Branding's Age of Worms, the 4th Generation




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  1. #1

    Branding's Age of Worms, the 4th Generation

    Since the beginning of history, humanity has measured time in Ages. Ages of Glory, of Dreams, and even of Great Sorrows mark the human tally of years, giving sense of order to the events of past centuries.But one age has yet to occur - an age of darkness, of decay, and of writhing doom.

    Witty bards and wrathful preachers know it as the Age of Worms, weaving it into the peripheries of thir passion plays as a mythic era of destruction that could begin at any time. Astrologers, diviners, and the servants of Fate know more.

    The canniest among them fear that the Age of Worms has already begun.

    The Info Thread
    Out of Character Thread
    Rogue's Gallery


    The Age of Worms
    DM Jeremy

    Raging Epistaxis, playing Whurhak Azten
    Thanee, playing Alexi
    Mista Collins, playing Owen
    silentspace, playing Majakilar
    Voadam, playing Gregor

    The Whispering Cairn
    Chapter One: Krauss' Age of Worms
    Chapter Two: Branding Opportunity's Sons of Krauss Age of Worms Adventure Path.
    Chapter Three: A Face in Darkness
    Chapter Four: The True Tomb

    The Three Faces of Evil
    Last edited by hbarsquared; Friday, 20th October, 2006 at 09:05 PM.

 

  • #2
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    ø Ignore Mista Collins
    Owen looks around scared as the world he once was standing in vanishes and slowly reappears. "Umm guys, what was that? Hopefully that won't happen again."

  • #3
    ooc: I'm ready to go

    "Wierd place, isn't it? What do you think is under those blocked grills in the floor? More underwater rooms?"

    Hearing the others want to investigate the door, Majakilar nods and approaches it. He's going to assume it isn't trapped, or that if it was, the traps have probably failed due to being underwater. He tries bashing the door in.

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    "Since you have your new sword I think we are ready to go."

    Gregor will accompany Majak in bashing in the door. Bracing and steadying himself first the giant young man lashes out to kick open the door, exerting his immense strength.
    PBP games:

    Death in Freeport IC OOC Adversaries RG Info
    Wildwood IC Old IC II OOC RG Info Old IC Monsters
    Dwarven Vengeance Monsters

    ToEE Sir Merrick OOC IC Old IC
    RToEE Inquisitor Miltiades OOC IC Old IC
    Ptolus Longcoat Garn OOC
    Against the Giants Voadam IC OOC
    Pool of Radiance Kordunn IC Combat OOC Info
    Invasion of Mori Snargle fiendish troll rogue IC OOC
    Red Hand of DoomSir Conrad Cyr Tiefling Soulknife


    Old Games

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    My communities:

    Alexi

    “Yes, let us continue in our exploration! As if such a little occurance could stop us!”

    “In our world, immortality is not for the living. The legend lives on!”
    In Memoriam Dave Arneson († April 7th, 2009) & Gary Gygax († March 4th, 2008).


    Wondering what the Dungeon Tiles are like? Take a look here.

  • #6
    Take a look here for discussion regarding this PbP.

  • #7
    Chapter Three, Page 1

    The crossbow clatters against the stone of the statue, as the eyeball creature wriggles from Gregor's fingers and ducks behind.

    OOC - Kenneth attacks Strangler, +3: rolled 8, miss.

    "Oh, come on!" Kenneth yells exasperatedly.

    As Azten readies his hand for any of his companions that might fall, Owen wrenches himself up from the stone floor and kicks the sleeping giant awake.

    "This thing is really starting to get on my nerves!" he says as he takes his place by the dwarf's side and draws his daggers.

    Alexi fires her crossbow and smiles as the bolt lodges itself in one great, bulbous eye of the creature. It freezes in place for a moment before its strands of striated muscle curl around an arm of the statue as it attempts to remain aloft. Somehow, as Majakilar thrusts with his guisarme, it still manages to dodge out of the way of the steel hook.

    Kenneth, shifting from side to side for an opening, drops in another bolt into his crossbow, lamenting the waste. In frustration, he aims for its still unharmed eye and pulls the trigger.

    "All right!" the gnome yells, waving his crossbow in the air, as the bolt penetrates the creature's second eye and it falls down the front of the statue.

    Thanee

    “Woohoo! A masterful shot, Kenneth!”

    Alexi moves over to where Gregor is lying and wakes him.

    “Come one, wake up. Night's over. We need your strength here.”

    Then she looks to her companions once more.

    “So, what was this weird creature then? Any idea?”

    Voadam

    Gregor shakes his head again as the magical sleep is once again broken then smiles sheepishly at Alexi "Wha? Oh, right. Everybody's OK? What do we need and how can I help?" The big youth looks around and spies the metal flange he's been using as a makeshift mace and gathers it up from where it fell from his hand when he was overcome by the floating eye's magic.

    Mista Collins

    Sheathing the daggers Owen had ready, he looks at the dead creature with an inquisitive eye.

    "I have no idea what that thing is! Any suggestions?"

    Chapter Three, Page 2

    Kenneth pats down his vest, smoothing out the wrinkles and wiping off the dust, after loading his crossbow in prepartation for any other strange creatures that might be lurking behind ancient statues. He peers at the sinewy creature as it leaks yellowish fluid from both of its eyes onto the stone floor.

    "It might be an ocular demon of some sort," suggests Kenneth, "Or maybe some undead monstrosity that ripped itself out from an energy-drained corpse. I've heard all sorts of tales like that. But there's no way of telling what this one actually is, of course."

    Mista Collins

    "Well at least it isn't moving anymore and Gregor isn't taking unnecessary naps." Owen says with a smile. "Now let's finish seeing where this passage leads before we were so heartlessly interrupted."

    Thanee

    “For all we know, it could have been the sandma,” Alexi remarks with a smirk.

    “The passage! Yes, let's find out where it brings us!”

    Voadam

    Gregor shakes his head again, a little disoriented and takes stock of where the group is.

    Azten

    Poking the now still creature with his hammer, Azten remarks Of all the strange creatures I have seen, that has to be about the oddest. We should be on the watch for others.

    Azten does his best to memorize details of the creature before moving to catch up with the rest of the group.

    If there is any indecision, Azten suggests that it doesn't matter which passage the group follows, so long as someone looks down the other way briefly to check it out. He'll do it if no one else seems interested.

    Voadam

    Gregor waits for someone to say they will keep their eye out for other such creatures but refrains from making the pun himself.

    The group turns their attention to the large, chill chamber with the dull gray stone pillar reaching from floor to ceiling. The dark brown fungal growth emitting the intense cold covers the right archway into another chamber, and the left archway seems clear of any growths.

    Kenneth hefts his crossbow in hand, shifting from one bare foot to another.

    "Well, come on," says Kenneth, gesturing down the hall. "Although this time I don't think Gregor and Azten should go wandering off without the rest of us."

    After a few moments, with quick, nervous glances at the eyeball aberrration curled up on the floor, Azten suggests they take a brief glance down the left hall. As a whole, with weapons readied, they enter the large chamber and Azten glances around the left side of the central pillar.

    The central pillar's face bears a deep recession that extends from floor to ceiling, and within the recession a massive stone column seems to rest at an awkward angle, it's bottom edges are cracked and the stones beneath buckle, as if suffering a tremendous impact in ages past. Peeking out from underneath the column lies an old leather sack.

    Voadam

    Gregor pokes the sack to see if there is anything inside it.

    Azten

    As Gregor pokes the sack, Azten tries his best to throw his voice so it sounds like the sack says 'Ow!'.

    OOC: having no skill whatsoever in ventriliquism...

    Mista Collins

    With two daggers drawn, Owen is keeping an eye out for anymore trouble as his companion pokes the sack.

    silentspace

    "Looks like another trap was here, maybe another explorer is crushed under it."

    Majakilar peers up towards the ceiling, to see if maybe the column had fallen from above.

    Gregor gently prods the leather sack with one giant finger of his gauntled hand. He withdraws quickly as the sack crumbles to dust at his touch. Amidst the decaying fragments are three statuettes in surprisingly excellent condition--a grand palace, a slim spire with eight connected smaller towers of different heights, and what looks like a grand stadium. The rest of the now-ruined leather sack remains beneath the slanted column.

    Kenneth ogles over the precious statuettes as Gregor sifts through them, the gnome's childlike hands reaching out spasmodically, trying to contain his excitement. As Owen, Alexi, and Azten stand guard, Majakilar looks up into the dark recesses of the central pillar at the very edges of the torchlight. He can barely make out a circular hole in the ceiling, directly above.

    OOC - Any skill checks or other actions? Oh, and by the way, does anyone remember who was carrying the torch?

    Azten

    Once the possibility of a previously triggered trap is voiced, Azten realizes that despite his moment of happy silliness at having eliminated the eye-thingy, they are still in the middle of a strange tomb, and there may be more dangerous traps and creatures waiting patiently to kill them. Or not so patiently...

    OOC: Azten peers around at and investigates the surrounding walls and pillar to see if he can detect an further stone traps. Search +2, +4 if stone is involved.

    Torch? Pah. I don' need no stinkin' torch...

    Voadam

    "I can't imagine carving anything with details so small. I wonder if the bald people made them. Anyone want to check them out before I put them away? I think you are right Majakilar, we should watch out for big things falling from above, the builders of the cairn seem to have placed several drop traps."

    "Anyone want to check them out before I put them away?" asks Gregor.

    "Sure! yells Kenneth. "I thought you'd never ask!

    Eagerly, he holds out his hands for the statuettes, examining them one at a time in his undersized hands.

    "These buildings are ancient beyond compare," he says in awe. "I recognize them, but only from legends and myths, many thousands of years ago, long before the rise of human civilization. They were built by elemental lords of air who ruled before the birth of the living races, or so the legends go. The legends also say that a giant spider destroyed their empire. So, who knows what to believe?"

    OOC - Bardic knowledge check +4: rolled 16. Knowledge (arcana) check +7: rolled 8. Knowledge (history) check +7: rolled 18.

    Kenneth reluctantly hands the statuettes back to the giant to place in a pack.

    Azten

    At the mention of finely carved statuettes, Azten once again finds his attention drawn away from self-preservation towards curiosity over Gregor's find. He begins to make his way to Gregor's side to get a view of the carvings.

    Fascinating! Can I ... ?

    But, mid-question, he realizes that it is probably more important for him to keep looking for further stonework traps than satisfying his curiosity over the statuettes.
    Somewhat wistfully, he turns back to what he was doing before.

    Azten listens fascinated to Kenneth's recitation of what he can discern of the statuettes history. Wow. I'd love to see them, but later.

    An examination of the wall bordering the niche with the fallen pillar would have revealed nothing, except for Azten's keen senses regarding the stone manufacture of the intricate trap. His hand brushes against an awkward portion of stone, revealing a hidden catch. It has not been moved in several years, but Azten can tell it is in an "unlocked" position, and moves easily within its barely discernable alcove.

    OOC - Azten's Search check +4: rolled 16, success.

    Mista Collins

    Once Kenneth is done lecturing about the statuettes and hands them back to Gregor, Owen looks to the giant. "Can I take a look at them real quick?"

    Owen examines the craftsmanship of each item and tries to evaluate how much each one might be able to fetch in the market.

    OOC - Appraisal +3

    Owen turns the statuettes over in his hands, admiring the intricate detailing of the buildings. In coins alone, each is worth 200 gold. What they might be worth to a collector, he has no idea.

    OOC - Owen's Appraisal check +3: rolled 17.

    Azten

    Azten carefully, almost lovingly, traces his hand across the stonework around the fallen pillar of stone. He applies decades of learning the stonecrafts to the search, and finally discovers what he had suspected was there all along.

    We need to proceed cautiously - I think I found the trigger latch for the trap, and it was very well hidden. I cannot say when it went off, but it was a long time ago.

    I really need to get word back home for the engineers to come study these mechanisms. These ancients, whoever they may be, obviously have an advanced understanding of large scale stonework.

    Mista Collins

    "Be very careful carry these statuettes Gregor, these might help get us out of Diamond Lake alone. The only problem is finding a collector or someone who can afford them." Owen hands them back over to Gregor.

    Turning to Azten and his suggestion of moving forward with caution, Owen suggests a plan of action. "Since you have the ability to detect variances in stone work, and I have an eye for traps, maybe we should take the lead. Searching together we probably have a better chance at making sure the path is safe."

    silentspace

    Majakilar looks on with interest, happy to have finally figured something out in these dungeons, even if it was sort of obvious. "So... what's a trigger latch? What does that mean?"

    Thanee

    “What a marvellous work,” Alexi says in admiration upon seeing the statuettes. “Too bad the rest has been smashed. Maybe we should wrap them up in a blanket to keep them secure.”

    Azten

    Trigger latch? It is the part that kept the trap from being sprung until someone was in position to be crushed. Then, in a softer voice after a moment's quiet contemplation: I wonder what the bait was?

    Voadam

    Gregor smiles "Good idea Alexi." Gregor then proceeds to wrap them up if anyone volunteers a blanket before putting them away.

    Thanee

    “I got one with me, you can use that,” Alexi offers.

    As Owen and Azten take a last cursory glance at the stonework of the central pillar and Alexi offers a blanket to Gregor for the items, Kenneth turns to stare at the chamber behind them.

    He nudges Majakilar in the side and points into the room. "Would you take a look at that," he says.

    The wide chamber must once have been the living quarters of an important figure. A large stone slab that suggests the shape of a bed rests against the far wall, under a huge bas-relief of a robust, long-nosed bald humanoid figure with outstretched hands. The figure wears a lovingly sculpted wind-tossed robe that gives him the appearance of a triumphant god. A glyph that looks like a stylized arrow marks an amulet worn around the figure's neck. Wardrobes and dressers seemingly carved from the stone walls look to have been ransacked a long time ago.

    Kenneth cocked his head as he studied the glyph inscribed on the amulet, shaking his head in silence after a few moments.

    OOC - Any more actions to take at the central pillar? Do you want to enter the chamber or continue circling the pillar?

    Azten

    Since his examination is taking him a bit further around the pillar anyway, Azten looks to see if the brown growth covers this side of the opening as well before heading back to the rest of the group.

    Voadam

    Gregor scowls a little at the bas relief, the bald people just rub him the wrong way.

    silentspace

    As Kenneth nudges him, Majakilar says "You know, for some reason I thought this was a tomb, but maybe not? Anyway, what do you think that stone bed-thing is? An altar? Is this a temple? A temple to that bald one?"

    Azten continues around the central column, noticing the cooling temperature as he does so. The brown growth only extends into the chamber on the opposite side of the rest of the group and does not infest any other sides of the stone pillar.

    A dry fountain along the face of the central pillar features a low basin and a wall spigot about eight feet high, looking something like a shower. A narrow wooden door is embedded in the stone wall facing the fountain.

    Azten

    Azten takes one more moment to determine if the brown growth includes or surrounds the wooden door (preventing possible entry later), then heads back to the group to make sure they are all ok.

    Despite the chill, the brown growth seems restricted to the single archway, not hindering any movement to or through the wooden door. The growth has completely enveloped the one side of the central pillar, as well as encases the archway and the stone floor leading to it.

    Voadam

    As Kenneth nudges him, Majakilar says "You know, for some reason I thought this was a tomb, but maybe not? Anyway, what do you think that stone bed-thing is? An altar? Is this a temple? A temple to that bald one?"

    "An altar big enough for a sacrifice. Are there cutting marks on it? Or it could just be a hard bed with a picture over it. I don't know." Gregor shrugs.

    silentspace

    "Right, come to think of it, I'm not sure why I thought this was a tomb- it hasn't been very tomb-like, has it? It's pretty mysterious though... what was this place?"

    Thanee

    “The area above with the corridors looked pretty tomblike.”

    Azten

    Azten catches up to the group and looks around the room, joining the thread of conversation.

    Eh? There is nothing odd about a stone bedroom - very like my family's chambers.

    Hmm.

    Moving closer to the bed and the bas-relief figure, Azten absently waves his hand towards the figure on the wall.

    See the amulet? I would bet that is the same arrow symbol that we saw earlier on the sarcophagus. Probably the symbol of the order to which the honored dead belonged. Maybe this is the tomb caretaker's room.

    OOC: Err, it is the same symbol, is it not?
    This complex may have been temple as well as tomb... those statues looked like worshippers to me. But what/who? and why?

    OOC: <Cue swelling of dramatic music>

    silentspace

    Majakilar chuckles at Alexi's comment. "You're right, there was that sarcophagus above. That's why I thought this was a tomb!" Majakilar moves forward and examines the altar / sacrificial table.

    Azten and Majakilar approach the stone slab against the wall and notice a thin bed of whirling air resting atop it. Kenneth follows behind, glancing around the empty room, as Owen, Gregor, and Alexi remain behind in the central chamber.

    Upon getting closer to the bas-relief, bald figure, Azten notices that the glyph, although similar and obviously from the same alphabet, is different from the one on the sarcophagus they had seen above. As the dwarf examines the stonework of the sculpture, he does not notice the gnome grasp the edge of the stone slab and lift himself over the top.

    "Hey, guys! he says, floating above the stone slab, suspended by the circulating air. "This is fun!"

    The gnome leans back into the wind, not touching the stone itself, and abruptly yawns. He wriggles in the air currents, trying to get comfortable, and yawns again.

    "I didn't realize I was so tired," he says drowsily with eyes half-closed.

    OOC - Kenneth's Will save, -2 against DC 20: automatic failure. Kenneth fatigued.

    Azten

    With Kenneth suddenly acting so sleepy, Azten quickly scans the room looking for any more of the floaty eye creatures.

    Not seeing any of them, he suppresses a shiver. Then giving Gregor a sideways glance he pulls out his small hammer/holy symbol and prepares to give Kenneth Moradin's blessing...

    Great. Now the short folk are trying to take inappropriate naps too.
    <sigh>
    By The Allfather's holy hammer, wake up! <smack> No sleeping on the job! <poke> <poke>

    Thanee

    “That fountain looks like a great place to take a bath, too bad there is no water.”

    Alexi has appeared behind the others in the meantime.

    “You sleep on stone? Just stone? Isn't that... I don't know... like... cold? Small wonder your people grow such long beards... to keep you warm, I reckon.”

    With a chuckle Alexi moves around the small group, her eyes immediately fixed on the sleepy gnome.

    “Whoa! Do you see this? How are you doing that, Kenneth? You are flying! ... Kenneth!?”

    Voadam

    Gregor comes over "More sleep magic?" If Atzen is not able to rouse the gnome Gregor will pull the gnome off his stone airbed.

    silentspace

    Majakilar looks around apprehensively, weapon in hand, wondering if there was another ambush coming with this new round of sleep magic.

    "Gregor's got the right of it, I think. Some sort of sacrifice altar, that puts the victim to sleep first, looks like? The air magic is so the blood drains away neatly? Maybe they kill them here and entomb them elsewhere in these crypts... This place is really strange and alien. Maybe the statues are of ancient gods long forgotten. Azten, can you tell how old the stonework is?"

    "Hey!" cries Kenneth, holding up an arm to ward off Azten's blows with his holy symbol. "Fine, I'll get up."

    Kenneth awkwardly lowers himself from his levitating position atop the stone bed as the others show their concern. He stretches his arms, as if from a long rest and eyes Majakilar curiously.

    "Sacraficial altar? Blood drain?" he says, glancing back at the stone slab. "I don't think so. The cushion of air was just... surprisingly refreshing. No sleep spell, but if you really needed a rest and you just can't fall asleep, I imagine this is the place to do it."

    OOC - Knowledge (arcana) check, +7: rolled 26, success.

    Kenneth looks longingly at the stone bed again, and shrugs. "Wish I had one of those at the Emporium."

    Thanee

    “The people who lived here seem to have had quite a luxurous life. But let's not waste time, there is so much more to discover! Where to now? Did you see any doors?”

    Alexi looks around for any doors or corridors, which might lead to other areas of this huge underground dwelling.

  • #8
    Chapter Three, Page 3

    Alastor Land peeks from behind the central pillar within the lair of the architect, watching the newest party of adventurers investigate the architect's bedroom. He giggles as the small gnome clambers up the side of the stone bed and his companions react in fear. The ghost has remained hidden from them since they first entered the cairn, watching their progress from a distance and always outside their peripheral vision.

    One of them, the giant of a man, turns his head to look in Alastor's direction. Alastor covers his mouth and quickly moves his incoporeal form within the central pillar. He waits a moment in anticipation, then pokes his head out to find the group continuing their conversation, the giant no longer looking in his direction. He would have exhaled a held breath if he had lungs to do so. Instead, he floats through a nearby wall to examine his final resting place: the hall where he had finally perished after exploring these ruins, and the place where Alastor cannot help but return after every foray he makes through the cairn.

    Alastor has observed their progress since the party entered the decorated stone hallway leading to the outside, beyond the barrier which Alastor himself can never pass. They had spent a few minutes examing the curious walls, as well as the broken artifact in one of alcoves, then managed to fend off the wild wolves. Alastor had laughed at the fatherly concern of the dwarf, the rambunctious youth of the two humans, and the delusional bravado of that poor gnome. He had been more than surprised to see the giant downed by the wolves after only a scant few seconds, and he had been just as impressed when the other large, muscular human managed to kill one wolf single-handedly and avoided most of their other attacks and snapping jaws. They eventually managed to fend off the wolves, but Alastor was forced to quickly retreat to within a wall when two of them, surprisingly, crawled into the wolves' lair and uncovered an indigo lantern, one even Alastor had not noticed before.

    Soon after, the party entered the frescoed chamber and Alastor thought it would be humorous to hide within the sarcophagus and overhear their intentions. One of them seemed to have hung the lamp they found on one of the dangling chains, and then they moved the sarcophagus along its circular track to point toward the alcove with the yellow lit lantern, just as he had done years before.

    When the gnome entered the tube that appeared after turning the sarcophagus, and immediately disappeared to the gasping surprise of his companions, Alastor had to retreat to his ethereal demesne so that they wouldn't hear his peals of laughter. By the time he caught his nonexistant breath and wiped away incoporeal tears, he manifested again in the chamber to find that the rest had followed the poor gnome. Shaking his head, he lowered himself through the floor into the lair of the architect, where the adventurers had taken themselves. At least they had chosen one of the safer routes.

    When he entered the hall he discovered the adventurers scrambling over a fallen stone block as a green gas spilled into the room from small holes in the bas-relief frescoes. In life, Alastor had not been able to topple the block and returned to the elevator after a cursory examination, but he had explored the chambers beyond since that time and discovered the lurking strangler that somehow found its way down in recent days. Silently and unseen, Alastor followed behind the adventurers through the statue-lined corrider to witness their abilities and reactions to the monster beyond.

    The aberration had caught them off guard, certainly, but the party managed to destroy the creature after several frustrating misses. He giggled as some of them failed to resist the creature's abilities of fright and sleep, but in the end they managed to succeed, and Alastor silently congratulated them as he followed them to the central pillar and watched them enter the bedchamber of the architect.

    After visiting the remains of his skeleton beneath a sea of steel balls, comforted once more by its presence, Alastor returns to the chamber with the adventurers to monitor the rest of the progress. Perhaps these adventurers have gotten further than most, but they still have not succeeded where he had failed. They still need to find the entrance to the true tomb.

    Hidden and silent, the ghost watches and waits.

  • #9
    Chapter Three, Page 4

    Only the wooden narrow door, the mold-encrusted archway, and a hapless adventurer beneath the fallen pillar remain unexplored within the series of chambers at the end of the passage. Owen finds no secret doors lining the chamber with the stone slab and Kenneth seems to have recovered from his drowsy experience with the cushion of air.

    The only exit is the elevator tube that they had descended beneath the yellow lantern, on the opposite side of the fallen stone slab. The green mist has long since dispersed since their battle with the aberration.

    silentspace

    Majakilar stares at Kenneth quizzically, then just shrugs. He starts searching through the "wardrobes and dressers", wondering if anything had been missed by past tomb raiders.

    Azten

    Azten does his best to determine the age of the stonework in order to answer Majakilar's question.
    That finished, he rolls his eyes at Kenneth's enthusiasm towards the air mattress.

    What kind of being would want to ruin a perfectly good stone bed with a pad of air, anyway?

    Shaking his head in a slightly disbelieving fashion, Azten moves back towards the door of the bedroom, not sharing in the interest of the others in searching the drawers and other furnishings of the room.

    I am going to go back next door to the pillar room - I would like to see if I can find out more about whoever set the trap off.

    OOC: Search +2 (+4 if involves stonework)

    Mista Collins

    "I really don't think there is much to see in this area. I am curious on what remains in the other corridors in the lantern room. and if all else fails, those lanterns were worth a bit. We could take those and maybe find out way out of Diamond Lake."

    Owen notices Azten heading back to the stone trap and decides to follow him. "I might be able to help you with that."

    Thanee

    “Maybe we should dig out this poor fellow here and bury him outside later. For now I would like to check out the rest down here, behind the wooden door and that archway, and then I also think we should try one of the other corridors.”

    Azten

    Azten has simultaneous flashes of personal shame for his lack of thought, and admiration for the considerate thought voiced by Alexi. After all, he is a cleric, and consideration of spiritual matters should come naturally to him.

    I am a bit embarrassed to say that I had not considered giving the victim a proper burial. I was mainly looking to learn more about them.

    Then again, without knowing more about him or her, it would be almost impossible to know what would be considered proper for that person.

    In any case, if everyone else is ready to forge ahead, I am ready as well.

    We can always return or have someone else return to see to the victim's spiritual needs.

    silentspace

    Majakilar pauses searching for a moment. "If time's an issue, then let's move on. But if it's not an issue, why not search everything?"

    Voadam

    "I agree with Alexi, once everybody is through here we should go on to that door."

    Majakilar finds nothing in the assorted pieces of stone furniture: the entire room has been picked clean by previous adventurers and tomb robbers.

    Examining the stonework of the central pillar, Azten and Owen notice the mechanism of chains that disappear into the dark shaft above, still solidly attached to the fallen column. The column, however, is immovable, and rests about an inch embedded into the stone floor. There is nothing to dig around to get to the hapless adventurer beneath it. The stonework itself is tremendously old, at least several thousand years, the likes of which Azten has never seen before.

    Thanee

    “Well, at least we tried.”

    Alexi then heads over to where they had seen the wooden door, but stops when she stands in front of it.

    “Uhm, Owen? You know more about these things... maybe you should take a look before we go through? It won't hurt to be a little more careful down here.”

    silentspace

    An examination of the wall bordering the niche with the fallen pillar would have revealed nothing, except for Azten's keen senses regarding the stone manufacture of the intricate trap. His hand brushes against an awkward portion of stone, revealing a hidden catch. It has not been moved in several years, but Azten can tell it is in an "unlocked" position, and moves easily within its barely discernable alcove.

    OOC - Azten's Search check +4: rolled 16, success.

    Majakilar, studying the crushed tomb raider with the others, is starngely drawn to the trigger latch. He pushes it to the "locked" position.

    Mista Collins

    Turning from his study of the central pillar walks over to Alexi. "Well I will see what I can do."

    Kneeling beside the door Owen pulls out little tools wrapped in a soft leather case. Holding one of the tools Owen examines the door closely.

    OOC - Search, Open Lock, and Disable Device +7

    Voadam

    Gregor goes over to the door, ready to force it open if need be.

    Azten

    Azten stands aside while Majakilar sets the latch to the locked position, listening intently for any sound of moving stone or other activity.

    Assuming nothing happens, he then joins the rest of the group as they investigate the wooden door.

    OOC: Listen +3

    As the two rogues kneel before the wooden door, Gregor arrives from behind. The door is untrapped and indeed unlocked, and instead of using the delicate tools Owen has retrieved, he turns the knob and pushes the door inward. Within the small five-by-five foot room is a stone seat with a hole in its center, an austure toilet that has not been used in centuries.

    A deep rumbling of stone grinding against stone interrupts their inspection. The three turn to find Azten and Majakilar backpedaling from the central pillar and the fallen column being hoisted back into the ceiling by rusted chains. After a few moments it grinds to a halt after meshing with the ceiling at a jarring angle. Azten can tell the trap that had doomed the previous tomb robber is now forever useless, as the trigger was destroyed when the column fell.

    Revealed on the floor is a crushed human skeleton wearing shiny silver chainmail, along with several crushed items and the remains of the leather bag. Within the niche hang several still intact items on short pegs: two slender rods and what seems to be a pair of goggles.

    silentspace

    "Whoa!" says Majakilar, slapping Azten on the back. "It's just like mining, except a lot easier!" He starts studying the items.

    Voadam

    Gregor eyes the moving trap with trepidation then scowls at the bar relief figure "I don't like these bald people. If this is just a bedroom, who would set a two-ton death trap right next to where they sleep?"

    Raging Epistaxis

    Indeed!

    Faced with shiny chain mail, Azten finds his former protestations of disinterest in looting to have been premature, if not patently false. He is torn for a moment between investigating the odd rods and goggles on the wall, and looking closer at the chain mail.

    During that moment his dwarven nature comes to the fore and without thinking he kneels next to the crushed human to get a closer look at the chain mail.

    All the better to assess it's quality and make.
    ...
    For the humans. He tells himself.
    As an afterthought, he remembers to look for any symbols which might indicate a religious affiliation for the remains...

    No holy symbol or armaments identify the crushed skeleton, although the chainmail, besides a number of dents and scratches, looks suprisingly wearable and has resisted the erosion of time. Any other belongings the tomb robber once had have been thoroughly crushed into dust and shards.

    Kenneth peeks over Azten's shoulder.

    "Wow, would you look at that!" he exclaims.

    silentspace

    Majakilar nods at Gregors' comment. "Unless it was a temple, though why you'd trap a temple like that is strange too, it's not the altar that was trapped anyway, but a niche. These rods and goggles might've been some sort of sacred relics, maybe..." Majakilar twiddles with them for a moment before handing them to Alexi. "Here, you might be better at figuring out what these do than me"

    Examining the chainmail, he says, "Maybe Gregor or I should try that on for now. From what we've encountered so far we may need it! I could surely use it, I don't have a shield." Majakilar looks inquiringly at Gregor.

    Thanee[indent]
    “Looks like you will get your burial after all, poor fellow. Good work there with that pillow!”

    Voadam

    "You take it Majak. I don't think it would fit me anyway and I've got this great shield." Gregor grins and thumps the table top he turned into a shield.

    silentspace

    "Alright Gregor, I will. Hey Gregor, could you carry my scale mail for me? You can carry a lot, and we can sell it when we get back to town."

    Majakilar strips out of his scale mail and gives it to Gregor, then tries on the chain mail.

    Azten

    Let me know if you have any difficulty fitting the mail - I may be able to help.

    Then turning his attention back to the other items, he remarks

    So. Any ideas what these things are?

    Thanee

    “Broken?”

    Voadam

    "Sure." Gregor stuffs the scale mail into his backpack then hefts the now heavy pack.

    Mista Collins

    "All that suspense, and all we find is every man's favorite throne." Once the rumbling stops Owen walks over to investigate with the rest of the party.

    Seeing the googles and the rods, Owen extends his hands. "I'll gladly take a look at some of the items. I might be able to find something out. Can I see them?"

    If handed to Owen he will look them over carefully, trying to appraise the craftsman ship of each item. Once he determines the value of each item he will put on the google. "How do I look?", Owen asks with a chuckle and a smile.

    If any skills apply, I can make an attempt with Jack of All Trades. I have a +3 INT mod and a +2 CHA mod.

    silentspace

    Revealed on the floor is a crushed human skeleton wearing shiny silber chaimail, along with several crushed items and the remains of the leather bag.

    "Pillow? Throne?" Majakilar's not as sharp as the others, and not really sure what they're talking about. In any event, Majakilar will go through the crushed items, looking to learn something about the crushed human here.

    Majakilar takes upon himself the gruesome task of removing the chainmail from the remains of the desiccated crushed bones. After removing his own armor he slips the chain over his head to rest on his shoulders. Strangely, it seems to fit perfectly, and after stretching out his arms and twisting his back he and Azten realize that no alterations are needed.

    Kenneth raises an eyebrow. "Here, let me take a look," he says, then mutters an incantation and passes a hand over his eyes. Kenneth stares up at Majakilar's chainmail intently for several moments, then shifts his glance to the rods still hangining in the niche and the goggles in Owen's hands.

    "They're magical," he says with excitement, reaching out for one of the slender rods, turning it over in his hands. Runes in the same odd language of the long-ago inhabitants circle each of the short sticks. "I wonder what they do? We'll have to ask Allustan, the next time we see him."

    OOC - Kenneth cast detect magic, but has no ranks in Spellcraft so could not identify any auras.

    The lenses of the goggles are made of crystal, and fit over Owen's eyes easily. Through the lenses, his vision is unobscured, but as he turns his head he realizes that anything near him quickly comes into sharp focus, as if everything was outlined with a thin black line.

    OOC - The goggles are goggles of minute seeing, granting a +5 competence bonus to Search checks to find secret doors, traps, and similar concealed objects, within 1 foot or less.

    silentspace

    "Wow, magic!" Majakilar touches his chainmail in astonishment. It looks like it's going to take a while for him to get used to the idea of wearing magic armor.

    OOC - Apologies, I forgot: the chainmail is +1 chainmail, so that you can update your character sheet, silentspace.

    Voadam

    Smiling Gregor says "That would explain why it survived being crushed by the stone! This is wonderful for us." then he frowns "Remember though, even with such magic a stone block or cave in can get you so stay alert." The concern for his friends evident on the young man's face.

    Azten

    Aye, marvelous though it may be, no armor is total proof against harm.

    Since all the loot seems to have been accounted for, Azten suggests the group check out the remaining archway.

    silentspace

    "Aye, I'll still be careful..." Majakilar says, though he's not had any real knowledge in how to be. "In the mines we had 'natural' traps, cave-ins and sinkholes. They were bad enough. Mostly us miners found them the hard way. Gregor and I've lost good friends and companions to those traps. A couple times me and Gregor carried barely living survivers to Azten for healing. But these traps are potentially even deadlier than those we faced in the mines."

    Mista Collins

    "Woah! These things are pretty neat. Everything seems to be in sharp focus!" Owen seems to be delighted that the group has found other objects that might help us get out Diamond Lake faster. "Sounds like the life of a miner was tough and more demanding than I thought, Majakilar. I commend you and Gregor for being able to handle it."

    Azten

    Heading toward the archway, Azten comments back over his shoulder to the others.

    Yes, if one of those traps gets you I would not be able to help. Although I have seen such miracles granted by Moradin, I fear that is far beyond my meager abilities.

    Thanee

    “Then we should be careful, so far it has worked out well enough. Let's see what other wonders this place holds for us!”

    Alexi is obviously delighted by all the discoveries and the whole adventuring in this place. She quickly moves up to Azten who is already on his way to the next part of this underground dwelling. Good dwarf. That's the spirit!

    Mista Collins

    "Hey! Don't leave me behind!" Owens says as he notices the rest of the group moving. His attention was obviously on the new googles over his eyes, which look quite silly with he green wide-brimmed hat he is wearing on his head. "This is place gets better and better! Let's see what is down the other corridors!!"

    Voadam

    Gregor nods and heads through the arch, smiling at the group's successes so far.

    In response to Gregor's concern, Azten eyes the stonework of their chamber and concludes that, despite its obvious ancient construction, it remains sound, perhaps safer than any home constucted in Diamond Lake.

    The adventurers approach the last archway facing the central pillar on the side opposite the spartan bedroom, and stop five feet from the edge of the brown mold completely filling the area. The temperature has noticeably dropped nearer the mold and their breath forms small clouds of vapor. Kenneth begins to feel his bare feet begin to go numb, but ignores the cold as he strains his neck to see into the final chamber. A bright light comes from behind the archway.

    "Careful," cautions Kenneth, rubbing his hands together to generate a modicum of heat. "This type of mold is tricky. I heard about it from an old friend of mine that found some in another one of the caves around town. Turns out the stuff sucks in heat like nothing: fire only causes it to grow stonger."

    Kenneth motions to Mahakilar to lower the torch and keep it away from the brown growth. "It's cold that actually harms it."

    OOC - Kenneth's bardic knowledge check, +4: rolled 16, success.

    The gnome sighs, remembering that he has neither alchemist's frost or learned any cold magic. "Anyone have any ideas?"

    silentspace

    "Really? We can't kill it by slicing at it, or burning it? I'm sorry I don't have any ideas."

    ooc: would holding up a shield-like object protect us from cold and allow us to pass?

    OOC - With regards to the shield idea, unfortunately, no. The party can either come back another day (with alchemist frost or with a different prepared spell selection), or try running through the mold anyway and taking the nonlethal cold damage.

    Thanee

    “It's harmed by cold only? How comes it lives down in the cold then? Well, I'm afraid, I don't have anything remotely as cold as you are suggesting here...”

    Alexi frowns. “Let's check out some of the other corridors then. I don't think we'll get past here, if this... stuff... is dangerous to touch, I wouldn't want to try to jump over it, just to find myself right in the center of this freezing mess.”

    OOC: Next level... Ray of Frost!

    Voadam

    "Yeah, we would want furs or blankets to wrap up in before going into such a place right now, let's check out the safer areas first before going into the cold gunk room."

    Azten

    I fear I know of no prayers that might serve to protect us from this unnatural cold. Or any that be of use in beating this mold back.
    I need to remember to check with the clergy when I return to see if they would know of any such useful prayers.

    A pained expression briefly passes over Azten's face, as though he had sampled spoiled brew.

    And, as much as I hate to leave a portion of this wonderous place unexplored, I agree we should proceed back to the sarcophagus chamber and choose a new course of action.

    Mista Collins

    Patting Azten on the shoulder, Owen looks at him with a smile. "Oh don't you worry dear friend, I don't plan on letting any part of this place go unexplored. I have no problem with coming back another day. Who knows what wealth this place holds!"

  • #10
    Chapter Three, Page 5

    Shivering in the cold, the party slowly circles around the central pillar to retreat down the hallway with the androgynous statues nestled in their alcoves. The dust and the green gas has long since settled since the stone slab was toppled, and the way to the elevator remains clear. As they pass by, Kenneth leans down to retrieve his shoewear and with an arcane incantation, cleans them of any posionous residue that might remain.

    The moving stone chamber is nowhere to be seen. Eagerly, Kenneth presses the button inset into the wall near the shaft and a familar deep rumbling reverberates throughout the hall. Moments later, the metal cylinder appears from the ceiling above and its doors slide open. One at a time, the cylinder rising and lowering each time, the adventurers step in and return to the main chamber of the whispering cairn.

    "So, says Kenneth, leaning against the sarcophagus, "which way should we point this thing now?"

    OOC - A reminder: The sarcophagus is currently pointing toward the alcove with the yellow lantern. The alcoves arranged in a circle are the empty alcove, the one with the orange lantern, the one with the yellow lantern (where the party just came from), the green lantern, the blue lantern, and the indigo lantern (hung by Owen). The green lantern is lit with a continual flame.

    Thanee

    “I would say green, or orange. Or blue? Maybe we should just start somewhere, well we did that already, actually, and then work our way in a circle...”

    silentspace

    "Sounds great to me. Either direction's fine with me."

    Azten

    OOC: Clockwise, the colors are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.
    And, IIRC it was originally pointing toward orange and we moved it one space clockwise to yellow. So, if we continue as we started, green would be next.

    It matters not to me which we take, although I still am uneasy about the green passage - that was the lantern that was lit before we got here.

    Mista Collins

    "Well, if we want to do this sysematically, green would be our next option."

    Voadam

    "Moving methodically around sounds best. Green then. I'll check it out." Gregor then squeezes back into the cylinder to see where it takes him.

    silentspace

    Assuming it works like last time, Majakilar goes next.

    Azten

    ... followed by a somewhat hesitant dwarf.

    Mista Collins

    With a nice little flourish of his cloak, a sarcastic smile, and innocent eyes, Owen looks at Alexi. "After you m'lady."

    Thanee

    With a wink in Owen's direction, Alexi steps in behind Azten.

    “At least we will find out, if the lit lantern did mean anything, or whether it was just some sort of coincidence.”

    OOC -Since the consensus seems to agree on turning the sarcophagus to the green lantern, I will do just that; sorry, Raging.
    Despite Azten's uneasiness, Gregor and Majakilar lean on the sarcophagus and gently shift the arrow to point to the next alcove in sequence, the alcove with the lit green lantern.

    As the sarcophagus glides to a stop, a cacophonous creaking of stone against stone emerges from the ground beneath the lantern. There is a familiar distant rumbling, and the green lantern swings gently on its length of chain, casting dancing, eerie shadows into the central chamber.

    As before, the the circular stone at the end of the tunnel rises eight feet in the air, pushed up by the metal cylinder that seems to arise from the ground itself. The two slim, metal doors shutter open to reveal an empty cylinder. All quiets.

    Each of the companions approach the elevator and glance at one another apprehensively, but it is Gregor who shrugs and steps into the open cylinder with a torch. The doors slide shut, sealing the giant within, and the cylinder descends. The great rumbling can be heard again, and those standing in the tunnel feels the ground rumble slightly, as if something is about to give way. The shuddering stops for a few moments, then resumes and after a few moments the metal cylinder returns with doors sliding open to reveal it empty once again.

    Gregor:
    As the column descends, Gregor notices a distinct shaking, as if the outer walls of the cylinder grate against the stone of the shaft. However, the elevator otherwise functions exactly as the other, and the metal doors slide open to reveal a new chamber. Gregor steps out, the doors close behind him, and the cylinder ascends to the chamber above with a grinding sound.

    Dozens of bas-relief figures similar to the one on the sarcophagus lid in the room above stare disapprovingly from the walls here in stark contrast to the reverential and blissful statues of the first underground chamber. Many sport crossed arms and stern expressions. A few of the statues' heads are missing, and some have huge chunks torn out of them. Others have a weird melted appearance, as if they'd been sprayed by something terrible. A large glyph of a stylized arrow, identical to the glyph seen on the amulet above the strange bed of stone and wind points down a short corridor that leads to a four-way intersection.

    OOC - If anyone wants to change their already posted actions, feel free to do so. I didn't want to jump ahead. If no one has any new or edited posts by sometime this weekend (I dont know when. Either I'm intentionally leaving it a mystery, or I'm just lazy. That's for you to decide. ), I will continue with the actions above.

    silentspace

    ooc: Gregor and Majakilar have been through too much together for Majakilar to abandon Gregor, so he's definitely following him.

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