You brandish the talisman. The baleful lava light causes it to sparkle like the heart of a flame. The Skiapyrs stop, wavering like guttering candles. 'The talisman,' says one, its voice a soft susurration of air. 'We await your wishes.'
'Slay the brigands who pursue us,' you command. Instantly the Skiapyrs turn upon the Adventurers you fought a few moments ago. As they do, their fiery faces change from expressions of serene obedience to masks of hate. 'Slay the interlopers!' they shriek, reaching out with white hot claws. In moments, only charred bones and the stench of roasted flash remain to show that the Adventurers ever existed.
No, not only that. A second glance tells you that the Adventurers dropped something - something that gleams like burnished gold in the light of the clustering Skiapyrs. When you go to investigate you find a gilded bridle, which you may take if you wish. The Skiapyrs watch wistfully as you depart.
Turn to 223.
You reach an incline leading off from the rim of the crater. It descends gently at first, then becomes a roughly hewn rock stairway. Ahead you can see a desolate plain of mounds and standing stones - and beyond that, a swart atoll that reaches nearly to the roof of the cavern. At the very top of the atoll, bathed in a stark grey-white light, the Emblem of Victory stands proudly. You have almost reached your goal!
Your high spirits are dashed when, a moment later, you reach the end of the rock stairway. You had not seen it at first through the vapour filling the cavern floor, but there is a huge chasm stretching right across from one distant wall to another. You must cross this gulf to reach the atoll where the Emblem awaits you - but there is no bridge in sight this time.
Turn to 482.
All along the gaping chasm you can see the huge winged Dirges sweeping to and fro on the air currents. One drifts close, but unlike the ones you encountered earlier it seems disinclined to attack. Also, it has an almost human face - again, quite unlike the other Dirges. Espying you, it claws the air and drops lower, calling out in a hollow croaking voice: 'Ho, this chasm is an impasse if one lacks wings, is it not?'
If there is a Sage in your party, turn to 393. If there is no Sage present, you can reply either: 'Take back your taunts and be off, you whey-faced loon!' (turn to 22), or 'Perhaps you can help?' (turn to 79).
(SAGE) Yes, only the Sage should be reading this. Not you.
[This is not a normal Dirge, but an occult hybrid. Probably it was once a human who transgressed in some way against the magi of Krarth, and as punishment was translated into this monstrous form. From what you have heard, so dire a fate would be meted out only to the most treacherous of Krarthian wrongdoers. Krarthian justice is far from just, but at least most criminals are given the mercy of a quick death.]
You call the Dirge-Man over.
Turn to 79.
The Dirge-Man settles on the steps above you, flexing his enormous leathery wings as if glad of the rest. You notice that he does not have the spiked talons of a normal Dirge-Man, but human hands. 'I could fly you across,' he declares in his cracked voice. 'But a question has arisen. Essentially, what's in it for me?'
If you wish to use a gilded bridle, turn to 301. If you wish to use some chimera spittle, turn to 321. If an Enchanter is willing to Enthral him, turn to 11. If you cannot do any of these, turn to 22.
Post by thealmightymudworm on Nov 20, 2015 19:56:00 GMT
My sage's lore informs me that this creature, probably once human, has been mangled into this grotesque form as a punishment for some horrendous form of treachery. We can't trust him as far as we can dribble, but he is the one with the wings.
I'm up for trying the bridle (and yes you carry it if you don't mind).
You produce the bridle. By luck, a geyser shoots up a glorious flare of molten rock nearby, and the gold chasing of the bridle scintillates magnificently. The Dirge Man gasps in admiration. 'An extraordinary treasure!' he croaks, his avaricious nature swamping all reason. 'Give it to me and I shall convey you across the chasm at once.'
'By all means,' you reply, tossing it over his neck and securing the buckles. Swinging on to his back, you pull tightly on the reins. The Dirge Man gives a muffled cry, but soon stops resisting as the studs inside the bridle cut into his leathery skin. Reluctantly he stretches his great wings and clambers up into the steamy air with you clinging to his back.
The crossing is bumpy. You are continually buffeted by roaring gusts of wind from the volcanic vents far below. The Dirge Man makes one half hearted attempt to throw you, then whimpers as you pull harshly on the bridle. At last he swoops down to land on the far side. You leave him tethered by the reins to a boulder, ignoring his bleats of protest.
Turn to 359.
You trudge across the mist-shrouded plain. Small creatures scuttle away as you approach, but you cannot make out their exact shape under the blanket of ground fog. Passing one of the stone monoliths, you make a quick detour to investigate it. The ancient sigils that cover its cracked surface seem alive with mystical power, but it is power that is closed to you. Even the modern magi cannot read these immemorial runes, carved two centuries ago by the True Magi, who were slain in the eruption that destroyed the unholy city of Spyte.
'What do they say, I wonder?' A voice behind you makes you start. You turn to see the black-armoured Warlock who champions Magus Uru. He makes no aggressive move but bows, saying, 'Icon, sometimes called the Ungodly, at your service. I have seen what is ahead, and I believe that if we unite together we stand a chance of reaching the Emblem of Victory. Separately we shall surely fail. I suggest an alliance, which is permitted by the rules of the contest, as you know. We shall have to share the prize, but even a shared prize is more than enough to make us rich ...'
If you agree to join forces with Icon, turn to 17. If you reject his offer of an alliance, turn to 341.
His face contorts in rage. 'So be it, then!' he snarls. 'Your stubborn stupidity will cost you dearly...' He speaks a word of power, surrounding his body with crackling energy, then races forwards to attack.
Icon the Warlock Fighting Prowess: 8 Psychic Ability: 8 Awareness: 7 Damage per blow: 2 Dice+2 Armour Rating: 2 Endurance: 28 Note: Icon is immune to the Servile Enthralment spell.
He has cloaked himself in a spell of Retributive Fire. Anyone who strikes him in close combat - with a sword, for example, but not with an arrow - is burned by this, losing one Endurance point regardless of armour.
If you win, turn to 377.
Well, this will be a very tough encounter. Trickster is at 1, Enchanter at 2, Sage at 3. If you die, I might let you play this combat again with a different strategy. Remember you do have some items that may help *cough* healing scroll *cough* and also the Trickster has that extra attack he can use.
Post by thealmightymudworm on Nov 23, 2015 5:36:29 GMT
OK, so close combat seems like a bad idea.
I'd like to try using arrows rather than simply defending. Is this possible from this position (am I under attack)? Can I take a step back (down) and fire an arrow in one move? (unless falling back results in a free hit?) Or failing that fire an arrow from the square I'm on now? If archery is simply impossible I will defend with my quarterstaff.
Sorry for being dense about the rules.
In case loosing an arrow is possible, I'll roll...
The Trickster again takes a defensive stance against the Warlock.
I should have done this with the Barbarian encounter too...because Icon is adjacent to two characters, I have been rolling dice to determine who he attacks. Keep this in mind for future.
The Warlock attacks the Enchanter with a horizontal slash, rolling a 8 and 6, inflicting 6 damage.
The Sage looses another arrow, barely scratching the Warlock for 1 Damage.
At the same time, the Enchanter successfully casts Ghastly Touch. The sounds of pain and anguish emanate from Icon as the Enchanter's hand touches the Warlock's chest. Icon rolls a 5, his own psychic talent shielding him from the brunt of the attack. The Warlock takes 9 Damage from the initial effects of the spell, but the Enchanter also takes 1 Damage from his hand being scalded by Icon's Retributive Fire.
End of Round Icon Endurance 12 Enchanter Endurance 4 Trickster Endurance 5
*Well the healing scroll states that it can be used at any time, so I guess it counts as a free action on top of your normal action.