Last session, the PCs returned the Eye of the Sea Dragon to Harrimast's temple--only to have it and its mate immediately stolen by a bunch of cultists! Captain Fletcher's ghost cracked and started wailing incessantly, but the Pirate God granted Father Peg-Leg, Harissa, and Larkspur a vision of the cult's warehouse hideout. The two women hurried back to the ship to collect Inacio and Marisol (who were guarding their loot). They found the warehouse easily enough, and burst in ready to fight. Inacio dodged the trap on the door, then the party closed with the guards, who they took out handily. The adept's cause fear spell set Inacio fleeing the scene, then he hid under cover of darkness. Larkspur summoned a black bear that sniffed him out and tore him to pieces.
They felt around in the dark and finally found the secret trapdoor to the cellar below. Larkspur was the last to go down the ladder, where she was attacked by a quasit. The demon used hit and run tactics as the party continued on through the tunnels. They reached a large chamber filled with yellow incense smoke and nearly a dozen yellow-robed cultists chanting in a trance-like state. At the center of their circle was an altar holding the Eyes of the Sea Dragon. Harissa, being an impulsive azhari, tumbled through the ring of cultists to snatch the gems. She failed to make her check tumble back out of the crowd, so was left in the thick of things. The leader stepped away from her while continuing his summoning, while the nearest cultists sluggishly moved to attack Harissa and interpose themselves between her and their boss. She attempted to force her way through to attack him, but as more cultists surrounded her, she quickly changed tactics and tumbled her way out of the mob. (If not for the effects of the incense and trance on the cultists, she would have faced a quick, messy death!)
Meanwhile, Marisol saw Harissa's moves and cast expeditious retreat. Inacio pulled out a pouch of snakeweed (loot from their last adventure), and dumped its contents into the nearest incense burner as Harissa handed off the Eyes to the wizard. The quasit scored a hit on Inacio, then recoiled in horror as the second wave of drugged smoke started filling the room. Desperate now that the sacrifice had been stolen, the demon sped after the retreating Marisol. Harissa got a lucky blow as it passed her, and the disabled monster fell to the ground as soon as it reached the warehouse above.
The other PCs ran for the ladder, chased by cultists. During this running fight, the cult sorcerer finished his ritual back in the main chamber, but the PCs heard panicked screams as the summoned monster turned on him and his followers--they were the only potential meals in sight. Bringing up the rear, Inacio slowed down the pursuing cultists by tossing caltrops in his wake, and doused the base of the ladder with a flask of oil. Larkspur lowered a rope to him as Harissa pried at the top of the ladder. The hadozee lit the oil and scrambled up as quickly as he could. Harissa kicked the ladder loose, then her friends shut the trapdoor, and Inacio jammed its hinges so the cultists couldn't escape. Then the three heroes hurried off to Harrimast's temple.
Marisol reached the temple well ahead of them, and turned over the gems to Peg-Leg. Captain Fletcher came to his senses and thanked her profusely as his spirit faded away. By the time the other PCs arrived, Peg-Leg had called for healers for them. Priests accompanied them back to their ship to collect Fletcher's remains for burial.
However, on their arrival there, the PCs heard noises from someone or something that had come aboard in their absence. A small monkey-like creature was ransacking their supplies. Marisol identified it as a ghost eater [see Creatures of Freeport], and told the others its usefulness in hunting undead. Luckily it had not yet found Fletcher's bones in the next room, so they were able to hand those off to the priests as Larkspur did her best to calm and befriend the creature. After several minutes, the ghost eater was friendly towards her, and the party got the idea to feed it the corpses of the cultists they had just fought.
The creature allowed itself to be led through town. Along the way, people who knew the party made lewd jokes about Inacio and Larkspur having a baby monkey together. (The shaman's icy glare succeeded in shutting some of them up.) At the warehouse, the ghost eater eagerly ran inside in search of dead flesh. The small fire below had gone out, but the whole place reeked of burnt meat, snakeweed, and incense. After undoing the jammed hinges, the party went below to find a few burned bodies by the ladder, and the mangled bodies of the other cultists scattered throughout the cellar. They searched the bodies and the storeroom for treasure, finding a magic dagger and bracers on the cult's leader, and a collection of sinister scrolls and books in his sleeping chamber. Checking the warehouse itself, they found only a puddle of ichor and some cat prints where the quasit had died. The barrels and crates there were full of nautical supplies, some of which the PCs claimed for their ship. The ghost eater filled its belly and followed Larkspur away, nibbling on one last detached hand. Needless to say, this gruesome sight made people on the street gave them a wide berth as they returned to their ship.
So ends Dead Man's Quest.
The PCs have now reached 4th level, and have nearly 10,000 gp in loot to divvy up. They plan to sell the location of the wrecked Stingray to someone who is better equipped to salvage its cannon (possibly the Lobstermen?), then use their new wealth to repair their ship, enchant some weapons and armor, and replace some gear that had been used up.
The ghost eater was an off-the-cuff addition, inspired by their paranoia about leaving their ship unwatched. (One of them may decide to take Leadership at 6th level, just to gain some loyal followers to leave on board at all times!) I've yet to decide if the ghost eater will stick around for a while, or vanish away. The former might happen if Larkspur tries to train it, but if it leaves they'll likely run into it again someday. The quasit's fate was also improvised, but now I'm tempted to have a demon-tainted cat terrorize the neighborhood...
We'll be taking a short break from Freeport so that my wife can run some more of the Earthdawn campaign she put on hold last year. One of the other players also ran some Wild Cards adventures for us using HERO System back then, and she may do so again if her schedule ever becomes less insane, but I'm not counting on that happening anytime soon. (I'm also much less enthused about that game than Earthdawn or Freeport.)