Sunday, January 10, 2021

King of Kings Session 4 After Action Report

Dramatis Personae
Ishthyromeda the Small, level one amazon
Kusa, level one cleric of the exiled and half-dead foreign goddess Nasitu-Neb
Rohm'Dann, level one cleric dedicated to Anzhalar, a local chthonic god of subterranean flame
Zana the Charlatan, level one magic-user

There was considerably less downtime action stuff at the start of this session, and in fact nobody did a real downtime action this time! Rohm'Daan and Kusa have been more focused on saving up drachmae to get lots of XP in one big go, and Zana was unable to do a downtime action at the start of the session since he sold those sketches at the end of the previous session. Zana did donate 40 drachmae to Ishthyromeda to try and cover the latter's carousing debts, which netted him 40 XP, but other than that and some stocking up on things like lantern fuel and sticks of incense not a whole lot happened at the start of the session.

After handling restocking and donating, the game got started!

The four adventurers convened on the house of their patron, Farzaneh Taburi, to discuss what they were going to investigate or otherwise pursue. They remembered the rumors of a ghost-haunted farmstead to the north and a farmstead filled with the sounds of digging to the north, and mentioned new things which they had heard: a blacksmith woman shared talk of wails in the northern foothills with Ishthyromeda, while a chthonic priestess mentioned a peace agreement being drawn between the bandits of the forest to the east. Out of a desire to consult with their superior, the group approached Farzaneh, asking her about anything she knows or would want them to pursue. She didn't have anything in particular, but mentioned that she would have to take a more significant cut of any treasure they get due to trade routes to the south being blocked by an upsurge in lizardmen and bandits. A number of the adventurers attributed the expansion of the lizards to Manchugo's destruction of the carvings on the ancient tomb.

With that in mind, the four decided to revisit the abandoned tomb of the dinosaur kings to the southwest, since it has thus far been the most lucrative source of treasure that they have visited. With that in mind, they departed from the city along the paved road to the south, splitting off to follow a footpath leading west. On that very footpath, as they approached the edge of the holy cedar forest, they saw four flitting things high in the sky.

courtesy Locheil

Flying high in the sky were four glorious Huma birds, their twin heads glowing in the late morning sun, their lionesque limbs never alighting upon the ground. The group kept their distance and took the time to draw the birds, with Zana sketching their beautiful visage and Kusa even drawing up sketches of a potential clay oil lamp in the shape of the birds. While watching them, Ishthyromeda describes a creature of her homeland, the wish-granting Calythiop.

Once the huma drawings were done, the group pushed on, reaching the cedar forest in short time. As they delved deeper into the wood, they found the path increasingly strewn with deer bones and other torn carcasses, and upon closer examination they find that the tooth marks closely resemble the teeth of the lizardmen. Kusa lights one of her sticks of incense to cover up the scent of the rotting flesh.

Along the winding forest path, they were approached by an inquisitive jet black jackal. Rohm'Daan threw one of the deer bones that he had picked up earlier, but the jackal did not go to grab it. Ishthyromeda readied a javelin, which caught the jackal's attention and prompted it to stand up on its hind legs, bringing its black snout to roughly face height. After a few moments of fearful confusion on the part of the four adventurers, the jackal smiled a wide human-toothed smile and greeted the travelers, before promptly turning inside out at the mouth to reveal a corpulent bright red humanoid form with three eyes and tusk-filled mouth.

courtesy Kusa's player, who can find over here

courtesy Locheil

The being (an ifrit to be precise) struck up a conversation with the group, revealing their name in the tongue of the people of this land to be Fire Eater. Fire Eater described the present difficulty that they have been contending with: the lizards which were previously nesting at the base of the mountain had expanded into the forest and the valleys (for what reason Fire Eater did not know), and with the rainstorms that had blown into the Dazur valley from the east the lizardmen had acquired a taste for cooked meat, and had been keeping fires first started by lightning strikes. Fire Eater, who has been vested with the protection of the southern reaches of the holy cedar forest by the Guardian of the Forest, wanted to get rid of these fire-loving lizards, but could not because he cannot bring harm upon any beast of the forest. And so, they reached out to the traveling adventurers for assistance.

Ultimately, three of the adventurers would make a deal with Fire Eater, with Kusa, Ishthyromeda, and Rohm'Daan stepping into a circle with the ifrit (Zana refused to make a deal with the spirit). Crawling out of the ground came four promise worms, little black things that mark a pact that has been made, dying only when the promise has been fulfilled. In exchange for their assistance, Fire Eater said that they would guide the adventurers to hidden sources of treasure in the forest, and would serve as their guide from then on for any traversing across the cedar forest they wished to do.

The four adventurers, who were familiar with the opening to the ancient tomb of the dinosaur kings at the top of the mountain, already had an idea of how to deal with the lizardmen: they would take one of the statues (which they knew to be filled with a thick stinking cloud of fog) and drop it on the lizard's nest from above. Fire Eater told them that the lizards had taken roost in a mountain pass to the south that had been filled with dirt as a result of a mudslide, and so the plan was put into motion. Before going up the mountain, Rohm'Daan searched the cave that the lizardmother was previously dwelling in, finding little scraps of metal, shiny acorns, and two uncut green gems in a pile of bones. The group moved up the mountain and ventured into the tomb to bring out two of the statues (grabbing a second one just in case the first one doesn't work), and tying them to the mule and draft horse brought by Zana and Ishthyromeda respectively. And with the statues ready, the group set up camp and went to sleep, with Fire Eater staying watch the entire night (since they need not sleep)

In the next morning, Fire Eater informed them that a mysterious man in sleeping robes made an attempt to kidnap Zana in the night. They said that the man was asleep the entire time, their eyes closed as they sleepwalked up to the group, and did not leave until they transformed into a plague of frogs, which prompted the mysterious man to walk away on the empty air as if it were a staircase. The four adventurers were rather perplexed and concerned by this to say the least, but it did not stop them from going through with their plan.

And so, following Fire Eater's guidance, they traversed the holy cedar forest and came upon the nest of the lizardmen, ensconced within a mudslide-filled mountain pass. Kusa and Rohm'Daan climbed up the rocky side of the mountain pass and pulled one of the statues up using a length of rope provided by Zana. They tied rope around the statue still in its wooden coffin and tied the other sides of the rope around their waists, to make sure that if their grip loosened it would not drop prematurely. Crawling slowly along the jagged rocks, they reached the vantage point, from which they could see the corpulent lizardmother poking her wide flat head out of her hole in the mudslide. The area was teeming with lizardmen, with a number of juvenile examples that had been born in the week or so since they were last in this area.

And so, they hoisted the coffin with statue up onto their shoulders and tossed it down, and with a loud crunching crash it landed in the muddy mountain pass. A moment of silence filled the air before the stinking purple cloud began to billow forth, much faster than it did in the ancient tomb just due to the presence of a warm summer wind. Chaos broke out, with the lizardmen frantically scrambling up the pile of half-wet earth or up the sides of the mountain pass, and the lizardmother herself crawling out from her hole to flee. In moments, they were all gone bar some sickly stragglers overwhelmed by the stench. Most had fled south, into the mountains and the desert beyond, with some fleeing back into the forest.

Kusa, Ishthyromeda, Rohm'Daan, and Zana reached into their pockets and found their glistening black promise worms wriggling in pain and then perishing, their promise now fulfilled.

courtesy Kusa's player

The two statue-tossers clambered down from atop the mountain and searched the wreckage of the statue, finding a golden amulet, which they presumed to be cursed, and bones strewn about. The other statue they acquired was still in good condition, but they broke it open to drain its foul gases out before returning to Tabur. Bidding Fire Eater farewell, they traversed the roads back to the city, upon reaching it they were forced to give tribute to the guards, who demanded the golden amulet. Paying the tariff of ancient gold, they entered Tabur and visited Farzaneh Taburi, presenting the statue, the sketches of huma birds, and the two uncut gems to her. She took one of the uncut gems and the sketches of the huma, and asked Kusa to make her schematics of a huma bird oil lamp into reality and give it to her. She also ordered the group to sell the ancient statue and give her three fourths of the money they receive... which ultimately turned out to be no money because Zana the Charlatan, the failed merchant who took care of selling the statue, was swindled out of his money! He was forced to give Farzaneh a portion of his own drachmae, but her suspicions have made her trust the group slightly less.

Treasure Acquired (After Tribute and Sales)
One uncut green gem (600 drachmae (150 drachmae for non-clerics, 135 for clerics))

Non-Treasure Experience Acquired
22 lizardmen with lizardmother (137 XP before Prime Requisite modification)

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