Spring 2022, Adventure [Scene]
Castalia makes her roll to keep her covenant mates to hide her consternation about the dead mage whose lab this is.
Zeuxis notices that this lab text is in shorthand (not unusual).
The party examines the great big empty area below. Zotikos can barely see a glow in the corner at the bottom. Castalia notices in the lab a box with many different colored rocks in it and various lab equipment for examination.
Castalia makes an Int- Hermes Lore roll of 12 (with a Confidence point). She sees a pendant with gold leaf on pewter, and the symbol on it is Thermokapolis – which is Klyses’ and Cyril’s covenant destroyed 1204 in Constantinople. With an Int – Magic Theory of 8…one thing this item could be is a token (which is an item which is given to visiting magi for use in an Aegis) or a magic item, or both.
On a Per – Awareness roll for Alexis, she starts to pick up scents from below that are besides sulfer. Asiza starts to head down the stairs, which makes Zotikos really nervous. “I don’t think this is a good idea!” “Then come with me,” Asiza says. “That’s an even worse idea!”
They discuss going down into the darkness, sending Alexis and Asiza down first and then following. Asiza goes down disregarding Alexis’ desire for stealth.
“Castie, let’s go check out those other rooms we passed.” She agrees. Both rooms have terrible bad air. The first room they open is a small barracks. The next one is storage for equipment. There are backpacks for carrying more stuff if needed.
Asiza and Alexis find a large barracks down the stairway. Alexis transforms into a wolf and outpaces Asiza out of frustration about the stealth problem.
She encounters another lab with a sigil. She rolls Hermes Lore – it’s probable this is/was the lab of a Criamon. Asiza joins her and opens the door – right before Alexis can tell him that there’s an animal smell behind there! It leaps onto Asiza, it appears to have the head of a goat…and that’s all he can gather before its leap. He attempts to roll with it and then try to stab it. He successfully rolls (14) and he hits it with a 7 and wounds it. It runs off further down the stairs, and he sees it has the head of a goat, and the limbs of a tiny gross human. But it runs awkwardly on four legs.
Upstairs, they hear the scuffle. Zotikos stays in invisible hiding, and the others two trot down the stairs.
Alexis declines to follow Reckless Boy. She runs up to meet with the responsible mages and Christian the Cook.
Asiza tries to catch up with the man-goat he injured. After a ways down the stairs, he successfully tackles it, and it’s crying goat cries, alarmed. He tries to rope it…
The responsible mages discuss what to do next – examine the lab or go down, while the ruckus is going on.
Zeuxis – “I’m going, I have to do something about that!” He heads down, they follow.
Zeuxis tells Alexis – “let that thing go!” and then casts Sooth the Savage Beast…and it starts to calm down, sitting in a corner protecting its wound. “Look Sparky – you just awakened everything in this tomb.”
As they argue about this, they hear a roaring screech from down below somewhere. “It’s probably its mom,” says Asiza. “Let’s go find it.” And he wants to “finish off the goat-man” because he feels bad that he wounded it.
“Have you considered that it was left there for a reason? As an alarm?” Zeuxis.
More arguing, Asiza wants to go ahead and scout, everyone but Zeuxis thinks this is a bad idea…presumably Zeuxis thinks Darwin (not invented yet) should take its course. Asiza takes a torch and his sword and continues. Everyone else goes to the Criamon lab.
“I think we should stick Zoti with protecting Christian,” says Zeuxis. “I hate to have him up at the front lines, but I would hate to leave him without protection.” Castalia goes to find Zoti, and bring him back.
The lab is circular, hemispherical. In the middle the floor has inscriptions that are bizarre looking. Zeuxis smells – he doesn’t smell goat poo, but fungus, and sees fungus in one corner.
Castalia finds Zotikos, trying to convince him to come down…after assuring him that the goat thing is gone and there’s no fighting, he reluctantly agrees. They go to the Criamon lab.
Zeuxis goes to the fungus pile (mounded on something that is causing it to be chest-shape).
Meanwhile…Asiza continues past doors to look for the thing that made the screeching. He comes to where the stairs kick away from the wall and he sees where the glow is coming from, which is a tunnel, and he can feel heat and smell sulfur. In the center of the bottom of the area, is a cistern or well. He goes to investigate the glowing tunnel, putting his torch down.
He hears (rolling a 1×8 + 3, 19) that something is happening, footsteps but something is strange about it. Some birdlike chirping, plus other rustling and smells like sulfer. It opens up into a cooled ignius rock ledge over lava. Then he sees the source of the sound – a humanoid dripping piece of lava, and it notices him. It moves slow, so he turns and walks back out the tunnel, and to the pool of water.
Back in the Criamon lab, Zotikos casts Sense the Nature of Vis, and discovers that it is some mixture of Creo and Herbam vis. Zeuxis directs Christian to get the backpacks so they can haul this out.
Castalia – “We haven’t heard from Asiza lately…” they meet him on the stairs.
“There’s a big lava monster following me up the stairs…” says Asiza.
When asked, he describes that it’s man-shaped and slow. Castalia ponders whether or not Mentem would work on it. Zeuxis looks down, but doesn’t see any extra “glow.” “Let’s go back and get it!” suggests Asiza.
“Well maybe we can talk to it,” says Zotikos. They go down, together this time, and others note that a lot of doors were skipped by Asiza on the way down. They bring Christian, who leaves his grog pack so he can be ready for trouble.
They head down, and get to the tunnel. Looking down, they spot three lava things hanging down by the end of it. Zotikos creates a Phantasm of an older, nonthreatening gentleman. He directs it to go up to the lava beings. He makes it say, “Hello young men…” The magma men look at each other and then back at the old man. “We’re just here visiting. Can you speak?”
From one of the other caves, they hear, “Yes!”
“Are these your lava things?”
“Are they your friends?”
“They’re my neighbors!”
“Will they hurt us?”
A bat flies out of the smelly cave and towards the phantasm. They can see that the bat looks a little weird. It looks up at the thing and says, “wait, you’re not even real!” It flies towards the real mages. Its head looks like a human.
“And here we are. Hello!” says Zeuxis. It asks him if “he’s taking over?” It asks what happened to the nasty mage (Linneas). They ask him a lot of questions…the bat can’t really remember the mages, doesn’t know why it’s got a head. It remembers Linneas, who used to come down to the lava cave. “Do you have any meat or something?” They ask why. “To feed the hippogriff!”
He indicates he wants help – the hippogriff needs to be uncaged. Then he changes his mind. “Maybe I should kill you!” Because of the goat which was attacked. He says Asiza should be left behind.
They bring the meat (without Asiza) and follow the bat creature. They hear shuffling and screeching. Some things comes towards you, a rabbit with a horse’s head, a couple of cats with fishtails, and they get excited when the bat tells them the mages have brought meat. There are many more little animal Muto mutations. Built into the side of the cave are huge cages, one with a hippogriff. Another one has mountain lion with an elephant’s head. There’s a weird gurgling sound and off to one side, they see bubbling changing flesh with legs that just keeps becoming different animal shapes.
Discussing the problem of the hippogriff, Zeuxis worries about it eating them if freed, or harming villagers. They decide to cast a mentem spell to sense its motives (from Castalia). It’s hungry, and it wants out. It’s not scared.
They feed it while it’s still in the cage.
Castalia notices something weird about the gurgling transforming flesh, that it has robes and legs, and at its ankles she spots tattoos (like Criamon have).
Meanwhile, Zeuxis is discussing with Zotikos the fact that their task might be beyond the lava men. Castalia posits the use of Call to Slumber for the lava men. Zotikos says he could send his phantasm past the lava men to distract them…
They unlock the cages (after many failed attempts – ie zeros and botches). The caged animals are happy.
They head further into the cave with the Muto animals, and it opens up into a large cave, which is open to the sea. There’s a boat and a small beach a the bottom. The hippogriff happily flies down.
They head back in so they can deal with the lava men and the final task. Zotikos sends his phantasm into the room and Asiza, Alexis and Christian prepare to sneak in.
The phantasm mocks and taunts, and runs away, the magma men do not follow. Asiza suggests, make him run by them! The phantasm gives Zotikos a look. He runs past, and gets by them, and walks further down into the cave (as far as he can within Voice range). Two of the magma men follow it.
They’re so slow, so Zotikos tells Asiza he should try to dodge and get in, which he readily agrees. He gets in, but the two who had followed the phantasm now are refocusing on Asiza. Castalia tries to cast Call to Slumber, and it works on the single guy behind Asiza. He moves back to the rest of the group, and she casts it twice more and succeeds.
They jump over the prone magma men (Zeuxis trips on one but had a ward against heat and flame). They reach the cooled magma shelf, and see the pit of lava. There are vents up in the ceiling. The shelf extends to each side. Over to the right, the rock has been shaped into a rudimentary lab setup, with glass and a pedestal. It indicates that the Flambeau had a study requirement. Zeuxis says, “I was looking for the little fire pit in the other lab…I found it in this one!” He heads up to the lab with Alexis. He sees it’s specialized for Ignem.
Zeuxis realizes he can cast the Ward on Castalia and they go back for Zotikos. It’s a good thing, because Castalia fails her Dex roll. They convince him that with the Ward he will be safe coming back with him, and he comes. He casts spells to sense for vis, and finds the hot coals in the brazier are magical. Zeuxis manages to cool down the coals for transport.
They leave the lava tunnel area, and after crossing over the magma men, who are splooging a bit, they see the Muto creatures have come out into that space. They break through the double doors, and find the community meal space. There are three chairs at the head table, and a casting circle. There’s a skeleton and burning man-shaped area on the floor. The sigil on the skeleton is obviously Bonisagus. Asiza takes an arm bone and drop it into the fire. “Oh my god, what are you doing??” asks Zeuxis.
There’s also a staff, which Alexis picks up, carved inlaid with gold and jewels. Likely a talisman. Zeuxis notices there are three sigils on the chairs at the head table, two Criamon and Bonisagus. Zeuxis surmises that it’s possible all the mages went into Final Twilight. It’s possible this was an explosive Final Twilight, which would explain the lack of grogs or remnants. In fact, the covenfolk could be the Muto animals…
The fact that this is an unknown covenant is a little strange. Linneas was a squatter.
They decide to search room for room to salvage what they can. There’s coin, etc. The boat has runes on it and looks magical. They discover in autocrat’s room that the covenant was called Sympatico.
Loot count next session!