Adventure 9: The Mushroom Kingdom. Part One: The Helix
"The key to another tomb is held by Princess Persikka of the Fungal Folk. Delve deep into the caves beneath the forests of the Peaceful Sleepers to find her. These forests lie beyond space and time in a pocket universe created by the wizard Thaladomis."
In their very first adventure the heroes had come across a map showing the location of the Helix which was the entrance into the pocket universe that they now needed to access.
They made their way by owl to the city of Romplaxar VI the capital city of the Avalonian empire.
Here they would try to wrest the Helix from the Emperor Kylos and his wizard Thaladomis.
They soon learned they weren't the only people after the Helix when they met Kothar the barbarian, hero of legend, and his companion Rufflod who were also keeping an eye on the royal barge of Kylos where the Helix was kept.
After some negotiation Kothar and Rufflod left the heroes to it and went off to find something else to do. The heroes, with the aid of a water elemental, made their way to the barge undetected and made off with the Helix despite the powerful magical protections guarding it.
The party entered the pocket universe via the Helix where they met the sorceress Leithe, the real creator of the pocket universe, now trapped within it by the evil machinations of Thaladomis.
She agreed to tell the heroes where the forest of the Peaceful Sleepers was if they brought her the ruby gem of Gwanthol which Thaladomis was using to keep her trapped in her own creation.
the heroes learned that the gem was being kept by Skrye an immortal gryphon who would not relinquish it because Thaladomis held his mate, Scraya, captive.
Of course the heroes agreed to free Scraya in return for the gem.
Scraya was held in Wildmere Wood magically chained to a rune inscribed rock and watched over by an ancient guardian.
One of the wizards attempted to break the chains and was immediately struck down by the guardian whose thrown axes flayed all the skin from his body leaving him a raw, bleeding corpse.
As the priests tried to save him from an untimely death (and dress him in his skin again) the other wizard translated the runes on the stone.
"Beneath this stone is Kazazael
Flayed by the Watcher of the Wood
He lost his skin and did not die
But he wishes now he could."
It was a moments work to lift the stone and immediately the raw, twitching and completely mad Kazazael leapt from his centuries long imprisonment bent on revenge.
He closed with the guardian who could no longer harm him-Kazazael had no skin left to flay- and together they disappeared, carried away to some level of hell already prepared for them.
With Skrye and Scraya reunited the party could deliver the ruby gem of Gwanthol to Leithe and learn how to get to the forest of the Peaceful Sleepers.
In a clearing in the woods, surrounded by the peaceful sleepers blanketed in their moss and flowers the heroes found a green pipe.
Adventure 9: The Mushroom Kingdom. Part Two: Toad Town
Entering the pipe the party was taken to a strange place.
They exited another pipe in a village of small houses home to a race of mushroom people, the Fungal Folk, who refered to themselves as 'toads'. The toads were very confused and frightened.
Evil mushrooms, the Goombas were attacking the village, killing toads and stealing the dwindling resources. their princess who used to protect them was missing.
Even as the heroes were learning this a horde of Goombas attacked.
Groups of the bizarre creatures burst out of the surrounding forest on all sides and proceeded to attack everything they could find.
The Goombas proved very resilient. Their numbers gave them an advantage and despite the best efforts of the fighters they began to kill groups of fleeing toads.
Spells were flying and swords were slashing but still the Goombas continued on their rampage of destruction trampling everything and everyone beneath their feet.
Two groups converged on one of the thieves and took him out of action.
Eventually the heroes got the upper hand and slew many of the Goombas and the rest fled back into the forest. Unfortunately many of the toads had died as well. Only a few remained, more miserable and more frightened than before.
The party decided to head off and find the missing princess as a matter of urgency.
Before they left they experimented with some of the strange brick blocks that littered the landscape. Tonkatsu found that smashing a block with a '?' on in released a strange mushroom creature that followed her around.
It didn't seem dangerous, maybe it would prove useful later?
Adventure 9: The Mushroom Kingdom. Part Three: Boo Mansion
The party took the pipe Toad had used before he disappeared. Ahead of them across an empty plain loomed a mysterious house with ghostly shapes flitting around it in the moon light.
The ghosts seemed comical rather than threatening so the heroes advanced boldly. Only to have one of the fighters paralysed immediately with his life force being drained from him. It soon became apparent that the ghosts couldn't be harmed by physical means and the situation looked desperate until a wizard cast a light spell and the ghosts evaporated under the harsh glare.
Weakened the heroes continued into the house.
Inside a pair of giant demonic braziers confronted them. Although they looked threatening they did nothing except move to block two of the doors.
Everything seemed ok until the heroes opened the back door that led to a balcony overlooking a graveyard. This prompted the demon braziers to belch flame at the intruders.
The heroes reacted violently and it wasn't long before the braziers were dispatched back to their demonic hells.
A hastily summoned water elemental helped keep the fire under control.
Deciding they didn't like the look of the graveyard the party elected to explore the rest of the house.
In a side room they came across two more demon braziers and set about destroying them.
The next door opened onto an elevator that went to the top of the tower and seemed to by-pass the rest of the house so the heroes returned to the main room and took the stairs up to the next floor where some large floating eyeballs waited for them.
Sounds of piano music drifted in from beyond the left hand door adding an eerie air to the proceedings.
Finding the eyes were invulnerable to frontal attacks the adventurers had more success attacking them from behind in their blind spots. Each time an eye was killed one of the four torches in the room lit up.
The eyes retaliated with searing beams of energy but soon it was all over and with a few healing spells the party was right as rain.
The piano sounds seemed too creepy to confront immediately so one of the wizards and the priestess checked the other door first. They fell foul of a spring loaded foot trap which provoked loud laughter from somewhere else in the house and did some serious harm to the inquisitive adventurers.
The fighter who entered the piano room was confronted with a giant piano. The music stopped and the piano attacked with a flapping lid and big teeth.
Like much in the mansion the piano seemed immune to damage but with a supreme effort it was flipped on its back and then teleported away with a spell, hopefully to the Emperor Kylos on his barge but there was no way of checking if it arrived or not.
Moving on on the party followed a set of stairs up to the attic where one of the thieves got caught out by a spike trap. this caused more loud merriment from somewhere in the house.
Beyond the spikes was a room with two more demonic braziers which the heroes were practised at destroying by now.
Unfortunately the door to the main part of the attic seemed to need a magic key to open.
The party realised the key had to be in the tower or the graveyard since they hadn't some across it yet and decided to try the tower first.
The elevator would only hold two people at a time so the fighters went first.
They were set upon by ghosts as soon as they reached the top and Hungry Joe was paralysed again and weakened further by the spirit's drain. Hugh set to work destroying one of the braziers while he waited for the rest of the party to arrive.
As more of the heroes arrived the fight turned in their favour. The ghosts were dispelled with more light and the braziers were smashed.
The party found the key they needed hanging on the wall and set off again for the attic room.
Big Mr. I lived in the attic room and he had Toad in a cage as his prisoner.
Undaunted the party surged in and attempted to get behind Big Mr. I to reach his blind spot. Big Mr. I rotated and spun and lashed out with a devastating eye beam but eventually he succumbed to the inevitable.
None-the-less the priests were kept busy healing the rest of the party, it wasn't an easy victory.
A grateful and relieved Toad told how he had found a STAR, surely a sign the princess had been here, in the graveyard but that the pumpkins had stolen it and overcome him. He had been a prisoner ever since.
The heroes decided to retrieve this STAR, whatever it was, in case it was important so they made their way to the graveyard.
The pumpkins weren't friendly. Their maniacal chuckling confused the mind and sapped the will and the heroes began to become confused and weak as they tried to come to grips with the floating horrors.
Eventually some silence spells rendered the pumpkins harmless and they were hunted through the gravestones and ruthlessly smashed.
As the last one was killed a golden STAR rose from the ground and hovered in the air. Toad grabbed it with relief. With the STAR in their possession the party returned to Toad Town to rest and plan their next move.