S09E14 - Three Times Down the Cliff

Jun 16, 2024  – 

The fight with the golem continues. Mao and Carnivore retreat to one end of the bridge while Avilos and Ellie, magically slowed by the golem, retreat to the other. While Mao continues pulling an unconscious Chos away from combat, the cleric critically fails a death saving throw a second time, but luckily can use an inspiration point from the group’s pool and uses it to narrowly escape death. On her turn, Sophi shifts her position, casts Thunderwave, and pushes the stone golem off the 90m high bridge. The group then rejoices with comments of the form “It wasn’t that hard,” but, moments later, they hear the massive golem get up at the bottom of the narrow valley and start walking alongside the river.

The stone golem.
The stone golem.

The heroes assume that the golem is coming back but that it will take him a while so they explore the bridge in the meantime. Sophi finds a hidden letter inside the golem’s pedestal. It tells a poignant love story involving the golem’s creator, Arinya, and her husband who died at the hands of fanatics of the Nine Gods. More out of the pain of loss than anger, she built the golem giving her life in the process. The melancholic atmosphere that the letter created gets replaced with strong cravings when Sophi reaches the part in the letter that describes a powerful amulet that the golem is likely to be wearing. The heroes cross over the fallen part of the bridge, their original goal, and take a short rest while they wait for the golem.

An hour later, the golem is back. He returns to his pedestal and switches off. The whole party then gets close to the cliff’s edge, and then a buffed-up Sophi goes back to the bridge, as stealthily as she possibly can. The heroes hum a tune that in a parallel universe would be considered the main track of a Mission Impossible movie, while Sophi casts Mage Hand and, very carefully, tries to take the amulet away. Sadly the golem’s head is too big and the amulet gets stuck. Sophi makes a quick tug with the hand, but it wakes the golem up who then chases after her. Sophi crosses the chasm with a rope they had attached while the rest of the party is firing at the golem. Surprising the heroes, the stone golem sprints and jumps over the six meters long chasm landing on Salida who screams in pain as she’s crushed by the massive monster.

The massive stone golem crushing Salida as it lands at the edge of the cliff.
The massive stone golem crushing Salida as it lands at the edge of the cliff.

A round later Sophi re-positions herself, casts Thunderwave once again, and sends the golem down the cliff a second time. More injured than before but still with plenty of energy, the golem gets back up and starts walking back. The heroes pepper it from the top of the cliff for as long as possible until it disappears down the valley.

Uncertain about the creature’s total life, the heroes come up with a different plan to get the amulet: Mao will try to crack the amulet’s chain, grab it, and come back. As a safeguard, Ellie casts mold earth on the edge of the cliff hoping that the golem will fall if he jumps again from the bridge to the heroes.

Another hour later the golem is back. Mao crosses the bridge, activates her barbarian rage, climbs on the golem’s back, and while she’s holding herself in the air with her legs wrapped around the golem, she hits the amulet’s chain and breaks it. The golem’s red eyes look redder than before. On its turn, it grabs Mao and throws her off the bridge crashing into the riverside 90m below. Combat with the golem restarts. The golem sprints and jumps over the chasm once again. Ellie’s trap almost causes him to fall, but the lucky construct rolls 20 and remains firm on the cliff’s edge. The previously confident Sophi gets smashed into unconsciousness in a single round, but the heroes have worn the golem out enough that when Avilos casts Thunderwave using his last spell slot, the golem falls down the cliff and dies shattered into pieces.

After murdering the poor golem, the heroes haggle with the baboon monkeys that had come on the bridge and grabbed the shiny amulet, and get it back for twenty goodberries.

Once that’s done, Ellie “Feather Falls” from the bridge into the river, transforms into a crocodile, rescues the lifeless body of Mao, and brings it back to the group. Despite providing her with first aid and CPR, Mao turns out to be completely dead. And with the Soulmonger still active on the island, even if they had spells to revive her, it wouldn’t work.

The heroes burn Mao’s body on a big pyre they create up on the bridge while Avilos performs a beautifully poignant song in Mao’s honor. The baboons stop their chattering and come to see the ceremony while they eat their magical goodberries.

Mao’s funeral, attended by the party and the chatty baboons.
Mao’s funeral, attended by the party and the chatty baboons.

Two nights after resuming their journey South, the heroes wake up to find a disemboweled snake on top of Chos’s tent. Sophi investigates it and finds a “Die” message written on one of the gored snake skin fragments. They believe they’re now on Ubtao’s or Heart of Ubtao’s territory and that the snake might be related to one of the Nine Trickster Gods, but the heroes can’t figure out what this means.

A day later the heroes come across a 100m high spire with smoke coming from its stop. Salida mentions that the tower was uninhabited before. When the night comes, Ellie turns into a giant wolf spider and explores the four levels of the spire where she finds, but doesn’t engage with, four hidden wolf spiders who may or may not be druids from other adventuring parties, a cave that looks empty, a cave with flying dinosaurs talking in a guttural and unknown tongue, and a top level infested with more flying dinosaurs and the leftovers of many dead creatures. On top of this top level, there is a man-made tower that goes up for a few meters and has a magical ball of fire burning at its top.


The episode ends with Ellie wondering what to do next.