G179: Remember the Forgotten Tomb!

Date: 21 May 2013
PCs: Ehric le Clerice, Lummock, Charlie Darrowkin, Garvey from Darokin, Barnaby and Bouvier Flanders

Summary

While the stalwarts of the Company of Crossed Swords trek back and forth to Glantri selling trinkets and consulting priestesses, a ragtag group of back-benchers returns from the Ruined Vales and proceeds Southwest, to the tomb of a Warrior-King that has laid forgotten and undisturbed for several months.

Continuing in the grandest traditions of the Crossed Swords, the most and least intelligent members of the assembled party collaborated on a map of the twisted rats' nest of a cavern complex. Cavern complex, you ask? What of the tomb? This is an excellent question, for beyond the memorial obelisk that lay, thrown down in a completely understandable manner, in a heap at the rough hole that serves as an entrance to the caves, there is little tomb-like that the party encountered. It was a mark of the adventurers' psychological resilience that this was a matter of much jesting, even as they encountered harrowing creatures like wan, eyeless cave goblins. These fiends sniffed blindly at the air across the cavern from the company, assailing them with their sightless fumbling until — afraid for his life — Charlie nocked an arrow and let fly, striking the foul beast down next to the pool in which it gathered its menacing diet of cave grubs. The other goblins fled into the pool, no doubt to plan ambushes and sneak attacks befitting their uniquely foul combination of treachery and helplessness.

The Company ignored, for the time being, a glowing purple hallway, and instead proceeded into a labyrinth of tunnels. These ultimately revealed a nearby cave with a similar grub-pool, with an untested implication of an underwater passage. The party discovered an underground river cutting through a chasm that, unsurprisingly when you think of it, was also underground. The chasm was spanned by a narrow stone bridge, sturdy enough but lacking the kind of basic safety measures that even a minimal regulatory body would advise, thus suggesting that the tomb was less that of a Warrior-King than some kind of anarchist strongman, and when you consider the follow-on implications for specialized training the architecture of the strongman's tomb complex is hardly surprising.

Also not surprising is the plunge Ehric took into the racing waters of the underground river below when Lummock ordered the Company across the bridge. After a splash and a gurgle, the remaining heroes were at a loss for what to do. Charlie, never at a loss for cheery if misguided derring-do, made use of his boots of spider-climb to investigate Ehric's whereabouts, thus becoming separated from the party. The rest of the Company stood by and worried unti a gray ooze appeared at the far side of the bridge. At last, a situation with a clearly defined response in Lummock's corpus strategem: The party ran.

Further along the coursing underground river, Charlie and Ehric found themselves dangling above the water from a mass of pendulous vines. Beyond the thicket of rope-like vegetation, a purple glow emanated from an unknown source. Charlie and Ehric climbed. The vines, they found, hung down from a chamber of luminescent mushrooms of many sizes, the largest towering above them like spongy, glowing, fungoid trees without distinct branches. Behind one of these treelike-only-in-size mushrooms, something stirred, and the Company's vanguard (or rearguard, depending on your point of view) found themselves facing a trio of creatures that were clearly related to mushrooms but walked and had the rough shape of men. Depending on your preferred linguistic roots, you might refer to them as mycanthromorphs, or perhaps boletomonids, or even swamm-wights. These mushpeople were immediately and irrevocably hostile, and proceeded to attack the Vanguard of Crossed Swords with blows both physical and psychedelic. Eventually, all of the mushpeople that existed in the shared sensory space of Ehric and Charlie were destroyed, but Ehric lay battered and unconscious at the feet of a halfling rocketing through a synaesthetic wonderland of truth and beauty and shivering, technicolor insight.

Meanwhile, the Rearguard was inching their way down narrow caverns. In one, they saw a writhing mass of cave goblins and immediately deployed Gray Ooze Strategy 1-A. This, as it happens, was foreshadowing, for as they fumbled ahead through another narrow opening that opened onto a bridgeless chasm, the Rearguard captains were dismayed to hear the ominous SCHLORP of a gray ooze closing the tunnel behind them. The astute reader will have surmised that, among the Rearguard, it was the rearguardingest of them in the most immediate danger from the schlorping ooze in the one-man wide tunnel, and no-one was more rearguardly on that fateful night than Barnaby Flanders. While his cousin and companions fumbled with torches and a single polearm, trying to bring someone else to bear on the horrid beast, Barnaby made the best show he could. Judgment rang out as the tunnel filled with the acrid smells of dissolving vegetamonid. Garvey from Darokin and Lummock scrambled to the fore, and the blood pounding behind their eardrums drowned out what were surely the piercing laments of Bouvier Flanders, spell-less and alone in what would soon be the Tomb of the Forgotten Plant Man.

Meanwhile, Charlie and Ehric waited for their companions to find them.

While Charlie and Ehric waited, the Rearguard collected what salvageable equipment and Flanders heirlooms they could, and — having decided that the sizzling, torso-less body was beyond the reach of raise dead — identified the most reincarnatable bits of Barnaby's remains and scooped them into a bag. They then set off for the chamber near the entrance that glowed with purple light, because Garvey from Darokin was confident that it was festooned with amethysts and other, more metagamic, valuables. Fortunately, Lummock and Bouvier had compiled expert and usable maps, at least in the sense that an expert in the fabrication of these specific maps could mostly use them, and the tattered remains of the Rearguard were reunited with the crippled remnant of the Vanguard. Recognizing the precarious situation, the conscious members of the party established a series of watches in the glowing chamber and rested until Ehric could plead for Trianoma's reliable-on-a-daily-basis intercession on his behalf, and then marched purposefully out of that woeful place. Their last hope of remuneration lay in a sample of the glowing mushroom.

Taking said sample to Gaumont Ox-Eye, they were dismayed to see it rot and liquefy. This left them in a position to receive Gaumont's offer of interest in future glowing mushrooms if they could be retrieved, but required Charlie to augment Bouvier's inheritance with his own monies to finance a reincarnation attempt.

Gaumont prepared an incubating mound, planted Barnaby's remains in it, and enacted various magical and fertilizing incantations over it. He instructed the assembled to rest the night, and see what the morning would sprout. After a good meal and correspondingly sound night's rest, the household assembled to see what would emerge from the hilly vegetable womb of Gaumont's magical garden. It was a small Roc. As it happens, the Roc has the capacity to speak, Barnaby's memories, and also somewhat leafy plumage; on the whole, a pretty interesting Roc, which is more than you usually dig up in the garden.

Losses and Loot

Each surviving PC received 50xp for enemies defeated. And then there was Barnaby.


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