April 24-May 6, 2017
Exploring the Caves
Tuesday, October 31
The degenerate pirates are dispatched quickly and as they fall, the caverns become eerily quiet. A stiff breeze blows through one of the passages and makes an low moaning sound. Distant sounds of water sloshing around can be heard echoing from all around. The sounds of screaming and fighting seem to have subsided again, at least for now.
In turn, each of the fallen opponents makes their final last twitch then seems to pop and dissolve into a gooey dark puddle on the sand. Everyone now quite familiar with this process, gives the downed foes space, with a little extra room given to the large muscular lizards. Flickering light from several hanging lanterns cast the room in an orange glow.
While checking himself out after being chewed on by the giant lizard, Moonscar realizes that in addition to his robe being torn up quite a bit, his Chaperone’s Charm has disintegrated as well, no doubt after warding off whatever pestilent disease these creatures give off. He gives Arn a quick look over and sees that his too has disappeared.
Sings to Moon makes a sad, mournful while as she tries to turn around and lick the long, jagged wound on her back caused by the pirates cutlass. Her pain distracts Moonscar from his own predicament. As he goes to check on his companion, he immediately feels a terrible headache coming on. He gets hot and begins to pant uncontrollably. Nearby, Arn has plopped down onto the sand and taken his helmet off. His hair and beard are plastered to his face and he is covered in sweat. “What did I drink?” he says weakly. Valinya feels her stomach sink when as she sees her friends displaying the same symptoms that Seeker had recently shown. She starts to panic when she thinks about the magical energy that will be required to treat these two and then remembers that she has two Paut potions stashed in her bag. She will only need to become solid again in order to access them.
With a breathy sigh Valinya solidifies herself and says, “I’m going to drink myself to re-energize then set about curing that vile disease from the two of you. And I’ll even avoid my lecture on the dangers of enormous reptiles. I think that lesson has been learned.” Removing a paut potion she quaffs it, waiting to feel the effect before deciding on whether or not to take the second.
Seeker looks quizzically at Val. “Dangers of reptiles? But Val, you were the one who told us to go that way. Unless the lesson you want us to learn is not to listen to you...” He shrugs and shakes his head.
The party regroups near where they initially entered this chamber while Valinya drinks her rejuvenating potion. She smiles and looks refreshed almost immediately after drinking it. While she drinks, the others scan the area. It appears that there are several ways out of this chamber and Arn points out that he can see a closed wooden door some distance away down one of the tunnels leading off the chamber. Just then the sounds of fighting return. They are coming from either the passageway leading out to the north or from out past the doorway in the north west corner of the room. A strong, clear female voice shouts out, “Jebadiah, is that you lad? Yer not looking so good. Here let me send you on your way back to HELL!” Steel can be heard clashing against steel and then what sounds like frenzied banging on a wooden door.
In a quieter voice Valinya says, “That doesn’t sound good. So we have a choice of ether pausing so I can cure this disease on Arn and Brother or we press on and take our chances on their ability to function. One option for healing would be to arrange ourselves wisely and retreat back to the narrow passage. I would be between the sick kids so I can heal and rest. That leaves one person to guard each entrance. Or we roll the dice and move on.”
Seeker shakes his head. “Val, you stay here with Brother and Arn. Do what you need to do. I think Gorg, Silver and I can check out what’s ahead.” He looks at the half-Ogre and the Dragon. “Right, guys?” He sets off to investigate Jebediah’s frenemy.
Valinya quirks a dubious eyebrow at Seeker’s confidence but wisely says nothing. Focusing on her task, she looks over the two sick puppies. Since Arn was injured first she goes to him to sing her song of healing, hoping to remove the blight from his body.
Silver looks at Seeker and blinks a couple of times, then looks at Arn, then looks back. “You sure you want to go contract more of that disease without Valinya close by? I suppose we could look around but I don’t think we should go far. Especially if more of these crazies come out of a side passage behind us.”
As Valinya starts her magic, Seeker leads Gorg and Silver across the wide cavern toward one of the exits to the north. As the Elf maid begins her healing song, screaming, moaning and clanging metal sounds can be heard loudly from the passage to the northwest. Seeker and his glowing head gets farther away but the several flickering oil lanterns hanging around the room give enough light to see by.
As Valinya starts her magic, Seeker leads Gorg and Silver across the wide cavern toward one of the exits to the north. As the Elf maid begins her healing song, screaming, moaning and clanging metal sounds can be heard loudly from the passage to the northwest.
As the group moves across the chamber, Seeker starts picking up some interesting smells, though the strange cavern breezes swirl them around quite a bit. As the group approaches the passageway leading to the north, he can smell some sort of animal den and what he has begun to equate as the “savage disease” smell, though that smell seems to permeate everything around here. A faint breeze from the north-west brings the strong and unmistakable smell of people excrement and filth.
Looking over at Seeker as the presumed leader of the trio, Gorg asks “Do we just wanna take a quick peek down each of these corridors before deciding which way to go?”
Seeker shrugs. “Gonna go with my ears and nose. Sounds like someone not crazy is down that way to the north. Let’s see if we can help them out.” He turns to the others. “Val, we can hear the person we’re going to find. Stands to reason we’ll be able to hear you. If there’s any trouble, give a yell. Or better yet, Arn give a yell.” He smiles. He readies a throwing axe and starts towards the tunnel to the north. “Shall we?”
Silver nods. “We should peek down the side passages, but otherwise I think the door is going to lead to the most interesting place. If we have enough time before a fight breaks out I’ll try and put some flame resistance on you guys, should make it easier for me to blast everything then.”
As the three companions approach the cavern opening, the light on Seeker’s head reveals what appears to be a short tunnel leading to a small cavern beyond. The light from Seeker’s glowing head reveals the bodies of three strange creatures in a mangled heap in the center of this cave, their bodies torn apart and gnawed down to the bone. It’s difficult to tell what manner of wolf or hyena-like creatures they once were. Spiked collars lie empty beside their decapitated bodies, chains running from each out of sight to other places not visible from here. Seeker smells and hears something breathing heavily inside the cavern, more than likely trying to be quiet. The stench of the recently dead carcasses fills his sensitive nostrils as does the smell of the “savage pestilence” that seems to be everywhere now.
Silver pokes Seeker well? What’s in there? If you’re not going in, can I?
Gorg frowns a bit, still turning his head towards the door a bit with each new moan and scream, “Silver, if whatever is down there isn’t actually looking for a fight, then let’s move on. If it was diseased, it would have come out after us already, they aren’t sneaky or smart.”
Silver shakes her head. “Not so sure. Looks like there’s been a bit of a fight in there. If something is moaning and groaning, it’s probably because it’s suffering from that disease and changing into something uglier. Might be better to put it out of its misery before it becomes dangerous later.”
As the three ponder their decision, a loud crashing and cracking sound can be heard from back behind them echoing through the chamber and seeming to emanate from the southern passages leading into the caverns. This bedlam is followed by a rising swooshing sound that goes from a low roar to a high pitched whistle, possibly just air passing through the caverns but possibly something else entirely. An inhuman scream that turns into insane cackling immediately follows, seeming to come from all directions at once.
Looking back, they see Arn, Moonscar and Sings to Moon all tense and ready while Valinya continues to sing her long song of healing, completely oblivious to the chaotic sounds around her. Almost as one, Seeker, Silver and Gorg decide to return to their companions and wait for Valinya to finish her magic before pressing forward, splitting the group and potentially leaving half of the party exposed to dangers.
Silver turns about as she hears the cackling. “Yeah, it seems like a bad idea to leave the others when these sorts of things are going on.” She heads back to Valinya and the others, expecting the big guys to follow.
As the three explorers return to the others, Valinya finishes her first castings, a Body Reading on both Arn and Moonscar. She explains that while they are both infected with this Savage Fever, the chaotic disease seems to manifest each time differently in each individual. She is glad she performed the Body Reading spells first, as it gives her a much needed insight as to how to focus her songs intended to purge the fever from her friends bodies. Knowing how to combat the dangerous disease, she begins her song of healing on Arn with the comfort that all of her friends are here close by and out of danger.
Arn just sits there blinking in disbelief. Between the beating he took at the hands, or mouth rather, of the Giant Lizard as well as the diseased after effects, he hasn’t felt this bad since he took on a Tusker years ago when the group first formed. “Belimar’s Beard! I haven’t felt like this since that Tusker ran me over….” His voice drops off as he twitches at times and others just stares off. “Good on ya lass, I fouled that one up and should have waited to see if we could have just crossed the passage first before trying to fight that thing. It’s been awhile since I’ve lost a fight.” Arn sits back and closes his eyes, as Valinya’s magics start to take effect.
Valinya smiles warmly … “I remember that Tusker battle. T’was fine and well done indeed.” Then she moves over to repeat her songs for Bother.
As Valinya finished up on Arn, Moonscar doubles over and holds his head with his hands. The dark spots in his fur begin to ooze and small bony protrusions begin to sprout under his fur. The Kankoran Druid’s mind races and he struggles with concentrating on any single thought. Sings to Moon begins to whimper and pace around, watching her companion but not approaching him. She snorts and bares her teeth a few times as well. Valinya quickly launches into another round of magical healing.
After another 5 minutes of singing, Valinya is confident that the disease has been removed from both of her friends. The loud and random sounds coming from the caverns all around the group have stopped and it is once again eerily quiet. The little bony protrusions that had appeared on Moonscar become flaky and brittle and begin falling off at the slightest touch or movement, though there are still some areas of dark, sticky fur from the oozing earlier.
Arn thanks Valinya for her powerful healing abilities. “My lady, once again, you not only prove your worth in any venture, but I again am indebted to you with my life.” Arn takes the time to stretch out his arms, look over his armor to see what will need repair. He’s not happy about the bite marks and some crushing damage on his armor, but this is why he wears it. Arn recovers his throwing axe and awaits for his companions to reassemble for further exploration and battle.
“Whew! OK, from this point forward no one is allowed to be bitten by these creatures … zombies … whatever. So ranged attacks as much as possible. I don’t think weapons will be an issue … I hope … but creatures most definitely we should avoid engaging closely. And now I’ll try to rest … until the next unwanted visitor comes.”
The group decides to rest for another short period to allow Valinya to recover her fatigue in case any further spell casting is necessary. During the rest period, no other diseased attackers appear, though the occasional scream and cry can be heard echoing through the chamber. Occasionally the sound of metal clanging against metal rings out or the sound of something wooden being smashed, but nothing close and nothing sustained, just random sounds here and there. Finally, after everyone has rested enough to be back at full endurance, a quiet seems to have taken over the caverns. Only the occasional whistling wind or crashing surf can be heard.
Cast of Characters:
+Arne Jamtgaard plays Seeker, a teenage Wolfen Warlord
+Mike Biancone plays Arn, a surly Dwarven Warrior
+Amergin O'Kai plays Moonscar, the esoteric Kankoran Druid
+Daniel White plays Silver, a young and curious Dragon
+Mike Williams plays Gorgukk Torgnaz, an Ogre sailor and mauler
and +Jason GURPS as the GM
+Mike Williams plays Gorgukk Torgnaz, an Ogre sailor and mauler
and +Jason GURPS as the GM