Fals’Krag Session 39 – Stars and constellations

A busy session with many encounters. Many thanks to the Oerth Journal #22 for the background in this part of Fals’Krag. I’d looked up Greyhawk info on stars and constellations before, noting some that had been referenced in published work, but the journal goes a step further than that. We had fun with skill checks and what each character thought the answers would be. (Suggestion – don’t ask a dwarf about stars!)

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(3rd Sunsebb): Moving around the edge of cavern then in towards the ziggurat, they can hear humanoids yelling and approaching from two directions. They hide in a building near large t-junction of roads, with Lanliss invisible. Four morlocks approach at a jog, and both Lanliss and Bacon attack as they pass by. The Morlocks run around the corner. The party emerge, and two small groups of morlocks run past them, leaving a giant slug in the road near the group. Seldrel fires a beam of fire/magic missile. The slug spits acid back at him, and them the fight involves everyone. The slug strike solidly at Lanliss, Bacon and Hardaz. Merxif and Seldrel use fire against it. It badly wounds a few of the group before being killed. During the fight a zombie emerged from another building near where they had hidden and attacks Winter. There are more noises of movement from the building and the group starts to enter and look around. They encounter some fast zombies, a wight and a mohrg – a strong intelligent skeletal undead that tries to paralyse its victims. Winter is drained by the wight before it is killed, and the mohrg hurts a few of the group but not seriously. It runs out of room to manoeuvre and is destroyed.

Ziggurat – explore around and examine the statues and pyramid. Note damaged Yuan-ti script on parts of a structure and carved reptilian heads. The headless remains of a Yuan-ti halfblood lie on the steps. Bacon realises that the main flagstone on top of the pyramid shows a feathered snake and can be lifted. Lanliss and the dwarves reposition the stone block revealing a shaft down deep below the ziggurat. Lanliss descends with rope with Bacon close behind. His light reveals a large chamber with many bones, some pits and a giant animated snake skeleton. Lanliss misjudges his drop to the group, and lands in a shallow spiked pit. The snake promptly bites him and he is unable move – paralysed! Bacon drops to the ground in a feat of acrobatics, Winter levitates down and Seldrel flies in. They are able to defeat the skeleton construct and keep it from hitting Lanliss again.

A damaged building nearby is suspected to be a temple of Xan Yae – Baklunish goddess of shadow and stealth. Bacon notes small lotus flowers carved near the entrance and there are falchion carving inside. A pair of altars also have falchion carvings. Much of the building is in bad condition, inhabited by normal bats, rats and spiders. A centipede swarm attacks them and is dispersed by most of the group throwing alchemists fire into its midst. A Yuan-ti halfblood (a big snake with arms) is found in some repaired and cleaned rooms, and a hidden compartment hides coins, scrolls and a magical belt.

Another damaged building appears to be empty. There are recent prints (likely morlocks and bugbears) near the entrance, and much rubble in the rear chambers. Beyond a secret door are two more doors in a short passage. One door is stuck, the other locked. Lanliss cannot pick the lock and a voice tells them to leave. Lanliss and Hardaz ready a battering ram and start pounding at the door. The voice begins to threaten them and suddenly all their lights go out. When Seldrel uses a magical daylight pellet to restore light, they see a shadowy figure – the upper torso of a skeletal humanoid floating in the air. It attacks Lanliss then retreats into the shadows and disappears. Lanliss is blind, and the others observe that his skin is paler, and his clothing and gear is bleached of colour. They retreat out of the building and Merxif casts remove blindness, and then remove curse on Lanliss, but neither are successful. They head up out of the cavern, leading Lanliss up through the dungeons and back to Falsford. The Priest of Rao is able to restore his vision.

4th: The group restock on alchemist fire. On returning to the Hold they stop at the Hall of the Gods and as expected find the statues have all changed – most are human deities, though three are halfling. They activate the statue of Zodal, the Flan god of Mercy, Hope and Benevolence. They receive a wand of cure serious wounds, while Boris, Merxif, and Winter feel more healthy. {Temporary HPs}

They return to the cavern and the building with the voice and locked door. Again, they hear threats as they try to break down the door. Their lights go out, and they again use a daylight pellet. When the door opens they see a room with urns, chests and the skeletal creature that Seldrel thinks is an Owb – a thing with links to the plane of shadow that prefers darkness to light. It throws a ball of cold fire at Lanliss, then everyone rushes into the room. They use fire spells in addition to their usual attacks and strike it down before it does much more damage to them.

A building to the west has a dome on top. They check through the buildings on the way, destroying a few zombies. A hall around the inner wall of the domed building is painted with images they recognise as the animals of the 12 zodiac constellations. There is no detectable entry to the interior of the building, and a few of the group get up on the roof to examine the dome. While appearing to be stone, the metal hemisphere is marked with the constellations, but this time the actual star patterns. Seldrel realises that the positions of the Tiger are wrong, He any Lanliss depress that section of the dome, and it retracts and slides aside. Through the open segment they can see a ladder down, shelves, bookcases and a huge telescope assembly. Some of the group enter and begin to look around. There is rubbish and rotting paper scattered around, and the telescope is magical. A wheel and gears can be used to rotate, raise or lower it. While Seldrel looks it over, a translucent figure of a man in robes appears and tells them to leave it alone. “If you answer two questions, then you can look around. Otherwise, please go away. The observatory isn’t for anyone who just walks in…” They agree and ‘Nargan’ gives them two questions – “Name two of the wandering stars” and “How else is Venificus called?” While most of the party have an opinion, Seldrel and Winter are considered the more reliable sources on the stars and give the answers “the sisters, Ginsel, and Vecna.” Nargun is happy to meet others with a knowledge of astronomy and fades away. Many well known constellations are carved on the walls, and search provides the group with an astrolabe, a repairable spyglass, and a number of astronomical papers than can likely be sold. Looking through the telescope shows the night sky outside the hold. It could be disassembled, but would be difficult to transport and the magic may be negated by doing so.

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