The Hodgeonomicon

The Journal of Red Hodges


The Mud Sorcerer's Tomb Part VII
redhodges

The party did return to Gradsul on the Mudship, which proved to be about three and a half times faster than their chartered caravel which was soon left in their wake long behind. Their return journey to Gradsul only took some two and a half days.

They then spent over two weeks in Gradsul during which they reported to the Seeker agent returning body parts of the fallen Seekers for resurrection. The Seekers also arranged for the fallen Alluvial and Kathka to be resurrected with the party paying for the expensive material components. Some scrolls and two wands were produced, while some treasure was sold. Theo was largely left to amuse himself in carousing and racing in the harbour with the Mudship which defeated all who tried their luck.

Eventually they returned to the Mud Sorcerer’s Tomb, leaving the Ward Stone outside and using the Mudship to travel back to the pool chamber. Apart from the disappearance of the guardian creature’s corpse little had changed within the burial chamber. Protected by many spells the party ventured within and Alluvial set the elephant statuette in the indentations at the head inside the marble sarcophagus. A marble divider dissolved away along with the statuette, revealing a shimmering curtain of dazzling colour which was identified as a variant of Prismatic Wall. Beyond the curtain was a shroud of translucent red silk-like material covering a youthful handsome woman surrounded by treasure. Her body was wrapped in linen, save for her head, hands and feet.

The party quickly realised they lacked the power to bring down the Prismatic Wall and Alluvial was forced to use adamantite weapons to smash in a side of the sarcophagus. This took almost three minutes, following which the party discovered that the woman while perfectly preserved was stone cold dead. The body was removed and considerable jewellery take from it. Karell noted through his See Invisible spell, a Ring on her left smallest finger which lost it’s invisibility once removed from her finger. This Ring was found to be a Ring of Three Wishes.

A midnight blue silk shroud under the body concealed a bed of two dozen platinum trade bars. Their removal revealed a square compartment that proved to have been trapped with a Wail of the Banshee spell. Fortunately the party was saved by the multiple Death Ward spells that Bellamin had cast. Numerous magical items and two valuable books were retrieved from the compartment.

Alluvial then managed to open the iron door using the crystal orb which opened outwards violently, nearly hitting Kathka. While there were numerous items within the small chamber it led to and some of which were magical, they were all of minimal value, apart from almost eleven thousand copper pieces. Four more valuable books were found in a secret wall compartment.

Finally Alluvial began to open the dozen urns that had been found in the burial chamber. With two exceptions these all contained small amounts of treasure or minor magical items. One released a Stinking Cloud which was negated by the Heroes Feast the party had earlier consumed. The last released a great ghostly raven’s head which tried to sever Aluvial’s head.

Having satisfied themselves the party returned to the Mudship and waited a week for it to recharge before returning to the surface. Two and a half days later the party returned to Gradsul to divide and sell the treasure they had retrieved from the Mud Sorcerer’s Tomb. Here the party’s story ends…


The Mud Sorcerer's Tomb Part VI
redhodges

Beyond the archway was a large chamber dominated by a large U shaped pool and with a thirty five foot tall chamber. Resting on a stone platform in the centre of the pool, the party was surprised to see a mastless ship some thirty six foot tall of red wood. A pair of stone elephant heads on the west wall sprayed water into the pool, while between them was another of the stone faces with an evil fanged grin. From the eyes a steady river of tears pours down the face, wall and through an iron grate on the floor.

Aluvial’s examination of the stone face revealed a secret compartment in the chin containing a scroll in Taalese. A small metal wheel was hidden in the face’s right ear which could be rotated either way but Aluvial chose to leave it alone.

The party then scaled the side of the strange ship finding the deck deserted but for an ivory wheel carved with letters in a strange alien script. From scrolls they had found the party correctly deduced that one of the two silver necklaces they had found commanded the ship. Unfortunately the first necklace tried by Aluvial turned out to be a Necklace of Strangulation, which despite the party’s efforts gave Aluvial an unpleasantly painful death. Karell tried the second silver necklace which mentally imparted much information regarding the Mudship known as Uzrivoy. He learnt that the Mudship could sail upon both land and sea. Once a week it could pass through as much as five hundred yards of earth and stone. This seemed to provide an escape from the tomb.

A door leading to the cabin was trapped with a Scintillating Pattern and Theo was briefly confused. The cabin was clearly an extradimensional space as it was larger inside than it could physically be. A great oak table surrounded by twelve chairs and four empty cabinets lay within.

The stairs leading down to the hold door were trapped with an Electrical Glyph of Warding, however a Mass Resist Electrical Energy spell earlier cast by Kathka spared the party. The hold was another extradimensional space containing a wooden sarcophagus. Opening the sarcophagus awoke a decayed human male with hands like claws and animated long heavy braided hair, wearing a marvellously preserved robe. He quickly stood and climbed out of the coffin as Theo closed to melee. Bellamin’s efforts at turning the undead creature proved unsuccessful and both he with Karell concentrated on healing Theo who was being frequently injured. Eventually the depleted party was successful in slaying the undead creature and some treasure was found in the coffin in a secret compartment.

The depleted party then left the Mudship and investigated the pool using a Water Breathing spell. The pool was found to extend under the stone platform to a depth of twenty five feet and that it was supported by eight stone columns under the pool. A stone sarcophagus was almost set flush into the stone floor, it’s lid sealed with wax. The lid was inscribed in Taalese and read “Death waits beneath this lid, watery doom in here is hid”. Despite this the lid was opened seemingly releasing a mixture of vapour and clear liquid into the pool. A secret compartment within contained some treasure, including a solid platinum statue of a fanged elephant bearing an ivory palanquin on it’s back. An inscription in Taalese was found on it’s belly “Walk beneath dead Jaiku’s face, this beast reveals the hidden place”.

Leaving the pool and returning to the chamber a search found a secret door in the east wall containing four slight oval depressions with the four mud sorcerer symbols lightly etched in green. The party found suitably sized gems among their collection which were lightly engraved with the four mud sorcerer symbols and inserted them appropriately. The gems seemed to stick in place and over a minute the secret door ground down into the floor.

Within was a twenty foot square chamber, it’s walls depicting dozens of animal headed humans struggling to break free of thorny vines that tore at their flesh. A red banner of silk hung above the image, embroidered over and over with the four mud sorcerer symbols. The floor was of red, green and gold ceramic tiles. A large deep-green tapestry hung suspended from the ceiling fifteen feet above shimmering. Four brass bowls filled with bluish coals hung four feet off the floor on chains attached to the ceiling. A dozen stoppered clay urns lined the north and south walls, each bearing the picture of an animal-headed humanoid. A great black iron portal stood in the centre of the east wall. It was covered with glyphs, including the four mud sorcerer symbols. There was a two foot diameter spherical cavity in the centre of the door. The main feature however was a white marble sarcophagus carved to depict snakes and roses. The lid had a bas relief carving of an elephant headed humanoid in splint mail. In one hand was a smooth oval stone carved with the first mud sorcerer symbol. A sheathed bastard sword was at it’s side. The head protruded from the lid more than the rest of it’s form, the curling trunk, sharp tusks, fanged maw and evil cunning eyes all carved in great detail.

As the secret door finished it’s descent with a loud slam, a guttural whisper issued forth in Common saying “Grave robbers! Defilers! Thou hast violated my tomb! I, the indomitable Tzolo, will have my revenge! Thou shalt all perish!”. Uncharacteristically Karell ventured within after clearing a path through the poisoned caltrops that he had noticed lay just before the door. Unfortunately as Karell approached the sarcophagus the elephant-headed humanoid rapidly began to take on a fleshier grayish hue and as Karell hesitated, the creature struggled free of the stone, stood up and drew it’s sword facing the party.

Fortunately Theo was quickly at Karell’s side but not for long as Karell rapidly drew back. A lengthy fight ensued with Theo fighting the creature with Bellamin and Karell assisting him, mainly with healing as the wounds the creature inflicted were grievous. It was soon realised that not only was the creature difficult to wound with the weapons Theo wielded, it was also regenerating it’s injuries. Karell quickly returned to the Mudship to recover Aluvial’s weapons from his corpse and these were passed to Bellamin who also joined the fight, unfortunately he had difficulty in hitting the creature. Eventually the party was victorious and the creature was slain.

The creature’s magical bastard sword was recovered by Karell, along with the oval stone it held. The stone mentally imparted to Karell that it was a Ward Stone, the key to leaving the tomb. It could allow teleportation through the tomb’s teleporters back to the exit and could allow the tomb exit to be opened. Furthermore removal of the Ward Stone from the tomb would dispel the Unhallow and Forbiddence effects upon it.

The party decided to lift off the sarcophagus lid and found silk shrouds covering a male corpse within. The jewellery upon the corpse was collected and it was noted that he bore a green marble baton with the name “Jaiku” carved into it. Underneath Jaiku’s corpse lay a two inch diameter crystal orb that looked like it would fit the iron portal cavity well. It was also noted that four oddly shaped indentations resembling round footprints surrounded the orb. It was surmised that the fanged elephant statuette was meant to be placed there. Underneath the orb which was removed was a Symbol of Insanity which fortunately did not affect anyone and an inscription in Taalese.

The party decided to ignore the dozen urns, the iron door and the indentations. Boarding the Mudship they then returned to the surface and the Azure Sea. There was talk of returning to Gradsul on the Mudship for Aluvial and Kathka to be resurrected and then returning to the tomb.


The Mud Sorceror's Tomb Part V
redhodges

The party quickly worked out that the “Tzolo shall vanquish her foes” phrase found on the pillars and in the pool was the key to the tiles before the statue which could be depressed. Once pressed in the correct order a secret door in the statue’s stomach opened inwards, revealing a corridor leading east. A search of the rest of the chamber revealed that one of the tiger headed statues screwed off and four scrolls were found, of which three were magical and the last was another clue written in Taalese.

The party proceeded down the passage which after a hundred feet turned south for twenty feet before entering a rectangular chamber with green basalt statues of fly-headed humans around it’s walls. A red marble sarcophagus rested in the centre of the chamber covered with carvings and sealed with red wax. Contacting one of the fly-headed humans caused Aluvial to be cursed and although his curse was quickly removed, the statues were thereafter ignored. The wax seal of the sarcophagus was broken and the lid found to be difficult to lift. A Levitate spell from Kathka was used to remove the lid which was eventually dropped to one side. Within was a well preserved female human body clad in flowing red robes with a deep-green silk handkerchief over her face and her black hair gathered in a platinum loop. A heavy mace made of gleaming red alloy was held in her right hand. Unfortunate Aluvial was again afflicted this time by a Symbol of Pain upon the handkerchief but again he was spared from it’s effect by magic.

As Alluvial began to remove the treasure from the body, his hand was deflected and the woman rose, standing quickly to the party’s surprise. She cried out in Taalese “How dare thou disturb the sleep of the great Tzolo! All shall perish! Prepare to meet thy destruction, fools!”. She moved out of the sarcophagus and cast Horrid Wilting which seriously injured more of the party. This was quickly followed by a Cone of Acid which again injured most of the party and slew Bellamin. Without a Cleric the party tried to escape through a Dimension Door spell cast by Karell, which failed and realising there was no easy escape from the woman they pressed her in melee. Although she was able to heal herself twice the party’s numbers told and she fell. Bellamin was found to be dead, however after great effort Karell managed to cast a Raise Dead scroll and was returned to life. A considerable amount of magic and treasure was found on the corpse of the woman.

Since there appeared to be no exit the party retraced their route back to the two foot square secret door with the threaded hole in it. Having found the red tusk screwed into it, the secret door was opened and the party entered the passage beyond it.

The passage led to another burial chamber with a large woven rug depicting three fanged elephant heads on the floor. A pair of gold candelabra flanked a coffin, each with a dozen burning vermillion candles giving off an odd spicy scent. The coffin of mahogany rested on a red marble block some four feet high. The archway entrance was inscribed in common “Thou hast reached the Inner Sanctum of Tzolo. Tzolo sleeps, waiting for the predestined time of the Jezulein Rebirth. Gloat not, lest thy pride usher in thy Unalterable Doom”. Aluvial found that within the coffin was a badly decomposed corpse clad in red silk. A considerable amount of platinum jewellery was recovered from the corpse. What seemed to be a secret compartment was found in the block under the coffin with an obvious keyhole. Aluvial’s attempt to pick the lock caused the block to sink as the southern wall began to advance to the north. At the same time an adamantite portcullis sealed off Aluvial from the rest of the party. Karell had to turn Aluvial into Gaseous Form to avoid the advancing wall. Once the trap had reset about two minutes later the party managed to circumvent it and entered a passage that lay behind the southern wall.

The passage led west and then north. Along the way the party was inconvenienced by a camouflaged pit trap but this was easily resolved.

At the end of the passage was a large chamber dominated by a large U shaped pool and with a thirty five foot tall chamber. Resting on platform in the centre of the pool, the party was surprised to see a mastless ship some thirty six foot tall of red wood. A pair of stone elephant heads on the west wall sprayed water into the pool, while between them was another of the stone faces with an evil fanged grin. The archway bore an inscription in Taalese, which read “The reverent should tread with care. The irreverent shall die”. Unfortunately Kathka while looking at the arch read a Symbol of Death, failed to resist it's effect and fell dead.


The Mud Sorceror's Tomb Part IV
redhodges

As Theo and Alluvial jumped the moat to the island they came under attack from four large Water Elementals who appeared in the four corners of the moat. Bellamin also managed to attract a Mud Grue through his spellcasting which appeared next to him. The party however managed to destroy the Water Elementals and the Mud Grue fairly easily. Some treasure was found on the mummified corpse, although Explosive Runes on a scroll injured some of the party.

The party then passed through a pool of water from the chamber which had a crawlway with a ceiling some 2’ above the surface of the water. This led into a thirty foot high ceilinged chamber with a domed ceiling over the eastern half. An iron door was set in the centre of the east wall. Below the domed ceiling was a ten foot square pool of water at the bottom of whch was a mummified corpse. Alluvial entered the pool and was injured by the Dread Wraith that appeared from it. Fortunately the fight with the Wraith came to an abrupt end as a turning attempt by Bellamin destroyed it. Treasure was recovered from the corpse in the pool, including a number of arcane scrolls that had been in two sealed scroll tubes.

Alluvial opening the Iron Door set off a Cone of Cold trap that inflicted massive damage on Theo and injured the rest of the party, apart from Alluvial who managed to evade the blast of cold. Following some healing of the party, Alluvial’s search of the ten foot square chamber beyond found nothing except a large mud sorcerer symbol on the far wall. Contact caused Alluvial to be teleported so as to fall into the murky water pool in the Hag Chamber. He was however fairly quickly able to rejoin the party in the island chamber, where they took the only remaining exit to the west.

This passage led to a wider columned passage which led into a forty foot tall chamber of white stone. It‘s walls were covered in four tiers of burial niches, one row every five feet. The upper tiers could now be reached by iron rungs set into the walls between each row of niches. A search by Alluvial triggered a terrifying Programmed Illusion as the dead seemed to rise, fortunately the party managed to recognise it as an illusion, although Kathka came close to being scared to death. The continued search found little, apart from an unusual secret door hinged along the top like a flap and at the back of one of the third tier rear walls.

This led into a chamber with a vaulted ceiling thirty five feet above the floor. The passageway from the mausoleum entered the room at a height of thirty feet above the floor but the party easily managed to descend. A long pool of water ran down the northern half of the room, while a row of three large mud pits lay to the south. Kathka found a silver ladle resting in the south-east corner of the pool of the pool bottom with what appeared to be a helpful inscription in Taalese suggesting pouring water on the mud pits would open the only exit, a dark brown iron door which appeared to be magically held.

Pouring water on the centre mud pit caused a Mud Golem to rise and attack. Theo was quickly engulfed by the Golem and spent much of the fight struggling to free himself, which he eventually did shortly before the Golem was slain. Pouring water on the western mud pit also caused a Mud Golem to rise and attack. Theo managed to avoid being engulfed this time and this Golem was more easily dispatched. The third Golem who rose from the last pit moved and opened the door.

Moving through the party followed a passage south to the point where it turned east, a two inch diameter hole with a screw thread was spotted in the centre of a two foot square stone block. This seemed to be a secret door but there was no apparent method of opening it.

Moving on the party headed east down the passage and then north into a twenty foot wide columned hall. It was noted on the pillars that each of the five had a word inscribed in common on it’s south face. They were “ Tzolo”, “Shall”, “Vanquish”, “Her”, “Foes”. A similar inscription in coloured tiles ran along the bottom of a long pool of water. Aside from eight tiger-headed Human statues, the room’s dominant feature was a massive statue in a northern alcove. It was of a kneeling elephant-headed Human sitting back on it’s haunches with arms outstretched and palms open in welcome. The statue is twenty feet tall from it’s base to the top of it’s head. A massive red gem sparkled from it’s forehead and two more dark gemstones were set in it’s eyes. Two great stone tusks, one painted red and the other green, jutted out of the statue’s fanged maw. The party managed to unscrew both tusks, although the green tusk released a Cloudkill trap. The party were fortunately unaffected due to Neutralise Poison spells cast earlier. The red tusk’s screw thread look like it would fit the hole in the block secret door in the entry passage. Alluvial found a secret door between the statue’s legs with no obvious method of opening. However in front of it were five letters painted in red with the letters H, T, F, V and S. The party considered this.


The Mud Sorcerer's Tomb Part III
redhodges

The party arrived in a large chamber with a twenty five foot high ceiling supported by many carved pillars. They teleported in on what presumably was the eastern side of a murky twenty foot square pool of water. A pillared hall led south, while Kathka’s Detect Magic had detected that part of the northern wall was an illusion. The party managed to disbelieve the illusionary wall and saw through it to the twenty foot square chamber behind, where an Annis Hag was readying to attack. Melee broke out with the Annis who clawed and grappled with Aluvial who was badly injured in the fight. However the Annis fell and the party found a secret door in the chamber.

The secret door led to a passage, which led west into a chamber and about a hundred feet south. That length of the passage was lined with cell doors.

The party then returned to the pool chamber and followed the passage leading east off the pillared hallway which led to a dead end, until a secret door was found. It led to a ten foot square chamber with a large mud sorcerer symbol on the north wall. Initially the party decided not to investigate but later Aluvial returned to investigate finding a further secret door in the north wall. Opening this triggered a moving Blade Barrier which Aluvial luckily managed to evade. Since the Blade Barrier continued to move the party was unable to investigate the ten foot square chamber beyond.

Investigation of the corridor of cells revealed that all but one contained a yellowing manacled Human skeleton. The other cell proved not to be a cell but a door to a passage that led sixty feet west to what was found to be a Wall of Force, beyond which a passage led south and a passage to the west led ninety feet to what appeared to be a stone face at the end.

With no way to remove the Wall of Force the party followed the corridor of cells to the stone face that was at it’s end. Aluvial found that one of the stone face’s eyes was a peephole into a passage behind the stone face. The passage led south, while a three foot square stone door could be seen in the western wall opposite the stone face.

The party then headed west into the chamber where an oak sarcophagus rested on a stone plinth. Aluvial found a camouflaged spiked pit trap at the southern end of the chamber and some magical scrolls in the haft of an ornamental halberd. He also managed to pick the three padlocks on the coffin, bypassing the poison needle trap in one of the padlocks. Some more treasure was found within the coffin, although taking it seemed to trigger an elaborate illusion which was fortunately seen through by Theo, although it certainly scared Aluvial.

Aluvial was rendered invisible by Karell and turned to Gaseous Form so he could float through the peephole in the stone face. He found the three foot square door to be airtight and so he investigated the passage to the south. This led to a chamber with an thirty foot square island surrounded by a moat and two passages leading off to two further chambers from which there appeared no obvious further exit. He then returned to the party.

Bellamin thereafter stone shaped the stone face into a door gaining access to the southern passage and the three foot square door to the west. Within lay a U shaped passage with it’s only exit blocked by the Wall of Force. Aluvial found a concealed drain in the stone face at the north western end. Behind a twenty foot length of very heavy leaded glass wall a water filled chamber leading east could be seen. After some deliberation it was decided to close the door and open the drain before smashing the glass wall. The wall broke easily slightly injuring Theo and Aluvial in the process, flooding the passage to a depth of five feet. Fortunately the party had previously cast Water Breathing and so they were able to wait for the water to drain, which took about four minutes. The water filled chamber was revealed to be empty and the glass wall was replaced by a Wall of Iron which quickly appeared.

Thereafter the party returned to the passage leading south and entered the chamber with the thirty foot square island surrounded by a moat.


The Mud Sorcerer's Tomb Part II
redhodges

The passage led into a chamber containing six stone sarcophagi, two of which were of large size and sealed with mortar. The party seemed relunctant to open them and showed more interest in the eastern gate which had dozens of curved daggers welded to it facing outwards on the east side. Once Aluvial had picked the gate lock, the party spent some time destroying the suspicious gate before Aluvial ventured to the T junction beyond to the east, where a stone face set in the wall appeared to be looking south.

A soft current of air escaped from the carving's mouth. Examination caused a hurricane force blast of wind to blow Aluvial back through the party, landing where the closed gate would have been. Moving forward once more Aluvial found a green key in the statue’s right ear before heading down the southern passage which entered a fifty foot square chamber.

The chamber only contained a six foot diameter green basalt pillar in it’s center and Aluvial spied a keyhole at it’s base. Turning the key blew an oval ovening six feet tall and three feet wide in the south face of the pillar injuring Aluvial and revealing a painted wooden coffin. Removal of the coffin and opening it revealed the corpse of a long deal Half-Elf male and not the female Human shown in the coffin painting. The Half-Elf appeared to have been strangled or garrotted. A silver pendant necklace and another scroll in Taalese were recovered from the corpse.

The party then returned to the T junction and headed north entering a long hall with a row of black marble pillars along it’s middle. A chamber lay to the east, while the hall continued west, past a door in the north wall painted with a fanged camel’s head. The door was found to be a one way door that would not open from this side. Moving up the hall to the west another door was found in the south wall, which appeared to be Arcane Locked. Standing by the door was what appeared to be some kind of inactive construct, something more than a suit of dark full plate with curved blades for hands. There appeared to be a keyhole in the base of it’s neck.

The hall ended in a chamber with numerous black pillars fashioned to look like huge snakes were coiled along their lengths. Fortunately the party managed to spot a particularly large Spirit Naga as it uncoiled from one of the pillars in the middle. Theo and Aluvial moved into attack, fortunately Theo managed to fight off a Flesh to Stone spell cast on him. The Naga’s injuries began to mount as Theo and Aluvial managed to resist it’s charming gaze. Eventually however Theo fell under it’s charm and ceased his attacks, fortunately the Naga was soon after slain by Aluvial and shortly after Theo recovered from the Naga’s gaze.

A passage led south from the Naga chamber but the party ignored it and searched the Naga chamber. Aluvial found a secret door in the west wall, beyond which a passage led north and then east ending in a dead end. At the turn a staircase descended into darkness. Aluvial found a secret door at the dead end and that it was locked from the other side. Since there seemed no way of opening the secret door and ignoring the stairs, the party returned to the long hall and entered the southern chamber.

The chamber had a mud sorcerer altar against the southern wall, upon which were two candelabra and an ebony box. A large rug covered much of the floor woven with a scene showing Humans struggling in a maelstrom of water, a scene similar to a scene painted upon the ceiling. Aluvial on contacting the rug disappeared and was entrapped within it. Fortunately a Water Breathing spell was in effect upon him and a Break Enchantment spell cast upon the rug by Karell freed him.

Aluvial managed to resist the poison of a poison needle and the flames of a Fire Trap spell protecting the ebony box. Within a tiny Snake spoke and offered to answer three questions for it’s freedom. However after answering the third question of the party the Snake bit Aluvial which sent him into a sleep from which it proved impossible to rouse him. Theo easily slew the Snake and found a number of items within the box including a dark red clay ring and four octagonal disks, each bearing a mud sorcerer symbol.

The party decided to rest in the small room behind the door next to the inactive construct, the door having been opened by a Knock spell from Kathka. Within an iron chest in the chamber a key that looked like it might fit the construct’s keyhole had been found. The party’s rest was not interrupted and in the morning a Break Enchantment spell from Karell awoke Aluvial.

The party completed searching the chamber at the southern end of the hall and Aluvial found a secret door which led to a passage where the two remaining Seekers were found, badly slashed corpses. The passageway led into a long rectangular chamber which extended west, containing two pools of water and another stone face. Two passages led out one to the south ending in a door bearing the image of a snake headed Human wielding a Greataxe.

A passage to the north led to a gate made of strange blue metal, which was locked but Aluvial managed to pick it. The floor of the thirty foot square chamber beyond was decorated with a particularly huge mosaic of one of the mud sorcerer symbols. On passing over it Aluvial was seemingly hacked to bits by dozens of shining blades that appeared from nowhere. This was however recognised as an illusion by the rest of the party and Bellamin’s Status spell revealed that Aluvial was still alive. His location however had shifted some three hundred feet to the east and the party concluding that the chamber was a teleporter, followed Aluvial.


The Mud Sorcerer's Tomb Part I
redhodges

After spending some time buying equipment and in further research the party joined The Blue Dolphin at the docks of Gradsul and departed on the caravel for the Hook Peninsula of the Amedio Jungle. The sailing ship steered a direct course across the Azure Sea and the mouth of Jeklea Bay, other than having to divert around Fairwind Isle and Sybarate Isle. The weather was reasonably good and the nine day journey passed without incident.

The Blue Dolphin dropped anchor about a hundred yards from the beach with Captain Risim advising them that they would wait a month before assuming the party had been lost and returning to Gradsul. The ship's launch conveyed the party, other than Dhakir who remained aboard, out to the beach before returning to the ship.

From the beach the mouth of the cavern in which the tomb entrance lay could be seen about twenty five feet into the light jungle fringe. The party walked up the beach and entered the large cavern beyond the wide mouth. At the back of the cavern some one hundred feet from the mouth was the obvious tomb entrance, a dark block of granite set into the cavern wall with three platinum inset words upon it. The party fairly easily discovered that the letters in the third word could be depressed in order to spell Welcome in common and this caused the block to sink into the ground. Voices wailed from the large chamber beyond which was so long it could not all be seen from the entrance.

The whole chamber within was formed of swirling dark-green marble and the ceiling was thirty feet overhead. A row of four black pillars crossed the room and beyond them were two long pools of water. As the party moved in a small square pool with a suspended black iron bell of massive size behind it came into view. The sound of wailing echoed through a passageway in the north wall. A Detect Magic spell led to Alluvial's discovery of a black key at the bottom of the small square pool. The other two pools only contained white Human and Demihuman bones.

Following the northern passage sixty feet the party entered a square chamber, the walls of which appeared to be covered with crying eyes of all shapes, sizes and descriptions, their tears pouring down the walls in rivulets. A narrow gutter drew the tears to small holes in the four corners of the room. The chamber also seemed to be the source of the mournful cries. Although Aluvial discovered the tears were strongly acidic, he managed to find and open a secret door in the west wall.

This led to a chamber with a twenty foot ceiling in the centre of which was a nine foot tall elephant headed humanoid statue pointing an accusing finger at the secret door. Three iron doors were set into the north, west and south walls, while in each corner of the room was a large alcove. Three contained animal headed humanoid statues stood in three of the alcoves, while the northwest alcove contained only a plain basalt pillar. Using their Golembane Scarabs, the party had detected that the three animal headed humanoid statues were seemingly Stone Golems and the party readied themselves for a fight. Melee opened with an attack by Theo on one, which activated all three and the party fell back to the entrance. The fight went on for some time with Theo and Aluvial holding the doorway. They were continuously being injured and Bellamin was kept busy healing them. An attack from the last surviving Golems injured Theo so badly he almost lost consciousness, fortunately Aluivial managed to quickly thereafter defeat the last Golem. Investigation of the basalt pillar revealed some treasure, including a vellum scroll written in Taalese. Some further treasure was also found in a cylindrical cavity in the southeast alcove.

Experimentation revealed that the central pillar with the pointing arm rotated and opened and closed doors as it did so. This revealed that the south door led to a chamber which oddly had a bare earth floor, while the west door led to a chamber dominated by a massive stone face carving on the wall opposite the door. The north door led to a passage that continued as far as could be seen. The party decided to ignore both chambers and after destroying the secret door that had led to the alcove chamber proceeded along the passage.    journey passed wand and n


The Mud Sorcerer's Tomb Introduction
redhodges

Almost three months later the party found themselves docking in the Metropolis of Gradsul in the southeast of the Kingdom of Keoland. Gradsul being Keoland’s greatest port on the Azure Sea.

While staying in their Inn, the party was approached by a woman who identified herself as Dartia of Gradsul. She had learned of the party’s reputation and arranged to meet them the next day at noon for an interview in The Merchants House, a mercantile drinking club in the middle of the city.

On meeting with Dartia, she revealed herself as an agent of the Seekers of the Arcane, known to the party as a mysterious organisation of treasure hunters. She was looking for an adventuring party of experienced adventurers to perform a quest for her. A group of Seekers had recently uncovered the location of a Mud Sorcerer’s Tomb on the coast of the Hook Peninsula of the Amedio Jungle. They had never returned from their exploration and the Seekers believed that they may have perished. They wanted the party to explore the tomb and to discover what befell the missing Seekers. Any remains were to be returned for possible resurrection.

Any treasure found would be the party’s to keep. In addition the Seekers had chartered a sailing ship, The Blue Dolphin for the party’s journey from Gradsul across the Azure Sea to The Amedio Jungle. The journey would be slightly lengthened by the need to take a route around Fairwind Isle and Sybarate Isle, some 420 miles which will take almost nine days.

The party were aware that Mud Sorcerer was currently a derogatory term for an Elementalist specialising in elemental earth and water spells. They also knew that the original Mud Sorcerer’s were however an ancient religious order exterminated centuries ago that followed the teachings of the then infamous Jezule the Nebbbarite. Numerous texts predicted that the order would rise again, the leaders of the order having apparently escaped the final purges, possibly in some sort of magical refuge. The party had heard that over the last two decades, various adventuring parties had recovered fabulous treasures and scrolls taken from rediscovered Mud Sorcerer tombs.

Although Theo was not entirely happy with the remuneration offered, the party agreed to accept the quest and having been given descriptions of the missing Seekers, they left The Merchants House to make their way to the Blue Dolphin which awaited them at the docks.


The Iron Orb of the Duergar Part XI
redhodges

The party opened with Kathka casting a Wall of Light which irritated the Drow's eyes and blocked line of sight for all but Kathka. The party moved up to the Wall of Light, while the Drow on the other side also formed up further away from the Wall. Remy attempted to dispel the Wall but was unsuccessful. Soon after however Kathka dispelled the Wall herself and the party attacked closing in on the Drow who loosed off another volley of Hand Crossbow bolts. Most went wide but one hit Theo who was saved from the bolt's poison by the Neutralise Poison spells in effect upon the party. As the party rushed the Drow were forced to rapidly draw their rapiers as melee broke out.

Karell once again avoided melee and played his Bardic music well to the rear of the melee. As the Drow fighters began to fall, Remy cast various spells such as Suggestion, Blindness, Hold Person and Silence, all of which the party managed to resist so they had little effect. By this time Remy was on her own, injured and trying to escape melee by Levitating to the ceiling. While this undoubtedly prolonged the end eventually she was slain and dropped to the floor.

The Iron Orb was recovered from Remy’s corpse and thrown to the back of the lava pool to dispose of it. Some treasure was recovered in a search of the fallen. Anja had healed her father Ulvmard back to consciousness but he seemed to be in a state of withdrawal and was barely able to walk.

The party managed thereafter to leave the ruined Dwarven fortress and the mine, collecting Dhakir along the way and this time making their way back to Tallborg by road arriving the next day. Here Anja and Ragnar left the party thanking them for their help, along with the still barely capable Ulvmard. The party continued on for another four days uneventfully before arriving back in the village of Pine Barrens.

Three and a half days later the party found themselves reporting back to Lord Ulthek in the town of Ulthek on their apparent success in ending the Frost Barbarian threat and the reward was forthcoming. The party spent a week resting in Ulthek before they moved on, taking the first ship heading for warmer climes, bound for the port of Gradsul in Keoland.    


The Iron Orb of the Duergar Part X
redhodges
Aluvial managed to pick the lock and then discovered the door was barred on the other side. A Knock spell from Kathka removed the bar and the party opened the door to look upon the huge chamber within.

It was lit by fiery red light coming from a lava pool filling an adjoining cavern to the south. A huge Iron Golem lay on the floor some forty feet opposite the door. It showed no sign of life and it's left arm was lay beside it, not yet attached. It was surrounded by a frame of wooden and metal scaffolding, over which a dozen Duergar were busily moving in an attempt to complete the Iron Warrior. Two large red hot stone cauldrons sat by the edge of the lava pool with a iron cage suspended above one by a steel wire running through a ceiling pulley. The end of the wire was held by a nearby Iron Golem, while within the cage a captured Ragnar was seen.

Before the Iron Golem stood a line of five Frost Barbarians with an unarmed Anja by them, seemingly under guard. The Frost Barbarian Chieftain and High Priest, Ulvmard was sighted with the Iron Orb floating around his head on the far side of the scaffold. With him were seven Frost Barbarian warriors and three Duergar. One a finely dressed Cleric and the other two seemingly his bodyguards. Ulvmard was observed seemingly talking with and in mental conflict with the Orb. He called out to the party in Common that if they attacked him Ragnar would die. Anja then called out that the Orb had to be taken from above his head to place it into the Iron Warrior but not to hurt him. One of her guards slapped her to silence her, making her shriek with pain. Ulvmard spun round and a black ray shot out from the Iron Orb disintegrating the warrior, so reducing Anja's guards to four.

The party initially hesitated as Ulvmard headed for the Iron Warrior and the Duergar Cleric cast a spell upon himself. Theo headed for the scaffold with Aluvial following and an attempt was made to destroy it. Several sections were cut down and two Duergar slain before they realised that the scaffolding would not fall easily and their plan changed. Meanwhile Bellamin moved south toward the cauldrons and cast a Dark Way spell underneath Ragnar's cage so that it would be deflected away from the cauldrons and lava if the cage fell. Half of Anja's guards fell away to pursue Bellamin at the southern end of the chamber. Karell lingered in the adjacent storage chamber singing and spent virtually the whole battle there. Kathka stayed with him initially.

From behind Karell and Kathka, Remy and the eight male Drow fighters drew close. Remy sent the fighters in along the northern end of the chamber and soon some of Ulvmard's guards were engaged. She cast a spell upon herself and then followed her males in.

As Theo and Aluvial worked their way under the scaffolding along the sides of the Iron Warrior, the ten Duergar atop the scaffold who were only lightly armed with Light Picks evacuated the scaffold and headed east, forming up along the east wall. Ulvmard had removed the Iron Orb from above his head and held it hesitating, as the Duergar Cleric Nilglot urged him to place the Orb into the head of the Iron Warrior. Theo reached Ulvmard and managed to knock him unconscious, the Orb falling to the floor. Both Theo and Aluvial were now under attack from the remainder of Ulvmard's guards not under attack from the Drow. The Iron Golem released the steel wire and Ragnar's cage fell deflected by the Dark Way spell. The cage hit the floor of the chamber and Ragnar spent the rest of the battle struggling unsuccessfully to free himself from it.

Both Nilglot and his bodyguards enlarged themselves and moved up to seize the Orb. Nilglot cast a Flame Strike upon Theo and Aluvial but only Theo was injured, Aluvial evading the flames under the scaffold. Kathka left Karell and moved towards the southeastern corner of the chamber. By now some of Ulvmard's guards had fallen and were being outflanked by the Drow. Both Nilglot's bodyguards had become engaged in holding off the Drow.

Kathka with a well timed and aimed Lightning Bolt managed to slay all ten of the Duergar that were holding by the eastern wall. The remainder of Anja's guards left her by the Golem and moved to attack Aluvial, as the Drow continued to close in on the surviving Duergar. Theo managed to resist a Wrack spell as he moved to attack Nilglot, who did not last long in melee with Theo.

The surviving Frost Barbarians fell to various enemies, the Drow, Bellamin, Theo and Aluvial. Kathka unwisely caught two of the male Drow and Remy who had recovered the Iron Orb in a Lightning Bolt along with two Frost Barbarians who were slain. Both the males had been previously injured and fell, although Remy resisted the spell entirely. Unsurprisingly Remy and the rest of the Drow took this as a betrayal and reacted with hostility, although they did finish off Nilglot's bodyguards and what was left of the Frost Barbarians.

Both Theo and Aluvial were by now engaged in a fight with the Iron Golem which Aluvial had attacked. Aluvial was repeatedly badly injured during the fight and had to be healed by Bellamin and Kathka. Sensing approaching danger Karell now headed into the southern half of the chamber, as the regrouping Drow approached the entrance door. A volley of seven Hand Crossbow bolts ended Karell's Mirror Image spell and one hit him, although he was saved from the bolt's poison by the Neutralise Poison spells in effect upon the party.

The Iron Golem then fell largely to Aluvial's adamantine weapons, leaving the party facing the now hostile Drow.

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