Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Sol Povos: The Gate, The Blade, and Old Man Kaz

When we last left our intrepid adventurers, Marshall had destroyed the giant undead and we'd beaten down the three nasty things that kept stunning Tavros. We expend cure light wounds from some wands to get everybody back up to speed, then proceed to check out the area to the south.

Tavros uses his detect evil ability. There are three sarcophagi in the area to the south, but they do not radiate evil. To the north, the way we didn't go yet, there's something evil just at the edge of his senses.

Each sarcophagus has a statue in front of it, a person holding a brazier; Marshall checks for magic -- there is definitely something there. We get Leira to start lighting braziers for us, but separately or together they don't stay lit. The sarcophagi have Roman numerals on them, but going in numerical order doesn't help.

Based on their placement, the numbers, and like that, we assume that we need to get a fourth sarcophagus to appear. We try opening sarcophagus #1, but it's empty.

We continue to the south, finding a gate blocking a small, closet-sized area. Leira uses the wand of Knock, and Marshall pulls the gates open.

Some sort of darts come flying out to hit Tavros, Alexej, and Marshall. Leira cries out in sympathetic pain: "Whyyyyy?" It probably bears mentioning that she and Alexej are still very, very drunk.

Even knowing that there had to be something here, it takes a minor miracle to find the secret door. But, there's a passage on the far side of the door that leads to a pair of ladders. We decide to leave those for later, and re-close (but don't re-lock) the gates. We head north instead.

We open the gate on the far side, and see another of the giant undead beyond. Tavros moves first, charging in and cutting it badly, and it reaches out to grab Tavros by the throat and try to rend him. "Guys!" he chokes, "Might need some help here." 

Alexej moves up and attacks past him, injuring the giant thing with his guisarme; Marshall moves up and uses a Heal spell to all-but-kill the thing; Leira finishes it.

Tavros staggers back to his feet, gasping. "Of all... the gifts... the gods... give us... air is... second only... to sleep..." He staggers a couple of steps and stabs the thing again, just for good measure.

Marshall moves north, and Tavros follows him, moving to cover a side-passage. Four undead-demon-things immediately charge out of the corridor and try to death gaze us to death. Alexej moves up, putting himself in the death gaze as well. Fortunately, we all Death Warded ourselves before we came down here.

Marshall looks at these things and speaks a Holy Word. They are blinded and deafened. Leira drops a fireball in behind them, but these things are fire resistant.

Tavros takes a swing at the closest one, and hits it once; then they all move forward, groping blindly for meat. They try to grab Tavros and Alexej, but fail. Alexej steps back to reestablish his range, and then attacks and kills the one that was approaching him.

Marshall casts Undeath To Death. It costs us 500 GP in components, but it wipes out the remaining three.

We check the side-corridor, and find a corpse. Alexej grabs gems off the corpse -- just about enough to cover Marshall's last two spells. There's another statue with a brazier to the north; this one stays lit!

We light a second brazier on a second statue, then head down the last side-passage. There's a figure guarding the statue there: Tavros charges and hits it, though again it's resistant to damage. Tavros recognizes it from the old books: it's an entropic reaper. (The Elvish party fought one of these before, but these characters have not.)

It attacks Tavros, but misses; then Alexej moves up behind him and attacks it as well. Marshall, recognizing it as something extraplanar, tries for Dismissal. The monster has spell resistance, and manages to shake off the spell.

Leira attempts to cast a Frost Sphere on it, but doesn't get through its spell resistance. Tavros carves it up a bit more, though it's both resistant to damage and regenerating. Marshall drops a Mass Cure Light Wounds, to heal us and damage the Entropic Reaper.

The monster continues regenerating, and attacks Tavros again but can't touch him.

Tavros and Alexej lay into the thing, carving chunks off it, and it goes down. Leira lights the third brazier.

We head back down to the set of three in the southern area. There's now a fourth statue and sarcophagus, but it won't stay lit for us. We head down the passage to the west, but find only a staircase leading up.

This leaves us with two choices: up the stairs, or down the ladders.

The new coffin has a roman numeral IV inscribed on it.

We stop to check the new statue, and Leira casts Greater Heroism on Alexej. So... we try the stairs up.

Tavros and Alexej come up in the middle of the hedge maze -- and find Katarina and Beatrix sitting there waiting for them. Beatrix moves over to Alexej and asks for another kiss.

So, Katarina is beautiful and Tavros is powerfully tempted, but he resists and then he hears slupring sounds and find that Alexej and Beatrix are embraced in a life-draining smooch.

This is exactly the point where Leira emerges from the stairwell; she takes in this scene and immediately recasts Greater Invisibility. Marshall followers her out; he's been saving something special for both of them: Banishment.

He doesn't get through Beatrix's spell resistance, but Katarina is not so strong; she is banished. (Tavros is relieved.)

Alexej, meanwhile, is still busily kissing the horrible life-draining monster that is Beatrix. Tavros reaches out and (using Grapple) rips Beatrix off of Alexej, who is grossly disappointed and still wants to be kissing her in spite of the fact that it's killing him.

He strikes out and trips Tavros with his guisarme, but utterly fails to hit him with the follow-up; Beatrix rolls off into the corner.

Leira drops a Freezing Sphere on Beatrix, and takes her out. There's now the corpse of a dead succubus in the corner, and Alexej's head is clear.

Alexej: "You need hand up, friend!"

Tavros: "Are you okay, my friend?"

We light the last brazier (in the garden, here) and head back down. There's a fourth coffin now, with accompanying sarcophagus; the sarcophagus has stairs down.

We decide to go back to the house and rest. We startle Tug on the way, but head back into the guest room. Alexej -- still under the influence of greater Heroism -- wanders over the table and pulls out the journal of Guslan the Uncatchable.

"Light reveals that which is hidden."

They came to see what was in the crypt; the rogue was deeply entranced by Katarina. He had trouble finding the Brazier. Also, he alerted his friends that the east wing was dangerous. Also also, he had tea with Katarina. And Guslan finally goes off to join Katarina in the hedge maze, and probably at this point his friends tried to intervene and everybody died.

Tavros takes first watch. Alexej takes second, and Marshall takes third; Leira just sleeps. Or at least that's the plan; at the end of the second watch there's a commotion outside and somebody knocks on the door.

Marshall opens the door: "May I help you?"

It's Ayleth: "Ah, good morning, sleepy heads! We do have breakfast with the master this morning."

Leira and Marshall head to the dining room; Alexej and Tavros go back to sleep.

Old man Kaz: "Have you seen my wife?"

Marshall: "Which one?"

Kaz: "Never mind. Have you seen Katarina!? I dearly hope she hasn't forsaken me."

Marshall: "Yeaaaahhhh about that. I just want to point out that we just did you a massive favor here. MASSIVE."

Leira: "Did you know your wife was a succubus? And Katarina was a succubus?" 

Marshall: "Both soul-devouring demons, my friend. You're better off without them."

Ayleth and Alice slip out of the room. Marshall considers, and decides that this is servants being discreet rather than some sort of deliberate complicity.

Kaz: "Never mind that, where's my daughter? Gail? GAIL???"

Marshall throws Restoration on him.

He's suddenly a lot less confused. Marshall starts filling him in again, with the succubi and everything else, and...

Leira: "Oooh, Katarina's dead! I could go back to her room and steal her smut!"

Alice returns with a very fancy breakfast. Kaz continues rambling, and Marshall just says reassuring things to him; it's not worth arguing.

The very fancy, very good breakfast takes about an hour.

While they're waiting for the others to wake up, Leira and Marshall decide to go toss Katarina's room. Lug is in the foyer polishing the columns; Leira asks him where Katarina's room is. He looks disturbed. "Not my business, ma'am."

She tries to convince him, but he doesn't want any part of this. Knowing where Alice, and Ayleth, and Beatrix's room are, Leira concludes that probably Katarina was just... sharing Kaz's room. She grabs a candle, turns invisible, and sets off for Beatrix's room.

Beatrix's room is weirdly separate. There are bones under the altar/table and not much else in there. She passes through the office, ignoring Ayleth, who in turn decides to ignore the randomly opening doors, and passes into the bedroom. There's an unused pallet, a much-used bed, and a tapestry depicting a great warrior holding a mighty sword as his troops pour over the hill behind him; the sword is very detailed, and there's a tower in the background. Someone with a knowledge of Fanaxian geography might be able to locate the area where this was set.

At the man's feet is a single dead body with an insignia: the symbol of the magiknights.

There's also a backpack, which clearly belonged to a rogue; it has a lot of basic equipment, and some bloodstains on the outside: "A backpack contains Gussalen’s possessions: Lockpicks, a hand crossbow, a sap, some caltrops, ingredients for making smoke powder, 6 torches, several tinderboxes, multiple candles, and some oil."

She finds and open a large chest, containing three thousand gold; there's also a tapestry, depicting a figure in the center with his hands on the chopping block. In the background is a sobbing young boy, a stoic evil-faced man, and the warrior from the tapestries -- Kaz, who is struggling to get to the sword. Next to the warrior, resting a hand on the warrior's shoulder and evidently praying, is a priestly figure in back robes; he is holding up a holy symbol that she recognizes as the Eye of Vecna. A prominent figure is preparing to cut off a hand from the obscured figure of the dark one.

Tavros and Alexej wake up to a platter of very fancy food, and immediately stuff themselves. Once they've had a chance to make their ablutions, we head to the cemetery.

Lug is following us; he warns us to be careful and then walks away. Tavros resolves to hand him some gold if we survive this.

We return to the crypt, then head down the newly-revealed staircase: Tavros first, then Alexj, Leira, and Marshall.

The stones here are very old. We follow the passage down, and find Old Man Kaz standing with the remains of the last group of dead adventurers behind him. "Ah, good. So few adventurers even make it down here, and I could use the help."

Tavros: "So what do you need help with?"

Kaz: "You could help me turn my fortunes, and I would gladly split the spoils with you."

Tavros: "What do you have in mind?"

Kaz: "My grandfather's sword was brought back with Destrian's help, and taken through this door behind me. It is a very valuable sword, but everyone who tries to retrieve it dies in trying to pass through. The only clue is the glimpses of another world we have seen in these two globes beside the door."

We enter the room. There are two statues here: one to indicate Kaz: a powerful warrior holding a mighty sword. The second statue is pointing with its right hand to the statue of Kaz, but this one is worn down and almost featureless.

Tavros Detects Evil, on both the statues and Old Man Kaz. (Marshall, as usual, steps out of the way.) Tavros tries to keep a neutral face, and apparently Kaz doesn't notice when Tavros detects overwhelming evil from him. The northern orb shows the top edge of Mar Dentro, where the eye of Vecna was; the other one shows the area of Titan's Reach, where the Hand of Vecna is supposedly resting. 

Old Man Kaz: "I fear the priest sealed the door against anyone of this world, or perhaps until the time was right."

Tavros, half reluctant and half fascinated: "It is true that if you have sought for adventurers from outside this world, you have found some."

The treasures upstairs, which we grabbed before heading down here:
Divine Scroll (Animal Growth (1125 gp), Summon Nature's Ally V (1125 gp), True Seeing (1375 gp), Mass Cat's Grace (1650 gp), Move Earth (1650 gp)) (total 6925 gp)
Lots of money.
Manual of Bodily Health (+3) (82500 gp) (design provides clue to function)
Staff of Life (14 of 50 charges) (43610 gp)

Tavros feels he is strong enough and has no need of the Manual; Alexej could certainly use it, but Marshall has also recently lost some of his constitution and the improvement would restore what he lost. We table that conversation for later.

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