Alexis: Human (Mycenean) Male Fighter 1. Played by Larraitz
Andros: Human (Mycenean) Female Fighter 2. Played by Aimee
Boagris: Human (Mycenean) Male Fighter 2. Played by Silv.
Euthalia: Human (Mycenean) Female Cleric 1. Played by Caroline
Glykeria: Human (Mycenean) Female Illusionist 1. Played by Elle
Ki Oman: Human (Zaman) male Dual Class Assassin 1/Bard 1. Played by Ali
Thera: Human(Mycenean) Female Paladin 1. Played by Niall
Thot: Half-Elf Male Magic User/Cleric 1/1. Played by Rob
Xenos: Human (Mycenean) Fighter/magic User 1/1. Played by Leoni.
Surly: Troglodyte Guide. NPC.
Friendly: Troglodyte Guide. NPC.
Kallisto: Human (Mycenean) Female Fighter 1. Played by Jackie
Again, it takes the three explorers about ten minutes to twist, contort and squeeze themselves through the confining tunnel. Upon reaching their destination, Ki Oman and Shadowdancer are satisfied that nothing has changed in their absence. Glykeria reaches immediately for the three darts.
who, having touched the tip of a single finger to the shaft of a dart, howls her agony as first her finger, then her whole hand, begins to blacken and slough off from the bone.
Shadowdancer seethingly gazes at the corpse, muttering "idiot" under his breath and shrugging carelessly while he waits for Euthalia to depart. He then cheerfully joins Ki Oman to loot the body. The two assassins turn their consideration to the matter of the poison itself. Luckily, both men, though spattered by Glykeria's tainted blood, have been wearing gloves, though Shadowdancer himself been careful not to touch the wounds or the blood. They experiment with wiping the poisonous blood off Ki Oman's knife, using the ubiquitous moss and fungal growths coating the walls as a sponge. To their horror (and delight) everything living thing the poisoned blade touches suffers the same horrific corruption as Glykeria herself. Even trying to scrape the stuff off the blade and onto the stone chest itself does not clean the blade. Though the un-living stone is not harmed by this magical substance, the residue that remains after a thorough scrapping continues to prove horrifyingly toxic. Ki Oman and Shadowdancer grin widley as they contemplate the myriad uses for such a toxin.
In the meantime, Thoht offers preyers for his departed colleague in the faith and, seeing Ki and Shadowdancer burdened by Glykeria's goods, solemnly request custody of her more personal possessions.
They follow the passageway south, and come upon a strange chamber. Four cages made of ropey, green fungus hang from the ceiling. All are suspended from vines hanging from what appears to be a very large pod, similar to those encountered earlier, save for it's increased dimensions. A much larger water-powered grinding machine, this one large enough to cram a man down the funnel, dominates the centre of the room. Three of the cages appear to be occupied. One lies empty. Thoht and Shadowdancer examine the room with their elf-vision from just outside the entrance, noting as they did so another corridor to the east and one on just of to their right (on the same wall as their own entrance) where they can just glimpse some activity. However, it is the inhabitants of the cages that they focus their gazes upon.
The closest cage holds the lithe shape of a perfectly proportioned female human, lying in a sleeping posture with her head against the bars. Due to the strange glow permeating the room, they are unable to make out more than the basic outline of her body-heat back-lit against the colder texture of the fungal cage. The second holds a dwarf-shaped creature, the only one of the three evidently awake. Yet there is something distinctly odd about this dwarf. It's body temperature is painfully hot to the eyes. Neither elf-blood (though, no true blooded once-Shidhe like Shadowdancer would ever admit kinship with a half-human) like the way it bounces up and down, monkey-like in the cage. Reaching out to them, yet saying nothing. The third cage lies empty. In the fourth they can just make out the shape and body-heat of a large human- perhaps one as big as the mighty Boagris- hunched in slumber.
The two elves report their observations to their companions. Immediately, a loud argument ensues regarding whether to rescue these prisoners or simply press on. Fortunately, Ki Oman has the presence of mind to peek round the corner to observe events in the "activity"what was happening up the other corridor. The one in which Thoht and Shadowdancer had reported seeing activity. With alarm, the Bard signals back that the corridor in questions ends in another pod-chamber, full of pods! And the pod-men inside who were already awake are opening up the other pods to rouse their fellows!
[As a DM, it was a very proud moment. This was proper old-school gaming. Player skill kicking the ass of much tougher monsters than the PC's themselves.]
Yet they do not pause to congratulate themselves. Displaying yet more common sense, the party simply ignores the plaintive cries of the (now awakened and seemingly desperate) human-sized prisoners and the frantic jumping and hooting of the dwarf. Instead, they set a guard upon the passage they came down, another on the passage heading east, and send some scouts into the Pod Room to check for any foes still sleeping in pods.
Back in the cage-chamber, a detect magic spell from Xenos reveals that while the cages radiate strong abjuration magic, there occupants radiate no magic at all. A few of the groups weapons and items also radiate enchantment magic, but there are no surprises there. The creature in the ceiling pod and the dwarf however, both radiate strong transmutation magic -and this has the party understandably worried. Finally, the pod itself radiates necromantic magic. Odd, considering that the pods in the next room glow with transformation energies. Thera also opens up her senses, extending her ability to detect evil as far out into the caverns as possible. It's no surprise to her given the party's suspicions on the matter, that the dwarf radiates evil -something that, on Edarnia- suggests the dwarf might be a demon at the very least. He also sense something else. A presence just skittering on the edge of his detection range. The Paladin reveals both pieces of crucial information to the party.
Only then do they decide to talk to the prisoners, heading towards the least threatening one first. A sixteen or seventeen year old human female, a young woman of dazzling beauty, raven-dark hair, and a lithesome figure in perfect proportions calls out for their attention. Ki Oman quickly begins to dazzle her with his charms, carrying on the true Bardic tradition of putting his claim in before anyone else. The girl introduces herself as "Merethena, daughter of Merethena, daughter of Semet. Grand-Niece to the Bull Headed King of Thyatis. may he roar his rage forever." She less dramatically introduces the other human prisoner as Bombatta, her bodyguard.
Menethena, when pressed, confirms that this Thyatis she speaks of is a city on this very Island. She adds that the city itself lies not far to the east. Putting aside their many questions about the island for the moment, Ki Oman and the other questioners focus on trying to find out as much about the caverns themselves as possible.
They learn that the two Thayatians had been imprisoned in the caverns for some time. The dwarf has been here even longer -and has not spoken or attempted to communicate with either human, save to throw excrement- since their arrival. They have marked time by the visits of the "mushroom creature", who has appeared seven times to lower the pod in the ceiling and feed whatever lies within. Hence they estimate they have been here a week. The occupant of the third cage, a second bodyguard, wounded and weak, has already been fed into the grinder. His liquified remains fed to the pod above. They had feared they were to be next.
After some experimentation, the party finds that only obsidian objects will cut the cage bars. All other substances simply bounce off. [Thoht, by chance, had made a point of acquiring some sharp pieces of obsidian during the trip to the caves in session IV and cannily discovers that cut through the bars]. However, as soon as the blade passes through, the fungal bars flex and glue themselves together once again, [rather like the magical slave chain in Star Dust, only with considerably less pleasant visuals]. Eventually, they hit upon the idea of using obsidian plugs to prevent regrowth of the bars. While it is a long process, working in two teams they eventually free first the girl, then Bombatta.
Upon being released from her cage, the scantily dressed girl (wearing little more leather straps, a scandalous appearance for any Mycenean woman, let alone a girl of noble or even royal birth) leaps straight into the arms of a somewhat smug Ki Oman. Hardly surprising really, given that of all her rescuers, he is not only the hunkiest - having not only decent physical stats, but dashing good looks, a rakish eyepatch, good breeding, education and a charisma that tops the Paladins- but also the one who did the most talking.
It is clear from Bombatta's, low, throaty growl that the bodyguard does not approve of this behaviour -and lays the blame firmly at the feet of Ki Oman. Upon stepping from his cage, the bodyguard nods respectfully to Boagris, but fails to conceal a superior sneer when he turns his gaze upon the other warriors present. Bombatta makes a point of introducing himself to Ki Oman. Even taking Ki Oman's wrist in a bone-crushing warriors clasp, before wrenching the Bard painfully into an embrace and whispering, "Touch her fool, and I'll tear out your balls and feed them to the Trogs". When he releases the bard from this bear hug, he is all smiles and good cheer. But his eyes -when directed upon Ki Oman- tell a different tale.
The party intriduces themselve, and while both the former prisoners try to hide it, a brief look of alarm passes between them when Euthalia intriduces herself as a cleric of Haestia. Thera, perhaps wisely, fails to mention that she is a paladin of Meerax, due to their brief reaction.
As for the dwarf, he is left to hop around in his cage for the time being. For once, the party are all in agreement. There's something not right about that dwarf. And it could mean trouble.
[We ended the session there, with the assumption that the group returned to camp to clean themselves up and glean more intelligence about the island- and the Trog Caves themselves- in relative safety. At least two of the players -more familiar with my home-brew campaign setting than the others- have their theories about the identity of these two characters. Or, at least, their cultural background. A few have also noticed details about their appearance and behaviour that the other PC's have not. Will they be able to put 2 and 2 together? Who knows? But I for one am very much looking forward to tomorrow nights session and the party's little chat with the prisoners.]
Thus ends day 7 of the Isle of the Earthshaker Campaign.