Monday, December 8, 2014

Westmist Session # 86 - Marital and Hallucinogenic Bliss

While Erijay, Lomar and their assorted livestock and retainers tested their mettle against the Depths of the Gann, Kern (with Bjorn) had returned to the barbarian camp with a cunning plan. To somehow bring the tribe on board the campaign to push Jax/Lord Merdwyn out of Westmist and place Duncal in charge of the March Barony. This proved both easier and more difficult than the merchant suspected. Successful in  getting an audience with Tzarn the High Ram, Kern laid out his pitch to the barbarian chief; help Kern and his friends and get a big reward. It turned out the chief was less interested in gold than he was in marrying off his thrice widowed sister, as well as finding new more fertile lands for his tribe and sheep. So somewhat to Kern's chagrin, he found himself betrothed to the chiefs sister, Wazara, and had pledged the tribe new lands in the March Barony in return for their help in overthrowing the March Baron. He also pledged to find a way to move the whole tribe across the territory of the competing (and hostile) tribes that stood between the Tribe of the Ram and Westmist. In the depths of winter. No problem!
Negotiations complete, Kern and Bjorn rejoined their companions at the camp above the 'pit that smokes'. Along the way they picked up a warrior by the name of Jasper, whom they found wandering lost in the mountains. He agreed to join the party in their underground activities, at least for the time being.

Down into the hole again went Erijay, Lomar (with Guy), Kern (with Bjorn) and Jasper. Khoog choose to stay and guard camp for some inexplicably barbarian reason. The party first followed the plume of smoke, and soon found it's source in a large room just below the surface. A blazing fire burned at the bottom the stairs which descended into the chamber. Close investigation by Lomar however, showed it to be decidedly un-flamelike. It radiated no heat, did not burn his hand when placed in the flames, and made no sounds. Erijay crawled behind the flames to search for secret doors (none found) and used a charge from the Wand of Detect Magic to look for any magical clues. Apart from the obviously magical flame and all their magic items, nothing was revealed.
Puzzled, the party moved on, Kern insisting that they investigate the door with the racy columns. The columnar maidens once more beckoned them in, and once Kern had certified the door trap free, it was opened.  On the other side was an unexpectedly opulent room. A thick red carpet covered the floor, tapestries depicting bacchanalian feasts lined the walls, and in the centre of the room was a circle of golden pillows. Closer investigation by Lomar revealed, inside the circle of pillows, three  hookah pipes (one blue, one pink, and one yellow) carved from the stone of the floor. He also found the partially dismembered and disemboweled body of a Ram tribe barbarian, plus a small box of tobacco. After some hesitation, Lomar first called upon Salue to raise the unfortunate tribesman as a zombie, then proceeded to light up the pink hookah for a puff. After receiving hallucinogenic visions of great treasure, Lomar found he could detect the greatest treasure trove within  close range; which incidentally happened to be Kern, the walking bank. He then tried the other two, but was rewarded with nothing except a bad cough.

Meanwhile the rest of the party had searched the room, and debated stripping the tapestries as treasure. All activity ceased when Jasper, standing guard at the door, shouted a warning of 'flying monkey things' and the party prepared for battle. Kern went invisible with his cloak, and dropped to the floor so Jasper could shoot over his head (unfortunately, no hits scored). Erijay and Bjorn loosed magic missiles, and followed with web  spells to trap the remaining flying apes. These were dispatched quickly and easily, and the bodies cut down and pushed out of the way. After a short discussion, the party decided to go deeper to search for the Cerebral Shield. They headed towards the long stairs Lomar and Erijau had investigated the day before, and first checked out the gorilla-spider nest room. It seemed deserted, but Lomar cautiously sent his new zombie ("Herbert") across first. Which was good, as two of the foul monkey things emerged hooting from the nests and tore the poor Herbert limb from limb. The creatures then fell on the party clustered in the entryway, but not before Jasper was able to lob a flask of oil at one. A quick spark cantrip from Bjorn and the thing went up in flames, but both it and it's companion tore into the front rank. More magic missiles flew (but Erijay lost hers when hit by a gorilla claw), and weapons swung. Meanwhile, the highly combustible nesting material began to burn, and the battle was ended in a cloud of smoke with two crisped and killed gorilla-spiders lying on the floor.
When the room cooled enough to pass through, Kern slipped ahead invisibly and scouted the corridor on the other side. He passed an opening leading up, then came to a junction with stairs leading down and another natural tunnel going up. Going back to get everyone, he led the party down the stairs into a strange corridor. It was round and seemed to be made of bright steel. It led west, but there was also a narrow circular stairwell of the same design and construction that led down deeper . . .

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