Before the party could rest, they were alerted by Dacien's alarm. Looking outside their chamber, nothing was visible, but Zhedd could make out the sounds of someone casting invisibility spells. The party crowded around the doorway, as Stefanie tried to use a jet of water to find the invisible foes - a couple of feet were spotted, but quickly retreated. In the end, Zhedd launched off the balcony on Banshee to locate the enemies, and was pounced on by two Vrocks that appeared mid air. Soon after, a skinwalker appeared near the column of flame, and launched a fireball into the midst of the party. Two more skinwalkers started to move to flank the party but Faldak cut them off. The vrocks spread their toxic spores amongst the party, and leapt into melee.The foes were soon brought down, but the spores continued to eat away at the party. Eventually, all were healed and managed get back to rest.
The party decided to venture to the lower levels via the main steps they had seen to the west, and found themselves on a landing. to the east there was a flooded murky chamber with a large snake motif running around its walls. Antony snuck down a corridor to the south and found a storage area - urns, crowbars and fishing equipment, next to a large underground oyster pond. As Antony beckoned the others to join him, three Hezrou teleported to flank the party and attacked.
Their stench sickened several of the party, but Dacien and Stefanie acted quickly to use their magic to send two of the toad-like demons back to their extraplanar holes. The third was killed off soon after, allowing the party to continue. The urns held strange substances - a quivering red mud or planar origin, and disturbing headless insects, not immediately recognisable as being of this planet. Stefanie and Zhedd went to explore the oyster pond, but Ji noticed Zhedd starting to behave strangely - under the influence of kopru mind control. Before they could command him to act, Dacien used protection from evil to ward off the kopru influence, but by the time the party ran across the chamber to find the beasts, they appeared to have disappeared into an underwater tunnel. The party did their best to block the tunnel, finding another that led into the lake outside too, and returned to the oysters. Six of the creatures were abnormally large, black and pulsating with red veins. Cracking these open with the crowbars was difficult, and caused the oysters to shrill and shriek with an unearthly keen. Inside each of them was a large black pearl.
The party set off back to the north, and followed a flooded corridor west. Antony stepped into pool that contained a green slime, and had to be rescued by Ji burning the slime off as it ate away at his legs. Whilst ji set about clearing the pool of the rest of the slime, the rest of the party bound and gagged Zhedd in case the kopru mind controlled started again. What they hadn't factored in was his ability to shapeshift, and so, under the kopru influence, Zhedd turned into a squid to escape the bonds and flee. Mendel quickly pinned him to the wall with some well placed arrows, allowing Dacien to break the enchantment the kopru had on the druid, leaving a sullen Zhedd to skulk back to the party.
In a room at the end of the corridor, the party found an old library of wax tablets, that had long since lost their writing for the most part other than a carefully bound section of stone slabs. An obsidian dagger was also hidden in a stone drawer, and seemed to draw shadows into itself as it avoided the flickering torchlight.
In another corridor, the party were attacked by a large ochre jelly, but managed to fend this off to battle out of the water. Antony cleverly spotted the risk of opening doors in flooded corridors and cut off the top half of another door to access the chamber beyond, without washing themselves away. This led to a steam vent that the party bridged, and beyond that a statuary. Mendel entered first to investigate the room, only to be trapped by a falling portcullis, as four of the statues moved to attack. Zhedd summoned a wolverine to swap places with Mendel, but it was taking too long and Mendel was being beaten heavily by the statues, so Dacien dimension door'd him out. The statues were relentless, and bashed down the portcullis to pursue the party. It became clear the party's weapons were not harming the creatures, so they retreated, laying a trap by the steam vent. Ji acted as bait to lure the statues forward; the first one fell intothe steam vent and backed solid, and the next two got swept away by the on rush of water as they broke down Antony's dam. This left one for the party to defeat in melee. The wounds the statue caused itched and were difficult to heal, draining the party of much of their remaining healing to finally cure them.
A set of stairs led down, and Antony went ahead to explore. The stairs opened up into a large chamber filled with bubbling pits of boiling mud. Anthony felt a kopru invade his mind, and managed to break free before it took real hold. Running back upstairs, the party decided to avoid this for now, and find somewhere to rest - the kopru would wait for another day...
Tuesday, April 15, 2014
Cleaning themselves off the ichor from the flesh jelly, the party pressed on deeper into the dungeon. The chamber that housed the fleshy monstrosity was empty, save for the putrefied remains of various humanoid bodies. Antony spotted a trap by the main entrance to the dungeon complex, so the party headed south into a larger chamber. Steps led down to the west, descending into the darkness from where a warm, damp sulphurous smell wafted. The chamber itself was bare, but the floor was covered in hundreds of crude flat metal rings, each of which bore 4 sigils carved on each face. None of the party could decipher the sigils, so the party snuck across the chamber best and quietly as they could, until Stefanie kicked up a ruckus in her metal armour and all sense of subtlety was lost. Some of the discs were pocketed to examine later.
To the south lay a large vaulted circular chamber. Statues the party recognised as representations of Ixion/Otzitiotl (Sun), Odin/Oloron (Moon) and Protius/Manwara (Star) stood around three concentric circles of depressions in the centre of the floor. In each ring was a ball, bearing a symbol of a sun, moon and star. Pillars bearing an engraved snake, likely a depiction of Ka/Kalaktatla flanked each statue. Around the walls of the room was a fresco that showed the rise to power of a skilled Oltec archer with a bow made of lightning, who with support from his patron immortals, ascended to become ruler of a great empire, and fought off the threat of a plague of wingless dragons known as linnorms. Mendel was struck by the similarities between himself and the likeness of the archer, even though there was none. The party debated for some time whether it was Mendel’s density to travel back in time and save this great empire. Eventually, they recognised the similarities between the stone amulet Noltus Innersol had acquired and the layout of the chamber, and surmised that the balls should be moved around the circles of depressions according to the hidden code. Once they had worked out the sequence, the chamber filled with light and a bow crackling with energy appeared in the centre of the chamber - the Nimbus Bow.
Reaching out to collect the bow, the other saw Mendel drop his current bow to the floor as his fingers touched the Nimbus Bow. Mendel started referring to himself as 'Macutotnal', and cast a wary eye at the party if they dared to desecrate of loot the complex. Mendel had acquired an intelligent item, and so far, it was dominating him. Most of the party seemed happy to welcome their 'new' companion. Faldak snuck behind and quickly picked the holy bow up from the floor.
The next chamber was filled with mummified bodies, still in their finery with gold visible in the torchlight beneath their wrappings. Mendel/Macutotnal waned against looting the bodies, but Stefanie, sensing undead, joined Rissashtak in calling to their immortals to banish the creatures. Eight wraiths emerged from the bodies and besieged the party, but through faith, fist and fabulous fighting were fought back.
A long winding corridor took the party deeper into the complex. A small alcove contained some offerings to a statue of Demogorgon, which Stefanie found to be cursed before they could destroy it, and was nearly left unable to cast the spell to remove its influence. Around the corner, Faldak's keen eye spotted the flagstones seemed loose, and he called Antony to a half before continuing. After much prising, they managed to lift a flagstone, only to cause a whole section of corridor to collapse into a chamber below. For now, the party use the rope of climbing to move across the gap, and left the lower levels to explore later.
The noise had alerted the guards in the next chamber - a large vaulted entrance hall with a large pit containing a column of flame. Poking his head around the corner, Antony was spotted by another skinwalker who cast a spell to flood the corridor in a mind-befuggling gas. Dacien was quick to counteract the magic, as Ji dashed forward full pelt into the skinwalker and landed a kick solidly in his chest, sending him flying back into the flames. Battle began as a mob of skinwalker archers attacked Ji, and the rest of the party hurried to form a line at the entrance to the room. Stefanie cut the battlefield in half with a blade barrier, allowing the party to focus their efforts on the skinwalker chieftain and his pet ape. Ji and Faldak were almost brought low by the skilled warrior, before Stefanie used an expensive scroll to restore their health. That turned the tide of the battle, and as the chieftain fell, Zhedds summoned wolves allowed the party to pick off the remaining skinwalkers. All save another mage, which fled through the exit.
The party set about looting the chambers, and found several magic items and ancient relics in the chieftains chamber, which Dacien set about identifying. Another room held a defiled alter, its walls papers with the stretched skin of countless victims, and covered in obscene runes. Peering out the exit, the party saw something glowing on the floor of some steps leading down to the waterfront; fearing it a trap, they retreated and Dacien warded the corridor with an alarm spell. A final room was bare, it's floor covered in dust which the party then found concealed a trap door. No one was able to open the door on a few tries, and weary from battle, the party rested up for the night.