Last Saturday, we recommenced to play in Justin's Vaults of Ur campaign, since he had returned from his month-long stay in the States. We'd left off having escaped from some caverns the party was trapped in by a magical teleportation pool, and ended up on an island far north of the areas we'd previously explored.
During the month, we'd posted a few exchanges on Facebook. Around the island, there were reptilian humanoid footprints to the south and a jungle area, to the west were narrow humanoid footprints and far off we could see ruins of rich looking manor houses, to the north was a great wall (think King Kong) with a gatehouse that Justin said "looked like the Ghostbusters skyscraper as designed by Vigo the Carpathian" and a 100' tall Voltron sort of golem walking past it one day. Venerable Carolus used speak with animals to converse with birds and get some information of a "big ugly" with a flying body, dangerous tail, and ugly face like Karl's somewhere to the east.
Anyway, for the session, we had Dean playing Venerable Carolus Shaman of the Great Bear (level 5), Jeremy playing Borg the Orc Pit Fighter (now level 2!), Alexei returned after a long absence as Maya Culpar the Elf from Beyond the Veil [and with her as always Garth...I mean henchmen] (also now level 2!), and myself as Thidrek the Sleestak Hero (level 4). Rick, a potential new player (although he's also suggested starting a 3E game), sat in and listened to the game. Ralex the NPC Fighter was still with us. We conveniently ignored the absence of Yargrob Elderbob the Mage, since Robert again couldn't join us.
After a brief debate about heading south to what we thought would be the Zoo and parts known (Thidrek had ventured into the Zoo at level 1, and barely escaped with his life but without the rest of his party) or west to the rich seeming ruins with unknown dangers between us and home, we choose the jungles/towers to the south. The chance to bag some rare animals to take back to Fort Low, some towers to plunder, and what we hoped to be a quick road home made the decision for us.
We crossed from the island and headed into the Jungle (insert Guns and Roses references here). We trekked through the jungle to a long plaza, running north-south, with seven squat towers with stairs going up the outside walls in it. The plaza was of flagstones, and extremely hot - like a shopping mall parking lot in mid-summer. After Thidrek did a bit of scouting, finding some primitive totems or tribal markers of some sort, he returned to notice that Maya's man-at-arms was missing. Carolus immediately set off looking for the missing warrior, using Maya's Giant Rat/Guard Dog to track the scent.
We found the henchman in the clutches of a hypnosnake, which we managed to slay without anyone else getting hypnotized. It didn't have any treasure, but we butchered it up good, with Borg planning to make a snake-skin loincloth, Thidrek wanting to make a Serpentor-style helmet from its noggin, etc.
Back at the plaza, we skirted the edge, thinking it too hot to venture across, and found some more warning spear/totems from the lizard men. At Borg's suggestion, Thidrek shouted out a warning that we were ultimate badasses not to be messed with in the Sleestak dialect of the Beastman language, hoping that Thidrek's reptilian nature was close enough for them to understand. Eventually we braved the plaza, and Karl used his Stone Fist to loosen the mortar of the bricks blocking the doorway. Inside were no traps, just the skeleton of a sun priest with a big gray metal mace in its hands, which we of course took. The second tower yielded the same.
The third time's the charm, right? As Karl shook open the mortar of the third tower we approached, a fireball sprang out of the farthest tower, zipped from tower to tower and hit our party. It didn't do too much damage, but we lost Maya's torchbearers. Two small fire elementals emerged as the tower was wreathed in flames, but we took them down fairly quickly.
Thidrek went up to the tower by himself (he's nimble and all that) to poke around with his 10' pole. Nothing bad happened, so Karl came to help. And as we knocked open the tower, another fireball came...but hit the rest of the party trying to keep their distance. We lost Maya's rat/dog, and both Borg and Maya were down to very low hit points. Inside the tower, the skeleton sat up, looked at us, and asked us why we were disturbing its slumber as it burst into flames.
Karl failed to Turn the undead. Ralex came to help fight. Maya and Borg headed for the hills. Thidrek, after a brief consideration of battle with the fire-lich, also ran. Karl started to run, but Ralex was engaging it. He fired his stone-bow then yelled for Ralex to run as well. And we all ran straight into the waiting arms of the lizard man tribe. That's arms as in weapons, of course.
To be continued (we hope!)...