Wednesday, August 4, 2010


After a night spent in the damp, unpleasant secret room, a decision was made to investigate the two other passages out of the room….one a narrow (5 ft) set of stairs leading down, the other a tunnel leading up (the way Epy had entered with her fellow spy a millennium ago). It was decided to take the stairway down, to see what lay below the secret room….perhaps it was a way to the underground city of the beastmen, or something else entirely.

Traveling single file down the dusty stairway, lit by the continual light torch and continual light stone, the party soon came to a four way passage, with other stairways leading in other directions. Not wanting to get lost, the party continued ahead into a long abandoned room with two doors. Searching carefully, Cadeliane opened one door, which led to an incredible sight: a gigantic (100 x 60 ) temple area, with several unusual features. One by one the party cautiously entered the room, which had an odd set of lizardman footprints leading inside and atop the altar at the south end of the room.

The room was thoroughly searched, which took quite awhile due to it’s great size. Another doorway was found on the north end of the room, along with a staircase to the north that led up. To the south, a giant altar with faded tapestries was at the top of a set of stairs. To the west, four odd archways stood, with a blank wall behind them, and a stone set in front of each with a fist sized circle in the top.

Carefully examining the archways, Alando could just make out several ancient writings, which seemed to point to the archways being gates of some sort to other locations. Two told of transportation to some kind of entrance, one to a temple, and the other to somewhere atop a faraway plateau. Obviously requiring some sort of gems to activate, the gates were harmless and non-functioning for now, until the trigger item (something fitting inside the stone in front) could be found.

Examining the altar area turned up nothing except faded, rotting tapestries, and some lizardman footprints in the dust leading to a secret door in the south wall. Carefully going inside, the group found another large room, this one with a giant stone pedestal in the center, which held a large crystal ball type item. On the walls were painted scenes of reptillions ruling the world, dominated by a golden lizardman with a crown and golden wings ruling over all.

The pedestal and ball was looked at with suspicion, as the lizardman footprints came to a stop right in front. Unable to restrain himself, Alando reached out to touch the glass, and immediately the ball lit up with some sort of eternal light. Experimenting with the item, it looked to be a stationary crystal ball, with the ability to look for anyone and anything the one touching it desired!

Taking turns, several members of the party touched the ball and saw glimpses of things and people important to them. Mongo saw his family, the ones still living, being held in a giant salt mine, while his brother was outside the mine somewhere in the jungle with several other hard eyed warrior types; Sholo glanced inside to look at his tribesmen in the Valley of the Elephant, rebuilding their village and helping House Valaryan harvest the scattered ivory; Tulu saw his brother somewhere in the dungeon, conversing with rat-like beings, he himself now half-rat, half-human in form; Endefal sought the Necromancer Horan, and found him writing something in a large journal in what looked like a spacious and well kept study area; Kal spied upon the dragon of the swamp, seeing the massive frog-like being under the dark and scummy waters of the lake being worshiped by several surviving frogmen, sitting atop a pile of glittering and gleaming treasure; Alando tried to find Ardu, and located him enslaved in some large city dominated by ziggurats, where large, bull headed beings seemed to rule, whipping the slaves into action (and causing Endefal’s blood to boil). Using the crystal ball to look at the cave where they had left the totem pole many days ago, they saw it had been cut down and burned, evidence that the frogmen, lizardmen, or both had found the hideout and exacted some revenge. Epy, sadly, had no visions as she tried to glance within the crystal ball…everyone and everyplace she had ever known was gone in the intervening 1000 years since her capture.

Further searching of the room revealed a door going south, but more interestingly, a secret panel in the east wall covered by a layer of bricks, built from this side. Using stone shape, Kal moved the bricks enough to glance into the room next door…..a large room with glowing violet walls, like those of the mage’s tomb, plus the legs of a large stone statue, very much like the one in the mage’s tomb. The room, however, was NOT the mage’s tomb, despite it’s similarities. Wanting to enter the room and find out more, Endefal first reached inside the room to stone shape the statue’s legs to the floor so it could not attack them…but the spell did nothing but awaken the giant stone golem, which turned with flashing eyes, ready for battle! Atop it’s head gleamed a black iron crown with three large gems set inside, which flashed brightly, blinding Nadal. The golems fist smashed through the wall, slapping Endefal, and the golem then breathed a gout of fire that caught Endefal, Mongo and Cadelaine in its blast!

Kal and Nadal (still blinded), managed to make their way past the monstrosity, while Mongo called upon the power of Sentinel to fly in the air to harass the giant stone golem from above. Blows by Kal and Nadal glanced off it, indicating their weapons had no power, and a Fist of Suffering spell cast by Endefal at the golem had no effect. However, both of Mongo’s swords did, and he struck the golem again and again, cracking the stony surface, taking fire breath after fire breath as his Ring of Fire Resistance protected him from the worst of it. Cadelaine managed to nick the creature with a thrown +2 dagger, and Alando suddenly realized he held a Rod of Smiting, with extra powers vs golems! The priest waded into combat, but he was a scholar unused to combat and only managed to strike one of it’s legs once. Meanwhile, the deadly golem continued striking out with his fists and breathing fire everywhere in front of him. A couple of blows managed to destroy the golelms crown, which stopped the blinding effect of the gems, and soon Nadal could see again and attacked the golem with his +2 magical spear instead of sword…which worked quite well! Endefal assisted as he could, with the spells Prayer and Protection from Enemies ’10 on Mongo.

The battle went on quite awhile, with the party just dodging certain doom on several occasions, the golem’s fists tearing a huge hole in the wall separating the two rooms as it swung and missed at the party members. Everyone but Alando, Mongo, Kal, Nadal and Endefal had by this time retreated to a far corner of the crystal ball room to escape the fists and fire breath of the stone golem. Finally, a flurry of Mongo’s blows cracked the golem’s head in two, and it crumbled into loose rocks as it finally collapsed, destroyed. Endefal and Alando were severely injured by the thing’s blows, and rest was called for. One gem from the crown survived, and Cadelaine took it for the group as it appeared to be worth quite a bit.
The room was quite unusual, it contained a large pool of fresh water (waterskins were refilled, and several cave fish and crustaceans were caught for food when it was determined by Kal that the water was pure and nothing deadly lurked within) that was filled from some underwater spring. Swimmers searched the bottom thoroughly but nothing of interest was found within. A bridge over the water led to a door on the east wall, when opened with Stone Shape it was found to go into the Mage’s tomb area, right behind the stone statue in THAT room. Leaving that golem for now, the party retreated back into the chamber, and made ready to rest that night due to the heavy injuries suffered battling the stone golem. For the first time in days a bath was taken and clothes were washed in the cold fresh water, and a proper meal was created by Endefal using Create Food and Water (since their rations were now down to very little).

From the night before Alando had identified one of the wands and found it a Wand of Secret Door and Trap Detection; this day, he identified another item as a Medallion of ESP (which turned out instead to be a medallion of thought projection, because after donning the jewelry everyone in the room could see what Alando thought of Cadelaine taking a bath in the pure water pool…including the very embarrassed Cadelaine!) Several items still stood to be identified, but Alando realized now he must go carefully as at least one of the eight items taken from the Mage’s tomb was revealed to be cursed, so others might be also. Mongo and Epy seemed to have formed some kind of bond, and they soon paired off together in the far darkness of the chamber as the rest of the party pretended not to notice….

Tuesday, August 3, 2010


The night passed uneventfully, as the large chasm across the temple prevented the undead and carrion crawlers from the other side from attacking them. Cadelaine’s fever got worse during the night, indicating some sort of infection, and she missed the disease preventing magic item she had lost in the lightning bolt that had struck her earlier in the week. In the morning, Endefal cast Cure Disease of Cadelaine which cured her completely. During the week, Kumar had also developed a disease, some sort of skin scabies that covered his body with sores. Examining him, Endefal said although painful and disfiguring, the scabies would not permanently harm the priest and he could probably shake it off given time.

Meanwhile, that night Alando read through as much of the papyrus scrolls as he could from the stone box they had found in the room of corpses. He found much of interest, including the name of the Forbidden City (Kitanga), and a partial lineage of the dynasty that had ruled 1000 years ago before the fall of the city. Many references were found to battles with the evil snakemen, and other evils such as the attack of creatures from below the earth, including intelligent lizardmen and others. Given more time, Alando would have to study these priceless papers to learn more knowledge about the city and the temple they were now exploring.

The next morning, as much curing as the party had was performed, with several individuals still injured. Nevertheless, the party tied a rope and went down one by one, to stand once again in front of the secret door, now sealed by Kal’s Stone Shape spell. Preparing themselves for conflict, Endefal Stone shaped the door open once more, and the party pushed into the temple area!

Immediately, the party came into conflict with the many trogs all through the area. Dozens of them filled the area, including the area by the door and the raised temple area. Cadelaine used her wand to shoot a fireball into the temple, immediately blowing a dozen trogs to pieces and injuring half a dozen more. Mongo leapt to the attack with his Ring of Jumping and began hacking through the creatures, as Nadal, Kal, Sholo, Endefal, and the beasts Simba and Gra Gra went to the attack. Immediately, dozens of the creatures surrounded the party, as Cadelaine slipped by invisibly to find a place to observe the battle and contribute as she could. She managed to backstab a leader type and Endefal finished him off, and then cast a Web spell that entangled a few of them (and unfortunately caught a cursing Nadal also).

The battle went on for nearly half an hour, as almost 50 trogs were eventually killed in a huge orgy of combat. Cadelaine had to let loose another fireball with her wand to clear out another ten or so, and at one point Kumar, Cadelaine, Endefal and Mongo disturbed a gargantuan spider than had a web at the far end of the chamber, but the giant arachnid was also dealt with fatally.

After the long battle was finished, piles of bodies lay strewn across the chamber, none left alive for questioning or capture. Everyone had some kind of wound, and the party healing was quickly used up. A statue in a corner of the chamber was of some sort of human/bat creature, and an inscription on it’s base led the party to believe it might assist them in some way. Touching the statue, several members of the party were cured of their wounds, and Kumar’s disease was wiped away. Investigating the large temple area, a statue of some sort of native woman dominated the area, but no clue to her identity could be found. A secret door was located at the base of the raised altar leading down, but before it could be investigated, the area in front of the female statue glowed, and 8 trogs appeared from thin air, as if teleported in! Combat again began, with Nadal, Mongo, Cadelaine and the animals finishing off the unexpected arrival. It appeared that this was the explanation for the many trogs that seemed to keep filling the temple area….they were teleporting back and forth between some unknown base in another location. An attempt was made to destroy the base of the altar where the trogs had teleported in from, but the spell failed to affect the obviously magical stone. While Sholo, Tula, Simba and Gra-Gra stayed behind at the altar to watch for further trogs appearing, Nadal, Mongo, Alando, Cadelaine, Kumar, Endefal and Kal began searching the various corridors leading out of the temple area.

A large opening to the SW seemed to be the actual entrance to the temple, a set of stairs led down to a large chamber with a huge pile of rubble infested by rats. Noticing several carrion crawler corpses, the party realized that this area led upward to the crevice near where they had spent the night. To the south, barracks of the trogs were found, quite foul in their stench. Past these rooms, a secret door led to a stairway down. This area seemed to be long abandoned and forgotten, as thick dust and grime lay upon the floor.

Continuing down into the dark with only the continual light torch to guide them, they came to a short dead in corridor. In quick succession Cadelaine located three secret doors, one at each end of the hall and one in the center of the west wall. Intrigued by the fact that the secret door in the west wall seemed to radiate some kind of cold, Cadelaine opened it to reveal a bizarre scene. A small room covered in frost and ice, up to a foot high, as far back as the light would go. Suspecting some sort of trapped room, the party dithered around at the entrance for quite some time. Finally, using a scroll, Endefal cast Endure Cold on himself and Mongo and carefully entered the room, watching for some sort of trap (Endefal had cast Find Traps, but nothing registered).

As they entered, they quickly saw two bodies on the ground, a man and a woman, both Delosian natives, and frozen solid. Just then the far wall twisted and became a face, which blew a giant breath of freezing cold air on the duo (which was prevented from harming them by the Endure Cold). Quickly, Kal jumped into the room to help them, and the three of them struck the wall with their weapons. The wall tried to breathe again, but several chunks hacked out of the stone seemed to “kill” the wall, and the face disappeared. Immediately, the room went back to a normal temperature, and the ice began melting.

Examining the room, they found a secret door in one corner that they left alone for the time being, and a set of stone handrails in another corner leading up to another level. Suddenly, they noticed the figure of the frozen woman beginning to stir! Endefal and Kumar applied healing, and soon the beautiful lady in black leather opened her eyes. She spoke ancient Delosian, which only Alando and Kal could understand (Kal’s spear translating for him), while Mongo’s sword Sentinel could somewhat understand the ancient dialect she spoke. Her companion, however, was dead, unfortunately not kept alive as she was through the magical cold.

Her name, she said, was Epicaste (Epy for short) and she was a member of the King’s secret police (King Amon, who Alando noted had ruled about 1000 years earlier per the records he had read through), the Golden Falcons. She said that she and her companion (Durnae) had been below searching for a way to the lair of the beastmen that had taken over the temples below the city of Kitanga. They had found about this secret room, and tried to use it as a shortcut, but were struck down. She said that they needed to immediately continue her mission, attacking the beastmen and reporting back to the King. Mongo tried to explain the situation to her….she had been “asleep” for a millennium, and her mission was long gone as was her king…but in typical Mongo fashion, nothing much understandable was communicated to the puzzled Epy. She finally was made to realize that she had been in some sort of suspended animation for a long, long time….so long her original mission was not pertinent, as the king she served and everyone she had ever known was now dead. Resigned to this, yet perhaps still a bit suspicious, she said she would accompany the party for the time being until she could get a chance to return to the surface. Epy showed quite a bit of curiosity regarding the white skinned members of the group, especially Kal the elf. Talking to Mongo, she seemed to regard the ranger and Kumar as the party leaders, and the lighter skinned non-natives as slaves or servants of the two Delosians. The concept of the foreigners to Delos, as well as the demi-humans (she had never seen or heard of “elves” before), was beyond her grasp at the moment, Alando and the others realized. Better to let her think what she wanted and try to explain more thoroughly at a later time.

Having rescued Epy, the party indicated that they were exploring this sub-level, and she was welcome to accompany them as she wished. She told them she was a spy by nature, and very good at moving silently and hiding from view. Endefal asked her if she knew anything about the secret doors at the ends of the passage, and she noted that legend said some famous Kitangan mages were buried in a tomb nearby.

With this, the party entered the passage at the south, and found a very large room with eight large sarcophagi…and a giant stone statue at one end! The other end contained what appeared to be a pool of water and a set of stairs leading up to a door. The walls glowed with a weird violet-red light, casting an eerie tinge across the room.

Carefully entering the room, and entirely avoiding the statue, the party examined all the eight tombs. Momentarily worried about odd sounds and noises they heard, they soon realized it was but a feature of the tomb made to make tomb robbers nervous and paranoid. Each large stone sarcophagus (from the writing outside, translated by Alando) had a long dead mage inside. Apparently back in the old days each mage was known by the name of a magical beast, as the tombs had written on them names such as “The Manticore”, “The Sphinx”, and “The Harpy”. Each sarcophagi also had a small stone statue atop it, with gems for eyes, but these were left alone as the party did not want to trigger some sort of guardian (specifically, the stone statue) if they were unlucky.

The pool of water was examined, and two large diamonds were found inside. Not wanting to touch them, the party thought of ways to get at the gems. They finally had Kal stone shape the stone pool, creating a hole in the side that leaked the water out on the floor. At this, Cadelaine took the diamonds, only to have the large stone statue quickly stride over, and in a booming voice (which Alando translated) told her to hand him the gems. Doing so, the statue placed them back in the now empty pool, and stomped back to his spot at the far end of the room.

Leaving well enough along, the party concentrated on the door at the top of the stairs. Opening it from the inside (from which is was sealed) they found a room filled with 20 skeletons standing along the walls, all with black gems for eyes! Mongo and Endefal looked inside, and saw a stairway leading up from the north, and a ledge above the door they had just exited with two large stone gargoyles atop it. Figuring that at some point the skeletons would attack, they immediately entered, and were attack by the nearly two dozen skeletons! Attempting to destroy them with his holy power, Endefal was surprised to find he only turned them, with 7 stepping back against the wall, leaving seven for battle…and these skeletons with the glowing gem eyes seem unnaturally strong, as well as magically hasted, as they moved supernaturally fast and attacked much faster than a normal skeleton! A long battle followed, with Mongo and Endefal backing into the tomb so Kal and Cadelaine could assist. While a Snare spell cast by Kal caught the first to enter, the other dozen had to be dealt with, and were quite difficult to overcome. Finally, the skeletons lay broken to pieces on the floor, with the gem eyes dissolving as the skeletons were destroyed. Not wanting to deal with anything else outside the tomb, the party then decided to brave the possible attack of the stone statue by opening the lids of the sarcophagi an looking for treasure.

Luckily enough, opening and looting the tombs caused no reaction from the stone creature. In each tomb, an item (later confirmed as magical by Alando) was taken, and the final tally was two wands, three rings, a cloak, a medallion, and a set of bracers. Not wishing to press their luck any farther for the day, the group retreated to the corridor. Summoning the members of the party upstairs at the temple, they decided to spend the night in the no longer frozen, but now very wet, room that Epy was found in. For her part, she dragged the body of her companion to the now opened tomb and placed him inside. For good or bad, she had decided to follow the group that had rescued her, especially attracted to the rugged looks of Mongo.

That evening as the party set up camp, Alando again read through the ancient papyruses that he had found. More information was discovered, including the fact that King Amon had decided to send troops to attack the “beastmen” that had somehow inhabited a giant city on a level below their own. From the presence of the lizardmen and trogs, apparently the beastmen still existed below, perhaps in their kingdom a way out of this underworld could be found?