Fear The Ocean – Part One
This adventure is based on the adventure of the same name run on BGG in 2014 by Karl Larsson and used with his permission (thanks Karl!)
Judson, Galadiir and Sonny were sitting on Harrylock (who they had mistaken for a park bench) in the Tralia Gardens in Mulen, capital of the kingdom of Iscobal, when they were approached by a scribe wearing the livery of Orrando the merchant. Orrando needed to hire some people to do a job for him
Orrando mainly deals in icewater candles; made of solid ice of various colours, they burn with a steady flame of the same colour as the candle. Galadiir inspected several of the stock but did not buy any.
Orrando quickly got down to business; his son Rando was travelling with a caravan of four glidors and ten men from Rachar. They were carrying a valuable cargo of phased candles intended for Queen Thera’s Midnight Party. The caravan is overdue and he wants then to go south along the coast road and look for it. He offers 10 Shins each.
It was Wane (late afternoon) the following day when they came upon the smashed remains of the caravan. Two glidors; their mysterious levitation mechanism destroyed, lay on the ground. Around then were the slashed and torn bodies of the caravan crew, lying amidst the destroyed cargo of candles.
“Looks like the motive wasn’t robbery”, said Galadiir.
Harrylock scouted around for tracks and found many deep cross-crossing grooves cut into the ground. He looked at one of the bodies; it wore the signet ring of Orrando. “Looks like Rando didn’t make it”.
Judson and Sonny looked over the cliff edge; smashed on the rocks they saw two other glidors and the Aneen that had pulled them.
“Something spooked the aneen and they ran right off the cliff! But what?”
At that point, rising and falling off to the northeast, they heard thin piercing howls, steadily coming closer. Judson quickly climbed a tree and looked, but saw nothing. The howling was almost upon them when he saw a flicker of movement; at first a thin vertical line but as it twisted he saw the full horror; a snarling, howling fanged head with a sinuous snake-like body behind. Again it moved; seen head on it looked like a thin line. Being experienced in the outdoors, he knew what the creatures were.
“Vapes!” he yelled, “three of them I think. Watch their bodies; they are sharper than a scalpel.” With this, he loosed an arrow through the nearest one
Galadiir gestured with his hand and a flurry of ice shards engulfed the nearest vape. Sonny drew his verred and struck at the one nearest to him; the creature twisted as he struck and the molecule-thick spine sheared straight through the verred’s twin blades. Harrylock made to punch the one attacking him*, changed his mind and activated his wrist blade; doing a serious injury to the vape. The vape struck at Harrylock, his “I’m ok, I’ve got armour” turned to horror when the vape’s body, several magnitudes sharper than a scalpel; sheared straight through and inflicted a deep wound. Galadiir also took a slashing wound; Sonny dived out of the way at the last minute.
Judson saw that Sonny was weaponless and put an arrow into the vape; a full-on shot that killed it. Harrylock got in another massive blow; doing extra damage that killed the second vape and moved to help Galadiir. Galadiir cast a massive Ice Shards , severely wounding the last vape; Harrylock finished it off.
They spent some time resting and healing; Judson did a backflip out of the tree and joined them. He looked at the vapes; the bodies were slowly sinking into the ground.
Night was falling; in the distance to the south, they saw the dim lights and smoke of a village. They headed to the village; intending to return to Mulen the following day. Just then, on the cliff path walking towards them, they saw a woman dressed in a white shift. She was walking slowly, then turned and headed for the cliff edge. Judson used his Running skill to try and get to her but he was too late; without pausing she stepped off the cliff. He looked over; the cliff was a forty – foot sheer drop to the crashing surf. There was no sign of a body.
“I bet she’s a mermaid”, said Sonny. The others just looked at him.
“What’s a mermaid?”
“I think something drew her here and made her jump”, said Galadiir. He used all his abilities to sense for anything unusual; but found nothing. Harrylock marked the spot with a boulder her pulled out of the ground.
The village was a typical; if somewhat old-fashioned, fishing village. Several longhouses surrounded a central longhouse; there was the flickering light of torches and smoke rising from several chimneys. A wooded palisade surrounded the village on the land side; two guard towers looked out to sea. The guard on the gate did not take much persuasion to let them in to speak to the village Elder. When asked, he did not remember a woman in white passing out of the gate.
In the community longhouse they were met by a big, imposing man with dark hair and a beard. He was very charismatic and they got the impression that he was the village leader because the villagers wanted him to be.
“I am Hols, Elder of the village of Galadir”**
The party were welcome to stay the night in the community longhouse. It was then that they mentioned the woman in white. The leader went pale and sat down. When he spoke, his voice was heavy.
“So it has begun then, the Haunting Tides, it has been two year since the last time; it makes sense. We do not know why, but every couple of years the ocean decides it is time to take something back from us. Thus begins a week of phantasms and horrors. We are invaded by nightmares from the sea, and some of us are even drawn into the sea. It always begins with someone throwing themselves off the cliff”.
He stood and crossed to the door, looked out for a moment, then closed it again.
“At the end, most villagers return alive. But there is always one or two who never come back.”
“Why do you still live here? Why don’t you go somewhere else?”
“We are a fishing community and this is our home. Where would you have us go? Will you help us?”
From outside, a heavy bell began to toll. Hols jumped to his feet.
“That is the alarm. Something is coming”
Our first Game and it was an absolute blast! Numenera is so easy to run it is beyond belief. As an example, this is Hol’s stat block from my notes.
HOLS. Heavy build, black hair, full beard
Village Elder / Level 2 / Level 3 vs. lies and trickery // Strong personality, born leader
This means that to attack him the target number is 6+, to defend against him the target number is 6+, if he hits you he does 2 damage, but to successfully lie to him the target number is 9+. He has 6 hit points
All dice are rolled by the players. The GM rolls nothing. This feels a little weird at first.
* The others persuaded him that punching a living razor blade would not be a good idea.
** Galadiir looked puzzled at this – why was he named after a village?