Double Down on a Devil

The party was about to head off to the west to deal with snaky snakes. Then Rah announced that he had a job to do. The Siduri temple has been following the party’s exploits and felt they were up to the task.
It seems that the Inquisition has, by some claim of law enforcement, confiscated a huge amount of gems that belong to the Siduri Temple. The party was asked to retrieve the gems, with the promise of a rich payout for success. It seemed likely to the Temple staff that the party would have to kill the Inquisitors in question in order to accomplish the mission.
The main opposition was a High Priest of Enlil, but there could be as many as twelve on staff, including acolytes, also other clerics and fighters. The party wasn’t deterred, planned to break in through the rear compound, and then to secretly bore a hole in the roof using clever magics. If they bored a hole into the High Priest’s chamber, they figured, they might be able to steal back the gems without a fight.
Alas, the plan didn’t work out just as planned. Perhaps it was a setup, perhaps they were unlucky that the high priest had moved the loot for some reason, perhaps someone inside heard them walking on the roof… We may never know. Suffice to say that the room they broke into had no high priest, nor did it seem to contain any gems. They found some treasure that was left behind but not the gems in question.
The party grew suddenly louder as their Silence spell wore off. They moved to investigate the precinct without caution, moving down a long hallway, looking for a reaction.
The attack came from ahead as two large lions busted down the hallway at them. Their attacks surprised K’em and Gargg with their ferocity, tearing and rending with bites and more claws than could be counted. Then one of the side doors was opened and a newly prepared fighter charged, dealing Mirrodin a nasty blow. The Magic User tried to put all of these enemies to sleep using his magic, but only managed to put the fighter into slumber.
Then other attackers appeared in the hallway, a fighter and a priest. The fighter, for his part, sent a terrible lightning javelin, almost killing Gargg outright. The priest then cast Hold Person, turning K’em as stiff as a board. Somehow Threep avoided the effects. Either which way, with only two attacks both of the current party’s most senior fighters were down.
The fight against the lions continued. Maka killed the sleeping fighter and others quickly checked the room. Mirrodin poured a healing salve down Gargg’s throat. Threep pulled K’em from the fight and retreated to the rear. Rah summoned forth Thrak to deal with the newcomers, as the lions just wouldn’t get out of the way.
Thrak engaged the fighter and the priest at the end of the passage, although they were also joined by a high priest. Thrak blasted all of them with a breath-weapon of pure lightning, blasting even the wall to pieces. The fighter and the high priest survived somehow.
As efforts against the lions failed, and people started fleeing the scene, the weight fell on Thrak. Somehow Thrak himself failed to resist the Flame-Strike that crashed through the ceiling atop his head. He did kill the fighter next with a swipe of his sparkling sword.
The high priest was next to be cut down but not before he begged for divine intervention, a favor from his god. A brilliantly lighted giant with glowing skin and armor appeared from nowhere. The godlike-giant and the dragon-fiend fought it out, blow for blow.
Rah was the only person left in the hallway fighting the lions, before Gargg returned to the fray. They managed to kill off the lions but not before the giant struck down Thrak, once and for all. The angelic giant didn’t hang around to fight as it was badly damaged. It did retrieve the bodies of the fallen priests before vanishing. Will it return? No one expects the Enlil Inquisition. What is left of the precinct to explore?

"Swimming," Escaping, and Falling for Frogs

The party licked its wounds after their last big fight. A few ideas were floated, to follow the sorceress down the river, or to go back and fight a terrible monster. The river won out as it had the potential reward of finding and defeating the sorceress.
The dark and twisted, water-filled passages tossed around the adventurers, threatening to drown them. When they did emerge by a subterranean beach, Maka and Rah shot past, failing to grab anything. Alara, Scruffy, Delal and K’em made it to dry land. Scruffy threw a rope to Maka, who barely managed to grab hold. Rah, on the other hand, continued to flail, and shot out through the far passage.
Meanwhile, the sorceress reappeared and attacked Alara with her dagger. Alara retaliated with her own weapon, causing the dark-skinned attacker to surrender.
“You can have all of my stuff, just let me live.” She said.
Maka tied the sorceress up and knocked her out. The party recovered a strange collection of “treasure” including a black-skinned girl, unconscious, with long, pointed ears. At the same time, K’em stripped down and dove in after Rah.
Rah found no hand-holds anywhere that might slow his descent. He smashed into jagged walls before being ejected down a waterfall, into a pond where he fell unconscious. K’em shot out after him but managed to stay with it. He dragged Rah from the water just before hearing the sounds of loud croaking.
The rest of the party ascended the stone pit they were in, leaving the water, sand and the sorceress behind. They brought the strange, unconscious girl with them as well as the body of Ardell. Flavia became visible and followed them. They headed out into the Great Outside and went toward the sound of rushing water.
They found themselves a good distance up-slope from where the water was. They heard crashing sounds in the forest and saw K’em and a partially Healed Rah running away from a family of giant frogs. Alara raced down the slope to help and fell, head-long into the fight. Scruffy descended as well, set to kill hungry amphibians.
Rah and K’em escaped to the top but Alara’s situation looked dire. Rah Rah went back to the fight, only to lose his footing, and smashing his way down the slope. The party was in dire straights.
Maka used her sling to some effect and Scruffy and Alara finally made some progress against the frogs. The rag-tag bunch finally did win the day but aside from the treasure, they didn’t have a lot to be happy about. They slowly made their way back to Terragad where they spent a day to heal up. Another Ranger named Threep showed up to take care of Ardell’s remains, joining the party.
They then returned to Selangod and did some shopping. Maka and Delal honed their skills. Alara dropped out and returned to HatYaid. Then, suddenly, Gargg was on the scene, and quickly invited back into the party. A new Magic User was added to as well, named Miradon.
They deposited the dark child at the Siduri temple and briefly met a very young looking Ardell. With nothing else pending, the party considered heading West to look into some sort of serpent problem.

Stirges, Slimes, Traps and Death

The stars shone differently over the party, winking like delicate eyes. The artistic sky inspired all who beheld it, beauty never before seen. (Read: we played at Bruce’s house).

This session saw a lot of combat. The party started when Rah sent Thrakridian (Thrak) down a dark, dank hallway to knock down a barricade that hid enemy archers. This he did with ease as none of the seventy odd arrows shot at him caused any damage, merely bounced off his scaly hide. Then the archers drew swords and attacked Thrak, approaching the party in the process.
They looked like black-eyed zombies except that they had some level of dexterity. They used blades that glowed with blue light. Thrak destroyed them, one at a time, with small damage added from the party. Swords and bows were kept as treasure.
Descending the hallway the party came upon a strange room, filled with 16, 20-foot deep pits. A one-foot wide walkway separated the pits, the only way to the room’s exit. Flurescent green goo resided in the bottom of each pit. More noticeable to the party, however, were the twenty bat-like horrors (undead stirges) that flew above, threatening to attack any that entered the room.
These were dealt with piecemeal, with fighters standing in the front, hacking away. Ardell became heavily drained, with many stirges successfully attacking him. He went down completely after K’em sliced him good, in a poor effort to kill an offending Stirge. Alara also suffered damage from the critters before the last were slain. Some healing occurred.
The party then carefully made its way through the room and continued on to meet a devil-face, stuck on a door. Approaching the devil-face caused it to speak a riddle:

“Al-Hazred, Bahamut, and Circe live in different houses in Abracadabra Avenue, which has houses numbered from 1-80. Their numbers ascend in the order Al-Hazred’s, Bahamut’s, and Circe’s, but none of them know this; nor do any of them know the numbers of the houses of the other two.
They are having a conversation about it:
Al-Hazred thinks that Bahamut always tells the truth, and that Circe always lies.
Bahamut thinks that Circe always tells the truth, and that Al-Hazred always lies.
Circe thinks that Al-Hazred always tells the truth, and that Bahamut always lies.
Each one announces, not necessarily correctly, whether his or her number is:
(1) A multiple of 4.
(2) A perfect square.
(3) Above 23.
Al-Hazred then says to Bahamut and Circe, “I can tell you the numbers of your two houses, but I don’t know which one is which.”
Bahamut says to Al-Hazred, “I can tell you the number of your house.”
Circe says to Bahamut, “I can tell you the number of your house.”
They all do so, but they are all wrong: and in fact, of the numbers announced, not one is the number of any of the three houses, though one guess is exactly eight times the number of one of the houses. Which houses do Al-Hazred, Bahamut, and Circe live?”

The party put their best and brightest minds to the task, but couldn’t come up with an answer, claiming that there were multiple possible answers. In the end Maka picked the lock and they opened the door. The rumbling sound didn’t encourage them. Turned out the long passage at the beginning of the dungeon had collapsed, surely just a coincidence.
Now the focus turned toward finding an exit to the caverns. They were also down two fighters as Jethro and Roban stole the opportunity to get to know each other better, leaving prior to the cave-in. Alara took it upon herself to explore ahead, whilst invisible.
She entered a small room with a tall iron pillar in its center. Engraved on the floor was an arcane symbol. Delal recognized it later as a binding enchantment of some sort. Also on the floor lay an unconscious woman in a tattered red dress. Her back and scalp were horribly scarred, as if by a whip. She was chained to the pillar at the wrists.
Alara tried to help by giving the woman a healing salve, but it didn’t seem to help, but actually had the opposite effect. The woman woke enough to ask for help, but caused damage by laying her hand upon Alara. The woman, named Flavia, said that this was how she healed herself, and that normal healing methods actually cause her harm. She introduced herself to the party wearing a new face and outfit, seems that she can naturally cause an illusion, making her appear beautiful and unblemished.
She had no answers for the party on what she was or personal information, nor did she know anything about the dungeon. Flavia is apparently a spellcaster but doesn’t have any spells memorized, needing rest. Scruffy found no evil in her and she walked with the party as they proceeded.
They passed through a series of passages laden with traps. Alara triggered some of threes traps, causing arrows to shoot into her flesh. Maka took over the trap finding duties, taking some damage herself, a pittance for what was coming.
After the traps, the party found two doors. The first door entered into a large, brightly lit chamber. In the center of the room was a terrible monster:

“It is a bubbling, semi-amorphous mass of tentacles, pseudopods and other unguessable parts, maws and limbs. It appears to float a few inches above the ground, boiling with movement. Occasionally parts of it turn transparent.”

They retreated from this room, the next one must be easier.

The next door revealed a short passage with a curtain at the far side, blocking entry to a room. The party dropped a coin, waiting for a reaction, then approached the curtain to peek through. BOOM! A fireball went off in their presence, dropping both Flavia and Ardell. With the curtain burnt to cinders, the party saw what awaited them, a large mass of undead. Skeletons and zombies were the first attackers, ghoulish folks behind them, and finally a dark-skinned, pointy-eared sorceress, the caster of the fireball. K’em, Delal and Scruffy stepped forward to engage their enemies, cutting into boney foes. Delal tried to paralyze the sorceress to no avail, catching three magic missiles for her trouble, dropping to unconsciousness.
Alara used her actions to rescue fallen comrades, pulling them to another room. Maka prepared to flee but instead, stood by her companions in the fight. Rah withdrew and summoned Thrakridian.
Trak emerged in the tight passage and sparkled with shocking life. This discharge fried the already unconscious Ardell and would have taken down Maka if not for her protections. At the same time that Thrak was killing people, some strange things were happening to K’em.
His shield seemed to be the center-piece of a collection of strange occurrences. There was a fountain of bubbles, a rain of highly flammable oil, and a hailstorm. The shield also produced a functioning mouth, which started verbally telling all of K’em’s deepest secrets. It told of his love and aspirations for companionship for the Lady Martina, but also of his love for Sherry, the barkeep. There was much more, going all the way back to his childhood trouble-making, but this was largely drowned out by the sounds of Thrak in combat. K’em screamed furiously at his shield to shut up.
Thrak followed his orders to the letter, killing his undead foes, one by one. Again the Paladin fought at his side. Then Rah commanded Thrak to engage the second line of undead while he and the fighters destroyed the skeleton and zombie leftovers.
Seeing that the tide had turned, the sorceress fled to the back of the room where a subterranean river flowed, and dived in. Thrak killed the remaining monstrosities taking no more damage from them. An invisible Alara and Maka managed to save Delal but Flavia had vanished, having been turned invisible. Victory was had but at a large cost, a total party kill was a word, or a roll away…

Wet Passages and Toothy Beasts

This week the party started in the town of Pahand. Communications with Sherry at the Inn or Brother Andrew at the Shrine didn’t raise a lot of work possibilities, just the recurring submerged dungeon to the far South, or vague mentions of a Serpent or Reptile problem in the unexplored West.
The party met the inquisitive Ardell and invited him into their number. Rangers are valuable wherever you can find them. Maka inquired about “Mr. Codpiece,” the giant fighter whose statue they dragged from the woods. The Shrine had arranged to have the statue brought back to its prior flesh and blood. Roban returned to the land of the living and after a questioning from the Shrine, he managed to join the party. Roban only wears his codpiece for armor, and wields a greatsword.
The larger party made the journey into Selangod where they gained more information regarding the submerged cave. They then traveled south to Terragad, and then on to the cave.
It seemed that a distance of total submersion existed in the front passage. Alara and Ardell stripped off their armor and swam through, bringing rope through the submerged passage. There they met a giant, transparent-skinned fish-monster. Ardell fled as did the beleaguered Alara, although deeper into the cave instead of outside it.
K’em lead party members into the cave to deal with the fish-beast and hopefully save Alara. After a short fight involving many fighters, the party succeeded in destroying the fish. They headed back out to bring the whole party together before re-entering to face the next horror.
Back before, when Alara fled the fish monster, she ran through a door and closed herself inside a large chamber. Also inside this room was a hideous monster:
“There is a very large creature standing in the room. It is twenty feet tall at least and is covered in loose, broken grey skin. It roughly resembles some kind of sharp-toothed dinosaur seen in the ancient myths, or in your worst nightmares. It doesn’t appear to be alive. Flesh hangs from its midsection, forming a large hole and revealing three huge, dry ribs. Shiny black ichor drips from its eyes and mouth.”

Alara wisely fled this room. But with the Fish monster dead, the party gathered and attacked this new monster, ignoring all plan of attack that didn’t involve the swinging of swords. Roban and Ardell fled in sheer terror. Jethro took a lot of damage from the beast, but Alara pulled his bleeding body from the room. Scruffy tore into the undead horror with relentless attacks. Delal, K’em, and Spot also did damage. Then Rah called forth Thrak who also cut heavily into the beast.
Never before had the party met a monster that could take so much damage, but also deal so much. Defeating it was a huge feather in their collective cap. Jethro and Roban celebrated passionately together. Potentially interesting treasure was had. There was a fair amount of healing to do as the party prepared for the next assault. Gotta love how well giant, mind-numbingly evil characters fight alongside paladins.

Vampires, Statues and Dragons

The party started in Selangod, having finished with some training and shopping. Rah provided Continual Light for the party, giving everyone their own, no-hands, light source, not that they would need it for traveling during the day, which they did. They returned to Pahand several days in front of a large force that was also heading West. That force, they knew, was intent on ending the threat of a vampire named Martina.
The party spent a day in town re-acquainting themselves with the locals they knew: Sherry, Father William, Brother Andrew, Mr. Jennings, and some of K’em’s carpenter friends. They even asked about Gargg. Then they went on to see what work was available from the shrine.
It seemed that a few parties had failed to provide information on the strange collection of statues, placed in the Great Outside a few days to the south, and that the job was still available. One party had failed to provide any useful information, another had not returned. The shrine offered an additional reward for information on this missing party of adventurers.
The party first went out to see if Martina was at one of her prior haunts but didn’t find her. Alara in particular wanted to talk with her and even the religious folks in the party didn’t mind meeting with her, so long as they didn’t stay too long. Failing that, however, they moved south toward the place where the statues were located.
They came upon a floating skull, dangling on a chain, pulling south. K’em, Maka and Jethro approached the skull, and found the chain spiked into the earth. They received no response from the skull, and found no evil within it. Maka released the chain and K’em held it, found the pull of the skull to be light. He re-spiked it only to have Jethro attack the skull.
His swipe was so feeble that he only managed to sever the chain, shortening the distance between K’em and the skull when K’em recaptured and re-spiked it again. Jethro wasn’t done, however, attacking feebly yet again and cutting the chain to a mere two links.
K’em didn’t want to touch the skull so he let it go. Alara fired arrows at the links, to once again bind the skull but also missed. The skull rose to a point above capturing and continued south, as did the party.
They came upon the statue place, which resided off the road on the other side of a rise. There they found many more statues and decided to put space between themselves, sensing great danger. The statues were remarkably lifelike, to a very high level of detail. The grey, marble pieces took on many poses but all seemed to represent adventurers.
The party followed a thin path, probably cut by the prior party. At the end they found a giant, red ruby, which glowed bright with a pink flame. No one touched the stone but Rah, Alara, Dalal, and Jethro studied the area around it.
Those same characters then had their vision obscured by a white mist. It was as if each of them was alone, unable to find the other members. There was only the ruby and its glow.
A man appeared in the minds of the four adventurers. He was bearded and wore ornate, bronze armor. His helmet blazed with fancy feathers. He set about asking each of the separated characters several questions about their motives toward personal greatness. After the questions, the man and the white mist vanished. Jethro also vanished. This prompted a full search of the statue area, as the party walked around its outer edge. K’em conjured that there were up to 350 statues in the whole collection.
Following the description given at the shrine, the party discovered one of the adventurers from the prior party. His huge, mostly naked form had been turned to stone. There was only his greatsword and massive, conk-shell codpiece to identify him.
Near him stood Jethro, whom had also been turned to stone. He was in a position that suggested that he tried to crush the ruby with his sword. The party built devices by which these two statues could be dragged by horse, safely back to Pahand.
On the road back, the party observed a large flying creature but couldn’t make out what it was. Then the reptilian creature attacked. It was longer than a man in body and had black scales, with spiny, white appendages along its back. Could this be a dragon from the pages of mythology?
It breathed an icy blast of wind at the party catching most of them and their animals. Only Scruffy and Alara escaped. This was a unique feeling of intense cold, never felt before. Delal couldn’t cope with the frigidness and collapsed like a statue, skin turned an unhealthy blue. They needed to kill it before it breathed its icy blast again.
Melee found some success but Rah played his trump card, bringing forth the iron skull. The Devil-dragon from within the skull sprang into action, followed Rah’s order to kill the black, dragon creature. Which it did, with a mere swipe of its crackling sword.
They set up camp again, after skinning and beheading the giant, ice-breathing reptile. Most of the horses were dead from freezing so the party traveled much slower on their return to Pahand, bringing their dripping carnage with them.
The party approached the small fishing village south of Pahand when they came upon an army of about 100 warriors. These were the same men from Kedad, with much greater numbers. They were hunting the vampire they understood as Martina and wanted to ask the party questions about her.
The party, especially K’em went into great detail about their experiences with Martina, including where they had met her in the past. K’em, for one, expressed surprise that Martina could be a vampire. He wouldn’t lie and passed the lie detection ability of the army’s leader, a cleric of Utu.
Eventually the party returned to Pahand and enquired about ways to return Jethro from his petrified state. The means were available but expensive. The party agreed to pay their adventuring rewards and the dragon-carcass to the shrine for the services. Jethro rejoined the party.

Training and flying castles

The party returned from Richrom to Kedad for training and the division of spoils. While in town they learned a few things: Lester, Maurice and Merlas had joined another adventuring party, and had left town for points East; that a keep atop the Island in Kedad Lake has sages that will tell the future, for a price; and that religious men from the church of Utu were assembling a sizable force to find and slay a vampire that haunts the Western portion of the kingdom.
Rich with coin, the party set out to do some shopping in Selangod. After less than a day’s travel they came upon a strange scene. A winged, eagle-headed lion fought for its life against four antlered, deer-vultures. The party chose to help what would later be called a griffon. They managed to kill one of the antlered beasts, causing the rest to retreat.
On the griffon’s neck rested a large message tube from which the party retrieved a note. It spoke of impending danger to the town of Kedad if nothing was done, as a flying castle was about to crash land there. Rah gained more details by speaking with the creature. Fast action needed to be taken. Given a moment to concentrate, the griffon summoned its companions and each held a party member aloft. The heroes flew, for the first time in their lives, up into the clouds to where the shattered, tumbling mass of Skytumble Tor awaited them.
Shortly after landing at a dock or hanger, the party found a ship, anchored and floating inches off the ground. They also quickly learned that the gravity pulled in different directions, depending upon where you were in the twisting landscape that was Skytumble Tor. Maneuvering from floor to wall was strange and confusing.
The party made their way to a central passage to be attacked by a giant, 26-foot tall man who threw furniture at them. He screamed insults at the party believing them to be thieves come to steal from him during his last moments of life. When the giant leaned the truth, he told the party that another party had preceded them. They were intending to steal the Cubic Gate, the giant informed the party. They must be stopped and the gate destroyed or else thousands of people will die in the city below. The giant offered all the treasures in his treasure room to help the party to this end. Shortly thereafter, the room in which the dying giant lay broke away and fell, the giant’s impact on Ki must have been huge.
Maka and Alara moved to the treasure room to find it empty, all of the treasures had been ejected out through the missing roof with the change in gravity. There was, however, a trapdoor under which a strange collection of items were found, including an iron skull, an ornate shield, and a mask, as well as a sack of stones, gems and giant-sized coins.
The rest of the party pulled itself up a rope through a doorway that was now on the ceiling. Once inside they found member of the other party prepared to shoot arrows at them. After an effective dialog and a sizable bribe, these other fellows joined with the party, including a priest that had been led astray by their party leader, a man named Slakslime. Slakslime wanted to use the cubic gate to free his companions in arms, who had earlier been trapped on another plane, so Brother Udulf was told. A noble cause it seemed.
With a larger party now, they made their way across an open section of the castle and were attacked by the antlered creatures encountered earlier. These they beat back although several of the less armored party fell.
Moving on to another room found the gravity had changed again. They had to descend a rope whilst being attacked by more members of the other party. A woman spoke for them but would not be so easily convinced of the cause of the party. Delal used her paralyzation wand to paralyze her, then bartered with the other henchmen to buy their assistance. The party climbed along this rope from room to room, some fell off the rope and almost fell to certain death through one of the many openings that gaped around them.
They finally made their way into the throne room, a huge room with giant sized furniture, balconies and a distinct minimizing of gravity. Enemy fighters flitted around the room, assembling opposite the party on a 30-foot high balcony. Another enemy, believed to be Slakslime, was making passes, leaping from wall to wall, trying to intercept the floating form of the cubic gate.
The party dispersed to attack the enemy assailants, who were attacking with bows. Rah cast Prayer to help his companions while others jumped up and across the great hall to fight their enemies man to man.
K’em decided to jump up and bash the cubic gate. He was unused to weightlessness, nor did he know how to aim his jump. He planned to use the new shield in the bashing process, although he didn’t know what effect that would have. With all these concerns in hand, K’em successfully smashed into the cubic gate, destroying it. He also evaded the effects of a deadly trap.
Everything changed after that. Everything solid, excepts living creatures, became misty, grey and immaterial. The mist became so think that it became hard to see anything at any distance. Enemies disappeared, even the leader, whom apparently had the head and claws of a tiger.
The escape rout back out to where the boat used to be faded as well as the walls. The party didn’t know where to go or what to do. When any of them moved, little unmoving lights appeared. These only increased the confusion. The lights got bigger as they were approached, growing, it seemed, in proportion to how close people came to them.
Delal decided to use the Iron Skull, learning that is was some kind of holding device for an entity of some sort. With the command word spoken, a giant, terrifying creature emerged. It stood 20-feet tall, having a dragon’s head on a bat-winged, reddish body with blue scales. It wielded a huge sword that crackled with lightning. More lightning coursed up the thing’s spine. The lowest of the mercenaries fled in terror.
Dalal asked it a few questions about where they were and what the lights were. She received cryptic, vague responses that did not impress the party. She returned the evil beast to the skull.
Scruffy and Alara eventually touched one of the lights and disappeared. They were followed by a curious Jethro. The party searched around for other options but only saw more lights. When they heard the growls and saw frightening hound-like creatures forming in the mist, the rest of the party back-tracked out to the original light and touched it.
The party found themselves in a locked room inside an Enki temple, in the middle of Selangod. They showed great skill and luck as they all escaped in one piece. They had a huge pile of treasure to divide as well. After a few more mishaps regarding a few curses and a shopping spree gone haywire, the party set their sights on possibly returning to Pahand.

Futility, futility, pain and treasure

The party continued their exploration of the lower levels of the tomb and decided not to play silly games with trapped organs, nor to concern themselves with potentially dangerous, unprofitable paths. That is, until they discovered that they were trapped in the tomb by a thick slab of rock.
They expected that they would figure out the escape route before they ran out of food, in about a week or two. They did discover more ways to make the grinding, rumbling noise, by throwing levers and filling dishes with offerings, but these seemed to do nothing to cause an exit to appear. They found new secret doors and new traps but none seemed particularly useful nor easy.
Something that was frustratingly easy was a series of doors bearing ridiculous, unanswerable questions. After a fair amount of guessing and consternation, the doors were found to be unlocked, each openable without even considering the question. The questions only served to waste time.
During these early stages of searching and trying new things, not less than two sarcophagi were discovered. Their contents were unremarkable and possibly ransacked, although no sign of any other intruders existed. One twice-hidden treasure that was uncovered was a trapped chest brimming with copper pieces, one thousand pounds of the stuff. The party didn’t celebrate.
Maka and Jethro made efforts to dig their way out, to dig through the solid stone slab that lay in the path of escape. They made small progress over two days of effort, cutting out a bowl shaped indentation. Jethro liked hitting stuff, even if it was largely unyielding.
One path that did seem fruitful, or at least interesting, was a series of locked doors that also bared questions. This time, however, the questions had to be answered for the door to be passed. These questions dealt with things that were apparently important to Richrom, the person for whom the tomb was designed. The first two questions were comparatively easy, although answering them bore the frightening sounds of lightning bolts. The doors opened to reveal yet another locked door and another question.
The questions got harder as they went and the party found themselves only able to give educated guesses at the answers. Small deviations from correctness brought burning punishments as lightning flooded the trapped rooms. An economy of damage began as party members traded out positions, answering questions and opening doors. Rah’s healing was required as the failed answers increased.
Eventually the final door was opened revealing a large tomb, complete with ransacked sarcophagus. The floor had three mummified corpses laying on it, dried of blood. The blood seemed to cover the floor of the entirety of this final tomb section. No exit or answers seemed immediately apparent.
The party did decide to check the bodies and delve deeper into the sarcophagus. A false bottom was discovered in the later by Dalal, which revealed another plain skeleton, and a sign suggesting that all of the party’s efforts were in vain. Alara wasn’t stopped by this fakery as she pried even further into the stone sarcophagus, discovering yet another false bottom.
Through delicate handling, the wondrous contents were uncovered. They found a large, intricate crystal tiger, a sword, about a half dozen potions and the same number in scrolls. These along with the golden curtain rods discovered earlier would make for a nice haul for this frustrating adventure. More importantly, the nearby sliding of rock was heard at the discovery of the real coffin. This promised to be an escape, the final reward as announced by Richrom’s final message to the party, “Congratulations!”

Tricks, traps and thieves

The party was a bit tired from the start of the day, which began in the safety of the church. They decided to let Jethro the fighter accompany them in their adventuring efforts in the tomb, as a “door opener.” They then descended back into the tomb, all the way back to the un-opened door where they heard whispering the days before.
Delicacy went out the window as the party put shoulders to the door to smash it in. Their success was met by a magic user casting Sleep on the smashers. He had a small party of two thieves for support. This support was not up to the task however, as Alara came in and dropped the magus in a single blow. The thieves gave up after that, yet they were too frightened of the mosquito bats to flee the tomb all together. They followed the party around, carrying their unconscious friend and occasionally helping Maka with the traps.
Further exploration found a room with a painted scene in it; a party of hunters with their dogs pointing at a burning cottage. Didn’t seem to be otherwise important. They moved on to the rock, paper, scissors room.
Upon opening the door Alara saw a paper mache’ alter with an idol sitting upon it, two scything blades held back by burning straps, and a 5 foot stone suspended over the alter. Then a ticking started. Alara dove in and secured one of the candles but couldn’t prevent the rest from triggering. The idol and the alter were crushed by the falling stone, but also burned by a fireball that manifested from the candles. Alara dodged most of the damage. Nothing else of interest was found in the room. They moved on to the slimy, algae room.
This room had a corroded cart covered in green algae, and a tight tunnel covered in muck. Prodding the algae showed it to be safe, mossy detritus. Upon approaching the tunnel, Maka and Scruffy received a splattering of Green Slime, which fell from the ceiling. Scruffy healed himself of the contagion then left Jethro to scrape the slime from Maka, whose armor was ruined. She went on to procure new armor from one of the other thieves. They burned off the rest of the slime before exploring the tunnel.
The tunnel went on to a shaft heading 15 feet straight up. Maka climbed the shaft, watching for slime, and lifted the trapdoor at the top. She saw a clawed foot through the crack, and quickly descended. The party didn’t like this option for exploration, citing obvious dangers.
Back out and through the long passage, the party found a circular chamber filled with water. They found it to be at least 25 feet deep and apparently filled with poisonous snakes. There was nothing found of interest here.
There seemed only one other path of exploration, to the north, which meant going around that dreaded trap again. Some made it, some failed. They found a passage flanked by 6 statues. The last statue hid a gelatinous monster, which paralyzed a few of the party before they figured out how to kill it. The party was pretty beaten up at this point, and returned to the church for healing, rest and relaxation.
They also charged the thief party to rest in the stables and leave the next day. The one conscious thief, on the contrary, stripped his companions and apparently fled on his own. But the party took a few days rest to heal up and recharge.
Eventually the party returned to where they killed the gelatinous horror and found small treasure. Then they continued on to a locked door with a sign, “You’ve Come So Far, But the True Test of Your Skills Has Just Begun!” The party continued undaunted and descended a staircase.
They found an empty room and found a series of secret doors. These doors lead to various other secret doors and finally a room with a pipe organ. The room was set up like a concert hall, with several chairs lined up as if waiting for an audience. There was also a placard on the exit door that read, “You’ve Come This Far and Myself You’ve Almost Found, But to Pass This Door You Must Play the Proper Sound.” The party is currently considering what to do next.
Also during this time, there was quite a bit of conversation between Alara and other party members about the paperwork and scrolls that the party had accumulated over the months. They seem to be a source of consternation, as they show no resolution.

Clearing the Inn, Killing Bats and Tomb Raiding

The party started by licking its wounds from the previous session. Rah and the fighters, save Scruffy, were heavily damaged. The cleric’s administrations were in demand that night and the whole of the next day. Still, some investigation was warranted, and invisibility was available.
Maka climbed the outside wall of the inn, up to the forth, uppermost level. She wanted to peek in through the hole in the roof, wanted to count the mosquito bats. Using a grappling hook expedited her efforts. She found the numbers of the flying critters to be substantially reduced, although they were still there.
Alara explored the insides of the inn, level by level, until it got too dark. The ground level was largely abandoned. There was a bar and restaurant, once, but now it was just dust and corruption. The split sign above the bar read “_Notice_!” She found a floor safe and a collection of steins, but saved these for later.
The second level was darker so Alara lit a lantern. She found many locked doors, all later determined to be doors to empty bedrooms. She balked at investigating the third level for the darkness.
She and Maka went on to check out the stables, which turned out to be a ruin. Remains of horse care tack and fetid troths abounded. They then returned to the church after fetching the safe. Inside, they busted open the safe and found receipts and a note, “_All valuables have been moved from our premises to your designated underground area_.” It is signed, “L_ogan, Munroe, and Summers Moneychanging and Merchant House_.”
The party rested another night.
The next morning saw more healing and investigation, with the final aim of destroying the mosquito bats. They did a thorough search of the inn’s basement and found a meat storage room and a secret door that they left for later. They moved back upstairs to check out the beer steins and found a small note, a scrap of paper, upon which is scrawled: “_The third one is false.”_
The party eventually went on to explore the unexplored third level, perhaps expecting to find danger. Instead they found more locked and empty rooms. However there was a furnished bedroom, an empty library and a craft/work room.
The library was empty of books or anything else of interest. The placards labeling each shelf read:
“Physical Sciences”
“Construction, Excavations, and Engineering”
“Riddles, Jokes, and Gags”
“Feeding and Care of Dragons”
“Adventurer Journals”

After searching the bedroom, the party found a journal. It is mostly blank, but the first page had some writing on it. It was obviously continued from another, not-present journal (and is dated seven years before the present time). The relevant information is a message:
“_Father’s prime architect, Grant Tarkenton, has reportedly broken his contract and sold part of the tomb plans to unknown tomb robbers. Have taken steps to deal with both Tarkenton and track down the receiving party. In the meantime, security around the Inn has been increased to prevent entry to the tomb and theft of its treasures.” Stuck in the journal were many receipts and contracts for labor work, mainly excavation and masonry, with all work paid in gold coin.
The workroom contained lots of old, rusted woodworking and metalworking tools. It also contained a small iron cage with a dead, rotted sparrow inside. The bottom of the cage was lined with shredded sheets of transcribed musical notes, with a song title “_My Bonny Lass (She Don’t Look So Good_).” Connected to this cage by a gold thread was a small machine made up of many gears and a crank. The machine was found under the floorboard but not before it was activated by the lifting of the cage. Whatever was supposed to happen, the end result was only that the dead bird caught on fire and burned the shredded music. They also found a spool of gold thread worth about 50 GP.
Next the party stood posed at the trapdoor up to the attic, where the remaining mosquito bats presumably resided. By opening and quickly closing the portal, the party limited their exposure to the bats. Eventually the bats were depleted and destroyed, 14 in total. The party ascended to the attic and found a bunch of old furniture and several hundred GP in treasure. Seems the bats liked the shiny bits they saw out in the pile of corpses in the courtyard. There was also a silver placard with the inscription, “_Follow the sun. Ignore the moon
” on it.
With the inn cleared, the party descended to the basement again, figuring that the secret passage lead to the noted underground tomb. They were wrong. What they found instead was a gruesome, bloodstained torture chamber. Shackles on the wall, knives and chopping blades in a box. The blood, blades and rust suggested an evil more than mosquito bats.
The party decided to descend the stairs out through the statue’s panel. They used a long pole to press the panel, attempting to avoid the poison gas. This worked except that they pressed too long. The party was engulfed in a cloud of what turned out to be sleep gas. A few fell but entry to the tomb was eventually successful.

The first room of the tomb was empty with a door leading out. It had an inscription that read, “_Mark Well Your Passage, You Would-Be Robber, For the Clever Observe Closely and Only the Clever Will Win the day_.” They also found a secret compartment that had a wall switch behind it, in the “down” position. No matter of manipulation and cross-checking could reveal the purpose of the switch, however, and so it was left in the “up” position.
The passage beyond the door lead to another door and another sign, “_Family Crypt – Do Not Enter_.” Maka found that the door was trapped with a needle trap. Trap averted and sign ignored, the party found more doors and passages. One lead to another small room with a candle hanging down, shrouded in a glass bulb. Lighting the special candle revealed words hidden in the floor tiling, “_Richrom Dares You_.”
Another room was painted like a night-time field of stars, with a large, glowing moon in the ceiling. Recalling the cryptic note from before, the party ignored this room.
At another door the party heard whispering from the other side. The door was bolted from the other side but the party lost interest in it when a secret door was discovered by Alara. Behind it was a series of very long staircases and passages leading far and wide. The party got pushed down a staircase for light damage by a trap set in the wall.
More careful now the party found some actual monsters. Two ghoulish undead horrors approached and ignored Rah’s turning attempt. Dalal blasted them with magic missiles but couldn’t stop Alara and Scruffy from being paralyzed but the fiend’s foul touches. But they weren’t too tough. Rah’s flail and Maka’s bullets finished off the horrors. The party retreated, carrying paralyzed party members through staircases and traps back out and to the church building for rest and recovery.
Over night the party met a wandering fighter, a worshipper of Innana who did not detect as evil, and invited him inside for further consideration. He apparently holds the rank as “hero” and is looking for any kind of fight he can get. The party deferred a decision on accepting him into the party and possibly returning to town until later.

P.S. The italics option on this site blows.

Moving On

The party in full collected in Pahand being accompanied by the Ranger Alara and having re-acquired the Paladin, Scruffy McAwesomepants. The party then moved on to the mining town named Kedad, where they hoped to find new adventure.
Sadly the party split after an argument regarding party organization. Still, the majority of the party decided to press on after finding new potential excitement. Richrom was a small apparently deserted village with the distinguishing characteristic of having a huge pile of corpses lying in the center of the town square. The party decided that it would be best to burn the bodies. They noticed that the bodies were of multiple races, many never seen before by party members. They also noticed that the bodies were not mangled nor damaged except by smallish puncture wounds. Strangely there were no flies or carrion birds to be seen.
With the fire started and a great odor emanating from the burning mass, the party decided to bed down for the night. They chose the abandoned worship hall for their shelter. In the middle of the night, they were attacked by a pack of stirge-like mosquito bats that flew in through a hole in the roof. The adventurers dealt with them quickly.
The next morning saw a greatly diminished pile of smoldering corpses. Alara and Maka decided to examine the statue in the town square and found a plaque with the name “Garvin Richrom” inscribed upon it. Checking over the plaque released a smelly gas but also uncovered a passage descending down, under the statue – a staircase into blackness. But the smelly gas seemed to attract predators.
A huge mass of mosquito bats descended upon the party from the highest heights of the derelict Inn. A desperate fight ensued as slain bats were quickly replaced by reinforcements. The bats drained the vitality of the party members away, drop by drop. The party retreated to the shelter of the night before, harried all the way by the winged attackers. After slamming the door they peeled the remaining bats from their blood-drained bodies and rested. K’em and Dalal went down in the final moments of the fight but were saved by Rah’s healing. Between the two encounters, 38 mosquito bats were encountered. How many more could there be?
Items of Interest:
1 – A small wooden statue of Aruru with a head shaped like a key.
2 – A broken urn with an inscription, “My dear sweet AnnabelMarie, taken too soon.”

P.S. Maurice, Merlas and Lester joined another party in Kedad, accepting another party charter.


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