Second generation, first edition adventures

The Final Enemy - Part I
The Sahuagin's Lair

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Keeler's Keep
Supporting the fight against the giants

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Against the Cult of the Reptile God - Part 2
The Temple of the Snake Queen

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Against the Cult of the Reptile God - Part 1
The Village of Orlane

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From Glainwood to the Javan
Another adventure begins

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Romar Hollyaxe and her cousin Ynaannul Windcrest were rangers from Glainwood in the March of Mandismore in the northwest of Keoland. On completing their initial training, it came time to go on the ranging that all ‘Rangers of the Watch’ must undertake.

Their plan was to travel south on the Javan River all the way to the Azure Coast. Here they were due to meet with their cousin, Damonel Blackroot, who was adventuring south of the Dreadwood in a seaside town called Saltmarsh. The plan was to pay for a ride on one of the many barges that plied the upper Javan, as far as Javan Ferry near Flen or Cryllor and go the rest of the way by trading ship. However, in Aberglain, they were kidnapped and taken north.

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On the kidnapper’s barge, they met three fellow captives: Mandel Myrning (a magic user), Wendelaine Goodharvest (a cleric) and Grun (a huge, seven foot tall fighter, man of few words, but a fierce friend of Wendelaine). The captives managed to overwhelm the kidnappers and continued their journey north through the marshes of the Rushmoors. Ynaannul and Romar agreed to accompany Mandel, Wendelaine and Grun to Orlane. They moored their barge at Tanner’s Ferry, and took the road northeast into the Barony of Farvale to the village of Orlane.

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The Lair of the Pan Lung
The adventures meet their first true dragon, albeit a young one.

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Danger at Dunwater
The plot thickens

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The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh - Part 2
The Sea Ghost

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The Sea Ghost

A few days after their triumphant return from the destruction of the smugglers’ ring at the Haunted House, the party was hastily summoned to an emergency meeting of the Saltmarsh Town Council. Here it is explained to them that, though the land-based operation of the smuggling ring has been quashed, there must be a seagoing vessel by which the contraband was originally conveyed and this is still at large. The City Fathers, fearful that any surviving smugglers may seek to re-establish their operation from some other base, wish to apprehend this vessel and so put an end, once and for all, to the smuggling.
The party was asked to undertake this task and, as an inducement, they offered a reward of 500 gp is offered to each member of the party for the successful conclusion of the mission (they may of course keep whatever other loot they find).
It is reasoned by the Council that the surviving smugglers on the vessel will, as yet, be unaware of the death of their land based colleagues, and a return visit by them with a further cargo of contraband may well be expected. As the last consignment was off-loaded only a short while ago, the next is not reasonably to be expected for some time, probably during the next ‘dark of the moon’ which begins in about two weeks time. The Council will arrange for two local men from a part-time corps of ‘excise officers’ to patrol the potential rendezvous points each night for the next two weeks in case the smugglers return earlier than expected. However, their resources are slight and the Council is unwilling to risk the lives of volunteers by ordering
them to take the ship and its crew by force — they anticipate the smugglers would put up a fight to protect themselves and their cargo, and could easily overpower a couple of local men.
The proposal is therefore that the excise men will undertake a patrol each night but that as soon as an approaching vessel is spotted, the party should perform the actual task of boarding, the excise men going with them for added support.

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Sure enough, the next new moon saw the adventures and two excise officers – Will and Tom Stoutly – rowing out into the bay beyond the dark shape of a 90’ ship to approach it from the far side.

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While the smugglers continued to signal their missing compatriots, the silent form of Ravaaga Silentread.scaled the anchor chain and tied and threw down a couple of ropes down to the others. A sleep spell from Gahana Trannyth soon silenced the three smugglers.

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What followed was an assault on the poop deck as the characters and two Stoutly brothers opened up with missile weapons and closed in for hand-to-hand combat, where their superior numbers finally took their toll.

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Little did the party know that the sound of the fighting was heard by the spotter in the crows nest and another smuggler on the forecastle. The latter managed to sneak belowdecks and raise the alarm. Fortunately, the team had time for a healing spell and reorganisation before the rest of the smugglers and their lizard man passengers.

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The adventures found two new friends as they secured the boat. Damonel Blackroot bonded with the lizard men’s pet pseudodragon.

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Hidden in a secret cell, the adventurers also found an aquatic elf figher-theif named Oceanus chained to the bulkhead. He was weak and spoke only elvish, but Ravaaga and Damonel soon found out his story.
They discovered that he was a member of Manaan tribe, who inhabit the coastal waters about 15 miles southwest of Saltmarsh. His tribe had noted, from a distance, the periodic arrival of the Sea Ghost at night at a supposedly deserted, coastal area. Suspicious of this mysterious behaviour, the tribal chief detailed Oceanus to follow the ship back to her port of origin and to discover what he could of these strange proceedings. This Oceanus did, and at the vessel’s home port witnessed the purchase and stowing aboard
of a large amount of weaponry.
The same night, Oceanus slipped aboard the ship to investigate things further, but he was no sooner on deck than he was surprised and stunned, to awaken some time later chained to
the very spot they found him.

The party also found stashes of a large number of weapons and other evidence of their smuggling operation. But to whom were they selling the weapons, and were they a threat to the people of Saltmarsh.

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The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh - Part I
The Haunted House

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The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh

Prologue

In Saltmarsh the party booked rooms in The Merry Mermaid inn, just off the waterfront. After a day of restocking on supplies and exploring the fishing town, they met Bergan Lute, an ex-fisherman and member of the town council. They were introduced in the common room of the Mermaid, by the barman, ‘Old Nick’. He mentioned the old Mansion house on the Seaton Road. They soon found the locals willing to tell tales of the Haunted House that Theodore Dobbin had told them of.

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Four miles east of Saltmarsh, just inland of the old coast road and looking out to sea, stands the Haunted House. Until twenty years ago it had been the residence of an aged alchemist/magician of sinister reputation, and even then had been shunned by reason of its owner’s mysterious occupations. Now, two decades after the sudden and unexplained disappearance of its occupant, the house has acquired an even greater air of evil and mystery with the passing years.
Dilapidated and now long-abandoned, the house presents an unwholesome appearance to the eye. Those hardy souls who have on infrequent occasion sought entry to it (for rumours of a secret hoard of alchemical gold have persisted since the old man’s disappearance) have all returned with naught save grim tales of decay presided over by monstrous perils. In more recent years there have been reports of fearsome hauntings – ghastly shrieks and eerie lights emanating from within the dismal place.
Now not even the bravest dare so much as to approach the house, leave alone enter it. Indeed, such is the reputation of the house that the fields around it, though prime agricultural land, remain untended and rank with weeds.

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Fortified with a night’s sleep and a good breakfast, the adventurers made their way along the seafront and through Portleven on the outskirts of Saltmarsh, to the Seaton road. As promised, three miles along the road, they could see the silhouette of a large house ahead of them at the top of the ciffs overlooking Monmurg Bay.

The Haunted House

The Haunted House stood on the cliff top 70 feet above sea level and about 80 feet from the cliff edge. The 6’ high stone wall surrounding the garden had partially collapsed in a number of places. The main gate, of a heavy and ornate metal construction, stood open.

The garden was overgrown and showed no sign of any care for years.

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As they explored the dilapidated old house, they found out just how dilapidated when Ravaaga fell through rotting floorboards of the landing above the entrance hall. A cure light wounds spell from Gervontis salved the pain as well as the embarrassment of a light-footed elven thief crashing through the floor. Upstairs they found clues that the house was not in fact abandoned. First, they found scuffs on the floor and scratches on the sill of a window overlooking the bay.. Next they found a prisoner, stripped, bound and gagged in one of what had been a bedroom.

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They untied the grateful captive, who revealed himself to be Ned Shakeshaft, a thief from Seaton who entered the House under cover of darkness the previous night to find a place to sleep during his journey to Saltmarsh where, he had heard, there was possible work for adventurers. He entered through the back door and had only reached the kitchen when he was attacked from behind, overcome and knocked unconscious.
He said that he awoke some hours ago — bound, gagged and stripped of his possessions — in this room. He did not see his attackers nor, until the party came along, had he heard any sounds in the House. However, now he was released, he would like to join the party in their adventure.

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Apart from some giant centipedes, spiders and some stirges (nasty blood-sucking cross between a humming bird and a vampire bat), it looked like the house was just another ramshackle old abandoned mansion. What was supposed to be their first great adventure would turn out to be a hit out with a few minor monsters and a few bits of left over valuables. It almost became deadly, when Theodore Dobbins discovered a knight in what turned out to be magical plate mail armour slumped in a wine cellar.

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Only a swift intervention by the quick thinking Horgeness saved him, when he was attacked by hideous rot grubs. Horgeness placed her Ring of Fire Resistance on Theodore’s finger and burned the fouls flesh-eaters out, before they burrowed deep into the halfling. However, their luck changed when they found a secret door, under a mat in what was once a large living room.

Beneath what was once a fine circular carpet, Ravaaga found a trap door. As she peered down into the darkness beyond, a voice cried out “Welcome, fools — welcome to your deaths!” followed by a prolonged burst of insane and fiendish laughter. Immediately, there was a sudden muffled yelp and a thud. Everyone turned around to see ”/characters/theodore-dobbins" class=“wiki-content-link”>Theodore slump to the ground, and Ned rushing for the patio doors.

Gervontis rushed to Theodore’s side, while Damonel and Horgeness rushed for the door, in pursuit of the fleeing assassin. By the time they reached the door, Ned was unhitching the horses and leaping into the saddle. The ranger and the fighter quickly pulled out their bows, stringed in anticipation of action. As they arced arrow after arrow into the disappearing figure on horseback. Two arrows hit the assassin in the back, and one struck the horse, causing it to rear up in pain, throwing Ned to the floor. He was dead before Damonel and Horgeness reached him.

Back inside, it was too late for Theodore Dobbins. With no more healing spells, Gervontis Traal could do nothing for him. Tears of loss and anger clouded Ravaaga‘s eyes. She had never known her parents, and the few friends she had were those she grew up with in Finbur Softfoot’s rouges company in Gurden. Theodore was perhaps her closest friend, as they both were non-humans among humans, even if one was an elf and the other a halfling. With Finbur gone and now Thoedore, she felt the little past she had was slipping away.

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After carefully placing Theodore in a corner, with his blanket for a shroud, the party gingerly made their way down the stairs, not into the darkness, but into light.
They entered a room which was so unlike anything else they had seen in the House that for a moment they paused, somewhat taken aback. The illumination there was good since several lighted torches are held in shoulder-high brackets around the walls. This was obviously a cellar, but equally obviously it was now used for an entirely different purpose; the first impression is that it is the living quarters for about ten people.

This impression was corroborated by the figure who turned to face them. He appeared to be standing facing the wall, before their appearance disturbed him. His eyes opened wide, when he saw Ravaaga at the foot of the stairs, followed by Horgeness. Unthinking and on edge, Ravaaga hurled her dagger, hitting the man squarely in the back. The shock caused him to drop the bottle of wine he carried, and he turned, snarling, and drew a cutlass. This was the wrong move as an arrow from Damonel swiftly followed Ravaaga’s dagger, felling him.

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There were two doors at the far end of the room. The door to the left appeared normal but the one ahead of them had a strong wooden bar across it, carried in brackets on the frame and the door itself. On the door, the single word ‘DANGER’ in the common tongue had
been inscribed in large letters using chalk.

After a quick search of the room on the left – the luxurious quarters of someone clearly more important than those in the large room – they found potions and a spell book, but Gahana Trannyth could not read much of it. Ravaaga listened at the door, but heard nothing, so the team opened the door, weapons in hand, prepared for danger.

The room beyond was dark, and Ravaaga could see nothing with her elvish dark-vision. Damonel and Horgeness entered first, torches in hand, to be met by six skeletal figures coming to (un-)life and shuffling towards them with short swords and spears raised.

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A battle ensured with the adventures prevailing, aided by Gervontis Traal appealing to his god, Heironeous, and turning back several of the undead warriors with his clerical powers.

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Ravaaga found a secret door in the room, leading to a laboratory of a long dead alchemist beyond. On the bench running down the West wall were various jars of powders and liquids and several pieces of chemical apparatus, some stained in different colours as the liquids they contained dried up long ago.
There was a table against the south wall, forming an L-shape with the bench. In the chair before the table sits a human figure with its back to them, apparently studying a book – Ye Secret of Ye Philosopher’s Stone – which was open on the table. The figure wears a robe, embroidered with a variety of mystic symbols, and a pointed hat. On the table was a candlestick, a tiny stump of unlit candle remaining in it, and a variety of other items which, even in the dim light, shine with the warmth of pure gold. One of these objects was a human skull.

They found another secret door, where the the man they met earlier had clearly been trying to exit. Through this they found stairs defending down into a cave system. Here they found a human and two Gnolls in the midst of what looked like a smuggling operation. Bolts of cloth and wooden barrels lay stacked against the cavern wall.

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The Gnolls ran into the attack, while the human – an Illusionist by the name of Sanbalet – cast a spell to summon up a wall of fog. He turned invisible while his servant Gnolls fought vainly against Damonel, Horgeness and Gervontis, and tried to make his escape from the cavern.
Ravaaga’s hearing was too good for him. Hearing a shuffling to her side, she spotted the illusionist’s footprints in the sand and went into the attack. As he tried to fend her off, Sanbalet lost his concentration and reappeared. From that moment he was doomed.

The commotion brought three other smugglers running, cutlasses in hand. However, while they saw a female elf and a human as easy prey, their did not count on five armed adventurers.

After discovering the smuggling ring, the adventures searched the rest of the house and the caverns, finding more cloth and barrels of brandy and a small boat. They decided to camp out in the house and await the next rendezvous with the rest of the smugglers.

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An old friend and a new adventure
Our party leave the Goodhills and head south

In the town the adventurers and locals called Riverside, but the wider world knew as Gerth, the adventurers had what would turn out to be a fateful meeting. Here they met Theodore Dobbins. Theodore was another graduate of Finbur Softfoot’s school of light fingers. He had known Ravaaga as she had grown up in Gurden.

Theodore had been with Finbur longer than Ravaaga, and had left to find his fortune a couple of years ago. He was now a cutpurse, a thief of the third level. He told them tales of the wider world, of the walled city of Cryllor with its 8,000+ inhabitants straddling the Javan further south, and the great Gnomish city of Pindangoogly.

He also told him of a tale he had heard from an old lag down in Cryllor of a potential job down in the far south of Keoland. South even of the Dreadwood, lay the Viscounty of Salinmoor on the boarders of the Azure Sea and the Hool Marshes. There stood the fishing village of Saltmarsh. Rumours told of a job there for a band of curious adventurers; a haunted house. Even if it was nothing more than an empty ruin, there still might be swag to find in its halls or cellars.

‘Well, what about it, then?’

Filled with excitement (and not a little trepidation), and flushed with their recent successes with orcs, orgres and marauding bandits, the party agreed. Before they knew it, the six of them were on a barge to Cryllor.

Cryllor was like nothing they had ever seen before. Compared to Fuund, Polt or Riverside/Gerth, it was breath-taking. Not only was the city an order of magnitude larger than anything they had seen before, but it is extremely wealthy, The river traffic and the trade that passes between Niole Dra and Longspear, as well as the rich ores drawn from the lower Good Hills, have made the city extremely wealthy under the rule of Lord Ignaz Manz. The former warrior turned wealthy lord and civic magnate has made himself and the city very wealthy from the ores he draws from prodigious mines in the valley.

Here they were able to find an alchemist to identify the potions they had found in the Ogres’ horde. Potions of Levitation, Sweet water, Invisibility, Climbing, ESP and Water breathing would prove useful in the scrapes to come.

From Cryllor, they stowed in the hold of a trading vessel, heading for Cryford, Millen, Jaedrae and Newick in the Yeomanry. For all of them, this was the first time leaving Keoland for another realm, albeit briefly.

The port in the mists

From Newick, they managed to get passage on a boat delivering fish from the Azure Sea to the Yeomanry. This took them through the Hool Marshes, fortunately without incident, although not without the eerie feeling they were being watched as they passed through the mists. The mists turned to sea fog, as they Port Westkeep and Port Torvin on the way to Saltmarsh.
Finally, when it seemed the whole world had become grey sea and fog, the lights of Saltmarsh emerged through the gloom.
They had found their destination, but what would this mean

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