The Ruins; Tamoguna

DM Log - Session 8

The party milled about in the relative cool on the steps inside Crawl. The floors smelled terrible, and many of the flagstones were stained with old, dark blood. Inside the cells they had recently explored there was fresh blood & still warm cloaks, but it seemed the living had been restricted there. Drumm was certain that the False Heart that powered Crawl was further up, and urged his companions not to dawdle or explore the zombie rott-wieler kennels. They were all feeling worried & scared, so they slowed inched their way up the staircase, ready for an attack. Half-way up the slowly curving stairs they found a boarded up window. A silent glance passed between the four of them, and while they began a whispered discussion on who should do the honours of shattering it, Crow stepped forward and unleashed a mighty flurry of claws & fists. The wooden & hide barricade practically exploded {natural 20} from the window, and a few seconds later they heard the splash! as it fell into the swampy waters below. Sunlight flooded their eyes and created a powerful, hot bar of sunlight that dissected the upper and lower staircase. Drumm & Aster nodded their approval – with this at their backs they would have a shield from any of Bodach’s People who tried to sneak up behind them.

Feeling more confident, they strode up until they reached a door at the top of the staircase. Aster requested the others to pull back a little, and pressed her elven ears against the door, straining to hear any sounds.

Nrrrgg … shf shfff … wierrng

There was the sound of shifting bodies, and an irregular drip of liquid splattering onto something. There also seemed to a low murmur, but she couldn’t quite make out what it was. What really stole her attention though was the smell. The ground floor of the tower had smelt rotten, but whatever was on the other side was otherworldly in its powerful stench. She cracked the door open ajar and peered inside. It was pitch black, but the minimal light from Drumm’s torch was enough to make out what looked like bodies heaped on top of one another. She gently closed the door & retired back to her new found allies. After explaining what she’d seen, Drum was unusually energetic to fight, and Ahren was his usual, monkey-like self. They organised themselves about the doorway, before suddenly bursting out. In the strong light of the torch they made out a gruesome sight.

Bodach’s People. The 40 foot circular room was filled with a veritable mountain of zombies, and they lay unmoving on the floor around you. Their skin was a wasted brown, and drawn tightly against their dehydrated flesh. Their faces were contorted into various death masks like the mummified corpses found in a bog. Standing at guard to the next door were 2 strange zombies. They contrast markedly to others, which are dry & still. These wobble on their feet, and were bloated like a murdered victim left in foul waters. Strange, dark liquids oozed from their bodies, and at times a small weal would pop by itself, showing the area about it in a haze of pus.

Without so much as glancing at the zombies, Aster rushed to a southern-facing window she spotted. With one swing of her broadsword she cut away the lower half of the thick hide that had covered the window, and a ribbon of sunlight bloomed into the room. Because it was only early morning during the High Sun, only a small portion of the room was lit, but the piles of deathly still zombies that were caught in the sunlight began to gently smoulder. Despite what must have been a fatal attack, none of the dry, bog-zombies moved at all.

Meanwhile, Drumm had spent his time examining the room. He noticed that the 2 bloated corpses (“Corruption Corpses”) were not guarding the door like the group had imagined, but were guarding a figure who was neck-deep in zombies. Drumm summoned his Spirit of Athas with a flourish of his totem, and ducked back towards the doorway where they had entered. Crow and Ahren had raced to take down the most potent threat they could see- the corruption corpses. Flames seemed to erupt from every one of Ahren’s attacks, with some of those fires flying towards completely unrelated enemies. The group seemed to be doing amazing, until the zombies finally reacted. The not-quite-unison the Corruption Corpses dug their swollen hands into their chest and brought forth of a handful of rotting, pussy gunk. They threw this at the sunlight-bringing elf, and the imposing stone spirit that Drumm had brought forth. Upon striking Aster she was so disgusted she at first failed to notice it was sapping her strength and robbing her of her mental clarity {weakened ; all damage is halved}. The mostly buried zombie called forth in a deep, crisp tone.

”Lend.”

At his command one of the still, dry zombies began to move. It’s hand jittered about randomly, as if life had suddenly been infused into it. The hand began to powerfully scrabble about, and with a surprising turn of speed pulled the still body behind it to lunge at Ahren. The spellsword Dray was able to nimbly avoid the attack, but suddenly all eyes turned to the Deathlock Zombie Master. The battle raged on, with Aster & Crow teaming up to kill a Corruption Corpse, which upon its re-death exploded in a shower of disgusting gunk. The longer the battle raged, the more power the Zombie Master could use. His words of power became longer, and the number of Crawling Hands he could raise increased. Between the flaming might of Ahren and the empowering words of Drumm the second Corruption corpse had been taken down. Crow had focused her attacks on slaying the revived hands, which tried to swarm towards a target, distracting their enemy until one leapt to attack {all but 1 Hand would use Aid Another to “lend a hand”} trying to deal with the problem before they were overwhelmed with hundreds of partially-mobile Bodachians. The Zombie Master spoke his final line:

”Lend. Me. A. Hand. Now.”

5 hands were raised. Calling for help from the primal spirits that ruled Athas, Drumm unleashed his most powerful chant {daily}. Strange ripples appeared about the Zombie Master, and the rest of the party discovered that their next subsequent attack could hurt the Zombie Master more & more. Across the entirety of the battle Aster had been carefully examining the master for his weakest point, and in a fashion that would have made her Elven assassin masters proud attacked the Zombie Master when he was at his most weak {4 assassin shrouds (4d6) + maximum benefit from Drumm’s daily (3d6) + encounter power = 3d8 + 7d6 damage} to deal the killing stroke. The hands began to lose their vitality, and after a few seconds the Crawling Hands lost the strength to pull the corpses, before finally returning to the stillness they had originally shown.

Feeling exhausted but impressed with themselves, the group climbed halfway up the staircase before falling against the cool stone walls. Drumm & his spirit tended to their wounds, and gave them small words of encourage to help get them back to their prime {full HP}. While the group was resting Drumm tried to smash the boarded up window, which seemed to be in every staircase, but couldn’t muster the strength. Feeling slightly indignant at being bested by hide & wood, he requested that his spirit finish the group. A western facing window was opened up, and once again the group felt better for it.

Feeling ready for the danger that lay ahead, Aster snuck to the door and tried to listen carefully for what may be on the otherside, but couldn’t make anything out. She carefully opened the door and peeked inside. A powerful beam of light from Crow’s Sunrod helped to illuminate the room. From the crack in the door Aster could make out an empty, stone floor that had a dry zombies that had been cut powerfully in two. She closed the door & let the others know about her investigation. After quite a bit of worried wispering, it was decided they would try what they’d so successfully used in the below room; just rush in & hope to overwhelm whatever was inside. They burst inside, eyes wide with adrenaline to find an empty stone room that had thin grooves set evenly throughout the floor. Three steps in, there was a SCHK! noise and a powerful obsidian razor burst out from the far wall. It was a foot thick, and pushed forward like a battering ram. Luckily for the group the razor sliced through an unoccupied column, and served to only heighten their fear. Aster and Ahren noticed on the far wall there was a control panel that was connected to a complex looking lock on a door. Trusting to their skill & luck they quickly darted across the room and started to get to work. Crow hovered behind the two, giving them helpful hints to both of them, but never trusting in her own skill to deactivate the controls. Once one of the 6 razors had been disabled Drumm rushed to the safe area, and began to watch out for the group. He knew if he devoted his time to watching for the razors, he would be able to command his spirit to pull a companion out of the way. Across the next few minutes, and a few false starts, they were able to disable the trap and unlock the door. It has been a few harrowing moments, and Crow had taken a greivous wound that had to be patched up by Drumm.

They knocked out another Eastwards facing window, and were ready to continue on when they heard the murmur of voices. Suddenly worried, the party snuck up to the door to hear as much as possible.

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