Midnight at the Oasis

May 20, 2012
In which the party makes friends and influences people

The party gets acclimated in Tyr, searching for places to spend their hard-earned gold from Samarthia. Shedinn, hoping to prove himself to the rest of the party, goes to the former slave pit and fights as a gladiator; however, the others never show up to see him. Mardukai continues to give Shedinn a hard time and says he doesn’t trust him; they come to blows in the alley behind the Golden Inix, the inn they’re staying in, with Shedinn quickly and easily knocking Mardukai into the dust. Having established bonds of friendship, the party comes clean with its secrets — they’ve got an artifact (the Arrow of Heironeous) that can help kill the sorceror-kings, and Shedinn shows that he’s a changeling who lives as a dragonborn.

In the middle of the night, the party is awakened by a group of mages who have snuck into their rooms. They explain that they’re members of the Veiled Alliance and Fortari told them about the Arrow, which they’ve come to collect and study; they don’t trust the party yet, and aren’t sure they’re not spies. The two groups nearly come to bows before finally reaching an accord, but not before Serge secrets the Arrow away.

The party is taken to the Golden Tower, the center of government in Tyr. There they meet with Sadira, one of the leaders of the Veiled Alliance in Tyr, who explains their position — since the Veiled Alliance and ex-templars killed Kalak and freed the city’s slaves, the city has been besieged with problems, and the Alliance had no way of knowing whether the party was enemy provocateurs or the Arrow was a trap. While Serge retrieves the Arrow, they explain some of the problems Tyr faces — wells poisoned (though the light, persistent rainfall makes up for that somewhat), fighting in the streets, some former slaves are leading insurrections, enemy spies are everywhere, and someone has been killing former templars every night the past four days.

Shedinn returns to the former slave pits to look into the insurrections, but doesn’t find much information. Gerxis, Mardukai and Serge investigate one of the poisoned wells — which had been sealed off with a boulder — and find that it’s been tainted with floating mantle poison, a powerful paralytic agent. They track down someone who sells it, hoping to find more clues. Alanna stays in the Golden Tower, researching the Arrow in Kalak’s well-stocked library — she finally finds a volume on Heironeous and Hextor, which reveals that the Arrow is an “instrument of justice.” The Arrow allows one person to trade their life to “give someone a second chance” and “erase the crimes they’ve committed.”

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May 6, 2012
In which the party wanders the desert for 7 days and 7 nights

The party finds itself near the dwarven settlement of Kled, a mining operation built around a partially excavated fortress. Kaddim-sul and Flik wander off. Shedinn, a wandering dragonborn merchant, learns his stock has been stolen; after he finds the culprit, he decides he needs some security and says he’ll travel with the party and offers a reward if they help him.

A halfling trader, Shamsi, comes to Kled with a group of dragonborn mercenaries, selling rocks and claiming they have curative magical powers. Alanna recognizes that the rocks are actually elemental fire bombs that respond to a psionic trigger. The party figures Shamsi knows more than he’s saying, but decide to put off taking action for now in favor of traveling to Tyr and contacting the Veiled Alliance, now that they have the Arrow of Heironeous.

The party travels through the desert for five days before they find the road to Tyr, and rides the rest of the way with a dwarven caravan. Shedinn and Serge bribe the templar guard to let them into the city; Alanna proposes Shedinn stay with the party, as he’s got a way with words. While the party checks out the Merchant District, Shedinn rents rooms at a nice inn, the Golden Inix, and makes friends with Rowan, the owner, who offers to act as concierge for the party.

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April 22, 2012
In which the party shows up to class naked

The party discusses what it wants to do with the Arrow of Heironeous — merge Samarthia with Athas, or destroy the plane. The party is nearly unanimous in merging the plane with Athas, save Alanna, who convinces most of the rest of the party to destroy the plane instead to cover their tracks. While the party debates what to do, Serge grabs the Arrow and sneaks away to the Congress of Eyes. The beholders are greatly reduced in number (down to about five or six) while their gith forces are similarly reduced. The Congress tells Serge that they’re willing to send the party back home, once Samarthia is destroyed.

The beholder telekinetically sticks the Arrow into a metallic orb glowing with green energy, and the plane begins to fold in on itself — as it’s not very big to begin with, it progressively shrinks in size, while the remaining angels and salamanders pop out of existence. Leoben yells to the party “See you in Eberron!” before he teleports away from Samarthia. Soon the entire plane collapses into just the one room the party is in, then shrinks even further.

Serge’s dream

The party comes to in the city of Tyr, only things are not as they should be. The skies above are filled with black clouds pouring down rain, and all the buildings are abandoned and overgrown with vegetation. There are few tracks around, and after some careful searching, the party finds bodies of every kind — slave, templar, soldier, man, woman, child. The party decides to take a rest, as Serge’s dead mentor, Talos, appears. He announces that they’ve won! They’ve destroyed all magic and killed all magic-users, and nature has reclaimed the world. Serge is suspicious, but wonders some about how long they’ve been gone — could they be far into the future? When Gerxis asks how Talos destroyed magic, Talos begins to speak a gibberish language. Serge wonders if he’s in a dream, and attacks Talos, and a fight ensues.

Gerxis’ dream

The party finds itself in a primal, healthy forest. Each party member is an animal; Gerxis is a bear, Serge is a falcon, Alanna is an owl, Mardukai is a small rhino, Fortari is a fox, Flik is a snake, and Kaddim-sul is a badger. The party explores their new surroundings and realizes, correctly, that they’re in each other’s dreams. A breeze picks up, turning into a fierce wind, kicking up leaves and logs and trees. The whirling debris forms a gigantic mouth, which utters in a gutteral growl, " Gnaw is coming."

Fortari’s dream

The party is at a fancy party, with music playing, poetry being read aloud, fine food, and dancing. Alanna and Serge find themselves human, while Fortari, Flik, Mardukai, and Gerxis are now well-dressed elves (and Kaddim-sul a dwarf). Many nobles and Balicans are there, including even Iphitus and Andropinis, sorceror-king of Balic. A woman approaches Fortari to dance; as soon as they get on the floor, she turns into a shadowy creature and attacks the party.

Alanna’s dream

The party finds themselves all elves (and Serge is a different elf); only Alanna is herself. They find themselves in a desert canyon with a caravan having set up camp, Alanna recognizing it as a place her family hid from the sorceror-kings at one point when she was a child. It’s dusk, and no one is around, but all their things are there — Alanna recognizes the wagons of some of her childhood friends and neighbors, and even finds some of her childhood toys. As the party examines the camp, her parents’ tent begins to glow with magical energy, and she hears ritual chants inside. Unsure of what to do, she decides to burn the tent down. Inside, she finds her parents’ corpses, with injuries matching how she found them at her deaths, and Dalworth standing inside, asking “I’m sorry. Can you break the cycle? Can you make everything right?” He then turns into the same shadow creature from Fortari’s dream and attacks.

Mardukai’s dream

The party finds itself in Urik, in the Golden Palace of sorceror-king Hamanu. Mardukai recognizes it from his templar training days, and sees many of his fellow templars there, albeit younger. An older lecturer is reading of Hamanu’s great deed, and then the king himself shows up and begins dressing down the templar recruits. When he gets to Mardukai, he laughs and asks if Mardukai actually believes he’s free, believes that Mardukai still doesn’t see him and control him and know his every thought. He then turns into the shadow monster and attacks.

Kaddim-sul’s dream

The party can barely remember Kaddim-sul’s dream, a swirling mass of fire, air, earth, water, and more in the Elemental Chaos, as belies his half-elemental nature.

Flik’s dream

The party finds themselves all in rags, chained together, as part of a slave caravan, being whipped by templars. They are hauled into a slave pen and made to stand at attention as slavers look them over for purchase. Finally, Flik himself studies the “merchandise.” When he gets to himself, he smiles and stabs his “real” counterpart with his dragon’s paw. He then turns into the shadow monster and attacks.

Awake

The party wakes up in a cave, none the worse for wear, all back to normal. They go outside and see mountains and foothills; Serge deduced they are in the foothills of the Ringing Mountains, near the dwarven settlement of Kled. The party heads down to the settlement to figure out their next move.

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April 8, 2012
In which the party sees the other side of the mirror

While wandering Samarthia, the party encounters a salamander praying to a statue of Hextor. Serge pulls the party aside and proposes they side with the salamanders against the angels, playing them against each other so they can grab the treasure. While the party approaches the salamander, Serge approaches a beholder he spots spying nearby and proposes an alliance; if they work together, they can overpower the salamanders and angels. The beholder leads Serge back to the Congress of Eyes’ hideout.

While Gerxis speaks with the salamander, Alanna and Mardukai head off to the palace to speak with the angels. The angels, however, are rather dull to deal with and refuse to let them enter — they don’t have the authority to let them in, and only Gaius, their leader, can help them, but nobody sees Gaius; he stays locked in the palace throne room. The angel also explains that they control the Arrow of Heironeous, a powerful artifact which controls the entire plane and presumably the target of the party’s quest. Alanna and Mardukai finally get to meet with Neane, an angel who has more personality than its brethren. Neane explains that almost all angels are clones — perfect soldiers and perfect discipline, but only a select few were given the gift of individuality by Heironeous. They agree to attack the salamanders soon, believing they have the party on their side.

Similarly, Gerxis is led to the salamanders’ home — the ruins of a great citadel — where they confirm they seek to grab the Arrow from angel control so they can control Samarthia. The salamander leader, an enormous primordial dragon named The Mountain, rallies the salamanders to attack the palace. At the same time, Serge meets with the Congress (who, true to their name, follow parliamentary procedure), who send out scouts so they can attack once the salamanders and angels are engaged. The beholders and their gith slaves seek the Arrow for something they call “the Great Machine.”

The party reunites and confirms that they’ve convinced each faction to attack the others. By the time they’ve gotten to the palace, they see the battle has already progressed inside — angels, salamanders, and the salamanders’ azer warriors disappear when dead, due to the fact that they regenerate days later, but beholder and gith corpses are omnipresent. The party traces its way to the treasure chamber, fighting their way through a few groups of warriors of every faction and using Alanna’s highly attuned magical senses to track the path to the Arrow. The halls finally lead to an underground chamber, where three frost giants guard the entrance. The party slices its way through the giants.

Inside is the treasure chamber, laden with gold and magical artifacts. The party also finds the other side of the mirror they’ve been holding since Grak’s Pool, indicating this is the place they’ve been looking for. On a pedestal is a metallic, adamantine arrow — as soon as Serge touches it, Leoben appears, having invisibly followed the party, and tells them the Arrow is the weapon they want to challenge the sorceror-kings. However, first the party will have to figure out how to get back to Athas — now that the party holds the Arrow, they control the plane of Samarthia, and they can either merge Samarthia (and all its inhabitants) back into the Dragon’s Bowl on Athas, or they can allow the Congress of Eyes to borrow the Arrow for their own strange purposes, destroying the entirety of Samarthia but allowing the party to travel home.

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February 5, 2012
In which the party finds paradise lost

The party finds themselves in Samarthia — a ruined cityscape of metallic buildings covered in purple vines, and definitely nowhere in Athas. They begin studying their surroundings, and Serge notices several different tracks — a tailed creature, and a humanoid. The group follows the humanoid tracks into a ruined building, only to come upon a tall, gaunt creature — a githyanki. The gith is huddled in a corner, has no knowledge of who he is or where he is, and can’t remember anything. The party begins to grow worried that this might be the result of long-term exposure to Samarthia.

While investigating the gith, the party hearing something outside calling for it. They get their weapons ready, and Serge fires upon the beholder that shows itself. A battle ensues, the beholder seeming more annoyed than anything else and the party blasting it with spells, swords, and arrows. Finally, the beholder implodes. The gith has gone catatonic by now, so Mardukai decides to carry him with them.

The party then manages to come upon a great pool of water, an irrigation system for all of Samarthia where inside a shiny mithril dragon is doing the backstroke. He introduces himself as Leoben and tells the party he’s a sage, and once the party finds what they’re looking for, bring it to him and he’ll tell them how it works. The party is suspicious that he wants it for himself, but he insists he’s much happier sticking to the margins. Furthermore, he’ll also use his knowledge of the future to answer any one question from each of the members of the party, acting as an oracle on their behalf.

He also explains the secret history of Athas: There never have been any gods on Athas, and when the primordials tried to destroy the world, it was humans and other races that rose up to fight them. The most powerful were psionic adepts who grew to be worshipped as gods; two of them, Heironeous and Hextor, were brothers who shared Samarthia, but are not still there now, and these ascended psionics created divine power — if psionics are using every bit of your brain’s potential, then divine power is a different kind of psionics, drawing upon the power of other people’s belief in you. However, before the primordials were defeated, they did manage to taint the source of all arcane magic, creating defiling. Leoben also explains that the sorceror-kings are NOT the first defilers, nor particularly special in any way — Athas has been trapped in a cycle of violence, with defiler replacing defiler many times over the eons.

He also explains the current situation on Samarthia: The plane is a psionic demiplane created by Heironeous and Hextor, and it follows the rules that they’ve set up (even when such rules contradict with reality); that’s why the party is more powerful here, that’s why travel is different (to go where you want, simply decide where that is, and start walking), and that’s why the party doesn’t need to eat or drink while there, and why the time of day never changes. Heironeous’ remaining forces are the angels, who are personifications of abstract concepts (like battle, protection, etc.), living in their master’s former palace. Hextor’s forces are salamanders (orange-red reptile-men with fire powers), who rule over their azer (fire dwarf) foot soldiers; their master’s citadel crumbled millennia ago. There’s also a third party now: the Congress of Eyes, a group of beholders from a far-off place called the Far Realm, who have gith servants that they can reprogram with different skill sets and personalities. Thanks to the rules set by Heironeous and Hextor, nothing stays dead on Samarthia for long — presumably, this is how the angels, salamanders, and azers have been able to fight each other without end for eons.

He also makes some other statements:

  • He muses that the Dragon of Tyr is a “self-made dragon” and a poseur.
  • He comments that “one of them shouldn’t bother funding their IRA,” implying a party member will die.
  • To get what they’re looking for in Samarthia, the party will “have to make a repugnant decision.”
  • Leoben muses that Alanna is “running late to a family reunion.”
  • Mardukai muses that he’d like to work with the Congress of Eyes, leading Leoben to say “That’s funny for reasons I can’t tell you yet.”
  • Serge mentions fixing the primordial taint that allows defiling to exist, and Leoben mentions that they’re not ready yet. (DM: This refers to an epic-level story arc that I won’t get the time to implement, where the party would go to the Astral Sea and fix this taint, effectively ending defiling forever.)
  • Even once they find what they’re looking for, Leoben advises that finding it will not be the end of their quest, but another beginning: A weapon that can harm the sorceror-kings will draw lots of attention, and many will want to steal their power or direct it for their own uses.
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January 22, 2012
In which the party enters the Dragon's Bowl

One of the dwarf slaves the party freed, Boldris, claims to know how to get down into the Dragon’s Bowl and offers to lead the party there. The night before the party is to leave Dalworth and his band of rebels, Flik is pulled aside by Dalworth and told to keep an eye on Alanna, who the half-elf suspects means him harm. Dalworth, later that morning, confronts Alanna and admits that he was part of the group that hunted down and killed Alanna’s extended family. However, he’s unsympathetic — he points out that the party has blood on its hands as well (do they now intend to go to Nibenay to comfort all the widows and orphans of the caravan guards they killed yesterday?) and that it’s unreasonable to assume Alanna’s family never killed anybody either. He gives up the names of his associates — Callia, a mul poisoner (location unknown); Shathrita, an elementalist who’s now a noble in Raam; Macletar, a sniper in Tyr; and Nanuven Silenteye, a goliath who organized the group and received the job from their employer (location unknown) — just as Serge sneaks up with a dagger and slits his throat. Alanna stabilizes Dalworth to keep him from dying, but leaves him scarred to remind him of the pain he caused her.

Over 4 days, Boldris leads the party to an Urikite mine, knowing there’s a partially excavated path down into the Bowl. However, when they get there, the mine workers and templars have been slaughtered by ankhegs, giant ants, and other insects. Boldris directs them to the path down and leaves them. The party climbs down the sheer rock face and safely manages to get to the bottom.

Upon landing, the party is attacked by ankhegs. As soon as the party drives them off, a swarm of insects clouds the skies, followed by a female mul, Enora, who is wearing nothing but insects. She says she is the guardian of Lake Pit, the body of water in the Dragon’s Bowl, and demands to know the party’s intentions. Flik and Mardukai attempt alternately to flatter and intimidate her, with no success. Enora senses the party does not intend to defile the land under her protection, and agrees to lead the party to Samarthia, which she is aware of. She exacts as her price Mardukai’s youth — placing a curse on him that ages him 20 years — and sends some of her insects to lead them on the 3-day journey to the enormous glyph that will take them to Samarthia. She also warns that the glyph, which only appears under the light of the dawn sun, requires the tears of an innocent person to activate.

Over the course of their trip to the glyph, Flik guesses that Fortari might be the “innocent person” they need — Fortari admits he’s never killed anybody (and has been too sheltered most of his life to do anything truly terrible), so Flik begins insulting him and collecting his tears. The party eventually arrives at the correct spot, and sure enough, the glyph is enormous (the size of a football field). When the dawn sun arrives, Flik pours the tears on the glyph. Storm clouds immediately form overhead, raining down warm, radiant drops in a deluge that completely obscures the world around them.

When the rain disappears, the party finds itself in a much more temperate environment, in the ruins of an ancient city. A golden palace is far off in the distance, and the buildings are overgrown by sickly purple vines. Standing in front of the party are two statues — one a flawless human-looking man holding a sword and a lightning bolt in his hands, and the other a bestial, armored, tusked man with six arms, a different weapon in each hand.

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January 8, 2012
In which the party stages an ambush

Dalworth leads the party to plan an ambush on a passing slave caravan, using the information they gleaned from their captured Shadow Bride. Setting up shop in a canyon, Dalworth’s people knock over a stone pillar to block off the road and scatters to swarm in when the caravan stops.

The caravan arrives, a large group of Nibenese guards carrying two inix-pulled carts of slaves and one cart carrying four Shadow Brides, as well as a group of aarakocra scouts. The party ambushes the caravan, with Alanna unleashing a fire spell on the templars and Serge helping pick off the guards while Dalworth and his people attack the guards, and Flik and Mardukai move into action to bust open the slave carts.

The aarakocra quickly take wing, poisoning and dive bombing most of the party, but with the aid of Gerxis’ spirit companion, Mardukai and Flik bust open the carts while Alanna and Serge begin covering their retreat. The Shadow Brides begin chanting around a magical rod, beginning a short ritual, indicating the party’s time to leave. The party takes out a few more of the aarakocra before the ritual is completed — summoning a horde of demons.

The party leads the 30 freed dwarf and mul slaves to freedom, but the demons and surviving aarakocra harass the escapees on their way out of the canyon, leaving only 20 survivors. When the group returns back to Dalworth’s cave, they find Kaddim-sul knocked unconscious and the captive Shadow Bride having escaped.

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December 18, 2011
In which the party gets presents under a tree

The party wakes up to find that one of Dalworth‘s scouting parties has gone missing. Dalworth assembles a party to search for them: Alanna, Gerxis, Mardukai, himself, and a human Draji dune trader named Flik. Dalworth, an expert tracker, begins following the scouts’ tracks through the badlands.

Eventually they come upon a small camp where the scouts had rested, only to find the tracks end there; similarly, there is one set of hooved footprints and signs of a fight. The hooved tracks lead away from the campsite — and oddly enough, are wet — so the party presses onward across the rocky terrain.

The trail eventually leads to an ancient ruin in the walls of a canyon. The party goes inside, and the inside is noticeably colder than the outside. Furthermore, as they go in deeper, they find the walls oddly lit up in a multitude of colors, and a strange, low hum coming from deeper inside the cave. As the party descends an old spiral staircase, they find a strange white substance — snow — at the bottom.

The party trudges through the snowy corridors and enters a room with two snow effigies — “snowmen,” if you will — that throw snowballs at the party. The party quickly defeats them — Flik beheads one, while Alanna’s magic makes one scream and tear its own head off. The party proceeds further and finds a room with an enormous 9×9 grid, as well as nine inix statues. Gerxis notes that one of the inixes has a red nose, puts him in the front, and assembles the rest behind it — correctly opening the door ahead.

The party is soon met by a ghost missing its left eye and warning that the ruins are prowled by the Krampus, a supernatural being that punishes the wicked around this time of year, using its preternaturally long tongue to ensnare the guilty, beat them with switches, and dump them into his sack to die. The ghost explains that he was a trader who cheated his business partner in this area, then was carried away by the Krampus; when he tried to fight back with his crossbow, he accidentally shot his eye out.

The party confronts Krampus beneath an ancient, petrified tree, where his victims lie nearby. After a quick fight, the party stabs and kills Krampus. They then free his prisoners, and loot his sack, finding a bag of holding, candies of friendship, mountebank’s dice, endless chalk, a totem for Gerxis, and a new dragon’s paw for Flik.

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December 4, 2011
In which the party flies the only way to fly

The party thoroughly searches the Balican Temple of Heroes secret library for translation books, stuffing the books into Fortari‘s enchanted pockets. Redhorn starts casting the ritual scroll to teleport the party out, as the genasi praetor and several guards finally storm the library. The party holds off the guards, but the genasi disrupts Redhorn’s casting just as the ritual is completing, teleporting the party to parts unknown.

Fortari and the party wake up in a rocky canyon (sans Redhorn, who was presumably left behind); Serge finds an empty cave for the party to hide in while Fortari works on translating the mirror’s runes. Serge performs some recon work and finds the party is now near the Dragon’s Bowl, a 70-mile-wide crater in the north near Urik and Raam — hundreds of miles away from Balic.

After a few days, Fortari translates the runes: Samarthia, a famed lost city in the Bowl that no one has ever located or returned from. The party forages for food and debates where to go, finally deciding on the Silver Spring Oasis to pick up supplies, a three-day walk by road (so as to stay away from the sorceror-kings’ agents).

On the way to Silver Spring, the party hears someone yelling “Help help,” and some of them decide (against the more cautious party members’ warnings) to check it out. A group of bandits surrounds the party, and they ask who the party serves. After ascertaining the party isn’t agents of one of the sorceror-kings, the bandit leader, a half-elf named Dalworth, lead them back to a cave for shelter and supplies.

Inside, Dalworth shows that the bandits have captured a shadow bride of Nibenay to interrogate for information about incoming slave caravans. Gerxis helps interrogate the templar, using some rather dark imagery to convince her to provide information in exchange for letting her flee. As the party and the bandits rest for the night, Dalworth speaks with Gerxis while on guard duty, explaining his bandit group is made up of freed slaves, as he’s trying to right his life after a mercenary life of violence, including helping hunt down and kill an extended family of elves. Alanna, while trancing overnight, hears this, and realizes Dalworth might have helped kill her extended family.

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November 27, 2011
In which the party breaks and enters

Fortari gathers the party together and lays out the plan: To access the secret library hidden under the Temple of Heroes in Balic, they’re going to go in disguised as Fortari’s servants to access the main library. Redhorn will join them through a different entrance; he’s cast a ritual on Fortari’s noble robes to enable him to sneak the party’s weapons and armor in, and he’s also got a portal ritual to enable them to teleport out of the Temple once they’ve got the books they need. He also explains that another cell of the Veiled Alliance is going to provide a distraction somewhere else to draw most of the templars away, and they’ve also loaned them one of their personnel, a human shaman named Gerxis.

Despite some harassment from a voidsoul genasi templar, the party finds the hidden passage that leads underground. The first level underground reveals a throne room with a fountain, a large barracks (complete with armory, which Fortari and Redhorn loot), and a very powerful map room that shows the entirety of Athas, the Lands Within the Wind, the Grey, the Elemental Chaos and the remains of the Astral Sea. The map also shows that Andropinis is currently with a group of praetors in the Astral Sea, and not actually in Balic. The party considers destroying the map apparatus, but finds it’s out of the range of their abilities.

Serge inadvertently figures out a sigil puzzle that allows the party to descend to the next level. The entrance room is a crypt with 20 sealed coffins, each decorated with a statue holding a blue-purple orb. Kaddim-sul and Alanna explore the other two rooms: one is a portal room (where the party quickly dismantles the portal circle), and the other is a magical workshop, full of half-finished items, a font of primordial energy, and a rust monster. Kaddim-sul and Alanna quickly finish off the rust monster and locate some magical items; Kaddim-sul also finds the rust monster was a female and takes one of its eggs for himself. Meanwhile, the rest of the party finds that the blue orbs on the coffins allow them to communicate with the spirits trapped inside — Andropinis has entombed many of the greatest heroes of Balic here, and prevented them from traveling on to the afterlife so he can continue to draw on their knowledge. The party mercifully decides to smash them, after the spirits reveal that one of the walls is actually illusory.

Through the fake wall leads the lowest level: the long-awaited secret library. They’re greeted by a human slave, who takes them to his masters — two librarians and their cadre of slaves. The librarians say they refuse to grant knowledge to any but Andropinis, as he has gifted them immortality in exchange for their services. A battle is joined, revealing that the two librarians are in fact oni, terrible ogre-like creatures with soul-sucking powers. The party quickly dispatches them, however, and begins looking for the translation books they need.

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