Monday, July 23, 2012

Opening the Door

The first thing that happens, as Andrej pulls on the door, the iron balls and the crowbars in the room vanish.  There's no evidence they were ever there.

The second thing, as the door opens it lets in a blast of hot air - nothing to worry about, but the temperature outside the door is about 30 degrees hotter.  Where before it was about 8 p.m. in the evening, the temperature cool, it is bright day outside and the temperature is balmy (around 80 degrees).

You're looking at a very desolate landscape.

What you can see are dunes with thing, scrub-growth on them, arresting them in place (unlike barchans, which move).  The dunes are greyish-green in color, very pale, but flat and non-reflective in the bright sunlight.  You can see nothing but this desert for as far as the eye can see, which is about a mile and a half before the last dune blocks your line-of-sight.

The sky is hazy blue.  The air is very dry, and a rather gritty wind blows across the opening of the door.  The scrub, which is composed of twisted, wooden branches, does not rise more than a few feet above the ground, and is scattered widely between the caked, hard soil.  In the lowest places, between the dunes, clay has hardened into a rock-like pan.

There is no sign of water.

It does not look in the least familiar to you - even the Turk has not seen a desert similar to this.  Certainly the lack of any sort of grass is unlike any place seen by the Half-orc.  Naturally, the Ranger and the Mage are unfamiliar in the extreme.

And yet the Ranger senses more life than the other members of the party; he would profess to possibly a few giant insects; the visible spoor and prints of some hoofed animal, one he has not seen before.  Water, if there is any, is certain to be downwind, to the left of the door, but just as certainly some miles away.

The knowledge is not encouraging.


58 comments:

Ahmet said...

Ahmet eyes the barren landscape warily and begins two-thirds loading the crossbow.

(OOC: I knew we should'a taken that right turn at Albuquerque...)

Lukas said...

Lukas looks behind him at the room, then out again.

"So why would this door ever go here?"

He peers down out the door, which I assume is at ground level then steps out. He proceeds to look behind the gate, to see the other side of coarse, and then returns.

"And furthermore, where is here, and will that other door hold?"

Lukas moves to search his pack. "We probably need to assess supplies."

Ahmet said...

(OOC: Maybe if we close the door and open it again, it go somewhere else?)

Lukas said...

(OOC: I have my doubts that such an installation would be made, how useful would it be given the cost? Unless it was only to be used as a random escape route.)

Alexis said...

The door is two feet above the height of the desert floor; but at least Lukas is assured that the ground is real - he can look behind the door, and see that the landscape is the same in every direction. The cross-dimensional door continues to be without any depth or dimension when viewed from the side.

The sun is visible behind the door; Lukas would guess that you're quite high above the equator. The sun would appear to be at mid-day.

Lukas can roll a % die.

Lukas said...

d%: 70

Ahmet said...

"The sun wouldn't be visible in Jahannam, priest -- and I suspect not in your Hell, either. So at least we can take comfort in that."

Quick status check -- anyone seriously injured (single digit HPs) and out of healing salves?

Andrej said...

oh my.

Andrej said...

I'm at 15 hit points. Out of Salves, and water. Once I rest I can get a create water spell back, though.

(OOC: Ahmet taking comfort that at least we're not in hell is one of the bad-assest things we've written so far.)

Ahmet said...

I'm at 14 HP and I've got three healing salves left.

Alexis said...

Lukas, regarding % ... sorry, but you do not know what I wondered if you knew.

You have a vague recollection of your master telling you, "And remember Lukas, when dealing with dimension doors, you must absolutely, without question, not forget that ..."

- and that's what you remember.

Andrej said...

"Lukas, why would the defenders have a door to such a place? What happens if we close this door and re-open the one we came through? Would we return to the tower crown?"

Alexis said...

Batath will scowl and say, "I've no interest in staying here; I'd rather take my chances with the tower."

Andrej said...

"Perhaps we should reconnoiter yonder hill, to see if anything besides scrub and sand lies beyond. Perhaps upon higher ground perspectives will change."

Ahmet said...

Ahmet will apply two of his three healing salves.

D4: 4
D4: 2

Bringing him to 20 HP.

Ahmet volunteers to jump out of the door and check out the hill, though perhaps Janos as the Ranger should join him.

(Hopefully it will still be accessible from the other side...)

Alexis said...

The ranger feels fairly certain that if there were anything civilized "just beyond the hill" he would be able to smell it. Perhaps downwind, there might be something he couldn't detect - but that direction (where Lukas can see, since it is to the left and slightly behind the door) seems to be the flattest, with a horizon extending two miles.

Alexis said...

Thinking about it, the ranger adds that if there was life enough around to support even a small village, there should be some small disturbance of the ground he could recognize. Instead, this has the feel of some obscure quarter of the world.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet looks at Andrej. "Do you want me to journey out? Or should we turn back?"

János said...

"It seems to me that striking out into this wasteland won't prove very fruitful. If we're likely to find anything at all out there, it's trouble."

Janos will apply his one healing salve as well.

d4: 3

János said...

On second thought, however, it might not be a bad idea to head out a little ways just to see if we can figure out anything else about this place. After all, if the cross-dimensional room only goes two ways, then turning back now isn't likely to bring us to a much safer place. At least we can get some sense of where we are before we walk back into a bunch of angry crossbowmen, even if there's nothing worth finding here.

"I'll admit, I am a little curious..."

Andrej said...

"Trouble ahead, and trouble behind friend ranger." Andrej hops down into the sand with Lukas, assuming the latter is still there. "I want to see what's over that hill." Perhaps a familiar twinkle can be seen in the wily cleric's eye.

Andrej moves toward the nearest dune with the intention of climbing it and better surveying the land.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet accompanies Andrej, 2/3rds loaded crossbow at the ready.

Lukas said...

Lukas warns, "I highly recommend we stay within sight of this gateway. If this area is not commonly used I wonder why it is here."

Alexis said...

Kushi plans to stay in the cross-dimensional room, and Ermeth with him. Erdina and Batath will hop down with the rest of the party.

For Klaas to go with the party, he will need to roll 2d6.

Kushi will also say, "We don't want this door to disappear on us, do we? If we all step out, mebbe it will wink out and leave us stranded here."

Alexis said...

(OOC: Janos, you went up a level, didn't you - after taking the Stinger? Did you ever roll your increased hit points?)

János said...

(OOC: I must have forgotten to post that; I rolled an 8 for my new hit points. Do I gain those immediately, or does my maximum just increase?)

Janos, bastard sword at the ready, join the others.

Andrej said...

"We will not wander far, Lukas. 'Twould be a shame, though, to come to the edge of the world and not peek over the side, yes?"

"Kushi and Ermeth, you are correct. Stand here and hold the door for us. Beware of crossbow bolts. Yell if you have any trouble."

Klaas can stay here, gents. We really don't all need to check out the hill.

Alexis said...

Janos, you add the additional hitpoints to both your maximum and your present hit points.

Ahmet said...

"And load your crossbow, Klaas!"

Alexis said...

With all that, I shall move the party up yon hill.

The temperature is hot and the sudden dryness is uncomfortable. In armor, sweaty from the recent combat, you find yourself soon mopping your brows and looking for ways to free up more of your skin.

The haziness of the sky is evidently due to the wind, which although would be described as "fresh" if you were on the sea, is about as intense and somewhat less pleasant, what with the dust and all.

The ground is hard, resembling a literal pan in the way it reflects the heat. The ranger will suggest that when it rains here, its heavy and probably makes a lake of this valley that does not run off in any direction. He suggests this may be the lowest part of the surrounding elevation, a depression perhaps.

The hill is powdered silt overtop a hard clay base, the silt being perhaps a half inch thick. Your boots are soon caked, however, as it is granular and quickly gets into the spaces around your laces and where the boots meet your ankles. It is resilient and hard to stamp off.

The top of the hill reveals nothing special; you can see further; you can see more hills. Batath, being a dwarf, identifies north, and suggests that in fact you're probably closer to the equator here than you were in Germany. The sun has advanced about an hour across the sky, which fits with your experience (discussing, getting out of the door, making last minute prep, saying goodbye, stamping across the desert and climbing the hill, finally gazing with wonder at all this desolation and waste.

If the ranger had to make a guess where the land might improve, he would suggest it might be towards the southwest - downwind - but not for at least ten to thirty miles.

Andrej said...

Andrej also retrieves his torch and oil from Lukas or from the portal, extinguishing the former and putting the latter into his belt pouch for future use. Footman's mace in one hand, large shield in the other.

Andrej said...

"Any ideas why the archbishop would put a door on top of his tower to so remote a place? Perhaps there is some mineral here from which is produced the metal balls hurled by the stinger? I see no signs of mining or production..."

Ahmet said...

"Perhaps he dumps his ghouls here when he's done with them."

Andrej said...

Raising an eyebrow at Ahmet's suggestion, Andrej picks up each foot as if to look underneath. Smiling, he shakes his head "no".

"We could try the door we cam through to see if it returns to Arnsberg or takes us somewhere more promising. Or, I suppose we could stay put to rest some. If the doorway only goes to here and then back to Arnsberg, we will be more ready for unpleasantness upon our return with a break." Andrej removes some blood and gore from his mace head as he weighs these options. "We could rather strike out from here and go southwest, to see what there is to see. Other thoughts?"

Ahmet said...

Ahmet scowls. "Rest? Wander? Bah! There's a war being fought, and we are wasting our time here! I had hoped this portal would bring us to the other tower -- not to this damned wasteland. Let us return to battle!"

Lukas said...

Lukas looks around doubtfully. "If we had any sign they actually DID something here I would think it would be worthwhile to stay. But, for all we know we're unprepared to discover anything about this place with little to no benefit."

"Though, in an hour, what kind of force do you think they have guarding the stinger now? Will they be able to open the door at all? Has it actually been an hour over there? Too many questions..."

Andrej said...

"There is some logic in such a course of action, Ahmet, but we've at least six opponents to contend with upon a return to the tower and have already fought long and hard this past day. Also, consider that it might be that as long as we keep this door open, the enemy will be denied ammunition for the stinger."

Andrej said...

"Many questions, aye Lukas. Let us return to the doorway and consider our course more closely."

Andrej begins walking back to the dimension door.

"I do not wish to abide here, but neither do I willingly return to more certain death. An hour has passed and still no contact from our point of origin. I am starting to believe that the wisest course will be to rest within the portal, keeping the door to this wasteland open. We should regain our spells, at least, before trying the door again to see what awaits us. In this manner I hope to deny the enemy their ammunition, increase the likelihood of either taking any guards upon the tower unawares or returning in time to enjoy Hornung's victory."

Ahmet said...

Ahmet hmphs, but the bit about denying ammunition to the enemy does earn a grudging nod.

Lukas said...

FYI, I'm only down 1 Charm Person. Just in case you are assuming anything about my spells.

I presume you have a number of your own to recall.

Andrej said...

I've used every single spell. If we were to return to the tower to fight, we'd do well to have at least the Bless, Aid, Cure Light Wounds, Hold Person and maybe the Silence at our disposal.

Ahmet said...

I think the fight will be over by the time we get back, one way or the other. While time moved a little faster in the dimensional room, it wasn't that much faster... so maybe 12 hours in the dimensional room is 10 hours in real time.

Andrej said...

"The fight might be over, but who is to say who won?"

Andrej said...

Before we decide to rest, is anybody in favor of closing the door to the wasteland to see if the iron balls and crowbars re-appear?

Andrej said...

I should have said, "before we decide whether or not to rest"... still not sure how all of the party feels about resting.

Lukas said...

I agree with the statement that the fight MAY be over. But I understand the addition of spells may be necessary should they be guarding the exit to the gate now.

János said...

Resting sounds like a good idea to me, but I think we should investigate the room a little further first. I'm all for closing the door to see what happens.

Ahmet said...

I vote against resting. We don't know for sure if we have denied ammo to the enemy; maybe when it "disappeared", it stayed in their room but not in ours. I think the battle is at a decisive moment and we could help tip it one way or the other.

Along the same lines, I'm for closing the door and seeing what happens.

That said, I'll abide by whatever the party votes for.

Andrej said...

OK, we at least mostly seem to agree on testing the room so let's do that.

We all step back into Hammerspace and Andrej closes the door to the desert. We open no other doors. What do we see?

Alexis said...

I'm going to take a risk on Lukas agreeing; I don't see much likelihood in him having a problem with the action as Andrej describes it.

Andrej closes the first door. The balls and crowbars do not reappear. The door to the desert does 'disappear' again, reverting back to becoming a discontinuity in the wall - and the first door, opposite, reappears.

Andrej said...

"That puts a wrinkle into things. We may not be returning to the tower at all, but rather into some other place. It appears that the only move now available to us is to open the "first" door. We have only to decide when. I still vote only after some rest. Shall we go with the majority's rule?"

Ahmet said...

Ahmet says nay to rest. Bring it!

Lukas said...

I'm pretty much as ready as I'll ever be. Klaas and I shall ready our ranged weapons first.

Ahmet said...

Yes, if we are opening the door, Ahmet first spends a round so his crossbow is fully loaded, and tells Klaas to do the same.

János said...

Janos reluctantly readies a hand axe in his off hand. Let's see what happens.

Andrej said...

If Janos is with you guys, then we go. If not, then maybe the dwarves can break the tie.

Andrej said...

So be it. Andrej opens the "first" door once the party is ready.

Alexis said...

This is continued on the next post.