The Crater

Our next encounter on the sandy seas is with an enormous worm-like creature that tries to pluck people off the deck. It is assailed mostly by an array of Copan’s summoned beasties, who keep it busy while Rayson orders the captain to steer us away. This is a fine tactic as it turns out, because when the creature dies it explodes in fiery shards of meet and spikes. The boat does fine.

Copan wants to upgrade the ship a bit with spells. Some fine choices are available. I believe we settled on some fire resistance and something that prevents summoning of creatures onto the deck?

We reach an oasis deep in the desert. It’s a nice place with some congenial folks who don’t try to feed us to their local god or drug us and steal our stuff, like in any of Mark’s games. We gather info about the blasted lands (where our likely target lies) while we sit around and wait for the trade caravan. Purchase that helped the most turned out to be the simple rope of climbing, available at Lowes.

Turns out one of the folks selling has the third part of Copan’s sectioned staff, the artifact of his tribe. After some dancing around the only way the guy will give up the goods is under an agreement: We have one year to bring him a specific weapon—Rife, a bastard sword made of red metal.

It seems that forty years ago a meteor crashed nearby. Also, the burning lands became very nasty just a couple decades ago. There is tale that the undead are increasing in number out there at a high rate.

On the way toward our goal we would pass the site of the famous meteor crater. Seems that down in it is a series of buildings. We park on the edge and go down in to investigate.

First incursion is made by a summoned griffin. When it gets close, angry shuffling creatures come out to greet it, so Pon Pon nukes them from orbit to be sure. The grif looks around and finds some info about various buildings because Copan is using remote viewing to look through its eyes. This way we avoid an ambush by some evil worm things in one room.

There is a hole in the floor of one building which leads to a cavern. Noise can be heard below, like shuffling. Another summoned creature finds down there are a couple more. We pull back to the top of the hole and try to bait them into the open so we can again nuke from above, but they don’t comply well. Instead one runs off on fire to, I guess, warn others. Because it’s not long before these Swamp Trolls are starting to gather in groups. By then we are down in the hole and trying to advance further down the corridor. Mathius’ foresight tells them that something wicked this way comes… from back the way we came. So we have the option of retreating to fight whatever evil is up there, or moving forward and cutting a swathe through the gathered trollish types.

Being trolls the main problem with them is the self-healin’. That means that Pon Pon needs to scorch the crap out of them, or some very small and only semi-useful creatures summoned by Mathius can spit acid at them. (Sadly, everythin saves versus this paltry attack)

A combination of Mavin, Pox, and Rayson’s straightforward beatinating coupled with Copan’s summoned creatures and Pon Pon’s el-scorcho attacks manage to take out the bulk of these guys. But they aren’t the big problem.

Evil tries to take us from behind. Should have known it would be somehow related to Robert’s character. Something that resembles a duplicate of Rayson, except in a photo-negative sort of way, comes after us. It has the power and strength of a more mature and skillful Rayson. It dispatches creatures easily as it comes after us. Funny thing is, there’s a save to be made (willpower) and when that is made by Mathius he seems to think he’s no longer in danger. What that means to the group, we don’t know, except maybe this is an imaginary creature of some type. We end up having to beat it the old fashioned way.

The most interesting thing found in the treasure is a red metal sword called RIFE.

We search the rest of the place and find that there’s a locked room. Going all spirituallee, Copan goes in to take a peek and sees that inside is a spirit of a woman; likely the one that disappeared decades earlier while investigating the desert. Don’t know why she’s trapped in this place or why she was locked in that room, but we hope to talk to her, since she has a scabbard with the word RIFE written on it.

Opening the door she demands we give her her sword, but then she makes the mistake of instilling fear, so the guy who has the sword in his bag of holding (Mathius) flees in terror with the sword. The rest of the group hang out to do combat and I believe it’s Zuka’s holy-word: Nuke, that takes it out.

Thing is, we now have a decision, since ghosts recur given enough time unless they meet the condition that frees them: Do we give the sword to the guy who contracted us to do this, or do we give it to her to release her mortal soul. Most of the folks (those who give a rat’s ass) opt to yield the sword to the ghost. But that means we have to wait for her to return.

Meanwhile we go back upstairs and discover that our crew has been savaged by the natives. So now Zuka has to get to work putting them back to life, at the rate of 3 per day on the dead raising.

I do believe that was the end of things. At least I don’t recall another encounter after that.