After another two days on the Vanji River, the boat finally arrived at Fort Thunder, a large trading post surrounded by a high wood palisade. The smell of smoke could be detected some miles before the fort came in to view, due to wood sconces that burned some type of plant powder that kept the hordes of insects at bay. The town guard were friendly enough, and Jacob the Inn keeper welcomed the band. After a minor bit of chicken-coop cleaning (i.e. Poultry-Geists).
The party landed friendship with a local shaman (who warned them of evil adventurers) as well as Fabius the Sage (Professor of Jungle Tribes/Artifacts/Lord and Geography, Esquire). He produced a copy of half a map, stating the lower was stolen by thieves, that reputed to show the location of the Elephant’s Graveyard. After procuring canoes, supplies and producing potions, the stalwart band trekked overland to the Tiger River, and took it down the rapids, eventually reaching a large lake.
Where the river exited into the lake, the company discovered and battled the evil adventures that were hired by our group’s employer’s son. It almost ended in disaster, the Alchemist succumbing to a Charm Person spell as the evil band attacked. But eventually the group rallied and slew the evil mage and one of the twins, a male rogue. After learning they group had abandoned the son at the mouth of a tunnel, the Paladin insisted the survivors be released. The group found the lower half of the map as well…There was some confrontation between the Paladin and the blood hungry sorcerer, but they agreed to disagree.
Passing safely around a family of Hippo, the group debarked and hid their canoes, trekking on foot toward a steam-spewing volcano. Indeed, a passage was found that led into the lost valley, many elephant tracks being evident. Large stone elephant-men statues ringed the opening.
After a long journey through the tunnel, the group exited into a lush hidden valley, where acre upon acre of elephant tusks and bones littered the valley floor. While gazing at the serene beauty of the high cliff-ed walls, all but the sage suddenly dropped their gear and waddled over to a large plant that held large chambers; mesmerized by the pollen, they climbed in (to the wizard’s amusement), and were badly burnt by acid, many of their items melting away…
The Sorcerer burned the plant eventually, and with an extra day camped here in the tunnel mouth, the Druid used mending as best she could, fixing much of the damage. Later the next day, the druid changed into a hawk and reconnoitered the vale. She discovered a large colony of giant vultures (avoided!) and found that beyond the bone fields were very old village ruins. One structure, a large marble temple, still stood near a small lake. Near this lake was a large cave, and the half eaten remains of an Elephant (one that had clearly been DRAGGED a considerable distance through the bone pile) could be seen at the entrance. Bird tracks of enormous size could be seen in the mud here.
The party made their way to the temple, finding it surrounded by elephant statue-capped obelisks. A lone man’s tracks led inside its courtyard gates. Within the gates, the party encountered a very large band of Banderlogs, ape-like animals of fairly high intelligence.
The retch-plant wielding beasts were appeased when the druid assumed ape form and spoke with them. Passing into the confines of the ancient temple, the party did battle (well, slaughtered) unusually resistant skeletons, found several choice magic items and evidence of many skeletons crushed by a heavy object. A trap-laden room with a golden elephant idol was (for the most part) survived…
And then the Paladin opened her last door…the room she gazed on continue dread yellow musk creepers…their pollen mesmerized her and she entered the room…once within reach, their ghastly vines entered her mouth and nostrils, quickly draining the contents of her brain. The alchemist gallantly attempted to rescue her, but she easily shrugged off even his strong grip….eyes rolling up in her head, the paladins personality was consumed completely…
Mourning her loss, the group none the less wasted little time crushing her skull, to ensure she did not rise as a plant zombie slave to the insidious flora. A few rooms later, the alchemist was nearly devoured by a massive (but young) giant anaconda…the beast being chased away by a flaming sphere and burning hands spells.
HERE ENDS SESSION #11