On we go to the something evil lurking around the corner! There’s a room with a stone desk, a stone chair and a stone bed. As we enter the room we hear a voice coming from the bed and suddenly a salamander pops into view. His name is Lissssssssaar and he comes from an elemental plane of fire, or something. He says we are important and strong and should be dealing with more important things than goats. I tend to agree.

salamanderBut he says it’s their leader who is killing the goats, named Drachniasssssss, and we have to go fight snakes to get to her. He wants to know if we are going to the house of the beasts. Sounds like a zoo. But he says gnolls live there and so does the carrion king. The salamander just wants to go home. I tend to agree. It’s hot in here and smells like goats.

This salamander just keeps talking and it’s really very boring, something about the five winds and — oh, he wants us to kill Thrapniassss. No. Drachniasssss. Thratniaaassssss. Prapniassss. Oh, fuck it, whatever. He offers to tell us about Pale Mountain. Now there’s more talking about goats. Tefya thinks we need to know what he can tell us so we try to trick him into telling us.

Now he’s sniffing Kiva suspiciously. She sniffs him back. I can smell him from over here – all acrid and brimstoney – so I don’t know why she’s doing that. Come to think of it I can smell Kiva, too. All dwarf-y.

He doesn’t believe that Kiva can open a portal for him so our trick isn’t going to work. He’s just going to stay here until his master Jarvul comes back. Whoever that is. I’ve got them all mixed up.

Tefya offers to kill the salamander lady in the central lava area if that’s what Lissssssaar wants instead. I have no idea where she got that idea from but, wait, is that who Fratniassssss is? Anyway she has a spear with electric powers that we should watch out for.

Now there’s talk about a magic scroll map or something in the House of Beasts. Which I guess is where we’re going anyway? And the map leads to treasure? Okay, I’m in. And in the bottom of the temple there is a stone you press to get back to this den. But it only works one way, it’s like a chimney.

So this salamander lady has a mate who we have to kill too. But we’ve already killed salamanders so no big deal. We head off.

Now Tefya is talking about the five winds, something with templars, and Tillous has pointed out that our paladin just agreed to assassinate two beings on the bidding of an evil creature. I’m a little worried especially since she is still kind of green slimy but she’s persuasive. We’re going to check the salamander lady out first anyway.

Phew, it stinks like sulfur here. There’s fire coming out of holes in the wall and there are two snakes sticking their heads of out the same holes. Augh here they come!

We react, and I shoot one of the snakes in its little tiny head. Nobody else is having much luck and here come more snakes. Augh!

OH SHIT THE LITTLE BUGGER BIT ME ON THE LEG!

Kiva and Tillous have got most of them over there so Tefya and I are trying to finish this one off. She gives it a huge smack and it’s just snake guts now. I shoot through Tillous’ legs at the nearest one and hit it – of course. Nice bit of shooting there if I say so myself.

Tefya just dropped Tempest on the floor and is just sort of standing there frozen. Did she suddenly turn out to be scared of snakes? Everyone else is just sort of flailing at the snakes, I don’t know, maybe their year off didn’t do them any good. At least I practiced!

I poke Tefya in the shoulder and she just falls over. What… the… I don’t even know. I shoot that snake again and it splatters Tillous’s trousers. Two down.

Three down! Tefya is still on the floor and the others are still flailing. I dunno what’s up. Maybe they had something bad for breakfast. Oh, there! Kiva finally maced the one right next to Tefya’s face. That startles me so much I miss my shot. Oops.

I make up for it and my next shot flings the snake against the wall where it bounces off onto Tefya’s head, but it’s already dead so no harm done. It takes Tefya about half a minute to wake up and boy, is she pissed.

While Tefya’s ranting about whatever, Kiva is doing something weird with the snakes, kind of bonking vials against their teeth. I may have chosen the wrong party to adventure with. At least Tillous is cool.

The next passageway is really warm and steamy, it opens up into a room with boiling mud puddles on the floor. That’s… really not something anyone needs. OH CRAP MORE SNAKES. They storm us!

We get into defensive positions, but my gun misfires, what kind of luck is that, but I clear it up and shoot again. It’s so steamy in the room that I have a hard time seeing what everyone else is doing. I hear Tefya screeching, but I don’t know what happened. Kiva is right next to me and she is doing some sort of fancy spin which does nothing to cure her inability to hit things today.

This is not a problem I have: the snake closest to me is dead. Tefya is still yelping. I move forward until I can see the snake next to her – I don’t know what her problem is – and I shoot it dead.

It seems like the other snakes were killed, I’m not sure by whom, and we hurry out before more can appear though Kiva stays behind to milk the snakes, which I don’t want to think about much at all. Unfortunately the next cavern is enormous and full of lava so I immediately have something else to think about anyway.

There are islands in the lava and a statue to the south. We have to jump between the islands to get anywhere. Given Tefya’s jumping record, Kiva decides to levitate her. We tie a rope to her ankle and toss it to Tillous and off we go! First we go to the solid land to the north, but as we’re jumping we see two salamanders rise out of the pool.

I wave to them and they swim towards us. I call out “Hello, Frapnis! — Sorry, Frapnissssssss!” She replies that she’s going to kill me so I go to shoot her but my gun misfires again! She swims out of the lava and slithers straight towards me. Her mate follows and now they’re positioned on either side of me. The party moves in to attack but I don’t have a lot of confidence in them today….

Kiva manages to tap her shoulder with the mace and it distracts her slightly while I shoot her, but the bullet goes through her with no obvious effect. She strikes at me and I forgot about that electric spear and holy shit I think she burnt my arm off!

Tefya does some paladin stuff and I feel somewhat better. Tillous does some slicing and dicing while Kiva spins uselessly again, I would smack her if my arm felt better. My next bullet does just as little damage and I step back, unfortunately she’s right after me, she is hissing angrily and misses as she swipes at me. Her mate tries the same thing and whew, he misses too.

A mighty smack from Tefya sends her mate slamming to the floor into death! Okay, she just jumped into the first position on my list of favorites. I think that’s fair. Kiva drinks something down and she starts bulking up with muscles and I think she just drooled a little. I duck down behind her since my bullets are doing nothing. Flapnisssss goes for Tefya – finally! – and I breathe a sigh of relief.

Tillous is flanking with Tefya and takes the opportunity to skewer her like a lamb sandwich. Slice! Dice! Slice! Then I hear “KIVA SMASH!” and the wee dwarf maces her in the what would be a knee though it has little effect. We seem to have Clapniss on the run now as she flails at Tefya then Tillous without hitting anything. Tefya disembowels her with a frosty Tempest and she screams as she slumps to the floor.

We collect the electric spear and I inspect the lava. There’s that metal statue on the other side so I take off my armor and start to hop across the islands. The statue is snakelike with a female torso. A very big female torso. This is a really big statue. I mean, its attributes are large. The important parts. Come on, you know what I mean. There’s a big, engraved bronze disc that I pick up and look at – it’s got gnoll writing all over it and a map on it. I can recognize this cave and there are directions from the cave to some big building.

I yell to the party whether I should pull the lever, they don’t understand but Tillous comes over with me and we decide to do it. A door opens to the south. There’s a room with alcoves, flanked by icons of jackals and humanoids snakes, the air is very thick and there seems to be a form in it. We back out and pull the lever to close the door again. I study the amazing artwork that is this statue while Tillous fetches the others.

Tefya has borrowed Kiva’s boots so she scurries over the walls to me, though Kiva has to jump and doesn’t seem to be as dextrous as usual. I point them to the lever and Kiva pulls it….

The misty object is clearer now, it has red eyes and claws, it’s floating, and Tillous moves towards it and takes a swing at it. So does Kiva – and the mace goes through it. This is going to be hard to beat with actual weapons especially since the creature turns into smoke with eyes and drifts onto Kiva. She breathes it in. It’s… gone. Oh, yuck. Tefya reaches over to her and tries to drive it out with prayer or whatever, nothing happens so I go to punch her in the stomach. The thing doesn’t reappear.

Kiva manages to cough it out and we go back to trying to smack it. I shoot it in the wing and it does actually appear injured so it wasn’t a waste of a bullet. I make sure there’s a wall behind it in case it turns into smoke again. Which it does – and goes into Kiva again – and I punch her in the stomach and see if she can cough it out again. Which she does. The thing attacks Tillous with claws and biting… I’m not entirely sure it has a mouth, but it looks like it’s biting.

I shoot and get a really great hit in, disgusting gross blood flies everywhere, but unbelievably it’s still in the air and now it’s looking at me so I duck behind Kiva. Tillous makes a quick double slice and the creature plops to the ground, no longer looking smoky.

We have a look into the alcoves, which thankfully are not filled with more of the weird creatures. There is stuff covered in rotten linen, like gemstones and things made out of human skulls and rams’ horns. In a corner niche there’s a necklace made of jet and a petrified monkey hand and a couple black beads.

We head back over, but Kiva is really having trouble making the jumps this time, she dips her heels a couple of times but no lasting damage done. Tefya uses the spider climb boots again then gives them back. I still can’t believe she wouldn’t let me borrow them to climb up to that status’s nipples.

Oh well, up the stairs and back to Lissssssaar.

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