Saturday, June 24, 2017

Spider Farm (1 of 2)

Jaroo asked Wolfbang and his friend Chrono, another initiate to take a trip to the southlands and to the Buiyab forest. This was a region known for enormous spiders, spiders that discouraged human settlement near the forest and thus allowed the wilderness to remain wild. Unfortunately (from a druidic perspective) there was a man who seemed likely to significantly alter the natural order. This man was attempting to domesticate the giant spiders, and had achieved considerable success in his unnatural endeavor, having quickly established a “farm.” Wolfgang and Chrono were to investigate and find a non-lethal way to encourage the spider farmer to find another way to make a living.

Traveling with their animal companions, Wolfgang and Chrono enjoyed their journey to the southlands and located the spider farm. They instructed the animals to remain in the woods while they approached the farm as labor-seeking travelers.

As they entered the compound, they saw other laborers struggling to drag a goat to what turned out to be the spider pen—a large trench in the ground covered with a thick lattice and with a gate at each end. The laborers were not welcoming to the newcomers, so Wolfbang and Chrono sought out the low building where they found the owner of the farm, a man named Ulayah. He was a confident and enthusiastic man, eager to dispel the arachnophobia he presumed in his visitors. Wolfbang and Chrono surprised him by asserting that they knew spiders to be as intelligent as humans, claiming to have come from another land across the sea where they had learned the spiders’ language. Ulayah was visibly torn by competing desires to dismiss and embrace these outlandish claims, but his daughter Heri, who seemed more enchanted by these men from “across the sea” than anything they knew about spiders, prevailed upon her father that they should be invited to stay for a meal and to demonstrate their abilities.

On their way to Ulayah’s living quarters, they passed the spiders’ trench where the laborers were still struggling with a goat. Wolfbang and Chrono, reluctant to use their druidic powers to befriend an animal they intended to feed to spiders, tried to wrestle the goat to the ground. While unsuccessful, their embarrassment seemed to give the laborers’ new zeal for the task. One seized the goat in both arms while the other flung open the gate. The goat was cast into the pit and the gate closed. The terrified bleating was soon silenced and all except Ulayah shivered at the successive clicking and sucking sounds of the feeding spiders. Wolfbang found that, with his druid magic, he could indeed talk to one of the spiders. It was still hungry and wanted more food. Ulayah looked particularly juicy, though the “fat sweet one” (presumably Heri) would also suit him. Chrono relayed this to Ulayah who shrugged cavalierly. “Of course, that’s why we keep them in the cages.”

Lunch, in a room festooned with all colors of silk, was agreeably bland and consisted mainly of fried vegetables. Ulayah quizzed the newcomers about their knowledge of spiders, and having satisfied himself that he knew more than them, offered them work. Wolfbang was eager to accept, but Chrono answered with cryptic insults that soon became not very cryptic. “Perhaps you’re tired,” Ulayah suggested, offering them his guest room. Wolfbang and Chrono slept until night. Wolfbang, thinking that his associate might forget the “non-lethal” part of Jaroo’s instructions, suggested that they slip away into the forest and return to Hommelet.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Sakatha DEAD! (For real this time)



Bewildered by the undead lizardwoman’s powers and concerned about what it had to tell them about Sakatha’s continued existence, Beatriss and Tetsukichi sought out a quiet place to discuss what they’d experienced, rest, and call on advice from a higher power. On their way back to the upper level of the pyramid, a swarm of bats swooped down on them screeching and scratching. The party followed the bats back to Sakatha’s throne room. Sakatha’s queen was there, but before Ju-Mei could raise his holy symbol, the bats descended on him a special vengeance. The lizardwoman charged at Naron, grabbed him with her claws and sunk her fangs deep into his neck. As Naron started to slip out of consciousness, his companions crowded around with their best weapons. They drove the blood-sucking fiend away from Naron, knocked her down and cut her to pieces. Again, she turned to a gas and the bats dispersed.

With the lizard queen(?) dead, the throne room itself became a seemingly quiet and safe enough place to rest. Ju-Mei and Erlo tended to the wounded. Naron had suffered a strange wound. She had taken something from him that he wouldn’t get back easily. Nevertheless, he was resolved to help Beatriss and the others to destroy Sakatha and his consort.

As Ju-Mei prepared to meditate, Beatriss and Tetsukich discussed what exactly they wanted to know. Was Sakatha gone? Would Sakatha return? Would the Sansar clan now have peace? The answer came from a lower power. A section of the wall slid open and Sakatha himself stepped out. Beatriss ordered the weaker member of the party to the back of the room, but Sakatha summoned a huge billowing cloud of noxious green smoke, cutting off the exits, and forcing the entire party to within striking distance. “Where is my crown?” he demanded, looking them over. Beatriss stepped in front of him, drawing her sword. He seized her and bit her, just as the queen had done to Naron. But even as he began to suck out her blood, Beatriss, drove her sword into his gut, holding him fast. Tetsukichi, Al-Fitar, and Naron surrounded him, stabbing and slashing him on all sides. Raking his claws down Beatriss’s arm, he forced her to drop her sword and turned to face a new opponent. He leapt on Al-Fitar, knocking the powerful warrior to the ground, but didn’t manage to find his way past his sword. Al-Fitar held the blade in front of his neck and forced it lengthwise across the lizard king’s mouth. Betriss and Tetsukichi attacked from the other sides and with a rain of blows, forced the monster back into gaseous form. They entered the secret room and found another coffin. Opening it, they watched Saktha’s wounded body reforming on the fetid mud inside

.

Suddenly, Ju-Mei knew exactly what to do, and Beatriss followed his instructions. On an ordinary sword, Ju-Mei wrote Sakatha’s name using ink made from dragon’s blood. With this sword, Beatriss cut off the lizard king’s head. Into his mouth she poured holy water and specially-blessed cake. The flesh rotted and shrunk from Sakatha’s skull and then the skull split in two. Likewise, his body disintegrated.




Using a similar procedure, the party went to the queen’s burial chamber and permanently destroyed her. They returned to the throne room once more and discussed whether there was anything else left to do. Bangqiu and Kafka returned to report that, upstairs, water was seeping in under the door. Beatriss wanted to leave, but Bangqiu remember something in a song about Sakatha’s ring and wanted to find it. He asked Naron and Beatriss and some others to take any rings belonging to party members and guard them in another room. With a series of spells, he determined that there was another closer ring behind the throne. Summoning once again the party’s strongest warrirors, Bangqiu asked for the throne to be moved. Still his magic told him that the ring was very close and not in the the throne but in the wall behind. Erlo used his own powers to locate and open the magically-hidden door, and behind it the party found Saktha’s secret treasury: a pile of ancient coins, each much larger and heavier than an imperial tael, and made of gold instead of silver. There was a box filled silk packets containing silvery dust. There was a book of spells. And there was a ring. Bangqiu claimed the book and the ring, while the others filled their backpacks with gold coins.




By the time the party was ready to leave the pyramid, water was flowing down the stairs. Upstairs, the food in the feasting room was rotten and the magical servants were nowhere to be seen. Erlo opened the bronze doors and a small wave of swamp water rushed in , splashing them up to the waist. Outside the pyramid, it was muddy, and the water was ankle-deep. There was a crack in the roof of the cavern; lizardmen were happily cavorting in the water and sunshine. The undead mob were nowhere to be seen. The dry streambed was filling with real water. The acid pools were still there. Ow! The party made their way up the stairs, avoiding the fifth step from the top.






On their way through the former lair of the brigands, there was a surprising and surprisingly cordial reunion between Won Ton and his old friends Shu and Ta-Mi! Visibly relieved about the death of Feng-Bi and sobered by the death of Sick Boy, Won Ton started to apologize about “you know, the silver chi’en” until he noticed the gold bulging from the others’ backpacks. And there is no need to tell anything else about this adventure except that the heroes returned to the main camp of the Sansar clan for feasting and celebration!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Sakatha dead?? NOT CLICKBAIT

The throne room was large and nearly empty, with frescoes in the familiar, violent style and at the far end of the hall, a massive throne and a stone table. On the table was an oblong box of reeds and pitch, about nine feet long. Inside the box was Sakatha, an eight-foot tall, massively-built lizardman with long fangs, wearing a crown and gripping a trident. The heroes took a moment to plan their attack—Beatriss, Tetsukichi, Al-Fitar, Naron, Kafka, and the two sohei all surrounded the box, holding the weapons specially-prepared by Kafka. Ju-Mei said a brief chant and at one moment, all the warriors struck their target. The blessed weapons cut Sakatha’s body and it immediately transformed into a green gas that rose into the gloom of the top of the hall and then vanished. 

Bangqiu discussed with Kafka who should claim the trident and who should claim the crown while Beatriss and Tetsukichi discussed whether Sakatha was really gone. 

Beatriss and Tetsukichi, together with their henchpeople, decided to explore elsewhere, while Bangqiu and co. went to guard against any attack from the temple area or the “feast hall” above.

Immediately off the throne room, Beatriss and Tetsukichi discovered a library filled with sinister-looking books. They were glad that Bangqiu was not with them to be tempted. 

Next, they found a circular burial chamber, smelling of swamp rot and death, containing five of the reed-and-pitch coffins—noticeably smaller than the one in the throne room. As Ju-Mei began to chant a prayer of protection, one of the coffins opened and a lizardwoman sprang out, leaping onto Naron with her fangs bared. Ju-Mei sprang forward with his holy symbol and the foul monster turned into a gas. Beatriss was able to track the cloud as it flowed out of the burial chamber and toward the throne room. By the time the party reached the throne room, they found the lizardwoman again in corporeal form, wailing over Sakatha’s empty coffin. “What have you done to my king?” Ju-Mei answered with his holy symbol and again she turned into gas and vanished.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Tomb of the Lizard King: Inside the Pyramid, Beatriss has another brush with death


The party walked down along the dry riverbed until they reached the wall of the cavern. Now that the illusion of the river had been dispelled, this proved to be only about 100 feet away. The burial mounds were still within sight and as the party passed by, they noticed signs that something was stirring within—cracks appearing in the hard-baked clay, clods of dirt rolling off. As the party reached the bronze doors of the pyramid, they began to see blackened fists breaking through, and red-eyed heads popping out of their graves. Erlo and Ju-Mei called upon their diverse understandings of the divine good to send the wights back into their graves, while the rest of the group studied the doors. They were 20-feet tall, and remarkably well-crafted, and still disturbing in their depictions of Sakatha’s domination over humankind, despite the fact that these hardy adventurers had already seen similar artwork throughout the tomb. The problem of opening them was not immediately solvable. The doors had no visible lock or even handle, and could not be pried open. Beyond the mechanical problem—the double doors had only the narrowest seam between them, too small for any type to tool that might pry them open— Bangqiu surmised that they were magically closed. His associate Erlo knew a spell for opening locked doors, but would need some time to prepare it. Meanwhile, over a dozen wights had broken out of their mounds and although they recoiled from the sight of a boldly-raised holy symbol, it seemed only a matter of time before one Erlo and Ju-Mei let one slip by unnoticed, and that could quickly lead to catastrophe.

The party moved around the pyramid, Erlo and Ju-Mei, bringing up the rear. On the other side of the pyramid, they saw several bonfires on the slopes of the cavern, with figures gathered around. These did not seem to be undead, but-- by their natural movements and long, thick tails-- living, breathing lizardmen.

Tetsukichi suggested they could evade the lizardfolk and find their own safe place on another side of the cavern, far from both the wights and the lizrdfolk. This, they did. A low narrow hole, opened into a sizeable cave-within-the-cave where, with a couple sohei on guard, the rest of the party could rest and plan. There were tree roots hanging down from the ceiling of the cave and the party found it reassuring to know they couldn’t be too far from the surface. These roots also reacted similarly to the party’s presence or at least their light sources—the roots sprouted buds and flowers and murmured deeply and softly. This murmuring reminded everyone of the comforting trees of their camp and also of those tree’s warning that the y must tarry. After an hour or so, the party returned to the pyramid. Erlo recited his spell and the doors opened. The party entered the pyramid and as the wights, now assembled in a semi-organized mob, charged, the doors closed. Howling and gnashing of teeth.

From the entryway, there were three doors.


Beatriss led the way toward the middle door, which seemed to lead toward the heart of pyramid.  As she touched the door, she heard an oddly-familiar voice and felt a sharp pain on her neck.  A spear shot out from the wall and hit her on the neck—at the exact place where O-me-sa had bit her and left his scar. The spear bounced off. “Good bye, Beatriss,” the voice said. Other party members were also struck by spears that had shot out of the walls, but thanks to luck, preparation, or some other unknown protection, these spears were repelled by armor. The spears were coated with a sticky green substance. Beatriss shivered and touched her neck to be sure she hadn’t been wounded. Her skin was whole. Even the scar was gone.

The door opened into a grand hall where a large table offered a sumptuous feast.—all kinds of food and wine, and all apparently fit for human consumption. The walls were painted with uncharacteristically light-hearted frescoes of lizard men frolicking feasting. Within moments, several of these lizardfolk stepped out of the frescoes and invited the visitors to feast. Beatriss was extremely skeptical. The lizardfolk were courteous and dismissed her questions, instead repeating their invitation. Bangqiu and Tetsukichi restrained Shu. Al-Fitar and Naron located a trapdoor, and the party lowered themselves into a tunnel beneath the pyramid. The lizardfolk bid them farewell and asked them to return and feast another time.

Exploring the tunnels beneath the pyramid the party stumbled upon a darker celebration—about a dozen lizardmen and three human priests gathered around a blood-stained altar. Seizing moment, Erlo unleashed a ball of fire on the unholy assembly, incinerating the reptilian worshippers. The human worshippers, on the other hand, responded with their own magic. Beatriss dropped her sword and was put to flight and two of the party’s warriors were transfixed. Tetsukichi identiefied the leader and charged him with sword drawn. Bangqiu blasted the others with his magic. By the time Beatriss returned, shrugging off her sudden bout of cowardice, all the enemies had been killed.

A secret door behind the altar provided access to more tunnels, one of which led to Sakatha’s throne room.

Monday, May 1, 2017

Tomb of the Lizard King: Door you cannot find, stairs you cannot find, and the river of nothingness

The party returned to camp, planning to rest a couple days until Beatriss was strong enough to make the journey out of the swamp. Their plans changed the following night when they were attacked by scores of lizard men.  Those not on guard were awakened by the sounds of the attackers howling as they splashed through the swamp.  Those on watch saw the reptilian eyes approaching from all sides.  But as the scaled fiends charged into the clearing, the surrounding trees came to life, defending the party with branches and vines, beating off their attackers. 

The trees reassured the party, in deep murmuring voices that they were safe, for now, but that Sakatha was still alive and his power getting stronger.  The heroes decided that they would remain in the swamp, nurse Beatriss back to health in the camp and then return to the tomb and find Sakatha. 

Their new acquaintances Tami and Shu showed that they planned to stay, and also to return with the party to the tomb.  “We still need to get Won Ton and the money he took from us.”  The newcomers did little to earn their welcome.  Tami was very proud of his swordsmanship and practiced for hours, but the more experienced warriors saw limited skill behind the flash.  Shu, on the other hand, seemed to go out of his way to demonstrate his incompetence.  After being reminded too many times of the hazards of collecting firewood from living trees, he was ordered to lie in a hammock where he showed his talent for opium smoking.  Neverthless, Bangqiu took a liking to Shu and Beatriss tolerated Ta-Mi.

When the party returned to the temple two weeks later, they were much better prepared.  They encountered one troll in the antechamber.  Erlo ensnared it in a magical web and the rest of the party killed it with slings and arrows.  In the second room behind the shell curtain, they found the second troll still wrestling with the weird water snake. Bangqiu remember the trapdoor in the floor and Naron opened it, permitting the party entrance to the lower level where they’d fought the bandits and evil priests.

The company:

Beatriss, level 9 warrior with her associates:
                 Naron, level 7 warrior
                 Ju-Mei, level 7 cleric 
                Ta-Mi, level 4 bushi
Tetsukichi, level 8 bushi with his associates:
                 Al-Fitar, level 8 warrior
                 Mustapha, level 7 illusionist 
Bangqiu, level 6 Wu-Jen
                 Erlo, level 5 shaman
                 Kafka, level 6 sohei, with his own retinue of 17 sohei initiates, two of whom accompanied the party in the tomb while the others were charged with maintaining the camp. 
                Shu, level 3 bushi

Thanks to Beatriss’s excellent map, the party traveled quickly to the disgusting demonic altar and the passages behind it where they expected to find a secret door.  While they were searching, a fearsome group of undead burst out from under the floor.  They looked like long-dead human bodies, animated by a powerful negative energy, and they moved surprisingly quickly.  Erlo and Ju-Mei raised their holy symbols and forced the wights to retreat back under the floor. Bangqiu followed them and watched their flight down a steep metal staircase.  He noted in particular, that they avoided stepping on a particular step.  All eight of the monsters stepped over it.

After a brief conference, the party decided that all they needed to know was that the “bad step” was probably bad and that no one should step on it.  Beatriss and Tami carried Shu just in case.

At the bottom of the very long flight of stairs, the party found a pit of fire with a ledge around it.  Moving cautiously, they had little trouble moving around it, and emerged on the edge of an expansive and barren underground landscape.  At the edge of their torchlight, they could see a river.  It was wide enough that even when they approached more closely, they couldn’t see the other side.

They walked downstream some distance without seeing an end.  Looking back, they saw a large raft they hadn’t seen before.  It looked large enough to carry the entire party.  Bangqiu was cautious and objected that the raft might take them somewhere they didn’t want to go.  Beatriss allowed that it was magical, but argued that there were powers that understood that they were heroes on a quest and that if the raft delivered them to Sakatha, he was the object of their quest, and she for one, was ready to face him.

About halfway across the river, Beatriss, Naron, and Al-Fitar suddenly stumbled off the raft and disappeared beneath the water.  Suddenly the rest of the party realized this is not a big beautiful raft.  This is not a big beautiful river.  There is no water flowing underground. Instead they were walking across a dry riverbed.  Except for Beatriss, Naron, and Al-Fitar who were struggling to keep their heads up in a pool of acid.  Tetsukichi had a rope that disintegrated in the acid. Bangqiu had magic boots that allowed him to dip into the pool and one-by-one, rescue his friends.  Continuing on their walk across the dry river bed, Beatriss and Al-Fitar “discovered” one more pool of acid, disguised by illusion.  But everyone made it to the far side where they could rest for a minute and pour clean water over their burning skin.  Immediately before them were about a dozen burial mounds, and beyond them a pyramid.  The party decided that they would most likely find Sakatha in the pyramid, but they should try to circumvent the burial mounds.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Tomb of the Lizard King: Beatriss has a brush with death

Tetsukichi and Beatriss-- the champions of the Sansar clan—together with their associates, plus their friend Bangqiu and his associates established a fortified base camp on a dry hillock in the swamp about a mile from the Tomb of the Lizard King and planned their next move. Thanks to their successful campaign, the terrifying raids on the Sansar clan seemed to have ended.  And yet something was still amiss. Besides that swamp that hadn’t existed a few year ago, the creatures of the swamp—snakes, crocodiles, blood-thirsty seven-foot tall lizard creatures that walked on two legs and carried weapons— were venturing far out of the swamp and into the grazing lands.  And despite through exploration of the ruined temple that they believed held Sakatha’s resting place, they had not discovered his actual tomb.  So another expedition to the temple and tomb site seemed appropriate. 

The company: 
Beatriss, level 9 warrior with her associates:
                 Naron, level 7 warrior
                 Ju-Mei, level 7 cleric 
Tetsukichi, level 8 bushi with his associates:
                 Al-Fitar, level 8 warrior
                 Mustapha, level 7 illusionist 
Bangqiu, level 6 Wu-Jen
                 Erlo, level 5 shaman
                 Kafka, level 6 sohei, with his own retinue of 17 sohei initiates who were charged with maintaining the camp.   

The company set out early in the morning and followed a familiar track to the ruined temple.  As Beatriss and Ju-Mei climbed the steps into the temple, they heard the voices of humans arguing.  Taking no chances, Beatriss commanded Ju-Mei to use his non-lethal transfixing magic and of course the priest complied. 

The party charged up the steps into the temple.  Besides the targets of Ju-Mei’s spell, two Zhou men in battered armor, one of them with his hand on his knife, both frozen, there were two other men, not frozen.  These two, caught lounging on their bedrolls, were amazed, rather than belligerent.  One jumped to his feet, while the other slid himself away from the unexpected invaders.  Beatriss demanded—and received— answers. 

The standing man, introduced him as Ta-Mi, and explained that he was not the leader of their band of 20 or 50 or so capable and somewhat unpredictable . . . guys, but he was very well respected by the others, probably the most underrated of the band, who were not bandits or brigands or soldiers, but just guys who had swords and other weapons and were reasonable but not to be trifled with.  He introduced the two frozen ones. 

The one with his hand on his knife had a long drooping mustache.  He was Feng-bi, “the crazy violent one who thinks he knows everything but is actually more of a problem than he’s worth. Wait, can they hear us right now?” 

The other frozen one, whose hair was dyed tea color and whose face was fixed in a sarcastic grin, that was Sick Boy, “The other one who thinks he’s the leader and knows everything when in fact he knows nothing.” 

The fourth was Shu, “the stupid harmless one.”  Shu nodded his agreement. 

Beatriss revealed that they had been there before, but that they didn’t live there, they didn’t claim it or own it.  They were looking for evil monsters to destroy.  Ta-Mi assured Beatriss that she and her friends would find evil monsters.  He (and the band of men who would likely be back any minute now) were also looking for someone.  His name was Won Ton and he was a member of their band until he betrayed them and if anyone saw him, they should . . . well, if they see him and he has anything, it’s not really his and there’s someone else who wants it. . . 

The party wished Ta-Mi and Shu a good day and passed through a shell-bead curtain that divided the front room of the temple from the inner room with three pools.  Formerly three pools, but the ceiling had collapsed on top of the third.  As before, soon after they entered, the pools began bubbling. 
Bangqiu approached the demon bas-relied on the far wall and inserted a coin into the open mouth.  Nothing happened.  So he inserted a black gem. As he expected, the statue swung out from the wall on a hidden door. Not expected, someone was pushing it from the other side.  Bangqiu ran, while Beatriss and Naron drew their swords.  Two hideous green-creatures pushed out of the hidden room.  Despite their emaciated, sickly appearance, these creatures were incredibly strong, swatting away the warriors swords to seize them with their long sharp claws and slash at their faces with sharp fangs.  Beatriss ordered a full retreat.  Mustapha sent a cloud of fog into the trolls faces and Naron broke free.  The entire party, save Ju-mei ran out of the temple completely.  Ta-mi and Shu seeing their terrified expressions, followed. 


Once outside, Bangqiu, noticing that Beatriss and Ju-Mei had not escaped, returned to the temple, bringing Erlo with with him.  They arrived in time to see one troll devouring Sick Boy. Ju-Mei was standing at the curtain, chanting.  Beatriss screamed in pain and Ju-Mei abruptly rushed into the pool room.  Bangqiu and Erlo followed.  Beatriss was lying on the floor unconscious.  The troll was standing over her, blood dripping from its mouth.  Behind it, a snake creature made of water was writhing in the pool and snapping its jaws.  Seeing a new victim, the troll lunged toward Ju-Mei.  The priest dodged, and the troll stumbled.  The water-snake seized its opportunity and dragged the troll into the pool.  Ju-Mei stabilized Beatriss and helped pull her to her feet. She was alive.  Erlo made Beatriss invisible and the four of them moved out of the pool room toward the steps of the temple.  The troll that had killed Sick Boy was not feasting on Feng-Bi.  Ju-Mei summoned a spiritual hammer to keep the monster at bay as he and his companions completed their narrow escape. 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Gwinch Hunts the Black Flowers


Most all remnants of the Black Flowers gang have left Pasar but from their hideout in the surround hills the wicked men continue to make good people’s lives miserable, by attacking the merchant caravans that are the lifeblood of the town.  Gwinch, Beast, Saisho, and a group of sohei lay in wait at the place where the bandits are known to attack.  When a large caravan comes into view and the bandits do attack, Gwinch & co. put them to flight. The Black Flowers have fast horses but Gwinch is an expert tracker.
Gwinch follows the trail and discovers the remnants of an ancient road into he mountains, following the meanderings of a deep ravine.

Gwnch and his men are ambushed on a crumbling stone bridge by the Black Flowers firing a ballista from the cliff above.
Gwinch scales the cliff with astonishing courage and skill and throws the bandits into the ravine.  He helps his companion find the trail up and together they reach what they believe to be the Black Flowers’ hideout, a mysterious cave, where monumental statues of jackal-headed women stand guard.

After surveying the entrance chamber, Gwinch decides not to pass through the round archway and instead opens a humble wooden door. The heroic explorers follow a passage into a large bright high-ceilinged room, its light coming from a glowing staff that hangs from the ceiling on a thick chain.
Saisho climbs up the wall, across the ceiling, and down the chain.  When he touches the staff, all the metal in the room is pulled to the sides. Saisho’s dagger flies out of his hand. Those wearing armor are held pinned to the wall.

The monks who could not afford metal armor help their brothers (and Gwnch) escape from their prisons.
Giant bugs enter the room.  Their touch turns metal to rust, which the monsters eat greedily.  Wooden axe handles turn one of the monsters to a bloody pulp. The other runs away.

To Gwinch’s surprise, the remaining metal remains stuck to the wall.
Also, that chain remains attached to the glowing staff.

A dead giant rust bug has no effect on the chain.
Gwinch tracks the giant rust bug that ran away.  He finds it cowering in a small room that might have been a tomb or a treasury or both; it is strewn with emeralds.  Also three levers, always intriguing.  But Gwinch isn’t distracted.   Eying the giant rust bug, he gets out a strong rope.

But there is no need for rope.  The giant rust bug seems to understand what Gwnch has in mind.  It follows him happily.
Ok there is need for a rope.  The giant rust bug is hoisted by its tail into the air so that it can touch the chain. Gwinch catches the staff. Beast catches the rust bug. Saisho always lands on his feet.

Now it’s time to experiment with the levers. They control the magnets in the magnet room!
The monks retrieve their armor.  At last,  it’s time for everyone to return to Pasar.