Scouting Skull Island

Session 21 January 2024

A spy turning double? Now that’s a twist even the best storyteller couldn’t dream up. Patience, bless his high-strung soul, finally tunes back in from his psychedelic journey, just in time to catch the latest chapter of our wild saga. Zariel, it seems, pales in comparison to the whirlwind of chaos we’ve stirred up in this tavern.

Enter the dark mage, introducing us to Morph and Patience (again). Morph, the shape-shifting marvel, decides to play a little game of copycat with Patience. Talk about a mimicry masterclass! Meanwhile, we stumble upon Xenji’s letter, a bittersweet reminder of our absent friend’s untimely departure. The dark mage’s frustration bubbles up like a potion gone wrong, lamenting Xenji’s betrayal of our pact.

Undeterred by setbacks, we dive headfirst into a daring heist scheme, because when life hands you lemons, you grab a bag of holding and go for the gold. Morph unveils his masterpiece—a map of the Zhentarim base, meticulously crafted with all the flair of a seasoned cartographer. With Morph blindfolded for secrecy, we venture into the shadowy depths of the base, plotting our next move.

Farryn, ever the inquisitive soul, probes Morph about the freshness of his intel. Turns out, it’s as fresh as today’s catch of the day. Amidst the chaos, the idea of roping in the Golden Cauldron for backup emerges like a phoenix from the ashes—a risky move, but one worth considering.

Morph’s revelation about the dragon lurking within the Zhentarim base sends a shiver down my spine. A captive dragon? Now, that’s a tale worthy of a bard’s ballad. But there’s no time for reverie as Morph delves into his own motivations—reclaiming his belongings stashed away in the infamous vault. The vault, a treasure trove of spoils pilfered from foes and vanquished adversaries, beckons like a siren’s call. But amidst the allure of enchanted relics lies the looming threat of the base’s captains, each wielding their own arsenal of magical artifacts, and the dragon. 

As we delve into the nitty-gritty of our plan, I find myself designated as the contingency, ready to unleash a menagerie of summoned creatures should our stealth falter. 

Questions fly like arrows in a skirmish as we seek to unravel the mystery of the base’s leadership. With Xenji’s unique abilities at our disposal, we gain valuable intelligence on the appearance of Captain Morgath and his formidable lieutenant, Gorthoc the Relentless. Armed with this knowledge, our resolve to execute a stealthy incursion only strengthens.

Morph prepares to scry the depths of the base, offering a glimpse into the heart of our enemy’s lair. With the mimic relegated to temporary captivity, we retreat to the dark mage’s quarters, the creature’s pitiful state a testament to the cruelty of its confinement.

The dark mage gets the phylactery out of the bag. With careful precision, he secures two rats around the chest, binding them tightly before offering them to the mimic. As the mimic engulfs the makeshift meal, I can’t help but feel a pang of sympathy for the creature, burdened with such an unusual task.

Seeking to bolster our strength for the challenges ahead, I conjure forth a handful of goodberries, distributing them amongst our party. Four I reserve for the mimic, hoping to provide it with some measure of comfort amidst its confinement. The dark mage, ever vigilant, suggests transporting the mimic to another plane for its safety, a notion that sits uneasily with me but seems necessary in the face of impending danger.

Turning our attention to the task at hand, we discuss the allocation of items retrieved from Xenji’s bag. I get the rod of rulership and I can’t help but feel a sense of empowerment as its weight settles in my hand, a potent tool for commanding others in times of need.

As plans for tomorrow’s mission take shape, Morph shares his insights gleaned from scrying on the base’s formidable leaders. With Morph’s role in the upcoming operation decided, the question of who will accompany me on the scouting mission for further preparation arises. With a feigned ponderance, I suggest Farryn as my partner, knowing his keen senses and Grond’s formidable presence will serve us well.

With Farryn astride Grond and myself shrouded in invisibility, we set out towards the hobgoblins, and we get past them with ease.

As I venture deeper into the heart of Skullport, the tension in the air is palpable, each shadow seeming to hold whispered secrets of danger and intrigue. With every corner turned, I catch glimpses of the elite team, their purposeful strides hinting at the urgency of their mission. Farryn’s voice breaks through the silence, his concern a testament to the gravity of our situation.

“Can you do this alone?” he asks, his words weighted with concern.

“Yeah, sure,” I reply with a confident nod, masking the flutter of nerves in my chest. “I’ll be in the rope trick when you come back.”

With resolve in my heart, I don my flying shoes and take to the air, following Farryn’s instructions for a perimeter check. The path ahead unfolds like a treacherous maze, each step a calculated dance through the shadows of uncertainty.

Skull Island looms in the distance, a foreboding silhouette against the dim light. As I circle the base, my eyes catch sight of the looming balistas, their menacing forms a stark reminder of the defenses we must overcome. The guards stand watchful, their presence a testament to the ever-present threat that surrounds us.

The common patio glows with an eerie light, casting long shadows across the worn barracks and bustling command room. Patrolling creatures weave through the darkness, their watchful eyes scanning the surroundings with predatory focus.

Yet amidst the chaos, a glimmer of opportunity emerges. The docks lie deserted, a rare moment of respite in the midst of the storm. I seize the chance to survey the area, my senses on high alert for any sign of danger.

As I make my way back to Farryn, a peculiar sight catches my eye, causing me to halt in my tracks. Keeping my distance from the surrounding structures, I observe a burly figure who defies the laws of gravity, taking strides that transition seamlessly into a fluid, soaring motion. It’s as if he’s effortlessly gliding through the air, defying the very constraints of the physical world. Beside him, a companion exudes an aura of arcane power, their form flickering with the telltale signs of teleportation.

As I ascend into the safety of the rope trick, I relay the details to Farryn. “Morph was right on all counts,” I summarize in the end.

We journey back through the labyrinthine passages of Skullport, as we make our way to the base. Farryn offers a succinct retelling of my reconnaissance, his words painting a picture of the dangers that await us on Skull Island.

As we prepare for the upcoming mission, anticipation hangs thick in the air like a heavy fog, each of us bracing ourselves for the challenges that lie ahead. Tomorrow, under the cloak of invisibility, we will infiltrate the vault, treading cautiously to avoid setting off any alarms that may alert our adversaries. The plan is simple yet fraught with peril—we must secure the treasure and make our escape before the full might of the Zhentarim descends upon us.

In the quiet hours of the night, Morph settles into his cell, and we all have a rest in our own chambers.

In the dead of night, Grond’s mournful howls pierce through the silence, jolting me awake from my slumber. With a sense of foreboding, I rise from my bed and hastily make my way to investigate the source of the disturbance. As I swing open the door, I’m met with a sight that leaves me speechless—Farryn, completely naked and seemingly entranced, stands before me, his hands aglow with an otherworldly light. Beside him stands Patience, draped in a robe and clutching a crystal with a fervor that borders on obsession.

“AGAIN!?” I exclaim, my voice echoing through the room as I confront the bizarre scene unfolding before me. Scarecrow materializes in the room, asking what the heck is going on. Farryn, still lost in his trance, mutters incomprehensible words as he tugs at the blankets, his eyes gleaming with an unnatural fervor.

With a sense of urgency, Scarecrow attempts to dispel the enchantment that has ensnared Farryn and Patience, his efforts met with mixed results. As the tension in the room mounts, Scarecrow turns to me, his gaze piercing through the darkness as he requests a sum of gold to fuel his magical endeavors. Without hesitation, I retrieve the pouch of crystals, offering them up as payment for Scarecrow’s services.

With a flourish of arcane energy, Scarecrow performs the ritual of greater restoration, the shimmering light enveloping Farryn and Patience as it purges the lingering effects of whatever enchantment had ensnared them. With their minds restored to clarity, Scarecrow instructs me to take the crystals to POES, and then return to bed. 

I wake the next morning, like nothing weird happened.

As we make our way through the darkness cloaked in invisibility, tension hangs thick in the air like a suffocating fog. The plan is set, our roles defined, but the weight of uncertainty presses heavily upon my shoulders. With each step, I can feel the adrenaline coursing through my veins, a silent reminder of the danger that lurks around every corner.

Flying past the imposing structures of the base, we approach our target with calculated precision. My heart pounds in my chest as we draw closer to the fire balista, its menacing presence casting long shadows in the dim light. I keep my distance, my bow at the ready, prepared to unleash a storm of arrows should chaos descend upon us.

Then, in a heartbeat, it happens—the shoot opens, and a rush of anticipation floods my senses. With bated breath, I watch as our plan unfolds before my eyes, the subtle creak of the opening mechanism echoing like a harbinger of fate. Yet, to my surprise, there is no reaction from the Zhentarim, no alarms sounding to herald our intrusion.

As the shoot closes once more, a sense of relief washes over me, tempered by the knowledge that our task is far from over. But then, a flicker of movement catches my eye—a small light darting into the darkness, a signal from the dark mage that our objective has been achieved.

In the midst of this clandestine operation, Grond’s presence hangs like a beacon in the night sky, a glaring vulnerability that threatens to unravel our carefully laid plans. Panic seizes my heart as the archers take notice, their bows drawn taut with deadly intent.

With a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, I brace myself for the inevitable onslaught, knowing that our fate hangs in the balance as we teeter on the precipice of discovery.

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