Following a dream calling him to The City of Wati , the cleric of Orisis, Tumani Tor, arrives at the Explorer’s Outpost, Terhk's Fine Expeditions. At the edge of the city. Suddenly, he feels as if he is reliving that dream. There he sees Kepher ibn Masud from his dream and walks up to him for an introduction. Kepher is startled, but being a man of faith accepts Tumani’s story. Kepher, himself, felt called to this very spot today, and both are seeking to enter the necropolis as a team. Seeing they need more than the two of them, especially someone good with ancient traps, they set off for the Whispering Stone gaming hall to see if they can find someone else.
While Kepher studies the job board to little avail, Tumani scans the room. He spots a young woman drinking alone in the corner who has clearly noticed the two men who are out of place in his hall. Before Tumani can note her, a well to do man strides up, ale in hand, and claps Kepher on the back. It is an old acquaintance of the paladin, a sword arm, Keva Devar. Kepher introduces the two and they start to talk about expanding the team. Tumani excuse himself and casts detect evil. While many in the bar glow faintly crimson, the woman alone does not. Tumani heads over.
After a brief hello, Tumani sits down with an offer to pay for her current drink. While she tries to cover it, it is clear to the perceptive cleric that the woman is alone and somewhat disoriented. He is not sure she even knew the city she was in. Tumani asks if she has a facility with “locks” and “machines of ill intent” and she takes his meaning. He invites her to join their party, and she agrees as long as he expenses are paid until they can sell their first loot. It is at this point that the boisterous Keva yells for the to join him. Tumani smiles and tells the young women , ”He is paying.”. It is at this point they introduce themselves to each other. She is Ina, a newly arrived person with no other current job.
The four gather, and Tumani informs Keva of the need to cover her charges. Keva spends well to cover drinks and food for the group, and invites them all to his family home for the night. The group decides on a name, The Lost Fragments and Kepher goes to register them.
Over a thousand years ago, the cult of Lamashtu unleashed a terrible disease called the Plague of Madness on the city of Wati. More than 60 percent of the city's population perished in the streets and in their homes, and Wati was virtually abandoned for over 450 years. In 2953 AR, the church of Pharasma returned to Wati and established a new temple in the city's ruins called the Grand Mausoleum. Walling off much of the original city, the Pharasmins transformed the abandoned settlement into an enormous necropolis, consecrating it in honor of the city's dead. Over the next 1,700 years, people returned to rebuild a new city adjacent to the old one, and today the living city ofWati is more than three times the size ofthe old city. Seven years ago, Pharaoh Khemet III, the Ruby Prince, formally opened Osirion's ancient tombs and burial sites to foreign explorers. Khemet III understood that adventurers who've traveled great distances in search of treasure typically do not return from whence they came to sell their discoveries. Instead, they typically sell or trade what they do not keep as quickly as possible at the closest civilized community with an economy strong enough to absorb an influx ofvaluable antiquities. The Ruby Prince's policy has attracted not only explorers to the desert nation of Osirion, but also countless scholars, private collectors, special interest groups such as the Pathfinder Society, and financial interests from all across the Inner Sea. A minor industry has sprung up just to support visiting explorers, and an even larger infrastructure has come into being to serve foreign investors and traders. Every opening of a major site has heralded an economic boom, for the local area and Osirion as a whole.
Unlike many of Osirion's tombs and graveyards, however, the Necropolis of Wati has remained largely untouched, in no small part because of local taboos and the protection of the Grand Mausoleum's priests. But Khemet III has now ordered the local authorities and church of Pharasma to open Wati's necropolis to exploration for the purpose of discovery, study, and economic stimulus.
With the necropolis opened by royal decree, the priests of the local temple of Pharasma, the Grand Mausoleum, have been tasked with assigning sites ready for exploration to adventuring companies in a lottery. The adventure assumes that the PCs have already formed an adventuring party and have registered for this lottery with the priesthood of the Grand Mausoleum. Registering is not difficult; there are no background checks or special fees or requirements. A priest simply records the name of the group and the names of its members and gives them a token that they should present when the group receives its first assignment at the lottery's opening ceremony.
The lottery's opening ceremony takes place in the Sunburst Market in the center of the living city of Wati, between the Grand Mausoleum and Abadar's Sanctum of Silver and Gold. An array of other adventuring groups have assembled, and the ceremony has attracted throngs of local people as well as street vendors. The next afternoon, the four are gathered to await their call.
The bustling desert city of Wati is near bursting with excitement. Adventurers from every corner of the Inner Sea region have assembled here beneath the hot Osirian sun to explore the tombs of the city's necropolis, waiting only to be assigned their first sites for exploration. Surrounding the participants, the public has gathered to observe the ceremony as well. There is a festival-like quality in the air, and numerous street vendors are hawking goods and refreshments to participants and spectators alike. Some merchants have even brought what can only be considered adventuring gear to sell as last minute convenience items to explorers, while others advertise that they'll buy recovered treasures and antiquities from those who visit their establishments.
In front of the imposing edifice of the Grand Mausoleum, an immense awning has been erected between decorated pillars in the market to provide shade for the priests of Pharasma overseeing the lottery. Beneath the awning, two urns sit atop a table elevated a few feet above the ground on a wooden stage constructed for the event. The high priestess of the Grand Mausoleum, Sebti the Crocodile, sits behind the table, while two acolytes confer with her at either side.
The lady speaks:
“Let the lottery begin! Although many of you have requested specific sites to explore, we must leave these matters to fate. The Lady of Graves is a far better judge of destiny than we of this mortal sphere. The gates of the necropolis will open at sunrise tomorrow. Use this evening to prepare yourselves for the task ahead. Let these rules guide you in your endeavors in this holy place: remember how this came to pass, every slave's hut is a memorial, and honor the departed. May you go with the Lady's blessing.”
The characters are given a copy of the The Rules of Tomb Exploration which outline their limits, all of which make sense to the party. When the Lost Fragments are called up, Kepher goes to receive their mission. Their first assignment is an actual tomb that predates the creation of the necropolis. The group can enter the city as soon as the gates open the next morning.
|Campaign Date||Abadus 6-7|
After the assignments, Tumani suggests they see if they can find other teams to visit with. They end up going to the Tooth and Hooka Inn. They run into two groups, the Dog Soldiers, who are composed entirely of halflings and their back of trained dogs. They are wild and boisterous and the party steers clear of them. Of more interest are the Daughters of the Desert, an all-female adventuring party. Both Keva and Ina head over interested in information and perhaps romance. Keva does most of the talking. The women are led by a Ulfen woman, Sigrun, and is composed of a Rahadoumi and two twin sisters wearing veils. Sigrun is keep to document the history that Keva gives her and the Daughters learn more about him than the other way around. The depart with a promise of dinner the next night after both parties have entered into and exited the city.
The next day at 6:30 the sun comes up and the Lost Fragments enters into the city with a car from Keva’s family behind them. Their target is on the far end of the Necropolis and they want as much time to be at the tomb as possible. It takes them a little less than two hours to get there. The Tomb itself is a rectangular stone mausoleum sits alone in what appears to have once been an actual cemetery. The trunks of a few dead trees poke out of the sand around the tomb, and a hot breeze whistles through their desiccated branches. A set of massive stone double doors is affixed to the northern side of the structure, beneath a facade bearing the likeness of an Osirian man. Windblown sand is heaped around the crypt, partially burying the doors that lead within.
Looking at the outside, it appears someone in the past had maybe tried entry. After taking some time to shovel the sand away, they struggle to open the doors with crowbars. Finally it is opened and they leave the doors ajar to let light enter. Inside, they find the Antechamber. There is stale air and a layer of dust and stand in the floor. Stone faces of Pharasma and Anubis. There is also a warning in ancient hieroglyphs about robbers and curses.
With great effort, the men work to roll the stone aside while Ina uses her pitons to lock it into place. As they just get it settled, a solitary ghost scorpion wanders in out of the sun. Ina sees it first and shouts as she readies her dagger. Tumani is able to turn and ready his flail just as the creature attacks Kepher. The monster stings him, but he is not poisoned. Heavenly hurt, however, Tumani heals him before moving around the monster. Everyone begins beating on the creature, with Tumani assisting Ina in flanking it. The monster goes down. Tumani further heals his companion and the group moves into the next room.
This square room is starkly devoid of any markings or adornment. In the center of the chamber's floor, a square shaft drops straight down into darkness. A faint musty odor rises from the pit. A single piton has been hammered into the stone floor by the northeast corner of the pit, and a dusty length of rope dangles from the piton into the darkness of the shaft. The rope crumbles to dust when Ina touches it. Tumani places light on a stone and tosses it down, reveling a 60’ shaft with very smooth walls. After some discussion, they take time to use pitons and their ropes to create a 150’ circle of rope going around the pitons to lower themselves. First Kepher lowers the other three, and then Keva uses the system to lower Kepher. They plan to use this to leave.
In the lowered area, mirrored images of a warrior in side profile, facing inward, are carved on an ornate pair of stone doors in the west wall of this square room. The figure is depicted wearing padded armor, with a scarab-shaped shield on the arm facing the viewer, and a raised khopesh held aloft in the other. A crumpled humanoid body lies directly in front of the doors. A hint of decay hangs in the air, and a dried stain mars the stone floor under the body. A square shaft in the ceiling leads straight up into darkness.
They move ahead slowly, with Ina checking for traps. Unfortunately, the hallway ahead of them is so well disguised she does not find one. The group, however, does not believe this long hallway could be clear. They move in, four abreast, with the heavily armed fighters holding shields against the wall. As they expect, there are darts hitting them. Even though most of the darts are stopped by the shields, Keva, Kepher, and Ina are all struck. They all step back and Tumani heals the group. Kepher uses his flail to slam the plate 15 times, with darts coming out 9 more times. Satisfied the trap is over, the group moves down into a Foyer with northern and southern doors. Tumani suggests they go north and Keva south. Ina and Kepher agree north, and they move up, with Ina ever checking for trap.
They enter the room to see a brightly painted chariot and small chest. Ina finds a trap but fails to disarm it. Fortunately, her damage is slight and the clear poison on the trap has long dried out. Inside are potions, art, and books. The group is happy for its finds. As they move deeper into the other half of the room. Ubashati warrior dolls leap from a diorama and attack! They manage to defeat the dolls, and again Tumani uses more healing energy to shore up the party. There are five more chests without traps this time. Again they find more ancient items they know they can sell. They also find out that the tomb of Akhentepi’s mistress is also attached. This may mean finding a secret door or two.
The time of day is 10:30am. There is a lot more tomb to go.
|Campaign Date||Abadus 7-8|
Moving ahead, the group adopts a rhythm. Ina checks for traps and unlocks doors, Keva and Kepher enter the room, and Tumani comes behind searching for secret doors. They cross into a new room with a magical mirror that Tumani warns them not to look in. Keva notices tracks in the floor between open doors on either side. Tumani tosses a coin and they go west. As soon as Keva enters the room, two giant camel spiders emerge and attack. The other three race into the room soon they are all dead. After some quick healing, they see the room is a chapel and preparation room for bodies. As devotees of the old gods, Kepher and Tumani give brief prayers and meditations. Crossing to the other doors, the passageway leads down broken stairs. It is on this difficult terrain they are attacked by a sandling.
Another hard fight ensues and the party triumphs over the strange sand elemental and head down the shaft. There are two sets of doors, once ending in a dead end and there others are locked. Tumani finds a secret door in the dead end, but it is not designed to open from this side and they are not able to open it or destroy it. Ina is unable to pick the other doors lock and they are equally durable to the secret door. Tired, hurt, and exhausted, the group decides to return to the chariot room and spend the night. They retrieve supplies from their cart and shut and look the only set of doors into the room. Nothing happens over the night and they wake refreshed and ready to take on the day. With a good night’s sleep, Ina has no trouble opening the locked doors. What they find are steps down and more doors. Then they find this again.
Finally, the group opens doors into a burial room. There is a raised dais with statues and a sarcophagus on it. The group carefully moves around the edges. Ina and Tumani find a secret door each, but Tumani manages to trigger a trap. Arcs of lightening fill the dais. The doors at the far end of the room open while the ones they came through slam shut. Water starts to pour into the room. Ina opens her door to see if it is a way out, but it just opens to a storage room. She races to the doors where the water is coming out but cannot close them. Meanwhile, the sarcophagus leaps up and attacks Keva, biting him and slamming shut around him. Tumani and Kephar race to attack the construct and beat the thing into splinters while Ina opens the other doors.
It is clear to Ina that the water was supposed to fill the room, but the two thousand year old trap was just not able to do it. After a couple of minutes the water runs away. The group follows the stairs to find a hallway moving back towards the secret door they could not open, and another to the north. They cautiously move forward, and find the chamber of grave goods meant to support Akhentepi in the afterlife. There a swarm of flesh eating cockroaches erupt, attack Ina and Tumani. She flees, throwing up at the thought of these things, and goes behind the protection of Keva. Tumani falls back and the swarm moves over Kepher. Ina throws alchemical fire to deal with the swarm and the horrible bugs scurry away. Tumani heals the group again as everyone stops throwing up.
The tired team moves through more doors and a hallway until they find the real tomb. As they cautiously explore the room, another construct, this time an iron cobra hisses and bites Tumani. Poisoned the cleric starts to attack. The whole team leaps forward, surrounding the small cobra and attempt to kill it as it keeps striking at Tumani. Fortunately, it no longer hits and the manage to kill it.
After a rest and nothing else happening, the group spends the rest of the afternoon organizing, moving, and hauling up to their wagon, the precious objects they have found in the tomb. They hustle to return to the temple to report. Their loot is stored at Keva’s home, and they head to the Tooth & Hookah where some of the other groups are gathering.
Tumani is new to adventuring. While the other three have all seen combat before, Tumani’s training has all been in a cloistered environment. Shortly after hitting the Tooth & Hookah, he is well into his drinks. Even so, it is clear to him that the Cryptfinders are lying to the group about their adventure, claiming to have fought a mummy! He calls them out on in, specifically their cleric of Sarenrae, before unsteadily walking to hang with the Dog Soldiers. They are drinking hard as well, missing several of their dogs killed fighting a gelatinous cube in a tannery, and the leaders is looking to raise money to purchase more.
Keva and Ina go to the Daughters of the Desert, and Keva tries to impress their leader, Sigrun Firehair. She is totally uninterested, and he moves her from indifferent to unfriendly. Ina, on the other hand, manages to strike up a strong relationship with their barbarian that results in their own evening together.
Eventually, the men get Tumani home, who most likely should not have been drinking the same day he was poisoned by a snake.
|Campaign Date||Abadus 9|
The next morning, Kepher goes to get their next assignment, and they are given a map to a noble house once owned by the Pentheru family. It is an easy journey, and the group reaches the gates in the morning. Keva and Tumani are both frightened by a haunt at the entrance, a powerful impression left over when the city was gripped in madness. After they calm down, the four enter into the home.
At first they explore the outside area, inside the walls of the estate but not yet inside the home. This includes the servant homes and other outdoor areas. They stumble into a giant centipede that erupts from the sand, hungry and eager for a meal. They are able to defeat it with much less difficulty than they encountered against foes in the tomb a day ago. Further searching leads to attacks by a Devil Dog which they surrounded an beat to death.
In one set of quarters, there are three skeletons on the ground. Using detect undead Tumani confirms they are risen, and he and Kepher race in. Tumani staggers one, while Kepher smashes another. The stagged one is smashed when it stands up. The third skeleton tries to attack but Kepher is able to manage it easily.
The old granary is home to a beetle swarm, but Keva’s shield keeps them at bay. While Kephar stands back, Ina and Tumani use alchemist’s fire to burn the swarm before it can leave. Inside are more skeletons, but just bones this time. They find an adamantine flail which Kepher takes. The courtyard searched; they enter the dwelling proper.
They move through into the kitchen and down the eastern half of the lower floor. They find a decapitated skeleton on the privy, missing its head. Further down in the entrance hall, three skeletons stand guard. While the fighters advance, and Ina uses her bow, Tumani attempts to run back around to flank, through the central courtyard. As he races past, a lovely woman emerges from the center and asks him to help her defend the house. He ignores her and moves to the fight, but the last of the three skeletons is already down. Kepher took the brunt of their attacks and Tumani heals him. However, it is then the two notice that Ina and Keva are under the effects of a fascinate effect. Kepher charges the being and it reveals itself to be an evil outsider sandman. A wave of sleepiness washes over them, and Keva falls to the ground, sleeping. Kepher and Tumani shrug it off and Kepher smites the monster. Tumani heals his friend, and Kepher continues his attack, killing the creature.
After getting their companions oriented, the four search the area and find magical scale mail and a magical cross bow, as well as various coins. They then move back north, only to find a table set with 6 heads on 6 goblets. Before they can do more, the 6 heads arise and fly at them. Kepher knocks one from the air and Ina uses her bow to strike one. While the other three engage in combat, Tumani calls upon his god and emits a burst of energy, not to heal, but to harm the undead attacking them. All but 1 just expires, and Keva smashes the last one that is about to attack Ina.
They move to the final corner of the downstairs area, where the stairs lead up. Tumani and Ina both feel the heat of breath on the back of their necks. It is another haunt. Searching the area, Tumani finds and picks up a magic ring. This triggers vision:
In the final days before the Plague of Madness overtook the house, Pentheru the Younger's daughter, Ariseti, met with her fiancé in this room. Her fiancé wanted to elope, but Ariseti demurred, wanting to wait until the “troubles” afflicting the city passed before announcing their engagement. Unfortunately, neither of them survived the plague and the chaos that followed it. A search of the debris in the room turns up Ariseti's lost engagement ring with a successful DC 20 Perception check. As soon as the ring is touched, a ghostly scene superimposes itself over the ruins of the room, as translucent furniture and decorations like potted palm trees and richly upholstered divans waver into existence. In the center of the room, a ghostly young man clasps the hands of ethereal young woman. They speak in Ancient Osiriani, but any listener can mysteriously understand them, regardless of language.
“I'm so sorry,” the young man says. “I can't find the ring I bought you anywhere. I just had it!”
“It's all right, my love,” the girl replies quietly. “It's not the right time to tell my family anyway.”
“Come with me, Ariseti! Come across the river where we'll be safe!”
“Not just yet, darling. My father says we'll be safe here. You go, and when all this is over, you can come back for me, and we'll announce our engagement then.”
She pauses, and reaches out to touch the man's forehead.
“Are you feeling all right? You're burning up!”
With this the vision ends, as first the figures fade from view, followed by the room and its furnishings. The ring is a ring of protection +1 but it is cursed. Tumani shakes off a magical illness induced by the vision. He somehow realizes that only by freely giving the ring to another person out of love can the haunt be permanently destroyed.
Moving up the stairs, they first enter the guest room. Inside is another headless body, but this one’s head seems to have been pulled off, not cut. They find a wedding ring of the daughter of the house. Moving to the next room, which is a master bedroom, they hear doors opening and shutting, but cannot see anything doing it. Kepher detects evil and can sense three forms upstairs but is unsure what they are.
Tumani continues to investigate the master bedroom and finds a dresser that is hiding a secret chest. It is locked and trapped. Ina cannot get it unlocked and Tumani smashes it in frustration and is struck by a poison dart for his trouble. While hurt, the poison has thankfully dried out. He then shield smashes the dried hornet’s nest in the room and a vaguely magical headband falls out.
The group moves forward and is attacked by a div of some sort. Keva lands a incredible smashing blow upon it and it is killed by the rest of the party before it has a chance to respond. With the evil extra planer monster killed, the party discovers the other evil were two flying heads, a sort who’s bite can breed you into one of them. The party is able to avoid this disease, and they deal with these undead. They search the rest of the upstairs and take notes. There is a chest with a very fragile wedding dress inside that Tumani is sure he can use mend on if they wait a day for him to prepare it. They agree they will spend the night here and then head to the crypt.
Descending into the crypt, the group immediately run into an adherer, a horrid, mummy like creature that was once human. Keva attacks it and his hammer is suddenly stuck to it! The monster reaches out and grabs him, holding him as well. Tumani races forward, reaching between the sticky bits to heal Keva. Kepher uses his Alchemical fire to alight the monster, which soon burns away its stickiness. Tumani keeps healing while Kepher and Ina strike it with mighty blows. Despite the resilience of the creature it goes down, though Keva keeps seeing his life pass before his eyes.
Moving deeper, Kepher is sure something if off about the stairs but no one can place it. They slowly explore and find many unfinished passages to other rooms. In one rough carved area, a swarm of ubashki cats stir. These stray cats killed to protect the vault charge for the group, surrounding Kepher and biting him. The group pounds on the swarm, but Tumani holy magic to burn the undead is most effective.
Finally, they move into the final room, the tomb of the Pentheru the Younger. The hieroglyphs on the walls tell the story ofPentheru the Younger in Ancient Osiriani, starting with the elevation ofhis father Pentheru the Elder to nobility, his subsequent death, and Pentheru the Younger's inheritance of his father's title and lands. The story boasts oftheir prosperity and success as land managers, the justness with which the family lived their lives, and the care with which they treated their slaves and servants. The text calls upon the gods to smile upon Pentheru the Younger and bless him with a good and just life in the Great Beyond.
Opening the sarcophagus they find the body and a small cat mummy. This guardian releases magic, making three of the members feel shiver in their spins for a moment. Keva, however, is frightened and runs away, out of the tomb. As the fastest, Ina goes after him in time to see him impaled on spike traps on the stairs. She goes to his aid and calls for Tumani, who comes to heal him with the last of his healing magic for the day. Kepher spends the rest of the day and evening to take notes and rubbings of all the carvings to take back to the temple of Pharasma.
After a full night’s rest, Tumani is up early to mend the dress and now that chest can be moved safely. They is a lot of items they have to gain from this house. Keva and Kepher happily load the wagon and the group heads back out of the Necropolis.
|Campaign Date||Abadus 11-12|
The group hauls their loot to the living city and are able to sell much of it. Tumani specifically buys a magical flail to help with the magical monsters they keep encountering. They seek out some of the other parties, but do not get much in the way of information. They rest and recover that evening at Keva’s home and the next day, Kepher gets the name of their next location. It is a temple of some sort, not even as far away as the Tomb of Akhentepi was.
The four move through the city ruins. Tumani is taking his turn with the cart, which has developed a wobble in a wheel. Fussing with it is why he fails to notice the ambush of the group. Several people lurking in and on the ruins attack. As Kepher moves forward, he finds himself netted from above. Keva charges another on the ground. Ina runs up the ruins and uses a tanglefoot bag to immobilize of foe threatening Kepher. Blinking in the sunlight, Tumani leaves the cart and draws his dagger. He places it between the net lines and uses his enlarge to double his size. This slices and cuts the net, freeing his friend. The four strike and fight, taking down two trappers and four thugs in total. Two of them lay dead. The other four get stabilized.
Kepher performs the interrogation, and promises to take them back to the living city to the authorities if they tell them what the group wants to know. They are hired muscle, hired by a woman meeting the description of Velriana Hypaxes, leader of the Scorched Hand. Their job was to stop anyone from moving towards the group’s target.
Tumani suggests taking their equipment and sending them back naked. Kepher insists on keeping his word. This agitates Tumani who is now sure that their exploration is going to be greatly disrupted by the Scorched Hand. Nonetheless, Kepher is insistent, as is Keva. The group takes the criminals back and drops their loot off for later sale. Ina keeps the remaining tanglefoot bag to replace the one she used. Mostly healed, the group hurries back into the dead city to get to their find, arriving at dusk.
Immediately upon entering, the encounter a pack of skeletal dog facing them. The group easily dispatches the creatures, with Tumani using his holy power to burn them. Moving forward, something emerges from the wall to attack Kephar. After its strike, if vanishes. Not attacked again, the group decides to be on guard. Tumani tries a magical pool. Drinking it deeply, he finds his magic invigorated, and knows his next healing will be a maximum possible power.
Moving on, they find other statues that befit a temple. South of the kitchen is a temple. Hearing voices inside say ”“Look what has happened here! Help us!” in ancient Osiriani. Tumani assumes it is a haunt and the group does not enter the room to avoid triggering it. They decide to explore to the West.
The west hold the old servants quarters, and unfortunately, three shambling zombies. While the group makes short work or the zombies, whatever is magically passing through the walls attacks Keva and runs. As they head north, Ina misses a trap that also hits Keva, this not being his lucky day. They can crawl under it to avoid it.
Unable to unlock the doors, Kepher uses his adamantine flail to bash open the doors and they head to the under sanctum. They immediately face a statue of Nethys come to life. Trading blows with Kepher and Keva, Tumani uses his wand to keep them healed and up. It is a desperate fight. Finally, the guardian is destroyed. The group does not pause long, feeling the urgency to move forward. They choose to head east.
Ina finds a secret door and Tumani pokes his head in, but not seeing anything, they move on. Through some iron bars they spy four members of the Scorched Hand. Their leader Velriana Hypaxes taunts the group and tells them to leave. The party falls upon the Scorched Hand and the nefarious Hypaxes falls. The rouge Idorii agrees to surrender at this. While Ina secures her, Azaa Arafe, the mage and his lover Khelru the cleric keep fighting. As Khelru falls, Azaa runs away, turning invisible, leaving his scorpion familiar to die.
The Group interrogates their captives. Idorii is not particularly loyal to the now dead Velriana Hypaxes. She comments that if “the cleric is dead, the mage will be a life long enemy”. Tumani assures her he is alive and stable. Idorrii’s story is that the Scorched Hand entered the Sanctum as it was their right as followers of Nethys. She herself was hired and not a true believer. Her story matches that of the hired thugs, and then continues with a tale of entering into the Sanctum. The jackals were alive when they entered, and she has no idea how they were reanimated. Further, she has no idea of the bloody footprints or secret room. Waking the cleric, he gives the same, if somewhat more arrogant story. It is clear there is a third party at work.
Idorrii does reveal that the guardian of the Sanctum is called an Akhet and it is controlled via a keystone in a hidden room near the star fountain in the room to the west. They leave the cleric tied up and move to investigate. The fountain is like the one upstairs, but this one has evocation energies. Tumani again drinks and finds his evocation spells are enhanced, though this only helps his light spell. With Irorrii’s guidance, Ina finds the secret room and Tumani is able to take control of the akhet and tells it to leave them alone. That taken care off, the group heads north to the secret room.
They only poked their heads into the room before. This time they take a longer view. Kepher and Tumani go in first, with Tumani looking for magic.
A stone effigy of a humanoid figure stands at the north end of this room, its arms spread in a gesture of supplication, or as if commanding an object to rise in the air. The figure's face is devoid of detail, with only vague contours where the eyes and nose should be. An extensive series of hieroglyphs covers the western wall, opposite a stone bench that stands against the eastern wallUpon entering the room. Kepher notices writing on the wall behind them which Tumani notes looks like it was a glyph of warding. He surmises this was what injured the other party. To Tumani’s detect magic the entire room has a dim magical aura, centered on the statue to the north. The nature of the aura is difficult to identify, it seems that until recently, the room held a source of necromantic power of overwhelming strength. Tumani does not think it is active in now. The two move forward and a necrophidius emerges from behind the statue. This is a snake skeleton construct with a human skill. The fight is brief as Tumani, Kepher and Keva bash it to death. Now the group turns to the contents of the room. Reading the hieroglyphs, they find the message:
Woe to you who would plunder the Reliquary of the Thrice-Divided Soul. Turn away, lest the harsh judgment of the Forgotten One fall upon you and your descendants for a thousand generations. Turn away, for his ka cannot be appeased and it shall call forth legions of the dead and the damned. Turn away, and may the All-Seeing Eye and the Lady of Graves take pity on you, for if not, the Forgotten Pharaoh shall consume you, body and soul.
Tumani knows that the “ka” as one component of the ancient Osirian concept of the soul, which was divided into five parts. The ka contains a person's “vital spark,” that which distinguishes the living from the dead. Inspection of the humanoid effigy in the room.
After a pause to heal up, the group heads to the summoning room. Again, Kepher and Tumani head in. This time, two of the columns come to life to attack. Tumani uses a shield of faith on Kepher and leaves the room, telling everyone to depart as these creatures are Caryatid Columns and in danger of destroying their weapons. As Kepher disengages, the golden glow from the shield protects him as Ina tries a tanglefoot bag to stop the others. It is caught in the entangle and the group retreats from the room. The constructs do not follow outside the room, and the party, already low on spells and resources, leaves the room closed.
Following the outside of the circle, they enter the tomb of the founder. Hieroglyphs cover the walls of this chamber. In the middle of the room, a large and majestic stone sarcophagus rests atop a raised stone platform, and several clay jars sit on the floor nearby. Two lacquered benches stand near the doors to the south. Idorrii says they came into this room but did nothing as her employer did not want to disturb the site. The hieroglyphs on the walls name the buried man as Djedihepet, and reveal that he died in -1599 AR. He is described as “a wise counselor, trusted keeper of secrets, and good friend of the Pharaoh.” Tumani is able to identify the pharaoh of Osirion in -1599 as Djederet II, the founder of the city of Wati.
Unlike the Scorched Hand, the Lost Fragments want to search. Tumani finds a button with magic upon it. It is ward that requires a password that no one knows. Kepher offers to press the button and the rest leave the room. Electricity rips through him, but Tumani rushes in to heal him. However, this opens the sarcophagus and revels some treasure within.
Next they enter a shrine in the south where they find a skeletal champion kneeling in prayer. Tumani talking to him in the old speech. He says he knows nothing of the mask and that twice already the Sanctum has been invaded and he will defend it. Clear that no reason is going to stop him, and Kepher attacks the undead monster. He proves to be a dangerous foe, absorbing several blows. Tumani causes him to be staggers with his touch of gentle rest and the guardian can only move or strike. With excellent teamwork, the group beats him down. As the guardian dies, he exclaims ”I come to you master!”. Kepher and Tumani say prayers over the fallen champion, now free of his long duty. The body has a mithril shirt they give to Ina. As she changes, Ina notes her piercing sword does little damage to these undead, and Keva lends her a hammer. Tumani asks to take the spear of the watchful guardian. The other big find is that he had keys to the rest of the Sanctum.
Through these fights, Idorrii hangs back, as the party has refused to hire her. However, she does not run or otherwise try to rescue the bound and gagged cleric behind them. She is quite clear she is not sure she can safely escape without the aid of the party.
Moving to the west, the group enters into the catacombs. Two columns carved to resemble men with their arms crossed over their chests, holding a khopesh in one hand and an ankh in the other, support the ceiling of this long chamber. Deep alcoves in the walls form burial chambers, some of which are sealed with stone doors. Other sepulchers just have sarcophagi tucked inside, while a few appear empty. To the north and south, wide passages exit the room through the east wall, each leading to stone double doors. This catacomb was reserved for the high priests of the Sanctum. In contrast to standard Osirian burial practices of the time, the temple's high priests were expected to pass on much of their belongings to their successors, making this catacomb seem relatively spartan in comparison. Tumani notes that the priests of the Sanctum of the Erudite Eye were well versed in the matters of their faith, and believed that mortal trinkets were not required for the soul to join Nethys in the afterlife. Six of the sepulchers all contain sarcophagi; three of them were sealed with stone doors that were never intended to be reopened.
Tumani suggests they search for any hidden compartments or secret doors. As they move about, they hear a stirring and a zombie rises to its feet!
|Campaign Date||Abadus 12-13|
The party is confronted with a coffer corpse. It attacks Keva who responds and easily knocks it down, inert. Horrifyingly, the creature stands back up. The men are shaken but not panicked. Ina however, not a native of these strange lands, runs. Kepher and Keva close and despite the thing going down and standing again, it is at last destroyed.
Healing up, the group heads upstairs to clear those areas. First stop is the library, where they are attacked by a guardian scroll. The animated construct wraps itself around Ina’s head, making attacks difficult without hurting her. Tumani uses command to order it to release his friend. Blood dripping from its nasty paper cuts, Ina retreats. Keva and Kepher stab the scroll, Ina returns to stab it. Once free of the magic controlling it, it again wraps itself around Ina’s head. Keva rips its free and the men slash and stab it until it is dead. The party rests and heals up, searching the room.
It is clear this room will take some time to organize the books for sale, tanking most of a day. The group decides to spend the night in the library to rest and recover, and send the prisoners back in the morning. That evening, Keva negotiates to pay 1,500gp to retain Idorii, and the next morning, she helps Tumani and Keva gather up the library, while Ina and Kepher take the bound cleric back to the living part of the city.
When the two return, the group decides to investigate the haunting. A small shrine occupies a raised dais in the north of this room. Two waist-high fonts stand on either side of the altar, and a small wooden cabinet is bolted against the eastern wall. Two rows of stone benches stand to the south of the dais. A fetid odor permeates the room What they find that instead of haunting, it is in fact two huvecuva, twisted undead of priests who failed to save their temple. It is easy work for the party to surround and kill them, taking no damage and avoiding their diseased touch. It takes a few moments to secure the area and search it. What is left is the main alter.
North of the Hall of Protection, the ceiling rises to a high dome 40 feet above the main floor, forming the primary cathedral of Nethys. Three flights of short, steep steps climb up to a large platform elevated 5 feet above the floor. At the rear ofthis platform, a 15-foot-tall statue of Nethys, half white and half black, stands atop a raised octagonal dais. The top ofthe main platform is tiled in black marble while the octagonal dais is a striking white, and the ring that separates them is tiled in red. hiding behind the large statue of Nethys at the far northern end of the room is Shargah-Katun an Aghash Div. This foul outsider reveals itself and opens with a cursed gaze from its single eye. Everyone but Tumani is in its effect, but only Ina is caught in its gaze. She is confused but able to act normally. Keva and Kepher attack, with Kepher using his smite power. Shargah-Katun is stunned by the ferocity and damage of the attack and uses its dimension door ability to vanish.
The group gathers itself and starts to search the area, when they notice motion into the room. Shargah-Katun has returned with allies!
However, the group does not see the giant eyed Div. Instead they are confronted with two dorus yet again. Shargah-Katun is present however, as his spectral hand moves, unseen, towards the party. The dorus immediately charm Ina, while failing on Tumani. Ina runs back to further search the library, intent on finding more treasure. Tumani shouts out he can make the weapons good, and does so for Kepher. The fighter moves in to attack, but misses the small divs. The other doru curses Idorrii to also go watch Ina, who is a thief after all, and make sure she does not steal anything. The group is down two of its members.
The spectral hand touches the most dangerous foe for the divs, the paladin Kepher, and he falls into curse of confusion. Kepher starts to hit himself in his altered state. Unable to fight back, he is then bitten by the doru. Tumani makes Keva’s weapon aligned and he joins the fight. The spectral hand tries to deliver a curse of ugliness to Tumani, but the cleric shrugs it off. And now he sharp eyes can see the mystical hand. Keva continues to try to fight on both divs, even as Shargah-Katun works to curse Kepher yet again. Tumani tries to kill the hand but fails, even as Keva manages to kill the dorus. As the summoned divs fade away, Kepher continues to strike himself. Tumani starts to heal Kepher from his own damage. Now is the point that the Aghash shows himself!
Both the fighters are stunned by his gaze, while Tumani faces it and stabs with his magical spear. The other two men remained stunned, which at least means the confused Kepher does nothing. Tumani flees to the women and managed to shake them from their stupors, as Keva shakes off the effect of the stun and attacks the agash, eyes shut, relying on his blind fighting.
As Ina passes Tumani, he aligns her weapon as well, and she and Idorrii join the fight to surround the horrible div, even as they are paused at times by its gaze. And as she passes Kepher, he mistakenly attacks her. This means Idorrii stands alone for a while, because the others are stunned, and Tumani is diverted desperately healing his friend from his own injuries and those of the div.
Shargah-Katun is arrogant. His primary foe cannot hit him at all. He concentrates his claws on Keva, the self-blinded man in front of him, and his gaze goes from stunning to deadly. The women stand behind him to attack, with Keva in front, but the creature seems to swirl and move, avoiding their damage. Idorri goes down in a vicious attack as Kepher attacks Keva.
Tumani heals his friends as the fighting continues. Shargah-Katun seems thrilled at the events. However, his luck turns. Keva provokes an attack, distracting him, so Idorrii can stand. The mercenary has been the most adapt at striking the div, and she lands a blow while he is distracted, to the cheers of the party. Startled, Shargah-Katun also is unable to avoid Ina’s damage from behind. The damage from them both drops the foul beast before it can once again escape.
It is at this point Kepher finally has a moment of lucidity. Tumani and Keva leap to him and explain he is under a curse, and Kepher demands to be bound. Until they can get him magically cured, he is a danger to himself and them. The group binds their friend and prepares to return to the living portion of Wati.