The Waiting Room
- The party was confronted by a birdlike cultist at a desk, threatening to "perform the emergency purge procedure" if it sees any of the "deadly intruders causing havoc".
- Dazki distracted the cultist by claiming to be Baxton's replacement.
- Dwardazik rushed in and snapped the cultist's neck before Dazki could go much further. As he did, some brown tendrils followed his fingers around the cultist's beak, healing the dwarf a little.
- Grogery confronted Dwardazik about his aggression. After a heated argument, Dwardazik listened to Dazki and give Baxton's Ring of Mind Shielding to the goblin.
- The cultist had had drawings of three party members: Grogery, Dazki, and Kesmet.
- Dazki and Kesmet disabled the mechanism of the lever that would have activated "the emergency purge procedure", and the party moved on.
- The next hallway to the east looped back around to the other side of the door that had been labeled "The Unliving Quarters".
- The room was full of undead and handravens.
- The undead seem pacified by the same kind of smoke that was prevalent in Overlook.
- The party turned back, locking the door behind them.
- Marvin turned out to be the VIP to open the next door to the south, presenting The Mask of the Wasted Breath and stating that he had been invited by Vicra.
- The room was called "The Waiting Room" and was covered faintly by some ethereal smoke being emitted by some sort of creature on the side.
- Eyesore was there, fast asleep and impaled upon a metal spike that looked like part of an art installation, but was actually a part of a large creature called "The Shrike".
- Upon freeing Eyesore from his impalement, the party was attacked by The Shrike, the smoke creature, and Eyesore himself. Dazki landed the killing blow on The Shrike, and Dwardazik finished off the smoke creature.
- Other features of this room included:
- An ornate bowl worth 1000gp on a trapped pedestal
- A statue with connections to the Mirage, with a small crate in front that contained a fourth Fossilized Melody, flanked by two other statues of no religious significance (but tying into the murals at the front)
- Mounds of flesh that shrieked in pain when burned
- A sarcophagus in the center of the room, with stairs leading up to it
- The party manacled and tied up Eyesore.
Secretary of the LeverDwardazik moves far enough into the room to attract the cultist's attention. The cultist speaks with a muffled voice (which is weird, because it's not wearing a full mask):
Cultist: There are deadly intruders causing havoc within the inner sanctum. Stay here, and if any of these villainous monsters appear here, immediately perform the emergency purge procedure! The cultist lays its hand upon the lever, then cocks its head to the side, as if to ask a question (though the intonation does not change). Cultist: Deadly intruders causing havoc!Dwardazik looks at the cultist, points a thumb backwards towards the tunnel where they came from, and gives a shrug. Dazki takes off his mask, sets it to the side, and walks out into the room, slightly clumsily hiding his longbow under his cloak as he does so. Dwardazik motions to the other party members behind him to hold off.
Dazki, going full irritated elven noble: Oh, just shut up already, you idiot! We're here to see Vicra. Now, if he's regenerating, or whatever the hell he calls it, then hurry it up! Baxton is dead. I'm his replacement. I have some things to discuss with him. Dazki (cont'd): Now get out of our way. That drunken asshole in that... whatever you call your entry chamber... raised some stupid alarm, and now my companions and I are being attacked by you idiots. Get Vicra, or show us somewhere we can wait for him. We have important things to discuss.The bird's attention snaps to Dazki, who is indeed wearing Baxton's Embroidered Mantle of Spell Resistance. The elf stares him down for a moment, carrying a heavy air of superiority. The bird removes its hand from the lever and begins anxiously searching through its various drawings. As it does so, Dazki begins to approach the table, but Dwardazik rushes there before him. The dwarf grabs the bird's beak and gives it a swift twist to the side, hard and fast. The bird's neck snaps, dying almost instantly. As soon as the bird collapses, several brown tendrils follow Dwardazik's fingers, leaving several pockmarks on the side of the bird's beak, healing Dwardazik slightly.
Kesmet: What the hell just happened?! Dwardazik: Ahh, that took care of 'im! Good distraction there, Dazki! Dazki: Damnit, Dwardazik, I had it under control! You didn't need to kill the guy! Dwardazik: But... it was a really good distraction! Dazki: Yeah, and we were gonna get somewhere we could rest up safely, for Grogery to regain his spells, if you would have gone along with it! Dwardazik: I dunno, it kinda looked like he was itchin' to pull that lever. When he looked down, he was distracted. Dazki: Yeah! Want to prevent a lever from being pulled? He takes out his dagger and stabs it behind the lever to keep it from moving. There you go! Dwardazik: Oh. Well, now he can't hurt us, and it's taken care of. Dazki: Now he can't vouch for us, either. Dwardazik: Well, I didn't think he would vouch for us that much. Though, I have to admit, you do kind of look like Baxton. In a way. Err — no offense, I mean the cloak is... Dazki: No, it's OK. Living amongst elven nobility, I learned to be a condescending asshole. I'm sure Grogery understands. Dwardazik: Actually, it was quite impressive! You really do remind me of a noble. Are you? Wait... you are? Dazki: Yeah. Dwardazik: You don't act like it. That's interesting. Dazki: Third son. Parents didn't really give a shit about me. First one inherits things, second one is there as a backup, third is usually given to the church or some shit like that. I just squirreled my way out of it. Dwardazik: Yeah, politics is a pain in the ass. But what you said is important. If we're trying to find a place for Grogery to rest then, well, I might have fucked that one up a little bit. But that doesn't mean we can't keep going. Dazki motions to the others to come out. Kesmet: So, uh, that guy's dead — Marvin: SUPER dead. Kesmet: — but he said something that may be some trouble later. What if there are multiple checkpoints like this where they're checking for intruders, and the next person isn't as dimwitted as him to fall for some sort of nonsense, and they actually pull the lever that "purges" this place, or whatever? Marvin: We could break it off... Kesmet: What if there's other levers? Marvin: We'll break those too! Dazki: Why don't we see if he has anything on him that would help us make it past other potential checkpoints? Keys, or his scroll of notes, or something like that? Dwardazik: Well there's definitely a door down that way...On the desk, the cultist was looking through a bunch of loose papers and drawings. Notably, none of the papers has any words. It's a lot of art and drawings. There's half a map of the dungeon. He also has sketches of the faces of Grogery, Dazki, and Kesmet, which is weird — Pigeon never saw Kesmet's face before getting knocked out, and Kesmet has been wearing Pigeon's mask ever since. It looks like the cultist had come across Dazki's picture right before Dwardazik killed him. He also has an interesting-looking key, which Dazki takes.
Kesmet: Dennis's insidiousness goes deeper than I thought... Dazki: Well, Baxton could spy on us through his amulets. Maybe they can spy on us through our masks? Dwardazik: That's true, but we did encounter the Flesh Artist before, and his agent. Maybe he could see through his masterpieces as well? Marvin: Oh, that would suck... Grogery: Or Eyesore? Marvin: Do you think that big ol' blob was a masterpiece? Dazki: I imagine it was. Dwardazik: Hard to tell. Honestly, I think it was just a pile of shit, but these guys... they probably consider it a masterpiece. Marvin: Have you ever seen a pile of shit that big?! Dwardazik: You shoulda seen it when we landed on this damn continent! Kesmet: OK, so which direction do we go from here? Dwardazik: If this door has any writing, then we should investigate... Grogery: So, what, we're just going to ignore what just happened, is that right? Dazki sighs. Dwardazik: What happened? Grogery: Dazki was doing a distraction to try to get more information, and then without even thinking about it, you just ran up and killed this guy! Dwardazik: It was a tactical two-on-one. Kesmet: Grogery, Grogery! It turned out to be the correct thing to do. He has, like, wanted pictures of us. And one of them was Dazki. He would have known immediately that Dazki was bullshitting. Dazki: We don't know that it was the right thing to do. This guy has been murdered. Kesmet: I lean on the side of caution. Grogery: It very well could have been the wrong — you don't just walk up and snap peoples' necks, Dwardazik! Dwardazik: Ugh, so, we're above ambushes now? Ambushes never happen? Kesmet: That did seem a bit extreme. We probably could have immobilized him. Grogery: I honestly thought you were better than this, Dwardazik. Dwardazik: Well, I'm not. Grogery: Maybe you really were the one who killed those Rubymists in the mine, then! Dwardazik: No. Grogery: You're in a room with someone who's supposed to be your enemy, and you just walk up and kill them? Dwardazik: I killed them, because they ARE the enemy. Where are we, Grogery?! Grow a spine. Grogery: You think it's easy, showing mercy to people? Dwardazik: No, it's hard to show mercy to people. A lot of times, we don't have the luxury of sitting around trying to figure out if they're good, or bad, or if 10 years ago they murdered some people, or if in 2 days they're going to go out and abduct a bunch of people for experiments. We're in a CULTISTS'. DEN. These people are EVIL. Look at what we just killed! Is that normal?! Grogery: What, a Kenku? Dwardazik: You're giving people too much benefit of the doubt, and you're going to hesitate. And when you hesitate, you are going to lose one of us. You will make the wrong decision, and someone will probably die. Grogery: You don't hesitate enough. You're going to kill someone who doesn't deserve it. You're going to cause someone else to come after us for killing an innocent person. You're going to destroy people who could have offered us information, or gone on to make some positive improvement in the world, all because you think it's "too risky" to... let somebody live? Dazki: People deserve mercy. People can have the chance to change, Dwardazik. Dwardazik: Hrrrgh... you guys are going to hesitate. And it's going to cost you. Grogery: Oh, like this is any — who knows what kind of information we could have gotten from this guy?! Dwardazik: Or he could have pulled the lever. Dazki: I would rather die than kill an innocent. Dwardazik: I would rather die saving you. Grogery: I don't need saving. Dwardazik: That's what you say. Grogery: In case you hadn't noticed, my faith in my god and his principles of repentance and mercy has given me strength. Dwardazik: I do not deny the power of your god. I never have. In fact, I respect your commitment to your god. But that doesn't mean that we all have to obey the same rules, and it doesn't mean that the world is going to be all nice and goody-two-shoes either. You can't just make up and play friends with every single person you meet, IN A CULTISTS' DEN, expecting to play nice. Dazki: And you can't just murder all of them and expect to call yourself better. Dwardazik: I don't need to be better. I need to defeat the Flesh Artist and save us! Dazki: Why? Dwardazik: Because we're here! Dazki: Why do you need it so badly, then? Marvin: I thought we all wanted that, really badly? Kesmet: Well, for me, it's a stepping stone to Dennis. Dwardazik: See! Kesmet's easy! Dazki: Yes, but "NEED". The way you said "NEED", that makes it sound like there's something more for you than what we're actually trying to do here. Dwardazik: I want to destroy the Flesh Artist because he's evil. I'm tired of being manipulated by these evil manipulating bastards. Dazki: I haven't seen him trying to manipulate us. Unless there's something that the rest of us, other than you, aren't aware of? Dwardazik: No, it's just this entire situation! Look where we are! I would rather be in a tavern. Grogery: Why aren't you? Dwardazik: Because I'm here to keep you guys safe, and I'm gonna see this through to the end. Grogery: Why is our safety so important? Dwardazik: Why... wouldn't it be? Grogery: What makes our safety more important than that guy's safety, or Pigeon's safety, or any of the other people you've just walked forward and killed? Dwardazik: But... I didn't... kill Pigeon? Grogery: You guys were gonna throw him out to rot with the Turmoil outside this place! Dwardazik: What do you want me to do?! Grogery: I want you to give me Baxton's Ring of Mind Shielding, and I want you to chill! Dwardazik: I said I was going to give Baxton's ring to Dazki, not you, and I don't feel like it right now. Grogery: Why don't you feel like it? Dwardazik: Because I'm not going to take orders from some hesitating goblin. Grogery: So what, you think that someone who is possibly being mind-controlled by Baxton, holding an item that could possibly allow Baxton to influence your behavior, you want to have the ring be in the hands of someone who's not going to hesitate before doing whatever pops into his head?! Dwardazik: And what, you think that Dazki is now being manipulated? Because he's had the ring before! Kesmet's had the ring before! Are you sure you're not the one being manipulated right now? Grogery: I'm not the one wearing the ring. I'm not the one walking around snapping people's necks! Dwardazik: It's called an attack! It's an ambush! Grogery: It's called MURDER! Dwardazik: Is everything that you kill murder? Did you murder that chicken you ate last night (hypothetically)? Grogery: A chicken can't think and talk like a person. Dazki: Every person you kill is murder. Dwardazik: I disagree. Kesmet: Guys, guys, guys, guys, guys. I think we're losing sight of the bigger picture, here. Dazki: ... ... ... OK? Kesmet: I had nothing past that. I was just hoping to distract all of you, because things were getting a little heated. And not in the good way. Dazki, laughing: Thank you for breaking the tension, a little, Kesmet. I needed that laugh. Kesmet: Dwardazik. Thank you for trying to keep us safe. Maybe that guy was a little evil. We didn't know for sure, though. In the future, just in case, let's not immediately murder people if not necessary. That way, if they happen to be good, then we get to help them escape this horrible place, and everybody's happy! We're safe, we're happy. The morally ambiguous people are still alive, so Grogery's (probably) happy. Um, I don't know what makes Dazki happy (except for saying that I'm wrong about Dennis, but he'll see that I'm right). And Marvin's... ... well... Dazki: You'll get your story, Marvin. Marvin: Oh, my story is all of your stories. Kesmet: Yeah, and Marvin wants to follow us around because that monkey stole all his money. Marvin: ...that's right. Dwardazik: We'll do it your way, Grogery. And we'll see how it goes. Grogery: You gonna give me the ring? Dwardazik: No. Grogery: Then I challenge you to honorable combat for it. Dwardazik, above discord from the others: I agree. Dazki: Guys, stop! Don't fight. Kesmet: You can't agree, if your primary thing is to keep us safe! You can't hurt Grogery! Marvin: Yeah, guys, why not fight in the middle of this giant dungeon, where everything else wants to kill us! Dwardazik: I have been challenged to honorable combat for the ring. Although, it is not my ring to give. Dazki, do you allow the challenge for this ring? Dazki: How about this: instead of fighting, you just give it to him. Now. Dwardazik: Very well. I can do that.Dwardazik takes the ring off and gives it to Grogery. Kesmet approaches the lever, giving Dazki one of his many daggers on the way to replace what's about to happen to this one. He dumps out a jar of tar into the lever's mechanism alongside the dagger, and then he ignites it with a flame from his hands. It catches fire, bubbling a bit, and it hardens and cools down like asphalt.
Dwardazik: Ugh, that smell... Dazki: That is pretty clever Kesmet. Kesmet: Aww, but it didn't melt the dagger. He tugs at the dagger, which is firmly cemented in place.Dwardazik goes up to explore the shrine by the pillar. There is a small shrine by the pillar with a few offerings. The offerings are fairly standard: a few coins, some jewelry, some goblets, a few livers, an entire pair of lungs... you know, the standard stuff.
Dwardazik: Hey, Dazki, can you take a look at this? It looks a bit suspicious. Are there any traps on here? Dazki: Sure, but I doubt an altar would be trapped. Dwardazik: In this place? You can't be too careful.Dazki investigates it. Though he didn't expect to see any traps, there is some sort of mechanism on the altar that would release a toxic gas if triggered. It's unclear what would trigger it.
Dazki: Huh. So there actually is something here. Dwardazik: Ah! Good thing I stayed my greedy dwarven hands. Dazki: I don't know what would set it off. I couldn't figure that much out. So probably best that we leave the altar be. Besides — He points to the livers — do you really need a spare liver, especially outside of your body? Or a pool of blood? Marvin: Flesh Artist probably thinks so. Dwardazik: It could be used for a puzzle later. You think we could take this money or no? Dazki: I don't know what sets it off, so I would say... probably not. Dwardazik: Yeah, it ain't that much, anyway. Kesmet, approaching the two: Hey guys, are we — holy shit, that's lungs — so, are we going south or to the east? Dwardazik: Well, let's take a look.The door to the south is completely devoid of any markings, handles, or hinges, or keyholes. Nothing. There is a small circular trapdoor off to the side of it.
Kesmet: I've got a weird feeling about this door. Let's go check over to the east. Dazki: Sure. I have no idea what to do about this, if everybody else is in agreement? Most agree. Dazki: Grogery, you all right? Grogery: Yeah, just ... I'm pretty tired of all this down here. Dazki: We all are, buddy. We all are. Hopefully we'll be able to what we can to stop this from happening, soon. Kesmet: Don't worry, Grogery! When we get out of this hellhole of death and murder — and, you know, Flesh Artistry — I'll buy you a nice tall glass of holy water. Grogery: Thanks, I guess? Marvin: Wait, you're supposed to drink that stuff?! Kesmet: I don't know! Grogery: No, you're not, but... it's the thought that counts. Plus, Kesmet, buying somebody water? Kesmet: What's so special about water? I thought it was the "holy" part that was special? Grogery: Just because the... the... never mind.The door to the east is more-or-less identical to the door to the west: no plaque, just a keyhole.
Dazki: So, there's definitely another glyph on this door. Kesmet: Should we try to dispel it, or activate it with a thrown dagger? Dwardazik: Didn't your hand thing work the best last time? Dazki: It worked, but it actually shocked me... Dwardazik: No, no, no, not you. Talking about his magic hand, that thing Kesmet can do. Dazki: Oh!With everybody standing a safe distance away from the door, Kesmet levitates a dagger over to the door and touches it. Nothing happens. He firebolts the door, also to no effect. Dazki realizes that he still hasn't put his mask back on, so he runs back to the room to pick it back up.
Dwardazik: Do you think that this thing is triggered by flesh? Kesmet shrugs. Dwardazik: What if we pick up one of those organs and throw it at the door? Grogery: It might be if "someone" touches the door. Those lungs aren't "someone". Kesmet: So our best bet is to trigger it either by someone hurting themselves, or dispelling it. Dwardazik: Can you do that? Kesmet: All right, everyone stand back.. The glyph vanishes. OK, Dazki, quick! Before they come back! (I think they come back? I don't remember.) Grogery: I don't think they come back... Kesmet: Whatever. Quick! Open it! Because I think something might have happened. Dazki: All right, all right! Let me move closer to pick it. Kesmet: Wait, don't we have a key for this? Didn't we find a key on that guy? Dazki: Maybe.Dazki picks open the door.
The Unliving QuartersUpon entering the hallway to the next room, there are several small black feathers dusted off to the side, and faint cawing noises can be heard.
Dazki: Looks like we have a rookery over here. Dwardazik: Ugh. The smell is terrible.The party decides to continue more stealthily. As they move up, some handravens can be seen clinging to the ceiling like bats.
Kesmet: ...enemies... enemies... Dazki: Go for it, Kesmet. That's just what I was thinking. Dwardazik, whispering to Marvin: Do you think we should ask Grogery if this is OK to do? Marvin: Dude, you work out your own problems, man. We're all adults here. At least... I'm pretty sure we are. Dazki: Well, there's a cluster of those hand birds up in the ceiling, and more further down in what I'm assuming is some kind of weird rookery. Dwardazik: Should we continue this way? Dazki: We've come this far. Dwardazik: I'm just worried that if Kesmet uses his magic too soon, there might be a whole bunch of 'em, and he'll need to use more magic. You think we might want to try and draw 'em out? Kesmet: I think they might be more of an alarm system. If they see us, they'll squawk. Dazki: It sounded like there's a bunch more in the room beyond. Kesmet: So... ... ... ... fireball? Dwardazik: I'll leave this one to your expertise, Kesmet.They discuss strategy for a bit longer, ultimately deciding that Dazki should scout ahead to get more information about what's there. This room, on the other side of the door that was labeled "Unliving Quarters" before, is absolutely cluttered with undead, some with and some without flesh. The undead seem to be in a trancelike state. There's a smokelike fogginess in the room. Dazki very briefly takes his mask off, just enough to smell the smoke: it's the same kind of smoke that covered Overlook. He returns to the party.
Dazki: All right, guys. They're burning a bunch of the same incense from Overlook over there, and there are tons and tons of undead, just standing around. Along with birds up in the ceiling. Grogery: If they weren't aggressive, then we might be able to sneak past them as long as we don't attack anything. Dazki: The problem is going to be the birds. I don't know if those are considered "alive" or "dead", so I don't know if the smoke would pacify them too. Dwardazik: Is this even the right way to be going? Dazki: We don't know what the "right" way to be going is. Dwardazik: Did that map show anything? Dazki: Well, it only loops back around after this. Why don't we just avoid this room? Kesmet: Yeah, let's just close up the door that we came in through, and jam it so that they can't come through. Dwardazik: I agree. Grogery: There's a bit of a chance that there could be a Fossilized Melody in there, but there's supposed to be 6 around and we only need 4. Kesmet: How many do we have so far? Grogery: 3. Dazki: Plus, it didn't look like an "art" installation to me. It just looked like a storage room for standing bodies. Kesmet: It was at the end of "cold storage"... Dwardazik: Well, if we can't find one, then we can always come back and investigate.They go back through the door, and Dazki tries a few keys before finding one that can re-lock it. Dazki tries the other key lifted from the birdlike cultist, to see if it fits his Silver Dragon Hoard 2700 padlock. It does. Dazki gives the rest of the keys, on a keyring, to Marvin.
Marvin: Shit, you guys are really putting this responsibility on me now? Man, I've really hit the big leagues now! Dazki, motioning to the south door: All right, Mr. Key Man, figure out this door then! Marvin: Yes, sir! Dazki: ...it was a joke. We can all figure it out together...While Marvin investigates the door, which is completely devoid of any obvious information, the small circular trapdoor off to the side creaks open, and a bald gnomish head emerges. It's followed by a neck ("you know how it goes, head --> neck --> chest"), but then it keeps going as if it's an abstract work of clay. It winds around to address Marvin, telepathically (though others around him can faintly hear it as well):
Doorman: Primary authentication nonviable. Patients currently not scheduled for this time and place. Do you have undocumented business? Step forth into the scanning area with proof of emergency attention required or invitation of urgent care from Doctor Vicra Lammergeyer. Marvin: I'm very unlucky! Where is the scanning area, please? The doorman just waits patently for something to happen. Dwardazik: Shit, we need some kind of document. Marvin: It said that if it's unscheduled, then we can scan. Dwardazik: Guys. We got an issue here. We need documents or some way of tricking this door into thinking we should go in. Marvin: No, wait, "invitation of urgent care from Doctor Vicra Lammergeyer"? He fuckin' invited me! He wants to fix me! Kesmet: But did he give us some sort of documentation? Marvin: I have The Mask of the Wasted Breath — he pulls it out — hey, is this proof?Marvin puts his hand up against the door. He feels cold and numb for a second, before hearing another telepathic message:
Sir Marvin, soul deeming unfit.The door begins to slide open, the doorman sliding backwards into its porthole, the trapdoor closing behind it.
Emergency authorization required.
Emergency authorization granted.
Marvin: Finally, someone actually gives us a warm fuckin' welcome! Kesmet: Holy shit, Dazki, you knew! Dazki: Wish I could take credit for that, but no. Kesmet: But you told him to solve it, and he did! Dwardazik, patting Marvin on the shoulder: Well done, lad! Marvin: Well, I haven't done anything special yet... we'll see what happens back here. We still need one more of those bird skulls, don't we? Grogery: Yeah. Dazki: Yeah, hopefully through here. Grogery: I wonder what Vicra thinks is so weird about your body? Marvin: What can I say? People like my body.
Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the waiting room!The party moves into the next room. Dwardazik hammers some pitons into the door to wedge it open. This chamber is large. It feels cold and strangely hollow. There's some sort of smoke wafting around, making everything seem slightly ethereal, coming from some strange-looking entity.
Dwardazik: All right, be careful what you do. Let's not make any rash decisions. We're surrounded by things that make no rational sense.There is much to explore in this room.
- The obvious centerpiece of the room is a set of stairs, carved directly into the stone, that lead up to some sort of sarcophagus.
- There is some sort of mound of sharp, spiky metal and dried hide and leather in the southwest. A familiar friend, skewered to one of the sticks there, is sound asleep.
- There is the smoke monster, its various pores seeming to weep and spew ethereal smoke, which "you don't want to know what it does, but you kinda want to know what it does", with every heaving breath it takes.
- To the northeast are mounds of flesh.
- In the southeast, there is a large statue of some sort.
- Off to the side, there is an object displayed prominently. It looks like a gem-encrusted bowl of some sort.
Dwardazik: I say we should try to stick together, no matter what. Dazki: At least let's stay away from the operating table. He points to the sarcophagus. Dwardazik: I agree. I'd rather not wake up that thing to our side. Perhaps we should avoid it entirely? Dazki: If that's possible.The party decides to explore the chamber together (Dwardazik: "I'm going to at least stick with Grogery. Knowing him, he's going to need to be saved."), first heading to where Eyesore is impaled upon some spikes. Dazki investigates the steps up before anyone tries to walk up them. There are no traps; in fact, they seem very well worn, as if a lot of people (including very large things) come and go up and down these stairs. Dazki gives a thumbs-up to the rest of the party. This installation is flanked on either side by two gargoyle-looking statues.
Dwardazik: How the hell is he snoring with that in his chest?! Grogery: Magic?Grogery examines Eyesore, trying to figure out how he's still alive after being impaled for seemingly long enough to fall asleep.
Dazki: Remember last time we encountered Eyesore, we found out that we would have to try really hard to kill him because of all the magic that the Flesh Artist did to him.Eyesore is stable, but he has been drugged. He is unconscious against his will. He did not just fall asleep here. The installation itself is a large shield-like structure full of hide and leather, with large metal spikes protruding from it.
Dwardazik: You know, it would be really easy to just finish off Eyesore now...Grogery begins to investigate the mound, but stops abruptly. The hide and leather is not "just" normal hide and leather: it's actual dead people, arranged throughout. Some have also been impaled upon spikes and have since been mummified. Other spikes look like they had something on them, since removed.
Dwardazik: Hey Kesmet, are you detecting any magic off of this thing? Kesmet: ...I can't detect magic. Dwardazik: Does it give you any magical... vibes? Kesmet: Nope. Grogery: I'm thinking that this object might drug up whoever's attached to it, and then they die and turn into leather, which the Flesh Artist can then use for... thiiiiiiiings... Kesmet: You guys think that Flesh Artist is in that coffin up top? Or do you think he's in this weird-looking bowl over there? Grogery: I think he's downstairs, and we need the Melodies to get to him. Kesmet: In that case, what's in that coffin over there? Dwardazik: Probably where he makes his masterpieces, and then they pop out. Grogery: That would make sense. Kesmet: Do we think that this room might contain one of the Melodies? Should we try to investigate? Marvin: I'm willing to bet. Grogery: Definitely big enough. I'm going to get Eyesore down off of that spike. Dwardazik: So what's your master plan here, Grogery? Why are we pulling Eyesore off this? Grogery: He'll die otherwise. Dwardazik: And? Kesmet: He could have information about the dude. Looks like the dude betrayed him and stuck him on here. Dwardazik, resigned to this sort of thing now: ...we're doin' it your way. Let's see what happens! Let's get some rope, and let's pull 'im down.A bit more strategy planning. Kesmet uses Mage Hand to ties a rope around Eyesore, then gives the other end to Dwardazik and casts Fly on him. Dwardazik lifts Eyesore roughly off the spike, with a crack and a slurp. He drops the gnoll in front of the steps. The spike installation starts to rattle, before changing shape, eventually to two large taloned feet, then two large metal clawed hands that appear out from a large cloak of bodies and hide. Speaking from it, as it rises to its full form from a metal helmet shaped like the various spikes that impale the victims on its back:
Tinny, metallic voice: Users are not authorized to leave the waiting room at this time. The area will be cleared of any and all intrusion.An incredibly loud screech of metal erupts.
- The Shrike (big spiked creature) started by loudly rattling around its metal spikes, which summoned more entities from the mounds of flesh in the northeast and the smoke creature from the northwest.
- The first time Dwardazik got hit, he was briefly stunned and started vomiting up silver pieces (86sp in total).
- Eyesore stumbled to his feet, yelling out "You guys are so STUPID! Why would you anger The Shrike? Why would you do that? Why?!". He did attack the party, starting with Marvin, who evaded his attack easily. "Well shit, man, you want to be saved? You're being STUPID right now!"
- Eyesore also grappled Grogery and impaled him on The Shrike, saying "And YOU'RE stupid, and YOUR GOD is stupid too! Also!"
- Later on during the fight, Eyesore fell asleep.
- Dwardazik did not completely focus his attacks on the large monsters, choosing to take a few side swipes at Eyesore during his turns.
- Dazki finished off The Shrike with a bow attack, and Dwardazik's warhammer finished off the smoke monster.
Dazki, heavily wounded: Well, that... that... that was... a thing. Dwardazik: STACK UP! There could be more enemies. Get into positions! Heal Dazki now! Dazki: Dwardazik. Dwardazik, deep breath. Marvin: What do we do with this guy? He spits on Eyesore. Grogery: He seems to be asleep, so if we don't do anything to wake him up, he'll probably stay asleep. Kesmet: OK. Yeah, we need to secure this room. Get the dead guy from the front back in here, and we need to rest. I'm exhausted. I've spent almost all my magic, and Grogery has spent absolutely all his magic. Dwardazik: Who has manacles? Dwardazik: Do I have manacles? Grogery: I'm pretty sure one of us has manacles? Kesmet: I have rope? Dwardazik has manacles. Marvin: Guys, do we need to address the elephant (/ coffin) in the room? Grogery: What do you mean? Dwardazik: Get Eyesore manacled up, tied up. Start the healing or get whatever ready. This is not a safe area. Dwardazik binds Eyesore with the manacles. Kesmet also ties him up with rope. Grogery: There's one way in, one way out. We took care of everything that could conceivably be a threat (except for maybe the coffin). Marvin: What about those big bags of flesh?They split up to give more attention to each of the various features of the room.
Kesmet rummages around in the body of the smoke-spewing monster looking for some kind of loot similar to the orb at the center of The Glutton of Hershal's Rest. There are lots of leathery, fleshy sacs inside of it, but nothing of value.
Dwardazik picks up the 86 silver pieces that he vomited out earlier.
Dazki goes to investigate the statue in the southeast, with Grogery following close behind. The statue is of a large, nondescript man in a cloak, surrounded by snakes, tentacles erupting from the ground. Dazki carefully investigates a small crate in front of it. Grogery determines that the statue is of religious significance. In particular, it reminds him of one of the two necromatic scrolls that he found, the one with the man in the middle with chaos erupting out of him. This is a statue of somebody who knows a lot about the Mirage. The two statues flanking it are a lot less profane, neither having any religious significance, though they do seem to tie into the murals up front.
- One depicts a mostly human lady, seemingly a martyr. The statue is in a state of disrepair.
- The other depicts an elf with no apparent distinguishing characteristics.
Marvin very much wants to go up the stairs, but he chickens out and joins up with Grogery and Dazki. Dazki tells him that the crate is safe, so he uses Mage Hand to open it. Inside it are several chicken bones and sawdust... and, further down, a fourth Fossilized Melody.
Marvin: Hey! I've got bird head now! He floats it around with his Mage Hand. So where are we putting these stupid things? Dazki: I've been collecting them so far. Marvin: All right, you take it. It's kinda nasty. This room almost looks like you could place one in each corner? And then the coffin might open? Dazki: Ehh. I don't know.
Dazki: All right, do we want to look at the sarcophagus or those fleshy... protrusions... over there? Or the pillar? Dwardazik: Probably a good idea to look at those fleshy protrusions first. Make sure that no more things come out to attack us. Grogery: It's possible that The Shrike was just summoning undead that were already there, or maybe producing undead from them. We should go over there and make sure there aren't more waiting for us. Dazki: Sounds good. He begins to limp heavily over in that direction. Kesmet, noticing this: Maybe I should take the lead on this one. I still have all my health.They arrive at the fleshy piles. The mounds just heave and pulsate rhythmically, hard to tell what specific body parts it was.
Kesmet: I suggest that we immolate these piles of flesh. Who's with me? Dwardazik: Sounds like a plan. Marvin, pulling out his Pyroconverger: I'm all for it! Kesmet: Before you do...Kesmet pulls out his tar-filled dolls and throws them on the fleshy piles. They then start the piles on fire, which burn easily. As they burn, nothing climbs out of the masses to get the party, but there are still screams of horrified things screaming as if dying in a fire.
Dwardazik: Ugh, this place is going to give me so many nightmares...They proceed to the ornate bowl off to the side.
Dwardazik: So why don't we just ask Eyesore what this thing is? Kesmet: Because he's still unconscious. Dwardazik: Then wake him up. Marvin: I have a plan for once he does wake up.Dazki inspects the pedestal holding the ornate bowl. It's trapped. Dwardazik appraises the bowl: the platinum bowl encrusted with emeralds, diamonds, and other gems, is easily worth ("conveniently") 1000gp.
Dwardazik: I gotta say, that bowl right there is worth a fortune. Marvin: I dunno, have you seen Dazki's coin purse?There's some discussion about how to safely retrieve the bowl without triggering any traps (or else without taking damage from the traps).
Dazki: Is the money really worth the extra danger that we'd be putting ourselves in right now, though? Grogery: That is a fair point. Kesmet: I would really rather just take a break right now. This room seems safe enough once we barricade the door. It doesn't look like there's any other way in, and there's nothing in here that really can harm us. Except for Eyesore over there, but he's tied up and manacled. Dwardazik: Not gonna disagree with that. Grogery: The people who would enter this room would also typically need Vicra's permission, or for some reason an Emergency Use Authorization. Which, if they had an Emergency Use Authorization, they would have come here earlier than now.The decision is to wait to do anything about the bowl just yet. Kesmet has a plan to maybe grab it and Dimension Door twice to get all the way out of the dungeon with it, but he will need more spells before that can happen. In the meantime, Dazki and Dwardazik remove the pitons sticking the door open, and the party prepares to take a long rest.