Friday, February 7, 2014

The Way Down

The party doesn't need to travel very far, only 50 feet over the next ten rounds, or two minutes, in a fairly steep passage that calls for the players to sheath their weapons in order to be safe; there's no threat, and the clay soil is tough and supports you well. But the passage curls to the left and drops about 20 feet.

You cannot help but notice that the temperature has warmed somewhat unnaturally in that short time, almost like stepping outside into the sun. The smell of mown hay intensifies, and its obvious to everyone now, even before finding yourselves at the top of a natural chimney, about 8 feet across. Three quarters of the chimney space seems to be taken up by a hay-like plant, which has fixed itself solidly to the ceiling and sidewalls of the chimney, with strands about thumb-thickness, that drop into the blackness of the vertical hole. These strands are brownish grey, with no sign of greenery, but they feel lush and vibrant to the touch, indicating that they're rich with water and must be growing. The touch is so smooth that you might think it was made of corn-silk ... and dimly Maximillian seems to remember that this is an underground plant called 'tussore-weed.' The branches compress when seized and are very soft on the hands, while apparently firm and supportive.

Ahmet's Torch (including inspection of the plants): 7 minutes.

56 comments:

Maximillian Boii said...

hmm... This is very intriguing, but my vote is to save this hole for another day. I don't want to go down there without more torches. I suggest we return to the store-room.

Ahmet said...

I wonder how far Andrej can see down with his infravision, given the abundant plant life.

Lukas said...

Yeah I'm not feeling to optimistic about climb checks on mysterious underground plants.

My vote is for heading back to the temple.

Ahmet said...

Wimps!

What's the point of turning back anyway? We don't have more torches up there waiting for us.

Lukas said...

Not as concerned about the darkness or the falling so much as the sudden stop at the end.

Alexis Smolensk said...

You'll have to send the torch out of the room to see, Andrej.

Maximillian's specialty isn't plants, is it?

Maximillian Boii said...

It is not.

Lukas said...

Furthermore I have this fear that prolonged exposure may lead to rashes, paralysis or death by strangling.

(OOC: As per "The Ruins"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ruins_(film))

Ahmet said...

How about us three humies keep on trucking -- 50 down the hall might be enough, no? -- while Andrej attempts to peer down the hole?

Lukas said...

Sounds good.

Don't get eaten while we're away.

Ahmet said...

Objections, Andrej or Max?

When we are down to about 5 minutes remaining (around the time we walk the 50' ahead, assuming we don't run into anything interesting along the way), let's light one of the three remaining unlit torches.

James C. said...

No objection, Andrej complies.

Lukas said...

Let us light the torch I am holding.

Maximillian Boii said...

That works for me.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet leads Max and Lukas further down the tunnel, 50' or so assuming nothing interesting pops up, in order to give Andrej the darkness he needs to use his infravision. When the torch has about 5 minutes of life left, they light the torch that Lukas is carrying, leaving them with two unlit torches.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Andrej, there's no indication the plants are embued with any sort of visible intelligence, or that they've moved since your arrival.

You look down the hole, and can see the circle of falling weeds surround the chimney. With the heat of the torches gone, and the room much quieter and lacking in movement, you can actually feel a very gentle press of warm air on your face as you look down. The air itself is warmer below you, so that past your visual range, rather than the unseen area being darker than the chimney, it is actually lighter. No so light as to suggest radiated visible light (such as a hot fire would give), but just infrared that blots out all detail past 60 feet down. This is something you've seen from walls in a warm room, so you would guess that's what you're seeing. You'd guess that the plants are thriving on the heat from below, plus water, compensating for the lack of sunlight as an engine.

Andrej said...

Andrej returns to the others, relaying what he saw and felt at the edge of the chimney.

"So back to the old storeroom then? I think I should in the back on the return trip. It could be there's nothing behind us or it could be there's something down that chimney... better that I'm able to keep an eye out behind us, I think."

Ahmet said...

Did those of us who continued down the passage see or hear anything else?

"What will we do when we return to the old storeroom -- tunnel through the wall? Or return to the vardo, and then to the ship?"

Alexis Smolensk said...

Regarding the passage and the present state of the party, I have nothing new to tell you.

Maximillian Boii said...

We'll see what we find in the storeroom, but i'm in favor of either tunneling through the wall, or returning to the vardo and buying more torches.

Lukas said...

I think we should go through the store room wall or look for the real entrance.

Given we have no idea for the real entrance, we should probably do the wall.

Of course, should we go for the wall they may have prepared a trap or warning mechanism should someone go through it again.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet stubbornly wants to continue, but is grudgingly convinced and begins to lead the party back to the store room.

New proposed marching order as per Andrej's suggestion:

Ahmet, Maximillian, Lukas, Andrej.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Arguing that you go back towards the old storeroom at twice the speed that you moved as you were exploring, I'll call it four minutes to get back to the old storeroom. Calling the time spent in the area of the tussore-weed 3 minutes, what with discussing and Andrej being left alone, that increases the drain on the torches by 7 minutes. My calculation says that, as Ahmet returns to the old storeroom, his torch begins to gutter out and be changed at once.

Alexis Smolensk said...

I'll try to get up a new thread in a bit; starting to feel the day becoming oppressive, I may not get back to this for some hours.

Lukas said...

Ok, I suggest we set to picking out the mortar. But carefully and quietly as we can.

Maximillian Boii said...

I will do so using my dagger under Lukas and/or Ahmet's guidance, but suggest we wait for the new thread.

James C. said...

We are down to two torches, yes? Perhaps rather than pick at the mortar now, we should fetch more torches or a lantern from town and return. I'm thinking, perhaps incorrectly, the most we could do if we pick at the mortar now is peek into or at best step into the next room. If we come back better equipped we can sustain a longer exploration.

Lukas said...

We could peek in and see if there's light on the other side.

Furthermore if necessary I can cast blue light for the duration of picking.

Ahmet said...

I don't know if it's wise to make a hole, peek in, and then leave and come back -- they'll know we were here. The Unterns did that too, and look what was waiting for them...

Ahmet said...

I'm not saying we shouldn't leave -- just that we should either leave now, or commit to staying and make the hole. Not make a hole and then leave.

Lukas said...

Well my thought is...
What if there's light on the other side?

We could make just enough to see if there is light.

Alexis Smolensk said...

At this point, the torch has gone out, and the conversation is taking place in the dark. There's a thin bit of light giving in from outside.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet is quite comfortable standing here in the dark. Why, once in the mines he once worked an entire shift lit only by the sparks from his pick ax! That and the illumination provided by Hakim oglu-Jabir's steady flatuence, which, coincidentally, was ignited by the sparks.

(OOC: Actually I'm just waiting to give Andrej a turn to weigh in, as it would appear we have two votes for making a hole and one vote for leaving.)

Lukas said...

(OOC: I'm here to fight minotaurs and I don't want to leave until at least one of us is triumphantly standing over the corpse of one.)

Maximillian Boii said...

I am in favor of leaving, and Andrej expressed that desire as well (making us two and two). I also don't much mind standing here in the dark while we decide what to do, it means that anyone approaching from the temple will be in silhouette, and anything from the tunnel will hopefully be visible to andrej.

I suppose there's valid arguments to be made either way for why it'd be better to stay or go, so how shall we resolve this?

Alexis Smolensk said...

Somebody has to change their mind, or make a better argument.

;)

Maximillian Boii said...

My argument is not that different from Andrej's: If the odds are good we'll need torches in the future, I'd rather we go get them before we _need_ them.

We can debate until the masonry falls out of this wall, or we can flip a coin ;)

Ahmet said...

I think we all agree that we should leave and get more torches; the question is should we remove a brick first (and see if the other side is lit, or a room full of torches, or some other reason that would invalidate the need to go back to town), or if we should simply leave.

Lukas says make the hole and peek; Ahmet says leave without making the hole.

What say Andrej and Maximillian?

Maximillian Boii said...

let's go ahead and make a hole.

Lukas said...

I'm not even envisioning removing a brick. Just seeing if we can 'bore' a hole enough to see if there's light in there.

Lukas said...

Lukas casts blue light and uses it to light the act of digging out some mortar to peek through.

He will use his copper knife to try and do so unless Max is set on breaking down this wall, in which case he will yield to Max.

Maximillian Boii said...

No, I'll follow Lukas lead, using my dagger, and working where he or Ahmet tell me to.

James C. said...

To avoid a logjam, Andrej indicates his willingness to consent to making the hole now by raising a hand to Ahmet. "Let them make the hole, you and I can keep a watch."

Ahmet said...

Ahmet mutters a long string of curses about the curiosity of wizards, witches, and other fools. Somehow Sevim gets mentioned in there too.

He stands near the tunnelers but watches the entrance (to the outside world).

Alexis Smolensk said...

... where Ahmet is attacked by a group of witches and wizards with their ears burning ... in Ahmet's imagination.

The best 'hole' that can be made will require the removal of a small stone. The masonry is too good to simply open up a space in the mortar. The construction is certainly new, the mortar not fully hardened and thus easily scraped. Maximillian risks damaging his dagger and a thought pops into his head about the possibility of a spike.

Ruling that Lukas's curiousity runs away from him (and because there are no immediate dire consequences), he removes a stone not quite the size of his fist and confirms that the space beyond - probably the 'new store room' is black as pitch. He is able to extend his blue light on the end of his fingers partway through the hole, and is thus able to recognize a large pick, a trowel and a bucket large enough for a 4-year-old child to bathe in.

Ahmet said...

(OOC: Ahmet checking in, just waiting for everyone else...)

Lukas said...

Lukas will replace the stone.
He will then return to the others and ensure they know as much.
He will also request that they take great care in leaving. In case there is a trap waiting for them.

Maximillian Boii said...

(ooc: Ahmet, I'm sorry if I mischaracterized your position. I thought you were on the side for the hole.)

Ok, do we want to exit with the same method as before, or in reverse? I can leave first and scout, and scuttle back if I sense danger.

I begin taking of my armor.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Noted. I'll forego putting up another post until the party returns outside or takes some other action.

Lukas said...

You could probably be armored and investigate the bars first. That way if there's an ambush you should he able to at least be somewhat protected from potential ranged attacks.

Maximillian Boii said...

I'll let one of the folks in plate do that ;)

Alexis Smolensk said...

For the sake of play and because I want to move this along without getting involved in a lot of overthinking.

I have NO intention of attacking you in this room at this time. There's no real reason to believe that something is about to explode through the wall or out of the hole and catch anyone unarmored or alone in the old storeroom. So if you want to go, please just say you're going. We can diffuse the need to discuss tactics at this time.

Lukas said...

(OOC: Only a spy would...)

Ok we're leaving.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet leads the way back to the surface world.

Maximillian Boii said...

excellent. Let's go resupply!

Alexis Smolensk said...

The next post is up.