The town of Torch has long enjoyed a singular claim to prosperity—a violet flame that burns atop Black Hill in the heart of the town. This flame burns incredibly hot, and while it’s usually the size of a bonfire, several times a year the fires spew up into the heavens in a brilliant beam of purple violence. These eruptions are presaged by about an hour of soft rumbling, giving nearby smiths a chance to retreat before the fires can consume them. At all other times, the violet energies allow for the smelting of all manner of skymetal.
Torch is one of the only locations where skymetal can be worked with relative ease outside of Starfall, and its entire economy has risen around these purple flames, with traveling smiths coming from across Avistan to pay for the opportunity to work with them. Of course, Torch needs all the visiting trade and coin it can gather, for while the town’s distance from Starfall makes it inconvenient for the Technic League to maintain a permanent presence here, the taxes and tariffs it charges the Numerian town on a monthly basis are significant. The town prospers, but the bulk of its income does not belong to it.
Which is why, when the fires atop the hill suddenly go out, the town is in trouble.
Missing Councilor: Ever since Councilor Khonnir Baine, one of Torch’s more powerful wizards and a well-liked individual, went missing on his second expedition under Black Hill, the citizens of the nervous town have edged closer to outright panic. With their hands full handling the growing refuse and waste problems in town now that their primary disposal method is gone, the town council is eager to find out what happened to Khonnir and rescue him—they’ve made public a reward of 4,000 gold pieces to any group that can recover Khonnir’s body; if he can be returned alive, they’ve promised to throw in the scroll of resurrection they’ve been holding on to in case they need to revive him. Interested parties are invited to speak to the council at Town Hall.
Black Hill Caves: Khonnir Baine discovered the signs of unusual traffic on the banks of Weeping Pond, and shortly thereafter, the submerged tunnel that provides access to several heretofore unknown tunnels under Black Hill. His emergence from the caves with a deactivated semi-humanoid automaton sparked worries that something strange might be going on in the caverns, but when he failed to return from his second expedition a few days ago, those worries turned to outright fear. Several other adventuring parties have gone missing in the caves, and Torch finds itself running short on new volunteers.
The four of you are all conscious of the crisis facing this community. Where do you first come together to talk about how you will be part of the solution? Some possible locations include:
- The Copper Coin: One of the older taverns in the city
- Silverdisk Hall: A local gambling establishment
- Evercandle Inn: A pleasant place for non-locals to sleep
- The Boarding House: Temporary housing for transitory groups
Big Oleg began his day in the usual manner, coming to with a bit of a hangover and checking to see if he didn’t give away all of his coins to someone he doesn’t remember. “Ten..fifteen…ooof….thirty….looks about right” A few bottles of ale make everyone friendly, after all, and Oleg always helps his friends. Too often, it’s just the local louts and drunks. It has been a long time since Oleg got asked to do something other than lend a fellow hard case a few coins. Saying his own thoughts out loud, Oleg mumbled ”Today will be a better day” quickly followed by “I need a drink to clear my head”. Getting his meager valuables together (one does not leave much of anything unattended at the boarding house, as it is much more “affordable” than Evercandle Inn), Oleg made his way downstairs, where he tossed a perpetually angry looking woman the 2 silvers for another night’s stay. She thanked him with ”Get a job Oleg, maybe go get that reward the council is offering, then you won’t be late with rent!” Oleg smiled back as if the woman just offered heartfelt advice and began the walk to the Copper Coin Tavern.
As the unusual situation around town has not resolved itself by itself, Oleg has spent his days sitting at the Copper Coin slowly spending his money on cheap drinks and gossiping about the problems of the town. When someone looking to do more than just talk about the problems shows up, Oleg usually offers his help, if he isn’t too far into the day’s drinks. Sadly, most don’t take Big Oleg up on his proposals. Perhaps OIeg’s friendliness comes off as incompetence. Perhaps they don’t believe Oleg’s claim to have experience in exploring. Perhaps no one wants to hire a fat drunk guy. And so, like yesterday, with renewed hope and a good attitude, a smiling Oleg ordered his first drink of the morning. Sipping slowly on the mug of mead, he begins to gossip about the problems in town with everyone around, whether they know Oleg or not.
Gather Information: 1d20 ⇒ 8
Cinder storms out of the Evercandle Inn, where her family had lodged after entering Torch the night before. Her parents had been strangely quiet in response to her questions about reserving time on the hill, and it was only when Juniper burst out that the flame was gone, did her parents admit to not seeing it on the approach from Blackpipe.
The Torch was her hope to clear her eyes from thier cloudy sight, and she would not stand for it to be out!
Cinder set forth to the Copper Coin, in hopes that their may be others who knew more of what was going on, and if there was any progress in re-lighting the Torch.
Gather Info:1d20 + 3 ⇒ (8) + 3 = 11
Gather Information = 8
Oleg checks around with folks, and one of the laborers he bought a drink for yesterday, fellow by the name of Jarden, says, "I always figured Black Hill was hollow - Khonnir's recent trip kind of points tp that, but now he's gone missing. There's probably some big, ancient ruin right under our very feet. I'd wager a drink on there being some kind of maching down there - the kind what Khonnir works on - that fuels the Torch.
"You gonna go look for it, Oleg? Council's offering a pretty purse for the one that figures this out!"
Gather Info = 11
The locals are a tough lot, but not without compassion to one with clouded vision. Doors are opened and chairs pulled out for Cinder to sit, and a few drinks are offered by some of the young men of town. One such workman, a Kellid mason named Jokum, says, "Your spirit reminds me of another woman who came to town several days ago - beautiful, but with the strangest purple hair! ... Now that I think about it, I'm not sure I've seen her around town the last couple days. Have any of you?" The other locals nearby shake their heads, some with puzzled looks, others look more concerned. "Huh, strange then," Jokum concludes before offering to get you another drink.
On a rock near the front entrance of Torch sat a man reading a leatherbound book. At his side lay a musket so weatherworn that it is difficult to visualize the thing as ever being new, although the addition of a shoulder sling was definitely not part of the original firearm. The man had been coming to that same rock for the past two weeks - since he came into town, in fact - finding it a nice spot to both begin and end his days. And why not? The rock was wide and spacious, granting him ample room to stretch and write in a journal he kept, and the rock gave him a spectacular view of not just the Numerian expanse at sunrise and sunset, but the night sky and violet flame of Torch.
Ever since Torch's flame died out however, Sasha's special spot on the rock became a bit less spectacular; besides the loss of the very thing that lured him to this town in the first place, a foul miasma assaulted his nostrils on a daily basis - the consequence of using a now-dead flame as your dump - and made it difficult at times to concentrate on his reading.
This was one of those times. Finding a place to end his reading, Sasha tucked the treasured article of his past life into a place near his breast, and slid off the rock with natural grace. Taking his rifle and slinging it over his shoulder, Alexander made his way to another of the places he routinely called upon; the Copper Coin.
Hopefully there he could get a breath of fresh air... And fresh breakfast.
Alexander enters the tavern, and the woman behind the bar gives him a nod while wiping down the counter. Her name is Katina, and along with her brother - Lawton - the Ramos siblings keep this establishment thriving with great food and drink at very reasonable prices for the local laborers. However, like the other townsfolk, they know their success is only possible while the Torch burns, and they are concerned.
When Katina gets a moment, she walks down the bar to you and says, "Good day, outlander! How is your reading today?"
After a long walk scavenging around Torch, Bosh feet burnt with too much walking and Krasu his raven had become a nuissance pecking his haird as it got hungry, Stupid bird...I already fed him all I had.
The recently bad new of the disappearance of one of his mentors and the flame extinguished had him in a bad mood, it will be more hard to get skymetal to run experiments and for Bosh that meant his mind wouldn't be busy and he didn't like that, it was bad for business.
He wanted to help somehow, making plans and putting his mind to fly but that wasn't enough, he had to take action...not alone of course.
He walked towards the Copper Coin, he was thirsty, hungry and if he didn't get food for his raven fast he would have to strangle it or risk getting all his hair pulled out.
At the door, he shook the dust from his robe and cleaned his boots, Krasu posed on his head and yelled "Worm! Worm!",
"Shut it" Bosh answered and fixed his hair.
Alexander was evidently not the only one who thought the Copper Coin was a good place this morning; at the bar was a giant mass of fat and muscle that Sokolov has seen more than a few times since he came to town, and some seats off was a short, eerily attractive woman being offered drinks by the local men.
Finding his own place to sit nearby the mustachio-d Oleg, Alexander had enough time to prop his musket against the bar before Katina came over, "it is going well" Sasha answered with a smile, his words thick with accent, "almost done with the Pyatiknizhiye, will finish tonight."
Giving the barmaid his order (eggs, bread, sausage and water), Sokolov watched her walk away before he settled into overhearing the conversations going on about the tavern.
Gather Information: 1d20 - 1 ⇒ (5) - 1 = 4
Cinder is rather happy about the attention, but it is overshadowed by the constant rumors and worries about the Torch. So blinded by her own problems and her missing hoped solution, she has finally had enough.
"Jokum, yes?" She turns to the first to ply her with drink, "You said another woman - Purple hair? - had gone missing? How likely is it that she went into these newfound caverns?" She frowns, then stands and addresses the tavern. "How many have gone to try to re-light the Torch? No matter that some have not returned, the life-blood of this town, of ALL of us, is gone. I'm going to go and try to bring it back myself! Who is with me?"
Gather Information = 4
Alexander overhears one metallurgist talking to another, "I do not understand! I've been working here for a month, I pray to Brigh, I put hand to metal, and what happens? The piece comes out looking fine, but unable to do what I want it to do! Swords that feel balanced are and of good edge swing wide and cut like a spoon. What can I do?"
His compatriot laughs, even with the gravity of the situation, "I'm sorry for your troubles, but did no one tell you about the gremlins? The pests are always breaking things or running off with someone's supplies, but if your pieces are coming out like that, they must have cursed you! They've been trouble around here for years - probably they live under the hill. Come, let's go see Joram Kyte and see what he can do about your curse. Hope you have a full purse with you, though..." The two finish their drinks and head out into town.
"Who is with me?"
The men around you hang on your words, but at your invitation, they all shrink back into their seats. Jokum, in particular, seems to now look quite uncomfortable sitting next to you, and stammers, "But what would we do? We're just metal workers, not warriors!"
"If the lady wants to go down the caves, I may be of use but just the two of us could be dangerous, I suggest add more muscle to the company." Bosh answers to the call of the lady, while speaking pieces of bread falls from his beard, realizing this he cleans it and pulls his beard with his metal painted fingertips.
He looks around, fixes his sight on Oleg and smiles.
"I've got some knowledge of the ground but I wouln't dare go too much deeper on my own..."
Alexander grinned at the overheard conversation; even in these strange lands there was unmistakable familiarity in their banter, although from what he's seen Sokolov couldn't deny the poor metal-crafter may very well have a curse on him...
... And then the attractive young woman a few seats down sat (and spoke) up, apparently as tired of the flame's disappearance as the other villagers, but courageous enough to volunteer to venture forth for a solution.
Alexander chuckled at the people who sat back down, calling out to them "Odin s soshkoy — semero s lozhkoy!" before he turned to Cinder and replied mirthfully, "I have nothing better to do, smelaya zhenshchina, so I will join you in this task."
With a soft huff, Sokolov sat upright in his chair as he looked about for Katina (and hopefully, his order), "but before I do, I would like to have my breakfast."
Oleg continues his drinking and his conversation with Jarden: "Yes, I might go looking for it, why do you ask, you wanted me to come along with you?" Oleg waits a few uncomfortable moments for a response from Jarden, watching him grimace in search for a suitably impressive excuse. Before he could come up with something to say, a young woman shouted her resolve to explore the caverns. Oleg laughed "Hah! Looks like you're off the hook Jarden" and patted Jarden on the shoulder a little more heavily than he meant to.
"Young lady, if you're going to explore the caverns, I've got some climbing equipment and the strength to pull people back up when we're done." Oleg smacks his amply sized but undefined bicep. Then humorously adds "and I am NOT a metalworker hah!"
Looking over to Bosh, Oleg answers: "Don't worry, I've been waiting to do something other than keep this place in business, if the lady will have me, I'm with you"
Then turning back to the young lady, Oleg says:"Jarden here thinks there is some machine in the caves that Khonnir went to tinker with. If we are going to go looking under the Black Hill, maybe we should talk to the council and look for him too. They can at least tell us which rumors are true, and I heard the reward was.." Oleg spreads his hands wide "biiiiigg money"
For a moment, Cinder looks suprised, though at the excuses of the metalworkers, or the surprising calls to her 'banner', none can tell.
"Ah, well..." her eyes flit over to the man with the broken speech. "Breakfast first, of course. Then to speak with the council, I suppose. It was one of their own to go missing. And a reward for finding him, you said?" she directs the question to the large man.
She gestures the others to join her near the foreign man, still waiting to eat. "My name is Cinder, I'm a tinkerer by trade, from Blackpipe. And all of you?"
Looking at each person in turn as they came to crowd around him, Alexander furrowed his brow as the one called Cinder spoke, "I am Alexander Ivanovich Sokolov, from Veliky Novgorod, but you can call me Sasha. I was to be ordained as a priest, but..." Sokolov shrugged, sighing as he finished, "... It's really a long story, one best not told over breakfast, da?"
"...over breakfast, da?"
Alexander's plate of eggs, sausage, and bread arrives shortly after his words.
The other townsfolk in the room take heart at your initiative, and several encourage you - when you've finished eating and drinking - to go to the Town Hall and inquire with the Council there.
Bosh walks towards the woman and the other two, grabs a seat and stares curiously at them,
"I'm Bosh, Of the Firebeard, you can tell why by the color if my hair" He makes a big smile and messes his hair,
"I'm an arcane user specialized in metal works and I was raised under the light of the purple flame, if we found rare metal down there can I keep it? Can my crow come with us? I like the idea of searching for Khonnir" Bosh speaks very fast showing his excitement, then he eats his breakfast while listening to the others.
"I am Oleg Dhuzy, but everyone just knows me as big Oleg" Oleg smiles warmly as he responds to Cinder and Alexander, then jokingly adds: "I am an ex-merchant and an ex-husband, now I mostly help people here and there when they need a strong back."
Oleg takes a moment to approach the bar while digging around his pockets for some coin. He looks to Katina and motions for four drinks, handing her the payment. She fills four small glasses with something strong and clear. Oleg turns to you all lifting his glass and loudly declares a toast "To my new friends, and to success!".
As he ate, Sasha listened to the others introduce themselves. Oleg, or 'Big Oleg', reminded him of people he's met back in the Old Country, and if Oleg was anything like those people than Alexander would be smart not to start a brawl with the meaty hulk. Bosh on the other hand, was more of a curiosity; a "mage", and a midget besides! Although the bushy-haired redhead's height was apparently natural for his kind (Dwarves, Sokolov remembers hearing them be called), Sokolov has yet to see exactly what magic in this world was, although if folklore was any indication Bosh will be shooting lightning out of his fingertips and turning people into toads.
Alexander quirked an eyebrow when Oleg offered him a shot of what was either vodka or (as the Americans call it) moonshine; whatever it was, the thing curled his nostril hairs. It was a foul way to start the morning, but to deny a toast... Well...
"Daweitje wypjem sa uspjech naschewo djela!" Alexander replied, downing his drink with the others before finishing his breakfast, paying the bill, and preparing to leave with the others.
Cinder listened with curiosity at Sasha's words, trying to puzzle out the language. It didn't sound like one spoken at home in Blackpipe, or here in Torch, a much greater town. While she was able to choke down the liquor without too much coughing, Cinder was disinclined to have anything else, trusting in her earlier breakfast to keep her level.
By the time the others were finished with food and drink, she was impatiently shifting in her chair and glancing at the door outside.
Breathing water is a strange sensation, especially if it's the first time you've ever done it.
You arrive at the town hall, and are ushered into the main council chamber to meet Dolga Freddert, an old dwarf woman that still seems to posses plenty of vigor. She leans upon a powerful looking warhammer as though it were a walking stick and sizes you up. "Well, I'd ask if you are the best at what you do, but if that were the case, you'd probably have already come here to see about helping our town out. No matter. Whether you are here to to help the town, or just in it for the money, I'm glad that another group of you has come to help, both locals and visitors."
Though the old dwarf woman is abrupt with you, her relief that you are present is obvious. "Truth be told, we've sent four expeditions under Black Hill to figure out what's wrong with the Torch since it went out eight days ago. The first team was a group of halfling adventurers, the second a group of local thugs. The third group managed to come back once, probably thanks to Khonnir, but after he went back in again and didn't return, then the fourth group, a small adventuring party devoted to the worship of Brigh from out of town, tried their luck. Haven't heard from them, either." She shakes her head.
"At any rate, we need someone to look into this problem. The council's reward still stands at 4000 crowns. In addition, we need Khonnir back - he's a pillar of our community, and folk are worried that things he put in place are going to fall apart without him. I figure he's dead, but we can do something about that if so. If not, the scroll we'd have used to revive him is yours."
She gestures you over to a table and points down at a map of the town. "Whatever is happening is going on under the surface of the hill. The other groups entered the Black Hill Caves here," her stubby finger points at a small pond on the northwest side of town. "Unfortunately for you, that means going in by way of Weeping Pond. Khonnir noticed a large number of human footprints on the pond’s banks—he was there the day the fires went out testing the water to ensure it hadn’t suddenly grown more toxic—and he realized that a sizable group of people had entered the pond but had not emerged.. Councilman Kyte is up at Crowfeather Palace, and will provide you with the enchantment necessary to stay underwater long enough to get into the entrance of the caves." She points out each location on the map, relative to the town hall.
"I'm sure you have questions, and as eager as I am to have you underway, I want you to be well equipped before you head into the caves. Once you’re on the job, I’ll give each of you a writ that you can show to any of the merchants in town for a flat twenty percent discount on any gear you need to purchase—I wish I could offer a greater discount than that, but that’s the best I can do. Further, Val, Khonnir’s adopted daughter, has closed down her father’s tavern, the Foundry, for the time being. She’s told me that any group that’s going into the caves to look for her father can use the tavern, free of charge, as a headquarters and a place to rest between forays. Finally, the entrance to the caves is flooded. You’ll need to swim a bit to get to the caves. Joram Kyte has agreed to cast water breathing on any group to aid in entering the caves—free of charge, of course. You can find him at the temple of Brigh or up at Crowfeather Palace when you’re ready to go."
If you have unanswered questions for Councilwoman Freddert, feel free to ask them.
It's probably not a position you were imagining yourself in when you first walked out the doors of the Copper Coin.
You emerge from the temple of Brigh after your brief meeting with Joram Kyte. The temple was full of pipes and gears, wires and bolts, and enough clutter to satisfy the most curious gnome for a good while. Joram was quite ready to assist you with a prayer to Brigh that would permit you to breath underwater, though given the number of you gathered there, he had to retrieve a special rod of power to extend the length of time that you can be underwater.
Normally, when one prays mechanically, it could be said that there is little to no personal investment in the prayers - one is only doing it because one ought. Not so for those who are priests of Brigh. They are possessed of a unique passion that makes the most technical and exacting of language come alive as only one who worships a goddess-that-may-or-may-not-be-herself-some-form-of-construct can.
At any rate, after the spell is cast, Joram says, "There, that should do it. You should be able to breathe underwater for about 6 hours. You'll still get wet, of course, and the water will go through your system, but you shouldn't drown. Just try to keep good track of your time, or be ready to hold your breath and swim quickly. Fortune be with you - bring Khonnir back to us quickly!"
It is made particularly difficult when that water is somewhat polluted.
After submerging yourself into the pond, you found what was essentially a forty-five foot passageway into the hill - it is dark, but between Bosh and Cinder you are able to create magical light for Alexander and Oleg to see easily enough (When you cast light or dancing lights, what does it look like?). You emerge from this passage into a small cave, each of you coughing from the foulness that pollutes the water of Weeping Pond.
Alexander: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 4 = 7
Bosh: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (14) + 3 = 17
Cinder: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (10) + 0 = 10
Oleg: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (7) + 7 = 14
Alexander and Cinder in particular seem affected by the water, and your system revolts against the poisons that are attempting to fight their way in.
Dampness hangs in the air of this cave, condensing into heavy moisture on the slick, stone walls. The calm, dark waters wind around to the east up north, along a stony, soot-scarred beach. A five-foot-high ledge sporting several stalagmites rises to the east, beyond which a low-ceilinged cave beckons.
Though your own lights offer illumination in the cavern, you find it curious that there is additional illumination coming from the top of the ledge. The source soon reveals itself in the form of three enormous beetles!
Alexander: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (14) + 4 = 18
Bosh: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (18) + 2 = 20
Cinder: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (5) + 1 = 6
Oleg: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 = 4
ENEMY: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (12) + 0 = 12
Alexander: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (13) + 2 = 15
Bosh: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (20) + 3 = 23
Cinder: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (18) + 3 = 21
Oleg: 1d20 + 0 ⇒ (15) + 0 = 15
You all easily identify these things as Fire Beetles. They glow! But they don't spit fire or anything like that.
COMBAT: Bosh, Alexander, Beetles, Cinder, Oleg.
Nice rolls btw.
@ Temple of Bright
"I'm always excited when I come here, is full of metal...you can stay here looking at things forever" Bosh eyes shine with excitement and has a hard time staying in place while the others talk to Joram Kyte.
@ The pond
Bosh does a small gesture and says something in a strange language "láta ljós að gera", his hair starts glowing in a fiery red and he lift his headgear letting out four small little flames that grow big and circle around them,
"Let's keep thing illuminated" he smiles.
Like this little flame
"Fire beetles! Watch it!" Bosh aims his crossbow to a beetle and shoots
Attack: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (12) + 2 = 14
Dmg: 1d8 ⇒ 3
By the time they encountered the fire beetles, Alexander had retched more than a few times due to the toxic water, panicked when Joram Kyte cast some magic spell over him, and had yet another meeting with another midget.
All in all, this was a terrible start, and the ragged look of the water-logged Russian made it all too apparent he was acutely aware of this. However the presence of the fire beetles lightened his spirits; at least now he had a chance to shoot something.
Raising his rifle, Alexander took aim at one of the beetles and, with a squeeze of the trigger and an explosion of gunpowder, fired!
Attack: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (14) + 6 = 20
Damage: 1d12 ⇒ 4
Each of the two beetles takes a solid blow, but seeing fresh food enter their domain is too sweet a prize to ignore! All three quickly flap their chitinous wings and close the distance quickly between themselves and your party, biting at Alexander, Bosh, and Oleg:
Beetle 1 vs Alexander
Bite: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (18) + 1 = 19
Bite Damage: 1d4 ⇒ 2
Beetle 2 vs Bosh
Bite: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5
Bite Damage: 1d4 ⇒ 2
Beetle 1 vs Oleg
Bite: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3
Bite Damage: 1d4 ⇒ 1
As Alexander discharges his rifle in the cavern, Oleg winces painfully. "Awgh, that thing will bring the ceiling down on us!" The deafening roar of the weapon distracts Oleg momentarily and he still has one finger in his ringing ear as everyone jumps into action and the beetles advance on the group.
Oleg looks down on the insect attempting to chew through his thick boot leather and grimaces in disgust "Egh! You filthy bastard, I've got a boot for you!" Oleg kicks at the insect with all of the weight his fat leg will allow.
Unarmed Strike: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (10) + 4 = 14
Damage: 1d6 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4
Looking at the beetles attacking the others, Oleg shouts "Get behind me! If these things are hungry, they have plenty over here to distract them" Oleg pounds his belly "And I'll make them earn every bite!"
The beetles press their attack despite the cracks forming in their shells.
Beetle 1 vs Oleg
Bite: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (15) + 1 = 16
Bite Damage: 1d4 ⇒ 1
Beetle 2 vs Oleg
Bite: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 = 4
Bite Damage: 1d4 ⇒ 1
Beetle 3 vs Oleg
Bite: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (4) + 1 = 5
Bite Damage: 1d4 ⇒ 3
Edited to better reflect Oleg's threatening stance against the beetles.
One hour ago...
She ponders a bit more. "He also said that he found some strange, smooth wall down there in the caverns. Looked to be made of some kind of metal alloy that's hard as could be, from Khonnir's description. Only thing that hard is starmetal. Maybe adamantine? I'd have to see it myself to be sure."
Taking a quick five-foot step behind the mountain of meat, Alexander aimed his rifle once more at a bug and fired, growling in that unintelligible tongue of his, "Vot tebe!"
Attack: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (14) + 6 = 20
Damage: 1d12 + 1 ⇒ (12) + 1 = 13
Oleg winces as the pincers of the beetle pierce into his flesh. "Damn vermin!" He uses his free hand to draw the hand axe hanging from his waist and then crashes it down onto the head of the beetle that bit him.
Attack: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (2) + 4 = 6
Damage: 1d6 + 3 ⇒ (6) + 3 = 9
The weapon lands at an awkward angle and deflects off the insect's hard carapace. Oleg grimaces and complains "We're off to a good start, everyone else must have snuck past these things!"
And this is what I get for sleeping during the day!
While she knows the big guy is hardy enough to defend them all, Cinder is not one to wait in the back like a wallflower. She picks out one that looks a bit more battered than the others and attacks.
Claw 1: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (16) + 1 = 17
Dmg 1: 1d4 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 2 = 6
Claw 2: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (19) + 1 = 20
Dmg 2: 1d4 + 2 ⇒ (3) + 2 = 5
[dice=Claw 1]1d20+1[dice=Dmg 1]1d4+2
Hit and hit!
Cinder's positioning is good enough for her slashes to tear chunks out of two of the beetles, and Alexander's second shot explodes through the third, splattering still-glowing ichor across the far wall of the cave.
Combat complete! You have earned 405 XP by defeating 3 Fire Beetles.
Though the beetles are no longer moving, they continue to shed light like torches, giving you a chance to look around a bit. The chamber is perhaps twenty feet by thirty feet. You entered from the south; the ledge is to the east; to the north, relatively still water comes round a corner that bends the cave to the east.
Alexander: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4
Bosh: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (18) + 2 = 20
Cinder: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (6) + 2 = 8
Oleg: 1d20 - 2 ⇒ (19) - 2 = 17
What do you do?
"Stupid bugs..." Bosh complains and puts away his crossbow,
Looking around the chamber, Bosh pops up a small lens to get a better look around the ledge, he touches the stone and grabs some dirt,
"Mmmm..She's right, let's check this side first. Seems like someone climbed here and not just one person, maybe a group of people"
Oleg starts to put away his hand axe then pauses as he considers something. He bends down and hacks away a glowing chunk of fire beetle. He then takes it to the water and submerges the chunk, observing the results with a satisfied grin. Oleg then puts the glowing insect flesh in one of his pockets with a satisfied grin. Turning to the others he says "I'll throw it out if it starts to stink, but looks like a waterproof torch to me, heh."
Hacking another glowing piece off, Oleg tosses it onto the ledge to provide more illumination of where the tracks lead. Then Oleg carefully climbs the rough rocks.
Take 10 Climb: 10d1 + 6 ⇒ (1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1) + 6 = 16
Climb: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (16) + 8 = 24