False Accusations- Session Report
18 unfortunate souls, falsely accused of murdering the Blood Prince, condemned as Serveus Mortem were cast into the Crypts of Eternity.
to be continued
I'll give someone +1 Luck to finish writing up this session report.
As the platform reached the bottom, the unlucky 18 were pushed off with nothing but the last of their belongings lumped into a sack and each a hunk of moldy bread and a flask of wine to share as their last meal together. The guards laid the body of the Blood Prince in a small alcove from the central platform and would leave them to their fate. With the last of the natural light from above being closed off, the 18 would notice the enormity of the crypts ceiling and were thankful for the small green gems that eerily lit the room.
Immediately, the party would break off to examine the area and collect their things. Steve, (or was it Stephen or Stefan?), would ignore his goods for a moment to examine the Prince. Noting the ceremonial silver mask would do no good to him now, he pocketed it before attempting to grab his things.
As the party began to collect their bearings, shrieks and footsteps could be heard from a small corridor. lecherous creatures came pouring out assaulting the party and snatching what little food and drink they had left. Behind the scavengers, flanked a Giant wielding an intimidating scimitar.
As the accused began to surmount the wave and had even become emboldened to strike at the Giant, a rusty gate at their flank opened and more foul creatures began pouring out. Different from the scavengers, these new attackers flailed aimlessly with want destruction. The giant, protecting his own, warned for all to run as he raised a lantern toward the creatures. Its light seemed to keep the things at bay momentarily.
Leading the creatures, was a haggard woman dressed in tatters who began to sing. Many of the accused took the giant's offer and fled behind him through the corridor he had emerged. Those that lingered, were beguiled by the enchantress' song and began to have their senses dull as they were lulled to a deep sleep. The falsely accused's number began to diminish, as those that could not resist were devoured.
Finding shelter past the corridor and barring the path behind them, the party found themselves at the entrance of a large cathedral. Other cast-offs seemed to have taken shelter here and their leader greeted the newcomers upon their arrival.
Offering to heal their wounds and rest, the party discovered from the man that the enchantress they had encountered was known as the Crypt Mother. Formerly a wife to the sultan, she had been banished long ago after the loss of their son during childbirth. The leader of the flock continued that he was also condemned to Serveus Mortem as he was the physician that failed to save the boy.
At first grateful for the hospitality, the physician's charitable offer of a map of the catacombs leading to possible escape concerned them. Though it may have meant to appear as a sign of good-faith, the group was wary of possible ill intent. Disinterested with blindly following the map to whatever its inevitable conclusion would yield, they spread-out within the cathedral to forage for supplies.
As some constructed makeshift torches in hopes of scaring off future fiends and attempted to brew potions, others would explore the cathedral's secrets.
What they found did not inspire trust. To the far corner of the cathedral was an annex where the gravely ill were supposed to be kept as they recovered. Instead, they found a cannibalistic butchery where the sick where left alive and suffering as they were carved to bits and fed to the masses.
The falsely accused had no interest in becoming the next meal. Under the pretense of agreeing to use the physician's map, the party left the cathedral and those within to return to the catacombs.
They arrived back to where they started. The Crypt Mother and her brood had long-since vanished and apparently dragged the fallen back with them. The party also noticed the body of the Blood Prince was missing as well. Only his death shroud remained. In speculating whether the Crypt Mother bothered to take the body, the falsely accused shared their stories of their last contact with the Blood Prince before his untimely death.
He had seemed anxious. Before his death, the Blood Prince had begun making strange requests: a mirror, waxen earplugs, a smugglers belt, a blossom that could be turned into a sleeping draft, and even a conspicuous letter to the Vizier. By chance, the party believed they had uncovered the conspiracy.
The Blood Prince was never dead! He feigned his death using the sleeping draft, and with the aid of the smugglers belt, stashed the remaining items with him as he was sent to the Crypts of Eternity. The party concluded the waxen earplugs would be used to resist the Crypt Mother's song. The mirror's purpose still eluded them, but they knew now that they were pawns in the Blood Prince and the Viziers game.
They had heard legend that within the Crypts of Eternity sat the throne of the God Emperor. Passed him, was the golden doorway to some unimaginable reward, possibly even immortality. Perhaps this is what the Prince sought. The only way to find out was to follow his footsteps.
With this revelation, the party stood determined within the circular chamber. Behind them was the cathedral. To one side, the gates to the Crypt Mother. The other, another set of gates to the unknown. In front, two large double doors, approximately 20 feet wide leading toward the catacombs.
They were ready to press forward. The only question left... Which way to go?
If anyone wants to do Session 2, they are welcome to it.
Standing at a crossroad, the party decided to press forward into the catacombs. Using the Physician's map as a guide, they purposely avoided the path it designated them to follow and explored the labyrinth of tombs into the unknown. As a precaution, it was decided that the majority of the party would plug their ears with candle wax should they accidentally stumble upon the Crypt Mother and her song.
Aimlessly exploring, they decided to appease their own morbid curiosity regarding the tombs that surrounded them. Various members would begin to open them to see what treasures may be found alongside their inhabitants. A few were lucky. An ornate breastplate and a strange wine that invigorated all those who would drink it were among the prizes. However, a few were very unlucky. Plague and deadly maggots that lunged toward a host's ear canal also laid in wait for the party.
Bearing little fruit, it was decided to regroup at the central chamber and take a different path. Examining the alcove from where the Prince had been laid, there were footsteps on the dirty floor that seemed to head towards the rusted gates that the Crypt Mother had first emerged. The party decided to follow the same path in hopes to encounter the Blood Prince.
As they descended down the corridor past the gateway, they found two doorways. One lead to additional catacombs and another opened into a large hall.
The additional catacombs were much the same as before. However, after merely moments within, the party was set upon by the Crypt Mother’s creatures. The torchlight did little to keep them away as they began to swarm. All but two were able to make it out and bar the door behind them. This path would be explored no further.
The other revealed a long hall pocketed with deadly chasms. Rows of strange statues appeared to watch them from either side of the pathway. At the end of the hallway, a large door awaited them.
As members began to cross, the statue guards shot dark energy at them. The energy was disorienting and painful. As the group retreated, one of them lost footing and fell into the pits. His screams would echo as he fell for miles. In desperation, his last audible words were a reminder of his time with the Blood Prince.
Using this reminder, the falsely accused attempted to determine how the Blood Prince would have crossed. The only other item they could recall him having left was a small silver mirror. After failed attempts to use the reflective surface of the silver death mask stolen from the Blood against the rays of the statues, they realized that the Prince's trail seemed to change orientation. It was as if his footsteps were coming from the large doors that awaited them on the other side.
Changing their orientation, the party began to walk backwards. They started guiding each other on how to avoid the chasms that surrounded them. The statues were no longer concerned with the party and did not attempt to strike at them. Leaving a trail of red wine to follow for the last member, they found the Prince's small mirror awaited them near the base of the doorway. They surmised he had used it to assist him in navigating the path backwards alone.
Entering the doorway, the group found a large throne room decorated with small-scale ziggurats. At the throne, was the skeletal corpse of an old emperor, perhaps the God Emperor and the Blood Prince's steps seem to approach it. Upon close examination, a pool of tears gently flowed from the Emperor’s face toward the ground. Through experimentation, the tears seem to have mystical powers and healed the wounds of the party. Greedily, members began to empty their wine-skins and fill them with the tears. Also discovered was an ornate dagger attached at the Emperor's hip. The Blood Prince had left it alone. As such, the party reasoned they would do the same.
On the far-right wall hung a pair of large leathery demonic wings. Nailed in place, the severed ends seemed to bleed indefinitely into a pool on the floor as well. Assuming this too had a mystical nature, the party drank the blood and found it to cure afflictions. This was captured in spare wine-skins as well.
Behind the throne, was a triangular portal. Glowing with mystical energy, it seemed to require a form of key for entrance. They party was able to discern that the Emperor's Tears and Demon's Blood were components, however they were missing something. They retraced their steps back to central chamber and decided that all that was left was to examine the final pathway.
As they descended the opposite corridor, they discovered a landing with two large double-doors on either side. One made of jade, the other made of onyx. The jade door was open and behind it appeared to lead to an ancient bathhouse. In poor state, there appeared to be little of interest at first glance. At the far end was a pool with maidens singing out from the water. However, the earplugs prevented their song from being heard.
The onyx door appeared to be locked. On the face of the doorway was a strange marking. Through experimentation, the party found that tracing the marking with the Demon's Blood opened the way. The door revealed a gigantic trophy tusk at the center of the room. Carved in runes and mystical glyphs, it seemed to promise ancient and dark wisdom not meant for mortal men. The few that reached out, saw realms without understanding and came back changed. Ancient spells were burned into the arm of one member, another's sight was lost as mystical flames poured from his orbital sockets, and the last devolved into a large brutish Neanderthal.
Behind the Tusk Room, a large ceremonial sacrificial pit awaited. Its purpose not fully understood and the party's numbers dwindling, it was decided to venture no further. Merely opening the Onyx door had provided them with a proposed third component to opening the God Emperor's portal and they wished to attempt it.
Retracing their steps back to the Throne Room, they mixed the Blood and Tears on their hands and traced the Onyx Markings on to the Portal. It opened up and allowed entry. A strange dark world awaited them on the other side. Masses of soldiers long dead litter the platform beside them. Ahead, stone steps hovering in space toward a faraway landing. As they cautiously made their way toward the landing, a flying snake-like demon guarded the path and began to attack. Splintered shields blocked the initial strikes as the party hastily made their way jumping from one stone to the next. However, several more members of the party would fall as they reached the top.
As they approached the landing, an invisible barrier shielded them from the creature's assault. Chained to the landing was a large demonic creature, his wings ripped from his back. At his feet was the body of the Blood Prince with and a dagger, reminiscent to the God Emperor's, still in his hand.
He introduced himself as Mog'Malu, an ancient god that had been imprisoned here long ago. Offering the party freedom from the Crypts of Eternity, he wished for the same in return. The party would only need to strike him down with the dagger to allow him to escape from this prison. After a moment, the final 7 members of the falsely accused agreed. The dagger sunk into the creature and as he passed the party was transported.
The sun was bright against their eyes. The sand beneath their face and the sea-breeze on their face confirmed that Mog'Malu had fulfilled his end of the bargain. They were on the beaches of Al Hazruun. In addition to their freedom, they noticed that Mog'Malu had left them one additional gift. A boon to each of the survivors that had escaped the Crypts of Eternity.