Sunday, January 31, 2016

Far Isles Session #22 - The Blue Tower

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Abdul el Abdul (Fighter 3)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 2), with familiar Hermes, and henchman Xavier (Swashbuckler 1)
Chaff (Vivimancer 3), with familiar Dirty Bird, riding hound Stinky Dog, and hench-monster Cephenere the Medusa
Torak (Cleric 2)
Beuford Bumbletoes (Halfling 2)

The party sailed cautiously towards the village, and were soon intercepted by a flotilla of tribesmen in dugout canoes. They surrounded the sailing boat and raised their spears in defiance, while somehow still paddling their canoes. When it became obvious they weren't about to immediately attack, the party tried to communicate with them. Their language was pretty much indecipherable, except to Torak who recognized some words and cadence from ancient sacred writings of the Drowned God. Curious! He was able to make it known that the party wanted to see the chief, and after some time a man dressed in some sort of fish scale armor arrived, paddled by four rowers in a big canoe. Torak opened negotiations, offering excess weapons and wine in return for food. It took some time to convince the chief to cooperate.He was more interested in getting the party to go away, as he seemed to fear something of or about them. However, the sight of shiny steel brought him around, and the natives loaded down the sailing boat with fish from the superabundance they carried in their canoes.  But the chief then made it clear the party was not welcome to stay any longer. Torak did ask the chief if he knew of any towers around. In answer, the cleric was directed to two possibilities; a tower floating on a cloud to the south, or a tower of lighting to the south west.

"Fish for a Week"
Taking leave of the tribe, the party raised sail and headed south towards the cloud tower. In less than an hour, they'd reached a chain of islands which the chief had not mentioned. In addition, on one of the larger islands stood a strange blue tower. Since it was right in front of them, the party decided to check out this tower instead, and brought the boat into the swampy shore. Tying up to a convenient swamp cypress, they jumped into the knee deep water and started to slog towards the hill on which the tower stood. After about an hour of trudging through the waters, the party climbed onto a low rise that was mostly out of the water. While walking dry shod was nice, they were also met by an overwhelming smell of rotting flesh. They found the source; a 10' wide pit filled with skeletal and half-rotten human remains. Some looked fairly fresh, others long dead. And as they watched, out of the pit crawled three  giant clawed hands which skittered over to attack. The party took care of them, but moments later a quartet of skeletons emerged. These were dispatched as well, but it was decided sticking around here continually fighting undead was not an option, so they dropped back into the swamp and headed towards the tower once more. After another hour or so, they climbed up onto the grassy hill and stood at the base of the blue tower. It rose straight until, halfway up, two wide rings encircled the tower, while the top it terminated in a square box. From the windows came faint sounds of occupants, including that of music. Chaff had Dirty Bird fly up to the tower entrance.  The ragged parrot observed a blue door with a sign, painted in a bright floral design, which said simply "Welcome".  That made everyone nervous, so the party sat on the grass and had a picnic of raw fish while they discussed how best to approach the tower and it's inhabitants.

"Welcome"
In the end, they decided to just go on in. Inside the entrance they found yellow velvet curtains forming a passage, at the end of which stood a door.  The room itself (as would be most of the rest of the tower) was lit by a swarm of weird blue and yellow fireflies that flitted overhead. Chaff had Cephenere look behind each curtain, and she reported a table with books behind one and musical instruments behind the other. Rather than investigate this at the moment, the party passed through the door instead. There they found a harpsichord, a glass table and chair set, and a set of stairs going up. On the table was a pretty flowery teapot and trio of tea cups. Abdul el Abdul sat down, followed by Torak and Xavier. Once the three were seated, a pair of white gloved hands appeared, floating in mid air, and holding a white card. On it was written "Delightful Conversation". The three took the hint and waxed politely on the matter of the day, although Abdul el Abdul struggled a bit talking about anything but fighting and slaving. Torak and Xavier found the tea quite good as well, although Abdul nearly chocked to death on the bitter brew.

Tea party over, everyone headed back to the entrance. Chaff tromped over to the books. There he also found a large armchair, an item Cephenere had failed to mention. The vivimancer looked at the books: a massive tome titled "The Complete Epic Works of Galstar the Great"; a slim cheap volume called "The Maiden and the Warrior"; and a third faux leather tome  "Thoughts on My Rule, by Vortex the Destroyer". Each seemed stuck to the table until he sat in the chair. Chaff selected the second book, and found it to be a rather tawdry tale that brought a flush of embarrassment to his face. As he settled back to read, he also found himself sinking deep into the chair. So deep, the rest of the party noticed he nearly disappeared, only to claw his way free just before being fully engulfed. None of this stopped Kwinsea, of course, who sat gently and ladylike into the cushions and choose the thick tome, which was filled with delightfully poingnent yet eminently readable drama.

Passing next behind the other curtain, they noted once more that Cephenere had left out important information. Namely, in addition to the musical instruments, a set of stairs descended  from this room. Everyone ignored the musical instruments, and headed down below. This room was much more utilitarian than the ones above, consisting of kitchen, storage and some straw mats. There were signs someone had just used the kitchen, with fresh food and signs of meal preparation. As the party started to poke around, Torak heard sounds behind some of the crates and barrels. There emerged four figures; one looked like a native from the dugout canoe tribe, another some outlandish barbarian (now wearing a chefs apron) and two townsfolk. Torak spoke to the tribesman, and learned the four were servants of "The Blue Mage",  a most wonderful and wondrous master. Questioned further, he revealed their master always had guests coming and going, but the servant could not say from whence they came or to where they finally disappeared.

Taking that information in hand (and trading some fresh fish for salted pork), the party headed back to the tea room and then up the stairs. Reaching the top, Torak in the lead was startled when he heard a female voice whisper in his ear "Turn back, and try to escape while you still can!" He shook his head to clear the voice, and the party moved on. But the voice returned. None the less, the party pressed on, and upon reaching the top the stairs found themselves in a torus shaped corridor that wrapped around the centre of the tower. Several doors led out from the half of the corridor they could see, and Abdul el Abdul marched up to the closest and opened it. It was a bedchamber, and an occupied one at that. Inside sat a woman, frustratingly trying to play a harp. She was dressed in a fine gown, but he did not look comfortable in it. Startled, she turned to the party to ask, in rough Common, who they were and why they were interrupting her practice? During the ensuing short conversation, they learned she, Xuna, was a guest of the Blue Mage, could not really say from whence she'd come, and she was practicing her harp to entertain at the evening meal. It would appear all the guests were expected to contribute to the ambiance of the social gathering.
Xuna on the Harp

At this point, there appeared next to Torak a young woman. Tall, pale, and dressed in black, she grabbed the cleric and yelled at him: "YOU MUST GET OUT OF HERE WHILE YOU CAN!". And seeing the newcomer, Xuna screamed at her, saying "YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE GONE!" This overwrought exchange was all too much for Abdul el Abdul, who slammed the door shut. It did not stay closed for long though, as the woman burst out of the room, now carrying a net and trident, and ran past the party. Abdul el Abdul tried to lop her head off as she went by, but she ducked and sped on. He pursued, and caught her at the bottom of another set of stairs. As he stabbed at her, down the stairs bounded a half dead looking panther which pounced on the fighter. And just to add to the chaos, two of the other doors on the floor opened; out of one stepped a Greek hoplite in bright bronze armor, and out of the other came a greasy looking fellow in leather. They charged into the fray, and soon a running battle raged around the corridor. Chaff sent a reluctant Cephenere into battle, and she turned the cat and woman to stone, but not before the cat tore the life from Abdul el Abdul. The medusa then circled around to where Kwinsea and Xavier battled the hoplite, and she likewise turned that shocked warrior to stone.  The leather clad man, meanwhile, retreated back into his room and barred the door. A sudden silence then fell over the scene of battle ....

TOTAL XP
819

GAINS
Fish

KILLS
3 Giant Crawling Claws
4 Skeletons
1 Greek hoplite
1 Amazonian warrior in a party dress
1 Undead-ish cat thing

LOSSES
Abdul el Abdul

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Far Isles Session #21 - Treasure!

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Abdul el Abdul (Fighter 3)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 2), with familiar Hermes, and henchman Xavier (Swashbuckler 1)
Chaff (Vivimancer 3), with familiar Dirty Bird, riding hound Stinky Dog, and henchman Mumbles (Specialist/Thief 1)
Torak (Cleric 1)
Beuford Bumbletoes (Halfling 1)

Pulling open the trap door, the party found themselves staring down a shaft and into an eerily lit room. The floor of the room was covered in sand, and appeared to writhe and undulate. Chaff had Mubbles grabbed a few rats from the cage he carried, and dropped them down the shaft. This led to two smashed rats, as the 'floor' rose up and used a sandy pseudopod to smash both rodents. Chaff decided this would be a good time to use his paralyzation wand, which froze the thing in place. Abdul then lowered a rope to climb down, but to his shock he could not climb into the opening! There seemed to be a force field or something stopping him. After some experimentation, the party learned they had to just step into the opening to be levitated down (and up). Which in short time, all had done.

The semi-circular room was empty but for the sandy creature on the floor (which Abdul proceeded to slice and dice with his sword). Everyone started to search for secret doors, and Beuford found one in the middle of the straight wall. However, he couldn't open it. It took quite a bit of trial and error to discover they had to touch a piece of stone to the door to get it open. On the other side was the wizards bedchamber. And a plain and dull bedchamber it was. A few pieces of stone furniture and that was it. In the closet Chaff found some funny mineral fibre robes which he decided to wear for a bit. Torak discovered a book, bound in granite covers with pages of black slate, sitting on the desk. He opened it and found the writing to be gibberish to him. Kwinsea, however, recognized it a magical writing, and so cast read magic. The book was titled "On the Witching of Stone", and contained a number of stone-affecting spells and detailed notes on the making of a stone golem.
Black Pudding
The aquamancer scooped up the book for herself and the party headed for the door in the south wall. Abdul opened it, and found on the other side a small circular room. In the centre was a 10' diameter tub or well. Around the walls stood 5 pillars, each holding an object. Abdul strode boldly into the room and approached the tub, out of which shot an oily black pseudopod which struck the unfortunate warrior a mighty blow. He returned the favour with a swing of his sword, lopping off the pseudopod, which fell to the floor. Which unfortunately also turned to attack him, as did another smaller blob formed when Mubbles got into the fight with his spear. And on top of that, Abdul now noticed his armor was starting to dissolve. Luckily the rest of the party now got into the fight, and a barrage of oil and beams from Kwinsea's prismatic ray gem, topped finally by a blast from Chaff's wand, ended the fight. However, not before both Torak and Mubbles fell to the slimy monster. Torak, thanks to some quick first aid, avoided deaths door. Mubbles, however, was not so lucky, and once more Chaff was henchman-less.

Wounds bound and Torak made comfortable, the party checked out the pillars.  They found a range of monetary treasure (gold coins, pearls and a flawless emerald) as well as a stone skull and small ebony fly. Both these proved to be magical. Beuford, the holder of the fly, read the word written on the bottom: "vespis". Speaking it out loud, the halfling summoned a huge fly the size of a hippogriff! Beuford was impressed.

The party climbed back to the main tower and then discussed what to do next. The consensus was to stay in the Magic Isles and explore some more. The logic being the more magic items they recovered for Nalco, the more likely they'd get to keep some of the better stuff. But that required camping out for a few weeks while Torak recovered, which would put their food situation in peril. Torak did weakly note he could use purify food and water on the stuff stuck in the whales' baleen, to feed them on the trip back. Keeping that as a revolting backup plan, Abdul el Abdul and Beuford decided instead to spend time hunting and foraging to gather up a cache of food. Meanwhile, Kwinsea was going transcribe some spells from the book, and Chaff had other plans. He went back to the medusa, Cephenere, and managed over the course of several days to convince the monster to join the party (and not turn any of them to stone) if they freed her from her bonds. A plan that made the rest of the party at least a little nervous.
Village on Stilts
Abdul el Abdul and Beuford had little luck finding food, so once Torak was fully recovered, the food situation was still dire. The party decided to head east towards the next group of islands to explore, hoping to find a source of supplies or quick loot. Sailing around, they found an island floating a foot off the surface of the sea and one covered in a petrified forest. And tucked inside a wide shallow bay on a third island, they spied a village of some sort, built on stilts over the water. Well, that seemed like a good place to look for supplies at least ... 


TOTAL XP
8255

GAINS
1000gp
10 pearls (500gp each)
A Flawless Emerald (1000gp)
Ebony fly
"Magic skull"?
On the Witching of Stone - Spells: 2/Erosion (A), 4/Transmute Liquid to Crystal(A), 5/Wall of Stone, 5/Stone Shape, 6/Flesh to Stone. Plus instructions on how to make a stone golem  for half normal cost and time (6 weeks, 40000gp, user must be 9th level)

KILLS
1 Adult Sandling + ~100 Juveniles
1 Black Pudding 

LOSSES
Mumbles

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Far Isles Session #20 - Statues, Statues Everywhere

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Abdul el Abdul (Fighter 3)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 2), with familiar Hermes, and henchman Xavier (Swashbuckler 1)
Chaff (Vivimancer 3), with familiar Dirty Bird, riding hound Stinky Dog, and henchman Mumbles (Specialist/Thief 1)
Torak (Cleric 1)
Beuford Bumbletoes (Halfling 1)

The party breezed through the kitchen, rustling through the pots and pans but found nothing. They did notice the statues in the room behind them had stopped moving once they'd left the space. Passing from the kitchen through a door in the east wall, they entered a room crowded with large blocks of stone in a variety of colours, shapes and sizes. Various woodworking tools also lay about, and a large block and tackle hung overhead.  After satisfying themselves there was nothing of interest to be seen, the party headed through a door in the south, thereby making their way all around the lower level of the tower. This room was notable for the inch of stone dust covering the floor, and at the centre, a pair of unfinished statues. They depicted a pair of classical warriors, one male and one female. As the group entered the room, the male statue turned and spoke: "Oh do come in. I've been waiting so long for someone to come and free me. Could you do that please?" The statue gestured to his feet, which were just barely still attached to the block from which he's been carved. The female, meanwhile, simply turned and gazed unemotionally at the party. She would require much more work to free, being still unfinished from about mid-calf down. Under questioning, the statue (whom Abdul el Abdul dubbed "Clarence") could give little information, just that he had been carved by "The Master" long ago. Abdul el Abdul decided to risk freeing him, went into the previous room for some tools, and hammered Clarence free. The statue jumped down and pledged his service to his rescuer. The party decided to not bother with the female at this point, as it would take too much time to free her, and they were uncertain as to her demeanor.
"Clarence"

With level one explored, the party headed up the sarcastic stairs to the next floor. After briefly checking out a couple of rooms that seemed to be servant or guard quarters, Abdul el Abdul  had Clarence beat down the next door, out of which floated gentle flute music. Glancing in, the party spied a small table with two chairs. On the table were a pair of wine bottles and a pair of very plain goblets. Standing around it were four statues. These were wondrously detailed, and depicted a female elf, dwarf, and human, while the fourth was some type of fairy or elfin creature. When the party entered the room, the four started to dance around the table.  Abdul el Abdul boldly strode over to a chair, dodging dancers along the way, then sat and poured himself a cup of wine. The plain cup transformed to now show the carved likeness of the dancers. And it got mouthy, mocking Abdul in an increasingly sarcastic and nagging way. He resisted the urge to smash the cup and tried to extract useful information from it, but to no avail. Chaff, seeing that Abdul did not fall over dead from the wine, not so boldly followed him in and sat down for a drink. His cup had the same less than ideal personality. Regardless, these seemed to fit the criteria for interesting magical items as requested by Nalco, so the pair of cups were wrapped in a sack and carried away. Along with the wine, of course.  The last room on this level was a wizardly storage closet, with a multitude of shelves and hundreds of clay jars containing various dusts, powders and liquids. Abdul el Abdul found a jar of glowing paste, which he used to put warpaint on the increasingly depressed Clarence. Kwinsea grabbed an unopened jar to save for a latter surprise, and Torak found a nice jug full of liquid that reminded him of his great god Brall; it smelled of death and half rotten fish.

The stairs leading up to the third level were animated like the lower stairs, but these were depressed more than insulting. Little could be learned from them before the party reached the top. At least this floor was a different layout. They emerged into a north south corridor, and several east-west passages branched off. And moving past them, up and down the hall, were more statues of various forms and styles. They were all very highly detailed, At Kwinseas request, Abdul el Abdul tried to stop one so she could use the crystal heart and gain another henchman. The fighter thus discovered that the statues were all suspended on a series of near invisible wires and pulleys that moved them around the tower. He cut one down for Kwinsea, who inserted the crystal heart and named the new stony henchwoman, Velma.

Moving on, the first room they entered was covered wall to wall in mirrors. In the centre was a stone slab to which was chained an emaciated female figure. The  figure kept it's head turned away form the door, but spoke pleadingly "Please, release me. Have mercy and let me go". Looking now, they cold see it was a medusa, and very much in poor physical condition. The party questioned her, and found she had been captured by the master of the tower many years ago. He used her to turn people to stone in order to add lifelike statues to his collection. As she pleaded to be released, the party withdrew to discuss what they should do. Abdul el Abdul wanted to leave her there, arguing releasing a medusa would be lunacy. Torak, however, wanted to let her go. In the end, the majority agreed with Abdul el Abdul, and the keening monster was left chained in  the room.

Throwing open the next door revealed a room empty but for a pair of animated statues; a vampire apparently sucking the blood from the neck of an elf maiden. They paid no notice to the party until Abdul el Abdul had Clarence go over and poke at them. At which point the pair separated and sprang to attack poor abused Clarence. Kwinsea sent Velma in to help, and most of the rest of the party crowded in the room to fling missile weapons (except Beuford and Xavier who choose to stay out of trouble). The battle rapidly went downhill for the party, and after a number of mighty blows, both Clarence and Velma lay smashed on the floor. This forced the party to retreat from the room, Abdul el Abdul taking several heavy blows as he tried unsuccessfully to retrieve the crystal heart from Velma's remains. Now out of the room, the party thought it might be best to give the room a pass, although Kwinsea really wanted to recover the crystal heart. However, as they talked, the two hostile statues tried opening the door to continue their assault. Beuford and Abdul el Abdul grabbed the door and held it shut. Chaff lit his pistol match-cord and blasted a hole in the door. He then stuck his wand of paralyzation  through the hole and released a charge. One statue seemed to go down, and Kwinsea then finished off the last by blindly shooting her prismatic ray gem through the hole.
Cockatrice
Recovering the crystal heart, the party pushed on to check out the rest of the tower. They found rooms filled with animated (but uncommunicative) dwarven statues, another vampire/elf maid pair, and a room with a pair of emaciated and ragged caged cockatrices. Abdul el Abdul was tempted to find a way carry off a caged cockatrice (the magical bird being prominent on his family coat or arms), but the logistics of the operation deterred the party. They did however, take a throw-covered picture or mirror they found in one room. They were very careful to tie the cover on, as the room also contained three very lifelike statues with frightened looks. It seemed logical that the picture/mirror had turned them to stone.

Having explored all of this last floor, the party was perplexed and annoyed that they had found no sign of the wizard's private chambers. They decided to head back down to the first level and search for secret doors. On the way, Kwinsea politely questioned the sarcastic stairs regarding "The Master" and where he would spend his time. It wasn't an easy conversation, but it seemed his private chambers were accessible from somewhere on the main level.  That lead their thoughts to the room in which they'd found Clarence, with the thick layer of stone dust on the floor. Perhaps there was a hidden trapdoor? So back they went and started searching. Abdul el Abdul pushed the  animated statute of the female warrior aside to check for a trap door below, but was rewarded with nothing but a blank look from the stony amazonian. Torak, sweeping aside the dust however, did find that which they sought; a trap door in the floor ...

TOTAL XP
128

GAINS
none

KILLS
2 Living Statues

LOSSES
Clarence and Velma, the erstwhile animated statue henchpersons

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Far Isles Session #19 - To the Magic Isles

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Abdul el Abdul (Fighter 3))
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 1), with familiar Hermes, and henchman Xavier (Swashbuckler 1)
Chaff (Vivimancer 3), with familiar Dirty Bird, riding hound Stinky Dog, and henchman Mumbles (Specialist/Thief 1)
Torak (Cleric 1)
Beuford Bumbletoes (Halfling 1)

It was a tense voyage from the crystal caves back to the anchorage. Yorik was almost apoplectic with rage when he found out the party had destroyed the Kalandrian cosmic computer before he got a chance to probe it's memory banks for the lost knowledge of that advanced civilization. Only Rold's cooler head, and the reluctance of the crew to tangle with hardened adventurers, keep him from ordering everyone thrown over the side in mid ocean. But once back at the anchorage, the party was booted off the "Loreman's Passage" forthwith. And they were joined by Beuford and a couple of other crew members who had gotten a little to friendly with, in Yorik's words, "the enemy"; Xavier the swashbuckling sailor and Mubbles the mostly mute mate.

Now stranded ashore, the party made the rounds of the anchorage to see what was going on.  Ships at anchor and associated rumors and job opportunities included:

  • "The Magnificant Marios" - A merchant, Marios is a bit full of himself, can't be trusted, and has prices higher than anyone else. But he usually has a few potions and scrolls for sale.
  • "Nalco's Rowboat" - A tiny rowboat with a cabin on it is the home of the mage Nalco. Rumor has it the inside of the cabin is actually a full wizards tower. Nalco sells scrolls and potions, can ID magic items, and can provide anything alchemical. He is also looking for a party to go explore "The Magical Isles", a weird archipelago of cursed islands, bizarre wizards, and lots of neat magical stuff. He wants magic items, not interested in the  gold, and will supply transportation. 
  •  "Serpents Revenge" - Back at the anchorage again, having bought the commission from the "Divine Providence". Left and came back again, but the crew is staying well away from the rest of the ships and not being social. No indication if Thorgrim actually found the lost ship or even went looking for it.
  • "Divine Providence" - The captain, Yorgam of Tarsk, has had a terrible time finding an away crew (probably because he is a bit of an ass). Sold his  original commission to the "Serpents Revenge" and lured an away crew aboard with promises of a better deal. This time has a commission to find a different lost ship, but this one is loaded down with gold nuggets.
  • "Two for Trouble" - Sailing for the bronze door in the jungle. Looking for an away crew. Standard split of treasure, but captain gets first pick of magic items and lotus.
The party also picked up a few other potentially useful/interesting bits of information:
  • The abandoned shantytown is a little less abandoned this time. A group of adventurers has set up a bit of a tavern/gambling racket. Rotgut ale made from ... well, you probably don't want to know.  Along with the few refugees who didn't leave before, and a few others that have drifted in, it's almost looking like a little village. A dirty, ramshackle an generally lawless one, but a village just the same. 
  •  Many of the sailors report encountering an increased frequency of ghost ships.
  • Pirates have been encountered lately, but not coming from the mainland. They seem to hail from some as yet undiscovered lands to the east.
  • An excessively drunk sailor claims to have see a huge floating island of seaweed, miles across, populated by mermaids and unicorns.
Weighing the options, the  party decided Nalco offered the best combination of loot and excitement. So they mooched a ride over to his rowboat, and indeed there was a full tower inside that cabin. Nalco, they found, looked and sounded like a 13year old boy. That was a bit odd, but he seemed to know his magic stuff. Nalco repeated the offer; he wanted unique and powerful magic items. The party could keep the gold and any minor magics such as potions and scrolls. And depending on how much they brought back, he might even let them keep some of the good stuff. When asked, the adolescent mage was a bit vague on the details of transportation, telling the party to essentially wait and see.

Deal sealed, the party went shopping for supplies; Nalco indicated they'd have to supply their own basic items such as food and water. Chaff was able to turn the eyes of petrification into store credit with Nalco, who provided a continual light coin and identified Chaff's wand (a wand of paralyzation) in return. Chaff also snagged a new spell, bonewarp, for his spellbook from Marios. Kwinsea meanwhile went on a bit of a dipsomaniac bender, and had to be physically restrained from marching off to pick a fight with Bellaphrone the Incontatrix. 
A few days later, the party met with Nalco again, ready to head out to the Magic Isles. The mage now had a small sailing boat in addition to his own rowboat, and he turned to two vessels towards the open sea. Once out of the anchorage, Nalco pulled out a huge brass horn. He blew it, and after some time, a great baleen whale surfaced next to the rowboat. The mage explained the leviathan would carry them and the sailing boat to the isles and deposit them there. Handing the horn to Abdul el Abdul, Nalco explained they needed simply to sound it again to summon a whale to bring them back. Once the party was in the sailing boat, the whale proceeded to open it's maw and float the vessel onto it's tongue. There, amid the smell of whale breath and rotting krill, the party passed a number of days, feeling the beast moving through the depths. And were suddenly blinded by bright sunlight when it vomited them forth at the end of a chain of islands; the Magic Isles presumably. As the whale dove and left them floating there, Abdul el Abdul used his directional crystal and estimated the Magic Isles were probably 4-5 days voyage somewhere to the north-east of the anchorage.

Of the Magic Isles themselves, a half dozen were in view. Chaff sent Dirty Bird aloft and  observed a few more nearby, and then hints of additional islands towards the south-eastern horizon. On one isle, a black stone tower could be seen. Otherwise there was no sign of civilization. After some debate, they decided to check out the largest island, which lay between them and the isle with the black tower. The large island was long and narrow, essentially a long mountain ridge fringed by shallow salt-marshes and grassy dunes. Getting closer, they spied the remains of a road running through the dunes. And both heard and saw a mass of crocodiles in the salt marsh between them and solid ground. The maneuvered the boat around the reptilian beasts, and sent Xavier and Mubbles over to side to haul them ashore. Once there, they tied up the boat and headed east on the ruined road. After about an hour, they came to an intersection. The road continued along the shore and a branch climbed the mountainside towards a low pass. At the intersection they also found a freshly mounded pile of sand. Abdul el Abdul checked out the path, and found faint signs of booted feet, probably weeks old. They had come from the east, and returned that way in lesser numbers. After an hour long detour up to the pass (which revealed nothing but a better view of the black tower across the channel), the party gathered once more at the mound.  The party guessed the mound was a grave, so Mubbles was handed a shovel and told to start digging.  He uncovered a body, wrapped in a shroud. Xavier decided to show off by grabbing the shroud and whipping it off without disturbing its contents. Said contents were a body, a few weeks past it's prime and still dressed in armor. It was also missing a leg, chewed off by something it would appear.

Just what chewed the unfortunates leg off became clear momentarily, as a growling sound was heard from the nearby salt marsh and three hungry crocodiles slithered out of the mud and grass.  A fumble of attacks ensued, and Beuford once more had the distinction of getting chomped first. Chaff ended it all quickly, however, by dropping a web spell on a pair of crocs, while the third turned and headed back to the salt water. After carving the up the reptiles and rooting around in the grave for loot, the party reburied the remains and proceeded east. Eventually the road came to at a spot that looked like it once held a dock or a jetty. There were signs again that a group of people and and boat had been here weeks before, but nothing remained of interest today. So the party marched back to their own boat (after discovering that the old road petered out a few hundred yards west of their landing sight), and sailed around the island until opposite the lack tower. It was getting late, so they hauled ashore on the north side of the large island (less swampy and crocodile infested than the south side)  and made camp for the night.

After an uneventful night, the party boarded boat and head for the isle of the black tower. It was rocky with no obvious landing point, but they were able to get ashore and tie the boat to a good solid rock. Exploring the island, they found it was pretty much bare of plant life. There was a faint path leading from the tower to a flooded quarry, and scattered along that path were large numbers of long-rotted logs. As for the tower itself, it was about 50' high, with no windows. Scattered around outside were about a dozen partly dressed stones that looked like they came from the quarry. With nothing else to check out, the party headed for the tower. There they found a set of double doors, flanked by a pair of huge statues in the form of amazonian warriors holding large maces.  Torak cast detect magic, and to no ones great surprise the statues and the door glowed. They also now noted a small brass bell above the door. Kwinsea cast a cantrip to ring the bell, at which point one of the statues animated. It reached for the bell and rang it seven times, after which the doors opened. Nervously, everyone filed through the portal and into the tower.
Inside, they found themselves in a rooms that seemed to take up 1/4 of the tower. A set of stairs wound up the outer wall, and the room itself was filled with statues. All of human warriors, and all moving. Most simply swiveled about on their pedestals, swinging weapons and turning. Two marched back and forth in front of a door in the north wall. Torak's detect magic showed that all (surprise!) were magical. Kwinsea and Xavier walked over to the door, and the two pacing statues suddenly stopped and blocked their way. It looked like they would have to deal with them if they wanted to go any further on this level. But the party was afraid that the rest of the statues might attack if they interfered with the guards at the door. So they came up with a plan. Chaff would web the door guards while everyone else stood watch from the stairs, covering the little vivimancer in case of a disaster. When they climbed the stairs however, the party was surprised to find they could talk. Each riser has a gargoyles farce carved in it, and they were quite mocking and insulting.  After numerous comments about the party members weights, body odor, and manners, Kwinsea did manage to speak respectfully to one stair. It revealed that there was nothing beyond the door but a kitchen. Nobody believed that, so Chaff cast his web. That entrapped the guards, and none of the other statues seemed to  change. So taking leave of the chatty stairs, the party bashed the webbed  statues, then bashed through the door. On other other side of which was indeed a kitchen ...

TOTAL XP
545

GAINS
none

KILLS
2 crocodiles
2 Living Statues

LOSSES
none

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Far Isles Session #18 - The Kalandrian Cosmic Computer

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Abdul el Abdul (Fighter 2)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 1), with familiar, Hermes
Chaff (Vivimancer 2), with familiar Dirty Bird, and riding hound Stinky Dog
Beuford Bumbletoes (Halfling 1)

After a nights rest on board the "Loreman's Passage, the party was ready to head back to try their luck finding the cube of the gear in the third set of caves. Warily eyeing the slippery narrow stairs cut into the cliff, they elected to send the over-impatient Beuford ahead with rope and grappling hooks to set a static line. Then it was up the stairs and into the caves, which were very similar in construction/ shape to the first two entrances they'd explored. The first chamber was empty except for ankle deep shattered crystal all over the floor. Moving carefully, Kwinsea cleared a path, finding a silver ring in reward. No one found anything else of interest, however, so they moved on. They came next to three way intersection, in the centre of which stood a triangular prism, two feet wide and extending from floor to ceiling. Chaff examined it closely, but found no inscriptions, and also noted that it appeared to be part of, rather than sitting on, the floor.

Taking the left tunnel, they followed it around a bend and emerged into another chamber. This one was empty and unadorned, but for the narrow tubes they could see behind the semi-transparent walls. Closer examination showed that a fluid of some sort pulsed though the tubes. For some reason that discovery made the party uneasy, so they backtracked to try the other direction. They came once more to a three way intersection and prism, and turning right, encountered yet another. Puzzled by the prisms, they non the less pushed on into the next chamber. A jumble of crystal spars filled the centre of this room, looking like some form of bizarre sculpture. Abdul el Abdul sensed a trap, noting that if he squinted his eyes and twisted his head the right way, it almost looked like one of the crystal mantis' that had given them such grief. That was enough for Chaff, so he and Abdul el Abdul lit their match cords and  fired at the mass. Which was good, for once the smoke cleared, they could see the sculpture was indeed a mantis, and it advanced with it's deadly appendages swinging. It lashed out at Beuford and struck the little warrior with both arms, picking him up and raising the halfling to it's maw. Beuford, however, lashed out and stabbed it in the throat just as it bit him. The mantis fell dead to the floor, but the halfling still clung to life. Chaff gave up his ride and allowed Beuford to be slung over Stinky Dogs back as the party pressed on to search for the cube.

Fluid Filled Tubes
Passing through yet another three way intersection with a prism, they came next to a small chamber with an unexpected rectangular pillar at the centre. They were not able to examine it closely at this time however, as on each side stood a brace of brittle bones. When Abdul el Abdul stepped into the room, these advanced with spears lowered , so the party backed up a little to form a defensive position. With Beuford slung over the dog, Chaff had to take his place in the front line. Which did not work out well, as the little vivimancer was a soft target. As Abdul el Abdul struck again and again at the creatures, they in turn struck again and again at Chaff. He soon had to retreat, bleeding from multiple wounds. He tried to send Stinky Dog (and Beuford) forward to block the way,  but the mutt would have none of it and instead fled in terror into the darkness behind them. Which meant Kwinsea had to step into the breach, muttering something about "stupid land creatures". It was close, but oil, sword and trident did triumph in the end. After unsuccessfully calling for Stinky Dog, the party went on to examine this pillar. It was not part of the floor as were the others, so Abdul el Abdul grasped it and tried turning it. And it did indeed turn. At the same time, a portion of the west wall slid away, revealing a very small room. Looking inside, Abdul spied two small chests, similar in design if not nearly as ornate as the ones recovered in the caves of the guardian. The party hauled these out, and after a check for traps, pried them open. To their glee, one was packed with a mass of gold and crystal jewelry, and the other with gems.

Packing away their new found wealth, the party moved on again. In the next chamber they entered they found five of the regressed Kalandrian. These, however, seemed to have merged with the walls. Looking closer, they could see more of the fluid filled tubes in the semi-transparent walls, connected to the Kalandrians. That was creepier even than  the room with just the tubes, so they choose to retreat without disturbing anything. Heading back to one of the intersections, they took a new branch tunnel which led into a room filled with a large pool of liquid. The floor slopped down towards the pool, so they had to be careful not to slide in. Which was good, for when Abdul el Abdul threw in a rope, it came back  completely crystallized. The same happened when Kwinsea and Chaff dipped objects in the water. The trio also noted that a strange cube floated on the surface at the far side of the pool. Abdul el Abdul pulled out his trusty grappling hook and tried to snag it. His first throw missed, but while pulling it back he snagged something at the bottom of the pool. He hauled the object to shore and as it emerged they could see it was a backpack. It was sealed shut, so Abdul el Abdul carefully cut it open. Inside was a mess a mundane gear, as well as a potion bottle and a longsword with a hilt of blue gem and a blade of black crystal. The fighter claimed the fantastic sword, and Chaff snatched up the potion (which he tasted and discovered was a potion of levitation). Looting done, Abdul el Abdul threw the grapple once more and this time hooked the cube. When pulled to shore, they could see at once that this was the missing key to the gate, the cube of the gear.

The Black Blade
Although tempted to return right away to the ship to rest, the party decided to check out the last few tunnels, assuming one would lead them back to the great crystal spar chamber and thence to the circular gate. First letting a platoon of the round 6-legged cave maintenance creatures pass by, and after following a few false leads, they came at last to a long twisted tunnel. At the entrance to the tunnel, they found a  2' tall crystal spike sticking out of the floor. Inside flickered a faint purple flame, while around it sat two human skeletons. They were long departed from the lands of the living, but they seemed to stare intently at the crystal and purple flame. Which Chaff immediately covered with a sack to keep anyone in the party from becoming so enchanted. The party then pressed on, finding one of the purple flame crystals every 10' or so, which they took great care not to stare at directly. They did, however, after some travel emerge once more into the crystal spar chamber. But chose not to press on, deciding instead to return to the ship and recover from their hurts. Heading back to the cave entrance, they encountered and had to slay a regressed Kalandrian before reaching sunlight once more. There, they found Stinky Dog (with Beuford still attached) patiently awaiting them.

Back on board the "Loreman's Passage", the party slipped Beuford back into his hammock to fume away for a few weeks of recovery from his near death experience. The others likewise took a couple of days to recover from their battles before heading back with the cube. Examining their maps, the party selected the shortest route they could find to the circular gate . This happened to take them past the still petrified Grog, so Chaff once more gave up his mount so Stinky Dog could carry Grog, thinking the ex-goblin could be useful in a fight if paired with the crystal heart.  However, they were able to pass through the entry caves and traverse the spar cavern unmolested, and before long were standing at gate. Chaff inserted the cube, and the gate responded with it's usual sounds of gears and mechanisms moving. This time when the sound stopped, however, a small round opening appeared in the centre. Peaking inside, they could first of all see that it was occupied by a human skeleton lying it's back. In the ceiling above the body were five silvery buttons inscribed with Kalandrian writing. There was some trepidation about getting in the tube, the presence of a dead body never boding well. However after removing the skeleton (and looting it of a wand and scroll of ward against undead) and testing the tube with a re-animated Grog and the familiars, Kwinsea was finally willing to crawl in and read the lettering. Four were labeled as "UP", "DOWN", OPEN, "CLOSE", which were pretty self explanatory. The fifth was cryptically labelled "FLASH". Once more no one was willing to try any of the buttons to see what happened, so Grog and Dirty Bird were placed in the tube, and the hyper-intelligent parrot given instructions to try all the buttons except "FLASH" and come back to report.

The door to the tube closed, and after some time, Grog and Dirty Bird returned. The parrot reported to Chaff that the tube descended for several minutes. Upon stopping, the bird opened the door to reveal dodecahedral room whose walls glowed with a soft blue-white light. Floating around inside were a half dozen dodecahedral objects, each about fist sized and sprouting long hoses or tendrils. Since the familiar reported the objects did not seem concerned with their visitors, Kwinsea decided she and Hermes would decend next. When they emerged into the room however, the floating things swarmed around the aquamancer and attached tendrils to her skull. Kwinsea got the distinct impression that her mind was being read, a procedure repeated with each  party member as they arrived. While unnerving, it didn't seem to cause any harm.

With the party now fully assembled, they exited the tunnel at the opposite end of the doceahedron. It opened into a seemingly endless plain, the expanse of which glowed with the same soft blue-white light. Far in distance a structure could be seen, so the party headed towards it. It actually did not take as long to reach as they thought it should, and the party found themselves in front of a latticed geodesic dome constructed of silvery wire connected with gems. Inside were two low round platforms, each about a foot in diameter. Kwinsea walked over to the far platform and stepped on top, only to be rewarded with an intense blast of electricity, and the aquamancer and her familiar dropped dead to the floor. Chaff, after just a moments hesitation, stepped on the first platform. Thankfully there was no blast this time, but instead the gems joining the cage began to glow and the whole structure began to hum. Moments later, a holographic figure appeared on the other platform. It was Kalandrian, and the figure reached out it's hands towards Chaff. "Greetings" it spoke in perfect Common. "You have accessed the repository of all knowledge gathered by Kalandria before the great fall. What do you wish?"
The Kalandrian Cosmic Computer

Looking at his fallen comrade, the vivimancer asked at once if Kwinsea could be brought back from the dead. The figure reached out an arm towards her body, and blue rays extended from its fingertips, engulfing the dead mage. The rays lifted the body to it's feet and then vanished, leaving Kwinsea and Hermes blinking in the unexpected light. As this was happening, the party noticed the light in the gems flicker and dim a little, and a faint smell of ozone wafted by. Assuming that meant there was not much time left to access the memory banks before it shut down (or worst), Chaff quickly asked next for knowledge of a spell to allow him to see and identify magical emanations. As the gem flicker and ozone smell increased, Abdul el Abdul stepped on the platform and asked for knowledge to help him to increase his  martial proneness, while Kwinsea asked for help in harnessing the power of the prismatic ray gem so the headaches and confusion it caused could be controlled. All three received the enlightenment they needed. But just as Kwinsea stepped off the platform, the whole wire and gem frame began to spark and flame, and the holographic figure stared to fade from view.

Assuming that didn't bode well, the party fled back to the dodecahedral room as the dome exploded in a spray of sparks and electrical discharge behind them. Up to the caves they returned, and once more emerged into the sunlight without encountering anyone or anything. There, they summoned the ships boat and returned to the "Loreman's Passage" with tales of wonder to tell Yorik.


TOTAL XP
4424

GAINS
Silver Ring (10gp)
14 Pieces of Gold and Crystal Jewelry (2800gp)
29 Assorted Gems (975gp)
2 Crystal Skulls (10gp each)

KILLS
8 Brittle Bones
1 Crystal Mantis
1 Regressed Kalandrian

LOSSES
Kwinsea & Hermes (temporarily)

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Far Isles Session #17 - More Henchmen, then No Henchmen

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Torak (Cleric 1)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 1), with henchman Mervix the Victorious (Dwarf 1) and familiar, Hermes
Chaff (Vivimancer 2), with henchman Alister Pembroke the Monster Hunter (Musketeer 1), familiar Dirty Bird, and riding hound Stinky Dog

It took some fast talking, but Chaff was able to convince Yorik Rold to return to the anchorage for a few days of rest, refit and resupply. After several days sail, and as the "Loreman's Passage" approached the small island, the lookout aloft shouted down to the deck that there was a galley lying off the anchorage. A red and black warship by the looks of her. Rold cautiously brought the "Loreman's Passage" closer, waiting to see what the galley would do. Suddenly, it turned towards them and started to approach under oar and sail. They could now see she was flying red and black Cha'nrk colours, which was not a good sign in the party's eyes. So they advised Rold to turn and try to get out of sight and around the island so they could land there instead. The maneuvering required, however, allowed the galley to keep on their tails, so Rold decided to just run before the wind and lose their purser that way.

Cha'nrk War Galley "Immolator"
The party still wanted to land and check out the anchorage. Rold was reluctant to approach the island again, but eventually agreed to put the party ashore at night on the opposite side of the island from the anchorage. In spite of the pouring rain, this went without a hitch, and before long Chaff and Kwinsea found themselves pulling the ship's boat up onto the shore. There they were surprised to find someone else sheltering  under the oaks from the rain. He looked very much like their recently departed comrade Ragner, right down to the accouterments of Brall, the Bloated One.   After some cautious banter, he introduced himself as Torak. He'd been a somewhat unwilling passenger on that war galley, and jumped overboard to escape earlier that day. He told Chaff and Kwinsea that the galley had been sent by the High Marshal-Inquisitor of Cha'nrk to investigate the anchorage, shake down the ships there for tariffs and taxes, and generally see if it was worth the city-states trouble to stake a claim on the island.

Joined by Torak, the party settled down under the overturned boat for a nights rest before marching across the island. Kwinsea took the opportunity to summon a familiar, and after a few hours, the aquamancer  was joined by a large hermit crab she called "Hermes". The three (plus dog, bird and crab) set out at first light, reaching the anchorage about an hour later. There, hiding under the trees and out of sight of the ships in the cove, they found a dwarf and a man. These, it seemed, were the deserters from the "Savage Sisters" Azimer had encountered on their last visit. That ship was back in port, so the two were hiding from the wrath of the captain and her ogre-ish first mate. They were getting quite tired of camping out on this island, however, and so Alister Pembroke the Monster Hunter, and Mervix the Victorious pledged their loyalty to Chaff and Kwinsea respectively, and joined the party.

Turning now to the anchorage, they could see the beach was pretty much empty. Torgus Traveling Tavern was gone,  and the shantytown at the far end looked laregly deserted. At anchor were four ships: the aforementioned "Savage Sisters", their old comrade Thorgrim in the "Serpents Revenge", the merchant Dravos in the "Barbaric Wind", and a fourth vessel of outlandish style. The galley was no where in sight. Chaff sent Dirty Bird out to summon a boat from Dravos' ship, and the party was soon aboard doing some shopping (including an oversize waterskin for Hermes to use as a self-watering shell) and get the news. He confirmed Torak's story about the Chan'rk galley, as well as their suspicion about Thorgrim going back to slaving. The party wasn't keen on sticking around in case the galley returned, and Alister and Mervix kept making nervous sideways glances at the "Savage Sisters". So when business with Dravos was complete, they transshipped back to the beach, and hiked back to their boat at the other end of the island. There they kept out of sight until nightfall, when the "Loreman's Passage" returned and picked them up.  After some grumbling about extra mouths to feed, Rold turned the ship about and headed back to the island of the crystal caves.

Several days sail found the newly enlarged party back at the illusionary cliff and the crystal caves. The repeated the climb up to the second entrance, and passed though the outer caves without event. They did note, however, that the signs of their previous visits (Abdul el Abdul's scratches on the walls, the remains of the brittle bones) had been removed. Entering the room where they'd battled the brittle bones, they found that the exit the creatures were guarding led into the chamber of large crystals. Following the rough path along the crystals, the party twisted and wound it's way through the maze. They encountered another crystal mantis, but unlike that last, this one was easily taken out. Alister and Mervix, in particular, proved their worth in the battle by standing fast in the front rank and landing most of the blows.

Moving on from their battle with the mantis, the party came to a point where two of the giant crystals met. There, suspended in mid air over the narrow gap, was a clear globe about 6 inches across, filled with a swirling greenish gas. Kwinsea approached carefully, and whipped a sack over the sphere. She found it behaved the same as the previously recovered planetary globe, and she was able to haul the floating sphere along behind her. Passing on from there, the next point of interest was a short crystal that jutted to the side. At it's end, a long set of grooves were scratched into the surface,  as if some clawed beast had gone over the edge. Nothing was seen after a careful inspection into the abyss below, so the party moved on. They soon passed over a patch of dried blood, obviously not human. Assuming a connection with the scratch marks, they looked around for that last location, but it proved to be below them, and off to the side, rather than above them.

Continuing along the long straight crystal. they didn't get far before a squad of the brittle bones emerged from the darkness at the edge of their lamp light. Battle was joined, and once more the two new henchman Alister and Mervix formed the front rank. This time the battle did not go so well, The henchmen each took multiple blows, dropping dead after exchanging just a few blows with their foes. This left Chaff, Torak and Kwinsea in a fight for survival. Torak was able to splatter a few with a thrown flask of oil, which Kwinsea set alight. The aquamancer then stepped into the breach left by the deceased Alister, and proceeded to use her trident to hook into the skeletons, tip them over the edge of the crystal and into the darkness below. Chaff attempted to shoot one with his pistol, but missed, so he retreated to allow the more heavily armored Torak to step forward into the breach. In the end, it was another close fight with the brittle bones, but the party was victorious. The paused just long enough to bind their wounds and loot some useful items from the fallen henchmen (Torak in particular inherited a musket from Alister, while Chaff muttered something about how much money he'd been wasting on firearms for henchmen). Pressing on down the long, gently slopping crystal, they emerged at a familiar location, the entrance to the round tunnel and the circular gate. Entering, Chaff pulled out the pyramidal key, which he inserted into it's proper place in the door. They were again reward with a loud 'clunk' and sounds of gears or parts moving in the door. All that was left now was the find the cubic gear to (hopefully) open the gate and see if all the death and destruction was worth the quest. But that would wait for another day, and the once more depleted party retraced their steps, and arrived thankfully unmolested back at the cave entrance and thence back to the "Loreman's Passage".

TOTAL XP
565

GAINS
nil

KILLS
5 Brittle Bones
1 Crystal Mantis

LOSSES
Mervix the Victorious
Alister Pembroke the Monster Hunter

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Far Isles Session #16 - One More Key, One Less Character

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Abdul el Abdul (Fighter 2)
Chaff (Vivimancer 2), with familiar Dirty Bird, and riding hound Stinky Dog
Ragnar (Cleric 1)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 1)
Beuford Bumbletoes (Halfling 1)

Back on board the "Loreman's Passage", the party stripped Azimer of all his/her valuables and prepared the calmonari for burial at sea. Chaff tackled the prismatic ray gem, easily popping it out of Azimers skull, leaving an indentation behnd. Chaff managed to win force of will with the gem, and avoided having it embed itself into his head. With the calmonari given his/her sendoff, the rest of the party settled in to treat their wounds. Especially Abdul el Abdul, who was quite lucky to not be joining the calmonari in the deeps.  Chaff talked to Yorik about the party staying on the ship for a few days to let Abdul el Abdul recover, and the distracted academic was quite OK with that. Rold, however, didn't like the idea of his the ship sitting around in strange waters any longer than absolutely necessary. It took some smooth talking from Chaff (and a promise of 5% of the party's cut of treasure) to get him to not shove the party right back in the shore boat.

A few days later, with Abdul el Abdul at full fetter, the party headed ashore  again. They decided this time to try one of the other entrances in the cliff face.  They headed the lowest one, even though there was no obvious was to get up there (unlike the highest entrance, which was accessible by a narrow stair cut in the rock.) Some deft grappling hook work by Abdul el Abdul, and rope work (to lift Stinky Dog)  by Chaff, and the party was in the cave entrance. Before delving too deep, however, they were surprised by a female voice calling from below. Standing on a tiny raft was a woman who introduced herself as Kwinsea, a wizardess of the sea and a friend of Azimer's. It seems the calmonari had summoned her to join him/her on their adventures. After some awkward conversation wherein the party explained the calmonari was no more, Kwinsea was hoisted up to join them. The party passed over Azimer's possessions to her, including the prismatic ray gem. Which, unlike for Chaff, embedded itself in the newcomers head.

A very short passage led into a large cavern. Like the others, it was round and formed out of volcanic glass, with walls much more highly polished than any seen thus far. Pushing on, they came to another odd shaped cavern with walls even more brightly polished. So bright, the light from the lantern danced off the glass in a prismatic spray, blinding both Beuford and Chaff (plus Dirty Bird and Stinky Dog). Retreating to the the first cavern, the party settled down to see if the blindness would pass. In the meantime, Abdul el Abdul absentmindedly started scratching the walls with one of his grappling hooks. He soon noticed ghostly figures lingering behind the polished surface. They were of no one he knew, but appeared to be adventurers in a wide variety of styles of dress, armor and weapons. One carried the crystal bearing sphere found by the party, while a second carried a similar cube. Although nothing untoward was happening, the party felt uneasy and were glad when Chaff and Beuford recovered their sight so all could press on.
Jovania
Partly shuttering the lantern this time, they entered the reflective room again, and now noticed something hanging or floating in an alcove. Abdul el Abdul approached carefully, discovering what appeared to be a planetary globe, floating about 4 feet off the floor, made of gold, silver and green and black glass. He passed his hands above and below, and globe did not waver. However, a gentle push and is floated away a short distance.  The rest of the party came over, and it was noted there was more of the alien Kalandrian writing on it's surface. Oddly enough, Kwinsea, who had never seen it before, was able to apply her massive intellect and decipher the writing. It consisted of place names on a planet named "Jovania", and one of the major countries or empires was marked "Kalandria". Well, it certainly wasn't a globe of this world.

The party decided to leave the globe in place for now, and explore further. In the next room they found the floor was actually transparent, showing a curved bottom to the cavern matching the shape of the ceiling. Closer examination revealed Kalandrian script etched on the underside of the floor. This Chaff and Kwinsea transcribed for Yorik,  and the aquamancer translated it as some sort of sophisticated and esoteric mathematical or magical (or both) formulas. That done, the party headed down a twisty tunnel and into another chamber. This one was notable for a geyser of liquid crystal in the centre, as well as a phalanx of skeletal soldiers guarding an exit on the opposite wall! These did not move, however, and the party decided to avoid them for now and explore another exit close by instead. This led to a room very similar to the one with the transparent floor and writing. But close examination of this floor revealed a faint, inscribed grid pattern. Seen below the floor was a scattering of the coloured disks/coins. But no obvious was to get at them. Most of the party just wanted to go back to see what the skeletons were guarding, but Chaff was curious. He took out his hammer and started to gently rap on the floor. The a little harder, and harder, until suddenly the entire floor cracked along the grid lines and fell into the lower half of the chamber. Well, they avoided that trap. Especially good, since they could now see a series of wickedly shaped crystal spikes in the bottom of the chamber, hidden previously by some strange optical property of the floor.

Banner
Unable to now cross that chamber, the party had to go back to the room with the skeletons. Again, they did not move when the party entered the room.  They stood still and silent, with one in the rear holding a magnificent gold and jeweled banner depicting a Kalandrin eye held in a pair of hands. Well that looked interesting to Abdul el Abdul, so he moved cautiously towards the skeletons. He'd just made his was past the liquid crystal geyser when the skeletons snapped to life. The two ranks lowered their spears at the fighter, and with the banner-holder in support, advanced.  The rest of the party spread out to support Abdul el Abdul. Both Chaff and Abdul el Abdul fired their pistols, but when the smoke cleared it was obvious they'd missed. Ragnar tired to call on the Bloated One to turn the skeletons, but in spite of the power of Brall filling the cleric, it didn't seem to work. The attackers then fell on the party in a furry, and in short time both Ragnar and Beuford fell to their spears. The halfling managed to cling to life, and was pulled away and stabilized by Chaff . Kwisnsea tried the same with Ragnar, but the cleric could not be saved and went to join the Drowned God in the depths of the afterworld.

Down two party members, the remaining three wisely withdrew slowly. While Abdul el Abdul blocked the skeletons from getting at the two unarmored magic users, Chaff and Kwinssea tried a barrage of oil, daggers, and prismatic rays to support their comrade. They had but little luck ,and Abdul el Abdul was getting badly beaten once again. Chaff bravely spurred Stinky Dog forward and plunged into the melee with his staff. This, along with some successful rays from Kwinssea, turned the tide and the last of the skeletons were beaten into submission. Into a pile of rock dust actually, as the party now found they were made or at least coated in a layer of crystal.

While badly battered, the party also wanted to badly see what the skeletons were guarding.  Apart from the exit, they also found a 2' pyramid, very similar in style and material to the crystal bearing sphere. This, obviously, was the pyramidal key, the second object they needed to open the gate. But not right now, so they grabbed the pyramid and banner (and the globe along the way) and retreated back to the cave entrance, and thence to the "Loreman's Passage" to once again recover.

TOTAL XP
1591

GAINS
Floating globe of the planet "Jovania" 500gp
Golden jeweled Kalandrian Banner 1000gp

KILLS
7 Brittle Bones

LOSSES
Ragnar