Diaspora Sessions 1-4: Alive but where?

The end had come. You faced a lonely, certain death. No matter the circumstances there was no hope left for you. Death was a matter of when, not if.

And then you heard the song in your mind. Instinctively you knew that the song was an invitation, an invitation to continue living. It was not a call to survive but to live. An invitation to enjoy life for awhile more.

You could sense that the singers of the song were benevolent and capricious. The invitation came like a casual call from old friends asking you out to step away to enjoy the simple things with them. Come, dance with us, eat with us, play with us. It was bizarre, utterly alien, and yet somehow intimately familiar.

Faced with the choice between death and life, you accepted the invitation of the song. In an instant that was also an eternity you were pulled through the cosmos, glimpsing at impossibilities your mind could not make sense of. The breadth of the planes passed before you.

And then you found yourself ankle-deep in an unfamiliar ocean. Your wounds healed. Your ailments cleansed. Impossibly far from the demise that had awaited you. The smell of the salt water stung your nostrils, reassuringly familiar, compared to bulbous creatures floating over the foreign ocean that sprawled endlessly before you, the three suns in the sky, and barely perceivably hairline that arched across the sky like a crack in space.

Turning you saw you were standing on the edge of a landmass of coral, and that you were not alone. Instinctively you knew that these were not the singers but were others like you.

Alive but where?

Ra’s Al Ghul is the Science Fantasy persistent campaign setting that’s been gestating for over a decade now and which is finally launching with a campaign on Fantasy Grounds Unity. This post is the start of the game log for Diaspora, the first of hopefully many campaigns in the setting.

Session 1

Faced with certain death, three individuals accepted a mysterious offer to live. Pulled through the planes they found themselves stranded on a strange beach in another world, the journey having changed their essence.

Source: Chrono Cross Concept Art

Their initial shock was cut short by the arrival of two figures fleeing “sea devils”. These fears proved well founded as piscine horrors emerged from the ocean depths to ambush the land dwellers.

Source: Sea Devil Champion, Pathfinder

The three survivors managed to defeat several of the “sea devils”, buying them enough time to escape. Though one of their number, Grimolf, came close to death until Dr. Snow miraculously manifested healing powers.

Kura, the metal warrior, performed his own miracle by healing one of the fleeing figures, a reptilian named Puah. For his efforts Kura was rewarded with Puah’s lavish praise.

Between Session 1 and 2

One of the fleeing figures introduced herself as Karik and explained that they were on the atoll harvesting fish for the winter when the “sea devils” attached. She guided them on high ground, as far from the waters as possible, towards a fishing settlement. The group took a quick rest to patch wounds and eat during this journey, which gave them a moment to introduce themselves.

Session 2

The group reached the fishing settlement to find signs of a massacre. They spotted a group of the vicious “sea devils” near the docks and battled them. Kura started off with a powerful blow but had bad luck immediately afterwards and was almost defeated. Fortunately, Dr. Snow used her newfound healing powers to bring the construct back from the brink.

Several survivors emerged from hiding as the group entered battle and a pale, sinister looking “sea devil” ripped one of them apart with its teeth. Karik warned the group to flee, telling them to search for a hidden passage to caverns below in the southernmost house. As they withdrew, the pale and sinister “sea devil” had a string of bad luck that culminated in it’s defeat, with Grimolf making sure to dart in and finish off the cretin. Before it fell, Dr. Snow heard it make some disrupting declarations to the other “sea devils” about the land dwellers they were slaughtering. Another of the survivors fell as the group found a trap door in the southernmost house and descended into a dank cavern system.

Source: D&D Beyond

Karik stayed behind in the house. The last time the group saw her she was barricading the trap door and lighting the house on fire.

Dr. Snow discovered that the caverns let back out into the ocean immediately beneath the settlement’s docks. She also found that she could breath underwater. Kura found a strange runestone hidden among vast supplies of dried fish in the cavern. Grimolf discovered that his eyes were sharper and that he could see through the deep darkness of a pit to a cavern some twenty feet below.

Evaluating their options, the group decided to descend into the pit that Grimolf had found instead of risking the “sea devils” spotting them crossing the open ocean. Fortunately, Kura had acquired a grappling hook and rope from Karik during their walk to the settlement.

Out of Character Summary: Mountains of critical hits this session; nearly killing Kura and taking down the mini-boss I’d plan to have stalk the group for a few sessions! So much for doubling the miniboss’ HP so it would survive to hunt the group!

Sessions 3 and 4

The group travels through a tunnel deep through the strange coral growth. There are strange snake-like creatures in some of the coral but between Kura’s tremorsense and Grimolf’s perception they manage to avoid them. Sections of the tunnel are underwater and require the group to swim. In one of these sections, the group is attacked by strange lobster-like predators and Dr. Snow is poisoned. A dolphin joins the battle and then tries to play with the poisoned Dr. Snow, but the group has to continue on to treat her poison and the dolphin disappears back into the watery depths of the cave. The Goblin survivor, who the villagers called Bluh, navigates the tunnels as if familiar with them and at one point disappears ahead of the group. After treating Julie’s poison, the group is swarmed by oozes and barely manages to defeat them. Then they discover a giant strong tablet imbedded in the coral and engraved with a strange rune. The Goblin survivor is resting there and tries to tell them something, but no one understands her language. The group realizes that the stone is somehow warded and take advantage of it to rest.

Moving forward, the group encounters a bizarre impossible creature – a mess of tentacles, flower petals, claws, and eyeballs. The group hears whispers of insane gibberish…but it’s not clear if they’re hearing it with their ears or in their minds. Julie tries to attack the thing – which Kura identifies as an aberration – but misses. It becomes clear that the thing can’t detect them at a distance but can detect things up close. Kura charges in and massacres the aberration with two mighty hammer blows. As it dies the insane gibberish fades away.

Exploring ahead, Kura discovers a chest half buried in the sand underneath a coral outgrowth. After Grimolf opens the chest the group discovers two runestones.

The next chamber is half filled with water. The group spots a blob of flesh and eyeballs float on top of it like a splotch of oil. They can hear…sense the insane gibberish again. It’s louder this time. Julie blasts the new aberration with a spell and it oozes away to hide in a coral outgrowth. The Goblin says something in it’s language and darts ahead, hugging the cavern wall and avoiding the water. The group follows.

The cavern continues downward into a deep abyss. The insane gibberish has gone from a whisper to a roar. Deep beneath the water Julie and Kura spot a bloated piscine form, twisted with tentacles, swimming in anxious circles. It seems aware but indifferent to them. Like a crazed Tiger locked in too small of a cage at a zoo, intensely pacing back and forth, ignoring it’s visitors…unless they come within reach. They don’t understand the language but certain words are repeated again and again. Dra’si, Viv ki Nyr, Alghollthu, and San.

Source: Alghollthu Master, Pathfinder

Unnerved, the group moves through the chamber as quickly as they can and are glad to step back onto dry land. With each step the insane gibberish fades until, finally, it’s silent again. Exploring ahead, Kura’s tremorsense makes him aware of something with two feet standing in the passage ahead. Grimolf sneaks ahead to see what it was but – rolling a critical failure on his stealth – stumbles out of the shadows in shock as he shouts, “Draugr!” Julie looks ahead to see a walking skeleton wearing ancient armor and – also rolling a critical failure on recall knowledge – is stunned at the sight. Kura is far less impressed, striding forward and smashing the skeleton’s shield into pieces with his first attack. The rest of the group recover and join in the assault, Julie unleashing blasts of water and Grimolf attacking with his shortsword. It becomes immediately clear that piercing and slashing weapons are ineffective due to the last of flesh, while bludgeoning – like Kura’s hammer – works well. The skeleton manages to deal a single strong blow to Kura but is then taken down.

Scouting ahead, Kura senses two more skeletons with tremorsense. One is gigantic. The group attempts to avoid them by taking a different passage but Kura fails a stealth check and the skeletons engage the group. It’s a difficult. Only Julie and Kura deal significant damage as the skeletons shrug off Puah and Grimolf’s bladed weapons. The giant skeleton has incredible reach with the glaive it wields and comes close to killing Julie before Kura strikes the finishing blow. Kura decides to take the glaive since a polearm might be a useful armament in the future.

Continuing on, the group discovers an area with metal floors and strange stairs leading up to natural light. Julie recognizes these as sheet metal and concrete, covered with moss and coral growth. It’s a clear sign of advanced manufacturing and construction, which seems wildly out of place with the longsword wielding skeletons of a moment ago.

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