Monthly Archives April 2016

What wouldn’t we give for a fireball?

We have been invited to a feast with the chief…
The Talking Chief arranges for a canoe to take us to one of the huts out on the lake where we meet the tribal chief, who turns out to be a statue.
Surprised and slightly amused, we manage to hold it together and bow respectfully. After some diplomatic small talk we head back to the village for the feast.
Over fish, fruit and roasted yams, washed down with yam beer, Bael discusses with the talking chief about the history of the village and the oral history of the tribe.
It seems they’ve lived here for as long as anyone knows. They have left the crater a few times, but the lands beyond are home to huge monsters, so they stay in the village and interbreed. We are the first visitors in living memory.
There is one interesting tale – many years ago, around 20 members of the tribe split off and went to live on the island. It is a holy place to the villagers and taboo for them to set foot on the island. Occasionally the rogue tribesman (who are now cannibals) raid the village and take away the weak and the old, and sometimes the young – all bases covered! The tribe have been waiting and waiting for the visitors prophesied of old who will come and cleanse the island of the wicked cannibals.
It seems we are their saviours and Bael accepts the quest.

We rest for a week or so while Morgan regains his strength. Isis pops in and out while maintaining her friendship with the tiger. We ponder on reconnaissance steps – Bael dons the Cloak of Manta Ray and checks the underwater situation – little to report. Isis does aerial recon in bat form and reports the outline of the temple. She cannot get too far in as her echo-location seems to indicate a rockfall.

Once all are fit, we board canoes and paddle across to the island. The entrance to the temple consists of stairways, pillars, the remains of a giant statue – just the feet and ankles are left, and bas-reliefs of humans holding burning torches. Rob scales ones of the bas-reliefs and discovers holes in the eyes – potential viewing points.

We enter the temple and reach the rockfall – there is a pathway through it but it is narrow and curving. Minerva leads, with her shining sword lighting the way. As she emerges from the rubble she is attacked by four guards. They seem pretty inept and unarmoured. Between them the manage a few hits on her, but she fells them all anyway. One of the guards had a very nice looking spear which Isis takes. Some healing is administered and we all enter what turns out to be a huge chamber. A fire burns in the centre, below a great hole in the ceiling. Balconies line both sides and the far end has a large mutilated carving of a face, the mouth forming the entrance to a passage.

Before we get much time to explore, a horde of cannibals rush to attack us from both sides of the chamber. Varys casts Sleep and one party is reduced to a single screaming figure. Amber and Bael both loose arrows, Bael’s connects but none drop.
Varys casts another Sleep spell and now only two are left standing. A gaggle of children on the far side of the chamber have begun to climb a rope hanging from the ceiling – escaping no doubt. Morgan and Minerva polish off the remaining cannibals, but not before Morgan takes a nasty gash in the side and feels a numbing pain creep up his chest. Could it be poison!!

As we consider our next move, we hear doors opening and another ten cannibals appear from the balconies. Varys is suddenly frozen solid and Morgan faints and drops to the ground….

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Not another side quest…

Our conversation with the Rakasta continues. Bael notices that Isis is now stroking one of the tigers and points it out. Razasaska’s eyes narrow with suspicion. Bael points out yet again that we have proved our considerable power. He fixes Razasaska with his gaze and tells him/her(?) that (s)he should tell us where to bring our boat so that we can meet them to trade. His ‘suggestion’ seems to be effective and the great southern bay is mentioned. A hollow threat is uttered and then we decide to let the Rakasta go.
After some brief posturing they summon their tigers but only one responds.. There’s a bit of a hiss but they walk away peacefully enough, having been returned their blades.
We camp for the night and return the next day to the tree people and meet Morgan and Amber. Morgan still looks in a bad way but is cheered to hear that we have found the way north that the squirrel king told us about.
The next morning we head back north, camping in the tower again before setting off through the mountains. Eventually we reach the foot of the bridge and step on.
It seems worn but sturdy, although it does seem to sway slightly in the wind. We reach the plateau without incident and see that it is around 30 miles across, with grassland and patches of woodland, rather than jungle. Dominating the view is an extinct volcano. The base is 10 miles across and it must be 18,000ft high.
As we trek across towards it’s based we are dive bombed by a flock(?) of flying reptiles. Arrows are loosed, and then Varys casts Sleep – they all drop to the ground and are quickly despatched. We butcher the beasts, and feed the tiger too. Deer are spotted, but they scram before we get a chance to hunt them. We camp at the base of the volcano and cook the pterodactyl for supper.
During the night we hear wolves howling, but it seems the smell of a giant tiger wards them off.
In the morning we begin our ascent of the mountain. Morgan’s weakened state is doing him no favours as he slips and falls, bashing his head on a rock and losing conciousness. Between us, although it’s mainly Minerva, we manage to drag him to the summit. It’s very cold and snowy and we need shelter. Isis and Varys both polymorph themselves into bears in order to be more efficient diggers and they dig out a shelter in the snow. Varys’ transformation only last 90 mins and so he and the others suffer from frostbite and lack of sleep. Isis is unaffected in bear form, and Morgan is wrapped in a dire wolf pelt.
Rosy fingered dawn spreads her fingers across the land and we all marvel at the view. As the sun starts to shine down into the volcano we can see jungle and a lake below. Amber and Rob agree on what looks like the easiest route down and we descend without any incidents. Morgan is still unconscious. Before we depart, Isis morphs into bat form and flies back down to reunite with her tiger in order to maintain her magical friendship with it. She will find us again in a day or so.
As we descend we can make out a village and all agree that it must be our destination. We skirt the lake and reach a palisade wall. There is a gate and our knock is answered by a native human. He speaks in a very old dialect of Thyatian, but we are able to understand each other. Bael explains our predicament and the guard rushes off to consult his tribal elders.
After 15 min the gates open and we are beckoned inside. We are presented to two incredibly old men. Bael introduces the party and again explains our need for aid and offers our services. The ‘Talking Chief’ welcomes us and says his medicine man can cure Morgan but that we must complete a quest. We immediately agree and the second old man steps up to the slumped fighter. Some laying on of hands and chanting seems to do the trick and Morgan awakes looking better than he has done for days and days.
The chief declares that it is time for a feast of welcome before any discussion of tasks will happen. He also explains that he is only the ‘Talking Chief’, we are still to meet the real chief of the tribe.

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We are standing in an open area on a hillside. Before us we see a jungle valley running east west. To our north east we see a huge slender stone bridge crossing the valley to a plateau.
Exits lead south.

Go south

We return to the gate that we believe will take us to the bridge. Rob manages to climb the tower, but the ladder down into it gives way and he falls in a heap. He makes his way down in the dark and emerges to the rest of us looking dusty and dishevelled. Someone thinks to try the gates and they are not locked and open easily!!!

Having ascertained that we can get to the bridge we agree to return to the squirrel people to collect Morgan and Amber. Hopefully there will be some sort of medicine man living up on the plateau.
Before departing Rob decides that we should check the towers on the top of the hill. We trek up there and open up expecting it to be empty as usual. But no!!! In the light of Minerva’s sword we see a group of five lizard men eyeing us suspiciously.

We attempt conversation, but they just hiss at us a lot, although they don’t attack. We close the door and step away. They don’t seem to want any trouble as they stay put. The other tower is empty so we head south.

Once we reach the southerly end of the caverns we feel it’s time to rest for the night and head up to one of the watchtowers. Varys spots two figures on the causeway, riding what look like tigers… Bael and Varys head up to the tower roof and hail them. They notice and move towards us. The tigers have MASSIVE TEETH, and the figures look like huge cat people…

We all head down to the causeway, hoping to make friends. Bael starts conversation and they seem to understand without actually speaking. Suddenly, they make a subdued noise and the tigers start to charge us.

Varys casts Sleep and the two cat people slump and fall off their mounts. The tigers continue to charge. Just in time Varys manages to cast Web and they slow and stop as the sticky strands tangle their legs. They snarl, spit and thrash to get free.

Someone suggests it is tie up time. We can skirt around the thrashing tigers and get to the cat people. They have big claw glove things – these are removed and we tie them up then waken them. They too hiss and spit. Bael tells them to make the sabre tooths calm down. The larger one responds ‘Why?’
‘If you don’t, we all die’
It thinks for a moment, shrugs and calls something out and the tigers relax somewhat. Unnoticed by the catpeople, Isis approached the tigers and attempts to befriend one. It seems to work.

Bael engages the catpeople, they call themselves Rakasta, in conversation. In summary, they are an arrogant race, dismissive of all other occupiers of the island. Although they accept that we have proved our power and superiority over them. They don’t know of the ape city we visited, or the squirrel people. They do know of the natives we befriended, and hate the lizardmen to the north. They stay in the south part of the island which they consider to be theirs by right of power. They also say they are maritime traders cum pirates. We discuss trading options, which they attempt to dismiss, haughtily saying they decide who to trade with. When we mention treasure they seem more interested and can offer weapons and slaves. Bael considers how to ask for seven rideable tigers…

We leave the party considering how to maintain the upper hand over the Rakasta (named as Razasaska and Teklal) and what to do next…

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The centuries lie heavy upon these ancient caverns

We carry on past the bridge. We come up to a crows foot junction. The left passage goes up, the middle passage is level and the right passage goes down. Rob spots a possible trap. We go along the middle passage. After a while the sides and ceiling grow apart turning the passage into a large cavern. We follow the left wall. We get to the other side where there are two towers guarding a gate. The gate has stone doors which are ajar. We go through the doors and manage to get into the stone towers but there is nothing of any value. We carry on, but start a hear a strange droning noise that rises and falls in a slow rhythm.
We get to a cavern. There is a ledge that follows the cavern wall on the left wall of the cavern. There is a very deep drop to the right of the ledge. The droning is much louder here.  Following the ledge round the wall of the cavern we get to the opposite side and enter another passageway. We enter the passageway. After a moderate distance we come out of the passageway into a vast circular, almost arena like space open to the skies and surrounded by mountains. There are three exits. One straight ahead, one to the left and one to the right.
We go for the exit straight ahead and we start hearing water ahead. We enter a huge circular room with a river running from right to left in the centre blocking our path. Fortunately there is a bridge which crosses it but Rob detects a trap on the start of the bridge so we decide not to risk it and go back to the “arena”.
We decide to take the right exit. This leads to a labyrinth of passages that send us in circles and lead us nowhere of any interest. To avoid the danger of getting lost we go back to the “arena”.
We then try the left exit. After going down a corridor we get to a large circular hole which is very deep. At the bottom we can see the faint reddish glow of lava. Around this hole there is a descending spiral path. We rest for the night near the entrance to the hole.
The next morning we go back to the “arena” and decide to try our luck with the exit which was straight ahead. Rob decides to take his luck in his hands and attempts a mighty leap over the suspected trap. Disaster! On landing he stumbles, steps back and steps on the suspect trap. Nothing happens! Rob is so bad at detecting traps he had detected one where one didn’t exist. We cross the bridge and find two more towers guarding a gate at the other side of the cavern. The gate has dull black doors made of metal. Fortunately the doors are ajar. We go through the doors and carry on.
After a short while we enter a large rectangular room with a chasm crossing the centre from left to right. The chasm is filled with lava. There is a bridge which crosses the chasm. However there is a huge jet of lava that shoots up from the chasm to the left of the bridge and crosses it in an arch before falling back into the chasm on the other side. This is no doubt some nefarious magic. Unfortunately this magical lava arch over the bridge makes it look very dangerous to cross. Approaching the bridge the heat becomes dangerously high.
Rob has an idea. We all go back to the cavern with the river and Rob wets all his clothes in the river and we go back to the chasm. Holding his wet cloak over his head Rob dashes headlong onto the bridge towards the lava arch braving the enormous heat. Just as he gets under the arch the heat disappears and the temperature goes back to the normal. Rob shouts back to the others that there is a magical area under the lava arch where the temperature is normal so that they can rush across without danger. After getting over the rush to the arch, Rob rushes over the rest of the bridge and gets safely across. The others do the same.
We exit the room into another passage. After a while we exit the passage into the bottom of a crevice which is open to the skies. It has steep rocky sides. We follow this crevice as it bears to the right. We get to a fork with the crevice going up to the right and down to the left. We go right but our path is shortly blocked by a large gate house which is closed. We are unable to proceed as Rob fails to climb the wall.
We therefore retrace our steps back to the fork and go left. Shortly the left side falls away opening a huge vista over a very large valley. Over this valley we can see a very long and thin bridge which goes from up above us to the right all the way across this large valley to a plateau on the other side. We ponder long on this mighty feat of engineering!
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