The Company of Odd Fellows
With Needles out front using his tracking skills, the party was able to avoid any unnecessary encounters in their travel to the Island.
As they approached the island they could hear the guttural voices of Lizardmen up ahead. Needles snuck forward and saw that there were a total of 10 of them, and from the looks of the shackles they were carrying, they had just brought the slavers more human captives. There was talk of circumventing them but neither Kain or Domino were having any of that. Anyone dealing in the trafficking of living creatures did not deserve to live.
The Lizardmen weren’t expecting any resistance this close to the island so were unprepared for the parties attack. Each of the characters attacked from afar and decimated the Lizardman ranks and by the time they closed to melee, there were only two left who were quickly dispatched by Kain and Domino. Early in the fight Domino used Hold Person to bring one of the Lizardman down. Now that the fight was over as a lesson to anyone else wanting to deal with slavers, they chained him using his own manacles and left him to find his way home.
The party found a small boat at the dock on the mainland and used it to cross over to the north docks on the island. After tying off the boat they worked found a path heading deeper into the island. They came to an intersection, with one path leading directly south through the middle of the island and two paths branching off towards the outsides of the island, one southwest, the other southeast. Needles found some recent footprints going down the southeast path so they chose that as the path they would take.
Working their way down the path they came to where another path intersected it. A quick inspection showed that this path led to some sort of lookout. Needles scouted ahead and saw that there were some orcs manning the lookout, obviously looking for ships or anything else moving close the island. They were set in 3 groups of 4, but didn’t seem to be too interested in their job, some were eating, others were playing dice. Needles signaled that he would take the group in the middle, Andy the group to the south and Bark, shifting into Bear form would take the group to the north. Needles and Andy’s bow struck down two of the orcs quickly. Needles was able to take another out before the rest of the orcs could react. But react they did as one charged at Bark the bear and slashed him with his longsword. Andy found herself quickly surrounded but was able to dispatch one of the orcs with her shortsword. Kain got into the fray, helping out Bark who was also surrounded by orcs. Domino soon joined him and took down another orc, thinning the ranks surround Bark considerably. Two of the orcs attacking Andy broke off and ran after Needles and Clarabelle. Needles took a deep cut before killing the orc with his bow at point blank range. Bark the bear finished off the last guy on him, allowing Kain and Domino to help out Andy. Soon they had killed all the orcs at the lookout. Bark had taken some heavy damage in bear form and as soon as he transformed back into his normal shape, Domino healed him.
They continued to follow the path as it traveled southeast. Eventually the path started turning due south. Here in a clearing they smelled something that seemed familiar to them, but not in a good way. With the rest of the party holding up, Needles scouted ahead. Moving silently he came across a lone troll gnawing on what looked like the remains of a human leg, a rusty shackle still attached to the ankle. Enraged by what he saw, he stepped back a few yards and let on of his fire arrows sail, hitting the troll solidly. The troll was angered but also shaken by the burning arrow that just hit him. As he began to charge Needles, Needles released another arrow, with another coming right behind it from Andy. Both hit the troll and he went down. The rest of the party quickly closed around the ‘dead troll’ and covered it with oil, before setting it on fire.
The party continued to follow the path south until they came to the other end of the island. Here they discovered another dock that was much more well maintained then the docks on the north side. Tied to the mooring was a beautiful medium sized sailing vessel, which looked distinctively elvish in make. The boat and docks were guarded by a small contigent of orc soldiers but the party wanted to investigate this ship and felt they could easily take down the guards. 4 of the guards were on the dock and two were on the bow of the ship.
Kain and Domino moved towards the docks, Domino using Vordane to cast hold person at the two closest orcs. One was able to shake the spell but the other immediately went rigid, locked in the spell’s effect. Andy and Needles let their arrows fly, Andy’s staggered her target but he didn’t go down, but Needles target fell forward off the end of the boat and into the water. As Kain closed in and finished off one, Needles was dropping the rest like flies, with one left standing, it through down its bow and pleaded for mercy. The party found a small holding cell in the ship and locked both the remaining orcs in there. They investigated the rest of the ship and saw that even though the ship was in overall great condition, it had recently come under attack. From the higher vantage of the ship they could see what appeared to be a small villa to the northwest of them, so they followed the trail up from there.
The villa looked as if it hadn’t been occupied in decades but did look it was built in the near past. Some guesswork on the party’s part figured that it probably belonged to the pirate leader before the island was raided. The villa consisted of a number of strong stone structures including the main house, which was painted in a color that most people would call gaudy. There was a large swimming pool in the front that was half full of murky brackish water and dead leaves. Movement in the water suggested that something had made the pool its new home and nobody was in mood to dive in and find out. They also came across a small quarters where the groundskeeper and servants lodges as well as a stable.
The ranger found some tracks leading off from the stable to the east. The tracks were a combination of human, lizardman, orc and ppossibly elf. He worked his way quietly along the edges of the trail, where he came across an wide entrance going into the hill itself.
You see a fortified dungeon entrance, with short tower-like emplacements bracketing it. You can see arrow slits in the emplacements, which would allow guards within them to fire arrows (or worse) at anyone trying to enter. The floor within the entrance is covered in sand, which has been raked into lines.
Needles made his way back to the party where he told them what he had found. This was most likely where the slavers set up shop, but getting in through the front door would be difficult. the sand was there to make sneaking through the entrance difficult. Wondering if the construction of this underground area coincided with the building of the villa, they decided to go back and give the villa a thorough once-over to see if there was a secret entrance to the dungeon somewhere in there.
DM Note: I had not planned on having a back door entrance to the slaver’s fortress but sometimes you want to reward your players for smart play instead of just bull rushing the front door.
A check of all the structures in the villa, revealed a trapdoor under some moldy hay in the stables. The party quietly dropped down into a very small, cramped hallway that would only allow them to travel single-file. Although it was hard to get their bearings, the tunnel did seem to continue in a direction that would take them towards the underground fortress. Instead of following it now, the party thought it would be better to rest for the day since it was already late afternoon, and get an early start in the morning.