DRAMATIS PERSONAE:Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 6)
Awg Wahmn (Calmonari 6)
Torak (Cleric 6)
Chaff (Vivimancer 6), with familiar Pretty Bird and riding dog Puppy Whuppy
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 6), with familiar Hermes
The party had Lynessa pull the "No Man's Sea" offshore, and then held a council of war to decide their next course of action. Although the chances of learning anything about their ultimate goal (the location of Empyrius) seemed slim, the elected to head for the Forbidden Mountain anyway. They might learn something of interest, or at least gather some loot. And, with Awg out of earshot, they laid plans to deal with the newly megalomaniacal calmonari before they stumbled upon more of the rainbow gems and things got worst. As it was, Awg under the control of the gems was already nearly insufferable. And no one wanted to risk a fight if someone caught a glimpse of the cursed things.
After a few hours sail, the "No Man's Sea" set anchor at the base of the 1000' waterfall that thundered off the mountain and into the sea. Hampered by the reef which prevented close approach, the party decided the easiest way up would be to ride the ebony fly. Rodrigo borrowed the ring if invisibility from Torak and the instant fortress from Chaff and volunteered to be the first man on the beach. Once at the top, the swashbuckler summoned the instant fortress, set up camp on the roof and sent the fly back for the rest of the party. One interesting point everyone noted during their ascent; the waterfall did not come off the top of the plateau, but emerged from a pair of cave mouths a few hundred feet below the summit. Once everyone made it to the top, the gathered on the roof of the fortress and passed around the spyglass to size up the lay of the land. The plateau was covered in vegetation, but more short trees, low bushes, creepers and vines than the towering jungle below. They also noted some ruins to the east; on a low rise stood a largely intact building, square with a domed roof. Scattered around it were pillars, tumbled walls and other remnants of what appeared to be a long ruined city of significant size.
|Cave of Bones
While the ruins were tempting, they party decided to take the fly back down to the cave mouth and see if they could follow the river. They deduced that it might lead them to a point somewhere below the ruins. Once more, the party flew, one by one, down and into the cave mouth, led by Rodrigo still wearing the ring of invisibility. Inside the entrance was a cave, filled mostly with the cold and rushing waters of the river. There were two patches of dry floor, one on either side of the river, each covered in human bones. There was also a narrow path that followed along the river and deeper into the mountain. When Awg arrived, there seemed to be a disturbance of some sort in the cave. A mist or cloud arose from the scattered bones, which dissipated in a few seconds. Nonplussed, the calmonari then spent time examining the bones. Looking closer, he/she discovered no signs of violent death among the remains. But did discover a scattering of gold jewelry among the detritus of death. As the rest of the party gathered in the cave, Awg focused on picking through the bones and collecting the treasure.
Which let the rest of the party put their dastardly plan in place. While Awg was distracted, Torak cast a hold person on the calmonari and Rodrigo tried to prick him/her with a dagger covered in paralysis poison. Alas, neither made their mark, and Awg used the power of his sword to levitate to the roof 20' above. The calmonari also hauled out a laser pistol and shot Torak square in the face in retaliation. The party then opened up with more attacks, hoping to subdue or if necessary kill their companion. The calmonari seemed protected from magic though, as nearly every arcane attack (including some that should have been unstoppable) was blocked. Only Kwinsea was able to get through the barriers with a tidal force, using it to push Awg into the stream; there being hope among the party that the water might have some effect on their en-scrolled friend. There seemed to be none, so the aquamancer changed the direction of the force to pin Awg against the cave wall. Another barrage of spells followed, which once more the calmoanri avoided. In desperation, Rodrigo decided to take a chance and grab for the rainbow gems, which Awg carried in a belt pouch. The swashbuckler successfully grabbed the pouch, and ripped it free. As Awg screamed in rage, Rodrigo cast the pouch into the rushing stream, thankfully feeling no effects himself from the gems. The pouch flew out over the waterfalls edge, and everyone rushed over the see what happened next. A few seconds later, a partial rainbow in blue, indigo and violet appeared in the mist at the base of the falls, where no rainbow had been before. There was also a palpable mental disturbance in the cave, a feeling of anger and rage, that again dissipated in a few seconds.
But at this point, Awg seemed back to his/her old self. After a few mumbled apologies and mending fences, the party prepared to move on. Starting out in single file with the now trustworthy calmonari in front, they followed the narrow path along the river. They did not go far before Awg spied something washed up on the path; a raft or barge. He moved a little closer, and observed a body in the vessel. It was quite tall, had coal black skin, and appeared relatively fresh; probably no more than a few weeks dead. That suggested the presence of someone still alive upstream. Rather than push on, however, the party backtracked to the cave to rest for the night and regain spells. In particular, Torak wanted to speak with dead on the corpse before they pushed on further. After an uneventful night, the party once more pushed up the path to the barge. Torak was at the end of the marching order, so Awg had to walk past the barge to make room. As he/she did, the corpse sprung into undeath and reached out to wrap its hands around the calmonari's neck. Luckily Awg ducked, and Torak tried to call down the power of Brall to turn the foul foe. Alas the drowned god did not answer the call, so Rodrigo had to step forward and slice the creature in twain with his swords. As the two halves flopped into the water, Torak shed a tear at the loss of a potential animated servant.
The party now reformed and proceeded further along the path. After a short time, they reached a point where the path ended at the base of stairway carved out of the living rock. This led away from the river, but there was no other way to follow it without getting wet and potentially being swept away. So they headed up the stairs instead. At the top it opened into a cave, and there they encountered a pair of human figures. Dark skinned and tall like the corpse in the barge, they were dressed in equally black robes. The two approached the party with arms outstretched and did not respond to any of Kwinsea's linguistic skills. Remembering their encounter with the corpse in the raft, Torak once more tried to turn ,and Kwinsea read off the scroll of undead protection. Brall listened to his servant this time, and the pair of foes turned face and retreated through a passage to the north.
There was another passage to the east, so the party headed that way rather than chase the fleeing undead. This passage curved around and led to another set of stairs leading back down to the river. They did not go that way however, being distracted by a cave opening passed along the way. In the opening lay the skeletal remains of some huge snake, but the head had been replaced with a human skull. Strategically placing Kwinsea to take advantage of the protection if needed, but ensuring they didn't unwittingly break the spell, the party poked at the bones. Nothing happened, so they passed by it to explore the cave. Finding nothing there, they went back to the bones and tired to pull them apart. That got a respire; the skeleton animated and the skull rose to tower over the party. It began to sway back and forth, causing both Rodrigo and Torak to fall into a hypnotic trance. Before any great damage could be caused however, Kwinsea loosed a lightning bolt at the thing, causing it to shatter into an explosion of bone and breaking the trance...
9688* treasure and monster experience
14400 goal experience for breaking Awg's curse (for Torak, Kwinsea, Rodrigo, Chaff only)
GAINS4670gp worth of various golden grave goods (rings, bangles, chains, etc)
1 Coffer Corpse
1 Large Necrophilius
1 Large Necrophilius
3 rainbow gems
Some party cohesion
3 rainbow gems
Some party cohesion
* 2xp/gp house rule in effect
** Sung to the tune of "How do you Solve a Problem Like Maria"