Friday, 5 July 2019

THE LOST CITY, PART 3

Actual play narration adapted from module B4: The Lost City. Will contain spoilers.

Lost in the desert, four foreigners (Luke, Kostas, Romulus and Xavi) arrived at the mysterious city of Cynidicea, and decided to align themselves with the Brotherhood of Gorm. Believing their best way to find a way home to be the restoration of order to the chaotic city, Ser Luke sought to forge an alliance between the Brotherhood of Gorm and their rivals, the Sisterhood of Madarua. Initially rebuffed (and receiving a spear-wound for the trouble), Luke struck a deal: to assassinate the leader of a third faction, the brotherhood of Usamigaras. Explaining his plan to the his reluctant master, Kanadius, Luke then grabbed his men in order to explore the pyramid a little more. 
Read part two here


Once they had their combat gear together, the four comrades set out to explore the lower tiers of the pyramid. They had already explored an estimate 25% of the next level, and Luke was keen to unravel the deeper mystery of the place.

Down to the third tier they travelled, and once again to the mysterious twisting corridor. They opened the sliding granite panel and crossed the corridor without activating its turning mechanism, finding themselves at a t-junction. Taking the left-hand path, the party quickly found themselves in an abandoned storeroom. The men rummaged through the crates, before Xavi noticed that the room was rapidly filling with water. Kostas checked the door through which they had entered: it had sprung shut behind them, and possessed no handle with which to open it!

Already the room was filling with water, and as Kostas and Romulus vainly struggled with the heavy door, Xavi was scanning the wall for another exit. Miraculously, he found a concealed hatch at the bottom of the wall, consisting of an unmortared yet airtight block. With Ser Luke's assistance, they forced the block out, revealing a secret entrance into a small chamber beyond. The water gushed into the room, disappearing beneath a crack under the door in the far wall.

It took a while, but after some time the party were able to relight their torches. However, they now had only four remaining.

Unable to force the original door open, the men filed through the secret door and carefully opened the  door to the next chamber. Inside, two vipers poised ready to struck atop a huge mound of silver coins and a handful of glistening gemstones. They serpents struck out unsuccessfully, pointed fangs dulled against the warriors' mail, and were swiftly  decapitated by the man-at-arms, Kostas.

"We're rich!"

It was far too much to carry, so the two most senior men filled their coin pouches and suggested they let Kanadius know about the remainder, so that he might despatch some brothers to collect the gold. While this was debated, the curious Xavi began examining the southernmost wall, and uncovered a secret door similar to the previous one. They passed through, carefully replacing the loose stone to conceal their passage and protect their loot.

Taking their roughly-sketched (and now thoroughly sodden) parchment map from his pocket, Ser Luke estimated that the corridor in which they now found themselves would rejoin the rotating corridor at the centre of the level through a door to the southwest. This was confirmed when a brass panel was discovered, identical to that found at other doors to the rotating corridor. So, that being the northwest passage, that was the direction in which the party travelled.

The party stumbled into a large chamber, its walls plastered with rotten tapestries. A corpse lay face down beside an altar on the northern wall. As they began to assess the possible purpose of this room, an enormous winged lizard leapt towards them, prompting a swift exchange of blows, during which the monster was slain without any harm coming to the party. An examination of the corpse revealed it to be that of a Cynidicean, albeit one wearing a mask with which they were not familiar. Hewn from iron, the mask resembled the muzzle of a desert fox. The corpse had been dead for a number of days, and had been partially eaten by the lizard. They found a two impressive gems, and four hundred gold coins, which Ser Luke then swapped out with the silver coins already retrieved.



Buoyed by their victories over sundry reptiles, and their haul of treasure, the party returned to their new cloisters. They had a big day ahead of them, and Ser Luke's sleep was somewhat troubled, though he was relieved he had managed to lead his men out of the desert to somewhere at least resembling a safe haven.

DAY TWO

Parlay...
Kanadius roused the party from their slumber, ahead of their scheduled meeting with Pandora and the sisterhood of Madarua. Ser Luke revealed that his comrades and uncovered a stash of silver on the lower level, and handed over 400 silver coins as evidence. He made no mention of the gold coins, nor the gems they had already taken. Impressed, however, Kanadius led Ser Luke through a series of doors to the treasury of Gorm: an enormous cage, the floor of which was strewn with gold coins and jewellery, protected by a small army of giant bees.

"As long as you are wearing their mask of your faith, the bees will not attack a Brother of Gorm. I will send some men to the location you described, and bring the treasure back here. Now: we must meet with the sisterhood."

Following a more direct route, Kanadius took the party (along with a small armed escort), to the chamber in which Luke had first liaised with Pandora. After passing through the entrance, Luke found the Sisterhood almost as he had last seen them: seated about a large table, headed by Pandora. To her left stood a dark robed character, wearing a similar mask to that of the corpse they had found yesterday.

This figure, they discovered, was Helena the stealthy.

There followed much back-and-forth betwixt the leaders of the two rival factions, with Ser Luke occasionally acting as mediator. Ultimately, however, common sense prevailed and the two factions agreed upon a strategy: Helena would begin a 48 hour reconnaissance of the Usamigaras cult, while Luke's party would endeavour to capture a cult member for interrogation. The suggestion of the new arrivals infiltrating the cult of Usamigaras was dismissed, once they realised they had all been permanently tattooed with the mark of Gorm.

Satisfied, the two parties agreed to reconvene in two days time with all the intelligence they had gathered, and together formulate a plan to depose of the cult's leader, Auriga. The brotherhood of Gorm bid farewell to the new-found sisters-in-arms.

Realising there remained one section of the level yet unexplored, Luke took his party to investigate the northeastern section of the third tier, while Kanadius ventured to the secret stash of silver coins the party had discovered the night before.

Zargon Woz Ere
The room they uncovered had once been a place of worship, but the walls were covered with graffiti and the shrines had been desecrated long ago. Etched prominently, in the characters of the ancient language, was the word ζαγον...

"Zargon"said Luke, for the benefit of his comrades.

After scouring the room for traps and loot, they found that a section of the floor descended to the lower level when sufficient weight was applied. A fairly steep ramp provided access to the tier below, and the party ventured deeper into the pyramid.

After listening as best they could against the granite door, the party confidently strode into the burial chamber of a mummified guard captain, surrounded by a platoon of skeletal warriors. To nobody's surprise whatsoever, the skeletons sprang to life and began to assault the party with their ancient bronze weapons.

Resilient as they were, the superior bludgeoning weapons of Xavi and Ser Luke quelled the undead guardians, and through brute force alone Kostas suppressed his numerous assailants. Quivering in fear, Romulus was able to stave off the assault, but was pleased when the nine skeletal warriors were reduced to piles of bones. After receiving a number of knocks and scratches for the trouble, the party were disappointed to procure nothing by way of grave goods.

Continuing their exploration, the party were alarmed to hear a stentorian voice bellow the name of their new deity from the shadows beyond the light of their torches. The men drew their weapons, but slowly, coming into view, was a patrol of thirteen men in glistening scale mail, each one wearing the bronze mask of a fearsome cyclops.


...after RL Djimini mask 
Leading the patrol of cultists was a man in a similar mask, but cloaked in robes of a deep indigo. He raised his hand, and the soldiers charged towards the party.

Chaos ensued, and somehow Ser Luke was divided from his men and forced to plough into hitherto unexplored territory. With four men hot on his tale, he slipped through a door on his right.. only to find himself in a dirty, squalid room reeking of vermin.

As the footsteps of his pursuers grew louder, Ser Luke was startled by the squeaking of rodents from a filthy pile of rags in the centre of the room...

Continued in part four...

Treasure recovered and monsters defeated so far...

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