Before I forget, here's the current party roster (in alphabetical order):
Dominica: Female elf rogue with a lot of spirit magic, she has studied with a shaman and may someday try to become one herself. For now, she relies on her bow and her alchemy.
Gormuz: Male Great Troll. Extremely large and strong. Primarily a warrior, with relatively low POW. He's also a blacksmith, and is now married.
Ophelia: Female human gypsy sorceress who has recently learned some sort of strange magic which she does not yet fully understand. She has had visions, and is also a leatherworker.
Sithliss: Warrior Dragonewt. Not quite as devastating in combat as Gormuz, but quicker and with the added benefit of Draconic effects. A higher POW, too.
When last we saw the party they had entered a new world that apparently consists of islands floating in an eternal blue sky - the "Floating Isles", a setting inspired by the artwork of Roger Dean. This world was created by a friend of mine in college about twenty-eight years ago, incidentally.
They had just finished exploring the tiny island that contained the cave-mouth exit from the Cavern Between Worlds. Dominica had found three different sorts of odd fruits; one kind emitted great cold when opened. Another kind was pinstriped in pink. Dominica tasted this one, and her tongue soon became pin-striped itself and started feeling strange. Her tongue began to swell and her powers of speech became compromised.
In the meantime, Sith'liss was using the telescope to examine the surrounding region of air. A pursuit caught his eye: a small golden winged humanoid figure was flying madly towards their isle, followed by a huge tentacled squid-like creature that seemed to be made of flexible translucent crystal.
Boarding the air-boat that they'd found, they flew towards the chase. Gormuz piloted, having displayed a surprising talent for it. Reversing direction just before reaching the humanoid, they matched speed with it long enough to get it aboard - and then flew toward the island at top speed.
They were able to outpace the air squid, which nonetheless continued pursuit. Rather than docking at the edge of the isle Gormuz flew directly towards the center, landing on the stairs in front of the cave mouth. This was a tricky maneuver, since as soon as the boat entered the air over the isle gravity reasserted itself (the boat seems to have its own gravity field as well). Making an unexpectedly skillful crash landing (for which he received a new skill, "Air Boat"), the party ran pell-mell toward the cave, with the panting tiny humanoid in tow.
Once in the cave, they discovered that the humanoid was named Kleel, a very young male Scrivley. Scrivlies are one of the original races of the Floating Isles; they're small and rather rounded-looking, with large but slightly pointed heads, curley hair, very short but flexible necks, and broad spatulate hands and feet. They're not highly maneuverable in air, but they are able to paddle along in zero-gravity conditions; almost all races in the Floating Isles have some inborn air-travel ability. You can think of Scrivlies as particularly stupid hobbit-like creatures, with a small admixture of seal, if you like. Oddly, the dragonewt was unable to understand him; the others all could, even Gormuz's NPC wife Reznia, although they soon realized that the mouth movements of Kleel didn't really match the words that they were hearing.
[Much later the party figured out that they had received some sort of gift of tongues, but they're not entirely sure why or how.]
Kleel was a delight to roleplay. He's based on the small boy who lives in the house behind ours, the one with the piercing high voice who is constantly shouting "Sebastian? Sebastian? Sebastian? Sebastian?" or "Sebastian's dad? Sebastian's dad? Sebastian's dad? Sebastian's dad?" whenever he sees us. He fastened on to Gormuz and I played him for all he was worth.
"Gormuz? Gormuz? Gormuz? Gormuz?"
"Gormuz? ...um, Gormuz? If...if you have some food, I could eat it?"
Kleel had run away from his babysitters, and was in trouble ("I was bad!").
In the meantime, the squid had tried reaching into the airspace of the isle for the players - but apparently disliked the effects of gravity. So it positioned itself well over the top of the isle, its tentacles spaced around the perimeter.
[Quick explanation about gravity in the Floating Isles: it's a phenomenon mostly restricted to isles and properly-constructed boats. In free air there's none. Gravity fields seem to mirror the shape of their isles. Since most natural isles are roughly cone-shaped, with the point downward, the gravity extends upward to the same distance. For some reason, isles tend to adopt the same universal orientation with regard to each other - in other words, there seems to be an "up" and "down" for isles, at least in the general area that the party has visited.]
There commenced a battle. Dominica cast spells at the tentacles she could see from the cave mouth, while Sithliss ducked out now and again to shoot arrows. In return the monster picked up pieces of the damaged air dinghy (destroying it in the process), and flung them at the cave mouth. Fortunately it missed. After it had taken moderate damage in many different hit locations, it emitted a great plume of thick greenish gas from its mouth, straight down onto the isle. The party ducked as far back into the cave as Kleel could go, and then fanned the oncoming gas away as hard as they could. Kleel helped with his wings, which were quite effective.
The gas made them sneeze a bit. When it finally dissipated they peeked outside; the monster had apparently left. They eventually spotted it far below the island, flying away.
During the combat they had spotted an odd-looking airboat cautiously approaching. It seemed to be half white and half black, with a large pale blue spiral-shaped propeller in the rear. Reaching the dock, it stopped, motionless.
Up close, it turned out to be a white-hulled boat with black cloth stretched over the top. The passengers seemed to be hiding, occasionally lifting the cloth slightly for a quick peek out at the party. There were four of them: four wingless Scrivlies, Kleel's babysitters.
[They didn't catch on, I think, but I had based the babysitters on the party. There was Zop, the largest, and strongest of the group; he considered himself the leader, wore black heavy leather armor, and wielded a red crystalline club (practically everything in the Floating Isles is crystalline or weird in some other way).
Minda, a female, wore light leather armor and used a harpoon gun. She was the sneakiest of the group.
Insk was nearly as large and strong as Zop, but smarter and more practical.
Phleeli was clever and knew a bit of unusual magic, but lacked self-confidence.]
The Scrivlies were also fun to play. They're all quite stupid, some more so than others; they're also cowardly. Their voices came out something like the dwarves in the movie Legend. "We're doomed, we're all doooomed!" "You talk to him -" "No, you do it! I did it last time!" It was a kick.
The encounter did not go smoothly for the Scrivlies. After considerable bickering and confusion, the party lost patience and commenced Scrivley-grabbing. This immediately precipitated loud Scrivley-screeching, desperate scrambling, running, and hiding. Kleel watched all this with great enjoyment.
Although Scrivlies are quite good at hiding, a 100-foot island doesn't offer a lot of hiding places, so eventually they were all found and captured. Zop was the last to be found; he had dived off the edge of the isle, and was clinging to the rock down below (he wasn't in danger, since if he'd let go he'd have immediately fallen into the gravity-free zone).
With much questioning it was established that the babysitters had been assigned to their tasks by a Scrivley they called "The Master". He's not winged, but is more like Kleel than the others. He has helped other Scrivlies escape from the "Others" at the Library, whatever that is, and now they all live in a jungle.
Meanwhile, Dominica's tongue had continued to swell. She was very thirsty, and discovered by accident that she could now absorb water rapidly through her skin. Things were definitely getting strange!
Boarding the two airboats, the party and the Scrivlies headed in the general direction that the Scrivlies think the jungle is. After a while, most of the party decided to sleep; there was apparently no night in the Floating Isles, but they had been awake for a long time and were very tired. One party member remained awake on each boat while the rest slept.
When Dominica awoke, she was choking. A large stalk was protruding several feet upward from her mouth. At the end of the stalk was a tongue-shaped pinstriped growth, while the stalk itself was greenish-brown. With some difficulty the party removed the stalk from her throat; at the base, fleshy root-like things twisted and writhed. They placed the stalk in a bowl, and the roots gripped the sides of it. When they checked Dominica, half of her tongue was gone and she had actually shrunk a little - she'd gone from SIZ 9 to 8. On the plus side, she didn't feel bad and what was left of her tongue was no longer pinstriped. Speech had become difficult for her, however.
It was at this point that the Scrivlies panicked and hid. Floating a few hundred feet off and above the party was a very sleek, strange-looking airboat indeed; it looked like a huge arrowhead more than anything else, and the sole inhabitant was watching the party curiously. Whatever it was, the party had never seen one of them before.
And that's where the session ended.
Copyright 2012 by Peter Maranci. Revised: December 05, 2012. v.1.0