Session 39

Before the characters return to the Mist Tiger safe house, Mitsuhide gives them each a charm that grants necrotic resistance for 10 minutes. Armed with the extra level of protection, they set forth. Saeko uses Minor Illusion to enhance the disguises of the characters and Major Image to create a simulacrum of Yoshitoshi, the hapless Mist Tiger they captured and interrogated at the House of the Red Lanterns.

They barge into the safe house like they own the place and Saeko makes a Deception check to try and convince the guards that they have the night off to go entertain themselves. She’s so convincing in her story that they all get up and immediately leave. The characters are surprised that their ruse worked so successfully, but they thank the spirits for their good fortune, and search the safe house.

They find a letter addressed to the Pheasant and signed by the Cricket. It looks like it was either just delivered or just prepared for delivery. It is, unfortunately, written in code, so they stash it away to analyze later.

In the back of the safe house, they find a set of stairs that winds down, deep underground. As they descend the staircase, they feel the hair stand up on the back of their neck. Everything feels wrong somehow, and the narrow stairs start to make them feel claustrophobic. They can’t help shake the feeling that they’re wandering into something sinister.

At the bottom of the stairs, they find out why they feel uneasy, as they emerge into a cave whose walls are covered top to bottom in scrolls extolling Kobayashi. The air itself seems to vibrate, causing little ripples of dust to dance across the floor, and a loud drone rises and falls, echoing throughout the cavern. As they start forward into the darkness of the cave, they encounter two gibbering mouthers.

The mouthers’ constant babbling threatens to drive them mad with fear, and the ground around them bubbles and roils as their unnatural presence warps reality itself. Saeko uses her countercharm ability to counteract the mouthers’ gibbering. Her tale of the brave heroes of old gives the characters something to focus their minds on, and they’re able to successfully filter out the insane rambling of the thousand-mouthed aberrations.

Fortunately, the characters have increased in strength and skill since the last time they fought a gibbering mouther, and are able to dispatch the pair of them fairly quickly. Miyo lands the finishing blow as per usual, blasting the last mouther with fire.

They head deeper into the cave system, passing through several passageways until they decide they’ve gone far enough, and stop to take a short rest. Unfortunately for them, a stalagmite at the edge of their vision turns out to be a roper lying in wait, and it shoots out its sticky tendrils. It grabs each member of the group in turn, pulling them closer to its maw of razor-sharp teeth as they struggle to escape. Miyo is the first to get close enough for it to attack, and it drops her in one savage bite.

The rest of the group unloads on it while Saeko heals Miyo. Kumiko does the most direct damage, and manages to goad it to death. Asami, with her alchemical training, recognizes the value of the roper’s digestive juices, and bottles some for later use. Semi-confident that nothing else is lurking in the shadows, the group once again tries to take a short rest.