Spires of Xin-Shalast 7

With one player down for the seventh session, it is decided to continue the exploration of Guiltspur anyway. Initially, there is the division of loot from the hill giants. Though there isn’t much of huge value, there are a number of interesting items of (dubious) artistic worth, and I was quite impressed into the thought gone into the flavour text for many of the items.

The next part of the dungeon though (and Guiltspur is pretty much a dungeon) was going through the mage’s private sanctum that lead down to the next layer, and the Thassilonian ruins beyond. The party decide to rest up for the night before doing so, mostly because Serena was low on clerical spells.

So the next day they head into the private sanctum and find the ancient ruins of a library. As she was first to enter, Serena had a vision of the place bustling with students – until they were slain by the books coming alive and crushing them. Now all that was left were dusty shelves with a few old metallic scrolls left behind. On some of the walls were carvings of the road that used to lead to Xin-Shalast, providing some information to help them find the city. This was the Library of Dust that the norns had told them about:

Paths to the golden city are inscribed in the library of dust and beyond the painted doors, where the one in blue digs for the pit beyond, but finds only the pit below. But seek not beyond the sunless water where the serpents dwell.

— Prophecy of the second norn.

The information on Xin-Shalast was something I added to the adventure to give a reason for coming here. Knowledge of the drawings will grant a bonus to the skill checks needed to find the path.

Disturbing the few items in the library eventually caused its ghostly Curator to manifest and try to stop them. Though a wizard of moderate power, it was a Transmuter, which meant that many of the protections the group now had which came from wielding Dominant weapons served them well. Unfortunately, Harsk, who had no such weapon, was slain with a Flesh to Stone spell before the ghost could be put to rest.

Not wishing to leave Harsk’s statue behind, they waited around for Erishie to fly out and teleport back to Magnimar to locate a Stone to Flesh spell, a shopping trip that took a couple of hours. Whilst waiting, they took the time to examine the magical properties of the place, and realised that there were protections which prevented both scrying and dimensional travel. Since this included summoning spells, it did mean that Serena had spent the night learning a large number of spells she wouldn’t be able to cast.

Most of the ways out of the library led to collapsed passages, but one led into a series of hexagonal chambers filled with statues and displays – an ancient museum of artefacts, including an exploding fireball frozen in stasis and an ancient war juggernaut of the serpent folk. There were a large number of statues of faceless sphinxes, which none of the characters recognised. At least one player recognised them as Nyarlathotep though, an Outer God also known as the Crawling Chaos.

From a player perspective, one interesting feature was a gateway to Leng, and the enchanted forest that is found in that realm. Interesting because we’re adventuring in Leng in one of our group’s other Pathfinder campaigns as part of Strange Aeons. Whether that GM allows a cross over of some form remains to be seen (it is set about 10 years after this campaign).

Most of the items aren’t dangerous (though fiddling with the fireball did lead to a singed cleric), but the last room them encountered before breaking for the evening was a laboratory that contained large vats filled with a murky green liquid and strange forms inside. Two of the forms seemed to be still alive and held in some form of stasis – a roper and a silver dragon.

So far the level hadn’t had much excitement in the way of combat (other than the ghost), but the various magical and historical exhibits kept everyone interested.

Samuel Penn