Ookla the Mok (David)
Tobias the Awkward (Jed)
6 dwarven automatons
2 dwarven automaton/skeleton hybrids
XP from combat: 1,400
The bodies of the intact automatons; sold to the Dwarven Elders for the sum of 3,200 gold minus 400 for a dwarf's funeral expenses and weregild
1 gold double-chevron pin, embossed with three stars; kept by Tobias
XP from treasure: 3,300
XP from carousing: Ookla 1,600; Tobias 600.
The adventurers who formerly ventured in search of Ashur Ram’s dwelling returned to the base camp where they had stashed their river-boats and shared their discoveries with those who had stayed behind. These worthies then rested up at the camp while Ookla and Tobias went to explore.
Not liking the odds of the two of them navigating a trap/puzzle room intact, the party decided to explore the other structure outside town: a sizable mound with a hatch on top. A metal door with no visible means of ingress and a 5' diameter pit or shaft was set inside this mound. Our heroes decided they needed rope, and went into town to buy some.
They decided not to enter via a street filled with barges, workshops, smokestacks, and other evidence of industry, and instead chose a street lined with slums and tenements which proved to intersect with the industrial street. They turned right and encountered a fortress marked with the insignia of a fist, which they believed to be the local constabulary. This intersected with a street that was more prosperous and festive, which passed by the shoulders of the sunken stone colossus. Near the green-flaming ruins of the older city built on its shoulders, they saw two fortresses flying heraldry in which yellow, orange, and black motifs of claws, fangs, and stripes predominated; they took these to be the clan-houses of the Lords of Tooth and Tail and the Lords of Fang and Claw, who they had heard were noble families of were-tigers.
Soon our heroes decided to hire a storyteller, Olaf Gunderson, who directed them to the Street of the Alien where elves were welcome. They rented a private room from an innkeeper, Paraviddik, and learned much about the history of the city. According to Olaf's tales, the First Entities creared a half-mechanical, half-human being named Mechiana to bring justice. However, Digwa Pagnarrian, the god of the Elves, was corrupted by the Plague Dragon, Kugaz Maj and became insane. One result was that Mechiana became a force of destruction known as the World-Gobbler.
The site of the current city, the Weretiger Sultanate, was once a dwarven trading outpost. Threatened by the World-Gobbler, the dwarves built a defensive wall. The World-Gobbler made short work of this fortification, but was brought low by a dwarven hero, Theodotos Kapila, wielding the sword Clarent, Excalibur's twin. Clarent's power petrified the World-Gobbler, which then sank beneath the waters of the swamp.
Thus began the Age of Ruin & Excavation, in which the dwarves neglected the devastation of the original trading city and instead dug tunnels into the corpus of the World-Gobbler, finding rare and magical minerals created by the petrification of this semi-divine construct. They became fatefully obsessed with the secrets they discovered within, and met a dire fate which Olaf skillfully left unspoken for maximum dramatic potential. Into the void of power came a rakshasa sorceror and his lycanthropic minions, who established the current city, the Weretiger Sultanate.
Not long ago the rakshasa was deposed or at least reduced in power - none have seen him in years - by an equally rarely-seen necromancer, Ashur Ram. Ashur Ram caused a tunnel in the World-Gobbler's chest to be re-opened, and not long after the ghostly image of the colossus was seen in the sky. Olaf reports that this colossus flies around and carries Ashur Ram on his errands.
Our heroes then recruited two henchmen - the elf Rolzac and the dwarf Nolgur - and paid for the recruitment of a cleric, who has not yet materialized. Other henchmen - the dapper elf Flewend and the drunken dwarves Bombar and Igdar - refused service for one reason or another, and were fed a story about recovering a sunken caravan in the swamps.
The next morning the party set out towards the swamps, but doubled back to the hatch. With the help of Tobias's summoned silverback gorilla strongly resembling Groucho Marx, they managed to crank it open and discovered a shaft 60' in diameter, set with rings and the tooth-cog strip that proved to be part of a clockwork pedal-powered elevator platform 200' below. At this point, the rungs met a staircase which descended into a stone tulip-dome filled with water. Tobias and Ookla swam beneath this water and discovered that it was part of a massive sink trap like the one on the right here. They navigated this without hazard and found a doorway in the shaft 20' below, which they explored rather than continuing further downward.
Inside they found an octagonal room with three doors marked "Barracks", "Main Generator Core", and "Colossus Research Facility". They decided to explore the latter, but as they did they were followed by a number of automatons in the shape of dwarves, who insisted that they identify themselves and requested that they follow them to speak with the Sargent who would know what to do with them. Ookla asked whether the Sargent was expecting them, trying to ascertain whether they were in some sort of mystical/mechanical communication with the entity. They replied that he was not and inquired after Ookla's identity. Yelling "My name is Jimminy Cricket and I'm here to make with the rescue!" the previously invisible Ookla became visible as he launched into an attack of one of the mechanoids. Ookla, Tobias, Rolzac, Nolgur and the tuxedo-bedecked gorilla who resembled Groucho Marx dispatched the automatons, but not without the loss of the gorilla. Thirster noted that he was unable to draw forth any souls from the mecha-dwarves.
Deciding that these automatons had come from the barracks, our heroes set off in that direction. A door in which neither dust nor tracks was seen looked promising; upon opening it Ookla was hit by a pipe that swung down on wires from the ceiling! Beyond they found a room with a jewelry case containing a golden rank insignia, and another room with a silver mirror set in the wall that Thirster said was a secret door and Tobias believed was a magical field. Manipulating this proved fruitless; a broken-off silver fixture next to the mirror contained a bundle of exposed red and blue wires, so the party set off in search of whatever was originally set in this fixture.
Hearing noises, the party had for some time suspected that they were being followed; the ambush proved to be two junky automatons who had repaired themselves with dwarven bones. These foes were no match for the invisible Ookla, but the noise of the fight brought eight more of their ilk who quickly felled Rolzac and Nolgur and then began chopping them up to get at their bones.
Tobias had been seriously wounded in prior battles, so Ookla and Tobias withdrew from the melee and slammed and with spikes secured a solid door between them and the dwarves. Knowing that the dwarves would sunder the door eventually, they became invisible, and through Tobias' magic used spider climb and levitate to hide on the ceiling and then slip past the skeleton-automata. They then used ropes to haul out the bodies of the first six relatively intact automata and brought them back to town, where:
1) Ookla was approached by an elf who offered to pay 100 gp per pound of Tobias's corpse if it was delivered to him fresh; Ookla told the elf that he had "grown fond" of his human companion and would not wish to see harm come to him. Nevertheless, he took the elf's card and did not outwardly display his unease at this violation of the coolness policy. Ookla has decided not to reveal this information to the rest of the party, especially not to Chrystos.
2) They made contact with a young dwarf who knew Nolgur and claimed to speak for the dwarven elders; this dwarf paid them for the automaton remains, and the way was paved for more such sales when the party agreed to pay 400 gp for the fallen henchman's family and funeral expenses.
3) Another elf, Zarrol, was recruited who said he was a relative of Rolzac and was eager to wreak revenge.
At the end of the session, Ookla visited the Street of Temples and found a window in which the priests showed him a vision of Anubis; Ookla returned his share of the gold that the party had taken from the Pharoah's Tomb and made an offering of the preserved hearts of numerous hill giants he had taken part in killing, including the hill giants' thane and his mistress. In return Anubis granted him the right to retrieve his bag of holding from the tomb. Ookla clumsily heaped praise and adulation on Anubis and Anubis warned the ranger that he was in a place of great temptation, and that he should not cross the god again.
Tobias went to learn more about the city and heard that the weretiger nobles were compensated for the loss of their former unchecked power under the rakshasa sultan by being given access to the unlimited flesh of dwarves; approximately once a week, the ghost colossus descends so that some of the young nobles can climb into its mouth for a picnic. Rumor had it that the Lords of Tooth and Tail were angry at Ashur Ram that some of their youths were killed during such an outing, and that the were-tigers knew that the teenager's jewelry had been appraised at the Bank Inviolable. Word was that the Bank was holding firm against pressure to disclose the name of its client.