Weather:Around freezing, blowing snow
Player Characters:Elias (Wiggles), Wood Elf Cleric, 278 points
Garreth (Zuljita), Half-Orc Fighter, 339 points
Ibizaber (Demented Avenger), Human Thief, 336 points
Polly (Kalzazz), Wood Elf Archer, 320 points
Seépravir (Archon Shiva), High-Elf Wizard, 354 points
Seépravir (Archon Shiva), High-Elf Wizard, 354 points
4 Beetle Swarms
We started in the town of Cillamar.
Seépravir researched the jars of goo, and found that they cure disease and poison and wounds. (Later discussion revealed that Garreth actually wanted her to research the unknown gross goo in the other jar instead of the magical healing goo.)
Elias re-cast Bless on Garreth and Polly.
Zaber heard a rumor about a castrated ogre soprano who'd wowed the Lord Mayor. He also heard that Lord Flitwick had hired a bodyguard.
Garreth got a letter back from Master Naburu (or possibly one of his minions?) inviting him to visit the Master after the first blossoms of spring, and to bring alcohol.
Everyone hiked back to Castle Whiterock, down one level of stairs, across the level, to the secret door with the elevator down. Zaber and Elias both decided to climb down the elevator cable instead of using the elevator like a normal person, and neither fell to his death. Garreth and Polly climbed in the elevator, and Seépravir started spinning the wheel to lower them -- and then two owlbears jumped out from hiding and tried to eat Seépravir. This didn't work, as they didn't achieve surprise, and Seépravir (who already had Levitate on) merely ran to the elevator shaft and jumped in, while the owlbears chased a bit then watched in dismay. (There was some question of whether owlbears could fly, since they had feathers, but it appears at least these ones could not.)
It got worse for them a few minutes later, as Seépravir cast Levitate on Polly, and Polly flew up and filled the owlbears' eyes with arrows from outside grabbing range. With the brief wandering monster interlude over, Polly spun the wheel to lower Garreth and then flew down to the bottom of the elevator shaft.
The group piled in a skiff, and Garreth made four Boating rolls to avoid dumping anyone in the water. Once they landed the boat at the far beach, everyone got out and hiked toward the giant cave, then to the pyramid. They made it to the pyramid, at which point Seépravir declared that she'd rather stay outside in the normal mana zone and maintain spells, and let the others do the icky low-mana pyramid exploration. She cast Invisibility on Zaber, both because it's useful to be Invisible, and as a two-way warning system. If Seépravir was in a trouble, she'd stop maintaining it and Zaber would appear and everyone would know to go help her. On the other hand, if Zaber got in trouble, he'd attack to make the Invisibility go away, and Seépravir would notice that she had one less spell on, and go help them. Polly then used a shared piece of twine to keep track of Zaber's location. Seépravir then cast Flight on Garreth, because flying is fun and she can maintain one Flight spell pretty much indefinitely.
Zaber went inside the main entry hall of the pyramid, and with See Secrets on, spotted a fourth secret door to the northeast that he hadn't seen before. He also figured out that someone large and barefoot had entered the pyramid, broken pieces off of the clay golem statue, and peed in one corner. After getting bored with the entry hall, he climbed up the secret door to the southwest to re-explore the Sand Devil's room some more, but didn't find anything interesting, just a lot of sand. He went back into the secret room and kicked another clay jar. Polly followed him in, and found another jar she thought was magic, so she had Zaber take that one out to Seépravir. After getting bored with that room, they went back to the dire desiccated lion room and searched for secret doors some more, but didn't find any.
Eventually, having run out of excuses to re-search the rooms they had already explored, the group had to pick one of the remaining secret doors: north or northeast. They picked north, a small low door that had been between the statue's legs, before the statue rose up and attacked them and they smashed it. The door required using the clay golem's huge mace to open, but fortunately Garreth had it.
Zaber went in first, with the other three following, and Seépravir still hanging out by the pyramid entrance resting. Stairs led down into the darkness. After a while Zaber found a patch of sand-covered wall on the right side, contrasting with the darker walls everywhere else. He poked at it and listened to it, but didn't find anything interesting, so kept going down. A bit further down, he found a pressure plate trap on a step. He wedged an object in there to keep the plate from triggering, then kept going to the bottom of the stairs, which ended in a featureless door. There was no obvious handle or keyhole, but there were some levers attached to the trap on the stairs which would open the door, so, after searching for traps and listening at the door, Zaber repurposed those to open it without turning the stairs into a ramp.
When the door popped open, it revealed a large room, containing a dais with a sarcophagus and an undead guy with a mask and a staff. Zaber (who was Invisible) snuck in. Garreth (who had Flight) flew in. Polly fired arrows. Her very first shot (a bodkin with Continual Light on it) was a critical hit, and the mummy was now a light source. It dodged her second arrow. Elias brought up the rear. The mummy tried to cast some kind of spell, but rolled a 16 and nothing happened.
Garreth flew forward some more, Polly fired a couple more arrows that were dodged, and the mummy re-cast his spell, this time successfully, creating a large area of nasty whirring blades around Polly (and also Zaber, though Zaber was Invisible so maybe that was just luck.) Polly, two hexes inside the area, needed to make an acrobatic retreating dodge at -4 to escape the blades, and did, jumping backwards. Zaber, only one hex into the blade zone, just needed a regular retreating dodge, and also succeeded, jumping forwards. However, now Elias and Polly were now behind the blades, and would remain separated from Garreth and Zaber until the blades went away, unless they felt like risking getting cut up.
The mummy summoned a dire lion, then some beetle swarms. Garreth used the spear's power to Great Haste himself, then threw the spear at the mummy, and the mummy rolled a 17 on his dodge, tripping over the sarcophagus. Polly shot some beetles, through the blades. The mummy used some kind of force effect from his ring to try to knock Garreth back, but Garreth dodged it. The mummy then summoned a huge tiger, to match the huge lion. The lion tried to bite Garreth, but he dodged that too. Some of the beetles started climbing inside Garreth's boots and chewing.
Garreth started chopping the mummy with this katana. Polly added a couple more arrows. The mummy, still conscious, spiked his staff into the ground, and it turned into a huge python. The lion tried to circle behind Garreth and bite, but he dodged it, straight up with Flight. That also got him out of range of the beetle swarm, which was ground-based.
Garreth chopped the mummy some more. Eventually, it just vanished into thin air. At that time the blade spell also went away, but the summoned creatures remained. Garreth knocked the huge snake out with a single hit. Polly shot the dire lion in the skull a couple of times and stunned it, but didn't knock it out. The dire tiger tried pouncing on Garreth, but he acrobatically critically dodged it, leaving the tiger prone and clawing at nothing. Garreth then hit the tiger twice, hard, and killed it.
Elias boosted Polly up in an attempt to reduce her penalty for firing through the blades. Polly fired two more arrows into the dire lion, and knocked it out. At that point the only targets left in the room where the beetle swarms, and they were stuck on the ground while Garreth was flying. So he flew around above them stabbing away with his katana's reach advantage until the beetles were all dissipated. When he was out of moving targets, Garreth made sure the lion and python were both dead. When the python died, it turned back into a staff.
With the fight over, Zaber went over and picked up the mummy's snake staff. Surprisingly, it didn't like this, and he took 12 points of curse damage for picking it up. He used his Luck, and reduced the damage to 5 points on the reroll, then dropped the staff. Not deterred, Zaber went over to check out the sarcophagus, and it rushed him! He tried an acrobatic dodge away, and failed the acrobatics roll but still made the dodge. Once he got out of range, the sarcophagus stopped moving.
Garreth and Zaber decided to set up the sarcophagus. Garreth got his katana ready, and Zaber went to touch it. When it tried to slam Zaber, Garreth sliced it with his katana, and the sarcophagus stopped moving. Zaber tried opening the lid, but it was too heavy. Garreth opened it, and inside was ... nothing.
Elias decided to exorcise the area, just in case. Zaber helped Polly recover arrows, rolled a critical success on his Scrounging roll, and got all of them. Not wanting to leave the cursed staff behind, Garreth tied it up in some twine (without touching it) and dragged it behind him. This sounded questionable, but he rolled a critical success on his DX check, so it actually worked and he avoided taking any curse damage.
It was late, so the PCs all headed back to Cillamar. They thought they had defeated the mummy and its summoned zoo, but the mummy had disappeared, so they couldn't really be sure.
The owlbear ambush was well planned: two on one versus the squishy wizard. But the squishy wizard is very hard to surprise, and had Levitate ready, and there was no safety fence around the elevator shaft, so once they failed to get surprise, Seépravir just had to jump in the shaft to get away. At that point the owlbears, who foolishly had no ranged attacks, where Polly-bait. (She had to make sure they weren't nature, first, but owlbears are clearly magical not natural.)
Should a wizard be more effective maintaining spells from outside a low mana zone than coming inside? By the DFRPG rules as written, maybe. I'm not really a fan of a wizard staying outside having no penalties for maintaining spells in a low mana zone, but I didn't want to introduce house rules in the middle of this level, so I decided that, for this particular pyramid, that strategy would work okay. So Seépravir transformed from local party buffer to remote party buffer.
Elias's player lost his Internet connection halfway through the session, and Elias got trapped behind the blades, so Elias didn't get to do much. The fight against the mummy and his animal friends was mostly Garreth and Polly, with Zaber staying out of the way and watching. Thanks to making all his defense rolls while the mummy failed half of his, this worked okay. Garreth and Polly but a brutal amount of damage into the mummy before it finally ... disappeared. So, nobody's sure what's up.
So that's one more room of the pyramid explored, and one more secret door found. Will the PCs manage to finish the pyramid next session? We'll see.