So, trapped beneath a giant net, with an enormous dire shark somewhere in the vicinity, things were looking shaky for the maiden voyage of the Sea Dart. The gnomish crew headed for the airlock, equipping themselves with potions of water breathing and crossbow-like weapons (essentially harpoon guns, but using the crossbow proficiency for game mechanics reasons), and some of the group joined them.
Tethered with emergency ropes, they made their way to each corner of the net and started to hack away so that the ship could get to the surface. This of course got people spread out for the return of the dire shark, which duly swept in, directed from the shadows by its sahuagin ranger handler. Now this is where everything nearly went very badly wrong for the player who used to play Koff. His mage had very sensibly cast mirror image, and so was a bright flurry of activity. Seeking to highlight the danger of the encounter, I reasoned that if the shark were to target the mage first, there was only a 1 in 5 chance of him actually getting hit. With the bonuses to strike that this horrendous creature has, it would be able to eat pretty much anyone, so this seemed the best way to throw a scare into the players.
With this impeccable logic in mind, this huge creature was able to correctly strike the mage, and catch him in its jaws ready to swallow in the next combat round. Well, there was certainly panic and raised voices around the table, and Darvon was just about still alive so I guess it worked as intended – sort of.
Bumperklart the warrior, newly promoted to heavy hitter by some judicious feat upgrades in downtime, stepped up to the mark and landed two heavy blows on the shark’s head. In a moment of rash kindness I ruled this was enough to disrupt the shark’s grip on the mage, and then we were properly into the battle. As is becoming usual, a mix of odd initiative rolls, tactical use of summoned allies and judiciously applied megadamage soon swung the battle.
It’s a mark of how far the group has come that their first encounter with a creature with hitpoints in triple digits resulted in only relatively minor injuries, and the Sea Dart was soon freed enough to reach the surface to complete its repairs. The raiding party of sahaugin who pursued them there were embarrassingly despatched by the mage with a single area of effect spell that summoned gnashing teeth and turned the sea raiders into what can kindly be described as chum. The rest of the journey to Stormreach was uneventful, and the party was able to make landfall a few hours’ down the coast so that they could sneak in through the docks.
The plan was to search for signs of the Emerald Claw expedition and secure transport to take them up-river. The best part of the afternoon was spent hunting down rumours, which seemed to indicate that soldiers led by a warforged warrior and a gaunt emaciated man had arrived the previous evening by airship and taken a boat up-river. At the same time, the mage found a note planted in his pocket inviting him to a dark alleyway to provide answers in return for money.
Now, my thought was that the group would go en masse to this encounter and I had maps made up – and my second thought was that the mage and thief who went on their own might run away when they realised it was a trap. Oh no… when the bodak left by the Emerald Claw revealed itself they tried to fight. Now, a bodak’s main attack comes from its death gaze – so this made the second moment in the same game where the same person nearly lost his character unexpectedly. Fortunately their dice rolls cooperated in saving them from instant death and after some brief attempts to fight, they retreated. The mage ran straight back to find the group, while the thief hung around to observe where the creature went.
As the bodak crept away into the darkness, he met a young elven cleric, who introduced herself as a disciple of a Silver Dragon, sent to observe events… and that’s where we left the session.