The youths have been bashing their way through the 4th level of the pyramid, and actually doing a decent job of checking the areas out to completion before heading off to the next place. What has been disconcerting to them (at least one of the players for sure) is the long distances between rooms – something that is opposite to what they experienced on the upper levels. I’ve made things a bit easier by allowing them to make their own secret door checks and to do it openly – so when they hear from me “you don’t seem to find anything” they have a bit more confidence in their discoveries.
Write up follows:
Once they were sure they were going to spend the night here, the party relaxed, ate and drank, readied themselves for a long night, and propped both the sarcophagus and the cover in front of the door. While Volkan was going through his spells to decide what he wanted to study the next day, Safir was commenting on his dwindling supply of arrows and Delsin was eying his stolen Draco tail and one of his spare swords.
He then shoved the sword into the 5’ length of tail at the base and taking 5’ of his rope, unraveled the hemp into 3 strands and proceeded to bind the tail to his sword so that upon completion, he had a 5’ length of whipping material on a sword hilt. The rest of the party looked at it dubiously but agreed they would wait to see it in action the next day.
The group rested and even though the room was cool, they slept well with everyone taking a 3 hour watch. Nothing untoward happened and the next morning the party awoke feeling fantastic. We broke our fast, restrapped on our armor, gathered our belongings, readied our spells, and Volkan and Safir dragged the barriers in front of the door while Delsin got us ready to leave.
The beetle sack lights were very dull now, barely the light of a candle. We had a couple of lanterns and some flasks of oil so Mark was getting it ready for now, while Safir went around the room and pulled the 4 unlit torches from the sconces here.
Light once more with us, we opened the door and looked out – no change. The ghouls were still here in the hall where we had dumped them, smelling a bit riper but nothing else. We stepped past them and went back to the main split, taking the northern passage and ended up back in front of the Captain of the Guard’s burial chamber where Delsin had gotten his armor from. From here we could go left, or go right where the corridor split in that direction again; one of the choices heading straight north.
In the interest of simplicity, we opted to go left since it was the only choice. So we drew up into marching order (Delsin, Mark with the lantern, Volkan, and Safir) and began walking. The hallway turned north some dozen or so paces, and then turned back to the west for a very long distance. There was a door at the end of the passage that Delsin had gone up to listen to, hearing only some gruff grunting sounds now and again from within.
We wanted to go in, but not to face whatever it was on its home turf. So instead we were going to take a page out of our book when we fought the Draco above and coat the floor in oil, coax whatever it was out, set it on fire and then kill it.
We dumped a flask of oil near the door, Delsin lit a torch, and then the group watched as he ran and tried to jump over the puddle to open the door. His foot slipped and he fell on his back making a huge clanging noise; followed by screams as he dropped his torch in the oil he was lying in – setting it and himself on fire.
The group was horrified as Delsin tried to get up and run away, but kept slipping in the burning oil. And then the door opened and not one, but TWO 400 lb. albino apes were standing there snorting at the fire and beating on their chests. Mark ran forward and managed to grab Delsin’s flailing hand, pulling him out of the flames and on our side of the burning oil. Safir was yelling to Run and the group turned to flee. One of the apes picked up a rock half the size of a bowling ball and lobbed it at us, striking Delsin in the helmet and making his head ring.
We ran back and away, eventually stopping around the corner where we checked Delsin over (the armor blocked most of the fire from burning him, and his helm was badly dented but still serviceable) and discussed our options. Volkan was rather surprising as the mage suggested we go back – two gorillas? They had to be guarding something! Mark had noticed that the two apes had been male and without evidence that there were females in the room, should be referred to as “Gay-pes”.
The other three party members looked at Mark silently a few seconds and then busted out laughing.
Feeling emboldened, we went back to the chamber, stopped near the entrance, and Volkan began casting his sleep spell. About halfway through, Delsin, Mark, and Safir all began shouting and making noise, attracting the two gorillas to come out around the door. And then the magic fired off and both the animals fell over unconscious. Delsin ran up and coup de graced the animals while Mark commented that he felt ill at ease killing sleeping figures. Them or us, them or us.
A look at the room showed that it was the burial chamber of someone of import, a nobleman in Cyndicia’s past. There was a heavy wooden coffin and signs that the apes had been the nobleman’s companions in life. So we went to the coffin, opened the lid, and peered inside. The mummified remains of the nobleman were here, clad in platemail and sporting a broad sword that had the cross guard look like a pair of spread gorilla hands.
When Delsin took the blade, wavering green smoke and dim lights played around the sword and we noticed there were runes on one side it. So Volkan used his second spell of the day, read magic, and deciphered the runes that they read “Heat Stroke”. When Delsin said the name, the smoke faded, and the entire sword glowed green – giving off a light almost as intense as the lanterns (albeit green). Saying the name again dulled the light down and made the smoky pattern reappear. Without a scabbard available, Delsin for now shoved the sword under his backpack and over his armor.
We checked for secret doors, finding none, and then headed back the long distance to the Captain of the Guard’s room and the opposite end of the “T” intersection. We looked down both option of the eastern corridor from here – one went east into the distance, the other went north some 15/20 paces and then turned east as well. After discussion, it was decided to get off the “main corridor” and take the one to the north that turned east for now.
It was a long walk, and we were careful to note the passage of time and insure there were no surprises before us. The passage turned to the south after some distance and another long bothersome distance and pacing before ending at a closed doorway. We listened, hearing only the cracking noise of flames, and then opened it up.
30’ square chamber festooned with the displays and murals showing a noblewoman’s life. A dais over a foot tall was in the center of the room with an oversized wooden sarcophagus upon it, and each of the 4 cardinal directions, a 6’ tall column on which a brass pail with flames coming out of it sat. Once sure that nothing else was in here, we came in and closed the door behind us. There was another door on the west wall that would lead us out, but for now, the coffin dominated our attention.
Mark stepped up on the dais but it dropped about a half an inch and all the columns wavered about a bit before coming still, the fires up top threatening to spill over. Nothing happened but Mark was careful. He tried to lift the lid and was able to do so, but it was braced from the inside and would need to lift the lid from two sides to get the coffins top off. So with two of us on opposite sides, we lifted the coffin off, watching the columns move, and carefully shuffled the lid over enough so we can look within.
There was mummified remains of some woman, the top of her clothes had been torn and her ears had cuts on them. Whatever gems and jewels she had once had been stolen in the past. To verify this we took the rest of the cover off and then took a better look at the room. Nothing else to be found.
We went to the door and opened it, revealing a corridor that went north and south – the lantern light showed a door to the north at the limit of our light. We also noted that the floor wasn’t level here, running at a slight slope down to the south. Delsin was convinced that if we went north, the passage should eventually turn left and west and rejoin with the corridor that we hadn’t taken at the “T” near the Captain of the Guard’s chamber. So we all exited and started walking north.
At that point Delsin felt the floor drop a tiny bit and we heard a loud click. And then, the sound of something heavy, big, and the grinding crush of stone on stone coming our way from the north. “Run!! Run!!!” The group turned and raced back to the noble woman’s room, piled in, and slammed the door closed. We heard whatever was in the hall smash back and forth down the hall, hitting the door and going on for 30 or 40 seconds until it crashed in the distance and everything got quiet.
We opened the door to show the hall was covered in scratches and rock dust on both sides, and there was the smell of pulverized stone in the air. While we were looking around we heard grunting noises coming from the north as something wandering by most likely wanted to see what made such noise. So we drew up read and coming out of the gloom were two…three…four grey furred 200 lb. rock baboons. They stopped to look on us and we waited – not making any threatening moves.
Once of them then came a bit closer and made pantomiming motions to its mouth and grunting. So we tossed over some of our food and it ate it, and we gave more and it shared it back with its companions who were all making the same grunts and hoots. Mark started to do the same and the bigger baboon came closer to Mark who stepped out…and it peed all over Mark’s ankles and feet.
When it was done we all just waited…so mark let his trousers drop and peed all over the baboon’s feet in response. The baboons danced about happy for some reason and they backed away, smiling and waving at the group as Mark turned back to the party and we informed him to “put that away and let’s go”. He did so and we went north to lone door.
We listened and heard heavy sounding squeaking noises which had us think of giant rats. A peek inside assured us of it as the south end of the room had a warren there and numerous 3’ long rats scurrying about. We shut the door and discussed plans. Eventually it was decided that we would open the door, Volkan would throw a flask of oil at the wall behind the warren raining oil upon it, and then Safir would toss a lit torch on it and we would shut the door and wait. Part of that happened as Volkan did toss the flask, but misjudged in his excitement and instead hurled it right into the warren where it disappeared without breaking into the chewed up bits of fabric, couch, and garbage the rats were using. We shut the door again. Safir then suggested he could use his lone remaining Roman Candle we had gotten from the 2nd level and try to set the couch on fire that way.
So he lit it, Delsin opened the door, and he fired off a globe that hit the couch and started to smolder. Delsin was going to shut the door when Safir yelled not to as more globes of fire were going to come out. The rats were boiling from the couch as if to charge us through the open door, so Safir tossed the burning roman candle at the couch first – but it flipped end over end, got stuck pointing the wrong way briefly, and fired a burning globe at Safir who danced back and smacked at his shirt to put the fire out while Delsin shut the door and we waited.
After 5 minutes of hearing nothing within, we cracked the door and looked. The rats had died from the fire and smoke and we used Delsin’s halberd to spread the embers and larger pieces about so we could look. There were some coins here that we split up and then left the room back to the sloping corridor to discuss heading south and further into the level next.