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The group is quickly ferried across on a rug guided by an invisible host. Once upon the other shore, the pavilion is duly inspected and found to offer no threat other than plentiful comfy pillows. The black bottle rests upon a golden pillow. It is a foot and a half tall and made of obsidian glass with ornate geometric designs carved into it. A great looping handle protrude from its squat, bulbous body and a lapis lazuli stopper plugs the spout. Golden runes in Terran circle the edge of the plug.
Remove my stopper, speak adra hadra, and enter my palace.
Varkata frowns and shakes her head. "Sorry, I didn't think of it. Hopefully, we won't bump into any more killer columns."
Kzrira Maiwith wrote:
Although, whatever is in the bottle is undoubtedly incredibly dangerous, or valuable. Most likely both.
Varkata laughs out loud. "Ain't that the truth! I couldn't have said it better myself and I've got dibs!"
The door opens easily to reveal the image described by the Drunkard's priestess.
Unseen, Amir keeps a wary eye on the other columns, but he detects nothign untoward and whistles the others forward to the door. Varkata lays a hand on it and hiccoughs. The room beyond is quite a vision-
Jeweled tiles cover the floor of the extravagantly decorated room. Blazing torches, candelabras, lanterns and braziers spread throughout the room join the soft glow of the river of lava that bisects the chamber from west to east flowing through high tunnels. A pavilion stands in the northern end of the room on the opposite shore of the lava river. It is formed by black silk hangings strung between four engraved columns and filled with pillows and cushions. Upon the plush mound lies a large black glass bottle.
Raging, Varkata continues to beat at the Efreet construct until it totters over and falls to the floor, once more inert metal.
Kzrira takes aim at the other and her heavy arrows puncture it time and again. Unseen, Amir slips behind it and jabs at joints that would cause the thing great pain if it weren't unfeeling brass. It continues its unthinking assault on the closest visible target. Varkata barely dodges a deadly sweep, but is caught by the backhand. varkata-13
Varkata 1: 1d20 + 17 + 2 ⇒ (13) + 17 + 2 = 32
A moment later, she manages to destroy the pierced and jammed Brass Man.
Amir disappears from view as Karethas strains against the Wishwarp. Kzrira draws upon her dwindling reserve of adamantine arrows, furhter injuring the wounded Brass Man. With Amir nowhere in sight, the gleaming guardians assail Varkata. The wounded one seems to be faltering only landing a blow that is deflected off the hearty priestess' armor. The other metal man employs its brass falchion more skillfully, hacking her twice with surprising speed. Varkat-16, 17 slash
Kzrira Maiwith wrote:
Not sure which axe it was at this point, but it was one being used to sunder, so at the time I thought it might be adamantine. It is the axe that Kzrira is carrying.
yeah, that was a while ago. It belonged to the gnoll high priest. Just a +1 great axe. the sundering was a class ability.
Varkata spins around one of the brazen guards and hacks him with Ebon Flame the strike doesn't even dent the guard, but at least there is a black scar left from the cold.
Amir sneak: 4d6 ⇒ (1, 4, 4, 1) = 10
Amir's light blades hardly look effective next to Varkata's failed blow, but he cannily targets structural weaknesses and does slight damage.
Varkata responds to Kzrira's question. "Not vulnerable to magic steel though cold seems to leave a mark."
planes or arcana DC 22:
The guards are obviously golems. In fact, Brass Men, crafted by Efreeti Lords on their home plane to fill the ranks of their armies. They are immune to fire and most spells. And their metal construction resists weapons not made of adamantine.
Karethas and Kzrira up.
Visions of flaming ghouls distract the usually attentive rogue until a more substantial foe presents itself. Just as Amir passes between them, the closest two pillars of brass transform into a pair of matching brass warriors some eight feet tall. They are molded with ornate armor which has peaks shaped into flames. They appear at each side of the rogue and swing brass falchions.
Amir reflexively dodges the heavy blades, but they are too fast and he suffers two horrible gashes! Amir-19, 16 slash
Amir 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (9) + 2 = 11
Karethas 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (3) + 6 = 9
Kzrira 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (11) + 5 = 16
Varkata 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (18) + 1 = 19
foe 1d20 ⇒ 6
The elemental bows to Karethas and hisses in the unsettling speech of burning things before it grabs the deadly blade from the crypt full of ashes and flies away.
As you wish, Master. I will drag it to the volcano's heart.
Kzrira feels much better once the vile artifact is out of her sight and beyond the range where it might cause her any distress. Kzirira- neg level restored.
alright moving on. since Kzrira seems to hot for the axe...
Kzrira ignores the various warnings and reaches into the charred remains of the Carrion King for her reward. The greataxe is enormous and infused with necrotic energy which sucks at any life that comes in contact with it. It is truly a weapon that only a dead thing would use. What remains of her soul is further fractured by the vile blade. Kzrira- 1 neg level.
Amir moves forward finding the door clear. Beyond is a finished corridor that turns to the right after ten feet. It continues for 100 feet before ending at another door.
The man-sized great axe remains a mystery to Kzrira who hasn't much experience in riddling out magical dweomers. The unseen cat on her shoulder hisses out a warning though and Amir's own roguish instincts cause him to back away as the fire elemental swoops into the sarcophagus to cremate the unholy remains of the King of Carrion. The ax is left among the conflagration and Varkata places a hand on the door. Beyond is a finished corridor of black volcanic stone that turns sharply to the right after a short distance.
A burning figure flies into the room to assault the undead abomination. the damage is less than impressive, but a moment later ice follows fire as Ebon Flame leaves a frost-rimmed gash. Amir flanks, stabbing the creature from behind and it wobbles in its crypt before falling pierced by a final arrow.
Amir: 1d20 + 15 ⇒ (10) + 15 = 25
Varkata is struck by the great axe as she closes Varkata (AoO)- 16 slash, 2 neg feeling some of her life energy pulled away with the slash, but she lands a powerful blow of her own. Amir spins in and stabs the risen king. Kzrira is numbed by the paralyzing touch, but one arrow hits hard enough to harm the apparition.
The towering corpse swings the life-sucking axe with blinding speed as entrails whip about it. Varkata is gouged trice and then manages to dodge enough so that the blade is deflected by Karethas' ward. Varkata- 20 slash, 4 neg; 15 slash, 5 neg An entrail arcs high through the room to slap Kzrira again. Kzrira- fort DC 24 or paralyzed.
Two of Kzrira's arrows do hit and one pierces a rotten eye, bursting it and lodging in the gnoll revenant's skull. The reeking corpse is surprisingly quick and leaps from the crypt. Entrails fly about it like striking serpents and horrifyingly, the ends of the digestive organs are filled with barbed teeth. One tentacle-like intestine strikes Kzrira. Kzrira- fort DC 24 or paralyzed
Amir's gambit appears to have worked! The lid of the sarcophagus launches into the air at the adventurers who easily dodges it. A horrifying visage rises from the tomb. A rotten corpse of a giant gnoll stands. Entrails burst from its stomach and coil around the putrefied flesh and bone. Boney claws grasp an enormous greataxe and Kzrira's mind goes blank as she realizes that this is her worst nightmare- the undead Carrion King!
Amir 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (8) + 2 = 10
Karethas 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (8) + 6 = 14
Kzrira 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (18) + 5 = 23
Varkata 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (12) + 1 = 13
foe 1d20 ⇒ 6
Amir finds no traps or locks on the great stone door. Calling on the spirit of exploration, Varkata places her hand upon to see beyond the stone. The dark chamber on the other side of the door is roughly rectangular and unadorned besides another stone door on the opposite wall and a great stone sarcophagus centered in the 20x50 room.
Karethas senses that something was off about the vision of Jhavhul that just disappeared. It seems a generic message, perhaps a programmed illusion. The heroes are left to ponder the way forward.
Sheik Voodoo wrote:
The passages center and right appear to end at a river of magma. The left passage ends at a heavy stone door.
The smell of brimstone fills the air and Jhavhul's face splits in feral grin. "Welcome visitors, to Xotani's grave where wishes are granted. You are honored to have been chosen to witness my ascension. Enjoy yourselves, and when you are but ants beneath my feet, I may even let you live!" He throws back his head and laughs a deep booming sound that brings to mind the roaring of an inferno. The figure turns to smoke and fades away as his laughter echoes through the tunnels.
That was an unimpressive channel roll. Feel free to continue the healing, I'm gonna hop forward a step.
Once the wizard is properly mended, the Heroes continue. The path ahead is long and cylindrical. The walls look as if they partially melted and then cooled with gooey ropes frozen as they dripped down the molten sides of the passage. It could be a lava cave, or it could be the path of the giant Thoqqua. Nonetheless, it eventually ends in a less regular chamber of incredible hear that splits in three. Surely, you are deep within the heart of Pale Mountain now and near the Xotani's Grave.
The passages center and right appear to end at a river of magma. The left passage ends at a heavy stone door. Before you can discuss your options however, a towering figure with crimson skin, smoldering eyes and large black horns appears before you. It is the same figure that flew past you as you fell into the Scroll of Kakishon- Jhavhul!
Kzrira keeps firing at the massive burning worm that hovers over the shrine, jabbing with a great beak-like head. She is kept on the defensive and her hurried shots offer minimal damage. Amir hovers close upon the rug and spinning to confuse the creature slides Sholeh between stoney black segments. Fortunately, the burning blade is inured to the incredible heat. The creature rumbles in distress.
Kzrira's arrows hit the giant fire worm, but they ignite before they touch causing less harm than expected. Amir swoops down to ward his friend as Karethas disappears from view. Varkata lunges back to her feet swinging the cold black blade. The monster rumbles as the freezing flame wounds it! The Thoqqua slams its burning spear-like head down at Varkata who spins aside taking a glancing blow. Varkata-13 slam
Karethas ibn Faradin wrote:
Ummm, are we assuming that we healed up after the last battle?
Bad time for a crit... Sure, you would have healed up. I'll even say that the healing wands function normally despite the wishwarp. Stored rather than summoned energy. Otherwise, remember that casting requires a DC 18 caster level check (note: you don't add ability score bonuses to CL check)
The wave of lava courses over the low ledge of volcanic stone knocking Varkata over. The priestess quickly rises and calls frozen fire over her sword while Karethas hurls force bolts. The great worm-like elemental curls over and drives its white-hot spear-shaped head toward the wizard. With the force of its enormous mass behind it, it crashes into him, smashing the wizard against the rock! Karethas-35 bludge The rock around him grows sticky from the heat.
again talk, but no action...
Karethas joins Amir on his rug and Varkata jumps on the back of the bronze griffon with Kzrira. The large chamber presents no difficulties to flight and in a moment they land on the far side near the horrible statue. Suddenly, there is a loud clanging from the opposite side of the chamber and the mephit from the entry chamber hovers over a fallen brass gong. He shrugs with a vile smile and quickly retreats into the steam. A moment later, a huge fiery worm-like creature erupts from the molten pool spraying hot lava over the adventurers. Fortunately, they are protected from the deadly heat, but not the molten wave! ref DC 15 or prone.
Know Planes DC 14:
The creature is a Thoqqua, a simple-minded and very hostile elementals from the plane of fire. Their incredible heat can melt metal weapons used against them, but they are vulnerable to cold.
Amir 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3
Karethas 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (15) + 6 = 21
Kzrira 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (2) + 5 = 7
Varkata 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (16) + 1 = 17
foe 1d20 ⇒ 10
The chain of floating rocks are conveniently spaced between 5 to 10 feet apart with a 15-foot leap at the end. Karethas thinks that the floating rocks would not offer much support to a span and with the incredible heat, a stone shaped bridge would not get much beyond a quarter of the way before breaking and sinking.
Varkata Steeleye wrote:
Varkata cast an extended Communal Resist Fire -- 80 minutes each of Resist 20 for the Rogue and Archer -- as we came in?
There was a lot of ooc discussion, but I didn't see a clear go ahead. No prob, we'll start now.
Amir and Kzrira are warded by Varkata's spell and pass through the steam as if it were a mere morning mist. The passage opens to a hellish vision: a broad pool of sputtering lava laps against the walls of a vast cavern. Through the distorting waves of heat and smoke, several rocky islands of various sizes are visible, bobbing on the molten surface. At the opposite side of the searing pool about 200 feet away, rises an intimidating idol of burning obsidian: a large coiled form with a draconic head and rows of scythe-like legs.
The creatures do not seem to need translation and one replies in Kelish. Its voice is loud and mumbling and the mouth does not move from the gaping idiot grin. "We wish only to wait for our Masters' return. Long have they and the Efreet been gone from this place. Perhaps the Efreeti warlord's return means that our Masters will remember us. We owe Jhavhul nothing though and will not block your way if you mean us no harm."
"The Belker was not welcome. It was sent to spy on this back entrance into the volcano. Past the Belker's lair is a shrine of fire and beyond, the way to Xotani's Grave."
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