Thursday, 15 August 2019

THE LOST CITY PART 5

Actual play adapted from module B4: The Lost City. Will contain spoilers.
Lost in the desert, four foreigners (Luke, Kostas, Romulus and Xavi) found refuge in the mysterious city of Cynidicea, joined the Brotherhood of Gorm and secured an alliance with the Sisterhood of Madarua. After successfully mapping the uppermost tiers of the pyramid, the party ran into a group of gnomes who agreed to assist them in a spot of tomb robbing. Sadly, one of the gnomes was slain by a mysterious shadow and the party are currently hiding in a secret storeroom on the fourth tier.... read part four here. 

Respite from the Undead
Luke convinced the gnomes not to retrieve the body of their fallen comrade until the coast was clear. Confused as to their location, which was the gnomes showed them the secret door in the wall by which they had initially entered, and led the party into a large, sparsely furnished chamber which now served as a bedroom. A white robe was draped over a single chair in front of desk, bereft of all but a wooden holy symbol of Usamigaras. 

The party conducted a thorough search, and uncovered a secret door in the same wall as the one by which they'd entered, on the far left. It opened into an identically sized chamber, but  contained a large tapestry of a desert scene and a treasure chest., which the gnomes immediately began to inspect for traps. One of the gnomes grew distracted...

"Is that tapestry.. moving?"


Polymar
The tapestry momentarily transformed into an octopus-like monster, bringing one of the gnomes close to death with a lashing tentacle attack. Luke withdrew his men to a safer distance, using the gnomes as a shield from which to launch attacks with Kostas' lance. The creature transformed once again into an ogre, and as the party pressed on with their attack, it went through multiple transformations, including a priest of Zargon, a medusa, a tablecloth... with ten men attacking it, it was taking some serious damage but was able to slaughter three of the gnomes, leading to a loss of morale and Romulus beating a hasty retreat. 

The gnomes, down to three men, made a slow tactical withdrawal, but Luke sensed the monster was on its last legs and pressed on with his remaining men, Kostas and Xavi, resulting in the creature's ultimate demise. The shape-shifting polymar disincorporated into a pile of blackish-green goo, leaving Luke to assess the damage.

Maybe a polymar? This has something to do with The Thing but I can't get any more info. Fair use etc.

Another Lucky Escape
Miraculously, the gnomish casualties showed some signs of life, and Luke was able to use a combination of miraculous magic and medical knowledge to arrest their further deterioration. The three little men were laid all together in the bed in the adjoining room. One of them looked as though a night's rest might bring him back to something like fighting fitness, but the other two would be at a low ebb for a good few days, even with Luke's assistance.

Kostas took Xavi's warhammer to the padlock securing the chest, breaking it open after a series of blows. Inside the chest was an incredible haul of treasure: thousands and thousands of coins! It was a bittersweet moment for Luke's party, who perhaps felt they might not ever get the chance to spend it...

Seeing that Romulus was starting to crack, Luke rewarded him with a magical dagger they had found in the chest. The young man seemed confused as to why he had been given it, but was grateful nonetheless.

Kitchen Diner
With the remaining gnomes standing watch over the invalids, Luke's party made a further foray into the dungeon. They were relying solely on the tiny lantern they had retrieved from their cloisters, and were using the dirty machine oil from the upper tier as fuel, sending black smoke in all directions. Miraculously, however, they were still able to  Two rock pythons, coiled around the corpse of a woman in a large kitchen table gave them pause. 

The party threw a coin into the darkness beyond, causing one of them to slither off and investigate, leaving the other to attempt to swallow the corpse whole, at which point the party piled in and smashed it to pieces. The horribly injured creature slunk out of the room under the door, inviting the second one to come try its luck. This one was not able to escape with its life, and the party were able to loot the corpse once it was apparent the woman would not be coming back around.

They also found a large abandoned kitchen and scullery are: there was a fireplace and chimney in which to cook, but all utensils and supplies had been previously looted. While the cried out their investigation, they heard the distant cry of wolf, followed by the loud clanging, as though armoured figures were fighting. The noise passed quickly, but the party remained hidden in the refectory.

Boudoir 
After a few minute had passed without incident, the party advanced to the southernmost door, opening up to reveal an empty boudoir type chamber, containing fine - albeit slightly rotten - furniture. A trail of blood led from one door to the other, a steady crimson path left by the wounded python. The was a little push-back on the door, it seemed to have a sprung closing mechanism. Luke kept it open with a bedroll.

Two rusted iron statues of hoplites, bearing swords and shields, stood either side of the door.

The heads of the statues turned, following the party around the room.  They split into two groups, only for each statue to focus its attention on one group. When the party split into four, each statue divided its attention equally between two party members.

Romulus was again unsettled. He hadn't enjoyed the day so far.

Ultimately, the party decided to move on: the statues seemed harmless enough. Then they heard scratching from beyond the eastern door...

The Wolfman of Cynidicea


The party readied themselves, anticipating some foul hound or wolf, but once they flung open the door, all that greeted them was a man in a brass wolf mask, crawling around on all fours. He began to growl.

"It's okay," said Luke, "we mean no harm."

The man had blood cascading down his face, and in his hands held a scrap of the python that had escaped from them earlier. He asked if the room was "safe", explaining that "some idiot" had removed the door stop and let the door close behind them, which activated the guardians...

"The magical statues. They won't spring to life with the north door open."

Luke was relieved to have placed the bedroll in the doorway.

The man went on to explain how he was, in fact, a terrifying werewolf, and that they had better treat him well or else. Despite not fully understanding what the lunatic was saying, Kostas appeared angered by this. He was, however, still lamenting the loss of his sword to faery magic, so held back.

"So tell me, what's through their?" Luke pointed towards the door at the far end of the corridor.

"More stuff - guardians. They won't bother me, I don't bother them. All perks of being a werewolf..."

"Listen... Mr. Wolf... are you hungry? There's a body just through there..."

The wolfman's ears pricked up. He went scampering in to the dining area, ready to feast on the woman's corpse they had liberated from the pythons. Xavi looked confused:

"Eating the flesh of the dead? Of a dead... human?"

"You're right, sacrilegious."

"Only one thing for it," said Kostas, chipping in, "it would be a mercy anyway, the man's a lunatic."

..and so the party crept back through the boudoir, past the curious gazes of the eyeless statues, and into the diner. Xavi went forward, clobbering the false lycanthrope on the back of the head. He fell to the ground, a steady flow of blood pouring from his head, his body spasming.

Romulus vomited.

"Umm, we did the right thing, didn't we?" said Xavi.

Luke was too busy seeing to Romulus to respond.

"Listen, boy: you've got to toughen up. Why do you think I gave you that magical dagger?"

Romulus shrugged.

"To push you to be braver. Come on, we have to pull together if we're going to get through this. We want to get home, right?"

Romulus nodded.

"Yep, be brave!" said Kostas, "just look at Xavi: already killing men while they're eating!"

Xavi looked down at the quivering mess before him, somehow not dead, yet certain never to see the light of day again. He felt ashamed. Kostas took Romulus' blade from him and delivered the coup-de-grace, looking up at Romulus and Xavi as he did so.

"It's a mercy, like I said."

The party gathered up the corpse of the woman, and arranged it as neatly as they could upon a chaise lounge in the boudoir, covering it with a blanket. Luke and Xavi said a few prayers Kostas had mentioned how surprised he was by the weight: it had been a while since he had lifted dead body. He started to reminisce about his soldiering days... and about wine...

They left the dog-man to rot.   

The Consultation Chamber
The end of dog-mans corridor housed a wooden door, beyond which no sounds were heard. The party opened it up to reveal an absolutely enormous wood-panelled room, the majority of which was carpeted with an absolutely huge woollen rug. One door offered the only other exit, and it was guarded by two stone gargoyles, perched upon granite pedestals.
In the centre of the room stood a large, heavy, wooden desk, behind which a comfortable was sat. An urn were situated in each of the corners.

Of course, as soon as Luke began to rummage through the desk... the gargoyles came to life.

The animated statues attacked with teeth, claws and tails, and once again the party were grateful for their heavy armour for defending them. Sadly, their counter-attack proved completely ineffective: even direct hits seemed not to harm them in any way. The party attempted a retreat, with Xavi suffering a grievous wound in the protest. The y were able to drag him to safety and seal the door behind them, but he was seriously wounded, and Luke had used at most of his healing powers on the gnomes.

Back in the large chamber, they found the gnomes resting, and Luke ordered his party to do likewise. They treated Xavi's wounds, shared the gnomes' measly rations and, when the lantern burned out, went to sleep. After multiple ordeals, sleep can very easily.

To be continued... in part six!

Treasure recovered and monsters defeated so far...

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