session recap, 6/28/2015

Gutboy the Cleric (6) and his blink dog Rufus II
Pai Mei the Wu-Jen (4)
Rolf the Dwarf (3)
Simon the Halfling (3)

The party began exploring the prison in which Ashkasar had trapped them.  They found various statues in niches along the walls, of varying species - they provided no clue on how to escape.  Finally, at the far end of the chamber, they stumbled across another pair of portcullises.  Expecting them to open, they poked a 10' pole through the bars of the near one and pressed the pressure plate that triggered the trap - but nothing happened.  Apparently, Ashkasar had been opening and closing the portcullises himself - a depressing realization for the intrepid crew.  Fortunately, brute strength was at hand, and with all the cannibals of the prison slain or turned to dust through Gutboy's faith, they had no problem using their combined strength to push the portcullis upwards.

Beyond, they negotiated a series of tunnels through the underground, discovering stuffed ape heads on pedestals, and the pit traps that disturbing said heads triggered.  The use of 10' poles prevented serious injury, and eventually they made their way to a large room with two skunk ape statues, one holding a quill, and the other a book.

The first ape statue uttered strange phrases when touched - "Never odd or even", "Flee to me, remote elf!" and other nonsense.  The second statue spoke even stranger things - "Knock knock", "Quack", and "Sizzle".  Pai Mei identified the second ape's utterings as onomatopeias, but the first ape statue's babbling was indecipherable.

Ignoring this mystery, they headed through a southern tunnel, finding a strange room filled with bean vines growing from pots.  Rolf was able to see the room clearly - a pair of ape statues were glowing with ultraviolet light - and in a corner, he saw a giant snake.  Rolf tossed a torch in that direction so the rest of the party could see the giant beast, and to their surprise, the snake used its tail to open a door, rushed in, and slammed the door closed.

A cursory inspection revealed ancient runes carved into the stone walls behind the bean vines, mentioning obsidian seeds and a being called the Gann, who was apparently supposed to return to the dungeon at some point.

The party approached the door and opened it, revealing a snake's bedroom - one wall lined with great pillows.  The snake sat coiled at the far end of the room, its head straight up in the air, with the upper half of a goblin sticking out.  The goblin spoke:

Esvet:  "Do not be alarmed, travelers!  I am a simple bean farmer!  This goblin is my method of communication!"
Gutboy:  "Wait, what?"
Esvet:  "My people can only speak through these lesser ones held in our mouths.  We are a peaceful race, and desire only commerce, and to harvest beans.  I am Esvet, of the Zerpanax"
Gutboy:  "Commerce?  What are you looking for?"
Esvet:  "Why, women, of course!"
Gutboy:  "Snake women?"
Esvet:  "No, don't be ridiculous.  We need human wombs to incubate our young.  Subterranean humanoids such as this goblin are inferior incubators, and the children produced are mentally incompetent.  Human women are necessary for proper childbearing!"
Gutboy:  "And what would we get for bringing you human women?"
Esvet:  "I see from your equipment that you are lovers of weapons and technology.  We can provide these in great numbers!  Have you heard of lasers?  Such devices are held in our citadels beneath!"
Gutboy:  "So you're not from here?  You're not the Gann?"
Esvet:  "The Gann?  No, we traveled through subterranean fissures to this dungeon.  Whoever the Gann was, he is long departed.  We worry not about him or his ridiculous apes."
Gutboy:  "So you eat beans?"
Esvet:  "No, our mouthpieces eat beans!  We eat the skunk apes, and sometimes the morlocks, when they are disobedient."
Gutboy:  "Well, we'll get those women for you right away.  Which way out of here?"
Esvet:  "To return to the surface, you'll want to head north.  You'll find some caverns, travel through them and a natural chimney will lead up to the swamps above."

The party (with the notable exception of Pai Mei) found the human-womb-seeking, goblin-devouring snake to be entirely trustworthy, and followed its advice, heading north.  They did indeed find a large natural cavern, with a gong at the far end.  Rolf spied a stony humanoid crouched behind the gong.  They suspected a trap, but pressed forwards regardless - Rufus blinking forward to bite at the stone-man, and the party unleashing a volley of arrows.  The arrows plinked off its stony hide, doing no damage, and the party realized they were in serious trouble, as two more stone men peeled off from the cavern walls.

Rufus managed to down one with his savage blink-dog-jaws, crunching through its rock hide, but the others hammered on the bell and rushed the party, crushing Simon the Halfling into paste.  The party fled for their lives, rushing back to the bean room, and Pai Mei used the ancient powers of the wu jen to secure the door against all intrusion.  Inhuman fists crashed on the other side of the door, and angry hisses were heard, but the mighty doors to the bean room held.

Incensed at Esvet's betrayal, they kicked down the door to his room and unleashed their fury on the slithering liar.  "Please, there must be some misunderstanding!" were the last words of the beast as Rolf severed the snake's head (and the goblin's feet).  The goblin fell from the monster's mouth, moaning in pain.  There was a brief and unsuccessful attempt to interrogate the mostly-unconscious goblin before the party decided that heading south would be a more profitable direction.

The southern tunnels brought them to a room full of morlocks and a giant lizard, who were quickly dispatched - and beyond that, a series of rooms that led back to recognizable staircase.  Despite horrendous mapping errors, the party had found their way out of the dungeon of the Gann.  They followed the more accurate upper level of their map, and made their way back out to the swamp, avoiding the laser stare of the stone ape heads outside.

Gains:  none
Kills:  margoyle, zerpanax, 2 morlocks, subterranean lizard
Losses:  Simon the Halfling