Super Mega Monkey Ultra Extreme
Dungeons & Dragons Edition
Recap 24: Tomb de Vasquez
January 17, 2009
The group took the opportunity to stock up on much-needed supplies in South Luka. While doing so, they chatted with some locals and discovered that the people were generally satisfied with Lord Phantar's rule. A local nobleman named Miles was in the habit of routinely threatening rebellion in order to get concessions from Phantar such as tax cuts. If it came to war, the people of South Luka might not be all that willing to jump in the fight.
Alana, Flerm, Lieralyn, Oliver, and Brecaryn left to check out a weapons training establishment run by a weaponsmaster named Goxx Jarrick. Although Alana, Flerm, and Lieralyn had surpassed Goxx in their primary weapons, they decided to spend the 3 days necessary to increase their skills in a secondary weapon.
Upon discovering South Luka had a population of halflings, Josy visited the local temple. It proved to be a profitable visit for the group, as she was able to obtain 5 flasks of holy water and 5 small potions of healing.
Quickly becoming bored with the talk of weapons, Brecaryn went on her own to visit the Mages Guild and check out the store of Denvaar & Kurio, the two strange men the group had encountered on their way to Betaya. Unfortunately, Brecaryn had no luck with either of her destinations. The guild was only open to members. The servant who answered the door was quite shocked when Brecaryn revealed she had studied with Beeblebrox and slammed the door on her face. Denvaar & Kurio's Specialy Breeds was closed due to the owners being away.
When everyone regrouped at the tavern, Alana, Flerm, and Lieralyn announced their intention to stay. Brecaryn attempted to convince them that finding Phantar as quickly as possible was the primary concern, and that they should not delay the group for 3 days to train in weapons they hardly used. Snow expressed her annoyance at their selfishness, making a decision that affected the entire group without even considering consulting everyone first. The 3 were unmoved by this argument, feeling that any weapons training could potentially help the group's survival in the long run and was worth the wait. Plus, what was 3 more days of captivity, anyway?
With the split in interests, it was put to a vote with the remainder of the party as to whether they should wait for the 3 to finish with their training or to go on ahead without them. They unanimously decided not to wait and instead to meet with the 3 at Tsunami's compound. Oliver, though wishing to improve his skills, nevertheless mistrusted Alana, Flerm, and Lieralyn so opted to go with the rest instead.
This decided, Malouf, Oliver, and Alana departed for the tavern next door. There, they saw a group of mages, one of which seemed to be boasting about the golem he had created. Thinking this might be of interest to Brecaryn, Alana left to get her. Malouf quickly lost himself in his cups - Chyekk always did say human ale was a piss poor substitute for real drink. Oliver made sure the tab was paid.
As soon as Brecaryn walked into the tavern with Vain, the mage Lotho Bloodsky noticed them. And he looked none too pleased. Brecaryn, no nonsense as usual and with little care for subtlety and subterfuge openly stated she had no hand in making Vain, had no idea what his purpose was, nor did she in any way control him - could Lotho help find the answers?
Intrigued, Lotho offered to study the golem starting the next morning. Part of the "study" involved pitting his golem against Vain. Malouf was very much in favor of this plan. Brecaryn demurred and hoped the research could be done in a less destructive manner. Brecaryn tentatively agreed to meet with Lotho at the Guild, with the caveat that she might be leaving too early in the morning to actually make the appointment.
On the way home from the tavern, the 4 (plus Vain) encountered an apparition, a lady in white. The ghost approached them, hands outstretched, calling for a "Michael". Alana stepped forward to communicate with her. When their hands met, the ghost rejected Alana and disappeared. Alana appeared to have aged decades, and Malouf was now mostly sober. Alana was understandably quite vocally distressed.
As it turned out, the Lady in White was a local legend. Only travelers ever reported seeing her. The mages believed she had something to do with the Vargas Manor, which was also reported to be haunted. Upon hearing this, Alana inquired if there was any treasure at the mansion. She received the usual reaction.
In the middle of the night, a commotion awoke the party. Venetto came bearing gifts - Don Picasso. The bard had followed them from Betaya and attempted to sneak into South Luka before he was caught. Nobody was happy to see him. Don Picasso told Venetto he was with the Motley Crew. This Snow denied. So off to the dungeons he went. At least Snow got an assurance from Venetto that the bard would not be harmed.
In the morning, the Crew parted ways. Brecaryn left a message that the Mages Guild for Lotho apologizing for skipping out on their appointment.
According to some information Brecaryn had, at the foot of the mountains, near the Togo Ridge Pass, there was a cave. Inside the cave, Brecaryn was told a piece of an artifact known as Cervantes' Sword was hidden. Beeblebrox had charged her with finding the pieces of this artifact before others did. So, the party headed for the cave.
It didn't appear that anyone had disturbed this cave in some time, so chances were, the Crew was ahead of anyone else looking for the sword. A plaque at the mouth of the cave named it the "Tomb of Vasquez". They entered cautiously, as usual. And as usual, the bad guys got the jump on them.
Green snakes burst out of the ground. One grabbed Josy and slammed her into a wall. Brecaryn fried one with a fireball and Malouf and Snow killed another. With each kill, a shriek of pain could be heard. As they continued on, more snakes burst through for them to kill.
Why did this seem familiar to Snow? Oh, that's right. They encountered this same type of creature a year ago - goddamned hydra. They'd been helping it generate more heads with each kill.
The new plan? Fireball the thing. As Malouf, Snow, Josy, and Oliver attempted to keep the creature busy, Brecaryn started to make her way around a wall, thinking the hydra was behind it. She didn't make it. The ground fell away and she landed in a hole. But hey, she found the hydra, at least! Kudos for that!
Luckily, Oliver had recharged his ring with a fireball spell. Standing on the top of the wall, he managed to get all 12 heads. The headless hydra, clearly sensing defeat, ran. Unfortunately, it trampled on Brecaryn on the way out. They followed to make sure of the kill, but lost track of it when it escaped through a second opening in the cave.
Now that the attacks had subsided, they could spend some time figuring out the figurines strung up above the wall. The strings they hung on seemed connected to a giant boulder in the wall. Snow checked for traps and found none.
An angel, the sun, a sphinx, an elf, a human, and a dwarf - each with a coin-sized slot and each with an inscription giving a clue. It was a good thing Chyekk wasn't there. He would not have appreciated the depiction of his people. They reasoned the sun figurine must be for a gold coin and the angel a platinum coin. When one was dropped in each, the figurines began to glow. As a test, a gold piece was dropped in the sphinx. Malouf was hit with an electrical charge and the other 2 figures stopped glowing. Now they knew - each figure required a unique coin. Unfortunately, they didn't have all the denominations necessary so the boulder remained in place.
Before giving up entirely, Brecaryn tried to shrink the boulder. It backfired. Instead of shrinking the stone, Brecaryn got shrunk. Some days it's just not worth the trouble of getting out of bed. Josy carefully put Brecaryn in her pocket, and the party left for Tsunami's compound.
While the others were off having fun, Alana, Flerm, and Lieralyn were hard at work improving their skills. For three days, they did nothing but train. Too exhausted for anything else, Alana did not get to explore the haunted Vargas manor for hidden treasure as she had hoped.
But it all paid off in the end. With their improved weapons skills, the three headed for the Temple of the Drunken Butterfly 3 days later to meet up with the rest of the Crew.
After regrouping (and regrowing), each shared information on what had happened in the last 3 days. Checking their monetary supply, they found they were short an electrum piece and iron currency was not one of the denominations in circulation. The party now had a bit of a dilemma. Time was of the essence, but now that they had entered the cave and cleared out the hydra, anyone else searching for Cervantes' sword would have a much easier time. They had to get the artifact now or risk losing it entirely. Considering the importance of the missions Beeblebrox tasked them with, they didn't have much choice. They would have to go back to the cave.
Snow was chosen to run back to South Luka to obtain electrum coins and find a blacksmith to melt down an iron spike and make coins. Meanwhile, the rest of the group would make their way back down the pass to the cave and wait for her there.
As soon as this was done, the Crew easily solved the puzzle:
The boulder exploded and revealed a room. The floor of the room was littered with skeletons. Two dragon pillars flanked a doorway on the other end. When the whole group entered, the bones on the floor came together, and an army of skeletons surrounded them.
Josy, now armed with a more potent symbol of Yondalla, easily destroyed them. With the last skeleton down, a gusty sigh could be heard through the passageway.
Continuing on, they encountered a ghost, much like the Lady in White. Knowing what happened to Alana, nobody wanted to approach it. Unfortunately, the ghost didn't have such compunctions and walked right into Lieralyn. She aged just as Alana had, but being a full-blooded elf, wore her years much better. The apparition said "Too late" before Josy turned it. Was he the one the Lady in White was looking for?
Heading down the corridor towards the ghouls, Josy suddenly broke down crying. Oliver seemed to be overcome with grief, as well. Malouf's brother Malain and Lieralyn's duplicate, LP2 for short, appeared. The jermalaines Brecaryn had summoned to lure the bulette surrounded her. Snow was only aware of a feeling of depression but remained otherwise unaffected. Flerm and Alana showed now signs of being affected at all.
Those who were able to mustered themselves to fight these creations of guilt. Unfortunately, it was taking time and the longer the fight lasted, the more the ghouls were able to shake off the fear Josy had instilled in them. They shambled over and began attacking the party, too.
Fearing they'd be overrun, Snow entered the room to examine the dial, hoping she could stop whatever it was causing the manifestations. Unable to decipher the symbols, she took a chance and turned it.
The Crew's chances certainly changed when she did this - a door in the wall opened to reveal 2 skeleton champions guarding a third in flames.
Through alot of luck and perseverance, they managed to kill the manifestations and the skeletons. However, during Malouf's fight with Malain's manifestation, Malouf found himself wielding the soul-sucking axe that replaced his soul-sucking sword in the dimension of Yog-Soggoth. *sigh*
After having such an easy time with the ghouls, they proceeded to the northern corridor to deal with the vampires. Instead of engaging them directly, they fired an arrow enchanted by Josy's eternal daylight spell into the far wall of the northern corridor.
Far from destroying the would-be vampires, it only caused dismay and confusion among them. Speaking with them, the group ascertained that these were not vampires, but restless spirits, most likely of men who had been trapped years ago by the boulder. Josy administered last rites to them, and they departed peacefully.
The room contained 2 doors. Behind 1 door was a room with a throne, and hanging on the door itself was a mirror. Curiously, whoever sat on the throne could not see themselves in the mirror. The second door revealed a similar room with a similar throne and mirror. Alana and Snow each sat on a throne. Humanoid dragons appeared in the mirrors and the wall behind the second throne disappeared to reveal yet another throne. Brecaryn sat on this one, completing the "ritual". Images flashed through her head, too quickly for her to really understand. All except the last one. A beautiful woman was talking to Willy. Only, she wasn't a woman at all. It was Gloiterwome, and now she knew they had seen her.