Seekers of the Ashen Crown week 17: What lies beneath

In the pitch black of the ruined tunnel, still looking for the mirrors that would light up the moon pool, Jak tried to assuage Lestok’s curiosity by dropping a rock down one of the black puddles himself.  An oily cloud emerged from it and tried to grab him, hanging in the air after he jumped away.  This fully engaged Lestok’s attention, and he proposed tying a string to a rock and using the string as a fuse to see if they could light it on fire and dissipate it that way. All he got for his troubles was a snapped string that he sensed had been eroded by the negative, necrotic energy contained within the cloud.  Quentin’s attempt to shape water in the cloud was similarly unsuccessful, and Lestok’s thoughts turned to more exploration.  He quickly whipped up G.N.O.M.E.S. protective suits for everyone, with Kayde fussing over how ugly they were.  Back to indulging his curiosity, Lestok tried poking the cloud with a stray bone, and again, nothing happened.

Aruget took the lead as the party continued down the tunnel and into a similarly decrepit cavern.  As he entered the cavern, two red pinpoints of light emerged out of the darkness and a shadowy figure plunged its hand into Aruget as if trying to steal the very life out of him.  The rest of the party frantically tried to end it, but it kept turning intangible and twisting away in the air until Aruget managed to get his revenge, dealing a killing blow.  He and Quentin identified the creature as a wraith, the embodiment of evil and dark, and said that anyone killed by one would become undead themselves.

Jak again turned his attention to trying to help Lestok by getting a sense of where the mirror might be, but his focus turned to panic as he stepped into one of the dark, oily clouds which engulfed him, snuffing out his lantern as Aruget watched in horror.  Thanks to the G.N.O.M.E.S. suit, he was able to pull himself out, but took a lungful of the substance in the process, gaining a nasty cough and further worrying Aruget, who was certain that Jak was either dying or turning into a wraith himself.  After mischievously messing with the paladin a little, Jak was able to convince him that he was fine.

This room was in ruins.  It was full of rubble and decayed things that disintegrated under the party’s touch, though a small, half-melted pewter clasp that gave off a smoldering light caught Quentin’s attention as he turned towards more tunnels, which he sent little sparks of light down to investigate and caught a small glint off of something silvered in return.  Kayde transformed into a shadow and floated down, followed by Jak, Lestok, and Aruget, the latter of whom fell into another cloud but, like Jak, was saved by Lestok’s suit.  In this new room, Jak found a few trinkets of interest to Lestok, a bronze tiger war mask which he handed to Aruget, a locket containing a picture of a hobgoblin couple that he kept for himself, and – much to Kayde’s delight – a potion of greater healing to help soothe some of the lingering injuries that continued to plague the elf ever since being gored by the minotaur on the road.  

Returning to the original cavern, another tunnel to the east proved to be clear of the foul clouds.  Kayde, very uncomfortable at being in this dark, filthy place, scouted ahead but noticed nothing out of sorts.  As him and Aruget continued ahead, they came to a cavern ablaze in purple light – the walls were covered in veins of raw byeshk, and byeshk stalagmites and stalactites and columns stretching from floor to ceiling were everywhere.  Within the columns, the party could see goblinoid bodies trapped inside, their faces twisted in horror. Unnerved but not shaken, Aruget pointed out that they looked not like actual bodies, but like images that had been blasted into the rock.  Lestok was determined to locate the source of the horror on the goblinoid’s faces when a mob of ghosts rose out of the floor to attack!

Aruget quickly put one down, then called on his ancestor ghosts to aid him.  As they looked at him with fear on their faces, the ghosts split in two and began fighting each other.  With this unexpected help, the party was quickly able to end the fight (but not without sustaining a few minor injuries).  The two phantoms who remained looked back at Aruget, walked over to the images of themselves burnt into the stalagmites, and melded into the rock in a burst of light…and then both the phantoms and the images were gone.

Behind the Scenes

  • Question of the week: Who or what has been the greatest love in your life?
  • G.N.O.M.E.S.? I couldn’t tell you what the acronym stands for, but it’s Lestok’s environmental protection power. He flavours it as a suit made out of cardboard. You may remember it from helping him to avoid burning up in the fight in Gydd Nephret’s apartment.
  • Speaking of Lestok, he charged into battle armed with a femur. Make of that what you will.
  • The ancestor spirits coming to Aruget’s aid was thanks to the GMs very generous allowing of a specific interpretation of the “Angry Mob” adventure card. It’s not normally how that card would work…but the flavouring was so cool that he handwaved a strict interpretation of it.

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