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Amir's careful inspection finds a lapis and gold scarab amulet in the sand beneath the pillows. Karethas identifies it as an amulet of natural armor +1.
"The Pit of Screaming Ghost" does have a familiar ring, but the adventurers move toward the equally uninviting "Pit of the Fireblooded". Their various magical wards protect them from the growing heat as they approach the fiery portal. Between the pair of tall brass efreet that seem to ward the entrance, a cloud of smoke with glowing red eyes appears.
Amir 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (14) + 2 = 16
Karethas 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (20) + 6 = 26
Faelar 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (9) + 4 = 13
foe 1d20 ⇒ 12
Sorting themselves out, the adventurers crawl up into the hidden space. Though comfortable enough, it cannot compare to the soft pillow and sweet breezes of the pavilion. Fortunately, nothing interrupts their rest and they awake hours later rested from their recent exertions and wounds.
next day. HD worth of hp healed up.
Despite the obvious comfort provided by the pavilion, Karethas cannot rest until he has explored all of the unexpected chamber. Heading the other direction, Karethas finds the room growing uncomfortably hot as he approached the far end and the portal of flame flanked by bronze efreet. He keeps his distance and can just make out an inscription in Ignan which is somewhat different from the last.
By no command but Jhavhul's shall the Pit of the Fireblooded be opened.
His curiosity sated for the moment, Karethas returns to more temperate environs near the tent and casts his spell for a concealed hiding place.
The rope to the extradimensional aerie blends in seamlessly with the tent poles.
Karethas ibn Faradin wrote:
I'll always assume you take 10 first if possible.
A strong aura nearly covers all others. It is an illusion though it does not appear to come from the sand, plants or water that seems quite real. The aura emanates from the walls and all around.
You identify it as a high level screen spell. It conceals these undermountain chambers. Anyone scrying this area would see only solid mountain. There also appears to be warding spells to prevent extraplanar travel into the place.
As Karethas approached the cave-like portal, he notes that the air cools and darkens significantly at this end of the strange chamber. It is as if the sun has set and the heat quickly dissipated under the cloudless desert sky. The stone sentinels offer no verbal response, but seem to straighten up as if awaiting instruction. There is writing in Terran above the dark portal.
By your command shall the Pit of Screaming Ghosts be opened.
Despite the twitching of the bow, Faelar does in fact feel completely content and at ease. In fact he can feel the concerns of the past few days ease away as he relaxes fully.
Weariness overcomes cautiousness and the old rogue heads to the pavilion. Amir has to admit that it looks quite comfortable and just standing near the oasis beneath the well-fruited walnut seems to clear away the illness that he has afflicted him all day from the carrion stink of the temple above. The air is definitely clean and fresh and likely a short rest upon the comfortable pillows will do him well.
Under the wizard's urging, the surviving adventurers push forward to the light at the end of the hallway. Beyond awaits a strange and unexpected sight: a peaceful and bright oasis within the mountain's heart!
The chamber is about twenty yards across and extends another sixty yards to the left and to the right all under what seems to be a cloudless desert sky though you know the House of the Beast stands above you. The floor is covered with warm yellow sand.
Opposite your entrance verdant shrubs, palms and a large almond tree rustle gently in a light breeze above a cool bubbling blue oasis. A striped pavilion is constructed near this scene open to your inspection and holds an assortment of carpets and pillows in apparent readiness for weary travelers.
At the right end of the miraculous chamber, a flaming portal stands in the center of the wall flanked by two large bronze statues of leering efreet. At the left end, what appear to be two hulking earth elementals guard a dark portal.
Amir Awad Hajjir wrote:
What a waste of time, trying to be a good guy LOL
yeah, that'll get you nowhere.
The steep, tightly spiraling stairs straighten out and shallow their descent after about twenty more feet. Ahead the narrow passage is lit with bright sunlight and a comfortably warm breeze fills the air with the promising scents of water and vegetation.
Faelar hardly seems in control of his body as his head and legs rush back into the stairwell and the bow fires repeatedly at the hated div in the opposite direction. Undra is wounded twice more as the elf leaps into the stairwell. Suddenly alone, Amir regretful leaves the misshapen and unnamed alchemist to his doom and in a pair of steps retreats after the others.
As he enters the passage, he can only watch Undra shrieking whether in pain or glee as the alchemist is whipped high into the air where the three other tentacles merge upon him and quarter him in a spray of blood and viscera. In the narrow stairway below, Karethas spots a lever to seal the secret entrance above.
Faelar scrambles for the cold iron arrows and fires a near miss when the bow seems to take over and hits the div wounding her. Undra shrieks with rage. Her fury grows even greater as the offensive red color bleeds up from the hidden stairwell and over the throne. Amir kneels at the edge of the pit reaching for the straining and panicked alchemist. Undra ignores the vulnerable position of the rogue and tears into the elf with vile claws. Faelar-6 and 7 slashing, two fort saves.
The alchemist is almost within reach when the horrible "little god" of the pit erupts in a spray of rotting gore and chunks of decayed flesh. The creature is huge and appears something like a scorpion except for the tentacles that erupt from where each of its claws would normally be. It flails madly giving a rasping hiss as it pounds corpses into mash.
Miraculously, the monstrous tentacles appear to miss the gut drenched alchemist and his fingers brush Amir's just as one tentacle manages to wrap around his leg in a crushing embrace. In the next instant, a stinger like a falchion drives into the hapless alchemist's back. He lives to grab Amir's hand, but already his grasp weakens as the virulent poison works its way into his body.
Actually the attack rolls were poor enough to not hit AC, but neither was I assuming that Faelar was using cold iron unless specified.
What you recall about Pairaka:
Everything tumbles into place for Karethas: the sign of Ahriman, the other div that have been seen in the vicinity. He recalls mention in his studies of geniekind of a corrupted div that appears as a temptress known as a Pairaka.
Faelar: Once Karethas names your enemy, your mind pulls out various facts you have stumbled upon. The pairaka cover their infested forms with an enchanting guise and spread disease and dissent through populations. Like all div they are most susceptible to good and cold iron weapons.
Karethas retreats down the narrow stairway as he grabs his magical pearl to reclaim a spell. The air in the tunnel is noticeably warmer, but thankfully free of the stink of putrefying flesh.
Undra rushes forward and slashes eagerly at the elf. A voice in his ear startles Faelar however and he jerks aside so that the black nailed claws miss him. The alchemist continues crawling over the rotting limbs and corpses in the pit gasping and gagging. Behind him something REALLY big rises through the carnage.
The div's supernaturally tough skin repels the series of arrows that fly at her. Undra just laughs as Faelar begins singing. "I hear that elf blood does wonders to soften the skin. I look forward to bathing in it." Amir frantically readies his bow.
at the top of round 2 so Karethas up.
"Here-," the alchemist grabs one of the fangs on the throne in panic. He looks at Karethas questioningly as the color from the red silk hanky flows into his own shirt. He is only confused for a moment before the tall black veiled div flies forward smacking the red shirted henchman off the balcony and into the pit of corpses. The projection he was holding flips down and the seat of the throne fslides away to reveal a narrow spiral stairway leading down.
Undra stops to hover above the pit about fifteen feet away. Below her the alchemist screams and struggles to crawl through the rotting corpses back to safety. Faelar begins his battle song...
Amir and Tempest/Kzrira up.
Karethas- You certainly seem to be making the most of the wishwarp! Enjoy!
Karethas pulls a crimson kerchief from his robe which waves in the air like a dancing flame. The alchemist looks at the wizard like he's crazy, but takes the dancing cloth without comment. The beautiful long haired white cat lurking behind however hisses and hunches its back.
The hiss turns into a howl as the creature grows and darkens to become a tall female form cloaked in black. "The Witch!" the alchemist yells in surprise.
Amir 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 2 = 7
Karethas 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (13) + 6 = 19
Faelar 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 4 = 7
Kzrira 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (7) + 4 = 11
foe 1d20 ⇒ 8
alchemist1d20 + 1 ⇒ (12) + 1 = 13
perception DC 22:
One of the teeth on the throne looks to be a lever likely to reveal a secret door.
The alchemist motions the naive bard to keep his voice down and then shrugs. He responds in a whisper, "The walls didn't say anything about that, but that would explain the source of all the genie wishes."
He leads the way around the grotesque pit to the isthmus that leads to the great maw-like throne. Still whispering with a ill-aligned eye on the pit, the man says. "I am certain there is a secret passage beneath this throne. Help me look."
The bent man bows further and rising smiles beneath his prominent nose. He beckons you back to the northern chamber with the pit of corpses. "I have had much time to read the history of this place during my residency in the Halls of Contemplation. Jhavhul, the high priest of this place, was said to have his personal quarters in the depths of Pale Mountain. We must go deeper. Though Jhavhul worshipped the destroyer, I think he hid the treasure of a thousand wishes away for his own enjoyment."
The strange man's voice falls as he enters the room of the Carrion Throne. Now he whispers as he points to the throne shaped like the jaws of Rovagug. "There. I think the passage to Jhavhul's Oubliette lies through the throne. Be quiet though. The little god waits beneath the rotting corpses."
You can hear voices now as you become more aware of your situation. Your spirit is part of the Tempest Bow and what is more, you are not alone. Thoughts flash through your head as you hear the bent man's story. Tempest was there when the House of the Beast fell and Jhavhul was no priest. You are certain he was an effriti and served no god. He wanted to be a god!
Faelar Braegen wrote:
"How long did you serve under the King and how would you serve us exactly?"
"I have been here for almost a year and in that time I have come to know the House and the gnolls here quite well. That perhaps will prove of some value. For example, I could not help but overhear that you were thinking of making your way upstairs. I would advise against that."
"Above us is where the Carrion Crown gnolls reside. They may not yet have received word of their leader's fall and would likely overwhelm you with their numbers. They will not come down here because they fear the little god of the pit. In a few days however, with the Carrion King gone, they will fall upon each other. Likely, Rokova and Shizak will vie for the chieftainship and their supporters will battle. It will be much easier to slip away with the gnolls so engaged. In the meanwhile, I think I know where the true wealth of the House lies. Your archer was certainly interested. Where is she?"
Amir Awad Hajjir wrote:
Someone should carry Tempest, etc. Any thoughts there?
I believe Faelar would get the most use out of it (elf and all) and was reaching for it last we heard.
The hungry flash of the demonic gnoll's great axe is the last thing you see and then you are buffeted as if by a great wind that flings you high into the night. At least you think it is night as you can see nothing. Darkness still surrounds you as you settle into powdery snow though you do not freeze in the cold embrace. You sense that there is another presence with you though you see nothing and it does not speak.
Kzrira and Faelar:
So my thought is that Kzrira inhabits the Tempest bow for a while. She can speak through Falear when she likes. The weak willed bard offers little resistance.
As the party turns toward the stairs to the upper levels of the House of the Beast, a stooped man enters the hall from the labyrinth. You recognize him by the long-haired white cat that haunts his heels. With a broken smile, the alchemist bows. "I seem to have underestimated your prowess, Sadah. You have slain the Carrion King. I was once his humble servant, let me now serve you. Though I am crude of form, do not misjudge my mind."
Amir urges at least taking a look around to gain your bearing before retiring. Beyond the labyrinth is a great room with just a few sputtering torches to break the gloom. The stench of death fills this hot chamber, but you've already inured yourself to it as best you can. At least no more gnolls lie in wait.
A wide staircase circumscribes the east side of the room leading up. The northern wall is a series of arches mounted on columns that divide this room from an equally large chamber beyond. From what you can see of the walls, they are stamped in a repeating pattern of paw prints, skulls and crude symbols in what appears to be blood, clay and dung.
The stench grows even stronger if that can be believed as you move north to the arches that divide the room. Most of this room is taken up with a great basin filled with broken, rotten carcasses crawling with larvae and vermin. The pit is skirted by a ten foot wide walkway that hugs the walls and leads to the back section of the room.
The back wall is shaped as a ribbed framework of jointed legs curving forward to a horrible sculpted head that projects over the pit. The great mouth of the demonic face gapes wide to hold a throne. A twenty foot wide column holds the massive sculpture aloft.
Karethas ibn Faradin wrote:
yeah, Comp Longbow +4 Str.
and with a 23 Spellcraft you can ID everything-
Amir picks over the remains like a vulture seeking the sweetest offal. The image is reinforced as he gruesomely deliberates the best way to flense Kzrira of her flesh.
The Carrion King is arrayed in a large breastplate ornamented in weird etchings of voracious mouths and jointed insect legs. The horrible great axe lies dangerously nearby. In addition, the fallen chieftain bears a heavy ring and thick belt both which appear magical.
The guard bears the standard masterwork scimitar and heavy pull longbow along with studded leather armor and a healing potion. The drowned priest yet wears common splint armor and a well crafted great axe. His healing wand is nearly drained. cure light wounds- 5 charges.
Kzrira has been properly eulogized: here
Amir, once revived and upon return to Kelmarane, surely has enough sway with Zayifid and the Church of Abadar to somehow restore Kzrira, but a return to Kelmarane (and onto Katapesh City where sufficiently powerful priests would be found) is still some ways a way. Until then, I'm open as to suggestions for an interim role for Tirion. I have a few ideas, but not set on anything particular.
Name: Kzrira Maiwith, Wielder of the Tempest Bow
Not at their best from the stench of carrion that pervades the lower levels of the House of the Beast, the adventurers stumbled into the readied forces of the Carrion King. Retreating into the labyrinthine passages of the Hall of Contemplation, they perhaps lay in wait too long for the King to stumble into the ambush. The wily gnoll warchief (I went with a 'Chosen' Anti-Paladin 4 for a more cunning standard build) sent an attack force around to trap the renown gnoll slaying archer and the party was forced into a toe-to-toe melee rather than skirmish as was their usual style.
The King survived a crit from Kzrira's death dealing bow, but she proved no match for Goreshred. Amir, the aged yet still nimble rogue swordsman, fell next and only the might of a summoned earth elemental saved Karethas the conjurer and the elven bard, Faelar!
Amir's soul was only just kept from it's appointment at Pharasma's Spire and Abadar's final reward, but nothing could be done for Kzrira.
Trembling in fear, Faelar fumbles his attack just before the elemental smashes into the Carrion King from behind. There is the cracking of bone and the giant gnoll's eyes glaze over as he reaches for the elf with twisted claws. A moment later a wave of water engulfs the elemental and sweeps the faltering King's feet from under him. The demon knight falls at last.
From beyond the illusory wall, rough gnoll voices are heard and the Carrion Guard pushes through. His eyes immediately fall upon the still form of the chieftain and he stops in disbelief. Before anyone can react, the gnoll steps back and a cacophonous ululation is heard as the gnolls retreat through the labyrinth in panic.
end o' combat!
Karethas completes his conjuration and the rolling wave beats over the Carrion King before retreating to open a path for the mobile earth elemental. The rock creature charges, but the wet ground foils its attack. Amir uses the diversion to attack the gnoll warlord and Simin bites! oooh, so close!
Faelar plies his rapier to the Carrion Guard giving him a mortal wound. As the guard falls, a wall appears beyond Karethas appearing to seal the passage beyond.
Though alone and obviously sorely wounded, the Carrion King's fury keeps him fighting. A powerful claw tears open the rogue and pain is all Amir feels as his world darkens. Amir-7 claw. No sooner has the old rogue fallen than the beast steps forward leering over Faelar.
"Pretty, pretty elf," the Carrion King snickers.
no worries about the delay. About those dice rolls however...
The old rogue continues to do his best against the towering monster gnoll. The stress of the day, loss of a companion and continued nausea from the stench take their toll as he struggles to hold his ground. He hears Faelar's mournful song behind him, but he is a bit preoccupied by the kopesh that is nearer still.
Karethas conjures around the corner and the Carrion King steps free from the churning orb for a moment. The blade from behind pierces Amir again and a moment later a heavy claw knocks the rogue nearly from his feet. Amir-8 slash, 10 claw. The great gnoll knight cackles in delight as the bloody man wobbles before him.
NOTE: over the winter break my brother updated my computer and the latest version of Java screwed up maptools. I've managed to get it working but for some ridiculous reason it no longer recognizes the files it saves. Thus I end up having to recreate maps from scratch a lot which is F-ing annoying. I will try to update them as I can, but keep in mind it's extra effort which I really don't have time for.
Faelar- I've placed you in the corner, but you are threatened by and threatening the guard. I'd stab him. Picking up the bow now would receive an AoO.
The roiling ball of water keeps pounding against the Carrion King surely bruising him though he ignores it. The priest in the sphere no longer struggles. Faelar casts the spell of distracting noises again, but the Chosen gnoll just shakes his head to clear it away.
He gives his empty hands an annoyed look and then grins up at his feeble foes. "The Lioness is dead and you will soon join her. I will be quick because the pit is hungry." Despite his words, the Carrion King appears much more proficient with his ax and his dangerous claws cannot land a solid blow on Amir. The guard with the kopesh slips behind the rogue and slashes through shoulder with its curved tip.
The glittering gnoll horde behind you continue to struggle to get the pernicious glitter out of their eyes.
Karethas ibn Faradin wrote:
Now worries on the skull bomb. It wasn't really following the rules.
Aqueous orb just has waaay too many unanswered questions. I think it just tries to do too much. It and the 'pit' group are becoming my least liked spells.
So what happens when a victim inside falls unconscious? I guess they just remain inside drowning and taking up space?
Half numbed by the sudden death of his companion, Amir stabs at the ogrish gnoll king with Simin cutting deep into his side. The Carrion King raises his deadly axe high to destroy the old rogue only to have it fly backwards out of his grasp as Karethas greases it with a spell.
Karethas- for AQ Orb to reach H6, it's going to have to pass through the whole party. The spell doesn't differentiate for allies so everyone will be at risk for being pummeled and engulfed.
Kzrira- yeah, home field advantage. I think that has been a challenge with this dungeon- it kinda has a back door and adventurers have ended up in the basement much faster than they expected. You all are the appropriate level though so not as bad as hitting him at 4th...
Faelar- yes, she's very mutilated.
Amir- the ranged rule is that if the cover is closer to the target than the attacker, cover applies. I don't think it would apply for melee, but even if it did, all those hits were in the 30s.
Amir Awad Hajjir wrote:
I wanted to be in E8, would that have changed anything?
Unfortunately, no. You're switched with the guard, but CK still has reach. Looking at the obit thread, the CK's greataxe crit seems to be a leading cause of death beyond the first book. I even altered him a bit and took away his rage ability, but that greataxe damage is crazy.
yergh. worse than I thought. I forgot you really got poked at the outset from the Carrion Guard. I'm not sure why you all didn't heal up to full while you were waiting in the swarm, but again... battleaxe crit.
I'm not sure I even added in the human bane damage every time. On the plus side, your crit took him down by half. We'll have to see how this plays out.
OK, a lot happened in that round.
Karethas- actually, the 'bug bomb' as written didn't allow a save vs distrction each round, but I'll let it pass. Aqueous orb holds 4 medium OR 1 large. Since the CK is large and the priest medium, I ruled that it couldn't grab the CK since that would exceed the limit.
Amir- yeah, you were fortunately outside threat.
Kzrira- I overstated the damage last round by 3, but with 76 in a round with that crit, sadly I don't think that matters. I'm not really sure where you are with hp as they don't appear to have been updated. Again, I'd prefer an updated stat block in your action post as Karethas does.