Labyrinth Lord Lives

A foray to Skull Mountain

After identifying several potions, and journeying to Penhaligon, the party decided for reasons of Pride to take on a bastard half-sister pretender to the Barony Seat, Ilyana Penhaligon. After all, Baroness Arteris Penhaligon did ask nicely, and the Magnificent Gentlemen had failed to take on the task.

Kayoshin and Brandr had other errands to attend to, perhaps some kind of Arcane Professional Development seminar was happening in Stallanford, so they stayed there to rest. Unexpectedly, the town burger, Sir Gajov, found out about the Nice Company’s current enterprise, and suggested they should borrow Father Alric’s miraculous staff of healing from the town church. The town priest being absent and perhaps killed, no one would be around to use it until the position was filled, and that is likely to take months. So long as a person of the cloth uses it with a good purpose, it should work. However, Sir Gajov sternly warns them that its return will be expected.

Meanwhile, Gertie, Verdant, Karamail and Xandros struck out into the foothills, trying to find a reported rebuilt castle, possibly at Skull Mountain. On the way they encountered a lone hobgoblin and questioned him, learning fairly little. It seemed that he was one of the force being hunted, and was part of a group comprising more than one tribe. At some point he became more fearful of his clan leaders than the party and stopped giving answers. He was left manacled to a tree.

Finding a probable castle fitting the description, with various nonhumans guarding the parapets, the party decided to use one of the identified potions: polymorph. Xandros, now a goblin in essentially every way — though still possessed of his own gallant personality, blended in with the patrolling the guard and canvassed the joint. Inside were located goblins, orcs, gnolls, and humans, all in more numbers than the Nice Company seemed prepared to deal with. In the end, Xandros decided to light several buildings on fire and flee. Many orcs, goblins, and humans, formed some kind of bucket brigade, and managed to put out the fires.

However in the morning in their cave on the hill overlooking the castle, there was an unexpected sight. Two orcish corpses hung spiked to the towers above the castle gate….

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An /old/ friend

Returning to Specularum, unsure what to do next, traveling on
Marilenev Way within the city, a voice rings out.

“Cooo-eee!”. Magdeleine the Distracted seems to have recognized
Xandros. “Oh, you fine young man. I’m glad to see you! Oh and look
at all your lovely friends!” She smiles in an uncomfortably sweet
way, while absently staring at a point a bit above your heads.

Magdeleine, between clumsy compliments, seems to be asking for a
favor.

“Oh, I just positively must get an answer for an important question
that I’ve been researching for ages. I’ve exhausted all the
information sources I can find find here and on trading routes from
here, so I would like to ask someone to do me a teensy favor and go
look up the answer in the old Ket monastery.

“It’s said there’s a magical Book of Truth there that can answer any
one question put to it per asker. I’m not sure what would best
suffice as payment. Perhaps a full week of my services on any topic?
I can do aura discernment, creation of minor magical aura artifices,
and of course perform research in my areas of specialty such as
dweomercraft, signs and semiotics, and my favorite: the outer planes!”

“As for the question, it’s a little academic matter. According to our
best measures, the total substance of the world is slightly decreasing
over time. My theory is that this is occurring through an open
connection to another plane. I’d like to ask the book where and how
this is occurring and if it is connecting to another plane which one.

“And just think, you can ask it your own questions while you’re there.
It’s almost like I’m doing you a favor by giving you the map.

“You look a little doubtful dears. What if I add in tea and crumpets
whenever you’d like to stop by?”

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Story Time around the bonfire

And so it was that the party rushed to Marilenev to the burning chapel of the Order of Petra.

The scene was one of frantic activity. Men and women of all stripes were lined up in a bucket-brigade attempting to put out the fire before it spread to the rest of the town. Smoke billowed in the air. There were tracks of a large company of men everywhere, coming from inside the compound and heading out to the west.

Inside the compound, there were bodies. Some had been cut down, some run through. But it seemed many had survived, by running for their lives or hiding. The attackers had not been determined killers. Questioning people who had seen them described a motley crew of various stripes — many of them looking like typical highway brigands though perhaps with a bit more boot-polish and a better equipment. Hungry like thieves though, like maybe they hadn’t eaten well in some time.

Aside from the brigands there was one in well-made clothes, and with a piercing gaze. He was shouting the commands, and they were to find something specific. It seems they did, and then the command was to depart. And there was something else.. something shimmering and difficult to make out. It kept close to the man in the finery.

Lady Kalina wasn’t too hard to find. Her voice boomed out to various people directing some to aid in the fire, others to check on the villagers, and others to see to the livestock who had been scattered. Upon seeing the Nice Company, she seemed to sag a bit, finally able to let go of some of the burden. “I have a task for you all. I need you to come with me into the vaults. We need to check to see if the Glass of Recurrance is still here and if so to see what they did. Normally I’d go by myself, but at this point, I don’t know what’s been let loose.”

Down winding stone steps deep deep into the earth, with vaulted galleries wending off in different directions, Kalina turned off into a narrow passage, into a storage room. Once all inside, the entrance door was opened a gain, this time from the left, and a into a small round room with geegaws and sharp objects and in the middle, a round piece of glass on a stand.

“It shows you what’s already happened, nearby, you see. About 3 hours past. Not very practical. You can’t make any money on bets with the past, and by the time a trial comes around it’s already far too late to present as evidence. But it DOES come in handy for security. I bet you’ve never imagined something quite like it.”

And the scene played out. One of the brothers making the rounds, a heavy mace at his belt. A vain fellow perhaps, he had a hand mirror and a comb, and stopped to check his hair standing in front of a large cauldron.

And froze, looking into the mirror.. In obvious fear, he slowly turned around, to look behind him at the cauldron. Looked over it, under it, in confusion, and meanwhile it emerged. A flowing silvery beast reflecting an image of the scene back in bizarre and misshapen fashion. It poured out of the hand mirror left on the ground and into a solid form, and lept upon the brother from behind. He was dead nearly instantly.

The beast loped off through the halls, seeming to know the way to go. It retraced the path of the guard, and went to where something was stored on the wall, covered with a several layers of heavy fabric with runes enscribed. Quickly the beast ripped the cloth to shreds, and what surely must be the mirror from the Mushroom cave was uncovered. The surface swirled, and ten men came through.

One returned through the mirror most likely to fetch his fellows, and then the tide began in earnest. One after another they came, so many as to lose count. The chambers swelled to fill the chamber. And then a man with fine garments and keen eyes came out, and clearly treated the silvered beast as his pet. The mirror was taken off the wall, and placed in a sack seemingly smaller than the mirror itself. And they struck off.

From here the rest was simple, and unpleasant to watch. But Kalina was intent to see what they might take, and was surprised. A short search resulted in a small metal clasp, in the shape of a stag, being taken from a case smashed open by the silvered beast.

And from there they were off. Foodstuffs were raided, fires were set and some innocents killed, and they travelled off to the west.

“You won’t be able to track them, you know. A troop of fighting men that can leave a single pair of tracks? To add to it, they’ll have no trouble acquiring a fast horse from the nobleman hunting lodges to the west. Petra’s eyes! you won’t even know which one of them you’re looking for.

“If you want to find out what’s happened here, I’m afraid you’ll have to seek some other information source. I don’t believe I have anything to help. Not anything anywhere safe to use, in any event.”

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In which the adventurers play Matlock

The intrepid crew of the Nice Company found themselves embroiled in city-style skulduggery and blackguardsmanship!

Regarding the murder of Lucia Fortunato, our heroes did the good deed of burying her.

The captain of the guard, Mikkel Vorloi, pulled in our heroes for questioning. While he did not truly believe they had committed the murder, he did believe they knew something about it, and that they could likely be pressured into assisting in the investigation. As for whether they were upstanding in general remained to be seen.

Brandr proved his character by casting Charm Person on Mikkel. Somehow this worked, and got the party mostly out of trouble. Charm Person does wear off eventually, so the pressure remained to make good on promises to “oh of course we will help find the murderer, don’t you worry about us”.

Clues at the site of the murder were discovered, a rare wine, pine pitch, a length of rope, a bloody dagger. What did it all mean?

But time was a-wasting. The poorly-communicated work from both the Veiled Society and the Theosius a wood sculptor was drawing nigh. Theosius needed someone guarded. The Veiled Society needed someone killed. Unfortunately it was the same someone.

In the end half the party participated in an ambush of the other half. Sleep spell prevailed and provided a great alibi, and the escort of Senator Eipistlo was successful to Minster Yarol of defense. This enabled the Grand Duke’s court to gain accurate information regarding a challenge to Arteris Penhagalion’s rule — critical to the political stability of the realm… but more about that later.

Meanwhile the more femenine party members (engaged with the criminal under-element, of course) Gertie, Kayoshin and Verdant agreed with an unseen agent of the Veiled Society that they would seek to apprehend “those miscreant adventureres” who had spoiled the plan of information warfare.

And thus the scheme of half the party turning in the other half was born.

HOWEVER! On the following day, it was decided to chase up the clues that had been discovered. Looking into the fancy wine led to an importer shop, and a short list of buyers. One Ariskos the Shipwright, sounded fishily like it could be the guilty party. He was tracked down to his favourite drinking establishement the Blue Water Mead hall.

Ariskos showed his guilt readily, along with his dagger wound matching the weapon found at the scene of the crime, and with some mild intimidation revealed that the Veiled Society meeting space was below the very same establishment.

Our party turned Ariskos in to the slammer, then returned, and entered into the underground tunnels below the tavern. There, they found a disturbing meeting of many members who were in the process of killing the other perpetrator of the murder. After some high powered spells and many manacles, the crowd was subdued.

However, in a back room bad shit was going down. A long-brewing power struggle was resulting in a cultist of Morithal screaming at a man who turned out to be Anton Radu, leader of both the family clan and the Veiled Society. Egged on by Anton’s brother Cartha, the cultist calle him an enemy of Morithal, and stabbed him to death in the name of his Maggoty overlord.

After a brief fracas, the cultist was dead, Anton’s brother Cartha and son Zweiss were subdued. The family will never be the same.

A member of the Duke’s elite force the Elvenguard was found in chains as well, with his testamony strongly implicating the Veiled Society plotting to undermine the Duke’s security or perhaps make an attempt on his life.

A meeting with Minister Yarol, Mikkel Vorloi, and Grand Duke Stefan Karameikos III ensued. Between this new threat now learned of in Penhagalion, stirrings of conflict from the west, and the new political strain of being saddled with the necessity of putting down the Radu, the Duke seemed weary.

His Highness, Stefan, rewarded the party with money and titles (Knighthoods of the realm), but asked for help with the Penhagalion situation. Though the Nice Company seemed to be more excited about prospects of the underground and goblins, some noises of maybe perhaps we could investigate were made.

The real reward of course is in reputation. The Tornescu family will probably look upon the party with some degree of favor, due to the two favors of solving the murder of one of their own, and putting down their longstanding rivals. Mikkel Vorloi, and the guard have a mixed perception but overall have to credit the work accomplished. The leader of the realm now knows their names, looks upon them favorably, and might turn to them for help in the future.

But not all is perfect, for as they left the palace triumphant, they realized, the Church of Petra in Marilenev was burning…

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Quick summary

Bringing us up to date!

  • The party retired to specularum, a major city where many things to could be investigated
    • Soul finders were constructed for Gertie & Xandros
    • Some information was dug up regarding the Hand/Head/Heart
    • Verdant was secretly contacted, and asked to investigate the veilied society
    • Kirstek, now speaking, talked of the goal of his original party, to recover some sort of mirror of power
  • The party returned to New Kuln, and the mushroom caves beneath
    • The mushroom was destroyed, with all his evil
    • Some goblins were neither entirely befriended nor killed
    • A Treant was rescued, who though significantly insane is probably now a lifelong ally
    • The mirror of unspeakable who-knows-what was recovered
  • The party returned to Specularum where they
    • Found the Radu seem to be trying to screw with the Torenescu, at least as far as messing up their parade
    • Handed over the mirror to the Order of Petra, who are not evil at all
    • Found inn space limited
    • split the party
    • Helped bury a body
    • Became suspects
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Witches before Bros
Or the exorcism of Kayoshin

From it’s dark alcove, Kristek the mushroom man and the dwarf statues are waiting, still petrified in their ultimate movement to reach the treasure. Completely unaware of the other adventures happening to the rest of the troop. At the end, they turned back to their flesh form and fall down on the ground.

intermission


In the Cellar, Baik Talor is following this group of heroes, in this mixed match group of adventurers, salvaged prisoners and maids. Looking at this strange mage in robe pouring wine in a statue mouth “I judge by taste”. It opened a south passage, that lead to 3 numbered portals. Then to 4 other portals with numbers from 1 to 4. Ultimately, after using soap to mark the path, ending up always to an arena filled with random monsters. Spiders, Orcs, Skeletons, and Minotaurs. Each attempt to go further bringing more monsters, and acclaims from an invisible crowd of spectators. After many fights and many combinations, Baik Talor died, crushed by the bully Minotaurs.

intermission


The Minotaur was waiting in the their arena, with his brother, for ages.

When suddenly a group of humans and elves appeared on a stage on the border. The tried to run around the fierce horned warriors to the other stage. The fools…

With his brother, the minotaur intercepted them, and bashed one to death, but were taken down by the rest. When he passed away the minotaur disappeared in a glimmer of magic.

intermission


In the body of, the Witch Solorena was following the group of rescuers, pretending to to be a stupid elf maid. After several misadventures with teleportation and the arena, this pitiful group almost gave up and went rest and teleport with the hats for a while.

Finally, the human named Xandros took the wine bottle from the bro mage named Brandr and read that label, there were a series of numbers on it. It wasn’t the age date of the wine in a unknown calendar, but was a code for safe traversal of the portals. Following this code for the portals, the team ended up in a new place. This was a central room with an obelisk with a small depression on top and 3 doors each leading to a temple dedicated to a different element.

The obelisk traded answers for answers. Sadly the obelisk’s answers were a little on the vague and mysterious side. Which was only fair really, since Brandr’s own answers were on the vague side as well. Basically the obelisk told the team that the big danger was ahead of them, and they’d need to defeat it to get their dwarf, Karamail, un-platinum-statued. Solorena nodded, they do not event figure how big is the danger of the 3 witches reunited.

Having had quite enough of teleportation already so far thank you, the entire party held hands while Kayoshin put her palm to the handprint. Fortunately there was no teleportation. Regrettably there was an incorrect answer for the temple and some gale force winds picked up. The team ran away with minimal damage. A small group discussion led to the correct answer “This is the temple of Earth Wind and Fire”. And with a strange dancing music a new passage was revealed.

Through the passage the team opened a door into a room with four statues. They were Brandr’s dream of dragons in statue form. Three large dragons staring at a smaller dragon statue. The smaller dragon statue only had one eye, same as Brandr’s dream. However, of the three big dragon statues, two had blue glowing gem eyes and one had red glowing gem eyes.

Fortunately, as the team investigated the room Kayoshin was overcome with an urge to put her hand on the large dragon statue with red eyes. She fell down in a faint as the statue’s eyes turned blue. Kayoshin’s soul was sent to scream for help in the dark and quiet inside the statue.

Intermission


Trilena, in the body of Kayoshin, took a moment of feigned unconsciousness to adjust to having a body again. It was hard not to stretch and purr like my panther, but I needed these fools to help me get the Black Opal Eye. Then Trilena catched a wink from the other girl, that was her witch sister Solorena behind those eyes.

Verdant went through the southern teleport alcove, and the rest of the party was surprised when she disappeared. I sighed a bit and made noises about “Why was Verdant surprised to be teleported?”, but really that was the direction I needed them to go, so in the guise of friendship and teamwork we followed her. We all appeared in the southern treasure room, and the team quickly spotted the Black Opal Eye on a chain above us.

Verdant had a great plan to shoot the chain and, in a wonderful burst of teamwork, I arranged to catch the falling gem. Verdant could have caught it, but I was able to manipulate her into letting me. It’s rather useful to have possessed an attractive, and apparently loyal, elf who seems to have earned the trust of the party.

Now all Solorena and I needed was to find our other sister and get out of here.

The team passed through the opposing door and teleported back to the room of dragon statues. Everyone formed a mildly triumphant parade back towards the obelisk, where the plan was to return the Black Opal Eye and fix Karamail.

Of course, at this point, it should be noted that the team had forgotten about the me and my sisters.

The team was therefore rather surprised when I, in their friend Kayoshin’s body, walked into the teleport alcove on the north side of the statue room. And even more surprised when Solorena, the elf they thought of as the rescued maiden Sylva, followed me swiftly and without comment. There were more than a few exclamations of surprise and dismay as the two of us disappeared from the room.

We moved quickly through the Northern treasure room and back to the statue room. Fortunately Karalena, my other sister, and her panther were waiting for us. Less good was that the team hadn’t been quite as distracted by my apparent betrayal and were hot on our heels.

Then the team seemed quite fixated on getting the Black Opal Eye back. In fact they were rather grabby, though only Alki was able to hold on to me. I didn’t lose hold of the Black Opal Eye, but was unable to cast any spells. Brandr tried a charm person on me, but, witches before bros, I was in no way going to hand the Black Opal Eye to him. My sisters, Solorena and Karalena, both cast sleep and, between them, managed to sleep everyone, including themselves, except Verdant and me. Regrettably Verdant managed to wake up the party before I could wake up the other witches. Gertie put the finger of uncure wound on me and Xandros laid me low with a mighty subduing blow.

Before I could recover I and my sisters were trussed up with Xandros’ manacles. All I could do was curse and struggle uselessly against the manacles. The team purified the Black Opal Eye on top of the obelisk and then used their last question to be absolutely sure that the Black Opal Eye was supposed to go into the eye of the small dragon statue’s eye. I had one last moment to curse Elyas and his annoying statue prisons before I was back in one of the large dragon statues. And then I knew nothing as the statue crumbled around me and my life force evaporated.

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The Inexplicable Turban and the Bedroom of Pantheric Proclivities

Panthers. Still chasing after the Rahib, we encountered panthers. We’re not quite sure why but they were lounging about in a bedroom the Rahib had just passed through. Kayoshin turned and fled the room while we were still making “here kitty kitty” entreaties. Turns out her reaction was the smartest, as the cats were not particularly friendly. But there’s no animal behavior a few nearly-mortal wounds wont fix. The kitties have now been moved to a cell to recover, but I’m already getting ahead of the story.

Back to the panther’s room. Verdant violently tossed the bed but found nothing. We continued searching nearby rooms. One had a table spread with papers, upon which were drawings of three women – the three elf maidens! Marisa, Silva, and Rahasia. (spelling probably wrong for some). Around the drawings were many diagrams and inscrutable divine and/or arcane things. On seeing this, Karamail was impressed and exclaimed “They can understand women! Or at least, they are trying to understand women!!”. I believe someone took the diagrams, possibly Brandr. What could go wrong.

The next door opened into a large hall where four elves in armor stood guard facing away from us. They were facing doors in the far wall, as though they expected an army to come through it. They were not expecting us though and so they were quickly subdued. And I took their swords. Counting the 5 I put in the bag of holding, it was quite an arsenal.

Beyond was a very large cell block, in which were only two prisoners. The first was Hasaan, the second a turbaned character named Baik Talor. Kayoshin asked Hasaan some tricky questions to establish his identity, and I gave him a sword. Baik Talor talked with us for a while and told us the following:

He comes from the same nation as Tangor and had been following Tangor here. He is from a small contingent there who is afraid that Tangor’s mission here is going to cause trouble. He has heard of the Hand/Heart/Body legend, only in that whoever holds all three may undo the Great Evil. He guesses vaguely that the Great Evil concerns the lawless lands to their East. However he did not realize how powerful that they were in and of themselves.
He did not know who the “shadow assistants” were.
When asked if he knew who Tangor served, he said the Theocracy. Then when we talked about the letter though, the one that said “The one who we serve will be protected”, he became pensive and said “they seem to believe that these items will harm the Master”. Apparently the Master is some shadowy thing atop their theocratic order?
He wasn’t categorically in favor of killing Tangor, but evidence of great evil being wrought by him would change that. So… what the hell, we let him out. I gave him a sword. We’re keeping a pretty close eye on him.

The cell on the end had a hole in the ceiling, the bottom end of a shaft that stretched 50 feet up. From the objects at the bottom we figured out that this was the well shaft we’d seen in the sort-of guided tour section of the temple above us. Verdant managed to rig the grappling hook on her crossbow somehow and fired the hook up above the well, so her and Kayoshin and Brandr were able to shimmy up. Verdant and Kayoshin went to the statue and managed to get the pendant off only after touching it with the ring. This produced a flash of light, fused the two items together, and the writing on the back is now clearly readable. Although… I confess I didn’t read it myself. You’d have to ask them.

Kayoshin and Verdant high tailed it back down the well but Brandr lingered a while for some reason that escapes me. He had to fake his way past a group of siswa in the hallway but he made it back eventually. He dropped down with us right as we were carrying the semi-conscious panthers into the cell, and debating whether we should wait for Brandr before locking them in. Just Kidding!!

Off we went then, back to the Bedroom of Purported Pantheric Proclivities, in the back of which we had found an important looking secret passage. It led back and down until we came to the actual ancient wizard-ey tower, the tower upon which this mountain was once so vindictively dropped, in the old war between, the tower’s Wizard and er…. yea. magic folks. Ones not to be trifled with, I would guess. The tower was a little the worse for wear and some rubble and broken battlements lay about it, but shockingly, still pretty towerlike. We went in.

The corridors are 10 feet wide, and 30 feet high, with walls that are streaked with soot. We weren’t in the damn tower a minute before 2 thieves tried to jump us. One is now dead and the other very nearly so. We interrogated him a bit but he didn’t have much to tell besides that he had followed a flash-looking sort in expensive dark armors down (Tangor?), and that they’d gotten lost since. We relieved them of their 200 gp and a bottle of wine.

An exchange I jotted down:

Karamail: Shall we search his buddy?
Gertie: His body or his buddy, because we already searched his body.
Karamail: His buddy.
Gertie: Thank you for using disambiguated terms.

We took a bit of a break then, and did some healing. Brandr said “I can take the carpets out and we can relax”, at which was the hope expressed that this was not a code for anything. Turns out he meant the fancy carpets we’ve been lugging around in the bag of holding all this time.

Anyway, this tower is beyond ancient, and as we started exploring we were finding nothing but dust and cobwebs. We were just starting to let our guard down, opening doors to more and more empty rooms when, A Red Dragon breathed out a forge-hot fire and instantly killed all of us. or at least, almost all of us. I was fine! Likewise Turban dude, who I now watched warily. He became unsettled and I should probably avoid toying absently with the manacles on my belt. It was just one of two impressive illusions set to guard the area though. The other illusion was of a great treasure, where when you run towards it, you bonk your head a bit. Between the two, the red dragon that kills everybody with fire is really the more menacing but who am I to say.

What they were guarding, is a wall of light. If you walk into it then it just mirrors you about 180 degrees and you find yourself walking into a room full of the companions you were just walking away from. BUT, if you walk through it backwards, whilst unnecessarily shuffling your feet in a strange manner, you end up somewhere else. Possibly the foot shuffle is extraneous but we’ll never know.

The next room had 2 rows of tables upon which sat various lab equipment like beakers and such. Everything was covered in a thick layer of dust. At the far end of the room were two alcoves, and in between the alcoves hung a jaunty pink ladies hat in remarkably good condition. Gertie picked up the hat and feeling kinda classy, sauntered her way into an alcove where both her and the hat disappeared. the hat reappeared on the peg but Gertie did not.

Suffice it to say, we all followed suit and wore the hat into the same alcove to be teleported away. What lay beyond was very fancy bedroom – floors and walls and even ceiling were covered in carpets and veils and pillows. Deep within all this lay the elf maiden Sylva.

Brandr and I took some cautious steps towards the maiden. As he turned towards me, I think to signal the plan in his mind, I showed my support for the excellent plan by getting a pair of manacles ready.

Xandros: “Oh. Oh no, sorry. You know, I completely misread this situation”.

Thus instead of manacling her, we rescued her. We talked to her a bit. I gave her a sword. The party is getting kinda big at this point.

The next room is a fancier bedroom with a chest and a bed and perfumes and unguents and weird shit in jars. Verdant violently tosses the bed which scares the hell out of Sylva and we laugh. Verdant runs with it. “My grandpa died in a bed. No bed will survive!!!”

There was also another fancy ladies hat, and another alcove. We have posited that this is the way back to the beaker room.

Beyond was a corridor that led right and left, each opening up into similarly symmetric rooms. The room on the left was full of treasure, but given the treasure illusion we’d just seen, we paused there. Kristek and Karamail chose to venture forward anyway and not until too late did we see the strange device on either side of the corridor. A flash of light and a bolt of energy from these devices, and Kristek and Karamail are now life-sized platinum statues.

Newly statuesque, they each levitated and floated back away from the treasure and then through a pair of doors that now opened in the far wall. We followed them into that corridor, where we found innumerable other platinum statues. Oh dear. Karamail’s statue had come to rest in an alcove but Kristek’s continued floating on down the hall. We’re not quite sure where he ended up. At the end that way was an elevator room. We tried putting a statue on the magic elevator disc thing and it could indeed carry a ludicrously heavy statue up and back.

Way back the way we came past the two bedrooms was another door. In the room beyond was a giant seated bronze statue with his head tilted back and his mouth agape. “I judge by taste” said a plaque at his feet. Around him on the three other sides were three lowered porticullises. Beyond each porticullis, narrow passageways led away and turned quickly.

Time for some wine. But first a test. Brandr opened the bottle and drank some of the wine eagerly and… fell unconscious. We gave it to the statue anyway cause, hell, it was either that or the blue goo or one of our potions. The far porticullus opened.

We waited for Brandr to awake, and when he did he told us of a dream. Three dragons had been staring malevolently at a single smaller dragon, which smaller dragon had only one eye.

Obviously our highest priority is to return Karamail from his statuesqueness, but lacking any path to do so, we continue to explore and rescue elf maidens.

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Disembodied Voice Interlude
  • We continued to explore Grey Mountain Temple
  • Brandr engaged in grappling an elf, forcing Disembodied Voice to make up some
    rules.
  • Karamail revealed he has a secret talent for telling the directions
    of the compass underground.
  • Xandros attemped lighting a candle inside his robes, with a
    stop-drop-roll sort of result.
  • Gertie subdued an elf with a flail.
  • Kyoshin (and others) enjoyed the hospitality of a Gelatinous Cube
    in a dead-end corridor.
  • Verdant did a lot of sneaking, and some backstabbing, and a certain
    amount of rogueish palming of treasure without party approval.
  • A black stone pendant was found — probably the one mentioned in
    the letter. It zapped Verdant and did not zap Kyoshin. (A good
    judge of chararacter — or not?)
  • Many Siswa were unnecessarily engaged in non-lethal combat.
  • A ghost was encountered, speaking in awkward rhymes, hinting at a
    greater evil below.
  • The party made friends with some form of giant snake construct who
    healed them, gave them a ring of black jade, and trail-mix.
  • THE RAHIB was found, twice! He seems to be something of the escape
    artist, and a cleric of some sort.
  • The “temple guardian” was found. It appears to be a four-armed
    skeleton the size of a giant with swords as big as people. It
    seems not entirely friendly?
  • In the Rahib’s library, a table full of papers was discovered,
    containing letters which are heretofore enclosed.
    (Is that even correct usage of heretofore? I have no idea but it
    sounds old time-y.)
  • Disembodied Voice did not convert these to PDF, possibly related to Disembodied Voice’s claim that it is lazy.
    Probably Word can read them, but OpenOffice definitely can. Whatever they are.
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Headley Lamarr and the Staff of Surprising Rigidity

We doubled back through the tight passageway and out the creepy mouth and ran into 6 giant rats! Although scary in appearance and presumably diseased we made quick work of them. Down the passage to the right was a natural cavern with weakly magnetic lichen on the walls and ceiling and no other exits. (Hours later we would come back and spend the night here. ) Some of us took samples of the lichen.

But first we went back to the waterway passages and picked an unexplored one. It went more steeply down than the others and was filled with stalactites and stalagmites. After a turn or two Brandr’s mushroom staff sprang to attention and we happened on a group of humanoid creatures coming the other way. They had elongated heads and bulbous eyes but the more you looked at them the more they seemed to be plants than animals. Their bodies were made of a green sort of folded material, like very dense plant matter pressed into human form. And although they had no clothes their bodies made a sort of natural impression of clothes. And I saved the best for last, the best being their feet. Round and stompy! It’s the round-footed beings we’ve been tracking all this time.

We tried to greet the round-stompy-footed creatures and make friends but they had no mouths and this made conversation difficult. One of them did sort of hug Karamail but his hug turned out to be surprisingly strong and sticky. When the hug didn’t seem at all friendly, we returned it with steel. Along the way the evil dagger dispatched a couple of them in creative and disturbing ways and Brandr killed one of them with what we will now call his Staff of Surprising Rigidity.

One creepy addendum – a while after they had all fallen, the first one that Gertie had killed with the evil dagger came back to life and started making these weird automatic movements. We watched it for a few moments but it was a little too creepy so I beheaded it. Moments later the second one Gertie had killed came to life for the few moments until it too lost its head.

While resting, I tried to engage the stone head in conversation and failed. Instead I made him a jaunty little hat out of some scrap leather I had. He failed to protest or react in any way, but now with the hat on he seems a bit more personal. And we named him Headley.

Further down, we came to the first finished space we’d seen in a long time. The rushing water from the passage poured into a drain set in the middle of the floor, beyond which sat three large vats, each slightly different in nature. To the right against the wall was a desk covered with papers, and there were 3 doors. We examined the vats and the desk. Brandr tried to take all of the parchments but when he saw that he couldn’t read any of it and that Kayoshin could he gave them over to her. After puzzling over them for a while, Kayoshin said that the writing was all in goblin, but that it was written using elvish characters. It was a vast store of notes regarding alchemy and alchemical experiments. Some of these experiments regarded turning humanoid creatures into mindless plantlike creatures.
“Shothuar” is listed as a control word, so hopefully we run into some more and we can test it. Aside from that the documents will bear much scrutiny when we have more time.

Oh and hanging from the ceiling was a large and evil looking pod. Kayoshin ran her sword through it and it produced an anguished shriek, and a steady trickle of red blood and goo and sap. We cut open the pod. A great horrible gooey mess comes out, in the middle of which is a humanoid creature with a tiny slit for a mouth and a great stab wound in its leg.

Kayoshin: "We thought you were a mushroom are you a mushroom? "

It looked back with eyes that are sad and scary, and after a moment began to gesture. OK. It was captured and put in the pod. Verdant thinks it’s saying it wants to go back in the pod, and at this the thing tried to run away. Once restrained and calmed down a bit, it seemed willing to join us and fight a bit so we gave it the trident from the armory room.

Moments later enemies came upon us. Mushroom men/things. Different ones though. One normal sized one, one giant-sized one and then further back 4 smaller shimmering ones. The 4 shimmering ones soon turned out to be just one magic-using one plus some illusion magic. I’m not going to go into too much detail, partly because we very very nearly died, and partly because I very nearly died so my memory is a bit hazy.

Out of spells, low on food, all of us critically injured except for Gertie, we bravely retreated. After a night holed up in the nearby magnetic cavern we went back to the surface and back to Rifflian.

One sad thing – the moment we stepped out under open air Headley tilted back to look straight up at the sky and his little hat fell off. Then he just ascended straight up into the sky. No parting speech, no little nod, nothing.

[To Be Continued – aka some other things happened in Rifflian but if I don’t get this sent out right now nobody will read it by 6pm]

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Ask Us About Our Limb Removal Services

It’s a new day. We’re still down here. I voted to go back to town and regroup and, you know, revisit our attachments to evil daggers. Didn’t happen. I got healed up by Gertie though and the sticky mushroom stuff fell off overnight.

Brandr tried to steal the dagger overnight too, but he failed. He waited for Gertie to fall asleep, but she was only pretending too. Upshot was that neither of them slept a wink (nor regained spells). But hey everyone’s still alive and nobody’s been carved up by evil daggers and eaten. What are the odds.

We went deeper. We came to a place where the stairs ended at a landing. Aside from a nice view over a low wall into a huge cavern below, there was no way on except a locked stone door in the right wall. However the creek that we’d been following made this all quite hard to understand, due to the fact that it had filled up the whole landing with water and was crashing over the low stone wall in a noisy waterfall down into the cavern beyond.

Verdant waded into the deep water and set about picking the lock on the stone door, but as we’re standing there something seemed very wrong. I jumped forward and grabbed Verdant’s arm just as she got the door open, just before a few hundred tons of suddenly-redirected water shot her like a very shocked cork down the stairs beyond. Down those stairs and only slightly ahead of the crashing waters, I yelled “HOUSEKEEPING!!”.

Since beyond the door the passageway led steeply down more stairs, all the water decided to go that way and thus it all drained out of the landing. After a few moments we heard and then saw it down in the cavern below, suddenly sloshing out of an opening in the side. And where the waterfall had been was now a handy ladder.

Down below the waterway was a bit more intentional, running in a series of little carved channels that forked repeatedly. We chose our path a bit randomly and after a while came upon a side-chamber occupied by an 8 foot tall thing composed of… rotting leaves?

I said Hi. It took a swipe at me so as to remove my head. Gertie cast some crazy magic that paralyzed it. We got along fine.
Then and after some discussion about Backstabbing, Karamail went up on my shoulders, and the two of us managed to throw a bag over the thing’s head and shoulders. With her victim thus paralyzed and blinded, Verdant was all ready to sneak around behind it and get a totally unarguable Backstab. But she missed. Gertie didn’t miss, but when she hit it a bunch of other evil things happened. There was a green light and some kind of energy was pulled out of the thing and into the dagger, and the dagger shocked Gertie’s hand enough for her to drop it, at which point Brandr dashed in and picked it up. He didn’t have it for very long because not long after he got paralyzed, dropped the dagger and thus it returned to Gertie.

We found a chest. It tried to kill us with poison darts but we lived (in fact Brandr took some of the darts I think). Within was some gold, a healing potion (as tested by a sipping Verdant), a flask, and a staff. Brandr eagerly picked up the staff but it turned out to be quite spongy and the far end drooped down sadly. “Dear Penthouse…” he said, a comment which required much explanation for those not familiar with the publication.

We came upon a place where the water drove a little waterwheel attached by crankshaft to a wooden box. It seemed to be for grinding up little mushroom pieces you fed into a hole in the top. It was better than being attacked by compost but we moved on.

Further along we came to a place where the water pooled a bit under 9 trees growing somberly underneath some flourescent stuff on the ceiling. Kayoshin was eager to help the trees but skipping to the end the best help we could give them was to burn them all and chop them down. I’m not sure how well this sat with her.

Kayoshin: Oh, but they’re treants! [I have to help them because they’re trees!]
Xandros: Just think of the “ant” part.

It really was a bit violent, involving lots of flaming oil and evil daggers doing evil things and hacking branches off screaming trees while they burned and died violently and horribly.

Anyway, there was another room with a big pool of glowing blue goo. I filled a flask wth the goo but we also dipped a number of things on it and didn’t do anything to any of them that we could see. Further we came to a chamber where up on the ceiling hung great big pods. Some of them had busted open already and some still had their contents intact. We went through quietly and nothing happened. Then we came to a cavern whose floor was carpeted in tiny mushrooms, and where a ways off a tiny stone head floated rougly at head-height. It stared at me as I walked into the room, by which I mean it turned its head to track me. The little mushrooms turned to dust and then glowing sticky goo as you stepped on them, but fortunately not to where your feet became stuck in place. From the fact that the mushrooms had all previously been intact, I don’t think anyone has been this way in a long time. Further on I got a little turned around. We went passages some of them very tight. We went through an opening carved to look like a giant screaming mouth.

All the while, and this isn’t creepy AT ALL, the little floating stone head is still following us. It seems to be following me in particular.

OK taking a break. More later. Unless there isn’t, and this is the last thing I wrote. In which case WATCH OUT FOR ALL THE EVIL SOUNDING THINGS I JUST WROTE ABOUT.

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