Just a Northern Tomb

Summary

To New Lands
After defeating the ogres for the barbarians, the party returns to the lowlands for some more training and supplies. Rei and Riku are able to use Identify to figure out the magic items and the party distributes them. Mai trains with her new nodachi and Jeffakou goes to a monastery to get a dragon tattoo that allows him to breathe fire once a day. Resupplied, the party crosses the mountains and enters the unexplored lands. Travel is not difficult, since the forests are sparse, but there are no roads and all their travel is cross country. On the first day, they encounter a giant Jishin beetle which Hiro slays with two sword strikes. But two more beetles are drawn by the noise and attack. Again, Hiro is at the front of the attack, he and Konni, Nagai and Jeffakou kill the two beetles.
The next evening, the party makes camp near some woods. The temperature has dropped and a light snow falls on the late spring mountain evening. It seems quiet and peacuful, but Hiro and Jeffakou are attacked on the watch by three mountain spirits or Bajang. They attack with poisoned claws and magic. Jeffakou is Cursed and loses his mind, becoming a dumb brute who flails at his opponent, barely remembering his fighting katas. Nagai wakes up and joins the battle, then the rest of the party. Konni is also Cursed and cannot fight well. Riku shoots a Fire Shuriken into one's face (Natural 20!), but the spell is nullified by the creature's magic resistance. The spirits are slain and Nagai attempts to help Jeffakou, but he is hard to keep still. Finally the curse is lifted, then Nagai helps Konni also.

Rock and Ruin
Travelling on, the party approaches their destination, a village built of stone on the mountainside. Miki notices the dimensions are wrong for humans, the doors are too low. Arriving at the ruins, they find humanoid tracks, but the footprints are double human sized. Are they giants? Exploring the village, they find the buildings are very old, but in good shape. There are no stairs, only ramps and the stone appears to have been molded and melded together, there are no signs of mortar. Hiro finds a statue of a lizard like humanoid, the builders perhaps? They also find human tracks and horse manure and eventually a building that was used as a camp by humans. Where the village reaches the mountain, there is a large tunnel. They enter and find more tracks, dried blood from a battle but no bodies and traces of blood magic…
Going deeper in, they are attacked by a group of strange, primitive humanoids. They are man sized, with cone like heads and oversized feet. They fight with stone weapons and give off a sickening odor. They fight fiercely and Riku is badly wounded and uses Vampiric Touch in desperation, but he is slain. Nagai tries to save him, but something blocks his healing prayers. The monster are killed and they drag Riku outside. Konni offers a healing potion, but it doesn't work. Hiro tries drinking a potion and it doesn't work for him either. Nagai decides it must be a sickness and uses Cure Disease and barely has time to heal Riku. He uses Cure Disease on the rest of the party, then they fall back to camp in the building so Nagai can meditate and heal everyone else.
Once the party has been healed mostly, they make camp for the night in the empty building they found signs in. Close to sunrise, Riku and Miki hear something outside. They are attacked by four of the coneheaded savages and try to awaken the rest of the party. Rei awakens immediately and joins the fight, then the rest of the party helps. They begin to kill the monsters, but more are gathered outside and continually replace fallen attackers. Nagai Blesses the party to give them strength and they stand fast and fight the attackers to the end. Once tha attackers are slain, the night is quiet, but the party is in need of healing again and many have been struck by the monsters' disease, including Nagai.
After resting, they again enter the tunnels, they follow traces in the dust and find a body, a human who seems to be dressed as a sailor from the mainland. But his body is covered with symbols drawn in his own blood and he has been slain in a blood ritual. Beyond him is an open door to a crypt. The walls have sealed burial chambers, but the room also has disturbed sarcophagi and remains of dead lizard man like creatures. A ship style lantern sits in one corner. They decide to have Nagai ask the spirits for help, he uses Commune with Lesser Spirit to find a spirit of the land and Speak with Dead to question the sailor's spirit. The sailor says he was murdered by Shintaro, Riku recognizes the name as a dark wu-jen from the province of Shinmiya in the empire. When asked where they were going next, he simply says "Back to the ship". The spirit of the land is more helpful, it says the tomb held the elders of this city and that four items of power were taken: the Crystal of Ebon Flame, the Spear of Lugh, the Stone of Destiny and the Elemental Ring.
Knowing the invaders came by ship, they look at their map and see the closest coastline is to the southeast, their may be a good bay to anchor in there to the south east. The tracks outside do lead to the south east, so the party packs up and heads that way, trying to follow what signs they can find. They push hard, but are unable to catch the raiders. When the party arrives on the shore, they find horses abandoned on the beach and a ship heading out to sea. Miki uses Speak with Animals to question the horses and finds they were abandoned in the interests of a fast escape. But the party's arrival on the beach has been noticed, soon something is een flying towards them. It is a strange beast, a bird headed humanoid that flies without wings, it seems to simply hang in the air. Its evil is palpable from a distance and the party attacks with spells and arrows. Some of the spells are dissipated without effect and when it gets closer it releases them against the party. It generates a wave of Fear, but the heroes stand fast and slay the monster.

The Long Voyage Home
The party gathers their horses and takes some from the abandoned horses. They return to the settled lands and sail back across the strait to the mainland and the port of Ryoko Owari and rest there before finishing the journey home. When they finally reach Jinchon, Mai goes to report their failure to Hachi Takahira. The captain listens without anger and tells her that she did well to return with out any more losses. They have also been investigating and their queries have reached the capital. The events that had already happened and the name "Daigotsu" have generated interest at Court. He understands they have had a long journey, but he can only give them two days of rest. Afterwards, they must travel south to the Imperial capital and report to one of the Emperor's Inquisitors to report on what they know.

Quotes and Smart Remarks
Discussing the tattooed monk's new Fire Breath tattoo
Kevin "It doesn't hurt friendlies, right?"
Jim "This is not a video game, friendly fire is <always> set to 'on'…"

JoAnne's samurai has a No-Dachi
Lee <sings> "Pass the No-Dachi to the left hand side"

Fighting a giant beetle
Michael "Why did the beetle cross the road?"
Lee "To get away from the monk"

Comparing how many languages the characters speak
Michael "I can speak Karaoke… I mean Hengeyokai"

The party fights some Bajang spirits, described as "ugly humanoids with clawed hands and bird feet"
Lee "Chicken goblins"
There were a lot of silly names for "chicken goblin" that somehow ended with Lee saying "Turducken"
Callum "Choblins"
Jim "Sounds like something southern; choblins and grits"
The Bajangs' battle cry:
Lee "Bucka Bucka Rawr!!"
Jim "I feel like that needs to be on a tshirt"

Lee's monk is Cursed and his Intelligence drops to 3
Lee "I roll better Initiative when I'm stupid"
Kevin "My inhuman rage is all I have"
Jim "They are like evil dryads, <spirits> bound to a tree"
Lee "They are treevil"
Kevin "Is that dumb you or smart you?"
Lee "Not much difference really"

Nagai is attempting a purification ritual but Jim had really bad rolls for him
Jim "The shukenja lights a circle of candles around you"
JoAnne "Is he able to complete the spell before he blows out the candles?"
Jim "That's why it took four tries"

Next battle, Lee keeps getting hits, but rolling minimum damage
Lee "The death of a thousand noogies"

Kevin rolls a natural 20, 19 and 16 on three attacks.
Kevin "I don't always roll a 20 and 19…"
Lee <Most Interesting Man in the World voice> "I don't always roll a 20, but when I do…"

Michael hits twice in a round and does 30 points of damage
Lee "What did you use? A sword?"
Michael "My lajatang"
Lee "And it didn't break?"

Discussing spells
Matt "I don't have Charm"
Lee "Don't be so hard on yourself"

In the cave
Kevin "We're really just walking on a giant tongue…"

They find the dead body of a sailor, ritually sacrificed by a Bloodspeaker
Lee "Is the sailor wearing red garments?"

The enemy is sailing away
Lee "If we build a wooden badger boat"

After a comment that JoAnne's samurai is female
Lee "Are you a girl in the game?"