TI4.63: Deep’n’loopy – the Sarnas descent, part three

Characters for this session:

Jotunn, level 6 warrior

Cauleigh, level 4 warrior

Fennec, level 3 wizard

Crompton, level 3 rogue

ably assisted by their NPC allies:

Mizva, level 4 human warrior

Whitey, level 4 half-elf rogue

With Crompton being a PC again, I deal with the gear loss from last session. Crompton’s ancestral axe is broken, and its head is up with his pack; and he has lost 6 normal daggers. He decides that he is wearing his old green elven breastplate, not Jotunn.

Following a good rest up at the glittering cavern, the four Restorers and their two allies rapidly stage down to what we are calling the stage floor – a point where the abyss seems to end, though a rough-cut flight of steps down is available. The stage floor also offers a natural-looking extension, with the glint of water beyond; and a well-cut flight of steps up. They choose to mount the steps and soon find a long circular stairwell down, and no fewer than four exits off it: two leading to doors; one to a tunnel; and the last to an arch at the foot of a final flight of steps down.

Both doors are very dark, but one shows a tracery of silver runes – so they avoid looking at it and back away! Crompton, with Jotunn shielding him as much as he can, walks up a half dozen steps to examine the other – but quickly stumbles back from an chill aura of fear. At much the same time, Cauleigh notices that the whispering temptress’ voice – which seems to have no pattern of attack – is preying on the rearguard.

Passing up further magical investigation the van of the party reforms and it is Jotunn and Cauleigh who enter the tunnel. As he follows up with the light, Fennec notices that the juncture between the first section of tunnel and the circular-section brick tunnel beyond – a left kink – seems almost coincidental.

Here and there along the sewer-like brick tunnel, exposed bricks jut out distinctly. The clear light beam shows it extends perhaps 50′ then kinks left again. As Jotunn and Cauleigh step onto the brickwork there’s a distinct click! – and they both leap back safely as the entire tunnel revolves rapidly. Anyone caught in the tunnel would be bashed by the projecting bricks.

“Good grief…” – Fennec, not for the last time

After some two minutes the tunnel ceases revolving and there’s an undertone of grinding as the mechanism resets. It takes a good ten minutes. During that time the lead three toss around ideas for running through it, but are distracted slightly by meeping mole-men.

“They really don’t have any loot, do they?” Mizva, a little depressed

The party pass along the tunnel and through safely, and arrive at a vertical shaft, natural-looking above and a chimney-climb; cut stone steps below. The natural breathing of the dungeon caused by differences of temperature, and dripping of limestone-rich water, make a slightly eerie atmosphere.

Cauleigh waits for others to finish observation then heads down. Jotunn joins him. The steps lead to a flat, level shaft: at one end, a sturdy ladder affixed to the wall drops down through a narrow vertical shaft. An earthy scent is detectable. Fennec throws out an OTIS to check for traps and secrets: there are none. Jotunn and Cauleigh can just hear light scampering below.

Jotunn tests the ladder, finding it hardwood and affixed by good solid wood pegs. Peering down, with very little light (his shield-vambrace throws a blue glow) he picks out a pair of yellow eyes which whisk out of sight.

As he prepares himself for scrambling down Fennec adds a LF and Crompton a Cateyes: he lands in a broad, tall level shaft.

To his right, a well-cut and broad flight of steps up forms a T-junction with the shaft: which continues on to what appears to be a dead end or left-turn. To his left and a short distance along, the shaft drops away to a broad pit, whence comes the earthy smell. He can see the far side perhaps 30′ or so beyond: two ropes are fixed to the roof in line, so that a bold and athletic sort could tarzan-swing over the pit.

Cauleigh is next, the Fennec, Crompton and the rearguard. Cauleigh removes his helm to check airflow, and senses the strongest air movement from beyond the pit.

The pit drops perhaps 8′. Fennec explores it with the light beam. Perhaps 40′ across, not 30′. To his eye the far end of the shaft, beyond the pit, seems more natural than finished. There is definitely a cavernous opening beyond that.

Testing the earth in the pit does not tempt any zombies to rise, and nor does DetM. Jotunn ropes down and plants the second acorn. He decides not to push his luck further: Cauleigh and Crompton haul him back up safely.

As they next address the stairs/tunnel option, the rearguard is assailed by gibbering pseudopods! Crompton leaps back to help the pair. Mana is wasted as all magic is cancelled out! But perhaps the poison dust had its effect, for the fight is one-sided. Whitey bewails his decision to one again use his sabre’s zap power!

With everyone safe and sound, and the party order reestablished, the vanguard heads up the long flight of steps – reaching an unnatural truncation-point, where the steps turn out into a natural landing which slopes harshly back on itself, zags again, and up to become a rocky hump over and down to rock-cut steps down to a level, empty landing.

Fennec scrambles over to where he can see the landing and uses another OTIS, revealing a secret door opposite the steps down. The party gathers itself. Fennec, and Cauleigh once he doffs his helm, can hear a whisper “you’re close again.” 

Crompton probes around the secret door, [DAROs to L10 on DEX] and eases it open to reveal the back of the knee area of a very very creepy black stone statue. Further investigation by Fennec reveals the true deadly nature of this magical, and poisonous, statue trap. The party votes to not push their luck [though I believe Crompton has an ideal gadget for a statue trap] and retires.

Back at the T-junction they now swing right and find that the tunnel extends to a left turn at which there is a stupendously-arched massive double door. It is magical, and Fennec’s OmniEye reveals it is a magical trap.

The left hand tunnel leads to a much more modest door at its end. Investigations are interrupted by meeping mole-men, but after they are dealt with Crompton resumes, and finds that the dark door swings open into a stairwell. A slight noise is heard below.

As they attempt to decide whether down or up will be worth scouting, a sharply wry voice calls from below:

“You comin’ dahn ter shop or not?”

But before they can react fully the rearguard is attacked by demon spiders! Three rush along roof, wall and floor towards where the party is partly-blindsided by the stairwell. Fennec moves the light back and discourages them with BP; Crompton gets up close with Mizva to help defend Whitey, who uses an expert bowshot to eliminate one spider.

Cauleigh uses his demon-befriending whistle and holds one; Fennec throws LF on Whitey who shoots twice, killing the remaining pair. The “nasty beef tea” tasting TBT potion is used to treat Crompton and Mizva, who both felt demonic poison effects.

Back to Jotunn: In one of the two possible directions downward, a broad flight of shallow steps sweeps down to a vast reasonably regular floor, where a massive red-armoured form lolls at ease, supervising goblin servitors primping displays on half a dozen tables, and looking up at the newcomer expectantly.

“Looks like yer needs some armour squire,” one of the goblin merchants cackles. Merchants? Perhaps not – the half dozen Jotunn can see are all well equipped with light armour and weaponry. The armoured giant – perhaps a remarkably large Troll – rumbles something.

“Oh yes – welcome to Redbeck’s!” the goblin recites.

Shopping: Fennec identifies a few magical items; Cauleigh finds a couple of brownies on offer as slaves; there is any amount of possibly-valuable tat and grot that the goblins have unearthed or that has come via caravan.

Redbeck, after his whistle is wet by some of Jotunn’s good booze, explains (via goblin) that he has been here any number of years – though ‘here’ may not be where his career began because many years ago all the tunnels changed and trapped him here – and drifted bit by bit into becoming a shopkeeper, with the goblins as minions and partners.

[The goblins are quite persuasive salespeople and characters with low CHR are persuaded to purchase things.] Fennec wants to buy the magical leather gauntlets and does so; Jotunn buys a rolled-up painting; Crompton a silver dish. Whitey buys a bottle of alcohol, despite not really having any more places to attach it.

Crompton leaves his calling card in case they turn up a good bow; and Cauleigh [who does make L3 CHR] buys a magical spike shield for 300 and magical truth potion for 100.

In terms of exits the goblins claim the stairwell up leads up to trouble; there’s a kind of shaft venting the chamber up high they don’t explain; and there’s a set of steps down offering what sounds like a couple of paths down off a chamber…

“Come again soon… watch yer step,” the goblin advises after Redbeck reminds him.

Down they go! Trying to attach their newly-acquired treasure to places that won’t get in the way… Crompton tucks the dish down the back of his belt, Fennec dons the gloves, and straps Cauleigh’s spike shield to his back.

 

They appear to have come in from one arm of a Y-junction. Hard back, a smooth shaft runs level, but there’s also an opening ahead to a large natural cavern.

While similar to the stage floor – even to the point of featuring a huge bronze chain disappearing up into darkness and crude rock steps down – there’s no natural extension off it. So, other than back to Redbeck’s, they are left with further down, or back level, or climbing the chain.

A very nasty smell comes up the steps down. As they descend, the stench increases and is found to come from a troll-goblin midden cave: but they become aware even as a landing is seen below that fissures extend up above the steps, lost in darkness: and demon spiders are swarming down!

Between Cauleigh’s demon whistle and Regdar, Fennec’s GY, and Whitey’s use of a firebomb, only three demon spiders arrive in the first wave. Aside from poison on the defenders, these three fail to breach the defence. The Glued demon spider arrives to join them but the adventurers have the momentum and overwhelm the attackers. The remaining half dozen spiders, that the whistle gave pause, do not pursue as the adventurers finish their scramble down the last few steps.

Fennec uses more TBT for Crompton. But regardless, he is fairly badly hurt and Fennec offers to heal him. They decide to hang out at Redbeck’s again!

 

Ninety minutes of happy browsing and mana-recovering later, they have clubbed together to purchase a magical dagg (crude pistol). Fennec is still quite low, but Whitey is back to full and none of them want to keep spending on grot they can’t carry easily.

[I would have asked if I could buy a sack or three, and bought the brownie slaves to use as porters, but that’s me. And they might have run off with the gear…]

Since what the stair down was leading to looked very interesting, they retrace their steps, with a wary eye out above.

There’s a landing, indeed a square-cut chamber, and it’s dusty. And there’s a tall golden hourglass in the centre, and it’s next to a hole, from whence comes a dull red glow.

After cautious checking, runes carved in the stone floor, around the hole, are placed in the “demon summoning pentagram” class. But as Fennec moves closer to probe the hourglass, there’s a flash and a crack and he’s sealed in by a second, hidden pentagram!

0 Minutes: The hourglass rotates!

Jotunn probes it, and discovers it is one-way: you can enter but not leave!

With the way decided, the party enter. The drop is long, and the rope has to be fixed in place. (Other ideas and tricks are tried briefly but they are obviously on some type of deadline now.) They all take various precautions, such as eating fire-resistance gingerbread and enchanting non-magic weapons with oil. Whitey dubiously takes the Dust of the Radiant Sun, Crompton takes Skeletal Dust. Cauleigh primes his pistols and loads them with magic ball. Then they piton in, and rope down.

The hole leads down 50′ – a thick layer of stone – to a glowing octagonal crimson chamber! There are two arched exits, five closed and square massive iron doors or hatches, and one half-open iron hatch. To one side of the centre of the chamber, six levers jut up from an iron plate. Five are upright, one racked down. There is a letter at the base of each letter.

10 minutes: There’s evidence in the opened hatch that something was chained there. The two arches seem the best bet, so those are scouted. One leads to an ill-looking fissure, the other to steps up, or a deep pit with spikes below. Crompton and Jotunn take the lead upstairs.

20 minutes: This proves a poor idea, as it leads to a  series of loop junctions. At length, having avoided a pit trap, they descend and come to a massive, marble-and-gold-leafed double door. Four mighty warriors and rogues strain, and the doors are heaved open briefly.

30 minutes: Fennec spots some writing inside the frame before the doors have to be released.

Another try!

“Mighty Sezrekan Dreams”

An OTIS reveals a secret door off the other way, which allows a descent back into the loop system…

And at the 40 minute mark, they head back down to the octagonal room and the session ends.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s