Monday, November 30, 2015

Far Isles Session #15 - Death Among the Crystals

Abdul el Abdul (Fighter 2)
Azimer (Calmonari 3)
Chaff (Vivimancer 2), with familiar, Dirty Bird, and riding hound, Stinky Dog
Beuford Bumbletoes (Halfling 1)

... The party did not have long to investigate the huge crystal cavern, however, as the two guardian statues had followed them and it looked as if a fight was in the works. Azimer and Abdul el Abdul opened fire; Abdul with his pistol and the calmonari with the prismatic ray gem embedded in his/her forehead. Neither hit at first, but Abdul el Abdul had better success when he switched  to swordplay, and Azimer started to get on target with the deadly pink rays. Meanwhile, Chaff had eyed their foes a little closer, and realized they were not some sort of animated statue, but flesh and blood (albeit, unusual flesh and blood). So he dropped a meld flesh spell and merged the two together by their hands, causing them to stumble about. Which was enough to turn the tide, such that Chaff with a pistol shot and Abdul el Abdul with his blade ended the threat.

Now able to examine the bodies closely, the party found these were indeed creatures of flesh and blood. With faintly translucent, crystal like skin, and darker organs visible inside. The internal organs didn't match any 'normal' pattern the veteran practical anatomists recognized, and the bodies were bleeding a thick, viscous and whitish liquid instead of red blood. But they were definitely (once) living and not magically animated creatures. Azimer wondered if the crystal heart he/she had been carrying for awhile was somehow related to these creatures. The calmonari brought it near the creatures, and the heart warmed a little, but otherwise nothing happened.
Crystal Disks

The party was pretty battered by this point, so they headed back towards the entrance to return to the ship for rest and refit. On the way they stopped to check the spot the two guardians originated from, as well as the room with all the shafts in the floor. Checking each of these shafts, they found at the bottom of one a collection of colorful round disks. Since they were at the bottom of a narrow, deep hole, Chaff called up some minor magic to lift them out one by one. Meanwhile, Abdul el Abdul and Azmier examined another shaft, at the bottom of which lay a crystal sphere. It was almost exactly the same diameter as the shaft, leaving no simple way to get it out. In any event, Chaff had finally recovered the last of the disks (which were covered in the weird dot and line writing seen elsewhere in this ring of islets), and party decided to head back to the cave entrance and thence to the ship (after Azimer had swam out and recalled the boat). There, they turned the disks over to Yorik, who excitedly started to study and transcribe them with the help of his apprentices, Undel, Horv, and Winna). Chaff meanwhile buddy-buddy'd with  the mate/defacto captain Rold to get in his good graces, while Addul el Abdul and Azimer focused on the practical matters of resupplying and resting.

Next morning, the party was rowed back to the crystal cave. They were joined by the halfling, Beuford Bumbletoes, a member of the crew who was bored to death of sitting about waiting for the party to 'do something' and decided to join them and 'push them along'. Entering the first cave, they found Grog's petrified body still leaning against the wall. Azimer, curious, went over to have another look at the poor henchman. While there, the calmonari pulled out the crystal heart again and brought it close to the body. It was instantly drawn into Grog's chest and the stone henchman lurched to a semblance of life! He was still made of crystal, and could neither talk or communicate, but seemed to understand mental instructions from Azimer. And so Grog once more joined the party.
Crystal Mine

Which was good, because as the party moved to exit the cave, the walls around the tunnel started to bud off strange creatures. They fell to the floor as round, fist-sized spheres of crystal that quickly sprouted long sharp spikes. These rolled over to get under the party's feet, and it proved difficult to avoid getting a foot impaled on one of the spiked things. Everyone started lobbing oil and swinging weapons at the crystals. One was struck, and it exploded in a spray of crystalline shrapnel that caused further injury to those in range. Abdul el Abdul's solution was to scoop one of the damned things up in a sack, and then smash it to bits, a tactic repeated by everyone else until all the spiked balls were gone.

After tossing their now shredded sacks, the party proceeded back to the shaft room. There, Chaff first had to convince Beuford to strip down and allow himself to be lowered into the hole with the sphere. That took awhile, but soon they had a mostly naked halfling ready to go. Beuford was given a pair of gloves smeared in pitch taken the ship's stores, and was lowered down on a rope to stick his gloves/hands on the sphere. This actually worked, and soon the party hauled up a halfling with a crystal sphere in his hands. While Beuford donned his armor and gear, the rest of the party looked at the sphere. It had a band around the middle, engraved with the dot and line writing. It was remarkably light as well, considering it was 2' in diameter.  It was, however, quite bulky. So rather than lug it around, they put in back in one of the holes, propping it up and hiding it with some of the crystal rods from the next room. Hopefully it would be easy to get but still hidden from harm.
The Gate
That done, they headed now for the great crystal cave. The crystals did indeed form a sort of network of catwalks out into the cave, gently slopping up or down to intersect with each other. Above and below them lay a further web of crystals inter-spaced with black voids into the unknown darkness. The party did  not proceed too far, however, before they saw another pair of the guardians just ahead, at a point where two crystals met. These did not seem hostile though, and approached the party with hands raised, talking in a strange language. Both Azimer and Chaff recognized the language as the one in the echoing cave from long ago, and they were able to parse a little of what was being said. The creatures referred to themselves as Kalandrian, and welcomed the party as their saviors(?) or expected ones(?). Chaff was able to ask about "the lost knowledge" as inscribed on Abdul el Abdul's directional crystal, and the two Kalandrains nodded and gestured for the party to follow them. Weaving through the cave of crystal, after some time the party approached a large round tunnel, similar to the ones which connected the entrance caves, but much larger. At the end was a blank wall with a large round stone gate. Around the edge of the gate were three empty spaces; one spherical, once cubical and once pyramidal. Chaff pantomimed and stuttered some questions to the Kalandrian's, and they indicated this was a door or gate to the "place of knowledge" which required three keys to open. It looked like the sphere from the shaft was one key, so now it was up to the party to find the others. Questioned, the Kalandrian's could offer no suggestions of where to look. In fact, it was becoming clear that these two were not at their best mentally and physically, showing obvious signs of mental and moral decay.
Crystal Mantis
The party decided to go back to get the sphere to try it in the door. At this point, Grog stopped moving and returned to his statute form, the crystal heart falling out of his chest (which Azimer scooped up). Leaving Grog behind, the party trudged onward, followed by the two Kalandrian's. These, however, would not go out into the entrance caves, and when the party returned with the sphere, they were nowhere in sight. Threading their way back to the gate, they inserted the sphere. There was a loud "clunk" as if some mechanism had been set or re-set in the door, so the party was confident they were on the right track. Now all they had to do was find the next two keys. Just outside the tunnel with the gate, the crystal walkways diverged in three directions. The party choose a new direction, hoping it would lead them to one of the other keys. The path of the crystals led them far across the cavern again, either above of below their previous path. They'd just reached the end of a long straight crystal, when above and to the side they could see movement. Crawling down towards them was a hideous mantis-like crystal creature, which launched itself at the party and started to bludgeon them which it's forelegs. Abdul el Abdul, in the front line with Beuford, was hit again and again, and had to pull back and be replaced by Azimer. Oil flew, swords swung, pistols fired, and pink death rays shot, but the thing was tough. And it struck again and again at Azimer, and the calmonari fell dead just as the rest of the party finished the mantis. With heavy hearts, the battered and bruised party picked up the their fallen comrade and retreated back to the entrance caves and the sea. Chaff sent Dirty Bird off to recall the boat, and the party was brought back to the "Loreman's Passage" to once again rest, recover and plan.


Collection of multi-hue disks/coins 250gp
Grog (again)

2 Regressed Kalandrian's
5 Crystal Mines
1 Crystal Mantis

Grog (again)

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