Mummy's Mask

Welcome to Osirion.
Come for the Treasure, stay for the sun (and heat and sand and the undead.)

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Arriving in Wati
The Half-Dead City (Now, there's a slogan for tourism!)

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Here is a link to the info packet on the city I sent out:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/ifucipnh4hltl8m/PF%20MM%20Wati%20Info%20Packet%20%20REDACTED.pdf?dl=0

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A New Adventure Begins...

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The adventure begins in the city of Wati, where the Asp and Crook Rivers converge to form the River Sphinx in southeastern Osirion. Your group is already present in Wati and are acquainted with one another, with an interest in exploring the tombs of Wati’s necropolis.

With the necropolis opened by royal decree, the priests of the local temple of Pharasma, the Grand Mausoleum, have been tasked with assigning sites ready for exploration to adventuring companies in a lottery.

[*The adventure assumes that the PCs have already formed an adventuring party and have registered for this lottery with the priesthood of the Grand Mausoleum. Registering is not difficult; there are no background checks or special fees or requirements. A priest simply records the name of the group and the names of its members, and gives them a token that they should present when the group receives its first assignment at the lottery’s opening ceremony.]

The lottery’s opening ceremony takes place in the Sunburst Market in the center of the living city of Wati, between the Grand Mausoleum and Abadar’s Sanctum of Silver and Gold. An array of other adventuring groups have assembled, and the ceremony has attracted throngs of local people as well as street vendors.

The bustling desert city of Wati is near bursting with excitement. Adventurers from every corner of the Inner Sea region have assembled here beneath the hot Osirian sun to explore the tombs of the city’s necropolis, waiting only to be assigned their fist sites for exploration.

Surrounding the participants, the public has gathered to observe the ceremony as well. There is a festival-like quality in the air, and numerous street vendors are hawking goods and refreshments to participants and spectators alike. Some merchants have even brought what can only be considered adventuring gear to sell as last minute convenience items to explorers, while others advertise that they’ll buy recovered treasures and antiquities from those who visit their establishments.

In front of the imposing edifice of the Grand Mausoleum, an immense awning has been erected between decorated pillars in the market to provide shade for the priests of Pharasma overseeing the lottery. Beneath the awning, two urns sit atop a table elevated a few feet above the ground on a wooden stage constructed for the event. The high priestess of the Grand Mausoleum, Sebti the Crocodile, sits behind the table, while two acolytes confer with her at either side.

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Sebti the Crocodile

Numerous adventuring groups stand in small clusters near the stage, made up of multiple nationalities and races. Most keep to themselves, but some teams engage in quiet conversation with other teams, mostly speculating about what they’ll likely face in the necropolis.

The ceremony begins when the high priestess of the Grand Mausoleum, Sebti the Crocodile, rises to her feet and looks over the crowd. Sebti seems surprisingly young to hold such a distinguished position, but she has a confident air of authority.

After calling for silence, she begins with an invocation to the Lady of Graves, followed by a brief history of the founding of the necropolis. [*This information on the necropolis’s history can be found within the redacted info I sent out.]

Sebti concludes by saying the following, “Let the lottery begin! Although many of you have requested specific sites to explore, we must leave these matters to fate. The Lady of Graves is a far better judge of destiny than we of this mortal sphere. The gates of the necropolis will open at sunrise tomorrow.

Use this evening to prepare yourselves for the task ahead. Let these rules guide you in your endeavors in this holy place: remember how this came to pass, every slave’s hut is a memorial, and honor the departed. May you go with the Lady’s blessing.”

The priests of the Grand Mausoleum have decided on a lottery to distribute access to the tombs to make the process impartial and subject to the dictates of fate, in keeping with Pharasmin religious tenets. The church has mapped the necropolis and designated selected sites within it for exploration, dividing them into three pools, from the smallest and simplest of structures to the largest and potentially most complex.

Each party of explorers is assigned three sites, one at a time, so that a group must complete its exploration of one site before gaining access to another. This process wasn’t intended to simply be arbitrary. The church also seeks to avoid conflict between groups within the necropolis, the neglect of smaller sites in favor of those that might contain more wealth, and bribery and backroom deals with local officials to gain access to specific structures researched in advance.

The Grand Mausoleum is dedicated to remaining neutral throughout the entire affair. After Sebti returns to her seat, the two acolytes accompanying her each draw a wooden token from one of the urns on the table. The fist token identifies the adventuring group, matching the token that group received when it registered for the lottery. The second token determines which tomb is assigned to that group.

A single representative of the chosen group is then summoned to the stage to present the token his group received at registration to one of the acolytes. Once the group’s identity has been confirmed, Sebti shows the representative the location of that group’s fist exploration site on a map of the entire necropolis. She also gives the representative a smaller, sketched map that shows the site’s location in relation to the necropolis gates. Once a group has received its assignment, the process repeats with a new group.

The priests of the Grand Mausoleum expect groups exploring sites within the necropolis to follow three basic rules, as mentioned by High Priestess Sebti the Crocodile in her speech during the opening ceremony.

1) Remember How This Came to Pass: The Plague of Madness was unleashed upon the city of Wati while religious authorities were engaged in infighting. This rule is a reminder that the necropolis remains a holy place, and those who engage in needless conflict and banditry are not only criminals, but accursed.

2) Every Slave’s Hut Is a Memorial: Every structure within the necropolis is a testament to the people who lived and died in the city. Explorers must not desecrate or vandalize standing structures and tombs, but preserve them as the memorials they were intended to be. Some structures may be trapped or decrepit, but willful and unnecessary destruction will not be tolerated.

3) Honor the Departed: The dead should be treated with dignity and respect. If the interred need to be disturbed to recover an antiquity or relic, they should be returned to their resting places carefully. It is understood that the ancient dead are often brittle, but there is no need for the contents of a sarcophagus to be summarily dumped on the ground. This rule does not apply to the undead or other abominations.

Failure to comply with these rules can result in, but is not limited to, expulsion from the necropolis, a ban on continued exploration, seizure of recovered valuables, and arrest and prosecution by local authorities.

In practice, the church’s ability to enforce these rules is almost negligible. Most members of Wati’s city guard have no desire to patrol the necropolis, even if summoned by a priest. The church does send experienced priests or members of its militant wing, the Voices of the Spire, into the necropolis to make spot inspections, but it’s too woefully understaffed relative to the number of adventuring companies roaming the necropolis for this to be a strong deterrent.

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The tomb of Akhentepi

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Around a table in the sandy tavern known as the Tooth & Hookah sat a band of fresh faced (mostly) adventurers.

They were: Gruff, the once great hero, Tamarie, sister of the (in)famous Pathfinder Juliver, Tekkit, Inquisitor of Pharasma, Sir Rowe, Paladin and undead scourge and Mook, the dwarven Ranger.

Together, they called themselves ‘The Unknown’ or ‘They that shall not be named.’

Soon they were called to the Grand Mausoleum to receive their assigned sector to explore/rob. The lottery was drawn and the party was given the tomb of Akhentepi. The team entered the Necropolis and traveled out to the tomb. When the party arrived they found that the door had been tampered with and damaged. They had some difficulty prying the door open since nobody had thought to pack a crowbar. After a while of sweaty, gritty work the group managed to get the door open and enter the tomb.

Inside was a chamber full of carvings of warriors and other hieroglyphs in Ancient Orsirioni. After an investigation of the treasureless antechamber, the party found a shaft leading further down into the tomb. At the bottom of the shaft was a desiccated corpse of an unfortunate grave robber some decades old.

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Rowe was lowered down on a rope and he scanned around with detect evil, finding nothing. The rest of the party climbed down as well. The initial room contained a large statue of Akhentepi, apparently one of the very few sculptures in the world that don’t animate and try to kill people. A tunnel led away from the chamber. The party headed through it and when they reached the end they triggered a pressure plate which launched darts that badly injured Tamarie. Gruff suggested throwing the claim jumper’s corpse onto the pressure plate to defeat the trap, but Tekkit, as a follower of Pharasma, didn’t want to desecrate the dead unnecessarily. Eventually the group leapt over it without much further incident—although watching armored dwarves jump was entertaining.

In the first chamber, beyond the hall, was a beautiful chest with doors on either side of the room. Much to the rest of the teams annoyance, Tamarie couldn’t open it as she didn’t know how to pick locks. Doh! After Gruff picked the lock with his axe (destroying the 500gp chest’s value), the party took the loot inside and moved on through the right door.

Passing through a chamber containing a chariot and a hallway full of masks representing death deities, the party entered a room full of chests. When they entered, dolls representing warriors animated and attacked.

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The party’s first combat ended quickly and the dolls were reduced to splinters. Heading back to the earlier chamber and going through the left door this time, they went up a staircase. Suddenly, a ghost scorpion the size of a dog crept up behind them.

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Fortunately, Gruff beat it to a pulp before it could do anything. At the top of the stair was a giant mirror across the wall. The party looked at it, and saw behind them a vision of Akhentepi, staring harshly at anyone who gazed at his visage. Most of the party looked around but saw no trace of him, and moved on without much consideration; however, Tamarie focused on the image and concentrated on it in an effort to discern its makeup and/or purpose. As a result of her effort the Orsirioni word “thief” was permanently etched into her forehead. Doh!

Next, the party discovered a room designed for mummifying corpses. As they entered, a pair of solifugids rose and charged from ambush.

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One was crushed under Rowe’s flail and the other fell under Mook and Tekkit’s arrows.

The party then ventured down a sandy hall, and one of them was eagle-eyed enough to notice a slight movement in the sand. Everyone readied for combat and the paladin called out for whatever was under the sand to reveal itself. It didn’t surrender, and leapt from the sand to attack, revealing itself to be something like a serpent made of sand.

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Fortunately the party was prepared for it and the monster fell under a swarm of readied attacks (and Tekkit’s conveniently prepared boxing glove arrows.)

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The party explored through various tunnels and a room with art depicting the religion’s version of the afterlife, killing off the monstrous mining beetles inside until they reached a large chamber containing a large ornate sarcophagus on a raised dais surrounded by pillars. Gruff climbed up and carefully approached the sarcophagus. Suddenly lightning flashed from the pillars, injuring him and then what had seemed to be a sarcophagus animated and attacked.

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As the adventurers battled the monster, secret doors swung open, bars snapped up over the exits and water began to flood the chamber. The False Sarcophagus knocked Gruff unconscious and swallowed him whole. Gruff was nearly slain but the party killed the monster just in time, saving him. (And there was much rejoicing…)

The party tried desperately to escape the slowly rising waters. Just when all hope seemed lost, the ancient mechanisms failed and the waters stopped. (And there was much rejoicing…)

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At this point the party chose to rest and recover. The next day they moved on into the last few rooms. After a surprisingly difficult battle with a swarm of cockroaches that wore the party down, they entered the actual final burial chamber.

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The party cautiously approached ready to fight the expected mummy when an iron cobra uncoiled itself and rose from behind the grave.
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The mechanical serpent nearly killed half the team, but for crucial healings from Gruff and Mook’s deadly bowshots finally destroying it.

Having cleared out all opposition the party finished looting the tomb (making sure to dismantle Akhentepi’s favorite childhood chariot and take it as well—f you Akhentep!) and left the Necropolis.

The party returned to the Tooth and Hookah, and met the other adventuring groups who had been looting other tombs. Here is the summary of the info gathered during that night of revelry:

Cryptfinders: Members of this group hail from all over the Inner Sea region, and include a Chelish cavalier, a Nexian summoner, a Qadiran cleric of Sarenrae, and their leader Falto (male human), a bravo from the streets of Absalom. They boast of being assigned the tomb of an important government official in the lottery and hint at the wealth they brought out of the tomb after defeating a mummy inside the tomb.

Daughters of the Desert: This all-female adventuring party follows the lead of Sigrun Firehair (female
human), an Ulfe of the Linnorm Kingdoms who claims to be descended from a genie. The group also includes an exiled Rahadoumi cleric of Iomedae, a barbarian from one of the nomadic desert clans of
Thuvia, and two Osirian witches, twin sisters who always wear veils. Sigrun has journeyed south seeking adventure… The Daughters were assigned the house of a wealthy pawnbroker to explore; they encountered several traps, but little else in the way of opposition. The women are cagey about what treasures they may or may not have fond in the tomb, but Sigrun is very interested in hearing the stories of other groups’ experiences, possibly for…

Dog Soldiers: This group’s membership is composed entirely of halflngs and their pack of trained Katapeshi fighting dogs, led by the loquacious and hard-drinking “Mad Dog” Marro (male halfling). The Dog Soldiers were sent to explore an abandoned tannery, where half of their dogs died fighting a gelatinous cube they found within. Mad Dog is broken up over the loss of several of his favorite pets, but he proudly shows off the magic sword he salvaged from the cube after slaying it. He is interested both in a potential buyer for the sword and in purchasing replacement dogs from a respected breeder.

Sand Scorpions: This party contains no fewer than three rogues, along with a single magus half-orc named Davor the Spiderslayer for combat and magic support. Each rogue specializes in a different area of expertise, whether, locks, traps, or, in the case of their leader and a mysterious woman called Black Kiss (female half-elf). The Sand Scorpions keep mostly to themselves and do not volunteer any information on their exploration site and the treasures they found there.

Scorched Hand: Led by a Taldan Osirionologist named Velriana Hypaxes (female human), this group is appears to be dedicated to the pursuit and acquisition of knowledge. With the exception of the hired mercenary Idorii (female half-elf), the members of the party are all devout followers of Nethys, from whom they take their name. Native Osirians Azaz Arafe (male human) and Khelru (male human) round out the group. Velriana is quite vocal in her disapproval of the Grand Mausoleum’s refusal to assign specific sites to groups that requested them. It seems that the Scorched Hand was denied a petition to explore a site sacred to its members’ faith, and was instead allocated what turned out to be an ancient brothel. Although the group easily dispatched the nest of zombies in the brothel’s basement and even managed to recover a few minor treasures from the site, it’s evident that the group’s members are disappointed with their first foray. Velriana makes a point of moving about the different people and groups to ask about any have learned of an ancient temple or shrine being assigned, or heard any rumors of something called “the Erudite Eye.”

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Upon division of the spoils, Tekkit gathers his belongings and share and travels to the local temple of Pharisma to provide his report to the elders there, as ordered.

“The crypt was defiled before we even made it inside. Pharisma killed that thief before he could get too far, though. According to our laws, I prevented others in my group from further violating the tomb and the thief’s body. It has been left where it was.

All that has been taken from the crypt was split and here is my share."

The elder’s eyes light up at the sight of all the treasure, but his face soon turns cold as he quickly glances around the room. Khemet III has made it very clear that the Church will not benefit from the desecration of the tombs, and his superior army will back up the edict. “Your gains belong to you, Tekatt, as dictated by secular law. Sadly, we cannot even accept the proscribed tithe, lest we anger the Ruby Prince. I do, however, advise that what you have received be invested in augmentation of your present condition to help at least ensure that the treasures of the past remain indigenous. Perhaps an improvement over the longbow you felt obligated to bring within these holy walls will assist you. Now, please divulge all that transpired within the tomb.”

After Tekkit provides as full an accounting as he could, the elder escorts him from the temple. “I’m certain that you did as well as one of your station could muster. Your treatment of the previous interloper, while demonstrating a straightforward view of Pharisma’s teaching, may not have been the most prudent. I suggest that more concern be given to the elders of past, and less to the vermin who chose to dishonor them. Remember, Tekatt, it is Pharisma whom we serve.”

Tekkit takes his leave of the elder and proceeds to the merchant with whom he is most familiar and, after much discussion and experimentation, he walks away with less gold and more potential.

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The haunted mansion.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The party fought off the cats, and Tekkit dispersed them with his bludgeoning arrows.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Curses!

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As per usual, the party went to the priest’s lottery and got their latest assignment. Today it was believed to be a temple of Nethys. The group headed out, and as they passed through the necropolis on the way to the temple, things were quiet…almost too quiet. They were soon ambushed by a group of Wati street thugs from atop the surrounding ruins.

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Two threw nets over Tamarie and Tekkit, and four others opened fire with bows. Gruff ran across the street toward a building with two of the thugs. Gruff began to climb the wall, and a thug shot him with an arrow. Gruff pulled it out and yelled “Let’s see how ye like it when I slay ye with yer own arrow, ye wee booger!”.

True to his word, Gruff climbed up and stabbed the archer to death with his own arrow as his buddy fled into the streets. Gruff wounded him with a parting crossbow shot to the left ass cheek.

Meanwhile, Tamarie cut herself free from the net with a dagger and was then hit with a tanglefoot bag, forcing her to began slicing herself free again. Tekkit cut most of his net away and then Rowe finished the job before running up some stairs after the nearby net thug. Just before the paladin could reach his target, Tekkit’s bow-shots brought him down along with the other net thug across the street. Rowe jumped off the building, face-planting next to Tamarie, who he freed. Gruff and Rowe began closing in on the remaining two thugs, and they surrendered.

The gang members begged for their lives, offering what gear they had in exchange, as well as information. The thugs reveal they were specifically hired to ambush anyone approaching “some old temple down the way” and stop interlopers from entering the site, but they don’t know why, and frankly, they don’t care. They don’t know the name of the person who hired them, but they can describe her, a woman in a big purple hat with a big white feather and bosomy. The party spared them and took their gear. Tamarie demanded they cry and give up their pants. The thugs ran off into the necropolis and the party moved on quite confident in who has hired these spoos.

The party reached the temple, and entered. Once inside, 6 recently created undead jackals charged out to be quickly slain. Gruff took two of the skulls to make a jaunty mask for himself.

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Tekkit inspected the ground and found that the sand had recent footprints of a group of at least four people that had passed through within the last 24 hours. Furthermore, it was noted that the temple is in remarkably pristine shape and so was everything that was bolted to the floor or walls—everything else, the door, hung art, etc. shows the ravages of time.

Tamarie scouted ahead through some nearby rooms. She didn’t want to open a certain door, so Gruff did it. On the inside he found a granary dome. The dwarf put his ear against it to listen, and a hand lashed out, slamming his head down into the granary.

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The party engaged the creature as it faded in and out of the temple structure while demanding they get out in ancient Orisani. When they wounded it too badly it retreated. Next was a room containing a pair of acolytes crying out “Look what has happened here! Help us!” in ancient Orisani. They stank of eeeviill and decay however, and the party wasn’t really fooled by their daytime illusions. Death to the undead ensued.

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The party moved on through an arch into what seemed like the main chamber, a massive cathedral-esque hall ending in a black tiled floor with a statue of Nethys. A pool glowed with magic in the center and after various scans Tamarie, a follower of Nethys, tried drinking it, and gained a boost to her spellcasting powers. Tekkit refused to drink, since it devoted to Nethys and he was a worshiper of Pharasma.

The party began to leave, when a spectral hand approached and touched Rowe, cursing him. The party chased after the hand and behind the statue of Nethys the party found Shargah Katun.

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The extremely irritating faceless monster fought for a moment before teleporting away. The group ran into a nearby library looking for it and found a secret door. Tamarie opened the door and a flying scroll leapt out, wrapping around her face.

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Eventually the party wrestled it off her and struck it down, heroically defeating a piece of paper. Inside the hidden room was various valuable scrolls and historical documents, including an interesting tablet from Pharaoh Djederet II, the leader who founded Wati 6000+ years ago.

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As they read, two doru divs appeared in the room along with a spectral hand.

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The party fought through them. Tamarie kept it to herself, but the same voice that spoke to her in the mansion whispered taunts in her ear. Shargah reappeared, and cursed the entire party as he dimension doored around the room. Finally, his irritating rampage ended when he attempted a cursing glare against Gruff and got his head caved in.

The cursed party limped in stops and starts of action and inaction back to town to get the various curses removed.

Nobody coming up with better ideas, Tekkit excuses himself from the rest of the group at the Church entrance and tracks down one of the Elders. Being familiar with the Church, and Inquisitors receiving a bonus to Tracking, this task is completed in a manner with proptness that is satisfactory to Tekkit, but annoying to the Elder who was hastily trying to come up with something better to do than address whatever concerns the uneducated brute might have this time.

“Tekatt, have you come once again to advise the Elders on how to best use their resources to garner knowledge from the Necropolis when your own efforts were lacking? Or do you not even have simple rubbings for us today? Speaking of which, it is still ‘today’; surely you have not fully examined your most recent assignment.”

Tekkit looks at the floor, a movement that seems to take him twice as long as normal. "Some urchins stopped us from seeing to our important tasks as quickly as we wanted. While we were able to dispatch them, doing so was no small effort. When we did get to our site, we were attacked with magics that prevented us from doing much else. We came here is hopes that the Church could remove the curses that affect us so we can get back to the Necropolis.

‘Important work being impaired by Urhcins’, oh how I know what that is like. Leaving his inner musings, the Elder addresses Tekkit. “While I might be inclined to simply help out your group of… people, such decisions require a panel and one cannot be called any time soon. I’m so terribly sorry, but you and your group will have to pay full cost for those services much like everyone else.” Upon seeing a questioning look on Tekkit’s face, the Elder corrects himself, “You, as a tithing member of the church, get your usual discount. But I believe the books show that your tithing has been a bit lax. The cost to get your tithing straight is probably more than the discount you would otherwise receive. Just pay full price and I’ll convince the scribes to show that you are in the Church’s good graces.”

“Y…yes, Elder, I shall do so. Much of the problem that we had was against magical being and objects. Perhaps the Church would be so kind as to assist me and my party in procuring magical weapons, even on a short-term basis, to aid in our tasks…”

“Tekatt, you really do seem to think of this Church as your servant. We are not some street guild waiting to make loans to you. Our relics are for study by learned members of the Church. We do not make a habit of giving, or even loaning, our precious items to treasure seekers. No, you are not above anyone else; if you need items enhanced in the future, you will provide those items and the required compensation to perform the task. Maybe I’ll have to get the scribes to take a closer look at your tithing to see where else you have taken liberties.

“Now, I’m sure it never crossed your mind, but there must be a reason that street thugs would be in the Necropolis now trying to get in your way. It is bad enough that the government is allowing people like you to violate the sacred area. Tell me all that you know of them while I have some of the newly ordained clerics see to your group’s ills. It will be good for those children to get their hands dirty and deal with the populace.”

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Hats off!

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A stranger entered the Tooth and Hookah. Allegedly, he was Barboucar Al-Nethys, Wizard/Cleric of Nethys.

Barboucar went to the bartender and explained he was looking to join a group exploring the Necropolis. The bartender pointed him to the Scorched Hand and the group probably referred to as The Unknown. Barboucar approached the Unknown’s table and introduced himself. Tamarie claimed to be the team’s leader much to the rest of the groups skepticism and bemusement. Although Tekkit was suspicious of the newcomer, the rest of the party welcomed Barboucar to the group.

The party returned to finish exploring/looting the Temple of Nethys. As the party walked back to where they had been something tried and failed to cast a spell on Barboucar. The party explored some more chambers. Gruff smashed his way into a hallway, and a blade scythed out at the party. The trap reset but Tamarie disabled it. The party explored through the halls and went up the stairs. At the top was a statue of Nethys that when approached animated and demanded that the party leave and repent.

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The party attacked it and that wall-inhabiting creature from before joined the battle. The party chased off the wall monster and killed the statue. Unfortunately, Barboucar was enchanted into walking away to go repent back in town. Badly wounded by the monsters, Sir Rowe ran after him and convinced him to repent at the Nethys statue nearby. Barboucar went to the statue and tried to explain himself to the taunting voice. When he mentioned the voice to Rowe the paladin recognized the party’s floating head tormentor’s influence and they quickly returned upstairs. The head creature began to occasionally taunt the party after this.

Back together, the party healed and then investigated some dry, bloody footprints in the sand Tekkit had spotted during the battle. The footprints seemed to be about a day old and appeared to lead out of the temple. Moving on, the party found at the other end of the footprints a once-secret door hanging slightly ajar. Beyond the door was a secret room with a statue. The party cautiously entered, and then something like a centipede made of skeletons appeared.

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The monster began a dance of death that released sinister magic that failed to affect anyone before being destroyed. In the next room was a throne atop a platform and three columns depicting favored servants of Nethys. Tamarie entered the room, and the sculptures animated and attacked! (Obviously.) Tamarie made a beeline for the throne as Gruff charged and Tekkit opened fire. Their weapons shattered on impact with the statues, and Rowe switched to the Adamantine flail. Two statues advanced on Tamarie as she approached the throne and Gruff began dueling another.

Rowe charged in an attempt to protect Tamarie. Tekkit shot down the statue battling Gruff, and Barboucar cast Enlarge Person on Rowe. The giant paladin smashed a statue that was about to kill Tamarie and she responded by casually sitting in the throne to play a tune on her flute. Gruff attacked the last statue as his many broken weapons began to litter the floor at his feet. Finally, he stabbed it in the throat with his last dagger as Rowe crashed the flail down on its back.

After looting as usual, the party moved to a locked gate blocking a room. Tamarie began to pick the lock, and several figures stepped out from behind columns in the room. It was the Scorched Hand from back in town.

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The Scorched Hand was trespassing on the party’s claim as they felt that it was their holy and divine right as followers of Nethys to do so. They suggested they and the party join forces and split the loot. The party backed off to discuss the idea. Gruff and Tekkit wanted to kill them for stealing from the party while Tamarie and Rowe were against it.

Barboucar was undecided, and had just begun a speech explaining his position to both sides when Tekkit opened fire. Rowe and Gruff began trying to break down the gate when one of the Hand stepped forward and Color Sprayed Rowe and Tamarie, handily removing the two members of the party who wanted to let the Hand live. Idorii (The Hand’s female half-elf fighter/rogue) and Zazu (A Hand member’s scorpion familiar) snuck around behind the party and back-stabbed Tamarie and Barboucar respectively.

Gruff broke down the gate and charged the entire rest of the Scorched Hand, all the while keeping an eye on his main target—Velriana and her jaunty hat. Gruff killed them all with some help from the rest of the party. Tekkit shot Zazu off Barboucar and Idorii surrendered.

Gruff collected the spoils of victory.

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A New Dwarf and a Zombie Apocalypse (one begats the other?)

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As Gruff tried on his new hat Barboucar vanished in a puff of smoke. However, Idorii joined the party for now—at least. The party went through the temple and mopped up the remaining undead consisting of Senenmerek the undead champion of Nethys, a Coffer Corpse, and some zombies. The wall creature’s (an Ahkhat) control device was also found and taken along with the Ahkhat itself and the other loot. The party then returned to town.

At the Tooth and Hookah Gruff’s cousin Grimmthan “Grimm” Oakblood the mammoth shaman was waiting for the party. Grimm was a wise dwarf an inch taller and a pound heavier than the tallest of the rest of his kind. Also with him was his Greensting Scorpion familiar “Barb”.

Gruff had to leave for home on urgent dwarf business but Grimm joined the party in his place. Barb rode around on Rowe from that point, to deliver spells.

Due to all the adventurers and their adventuring the value of ancient artifacts had collapsed in Wati. No trade was happening except at a major upcoming auction—at the railroad station. The auction was a major social event and the party went about listening to rumors and such. Grimm tried to learn more about a rumor of a place where poison could be bought. However, he failed at the diplomacy so Sir Rowe and Tamarie jumped in to help out.

The party saw Ted the priest of Pharasma wandering around. He seemed irritable and distracted so Tamarie and Tekkit moved in to check on him. The priest dismissively waved them off and said he was fine.

Later, Ted slipped out of the marketplace. Grimm attempted to follow but alas Ted escaped down the railroad tracks.

The party (minus Idorii) set up in the Uncanny jackal and had a good day of buying and selling. As the auction wound down and shoppers were milling about something began to slam at the door. Two servants went to investigate and were pinned underneath as the doors burst violently inward. Six zombies charged in, the crowd screamed and sounds of the zombie apocalypse came from outside.

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Rowe, the undead scourge, stepped in and channeled energy. Grimm cast Enlarge Person temporarily upgrading the paladin.

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The situation was getting dangerous. Grimm and Tamarie saved the servants out from under the doors. Rowe smashed three of the zombies and then Tekkit and Tamarie quickly finished off the others. The party began to leave the building but the door frame area collapsed on the enlarged Rowe. As the party pulled away rubble crawling hands began to swarm over them.

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Two hands grabbed onto Grimm. Tekkit shot one off and Rowe smashed the other with a giant flail inches from Grimm’s face. The party fought off the other hands and Grimm turned the corner. Inside a building he saw a mummy’s sarcophagus bursting open. Out from the crypt emerged Amadjawet the mummy. She was the first real mummy most of the party had seen.

The mummy’s aura caused Grimm and Tamarie to momentarily despair but Tekkit and Rowe were unaffected. Amadjawet took down Grimm. Tekkit cast Hide from Undead as Rowe pulled the dwarf out of danger. Tamarie broke the Hide spell by flanking the mummy and trying to backstab it with her spear. The mummy turned and struck Tamarie, giving her mummy rot; however, Tamarie’s flank gave Rowe an edge and he began smashing the mummy. Tekkit shot it with explosive arrows. The mummy burned and roared in pain before Rowe crushed and destroyed it.

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The Mobster Mash

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Although Tekkit and the paladin were reluctant to leave the battle, Tamarie was dying of mummy rot and Grimm needed to recharge spells. The party hurried through the chaos to the temple of Nethys. The temple was filled with a desperate mob of people bringing in their wounded and dying, begging for aid. The overwhelmed priests were turning everyone away. The party was called up on sight however and hired to fight the undead.

As long as the party was helping the defense they got a free pass for healing. The crowd burned with envy at the party’s seeming special treatment. Tekkit helped by casting a Cure spells for the civilians. The party was healed up and went looking for Ptemenib since he seemed like the only lead the group had. Idorii stayed behind to work for the church.

The party came across a group of 8 looters robbing a man trying to escape Wati with his cart. The party quickly killed them all or drove them away. As the looters retreated one of the fallen thugs rose again as a wight.

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Tekkit and Grimm shot the Wight shortly before Rowe crushed it. The cart driver was grateful for the rescue and gave the party some magic Seer’s Tea. The party moved along and was soon interrupted by a squeaky voice crying out “Wait Wait!” It was a terrified psychopomp named Qasin.

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Rowe calmed Qasin down a bit and she explained that she was working for Ptemenib. Ptemenib was investigating the Silver Chain, an organized crime group, and had been kidnapped by them.

The party followed Qasin to the Silver Chain’s hideout. Two Silver Chain guards were standing at the door.

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Rowe charged in and the two thugs attacked him. Tamarie charged in as well. A thug stepped out behind her and brutally stabbed Tamarie in the back. Fortunately she was heroically saved by Tekkit. Meanwhile Grimm turned Rowe into a giant. Rowe killed one thug and left the other alive but unconscious.

The party looted and Grimm Arcane marked the living thug on the ass. Inside the front door was a room containing 30lbs of saffron and a dark staircase leading down into the base. A rope was tied to Tamarie and she silently stepped down the stairs. Her silence was followed by earsplitting metal shrieks and a cacophony of clanks as the 12ft tall knight squeezed down the stairs. Grimm and Tekkit also went down the steps. Tamarie somehow fell into a pit trap but was protected by the rope.

At the bottom of the stairs was what seemed like a warehouse chamber full of boxes and cages. The group entered and Tekkit detected Evil. All could smell “The leathery stench of death.” Out from behind some objects floated a Tekenu, a horrible undead mass of human organs seeking to assimilate more organs into itself.

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Rowe rushed up and brought his flail down on the Tekenu. His mighty blow was hard to stomach but the creature disabled him with brutal gut-punches. Tamarie, Tekkit, and Grimm stabbed shot and cursed the Tekenu, but it had the guts to keep standing. Rowe managed another blow that was more than skin deep but was brought down by a kidney punch.

Before the monster could cause the knight to lose heart Grimm stepped in and healed Rowe. Still badly wounded, Rowe crawled back and Tamarie gave him a hand by stabbing the Tekenu. She might have lost her head if Tekkit’s arrows hadn’t cut to the heart of the matter dropping it.

The group looted and Qasim found Ptemenib’s possessions. Rowe went back to normal size. the next room was a dock leading into a watery tunnel with two guards and a trained hyena.

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The guards and their hyena attacked and were quickly killed. The next door was blocked off with planks so the party pried it open with a crowbar. For some reason the 7 strength Grimm did it. Inside was a alchemy lab full of poison gas. A dead body was laying on the floor. The gas caused Tekkit to become confused but Grimm cured him. The corpse was wearing a funerary mask and carried among its gear a note.

The note said:
“Your sects efforts have been exemplary so far; but there is much yet to be done. The necropolis of Wati will soon be opened, and we might find clues that have been hidden for too long. Transportation and means of communication will be provided. A gang of grave robbers called the Silver Chain will provide you with the cover and resources you need to continue the search. Once you arrive in the city, infiltrate this Silver Chain and bend them to His divine will. Move quickly. Once the Pharasmins open the necropolis to explorers, we run the risk of outsiders finding the mask first. Succeed, and Hakotep’s moment of resurrection will soon be at hand. I do not need to tell you how much I would loathe expressing the Sky Pharaoh’s displeasure should you fail. -Meret-Hetef”

Grimm Marked the body and the party moved on. Tamarie scouted ahead. The next room was full of wells, tables with chairs and a bar. Tamarie called the group up and checked all the wells. Soon she found Ptemenib at the bottom of a well. The party pulled him up and returned his vestments. Ptemenib thanked the party and gave them a magic figurine that could summon a Unseen Servant as a reward. Ptemenib was too exhausted to help beyond healing the party and corroborating Qasim’s story. Ptemenim warned the group that there was a boss fight in the next room against a man in a gold funerary mask named Ekram Iffek. The party went in. A chest sat in the room. Tamarie crept up to open and suddenly Ekram theatrically jumped out.

Ekram opened the battle by stabbing Grimm and tripping Rowe. The party retaliated and badly wounded Ekram so he ran out of the room while deftly avoiding attempts to stop him. Ekram made it all the way to the door. He swung it open and was shot down by Tekkit. Grimm found a secret door as the group looted before heading back to the temple of Nethys.

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Patrolling the City

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The party rested and recovered back at their base of operations. Tekkit tried and failed to have his bow upgraded at the church as Grimm researched the Sky Pharaoh and the name mentioned in the note. Destroying the Silver Chain base seemed to have dropped Wati’s panic level some. The party heard of trouble at the Law District and set out to investigate.

The party arrived at the Law District to find the ground littered with corpses, but most were lawyers so you take the good with the bad. The eyes had been violently pulled from the bodies. Tamarie suddenly marched into the main building announcing herself as leader of the No-Names. Screams rang out and the party rushed in. Inside four skeletons were restraining a captive woman and a skeleton named Old Eye-Taker Sotenre was declaring her guilty.

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Old Eye-taker pulled one of the woman’s eyes out as the party charged. The skeletons jumped all over the enlarged paladin and tried to pull him down.

Tekkit picked off the normal skeletons with blunt arrows and they exploded in bursts of negative energy. Eye-taker tried to take Rowe’s eyes but was destroyed by Tamarie and Rowe. The woman was healed by Grimm but was still missing an eye.

The party continued to patrol the streets, picking off zombies and generally lowering the threat level and panic in this community.

The next major encounter was near the gate that separated the living side of Wati from the necropolis. A massive herd of zombies could be heard outside banging against the gate trying to get in. A cleric was ordering people around. The party approached, showed their official Zombie Patrol badge and began talking with her. Suddenly a raging advanced shadow ghosted out and attacked.

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The shadow tore into Tekkit with its umbral claws and tried to turn him into a shade as well. Fortunately, Grimm healed and protected him as best he could as Rowe pulled out a magical khopesh and cut the shade down. The cleric thanked the party and she gave them a CLW wand as a reward. Tekkit was carried back, healed, and restored to his former glory.

The party was trying to convince Tamarie that bards could indeed cast Cure Light Wounds (and wondering what that has to do with music) when a breathless messenger ran up. He yelled “We caught the witch responsible for all this!” and waved for the party to follow. He led the party to a local Club-mart.
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Club-Mart was under attack from a furious mob screaming for witch blood. Tamarie began playing her flute to fascinate two of the crowd. Rowe got up in front of the mob and talked most of the would-be witch burners down.

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Only four of the mob kept attacking. One rushed the door carrying a rock. Grimm magically pulled his pants down and the man tripped, dropping the rock on his leg. Grimm also scared away two others. Before they could be stopped the last two pig farmers kicked the door in and rushed inside at the ‘witch’. Tekkit sensed evil inside the building. Rowe knocked out a peasant but the last one standing grabbed a club off the shelf.

Screaming about his dead family, the pig farmer then struck the woman in jaw with his club. Fire leapt into Sehhosep the sorceress’s eyes and she killed him with a blast of fire to the face. The party narrowly talked her down. A peasant came over when Tamarie stopped playing her flute and threw a rock at the witch before being knocked out. The rock struck the caged figure behind the woman and it was revealed to be Sehhosep’s newly converted zombie husband. She believed he had returned to her as a gift from the gods but had only lost his mind. The party let the zombie “live” and calmed the woman down. Sehhosep was convinced to lock the zombie away until she is able to find enough money to pay for the powerful 7th level spells needed to restore her husband.

The last major event of the day came when the party heard another woman screaming from an alleyway. This woman had both eyes safely in place, was not a cleric, and was not protecting a captured zombie husband. Her problem were the two zombies that had her cornered.

Suddenly two esobok psychopomps leapt down from above. Esoboks are mad-dog eaters of undead souls in the employ of Pharasma resembling massive lions with crocodile skulls for heads. The esoboks immediately devoured the zombie’s semblance of souls. Still hungry, they turned to the woman. The party approached quickly.

Rowe and Grimm called out to the Esoboks and tried to suggest an alliance. The beasts turned invisible and charged. The beasts reappeared behind Tekkit and Rowe. The esoboks pulled the Paladin and the Inquistor’s respective souls out and chewed on them a bit. The two willed their souls back where they belonged. Tamarie helped Tekkit fight his esobok off as Rowe wrestled his own esobok. Grimm attempted to distrace Rowe’s esobok by sticking his arm in the creature’s jaws. The crocodile headed beasts switched targets to Tamarie and Grimm.

When his esobok was distracted attacking Tamarie, Tekkit killed it before it could chew her soul. Rowe was freed so he brutally beat the esobok with his flail before Tamarie finished it off.

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