Into Unknown Shadows

Game Master Mowque


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The number one and the X.

"I am sure there is a pattern. The kobolds don't seem the type to build death traps. I mean, kobolds were supposed to survive this, weren't they?" The paladin says, still on tile one.

"We have two options. We go ahead or we go back and admit defeat."


Female Human Archaeologist/10; Elemental Kin/10 | 66/95 HP, 0/20 temp HPs; Active Conditions: 2xnegative levels | Rage = 20/23rounds; Archaeologist Luck = 4/6; Spells Left: 1st-6/6, 2nd-4/5, 3rd-2/3, 4th-1/1 | Mythic Power 5/7

"I don't admit defeat," Shalina grumbled. "But I also don't think like a kobold. If there's a pattern then I'm not seeing it...yet."

Shalina looked to the square before Tekk and the one to his right. "I don't think they would have jumped randomly to a tile. That leaves two choices. Are you ready for my next move?"

Shalina loads another bolt into her crossbow and steps onto the tile in front of Tekk.

Trying H3...


Shalina steps, waiting, fearing a disaster. Another head or something worse to appear. Instead, silently, a number two floats there, lighting up the square she stands on.

"Any ideas?" Tekk says.

Do you get it yet?


Female Human Archaeologist/10; Elemental Kin/10 | 66/95 HP, 0/20 temp HPs; Active Conditions: 2xnegative levels | Rage = 20/23rounds; Archaeologist Luck = 4/6; Spells Left: 1st-6/6, 2nd-4/5, 3rd-2/3, 4th-1/1 | Mythic Power 5/7

"We've already determined that stepping on the 'X's are bad. And now stepping on the numbers are ok. But no, I have no ideas as to how to determine which squares are which. I highly doubt that the path is a bee-line to the exit so I'd be hesitant to just keep moving forward. You also weren't standing on that square when I chose my second tile so maybe that has something to do with it." Shalina shakes her head as if to clear it of all the chaotic thoughts of possibilities. "If Toth does indeed grant his worshippers wisdom, now would be a great time for such a blessing."

Shalina was fairly confident that with her leaping abilities and quick reflexes, that she'd be able to get through the space quickly with little trouble. But she wasn't about to leave Tekk behind to the ensuing carnage. She had to figure this out.

I'd gladly take a hint but if that makes it too easy then she'll just pick another square. At some point she'll see the pattern.


I'm a bit surprised you haven't figured it out. My last group had it figured out by now, not that it means it is easy to get through. There is a pattern, and I think you'll get it. Picking the wrong square isn't death so I don't think you need a hint. Besides, picking tiles is what you need to do anyway.


Female Human Archaeologist/10; Elemental Kin/10 | 66/95 HP, 0/20 temp HPs; Active Conditions: 2xnegative levels | Rage = 20/23rounds; Archaeologist Luck = 4/6; Spells Left: 1st-6/6, 2nd-4/5, 3rd-2/3, 4th-1/1 | Mythic Power 5/7

Totally feels like I just earned a 'D' in school :) Obviously I'm missing something but I can't seem to visualize what's happening. When you say the numbers or X are floating, how exactly? And I assume that only happens after Shalina steps on the tile.

Shalina sighs. "Since I can't see the pattern yet, I'm going to choose again. Be ready." Although that last statement was more for herself than for Tekk.

She makes sure that her weapon is readied and listens intently as she goes to take her next step.

perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (2) + 9 = 11

Will try I4, even though going diagonal worked so well last time...


You are over thinking it. The tiles are just marked. I said floating because it sounded cool, could just as easily just be paint on the floor that lights up when you stand on it.

Shalina steps and the next tile doesn't turn to lava or strike her with lignting. Instead, a number three appears. Silently floating.

Here is your clue..this is based off a rather....widespread PC game


Female Human Archaeologist/10; Elemental Kin/10 | 66/95 HP, 0/20 temp HPs; Active Conditions: 2xnegative levels | Rage = 20/23rounds; Archaeologist Luck = 4/6; Spells Left: 1st-6/6, 2nd-4/5, 3rd-2/3, 4th-1/1 | Mythic Power 5/7

Aah, that explains it. I know I'm in the minority but I'm not a PC gamer. Other than the PbPs I'm involved with, I only tabletop game. And I do have a tendency to overthink things, sorry :)

Turning to Tekk she says, "Try moving up and then I'll make my next choice."

Once Tekk was in place, Shalina takes her next step.

Still not seeing the pattern so this will be a guess again...J4


I can almost guarantee the computer you are using has this game..

Guessing and hoping, Shalina takes another step and the tile lights up with another number 3.


Female Human Archaeologist/10; Elemental Kin/10 | 66/95 HP, 0/20 temp HPs; Active Conditions: 2xnegative levels | Rage = 20/23rounds; Archaeologist Luck = 4/6; Spells Left: 1st-6/6, 2nd-4/5, 3rd-2/3, 4th-1/1 | Mythic Power 5/7

Shalina is still not sure that she has this figured out but knows that she needs to keep stepping on tiles in order to move forward. With her weapon readied, she makes her next choice and takes a step.

Trying J3


You ever play minesweeper?

As Shalina steps, an X forms and Tekk instantly gets ready for violence. He is right as a ball of fire appears and fires straight at Shalina.

fire Damage: 4d6 ⇒ (6, 1, 5, 3) = 15
Reflex: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (15) + 7 = 22

Luckily, she dodges it, and only gets some of the burns. take half damage from the fire.

Even as she does so, another floating head appears, cackling madly. Teeth gnashing it flies right at Tekk.

Bite: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (6) + 6 = 12

Again, the clumsy teeth miss and the paladin strikes at it, hitting it solidly.

"I said, let's not do it again, Shalina!" the paladin says, raising his shield.


Female Human Archaeologist/10; Elemental Kin/10 | 66/95 HP, 0/20 temp HPs; Active Conditions: 2xnegative levels | Rage = 20/23rounds; Archaeologist Luck = 4/6; Spells Left: 1st-6/6, 2nd-4/5, 3rd-2/3, 4th-1/1 | Mythic Power 5/7

"I'm sorry! It's not like I woke up today thinking it would be nice to light myself on fire and have Tekk mauled by a floating head!" She winces from her newly acquired burns as she aims her crossbow at the head and fires. "I'm doing my best."

+1crossbow: 1d20 + 6 + 1 + 1 ⇒ (16) + 6 + 1 + 1 = 24 Point Blank Shot
damage: 1d8 + 1 ⇒ (3) + 1 = 4

Just when I think I may have something figured out...


"Well, you can cross it off the list!" he shouts, trying to dodge the floating head, which was busy giggling like a beheaded schoolgirl despite Shalina's crossbolt in its head.

Bite: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (20) + 6 = 26
Bite Crit: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (18) + 6 = 24

Damage: 1d4 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3
Damage: 1d4 + 2 ⇒ (1) + 2 = 3

lucky...

The head, for the time, sinks the jagged, filthy teeth into Tekk's neck. The bite looks nasty but luckily it seems to have done little damage.

Tekk Fort Save: 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (20) + 8 = 28

The paladin sways a moment but keeps his feet. His next blow dispatches the floating head and it joins the other as a smashed shell on the ground.

The paladin is breathing hard but steadily.


Female Human Archaeologist/10; Elemental Kin/10 | 66/95 HP, 0/20 temp HPs; Active Conditions: 2xnegative levels | Rage = 20/23rounds; Archaeologist Luck = 4/6; Spells Left: 1st-6/6, 2nd-4/5, 3rd-2/3, 4th-1/1 | Mythic Power 5/7

I've never played minesweeper (and it isn't on my computer) but I did figure out that it was the game before you mentioned it. I wrongly thought that the X's wouldn't be clustered on the one side of the one square. Which is why I chose poorly the second time...

"I'm sorry," she says again in a small voice.

Taking a deep breath to steady herself, she steps back on to the tile she was previously standing on. As the number three illuminates around her she contemplates her next step. Before moving she makes sure her crossbow is loaded with another bolt.

"Are you ok for me to continue? I'd understand if you want to wait at the beginning until I make it through."

If I understand correctly, J5 should be safe and will hopefully help me with which direction to go for the K squares.


Tekk shakes himself and says, 'Defeat is no an option, as you said yourself. Who knows how the kobolds may react? We must go forward. But you think you have it solved now?"

How is J5 safe? It isn't proven by the game. Have I overestimated the ease of this?


Female Human Archaeologist/10; Elemental Kin/10 | 66/95 HP, 0/20 temp HPs; Active Conditions: 2xnegative levels | Rage = 20/23rounds; Archaeologist Luck = 4/6; Spells Left: 1st-6/6, 2nd-4/5, 3rd-2/3, 4th-1/1 | Mythic Power 5/7

the number that appears tells how many unsafe squares there are around that tile. I'm pretty sure I've found all 3 unsafe squares from the first number 3 so the others surrounding it should be safe. Or maybe I've misunderstood?


You have the principle right. But have only found two unsafe tiles, J3 and H4. tile I4 says there is at least one more X floating around there... Get it?


Female Human Archaeologist/10; Elemental Kin/10 | 66/95 HP, 0/20 temp HPs; Active Conditions: 2xnegative levels | Rage = 20/23rounds; Archaeologist Luck = 4/6; Spells Left: 1st-6/6, 2nd-4/5, 3rd-2/3, 4th-1/1 | Mythic Power 5/7

But G4 is safe which means that I3 should be unsafe. If H4 and J3 and I3 are unsafe then all of the 1st 3's unsafe tiles are accounted for meaning that H5, I5, and J5 are safe...no?


Ha, you are just better at Minesweeper then me!

Shalina steps, confident and her intelligence is reward. A hanging number one floats int he air, instead of a hideous biting skull or more fireballs.


With the pattern somewhat figure out, Shalina goes back and reveals some other safe tiles, revealing new numbers. "Care to let an old fighter in on the secret?" Tekk asks, watching her, careful not to interrupt.


Female Human Archaeologist/10; Elemental Kin/10 | 66/95 HP, 0/20 temp HPs; Active Conditions: 2xnegative levels | Rage = 20/23rounds; Archaeologist Luck = 4/6; Spells Left: 1st-6/6, 2nd-4/5, 3rd-2/3, 4th-1/1 | Mythic Power 5/7

She'll do G4 as well to get that number and end up next to Tekk.

"I don't have it completely figured out but what I can tell you is the numbers tell us how many unsafe squares surround that tile. I've run out of squares that I'm certain are safe. Now we need to move forward and there's a good chance that we'll have to fight another floating head."


Another step, another reveal....

Is this more fun now?


Female Human Archaeologist/10; Elemental Kin/10 | 66/95 HP, 0/20 temp HPs; Active Conditions: 2xnegative levels | Rage = 20/23rounds; Archaeologist Luck = 4/6; Spells Left: 1st-6/6, 2nd-4/5, 3rd-2/3, 4th-1/1 | Mythic Power 5/7

Shalina studies the glowing numbers, glad that she was making headway. She makes her way back to the number one. J5 "I think this next one will be safe but be ready for the cackling head, just in case."

Moving to K5

I do like puzzles. Once I knew the premise, I've enjoyed figuring it out.


Fun puzzle but doesn't translate to PbP very well. Takes too long. Sorry! Live and learn.

Shalina is right, and despite Tekk's obvious concern no monster appears or ball of fire. Instead a glowing number two.


Female Human Archaeologist/10; Elemental Kin/10 | 66/95 HP, 0/20 temp HPs; Active Conditions: 2xnegative levels | Rage = 20/23rounds; Archaeologist Luck = 4/6; Spells Left: 1st-6/6, 2nd-4/5, 3rd-2/3, 4th-1/1 | Mythic Power 5/7

To save time, she'll also step on K4 and K6. I'm sure once she gets to the L tiles we'll probably see another head.


And the puzzle is revealed, as Shalina puts together the riddle of the titles.


Female Human Archaeologist/10; Elemental Kin/10 | 66/95 HP, 0/20 temp HPs; Active Conditions: 2xnegative levels | Rage = 20/23rounds; Archaeologist Luck = 4/6; Spells Left: 1st-6/6, 2nd-4/5, 3rd-2/3, 4th-1/1 | Mythic Power 5/7

I thought J6 was unsafe so maybe I didn't figure this out...

Shalina moves towards her next tile but considering most of the tiles against the wall were unsafe, she has her doubts. Making sure her weapon was loaded and Tekk was ready, she steps on to the square. L3


Despite her worries the tomb finder doesn't set off a trap and instead finds another safe tile.


Female Human Archaeologist/10; Elemental Kin/10 | 66/95 HP, 0/20 temp HPs; Active Conditions: 2xnegative levels | Rage = 20/23rounds; Archaeologist Luck = 4/6; Spells Left: 1st-6/6, 2nd-4/5, 3rd-2/3, 4th-1/1 | Mythic Power 5/7

Shalina raises her foot and pauses briefly before stepping on the tile before her. M3


Choose poorly

As Shalina steps there, a rush of cold air fills her lungs and blows her hair and clothes around her, whipping at it. Her blood seems to chill.

Cold Damage: 3d6 ⇒ (1, 6, 6) = 13

Reflex: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (7) + 7 = 14

Take half that damage. What is your HP right now?

And, as she does so, another head appears gnashing and biting at the air. For the first time, Shalina notes the hair on the head is made of tiny, thrashing snakes...

It drives right at Tekk.

Bite: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (2) + 6 = 8

With long skill Tekk fends it off with skillful use of his sword.

"I am getting good at this." he quips, striking back.

Longsword: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (18) + 9 = 27
Damage: 1d8 + 3 ⇒ (8) + 3 = 11

His words are true and in a single blow, he dispatches the creature. He turns back to Shalina, a wide grin.

"Are you all right? No flames, that I saw. Did it miss fire?"


Female Human Archaeologist/10; Elemental Kin/10 | 66/95 HP, 0/20 temp HPs; Active Conditions: 2xnegative levels | Rage = 20/23rounds; Archaeologist Luck = 4/6; Spells Left: 1st-6/6, 2nd-4/5, 3rd-2/3, 4th-1/1 | Mythic Power 5/7

If the numbers represent the number of unsafe tiles surrounding the tile then something isn't making sense on the current map. Am I missing something?

At 24 HP

"I'm glad someone is getting good at this," Shalina grouses. She sighs, "The room thought I needed a blast of cold air to combat the burns. It all evens out, right?"


Aah, darn it, you are right. You can have the damage back. We'll just say the kobolds built it badly.


Female Human Archaeologist/10; Elemental Kin/10 | 66/95 HP, 0/20 temp HPs; Active Conditions: 2xnegative levels | Rage = 20/23rounds; Archaeologist Luck = 4/6; Spells Left: 1st-6/6, 2nd-4/5, 3rd-2/3, 4th-1/1 | Mythic Power 5/7

Does that mean that M3 was unsafe or safe? It's result disappeared from the map


Unsafe. Bah, Excel made this harder then it should have. Sorry about all that.


Female Human Archaeologist/10; Elemental Kin/10 | 66/95 HP, 0/20 temp HPs; Active Conditions: 2xnegative levels | Rage = 20/23rounds; Archaeologist Luck = 4/6; Spells Left: 1st-6/6, 2nd-4/5, 3rd-2/3, 4th-1/1 | Mythic Power 5/7

No worries, just wanted to have as much info before she moves again.

Shalina hops backwards in a diagonal direction believing she had determined it to be safe. M4

Something still seems not quite right to me but I'm going with M4 being safe because K3 has to be unsafe which means L4 and M4 should be safe since I found the unsafe square in M3.


A number three hangs in the still silent air.


Female Human Archaeologist/10; Elemental Kin/10 | 66/95 HP, 0/20 temp HPs; Active Conditions: 2xnegative levels | Rage = 20/23rounds; Archaeologist Luck = 4/6; Spells Left: 1st-6/6, 2nd-4/5, 3rd-2/3, 4th-1/1 | Mythic Power 5/7

Shalina continues without hesitation, trusting in her deductions. She steps backwards with her weapon at the ready.

Moving to L4. I think I meant to move to L4 last turn but typed M4 so we'll now go to L4.


Forget it, I mess it up again..Let's just call the thing off!

As Shalina moves the puzzle suddenly glows and fizzles. Without warning all the tiles come to light , revealing the answers plain as day. Apparently the kobolds who designed the place either didn't build it to last, or expect a kobold to survive three hideous heads?


Female Human Archaeologist/10; Elemental Kin/10 | 66/95 HP, 0/20 temp HPs; Active Conditions: 2xnegative levels | Rage = 20/23rounds; Archaeologist Luck = 4/6; Spells Left: 1st-6/6, 2nd-4/5, 3rd-2/3, 4th-1/1 | Mythic Power 5/7

Confusion colours Shalina's face. "What the...? Did you do something, Tekk?"

With the safe path to the exit illuminated for the pair, she begins moving forward. "Whatever the reason, I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. Let's go before this thing resets."


Shalina and Tekk task from the tiled room but only go a short way before confronted with a third stop. This room is small, and stone lined from room to ceiling.

At the far end is a heavy stone door, with the head of a sleeping Dwarf carved into it. Above the door, in elegant Draconic reads The password is 'Cunning'.

As they step inside, the Dwarf carving shifts and opens an eye.

"Hello..hello?" The head says, groggy with sleep. "Who's there?" Then a pause and in a louder voice, thick with power.

'Who awakens the Third Challenge and pits his mettle against me?"


Female Human Archaeologist/10; Elemental Kin/10 | 66/95 HP, 0/20 temp HPs; Active Conditions: 2xnegative levels | Rage = 20/23rounds; Archaeologist Luck = 4/6; Spells Left: 1st-6/6, 2nd-4/5, 3rd-2/3, 4th-1/1 | Mythic Power 5/7

Did we have to speak the word cunning to get into the room?

Shalina gives a slight bow. "Hello! My name is Shalina and you are?"


Who knows?

The dwarf peers at Shalina and Tekk, who remains silent, as usual.

"You aren't kobolds..." The door says to itself then, to Shalina, 'How long have I been asleep?"


Female Human Archaeologist/10; Elemental Kin/10 | 66/95 HP, 0/20 temp HPs; Active Conditions: 2xnegative levels | Rage = 20/23rounds; Archaeologist Luck = 4/6; Spells Left: 1st-6/6, 2nd-4/5, 3rd-2/3, 4th-1/1 | Mythic Power 5/7

"When was the last time you were awake? Are you an ally to the kobolds and the dragon that leads them?"

I assume you'd tell me the year we're in if needed to answer his question.


The dwarf frowns, "I'm not sure. It seems to have been awhile, gauging from the dust." he looks around critically at the chamber. A iron sconce int he wall has turned to a dribble of rust. 'Maybe more then awhile..'

'Anyway." he says, turning toward Shalina, 'I'm just a door. The Third Challenge for kobolds who seek to find the dragon. Is he still about?" The door asks conversationally.

'We aren't sure." Tekk offers.

"Well, watch out. He had a bit of a temper last time I heard him."


Female Human Archaeologist/10; Elemental Kin/10 | 66/95 HP, 0/20 temp HPs; Active Conditions: 2xnegative levels | Rage = 20/23rounds; Archaeologist Luck = 4/6; Spells Left: 1st-6/6, 2nd-4/5, 3rd-2/3, 4th-1/1 | Mythic Power 5/7

Shalina smiled, "You are more than just a door. I have never met a talking door before which seems rather special to me. Have you ever let anyone through your door? What did you hear from the dragon last time you let someone through the door?"

Then getting more to the point she asks, "Will you grant us access through your door?"


"I have left others in, those that figured out the Challenge. Kobolds all, of course. As for the dragon, lots or roaring and gloating over whoever made it past me."

The door laughs a bit, a rolling Dwarven laugh, "As for opening it, that is up to you, not me."


Female Human Archaeologist/10; Elemental Kin/10 | 66/95 HP, 0/20 temp HPs; Active Conditions: 2xnegative levels | Rage = 20/23rounds; Archaeologist Luck = 4/6; Spells Left: 1st-6/6, 2nd-4/5, 3rd-2/3, 4th-1/1 | Mythic Power 5/7

Shalina found it interesting that the kobolds entrusted or enslaved a dwarf to protect access to the dragon but she wasn't about to voice this for fear of insulting the door. "So then, what must be done to open your door?"


'That is for you to figure out." The dwarf says, 'Now, granted you aren't kobolds but I still have a job here, surely you agree?"


Female Human Archaeologist/10; Elemental Kin/10 | 66/95 HP, 0/20 temp HPs; Active Conditions: 2xnegative levels | Rage = 20/23rounds; Archaeologist Luck = 4/6; Spells Left: 1st-6/6, 2nd-4/5, 3rd-2/3, 4th-1/1 | Mythic Power 5/7

Argh, more figuring out without an idea of where to begin :)

"Of course I agree. You can't just let anyone through. Otherwise you wouldn't be doing your job as a door. It's not like someone walks in and says the word 'cunning' In draconic and expects you to open, right?"


"Of course not, that would be a bit simple, wouldn't it?" The dwarf says, nodding, flakes of stone dust falling off of him. 'Even the kobolds are a bit more clever then that. Although I do admit this 'puzzle' is a bit trivial."

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