Stormhaven

Well Met in Markathesh
Preparing for the shadow-crossing

We played the last game before our Summer 2010 break on May 15, 2010, and presented it in episodes 92 through 95 of the podcast. In part 1 of this adventure, the crew interrogated the three captive pirates, gaining some insight into the relationships between Gnash and his own crew, but limited information about Gnash’s current plan and whereabouts. In part 2, Tyria and Lithian arranged passage for their prisoners to a port where a rich bounty lay waiting, while Zebith and S3rv0 visited the local library in search of more information about the possible significance of the structure in the desert. In part 3, the PCs arranged to hire mounts and buy provisions from local outfitter Godfrey Morgan, Tyria visited city hall and chatted with the Lord High Mayor Elihu Whipple, and Zebith and Lithian visited Father Jerome Murphy at the local temple of Ioun. In part 4, Zebith and Lithian finished their conversation with Father Murphy, learning more about the standard view of D&D cosmology and about travel between the planes. They then invited Father Murphy out to the Broken Promise for dinner, during which S3rv0 delved deeper into his own past. As the episode ended, the PCs headed back into the Taworri Desert, intending to confront Captain Gnash and the mystery of the strange stone structure they had brief examined back in episode 86.

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Keeping the Promise
For the first time, a plan works!

Episodes 87 through 91 of the podcast present our adventure “Keeping the Promise,” which we played on April 24, 2010. We began the session by rewinding a bit to the PCs’ arrival in Markathesh, before their discovery of the Broken Promise in Markathesh harbor, apparently crewed by goblinoid pirates. After acquainting themselves with the town and some of its citizens, the PCs made their way to the harbor and “caught up” with the cliffhanger from episode 86. Biding their time, the PCs gathered information about town regarding their ship and its current bugbear crew, eventually devising a plan for a multifaceted assault on the Broken Promise. Their plan worked spectacularly, and the PCs skillfully executed the retaking of the Promise—and captured several prisoners, including Pog, the goblin navigator, Crunglutch, the bugbear first mate, and Fecar the Unclean, a hobgoblin “troubleshooter” in Gnash’s employ.

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Exit the Dragon
a dead dragon, a female drow, and a star gate

On April 3, 2010, our group reconvened to play “Exit the Dragon.” After their clash with the unliving guardians of the burial cavern beneath the brown dragon’s lair, our heroes spent some more time exploring the cavern and the complex above it, finding several magical items and a few valuable mundane treasures. When the originally-scheduled time came for Kitaru’s burial, Tyria provoked the dragon into a rage, triggering combat. With surprising ease, the PCs dispatched the dragon, then went in search of Actassi. They found their friend dead in the dragon’s larder. The drow cook, Kora-lee-na’a, revealed the dragon’s actual name, Joulayanith, but was unable to give the adventurers very much useful information. In search of next steps, the PCs decided to head for the port city of Markathesh on Karvahl’s Western coast. Along the way, they noticed a strange structure in the desert, resembling a large circle rising from the desert. Deciding to defer further investigation of the structure until they had a chance to regroup and resupply, the party continued on to Markathesh—where they spotted their ship, the Broken Promise, moored in the harbor, crewed by bugbears!

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What Lay Beneath
Berrian goes crazy and the PCs examine the dragon's crypt

Since February 20, 2010 would be Josh Brown’s last session with us before moving to another state, our adventure that night, “What Lay Beneath” focused on the fate of the two characters he’d run during the campaign. Back in the halfling village of Attunga, the comatose Berrian awoke and, driven to madness by his encounters with the Necronomicon, proceeded to torch the village with his fire-oriented magic. Attunga’s heroes failed to stop Berrian’s rampage. Meanwhile, back at the dragon’s lair, the PCs negotiated with the dragon to bury their dead comrade, the dragonborn sorcerer Kitaru, in a cavern beneath the dragon’s lair. When the PCs went down ahead of the dragon to reconnoiter the cavern, they tripped a magical trigger that activated two zombie cyclopses and two arbalesters, which attempted unsuccessfully to repel the PCs’ “invasion” of the cavern. Appearing immediately as combat ended, the brown dragon claimed to find our heroes “entertaining.”

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Enter the Dragon
Stuck between a sandstorm, monsters, a chasm, and a dragon

After a gap stemming from my overcommitment to too many different projects, we resumed the Stormhaven campaign on January 16, 2010, with an adventure called “Enter the Dragon.” Our heroes, still trapped between a rift on the west and a sandstorm on east, were attacked by the toughskin raiders approaching from north and south. This long and complex combat encounter became even more interesting when actassi leapt down into the ravine, only to come face-to-face with a brown dragon! When the dragon questioned the PCs about their intentions, Tyria revealed that the PCs were in that part of the desert seeking the “Tomb of Yig,” whereupon the dragon identified itself as Yig, very much alive and in no need of a tomb! The dragon then flew off to its lair, with Actassi in its claws and the rest of the PCs following behind.

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Desert of Desolation
Defeat of the ghosts & looting the Sundered Oath

The campaign continued on September 26, 2009, with an adventure that I named “Desert of Desolation” as an homage to the miniatures set and to the older series of classic modules. After a short period of negotiations, the ghostly crew of the Sundered Oath saw through Lithian’s bluff, and resumed hostilities against the crew of the Broken Promise, seeking to take over the adventurers’ bodies through a form of possession. The PCs were ultimately successful in resisting the spirits, and after vanquishing their undead foes, the PCs searched the ancient ship for clues to its own mission and fate. The PCs then continued their westward trek into the Taworri Desert, eventually finding themselves trapped between a deep rift on the west, a sandstorm approaching from the east, and gangs of toughskin raiders approaching from north and south.

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The Sands of Time
Dream sequence scares everybody; Then the PCs find a sister ship with a ghost crew (literally)

We played “The Sands of Time” on August 29, 2009, and presented it in episodes 64–69 of the podcast. Our heroes set out from the halfling village of Attunga into the Taworri Desert, in search of ancient ruins. Their course took them into a pass between two mesas, where they were ambushed and slaughtered by a trio of mind flayers riding beholders! This experience turned out to be a dream, but when the PCs set out on their real journey into the Taworri Desert, they found themselves traveling through a pass identical to that in Jacques’ dream. At the far end of that pass, the PCs found a sailing ship called the Sundered Oath, half-buried in the desert sand, and naturally they got involved in a fight with the ghostly crew of the Sundered Oath—who bore uncanny resemblances to the PCs themselves. The adventure ended just as Lithian, with a well-timed bluff, managed to bring the fighting to a halt.

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Escape from the Pirate Kings
getting out of Dodge, falling in with the halflings

We resumed our adventure with the third installment of the “Pirate Kings” trilogy, recorded on August 8, 2009. Realizing that killing several members of the town guard would make them persona non grata in Scalabar, the adventurers hired on as guards for a caravan of halfling merchants who were headed to their home in the Taworri Desert, inland, away from Scalabar. During the journey, the PCs stayed a night or two at an inn called the Last Watering Hole, where their conversations with a dissolute old archaeologist turned hunting guide, Silas Quartermoon, gave the PCs reason to believe that some elements of their overall quest to find the Book of Life, reassemble the Godslayer Shard, and repel the Great Old Ones might lie hidden out in Karvahl’s desert wastes. During a stopover between the Last Watering Hole and the halfling village of Attunga, though, Berrian experienced some sort of trauma that left him catatonic. As the halflings feared, they were beset by a pack of gnoll bandits—landlubbing pirates, if you will—but the PCs managed to protect the caravan and see it safely to Attunga.

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Clash with the Pirate Kings
Our heroes sunk the wrong ship and Lithian issues an Arrow of Friendship

On June 5, 2009, we recorded the second adventure in what you might come to think of as our “Scalabar Trilogy.” Episodes 54–59 present that adventure, “Clash with the Pirate Kings.” The adventure began with the PCs still aboard a bugbear pirate ship moored in Scalabar harbor. Thinking it to be Urlglar’s flagship, the PCs searched the ship, trying to find the map that Urlglar’s rival, Kap’n Kruncha, believed Urlglar’s men had stolen from his own flunky, Old Sharkey. The adventurers did not find the treasure map, but they did liberate some loot and one captive, a Asiatic-looking elf who remained comatose through the entire encounter.

Just as the PCs were ready to abandon the pirate ship, the Research Unit of the QWRTH Institute, whom the PCs had met back in the adventure “Feed the Dead,” stepped out of a mystic portal. This time, however, it appeared to be in great distress, and was being pursued by a pack of fell taints. The appearance of the Research Unit and the fell taints ignited another battle which raged around the adventurers while they tried to escape from the boat they had set aflame.

Separated from their newest ally, S3rv0, the crew of the Broken Promise and their hired guide Zebith made land and hid overnight in the woods outside Scalabar. Upon examining the loot they had taken from the pirate ship, they learned that they had scuttled not Urlglar’s ship the Wavegouger, as they had hoped, but the Headreaver, commanded by his chief underboss, Captain Gnash. Meanwhile, Scalabar had gone into “lockdown” mode as soon as pirate-on-pirate violence was suspected. While attempting to make contact with a group of indigenous caravaners, the PCs ignited a conflict among themselves that spread to a fight against a group of Scalabar guardsmen. This adventure ended with four such guardsmen lying dead on the road to scalabar, about a mile from town—the last of whom managed to blow out a warning call on his horn before expiring.

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City of the Pirate Kings
A bar fight leads to new party members and sinking a ship

In the spring of 2009, the Stormhaven campaign went on a long hiatus while we playtested material from Player’s Handbook 3. We resumed on May 30, 2009 with our adventure “City of the Pirate Kings.” You can hear this adventure in episodes 49–53. Looking for some R&R, the Broken Promise sailed into the harbor of a town marked on the maps the PCs took from a library in Perbendarahaan as Chilangogo. The locals, however, call it “Scalabar.” On their first night in Scalabar, the PCs got involved in a bar fight, spent the night in jail, and then found themselves entangled in a web of intrigue involving a murder at the center of a rivalry between a gang of crocodilian humanoid pirates, the kroola, led by the self-styled Pirate-King King, and a gang of goblinoid pirates led by—you guessed it!–the PCs’ old foe Urlglar the Vicious. Near the end of this adventure, the PCs boarded a vessel they believed to be Urlglar’s flagship, and defeated its defenders—or at least the first wave of its defenders.

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