The mission of the members of Wilberforce Adventuring Company was multi-pronged.
1. For Conrad, WiFACo and the University in Sandpoint, the caravan of archaeologists was to be guarded and artifacts of Tianese origin recovered.
2. For Lady Amara Li, Scion of House Kaijitsu, a jade katana was to be recovered.
3. For Trade Prince Hakim, a generations-old trade agreement was to be secured.
4. And of course, Lord Kaijitsu was always looking for odd artifacts of Tianese origin, as well.
Into the catacombs claimed by the Kaijitsu family, the members of WiFACo, led by the now-ghoul Jinx the rogue, entered into a chamber that had clearly been modified. On the ceiling was a fresco of Dosojin, the Tian goddess of travellers, bathed in a yellow light. At each of the doors an arch had been erected in the style of a torii gate. The red-orange paint of the gates and the tiles of the mosaic had chipped and faded through the years. The door directly ahead led to a storeroom, full of crates of musty silks, barrels of now-vinegar rice wine, and other long-forgotten trade goods.
To the north, a door led into a cooler room, fed by a fountain. Once two human statues supported a bowl, from which cool water ran into the fountain’s basin. Now, one statue lay in rubble, water flowing from the remaining one, into the ruined basin, and puddled on the floor, a small stream flowing into the next room. Close examination of the statue revealed the word “Water” carved in Tian on it, when spoke aloud, a gush of cold, fresh water burst forth, knocking anyone in front of it down. A lone five-foot hallway branched off from the room, dead-ending some twenty feet down. A thorough search reveled nothing, however. A doorway led north.
The next chamber was more roughly hewn than the others, an abundance of fungi growing on the floor. The stream from the previous room disappeared into a crack in the wall. Small piles of rubble lay under the fungi; both Bellum and Phozzie swept the fungi away with their weapons, revealing ruined statues similar to the one in the fountain. Phozzie began to refer to tapping stone with his axe as his “detect metal” ability. Gr’lk gathered a variety of the fungi to use examine and use as ingredients. Finding nothing else, the adventurers headed back south, into the chamber with the mosaic. Jinx grew increasingly impatient, struggling with the ghoul taking her over.
The door was locked, Kyras was able to open it without a problem, however. An irregular hallway ran south, jogging east, where a warm glow could be seen around a corner. The hall was notably warmer than the previous chambers. Heading in, to their right, the party discovered another statue, it’s arms outstretched, two gems softly glowing red in its hands. To the left, a shelf stood piled with scrolls. Cora was able to get through to Jinx enough for her to reveal the statue was inscribed with the Tian word for “fire”, but Jinx quickly took to sniffing the party members. A mercy kill was debated. With a careful inspection of the bookshelf, Cora realized that every one of the scrolls she looked at had the same Tian letting, and with that, the bookcase became hazy, the illusion weakened. Back to the statue, Cora attempted to repeat the word for “fire” and the area immediately around it exploded in flame, but died out instantly. A locked door stood at the end of the hall, Kyras was able to unlock it, but noticed something “wrong” with the lock.
The next chamber was perfectly square, another mosaic of Dosojin in tile on the floor. No other door led from this chamber.Four human statues in each corner bearing a lamp. The lamps of the statues each contained a glowing gem, a sliding shutter could hide or reveal the light. After much experimentation, matching the light to that of the yellow in the second chamber caused a door to reveal itself on the far south wall.
In the center of the next room sat a golden sarcophagus, flanked on the wings by eight more. Jinx slunk up to the sarcophagus and read the lone work inscribed there, “death.” With that, the lids of the eight stone tombs were dragged open by hands inside, and slowly, skeletons and zombies stood to face the adventurers, as Jinx turned and attacked as well. During the fight, Kyras was bitten by the ghoul, but the party was able to defeat the undead. Inside the golden sarcophagus rested a corpse, decked out in the finery of a Tianese warrior; a jade katana in his hands. Additional weapons and armor of the Unapproachable East were found on the body as well. But no trade agreement was found.
Eventually, the party returned to the chamber where the fungus grew, and inserted the jade katana in the crack the stream water disappeared into. The rock face tumbled, and the stood up, a small earth elemental guarding whatever was behind the wall. After dispatching the elemental, a small cavern was revealed, no bigger than five feet back and ten feet across. A stone stand in the center of the cavern held a scroll, that appeared to be the original the illusions were based upon. Flanking the scroll were two halfling-sized statues of Tianese warriors, each carrying a spear that appeared to be removable; Detect Magic revealed these were +1 Short Spears. Along one side wall, a shelf contained small chests of gold coins and paper bundles; along the other, a shelf contained bottles of fine rice wine.
Returning to the camp, the party reported to the university team and the other adventurers what transpired. Dashiel, the cavalier, and Greer, the cleric, were saddened by Jinx’s death, and made plans to retrieve her body. The university’s team translated the scroll; it was an inventory ledger of what the cavern contained:
From Jinx: +1 Eel Hide Leather, Bracers of the Glib Entertainer, dagger, shortbow, quiver with 20 arrows, masterwork thieves tools, opal worth 200 gold pieces, potions of cure light wounds (x2), potion of protection from evil,
From the body of the Tianese general in the sarcophagus: +2 Lamellar Cuirass (AC +4), +1 Silken Ceremonial Armor (AC +2), +1 Ghost Touch Naginata, Masterwork Butterfly Sword
From the stone chamber: +1 short spear (x2), 5000 gold pieces, stacks of paper in bundles (10,000 gold pieces, but in Tianese bills), 50 bottles of rice wine valued at 10 gold pieces each.
From the storeroom: assorted crates of silks, casks of rice wine, and barrels of spices, all damaged and effectively worthless.
Do you head home, abandoning the archaeological dig?
Do you stay while they excavate the rest of the site?
Do you seek to find a cure for Kyras, who’s about twenty-three hours from waking up REALLY hungry?
If you DO head back, who gets what (The University, Lady Amara Li, Trade Prince Hakim, Lord Kaijitsu)?