Ghost Archipelago Campaign ’18, Game 1: First Foray onto Fantastic Shores

Chris Palmer     This past Saturday we got together for the first game of this year’s Ghost Archipelago (GA) campaign.  We had only 5 of our regular players able to make it to the game.  Since this was our first game of the campaign, and the first GA for a couple of the players, we decided just to do a straight up simple encounter and not a scenario.
     I had set the board up the night before, expecting all 7 players, but found out that morning that one couldn’t make it.  So we quickly readjusted the board, with 3 central treasures and 6 start zones.  We ended  up waiting a while for the last player to arrive, so we went ahead and set our regular treasures, and chose our entry zones.  Eventually, the 6th player turned out to be a no show, so we make a quick decision to keep all 3 Central Treasures in play, but after the game roll randomly to determine that one was actually a regular treasure since there was only 5 of us.   This also left a big gap in our set up, and one player with no one directly across from them.
      I drew the first choice of entry zones, so picked a corner spot that had three promising treasures within what I felt was an easy reach.   It turned out the empty space from the no show player was on my right, so I had a pretty secure flank.   The Heritor, Gregorius, and his Storm Warden, Missy, was directly across from me.   Diagonally to my front and off to the right was the Heritor, Herndon, and his Wave Warden, Arwhine.  And, of course, Herndon was in the spot with no one directly across from him.  Way off to my right was, Skorri Drakenberg, and his Wave Warden, Anemone; and across from him was the strange duckman Heritor, Robin Duck, and his duckman Vine Warden, Friar Duck.
   For an introduction and character descriptions for all my crew, including my Heritors abilities, and my Warden’s spells, see: My Crew

The table at the start of the game.

The Report
   
     Hyterial Fortrywn, Lord of the 5 Western Realms, Knight of the King’s Circle, Prince of Lorleilund, and Governor of Ringdone, was happy to once again have his feet on firm land.  It had been many years since retired Elf general had set his boots on hostile foreign shores;  and the thrill of once again being on campaign made him feel energized.  He was also a Heritor, and could feel the burning tingle of his ancestors’ blood coursing in his veins.  These islands called to it, and Lord Fortrywn could tell by the heat under his skin that it was reacting to being so close to the source of his birthright gift.
      He was an imposing Elf; standing near 7 feet tall, with a sharp angular face. His white hair, was a testament to the fact he was not a young man, but anyone that thought he had lost an once of his energy or strength with age, was a fool.
     One of the advantages of having lived the life of an officer in the King’s armies, is he had marched through many lands, near and far.  And, in all these campaigns, he had always kept his ears and eyes open for clues and stories of the ghost islands; knowing in his heart that one day the Archipelago would return, and he would be able to seek out the source of his family’s dwindling power. A chance to reforge the strength of the bloodline.  So, as the years had passed, he had gathered a large collections of maps, charts, diaries, and trinkets; all clues to finding the Crystal Pool once again.  He held one such map in his hand now, as he and his party stood on the white-sand beach.  It showed a river, and along the river were marked the site of a number of regularly spaced large wooden idols; magical markers of some ancient boundary. The legend of the map said that these idols were given their protective power by having special carved stones placed inside their pedestals; Map Stones to be specific.  Lord Fortrywn knew he would need to gather such clues to the Pool’s location if he was ever to find it.
   The tall Elf, folded the map back up, and placed it carefully in his pouch.  He gave a last piercing gaze back at the group assembled at a respectable distance on the hot sand behind him, and then pointed towards the dense jungle a few yards up the beach.
   "Let us begin!“ He called to the party.  Then, before leading them into the jungle, he turned to his niece, and Vine Warden, Marnilyne Dewdrisane, and said gruffly, "Try to make yourself useful, but stay out of trouble. And don’t die, or your mother will never let me hear the end of it.”
   The young elf was flustered by being singled out, but obediently replied, “Yes, Uncle…Yes, Uncle…I won’t Uncle”, both nodding and then shaking her head at almost the same time. As her Uncle turned away she exhaled and tired to gather herself again.  Looking at the lush green darkness ahead a big smile came back to her face. What wondrous sights and experiences awaited her!

Lord Fortrywn deploys his troops.

     It wasn’t long before the came to the first small stream which fed the river.  They followed its path a short distance, and then suddenly, one of the tall idols came into view; it’s massive head just visible above the tree line.  Lord Fortrywn stopped and turned and pointed to his Hunter, Gwynwater Lighteye; the Archer, Quinlere Silvervine; and the Crewman, Arbyn. “You three come with me.”, he ordered; and the Hunter, Archer, Crewman  and Heritor splashed across the creek to get a better look at the idol.
 He turned and looked back at Marnilyne, and barked, “Niece! You go with Salin, the Pearl Diver; The Archer, Radilas Windway; and Crewman, Bry; and work your way a little further up this creek.  Check out a large fallen tree at the "Y” where the creek joins the river…there may be treasure buried there at the base of the tree as well.“  Lastly, to the two Crewmen, Vilkse and Lurlin; the Heritor ordered, "Stay at hand and help out where needed if I or my Niece should call you." 
              Lord Fortrywn then moved out to a clearing on the left; he could see the tumbled cut stones of a ruined structure to the left of the clearing, a temple?, and moved towards it with his small group.  The old Elf general ordered the Archer, Quinlere, to take a covering position in a nearby patch of jungle, while he, Gwynwater, and Arbyn made their way into the ruins.  The Heritor suddenly stopped short reflexively, as his hearing picked up a soft twang sound in the air; and as he did so, a crossbow bolt struck one of the fallen rocks right in front of him, and bounced off harmlessly in another direction. So, they weren’t alone.  He gave a knowing glance back at Gwynwater, who was also a veteran of numerous wars, and she nodded.  The Hunter scanned the far bank of the river, beyond the idol, and sure enough, Gwyn could make out movement of another party. "I count 5 or 6, she whispered, ”..there could be more.“ Lord Fortrywn could now see some of them too.  They would need to exercise more caution…they were no alone.
     Meanwhile, Marnilyne moved with her group up the creek. She stopped to look off towards where the idol was to see if she could catch sight of her Uncle, and was shocked when she too saw movement on the far bank of the river.  Thinking quickly, and knowing the prize her uncle sought, she extended her fingertips towards the riverbank directly behind the idol and began to chant the ancient words of a Bramble spell.  At first, slowly, green shoots popped from the fertile riverbank; but as the Vine Warden’s chanting continued, and grew faster, the shoots grew at an ever increasing rate.  The vine-like plants began to turn brown, and sharp dagger-like thorns grew on the branches; some thorns 2 or 3 inches long.  The twisted brown branches intertwined and became hard and gnarled as more and more thorns developed all up and down their tangled length.  Finally, the wall of brambles reached a height of about 5 feet, and several yards long, and stopped growing as Marny’s chant came to a conclusion.

Opening moves.

          As the Warden was chanting her spell, Salin, the Pearl Diver, moved past her, along with Bry, the Crewman.  Salin jumped into the slow moving waters of the creek and easily moved across the water to the far side.  As he climbed up onto the far bank he stopped suddenly as he heard a short cry from Bry.  The Pearl Diver turned in time to see the sailor dropping to the ground on the other bank, her hands holding her right side where the long shaft an arrow protruded. She hit the bank with a hard thud, and lay there motionless.  (Shot by the Heritor, Herndon).    The Pearl Diver knew he had to act quickly, and turned back towards the large fallen tree.  He could just make out the sealed lids to some old stone storage jars protruding up from the dirt at the trunk; either pushed to the surface by the roots, or revealed from erosion of the covering soil over time. He had the prize in sight, when suddenly he felt a sharp pain in right below where his arm met his shoulder. Looking down he could see the black shaft of an arrow.  (Shot by one of Herndon’s Archers) He cursed as the pain and blackness overtook him.  His muscular body dropped to the river bank.
     Marny, seeing her two friends fall from arrows, momentarily froze.  Instinctually she shrunk a bit back into the cover of the trees and bushes where she was standing.  In  a panic, she called out, "Help! Somebody!” The Warden was instantly embarrassed at her panic. How was her Uncle ever going to respect her if she acted like a frightened little schoolgirl all the time.  The young Elf was relieved though, when the Crewman, Vilkse answered her call, and came running up to her.  The nearby Archer, Randilas, also turned and called to her to see if she was okay.  Before he got a reply though, he was distracted by the appearance of a Giant Lizard from behind where they were, coming up the trail they had advanced up only a short while ago. (Treasure generated Random Encounter.) Quickly the archer notched an arrow and shot.  The missile hit true, and the huge reptile slid to a halt in mid stride.  But it wasn’t dead; and limping along on three working legs, it still moved on towards the Archer.  The Elf pulled his dagger, and as the half dead beast approached, he finished it off with a quick thrust to the side of its head.   Immediately he remembered the Warden’s call for help, and turning towards her, he relaxed when he saw Vilkse was there already, talking to her. 
    Marny told the Crewman what had happened by the fallen tree, and the necessity to recover the treasure there.  Tightening the grip on his spear, the Sailor went to check it out for himself.   The Warden turned back to look towards the idol and check on her Uncle’s progress.  However, seeing more of the other Heritor’s crew approaching the far riverbank from the idol, and working their way around her bramble wall, she renewed her chanting, casting Brambles once again. This extended the brambles further along the bank.  She knew she must protect the idol until her Uncle could get here.  Nervously, the young Elf glanced as the sky as dark clouds began to boil in out of nowhere covering the sun and and then the island in a grey dimness.  ( Gregorius’s Storm Warden casts Cloud Cover.)

Bry and Salin are brought down by Herdon and his Archer, as they near the fallen tree.  Marnilyne is in the clump of jungle at the bottom of the photo, and Randilas can be seen at the edge of the jungle to the left of the photo.

     Lord Fortrywn was having troubles of his own. He was aware the clouds above were slowly thickening and darkening.  Making it increasing harder to see into the distance.  But his sharp eyes could see that the number of enemy crew approaching the idol from on the left was growing.     He called Crewman Lurlin forward to help out.   The Heritor advanced along with Arbyn, leaving Gwyn the Hunter in the ruins to offer covering fire.   As he advanced, an enemy crewman came charging towards him.  The old Elf knew he didn’t have time for this, he needed to get to the idol first.  And, knowing that Arbyn and Gwyn could surely handle an simple Crewman, the Heritor called on his inner power.  As he felt his blood tingle like many little needles, and heat up under his skin, he thrust his sword out as the enemy crewman approached, blocking the opposing thrust from his opponent.  As the blades met, the Heritor knelt down, and with a powerful force he sprung up, and using his shield on top of the enemy’s head as a pivot point he leapt over him and landed gracefully behind.  Before the poor crewman knew what had happened, and why his head hurt, Lord Fortryn had landed as gracefully as a cat, and he was already 3 paces off towards the idol. (Uses his Heritor ability: Evade)  Lurlin soon joined him there, and as the pair prepared to meet the enemy Tomb Robber who approached from behind the idol.  A crossbow bolt came from the left, striking Lurlin hard in the side.  The crewman fell forward, cracking his head on the idol’s pedestal, and lay there like an offering at it’s feet.  Lord Fortrywn cursed.  He called out the enemy crossbowman as a target to Gwyn.
       Meanwhile, Lord Fortrywn’s Neice and Warden, and moved around to her right to look for her Uncle, just in time to see his acrobatics over the enemy soldier.  Worried about the man just left there behind her uncle, she cast Warp Weapon upon the man’s sword.  Suddenly, thick vines shot from the ground on each side of where the dazed man stood, and quickly grew up and wrapped themselves around the blade tightly. As the man tried to extract his sword,  the vines pulled quickly back down into the earth again pulling the metal in two directions.  The force torqued the metal slightly (Spell Effect -1 Damage to weapon) before the tension of the vines was too much, and they snapped.  Then as quickly as they had sprouted and grew, they wilted back and fell upon the earth.

Lurlin falls at the idol, as Lord Fortrywn prepares to meet the enemy Tomb Robber coming up behind it.  The poor Crewman with the warped weapon, stands there in the clearing to the bottom right of the idol.

     Off to the Warden’s right, Vilkse had reached the buried jars but paused a moment as he noticed that directly above his head the clouds were turning much angrier, and flashes of lightning could be seen glowing within them.  (Missy casts Lightening Strike on him)  The hair on his neck stood up and tingled.  His mind was distracted from the brewing clouds though, as two of Gregorious’s crew approached from across the far side of the river’s “Y”.  Just as they reached him, and he dodged the first blow, the lightning hit, and missed where he stood by inches.  He could feel the electric charge momentarily numb his body, but he was unharmed from the strike.  Unfortunately, the two enemy crew saw their opportunity, and attacked, easily bringing the lone Crewman down.
     Marnilyne watched in horror as yet another soldier near her was laid low.  She fretted over what to do next, when her mind was immediately focused by a sharp pain in her thigh.  Looking down she saw a crossbow bolt sticking from her leg, and blood slowly running down her pants.  (Hit for -7 HP by one of Gregorious’ Crossbows)) Realization hit the Warden; she’d been shot.  Her first though was that she had been killed and now her Uncle would be so disappointed in her disobeying his command.  Though, the young Elf quickly realized she wasn’t going to die; it was just a wound.  But the girl had learned enough first aid from the ship’s surgeon on the long journey, that she knew she would need to pull the bolt and bandage it if she was going to stay conscious for long.  Quickly, looking up to where her Uncle was, she tried to chant the spell of Brambles to help keep the approaching enemies away from him, but her mind was too clouded by this new level of pain she was experiencing, and the young Warden mixed some words and forgot others (Fails casting Brambles) .  Marnilyne knew she needed to attend to the wound now, so slowly, bracing herself from tree to tree,  the young Elf fell back into the depth of the nearby jungle patch.

Vilkse faces two enemies, and becomes yet another casualty of the fallen tree treasure.

  Back near the idol, the poor confused crewman that Lord Fortrywyn had leapt over, and Marny had cast Warp Weapon on,  stood there in disbelief looking at his sword, and rubbing his sore head and neck.  He didn’t notice until too late as Arbyn came lunging up to hm and drove her blade home into his chest.  He crumpled to the ground.  Nearby, the Elf Heritor fought the enemy’s Tomb Robber, cutting a nasty gash in him, and then shoving him out of combat.  Just then Arbyn charged up fresh from taking out the Crewman, and ran right into the wounded Tomb Robber.  Bringing her sword down with a mighty chop, she dispatched this second man.  Lord Fortryn looked at her admiringly as she spun around looking for another target.  “Are you sure you don’t have a little of Blood Gift in you?” he said amusedly.
     The Heritor was brought back to business though,  as he heard Gwyn cry out.   Looking over to the ruins, he could see her clutching a crossbow bolt in her arm, and gritting her teeth as she pulled it out.  (-6 HP).  She threw a quick bandage around it, pulled it tight, then picked her bow back up and moved off to the left to try and get a better position from which to offer support fire on the crew on the far side of the river, as the dark clouds thickened (The Cloud Cover spell reached it’s maximum effect of 12" Line of Sight).

On the right, Arbyn kills the first Crewman, as Lord Fortrywn battles the enemy Tomb Robber at the idol.  On the left, a Soldier Crab approaches Gregorius’  Warden; the first of mounting troubles for the enemy Heritor.

     Lord Fortrywn called upon a minor gift of his; the ability to become aware of his force’s current strength.  It had helped him many times on the battlefield, to have such situational awareness; and now as his mind wandered over the members of his party, he became aware of his growing losses.  The Heritor knew it was time to settle for the main goal of their expedition and retire back to the ship.  Reaching down, he gave a mighty blow with the pommel of his sword to  the pedestal of the idol, bashing a hole in the ancient wood.
    As the Elf leaned over to reach into the pedestal, he caught sight of the Heritor Gregorius for the first time, emerging from a patch of jungle on his left.  The other Heritor clutched a grime-covered urn to his chest, and as he turned he likewise caught sight of Lord Fortrywn.   Gregorius’ eyes narrowed as he quickly apprised what Lord Fortrywn was doing.  The old Elf could see the turmoil in his opponent’s eyes as greed flashed across them.  The human Heritor looked at his urn then back at the newly smashed hole in the idol’s pedestal, his mind calculating.
   Just then a cry went up from Gregorius’ crew further back behind the river.  A party of Dricheans had appeared in their rear, (Treasure generated random encounter: 3 Dricheans), and the sound of sword upon sword rang out further away on the right as some of Herndon’s men pushed their way towards Gregorius’ left flank.
     A sad smile came across the grizzled Human Heritor’s face, and he gave a respectful tilt of his head at Lord Fortrywn.   Lord Fortrywn lowered his head as a salute in return.  Today would not be the day; but they both knew they would meet again. With that, Gregorious turned, clutching his prize, and moved to support his crew.
      Lord Fortrywn turned too, breathing a sigh of relief.  As much as he would have relished the combat, he knew that his warband was in no condition to go up against another one right now.  The old Elf shoved his long arm into the hole.  His fingers touched a smooth glass-like stone, the size of a dinner plate, and he heaved it up out of the darkness.  The Heritor gazed at the mirror like surface and ran his figures for just moment over the intricate carvings on his surface.  Instinct told him to check the hole a little further, so he reached in and his fingers wrapped around a small leather bag.  He smiled as heard the jungle of coins within.

Arbyn rushes up and claims her second victim.

  An uneasy truce fell then, and the Elf Heritor new well enough to take advantage of the opportunity.  He pushed with all his energy (Uses Heritor ability: Surge.), and in one series of fluid motions, secured the stone and leather bag, turned, and hurried back towards the jungle behind him. He called to Arbyn and Gwyn to come too.
     Meanwhile, Marny leaned up against a thicker tree trunk, and tightened a belt with a wad of cloth wedged under it around her thigh.  Tears ran down her face as she pulled one notch tighter, making sure there was good pressure on the wound.  Through the tears, she raised one hand towards the nearby creek and softly whispered the spell of Waters of Life; reaching out to the gurgling stream with her mind, calling  it towards her. But no water came, and no healing came, only tears, from frustration and pain.  (Failed to cast Waters of Life.) She was not a Wave Warden, but thought she had grasped the intricacies of this other school’s spell.  She loved the water, and it certainly was key to her precious plants, but it failed her now; or she failed it…
    A loud shout in the distance, grabbed the Vine Warden’s attention, from her turmoil.  It was Qunlere the Archer calling for help.   She heard Randilas moving off in that direction.  He called to her, to let her know he was going to help. 
     Behind where Quin had held his position throughout the day, two figures had emerged from the jungle; first a ghostly Spirit Warrior had appeared, then shortly after it a Tribal Warrior followed, as if drawn to the etherial spirit.  (A coincidental pair of treasure generated Random Encounters, both appearing near my entry point).  They both seemed drawn to the Elf Archer.  Were they protectors of the nearby ruined structure?
   Lord Fortrywn heard the Archer’s call for help too; and mustering his energy again, he called to Arbyn, as he set the stone and leather pouch on the ground, and quickly crossed the distance to where the Archer stood.  (Uses Heritor ability Surge again.) Arbyn obediently moved over and picked up the treasure. 
    The Heritor arrived just in time.  The Spirit Warrior advanced towards Quin; and as he did, Randilas quickly ran up, planted his feet, and raising his bow, released his arrow. It hit the ghostly being, spinning it to a stop.  Quinlere had his bow raised too, and fired an arrow at the glowing fighter as well.  His arrow hit squarely in the back of the creature. It let out an unearthly moan, and slowly turned to a soft blue fog which drifted away in the breeze. 
     Meanwhile, the Tribal Warrior let out a harsh battle cry, and ran directly at the Heritor.  With one mighty blow of his sword the powerful Elf cut the warrior down.  He watched unemotionally, as the native fell to the ground, let out a last rasping breath, and went to join his spirit brethren on some other plane.

The Spirit Warrior and Tribal Warrior attack. 

     Back in her small patch of jungle, Marnilyne, once more tried to focus her concentration, and chanted the spell of Waters of Life.   This time she felt a connection to the river, and watched as a small trickle of water made its way up the bank towards her as if defying gravity.  Slowly, it pooled at her feet.  Reaching down, the young Elf cupped some in her hand, and carefully raising it, so as not to spill any of the river’s precious gift, she let the small trickle from her hand pour on to the cloth covering the wound.  Almost instantly she could feel a marked reduction of the deep pain.  She signed in relief.
   Her relief didn’t last long, however, as she soon heard her Uncle’s booming voice, calling out to everyone to return to the landing boats.  Carefully she put weight on her hurt leg, and was surprised at the improvement.  Slowly, she made her way towards the beach where the others would gather.

The end results: one treasure, and four fallen during the battle.

     Back on The Silver Sword, Lord Fortrywn sat in his cabin and studied the carvings on the rock. He had a book open nearby that he was using to help translate.  On his desk set the coins that had been in the leather bag; neatly stacked into five piles of 10 each.  The Elf looked up as there was a knock on the door.   It was Gwynwater Lighteye, his Hunter.  The Heritor said “Enter.”
   She came with the casualty report from the day.  Their Pearl Diver, Salin, would recover quickly.  The wound had hit nothing vital.  “He seems to perhaps be hardier than we suspected,” she offered; and the old Elf looked up at her one eyebrow raised as he considered her analysis.  She continued on;  the sailors, Bry, and Vilkse, would also quickly recover,  but Lurlin would take a while.  He was experiencing a bit of numbness in his on leg, either from the sword wound or head injury; and the ships’ surgeon said it would take a while for him to regain the full use of it… if he did.
   The pair discussed a few more details of the days events, and the Hunter took her leave.  Lord Fortrywn went back to his analysis of the Map Stone.  He had determined it was the one that was called Indruline; that much he knew.  But just what it could tell him about the location of the Crystal Pool would take further study.
  There was another knock at his door.  It was his Niece this time.  Sheepishly, she entered.   For a long time he just looked at her with his steel blue eyes.  Finally he spoke.  “I see you got yourself hurt. You accomplished that.”
    She nodded, then quickly added, “It’s nothing, Uncle. A scratch.” He grunted.
   "So where did you disappear to halfway through the fight? I could have used your help more.“
  Her mouth opened, but no words would come.  She couldn’t blame the wound, now that she had said it was just a scratch.
    Lord Fortwyn went ahead and filled the silence. "Well, never mind.  Try to be more useful next time.” He looked her up and down.   "Your dismissed.“   And with that the young girl turned, trying not to shake, or worse, cry, and left the cabin. 
   The Heritor returned to his studies…

The roll that helped make my game.
Epilogue:

     What a game!  It started out as a near disaster, with two figures down by the second turn… one of them a Specialist.  This certainly wasn’t Frostgrave…how I longed for my nice Fog walls.  Things seemed to continue to go downhill, so I decided to concentrate all my effort on just getting the Central Treasure.  I may have almost lost that too, if it hadn’t been for Gregorius having some bad luck of his own, causing him to back down from a fight for the Central Treasure.  That, plus some really good rolls in the second half of the game, saved the day;  particularly Arbyn’s single shot kill of the Crewman, and assist kill of the Tomb Robber.  The two hit kill on the Spirit Warrior, and single hit kill by Lord Fortrywn on the Tribal Warrior helped too.
    However, I still was only walking away with one treasure.  Luckily it proved to be a true Central Treasure (Remember we had decided to  roll at the end of the game to determine which of the three was a "fake” Central Treasure, since there was just 5 of us.)  The best roll however came at the very end, when I rolled a 20 on the treasure table… plus the 2 for it being a Central Treasure gave me the “"top prize”, plus the added experience for a Map Stone and a Central Treasure.  That turned the whole  battle results into a positive for my Heritor and I, and kept me on a relatively level playing field with the other players. 
   Can’t wait to try to do better next time!

via One More Gaming Project http://onemoregamingproject.blogspot.com/2018/01/ghost-archipelago-campaign-18-game-1.html
from Tumblr http://tumblr.hawks-club.org/post/169731943618
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