Wednesday, July 7, 2010


The party spent an uncomfortable yet relatively safe night in the chapel of Ert in the depths of the Forbidden City underground. Awakening the next morning, the party talked amongst themselves until finally choosing the secret passage in one corner of the chapel as their way further into the dungeon. There were three other ways to go (North, South, or outside the chapel a hallway to the north and west) but upon examining the hallway within the secret passage, Cadelaine and Mongo noted that the dust was thick and nothing had passed this way for many years, if not decades (if not centuries!). Perhaps some long forgotten wealth was at the end of this forgotten hallway…..?
Forming up, the party began heading cautiously down the hall, with continual light devices lighting the way, and Cadelaine checking for any traps. The hallway ended about 50 feet in at the appearance of a large room, but the first thing to be seen was eight walking undead, eyes blazing with evil intelligence, surrounding a withered priest like zombie in the middle of the room. The priest began speaking in Ancient Delosian, which only Alando and Kal could understand. In a hollow and cracked voice, the zombie stated that his name was Macreus, high priest of Ert, and what was the year? Barely understanding him, Kal told him the year, which seemed to agitate the undead priest. He then asked the party if they served the serpentmen. After a bit of awkward back and forth, it seemed that Macreus had sealed himself within this passage several hundred years ago, awaiting an attack by serpentmen that had apparently never reached his secluded corner. His mutterings spoke of insanity, and Mongo, Nadal and Endefal moved up in anticipation of combat. Kal then preemptively cast a Faerie Fire on the first few zombies, and trying to turn the zombies, both Endefal and Alando failed, Then a spoken spell by Macreus caused Nadal, Endefal and Kal to freeze as they were Held! Immediately, the first line of ju-ju zombies moved forward for combat with the helpless group. Cadelaine fired a Magic Missile at one to find the spell had absolutely no effect.
With only seconds to think, Cadelaine pulled forth her Wand of Fire and commanded it to form a Wall of Fire right in front of the advancing zombies! With his ring of fire resistance, Mongo leapt through the wall with minimal damage and began fighting. Alando cast a Dispel Magic, which dissolved the hold spell but did not bring down the Wall of Fire. The first two zombies passed through the wall and were quickly taken care of by Kal, Endefal and Nadal.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the wall Mongo began chopping through the zombies by himself, as no one was willing to pass through the Wall of Fire to assist him. Finally, Nadal subjected himself to the flames as he passed through to help the ranger. He took some damage, but was soon also in combat, making his way to the zombie priest Macreus.
With use of Fist of Faith, Endefal cleared a path, and was able to battle Macreus. A blow to the zombie caused a huge puff of a horrible looking dust to fly out of his body, and coming into contact with the pestilent substance caused Mongo to go to the floor, retching. By this time, Nadal and Kal had entered the room as the Wall of Fire had gone out, and they were able to lend their weapons to the fight. Attempting to sneak forward invisibly, Cadelaine found herself suddenly visible and quickly retreated before being struck by the zombie priest. Quicker than he hoped, Endefal brought down Macreus, and the priest dissolved into dust. The rest of the ju-ju zombies were brought down soon after. As Mongo began to feel funny and blood began to run out of his nose, Endefal quickly cast a Cure Disease on the ranger, which seemed to arrest the awful illness the dust had given him.
Searching the room, the party found nothing of interest except for a passage that went further south. Going south aways, Cadelaine found an unusual pit trap that the party was able to bypass on their way down the corridor. After almost 100 feet, they reached the end of the passageway….which ended in a dark, gaping crevice! On the small ledge, the party was just able to make out a rope bridge far to the southwest, as well as a ceiling of stalactites, and to the east, another small ledge that seemed to lead to another dark passageway.
As the party debated their actions, the now un-charmed Desteri (Alando’s Dispel Magic earlier had taken the charm off the mercenary fighter) began throwing torches into the darkness, discovering the level below was about 50 feet or so….then, hearing noises in the dark, he launched a flaming vial of oil into the darkness. Suddenly, a large mass that was unidentifiably in the darkness responded with a thrown boulder, which caught Desteri in the chest and threw him back. Several other throws followed, but none were close.
After this, Mongo took the continual light wand from Endefal and using the power of his sword Sentinel, began flying around the darkness to discover the area of the chasm. He managed to check out the rope bridge, which connected two corridors farther to the SW, and landed on the other ledge nearby. Unfortunately, the light buzzing about attracted the attention of almost a dozen giant bats, which attack Mongo as he flew about. Mongo was bit a couple of times, but managed to fly back to the ledge where the party waited. As the bats followed, They were peppered with missile fire from Desteri, And Cadelaine, and Kal quickly threw a Hold Animals spell that caught four of the animals, sending them to their doom as they suddenly stopped moving and dropped like rocks to crash on the floor of the level below. More missile fire deterred the other bats, who quickly flew up among the stalactites to hide
Discussion of a way to go followed, with the party eventually decided on checking out the ledge and passageway to the immediate west. Using her ring of feather falling to prevent trouble, Cadelaine used a rope tied by a flying Mongo to easily traverse the short distance. Shining her torch inside, Cadelaine saw the edge of a room which was covered by yellow mold! The mold also seemed to cover several skeletons and a large chest-like object. Kal used his shape changing ability to fly over, and with his extensive knowledge of fungi pronounced it as yellow mold, very deadly, but susceptible to fire. Without much hesitation, Cadelaine threw a vial of oil into the mass of the mold and followed it with her lit torch. In the conflagration that followed, the skeletons tried to rise but were destroyed, and the fire burned out every scrap of the mold, revealing a large stone chest.
Soon, the rest of the party used the attached rope to hug the side of the chasm and cross over to the new area. Searching the room, nothing except for the stone chest was found, and it was opened by Cadelaine revealing a mace, rod and a gem. Desteri stepped up and greedily grabbed the rod, which had a skull-head on one end. Nothing happened to him, and Alando cast Detect Magic which showed the rod as magical (but none of the other items). Taking the items, the party vowed to watch Desteri and his new “prize” closely to see if any bad effects overtook him.
At the other end of the room was a large stone door with a heavy stone bar on this side to prevent entry. As the bar was easily lifted, the door opened and the party continued down the corridor north. They soon came upon another set of doors in the east side of the corridor. Not wanting to open the doors, Endefal used Stone Shape to fashion a hole inside one of the doors so they could look within, then shaped it to make it large enough to possibly enter.
Inside was quite a sight. In the large round room was a red tile hexagon, in the middle was a floating, flaming skull that intently watched them! Cadelaine looked inside and noticed a trap attacked to the door, a wire that ran to the ceiling and triggered a ballista bolt if the door had been opened. Entering instead through the hold in the door, Cadelaine was able to disarm the trap, and the party then concentrated on finding out the purpose of the floating skull.
Soon after the party entered the room (everyone but Desteri, Kumar, the twins Ular and Tula, who refused to enter the cursed area, along with their prisoner the still tied up lizard man), the skull spoke to them saying he would answer a single “yea” or “nay” question if asked. Several half assed and useless questions were spoken, none answered with any significance. Finally, Alando asked if Ardu was still alive somewhere within the city and the answer was “Yes”. Then, he was asked if Ardu was under ground and the answer was again “Yes”. Not much info to go on, but it was more than they had up until that time.
As the questions wound down, the skull spoke and said that for the price of a question, their souls were now Ert’s own!!! Suddenly, a small skull appeared on the back of each character’s left hand, much to the consternation of everyone (especially the priests, who were worried this would put them in bad with their own gods). Continuing to travel north in the corridor, they found the passageway led back to the Chapel of Ert through the south door.
Again talking about their choice of direction (either through the north door or back down the passageway to the chasm and the rope bridge), it was decided that they brave the chasm and see where the rope bridge Mongo had seen would lead. When they reached the ledge, they worked out a system where party members armed with missile weapons would watch for the giant bats, while one by one Mongo would ferry party members across using his fly ability.
After a few nervous minutes where a few giant bats flew around but did not attack, the party was flown across to the rope bridge. The bridge seemed new and very solidly constructed, 40 feet long with new strong hemp and closely set wooden boards, and including a “handrail”. One end (to the west) led to another cavern, and beyond that, another rope bridge. To the west, the rope bridge led to another ledge and a passageway lit by torches.
Choosing the west, Cadelaine invisibly snuck forward and rounded a corner, seeing a small chapel with a statue, basin, and several hanging draperies. Also within were six warrior types armed with spears and knives. They were painted on their entire bodies with black and white paint, resembling living skeletons. They seemed to be guarding the chamber, and Cadelaine notice that a doorway to the west was set with strong iron bars that were set into the stone. Sneaking back, she told the party of what they had seen. Throwing caution to the wind, the party rushed the six guards, counting on their excessive numbers to help them triumph. In quick order the guardians were killed, except for one charmed by Kal and commanded to join him. Questioning of the guard told the party this was a worship area to Ert, and to the east there existed a larger chapel where a large ceremony was going to take place later, which included sacrifice and summoning some kind of creature. Resolving to check that out, the party began searching the area, Desteri, ignoring any warning, went to the statue of Ert and removed two gems that were the eyes of the statue. Removing the gems, the statue exploded in fire, and not only flames but some sort of curse from beyond hit Desteri at the same time.
As Desteri stumbled about, the black tapestries were removed, and behind them were found a dozen one foot tall, ugly and evil looking wooden dolls that resembled some sort of fetishes. Asking Mongo about the dolls, Mongo revealed they were known as Kani Dolls, and were often animated with evil spirits to guard areas or stalk individuals. The charmed guardian was filled with fear as he saw the dolls, going to the corner and quivering in fear at the “devil dolls”. Ignoring more entreaties, Desteri grabbed one of the dolls to place it within his pack, pricking his finger on something sharp upon the doll. Immediately the dozen dolls came to life and began swarming the mercenary fighter! The evil little dolls began biting and biting the fighter, and several were destroyed by Endefal, Mongo and Kal as they tried to kill Desteri. Finally, one doll jumped to Desteri’s throat, ripping it out and causing the fighter to fall unconscious as the doll continued to chew! Mongo took the fighter by his legs, and by swinging him around, caused the dolls attached to Desteri to fly off across the room, where they were quickly crushed or destroyed by party members. After the battle, Endefal bandaged Desteri’s throat, and Nadal (who had not helped the beleaguered fighter) said that the greedy bastard had gotten what he deserved…
As Desteri lay unconscious, Alando used that time to take the Rod that Desteri for himself. Using his ability to identify magic items, Alando announced it was a Rod of Smiting, and keeping it as his own he gave his own magical mace to Kumar so the priest of Attar would finally have a magical weapon to use. The gem eyes of the statue were also removed from Desteri, and the party vowed to curb the excesses of the grabby fighter from here on out.
After the party searched the room and rested, Kal questioned the charmed guardian about what lay beyond the barred chamber to the west. The frightened native said that a “giant demon” dwelled at the bottom of a set of stairs through the other chamber. The bars had been placed to not only prevent anyone from entering the lair of the “demon” but to prevent the demon from attacking anyone within.
Examining the room revealed nothing else, and with only one way to go (back west to the rope bridge and the Chapel of Ert beyond) the now even larger group prepared to do battle if the priesthood was indeed going to sacrifice innocents to their god….

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