard keep (one attempt involving getting the Captain arrested for drunken behavior). Eventually they decide to take the mask and/or rubbings of its runes back to Diveon to find the person who translated the similar runes on Capt. Goodyear Tristan‘s gold plate.

But first the quarantine would have to be lifted. Deciding to investigate the ships that were allegedly the source of the plagued rats that prompted the quarantine, the crew discover that there are indeed rats: undead ones. Fleeing the swarm of skeletal rats, they set fire to the ships. Orlando, wanting any information that might shed some light on the situation, retrieved the ship’s logs from the captain’s quarters, where he had a brief confrontation with Mr. True.