Wednesday, January 31, 2018

The Colony - Push/Pull

The fight with the risen miners continues, and the party grows concerned about potential flanking by the unseen crossbow wielders.

[Round Five - Party Initiative]

"Watch the back, Brigg!" calls Rennard. He and Jinx maintain their formation at the north end of the hall far enough back from the corner to cut off missile fire from the pesky crossbows.

Brigg hands oil flasks, one each, to Smoke and Zenobe then, grumbling, retreats a ways south, pulling out his bow as he goes. Smoke stows her oil flask and stays close to the front line with Zenobe. The group doesn't have long to wait, and the pack of miner-things charges around the corner and attacks!

OOC: Since the party had initiative and held action...

Jinx fires his blunderbuss at one of the front-rank creatures, but the shot goes wild. Rennard hacks at the other as it closes. He also misses. The two creatures attack with crude weapons, a heavy club and an iron bar, but both miss. The remaining creatures crowd in behind them, but the two fighters don't budge.

[Round SIx - Party Initiative]

Beyond the miner pack, the flickering light of the burning oil begins to fade. Jinx and Rennard attack with bayonet and sword. Jinx misses, but Rennard connects [5 damage]. With the two fighters standing firm, Zenobe and Smoke have little to do other than offer encouragement. Brigg calls out, "Nothing here yet!"

The front two creatures hammer on Jinx and Rennard, and this time they both score hits. [Jinx 7, Rennard 4]. "Hey now! That hurt!" cries Jinx.

"Sarva provides!" answers Zenobe, happy to have something to do.

[Round Seven - Party Initiative]

Zenobe prepares a spell.

Jinx stabs at his opponent with his bayonet again, and Smoke says "I can move up if you need a minute." Jinx just shakes his head as his bayonet impales his foe. The fighter uses the leverage offered by his gun to shove the creature back, creating a little breathing room. Rennard uses his action to summon Sarva's healing power and lays hands upon himself [6 healed]. Zenobe casts his cure light wounds spell on Jinx [3 healed].

The front rank creatures do not hesitate. They surge forward and attack the two fighters. Neither does damage, but the massed creatures shove the group back 5 feet or so before they can resist. "These things are pretty strong!" exclaims Rennard as the last flickers of red light fade from the hall to the north.

[Round Eight - Ten]

The party continues their slow retreat from the corner as the press of corpse-like foes continues. Zenobe prepares an oil flask for throwing as Jinx manages to skewer and kill one of the creatures. Smoke applies a torch to the wick, and Zenobe hurls the missile, which bounces off the inside wall near the corner and splashes fire across the corridor, backlighting the front rank's opponents. "There are a lot of these things!" calls Rennard. "Smoke, start firing!"

"My hands are full!" she snaps.

At the back of the group, Brigg continues to retreat, eyes and ears peeled. After two rounds, the group is about 60 feet from the north corner, Jinx and Rennard have both taken hits and inflicted damage, leaving another creature dead in the party's wake. The oil burns low, but there's no sign of the ranged attackers at the north end of the hall.

At the back of the group, Brigg is close to the door leading to the octagonal room when his eyes go wide, "I just heard a screeching door back here!" he shouts, pointing through the open doors and west. "From that direction!"

[Round Eleven - Foe Initiative]

Zenobe prepares a spell.

The front-rank creatures pound on the front-rank fighters with their improvised weapons, but neither scores a hit. The remaining creatures shove forward and the entire melee shifts south along the hall once again.

At the rear, Smoke takes the lead. "Coming past, Brigg!" She heads through the double doors, diagonally across the octagonal room, then activates her blink boots and vanishes, reappearing 10 feet down the east-west hall. Nothing in sight, yet.

Brigg follows at a slower pace, juggling his bow as he pulls oil flasks out of his half-slung pack and stows them in a belt pouch. "Be ready with that torch. I'll throw an oil flask if I spot something worth burning!"

At the front, Jinx and Rennard have the same luck as their foes. Neither can land a blow. Zenobe casts his cure light wounds spell on Rennard [3 healed]. The entire group backpedals, aided by continued pressure from the front, and ends inside the octagonal room.

[Round Twelve - Foe Initiative]

The melee moves southwest toward the next set of doors and the creatures spread out as they get past the doorway. Zenobe takes a place next to Rennard, shield and flail ready. Three of the creatures attack. Jinx blocks one blow, while Zenobe catches another intended for Rennard on his shield. A third blow scrapes off the cleric's heavy armor.

Smoke continues moving west along the wide corridor, Brigg trailing. Smoke reaches the east side of the pool room, and there is still no sign of opposition, although her quick eyes note the open doors to the north. "Brigg! The door! Oil!"

The monk pulls a flask from his belt pouch and hurls it at the partially open doors. It *donks* off the door and breaks when it hits the floor north of the pool. "Hope this works," mutters Smoke. *blink* She finds herself by the pool. "Perfect." She touches torch to the slick and it catches fire with a *whoosh*. "COME ON!" she yells over her shoulder.

All three combatants attack the massed foes in front of them. Rennard managed to connect [5 damage], as does Zenobe, [5 damage]. One of the creatures falls, creating a momentary gap. "Now! Back!" shouts Jinx. The three withdraw and make it into the east-west hall. "Doors!" calls Zenobe, and he and Jinx slam the rusted panels closed.

"They won't hold, but now we can GO!"

[Round Thirteen - Foe Initiative]

"Or not," mutters Jinx as the doors swing back open.

Two of the creatures push through and attack. One drives his pick past Zenobe's shield, scoring a solid blow [7 damage].

At the rear, Smoke keeps moving toward the portal chamber, praying the enemy isn't already there. As she reaches the stairs, she catches movement at the edge of her torchlight further down the hall, a not-zombie? She has little time to ponder as several crossbow bolts rattle out of the darkness as she ducks down the stairs. "Enemy in the hall west!" she shouts, as two bolts strike home [7 damage]. "Erk!" She nearly takes a tumble but recovers her balance.

"We need to go!" shouts Brigg, as he crosses the pool room and takes a position at the southwest corner. "Break and go!"

The front rank hears the call. The swinging doors give them the break they need. They withdraw and head west, fast. One of the creatures follows the other tangles with the doors and the rest of the pack. Brigg takes a shot at the trailing enemy from his position beyond the pool, but the shot is wild.

[Round Fourteen - CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? Party Initiative]

With a short lead, the melee group breaks into a run. "Go Brigg! Help Smoke!" shouts Rennard as he and Zenobe lead the way with shields raised.

The monk wastes no time, he runs ahead, rounds the corner and descends the stairs two at a time and finds Smoke standing on the empty platform. "Nothing here! Are they coming?"

"Right behind me," and the clatter of armor on the stairs announces the arrival of the rest of the group. They all crowd onto the platform and, as the trailing creatures start down the stairs, Smoke slaps her hand down on the pyramid on the pedestal. The familiar glowing sparks rise and as the first creature reaches the platform, the room blinks out, then reappears, empty.

"Whew! That was close," says Zenobe, as Smoke trots up the stairs. "All clear here," she says.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Colony - Ritual Searching

This is a fairly long report, combining several turns, which catches up to the current action.

Start Date: August 23rd, morning
Start Status: Blah blah blah
Start Location: ???

Adventuring: Rennard, Jinx, Brigg, Smoke, Zenobe
At the Tulip: Castor, Hagan, Xon, Aaron

The Turn

Brigg agrees to scout ahead while the others hide around the corner, ready to respond should he get in trouble. Smoke checks her weapons as the monk disappears into the dark hallway and keeps watch at the corner. The others wait a few yards back.

The group waits several minutes, The only illumination the faint light of Rennard's sword. The sound of a loose stone skittering across the floor alerts Smoke to someone's (or something's) approach. She raises her pistol, but Brigg calls out "It's me." He rejoins the group and they all retreat a short distance down the hall.

"I think there's a whole complex of rooms down there. The hall continues for about 70 feet, with a branch to the left, before it opens into a chamber. There are four doors, two per side, along the hall, and another set at the end of the left hall, 30 feet or so away from the intersection. The doors down the side hall are ajar, as are two of the doors in the main hall. I peeked into one, a small room that looks like something was using it as a den."

"There's also a pair of half-open doors across the room at the end of the hall. That's where the chanting is coming from, and some light, but I can't see inside. There are guards in the room. At least three. They're like the risen miners."

"How many in total, do you think?" asks Rennard.

Brigg shrugs. "I only checked the nearest open door. I didn't want to risk more. But the mercenaries said there were 20 or more and we've killed what, six or seven? Who knows if there are more of those things, or if they have allies down here. Oh, and that chanting? It sounds like the same language as the message back in the statue room. I didn't stick around to listen though."

After a hasty conference, Zenobe casts Bless, then Brigg advances along the east-west hall once again, this time with purpose. He plans to shoot at one of the guards in the chamber ahead in hopes of drawing some of them into an ambush set by the rest of the group. After he vanishes into the darkness, the others wait. After a thirty count, Jinx starts to move. "What are you doing?" whispers Smoke.

"Moving up to support Brigg."

"I thought we were waiting here."

"I thought we were moving up."

"We should move up," chimes in Rennard, who taps Jinx on the shoulder. The pair advances at a shuffling pace, mindful of the fact that they can't see a thing.

"Guess it's a slow advance," mutters Smoke, who follows. Zenobe trails, dividing his attention between the back and the front.

Meanwhile, Brigg has reached the first set of pillars, where he realizes his dark vision isn't going to let him see into the room. He pauses for a moment, trying to spot a target backlit against the dim light from the open door, but sees nothing. Reluctantly, he moves forward, past the south door. Behind him, he hears the faint clank of metal on metal and a whisper of voices. "Great," he thinks, "they're arguing about the plan now." He stops when he reaches the intersection and prepares his bow. Five seconds, ten. Movement. Draw and release!

The sharp sound of an arrow striking stone tells Brigg his shot didn't connect, but it draws a response. There's an inarticulate shout from the guard room, and the backlit figure he shot at moves out of the light. More alarming, the chanting stops. The rest of the group, alerted by the shout, stop their advance and prepare for action as well as they can in the dark.

Silence for a moment, then the light beyond the doors goes out. There is a creaking, grinding sound, followed by many footsteps and a commanding voice speaking an unknown tongue.

Brigg turns and runs for the safety of the party. "I think they noticed us!" he calls as he gets close to the group, who are about 20 west of the corner.

"How many?" asks Smoke.

"I don't know. I couldn't see. More than one or two though."

[Round One - Party Initative]

With no light to see by, the group is hamstrung. Rennard and Jinx take the front line with Smoke and Zenobe behind them. Brigg hovers at the rear, bow ready. Everyone can hear things moving in the dark, but no one can see anything. "I got a bad feeling about this," says Smoke. "I wish I could see something."

Her feelings prove correct, as several crossbow bolts rattle off the floors and walls around the party. "They can see us though!" exclaims Zenobe, his ears ringing from a glancing blow to his helm.

There is another metallic squeal from the hallway ahead, and Jinx hisses, "That was another door opening! Advance, retreat, or hold?"

[Round Two - Foe Initiative]

"Fall back to the corner, we can make a stand there," says Rennard. No one can see whatever is shooting at the group, but everyone can hear footsteps in the hall. As the group begins their retreat, a hulking figure looms out of the darkness in front of Rennard.

"Ogre!" cries Jinx as he readies his blunderbuss. The creature swipes at Rennard with a thick wooden club studded with bits of sharp stone, slamming the paladin's shield aside and striking him solidly [6 damage]. "It's one of them!" he adds when he spots a greenish crystal formation on the brute's neck.

"Watch yourself!" shouts Smoke. "Another!" This foe is human-sized – one of the missing miners, no doubt – and it uses a rusty pick to hack at Jinx. The blow strikes home [3 damage].

Jinx can just make out another of the creatures in the darkness behind the two on the front line. "Back, now. Steady pace!" He fires his blunderbuss at the bigger target and the shot rips into the creature [8 damage].

Smoke raises her pistol, firing over Rennard's head, and also scores a hit [4 damage]. The staggered creature roars but continues to press forward, allowing Rennard to take a swing with his sword. He runs the blade into the ogre's guts, and they spill onto the dusty floor [8 damage], followed closely by the creature's twitching corpse."

"Now, MOVE!" Jinx's shout speeds the pace, and everyone makes it around the bend. Once there, Brigg stows his bow and digs into his pack for an oil flask, and Zenobe calls forth the light of his holy symbol. The last miner-thing follows the group.

[Round Three - Party initiative]

Zenobe keeps watch from his position behind Rennard, ready to step into the breach if necessary.

Brigg finally gets out an oil flask and starts preparing a wick.

Jinx and Rennard attack the zombie that followed the group and score solid hits [6 and 3 damage respectively]. The creature falls motionless at their feet.

With the others busy, Smoke takes the opportunity to check the hall behind the group, holsters her pistol, and prepares a torch. There's nothing in sight, yet.

No foes appear around the corner, and the recent gunshots make it hard to hear anything.

[Round Four - Party Initiative]

"Light them up, Brigg!" exclaims Smoke as she applies flint and steel to her torch and the oil flask missile. Brigg nods and ducks around Rennard, who extends his shield. The monk hurls the flask, low and hard into the darkness around the corner. The flask hits the pillar/facade on the south side of the hall and sprays along the floor and wall. It doesn't appear to have hit anything but it does provide enough light to reveal more dead miners in the hall, five at least, all 10 to 15 feet away [Basically, the oil flask flew past them all]. Before he ducks back around the corner, Brigg also catches sight of something smaller in the shadows beyond the light. As he withdraws, crossbow bolts clatter off the wall behind him. All but one that is. It strikes home, [3 damage Brigg].

Jinx uses the lull in the action to reload his blunderbuss. Zenobe and Smoke stand ready in the second rank, and Brigg position at the back, keeping an eye on the south hall.


The miner-things in the hall are approaching. You can't tell what the other things are or if they are moving forward. Odds are they aren't, as they're beyond the oil.

End Date: August 23rd, morning
End Status: Strategic Positioning
End Location: ???

The party is currently situated in the northeast corner of the map, and the enemy is advancing down the east-west corridor.

Monday, January 8, 2018

The Colony - In the Unknown Depths

Start Date: August 23rd, morning
Start Status: Gem Temptation
Start Location: ???

Adventuring: Rennard, Jinx, Brigg, Smoke, Zenobe
At the Tulip: Castor, Hagan, Xon, Aaron

The Turn

"I knew we should have taken those jewels before trying this!" says Smoke as she paces back and forth in the pedestal chamber.

"Relax and have patience," answers Brigg. "It worked once, it'll work again."

"How do you know? Are you a secret wizard or something? Maybe we drained whatever magic powers it."

Brigg shrugs. "It's been at least five minutes. Should we try again?"

While the rest of the party was ready to press on with exploration in the newly discovered tunnels, Jinx was more interested in ensuring the group could return to their starting point. He offered to test the platform by himself, but the others, seeing the wisdom of his suggestion, joined him on the platform. Jinx touched the pyramid, which did the same glowing/golden lights routine as the sphere pedestal. The group spent a minute reassuring themselves that they were back in the Silverstream before returning to the platform to continue their exploration of the space beyond. This time, however, the platform didn't work, leaving the party waiting for... something.

After Brigg voices his suggestion and with varying degrees of enthusiasm, the party returns to the platform and Jinx touches the sphere. This time, the light show starts as expected. "See?" *fwoomph* "It just has some sort of delay, perhaps a recharge cycle," says Brigg as the group reappears in the mystery caves.

"Right, let's get moving. Time is passing," says Zenobe.

Brigg takes point, followed by Jinx and Rennard, then Smoke and Zenobe. As the group passes the strange statue with fire opal eyes, Smoke eyeballs the pool, which is filled with murky water. "I hope there's nothing living in that," she mutters as the group continues to the double doors that showed signs of use at the end of the hall.

Brigg takes a few minutes to listen, then shrugs and pulls out an oil flask. He dribbles a bit on each hinge of the door panels, reaching high to reach the topmost. "You know, the size of these doors suggests this place was built by the tall ones. Look how high and narrow they are." Finally, he grasps the pull rings and gives a gentle tug, followed by a harder pull. The doors finally start to open, hinges grinding and edges scraping on the frame and floor.

"Not exactly quiet," whispers Jinx.

Brigg shrugs, "You can open the next set."

The chamber beyond is octagonal, roughly 20 x 30 feet. Like the hall, it appears to have been carved out of solid stone. There is a heap of rubble in the center of the room and another set of double doors in the north wall, and one of these is ajar. Thin lines of mold follow damp trails from ceiling to floor and puddles of discolored water mark the floor, and the air is dank and chilly. Scuff marks show where someone or something moved between the doors and all around the room.

"Look here Rennard. I think this might confirm your theory that there was some sort of rebellion or uprising." He points to the rubble, which, after a few moment's study, everyone can plainly see was once a statue of a (possibly tall) humanoid figure.

"Someone took a serious dislike to this," says Rennard, as he studies the shattered fragments. While it's easy to spot the bigger sections of the body, shoulder, leg, torso, the statue's head is either missing or hammered into gravel. A thick layer of accumulated muck and dust indicates this damage was done long ago, but some of the pieces have been moved recently.

"I don't hear anything here," says Smoke at the north door. "Looks like more corridor."

The group moves into the north passage, which is 10 feet wide and carved through solid stone. "Hang on a second," says Jinx. "Something here. I can see some faint lines in the stone." He points out details to the others and eventually discovers a hidden catch that opens a tall and narrow panel in the wall. Beyond is a narrow corridor that bends south after 10 feet. A search of the far end reveals a similar panel and latch.

"Tricky," mutters Smoke. "We really need to be careful here."

Everyone backtracks to the main passage and, with Brigg back on point, heads north. And north. The corridor is at least 150 feet long, and at the north end it turns west and continues. The group is about to start down the west passage when Rennard hisses a warning and dims his sword, "Quiet!"

Everyone stops dead and Rennard gestures at his ear, indicating the others should listen. Smoke is the first to nod, then the others follow suit. They can all hear the faint echoes of a single voice speaking in a regular cadence. Brigg gestures back toward the corner and the group backs up as quietly as possible. The monk keeps watch at the corner, and Rennard whispers, "I don't like the feel of this."

"Can you sense evil?" asks Zenobe.

The paladin shakes his head. "It may be too far away. Can anyone make out the words?"

No one can, but Brigg says, "It sounds like someone reciting something. A ceremony or ritual maybe?"

OOC: Brigg can barely make out a pair of pillars or facades in the corridor around the corner and ahead.

End Date: August 23rd, morning
End Status: Voices in the Dark
End Location: ???

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Colony - Time for a Ride

In a bold move, the party tries out the pedestal they found on the lower level of the mine.

Start Date: August 23rd, morning
Start Status: Push the Button
Start Location: Silverstream Mine

Adventuring: Rennard, Jinx, Brigg, Smoke, Zenobe
At the Tulip: Castor, Hagan, Xon, Aaron

The Turn

Left with the mysterious pedestal as the only potential exit (the party believes it to be a teleportation device), the group decides to go for a ride, somewhere. Zenobe leads the group onto the platform and, once everyone is in place, puts his hand on the sphere. As before, the sphere begins to glow and golden sparks of light flow out and surround the group on the platform. The light takes on a certain thickness that obscures the room, then... *woompfh*.

Once the lights fade and the party can see, they are disappointed to find themselves in the same rectangular room with pillared alcoves along each side. "It didn't do anything!" exclaims Smoke, stepping off the platform.

"Didn't it? Look!" Zenobe points to the pedestal in the center of the platform. The sphere is no longer there. In its place, there is a three-sided pyramid of the same polished black metal.

"Maybe we did go somewhere," says Brigg. He steps off the platform and heads for the opening that led to the stairs in the original room. There are stairs here too, but they only go up a short distance before they meet a broad hallway running left to right with double doors across the way. "Definitely a new place."

The group forms up in their usual formation, with Brigg out front scouting. While the pedestal chamber is made of the same stone as the one back in the mind, the hall is a different matter. Its walls, floor, and arched ceiling have been carved from the native granite and have a rough finish (think concrete sidewalk). The double doors across the 20-foot wide hall are heavy iron and have a thick coat of rust on them. The floor is coated in damp dust that shows many footprints running both left and right. Many are human-sized, but some are smaller and appear to have been made by clawed feet. The air is dank and there is a metallic taste to it that catches in the throat.

Leaving the doors, which appear to be firmly rusted shut, the group heads right. The passage immediately opens into a rectangular chamber with a square water-filled pool in the center and rusted double doors north and south.. Smooth black stone pillars support the room's domed ceiling and a statue cut from the same stone graces a small platform that rises from the center of the pool. It depicts a 3-foot high creature with a barrel-like body and three frog-like heads. Three stubby legs support the body, and three pairs of dangling arms that end in three-fingered hands sprout from between the heads. It's a fairly hideous thing, but the statue's eyes are all set with brilliant fire opals.

"Shinies!" whispers Smoke, who appears ready to wade through the murky water of the pool.

"Let's... not play with the demon statue just yet," says Jinx.

"It's not evil," says Rennard, "but I agree." We should get our bearings before we try to retrieve those gems.

The group continues down the hall, which dead ends at yet another set of rusted double doors. These show some signs of use, and the damp dust on the floor is disturbed here as well. "More tracks, all kinds," whispers Brigg.

"Let's backtrack and check the other direction," suggests Zenobe. The others agree, so the group walks back past the pool, the stairs and continues down the corridor. It continues for 80 feet or so, passing another set of double doors on the right before it intersects a natural cave. Beyond the large cavern, it continues another 25 feet and ends in another set of rusty doors.

The cavern is little more than an indentation in the wall to the left, but to the right, it extends out of sight. The cave floor is slick and wet and a few stalagmites and stalactites rise from the floor and hang from the ceiling.

There's also a crude stone statue, this one of a tall and slim humanoid figure. Brigg moves a bit closer to check it out and can see that most of the features and details have been broken off. Bits of stone lie scattered around the statue's base, all covered with damp muck and debris indicating this defacement happened long ago. The cave splits but continues beyond the statue. The floor bears no marks, but water dripping from above would quickly obscure any footprints.

End Date: August 23rd, morning
End Status: Wandering in the dark
End Location: ???