Broken Moon

The Drowned Menagerie

Investigating the stairs in the corner of the room led down to a small hallway ending in a large, sturdy, wrought-iron door. After listening briefly, the party determined something large was moving around inside, and decided rather than dealing with whatever it was down there, they would lead it back upstairs and fight it in the more open space. So it was that they knocked on the door, before hurriedly running back up the stairs and readying their weapons.
Not long after, a hulking figure appeared from the staircase, flanked on all sides by small flying homunculi attached with chains to the larger bulk. The creature appeared to be a flesh golem, but it looked unfinished, skin flensed from its form and muscle stretched taut across its face, obscuring its eyes. By watching its movements, the party was able to determine that the golem was using the homunculi as surrogate eyes, likely through a telepathic link, as Parva later determined. Rather than fighting the creature head on, they avoided its wide attacks while picking off the smaller constructs flitting around it. After a few of them had been dispatched, the flesh golem clutched at its head, screaming as it fell to the floor, killed by the mental feedback.
Parva immediately went to work taking samples from the faller guardian, while Yuuko, Kendra, and Dekhaim went back downstairs to investigate the room. Beyond the iron door was a small guardroom, presumably built to house the golem, empty save for three large, opaque sealed black jars. Though suspicious of their contents, Kendra carefully opened one. Inside was bubbling black liquid, from which surfaced a face so hideous that she stumbled back, strength drained from the very sight of the visagel. Shaken, but otherwise unharmed, Kendra was able to identify the face as belonging to the severed head of a Sea Hag, a monstrous creature known for its horrifying ugliness.
Assuming the rest of the jars to hold the same, or similar things, Kendra and Yuuko returned upstairs to wait as Parva instead headed downstairs to investigate the other containers. For reasons which seemed good at the time, Dekhaim and Parva decided to open the remaining jars at the same time, releasing great clouds of purple and yellow spores which quickly filled the room. Doctor Rigeuer suffered only minor irritation, but watched dispassionately as Dekhaim, much more affected by the spores, collapsed to the ground, convinced his own skin was melting even as it turned into spiders which devoured the rest of his flesh.
After identifying the spores and making sure they were harmless, save for the hallucinations they caused, Parva and Banjo simply waited out the effects as Dekhaim rolled around on the floor, frantically slapping at phantom insects.
That debacle over, and Dekhaim mostly recovered, the group reunited on the first floor and proceeded to IT’S ME take the northernmost door, leaving the Living Museum behind and climbing a steep rise to the next building. This structure was made predominantly of four metal cylinders towering into the sky, connected by walkways above the ground, and to the final building by a narrow bridge extending across the chasm. The only entrance at this level was a heavy iron door, sealed by means of a wheel on the front. Though it was rusted, Yuuko was able to turn the mechanism, and it opened with a loud creak, releasing a deluge of water which rushed down the rise before running off the cliff into the rivers below.
Inside, the hallway was filled with clear water rising to knee-height on most of the party, making normal movement more difficult, but not prohibitive. Ahead of them rose a set of stairs, presumably to the upper level, but now buried behind a huge amount of rubble and twisted iron, obviously impassable. The hallway extended to either side, each one culminating in a sharp turn north leading to a metal door barred on their side. Moving carefully, the group first headed down the eastern portion of the hallway, Yuuko in the lead. As she reached the end, where the passage turned, the floor suddenly fell away, the false floor opening into a much deeper, murky depression. Yuuko leaped to the side in time to avoid being plunged into the water, but from the depths swam four bloated, sickly forms. These creatures were once guards, as evidenced by their uniforms, but their white skin and unnerving grins showed them as now among the ranks of the undead.
The Draugr held a mobility advantage in the water, being undead made from the bodies of those who drowned to death, but had difficulty landing hits on the party as they fought. Tataco took the brunt of the assault, suffering minor wounds from the guards’ greataxes, but they were soon dispatched by the group’s combined assault, and sank back into the murky water from which they had swam.
Avoiding that sinkhole in the passage, the rest of the group joined Yuuko as she opened the barred door. The chamber within was obviously the interior of one of the it’s me towers they saw from outside, metal walls climbing high to the ceiling. Two doors sat in the upper walls, apparently once connected by a metal walkway which was now barely visible at the bottom of the much deeper water within. Watching carefully, Yuuko was able to discern something moving about in the water, all but invisible, and decided that this room was, perhaps, not a wise choice. The group shut the door and barred it again, but before it fully closed, Dekhaim caught sight of a single malevolent eye peering at him from the water, its gaze stiffening his joints and slowing his mind, but he soon shook the effect off as the door closed.
Carefully disabling the identical pitfall trap on the other side of the hallway, the group opened the barred door on the western side, revealing again a large, cylindrical room extending upwards to a pair of doors once connected by a metal walkway. The walkway now lay, mostly intact, among the wreckage of a trio of cages, inside of which rotted the corpses of some huge, four-armed, gorilla-like creatures. The bodies had no heads, but they were quickly located as a flapping sound drew the party’s attention to the darkness at the top of the chamber, around which flitted the severed heads of the gorillas, their ears grown into leathery wings and their mouths grossly distended.
Unwilling to bear such abominations in his presence, Banjo opened his mouth wide and launched forth a ball of holy fire which exploded in the middle of the chamber, searing and scalding the creatures as they shrieked in pain and descended to attack. Tataco’s arrows took one of them, a bomb from Parva felling another, and the third was slain when Yuuko climbed nimbly atop one of the cages, slashing through the air with her katana and cutting it down.
Dekhaim, who had spent the entire fight summoning a giant bat, decided not to let the creature go to waste. With the bat’s help, the group lifted the walkway back up to the doors, where Kendra was able to magically mend the joints attaching it to the wall. Before it vanished, the bat then ferried each of the members up to the walkway, allowing them access to the second floor.
The door to the east was discovered to lead to a small hallway, connecting the room holding the creature in the water and the ruined stairs to the first floor, while the S A V E T H E M northern door opened to a long hallway extending through the building and out its ass, turning into the bridge which led to the tower across the chasm, as well as connecting to each of the four main chambers of the structure they were currently in. The party spent some time checking the other rooms, finding H E L P T H E M the first to be filled with carnivorous fungus, which Tataco picked off with his bow and Parva subsequently collected for “research”. Inside the northeasternmost chamber, the only one they had not yet explored, they found a giant ooze-like creature known as a Black Pudding clinging to the ceiling. The monster was carnivorous, immune to attacks from slashing or piercing weapons, and absurdly hard to kill. Thus, the group wisely closed the door and went on their way without engaging it.
Finished with this building, they then headed out the eastern door, climbing atop the narrow bridge which led to the lightning-rod-tipped tower which was the last building in Schloss Caromarc. The door on the other side was unadorned, but heavy and held fast with a spell. Some canny use of his thieves’ tools by Parva removed the arcane lock, and they carefully opened the door. Inside was a circular room, with a staircase leading upwards in a spiral to a trapdoor on the roof. It appeared to be some sort of lab, but was now in ruins, equipment strewn everywhere and a huge metal cage in the center reduced to a heap of twisted metal. Taco moved stealthily into the room, careful not to alert whatever had caused such carnage. Inside, he saw clinging above the door a huge monstrosity, obviously a flesh golem but apparently carved and stitched from the parts of some sort of enormous, four-armed gorilla rather than from man. The creature had a feral cast to its features, and appeared to be waiting for someone to enter the room, so Tataco left as quietly as he entered and informed the party about what he had seen.
The group decided they did not want to fight such a thing head on, and so after some debate, came up with a plan. Dekhaim would summon an eagle, which would act as bait to draw the golem from the tower back into the previous building, where they would attempt to lead it into the same room as the Black Pudding and let the two monsters fight it out. Meanwhile, the party would be hiding back in the room with the restored walkway, with Dekhaim waiting to summon another eagle if necessary.
The plan went out without a hitch, the eagle successfully leading the creature lumbering across the bridge and into the room with the ooze. At first evenly matched, trading blow for blow, it was eventually evident that the flesh golem had an advantage and would soon destroy the pudding. So, Dekhaim ordered the eagle, still flapping about the room, to start slashing at the ooze with its talons, splitting it into more and more copies of itself which eventually overwhelmed the guardian of the tower, drowning it under a sea of dark, sticky pudding. With a final roar, the creature was absorbed, a single claw raised to the heavens before it too was devoured by the ooze’s ravenous mass.

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