Saturday, December 8, 2012

Catacombs of Wrath (12/07/2012)

Scott had to call in sick this evening so Corky invited Brent to come join us and play Stike for the evening. Brent fit right in with the group and had a good time. Due to scheduling conflicts and the upcoming holidays we will likely not be able to meet again this year, but we are targeting Friday, January 4th as our next session.


Aasimars are the beautiful and the blessed, the descendents of those who have consorted with the angels and other great beings of the good aligned planes. They bear the blood of the celestials in their veins, biological proof of their forbears' worth and righteousness, and the glow of that association is too bright to be contained despite generations of dilution, often expressing itself in undeniable ways. Most people see aasimars as wise, pure, talented, and beautiful much more so than the average person.

At the same time, aasimars carry the unique burden of the privileged. With aasimars' unasked-for gifts comes the natural jealousy of the ordinary people surrounding them; even their closest friends might harbor secret envy. Some aasimars take their gifts for granted, perhaps even seeing themselves as inherently better than their mundane associates, while others must constantly prove themselves worthy of the admiration (and responsibilities) they're saddled with. Aasimars may question why they were given their gifts, as well as what responsibility they have to those who may not be so blessed. Regardless of an aasimar's world view, her life is never as easy as others might think.

Back in the Basement

Ameiko Kaijitsu
Ameiko Kaijitsu, alive but still weak from her ordeal, had previously told the party about her Brother Tsuto’s treachery, and the journal found in Tsuto’s room left little doubt as to the plans that Tsuto, Nualia, and their cohorts had in mind for Sandpoint.

Ameiko, even in her weakened state, wanted to immediately leave the glass works and the place of horror it had become. She stated she must attend to business and could not accompany the party back down the smugglers tunnel, and further, she really didn't care what the party did with Tsuto. Several of the party members escorted her out of the building, taking care to avoid the ghastly spectacle of the glass covered corpse of her father in the work room.

Tsuto had been carefully tied up before he had been brought back to the basement. Initially he had fought and spit, but now he simply sat and watched as the party went about their business. He maintained a stoic expression on his face, but their was no denying the contempt he felt toward his captors. Several of the party members attempted to question him further, but he remained quiet, unwilling to say anything. Threats, promises, and even the removal of a finger could not budge him. Indeed he seem to take some particular delight at the pain inflicted on him - it seemed to reinforce his decision to not say anything.
Tsuto Kaijitsu
The party then decided the best thing to do now was to take Tsuto back to the garrison where he could be imprisoned. They marched him through town and left him securely stashed in one of the cells. Stike even ensured he had a broken leg as to hinder any further thoughts of escape.

The Smugglers Tunnel

The party then decided to further explore the Smugglers Tunnel. In their best guess the tunnel was likely several decades old, but because the exits under the glass works had been bricked over it was hard to tell when the tunnel has last been regularly used. The tunnel went in a north and east direction underneath Sandpoint for some 1700 feet, approximately a third of a mile, until the party encountered a solid rock wall. A little searching by Kheo revealed a secret door and as the door was opened sunlight streamed into the tunnel.

The party stepped through the door into a cave mouth that pointed north overlooking a small beach area. A natural tunnel tunnel led south, away from the cave mouth, but of more immediate interest was the twenty or so goblin beds and refuse strewn about the area of the cave mouth. There was little doubt this was left over from the goblins that had been let into town by Tsuto. The party stepped out onto the beach so they could reconnoiter their position a little and determined that the cave mouth overlooked a little cove just north of town, perfect for smugglers to get close to town without being seen.

The Catacombs of Wrath

The party then reentered the cave mouth and started down the natural cave path that angled south. After several hundred feet the cave split into two paths. The eastern path went on for about four hundred feet where a collapsed ceiling prevented any further passage. The western passage led on for another one hundred feet, and then turned north for about fifty feet. There the party discovered another bricked wall that had recently been knocked down, similar to the two recently knocked downs brick walls found back in the basement.

The cave opened into a slight larger area and as the party moved forward they were greeted by a sinspawn who attacked with a ranseur from a room to the west. The ghastly beast got in his attacks but was soon dispatched by the party. The party then moved into what appeared to be some sort of ancient catacombs. The finished floors and walls gave a hint as to its former glory, but the dust, dirt and grime provided clues as to its long period of disuse.

The party moved north and came across a red marble statue of a strikingly beautiful but, at the same time, monstrously enraged human woman that stood in the middle of this room, her stony expression twisted in fury. The woman wore flowing robes and her long hair was held back from her face by an intricate headdress of hooks and blades. In her left hand she carried a large book, the face of which was inscribed with a seven-pointed star. Her right hand held a glittering metal-and-ivory ranseur. Raynard was convinced he had a seen a picture of this female and the seven pointed star while had been doing research at the temple, but the details escaped him at the moment. The party was able to remove the ranseur from the statues grasp, although not likely much of a weapon the fancy ranseur would likely draw a pretty price if sold.

The party then continued to move north, advancing through a hole in a wall only to find themselves in what appeared to be a cell. A metal barred door prevented further progress, and Reynard's light spell showed there were other cells adjacent to and across from this particular cell. The party exited and continued north through a door and stepped onto a wooden platform the sat ten feet above a ring of twenty cells, but before any further exploration could be completed the party had to deal with two attacking sinspawns.

The two sinspawn provided several nicks and cuts to the party and they were soon dispatched as well. The party inspected the prison room and found skeletal bodies in all of the cells. They opted to not unlock or open any of the cell doors and instead moved to the passage leading west out of the prison. This passage led to a room that contained several ancient relics of what appeared to be torture implements, although their function and style seem strange and archaic. In one corner sat a spherical cage with spikes protruding inward from its iron bars. In an other stood what appears to be a star-shaped wooden frame, its surface studded with hooks. In the center of the room was a long table covered with leather straps and a number of cranks that seem designed to rotate and swivel.

The party ignored the door to the south of the torture room and instead continued moving west and into a room that had eleven hatch doors that lay across the floor. Two of these hatches had been kicked by a twisted looking goblin and a zombie was crawling out of a pit that each of the two hatches had previously covered. The goblin swung a human sized long sword, the party recognizing him as Korovus, the goblin hero that had been reported as missing after he had found a "secret cave." Besides swinging the over-sized long sword Korovus held a shiny silver dagger in its other hand and a gleaming hand axe in its third hand - something else the party found extremely curious.

Korovus was focused almost exclusively on the big fighter. Stike managed to deliver several good blows, but between the zombies and Korovus several of the party members suddenly found themselves seriously low on hit points and Reynard lay unconscious. The two zombies were soon killed and on his death the body of Korovus tumbled through a hatch into another one of the pits and another zombie climbed out into the fight.

The third zombie was soon killed and the party sat down to take a rest. Some healing was dispersed, but it wasn't much. Kheo managed to fish out the weapons that Korovus had been wielding; a +1 long sword, a silver dagger, and a masterwork hand axe. The party decided to not disturb the other eight covered pits at this time, although the stirring of the zombies within could be heard. The party then decided to leave the catacombs and visit Father Zantus back at the temple for some additional healing.

Father Zantus
The trip back out of the catacombs and the smugglers tunnel was uneventful and the party made their way to the temple. Father Zantus eagerly ushered them in and listened to their story in amazement. The story of Tsuto's treachery amazed him, but the story of Nualia broke his heart. He had known since she was a little girl and for her to have taken this turn towards evil was almost too much for the man to bear. He provided was healing spells he could and ensured that each party member was provided with two Potions of Cure Light Wounds. He also urged the party to immediately return to the catacombs and remove whatever evil there they may find.

The party made their way back down the smugglers tunnel and back into the catacombs. There was a room to the south of the torture room and it appeared to be what was left of some kind of a study. Remnants of chairs and a table where there, as well as crumbling remnants of parchment. Reynard was able to find a Scroll of Flaming Sphere in the rubble. The room also contained three small cells, each cell containing a hideously deformed skeleton.

The party then returned to the zombie room and headed down a passage leading south. There they found a set of stairs that headed down, but only for a few feet as collapsed walls prevented any further passage. To the south the party opened the door to an odd spherical room. Several objects floated in the room, spinning lazily in space - a ragged book, a scroll, a bottle of wine, a dead raven surrounded by a halo of floating and writhing maggots, and a twisted iron wand with a forked tip. Yet perhaps the most unnerving aspect of the room was the walls, for they were plated in sheets of strange red metal that rippled every once in a while with silent black electricity that seemed to coalesce into strange runes or even words far too often for the effect to be chance.

Reynard did his best to discern the shimmering words but they flitted in and out, never quite able to be discerned. The party then tried to fish out some of the floating items using a grappling hook attached to a rope, but once in the room the hook merely floated around. Stike then tied a rope to Reynard and Reynard jumped into the room. Like the objects already there he just floated about, moving in a slow lazy circle. He was able to eventually gather all the items (leaving the dead raven and the maggots) and was pulled form the room. The scroll was a Scroll of Burning Hands and the wand was a Wand of Shocking Grasp. The ancient book was some sort of religious text written in an unknown language with an unknown symbol on its cover. The bottle of wine had a card attached that identified is as a gift from Tsuto to Erylium - according to Tsuto's journal there was a quasit that lived down here - curious indeed.

The party then backtracked a little and then went down one of the two as-of-yet unexplored hallways. Several small sets of steps led the party down to a room that featured a room of what appeared to be a pool of perfectly clear water. The party moved carefully around the pool, careful of what might emerge, only to have a Vargoulle fly down from the rafters and attack Stike.  The Vargoulles bite attack missed and the party made short work of the beast, with Kheo's crossbow bolt nailing the corpse of the Vargoulle to the wall. Beyond this room was a circular set of stairs that led up, but as before for only a few feet as collapsed walls prevented further progress.

The party then backtracked again and started down the last remaining unexplored hallway. The hallway led to a shrine, the holy symbol of which matched the one on the book found floating earlier. A small concave pool in the middle of black marble altar was filled with a dark dirty liquid. The party opted to continue on and moved to the doors at the south end of the shrine room.

The huge stone doors were opened and revealed a huge room that looked like nothing more than an immense underground cathedral. Beyond the stone door the walls were carved with strange, spiky runes. In the center of the room was a large pool with a ring of polished human skulls balanced on stone spikes arranged in a circle around the deeper midsection. At the far end of the room a pair of stone stairways lead up to a pulpit on which sat a second pool, this one triangular and filled with churning, bubbling water that looks almost like translucent lava. Yet while wisps of what look like heat and steam rise from the strange orange liquid, the room itself was deathly cold.

From the upper level at the back of the room an odd looking winged creature shrieked in anger at being disturbed. She then cut her arm with a dagger and squeezed a drop of blood into the triangular pool, and then she disappeared. The party decided this was the quasit Erylium and started to take positions in which to battle the beast.

Erylium then reappeared in the middle of the room, hovering about 15 feet over the pool, and with a flick of her finger cast a Cause Fear spell that sent Reynard running from the room (DM Note: Reynard ran away for four turns, which meant he had to spend four turns to run back as well). The three remaining party members did their best to pepper Erylium when after a snap, crackle, pop and hiss a sinspawn emerged from the triangular pool and went down the stairs after Kheo.

Selinor and Stike kept the quasit engaged while dodging her spells and her silver dagger that magically returned to her hand after every throw, but their efforts didn't seem to be doing much damage (DM note: after six hits Erylium had taken only twelve points of damage, mostly because there were four consecutive hits that only did one point of damage each). With Reynard being god knows where, Kheo involved with the sinspawn, and Stike and Selinor hiding beneath the upper level Erylium darted toward the triangular pool and quickly dropped in another drop of blood. Stike and Selinor moved to engage, but with a snap, crackle, and a pop another sinspawn appeared. With a hideous laugh Erylium flew back out into the middle of the room and continued to bedevil the party members.
Kheo Leo fights a Sinspawn
Spike and Selinor quickly killed their sinspawn and positioned themselves to keep Erylium from revisting the pool. Kheo finished off his sinspawn, and Reynard reappeared. With the party's firepower now centered on her and after a couple of substantial hits (DM note: Finally!) the quasit disappeared again. Kheo and Reynard quickly slammed the doors to the cathedral shut to keep her from escaping. With a shriek Erylium appeared in front of Raynard and attempted to claw her way past. Stike charged down from the upper level and with a mighty blow killed the quasit.

The party fond that Erylium had a +1 Cold Iron Returning Dagger, a tiara woth 50 GP, and an unholy symbol, the symbol which matched that of the altar outside and the floating book (DM note: The gown she wore might have been worth some nice GP as well, but it continued to smolder and burn). Heeding the words of Father Zantus, the party then looked to destroy the triangular pool in the upper level of the cathedral. It definitely glowed magical, but dumping water or other items into it had no effect.

Kheo then squeezed in a drop of his own blood and after a snap and a crackle another sinspawn appeared. The party quickly killed the sinspawn, but then decided the pool was still active but losing strength. Another drop of blood, another sinspawn that appeared and was immediately killed, and the pool in the upper level of the underground cathedral glowed and hissed no more.

Before leaving the party decided that it was best that they kill the remaining eight zombies back in the pit room as well. Going one pit at a time the party quickly eliminated the zombies (DM note: yes, it was exactly like shooting fish in a barrel). With the catacombs now cleared, the party returned to visit Father Zantus at the temple with many additional questions.

Father Zantus listened with extreme interest to the party's story. He took several notes and promised to do research and find the answers to your questions: Who was the woman on the statue, what was the seven pointed star, what of the ancient book, and what were those magic pools.

Conclusion: As the end of Day 3 drew to a close the party returned to The Rusty Dragon for a hearty meal and a good ale. Ameiko was not present, but had left word that her offer of a free room had been extended from one week to forever. Outside the town hummed with activity as it normally did, its citizens unaware of the evil that had lived below it.

The party has now completed Section 3 of Burnt Offerings, chapter one of Rise of the Runelords. When we meet next we will begin Section 4. Each party member ended the day with 5620 XP (Level 4 - 9000 XP required) accumulated to date, more than enough to reach Level 3. The items in Tsuto's room and in the catacombs were distributed as follows:

Stike: A composite short bow and 20 arrows, a masterwork hand axe, a +1 long sword
Kheo: A +1 Cold Iron Returning Dagger, a Silver Dagger, a masterwork set of thieves tools
Selinor: A masterwork flute, an unholy symbol (unknown symbol)
Reynard: A +1 Ring of Protection, a Scroll of Flaming Sphere, a Scroll of Burning Hands, a Wand of Shocking Grasp
Party: A Metal and Ivory Ranseur worth 400 GP, Tsuto's journal and the letter, a pair of silver earrings worth 25 GP, six pouches of gold dust worth 50 GP each, eight pouches of silver dust worth 5 GP each and ten platinum pieces (worth 100 GP). an ancient book, a tiara worth 50 GP - 815 GP Total Value

Each person also has two Potions of Cure Light Wounds purchased at the temple (less 200 GP from party funds). DM Note: If I got any of the distribution wrong or forgot anything please let me know.

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