Sunday, March 20, 2016

Wrath of the Righteous, episode 3: Escape From Below

March 21, 2016

The small band of survivors decided to descend the iron ladder in search of the exit from the subterranean caverns. Aegron dropped a sunrod down to the bottom of the ladder and descended first. He was almost immediately attacked by a trio of unusually large rats. Runa climbed down to help him, assisted by the ring of climbing she now wore. Aravashniel summoned a badger to fight the rats as well, and Zosta vaulted down the ladder shaft to join in the battle. Jiro lay down on the ground at the top of the ladder to see better and used the wand of spiritual weapon he had just acquired, which in his hands produced a tetsubo of force. To Asami’s surprise, her familiar Kirara jumped down the ladder shaft also, bounding off the summoned badger and then pouncing on one of the large rats. Asami couldn’t see what happened, but Zosta witnessed the small white cat slashing out the rat’s eyes.

When all three rats had been slain, Jiro determined that they were not ordinary dire rats but some unusual variety. Like other dire rats, they probably carried disease to inflict on those they had bitten. But the group had only one scroll of remove disease and would have to wait to see if anyone had been infected.

Once everyone had climbed down the ladder they continued on down the narrow passage that led away from it. Aegron took the lead again after consuming a potion of darkvision. Ahead he saw another barricade of salvaged materials, manned by two mongrelmen. The mongrelmens’ overheard conversation indicated they were stalling for time. Aegron also heard other voices beyond them. Jiro and Zosta attempted to convince the mongrelmen to let the group pass, trying to intimidate them by demonstrating that they had taken Hosilla’s prayer book and glaive, but the mongrelmen replied that Hosilla had commanded them to kill the intruders. Then two people emerged from a room behind the barrier. Asami and several of her companions recognized that one of the new arrivals was a cultist of Baphomet, while the other was a follower of another demon lord, Deskari. These two new arrivals warned that there were several dretches left by Hosilla beyond the barrier. The recognition that both people served demon lords provoked Jiro, who suddenly attacked them with another spiritual weapon.

One of the two cultists cast a spell that caused Aegron and Zosta to drop their weapons. Asami attempted several times to target the enemies with ray of frost but failed to hit anyone. Zosta and Aegron recovered and joined Jiro and Runa in attacking the two mongrelmen and the two cultists. One of the cultists channeled negative energy and succeeded in injuring several members of the group from the surface. When the mongrelmen fell, the cultists started to retreat through a doorway behind them, but one of them was slain before he could escape. The second cultists fled.

After the cultist vanished from sight, Jiro and Asami quickly searched the bodies of the fallen and found two potions of cure light wounds. Then the group entered the chamber beyond the barricade. Suddenly a noxious fog filled the chamber, causing several members of the party to become nauseated. Asami identified the fog as a stinking cloud spell. She ran back out past the barrier to get away from it, while Jiro, Runa, Zosta, and Aegron ran farther into the area that lay beyond it. Something in the cloud caused Zosta to become frightened and she rushed back out of the room, dodged past Asami and the rest of the group, and climbed up the ladder before anyone could do anything to stop her.

Meanwhile the rest of those in the chamber encountered two dretches, which they slew, but not before one of them summoned a third dretch which cast another stinking cloud. It also caused Aegron to flee as Zosta had done. Fortunately the effect on Aegron didn’t last as long as that affecting Zosta. When Zosta recovered she returned and entered the area of the cloud, finding and attacking one of the dretches.

After all the dretches had been slain and the stinking cloud dissipated, the group learned that the room beyond the barricade was a small labyrinth, probably constructed by the followers of Baphomet. They made their way through the maze and emerged into a tunnel that appeared to be an old sewer tunnel. A short time later they came to a series of iron ladders leading to the surface.

As they emerged once more in Kenabres, they found the city transformed. Clouds of black smoke hung overhead and the streets were filled with rubble. They saw few signs of people. The ladders had led them into the city far south of the compound where they hoped to find Cennami and Zosta’s parents safe. They had agreed to escort Horgus to his home for a payment of a thousand gold pieces. Anivia also wanted to find her wife, Irabeth, and Aravashniel wanted to be taken to a place called Blackwing Ruins. Since Aravashniel’s destination seemed closest and they needed a place to rest and recuperate in safety, they decided to go there first. Everyone was hurt, they were nearly out of spells, and they had only a single curative potion left.

They had hardly begun to make their way toward their goal when Jiro saw something he never expected to see in Kenabres: several kami, which seemed to be anxiously beckoning for him to come to a nearby shop. The group followed Jiro to the shop, where a man conducted them inside, explaining that he had opened the door because something had written the message “Unlock the door” in the dust on the countertop. Then they heard music from outside. Zosta and Runa peeked out through the cracks in the shutters and saw an unusual group of people, led by a floating woman playing a flute. Jiro’s companion Uncle the monkey appeared terrified. Another message appeared on the counter, this time written in Tian: “Beware what’s outside.”

When Asami and Jiro joined their comrades at the windows, Jiro was shocked to recognize one of the people in the street as his half-brother. The group outside had clearly come from Tian Xia. Then Jiro was suddenly possessed by several kami, which allowed him to perceive that his brother had also been possessed, by an eight-tailed fox demon! But even more shocking was the realization that his brother had willingly accepted this possession. At the same time, Asami recognized that the people in the group were probably members of the Order of the Black Orchid Lotus, a group diametrically opposed to the aims of the Riftwardens. The Black Orchid Lotus wanted to bring chaos to the world and had to be stopped.
Loot acquired:
2 potions of cure light wounds
Masterwork glaive
Masterwork scythe

Characters are now 3rd level

This is the last session of Wrath of the Righteous for a little while. Next month we return to Mummy's Mask.

Next: Episode 4


Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Mummy's Mask, part 4

11-15-2015
Session 7
Character level: 3rd

The Ruby Scarabs had finally reached the Sanctum of the Erudite Eye. There they saw a structure some 20 feet tall, still intact, and lacking any doors. As they entered the first chamber they observed footprints on the floor. The tracks indicated that a group of perhaps six humanoids and several dog-like creatures had been present. They also found traces of blood.

As they investigated, they found themselves suddenly under attack from five skeletal jackals. Azzaria and Kaa rapidly destroyed the beasts, after which the Scarabs found some jackal hides and flesh in a corner of the large entrance chamber. The group went on to search for enemies, which led them to two people, one of whom spoke, saying, “The altar has been defiled, help us.” The Scarabs detected two sources of magic in the area. They were attacked by the two people, who proved to be undead. After they sent the undead back to death again, they found a small private chapel in which they recovered a silver knife.

Further exploration led them to what appeared to be a dormitory for the acolytes serving the temple. The chamber held several curtained alcoves. Uto created an unseen servant and had it open the decayed curtains. Somewhere nearby the Scarabs heard moans and shuffling sounds. Curiously, they found that all of the beds in the dormitory were fastened securely to the floor.

Suddenly three undead humanoids appeared, which proved to be a type of zombie. The Scarabs destroyed them quickly and moved on to a set of stone doors. They found more curtained alcoves that seemed to be monastic cubicles for study or meditation. In these cubicles they discovered two corpses, one a skeleton and the other a dismembered zombie. Moving on, they came to another door with a warning written on it in ancient Osirion, warning that the chamber beyond was for the use of the high priest only and all others were forbidden to enter. Kaa observed that the lock on the door had been recently picked. He unlocked it again.

Uto sent his unseen servant to open several other doors, revealing a bedroom and a room containing a writing desk. One door couldn’t be opened, but the next door admitted them to a library, where Uto sensed something radiating an aura of magic. There were several scrolls scattered on the floor. Sula noticed signs that four other people had recently entered the library. Then the door abruptly slammed shut and locked. An arm shot out of the wall and struck Nyema. The door opened again and the strange creature in the wall vanished. It reappeared at the door the Scarabs had yet to open. It hit Sula, pushing her toward the already open door. Uto healed her injury, and she and Azzaria attacked the creature, causing it to withdraw. Kaa then unlocked the unopened door, which led into a hallway where the tengu spotted signs of a trap and traces of blood.

 After Uto provided further healing to Sula and Nyema, they moved on. Kaa unlocked another door, which Uto then commanded his servant to open. This doorway led into an octagonal room containing a metal chest and another exit. Heiroglyphs instructed them that to go beyond the next door they must leave any magic items in the chest.

The next door led into a descending stairway, which someone else had recently used. They climbed down, finding no traps on the stair, but at the bottom it was barred by a set of locked bronze gates. Beyond the bars they could see black tiles on the floor, a stone bench, and a statue of the god of magic, Nethys, the patron of the temple. When Kaa opened the bars, the statue stepped down from its plinth. The bronze gate slammed and locked, trapping Sula on the other side from her companions. Azzaria explained to her friends that the statue was a construct.

Frighteningly, the statue was able to use magic. It cast haste upon itself and struck Azzaria and Kaa with the staff it held, knocking Azzaria unconscious, then it attacked Uto. Sula could only watch helplessly from beyond the locked gate as the rapidly moving statue battled her comrades. Kaa managed to trip the statue, giving Uto time to heal all three of them before it rose to its feet again. Kaa attempted to trip it again but the second time it kept its feet. Then it struck Azzaria a fearsome blow and she fell dead to the floor.

Kaa managed to get the gate open again. Sula cast barkskin on herself, and Uto began to levitate. He dropped the wand he had used by Sula. She moved into the chamber to stab the statue with her spear. The statue then struck both Sula and Kaa. Uto threw a tanglefoot bag at the statue, causing it to adhere to the ground. Kaa then picked up Azzaria’s flail and smashed it. Once the statue was no longer a threat, the remaining Scarabs picked up its bladed staff and Azzaria’s body and went back upstairs.

In the library they gathered up the scrolls that had fallen to the floor. They also uncovered a hidden panel, behind which they found several tablets and scrolls, but something flew out of the compartment and attacked Uto, wrapping itself around his head and suffocating him. Sula tried to burn it but was unable to hit it with her flames. Kaa managed to pull it off of Uto’s head, after which Uto cast flame blade to strike it. It was Kaa who finally slew it. Once Uto was free of the creature, they found that a tablet from the secret compartment was magical, and they also discovered a wand in the compartment. One of the magic tablets contained a warning about a place they had never heard of, keeping something safe, and hiding a scandal that involved a pharaoh. The priests of Nethys had left an arcane mark upon the tablet.

Loot acquired:
Silver dagger
Bladed staff
Tablet of languages lost – 1/day, command word: owner can read & understand any written text as comprehend languages, duration 30 minutes. Cannot read magical text. If tablet is available and at hand, owner gains +3 competence bonus to all Linguistics checks. If owner knows at least one language that is on the tablet, he can attempt Linguistics checks to translate the other two languages even if untrained in the Linguistics skill.
Scroll of align weapon
Scroll of halt undead
Scroll of knock
Wand of lesser restoration – 10 charges


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12-6-2015
Session 8
Character level: 3rd

The Ruby Scarabs learned that the tablet they had found in the Sanctum of the Erudite Eye was a royal decree by Pharoah Djeret II ordering someone to take something to “where asp and crook join”, where it was to be hidden but not destroyed and kept secret until this shameful secret could be taken care of.

After finding the hidden compartment, the Scarabs left the Sanctum and returned to the temple of Pharasma. A vendor outside the Necropolis lent them a cart to transport Azzaria’s body. At Pharasma’s temple they waited to meet with high priestess Sebti the Crocodile and the priest Ptemenib. Ptemenib healed all of the injuries they hadn’t healed themselves. They gave the tablet they had found to the priests of Pharasma and asked if it would be possible for the priests to raise Azzaria, as they were reluctant to lose yet another comrade.

They also presented the evidence to the priests that the members of the Scorched Hand had gone to the Sanctum of the Erudite Eye instead of to their assigned location, in defiance of the instructions they had been given. The priests wanted the Ruby Scarabs to bring the Scorched Hand back to the temple of Pharasma for punishment, or deal with them themselves, as the temple’s resources were unable to deal with the issue at this time. The priests also explained that they would be willing to ask Azzaria’s spirit if she would return. If her spirit refused, they would handle the interment of her body. The Scarabs took Azzaria’s possessions to a waiting room to await the result of the priests’ actions, while Sula took Nyema outside of the town to spend the waiting period in less urban surroundings.

Later Uto and Kaa learned that Azzaria’s spirit had been willing to return and the priests had raised her. But she had suffered negative effects from her demise and would require two spells to help her recover, spells that would need 1,000 gold pieces worth of diamonds. They also learned that the temple had purchased a great deal of the treasures that had been brought out of the Necropolis, and that in a few days there would be an auction held where the adventurers could sell more of the items they had acquired.

The Temple of Pharasma provided the Ruby Scarabs with a writ to permit them to deal as they saw fit with the members of the Scorched Hand. The Scarabs also looked into acquiring magical weapons. But as they were leaving the temple, an initiate suddenly called to the guards to stop them. They were taken back to see an archivist, who told them that the headband they had previously recovered at Pentheru’s house was cursed. If one died while wearing it, the person would transform into a monster. The archivist gave them 200 gold pieces in exchange for the cursed headband.

Later, Sula purchased a magical spear and a flask of alchemist fire at the market, and the Scarabs learned more about the Scorched Hand. The leader of the group was Velriana Hipaxis, a Taldan wizard. Her companions were Kelru, a priest of Nethys; Idorii, a half-elf warrior; and Azaz Arafe, also a wizard.

On the following day the Ruby Scarabs returned to the Necropolis. While they were still on the way there they received a note from Ptemenib telling them that the day before the Scorched Hand had entered the Necropolis but had not left it before dark. The guard’s records showed that this group hadn’t passed through the Gates of Dawn since the previous day.

The Scarabs reached the Sanctum of the Erudite Eye again without meeting any difficulty. They found no sign of new living visitors to the temple, though there was evidence that ghouls had entered and eaten the jackals they had slain the day before. The doors were still locked, the trap on the stair still set, and the bronze gate still closed. The statue of Nethys had been returned to its plinth, but it was now broken and the pieces had been laid on its base. There was no blood anywhere, but they found scratches and marks on the door leading away from the statue chamber.

Beyond that door was a hallway, where the Scarabs discovered a ‘secret’ door that had been left slightly ajar. Uto peeked inside and saw a stone figure and a bench. Kaa continued on down the hallway, observing a light ahead and hearing low voices. In a room ahead the tengu found the members of the Scorched Hand, along with two local men from Wati. One of the local men heard something and went to check on the noise. Kaa crept stealthily away to warn his companions as the Scorched Hand group exited the chamber.

The Ruby Scarabs prepared to meet their foes. Uto cast bless on the group, and Sula armored herself with barkskin. They heard the sound of someone casting a bull’s strength spell. The half-elf, Idorii, appeared in a doorway. Kaa fired his crossbow at her. Velriana cast glitterdust, and Azaz send a flaming sphere toward Sula. Azzaria attacked Idorii, while Uto caused Azaz and the local man to fall asleep. The second local man appeared and woke Azaz. Velriana cast color spray, but all of the Scarabs resisted her magic. Azzaria killed the cleric of Nethys, Kelru. Kaa stunned Idorii. Velriana directed a burning hands spell at Azzaria, Kaa, and Nyema; and then surrounded herself with six mirror images. Azzaria destroyed one image while Sula and Nyema rendered Idorii unconscious. Kaa caused three more images to vanish. After Azzaria destroyed another image, Velriana used a wand of scorching ray against her and Azzaria collapsed. Uto channeled positive energy to heal her, but was unable to prevent the healing energy from also affecting the Scorched Hands. Velriana then attempted to distract Kaa with a trinket, but failed, and instead escaped by slipping through a small gap in the opposition. Sula attacked the second local man, while Nyema again brought down Azaz. Velriana vanished. Sula eliminated the first local and closed the gate to prevent Velriana from escaping. She heard the unseen wizard casting warding weapon. Uto swung his weapon at the location from which the voice had come. Nyema and Azzaria also attacked that area. Nyema missed, but Azzaria’s attack struck home. Velriana attempted to negotiate with the Scarabs to save herself, but Azzaria struck her again and she fell unconscious. Before Uto could heal her, she died. Only the two local men and Idorii had survived.

The Ruby Scarabs recovered three masterwork kopeshes, a kukri, a suit of magical leather armor, three chakrams, a flask of acid, two flasks of alchemist fire, a set of thieves tools, two sunrods, and 5 gold pieces from the bodies of their fallen foes. From Velriana they took her wand of scorching ray, a scroll of charm person and one of magic missile, a wand of shield, a pair of magic bracelets and an enchanted gem, a dagger, a light crossbow, a signet ring, a silver holy symbol of Nethys, and her spellbook. On the body of Azaz they found scrolls of burning hands, identify, levitate, magic missile, and shocking grasp; 2 potions, 2 wands, 2 daggers, a holy symbol, and a spellbook. From Kelru the priest they took scrolls of bless, cure moderate wounds, effortless armor, hold person, magic weapon, and sound burst; a wand of cure light wounds; 2 flasks of alchemist fire, 2 vials of holy water, a suit of scale mail, a masterwork quarterstaff, an everburning torch, and 29 gold pieces.

Leaving Nyema to guard their two prisoners, the Scarabs went on to explore the rest of the Sanctum of the Erudite Eye. They found a hall with an ornately tiled floor and a room containing the tomb of the temple’s founder. Inside the sarcophagus they found a human mummy and also a mummified rat, as well as canopic jars. Behind the mummy’s knees the discovered a magical stone.

During their investigation Kaa accidentally set off a magical trap which struck them with electricity. Uto healed them, and they went on to find a magic ring and a pearl, as well as the decayed remnants of a spellbook.

After they had completed their exploration of the temple’s subterranean level, they returned to question their prisoners. Idorii told them that Velriana had only sought power, not any specific object. She did not know what had animated the skeletal jackals in the main hall; it had not been done by anyone in her group. The Scorched Hand had only slain the jackals while they were still living. They had encountered a giant eye creature hiding behind the statue of Nethys in the main shrine. She also knew that the creature that had emerged from the walls was some sort of earth elemental bound to the temple, which kept it repaired. Idorii went on to tell the Scarabs that Velriana had found a non-magical scroll that had interested her, and that she did not know where the blood on the stairs had come from as they had disabled the trap there. They had avoided the guardian in the shrine, and Velriana hadn’t wanted to open the sarcophagus.

The group went on through the remainder of the temple, finding a room with a pool where an illusory blue flame burned. Drinking from the pool would give the drinker the ability to cast evocation spells at greater strength for 24 hours. They uncovered a secret door that revealed the stele the earth elemental was bound to. In a room containing a summoning circle set into the floor, they saw a dais and four columns carved as fantastical creatures. They continued on to meet the shrine’s guardian, an undead creature which was able to resist Uto’s positive energy. When destroyed it yielded up a mithral shirt and an enchanted spear. Afterward they found a lacquer cabinet containing 50 gold pieces and the keys to all of the temple’s doors.

In the temple catacombs the Ruby Scarabs found the burials of the Sanctum’s high priests. There they recovered six gold masks. In a secret vault they found a pair of magical gloves, a potion of bull’s strength, 2 potions of cure moderate wounds, and 6 rubies.

Another secret chamber revealed more details relating to the scroll and tablet they had found previously. Messages inscribed in the chamber warned against disturbing the reliquary of the Forgotten Pharoah. Something necromantic had once occupied the chamber but was no longer present. There was blood on the floor, and the Scarabs observed a faceless statue that appeared to have formerly worn some sort of headdress.

Loot acquired:
3 masterwork kopeshes
Kukri
3 chakrams
Acid flask
Alchemist fire - 3
2 sunrods
284 gp
Wand of scorching ray – 5 charges
Scroll of charm person
Scroll of magic missile - 2
Wand of shield – 9 charges
Bracelets of armor +1
Dagger
Light crossbow & 10 bolts
Signet ring
Silver holy symbol of Nethys
2 spellbooks
Scroll of burning hands
Scroll of identify
Scroll of levitate
Scroll of shocking grasp
Wand of grease – 10 charges
Wand of vanish
Potion of cure light wounds
Potion of hide from undead
2 daggers
Scroll of bless – 2
Scroll of cure moderate wounds
Scroll of effortless armor
Scroll of hold person
Scroll of magic weapon
Scroll of sound burst
Wand of cure light wounds – 26 charges
Holy water – 2
Scale mail
Leather armor - ?
Masterwork quarterstaff
Everburning torch
Mithral shirt
Spear of the Watchful Guardian - +1, 1/day standard action: bypass DR/bludgeoning, cold iron, silver, or slashing for 5 minutes; 1/day immediate action: reroll one attack, +2 insight bonus to Perception
6 gold masks – 100 gp each
Apprentice’s cheating gloves – the wearer of these gloves can employ mage hand and prestidigitation at will
Potion of bull’s strength
Potion of Cure moderate wounds – 2
6 rubies – 25 gp each
Ring of the grasping grave – the wearer of this ring can make a melee touch attack against an undead creature no more than one size category larger than himself, cutting off that creature from undying energy. The wearer never suffers any ill effects that might normally occur from coming into physical contact with an undead creature touched in this way. On a successful hit, the undead cannot be healed or aided by the effects of negative energy for 1d4 rounds. During this duration, positive energy affects the undead creature normally.
Pearl of power level 1

Characters now 4th level

Mummy's Mask, part 3

10-18-2015
Session 5
Character level: 2nd

While the Scarabs still stood in the stairwell area, Kaa glimpsed what appeared to be a dirty young human boy running into the kitchen. Azzaria also saw the child. They followed him through the kitchen and dining area and outside near the pantry, where Azzaria spotted a camel spider lurking on the ceiling. Sula and Uto joined their comrades, and realized that the purported child had left no footprints in the sand on the floor. The group searched the kitchen again, finding nothing new, then decided to proceed upstairs.

Upon arriving on the second floor of the house, they found a relatively recent corpse in one of the sleeping rooms. This corpse was headless like the one in the privy. Oddly there were clumps of hair nearby, and though they judged that the corpse had only been there about a year, it had decomposed in a strange way. The body wore a gold ring with an affectionate inscription inside. Its clothing didn’t look like what an adventurer or treasure-seeker might have worn. Uto found nothing magical on the body, but he sensed something magical in one of the other rooms.

While the others were looking at the corpse, Sula noticed Nyema gazing up at the opening of the atrium. Just as Kaa entered the room where Uto had detected a magical aura, two disembodied skull-like heads with bat wings instead of ears swooped through the atrium opening and attacked. Uto uttered a blessing to aid his companions. One of the skull-creatures let out a shriek and Nyema froze in her tracks, unable to move as the creature flew down to her and fastened its tentacle-festooned lips on her. Suddenly Azzaria spotted a third flying head, but this one had multiple sets of horns rather than bat-wings. This creature told her to drop her weapon and grab her companion, but she resisted its compulsion. Sula attempted to strike the creature attacking Nyema, but missed her aim. Uto caused one of the bat-winged creatures to fall asleep and plummet to the ground floor of the atrium. Its collision with the ground awakened it and it flew back up beside its compatriot. The horned head meanwhile vanished from sight.

As Azzaria and Sula fought with the winged skulls, Kaa moved to the other side of the balcony, where he was bitten by the horned entity when it abruptly reappeared. He attempted to stun it with a blow of his fist, but his attack failed to succeed. The two winged creatures meanwhile moved out of range of weapons. Sula took out one of her silverhseen slingstones and tried to hit one of the creatures with it but overshot it. Azzaria gave a crushing blow to one of the skull-things, while the other flew at Uto and bit him. Sula hit the horned creature with a sling shot, but it seemed to do it no harm. Azzaria hit the winged skull that Uto had previously caused to fall, sending it plunging to the ground once more. Several members of the group attempted to unsuccessfully to strike the horned head, and Azzaria then grabbed it. She suggested that one of her companions stab it with one of the cold iron arrows she carried, but the head sneered that it wouldn’t work. Sula then picked up her club again, cast a spell on it to give it magical properties, and wielded it in both hands to strike the head a powerful blow. Afterward Uto took out a bucket, filling it with magically summoned water, and Azzaria immersed the horned creature. As it began to drown, Sula struck it once more with her club and it died.

Uto gathered up all three of the creatures to take them back to the priests of Pharasma. The group entered the room where Uto had sensed something magical. There Kaa found that a wooden chest actually contained a carefully locked and trapped bronze chest within it. Inside the bronze chest was the seal of the sultan who had ruled in Wati during the plague of madness that resulted in the creation of the Necropolis. The chest also held 25 ingots of gold and some disintegrated papers, but it contained nothing magical. The magic item was found to be a headband secreted within an abandoned hornets’ nest.

After opening the chest, the party members also found a lacquer box that held a fragile silk wedding gown. Underneath the gown Uto detected another magical object, but the gown was so delicate that it could not be moved without destroying it. As the dress appeared to be valuable, the Scarabs decided not to touch it until the next day, when Uto could use his magic to mend it. They moved on to the next room, where they found a rusty dagger, some marbles, and an old game of some sort in a small lacquer box. The room after that one had been an office, but its contents had all decayed.

When they had completed their examination of the upstairs, the Scarabs went outside into the yard where they had earlier found the pantry. There were several other outbuildings located there, as well as a granary. In the first outbuilding they found two skeletons, one lying on the ruins of a bed, the other on the floor. As soon as Uto entered the space, the two skeletons arose. He backed out and Azzaria and Sula destroyed the two skeletons when they tried to emerge. In the next room Uto found a very large pair of dogs, which after an instant he realized was actually only one dog with two heads. One of the dog’s heads bit both Kaa and Azzaria, and Azzaria warned that it might carry disease. It lunged and knocked Azzaria down. Sula exchanged her club and shield for her spear to strike the two-headed canine. Azzaria struck it from where she lay, then got to her feet as it collapsed, unconscious. It was swiftly dispatched.  In the nearby area the group found 7 gold pieces, 3 silver pieces, 12 copper pieces, and a turquoise earring.

Sula at this time noticed that Nyema seemed unwell, but could not identify the cause. The big cat appeared to be more comfortable in the sunlight than in the shade. Azzaria then climbed up onto the roof of the granary and lifted the lid to see what was inside. Immediately a mass of cockroaches rushed up toward her. She slammed the lid again quickly, but not before she glimpsed a flail that looked to be valuable and a number of skeletons lying at the bottom of the granary.

The party members discussed for a short while how to get rid of the cockroaches. They decided to have Azzaria pull open the door on the front of the granary to release the roaches. They would then set fire to the emerging swarm of insects using potions of alchemical fire. Uto first cast a spell on everyone to give them guidance, and Azzaria then opened the granary and allowed the roaches to rush out. Some of the party members suffered burns from the alchemist fire that splashed when they hurled their potions, but they were able to destroy the roaches. Inside the granary they found 3 skeletons, and a heavy flail made of adamantine. Two of the skeletons lacked heads.

At first the group thought they would go to explore the crypt next, but when Sula noticed that Nyema was losing clumps of hair, they decided to return to town and seek aid from the priests of Pharasma instead. They disregarded the hawkers at the Gates of Dawn who tried to sell them curatives. At the Grand Mausoleum, the priests agreed to use their divine magic to remove the disease afflicting the lioness when they saw the three creatures Uto had carried out of the Necropolis. The two winged ones proved to be varguoilles, which Nyema would eventually have become also without the goddess’s healing magic. The other creature was a type of minor devil called a doru div, which had likely been fomenting evil in Wati for years.

While Sula and Nyema waited in the sunshine, the rest of the Ruby Scarabs narrated the tale of that day’s adventures to the priests and handed over Pentheru’s signet. The temple donated holy water to Uto to help the shaman remove the haunts afflicting Pentheru’s estate. The priests also provided the name of a craftsman who could repair the estate’s front gate, as that was needed to eliminate the haunt the Scarabs had experienced outside the house. On the following morning Uto used his magic to repair the wedding gown in the lacquer chest, under which they found a jar of enchanted kohl.

Loot acquired:
Engraved gold ring
20 gold ingots, 25gp each
Headband of +2 Intimidate
Small lacquer game box
Adamantine heavy flail
Bronze trapped chest
Lacquer hope chest
Silk wedding gown
Kohl of uncanny discernment - when applied to the eyes as a full-round action, grants wearer low-light vision (or doubles the distance if wearer already has low-light vision), +2 Perception, +2 resistance bonus against gaze attacks, patterns, visual effects, and sight-based attacks. Duration: 1 hour. An unopened vial contains 5 applications.


Character level now 3rd.

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11-8-2015
Session 6
Character level: 3rd

After revealing the magical content of the chest, Uto then distributed coins and gems to the rest of the Ruby Scarabs. Each member received 411 gold pieces, 1 silver piece, and 3 copper pieces. Uto decided to use some of his gains to purchase a wand of disrupt undead to use against haunts.

The Scarabs then returned to the Tooth and Hookah’s common room to hear the latest news about the other groups engaged in exploring the Necropolis. They learned that the Sand Scorpions hadn’t returned and were presumed dead, and the Dog Soldiers had lost more dogs and suffered some serious injuries. They were also approached by members of the Amethyst Dragons, who tried to purchase the Scarabs’ token, but the Scarabs declined to sell it. The leader of the Scorched Hand asked them if they had been given a place called the Erudite Eye to search, but lost interest when she learned they had yet to receive their third location.

After finishing their business in the town, the Scarabs returned to the Necropolis to re-enter the House of Pentheru. They climbed the outer wall to avoid triggering the exterior haunt. They then proceeded through the entrance of the mausoleum and down the stairs to a chamber containing four statues and an altar dedicated to Pharasma.

Suddenly they heard noise from the darkness, and what appeared to be a mummy rushed out. When Kaa attacked the mummy, his fist adhered to it and he couldn’t pull free. Uto recognized it as a type of undead creature known as an Adherer for its sticky properties. He advised his companions that fire would be effective against the Adherer, but when Sula summoned a flame to her hand and tried to set it ablaze, she found that the creature was resistant to magic. Azzaria poured a flask of alchemist fire on it and struck it with her sword, finding an edged weapon more effective. Kaa managed to pull himself free of the Adherer but became stuck again when he attacked it a second time. Azzaria emptied a flask of oil on the Adherer to stoke the flames. Kaa tore loose once again and used his kopesh against the creature and it collapsed.

After the Adherer was destroyed, Kaa discovered a pressure plate trap leading into the next passageway, which he disabled. At the end of the passage he found a trap that would launch spears and realized that the trap was actually intended to strike tomb robbers leaving the mausoleum rather than people entering.

Beyond the trapped hall, the group found the mummy preparation chamber. It contained nothing of value but for two large bronze urns that were too big to transport easily. The next room beyond appeared unfinished, its walls and floor still rough. There were several small chambers that appeared to have been roughed in but never completed, presumably intended for the burials of the rest of Pentheru’s family.

As the Ruby Scarabs approached another staircase descending toward Pentheru’s burial chamber, a swarm of mummified cats rushed out of a side room to attack them. Uto was nauseated and Sula suffered injuries from the undead felines, but the party quickly destroyed most of the cats and the rest of the creatures fled.

The double doors leading to the burial chamber were neither locked nor trapped. Inside the chamber the group saw a sarcophagus covered in gold and gems, and Uto detected something magical within it. The party approached the sarcophagus cautiously, fearing an animated trap similar to the one they had found at the tomb of Akhan-tepi. But Pentheru’s burial proved less elaborate. His sarcophagus was covered in only a thin layer of gold and the gems were not of the finest quality. When they had removed the lid they saw Pentheru’s mummy wearing a gold funeral mask and a scarab pendant of gold and turquoise. There was also a guardian cat figure, the presence of which left everyone shaken. They were fortunate that the figure’s effect had only a short duration. When they had recovered, they removed the mask and scarab pendant, as well as the gold and gemstones from the lid.

After taking the valuables from the sarcophagus, the group returned to the house to recover the bodies of Pentheru’s long-dead guards and carried them to the mausoleum to bury them in some of the incomplete rooms. This action would remove some of the haunts affecting the house.

When they had left the Necropolis behind and returned to town, it was discovered that Azzaria had contracted a fever from the mummified cats.

Before returning to the Tooth and Hookah, the team received their third and final token from the temple of Pharasma – which proved to be for the Sanctum of the Erudite Eye, a temple to Nethys that the Scorched Hand members had been eager to find. The Scarabs decided that if they were accosted by the Scorched Hand, they would tell them nothing.

During their time away from the Necropolis, the Scarabs learned that prices for artifacts had dropped even further, as several of the other adventuring groups had already completed their third location. They also heard of an auction planned for the end of the week at which they might be able to sell some of their acquisitions. In addition, they made arrangements for a mason to repair the gates of Pentheru’s house, which would eliminate the last of the haunts. Uto also went in search of a woman named Panhet, whose lover Akar’s body had been one of the headless corpses found in the house. He returned the engraved gold ring found on Akar’s body, and Panhet rewarded him 150 gold pieces.

The next morning the group set out for the Sanctum of the Erudite Eye. On their way through the Necropolis they detected some movement ahead, and realized that it was an ambush set by a group of living men. Sula and Nyema ran into a ruined building after one of the attackers, while the rest of the Scarabs met the ambushers in the street. Though the ambush party was larger than the Scarabs group, the Ruby Scarabs had relatively little difficulty in overpowering them. Uto put one man to sleep with magic, and another man was so frightened of Nyema that he fled. After the rest of the group had been rendered unconscious or surrendered, they revealed that they had been hired by a woman to slow the Scarabs down. Further questioning made it apparent that the woman in question was the leader of the Scorched Hand. The Scarabs decided to strip and bind their captives before sending them back to the gate of the Necropolis. They acquired 5 bows of masterwork quality, several kopeshes, and two nets from the ambushers. They also heard a scream and crunching sounds coming from the direction the fleeing man had run, which encouraged the captured men to get out of the Necropolis as quickly as possible.

        Loot acquired:
Gold mask, 150 gp
Scarab pendant, 50 gp
Gold and gems, 50 gp
Masterwork bows – 5
Kopeshes – 5
Nets - 2

Mummy's Mask, part 2

10-4-2015
Session 3

New character: Kaa, male tengu monk

The morning after Koori's death, Azzaria, Sula, and Uto met at the Tooth and Hookah to discuss what to do next. Sula decided to remain in Osirion and continue the exploration with them. They were approached by Pteminib, the priest of Pharasma they had met before, accompanied by another tengu. Pteminib introduced the tengu to them as someone seeking a group to join to participate in the exploration of the Necropolis. The tengu, whose name was Kaa, told them that he had been set to join another group, but his arrival in Wati had been delayed and his companions had left without him. Pteminib explained that they were one of the groups that had not been heard of again after the first day of the lottery. After asking what skills Kaa had and learning that he came from an order of monks who specialized in creating and disabling traps, the Ruby Scarabs agreed to permit him to join their group. Uto gave each of the others a goodberry, and Kaa provided them each with a whistle. He also showed that that he had a magical stone of continual light.

As they passed among the ruins on the way back to Akhan-tepi's tomb, the Scarabs heard scuffling sounds coming from one structure, but on listening closer they realized that there were no sounds of weapons, voices, or even heavy breathing. They decided to go on without investigating further.

On arriving at the tomb, they decided to bring up the corpse at the bottom of the entry shaft so they could take it to the temple of Pharasma later. Then they sent Sula and Nyema down first. They showed Kaa the trap that Koori had found previously, which he was able to disarm. Then they led him through the chambers they had already explored to the false burial chamber where Koori had died.

They found that the hallway outside the chamber, which was lower than the chamber itself, was still full of the water that had rushed out of the false burial chamber the day before. They had to swim across to enter. Kaa disabled a trapped floor tile on one side of the room, while the others examined the sarcophagus construct and realized that it was coated with a thin layer of genuine gold. Kaa discovered a secret door leading out of the chamber, which was not locked. Beyond lay a lavishly decorated hall containing an image of Akhan-tepi. There were no traps. A staircase led to another unlocked set of doors.

Beyond the next doors the Scarabs found a chamber full of chests and jars. Kaa found no locks or traps. Among the containers were several potions, a jar of perfume, a bow and arrows, a holy symbol of Pharasma, a silver mirror, and a clasp in the form of a scarab.  On the other side of the room Azzaria spotted another secret door. Uto detected something magical about it but couldn't determine what it was. As Kaa examined the scarab symbol on the door, a flood of scarab beetles suddenly spilled into the room. Sula hurled a flask of acid onto the beetles, and Azzaria and Uto followed suit. Kaa and Sula then ran out of the room. Azzaria was nauseated by the scarabs, but just as suddenly as they had appeared, they vanished. Uto channeled energy to heal the injuries caused by acid splashing on everyone.

The door was no longer magical, and Kaa found no more traps. This door opened into a chamber occupied by a gold-covered sarcophagus, two ornate chests, and two large urns. Uto detected something magical in one of the chests and assured his companions that there were no undead in the chamber. Kaa ascertained that there were no traps. Suddenly the sun symbol on the end of the sarcophagus shot out, releasing a cobra-like snake that appeared to be made of metal. It struck Kaa immediately, biting him and injecting poison. Sula and Nyema set upon it and were quickly joined by Azzaria. It bit Kaa again, and Azzaria flew into a rage. At last Azzaria was able to smash it, then sat down on a chest in exhaustion. Kaa had been weakened by poison and he also sat down. Uto recovered some of the poisonous liquid that oozed out of the snake construct. Sula cast a spell on Kaa to heal some of his injuries.

After they had all recovered from the struggle with the snake, Kaa checked for traps and Uto for magic. In one of the chests they found a suit of padded armor. The other containers held gold, potions, a pendant, and a bag of semiprecious gems. The sarcophagus itself was covered in gold. Inside it the mummy wore a gold funerary mask, which they removed before replacing the sarcophagus lid. They then removed the gold coating from its exterior. Afterward they went back to the false burial chamber and removed the gold leaf from the outside of that sarcophagus as well.

Near the burial chambers the group found a room with shelves full of mummies, who had probably been Akhan-tepi's slaves in life. They continued on to a door they had found the previous day but hadn't opened. When Kaa opened it they saw a greenish light bobbing. The passage beyond led down some steps to a blank wall, and the passage looked unfinished. Suddenly the bobbing light moved closer, revealing two mining beetles approaching. Kaa shut the door, but the beetles tunneled through the stone wall. Sula and Nyema slew one, and Azzaria destroyed the other. Sula recalled that the beetles' glowing antennae would sometimes continue providing light for several days, so the Scarabs removed the antennae.

In the hall beyond the door, Kaa revealed another secret door, but it proved to be impossible to open from that side. The team worked their way back through the tomb's passageways until they found another one that led to the secret door. These tunnels seemed to have been made for the priests who prepared the mummies, so they could avoid the traps on their way out of the tomb.

During their circuit back through the tomb, Kaa located a chamber near the entry that the others had missed. It proved to hold an intact ancient chariot and a very ornate chest. There was also a display of animal hides, apparently Akhan-tepi's hunting trophies. The chariot room led into a short hallway with four gold masks of Pharasma, Abadar, Sekhmet, and Osiris on the walls. At the end of the hall was a room containing racks of weapons and a table covered with small wooden figurines of soldiers. When the members of the Scarabs entered the weapon room, the small soldiers leaped off the table and attacked. Thinking the constructs might be valuable, Uto and Azzaria tried to trap some under a bucket and an iron pot, while Kaa grabbed one. Sula and Nyema attacked. Eventually several of the tiny figures were destroyed, but the group managed to capture three.

Besides the tiny constructs, the Scarabs found an assortment of high-quality weapons, gold and silver coins, scrolls, and books. They decided that they would take their acquisitions back to the temple of Pharasma, then return to get the chariot and tapestries.

After the Ruby Scarabs had left the Necropolis, Kaa claimed a bag of gems as part of his portion of the treasure and took it to Bargetown to give to Koori's family. In return, the matriarch gave him a small wooden statue of a deity and told him that he must find a golden statue and replace it with this statue, then bring the golden statue back to Bargetown. The Scarabs also received their next token from the priests of Pharasma, which would send them to the estate of Pentheru in the wealthy district of the Necropolis.

Loot acquired:
+1 staunching padded armor, +3 initiative 1/day
2 potions of darkvision
2 potions of cure light wounds
Scarab clasp
ornate chest worth 200gp
chariot worth 100gp
scarab shield - +1 light steel shield, 1/day +2 sacred bonus to saves vs fear & death for 3 minutes, or as a swift action heal 1d8+3 damage instead of the save bonus
2 books with gold-covered metal pages, 300gp each
assorted scrolls worth 250gp total
gold funerary mask worth 500gp
2 jars of nard perfume 75gp each
longbow
10 cold iron arrows
composite shortbow
masterwork kopesh
masterwork spear
600 gold pieces
42 silver pieces
bag of assorted semiprecious gemstones 55gp
2 potions of silversheen
gold leaf worth 200gp
pendant 70gp
darkwood coffer 50gp
3 wooden constructs, inert
4 gold deity masks

Characters are now 2nd level
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10-11-2015
Session 4
Character level: 2nd

At the Tooth and Hookah that evening, the Ruby Scarabs witnessed some of the other treasure-hunters returning from the Necropolis afflicted with black splotches. These they recognized as evidence of a curse, similar to the brand Sula had received in Akhan-tepi’s tomb. Kaa wanted to offer aid to these afflicted folk, but Azzaria recommended that he save his gold for things that would serve the Ruby Scarabs.

On the following day, the members of the group sold much of what they had acquired from the tomb and used the proceeds to purchase additional supplies. Kaa took the books they had found to a scribe to have copies made, and the scribe agreed to purchase the originals. Sula purchased two potions of alchemist fire with her proceeds from the treasure. She also used the silversheen crystal she had acquired to coat 10 sling bullets with the substance.

Later the Scarabs heard more news about the other adventurers engaged in exploring the Necropolis. Uto and Azzaria learned that the cursed band were called the Contract of Sin and were from Cheliax. Their leader was even reputed to be a devil-binder. The Scarabs also heard of another group that had not returned to town and were believed missing.

Once they had supplied themselves and rested, the team set off to the Necropolis to investigate their next destination: the House of Pentheru. On the way they found some odd tracks that they could not identify. The House of Pentheru proved to be surrounded by a 10-foot wall, within which stood a 2-storey house. The gates of the house appeared to have been bashed in long ago by something trying to enter from outside. As the Scarabs examined these gates, several of them heard the sounds of an angry mob, the gates being battered, and a woman’s voice crying out, “Hold the gates!” Only Kaa, Sula, and Uto heard these sounds, which they understood even though the words were spoken in Ancient Osirion. Kaa realized that these noises were due to a haunt, but despite this he was panicked by the effect of the haunt and fled toward the house. Uto channeled positive energy to temporarily dispel the haunt’s effect. As the rest of the group proceeded after Kaa, they approached a long-dry pool.

Suddenly an enormous centipede rose out of the pool, lashing at them with its long hooked tail. The centipede bit Azzaria, injecting her with poison, but she was able to withstand its effect. Her companions attacked the centipede with their weapons and were able to render it unconscious, at which point Azzaria slew it. Uto then cast healing magic to repair her injury, and suggested that she take the scarab shield they had found in Akhan-tepi’s tomb, since it had magical healing properties.

When Kaa recovered from the panic caused by the haunt, he found that the front doors of the house were open and were not trapped. The Ruby Scarabs observed a crypt nearby, but decided not to approach it just yet. They entered the house instead. Inside they saw an atrium overlooked by a balcony, and a dining area in which a table was still set with 6 silver platters and matching goblets. Curiously, a skull rested in each of the goblets. Uto scanned the area for magical auras, but found none. Just as he affirmed this to his companions, the skulls rose into the air and floated toward the party of adventurers. Uto channeled positive energy to harm them, assuming them to be some form of undead creatures, while his companions attacked them with weapons while the skulls attempted to bite the party members. After all of the skulls had been smashed to bits, the group searched the room. While they were engaged in this activity, they heard a feminine voice from the atrium.

In the atrium they met a woman who appeared to be made of sand. She told them she was the spirit of the house. When Kaa spoke to her in the language of earth creatures and asked her if she wanted to be free of her ties to the house, she suddenly transformed into a swirling mass of sand. Azzaria and Kaa collapsed, overcome by sleep. Sula shook Kaa awake again as the sand creature slammed into Uto. Uto summoned magically-created water in an attempt to slow the sand monster, but it had no effect on her. Azzaria woke, but as soon as she was attacked by the creature she fell asleep again. Sula struck at the creature with her club, and her last blow turned it to a heap of inert sand.

In the next room the group observed three armed and armored skeletons waiting. Kaa spotted a gold coin among the detritus on the floor of the atrium. To the east of the atrium they saw a small shrine room. They proceeded into the room occupied by the skeletons. As soon as they entered the skeletons reacted by attacking. As they combated the skeletons they heard screams and the sounds of the doors shuddering under some assault from outside. Azzaria, Kaa, and Sula destroyed the three attacking skeletons. Azzaria then began to shout incoherently and gesticulate wildly under the influence of a new haunt in the room. Uto and Kaa grabbed her, and she became enraged and struck Uto. As she was carried unwillingly into the next room, the malign influence ceased and she recovered her senses.

The next chamber proved to be a bath, with a privy next door. On the privy the group found a disturbing sight: a corpse that was clearly too recent to be one of the house’s original occupants, his head ripped from his body. The skull was missing. At the same time Sula, who was still in the room with the bath, felt a hot breath on her neck. Unnerved, she went on to meet her companions as they searched the rooms beyond the bath. Nyema noticed something and Sula uncovered 2 platinum pieces and a suit of scale armor.

The shrine proved to be dedicated to Abadar, Pharasma, and Sarenrae, but all of the symbols of the gods had been desecrated. From the shrine they could see into the kitchen, where another skeleton lay upon the floor. The shrine held nothing of value. When they moved on into the kitchen the skeleton on the floor did not rise up to attack them. A door led outside the house to a small structure that had apparently served as a pantry, its contents long decayed. After examining it briefly, the Scarabs returned to the atrium to search it more thoroughly. Among the rubbish there they uncovered an enchanted crossbow, 5 crossbow bolts of cold iron, 10 ordinary bolts, a golden holy symbol of Sarenrae, 3 platinum pieces, and 37 gold pieces. Uto’s scan for sources of magic had also revealed that the bronze taps in the bathroom were enchanted to provide water, but the group determined that they couldn’t be removed without destroying the magic.

After they had thoroughly searched the rest of the ground floor, the Ruby Scarabs moved into the room where the staircase to the second floor stood. Azzaria found a silver anklet set with gems there, while Kaa located a diamond ring. Then Nyema, Azzaria, and Kaa experienced yet another haunting. Kaa felt unusually hot, and he and Azzaria saw a vision of a young couple who appeared to be discussing the very ring Kaa had just discovered. Uto revealed that the ring provided protection to the wearer, but because it was tied to the haunting in the stairwell, it could only be used to dispel the haunt if it was presented to someone out of love. Otherwise the haunt would be triggered again on the following day.

Loot acquired:
6 silver plates
6 silver goblets
37 gold pieces
5 platinum pieces
Magic crossbow
5 cold iron crossbow bolts
10 crossbow bolts
Scale mail
Silver bracelet with gemstones
Diamond ring of protection +1
Golden holy symbol of Sarenrae

Mummy's Mask, part 1

Since I started blogging our Wrath of the Righteous sessions, I decided to blog our other relatively new Pathfinder campaign as well. We've played 8 sessions so far. I'm breaking them up into multiple posts. 

SPOILERS for the Mummy's Mask Adventure Path ahead.

09/20/2015
Session 1

Player-characters:



The Ruby Scarabs formed in the Osirion city of Wati, where they prepared to participate in the lottery to explore the ancient Necropolis. Koori and Sula had already met in the Mwangi Expanse near Kho Rarme Pass, and had traveled to Wati together. Azzaria and Uto were strangers to them and to each other before agreeing to join together as the Ruby Scarabs.

Azzaria, Koori, and Sula were staying at the Tooth & Hookah prior to the beginning of the event. Uto, a local, had his own lodging. On the day before the lottery, Sula had a brief encounter with three fierce dogs that menaced her lioness companion, Nyema. The dogs turned out to belong to a group of halflings led by one known as “Mad Dog”. Mad Dog and his companions were part of an experienced adventuring group called the Dog Soldiers. The Scarabs also met several other adventuring groups who were planning to join in exploring the Necropolis: the Crypt Finders, the Daughters of the Desert, the Sand Scorpions, and the Scorched Hand.

The group also met a priest of Pharasma, Ptemenib, who answered their questions about the lottery process. Ptemenib explained that the drawing was not to decide who would be permitted to enter the Necropolis; any adventuring band that had picked up a token from the Temple of Pharasma would be allowed to explore. The drawing was to determine what area of the Necropolis the group would be searching. Each group would be permitted to explore a total of three designated locations – assuming they survived. Ptemenib also told them the three cardinal rules the Church of Pharasma had set out for this event: 1) remember the origin of the Necropolis: it is a holy site and those who treat it with disrespect will be cursed; 2) do not desecrate or vandalize the tombs; and 3) honor the dead.

Following their conversation with Ptemenib, the Scarabs discussed what gear they had in their possession and what they thought they might need for their exploration effort. They planned to visit the marketplace the next morning to purchase additional equipment.

At the market on the following day, the group encountered a man named Fangrim who was part of a group called the Flickering Four. He was also shopping for supplies, but after telling the Scarabs that he thought fire was the best solution for any challenge, he decided he no longer needed his shopping list and abandoned it. Koori picked it up, and the companions decided to use it as a guideline for their purchases. They pooled their funds to buy a shovel, several potions of alchemist fire and acid, vials of antitoxin, holy water, a collapsible plank, and flasks of oil.

The next day they joined the other adventuring bands at the Grand Mausoleum, where High Priestess Sebti the Crocodile said a prayer for their endeavor. When the prayer was done, her acolytes drew tokens from a jar. The Sand Scorpions were the first team to be drawn, followed by the Ruby Scarabs. The Scarabs were assigned the tomb of Akhan-tepi as their first location to explore. The tomb had existed prior to the plague that led to the creation of the Necropolis, and lay on the far side of the walled area that enclosed the ancient burial ground. The Dog Soldiers and a group named the Four Lanterns drew locations close to the tomb. The three teams agreed to enter the Necropolis together and look out for each other until they split up to head for their assigned locations.

At dawn on the following morning the adventurers entered the Necropolis through the Gate of Dawn. As the Scarabs and their companions headed toward the opposite side of the area, they heard a hiss from above and spotted a gaunt, fanged creature that Azzaria identified as a ghast. Several of the adventurers fired arrows at it, but the creature dodged them and fled.

Shortly afterward the three groups separated and the Ruby Scarabs proceeded on to the tomb of Akhantepi. Its heavy stone doors were buried in sand, which they took turns shoveling away until the doors could be pushed open. While they worked they heard a distant scream, but couldn’t identify which direction it came from.

The doors opened into an empty chamber with stone masks representing Pharasma set in the four corners. Against the wall opposite the entrance stood a huge stone disk resting in a track in the floor. This disk appeared to be a doorway. Uto cast detect magic and examined the room, finding nothing magical. Koori scanned for traps and also found the chamber clear. They lit torches and set them in the brackets behind the four masks, hoping that might activate the disk door, but nothing happened. Azzaria and Uto combined their strength to push the stone aside.

The stale air that issued from the next room smelled of death to Koori. In the center of the next room was a 10’ square pit, which proved to be an opening into a shaft some 75’ deep. Uto dropped a torch down the shaft so they could see the bottom. At the edge of the opening a piton had been hammered between the stones of the floor, and a length of rope was tied to the eye of the piton, the other end descending into the shaft. But on examination the group discovered that the rope had been cut about five feet from the piton.

As the team were examining the shaft chamber, they suddenly heard a hiss from the outer doorway. Everyone went out into the entry chamber to find out what it was. A scorpion the size of a small dog, its carapace translucent, had entered the tomb chamber. When Sula and Nyema approached, it rushed Nyema and grabbed the lioness with its claws. Sula struck it with her club and Azzaria struck it as well, leaving it crushed and expiring on the tomb floor. Sula identified it as a ghost scorpion. It had probably entered the tomb chamber seeking shelter during the day. After this brief incident, the Ruby Scarabs returned to the shaft room.

Koori checked the room for traps and found none. The Scarabs had brought three lengths of rope with them, each 50’ long. They decided to cut one length in half and tie the two pieces to the other two coils, creating two ropes that would be long enough to descend the shaft. They attached one rope to the existing piton and set a second piton of their own for the second rope. Because Nyema couldn’t climb down a rope, Sula had her remain on guard at the edge of the shaft opening. Then the four companions climbed down to the bottom of the shaft. Koori descended first. On arriving at the bottom the tengu saw a patch of dried blood, a corpse, and a coil of rope. The corpse was desiccated and had probably been there for a century or more. The legs lay at unnatural angles, indicating that the person’s legs had probably been broken in the fall when the rope was cut. Azzaria bemoaned that this might indicate the corpse’s compatriots had taken all of the valuable treasures from the tomb.

After searching the corpse and finding two vials of alchemist fire that had somehow survived the fall, Koori proceeded to the next door, which lay at the end of a short corridor. Despite carefully searching for traps, the tengu managed to activate one that caused darts to fire from channels in the walls. Koori and Azzaria were struck by darts. Sula quickly cast detect poison and assured them that the projectiles were not poisoned. Koori feared that this trap might be one that could reset. The group gathered their heaviest equipment in Uto’s pack, tied the length of aged rope from the corpse to it, and tried to use it to set off the dart trap again while they stood back out of range. But the pack proved too light. They then hit on a plan to use Sula’s spear to push open the next door, laying the collapsible plank they had brought across the trigger to allow them to safely step over it.

The room beyond the dart trap contained a large tapestry that appeared to depict Akhan-tepi and his family. Koori took a moment to consult with the spirits and asked them if there were any hidden doorways. She was told there were none. The tapestry chamber had two exits, one to the party’s left and the other to their right. When they opened the right-hand doorway they found a staircase descending into darkness. The left-hand exit revealed an identical scene. Concerned that they might need rope again and the old rope they’d found with the corpse was getting too frayed, Azzaria went back to the shaft to get the second length of rope they’d left. After she returned they passed through the door to their left.

They were led to a room containing statues of Anubis and Pharasma, and a large mirror. When they looked into the mirror they suddenly realized that the image showed five people, not four. The fifth person was Akhan-tepi himself. His image wore an expression of displeasure. Azzaria began trying to determine where he could be standing to create the reflection, and spoke to him, trying to reassure him that the Scarabs did not mean to desecrate his burial place. Sula stared at his image intently for several moments, and suddenly felt a pain in her forehead. At the same time, Koori realized that the word “thief” had been branded on Sula’s head in Osirion script. Uto recognized that this type of brand would fade in a week, but until then while it could be covered it could not be removed.

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9/27/2015
Session 2

As they stood in the reflecting chamber, the Ruby Scarabs heard scuttling sounds from the next room. Azzaria looked into that room, which proved to be designed for preparation of mummies, and saw two camel spiders moving toward the doorway. She and Sula moved into the doorway to meet them. Sula crushed one spider with her club, but the second spider wounded her twice with its pincers, which when combined with her injury from the brand caused her to fall unconscious.

Azzaria killed the second spider, and Uto then channeled positive energy to provide some healing to Sula. When she had recovered enough to move on the Scarabs opened another set of doors exiting from the mirror room and found a long descending staircase. The passage at the bottom of the stairs was full of sand, which Koori recognized was not natural sand. Suddenly a creature composed of sand rose up from the floor, and the group members realized it must be some type of elemental. Uto created water to drench it, which temporarily slowed it, but no one was able to communicate with it and the creature seemed unfriendly. Sula hurled a fistful of flames at it, and then the elemental struck Koori with such force that she was near death. Sula cast a cure spell to prevent Koori from dying. The elemental withdrew through a series of small holes in the walls.

The Scarabs then decided that they were overmatched and in need of more healing, and that it would be wise to withdraw until they were at full strength again. They returned to the surface and made their way back out of the Necropolis without incident.

At the Grand Mausoleum, they told the chroniclers what they had experienced thus far in the tomb in exchange for healing. Afterward they returned to the Tooth and Hookah to rest. They heard rumors that two of the other adventuring bands hadn’t returned from the Necropolis, but no one knew which groups. They also learned that the Dog Soldiers had lost two of their dogs to a gelatinous cube, and heard a heroic tale from Falto of the Crypt Keepers that both Azzaria and Sula suspected was untrue.

In addition to resting, the group also decided they needed some additional supplies to continue their investigation. They traded the two vials of alchemist fire they had found on the corpse of the tomb robber for a scroll of cure light wounds. They also purchased another length of rope so they could make a harness to lower Nyema down the shaft and have her accompany them when they returned to the tomb.

The next morning the Ruby Scarabs returned to the tomb of Akhan-tepi. They found that nothing appeared to have been disturbed in their absence. They lowered Nyema down the shaft with Sula accompanying her on a second rope. On the way through the first chambers, they picked up their collapsible plank which had been left over a trapped floor tile and replaced it with a door that they had removed. They then returned to the mirror room and opened a door decorated with gilded scarabs which they had seen the previous day.

The scarab door led into a large room decorated with a tapestry. Columns sculpted in the forms of warriors stood in the four corners. All of the floor tiles were painted black with the spiral symbol of Pharasma in white in the center of each tile. The doors leading out of this room also bore Pharasma’s emblem.

To the right of the party was a locked door, which Koori easily unlocked. This opened onto a descending stairway. The door at the bottom of the stairs was not locked, and when opened revealed another stairwell leading up. The door at the top of those stairs was also open. It led into a large room with a stone sarcophagus standing on a plinth in the center. Four pillars flanked the plinth, as did two statues of Anubis. Uto detected no magic within the chamber. Koori scanned it carefully and identified two trapped areas, one beneath the plinth that held the sarcophagus, and the other along one wall to the side of the platform. She saw evidence that the columns would do something. Azzaria also noticed a lever overhead. Koori then suggested that the others wait outside the room while she tried to disable the traps. Azzaria, Sula, Nyema, and Uto went outside into the stairwell.

While her companions waited, Koori tried setting her pack on a tile she had identified as a trigger. The doors, which were the only entrance to the chamber, suddenly slammed shut and locked. Electricity arced out of the statues of Anubis. Then water began to flow into the chamber, and the sarcophagus rose up and approached Koori. It slammed her to the ground, leaving her life hanging by a thread. The water covered the floor of the chamber and rose up toward the plinth. Koori crawled up onto the platform to escape, but the animated sarcophagus followed and attacked her again.

Her companions became alarmed when the doors closed and immediately began attempting to pry them open. Working together using the crowbar they had brought along, Azzaria and Sula were finally able to pry the doors open, with great effort. When the doors broke and burst open everyone but Nyema was knocked down by the sudden flood that poured out of the chamber.  Inside the room they saw no sign of Koori, just her burnt pack. Then they noticed a bit of black cloth protruding from the sarcophagus, which had returned to its original position. Sula rushed up onto the plinth to rescue Koori from the sarcophagus, which animated once again.

Azzaria attacked the sarcophagus with her crowbar, while Sula struck it with her club and Nyema clawed and bit at it. Despite being animated it was still made of stone and was very tough. But at last their attacks overcame it and the Scarabs were able to pry it open. Sadly, it was too late for Koori. After being beaten, electrocuted, drowned, and suffocated, she had not survived.

The rest of the group were too disheartened by this loss to continue exploring the tomb. After Uto healed some of their injuries they gathered up Koori’s body and carried her back to the Grand Mausoleum to be prepared by the priests of Pharasma. They told the chroniclers what they had found and what details they knew of the manner of Koori’s death. Then Azzaria, Sula, and Uto went to Bargetown to tell Koori’s relatives of her death. The matriarch of the tengu, Aruk, was not very friendly toward the Scarabs, but seemed genuinely saddened by the loss of Koori. After Uto gave Aruk the bag containing the baubles Koori had valued, the three companions returned to the Tooth and Hookah to have a few drinks together in private and mourn the loss of their friend.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Wrath of the Righteous episode 2: Enemies In the Deep

March 13, 2016

Previously: The party had become separated from Aegronius while trying to find a way out of the caverns claimed by the unfriendly mongrelmen. They located Aegron tied to a table in a chamber.

Character level: 2nd

The chamber appeared to a be natural cavern. In the center stood a stone table, to which Aegron was bound. He appeared to be barely conscious. Some members of the group realized that there was something strange about Aegron and that their senses seemed less sharp here than usual.

At the end of the table, a figure crouched in an ornate chair. This person, who proved to be female, threatened the group and refused to release Aegron, even when Runa offered gold in exchange for safe passage. To demonstrate that she was not intimidated by this woman, Runa placed a blessing on her sword blade, which provoked the woman to fire her bow at Runa. Runa responded with a swing of her blade. Jiro jumped up on the table, and Uncle ran under a chair. The archer shot Runa a second time. Zosta leaped over the table, stepping on Aegron in the process, and realized when she did that there was no body there. She shouted angrily as she vaulted down and punched the archer. Asami sent a magic missile hurtling at the woman with the bow.

Jiro attempted to touch Aegron and he too discovered that there was actually nothing lying on the table. He called out, “What have you done with our friend?” The woman did not reply, instead shooting Runa again. Jiro tried to hit her with his morningstar but missed his aim. The woman then fired an arrow at him. Zosta then attempted to take the bow from the archer, but she failed. Asami took a scroll from her pack and produced another magic missile. The woman then collapsed. At the same moment, a door behind where she had fallen opened, revealing another woman standing in the opening in front of Zosta.

Through the open doorway, Zosta could see racks, tables, and two cages in the next cavern. The woman standing before her held a glaive in one hand, and a book in the other. The woman said, “You need to leave.” Behind her, Zosta observed that on two of the tables were dioramas of what appeared to be Kenabres and some wilderness terrain. Both dioramas suddenly seemed to dissolve into loose sand, which then disappeared.

Runa stepped closer, and the woman with the glaive sneered, “I’ll enjoy killing you.” The woman wore a symbol of Baphomet on her belt. Runa threatened to slay the archer. In response, the woman spoke a command word and a spiritual weapon appeared, a duplicate of the glaive she held. The glaive killed the fallen archer. Jiro announced with confidence, “There’s nothing you can do to stop us getting our friend,” but his words didn’t intimidate the woman. Jiro then took the opportunity to drink a curative potion, glancing through the open doorway as he did so. He could see that Aegron was imprisoned in one of the cages.

Zosta reached out and snatched the book out of the woman’s hand. The woman responded by saying, “You’ll pay for that!” Asami, who’s supply of prepared spells was rapidly depleting, went into the outer room to fetch Aravashniel, Anivia, and Horgus. While the led them into the cavern where the rest of the party were facing the woman, the woman’s spiritual weapon attacked Runa. Runa was now seriously injured, so she withdrew from the area, hurrying out of the room so that the spiritual weapon couldn’t follow her when she got of the woman’s sight. Jiro then stepped toward the woman, grabbed a ring of keys from her belt, and ran into the room where Aegron was imprisoned. At the same time, Zosta disarmed the woman of her glaive and flung the book away, where it was picked up by Uncle.

Asami borrowed Aravashniel’s wand of false life and used it to cast the spell on the wounded Runa, enabling her to return to the fight with the follower of Baphomet after she also drank a healing potion. The woman tried to command Zosta, but Zosta resisted her spell. Jiro ran across the room containing the cages and gave the keys to Aegron, who was in much better health than his illusory duplicate had appeared. Aegron then unlocked his cage and emerged. Zosta tried to pummel the woman but her blows failed to connect, Anivia fired arrows, but due to the number of people in the way she was also unable to strike her target. Asami used her last scroll of magic missile against the woman. The woman drew a dagger and attacked Zosta.

Jiro moved around behind the woman to flank with Zosta. The woman put her hand on the glaive that Zosta now held and spoke the command word again, producing another spiritual weapon, but also allowing Zosta to learn the word. She pulled the glaive out of Zosta’s grasp and backed into the room with the cages. Aegron struck at her with a battleaxe, and Runa moved in to attack. Uncle also followed them into the room, ostentatiously holding the book up and ripping out a page. But Zosta could see from her vantage that the monkey was actually tearing an exhausted spell scroll. Zosta followed the woman and once again snatched her glaive away from her, while Asami attempted to harm her with a ray of frost that went wide. The woman then commanded Zosta again, this time successfully, causing Zosta to flee the room, but Zosta carried the glaive with her when she ran.

Inside the cage room, the woman drank a potion. Runa swung her sword, but as she did the woman disappeared. Asami entered the room and warned her companions to be quiet in case the potion had been one of invisibility. No one heard anything, so Asami and Runa began swinging their weapons through the air hoping to make contact with the woman, though they had no success.

Aegron found that the occupant of the other cage was still alive, barely, and released him. Jiro suggested that Aravashniel summon an earth elemental that could sense the positions of any creatures nearby, but unfortunately no one in the group could speak the language of earth creatures. Jiro was still able to make himself understood by the creature, which pointed toward the outer area from which the party had entered the room with the stone table. Then Zosta heard the woman’s voice curse her and everyone heard rapid footsteps. Somehow the woman had been able to creep past everyone searching for her and she now ran out of the cavern toward the rope ladder leading up.

Everyone ran after her, but they were unable to catch her before she could ascend the ladder. Jiro then decided to tie a pot and spoon to the ladder to act as an alarm in the event she returned. To Zosta’s surprise, a compartment suddenly opened up on the glaive shaft and ejected a wand. That explained how the woman had been able to cast spiritual weapon from her glaive. Asami examined the wand and determined that it still contained seven charges of the spell.

Aegron learned that the other prisoner’s name was Garvin, and that he was a veteran of the crusades. He estimated he had been a prisoner in the cavern for a week. The followers of Baphomet had kidnapped him and questioned him about the locations of various things in Kenabres. The party members told him what had happened in Kenabres a few days earlier, including the apparent death of Telendrev. They also searched the dead archer, finding two potions of cure light wounds, a wand of longstrider with 10 charges, a masterwork shirt of chainmail, and a masterwork longbow. Asami also appraised the woman’s book, which Uncle had not damaged. It was a jeweled book of prayers to Baphomet worth 50 gold pieces.

After determing there was nothing else of use or value in the rooms where they had fought the woman, the group went on to explore another side room. This one held a desk, chair, and fur-covered bed, as well as an iron lockbox. The lockbox key was on the ring of keys Jiro had appropriated. Within the box they found a leather pouch containing an assortment of gems, a scroll case holding two scrolls, and a golden longsword that radiated magic. When Runa attempted to examine the sword to determine its properties, she suddenly fainted.

Her companions were startled and confused by her sudden collapse, but Asami assumed she had merely been overwhelmed by strong magic, and she began to examine the sword herself. Her mind was suddenly filled with information: this blade was Radiance, the legendary sword of the great demon-slayer Yaniel. It had been held in the Gray Garrison, but had recently been stolen by the Templars of the Ivory Labyrinth. The followers of Baphomet had likely intended to corrupt it for their use. Its powers had gone dormant after Yaniel’s assassination, but it was still a powerful blade of cold iron. The experience left Asami with a headache.

When Runa revived a few minutes later, she was able to glean some of the same information from the sword. As Runa was a follower of Iomedae like Yaniel, her companions encouraged her to take the sword, though it lacked a scabbard and would be awkward to carry. They looked through the papers they found in the desk and were rewarded with a bounty of information. One report told the woman, Hosilla, to go to three safehouses in Kenabres: Nyserian Manor, Topaz Solutions, and the Tower of Estrod. Horgus recognized the signature on the missive as that of Staunton Vhane, the traitorous warden of Drezen, who had been exposed by Anivia’s wife, Irabeth. He knew that Vhane had tried to make arrangements to buy Irabeth’s sword, presumably after having Irabeth killed. It now seemed urgent for the group to reach the surface and warn the temple of Iomedae of the infiltrators in the city as well as to warn Irabeth.

They climbed up out of the caverns safely, finding no sign of Hosilla. Next they opened another door they had bypassed earlier, finding beyond it a cavern filled with shelves of preserved creatures such as dire rats, and two unoccupied bedrolls. They also found an iron ladder leading downward and another door. When Aegron listened at the door he heard the sound of running water. He opened the door, which was unlocked. It led into a hallway into darkness. Jiro peered into the passage and spotted an open shaft with a knotted rope hanging down into it.

While the rest of the group waited at the top of the shaft, Aegron, Jiro, and Zosta descended the rope. Aegron noticed something peculiar across the pool of moving water that lay at the bottom of the shaft. The three of them waded into the water to investigate, and Aegron was suddenly bitten by an albino cave gar. He and Zosta quickly killed it, as well as a second gar that swam up to them. Aegron and Jiro then entered a cave beyond the pool, which held an old, dusty chest. As Aegron started to approach the chest he realized that there was a trap in the floor and managed to jump out of the way, but Jiro was too slow and fell into a pit, wounding his leg on one of the spikes set into the bottom. After Aegron helped him back out, they opened the chest. Within it they found 250 gold pieces, a wooden shield, a twine ring of climbing, two potions of darkvision, a scroll of identify, and a scroll of magic fang. All of the magic items were examined by Asami.

Having found no exit near the pool, the group members realized they would have to descend the iron ladder.
Loot acquired:
2 potions of cure light wounds
Wand of longstrider, 10 charges
Masterwork chain shirt
Masterwork longbow (given to Aegron)
Wand of spiritual weapon. 7 charges (given to Jiro)
Gems: 3 lapis lazuli chips, 10 gp each; 2 bloodstones, 50 gp each; Citrine 50 gp; Pearl 100 gp
Scroll of bear’s endurance
Scroll of remove disease
Radiance - +1 cold iron longsword (given to Runa)
250 gp
+1 wooden shield
Ring of climbing
2 potions of darkvision
Scroll of identify

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Wrath of the Righteous episode 1: Fallen Into Darkness

A couple of years ago, one of my gaming friends decided to start running the Pathfinder Adventure Path Wrath of the Righteous. For those who don't know what an Adventure Path is, it's the same kind of thing as an old-school D&D module, essentially a choose-your-own adventure story for multiple players.

Wrath of the Righteous pits the player-characters against demons that are trying to open a doorway into the Material Plane. For centuries armies have fought against the demon hordes attempting to invade the world, defending a spot known as the Worldwound. Wrath of the Righteous is set in Pathfinder's default world of Golarion.

Unfortunately after we'd played only four or five sessions, the vicissitudes of life intervened and we had to put the game on indefinite hiatus. A few weeks ago my friend who is GMing this campaign finally felt he was ready to resume. Unfortunately in the intervening time period I misplaced my notes, so the information I have about what happened during those initial sessions is pretty minimal. But I thought I'd start blogging my summaries of our sessions, beginning with a brief recap of how the campaign began.

Note: Most of the other players are using 'hybrid' classes from the Advanced Class Guide, hence the class names may not be classes you're familiar with if you know D&D character classes.

Player Characters:

Aegronius - male half-elf slayer
Asamiel - female elf wizard (me)
Frairuna - female half-orc warpriest of Iomedae (my husband)
Jiro - male human shaman
Zosta - female human brawler
Bohgong - Jiro's spirit animal, a white monkey
Kirara - Asami's familiar, a white cat

Asami and Jiro come from Tian Xia, Golarion's Asia-equivalent region, where Asami hails from the Japanese-inspired elven country of Jinin, while Jiro comes from its neighbor Minkai, which is also Japanese-inspired. Jiro, who had been a gardener for a noble family, discovered that he was actually a bastard son of said family, and that it was his destiny to go to the far-away Worldwound to prevent the oni from using it to emerge into the world. Asami was sent by the Council of the Golden Flame to accompany him and look after him. The Council believed that the Westerners of Golarion didn't know enough about demons and that only their expertise would be enough to save the world.

Runa was sent by her goddess, Iomedae, to join the fight against the demons. Zosta had gone to the city of Kenabres near the Worldwound to visit her parents, who were the bodyguards of a barbarian priestess named Cennami who was also engaged in fighting alongside the Crusaders against the demons. Aegronius came seeking work with the Crusade. The five companions met on arriving in Kenabres where Cennami took charge of them and began their training in fighting demons. This training included fighting a redeemed demon named Rhino, who now worked alongside Cennami and the other barbarians to support the Crusaders.

After the group had been in Kenabres for a short while, they attended a festival in the city. As the city's leader, Lord Hulruun, made a speech, the crowd suddenly saw a demon lord appear, locked in battle with Telendrev, the silver dragon who acted as the protector of Kenabres. Then a crack opened up in the earth and the five newcomers plummeted into it. As they fell, they saw Telendrev suffer a mortal wound. But before they could plunge to their deaths, the dragon cast a feather fall spell on them all. This didn't prevent them from being knocked unconscious by the long drop, but it did save their lives.

After they recovered consciousness, the group began seeking a way to get back to the surface. But first they each found a single scale from a silver dragon. These scales would grant them several different magical powers when used. After discovering the scales, they began exploring the tunnels in which they had landed and found that other people had also fallen through the crevice that opened in Kenabres: Anevia, a human woman who had suffered a broken leg in the fall; Aravashniel, an elf Riftwarden (the protectors of the Worldwound) who had been blinded by the demon that attacked Telendrev; and Horgus Gwerm, a nobleman scholar. These three joined forces with the five player-characters and continued the search for a way back to Kenabres. They stumbled upon a site where someone had camped, but no sign of the campsite's original occupant other than an emblem, which Runa picked up. They also had an encounter with a dwarf who seemed to have lost his mind and who attacked them, forcing them to kill him. This left them with his spellbook and several scrolls, which Asami took charge of.

And that gets us up to the point at which we resumed the campaign.

February 7, 2016 restart

The party of people who had fallen into the subterranean caverns beneath Kenabres were obliged to climb up a shaft into a very large cavern, which had stone arches that reminded them of a temple. The floor of the cavern was cracked, and there was a tall stone tower that had collapsed. Runa caught a glimpse of something near the rubble of the fallen tower, which turned out to be one of the Mongrelfolk who lived beneath the city. The Mongrelfolk person, who introduced himself as Lan, told them that his companion had become trapped under some rocks that shifted when the tower fell. After Jiro allayed his fears a little, the group lifted the rocks and freed Lan’s companion Krell, who like Anevia had suffered a broken leg. Lan explained that the fallen tower was a watchtower, and that he, his mute companion Dyra, and Krell had been on watch when it collapsed. Lan told the group from the surface that he knew a way to get back to the surface, but it would require first going to the Mongrelfolk city. He agreed to show them the way.

The enlarged group eventually came upon a large chasm which they must cross to reach the Mongrelfolk city. Aegron strung ropes across it, but despite the ropes Runa fell in, overburdened by her heavy armor and weapons. Aegron had to pull her out after she removed her armor and weapons and sent them out separately. The group formed a cradle of ropes to carry across the injured Anevia and Krell and the blind Aravashniel.

The party next encountered a circular cavern, which Lan warned was inhabited by ‘spore coughers’, a kind of fungus, that would attack anyone who entered the cavern. He advised that the fungus creatures disliked fire. The group spotted two bodies in the cavern, wearing the robes of priests of Iomedae. Jiro crept up to examine them and found that both were dead. The fungus was dead too, but it didn’t look like the fungus had killed the two men. Both men bore wounds caused by weapons. Aegron noticed that one of the men had a small brass bull’s head with red gemstone eyes clutched in his hand. Several of the other members of the group recognized this object as an unholy symbol of the demon lord Baphomet, and Runa realized that the men weren’t carrying the traditional longswords of priests of Iomedae. Instead they carried glaives, the holy weapons of Baphomet. They must be imposters.

Lan told the group that he and his people had seen many other men like these in the caverns recently. The bodies were searched, revealing another curative potion and a scroll of cause fear. The group decided to make a litter from the glaives and carry one of the corpses with them, so that when they returned to the surface they could show the priests of Iomedae that there may be infiltrators in their midst.

Suddenly three men also wearing the garb of Ioemedae’s priesthood appeared on the other side of the cavern, wielding bows. Two of them shot Asami and she collapsed. Runa blessed the group, and Aegron rushed up to meet the three enemies. Jiro cast a cure spell on Asami, who was on the verge of death. Runa charged the assailants. Zosta also moved forward, facing a man who dropped his bow and revealed spiked gauntlets. Aravashniel summoned a large lizard and commanded it to attack anyone firing bows, as he couldn’t see what was happening and didn’t realize that the newly recovered Asami was about to fire her bow at their foes.

Asami abandoned using her bow and sent a magic missile at the man in front of Zosta, who fell. The other two archers fired their bows but missed their targets. Jiro followed the example of his companions and rushed forward, but he also failed to connect. Aegron knocked down another of the enemies. Jiro, Zosta, and the lizard attacked the remaining man and overcame him.
Runa then suggested that the one living man be taken prisoner and taken to the surface instead of as a corpse. On the bodies, the group members found two cure potions and a quantity of arrows.

Lan guided them to an enormous cavern with a lake in the center, where the Mongrelfolk city sat on an island in the midst of the water. They were carried to the island on rafts assembled of various materials. Runa had earlier found a bat symbol at an apparently abandoned campsite the group found after they fell through the crevice. This turned out to have belonged to the son of the Mongrelfolk chief, who had left after a disagreement with his father. Though the chief was initially insulted by some things Aravashniel said about the subterranean folk, Asami shushed Aravashniel and the other members of the group managed to be more diplomatic. The chief agreed to help in the fight against the demons after he was told what had happened in Kenabres. He gave the party members a bandolier containing six potions of cure light wounds and three potions of lesser restoration. He also gave them a morningstar. In addition they had acquired five chain shirts from the false priests.

After their meeting with the chief, the group planned to join the Mongrelfolk in an attack on the false priests’ underground camp.

Loot:
Spellbook: all cantrips, color spray, mage armor, magic missile, grease, detect secret doors, blur, levitate, fog cloud, invisibility, resist energy, shocking grasp, silent image
Scroll of cause fear
Unholy symbol of Baphomet
Two glaives
Five chain shirts
Six potions of cure light wounds
Three potions of lesser restoration
Morningstar
42 arrows


February 28, 2016

Previously: Chief Sull, leader of the mongrelmen, had told the party that the route back to the surface led through territory held by some bad mongrelmen. He also told them that the priests of Baphomet had already been present in the caverns prior to the attack on Kenabres.

The group sold some of the items they had acquired in fighting the Baphomet priests and the mad dwarf. They each gained 116 gp from the transaction.

The mongrelmen village had no inn, so that night the group stayed in a communal space. During their relaxation time, Aravanshiel permitted Asami to scribe the spell acid arrow from his spellbook into her own. That evening while Runa took the third watch, she was bitten by a spider. In the morning as they were preparing to leave, Jiro spotted a spirit, which Zosta refused to believe was real.

Lan escorted the party out of his village. He didn’t personally know the way to the surface, but knew the correct direction to travel. Shortly after leaving the village on the lake they entered a narrow passageway, only wide enough for them to walk in single file. They could see the marks of chisels on its walls. Suddenly Lan spotted something blocking the crevice. A wooden barricade about five feet high had been built where the passage widened. There was one sentry visible behind the barrier.
Runa took the lead in speaking to the sentry, who demanded that she go forward alone. Aegron and Zosta also moved forward to be a little closer to her, but only Runa approached the barrier. The sentry appeared to be talking to someone else and stalling for time. They heard some type of alarm given as someone shouted from behind the barricade. Runa tried to convince the guard to let her pass by showing the Baphomet holy symbol she carried and taking on an imperious tone, but the mongrelman sentry didn’t appear to be convinced, so she ran around the barrier to attack him. Aegron also threw a javelin at him but missed.

A second mongrelman appeared behind the barricade to attack Runa. Jiro ran forward to join his companions in attacking the barricade guards. Zosta leaped over the wall and kicked the sentry. Asami ran forward, leaving Aravashniel, Anivia, and Horgus behind. She paused to cast mage armor on herself before approaching the barrier. The wall sentry shouted, “Help! Faster!” to someone else.
Two more mongrelmen had emerged from a door behind the barricade and attacked Runa, seriously injuring her. She had to drink a potion to heal her wounds. Zosta hit the wall sentry and he collapsed. Asami ran around the barrier and hurled her splintered spear at one of the mongrelmen. Jiro was fighting another of them using the morningstar Chief Sull had gifted to the group, while protecting himself from a second foe with a stone shield. Jiro smashed his opponent with his morningstar. The mongrelman who had hit Runa fled. Aegron pursued him, but wasn’t able to hit him. Asami threw her spear at one of Jiro’s foes but missed. The fleeing mongrelman ran through the door and shut it behind him. One of the remaining enemies struck Jiro a dire blow, but Jiro hit back with equal force and killed his opponent.

Aegron opened the door and found the mongrelman he’d been chasing lying just beyond it, collapsed from the wounds he’d suffered. The last mongrelman behind the barrier fell after Asami directed a ray of frost at him. The group then passed through the doorway. There they found three rooms, one of them set up as a bunk room. A large lizard charged Aegron and bit him, then held on. Asami and Zosta attacked it to get it to release Aegron. After it died Jiro realized that its bite was poisonous.

There was no one else in the other rooms, and Asami determined that they contained nothing magical. The group went on through a door leading out of the bunk room. As Zosta opened the door, someone shot her twice with a crossbow, and she saw a dark figure apparently disappear into the floor. Runa went into the room first, finding no one, and located another door in a corner. Aegron found that the attacker had descended a rope ladder that led down from the room’s other far corner. He descended the ladder, while Runa opened the door.

The door Runa had opened led to a downward sloping ramp and a heap of garbage, apparently serving as the mongrelmens’ trash midden. Runa slipped and slid down the ramp into the rubbish, where she discovered that garbage wasn’t the only thing at the bottom of the ramp. Something hidden under the offal grabbed her and burned her with acid. Zosta pulled a rope out of her pack, and Asami cast animate rope on it to pull Runa away from the creature, which Jiro identified as a giant amoeba. When Asami, Jiro, and Zosta all hauled on the rope, they were able to drag Runa away from the amoeba’s grasp.

 Meanwhile Aegron had found more mongrelmen at the bottom of the ladder, too many for him to handle on his own. He was shot several times and collapsed, unconscious. By the time Jiro looked down the ladder, he saw only bloodstains on the floor below but no sign of Aegron. He climbed down the ladder to find another barrier similar to the one they had encountered in the crevice outside. Runa then descended the ladder but her heavy armor caused her to lose her grip and fall. She landed prone at the bottom, swearing loudly, which alerted the mongrelmen that more people had entered the chamber. A second battle ensued. Aravashniel summoned a celestial monitor lizard to help the group battle the mongrelmen.

The last surviving mongrelman pleaded for mercy and said he would tell them where Aegron was. Jiro approached the door beyond the barricade and heard labored breathing coming from the other side. The mongrelman told them that Aegron was on the other side of that door. He also told them that the leader of the mongrelmen was a human woman named Osilla, who had slain their previous leader. Jiro opened the door to see Aegron lying on a table, and yet more doorways leading out of the room.

Next: Episode 2, Enemies In the Deep