Rule Review, because this came up: Resting for spells. Calendar day is not directly important for anyone except Kerplak, but is indirectly important for Ron and Halvard because they must choose one specific hour during which they pray every calendar day. Sleep counts as restful calm, but is required by no-one for spell casting.
Albedon: Must have 8 hours of restful calm (+1 hour per interruption) and 1 hour of study and may then select his spells.
Kerplak: Can cast X of times per Calendar day regardless of rest/sleep/preparation. Yes, he can do that you know. Isn’t it awful?
Tersplink: Must have 8 hours of restful calm (+1 hour per interruption) then all his spellslots regenerate.
Ron and Halvard: Must choose a SET TIME each day that they pray/meditate/contemplate/brood for one hour after which time they may select their spells.
Dagfinn: Must have 8 hours of restful calm (+1 hour per interruption) then all his spellslots regenerate. Sexy dancing is NOT required, no matter what he tells you.
Come back in nine plus however many times you knock the door from now on hours.
So we started the session with the player-characters standing around the fresh corpse of Ghlorofaex and they immediately fell to looting it, in accordance with tradition. However, being a dragon, Ghlorofaex didn’t have pockets or backpacks to rifle through, dragons pretty much only have jewelry on them. In this case, a Ring of Greater Cold Resistance and his mark of office, the Sihedron Ring. Dagfinn took the Sihedron ring, I’m not sure who got the Cold Resistance… someone who doesn’t want to track how many tissues their character has and more. Things are about to get super cold anyway, so whoever it was is going to feel pretty clever once they’re on the side of a mountain.
Arradin really started the ball rolling with going back on the deal they had with the Denizens of Leng by studying the map of Xin Shalast to see if there was a way past the Rising District that wouldn’t involve giving the MoL their gadgety pylon. That soon became an avalanche of discussion, but in the meantime, Dagfinn went around the walls, soaking up the expertly catalogued information about the architecture, history and economy of Xin-Shalast that Gholorfaex had arranged around this room as in the previous room.
Kerplak went a-searchin’ and found a secret passageway. What had once been a secret passage now served as the dragon’s meticulously ordered hoard. Neat piles of coins and boxes of gems arranged by type, style and size, magic items, laid out perpendicular to each other. Ghlorofaex was a very neat dragon. To his dismay, Kerplak had not been sneaky about opening the secret door, “Hey guys, look at this secret do-… my mistake, just a not-secret… wall flap… with nothing behind it. At all.”, and so had to share the treasure with other people. There wasn’t a whole lot of room, but the objets d’art and magic items were dragged out and identified and the coins counted and dropped in a bag.
There were some rather nice high level scrolls in there and a Wand of Lightning that will keep someone entertained. No copper coins though. We speculated on why an electricity-spewing dragon may not have copper and we believe that was a huge oversight on his part.
Anyway, it was at this point that the mammoth discussion about double-crossing the Denizens of Leng began. The Dragon had given them a second perspective on the Men of Leng’s activities as well as a ticking clock. 5 days. 5 days until Ghlorofaex expected Karzoug to return. How accurate this countdown was, you are not sure, but there isn’t much to suggest that Ghlorofaex was sloppy about much.
The deal with the Men of Leng who saved them from the Rune Giant was that they would provide a passage through the Rising District if the party returned a gadget that Ghlorofaex had stolen. That was all. They thought the newcomers were silly to want to try to kill Karzoug and warned them of his immense power. But whatever, the party represented a neutral agency that would allow them to retrieve their pylon-gadget without them having to take direct, possibly-Karzoug-ire-attracting attention. If they wanted to hasten their own doom by rushing to the citadel, it was no skin off whatever they have under their scarves.
But now Ghlorofaex had revealed what he posited was the Lengites true purpose, to redirect the energies that Karzoug was using to return to simultaneously sacrifice thousands of Rune Giants as a vast offering to Mhar, who would apparently pop out and eat the world somehow. Halvard’s proposal was that they get the pylon, put it in a Bag of Holding and destroy the BoH, thereby annihilating the pylon forever. But then they’d be stuck schlepping through the Rising District with only 5 days before Karzoug holds his big Homecoming Invasion. So after much to-and-fro-ing, they decided to put the pylon in the otherwise empty BoH, give it to a third party (in this case Albedon and Torgor who had come down with altitude sickness) and get ready to renegotiate the terms of the agreement with the Men of Leng. The Bag would be destroyed should the party feel they were double-crossed as a message would be sent to the Bag’s holder. Halvard is also suspicious of spies within the party so the location of the Bag holders was kept a secret. All of this was, of course, purely academic because they hadn’t found pylon and it wasn’t until Kerplak made a successful Find Obvious and Visible Doors check that they eventually got around to looting everything that was hidden under Noe’s chinese food containers. They found a small closet and inside the closet, the Lengite pylon. That wasn’t so hard, was it?
By this time, Dagfinn had had a great deal of time to pore over the Dragon’s notes. He knew a little of the layout of the citadel below the peak, but the dragon’s notes mostly focused on its architectural qualities (which are impressive) rather than its inhabitants. The Aklo runed doors intrigued Dagfinn, because it appeared as though the runes had been deliberately drawn hastily and poorly, rather than to the meticulous detail that the dragon otherwise preferred. He had also absorbed enough local knowledge to be able to locate the House of Plums, essentially a Teppanyaki restaurant in the Entertainment District.
Men of Leng only eat stuff that has been flipped at them.
Kerplak led them through the streets towards the HoP with Dagfinn’s guidance. Rune Giant patrols were still quite common and they timed their scurrying runs from one place to the next, flitting through the city towards the Entertainment District. They located the House of Plums, a relatively small and modest tower and went in. In the center of the room they found a podium with a scroll on it. Upon opening the scroll, the symbol flashed briefly and a portal opened in the main dining area. Five men of Leng appeared. One approached and began negotiations.
The party informed the MoL in the HoP about the change of conditions re: the pylon in the BoH. The MoL were perturbed (probably?) by the CoC re: the BoH. They became agitated when Dagfinn started saying that they had agreed to kill Karzoug (which they hadn’t) and denied this. They didn’t mind helping the party in exchange for their pylon because a) they wanted the pylon and b) think the party will be killed if they attempt to kill Karzoug, so all they are really doing is speeding up the party’s doom, which the party seems fine with. They were disappointed at the turn of events and told them that the plan Ghlorofaex laid out was a paranoid fabrication, something obsessive and highly-strung Blue dragons are prone to entertain.
The party wants, (correct me if I’m wrong):
a) quick passage to Karzoug,
b) to kill Karzoug,
c) to do it within 5 days,
d) help to do so.
The Denizens of Leng have stated that they want:
a) you to give them their pylon,
b) to give you rubies… here, there’s more…
c) you to enjoy those rubies,
d) to go on faithfully working with the ruler of Xin Shalast whoever that might be, but they don’t think it will be any of the party because they think Karzoug will murder the lot of you.
They aren’t going to help you kill Karzoug with whom they insist they have cordial relations. They also can’t get you through the Occluding Field, that’s Karzoug’s thing. But they will help you to get to him faster, for all the good they think that will do you. And after some negotiations, they agreed to the change in conditions. The thing that seemed to be swinging things in their favour was the lead Lengite Negotiator’s apparently overwhelming sexual interest in Dagfinn. It may as well be a cartoonishly dropping wolf jaw with an unraveling tongue under that scarf. They would erotically give Dagfinn the secret passage through the Rising District to the point at which the Golden Road sensually shoots skyward and eventually connects enticingly with the mountainside beneath the massive face carved into the side of it. What happens after that, happens, but they want you to hand over their pylon after you arrive in the Rising District.
The party agreed and the MoL they were talking to gestured to one of the Teppanyaki-style tables and the top slid back to reveal a flight of stairs leading sharply down. The MoL retreated backwards into their portal and the portal winked shut. The party clambered down and eventually found themselves in what looked like a lounge/waiting room. Frozen couches lined the room and two large doors led out onto a wide shaft that angled upwards. They rested here. They now have (maybe) 4 days to defeat Karzoug.
Someday, someone will make a trendy nightclub out of all of this.
They set out along the shaft, which was big enough to allow the passage of giants, and travelled for a long time, the slope becoming steeper and steeper in line with the upward curve of the Rising District. Eventually the shaft began passing the monumental foundations of other buildings, sometimes filled in cellars or walled up doorways evident amongst the roots of the great buildings above. The tunnel finally terminated in a mild slope and opened into the daylight with a cave like entrance. Two stalagmites rose from the ground, only just reaching the roof of the cave. Dagfinn and Kerplak approached invisibly and everyone else followed on. They started to get a bit suspicious of the stalagmite on their right as it didn’t seem to reflect Dagfinn’s light quite right and then suddenly there were sticky strands of something shooting everywhere.
Kerplak was the first to find that the sticky strand had bonded with him all the way through his armour and skin, tendrils attaching to his intestines and ribs. The strands began to pull in, dragging those caught with them towards a dreadful maw that had opened in the stalagmite. For no Stalagmite was this, but one of the oldest D&D monsters, the Roper. The Roper dates back to May ’75, making it older than me. Oh and what a proud lineage he possess. This was a Paizo Mountain Roper, a variant, but no less noble a creature… aberration… funny looking thing that Gary Gygax needed to surprise people with and wasn’t too hard to draw.
Arradin favoured the direct route, running in to hack at it, but didn’t have a whole lot of luck at first. Once she’d been chomped a bit, she started putting her back into it. Dagfinn slashed the strand away – if anyone was going to throw around sticky strands in an impolite fashion, it was going to be him – and hit the Roper hard with some Deafening Song Bolts. Ron batted away the strand that flew at him and then moved in to let his Sai go to work. Arradin managed to wedge open the creature’s mouth and then landed an appalling collection of hacks with her sword, before Ron’s Supermagical Sai struck at the exposed gullet.
The Roper was dead.