Wednesday, December 7, 2016

[Pathfinder] Mummy's Mask - part 11: Cenotaph of the Cynic

Session 16

(Igby’s player absent – Igby participating as NPC)
Before departing from Kawab Villa the next day, the Ruby Scarabs realized that their next option to get more information would be to visit the Anushet, the trio of lamia sister living in the Cenotaph of the Cynic. They needed to know if the three lamias knew anything about who was causing the dead to rise, or who the gold-masked figures the Darkfolk had seen might be. It was even possible that the lamias themselves were responsible for the increase in undead activity inside the Necropolis.
Sula and Uto both prepared spells that morning to allow them to relieve the effects of filth fever from Sula and Kaa. Once they had taken care of this, they set off for the location of the next Elegiac Compass that they had yet to check. They decided to avoid encounters with any undead if possible. Their map of the compass locations took them to an unknown building, which was marked with the symbols of Pharasma and of House Matya.
Once they had entered the building, Kaa spotted a trap door in the floor. There were signs that someone had tried to pry it open. The trap door led down into a small but well-appointed burial chamber. Next to a wooden sarcophagus stood the remnants of the Elegiac Compass, but all of the useful parts had been removed. Signs in the tomb chamber made the Scarabs think that the removal had been done recently. Disappointed, the group decided to investigate the sarcophagus. It proved to be trapped with a device that would emit a ball of fire on being triggered, but Kaa disabled it. Within the sarcophagus lay the well-preserved mummy of a man. He had clearly been preserved with magic to prevent him from rising from the dead. After examining him briefly, the group restored the sarcophagus lid. Uto took a few white hairs to make a wax fetish of the man who lay there.
When they had left House Matya behind, the Scarabs headed for the Cenotaph of the Cynic. This structure proved to be a large, impressive building with a domed roof. It had been built as a memorial for those who had died during the madness, but had been repurposed as a resting place for people who worshipped no gods. Some of the symbols of the gods decorating the building had been defaced.
The front of the building had two sets of doors. Kaa tried the first set on the right, but was unable to unlock them. The left-hand doors proved easier to open. The chamber beyond the doors had once held four pillars, but one of them had fallen. It also held an extremely large cobra, which raised up and flared its hood at them. Its hood had been decorated with gold rings inserted through piercings along the edges, indicating that the snake was a pet or sentry. The Scarabs had no desire to antagonize the Anushet, so Sula ordered Nyema to stay outside while she stepped into the room and tried to persuade the cobra to let them alone. She was able to convince the emperor cobra that not only should it ignore the Scarabs, but it should also slither over to one side of the room so they could enter without getting too close to it.
The cobra watched them as they proceeded toward the next set of doors, but it made no move toward them. The next doors were neither locked nor trapped, and admitted them to a narrow curving hallway lined with many doors. These doors opened on small alcoves in which many bodies in various states of mummification had been stacked. A little farther down the hallway Kaa found a larger room that was lined with cushions and shelves of books, and emitted a strong odor of perfume that could only partly mask an underlying animal scent. But the room was not currently occupied.
Not far from the doors that had admitted them to the hallway was another set of doors, in the opposite wall from the mummy alcoves. Nyema alerted that she detected something on the other side of those doors, as she and Sula were standing right in front of them. Suddenly one of the doors flew open, revealing a large circular chamber containing two very large lions, and an angry human man. The man appeared to be wearing the armor of the city guard, but it fit him poorly. He began to insist that the Scarabs should leave immediately. Then one of the lions pounced at Nyema.
Uto immediately cast a spell, causing the man to slump to the floor in slumber. The lion’s attack had hurt Nyema badly, so Sula stepped in front of her companion and raised her spear. Kaa darted inside the circular chamber and maneuvered himself so that he could blast one lion from behind with fire. The lion turned to face its attacker. Uto had linked his own life force with those of his comrades and absorbed some of the injury done to them by the lions. Azzaria’s body began to appear blurred as she moved to attack the lion that Kaa had burned, while Igby and Sula faced the second lion. Within a few moments both lions had fallen to the Scarabs’ blows. Still reluctant to rouse the ire of the lamias, Sula used her magic to prevent both lions from breathing their last breath.
The room in which the Ruby Scarabs now found themselves was full of objects: books, cushions, tapestries, clockwork devices, trinkets and jewels. Uto went to check the man he had put to sleep and found that some strong enchantment lay upon him, likely placed there by one of the Anushet, as the Scarabs had been told that the lamias sometimes took paramours from among the male population of Wati. A moment later the man awoke and began shouting for his ‘beloved’ Hepsushep, but no one responded to his cries. Igby slapped him and told him to be quiet and tell the party where the lamias were.
At one side of the room was a semi-circular raised platform, separated by its own door. Kaa stepped up to this platform, and after politely knocking as he’d done at all of the other doors, he opened it. Inside he saw a dais covered with cushions, on which sat a lamia. She seemed unperturbed by the sudden intrusion. Uto stepped forward, addressing the lamia courteously and telling her that the Scarabs had no desire to offend her and pointing out that they had spared the lives of the lions and her paramour when attacked by them. She reacted with a friendly attitude, commenting that she was growing bored with Tarek, her current paramour, and indicating that she thought Uto might be a suitable replacement. Uto responded that he wasn’t opposed to that idea as long as the decision was his own to make and he could finish his mission to stop the rise of the undead first. When Hepsushep agreed to provide what information she could in exchange for a gift, the party members readily agreed to give her the bolt of Qadiran silk they had recently acquired.
As he was conversing with Hepsushep, Uto suddenly realized that the figure he addressed was an illusion. Inside the chamber where the illusion sat was an iron stair leading up to an enclosed balcony. He suspected the real Hepsushep was inside. He did not give away what he had discovered and continued speaking to the illusion as though he thought it real. Hepsushep told the Scarabs that she knew nothing about the masked figures the Darkfolk had seen, nor the Elegiac Compasses, though she showed interest when told the compasses were clockwork. Uto then offered to fully heal the two lions, but Hepsushep declined the offer. Azzaria spoke up, offering any aid the Ruby Scarabs could offer to the Anushet, after which Hepsushep told the group to take a tome on the history of Wati that she thought might be of use to them. She also mentioned that her sisters were out hunting, and the group unanimously decided that they did not need to wait to meet the other two lamias.
After the Scarabs took their leave of Hepsushep, they turned their steps in the direction of the last unexamined Elegiac Compass. According to the map they had been given, it stood near a shop that had once sold glassware, by the name of Shiny Baubles. They found the shop long since looted, broken bits of its wares scattered in the street outside. Kaa was distracted by trying to pick up some of the glass bits. While Kaa was busy, Uto glimpsed a cracked wall at about the spot where the compass was meant to be, and he magically levitated himself to get a better look. Through the crack in the wall he saw something that might be the compass. He also observed that while there were some buildings next to the glassware shop, behind it was an empty space.
The shop was still structurally sound enough that Azzaria could climb the ladder up to the roof and look down into the small walled enclosure. The rest of the group climbed up to join her. Inside the walled area stood the final Elegiac Compass, its mechanism stil intact but its power supply crystal missing. There was evidence that something else had been on the rooftop recently: they spotted tracks that looked like the tracks of a dragon, but they were no bigger than the prints of a large dog. It was possible they were the tracks of a drake, but as it was unlikely that a drake would have taken the crystal, Sula wondered if the track-maker might have been a juvenile dragon.
Looking down beyond the compass enclosure, the Scarabs saw that a sinkhole had opened up in the ground. They could see a bit of bright blue silk scattered with coins at the bottom. Curious what might lie at the bottom of the sinkhole and hopeful that they would find the missing crystal there, the group climbed down into the depression. Uto used his prehensile hair to lift Nyema down while he himself flew into the pit. At the bottom he saw what clearly appeared to be a dragon's hoard: jewelry, armor, weapons, potions, vials of perfume, coins, goblets and serving dishes of silver, and many other treasures. Suddenly a feminine voice exclaimed, "Who dares despoil my lair?" The Scarabs all turned to look and found themselves staring at a young dragon, its body covered in glittering crystalline scales.
Uto attempted to speak diplomatically to the dragon, but she was possessive of her hoard and hostile toward the uninvited visitors. As she and Uto were talking, Kaa noticed a large crystal almost entirely encased in copper wire and realized that it must be the power source for the compass. The dragon spied him looking at it, and hoping to improve her hoard, offered to sell the crystal in exchange for gems or jewels worth at least 800 gold pieces. As it happened, the Scarabs had come into possession of some gold and lapis jewelry and a matching necklace and earrings of gold and onyx which had a combined value close to what the dragon demanded. When they offered these to her, she seemed pleased to accept them in exchange for the power crystal. This trade improved her attitude toward the Scarabs enough that she told them her name, Shardizad, and even offered to sell them other items from her hoard if they would bring her more gems.
When the Ruby Scarabs climbed back up to the compass enclosure, they began the task of trying to reconnect the crystal to the compass mechanism. Because they were not familiar with the workings of the compasses, this took some time. Kaa was standing watch near the ladder on the shop roof as dusk fell, while Sula and Uto were working on attaching the crystal. Kaa heard something moving on the ladder below. Something was climbing up to the roof. As the figure rose high enough for him to see, Kaa was startled to recognize Velriana Hypaxis, leader of the Scorched Hand, for he knew she had died in the underground chamber beneath the temple of Nethys. She was clearly undead now.
Just as Velriana climbed up the ladder, Sula and Uto got the compass working. A light shone out from it, in the direction of the ancient sealed gate that once had led out of the Necropolis. But it was too dark to tell precisely what location the compass was pointing at. Then the undead Velriana let out a horrific shriek. Kaa cowered helplessly in response to her awful scream. The rest of the Scarabs managed to escape the worst effect of this shriek. Sula sent a sphere of flame to burn the undead woman, while Uto blessed everyone with the power of the gods. Azzaria recognized that Velriana had beecome a revenant, a particularly vicious type of undead that would not rest until it had exacted revenge for its own death.
It was Velriana's misfortune that she didn't know which of the Scarabs had actually dealt her the final blow in the temple. Now all of the Scarabs but Kaa swarmed on her, and after a moment he recovered his composure and joined them. Within a very short time Velriana Hypaxis had died a second, final death.
The Scarabs examined her body and were surprised to find that whle she was waiting for an opportunity to exact vengeance she must also have been looting the Necropolis. She wore a magic belt that could transform into almost any variety of slashing weapon, as well as six gold bracelets, a gold necklace set with smoky quartz, and a ruby diadem. Perhaps the diadem was meant to replace the showy hat she had worn in life, which Kaa had claimed after her death.
As it was fully dark by this time, the Scarabs decided to leave the Necropolis through the smugglers' tunnel and rest beyond its walls for the night. In the morning they would return and determine what building the compass pointed to.
Tome on the history of Wati
Blade belt
6 gold bracelets
gold and smoky topaz necklace
gold and ruby diadem

Next: Part 12

[Pathfinder] Mummy's Mask - part 10: The Doom of Gaunt Cadaver

Session 15
(Igby's player absent - Igby not participating)
At about noon, the Ruby Scarabs headed toward Kawab Villa to find Gaunt Cadaver and his followers. As they passed along a walled area, Uto heard sounds like rending flesh and cracking bones and became concerned that someone might be under attack. He levitated to see over the wall. Beyond it he observed a huge mass of flesh and bone that seemed to have been fused or stitched together somehow. Even more disturbing, it appeared that something was burrowing its way through this mass from underneath. That was the source of the noise he had heard. A very large vaguely dog-like creature emerged from the mass of body parts, covered in bits of flesh. At that point Uto decided that this creature, whatever it was, was too dangerous for the Ruby Scarabs to face and they quickly moved on toward their destination.
At Kawab Villa they found another partially ruined large house. Before they could approach it they had to pass through an overgrown outer courtyard with a broken fountain. Suddenly Kaa felt vibration from beneath his taloned feet. Before he could warn his companions, two insectoid creatures as large as horses burst through the earth, one beside him and the other next to Uto. The creature that emerged by Uto instantly grasped him in its pincers. Azzaria recognized the creatures as ankhegs and warned her comrades that they might spit acid.
Sula turned to smash the ankheg that had grabbed Uto with her club, while Kaa and Azzaria attacked the one nearest them. Kaa used his cloak of the crocodile to grow teeth and bite the ankheg when it tried to grapple him. It did not take long for the four companions to slay both creatures. Azzaria dealt both beasts the final blow. Once they were definitively dead Sula attempted to remove their acid sacs at Uto's request, but was unable to cut them free without rupturing them, though she avoided getting any acid on her skin. She also removed some plates of chitin from the carcasses, hoping to have it converted into a shield and armor.
The Scarabs worried briefly that there might be more ankhegs in the area, but Azzaria told them that such creatures ordinarily did not come in swarms like tiny insects and it was unlikely there were any more. Since the bodies hadn't vanished on death, they knew that no one had used magic to summon the ankhegs. They left the remains in the courtyard and approached the front entrance of the villa.
The villa had two doors, both of which were unlocked. Kaa went in first. He found a dank, smelly chamber set up as a dining area, which was littered with rubbish and rotting food. Inside he glimpsed 3 darkfolk near the table, one on each side and the third partly hidden beneath it. Kaa spoke to them in the common tongue, saying, "We come from Unwrapped Harmony," but they didn't respond. When he moved closer to them, the pair on either side of the table called to each other in a language he didn't understand and rushed at him, drawing knives. One of them shouted in common, "Don't let them steal our secrets!"
Uto entered the chamber and put one of the darkfolk to sleep with a spell. Abruptly the entire room fell into impenetrable darkness, leaving everyone but Uto blind. Kaa drew out his ioun stone of continual light, but it was not enough to penetrate the darkness. Azzaria smashed a window, letting weak illumination into the room, though it didn't extend far enough for anyone to see the darkfolk or even each other. Sula and Nyema tried to move up to Kaa's side, and Nyema was able to smell one of the darkfolk nearby but couldn't find him to bite him. One of the darkfolk sliced Kaa and he felt the burning of poison in the wound. The darkfolk Uto had put to sleep awoke again, though Uto was still the only one who could actually observe this.
In the darkness Sula heard Nyema grunt in pain when one of the darkfolk stabbed her twice. A scuffling sound on wood indicated that one of them had jumped onto the table. Sula swept that area with her spear point but couldn't make contact with her target. Nyema also unsuccessfully snapped at the darkfolk. Since Unwrapped Harmony had asked that the other folk besides Gaunt Cadaver be returned safely, Uto attempted to stun one of them with a blow of his fist. He also activated his healing on behalf of his friends. Azzaria managed to land a strike on one of the 3 darkfolk and knocked him unconscious, and Nyema brought another one down.
It was a long struggle to subdue the 3 darkfolk in the pitch black, but when they had all been rendered unconscious and healed so that they would survive, Uto shaped the stone of the wall to hold them while the Scarabs explored the rest of the villa. He gave Azzaria and Kaa each a curative potion to use if they needed it. At that point both Azzaria and Sula suddenly remembered that they were carrying potions that would allow them to see in the dark, much to their embarrassment. Since the effects of the potions would last for some time, they decided to drink them right away in case any more darkfolk used their innate darkness ability in other parts of the villa. This left only Kaa still unable to see in the dark, as he had no potion and no one could cast a spell on him to permit him sight in the darkness.
The Scarabs healed some of their wounds, then searched the chamber they were in. They found some lapis lazuli and gold jewelry amid the rubbish, as well as 4 fine quality crossbow bolts. In a side room beneath a loose stone, Uto discovered 3 potions, 2 of them curatives and the other of designed to cause a person to appear blurry to enemies. He gave one curative potion to Sula and kept the other for himself. The third potion went to Kaa.
As they moved on beyond the first chamber, they were surprised to find the corpses of three darkfolk. All had died of the same wound near the heart, apparently as part of a necromantic ritual that had occurred within the past week.
After finding the darkfolk bodies, they came to a heavy locked door. It had no enchantments or traps on it. Kaa listened and heard the sound of chanting voices coming from beyond it, though he couldn't understand what they chanted. Before he opened the door, Uto blessed everyone with the divine power of the gods, Sula girded herself with a spell that transformed her skin into dense bark, and she also cast a spell on Nyema's teeth and claws.
As soon as they entered the room they all smelled a sour scent. The room appeared to be a kitchen that had been converted into a combination laboratory and surgery. There were other doors leading out of the kitchen. On a table at one end of the kitchen they saw a figure that was in the midst of being operated upon by a small person swathed in dark robes who they suspected was Gaunt Cadaver. Three other darkfolk in the room all appeared to be undead. Gaunt Cadaver screeched, "Intruders! Kill them!" and the 3 darkfolk rushed out toward the Scarabs. Part of the room fell into magical darkness.
Uto had been the first to actually enter the room. He was cut by a poisoned knife wielded by one of the undead darkfolk. There was a second table sitting haphazardly in the middle of the room, and Azzaria jumped onto its top. The three undead were zombies, but they moved much more quickly that ordinary zombies. Azzaria realized that they were a special variety that might explode and release negative energy on being slain.
While the Scarabs fought with the 3 zombies, Gaunt Cadaver cast a spell and a spectral hand appeared. Azzaria recognized that he had cast a spell into the hand that would chill the victim with its touch and would be able to use the hand to deliver the spell to his targets. He called out something, which Uto was able to understand via magic as, "Strike and pull back!" Uto warned his companions that the zombies were being given instructions. Knowing that zombies were usually resistant to anything but slashing weapons, Sula activated the magic of her spear so she could overcome their resistance to other types of damage.
Then Uto channeled positive energy to harm the zombies, and all 3 exploded, sending out a wave of negative energy that affected everyone except Kaa. The subject on the makeshift operating table also died, but when it exploded it caused a flare of brilliant light that left Azzaria dazed. Uto channeled again to heal his comrades, but was unable to exclude Gaunt Cadaver from receiving the benefit of his magic.
When Azzaria recovered from being momentarily dazed, she attacked Gaunt Cadaver. Kaa and Uto joined her. It was Uto's blow that caused him to fall. Azzaria then cut off his head to be sure he was dead. At that point he too exploded in a burst of light, leaving Azzaria, Sula, and Uto blind for a few moments.
Once everyone had recovered their sight, they searched the kitchen. The found 3 daggers, a kukri, a scroll that would allow the caster to speak with the dead, a quality buckler, a healer's kit, surgeon's tools, 3 doses of black smear poison, a bolt of valuable Qadiran silk, 3 pounds of giant bee royal jelly, 20 ivory ushabti figurines, a pair of gold and onyx earrings and a matching necklace, a lapis bracelet, and gold, silver and copper coins equal to 660 gold pieces.
Having assured themselves there was nothing else to find in the kitchen, the Scarabs opened the door to what they assumed was the villa's central atrium. It was locked and Kaa unfastened it. In the atrium he saw a broken fountain still spurting silt and water, but he was immediately confronted by a large clearly undead creature that appeared to be made of parts from many corpses stitched together. Kaa responded by directing a ray of scorching fire at it, which seemed to slow its movements.
Sula then stepped forward and charged her spear with elemental energy to attack it, but she chose to use electricity rather than fire. To her dismay this negated the effect of Kaa's flames and allowed the creature to move much faster. It slammed her with both of its mismatched fists. Uto healed her of some of the damage and drank a potion to recover from the injuries that effort did to him. Sula tried to attack the creature again, but its stench nauseated her so she could only stumble backward a few steps. Nyema refused to approach it. The creature, which was some sort of golem, followed Sula when she moved and struck her again. Kaa scorched it a second time and it slowed down. Sula raised her shield to defend herself, finding herself recovered from the effect of its horrible odor. Azzaria then struck it a massive blow and it fell in a heap.
The Ruby Scarabs returned to the Asatiti estate and showed the stone they had recovered from Gaunt Cadaver's remains to Unwrapped Harmony. They took the three surviving darkfolk captives with them. The stone they had found proved to be magical; Unwrapped Harmony told them it could prevent the bearer from suffering harm when dealt injuries by certain types of precision attacks, but in order to do so the bearer had to swallow it. Since the stone was the size of a small apple, was unusually heavy for its size, and was only usable once, it hardly seemed worth the discomfort of doing so. Unwrapped Harmony had only wanted the stone as proof of Gaunt Cadaver's demise, so she gave it to the Scarabs as part of their reward.
She also informed them that one of Gaunt Cadaver's followers had seen a figure wearing a gold mask with a long chin, who was arguing with something in a brass cage. This person had dropped a tattered star chart, which had been recovered and which Unwrapped Harmony now presented to the adventurers. The chart was too damaged to tell what its original purpose had been, but it showed the night sky of summer over Wati.
After they left Kawab Villa, Uto had detected that the golem had inflicted filth fever on Sula. Kaa also wanted to learn more of the darkfolk language, so the party asked if they could stay overnight at the Asatiti estate. This would allow both Uto and Sula to prepare spells the next day to remove the effects of the disease. Unwrapped Harmony agreed and told them they could stay in one of the outbuildings, if they would explain the purpose of the building to the darkfolk.
lapis lazuli & gold jewelry (500 gold)
4 fine quality crossbow bolts
2 potions of cure moderate wounds
potion of blur
3 daggers
scroll of speak with dead
quality buckler
healer's kit
surgeon's tools
3 doses of black smear poison
bolt of Qadiran silk (400 gold)
3 lbs giant bee royal jelly (300 gold)
20 ivory ushabti figurines (15 gold each)
gold & onyx earrings (100 gold) & matching necklace (250)
lapis bracelet (50 gold)
240 gold coins
345 silver coins
75 copper pieces

Next: Part 11

[Pathfinder] Mummy's Mask - part 9:

Session 14
The Ruby Scarabs began preparations to re-enter the Necropolis through the secret passage created by the Silver Chain gang. There they would seek out the remaining Elegiac Compasses that Sebti the Crocodile had told them about.
Uto decided to sell Akhan-tepe's armor, sword, and shield that he had acquired after the auction. Kaa gave him the mist armor that the armorer had presented to the group after they rescued Ptemenib from the Silver Chain gang. Kaa also purchased a 9-ring sword from the same armorer, and Sula bought a better suit of leather lamellar armor than she previously had, as well as a specially reinforced wicker shield. Every member of the group received a distribution of 1,250 gold pieces from items sold.
Sebti had explained to the Scarabs that the Elegiac Compasses were large mechanical devices with rotating parts. There had been thirty of them when the Necropolis was newly created, and they were capable of detecting the largest source of necromantic energy within a range of approximately three miles. But now to the knowledge of the church of Pharasma, only five Elegiac Compasses remained within the walls of the city of the dead, though this information was not recent.
Nakht Shepses of the Voices of the Spire also told the Scarabs that there were three lamias residing within the Necropolis at the Cenotaph of the Cynic, which was a memorial for burials of those who followed no gods.
It was recommended that the Scarabs visit a group of darkfolk who were living in the Necropolis in the estate of Asatiti. The priests thought that the darkfolk might have more information about what was happening inside the Necropolis since they lived there. The darkfolk were friendly to Ptemenib, and since the Scarabs had aided one of their people they might get a warmer reception.
When the Ruby Scarabs were ready, they returned to the Silver Chain headquarters at the waterfront. There they found a recovered Bal-themm in charge of the guards watching the location. She was unhappy to be there, but when Uto explained to her that she was not only watching the warehouse but making sure that no undead emerged from the tunnel, her discontent was relieved.
The group emerged from the end of the tunnel inside the walls of the Necropolis to find that part of the ceiling had collapsed, crushing the Elegiac Compass that had stood there for generations. A mass of snakes had found this spot conducive to sunbathing. Sula advised that there was no reason to bother the snakes since they weren't attacking, and the band continued on their way.
When they arrived in the area that had come to be known as the Ghoul Market, they glimpsed 4 ghouls that seemed to be focused on the door of a former shop. Curious as to what could have attracted the ghouls, they paused a moment for Uto to bless them and then attacked. Kaa hurled a rock to distract the ghouls, and Uto took to the air. Azzaria invoked her rage. Within a short time all 4 ghouls had been slain, and no one had suffered any ill effects from their touch, although Azzaria had received a scratch which Uto healed.
The door of the shop appeard to have been opened recently. Uto called out to anyone inside, and in response a voice shouted back, "Is this a trick?" The door opened, revealing a human woman. The Scarabs recognized her as Date Palm, one of the members of the adventuring group called the Sunrise Fellows, who had gone missing during the first week of exploration. Everyone had assumed they were dead. Her companions Worm and Oshwit were with her in the front room of the shop. The Scarabs observed that all three of them appeared uneasy with their visitors. They seemed unconcerned by the ghouls that had been trying to get in to slay them. They told the Scarabs that they had been busy researching, and that they had plenty of food and water. Azzaria asked them if they had see an Elegiac Compass, as there was supposed to be one very near to the shop. Oshwit drew something in the sand on the floor. Date Palm appeared increasingly anxious, and Oshwit and Worm exchanged glances as though they were signalling each other.
Kaa moved to look at what Oshwit had drawn, but realized he had started to move into the zone of a trap and quickly stepped back. Igby then cast bane. Oshwit pulled a lever and flames flared up near a table. Date Palm drew a knife and threw it at Kaa. At Sula's direction, Nyema leaped up on the table to claw at Date Palm. Oshwit also threw a knife at Kaa but missed, and Kaa responded with a scorching ray. Uto also turned on Oshwit. Azzaria followed Nyema's example by jumping on the table and flew into a rage, dropping Oshwit with a blow. Igby meanwhile faced off with Worm, while Date Palm drew a mace and tried to strike Sula. Worm moved toward a curtained doorway at the rear of the shop, striking Nyema as he passed. But Uto was using his magic to take part of the wound himself while healing his companions and most of her injury was cured.
Azzaria's attack caused Date Palm to collapse. Worm slipped through the curtain into the back. Kaa ran after him, checking for further traps. In a room beyond the curtain he found an alchemy lab, remains of mummies, and a cloaked figure. The figure demanded, "Why are you bothering us? Did the temple send you?" Kaa burned the mummy on the table with a scorching ray. Uto moved in to the alchemist's lab after Kaa, detecting a foul chemical odor in the area. Sula and Nyema followed him in, and Sula realized that the cloaked individual was a ghast and warned her friends. Azzaria and Igby joined them to combat the ghast.
Igby has summoned a flaming sword to fight the creature. Worm was still fighting the Scarabs, and managed to injure Nyema. The ghast sent a cone of flame at Igby, Kaa, and Uto, which Uto blocked with a stone shield. Oshwit had regained his feet and came to the aid of his companions, suffering a bite from Nyema. Sule shoved the table aside to gain better access to the ghast. Oshwit missed a blow at Nyema and collapsed again when she attacked him as he tried to get past her to obey the directions of the ghast. Kaa tried to strike the ghast with flurry of sword slashes. Uto's hair suddenly grew tremendously long and stretched out to use a healing wand on Azzaria. Sula jumped up on the table to gain higher ground and stabbed downward at the ghast, while Nyema bit him at the same time. Igby flanked with Sula's position, and it was his attack that finally carried the ghast into death.
Inside the alchemist's shop the Scarabs found the remains of the disassembled Elegiac Compass. Some of the parts were missing. They determined that the Sunrise Fellows had been using the lab to make the illegal drug mummia from mummies. They were actually members of a local drug-distribution gang known as the Fading, and had used the treasure-hunting event to gain access to more materials for their drugs. Among the items found on their bodies were three capes, half a dozen potions, vials of alchemist's fire, bottles of holy water, three fine quality heavy maces, three sets of studded leather armor, three sets of thieves' tools, three onyx rings, and a total of nine gold pieces. The ghast proved to have six vials of greenblood oil, a magic robe, an alchemist's kit, a formula book, and a pair of magical bracers which the Scarabs were unable to learn anything about. They also found three potions that could hide the user from the sight of undead creatures.
Date Palm and Oshwit were still alive, and the Ruby Scarabs decided to take them back to Wati and turn them over to the temple of Pharasma for judgement. They blindfolded their captives to prevent them from seeing the tunnel, and on their way back avoided a group of twenty or more zombies that were roaming the Necropolis. At the warehouse they handed the prisoners over to Bal-themm. They also sent a message to the priests of Pharasma that two of the Elegiac Compasses that were thought to remain in the Necropolis had been destroyed.
Once everyone's hurts had been healed by wands or potions, they returned to the Necropolis and headed for the Marid's Carress, a bathhouse where the next compass was supposed to sit. The bathhouse's plumbing had leaked, turning it into a swamp. The compass there had been crushed by a collapsed wall. They found a few pieces among the rubble, including a large round lens of glass that radiated magic, although no one could determine what it was for beyond some type of divination.
After finding the third compass destroyed, the Scarabs decided to visit the darkfolk. They made their way to Asatiti's estate unmolested by undead. The darkfolk who met them outside were unfriendly until they mentioned Ptemenib. One of the darkfolk guards went to fetch their leader, Unwrapped Harmony. She asked the Scarabs to complete a task for her in exchange for information: her apprentice, Gaunt Cadaver, had left to form his own clan and had been experimenting with transforming his clan members into undead. The darkfolk were fascinated by mummies and mummification because when they died they simply vanished, leaving no remains. But Unwrapped Harmony felt that Gaunt Cadaver had gone too far in his exploration of undeath. She wanted the Ruby Scarabs to kill him and bring back a magic stone that he had ingested as proof of his death. She requested that they avoid killing any of the other darkfolk if possible, and return them to her. The Scarabs agreed to this request. When they had finished eating a midday meal with the darkfolk, they set off for Kawab Villa to find Gaunt Cadaver.

3 catching capes
3 potions - cure moderate wounds
3 potions - unknown
6 vials - alchemist's fire
6 bottles - holy water
3 masterwork heavy maces
3 sets of studded leather armor
3 sets of thieves' tools
3 onyx rings
9 gold pieces
6 vials of greenblood oil
robe of needles
alchemist's kit
alchemist's formula book
pair of magical bracers - unknown
3 potions - hide from undead

Next: part 10