Tuesday, March 15, 2016

[Pathfinder] Mummy's Mask, part 4: Sanctum of the Erudite Eye

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

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
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
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

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