present: Davide (Hardok, Varnag), Elena (Irann), Jaroen (Therai), Jasper (GM).
Since both Philip and Thomas decide to quit, Davide is going to play Philip’s character (Varnag) in addition to his own, until we found somebody else.
We left the group doing some research to figure out where to go from there, the idea of battling the skeletons in the pit doesn’t appeal to anybody, so Hardok’s suggestion to try to find an alternate route to bypass the undead fighter and have a look at what there is beyond that place is accepted. Therai, after some discussions and negotiation with the clerks of Athas Revealed, has bought a nice Map that shows different things, in specific there are a few details that the group can recognize (the Fighting Pit, the Silo and the like) and some other places that are unknown but interesting.
After some deliberation the group decide to check if some of the passages that are marked as ‘closed’ can be re-opened with some hard labor (hard as in “Hardok is gonna do it”). Also, there is something marked on the map that makes Varnag think to a different entry route that could bypass the Silo (and his inhabitants) completely, and that’s worth checking. So the group goes shopping for digging implements and then they head again for the warehouse.
The place seems unchanged, the rope that was into the well is still there, so whoever was in is still in (or never got out and recovered the rope). The group quickly descend and proceed to the Silo and then, instead of going right (as usual) they decide to go across and get out from the left.
The tunnel leads to a place where some work has been done, the rubble have been dug out and support beams have been placed to support the ceiling. It appears to be a tunnel dug around a structure resembling an house. The tunnel splits into 2 passages, one of the branches leads into the structure and goes up. Irann goes forward to inspect it and encounters a door.
The group listen a bit at the door but can’t hear anything specific, it looks like a partially collapsed cellar and there is a boarded up door. Somebody seems to have taken a lot of time to block the door completely so nothing nasty could came up from the cellar. The group discuss a bits the opportunity to bust it but then they decide against it. As Therai puts it “you wouldn’t like if a bunch of peoples would bust through into your cellar, and we don’t know where we are ending up”. So the group decide to let it stay. They discuss for a moment where the door could lead.
Certainly is going under some other shop or house nearby the warehouse, but couldn’t figure out exactly where, so they decide to leave the problem for later and proceed along the tunnel. The tunnel continues for a while and then is blocked by a bunch of rubble, it seems the ceiling have caved in. Hardok grabs a shovel and a pickaxe and start digging, with the rest of the group removing rubble the passage is cleared enough to squeeze through in a couple of hours.
Irann retake the lead and sneak forward to check for traps ahead. The group reach a side passage, looking inside Irann sees a chamber with some painting on the walls, painting of snakes or serpents of some kind, also some paintings of snakes with arms. Varnag that is quite knowledgeable in history recall a legend that talks of the Yuan-ti. An old race of snake-like creature that had a city built in the same place where Tyr is now, and there are in fact some places where this kind of painting can be seen.
Anyway, Irann move forward and looks in the room. She notices that there is something like a basin on the opposite wall of the room, like a fountain of such kind. She looks closer and noticed that there is some kind of mud or sludge covering the floor and there are broken bones inside, in the rubble. The bones looks like human-like, and she also hear something ‘hissing’, like sneaks. So she retreats and explains everything to the others. Therai decide that this is a good moment to try his new trick with the fire elemental, so he sit down and begin concentrate, after a couple of minutes a small fire elemental appears and is directed by Therai inside the room, providing lights without the hassle of keeping the torch all the time. Everybody compliment him for the first application of his trick.
Hardok move forward and looks better, and he can see that is about 1.5 meter deep and the walls are covered with a dark-green sludge that smells really bad and there are bones sticking out of the sludge. While he watch, he can see that a skeletal figures burst out, it looks like a snake with arms and is producing a loud hissing noise. Hardok report the news to the others and at that moment another skeleton move forward, the same smelly sludge dripping from his fangs. And they both begin to climb out of the pit.
Irann moves forward and try and attack the two creature before they can get out, Varnag hurl a projectile with his Dejada at the creature, but doesn’t hit them. Hardok moves forward to block them and prevent them to get out, right on time because the two creatures attacks and bite him, the sludge turns out to be poisonous, but Hardok is tough enough to shake off the poison and retaliate with his sword. The battle is fought basically on the ledge, with Hardok acting like a stopper. Then Irann hits one of the snake so hard that he goes flailing around and smacks the other one, Varnak incite Hardok to give another hit, Therai uses his Psionic attacks, but the 2 skeleton are surprisingly strong and they retaliate slashing at Hardok and hitting him hard, he uses his strength to recover part of the damage and hits again the first skeleton, unfortunately the next attack from Irann doesn’t hit, Varnag uses his healing power to keep Hardok fighting, but Therai uses his Psionic the right way and the skeletal figures finally disintegrate, splashing venom around and hitting Hardok. The second one looks also on the verge of being destroyed so with her last attack Irann quickly moves out of range, while Varnag moves forward and pushes it away with his Trikal so the damage is minimal and only bruises Hardok.
Defeated the creatures the group rest a bit and Varnag decide to take a sample of the venomous sludge to bring it to the apothecary, so he gets out his water skin, drink it, then he ties it to the end of the pole the group have been using to check for traps before and dip it into the sludge. He then seal it very well commenting that “with this smell I won’t be drinking from it anytime soon” and put it back in his pack. Therai’s “fire elemental” evaporate at this point, so the group is back to normal torches, Varnag takes notes about the place so they can eventually sell the information back to the map shop (information broker), the group checks a bit if there are hidden doors or passages but there is nothing. Then everybody begin to hear again the hissing so everybody decide to get out of the room. Gained the “safety” of the tunnel, the group decide to press forward.
Once again Irann takes the lead checking the way forward with the pole, Therai gives quite a lesson in “basic dungeoneering” (how to search for traps, checks if the ceiling is sound and so on). The tunnels are dry and dusty, there are some faint traces on the ground but nothing specific. It seems more likely to encounter an unstable ceiling than a placed trap. The group reaches the next intersection and decide to move to the left. The tunnel seems clear, no sign of traps or anything nasty so they proceed. They quickly reaches an area that has been clearly excavated, it shows the remaining of a large and ornate marble structure. It seems like the front of a large, rich building, with marble columns.
There are traces of embellishment that have been removed from the building but the richness and quality of the marble are still there. Part of the ceiling have collapsed however, so the rest of the building is unreachable. The ceiling height varies from 2 to 4 meters, partly is masonry and partly is natural cave. There are some holes in the front of the building that allow to see partly inside.
From the look of it, the building was some kind of “official” building, it make the group think that this was once upon a time a wealthy neighbor or something. Approaching the front of the building and looking through some of the holes the group can see body parts or remaining on the other side.
The group move forward, with Hardok doing most of the heavy digging and the rest helping out with the removal of the rubble. This takes quite a while, and in the end the group moves towards the far side of the building, there are remaining of the foundation of other buildings and there are also bloodied body parts. They looks fresh enough to still have blood. And there are clearly traces that looks like something has been licking that stuff, and there is a big trail of gore and blood going down the tunnel.
Therai of course is very keen in investigating the place, the group checks a bit the remaining, Varnag, with his knowledge of bodies, decide that they were a bunch of humans and some Mules too, probably dead by a couple of days and by being ripped a part without the use of weapons, meaning “big monster attack”.
Varnag ask aloud where they have been coming from, since the way the group have came, after a bit deliberation everybody decide that the question is pointless. The group follow the trail of blood down the tunnel, that splits, one branch clearly going towards the same area that was explored previously with the fighting corpses. Not being interested in another round of chatting with the fighters, the group moves in the other branch, always checking for traps and unsafe parts.
The tunnel goes down for a while and then turns quite sharply, then there is a larger section of the tunnel and there are sign of blood prints and traces on the walls, like somebody or something was drag against his will. After a few meters, they encounter a part of the tunnel that was marked as blocked in the map but isn’t blocked anymore, it appears to have been cleared previously and some support beam have been added to support the ceiling. Moreover, it looks that somebody hacked at the beams in an attempt at breaking it down, but is not going to give way on his own, however, if given a good push it could collapse again. Proceeding with caution, Irann approach the next intersection and can clearly see that the blood became a trace, and she is assaulted by the vision of some kind of ghostly apparition of somebody that seems to be dragged in the direction we are heading, after recovering from the scare, she relay the information to the others that decide that something is definitively weird. The rest of the group sees the bloody mess but doesn’t get any psychic effect.
The tunnel proceeds sneaking around a bit, and then ends crossing in a corridor, and the whole group can feel something really really weird and unnatural. On the right there are stairs that lead further down but the ceiling is collapsed, on the left there is a short straight and then it opens in a larger area. The group moves to the left investigating the large area, that turns to be a large squarish room with some kind of “coffins” along the walls and a larger one at the end. And lots of blood traces going from the door to each “coffin”. Moreover, some bags left over at the door reveals to be full of bloody body parts.
The interest of Therai is immediately attracted by the various ‘Coffins’ that are made of metal! Lots of metal! The others that are not so interested in the metal, notice that the coffins seems to have a split in the middle, and the blood trails seems to go into the coffins. Like something drag the victim inside. A wild guess from Therai is that whatever is inside the ‘coffins’ is consuming the blood and the flesh, and the largest chest at the end of the room is definitively something you don’t want to meet.
Hardok isn’t enthusiastic about the place and suggest to go the other way, but Therai begins to think how one (or more) of these coffins out. Varnag suggest to take down notes and check later if we can find any information about what could be inside the coffins and how to kill it/him.
But Therai isn’t finished yet. He decide that he wants to check for himself, so he moves forward approaching one of the coffin on the side. Hardok tries to dissuade him that is just foolish, but he responds that he wants to see if he can open one of them, and ask for “cover”. So he keeps approaching the coffin and bangs on it with his pole.
Of course as soon as he is close enough the coffin springs open, and Therai find himself looking at some sort of huge mouth with metal spikes as ‘teeth’, then some sort of bloody tentacles (or entrails) burst out and grabs him and then the coffin close with a resound “wham” and Therai disappears!
Luckily for him, Irann has quick reflexes, she grabs the pickaxe from Hardok, sprint forward and manage to fit the point of the pickaxe between the “lips” of the coffin, and then force it open. Therai stumbles out a bit fazed and with some scratch, bruise and bleeding but nothing really serious. Considering his normal behavior, Hardok ask him if the encounter with the ghostly children left his brain scrambled…
An hasty withdraw from the chamber and the group is again in the corridor.
The group begins to think that the bags with body parts were there as “test” to see if the coffins could be ‘tricked’ to swallow them and keep them occupied.
After recovering a bit, the group decide to follow Varnag’s suggestion of researching before attacking further and everybody move the other way, this means that Hardok takes again the pick and the shovel and begins opening up again the passage. After quite a long time digging, shoveling and more digging the corridor is open and the group can continue.
The passage ends in a crossing with a nice stone passage that leads left or right. The left side is again blocked by a caving, a bit of probing and it feels like an entire house have been caved in here, so the group moves the other side, the passage is made of masonry and stone bricks.
While walking, Therai picks up the presence of a strong flow of magic moving throw, coming from the room ahead and flowing along the corridor, it’s an arcane power, like walking in a flow of glittering smoke.
The group approach the end of the tunnel and they enter a large room, partially collapsed, in the center, 4 big steps of obsidian rise, and on the top a large archway also made of obsidian is glittering with arcane power, the feeling is uneasy and the arch is clearly the source of the arcane power flowing around. The ceiling looks like is frozen in time. In points is collapsing, but there are bits and pieces frozen in mid air. The center of the archway is glowing and strange symbols appears to be moving or dancing suspended in the glow.
Therai looks puzzled, he has never heard about such archway and decide to investigate, immediately the rest of the group warns him that this time it could be worse than getting snatched by a big metal coffin. Therai steps forward a bit and decide that the archway is really powerful and is definitively ancient arcane power that is doing some sort of nasty thing and is definitively running on life force. He can’t say however what is the purpose of that thing.
Hardok ties Therai and himself, so they can pull him free if something goes wrong. He begins to approach the archway. As soon as he steps closer he feels a cold sensation, like the stone is sucking the life force out of him. And when he steps even closer, trying to focus on the floating glowing symbols, he gets the idea that this is some kind of focusing tool for necrotic magic, and just the concentration required root him on the spot and gives him necrotic damage while the strength of the arch blast his mind.
Therai comments that “it was an interesting experience” and “magic hurts”. However he also decide that is not happy about it and prefer to stay away from it. It seems that the last two experiences have weared him down a bit, so the group decide to retreat a bit into the corridor and explore the other (unblocked) side quickly and then call it a day.
Following the dark tunnel we get to a small plaza, the remenance of an house with rubble all over the place. In one side of it there is something like a well, going down deep in the ground. Looking closely the group can see some fresh tracks going from one side to another (not the way the group came from). The tunnel leaving the room and going to the south is also bathed in the arcane magic that Therai already felt before.
Hardok looks into the well and can’t see the end of it, so he decide to toss a stone in, after a long time, they can hear the noise of the stone hit water. It will take a while to get water out of it.
The group decide to call it a day, they manage to get almost out, reaching the second entrance (the boarded out one), the group talks a bit about the possibility to figure out where this leads to on the surface, by carefully measuring the distances and redrawing the map and then comparing with the surface structures. However this is not going to be absolutely accurate.
In any event, everybody gets out without trouble. Heading back to the Golden Inix, Irann notices a man apparently waiting there that seems to recognize the group and leave almost immediately. Was somebody that clearly posting there and taking off just as when the groups arrive. Irann relay the information but she is unable to describe the guy in any detail more than “average”.
Therai asks the innkeaper if anybody asked questions, he confirm that some “good for nothing” guy was asking around but “when they get too pushy with question I smack him over the head and kick him out”, Therai comment that this is a good practice.
The discussion drift a bit towards bathing and the general cleanness practices (or lack thereof), at this point Varnag exclaim “you guys do what you want, I’m gonna get a drink” and walks away.
The next day, after a good night sleep and some refreshment, the groups reconvene, they start first going to the apothecary to sell the poison they collected. The group also keeps their eyes open for strange peoples and Hardok spots a trio of guys hanging about the entrance of the Inn, and while the group make their ways towards the Noble District one of them follows trying to look inconspicuous (but failing at it) and when the group enters the District the guy remains outside. The District is bristling with Scarlet Helmets, Hardok relay the information so everybody can keep an eye out on his own.
So the groups enters and Therai does most of the talking.
Clerk – Ah, a returning customers,
Therai – Yes, we’re very satisfied with your product. We were not totally successful in our enterprise, but at one point we had to fight some really nasty poisonous creature that was exuding this sludge, with some kind of necromantic thing, so be careful with this.
Hardok – (handing over the water skin) Watch out because is really nasty.
Therai – We believe that you’re qualified for experimenting with this, and if you think you could use it for some experiment or product, we have the possibility of recovering more of it and we could negotiate a price for it. For now this is a free sample.
Clerk – You know, you shouldn’t tell about this to anybody.
The clerk picks the water skin, smells it, almost faint and confirm that the stuff is nasty.
Therai – Another thing, you understand that we’ve been going Undertyr…
Clerk – Were you found this stuff…
Therai – Yes, would you know somebody that knows more about what’s going on in there to help us understand better the things that happens down there? Who could we ask that have some experience in that sort of magic and creature?
Clerk – I’m afraid I don’t know much about it, I think you should go to some other knowledgeable place…
Varnag – …like?
Clerk – well… I’d recommend “Athas Revealed”, where for a price you can know everything, also in the noble district. Also, I wouldn’t tell around about this nasty stuff but I’m dying to see what’s in it.
The group thanks the clerk and then the next step is “Athas Revealed”.
Therai explains to the lady running the shop about the group’s various explorations, and ask about peoples that could be following the group, of course the answer is negative. He also asks if they knows somebody that could help with understanding the various necromantic things that are going on Undertyr, unfortunately, it seems that peoples that understand about those are either disappeared or are in charge of the city (e.g.: the Templars) so you either make friends with the big shots and go talk with them or the shop could act as broker (what they are). Therai give some details about the iron coffins and try to gain some information. The clerk is surprised to hear that they are still alive after being there and explains (after a payment is negotiated) that the creature living in the larger coffin is nicknamed “the Butcher” (a fitting name), it is a really strong, able to kill an entire striking team at once.
The trick of that thing, is that the sarcophagus like to eat peoples, if you try to get in, you end up in one of them and it’s “full” and occupied for a while digesting you, but in the mean time it’s inactive. So a way to do it would be to fill up the sarcophagus to get to the large one at the back of the room where the real creature lives. However, the sarcophagi will empty soon and then they will be again ready to eat. Of course you don’t need to bring along alive peoples, corpses (not too long dead) will do, but the Butcher isn’t satisfied by corpses.
Most of the time however, you don’t need to kill the creature (that could be very difficult), you can keep it occupied for some time with food while you look at the content of his lair and pick what you need. It seems that the previous group that went looking for these kind of information was looking for a specific object, some kind of a cube, however they were never seen again. Varnag asks if the Butcher is a living creature or is undead, as expected, it’s an undead monstrosity, some kind of skeleton with all kinds of entrails and body parts lingering around and has a very large tongue, a very grotesque figure, but accounts of his appearance are very rare because usually everybody that sees it ends up dead, and only if you have a group of people in front of you when it gets out of its lair, then you have a chance of getting out alive.
Varnag asks if the creature has any kind of weakness to specific attack but nobody knows. The clerk also suggest that there is a place further down the tunnels that has a large collection of corpses available, but there is an “Overseer”, that is the second stronger presence down there.
Also they talks about the “portal” the group saw in the large Obsidian room. The “portal” have been there for a long time, the clerk explains, and as long as you don’t poke your finger in it, it’s safe. And if somebody knows more, is going to be some of the big shot Templar. Most of the historical information are locked up in state secret. So most peoples have practical knowledge, we know what they do but not why or how did they started.
Therai asks also where is the good stuff, because the group has been down several time but didn’t found anything useful yet. Some peoples goes directly to the Butcher’s lair to recover specific things that they know about, some other peoples goes on places that are not on the map because the map is not complete.
So Therai decides that more information and explorations are required.
However, he gets some words of advice about asking too many questions about forbidden knowledge, because peoples that start asking questions about that stuff tends to disappear, even with the “new order”.
With this, all the characters levels up to third level, next session will be with new powers (!)