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24 November 2006 - Friday

Amazon Sextet of Justice XIb: "Temple of the Snake God! It's a Giant Snake Made Out of Snakes!"

Our Heroines (plus Samel the Elf, son of Jacque) hurry onward through the labyrinth, led by Fresa's spell. As they ascend a series of switch-backs, they round a corner and come face to face with a six-armed naked snake-demon and her two yuan-ti rentboys! Mariliths are renowned for their martial skill, but this one appears to be somewhat substandard, which may explain why she's in a dismal pit full of giant rats instead of leading the armies of Hell. An unseen opponent mentally dominates Gabrielle and forces her to fill Samel full of arrows, but that is only a minor distraction in the brief skirmish that dispatches the demon back to her home plane, accompanied by the yuan-ti.

Not much further along, the Amazons hear chanting, and the spell leads them right to the source: a large temple in which an assortment of serpent-creatures, including one with six snakes in place of a head, are about to sacrifice one or more of the five blonde women chained to altars! The advantage of surprise having already been lost, Our Heroines rush in!

The enormous snake coiled just inside the door is a nasty surprise for Alyra and Marika, as the clouds of nauseating vapor produced by the spell-casting naga are for Amaryllis and Natalya when they teleport in. The humanoid yuan-ti and assorted smaller serpents are just horrible icing on the hideous cake, and the reptilian vampire the repulsive cherry.

Things look bad for a while, with the front-line combatants outnumbered and surrounded, Amaryllis and Natalya incapacitated by the stinking clouds, Fresa terrified of snakes, and Samel both terrified and badly wounded. Then Gabrielle, cloaked in illusions, helps do in the biggest snake, taking the pressure off Alyra and Marika, and Amaryllis and Natalya recover enough to start dealing out some pain. The snake made out of snakes goes down readily enough, and soon all that's left is for Amaryllis to lock the vampire in a stone box until Gabrielle can use the Golden Harp of Pelor to fill the room with sunlight.

The Amazons are triumphant!

None of the sacrifices are revealed as yuan-ti infiltrators when the illusions on them are dispelled, so the Sextet bundle them and everything else not nailed down into the pocket dimension and skedaddle before the whole place collapses.

Our Heroines arrive back on the Prime Material plane in a forest a few hundred miles from Tigris, where they are accosted by people who are probably not part of their mission and immediately teleport away.

Safely in their friends' house in Pelagos, the Amazons try to sort out the situation. It is easy to tell which of the rescuees is Queen Ditte, but she seems to have acquired a set of snakey tentacles and some psychological damage. The papers retrieved from the temple mention "grafts", but not how to reverse them. It looks like another side quest will be necessary!

(So much XP! All the PCs except Fresa levelled up, which was not actually due to her being played by Dave; she's a couple thousand short because Marith missed some sessions earlier. This does reduce the level spread a little, from 12/12/13/14/14/14 to 13/13/14/14/15/15, and if the lower-level people keep getting roughly 50% more XP, the spread will decrease further.)

(Picking spells is hard! Amaryllis gets a new 5th level spell, a new 6th level spell, and a new 7th level spell, and I'm entirely unsure what to pick for any of them. For 5th level, prying eyes (calls up caster_level + 1d4 magic eyeballs that fly around and come back to download what they see) is appealing, but it has the minor flaw that the eyes are visible (though with Hide +16) and the major flaw that they have only normal vision and are thus useless in dungeon settings. At 7th level, forcecage is darn handy, but also costs 1500gp per casting. 6th level is fairly uninteresting all around.)

(Each character also got 11 000gp, which brings Amaryllis's cash on hand to 64 000gp (which seems like a lot, but apparently a character created at 15th level should have 200 000gp to equip with). Unfortunately I think this may be mostly useless, since there doesn't seem to be much downtime involved in saving the world. But I'm not sure what she would buy with it anyway. I think she still wants some sort of personal flight even if the feather boat is better for use as a helicopter gunship, so maybe enchant her stiletto heels of haste to also include the power of a broom of flying? (And why is a pair of boots of flying, useful for only 2 hours/day, 12 000gp while a broom of flying, which is useful for 24 hours a day and doesn't take a slot, is only 15 000gp?))

Food: Leftovers!

Vacation: JHart showed up to entertain the munchkins with Roborally and make fun of our D&D game, which are both perfectly acceptable behaviors. Also he and Sherilyn learned the WoW boardgame.

Cats: No news is good news, right?

Writing: VACATION.

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