Wednesday, May 23, 2012

The Stairwell

At the point where the party is considering the glyph in the wall, and partly arranged along the steep staircase leading up from Falfysson's Cavern, they experience something distinctly eerie.  It is a change in the air itself; abruptly, for those upon the stair (including the majority of the party, as I'll rule Lukas has just completed the hairpin), the air grows abruptly still.

This stillness is complete.  Where before there was the sound of water from the cavern, the shuffling of dwarves' feet, an indistinct flow of air down the stairs - now there is nothing.  Noise that was ignored before is now painfully evident in that it no longer exists.

Andrej knows at once that it is not a silence spell.

It is as if every ear in the party has suddenly closed up.

48 comments:

Ahmet said...

At least Ahmet no longer needs to worry about making too much noise in his armor...

Could the reason be some sort of underground phenomenon that Ahmet is familiar with from his days as a miner?

Alexis said...

Apart from moments when Ahmet may have gone very deep into a natural hole, in which air pressure may have changed enough to cause his ears to pop, Ahmet has NO experience with any phenomena which might cause this to happen spontaneously.

Andrej said...

Andrej speaks aloud "The glyph?" Can any hear it?

Alexis said...

The dwarves acknowledge that they can hear Andrej by raising an arm or nodding - but none of them speak.

At that moment, the lack of sound is replaced with a ferocious amount of NOISE.

Andrej said...

Where does the noise come from? Are any of us adversely affected?

Ahmet said...

(OOC: Ut-oh...)

Alexis said...

It would be hard to describe the tremendous SOUND that follows for persons not living in an industrial age; Andrej may have once encountered a tornado in his youth upon the steppelands; Janos may have heard an avalanche once while roaming the Carpathians as he gained knowledge as a ranger; Lukas would certainly have heard avalanches in Switzerland; Ahmet would have experienced earthquakes, and heard buildings topple ...

But this does not sound like any of those things. The sound comes from elsewhere, certainly - not the gylph, nowhere near the Stairwell - but at the same time it seems almost to be sucked out of the party's ears.

The stones vibrate, but not in a manner suggesting they would come apart - rather, it would be like holding a cat that is purring ... except of course it is the stone that is purring.

Those in the cavern, on the other side of the Hairpin, hear nothing; the cavern floor or walls does not purr - only the stones that have been laid. Lukas might postulate that the natural stone distributes the shock better.

Then the sound - and the vibration - is gone. It is followed by a puff of warm air ... for a moment, the temperature in the stairwell rises ten degrees. Then that, too, is gone.

You can hear the dripping of water again.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet waits for someone else to speak first.

Andrej said...

"I hope that was our side."

Andrej steps past the door discovered by Frith, bypasing Ahmet and the dwarf, and makes for the rickety wooden door at the top of the stairs. His torch he hands off to Zoft as he goes, "If you would, Father."

Ahmet said...

Ahmet sticks with Andrej, following him to the door. "Stay behind me; I'll go through first."

Andrej said...

"Aye, Ahmet, that honor will be yours. Keep the torches back, I will peer through the cracks first."

Alexis said...

You can discern little through the cracks; there appears to be a large room, of which you cannot see any ceiling. There is a dim stone wall opposite you, about 30 feet away, lit by dim light that seems to come from above. The floor you can see is dirt, partly covered with straw.

Ahmet said...

Everybody ready for Ahmet to stomp through the door?

James C. said...

Stomp away.

Lukas said...

Lukas comments, "What does this siege weapon do? Do you think it's related?"

He nods to the others as they look back curiously.

(OOC: Sorry, work was busy.)

Ahmet said...

Ahmet, shield strapped to his left arm, takes a deep breath, looks at Andrej, and opens the door with his right hand. The music swells, and...

(OOC: I think Alexis said today wouldn't be a good one, so I wanted to set up a dramatic cliff hanger!)

Andrej said...

(OOC: Very nice)

Andrej has shield and mace and stands ready just behind Ahmet.

Alexis said...

(OOC: Yeah, today is a disaster; but I'm on a break from training, so ...)

I'll try to get all the details right.

Ahmet, Andrej and those who come in after find themselves at the bottom of a tower, the inside space of which is 30 feet in diameter. The floor, as I said, is dirt and straw. It has been emptied of every kind of store or accommodations. In fact, the tower is virtually hollow, and this open space rises 80 feet over the party's heads.

At the very top of this "shaft" you can see a wooden roof.

30 feet up, upon the opposite side of the tower, you can see a small iron door, 4 feet by 2 feet; there is the suggestion of a threshold beneath it, but it would have to be a very small ledge, no more than six inches deep, going all around the door.

Four feet above the door is a catwalk which loops in a great circle around the inside of the tower, all the way to the wooden roof. This catwalk is 5 feet wide, and rests on heavy wooden and iron beams which extend out from the wall. The beams do not extend farther than the catwalk. There is a small hole in the wooden roof, which is met by the catwalk (but you have to cross the bottom of the tower to see this joining).

The tower stones are unusually stabilized by a considerable amount of iron braces, brackets, plates and angles - nearly every stone is fixed to its neighbor by an iron bar that is riveted into the rock. Some of the plates are up to three feet wide, riveted also right into the inside surface of the tower.

In this light, I believe that's everything ... but I may have forgotten something. Ask questions.

Andrej said...

"Frith, do you think one of your dwarves could climb to the catwalk and lower ropes down to the remaining force?"

Lukas said...

My thought is, it should be possible to climb given all the metal support brackets just stuck into the stone blocks everywhere, though if the tower starts shaking whoever is climbing is in a really bad spot. I wonder if this is a one time thing?

Andrej said...

Possible, Lukas, but also possibly difficult and dangerous. At least with the rope, preferably a knotted one, one has got more support and something to hang onto if the tower starts shaking.

Lukas said...

Yeah I'm just meaning for the first one...

Andrej said...

Ah, got it.

János said...

I'm sure we could have a few people spot for the climber and be ready to catch him in the event that the tower shakes again.

Alexis, how is the room lit? I assume there's some light source other than our own torches that's allowing us to see up to the roof.

Alexis said...

(OOC: Air!)

Food for thought - a first level dwarven thief has only a 75% chance of successfully climbing walls; this means every time Batath tries to climb anything, he's bound to fall 1 time in 4.

I fully expected that his number would be up when he came down from the stalagmite ... but he's a lucky dwarf. He rolled 75, and he comes down by the skin of his teeth. Please consider all the dwarves to now be in the tower or upon the stairwell.

Batath looks at the door and sighs. "I'm really pushing my luck," he says.

Frith suggests staggering spikes up along the wall for climbing.

There is something else I forgot to mention: the party can hear a distant roar, as though a sea were hammering upon a shore somewhere high in the tower. It is the sound of battle.

Alexis said...

And yes, there would be some torchlight ... but it is only along the top twenty feet of the tower's catwalk; very little light reaches the floor. To someone up there, you would all be lost in the blackness.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet slings his shield, sheathes his scimitar, and two-thirds loads his crossbow, just in case.

Andrej said...

What can be seen beyond the hole in the roof? Daylight? Moonlight? Torchlight?

"If we have spikes and a hammer, let us begin. Batath, if you would lead us in the spiking Ahmet and I will be the first two to climb after you."

Alexis said...

That's a good question, Andrej. Call it dim torchlight, flickering now and again; you might be able to discern the faint sound of feet moving way up above, but it would not be loud (the floor is quite thick and buttressed)

Alexis said...

The dwarves begin to spike their way towards the door first.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet unloads his crossbow and prepares to follow.

Andrej said...

Andrej prepares to follow Ahmet by shouldering his shield and putting his mace into his belt.

Lukas said...

When Lukas makes it to the tower, he will begin considering the metal bracings and their purpose. It does seem to be for keeping the tower from shaking apart, but I hope maybe I can find some other clue...

Alexis said...

Lukas, you find evidence all over that the tower has experienced a great deal of shaking. The edges of the stone has even been turned to powder in places where gigantic blocks meet.

Alexis said...

It will take about ten minutes to drive spikes into the wall to make a sort of stairwell. Batath will make his roll to climb to the catwalk - five feet wide was perhaps generous; three and a half would be closer upon climbing onto it.

Ermeth and Htuya set themselves the task of getting the iron door open; it gives way, but its stuck, and takes a great deal of effort.

Andrej said...

Andrej climbs the spikes at first opportunity. The iron door... wouldn't this lead to the bishop's chambers?

Ahmet said...

Ahmet also takes the spikes as soon as he is able.

János said...

Janos follows up behind Ahmet.

Ahmet said...

(OOC: I meant "takes to the spikes", not takes the spikes!)

Lukas said...

(OOC: lols, Andrej, "Screw you dwarves!" Runs away with the spikes.)

Lukas will follow up at least half way along.

Alexis said...

Frith is under the impression that the glyphed door leads to the bishop's chambers; this iron door seems to lead into the fortifications of either the middle or the high castle walls. If so, Frith believes his men can do good work among the soldiers posted there.

"You and your companions can climb up and manage the stinger," says Frith to Andrej. "And we can try to bring a part of the wall down."

Andrej said...

Andrej claps Frith on the shoulder, "Good hunting comrade. We will give you cover or bring the stinger down, whichever we are able.

Nodding to Ahmet, "Lead us upward, turk. Yours shall be the first blow to strike."

To the others, "I go second and the rest fall in behind. Klaas, if you prefer the polearm today you should come behind me. Cover the rear if you take the crossbow instead. Janos, Lukas... I'm sure there will be plenty remaining once we sort it out above. Be ready with your spells, friend Lukas. I don't believe this stinger will be left without guards and your magic may turn the tide at the crucial point."

Ready?

Andrej said...

Andrej readies a torch and an oil flask. The 2nd flask is in his belt pouch.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet gives Klaas the crossbow if that's what he wants to use; if not, he puts it on his back and starts up the spikes.

János said...

Janos readies his bastard sword and shield and follows behind Andrej.

Alexis said...

While the dwarves continue to work on the door, the party can reach the catwalk.

Klaas will take the crossbow. He'll take the last position -

So the order, I am presuming, is Ahmet, Andrej, Janos, Lukas and finally Klaas.

A word of interest; there are no railings for the catwalk, as you notice starting upwards from 35 feet off the floor. If you should get into combat, and be stunned during that combat, you will have to make a dexterity check or fall. FYI.

Lukas said...

Sounds good to me, unless someone wants to be behind me.

Alexis said...

The next post is up.