Part 4: The Source of Isig's Well
Note: A map is unnecessary. The cave and chambers run in the same direction, in a pretty much linear path.
The pool at Isig's well looks deep, cool and delicious, but dark. Drinking it however, is deadly. Even rinsing the mouth is enough to be fatal, as Orlantio proved. Death comes in 1d20 hours. When the first of the oasis people began to fall ill, they were given Isig's water to drink, and taken to bathe in the pool. Those still healthy flocked to the pool and drank also, to fortify themselves against the sickness. Unfortunately, the curative properties of Isig's Well had turned to poison, and everyone at the oasis sickened and died.
Only Old Man Tree's shaman powers preserved him, but he was unable to save his people. Leaving his fetch behind to guide their souls to safety in the caves of the Ancestors, he fled to the only nearby water source at the stand of prickly pear. There he summoned White Crane Woman, asking her to find a son of Isig to aid them.
The cavern at the back of the pool disappears into the cliff. Water trickles out of it and into the pool. A faint croaking of frogs can be heard coming from within the cavern.
Drinking the water after its purification will heal all of this poison damage.
The croaking sound becomes louder as the PCs move long the tunnel. It
opens out into a large chamber.
The First Chamber
The first chamber contains a wide, deep pool bordered on the right by a sloping shelf. The pool is fed from a cavern at the far end. Water trickles from it and down a small rockfall into the pool. The second chamber is reached by scrambling around the shelf and up the rockfall.
The Chamber sounds like it is full of croaking frogs, but there are none in the pool or along the walls. in fact, they are all hanging from the ceiling. These are chaos frogs, perverted and twisted by the chaos. They are a purplish colour, with bloated skins covered in pustules and slime. Each is about as large as a man's fist, and has mouth filled with tiny razor sharp teeth.
There are hundreds of these creatures and to stand and fight should appear futile very quickly. Keeping track of their movements is irrelevant. Simply calculate the total number attacking each character each round.
There are countless chaos frogs waiting to drop on the PCs. The only realistic strategy is to flee to the next chamber. Any frogs still stuck to a PC take a final much and leap off back to their own cavern.
Once the waters of Isig are purified the frogs will drop dead from the roof in a grotesque rain of thudding, splashing corpses.
There are countless chaos frogs waiting to drop on the PCs. The only
realistic strategy is to flee to the next chamber. Any frogs still stuck
to a PC take a final munch and leap off back to their own cavern.
Hit points: 1
Bite SR-1 (1d3-1) A-50%
Skills: Croak Menacingly 87%, Jump 60%.
The Second Chamber
After climbing up the rockfall and entering the chamber the PCs find themselves on another shelf bordering another pool. Bubbles rise up from the center of the pool: this is the source of Isig's Well. Across this pool is another rocky shelf, and above it a cave painting can be dimly seen on the wall. Another narrow tunnel leads off from the far shelf, but no water comes from it.
Unlike the other pool, this one is effectively bottomless. Its poison is even more concentrated (POT 8), and anyone swallowing it will be dead in an hour. Damage for skin contact is as above.
There are two ways across the pool: swimming or wading. Both ways require a CON roll against the contact poison.
Half way through the restoration the group are attacked by Peg. Peg is a chaos naiad who manifested here after Phloxx rededicated the site to chaos. If one of the group is acting as lookout, they may notice her manifesting in the water and slinking toward the shelf (Scan).
Peg tries to Befuddle a PC and then leap up and drag him into the water, holding him under until her drowns. To do this, she must successfully overcome her victim's magic points, then try a Grasp attack. If the character fails a DEX x 2 roll, he tumbles into the water. Roll POW x 5 to avoid swallowing any.
|Peg the Chaos Niaid
Move: 6 (water)
19-20 Head 20 1/4
Grasp SR-8 (Grapple) A-40% Parry (arm)-40%
Spirit Magic: Befuddle (2)
Armour: slimy skin gives 1AP protection.
Note: Peg subsists on chaos frogs that blunder into the chamber or that she gathers on her rare forays into the first chamber.
Once the wall painting has been restored the magical song can begin. The player who tries to play the flute falls into a trance and plays, a haunting and beautiful tune, far beyond his natural abilities. As the other PC's start to sing they too fall into a trance and sing as well as the flutist plays.
If Peg is not dead then she dies now as described above, and from the
first chamber comes a multitude of plopping sounds, as hundreds of dead
chaos frogs fall into the water and are washed away. Isig's Well is clean
once again. Any damage from the poisoned water can be healed by drinking
or bathing in the water. Even characters who died from it inside these
caverns miraculously revive if immersed in the water. Drinking or bathing
the water here at its mythic source also restores 1d6 magic points. This
effect only occurs once per character.
The Third Chamber
The PCs' main quest is accomplished. They may return now and receive the honour they deserve. If, however they want to receive Isig's promised boon they must find and kill Phloxx. He is presently located in the Third Chamber which is reached through the narrow tunnel off the shelf under the painting. If the PC's leave now he will escape. If they proceed into the chamber they find him waiting.
The third chamber is wide and high. Seated on a rock at the far end is young girl, with the green eyes and olive skin of the oasis. She looks very much like Teeka, or Peltas's dead sister. However, sprouting from her head is a pair of tiny horns. She wears a simple linen shift, and carries no weapons. Runic carvings mark the walls on either side, about half way into the cavern.
As the PCs enter she stands slowly and holds her slender arms out, palms forward. In a gentle, sad voice she says, "I am unarmed".
If the PCs rush to attack, the girl leaps behind the rocks and attempts to Hide. She begins her arguments as below. The far end of the room is protected by a Warding x2 spell; the wards are the runic carvings. When inside it, Phloxx is protected by Countermagic 2 and in crossing it, each PC takes 2d3 damage to a random hit location.
Phloxx has several chaos features, including the ability to appear harmless (hence the image of the girl). However his primary chaotic feature is the ability to charm people with his voice. The longer he talks the harder it becomes to resist him.
Each successive argument reduces the roll:
"I know that you will wish to kill me. So be it. I ask one thing only. That I be allowed to tell my story. I am unarmed and you stand between me and my freedom. Surely you can grant my last request so that my death will have some meaning."
"I too was brought here by dreams. An ancestor of my people came to me in my sleep and sent me to this place. He showed me how this was once a sacred place to my kind and how it had been defiled. He taught me the magic to cleanse it and restore the waters to their natural state."
"I had no intention of harming anyone. It has been generations since these waters ran pure and no one among my people remembers that time. I did not know that cleansing this place would cause so much harm to your people and I regret it."
"While the harm I have caused cannot be undone, you have restored the blight placed here by Isig. My efforts have been erased. I accept this. There are two wrongs here. It was wrong for your people to destroy our holy site here and drive my people away. And it was wrong for me to try to turn back time and in so doing cause such harm to innocents. I regret what I have done and wish it had not been done."
"You have heard my story and can now destroy me if you must. I thought to do good here but have erred. I swear on my ancestor's honour that I will never attempt to do such a thing again. Can't you find it in your hearts to let me live? Would you kill me just for personal gain? Please. Let me go."
If some PCs choose to attack, those failing their POW roll have been won over by the argument and will try to stop them. Such an attempt might include grappling and argument, or spells such as Befuddle, but will stop short at violent attack. During such a fracas Phloxx tries to slip past the PCs and away. He may need to butt anyone blocking his path. If he takes damage, he must make a concentration roll (INT x 3) or assume his true form.
If, at the end of his arguments, everyone is won over (and Melo Yelo refrains from attacking) Phloxx gets away. Once he is gone, characters must roll POW x 3 to shake off the influence of his honeyed words.
If Phloxx escapes he flees quickly and may be pursued eventually. If
he has a lead of 1-2 melee rounds he will be overtaken somewhere within
the caverns. If his lead is 3-5 melee rounds he will have left the caverns
and a Scan will be required to see him disappearing into the distance.
If his lead is 6 or more melee rounds then the only way to catch him would
be to track him. He heads cross country towards the Dead Place.
Broo Devotee of Primal Chaos
19-20 Head 20 10/7
Butt SR-7 (2d6+1d6) A-65%
Divine Magic: Worship Primal Chaos x1, Worship Chaos Ancestors x1, Spirit Block x6, Warding x2 (in use).
Chaos Features: Appears Harmless, 2 point skin armour (huge horns give 10AP on head), Charm Ability.
Next: Return to the Cave of Ancestors
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