The PCs could not afford to take another long rest if they wished to be away from Tamaochan before the arrival of the Pick & Axe co.
- Shin (level 4>>5), Tabaxi Fighter (Arcane Archer), Outlander; big-game hunter, has no patience for weakness
- Flyzus (level 5>>6), Wood Elf Ranger (hunter), Outlander; sole survivor of his tribe after an orc invasion
- Rufb (level 5>>6), Half-Orc Barbarian (berserker), Mercenary Veteran; captured by pterafolks, his fellow mercenaries killed, seeks riches and glory
- Vorn, Shield Guardian, found masterless beside a gaping hole in the ground
Stay Still Forever
In a part of the dungeon yet unexplored – the PCs had successfully avoided a sand-filling trap – a few turns later they got almost in the middle of two rows of skeletons, a sort of honor guard by the look of it, standing on a ledge each side of a passage. The 15 skeletons jumped down and attacked (1)…
The adventurers kept their calm, even after seeing a skeleton still fighting after receiving a killing blow, what should have been a killing blow anyway. It helped that they could now count on the powerful Vorn to back them up. An exploding magic arrow from Shin did a lot to soften the undead warriors. It took some time but they managed to prevail with only a few light wounds in return (2).
You don’t see any traps
At the end of another passage they could see a golden bat statuette. Rufb took it from its pedestal and got shot in the back by several crossbow bolts. Wounded and angry, Rufb smashed the statuette under his foot. Thic, released a creature made of light, a will o’ wisp they knew from previous experience, that quickly got away along another passage.
Now, for some reason, having a will o’ wisp on the loose didn’t sit well with the PCs (3) so they tried to find it, backtracking a little doing so. Flyzus ordered his pseudodragon pet to follow the evil light but the poor creature got zapped and… died (4). Next, the PCs got into an room they had opened but had chose to ignore earlier, a room with two slabs of stone with shed serpent skins… wait a minute… weren’t there bodies the first time around? Darn! More things roaming free…
Stuck in the Middle with You
To go further in this area, the PCs had to move a heavy block of stone on some rail mechanism up a ramp, the Shield Guardian was put to the task. They were halfway when things got complicated… First, there was sudden resistance against the block, something was pushing back… Second, bats. Lots of bats. Third, the will o’ wisp chose this moment to reappear…
Vorn proved more than strong enough to keep the block from crushing them. The Ranger got rid of the bats around him quickly and then attacked the will o’ wisp. He was joined soon after by Rufb (Shin was still swarmed by bats) and the two successfully avenged the pseudodragon.
Finally out of this passage, the PCs saw two nimble figures sprint away from them. The Barbarian, the fastest runner, caught up with them in the central room of the ziggurat’s lower tier. Attempting to communicate proved fruitless, as Rufb could not understand a word they said. Resigned, the two mysterious sleepers-no-longer assumed fighting stances (5).
Rufb wasn’t in full combat shape at all, so facing these two adversaries with unknown abilities was daunting. He chose to use one charge of his gem of mud elemental summoning, a reward he had received from the Three Cascades’ frogmen. This proved a wise move as the mud elemental pummeled and mired in mud one serpent-skinned monk. Rufb then finished her with one massive blow of his greataxe. The surviving monk shrieked in anguish and attacked Rufb, sweeping his legs from under him.
Flyzus and Shin now got at the scene too. The outnumbered monk turned his back and fled once more. Shin shot an arrow at him but amazingly, he catched it middair without even looking!
Try to dodge that
He then started to cross the passage to the north, the one with spikes at the bottom, swinging from bar to bar. Rufb got back to his feet and jumped right beside his foe and started grappling him. He easily outmuscled the monk and sent him crashing through the spikes. Flyzus put an end to his life with precise sword thrusts (6).
The PCs finally felt comfortable enough to get down below, to the Hidden Shrine.
- I had described them as skeletons but they were statted as zombies, with the undead fortitude that do a lot for their durability.
- Too easy! Would have been better if they had to be smart about it…
- Players paranoia!
- Félix kept forgetting that it existed, so… no big deal, I guess?
- The monks tried their best to escape, the PCs, the barbarian in particular, just wouldn’t let them.
- This proved to be a really good fight, with a lot of cool, cinematic manoeuvers.