When we last left our heroes they had come aboard the tramp steamer they had seen fleeing the island which had just now returned. Coming aboard they were met by the enigmatic Mr. Muse and his armed crewmen. Faced with the sudden realization that they had blundered into the hands of an unknown enemy, they were taken below decks and secured inside a cabin with a view of the events about to unfold on the island.
Locked inside the guarded cabin, Marcus and Loupe set to figuring out a way to escape. They were spurred on in their determination by the sight of a launch taking the three survivors they had rescued to the island. As the considered their escape, Loupe observed, through a pair of binoculars, the hostages being tied up on the beach, and some sort of native idol being placed between them. Above them on the top deck of the ship they could hear heavy activity and machinery in action. They had to move fast.
Opening the portal and throwing a lamp out of it, Marcus went to the door calling out to the guard that Loupe had foolishly squirmed out the porthole and put himself overboard. The guard moved into the cabin to check it out not knowing that Loupe was hidden behind the door, having fashioned a club out of several of the metal bed slats tied together with torn bed sheet. Though Marcus would have been better to attack the guard, it was more believable that Loupe went out the window.
Loupe sprung on the guard but his initial ambush proved little more than an announcement of his presence (Chuck rolled poorly). Marcus managed to get a blow in before the guard became fully aware of what was going on, but he too failed to knock the man out. Unable to use his rifle in close quarters, the guard was forced to engage in a brawling melee with the two heroes until finally Marcus connected with his iron fist and knocked the guard to the floor. They had their freedom.
Snatching up the guards rifle, they set out into the interior of the freighter, making their way toward the pilot house. They managed to wind their way slowly through the corridors and up a couple of decks. When they reached the base of the pilot house, they dispatched two guards posted there and caught a glimpse of what must surely be the rest of Muse's plan.
Mr. Muse's men were busy unlimbering and securing a deck gun. Muse must be planning on using the now captive survivors as bait for the idol. He had said that he had returned with the means to deal with that threat and such a weapon would most certainly due the trick in dispatching the creature as well as the bait. Wasting no more time, the heroes made their way up to the bridge where they quickly and quietly took control.
The captain, a scarred and bearded veteran of English descent was locked in the map room while the helmsman was lashed to his wheel. Loupe and Marcus went out onto the open deck of the bridge, took aim on Mr. Muse and his men and ordered their surrender.
The following scene was an excellent bit of role-play with much spontaneous dialog between Loupe and Muse. Loupe attempted to bluff Muse but Muse proved too cool for that. At one point Muse even showed his calm disdain for the heroes by defying their threats to shoot him when he fished a cigar from his jacket. Puffing away casually, Muse continued his parlay with Loupe. Attempts were made to appeal to Muse's business nature and any higher decency he might have. No matter what they said, Muse seemed undaunted and failed to give the heroes any sort of solid cause to shoot him.
Eventually Muse saw that he had the upper hand on his scrupulous adversaries and set himself to a subtle, but telling monologue. Through his own words he indicated that he was truly after treasure left on the island by ancient sailors and that he planned to use any means to acquire it. It was then, that his hubris got the better of him and he tipped his hat a bit too far, revealing that he had built his fortune from a failed automobile manufacturer to international industrialist by selling weapons to both side during WW1. They had him.
Loupe was from Belgium and had grown up with the stories of the war. Marcus had fought in the war. He had lost an arm and half his face in the war. Muse had shown himself to be a villain and they now had cause, but they were still only two men. Thinking fast, Loupe had Marcus fetch the ships' captain from the map room. The man was British and a seaman of some years. What's more, he had been brandishing a military service revolver. Keeping the captain out of sight, they let him hear Muse's boasting monologue steeling the captain as their ally.
Secure in the knowledge that they had the backing of the captain his command of the sailors, Loupe took a shot to silence Muse. His Mauser rang out and Muse went down, blood spraying from his head. Loupe, not a killer, slumped to the deck as the captain called out to his men to stand down and begin dismantling the deck gun.
The captain ordered a rescue party dispatched and a launch was put over the side. As the heroes milled about, Loupe still numb with having shot Muse, there was a roar heard from the island. The idol was on the move and the captives were still helpless on the beach. Snapped out of his stupor by the sudden call to action, Loupe and Marcus sped to the railing and lept over the side of the freighter into the descending launch.
Hitting the water, Marcus put the launch to full throttle with Loupe perched in the bow, rifle ready. Throwing caution to the wind and setting aside all concerns for tearing out their keel on the reefs, the heroes hurtled to the beach, raking its bottom over the sharp underwater barrier. When they reached the beach, Marcus moved to help the captive while Loupe, having remember the image of the Shaman using a conch to command the idol, sped off into the jungle in search of the natives he was sure were commanding it.
As Loupe tracked the sound of drums and the blowing conch, Marcus found himself under the baleful glare of the Tiki as it broke the tree line. The creature gestured and postured in true island warrior fashion, making a eerie and savage ceremonial advance on the hero who was hastily untying the captives. When the Tiki finished its warriors dance and broke into a charge, Marcus bid the one freed captive run and slung the other two over his shoulders, racing to the boat.
Meanwhile Loupe had found the shaman and the other natives who had been producing the ceremonial music that controlled the killer idol. Firing a shot, he shocked them from their frenzied ritual. the shaman gaped in disbelief as the boy hero ran up and snatched the conch from his hands. Realizing where his bravado had placed him, Loupe suddenly snapped out of the hero's moment, turned and fled with a shrill, boyish cry, the now angry natives in pursuit.
The idol had closed most of the distance between itself and Marcus just as the Iron Devil had returned the captive to the launch. Marcus turned just in time to see the 9ft tall idol launch itself into the air in a grappling lunge. Marcus and the idol tumbled into the surf and commenced to a grappling combat. the idol, clumsy at best failed to connect any real telling blows on Marcus but he had his own trouble damaging the Tiki. It seemed that The Iron Devil might have met his match.
As the idol stood up in the surf, a menacing glow building up in its mouth signaling an impending fiery assault on Marcus, Loupe broke through the trees. Running down the beach he blew the conch, using the pattern of high and low notes he had recorded from the paintings in the cave. The idol froze in the surf, going back to being just a carved statue. Just to make sure, Marcus pushed it over into the surf. The pursuing natives, seeing their supernatural warrior defeated, fled into the surrounding woods under a hail of repelling gunfire from the crewmen on the launch.
In the closing of the session, the treasure was recovered from the island and dispersed throughout the great museums of the world. The conch was destroyed so that the idol would never live again. The Tiki was put to the New York museum. Loupe, still feeling guilty about having shot Mr. Muse, turned himself into the FBI but received a thank you and a "good job" instead of any sort of criminal charges. The FBI seemed relieved at Muses' demise.
All in all, this last session in "Island of the Tiki Terror" was a fun one. The role-playing was better than it had been in the previous adventure and the first session of this one. The character of Muse was fun to play and though he was shot in the head, he's the sort of villain that even the players wouldn't mind seeing come back.
For the next adventure, it was suggested that we play an adventure that took place in civilization. This is fine with me and I've even got a head start if I want to use it. The original introductory adventure was an urban tale titled "The Curse of Stone".
Tune in next time...