Shattered Star #50: The Ancient, Ruined Island of Nal-Kashel

At the end of last session, we left two of our heroes in grave peril. Both paladins had fallen into the rough sea and, clad in heavy armour, were rapidly sinking to their deaths.

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Their companions leapt into action! Zainnis dived into the sea to help—straight through the jellyfish swarm! Narfu and Grooble also dived into the jellyfish swarm with Grooble casting water breathing on himself and Cortona. Meanwhile, Sarif and Karelia fashioned a makeshift anchor from Cortona’s axe and a length of rope. they threw it overboard and miraculously Thaladan grabbed it (which stopped him sinking any deeper).

Meanwhile, on the other side of the boat, Grooble cast water walking on himself and Cortona propelling both to the surface (straight into the middle of the jellyfish swarm!) Sadly, by now Zainnis was in trouble. Injured by the jellyfishes’ sting he seemed unable to get back to the surface. Seeing he was in difficulty, Narfu activated his immovable rod and grabbed the young ranger, stopping him from sinking any further.

Finally, they both managed to surface, but sadly—once again—did so in the middle of the jellyfish swarm. While everyone eventually managed to get back into the boat several of the heroes yet suffered from the effects of jellyfish poison.

In any event, the party still had to get to the island. Luckily, Narfu was by now an experienced sailor and the redoubtable monk took charge. Under his guidance, the party made good time and reached the island an hour or so later at around midday.

High cliffs surrounded the island. A cove seemed to give the best—perhaps only—landing option and so the party beached their boat on its black sand. A huge stone—later identified as an altar and the Wedding Stone described to them at the village—was partially buried in the black sand. The stone emitted a powerful, hum that set the party’s nerves on edge. As they searched the cove for hidden secret doors and the like a powerful enchantment came over them; several felt drowsy and fell asleep, but luckily most were able to resist the altar’s magical effect.

While they searched the cove, the party made several interesting discoveries. Serif discovered Dagon’s eldritch sigil inscribed on the altar while Zainnis discovered the faint tracks of some folk leading away from the altar to a section of the towering cliffs down which had tumbled the remains of a road. Meanwhile, Narfu and Karelia discovered that powerful magics seem to cloak the entire island. One of the auras was transmutation in nature, but the identity of the other eluded them.

The road’s ruin provided a relatively easy way to climb up the cliff and so Sarif went ahead to scout. He discovered a ruined, strange vista. Ahead of him, lay a shattered, tumbled city of domed towers and other, unidentifiable buildings. Sickly and strangely coloured bushes and stunted trees grew about the place in great profusion. After exploring a nearby ruin, he returned to the party and waved them up the cliff.

As they began their long slow climb, the brave dwarf began to feel ill. By the time his companions got to the top of the cliff, he was being violently sick. And worse was to come. By the time they reached the top, both Thaladan’s and Cortona’s eyes were weeping thick, black blood—perhaps the blood of the innocents slain the day before by the gigantic be-tentacled creature that attacked Blackcove… Meanwhile both Grooble’s and Narfu’s hands and feet were  growing webs between their fingers and toes! Of the rest of the party, Karelia and Zainnis seemed least effected; they simply had began to sweat profusely.

Unsurprisingly, this development concerned the party greatly. After some investigations, Karelia and Grooble came to the conclusion that these effects were likely the result of the powerful magics cloaking the area they had discovered earlier. While it was too early to tell whether the effects would be permanent or not, all agreed they should get off the island as quickly as possible.

With that in mind, they pushed on hurriedly into the interior climbing two escarpments barring their way. Their goal was a large building on the highest point of the island. It was here, they were sure, that they would find answers (and hopefully the source of the attacks on Blackcove and the missing villagers)…

 

Creighton is the publisher at Raging Swan Press and the designer of the award winning adventure Madness at Gardmore Abbey. He has designed many critically acclaimed modules such as Retribution and Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands and worked with Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, Expeditious Retreat Press, Rite Publishing and Kobold Press.

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