The Ruins; Tamoguna

DM Log - Session 10

The group carefully moved back up the ladder. The way was treacherous, with several of the rungs having been partially sawed through. Thankfully, after their trip down it but a moment earlier, they were able to scale the ladder with ease – even the ever clumsy Drumm.

They returned to the room with the four beds, the eladrin corpses (plus one knocked out near naked eladrin guard) and the mist. The closer they got to it, the more they could smell the chartreuse fog. Crow’s 2 animal companions in particular found it irresistible. It smelt like a combination of the tangy scent of citric fruits, the heart-warming scents of roasting meat and the scent of baking golden syrup. Finally unable to hold back their stomachs the party moved forward, with Drumm in the lead. The moment he put his foot on the first step, he found himself turned about stepping back into the room! He felt bewildered, so tried again. Curiosity got the better of the shaman, who began to trail different methods & combinations, such as asking Aster to teleport in, throwing objects in and such like. No matter what he tried, whatever entered the thick green mist on the staircase it was spun about to enter the room.

The mul felt rather cheated, and connected himself to the spirit world. He spent some time searching for Crawl’s spirit {barely passing DC}, before asking it what the mist was. The creature did not fully understand it, but it explained that it was linked to its False Heart, and that only the jawbone of its child would be able to break the fog’s effects. The man who had revived Crawl into its false life had killed Crawl’s child & used its jaws, which was split into three parts, as the other method to gain access to the False Heart. While Drumm explained this to the party there was a loud CLINGGG! A grappling hook had flown through the open fourth storey window, where it firmly lodged itself. When Drumm leaned out to see what danger was next coming their way, he was confronted with a familiar face.

*Kris ‘the earthquake’ – a fighter in the Tyrian Arena who had bested all manner of slaves that Drum had overseen.

She was having some trouble with the salt-encrusted building blocks, and she seemed practically stuck in place- either able to climb up, and too stubborn to climb down & use the stairs. Drumm enjoyed the moment, taunting her & asking the party (jokingly) if they should cut her free. Aster was more pragmatic about it all, simply trying to determine who Kris was, and why she was on a wall outside a mobile fortress. The human was quick to explain; Meril at House Ianto had been uncertain of the party’s reliability, and so had hired Kris to also investigate Bodach’s People. One thing had lead to another, and now Kris too was on Crawl. The group was sated, and they hauled Kris in.

Inside the room and away from the white-glare of the salt, the group was able to see just who Kris was. She wasn’t particularly tall or short, but was stocky. Her hair looked butchered & badly cared for, and each step she took sounded like a pregnant mekillot on a glass floor. She was wearing dull cloth clothes that didn’t draw attention to her, and under that what looked like a miscellanea of various animal skins strapped to her. {camouflage clothes & scale mail}

With Ahren still clambering about on the outside walls, the group was happy to have another sword to better defend them against whatever lay ahead; except for Drumm, who was little recalcitrant about Meril not trusting them, and about a Tyrian annoyance suddenly in such close proximity. Kris was briefed on the situation, and was quick to start telling them what to do with a casual assumption they would follow. Strangely, they did.

Having considered the first hole ‘explored,’ Kris took them down the second hole in the floor. She shone her Everburning Torch down the hole, seeing another ladder extending down into the space between levels, and then veering off towards the walls of the circular tower. More than though, she noticed there were surprises on the ladder, with several of the rungs reflecting back the torchlight; they’d be greased! The party cautiously made their way down the ladder, avoiding the rungs. Ever since they had passed the knife-trap on the level below, it seemed that where ever they turned there was another surprise waiting for them.

The tunnel passed between the third and fourth storey until it reached the thick, outer tower walls. Here there was another hole leading down the another ladder; this one even more cramped than the last. The group relied on ropes to get down. As they went down into the darkness they could feel the heat leave the stones and the walls become carved carapace. They were inside Crawl now.

A dais dominated the chamber’s middle area. On it stood a horrid statue that was carved to resemble a corpulent half-giant boasting an cruel grin. It was 6 foot tall – smaller than life when it came to half-giants. It raises a crystal pedestal in both gnarled hands. At the top are four tiny statues each gripping one part of a faintly glowing part of a jawbone.

The group were curious about the room, poking walls and floors for any exits before they reluctantly stepped up to the statue. Drumm and Aster were keeping well back, worried about any more traps that might be sprung. Kris & Crow however, knew that a trap should not stop their progress so easily.

The pair of them examined the statue, particularly the four creatures holding onto the jawbone. Each of the four statuettes gripping the jaw was unique and bears an inscription in giant. The first depicts a squat, flabby demon carved from red stone with the word “IXAM” on a plate below. The next looks like a cloud made from clay with “ALRASTIL” below it. The third says “PENTUKO” and features an amorphous blob carved from amber. The fourth is made from glass, and it
shows a humanoid form labelled “MYRG.”

Ignoring Drumm’s request to not touch it, Crow reached out one of her odd, multi-jointed arms and lightly touched the glass humanoid with a claw. The item faded from sight, and a Spectre appeared; haunting Drum and his spirit. It disappeared and re-appeared across the battle field, striking at each combatant before fading from view. The group quickly discussed a battle plan; use the aura of cold fear the spectre generated to locate where it might be, then strike. The tactic worked, and after some powerful attacks from Aster and Crow the Spectre was destroyed. They’d learned what the statues had in store for them, and felt better prepared. With all their weapons at the ready, Crow this time spoke one of the names – Ixam. From a corner none were looked a small red imp materialised. This dretch smelt horrible, but it was its fearsome claws that drew the eye. They were the length of knives, but fat and wide; it looks more like it would gore someone open with them rather than leave fine scratches. Contrary to sane thought Kris was glad to see the thing.

“Finally; something I can hit!” she cried, and wholeheartedly launched herself into battle. Kris’ enthusiasm was not matched by her weapon though, which splintered from her powerful blow. Shards of horn and stick sprayed across the room, but it barely seemed to effect the fighter, who merely bellowed out “Another weapon! Quick!” It was clear she was an arena bred fighter at that moment; most other warriors would bewail the loss of a weapon, but to Kris it was just a brief inconvenience. Drumm obediently passed her one of the obsidian daggers. Between Kris’ lunges, Aster’s shadow nooses and Crow’s arrows the fiend was taken down, but not before leaving a few serious wounds. Everyone grimly returned to their places about the statue, and Crow read the third name; they had noticed if they spoke its name it materialised feeling disorientated, rather than vengeful. Their third challenge was the Pentuko; an ochre jelly that was close to 10 foot was side to side, and a horrible gelatinous mess of goo. Drum rather took a fancy to its scent though, and quickly followed the jelly as it easily slipped between the party to hound Crow and Aster. It had latched onto them; slamming both of the non-human females until they retreated far away from the action while Kris and Drumm doggedly followed the jelly. With a mightly blow Kris managed to cleave the jelly in two; and after that it was simply a case of Drumm burning one, and Crow filling the other with her arrows until it resembled a strange festival treat. Drumm seemed to see it as such, for he tasted both the ‘raw’ and ‘well done’ versions of the ochre jelly, and after sampling them felt he would be able to make a recipe of it if he so desired {nature check for culinary uses of ochre jelly}

With three of the four guardians defeated, Drumm pleaded for a rest. They’d been fighting non-stop, and he was beginning to near his limit before he needed a breather. Kris agreed; she could do with a break. The group of four retreated to a corner, where they had a snack, refreshed themselves and oiled their weapons {taking a short rest}. Crow kindly gave Kris a weapon more to her liking; one of the sweet bone longswords from the eladrin guards upstairs. While they were preoccupied they failed to notice the evanescence of the corpses, who reappeared about the jawbone looking scratched, worn, but still definitely about.

When they’d finished their rest & were about to fight the last they finally noticed the reappearances. After much cursing and groaning they decided to hit the enemies hard & fast. They knew what to expect now, so they all readied an attack, and instructed Crow to read out the enemies. The jelly was the first up, with Aster noosing it, Drum harassing its mind & Kris barreling into it before it even had a chance to flinch. The fight was brief; they got the sense that the guardians had not had a chance to recuperate entirely, and their new tactic seemed very effective. The dretch imp followed suite very quickly, but the spectre once again gave them trouble. It haunted them for quite a while before it was taken down by a slash Kris’ bone longsword.

Finally they were down to 1 final statuette – A cloudy little clay figurine. Crow spoke its name and a dust devil whipped itself into shape. It was animated, malign winds surrounded with gritty sands that stung the eye and whipped at unprotected skin. It proved a nimble challenge, knocking the entire team, bar Aster, to the ground at one point as it pivoted about the room. It too was finally taken down, and without pausing for so much as a breath Drumm rushed over and snatched the jawbone from the half-giant statue’s cluthes.

Not wanting to stick around to see what else might happen the group speedily left the room, dallying only long enough for Drumm to scoop 2 bags worth of ochre jelly. They went up first one ladder, and then down the other into a familiar room.

Soft blue light emanated from a glowing ring set in the floor’s center. Flecks in the walls caught and reflected the light. In the ring’s center hovered a small, lower jawbone that looked quite so similar to the one they’d just picked up. A carefully hewn tunnel also lead further into Crawl’s carapace. Drumm chuckled when he saw it, thinking that whoever had constructed the trap hadn’t considered the common psionic gift of telekinesis. With a casual flick of his hand he tried to whisk the jawbone from the circle towards him. The item resisted though, only floating a foot or so closer towards him while the circle dimmed to an angry red, making the room darker and more forbidding. He suggested that Crow go to the opposite side of the circle to try to use the force of her arrow to shoot the jawbone across the circle towards. The Thri-Kreen dutifully tried. When the arrow smacked into the jawbone it moved 2 foot closer to Drumm, and the circle changed colour again.

At this point Kris spoke up; she’d seen this type of circle before during her arena matches {natural 20} and knew bad things would happen if they kept trying these tricks. What they had to do was to disarm the circle or become insubstantial & phasing somehow. She’d seen it done a few times before, so suggested trying to find out a way to disarm it. They searched the room, and found a few loose bricks; they were easy to find given they were inside the carapace of Crawl. More importantly though the stones were hollow, and after cracking them open found it released a gas. Drumm correctly identified it as imbued so that someone would be able to briefly become phasing & insubstantial – hopefully for long enough to get the bone from the circle. They called for Aster’s nimble body, but the eleven lass had tired herself out in the previous battle and was napping against the wall. Crow volunteered. She knew she was not as acrobatic as her elven friend, but had been the most nimble in her pirate crew. Drumm was dubious, but agreed. Quick as a flash Crow passed through the strange gas, flipped through the circle, grabbed the jawbone, and did a little pirouette at the end to finish her performance.

Crow silently handed the jawbone over to Drum, who fitted it together with the other half of the lower jawbone. All that was left now was the upper jaw, and they had a strange tunnel leading into the darkness in front of them. Before they set off though for more trouble, Crow struggled to pick up one of the magical stones. She’d loved the feeling she had, and wanted to keep a ‘back up’ just in case.

{*Hope you don’t mind the title Kris! I went to a wrestler name generator & came across ‘farmer earthquake.’}

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