RECAP: Age Of Ashes, 5-8-20

Into the pool room and off the to the east; a passive magical trap that shoots various rays, but Ty makes short work of it. Lots of carved stone highlighting a cod named “Ysidris” who is the serpent god of the sea. In this room are lots of dead things – adventurer types, fish people, even regular old rats, which we surmise were killed by the ray trap.

[DM note] First room you guys went into was a large, underground cathedral filled with numerous dead bodies.  At the far end the wall was carved into a bas-relief of a huge, rearing snake with 6 heads.  The heads spun on a stone disk every round, unleashing a different spell – this was the “Wheel of Misery.”  It shot off a ray of enfeeblement and blindness in the 2 rounds before Ty disarmed it.  Sadly, didn’t get to the really cool stuff.

The humans look like they are adventurers, and they have equipment on them, which doesn’t make too much sense from the standpoint of the cannibals sending people down here to visit the “Father.” A several-minute search produces: 

  • Want of Fireball, 1x use per day, with second usage delivery 50% of the time. (Damien)
  • Caterwaul Sling (Ink)
  • Greater Staff of Healing, powers up each morning (Ty)
  • Wand of Remove Curse (Ty)
  • Bracelet of Dashing (Damien)

No coins on anyone in this room (weird considering we found magic items). A secret door leads to behind the defused trap, where a room with a pedestal covered in abyssal runes sits. On top of the pedestal is a designed to look like intertwining scales. Dagger has carvings that say: 

“To command the tide to rise and obey, bathe the serpent’s tongue in the heartblood of a thinking being, and invoke the lord’s name to wrap his coils around itself.” Ink does Detect Magic and it knocks him backward with power – very evil, but also beyond Ink’s capability to identify. Ink wraps it up in cloth and puts it in his backpack. 

We leave the “pool” room and enter the next room, which is drier but still cold and moist. Past that room, we encounter some of the fish folk sneaking around, they’re more feral than the previous ones, with their fishy eyes reflecting Ty’s shield-light. A fight commences, but when Ink enters the room, the fish folk yell: “You have the dagger! Bring it to the Father!” and all of them try to attack Ink. This cavern is likely some sort of resting area; there is gore, bones, it’s very gross. Everything is very strange here, and we all try but fail to figure out what is going on. 

The next room is mostly water, which some people fall into and become Slowed. We investigate the off-shooting pathways in clockwise fashion: First has bones laid out in strange patterns; in an alcove, we find several magic items, including: 

  • Wand of Manifold Missiles
  • Potion of Dragon’s Breath, Young Blue (electricity)
  • Staff of Striking
  • Gloves of Storing
  • Mentalist’s Staff

To my knowledge, these have not been distributed to the party members. 

After some spelunking fun, you guys wound up in a large cavern with an illusionary floor – stepping on it plummeted you into an underground lake where the aboleth who had been trying to get the dagger for some time lived.  It had created the creature that took the place of Klorak, the cannibal leader, who then led his people upriver to this spot, establishing a religion worshipping “Our Father Underground,” tossing candidates to thwart the Wheel of Misery into “heaven” (the hole in the ground).  So far, none had passed the trap.

Leaving the caverns, the party decided that a human-sacrifice-y, tidal-wave causing dagger was perhaps left in the hands of the Ekujae, the party traveled back to Akrivel.  The elves were horrified to learn of a cannibal village to the south, and amazed that the party was still avoiding the initial hook of speaking to the Elephant People south of the river.

A large portion of jungle was explored, and ultimately the party encountered a Taldan explorer named Gerhadt Penderghast, of the Cassomir Penderghasts, with a blue-headed Dragon Totem that had been knocked over.  Ink would have known of Penderghast, as the author of numerous books on his exploits – popular among Taldan aristocracy for his action-packed though frequently inaccurate narrative.

Here’s the dialogue he greeted the party with:

“Greetings.  I am Gerhardt Pendergrast.  Of the Cassomir Penderghasts.  As if there would be any others.  Perhaps you’ve heard of me, or more likely read one of my many published works.  “Among the Heathens of Tian Xia.”  “Belkzen Savagery.”  “Frozen Irisen.”  Surely even ones such as yourselves have read these.  Adventuring is in my blood.  It was my father’s idea to become an explorer. “Gerhardt, my boy,” he would always say, “you should explore the world.  “Tian Xia, the Roof of the World, Belkzen.  Anyplace far from here.”  He was always very insistent about distance.  The further the better.  He even gave me this as an encouragement.”  He pulls out a medallion that says “Explorer.”  “I hardly think I need more credentials than this.”

“After quite a harrowing battle, I managed to vanquish these savage apes, and topple this Jungle Totem.  It is my theory that they are worshipped by the savage elves that live to the north – the eku-gee.  Barbaric peoples – it is said they devour their young and infirm.  My porters here succumbed to beams that shot from the totem’s eyes.  Traveled with them for months.  Never got their names – pity, I almost feel i should somehow notify their families or something.”

But, as it were, I would greatly appreciate your aid in dragging this sled to the river, where I can load the jungle totem onto my boat.  The more brutish and unintelligent among you should probably pull.  I will then stand atop the jungle totem like this (strikes heroic hands-on-hips pose).  Perhaps one among you with a measure of artistic talent could make a sketch for the artists in Taldor to reference when they illustrate my next work.”

The party tried to dissuade him, but he would only pull out his medallion and tap on it.  “Obviously, I should be deferred to as the expert here.”
Eventually a fight broke out.  Damien ruined it initially by knocking the strange weapon out of Gerhardt’s hands with his whip (a crude, half-magical firearm), which Ty then picked up.  One of the best moments of the fight was Gerhardt punching twice (using a special ability named “Manly Left Hook”) which Ty blocked both times with his shield, nearly breaking his hand, and then clocking him on the head with the barrel of the gun.  Next round ty scored a crit with his rapier – drew “Pierced Tongue” on the crit deck.  No mechanical benefit, but left Gerhardt with a lisp, leading to demands such as “Thavages!  I demand you return my blunderbuth!” 

Eventually the party subdued Gerhardt and destroyed the pillar.  He was left bitter and sobbing, making threats such as “Villianth!  You thall all be theen as the mithcreanth you are in my future workth!!!!”  In all honesty i’d hoped the party would kill him for all of his cool stuff, and originally had hoped Phlegm would claim his monocle and begin wearing it…