Episode 6 – A Tale of Fire and Brimstone

                Previously in “Under a Raging Moon”. Galadiir, Drogo, Geoff and Spark, along with N’Dula, attempted to gain an item from a strange sorcerous caravan. They succeeded in liberating two boxes of Khav; then pressed on to find the Eye of Cissirrus. Two days later, they entered a cavern that smelt strongly of brimstone. In a chamber containing a “swimming pool” they were attacked by six female acolytes who used the tactic of stripping naked to distract the male fighters whilst their companion stabbed them. Eventually they disposed of all of them. From one of the tunnels came the glow of firelight…

The PC’s headed towards the glow, the archway led onto a cliff ledge overlooking a gulf. Ahead was a gap in the ledge, next to it a river of burning lava plunged down into the smoke-filled depths. The gap was spanned by a blackened wooden bridge. Drogo went across first, as he reached the far side there was a ‘snap!’ and an arrow struck him. He looked for an ambush but concluded that it was a spring-loaded trap of some kind. The others all crossed the bridge safely, although Spark and Geoff felt the intense heat from the lava.

Descending several rough-hewn sets of steps cut into the rock, they came into a square chamber. Two large metal armoured figures, the eye slits dripping molten lava, moved to attack with Great Swords. Drogo was in the lead and took a mighty blow that surely should have cleaved him asunder, however, his iron constitution and background showed though and he survived with only a single Wound.

(GM: Drogo actually took Six Wounds! He opted to try and Soak them, first by using his Loincloth Hero Edge. He Soaked two Wounds from this and opted to try to Soak the others as usual by spending a Benny. He Soaked another three, leaving him with one Wound. I was so impressed by the way the Gods had smiled upon him that I gave him the Benny back).**

Galadiir cast his “Vein Drain” (Draining Touch) spell and attempted to touch the Doomguard in front of him, he did so but the spell did nothing (Doomguard are Constructs and are immune to Fatigue). Drogo recovered from being Shaken and struck the Doomguard that had hurt him, the thing collapsed in a shower of sparks and hot metal. Geoff and N’Dula took down the second one before it could do a sweep attack on them.

First Galadiir, then Spark, tried their healing skills on Drogo and he was healed of his remaining Wound. Venturing down a short tunnel, they emerged into another square chamber with steps leading down and a door in one wall. Geoff listened at the door; then gently eased it open. Without warning the door snapped backwards on a spring, pulling him forwards; at the same time the section of floor he was standing on tilted forward. He threw himself back just in time; the trap door led to a deep pit from which smoke and dull orange flames issued.

More steps and a short tunnel led to a cross-passage, to the right was a large fire-lit hall, to the left the passage plunged down more steps. Checking out the hall, Galadiir stole up to the entrance.

He saw a large hall, with a priestess sitting on a stone throne. Around her feet were a group of orange-robed female acolytes, they were all chanting a mantra of some kind. Around the hall were red-robed female acolytes, doing various tasks. In the centre of the hall was a square bubbling lava pool, to the left, against the wall, was a winch arrangement supporting a large blackened iron plate. His eyes widened as he saw two Doomguard statues behind the throne.

After a (very) brief council of war, they decided to attack and take one or two prisoners (maybe). They burst in through the entrance, the priestess rose and called

“Who defiles the sanctum of the Eye of Cissirrus?” She had a stylised eye branded on her forehead.

Galadiir responded with a “Roses Thorns” that took down two of the acolytes whilst the others ran forwards. The priestess raised her hands and chanted an invocation, brief bursts of flame erupted around the PC’s, causing some of them to be Shaken. The acolytes pressed their attack and the Doomguard lumbered forward. Geoff took down one of the Doomguard; Galadiir summoned his “Army of the Dead” (two Caldeian soldiers). At a gesture from the priestess, an acolyte released the iron plate down into the ground; there was a brief splash of lava as it fell. Drogo (the bastard), pushed one of the acolytes into the lava pit; to his surprise she mouthed “thank you” even as she burned. Galadiir took out the second Doomguard; at this the priestess howled “now you will experience true terror”, ran across the floor and leapt into the lava; the flames surging up to meet her.

Confused, the PC’s hesitated, giving the surviving acolytes chance to retreat to the far side of the chamber.

“Something’s happening”, said Geoff. “Look, the lava in the pool is higher than it was”.

The lava in the pool surged upwards, forming into a large humanoid figure of living flame. It turned towards Spark, N’Dula and one of the Caldeians and belched huge gout of white-hot flame over them. Spark leapt clear, N’Dula was Shaken and the soldier died (was dispelled). Drogo ran forwards and stabbed at it with his buffalo spear, to his dismay the spear simply burnt up without causing any damage. Spark ran for the exit, followed by Geoff, the Lava Demon belched again; this time Spark was badly burned and went down. The others ran as well, Drogo noticed that the lava in the pool was now beginning to overflow the edge. Galadiir played his trump card; he had learnt a secret rune in his early days that allowed him to attack the Demon and hurt it. His last “Roses Thorns” hurt the creature and allowed him to escape.

(GM: This was the use of an Adventure Card that Galadiir had gained for his interlude in Episode 2)

Back on the upper level, they checked out the passage from the “swimming pool”. It led to a chapel or shrine. An altar, which things had been burnt on; above was a fresco depicting a figure bursting into flames. Drogo fiddled with the top of the altar; it opened to reveal a treasure trove of silver Moons. They were busy grabbing handfuls when a brightening of the firelight heralded the arrival of the Lava Demon. They ran out of the entrance, followed by final gout of flame.

They headed into the woods and took stock. Spark was Wounded and badly burned, also N’Dula was beginning to show signs of Khav withdrawal. Counting the treasure they had grabbed, they had 400 Moons.

===============================================================================================

GM: I’m not sure about the Adventure Cards. I rewarded Matt with one because of his interlude; however having now read all of them, they can potentially be game breakers. In this case, Ben attacked before Matt played the card, and the Demon is not immune to magic. Having said that, when I gave Matt the card, the Eye of Cissirrus had not been written (and I’d forgotten he’d got it anyway).

What does everyone else think?

** Umberto pointed out that I’d interpreted the Loincloth Hero Edge incorrectly, it does not give a free roll IN ADDITION to a normal Soak roll

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