Ema nodded in agreement with Simon's plan and said, "I can still call up my dolphins again to lure the sharks off if needed, just let me know if they have returned."
"Might as well check the cylinder out now. I mean, we know where the rest of the colonists are."
Cool. So, we'll escort her up and leave her in one of the rooms after giving her a warning about the mold in the library and the floor in the room with all of the vials.
If there are no encounters, Simon will use his extract of invisibility and the four party members will return to the gear-shaped room where we fought the alchemist skum. Simon will swim out to the cylinder and investigate.
Stealth,Shadow,Invis: 1d20 + 18 + 5 + 20 ⇒ (15) + 18 + 5 + 20 = 58
Perception: 1d20 + 18 + 1d6 ⇒ (17) + 18 + (6) = 41
Disable: 1d20 + 26 ⇒ (20) + 26 = 46
Know(Engineering): 1d20 + 8 + 1d6 ⇒ (11) + 8 + (2) = 21
Armin shudders at the fate of her fellow colonists. She breathes from the bottle of air as you swim back up to the temple's upper level, remove the ioun stone from the altar to open the door to the shrine, and retrace your steps up the stairs and out of the water. Fortunately, no enemies appear to impede your progress. You escort Armin to Kip and Oorka to keep her safe before returning to the shrine where you claimed Savith's sword.
The sharks have departed, so Simon swims out through the opening in the wall towards where the cylinder sits. Before he gets too far, though, his keen senses spot a creature lurking among the ruins of the collapsed building. This brightly colored crustacean looks like a large lobster with cruel pincers poised at its fore.
Simon recognizes the creature as a giant mantis shrimp. He knows that a giant mantis shrimp can attack with such extreme speed that its pincers issue a concussive blast of light and force when they snap closed. A giant mantis shirmp's eyes pick up colors well beyond those visible to humans, and it will likely be able to see him when he gets close, even while he is invisible.
The picture looks so cute. That thing couldn't possibly hurt us...
Swimming back to the group, Simon lets them know what he sees. "It is a natural creature, but quite formidable, and I think it will see through my invisibility.
Maybe the cylinder can wait after all, unless we can lure it away like Ema did with the sharks. I wonder if it already ate those sharks..."
”Yeah, I don’t reckon we’re up to fighting that yet.”
Ema nodded her agreement with the plan and, well out of sight of the creature, and tore open a last whole in the fabric of the planes. She called through her dolphin friends once more and directed them to "play" with the crustacean and lead it away.
If it works, Simon will dart out as soon as the thing is a little ways away.
If the cylinder can be moved, He'll try to drag it back to the temple. Otherwise, he will check for traps, quickly open it, and take any contents back to the temple for investigation.
The dolphins dance and cavort around the building, luring the mantis shrimp out of its hiding spot. They are faster than the shrimp, and they lead it on a merry chase, allowing Simon a few minutes to examine the cylinder. As he gets close to it, he realizes it is actually a clockwork vehicle similar to an apparatus of the crab, except it can hold four human or halfling-sized creatures and contains a constant flow of fresh air. It is partially buried in the sand, and will take several hours to excavate.
Returning to the party, Simon excitedly tells them what he has found.
"It is a submersible device for travelling in the ocean depths.
Absolutely fascinating, but without an earth elemental to dig it out for us, we won't get to it before that mantis shrimp comes back.
Let's go rest up and then clear the rest of the colonists from this structure."
I don't have anything else pressing to do now. I still want to explore this structure fully at some point and we never explored the "HOME" location from the map, but it seems like we are just about done with this island...
"Alright!" Victrix twirls her axe. "Think we should take the shrimp on first?"
Rising the next morning Ema cast her normal spells in preparation for their finishing this mission. Her first enwrapped her in magical force to protect her and the second layered some negative energy to soak up any direct harm first. When her spells were prepared she finished eating breakfast and said, "I'm as ready as I can be. As for the first target I agree, let's deal with the shrimp first then go for the true enemy down here." Ema relished the thought of ending the aboleth holding the colonists and had prepared herself accordingly in the spells she prepared. The bastards liked to screw with people's minds, she was going to take it's away from it. Her smile was one of the most vicious things anyone had ever seen cross her face as she began to follow her newfound family.
I cast my staples, mage armor and false life.
False Life: 1d10 + 9 ⇒ (8) + 9 = 17
Over the night, Simon attempts to get to know Armin a bit better.
"So, Armin, what was your role with the colonists before the misfortunes started?"
Before going to sleep, Simon goes over the new formula book gained in the battle with the Alchemist, Simon finds several formula that could be useful.
Altering the extracts he normally prepares, he loads Enlarge Person and Cure Moderate Wounds into Potion Sponges, resolving to buy more of these items at his earliest convenience.
Before heading underwater, he hands Victrix vials containing Heroism and Resist Energy (Sonic).
"You'll want to be protected from the sound of that shrimp's pincers. I can't help with the flash, but at least the boom won't affect you too much.
Alternatively, I can buff myself up to serve as the punching bag, putting myself between you and the shrimp. If you alter yourself into a human again, you can use this Enarge Person and the magic longspear or another reach weapon to stay out of the range of the burst."
Victrix takes the heroism extract and chugs it down, then chases it with the sonic resistance extract.
"Let me take point. I can take the hits."
It was the stun that I was more worried about...
Before entering the water, Simon preepares with Barkskin, Shield, and Heroism.
He will swap out his +1 spear for the +1 longspear. Right before starting the battle with the shrimp, he will take the Enlarge Person.
Will update tagline later
"I was a carpenter. I helped to build most of the buildings in the town square," Armin says,
As you approach the clockwork vehicle again, the giant mantis shrimp emerges from its hiding spot and swims towards you!
Ema: 1d20 + 1 ⇒ (10) + 1 = 11
Simon: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (13) + 3 = 16
Victrix: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (10) + 3 = 13
Shrimp: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (9) + 7 = 16
Calamity casts a spell, pinning the shrimp's shadow to the sea floor. It struggles in vain to escape, it is unable to move closer than 15 feet to you!
Will: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (5) + 5 = 10
Will: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (9) + 5 = 14
Everybody may act! The shrimp is 15 feet away from Simon and Victrix.
Victrix grins and swims forward...
Swim?: 1d20 + 14 ⇒ (9) + 14 = 23
...then swings her axe at the shrimp!
Power Chop (Heroism, Furious Focus): 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (9) + 17 = 26
Damage?: 1d12 + 17 ⇒ (12) + 17 = 29
Taking a step back to the limit of his 20' reach, Simon studies and stabs at the shrimp from over Victrix's shoulder.
Longspear,Study,Hero: 1d20 + 9 + 4 + 2 ⇒ (16) + 9 + 4 + 2 = 31
Damage?,Study: 2d6 + 5 + 4 ⇒ (5, 6) + 5 + 4 = 20
Longspear,Study,Hero: 1d20 + 4 + 4 + 2 ⇒ (20) + 4 + 4 + 2 = 30
Damage?,Study: 2d6 + 5 + 4 ⇒ (6, 3) + 5 + 4 = 18
Confirm?: 1d20 + 4 + 4 + 2 ⇒ (5) + 4 + 4 + 2 = 15
Damage?: 4d6 + 10 ⇒ (6, 4, 3, 5) + 10 = 28
Seeing that the creature was, unfortunately, back and wanting to do what she could to help end it Ema chanted and gestured as she cast a spell and a quintet of missiles slammed into it.
magic missile: 5d4 + 5 ⇒ (4, 1, 1, 2, 4) + 5 = 17
Simon and Victrix stab and slice the shrimp, while Ema blasts it with magic missiles. The giant crustacean is badly wounded but still attacks, snapping its pincers at Victrix with such extreme speed that they issue a concussive blast of light and force when they snap closed. One strike misses the aasimar, but then it clamps its pincers down on her in rather painful locations! Her magical wards keep her safe from the sonic blasts.
Pincers: 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (2) + 17 = 191d20 + 12 ⇒ (13) + 12 = 251d20 + 17 ⇒ (20) + 17 = 37
Crit?: 1d20 + 17 ⇒ (20) + 17 = 37
Damage: 2d6 ⇒ (6, 3) = 94d6 + 4 ⇒ (3, 2, 6, 5) + 4 = 20
29 physical damage to Victrix after DR. Everybody may act!
Simon has some brief concerns about the impact of taking an apex predator out of the ecosystem, but realizes that they have no choice but to deal with the threat. He stabs away, hoping to end the battle quickly.
Longspear,Study,Hero: 1d20 + 9 + 4 + 2 ⇒ (19) + 9 + 4 + 2 = 34
Damage?,Study: 2d6 + 5 + 4 ⇒ (6, 5) + 5 + 4 = 20 (and Sickened)
Studied Strike: 3d6 ⇒ (4, 1, 2) = 7
Longspear,Hero: 1d20 + 4 + 2 ⇒ (14) + 4 + 2 = 20
Damage?: 2d6 + 5 ⇒ (2, 1) + 5 = 8
Victrix roars in pain before anger floods her limbs and she starts swinging her axe again!
Raging Power Attack (Heroism, Furious Focus): 1d20 + 19 ⇒ (5) + 19 = 24
Damage?: 1d12 + 19 ⇒ (7) + 19 = 26
Raging Power Attack (Heroism): 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (11) + 11 = 22
Damage?: 1d12 + 19 ⇒ (12) + 19 = 31
Victrix winces as the fatigue creeps into her limbs.
"Right. That wasn't too bad."
"We want to dig this out first or get to the colonists?"
Ema considered the question and said, "I think digging it out would be a wise idea, we are likely to need it to get them all out of there." She thought it through some more, "That being said I guess we can wait and see how many there are left. As for digging it out I think I can bring something through to do that for us if we want it out of there now."
Regardless of whether they dug it out now or later Ema examined the area the device was in and looked to see what kind of material it was stuck in. Depending on whether it was rock, mud, or something else made a difference in what she would summon to get it free.
Knowledge (nature?) cap of 10: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (9) + 4 = 13
Knowledge (engineering): 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (20) + 10 = 30
"I'd rather we keep moving while our magic is active. If we need the device to bring the survivors out, we can get it then."
"Right. Sounds like a plan."
Nodding in agreement Ema said, "I agree, I can get it unburried in about five minutes if I can still summon when we are ready for it."
Continuing to be as careful as his large form allows, Simon swims back downstairs to the room containing the force fields.
After looking carefully to make sure the undead abominations are still imprisoned, he swims to the northern doors to take a look.
Perception: 1d20 + 18 + 1d6 ⇒ (5) + 18 + (6) = 29 (+6 for traps)
The undead horrors still lurk within the cell, secured by the force field.
Simon does not find any traps on the doors. Strange machinery and tubes in the walls make up the interior of this room. Embedded in the wall across from the entrance is a large metal pin panel whose surface ripples at regular intervals; with each wave that sweeps across the panel, new symbols appear on its surface. The display alternates between two different messages in Azlanti, one after another. The first one reads “Status: Unstable,” and the second one displays the text “Composition” and shows a bar graph.
Victrix scratches her head in confusion. "...what's all this then?"
"I'm not sure, but I am certain that it falls into the category of 'Don't touch until after we rescue the colonists'"
If nobody objects, Simon will swim back to the force field room and proceed through the passageway to the east.
Ema looked at the panel in curiosity but wasn't anymore clear on what it was than the others were. "I agree," she said when Simon suggested leaving it alone for now, "I don't think we want to mess with it just now unless we have to."
When the person we rescued mentioned "the gate to the vault" was she pointing to the east or the room we were just in? Was she referencing that as to where Ontooth could be found or just the other prisoners?
The gate is to the east, as you will see:
At the end of the corridor is a round 20-foot-diameter metal door. A large lever sticks out from the side of the door’s octagonal frame. The door is composed of triangular metal sheets, the tips of which meet at the center.
The lever does not budge when you try to pull on it. The massive door is locked tight, and there is no obvious way to unlock it from here.
"Hmm. That's a bit of a problem."
"Simon? Ema? Reckon either of you can figure out what those panels do? Maybe they have something to do with this door."
Ema thought the problem through and said, [b]"Maybe the room with the strange display is the answer?"[b] Ema went back to that room and examined what was there more closely. She was looking for any kind of controls or further information the display could give.
Knowledge (engineering): 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (3) + 13 = 16
Knowledge (arcana): 1d20 + 16 ⇒ (2) + 16 = 18
As Ema examines the panel in the previous room, the text on the pin panel suddenly goes flat, and a humanlike face emerges from it. A harsh, metallic voice and a soft, friendly voice speak in unison, spreading through the water. The lips on the face move, but the voice isn’t completely synchronized with the movement. "Welcome. I have been expecting you. There is much to talk about," the voices say in Azlanti.
Emalliandra's eyes widened in shock as the strange face began to speak to her. Any number of question went through her head but the ones she finally asked, in Azlanti, were, "Who are you and how do you know me?"
"...okay?" Victrix replies, also in Azlanti. "What do you mean, you've been expecting us?"
"Okay then." Victrix replies, still eyeing the... machine... with a wary look. "We hail from the nation of Andoran, far across the sea. It's a nation that values freedom and democracy. We're part of a colony, Talmandor's Bounty, that was established on these shores. We were part of a second wave of colonists: we're here to rescue the first wave, who were apparently kidnapped and taken here on the orders of an aboleth called Onthooth."
|Emalliandra|Ema realized, foolishly, that the "Analytical Engine" didn't mean her specifically, said, "Well, as for why we are here it is because someone has abducted colonists and is holding them here. As for where we come from we all set sail from Andoran to arrive at the colony but we all have different origins before that."
Gack! You are too fast for me Viki!
"My name's Victrix."
"Can't say there's much to tell about me. Been a soldier in the Andoren Army pretty much since I was fifteen."
"Wasn't a very good one, though--kept gettin' into fights and 'fraternization', the brass put it." She snickers. "Maybe my angel blood had something to do with that."
"Oh, yeah. I'm an aasimar--Andoran's got a lot of 'em. Used to be part of a nation called Cheliax--a nation of devil-worshipers. When Andoran declared independence from them and fought them off, they saw a whole bunch of aasimar births--myself included, I guess."
Ema listened to what the thing asked of them and considered her answer. She decided to be honest in her answe, or as honest as she could be, and said, "My name is Emalliandra and I don't know for sure where I come from. I was found by nomads in Varissia to the north of Chelliax and made my way to Andoran doing the odd translation of Azlanti texts for the Society."
Ema hesitated before saying more, unsure if she should, but squared her shoulders and continued, "It is possible that I came from Lost Azlant before the Impact and long Darkness that followed. There is no proof of this but I have had flashes of what might be memories, knew things I should not have been able to, but truthfully I just don't know."
Simon considered the conversation and wondered about how much this analytical engine knew about the world.
"Analytical Engine.... um, how should we refer to you?"
After pausing for an answer, he continues. "I am not sure how much context you have on the changes that have occurred. This temple is somewhat over ten thousand yeard old and was originally a part of an empire called Azlant.
Ten thousand years ago, there was a great calamity involving a meteor that ended the Azlanti empire. Andoran is a country on a continent to the east of here where the empire of Thassilon was founded. Perhaps you have knowledge of Thassilon?
That empire is also now gone. I hope that provides a common framework fir our conversation.
As to your questions, I am Simon Hollbaker. I am an archeologist and historian, here to study Azlant though that research is on hold now as we attempt to rescue people who are held in a vault to the east of here."
Victrix looks back at the sealed door. "Well, we have reason to believe that the colonists are trapped behind that door there. So far, we've employed magic and force of arms to get this far to save them. We do have resources to bring them to the surface and get them home."
"Unfortunately, to get to them, that door needs to be opened. Can you help us with that?"