session recap, 5/17/2015

Gutboy the Cleric (6), his blink dog Rufus II, and the three Brothers Melba (1)
Pai Mei the Wu-Jen (4)
Rolf the Dwarf (3)
Simon the Halfling (3), and his henchmen the Unnamed Mariner (2)

The crew looked around - where the hell had Gutboy gone?  - no matter, they had a drug dealer to bust.  They packed up their belongings, headed down the Grand Stair to the Everglades, and began the trek through the swamp, avoiding the highway to Under-Miami, as import/export professionals so often do.

They handily dealt with a lone giant mosquito, climbed into the mossy cypresses to sleep, and then awoke to the sound of skunk apes.  The 7' tall bipeds were marching single file to the west, an unconscious man in an orange jumpsuit slung over one of the beasts' shoulders.  Intrigued, the party followed, and after a few miles saw the swamp 'squatches head towards a stony outcropping with a door cut into it.  The door was flung open, and flanked by giant stone skunk-ape-head-statues.  The cunningly carved eyes of each statue were rolled up so that no pupils were visible.

The intrepid crew headed into the tunnel, and stopped to examine a 6" round shaft cut into the wall.  A few feet into the shaft was the squared-off head of a metal bar.  Simon cajoled his Unnamed Mariner into reaching in to twist the shaft - and as he did so a metal blade swung down inside, shattering the antique Apple Watch he had dredged up from the bottom of the ocean in his seafaring days.  He yanked his arm back, thankful the watch took the brunt.  Pai Mei took a look at the statues, and saw that their eyes had rolled back down, and were pulsing with purple light.  He threw the mariner's shattered watch into the air, and lasers lanced out from their eyes, disintegrating the timepiece!  It was lucky timing, too, as just at that moment Gutboy and his entourage rushed towards the door.

Once inside, they began exploring the tunnels beyond.  They examined several long-abandoned dormitory rooms, lifted a portcullis, fought & killed a pack of skunk apes that had been standing around minding their own business (confiscating a few whistles and nothing else), and then made their way past a pair of ape-themed double doors and down a stairway.

On the lower level, they followed a trail of doors to an ape beauty salon (with ape combs and tubs of sanitizer), and eventually to a chamber with an ape-sized niche in the wall, the surrounding stone carved to resemble a larger ape about to give the niche's contents a hug.  Huddled below the niche was the villager - he was drooling and unresponsive, and covered with swamp scum with the exception of his well-groomed head and shoulders.  The Brothers Melba picked him up and forced him into the niche - and the stone arms reached forward to grip him tightly for a moment, and released him to the floor.  The fellow (identified by the brothers as "Phil") remained in his senseless state, and rather than lug him back to Squamscot, the Brothers lightly killed him, figuring they'd let his reincarnation know what happened later.

Exploring further, they came upon a room filled with implements of torture - thumbscrews, iron maidens, etc.  As they examined the grisly collection, a man in a torn jumpsuit staggered forward.  "Oh thank goodness!  I'm saved" he shouted as he approached.

Gutboy:  "Wait!  Who are you?"
Louis:  "I'm Louis, from Under-Miami!  I escaped from those awful skunk apes, and was hiding here for days!"
Gutboy:  "Really?  You just stayed here, in the dark?"
Louis:  "Uhhh.... yeah...."

Pai Mei thought this sounded fishy, and used the Wig of Lordship he had taken from the Tomb of Elvis to charm Louis.

Pai Mei:  "Who are you really?"
Louis:  "I work for Sanibel! I had a briefcase full of jewels for a deal, and was on my way to Squamscot to make a deal when those apes grabbed me."
Gutboy:  "Jewels?"

Their greed overcoming their paranoia, the party began hatching plans to retrieve the drug jewels and arrange an accident for Louis.  They explored the room further, and found a boudoir around a corner.  Looting the various drawers and trunks, they retrieved a book full of magical writing, a box with a knife and fork (cast into the shapes of screaming faces), a ring of keys, a golden thurible, crystal dish filled with incense, eight flasks of liquid, a scroll tube, and a wide array of expensive suits.  All were dumped into Gutboy's sack.

Heading to the other side of the chamber, they saw a pair of portcullises - the near one up, and the far one down.  Pai Mei jabbed at the floor near the far portcullis with his extensible pole, and the near portcullis slammed down (shattering his pole!) and the far portcullis rose up.  A lone ghoul ran around the corner, only to be driven away by Gutboy's holy presence.  After two minutes, the far portcullis slammed down, and the near one arose again.

Having figured out the nature of the trap, they decided to press ahead anyways.  They ordered everyone, including a sobbing Louis, shaking with fear ("I thought these clones weren't supposed to be afraid to die?") into the space between the two portcullises, and stepped on the pressure plate.  As expected, the near portcullis arose, the far portcullis fell down, and the party began advancing - all but Louis, who remained, clutching the portcullis.

As Gutboy, in the rear, crossed the threshold of the far portcullis, Louis began giggling, and the far portcullis slammed down, while the one he was clinging to began to arise.

Gutboy:  "Why are you laughing?  Are you jewels back here?"
"Louis":  "You seriously haven't worked it out yet?  Louis is not my real name..."
Gutboy:  "I figured that out!  What do you want?"
"Louis":  "You may call me Ashkasar.  All I want is for you to eat...  to dine upon the sweetest flesh..."
Gutboy:  "We've got your stuff!"
Ashkasar:  "Oh, I shall retrieve it later.  There is no hurry.  You'll want the cutlery, of course.  The hunger shall drive you to abandon your pretense of civilization and embrace the natural order!"

As Ashkasar spoke, a teeming horde of cannibal corpses emerged from the darkness around the party.  Pai Mei sent bolts of magical energy into Ashkasar's chest, to no effect whatsoever, while the presumed wizard easily sidestepped an attack by Rufus the Blink Dog.  Meanwhile, the brothers Melba and the unnamed mariner were rended limb-from-limb by the cannibal horde.

Gutboy's holy presence both repelled and attracted the ghouls - as the power of his nonfaith annihilated the fiends, those behind attacked him with increased fervor.  Bloodied and torn, the priest prevailed, and soon only the party members and the giggling Ashkasar remained.

Ashkasar:  "Now it is time for you to dine!"

With that, the session ended.

Gains:  ivory whistle, 2 frosted glass whistles, golden thurible, crystal dish with incense, ring of keys, spell book, glowing wood cube, box with plates and cutlery, suits, scroll tube, eight flasks of liquid
Kills:  giant mosquito, six skunk apes, 12 ghouls, 3 ghasts
Losses:  Phil, the Brothers Melba, the Unnamed Mariner