Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Guardians of Sol Povos: Into The Eye Once More

 We'd just taken down the vampire sorceress and the skeletons last session; we start by looting hte vampire.

The Vampire wizard had:
Bracers of Armor +3
Cloak of resistance +3
Headband of Intellect +2
Amulet of Natural Armor +2
Ring of Protection +2

A door has appeared in the south wall of the corridor; Leira passes through first. She looks around. There's a pedestal with a gem off to one side, with a crystal that's radiating an aura of power. It actually appears to be some sort of glass eyeball, and there are little rubies absorbing trickles of power from the Eye. There are two tables; one with some scattered items, and one in front of a very large statue that holds a book. There's also a staff, a heavy steel shield, and a goblet with ten rubies in it.

Leira skims over the open page of the book. "Remember, do not touch the eye directly. Place the ruby into its place, utter the incantation, place the ruby in a skeleton's socket, and finish the incantation." The rest of the book appears to be an inventory of the skeleton's they've created, and they're syphoning souls from Phanaxia to power the gems.

Alexej arrives in the same room, and sees much the same things; but Leira is not there. He takes the goblet full of rubies.

Tavros appears. He doesn't immediately identify the jewel as an eye, but it's obvious magic and he's looking for an evil ritual; now he can make out the impression of an eyeball. "Clearly there is only one way to deal with whatever dark magics are being performed here," he observes to himself, and attempts to shatter the eyeball with his sword.

Leira has located:
+1 bastard sword,
Dust of Illusion,
2x potion undetectable alignment
A secret door to the west.

Her friends are not beyond the secret door; it's a smallish, semi-triangular (tower) bedroom, not recently used. There's a chest, and moves to check that. There are personal items inside, including a magical dildo (every high-level enchantress should have one). At the bottom is a notebook; inside -- "Remember, if the ritual starts going south, break the sun rubies to sever the link and stop the ritual."

 Leira: "All my friends are dead!" The bed is a Tenser's Floating Bed, the magical equivalent of a waterbed; Leira curls up on it and cries.

She decides to start adding sun rubies to the sockets in the pedestal of the eye. When she picks up a sun ruby... something happens that the rest of us can't see.

Marshall, finally, comes into the room. He recognizes the statue from the last time he got his body stolen. The pedestal looks familiar to him, too. He stops to heal himself, seeing as he's still a bit injured (all of us are, actually). Then he goes to look at the gem. He recognizes that, too. He... pulls out the severed Medusa head and shows it to the eyeball. It doesn't have any obvious effect.

Marshall shoves the Eye in his bag of holding. Turns out he's just holding a ruby, but he shoves it in his pouch anyway. He turns back to the table just in time to see the items on it vanish -- sword, dust, etc. He detects magic, starting with the table.

There's a very powerful This Whole Room aura of very high power; the empty table isn't reading as magic anymore. The pedestal is magic; the chalice of rubies has one ruby that's shining far more strongly than the others. Marshall reaches for it. There's a moment of blurring, and he wakes up in another room.

We're now all in another room, very similar to the first; but there's a spherical iron cage with a glass eye in it, and it's looking at us. Those of us who were holding eyes are no longer holding them. On the plus side, we're back together. Leira hugs Tavros, who does the Comforting Paladin Voice to reassure her that we're all okay now.

Leira looks into the eye and sees a tiny little world in there. Alexej and Tavros try to attack through the bars, but there's a barrier as well.

Marshall: "All right, you poor bastards. There's some Eye of Vecna fuckery going on here, and these things tend to screw with your head and make it quite difficult to deal with its presence and end it. Not quite sure how to deal with this, to be honest. We can't break it. We might be able to catch it. Otherwise, I think we should possibly be prepared to stay here forever...?"

Tavros tries to pick up the eyeball's cage; it's too heavy.

Marshall: "Everybody close your eyes."

We do, and he shows the medusa head to the eye, then puts away again. "Okay, you can look, I'm decent again." There might have been the sound of tiny screams, like the Whos down in Whoville, from somewhere deep inside the Eye.

Tavros wraps his Solari cloak around the cage. He's pretty sure the Eye can still see him. The statue looks to Marshall as if it was reshaped from an earlier statue. Tavros looks elsewhere. There's the book, a staff of Defense with 27 charges, a +1 shield, and a goblet with rubies. Tavros pours the rubies out and starts smashing them, so there's 45,000 GP we won't have. (Hey, the books said it would end the ritual! ...Stupid book.)

Leira points out that the main door is now visible. Tavros tries to lift the cage again, fails. The other table is empty, but Leira looks slightly sheepish about that; she still has the items she took from it.

Marshall opens the door and finds a hallway, much like the one we *were* in... but with no stairs going back down.

Leira drops a fireball on the cage and statue. It's a tremendous fwakoom, but doesn't damage any of the things we really would have liked to damage. Marshall tries dropping a Consecrate on the area around the eye. It fails to penetrate the barrier. However, Tavros' cloak is not coming back from that fireball; he's not sure if he minds.

Tavros checks the hallway and confirms that there are no stairs by walking snout-first into the wall at the far end. We decide that maybe a rest is in order.

Leira takes first watch and hears moaning. Tavros has a dream of trudging though an endless swamp; he remembers feeling like he just has to push through this thing to an immense evil in a tower somewhere ahead. He wakes up for his watch and Leira tells him about the moaning sound; she wasn't able to figure out where it was coming from, nor was she in a big hurry to get up and look for it.

During second watch, Leira dreams of Capitan Sasha and his beautiful, chiseled featured and his beautiful hair. In her dream, a door opens in the west wall and Sasha walks out; he comes closer and closer but doesn't quite reach her; then he looks at her with an expression of angry and it's very upsetting. (Note that so far, there has not been a door in the west wall.

Marshall takes third watch and hears absolutely nothing; he's mostly amusing himself with lizard dueling. The lizards are not amused, but Marshall is; it can't be long before they forget they were once dragons.

Alexej dreams that he's back in Old Angolas, looking through the arrow slit as Maldeus' body is carried through and Cristobol -- possessed by Maldeus -- dies. The dragon stirs, but the dream is focused on the death of the Colonel, and Alexej weeps.

We finish our rest. Alexej: "Marshall, give me my eyes back."

Marshall has prayed for Remove Blindness, so Alexej can see again. Finally catching up, he's tremendously upset: "Why are there so many smashed gems!? What is terrible eyeball? We must leave this horrible place! Come!"

We head out to the hall, and through the western door. It's full of incredibly dense fog, and there's an odd... almost a pool, or a mirror on the floor. Maybe a map? It's hard to make out much of anything in there.

Marshall tries to figure out what's going on there, but he's baffled. He could conceivably blow the fog away, but he let Wind Wall go to cure Alexej. Alexej opens the north door... in this room there's a swirling fog thing with a shimmering blue hemisphere around it. There's an image inside, almost like a snow globe.

There are images in the hemisphere. Alexej slips in and takes a look.

Inside, an image coalesces. There's a man in there, strong of stature but malnourished and weak; he appears to be sitting inside a barn. It... looks like Cristobol. Alexej: "I think Cristobol is inside."

Cristobol: "Alexej?" He stands, but he can't move too far from the wall. He's dressed in the colors of a provincial lord: a soldier with a spear on the ground, and a centaur being impaled on the spear. It looks like he's in a barn. "Oh, I have truly lost my mind."

Alexej: "No, you have not, it is me! I am in some tower somewhere, I don't know where."

Leira walks in and speaks to Cristobol as well; she joined the group later and does not share Alexej's happy memories of training under the man. She basically remembers him as the asshole that he was while Maldeus was possessing his body.

Cristobol: "Leira?"

We start to have the impression of a stable on the edge of town, rain coming down, lampposts... He is chained to the wall with an iron collar around his neck.

Tavros: "Who is this?"

Alexej: "He was colonel for Fort Dido. Thought he died."

Tavros pulls out his sword and pokes the sphere; the image disperses briefly. "Marshall, any ideas?"

Marshall: "Well, in lieu of trying to poison him, I could try casting Dispel Magic." 

"I am so going to regret my need to rescue people," says Tavros and walks into the sphere.

He is not transported; he's just standing in this miasma, feeling damp and misty. Marshall tries Dispel Magic, and dispels it.

We move on, and dispel the fog in the next room. The map on the floor is about half illusion, but it shows a tower in a swamp... just like Tavros dreamed of.

As we look, we hear the sound of stone grinding from the first room - the eyeball room, not the Cristobol room. There's another room visible now. It has a freshly dug-up grave, with a coffin beside it; Marshall detects evil, and there's plenty in that coffin. The whole setup is probably illusion, but it's very believable; even the grass around the grave looks real.

The headstone reads "Kroni, servant to the Dark One."

Alexej: "Wait! Is he called Chuck, of the Vampire Latrine?" (OOC: this is one of the characters from the EvilParty piece of the campaign, the PCs in service to the forces of Vecna.)

Marshall: "You've heard of him?"

Alexej lifts the lid with his guisarme. Sasha is inside... but he's wearing jet black armor and shield, and both are engraved with the symbol of Vecna. He's got a longsword, and there are a lot spikes on his armor.

Tavros: "Oh, that looks badass. I want that armor. I'm going to put new symbols on it."

Sasha: "Alexej! I'm glad to see you!" He stands up.

Alexej: "Aren't you evil?"

Sasha: "No, of course not! The cleric is lying to you. He's the one that's evil."

Alexej looks at Marshall, but honestly it's Marshall; he hasn't done anything overtly evil around this group, but still...

Tavros: "I say, sir vampire. I don't suppose you'd care to surrender? We're taking a number of vampires back to the capital to have their humanity restored."

Sasha: "I'm not a vampire! I was captured by these cultists who want to turn me into this Kroni of theirs."

Tavros studies him. "Seems reasonable."

Leira rushes over and throws her arms around him. "Why are you mad at me it's so good to see you?!"


Marshall turns undead, but... he isn't actually undead. On the other hand, he might have been lying about not being evil...

Alexej trips him just to be sure, and he falls, but when he follows through with the attack Sasha blocks with his shield. His armor class is unreal, whatever it is. (OOC: Over 30, so far.) He rolls away, and then attempts to smite Alexej from the ground... and succeeds, delivering a powerful blow full of evil... evilness.

Alexej's dripping blood goes flowing off across the floor and heads to the eye; Alexej feels a bit faded. Tavros tries to smite but misses; Marshall steps in and tries Slay Living. Leira drops Greater Invisibility on Tavros, which should help. Marshall manages to touch him for Slay Living. Unfortunately, the spell fails to kill him (but does some damage). (OOC: Paladins and saving throws, man.) Alexej steps back at an angle and attacks again at his preferred range.

He hits with the first attack and misses with the second, but the first one does a lot of damage; Sasha is still on the ground, but rolls himself close enough to smite Alexej again. With his blood flowing away, Alexej fades and vanishes. Sasha turns and attacks Marshall, not smiting; but he gets one of those amazing lucky strikes that sometimes happen. Marshall's blood also runs off into the next room and he slowly fades until he's just not there.

Tavros attacks and misses again; Sasha rolls into the doorway and stands up. Tavros tries to grapple, but fails; he's stronger, but Sasha is the more experienced combatant. Leira drops a fireball and damages the guy; Tavros turns and crashes through one of the windows; he's now floating in the void outside this room. "Drat! I was rather hoping for a painful but survivable fall to the ground."

Leira tries another fireball, but Sasha's sword absorbs the energy. Leira steps back, and Sasha moves up and attacks the empty square where she was.

Tavros pulls himself back into the room, and takes a shot with his longbow; he misses badly enough to realize that archery is going to be futile. Leira uses ghost voice (basically ventriloquism to keep her position hidden) to try to convince Sasha to spare her because it was the bard who made him take the soul. There's a brief struggle as Sasha tries to sheath the sword, and a tear rolls down his cheek; but Kroni's will is stronger, and the sword remains out.

Tavros gives up on the bow and moves back in to grab his sword; fortunately, he's still invisible. "Good sir, you used to be a paladin! Come back to the light, we can redeem you!" Sasha is conflicted, but not convinced.

Leira: "I know you can beat Kroni, Sasha! The light will win! Because I love you!"

He steps into the room and casts another healing spell on himself.

Tavros backs off and tries again; talking about the joys of serving the gods is a bit too ambiguous to do the job, though, what with the whole Servant of Vecna thing and all.

Leira tries again too, but also fails.

Sasha/Kroni hears her move and steps up and dispatches her.

Tavros finally manages to convince him! "Sir! That girl loved you! You must break free of this!"

Sasha: "Tavros! You must go in the eye! You must save your friends, or they'll be trapped forever!"

Tavros slices his cheek open and starts walking towards the eye. Blood flows. He reaches the cage, sticks his hand in and the room fades around him.

Sasha calls out as he goes: "I will get you out, but you must get them and you must hurry!"

We're in an abandoned campsite in the mountains. It's storming. There's a certain amount of trash and other rubbish. Most of us are looking around confused; Marshall pats himself, realizes we're corporeal, and says: "So... we're going to get out, right?"

Alexej: "Was going to ask you same."

Tavros: "Sasha says he can bring us back, but I have to gather you and get out."

We search the camp. Marshall collects 32 gold. Alexej find 25 more GP; Tavros moves to check one of the bodies.

Marshall detects evil. There's a very faint sense of evil from the statue at the back of the clearing; this was probably an old statue of the dark one.

The skeleton that Tavros is looking at was clearly mauled to death. And there's a rubbish pile in the northwest corner, some animal's leavings. The pile of corpses is mainly chunks of mountain goat. The fire circle is old, and has not been used in some time.

There's a hole in the ground at the base of the statue, but nothing's there. Alexej moves on to the tent, finds more gold.

There's a chest, but it's locked; Alexej bashes a hole in the side, and silver spills out. There were some art objects in there, but the polished glass statue was shattered. What's left is 2,000 GP in art, 7,000 silver (ditto) and a scroll case that's in good shape. Inside is a map.

It shows a sequence of islands, with a bit of a marking to show a line and an X. The map is marked with centaur icon on the west side. There are some scribbled notes "make sure to sneak by the giants, the treasure is hidden in the glade beyond by the old statue of the dark one." It sounds like there are stone giants and their pet giant bears between us and everything else.

From the diary, it sounds like we've found the treasure from the statue, and also we should go before something wanders by to eat us. We start down the trail, but there's a line of boulders blocking the path ahead of us.

Something is moving off to one side, and Tavros moves to meet it; his god Amon has whispered faintly in his ear. A beast slides down from the side of the cliff and bites him but fails to grapple; Tavros attacks and does some damage. Marshall follows him down the trail and attacks with Slay Living; again, he doesn't kill it outright, but he damages it.

The beast attacks Marshall, hitting him, and does some damage; it tries to grapple, and pulls Marshall down under its belly. Marshall is now being pummeled by claw attacks, and it hurts rather a lot.

Leira throws a Magic Missile at the thing, adding a respectable amount of damage, while Alexej moves in and attacks with Power Attack and Combat Expertise. He takes it down.

We stop there. Hey, at least we aren't going to have to go find our bodies again.

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