Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Munster Cathedral Dungeons

Saturday, September 6, 1650, midday
Weather: pleasant temperatures and clear conditions, with a moderate breeze

As Andrej descends the stairs, he takes note that there has been some recent disturbance.  Past the point of his first descent, he finds that the rock shows that perhaps three or four persons, with no signs of having been armored, have descended and climbed this stairwell in the last week.  This seems surprising, for it suggests that no one who labors beneath - a jailer, say - comes out of the dungeons on a regular, daily basis.

The circular staircase turns until it faces the west, some 22 feet below the floor of the nave.  The wall of the roof is cut right from natural stone; the floor and walls have been constructed of mortar and flagstone.

There are three stairwells from this point, all descending from a small circular chamber about 8 feet in diameter.  One to the north, one to the south and one to the west.  The human-made marks on in the dust show the passage to the west was entered.  There's been some disturbance in the dust of the other two passages, but made by someone with odd, narrow feet - perhaps seven inches long, and two inches wide, curved in an inward-turning semicircle.  Not human feet at all, not even those of a child.  There are quite a number of these steps, indicating something has passed into all 'three dungeons' perhaps twenty times in the last three months (judging by the dust).

The stairs in all three wells go down a long way; the candle shows the first fifteen feet or so, but beyond that it is blackness.

106 comments:

Andrej said...

Andrej stands before each stairwell in turn and both smells the air and listens intently.

Alexis said...

Smells a bit damp and mouldy ... but nothing distinguishes one from the next.

Andrej said...

Did yo mean to type that the footprints were 7 feet long but only 2 inches wide? Am I misreading it?

Andrej said...

Either way, Andrej descends upon the west stairs (those with the markings of recent human traffic)

Alexis said...

That would be different! no, seven inches long. I'll change the text.

The west stairs descend in three sections, each with thirteen steps (the typical number) ... as you get to the bottom, now some fifty feet below the nave, the walls have started to sweat, and the temperature dropped.

There's no jailer; no sign of a bench or a desk or of any infrastructure at all. There are a line of holes in one wall, where you might suppose there were once hooks. The first space, an open room about 12 feet wide, seems suited for the front room a jailer would look after.

There are two open alcoves, and from each extends a long hall. You cannot tell where the steps may have gone, for the stone is damp now and the dust obscured. The disturbance in the dust did continue until it disappeared in the damp.

Each long hall seems to have cells on either side. I say the halls are long, because they extend past the twenty-five feet the candle will illuminate well enough to see.

Andrej said...

Phew... seven inches I can handle (that's what she said)

If I understand the description, Andrej takes the hallway leading from the open alcove on his left. if I do not, pick a hallway and I'll take that.

Alexis said...

Yes, on the left.

Coming to the first cell, Andrej looks inside. It is perhaps twenty-feet long and eight feet wide. At first, it appears empty ... but from long habit, he does not look with the candle. He holds the candle out to the left, and uses his infravision.

There is a very dim red glow against the far wall.

Andrej said...

Does the cell have a locked door?

Alexis said...

The door appears to have a facility for locking it, but there's no lock. However, a latch which could not be reached by a person inside has been drawn and fitted into place.

Andrej said...

Andrej opens the door and sets the candle down in the open door frame if it will stand flat there. Leaving his mace out, but concealed somewhat behind him he carefully approaches the slumped form, trying to better make out who or what it is.

Alexis said...

Your infravision first reveals that the shape's heat is very slightly variant; your ears tell you something is breathing, and as breath is intaken, the brightness of the glow is diminished.

Your eyes adjusting to the light the candle throws, you can see that there are small, human feet. as those of a girl; that the body is barely covered in a thin, wet chemise, which apparently has taken on the same temperature of the apparently body. But the head and upper body is in the shadow of the candle, and only emits the dim red glow.

Andrej said...

Andrej places his mace back upon his belt and retrieves his candle. He approaches the girl and kneels beside her. Using the candle's light, he examines her more closely for wounds, moving here carefully as required to get as complete an assessment of her condition as he is able.

Alexis said...

It certainly a girl. It is difficult to discern her features; there's dried blood on her face, upon her hands and in strings over her arms, and her fingernails are torn or completely ripped off. She herself is barely breathing; she does not react to the candle, though her eyes are wide open. Her arms are clenched hard to her chest and crossed, as though she were already in the grave. The chemise is covered in mud, as is the girl, and both are wet.

Andrej said...

Andrej lays hands upon her, using CLW: 8 hit points are restored to her. Does this change her condition at all?

Alexis said...

Her fingernails and hands restore themselves; the cuts upon her forehead and scalp seal, and the dried blood retreats and is consumed by her skin; much of the pallid look is restored, and a very little heat returns to her body.

But she is still dying. She has not had food or drink in nearly three days, and her body will simply give out.

The act, still, reduces the swelling of her tongue (which Andrej can sense as it heals), and her eyes at last focus.

"f...f..f..." she says.

Andrej said...

"shhhhhh. You are safe with me. Save your strength, there will be time for words later."

Andrej casts detect malevolence.

This is not meant for the girl, but to be an early warning system as he carries her up the stairs. By my count I should have just over four minutes of spell duration.

Wasting no more time, Andrej lifts the girl carefully, cradling her in both arms. He returns the way he came, leaving the candle behind provided he can find the stairs without it.

(OOC: My feeling on infravision has long been that its application is arbitrarily limited somewhat by most DMs considering it thermal vision only, and further being limited to the extent of thermal imaging available with mind-20th century technology.

There is more than just heat in the infrared range and all bodies (i.e. matter, objects) can both absorb, reflect and emanate infrared energy, which is simply a kind of light humans can't detect.

Just as the human eye and brain can discern a multitude of colors (i.e. frequencies) and shadows (amount) of "visible" light... wouldn't one anticipate the same level of sophistication in the same organs that can "see" light beyond the normally visible spectrum?

Maybe a topic more appropriate for a blog post... and not meant to challenge your rules... just ranting on a pet peeve.)

Alexis said...

(OOC: I'll look into it. I'm willing to change)

One action at a time.

Your casting of detect malevolence locates a malevolent entity standing at the edge of the door; you can identify all of half an inch evident, which you would not have seen as it is hiding in shadows. But you can see it now.

"Flee," says the girl weakly.

Ahmet said...

(OOC: Oh crap!)

Andrej said...

Andrej lays the girl down. "No"

He casts aid upon himself.

Andrej said...

(OOC: I've never gotten this much use out of a detect malevolence/ evil spell. Of course, I hardly ever played a cleric before.)

Alexis said...

As Andrej attempts to cast aid, which takes twelve seconds, the creature runs from the corner into the cell, and directly at Andrej. It is humanoid, but thin and unusually fast. As it runs, it does so on all four limbs, hurling itself forward on its knuckles as much as by its small feet.

A normal person could run across the cell's floor in six or eight seconds. This creature does it in four. It takes 12 seconds (1 round) for Andrej to cast his spell. The creature hits him long before that, attempting to grapple and ruining the spell for the day.

Andrej's quick wisdom must have thwarted the creature's attempt, however; the creature misses as Andrej quickly shift his feet, scrabbling over the cleric's body and winding up losing its grip and piling up on the wall behind.

Andrej's initiative. The spell is definitely gone.

Andrej said...

initiative: 5

Andrej said...

Does Andrej's field of study and/ or specialty allow him to identify the creature: legends & folklore, spec: artifacts and beasts.

Alexis said...

Nope, didn't ask for a die roll. Andrej has initiative, and may take action.

I think probably you would have an idea that this was a morlock; they live exclusively below ground, and are virtually blind above the surface.

Ahmet said...

(OOC: Do they have infravision? :) )

Alexis said...

(OOC: I'll be making a ruling on infravision soon. I'm still listening to arguments)

Andrej said...

(OOC: Hmm, perhaps I should get up off my duff and make a more comprehensive argument, then. The idea occurred to me years ago in either a physics class or some place else where we were studying properties of light across the spectrum. I've been using it in my game ever since.)

Andrej steps forward and clubs the little git with his mace.

to hit: 18
dmg: 3

Alexis said...

One of the nubs on the mace clips the little git on the shoulder, and the little git screams in fury ... but it slashes back with both it's claws, then scambling around the outside of the cell walls to impose itself again between Andrej and the door.

It hits Andrej with one claw as it goes past him, scratching the arm holding the mace, causing 2 damage.

The little git moves pretty fast, and gets to a place 5' from Andrej (close enough to be swung at again.

Andrej said...

Andrej swings, and considers the absurdity of this thing blocking the door, "Don't worry ugly, I won't be leaving until you're safely on your way to hell!"

to hit: 6
dmg: 3

Alexis said...

Andrej misses ... and the creature slashes, causing 4 damage, and backs away, completely to the door.

It's far enough away now, initiative would have to be rolled before either of you could attack again.

Andrej said...

Initiative: 5

Alexis said...

(I assume that means Andrej is hurling himself at the door to attack the creature)

The creature willingly keeps its ground and the two of your attack simultaneously, it clawing and scraping, you swinging with your mace, piling you both out into the hallway outside the door. One claw strikes your mace and the other around your middle, causing 3 damage. Your attack happens at the same time: roll.

Andrej said...

to hit: natural 20
dmg: 2 doubles for 4
next to hit roll: 3

Alexis said...

Well done!

That will smash the creature in the chest and stun it. It rolls onto its back, crying, arms strung outwards.

Andrej said...

No mercy, I'm afraid. Andrej can't afford to leave this thing alive and behind him while he climbs a dark stairwell with a dying child.

Andrej swings again, looking to end the miserable thing. Should I make a straight roll?

Alexis said...

technically, it is as hard to hit it now as it was before. stunned, but not helpless.

Andrej said...

got it.

to hit: 8 (f**k)
dmg: 5

Alexis said...

You do miss. It's hands flash out, and one scrapes down Andrej's thigh (2 damage).

The creature moves so fast, it scrambles past you and up five steps ... again, if you attack, you'll both have to roll for initiative to learn who can strike first.

Andrej said...

Andrej attacks:

Initiative: 3

Ahmet said...

(OOC: It hit while stunned?

Am I the only one thinking that it is looking for its Preciousssss?)

Alexis said...

Again, simultaneous.

Remember to subtract one for attacking up the stairs. The creature slashes twice, and still hits you once, across the face. It causes 3 more damage.

Ahmet said...

(OOC: I must be missing something... I thought since Andrej had stunned the critter, he got a free shot at it without it being able to hit back.

Round 1:
Critter attacks, misses

(roll for initiative)

Round 2:
Andrej does 3
Critter does 2

Round 3:
Andrej misses
Critter does 4

(re-roll for initiative)

Round 4:
Andrej does 4, stunning the critter
Critter does 3

Round 5:
Andrej misses
Critter does 2... while stunned?

(re-roll for initiative)
Andrej needs to roll
Critter does 3

What am I doing wrong?)

Andrej said...

Whatever the resolution above (I admit I'm lost myslef, I would think that the round after the creature was stunned I would have gotten a free shot when I missed) I think it's my turn to roll:

to hit: 14
dmg: 7

Alexis said...

(OOC: I hope you guys can forgive me. You're both in combats, and I feel completely burned out. If it's all right with everyone, I'm going to post something and take a little time off, perhaps a day. Possibly I might feel better this afternoon; for the moment I can't get myself motivated)

Just to settle the open point. Some age ago - I can't find the post - I wrote about the illogic of the free shot against things running away from or breaking free from combat. I have a rule that you must expend two moves to back up five feet from combat; this creature moves very fast.

Ahmet, you're confused because of the simultaneous rule; because the creature was stunned while both it and Andrej were attacking simultaneously, when Andrej stunned it HE got to attack first. When you stun your opponent, YOU get to attack FIRST. Andrej did so. He's had his attack, and he didn't stun again, the creature attacks.

You see, if neither had hit, the creature and Andrej would have rolled initiative against each other again (because the actual initiative was undetermined in the first place). The creature lost its ability to roll initiative when it was stunned, so Andrej won initiative, and attacked first.

Hope that's clear.

Andrej said...

(OOC: Got it. No worries on waiting)

Alexis said...

(OOC: Unearthing my soul from the expectations and weights tied around its ankles, threatening to sink it beneath the surface of the water...)

Andrej,

Is that 14 above to hit with or without the subtraction of 1 for fighting an opponent higher than you?

Just clarifying.

Andrej said...

With the subtraction.

Alexis said...

Then you've just very much killed it.

This is where the effects of fighting single-handed combat really starts to show. The experience system I've created REALLY awards single combat, since if you start to go down, you'll most likely die on your own.

Take 760 x.p. total. That's including your 10% for class.

You hear a voice calling on the stairs above you. "HELLO? HELLO - Are you down there Father?"

Andrej said...

Do I recognize the voice?

Andrej said...

(OOC: Re: XP, that puts me up a level to 4th. Wow.)

Alexis said...

(OOC: Really? Above 6,000? Fabulous)


No, you don't know the voice.

Andrej said...

"Who is there?" I call up the stairs.

Alexis said...

Level changes:

1) a d8 for hit points.
2) a first level, and a second level spell
3) your THACO improves to 18.

I'm not certain about a proficiency, or about choosing another knowledge specialty (that will be on the cleric document I sent, which I do not have in my possession at the moment).

4th is a good level for a cleric.

Alexis said...

Andrej hears movement coming down the stairs; whoever it is isn't wearing any armor.

Andrej said...

hit points: 5 +2 for 7. I'll let you know about the spells before tomorrow morning in game time.

Andrej said...

Andrej stands ready with mace but calls up "I am Father Andrej, if that's what you mean by father. Be careful whoever you are as there are moorlocks down here."

Does the body of the moorlock seem consistent with the tracks Andrej spotted? Also, is the candle still lit?

Alexis said...

The feet definitely seem consistent with the tracks. This almost certainly made them. Moreover, its probably the only one down here ... or else there would have been many more tracks. It also probably didn't move around much from dungeon to dungeon, maybe crossing from one to another once every four or five days (judging from the tracks).

Whoever is up there seems to be hesitating.

Andrej said...

Andrej calls up again. "Who is up there! I've cracked one head open with my mace this day, (Andrej kicks the body of the moorlock for emphasis) let us not needlessly make it two!"

Andrej said...

(OOC: Will be bad to play most of the afternoon, but will check in when I can.)

Melchior said...

A deep male voice responds down the stairs. "Father, my name is Melchior Morn, I'm a Gallant in the service of the church. Do you need assistance?"

Melchior said...

Melchior concentrates on detecting evil (or is it malevolence?), draws his sword and rapidly but carefully descends the stairs.

Andrej said...

Andrej awaits the deep male voice with suspicion. As the body it belongs to.approaches, but before it arrives, he calls out again, "Gallant, do you serve the Prince-Bishop?"

(OOC: welcome aboard... Wickedmurph?)

Melchior said...

The owner of the voice descends into sight, and Andrej sees a tall, broad young man. He is wearing a simple grey robe with rope belt. He wears leather gloves and soft boots, and carries a small metal-bound shield in one hand and a straight sword in the other.

He pauses when he sees Andrej looking up at him suspiciously, and then answers, all the while scanning the area intently.

"Holy father, I do not serve the Prince-Bishop. I have been travelling lately, seeking an opportunity to take service with a worthy of holy father church. I arrived in Munster only yesterday, and was privileged to witness the wedding service you performed today."

"I had thought to stay after and devote some time to prayer, but I heard the sound of a fight echoing up the stairs, and thought to offer aid."

Andrej said...

"I believe you Melchior. You are in luck, aid is what is in need. Father Andrej, by the way. Keep that sword handy and lead the way. I think I got the only moorlock, but the girl needs attention."

Andrej turns, sticking his mace in his belt and gathers up the girl.

Alexis said...

The girl suffers this somewhat ... but the healing spell enables her to endure it, though the strength in her is little. What do you wish to do?

Melchior said...

Nodding, Melchior takes up position to guard Andrej, glances curiously at the girl, then resumes scanning the area for malevolent intent (using his detect evil ability)

(OOC: thanks for the welcome, good to be onboard)

Alexis said...

There seems to be nothing of danger within 60', Melchior. All seems quiet and calm. However, there is a definite 'evil' shadow over this catacomb ... some considerable evil has occurred here at some point in the recent past, up until perhaps two or three years ago. You can't quite put a finger on it, and it isn't still active.

Andrej said...

We return to the surface via the stairs.

Melchior said...

Melchior follows Andrej, keeping his eyes on the stairs behind them.

"Something evil happened here in the past, Father Andrej. This has been a dark place - not recently perhaps, but the very stones of this cathedral are stained by what took place."

Alexis said...

The various workmen are shocked at the sight of the girl - her chemise is still stained with blood, remember, and she is deathly pale in the light.

Andrej will remember there is a font with water located in the nave.

Andrej said...

(OOC: Sorry all, it looks like Blogger at my reply from last night.)

Andrej makes his way to the font with the girl.

"Melchior, please see if the kitchen will spare us some food."

Melchior said...

"Yes, father." replies Melchior, Tucking his sword into his rope belt and slinging his shield over his shoulder, he quickly heads in the direction of the kitchens.

Once there, he is friendly but implacable in acquiring bread and some sort of broth or soup, returning with it as quickly as he can manage.

Alexis said...

The cooks look at you strangely, but none of them stop you. You simply snatch soup out of a pot with a bowl, and yes, a loaf of bread. You're reasoning is sound, that the bread would be softened in the soup.

Melchior returns and finds Andrej has laid the girl down next to the water. The font is huge, twelve feet across, and features an enormous bowl set into a large marble platform. The bowl is large and deep enough to immerse a dwarf. The lip at one point comes to within inches of the edge. Where Andrej has laid the girl, there is a three foot wide stone ledge next to the water.

The girl seems to be unconscious now. Several of the workmen have stopped, but a foreman shouts at them that the church must be restored before the sun rises tomorrow, and they return to work. The foreman shouts at Melchior, too ... the foreman seems to think Melchior is a laborer or something.

Andrej said...

Andrej fishes a wooden cup out of his pack and will aid the girl in drinking from it. "Set the soup down there, Melchior. Thank you."

Andrej said...

aid her in drinking water from the font, that is.

Melchior said...

Melchior sets the soup down and begins tearing the bread into small chunks, dropping them into the soup to fortify it.

That completed, he rises, looks at the foreman, then back at Father Andrej, seeming to hesitate.

"Ah, father.." he says, visibly considering.

"Perhaps this is a poor time to ask such things, but I'm down to my last few silver coins, and that fellow seems to be offering a day of work."

Glancing down, he shuffles his feet sheepishly, "I know that god would have us aid those in need, and this poor girl certainly needs our help..."

"I suppose what I'm saying is - might you consider allowing me to stay on and assist you until such time as you feel you don't need me any further? My needs are little, and I think you'll find me a hard worker and a fighter of some slight skill."

Andrej said...

"Follow me for a time, my son, and you will wont for little. Once our charge here is well enough to be carried we will take her to a friend's house. That sword of yours may be put to good use in seeing her there safely."

Melchior said...

Melchior brightens visibly, seeming to stand straighter, almost vibrating with excitement.

"You will not regret your trust, father. I can heal her a little more, by the grace of St Luke, if you feel that would help."

Alexis said...

The girl begins to come around.

Andrej said...

Andrej speaks to the girl, "My name is Father Andrej, my friend here is Melchior. You are safe with us, but we would like to take you to a place of greater safety now. May I carry you there?"

Alexis said...

"Has the Bishop come back?" she asks, clearly terrified.

Andrej said...

"No. He is gone, but we must now get you away safely. Can you be carried now? Are you hurt anywhere that has not been healed?"

Alexis said...

She does not answer. She passes out.

Andrej said...

"Melchior, if you will be so kind as to lead the way I will direct you as we go."

Andrej picks up the girl and carries her gently out of the cathedral. We go to Hornung's palast by foot.

Alexis said...

There's no troubles with getting there. We may assume that you're at the palast; for the moment, I'm satisfied to continue the content on this post; I'll refresh when this one passes 120 comments.

Andrej said...

Once at the palast Andrej would seek out his friends. Finding them gone he would next seek out Emmanuel for news of there whereabouts. Next, Fatima. Is Ahmet's sister willing to look after the recovery of the girl?

Andrej said...

Consider Andrej as taking action on all of the above, in the order presented, as he is able.

Alexis said...

Fatima will, along with the staff. The valet has a message for Andrej - he's to expect word from Eberhardt come Sunday morning; of course, at present, Eberhardt's exact whereabouts are unknown.

Andrej knows now where his companions are.

Fatima will show little interest in Melchior, but will send him and Andrej to the kitchen to eat. She will send someeone to bring more food for the girl. The characters will find they are quite famished, particularly Andrej, who's been fighting today.

Andrej said...

Andrej, being wounded on top of famished, cleans up and changes into his adventurer's garb, sans armor. He spends the rest of the day in rest and conversation with Melchior, getting to better know his new companion.

I can answer whatever questions you may have about the party and what we're doing now, Melchior.

Melchior said...

Melchior follows him alertly, and assists when able.

Alexis said...

After an hour, the girl would like to talk to the two men who saved her.

Her name is Carolina.

Melchior said...

(OOC: Forgot to refresh here)

Melchior happily tells Andrej the basic history found in his character sheet.

He asks in general terms what Andrej is all about, and is very curious about the role of the Bishop in all of this.

He will follow Andrej curiously when the girl asks to see them.

Alexis said...

According to Fatima, the girl has a disease of some kind; she may be healed and fed, but she is apparently still dying.

Melchior said...

(OOC: Do I have the ability to cure disease 1/week?)

Ahmet said...

(OOC: Save your curing disease for my cousin, you've probably infected her! :) )

Andrej said...

Andrej will go to speak to Carolina.

Melchior, we can say I caught you up on everything if you're familiar with the campaign so far. If you have any specific questions we can address them here or I think you have my email now.

Alexis said...

Yes, Melchior does.

Andrej said...

(OOC: if Ninetoes didn't infect her, she must be immune by now.)

Ahmet said...

(OOC: Zing!)

Melchior said...

(OOC: No, I'm good - I'm basically familiar with the campaign and will do the rest of the background legwork myself)

Upon hearing of the disease from Fatima, Melchior frowns and says "I have been granted some gifts in curing disease, by the providence of the Archangel Raphael, who also guards over young children. Perhaps I can assist her."

Andrej said...

"Let us speak with Carolina, learn more if we can, and then put your gifts to use young Melchior."

Alexis said...

Carolina wishes to explain (before she dies) about the Bishop.

(OOC: I'm walking out for the day - and this would be a good place to start a new post. I'll write it up tomorrow.

I'll also try to finally make a list for Lukas and Melchior for your conflict cards ... we haven't got much use out of them yet, but one never knows)

Lukas said...

(OOC: I'm tempted to try and pull one on our predicament, but don't think it will end well.)

Andrej said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Andrej said...

Whoops, sorry. Make that:

Alexis, Andrej took create water (1st) and silebce 15' radius (2nd) as his new spells.

Andrej said...

"silence"