A bit of a shorter one! Not as much happened this session, so it mostly ended up as a sort of information gathering session. Also, this sesh happened like half a month ago, July 17th; I kept on putting off writing the post. My bad!
Ishthyromeda the Small, level one Amazon
Manchugo Coldeswain, level one cleric dedicated to Damir, foreign god of the trade routes
She-That-Is-Harrowed-By-Our-Lord-In-The-Stars-Is-Blessed-With-Prophecy, level one scholar
also Parsani, scrawny son of a rural matriarch
(Note: She-That-Is-Harrowed-By-Our-Lord-In-The-Stars-Is-Blessed-With-Prophecy will be referred to as "Harrowed" for the remainder of this report and also probably for all future session reports)
The day previous, the group used a charm spell to get information out of the nasnas in the basement and to let them know that they wouldn't harm them. After making camp, they rested there in the walled farming compound. In the morning, the group realizes that they have been robbed! Manchugo having lost some rope and Ish having lost some food. After breakfast, Rohm'Daan had to depart for religious obligations back in Tabur (i.e. his player couldn't make it), and while the day's plans were being discussed Coro the Esoterian, tired and old, agreed to watch the group's supplies above ground while the rest of them ventured down below (i.e. his player also couldn't make it). Passing Rohm'Daan on the road back to Tabur, however, was a foreigner who had recently made contact with Farzaneh Taburi, and who had heard talk of the group's expedition. This was Harrowed, a scholar from a far off land with an affinity for insects, who joined the group for the day's venture back into the abandoned basement.
(Note: I had the players choose what got stolen in the night, and since Rohm'Daan and Coro's players weren't present for the session they didn't get to pick. I'll just bring it up next time they join.)
|Western Caspian Turtle (Mauremys caspica)
After introductions were exchanged between Harrowed, Ish, Manchugo, and Parsani, the four set about finishing up where they left off the day previous. First, they went back to the outhouse where they heard a mysterious hissing yesterday, and opened the door to find... a very large turtle, its legs splayed out on the outhouse seat, hissing at the interlopers! They pick the turt up and gently place them down in the overgrown vegetable garden, although they agreed to pick him back up before they left to go back to Tabur.
After the small encounter with the outhouse turtle, the small group of adventurers went back down into the basement to enlarge the ant hole that they went through previously, so it would work better as a potential escape route or for repeated visits. Using some rusted shovels found leaning on the wall of the house outside, they set to work and make it large enough for someone to walk through, rather than having to crawl on hands and feet like before. They notice, as they work, that there are no sounds of the nasnases in the other room, and when they check the room before venturing further they notice that the creatures are gone!
Their work attracts a large group of the giant ants who live in a network of tunnels connected to the basement. Ish is cautious around the ants, and while she wants to explore the ants' tunnels she doesn't wish to anger them. Harrowed, after the digging at the hole is done, goes to the giant ants that have crowded around them and attempts to speak with them. Harrowed's monastic sect has a careful and considered relationship with insects, and so by relying on bodily communication a very simple sort of back and forth can be established, although it takes time. (Note: I just ruled that this bug communication works the same as a normal scholar class specialization, which you can see described here. It took basically an hour for Harrowed and the ant to have what would between two humans be only a few short sentences exchanged back and forth).
While Harrowed attempts to make contact with the ants, the others take a break to eat some of their rations, and then one turn later they hear some snuffling sounds from the sloping passageway into the basement they entered through. Slowly moving back to check on it, Manchugo sees a pair of oversized weasels, which the group decide not to engage with.
After Harrowed's hour of focus, they report that the giant ants will allow the group to go straight through their tunnels and to a carved out passageway on the other end of their nest, a passageway that they dread, but that they are not allowed to enter any other chambers of the ant nest. The group agrees, and gently crawls into the giant ant's nest, as guests passing through. They crawl through one empty chamber dug out of the earth, then through a second round chamber that has on its southern edge a sloping tunnel carved out of the earth by tools not by ant mandibles, immediately apparent that something else dug it out, not the ants. In that chamber, they also find, hidden under a small pile of loose dirt, ten drachmae and a crystal syringe full of a strange green liquid. After pocketing the coins and the syringe, they venture into the dark dug out passageway that the ants dread.
After a lengthy march down the sloping passage, the four of them end up in a strange immense structure that none of them recognize. It is a massive open space, completely dark except for the minuscule spheres of light from their lamps, with a walkway that curves past them and out of view. This walkway seems to spiral around the edge of an immense cylinder, so large that they can't even clearly see the other side from where they stand, and they can only just make out the vaunted, curved ceiling high above them when they lift their lanterns up high. Above them is a stony dome shimmering with slime and dripping water, the walls similarly covered with green algae and slowly dripping slime. In this ancient structure, these adventurers are deeper in the earth than they have ever been before.
They realize that this place is likely That Which Yawns Deep which they heard in prophecy, and agree not to spend too long down here with such a small group. They plan to scout a little and then return to Tabur, to come back with a larger group. With that plan in mind, they send Parsani back to the surface; they don't want to have to tell his mother that he died in this dark and dingy place. They begin to crawl down the slowly sloping spiraling walkway, careful with their footing so as to not fall into the unknown depths below.
|A giant slug by Tony DiTerlizzi!
Up ahead, they make out a scraping noise that catches their attention. Weapons at the ready and slowly inching forward, a vague lumpy shape takes form on the edge of their lantern light, slowly coming into focus as they get closer and see... a giant slug! It is larger than any of the adventurers, and is adhered to the wall and walkway at a right angle, scraping algae off the wall with its rough radula. After some discussion, they decide to just not mess with it and to not bother trying to climb over it, and so turn around and go back up to the surface.
|The classic giant slug from the AD&D Monster Manual!
Grouping back up with Coro and Parsani on the surface, they set out for Tabur. Just outside Tabur, they run into a group of noblemen and their hangers on who are playing a game of polo out in the rolling hills of the valley. Manchugo strikes up a small conversation with one of them, who takes kindly to his polo advice and throws him a golden denar as a gift. Passing through the northern gate into the Tigerskin District, they get by with only an inspection of their goods. When they report to Farzaneh, she is very glad to hear the news of Parsani's family switching allegiances to her noble house, and is interested in the alien cylinder buried deep within the earth that the group discovered. And with that, the session drew to a close!
1 denar (worth 100 drachmae)
A crystal syringe filled with a strange green liquid
Non Treasure XP Acquired
50 each for discovering That Which Yawns Deep
10 for Harrowed for successfully making contact with ants