Doors and Columns

Last week we fought and defeated the Mutate, now we need to find the Star Stelae and break Lowls’ ritual that binds this city to Carcosa. We are getting close to the end of Strange Aeons apparently, with possibly only a few sessions left – depending on how quickly we move through things.

With the mutate dead, we explored the rest of the room, and found some more of the strange coins with numbers on them. We already had a “7”, and we came across a “1”, “3”, “5”, “6”, “9” and “10”.

Exploring through the rest of the research facility, we found an alchemy lab, which had some books on alchemy and a few more of the coins that completed the set of 1 through 10. Since they seemed to fit the slots on the door with the big “19” on it, we figured that some combination of them would probably open it.

We tried some different combinations, and eventually found something that worked.

Player’s Notes: Since there were five vertex slots, and five edge slots, I figured one set was positive and the other negative, and they needed to total to 19. This wasn’t quite right, but the GM allowed us to have it. I guess she didn’t want us spending ages floundering around with different attempts, and my guess did get a result of 19. It also doesn’t help for puzzles like this when several of our characters have INTs in the high 20s, so should be able to figure out any such puzzles really quickly.

The door rolled open, and beyond it was a small room in which sat a Star Stelae. The stone column was wrapped in some form of metal apparatus consisting of long thing sheets of silver curved in a semicircle around it. The whole thing is connected to the ceiling through cables, and blinking lights and symbols emanate from the wall.

This is some type of device to focus the psychic emanations of the Stelae, and taking a brief look at it we hoped that it would actually make performing our ritual that much easier. So we went ahead as before and executed the three part ritual.

As Ray was finishing the third part, something started to go wrong. There was a shimmering above the Stelae, and the face of Count Haserton Lowls IV appeared, quickly followed by some mutant, fungoid sponge-like apparition that seemed to be merged with him. As the thing solidified, Lowls’ features faded to become some fragment of the vile god Xhamen-Dor.

The sight of it instilled terror in both Catiana and Ray, and they both fled from the room.

Player’s Notes: At this point we noticed that something seems to have changed in Roll20, and my ‘start combat’ scripts, which rolls everyone’s initiatives, sets up things like surprise and flat footed status, and puts them into the initiative tracker seems to have stopped working. I assume it’s an API change, but since we’ve only got a few sessions to go we can probably live with doing things manually.

I managed to pull my sister back to my side and cast a Remove Fear on her, which allowed her to stand and fight the monstrosity, before I backed away myself. She and Sheena were the only two that stayed in melee with it, keeping it distracted whilst I gave Gregor’s bow ghost touch so that he could finish it off. I’m not sure how much my help was needed, but it made me feel useful, especially since I had to pull Catiana back to me a second time to stop the beast from killing her.

After some healing, we tried the ritual again and this time we completed it without incident, breaking Lowls’ enchantment.

With the city now freed, we need to head to our final destination, the city of Paris, which is on some other world in the Dark Tapestry. This is where Erich comes from originally. Whilst it was being pulled to Carcosa, he had managed to partially disrupt the ritual, meaning that what was pulled through was only partially formed.

Paris is unlike any other nexus because it is only partially formed. What exists is a mere copy and not even the entirety of the original. A section of the Seine flows by scenery that includes the Notre-Dame de Paris, the Louvre, the École Militaire, and the Eiffel Tower. Past that point, the Seine pours into Lake Hali.

— Erich Zann

After resting up for the night, we follow Erich on a path that takes us through the shredded remains of several nexuses (nexi?), wandering a fog-filled realm until we come upon a cobbled street, lit by strange yellow lamps that sit upon poles. Standing under one of the lamps was a young ghoul woman, dressed in revealing garb and smoking a cigarette.

We pass on her offers, and head to the home of Erich Zann, where he is met by a group of leng ghouls that are overjoyed to see him. Unfortunately, whilst he has been away, a ghoul named Armel has been trying to put himself in charge, getting a number of his kind to act as a brutal police force, enforcing his will. Erich asks us to help him get rid of Armel. It’s a request, not a demand, and he freely tells us that the Star Stelae can be found beneath the Eiffel Tower if we would rather go find that instead.

We need to decide whether we want to help Erich and his friends.

Samuel Penn

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