Tuesday, March 15, 2016

[Pathfinder] Mummy's Mask, part 3: The Estate of Pentheru

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 silversheen 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.


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

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