Tuesday, March 15, 2016

[Pathfinder] Mummy's Mask, part 2: Return to Akhan-tepi's Tomb

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 the group Kaa had been meant to join was 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 magical berry that would sate hunger like a meal, and Kaa provided them each with a whistle for signalling one another. He also showed them that he had a magical stone that would fly in a circle about his head, shedding a continuous 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. Kaa found 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
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
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

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