The away team consisted of:
- Blue, Carcosan blue man warrior, level 3
- Robin, Sister-Knight of the Order of the Sable Maid, level 3
- Simmons, a skeleton, level 3
- Xeno, a tiefling, level 3
Welcome to Hot Springs Island
The group leaves the ship at dawn, tying their boat up to the ruined piers at the bottom of the Iridescent Stair. In the misty morning stillness they hear the sounds of a squabble from up near the top of the stairs, and go to investigate.
At the uppermost pool, the group spies a half-dozen combustarinos in the middle of a heated (har) argument. A cube of stone, engraved with typically grotesque elven sex acts, sits cracked and lopsided on top of one of the troop: a twitching arm and part of a wing stick out from underneath.
Simmons, distracted by flipping through the Field Guide, bungles the stealth approach they were taking, but the combustarinos are more confused than hostile. Introductions are made.The combustarinos explain that the Big Bossman (Svarku) had sent them out for some new material for his current construction project. With the best carving now broken, they're stuck: the Iridescent Stair has been picked over pretty well, and the Bathhouse at the top of the hill is far outside their pay grade.
The party was assured that the dead combustarino, Gary, absolutely had it coming.
With both groups looking towards the Bathhouse as the source of what they need, an agreement is made. ("When there's a chance the Big Bossman might get angry, we become really good at compromising with others.") One of the combusterinos, Terry, is sent along with the party as a scout and guide as the four progress through the ruins upwards to the Ruined Marketplace.
(Note: The combusterinos are named Gary, Terry, Larry, Harry, Merry, and Phil.)
Upon reaching the marketplace, the party decides to investigate a vine-infested museum / library. They spend several hours sorting through books, using Simmons' passing knowledge of ancient elvish to sort through the contents (Vornheim tables came into play here.) Of what they found, they decided to take with them a dessert cookbook, a collection of historical fiction of weird biotech fascist elves (the Eld of the Misty Isle) a guide to local tree species, a collection of travel essays for lands to the east, a book containing the secret path to Goblintown.
(Note: It has been decreed by my players that Flavortown is a ghetto of Goblintown, and that both cities are located within the Funkytown Greater Metropolitan Area.)
The extra time spent searching put them in the path of a hunting trio of zip birds, who charged the group with aggressive wooping.
For combat I subbed in Shadow of the Demon Lord initiative, and I don't think it shall ever go away. I love it.
Xeno and Robin held back and waited for the birds to charge, while Blue rushed to meet them and Simmons climbed up a bookshelf and attempted to get a drop on them. He critically failed, and ended up falling flat on his face while his head went rolling away. As the others scramble to defend themselves from the birds, he fails around to find his head, rolls behind a bookshelf, and consults the Field Guide.
Blue is dropped to 0 HP and falls unconscious, but he manages to avoid critical injury. One of the birds ends up tripping over his comatose body. Simmons rushes in with his sword, critically fails again, and slams right into another bookshelf.
Robin ends up carrying the day as she lands a critical blow on one of the birds with her greatsword, killing it instantly. Xeno's player says "why not kill two birds with one sword?", the table has a great lauch, and I rule that if Robin can succeed on a second attack, she can hit the next bird on the same swing and carry over the remaining damage.
She rolls another critical.
The remaining bird panics and flees, as one would do. The party sets up a brief rest and spends some time recuperating, cooking up the remains of the two dead zip birds. Terry informs them that zip bird hearts are a favorite treat among the Fuegonauts, and that he'll be able to trade them for some goodies.With evening approaching, the combusterino flies off to his fellows with the two hearts, promising to return in the morning.
At this point the players and myself takes a short break to go out for drinks.
For the rest of the evening, the party investigates a ruined elven restaurant on the opposite side of the plaza. Inside they find a wounded goa warrior; Xeno makes a successful languages check and is able to pantomime that they can provide help. Robin seals the wound up, and the warrior seems to honor the action.
Further pantomime leads to two pertinent strings of information.
- Point to kitchen -> blowing noise and waving hands
- Pointer fingers upright beside jaw -> sharp downward motion -> point to wound.
With night falling, the party sets up camp with the goa in the restaurant.
As smooth and clean as I could have hoped. The additional resources for HSI (the automatic generators, the easy-reference stats for monsters) are astoundingly helpful on top of an already helpful book.
The players reacted well to having the Field Guide available to them (referring to it as a Pokedex, most aptly), as well as having Terry there (This being the not-big-into-rpgs group, I could definitely see the positive difference.)