Last adventure, the crew had obtained their own pirate ship, albeit at the cost of Serrin inheriting its previous captain’s curse. With time running out for Ortella, they had some stark choices to make and little knowledge of how to sail. The curse, unfortunately, did not impart anything helpful for actually being pirates. It did, however, give the party an ever-increasing hunger and thirst.
While Tamen and Serrin investigated the ship’s hold, Captain Vergon taunted Shimmel, laughing that they were all feeling effects of the curse. He explained that it would rapidly get worse. Tamen and Serrin returned to the main deck after finding only skeletal remains and about thirty crates of jaggery in the hold. They found no further use for Vergon, and threw him overboard.
Though they didn’t know how to sail the ship, the party managed to lift the anchor and a small breeze pushed it forward. To their surprise, a huge dimensional portal opened directly in front of the ship, and they couldn’t escape being pulled into it. Their vision went dark and when it cleared away, Tamen/Shimmel/Serrin found themselves seated on pillows around a table in a tea house. Several other tables were similarly filled with patrons, enjoying tea and some food. Their table was empty, save for an odd centerpiece with a felt mouse decoration in a red hat.
They quickly learned they were in the demiplane of a God, strange a demiplane as it was, and that the only way to exit was to enjoy some tea and a meal. An ancient waiter took their orders, and they greatly enjoyed the things they got. Once their meal was done, the waiter approached with a document for them to sign so they could see the God whose demiplane they were in. Tamen and Serrin signed, and so saw the felt mouse centerpiece come alive.
The mouse explained that he’d cursed the pirate and his crocodile, and since the party had killed both, his game was over. He introduced himself as Tikki, a trickster God, and offered to not only remove the curse – he would fix the ship up, outfit it properly, and give it a crew so the party could go about their business… for a price: Tikki’s demand was an unspecified favor, which he could call in at any time. The party would have to sign for it and could not renege after that. When they were hesitant, he showed them a worrying vision:
Qhosan Alios, alive and in good spirits, outside of prison, playing a card game with Yorek Salandas. Alios expressed regret at the party getting away, indicating that Salandas should have killed them. Salandas replied that it didn’t matter, they’d probably die at sea, and once Ortella died then [a name they didn’t recognize but sounded like “Kerria”] could start the takeover plan. Recognizing that they’d been doublecrossed, the party opted to grant Tikki his favor. They found themselves, as promised, on a well-crewed ship heading into Kerrab’s port.
In Kerrab, Shimmel ran into an old friend from his village, another centaur named N’Della. N’Della explained he worked for the temple of Tempus near Kerrab’s central ziggurat, and invited Shimmel to stop by. The party found a decent inn and learned that the Mage’s Guild had their headquarters near the central ziggurat, as well, and the next morning set out to identify the chalice.
Before reaching their destination, a disturbance drew their attentions – three hell hounds were in the city and had attacked a citizen. The group dispatched the hounds only to find the man unharmed. He claimed not to have much, but to stop by his granary stall by the docks if they needed any grains. Shimmel noticed N’Della again, amid a group of priests, and Tamen noted that all the Tempus members wore mantles with golden lamassu stitched on them.
Tamen explained Ortella’s situation to N’Della’s high priest, Podrick, who grew very concerned and wanted to help. Podrick indicated that if they would have him, he would travel with them to hopefully break Ortella’s coma. As Podrick got ready, the party went to the Mage’s Guild and got the chalice identified: It could either make someone immortal or unmake someone, and that the last time it was used was on Yorek Salandas. Though the Kerrab Archmage offered anything to buy the chalice from the party, they refused him.
The party, with Podrick, sailed to Velion and started along backroads to meet up with Arberius and Ortella. Since they figured that Yorek’s guards would probably recognize them, they had the ship sail there without them and wait. On their way out of Velion, Tamen and Shimmel could have sworn they saw Qhosan but he must have noticed them and turned invisible, so they lost his trail.
One of the nights they were camping, the party was ambushed by an orc war chief and several of his hench orcs, plus two bulettes. After an unexpectedly tough fight, Tamen stalled Shimmel long enough to learn that Qhosan hired the orc to kill them – proving they had seen him in Velion.
On the final evening of their travel, Tamen took last watch. As he kept an eye for any danger, Tikki’s voice sprang into his mind. The God explained that he’d forgotten a particularly important piece of information to tell them, then shared another vision: Way back when they were escorting Qhosan through the mountains, there was a point that Septimus noticed some movement and a skittering noise. The group opted to ignore it, but Tikki’s vision explored the source of the noise, following some formians on the cliff above the group as they fled back to their lair with an object.
The formians gave this object to their queen, and Tamen saw it was a stone carving of a lamassu. The queen activated the carving, loosing Ortella’s bound creature. Her lamassu rampaged through the lair, killing all the formians before flying off (explaining the noise the group heard that caused Ortella to search her belongings, then explain the missing item). The vision ended with the carving, still on the ground in the formian queen’s lair.
When Tamen told the group this, Podrick grew sullen and admitted to having made a poor assumption. In order to save Ortella from the coma, he would need that carving. And Tamen realized that the mountain pass was south of them, the opposite direction of Ortella.
Header Image Credits
Three-panel image with a banshee, a tea house, and an icy mountain fortress (images from https://www.artstation.com/welokay, https://www.gardnermuseum.org/experience/collection/10984, and https://5e-spelljammer.github.io/adventure.html, respectively)