A series of seemingly random events led to a journey of a lifetime. The druidess Acelia and her two guardians Kobort and Misha were assigned to help out with a forest fire far to the east. Having been caught with her finger in the “cookie jar” too many times, Gwendon Asticanti was banished to the east to prevent any further loss of family honor. On a journey of self discovery, the monk Dart had seen fortune’s grace in a ticket found. Awoken in the middle of the night to an assault on the temple of Moradin by bandits, the young dwarven acolyte Toll was entrusted with a valuable package and gold enough to purchase his way to another sanctuary far away. Having completed his apprenticeship, the now Sorcerer Gallandro was bound for the Tower of Khargus to begin his journeyman training. Their eighty day journey was one bound to take a lifetime…
While Boarding the Airship for their new life, a rather crude noble by the name of Count Victor Hardly rather rudely accosted Gwendon. He also was very brash to a young crewmember name Daamon Rhylda. His brashness ended with Gwendon threatening his life, and the kind dwarven Cleric Toll assisting Daamon.
Once on the ship, Count Hardly spared no time in making more enemies – this time of the druidess Acelia, who was under the protection of the two Rangers, Misha, and Kobort. Gwendon decided to make the Count her “project” for the cruise, and set out to find anything she could about him. What she discovered was that a business partner of his was on the ship – a man by the name of Arwynn Horriss who apparently owed him a great deal of money.
While observing Arwynn, Gwendon spotted him conversing with an actor. Later that week during the play – neither the Count nor Arwynn showed up. After the ball the next night, a great fireworks display occurred for the amusement of the passengers. During the lights out, the Count was brutally murdered and the Druidess Acelia sprayed with blood – even though she was on the other side of the ballroom. To complicate matters, when Gwendon returned to her room, she discovered the Murder Weapon under her own bunk!
Everyone that was concerned in the affair – The Cleric, the Steward Daamon, Arwynn, Gwendon, Acelia, and her two bodyguards soon found themselves before the ship’s captain. Informed that they were all suspects in the murder, all would hang come the end of the journey if the murderer did not confess. The game was afoot! Gwendon had the murder weapon but told no one. There was motive there for everyone and certainly opportunity. An investigation had to occur, and they were the only ones to do it.
The first order of business was to examine the body. A thorough once over gave a few clues – A torn piece of a handkerchief with the stylized initials AH on them – A smudge of actor’s makeup on the hand of the deceased – The fact that the Count’s cane was missing. Up next was the search of the Count’s quarters. This turned up a strange twist – the Count had his own handkerchiefs in the same pattern as the torn evidence.
After a demonstration with a cane and the cantaloupe, a few more passengers took interest in the case and began to help. Questioning the actor did no good, but searching his, room did turn up a blowgun in his makeup kit. At this point Gallandro, the sorcerer who decided to help out charmed the actor and got him to confess that he had been hired by Arwynn to kill the Count during the Play the other night – but that the Count had not shown up. When presented with this evidence, Arwynn confessed that he had hired someone to kill Viktor, but not simply for greed. He had done it because Viktor was an evil man who had killed his wife many years ago to inherit her fortune. Killed her in the same manner the Count himself was killed.
Well, in no time after this admission, the clever Gwendon who appeared to be one-step ahead in the whole game decided that the Steward Daamon was the murderer. As it turns out, Daamon Rhylda was an anagram for Amanda Hardly – Who had not died so long ago, but had fled to become a steward on this ship – and then killed the Count when she encountered during the journey.
At last, the mystery reached its solution, though not to the ultimate secret that it truly held. As it turned out, the entire plot was a hoax! All of the players save for the passengers themselves where actors hired by the ship’s line to entertain the guests with a tale of intrigue and excitement. To congratulate the people who participated in the solving of the crime, each person received 100gp, save for Gwendon – who received the Magical Cane that had been the murder weapon.
After the big mystery, the groups’ involvement in ships affairs diminished as another story began to unfold. Many thefts begin to take place, with no clue as to the thief. Day or Night, Rich or Poor, cabins were being robbed – sometimes of their entire contents. Apparently, the ship had a thief aboard who was a master at his craft and apparently had endless pockets.
Additionally, the group met a rather nasty old hag who offered to tell their fortunes. Only Dart, Toll, Gallandro and Acelia agreed to her request, and one disgusting set of fortune tellings later, the party was left with the following verses.
The Monk’s Fortune
As Day passes day
As seasons come and go
The fires of the spirit
Burn as bright as fallen snow
The Dwarf’s Fortune
As your fate leads you into strife
One turn spells victory;
Two turns uncertainty;
Three ends your life
The Sorcerer’s Fortune
As deadly as the Wyvern’s spur
As graceful in its flight
A dragon’s gaze upon you
From dawn till endless night
The Druid’s Fortune
Though turned upon by
Those who protect you
You shall be protected by
That which seeks to destroy you
The group, now at least trusting each other, gathered their mutual belonging and placed them in a single room where one person would volunteer on any given day into guarding their belongings. Many of the other passengers took to wearing weapons and backpacks with their most precious belongings. This act would later work to the advantage of all.
For on the day that the ship passed over the massive canyon that lies to the south of the Forgotten Kingdom, tragedy struck – or rather a massive harpoon. The missile erupted through the floor of the dining hall while the group was finishing a morning meal – all but Misha who was on guard duty. The ship shuddered and lurched to a stop – causing Misha to pile everyone’s belongings in a blanket and drag it to the dining hall.
Meanwhile, with the dining hall slanting downwards and passengers slipping left and right towards the rear glass wall, the group struggled to keep their feet. The glass wall then shattered as four goblins with leather kites strapped to their backs landed and began to attack. The group met the attack with much death dealing, ending with three kites for the party, and the entire dining hall plummeting towards the earth.
Through luck and the intervention of fate in the form of a semi-sentient forest of massive thorny vines that protects life where it can, the group found themselves on the ground in one piece. After recovering from the shock of surviving their ordeal, the companions began to try to salvage food from the remains of the dining hall, all the while beating back the attack of a group of orcs and gnolls. They discovered then that if a missile weapon misses its intended target and hits one of the vine trees, the tree would retaliate with the death of the attacker. Many gnolls and one survivor died in this heinous manner – crushed and flung by the trees. Finally, the battle was over, and the group then jury-rigged a cart from some tabletops and filled it with as much food as they could salvage.