Saturday we played another session of the Vaults of Ur campaign. Justin, having switched to a variant Stars Without Number system for the game, has been awarding XP on some "adventure" metric rather than monsters slain and treasures gained, and because of that, Thidrek earned his way up to 5th level after the previous session (and Venerable Carolus made 6th while Burg the Orc made 2nd).
This session, we started where we left off, with the same players/characters. Dean played Venerable Carolus, Jeremy played Burg the Orc, Alexei played Maya Culpar the Elf, and I played Thidrek the Sleestak. Ralex the NPC Fighter was also with us. We had just been captured by lizard men when we ended the previous session.
After a bit of communication through gesture, we were stripped of most of our gear (weapons and armor were retained, but not shields or ammo) and taken to the lizard men's hunting camp and placed in a corral of rocks. Some of the reptilians left with our stuff, we assumed to either their village or to use as an offering to some foul slimy reptile godling. Karl ended up losing quite a bit of useful stuff, including 1000gp he'd picked up in adventures beyond the veil (Thidrek has a strong box back in Fort Low where he keeps his loot). Karl was quite put out, and vowed revenge on the lizards.
We contemplated escape, but seemed to be too well guarded (and too low on hit points after losing the battle with the fire lich). The next morning, a half-human hybrid showed up with another large group of lizard man warriors, and we spoke through him to the leaders. When they learned that we were just trying to get to our home, they offered us safe passage through their lands IF (you know this is coming, surely) we took out a monster that preyed on their tribe.
We were tasked with slaying the eagle-shark, a beast Carolus had heard about and he knew its feathers would fetch a fair price back in Fort Low. We were taken out into the jungle with an escort, given a shield each and our ammo, and then set loose. After a brief debate about just high tailing it through the city back towards Low and taking our chances, we decided to at least check out the eagle-shark. Carolus had ideas of befriending it and flying around tormenting the lizard men. I was just curious about the beast.
We came to an arch (I imagine it, from the way Justin described it, as like l'Arc de Triomphe or the Brandenburg Gate. And now that I think about it, could the Golden Pyramid be the Louvre? Is Ur based on a map of Paris?) that the beast used as a feeding ground. After hunting for a small beast to use as bait, we made a meat-puppet and set it up in the plaza. Waiting around for a while, the beast finally appeared. And it was HUGE! It had the head and tail of a shark, wings and body of an eagle, and the legs of a lion. Karl uses Speak with Animals to try to talk to it, and it of course tried to eat him, then let out a blast of sound that caused Burg to run in fear. The creature then scooped the Orc up in its claws and flew around trying to bite him.* The rest of us were busy shooting at it.
Finally, Burg managed to score a hit on its wing, causing it to veer off course and slam into the arch, dropping the orc (and dropping him to negative hit points). Karl ran out to heal Burg, and Ralex ran out to cover Karl. Maya and I kept shooting. The creature managed to destroy Ralex's shield, but shots from both of us archers brought the eagle-shark low. Karl, still intent on trying to befriend the beast and use it as an instrument of revenge, proceeded (despite warnings not to from all of us) to cast Cure Light Wounds on it and ask it to join us.
He got bitten and brought down to low single digit hit points for his efforts.
So we renewed our attack, and killed it a second time.
We took some feathers and its claws. Thidrek searched the top of the arch and found some dead men in strange armor with the eight-arrow mark of magic we've found before (like on Karl's stone fist and Caradoc's magical armor). The lizard folk, while we were prisoner, had not liked that mark on Karl's fist, claiming it was the mark of Sky Hunters who fly around on magical sleds. These, apparently, were Sky Hunters who fell prey to a higher level hunter. We took their armor, and a bag of gems (well, as Justin pointed out, Thidrek was up there alone... Hey, he's got a potion abuse problem and potions ain't cheap!) just as the lizard men came to claim our prize from us.
They took us back to their village for an Ewok style victory feast. To be continued...
*Jeremy had rolled up a new Mutant character (complete with randomly rolled Gamma World style mutations, and Justin had asked him bluntly if it was OK to kill off Burg - Justin sure seemed to be trying! Fun stuff.)