Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Pino


Tuesday, March 2, 1651
With clear skies and cool temperatures, and a gentle breeze blowing from the south.

Assuming the main party has left on the 1st, and that after that Enrico and Sofia solidify their relationship with Necklan and Kismet, together you hire the boat driven by Arkemis the night of the 1st. It is Tuesday morning, therefore, when you set forth. The recent full moon has shown the night before to be turning to one that is gibbous and waning, so at night the landscape should be well lit up if the sky is clear.

The extending eastern shore of Lesser Koufonisia, that Arkemis simply calls 'Pino,' is in fact not more than a third of a mile from Greater Koufonisia (which Arkemis calls 'Fakousa'). The water between is clear, down at least thirty feet, but Arkemis points out as he ferries you across that there are places where the current is fast and dangerous. He points out a whirlpool to Carlito that lasts just a few moments, that the hireling describes as barely a foot across.

Deftly, Arkemis maneuvers the boat around some impressive pillars rising out of the water, ten or twelve feet in diameter and twenty feet high, spaced along Pino's shoreline. Pino on this end shows a cliff that is about as high as the pillars, and along the base of this cliff are small caves, where the waves turn into and make rushing hollow sounds; the caves occasionally spray water back towards the sea, and Arkemis tells of how swimmers have drowned here, unable to free themselves from the pools around the caves.

He says that the island is indeed dangerous, that no one lives there. He has explored only part of it, near the beach and the spring where he's taking you. He says there are places where groves could be planted in the soil, but that most who have tried to settle there in the last century left behind the beginnings of their construction, but they themselves were missing.

He has seen a set of footprints on the beach that were as large as a giant, that were so heavy that they compressed the sand, so that when the tide rolled in the footprints rose up from the sand, like a foot-shaped hump. This tale strikes Neklan, as he had read the book about cyclops and that is a phenomenon that was mentioned in the book. He most likely mentions this to Arkemis, who laughs, saying the prints were not as big as that! "This couldn't have been bigger than 8 feet," he says. Still, he has not been back since seeing that, because he did not want to go alone.

You land on a wide, U-shaped beach, if the bottom of the 'U' were somewhat squared. The spring is near the water, just fifty or so feet above it, and there is a two foot stream that steadily pours through the sand. An immense tree, like a willow, with no central trunk but with hundreds of branches, rises a hundred feet in the air and is a hundred feet at its widest part, just above the spring, obviously fed by it.

Arkemis pulls the boat twenty feet up onto the shore, saying it will be safe there.

Above you rises a gentle slope, to a crest some two hundred feet high, scattered with wild olive, stunted oak and scrub.

78 comments:

Maximillian said...

After we get on land and trying not to be the center of attention, I cast Color on my cape, changing it from bright white to a color that would blend in more easily perhaps a dun color reminiscent of camelhair.

On the way to the boat I purchased a flatbread for 2 cp (still using the Hanya prices, if that's ok) Since the booze thing is new, I'l mention that I had a pint to break my fast, and carry enough spirits for the day in my wineskin.

Ahmet said...

Enrico suggests Sofia climbs the tree and takes a look around.

Ahmet said...

(If we don't have James today, or just to move things along, Enrico asks Carlito to do it... he has the sailor's ability of "climb ropes" which would probably help with this kind of tree, and a +2 dexterity (to his 13) for balance.)

Kismet Korkmaz said...

While in the boat, Kismet will be wearing his standard outfit for underneath his splinted mail. His chainmail will be in said boat, but he will not put it on till they hit land.

He will have left his studded leather, quiver, whetstone and rabbit coat at home. (Unless the weather seems to warrant a coat)

He will be doing his best not to fall overboard.

"I'm getting a tad sick of boats. It's been a while since I've truly been able to stretch my legs."

Kismet Korkmaz said...

Sorry change all references to chainmail to splinted. I was going to use chain for a while, then realized it was more efficient to just take splinted.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Any chance, Ahmet, that you're going to make an "Enrico"?

Neklan climbs the tree as easily as Sofia, but there's little or nothing to be seen from the tree that is not visible from the ground. The scrub goes on and on, the ground itself is rough and could cover a thousand hidden holes, and the top of the rise makes a semi circle above the U-shaped beach.

Ahmet said...

Enrico wears regular adventurer's garb, since his only other option is his plate mail. Carlito wears his leather armor.

Ahmet said...

(OOC: I can if you want me to.)

Alexis Smolensk said...

(OOC: Please do, Ahmet. I know its a royal pain in the ass, but it helps sustain the imagination just that little bit)

Maximillian said...

(OOC: I did not see a way to make a new profile without creating a new gmail account, so I try to remember to use the name/url option when posting. It doesn't mean the option's not there, but I didn't see it.)

This place sounds very pleasant.
Is the slope up from the beach solid ground or loose dirt/gravel?

Assuming We're all ready, and not putting the campaign on hold (that's totally fine if we are) I motion towards the crest of the ridge, saying "shall we take in the view from the top?" and then move to do just that, seeking to take the easiest rout to the highest point on this part of the island.

Kismet Korkmaz said...

Before we go anywhere I'm putting on armor and helping anyone who needs armor put on.

Then I move forwards with zeal.

We really need to clear this place out. This place sounds like an awesome one to expand to eventually.

I have visions of a nice structure on top of the spring with the water being channeled away from it. If it were under siege then it would have a water supply at least...

Enrico Guerriero said...

Before we do any fighting, we should return to get better armor for Enrico and Carlito. We may want to bring along Tazio as well.

Kismet Korkmaz said...

Um so was the idea to wander around and just hope we don't get ambushed by the 8 foot tall creature?

Or should we just head back now?

Alexis Smolensk said...

Consider yourselves armored up.

Neklan Krasna said...

yeah, pretty much... My idea is to get an idea of the lay of the land, find out what sort of inhabitants these might be.

Enrico Guerriero said...

Do we have Tazio as well, or I guess we have to leave someone behind. But if we don't have James today, maybe it's better if we have Tazio, and Sofia is the leave-behind?

Kismet Korkmaz said...

Consider this case from that perspective.

Our boat is destroyed.
Or we are captured.
Or we get sucked through a time and space vortex.
We actually DO get into a fight that goes on through the week.

Would really suck to be Sofia come tomorrow.

Kismet Korkmaz said...

FYI, so far 3 of those things HAVE ACTUALLY HAPPENED.

Just think on that for a moment. In both a realistic possibility sense and an OMG THATS AWESOME sense.

Enrico Guerriero said...

Speaking of tomorrow, I won't be here tomorrow or Friday, and Monday is a holiday in the U.S., so maybe this isn't the best time to start attacking something.

Kismet Korkmaz said...

So let's rule Sofia is here.

If you own the armor they have it.

One hench is behind, Tazio appears to have drawn the short straw (honestly, someone is ALWAYS going to be behind, I think we're going to explore each day we're healthy and that ALWAYS should mean we expect combat as a possibility...)

If we hit combat, let's just call it eh?

Kismet Korkmaz said...

Perhaps eventually we should hire a hireling just to manage our projects for us so we can keep our combat hirelings?

Enrico Guerriero said...

Perhaps.

As for now, Enrico puts on his plate and Carlito puts on his scale. They arm themselves with swords and shields.

Assuming no footprints are in evidence, Enrico says to the others, "Perhaps we should ascend the slope for a better look around."

If there are no objections, he leads the way with Carlito behind.

Kismet Korkmaz said...

Kismet proceeds with the group up the slope.

Neklan Krasna said...

I'm happy to travel in the middle of the pack.

Enrico Guerriero said...

(OOC: Is Arkemis with us, or staying with the boat?)

Alexis Smolensk said...

Who is here was determined before I wrote this post. Tazio is back on Greater Koufonisia, Sofia is here.

Okay. I have a meeting this afternoon, so that just kills the week. With Enrico out, and Sofia out, and Monday being a holiday for me too, I am officially calling this game until Tuesday.

Enjoy yourselves, have a good labor day weekend; I'm going up in the mountains so I shall endeavor not to slip next to a waterfall or have a gondola cable snap. May you spend your labor day weekend in your own festering fetishitic funhouse.

Neklan Krasna said...

Ok, have a nice week and weekend everyone.

Sofia Koleva said...

I should be ready next week. Take care, all.

Sofia Koleva said...

(OOC: I'm putting things back into order, gents, and as you see I've made another blogger alias for Sofia. Early next week after the holiday may still be touch and go for me, but I'll be close to a typical routine soon. Please proceed as you can and desire until I can catch up. In the meantime... )

Sofia eyes the pillars along the shore and asks Arkemis if he knows their origin.

Once ashore she takes in the beauty and isolation of the place, appreciating both. While her companions may see and comment upon a future fortress and community she sees instead an isolated monastery. One that could provide some future order of ascetics time and space for meditation and study. These thoughts, though, she keeps to herself.

Enrico Guerriero said...

(OOC: Back and ready for action as well.)

Enrico asks Arkemis, "We intend to seek out the source of these large footprints, or any other possible threats here. Will you join us, or do you wish to remain with the boat?"

Kismet Korkmaz said...

(OOC: I'm here, I left a question in the mechanics section.)

Kismet impatiently tends towards pressing forwards as folks chat with the fisherman.

Alexis Smolensk said...

My apologies for the delay, all. It has been busy, and I have been indulging myself perhaps a bit too much on the main blog.

To answer Ahmet's question, Arkemis has beached the boat and expects to come with you. He carries a shield and a broad sword, and wears a tunic that covers his body; his upper legs appear to be wrapped in linen, with thin cords for binding it in place, like a lace intricately woven in some uncertain fashion. His calves and shins are bare.

As you climb the slope indicated, he points out the various islands as they come into view. It seems strange, but from where you are upon Pino, you can see Karos to the southeast, big and bold. Skhoinousa and Iraklia seem to be almost one island, but Arkemis assures you they're two ... and he points out Ios behind them. You can in fact see as far as Thera to the southwest, looking quite large despite it being 30 miles away, and another island to the south that he calls Anafi.

As you climb to the ridge of Pino, undisturbed, you see the whole great south side of Naxos, in detail, naught but two miles away, stretching across a third of the horizon. You're about three hundred feet above the sea where you are, and you can see nearly all of Pino ... but Naxos is huge, rising more than 3,000 feet up. It's stunning and brown colored, with rounded heights and ridges dropping to the sea.

Pino is nearly divided in half; the west side of the island is pinched from the east by the island narrowing in the middle. The north side seems to drop into the sea (you can't see the shore from where you are). Arkemis assures you there are caves along the north side of the island, many of them drowned, others that no one dares venture into.

Kismet Korkmaz said...

Kismet admires the view for a bit, then upon hearing about the caves in the north immediately begins looking that way.

"Dare not go eh? That sounds interesting. Especially given there's the footprints of something big."

Enrico Guerriero said...

Recalling the last cave they entered, and the make-up of the current party, Enrico has no wish to enter these caves either.

Still, he must ask: "Why do men fear to enter them? What have they seen?"

Neklan Krasna said...

How far from the east end of the island are we from our current point on the ridge? are we more or less at the center of the eastern mass?

What's the vegitation like? I'm not as focused as max on that, but I'm wondering about visibility and fertility.

Alexis Smolensk said...

"They have no 'seen' anything," says Arkemis. "No one comes onto this island. They see the island from the water, they see the caves ... but from the water on that side, it isn't possible to approach the island. One's boat will be dashed upon the rocks."

He points to the west of Pino. "I have never been to that side. It is dry, and many of the rocks are sharp. The cliff is higher above the sea, and I have heard ominous sounds. Once, I thought I heard a hammer beating on a stone, but it was loud and low, and it frightened me, so I stole back to my boat and left the island. That is why I have never been to that side."

Alexis Smolensk said...

The vegetation is described in the principle post:

"...scattered with wild olive, stunted oak and scrub"

The whole island is about three miles long, and yes, you're more or less in the center of the western part. The pinched center of the island is about 3/4 of a mile about 150 feet below you. The eastern portion is a shelf about 120 feet above the sea, tilted towards the south.

Enrico Guerriero said...

How far is it to the north side? If it isn't too far, Enrico bids Carlito to join him (and whoever else wants to go) and walks there, to look down at the sheer face. Can he see into the caves? Can he hear anything?

Alexis Smolensk said...

The north side from where you are is about two hundred yards ... and though the slope is rough, its easy going, with lots of smooth places where clay has gathered between the rocks.

Enrico goes about 50 yards, with Arkemis just a few yards behind him, when an ordinary deer, a doe, leaps out from behind a rock and a shrub, which even at second glance does not look large enough to conceal a deer. It is about four feet at the shoulder, and leaps nimbly over the rocks.

Kismet Korkmaz said...

Kismet would have enthusiastically followed, but probably got distracted by tales of hammering in the West.

If he chances to see the deer he will watch it run away.

Enrico Guerriero said...

Enrico barks out a yelp, raises his shield, stumbles backward, fumbles with his broadsword, and at last realizes it is not a source of danger.

He chuckles uneasily. "Doe. A deer. A female deer."

He doesn't advance further though, looking and listening to see if something else spooked the deer, if it was not their own approach.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Arkemis chuckles. "Scared the life out of me as well."

After a time, it seems clear that Enrico flushed the deer.

Kismet Korkmaz said...

If nobody else will, Kismet will investigate where the deer came from. He will seek help if he did not see this point of origin himself.

Alexis Smolensk said...

The slope behind the rock and shrub is just markedly lower, so that in fact from the sea-ward side there is greater space to hide than it appears.

It seems to suggest that the overall landscape may not be *quite* as flat as it appears.

Enrico Guerriero said...

Enrico boldly continues on, broadsword drawn now.

Alexis Smolensk said...

As you near the sea, and come to a place where you can look over, you can hear the water hitting the caves below you with a loud "chunk" sound, or you hear the sound of a brief crash of water and spray ejecting out again, slapping the water.

The slope seems secure, but in fact the top bends out over the cliff ... so that standing near the edge, Enrico can't see the cliff face immediately below him. He can see the roiling water, and realizes that should he slip, it would probably mean his death.

Neklan Krasna said...

that brings me to the question I was trying to ask earlier: about the vegetation, I meant to ask: Is the density or height of the vegetation in some areas enough to obstruct vision, and if so, where? Also, does it appear lush or wizened and hardscrabble?

Clearly, we have proof that we cannot see everywhere, but I wondered if larger areas were clearly obstructed?

Enrico Guerriero said...

Enrico looks around for a stout tree, large rock, or something else that could serve as an anchor for a rope, should some fool, er, brave soul agree to be lowered down the cliff face.

Alexis Smolensk said...

(OOC: I spent much of the weekend standing over places where this was true ... if it were not for the fencing, a half a step and right into a tight canyon, churning water, bump your head and rolling death to follow. I find this sort of thing beautiful but highly disquieting ... especially when I watch tourists climb over the fencing so they can get a better look down.

This was Sunwapta Falls and these were Athabaska Falls. Jump about 2 minutes in for the second video. First vid won’t work for me, but that might be a permissions thing)

Alexis Smolensk said...

(OOC: Try again:

Sunwapta
Athabaska)

Alexis Smolensk said...

Olive trees, by their nature, have thick root systems and typically cling very hard to the soil. But they're not big in scrubby areas, so even though they're strong enough to support a person, they don't provide much general cover. Something could hide immediately behind one, but moving through olive and scrub oak, one probably would be seen. Part of not being able to see everywhere is because the slope is covered in broken rock, boulders and outcroppings, typically 1-3 feet high, with clay and gravel interspersed in the wide cracks, 1-8 feet in diameter. And this with the short stunted trees growing on top. Any place where the slope is, some of this will offer more cover to creatures that are downslope than upslope.

There are such places for you to rope off to, Enrico.

Enrico Guerriero said...

Enrico produces his rope, secures it firmly, checks it thrice... and turns to Sofia with a charming smile.

Neklan Krasna said...

(ooc Yeah, mesmerizing.)

Thanks for the explanation, Alexis. For now I'll watch Enrico go fishing.

Kismet Korkmaz said...

The 200lb dwarf in splint mail with an amazing strength will tend to lowering folks and NOT being lowered.

Enrico Guerriero said...

Enrico isn't a good choice either as a fat guy in plate, and while Carlito is quite nimble, he's an NPC. Sofia or Neklan it is... I think Sofia does the best in a scouting role.

Neklan Krasna said...

I will volunteer to be lowered, as I only weigh 100 lbs. I would tie the rope around my waist and have you lower me, you''ll have to haul me back up as well.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Carlito would have to make a morale check, 2d6 ... but if you want to roll, and it's his morale or better, he'll go.

Enrico Guerriero said...

Kismet, if he is still willing, can do the lowering; Enrico and Carlito string their bows to provide missile support, though they probably can't see much straight down; Sofia, if she agrees, can serve as the rear guard, watching to make sure nothing sneaks up on them from the land side while everyone else is looking down the cliff.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Arkemis is unsure what you expect to find ... all that you will see down there can be easily seen from the water.

Enrico Guerriero said...

I was under the impression that approaching the island from that side was too dangerous due to the rocks, so they never get close enough to see into the caves. I'm hoping Neklan will get a better view from just outside the cave, than could a fisherman at sea?

Neklan Krasna said...

I request that someone lie with their head over the cliff to relay messages, and I tie the rope as described.

I leave my loaf of bread wrapped in my kerchief, as well as my wineskin, less a healthy swig. I pass the wineskin to kismet, if he'd like, and then, if everything's ready and the rope has tension, lean out over the edge, the way we used to do at the orphanage when we'd managed to sneak to the top of the belltower.

Neklan Krasna said...

err... _lay_
please don't tell them everything's fine, when I'm being eaten by the kraken.

Enrico Guerriero said...

Change of plan: Enrico serves as the rear guard; Sofia lies down and looks over the edge to relay messages.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Sorry if 'approach' came across as 'can't get near' ... I meant that landing was dangerous or impossible. The cliffs can yet be seen from a few dozen yards.

Can't let you run Sofia's character; she's just observing, not taking part.

Kismet Korkmaz said...

Kismet will help lower the gnome down. He will also wrap the rope around his waist...

This is of coarse assuming we're still lowering to investigate the caves instead of boating around it.

Enrico Guerriero said...

All right... to speed things along, Enrico lies down and looks over the side.

Kismet Korkmaz said...

I vote for boating around it....

Maybe after we visit the west end where there was 'hammering'?

Neklan Krasna said...

Well, with kismet holding the rope, I am able to lean far out over the edge with no trouble. If everything is as Arkemis described, I tell that to Enrico and ask, "Do you still want a report from below?"

For a start, Alexis, does the base of the cliff extend beneath the waves? If so, I don't think there's much point in going further now. perhaps we can try again when the tide is low.

Enrico Guerriero said...

We're here; might as well get a report. Though I don't know what boating around will accomplish (other than perhaps being a bit safer for Neklan, but not for those of us in armor near those rocks)... we can't land anyway. So Neklan can hop over the side, take a look (without entering any caves) for any signs of life -- any obvious claw marks/disturbed vegetation that would indicate a creature climbing up or climbing down the rock face? any markings? bones? smoke? sounds? -- then we can reel him back up and decide what to do next. Agreed?

Neklan Krasna said...

Very well. I begin to walk down the face of the cliff, enjoying the unusual view, but also looking out for those things Enrico described.

Alexis Smolensk said...

The base of the cliff very definitely extends beneath the waves. About a hundred feet beneath.

Arkemis can tell you there's nothing to see from the sea regarding where he heard the hammering coming from. He's looked.

Whatever way you look over the side, you see a bunch of submerged grottos, not more than ten feet high, where the water pounds inside, and not much else.

The tide doesn't significantly drop here. All tides in the Mediterranean are small. From wikipedia:

"Some of the smallest tidal ranges occur in the Mediterranean, Baltic, and Caribbean Seas. A point within a tidal system where the tidal range is almost zero is called an amphidromic point."

Neklan Krasna said...

OK, I wave to be brought back up and relay what I've seen. I retrieve my stuff and take another swig of ouzo for good measure.

Shall we head directly for the far end of the island?

Kismet Korkmaz said...

Yeah we could walk over that way. But if there was nothing to see from the SEA on the west side does that mean there is nothing to see from the land?

Anyhow, yes, I am for visiting more areas on the island.

Neklan Krasna said...

(OOC: that's interesting about the tides, I did not realize that at all. Neat.)

I'm sure there's plenty of things to see, and if not we can sit and eat our lunches while admiring the fantastic view.

I propose that we take a meandering path down to the saddle in the center of the island, so that we get a view of the areas that remain hidden on this end, and then we can decide whether to continue on. I begin walking in the direction the deer disappeared off to. "Let's start this way."

Enrico Guerriero said...

Enrico follows and bids Carlito to join him.

Kismet Korkmaz said...

Kismet goes that way too.

Sofia Koleva said...

(OOC: I'm baaack)

Sofia follows her companions.

Alexis, did Arkemis ever answer Sofia's question above? Does he know the origin of the pillars we noted upon arrival on the south shore?

Alexis Smolensk said...

Ah, slipped past.

The pillars are simply the geologic remainder of the sea's action.

This is continued on the next post.