SS Week 7 – Hmm, it ain’t limestone

Dave is back, which is really great news. We haven’t worked out how we shall alternate Kingmaker and Serpent’s Skull, but I am ok for either.

Our posse of swaggering demigods commence to clean out the rest of the camp. To the south, a butchery and a prisoner pen. And a live prisoner! A rather badly beaten up human female, named (something like) Kate. The party take her under their wing, slip her some healing and some Lesser Restoration potions, and soon she is fighting fit and ready to go.

Dave is a bit of a power-gamer, and he has decided to go for the new summoner variant in UM. I started his character with half hp and 2 points of Con damage. We don’t really have a backstory yet, just “and I alone am escaped to tell the tale”.

To the west, beyond the skeleton pen, is the old witch’s hut. Inside is an alchemical workshop. Vick is in transports of joy, collecting ingredients. There is a whole swag of potions. Vick is not able to identify them, but the witch-doctor M’Bongo has no problem – these potions being more his bag.

Vick collects 5gp a day worth of alchemical supplies, just wandering through the island. Nothing saleable, just an equivalent amount of stuff that can be used for crafting (oyster shells, pepper tree bark, umm … saltpetre deposits, miscellaneous dross. Whatever.). In addition to the potions, Malikadna’s workshop also contained more than a week’s worth of stuff – 50 gp equivalent. So Brett was right into that. Perhaps I should have made it more. Meh. They’ll live.

The potions were Cure Light Wounds and Lesser Restoration, which the module authors put there for some mystery reason (hur, hur, hur!)

And with that, it was probably time to investigate the lighthouse itself. Barmy decided to save time by simply bashing down every door he came to.

The lower floor contained a shrine, with litter collected from the wreck of the “Thrunefang” – clearly a ship (the nameplate and figurehead were a bit of a giveaway). The litter permitted the bard Gelik (I think) to piece together how these cannibals came to be on the island (blah blah blah house Cheliax etc etc knowledge history). There was also a bedroom, with some litter (ration wrappers) recognisably from the Jeniveve.

Upstairs, Barmy bashed his way into another room with four tribespersons – all female. The lack of females downstairs was explained: this was the chief’s room, and in a tribe like this, only the chief gets to (ahem) breed. The women attacked with the typical crazed energy of the rest of the tribe, and were killed.

The party has worked out that there is something odd, something sinister about this island – ghosts in the surf and whatnot. People that stay here too long go mad, each in their own fashion. The cannibals cannot be reasoned with.

But there was loot. Lewt! Lewt! Sweet, sweet lewt. Specifically – the payroll chest of the Thrunefang.

The topmost floor contained – OMG – an 80% complete lighthouse light. With an alchemist in the party, the flame itself would be easy to ignite. But the mechanisms gave the pary considerable difficulty. Opting for caution over speed, it will take them more than a week to fix.

Didn’t even roll the alchemy check for getting the light lit (I suppose some fanstasy equivalent of limelight) – Vick just had to take 10. But there were some bad rolls on the “disable device” checks to repair the gears and whatnot, so the time was doubled.

That left only the other thing, which the party elected to tackle after a good night’s rest.

And so, to the other thing. In the main yard of the camp was a fireplace, and also a driftwood and bamboo trapdoor covering a hole which opened out into a cavern whose floor was some 20′ below. Beside the hole were some stout pegs in the ground and some knotted vines – clearly for making a descent and (even better) making an ascent out again.

Entrance Cavern

The uneven floor of this ten-foot-high cave is stained with blood and scattered with pieces of wood, fallen leaves, broken weapons, and in places, bits of bone. A hole in the ceiling leads out to the surface.

Leaving half the party above (ie: the NPCs), a few intrepid heroes elect to descend.

Cavern of unbirth

The smell of decay is thick in the air of this wide but low- ceilinged cavern. To one side, the ceiling drops down to little more than three feet in height over a region strewn with bones and bits of old flesh, while to the other, the ceiling bulges upward in a dome shape—six circular, pod-like alcoves line the walls of the cave at this side.

In the next cavern along they are attacked by ghouls-gone-wrong: festrogs. One of them with a captain’s hat. Investigating the alcoves to the north of the chamber they find the confession of the captain of the Jeniveve. Here he met his end – transformed into a ghoul-thingo.

The throat

A dark pool of water lies in the center of this silo-shaped cavern. A five-foot-wide ledge of stone winds down to the pool below, passing several cave entrances along the way.

In the next cavern was a pool of stagnant seawater. M’Bongo, druid that he is, determined that most likely only a very hight tide would refresh it. Jopseph threw a rock in, but nothing happened.

Temple of Ydersius

This long chamber evokes the feel of an ancient, hideous cathedral. The walls are carved with images of serpents walking upright like humans, snakes coiling around and eating hapless women and children, and stranger scenes. Four stone pillars carved like coiling snakes support the vaulted ceiling 30 feet above. Four small cells blocked by rusted bars sit in the walls to the east and west. To the north, an immense carving of a snake’s head looms, an ash-caked door clenched in its jaws, while to the south rises a horrific mound of bones and partially decayed bodies in an eight-foot-tall heap arranged almost as if to evoke the imagery of a coiled snake made of corpses.
Inner Sanctum

A low stone altar, its sides carved like coiling snakes and its top carved to resemble a yawning viper’s maw, sits in the center of this room. The walls of the chamber are carved with images of anthropomorphic serpents using strange, pointed megaliths of stone to work great feats of magic—transforming an army of humans into zombies, calling down flaming bolts of lightning from the stars, or parting the waters of the sea to dash human ships upon the exposed rocks of the seabed below. This final image seems to have been recently cleaned of dust, and several lines of text have been made more legible via the application of inks and perhaps blood.

The next room proved to be a ancient serpent temple of some description. After gakking a couple more ghouls, the party uncovered a swag of clues which I shall cut-and-paste here sometime next week. It seems the island is dotted with menhirs that have interesting magical effects, placed there by the ancient serpent-people. One of the inscriptions was recently cleaned and worked on, and details how to call down lightning on one of these menhirs to make the seas rise, or fall, or some such. The menhir in question is somewhere around Red Mountain, in the southeast of the island.

No question what the scholar Iaena was up to.

Cave scrawlings

Faint carvings are just visible on the eastern wall of this cavern.

Next room is empty, but contains a clue.

Ghoulish cavern

Bones lie strewn about the floor of this cavern. The grisly remains appear to have been gnawed upon so that they are cracked and jagged.

Next room, the party gets the drop on a lone ghoul and trashes it before it can run off and raise a warning.

Rolled a 2 for initiative. Gah!
Feasting cavern

This long cavern is scattered with bones, body parts, and bits of seaweed. A hole in the floor to the west echoes with the sloshing of waves.

And in the next room are three ghouls. Battle is joined, blows are exchangesd and wouldn’t you know it – Barmy gets that tightening-up feeling again.

Booyah! Barmy fails his save vs ghoul paralysis.

The party must close with the ghouls to keep them from leaping on Barmy and tearing him into chunks (ie: a coup-de-gras attack). Newcomer Kate proves useful, as do Vick’s bombs.

But then another ghoul appears – Mother Thrunefang herself. She offers the party eternal life! Some of the party attempt to engage her in debate, some simply attack. Her Enthrall spell is ruined by a lucky hit. Then Kate ruins her Darkness spell (which would have been sweet, seeing that the only one with darkvision is paralysed) and suddenly things aren’t looking so good for Mother Thrunefang. She retreats to a tight corridor, channels negative energy, but eventually falls.

Mother’s cyst

The walls of this small cave are covered with carvings of snakes and skeletons. A hideous mound of bones and dripping seaweed forms what can only be a nest in the middle of the room.

No loot.

If they hadn’t taken care of the sentry so quickly, might have been a different story. As it was, it took MT two rounds to get to the combat – too late to save her meatshields.

They emerge from the caves of the mother triumphant, but not unscathed. Kate and Joseph have contracted Ghoul Fever, and over the next three days slip close to death. But Mesphisto and Jakk’s nursing count for much. Vick brews some potions, while the rest of the party fish.

Day three, two things happen.

First, a decapitated goat, drained of blood is dropped into their camp by a winged creature above, during the night.

Second, somewhere around red Mountain from a more-or-less cloudless sky there is an enormous lighning strike, and thunder echoes across the island.

Dun dun dun!

Are they going to let Ieana get all the loot, or will they mob her as she is emerging from Red Mountain dungeon? We will find out when next we play.



2 Responses to SS Week 7 – Hmm, it ain’t limestone

  1. Nathan says:

    Looks like you’re having fun running this. I’m going to be running this game for my group this next weekend and look forward to seeing how my groups fairs compared to yours.

  2. Dave says:

    Nice run down – I especially like the section where we encountered the “Temple of Ydersius”. Exploring that area and examining the carvings with our spotty knowledge of local cults lent a nice air of foreboding to the proceedings.

    I’ll see if I can get a background together for deRosa soon (don’t think she was called Kate), and I must admit that I jumped at the possession summoner variant as it lets me play a magic support/melee character and gives me an excuse to make them schizophrenic.

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