View Full Version : Undersea Adventures: Comments, Concerns, & Concepts

07-01-2010, 06:11 PM
I am cross-posting this here and in a handful of other D&D boards, across the web.

I have been running undersea D&D campaigns since 1998; first with “Beneath the Pinnacles of Azor’alq” (play-by-post) followed by “Heirs of Turucambi” (chat-based). The campaigns draw from my interests in marine biology and my hobby of keeping saltwater aquariums, coupled with my fascination with various mythological creatures such as hags, dragons, and demons. I started my current game 3 years ago. While I have a stable following of devoted players (thank you, folks!), I occasionally get the urge to step back, look at my game from a distance, and reinvent my approach as Master Storyteller for my players.

If your current DM approached you with the idea of starting a new campaign set primarily beneath the surface of the sea, what would be your first reaction? Suppose the “core races” were replaced with the likes of sea elves, locathah, and merfolk (or any race that that has a swim speed and the aquatic subtype). Would that be enough to alienate you?

I set my games on Oerth, the world of Greyhawk. Prior knowledge of the campaign setting is not required. I also tend to scale back on the use of dragons, while overpopulating the world with hags. Again, this is simply my personal signature in my games. Is that the killing blow that distances potential players?

My games tend to be role-play heavy and combat light. Rolling lots of dice tends to break my “willing suspension of disbelief”. Spending hours speaking in character as a room full of NPCs is my bread and butter. Again, I know this does not appeal to everyone.

I am aware that life underwater has its limitations; typical potions are all but impossible to imbibe, paper scrolls will quickly disintegrate, and typical metal items are subject to corrosion. Many typical spells may not suitable for underwater casting. Treasure may be similarly altered, as many undersea races value rare corals, pearls, and shells far more than coins and gemstones. This is one of my most enjoyable aspects of the game - creation.

Some of the best inspiration for an underwater campaign can come from the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet, visiting a local aquarium or fish store, and perusing ocean-related materials in a bookstore. Discovery’s “Blue Planet” series and Penguin Book’s “OCEAN” are as invaluable to me as “Stormwrack”.

With that in mind, what are your preferences, for such an adventure? What would you expect to see, in an undersea game? What would make the campaign memorable, enjoyable, and enduring? What would make you want to spend years exploring the realm of liquid space?

Arch Lich Thoth-Amon
07-01-2010, 08:56 PM
I've only played a handful of games underwater in my 30+ years of gaming, having found them all to be interesting. I also like your take on the world... especially the use of Greyhawk. Since i can only promise to lurk this thread, having no real input due to a lack of experience in underwater gaming, although interested just the same, i am forwarding this to a serious gaming friend who will find this thread of extreme interest.

07-02-2010, 09:00 PM
i am forwarding this to a serious gaming friend who will find this thread of extreme interest.

I am looking forward to their reply.

07-10-2010, 04:45 PM
(Again this is cross-posted at EN World, wizards.com, Giants in the Playground, Pen and Paper Games, RPG.net., PhoenixLore, and Canonfire)


I suppose that’s what it boils down to. In a few weeks, this thread might be 6 or 7 pages back; buried beyond discovery, save for those searching for keywords. So, how do we prevent that? How do we keep a topical and current thread available, for those of us interested in either creating underwater encounters, running undersea games, devising an entire milieu in the realm of liquid space, or all of the above?

Some time ago, I started underwater-themed groups at EN World (http://www.enworld.org/forum/group.php?groupid=57) and wizards.com (http://community.wizards.com/underwater) , both entitled “Under the Sea”. Click on the links, to explore them. Yes, they seem to have fallen victim to apathy.

So, what would be the best course of action? Should I establish a message-board on a different site altogether, to prevent playing favorites with more established boards? Do we set up a Facebook group (alas, that requires using “real” names) or a Google Wave? Do we set up a weekly chat via IRC or mibbit? How about a merfolk Sim on Second Life? As an experiment, I set up an iWeb domain for my current game. Should I bite the bullet and work on one with Dreamweaver, for future endeavors? I’m open to a weekly offline chat, of course, though I cannot assume everyone is within driving distance of Greensboro, NC.

I have been running undersea D&D games since 1998. I have a passion for the sea. I keep saltwater aquariums as a hobby. This isn’t simply about my desire to find a new batch of players. I do not wish to see this topic get forgotten, buried, and die.

Yes, I always have my list of music, websites, books, and DVDs that I recommend, for inspirational purposes. How do we take it a step further? Mind you, some of my players seem to have technological barriers to the likes of MapTools, Second Life, and other CPU and Bandwidth-intensive activities. I would like the means to keep an open dialog, 24/7, for whatever subaqueous thoughts tickle our fancies. How shall we accomplish this?

Lord Captain Tobacco
08-12-2010, 10:24 PM
I just posted this on a different forum. The underwater environment is VERY different. It will require a re-thinking of many things we hold as SOP.

High level 2nd ed D&D. Knowing that the Koa-to live in semi-underwater lairs the party planned accordingly. The mage even brought extra Water Breathing scrolls (not sure how the papyrus would hold up under water) and the cleric cast Continual Light on different pieces of gear. All went well until they faced the Kraken.
The mage unleashed a Lightning Bolt.
Which detonated/discharged/grounded at the end of his finger, killing most of the party...

12-16-2010, 06:27 PM
Animal Planet is showing "Blue Planet" episodes from 8pm-2am (Eastern), tonight. Enjoy!

12-17-2010, 11:19 PM
Alluria Publishing has a 290 page undersea sourcebook (and aquatic campaign setting) that covers everything from aquatic PC races, aquatic classes, weapons, combat rules, spells, feats, 90 new monsters, ...everything you need for an undersea campaign. It is for the 3.5 d20 and Pathfinder RPG.

You can find it here: http://www.rpgnow.com/product_info.php?products_id=86538

12-24-2010, 10:15 AM
And now for something completely different:

Christmas Tree Worm:

Christmas Wrasse:

Christmas Tree Coral:

(searches for Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Festivus, and Kwanzaa had 0 results)

Deep-Sea News Holiday Gift Giving Guide:

12-25-2010, 01:56 PM
undersea... are they starting from the surface, and delving into the deeps? or is the whole thing starting underwater?

and i don't think a lightning bolt would ground and detonate at the tip of a finger. it's a line effect, unless the spell stipulates, or there are some undersea rules that say otherwise, if still functions underwater just fine. magic, and all. after all, a fireball underwater still works, it just turns into a steamball. still heat damage, same amount of damage, range, everything. if anything, a lightning attack would be enlarged and widened automatically underwater. considering the conductive nature of water.

stormwrack comes to mind as the official 3.x source for underwater rules. also the around the world series of articles from wotc website.

sounds pretty much the same as an astral campaign, except for movement is not free and easy, pressure becomes a concern, and a number of other things.

may i suggest diane duane's so you want to be a wizard series... in the second(?) book (iirc) there is a large underwater adventure.

i think that the setting can be attractive if it is described well, and the players are either exploratory types, or know the rules in advance so that they can plan, and feel successful instead of frustrated as the adventure.

and don't be too literal with the rules, then it stops being d&d. after all, electric eels wouldn't have developed such a defense if they themselves got zapped by it. ^^

12-25-2010, 06:34 PM
...after all, electric eels wouldn't have developed such a defense if they themselves got zapped by it.

I've been wanting to use an electric eel, or perhaps electric ixitxachitl, since I saw this:
Eel-ectric Tree (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GO00tPIYSUQ)

12-26-2010, 01:18 AM
give it the horrid and titanic template. then sic it on the players. ^^

12-26-2010, 04:17 PM
or perhaps a technology based upon harnessing the power of the eels.... Eelpunk? ;)

12-26-2010, 07:33 PM
First reaction: primarily underwater? Sounds...suffocating.

I picked up Stormwrack with the idea of making a high-seas game. It's a great book, but I keep coming to the conclusion that water-adventures should be the exception instead of the rule. It's probably due to the fact that humans never bothered to evolve gills.

Here are some things I'd like to see in an all-underwater game:
Underwater (UW) civilization - to make things less barren.
UW weaponry and armor that don't require calculating penalties all the time.
UW magic - a new system with a different feel than land-lubber magic. Less emphasis on motions and paper.
Land alienation - the reason no one goes above water is because the airy-world is alien, unknown, or hazardous.

12-27-2010, 07:37 AM
New review of Cerulean Seas is up on YouTube:


Note: There will be a revised copy of Cerulean Seas available in mid-January that will:

1) Incorporate Pathfinder Bestiary 2
2) Fix minor errata that popped up since its release
3) Address some of the concerns raised in the review above (and future reviews). So keep up the feedback! It will make this book even better.

The revised copy (as well as future revisions) will be available for free for all who downloaded the original product.

---------- Post added at 08:37 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:34 AM ----------

First reaction: primarily underwater? Sounds...suffocating.

I picked up Stormwrack with the idea of making a high-seas game. It's a great book, but I keep coming to the conclusion that water-adventures should be the exception instead of the rule. It's probably due to the fact that humans never bothered to evolve gills.

Here are some things I'd like to see in an all-underwater game:
Underwater (UW) civilization - to make things less barren.
UW weaponry and armor that don't require calculating penalties all the time.
UW magic - a new system with a different feel than land-lubber magic. Less emphasis on motions and paper.
Land alienation - the reason no one goes above water is because the airy-world is alien, unknown, or hazardous.

Cerulean Seas has all of the things that you mentioned and more!

12-29-2010, 08:56 PM
A recap of last Sunday's game session, just to set the mood:

In the last session (12/26), the party arrived at the site known as the Chamber of Dissolution. Charged with the task of inspecting and preparing the ancient clockwork mechanisms within four sites, they recalled freeing the hivemind witch Guri from the Grail of Impurities but leaving the site without attending to the musical machine within. At the second site, known only as the Orb of Purification, the party encountered the spectral kraken Mikrokosmus. One site, the Deadwater Fountain, remained undiscovered.

It was the undead kraken that shared the means of destroying the enclave of mermaid witches which now wore his tentacles, grafted in place of their tails. The four sites must be prepared with care and a sacrifice must be placed upon the altar hidden beneath the isle, causing the Sinking Isle to rise once more. Then ancient gears would spring into motion, acting in unison to forge a weapon of the mysterious metal known as Oerthblood.

The tsantsa Meir, once a shellycoat of great power but now an unliving shrunken head slain by her own daughter, reflected upon the party’s predicament. Having visited Turucambi Reef, the party collected the first of three tomes which outlined the means by which her mother Xaetra might be restored to life. With the knowledge gleaned from the first tome, they collected Xaetra’s soul within an artifact known as the Lazarus.

Transported from Turucambi to the waters near the Sinking Isle, in the realm of the Sea Barons, the party recovered the second tome which trapped the hag’s soul within a magical construct, an eidolon, fashioned from ambergris. The third tome, which would restore the hag to life, was supposedly lost within a region known as the Jungle of Lost Ships.

Upon Xaetra’s resurrection, the evils of the blackwater hag Diadema would be undone, for her unliving form incorporated the mortal remains of Xaetra herself, as well as Xaetra’s sea hag granddaughter Tempest and daughter Salkt, a salt hag. Xaetra had learned that, upon her return to life she would embrace the path of the Chronomancer. She would travel to far future to witness the destruction of Oerth, before being trapped in the distant past. Upon her temporal travels, she would leave clues to her future self, in the form of the three tomes.

The viletooth lizardman Dorman was the first to see that, standing atop the remains of the tower walls which held the Chamber of Dissolution, were six skeletal forms. NeeKaa, the oceanid, spied gears turning beneath the bony ribcages of the strange creatures and plates of opalescent pearlsteel bolted to their bones. The sea elf Sakura watched as the skeletons ascended the tower walls to throw the bones they had collected into its hollow interior.

Wielding spears seemingly fashioned from the spines of dolphins, the clockwork skeletons closed upon the party. The diminutive anemoid known as Knot, member of a race of intelligent anemones, divined that their opponents were not creatures of the undead. Dorman was the first to discover that the bony spears held electrical magics.

As Sakura’s young ward Reiko watched two of the skeletons fighting one another, the party’s locathah companion Canthus used his magical cuttlefish quill to coat the gears of one skeleton with viscous ink. The skeleton turned upon the unwary artisan and unleashed the fury of its spear upon him. Canthus noted the spears were actually the skeletons of eels, coated similarly with pearlsteel.

Sakura felt her own powers of stealth and darkness grow, in part due to her growing attraction to the unusual blackwater currents within a shallow trench upon the isle. Her ward Reiko, however, had been dealt a crippling blow during her recent abduction by the mermaid witches and their benefactor, a sea hag fleshwarper known only as Purl. Purl removed Reiko’s legs and grafted in their place the body of a water naga, while simultaneously grafting two tentacles from a giant squid and an eye from a powerful beast known as the eye of the deep.

Reiko’s fragile sanity had been saved, in party due to her timely bonding with Shadow, a ghostly visage. Dorman had previously bonded with the living tattoo Echo, another of the soul shards cast off by Xaetra before her murder at the hands of a covey of hags led by Tempest. The third shard, known simply as Me, remains undiscovered.

During the ensuing battle, NeeKaa, Canthus, and Dorman were injured by the magical spears. One of the skeletal assailants was destroyed in a cloud of bubbles spewing from the base of the tower, while another was destroyed by one of its own. The part noted that each skeleton seemed to have one component which was made entirely of metal and enshrouded in eldritch fire of azure hue.

In due time, the battle was won, in part due to the aid of the party’s many companions, including the amphisbaena eel Jur, hatchling coral dragon Gobble, and Hasu the half-dragon sea cat. The locathah Canthus, struck twice by the electrical spears, was slain in the course of the combat. Removed from the innate abilities she once held in life, Xaetra relied upon the components held within her mystic apothecary. Using an arcane infusion, she transformed the corpse of Canthus into a statue of stone.

Examining the base of the tower in closer detail, the party noted it was ringed by a circle of statues, each of an unknown humanoid that seemed both reptilian and fish-like. One statue stood out from the rest, however, as it appeared as a concave depression instead of a sculpture.

DM’S NOTES: To be honest, I wasn’t sure if anyone was going to show up on the day after Christmas. We gamed an extra hour, so I was more than pleased. The players of Ryllis the shoal halfling, Junae the mermaid, and Sir Boral the aventi did not attend tonight’s game.

The four sites of ancient clockwork mechanisms were inspired by equipment used to keep saltwater reef aquariums. The Grail of Impurities, Orb of Purification, Chamber of Dissolution, and Deadwater Fountain were simply a protein skimmer, ultraviolet sterilizer, calcium reactor, and reverse osmosis/deionization filter, albeit in a grand scale with some magics thrown in.

The clockwork skeletons, inspired by the Antikythera Mechanism, were actually gold clockwork horrors.

12-30-2010, 11:24 PM
Looks awesome. Are you fighting in three dimensions, or mostly two?

01-02-2011, 12:42 AM
intriguing reading. one finds oneself wishing for more details.... ^^

01-04-2011, 09:10 AM
I have done very little underwater myself. Being that underwater creatures are virtually techology proof as we understand the concept. The basic tool of technology is fire. Without fire 99% of what we have we don't have. So undersea races are either trading with landsmen for tools, or heavily dependent on magic. And yes, a good deal of the treasure catalog is out the window due to environment.

Turn off? No not really, a challenge to be sure. Potions can be teplaced with another bite activated item, fish bits perhaps. Scrolls likewise become spell items. It's not that hard to replace one shot magic. Lest I get bogged down in the minutia, treasure and items will be different, leave it there.

Breaking with the usual is not a bad thing to do now and again. I might pull this on my own players. Something they need is at the bottom of the harbor.

01-04-2011, 02:41 PM
Two syllables tesral: ma - gic.

Underwater fire? Invented when a sea dragon designed a burning-water ritual.

Underwater movement? Like in air, once you're holding an enchanted Bubble-Onyx.

Still too dreary for me, though.

01-05-2011, 08:53 AM
...Without fire 99% of what we have we don't have. So undersea races are either trading with landsmen for tools, or heavily dependent on magic... And yes, a good deal of the treasure catalog is out the window due to environment. Turn off? No not really, a challenge to be sure. Potions can be teplaced with another bite activated item, fish bits perhaps. Scrolls likewise become spell items. It's not that hard to replace one shot magic... Breaking with the usual is not a bad thing to do now and again.

Agreed. Making things up is half the fun! Granted, there are those who wish to have an adventure completely detailed for them, a typical dungeon crawl - “kill them and take their stuff”. And then there are those who walk by an aquarium and see an overgrowth of aiptasia, a “nuisance” anemone that can quickly spread in a fish tank, and envision a forest of massive bioluminescent anemones the size of oak trees, imagine the sorts of beings that might live in harmony with such an environment, and conceive what sorts of creatures might wish to see such a forest eradicated.

01-05-2011, 10:45 AM
I am considering. The current game is a city based steampunk setting. Now, there is an abandoned sea elf village at the bottom of that harbor. What if something nasty moved in, seeing the nice collection of land creatures as a supermarket? They are use to being able to fight at a distance with guns and lightning. Neither are a good idea underwater.

So two main battles here. The first one on land. the second underwater.

Indications start with a few people missing. Then a whole ransacked house. They catch raiders in the act and we have battle one. The raiders (critter not decided yet) will fall back to the water rather than make a stand. Magician with a "dessicate ball" spell. (This will do twice the d6 underwater from the water hammer effect)

They need to go after the raiders. Simply bombing the harbor will weaken the foundations of the city defenses, and damage the sewer system. No big bombs in the enclosed harbor area. They will have to rethink their offensive capacities. They are built around gunpowder and a mad science lighting gun.

Now to pick a critter and set up the scenario. They won't get to it this week, but they will get to it.

I also need a palace intrigue. Some kind of running battle in the bowels of a mad science archology Bursting steam pipes and the like.

Noodling on the electronic white board here. Carry on.

01-05-2011, 07:06 PM
Why can't they use the extreme heat from underwater volcanic activity. It is the basis of sea floor spreading and plate tectonics. Fire is not a necessity, heat and power are what fire generates on land. I could see huge underwater cities built relatively near these areas to use the heat, power, out-gassing, subduction pressure/friction, etc. caused by these underwater hot spots. Just think of all the technology that could be developed as a result!!!
Come on people, think outside the box...

Steampunk underwater baby!

01-05-2011, 08:13 PM
Best reason to go underwater:

Sunken ships.

Best fantasy reason to go underwater...

Sunken floating citadels.

01-06-2011, 08:41 AM
I am considering. The current game is a city based steampunk setting... Some kind of running battle in the bowels of a mad science archology Bursting steam pipes and the like.

Why can't they use the extreme heat from underwater volcanic activity... I could see huge underwater cities built relatively near these areas to use the heat, power, out-gassing, subduction pressure/friction, etc. caused by these underwater hot spots. Just think of all the technology that could be developed as a result... Steampunk underwater baby!

While hydrothermal vents, cold seeps, and methane hydrate come to mind, take a gander at this:
Electric Eel (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GO00tPIYSUQ)
Eelpunk technology!

01-06-2011, 12:02 PM
My, my, my. What nerds will do.

01-08-2011, 02:16 PM
I posted a recap of last week's session in this thread (http://www.penandpapergames.com/forums/showthread.php/16120-Heirs-of-Turucambi-(Undersea-Adventures))

02-13-2011, 09:01 AM
I just noticed that Cerulean Seas now has s a softcover print-to-order option, over at RPGNow; $20 for the PDF, $40 for the hardcopy, $50 for both.

02-13-2011, 09:29 AM
The recap of your session was a very nice read. It shows your knowledge and love of this underwater realm! :thumb:

02-13-2011, 11:00 AM
We had the underwater adventure, they side approached it on me. They used made science, sodium and cyanide to get rid of the Sauhagyn. The low pressure bombs didn't harm the harbor, but they did disperse the poison. With the majority of the population killed the Sauhagyn moved on.

02-13-2011, 11:47 PM
hmmm, cold fusion = power with no heat required. i'm not so sure that fire = technology. certainly that is how we did it. but surely there are other ways. jellyfish are quite versatile. they could be easily used as the nucleus of a bio-tech revolution. psionics is always a viable possibility. who needs hands, just nudge it with your mind. just a few thoughts off the top of the head.

02-14-2011, 12:14 AM
(Insert swear words here. Firefox just went tits up as I was proofreading.)

The skinny. One needs to rethink the Fantasy tropes to account for the liquid environment. Mead hall and barbarian warriors, becomes a spherical hall with warriors in fish scale armor eating fish bits around a magical heat source. Why, because steel armor, fire and mead are not things you will find underwater.

02-14-2011, 02:02 PM
Lol Tesral. Switch to Seamonkey.

Don't need a magical heat source. Just a hot spring. Or a Fire-coral.

Random thought: need help picturing what undersea living would look like? Picture outer-space living.

02-18-2011, 10:22 PM
I can't add too much to the equation off the top of my head. You have re-skinning down easy, and the (assuming) 3rd edition rules you have going have plenty of templates for modifying creatures to dip them in the ocean easily enough. On the mechanical/strategic side of things, underwater allows easy 3D environments for battle, expanding a lot of strategies, but with dungeon/tunnel settings you can limit these to smaller combats easily enough. Since everyone comes from underwater, I'd assume the more overall useful spells may be modified as necessary to have an underwater function of version as well (fireball is more of a superheated steam ball, lightning bolt may be much weaker than on land, but the power is spent on making it go just that way.)
As for the story side of things, plenty of land-based drama translates under the sea, fighting for land/mineral rights, nomadic barbarians (this time from above!) and the alien landscape for the fishy-folk to visit may instead be dry land, or have some terrible earthquake suddenly flood a sea-side castle, or worse yet, some great cataclysm drains the ocean in a particular zone and now the great underwater palace is left in open air.
I'd definitely make sure monsters of all types get used. Plenty of aberrations have an aquatic angle to them thanks to Lovecraft. Maybe change some of the more traditional monsters (gnolls, minotaurs, etc.) into an more aquatic themed specie, like Orca-taurs, who play with their food and mistake mermaids for seals all the time, or Brine shrimp-lins (goblin like) that just get everywhere, and worse yet bigger badder things love to eat them while no civilized culture underwater would.While plenty of people can squeeze tons of game out of just one culture or race in D&D, I love it all because more is better. If these guys are getting high level, its time to match their awesomeness. Time to throwdown with Poseidon (or Oerth like deity/ies), face the aquatic tarrasque frozen in the great glacier up north, or force some Outer Plane to recognize the worth of the species. Very few outer realms have places made for underwater beings, good or evil, so you may have to do the work yourself, but then you could decide what hell would be for a fishy-type (dehydration may be far worse than starvation, being frozen or eaten alive seems more likely than a hanging or bleeding out as well)
Hope these random thoughts help out.

02-19-2011, 12:24 AM
The down side to easy 3D combat is that miniature and battle mat based combat is not easily 3D. Yes there are way around that. However you need to invest either time or money in getting them.

gaming poet
03-19-2011, 11:32 PM
I have been running undersea D&D campaigns since 1998; first with “Beneath the Pinnacles of Azor’alq” (play-by-post) followed by “Heirs of Turucambi” (chat-based). The campaigns draw from my interests in marine biology and my hobby of keeping saltwater aquariums, coupled with my fascination with various mythological creatures such as hags, dragons, and demons. I started my current game 3 years ago. While I have a stable following of devoted players (thank you, folks!), I occasionally get the urge to step back, look at my game from a distance, and reinvent my approach as Master Storyteller for my players.

Do you ever let them play sea elves, merpeople, or sahuagin? I've always wanted to play a sahuagin!

03-20-2011, 08:35 AM
Do you ever let them play sea elves, merpeople, or sahuagin? I've always wanted to play a sahuagin!

The party is currently in the region of the Sinking Isle, well known for its seasonal population of sahuagin. Granted, as the party does not include evil members, such a sea devil would have to either be an outcast or would have been raise outside of the influence of the sahuagin.

03-27-2011, 11:52 AM
It's been awhile since I posted a recap of a Game Session.

In the last session (03/20) the party spoke with Scia, the elderly shaman who seemed to lead the remaining slaves abandoned by the kraken Mikros, in a subterranean passage deep within the Sinking Isle itself. Concerned by the appearance of the child Reiko and her well-being in the face of the grafts she unwillingly received, Scia slowly approached the girl and revealed grafts of her own.

"These..." she touched the green scaly skin around her gills "Were once part of Shulshalus, a mighty sahuagin warrior. He speaks to me, from time to time." she smiled "At first I was afraid. But soon I understood that I honored him, by keeping even this small part of him alive."

In time, Scia led the party to a rectangular chamber filled with massive intersecting metal pipes. Between the pipes, hammocks fashioned of netting and seaweed were seen. Along the wall, enormous barnacle shells seemed to grow in a cluster.

As the shaman continued to interrogate the party, regarding their knowledge of the sea hag fleshwarper Purl, NeeKaa recalled the words of the hivemind witch known as Guri. "Purl's weakness is blackwater, as I have told your companion." she had spoken "Aiptasia is a seahorse of a different color. In her madness, she fears her own reflection". The topic turned to talks of the unliving hag Diadema and the mysterious substance known as Blackwater. When NeeKaa revealed what she had learned, Scia’s interest was obviously piqued.

"Covey?" Scia questioned "Purl spoke of a Blue Coven, when she thought she was alone. Three hags in the service of Olhydra. I believe she worshipped them. Does this help, in any way?"

When reprimanded by Xaetra, for mentioning the name of the Elemental Princess aloud, Scia shrugged off the warning.

"Did you ever wonder, eidolon?" Scia turned to face the ambergris hag "Why? Why does she seek to drain the sea? Malice? Chaos? A dire untoward plan? What does she stand to gain?"

This spurred Xaetra into further debate.

"And you, druidess." Xaetra retorted "What do you stand to gain, waiting here countless centuries? Aye. I can sense both your time upon this Oerth and your calling."

"I... I cannot leave." Scia stammered "To leave is certain death. The forge forestalls aging, but its effects do not carry beyond these walls. Suffice to say that the Hearth of Hearts has prolonged our lives, here. But if we leave these caves, our years return." slowly, Scia added "I admit that I am over three hundred years of age."

Leaving the party to their rest and slumber, Scia returned to her people. Those who slept once again found themselves sharing a communal dreamscape. Emerging within a dimly-lit oubliette, each party member beheld phosphorescent etchings depicting several sea creatures commonly found in the shallows. Those who had visited the spherical chamber once before recalled the tattoos, bearing the likeness of a single etching they had chosen on their prior journey, now illustrated upon their skin.

Within the tide pool, Xaetra appeared as a hagfish, Jaena manifest as a silver shelled hermit crab with Jariah fastened to her shell as a barnacle. The reef hag Ciliaris emerged as a blue-eyed scallop, while Meir had chosen a humble chiton. Beside the sea urchin Reiko, a sea snake, puffer fish, and striped shrimp manifested.

"Do you remember me, young one?" the sea snake asked "I am Jade."
"And I am Pin'clarr" the puffer added
"What... what is this place?" the shrimp asked with the voice of Scia "Am I dreaming?"

"Scia, is it?" Meir asked "What do you know of this Blue Coven? What do you know of the Princess of Elemental Evil... Olhydra?"

The naming of the Elemental Princess invoked a trance within the shellycoat.

"The elemental princess bore the offspring of the demon lord."Meir began, her voice monotonous and distant. "Twin daughters ostracized by their father. Imprisoned, in distant lakes, far from impending waters."

Aware that Eyebite, the hag’s tooth artifact seemingly responsible for both her unliving animation and her unbidden prophesies, had spoken through her once more Meir recalled the second artifact, a hag’s tooth, was now in the possession of the insane shellycoat Aiptasia.

03-27-2011, 04:22 PM
interesting reading, as always.

05-01-2011, 04:26 PM
My game has been between session for a few weeks, which leads my mind to wander...

Secure in the knowledge that her companions were safe, Xaetra took a moment to herself, before the hours of slumber marked the time of dreams. Unrolling her burlap apothecary, the medicine bag that had stayed with her even beyond death itself, she inspected the hundreds of small pockets sewn into its surface. Shards of stone, dried herbs, and stoppered vials all seemed in order.

Turning the unrolled bundle, the ambergris eidolon exposed the crudely-stitched door upon the opposite side. Knocking gently in a deliberate pattern, she steadied herself against the flow of warm waters as the apothecary stiffened and and the door slowly opened.

Swimming swiftly beyond the doorway, Xaetra emerged into a water-filled stairwell. Along the stone walls of the passage grew a variety of corals and seaweed. Several small wooden traps held crabs which seem to be unmoving. The mortar between the stones illuminated the stairwell with a pale blue phosphorescence.

Slowly drifting past traps of wood and wire which held their captives in unwaking sleep, the hag encountered the barrier of shimmering mucus which divided the stairwell. Xaetra steadied herself, as she entered the portion of her root cellar filled with breathable air. Shielding her eyes from the golden light cast by the stones set in the ceiling above, she inspected the growth of her garden. An abundance of tubers; potatoes, carrots, turnips, and radishes grew within decorative urns, while flowering vines clung to the walls themselves.

Walking further upward, Xaetra felt the vines beneath her toes as pumpkins, melons, and gourds enveloped the stairs below. Clinging to trellises secured to the stonework walls, herbs and spices filled the air with a cacophony of pungent aromas. An earthen layer upon the stairwell served to nourish a variety of vegetables, while fruit trees grew within soil prepared with care within receptacles seemingly shaped in the likeness of massive conch shells, skulls, and geodes.

Pausing by an an unassuming section of stone, Xaetra traced her fingertip in a peculiar pattern atop the mortar. In response, a hidden chamber was revealed. In the passage beyond, resting upon a bed of ferns and wildflowers, Anasta slept. The alu-demon, restored by a single drop of blood protected by her sacred amulet, silently awaited the time of awakening.

Glaucus held the key. The scarab beetle, seemingly fashioned of glass and roughly the size of a man’s fist, had once served as Anasta’s own amulet, the sanctuary for her soul. Having attained sentience after the demon’s death, Glaucus now served as caretaker for Xaetra’s magical cellar.

“Greetings, my granddaughter.” she whispered in quiet reverence “Our last story explored the origins of the Devils’ Purse; the shard of the sea between Turucambi Reef, the Sinking Isle, and the Jungle of Lost Ships. Marked by ancient altars, each capable of unleashing maelstroms of unfathomable strength, the angles of the Devils’ Purse should be well remembered, as they define the birthplace of the Leviathan - guardian of the Solnor.

But one Leviathan may dwell within the waters of the Solnor, though many have assumed the mantle of power granted by the Devils’ Purse. In bygone ages, the Leviathan was borne from the stock of a nautilus and zaratan. Aye, the Chamber of Reflection within Turucambi Reef marks the remains of the nautilus. The hollow shell of the zaratan is ensnared in the waters to the north. The last Leviathan was fashioned from the form of a kraken.

Do not say it aloud. I know what you must be thinking. In life, the spectral kraken known as Mikros served as the Leviathan.

Within the currents of current days, the hydrimera retains the right to the title of Leviathan. Once banished from the Solnor into the Dramidj Ocean in western waters, the beast was fated to return to the Devils’ Purse.

I am loathe to speak of this to the others, but I bear responsibility for the beast’s return. My beloved Zander, in what surely must have been an epic battle, captured the hydrimera and imprisoned it within a magical pearl. The beast had vexed me in days long passed, so he wished to assure that such tidings would never again come to fruition.

It was this pearl that brought life to the iron hag, the construct I once called Grandmother Clock. It was this pearl, which Jaenan inadvertently carried through the Underflow, when the construct was destroyed. It was this pearl, which Jaenan unintentionally awakened, to avoid capture by Tempest and Salkt.

The rebirth of the hydrimera marked the deaths of the blood hag Tempest and salt hag Salkt, though heralding the birth of the blackwater hag Diadema. Their fates are intertwined in a manner I cannot fully fathom.

Of one thing am I certain. The Leviathan of future days will arise from the form of the amphisbaena.”

Silently, Glaucus crept from the concealed chamber, up the stairwell, and out of the magical root cellar. Without remorse, he shared the secret knowledge of Xaetra’s confession with all who would listen.

07-08-2011, 07:52 PM
A recap of last week's game, to tide you over, as there is no game this week.

In the last session (07/03/11) the party*explored the site of a seeming cemetery; a bed of giant clams arranged conspicuously in rows. Their appearance not unlike unkempt tombstones, the clams held a sinister secret. Each contained a blackwater wraith, a spirit given substance by the unnatural waters below. As the party noted the wraiths’ affinity for the sea elf Sakura and her blackwater-infused weaponry and cape, a school of bony blackskates formed overhead.

One wraith in particular seemed most interested in Sakura, pointing to her with a whiplike arm before retreating within the clam shell from which he arose. As he did so, the blackskates above formed into a larger amalgamated shape, that of a manta ray. Sakura discovered, within the clam, a massive black pearl etched with golden runes. As the pearl grew inexplicably larger, the blackskates formed into the likeness of a massive jellyfish.

Drawing closer, Sakura watched as the golden runes lifted from the black pearl. As they slowly swirled, they approached the cautious sea elf. Two writhing black tentacles rose from nearby clams and seemed to attack the drifting runes; tearing them to shreds and reforming the wayward light into words familiar to all.

“Free us;” the words read, as they drifted freely in the surrounding sea “the pearl is our prison. Our ship, entrapped above. Our lives, forfeit. We are the Pirates of the Black Tide, held fast to our graves by the power of the pearl placed here by one who dwells below.

The Pearl steals from us. It grows stronger. We do not. The Pirates of the Black Tide must endure!”

Grasping the pearl, Sakura flinched as the golden runes exploded in a shower of sparks. The blackwater, freed from its bond, flowed over Sakura's hands and seemed to disappear beneath her skin. The pearl that remains does not resemble the one first seen. It now appeared as a crystalline egg of azure hue, etched with a delicate spiral encircling its surface. Sakura was similarly affected, for the darkness of her eyes now swirled with the essence of blackwater.

As if summoned, the massive bone jellyfish rose slightly, before moving to the north. There it began to sink into the depths. Acting on impulse, the triton called Current swam swiftly to the surface of Synsaal, the Barrier Between Worlds. There he searched for the ship mentioned by the umbral wraiths, yet he found only overgrown mounds of seaweed, writhing vines that moved of their own accord, and groves of trees growing upon the mats of seaweed that comprised the Weed-Sea.

The aventi Noie was the first to see the approaching form to the north. Humanoid in form and stature, the creature seemed to be made of stone entrusted with coralline algae, soft corals, and sponges. Sea fans, stony corals, barnacles, and seaweed grew upon its stout frame, like badges of honor upon a tattered uniform.

"You have destroyed the pearl. Why?" it asked, a crimson-hued crab crawling from between its lips as it spoke. "Now the cloud pearl is exposed. Now they will return for it, the storm hags, as they seek control of Cloudsea.

The covey wreaks havoc upon the waters of the Devil's Purse." the form continued “ for they control terrible waterspouts, but do not yet control the cloud itself. The pearl must be concealed. It must be contained within a natural sheath, or one of magical origins, to mask its location."

When the party retold the events leading to the cloud pearl’s exposure, the man of liverock seemed unconcerned.

"Unfortunate... and unintentional." it began "Many pirates have met their fate in the weed-sea, it is said. Pirates, treasure fleets, fishermen, and crafts from unknown waters.

The pearl gathered blackwater. I assumed it was from a natural source. Rest assured if the blackwater nacre is gone, the souls will be as they were.

How do you intend to cloak the pearl? If they sense it, if they scry it, they will come."

After a brief exchange, the ambergris hag Xaetra procured her daughter Jariah from within her magical apothecary. Conceived from the stuff of dreams while the hag was imprisoned within Dream Lake, Jariah appeared as a human infant with skin of pearlescent hue. When the stone-man saw Jariah, he held his arms across his chest.

"A child? A child of pearl?" he stammered “They will want to know. The whitebeards are the keepers of the forges. They tell of one with skin of pearl."

As the party spoke with the unnamed newcomer, they sensed movement in the waters above. An unmoving form, entangled in a fishing net, fell from the shallows. Several small sharks, their underbellies glowing with bioluminescence, took advantage of easy prey, ripping bits of flesh from the body.

The corpse appeared to be that of the lizardman Rikas, the lycanthrope who had assisted them upon their arrival to the Jungle of Lost Ships.

10-23-2011, 12:35 PM
A recap of last week's game session:

In the last session (10/16/11) the party found themselves within the rusted remains of a metal ship. The iron vessel, wedged within the Weed-Sea, was home to a company of sea ghouls and their captive yet reluctant guardian, the pink coral princess Millepora.

Once they had deciphered the means to free Millepora, the party looked to the metal ship made of metal, with no mast or oars. The third of three “twice-named” ships, the Enora Norray reportedly held the final volumes of the Dreamer’s Journal and the Tome of Apotheosis. With the first, the oceanid NeeKaa hoped to hone her skills as Oneiromancer and strengthen her hold upon the Region of Dreams. With the latter, the party hoped to restore the spirit hag Xaetra to life and thus either weaken or destroy their nemesis, the blackwater hag Diadema, by severing her bond with Xaeta’s unliving corpse.

Diadema, an undead amalgamation of three hags reanimated by the mysterious powers of blackwater, sought to awaken three magical maelstroms. In so doing, the waters of the Solnor Ocean would be siphoned through a planar portal into the hollowed caverns of the lesser moon Celene. There, the twin daughters of the demon lord Dagon and elemental princess Olhydra were imprisoned in separate cells by their father. Diadema, instructed by the hags known as the Blue Coven who in turn were directed by Olhydra, sought to free the sisters from their father’s tyrannical imprisonment.

Two of the portals, one within Turucambi Reef and the other beneath the Sinking Isle, had been found by the party. The third, they had learned, rested atop an undersea mountain beneath the Jungle of Lost Ships. The portal, awaked through the act of sacrifice upon an alter ringed by stone monoliths, was guarded by a being known as the Olio.

Through their council with a circle of fey, the party had learned there were two ways to defeat the Olio.

“What do you know of the Olio?” the sirene Gemmifera had spoken “The Olio is a monstrous creature composed of the dead. Perhaps you are familiar with salp, massive rope-like creatures made from masses of jellyfish? Together, they act as one. Such a creature now envelops the ruins below. It grows stronger, from the offerings of the dead. The golden jellies, fashioned from the flesh of the dead, all find their way to the Olio.”
“The prophesy and omen pertain to the means by which the Olio might be destroyed, freeing these waters from its grasp.” the nereid Coerulea continued “By the prophesy of the Leviathan, the Olio will meet its end in a battle of beasts. By the omen of euphony, the Olio will be broken like the links of a rusted chain, bested by fugitives imprisoned unjustly, now acting as one. We no not which path will come to pass.”

Once they had freed a metal-skinned captive from beneath coils of rusted anchor chain, the party examined a metal chest filled with silver coins, the spoils of their combat with two lacedon sentries.

The aventi Noi, in pursuit of the lone sea ghoul which fled the scene of melee, discovered that the door through which the undead creature had found egress now warmed the surrounding waters and clouded his vision with boiling bubbles.

His attention drawn to the silver treasure, the viletooth lizardman Dorman was taken aback, when he found that many of the coins became incorporeal, slipping through his fingertips.Those coins that remained held an electrical charge. The shock was uncomfortable, but did no apparent damage. Examining the chest in closer detail, Dorman found a false bottom concealing a pair of gloves, some scraps of parchment, and an unusual metal wand.

“Seek the golden tome and the pouch shaped in the form of a hand” the undead shrunken head Meir had whispered, echoing the words of the coral princess.

Both gloves, NeeKaa discovered, were fashioned of pale skin and contained drawstrings in the manner of a pouch. Within one glove, an assortment of glass tiles were found. Each tile was colored either red, yellow, or blue and held a unique rune. Touching but a single tile, NeeKaa knew the tiles, used together, comprised the third Dreamer’s Journal.

Biding his time as NeeKaa examined the tiles, Noi examined six glass globes floating in a darkened corner of the rust-streaked chamber. The glass globes appear mundane in nature, save for one which seemed hollow and held a sprig of seaweed and a small red shrimp within crystal waters.

Without warning, a lone lacedon entered through the sole metal door, which Sakura noticed no longer radiated heat. Without speaking a word and uninterested in the party, the sea ghoul made fast for the pile of silver coins. Grasping a handful of coins in its withered grip, the creature vanished without a trace.

As if prompted by the strange disappearance, dozens of golden jellyfish swarmed through the open hatchway, forcing the party to retreat into the second chamber. The ephyra Phreb found their melodious droning made concentration difficult. When a single jellyfish brushed against him, the jellyfish merman heard their shared song, saw the image of a city with towering spires in his mind, and felt a warmth within.

Unleashing her blackwater weaponry, the sea elf ninja Sakura was satisfied when the blackskate chain whip responded eagerly. At that moment a voice audible to only Sakura and Neekaa whispered "Find me”. Sakura felt the disorienting pull of blackwater towards the center of the vessel.

The second chamber was rectangular in shape and roughly half the size of the previous room. There were several white fish, here, each with a whip-like tail. Serpent sea stars clung to the rusted walls. Bits of metal littered the floor. There are doors on either side of the far walls. A rectangular section, also holding a door, protruded from the far wall.

10-23-2011, 06:57 PM
always a pleasure to read. thank you!

12-05-2011, 06:56 PM
a recap of last week's game:

In the last session (11/27/11) the party remained in the depths beneath the Jungle of Lost Ships, nestled within ruins resting upon the lowest ledge of the submerged seamount, over which the Weed-Sea slowly spiraled.

Having defeated en envoy of kapoacinth, seafaring gargoyles with skin of living stone, they watched in wonder as the creatures stiffened, petrified, and oozed ebony ichor from beneath fallen flakes of stony skin. Those caught within the ebon waters also transformed into statues of stone.

As the petrifying fluids seeped upward, they enveloped the closest of the white smokers, volcanic plumes spewing scalding waters upward towards the shallows. Unable to escape, the diminutive jellyfish-merfolk known as ephyra were slowly turned to stone. Heeding the cries of Phreb, Xaetra used the magics at her command to create space within space, devising a spherical realm within the glass orb carried by the aventi Noi. Within the orb she placed the two surviving ephyra, now greatly reduced in size.

"The storm hags seek the sky pearl." the dwarven sentry explained "The gargoyles paid for their folly with their lives, for I do not possess it.

The pearl was hidden in a clam bed in the shallows." the water dwarf continued "A blue pearl hidden within a shroud of blackwater. The storm hags will stop at nothing, for wIthout it, they cannot control Cloudsea."

As the red-skinned sentry spoke, Sakura recalled her recent ordeal with blackwater and giant clams, for the experience left her with a mystery; a doubloon of blackwater and a name, the Blackwater Phantom. Searching her belongings for the doubloon, she procured both the coin and one other item obtained at that time; a pearl of crystal blue.

"The cloud pearl!" the sentry gasped "You... you must keep that out of sight! This is what the gargoyles died for.

The cloud pearl would proceed the child of pearl, the prophesy had spoken." he continued “Cloudsea was once the home of a benevolent giant who used the pearl to give life to his domain.

Guard that pearl with your lives." the sentry whispered "But you must make the choice. The storm hags killed my kinsmen. Only the Pillars of Time spared me from the same fate. Is a treasure wrought from bloodshed worth keeping?"

The sentry’s musings were cut short, as a disturbance was sensed in the east. Chasing three phosphorescent squid, a lone sea elf approached. Preparing for melee, the party was relieved to discover the newcomer meant no harm. During the brief altercation, Sakura felt a gentle pull from her blackwater-infused spiked chain. Aghast, she realized the blackskate weapon led her to the oceanid NeeKaa.

"My newfound friends and guardians of the cloud pearl," the water dwarf began "You are welcome to join me for a brief repast, before we see to the mystery of the skull."

----- ----- ----- -----

The party recalled that the crystal skull was fashioned of unmelting ice, a substance frozen in time. Within the skull the final volume of the Tome of Apotheosis, a manual detailing transforming the lifeless into the living, was entrapped.

The party lost a valuable ally, the mechanatrix child Jaenan, when the third tome was recovered. Hidden within the remains of a rusted ship with neither mast nor oars, the vessel was the third “twice-named ship” encountered by the party. Jaenan had been lost, when the ship returned to the time beyond time.

The party used the first tome, found within a wooden ship in the shallow waters of Turucambi Reef, along with a brass artifact known as the Lazarus, to retrieve the soul of the spirit hag Xaetra from the region of dreams. The second tome, located in a rusted submersible in the heart of the Sinking Isle, detailed the creation of an eidolon construct from ambergris, in which to house the soul of the spirit hag.

Just as the Lazarus was required to utilize the first tome and the manual entitled “Path of the Eidolon” had been used in conjunction with the second tome, a third catalyst was now required. The answer rested within the frozen skull itself.

"Aqua Vitae keep death from the living... " Meir had whispered "Aqua Mortis may bring life to the unliving..."

In the vicinity of the final tome, they happened upon the third fragmented Soul Shard cast off from the hag Xaetra herself. The first had been found in the form of Echo, the last written word of Xaetra, now transformed into a living tattoo. The second had been procured in the form of Shadow, a ghostly visage resembling the face of hag herself. The third fragment, trapped within a mirrored sliver of glass, was known simply as “Me”.

Both to her dismay and delight, Sakura discovered that her father, long lost to her, was entrapped within the mirrored shard with “Me”.

With the hag restored to life, the party hoped to defeat their nemesis, the blackwater hag known as Diadema. An unliving amalgamation made from the remains of a hag covey, Diadema had been fashioned from the sea hag blood magus Tempest, who was once granddaughter of Xaetra, and Salkt, the sea hag daughter of Xaetra. The third component came from the undead deathlock which arose from Xaetra’s own corpse.

----- ----- ----- -----

As the sentry slowly walked into the distance, the party beheld the ruins of a once-intricate tower. By its weathered base a simple chest of porous stone was ringed by ornate chairs fashioned of the same ivory-hued stone. Resting upon the chest was a platter of stone upon which sharpened skewers of bone had been arranged.

Reaching into an opening atop the chest, the sentry removed a small striped lobster.

"I have been known to catch a sea bird, now and then." he admitted "But to be honest I do not care for the taste. I use them to attract eels and the like."

"My daughter,” the ambergris hag spoke, addressing her daughter, the shrunken head known as Meir “tell me, who watches over Jariah now that NeeKaa swims amongst us?"

The party recalled that, for her protection, the pearl-skinned infant she was placed in the otherworldly realm known as D’naeli’s Stairwell, left in the care of the living scarab called Glaucus. NeeKaa had then returned to explore the pillars and do battle with the kapoacinth.

----- ----- ----- -----

The party recalled the Stairwell had been named for the hag D’naeli, one of two hags with whom Xaetra consorted, in life. The remaining hag was Iryaek, with whom Xaetra had conceived the male child known as the krampus. The krampus had been imprisoned upon a floating island by Xaetra herself.

They also recalled that Diadema sought to awaken three magical maelstroms, each summoned through the act of sacrifice upon altars within forgotten temples. In so doing, the waters would drain through planar portals into the subterranean caverns of the lesser moon Celene. Within the caverns, the twin daughters of the demon lord Dagon and elemental princess Olhydra were imprisoned by their father.

Olhydra had spoken to her minions, a group of hags known as the Blue Coven, who in turn spoke with Diadema, who now knew of the temples. Beneath the Weed-Sea rested the seastead, upon which the final temple waited. The temple was now protected by a monstrous creature known as the Olio. The guardian, in turn, was contained within a massive funnel-shaped sea fan known simply as the Living Barrier.

The party learned from a circle of sea fey there were two ways to defeat the Olio. The first involved a clash of titans, unleashing a beast known as the hydrimera against the Olio. The hydrimera was imprisoned in the skies above, in a "stolen sea" locked within a cloud island. The second detailed the awakening the "ninety and nine" whose song would undo the Olio.

The “ninety and nine” were rumored to rest within a floating island now entrapped within the edges of the Weed-Sea. Xaetra wondered if her son had come home at last.

----- ----- ----- -----

Swiftly seizing command of the conversation, Xaetra excused the party, claiming the need for sleep.

"I shall leave you to your rest." the dwarf replied "Please mind the brine pool along the western wall. Do not disturb its surface."

After several moments Xaetra retrieved her magical apothecary and opened the doorway leading to the space within space. Within minutes, the ambergris-skinned hag screamed.

"Gone!" she shrieked "Jariah, Glaucus, Anasta! All of them! All of them! Gone!"

Joining Xaetra within her magical garden, Phreb noticed a single footprint, in shallow soil near a pumpkin patch. Sakura noted one section of flowering vine clinging to the wall seemed burnt.

"It must be the sentry!" Xaetra fumed angrily "He wanted the child of pearl! He must have done this! He must pay."

The spirit hag darted past the newcomer Khall without even acknowledging his presence. She swam to the main entrance of the ruined tower and into the waters beyond. The party heard a loud snapping noise accompanied by a flash of blue.

"Help! Help!" a voice called, nearest to Phreb, who realized the sound emanated from within the glass globe.

12-10-2011, 09:30 PM
interesting developments.