Category Sulescu

What’s new pussycat?

We continue to explore the labyrinthine tunnels. Occasional bellows (not the fire pumping implements!) can be heard. Gradually they get louder and we know we are getting closer to the beast.

We turn a corner and see an open room up ahead. Within is a HUGE figure – half man, half bull, all badass!! It stands 10 feet tall and wields a giant rusting axe like a hatchet. Minerva and Morgan step back and set spears, anticipating a charge. However, no charge comes.. What a let down!

Amber looses an arrow and Varys casts Magic Missile and the battle begins.

It seems that while the Minotaur is great at bellowing, looking imposing and swinging it’s big chopper it is not actually so great at fighting. Minerva and Morgan hack it down and only Morgan suffers any damage in return.

Victory is sweet. Certainly sweeter than the axe, which is definitely not magical. Everyone advances into the room to check for any other treasure and suddenly there is a flash of blue light.

When our sight returns it seems we have been teleported into another room. It contains a small (5 feet high) crystal obelisk and has one exit. Rob examines the obelisk and finds he is unable to touch it. It is clearly magical but we can discern little else about it so leave the room to attempt to find out where we are.

A passage leads around a corner and branches – both branches lead to a door. One is locked the other not.
We open the unlocked door and find that from the other side it is covered by wall hangings – a tapestry maybe. We hear voices but cannot make out what they are saying.

We check the other door – Amber and Rob manage to pick the lock. It contains two sarcophagi. No one is keen to investigate further so we retreat and re-lock the door.

After some debate we enter the first room and attempt to strike up a conversation.

This attempt doesn’t go well – the Rakasta accuse us of defiling their temple and get quite shirty about it. I forget the details, but it ends in a fight. One runs for the door after casting a single magic missile at Morgan. A return volley of a double MM from Varys and a thrown dagger from Amber mean it will never learn the skills of higher level casting.

In order to gain a hostage, Varys casts Web, which entagles the Rakasta as well as Morgan, Minerva and someone else. The Rakasta is tied up but still doesn’t want to be friends.

We exit the room, dragging out the living and dead Rakasta. The plan is that we spike the door shut and try to get some rest before making a break out.

Legend tells of a famed elven interrogator by the name of Morkel. Sadly he isn’t here but we try to question the Rakasta anyway. It seems that the two we met before have been executed for being weak and a similar fate is likely for us. It can’t understand how we got in but is deeply offended at our violation of the temple.

We settle down to rest, but within an hour are alerted to sounds coming from the opulent room beyond the door. It doesn’t take long for them to try to open the door we spiked shut and once they start properly hammering on it we call out for a parley, mentioning our hostage.

They are supremely confident of their position (as well they might be) and aren’t that interested in any negotiation. They are interested in our talk of a giant black pearl though – could this be our ticket out of here?

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The House of Blue Light

We march to the blue light curtain to undertake our water based experiment.
After we pass through the light Isis casts Create Water and our water bottles fill up and indeed water splashes on the floor as she creates too much. However, within seconds we notice it starting to disappear and within a minute or two it is all gone…

Nevertheless, we continue down the passage to see what we can find.

Eventually we come to a pair of doors. Behind one we hear a rustling sound so we open it. Within are three short humanoids. Bael and Amber try some friendly opening gambits as we would prefer to avoid combat. They seems suspicious. Bael offers to sing a song of greeting. Within the words he weaves the magic of his Charm spell. One of the humanoids falls for it and becomes more friendly. Isis attempts Charm Mammal and one more becomes more friendly.

We chat for a while and gain some key pieces of information:

  • the old city lies ahead
  • there are ghosts and shades and deadly traps in the old city
  • there is a magical artifact within the old city that keeps the old ones in a long slumber.
  • only a few remaining evil servants of the old ones seek to remove the artifact, hoping to resurrect the old ones.
  • they are called kopru
  • the artifact creates the blue light and the associated dryness keeps the kopru out

The humanoids also know of a route out of the tunnels up to the ‘sky grass’, but they say Morgan is too fat to fit through. They take us there, and it is confirmed to be a very narrow tunnel.

Consensus seems to be that we will have to fight our way back out past the kopru. Hopefully forewarned is forearmed. We can focus ranged weapons against it. They are weak to cold and dry, but these are things we are not able to generate!!

We decide to return to some of the other tunnels we have explored, namely a door with a steel bar. We open it and have a mooch around. Varys recalls ancient stories of a place called Knossos and wonders if a Minotaur hangs out around here…

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Too hungry and thirsty to write much down

We continue to explore the maze of tunnels and spirals that we have found.

Key discoveries are:

  • Some tunnels lead to a ‘curtain’ of blue light. We seem to be unaffected when passing through. The tunnels and chambers beyond the blue light are notable for being incredibly dry. We then notice that our water bottles are empty!
  • We have found an old kitchen with a working water tap. So, we figure we can survive
  • There are patches of green slime in some areas which do no one any good.

Another abandoned kitchen has a chimney. Rob decides to climb up as it must eventually lead out.. He is gone a long time so Bael attempts to follow. However, bards are not as good at climbing and he falls and knocks himself unconscious! We rest for several hours and then Isis uses the staff of healing on all. Bael regains consciousness.

Isis transforms into a bat and flies off to seek Rob. Within the hour she returns and explains that she found him, resting out in the open. The chimney leads into a fissure, which he followed and it eventually leads out onto the plateau. Rob looked exhausted but alive. Based on Isis’ description we wonder about how to get out…

Bael manages to charm Amber and release her from the power of the hideous frogtopus. She talks of what she felt – a voice was telling her to go deeper, to seek out the giant black pearl from the dry place.

Our priorities have changed!! It seems that down beyond the blue light are the remains of an ancient city and within them is the legendary black pearl. The frogtopus cannot pass the light barrier so attempts to charm passing adventurers into doing it for him/her/it.

First step is to test whether Isis can Create Water after passing through the light curtain.

While this key exposition is occurring Rob returns and everyone agrees they are hungry. We had heard scuttling noises behind some doors earlier – possibly it is rats that we could eat. Varys readies a Sleep spell and we go hunting for food.

We manage to catch 12 rats which we butcher and roast over a fire of burning furniture under the handy chimney. The meat doesn’t taste great, but it fills our empty bellies…

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Zork II

You are standing at the end of a tunnel in a sheer 500 ft cliff face. Jungle stretches out before you with mountains in the background. Exits lead back, and technically down.

Bael instructs Isis to change to bat form and work out where we are, go and find the tiger and try to get back here with it. Still under the effects of his charm she happily does so and flaps off.

Meanwhile the rest decide they need to find a safe way down and return to the room with eight exits. We take the one between the two we’ve already passed through, to finish off that corner!

It leads off and gradually bends to the right and descends in long, shallow steps. After maybe half a mile we come to a huge fissure in the rock but the path continues down the side of the fissure. We descend…

Eventually we see a blue light in the distance. We approach it and pass through with no apparent ill effect beyond a slight tingling. We are now at the bottom of the fissure and there isn’t too much to see beyond some boulders. It is quite dry down here. This cavern seems unlikely to yield much of interest so we return to the path and ascend. Someone notices that all our water bottles are now empty!! Could it be the effect of the blue light?

We get back to the eight arched room and go for the arch opposite where we first came in – it opens into another circular room with a dais at the other end but nothing else of note.

The arch one to the right of the spiraling upwards path seems to lead us spiraling down, which is a good sign. At the first of the inevitable side passages to the shaft we drop a copper piece, it falls for a while and we hear it hit something but it’s too faint to be sure if it’s rock or water. We descend another circuit and drop another – it hits rock. We also notice that there appear to be huge iron girders across the shaft. No one is too sure what they might be for.

We get to the bottom of the shaft. It is smooth stone with no boulders. Morgan notices that the walls appear to be have been scorched sometime in the past. Again, no one is sure what that might mean.

There are two other entrances/exits here – one smells of very little, the other has an unpleasant, acrid smell. We opt for the dry one. We find a row of cells, still populated with skeletons, what may be a guardroom and a small kitchen. Within the kitchen is a tap, and after running water through for a couple of minutes it seems drinkable. Hurrah!!

We elect to rest up for the night by our water source and continue exploring in the morning.
Bael takes first watch and is alerted by a scuttling sound – a huge tentacled centipede type creature drops from the ceiling. He grabs his sword and kicks Morgan awake. Lucky he did for the tentacles manage to paralyse Bael. Morgan jumps up and draws his sword and lets out a battle cry which awakens Minerva and Varys. Morgan lands a mighty blow and then is promptly paralysed! Minerva manages to land a hit on the beast but strangely fails to cut off any tentacles. She is then paralysed!!

Varys the Nervous girds his loins and casts Magic Missile. What a spell!! The Carrion Crawler collapses and everyone is saved. After a half hour or so the paralysis wears off and everyone has a laugh about how funny it would have been to be killed off in such a way. Then we all go back to sleep.

In the morning(!) we continue to explore south. The passage continues for a while then we see a blue light. Bael has an idea and walks up to it and passes his arm through, holding his full water bottle. It comes back empty. We head back to the bottom of the shaft, pausing while Bael fills his bottle.

We take the acrid smelling passage. The smell gets worse, and suddenly we are attacked in our midst by six troglodytes. No wonder it was so smelly!!

Only Morgan is unaffected by their terrible BO issues. However, he is at the back and currently unable to engage. To summarise – Bael has an absolute nightmare and it unable to land a blow. Minerva does a good job. Amber and Rob are attacked while still tied up (why didn’t Bael Charm them at breakfast time!!). Varys has to attempt some dagger action.

Somehow we survive the battle; Varys is able to swap places with Morgan so he can get involved. Rob’s bonds are severed and he is able to land a blow before being nearly killed. Magic Missile again proves it’s worth.

As the dust settles we realise Rob is missing. Morgan charges after him and is able to catch him before too long, given that he is almost dead and is only running from sheer effort of will…

Bael and Amber are also severely wounded, and questions are asked as to the wisdom of sending off the only person who could use the Staff of Healing on a scouting mission.

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We rope up and Rob leads us across the narrow, slippery ledges that make up the only passable parts of this hellish cavern.

We pass several pools of boiling mud when suddenly several things happen at once. A hideous head with a tentacled mouth appears from a pool to our left, Varys starts to chant an incantation and Amber stabs Bael in the back!!

Quick to react, Morgan turns and punches Varys square in the face, knocking him out. Bael yelps while Minerva clonks Amber over the head with the flat of her sword. Rob looses an arrow at the monster, but misses.

Isis suddenly realises that the monster is her master and she must subdue Minerva so that she will recognise it as her master as well. She attacks Minerva, but fails to pierce the fighter’s armour. Rob manages to graze the monster with an arrow but Bael misses.

Now, Rob also realises that the monster is his master and he turns and looses an arrow at Morgan at point blank range. Morgam responds with a tasty left hook and Rob falls over.
Amber too is suffering at the hands of Minerva – she slips over and then takes a boot to the head which knocks her out.

At this point Bael feels it might be time to attempt an exit. Morgan feels the call of the monster but manages to resist. The party are all still roped together and luckily the three strongest members are still compos mentis. They are able to slowly drag the prone bodies and the struggling Isis through to the nearest ledge. Unfortunately this is not the exit and so our intrepid heroes must delve deeper into the mountain caverns… We bind the arms and gag our ‘charmed’ companions and wake the unconscious ones so that they can walk.

The path descends and and the first fork we take the passage on the level (the right hand passage). It soon turns back on itself and becomes worryingly steep so we backtrack.

The other path (the left fork) continues to descend and then we come to a three way fork. For want of a better method of choosing we take the left passage. It descends and ends in water… Backtrack.

We take the middle passage. It veers to the right and then ends at the opening of a huge fissure – no way through here. Backtrack.

We take the right passage. It leads to the top of a scree slope so we descend it. It goes a long way down but eventually we get to the bottom and figure it’s time for a rest and some water. Isis is indignant that we attempted to attack her master and curses us. She says she cannot hear his voice any longer but knows that she serves him.

Bael attempts his own Charm. Firstly on Varys and then on Isis. It works!! They smile happily at him. Varys says that it was the little statue that first spoke to him…

After some rest we press on and and come to a lake. Bael wonders if there might be a small pale creature with lamp-like eyes living on an island in the middle. There is no sound of anything however so he decides to don the cloak of manta ray and explore. After 200 yds the water is only up to his shins so the others all join. The water briefly makes it to knee depth and then gets shallower again. At the far shore the ‘beach’ slopes up and we appear to be walking up a dried river bed.

In the cavern wall we spy an archway. Not a natural arch but one carved out of the rock. Morale rises and we pile on through.

After a while we pass through a vaulted chamber with ledges on either side of the passage. At times it seems like the DM is making it up as he goes along…

We eventually reach a circular chamber with 8 exits. The passage 90 degrees to our right appears to smell fresher so we eagerly enter. It rises and turns to the left. A passage heads off to the left – it ends at a huge shaft that both descends and ascends into blackness. We continue to climb the sloping passage. After what may be another turn of the spiral we find another passage to the left. Again it ends at a shaft. Back to the spiral. After a while it strightens out and we see the glimmer of day light!!!

We reach the end of the tunnel and find ourselves about 500 feet up a sheer cliff. Looking out on jungle below and mountains in the distance.

While the evil in the mud pools must be defeated, we need to gather strength and hone our skills before we return.

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That’s not a giant pearl, this is a giant pearl…

Before departing for the village and healing, Bael is determined to open up the giant oyster.

Minerva and Morgan get hacking at it, while Bael sings a ditty about scything cornfields. Eventually they crack through the shell enough to be able to have a hack at the muscle. Something blocks their swords and some careful butchery reveals a huge black pearl. The size of a baseball, which means nothing to our Mystaran heroes!!

The sight of the pearl stirs memories, and Isis resolves to check her diary when we get back to the village, and before she flies off to renew her acquaintance with the tiger.

Feeling pretty beat up, we return to the village to rest and recuperate and hopefully restore the sight of Varys and Amber.  Umlat, the priest, confirms that the giant black pearl of legend was the size of a man’s head and allowed the owner to control the weather.

Three days of lounging around sees everyone feeling better (and seeing better) and ready to return to Taboo Island.

We pass through the temple and return to where we originally saw the shark. The water level has dropped (as we thought it would) leaving a muddy wet floor. We are able to just about make out the dais in the gloom and Bael dons the Cloak of Manta Ray to examine further. There are no more sharks and he is able to confirm that this is the same chamber.

There are more steps off in the distance, but when he goes to explore there’s been a huge rockfall that has blocked further progress.

From this point onwards, Vary’s recollection of events seems to become rather hazy.

He remembers returning to the upper level and continuing past the collapsed floor that we fell through into the flooded cell-block.  Beyond this we found a room somewhere with a stone pedestal and a small carved stone box sitting atop it. Amongst the detritus on the floor we found a beautiful bowl with gold inlay and diamonds around the outside. Inside the stone box was a statuette of a hideous half-man half-octopus creature. It glowed under Bael’s detect magic spell and no one fancied picking it up.

After feeling like this level of the under-temple was fully explored, we descended the stairs down which a lot of the water has flowed. The steps got rougher and opened out into a hot cavern with many bubbling mud pools. A precarious ledge seems like our only way forward….

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Waves of enemies

We are in a square room with statues. Dead snakes lie on the floor. A puddle of water lies in the south east corner. A rope hangs from a hole in the ceiling. Exits lead north and a secret door is located on the south wall.

We head down the corridor with Rob in the lead, and notice some holes in the wall about 30 feet down. Rob likes to investigate dark holes and checks them out. Some rats of unusual size squeak at him and leap out. He attempts to fight them and gets bitten. Minerva and Morgan run to his aid and Bael strikes up a tune. The rats are dealt with in fairly short order. And Rob resumes his leadership.

The corridor turns to the east and we find a huge hole in the floor (8 feet across) and a door on the other side. Isis ponders on the depth of the hole and tosses a stone down. After a considerable time we hear a splash and all agree that falling down would not be a good idea. We rope together and Rob hammers a iron spike in to use as a handhold. He edges around the hole first and gets the door open. Everyone is able to follow and we see a short corridor – portcullis on one side, steps down on the other.

Minerva, Morgan and Bael apply their considerable strength to the portcullis and get it lifted – an iron spike holds it up. Beyond is a lever and another door – again closely fitting and small leaks of water give us key clues as to what is on the other side. The lever proves to be connected to the portcullis and lifts it completely.

Rob’s plan is that everyone but him crosses back past the hole, he will rope himself to the portcullis and open the door. No one disagrees so he goes ahead. He gets battered by the combination of water and wall, but survives. Beyond is a square room. After entering, he feels himself trip a wire and feels a blast of heat from behind. His wet clothes take most of the damage and he won’t need to get his haircut at the back for a while.

At the other side of the room is another door – Rob detects that it is bulging under the weight of water on the other side. He drives a spike into the floor to stop the door flying open into his face, then stands by the hinges and flicks the catch…

Despite being ready the door whacks him on the nose. However, the main flow of water passes through the room and he only ends up with wet(ter) ankles.

The door takes us into another long corridor. We spot more holes about 5 feet up that look like the rat holes from earlier. Morgan, Minerva and Bael advance. Bael’s inspiring song is definitely doing it’s work and the rats don’t last long.

The corridor turns again and ends at *another* door (secret this time, but not that well hidden) that we are confident is holding back a lot of water. Rob is feeling a bit too battered to volunteer for door duty this time so Morgan steps up. The rest retreat to the square room down the corridor. Morgan bangs in a couple of spikes to attempt to raise him up above the flow of water. He climbs up and pops the catch…

The water knocks his feet away but he is able to cling to the iron spike handhold while a seemingly endless torrent of water rushes past him. After several minutes, the main body of the party troop back up the corridor and help Morgan down – he seems to be cramped up.

The door opens into a large room with a quadrant shaped dais in our corner. Oddly there is a giant oyster sitting on it. Beyond the dais are steps descending into yet more water. We feel that this might be the other side of the room that had the shark in it – Bael dons the Cloak of Manta Ray and enters the water to find out. After swimming to the bottom and noticing that the pool is about 15 feet deep (that’s pretty deep kids!) he is confronted by a white shark. In attempting to escape he exposes his flank to the shark and suffers a couple of nasty bites.

A shark fighting plan is rapidly formulated. Isis will ‘cast’ the dead rats out into the water like bait and attempt to lure the shark in towards the steps where Minerva and Morgan will attempt to slash it with their swords. Rob will take potshots with his new bow. Bael, as always, will provide an inspiring ballad about roving in summer meadows, and drinking cider.

The plan seems to be working as the rat carcasses result in a fin breaking the surface and aiming straight for the steps. Minerva deals the shark a mighty blow, which it doesn’t seem too pleased with. Everyone else isn’t too pleased to see two more fins bearing down on us. Yikes! This has turned into a proper battle.

Minerva and Morgan hack away and do some hefty damage. Rob is hampered by most of his target being submerged but still scores a couple of hits. The sharks do get a say in the outcome though as Minerva is nearly felled. Isis aplies some healing just in time, but even so, Morgan is left to deal the killing blow. Just as well as he’s looking pretty beat up himself.
It’s probably time for a tactical withdrawal back to the village to rest and heal…
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You would have needed a bigger boat anyway

We consider the large flooded room ahead and Bael decides that it is manta ray time.
Swimming below the surface he immediately notices a stairwell heading down about 15′ and sheer drops to either side. This is not a room we can walk through. While swimming about he notices a flash of white to one side, suddenly a white shark attacks but luckily he is able to twist away. Time for a swift exit!! He swims back to the doorway and manages to avoid another attack. While the shark circles for another attack he removes the cloak and the door is slammed shut.
We ponder on options and Morgan suggests the other passage. It turns a corner and after a while there are steps to a raised section. No secret doors are found so we continue down a corresponding set of steps and continue down the corridor. it seems some large carnivorous fish live here as they take a bite of Isis’ leg. Varys casts Sleep and the float to the surface. Rob mutters something about swim bladders while Isis dispatched them with her spear. Amber and Morgan now start considering the possibility of lacing these fish with poison in an attempt to kill the shark. Rob favours bringing in canoes to allow us to float about these flooded halls…
In the here and now, all agree to continue down this passage, which ends at a door.
We open it and immediately get caught in a flood of water that sweeps us into the room. Doh! Heads bash and shins bark off stone benches that sit before a small altar. A bone mace hangs on the wall.
Amber picks up the mace while Varys et al search the altar. Varys finds a hidden compartment containing a load of gold and some coral statuettes that looks pretty valuable!! \o/ No secret doors are found in the room, and we are feeling pretty dirty and tired so decide to head back to the village to rest and enquire about poisons. On the way out we collect the cannibal chief’s head as proof that we’ve done the job asked.
Umlat and Talking Chief Fano meet us and are pleased if a little disquieted to see the head and ask if we found the other cannibals. We admit we haven’t and we still plan to explore Taboo Island further.
They don’t have any poisons for use so we ponder other options. The canoe idea is abandoned due to them being too big to fit into the passages. Amber suggests ladders to get us up to the other side of the rotten floor we fell through. All agree so we spend a couple of days resting and making two ladders.
Refreshed (and levelled up in some cases) we return to Taboo Island and enter through the temple steps. Before going any further we decide to do a sweep of the rest of the island looking for the remaining cannibals. After a couple hours we are done, with no sign of them… As we pass through the ‘wall’ that we broke down we take a moment to check if we can tell whether it was built to keep things from the temple out, or to keep things from below down below. We decide it was built from the temple side, which tends to rule out the possibility of the cannibals hiding down below.
We return to the main temple chamber and search harder for secret doors – two are found. One that may lead to the bas-relief and one diagonally opposite.
The first door does indeed take us to behind the bas relief. There is a LOT of dust and some rags on the floor. There are levers, and corroded brass speaking tube and some ropes hanging from the ceiling. The ropes snap, the levers are jammed and the speaking tube is blocked, so we head back.
The other door leads us around to a platform that must be behind the ‘face’ carved at the end of the main chamber. There are holes for the eyes, and some kind of piston. It moves, but we can’t work out what it does. Rob goes to watch from the chamber, but nothing really happens except he notices a musty smell…
While this examination is occurring, Varys manages to fall through a rotten trapdoor. He lands on a pile of gunk and in the light of his torch sees a large room with statues around the edge. On those statues are snakes… There’s an exit to the north.
He calls the others down and as they descend he notices a shiny in the NE corner and a large puddle in the SE. We attack the snakes which turn out to be spitting cobras. They manage to blind Varys and Amber but are killed by the others. The venom is washed from their eyes, but sight doesn’t return just yet…
While Amber is scrambling on the floor she hits a pressure pad and a portcullis drops, blocking the entrance!! Time to look for a secret door type way out of here…
We find one in the corner with the puddle. Rob checks the door more carefully and considers that it’s a VERY tight fit and that there may well be a ton of water backed up on the other side – hence the puddle. We decide to attempt to lift the portcullis instead. Minerva, Morgan, Bael and finally Isis manage to lift it and Rob is able to drive in some iron spikes to hold it up…

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Decapitation strategy

We rejoin the battle…
Morgan is down on his knees retching as the poison takes hold and Varys is rooted to the spot. More cannibals have appeared on the balconies….

Amber drags Morgan to safety, Bael does the same for Varys. Isis steps up to the corridor exit and Minerva joins her thus restricting the number of cannibals who can engage in combat.
It is something of a war of attrition.. Minerva and Isis seem unable to strike in the same round. Isis does notice that the spear she picked up seems light and nimble in her hands. As Minerva drops one of the cannibals Amber spots and opportunity and dashes out into the chamber and skulks in the shadows of the fire, taking potshots at one cannibal still on the balcony.. He misses due to the dim lighting. However, several other behind her can see her illuminated by the fire and one hits her with an arrow. She quickly scurries into the shadows.
The morale of several of the cannibals waivers, and five of them run off. Minerva and Isis have whittled them down to what seems to be the chief and one bodyguard.
With Amber stepping in from the shadows for a backstab and Minerva and Isis finally clicking together, the chief eventually drops. But he’s left his mark on the ladies – they are all feeling battered and cut.
The chief’s body is searched. No valuables, but his sword looks pretty nice. Someone takes it??? Isis also decides to don the bone armour of the bodyguard.

As a message to the remaining cannibals we decapitate the chief and leave his head on a spike outside the temple as we return to our canoes and paddle back to the village.
We are met by Umlat and Talking Chiefy. We explain that Morgan has been poisoned, but that we have broken the back of the cannibal tribe. We have returned for some healing, and to hopefully cure Morgan’s poisoning, but that we plan to return to the temple as we feel sure there is a darker force hidden deep below…
Morgan is cured and stops vomiting. Varys slowly regains use of his limbs. Everyone else nibbles on a mango.
Isis is despatched in giant bat form to scout out the temple and see what she can see, she is also instructed to look for the hole in the roof. This she finds with ease, however there is a net strung across the hole – presumably to keep bats out!

Early next morning, feeling refreshed, we paddle around the island to land away form the temple. Lead by Isis we sneak to the roof opening. The rope hanging down is knotted for ease of climbing and Rob is able to unhook the net to allow us through.
The fire has died down and we notice the bodies have gone and that there are bones amongst the ashes. Cooked and eaten, or cremated..???
The place seems deserted. We check the balconies. On one side is the chief’s room, but we find little of value. The other side seems to contain rooms related to some kind of ritual.. Again, we find little of value and no secret doors. Rob decides to finally get with the program and picks up a short bow and some arrows!
With nothing left to check around this chamber, we head through the mouth. the passage turns and descends some stairs. We then come to a rock wall which takes us a couple of hours to dismantle enough so that we can squeeze through. Minverva crawls through first, but there is nothing beyond. The rest follow and we proceed cautiously down the passage.
We turn a corner and Morgan and Minerva fall through the floor. A trap! Maybe not, they splash into a flooded chamber. The water is about 5 feet deep so they suffer no injury. Rob and Amber secure an iron spike and rope and then the rest descend.
An open door to the west (or maybe the north?) seems to be the only way to proceed. As we wade through the water, Isis stubs her toe on what turns out to be a rusting brazier. Through the door appear to be 6 cells. It’s too dark and the water too murky to make anything out so we continue. At the end is a T junction. To the north (east?) we see a door. To the south (west?) the passage disappears into the dark. We head for the door and it opens into a huuuuge chamber…

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What wouldn’t we give for a fireball?

We have been invited to a feast with the chief…
The Talking Chief arranges for a canoe to take us to one of the huts out on the lake where we meet the tribal chief, who turns out to be a statue.
Surprised and slightly amused, we manage to hold it together and bow respectfully. After some diplomatic small talk we head back to the village for the feast.
Over fish, fruit and roasted yams, washed down with yam beer, Bael discusses with the talking chief about the history of the village and the oral history of the tribe.
It seems they’ve lived here for as long as anyone knows. They have left the crater a few times, but the lands beyond are home to huge monsters, so they stay in the village and interbreed. We are the first visitors in living memory.
There is one interesting tale – many years ago, around 20 members of the tribe split off and went to live on the island. It is a holy place to the villagers and taboo for them to set foot on the island. Occasionally the rogue tribesman (who are now cannibals) raid the village and take away the weak and the old, and sometimes the young – all bases covered! The tribe have been waiting and waiting for the visitors prophesied of old who will come and cleanse the island of the wicked cannibals.
It seems we are their saviours and Bael accepts the quest.

We rest for a week or so while Morgan regains his strength. Isis pops in and out while maintaining her friendship with the tiger. We ponder on reconnaissance steps – Bael dons the Cloak of Manta Ray and checks the underwater situation – little to report. Isis does aerial recon in bat form and reports the outline of the temple. She cannot get too far in as her echo-location seems to indicate a rockfall.

Once all are fit, we board canoes and paddle across to the island. The entrance to the temple consists of stairways, pillars, the remains of a giant statue – just the feet and ankles are left, and bas-reliefs of humans holding burning torches. Rob scales ones of the bas-reliefs and discovers holes in the eyes – potential viewing points.

We enter the temple and reach the rockfall – there is a pathway through it but it is narrow and curving. Minerva leads, with her shining sword lighting the way. As she emerges from the rubble she is attacked by four guards. They seem pretty inept and unarmoured. Between them the manage a few hits on her, but she fells them all anyway. One of the guards had a very nice looking spear which Isis takes. Some healing is administered and we all enter what turns out to be a huge chamber. A fire burns in the centre, below a great hole in the ceiling. Balconies line both sides and the far end has a large mutilated carving of a face, the mouth forming the entrance to a passage.

Before we get much time to explore, a horde of cannibals rush to attack us from both sides of the chamber. Varys casts Sleep and one party is reduced to a single screaming figure. Amber and Bael both loose arrows, Bael’s connects but none drop.
Varys casts another Sleep spell and now only two are left standing. A gaggle of children on the far side of the chamber have begun to climb a rope hanging from the ceiling – escaping no doubt. Morgan and Minerva polish off the remaining cannibals, but not before Morgan takes a nasty gash in the side and feels a numbing pain creep up his chest. Could it be poison!!

As we consider our next move, we hear doors opening and another ten cannibals appear from the balconies. Varys is suddenly frozen solid and Morgan faints and drops to the ground….

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