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    Canonfire :: View topic - Undersea Adventures: Comments, Concerns, & Concepts
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    Undersea Adventures: Comments, Concerns, & Concepts
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    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Thu Jul 01, 2010 3:27 pm  
    Undersea Adventures: Comments, Concerns, & Concepts

    I am cross-posting this here and in a handful of other D&D boards, across the web.

    I have been running undersea D&D campaigns since 1998; first with “Beneath the Pinnacles of Azor’alq” (play-by-post) followed by “Heirs of Turucambi” (chat-based). The campaigns draw from my interests in marine biology and my hobby of keeping saltwater aquariums, coupled with my fascination with various mythological creatures such as hags, dragons, and demons. I started my current game 3 years ago. While I have a stable following of devoted players (thank you, folks!), I occasionally get the urge to step back, look at my game from a distance, and reinvent my approach as Master Storyteller for my players.

    If your current DM approached you with the idea of starting a new campaign set primarily beneath the surface of the sea, what would be your first reaction? Suppose the “core races” were replaced with the likes of sea elves, locathah, and merfolk (or any race that that has a swim speed and the aquatic subtype). Would that be enough to alienate you?

    I set my games on Oerth, the world of Greyhawk. Prior knowledge of the campaign setting is not required. I also tend to scale back on the use of dragons, while overpopulating the world with hags. Again, this is simply my personal signature in my games. Is that the killing blow that distances potential players?

    My games tend to be role-play heavy and combat light. Rolling lots of dice tends to break my “willing suspension of disbelief”. Spending hours speaking in character as a room full of NPCs is my bread and butter. Again, I know this does not appeal to everyone.

    I am aware that life underwater has its limitations; typical potions are all but impossible to imbibe, paper scrolls will quickly disintegrate, and typical metal items are subject to corrosion. Many typical spells may not suitable for underwater casting. Treasure may be similarly altered, as many undersea races value rare corals, pearls, and shells far more than coins and gemstones. This is one of my most enjoyable aspects of the game - creation.

    Some of the best inspiration for an underwater campaign can come from the Discovery Channel and Animal Planet, visiting a local aquarium or fish store, and perusing ocean-related materials in a bookstore. Discovery’s “Blue Planet” series and Penguin Book’s “OCEAN” are as invaluable to me as “Stormwrack”.

    With that in mind, what are your preferences, for such an adventure? What would you expect to see, in an undersea game? What would make the campaign memorable, enjoyable, and enduring? What would make you want to spend years exploring the realm of liquid space?
    Site Theocrat

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    Fri Jul 02, 2010 12:01 pm  
    Sunken Empires

    Hi all -
    As an Open Design Patron, I got to see Sunken Empires in its creation (along with the Pathfinder module Shore to Sea). I was interested in it because of the underwater rules and such and wanting to see them first hand in PF. I guess it comes from growing up in Hawaii, but having now lived in the desert of Las Vegas for 15+ years I love water based adventures.
    I haven't yet read much of it yet (all the other good PF stuff comes out too...plus with the reading of so many novels, its no wonder I don't have a job).
    So for me (and having watched your under water campaigns travel from GreyTalk posts to CF and elsewhere) I always like the total uniqueness that your adventures would spawn. Concepts and ideas that I likely wouldn't consider otherwise. I noticed that when posting about Sunken Empires when we were looking at rules and monsters.
    So what would my preferences be - how to clerics of land based (Oerth) deities handle it? Would Pholtus want a cleric traversing the water ways, looking for the One True Path (that as a path, can wind up, down and maybe even underwater)? As a Rogue, are my pick pocket skills going to be as useful (how many fishmen carry purses?).
    So for me, character concepts seem like they'd be some of the most fun aspects of the game (but aren't they always - that's why theres more players than GM's).
    Well, I'm sure that doesn't exactly clear anything up - but lets hope it doesn't muddy the mix.

    Be Well. Be Well Breathed.
    Theocrat Issak
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    Theocrat Issak
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    Fri Jul 02, 2010 2:28 pm  

    I have completed a rough gazetter of the Gulf of Ghayar and the offshore corsair islands. Much of it is based within the Dramidj Ocean and the undersea races and the political climate.

    If you are interested - I could send you the manuscript. Frankly I would value any impressions someone of your experience with the enviroment would care to offer.

    Feel free to PM or email me...
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Fri Jul 02, 2010 6:05 pm  

    TheocratIssak wrote:
    how to clerics of land based (Oerth) deities handle it? Would Pholtus want a cleric traversing the water ways, looking for the One True Path (that as a path, can wind up, down and maybe even underwater)?


    It's possible. Ixitxachitl were known to worship Demogorgon in prior editions.

    Crag wrote:
    I have completed a rough gazetter of the Gulf of Ghayar and the offshore corsair islands. Much of it is based within the Dramidj Ocean and the undersea races and the political climate. If you are interested - I could send you the manuscript. Frankly I would value any impressions someone of your experience with the enviroment would care to offer.


    Absolutely. My prior campaign was "Beneath the Pinnacles of Azor'alq", so I am no stranger to the Dramidj.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Wed Jul 07, 2010 8:21 am  

    Aeolius, I've always loved this as an idea for a campaign and think it's really great that you're doing it. To me the cool thing about this campaign is the alien setting gives you the ability to give it in more of a mythical/fairy tale quality. In any undersea campaign I would want to play in the party shouldn't just trying to loot some dungeon, but should be rescuing the princess of the merman kingdom from the Sea Hag of the Blackcoral Abyss. PC background is going to be very important but you've always sounded up to the task of helping players develop this. The other cool thing is the alien setting. Which is also a challenge. You have to make a world were the inhabitants breathe underwater and don't have fire (or maybe the do, which could be an interesting story itself) come to life for the players since it is so weird and different. If you can do that (And I'm pretty confident you can and do) then you should be good.
    One last thing. I've got some files - well, one long webpage really - for an underwater campaign called "The Cradle" that were online awhile ago, as part of the now defunct Gargoyle 13 site. It's not a lot of info but I like it, it takes a really different approach (non anthropomorphic character races), and it could be inspirational. Interested?
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Wed Jul 07, 2010 10:29 pm  

    Aeolius,
    I always found your underwater campaign works as something to look forward too during greytalk sessions. You took the most overlooked part of every game world and fleshed it out. imagine playing a Dolphin who is an aquatic knight who champions his race against the plight of the sharp tooths. Besides your unnatural affinity for Hags beware all nursing homes. Just kidding.

    You flesh out your campaign world in a fashion which breaks from the ordinary. Giving a mystical feel and uniqueness which rivals the best of all rpg source materials. I hope to hear more on your campaigns in future greytalks as well.


    Last edited by Argon on Wed Jul 28, 2010 6:46 pm; edited 1 time in total
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Sat Jul 10, 2010 1:47 pm  

    (Again this is cross-posted at EN World, wizards.com, Giants in the Playground, Pen and Paper Games, RPG.net., PhoenixLore, and Canonfire)

    Apathy.

    I suppose that’s what it boils down to. In a few weeks, this thread might be 6 or 7 pages back; buried beyond discovery, save for those searching for keywords. So, how do we prevent that? How do we keep a topical and current thread available, for those of us interested in either creating underwater encounters, running undersea games, devising an entire milieu in the realm of liquid space, or all of the above?

    Some time ago, I started underwater-themed groups at [URL="http://www.enworld.org/forum/group.php?groupid=57"]EN World[/URL] and [URL="http://community.wizards.com/underwater"]wizards.com[/URL] , both entitled “Under the Sea”. Click on the links, to explore them. Yes, they seem to have fallen victim to apathy.

    So, what would be the best course of action? Should I establish a message-board on a different site altogether, to prevent playing favorites with more established boards? Do we set up a Facebook group (alas, that requires using “real” names) or a Google Wave? Do we set up a weekly chat via IRC or mibbit? How about a merfolk Sim on Second Life? As an experiment, I set up an iWeb domain for my current game. Should I bite the bullet and work on one with Dreamweaver, for future endeavors? I’m open to a weekly offline chat, of course, though I cannot assume everyone is within driving distance of Greensboro, NC.

    I have been running undersea D&D games since 1998. I have a passion for the sea. I keep saltwater aquariums as a hobby. This isn’t simply about my desire to find a new batch of players. I do not wish to see this topic get forgotten, buried, and die.

    Yes, I always have my list of music, websites, books, and DVDs that I recommend, for inspirational purposes. How do we take it a step further? Mind you, some of my players seem to have technological barriers to the likes of MapTools, Second Life, and other CPU and Bandwidth-intensive activities. I would like the means to keep an open dialog, 24/7, for whatever subaqueous thoughts tickle our fancies. How shall we accomplish this?
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Sat Jul 10, 2010 11:40 pm  

    Aeolius,

    You keep it open for me just by expressing it during thursday night greytalk.
    By the way your website is great perhaps you can ask Cannonfire if on the homepage they would have a link to your site or if not here one of the other sites you mentioned may do so. It would be great if it was a feature on cannonfire as alternate Oerth the undersea campaign.

    I really like what you have done someday I might even try a Undersea campaign. The best part is I have your material to draw from when I do. I don't know if any thread goes on for ever but I think you started something already. Don't worry about your current friends and players that aren't tech savvy. If they play in your campaign I'm sure you discuss undersea campaigns with them. Best of luck on future campaigns.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Sat Jul 31, 2010 4:05 am  

    An undersea campaign could be very interesting; very pulp-ish too.

    Sunken cities, sea caverns(submerged, not submerged, or both), forgotten races/monsters/treasures, taking part in waterborne adventures as allies or enemies of sea-faring, air breathing race/nations, stuff for those who get all excited like little girls at the mere mention of the term "Lovecraftian", etc. Razz

    Lots of potential for a lot of different things. And besides, if you thought the land masses of Oerth had a lot of unknown areas, how about its oceans and seas. Shocked Cool
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    Master Greytalker

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    Sat Jul 31, 2010 9:29 am  

    Aeolius: You could open an undersea thread on the Greyhawk- Special Projects Forum. The topic would not disappear but it might still be forgotten.
    Adept Greytalker

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    Sat Jul 31, 2010 11:42 am  

    This is a good topic to mention this guy:


    I decided to start over with my sahuagin line as I was just not happy with where I had them. This is the new SSM-0201 Sahuagin Raider I.
    Black Hand of Oblivion

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    Sun Aug 01, 2010 1:04 am  

    Looks good! I would recommend adding necklaces with shark teeth/shells and other bits on other minis, just to add some variant color areas to the minis when they are painted.
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    Master Greytalker

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    Sun Aug 01, 2010 10:37 am  

    Remember a coral crown for the king and maybe coral cornets for the rival princes. It is all about the bling for monarchies -you know Wink
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Thu Dec 16, 2010 4:28 pm  

    Animal Planet is showing "Blue Planet" episodes from 8pm-2am (Eastern), tonight. Enjoy!
    Novice

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    Fri Dec 17, 2010 9:23 pm  

    Alluria Publishing has a 290 page undersea sourcebook (and aquatic campaign setting) that covers everything from aquatic PC races, aquatic classes, weapons, combat rules, spells, feats, 90 new monsters, ...everything you need for an undersea campaign. It is for the 3.5 d20 and Pathfinder RPG.

    You can find it here: http://www.rpgnow.com/product_info.php?products_id=86538
    GreySage

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    Sat Dec 18, 2010 10:43 am  

    Emberion wrote:
    You can find it here: http://www.rpgnow.com/product_info.php?products_id=86538


    Nice link, Emberion. Thanks! Cool

    And welcome to Canonfire! Looking forward to your continued participation and contributions. So welcome aboard! Happy
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    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Fri Dec 24, 2010 8:15 am  

    And now for something completely different:

    Christmas Tree Worm:
    http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=497+504+541&pcatid=541

    Christmas Wrasse:
    http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=15+1379+2675&pcatid=2675

    Christmas Tree Coral:
    http://www.liveaquaria.com/product/prod_display.cfm?c=597+600+639&pcatid=639

    (searches for Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Festivus, and Kwanzaa had 0 results)

    Deep-Sea News Holiday Gift Giving Guide:
    http://deepseanews.com/2010/12/dsn-holiday-gift-giving-guide/
    GreySage

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    Fri Dec 24, 2010 8:20 am  

    Laughing Nice links, Aeolius, as always. Wink
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    Wed Dec 29, 2010 6:55 pm  

    A recap of last Sunday's game session, just to set the mood:

    In the last session (12/26), the party arrived at the site known as the Chamber of Dissolution. Charged with the task of inspecting and preparing the ancient clockwork mechanisms within four sites, they recalled freeing the hivemind witch Guri from the Grail of Impurities but leaving the site without attending to the musical machine within. At the second site, known only as the Orb of Purification, the party encountered the spectral kraken Mikrokosmus. One site, the Deadwater Fountain, remained undiscovered.

    It was the undead kraken that shared the means of destroying the enclave of mermaid witches which now wore his tentacles, grafted in place of their tails. The four sites must be prepared with care and a sacrifice must be placed upon the altar hidden beneath the isle, causing the Sinking Isle to rise once more. Then ancient gears would spring into motion, acting in unison to forge a weapon of the mysterious metal known as Oerthblood.

    The tsantsa Meir, once a shellycoat of great power but now an unliving shrunken head slain by her own daughter, reflected upon the party’s predicament. Having visited Turucambi Reef, the party collected the first of three tomes which outlined the means by which her mother Xaetra might be restored to life. With the knowledge gleaned from the first tome, they collected Xaetra’s soul within an artifact known as the Lazarus.

    Transported from Turucambi to the waters near the Sinking Isle, in the realm of the Sea Barons, the party recovered the second tome which trapped the hag’s soul within a magical construct, an eidolon, fashioned from ambergris. The third tome, which would restore the hag to life, was supposedly lost within a region known as the Jungle of Lost Ships.

    Upon Xaetra’s resurrection, the evils of the blackwater hag Diadema would be undone, for her unliving form incorporated the mortal remains of Xaetra herself, as well as Xaetra’s sea hag granddaughter Tempest and daughter Salkt, a salt hag. Xaetra had learned that, upon her return to life she would embrace the path of the Chronomancer. She would travel to far future to witness the destruction of Oerth, before being trapped in the distant past. Upon her temporal travels, she would leave clues to her future self, in the form of the three tomes.

    The viletooth lizardman Dorman was the first to see that, standing atop the remains of the tower walls which held the Chamber of Dissolution, were six skeletal forms. NeeKaa, the oceanid, spied gears turning beneath the bony ribcages of the strange creatures and plates of opalescent pearlsteel bolted to their bones. The sea elf Sakura watched as the skeletons ascended the tower walls to throw the bones they had collected into its hollow interior.

    Wielding spears seemingly fashioned from the spines of dolphins, the clockwork skeletons closed upon the party. The diminutive anemoid known as Knot, member of a race of intelligent anemones, divined that their opponents were not creatures of the undead. Dorman was the first to discover that the bony spears held electrical magics.

    As Sakura’s young ward Reiko watched two of the skeletons fighting one another, the party’s locathah companion Canthus used his magical cuttlefish quill to coat the gears of one skeleton with viscous ink. The skeleton turned upon the unwary artisan and unleashed the fury of its spear upon him. Canthus noted the spears were actually the skeletons of eels, coated similarly with pearlsteel.

    Sakura felt her own powers of stealth and darkness grow, in part due to her growing attraction to the unusual blackwater currents within a shallow trench upon the isle. Her ward Reiko, however, had been dealt a crippling blow during her recent abduction by the mermaid witches and their benefactor, a sea hag fleshwarper known only as Purl. Purl removed Reiko’s legs and grafted in their place the body of a water naga, while simultaneously grafting two tentacles from a giant squid and an eye from a powerful beast known as the eye of the deep.

    Reiko’s fragile sanity had been saved, in party due to her timely bonding with Shadow, a ghostly visage. Dorman had previously bonded with the living tattoo Echo, another of the soul shards cast off by Xaetra before her murder at the hands of a covey of hags led by Tempest. The third shard, known simply as Me, remains undiscovered.

    During the ensuing battle, NeeKaa, Canthus, and Dorman were injured by the magical spears. One of the skeletal assailants was destroyed in a cloud of bubbles spewing from the base of the tower, while another was destroyed by one of its own. The part noted that each skeleton seemed to have one component which was made entirely of metal and enshrouded in eldritch fire of azure hue.

    In due time, the battle was won, in part due to the aid of the party’s many companions, including the amphisbaena eel Jur, hatchling coral dragon Gobble, and Hasu the half-dragon sea cat. The locathah Canthus, struck twice by the electrical spears, was slain in the course of the combat. Removed from the innate abilities she once held in life, Xaetra relied upon the components held within her mystic apothecary. Using an arcane infusion, she transformed the corpse of Canthus into a statue of stone.

    Examining the base of the tower in closer detail, the party noted it was ringed by a circle of statues, each of an unknown humanoid that seemed both reptilian and fish-like. One statue stood out from the rest, however, as it appeared as a concave depression instead of a sculpture.


    DM’S NOTES: To be honest, I wasn’t sure if anyone was going to show up on the day after Christmas. We gamed an extra hour, so I was more than pleased. The players of Ryllis the shoal halfling, Junae the mermaid, and Sir Boral the aventi did not attend tonight’s game.

    The four sites of ancient clockwork mechanisms were inspired by equipment used to keep saltwater reef aquariums. The Grail of Impurities, Orb of Purification, Chamber of Dissolution, and Deadwater Fountain were simply a protein skimmer, ultraviolet sterilizer, calcium reactor, and reverse osmosis/deionization filter, albeit in a grand scale with some magics thrown in.

    The clockwork skeletons, inspired by the Antikythera Mechanism, were actually gold clockwork horrors.
    GreySage

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    Thu Dec 30, 2010 4:34 pm  

    Nice, Aeolius. Keep 'em coming. Happy

    Sorry some of your people didn't make it though. Sad

    Maybe next game session! Happy
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    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Sat Jan 08, 2011 12:21 pm  

    I posted a recap of last week's session in this thread , for a bit of variety.
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Sun Feb 13, 2011 7:01 am  

    I just noticed that Cerulean Seas now has s a softcover print-to-order option, over at RPGNow; $20 for the PDF, $40 for the hardcopy, $50 for both.
    GreySage

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    Sun Feb 13, 2011 1:09 pm  

    Your undersea campaign sounds like loads of fun, Aeolius, for both you and your players. Smile I am working on my own undersea adventure which I intend to post on Canonfire! when it is ready.

    I have always been intrigued by undersea adventure possibilities, partly because they were a neglected portion of the published world. However, with the publication of the Scarlet Brotherhood by WotC and later the Savage Tide campaign arc by Pathfinder, under water adventuring publications seem to be much more prevalent.

    In answer to your original question, I believe that most new D&D players imagine knights, wizards, and castles in a medieval fantasy setting and diving immediately into an undersea campaign might be a bit difficult for them. As a seasoned player, however, such a campaign would be a welcome change of pace. My suggestion would be to introduce a new group of players to D&D with a more traditional campaign, throwing the occassional undersea adventure at their characters. Then, when they are ready to retire those characters and begin new ones, you can build that new campaign around the concacts their original characters made in the few undersea adventures they previously participated in.

    SirXaris
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    Thu Feb 24, 2011 11:07 am  
    Re: Undersea Adventures: Comments, Concerns, & Concepts

    Aeolius wrote:
    If your current DM approached you with the idea of starting a new campaign set primarily beneath the surface of the sea, what would be your first reaction? Suppose the “core races” were replaced with the likes of sea elves, locathah, and merfolk (or any race that that has a swim speed and the aquatic subtype). Would that be enough to alienate you?



    I am my current DM. Smile And I have been running a weekly game for two years now - something I had not done with such frequency in years and years. Before we started I polled the group about possible campaigns.

    I proposed one that, while not set beneath the waves, would heavily feature underwater adventures and explorations. Maybe 50/50 or 40/60.

    My group refused. Flat refused. No discussion. Just "no." Their reason? They like D&D as a pseudo-medieval fantasy and they felt that an underwater emphasis would not be compatible with that feel. Occasional underwater excursions were okay with them but not even at a 10% level. And no one wanted anything to do with a watery race (from Stormwrack), even when I offered a sweetened the deal with a stat boost. The closest they would get to considering an underwater emphasis game was pirates (which was also ultimately rejected).

    I tried! Confused
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    Thu Feb 24, 2011 12:30 pm  
    Re: Undersea Adventures: Comments, Concerns, & Concepts

    GVDammerung wrote:
    ...Before we started I polled the group about possible campaigns. I proposed one that, while not set beneath the waves, would heavily feature underwater adventures and explorations. Maybe 50/50 or 40/60. My group refused. Flat refused. No discussion. Just "no." Their reason? They like D&D as a pseudo-medieval fantasy and they felt that an underwater emphasis would not be compatible with that feel.


    Wait... we're supposed to LISTEN to our players?!? kidding...kidding...

    I suppose the main difference was that I had a campaign concept in mind and then looked for players interested in that concept. The group formed with the expectation of undersea adventures. As a result I don't have a massive queue of players lined up for the chance to play merfolk sorcerers thwarting the plans of sea hags... but I did end up with a few. :)

    Quote:
    I tried! Confused


    You can always lurk in my game on Sunday nights, for subaqueous fix. ;)
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    Sun Mar 27, 2011 8:43 am  

    It's been awhile since I posted a recap of a Game Session.

    In the last session (03/20) the party spoke with Scia, the elderly shaman who seemed to lead the remaining slaves abandoned by the kraken Mikros, in a subterranean passage deep within the Sinking Isle itself. Concerned by the appearance of the child Reiko and her well-being in the face of the grafts she unwillingly received, Scia slowly approached the girl and revealed grafts of her own.

    "These..." she touched the green scaly skin around her gills "Were once part of Shulshalus, a mighty sahuagin warrior. He speaks to me, from time to time." she smiled "At first I was afraid. But soon I understood that I honored him, by keeping even this small part of him alive."

    In time, Scia led the party to a rectangular chamber filled with massive intersecting metal pipes. Between the pipes, hammocks fashioned of netting and seaweed were seen. Along the wall, enormous barnacle shells seemed to grow in a cluster.

    As the shaman continued to interrogate the party, regarding their knowledge of the sea hag fleshwarper Purl, NeeKaa recalled the words of the hivemind witch known as Guri. "Purl's weakness is blackwater, as I have told your companion." she had spoken "Aiptasia is a seahorse of a different color. In her madness, she fears her own reflection". The topic turned to talks of the unliving hag Diadema and the mysterious substance known as Blackwater. When NeeKaa revealed what she had learned, Scia’s interest was obviously piqued.

    "Covey?" Scia questioned "Purl spoke of a Blue Coven, when she thought she was alone. Three hags in the service of Olhydra. I believe she worshipped them. Does this help, in any way?"

    When reprimanded by Xaetra, for mentioning the name of the Elemental Princess aloud, Scia shrugged off the warning.

    "Did you ever wonder, eidolon?" Scia turned to face the ambergris hag "Why? Why does she seek to drain the sea? Malice? Chaos? A dire untoward plan? What does she stand to gain?"

    This spurred Xaetra into further debate.

    "And you, druidess." Xaetra retorted "What do you stand to gain, waiting here countless centuries? Aye. I can sense both your time upon this Oerth and your calling."

    "I... I cannot leave." Scia stammered "To leave is certain death. The forge forestalls aging, but its effects do not carry beyond these walls. Suffice to say that the Hearth of Hearts has prolonged our lives, here. But if we leave these caves, our years return." slowly, Scia added "I admit that I am over three hundred years of age."

    Leaving the party to their rest and slumber, Scia returned to her people. Those who slept once again found themselves sharing a communal dreamscape. Emerging within a dimly-lit oubliette, each party member beheld phosphorescent etchings depicting several sea creatures commonly found in the shallows. Those who had visited the spherical chamber once before recalled the tattoos, bearing the likeness of a single etching they had chosen on their prior journey, now illustrated upon their skin.

    Within the tide pool, Xaetra appeared as a hagfish, Jaena manifest as a silver shelled hermit crab with Jariah fastened to her shell as a barnacle. The reef hag Ciliaris emerged as a blue-eyed scallop, while Meir had chosen a humble chiton. Beside the sea urchin Reiko, a sea snake, puffer fish, and striped shrimp manifested.

    "Do you remember me, young one?" the sea snake asked "I am Jade."
    "And I am Pin'clarr" the puffer added
    "What... what is this place?" the shrimp asked with the voice of Scia "Am I dreaming?"

    "Scia, is it?" Meir asked "What do you know of this Blue Coven? What do you know of the Princess of Elemental Evil... Olhydra?"

    The naming of the Elemental Princess invoked a trance within the shellycoat.

    "The elemental princess bore the offspring of the demon lord."Meir began, her voice monotonous and distant. "Twin daughters ostracized by their father. Imprisoned, in distant lakes, far from impending waters."

    Aware that Eyebite, the hag’s tooth artifact seemingly responsible for both her unliving animation and her unbidden prophesies, had spoken through her once more Meir recalled the second artifact, a hag’s tooth, was now in the possession of the insane shellycoat Aiptasia.
    GreySage

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    Sun Mar 27, 2011 9:18 am  

    Interesting, in-depth and as weird as usual! Love it, Aeolius. Wink
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    Fri Jul 08, 2011 4:51 pm  

    A recap of last week's game, to tide you over, as there is no game this week.

    In the last session (07/03/11) the party explored the site of a seeming cemetery; a bed of giant clams arranged conspicuously in rows. Their appearance not unlike unkempt tombstones, the clams held a sinister secret. Each contained a blackwater wraith, a spirit given substance by the unnatural waters below. As the party noted the wraiths’ affinity for the sea elf Sakura and her blackwater-infused weaponry and cape, a school of bony blackskates formed overhead.

    One wraith in particular seemed most interested in Sakura, pointing to her with a whiplike arm before retreating within the clam shell from which he arose. As he did so, the blackskates above formed into a larger amalgamated shape, that of a manta ray. Sakura discovered, within the clam, a massive black pearl etched with golden runes. As the pearl grew inexplicably larger, the blackskates formed into the likeness of a massive jellyfish.

    Drawing closer, Sakura watched as the golden runes lifted from the black pearl. As they slowly swirled, they approached the cautious sea elf. Two writhing black tentacles rose from nearby clams and seemed to attack the drifting runes; tearing them to shreds and reforming the wayward light into words familiar to all.

    “Free us;” the words read, as they drifted freely in the surrounding sea “the pearl is our prison. Our ship, entrapped above. Our lives, forfeit. We are the Pirates of the Black Tide, held fast to our graves by the power of the pearl placed here by one who dwells below.

    The Pearl steals from us. It grows stronger. We do not. The Pirates of the Black Tide must endure!”

    Grasping the pearl, Sakura flinched as the golden runes exploded in a shower of sparks. The blackwater, freed from its bond, flowed over Sakura's hands and seemed to disappear beneath her skin. The pearl that remains does not resemble the one first seen. It now appeared as a crystalline egg of azure hue, etched with a delicate spiral encircling its surface. Sakura was similarly affected, for the darkness of her eyes now swirled with the essence of blackwater.

    As if summoned, the massive bone jellyfish rose slightly, before moving to the north. There it began to sink into the depths. Acting on impulse, the triton called Current swam swiftly to the surface of Synsaal, the Barrier Between Worlds. There he searched for the ship mentioned by the umbral wraiths, yet he found only overgrown mounds of seaweed, writhing vines that moved of their own accord, and groves of trees growing upon the mats of seaweed that comprised the Weed-Sea.

    The aventi Noie was the first to see the approaching form to the north. Humanoid in form and stature, the creature seemed to be made of stone entrusted with coralline algae, soft corals, and sponges. Sea fans, stony corals, barnacles, and seaweed grew upon its stout frame, like badges of honor upon a tattered uniform.

    "You have destroyed the pearl. Why?" it asked, a crimson-hued crab crawling from between its lips as it spoke. "Now the cloud pearl is exposed. Now they will return for it, the storm hags, as they seek control of Cloudsea.

    The covey wreaks havoc upon the waters of the Devil's Purse." the form continued “ for they control terrible waterspouts, but do not yet control the cloud itself. The pearl must be concealed. It must be contained within a natural sheath, or one of magical origins, to mask its location."

    When the party retold the events leading to the cloud pearl’s exposure, the man of liverock seemed unconcerned.

    "Unfortunate... and unintentional." it began "Many pirates have met their fate in the weed-sea, it is said. Pirates, treasure fleets, fishermen, and crafts from unknown waters.

    The pearl gathered blackwater. I assumed it was from a natural source. Rest assured if the blackwater nacre is gone, the souls will be as they were.

    How do you intend to cloak the pearl? If they sense it, if they scry it, they will come."

    After a brief exchange, the ambergris hag Xaetra procured her daughter Jariah from within her magical apothecary. Conceived from the stuff of dreams while the hag was imprisoned within Dream Lake, Jariah appeared as a human infant with skin of pearlescent hue. When the stone-man saw Jariah, he held his arms across his chest.

    "A child? A child of pearl?" he stammered “They will want to know. The whitebeards are the keepers of the forges. They tell of one with skin of pearl."

    As the party spoke with the unnamed newcomer, they sensed movement in the waters above. An unmoving form, entangled in a fishing net, fell from the shallows. Several small sharks, their underbellies glowing with bioluminescence, took advantage of easy prey, ripping bits of flesh from the body.

    The corpse appeared to be that of the lizardman Rikas, the lycanthrope who had assisted them upon their arrival to the Jungle of Lost Ships.
    Grandmaster Greytalker

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    Fri Jul 08, 2011 6:47 pm  

    Aeolius,

    Another great job a child of the pearl indeed. Until the next episode of the Poseidon adventure. Happy
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    Sun Jul 10, 2011 4:25 am  

    Very interesting, indeed, Aeolius - I've had a few underwater encounters in my games through the years, but never a full campaign. Although intrigued by it, I'm not sure my players at those times would have appreciated all the work that goes into it, nor would they have enjoyed it like I would have.

    I guess an underwater game needs to be announced and particular players sought - ones who wish to play specific sea-life characters and such. Personally, I would love to do that as a player and as a DM. But, I am more combat oriented and less role-playing I guess. I like rolling those dice (be in on the table or on a virtual roller) and make that known in the games I run.

    Good luck with your campaign!
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    Fri Jul 22, 2011 10:26 pm  

    Just a small question regarding aquatic adventures and canon:
    How large a lake has to be to until it's "a map item"? I noticed that the entire Sterich and Keoland have absolutely no lakes whatsoever (according to maps). I was thinking about inserting some lakes here and there, but I was just thinking how big they should be... Maybe something like max. 300 square meters?

    I was thinking about adventures at some small(ish) lake in Sheldomar Valley, but I have huge problems finding any lakes from the map :D
    GreySage

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    Fri Jul 22, 2011 11:50 pm  

    The smallest canon lake I'm aware of on the map of the Flanaess is the one in the Griff Mountains (or is it the Rakers), between the Hold of Stonefist and Tehn. It is the headwaters of a river running south out of the mountains into Tehn, if I recall correctly. That lake is 15 miles or so in rough diameter based on a hex being 10 leagues (~ 30 miles) across.

    You should also check out Anna's maps (stickied in this forum). She has added many lakes that aren't on the original Greyhawk map. So, in my opinion, you should feel free to add lakes up to 10 miles in diameter anywhere you like without violating any canon (unless you place them in a desert or the Dry Steppes... ).

    SirXaris
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    Sat Jul 23, 2011 5:23 am  

    SirXaris wrote:
    The smallest canon lake I'm aware of on the map of the Flanaess is the one in the Griff Mountains (or is it the Rakers), between the Hold of Stonefist and Tehn. It is the headwaters of a river running south out of the mountains into Tehn, if I recall correctly. That lake is 15 miles or so in rough diameter based on a hex being 10 leagues (~ 30 miles) across.

    You should also check out Anna's maps (stickied in this forum). She has added many lakes that aren't on the original Greyhawk map. So, in my opinion, you should feel free to add lakes up to 10 miles in diameter anywhere you like without violating any canon (unless you place them in a desert or the Dry Steppes... ).

    SirXaris


    Thank you for the feedback, I agree with you 100%. I will put one lake close to Crystalmist Mountains (not covered in Anna's otherwise brilliant work) and place a Phrenic Giant Pike in there (monster can be found from Tome of Horrors II and the template is available in Expanded Psionic Handbook). The lake will be 7 miles wide, so it will be classified as "canonly insignificant"...
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Sat Jul 23, 2011 10:01 am  

    SirXaris wrote:
    So, in my opinion, you should feel free to add lakes up to 10 miles in diameter anywhere you like without violating any canon (unless you place them in a desert or the Dry Steppes... )


    So a subterranean saltwater river running from the Oljatt Sea to the Dramidj Ocean would be Loose Canon, then? ;)

    "Unknown to all but a handful of protectors, a massive underground river of calcium-rich saltwater known as the Underflow connects the Dramidj Ocean to the faraway Oljatt Sea, some three thousand miles to the southeast. It is suspected that the more intelligent sea mammals use this route for migration, to avoid detection by whalers and other predators. As the majority of the Underflow is completely submerged, travel in the Underflow, by the inexperienced, is all but impossible.

    Travel between Irukandji Cay and Turucambi, by way of the Underflow, is a journey of over three weeks in length, by means of special vessels crafted of living sponge, which are harvested for the purpose. The intense shifting currents, layers of poisoned waters, and indigenous sea jellies make this a journey fraught with danger for the unprepared. "
    GreySage

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    Sat Jul 23, 2011 6:26 pm  

    @ Aeolius

    I have never heard of the Underflow before. It sounds quite intriguing. From what source does your quote come?

    SirXaris
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    Sat Jul 23, 2011 7:27 pm  

    SirXaris wrote:
    From what source does your quote come?


    That would be from my own Grey Matter, there. ;)
    GreySage

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    Sat Jul 23, 2011 8:33 pm  

    Aeolius wrote:
    SirXaris wrote:
    From what source does your quote come?


    That would be from my own Grey Matter, there. ;)


    Have you written an article that I can research for more information on this geographical feature?

    SirXaris
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    Mon Jul 25, 2011 9:32 am  

    I have the intention of writing up the entirety of the Devil's Purse from an undersea perspective, one of these days; Turucambi, The Sinking Isle, The Jungle of Lost Ships and bits about Cloudsea and the Underflow.

    Until then, it's just in my noggin.

    a bit from the background of my current game:

    " Syliah was not appeased. She demanded the homunculus, corpse, and construct be removed from her domain. Yet beneath her grasp, the iron hag was stolen by its creation, Jaenan. Frightened, the silver-pied child carried grandmother clock into the one place she knew the others would not follow - the Underflow.

    Entrusted with the corpse of the midnight hag and her desiccated homunculus, Tempest and Salkt fearfully followed the silvery mechanatrix into the darkness of the immense submerged cavern, which joined the Dramidj Ocean with the Oljatt Sea, thousands of miles to the east. Together, the two found courage within a token granted by Syliah, the bodiless head of Meir. Animated by necromantic magics, the shrunken head served to bolster hags’ powers as if they had been joined by a third, completing their covey.

    Unknown to all but a handful of protectors, a massive underground river of saltwater known as the Underflow connects the Dramidj Ocean to the faraway Oljatt Sea, some three thousand miles to the southeast. The intense shifting currents, layers of poisoned waters, and indigenous sea jellies make this a journey fraught with danger for the unprepared. As the majority of the Underflow is completely submerged, travel by the inexperienced is all but impossible.

    Yet onward they traveled, Jaenan and her burden, the two hags and their charge, followed by Xaetra’s final legacy - the simulacrum. Fashioned from ruby dust, a living draught of elemental blackwater, and a bit of flesh from Salkt’s daughter, the magical duplicate swam dutifully onward, never questioning her orders, intent, or creation. By appearance she seemed indistinguishable from NeeKaa, one of the heroes of Azor’alq and Xaetra’s granddaughter through Salkt’s union with an unwitting triton. Yet from the moment of her creation she was but a sliver of the oceanid’s soul coupled with her own dreams and desires.

    The currents of the Underflow held secrets of their own design. Within their waters, the corpse of the midnight hag awakened once more; taking the shape of the deathlock; an unliving creature bound to the powerful magics its wielder once commanded in life. Within the eddies of the Underflow, the unliving head of Meir awakened; emancipated from Syliah’s control. Within the turbulent waters, Tempest happened upon a field of phosphorescent coral; coral bound by the magics of incarnum and charged with the powers of propagation. The coral begat a life of its own.

    Clumsily, the two hags held fast to their prize as the currents beneath the ocean floor spat them out like wastewater. The sea was shallow and warm. Two moons shone brightly atop Synsaal, the Barrier Between Worlds.

    The safety of their captive was crucial to earning the favor of their mistress, yet the journey had taken its toll. In an instant, Tempest succumbed to the birth spasms of her parthenogenetic offspring. Of virgin birth, Ciliaris the reef hag was born with the memories held by her mother. From her first breath, she hated her. The infant hag took full advantage of her mother’s weakness, abducting the token hag and darting off into the distance.

    It would be the last sight beheld by both Tempest and Salkt."
    GreySage

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    Mon Jul 25, 2011 10:42 am  

    Very cool, Aeolius. Happy

    SirXaris
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