ME7 / S21 / Lisday 39th of Astral, 88 AD (0:4:6/39) , 1 pm
Participants: Zanzaren Zharius(5/15000) , Corm(5/15000) , Flint Fireforge(4.25/10500) , Alphonse of House Capone(5/15000)
(Will we be seeing fireballs soon?)
A spider dispatched, and then some exploration
The second of the two giant black widows is taken out mostly by Corm, though Zan gets off an acid splash. There is further clearing of webs to reveal that: (1) the shrouded object turns out to be a monolith of black basalt, with a carving of the Gates of Night on the far face; and (2) that the opening in the far end of the room reveals a second hexagonal room, and the mirror image of the one that they are in, complete with blue light, monolith and gate and all. (Well, OK, not exactly a mirror image as the carving of the Gates of Night on the far stone is oriented correctly and not mirror reversed.) An additional difference is that there are only a few wisps of webbing attached to the frame of the opening separating the two rooms, and a complete absence of spider corpses.
Corm has a “sword moment”, and a little later goes over to the front of the monolith (not the side with carving). He says that “this will take us places”, and concentrating a bit produces a change in the near face: three rows of two different symbols light up. The top one has a blank field on the left and the flickering representation of a flame; the two images of the second row flicker as well, an interlaced snowflake and star on the left, and a single stemmed flower on the right; the last row has images which shine with an unwavering light, four wavy lines on the left and what looks like a figure eight turned on its side. The party puzzles over this for a moment, not touching or otherwise trying to operate or inspect the monolith. They decide to pass on.
The move into the far hexagonal room and out the door in its far wall. They travel a short distance (20’) to a T intersection, turn right which ends in a door. Going through this door they seem to end up in what they think is the second torch room that they had discovered. The configuration of the two 10’ wide openings in the far wall are: the right one continues straight for some distance, and light can be seen at the far end; the left one, goes a short distance before turning left again. The party thinks they understand this configuration. They notice there are chalk marks on the floor at the openings, smudged now, but still recognizably ones put down by Al when the party first understood these shifting passages. The smudging is consistent with some sort of traffic over both passages.
They take the left hand passage and eventually come, as they expected, to the place in the corridor with the circle of light, the trigger of the mud trap that they had discovered (and Corm had swum in). They look for possible signs of orcs being trapped within the now solid floor, and see nothing, at least above the surface of the floor. They return and take the right hand passage to the first torch room that they had discovered, continue through the door and enter the rough hewn chilled chamber, dimly lit by some of the vast varieties of fungi growing on the walls. Over the door at the far end of the chamber are four (where there had been three) green and silver puff balls. Zan carefully harvests two of them and places within two slots in the special case that he had commissioned just for carrying these puff balls. Counting the two in a wand case, he now has four in his possession.
Something “funny” about some walls
Taking their fungal booty, the party returns through the two torch rooms, take the first left, and enter the door of the second hexagonal room. Proceeding through both rooms they eventually reach the non-secret side of a secret door, which had on the other side a “pressure plate” discovered by Flint. At this point the corridor goes right, left and straight; left expected to eventually lead to the entrance to the under palace ; straight ends in a door which should open onto the padded room. They take the heretofore unexplored right hand turn, which goes 20’ before it takes a 10’ wide turn to the right. They reach the turn, and look down a straight hall that continues into the gloom.
Moving slowly down this hall, Flint notices that there is thin break running floor to ceiling in the left wall at the 70’ mark, with a similar break 20’ further on. They attempt to see if they (meaning Corm’s great strength) can cause the wall to move. Pushing just past the first break, Corm tries, once, twice, and mightily three times. On the third go he senses he was able to push the wall “in” a tiny fraction of an inch, before hitting some immoveable stop. The party passes on continuing down the corridor for another 30’ before it turns again to the right. After the turn the corridor ends in a door after 40’, with a 10’ wide opening to the right starting at the 20’ mark, which also ends in a door. They take that door to the right, and opening it, find themselves back at one of the hexagonal room, which more or less jibes with their expectations.
Be vewy, vewy, quiet…. we’re hunting owcs
They return to the pressure plate, and now take the door which, as expected, gives entrance to the padded room, where they had encountered poor Thanrice. The party in short order visits the entrance hall, the vestibule for the Gates of Night, the guest stables, and finally the old tack room. All through this expedition, the party has been on the alert for signs of the orcs, to better understand what their ultimate aims are in the plateau, the city, and maybe the under palace. In the tack room, they survey the raw opening to the right, where there had seen signs of excavation, almost two weeks earlier. The change is amazing. The entrance now essentially spans the entirety of the right wall. The excavation has been greatly enlarged, the floor sloping steeply down into darkness. You do a brief reconnoiter, and find a space that is approaching a hundred and fifty feet, with the beginnings of a variety of side galleries. By no means do you plumb this space in detail, but near the entrance you are able to find 15 sets of digging tools, but clearly sized for someone halfling sized (or smaller). The party loads up the 15 little pick axes onto the mule, and head out of the echoing dark, climbing back up to the tack room.
From there they decide to go back to the entrance hall, down the corridor and descending steps with the sound and light show, and into a room lit with silvery light, and hung with tapestries. This is the room that held the voracious carpet, but now in the center is layer of small individual loops of red fiber. Opposite their entrance, through a et of large double doors, is another similarly sized pair of doors. There are ordinary doors to the right and left. They exit out the left hand door into a 10’ length of corridor which ends in a cross roads. To the left and right there is short length of corridor and then stairs leading upward. Across is another stairway, but it is choked with debris from a fallen roof. The party takes the stairs to the right, which after 70’ reaches a T intersection. The left hand arm is also filled with fallen stones, so they take the right hand turn. It ends after 35’, with a door to the right immediately before the terminus. They proceed down to the end and find (1) there is a hidden door at the end of the corridor, and (2) Al notices again that the floor of the corridor seems to depress slightly when people stand on it.
… but find some miserable kobolds.
Opening the hidden door sheds light on a scene of incredible squalor. Ten kobolds, dressed in rags, blink in the light from the shiny wizard, are packed into a narrow room, only 10’ wide and 25’ long, with another door on the opposite end. The kobolds immediately throw themselves face down on the floor, scrabbling weakly and crying out for mercy in broken orkish. The party provides food and water to the grateful reptiloids. Al sees if these kobolds will understand draconic, and finds that they do speak it, albeit in a, to Al, strange and confusing dialect. The kobolds are all of the Black Scale tribe, who had a home two days distant from Plii. One night about two weeks ago, their home was invaded by a great army of orcs. It is hoped that most escaped into the labyrinthine mines. But about 20 or so were captured, and taken here as slaves, responsible for the great diggings that the party had just seen. They were taken to the site each night through the Gates, and then returned to an orc encampment outside the city before dawn. Two nights ago, security was light, so this group decided to escape.
The party, with the undying appreciation and loyalty of the Black Scale, depart out the far door. It opens, as a hidden door on a corridor that disappears to the right, and on the left side doubles back. The party goes left, and where the corridor turns left again to double back, there is another one of those sinking areas in the floor. They continue and after about sixty five feet they stop, though the corridor continues on straight: There is an entry to the left, which after a short flight of steps down ends in a door. And they again detect a “funny wall” , 20’ long between two hairline cracks, this time on the right. They go down the steps, open the door and find, to their puzzlement that it opens onto the tapestry/carpet room that they had been in earlier, with the double doors to the right and left, and a regular door in the wall opposite.
They leave this room, retrace their steps, go back past the still grateful kobolds and out to where they had come into the kobold room, with a door they had noted, now on their left. This door led to a great room about 60’ wide and maybe 70’ deep, bathed in golden light. A large object sits completely swathed in webs, about 25’ from the door, flanked by two grand staircases that descend to a lower elevation of the room. In entering the room the party is surprised by the attack of a phase spider. It jaunts between the ethereal plane and the material plane, making short attack runs with its poison bite. The spider is vanquished, mostly with a few mighty swipes by Corm (and aided by magic missiles by Zan). Al and Flint are bit, though Flint seems impervious to the poison, even if Al is not. (Corm takes a bite as well).
And this is where we leave our party.
What lies beneath the webbing?
Stay tuned for the next session of this episode.