We had a nice PTF raid today. A basic exploration raid on Kizmia's Island [KI]. We decided to visit the Lyfe Cave and see if anything new could be found. This is where the Lyfe statue with a gem in the forehead is found. But I should start at the beginning...
We had a few people missing for this raid, but we also had a few guests that are interested in joining. It was the second time that Jo'Maril and Jeanne joined us. Today was a good day to go to KI, as the daylight hours corresponded well with our usual PTF time.
Kizmia's Island is a very difficult place, and it is inhabitated by Lyfe creatures. These look like regular creatures by day (various cats mostly), but turn into beasts at night. These beasts are much tougher than their daylight counterparts, and so a group must be much stronger to be able to navigate KI at night.
Another particularity of KI is that you can get infected by the Lyfe disease. This terrible affliction turns you into a hairy beast from sundown to sunrise. But, contrary to the creatures on KI, you are much weaker in Lyfe form than you are in your normal form. You also get strange urges, like eating the inside organs of people, and raw too! And, well, you smell awful too.
There is a cure for this disease, but it costs an enormous amount of money, something like 11k. You can also get a cure made, but you need to find the rare ingredients and they are not easy/cheap either.
Of course, the best thing is to make every effort NOT to get infected in the first place. Aside from not going to KI, you can also wear a catsbane necklace, which protects you from infection, but this also costs a lot of coins, although much less than the cure. I think it's around 6k.
You risk getting infected if you are killed by any of the lyfe creatures. The chances of infections are much reduced during daytime, another good reason to try to visit only during that period if possible. When you are infected, if it's not night at the time, the first signs you'll feel is that your teeth hurts. During nighttime you immediately turn into a Lyfe beast.
Yet another particularity of KI is that it's much easier to get on it than it is to get off of it. There are two entrances to the island itself, one is on the south side, near Umbrion's Keep, and the other is on the west side, near Fat Alice's hut. Both require a pathfinder to enter, but they are not too hard to open (at least the south one isn't). But the catch is that both of these are one-way paths. Once you're in, you cannot get out by the same place.
There are a limited number of ways to get out of KI. Aside from 4th circle healers that have the option of pendanting out, I know of three ways to get off KI. The first is to depart. The second is to get to the Ethereal Plane, either by solving Umbrion's maze, or by using an Ethereal Plane Portal Stone. And the third is by boat.
The third method seems to be the simplest, but the catch is that, when you land on KI, you crash your boat, and so you must build a new one to be able to get out. To build a boat you need two logs of wood and a barrel of tar, and then you need to go see an old sailor who shows you how to make your boat.
So to get out of KI you have to run to a place where you can fill a barrel with tar. This isn't as easy as it sounds since there are fire throwers in that area. Today Jeanne was unlucky and fell trying to get tar into her barrel. As anywhere else, falling near a fire thrower results more often than not into making you too fallen to be able to be raised. Sadly, since you need to build your own boat, there is no way to chain a fallen out of the island (not by boat that is). So poor Jeanne had to depart from the Tar Pit.
I think that Jeanne felt useless today and I worry about what she will think of this raid and of PTF after this. I know how she feels, I am not someone who contributes to the group in any obvious ways. I think that she can contribute a lot more than she thinks though. But KI is a place that is very hard, and you have to accept your own limits and concentrate on your strengths. There are plenty of things to do for everyone in a group like PTF, not everybody needs to be the star-killer or the star-healer. It is useful to be able to map, keep track of time or which snell we are in while trying to solve a maze, etc. For fighters, there are always other stuff to kill. On KI for instance, there are valley rats. These look like large vermine, but are much tougher, and they kill mystics quite easily. While I have to dodge this way and that trying to get out of reach of the Lyfe, and out of the way of the fighters killing them, I am a target for these valley rats. So it's very useful to have someone to take care of them, or to take care of the mystics if you want to look at it like that.
And of course, it's not the only way to contribute, especially for Jeanne. She is a member of Catenae for example, and can chain fallen out of tough situations. That's only an example. I hope she isn't too depressed after today. I'll have to fwap her a couple of times if she is...
So, back to getting out of KI! After getting tar into the barrels, you need to get everyone to their trees. There are many trees that are hollow on KI, and strangely, people of a specific combination of race and profession can enter a specific hollow tree. For instance I am a thoom mystic, and there is a tree that only thoom mystics can enter. Another tree let's only sylvan fighters pass, and so on. My tree is on the western side of KI, a snell away from the west entrance (and Fat Alice's hut). The other trees are spread over many snells right to the east side of KI.
That distribution of the hollow trees adds another difficulty to the task of getting out of KI, since you need to drop people in different snells that are quite distant from one another. As you drop people, your party gets weaker and weaker. You need to drop people either west to east or east to west. In either case you end up dropping key group members, either fighters or healers. And in doing so the risk of disaster grows.
Today, disaster struck. While the group was reduced and the last few people were trying to get to their trees, the party came to a place where they faced strong creature and many fell. Three people got infected by the Lyfe disease (Babajaga, Olmy and Drue'Dreemie). Later, Thuja, Slyph and Yor fell and there was no way to save them. Once into the trees, there is no way back. I am not sure what happened exactly, because I was the first into my tree.
When you enter any of the hollow trees, you get into a cave. Thankfully, every hollow tree leads to the save cave. There are tough beasts there too, but not tough when compared to the Lyfe outside. Still, a banshee is a banshee... /action shivers
This time I did not fall instantly upon entering this cave, so I tried to zu myself in a dead-end to wait for the others to arrive. Sadly a cave arachne slipped inside my wall before I could complete is and I was trapped inside with it. I am sure I'll get it next time.
Just before we left the cave, the Sun set. We were missing three people and we had to make the last part of the journey by night. And with Thuja, Slyph and Yor missing... We did not think our chances of making it were very good at that moment, but we had to try.
After leaving the cave you need to cross a water vortex, and get out on the northeast side (there is also an exit on the northwest side but I don't know where it leads). It's not always an easy task to cross it, and luck plays a part. Callia was rather unlucky on this trip. I am usually unlucky too, but this time I made it through on my first try.
After the water vortex you need to cross a couple of snells, one of which is snowy. Today I saw a ku flower growing right out of the snow there. It was very nice. Right after that we encountered a spawn of very tough lyfe. Since we were missing many people who had to depart outside their trees, these encounters were tough to deal with.
After trying to cross a couple of times and retreating, with most people on chains, we decided to try to run for the caves that we needed to reach. The lyfe were still between us and the caves, so the plan was for Iho to run them and for everyone else to try to reach the cave.
It almost worked. Most of us fell on the way, and those who tried to chain us fell too. In the end Iho chained everyone except the two that were already inside the cave. When we entered the cave we saw that Arkin and Shammy were alive but trapped in the first cave. Iho brought us to the second cave and raised a fighter to clear it out then went to try to help those trapped at the entrance. He fell almost instantly and so did the last few still standing. So, instead of the 3rd method of getting off KI (by boat), we ended up using the first method: departing.
But despite the depart, I had a good time when we explored the Lyfe Cave. It's a maze with strange scratch marks on the floor. There are a number of signs that you can see on the floor at various places if you look closely. The floor is covered with scratch marks, but among those you can see what are clearly symbols. There are smaller versions of these symbols at different places in tunnels and in rooms, and there are larger versions of some of these in a couple of places.
Entil has a theory on the meaning of most of these symbols. She has been there much more often than me and actually made a nice map of the place. I started taking notes on these symbols on our last trip these, and I will try to confirm her theory. I think I'll write a scroll in my research section on that subject. It's an interesting puzzle.
The other puzzle is who is Groar? What is the gem on the statue's forehead and how do we get it? Unfortunately, we were short on time (shorter actually than we thought, as we discovered afterwards), so we could not explore the adjoining cave to that of Groar. Apparently there is something interesting there. I hope I'll be able to visit the Lyfe Cave soon. It's quite an intriguing place, and I like intriguing places :)
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