This week in Carrion Crown, a Dan (Auberon Crane), Geoff (Andris Kreitov), Joey (Thadeamus Straw), Toby (Solis Lightwarden and his eidolon Gea) and Tyler (Alexandros Callimachi) and GM Hunter delved ever deeper into the lake bottom lair of the skum and what seem to be their new fungoid overlords.
Once the mi-go are dealt with, Solis, looking more wan than ever before by the light of glowing cave moss, insists he needs to rest. Kreitov and Crane don’t disagree too strenuously. A plan is crafted whereby Thadeamus casts rope trick and the rope itself camouflaged among the glowing moss throughout the cavern complex. Everyone scampers into the extradimensional space for some fitful rest, sleeping with one eye open and trained on the “window” looking down into the cave.
“Could we put these in the handy haversack?”
“Did you bring one?”
— Thadeamus and Alexandros
Eight hours later, they emerge refreshed in resources, if not emotionally. Solis weakly tries to dissuade the others from investigating the chambers from which the mi-go emerged, but they are undeterred. Most of the chambers are empty, as though they’ve been cleaned out. One contains a few stray parts made of a greasy black metal. Thadeamus pieces two together and abruptly disappears with a snap, reappearing seconds later and talking backwards at impossible speed. He blinks in and out of existence repeatedly while Callimachi and Crane look on in disbelief and growing concern. Just as suddenly, Thadeamus snaps back to reality with a crackle, somewhat perturbed at the holy warriors leveling blade and bolt at him, demanding to know who he is. At Callimachi’s great reluctance, the array of mi-go technology scraps are packed away for another day.
Further down from the mi-go’s chambers, they find a dead end chamber with that abbatoir stench. The rent remains of human and skum alike litter the ground. It’s as still as the grave — until the stone of the floor distorts and shoots upward into sharp-edged spikes and a ravening multi-armed beast with a vertically-oriented jaw snapping ferociously. The spikes divide the group in half, but Gea easily glides over them to join in the melee, which sorts the gug, as Thadeamus dubs it, in short order. The spikes persist after its death, so it takes a dimension door to get everyone out of the chamber without navigating its razor sharp bounds.
The central dome continues to beckon, leading the investigators down the southerly hallway. Kreitov and Callimachi sneak up on a trio of skum, two “modified” with exposed brains and inexplicable bits poking out, one corpulent and otherwise whole — that seem to be in the middle of stripping a shrine to Dagon, pulling gold and shell artwork from the walls. With barely a shared glance, the pair launch a volley of missiles, getting the drop on the chumps for very little payoff. In the course of the ensuing fray, it seems the unmodified skum is a priest of some ilk, calling down flame strike and wielding searing light. Inspection afterward reveals the skum worshiped Shub-Niggurath, not Dagon as one might presume. The implication there are factions forming among the skum, perhaps at the prompting of fungal overseers, is not lost on the group.
Beyond the shrine, the way forks again. To the east is something completely unexpected: a shaped, rectangular chamber, lined with columns and pedestals. In the natural cave system the skum inhabit, this crafted hall with 90 degree angles sticks out like a sore thumb. It must be a new addition by the mi-go. Certainly, it’s filled with their handiwork. The pedestals lining the hall each bear a glass cylinder filled with a bubbling, blue fluid in which are suspended whole brains. The sickening truth connecting the chamber of eviscerated human and skum remains and this room of brain cases sinks in with everyone. Solis slumps to the floor, murmuring to himself quietly. Kreitov and Gea guide him toward the hall. Thadeamus detects thoughts within the room, most of which are the screaming insanity of poor souls trapped in a sightless, soundless black void. Straw zeroes in the one whole mind in the room that isn’t one of his associates: that of Mayor Greedle, pleading for someone to help him. Fiddling with controls in the pedestal, the magician elicits first nothing but an arrhythmic clicking that puts everyone’s teeth on edge, then slowly brings forth the voice of the mayor, still pleading for help.
“They must have ordered it late one night off the electric radish.”
— Geoff on Mr. Chunder
The only help they can provide, though, is the peace of the grave. Grimly stone-faced, Crane and Callimachi go about removing the brains from the sustaining fluid as Thadeamus works out how to release the catches sealing their containers. As they perform last rites for the victims of the mi-go, Kreitov scouts down the other passage. What he finds is very nearly as unsettling: a dimensional shambler throwing skum corpses into the gaping, swirling bladed maw of yet another mi-go device of greasy black metal.
Doubling back, Kreitov updates the group. No longer completely swept away by the prospect of having the element of surprise on their side, as in the Dagon shrine, they take this opportunity to do a little preparation. Callimachi beseeches Iomedae’s favor for the group. Straw disappears in a pop, weighing the relative merits of fire and electricity against vegetable matter. Solis, in a heap on the floor and mumbling vaguely under his breath this whole time, nods decisively as Gea evaporates without warning, which is not her usual style of exit at all.
“It’s going to be better now,” the elf announces. No one is certain what to take away from that, so they opt to table questioning his meaning for now.
Thadeamus peeks around the corner to lob his fireball, which goes down a treat with shamblers and mi-go alike. Andris bolts forward and wrestles with a shambler, intending to hurl it into the mi-go chunderizer, but finding the shambler rather opposed to that plan of action. Crane and Callimachi join the fray at close and medium ranges, respectively, just as the air sizzles and something slithers into existence. It’s serpentine and vaguely Gea-like, but massively bigger with bony wings. In fact, there are bones all over, as though the serpent had been pulled inside out. Solis, around the corner and by himself, giggles deliriously, apologizing to no one in particular for stealing the book Straw found, On Abstruse Geometries, but he had to do something to give them an edge against these monstrosities, so why not fight Dark Tapestry with Dark Tapestry?
Crane’s skin crawls at this clearly evil monster from beyond, but it turns toward the shambler and mi-go, so that’s acceptable for the moment. Once they’re dealt with, however, the Gea-thing lingers on. Then this distortion of an eidolon, filtered through the Dark Tapestry, becomes the problem. Auberon and Andris engage the beast, discovering that as they deal blow after devastating blow and normally internal fluids spatter everywhere, it seems unflagged, almost as though something were feeding it vitality, as summoners are wont to do for their eidolons. Callimachi bolts back around the corner. Raising the butt of his crossbow, he savagely cracks Solis across the temple. The elf, worn, weary and perhaps forcibly drained of life by the Gea-thing, falls unconsciously to the ground, but there is no expected corresponding pop. The eidolon is stronger than anyone expected. The Gea-thing continues clinging to the material plane until Andris and Auberon finish it off completely. It vanishes with that same skin-crawling sizzle, leaving the four humans breathing heavily in the now-still cavern.
 Hunter brought up “evil doppelganger passwords,” where when a group splits up, they assign each other a line of poetry to recite on reconvening, just in case someone gets replaced by an impostor. It’s a pretty good idea.
 Callimachi remembering the last time he insisted Andris hold back for a moment. It didn’t go well for the hunter.
 Thus explaining Thadeamus’ extreme reaction to scrying for the mayor when he first disappeared.
 Dubbed “Mr. Chunder,” which the mi-go must have drunkenly ordered late one night off the electric radish.†
† The electric radish being the riddling mushroom that so vexed us in the previous session.
 And really, that was our out-of-game warning something was up. Solis never voluntarily dismisses Gea without extreme coaxing.
 Looking something like a venomthrope, as Hunter explained.