Tshilaba goes down after the rest of the crew. He needed to not be left behind on this one. Besides, it was pretty exciting. He took his time down the rope, trying to keep his grip in the wet and the mud and made it to the bottom. The Varisian took his time looking around as well, but just moved enough so that others could come down if they wanted. With all of the debris around, it was going to he hard to make things out at first, but when they got farther in it might be easier.
Climb, take 1010 + 1 = 11
Perception 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (9) + 1 = 10 Also, want to make note of entrances and exits.
Sasha reached the ground unhurt, climbing down the wet rock as if it was a rope. She took longer than the rope-climbers, but her self-satisfied grin as she reached the ground spoke all too loudly she considered to have "won" that challenge nevertheless. However, as their eyes adjusted to the even darker twilight, her reaction changed to surprise and wonder.
The group stood in a vaulted hall, its roof only cracked open at the gash, which split it relatively close to the base. In time, this gash would surely spell the end of the vault, as it would spread and ultimately rip the whole construction apart. The floor was even, and relatively sparse.. other than the floor patterns, which converged to a raised platform, which maybe was an altar or some kind of well at the center of the vault.
The floor was littered with rat droppings in almost even amounts. The rodents had seemingly taken a liking to this vault. Here and there, bones could be seen, most of rodents, but a few of larger animals, and one particular set seemingly humanoid in origin. The humanoid skeleton lay close to the platform, maybe struck down by some kind of ancient mechanism.
Tshilaba took an inventory of the entrances, and found two former entrances, other than their newly-made rift. To the east and to the west, meticulously aligned, there were ruined stairs, shattered and collapsed and grown through by roots. Probably indistinguishable from normal ground on the outside.
Misha grinned at Sasha's self-satisfaction and gave her an approving look. That's the spirit of adventure! She thought to herself.
As her eyes adjusted to the light, she re-summoned her four little orbs and directed them around the area to light up this way and that. She took particular interest in the humanoid skeleton, and she leaned over carefully to examine what or who it might have been, and what killed it, as it didn't seem to be the fall into this place itself.
Perception 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (14) + 4 = 18
"Careful there Misha, something killed it, don't fall prey to the same trap or whatever it might have been."
Concerned with possible threats presented by the alter/well/platform thing, Henry keeps an eye on it, trying to discern it's purpose.
Perception: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (20) + 6 = 26
Knowledge(Dungeoneering): 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (18) + 5 = 23 if archaeology or history would be more appropriate add +1
Rats? I hate rats. The Varisian shuddered a little when he saw all the droppings and readied a spell to cast if any rats came out. Those little vermin would rue the day they saw this sorcerer. "Also, keep an eye out for vermin. That many droppin's make me nervous."
N'gawa makes a face at the sight of all the rat droppings. "Filthy!" He moves over to the east entrance and holds up the light to examine the ruins of the stairs. He looks to see how far down it is to the next level and whether he can see anything from there.
Perception 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (11) + 5 = 16
"Finally, something I'm familiar with!" exclaimed the hitherto silent halfling. "Now, what's going on in here...."
Perception to inspect skeleton for gear: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (11) + 6 = 17
Perception to inspect skeleton for any obvious cause of death: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (16) + 6 = 22
Trapfinding just in case: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (15) + 7 = 22
Seems like this is the one chance you have of entering a dusty cave, Tshilaba. All it takes is a lightning bolt from the sky, apparently.
Siera jumps down into the hole, grabbing the rope midway and sliding down quickly.
Whoa, what's down here?
Acrobatics check: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (18) + 7 = 25. Climb check: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (10) + 8 = 18.
Zababa examined the platform very carefully, and rummaged at the skeletal remains. Zababa was unable to fully ascertain what it had once been... it had either been a tiefling, or a twisted human. Whatever it had been, it had suffered, twisted and its bones locked in unnatural positions. Not a shred of clothing or flesh remained, all devoured by the ravenous rats.
The skeleton still held on a silvery ring on its right hand, the band clasping a single small ruby.
What had taken the life of the explorer came to Zababa more as inspiration than as actual knowledge. The floor tile was finer around the central platform, each shard smaller. The geometric patterns grew runic rather than abstract - some form of sorcery protected the platform. The heavy steps should be safe - but getting there was a risky jump, even with a running start.
Henry grew concerned, though. The cracks of the vaulted ceiling were slowly bleeding sand-like soil, and the water of the storm began to seep into the cavern. Worse, a high-pitched sound, like piglets calling for their mothers, began to rise. His fears were vindicated when, from an almost invisible hole, three rats emerged almost at the same time, followed by a gush of water.
The clever subtlety of the tiles around the platform forming the means of some kind of magical trap astonished Zababa, who called out to his companions, "Beware the tiles around the platform! They make some kind of magical trap, which - I'm pretty sure - is what did for this poor guy. We might be able to jump across, but it'll be tricky."
At the sound of high-pitched squeals, Zababa drew his dagger in wariness; the island and its environs having proved plenty dangerous with wildlife.
N'gawa turns to listen to Zababa about the magical trap, when the sound of rushing water and squeals gets his attention. "Henry, what is tha-" He's cut off as the rats and water come out of a hole near the floor.
"Henry, what do we do?! Is it safe to stay?"
Normal rats, not dire rats? And is the water threatening to fill up the chamber or just make our feet wet?
"Zababa, you've got the best jumping legs among us, get a running start and get to that platform. N'gawa and I will hold off the rats while you get that ring and check out the alter. Misha, Siera, Tshilaba, concentrate damage on the rats, but beware the pattern on the floor that Zababa pointed out. The roof of this place is gonna collapse soon, let's hurry before we're buried in this makeshift tomb."
Rats, I hate rats, though they might make some good eating over the fire tonight.
Henry strides forward, drawing his kukri and slashing at the beasts while providing space for Zababa to make his running leap.
Initiative: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (15) + 4 = 19
Kukri Attack: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (14) + 5 = 191d4 + 4 ⇒ (4) + 4 = 8
As Misha was also peering over the corpse along with Zababa, she withdraws carefully as Zababa points out the patterned tiles.
Upon the arrival of the water and the rats, she quickly draws her swords MA at Henry's direction.
Initiative 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (14) + 2 = 16
If there is a convenient rat she will swipe at it. But she does not want to stray far from watching Zababa's back, so if there is not a rat close by, she will ready an action to attack any that try to approach her or get past her to get to Zababa
If/when needed, attack: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (10) + 2 = 12
And I just noticed a mistake I made in character creation, see discussion....
For those who hadn't seen Tshilaba cast a spell before, there is an unpleasant effect upon the viewer. The spell he was casting was offensive in nature, but his eyes began to bulge, his skin began to drip, his whole frame looked like there was something else lurking within its Varisian suit.
Initiative: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5
"This smile can stop a tiger, what can you do eh, rat?"
With that his hand reached down for his component pouch subtly while his mouth stretched inordinately wide. Each of his teeth gleam in a variety of colors and lights flew from his component pouch into his open mouth. When he closed his mouth which had already stretched to double its normal width, and the lights shone out of his mouth in streaks of color.
Color Spray, aiming for uninjured rats first, trying to get more than one in the area of effect. DC 16 (17 if rats are considered inhabitants of the jungle.
Initiative: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (9) + 3 = 12
Acrobatics: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (12) + 9 = 21 I assume that makes it over the tiles and onto the platform, since a long jump DC of 20 is a 20' jump.
"Well, if you insist..." Zababa looks around for a clear space to get a good running jump, backs up, and runs forward, leaping over the tilework and onto the platform. Unsure of what else he was supposed to do, he reaches down and grabs the skeletal hand still clutching the ring.
You are facing a rat swarm. It acts at initiative 7 each turn
Henry and Misha heroically flung themselves against the rolling mass of rats, and their frantic strikes and slashed thinned out the horde somewhat - but it seemed for every dozen rats they slew, twice as many returned.
Tshilaba unleashed a magical assault he hoped would drive them back, but the rats kept on gnashing and gnawing on his friends.
Damage from the Swarm:
Misha - 2
Henry - 6
Please make a DC 12 Fort save
Zababa seemingly had the only vantage point that was not at arms length to a rat - they seemed to instinctively avoid the central circle of the chamber
Tshilaba cursed his luck. Curse those mindless creatures, wouldn't know a good show if it bit them. He did spy that the rats tended to avoid the runic tile in the middle of the room, so he tried a different tactic. He waved his fingers toward the tile and his fingers extended by several inches as they waved hypnotically and unnaturally through the air.
Suddenly the tile in the center of room began to spread across the floor, encompassing a larger portion of the room and extending to the place where the rope was still swinging. He focused his mind to make the image as foolproof as possible, to keep the rats from spreading into their escape lanes.
"If this illusion doesn't slow them down, we are going to be in trouble. I'm running out of tricks. Try to get back to the rope!"
Fortitude 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (6) + 1 = 7
"There's too many of them, we can't take them out one by one..." But Misha herself has no means of dealing damage other than by her swords, so she waits to see how the rats react to Tshilaba's illusion (she will move if she needs to to help maintain the illusion).
Encouraged by the absence of painful-shriveling-twisting-magically-induced-mutation-painful-death, Zababa hauls up the skeletal hand, rips off the ring, and puts it in his pocket.
"I got the ring! Let's get the Hells out of here!"
Tshilaba's magical manipulation was remarkably effective. As the inner, tighter pattern began to waver and expand before their eyes, the rats began to lose all semblance of coherence. The previously frantic shrieking wave fragmented, and became a torrent of rats all stumbling over one another, some braving the pattern they had learned to fear, others rushing into the ankle-deep water... whatever panic they had previously shared was lost now.
Zababa managed to pry lose the ring from the dead man's hand, just as Henry managed to produce the maybe least impressive jump of his life.
Despite the still-frantic shrieks and scuffling of the rats, the most present danger was dispelled.
Tshilaba smiles a droopy smile as he backs toward the rope, maintaining his illusion. As long as he wasn't distracted, he could keep this up, and it wasn't a bad plan to keep it going. Who knew what else might come out in this place. Getting up out of here might be rough, but at least he did his part. One of these days he could learn to fly. Until then, maybe he can get them to tie the rope to him and pull him out.
"I'll... keep... this up... in case... they... come back..."
Acrobatics to jump over the magical trap: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (13) + 9 = 22
Zababa leaps effortlessly over the small tiled runic pattern, and takes one last look around.
GM TerraNova, are the stairs at either end passable, or fully blocked up?
Misha's eyes widen, for once being genuinely impressed with someone other than herself. "That was great, Tshilaba!" Misha follows everyone else as quickly as she can manage, resheathing her swords.
"Is everyone okay?"
Sasha gruffly nodded, slipping down the rope she had begun to climb in the confusion again. "I'm fine. I think Henry's the only one other than you who got worse than a scratch."
She moved back towards the central dias, tried to figure the original diameter of the trap. "We got a ring, but let's examine the central column a bit closer. I doubt the rats'll be back anytime soon."
Tshilaba blushed a bit at Misha's words, but held his tongue about that. concentration on the illusion was his primary focus and allowed him to set aside that for now.
The adrenaline in the Varisian was starting to ebb, and he realized their danger was a bit less now. If they left, they wouldn't necessarily have an opportunity to come back. As Sasha went toward teh central column, he adjusted his illusion to leave a couple inch gap between the original tiles and his own fake ones.
"I'll be keepin' the illusion up for a little while longer, just in case. Look all you like." he said.
N'gawa stays by the rope though he is grateful that the rats seemed to have backed away. He helps Sasha back down the rope.
As the others inspect the dias and the tiles, N'gawa watches the tunnels for any signs that the rats may return. Or for anything else that decides to follow them.
"Wait, what? I thought we were leaving now. Huh, oh well. I suppose we can actually take a look at this ring, now," chattered Zababa.
Perception of ring: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (6) + 6 = 12
"Huh, looks pretty ordinary for me. Rather annoying, to have had to jump over that magic thin to get it. Anyone else want to take a look? Henry? Oh, what's that you said, Sasha? Yeah, that's a good idea now that you mention it. After all, whoever made this place didn't do so for the fun of it!"
Perception of central column: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 6 = 7
"Looks like a stone pillar or something to me." He shrugged in defeated-curiosity-indifference. "Whatever was here must be long gone. Or I'm just not seeing it."