(I instituted a new houserule. Upon death you keep half your xp. Pretty gay but jesus the deaths were getting out of hand).
As our heroes grappled with the urn there came on the Guardian, a wailing thing of molten obsidean, devouring all that came in its wake. Seeking to slay it by destroying the urn that was its resting place, they gambled wrong and so they paid the price. Arrows nor swords could stop the Guardian, that loathsome horror from subterrene depths as it reached out with its mind and claimed Mordak. Satiros did unleash his psychic arts to attempt a domination in kind, but it was not to be.
A trick was needed, and soon, as our heroes rushed back towards the room where time had stopped, for the entrance was not large enough to accomodate all. Using the quick wits that come naturally to one of his abominable profession, t’was Ragnor who made the plan. One by one they did use the amulet to walk slightly into the room, beyond reach of the acidic pseudopods of the dreaded Guardian. Great Ythrak, a noble ulfire warrior under the command of the time-displaced guard captain, did hold the creature back whilst the rest fled into stasis, narrowly escaping a doom too horrible to articulate. Of Mordak, it can be said he died quickly, subsumed body and soul into the gaping abyss that was the Guardian.
The ruse succeeded, and with the horror lurking menacingly at the threshold, our heroes used their one remaining amulet (the other being lost to the Guardian) to great effect. It was Ragnar’s arrogance that nearly proved their undoing but in perverse, Carcosan fashion, proved their salvation instead. Leisurely he guided the men beyond the other side of the room, all the while sneering at the Guardian. It was not until he had but three more (the ulfire men and mighty Kamicollo) to retrieve that the creature reached out and sought to claim his mind also. With his last, desperate action, he flung the amulet beyond the time chamber, trapping himself in stasis and the creature’s mind with it. The Guardian, while still alive, was frozen in mind at the threshold.
Our heroes wasted
little considerable effort. Struggling upwards, laying waste to heinous Diseased Guardians, whose scaberous touch did linger on the Ulfire warrior Hannibal, they emerged, thanking nonexistant gods. Collecting great beams of wood from the storage shed, they hurried back, toppling the wood onto the Guardian and breaking the Gm’s physics engine twice, afore setting it alight, disposing of it without much fuss.
Within the vaulted chambers hidden beyond the Inner Sanctum of Uyu-Jadhmogh they found what they had come for. Rows upon rows of Amphibious creatures, held in temporal stasis, waiting to be unleashed. Speak the word of awakening, it was written upon crumbling cyclopean masonry. It seemed the word would be known by a Sorcerer of prodigious might, though our heroes were unfamiliar with one who fit the bill, having disposed of the last Sorcerer of such power.
It was time to rest, for some among them were grievously injured. Whilst some rested, the rest went away from the Citadel to hunt, finding their carriers, brown men who were bought as slaves and later freed, had abandoned them. Sighing they trudged into the swamps to find food and firewood for torches. It was then they came upon an encounter so nonsensical, one would almost think it had been asspulled from a random table. Indeed, 3 of the unstoppable fire vampires did appear within the swamp, and great mocking laughter was heard from the GM. As our heroes fled, panicking, t’was the warrior Ythrak, also of the Ulfire men, who was struck by a burning log, and only the courageous actions of noble Ragnar saved him from certain death.
Undeterred, our heroes pressed on in search of coin and treasure, moving into the labyrinth. And lo, there was much crawling through dark, dusty corridors, and occasional skirmishes with the hated Diseased Guardians, whose scaberous touch brings the slow but inescapable death by leprosy. Fortune favoured them, and the guardians were laid low. An alien grenade of unknown function was discovered in a crumbling vault, the words IT IS DARK IN OUR CITADEL THAT WAITS written upon the walls in black, stinking ooze.
Within a dust-chocked chamber, behind fading plaster, they discovered great chests of gold from accursed Carcosa, a vast jade idol of some primordial God and an intricate collection of sacrificial knives, among them a knife of purest quartz. And indeed, they rejoiced at this bounty and quickly moved it outside of the fortress, storing it within the shed.
Again they descended, to find a great vault with nine statues of the vanquished Uyu-Jadmogh in white marble, untouched by the passage of centuries. They eyed the statues warily, and moved on, Sago and Satiros smelling sorcery on the very air. It was not until they moved further into the labyrinth and discovered a passage downward that Satiros used his clairvoyance to see beyond its seeming dead end to discover the Tomb of Uyu-Jahdmogh proper. Prodding and poking, they opened it, to look upon his Sarcophagus traced with gold. Hesitant were they, wary of the ninefold warnings carved upon it. Nine curses had the Sorcerer promised before his spirit had vanished with the death of his Guardian. Resting above, they moved into the sanctum and toppled the first statue, triggering the dread curse of Uyu-Jadhmogh.
In clockwise order they animated, one per round, screaming the same contemptuous impreciation whilst our heroes divided, some concentrating on toppling the statues, others holding off the already animate simulacra of Carcosa’s exile. The marble was proof against arrows and spears, but brittle indeed, as they soon discovered.
Each flung his sorcerous curse, an enchantment that halted time, before assailing the heroes with fists of marble. Our heroes fell quickly to the chronomancy of Uyu-Jadmogh, but Ythrak discovered he was immune by virtue of the amulet he bore. As spells bounced off him, he used the amulet to free others from stasis. Satiros was trapped like a fly in amber. So too the captain of the Ulfire Men and mighty Kamicollo. Ythrak fled, alone, torchless into the labyrinth, while Sago was struck down, barely alive. The third of the mighty Ulfire men was struck down, never to rise again. Many of the statues had perished, but 4 remained. Ragnar’s finest hour was upon him.
Casting forth the alien grenade, he enveloped the statues in sticky webbing, buying the others some time. He parried blow after blow whilst Ythrak fled. Talons of marble broke open his armour and removed his heart. Things seemed dire, but Ythrak fled far and fled well. 3 of the Uyu-Jadmogh followed him, while one remained behind, unaware that Kamicollo had already awakened, hiding in the alcoves. Satiros awakened, and lured the sorcerer into a cunning trap. Striking quick and fast, they disposed of the Simulacrum and freed the others, planning a cunning ambush.
Ythrak had fled into the time chamber, thinking himself safe. He was wrong. Laughing the cruel laughter of the damned, they waded into the stasis field, proclaiming “I built this place. Did you really think you could use my arts against me?” Onward Ythrak fled, blind and groping, through the labyrinth.
But Ythrak was cunning and sharp, remembering turns and twists and eventually meeting up with the others. By ambush they lured the last of the simulacra and overcame them in a flurry of spiked chains, hilts and stave-blows. Cursing them, the last of the Simulacra crumbled before them.
They had paid a hefty price, but they left the Citadel laden with riches, setting out for the Aerie of the Jale Men to pawn off their spoils and wreathe themselves in plate, intending to return at a later time for the plundering of Uyu-Jadhmoghs tomb and the recovery of his army.
Things, as it turned out, worked out a bit differently. Join me next time for Carcosa XVI; The Ice Wastes.
Death toll: 20
[A] Rohnan (Specialist 1): Eaten by giant spiders
[B] Jaxxon Windwaker (Ftr 1) : Impaled by Spawn of Shub-Niggurath
[C] Mongo the Red (Sor 1) : Impaled by Spawn of Shub-Niggurath
[B] Klak (Specialist 1) : Skull crushed by Animate Snake-man statue
[B] Kristal (Ftr 1): Drowned in Quicksand
[D] Kakarot (Sor 1): Beheaded by Jale Berserker
[A] Midros (Sor 1): Bissected by Jale chieftain
[E] T’Click (Spec 1): Butchered by treacherous Ulfire men
[B] Kris (Spec 1): Gutted by Elite Yellow Temple Guardian
[D] Rake (Ftr 1): Devoured by Dolm Worm
[A] Sayeed (Ftr 1): Drowned in the Great River to be food for the creatures below
[A] Ronaan (Spec 1): Beheaded by the mighty Bone man champion in honourable single combat
[B] Jahlin (Spec 1): Taken by the invisble horror of the Great Canyon
[A] Menon (Spec 1) : Cut down by the vile and contemptible Ulfire Slavers
[B] Sarumon (Ftr 1): Mind-wiped by alien technology and imprinted with memory and personality of the Master.
[E] Speaker to Animals (Sor 1): Mind-wiped by alien technology and imprinted with memory and personality of the Master. Body Slain by Tellurium Beam Weapon.
[B] Hannibal (Ftr 1): Perished by the harsh clime and dangerous climb of the Tsaggasoth Peaks.
[D] Asuz (Ftr 2): Slain by the Gaze of the Sartoom
[B] Mordak (Ftr 1); Consumed by the Guardian
[A] Ragnar (Sor 1); Struck down by the Ninefold Banes of Uyu-Jadh Mogh
Compatriots & Henchmen: 4
Burlap – Cut down by the Master of the Valley.
Sextus (the name of the Green Man) – Dissolved by Dolm Ooze (or Pudding).
Silent One – Devoured by the Guardian
Unnamed Time-displaced Ulfire Man – Struck down by the Ninefold Banes of Uyu-Jadhmogh
Desertions and betrayals;
4 Brown Men – Deserted because of poor morale and abhorrent treatment.