Shattered Spine

Session 17
Summoning a God

When they awoke the next morning, the adventurers could see the glowing orb above the crab caves had enlarged to become a large glowing pillar of light reaching down to the earth. The clouds were much darker, and the villagers were all on edge.

When Morlice entered Father Vasay‘s chapel, he could tell the old man was distracted and agitated. He would allow neither Adelbert or Braxx out of his site, and kept repeating that the world was ending. With few reliable options for bodyguards, Unikanga took aside three of Ni’Moy’s followers and attempted to charm them. But her charm went awry and they saw that the kernun was attempting witchcraft on them. Afraid and angry, they rushed to the hut of the chief, Ranga Tira. The chief and the villagers confronted Father Vasay, who convinced them to not attack the visitors. Four villagers who had drawn arms stormed away back down the hill, clearly angry about the situation. Father Vasay warned the visitors that if they practice witchcraft or sorcery in the village again, he could not protect them again. He urged them to waste no time getting to the nearby caves and to do everything they could to prevent the portal from opening.

The adventurers traveled to the caves of the crabmen, and entered the caverns with little incident. The tunnels were eerily empty and silent, and they arrived at the gate of flowing sand without encountering any crabmen. Passing through the gate, they encountered a giant hulking creature in the darkness — a guardian of the gate. Morilus deceived the creature, saying they had arrived to join the ritual to open the gate, and the adventurers continued down a hallway that slowly transformed from stone to flesh as they journeyed deeper into the cavern. The rhythmic chanting grew louder as they drew nigh to the final chamber.

The tunnel opened into a massive cavern like a giant maw. The walls were dark, but lined with blood-red lines and runes that writhed like worms. Nearly twenty men and women in dark filthy robes hunched over, chanting in unison in an alien tongue. A few men in bloody fleshlike robes walked among them, and on a dias beyond stood a man in a robe made of flesh and eyes, attending by skinless, tentacled abominations and women with arms like crabs. But the thing that immediately drew the explorers’ attention was the giant sphere of silver and flesh writhing in the center of the room. It was set on a ring of silver, which seemed to lick at the sphere and course through the thing. Suddenly a man in robes stood up from the congregation of chanters, and walked in a trance towards the sphere. Stripping his robe, he climbed up the giant writhing sphere and pressed his body into the thing. Silver light flashed and arced up from the ring. The giant ball of flesh was made from dozens of human bodies.

Seeing that this was the thing they had come to end, the adventurers carefully slipped into the room. Terikus Funk sneaked up behind a guard and slit his throat with a sword, while Morlice attempted to do the same. As the blood sprayed and the body fell, the room erupted into pandemonium. Pistols erupted in black smoke, and beams of light shot out at the cultists as the adventurers rushed in to attack. The cultists were stunned for an instant, and then responded with fury. The battle may have only lasted a minute or two, but it seemed to play in slow motion. Kernun battling men in robes of flesh, the priest of Light striking the high priest of eyes over and over with divine radiance. All the while, cultists chanted, and one by one continued to walk to the sphere of bodies and join the writhing mass of flesh. First terikus fell, then Morlice and Larro, a tentacled creature wrapping him in its tentacles. Terikus couldn’t be saved, and only the healing prayers of Bagoyd drew Morilus and Larro back from death. When the last abomination fell, the adventurers walked through the chamber, slitting the throats of the few remaining cultists. The chamber grew silent, and the giant sphere fell apart into a pile of bodies. The silver light faded.

As the adventurers exited the chamber, they found themselves in another long hallway that led them out to the tunnels below the lighthouse. Somehow, impossibly, this place connected both the cult tunnels and the caverns of the crabmen. For the first time in over a week, the sun shone. The clouds were gone, and with them the eerie silver light. It was a long journey back, but the wounded and weary adventurers finally arrived back in Taha Pari.

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Session 16
Return to the Crab Caves

After returning to Taha Pari, the explorers gathered in the village square to discuss the glowing clouds above the lighthouse and the crab caves, and decided to return to the tunnels by the beach. Arriving on the beach, the party discovered spiked heads set in the sand, but this time they were the heads of crabmen and a black flag was waving amongst them. Pirates had landed here and entered the caves while the adventurers were on the southern side of the island.

The adventurers strapped parts of the etched crab shells to their bodies to bypass the magical barrier across the cave entrance, and entered the caves. There they immediately found the bodies of several pirates being eaten by two large crabs. Ni’moy and the pirate Barbary Ann calmed one of the giant crabs, and it followed along behind them. Retracing their path, the explorers entered the crabmen shrine, battling five crabmen. The walls there were still etched in the same silver glyphs and the silver eyes watched the movements of the intruders. The cascade of sand beyond the silver gate of eyes continued to flow. Kelp took the silver symbols from each of the three remaining crabmen (two fled through the gate).

Wounded, the party retreated to the village to plan their next move.

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Session 15
Beyond the Golden Eye

The adventurers press deeper into the caverns where the stone itself seems to be alive. There they encounter more monstrosities — men transformed by the creatures they worship into hideous abominations.

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Session 14
Beyond the Living Darkness

The party explores deeper into the tunnels beneath the lighthouse, unearthing what appears to be an ancient buried temple. There, they fight more cultists, and discover a secret door to a forgotten shrine that glows with light like the midday sun. Bagoyd determines that it’s a shrine to the Sun God, though the sparse imagery predates any human representation he’s ever seen. The glowing water from the fountain magically heals all wounds, and the explorers rests and recover from their battle before pressing on.

Delving deeper into the tunnels, they encounter a hallway covered in blood-red writing that twists and squirms of its own accord, and emits a faint whispering sound. The adventurers put on the cultists’ necklaces of eyes and pass through the hallway, only to enter a large dark room beyond. The darkness in the room seems almost alive, and attempts to envelop every creature that enters, draining their life. Fighting past through the room of darkness, the adventurers press on into a large room with a giant golden eye set into the wall. Cultists attack, but these cultists have become something inhuman. Some have two heads, while others had clawed their eyes out and attacked with whiplike tentacles and maddening whispers. The adventurers defeat the cultists and wrest the giant eye out of the wall, where they find a tunnel going even deeper.

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Session 13
Spawn of the Staring God

Hauling treasures from the ghoul caves back to the ship, Netti and Unikitty describe to Bagoyd and Snapshot the horrors they encountered deep in the bowels of the earth, and the awful fate of Ro-Jan and Wetface. Determined to uncover the mysteries beneath the lighthouse and liberate the cultists’ treasures, the four returned to the dungeon below.

As they explored the ancient temple below, each chamber grew stranger. A hidden shrine to an ancient sun god with a fountain that glowed as bright as midday, a hallway etched with bloody words that glowed red and shifted and squirmed of their own accord, a room with a deep and malevolent darkness that chokes and stifles the living, a twin-pupiled golden eye that watches all with its cold gaze. And creatures beyond imagination: short, twisted and hunched men with four arms and two heads that gibber with madness, and a skinless, eyeless creature with tentacles that lovingly caress and sculpt the bodies of its victims.

The explorers defeated the foes, through cunning and force, and pried the golden eye from its moorings, to discover a tunnel descending into the earth, but this tunnel was alive and fleshy, like a great hollow vein in the stone wall.

Characters: Bagoyd, Netti, Snapshot, Unikitty

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Session 12
Death in the Ghoul Caves

Returning to the dungeon below, Ro-Jan, Wetface, Unikanga, and Netti, delved deep into the labyrinthine tunnels of the flesh-eating ghouls. Tekil fell first, and Mika shortly after, and deep in the darkness as wave after wave of monsters attacked on every side, Ro-Jan and Wetface were torn apart.

Netti and Unikanga fought back and pushed deeper into the tunnels, where they encountered the ghoul king, a fat and bloated creature on a towering pile of bones. The creature was flush with the blood of its victims, and it crawled down from its skeletal throne to attack the intruders. Netti and Unikanga were paralyzed by fear and the wave of decay that overpowered them, but the fought back, slashing at the creature until it died in a fountain of blood.

There among the hundreds of bodies, the two adventurers found a hoard of valuables: arms and armor, gems and coins of the countless victims hoarded in the deep caverns of the ghoul king.

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Session 11
Into the Ghoul Caves

Unsure of the number of cultists below and any threats still in the camp, the party splits up — one group tending to the wounded and guarding the ship while the other group explored the tunnels beneath the tower.

In the tunnels below, the adventurers discovered a blockaded tunnel that led into a vast cavern, choked with the smell of death and decay. As they entered the cavern, creatures skittered at them: pale gaunt creatures with staring eyes crawling fast on their hands and feet, clawing and scrabbling. They lashed out with red claws, biting and tearing, killing Simone instantly and badly injuring many in the exploring party. With the ghouls dead, the survivors retreated to their camp, determined to delve deeper into the tunnels

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Session 10
Assault on the Cultist Hideout

After the destruction of the lighthouse, Ro-Jan, Bagoyd, Unikitty, Snapshot, Pehb Moob, and Wetface returned to the cultist hideout. There they attacked a giant lizard guarding the entrance, and destroyed the cultists and skeletal guardians set upon them.

The explorers climbed down into the tunnels beneath the tower, fighting guards and priests in black robes. The battle was over, and they retreated to the surface to bind their wounds and discuss a plan for attack.

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Session 9
Against the Cult of the Living Eyes

“For those who missed it, we had an AWESOME campaign last night. We killed some weird living-mouth-tongue guys, charmed a bunch of human sacrificees (and then accidentally sent them to their death anyway), got attacked by a giant spider and a million of her offspring, burned down a tower— possibly a whole village—and loaded up on a shitload of treasure and a ton of XP. A couple of the pimp pirate minions died, but the toughest ones are still going. AND apparently we inadvertently adopted a 3-year old girl. We’re going to train her to be some sort of child assassin.” Steve Wahlin

PCs: Ro-Jan, Unikanga, Wetface
Retainers: Terikus Funk, Darius Beringer, “Velvet” Alistar, Mika One-armed, Simone Borres, Tekil Halim, Ossum Kass

Location: Old Lighthouse

People/Monsters Encountered: Cultist Guards, Cultist women and children

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Session 1
Shipwrecked!

Everything is dark and silent. Slowly sensation begins to creep in. Your body aches and you’re having trouble breathing. Your lungs are raw, your head is pounding, and your mouth feels gritty and salty. You’re very thirsty. You hear a noise crashing behind you. Waves. That explains the salt and the grit. Slowly you begin to remember the storm and the ocean waves taller than buildings, and the main mast snapping like a stick.

About ten feet away you see a body, or a pair of legs at least. And sticking out of it is a jagged shard of wood, dark red in the moonlight. Sand stretches in both directions and a hundred feet ahead looms a tall cliff.

In the darkness, in the midst of a fierce storm, the Imperial war galleon Verina floundered on a reef in the archipelago known as the Shattered Spine. The survivors of the wreck fought off giant crabs, fended off undead sailors who rose from the sea, and made their way to a walled village on the cliffs high above the sea.

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