Sunday, September 16, 2012

Chapter 4: part 1a "Father Ted's tale"

As the party settles down to rest in the cavern of the basilisks, Father Ted now rested relates the following.
Palimdybis is said to dwell in a cavern at the center of the world. It has been worshiped under several guises throughout the eons. Centuries ago the Orichalian people became frightened of this god and all references of it were struck out, and his attributes were reassigned to new gods like Set and Thoth. Palimdybis can manifest itself through the body of specially prepared cultist, from whom it springs when the host is slain. It looks like a bloody mass of writhing bluish red-veined tentacles. Not all the chosen can fully accept the dark power of Palimdybis and it twists their forms into hideous monstrosities, or shameful parodies of man. The grey robed ones are the latter I believe from what we have seen.

Enough of this talk for now, let us dine on this lizard meat and rest ourselves for what may lie ahead.

*Moep and Bull Zi, the floating face you saw in the skeleton cave is in the above picture. Have a nice day.

P.S. Father Ted can answer questions in the comments section for as long as he remains with the group.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Chapter 4: People of the Pit, part 1

As the storm rolled in, the party decided to leave Friar Beavis, Calis, Garrotte and Moep above ground in the ruined Temple. The rest returned to the chamber where Thora was killed by the Bug-monster. They set off down the only hall exiting the chamber and discovered stairs that descended deeper into the earth.
The stairs ended at a landing overlooking a large pit in the earth filled with a steamy haze that smelled of rot. From below the cavern was lit by volcanic fire! A winding thin stair carved of rock hugs the cavern wall and descends yet deeper!!  The party had to walk single file along the stair and with Tyrrian in the lead began the journey.

Soon shadowy shapes were seen below ascending the stair towards the party, men in grey robes. They bore curvy bladed daggers and chanted in an unsettling manner! UGAH, NIKTO, AIEE, PALIMDRYS! Tyrrian could see the robed men had smooth featureless faces and their robes rustled in unsettling ways! A volley of arrows and man-beast spears were hurled at these foes, one of which pitched over the edge screaming into the pit. The others collapsed from fatal wounds and Tyrrian brained the lead one whose chest burst open and a bloody mass of tentacles sprang forth! The same happened to the other robed bodies and Tyrrian found himself kicking and stomping to keep the nightmares at bay! Bull Zi nailed one with a dart, and Chi dispatched another with an arrow!

Just then Lars, who had been in the rearmost of the party heard stealthy movement behind him and swung about with "The Rock" at the ready! "The others are OK, and I thought I smelled food!" cried Moep!
 "You're a VERY lucky halfling." muttered Lars as he pushed Moep ahead of him in line.

After descending deeper a landing is found with a side hall leading deep into the cavern wall. The archway is covered in strange curved runes. Chi uses some elvish magic and her eyes glow as her hands trace the runes. Her voice becomes deep and as if in a trance she utters; "Dhol cantis,Ghorl Nigral, Yig Aiee, nikto nathrak, Ugah Cthulhu." Coming out of her trance, Chi is shaken deeply and begins to mutter about Cthulhu and how bad this is.

The hall is discovered to lead to a small chamber with a stone altar, a grey robed man emerges from the shadows and almost slices Tyrrians face with a curved dagger. A short melee ensues and Tarek dispatches the robed one with a stab in the ribs, Tyrrian braces for the expected thing and smooshes another tentacle beast under his boot! Everyone stays away from the robed ones dropped weapon, which promptly finds its way into Moep's hands. The altar is discovered to have 4 polished obsidian eggs and a small censer on it. Tyrrian and Tom decide this place should be cleansed and the eggs (all but one) are smashed, and the chamber consecrated by Limtram! Bull Zi discovers the Altar moves and reveals a secret 3x3ft doorway, and Lars finds many hidden peepholes in the walls. Lars fishes out a small pouch of "Moep snaks" and tosses one through the newly revealed portal. "You need to scout that area for us." Lars says to Moep, who at first was balking at the notion he go first, in the dark. "I'm sure that is where the treasure is hidden." says Lars pointing where he tossed the treat. "Oh in that case!" Moep ducks through the opening in the wall. Discovering a 2ft wide tunnel that leads deeper into the rock Moep heads off to scout with Sven and Lars with a torch following 10ft behind. Moep is good at finding (triggering) traps, and short enough to not be harmed by them. Sven marks the locations with chalk and Lars disables them as they go. Two stone chutes are discovered and bypassed. The trio ends up at the bottom of a steeply descending tunnel in a small chamber where water drips from the floor to a puddle on the ceiling!?!?! Returning the way they came fearing they have lingered too long and the rest of the group may fear them dead or worse the trio return to the chutes and ignore a tertiary tunnel that was opposite the way to the weird water. Moep volunteers to climb down the chute and take a "look". In less than 3 minutes Moep springs out of the chute clings to Sven and gibbers incoherently; "Big, thingy! slimy, moving, ugh, lets go now! eek!"  The trio decides to head back and emerge from the portal just as Tom and Tyrrian were about to give them up for dead. As Lars describes what they found Tarek shushes the party. Kneeling in the archway and watching the stairs of the main pit a figure has emerged from the stinking mist, Tarek takes aim and strikes the grey robed figure with well placed arrow. The shot was not enough to kill it however and the grey robe begins to turn and return the way it came rather hastily! Tarek draws and fires again, "CRITICAL" skewering the the grey robe.

The party reforms its order and descends the main stairs to see where the last robed figure came from. The grey robed body with an arrow buried up to the fletching in it s back is pitched into the pit. Another 50ft or so below the first landing is a second of identical nature. Within the same small alter chamber as before, and Tom and Tyrrian consecrate this area as well. All four eggs are smashed this time. The altar is as before and the secret portal leads to meet the unexplored turn off near the water room. Heading deeper the party descends the main stairs again another 50ft or so to discover the stairs have collapsed and 15ft further on is a third landing as encountered before, only this one  has a brass gong hung on a post. After tense minutes of discussion ropes are readied and the gong post is lassoed, a secondary rope with grapple hook is tossed and the group makes its way across the dangerous area. Tyrrian is almost lost when the secondary rope snaps! A harness is made for "bessie" and soon everyone is across and safe. Bull Zi dismantles the gong and puts it in his pack. This landing does not lead into an altar chamber a before, instead a cavern with four bricked in areas is discovered. And a strange moaning seems to echo from this area as well.
Tyrrian leads the party past the first pair of bricked up tunnel mouths, as he gets between the second pair though, the moaning is unmistakably coming from behind the bricks on the left. Tyrrian and Sven make short work of the shoddy bricks and a starving disheveled holy man is discovered in the natural alcove. " I'll die a clean death before I join you scum!" the old man yells at Sven! The old man is pulled free and after given food and water, he explains he is from Tegel town and was brought here against his will. The town has been infiltrated by this strange cult, and he is not sure who can be trusted anymore! He tells that the grey robes are the lowest cult members, unable to blend in to society. But, there are others of higher ranking that give no sign they belong to Palimdybis. Lars takes this as reason to keep extra-special eyes on the old man.

Moving forward the natural tunnel ends and opens into a chasm. About 20ft below is a sea of writhing tentacles of all sizes. Opposite the group on the chasm's far wall is a drawbridge that is raised. The strange echoing of alien chanting drifts through the area, no means can be seen or found to operate the bridge. Bull Zi tries ringing the gong 3 times to no avail. Tentacles keep randomly swinging up out of the chasm and towards Tyrrian making him VERY uncomfortable.
(It looks rather like this, but the bridge is up and it is about twenty feet away across a sea of writhing tentacles)
The party decides to back track to the second altar room and follow the secret tunnel to the chutes, where Moep encountered whatever scared him badly. Tyrrian glady leads the way back and upon emerging at the third landing he realizes there is another opening in the pit wall some 50ft away and about 15 feet lower than the third landing. Moep is volunteered to wall climb over with a safety rope attached to him. Bull Zi the follows Moep over and together they discover a small cave decorated with broken red glass and a skeleton covered in wispy green moss clutching a moss covered stick in its hand. Urged on over his shoulder by Moep to "get the wand!"  Bull Zi stealthily removes the wand from the skeletal hand. "POOF!" the moss releases a cloud of spores catching both in the face! The small cave grows dark as a shadowy red face appears in the gloom and looks angrily at the two adventurers as the skull lets out a piercing scream! Emerging from the cave with green faces the two quickly rejoin the others and loosely describe what happened.

The party eventually finds its way back to the chutes, and safely lowers everyone to the chamber below. The discover a giant tentacle here coming up out of a large hole in the floor. Attached to the tentacle itself with iron rings is a rope ladder descending into darkness. A side cave is also found, and the group goes there first.
This natural cavern is soon discovered to be the lair of two mountain basilisks! Emily is almost killed, Moep straddles one and stabs it repeatedly, and Tyrrian performs his first "Deed of Arms" rolling up under the mouth of the second and stabbing its mouth closed from below! The party decides to camp here, heal Emily and skin the basilisks. It is also discovered that each great lizard bears a golden horn on its snout!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Characters IV

Here are a few more for your enjoyment.

Tarek: archer, thief and proud owner of the title deed for Tegel Manor.

Alan: a young cutpurse who is believed to be with Alexander the apprentice, lost at sea.

Alexander the apprentice: also hoped to have survived the conclusion of the Starless Sea!

Thora the Armorer: your skills will be missed.

Chapter 3: The secrets of Tegel

The party have left the old, wounded, and children that survived the razing of Eros with the sisters at the Abbey. Moep was able to procure a sack of traveling rations for himself.

Making their way into the town proper just after noon, the group was able to catch the end of the first day of Market. Lars was able to sell a bit of the crop brought along from Eros. Most of the parties gains were spent at the stall of Marcus the Decent, a merchant and seller of a great many things.

A few rumors were overheard, and the tale of the fate of Eros began to quickly spread. Friar Beavis headed to the White Horse Tavern to procure some holy vintage and gather news.

As evening fell, the entire group retired to the White Horse where ale and the tale of the "Starless Sea" was told by Lars!
Even Moep found himself reliving the terror of that adventure all over again, thakfully he could drown his fears in ale!
By  midnight the tales of Tegel town and the Manor on the hill flowed freely. Hasnovar the tavern keeper told Tyrrian when asked of Tegel Manor itself;
"I'd not send my worst enemy to that place, young sir! Cursed it is, all those who go there die within days of being there. Or just never come back, that's fer sure!"

By mid-morning of the 2nd day of Market, Lars led the group to Altharonthas boarding house and got rooms for all. Sally arrived with a satin pillow of Tarantian make under her arm. Just then a group of militiamen arrived with an invitation from the Mayor to come for late breakfast.

The Mayor Ternelmor related the woes that had begun to fall upon Tegel town in the past few weeks. This seemed to fall in line with what had befallen the town of Eros as well. The evil of Tegel Manor has taken root again and begun to spread into the land itself. But of more pressing need was for heroes to cleanse the local graveyard and the old Temple on the hill. The rumor that the Mayor could indeed turn "Steel into Gold" seemed to hold a bit of truth. Gold indeed if the party can sanctify the Temple on the Hill for the town.

Gathering the wayward members of the group the party set out for the hill by noon. At the outskirts of town Tyrrian reveals the secret of the parchment he found sewn into the hem of his cloak. A partial map of Tegel manor and clues to evil within. Also that last night Tarek had come into possession of a certain Title Deed for the Manor itself!

Atop the wooded hill the graveyard seemed quaint and undisturbed in the noon sun. The old Temple was truly old, and had to be searched before Lars discovered a secret latch that uncovered a steep and descending stair!

Lighting torches, Bull Zi followed by Sven and Thora (with torch) led the descent. A musty cobwebbed chamber was discovered with a dark exit off to the right (east), and the northwest corner of the chamber was filled with rubble from a prior collapse. A single skeletal hand peeking out from the rocks.

Wary of a possible trap Lars moved forward to aid Bull Zi in a quick search for deadfalls. Coming to the conclusion that this was nothing more than an old cave in, Lars began to supervise the removal of rubble to uncover the body. Within moments the body was revealed to be a dwarf with a crushed skull and the strap of a large bag over its shoulder. With Thora's torch for light Lars, Sven and Bull Zi began to dig in earnest. The rest of the party waited by the starwell, and Moep made sure he had a clear pathway of escape.

Suddenly the walls and floor shook as a tremor spooked everyone, the caved in area explode in a cloud of dust, dirt and rock as a hideous bug like creature burst out of the wall! Easily twice the size of Sven the monster lunged forward thrashing its clawed arms and gnashing its mandibles! Lars saw Thora was frozen in fright and attempted to push out of the path of the monster, but he slipped in loose rubble and was only able to watch with the others as the thing clawed Thora with such force she was thrown 10ft back to slam into the wall next to the stairwell. Moep quickly went to aid Thora, in the flickering light of the single torch held by Tom he could not tell the extent of her injuries. Sven retrieved his axe from the floor by his feet and laid into the creature with blow that cracked its chitinous armoured hide and black blood flowed freely!  A quick but tense melee ensued as the creature was harried by Bull Zi, Tyrrian, Sally and much admonishment from Friar Beavis! Garrotte attempted to aid Moep who now relit Thora's dropped torch and they discovered she was far beyond aid.

Lars recovered a leather shoulder bag from the dwarf corpse, and the party opted to take Thora back above ground for burial before continuing. Above ground Calis who had stayed to keep watch points towards the coast and the storm clouds that had begun to gather. "Something unnatural, I feel." he mutters.
As a grave is dug for Thora, the sun is blocked out and the day becomes like night. A cold biting rain begins to fall and the group turns back toward the dark stairwell that descends to an unknown fate for all.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Come, come my friends. I have something to show you!

Welcome my friends, I am Marcus the Decent. I bring you wares, baubles, trinkets and more! From the far eastern city of spice Tarantis at the edge of the world, to western City State of the World Emperor. From the Holy cities of the desert dwelling Mycretians in the south to the ice bound city of Valon in the north. I my friends, am the only merchant that can offer you these items at discounted prices!

My friends, one drop of this tincture added to a cup of wine sustained the Green Emperor himself as he led the rites in the pleasure pits for a month. Imagine what it could do for you! 

Specialty items for sale:

10' Pole of treasure divining: this sturdy yet slightly pliable oak pole was recently revealed to have belonged to a Halfling treasure hunter. This pole was used to plumb the depths of the mystical "Portal under the Stars" and can lead the wielder unerringly to gemstones and veins of precious metal. It can be yours for a mere silver piece!

2 Pitchforks of monster taming: This set of paired pitchforks are the only farming tools to have survived the razing of the small farming village of Eros. Identified by a surviving witness as the pitchforks used to defend that place against vile man-beasts! Protect your family and home with these tested and true items for a mere 5 silver pieces. Sold only as a set!

1 Man-beast Spear: forged by the dirty bloodstained paws of the hell spawned, this twisted vile tool fit only for dealing death should not even be sold for ANY price. Yet, the hand of fate stepped in and this spear alone was turned against its creator and slayed him. Now you can fight evil with evil's own creation for a measly 15 copper!

Newly acquired items:

Hand carved stout ash Staff: this home spun item was hand crafted by a dearly departed citizen of Eros. Yours for 2 silver, and some of the proceeds go to the orphans of Eros fund at the Temple of Law.

Deer pelt: sturdy enough for soft new boots, or bedding. The ladies will love it.  One Silver and a half.

Remember my Friends I am only in town for 3 days before I must travel on. Come see me soon, or you will have to wait until I return.