Duty Session 415: Tomb of the Lost Emperor
A tomb awaits in a forgotten corner of the Palace Lands, which has relics of the past that could be very useful to recover. It's also rumored the tomb has fearsome guardians in the form of an undying army forged from the very bones of the world. What awaits those daring enough to delve into these depths?
Rec. Party: 4+
World Rewards: Clear out threats in the Palace Lands.
She was also of aid giving maps of the tomb's location, along with what information she could gather about it. It's not much other than there are traps and the likelihood of wildlife or monsters having moved in.
Gwen was outside the entrance bouncing in place. The towering Sylph is pretty happy from the looks of it, heck she's excited.
"So we don't know what's inside per say but I do know what we're looking for. Mifa has warned us that the tomb is indeed trapped so we should be on our guard for those. Finally, there is a high chance monsters may have moved in since this place was built. As for the item, it's a ring. When this is over I have a BBQ lunch for everyone as well and maybe some outfits too!"
Well Gwen's waiting on that at least, right?
Well, this is no movie.
It's ready to be explored by whoever's brave enough to go in there.
One of them is Kotono, who arrived as soon as she could, and upon reading the map, she commits it to memory. "Looks like quite the interesting place I have to say. Of course, I have to wonder what kind of traps might be lying in wait."
"Gwen, dear, I'm sure we are all just delighted to have the opportunity to help you." Wake pauses a moment, the smallest curl of a smile coming to her lips, as she adds, "But I think something comfortable to wear in the chambers on cold nights would not be amiss in the least."
Speaking of garments, today The Right Clothes have wound themselves into a light blue dress, slit just past the left knee. The neck is high and modest and patterns of roses wind about the bodice.
"With the group you've gathered, I am quite confident." The Baroness is always confident, though.
Besides, who doesn't love an Indiana Jones movie?
"Ought to be interesting," she says, agreeing with Kotono. She pulls the other Spriggan into a quick embrace before they split up to follow the rest of the group.
Shiruba pauses, and then smirks. "You're going to hit your head on the ceiling." Gotta get in some ribbing of her surrogate sister's height.
She's standing casually ready, though there is a sense of purpose to her eyes. She's in heavy training lately, and this will become part of her training.
Fukaziroh loves exploring, at least in groups. She almost never goes out seeking strange things on her own, preferring to do her exploring with friends. So when Gwen invited her to go on a tomb raid, er, she jumped at the chance! "I know I'm as delighted to be here as you all must be that I'm here!" she says enthusiastically, with a little quirk to her grin that should make it somewhat obvious she's expecting people to take that with a grain of salt. "I could use a new outfit or two. How about 'Ruins Explorer Fuka'? I hope it comes with one of those bowl-thingy hats! Or how about a nice bandage outfit for the tomb scene? Old fashion never truly goes out of style right?"
"It's not like I didn't do that visiting your family back in Japan. I won that fight with your doorway too!"
She looks to Yeowang and grins.
"You got it and Baroness I'm sure something can be done on that end."
Gwen looks at Fuka intently for a moment and gets a wide smile on her face.
"Oh I think we could do both!"
Once everyone else is sorted out Gwen will take a look at Merek and then one to Haru.
"Well it's a very old ring that my patron would like to see recovered but you can inspect it once we find it."
Gwen will take the lead and once into the tomb the party would find the entryway is not dark. GLowing enchanted crystals light the way giving dim light in this otherwise dark place. Oddly there are statues everywhere. Some human, pooka and so forth. There is however a concerning pattern they all seem the same, same for the corridors it's some kind of maze it looks like. Gwen meanwhile pauses seeming to try and ferret out air currents herself to help find the way through this.
Sorry, we can't tell you that here.
Once they're inside the tomb, Kotono stays behind Gwen and lets her lead the way inside. She knows there's no telling what's inside this place, and Kotono doesn't want to risk running into anything that she shouldn't. Her footsteps are slow and deliberate to avoid alerting anything that might be nearby.
And it seems her footsteps are properly timed so that she actually winds up sneaking around instead of moving around.
While wandering the maze, Fuka keeps up the occasional bit of blather. "A maze of twisty passages, all alike." "Oh I've seen this in a game once. We need to search the ground for signs of the way the crypt-builders must have moved all the rock and heavy equipment!" "Anyone have the faintest clue what sort of signs that would be?" "Hey, can you smell fresh air from this corner? No I didn't just deal one out!"
She does seem to be onto something with that last one though, and at least has a solid idea which pathways are dead-ends, helping steer the group away from places most likely to get them lost or waste time or run into literal dead-end traps.
But as they head into the tomb it's time to actually get down to business, and it doesn't take long for an experienced Archeologist to realize what's going.... and that gets Shiruba almost as excited as Gwen was at the entrance, if the way her tail is wagging is any indicator. "Oh, look! A maze purposely designed to look similar from all directions to confuse any would be grave robbers!" She hmms, rubbing her chin. "But the constructors would of needed some way to navigate without getting lost themselves..." She pauses as the falcon perched on her shoulder squawks, peering upward. Shiruba tilts her head back as well, and then points. "There! There's notches in the ceiling to help tell directions. The one direction no one would really think to look readily -- up!"
She pats Windburn on the head. "Good girl, putting that bird vision to use."
Before Wake will proceed, she will properly curtsey. Manners must be observed. "It is a pleasure to be working with you all." She slowly rises from the deep curtsey.
Upon entering the dungeon, she remarks, "Well, if you have seen one hundred dusty tombs, you have seen them all, I suppose. Unique to start with the maze, though."
The Baroness considers her surroundings with a calm expression for some time before acting. "When lost in the dark places of the world, being nigh undetectable can provide much perspective."
She slides gracefully into a handy shadow and in moments is out of view and silent. An unfortunate side effect of sneaking about is it is rather impossible to maintain a pleasant conversation, and so she focuses on the work at hand.
"I sensed an air current this way."
Those tracking air currents would find there is a very faint draft that points to an exit. Combining that with the efforts of those who are working with their Cartography skills will be able to find a way out. Those who snuck ahead would be able to warn the rest of the group of traps that might have harmed or waylaid the entire group.
Gwen seems to be in very good spirits as they push onwards things go well for a while what could be awaiting them? Why traps that would make any D&D GM giggle in delight. There are flame traps here letting loose gouts of fire from time to time, so many fire traps. Gwen does not like the look of this and she's going to start casting water spells to try and dampen the flames.
"...Someone thought they were hot stuff with this."
Of course, that requires good timing. Sometimes, Kotono doesn't always have the best timing.
"I think I got this," Kotono says as she attempts to leap forward, but it's just a little too soon.
A searing blast gets her just as she goes by.
"Ahhh!" Kotono yells as she rolls on the ground. "Hot! Hot! Hot!" How embarassing!
Shiruba squints, watching the flames. Or more importantly watching where they shoot from, which direction, and at what intervals. "Okay, I think I see a way through. Be careful, the timing is very precise..." It takes some back and forth, and watching for possible extra triggers on the floor, but she manages to outwit the trap that would otherwise leave them burnouts.
About halfway down the hall, however, she misses one, and is caught square on by a burst of flame!
She drops to the floor immediately, twisting herself into a roll, trying to extinguish the flames before she loses too many HP. She comes to a stop just before running into a floor-mounted flame-jet! Lucky girl!
"I'll say it's hot!" Fukaziroh says admiringly. "But I think... yeah, best be timed juuuust right." she says. Though to be honest she doesn't really have the patience for that. The flames don't look too bad, and multiple people have gotten singed. She shrugs, waits for a flame to pass, then uses a little wind-assist to swiftly pass through the traps, relying on quickness rather than cunning to see her through. She ends up quite nearly setting her butt on fire by doing so, but in this case better lucky than good! Or at least, better both lucky AND good!
The Baroness just appears next to Fukaziroh and offers a polite wave to Merek. "We simply must do this more often. I don't get to explore these old ruins nearly enough." Hearing Kotono call out, Wake quickly glances at the young woman, decides that the damage is not life-threatening, and steps closer to offer her a hand.
"You know, that reminds me of the first time I attempted to disarm a trap. It was a long time ago, but I performed dreadfully. It can seem a bit embarassing, of course, but trust me, if you have not accidentally wiped your group with a botched disarm.. twice in a row.. you simply have not dealt with many traps."
Wake's smile is suddenly much warmer and reassuring. "It happens to the best of us, dear."
Once Kotono is settled, the Baroness will step forward and get to work. She comes close to a trap here and there, but each time she nearly mis-steps, she corrects herself. "You know, they were rather clever. It's not a terribly obvious pattern at all, is it?" Clever or not, she finds a path that is fairly easy for others to follow and manages to evade any troublesome burning sensations.
The party soon ends up beyond the traps, this should be smooth sailing from here. Those traps should have kept any wildlife or monsters out of here which could be a danger to people. Right? Well, there's something else here. Ranks and tanks of terracotta statues each one with a unique face some are old vets with scars. Others look to be raw young recruits star to move and attack. The disturbing thing is? They are fighting like you would expect well-trained Landers to. They will break into squads focus on attacking the more dangerous sorts. It's as if an echo of who they were modelled after has remained in these statues.
Meanwhile some have sussed out the Baroness is quite dangerous to dogpile her only to have Gwen interject and take the attention of them.
Fuka's fairly obviously amused, though not unsympathetic, when people fail the flame challenge. She is, however, quick to offer what little healing she can. It costs mana, but she's on a bit of a training kick for physical warfare and not only would she never begrudge healing, she also is fine with not saving up mana for the remainder of the expedition.
Unfortunately for Fuka however, the next challenge is one she's not very comfortable with. Sure she can smash the warriors, but there's too many. Cut down their options in attacking? SURE great idea! She breaks into a practiced chant, sweeping an arm to draw a line of flame along the ground. One which, being made out of clay, the warriors just stomp on through. Oops. She takes up her axe to help smash through the army, though at this point she doesn't even try to cry her normal boisterous battlecry. Not even calling them all potheads, which is kind of an obvious joke for her. Nah, she's a bit subdued for trying to rely on fire when it was obviously not the right move... yeah Haru, you're not the only one who ends up feeling bad when they fail...
That of course is when the statue starts to move, Windburn giving a pitched cry as she's dislodged from it doing so. Which is enough of a warning for Shiruba to kippup away from the swing. "Didn't expect them to be animate, either!"
As she backpedals she notices several of the terracotta soldiers in the back rows lifting large bows to provide support fire to the forward melee and shieldbearers. "Heads up!" Instead of her own bow Shiruba snaps the Glaive of the Fallen from her belt and throws it hard, so it arcs high and wide through the air to intercept a large portion of the volley. "We best keep moving!"
Kotono's alive too.
The girl uses her blades to fend off the statues as she moves through the area. "The bigger they are, the harder they fall!" Kotono comments with a slight smirk. "This is actually fun!"
"Gorgeous workmanship," she comments as she walks along the line of soldiers. "Beautiful. I don't see any toolmarks or anything." She leans in to inspect one more closely.
She's just finished her inspection when... the statues come to life!
The spriggan ducks and rolls away from the statue's blows, springing to her feet just in time to leap above the attack of another. She humms softly for a moment, then sings out a series of notes, a sequence familiar to fans of classic movies. Light explodes out from her in rainbow hues, spiraling about to catch dozens of the golems in its wake. Each one touched simply returns to its post, resuming its watch and standing firm, as immobile as they were when the group entered.
Simple Haru is but a Simple Artificer. Unburdened by the complex whims of Wave Artes just like the Golems are unburdened by their effect through good resistances. Unfettered by the delicate nuances of large scale group fights. The white haired man cycles through his prepared spell list as the battle rages on, but its a case where an Attack Debuff sticks before it does its next attack, so the impact is neglible. Carry on, Simple Haru, carry on.
That said, her in-game skill is considerable, and not to be underestimated by anyone that doesn't want a boot to the head. These statues get boots to the head, and pretty much everywhere else, and a thorough kicking is delivered in what seems like an entirely savage manner, though her expression suggests serenity and calm. She doesn't get excited, at least not when she's winning, she concentrates fiercely and kicks seven kinds of crap out of the statues. Who even knew statues had seven kinds of crap /in/ them?
"Why, this is like the real work, done for the Chinese emperor himself," Wake comments. She wanders among them, taken in by the craftsmanship. The Baroness is wary, but she was never able to see the real terracota warriors. It's clearly fascinating to her.
When they start to move, it takes her a moment to react. Surprised as she is, the enemy is able to quickly strike her several times.
Fortunately, Wake has given up the solo adventurer lifestyle. She only works at the side of her friends. Indeed, it likely saves her life in this case, as Gwen's appearance simply turns off the damage and swiftly draws away the attention.
"My dear, if I spend the rest of this dungeon thanking you it will only be the smallest tip of my appreciation and affection for you."
With a powerful tank to protect her, Wake is able to get back into the fight. Admittedly, she's quite a bit more wary than she had been earlier.
"We're in Fantasy China? Didn't you think might not happen?"
If it was part of the game? Gwen would muse they'd just hit randomize for each soldier. Still, though it is quite a feat.
"Could have scanned the devs."
Gwen thankfully is okay for the most part and the whole party has made it through the army. The statues sadly, will fragment into shards of terracotta and then turn into shards of light.
There are some statues here who do not attack or even seem to move. It's time to get going and Gwen will push on at the head.
"So far so good! No one dead!"
Gwen seems eager to push onwards.
It's not long before an armoury is reached. Weapon racks are everywhere and oddly shaped wrack which could be part of a puzzle.
"I wonder if we put the right weapon in the empty wrack."
She's also being careful to put everything back, because a proper archeologist always respects the items they find even if they don't claim them.
"OK, there's definitely something we have to do here," She says as she begins to look around the room carefully. "Have to be careful, though, as we don't want to trigger any traps..."
The Spriggan moves carefully, looking at everything with a scrutinizing eye.
And then she spots something.
"There's some kind of mechanism here!" She calls out to the others. "If we place the right weapon, the way forward will open!"
After her most-dramatic and highly visible oopsie of the previous battle, Fuka's mood receives an uplift by a puzzle. She's not super good at puzzles, but she sure does appreciate them! Anything where the world feels more like a game is bound to cheer her up a bit!
"Let's see. We need a weapon with the right kind of handle. OOH I bet the hilt will be shaped like a key!" she grins in delight, scurrying off to begin methodically searching through weapons. Not just looking for a key, but looking for anything that might be thematically appropriate for the oddly-shaped weapon rack in the middle of the room.
The Baroness Wake is quite pleased to be in a room that shows no signs of battle. One look makes it clear that she's far from the storied assassin she was before the Cursed Wave. The lady is far more effective in a ballroom than a battlefield.
She eventually finds herself quite unable to find what she's looking for and holds up a tool that some worker probably left behind.
"Perhaps this pointy thing is it?" It appears to be an awl. More apparent is that the Baroness will provide no assistance with this particular challenge.
Seeing that no one is terribly interested in her find, Wake turns to Yeowang, strategicly changing the subject. "Your style seems to have improved greatly since I last saw you work. Your training regiment must be nearly flawless by now."
He turns his head and silently mouths what could be an order to attack readying a polearm as a few other officers join in the assault.
"What the heck are they all guarding here?!"
Calls out Gwen as she moves to engage.
Shiruba gestures with a pointed finger, and Windburn launches from her shoulder into the crowd of soldiers. Too bad she can't get the height or the space for a power dive in here, and the sparks crackling with the beats of her wings don't do much to animate statues of earthen materials. But she still proves to be distracting, swooping around as soldiers try to strike at her.
It gives Shiruba enough time to properly arm her bow and start taking shots at various clay warriors, at least.
Once the initial rush is done, she hangs tough, striking hard kicks and strong punches, punching it like she would a heavy bag, which is resembles in a number of ways. Though heavy bags don't move around. This one does, though not too much, and she's content to pound the hell out of it while it focuses on the tank, burning through its health as fast as she can.
"Ow," he says, "ow ow ow ow. Ow ow ow." Simple Haru hops back there, evading the attacks as his avatar's hand swells and he takes damage by punching a statue.
Kotono uses her agility to strike and run these clay figures.
It's an unusual strategy but it works well, Kotono finds. She helps her comrades take down the statues. "Go back to the museum!" She calls out.
This time around, Wake remembers something important. The place for DPS is BEHIND the tank, not wandering about making the tank lose sleep. A relaxed tank is a happy tank!
"Ahhh, so the terracotta warrior was not simply a one time thing. I do grant them a nod for nailing the look and feel, of course. Oh, yes, and of course they are trying to kill us!"
Wake stays behind Gwen, waiting to get the timing down. And then she sees Haru's punch get delivered. For a moment, she's surprised. "Apologies, Haru, I didn't think you had it in..." and then she sees the hand get.. very injured. "Oh dear.."
She moves forward suddenly, looking for the moment very much her former self. Every once in a while, there are these fluke situations where even she forgets that her skills were wiped away. And in this particular situation, her fists smash through terracotta in sprays of dust, driving the thing back and away from Haru.
Still riding a high from that fun puzzle hunt, Fuka seems cheered by the sight of more terracotta soldiers. "Oh hey!" she beams. "We got a shot at some payback here! HEY POTHEADS!" she yells. Brandishing her axe, she falls in behind Gwen in a practiced motion, letting Gwen take aggro for her yells while preparing to dart out and flank hard. "I know how to fight these now." she says at a more normal volume, preparing to charge. "Cover the front, I'll cut them down from the flank!" she suggests. "And I want one as a souvenir!" she adds, laughing as she launches herself at the enemy.
Seems the physical battle serves the little sylph much better than flame walls. She has a great time, both giving and taking hits, even coming to Haru's rescue and putting herself between him and his assailant while he tries to recover from punching the bad guys. "You need some weapons!" she notes. "I suggest REALLY BIG WEAPONS!" she adds, demonstrating with a peal of delighted laughter.
Okay, maybe she shouldn't have mentioned the movies, because this really reminds her of the climactic scene in 'Hidden Fortress of the Xiangxiao Ninja Clan', and she actually liked that movie. So when the statues start to animate and attack, she just takes it in stride, pulls out her own weapons, and goes to town.
Wrong move, it would seem. She was going to /town/, and they were coming from the /city/. Even so, her blades leave explosions of blackness behind with each strike, ripping chunks out of the terracotta guards. It's just... ripping chunks out doesn't seem to slow them down much. She's slowly but surely being pushed back.
Then she finds herself locking eyes with the Terracotta General, her blades crossed with those of one of his chief adjutants. "HEY!" she yells at him. "YOU CAN'T FIGHT HERE! THIS IS THE WAR ROOM!"
The General seems ... unimpressed.
Soon the Commander falls and all do but one of the officers, the last one will move back. It almost seems to be trying to make sure something is in place before it's cut down by the party.
Gwen meanwhile start searching the room and in a hidden compartment on the war room table? She'll find a small box within appears to be the ring she was looking for.
Meanwhile the party would find the way is ... warded shut.
"Good news I think I have what I came for! So once we're done here it's BBQ time!"
Of course she's right on Gwen's heels as soon as food is mentioned. "Yes, delving works up an appetite!"