ACT 6: The Ruins of Tazion

Session 39: The Charau-ka [Mar 17th, 2022]

The heroes desperately try to free themselves from the barbed nets. Thankfully, Amaunet and Dodak are able to get free, with the warrior-monk helping to fight off the charau-ka as the dwarf tries to help free Gor. Flax eventually breaks free and starts to cut at the ape-men with his sword. Lox summons a mighty giant viper to strike at the charau-ka as he tries to work through the bindings. Gor is able to get out eventually after a number of attempts to cut the cords with his dagger.

The heroes are able to take out the charau-ka scouts with few injuries. They decide not to enter into Tazion’s walled interior, finding only thick jungles behind the stone barriers. Instead, the heroes pull out and head clockwise and west along the great wall until they come across another opening. They decide to ignore it and continue on until they come upon a third opening on the west end of the complex. Here they can see into a more open area with thick ferns and grasses amidst broken walls and ruins of some ancient Xaya building.

Amaunet clears the way of more barbed traps, but cuts herself in the process. The heroes then press forward and explore the ruined remains of the building. They find little other than the ancient foundation and a deep tunnel heading down into an ancient aquaduct and water reservoir. Dodak mentions it likely helped sustain the fort during a siege and may lead to other buildings in the complex. The heroes decide to avoid the dangers of the underground and head east and north along a broken road. As they travel, they hear a distant scream of a man wailing before death. They proceed onward, but then find a man dressed in the garb of the Fire Island Pirates running towards them desperately. However, a spear flies through the jungle fog and impales him, he pleads with his eyes before dropping to the ground in death.

The heroes then hear more figures approaching and Lox summons a great globe of invisibility to cloak them from prying eyes. The heroes remain still and silent as they watch a band of charau-ka warriors tie the dead man to a long branch and carry him off to the southeast as if he was a wild boar ready for a feast.

The heroes cautiously continue heading eastward, where they find a wide open area filled with grasses and ferns. There are bubbling ponds of water-logged tar pits. To the north is a broken ziggurat rising above the ruins of the complex. To the east is a strange building composed of three conical pillars coming together, though now it is mostly a broken stone frame covered in boab trees and vegetation.

The heroes head towards the strange structure and encircle its walls to try to find an entrance. On the eastern side, they find a set of marble steps leading into the ancient structure. Amaunet disables a deadly rock-fall trap and they proceed inside. They find a great pit of water and tar filling most of the structure. There are crude bridges created from tied fallen logs traversing the great rocks that stick out of the tar. Gor goes to examine the bridge to determine if it is safe, and sees many charau-ka warriors charging towards them.

The heroes move into defensive positions as the charau-ka leaps and charge across the walkways. Lox blasts them with a great ball of fire that explodes and singes them. Flax steps in and blasts them with rays of flames. Gor throws a few well-placed bombs and Amaunet then blasts them with a great wave of pure force. The charau-ka then call for backup and soon the heroes are greatly outnumbered. They manage to take out a few of them, but realize more are coming…

.

Session 40: The Serpentine Shrine [Mar 31st, 2022]

The heroes continue their assault on the charau-ka. The ape-men throw rocks from across the tar pits as the heroes throw bombs and spells in response. A few charau-ka charge over the crude bridges and attack. Amaunet summons a great blast of ki energy that rumbles through the ruins and sends one of the charau-ka into the tar pits. The ape-man flails helplessly as he sinks deeper into the bubbling blackness. Flax draws his sword again and hacks down the charau-ka with Amaunet and Dolgrin. The half-elf then charges across the walkway with expert agility, spreading his legs across two of the rocks, then hacking down at the charau-ka warriors, felling both of them. Their bodies fall lifelessly into the tar pit.

The heroes move forward as the last charau-ka sinks. Amaunet moves to him and kicks him deeper into the tar, the ape-man is never seen again. Flax hears some muffled screaming from the western tower. The heroes rush over to the tower and find a final charau-ka warrior holding a burning torch over an ash-filled put. Within the pit are three humanoid figures, covered in thick tar, squirming and vainly screaming for help. The charau-ka warns the heroes that he will torch them if they do not let him go.

The charau-ka speaks in garbled Draconic and only Lox can reply. Lox seems to measure the ape-man and decides to act rashly, sending his ball of fire at the warrior, but the charau-ka acts first, throwing the burning torch upon the people. They light up immediately in a great conflagration, screaming in agony as they begin to be burned alive. Amaunet rushes in and begins to beat up the charau-ka. Flax pulls out his staff and summons a great blast of water to put out the people. The water douses the fires, leaving the three people partially burned and soaking wet in thick tar, but alive.

Dolgrin and Gor help the people out of the pit as Amaunet and Lox knock out the remaining charau-ka. The heroes heal their wounds and Gor is able to fashion a slipper substance from his reagents to get the people out of the tar. They are three pirates in Captain Kassata Lewynn’s group that came to find Sava-Xi. They warn the heroes that here are at least thirty and likely more of the charau-ka in the ruins. They were captured just the other night as they tried to sneak into the ruins. There were eight of them when they arrive and two had already been burned.

The heroes awaken the charau-ka and Lox questions him closely. They learn that the murals on the walls, showing snakes surrounding the burning bodies is due to the charau-ka’s devotion to the snake god Ydersius. He claims that a visitor named Issilar brought the worship of Ydersius to their tribe and made the “great” and their leader, Raogru draws great power from Ydersius. He also confirms that there over 50 of them in the ruins, but some are out in hunting parties deep in the jungles. Flax cuts the charau-ka’s throat, providing the quick death they had promised him.

The heroes then leave the pirates to gather their strength as they explore the northern part of the sunken ruins. They find two giant statues of elephants, one crumbled and destroyed, the other quite in tact. Gor recognizes they are clearly of Xaya make, but of no real significance. They then find in the northeastern corner of the ruins is another pool of tar, but there are many charau-ka around a makeshift shrine. Up on the wall is a massive reconstruction of a headless snake composed of burned humanoid bones. Gor recognizes as clearly a shrine dedicated to Ydersius, the immortal god known as the Headless King.

The charau-ka leap and charge at the heroes with their leader, who is covered in snake skin, sends his large violet mamba snake. The ape-men throws rocks from across the tar pit, but a few engage in melee combat. Lox throws a great blast of fire at the charau-ka, but the charau-ka leader, Raogru, retaliates with a blasting cacophony of sound that deafens and injures the heroes.

Flax is forced to pull back and Dolgrin and Amaunet hold the line as the charau-ka continue to move in on their intruders…

.

Session 41: Battle of the Tar Pits [Apr 14th, 2022]

The charau-ka continue to throw hard rocks at the heroes, bludgeoning them from afar. Amaunet and Dolgrin try to hold the line as Flax steps back and drinks a healing potion. The serpent-worshiping priest, Raogru moves closer and unleashes a devastating blast of enervating energy that sucks the life out of Dolgrin, Gor, and Lox. Lox retaliates by summoning a cave scorpion to distract and strike the ape-man.

Dolgrin charges in to fight Raogu in melee, but the priest blasts the dwarf with negative energy. Gor moves in to help Dolgrin but Raogru blinds him with a prayer from his snake god. Dolgrin tries to push the ape-priest into the tar pits, but Raogru resists and retaliates by knocking Dolgrin into the pits. Flax and Amaunet manage to fell the remaining charau-ka warriors, allowing the blind Gor to flee behind them to safety. Dolgrin manages to swim his way out of the pits and provide support from afar.

Flax then charges in to face Raogru slashing gashes into the ape-man. Raogru then drains the life from Flax, knocking the half-elf to the ground. Dolgrin is able to revive the half-elf as Lox blasts Raogru with repeated bursts of magical bolts. Amaunet then flips over the final charau-ka warrior to reach Raogru and knocks him hard into the wall with a flaming kick, leaving the ape-man’s body to burn away. The final charau-ka warrior surrenders.

The heroes patch themselves up as Lox talks with the ape-man in broken Draconic. Lox lets the charau-ka run free after he tells them the location of Raogru’s secret treasure stash. The heroes then head over the the serpentine shrine of Ydersius. Amaunet searches the area and finds an ancient Xaya stone coffer. Inside is numerous gems and golden bits, along with a number of potent magical items. Additionally, Lox and Gor notice the magical divination aura upon the large moonstone in the snake effigy’s eye. Dolgrin pulls it down and Gor examines it while Lox treats the others wounds.

Gor learns that the moonstone is part of a larger magical construction and may help with the orientation and positioning of a magical geographical map. The heroes watch as the sun is setting and they begin to discuss where they can find safety and rest in this dangerous ruin.

.

Session 42: Rogerina and the Tentacled Horror [Apr 28th, 2022]

The heroes decide that it would be safer to try and head outside the ruins of Tazion to find shelter and rest. They gather up the three pirates, Juren, Barath, and Raner, and head out of the ruins of the serpentine shrine. As they head south and westward, they hear a faint sound in the distance. Dolgrin is certain that is the sound of a woman screaming. However, the heroes do not wish to run headlong into danger. Gor, Amaunet, and Flax sneak southward towards the sound and as they near, Gor is certain it is Rogerina’s voice, her frantic screams, that echo in the distance.

The three sneaks crawl through the thick jungles near the sounds and find a large gaping hole in a wide clearing with many ancient, ornate Xaya columns surrounding it. A few charau-ka warriors are pushing one of the pirates into the pit. He screams as he falls and a splattering of blood sprays from the deep pit. Rogerina screams again. There is one more pirate before her in the queue.

Amaunet rushes back to the others and grabs Lox and Dolgrin to help. Dodak and the three pirates stay behind. Dolgrin charges down the pathway towards the pit as Lox and Amaunet sneak into the jungle with Flax and Gor. However, Lox, unaccustomed to stealth, makes some noise that attracts the charau-ka warriors. Flax and Gor unleash their bolts and arrows as Dolgrin makes his appearance and charges in.

The charau-ka at first take cover from the projectiles, but then charge out with their axes to fight back. One of the charau-ka throws the final pirate into the pit and begins reaching for Rogerina. Gor charges into to stop him. It is then that a great tentacled horror rises from the pit with a great gaping maw. Impatient for its next meal, it grabs the charau-ka warrior and Rogerina in its tentacles.

Gor begins throwing bombs at it, but he too is soon grabbed by its tentacles. Flax and Dolgrin, having finished off the charau-ka warriors, charge in at the tentacled monster as it thrusts Gor into its mouth and begins to bite into the alchemist.

In the meantime, Lox, having successfully blasted the charau-ka from afar with spells, finds one of the warriors charging at him in the nearby woods. Thankfully, Amaunet comes to his aid and the two of them are able to fell the beast together with flaming kicks and a flaming touch.

Flax and Dolgrin hack and slash at the great tentacled aberration as it tries to eat Gor. Flax manages a long cut into its steely hide and Dolgrin follows through with a axe cleave into the opened wound. The beast soon falls dead, Gor and Rogerina saved.

Rogerina showers Gor in kisses and hugs as Lox attempts to treat wounds. Amaunet takes advantage of the break to climb into the pit, where she finds piles of skeletons and broken bones, but a fair share of glittering coins and a magical fire-breathing potion. They also find a magical mask on the charau-ka leading the ritual. The heroes treat wounds for over 20 minutes, when they find two of the pirates returning to them. They seem scared and frightened, telling the heroes that Dodak and Juren have been taken by a charau-ka band. The sun has finally set and darkness creeps over the land.

Dolgrin grits his teeth and charges forward, not wasting any time for Dodak’s safety. The heroes follow and Amaunet is able to find some fresh charau-ka tracks heading west. It leads the heroes back to the underground cistern where they hear the charau-ka inside. Dolgrin leads the charge as they hack at the charau-ka. They see Dodak in the corner of the small room, but Juren has had his arms ripped off and the ape-men were eating him. Flax and Amaunet try to get into the room, but they are blocked by the warriors. Dolgrin then shoves them back with his shield and moves in to protect his friend.

.

Session 43: Sentient Sewer Elementals [Jun 23rd, 2022]

Dolgrin tries to protect Dolgrin from the charau-ka as Gor throws a bomb at one, but misses. Flax then leaps into the chamber and cleaves two of the charau-ka in a deadly swipe, felling them both. Amaunet then gets up and fells the final ape-man. Dodak seems quite spooked from seeing the charau-ka eat the pirate, but Dolgrin is able to get him back to his senses with a big Dwarven hug. The heroes climb into the chamber and set a watch to rest through the night.

The next morning, the two pirates thank the heroes for saving them and insist on sneaking out of Tazion to find the rest of their expedition and offer to warn the Historical Society expedition of the dangers of the charau-ka. The heroes debate on their next plans, but ultimately decide to explore this ancient aqueduct. Amaunet searches the tunnel and deems it safe, pulling out her magical torch to guide the way. The heroes head down the tunnel as it descends a bit into the earth, before leveling out as a straight path.

Flax and Dolgrin get an uneasy feeling and look behind them, where the pools of water suddenly gather together and form a massive water elemental. It slams Rogerina, knocking her out, face down in the water. It then grabs Dodak and pulls the Dwarf towards itself. The heroes decide to pull back as best they can as Flax grabs Rogerina and throws her over his arm. Gor pelts it with bombs and Dolgrin cuts at it as they pull back, deeper into the tunnel.

Eventually it catches up to them and Dolgrin stands and fights as Lox blasts it with spells. Flax puts down Rogerina and charges in with Amaunet. Gor tends to Rogerina before joining in as well, throwing his bombs. After taking many powerful blows, the heroes manage to defeat the elemental, which splashes harmless to the ground as Flax cleaves it in two. The soaking heroes tend to their wounds and discuss their next action. They then notice a pool of water bubbling nearby, after some discovery, Gor finds a magical flask of endless water hiding there.

The heroes continue on finding a four-way split, but the northern path is blocked by rubble. They head down the southern path, but find it connects with the well they defeated the tentacled beast. They then try the eastern path and climb up into a ruined chamber of a building. They climb a narrow stairway into a broken, crumbling structure with a seemingly shifting floor. As the light of Amaunet’s torch strikes the floor, it is clear that the floor is, in fact, covered on slithering snakes. It is then that a massive python slithers towards them ready to feast.

.

Session 44: Venomous Vermin [Jul 7th, 2022]

The heroes move in to fight the massive ringed python. Dolgrin takes it in full-force, but finds himself quickly bitten by the agile snake then the creature extends its jaw and swallows the dwarf whole. Flax and Amaunet continue to strike at it, but Dolgrin seems no closer to getting out. Meanwhile, four large violet mamba snakes slither out of the stonework. The bite and snap at Dodak, Gor, Amaunet and Lox. Lox and Gor are bitten and begin to slow from the venom. Amaunet then finds herself caught by the ringed python, which bites her and coils are her, trapping her in its long body.

Lox takes too many bites from the snakes and drops to the ground, dying from the venom. Gor quickly pulls out some powerful elixirs and manages to give them to the unconscious Lox, saving his life. Dolgrin continues to fight from inside the giant python. First he slams crystal shards into its insides, then he starts punching at its organs. Flax eventually manages to slay the python, freeing both Dolgrin and Amaunet, who then help eradicate the rest of the mambas.

With the snakes defeated, the heroes treat their wounds, ignoring the thousands of smaller slithering snakes at their feet. They then find a stairway out of the chamber, and climb up into the daylight. They find themselves at a small squat tower on the far eastern side of Tazion. They head north and west along the outer wall until they see the great ziggurat to the north in front of them. The dilapidated ruin is covered in vegetation and it has sunken somewhat into the swampy earth.

The heroes approach the ruined structure and find many entrances to the ancient building. They decide to head into the wide opening atop the main steps. As they enter the cavernous chamber, they find it filled with mud and vegetation. Lox then hears a low buzz and asks everyone to stop. The heroes then find a group of giant wasps come around the corner.

The wasps immediately sting Dolgrin hard, but thankfully the Dwarf resists the venom. The heroes quickly cut down the wasps, with Gor blasting them with bombs and Lox using a magical sphere of fire. Amaunet slams them with her fists as Dolgrin and Flax slice then out of the air. They then hear a louder, stronger buzz coming towards them. Everyone pulls back as another batch of giant wasps charge towards them. Behind them is a giant wasp queen.

.

Session 45: Demon Wasp and the Hallucinogenic Fungi [Jul 21st, 2022]

The heroes continue to hold their line at the base of the stairs into the ancient Xaya ziggurat. The wasps continue to strike with their stingers in a fervent attack, as if to defend their territory. It is then that a massive fiendish wasp queen flies out and strikes at Lox, nearly felling the sorcerer. It then injects Lox in his abdomen, filling the cavity with its unborn eggs. Gor tries to help Lox with some healing, but soon finds himself under attack by the creature.

Dolgrin, Flax, and Amaunet then finish off the other wasps and join the attack on the queen. With many desperate attacks, they hold it back. Lox manages to get to his feet and casts a hastening spell upon Dolgrin, who uses the magical speed to slice and dice into the wasp queen, felling it.

With the wasps defeated, the heroes take half an hour to treat their wounds and discuss their plans. They realize that the day is still earlier, being around noon, and they still have much to explore. Despite their limited resources, they decide to press on. Dolgrin and Flax lead the party into the zigarat again and they open the large eastern doors. They find an open courtyard filled with dense plants, and a strange stair going from the second floor down to some subterranean basement. A broken pillar stands to their left.

As the heroes push through the foliage to explore the next door, they come under the effects of a hallucinogenic toxin in the air. Lox believes he is a few inches tall and squirms about, avoid the plants. Dodak believes his staff is a snake and rushes out of the room. Flax believes he is melting and drops his sword and staff. It is then that two giant fungi creatures strike at them, injecting them with a deadly spore that eats them from the inside.

The heroes desperately attempt to leave the courtyard and the toxic cloud. With much effort, they manage to get into the porevious chamber, but both Flax and Dolgrin find themselves unarmed. Lox stumbles into a corner as the poison slowly eats him away. Only Gor and Amaunet are capable. Amaunet blasts the creatures with a wave of ki force as Gor blasts them with her decanter of endless water. Things begin to look bleak for the heroes…

.

Session 46: A Desperate Respite [Aug 5th, 2022]

Lox’s body manages to fight off the poison in his system, but he remains unconscious in the corner. Flax and Dolgrin try to determine how to enter the chamber and retrieve their weapons, even as the fungal creatures block their way. Amaunet tries to hold them back, but she also succumbs to the poison. Gor bravely downs a fire-breathing potion and burns the creatures to hold them back. Flax then takes Rogerina’s staff and bashes them as he charges in to retrieve his sword.

Gor then pulls out of the chamber and treats Amaunet, handing off a healing salve to Rogerina to get Lox back on his feet. Dodak tends to Dolgrin, trying to keep his friend alive as he slaps the creatures with his staff. With Flax armed again, the creatures move in towards him and he cuts one of them down with fell swoop of Judicator. The last creature nearly kills Flax, but with Lox back on his feet, it is soon pelted by magical blasts. Amaunet then charges in for the final kill.

The heroes tend to the poisons in the bodies, slowly overcoming the deadly venom. Now, weakened from the battle and the poisons, they seek a place to rest and regain their strength. The heroes charge out into the nearby jungle, behind the stone ziggurat. They spend nearly an hour tending to their wounds and catching their breath. They are then interrupted by a pair of charau-ka scouts who assault them near the wall. However, the heroes quickly dispatch them. They now consider their next move. They could use a long-term rest, but are unsure where it would be safe to do so.

.

Session 47: A Deadly Mold [Aug 18th, 2022]

The heroes decide to seek shelter and rest through the remainder of the evening and through the night. After some discussion, they decide to head to the underground cistern. However, Lox convinces them them that they should try going down the well to the south rather than the much easier western entrance. The heroes head down to the well, felling a few charau-ka patrol scouts along the way. When they reach the well, Amaunet ties off a rope to climb down into the depths. Flax leads the way, climbing down easily and swinging to the side tunnel. Gor the follows, listening to Flax’s advise and manages to land perfectly next to the half-elf.

It is then that the heroes realize that Dodak, Rogerina, and Lox will have a much harder time climbing down. Therefore they decide to instead head to the western entrance to the cistern. Flax tries to climb back up, but the wettened rope slips out of his hands, causing him to take a minor fall. He then climbs up. Gor tries to follow, but also slips and falls. Flax then aims to pull Gor up, but Gor loses a hold of the rope, so Flax pulls up an empty rope. They try again, with Gor wrapping himself in the ropes, which then let’s Flax easily pull him back up.

The heroes then head through the paths, avoiding more charau-ka patrols, and reach the western entrance to the cistern. They sneak their way down into the dark and damp chambers and rest for many hours. In the light of the new day (10th Traderide), the heroes gather themselves and return to the ziggurat at the northern end of the Tazion ruins.

The heroes decide to test the eastern doors and charge into an ancient hall dedicated to Nurgal the demonic lord of warfare and the sun, who’s worship was common for the ancient Xaya, but has fallen out of fashion in modern times. The heroes’ exploration of the room unearths some ancient yellow mold that fills the air with its spores. The heroes clamor out of the hall back to the fresh air outside as they cough and wretch as their lungs fill with blood. Lox collapses and nearly dies, Gor barely manages to stay on his feet. The heroes are barely able to save Lox from death and all of them feel quite weakened by their brush with the deadly mold.

After treating their wounds, the heroes push onward to the next corridor, finding it filled with mud. They enter a northern door into yet another hall. But this one is filled with crystals embedded in the ceiling to represent the stars. The hall is dedicated to an ancient version of Farlin the Windrider, a common Selicean deity of the stars, travel, and adventures. A spiral stairs leads down into darkness at the north end of the room, but as the heroes approach, three mithril cobras climb out and attack. They strange metallic constructs strike with furious bites and Flax finds his weapon unable to fully penetrate their hard metallic shells.

.

Session 48: Ancient Xaya Idols [Sep15th, 2022]

The heroes continue their assault on the three mithril serpents. The magical constructs, however, are incredible fast and agile, able to slither in and bite them with ease. Dolgrin and Flax take a few hits, and succumb to the venom within the creatures. Dolgrin takes too many bites and goes down, nearly dying from the influx of venom in his veins. Lox tries to blastr them with his flaming sphere, but he, too, is stricken down by the mithril serpents.

Flax keeps swinging wildly, eventually cracking and breaking the hardened defenses of the snakes. Gor continues to throw deadly acid bombs while continuously blasting them with the magical decanter of water. Twice he slams one of the cobras down the stairs. Amaunet rushes in for a few well-placed strikes when she can. Flax then makes a wide arc that cuts through two of the snakes. The others are able to help fell the final snake as Gor revives Lox.

The heroes revive Dolgrin and they spend nearly an hour resting and tending their wounds. They decide to press on, as they are worried that the other groups (Ariana Consortium, Crimson Blades, or the Viana Government) might arrive in Tazion soon and find the Pillars of Light before them. The heroes continue exploring the ruin, finding the giant wasps’ nest, now empty and safe. However, they decide not to explore its innards.

The heroes head to the north through a door into an ancient courtyard. There are stairs that wrap down to a lower level with four beautiful stone idols of the ancient Xaya. As they near the idols, they begin to glow and rise up off their pedestals. The heroes become fascinated by the lights and in ancient Xayan, they are asked to present their weapons to the idols. Only Lox and Flax succomb to the magical compulsion and lay their sword and staff before the idols. The idols then surge forward and begin blasting them with mental attacks, and one punches its little stone fists upon Flax.

The heroes break from the trance and retaliate, trying to return their attacks upon the idols. However, one of the idols summons a powerful swirling light that distracts and disorients the heroes. Another idol makes Gor shrink to only 1 foot tall. Dolgrin summons the spiritual Axe of Rolk to strike at the stone idols from afar. Gor throws bombs as Amaunet and Flax strike at them physically. Lox has had enough of these things, and begins throwing fireballs into the corner of the room to blast the idols with the fiery explosion. Soon the heroes are able to destroy the idols.

As each idol is destroyed strange glowing, ancient Xaya, runes float in the air. Gor is able to piece the knowledge together and he suddenly understands how to activate the Pillars of Light and now knows where they look like. The group needs to gather four gemstones to activate the four pillars, each dedicated to one of the ancient Xaya deities. Additionally, Gor realizes the magical moonstone they found in charau-ka’s makeshift snake-altar is one of the missing gemstones. Now, the heroes must find the Pillars of Light, knowing it must be near at hand.

.

Session 49: Temples of Tazion [Sep 29th, 2022]

The heroes treat their wounds and continue their exploration of the ancient Xaya ziggurat in Tazion. They decide to head to the southwest, expecting to find more shrines dedicated to ancient Xayan religions. They come across a stairwell that leads down into darkness, but the rail-less stair is perched over another room far below. They cautiously approach the end of the stairwell, finding a room cloaked in darkness and a pool of black, stagnant water filling the chamber. There are strange glyphs and icons upon the walls of teh chamber.

Dolgrin bravely enters the chamber, finding the water is only a couple feet deep. He looks upon the sigils on the wall and recognizes their symbolism. They seem to depict the dark, Elder Gods of the void between the stars. The ancient alien beings that exist in the “dark tapestry” that is only worshipped by the most depraved of cults. However, before Dolgrin can contemplate on this discovery, giant hand-sized leeches begin biting him and latching on to his skin.

As the dwarf pulls back, hundreds of these blood-thirsty leeches begin leaping out of the water towards the heroes. Dolgrin stands his ground, swiping and cutting through the leeches. Amaunet leaps down and begins punching and striking at them. Gor throws bombs at them and blasts them with her magical decanter of water. Flax cuts at them, but finds his sword is less effective at cutting back the swarm. Lox tries to blast them with spells. Eventually the leeches are all killed, leaving their floating corpses covering the surface of the black water.

The heroes then head through the side doors into the chamber under the stairs. There is a large craggy terrain map on the floor. Gor immediately recognizes it as a map of Pelaria, the moon of Enelis. Dodak points out that the sigils of this room appear to be dedicated to the forgotten Xaya goddess, Assemi, who was seen as a protector and warrior and embodied the power of the moon against the demon-lord Nurgal’s power of the sun. The heroe also find a secret cache underneath the moon map which contains numerous ancient artifacts and an alchemical smokestick.

The heroes then head to the stairs in the large courtyard and head up to the second level of the ziggurat. They find a dark hallway before them and a nearby door. Amaunet scouts ahead in the darkness, using what little light streams in through the cracks and foliage to guide her way. She hears a battle between the charau-ka and a giant wasp in a far room. But she also sees a highly ornate column that looks like those they saw in the vision granted by the Xaya idols. It might be one of the Pillars of Light.

Amaunet returns and decides to scout the south, finding a hallway that ends in rubble. However, the nearby door then opens and a charau-ka looks out, surprised to find the heroes huddled in the corner and Amaunet nearby. Battle breaks out as Amaunet and the charau-ka butcher (a veteran warrior) go one-on-one. Gor and Flax head to the room with the pillar, but soon find another charau-ka inside. However, this one begins casting spells. First it cloaks itself in mirage copies of itself, then it blasts Gor and Flax with a cloud of noxious gas. This sends Gor and Flax fleeing back to their friends.

Meanwhile, at the doorway, Dolgrin and Flax try to push through into the chamber, but the strong charau-ka blocks them. It then cuts down Amaunet, licking her blood greedily from his axe blade. It is then that the heroes see the spell-casting charau-ka in the far room. However, it is not a charau-ka as its illusion fades away. It is really a serpentfolk.

.

Session 50: Issilar Triumphs [Oct 13th, 2022]

The heroes try to hold the doorway, with Flax and Dolgrin flanking the doorway, exchanging blows with the charau-ka warrior on the other side. Amaunet lies upon teh ground, recently taken down. Flax steps over Amaunet to protect her, cutting down one of the charau-ka warriors. But the other warrior steps in and blocks the doorway still. Issilar the serpentfolk sorcerer contionues to assault the heroes with his flaming sphere of fire, striking at Amaunet, trying to kill her, but then going after Flax.

Lox maintain his own ball of fire, striking at the charau-ka. Gor steps in and throws a bomb into the room with some success. However, the heroes then hear the sound of four more charau-ka charging towards them, right through the cloud of noxious gas. This slows them down somewhat, but Gor finds a row of enemies coming down the hall towards him. Issilar casts an enchantment upon Lox, slowing his actions in a time dilation field. Dodak and Rogerina begin to panic and climb into the nearby stairwell heading up to the third level. Gor blasts the coming ape-men with bombs, before joining Rogerina in the stairwell.

Issilar then blasts the heroes, and even his own minion, with a deadly bolt of lightning. The electricity fries Dolgrin, Amaunet, and Flax, leaving their bodies smoking upon the floor, near death. Lox miraculously survives the blast and flees to the stairwell with Gor, but he is moving much slower due to the enchantment upon him. Dodak and Rogerina head to to the third level, but are soon screaming and return to the others, mentioning a “giant white ape with four arms”.

The charau-ka then move past the fight in the stairwell, where Gor fights one of the warriors. These other charau-ka grab the bodies of Amaunet, Dolgrin, and Flax and drag them into the chamber with Issilar, where they close and bar the door. Dodak tells them that they can now flee and wait until the other Historical Society expedition reaches Tazion with reinforcements. Gor and Lox, however, bravely decide to stand their ground and try to save their friends. Dodak wishes them good luck and takes Rogerina by the hand as they flee down the stairs to try and escape Tazion.

Lox then casts a powerful illusion on himself and Gor, making them invisible. They then sneak around to the room with the Pillars of Light, seeing that Issilar and his companions are quite curious about the heroes. Issilar sends the charau-ka out to find the rest of the intruders as he begins to examine the heroes and their things. Gor and Lox then enact their plan, Gor throws a bomb at Issilar, becoming visible and rushes away to attract him. However, Issilar doesn’t take the bait, he calls down more charau-ka to gather “Paleflesh” and chase down the intruders.

Meanwhile, Lox stands there waiting for an opportunity to tend to his friends as Issilar stands over them. Gor finds himself at the bottom of the other stairs, laying down caltrops, before he hears and sees the mighty white ape charge down towards him.

.

Session 51: Lost and Forlorn [Oct 27th, 2022]

Lox and Gor grow desperate as things seem quite dire. Gor attempts to flee down the stairs, away from the massive ape heading his way. However, he is chased down by a charau-ka and tumbled down the stairs. Lox blasts a ball of fire at Issilar, but it misses. Now visible, Lox tries to flee away from the serpentfolk sorcerer, but he is blocked in the corner of the room. Issilar then steps towards Lox menacingly, but Lox turns into a tiny rat and scuttles away through the small crevices. He tries to find Gor, but there is no sign of him. Lox then sneaks away from the ziggurat and rushes into the jungle before returning to his true form.

Meanwhile, Dodak and Rogerina are running through the jungle, trying to get away from Tazion. Much like Lox, they are lost in the thick jungles, fearful of what might find them. They can only pray that the second expedition group is shortly behind them. The scene grows dark.

.

Session 52: The Caravan Guardians [Dec 13th, 2022]

Now we see Viana from overhead, the port city bustles with excitement. It is weeks earlier and news of numerous expeditions looking for the lost city of Sava-Xi echoes through the streets. The camera moves into the headquarters of the Historical Society office where we see the expeditions secondary group, who was to travel a few days behind Dodak and his friends.

We meet Xander Windfire, a powerful summoner and self-proclaimed necromancer who is bonded to a strange and enigmatic bird-like psychopomp. This ashen-skinned elf offers his services as a healer.

Next is Catamark Joah, a human archeologist and knowledgeable scholar of esoterica and the strange mysteries of Enelis. He plans to make his archeological skills of use when they find the city, but plans to help defend the caravan with his competent blade-work.

Next is Ash’ryx, a strange barbarian woman from the far north. Although she clearly has Dyrferd heritage, her enigmatic draconic heritage is readily apparent as well. She complains much about the heat of the south, despite a cooling chill that seems to emanate from her body. Her bloodthirsty and savage nature makes her an excellent warrior and guard for the expedition.

Next is Fergus Hazerider, a confident Selician occult spellcaster from the southern island of Tabanya. He is eager to join the Historical Society’s expedition and hopes to recover an artifact taken from his tribe’s temple. Unbeknownst to the others, her ghostly companion, Kalindra, the spirit of her ancestor, follows her on her quest.

Last to join the group is Thurk, a savage green-orc war-drummer and warrior. The historical society has recently “discovered” Thurk’s tribe and he intends to learn as much as he can about them, both for his own curiosity, and to ensure that they will keep the location of his tribe a secret as they promised. His warrior tactics and leadership experience (as the son of his tribe’s chieftain), makes him an excellent caravan guard and leader for the new group.

Amivor Glaur gathers them together and explains that they will be guarding the wagons as they all shall be days behind the first expedition group, the forward scouts with Dodak. They lead the way through the wilderness, making sure that the wagons come to no harm in the wild lands near Viana. After a few days, they learn that the first expedition went through the salt mines as a shortcut. However, with the wagons, they cannot make that route, so they continue along the longer roadway. They reach Kalabata without issue and spend an additional day restocking their supplies.

The caravan then sets out again. After a few days, in the early morning, the guardians come across evidence of an ambush ahead. Ash’ryx examines the tracks and determines they are near. She then finds one of the ruffians waiting to ambush them. A great battle is fought and the ruffians are quickly dispatched. They learn quickly that Xander and Fergus have some powerful magic at their disposal and they meet Kalinda for the first time. Thurk and Ash’ryx prove their prowess in battle and Catamark shows that he has quite a few tricks up his sleeve, especially concerning his magic mirror.

The guardians cannot find any identifying marks upon the ruffians, but Amivor is certain that one of the rival expedition groups likely sent them to stop their progress. The caravan continues, pushing its way through the Screaming Monkey Jungles. After a few more days, they sense more danger ahead.

Thurk charges forward, trying to sneak, but soon finds that the party is being ambushed by a pack of Zali warriors eager to make first blood…

.

Session 53: Survivors of Tazion [Feb 2nd, 2023]

The adventurers find themselves quickly overwhelmed as a numerous Zali warriors charge out firing bows and thrusting with their spears. Thurk and Catamark take the warriors head on as the others slowly join in. They take some small wounds from the strikes. Ash’ryx grows angry and falls into a fit of draconic rage, she breathes forth a blast of chilling air upon her enemies. Xander summons a necromantic aura that brings forth skeletal hands to reach out and grab at the Zali warriors. Fergus sends Kalinda forth and the ghostly warrior slices at her enemies with the ethereal blade.

The Zali warrors falls quickly and the adventurers are victorious. Catamark aims his bow on the remaining warrior, who surrenders. Ash’ryx, however, continues to finish off one of the warriors and Thurk has to hold her back until she calms down. The adventurers try to communicate with the Zali warrior, but they only learn that they are filled with hatred for the colonizers and nothing will stop them in their war. Nkechi joins them and confirms that the warriors will generally fight to the death and that they desire a quick death above all. Ash’ryx makes a mockery of this request and slowly kills the man. Nkechi is disgusted by her actions.

Days go by and the caravan continues onward, eventually travelling through the jungles along the river and eventually over the plains to the next set of jungles. They are now nearing Tazion. As they are just a few hours outside the ruins, they come across Lox, Dodak, and Rogerina stumbling into them from the humid woods. They are hunger and dirty, having barely survived.

Lox and Dodak share everything that happened in the ruins of Tazion with Amivor and the adventurers. Amivor agrees that Catamark, Xander, Thurk, Ash’ryx, and Fergus should head to Tazion and see if there are any survivors, and most importantly, find the Pillars of Light and the path to Sava-Xi. Additionally, they realize that Gor was carrying the notes of Yarzoth that may provide more clues. The adventurers agree and head out, leaving Dodak, Rogerina, and Lox to stay with the caravan camp to recover.

After a few hours, the adventurers reach the walls of Tazion. They approach the entrance Lox told them about, and find a body near it. It is heavily marred corpse of a man dressed in the blood-red leathers of the Crimson Blades. The adventures realize that the other groups may have arrived in Tazion. They soon find another body on the other side of the wall, except this one seems to belong to a mercenary of some kind, perhaps hired by one of the other groups.

The adventures then reach a strange well surrounded by stone columns. As they approach, a band of charau-ka warriors, they seem eager for their blood…

.

Session 54: Into the Ruins [Feb 16th, 2023]

The adventurers charge into melee with the charau-ka warriors. Pteraxyl and Ash’ryx head out to the flank, fighting a few of them, as Thurk and Catamark stride headlong into melee. Fergus and Kalinda join in to help. The charau-ka go down quickly and the adventurers are finally able to take down their brutish leader.

With the apemen defeated, the adventurers spend some time to tend to their wounds before heading forward. They decide to head immediately towards the ziggurat and the Pillars of Light, realizing that at least three of the other factions are likely here as well.

As the adventurers come to a crossing in the trail, they find eight mangled bodies torn and eviscerated on the ground. They look at the bodies closely and Catamark is able to identify their armor and style as that belonging to Eshlien. He tells them that they are likely mercenaries working for the Ariana Consortium. They know the Crimson Blades, the Fire Island Pirates, and now the Ariana Consortium have already tried to find the Pillars of Light.

The adventurers push forward and soon reach the imposing ziggurat. As they near the entrance, they are taken a back for a moment as they see four dead and decaying bodies swinging from ropes over the entranceway. They are the bodies of Amaunet, Flax, Dolgrin, and Gor. Saddened and angered by this, Thurk and the others move to try and cut the bodies down, but as they do so, they see two charau-ka warriors calling out to them from inside the ziggurat.

A loud belling call is then heard and the pounding of large fists upon a larger chest. Paleflesh, the massive four-armed gorilla steps into the light. A battle breaks out as the adventurers move in to face off with paleflesh. Thurk, Ash’ryx, and Catamark move in to fight as Fergus and Xander suppport from the back. Kalinda moves in around the beast, as the others take out the charau-ka warriors. Thurk takes a heavy blow from the beast as everyone cuts and beats on the massive monster.

The battle continues…

.

Session 55: Facing Issilar [Mar 2nd, 2023]

The heroes surround Paleflesh hacking and cutting into him. Kalinda explodes in a fiery blast, that scorches the pale gorilla’s fur. Ash’ryx then charges into him and cuts across his abdomen, spilling out his intestines. The four-armed monster grabs his gut and falls to the ground in a loud thud, dead.

The adventurers head outside and treat their wounds and discuss strategy before charging into the ruins. Based on Lox’s descriptions, they expect to find the serpentfolk sorcerer up on the second floor, guarding the Pillars of Light. Thurk leads the way as they head into the ziggurat’s broken room and prepare themselves along the open stairs. Pteraxyl and Catamark sneak their way up the stairs to scout ahead. They reach the top of the stairs and peer into the dimly lit corridors. Unfoirtunately, Pteraxyl incidentily gives himself away and a charau-ka guard spot hims.

The charau-ka shouts and screams and more of the apemen charge out at the heroes. Pteraxyl and Catamark defend themselves, with Catamark using his magic mirror to fool and disorient them as he and the psychopomp escape down the stairs. Kalinda moves in to help, blasting them with a deafening roar, but then she too has to defend herself on the stairs. Thurk steps up and rips down one of the charau-ka, grabbing it by its foot, and pulling it down to the lower ground. Kalinda and Fergus then tag-team, felling both of the charau-ka.

Meanwhile, Ash-ryx, Pteraxyl, and Xander deal with the two charau-ka that climbed down the outside wall. Pteraxyl and Xander take out one of them with a few spell combinations. Ash’ryx faces off with the other, but finds her movements become magically slowed. She is then assaulted by a flaming ball of fire. She manages to fell the apeman despite the hinderance and looks up to find Issilar, the serpentfolk sorcerer, step back into the darkness.

Everyone moves back into the room with the stairs and drink healing elixirs and treat wounds quickly as they prepare to ascend to face off against the deadly sorcerer. However, their preparation is interrupted as a mighty charau-ka warrior charged down towards them. A second later, Issilar appears and blasts them with a bolt of searing lightning. The battle continues…

.

Session 56: The Path to Sava-Xi [Mar 16th, 2023]

The heroes begin to charge their way up towards Issilar as the serpentfolk sorcerer blasts them with a cloud of noxious gas. Catamark pulls out an ancient scroll and summons a divine blessing upon his friends. Ash’ryx charges in to fight Issilar head on, but is blasted by another cloud of acidic gas that infects her skin. She fights on and pushes Issilar back, deeper along the corridor on the second floor. Catamark and Thurk push their way up as well, to provide assistance. Eventually, Xander and Fergus join in to help. They continue to blast Issilar with spells and concerted attacks, working as a well-oiled machine.

Issilar fails to fell these invading heroes and is eventually slain by Thurk’s mighty hammer. Ash’ryx takes revenge on the serpentfolk and cuts him to pieces to make personal ornaments. In the meantime, they find a few magical trinkets on the sorcerer, including two rings and a watery decanter. They also find four strange gemstones, each carved into strange celestial shapes. They recall Lox’s description and believe these are the stones required to activate the Pillars of Light.

The adventurers head into the next chamber and attempt to activate the strange columns by placing the gemstones they found into the appropriate slots. However, they realize they need Lox’s knowledge that was acquired from the Xaya idols. They quickly return to the Historical Society camp and update Amivor on the situation. Lox joins them to return to the Pillars of Light as Amivor prepares to pack up camp, expected to leave after they find the way to Sava-Xi.

The adventures return to Tazion and Lox is able to activate the Pillars of Light. A shimmering display appears as the ceiling crystals send the light of the sun down to the gridded floor to create a magical hologram. It depicts the area of Sava-XI as it exists now. Catamark is able to recognize the landmarks and knows where the location is. It is only a few days away from Tazion. Additionally, they can see the sprawling city stretched out in a shallow basin where a wide lake exists. They see seven large ziggurats rise from the ruins of the city with spear-like columns piercing the sky. The City of Seven Spears awaits.

Lox also notes that the magical protection of the city has preserved the buildings to an amazing degree, leaving much of the city somewhat intact. An illusory blanket covers the area, making any aerial views of the region to appear as only a stretch of trackless jungle. The city is a marvel of both magic and engineering. Catamark makes note of the way into the valley and they adventurers takes the gemstones and leave.

On their way out of Tazion, they find themselves surrounded by soldiers of Viana, led by General Rotilius Havelar. He questions them about their doings and wants to detain them. However, Lox, Thurk, and Catamark are able to convince the General that they haven’t found anything of worth yet and they are returning to their camp to rest. The General is skeptical, but allows them to go. He is seemingly going to gather his own scholars to explore the Tazion ruins.

The adventurers return to Amivor, who has the camp nearly disassembled and ready to leave. With the news that the Viana Government is hot on their tail, Amivor suggests they head to Sava-Xi immediately to be the first to set eyes upon the fabled lost city. Catamark leads the way and the adventurers try to sneak their way out of the region without any interested parties noticing.

.

Continue to ACT 7

.

Comments are closed.