The party is still killing time at their base camp near Needle Spire, hoping things settle down back at Blackpool before they make another stab at the depths. Everyone had different directions in mind this turn, so lots going on.
Start Date: September 6, nightfall
Start Status: Party, when the night came
Start Location: FOB1
After endless debate, the party turns in with no clear plan for the following day. The next morning the camp is stirring early. Mordikarr, Ingvild, and Dagmarten are first up, preparing for a hike. "We're going to go scout northeast, maybe connect up that road we found with the places we recognize. We might be gone overnight, so don't worry if we're not back this evening," says Ingvild.
"I thought Ohwatoo and Maro were going to try and identify more equipment?" says Durego.
"I'm willing to do that, but someone will need to stay here and watch if I do," answers Ohwatoo.
"I can stick around. I need to do some armor maintenance, and I'm tired of hiking around in mail," says the cleric. "Gorvil, Tesso, and Maro will be here too, right?" The cleric looks at the others, who nod.
"We can do some improvements here too," says Maro.
"We need to go see if that hare survived its time in the spire," says Raúguey. "I guess we're nominated." He gives Rawon a nudge. "Saurabh is with us. We'll try some additional combinations of the spire too."
OOC: this is what people are doing according to my reading of responses.
Mordikarr, Dagmarten, Ingvild - exploring to the NE. Possibly out overnight.
Maro, Durego, Ohwatoo, Gorvil, Tesso - remaining in camp, ID spells and camp improvements.
Rawon, Raúguey, Jonquil, Saurabh - to the spire for a round of testing.
[Maro, Ohwatoo, Durego, Tesso, Gorvil]
By the time the sun is up, the explorers are gone and the magic-users have had time to prepare their spells for the day. Raúguey has left his wolf-head armor behind for Ohwatoo to identify, and Maro helps him put on the heavy mail. The mage casts his spell and as its power washes over him, mumbles to himself for a few moments, then collapses back on his sleeping pallet (he was ready this time).
"I'll check these chalk sticks out," says Maro. as he sits and casts the spell on the black sticks. A few moments later he sighs and sags, drained by the spell. "Anything?" asks Durego.
"They're drawing implements, and there's some kind of animation effect associated with them. I didn't get a clear read on that though, and I think they only have a few uses each." [see below]
"Well, rest a while. I'll keep watch, then we can try and get this place squared away a bit." Durego sits and continues the never-ending task of scouring rust off his mail, eyes on the surrounding woods. Tesso and Gorvil are nearby, moving some stones to create a better defensive position on the east side of the hill.
[Rawon, Raúguey, Jonquil, Saurabh]
The trip to the spire is uneventful, and after a quick circuit of the exterior (nothing new), the group moves inside. Even with several light stones, it takes them several minutes roaming the foggy interior to confirm that the hare is nowhere to be found. "I guess we're not camping in here then," mutters Raúguey. "Let's start trying combinations."
The group spends the next couple hours trying various combinations of shapes and colors:
Green sphere, red cube (west):
brown NE - Pale granite cliffs rise around the spire, which is surrounded by dense 10' tall grass.
brown SE - There is a sheer drop outside the door. A green rift valley lies below.
brown SW - The spire stands in a dead-end canyon. Curiously twisted trees cling to the cliff faces.
brown NW - Lush growth surrounds the spire, broad-leaved trees, tall grasses, and dense undergrowth.
The air is warm and damp here. Pale granite cliffs and outcroppings are everywhere, with every patch of flat ground covered with lush plant growth. The sun is higher in the sky than expected.
blue NE - Damp greenish limestone cavern strewn with boulders.
blue SE - Damp greenish limestone cavern strewn with boulders. Patches of reddish fungus everywhere.
blue SW - Damp greenish limestone cavern. The floor is slick with mud, and stalactites and stalagmites are everywhere.
blue NW - Damp greenish limestone cavern strewn with boulders. Is that a trail?
Each of these combinations opens onto darkness, dank air rolls into the spire as the door opens. Using your light stones reveals that you are underground.
white NE - Dense tropical jungle. No sun visible. HOT.
white SE - Dense tropical jungle along a narrow river. HOT.
white SW - Dense tropical jungle, swampy ground, and a trail. HOT.
white NW - Dense tropical jungle. No sun visible. HOT.
From what little you can see of the sun, it appears to be earlier in the day here than back home. It's hot, dank, and unpleasant. Lots of biting bugs attack each time you open the doors.
With the basic combinations tried, the group decides to try out one set of shapes with the yellow sphere:
Yellow sphere, red cube (north):
brown NE - Featureless orange plain stretches as far as the eye can see beneath a pitch black sky.
brown SE - Featureless orange plain stretches as far as the eye can see beneath a pitch black sky.
brown SW - Featureless orange plain stretches as far as the eye can see beneath a pitch black sky.
brown NW - Featureless orange plain stretches as far as the eye can see beneath a pitch black sky.
The ground is hard and smooth, like polished marble. Here and there you can see holes in the surface, and when you examine one near the entrance, you find it is a perfect hexagonal tunnel, leading downward at a seemingly random angle.
"Yeah, not going there," says Rawon.
With the experimentation complete, the group heads back to base camp, There they find Ohwatoo unconscious, and the others working on improvements, some faster than others. Everyone pitches in and spends the rest of the day sharing information and working on the site. As night falls, there's no sign of the explorers, so the remaining group beds down for the night, a little worried, but not too much, after all, this is Mordikarr's home turf.
Night passes quietly, and the next day dawns cool, though that changes as warm, sticky air blows in from the west. As the group starts to work on improvements around the site, Ohwatoo and Maro do another round of identification. Maro chooses to try the unidentified potion, Ohwatoo makes a try at the chalk sticks. [see results below]
The party spends all day working around camp under drizzly gray skies, growing gradually more worried about the missing members. Never fear, as night falls the trio turns up, very tired and footsore. Everyone exchanges news over food beneath the newly improved camp shelters.
[Mordikarr, Ingvild, Dagmarten]
The trio hikes NNE, hoping to find the old roadway and map its course. It takes several hours to wind through the thick woods, but well before noon the group is into lighter growth and can pick up the pace. Shortly thereafter they find the roadway and after a brief break for the winded Dagmarten, they begin to trace its course; first following it northwest, until they find where the whole group crossed it yesterday; then backtracking southeast, through gradually drier and thinner woodlands. [Hexes 28,49 and 29,49]
It's a lot of walking, and by afternoon, the pace has slowed. Dagmarten asks Mordikarr about the ruin he mentioned before, the one to the north, and he agrees to show it to the others. They spend a couple hours hiking to the ruin. Much like the ruin at FOB1, this appears to have been a watch tower of some sort, long abandoned. Old bones and rusty weapons, human and other, are all around the site, half-buried in the forest loam. Clearly this place has been unused for a long time. [Hex 30,49]
After spending the remainder of the afternoon exploring the area around the ruin, the trio heads southeast, toward the old shrine site and the well beside it, a good camp site according to Mordikarr. It's almost full dark by the time they reach the place, and they only have time to build a small brush fire and prepare a meager meal before exhaustion sets in. [Hex 31,49]
The next morning the trio is up and about early, stiff from yesterday's long hike. Dagmarten, in particular is ready to rejoin the others. The group finally settles on heading southwest along the old road, looping past the spire and then up to base camp, another long hike, but at least there's a road-like thing to follow. They set off at a good pace during the cooler morning hours. As the day progresses, it gets warmer and warmer as stick air and clouds roll up. It starts to drizzle in the late morning, just enough to make for miserable hiking. Since no one really wants to spend another night on the trail, the group presses on at a hard pace, reaching the spire in the late afternoon. There's no one there, and no sign anyone's been there since the rain started.
After a short break they push on to camp, and find everyone killing time beneath somewhat improved shelters. By the time everyone exchanges news and eats, night has fallen. The party beds down beneath thin rain-spitting clouds. Another beautiful night in the Wilds.
Chalk sticks - Maro thinks they have some animation property based on what's drawn, Ohwatoo agrees, though he didn't get a very good read on the items. Maro suggests they have limited uses.
Potion 1 - Maro is very sure this is some kind of water purification potion.
Wolf-head armor - full identification by Ohwatoo +1 armor, +2 save vs fear/charm.
For future reference, please give me actual color / shape combos for trials. There are multiple versions of the combo spreadsheet around, plus my own master sheet, and none of them exactly match up. Raúguey's suggested trials were done in turn 150, so I'm guessing at new trials here.
I've expanded the area uncovered on the main map to include areas Mordikarr is familiar with, plus their recent exploration.
End Date: September 8, nightfall
End Status: Another day, another hike
End Location: FOB1