On the friday prior to X-giving, the menu was a puritan feast, centering around mounds of white and fluffy turkey breast, surrounded by stuffing, potatoes, peas and gravy. The grocer was running a special on turkey breast that week, just the breast ma’am, and a package of stove top, powdered potatoes, a jar of gravy added to the natural juices, a can or two of peas, and voila – faux thanksgiving feast for cheap and easy to prepare. Besides the 3 hr cook time for the bird, the side dishes were nearly instantaneous..
Enough about the food. Ah, the beverages… j/k we were down a few players, but forged on despite, since our sessions have been somewhat spotty the past couple of months. It was a smaller group, made up of five doughty adventurers who struck out for adventure across the strange lands of Numenoria.
The evening began with loot. a cursed sword and staff lay in a haunted chamber, surrounded by five hundred quite normal gold pieces. The sword had a long slender blade and its hilt was shaped like a pair of grinning lips. The staff was of gnarled oak with a single crystal embedded at one end. Each magic item was haunted by a ghost, and would remain so until the ghost’s tomb was cleansed of its desecration (whatever that means.)
The wizard was disappointed to discover the taint of divine magic upon the staff, and was forced tohand it over to one of the clerics – the taller one Litha the wood elf. The other wood elf, the rogue Zubi-zu took the sword, though neither dared to use them while they were haunted. After scooping up and dividing the coins with the gnomling cleric, the dwarven corporal Agnes hefted her pick-axe of booty-looting and the five of them set off through a revealed secret exit out of the petty dwarve’s cave, and on across the countryside, ever westward as the axe led them. They had no idea how to cleanse the desecrated tombs and thus attune themselves to their new loot, but that was their goal.
On the third day of travelling ever upwards through a land of forests, mountains, crags, and fjords, the party crossed the “continental divide” and gazed for hundreds of miles westward. A great and long snaking inlet made its way into the lands of Numenoria, and along its shoreline were three signs of habitation, villages or settlements, though it was impossible to tell if they were active or ruins. At the limits of vision the great western ocean melded with the horizon and the island off the coast rumored to be the “ruins of a great and ancient civilization” appeared as a dark smudge against the setting sun. The pick axe of booty looting pointed uneringly towards the island ruins.
As the explorers made their way towards the inlet, the altitude rapidly dropped and by early evening they had descended into a semi-tropical rainforest. Before long they heard a rhythmic drumming sound, and it was soon followed by chanting and clapping. The party had just entered a small clearing when a tribe of dark skinned savages danced into view. The men wore animal skins and carried wooden spears, and with each step they either tapped a tree trunk with the butt of their spear or clapped their hands together. They marched in unison led by the leader who sang “Ooga chaka ooga chaka” as they danced along a well concealed path. The savages stopped suddenly in mid stride when they caught sight of strangers in their midst. After a long pause, the leader of the savages questioned “Oogachaka?”
This led to a long conversation between the explorers and the band of savage hunters, neither side knowing what the other was saying. The savages language consisted of two words, ooga-chaka and tanaroa, and all else depended on inflection and facial expression while saying those two words. Even so, they managed to agree to travel to the savages place for a bite to eat. It was not a long walk, and before long, a great wall made up of crudely piled stones rose up out of the jungle before them. The path led to an archway composed of three stone slabs, and two lazy guard-savages leapt up and rubbed their eyes in surprise when they saw the hunters approaching with a new kind of quarry. Beyond the wall were two villages, Oogachaka and Tanaroa, and a large mound of dirt rose between them. on this mound sat the head chieftain, whom they were invited to visit. In the center of each of the two villages were smaller mounds, which acted as the village graveyard, and a forlorn figure stood atop one of the mounds.
The gnomling detected the presence of undead, and went to inspect the mound in the village of Oogachaka, and the suspcious figure, while the rest of the party went to the head chieftain. The gnomling discovered it was a zombie atop the mound, but it was not aggressive and looked like it was teken care of. The zombies hair was brushed and its skin was burnished like a nice tanned hide.
The zombie followed the gnomling as she backed away.
Meanwhile chief OogachaKA tried to enlist the parties aid in a quest. Using a skill challenge of intelligence checks, the party tried to decipher the meaning of each oogachaka in the chiefs speech. They deciphered it as “Blue giants have stolen our hearts and minds and want to rule over us as tyrants! Will you help?”
What they actually needed help with was that a number of their people, including the chieftain’s son were held captive in a nearby pirate stronghold. They wanted the party to rescue them, and the chief also knew that the cave in which the captives were held was also an old tomb – and might be the one the party is looking for. They agreed at once. After a bit of discussion it was decided to use the “Trojan horse” strategy, and they had the savages build them a great wheeled monument to give in tribute to the pirates. They also had to explain what a wheel was. Round, like the moon.
Soon a somewhat rustic statue of a T-Rex, the tribe’s totem, was built. It rolled along on a platform with a wheel at each corner, but the wheels were shaped like crescent moons, so it was a bumpy ride. The wizard was dissatisfied with the quality of work on display, and before climbing into the tail section of the beast, he used his magic to make the statue *shiny*
Soon the party was hidden inside, and with the trapdoor in its bottom closed, they trounced and jounced all day long as the savages struggled to push the thing through and the jungle and as close to the pirate encampment as they could get. Soon they could see through the nose holes the wooden barricade rising up ahead, and above it a wooden guard tower, with a pair of pirates on guard, who started yelling at the savages. The poor souls soon bowed down to the ground in the direction of the pirates, begged for oogachaka, then scurried back into the woods, leaving the huge and hideous T-rex looming alone in the sun.
A group of pirates approached, and tapped and prodded the Wooden monstrosity. The wizard was prepared for this, and had cast *silence* in the interior of their hiding place. The pirates tried to push it, but it was heavy. When tapping produced no echo, they determined it must be solid. “Foolish savages,” one remarked to the other, who replied ” but ooh it is shiny, we should take it to the captain.” And thus the statue was dragged into the vipers pit, surrounded by over a hundred pirates, with a guard tower, a stout wall, twenty huts, and four long ships of the viking variety. The statue was placed in front of the nicest grass and waddle hut, and the captain approved of the new town mascot at once. The pirates commenced to feast and carouse, while in their midst an enemy patiently waited.
By midnight all the fires had burned low and the pirates were passed out in the sand all along the strand. The wizard wriggled free and dropped out of the T-Rex’ bottom to land with a plop in the soft sand. The rest of the party soon followed, and they tried to make a plan. The rogue scouted around, and saw that the wooden guard tower, still manned by a pair of sleepy guards, was built upon a rocky outcropping and that there was a cave opening below it.
They decided disguise was the best course and began gathering up nearby pirate garb. A dirty laundry basket full was found, and the wizard took a moment to cast a *clean* spell on the clothes. It quickly became apparent the clothes were now too clean and fashionable looking, making them appear to be tourist pirates, and so the wizard went back to work and cast *soil* and *clean* until each article of clothing was the perfect amount of “used, but not too used.”
So attired the party made their way to the cave entrance and saw it was barred with bamboo buried in the sand. Four savages sat in the dark recesses of the cave, watching. Above,the guards noticed the newcomers, but in a pirate metropolis, 5 new faces was not a surprise. They engaged in small talk about having to take care of the slaves, who should be taking care of them. They found out the slaves would be taken to the boats as rowers the next day.
The party then got in a discussion about how to save the four prisoners. They were expecting more slaves than four in order to incite a slave revolt. Thy considered stealing a ship, but the pirates could probably out-sail them. They considered puncturing the other ships. It was risky. Then it was remembered that all coastal waters around Numenoria are shark infested, and the idea of a sea-based escape lost its appeal. The wizard suggested a few variations of turning people into giant rocks or hermit crabs. The elf rogue looked up to notice the pirates in the guard tower were watching and listening with interest. The party then removed the bamboo and moved into the cave, trying to act natural. The dwarf noticed the outline of a secret door in the back wall of the natural cavern, and the four captive savages questioned “ooga-chaka?” and we ended it there.