Adventure 3

Drums on Fire Mountain

The Party

Lithanor (Lawful 6th level Elf)
An adventurous elf of the Calarii clan of Karameikos.
He recently joined the Order of Dracologists in Glantri and has completed his studies to become a trainee of the 1st Circle.
Mazaramus (Chaotic 7th level Magic-user)
Descended from a Thyatian family, Mazaramus was born and raised in the Principalities of Glantri. He recently became a Cryptologist of the 1st Circle, though his motives (and loyalty to the Circle's aims) remain unclear.
Morgan Bernhardt (Neutral 7th level Fighter)
A former mercenary, Morgan took to a life of adventuring when he happened across the party in Kelvin and helped them to root out the Caves of Chaos. Since finding an magical claymore in Castle Amber, his accent has taken on a Scottish lilt.
Klaus (Lawful 7th level Cleric)
A witch hunter and member of the Order of the Griffon. His recent ventures into the realm of Averoigne, where warlocks and witches were persecuted, has had the effect of making him a little sympathetic and more tolerant towards magic-users, if anything.

Gandi (Chaotic 7th level Dwarf)
His thirst for beer is equally matched by his thirst for adventure. He was recently given a suit of dwarven plate mail by Stephen Amber, fashioned to appear to be made of blue dragon scales, and is eager to find out what power it possesses.

Sneaky (Neutral 8th level Thief)
If what doesn't kill one makes one stronger, then Sneaky ought to be the toughest member of the party with all she has been through. Nevertheless, her charm has gotten the party out of a fair few scrapes where swords and spells might have had catastrophic consequences.

Bhakragh (Lawful 7th level Orc)
As good as outcast from his own tribe just for having a different way of thinking than the typical orcish mentality, Bhakragh has proved himself an erstwhile ally of the party. He has an unusual pastime, namely designing and inventing board games, and looks to one day turn this into an alternative career to adventuring.

Merick (Neutral 6th level Fighter) 
One of two warriors that were rescued by the party from the Caves of Chaos. They have sworn to serve the party for a year, meaning that this could be their last adventure with the party. Merick now has an affinity with plants after drinking an overpowered Potion of Plant Control.
Talanius (Neutral 6th level Fighter)
Along with Merick, Talanius serves the party after being rescued from the Caves of Chaos. He recently had a severe out-of-the-body experience when he was possessed by Catherine d'Amberville and his soul was trapped inside a throne. Some of Catherine's knowledge of planar travel was imparted on him in the transference.

Session One - All At Sea

After completing their studies in Glantri, Lithanor and Mazaramus met up with the rest of the party in the City of Thyatis. There they are employed by Rollo Bargmann to go see who has been sinking merchant ships in the seas south-east of Thyatis, including his own. Two of his ships were attacked. The crew of the Dawn Lark  were slain to the last man and its cargo plundered. The Belle Venture barely escaped such an attack. The captain of the Belle Venture, an elf by the name of Malmir, told the party how they first encountered a strange mist, which was filled with unnatural horrors. Shortly after,a strange vessel manned by green-skinned sea orcs boarded the ship and attacked. It was only through the use of Malmir's magic that they were able to drive off the horrors in the mist. They fought off the sea orcs, though only ten of the crew compliment of forty survived the attack. They were, however, able to capture one of the savage sea-orcs.

Rollo told the party all that they had learned from interrogating the orc, and provides them with information that he had learned through research about the strange mist, known as 'Sea-Bane'. The sea-orcs are called kara-kara. He provides the party with a rough sketch of the island of Teki-Nura-Ria, where the sea-orcs came from. Apparently, there is a sacred trail on the island known as the Trail of the Dead, that can be used to enter the sea-orc's underground temple by a secret entrance. The kara-kara evidently have a new leader, who has manifested as the physical embodiment of their pig-god, and is probably behind the attacks on the ships.

Rollo wants the party to go to the island, on the Belle Venture under the command of Captain Malmir, and find and eliminate this new leader. Rollo says that the party may keep any treasure and plunder found on the island (subject to the usual adventurers tax, of course). In addition, he offers them 5,000 gold pieces each if they are successful. Sneaky barters him up to 6,000 gold pieces each, tax free.

The first session entails the journey to the island of Teki-Nura-Ria aboard the Belle Venture under the command of the elf Malmir. Gandi spends several days overcoming his seasickness. One evening, the party is dining with Malmir in his cabin. They tell Malmir of their exploits, of which he is pleased to listen to. Malmir catches Mazaramus out, when he shakes two weevils out of his sea biscuit, with the Riddle of the Weevils.

After several days of sailing, they spot a bank of mist off to the west. Malmir has set a course to give the island of Teki-Nura-Ria a wide berth so that they can swing round to the south-eastern side of the island and hopefully approach it undiscovered.

Examining the mist with his spyglass, Captain Malmir sees a ship slowly being engulfed by the mist. Mazaramus is intrigued, so Malmir allows him to view the scene through his spyglass. After a short while, the main mast collapses and the ship begins to sink. Malmir, knowing that their was no way of saving the ship, hardens his resolve. The Belle Venture maintains its course, staying as far away from the island until he is certain that they can approach it undetected.

On the ninth day, they approach Teki-Nura-Ria from the south-east. They find a sandy-beached cove, and the party are taken ashore in a rowing boat. As soon as the rowers return, Malmir disguises the Belle Venture as a large rock using a hallucinatory terrain spell.. Already, the party could hear the sound of distant drums coming from the north-west end of the island.

     Day One

Basically, there are two main encounters. First, they encounter a giant spider hiding in a tree stump and find some nice treasure inside the stump. While the party are fighting the spiders, Bhakragh, Merick and Talanius slaughter a couple of wild boars, which they decide to carve up for lunch. The party are somewhat perturbed when the nearby volcano rumbles when the pigs were slain. Coincidence? Or is there really a pig-god?

Mazaramus makes a small wooden fortification with his newfound Make-Anything-Out-Of-Wood ability (Runes of Matter-Wood), and Sneaky tries setting some simple traps around the fortification. Morgan wants to dig a large pit to use as an animal trap, but without spades this would be somewhat difficult.

While they are trap/fort building, Mazaramus flies towards what is left of a ruined village, scares some white apes out of a cellar by moving a copper coin with continual light on it about. Mazaramus is invisible so this spooks the apes, who flee the cellar, Mazaramus finds a jeweled sword hilt which, according to Sneaky, is worth 50,000 gold pieces.

Mazaramus then investigates a portion of cliff face, which is apparently flat wall and relatively clear of debris, suspecting that there is a secret door there. However, his efforts are fruitless, so he flies back to the party.

Session Two - The Trail of the Dead Ends

The party decide that they will all head for the ruined village that Mazaramus found. They were convinced that there must be a secret door there, where the area in front of the rock wall had far less rubble in front of it. However, their search was again in vain, so they headed for the south-western end of the Trail of the Dead, which was now only about a mile away.

After slogging there way through more jungle, they came to a clearing. On one side of the clearing was a cliff-side with a narrow ravine leading into it. Obviously the entrance to the Trail of the Dead. At the entrance to the ravine was an enclosure made of bones lashed together, with an entrance in each of its four sides. Stationed in this enclosure were six kara-kara, two of them riding giant horned chameleon lizards. The party had made so much noise crashing through the jungle that they were on full alert and had already begun chanting when the party emerged from the jungle.

They charged the party. Mazaramus launched a fire ball at them, roasting all of the kara-kara and severely wounding the lizards, though not before two of them managed to land lucky blows with their spears, grazing Morgan and Bhakragh. The two lizards were quickly finished off in hand-to-hand combat.

They could now see, in the distance to the north-west, signs of the kara-kara village on the eastern side of a dormant volcano, and it was here that they sound of drums, louder now, was coming from.

They turned their attention to the ravine leading into the cliff-side. Stone slabs were laid down to form a path, and every ten feet or so, statues stood at the sides of the path, most of them at least partially demolished. It was evident from their features that these statues were not of kara-kara, but some long-dead human civilisation.

After travelling along the ravine, which was found to lead gradually downwards, for about half an hour, they stumbled into a trap. Two statues that were still intact unleashed a lightning bolt as Morgan and Gandi passed between them.Fortunately, they both made their saving throws and took only slight damage. More interestingly, Gandi's plate mail, fashioned to look like blue dragon scales, continued to spark as though charged with electrical energy.

The rest of the party circumvented the magical trap by means of using Lithanor's rope of climbing or flying over on Mazaramus' broom of flying. They continued along the Trail of the Dead, this time taking more care that they did not pass between a pair of intact statues. After another 30 minutes or so, they reached a cross-roads. The main trail continued north-eastwards, and two side tunnels, narrower than the main trail, led north-west and south-east.

Following the indications given on their sketch map given to them by Rollo Bargmann, they took the passage leading north-west. After a short while, they found that the passage came to a ten foot wide tunnel, still leading northwest. The tunnel was blocked by a crude gate made of brightly coloured bamboo poles, which opened easily. At the far end of this tunnel, approximately 160' away, they could see what appeared to be light at the far end.

After a hundred feet of travelling down the tunnel, they found that it was blocked by thick iron gates, tied together by an intricately knotted rope. Morgan decided to tackle this in the same manner that Alexander the Great tackled the Gordian knot, cleaving it with his claymore. This triggered the trap, causing rubble to collapse onto the 20' of passageway in front of the gates. The entire party was under this section and all took damage, some more than others depending on whether they made their saving throws against wands. At least the gate was opened.

On the other side of the gate, they found that the floor was covered by a layer of mud for the next 30'. This time they exercised a bit of caution. Mazaramus flew to the other side of the mud and then poked around in the mud with his 9'9" pole. Morgan also used his Find Traps ability from his claymore, revealing that the mud was indeed trapped. Mazaramus poking revealed that underneath the mud were sharp metal spikes. The rest of the party carefully crossed, using whatever they had (swords, staves and so forth) to probe the mud and cross safely.

Once they were safely across, Morgan and Gandi made their way to the front and they continued toward the end of the tunnel, now only thirty feet away. However, as soon as they reached what should have been the end of the tunnel, the air grew hazy, the light vanished, and they found instead that it was a dead end. The end of the tunnel was a mass of webs, in which was a giant black widow spider.

Giant Spider
The spider gained surprise and sank its fangs into Morgan. Morgan failed his saving throw and, between the bite and the poison, took a massive 30 points of damage. Ouch!

Morgan hacked the spider down with a single swing of his sword, and Klaus was able to nullify most of the damage that Morgan had taken, having to expend two charges from his staff of healing to neutralise the poison.

In the webs the party found twenty small milky, white gems bundled up in little balls of web. They took the gems, then cleared away the webs so that they could search the end of the tunnel for secret doors. No luck. They gave up and returned (carefully) across the mud patch, then back to the four-way intersection on the Trail of the Dead.

This time they took the narrow ravine leading south-east. This was found to lead shortly at a rock wall. Gandi and Morgan advanced to search for secret doors, and were attacked by a rock python hiding among the rocks. They slew this without too much trouble and resumed searching for secret doors, followed by the rest of the party. Again it was a fruitless search, and there was not much daylight left.

With only one way left to try, they continued along the main trail leading north-east. After some time, they came to the end of the ravine and the Trail of the Dead and found themselves on the edge of a marsh filled with stunted vegetation. Leading into the swamp was a wooden causeway which ended at a platform. There was nothing around except for the marsh...and an eight-headed hydra which burst out of the swampy water near the platform.

The party won initiative. Between Mazaramus launching another fire ball (pretty risky in a swamp) and the fighters hacking at it, the hydra was slain before it could attack. They contemplated cutting open the hydra to see if it had swallowed any valuables, but no-one fancied wading into the swamp to where the body of the hydra was sinking back into the water.

It was dusk when the party returned along the causeway to the Trail of the Dead. They had been discussing where to rest up for the night. Lithanor suggested returning to the dead end ravine where they had encountered the rock python, judging that the trail itself was not well travelled, even though it might take an extra hour to get there.

Mazaramus disagreed with this and suggested that they ferry up on his broom of flying to the jungle above the ravine. Lithanor didn't like this idea, as they were likely to beset by all manner of things in the heavy jungle, even if the weren't discovered by the kara-kara in the nearby village.

They ended up going with Mazaramus suggestion. Mazaramus cast polymorph self on himself and turned into an owlbear. He then began ripping down trees and branches for the party to make a crude shelter with.

The night did not go well. Despite setting watches, they were attacked several times during the night, by stirges, a giant horned chameleon, and shadows, with one or more party members taking more wounds with each attack. Eventually, dawn arrived, and the spell-casters were able to re-memorise their spells. Lithanor and Morgan still had a fair number of wounds, and four other party members were slightly wounded.

Session Three - Out of the Jungle and Into the Gelatinous Cube Sandwich

     Day Two

As soon as he had memorised his spells, Mazaramus took off on his broom of flying. He took off near enough straight upwards first so as to be out of sight of any kara-kara in the nearby village. He then flew roughly westwards towards the inactive volcano on the other side of the kara-kara village.

It would be more entertaining at this point to describe what happened with the main party first before giving an account of Mazaramus' exploits at the volcano.

The party decided to head westwards towards the kara-kara village, rather than wait for Mazaramus to return. After about half an hour of hacking their way through the jungle foliage, they were ambushed by a bunch of undead pygmies. They were about 2' tall, with skin drawn so tightly across their bodies and faces that they looked almost like skeletal, yet with sharp, talon-like claws.

In their initial surprise round, they inflicted quite an amount of damage on the party. Also, their claw attacks were mildly poisonous, having a tranquilising effect on anyone hit who failed their saving throw. Only Lithanor was affected by it, however, and was effectively slowed for some time. The first of these creatures that I rolled for was against Gandi, who had a ridiculously low armour class, meaning that these creatures needed a natural 20 to hit....and what did I roll?

So Gandi took 6 points of damage, but the undead creature (called a topi - a new monster for this adventure and not an antelope) took an electrical jolt from Gandi's plate mail and was fried instantly. However, Gandi's blue dragon plate mail was no longer sparking, having used up its power for the day.

After the initial surprise round, the topis won initiative, but this time only managed to land a single blow on Bhakragh for 1 point of damage, largely due to the party now having the benefit of their shields.

DM's note: Shieldless, rear and surprised armour classes aren't really detailed in the BECMI rules (its more of an AD&D rule), but I feel that they ought to be. I could be wrong though, and it might be mentioned somewhere.

Klaus, figuring that they were undead, tried to turn them. When I told him that they are turned as Wights, the players were a bit horrified.

"What? We're fighting wights!"

I explained that if these were wights, the party would have lost several experience levels in the first round of surprise attacks, with the amount of hits that they had landed.

Anyway, Klaus turned a couple of the topis, and the warriors quickly whittled down their numbers, destroying or turning all of them by the third round without taking any further wounds.

After the combat, and Klaus administering some healing, they continued westwards. After a short while, Gandi inadvertently discovered,the ravine, almost falling down it as it was hidden by undergrowth, where they had previously found the tunnel that they had hoped would lead them to the hidden tombs.

Lithanor by now had recovered from the effects of the topis poisonous claws and descended into the ravine, using his rope of climbing. He found that it was indeed the same ravine where they had found the tunnel the previous day. He then returned to the rest of the party waiting above.

They were discussing whether to head into the ravine or go looking for Mazaramus, when they saw a thick plume of smoke erupt from the volcano near the kara-kara village. They also saw a small group of kara-kara move away from the village and begin ascending the slopes of the volcano.

So. Here's what happened with Mazaramus.

After flying to almost above the volcano, Mazaramus descended to take a closer look. The centre of the volcano's crater was neither rocky nor lava filled, but green, as though vegetation was growing there. As he got closer he found that it was actually a pool, some thirty feet across, covered with what looked like algae. He was about to fly into the water, when, at the last second, he pulled up, recognising the stuff on the surface as green slime (Knowledge of Fungi was one of his general skills, and although green slime isn't really fungi, it's close enough).

Mazaramus flew back up a fair way and launched a fire ball at the green slime, totally incinerating it and sending a noxious cloud of black smoke upwards. The smoke plume was visible from several miles away.

Volcano on Teki-Nura-RiaWith the green slime burnt to a crisp, the water underneath was fairly clear, and Mazaramus could see something glinting from the bottom of the pool. He held his breath and flew in, retrieving several gems and nice pieces of jewelry, including an amulet. He put the jewelry on and decided to return to the party.

The party were still discussing what to do when Mazaramus flew overhead towards where he had left the party earlier. As they were debating, several stirges flew towards the party. This time they saw them coming and hacked them all down before they could attack. Mazaramus was very lucky to spot the thrashing of swords in the jungle below (I had him roll against his Intelligence as an observation check and he rolled a 1 (low is good on stat checks)).

Reunited, the party decided to head down into the ravine before they were beset by any more wandering monsters, although they had also considered the idea of a full on assault on the kara-kara village. The module says that this would be suicidal, but given the party's resources, including three party members that had fire ball, I think they could have pulled it off.

They went back into the tunnel where they had caused a rock fall and fallen for the illusion hiding the spider the previous day. They did a more extensive search for secret doors, this time in the section of tunnel before the iron gate. Lo and behold! They found one.

The secret door revealed another tunnel, which turned to the left after about ten feet and ran north-westwards, parallel to the tunnel they were in. Following this, they found that it soon emerged into daylight again, into a hidden valley that even Mazaramus had been unable to spot on his broom of flying.

A short distance away, on the west side of the small valley and against the cliff wall, were three strange structures. Time for the handouts that I had previously photocopied for the players.

Each structure had steps leading up to a stone platform, each about 30' wide and protruding 20' from the cliff face. Against the cliff on the platform was a pair of wide rectangular pillars supporting a large horizontal stone slab. Various 'pictoglyphs' were depicted on the pillars and the horizontal slabs, as well as some kind of inscription, and a stylised face or figure was depicted on the wall between the pillars.

Sneaky successfully deciphered the inscriptions. The nearest one read "the twin", the centre one read "wise one" on the slab and "order in all things" on the pillars. The furthest one had "dancer" inscibed on it.

Lithanor figured out that the dance depicted on the glyphs had to be copied in order to activate whatever magic these platforms held, but was unwilling at this point to do the dance.

Mazaramus went to the centre structure and flew to the top of the slab. After telling the rest of the party to stand well back, he pressed the three stones holding glyphs on the slab. They were pictures of a spider, a bird and a fish. All three stones clicked into place, and a hidden trap door opened on the platform in front of the sylised face between the pillars, revealing a 20' deep pit. The pit didn't closed straight away, so Mazaramus flew down into it, hoping to find some secret entrance hidden there (sorry mate...wrong module...yeah you know the one). All the pit held was a pile of dust and some long dead remains of skeletons. Mazaramus flew back to the top of the slab and carried on pressing the glyphs in in different combinations until he eventually got the correct sequence of bird-fish-spider, which was the only sequence NOT depicted on the glyphs.

The stone between the pillars vanished and revealed a tunnel leading into the cliff-side for some distance. The party ventured inside leaving Merick and Talanius outside in case the pass-wall closed and trapped them inside. They loaded their crossbows and took shelter between the structures while the party went inside.

After about 60', the tunnel went around a slight corner and ended at a door. Morgan shouldered the door open and they found themselves in the east end of what seemed to be a musty crypt. Directly opposite them was another door. Two pairs of alcoves were seen on either side further into the room and another alcove at the opposite end (this one was supposed to be hidden by a secret door but I had put a dungeon tile down for it by mistake, so I just had the secret door at the back of the alcove). A glint of gold could be seen from the furthest pair of alcoves.

Mazaramus flew to the centre of the room smack-bang between the first pair of alcoves and looked into them. They seemed empty, but as he watched, there was a strange shimmering distortion of the walls around the alcoves, as though the walls were wobbling. The rest of the party stood in a line, weapons drawn, just back from where the two alcoves faced each other. They heard strange slurping sounds, and got the impression that something was moving right in front of them. They backed off 5' or so.

I asked Mazaramus what he was doing. He continued to peer into the alcoves, trying to figure out why the walls were shimmering. The next thing he felt was a sense of being smothered by jelly, accompanied by a tingling burning sensation.

DM: "Make two saving throws versus paralysis and take (sound of dice rolling) 12 points of damage."

Mazaramus: "Dammit! Gelatinous Cubes! (Dice rolling) Failed and...failed.

DM: "You're paralyzed....twice."

Lithanor had also figured out that they were gelatinous cubes, having run into one (literally) in The Keep on the Borderlands. He led the attack by shooting a flaming arrow into one of them. The rest of the party laid into them with weapons and they were slashed into tiny pieces of jelly before they could inflict any more damage on Mazaramus.

Unable to do anything for Mazaramus for the time being, they checked the next pair of alcoves, from where they had seen the glint of gold, though a bit more cautiously this time. The alcoves each contained a skeleton of a kara-kara, both with a pair of gold ankle bracelets.

They then checked the alcove in the centre of the west wall. This seemed to be empty so they checked it for secret doors. Klaus found the secret door and opened it. He was engulfed in a cloud of poisonous gas. Isn't it funny how history keeps repeating itself (see the wraith encounter in the west wing of Castle Amber). Klaus failed his saving throw. Fortunately it was only paralysing gas, but now two of the party were incapacitated.

The secret compartment contained a generous amount of treasure, an ivory necklace inlaid with mother-of-pearl on the skeleton of a kara-kara, and a small sealed jar containing a dozen ivory figurines.

Before proceeding any further, they decided to carry Klaus and Mazaramus outside. However, the pass-wall had now closed. They were wondering whether something had happened to Merick and Talanius when the wall opened up again. The two warriors had been more focused on keeping an eye out for any ambushing creatures or kara-kara, which is why they hadn't reactivated the portal straight away.

They took Klaus and Mazaramus outside, leaving them in the care of Merick and Talanius, and returned to the crypt. The other door in the crypt led into a short twisting corridor that came to a dead-end after a short while. The five remaining adventures searched the dead end for secret doors, but with no success, so they went back outside.

Mazaramus had shaken off the gelatinous cube paralysis, though he still felt a little numb in places. Lithanor went onto the dancer platform and copied the dance depicted on the pictoglyphs. Another pass-wall opened. Beyond was a short tunnel leading into a chamber roughly 30' deep and 50' wide. In the centre of the room was a small stone casket, and to either side of this was a stoppered jar. Two statues stood in the far corners of the room.

Leaving the still paralysed Klaus outside with Merick and Talanius, the rest of the party cautiously entered this chamber. Morgan activated his Find Traps ability from his claymore, and the casket glowed.

They turned there attention to the jars. Gandi picked one up and shook it about a bit. It seemed to be full of some viscous liquid judging by the "schlurps" coming from it, so he unstoppered it and looked inside. It seemed to be full of some thick, orange liquid.

Morgan examined the other jar and found that it was full of a similar liquid. Gandi suggested pouring the contents of his jar over one of the statues, and if that didn't work, he would pour his over the casket itself. Morgan went ahead and poured the orange liquid onto one of the statues. The liquid oozed out, coating most of the statue and then beginning to seep down off of the statue and onto the floor. Then it began advancing towards Morgan. Lithanor shot a flaming arrow into it, singing it, and Morgan hacked at it with his claymore, causing it to divide into four smaller globs of orange ooze. At the same time, Mazaramus threw a flask of oil at it, managing to coat all four of them in oil before it divided.

The four globs advanced on the party. One reached towards Morgan, who was backing off. The other three sought out Lithanor, Gandi and Mazaramus. Mazaramus simply floated up on his broom of flying, out of reach of the pseudopods that were extending out of the goop. Lithanor fired another flaming arrow, igniting one of them and burning it to a crisp. Gandi had put down his jar and was desperately trying to light his tinder box, but had to give up his efforts when he saw that one of the ochre jellies was getting close.

The party managed to avoid the attacks of the ochre jellies. Gandi rushed over to Mazaramus to climb onto his broom, while Lithanor ignited and slew the one that was trying to reach for Mazaramus. Gandi, in his new armour, was considerably faster than the jelly and easily outran it. Once on the broom, he resumed trying to light his tinder box. He managed to get a spark, but realised that he had nothing combustible to set light to with it, though a scroll sticking out of one of Mazaramus' pouches looked tempting. Fortunately, a spark flew off and landed on the ochre jelly attacking Morgan, igniting it. Lithanor slew the last ochre jelly that had been chasing Gandi.

Well that didn't work. They decided to carry out Gandi's idea anyway. Before they did so, they went outside to gather some branches to use as firebrands. Returning to the chamber, they got into position around the casket, getting ready to flame the second ochre jelly if it didn't somehow trigger or somehow magically deactivate the trap. Mazaramus poured a flask of oil into the jar and Gandi poured the oil soaked ochre jelly onto the casket. Nothing happened with the casket and the jelly began oozing off it, so they immolated it with their firebrands.

Still perplexed as to how to deal with the trapped casket (even Sneaky had tried to examine it to determine how the trap worked, but failed her roll), Mazaramus told everyone to get out of the chamber. He hovered over the casket on his broom and lifted the lid of the casket. There was a click, and a dart fired out of each side wall, harmlessly bouncing off the sides of the casket.

Now the penny dropped. They had tripped the trap backwards. The darts were supposed to smash the jars, releasing the ochre jellies. Inside the casket was a jade axe-head, a pair of matching gold bracelets, and a small,sealed ceramic jar. Mazaramus took the valuables and examined the contents of the jar. It contained a fine, grey ash.

Mazaramus concluded that this was cremated remains, as they hadn't found a body in this crypt. He poured the ash onto the floor. The room seemed to grow darker and Mazaramus suddenly felt uneasy. He dropped the jar and swiftly left the crypt.

Lithanor went up to the southernmost tomb entrance. Upon examination, none of the stones seemed to be movable. Lithanor touched the bottom right symbol, because he reckoned it looked like the face on the figure between the pillars.Nothing happened, so he touched the face itself. The pass-wall opened.....

Session Four - Why You Should Never Leave the Cleric Behind

The party were all but ready to enter the third tomb. Klaus was still paralyzed, but Lithanor wanted to press on without delay, even if it meant leaving the cleric behind. He was argued out of it by Mazaramus, and they decided to wait for the paralysis to wear off. They didn't have to wait long. Within half an hour Klaus had recovered.

They travelled down the tunnel leading from the 'twins' platform. After a short distance it ended at a door, which they charged down. Beyond was an octagonal chamber containing several corpses, one on a slab in the centre of the room and six more slumped against the walls. Another door could be seen in the south-west wall directly opposite. As they entered, the corpses rose up to attack the party...ghouls!

Lithanor, Gandi, Bhakragh and Morgan charged the ghouls. Klaus advanced and presented his holy symbol, turning three of the ghouls to dust. Gandi landed a hefty series of blows on one of the ghouls but failed to slay it. Lithanor and Morgan both fluffed their attacks. Only Bhakragh was able to slay a ghoul outright in combat.

The ghouls held their nerve, passing a morale check, despite Klaus' holy presence. Two of the 'ghouls', the ones that Lithanor and Gandi were fighting, let out blood-curdling screams, requiring everyone within 20' to make a saving throw vs spells. Klaus was just outside the range of both screams, but Sneaky and Mazaramus had ventured further in. Mazaramus and Lithanor failed their saving throws and were energy drained, losing a level of experience each, All three 'ghouls' hit their respective opponents, but only inflicted a single point of damage each. Morgan was fighting a true ghoul and failed his saving throw against its paralyzing attack. Lithanor was cursing, his immunity to ghoul paralysis again being wasted.

The party won the initiative in the next round. Klaus attempted to turn the screaming ghouls - which were actually agarats, a new monster in this module, but failed his roll by 1. Mazaramus magic missiled the agarat that Lithanor was fighting. Lithanor had decided to back up so that he could finish it off with his longbow of flaming, even though it meant losing his attack for that round due to switching weapons.

Bhakragh interposed himself between the agarat and the elf and brought the creature down with a mighty swing of his sword. Gandi landed another blow on his foe, severely wounding it but still failing to slay it. Sneaky fared better, hoping to take down the ghoul about to feast on the paralyzed Morgan with a sneak attack  She failed her Hide in Shadows roll, but was still able to inflict enough damage to slay it.

The last agarat clawed and bit at Gandi, but this time his armour prevented it from landing any blows. Lithanor took a risky shot with his bow, but fortunately hit the right target. Gandi was about to plant his axes into the agarat's head when a flaming arrow zipped over his shoulder, hit the creature between the eyes and felled it.

They found a few valuable trinkets that had fallen from the ghoul that had been lying on the slab in the centre of the room when it was dusted. Gandi estimated that the dead-end tunnel that they had come across leading from the central crypt should be somewhere near where the west wall of this room was, so they searched it for secret doors.

They found the secret door, and also found a second one in the centre of the east wall. Whilst they had been searching, Lithanor and Mazaramus were relieved to discover that the energy drains that they had suffered were only temporary. However, the spells that they had lost as a result of going down a level were still gone until such time as they could re-memorise them. Morgan also recovered pretty swiftly from his ghoul paralysis.

They opened the western secret door first. As they suspected, this led back to the gelatinous cube crypt, so they turned their attention to the eastern secret door. This opened up onto a corridor which curved round to the south and ended at a door. Beyond the door was a curious T-shaped room. To the left and right were large crystal vials. To the south was a plinth, atop which was a crystal skull. Morgan used his Find Traps ability from his claymore, and the plinth glowed.

Morgan viewed the ceiling above the plinth and above the corridor to see if their was anywhere where a large boulder might come out of, then suggested that they get a bag of sand to replace the crystal skull as they removed it from the plinth. Where these ideas came from I have no idea. They must have snuck across to the cinema when they were in 1981 Averoigne. Lithanor even asked if the floor was tiled (which it wasn't), expecting to find strange holes in the tiles.

Mazaramus insisted that he use Detect Magic as well. Morgan reluctantly complied, and the entire room glowed.

After pondering for some time, Mazaramus decided to risk walking into the room. No traps were triggered so he went to examine the crystal vials  These were found to contain a colourless liquid. Using his skill of alchemy (a general skill, not the Secret Craft of Glantri), and taking careful sniffs of the liquids, he was able to ascertain that one contained Potion of Gaseous Form (when he sniffed it, his fingers started turning wispy) and the other contained Potion of Healing, with a generous number of doses in each, two doses and four doses respectively.

Mazaramus then went to examine the crystal skull itself. This time he hovered near the plinth on his broom. Sneaky also came over to see if she could ascertain the nature of the trap. Meanwhile, Lithanor was going round the room looking for dart holes in the walls (of which there were none). Sneaky made her Find Traps roll and was able to determine that the trap would be triggered if the skull was removed from the plinth. Mazaramus thanked her for pointing out the obvious. It was also apparent that the trap was magical in nature, and beyond Sneaky's ability to disarm.

Mazaramus had the entire party withdraw back to the ghoul crypt, taking the the two crystal vials with them. His plan was to grab the crystal skull and fly back at full speed on his broom of flying.

He grabbed the skull and lifted it off of the plinth. As soon as he did so, a high-pitched noise filled the room. He started moving away. The noise increased in pitch, and the skull began to vibrate. Mazaramus realised that no matter how fast he flew, the pitch would increase to the point where it shattered the skull (okay, not strictly true, but we'll leave physics out of this).

Crystal Skull Hearing the high-pitched noise, Klaus remembered that he had silence 15' radius memorised. He went back to the chamber, standing just outside the doorway. Mazaramus was not convinced that what Klaus had planned would work. Klaus told him to have a little faith, and cast his spell so that the area of silence extended from the plinth to the doorway. Mazaramus lifted the skull again. This time there was no noise. Just in case. Mazaramus told Klaus to stand aside and he flew at full speed with the skull back to the ghoul crypt. Klaus was right, the skull did not shatter. Sneaky evaluated the skull and estimated it to be worth 2,500 gold pieces.

They opened the door in the south-west side of the ghoul crypt. This was found to open up into a corridor that stretched off for some distance. The faint sound of the kara-kara drums could be heard down this tunnel.

Before pressing on down this tunnel, they went and fetched Merick and Talanius, who were still on guard duty outside the tombs. Klaus administered some healing to the more wounded party members, having to use his staff of healing to cast two cure serious wounds spells - at the cost of four charges! Gandi was slightly wounded so he drank his last potion of healing.

Now in much better shape after receiving some healing, the party advanced down the long tunnel towards the sound of drums. The air and walls became noticeably hotter as they got to the end of the tunnel (Gandi estimated it to be about a third of a mile that they had travelled). The tunnel ended at a door. The sound of drums was now very close.

Beyond the door, the party found a room occupied by four boar-headed wooden statues, one near each corner, the eyes and tusks of which were inlaid mother-of-pearl. These animated and moved (rather stiffly) to attack the party. Mazaramus advised avoiding using fire on them in case this damaged the mother-of-pearl. Nonetheless, the party had no difficulty hacking them to pieces without taking any damage in return.

Two doors led from the room. One in the east wall and one in the west. After looting the mother-of-pearl from the wood golems, Sneaky and Lithanor listened at the doors. Apart from the drumming, Sneaky could just about hear talking in some strange language coming from beyond the eastern door.

Before they went through, Klaus cast bless on the party. Morgan bashed the door open, and Lithanor cast a sleep spell into the room. Eight kara-kara dropped to the floor in a slumber, leaving only a single kara-kara standing. Unlike the kara-kara that had fallen asleep this one wore wooden armour and a fancy headdress and wielded a mace.

Gandi, Morgan and Bhakragh charged at the kara-kara, which seemed to be a shaman of some sort, as it began chanting and gesturing. The initiative was tied, but Gandi got to strike first due to having high dexterity. He fluffed both of his attack rolls, so the shaman was able to get his spell off, casting hold person at Gandi, Morgan, Bhakragh and Lithanor. Morgan and Bhakragh failed their saving throws and were held. They did, however, still manage to get their strikes in, and between the pair of them they dealt a massive 30 points of damage. Quite a comical scene, Morgan and Bhakragh held motionless with their swords sticking through the lifeless body of the shaman.

After slaying the sleeping kara-kara and looting the bodies and the room, the party pondered whether the shaman's items might be magical. Mazaramus didn't have detect magic memorised, and Morgan was still paralyzed and unable to use his claymore's' power. Klaus completely forgot (or rather didn't check his character sheet properly) that he had a scroll with detect magic on it.

Gandi took Morgan's claymore to try to activate its power. This was bad move. Gandi was of a different alignment to the sword, took 2 points of damage (and was assailed by a cacophony of bagpipes), and was instantly controlled by the sword, which made him put the claymore down in front of Morgan.

Sneaky was the same alignment as Morgan, and was going to pick up the sword, but her rapier, having its own intelligence, refused to allow this. The other two characters of neutral alignment, Merick and Talanius, were overlooked.

Once again, Lithanor wanted to continue exploring, leaving the incapacitated characters behind while they did so. Mazaramus objected to leaving the party in a weakened state, splitting up, and more to the point, leaving two of their toughest fighters helpless should they be discovered. At times like this I wonder whether these two have had their alignments switched.

Mazaramus got the better of the debate. They waited for the spell holding Morgan and Bhakragh to wear off, a full hour and a half. Even then, Morgan refused to use his detect magic ability on his sword. He had used it once that day and only had two uses left, which he wanted to save for later. They doubted whether the shaman's wooden armour and shield were magical, but they kept hold of the mace.

A door led from the room in the south wall. Going through this, they found that it led into a fairly large cavernous area. A path led from the door to two other doors, with large natural pits on either side of the path.

Lithanor threw a coin with continual light cast on it into the chamber aiming for the path some thirty foot away, but it bounced into the eastern pit. Mazaramus flew into the pit and saw three humanoids skulking at the northern end. After retrieving the continual light coin, he approached them, and saw that they were kara-kara. They seemed somewhat malnourished, and were afraid of Mazaramus. He also noticed that their tribal markings were different to those kara-kara they had already encountered.

Mazaramus tried for some time to get the kara-kara to leave the pit, giving them food, offering a ride on his broom, even getting Lithanor to lower his rope of climbing.They even tried getting Bhakragh to persuade them to leave. Bhakragh gave up, telling the party that they were savages, and they had less chance of understanding common Orcish than he had of understanding French.

Mazaramus flew into the western pit, which contained the body of an elf and several skeletons. He rummaged through them and found a quite valuable platinum belt.

Mazaramus was loathe to give up on rescuing the kara-kara, whether they wanted to be rescued or not. He and Lithanor gave it one final attempt, both of them flying into the pit and attempting to forcibly remove them. They finally gave up when they made lousy grappling rolls and the prisoners scrambled away from them as far as they could.

Here endeth the session..

Session Five - The Silence of the Drums

After listening at the other two doors that led from the cavern of the pits, and hearing nothing but the sound of the kara-kara drums, our brave adventurers decided to go through the western door. Mazaramus guessed that this would lead back eventually to where they had encountered the wood golems.

They found themselves in a corridor running roughly north to south, turning at odd angles in places. They went north and shortly came to another door. This led into a garishly decorated chamber, evidently quarters for some of the kara-kara, judging by the wooden beds with mattresses of palm leaves. A nearby table held some refreshments, a bowl of fruit and a jug of some alcoholic drink, along with some empty wooden beakers. Mazaramus tried the fruit and found it to be quite tasty and nourishing. Gandi downed the alcoholic drink.

Some sacks on pegs on the wall, contained mostly useless items such as a small skull, lizards tail and so forth, though Lithanor found a number of small pearls mixed in with some ash and bones that were wrapped in some small palm leaves. Other than that, the chamber was deserted. A door in the east wall led back to the wood golem room, as Mazaramus had suspected.

They returned to the corridor they had entered by and went to the southern end. This ended at another door, with the sound of the drums being very loud and close now (I couldn't have stressed this enough).

Foregoing the usual checks, they stormed through the door. They found themselves at the north end of a huge cavern. Nearby, a fiery red glow came from a huge gaping pit. Crossing the pit was a crude rope bridge. Scores of kara-kara could be seen on the far side of the pit.

The party were immediately beset by the kara-kara drummers that were on the party's side of the pit and very close to the doors. Further down the cavern, to the left of the pit (from the party's viewpoint) could be seen a side-branch of the cavern. Two kara-kara shamans had been dancing before a raised area on which could be seen a large bronze throne. Seated on the throne was what was evidently the kara-kara pig god, a rather fat man-sized figure with the head of a boar. The pig-god let out a squeal, stood up...and disappeared. The two shamans advanced towards the party, and the kara-kara on the far side of the pit began swarming across the rope bridge.

Lithanor realised that it was too late to cast a haste spell, as he would also haste the kara-kara drummers, who would be within its area of effect, so he prepared to cast a sleep spell instead.

Mazaramus prepared to launch a fire ball at the rope bridge. Sneaky began to sneak around to where the shamans were advancing.

The initiative was tied. Gandi felled a kara-kara with his axes. The kara-kara weapons were largely ineffective against the party, landing only three blows, one on Morgan and two on Bhakragh. Two of the blows were deflected by the warriors martial skill, and Bhakragh took a mere two points of damage.

Lithanor's sleep spell sent all of the drummers into a slumber. Mazaramus' fire ball hit the rope bridge. A number of kara-kara that had started to cross were roasted alive before plummeting into the lava pit, and the rope bridge was nothing but a mass of wooden cinders and burning rope.

Meanwhile, the shamans were almost upon the party, but were blissfully unaware that they had ran right by Sneaky. She struck at the nearest shaman, unaware that she had subconsciously selected her rapier as her primary weapon. Her backstab attack ran home, and she followed this up with a strike with her dagger in her left hand. Because she wasn't proficient with a rapier, her backstab inflicted double half damage (or half double damage, whichever way you want to look at it). Between both of her strikes she did a total of seven points of damage, barely wounding the shaman, though she did discover that she had a +2 bonus with her rapier against the shaman (up until now she thought it was just a rapier+1).

The shaman turned to face Sneaky and began chanting. The other shaman also started chanting, aiming his spell at Lithanor. Sneaky was looking forward to seeing what would happen when the shaman cast his spell at her and became the first victim of her ring of spell turning. However, the party won the initiative and the shamans were quickly slain. Gandi bringing one down with a flurry of axe swipes and Mazaramus finishing the other off with a volley of magic missiles, before they could finish casting their spells.

Apart from five more kara-kara that came from an as yet unexplored room on the northern side of the pit, and were quickly dealt with, the kara-kara were unable to do anything about the party since the rope bridge was destroyed. They ineffectively threw a few spears in anger, which merely plunged into the lava. They gave up shouting, yelling and spear-chucking when the party started picking them off at leisure with their bows and crossbows.

Mazaramus had flown across the lava pit on his broom of flying. The ceiling of the cavern was easily high enough that he stay out of range of the kara-kara spears. He considered using his wand of paralyzation to freeze number of them, but wasn't convinced that he could get enough of them to warrant using up a charge. He saw at the southern end of the cavern a short tunnel which seemed to lead into another large cavern. Scores of kara-kara were swarming forwards at first, though some of the kara-kara near the pit were directing them to withdraw from the cavern. Mazaramus showed no pity and landed a fire ball a little way inside the entrance to the tunnel, scorching a large number of them due to the funnelling effect of the tunnel.

 DM's note: I was sure that Mazaramus had already cast two fire ball spells this day. He was insistent that the only one he had cast so far was the one that incinerated the rope bridge. After the session, I remembered the green slime in the volcano that he had fire balled earlier that day. An oversight on my part and possibly on the player's part too. I doubt, however, that Tapu, the Great Pig-God will overlook what he regards as deceitfulness, and may take vengeful action.

After slaying the sleeping kara-kara and looting the bodies the slain, the party left Bhakragh, Merick and Talanius on watch to deter the kara-kara from returning to the lava pit or making attempts to cross it, and went to explore the other door that they had found. This led to a few unexplored rooms on the north side of the cavern. They found the guardroom where the five kara-kara guards were stationed. Other than a few fruits there was little in this room. A door in the north wall led back into the cavern of the prison pits. Another in the east wall led into the kara-kara armoury.

Most of the weapons in this armoury were the typical primitive weaponry used by the kara-kara, spears. sharks teeth edged swords, wooden shields and the like. Morgan now agreed to use his second detect magic for the day. One of the spears was magical, as was the mace taken the first shaman they had encountered shortly after entering this part of the dungeon. Klaus decided he would use the mace for now in favour of his current one. The spear they gave to the NPC's, who now have a magical spear each.

They returned to the large cavern, and went to investigate the area with the raised platform where they had seen the 'pig-god'. Another corridor led away from this area, off to the side of the platform and up a short flight of stairs, but they ignored this for the time being. They examined the throne that the 'pig-god' had been sitting on. It was indeed made of bronze, obviously not made by the kara-kara, and firmly fixed to the floor. Other than that, they could find nothing unusual about it, even checking it for secret compartments. Beyond the throne, a short corridor led to a door.

The door led into a circular room, brightly lit by a curious web-like lattice of crystals suspended from the ceiling. Five other doors at equidistant points led from the room. The light from the crystals had a disorientating effect on anyone in or looking into the room, causing what they view to seemingly switch around.

Morgan marked the door that they entered by, scratching a "1" into it with his sword. Mazaramus attempted to leave the room, going for the door marked "1", and finding himself back in the corridor leading to the bronze throne. Lithanor told everyone to go to a different door and mark numbers in them, one at a time from left to right going round the room. There was a bit of confusion at first - "What number did you say to mark this?", "Who? Me or Talanius?", but Lithanor managed to oversee the operation successfully and get all the doors marked in the proper order.

So far this session, the party has done well, making significant progress whilst taking minimal damage. Now they go and do the dumbest thing they have done for a long time.

Mazaramus decided to fly up to the crystal lattice and attempt to cut some of the crystal off with his dagger. He found that he couldn't cut it, so he borrowed Sneaky's magical dagger and tried again. This time he managed to cut a small piece of crystalline string loose, As soon as he did so, the lattice glowed brightly and two bolts of bright light struck him, inflicting 10 points of damage.

Mazaramus determined that the lattice could eventually be broken apart if enough damage was done to it. He carried Morgan up on his broom, who gave it a good swing with his claymore, He did significantly more damage than Mazaramus, though nowhere near enough to smash it. The lattice again lit up, striking Morgan with two magic missiles.

Realising that every time they inflicted damage, the striker was hit by magic missiles, Gandi threw an axe at it, and Lithanor used an arrow+1 from his longbow of flaming, both of them taking damage in the process.

Tapu the Pig-God is laughing.

By now, they estimated that they were barely halfway to completely destroying the lattice, but had taken a significant amount of damage themselves. Furthermore, with Lithanor's numbering system on the doors, the disorienting effects could easily be overcome.

They toyed with the idea of throwing magical weapons at it then trying to outrun the magic missiles (yeah, right). Lithanor even suggested that they all leave the room so that he could fire ball it with his wand of fire balls. Mazaramus was opposed to this latter idea, saying that using up a charge was a waste of resources. (But using up healing resources due to unnecessarily taking massive amounts of damage is fine).

They gave up on trying to destroy the crystalline structure, and went through the north door (door number "2").

A short corridor led into a 20' north -south by 30' east-west room, with a door in the east wall. The room was a store room containing an awful lot of bottles and casks of wine, jars containing preserved foods of various kinds, chests full of various sizes of clothes, as well as six bales of cloth, and a few other oddments which included chairs, a copper cauldron, an anvil and an old carpet.

It was obvious that these items were all from the mainland. As a whole, they probably had some mercantile value, but given the quantity and bulk of the items, the party decided that they were not worth carting around with them.

It was also apparent that, if these were plundered from merchant vessels, the amount of goods stored in this room was very small. A much larger hoard can be carried in the holds of sailing vessels, so whoever had plundered them may have the more valuable cargo stored elsewhere.

The party continued on, opening the door in the east wall. A short corridor led to another door. Opening this, they found that it led into a larger room, about 30' east-west by 40' north-south, with another door in the southern end of the east wall.

The room was brightly lit. Everything in the room, namely a statue of a robed woman, a table and some chairs, four candlesticks on the table, and a chandelier hanging from the ceiling, was made of glass. In contrast to this brightness were the two strange black panther-like beings that turned to attack the party. Each had six legs, and long tentacle-like appendages extended from their shoulders, the serrated undersides of which lashed towards the party....

Session Six - An Epic Battle and a Room for the Night

Lithanor was about to close the door before the panther-like creatures could strike, but Gandi had already waded in to the fray. His axe blows weren't even close. Gandi seemed to strike at where one of the beasts was, only to find that it was actually a few feet away. Seeing that their hides were the same colour as his cloak, Klaus recognised the creatures as displacer beasts.

The rest of the party charged in to fight the creatures, and Sneaky manoeuvred around to the rear of the displacer beasts. Sneaky doesn't seem to have a lot of luck against anything feline. One of the beasts spotted her and gave her a nasty lash with a tentacle.

With some difficulty, due to the displacement effect, the party managed to slay the two displacer beasts without incurring any further wounds. They found that each of them was wearing a gem-studded collar of some value.

They turned their attention to the contents of the room. All of the glass objects seemed quite fragile, and it was doubtful that they would be worth the trouble of trying to carry them around, even if they had any value. The chandelier, however, interested them. It seemed to be the source of the illumination filling the room. Lithanor used his rope of climbing to ascend up to it. He then got Morgan to climb up. His plan was for Morgan to hold the chandelier while Lithanor severed the part of the chandelier nearest the ceiling.

Lithanor easily cut the chandelier free. Unfortunately, it slipped from Morgan's grasp and went smashing to the floor.

One shard of the chandelier was still glowing, due to a continual light that had been cast on it by whoever had put it here, so Morgan took this piece.

With nothing of further interest in the room, our heroes prepared to exit through the door in the east wall. Before they did so, Lithanor cast a haste spell on the party.

The door was found to lead into a large chamber supported by four strange crystal pillars with shadowy shapes writhing within them. Several doors led from this chamber. Three in the south wall, one in the far east wall nearly 100' away, and another down a short corridor in the west wall.

The writhing shapes in the pillars were found to be shadows that floated from the pillars to attack the party. There were only four of them, and they didn't last long against an experienced, well-armed party that was attacking at double speed.

Realising that they didn't have much time before the haste spell expired, the party decided to investigate the nearby rooms as quickly as possible. First they went through the other door in the west wall. This was found to lead into a room of total darkness. Lithanor thrust his sword, which had a continual light spell on it, into the room. The magical darkness was dispelled, but so was the light of Lithanor's sword. Not that they were too concerned. They still had a coin, a chandelier shard and several pebbles with continual light on them.

The room was completely empty apart from another door in the west wall. This was found to open onto a short passage that led back to the circular web-light-lattice of death room (door number 2).

Without hesitation, the party doubled back to the large pillared chamber and proceeded to go through the westernmost door in the south wall.

The first thing they saw in the room was a black lectern in the centre of the room, atop which was perched a black crow. The crow cawed at the party, then flew at them, over their heads and into the chamber. Sneaky, who had decided not to follow the party just yet and was loitering in the chamber, decided to use her rapier to detect invisible. This couldn't have been more timely!

A group of three people were waiting at the east end of the room, hidden by an invisibility 10' radius spell. They had been observing the party since they entered and fought the shadows.

DM's note: The module says that these three NPCs will wait until the party has slain three of the shadows, watching the party for weaknesses and exploiting these when they attack. However, when they saw that the party was under a haste spell and dealt with the shadows in no time at all, they decided instead to wait for the spell to expire before they attacked. Unfortunately for them, when Sneaky detected them, the haste spell still had another turn to run.

NPC party
Sneaky yelled out a warning to the rest of the party. Two of the NPCs began chanting. The third, evidently a warrior,charged forward with his sword drawn,

Most of the party were still in the little side room they had found when they heard Sneaky's shout. It was only the fact that they were still hasted that they could come to Sneaky''s assistance without too much delay. Gandi rushed to Sneaky's side to meet the warriors charge, now clearly visible to the party.

Five elves appeared, all identical and standing side-by-side. Another armoured figure appeared near the elves. Arcane power emanated from a symbol he was holding aloft. Gandi and Bhakragh felt its power trying to hold them in place, but through sheer will they were able to overcome it. Talamius was not so lucky and he was held frozen to the spot. Sneaky was protected by her ring of spell turning, sending the unholy energy back towards its caster, who now found himself calling on his own reserves of will-power to resist the spell's effect.

Gandi was unable to make any penetrating blows on the warrior. Bhakragh and Morgan moved in to assist, somewhat hampered by the intervening pillars, but not before the warrior found a gap in the dwarf's armour and gave him a vicious cut. Sneaky downed a dose of potion of invisibility and moved towards the cleric that had tried to ensorcell her.

Lithanor fired a couple of arrows at the elves. He knew that this was a mirror image spell at work, having used the same tactic himself on occasion, and was able to remove two of the duplicate elves. Meanwhile, Merick and Klaus directed missile fire at the cleric.

The elf cast another spell, this time sending a volley of magic missiles into Morgan. The cleric sent an unseen ball of silence at Lithanor, nullifying his ability to use magic. Fortunately, Mazaramus was too far away from Lithanor to be caught in its effect. Mazaramus answered the elf's magic measure for measure, sending his own volley of magic missiles into him. Two more images disappeared, and the third missile struck home, wounding the elf.

The warrior proved a formidable foe. It took the combined efforts of Morgan, Gandi and Bhakragh to bring him down. Morgan's first strike would have been telling, had the warrior not deftly parried with his own sword. He was not quick enough to evade the second blow. Beaten back by the swings of Gandi's axes, Bhakragh and Morgan coordinated and the warrior finally fell on the end of Morgan's sword.

Lithanor, seeing the opposing elf and unable to use his magic against him, dropped his bow, drew his longsword and charged the elf. His foe was unprepared for this move. Now unable to use his magic either due to proximity of his ally's silencing spell, he was forced to draw his own sword and face Lithanor. The elf was no match for Lithanor's martial skill nor his speed, and was soon felled.

By now, Sneaky had come up behind the cleric. Her rapier seemed to have a thirst for the blood of any enemy spell-casters, which she eagerly thrust into him. The cleric barely had time to stare in disbelief at the blade piercing his chest before her dagger delivered the coup-de-grace.

With the fight over, they searched the bodies, finding several jeweled items including a jeweled unholy symbol of Thanatos on the cleric (which Sneaky retained, lest Klaus destroy it despite its monetary value), along with magical weapons and armour. Among other things, Talanius was able to make use of a suit of magical chain mail +1, and Sneaky had another magical dagger, seemingly superior to the one she already had.

Curiously, each of the slain NPCs was adorned with either a cloak or robe, all of a different colour, although none of these were magical. The cleric wore a blue cloak, the warrior's cloak was red and the elf wore a green robe. Whether the colours of these adornments are of any significance is a mystery.

They returned the room where they found the lecturn, finding themselves moving at a more sedate pace now that the haste spell had worn off. In addition to the lecturn, there was also a table, a bed and a chair in the room. On the lecturn was a large tome, held closed and locked by a gold-plated hasp. Evidently a spell book. Sneaky examined the lock and found a poisoned needle trap on it. She successfully removed the needle and even picked the lock.

Lithanor examined the pages of the book. It was indeed a spell book. He and Mazaramus were keen to discover what spells were contained therein, and both vowed to learn a read magic spell at the next opportunity. The only other item of any value in the room was a coverlet of rare furs on the bed.

The group was feeling the need to recuperate, so they decided to hole up in this room for the night. It did have a bed in it after all. They spiked the door shut and laid caltrops across the entryway, then set an order of watch for the night. With nine people in a room barely 20' square, it was somewhat cramped, and they took turns on who had the bed, but at least they got a better rest than the previous night.

Session Seven - Their Own Worst Enemy

     Day Three

Refreshed after a relatively uninterrupted night's rest, Mazaramus and Lithanor perused the spell book. Contained within was a fair number of spells of up to third level in power. They transcribed one spell each into their own spell books. To copy any more would be too time consuming. Lithanor took magic missile and Mazaramus copied mirror image. They then memorised the rest of their spells for the day, having only memorised and used a read magic spell each. Finally, Mazaramus cast invisibility on himself and Sneaky.

Klaus administered a modicum of healing on the party. Even with his armband of healing (his gift from Stephen Amber) boosting the effectiveness of his healing spells, and the use of the staff of healing, the party was still considerably below full strength.

Judging that the room they had spent the night in were the former quarters of the elf that they had slain the previous day, the other two doors leading from the pillared chamber must lead into similar quarters for the cleric and the warrior. Based on this, the party decided to split into two groups to search these rooms.

The centre room contained religious trappings and was quite spartan. There wasn't even a bed, so the assumption was that the cleric either meditated or slept on the bare floor. Morgan examined a wardrobe against the south wall, which was found to contain a robe studded with hundreds of tiny gems, and a staff. Figuring that this was a clerical staff, he was about to give it to Klaus, when the wardrobe toppled over on top of Morgan.

After regaining his feet, he handed the staff to Klaus. As soon as he grasped it, the staff glowed with a bright white light. At the same time, Klaus' staff of healing also glowed. Moments later, the light dissipated again. The staff that they had found had disappeared, apparently consumed by the blinding light. His own staff, however, seemed to have been infused with more power. He found that he could use the staff to administer cure light wounds twice per day now on each person, rather than just once. Its charges had also been boosted, absorbing the charges of the other staff. It was just a shame that they hadn't explored the other rooms before camping up for the night. They could have had just that little bit of extra healing that they could really do with.

DM's note: This seemed to be a better solution than having the cleric walking around with two staves of healing. The overall effect is the same, with the exception of only having the encumbrance of one staff as opposed to two.

The third room was obviously where the fighter was quartered. It was more of an armoury/training room than a bedroom, having only a hammock for sleeping. A goodly amount of weapons were stored therein, although none of them were magical, and also contained two wooden dummies for weapon training and a grindstone.

Mazaramus seemed to think that there should also be doors in the north wall, opposite those in the south, so the party spent some time searching there for secret doors, to no avail. Giving up on any further searching, they decided to proceed through the door in the centre of the east wall.

Sneaky scouted ahead and entered the room beyond first.She found herself in a strange room lit by a green light. Apart from two doors leading from the room, one in the north and the other in the south, the room was bare. After a short time, the light in the room changed to a blue luminescence.

Sneaky decided to wait around for a bit and see if the light changed again. She found that the colours were changing at regular intervals, going through the spectrum of colours from red to purple and then starting again at red. She went to the northern door and opened it. The light in the room was green when she opened it. Sneaky had to make a saving throw against spells to avoid whatever effects were caused by the light. She made the save, so whatever the effects were remain unknown.

Beyond the door was a small 10' square area crammed with a trunk, a chest, a few sacks, several kegs and a small casket. She called the rest of the party over. Mazaramus wedged the door with an iron spike and they proceeded to examine the contents (after Sneaky had checked them for traps). The hoard was substantial. Valuable silks were in the trunk, the casket contained a large amount of gems, and the kegs were full of rare spices. The chest was opened up and was found to contain a large amount of gold coins, with several pieces of jewelry mixed in with it. The sacks were the most interesting. Although they each contained roughly the same amount of gold, about 2,000 gold pieces in each, one of the sacks was very light compared to the other two,..a bag of holding!

Morgan suggested that they put all three sacks in his own bag of holding, then they should be even lighter. Mazaramus quickly intervened, "NO! That would be disastrous". He then had to educate the rest of the party about the adverse, and sometimes cataclysmic, effects of putting extra-dimensional objects inside each other.

They carried the treasure in the small room to where they had found the other stash of plunder and left it there to be retrieved later. They then returned to the weird coloured light room and prepared to venture through the southern door. Sneaky checked the door first and then opened it. The light in the room was orange at the time.

As the entire party were in the room this time, they ALL had to make saving throws. Morgan, Mazaramus, Klaus and Sneaky all failed their saves, causing them to succumb to a confusion spell. Sneaky attacked the party, the nearest party member being Gandi the dwarf. Gandi had the best armour class in the party, so there was little chance of Sneaky doing any harm. She rolled a 20. Luckily for Gandi, she rolled minimum damage, doing a mere 6 points of damage. Klaus just stared around, dumb-founded. Mazaramus wandered off, and went stumbling to the floor when he tried to walk into Morgan, who was charging to attack Bhakragh. Bhakragh failed to deflect Morgan's blow and took a hefty amount of damage from his claymore.

Merick, using his new fancy magic sword that the party had taken from the slain warrior the previous day, showed unusual prowess, deftly disarming Morgan. Gandi and Lithanor subdued Sneaky by grappling her to the ground and tying her up.

The following round, the confused characters simply stood about in a bewildered fashion, allowing the party to subdue Klaus and Morgan, then make a concerted effort to find the invisible Mazaramus and tie him up too. They then dragged the confused characters out of the room and into the pillared chamber. The door that Sneaky had opened had swung closed again, and they didn't want to risk triggering any more magical effects just yet.

After a short while, the confusion effect wore off, and they untied the subdued characters. Not wanting to give up so easily, Sneaky again ventured into the colour changing room alone. She waited until the light in the room was green (nothing happened last time, so she deemed this to be a safe colour) and opened the southern door. She made her saving throw, just like the previous time (blind-luck), allowing her to hold the door open while Mazaramus came along to spike it open.

Beyond the door was a fairly long corridor leading south. The party followed this for about 60' before arriving at a dead end. Suspecting that there must be a secret door here, they searched and indeed found a secret door. Mazaramus volunteered to take over as scout, as he was still invisible, and proceeded through the secret door.

He found himself in a 30' square room. Around the room was what was left of various alchemical equipment, smashed bottles, spilled powders and bubbling puddles of strange liquids, an almost heart-breaking sight for Mazaramus. In the centre of the room was a familiar looking large bronze throne, and before it was an empty lectern. Two exits led from the room, a door in the south wall, and a tunnel leading off eastwards.

When it was apparent that there was nothing useful in the room, he called the rest of the party in. They examined the throne further. It was identical to the one that they had seen in the kara-kara/volcanic pit area, and was even facing the same direction. They checked it over to see if it had any secret compartments on it. There weren't any,

They determined that the tunnel leading eastwards continued on for some considerable distance, so they decided to leave this tunnel for later. Heading through the southern door, they found a corridor that twisted and turned for some distance before ending at another door. This led into what was evidently a bedroom. The room was very spacious, and the furniture was made to suit a large person. The only thing of interest to be found in the room was a pig-costume that they found in a locked chest, They guessed that the costume was used by whoever was manipulating the kara-kara to attack merchant vessels by impersonating their pig-god.

A door in the west wall led from the room. This was found to be locked so Sneaky expertly picked it open. In this locked room they found a young woman tied to a chair that had toppled over in her efforts to get free. The room itself was furnished with a table, a bed and a chest which was found to contain female clothing. On the table was a mirror, some cosmetics and a comb.

They untied the woman, who thanked them and introduced herself as Maerie. The adventurers politely introduced themselves and learnt that whoever the guy was that was impersonating the kara-kara's pig god had tied her up the previous day and hurriedly departed. It seemed that this was not long after the party had fought the kara-kara drummers and shamen, where the pig-headed guy on the throne had abruptly disappeared. The party didn't question her much further than this, and volunteered to look after her and take her back to safety as soon as they had completed their mission. Morgan appointed Merick and Talanius to protect her and make sure that she didn't come to any harm while they continued exploring.

Another door led from Maerie's room in the north wall.This was also locked and again Sneaky picked it open. They found themselves in a corridor which turned westwards after a short while and ended at a door after 50' or so. A side alcove was on the north side of the passage near its western end. The party checked this and found that a secret door opened up into another corridor, running westwards for a some 40' before turning north and ending at a door.

Sneaky went ahead into the room beyond. She found herself in a room with wall opposite and a mirror to either side. In either direction to east and west were in infinite number of Sneakys. Morgan and Gandi ventured in. Gandi tried to smash a mirror and found that his axe just bounced off of it. Morgan took his claymore and thrust it slowly into the mirror. He found that there was some resistance at first, but his sword did penetrate the mirror without breaking it. He pushed some more and found himself pulled through the mirror.

Suddenly, Morgan was in a similar room to the one he had just been in, with mirrors on the east and wets wall, but this time the door was in the north wall. They discovered, after some experimentation, that there was a series of mirrored rooms that eventually came back to the room they had started in (obviously a teleport). Gandi got carried away and began running through the rooms, arriving back where the party were, even running in the opposite direction just to make sure. Gandi counted five connected room in all, each with a door leading from either the north or the south wall.

They tried the first couple of doors. One was found to lead back to the circular room with the crystal-lattice of idiot zapping. Another in the south wall opened into a corridor running south for about 30' before turning east.

The party followed this new passage and found that it led into a fairly large oddly shaped room with walls, floor and ceiling of pink veined marble. A fountain at the far end of the room fed a pair of sunken baths to the sides of the room. Some comfortable couches were at the northern end of the room near where the party entered. A pair of tables and a rack of towels were also nearby. One of the tables had a gold dish full of tasty fruit, along with a crystal decanter and set of matching goblets.

They looted the valuables and then checked the only other door in the room, which was in the east wall opposite where they entered. This opened onto another corridor which they discovered was one they had travelled down earlier when they left Maerie's room.

Somewhat relieved that the party had not become hopelessly lost as a result of travelling through the mirrored rooms, we ended the session here.

Session Eight - Down the Long Tunnel

It didn't take long for the party to map out the rest of this section of the dungeon. They went back to the mirrored rooms and investigated the last two rooms and the doors leading from them. One led back to the circular room with the crystal lattice. The other led onto a long corridor which eventually connected up with the kara-kara temple area.

They returned to the volcanic pit in the temple area, with the intention of picking off the kara-kara with missile fire and spells. However, the area on the opposite side of the lava pit, as well as another cavern to the south of this, was deserted. A short tunnel in the southern cavern led outside.

Once Mazaramus had ferried the party across the lava pit, they ventured outside. They saw that they were at the southern end of the kara-kara village. Near the northern end of the village, the remaining kara-kara were assembled, apparently debating amongst themselves. The party was well hidden by jungle foliage near the tunnel entrance so they were able to view what was going on for some time.

They noticed that there were no shamans with the kara-kara. Those that were doing most of the debating seemed to be the largest of the warriors. One was indicating towards the foot of the nearby volcano on the west side of the village. Another seemed to be gesturing towards the party, or rather the caverns and chambers that they had just explored. The party soon realised that the kara-kara leader apparently pointing towards the foot of the volcano was actually indicating the sea, which the party could just make out between the volcano and some jungle.

Mazaramus, who was still invisible, decided to fly westwards to see what they were pointing at. After a short while, he found five large canoes, each big enough to hold about forty people, each with a single outrigger fitted to its side. Nearby, he found a cave, large enough to house all the canoes, and there was evidence that the canoes had been dragged to or from this cave from time to time. Obviously where they keep the canoes to protect them from storms and such-like.

,Mazaramus considered sabotaging the boats, probably using his runic skill to manipulate wood, but abandoned the idea. After all, the canoes might be worth something if they could salvage them later.

Mazaramus returned to the party, and they agreed that it would be a waste of time and resources to get involved in a battle with the kara-kara. Without their shamans for guidance, they seemed to be at a loss, and even if they decided to pursue the party, it would take them some time to construct another rope-bridge to cross the lava pit.

Our brave adventurers returned to the room with the bronze throne and the smashed alchemical equipment (no-one wanted to sit in the throne and see what happens, oh well) and journeyed along the corridor leading eastwards. The tunnel was about a mile long, and led into another dungeon complex.

After ascending a flight of stairs near the end of the tunnel and then turning northwards, the party found themselves confronted by.....a door! Mazaramus volunteered to be the scout and went through the door (not literally, he opened it first). He found himself in a large square room, about 50' on each side, and a door in the centre of each wall. Four displacer beasts guarded this room, one larger than the other three, apparently a mother and her cubs.

Flying above the displacer beasts, Mazaramus purveyed the rest of the room. There seemed to be little else in here save for a large pile of rags near the north-west corner. The displacer beasts meanwhile, the mother in particular, seemed to be agitated and were lashing their tentacles about in the air, more often than not towards the invisible mage.

Mazaramus tried distracting them by throwing a copper coin across the room. Two of the displacer beast cubs pounced at the coin. Mazaramus then flew to the west door and opened it. Once he surmised that the room beyond was free of any nasties, he pushed the door open again and tried enticing the displacer beasts into the room. One of the cubs was about to go pouncing through, but the mother stopped it. Mazaramus continued to hold the door open. The mother displacer beasts was suspicious but was not going to go through the door. Instead, she lashed towards Mazaramus and caught him with a lucky hit, despite his being invisible. The mage closed the door and called out to the party for help.

Displacer BeastThe adventurers, hearing Mazaramus' call, rushed in, and a bloody battle ensued. Gandi took on the mother displacer beast, and with a little help from Lithanor's magic missile volley, was able to slay it in a couple of rounds without taking any hits. Morgan fared the worst. Two of the cubs ganged up on him and caused a significant amount of damage. Sneaky avoided getting into melee combat, having been on the receiving end of a lash from a displacer beasts tentacle in the earlier encounter, so she hung back and threw daggers whenever she got the opportunity. Mazaramus, in true chaotic fashion, stayed out of the combat as he didn't want to disrupt his invisibility. Nevertheless, they eventually finished off the displacer beasts, with Bhakragh being the only other party member besides Morgan to take any damage in the fight, though this was slight compared to the battering that Morgan had received.

With the combat over, Mazaramus returned to the room to the west and investigated it. A strange,mosaic of swirling colours formed a walkway in the centre of the room, leading up to the west wall, on which was painted a red disc. Besides the walkway at the western end were a pair of statues, the same colour as the red disc. These statues were of strange humanoids with long chins, high foreheads and long dangling ears. Mazaramus recognised these humanoids as being similar to those depicted by the statues on the Trail of the Dead. Mazaramus hovered over the walkway and inspected the red disc and the statues. The statues seemed to be made of some kind of plaster that had been painted red. He chose not to land on the mosaic walkway, nor investigate any further, and returned to the rest of the party.

Back in the displacer beast room, the party investigated the pile of rags in the north-west corner. This was found to be a pile of about fifty cloaks, all in bright, swirling colours. Most of the cloaks were ruined, but they found three that were still in fairly decent and wearable condition. Mazaramus failed to pick up on the fact that these cloaks were similar in pattern to the mosaic walkway.

Eager to press on, the party went through the door in the centre of the east wall. This led into what looked like some kind of strange laboratory. Macabre remains of various creatures littered shelves, benches and even the floor in this room. As they entered, several shrunken, zombie-like creatures rose up out of the remains.

They recognised these as the creatures that they fought previously in the jungle...topis! Thanks largely to Klaus turning several of them, they were able to quickly dispatch them, taking only a couple of minor wounds whilst fighting them off.

Searching the remains revealed very little, though they did surmise that whoever had created these undead horrors had been experimenting with creating similar creatures from various animals, though apparently with little success.

At this point we called it a day for this session.

Session Nine - "I Fought the Wall and the Wall Won"

The majority of the party returned to the central room where they had fought the displacer beasts to explore whatever was beyond the northern door. Mazaramus remained in the strange laboratory to investigate the two doors that led from the room. Both doors led to long, straight corridors that went off for some distance. Guessing that these led to separate dungeon complexes, he decided to return to the party.

Having opened the door in the north wall, the party found a 30' long corridor beyond, which came to a sudden dead end. Lithanor surmised that there must be a secret door, so he had the party spread out to search the entire corridor. Sneaky and Gandi hung back and left the remainder of the group to search.

Lithanor found a secret door almost straight away, at the north end of the corridor, so he proceeded to open it. It turned out to be a false secret door and was actually a stone slab that was set to fall as soon as anyone tried to open the secret door, crushing anyone within 15' of the end of the corridor for 2d8 damage unless they made a save vs wands. Lithanor, Morgan, Klaus, Bhakragh and Merick were all within 15' of the end of the corridor...and not one of them made their saving throw.

Klaus was fairly lucky, taking only 2 points of damage (maybe the rock slab wasn't too sure where he was because of his displacer cloak). Morgan was now down to just 15 hit points! Such constant punishment finally took its toll. With his willpower now focused on overriding the pain from the bashing and bruising that he had taken, the claymore finally took control.

Morgan now under the claymore's control, was eager to take on the most powerful foe that he could find. The music of the bagpipes was playing loud and clear, a mad gleam, almost of bloodlust, was in his eyes, and even his accent took on a definite broad Scottish lilt. Klaus noticed that the warrior was pushing himself beyond the endurance of any normal human and ignoring the wounds that he had suffered, so he administered several cure serious wounds on him, at the cost of quite a number of charges from the staff of healing.

Dusting themselves off, they decided to turn their attention to the western room that Mazaramus had briefly explored. They noticed that the mosaic of swirling colours on the floor were similar to the colours of the cloaks that they had retrieved. Gandi donned a cloak and stepped onto the mosaic. The colours in the mosaics began moving and swirling, and the west wall opened up to reveal a 10' long section of corridor. Beyond this, in dim daylight, could be seen a rocky area in some kind of ravine. A boulder was near to where the wall had opened up, atop which was what was left of a huge snake, mostly devoured now by carrion. They recognised this area as the dead end in the Trail of the Dead where they had slain the giant rock python two days ago.

Deeming that they had fully explored this particular section, they decided to take one of the long tunnels that Mazaramus had discovered, but which one? One led roughly eastwards, while the other took a more southerly course. They decided to take the latter.

After about half a mile of travelling down the tunnel, the party reached another dungeon complex. They entered a room about 40' across, and were suddenly attacked by two large spider-like creatures about the size of small ponies. They tried to grab Gandi and Morgan with strange forelegs that ended in suckers. They were unable to grab the dwarf and the elf, and were quickly slaughtered by the party. Morgan was keen to slay one single-handedly, and almost did so were it not for Sneaky getting a dagger strike in.

Amongst the rocks and other litter on the floor of the room were the partially eaten remains of two white apes. Searching through the litter, they found a couple of pieces of jewelry, a gold necklace and a silver circlet.

Two doors led from the room. One was in the west wall  the other was at the southern end of the east wall and was wedged open. Whilst the rest of the party were searching among the debris in the room, Mazaramus flew off on his broom of flying through the open door.

He followed a corridor which curved round to the south. A side corridor branched off north-eastwards and seemed to go off for some distance so he ignored this. The main corridor came to a set of double doors in the west wall, both wide open and leading into a long chamber some 80' east to west and 30' north to south. To the south, the corridor continued to curve round, but after about ten to fifteen feet was blocked by rocks.

The rest of the party began following down the same passage that Mazaramus had gone down. However, when they reached the point where the long side tunnel branched off, they were beset by a swarm of wasps that emerged from small holes in the tunnel walls. Gandi was ahead off the rest of the party and took some damage from the stinging attacks of the swarm.

Klaus acted quickly and drank down a potion of gaseous form, He then flew into the swarm, hoping to drive it off. His idea worked. The swarm was sufficiently disorientated by the gaseous cleric, allowing the rest of the party to get past the swarm, quickly gathering up the cleric's gear that had fallen to the floor as they did so.

Mazaramus, meanwhile, had flown into the long chamber. At the western end he saw huddled a group of five white apes. Showing no mercy, he cast a fire ball at the group. The rest of the party, who had just about gotten past the insect swarm, saw a bright flash illuminate the side wall ahead.

Four of the white apes were instantly slain. The fifth, badly singed, passed its morale check, and angrily hurled a rock at the now visible wizard, hitting him squarely. Mazaramus flew forward, swinging his staff of striking, and dealt a deadly blow to the poor simian,

The rest of the party finally arrived in the long chamber. The gaseous Klaus was unable to express his anger and dismay at the sight of the carnage.

Amongst a pile of rocks in the north-west corner, the party discovered a rock-sized lump of gold. They then headed westwards through another set of open double doors. This led into a room that had a mosaic of swirling colours on the floor, similar to the one they had discovered earlier. The mosaic path led up to a white disc painted on the west wall. Beside the path at the west end were a pair of statues, similar to the ones in the other mosaic room. The difference was that these were stone covered in white plaster, not red, and most of the plaster had been picked off, revealing the stone underneath, Examining the statues more closely, they noticed that the statues earlobes had holes in them, as though they had at some time been wearing earrings.

Using the cloaks to activate the mosaic path as they had done earlier, they opened a pass-wall in the western wall. This one was found to lead to the ruins of the village that they had discovered on the first day of landing on Teki-Nura-Ria. Mazaramus suspicions that there was a secret door here was almost correct. Had he used his Rune of Stone ability, he may have been able to open the passage here, but he would have had to have successfully used it twice. The pass-wall was 10' deep, and Mazaramus could only manipulate 7' of stone at his level.

Klaus took advantage of being in gaseous form to quickly scout round the remainder of this area of the dungeon. He found that another passage that led northwards from the mosaic room circled westwards and was also blocked by rocks. Being able to easily float through this, he found that the passage eventually led to the door in the west wall of the room where they had been attacked by the spider-like creatures.

Of the remainder of this section dungeon, only one room remained. This was roughly to the south of the main central chamber where Mazaramus had fire balled the white apes, and could be reached by two corridors. When Klaus returned to the party from the direction of the central chamber, they decided to spilt into two groups.

DM's note: I should have pointed out to the players at this point that it would have been very difficult for Klaus to communicate the layout of the dungeon to the party as he was still in gaseous form.

The remaining room was inhabited by four female white apes who were protecting eight young white apes. The party stormed into this room from two sides and quickly slew the females in a devastating surprise attack. The young white apes cowered in the corner. The party went on to search the room, finding four quite valuable jeweled earrings hidden amongst a pile of torn rags. Mazaramus remembered the holes in the earlobes of the statues in the nearby mosaic room, and it did indeed seem apparent that the earrings had been taken from the statues.

Mazaramus flew back to the previous complex to see if the statues in the mosaic room there also had jeweled earrings hidden under the plaster. Breaking off the red plaster, he found that these did indeed also have valuable earrings on them. Pleased that he had corrected their oversight in almost missing some treasure, he took the ear-rings and flew back to the party.

While they had been searching the room and looting it, the party failed to notice Klaus beginning to coalesce into solid form, a few wisps of gaseous residue still covering him, giving him an almost ape-like appearance. Still seething at the barbaric display by his comrades, he grabbed his staff of healing and approached the prone forms of the mortally wounded female white apes...

Session Ten - Into the Heart of the Mountain

By the time Klaus had healed the wounded white apes and led them and their young outside to be reunited with the other apes that were sheltering in the ruins of the village, the party finished their searching of the rooms for what treasure they could find. Klaus had fully returned to solid form now, the last of the residual effects of the potion of gaseous form wearing off, so he donned his armour and gathered up his equipment. Seeing his return to solid form, and wondering what had happened to the white apes, they noticed that Klaus was giving the party a rather disdainful look, especially Mazaramus for roasting the white apes in the central chamber. Nothing could be done to save these poor beasts.

Klaus gave the party a dressing down for slaughtering innocent animals. Lithanor protested that they acted in self defence. Klaus reminded them that the apes had been taken completely by surprise, with only a single white ape even being able to retaliate when it threw a rock at Mazaramus. The party suddenly realised why Klaus had taken the apes side. It must have something to do with the time he was polymorphed into a white ape in Castle Amber, and still shared some affinity with them.

Having completely explored this section of the dungeon, the party considered their next move. They had a choice of two long tunnels to travel down, one in this section and one leading from the section where they had encountered the displacer beasts and found the topi laboratory. Mazaramus reckoned, by the relative angle of the tunnels, that they could lead eventually to the same section. The party unanimously agreed to take the nearest tunnel rather than travel back to the other one.

After about an hour of travelling, they arrived at another dungeon complex They noticed that it was getting warmer, and judged that they must be in the vicinity of the other volcano near the eastern side of the island. The tunnel ended at a T-junction, with a corrdor running a short way to the east and west. Both turned northwards after about 20', but to the east it seemed to open up into some kind of chamber.

HydraBefore proceeding any further, Mazaramus cast a polymorph self spell and transformed himself into a seven-headed hydra. Giving little warning to the rest of the party, they quickly moved into the corridor to make room for Mazaramus. Morgan brandished his claymore with a gleam in his eye. He was still under the sword's control and looking for a good fight, but restrained himself sufficiently to avoid attacking his comrade. Mazaramus hissed at Morgan, then went eastwards to investigate the chamber, the party following behind.

They came to what seemed to be some kind of wide balcony at the edge of a large circular shaft. Several pillars ran along the centre of the balcony between the edge of shaft itself and the curved walls. Behind the pillars were three stone chairs facing towards the centre of the shaft. A walkway sloped downwards from the centre of the balcony, meeting a number of other walkways in the centre. On the opposite side of the shaft, the party could just make out another similar balcony, also connected by the walkways. Off to the side of each balcony, a stairwell led upwards, curving along the side of the shaft in an anti-clockwise direction. The air was humid due to the steam rising up from the bottom of the shaft.

Mazaramus polymorphed back into human form and flew down the shaft on his broom of flying. Near the bottom, the shaft opened up into a large cavern. Beneath him was a murky pool with steam rising from it. The walkways extended down and one led onto the cavern floor. Most of the cavern was filled with large toadstools, and off to the south-west was another large pool, though this one seemed clearer and didn't have steam rising from it.

Mazaramus flew towards this second pool. As he neared it, he found himself surrounded by a number of giant toads that had been hiding among the fungi. A few of them leaped at him and attempted to bite him, but thanks to some lousy hit rolls by the DM they all missed. Mazaramus flew up out of reach of the giant toads, which had all converged on his position in anticipation of a free meal. He then launched a fire ball at them, incinerating them all. Mazaramus then polymorphed into a hornet and flew back to the party.

Back on the balcony, the rest of the party had mustered the courage to sit in the chairs. Anyone sitting in them found that they could remotely view another area of the dungeon complexes as though using a crystal ball, though each chair was attuned to a particular area. The left-most chair showed a view of the room with the mosaic tiled walkway leading to the ruined village. The right-most chair did not show anything for some reason, The centre chair was quite revealing. Sneaky sat in this one and saw a long room divided by barred gates. Three doors led from the room, two on the near side and one on the far side of the gates. A large man with almost pig-like features was doing something to the gates, presumably locking them. he then left through the far door. The image then faded. Sneaky guessed that this was KalnaKaa, and was the same person who was sat on the throne in the kara-kara temple, though disguised as the pig-god at the time.

Mazaramus, in hornet form, then flew up, and attempted to fly inside Morgan's armour to sting him. Morgan was too quick and dodged the hornet. He considered hovering over Morgan and polymorphing back into a hydra to land on top of the warrior, but the sight of the claymore pointing upwards in his direction deterred him. Whatever grudge or rivalry there was between the wizard and the warrior was put aside for the time being and they resumed their exploration of the dungeon.

A door was found to lead from the shaft area at the back of the balcony and on the east side. The party decided to take this door rather than venture beyond the pillars and onto the walkways leading from the balcony.

The door led into a long room filled with stuffed creatures of various kinds, mostly giant insects and other creepy crawlies, though there were also a few stuffed animals such as rock baboons. The largest of the stuffed monsters was an owlbear. This was apparently some kind of museum. A quick search revealed nothing of value in the room, so the party pressed on through another door in the north wall.

Entering a fairly large room, about 50' east to west and 40' north to south, the party was immediately beset by a number of small flying creatures that darted rapidly towards them...stirges! A few party members were hit by the stirges, which immediately began sucking blood through their proboscises. However, the party swiftly dealt with them. Mazaramus, who was still in hydra form, was able to dispatch several of them, ripping on out of his reptilian flesh with one head while snapping at several of the other stirges that were flying around.

With the stirges slain, they investigated the room that they were in. The floor and walls were covered in a mosaic depicting five fish on a green background. The fish themselves were made up of several small gems, thirty in all, which the party levered out and added to their treasure pile.

The ceiling of the chamber was the most unusual of all. It seemed to be made of some black, almost shiny, material, Closer inspection revealed it to be quite smooth, as though made of glass. Mazaramus, now back in human form, flew up to the ceiling and tried to peer through the glass but could see little more than dark shapes above the glass which could be anything, even reflections of the party itself.  He attempted to use his runic power to manipulate to stone around the edges of the glass, using up all of his three attempts for the day, but was unsuccessful with each attempt. This was probably just as well. If he had been successful at reforming the stone holding the glass in place, it would have most likely come crashing down on the party with horrific results, given that the glass was probably at least a few inches, if not a couple of feet, thick.

The mysteries of what was beyond the glass ceiling or even the rest of the dungeon would have to wait for now, as it is at this point that we ended the session.

Session Eleven - Mazaramus Sees Red

After a few fruitless efforts at attempting to shatter the glass ceiling with their weapons, the adventurers realised that the glass was simply too tough, too thick, or both, for them to shatter. They therefore  pressed on through this section of the dungeon.

A door in the west wall opened up onto a short, winding passage before ending at another door. This second door opened into a long narrow chamber with lurid, nightmarish paintings on the walls. What's more, the floor seemed to be alive. They discovered that this was due to the large number of snakes in the room, including a giant rattlesnake..

They charged into the room. Morgan was still under the control of his claymore, and was compelled to take on the toughest adversary he could find. Lithanor held back and cast a sleep spell. This proved to be most helpful, nullifying a great many of the snakes in the room, despite the fact that the area of effect of the spell didn't cover the entire room. The smaller snakes were either spitting cobras or giant racer snakes, and most of the poisonous snakes were taken care of by the elf's spell.

Morgan dealt a hefty blow to the giant rattlesnake, but didn't manage to slay it with a single strike. Mazaramus, still in hydra form, once again proved formidable, being able to slay a great many snakes with his multiple attacks. Only Morgan was hit in return by any of the snakes, taking a bite from the rattler. Fortunately, Morgan was only slightly wounded by the bite, and avoided being poisoned by it. The following round, more racer snakes reached the party from the far end of the room. Gandi, Mazaramus and Bhakragh were all bitten, but again took only slight damage, except for Mazaramus, who was targeted by several snakes and took significantly more damage.

To Morgan's annoyance, Sneaky had manoeuvred into position for a backstab and finished off the giant rattlesnake. What was left of the remaining snakes were quickly finished off. Lithanor and Morgan made sure that all the snakes were dead, including the sleeping ones. Sneaky wanted to milk the poison from the snakes, but the anatomy of the cobras and their poison system was a little unfamiliar to her, and Morgan hadn't left much of them to be of any use. She did manage to fill a vial from the poison sacs of the rattlesnake though.

Two other doors led from the room, one at the far west end, and one nearby in the south wall. Mazaramus estimated that the southern door probably led to the other balcony that they had seen in the volcanic shaft. Lithanor wanted to ignore this and press on westwards. Lithanor, Morgan and Klaus were preparing to head westwards, with or without the others. Bhakragh held back, suggesting that they wait while Mazaramus, Gandi and Sneaky check the southern door first. Merick and Talanius were also hesitant, torn between their loyalty to Morgan and prevailing common sense. In the end, Lithanor waited until the others returned before proceeding westwards.

Mazaramus, Sneaky and Gandi went through the southern door. Mazaramus was right. It did lead onto the other balcony. This one also had three stone chairs. They sat in a chair each to see if they were magical viewing chairs as the others had been. Mazaramus took the furthest chair on the west side. He saw a large chamber, most of the walls of which had partially collapsed. In one wall was a large hole, some 15-20' wide. A large creature could be made out inside the hole, its toothy round maw almost as wide as the tunnel it was in.

Sneaky, taking the middle chair, saw a room lit by a dull red light coming from the depths of a large circular pit. On the other side of the pit was a familiar looking creature, a huge flaming reptilian creature, almost snake-like except for the two clawed forelimbs. She recognised it as a flame salamander, having seen one before in the Tomb of Stephen Amber. Flying about the salamander were some strange creatures that looked like bat-wings composed entirely of flame.

Gandi,sitting in the easternmost chair, had a vision of the swirling mosaic room with the pass-wall that led to the dead end in the Trail of the Dead.

Returning to the rest of the party, they hastened through the western door. Had they been a little less impetuous, they might have taken more note that the door was stone and warm to the touch. Advancing through the door, they found themselves in the very chamber that Sneaky had seen in her vision mere minutes earlier. Lithanor quickly told the party to hold their ground while he cast a haste spell. Even Morgan and his claymore acceded to the wisdom of this, in order to gain any advantage in the fight to come.

Mazaramus was more reckless. He flew across the chamber on his broom of flying and hovered over the fire pit while he swung his bola at the salamander. To his horror, the bola literally melted from the intense heat before it even reached the salamander. Mazaramus was close enough to the edge of the pit for the large beast to lunge at him without fear of falling into the pit. The flaming bat things swooped at Mazaramus, with more arriving from above.

DM's note: Mazaramus was lucky not to be ripped to shreds. The salamander needed a 5 to hit the wizard. I rolled 3,2 and 4!

Despite the salamander fluffing its attacks, Mazaramus still took considerable damage from the buffeting from the bat-flamey things and the intense heat given off by the flame salamander. He was down to 9 hit points, so he beat a hasty retreat back to the party and the cleric in particular.

Morgan charged the salamander, and Sneaky cautiously moved around, attempting to hide in shadows in order to get a backstab attack in. Gandi also waded into the salamander. Lithanor was about to draw his bow, but then realised that the bow of flaming would probably be useless, so he drew his longsword instead. Bhakragh, Merick and Talanius moved to protect Mazaramus,and Maerie from any of the bat-things. Talanius muttered something about them being 'fundamental'.

Being under Lithanor's haste spell, Morgan and Gandi slew the flame salamander before it could react to their charge. It seemed to engulf itself in flame and burn away to nothing when Morgan delivered the killer blow. At the same time, the fire-bat things also burnt away to nothing, what was left of their essence seeming to stream into the fire pit.

Klaus expended four charges from the staff of healing to restore some vitality to the reckless wizard.

Searching the rest of the room, they discovered an alcove enclosed by a grille of red stone carved with writhing flames in the north-west corner of the room. The alcove was 20' square. An arched doorway allowed access to the inside of the alcove. Mazaramus flew over and entered the alcove. In the centre of the alcove was a plinth of red stone. On top of the plinth was a broad rimmed hat covered in arcane symbols.  Without hesitation, Mazaramus donned the hat. It was a helm of alignment change, and Mazaramus the Chaotic was now Mazaramus the Lawful.

Two other doors led from the room, one on the west wall and one near the west end of the south wall. They proceeded through the southern door. A short corridor led to an oddly shaped room littered with hundreds of bones. As they neared the room, the bones began to rise up and knit together to form several skeletons,
Bone Golem and Skeletons
including a larger skeleton with four arms. The party was expecting something like this to happen and there was no way that they would be surprised, although Lithanor was experiencing deja vu.

Still hasted, the party diced through the skeletons and the bone golem in no time at all. Klaus turned the few skeletons that had been left for him, turning them to bone dust. As they fought the bone golem, Sneaky noticed a small bone figurine on the floor where the bone golem had risen. She was about to rummage through the bones to retrieve it  when the bones began reforming again. This actually made it easier for her to recover the figurine, as the bones rising up cleared the way for her to get to it. She noticed that the figurine was made of ivory and held together by a platinum wire.

She rapidly removed the wire holding the ivory together, and the bones crashed back down to the floor. Testing a theory, she reassembled the figurine, and the bones of the golem began to reform again. She allowed them time to fully reform, and the hasted warriors simply smashed the golem to pieces again. She undid the wire and left the figurine unassembled. It was clear that the ivory and the platinum wire was quite valuable, but she would have to sell them to separate vendors, preferably in two totally remote countries, lest an over-inquisitive or rash vendor reassembled the figurine.

A corridor led from the southern end of the room and came to a T-junction after a short distance. Mazaramus reckoned that there wasn't much of this level of the dungeon to be explored, so to save time he flew eastwards from the junction. It eventually came to where they had originally entered this section of the dungeon, though he also discovered a side passage leading northwards. This eventually led to the north-western balcony of the volcanic shaft, but a short way along was a side alcove. Sat in the alcove was a statue of a small man sitting cross-legged on a black pedestal. The eyes were brightly glowing gems and the teeth were made of ivory, and the statues features seemed to have a mocking appearance.

Mazaramus removed one of the gems. The eye socket was trapped and triggered an explosion causing 3d6 damage to all within 5'. Mazaramus failed his saving throw and took full damage from the blast, - a whole 6 points of damage! Wow! Undeterred, Mazaramus the supposedly Lawful removed the second gem, triggering a second explosion. Mazaramus failed his save to reduce the damage and took another 6 points of damage. Mazaramus got off lightly there, especially considering the traps could have been deactivated were Sneaky there.

Anyway, Mazaramus had the two large rubies, of no small value, as well as the ivory teeth, and flew back to join the party. Rather than wait for Mazaramus to return, the party had taken the western branch of the corridor. This one circled round until eventually coming back to the salamander room via the western door. There they chose to wait for Mazaramus to return.

After a short time, the western door opened. In the doorway, the party saw two glowing red eyes that began to float towards them. They draw their weapons and prepared to fight whatever unholy fiend this was. As it neared, they saw that it was actually Mazaramus. His eyes were glowing bright red!

They had now explored the whole of this level, as far as they knew. The party were pretty beat up and low on spells, and it was near to the end of the day anyway. They decided to return to the museum with the stuffed animals to hole up for the night, spiking the doors closed to deter any wandering monsters.

Session Twelve - A Night at the Museum

Not satisfied that the spiked doors would hold back any intruders, Sneaky threw down some caltrops just in front of the doors. They then hoofed all the stuffed animals over to the doors to act as a barrier. Mazaramus got out his brazier of commanding fire elementals to use as an impromptu indoor campfire, and to use as a fire source should the party need to use fire as a weapon. He warned the party not to tamper with the brazier, or attempt to tip it over, dismantle it or interfere with it in any way other than to use it as a fire source. The glare from Mazaramus's eyes (even when they were closed) shed about as much light as the brazier.

Lithanor quizzed Mazaramus further about the nature of fire as he seemed to use fire-based spells and attacks a lot. Mazaramus simply said "It's hot and sets things on fire". He then curled up to get some sleep so that he could regain his spells in the morning. At this point, Talanius volunteered some further explanation, and even went on to tell the party about the flamey-bat-things that were with the salamander. He told the party that they were fire fundamentals, primitive elemental creatures that sometimes follow in the wake of an elemental creature when it travels to the prime plane from its respective elemental plane.

Somewhat intrigued by Talanius' explanation, the party asked him how he came to know about such things, so he told them about how he seemed to have gained some of Catherine d'Amberville's knowledge of the inner planes when he was possessed by her.

The party then set a watch order for the night. Tempting though it was to do the Tablet of Akhmenrah thing, I kept to using the conventional wandering monster checks. I did put the idea to the players though, which they found amusing.

On Talanius' watch, about three hours later, he heard a strange slurping sound accompanied by a crunching-crackling. Near the western door, he noticed that some of the stuffed animals were melting or dissolving, and some strange orangey-red shape could be made out near the dissolving animals. He began waking the rest of the party up, with the exception of the spell-casters. These were only to be awakened if absolutely necessary as they needed full rest to regain their spells. Gandi spotted an amorphous shape using his infravision. They finally recognised it as an ochre jelly. Fortunately, the ochre jelly seemed to enjoy feasting on the stuffed animals, so this bought them some time.

Sneaky grabbed some oil flasks from Mazaramus' backpack and distributed some to Merick and Talanius. Ganid grabbed a stuffed rock python from near the northern door, broke it into two parts, and set light to one using the fire from the brazier. Merick and Talanius threw oil flasks at the ochre jelly. Sneaky was feeling a bit braver and got as close as possible so that she could pour the oil over the creature. Gandi then lobbed his flaming snake at the ochre jelly, which went up in a gulf of flames. It then began withdrawing back to the door and through the hole that it had dissolved in the bottom of the wooden door. Several of the surrounding stuffed animals were now ablaze. The ochre jelly was almost at the door when a burning rock baboon fell on it and incinerated it.

By now, the entire party was awake, including the spell-casters. The room was fast filling with smoke from the burning animals. Without a moment to lose, Gandi, Morgan and Bhakragh moved to the northern door and shoved the animals there out of the way. Sneaky gathered up her caltrops. Now coughing from the smoke and their eyes beginning to sting and water, they pulled the iron spikes out of the door and opened it. Wheezing, but very relieved, the party exited the room and into the stirge room, closing the door behind them.

Sneaky went back to recover her caltrops from the other door. She had a ring of fire resistance so she didn't have to worry about the flames. She covered her mouth and nose to avoid breathing in any more smoke. The ochre jelly was still by the door, now a blackened lump. Unfortunately, most of her caltrops were melted or warped, and were now useless.

Looking for another room to rest up in, they chose the Serpent's Gallery. This time they relied on maintaining a vigilant watch rather than barricading themselves in. Lithanor was not impressed with the danger that they had put themselves in, and suggested that they use his Elven Safety principles instead.

The rest of the night passed without incident, and they could now replenish their spells. Thanks to Klaus administering some healing, the party was now respectably healthy.

     Day Four

Our fearless heroes pondered which level to explore next. They could ascend by one of two means to the level above, or they could go down to the cavernous area below that Mazaramus had briefly explored. They decided on the latter, with Sneaky scouting ahead.

As she stepped onto the walkway leading from the balcony in the volcanic shaft, Sneaky heard flapping and squeaking sounds from above . Looking up, some distance away and near the top of the shaft, were lots of small flying creatures, probably around a hundred. Gandi and Lithanor could make them out more clearly with their infravision, and they guessed that they were more than likely more of the pesky stirges. They didn't seem to be descending any lower, so they ignored them and carried on down the walkways to the bottom of the shaft.

They were near the bottom, where the walkway led to the cavernous floor close to the south-western side of the murky pool. The water erupted, and two large almost slug-like creatures lunged at the party. Gandi moved to protect Sneaky before one of the giant leeches could attack her, and Morgan introduced the other one to his claymore. Dodging the leeches, they soon slew them without too much trouble,

Descending into the cavern proper, they had a more thorough look around. Apart from the two pools, their were a considerable number of toadstools all over the cavern, some the size of small trees. Off to the west near the second pool was a large scorched area. In the scorched area were a number of dead, blackened creatures,,,the giant toads that Mazaramus had fire balled the previous day. Sneaky searched around this area, and found a stone bottle just outside the scorched area. She tested the liquid inside it and found it to be a potion of speed. Sneaky decided to keep this, storing it with her other potion of speed that she had forgotten about. Whether she is going to share these with the rest of the party remains to be seen, especially considering that these would be more useful to fighters.

At the western end of the cavern, they found an area that curved around to the north before narrowing to 10' wide and leading into a tunnel that seemed to stretch northwards for some distance. The party weren't finished with exploring this area of the dungeon yet, so they left this tunnel to come back to later. The party seemed intent on exploring the entire dungeon, not wishing to miss out on any useful treasures waiting to be discovered.

They returned to the level above. They avoided following the stairs up to the top level of the shaft, in case they were attacked by the stirges. Instead, they went to the salamander room and climbed or flew up to a walkway that they had found above the fire pit. The walkway ran from north-west to south-east, and a door at each end of the ledge led from the circular shaft above the fire-pit. They took the south-eastern door.

A short corridor led to another door. Opening this they found a strange triangular-shaped room. The floor and ceiling were covered in black and red swirling patterns. The light in the room was rapidly switching from bright light to total darkness. Morgan suspected that the room was trapped so he used his Detect Traps ability from his claymore. There were no traps.

The fluctuating light was starting to give the adventurers a headache. Nevertheless, they entered the room and searched the southern end of the room for secret doors. The movements of the party looked strange and jerky due to the lighting effects. Their search for secret doors was fruitless, so they left the room via another door in the north wall just to the east of the one they had entered by.

The party found themselves in a fairly long corridor that turned eastwards and then came to another door. Proceeding through this, the corridor continued, turning northwards after a short while. To the south, a side corridor led straight to a door. They estimated that this should lead onto the top end of the volcanic shaft. Lithanor wanted to go through this door, but Mazaramus reminded him about the stirges, so they left it.

Proceeding along the main corridor, this wound along, going down a long flight of stairs, eventually coming to a door which led into a large glass-floored room. There were numerous coloured beads rolling about on the black glass, and more suspended by delicate strands from the ceiling. Morgan used his Detect Traps ability again There were 10,000 beads altogether, each worth a gold piece.

Mazaramus examined the floor, and guessed that it was the same glass that they had discovered on the ceiling of the room on the level beneath them. He peered through the glass (causing the glass to glow reddish-black in the area around him) and could just make out the fish mosaic in the room below that they had plundered the gems from.

This is the point at which we ended this session, literally in the room above where they were two sessions ago.

Session Thirteen - The Worm

Eager to explore the remainder of the upper level, the party ventured south from the glass-floored room. A corridor with stairs led upwards to a dusty room. The walls of this room were covered with tiny alcoves, pigeon-holes, and in some of them could be seen dusty old scrolls. Mazaramus eagerly went to examine the scrolls. However, as soon as he touched them, they crumbled to dust. The same happened with all of the other scrolls in the alcoves.

Somewhat disappointed, Mazaramus asked Morgan to use his detect magic ability from his sword. Now there's a novelty, a mage asking a fighter to detect for magic. There was nothing magical in the room. The only item in the party that glowed that they didn't already know about was Maerie's ring.

They quizzed her about the ring. Maerie told the party that the ring was given to her by her father, and was a magical ring of protection. The party members were now becoming just a little bit suspicious about Maerie, especially Lithanor. Mazaramus theorised that she could be the pig-god in disguise. However, he dismissed this theory. If she had magically disguised herself, the detect magic would have revealed this. Her build was far too slim for her to be the large figure that they had seen on the throne in the kara-kara temple, so it was highly unlikely that she was using a more conventional disguise (even Jehan Mauvaissoir, the master of disguise in Averoigne, wouldn't have been able to pull that one off). There was also the fact that they had seen the large man (Maerie again reminded them that his name was KalnaKaa, but the players didn't seem to pick up on this) by using the magical viewing chairs. At the time Maerie was with the group.

This didn't allay Lithanor's suspicions though, and he was going to be keeping a close eye on her from here on.

The only other exit from the room was a door in the west wall. This led onto a long corridor, with a short side corridor leading to a door. This the party knew led to the top of the volcanic shaft where hundreds of stirges were flying about. They pressed on down the corridor which eventually ended at another door.

Opening this, they found that it opened onto a grand stairway. Four short flights of stairs led upwards, and between each flight was a short landing with alcoves on either side. In the alcoves, the party could make out crystalline figures. The nearest pair, although bipedal and standing upright, had crab-like features. The middle pair had bird-like features, and the furthest, although the party couldn't quite see them yet, were frog-like humanoids.

Sneaky scouted forward, checking the stairs and then the landing for traps. As soon as she stepped on the first landing, though, the first pair of statues animated and moved to attack.

Sneaky sprang back out of range, as Morgan, Gandi and Lithanor waded in to fight the statues. They weren't particularly tough, and the three warriors soon smashed them. However, when each was destroyed, they exploded in a shower of sharp, crystalline shards, wounding the three that were in combat with them.

Mazaramus came up with an idea to deal with the next pair. He would fly forward on his broom of flying to see if they animated. Meanwhile, Gandi, Morgan and Lithanor would stand ready to fight them if they did.

Mazaramus estimated that the range of the exploding shards was about 10', so he could fly to the third flight of stairs, just out of range, while the fighters dealt with them. Again, the same results. Gandi, Morgan and Lithanor quickly dispatched them, but still took damage from the shards. Morgan seemed to get the worst of it, failing every saving throw to reduce the damage.

Looking at the third pair of statues (and the three warriors pulling bits of crystal shard out of bleeding wounds), Mazaramus suddenly exclaimed "I'm an idiot! There's a much easier way to deal with these".

He had the party back up to the bottom of the grand stairway. Mazaramus flew to the bottom landing, dismounted, got out his brazier of commanding fire elementals, and summoned an elemental. He then sent the elemental up the stairway to do battle with the last pair of statues. Lithanor got his flaming longbow out to help the elemental out. It didn't matter if he accidentally hit the elemental because it would be immune to his flaming arrows.

The elemental made short work of the statues, though it did take a fair bit of damage from lucky strikes from the statues and their shards of crystals. Mazaramus advanced up the stairway, slowly and carefully so as to maintain his control over the elemental. He had it smash through the door at the top of the stairway and into the room beyond.

The rest of the party now advanced up the stairway (taking care not to jostle Mazaramus as they passed). As they neared, they heard the sound of two mighty creatures battling. Entering the room, they found that Mazaramus' elemental was fighting a huge purple worm that took up most of the large room. Mazaramus was fluffing a few hit rolls against the worm, so Morgan rushed in to fight the creature. Gandi quaffed his potion of making-me-fight-better that he had had for some time now and had been waiting for the opportune time to use (it was actually a potion of heroism). Lithanor decided to cast a haste spell.

It was at this point that I realised that a wandering monster check was due. With a 1 in 8 chance of a wandering monster appearing, a 1 was rolled. Oh dear!

Three shadows emerged seemingly from the walls and gained surprise. What's more, they were in the area of effect of Lithanor's haste spell. I determined randomly who they were going to attack. Mazaramus was now very nervous. If one of the shadows attacked him and landed a blow, it would disrupt his control over the elemental, which would then turn to attack him. Luckily, they went for Morgan and Talanius.

Both the elemental and the purple worm were now severely wounded. Morgan ignored the shadow that was attacking him and cleaved at the purple worm. Gandi dealt with the shadow that had attacked Morgan, but not before it could drain some of the strength from Morgan (he was now temporarily at 17 Strength). The two shadows at the rear of the party were quickly vanquished, with Talanius slaying one of them single-handedly with his magical spear.

Despite his loss of strength, Morgan landed the killing blow on the purple worm. The creature gave out a final bellow then slumped dead. His swordsmanship had proved most telling in the fight, even with the elemental also fighting the creature. His thirst for battle and bloodshed was now abated, and he regained control over himself, the claymore no longer driving his actions.

Mazaramus decided to dismiss the elemental. It was quite wounded, and he didn't want to risk losing control over it.

The room they were in was slightly familiar to Mazaramus, who had already seen this room through the magical viewing chairs. Most of the walls had been smashed by the purple worm, with rubble near most of the walls. Two doors led from the room, one in the west wall and one at the north end. What was more interesting was a large round tunnel, evidently made by the purple worm, that wound downwards for some distance.

Gandi and Lithanor decided to explore this tunnel while the rest of the party explored the room. Sneaky was particularly interested in the worm's stinger. She removed what poison she could from it, filling a vial. It was quite potent stuff, and could  probably kill a man stone dead, but was also quite volatile, and once removed from the worm probably wouldn't keep it's potency for long.

Sneaky then slit the worm open with her rapier, hoping to find some swallowed goodies in its guts. All she got was a puddle of bile and stomach acids that burnt a shallow depression in the stone floor. Before Sneaky dissected the worm, the party did notice a large scar down the side of the worm that was not inflicted by the party. Mazaramus determined that it was more likely from an electrical attack such as a lightning bolt.

Gandi and Lithanor, meanwhile, had journeyed along the tunnel for some distance before it eventually came to a fairly large cave with three other worm tunnels leading from it. On the floor in the centre of the cave was a gleaming object (despite both of them having infravision, they were using a continual light pebble). Before they could examine the object, dozens of bat-like creatures that were swirling about in the cave attacked them.

These were similar to the fiery-bat things that they had seen with the flame salamander, but seemed to be flying bits of mud shaped like bats' wings. Gandi and Lithanor were still under the effects of the haste spell, and side by side, they hacked at the creatures. Several minutes later, they were all slain, each dissolving back into the earth. Only Gandi had taken a small buffeting from one of the creatures that managed to get a lucky hit.

They turned their attention back to the gleaming object. It turned out to be a quite large and very valuable diamond. It was even cut, not a rough stone. Rather than ponder how such a thing came to be here, they decided to make their way back to the rest of the party rather than explore the other three tunnels. They remembered what Talanius had told them about fundamentals, and they suspected that some kind of earth elemental must be lurking nearby.

Wondering which of the two doors to take next (and having not explored the room or the rubble properly) we ended the session here.

Session Fourteen - Aimless Wanderings

Whilst Sneaky was cutting up the purple worm, and Gandi and Lithanor were exploring the tunnel, Morgan was eager to do some more hacking while he was still under the haste spell. He opened the northern door first and found that this led to another grand stairway leading downwards. This also had alcoves with crystal statues standing in them. The nearest pair, and the only one visible at present, had lizard-like features.

Morgan ignored this for the present and went over to the western door. This opened up onto a corridor leading westwards for quite a long distance. They guessed that this was another of the long corridors that connected the various sections of the dungeon, so they ignored it for the time being.

Mazaramus, who had been studying their map of the dungeon, told the party that he was going to backtrack round to the.circular room above the flame salamander/fire pit room and explore beyond the other door leading from the walkway in that room to see if it joined up with the grand stairway that Morgan had discovered. Even with his broom of flying, this was likely to take some time, due to the wizard having to keep stopping to open the doors.

Meanwhile, Maerie had been looking through the rubble near the western door. She had found something interesting, and had intended to hide it from the rest of the party, but Klaus spotted her and asked what she had found.

She held a scrap of torn cloth, evidently containing something in a pouch or pocket on the cloth. Maerie explained that the cloth was from the cloak that her father had been wearing. She pulled the item out of the pocket and revealed a scroll tube. Klaus asked to look at the scroll, and she complied. Klaus was unable to read the strange runes on the scroll.

At this point, Gandi and Lithanor returned from the purple worm tunnel. Klaus showed the scroll to Lithanor. The elf recognised it as a spell scroll, but would not be able to use it until he learnt another read magic spell. Maerie told Lithanor that he father was a magic-user, and had probably been in a fight with the purple worm and had wounded it with a lightning bolt spell. Furthermore, the fact that she had found part of his cloak meant that he had survived the attack on their ship and had also eluded KalnaKaa. Moreover, there was a chance that he was still alive. She asked if the party would check the purple worm more thoroughly, as she feared that the worm might have eaten him, though Sneaky's search of the creature's guts had given her some hope.

Morgan, Bhakragh, Merick and Talanius worked together, using their swords and spears to widen the worm's throat and gullet so that they could clamber inside to search for any bodies. After a rather messy search, they were quite confident that the worm had not eaten any mages in the past few days. By the time they had finished this, Lithanor's haste spell had expired.

By now, Mazaramus had reached the northern end of the grand stairway without being beset by any wandering monsters. Looking up, he saw that the nearest (bottom) two statues had bat-like features, and the central pair were ape-like. The door at the top of the stairs was now closed, so the rest of the party were unaware that he had arrived.

Mazaramus shouted out to the party. Sneaky and Lithanor heard him and shouted back. Lithanor opened the door, and Mazarmus could now make out his silhouette at the top of the stairway. Mazaramus shouted out "We'll go around! This place is filled with statues". Unfortunately, Lithanor and Sneaky (both failing hearing rolls) thought he said "Stand your ground! We'll KILL the statues".

Mazaramus mounted his brrom of flying and flew up the staircase. Lithanor had no problem seeing him approach, especially with his glowing red eyes. As expected, the statues came to life and advanced on the party as Mazaramus flew past.

The wizard flew into the room. Instead of closing the doors, the party were waiting with missile weapons trained on the doorway. Gandi was standing behind the door, ready to engage them with his axes. Gandi also activated his lightning armour.

The statues were now glowing with a bright light. As the first pair advanced into the room, they were hit by a volley of missile fire. Every single hit struck the left statue (randomly determined). The statue dimmed considerably. Gandi pounced at it and struck it down with an axe blow. The statue flared with a piercing bright white light, blinding Lithanor and Talanius, before it was destroyed.

They drew their hand weapons and prepared to fight the advancing statues. Sneaky moved around to the side of the doorway to prepare a backstab. The second statue was swiftly destroyed, with the same effect as when the first one was destroyed, blinding more party members. Luckily, the effects of the blindness were momentary, and Lithanor could now see again.

The remaining statues were dealt with quite swiftly. The party just took their chances with the blindness effects. At one point, the entire party was blinded (with the exceptions of Mazaramus, who had flown to the south-eastern corner of the room and had decided to keep his gaze averted after seeing the bright flashes on the walls and hearing the exclamations from the blinded party members, and of course,Maerie), though by this time their was only one crystal statue fight. Even blinded, and with -4 on their To Hit rolls, they managed to take the last statue down. Their sight quickly returned, and only Klaus had taken a slight wound. Even his displacer cloak couldn't offset being easier to hit whilst blinded. At least these statues didn't explode.

DM's note I later explained to the players that I would have given them full monster XPs for bypassing this encounter, so fighting them was wholly unnecessary (though it was fun).

Having fully explored the dungeon under the volcano, the party seemed to be at something of a loss. They wondered where they could go next. First, they went back into the purple worm tunnel to where they had found the huge diamond. Three more tunnels led off from this cavern, but all three ended after a short while, having long-since collapsed.

They returned to the room with the dusty shelves and the scrolls that crumbled to dust as soon as they were touched. Lithanor suspected that there must be a secret door in there, especially at the eastern end where the room narrowed to 10' wide. They searched the entire room and found nothing, but wasted a considerable amount of time searching.

They returned to the purple worm room and went along the long corridor leading westwards. Gandi had determined that the tunnel was probably on a slight downhill gradient, but he couldn't be entirely sure, so Morgan confirmed that it did using his claymore's detect sloping passages abiliity. After about an hour, they came to a door.

Opening the door and going through, they found themselves in some kind of macabre laboratory. Shelves, benches and even the floor were littered with shrunken, withered corpses and mangled remains of various creatures. Several of the corpses had been hacked to pieces by sword or axe blows.

They recognised this as the room where they had fought some topis earlier, and they realised that they had travelled in one large circle. Lithanor looked at the map again, perplexed and wondering where to go next. It was at this point that Mazaramus pointed out the corridor leading from the western end of the fungi cavern at the bottom of the volcano dungeon.

They made the long trek back to the fungus forest and headed along the corridor leading roughly northwards from it. After travelling for about another half a mile, the corridor turned westwards and ended at a door after another 10'.

Lithanor insisted that Sneaky start checking each door for traps before they proceeded. No traps were found so they opened the door. Going through it, they found themselves in a 30' by 80' long room. They were near the southern end. Three doors led from the room, the one they had just come through, one in the wall directly opposite, and one on the east side near the north wall on the other side of some metal gates blocking access to the northern half of the room.

Sneaky realised that she had seen this room before. She had seen it through the magical viewing chairs when she saw KalnaKaa apparently locking the gates.

They checked the western door first. This opened up onto a corridor leading westwards for quite a long distance...another connecting they left this.

Mazaramus tried to manipulate the gates using his cryptomancy power of Rune of Metal. He intended to make a wide hole in the metal, large enough for the party to walk through. His check was successful, and the gates bent and warped with a horrific metallic screeching noise. The gates now started advancing towards the southern end of the room.

Sneaky was about to flee through the eastern door before the gates blocked them, but changed her mind and ran back to Mazaramus, hoping to borrow the vials of acid that he was carrying in his pack.

Morgan ordered a sideways fighting withdrawal, Merick going towards the western door and Morgan and Talanius to the eastern. All three attacked the gates, landing hefty blows with their swords, but Talanius found that his longsword, which was non-magical, had no effect on the construct. Morgan's blow smashed one half of the gates into twisted metal, which had already been weakened considerably by Mazaramus runic power. Gandi and Lithanor hacked at the other gate, doing some damage, but not enough to stop it. Klaus waded in, swinging his snake staff and landing a telling whack which smashed the gate.

Kal-muru (Shipbane)With the strange constructs destroyed (and Sneaky still wondering whether the acid would have had any effect), they went up to the door at the northern end of the room. Again Sneaky checked it for traps, and Morgan even used one of his three daily find traps from his claymore, but the door was untrapped. The door opened onto a short corridor leading to another door. After checking this out, they opened it.

All they could see beyond the door was a swirling fog. As they pondered, they heard a muffled sound coming from the room, as though a door was closing somewhere in the fog. Still hesitating to advance into the room, the fog crept through the party, engulfing Gandi, Lithanor, Morgan and Bhakragh. Strange, demonic figures could now be dimly seen in the swirling mist, and the party only now realised that this was the very horror that had been attacking the merchant vessels...

Session Fifteen - The Final Showdown

The spell-casters all prepared to cast spells to aid them in the encounter with whatever beasties were in the fog. Mazaramus prepared his polymorph self spell, Klaus prepared to cast bless on the party (technically, they weren't in melee combat yet so I allowed it) and Lithanor prepared mirror image.

However, the front four party members had to make a saving throw vs spells (at +4) to avoid the confusion effect of the fog. Only Morgan failed his saving throw and decided to attack Lithanor. I had Lithanor and Morgan roll off for initiative against each other. Lithanor won the initiative and got his spell off, creating five mirror images. Morgan then hacked at one of the Lithanors, dispelling an image.

Gandi and Bhakragh wandered forward into the fog to fight the demonic creatures that could vaguely be seen. Hacking at them, they wounded two of the creatures. Lithanor also advanced slightly to allow the rest of the party to move forwards. Mazaramus, not wishing to venture into the fog, climbed onto his broom of flying and hovered upwards, crouching down on his broom so that Merick, Talanius and Sneaky could get past.

The fog continued to creep down the corridor, now engulfing the entire party, and the horrors in the mist moved amongst the party to attack them. Several of them attacked Lithanor's mirror images, but failed to land a single blow. One clawed at Gandi for a mere 2 points of damage, and in return was vapourised by his electrified armour.

Talanius was the only other party member to be affected by the confusion. He attacked the fog creatures, and missed. Not that it mattered. In his confused state, he was using his longsword, which was his default weapon, which wouldn't have done any damage anyway, being non-magical.

Klaus decided to wrestle Morgan to the ground to prevent him from attacking any more of the party. Morgan was standing about doing nothing this round so accomplishing this was quite easy.

Sneaky hid in shadows and crept forwards through the fog. She seemed to be immune to the effects of the fog and didn't need to make a saving throw. She was under the impression that there must be a wizard somewhere in the fog-filled room that was conjuring it. She saw a large dark shape ahead of her and went towards it. It was a pillar.

Back in the passageway, Maerie slashed at Mazaramus with a dagger. Mazaramus was some feet off the ground and she could only slash his leg for 6 points of damage.

DM's note: Maerie was not under the effects of the fog, having made her saving throw. However, she took this opportunity to feign being confused and make a backstab attack on Mazaramus. She had Expert weapon mastery, and the evil DM inside me was secretly hoping to roll a 19 or 20 for her attack. Had she done so, she could have done as much as 34 points of damage, which just happened to be Mazaramus' current hit points, as he was slightly wounded (yeah, Maz has a high constitution, hence having a lot of hit points for a mage). Unfortunately, I rolled a 4 for her attack (which still hit, given her bonuses), and rolled double 1 on 2d4 for the damage.

Mazaramus polymorphed into hydra form and lunged at Maerie. Maerie feigned wandering aimlessly after nimbly stepping over the prone figures of Klaus and Morgan wrestling on the ground. Two of the creatures in the mist had advanced through the party and into the corridor. Two of the hydra heads attacked these, while the other five attacked Maerie. Maerie was severely wounded by the hydra bites.

In the room itself, the battle waged on. Lithanor eventually lost all of his mirror images to fog monster attacks, Gandi felled another creature, and suddenly the mist dissipated, the remaining horrors now appearing as greyish semi-substantial forms. Eventually, the remaining creatures were slain, thanks in some part to Mazaramus turning his attention to the horrors and chomping at them with his hydra heads, as Maerie was now crawling along the floor, badly wounded. Before they were all slain, one of them had clawed and bitten Maerie, who now lay dying,

Klaus released his grip on Morgan and used his staff of healing to prevent Maerie from dying. Mazaramus wanted to finish her off, but Klaus stood defiantly to protect her, so he thought better of it.

With the creatures now defeated and the mist gone, they turned their attention to the debate between Mazaramus and Klaus. Unfortunately, they forgot that Morgan and Talanius were still confused. Talanius just stood about doing nothing, but Morgan took a swing at Lithanor (nothing personal, he just happened to be the nearest party member). Morgan would have hit, had Lithanor not reacted and parried the blow at the last second. Morgan then stood about doing nothing, so the rest of the party took the opportunity to bundle him and tie him and Talanius up until the effects wore off.

Mazaramus, now back in human form, was insisting that Maerie had willingly attacked him with a dagger and was not under the effects of the confusion. He even showed them the gash on his leg. It could have been a dagger slash. It was also likely that it could have been a claw slash from one of the creatures.

Sneaky used her ESP ability to read Maerie's thoughts. She picked up "the cleric is the only one I can trust, he'll protect me", "that wizard is evil", and "they're going to kill my father". Sneaky couldn't interrogate Maerie and concentrate on maintaining the ESP at the same time, so she ceased reading her mind. Instead she asked who her father is. Maerie replied, "Milo Straaks, a Thyatian merchant. I've already told you this."

Mazaramus told the party to look at Maerie's dagger. They'll find that it has blood on it. Maerie volunteered to let Sneaky (and ONLY Sneaky) search her. She was in no condition to put up any kind of resistance anyway. Sneaky searched her and was utterly convinced that she didn't have a dagger anywhere on her. They even searched the room and the corridor to make sure that she hadn't dropped it.

The only people in the party that had daggers were Morgan, who had a silver dagger that he'd had since the Keep on the Borderlands, and Sneaky, who had 9 daggers. What's more, one of them was coated in some glistening clear liquid...poison! It was at this point that Merick and Talanius told the rest of the party that Sneaky had asked them if they wanted to coat their swords with poison. Obviously they had refused, given that the use of poison carries heavy penalties in some realms, especially Thyatis. Sneaky's argument was that technically, they weren't in Thyatis, but were some miles outside the borders of the empire.

None of the daggers had human blood on them. Sneaky's dagger+2 had some greyish goo on it, which was probably the ichor or whatever from one of the mist creatures that she had backstabbed.

The room in which they had fought the mist creatures, which are actually called kal-muru and are in fact a type of air elemental, was about 60' square, with four pillars supporting the ceiling. Two other doors led from the room, one in the north wall and one in the east. They went through the north door.

A short corridor led north and soon turned westwards, ending at another door. Gandi went forward and opened the door...or at least tried to. The door didn't budge an inch.

No lock was visible on the door, just a handle. Mazaramus polymorphed into a flea and tried to hop under the tiny gap at the bottom of the door. He merely bounced off (and narrowly avoided being stepped on by Gandi and Lithanor). He then polymorphed into a gray ooze and tried to slip through the gap under the door. Again, all that happened was that he oozed up the nearside of the door.

Evidently, some magical barrier was preventing passage through the door by any normal means, so Lithanor cast a knock spell. That worked! The door opened.

The party swiftly entered the room beyond, though Lithanor remained in the doorway and readied his bow (and also prevented the door from closing again). Merick and Talanius stayed back, assisting Maerie, who was still very weak.

The room was quite large, some 30' wide and 50' long with a narrowed area at the far end leading to a door  Several small withered creatures, topis, were at the near end of the room and these rushed to attack the party. At the far end of the room were five grossly fat men, all identical, wearing black robes and preparing to cast a spell. Two large boars stood before the large men,and these too rushed to attack.

Mazaramus polymorphed into a fly and flew towards the five men. The players had figured out that this was KalnaKaa with a mirror image spell cast. Sneaky took a dose of her potion of invisibility and began making her way around the room towards KalnaKaa.

The large wizard won the initiative and cast a spell towards the party. They now found themselves moving very slowly. Luckily for Mazaramus, he had flown forwards far enough to avoid the spells effect. Klaus turned two of the topis, which fled to the far end of the room. Spell casting isn't affected by haste or slow spells, and I ruled that turning undead for such purposes works in the same manner, Only Morgan took a hit from the topis in the first round of combat. He made his saving throw against the topi's poison, which was academic, as the effect was to slow the victim hit, and he was slowed already anyway.

The following round, Mazaramus landed behind KalnaKaa and polymorphed into hydra form. Lithanor dropped his bow and prepared to cast magic missile at the mirror images. KalnaKaa won the initiative and cast a lightning bolt, hitting Gandi, Lithanor, Klaus and one of the topis, and narrowly missing Maerie, who was just beyond the extreme end of the bolt. Klaus failed his saving throw and took the full 30 points of damage. Lithanor and Gandi made their saves and took half damage, but Lithanor's spell casting had been disrupted. The topi was blasted to smithereens.

Gandi and Morgan were finally able to fell a couple of the topis, having had to wait until the second round to attack, due to the slow spell. Bhakragh was fighting one of the boars, and was taking a fair bit of damage being skewered by its tusks. Sneaky continued to sluggishly advance towards KalnaKaa.

Mazaramus attacked KalnaKaa, taking out several mirror images with hydra bites. KalnaKaa turned to face the hydra.

Maerie, even in her weakened state, was desperate to go to the aid of her father. Merick and Talanius held her back,

The third round, KalnaKaa won the initiative again. He cast a charm monster spell at Mazaramus the hydra. Mazaramus rolled his saving throw...and got a natural 20! That was crucial.

Sneaky was now in position behind KalnaKaa for a backstab. She waited for Mazaramus to attack first to remove the last mirror image. Mazaramus hit the last image, dispelling it, and even got a couple of bites on the real KalnaKaa. Sneaky then struck at KalnaKaa. She hit with both attacks, and dealt a hefty amount of damage. More crucially, her left hand attack was with her poisoned dagger. I rolled a 2 for KalnaKaa's saving throw. He twitched in agony and fell dead. The purple worm that he had fought days earlier had finally killed him.

By now the topis had all been slain and only the boars were left fighting. The fighters managed to eventually slay these, though not before Bhakragh took a couple more wounds from the tusks.

KalnaKaa and MaerieMaerie managed to break free from Merick and Talanius, and staggered over to KalnaKaa, now grief stricken and filled with tears. She didn't fail to notice the topis that had been fighting for him, which she seemed to view with disgust.

There was no point in pretending any more. She admitted that KalnaKaa was her father and he was responsible for the attacks on the merchant vessels. She knew that he was the leader of the kara-kara, and was masquerading as their pig-god. She did not know that he had been practising necromancy.

Mazaramus returned to human form and examined KalnaKaa. Of particular interest were his staff, his black cloak, and a boar's head amulet. He removed the amulet and put it on himself. He could instantly feel the protective magic of the amulet.

They opened the door at the far end of the room. This led into a 20' square room that was full of plunder. Morgan used a detect magic from his claymore. KalnaKaa's amulet, staff and black cloak all emanated magic, as did several items in the treasure room.

We were out of time, so the plundering will have to wait until the next session, where hopefully we will wrap things up.

Session Sixteen - Return to Thyatis

Treasure HoardThe party looked through the vast amount of treasure in the room. As well as a few potions and scrolls, there were two suits of magical armour, one leather and one plate mail. As well as the magical items, the hoard of valuables came to almost 90,000 gold pieces. One item, a statuette of a black falcon, seemed to be worth only 200 gp, but Sneaky examined it and found that it was actually gold painted over with black lacquer, and was actually worth 15,000 gp, but she wasn't going to tell the rest of the party this. What is more, the head of the falcon could be unscrewed, revealing a load of gems inside the statuette.

Of particular interest to both Lithanor and Mazaramus was KalnaKaa' spell book. They would have to wait until they had rested and relearn't their spells so that they could do a read magic and discover what spells were contained within. However, at the back of the spell book were KalnaKaa's personal notes, which gave more insight into how and why he had been carrying out the raids on merchant vessels. Moreover, they discovered that he was in fact a lycanthrope, a devil swine, and had been persecuted and driven from Thyatis because of this. If only the party could have negotiated with him. He would have been welcomed with open arms, or at the very least tolerated, by certain factions in the Principalities of Glantri.

They shared the magic items between them, Mazaramus taking KalnaKaa's amulet (which was found to be an amulet of protection +3), staff and black cloak, and put the rest of the treasure into their bags of holding.

Returning to the pillared room where they fought the kal-murus (the fog creatures) and went through the eastern door. This led to another of the mosaic-path rooms. In this one, the path led to a green disc on the north wall. Gandi, wearing one of the swirling-coloured robes,stepped on the path and activated the pass-wall. As soon as it opened, they could smell the salty air of the sea and could hear the lapping of waves.

Stepping through, they found that it led to a cave, mostly filled with sea water, except for a strip of beach on the near side. At the north-eastern end, an opening led out into the sea.. A small outrigger, similar to the ones used by the kara-kara, though considerably smaller, was pulled up onto the beach.

Trust our group to make things more complicated than they need to be. All they had to do now was take the outrigger and return to the Belle Venture. Upon their return, Malmir would have waited while the party recovered the rest of their treasure.

It was now quite late in the day, and normally by now the party would be considering setting up camp for the night. Here is what they did instead...

The party headed back to the chambers near the kara-kara temple, which meant travelling down the long tunnel to the dungeon levels inside the volcano, making their way to the top level to where they fought the purple worm, then travelling down two more long tunnels, first to the complex where they had found the topi creation laboratory and the mosaic room that led to the Trail of the Dead and finally to the chambers near the temple, where they could make their way to the store room to the north of the circular room with the illuminated lattice, where they had stashed the rest of their treasure. All, that is, except for Mazaramus, who wanted to fly overland to scuttle the kara-kara canoes and strand them on the island. Merick and Talanius stayed at the sea cave, looking after Maerie.

Normally, Mazaramus would have done this without even telling the rest of the party what he was doing. The Lawful Mazaramus agreed this with the party beforehand and arranged to meet them back at the sea cave in a few hours.

Before the party went back for their treasure, they decided to investigate the corridor leading westwards from the room with the (now destroyed) animated gates. This eventually ended, after turning south-westwards, at a 20' by 30' room. The room was bare. The only thing of interest was a black circle in the centre of the south wall.

Those wearing swirly-coloured robes attempted to activate what they suspected to be another pass-wall by touching the circle, but nothing happened. Not to worry, this one was obviously activated by KalnaKaa's black cloak...that Mazaramus was wearing...who by now was nearly halfway across the island on his broom of flying.

By the time the party eventually arrived back at the sea cave, having recovered all of their loot, they were quite exhausted, and it was now morning. An equally exhausted and slightly anaemic looking Mazaramus was waiting for them, nursing a wound in his shoulder where a stirge had pierced him with its spiky proboscis before draining a fair amount of blood.

Mazaramus' journey to the far side of the island had revealed that the kara-kara had fled the island. The village was utterly deserted, and all of the outriggers were gone. On the way back he had been beset by a group of stirges. He had taken most of them out with magic missiles, but one survived his volleys and hit him. Mazaramus had to resort to killing it with his only hand-to-hand weapon, his staff of striking.

     Day Five

They told Mazaramus about the room with the black circle, so the mage flew off to investigate. Wearing the black cloak, he found that it did indeed open another pass-wall. This was found to lead into the laboratory where the topis had been created.

With all of their loot now gathered, they realised that it would still take two trips to get it all back to the Belle Venture, even with both bags of holding. Mazaramus told the party to wait in the cave while he flew around the island to the Belle Venture, taking both bags filled to capacity with treasure with him. Morgan was reluctant to part with his bag of holding, but Mazaramus seemed unusually sincere when he assured him that he would look after it.

Morgan agreed to allow Mazaramus to take his bag of holding, and the mage flew out of the sea cave. After flying for a couple of miles, Mazaramus sighted the rock, an illusion created by Malmir to hide the ship.

On board the Belle Venture, Malmir sighted a strange apparition moving very rapidly above the waves towards the ship. A strange red glow coming from some indiscernible unnatural horror. He gave orders to the crew to ready their crossbows and take aim.

As it neared, Malmir's elven eyes managed to identify the thing flying towards them. He exclaimed "By all the Gods! What has happened to him?" He ordered the crew to stand down. Mazaramus alighted on the deck. Malmir greeted him, then asked what had happened to his eyes. He was also concerned that Mazaramus was the only survivor of the expedition. Mazaramus allayed his fears and explained why he had flown alone to the ship. Pulling some of the treasure out of a bag of holding, For a brief instant Malmir reconsidered his career options and whether he should take to a life of adventuring himself.

Malmir had the crew set sail for the north-eastern side of the island, then took Mazaramus down to the hold where he could store the valuables. As soon as they were near to where Mazaramus had indicated the sea cave to be, Mazaramus flew back, and the rest of the party rowed out in the small outrigger to the ship.

They had brought KalnaKaa's body with them...unmutilated. Malmir was satisfied that the threat had now been dealt with. Malmir suggested that the party go to their cabins and get some rest. They didn't need telling twice.

By the time they woke up later in the evening, they were some miles from Teki-Nura-Ria, and the sun was beginning to set. At Maerie's request, Malmir had arranged for a funeral at sea for KalnaKaa. He was set adrift in the outrigger, which floated slowly back towards the now distant island  Lithanor launched a flame arrow, turning the outrigger into a funeral pyre. As the flaming boat began to disappear into the distance, a plume of fire seemed to erupt from Ki-Ata, the volcano on the eastern side of the Teki-Nura-Ria.


By the time they had sailed back to Thyatis, the party was fully recovered. Mazaramus and Lithanor spent some time poring over the spell books and deciding how they were going to split them when they copied the spells into their own spell books.

Klaus had come to the conclusion that Mazaramus was not his normal self, and offered to 'cleanse his aura' with a clerical spell. Mazaramus was no fool and he knew that he intended to reverse the effects of the helm of alignment change, something that he would not allow. Instead, Klaus cast the spell, a remove curse spell, on Mazaramus while he slept. Mazaramus was back to his old, chaotic self. Klaus offered to cast another remove curse spell to remove the glowing red eyes, but the mage had become rather fond of his new look.

Sneaky's purple worm poison had by now completely neutralised and was useless. Malmir advised that she dispose of the gunk in the potion bottle, and have the bottle itself thoroughly cleansed and purified. If the authorities in Thyatis found out that she had been using deadly poison she could find herself in deep trouble.

Malmir also suggested that Mazaramus remain out of sight once they reach Thyatis. His glowing red eyes may attract undue attention to say the least. Mazaramus' solution was to cast an invisibility spell on himself. This was all very well, but how could he now present himself to Rollo Bargmann to collect his reward? Not to worry, Malmir had an idea. He told the invisible mage to stay close to him and follow his lead when they went to meet Rollo.

They finally sailed into the harbour at Thyatis and made their way to meet Rollo Bargmann. Mazaramus, in true chaotic fashion, decided to go for a wander through the city instead of complying with Malmir.

They entered the Merchant's Guildhouse and were warmly greeted by Rollo Bargmann. Behind the party, Malmir entered, accompanied by a rather silent Mazaramus with normal eyes. Malmir whispered to the invisible Mazaramus to speak on behalf of the phantasmal force that he was maintaining, but the real Mazaramus was nowhere nearby.

Sighing, Malmir briefly explained that Mazaramus was feeling very exhausted after the adventure and would just sit quietly near the Guildhouse entrance.

Rollo Bargmann was pleased that the party had dealt with the threat to the merchant ships, and duly gave them their reward as agreed. He even arranged for the party to have their own private rooms in the Guildhouse for a short time, where they could recuperate and carry out any studies, such as transcribing spells.

XPs were awarded, and everyone levelled up. Sneaky could now train in the use of her rapier at last. Rollo found a trainer for her. Unfortunately, and unbeknownst to Rollo, this trainer was the owner of a gladiator fighting pit. A week later, Sneaky returned to the Guildhouse, battered and bruised, but now proficient in the use of her rapier (and free of its controlling influence for the time being). Gandi also gained another Weapon Mastery slot, and trained to become Expert in hand axe use, though requiring considerably longer to train. He thoroughly enjoyed himself in the fighting pits, leaving several gladiators battered and bruised.

Merick and Talanius decided that the time had come for them to leave the party and go their own way. They had enough money to comfortably retire, though it was likely that it wouldn't be long before the call to adventure beckoned to them once again. Bhakragh also decided to go his own way. As for Maerie, for the time being she was staying with Merick and Talanius. Who knows, maybe the four of them would form their own adventuring party,

By the time Gandi returned to the party after his weapon training, Lithanor had already left Thyatis to return to Karameikos. A dream he had had had disturbed him, and he felt that his elven cousins were in some kind of distress and were in need of his help. 


  1. Cool campaign. The party is a pretty wild gathering of characters! Are you using the Orcs of Thar rules for Bhakragh? You should post about this blog on The Piazza too:


  2. Thanks...and yes, I used Orcs of Thar for Bhakragh. The gazetteers are useful for adding extra rules and stuff to BECMI. I tend to cherry pick the best bits out of the gazetteers, if needs be, and tailor them if necessary (Dwarven clerics as PCs for example).

    One option I was considering was giving Lithanor the option of choosing the magic-user path instead of the fighter path, and using the level advancement in Elves of Alfheim (though lifting the limitations on spells available) instead of going up in attack ranks. However, I recently found my old Rules Cyclopaedia and found that it's got an alternative system that allows demi-humans to advance to 36th level, so I'll probably be using that.