Session 3: How do your People Feel about Skamados?

Day 8; Early Summer; July 6, 2023

Having crash landed on the Isle of Grownde, Marto and Johnny check out the boat, finding that it has suffered significant damage but is probably still seaworthy, though any further trauma is likely to destroy it. Since neither of them is able to figure out how to repair the magical vessel, their best bet is to find a local shipwright. The Isle of Grownde is mostly uninhabited to the best of everyone's knowledge, though Ren's kin - the owlin have an outpost nearby. Indeed, exploring the cove where they've landed, the crew find a rickety set of stairs leading up the cliffs, most likely to the owlin owltpost. They also find a dark cave on the opposite side of the cliff.

Ren is reticent about going to visit the owlin, so they check out the cave instead. Oliver hurls a fireball inside, trying to get a better glimpse of whatever's inside. All they can see is some sort of insectoid creature, apparently asleep, but quite large; about the size of a bear. Frito flies in to see if there are any others, but his wingbeats awaken the creature, and it attacks, spitting acid at Oliver and Johnny, and then Johnny and Marto. Oliver's guiding bolt significantly wounds the creature, though, and Ren is able to finish it off with a well-placed crossbow bolt. Beyond the beast is a narrow passage, which Ren and Marto easily fit through, but Johnny and Oliver are forced to stay behind.

In the room through the passage, Ren and Marto find a metal cube similar to Zitona's vault. Another door is set in the rock wall as well. Ren opens the door in the wall with her impressive lockpicking skills, while Marto goes through the unlocked cube door, which closes behind him, locking him inside of a convoluted puzzle chamber. Within the cube are many more doors, and each door he passes through closes behind him. Eventually, he realizes that he can use Frito to cheat the system, sending the familiar through a door and then summoning him back. In this manner, he makes it through the final door and joins back up with Ren. A tunnel leads them deeper and deeper into the cliff, and Frito finds that it leads to another, even larger tunnel, further on. They decide to go back and join up with Johnny and Oliver again, before they get lost in a strange, underground labyrinth.

Once the group has reunited, they all squeeze through the tunnel and make the descent to the crossroads that Frito had found. A sign on the wall points in two directions, indicating that the left passage leads to Natalia, while the other leads to Gull Island. These are opposite points on the end of the current island chain, and pursuing either of them would probably mean abandoning their boat, so they all head back.

On the way back through the tunnel, Johnny gets fully stuck, trapping Marto inside. They are then interrupted by three creatures, smaller versions of the giant water strider they fought on the colossus. The creatures are friendly, at least initially, and introduce themselves as Kip, Shah, and Toot (pronouncing all of their stops as ejectives). Kip even has a way of helping Johnny, being decked out in wooden cannisters and armor. One of these cannisters contains some grease, which helps Johnny slip free. However, when they see Marto, the scooters are suspicious, calling him a skamado, which is apparently an enemy of some sort. Kip explains that the skamado are messengers of the gods, who abandoned their people. The term appears to refer to halflings and gnomes, though it's not clear if the scooters can tell the difference. They say they recently caught another skamado in this very cave, and imprisoned her in their nest. The crew convinces the scooters that Marto is not a skamado, and ask to visit someone in authority so they can try to speak to this skamado, who they believe to be Zitona. Kip agrees to take them, and to help them repair their boat, which they consider an interesting technical challenge.

Kip and the other scooters lead the crew to another nearby cove, and Shah leads them further into the cave. To keep the scooters from worrying about Marto, they shove Marto up to his neck into the bag of holding, exposing just his head. There are two authorities in the scooter nest: an anti-priest, and an elder, called Matron Taash. They decide to see Matron Taash, though they do stop by the chapel to "defile" the five betrayer-gods, who appear to be obsidian cylinders decorating with spiral carvings that differentiate them from one another. Johnny goes ahead and defiles them, which is met with appreciation.

To get to the matron, the crew has to descend a ropes course that the scooters navigate with ease, but Ren has to fly everyone down in the bag of holding. The matron is not to be looked at, but is on the other side of a wall composed of driftwood and seaweed, so this isn't hard. Still, the crew struggles a little to be polite, making a few faux pas along the way, such as by complimenting her thorax. A minister stands nearby, and accepts the golden knife that Oliver gifts to her. They then explain that they are probably enemies of the skamado as well, and are hoping to interview Zitona to find out more. In the end, Matron Taash agrees to trust them, and sends them with the minister to the prison.

On the way to the prison, Johnny finds a young scooter playing with a magical toy water strider that runs along the water under its own power. He can't find any way to purchase it from the kid, but takes special note of it. The minister then leads them through a metal door into the prison, which consists of five black metal cubes. He touches one, which opens it, revealing Zitona asleep on the floor. She wakes up, and Ren and her converse in Halfling, so that the minister can't understand. Zitona says she was jumped in the cave and imprisoned while she was waiting for the crew to come to her. They've done their job and she's more than happy to reward them, but first they need to get out of jail. Johnny and Ren manage to convince the minister that the skamado were also tricked by the gods, and Zitona is fighting against them as an ally. The minister's anti-faith is shaken, and he agrees to help them escape. This is easy enough; they just shove Zitona in the bag and go.

By this time, Kip has already done great work repairing their boat (it's back up to 30 hp). They ask him if he wants to come along on the journey, and Kip is overjoyed, hoping to be the furthest-traveled scooter in history, since they usually only live about a month. Zitona also comes along, since she will need to tutor Marto in mathematics before she can begin to teach him anything about The Fold. They set off, and begin heading towards the Triangle Peaks, one island inland from Grownde.