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Mannix, level 1 Human Rogue
Khaless, level 1 Half-Drow Rogue
Gillian, level 1 Triton Bard
George, level 1 Tortle Fighter
Therin, level 1 Hill Dwarf Druid
To conclude our mini-Odyssey journey to Chult, I had two more scripted events planned. Both of them went off according to plan, establishing more of Chult’s dangerous flavor, introducing some interesting NPCs, and getting our level 1 heroes into Port Nyanzaru with a healthy bit of wear and tear.
Thanks to last week’s battle with harpies and sharks, the team was able to rescue Xandala from the shipwreck. She was the only survivor, though she did have a small purse of coins with which to reward the PCs.
There wasn’t too much drama between her and Mannix – her offer still stood to find her father, and she was willing to pay them all for their trouble, provided they took her in and brought her to Port Nyanzaru.
Back aboard the Brazen Pegasus, Captain Ortimay was impressed by the PCs surviving against such dangerous odds and pulling off a tricky rescue. It was at this point that I decided to reveal the map of Chult (Player’s Map of course) and give them the quest to find two specific ruins in the jungle: Orolunga and Nangalore.
Ortimay’s goal is to get out of the smuggling business and become more of a tour guide for explorers and adventurers, bringing in people from all over Faerun to Chult. But in order to do so, she wants the location of two of the most requested sites.
I provided two incentives: first, the map. A map of Chult, even an incomplete one, is extremely rare and valuable. I gave the honor to Ortimay to bestow it upon the PCs, since she’s been working on it.
The second is the reward. If they chart those locations on the map and return to Ortimay, she will essentially give them her ship and crew for the duration of their campaign. Free ship!
Before they could make it to the Bay of Chult, however, they were accosted by pirates. Captain Laskilar’s ship The Strige intercepted them, and Ortimay knew there was no escaping him if they wanted to make it to Port Nyanzaru. Their best course of action was to let them board, but the PCs needed to hide.
Thanks to Xandala the situation was actually pretty easy. She could cast Invisible at 5th level, rendering up to four people magically hidden from the pirates. She cast it on herself, Undril, Therin, and Mannix. Since both Gillian and Geroge could hold their breath underwater, Gillian had the clever idea to simply jump in the water and hide. And with Khaless’ crazy +8 to Stealth, hiding isn’t exactly tricky for her.
The pirate sequence thus played out according to script. Laskillar and his bigger, stronger, crew boarded the Brazen Pegasus and threw their weight around. I was definitely inspired by Negan in The Walking Dead in how the crew of The Stirge essentially bullied the others by taking portions of their supplies.
The PCs smartly kept quiet (other than Khaless briefly messing with a pirate below deck), and let The Stirge go about their business. They witnessed the strength of one of the three pirate captains first hand, noting his magical teleporting cape, and his wild-haired sea priest who said some cryptic words about “the forbidden city” and “the snake-men.”
The crew was humbled but unharmed. The Brazen Pegasus was finally able to officially enter the Bay of Chult. There I unleashed the one event that actually is from the book – Aremag, the guardian of the bay. This one has a bit of wiggle room for how much combat and money DMs want to employ, but essentially anyone crossing the bay must pay tribute to the massive dragon turtle.
I played into the fact that Laskillar had taken some of their supplies and money, and Ortimay came up a bit short in the tribute. She suggested some of the PCs pay up, and I was incredibly curious with how the PCs would react to this. PCs are notoriously stingy when it comes to paying! But a dragon turtle who’s staring down your tiny ship is usually not something you can haggle with.
Sure enough they were reticent. Aremag slapped the ship, forcing a saving throw for all the PCs on board. George, Gillian, and Khaless all tumbled overboard, greeted by the reef sharks who hang around Aremag for just this reason.
Two things happened. First we rolled initiative as the sharks attacked those in the water. Second, the two left on board, Mannix and Therin, opted to immediately pay the dragon, dumping their poor meager level 1 gold supplies into the water. I was less concerned with the total monetary amount and more with the fact that they both emptied their pockets. Aremag was satisfied and began to sink back into the depths.
The trio in the water had other matters to attend to. Despite rolling very well on initiative and getting off half a dozen or more attacks, I think I only hit twice with the sharks. Very bad rolls!
I thought the PCs would be scrambling to escape. Gillian did, taking a big chunk of damage. She’s 2-for-2 for nasty shark bites! But George and Khaless stood their ground and were able to fight off the sharks, thanks to their light weapons that negated the underwater combat disadvantage. Mannix was also able to get some solid shots in with his crossbow as well.
With the sharks eliminated and the dragon turtle satiated, the chaos subsided. Getting to Chult is not easy! But we finally arrived in Port Nyanzaru.
Since we’re coming from the water, the first thing my PCs interacted with is the Harbormaster, Zindar. I role-played him like an old sheriff, gruff but honest. He and Ortimay had an understanding, mostly involving some cheeky bribery, and the Brazen Pegasus was granted entrance to the city.
Zindar is a font of information, providing details on the Merchant Princes, the Flaming Fist of Fort Beluarian, and officially giving the PCs a bounty quest to hunt the Pirate Captains of Chult. Given the previously seen strength of one of the pirates, it’s not something they can tackle soon, but should be a fun goal to work towards.
I also used the opportunity to grill the PCs about their business in Chult. Interestingly they are way more concerned with their own personal quests more than the main quest. This makes sense story-wise but also means I need to step up my game when it comes to the death curse.
It was evening when they arrived, so their first stop was the Inn, the Thundering Lizard. Mannix proved wily. He didn’t trust Xandala, and set up a little alarm bell outside her room. Sure enough she triggered it in the middle of the night. He rushed outside but wasn’t quite fast enough, and he knew the sorceress could easily make herself invisible.
She was gone, but left him a note and a Sending Stone. She wanted to part ways to cover more ground, but reminded him that if he finds her father first, to contact her immediately.
With the week-long journey to Chult behind them, our PCs have gained enough experience to reach level 2. Next week we’ll level up and properly explore all that Port Nyanzaru has to offer.
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