Adventure 9: The Mushroom Kingdom. Part Four: Yoshi's Island
Faced with a choice between Yoshi's Island and Monster Mountain the party chose Yoshi's Island as the safer bet.
Using the travel pipe they arrived in a Toad village bordered by jungle with a rive to the north.
Looming over the village were the unsettling shapes of giant Piranha Plants.
The Toads were cowering and frightened.
They reported that Koopas were attacking from the jungle and carrying them off because the barrier erected by Princess Persikka had failed and Piranha Plants infested the travel tubes preventing them from moving around the island or escaping.
The heroes decided to see what they could do about the Piranha Plants and were formulating a plan when a horde of Koopas erupted from the jungle.
Seeing the Koopas as the more immediate threat the heroes moved to attack them. The Koopas proved to be dangerous opponents, they fought viciously and any blows that punctured their skin resulted in everyone nearby being sprayed with their acidic blood. Only blows to their hard shells seemed able to damage them whilst keeping the collateral damage to a minimum.
One group of Koopas got through and stated to make off with captive Toads. A quick sleep spell from one of the wizards stopped them but the collapsing Koopas and the also sleeping Toads rolled too close to a Piranha Plant.
Immediately the Piranha Plant snapped into life and emitted a jet of flame that incinerated the Koopas and the hapless toads.
The rest of the Koopas were killed before they could inflict more damage and the party turned its attentions to the Piranha Plants. One was slain quickly but another squeezed out of the pipe to take its place. The pipes really were infested.
In a change of tack the heroes decided to search for the source of the infestation. Travelling through the jungle proved impossible as it seemed to be enchanted and the adventurers who tried got hopelessly lost. It was some time before they managed to return to the village.
In the meantime one of the thieves had repaired the shield generating device so the Koopas couldn't return and a fighter grabbed a healing mushroom creature from a ? block.
The Toads said the Sage who lived across the river probably knew where the Piranha Plants were coming from as he was a sage and therefore knew everything.
The party headed north across the river.
They found a temple, presumably the habitation of the sage.
It seemed deserted but a statue on a rotating base and some strange carvings of pineapples and coconuts led to some brainstorming.
Eventually some hidden rooms were revealed which led to more puzzles involving mirrors and portals.
If it all got too confusing there were Diglets outside in the jungle to offer helpful(?) advice.
Finally everything was sorted out and the Sage was found. He proved willing to answer eleven questions so long as the heroes could answer a question of his own first for each one. This was the way the Sage topped up his knowledge pool. This seemed fair and the answers the Sage gave allowed the party to build up a fairly comprehensive mental image of Yoshi's Island and what was going on.
Here are the Sage's questions:
What is the name of the yellow eyed wizard?
Who is the immortal queen of Kor?
Which of The Ten carried the Slaughterer?
Who made the gifting pots?
Who is the Queen of Kor's sorcerer?
Which demon appears as a pillar of flame?
Who made a rope of entanglement?
Who is Kandakore's wizard?
What is the name of the travelling owl?
Who named the moons of Yarth?
The heroes learned of a trail that led to Rocky Ravine and a tunnel under the river that would take them to Piranha Grove where the Piranha Plants were being manufactured by the agents of the Koopa King.Before they could get through Rocky Ravine however more trials would await them.
Undeterred the party headed off.
After climbing up into Rocky Ravine the party was confronted by a cliff face with three tunnels. Each tunnel was marked with a symbol: Eyes, hand and a mouth. A helpful Diglet told the Heroes, "The tunnels of testing, choose once and choose wisely. See, strike or say. The symbols show how to succeed."
The heroes chose the mouth tunnel.
All three tunnels burrowed into the cliff. As the tunnels snaked their way forward they crossed each other. At each crossing point was a room with barred exits. Each room had a problem inscribed on the wall for the heroes to answer. If they answered it correctly the bars opened so they could proceed.
Where the adventurers' tunnel met the eyes tunnel there was a pile of brick blocks in a corner, a grid on the floor and a diagram of a pattern on the wall. If they couldn't manage their challenge it was reassuring to know there was an alternative option they could try.
Where the adventurers' tunnel crossed the hands tunnel the other exits were guarded by rock creatures. Another alternative.
The heroes succeeded in all their tests, never needing to resort to one of the alternatives.
Finally they were rewarded by exiting the cliff and finding the tunnel under the river that led to Piranha Grove.
Adventure 9: The Mushroom Kingdom. Part Five: Yoshi's Island continued
The party emerged from the thin screen of jungle that separated the river tunnel from piranha Grove to be met with a scene of horror.
The sound of industry filled the air. The grove was criss-crossed by rattling pipes, tar pits bubbled nauseatingly and strange buildings filled the skyline. Koopas bustled everywhere.
The heroes could see Toads at the top of the tallest building being forced into a cage suspended from a cable leading north. Nearer at hand a collection of new pipes were being filled with immature Piranha plants.
Deciding that saving the Toads was their first priority the thieves set off to see if they could sneak into the tall building whilst one of the wizards decided to investigate the two large cannons that were perched on the top of some nearby rocks.
Milo succeeded in entering the tall building. It was a factory for growing Piranha plants. A large incubator and stacks of seed sacks filled most of the space with some controlling machinery against another wall. Stairs led up to the top floor.
He was joined by Lee but there were koopas hot on his heels.
Meanwhile outside the wizard had not had much success with the cannons. Homing shells fired from the guns had blown her off her perch. Luckily (?) she landed in a tar pit which broke her fall.
Hungry Joe kept the Koopas busy while the thieves made their way silently to the top of the tower.
Dalja the other wizard flew up to see if he could gain access to the tower from the roof.
Yohane teleported herself out of the tar pit just before a a Piranha plant set it on fire in an attempt to kill her. Perched on another building she still wasn't safe as more homing shells headed her way.
At the top of the tower the two thieves were confronted by a Koopa wizard who seemed able to predict their every move. Things weren't going smoothly.
With the Koopa distracted the hovering wizard outside was able to overcome it with spells however and the timely arrival of Hungry Joe soon put paid to the remaining Kooper troopers.
The adventurers headed to the roof to try to permanently disable the cable car whilst the Toads were escorted downstairs to safety.
Outside there were still shells to dodge and Koopas and Piranha plants to kill but it was soon all over. A summoned earth elemental toppled the cannons so that no more shells were fired and the young Piranha plants were nowhere near as tough as the adult versions.
With the production facilities wrecked and the Toads on their way back to their village it was time to head off across the pipes to the island in the lake to discover who or what was behind all the recent horror.
It was quite a trek across the pipes to get to the island. Luckily someone had scattered gold coins all along the top of the pipe so the heroes had something to do as they walked.
As they neared the island the smell of cooking mushrooms got stronger.
The island was dominated by a massive crematorium that constantly belched oily black smoke into the sky.
Cannons overlooked the scene and the heroes spotted Yoshi held prisoner in a cage.
A group of Toads was being assembled by the main doors awaiting their turn to enter the furnace.
Once again the two thieves moved off first to see if they could dismantle or otherwise dispose of the guns.
Unfortunately they weren't strong enough to topple the guns so they set about interfering with the mechanisms.
Down below a Koopa wizard spotted the party and summoned a squad of mechanical Koopatrons which flew at the heroes before detonating.
This commotion drew the Koopa King out of the crematorium to see what was happening.
He was immediately engaged with swords and spells. Dalja the wizard crippled the Koopa King with two critical successes on a finger of death spell and a teleport to send him hundreds of feet into the air (in case a finger of death wasn't enough). The Koopa King's innate magic resistance slowed the effects of the spells however and the fighters still had to keep him at bay for a few rounds.
The final fatal blows of the fighters coincided with the two spells triggering and the Koopa King met a spectacular and messy end. Chopped, diced and then teleported overhead he rained down on the island like a bloody hail storm.
The remaining Koopas were soon finished off and Yoshi was freed. The heroes received a second STAR for this and everyone retreated to Toad Town to plan their next move- an expedition to Monster Mountain!
Map of the Tunnels of Testing.
The Tunnels of Testing Challenges.