Sunday, December 21, 2014

Westmist Session #87 - Finally, Something Besides Monkeys

... while the party considered what to do next, Lomar was slowly being mentally dazzled by his new found treasure sensing ability. Standing too close to Kern was giving him  vicious headache, so he retreated to the surface, accompanied by Jasper. Erijay, Kern and Bjorn were soon joined by Khoog, who came to keep an eye on their progress. Kern, meanwhile, had slipped on his elven cloak and descended the narrow spiral stairway. He noted that at each landing of the metal stairs there was a short rounded alcove. In each lay a mummified ape head, with eyes, mouth, ears and nose sewn shut. Creeped out, he decided not to disturb any of them, but continued his decent. Reaching the bottom, Kern found himself in another round steel corridor. At one end, another wider spiral metal staircase descended. At the other, the corridor gave way to a natural tunnel which split into shafts going up and down.

While Kern was busy below, Erijay and the others explored the tunnel they were in, which also proved to end shortly in a natural shaft going up and down. Hanging at the top was a platform hanging from chains, all connected to a series of gears and levers on the ceiling. When Kern returned,  he surmised that the shaft connected with the one below, and that they use the platform/elevator to investigate. This they did, and with the push of a lever, the platform started to descend. At which point the party realized there were no controls on the platform to stop or reverse it. Simultaneously, there came the dreaded sounds of hooting and grunting from above that heralded the arrival of more spider-apes, two of which appeared climbing down towards them. A short but furious battle ensued, in which one monkey-thing was slain and the other webbed to the wall of the shaft. Meanwhile, through the chaos of battle, Kern noted a steel hatchway set in the side of the shaft. Once the monkey-apes were taken out, he rode back up the elevator (having found controls at the bottom of the shaft), jumping into the shallow alcove holding the door as he passed by it. After first listening for danger, he turned the door handle, but it proved to be barred from the inside. Calling out to Erijay and informing her of the issue, the elf responded with a knock spell which released the bar, and allowed Kern to open the door. He then tied off and lowered a rope, which the rest of the party climbed up.
Beyond the door was a dead end tunnel, about 20' deep.  At the end was a giant human head, ten feet tall with mouth agape. Kern cautiously approached, and noted a dark dried substance smeared around the mouth. Looking in, he also observed a cavity behind the mouth, likewise stained.  Carefully scraping some of the material away with his dagger, Kern examined it closely and observed that it was dried blood. He simultaneously noted that the head was actually made of dried skin stretched over some sort of metal framework. Erijay, meanwhile, used the last charge of the wand of detect magic to determine that the head was indeed magical.  Figuring they needed blood to activate the head, Kern and Erijay proceeded to recover one of the dead spider-monkeys, then slit it's throat and let the blood flow into the cavity behind the mouth. Once it was full, a booming voice rang out in the chamber: ASK YOUR QUESTION, MORTAL. Kern and Erijay quickly settled on asking for directions to the Cerebral Shield. The head proceeded to rhyme off directions and the elf (hopefully) wrote them all down correctly. Once done, Kern noted that the cavity was now empty of blood. So he went to recover the second slain monkey and proceeded to drain it's blood into the head. Alas, to no avail, as it did not respond to any further questions.
But now with a pretty good idea of where to go, the party dropped back to the bottom of the shaft and proceeded to following the directions Erijay had taken down. Kern scouted ahead in his cloak, and led the party down the wider stair shaft (which bizarrely had weapons welded to the walls at each landing) and into another narrow tunnel going east.  This led to a flight of stairs going up, then one going down, before opening into another full height metal passage. Just as they prepared to head down this corridor, however, they were startled by an odd sight. There appeared a quartet of near naked human males with bronzed oiled skin, carrying between them a veiled sedan chair. On sighting the party, they stopped, and Kern tried to engage them in parley. The quartet remained unresponsive to him, however, so Erijay tried speaking to them. Still no answer, but from inside the sedan chair came a response in a deep, sultry female voice. The curtain was drawn back, revealing a beautiful woman bedecked in jewelry. Introducing herself as Ksana, the  lady began to question the party to find out who they were and what they were doing in the depths of the Gann. In the back and forth that followed, the party learned that Ksana lived here with her sisters, and they had need of the party's assistance with an important matter. Refusing the answer any further questions, she requested that the party come to meet with her and her sisters so they might discuss it further. Willing to at least talk, the party agreed. The bearers lifted the chair and Ksana, and proceeded to lead the party down and up a series of shafts and stairs. Finally reaching one more vertical shaft, the bearers set the chair down in an alcove, and the Ksana emerged. The party was somewhat shocked to find that, however beautiful she may have been from the waist up, from the waist down Ksana sported the body of a centipede. She proceeded to scurry up the walls of the shaft, and the party and bearers followed, climbing a ladder set there for that apparent purpose.

The shaft led to a narrow tunnel, through which the party had to crawl single file, before emerging into a large, well lit, natural cavern.  The floor was covered in sand, while in the centre of the room there sat a round stone dais covered in pillows and silks. Here, surrounded by guards in strange leather and mail armor, were four more centipede-women; Ksana's sisters. Kern took the lead in negotiations, and the party learned that the women were creations of the Gann, who had been a great wizard from another plane or world. They wished to increase their numbers, but could only do so in one of the laboratories of the Gann. And it was guarded by another creation of the Gann, the metallo-spiders. The centipede woman and the metallo-spiders were mortal enemies, each seeing the other as some abomination unworthy of the skills of the Gann. Ksana proposed that the party secure the laboratory from the metallo-spiders, and they would be well rewarded with jewelery and whatever information the sisters could provide. To this the party agreed, and received permission to rest for the night in the centipede-women's chamber, before dealing with the metallo-spiders on the morrow.

Next morning, Ksana provided two of their guards as guides, and the party descended deeper into the depths. In particular, the guards led them down the wide spiral staircase discovered earlier, going down over a hundred feet until they reached a door similar to the metal hatch from the previous day. The guards silently indicted that the party would find the metallo-spiders on the other side of the door; the party was to go through, but the guards would await them on this side. With a shrug, Kern went ahead and searched the door for traps, and then the party passed through. The two guards closed the door behind them with a clang. On the other side was a nondescript natural tunnel. The ceiling opened up into a wide shift that rose beyond the range of their lights. Further along, the tunnel ended in a shaft going down. Rather than go meet the metallo-spiders on their own ground, the party set up a defensive position here, backs to the door. And then proceeded to make an awful noise to attract their foe. After about 10 minutes, their efforts were rewarded with the sight of two creatures climbing up from the shaft; metallic creatures with long spider legs, a metallic body, covered in flashing gems and in the rough shape of a human brain. These paused for a moment, then scuttled at high speed towards the party. Erijay cast haste, then she and Bjorn fired magic missiles to slay one of the creatures. The other creature bit the elf with it's pincers, and Erijay felt a searing pain as hot liquid metal was injected into her body. Nearly spent, Eirjay nevertheless was able to stand and help finish off the remaining foe.Kern then pried the gems from both bodies as a reward for their efforts.
Assuming there were more than two metallo-spiders lurking elsewhere, and surprised by their powerful bite, the party choose not to advance just yet. Instead, Bjorn started the process to summon an air elemental with the censor, placing the creature in the shaft ahead of them. They then proceeded to make more noise, and once more their efforts were rewarded with another pair of metallo-spiders coming up the shaft. These hesitated before attacking, seeming to be waiting for something. Kern took advantage of the pause to try negotiating. He was answered by a toneless metallic voice; the spiders were now angry and unwilling to deal with 'flesh-creatures'. And especially not interested in dealing with the centipede-women.  

The reason for the spiders pause was soon apparent, for the sounds of battle, then screams, came from the door behind the party. At that, the two spiders in the tunnel surged forward to engage the elemental, and the door opened behind the party to reveal two more metallo-spiders attacking their rear! The air elemental blocked the first two metallo-spiders, but one was able to attack the back rank through the door. Unfortunately, Bjorn was the target, and the magic user was blasted with a bite and molten metal. That was bad enough, but it also broke his concentration, freeing the elemental from his control. The elemental tried to get at Bjorn and attack him, but was hampered by the low tunnel. Instead, it took a last blow at the spiders and flew up to attempt an escape through the shaft above. This allowed the other two spiders to get in and attack Erijay and Khoog., while the third continued to attack from behind. Low and spells and already badly battered, it looked to be the end for Kern, Erijay and the rest. But in quick succession, the tide turned. Kern hauled out his pickled medusa head, and was able to turn the spider in the door to stone. Bjorn then webbed the stone spider in the door , blocking the entrance completely. Erijay caught the other two spiders in another web spell, and she and Khoog then hacked the things to bits. The fourth spider, in the stairwell behind the stone spider, scurried away, leaving the party to breath a sign of relief. They swiftly pried away the gems from the two dead spiders, then beat a hasty retreat before more metallo-spiders or the air elemental returned. They headed back to the centipede-women, who were not impressed with the party's failure and loss of two of their slaves ...

No comments:

Post a Comment