In our 25th session, we continued with Chapter 4: Catacombs of the Ghul King as the characters explored the Grand Necropolis of Siwal in the Southlands. Next session, the plan is to play in person again – fingers crossed!
Here’s the write up which contains spoilers for the campaign.
27th Snowfall, 92 FY
It’s already getting hot when young Ali returns with parasols and djellabas to shield the characters from the blazing sun. The Gears declines to join the others on their expedition to meet the Gravebinders, saying he has a headache and needs to do some further repairs to Herr Biegen.
Ali guides the rest of the group through the dusty streets of Siwal towards the Anubis Gate. En route, the bolshy ravenfolk they met yesterday reappears with his gang as the party cross a small market square. As the heruti attack, their trained monkeys grab items from the adventurers and run off with them. Fortunately, Zygmunt is able to stop one getting away with his holy symbol, and Penumbra’s sickening radiance spell is effective in taking down several archers and monkeys. The last two ravenfolk surrender, handing over an eye of Horus amulet before running off.
Ali says farewell to the characters at the gate to the Grand Necropolis. Bubbles is complaining about the sun, so the party seek shade inside Mourners’ Hall. Here, they meet Ammun, an acolyte of the Gravebinders who takes them to meet Farra Hidyati. Louthin strays from the path on the way to the hall and falls into a sinkhole filled with poisonous snakes. He’s only bitten a few times before he can misty step to safety.
After Zygmunt explains the party’s mission, Farra says she will give them Anu-Akma’s Book of the Hungering Dead if they are able to find out what is causing the undead to break the laws of the Necropolis and put a stop to it. She suggests they speak to Golamesh the gravedigger and Shafiqa Siham, the Matriarch of the Sphinxes to see if they have more information.
The characters are heading towards the Sun Gate to speak to Golamesh with Zygmunt in the lead when they run into a rotting wind, an invisible creature made of foul air and grave dust, which envelops the paladin. Penumbra throws sand into the air, revealing its location long enough for the characters to destroy it.
Louthin talks to Golamesh through the closed door of his home after he refuses to come out. The troll tells them he saw a ghast near the Citizens’ Graves a few days before the undead started roaming the necropolis in the daytime.
The party return to the city and purchase goats to take to the sphinxes. When they come back to the necropolis, a sandstorm whips up out of nowhere, buffeting the characters with magical force and killing the goats. It disappears as suddenly as it arrived.
After dropping a dead goat off at Golamesh’s home, the characters head to the sphinxes’ tower. Climbing to the top, they meet Sajeel, an undead gypsosphinx left in charge by Shafiqa. Sajeel is grateful for the fresh meat the party have brought him and tells them he has observed undead coming and going around the Elia mausoleum in the Citizens’ Graves. Worse, he has felt “the pull of the Ghul King”, a great evil. Zygmunt is the only adventurer able to answer Sajeel’s riddles and is awarded the sphinx’s Death-Defying Gift. Since it is getting late in the day, the characters decide to return to the Weary Camel and come back in the morning.
The party return to the necropolis and head for the Citizens’ Graves where they are attacked by ghuls, undead creatures capable of casting elemental spells. Zygmunt and Louthin engage them in melee combat, while Bubbles sticks to the shade and casts silence to stop them using their magic. Penumbra topples one of the ghuls from the top of the 40-foot stone pillar it has conjured with a repelling blast, allowing it to be cut down by the fighters, then banishes the last one standing.
A broken tombstone marked with “Q ELIA 4” and a carving of a sand lark allows Louthin and Penumbra to find the Elia family mausoleum. They rest for a while to get ready to go inside…
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Map by Caeora