Friday, June 15, 2018

Far Isles Session # 87 - Torak Gets His Groove

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Awg Wahmn (Calmonari 6)
Torak (Cleric 6)
Chaff (Vivimancer 6), with familiar Pretty Bird
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 6), with familiar Hermes

After a short debate about next steps, the party decided to head back to the entry chamber to see if they'd missed anything of importance there. They also decided to take the opportunity to use the ebony fly, still hovering combat air patrol overhead, to lug their accumulated treasure back to the "No Man's Sea" for safe keeping. They examined the grate and fan in the floor a little more, noting that the unknown liquid was condensing on the slow moving blades, while the motion of that fan forced the liquid into a collection of crystal capillaries that ran down the walls and out of sight. Touching the liquid cause no harm, but did give a bit of a 'zing;' or shock, prompting Torak to note it may be condensed lighting or something. 

Leaving Rodrigo to guard their six, the rest of the party moved out through one of the two unchecked doors in the room. It led to a winding corridor, and ultimately led back to the room with the three egg tanks. There was also another door, which opened into a room with what appeared to be a desk in the far corner. There was also something vaguely body-like slumped on the floor, although it was hard to tell if it was a fresh corpse or something else. Kwinsea checked for traps, and once she had given the all-clear, the party moved into the room to investigate. The thing on the floor was a mostly skeletal corpse, covered in a faintly opaque coating like lacquer or glue. Everyone immediately was on guard, checking above and around for the source of the solidified goo. Finding nothing, they examined the desk itself. It too was covered in the coating, including the pile of papers which lay there. These were mostly illegible thanks to the unknown material, but short snippets were readable. Chaff discovered it was written in Teroclidian, and it described that a God Who Walks Among Men, by the name of Iomnogoran, was the master of this installation. And he had gone mad trying to find a way to escape 'imprisonment' in the Coral Cays, getting more and more suspicious of his human servants and pouring his energy into making and breeding other servants and guardians so he could do his work undisturbed. 

Crystal tree
Finding nothing more of interest, the party retraced their steps through the entrance chamber and out the door on the other side. There they followed a twisting side corridor which led them to a small room buried deep in the centre of the egg. It was notable for the strange crystal tree growing in the the middle of the chamber. It's branches reached above the walls and into the lightning field. It did not seem to be harmed by the occasional lightning strikes, but would crackle with a blue light whenever it did absorb a bolt. The tree appeared to grow out of the floor. Around the base were scattered a dozen pulsing gem-like objects, while from the branches hung a number of crystalline fruit about the size of a plum. Torak, much enchanted by the fruit, entered the room first, followed cautiously by the rest of the party. The cleric unrolled his bedroll underneath the tree, and then proceeded to use the butt of the shark spear to knock the fruit onto padded bedroll. He was just about to head for the pulsing gems when the party sensed movement. Looking around , they saw the tree had pulled it's roots  out of the floor. One had snaked over to block the exit, while the others now flailed menacingly around and started to lash out at the trapped adventurers. And lash it did, pummeling everyone multiple times and bludgeoning several to the edge of death. And in return the party seemed completing unable to cause it any visible harm. In the end, Torak saved the day by casting  protection from evil. When protected, the cleric edged towards the exit, which forced the root blocking the way to recoil. That allowed everyone to escape with their lives. Before the spell ended, Torak also slipped back into the room to recover both the fallen fruit and the gems while the rest of the party retreated.

The bruised and battered party decided they need to rest and recover. Which seemed to be a problem in a place where the creatures could phase through the walls. So they simply hunkered down in the corridor to rest for the night.  Said night passed mostly uneventfully, except for a small swarm of the giant blue and white ants that appeared on Awg's watch. Antennae waving, these approached the calmonari. But to Awg's puzzlement, after a moment of investigation, the insects turned and went back the way they came and did not return. 

Having had a night of undisturbed sleep, the casters recovered their spells , and both Torak and Kwinsea (using the stole of the sacred) liberally passed around cure lights wounds  to those who needed it. Sizing up their map, they party decided to head towards the outside perimeter of the egg. There they discovered a corridor that they followed all around the circumference of the egg. In the process, they also discovered a number of new doors and well as another side corridor. Exploring the corridor first, they came to a large room with walls covered in carved circles about the size of a gold piece. Seeing nothing of concern in the large room, Chaff entered to explore. As he did, the circles closest to the vivimancer moved together into a tighter cluster and started to spin. That made Chaff very nervous, so he retreated to where the rest of the party waited. Torak, however, decided to make a dash across the narrow side of the space and into the room they could see on the opposite side. There he found a nest of slitterrats, curled up on a pile of broken crystal and quartz. They lazily eyed the cleric with no apparent concern, while he in turn observed nothing in the pile which would encourage disturbing and/or slaughtering the creatures.  He rejoined the party, which then headed around the perimeter corridor to the next door. 

Ghostly Figure
This led into an empty room with another door opposite. This door in turn led into a large chamber with another door on the opposite wall and a passageway leading north. In the middle of the room was a pile of corpses, while at the south end of the room there was glowing spectral figure, vaguely bipedal, with hands upraised. Suspecting undead, the party let Torak go first. When he entered the room ,the remains in the centre did indeed rise and advance. The cleric tried to use the power of Brall to turn them, but it seemed to have no effect. As they figures got closer, it was obvious these were not ordinary skeletons. They were covered in some sort of a mineral crust, and still bore and wore accoutrements typical of an adventuring party. The party shifted position to allow Kwinsea to wedge the door open, allowing Torak to escape and Chaff to web both the door opening and 4 of the skeletons. These were dispatched in short order, but with the web in place the party couldn't get back in the room. But there was another door out in the perimeter corridor, which they assumed would lead to the other door in the room. The party tracked around, passed though another empty room ,and then did indeed find themselves back where they expected. Torak tried (unsuccessfully) turning the ghostly figure, leaving the party to  pummel the two remaining skeletons to pieces. (In the course of the fight, Torak also become especially attached to the new dagger he'd found the previous day).With one eye on the strange figure, the party picked through the skeletal wreckage to recover a fair bit a treasure, including a mix of coinage, a scroll, rusty sword with a gem it the pommel, and a couple of potion vials. Chaff bravely checked these, and discovered they were potions of lightning resistance. A quick check and search of the northern passage revealed that it led to a secret door back into the entry chamber (Hi Rodrigo!)

Bag of Holding
The party now was starting to wonder how to get down to the other eggs. So far they'd found nothing resembling stairs, shafts, etc. They dutifully headed back out into the perimeter corridor to the last as yet unexplored door. This led into a room with three more of the strange egg tanks. Each of these was still full of fluid, and each also contained one of the strange clawed humanoids. After carefully checking the entrance for traps, Kwinsea moved inside to look closer at the tanks and their inhabitants. Once she was well inside the room, the figures in the tanks began to move. They appeared to be operating some kind of controls. Suddenly, from two of the tanks came a blast of electricity, scorching everyone nearby. At the same time, the door to the room slammed shut, leaving Kwinsea trapped. The aqumancer lined up with the tanks and gave them a taste of their own medicine; her lightning bolt shattered the three tanks and cooked the creatures inside. As the smoke cleared, the rest of the party returned to help her out. But there was nothing left to do but move on to the door on the opposite side of the room.This led into a small space with a seemingly random pile of stuff on the floor. In addition to a mace and shield, there were four potion vials (potions of healing as it turned out), a set of dark lenses, a wand and a small stack stuffed full of something. Kwinsea examined the ivory wand, which had a small set of wings carved on the butt as well as a command word. Torak and Awg scooped up the rest, except for the sack which Chaff claimed. He opened it up and found it to be full of copper coins. Disgusted by the essentially valueless contents, the vivmancer upended the bag to pour the coins out onto the floor. But the coins kept pouring and pouring. To the point where he had to stop or else the room would fill up with copper pieces. Going outside into the corridor, he tipped up the bag again until it was empty and he stood shin deep in a sea of coppers.  Well, this might be a useful item ...

TOTAL XP
10435*

GAINS
12 assorted gems (250gp each)
1550gp
100sp
Sword with gem in pommel
Mace
Shield
3 crystal fruit
potions of lightning resistance
potions of healing
Scroll of 2 spells (??)
Wand of ??
Bag of Holding 

KILLS
3 Oozanderthals
6 Fossil Skeletons

LOSSES
None

*2xp per gp rule in effects

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Far Isles Session #86 - Among the Dungeon Vermin

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 6)
Awg Wahmn (Calmonari 6)
Torak (Cleric 6)
Chaff (Vivimancer 6), with familiar Pretty Bird
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 6), with familiar Hermes

With the disappearance of the lighting went the constant crackle and crash of the electrical storm, dropping the party into an eerie silence. Awg took advantage of this to listen for any clues or foes around them, and was rewarded with a scratching sounds somewhere to the west. The party decide to move in that general direction and made for the door in the south wall. As they did, the lighting once more started to flicker overhead, and within a few minutes it was the same extensive storm as it was before the mechanism was cranked.  

Storage Egg
Beyond the dark quartz door was an east west corridor, which the party followed west into a small room. It was empty, with another exit to the south. Awg, in front of the marching order, was suspicious, so the calmonari carefully inspected the floor before proceeding into the room. No traps were found, but he/she noted this floor was freakishly clean and completely devoid of the dust, crumbled bits of wall material and miscellaneous trash noted in the previous rooms. Uncertain of what that foretold, the party moved forward cautiously into another, similar room. The difference here was in an alcove to the east, where a number of items seems to float in the air or perhaps were stuck to the wall; a helmet, pair of swords, and a few other items. Chaff shoved to the front of the line, and starred intently at the items, hoping to glean their nature. He noted they were somewhat hazy in appearance, and then to the vivmancers surprise, they lurched towards him! Chaff was able to dodge away from the gelatinous bulk that tried to slam into him, then whipped out his wheelock and buried a bullet in the mass. The party started to do a fighting withdrawal, making attacks as they backed up. Kwinsea tried a lighting bolt, but it appeared to have no effect. Torak and Rodrigo lobbed flasks of oil and hit, while Awg followed with a flaming torch. The gelatinous cube burst into flames, and after a half minute or so had collapsed into a liquid-y pool of bubbling goo. The party picked the still warm items out of the slime. This included the jeweled helmet, which Awg claimed and awkwardly perched  on his.her head (it not being made to fit a clamonari's skull structure). The swords Rodrigo examined, and found them to be of fairly poor quality. There was a dark quartz potion bottle which Torak claimed, and discovered after a little experimentation that it was a potion of flying.  The last things of interest were four head sized chucks of quartz; they looked like pieces of the walls that had broken loose for some reason. Chaff looked them over and discovered one was covered in a crude scrawl of writing. It was in Teroclidian, of which the little vivimancer had a rough understanding. The writing spoke of a God Who Walks Among Men having gone insane, trying to use his elemental powers to escape the captivity imposed by the mists. That made them all think immediately of Empyrius, thinking that perhaps they'd found his lair after-all. 

But they would still need to find him, so the party moved on. Backtracking, they explored the eastern branch of the corridor. This led by a roundabout route to a long, narrow room. There were exits to the north and south, and it was dominated  by a trio of strange tanks. They were egg shaped and supported by metal lattice work; for all intents and purposes, they looked very much like the large egg structure in which they were currently exploring. Two of them contained fluid and occupants; the first a weird, large metal sea urchin (which Awg didn't recognize), and the second a primitive hominid with long clawed fingers. Awg tapped on the tanks to rouse the creatures, but close examination confirmed they dead rather than in suspended animation. The third tank was broken open (from the outside it appeared), and contained nothing but signs of dried fluid and broken crystal.  Kwinsea started poking around the base of the eggs, and noticed that each one had three ornate dials, each inscribed with the numbers 1-3.  She didn't touch them, but did make note of the current settings (322, 332, 133 respectively).

Blue and White Ant
Further investigation was interrupted by the sound of many feet approaching from the south entrance. Everyone pulled back into the passage, out of sight. Rodrigo stuck a mirror around the corner to see what what coming, and observed a small swarm of molted blue and white, man sized ants heading their way. After a quick whispered discussion to decide weather to fight or flee, the party choose fight as they'd eyed a good tactile setup. Chaff used his web spell to block off the room between the outer wall and the first egg, which left open a narrow gap between the egg and wall. Rodrigo, Awg and Torak positioned themselves there so they would only have to deal with one ant at a time. By this point, their formic foes has noted the party's presence, and headed their way. Several tried climbing the walls, but didn't seem able to grip properly. A pair also investigated the web, leaving the other half dozen to make for the gap. One of these skittered up on top of the egg, and proceeded to clamp its mandibles down on Awg's skull, while a second made for the gap. Awg made short work of his opponent with a swing of the Terminaxe. Overall, the three front line fighters had a relatively easy time of hewing down the ants one or two at a time, although Awg continued to get bitten frequently and deeply from the ones on top of the egg. In the end, the party prevailed and stood triumphant over a pile of dismembered giant insects.

Slitherrat
After a quick root through giant bug parts failed to uncover anything interesting, the party turned and headed north. This led them to a door which, based on Awg's earlier listening, likely led to the source of the scratching sounds. Nothing could be heard at the door, so they hauled it open to reveal a small 10'x15' room with another door. Awg headed over and listened at this one too; and once more heard the scratching sounds. Torak walked up to the door and knocked, at which point the scratching stopped. Moments later it started up again, and next thing the party knew, there were strange, glassy looking rat/ferret creatures emerging from the walls of the room and attacking them with electrical shocking bites. While Awg, Rodrigo and Torak swung away at the critters, Chaff got the door open so he and Kwinsea could get out of harms way. Unfortunately, they'd forgotten their foes could move through walls and Kwinea was attacked from behind by another pair of the creatures. In the end they were able to defeat them with no significant hurt inflicted on the party, opening the way into the room beyond. It was pretty much empty, except for a plain wooden chest against the far wall. It was tipped over, with the opening facing the wall. Using the Terminaxe as a shovel, Awg scooped out contents onto the floor in front of them. It proved to be a mix of cut quartz stones and coloured gems, a potion bottle (another potion of flying) a chunk of silver weighting about 200lbs, a well-made dagger, and three golf-ball sized round crystalline rocks, inside which a blue light flicked. Rodrigo examined the dagger, and noted it to be of good build quality. He also observed writing on the hilt, and passed it to Chaff to read. However, the vivimancer could not decipher the text this time, it being an unknown language and not Terocolidian ...

TOTAL XP
8140*

GAINS
Bejeweled Helmet
100 cut quartz crystals
20 assorted gems
Chunk of silver
2 potions of flying
dagger -1 (Cursed)
2 swords
3 golf-ball sized stones, glowing blue inside

KILLS
9 blue and white molted giant ants
5 slitherats
1 gelatinous cube

LOSSES
None

*2xp per gp rule in effects

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Far Isles Session # 85 - Spire of Iron and Crystal

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 6)
Awg Wahmn (Calmonari 6)
Torak (Cleric 6)
Chaff (Vivimancer 6), with familiar Pretty Bird and riding dog Puppy Whuppy
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 6), with familiar Hermes

Before proceeding any further, the party had additional questions for Korun the Creekman. First of all, they had him sketch out a map of the Coral Cays.  The blue man complied, and was able to give a fairly detailed chart of the closest islands. The lair of his former wereshark employer was nearby, so Korun knew this area well. He pointed out Dusek's island, as well as the location of one of the Amazon tribes with whom they'd crossed spears. He was also able to point out in a more general sense the location of the Blue Amazons, a weird long persistent storm, a variety of ruins and a general sense of where to find other islands. He was oddly evasive about where to find the Creekmen, giving a general and vague location with no details. When asked where they might find more information on Empyrius, Korun suggested the Creekmen elders had a great store of old tales that might help. So in the end, the party headed up the island chain towards the purported location of the Creekman villages. 

Blue Amazon
Fighting contrary winds once again, they didn't make it too far before having to drop anchor for the night. Scanning the horizon in the failing light, Torak noted some activity several hundred yards off the bow. He first called up Awg for a look, then the rest of the party. Rodrigo scurried up to the crows nest with his spyglass, and spotted a trio of blue-skinned women, riding dolphins and driving a pack of sharks away at spear point. They moved off, not noticing or paying attention to the ship, until the sharks finally gave up and swam away. The dolphin riders then turned to the north-west, and likewise dove and disappeared. When this excitement was over, Kwinsea decided to summon an aquatic creature and then speak to it in an attempt to learn more about the isles. A large sea turtle responded to her summons, and ponderously answered her questions. The aqumancer learned the storm isle had been that way forever; there was a city of underwater humans or humanoids somewhere to their west; and that if they wanted 'shiny' things, they should seek out the stone ruins of the 'turtle-men' and collect the fragments of their shells. All of which was interesting, but not of immediate use for finding Empyrius. 

Next day opened with a pod of giant great white sharks approaching the ship. Rodrigo, on watch, had the musketeers roused and put to work driving them off. Amidst great grumbling and complaining, the ships' guards fired a volley, striking one of the beasts. That was enough to scare them off, the two non-wounded animals nipping at their bleeding colleague as they swam away. The musketeers went back to their hammocks, the sailors arose, and the "No Man's Sea" sailed forth again. The wind had shifted to the north-east so they made better time over the next few days. They sailed past a beach with stone turtle-man ruins, then past the scary elemental storm island, before cutting south-west around the Blue Amazon islands towards the Creekmen. Along the way, Chaff plied Korun with liquor to find out why he was so evasive about the Creekmen. In the end, there was nothing sinister to learn. With so many enemies in the Cays, the Creekmen were just very wary of giving away any information on their hidden villages or their way of life. Korun had no intention of showing the party the location of the villages; he expected them to drop him off-shore and he'd head home alone. And bring back an elder or two to talk later on.  When the vivimancer passed this along to the rest of the party, there was some conniving thought put to tracking their guide. But in the end, they decided to trust the blue man to return. So when they finally dropped anchor off the massive mangrove swamp of an island to which Korun had directed them, they let him take the ships boats into the creeks, hoping he'd return. And then they waited. In the meantime, Awg went looking for 'pretties' to bring back to H'sslik if they ever happened back that way again. The calmonari was rewarded with a pretty purple fish he'd never seen before, which went right into one of their holding tanks. Kwinsea also took the time to summon once more, this time getting a visit from a trio of swordfish.  She pumped them for information on the Creekmen, but the saltwater fish could tell her little about the land-dwellers. 

In the end, their trust in mankind was rewarded when Korun returned a couple days later with a boat-full of Creekmen. The party let them aboard the "No Man's Sea", and threw a great feast to impress their guests. And afterwards listened the the accompanying elder (Talos) spin tales of the past deeds of the Creekmen and their Terocolid forebearers.  It would seem the Terroclids were a very militaristic people, divided into many petty and warring island-states under the nominal rule of a High Tyrant. Each petty kingdom had it's own "God Who Walked Among Men", providing counsel and assiting those in power. And in return were worshiped and supported by their human followers. Empyrius was a"God" of a state at the northern edge of the island chain, but exactly where Talos couldn't say. The party asked Talos what had caused the fall of the Terocolids, and were told the women-folk (who it seemed had been treated as little better than chattel-slaves)  has risen up under a leader by the name of Damarius the Liberator and destroyed them all. The Amazons were the descendants of those women. Asked about other places they might learn more, Talos directed them to the fallen remnants of the Terocolids. In particular, there was a ruined temple ofrsomething on nearby high cliff. He also told them of a weird structure, consisting of four giant crystal eggs in an iron lattice. It had stood on a low limestone ridge on a nearby cay as long as anyone could remember. But none had ever gotten inside as there was no obvious entrance. 

The feast over and day getting short, the Creekmen prepared to leave. Chaff asked how they'd get back to their village, since they weren't keeping the ships boat. Korun grinned, then whistled loudly. Out of the nearby creeks came a small flotilla of Creekmen. It seems the Creekmen didn't fully trust the party and kept a ace up their sleeves. But they left without incident, leaving the party to decide what to do next. It came down to heading north to wander about looking for Empyrius. Or hitting one of the locations Talos reveled, looking for answers and maybe some loot. In the end, loot prevailed, and the party decided the eggs sounded like the most likely place to find cool stuff. As they headed there, they passed bu the other ruins as well. It was difficult to see as there was a heavy rain and mist, but they were surprised to see a beam of moving light on the headland near the ruins. 

Spire of Iron and Crystal
They pushed on however, reaching the eggs later in the day. Chaff summoned the fly and took off on patrol. From overhead there were a couple of possible entrances. At the topmost point of the topmost egg, there was a narrow opening apparently leading inside. On the second egg down was a small balcony, hidden from view below by the ironwork. There was no door to be seen, but maybe something could be discovered on closer inspection. Chaff buzzed down to pick up Kwinsea and dropped her on the balcony to search; but the aquamancer could find nothing. So through the hole it was. Chaff ferried everyone up to the top, one by one, then lowered them down the tube on a rope tied to one of the fly's legs. Torak went down first, squeezing down the steep, narrow passage.  As he did, the cleric was shocked to find the upper part of the egg filled with mist and lightning. Thankfully not hurting him. Below he could see  a maze of rooms, all of which appeared open at the top, but detail was sparse due to the obscuring light and cloud. He safely made it to the bottom, landing in an octagonal room. The walls were made of a smokey quartz-like substance, and in three walls were doors made of a similar but darker material. Overhead was nothing but mist and crashing lightning, and the air had a definite electrical smell. Underfoot was a small hole in the floor, covered by a grate and with a fan whirling inside. Close inspection revealed a series of small tubes which were collecting some sort of fluid from the air and draining it to parts unknown below.

The rest of the party joined Torak, leaving the fly hovering overhead. They then headed out to explore, starting with the northern door.  This room was essentially empty, except for a hidden pit trap (which Chaff fell into) and strange symbols carved into the quartz walls (which the mages identified as being elemental in nature). They pushed on to the next room, finding a large set of cranks and gears on the north wall. While there was some trepidation about messing with it, Awg boldly strode forward and  put the mechanism in motion. And found that as he/she worked it, the lighting overhead started to die down, until it stopped completely, plunging the party into darkness ...

TOTAL XP
850 (exploration XP)

GAINS
Some Knowledge

KILLS
None

LOSSES
None

Monday, April 30, 2018

Far Isles Session # 84 - Goodbye, Land of the Silver Lotus; Coral Cays, Ho!

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Wilhelm (Musketeer 2)
Torak (Cleric 6)
Chaff (Vivimancer 6), with familiar Pretty Bird and riding dog Puppy Whuppy
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 6), with familiar Hermes

Whether related to the power of the stone circle or not, Awg felt a sudden urge to begin the annual calmonari molting cycle. He/she begged Chaff for the use of the fly to get back to the sea for a few days to go through the process. The little vivmancer grudgingly let him borrow the magic item, which some time latter returned with Torak in tow. The cleric then joined his comrades in trying to decipher the riddle of the stones. The party pitched a variety of other flora and fauna into the bare patch of dirt; the flora withered and died, while the fauna fled. Chaff then dug around inside the patch, finding a variety of exceedingly old bone fragments. Torak, examining the dark stains on the rock, suddenly whipped out his dagger and sliced open his hand, dripping his blood over the tentacle stone. That provoked a response, as a mist started to rise from the ground, gradually coalescing into the faint image of tentacles. This didn't last, however, and the mirage faded as quickly as it appeared. The cleric tried the same with the circle and dagger stones, with similar tentacled results. Discussing it with his companions, the cleric figured a greater sacrifice was needed to unlock the power of the stones. No one seemed willing the volunteer, so the party decided to camp for the night (some distance away from the stones, of course). 

Next morning, they headed back to the ruined city to explore a few of the other more intact parts of the ruins. They bypassed the main gate with its vine-dangling skeletons, and headed for the curved wall of some decayed arena or amphitheater Chaff had seen in his earlier aerial reconnaissance. The wall looked to be barely standing, liable to fall over at any point. The party kept away from the base, at least until the sharp eyed Kwinsea spied a booted foot sticking out from behind a pile of stones. Approaching cautiously, the party found the remains of a campsite with seven bodies scattered about. They were all horribly mangled, in the advanced stages of decay, and obviously dead for months at least. They were not dressed as natives, and several had the weirdly blue-tinged skin of the abandoned swamp pygmy's prisoner.  Everyone started to root around, finding mainly a variety of rotting and rusted gear. They did luck out with a little treasure, all in unfamiliar coinage. There was also  an oilskin satchel, inside which they found a crude book. It looked to be stitched together from a variety of scraps of paper, pages from other volumes, and so on. By luck Chaff was able to read the writing, it being similar to a language he'd encountered in past days of researching forbidden ancient lore. It was a travel log of sorts, telling of a voyage from some land a week or so to the north. The dead party (presumably) had traveled here in a small sailing boat, but ended up wrecked on the reefs at the eastern edges of the Isles of the Silver Lotus. After a brief time at the village of Barana as guests of King Tiku, they'd heard stories of the lost city and the Forbidden Mountain, and had made their way there to find fame and fortune. At that point the narrative ended. 

Chaff then started flipping through the backs of the pages and found something of greater interest to the party; mention of Empyrius! A half page of text talked of Empyrius (and other 'Adonians') as gods who walked among men, who had taught men the arts and sciences to raise the great realm of the warrior Terocolids. And frustratingly, that was about it. However, the fact that it was written in the same language as the travel journal gave them a hint. Looks like the party was going to be heading north! Kwinsea, referring to her maps,  then noted that that direction and distance would put them to generally the same area as shown on the map taken from Ondry the wereshark. At least they knew one possible danger. 

Before heading out on the high seas again however, the party had a few other stops to make. First, Torak animated a half dozen of the fallen travelers as his new skeletal legion. Then, everyone trudged back to the mausoleum. After a little more fruitless poking about, they tried their nuclear option: summoning the instant fortress to crush the structure. To their surprise, the fortress simply toppled over, causing nary a scratch to the mausoleum. Frustrated with the lack of success, the party rested for the night in the ruin, then headed back to the waterfall and subsequently the "No Man's Sea". The crew of which were not happy to have Torak's new friends on board. It took some convincing, and a promise that the skeletons would take over scrubbing the deck, before the crew grudgingly accepted their new undead mates. Meanwhile, while the crew got the "No Man's Sea' ready to sail, Kwinsea and Torak (as a shark thanks to the shark spear) went searching for more treasure at the base of the waterfall. It was slim pickings, and nearly fatal for Kwinsea. The pair rather easily fought off a ghostly underwater apparition, but Kwinsea ended up disturbing a massive octopus that nearly flayed the skin from her bones. A well timed bite from Torak-shark scared the thing away, and Kwnisea decided she's had enough of diving for trinkets.   

At a council of war, the party decided their best bet going forward in search of Empyrius would be to have a guide. So plans were hatched to return to the swamp pygmy village and rescue Korun the blue-man, under the assumption he hailed from the same place as the ex-adventuring party who were now scrubbing the ship. And their plan was pretty much the same as before; Chaff and the fly would go in while invisible and snatch the captive. Now that they knew the village layout, the vivimancer hoped to avoid attack by dropping straight down on the prison island and getting out before anyone noticed anything. To help, Torak agreed to send his skeletal hoard to attack over land and draw the attention of the swamp pygmies. And the heist went off without a hitch. The skeletons pulled away any potential opposition, Chaff dropped down on the prison island, and Korun was overjoyed to actually be rescued this time as Chaff had promised weeks ago. With all due haste, Chaff, Korun and the fly returned to the "No Man's Sea".

After giving the near-skeletal Korun some time to eat and drink, the party got down to interrogating the agyria-tinged fellow. He confirmed the general story given in the journal. Korun referred to himself (and his companions) as 'Creekmen', which the party interpreted as some sort of buccaneer/maroon. They came from a group of isles known as the Coral Islands or Cays. Once home to the mighty militaristic kingdoms of the Terocolids, the Cays now contained nothing but remnants of empire and scattered warring communities.  The Creekmen were a brotherhood opposed the the Amazon tribes who held most of the power in the Cays. In fact, those Creekmen like Korun who exhibited blue skin  were male offspring of the amphibious Blue Amazons, held as slaves with their gills surgically removed to prevent escape.  There was at least one other Amazon tribe as well, but Korun couldn't provide much information on them. He also noted the Creekmen often served various weresharks as boat crew and hired muscle. He and his fellow travelers had been in the service of one wereshark named Dusek, but had decided to go AWOL on the mercurial creature and take their chances on the rumored new lands that appeared after the mist lifted. When asked about Empyrius and the Adonians, he admitted the names were familiar, but more as legendary figures rather than 'people he knew'. So the party had a better idea of where to search for Empyrius, but weren't yet home free.

With that information in hand, Lynessa raised sail on the "No Man's Sea" and headed to the north-east towards the Coral Cays. Sis days sail brought them within sight of a small island, notable for the huge statue of a man standing on a promontory at the southern end. And further in the distance were signs of more islands to explore ...

TOTAL XP
2700*

GAINS
800gp of exotic coins
100gp worth of various golden grave goods (rings, bangles, chains, etc)
Korun the Creekman

KILLS
1 Sea Wraith

LOSSES
None 

* 2xp/gp house rule in effect

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Far Isles Session #83 - Looking for a Way In

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Wilhelm (Musketeer 2)
Awg Wahmn (Calmonari 6)
Chaff (Vivimancer 6), with familiar Pretty Bird and riding dog Puppy Whuppy
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 6), with familiar Hermes

First of all, Kwinsea made ues of the stole of the sacred to cast a cure disease on Rodrigo, hoping that would bring the swashbuckler back from the beyond. Although it seemed to clear up the festering rot, it did not bring him back from the dead. So ignoring the dead for the moment, attention now turned to the sealed box recovered from the desk. To decipher the writing on the wax seals, Torak cast a read languages on the box. The strange glyphs referred to "forbidden materials, heretical and blasphemous to the god of the dead". Well, if the god of the dead didn't like, it must be good, right?  Just to be sure, Torak cast augury and learned that opening the box would bring good results. With that, Chaff grabbed the box, sat on the floor resting against Rodrigo's body, and cracked open seals. Inside the vivimancer found a scroll and four small flasks. He unrolled the scroll, but it was full of theological mumbo-jumbo that made no sense to him. He passed it over the Torak, who confirmed that it was a scroll of clerical spells; specifically, restoration, raise dead, and remove curse. The vials, thanks to a casting of kalandrian sight,   proved to be some sort of healing magic. Potions of healing, as Awg learned when he quaffed one to deal with some remaining hurt from the previous day.

Awg's New Friends
After some discussion, the party decided to bring Rodrigo back from the grave, and then shuffle him and the treasures recovered thus far back to the "No Man's Sea" via the ebony fly. The party then used the fly to transship everyone back up to the top of the plateau to investigate the ruined city. This included the musketeer sergeant Wilhelm, who was enticed with a promise of a pay bonus and a crate of mustache wax, to come ashore and provide some muscle in place of the recovering Rodrigo. Meanwhile, the aquatic duo Kwinsea and Awg headed into the sea at the base of the falls, figuring there might be treasure there from a millennia of jewelry decorated dead. After much searching, they did recover some scattered gold; but also attracted the attention of a shiver of mako sharks. Kwinsea immediately headed for the fly, which Chaff had left hovering just overhead. Once there, she started to throw things in the water and shout to distract the sharks from Awg, who figured he/she could make it to a nearby rock and escape. She did draw away three of the creatures, but the other two chased the calmonari. Awg suffered a few massive bites before he was able to scramble up the slippery rock. From there the calmonari used  his/her sword to levitate  up to the plateau, pulled over to land thanks to a tow rope from the fly.  

Flying Guardian
Scouting ahead on the fly, Chaff buzzed along the edge of the ruins the party had spotted on their previous foray to the plateau. The ruins were roughly circular and about a half mile across. And ruined they were; there was little left standing except an occasional wall or pile of stones covered in vines and jungle growth. Except near the centre, where an immaculate dome-topped mausoleum lay. It had stood the test of time without a crack or blemish, and no vegetation covered it's walls. The mausoleum was most easily approached via  a large ruined plaza and pillared processional way. Chaff flew back and reported his findings, and the party hacked and slashed their way through the thick growth, headed for the building. They reached the ruins without incident, made their wall through gaps in the ruined city wall (the main city gate being on the opposite side). They threaded through the tumbled stone of the city to the plaza, and then started up the processional way.  Several pillars had fallen, but most still stood erect. And then they noticed atop one of the 30' high columns was a crouching figure. From this distance it looked like one of the faceless demons on the pillars in the cultist caves. This one, however, seemed alive! As the party got closer to the mausoleum, it lept off the pillar and spread wings, aiming towards the party. While Wilhelm braced his musket to line up a shot, Chaff and Kwinsea cast defensive magics, and Awg made a run for the mausoleum door. That attracted the attention of the flying guardian, which pivoted in mid flight and dropped on the calmonari in a flurry of claws and horns.  Awg suffered more grievous wounds before he and the party managed to defeat the monstrosity thanks to Chaff dropping a web on it (and incidentally, Wilhelm too). 

After cutting Wilhelm free, the party continued on to the mausoleum. It was a relatively plain, square building with a dome and low parapet on the top. The door was a solid stone slab with no apparent handle or keyhole. There were no distinguishing features apart from the eerily excellent condition. And a set of small holes above the door lintel, each about an inch across. Just about the size of a gem to be exact. To get the door open, the party tried inserting a variety of gems they had on hand, in various combinations of color and order. But nothing happened. Awg then tried the simple expedient of pushing on the door; it didn't budge. Wilhelm impatiently walked up to the door and shoved the blade of his pole-arm in between the door and frame to try prying it open. That finally got a response, but not the one they'd hoped. A prismatic wall suddenly appeared as Wilhelm stumbled back from the door. It enclosed the entire structure, and after a bit of experimentation with a thrown stone, seemed to block all access to the mausoleum. It remained for 10-15 minutes and then disappeared as suddenly as it came. 

Stymied by the door, the party decided to look elsewhere for a way into the building. Heading east, they came across a large well in the centre of another ruined plaza. It was overgrown with vines, but when the opening was cleared and the party peered inside, no water could be seen. Dropping a stone down the well indicated if there was water, it was way below. So Chaff hopped on the fly and volunteered to buzz down the wide well to see where it went.  The well opened into a cavern, at the narrow bottom of which was a rushing river. After about 50' it disappeared beneath a solid rock wall. Following it upstream led into a very familiar place; the wide cavern that opened onto the jungle from the death cult caves. Chaff flew back up to the party, and they decided to head back down into the caves. Perhaps they missed a secret door or other way up into the mausoleum from below? It was getting late, so the party bedded down in the high priests study again to rest for the night. Before they did that, Awg wanted to learn more about the things hanging from the large entrance cavern ceiling. As full darkness fell outside, he noted the things start to leave the ceiling and fly out of the entrance. They were some sort of monstrous bat creature. Several of them located the calmonari, and swooped down to attack. Awg received one bite, then fled deeper into the caves and back to the high priests' chamber with the rest of the crew. 

After a good nights sleep, the party awoke to search around some more. They focused their attention on the smooth wall in the adjacent chamber with the hologram-like image. They examined the pictured scene closely, figuring it might give them a clue as to how the bodies came down to the caverns from the city above. It looked like they were carried down the jungle trail that entered the cavern with the bat-creatures.  So much for a secret body-transfer path. They also poked and prodded at the image itself, hoping it was itself a secret or magical passage. But to no avail. Getting frustrated, the next course of action was the explore that jungle trail. The party followed it as it slowly descended the mountainside, passing another much fainter path on the right before coming to a stone archway across the trail. Ever paranoid, Kwinsea approached cautiously to examine it for traps. As she got closer though, the aquamancer noticed the archway was filled with near-invisible webs. And lurking in the shadows at the top she also observed a large spider. Not willing to take any chances, she quaffed a vial of anti-poison and then blasted the eight-legged monster into a smoking ruin with a lightning bolt. 

Standing Stone
Passing through the arch, they soon came to another branch in the trail. One led to the right, and following it for a while seemed to indicate it was headed south towards the village of  Barana. Backtracking, they headed up the other triail, and after a few hours slog found themselves back on the  top of the Forbidden Mountain, this time facing the cities' ruined gatehouse. Well, that left the faint side-trail. Backtracking again, they found this last trail led somewhere different. It opened into a small clearing, in the centre of which stood 3 tall, rust-red standing stones. Each stone had a symbol carved in it at about eye height; one was a dagger, the other a round circle, and the third a tentacle. Oddly enough, given the verdant planet-life everywhere else, nothing grew inside the triangle bounded by the stones. They also noted the complete lack of any jungle sounds; all the skittering, chirping and buzzing had stopped. Chaff plucked a branch off a nearby tree, and tossed it inside the stones. Nothing happened for a minute or two, but the leaves then started to wither and decay until very soon nothing was left by a dry brown husk. Awg cautiously inserted his/her hand over the 'dead zone', getting a weird feeling but otherwise not harmed. The calmonari then boldly stepped inside the stones. Once more there was that weird other worldly feeling, and he/she noted his companions had a slighly out of focus look to them. But otherwise there was no apparent effect. Chaff then stepped inside the circle to examine the inside face of the stones. They proved to be carved with the same symbols as the outside. Curious ... 

TOTAL XP
1380*

GAINS
200gp worth of various golden grave goods (rings, bangles, chains, etc)
Clerical Scroll - Raise Dead, Remove Curse, Restoration 
Potion of Healing x4

KILLS
1 Winged Guardian
1 Black Widow Spider

LOSSES
None 

* 2xp/gp house rule in effect

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Far Isles Session #82 - Rot and Ruin

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 6)
Awg Wahmn (Calmonari 6)
Torak (Cleric 6)
Chaff (Vivimancer 6), with familiar Pretty Bird and riding dog Puppy Whuppy
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 6), with familiar Hermes

After first searching once more (with no avail)  through the room guarded by the skeletal snake-thing, the party turned about and headed north through the only unexplored passage. Rodrigo, walking point, took the ring of invisibility from Torak and scouted ahead. He found the winding passage entered a large cavern. The space had been partly worked, with one smooth wall off to the side and a series of pillars running down the centre. Squatting atop the pillars were some sort of humanoid shapes, but Rodrigo could not see details. On the far side of those pillars, lit by the faint glow of a pair of braziers, was a table surrounded by a dozen hooded figures. They all stood facing the table, generally motionless. Rodrigo could not see what if anything was on the table, so he retreated back to the party and passed the ring to Awg. The calmonari then headed for the cavern, levitated, and hand-walked the ceiling over to the table. The figures on the pillars proved to be faceless, twisted, and demonic looking. But they did not interfere with Awg as he passed. As for the table, there was nothing of note, but there were a couple of baskets full of gold jewelry sitting on the floor behind the table. He/she returned to the party with that information, and was then sent back to act as bait. Everyone was pretty sure these were some sort of undead, so the plan was to lure them into the narrow passage where a combination of magic and tight melee quarters could take them down with a minimum of risk. Awg took off the ring and headed back to the room, making enough noise to attract the attention of the robed figures. They all turned and started towards the calmonari, but  not before several reached into the baskets to scoop up some jewelry.  The jewelry bearers walked forward, holding out the treasure as if in offering or something. Awg didn't stick around to find out what was going on, but retreated to join Rodrigo to block the tunnel in front of the magic-slingers. Kwinsea fired off a lighting bolt which took out about half of the undead, while Torak and Chaff added their defensive spell support. That left Rodrigo and Awg to slash away. Oddly enough, the jewelry bearing creatures didn't make any moves to attack, but instead tried to clasp chains and bangles on the two. Their touch alone, however, was deadly and both the melee fighters found themselves cursed with some sort of scabrous rotting disease before they manged to finished off all the attackers.

Torak took a sniff and declared both Rodrigo and Awg were badly infected but not infectious; but alas there was nothing he could do right now to help.  So the party pushed forward into the now deserted chamber to look and loot. Awg went over to grab the jewelry baskets, while Torak cast detect magic to see if anything in the room was of interest or concern. The cleric found neither,  and joined the rest of the party who were staring at an image seemingly in 3D and behind that smoothly polished wall. It showed  robed priests preparing the dead for funeral rights, decorating the bodies with jewelry, and then carrying them down the stairs and casting them into the river. Well that probably explained what was going on earlier.

Having finished with this room, the party moved on and out a passage in the eastern wall. It lead to a long tunnel with a set of descending stairs, which gradually curved towards the south. Rodrigo once more scouted forward invisibly, and found that the stair ended in a small chamber, out of which a second passage continued east. Facing the east passage was another of the robed figures. Once more the swashbuckler retreated, and once more another party member was sent ahead to deal with the room. This time it was Chaff, who shuffled down the stairs with his wheel-lock at the ready. Alas his shot went wild, and the little vivimancer scuttled back up the stairs as the figure turned to face him. There was no pursuit, so once more the whole party surged forward to deal with the obstacle.  As the party entered the room, the figure raised it's hands and motioned for them to go back. It also started nattering in some weird language, which the party interpreted as 'go back'. In fact, the creature reached out, grabbed Awg by the shoulder, and tried to turn him back into the passage,  causing a second outbreak of the skin rotting disease on the calmonari.  No one was going anywhere though, and Kwinsea, Rodrigo and Torak dog-piled the thing and soon had it chopped to pieces.

The party then pushed on through the eastern passage, emerging into a large cavern, well lit as it opened onto sunlight. There was a small pond; into it flowed one river, while two rivers flowed out. One of those rivers was the one the party had been following since leaving the waterfall. The pool could be crossed by stepping stones, leading beneath an overhung ledge that looked down onto the hills and jungle below. A trail led down into the jungle, and based on their height above the tree-tops, the party estimated they were only a few hundred feet below the top of the Forbidden Mountain.

But they didn't head into the daylight just yet, instead backtracking to check out one exit they'd bypassed in the pillared room. This led to another chamber, this one furnished as an office or study. Seated at the desk was another robed figure, which rose and advanced with seemingly hostile intent right away. Torak tried to turn the foul abomination, but the figure laughed off the power of the Drowned God. It reached out and struck Kwinsea, who immediately felt the grip of the rotting disease. Which made her mad, and the aquamancer surged forward to stab repeatedly at the thing with her trident. She was joined by the rest of the party, and the creature soon fell to their blades. Chaff plucked a snake-skull headed ebony staff from the remains, while the rest of the party fanned out to search the room. There was little of interest except for the desk. And of the desk, it was the locked drawer that stood out. The party went back to riffle  the body on the floor for a key, which they were able to find. It fit the lock, and with two clicks, the drawer popped open.  Inside was an ebony box, sealed shut with crimson wax inscribed with indecipherable writing. Awg picked it up and shook it, noting there was nothing that sounded like gems rattling around inside. It was actually quite light, indicating the box was empty, or at best contained paper or belly button lint. 

No one felt like taking a chance and opening it right away. With three infected (and increasing putrid) party members, they decided to bed down in this chamber for the night so Torak could call on Brall in the morning to cure at least two of his companions. Alas, in the morning there were only two to treat, as Rodrigo had succumbed to the infection in his sleep.

TOTAL XP
3685*

GAINS
1200gp worth of various golden grave goods (rings, bangles, chains, etc)
Skull staff

KILLS
13 Undead Cultists (Huecuva)
1 Undead Cultist High-priest

LOSSES
Rodrigo 

* 2xp/gp house rule in effect

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Far Isles Session # 81 - How Do You Solve a Problem Like Awg Wahmn?**

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 6)
Awg Wahmn (Calmonari 6)
Torak (Cleric 6)
Chaff (Vivimancer 6), with familiar Pretty Bird and riding dog Puppy Whuppy
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 6), with familiar Hermes

The party had Lynessa pull the "No Man's Sea" offshore, and then held a council of war to decide their next course of action. Although the chances of learning anything about their ultimate goal (the location of Empyrius) seemed slim, the elected to head for the Forbidden Mountain anyway. They might learn something of interest, or at least gather some loot. And, with Awg out of earshot, they laid plans to deal with the newly megalomaniacal calmonari before they stumbled upon more of the rainbow gems and things got worst. As it was, Awg under the control of the gems was already nearly insufferable. And no one wanted to risk a fight if someone caught a glimpse of the cursed things. 

After a few hours sail, the "No Man's Sea" set anchor at the base of the 1000' waterfall that thundered off the mountain and into the sea.  Hampered by the reef which prevented close approach, the party decided the easiest way up would be to ride the ebony fly. Rodrigo borrowed the ring if invisibility from Torak and the instant fortress from Chaff and volunteered to be the first man on the beach. Once at the top, the swashbuckler summoned the instant fortress, set up camp on the roof and sent the fly back for the rest of the party. One interesting point everyone noted during their ascent; the waterfall did not come off the top of the plateau, but emerged from a pair of cave mouths a few hundred feet below the summit. Once everyone made it to the top, the gathered on the roof of the fortress and passed around the spyglass to size up the lay of the land. The plateau was covered in vegetation, but more short trees, low bushes, creepers and vines than the towering jungle below. They also noted some ruins to the east; on a low rise stood a largely intact building, square with a domed roof. Scattered around it were pillars, tumbled walls and other remnants of what appeared to be a long ruined city of significant size. 

Cave of Bones
While the ruins were tempting, they party decided to take the fly back down to the cave mouth and see if they could follow the river. They deduced that it might lead them to a point somewhere below the ruins. Once more, the party flew, one by one, down and into the cave mouth, led by Rodrigo still wearing the ring of invisibility. Inside the entrance was a cave, filled mostly with the cold and rushing waters of the river. There were two patches of dry floor, one on either side of the river, each covered in human bones. There was also a narrow path that followed along the river and deeper into the mountain. When Awg arrived, there seemed to be a disturbance of some sort in the cave. A mist or cloud arose from the scattered bones, which dissipated in a few seconds. Nonplussed, the calmonari then spent time examining the bones. Looking closer, he/she discovered no signs of violent death among the remains. But did discover a scattering of gold jewelry among the detritus of death. As the rest of the party gathered in the cave, Awg focused on picking through the bones and collecting the treasure.  

Which let the rest of the party put their dastardly plan in place. While Awg was distracted, Torak cast a hold person on the calmonari and Rodrigo tried to prick him/her with a dagger covered in paralysis poison. Alas, neither made their mark, and Awg used the power of his sword to  levitate to the roof 20' above. The calmonari also hauled out a laser pistol and shot Torak square in the face in retaliation.  The party then opened up with more attacks, hoping to subdue or if necessary kill their companion. The calmonari seemed protected from magic though, as nearly every arcane attack (including some that should have been unstoppable) was blocked. Only Kwinsea was able to get through the barriers with a tidal force, using it to push Awg into the stream; there being hope among the party that the water might have some effect on their en-scrolled friend. There seemed to be none, so the aquamancer changed the direction of the force to pin Awg against the cave wall. Another barrage of spells followed, which once more the calmoanri avoided. In desperation, Rodrigo decided to take a chance and grab for the rainbow gems, which Awg carried in a belt pouch. The swashbuckler successfully grabbed the pouch, and ripped it free. As Awg screamed in rage, Rodrigo cast the pouch into the rushing stream, thankfully feeling no effects himself from the gems. The pouch flew out over the waterfalls edge, and everyone rushed over the see what happened next. A few seconds later, a partial rainbow in blue, indigo and violet appeared in the mist at the base of the falls, where no rainbow had been before.  There was also a palpable mental disturbance in the cave, a feeling of anger and rage, that again dissipated in  a few seconds. 

But at this point, Awg seemed back to his/her old self. After a few mumbled apologies and mending fences, the party prepared to move on. Starting out in single file with the now trustworthy calmonari in front, they followed the narrow path along the river. They did not go far before Awg spied something washed up on the path; a raft or barge. He moved a little closer, and observed a body in the vessel. It was quite tall, had coal black skin, and appeared relatively fresh; probably no more than a few weeks dead. That suggested the presence of someone still alive upstream. Rather than push on, however, the party backtracked to the cave to rest for the night and regain spells. In particular, Torak wanted to speak with dead on the corpse before they pushed on further. After an uneventful night, the party once more pushed up the path to the barge. Torak was at the end of the marching order, so Awg had to walk past the barge to make room. As he/she did, the corpse sprung into undeath and reached out to wrap its hands around the calmonari's neck. Luckily Awg ducked, and Torak tried to call down the power of Brall to turn the foul foe. Alas the drowned god did not answer the call, so Rodrigo had to step forward and slice the creature in twain with his swords. As the two halves flopped into the water, Torak shed a tear at the loss of a potential animated servant. 

The party now reformed and proceeded further along the path. After a short time, they reached a point where the path ended at the base of  stairway carved out of the living rock. This led away from the river, but there was no other way to follow it without getting wet and potentially being swept away. So they headed up the stairs instead. At the top it opened into a cave, and there they encountered a pair of human figures. Dark skinned and tall  like the corpse in the barge, they were dressed in equally black robes. The two approached the party with arms outstretched and did not respond to any of Kwinsea's linguistic skills. Remembering their encounter with the corpse in the raft, Torak once more tried to  turn ,and Kwinsea read off the scroll of undead protection. Brall listened to his servant this time, and the pair of foes turned face and retreated through a passage to the north.

Necrophilius
There was another passage to the east, so the party headed that way rather than chase the fleeing undead. This passage curved around and led to another set of stairs leading back down to the river. They did not go that way however, being distracted by a cave opening passed along the way. In the opening lay the skeletal remains of some huge snake, but the head had been replaced with a human skull. Strategically placing Kwinsea to take advantage of the protection if needed, but ensuring they didn't unwittingly break the spell, the party poked at the bones. Nothing happened, so they passed by it to explore the cave. Finding nothing there, they went back to the bones and tired to pull them apart. That got a respire; the skeleton animated and the skull rose to tower over the party. It began to sway back and forth, causing both Rodrigo and Torak to fall into a hypnotic trance. Before any great damage could be caused however, Kwinsea loosed a lightning bolt at the thing, causing it to shatter into an explosion of bone and breaking the trance...

TOTAL XP
9688* treasure and monster experience
14400 goal experience for breaking Awg's curse (for Torak, Kwinsea, Rodrigo, Chaff only)

GAINS
4670gp worth of various golden grave goods (rings, bangles, chains, etc)

KILLS
1 Coffer Corpse
1 Large Necrophilius

LOSSES
3 rainbow gems
Some party cohesion  

* 2xp/gp house rule in effect

** Sung to the tune of "How do you Solve a Problem Like Maria"