So, we all gathered to pick up the story of the fishermen turned into adventurers this past Friday. After several minutes trying to remember where we left off, who had done what to whom, what our job was supposed to be, and what did all these numbers mean (ugh....Pathfinder....), our DM set the stage at a few months after our arrival in a hidden valley. We (the entire group, not just the PCs) had pulled the sky ship from its crash site in the lake. The adepts were busy working on restoring the woodwork while the rest of us foraged for food or searched for other debris which might be useful. We had discovered that about a week after our arrival, the lake turned jet black and gave off an odd odor. At least one person died from the "water" and everyone else grew sick from the air. After two days, the water returned back to normal as the black water worked its way downstream and on the 3rd day, all were back to full health. Then about 28 days after the first change, the lake turned again. No one drank the water so no one died, but everyone was sick for 3 days again. Searching upstream for the source did not produce anything. So, the game was starting about 3 days from the next darkening.
I suggested we meet with John Featherstone (our employer) and find out what we could do to hurry up the reconstruction so we would all be gone by the time the water changed. He told us we had all we needed for the sky ship, except for the throne/helm. It was a highly magical item needed to control and fly the ship. It was nowhere to be found, though we hadn't fully plumbed the depths of the lake. We also heard that there was something going on with the drakes which had attacked us when we were making our way to the valley. They were seen more and more frequently on the horizon. As we were discussing whether to go upstream to look again for the source of the black water or go downstream to check out the bugbear/hobgoblin fortress or try to find a way to search the lake bottom with magical aid, we got reports from the outer guards that a large group of lizardfolk were heading upstream on the opposite side of the lake. This we took to be fortuitous and headed upstream on our side of the lake in the hopes of meeting at a fording place.
A few hours later, we find a fording spot. The lizardfolk had spotted us, but as we were only 7 (6 PCs and an NPC) they were not overly concerned. The leader appeared to be a shaman of some kind. The group consisted of a few warriors, a lot of females and young. At the ford, we greeted them and asked why they were headed in this direction. The shaman said that it looked good for a new home. I asked if the black water was something they were associated with or knew of. This was news to the shaman. He said then that they were cursed. They had had a bad fight with the bugbears as they were migrating to a new home. He was leading the noncombatants with the hopes that the warriors would be able to catch up. As we were talking a runner came up (as we had seen before on their walk) and informed them of a group of bugbears following. I offered a trade: help us search the lake for more parts of the boat as well as finding materials to speed up the building of the ship and we would fight the bugbears as well as try to get them somewhere away from the drakes and bugbears. After some thought, he agreed. He sent an apprentice with us to show us to observe and we found an ambush spot for the bugbears. We sent the NPC with him back to camp to work out the deal in detail with Featherstone.
Our militant dwarven cleric decided to stand in the middle of the road to challenge the bugbears because he wanted a clean fight and a real toe-to-toe fight. The 3 brothers (me - the human rogue, Dewayne - the half-orc barbarian, and Charlie - the half-elf ranger) were on one side of the road in cover while the apprentice, the finesse fighter and the sorceror (a new player) were on the other side. The bugbears approached and the cleric challenged. The lead bugbear rushed in for the fight. Our ranger cast Entangle on the rest of the bugbear group. Then a bugbear in the back reciprocated with Entangle on us. (jerk) Half of them failed their saves and were stuck, half of us were stuck. Long story short - our barbarian got badly hurt, we killed 4 of the bugbears, hurt several, and chased them off. Gathering our breath, binding wounds, and healing up we looted the bodies. Mostly useless stuff but they were using poisoned weapons. It's a nasty poison and I'm tempted to use it with my rogue.....but my rolls have been crappy and I'm afraid I'll poison myself.
PF is not a bad game, but it is numbers heavy. The characters are more balanced in some senses, but I find my rogue is pretty useless in the wilderness. The barbarian and the ranger can deal some serious damage. All I've got is my Rod of Wonder, which only put Faerie Fire on the big bad guy. Eh, that's okay. It slowed and then petrified a Huge chimera last time we played PF.
Next week should be Space 1889. Looking forward to that one.