The saga flounders on...
Party deaths: 8
Having obtained the rune and mantra for humility, we were ready to head for the shrine. I checked the online map, and my jaw dropped. The shrine was on the dangerous-looking island of the Abyss, so far east that it didn't even show up on the cloth map. Moongate travel would not be an option. Remembering our last ocean cruise, I proposed going to Skara Brae instead, but my fellow law firm partners were tired of hopping from one city to another without making progress. Jaana and Tubbs overruled me two-to-one. To the humility shrine it was.
Instead of taking the S.S. Rainz, we hijacked a pirate dinghy. The sailing was smooth, but along the way we stopped at the Lycaeum on Verity Isle to lose some nixie coast guards. There, I was told that I needed to meditate at each shrine for 1, 2, and 3-minutes cycles. Which means I'll have to go back to the shrines that I've already visited. The Lycaeum had a treasure room filled with untold riches . . .
but I didn't know how to carry it all without the guards noticing our suspiciously bulging pantaloons.
I explored Verity Isle and found Moonglow, city of honesty. There was a treasure chest right in the middle of town being watched by a lady named Mariah. She said very little, just looking down and shuffling her feet. No one knew what to make of her, so we quietly moved along. At the local microbrewery, we were told that the honesty mantra was "AHM," which ironically sounded like the mantra one would say while trying to think of a lie.
In the yellow light district, we found, at long last, a reagent shop—now we could cast spells! We bought some ingredients; Tubbs suggested that we do some hunting so we could buy more. A kid eating a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich told us the honesty rune was right by Mariah's gold. Sure enough, it was underneath the treasure chest; if we had looted the chest earlier, it would have disappeared and we'd have never found the rune. As we set the chest back down, we noticed that silent Mariah was gaping at Tubbs' reagent bag with childlike interest. We offered it to her; she handled it with reverent care. She took out some reagents and cast an impressive fireworks display that got the attention of the entire town. Looked like Mariah was a magical savant. We could hardly leave her be after witnessing her hidden talent, so we hired her on as an associate.
We roamed the island and tossed it up with lots of monsters, including undead:
. . .and returned to the reagent shop to buy 100 gold worth of every available ingredient. We climbed back on the dinghy. Mariah cast "Wind Change" to help us quickly reach the northern island where the honesty shrine stood. We prayed for one minute at the shrine, then found that we'd have to wait a while before doing the 2 and 3-minute cycles. To pass time, we checked out a strange cave nearby. Suddenly, the view switched to a first-person perspective. It turns out that we'd entered our first dungeon, the Dungeon of Deceit!
That's supposed to be a treasure pile, by the way. As we journeyed underground, we encountered many never-before-seen monsters, fiendish puzzles and deadly traps. Curious Mariah got killed by touching a blue stone laced with magical cyanide. At least she died before her benefits kicked in. With help of dungeon maps available online, I made it all the way to the eighth and final level. The altar was just paces away; my heart pounded with anticipation. Then I got notice that my party was starving. We'd run out of food, and everyone's hit points were decreasing with each step! As I panicked, I had trouble understanding the map, stumbling around until we all got killed by inexperienced-adventurer-eating demons. So close...