The Shadow Over Riversmouth

REP has been awarded for this quest.

DM Name: Sorrowdusk

Participants:
Gajendra Fighter 3
Julietta Barbarian 1
Myrixa Beguiler 1
Shalya , lvl 1 swordsage
Yuria Psion 4

Challenges:
1x (CR4+1) Skulvyn [With Gutworm parasite +1 CR to host, or CR 1/8 alone] (CR5)
&1x (CR1+1) "Jebediah Marshall" 1st Lvl Warlock Cultist of Dagon [With Gutworm parasite +1 CR to host, or CR 1/8 alone] (CR2)
& 2x CR1 Lacedon[ghoul] (CR2)
&1x CR 3 Lacedon [ghast] (CR3)

Total Mixed Encounter CR=7

Experience:
Gajendra 720xp
Julietta 720xp
Myrixa 720xp
Shalya 720xp
Yuria Psion 640xp

Treasure:
Gajendra 1350gp
Julietta 1350gp
Myrixa 1350gp
Shalya 1350gp
Yuria 1200gp

Be Aware There Are Important Notes Below The Summary for Certain Players



Quest Summary:
Our Adventurers had been contracted by a member of a quaint little lakeside village, River's Mouth- about five or six days away from Avalon, near the mouth of a young river. The posted bill or add asking for mercenaries didnt detail anymore about the what the problem, save "Lake Monster". They asked some other sellswords about it and it seemed this particular add had been up for nearly 6 months. No one'd resolved the issue, although they'd heard four or five parties have ventured to fell the Lake to face the Monster before them…none one's seen them, and the party gathered they didnt return.

They reached the village on the fifth day at nightfall, which turned out to be in need of more than a coat of paint. The tiny houses there were quite rickety, and looked as though they might fall down were a strong enough wind to come through. The party was asked to head to the villages bar, 'Derleth's Den', to meet the contractor, one 'Captain Jebediah Marshall'. They fond 'The Den' easily enough, being the largest and most well kept building in town.

Inside, they saw a miserable multitude of grumbling, guzzling, and gobbling peasant folk. There was plenty of swearing (more than typical of these establishments actually), the topics of conversation seemed to be about just about everything, all it negative.

People who weren't talking sat quitely, staring into half empty glasses, or else stuffing their faces, eating crusty bread, meat, and root vegetables quite fervently with their bare hands. Though there seemed to be plenty of food, the people looked hollow and weak. Aside from the copious coarse language, there were ocassional bouts of laughter, albeit not the bright bar laughter the party was accustomed to, there were some men bragging about another fisherman's wife, and some women in a corner who found amusement in kicking an emaciated dog that seemed to keep returning to their table, hungry for scraps.

Sitting at the largest table was a somewhat corpulent, jaundiced man. He was bald save for the back and sides of his head, from which white hair runs down to his shoulders. He looked at them with large, slightly cloudy eyes, and grins, fat lips curling to show a mess of crooked yellow teeth. The man was better dressed than the other people in the inn, and the only one using a fork. He stood, donning a cap and hobbling over on a wooden leg. The man introduced himself as Captain Jebediah Marshall, an experienced sailor that had retired from decades of adventuring to small lakeside village. He was the wealthiest man in town, and were it not for him, the village likely wouldnt have been able to afford the hire of such mercenaries. He invited the party to his table, which even had a brass plaque with his name on it and ordered food and drink for them.

Cpt. Marshall explained that some six months ago the village had been beset by the titular 'Lake Monster' in the fliers in nearby Avalon. This lake beast had attacked a series of fisherman, and had caused the lakes supply of fish to dwindle. While the peole still had plenty of food, the fish was well known for its unique flavor, and a commodity that was traded near and farther by magical merchants. The party listened to the tale one fisherman who narrowly escaped the creature when it capsized his boat. The partied debated for a while as to how to approach the situation, unsure of how they could fight anything in the water. The Cpt. offered his large ship, and mentioned that the prior parties had tried to ambush or trap the beast, which was amphibious, on the small island in the middle of the lake-albeit none of them had succeeded, as it appeared the creature knew the terrain better than anyone. Eventually they decided they would go for the island, staying near the shore, or else if they encountered it along the way, they would try to harpoon it, and drag it into the shallows.

The Captain lead the party down to the dockside. Along the way, most of the party began feeling strange though not sickened. Nontheless, the odd feeling in their stomachs wasnt helped by the muddy brown water of the lake, the odd stench that eminated from it. Cpt. Marshall explained that this was a recent development, and the party reasoned it ought to be returned to its natural state with the death of the lake beast. The captain produced a magical box, which with a toss and an a word, was transfigured into a ship that landed in the water with a splash, twenty five feet long, ten feet wide, and deck six foot high.

The captain lead them aboard and the party started toward the island under a starry sky. It was smooth sailing until there was a sudden bump. Julietta grabbed alamp and most of the party ran to one side to search the water. Dakr shapes fled the lamplight and suddenly a trio of humanoid forms climbed aboard from the opposite side of the ship, the captain spotted them and warned of their prescence. The figures were covered in mud and seawed, and through the grime it wasclear they were thin and emaciated, as if they were starved. Their wide mouths were full of needle like teeth, and long tongues hung out of them. They were missing noses with only holes in their faces, and their eyes were as white as the moon. They gave forth a vile stench, more foul than the waters which sickened the ordinarilly hearty loxophant of the group.

Before the creatures could attack Shayla leapt into action wounding one, while Myrixia tagged one with her bow. Unexpectedly, there was another bump, and then the boat rocked as a large clawed hand wrapped itself around the railing, and a large creature pulled itself aboard. It stood on two legs eight feet high, yellow brown and scaled like a reptile, hands and feet with webbed digits, a snout full of teeth with whisker's like a catfish, and not one or two, but four long whiplike tails. It snarled at the captain in a tongue only Yuria understood, it threatened him that this lot had better have more gold than the last.

Gajendra had readies himself to trip one of the humanoids but decided the newcomer would see his mace first. He managed to trip the beast and land it on its back, and both he and Shayla attacked it while it was prone. Not a second later the chain of Gajendra's flail vibrated and suddenly snapped. Yuria acting swiftly manifested a large burst of electricity which easily electrocuted the wet humanoids, causing their wet skins to steam, before they collapsed on the deck. The party turned their attentions to what they believed to be their sole enemy. The creature stood but the party proved too agile, or the beast to clumsy for it to land a blow. Gajendra went for a harpoon, only to have it shatter in his hands and to become dazed. There was no doubt about it now-Captain Marshall was playing for the otherside and was casting spells no less.

He openly admitted that he had sold his soul to Dagon many decades ago during his days as a pirate, and for a moment he reminisced about pillaging and looting, and the exhilarating violence and bloodspray mixed with sea spray. Eventually the servitors of Dagon came to collect, he had to pay what he owed for the many boons he'd been granted, albeit not with his soul just yey but in gold. He tried to escape his debt and ran for years; in his own words "Why else would an ole saila retire so far inland?" He lied to the villagers about his exploits, and earned respect rather than shame. Six months ago one of Dagon's servitors caught up with him in the lake side village and demanded he pay his debt. "I decided to stop runnin', I did what I had to do." While the lake beast devoured the towns food supply and worked whatever evils its dark lord had planned, the respected old man would lure mercenaries to the town, take them out on the lake with his boat, and allow them to be ambushed where Dagon's servitors would rob them and strip them of their valuables before animating their drowned corpses into Lacedon.

Even with the admission of his guilt the party still had to contend with the monster (or was the Captain the real monster?). Yuria became enraged and showed a darker, more cruel side of her personality. "Did you enjoy that pain?" she asks the creature as she sent it reeling from her Mind Thrust, blood running from its eyes, nostrils, and holes that passed for ears. The captain became exhuberant seeing this side of Yuria, telling her that he had met another woman like that in his days of piracy, and encouraged her to "let it run free", whatever 'it' was that caused her to become so driven. His eyes reddened, his veins bulged, and his mouth stretched into an unnaturally wide grin as he became gripped by madness. Shayla was just able to finish the scaly beast off, cutting right across its stomach, and covering her in foul ichor and something else- as a violet snake like creature coated in a yellow mucus, with burning red eyes crawled from the things insides and up her harm.

Julietta attacked the captain, but even on his wooden leg he proved amazingly agile. Myrixia dropped her bow and tried to disable him but the old mans will proved too strong for her, and even too strong for Yuria's Mind Thrust! Captain Marshall spun the ships wheel, twice sending the party falling all over the place while he lanced them with eldritch magic. But…the third time he tried the trick he fell over, and Julietta managed to stand first. Attacking him prone, she cleaved through one arm as he reached for the wheel to pull himself up, through his abdomen, and through his good led at the thigh. Split open and bleeding the old mans last words were only that there was no more running away, that he stood on abyssal verge (who can say whether he hallucinated it or if it was real?), and that he felt cold.

He laid there a moment, before another vermin like thing crawled from his insides too. The party cut the heads from whatever the bizzare creatures were, which upon closer inspection were more worms than snakes. Myrixia could only speculate from her knowledge of arcana and magical creatures that it may have been some sort of parasite or symbiotic life, but it was unlike any she ahd ever heard of or seen before. Left alone on the lake, the party reasoned that it would probably be relatively easy to convince the villagers that their seaworthy hero had died fighting the lake monster. But if he was dead, where would their money come from? Investigating below deck, the party discovered the ships hold where the stolen belongings and gold of prior adventurers was stored.


Infected!

That was some funky fish the party was offered by the Captain. Funny in ways they never imagined. Now, I expected to get perhaps one of the party, but due to some lulzy fort saves [see the quotes section] I got 3/4ths of them. What did they catch? The irony is is that they have become infected with the same extraplanar parasites that slithered their way out of their fallen enemies, and quietly as its kept, also infected most of the town-Gutworms [which explains their unusually surly, demeanour, and unusually large appetites. [see summary]. These Extraplanar parasites were carried by the called Skulvyn (not actually a fiend, but an Outsider), who like the parasites in its insides, is normally native to the River Styx and the planes it passes through. It and the undead that accompanied it fouled the waters of the lake sufficiently that they could survive. The eggs from the Beast's droppings over months were eaten by aquitc animals, and infected most of the fish, and from the fish the members of the neighboring village. It should be noted that the monster's entry doesnt give a fort save DC, consuming water they live in causes creatures to automaticaly be infected. I-reasoning tha they were not direclty exposed, gave it a low DC of 13. Also, the eggs would normally hatch in hours, I also reasoned that the seedy taverns shoddy cooking methods did not kill them, but did delay their hatching- giving the party sufficient time to reach Avalon, the eggs would hatch the next day. It should ALSO be noted, that parasite is the wrong word, really, as the creatures by themselves cant kill or harm characters, and do provide some benefits- in the Fiend Folio its specifically a 'symbiote'.

The infected may (Gajendra, Yuria, Myrixia)
1. Handwavium this away »instantly«; they do feel funny and is reasonable post quest they might see a cleric, who could take care of whatever is ailing them. (at no cost and no harm to their character). This might be reccomended for characters with lower HP.
REMOVAL: A Remove Disease Spell instantly kills it, albeit the cured takes 4d6 dmg from its death throes. BUT!! that dmg only occurs if removed after its hatched, if performed before the infected wont suffer at all. (see above)
2. Take it IC and deal with the issue, recieving aid from a PC (befor or after hatching)
3. }:-) Take it IC and…choose to keep the symbiote for the powers it gives, depsite any risks or damages.

Benefits 8D
-Inherent +2 Con Bonus; Inherent bonusses stack with everything except other inherent bonusses, like from a "Tome of (Whatever)".
-1x/day Rage [+4 Str (=+2 atk roll/dmg); +4 Con (=+Temp HP); +2 Morale on Will Saves; -2 AC Penalty] with NO FATIGUE.
-1x per day Neutralize Poison (When a poison enters their body on a failed fort save, the creature within automatically neutralizes it.)

Drawbacks DX
-Creatures of good alignment make a Will save (DC15) each day or take 1d3 Wis dmg, as the creatures prescence drives them mad. Unlike normal intestinal worms that remain still, it swims freely in in good creatures causing maddening discomfort.It can not actually speak, but has telepathy by which it might harrass the creature whose intestines it occupies.[Note- it usually elects not to say anything, not much of a conversationalist with an Int of 5. If it does speak to them (and it can only to them, not others) via telepathy, I leave it up to the player what it says if anything -much the same as with a Familiar, or Animal/Psi-Crystal companion. otherwise controlled/owned by that character.]
-Creatures of non-evil alignment make a Will Save (DC 15) each day or succumb to the temptation to do something evil or cruel. (Their choice)
-Independent of save success or failure, whenever interacting with non-evil NPCs they take a -6 penalty on charisma based checks, even in the NPC is unaware of the symbiotes prescense, since it represents a subtle twist in the creatures personality.
-The creature must eat 2x as much as what would be normal for that creature, and must make con checks after (1) day without food instead of the normal three.
-The creature is fatigued after 8 hours of activity and while fatigued takes a -4 Penalty on:

  • Swim checks to reduce subdual dmg

*Con checks to continue running; avoid subdual dmg from forced march; hold its breath; starvation & thirst
*Fort saves to avoid subdual dmg from hot or cold environments
*Fort Saves to resist dmg from Oxygen deprevation.


Quotes

We're SMART
People can roll knowledges if they like
<Gajendra> 1d20+2 Mighty INT!
<@Vault> Gajendra rolls 1D20+2: 3 +2 = 5

  • Gajendra chuckles

<Shalya> elephant brain!

  • Shalya haz no knowledge skill and even less brain than the elephant man :S

<Myrixa> 1d20+4 Smart Skunk!
<@Vault> Myrixa rolls 1D20+4: 5 +4 = 9
<Shalya> 1d20+1 worth a shot!
<@Vault> Shalya rolls 1D20+1: 2 +1 = 3
<Shalya> derp!
<GameMastaTam> …think of this as….getting the abd rolls out of the way

Gajendra is now picturing Captain Highliner with a pegleg tellin them this hehe
<Shalya> lol
<GameMastaTam> http://www.highliner.com/beta/eng/images/image_captain_highliner.jpg
<GameMastaTam> fatter, balder, longer hair, british teeth
<Gajendra> haha
<GameMastaTam> and wider, lazier eyes
<Gajendra> Capt. Highliner…if he never got that endorsement selling frozen fish and had to live off welfare…in Manchester? hehe

Fort saves
<GameMastaTam> Who ate?
<Myrixa> me!
<GameMastaTam> I recall Yuria did , anyone else besides you to?
<Gajendra> I did

  • Myrixa suddenly thinks this a bad thing
  • Shalya did not

<Julietta> I have rations but no I only got stuff to feed the dog

  • Gajendra had thought about the Captain being the reason no one ever came back from these jobs, the whole fattening up the sacrifice routine..but eh, hard to draw the line between paranoia and caution in dnd haha

<GameMastaTam> Okay- I needeveryone who ate the sandwhiches to make forts
<Gajendra> But Juli drank ale hehe
<Julietta> yea but it's eating solid food that messes you upthat messes you up
<Gajendra> 1d20+5 Fort
<@Vault> Gajendra rolls 1D20+5: 2 +5 = 7

  • Gajendra chuckles

<Shalya> as good a person as Shalya is… she has something of a standard when it comes to food… and this place doesnt meet that standard :3
<Yuria> !roll 1d20+3 fort save
<@Vault> Yuria rolls fort save [ 1D20+3:14 2 +3 = 5 ]
<Myrixa> !roll 1d20+1 Fort!
<@Vault> Myrixa rolls Fort! [ 1D20+1:14 2 +1 = 3 ]
<Myrixa> yay death!

  • Gajendra blinks

<Gajendra> Three 2's in a row
<GameMastaTam> Gaj 7, Yuria 5, Myrixia 3 ….more getting the bad rolls out of the way….
<Shalya> 1d20 test
<@Vault> Shalya rolls 1D20: 6
<GameMastaTam> 1d20
<@Vault> GameMastaTam rolls 1D20: 18
<GameMastaTam> hmmmm

OOOOOH You just got FISHED
<Shalya> you are poissoned
<GameMastaTam> Though…thoughts of that surly serving woman do bubble up in your head.
<Shalya> and that's not a typo

  • Shalya snickers

<Julietta> lol
<Myrixa> i jsut think i the fish is bad
<GameMastaTam> "poissoned"??
<GameMastaTam> or Posiedon'ed?
<Julietta> na "Tainted"
<Yuria> roll 1d20+15 (Psi Focus!)
<Yuria> !roll 1d20+15 (Psi Focus!)
<@Vault> Yuria rolls (Psi Focus!) [ 1D20+15:14 9 +15 = 24 ]
<Yuria> DC20, Is now Psionically Focused.
<Shalya> poissoned
<Shalya> poisson is french for fish

  • Shalya nods
  • Yuria snickers, she has to do it.

Balls
<Julietta> ah Gaj and I were wiating to pull off a tactic that has worked well for us
<Myrixa> o.O

  • Shalya needs to work on that AC

<Myrixa> what I read: pm <Julietta> ah Gaj and I were wiating to pull off a testicle ….
<Shalya> you would read that!
<Julietta> don't give us ideas

  • Gajendra blinks

<Gajendra> Don't pull an error, he almost had Juli grab Gaj by the gootch to stop him from falling after I was like…his poor trunk

Daaamnage, Taking Out 3 Enemies at Full hp[save one that was nicked]; AKA NUUUKED

<GameMastaTam> roll it
<Yuria> !roll 6d6 to all enemies within a 15t blast radius
<@Vault> Yuria rolls to all enemies within a 15t blast radius [ 6D6:14 5 6 2 5 3 5 = 26 ]
<Shalya> kerzap
<Yuria> I could have overchanneled, but I dont wanna over do it.
<Julietta> rule #1 there is no such thing as over kill, just under cooked

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