At the Tooth & Hookah, Rowe and Tamarie went from table to table getting to know quite a bit more about the other adventuring parties while dropping a string of good diplomacy rolls.
They learned additional info about the various groups which included:
The Cryptfinders were lying about their accomplishments.
The Daughters of the Desert seemed honest about what they had found, and included a bard who might want to coop the group’s stories as her own.
The Sand Scorpions had been driven off their site by a battle between rival ghoul gangs.
The Dog Soldiers seemed like decent enough people who had truly mourned the loss of their wardogs. Some of the party (mainly Rowe) took pity on the wee group and bought them drinks and donated to their kickstarter campaign to get new dogs.
Finally the group discovered that the Scorched Hand were followers of Nethys angry that the Pharasmin church wouldn’t let them go to the ruins of a sacred site of their religion.
Afterward the party (Minus Mook, who left the group for mysterious reasons) headed out to the Grand Mausoleum to get their assignment, receiving an old mansion of the ancient nobility. They also, in case it was ever needed, set “Eldafel” as the party’s password.
The party approached the swaying, open gate of the ancient, walled mansion. As they approached the gate, Tamarie approached closely, hearing the faint sounds of a mob. The party entered and resisted giving into fear as the haunting sounds of a woman’s voice cries out in Ancient Osiriani, “Hold the gates! Don’t let them inside the compound!” Powerful blows shake and rattle the gates as a blanket of fear descends on the group, but none give in—this time.
Before going into the mansion, the party decided to explore the yard around it first—to the right.
Tamarie scouted ahead, starting with the right side and found inside a building a giant two headed dog.
The party attacked the Resident Evil monster, and it knocked Gruff to the ground as Tekkit wounded it and the paladin, fresh from the previous dungeon full of exclusively Neutral creatures, eagerly rushed in and unleashed a massive Smite Evil on the evil creature.
Tamarie in keeping with her Juliver heritage begins to hear a pleading voice in her head asking for help. At first she is not sure what is going on, but as the voice continues to ask for help she ponders what she should do.
The party moved on, fighting through a human-sized snake in the garden, skeletons in the servants house, and a swarm of scarabs in the granary.
As they did this, it became increasingly obvious that Tamarie was speaking aloud to a voice nobody else could hear. She explained that she could hear a voice begging her for help. The party shook their heads at their poor (seemingly) insane companion, and moved on. She continued to hear the voice occasionally as they worked their way around. Also, the party found a heavy flail in the granary that was made of the incredibly rare material adamantine.
They killed a solifugid lurking on the ceiling of one room and then went back around to the other side of the house. Tamarie briefly succumbed to fear when they went through the gate again, but was restrained by the party from fleeing. On the left side of the mansion there was a large dry and sand-filled pool and a mausoleum. Tamarie began to scout and looked in the pool, and a centipede the size of an elephant lunged out.
Despite the monsters terrifying size and great strength, the party brought it down without excessive effort.
After going around the yard, the party went down into the family mausoleum.
The first room was a chamber with a raised dais and four pillars. When Tamarie tried to go into the next room an adherer stepped out from behind a pillar and grabbed her.
The sticky creature quickly shuffled off down a stairway, taking arrows from Tekkit and hits from Gruff. (Rowe was unable to help, as the hallway was too tight to get around Gruff and he forgot to bring a bow or reach weapon—live and learn!)
The monster repeatedly tried to finish off Tamarie but was narrowly thwarted by Gruff’s repeated healings. The adherer’s sticky body grabbed away Gruff’s weapon at least once, but fortunately Gruff is a walking armory. Finally, Tekkit brought the adherer down.
In the next room, as the party was about to go through a door a tumbling movement was heard to the side as a swarm of putrid undead cats fell out of a fissure in the uncompleted basement of the mausoleum and attacked the party.
The party fought off the cats, and Tekkit dispersed them with his bludgeoning arrows.
In the last chamber of the tomb was a sarcophagus. When it was opened, a pulse of fear made Rowe panic, but Tamarie’s dark and foul sorcery (An Unnatural Lust spell) and a tackle from Gruff and Tekkit prevented him from fleeing. The role-playing made Johns uncomfortable. Hehe.
The treasure was gathered and the party began to leave. As they climbed the stairs out of the crypt they triggered a trap and spikes popped out of the walls at them, dealing serious injuries that were cured by the wand of Cure Light wounds that the party had purchased—which which was seeing a lot of use.
Finally, they entered the mansion itself through a side door. The voice in Tamarie’s head grew more urgent as she entered. The pleading voice led her to a statue which the voice said was the bound spirit of the house that needed to finally be freed after eons of tortuous necromantic magics. When she got close enough, the voice turned to dark laughter as the statue attacked.
The sandwoman attempted to put the party to sleep, but was defeated, partly by the adamantine heavy flail, which had been built specifically to kill it. Hesharu feared the weapon so much it kept it in the granary for some reason. Also, the voice in Tamarie’s head continued to laugh even after the sand creature died. Hmmm…
The party explored the first floor of the mansion. At the foyer they fought off skeletons as another auditory hallucination played out. A woman’s voice (the same voice in the haunting at the gate) cries out in Ancient Osiriani, “They’re inside! Protect the family!” and another voice shouts, “It’s too late! Save yourselves!” Screams and the clash of arms fill the air, as confusion fills the room.
Tamarie saw a shiny object out of the corner of her eye on the way back through the room. As she picked it up she was hit with an instantaneous fever and a ghostly scene superimposes itself over the ruins of the room, as translucent furniture and decorations like potted palm trees and richly upholstered divans waver into existence.
In the center of the room, a ghostly young man clasps the hands of ethereal young woman. They speak in Ancient Osiriani, but any listener can mysteriously understand them, regardless of language.
“I’m so sorry,” the young man says. “I can’t find the ring I bought you anywhere. I just had it!”
“It’s all right, my love,” the girl replies quietly. “It’s not the right time to tell my family anyway.”
“Come with me, Ariseti! Come across the river where we’ll be safe”
“Not just yet, darling. My father says we’ll be safe here. You go, and when all this is over, you can come back for me, and we’ll announce our engagement then.”
She pauses, and reaches out to touch the man’s forehead.
“Are you feeling all right? You’re burning up!”
With this the vision ends, as first the figures fade from view, followed by the room and its furnishings.
The ring is later identified as an enchanted Ring of Protection+1.
Rather nonplussed by the group hallucination, the party moves on. In the privy was a headless corpse, sitting on the toilet. Unlike the ancient ruins around him, this body seemed to be only a few years old. Of course the party searched it, the toilet, and the surrounding area for loot. All they found was a little shit.
The party circled through various rooms, and in the last room before going upstairs, they found a table, on which sat six skulls on six goblets. Tamarie and Gruff began to argue about if they should investigate the skulls first before going up to the second floor. Gruff won the debate, and began to head for the stairs when the voice began to speak in his head, taunting him and calling him a coward. It didn’t seem like it was going to work, but then the skulls rose into the air and attacked anyway.
The first skull attempted a Leroy Jenkins charge, and was swatted down by Gruff. The other five focused fire belches and puke at Gruff, dropping him. After that the other skulls were quickly smashed. Gruff was healed, and the party went upstairs.
Tekkit saw something move, but only caught a glimpse out of the corner of her eye. The party went over to a treasure chest. Under the influence of a hidden assailants spells, an increasingly hostile argument began between Gruff and Tamarie. Rowe smashed the chest in an attempt to break the spells, and Tekkit cast Protection from Evil on himself, Tamarie and Gruff. The argument was broken up when a pair of vargouilles entered and released paralyzing screeches.
This got everyone but Gruff, who saved the party that day. Before they could be killed however, the monsters inflicted horrible kisses on Rowe and Tamarie. Rowe resisted the effects, but Tamarie started feeling bad. She almost felt as if her head was going to pop off and turn into a monster in about a day. To her horror, Tamarie found that whatever the creature had done, her hair had only four hours to live.
It was decided that Rowe and Tamarie would go back to town and attempt to see Tamarie healed, but Gruff and Tekkit stayed in the mansion, in case vacating the site would void their right to it. (Which later rules checks revealed it would not void their claim, but there are rogues out there!)
They made it to town safely and Tamarie was cured. Her fever was also fixed and the word ‘thief’ was removed from her forehead. They also made it back safely, as the Wati street thugs were all on break at the time.
Back at the mansion, the voice revealed itself as a small floating head with horns. It laughed at the party and taunted them before turning invisible and flying away.
The group finished a careful sweep of the top floor, found some treasure, and stumbled upon another body in a room near the stairs. Unlike most of the remains in the house, the body is only a year old, and its flesh is in a state of advanced decomposition. The head is missing, but the head seems to have been pulled of rather than having been cleanly decapitated.
The party notices clumps of hair on the floor beneath the body’s headless shoulders. These clues together identify the telltale signs of a vargouille’s victim. “Kissed” by the —vargouille and sick with poison and the effects of the vargouille’s kiss, this unfortunate man fled into this room, lying down here to rest, before ultimately succumbing to his injuries. The body carries no valuables except for a simple gold wedding ring worth 50 gp. An inscription in Osiriani inside the band of the ring reads, “To Akar from Panhet, Love Eternal.”
The group vacuums anything of value up and makes their way back towards the living side of town and the comforts of the Tooth and Hookah. Tekkit visited the temple of Pharasma.
“Ah, Tekatt, I… suppose I can spare a few moments for you” sighs the church elder with whom the Inquisitor spoke after the first excursion. “I understand that your companions led you through one of the more noble houses this time.”
“That is true,” replies Tekkit, “but there were complications. There were the expected treasures; gold, gems, and magical items, oh, and some writings. I cannot read them, but I did get you some tracings.” Tekkit pulls the parchments out of his pack and hands them to the elder.
“Tracings. These are ‘tracings’. Crude. It will take us scholars weeks to try to figure out what these smudged symbols mean. Do try to be of a bit more use in the future. Well, now that the area has been stripped by adventurers, I suppose the church can send some people to do a more thorough job.”
“No,” interrupts Tekkit, “there was more there than just rubbings. There were these skulls that few around and spit fire, and a statue that came to life and attacked us, and a… Well, we were able to defend ourselves from those things, but there was another flying head that seemed much stronger and got away from us. If you must send people there, at least let me come to protect them. As you see, my bow has been improved, and I have that wand of healing. I can protect your party.”
“Your mundane weapon will hardly be of any use against a real threat, and anything else can easily be handled by the church. We allowed you use of the wand of Cure Light Wounds simply so that you could be healed from whatever trouble you managed to cause while running around our sacred city. No, Tekatt, actual Clerics and their holy protections will take care of all matters.”
The pride in the Inquisitor’s eyes fade as his firm grip on his darkwood bow loosens. “Very well, Elder. Perhaps someday I will be able able to join those ranks.”
“Hmph. But I suppose one should have dreams. For now, do what you can to convey to me all that you noticed where you last explored.”
Eager to please, Tekkit relays all that he remembers to the elder, and leaves the temple.