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Recap 32: Rusty Mountain Hop

April 10, 2010

Add Another Tick in the "Bad Things You've Caused" Column

After exiting the tomb, the party looks around them. To the northeast, a group of humanoids can be seen milling about. Interestingly, they are not giving off any heat. Brecaryn sends Nightshade to investigate. It appears they are a group of vampires on skeletal horses preparing for a journey.

Narasimha the Sphinx is summoned to help the group traverse out of the desert quickly. He's very happy to see the Crew again. He jovially tells the group how much he appreciates the riddle they had given him. So far, none had solved it, and he has therefore eaten many traveling merchants! The Crew uncomfortably murmur their thanks for his praise.

Although he is happy to carry them out of the desert, he can only carry four at a time. The only way for the entire group to make it out in a single trip would be for the rest of the party to ride in the mirror. Brecaryn has no choice but to allow Nightshade to fight the imp.

Before opening the mirror, Nightshade is given some improvements - He's rolled in grease, enlarged, given a potion of Heroism, and has Aid cast on him. They hope Rumpleplix won't notice the changes.

The imp specifies that the battle will take place inside the mirror. To save time, Snow tells Brecaryn, Alana, Oliver, Josy, and Phantar to enter the mirror. While the battle is going on, Narasimha will carry Snow, Malouf, Flerm, and Lieralyn out of the desert.

Battle Royale

Nightshade attacks Rumpleplix first, grabbing the imp's wings. Rumpleplix retaliates with a poisonous sting of its tail.

As the battle goes on, it's clear that regardless of Nightshade's attacks, Rumpleplix suffers no pain.

Rumpleplix: You can't hurt me! Only silver can hurt me!

Alana immediately pulls out her silver arrows. Phantar puts out a hand to stop her.

Phantar: Hold, Alana. This is a duel.

In response, Alana casually "drops" the arrows on the ground in front of her. If Nightshade just happened to pick up something that just happened to be on the ground, it couldn't possibly be considered cheating.

Brecaryn entreats Josy to heal Nightshade when he comes to pick up the arrow, but Alana and Phantar both advise against more interference.

Rumpleplix: What are you guys doing? You better not be cheating, or I'll tell my dad! That arrow wasn't on the ground before! I specifically picked this place cause there was nothing here! That's cheating!

The Group: *whistle*

In a surprise move, the imp shapeshifts into a goat, dropping on Nightshade. Recovering from the impact, Nightshade flies away. Rumpleplix smugly struts on the battlefield.

Rumpleplix: Pretty soon, Brecaryn, I'm gonna be your little guy.

(Alana plays action music on her harp)

Seeing Nightshade is severely injured, Brecaryn no longer cares about rules of noninterference in a contest she was forced to submit to. Channeling her spells through Nightshade, she casts web and hold on the imp.

Rumpleplix: Hey, I didn't know he could do that!

Nightshade stabs the silver arrow into the trapped imp.

Rumpleplix: Wait wait wait!

Brecaryn: For what?

Rumpleplix: I give up. Let me go. I promise not to bother you again.

Brecaryn interrogates him on how he found her. It had been trapped in the Ruins of Pern. It was freed during the Crew's battle with the witches and werewolves. Seeing Brecaryn's power in the battle, Rumpleplix decided he wanted her power for himself so he devised a plan to first become her familiar and over time, control her.

Although, there is some debate on whether or not the imp should be freed, Nightshade is allowed to kill it.

Phantar: I don't think the imp was telling the whole story. If you have the opportunity, you should investigate.

Examining Nightshade, Josy discovers the imp's poison interacted with the potion of Heroism and instead of injuring the owl, the poison actually made him stronger.

Outside the Mirror

The Sphinx and the rest of the party fly north. They see periodic bands of men on horses, all headed towards Chumera. None of the riders gave off heat.

Inside the Mirror

Phantar: Which one of you is the leader of this group?

Alana: Me!

Phantar: You and I must discuss battle plans.

Alana: Er...

Oliver: We are a group that rules by committee.

Phantar: Then you are lucky to have me!

The Group: ...

Oliver: Our real leader's outside.

Return to Togo Ridge Pass

Narasimha lands at the base of Togo Ridge Pass in the middle of the night. It's clear that a large group has passed through the area. Narasimha assures them that if they should ever traverse the desert again, he would not give them any trouble. After saying their farewells, the Sphinx leaves and the party makes camp.

Lieralyn: Can you carry the mirror?

Flerm: No.

Lieralyn: But my arms hurt.

Flerm: Why don't you ask Josy if her arms hurt?

As the Crew retraces their steps through the mountain range, they once again come across the exploding mushroom beholders. Alana casually lets loose a few arrows to get them out of the way. But instead of exploding, the mushroom beholders make a squishing sound as the arrows penetrates them, a brown liquid oozing out. When they turn around, the group sees the things are rotting. They're undead! And floating towards the party members.

Snow quickly signals Brecaryn through the mirror. Josy steps out, attempting to turn them. Meanwhile, the rest of the archers in the group pelt the undead vegetation with arrows. Could this be the work of the desert vampires? It seemed doubtful that the mad dwarf would have done this to his own creations.

Moving on, they eventually approach the site of the goblin camp. The party sees smoke. Goblin corpses, skeletons, and zombies are strewn all over the area. However, the goblins' metal construct appears undamaged. Snow and Brecaryn go to investigate. Inside, a dead goblin is clutching a glow tube exactly like the ones the group has. Near the head of the construct is a hole that is the same size as the glowing cylinder. Round peg.....round hole.....AHA! Never say the Crew can't learn from their past experiences! The cylinder powered the construct! The controls were simple - 1 button for "Scoop and Throw", 1 button for "Target Individual".

Not sure how long one cylinder could power the construct, the group decides to put it inside the mirror and have Phantar's wizards study it later.

Spored to Undeath

The next day, the group starts approaching the frost line and Malouf's lack of attire becomes more than a problem of modesty. Before they can discuss possible solutions, a group of zombies unearths from the ground, surrounding the party. Purulent mummies amble out of the trees.

Brecaryn quickly hits two of zombies with lightning. They explode in a fungusy poof, casting poisonous spores all around, choking her. Josy turns some of the undead while the rest of the group has varying successes on killing them whilst avoiding the spores.

Snow throws 2 of the zombies. One hits the mummies. The exploding zombie causes disgusting growths to bulge out of the mummies (let's not do that again). The vegetative nature of these undead remind Snow of the flower-headed trolls in Yerraterra's basement. Thankfully, none of the undead seemed to possess mouth tentacles, at least.

The battle is ended none too soon, as Josy is able to administer healing to Brecaryn just in the knick of time. A moment longer and Brecaryn would have become a spored zombie herself.

At the frost giants' enclave, the place appears abandoned. The absence of any evidence of a fight and knowing the frost giants are nomadic, the group is not overly concerned at not finding their friends. Phantar remarks that they seem to have very strange friends.

They decide to camp in the frost giants' home before making a full day journey out of the snowy mountains.

Sunlight is the Best Disinfectant

The next day, they come across a group of mummies with humans riding skeletal horses - the vampires. Watching from a safe distance, they observe the mummies digging holes in the ground, unearthing coffins. The vampires get in and are buried. The skeletal horses crumble in to the ground while the zombies lay over the coffins

It's clear now that the first time the group encountered the spored zombies, they must have been standing directly over a group of resting vampires. This is how the invaders had been travelling through the Pass during the day. Rest sites had been chosen with coffins planted along the way. Each group of vampires would traverse the specified distance to rest before moving on to the next site in the night.

They waited for sunrise before beginning the attack. Brecaryn takes care of most of the undead with a fireball. Thank goodness she didn't end up a zombie. After a short battle, the Crew dispatches the vampires' guardians and can concentrate on killing the vampires. With little effort, they open all the coffins, letting the sunlight do the work.

The coffins are piled so Josy can bless them before they are burned. This will prevent other vampire groups from making camp. Rumpleplix's corpse is added to the pyre. It's about time they got rid of that. It was starting to get ripe.

Next Time Don't Sell Your Snow Gear, Doofus

Finally making it out of the snow (to Malouf's nekkid bottom's relief), the Crew encountered some dwarven scouts. The scouts saw a large army of undead pass through. They attempted to engage them but were forced to retreat. Instead of pressing the dwarves further, the undead continued on with their journey. The scouts told the Crew that Rockholme was amassing an army even as they spoke. The dwarves intended to flank the invaders from the rear, closing off any escape back to the desert.

At the Drunken Butterfly temple, they learn that the monks have fled into the mountains. The monks they encounter offer to go with the Crew and act as scouts and messengers. Knowing how quickly a monk can travel, their offer is readily accepted.

Though Phantar is supremely confident in his ability to settle the conflict with South Luka, the Crew is less so. They keep it to themselves, though, and hope whatever happens, it doesn't result in any of their stuff getting taken from them.

Tags: Alana, Brecaryn, Flerm, Josy, Lieralyn, Malouf, Narasimha the Sphinx, Nightshade, Oliver, Phantar, Rumpleplix, Snow

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