Time to tell a bit more of the story of our brave heroes here at the Abomination Vaults, as they venture further into Gauntlight ruins! Sinister Plots are afoot as our heroes realize that the rumours of darkness inhabiting this place are much more true than they could ever have realized, as they nearly meet their untimely end! Before we delve into more of their story, this adventure is being run using Foundry VTT, an incredible virtual tabletop platform, the best in my personal opinion, and as always if this groups story or adventure interests you, please consider supporting Paizo and the amazing content they continue to create! The original adventure is of course purchaseable here: https://paizo.com/
Also, If you haven’t read the previous part of this adventure and wish to read, it can be found here!: https://artisticfrienemies.com/abomination-vaults3/
Nov. 8, 2021, Session 4:
After last time, as the dust finishes settling after a hard fought battle with an animated doll with a bird face, brought to life by an enchanted soul gem of some kind, our heroes take about an hour to lick their wounds in this room that appears to be a lens workshop for the lighthouse proper, and collect themselves. Being exceedingly careful as the entire floor of the room is covered in a thick layer of broken glass, it comes to their mind that there may be some useful information around these creepy paintings they previously examined in the connecting hallway. Heading back into the hallway, our resident Rogue Rayla Crossflame, expertly manages to remove the first 2 paintings of the metropolis city of Absalom in flames, and the painting of Gauntlight ruins with a beam of light with ghostly faces silently screaming inside the beam. Our Rogue makes it to the third painting, and attempts to remove it, promptly discovering that time and the elements have all but completely ruined it, and upon removing it from the frame, it falls apart into wet and oily shreds of canvas. Zarezzi, our inquisitive Kobold Wizard refuses to give up, and begins to expertly weave the magic required to piece together the ruined painting with a spell of Mending! Rayla moves on and recovers the last painting, managing collectively to fully recover all of them, the last 2 paintings depicting a handsome drow with a vain smirk labelled “The artist at work”, and the last one depicting a lady in a long flowing green gown labelled “The lady of light”.
Talking to Brownies:
Back in the room further down the hallway, the mischievous little fey brownie Tangletop awaits our friends curiously, praying silently to himself that his new “friends” were successful in retriving the Jinglyshine from the hands of the ‘mean blank-faced beaky doll’ that, unknownst to our heroes, he had met previously trying to get his hands on the Jinglyshine himself and nearly met his end in the process.
Our heroes head back to the study Tangletop has inadvertently made into a temporary home, more than a little frustrated and feeling like our fey friend knew a lot more about the danger in the other room than he originally let on. Some begin with intimidation, making tangletop shriek and hide, before our wizard quietly begins a friendly conversation, offering him the Jinglyshine. Tangletop excitedly grabs the Jinglyshine gleefully, and does a hilarious looking little happy dance before imparting 3 important pieces of information to our friends.
“Ok listen! I’ll tell you what i know, I promise I promise!” squeals the little brownie. “First, this building used to belong to someone named Volluk Azrinae. Second, Volluk was an apprentice to someone else named Belcorra, and even though this Volluk seemed really really really mean and dangerous, Belcorra seemed much much worse! Finally, the spooky magic lighthouse can do more than just shine an eerie light; it can also shoot a beam full of ghosts!” Tangletop then points across the small river to the rotted pier and rowboat on the other side and says “dark hole, cave, creature down there, others went?” Our heroes look around at each other quizzically, thinking this may have something to do with the missing “Employees” from Otari’s Osprey club Yinyasmera asked them to find if possible. With that, Zarezzi gives one of his famous coffee sticks to the curious little brownie, and in exchange he points out a small journal that once belonged to “Master Azrinae.”
Deeper and deeper the rabbit hole goes..
Our heroes, now incredibly curious about what may or may not lay beneath the docks through the creepy cave, decide to explore this smaller building further first, and head back down the hallway a short distance before opening the door, and seeing dank moss and fungus coating a dark set of stairs, so much so that it appears no one has been this way in quite some time. They head down further below, and find themselves in a dark landing connected to a hallway, far enough down that no light from above penetrates the lower floor, as the smell of mildew and stale water beading on the walls assails their senses.
It is at this moment Zarezzi begins to weave his arcane energy and detect some form of magic in the area. Our resident cleric of Sarenrae takes a moment, calling upon the holy energy of his benevolent deity to light their way in the darkness, drawing on her power and casting a Light spell on his shield to light the area around them, and Cannonball follows suit, deciding now is a great time to light a torch to penetrate the dark uneasiness of the lower level as they shrug off the unpleasant dampness in the air. With caution Rayla inspects the door for traps, and upon finding none, they open the door and head into the room connecting to the east end of the hallway.
They enter the room and they see seven square alcoves, each containing some strange magical apparatus or alchemical set of tools of some sort, that ring this damp stone chamber. The alcove to the north contains a large glass tank filled with liquid. A goblin’s corpse, clad in outdated servant’s clothing, floats inside it. A semicircular worktable covered with tools, moldy papers, and a large open book stands in front of the tank.
They examine further, and discover that this corpse appears to be very well preserved, so much so that even if they were to remove it from the tank, it would probably remain preserved for a minimum of several months! This is clearly a workshop belonging to someone that knew what they were doing! As they continue to look around, they see various doll parts on the other tables. Rayla heads up to the northwest alcove and finds a mostly intact doll, resembling an armless legless goblin. Trying to recall in his mind if he knows anything about this kind of workshop, Zarezzi digs deep within the recesses of his own mind, pondering. The last time he remembers reading about a workshop like this, it was a workshop focused on construct construction and necromantic magic.
Rayla examines the doll and decides it is just far far too cute to leave behind, and slips it into her backpack. While this is going on, Zarezzi reads over the open book on the table in front of the preservation tank, and discovers that the dead goblin in the tank was a servant of Master Azrinae in a time long past, and that his name is Borbo. They discover that he volunteered to give his soul towards furthering Azrinae’s experiments, in exchange for the promise of immortality.
Our heroes grab up the notes, and while this is happening, Glattmier examines an alcove in the south end of the room, finding a mounted toolbox on one of the walls, and discovering that one of the tools is an activation switch, and as he manipulates it, the wall panel it is attached to opens up, revealing a secret passageway leading to another set of stairs that leads even deeper to yet another lower level in this place, and it is at this moment that our heroes discover just how unsure they are of the sheer magnitude of the size of these ruins.
Necromantic machines and vicious undead worms..
Our heroes make their way backtracking, deciding to look for another possible entrance into the cave rather than having to go under the dock where the ghostly lights occupy the nearby area. They head to the west end of the hallway and see a room that shares features of a bedroom and a study, but find that the decor is devoid of any touches of personality, as though anything of sentimental value had been purposefully removed at some point in time. They proceed to carefully search the room without yielding much of value, outside of the scrap of paper that they find sitting on the desk in the corner. The paper seems to list 3 book titles: What The Worm Knows, Grave Feasts, and Secrets of the Skull, along with a note at the bottom that reads: “Transcription will take months, but I’ll try to have these books back to you as soon as possible, my love!”
They open the door in the northwest corner of the room and find a small storeroom of some kind. This small room appears to have a long-abandoned straw bed, a dresser with open drawers that reveal a jumble of out-of-date servant’s clothing, and a large barrel that has a ladle sitting atop it. Our heroes carefully comb the room attempting to find anything of value, and our perceptive Rayla manages to find a loose brick in the corner of the room concealing a small stash of treasures: A shard of Jade worth 15 gold, a silver statuette of 2 succubi worth 35 gold, and an oily looking “Slick” armor runestone. They pry open the barrel and realize that it was once a barrel of pickles, but has long since expired as the horrid odor hits their noses and nausea begins to his them.
They proceed to move back into the study and head through the door in the south east corner of the room. They see a large metal table fitted with leather straps and iron bands that stands in the center of this room. A strange contraption that seems to be part spyglass and part mechanical drill seems to be mounted near the head of the table. A sparkling black gemstone glitters in a metal framework built into this machine’s side. Looking closely they notice what seems to be a large slab of rotting flesh strewn across the table. Glattmier and Cannonball head into the room to investigate further, but as they step into the room, the mound of flesh on the table begins to quiver and move, and react to their presence, springing forth onto Glattmier!
Rushing into the room to come to the aid of Glattmier and cannonball, an incredibly intense fight begins to ensue as they quickly discover that this mound of flesh on the table happened to be a creature called a Bloodsiphon, an undead worm creature that feeds off of the blood and life force of others. Within seconds, the worm knocks Cannonball unconscious and latches itself onto Glattmier, quickly beginning to drain him of life. With incredible reaction time, our Goku-esque monk Tigra in his dextrousness manages to wall run across the room, spin kicking the work, and grappling glattmier free from the clutches of the horrible creature! As Rayla runs in to aid, pouring a potion down cannonballs throat to bring him back to consciousness, the Bloodsiphon swings around, latches onto her, and quickly knocks her unconscious in a single bite.
Our heroes begin to feel fragile, and see darkness overcoming them, as they realize they are being quickly overwhelmed. Tigra tosses glattmier onto his shoulders like a sack of potatoes, and cannonball grabs up Rayla as they flee from the room as fast as their legs can carry them. The disgusting creature begins to pursue our heroes, and in an incredible feat of swiftness, thanking Sarenrae that this creature takes longer to move distances, our heroes manage to slam the door shut, and quickly begin to pile furniture and slide the desk in front of the door to block the creature in, in an attempt to save their own lives. No sooner do they manage to block the door, that the creature immediately begins smashing into the door in an attempt to break it down, managing to smash a face sized hole through part of the door, attempting to smash a space big enough to get a hold of our heroes.
Our Heroes run for their lives, but into more danger..
Our heroes begin to flee.. They run back the way they came, up the stairs, past Tangletop and out of the building, heading back towards the entrace, doing everything they can to make it home alive, and put the ruins behind them for the day after the harrowing near death they discovered waiting for them. Our Swashbuckler Cannonball, with his expertise in sailing, seeing the rowboat that he determines is in excellent shape tied to the less broken pier to the south, decides to take the boat, and use it to row with the current to make their way back to Otari more quickly. They make it a few hundred feet, the rest of the group deciding to make their way along the outside of the ruins and meet Cannonball on the lower bank. Coming to a broken wall section of the ruins, as they make their way past, they see a group of mitflits that had since set up an ambush waiting for our heroes to come back after they left all the mitflit corpses laying around out in the open!!
Trying to be quiet, but stumbling, and catching the attention of the group, the mitflits begin to attack the nearly dead group. Cannonball rows faster than he has ever rowed before and brings the boat up near the broken wall.. Our group charges into the room, deftly slaying half of the mitflits before taking enough damage they they begin to fear for their lives once more. Glattmier digs deep, prays to sarenrae, and calls forth his last push of healing power that he can muster that day, exhausted from the harrowing combat. With a final push, they charge back into the main hallway after the mitflits as they begin to flee our heroes, spotting tripwire spike traps they had set up to ambush our heroes with by the main doors.
As they manage to take down one of the last 2 mitflits left, the remaining one begins to flee as the other with his dying breath squeals out “Quick, get the boss!” Our heroes chase the remaining mitflit through another room they had not yet seen, but with very little time to investigate at this point. Almost the entire ceiling of this room has collapsed ,while below, the floor has crumbled into a 10‑foot‑deep sinkhole filled with rubble, mud, and glistening patches of fungus. Evidence of ancient damage—burn scars and acid scorch marks—decorate the walls and much of the rubble.
The terrified mitflit runs for his life as fast as he can, and our heroes do their best to follow, skirting the large sinkhole around the walls on the south end of the room, as the mitflit runs ahead, and out a set of double doors on the south east corner of the room. They hear the sound of a door opening and slamming shut, and hear sounds of commotion from multiple creatures coming from whatever lays beyond. Heading out the doors pursuing the mitflit, they end up on what seems to be a 15 foot wide walkway.
The walkway appears to span a narrow stretch of swamp water, connecting the ruined keep to a large stone outbuilding. Double doors block each end of the walkway. Standing before the southeast door is a seven ‑ foot ‑ tall skeleton dressed in armor made of gnarled roots, bones, and rusted metal. The skeleton clenches a shining morningstar in one weathered hand with the weapon’s heavy, spiked tip resting on the walkway at the skeleton’s feet. It is at this point that our heroes stop in their tracks, trying to quickly decide what to do next, as they stare at the vacant eye sockets of the massive skeleton in front of them..