Saturday, January 22, 2022

Forest of Wyrd Session # 56 - Of Water and False Kings


Vegarious (Changeling 3)
Jonesomon (Specialist 5)
Ranza (Changeling 4)
Gnarl (Wood Gnome 5)
Hobbs (Hedgefey 6) 
[Slugs MacKenzie (Hedgefey 1)]

Reassured by the quilt that there was breathable air below, the rest of the party dove into the lake to join Ranza inside the Tomb. They accessed the interior without too much trouble, and Ranza lead them to the western door, which she proceeded to open to lower the water level. But they then realized a flaw in their plan for breathable air. Opening the outer door a second time had raised the water level overall, so even with the 2nd inside door open, the water was still 10 feet deep. Drowning became a real possibility, except for the person lucky enough to have the ring of water breathing. As people tried swimming, climbing walls and just plan holding their breath, each in turn attempted to open the closest door to further lower the water. Unfortunately it was both trapped by an electrical shock, and locked. In the end, and on the last try, Ranza was open to get the lock open. The door swung inward in a rush of water. This lowered the level just enough for everyone to get at least their head above the surface. 

The room they'd accessed was large, dominated by a trio of pillars down the centre. These were carved in the from a three woman in loose robes, glowing fainting yellow from inside, and each holding a candelabra. There were additional doors to the north and south. Jonesomon and Gnarl searched around the perimeter of the room below the water, followed by the rest of the party. The walls were jet black, yet the back wall crawled with scrolling type. After watching for a while, they realized it was telling the story of the Half Blood King and She Who Wore the Crown of Stars, a story they already knew well. As for the other doors, each was a slab of black stone, and on each was written a short epitaph the color of yellow starlight: "Here rests the Half Blood King, awaiting the time when they are called to be" on the north door, and a similar reference to She Who Wore the Crown of Stars to the south. The party was immediately suspicious; could the object of their quest be so easy to find? 

Before looking behind those two doors, the party decided to explore further down the water logged corridor. It lead to  a couple of rooms, one of which had a flight of stairs going up. The other was lit by a pair of glowing balls. These were suspended in the air, and rotated randomly, lighting up patches of the flooded floor, or alternately casting them into deep darkness. Watching closely for awhile, the party found the water above the dark patches would bubble and become agitated, indicting something not quite right about those spots. 

The party turned about, deciding initially to deal with the first room,. Along the way they had a short fight with a pair of pale and sickly batrachian creatures who leap at them from the water. These were however quickly dispatched.  Now reaching the room, they went first to the north door. Opening the door, inside they found a small chamber with a stone platform.  On top of which lay the perfectly preserved body of a man. Handsome, with dark hair and blue tinged skin, he wore armor of golden scale and a cloak of green and gold. In his hands he grasped a blue steel sword, and on his head was a crown of intertwined bronze and alien green metal, surrounded by a band of emeralds and topaz. All of which matched exactly with the description they'd received of the Half Blood King and the Crown of the Forest. But could it really be him? Gnarl boldly walked up to the body, and reached over to unclasp the hands from the sword. As he did, the figure sat up with a start, and immediately asked who they were and what they wanted. The party answered with the purpose of their quest (to gain the Crown of the Forest and release the Prince Who Would Be). And then politely inquired of the Half Blood King: aren't you supposed to be dead? They were surprised when the answer came from behind; turning there they saw She Who Wore the Crown of Stars. A beautiful woman with alabaster skin and hair of black, highlighted with starlight, and dressed in a gown of the deepest fuligin. Between them, the regal pair explained the legends were not quite true. The Half Blood King had just been imprisoned and magically placed in stasis, waiting to be recalled to life when the time was right to return to rule of the Forest. Their son, The Prince Who Would Be, was likewise in stasis elsewhere, just a baby and not the one who would rule. 

This all sounded suspicious, and the party continued to poke at the story the pair unfolded. And they became even more wary as the two started pushing for the party to lead them out of the Tomb post-haste. Ranza serendipitously cast a detect illusion and to her own eyes revealed the truth. The two were cloaked in the illusionary form of the Half Blood King and  She Who Wore the Crown of Stars. Though some of the items they wore were real (sword, gown, the crown, and some jewelry), otherwise the creatures had the form of amorphous and featureless spongy humanoids. Touching Gnarl, she let him see the same, and the whispered warning of 'it's a trap' spread to the rest of the party.  With a shout, swords were drawn and spells prepared. the false pair lashed out in turn. The party found that when they touched another person, the strange creatures took on their targets form. So soon there were two Gnarls and two Vegarious'. Luckily Ranza was able to direct their attacks to the false pair, and after a short melee the two creatures were slain. And then stripped of loot, Ranza in particular taking the gown and Jonesomon the sword, Backbiter. With the occupants now slain, the two small sepulcher were searched. Hidden under the false-kings resting place, Jonesomon found a key. It was smaller than the one they used to enter the Tomb, but of similar style. 

That mystery solved, the party pressed on. They went back down the curing corridor, and quickly crossed the shadow/light room, avoiding the rapidly changing shadowed patches. On the opposite side there was a door, and off to one side another curved corridor that seems to loop back towards the main Tomb entrance. Choosing to first deal with the door, they opened it, allowing another gush of water to pour in ahead of them. Inside the long narrow room (now under 4 feet of water) there  was a row of stone plinths, atop which were carved animal visages; bear, eagle, mountain lion, wolf, boar. At the far end of the room, barely above water, was the curve of a font. Gnarl stepped in to look at the carvings, and noted the eagle held a ring precariously in it's beak. Ranza, coming behind, looked closely and noted the beak had a powerful hinge mechanism that would likely snap shut if at all disturbed. So Gnarl rammed a soggy torch into the maw, which as predicted immediately snapped shut with bone crushing force. That dislodged the ring, which started to tumble down inside the eagles head. Hobbs, Jonesomon and Gnarl all grabbed for it at once, the specialist successfully rescuing the piece of jewelry ahead of everyone else. The ring itself was magical, a ring of stone made of iron and gold, and set with three yellow gems ... 


Circlet with ruby [1200sp]
Necklace with 3 black opals [800sp]
False Crown of the Forest [1800sp]
Backbiter (Sword -1, missed attacks must be rerolled on wielder) 
Gown of Displacement [3000xp]
Ring of the Stone [1200xp]

2 Ranine
The False King and Queen 


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