Intersection

Session Two
Into the Jungle

Midafternoon on their second day on Lubber’s Last, Chuko, Jolly, Renard, Jask, and Ishirou all decided to venture into the jungle, following the footsteps of the errant Aerys while they left Gelik to tend camp and await Sasha’s return with the spoils of her hunt. As they set out on their hard, slow slog southeast into the jungle, Mad Max Power bushwhacked bravely straight into the jungle from the shore that he had been washed up on after his remarkable display of incompetence in the practice of nonstandard locomotion. In a rare stroke of luck, Mad’s path nearly intersected that of the group less than a mile into either of their journeys.

Soon afterward, Aerys’ tracks abutted the base of a large rocky ridge, and followed its course as it slowly turned southward. The group continued their exhausting journey uphill through the haze of heat, humidity, and insects as the ridge turned eastward and intersected the path of a river, resulting in a sloped, rapidly running waterfall. The ostensibly more agile members of the group scrambled up the rocky bank of the mud-brown waterfall and managed to make use of Jask’s vine ropes to assist the entire group with the ascent.

The sun was beginning to set, and the buzzing ambience of the jungle and its inhabitants was shifting to a more nocturnal timbre, as the group followed the river (and Aerys’ tracks) southward and upstream. The tracks ended abruptly at the scene of a sprung snare trap, a rope having swung some victim into a nest of bristling stakes a dozen feet up in the canopy above. Despite their best efforts, no member of the group could find any tracks leading from the scene, and decided to venture further upstream, guided by light both arcane and divine cast by the casters of the party.

Further upstream, the castaways discovered that they were on one of two tines of a fork in the river. Directly across the river was an intimidating wall of leaves and bright red thorns. Chuko, Jask, and Renard went to work cobbling together shelter from the dense surrounding growth while Mad and Jolly crossed the river to investigate the nettles. Some greatmachete-ing and delicate maneuvering followed, with the pair reaching the sweet center of the nettle bush to find an abundance of bright red berries, which they harvested by the armful. Their return across the narrow, but deep and swiftly flowing, river, led to the loss of a significant fraction of the berries. There was still a significant amount left, and the group enjoyed several nourishing handfuls after Renard’s talented taste identified the berries as being highly efficacious in the alleviation of addictions and withdrawal, as well as providing a significant boost to the immune system.

With some semblance of a meal and a functional shelter built, the group decided to rest for the remainder of the night, but rest did not come easily. The mindfire continued to wreak havoc with Renard’s mind, and he was visited by dark visions of vomit, the scholar Ieana, bailing out the Jeniviere with a spoon, and pincers…

The chaos continued as the group awoke to a blood-eyed, rabid-looking goat, stinking to high hell as it attempted to gnaw off (? I don’t remember who)’s face. The vile jungle goat was dispatched with extreme prejudice.

The next day, the group continued to follow the river uphill and upstream and were eventually ambushed by a giant spider which had built a web canopy over the open expanse of the river. While Chuko (?) cut it down out of its canopy, Mad (?) prevented its escape by shearing its legs off in a river-spanning jumping attack.

A few hundred feet further upriver, the group found themselves at the spring that served as the source of the river they had been following. Beyond it lay a ridge from which they observed a path cutting through the jungle to the south, and a clearing and open water to the northwest. Approaching the northwestern clearning, they attracted the attention of two humanoid figures with viney veins and clouds of yellow spores swirling about them. The figures shambled toward them but were effectively foiled by the ridge for long enough that the group was able to retreat back to the southern ridge, which they descended to cut toward the path they had seen.

The group made it to the narrow, compacted dirt path and began to follow it southeast when they spotted a tripwire strung taut in front of them, rigged to a snare trap of similar design to the triggered one they had seen earlier at the river.

After some deliberation, Chuko summoned into existence a chestnut and white mottled pony of gentle disposition with doe-like eyes and a burning curiosity to find its way in this world and help others. Its curiosity and amicability almost instantly turned into confusion and abject terror as the group bumblingly bullrushed the pony, stumbling over themselves but causing the pony to kick out its hind legs in panic. The next second passed in an eternity as thetrap snagged the horse by its leg and swung it in a long arc, ending with a juicy thud as the horse was impaled against the bundle of spikes waiting in the canopy. A ringwraith-like scream mingled with a fountain of hot blood erupting from the ruptured lungs of the animal as it spent its last five seconds of agonizing existence staring hauntingly at its creators and destroyers before vanishing, leaving behind only a grisly bundle of spikes and the echoes of its wails.

The butchers took shelter in the growth surrounding the trap, hoping to ambush those who had set it. The group split into two watch shifts. During the first, Renard was again plagued by feverish visions, finding himself aboard a rowboat with the stung and cut animated corpse of First Mate Alton Devers. The two both exited their boat and found the water that they stood ankle-deep in to actually be a sea of dead bats. As Renard watched Alton row back to the wreck of the jeniviere on the horizon, he looked back down and saw the bats begin to bite.

During the second watch shift, the watchers heard the slow flapping whiish of a pair of massive wings in the darkness off the road. Mad charged blindly into the woods after the noise, only to find the blood-drained corpse of another jungle goat.

The unseen threat of this beast was sufficient to rouse the group to action before the night was through. They followed the path back northwest, the direction that they had come, and a few miles along a ridge.

As the path turned West and the Sun began to rise at their backs, the group was brought to a halt as Jolly, marching at their head, tripped yet another snare tripwire and was flung into a massive array of pointed wood not at all dissimilar to the one he and his compatriots had subjected an innocent animal to but hours before.

Jask called upon the mending powers of Nethys to bring jolly back from the brink of death, and the group followed a fork in the path as it turned Northeast and emerged onto a rocky clearing and beach looking out north upon a large bay, with another rocky shore visible several miles in the distance.

In the clearing an assembly of crude, long-since collapsed shelters made of blood-spattered driftwood surrounded a single figure that looked similar to those the castaways had noticed in the other clearing previously. A swift beheading from Mad neutralized the threat, and the group settled down to take a moment to regroup and review the course of their journey thus far:

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Session One
Backgrounds, a shipwreck, and struggles.

Events began on the Jeniviere, a merchant ship crewed by Captain Alizandru Kovack and First Mate Alton Devers, which plied a trade route between Oros, Thiliniop, Valond, and the bazaar at the mouth of the Kiuz river. Mad Max Power, orphan half-orc from the desert highlands southwest of the Orosi chaos jungle, had been aboard the ship since its last berth in Oros, seeking ramonite and wealth to assist him in building a sword to destroy the Demon who slew his tribe. Jolly Lama had boarded afterward at the port of the Kiuz, taking another step in his long journey to see and connect with the myriad wonders of the world.

The majority of the ship’s passengers boarded at Valond, including:

  • The seemingly delusional tengu Chuko, who believed himself to be the incarnation of Pharasma, and sought further knowledge and perhaps followers from a rapidly growing sect of Pharasma in the slave states of Karabba.
  • The furry Renard McCloud, a kitsune private investigator working in Valond who was going to Oros to find his gnomish client’s brother Chomsky, who was kidnapped by slave traders.
  • Aerys Mavato
  • Ishirou
  • Ieana
  • The prisoner Jask Derindi
  • Sasha Nevah

The ship then continued to the island of Thiliniop, where it stayed in port for four days exchanging goods and resupplying. On the night before its departure for Oros the ship gained its final passenger of note, Gelik Aberwhinge.

The ship departed for Oros, and five days into the journey, the group sat down to dinner when all went black for everyone.

The group was assisted in regaining consciousness by raging nausea and the curious nibbles of a number of eurypterids, scorpion-lobster hybrids which were attacking them where they had washed up on the beach of a small bay. The group’s weapons and some of their other belongings had been piled neatly on the beach. After dispensing the eurypterids, the group spotted the crashed ruins of the Jeniviere on the cliffs at the north part of the bay, and tended to the others who had washed up on the beach (Gelik, Jask, Aerys, Ishirou, and Sasha), none of whom had any better recollection than they about the preceding events.

The group spotted the tracks of someone dragging them up onto the safety of the beach and piling their possessions in a neat pile, and tracks running from their location to the wreck of the Jeniviere.

Due to good old-fashioned bullying of Aerys Mavato, in which they refused to return her book of poems, the Abendago Cantos, and the situation devolved to an exchange of blows, the group lost contact with Aerys as she ran alone into the jungle with her book.

Mad and Jolly both ventured to the wreck of the ship, which they discovered to have been reduced only to its stern, and suspended precariously on a ridge in a cliff over the churning sea. Both found the surf-slicked cliff too difficult to navigate and were sent tumbling back to the beach where they began. The bumbling continued as the group cobbled together a sad excuse for a shelter and cooked up the slain bodies of the eurypterids.

As they sat around the weak fire, the group attempted to mend some bonds with Gelik and Jask (still manacled) by offering them food, while they woke up Ishirou and discovered his puppy love for the now-absent Aerys. Renard used his fire breath extract to liven up the campfire and keep away the insects and vermin that were visibly encroaching on the camp, but it did not help enough to save him from acquiring mindfire over the night.

In the morning, Mad and Ishirou set off into the jungle to track Aerys while Chuko fixed up the camp, Sasha went out hunting, Gelik set up some makeshift healing supplies, Renard combed the beach for tracks and other clues, and Jolly successfully climbed aboard the wreckage of the Jeniviere, where he was ambushed by a larger eurypterid before shutting himself in the Captain’s cabin. Therein he acquired a ring of six keys, two sea charts, a small notebook, a masterwork dagger, a suit of leather armor, two potions of cure light wounds, a holy symbol of Nethys, and a spell component pouch before scrambling out of a whole rent in the side of the ship and swimming back to camp.

Ishirou and Mad quickly got lost in the jungle and were ambushed by a massive black mamba, which they dispatched without issue.

Back at camp, one of the keys wound up unlocking Jask’s manacles. Jolly gave him the armor, dagger, holy symbol, and the component pouch, all of which had apparently been his before his manaclement. Feeling comfortable with the group after their (rather uncharacteristic) kindness, Jask revealed that he believed the ship had wrecked on Lubber’s Last, an island northeast of Oros notorious for causing shipwrecks. He also revealed that a member of the smuggling ring he had been trying to expose, a Captain Kinkarian, had allegedly wrecked his ship, the Brine Demon, on Lubber’s Last.

Mad and Ishirou found their way back to the camp, where the group reviewed the recently-acquired captain’s log. The Log began as a normal trade ship log, with ports, weather events, bearings, and inventory. The last third of the log took the tone of a diary, with many obsessive, poorly-written love poems for the scholar Ieana. The logs took a paranoid turn as the captain begins to suspect other crew members, especially the first mate Alton, of competing for the attention of Ieana. The last page was in a sloppy, slanted hand and detailed Ieana’s convincing him to change course to sail along the northern edge of Lubber’s Last, where he hoped he could make a home and a life with Ieana.

Mad and Jolly again attempted to reach the Jeniviere. Jolly made it some of the way to the cliff but again slipped and was swept back into the bay. Mad then took a crack at the climb, making it two feet up the cliff before tumbling into the roiling waters below and being swept out to sea.

The group at camp worked on building a rope system to more easily make it onto the Jeniviere, but then decided to set out into the jungle with Jask and Ishirou to track down Aerys . Mad found himself washed up and waterlogged on an ancient, hollowed-out shipwreck, labelled on its side as the Tears of Grog, around a hundred feet north of the shore of the island. He attempted to swim to the shore of the island and was slammed onto the rocky beach, clambering ashore entirely unaware of his location.

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