|Sunt the Shifter|
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"It looks like Jort's
"life was short," Sunt passive-aggressively rhymes.
Adi steps into the room. "Let me see if I can open it. Juno, can you hold my toolbox?"
After stacking some boards flat on the table, the gnome climbs up and begins prying at the seams of the panel with a set of chisels and strange squiggly screws.
Disable Device: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (3) + 11 = 14
Take 20: 20 + 11 = 31
After a bit more than a minute, the panel springs open with a little tick noise. It sways back and forth, hanging on apparently still-oiled hinges. Above the table, the party can now see a vertical stone shaft about 2 feet by 4 feet wide with simple iron rungs bolted in every meter or so. It seems to go up about ten feet before turning northwards.
"Nice. Lets see what we can find. Who wants to go first?"
Nesica speaks in Thassilonian, and her runic tattoos alight. Small motes of light flicker along the shaft to as far Nesica can see.
Nesica casts dancing lights
Juno: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (2) + 8 = 10
Juno begins climbing. However, just as she's leaning over to climb up into the turn, the rung she's standing on comes loose.
Juno, you have about 12 hours to make a Reflex save or Climb check (then I'll roll for you, since it's not that important). A roll of 10 or less indicates that Juno can't grab a grip before falling about 20 feet, destroying the table (she can make an Acrobatics check to lessen the damage to herself, though). A roll of 11 or higher indicates that she manages to grab hold of the edge of the turn and stay up there.
Juno grabs hold of the ledge and and crawls her way into the horizontal section of the strange shaft. It's the same dimensions as the vertical section - 2 feet high, 4 feet wide - and continues for about 50 feet into almost utter darkness before turning yet again, this time to the right.
The rest of the party sees a puff of dust and a [-shaped steel bar fall onto the stacked boards on the table. Whimsy goes into the room and begins sniffing at the ancient body.
Nervous about ambush, she sheathes her longsword and retrieves her musket, ready to lay prone and fire if there's anything coming. "This is a really long shaft," she calls back down. "I'm on a horizontal part now, and really don't want to be alone up here if there's something here. Also, need some light."
"I'm sure I'd fit, but should someone stay back to look after Whimsy in case there are more of those crab things?" Adi calls up, standing on the table. She throws a torch up onto the ledge, then recites an unintelligible rhyming couplet and makes a sign of flame. The oil-soaked rags at the end of the torch catch fire and begin to give off a yellow light. She gets off the table and looks to Nesica and Sunt.
Nesica nods to Adi and calls up, "Coming Juno!"
Nesica, finding the table not quite high enough chooses to throw up a grappling hook to the first rung of the chute.
Nesica takes 10 to hit the rung (16) and climb the knotted rope of the grappling hook (11).
Once she has a bit of an angle, she shifts the conjured lights further up past Juno.
Nesica manages to get up to the first rung, and hangs there in midair. She's able to climb up to the rung that broke without issue.
Any tricks up your sleeve for the rung that broke? It's about 4 feet from [the horizontal entrance ledge] to [the rung below the broken one], which is also the last rung before the entrance. Acrobatics or Climb could get Nesica up without hurting herself, but the DC is higher than climbing with the rungs.
"Hey, Juno, I'm going to toss up the grappling hook. Can you grab it and secure it somewhere? The ropes pretty long." Nesica bundles part of the rope and tosses up the grappling hook to have it land past the ledge.
Juno's able to grab the grappling hook, since Nesica's so close. The halfling is easily able to climb up to the horizontal part of the shaft, should Juno continue inward to make more space.
Sunt calls up that she'll be staying with Adi and Whimsy to keep watch over them, since they're so badly wounded and are basically defenseless.
Sunt shakes her head. "Humans were not meant to go into such small spaces," the Shifter says.
Juno and Nesica crawl forward for several minutes, before coming to that bend Juno saw further ahead. At this point, the two of them would be in total darkness if not for Adi's torch and Nesica's light spell. The tunnel is warm, and rather dusty - at one point, Juno crawls headfirst into a wad of mouse-colored spiderwebs.
At the turn, the tunnel turns rightwards and expands upwards. It is now about a meter wide and 2 meters tall (Juno has to keep a weather eye to avoid bumping her head where the seams of two stones meet). As the halfling and elf stand up, they see that the tunnel here curves leftward immediately after turning right. There is a strange metal knob at eye height about 30 feet into this curving section.
Juno: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (5) + 8 = 13 Nesica: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 2 = 7
Following the leftward curve to its 60-foot extent, the two Explorers find that the tunnel suddenly - stops. And turns back into a shaft, going downwards to a rock chamber several dozen feet below. Rungs are bolted into the side.
Juno would like to spend some time examining the knob, to see whether it controls something, whether it's magical, whether it can be wedged in place so it can't trigger, etc. If not, she ties her 10 foot rope at the top of this shaft, and unravels it down into the room below. She looks at Nesica, and says "Should we flip to see who goes down?"
Juno: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (1) + 5 = 6
Juno can't work out the function of the knob after several minutes of fiddling. Nesica has to recast her dancing lights.
You can keep fiddling if you want, but when you're going down:
The two of them carefully climb down the ~40-foot shaft - finding that all of the rungs on this section are stable - and Juno ties her rope to the bottom rung. As she and Nesica carefully lower themselves to the chiseled rock floor, they find themselves in a claustrophobic sort of office-like room which would be lightless if not for the floating lights Nesica summoned. The ceiling is a little more than 6 feet high, and is made of dark grey stone similar to that of the plateau outside. The roughly circular wall, spaced with a diameter of about 15 feet, is carved from the same stone and is hung with what looks like a map and a pair of paintings.
The rightmost shows a different woman in full steel plate holding a sword pointed towards what looks like a Bandu tribal warrior dressed in the pelt of a chimpanzee. The woman's face is hidden behind her visor, but a glowing eye-shaped sunburst floats above her head.
You can make Perception, Knowledge (religion), Craft (painting), and probably other skills to figure out things about these paintings.
In the center of the room is a table, with a vial of very dried-looking ink, a couple quills made from what Juno thinks are eagle feathers, and a sheaf of dust-covered papers. At a glance, they appear to be written in Azlanti. Underneath the table is a chest with a lock on it.
In addition to the shaft the party just climbed down, there are two exits: one directly to the right, and one directly to the left. The one to the left is blocked by an iron-reinforced door, while the one to the right is open, revealing another 1x2 meter hallway.
To sum up: Map, 2 different paintings, 3 crates, papers, chest, door, hallway. You can also make general Perception checks to search the room, if you desire.
Yeah, Juno's fine with moving on.
As she enters the room, she's concerned by the paintings. She doesn't especially like Chelaxians, but one who felt comfortable with a picture depicting her brutalising Mwangi is not one she would ever want to meet. At least, not in a social capacity, as she fingers the musket trigger.
Knowledge Local, painting 1: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (8) + 5 = 13
Knowledge Local, painting 2: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (3) + 5 = 8
She moves on to the map, trying to figure out how this map differs from what she knows, and otherwise trying to memorise the general layout of the area.
Knowledge Geography, map: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (12) + 2 = 14
She will gently nudge the papers, testing their fragility. If they appear to be too fragile to pick up, she will leave them alone. If not, she will tuck them into her already bulging backpack.
After that, she will investigate the chest, and see if the can open it. She doesn't know how to pick a lock, and idly thinks that it might be a handy skill to have in the future, but she gives it a decent look-over anyway. And then she will investigate the contents of the crates.
Perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (13) + 8 = 21
Finally, rather than stumbling off down the corridor, Juno investigates the metal door, seeing whether it can be opened on their side, and where it leads to.
"They certainly like their cramped spaces, huh..."
Nesica starts her investigation by casting detect magic across the room and on the interesting objects. If she doesn't find anything, Nesica looks at the lock of the chest and pulls out a scroll of knock.
"I figured a bunch of lawful fanatics would keep their stuff under lock and key. So I a brought a lockpick."
Knock: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (12) + 13 = 25
She launches a bolt of arcane power towards the chest. It jostles slightly as the magic works into the locks, within and without.
Juno thinks the woman in the left-most painting is wearing rather archaic clothing, even for a Sargavan colonial. She doesn't have any idea what the right-most painting is depicting. When she looks at the map, she can tell that there's some sort of secret passageway depicted leading out of the fortress.
Nesica does notice some magic coming from two of the crates. Concentrating on the two sources, she determines they are faint abjuration and moderate necromancy.
Knowledge (arcana): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (18) + 5 = 23
Juno determines that the papers, while dusty, are in very good condition. She is able to roll them up and stick them through a strap on the outside of her pack. She then squats to try and open the chest. The lock does seem to have been, well, locked. But she detects a sweet-smelling, yet ammoniac and sulfurous, odor coming from the wood. She can't place what that smell reminds her of, but it certainly doesn't smell good.
Knowledge (engineering): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (5) + 5 = 10
Going over to the crates, she finds that one of them contains a complete suit of what looks like Hellknight full plate, complete with a molded flame symbol on the front and a white-painted helm with sharp backwards-pointing horns and a skull motif. Another crate contains two sets of robes very similar to those worn by the woman in the leftmost painting, though maybe sized for a larger build. The third crate contains what looks, smells, and feels like black powder.
Nesica's spell on the chest goes off without a hitch - the party hears a thick click as the lock disengages.
Juno can't find any holes in the metal and wood door through which to see. She does notice it has been barred from this side, but turning the knob, she determines that it has also been locked.
Juno says "The Hellknight armour is out, I don't think any of us can carry that back to town unless one of you has a bag of holding. But if someone could grab those robes, and if you could try to unlock this door Nesica, for a quick egress, we might make some good progress." She will then refill her powderhorn with the gunpowder, and search for any ammunition she can use, then roll up the map to take with them.
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Nesica claps and opens up the chest to look inside, pulling out and putting on the ground anything inside.
"No more scrolls, sadly. We might have to find another way around.
Nesica pulls out the helmet, frowns, and puts it aside. "Gonna need Sunt's help...but definitely magical, probably has some protective wards on it. Adi can help work out what.", she muses to herself as she pulls out the robes. Giggling from within the oversized fabrics, Nesica pops her head through the magical one and strikes a similar pose to the woman in the painting, wielding her quarterstaff in one hand, although the garb makes her look a toddler playing dressup rather than an intimidating hellknight.
She looks into the crate of black powder. "A little concerning. Must be for cannons. I bet we can get a lot for this on the market."
From memory, Juno started with 30 shots worth of black powder in her horn/s. Is refilling those enough to make a significant dent in the amount in there?
Juno looks at the room, and shakes her head in disappointment. "We need to get a bag of holding someday, or at least a cart, if we want to bring back hauls like this long-term."
As soon as Nesica lifts the lid on the chest, she hears a whoosh.
Make a Reflex save, Nesica.
Nesica can make a DC 10 Knowledge (engineering), Craft (alchemy), or Intelligence check to realize that there's some sort of incendiary stored in the chest.
Nesica takes half of 4d6 ⇒ (3, 2, 6, 2) = 13 damage.
The flame quickly burns up the lid of the chest, and Nesica and Juno recognize the oily consistency of pure alchemist's fire underneath the billowing flames. The fire quickly engulfs the table, and the room begins to fill with smoke.
Nesica takes 4d6 ⇒ (6, 6, 2, 2) = 16 damage. Juno must make a Reflex save, DC 15, to halve this same amount of damage.
Armor Reflex: 1d20 + 3 + 4 ⇒ (18) + 3 + 4 = 25 Robe Reflex: 1d20 + 5 + 4 ⇒ (20) + 5 + 4 = 29 Too bad I didn't end up rolling for Nesica, huh? 4 damage to each, before hardness.
The armor seems untouched, but one of the robes, though not actually aflame, seems to melt in the heat - only a few shreds of cloth remain. The other robe melts completely.
No fire lands in the black powder crate, but some lands on the outside, and the wood begins smoking.
Coughing and spluttering, Nesica batters off any loose embers still on her clothes. Seeing the carnage, she immediately looks to the crate of gunpowder and casts drench. A torrent of water pours from a miniature rain cloud into the box. The flames on the box are put out, and the contents run through with water.
"We *cough* can put out the fire. Just have to *cough* smother it. I have a way. Help me up. Down the hall."
The fire continues to sputteringly roar, and Juno and Nesica can feel wind rushing past them as they stagger into the corridor's relative safety. The smoke isn't so bad here - but there doesn't seem to be much air at all to speak of. Splatters of alchemist fire land on the rightmost painting, which is immediately consumed.
Make another Reflex with a +4 bonus as you get into the corridor.
Armor: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (8) + 3 = 11 Robe: 1d20 + 5 + 4 ⇒ (10) + 5 + 4 = 19
All the crates apart from that with the gunpowder go up in flames.
The firelight lets the party see further into the narrow corridor, which goes on for about 7 meters. At the end is another iron-reinforced wooden door with a keyhole above the handle.
Nesica is going to wait for Juno to move forward before moving herself, but before doing so, she summons a gout of conjured wind towards the largest of the flames, leaving it to push against the flames and the smoke away from the corridor.
Nesica casts gust of wind
"Check if there isn't any more...traps. I'm...not doing very good."
Perception: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (3) + 8 = 11
Juno can't see anything but her eyes are stinging from smoke and she's distracted by hauling Nesica. "I don't see anything, but I can't see all that great. I'm just going to open it and hope it's not boobytrapped, otherwise we're dead."
Giving people a chance to talk Juno out of it, but otherwise she's going to try to open the door.
Chest/table: 1d100 ⇒ 85 Crates: 1d100 ⇒ 56 Both regions of the fire remain lit.
Nesica's spell blows a wind out of the corridor, keeping the fire confined to the office-like room. The flames begin to lick at the door in that room, and the fire in the black powder is kicking up a lot of smoke, but the corridor she and Juno are crammed into is suddenly much cooler and quieter. It's also devoid of air.
You're currently used up and haven't been able to replenish about 2 rounds of oxygen in your lungs/bodies, and won't be regaining any here with the fire right out there. Each movement or standard action loses you another round of oxygen, but you have a limit of twice your Con score . . . so you'll probably be okay, if you can get the door open here and there's air inside.
Juno discovers that the door is locked, though the lock looks pretty delicate.
DC 17 Strength to break it.
oh boy, strength, her best stat
Strength: 1d20 ⇒ 10
Seeing the lock hold fast, she sighs, backs up a foot, unslings her gun, and aims it at the lock. waiting for confirmation or a "no, no, don't do that"
Realising there's not even enough air in the room to fire, she just grips and braces the musket to bash the stock against the lock again.
After some hasty searching, I don't see any reason a firearm with black powder (which provides the oxygen for its own combustion) wouldn't work in a vacuum. Juno knows that if she can make a DC 15 Knowledge (engineering) check.
Juno doesn't manage to slam open the door, and tries to bash in the lock.
Strength: 1d20 ⇒ 9 4 rounds of breath for Juno, 4 for Nesica, used now.
This was meant to coincide with Juno's action, but
Nesica begins summoning some assistance from...literally nothing.
water elementals: 1d3 ⇒ 2
TWO watery copies of Nesica spring from nothing, one near the gate, one within the burning room. Nesica makes some sputtering gurgling noises to indicate for one to start moping up the fires while the other helps with the door.
Water elemental Strength check: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (11) + 2 = 13
Nesica Strength aid check: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (9) + 1 = 10
The water elemental in the room rushes around in every available space, seemingly putting out every fire they touch along the way. (Particularly the ones around the magic items and crate)
The gust expires just before Nesica begins summoning, allowing enough smoke and breath-less air to roar back into the corridor that she can enunciate her words. As the air rushes back in, flames lick all the way down the corridor, but they're thin and yellow.
The water elemental Nesica summoned into the room begins extinguishing fires, starting with the remains of the crates that held magic items and the already thoroughly sodden crate of black powder. The water elemental she summoned into the corridor pools its way past Juno, somehow getting an expectant expression despite not having a face, and waits for her to move back so it can try to push open the door.
Nesica offers the water elemental clone a leg up, but is suddenly engulfed by it's form. Instead, she's lifted up instead.
Words in Aquan ripple in its form, only audible to Nesica's attuned tactile senses.
"Blub blub" "Grab the lock, silly!"
Realizing somewhat what the elemental intends, Nesica grabs onto the lock and shoves her quarterstaff in the lock's loop and holds on. The water elemental meanwhile begins to pull Nesica backwards in order to force the lock open. The force of its internal torrents allows it to use Nesica's aid to put greater force on the lock.
The second elemental looks into the corridor and seems to roll its foam eyes. Once it is done, it enters the corridor and aids.
Elemental Main: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (2) + 2 = 4
Nesica Aid: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (10) + 1 = 11
Elemental Aid: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8
Elemental Two: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 2 = 6
Nesica: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (20) + 1 = 21
Elemental Two: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8
With one final tug, suddenly Nesica and the twin elementals find themselves flung backwards. Picking herself up, Nesica finds the broken piece of the lock on her. The three look at each other and raise their hands in joint excitement.
Then Nesica realizing she is dying and starts pointing towards the door.
The elemental behind the party finishes putting out the fire on the door and around the chest. It can't douse the alchemist's fire in the chest without risking splattering it all over the room, but it gets the wood of the chest good and wet to keep it from breaking too soon. Hissing hot steam fills the room and wafts down the corridor behind the elemental as it joins its clone, but the steam doesn't seem to be hot enough to cause injury.
Meanwhile, the humanoids and their elemental allies take turns bashing at the door in the claustrophobic 1-meter-wide hallway. They don't have much luck, and are quickly running out of breath. And then Nesica shoves the elementals out of the way and wrenches the lock off the door all on her own.
Breath: 9 rounds used for Nesica, 8 for Juno. Two more rounds of elemental help remaining, by my count. Current order is like Juno - elemental 1 - Nesica - elemental 2, with elemental 2 being closest to the door and Juno being furthest back.
As she gets back to her feet, one of the elementals pulls the door open. Nesica is nearly bowled back over by a cool wind rushing into the corridor, but she holds her ground and sees the room beyond. It is another cylindrical chamber, but with a 5-meter radius and a ceiling going up at least a dozen feet. In the center is a spiral staircase made of painted white metal, with no railing and each step constructed to look like a large feather. The floor slopes downwards in rings of steps, each ring being colored differently - the ring closest to the entrance is gold, while the next rings are white, black, white, green, and black.
Arrayed around the highest ring are pairs of long chains with dangling manacles - ten in total. Six of the manacles have skeletons still trapped in their embrace.
Behind the staircaise and a little to the left, looking from the entrance, is a white 1-meter-wide pedestal with a golden longsword resting upon it.
Nesica replies via gurgling some water from her waterskin.
Meanwhile, Nesica walks back into the hallway, draws out the wand, and tries to activate it.
UMD: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (11) + 9 = 20
CLW: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 = 4