Friday, September 15, 2017

The Colony - Turn 43 - River Rafting

Start Date: August ?+5, noonish
Start Status: What floats in water?
Start Location: Lost

Adventuring: Rennard, Jinx, Mendel, Aaron, Maarek, Xon
At the Tulip: Adrienne, Brigg, Hagan, Kessel, Smoke, Zenobe

The Turn

Aaron seems to think the party is just a few miles north of the colony now, but no one is really interested in fording the flooded swamp river. The group turns west along its banks, hoping to find a place to ford or a good location to build a raft. They travel over a mile upstream without finding many variations in the terrain – swampy ground, scrubby trees, and rushing river. Worse, the river is curving south, which, if they are where they think they are, leads toward the shadow folk who ambushed them and left a dire warning about what would happen if they return.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Colony - Turn 42 - Coastal Highway

Start Date: August ?+4, early morning
Start Status: Coast ho!
Start Location: Lost

Adventuring: Rennard, Jinx, Mendel, Aaron, Maarek, Xon
At the Tulip: Adrienne, Brigg, Hagan, Kessel, Smoke, Zenobe

The Turn

The explorers set out along the flooded river and make good time now that the rain has stopped, reaching the coast shortly before noon. The river they're following pours down a narrow valley into the ocean, spreading a brown stain out into the choppy waters. The heavy forest extends to the coast, which is demarcated by steep slopes leading down to rocky beaches that are just a few yards wide. The elevation offers a good view out over the water, which is sadly lacking in sails. The group catches sight of a small island to the east and another coastline (island or mainland) to the northeast.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Colony - Turn 41 - Sarcophagi

Start Date: August ?+2, near noon
Start Status: A wrap?
Start Location: Mountain ruin, lost

Adventuring: Rennard, Jinx, Mendel, Aaron, Maarek, Xon
At the Tulip: Adrienne, Brigg, Hagan, Kessel, Smoke, Zenobe

The Turn

Despite resistance from Maarek, who would rather not disturb a grave site, and Xon, who just wants to get out of the ruin and find the way home, the party decides to open the sarcophagi. Before they begin, Aaron copies the drawings on the lids for later reference.

Monday, September 4, 2017

The Colony - Turn 39/40 - Holiday Double Header

Guess I've been falling behind on turn reports!

Start Date: August ?+2, morning
Start Status: What's in the box
Start Location: Mountain ruin, lost

Adventuring: Rennard, Jinx, Mendel, Aaron, Maarek, Xon
At the Tulip: Adrienne, Brigg, Hagan, Kessel, Smoke, Zenobe

The Turn

After taking some elaborate precautions, using Find Traps and Detect Evil on the chest, and evacuating the room among them, Jinx opens the chest while the others watch from outside the room "Just in case." The result is anticlimactic. The iron latches open with a bit of effort and the lid swings up easily, revealing the chest's contents: a rectangular, leather-wrapped bundle about 8 x 12 x 2 inches in size, three worm-eaten wooden boxes with simple latches, and a bundle of green cloth. "Mendel, Rennard, come check this stuff again, and then I'll take it out of the box. No need to take chances." The cleric and paladin comply and then retreat, having found nothing unusual. Jinx removes the items one at a time. The leather-wrapped bundle proves to be a book with a heavy-duty metal binding that is closed with a complex lock. The cover and back are inscribed with stylized versions of several of the obelisk runes [center and bottom center on the wall panel image]. A quick tug indicates the lock is secured, so Jinx sets it aside.

The three boxes creak and shift as Jinx lifts them out of the chest. "These things are falling apart," he mutters. The first contains a pair of golden goblets encrusted with gems, amethysts on one, garnets on the other. The second box holds nine heavy gold chains with disk-shaped medallions, each inscribed with one of the now-familiar runes. The third box contains two ornate daggers with steel blades. They are almost identical to the dagger found in the lizard cave. Each has nine runes along the blade with one larger than the rest [bottom center and top left runes from the wall panel image].

Finally, Jinx pulls out the cloth bundle. The material has suffered from the effects of time and starts to fall apart as he unfolds the items. There are several cloth panels decorated with abstract embroidered patterns. From their size and shape, the party guesses they were altar covers of some sort, but they don't have any symbols on them. They're in bad enough shape that they'll likely disintegrate if you try to carry them off.

With all the loot cleared out, the others come back in to examine the finds and check the inside of the chest for secret compartments or traps [none found]. Aaron says "The book is magical, as are the daggers."

Mendel says, "We should check the other secret door while my spell for finding traps is still active. Why don't we stow this stuff back in the chest for now and close the doors until we finish exploring?" This practical suggestion meets with general approval and the party quickly repacks the loot and then heads out to explore the next area, heading easy along the big corridor then west in the central shrine to the secret door there.

After checking and searching, Aaron spots the door latch and opens it. Rennard is about to enter the hall beyond when...

You find yourself exiting a cave into a narrow valley that winds away from you. Wild, verdant growth covers every surface and towering trees block most of the sky, but you can see a bright blue sun burning overhead. As you watch, the trees twist and sway in the still air and a thin keening wail fills the air. Shadows flicker along the valley as something passes overhead, and then the vision fades.

"Why are we still here again?" asks Xon, who has edged closer to the portcullis opening.

"Did you see the stuff we found back there?" asks Maarek. "That's worth a lot of money."

"Yeah, but we should take it and go. I have a bad feeling about these visions. It's like someone, or something, is sending us messages."

"We'll check out this area, then see how everyone feels," says Jinx. "Besides, this looks like a bust." He points through the door, which opens into a short, narrow hall leading south. "I'll bet this was a shortcut or escape route for those that lived here."

"We should search it, just in case," says Aaron. The group examines the hallway carefully and finds a door at the south end. Jinx suggestion that this was an escape tunnel or shortcut seems likely.

In the interests of thoroughness, the group returns to the south so-called library rooms and finishes searching this area, uncovering nothing of interest.

"OK, the only place left to search is the area beyond that stone door. Do we want to check it out, or should we take the money and run, so to speak?" says Rennard.

One door left. The party debates leaving it alone, taking their finds and going. In the end, they decide they have time and investigate. After reviewing the stone door, the group realizes it's going to take some effort to open; it's been sealed shut. While the others keep watch, Mendel and Jinx work with pick and spade to break the mortar and loosen the panel. Eventually, they can shake the door and it moves but still won't open. "Stand aside," says Aaron. "This is taking too long." He casts a Knock spell, there is a soft click, and the door swings open, revealing a narrow east-west hall with several side passages.

While the walls in the other areas of the ruin are carved from the native rock, in this area they are lined with pale white marble panels trimmed with black stone. Rennard is about to enter the passage when...

A pool of emerald green water lies before you, surrounded by huge stone obelisks. A human figure in a green robe stands waist-deep in the center of the pool, holding a staff that shimmers and moves as if it is alive. He, she? turns to face you and speaks in a voice that changes pitch and tempo constantly. "Rise or fall. Rise or fall. The cycle continues, ever changing. The question is, will you rise with the victors, or fall with the defeated?"

"That was... ominous," mutters Aaron.

Mendel just shakes his head and gestures to Rennard, who moves inside the door. The area beyond is relatively small. To the south, there are two small 10 x 10 chambers, each with a dais holding a black stone sarcophagus. To the north, a larger room, 15 x 30 feet, with a similar stone sarcophagus in the center.

"OK, let's NOT open those," says Xon. "The last thing we need to do is let loose the ancient spirit that's been sending us visions by opening its grave."

The party spends about 30 minutes searching the area and its contents but avoids touching the sarcophagi. The only things they find are some rotten cloth hangings piled on the floor, mildewed and indecipherable. The sarcophagi lids are thick and have shallow indentations spaced along either side (handles perhaps). The seam between the lid and bottom is almost invisible. They have rusted metal rings along either side that may have held poles used to carry them. They are quite long, close to 8 feet, but only 3 feet wide and tall.

The sarcophagi in the smaller rooms have some writing in an unknown language on a small carved panel on their lid. The one in the larger room has a larger panel with more writing. The script resembles that on the scrolls found in the lizard cave.