Onka: We push the iron golems, they slide into the lava, and they’re not a problem anymore.
Zenobia: Until they climb back out now glowing with a red heat.
Zenobia: Note for the future - don’t be on this level when we crash the pyramid.
Zenobia: Asrian wait - even if we free these slaves, how do we get them past the lava?
Asrian: We fly them out, swiftly.
Zenobia: … Good point.
Onka: We’re going to leave them outside?
Zenobia: With the giant scorpions?
Nemat: One problem at a time!
Onka: I hope this isn’t another one of those ‘screw with good people’ traps because those are starting to s*** me.
Nemat: They’re all dead.
Zenobia: *looking down at the one I’m trying to feed water to* But we were only in here two minutes!
Asrian OoC: They’re all dead, Dave.
And another trap requires a depth of knowledge about ancient artificers guilds.
Zenobia OoC: Who would have guessed that watching so many episodes of Antiques Roadshow would be useful.
Asrian has to disable room after room of traps.
Asrian: I’m good, I’m good.
Zenobia: As far as I’m concerned you’re perfect.
GM: Just give me a moment to grab some popcorn.
Nemat OoC: Well THAT doesn’t bode well.
The inhabitant of the next room is a bit surprised to see us - possibly because the room was well-hidden, but more likely because we came through the wall. Whoever employed him to sit around here presumably paid for some kind of fire resistance as well, since the floor in here is also lava.
On the other hand, he also has a lot of friends.
Zenobia: So, are we negotiating with these ones?
Imhetef: Finally, after all these centuries, FRESH BLOOD!
Nemat: Yeah, there was never going to be any talking with this guy.
It also looks like this guy was an Inquisitor once, which is guaranteed to irritate our version. He starts walking towards us - on molten lava.
Onka: That must be some amazing Fire Resistance.
GM: No, just some very good shoes.
Fortunately Asrian shakes off the compulsion to walk forward into the lava.
Zenobia OoC: Asrian isn’t into Domination.
Asrian OoC: Asrian is a top.
She then casts Dispel Magic on Imhetef’s boots. He looks briefly surprised, before sinking into molten rock with all his protections suddenly removed. And when he turns into a swarm of bats, they promptly fry as well. Zenobia adds insult to injury by Channelling Positive Energy, which his Channel Resistance completely fails to stop. And then he sinks deeper into the lava.
GM: There are now crispy-fried bats floating on the lava. Why did I have him walk across???
Onka OoC: He knew the slippers worked. Until suddenly they didn’t.
Zenobia OoC: He was overconfident. And then he was on fire. And then he was dead.
And then it’s time to hole up, patch a few minor wounds, level up, and send Onka out shopping with teleport and to fabricate more magical items in his Hyperbolic Time Chamber. It helps that Nemat has been carefully collecting the remains of all of the undead we’ve been killing over the last few months - the undead dust will be a useful ingredient in arrows of greater undead slaying. A few crossbow bolts designed to destroy constructs will also be handy - Hakotep is quite fond of constructs. Zenobia can help with some of the spellcasting Onka needs.
Onka: Bring a book.
Zenobia: Certainly. It’ll be the Book of Sarenrae.
Onka: And sandwiches. Don’t forget sandwiches - this is going to take a while.
Unfortunately, the controller of the Earth level is a Div known as Kaahbek, Sedeb Ianew, Eater of Woe.
Asrian: Tell, me, how would you say ‘Eater of Feces’ in Ancient Osiriani?
Nemat: Please don’t.
Asrian: I’m not going to say it to the magic door, I’m going to say it to his face.
Zenobia: Look on the bright side, maybe you’ll get to say it to him as often as we need to chant it here.
Nemat: Actually, if I chant Kaahbek and you chant Eater of Feces that fulfils the door requirements and satisfies us at the same time.
Unfortunately knowing how to pronounce his names and titles helps us not at all once we’re actually inside the Div’s domain, although it does help us translate the boasting of some long-dead alchemist. Of course, being the kind of party that just rushes in would be much worse, and probably fatal.
Asrian OoC: Whereas WE are archeologists.
I mean, a team of professionals like ourselves is less likely to stroll up to a mysterious barrier, and see if it’s edible. It’s not often we get to meet the craftsmen that created the tomb chambers either, such as the pair currently arguing about who is the better painter.
Zenobia: Shall we ask if they want a third opinion?
Craftman: *Looking up* You aren’t authorised to be in this area! You invite a taste of the whip!
Nemat: Excuse me for asking an odd question, but what year is it? I think we’ve encountered some strange magic.
They call for their boss, who doesn’t seem to be the kind of guy that will be earning any workplace awards any time soon.
Hussef Daat: Shirking your duties again! *kicks a painter* And what of this lot? Do you require encouragement to labour? Kneel, and submit!
Zenobia: I have an alternative suggestion - take yourself to the summit of this pyramid, emplace yourself thereon, and swivel.
Zenobia expresses her concerns about the workplace conditions by casting Holy Smite on Daat and his Barbed Devil associates, and roasts and blinds both.
Nemat: That will hit Asrian too.
Zenobia: Yes, but it only harms the evil, and Asrian is good. In fact, she’s excellent.
Asrian: That might change what Daat does next.
Zenobia: Will he need help getting to the top of the pyramid?
Unfortunately his retaliatory Fireball kills his employees.
Zenobia OoC: What a pity they didn’t have protection against unfair incineration.
Further along we can hear the cheers of a crowd - and gladiatorial combat arenas were hardly unique to the ancient Romans. Admittedly the Romans didn’t have huge golems in their arenas. It’s also rather odd that the three people that are about to be smashed by the golems are the same three craftsmen we saw in the previous chamber, before they got toasted. Just as well Onka can assume control of one of the large constructs, Nemat can catch the last in Chains of Light, and Zenobia can get the attention of one of the more unpleasant ones before it eats the slaves
Mentu-Nebef: What is the meaning of this! Who dares interrupt the punishment of these slaves?
Zenobia: *sigh* Our names would mean little to you. However, I must say this - my training in the worship of Sarenrae has taught me much of patience, and of forgiveness of the failings of others. But for the last month I have watched people I care about putting themselves in more and more danger, and your master endangers my adopted country, and I have a wedding to plan. So you will sit down, and you will shut up, or I, personally, will jam this sword up your dick.
Of course, that will take about 3 rounds to say, so it’s possible Zenobia’s monologue will be interrupted by exploding golems. At least she’ll have a nice backdrop for her threat.
Nemat: *hums the 1812 Overture*
The golem Onka is puppeting is doing an AMAZING number of Critical Hits.
Zenobia: That must be a very well-constructed golem.
GM: Perhaps you can keep it after the fight.
Onka: It won’t fit through the doors (and I’ve been thinking about it).
Nemat: Besides, we were going to make our own by splitting off parts of our souls.
Zenobia OoC: Look how well that worked for Voldemort.
Mentu-Nebef: ENOUGH! *tearing the cartouche amulet from around his neck and throwing it to the ground in front of Zenobia* There! You have earned your passage! Now return to whatever hole you crawled from!
Nemat: OBVIOUSLY he’s referring to the secret tunnel in the floor we used to get into this level.
Zenobia: OOOOH, I just assumed the ‘hole you crawled from’ was a personal insult.
The next few chambers are variously suspiciously nice or just wildly suspicious. Once again, our skill as archeologists and professional mantra of ‘identify and record everything before you touch anything’ proves invaluable. The next person we encounter appears to be a horribly burned priestess, who claims she was enslaved by the Sky Pharoah after he banned the worship of Osiris.
Zenobia: That DOES sound like something he would do.
Of course she’s lying, as Nemat can easily tell.
Nemat: Here’s a hint - Don’t lie to an Inquisitor.
Zenobia: Well we don’t know WHY she’s lying, she might just be embarrassed. *turns back to the ‘Priestess’* You can tell us the truth, you know, we might be surprisingly understanding.
Asrian: Darling I love you but sometimes you’re too trusting for your own good.
The Priestess reveals her true form.
Nemat OoC: Apparently somebody decided Ursula the Sea-witch was too fat and not ethnic enough.
Nemat gets rid of her with his first spell.
Nemat: I am so done with all this - I just want to find the Sky Pharaoh and apply the beating.
Onka: No no, he belongs in a museum.
Nemat: He belongs in the ground - there’s at least 3 gods that want a word with him.
We sabotage another flying pyramid control system, and trash more of the Sky-Pharoah’s fleet.
Zenobia: I’m just amazed the Pharoah hasn’t taken more of an interest - he MUST know we’re in here by now. We’ve even been taking time for naps.
The last level of the pyramid is presumably going to be water-themed. Just as well we know the spell Life Bubble, which would protect us against being underwater, extremes of temperature, pressure, and poisonous gases.
Zenobia OoC: Ideal if we ever wanted to make a field trip to a Black Smoker.
To get in the last crypt we need to slake the thirst of the resident demon. Onka recalls that blood is a suitable libation. But we don’t have any bottles of manticore blood or random animal corpses left.
Asrian: *sighs and rolls up her sleeve*
Onka: I just heard an unhappy gnoll noise and I don’t like it.
Zenobia: I used to be a butcher and now I’m a healer - I can cut somewhere safe!
Asrian: That’s why I’m handing you the knife.
Nemat: Hold on, I’ve got some Unholy Water at the bottom of this backpack.
Onka: Oh right, you can use that instead of blood.
The Rest of the Party: *give Onka A Look*
The crypt is all canals, complete with creepy funeral barges, with even more creepy ferrymen.
Zenobia: At least I don’t need to use the Collapsible Bathtub as a raft.
Nemat: I still have this Swan Boat token.
Asrian: And we still have Overland Flight.
Onka: And Life Bubble - we could just walk on the bottom of the canal.
We decide to pay the psychopomps anyway, and pile into two of the boats.
Onka: And the lovebirds in the other boat? Hey, we could have had Asrian and Zenobia in the Swan Boat.
Nemat: I’ll let them use it for the wedding
It’s entirely too easy to find the control pyramid, although it’s embedded in ice. Alarm bells are ringing - metaphorically, inside our heads. There’s apparently still no response to our rampage through the rest of the pyramid. We assume that this one has to be a fake and go looking for the real thing. Maybe it’s in the room commemorating the Pharoah’s sister-in-law, who was fed to crocodiles after attempting a coup.
Zenobia: What a charming family.
Although we have a suspicion that ‘fed to the crocodiles’ might mean ‘sealed inside this crocodile statue’. The Banshee and her handmaidens are a more immediate concern, especially since the former nearly kills Zenobia with her screech, and the latter seem inordinately eager to get inside the party members.
Nemat OoC: Well, you do hear a lot of rumours about the nobility and their handservants.