Well, things got off to a shaky start as we had to move play location, and the new place was a little noisy and slow to start. I got the gang leveled up, and added a couple of new players.
The full party (and I really don’t have enough space for anyone new!) is:
Tiefling Cleric of Life
Tabaxi Dex Fighter
Kobold Warlock (Great Old One)
Gnome Str Fighter
So, the party finds themselves adrift in the ocean with a fleet of fishing boats, canoes, rafts and a couple of larger ships.
Over the course of the night, between watches and sleep and reuniting families, the various refugees from Ys agree to form two groups – the largest ship and a few fishing boats will sail east towards (hopefully) Ryushu, and the rest of the fishing fleet will head towards Riemerswaal to the west.
Of course, directions seem to have shifted since Ys disappeared in a flash. So, a lot of hope is involved.
The party heads east.
Over the course of about a week, the party learns the basics of life on a boat – not enough for proficiency yet, but enough to get by. Most of the people around them are doing the same.
The gnome ends up on lookout duty, and every other day or so seems to spot an island in the distance. Whilst no one believes him at first, as it disappears before anyone else can see it, eventually on the sixth day of sailing someone else sees it too, and this time it stays on the horizon as the ship approaches.
The party is voted on to disembark and see what’s going on, along with another boat loaded with supplies for trade. On the docks, guards are sent for and the party are told they must deal with the king before trade can begin.
Wandering up through the town accompanied by local watchmen, the gnome’s shifty-sense is raised because the guards appear to be shifty as all hell. Most of the population in the lower wards is human or water genasi, but the guards are mostly air genasi, and sure enough so is most of the population of the upper wards near the palace.
The party passes an alleyway when a few of them hear a warning to ‘LEAVE!’, apparently spoken by a cat.
Most of the group spot a couple of women sweeping broken shards of pottery out into the streets from their homes.
The cleric spots a run down temple down a side street – it appears to be closed and falling down. The holy symbol carved above the door leads her to believe a relationship with her own god.
Approaching the palace, the guardsmen are replaced by soldiers in ornate armour, and the captain of the watch – a solid looking air genasi. In the square opposite the palace sits another temple, this one with a different, darker sigil carved above the door, a diametric opposite to the falling-down temple elsewhere in the town.
Escorted into the palace, the group are made to wait in an antechamber, and question the guards some.
A popular local gambling sport involves sending peasants out into the forest, and gambling on how soon they might return. Rarely do they return alive – once in a generation, it seems.
The dark god is a newcomer, Czernobog. The old gods aren’t worshipped anymore, and Czernobog provides.
The cat in the alleyway is alarming to the captain of the watch, though he believes it to be a domovoi playing a trick on the party. At least one member of the group realises he is lying.
A wall hanging appears to show a scene of a man fighting a large green beast in a forest. It is a tapestry of the king, Kolschei the Deathless, fighting a Leshy. It was crafted many years ago, and depicts a story much older.
Finally shown into the throne room, the group are met by Kolschei sat in his throne and surrounded by three new air genasi.
Kolschei appears human, though little more than a skeleton covered in skin. His white hair hangs in ribbons beneath his crown, his beard is long, and his old hands are covered with golden, gem-studded rings.
Beside Kolshei stands Dagado, the tsarevna, Kolshei’s granddaughter. She wears long robes, heavily embroidered with gold and silver thread, and around her neck hangs the holy symbol of Czernobog. The other two genasi remain unnamed, only called Dagoda’s brothers.
Kolschei welcomes the refugees, and offers them his hospitality. Trade with the mysterious island of Bouyan can be infrequent, as its sudden appearances and disappearances on the Endless Sea can make it hard for travelers to reach. This movement is beyond the control of Kolschei or his people.
His parting words are a warning to the cleric for her ‘and her people’ to stay away from the temple. Which temple, and whether her people are the tieflings or other priests is left unclear.
The kobold was not shown into the throne room, as he was detained by a call of nature. Asking the captain of the watch what will happen, he is told they will either be given the king’s hospitality, or the entire group of refugees will be killed – sent into the forest most likely. The island is small, with little area in the way of farmland. Cutting away the forest is met with… resistance. So there is only so much food to go round.
The rest of the party returns from the throne room, and whilst escorted out of the palace and warned to keep to the accommodation in the lower wards, the group is free to walk the city. The guards are watching them however.
The bard attempts to swindle a merchant out of goods, claiming the king has requested they be supplied. He is told to return later, when the goods will be ready.
Most of the party find an inn, and sample the local wine and beer. The locals aren’t sure what to make of the strange foreigners – especially the kobold, gnome, and the tiefling priest in the white robes.
The party plans to go to the forest the following day, to investigate its dangers. Which is fine with me, I just wish they’d wait for me to give them the quest first!
That’s where we broke for the evening. The next session might actually involve some combat, but I was happy to try and get the group roleplaying and interacting. I’m hoping the old hands aren’t drowning out the new players, and I’m trying to keep them involved in decision making and roleplaying as best I can.