Sunday, April 15, 2018

Far Isles Session #83 - Looking for a Way In

Wilhelm (Musketeer 2)
Awg Wahmn (Calmonari 6)
Chaff (Vivimancer 6), with familiar Pretty Bird and riding dog Puppy Whuppy
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 6), with familiar Hermes

First of all, Kwinsea made ues of the stole of the sacred to cast a cure disease on Rodrigo, hoping that would bring the swashbuckler back from the beyond. Although it seemed to clear up the festering rot, it did not bring him back from the dead. So ignoring the dead for the moment, attention now turned to the sealed box recovered from the desk. To decipher the writing on the wax seals, Torak cast a read languages on the box. The strange glyphs referred to "forbidden materials, heretical and blasphemous to the god of the dead". Well, if the god of the dead didn't like, it must be good, right?  Just to be sure, Torak cast augury and learned that opening the box would bring good results. With that, Chaff grabbed the box, sat on the floor resting against Rodrigo's body, and cracked open seals. Inside the vivimancer found a scroll and four small flasks. He unrolled the scroll, but it was full of theological mumbo-jumbo that made no sense to him. He passed it over the Torak, who confirmed that it was a scroll of clerical spells; specifically, restoration, raise dead, and remove curse. The vials, thanks to a casting of kalandrian sight,   proved to be some sort of healing magic. Potions of healing, as Awg learned when he quaffed one to deal with some remaining hurt from the previous day.

Awg's New Friends
After some discussion, the party decided to bring Rodrigo back from the grave, and then shuffle him and the treasures recovered thus far back to the "No Man's Sea" via the ebony fly. The party then used the fly to transship everyone back up to the top of the plateau to investigate the ruined city. This included the musketeer sergeant Wilhelm, who was enticed with a promise of a pay bonus and a crate of mustache wax, to come ashore and provide some muscle in place of the recovering Rodrigo. Meanwhile, the aquatic duo Kwinsea and Awg headed into the sea at the base of the falls, figuring there might be treasure there from a millennia of jewelry decorated dead. After much searching, they did recover some scattered gold; but also attracted the attention of a shiver of mako sharks. Kwinsea immediately headed for the fly, which Chaff had left hovering just overhead. Once there, she started to throw things in the water and shout to distract the sharks from Awg, who figured he/she could make it to a nearby rock and escape. She did draw away three of the creatures, but the other two chased the calmonari. Awg suffered a few massive bites before he was able to scramble up the slippery rock. From there the calmonari used  his/her sword to levitate  up to the plateau, pulled over to land thanks to a tow rope from the fly.  

Flying Guardian
Scouting ahead on the fly, Chaff buzzed along the edge of the ruins the party had spotted on their previous foray to the plateau. The ruins were roughly circular and about a half mile across. And ruined they were; there was little left standing except an occasional wall or pile of stones covered in vines and jungle growth. Except near the centre, where an immaculate dome-topped mausoleum lay. It had stood the test of time without a crack or blemish, and no vegetation covered it's walls. The mausoleum was most easily approached via  a large ruined plaza and pillared processional way. Chaff flew back and reported his findings, and the party hacked and slashed their way through the thick growth, headed for the building. They reached the ruins without incident, made their wall through gaps in the ruined city wall (the main city gate being on the opposite side). They threaded through the tumbled stone of the city to the plaza, and then started up the processional way.  Several pillars had fallen, but most still stood erect. And then they noticed atop one of the 30' high columns was a crouching figure. From this distance it looked like one of the faceless demons on the pillars in the cultist caves. This one, however, seemed alive! As the party got closer to the mausoleum, it lept off the pillar and spread wings, aiming towards the party. While Wilhelm braced his musket to line up a shot, Chaff and Kwinsea cast defensive magics, and Awg made a run for the mausoleum door. That attracted the attention of the flying guardian, which pivoted in mid flight and dropped on the calmonari in a flurry of claws and horns.  Awg suffered more grievous wounds before he and the party managed to defeat the monstrosity thanks to Chaff dropping a web on it (and incidentally, Wilhelm too). 

After cutting Wilhelm free, the party continued on to the mausoleum. It was a relatively plain, square building with a dome and low parapet on the top. The door was a solid stone slab with no apparent handle or keyhole. There were no distinguishing features apart from the eerily excellent condition. And a set of small holes above the door lintel, each about an inch across. Just about the size of a gem to be exact. To get the door open, the party tried inserting a variety of gems they had on hand, in various combinations of color and order. But nothing happened. Awg then tried the simple expedient of pushing on the door; it didn't budge. Wilhelm impatiently walked up to the door and shoved the blade of his pole-arm in between the door and frame to try prying it open. That finally got a response, but not the one they'd hoped. A prismatic wall suddenly appeared as Wilhelm stumbled back from the door. It enclosed the entire structure, and after a bit of experimentation with a thrown stone, seemed to block all access to the mausoleum. It remained for 10-15 minutes and then disappeared as suddenly as it came. 

Stymied by the door, the party decided to look elsewhere for a way into the building. Heading east, they came across a large well in the centre of another ruined plaza. It was overgrown with vines, but when the opening was cleared and the party peered inside, no water could be seen. Dropping a stone down the well indicated if there was water, it was way below. So Chaff hopped on the fly and volunteered to buzz down the wide well to see where it went.  The well opened into a cavern, at the narrow bottom of which was a rushing river. After about 50' it disappeared beneath a solid rock wall. Following it upstream led into a very familiar place; the wide cavern that opened onto the jungle from the death cult caves. Chaff flew back up to the party, and they decided to head back down into the caves. Perhaps they missed a secret door or other way up into the mausoleum from below? It was getting late, so the party bedded down in the high priests study again to rest for the night. Before they did that, Awg wanted to learn more about the things hanging from the large entrance cavern ceiling. As full darkness fell outside, he noted the things start to leave the ceiling and fly out of the entrance. They were some sort of monstrous bat creature. Several of them located the calmonari, and swooped down to attack. Awg received one bite, then fled deeper into the caves and back to the high priests' chamber with the rest of the crew. 

After a good nights sleep, the party awoke to search around some more. They focused their attention on the smooth wall in the adjacent chamber with the hologram-like image. They examined the pictured scene closely, figuring it might give them a clue as to how the bodies came down to the caverns from the city above. It looked like they were carried down the jungle trail that entered the cavern with the bat-creatures.  So much for a secret body-transfer path. They also poked and prodded at the image itself, hoping it was itself a secret or magical passage. But to no avail. Getting frustrated, the next course of action was the explore that jungle trail. The party followed it as it slowly descended the mountainside, passing another much fainter path on the right before coming to a stone archway across the trail. Ever paranoid, Kwinsea approached cautiously to examine it for traps. As she got closer though, the aquamancer noticed the archway was filled with near-invisible webs. And lurking in the shadows at the top she also observed a large spider. Not willing to take any chances, she quaffed a vial of anti-poison and then blasted the eight-legged monster into a smoking ruin with a lightning bolt. 

Standing Stone
Passing through the arch, they soon came to another branch in the trail. One led to the right, and following it for a while seemed to indicate it was headed south towards the village of  Barana. Backtracking, they headed up the other triail, and after a few hours slog found themselves back on the  top of the Forbidden Mountain, this time facing the cities' ruined gatehouse. Well, that left the faint side-trail. Backtracking again, they found this last trail led somewhere different. It opened into a small clearing, in the centre of which stood 3 tall, rust-red standing stones. Each stone had a symbol carved in it at about eye height; one was a dagger, the other a round circle, and the third a tentacle. Oddly enough, given the verdant planet-life everywhere else, nothing grew inside the triangle bounded by the stones. They also noted the complete lack of any jungle sounds; all the skittering, chirping and buzzing had stopped. Chaff plucked a branch off a nearby tree, and tossed it inside the stones. Nothing happened for a minute or two, but the leaves then started to wither and decay until very soon nothing was left by a dry brown husk. Awg cautiously inserted his/her hand over the 'dead zone', getting a weird feeling but otherwise not harmed. The calmonari then boldly stepped inside the stones. Once more there was that weird other worldly feeling, and he/she noted his companions had a slighly out of focus look to them. But otherwise there was no apparent effect. Chaff then stepped inside the circle to examine the inside face of the stones. They proved to be carved with the same symbols as the outside. Curious ... 


200gp worth of various golden grave goods (rings, bangles, chains, etc)
Clerical Scroll - Raise Dead, Remove Curse, Restoration 
Potion of Healing x4

1 Winged Guardian
1 Black Widow Spider


* 2xp/gp house rule in effect

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