|All the crews ready to get started|
“Captain, 2 fathoms,” rang out from the First Mate as he sounded out the depth. “Plus its getting a bit tight for maneuvering.”
Skorri gazed out from the quarter deck at the small islets, protruding rocks, and clumps of vegetation. It did look like navigating much further into this collection of islands would be difficult. Plus it made sense to be able to sail out quickly in case of trouble they couldn’t handle. “Thank you Mr. Wu. Helmsman, please come about and drop anchor. Prepare to lower boats.”
The crew scurried about their duties while Skorri scanned the numerous small isles and rocks that made up this unchartered cluster of islands. An ill-wind blew across the deck causing Skorri to shiver for a moment. Hopefully that was not a portent of things to come. As he strode towards his cabin to gather his gear for going ashore, he observed his crew doing the same.
In short order, Skorri and his crew were in two boats rowing into the watery maze of islands. All he had to guide him was a torn page from an old diary that mentioned clues to the ancient fountain might be found within a circle of standing stones on a hill of spirits. The area they were traversing may have once been above water and the islets may have been hills. But today it was just a large marshy area containing hundreds of small island.
After several aborted stops that turned out to be large stumps covered by vines and moss, Chen Lee pointed towards a small island a couple hundred meters away, “Stones.” Skorri’s gaze turned in the direction indicated. Sure enough, that looked like several standing stones. “Head that way” he told his crew.
|Skorri and his crew approach the standing stones|
As they slowly approached, Skorri could hear the faint echoes of other commands being given off in the distance. It appeared other Heritors were here as well. Skorri constantly scanned the shores of the small island they passed, ever alert for signs of danger. He did spot something on a small island off to his right. He softly called to the other boat, “Blue Boy, go check out that object. We’ll be back to pick you up.” Without hesitation, Blue Boy (Crewman) dove in and swam away.
The two boats continue to row forward. As they get closer, Skorri notices two things: what appears to be a large chest in the center of the stones; and the dregs of Herndon’s crew approaching from the other side of the island. His blood immediately starts to boil as he Surges forward in an attempt to beat Herndon to the chest. With a tremendous leap, he lands on the shore and rushes forward. almost immediately, a semi-translucent figure appears beside the chest. Skorri draws his sword and engages the creature. He feints a thrust and quickly changes to a slash that appears to cut all the way through the creature (Attack causes 10 points of damage). He spins around and attempts another sword slice (a third action due to the Surge). This time the creature anticipated his move. Skorri feels an icy claw rake his left arm leaving it cold and numb (Skorri wounded for 9 damage).
|Skorri wins the race to the central treasure|
Seeing the Skorri dash forward and engaging what appears to be an undead creature (Spirit Warrior), Agger (Beast Warden) moves forward to assist. He points his staff towards the algae covered water as mumbles a spell. Droplets of water leap forward and land on Skorri. Feeling returns to Skorri’s arm and the chill mostly dissipates (Successful casting of Water of Life).
The sun light is suddenly blocked out as clouds quickly gather overhead reducing visibility (Someone cast Call Storm decreasing line of sight to 16 inches). Herndon and his crew can be seen coming ashore and moving towards the stone circle. Spotting each other, the two crews engage in an archery contest. Arrows and crossbow bolts fill the air but initially none of them find a target.
Visibility continued to degrade (Line of sight reduced to 14 inches due to Call Storm) as more and more of the two crews moved forward. Arrows and bolts were flying thicker than the mosquitos.
Chen Lee (Crewman) lets out a yelp as an arrow clips the side of his leather cap. He spins around and drops to the ground. First blood to Herndon and his crew. Spotting one of Herndon’s crewman leaning out from behind a tree, Alaneil (Archer) takes aim and releases his arrow. He watches as it strikes Herndon’s crewman in the shoulder. Following the flight of the arrow, Kukala (Hunter) let loose with an arrow as well. It flies straight and true as he watches the crewman fall into the brush.
Skorri is still locked in hand to hand with the Spirit Warrior. He is able to thrust his sword into the creature’s chest causing it to vanish into a wisp. Not knowing if the creature was killed or merely banished, Skorri reaches down and scoops up the chest.
|Action in the stone circle get intense|
Taucher (Pearl Diver) reaches a chest that he spotted lying under a large bush. As he bends down to check it out, several arrows strike by his feet. Dancing around to avoid getting hit, he slips and bashes his head on the small iron chest. The last thing he sees is a flash of stars as he slumps to the ground.
Another Spirit Warrior materializes beside Skorri. Wu and Amrod spring forward to assist their Heritor by distracting the creature. Their intervention was sufficient. Without any fancy moves, Skorri kills the Spirit Warrior with a single thrust to the chest (rolled a 20 +10 adds for a total Fight of 30). Skorri then backs out of the stone circle to take cover behind one of the standing stones. Herndon and his crew continue to demonstrate their fondness of ranged weapons as they release arrows and bolts in all directions. Fortunately, none find their mark as the clouds get a bit darker and ground fog starts to accumulate (LOS reduced to 12 inches).
Out of the brush, a rabid looking dog charges Hat Chet. He fends the creature off. Seeing the animal attack Hat Chet, Agger points at the dog and speaks the magic phrase to Control Animal. He then mentally sends the animal an image of dog bones hidden in the pockets of Herndon’s crew. The dog runs off and immediately tries to chew a hole in the pants of one of Herndon’s crew members. The crew member whacks the dog on the head knocking it out cold (luckily PETA doesn’t exist in the Ghost Archipelago). Watching the event unfold causes Agger to chuckle. Hat Chet turns to watch the dog run away only to be cowardly coldcocked by one of Herndon’s crew.
Skorri’s hunter and his two archers demonstrate that they do not know how to accurately shoot a bow – they missed every target. While Amrod is pulling another arrow from his quiver, unbeknownst to him, another Spirit Warrior rises from the ground behind him. The Spirit Warrior lunges forward striking Amrod in the back. The icy touch immediately crumpling him to the ground. In an attempt to avenge their fallen comrade, Kukala and Wu charge into contact with the Spirit Warrior. Too late they realize they are outclassed. The Spirit Warrior parries each of their attacks and his counterattacks knock both of them unconscious.
|Skorri’s crew watches as Herndon’s crew runs away|
Meanwhile, Skorri had been watching one of Herndon’s crewmen dragging a chest through the undergrowth to a boat. In order to get into a better shooting position, Skorri Surges, moves to a firing position, shoots and takes down the crew member carrying the treasure. He then shoots again and wounds Herndon (5 points of damage).
Skorri is forced to watch as his foe and his crew escape into the fog with their treasures. Herndon waves just before his boat fades out of view. Skorri and Agger look around and realize that, other than Blue Boy who swam to another island to recover a treasure, they are the only two left standing. They move around and check on their crew members. Wu, Hat Chet, and Chen Lee have serious wounds which Agger treats by casting Water of Life to stabilize them. The others only have minor bumps and bruises. Eventually, Skorri gets everyone into the two boats and they slowly make their way back to the Raven’s Beak to recover.
|The butcher’s bill was quite high. Spirit Warriors – not cool.|
Although they have little to show for their effort this day (105 gold coins and a Superior Dagger +1 Damage), Skorri is still proud of how his crew forced Herndon to turn tail and run off the island. Skorri will still be recording Herndon’s name into the book beside his other nemesis Griffon. And he will be scheduling archery practice for all his bow users.
|The right boat contains the survivors. the left boat contains the casualties|
The game was one of the shortest we have played, only six turns. The nature of how we modified the scenario to accommodate six players and making the terrain mostly water led to the game evolving into three separate and distinct sub-games. Other than the crew directly opposite, there was no interaction with the other crews. For Skorri, all of the action was on a single island except for Blue Boy who went to another island that I think was overlooked by Griffon who was on Skorri’s right. We’ll have to think changes out a bit more as we work to modify the remaining scenarios for our eight player group.