Monday, April 17, 2017

Far Isles Session #60 - Down Among the Mudpits

Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 4)
Chaff (Vivimancer 5), with familiar Pretty Bird
Awg Wahmn (Calmonari 4)
Torak (Cleric 4)

Opening the trap door uncovered a shaft leading down 30-40' into a chamber below. The floor was damp but not flooded, and shapes could be seen clustered around the edges of the room. Torak cast a light spell on one of his copper coins and dropped it down the shaft, to better light their destination before anyone crawled down. The shapes proved to be statues, carved out of a sickly green stone shot through with red. None of them seemed to be moving, so Awg volunteered to be lowered into the hole. Spike driven in and rope attached, the calmonari descended. Once below, he/she noted a closed portcullis to the north, and little else beyond the statutes. These ran the gamut from classical nudes to horrific monsters. Given the all clear, the rest of the party descended, and Chaff tried poking around the statues, nudging one with a cantrip to see if it would topple over. He found nothing, so the party decided to head on. It took all four to lift the portcullis, and after hammering in a spike to hold it up, they carefully moved down the straight hallway beyond. About a third of the way down they encountered three crudely dug holes on the right, all about 5' above the floor. Torak looked closely, and noticed signs of old water staining running down the wall below them. It seems that water had flowed through these holes sometimes in the past.

The holes were too small for anyone but Chaff to crawl through, so the party pushed on. After another 20-30', they encountered faint whips of mist. Pushing on further, they discovered the source: a 7' diameter hole in the floor, from which rose a steady stream of steam. On the other side was a closed door. The party dropped a coin in the hole and were rewarded with a splash, which indicated there was water or some other liquid about 50-60' below. Not enamored with the idea of jumping into a pit of boiling water, the party focused on the door instead. Torak listened first, then opened the swollen wooden door, revealing a north-south corridor. To the north descended a set of stairs. To the south was another lowered portcullis, beyond which was another door.  The four lifted and spiked this gate as well, then went to examine the door. This was a stone door, which opened towards them. Remembering the flood of water behind the last stone door they'd opened, the party elected to ignore it for now and descend the stairs instead.

Mud Pits
Said stairs began in a worked corridor, but soon entered a natural passage, before dumping the party on a slick mineral terrace. The air was hot and steamy with a foul sulfur-ish taint. Beyond the terrace they could see a series of mudpots bubbling and bursting, as well as the occasional gas flare and steam burst. Stalactites and stalagmites abounded, growing together into columns in some places. The party moved forward carefully to examine the edge of the terrace, poor Torak unfortunately getting splashed with a burst of hot mud in the process.  They found another narrow terrace leading along the edge of the cavern to the right, about 6-8' below the level of their own terrace.  Spikes were hammered and everyone climbed down and edged along the cavern wall. After dropping down another level, the terrace ended and the party had to continue along a mineral crust path between two bubbling mudpots. And Torak was splashed by another scalding mud burst.  Still hugging the cavern wall, they came to a series of steep terraces, at the top of which was a massive stalactite pillar. Climbing up, everyone clustered around the mineral wonder. Staring intently, Rodrigo noted what appeared to be a human-ish form inside the pillar. Chaff, meanwhile, squeezed into the space between  the pillar and the wall (there being just enough room for the diminutive spell-slinger). From that vantage point he cold see the shape more clearly; it looked to be a human skeleton sitting on a stone bench, but covered in a series of bright colored blotches. Hammers were hauled out, and everyone started chipping away at the pillar. After about a half hour, they broke through to find the colors were actually gems and jewels covering the entire skeleton. More chipping ensued until it was completely uncovered, and the party was rewarded with a couple sacks of gems and jewels as they stripped the remains of it's glittery shroud.

Mineral Crust
The party gazed across the cavern from their high vantage point; it was quite large and they could not see the far side. There was some discussion about the need to press on and find more loot (championed by Chaff) vs pressing their luck while understaffed and on the edge of the unknown (advanced by Awg). In the end they decided to push on just a little further, and the party dropped down onto the mineral crust and moved cautiously deeper into the cavern. They did not get far when Rodrigo caught a glimpse of something in the mudpit over his left shoulder. A living example of the cthulhic visage they'd seen on the cursed statue; round bulbous head, large opaque eyes and a splintered/tentacled mouth. It gazed at Rodrigo, who felt an incessant mental tug at his brain. The swashbuckler forced the mental probe away, however, and shouted a warning to the rest of the party.  Fearful of facing 'the god', everyone turned and ran, the creature paralleling their flight by swimming rapidly through the hot mud. It caught them when the party had to pause at the terrace wall. It grabbed the edge of the mudpit with with webbed hands, and hurled itself at Torak, who was at that moment in the midst of bestowing the blessing of Brall on the party. The creature latched onto the cleric's cheek with it's sphinctered mouth, sucking his blood through rupturing skin. It also tried lashing around Torak with it's three claw-tipped flukes, but the cleric dodged the blow. Meanwhile, Chaff summoned a swarm of crawling insects, vomiting the bugs onto the creature; Rodrigo lashed out and struck with with twin blades, and Awg levitated above the fray. The creature, now bleeding from the sword wounds and distracted by the nipping insects, turned and slipped back into the mud, disappearing from sight. The party took advantage of the reprieve to flee back to the mineral terrace and stairs.

The Kopru
Once more or less safe, the argument about what to do next ensued once more; push on into the caverns or head back upstairs to see what was behind the stone door. In the end, Chaff was overruled and the four headed back up the stairs. But not before the vivimancer sent Pretty Bird on a scouting flight through the cavern to get an idea of the overall layout and extent for when they did return in full strength. Back upstairs, Awg checked it for traps and everyone then tied off to the raised portcullis, expecting a massive flood of water when the door was opened. Which is what did indeed happen. Once the flood of water has finished tumbling down the stairs, the party moved into the now just damp room. Apart from the door on the opposite wall, the room was empty. However, as the party moved towards this new door, Awg hit a near invisible trip wire in the centre of the room. A stone slide aside the the ceiling over the first door, and a spray of oil came down. Where it hit damp pools of water on the floor, the oil burst into a bluish, heavy smoking flame. The open door to the north allowed the smoke to escape, so Torak took him time looking for traps before opening the south door. It led into a long corridor which showed signs of having been 5; deep in water just minutes before. It ended, after a sharp turn, in a blank wall. Halfway down there were again a series of crudely dug hole, this time on both sides of the corridor. Torak took a light and looped back around the the first corridor, and the party could see light shining through the holes in the second corridor. Now they knew the two were linked through the dug passages. As for the other all, there was no way to check it out except to have Chaff crawl in for a look. In wormed the little vivimancer, who found a series of tunnels which converged on a larger chamber. When he stuck his head in there, Chaff was greeted by the chitter of rats. About a dozen giant ones to be exact. He wiggled back a bit and, to keep the rats  bay, webbed the tunnel exit from the room. He then wiggled the rest of the way back to the rest of the party, and after a short discussion of next steps, they headed back to the surface and their canoes to head back to the native village.  


A gem and jeweled skeletal shroud collection (9300gp)



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