Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Bert's Explorations

As Bert re-encounters the party, looking a bit blackened and the worse for wear (I did not ask anyone to make any saving throws for their equipment against lightning, but I think we'll let that go, for reasons that might become evident), he is shocked.  "What's happened to you?" he asks, and listens patiently for your answer.

Once that's done, he says to Lukas, "I'm glad to see that you're well, friend."  He then agrees you've probably got it right as far as the trap is concerned - and suggests that perhaps the source of the lightning isn't magic, because it did function again a second time.  He hasn't a specific answer for an alternative, however. Bert looks at the trap, believes that somehow the electricity is directed from below.  He adds that he doesn't believe the trap has been opened in some time - a couple of months, he feels.

As you puzzle this information out, Bert explains about his explorations,

"I haven't much need for any treasure," he says, "So I felt I'd leave you to it.  I'm only here for the adventure.  And given that you didn't seem too encouraged to take the passage down, I took it upon myself to go alone.  About 70 feet down there's a wide passage that's level, but filled with more of the silkweed.  There's some kind of harvesting room just beyond, about 50 feet I'd say, with about six tunnels full of the stuff.  They must cut it and eat it.  I saw a small graveyard, with four big graves in it, minotaur graves I think, and a little hollow where there are two other minotaurs.  Beyond the hollow is a large passage that goes down further, but I didn't look there as I thought I'd seen enough.  I think the minotaurs were guarding against that downwards passage, they never looked in my direction."  He looks solemn.  "Those minotaurs are bigger yet that the two we saw here," Bert says.  "I'm not sure how they move from down there to up here, but unless we want to meet them, I suggest we get our goods and go.  They seemed passive, so I don't think they'll be up anytime soon, but perhaps they have shifts."

All around, the torches on the walls are beginning to run down, suggesting they're changed regularly.  You did not see a source for torches, so you don't know where they might be brought from.


105 comments:

Lukas said...

Given that knowledge, Lukas looks to the others and nods in agreement. "I think that speed does seem to be the best option in this case then. As fascinated as I am about how this trap functions I think we have little chance of defeating more minotaurs.

Unless we want to somehow disable their passage. Possibly by burning off all the grass. That would of course block our passage as well.

Still, I have my concerns about the touching of that ring. Six hands are needed and all of us probably would not take another shock very well."

Andrej said...

Given recent info and noting Lukas's caution I nevertheless feel we should get six hands in on this now and haul out whatever we may. Andrej volunteers his two. That leaves four more needed.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Bert doesn't feel the ring will give a shock if it is touched at differing places at the same time. The issue is to be sure that no one jumps the gun and touches it before the right moment.

Maximillian Boii said...

You are a valuable friend, Bert, and may have saved our lives a second time.

Andrej, I have only 6 hp, and one healing salve. If you feel strongly, I'll join you in grasping the ring but if there is danger I fear I will not be able to stand up to it. (I point out where my healing salve is, in case I become unconscious;)

Maximillian Boii said...

(I mean danger beyond the ring...)

Lukas said...

I'm at -1, so I'm probably low on the list. Remaining person get's countdown duty.

But here's the thing, if we have to make dex checks for this then we may want to base it off that rather than HP.

When I say 1... Not 'now', 1. Let's do a trial run on this rope, 3, 2, 1 goddamnit Ahmet I said on one you went too slow!

And such for preparing to grab the ring.

Curious though, how does the ring's size compare to minotaur hands?

Lukas said...

I hope this is a door to loot and NOT a gate to the elemental plane of lightning.

Just sayin.

Andrej said...

Lukas :)

Max, I feel strongly enough that I'm risking my neck but you have to decide for yourself whether you want to risk yours. I have two healing salves and a potion of extra healing that I'm willing to share if it comes to it.

If we get three volunteers, we pull the ring. If not, I suppose we leave and decide what to do next unless there are other ideas. I'm good either way.

Lukas said...

I WILL pull the ring with two other people who have two hands each so that the total number of hands is 6 when the ring is pulled.

(This was altered from 'I WILL pull thing ring.' so as to have no misinterpretation)

I just want to help with the 'jumping the gun part'.

I honestly am interpreting into the meta that Alexis is a bit exasperated with this trap and is trying to give us the positive feedback to move forwards.

The only other conclusion I can come to is that Bert is secretly trying to assassinate us. But I imagine that would have been easier previously.

Therefore, let's pull that ring!

Maximillian Boii said...

OK, I'll join you, your neck has saved me before.

The only other idea I had was barricade the door and try to sleep here, but that's pretty risky knowing there are two minotaurs "downstairs."

I previously imagined them climbing up the plants, and thought I could use entangle to hold them half-way up, but the chances are they walk in through the picture, sneak behind us, and throw us down the well... How did I get so paranoid???

Alexis Smolensk said...

To a minotaur, the ring would be the size of a large door knocker, perhaps 11 inches across, rather than the 18 it is for you.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Can I have yesses: Maximillian, Andrej and Lukas, do you pull the ring together?

Lukas said...

Yes.

Maximillian Boii said...

yes.

I ask Bert to lease keep watch down the hall, as I don't want him zapped.

Andrej said...

Yes; coordinating and practicing our simultaneity as Lukas described above.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Everyone in the party has such a high dexterity, there really is no believable chance that you wouldn't have the hand/eye coordination necessary to grasp the ring at the same time.

You all feel a vibration, suggesting that the ring is alive with power in your hands (the three spellcasters recognize the feel as something other than magic), but there is no damage.

Maximillian Boii said...

Excellent! Let us lift the ring.

Alexis Smolensk said...

As the ring is lifted, it pulls up the door after a brief resistance, that seems to break a greasy seal that has collected around the door's edge. It reveals a bowl of a room below, about 15 feet in diameter, mostly occupied by a glowing blue pool that glimmers with its own light, that light moving independently of that light coming through the open trap door.

Strong blue sheets of energy, about the size of blankets, with non-specific edges, float, turn or shoot briefly across and under the surface of the pool. In the pool's center, from beneath the water, a chain reaches upwards to the underside of the trap door, so that it would connect to the underside of the door's knocker.

The pool is 17 or 18 feet across, with a narrow 1 ft wide ledge circumventing the outside of it. The walls curve upwards, like the sides of a teacup. If the party imagines a teacup handle, there is a slot visible in the wall, about two feet wide, and deeper than can be seen. Something is shining light out of the slot, but the shine is still and steady, not moving.

Alexis Smolensk said...

The door is above the dead centre of the pool.

Alexis Smolensk said...

And I should add that the trap door can be leaned back and left in a position where it can remain open; the door stops at an angle of about 130 degrees from its original position.

Lukas said...

OK, must resist the desire to collect water from the deadly lightning pool.

Maximillian Boii said...

I don't see how you can resist that Lukas. This is fascinating.

Let us all let go of the handle at the same time, and be wary of touching the chain, I fear it'd have the same reaction as the ring...

Andrej said...

I'm having trouble visualizing the positioning of the slot... it's in the wall beneath us and out of sight but we can see the light form it?

Also do the room's walls bow so that the widest point is somewhere in the middle or just curve outwardly so that the widest point, once reached, is consistent until the wall meets the ceiling. Put another way, is the room ball-shaped or truly cup shaped on its vertical aspect?

Ahmet said...

(OOC: Sorry, back! And... ooh, weird!)

Alexis Smolensk said...

Try to think of the space as the hollow created by an invisible teacup, and the slot fits where the handle is. You can see a light emerging from inside the handle, and showing on the opposite side of the room's wall. The pool does not seem to put off any light at all. Apart from the one shaft of light emerging from the slot, the rest is coming through the trap door.

Alexis Smolensk said...

I'll save some time, and say you all let go of the handle at once, and that nothing happens from that.

Alexis Smolensk said...

"Throw me to the wall," says Bert. "And I shall not fall in the pool."

Maximillian Boii said...

Aye Bert, we can do that, but let's tie a rope to your waist, so that you can come out again.

I unwind my rope from my waist for that purpose.

Ahmet said...

Does the slot appear to be the right size for the Unterns' key?

Maximillian Boii said...

Andrej, any idea what we're looking at here?

Alexis Smolensk said...

Bert takes Maximillian's suggestion and ties the end of the rope around his waist.

The slot is about two feet wide and five feet high.

Andrej said...

Not yet Max.

Ditto Ahmet's question.

I second the notion of tossing Bert with a rope.

Maximillian Boii said...

Let's do this.

Alexis Smolensk said...

At Bert's insistence, you swing him out on the end of the rope, until he is on the ledge. He walks around the outside to the slot, and produces his lantern, already lit, from apparently under the hem at the back of his breeches.

The light emitting from the slot brightens noticeably, and Bert laughs.

"It's a mirror," he says.

Andrej said...

"What other light is being reflected aside from your lantern's, Bert?"

Maximillian Boii said...

hmmmmm. Is the mirror curved with the wall? Or flat?

Alexis Smolensk said...

"No, it's a standing mirror, about three feet high set in a frame. There are two large chests here, as well." He disappears from sight a moment, then emerges, shaking his head. "I can't budge them."

Lukas said...

"Can you tie the rope to them? Could they support our weight?" Lukas begins looking for something else to tie the rope to. Possibly something heavy enough to support a person.

If not I can cast Material and generate a huge block of stone.

We could then descend down around the well of lightning and loot said chests...

The mirror is suspicious though...
Andrej do you still have a detect magic handy?

Also, I wonder if I can lower my second jar attached to a rope. I am now very tempted to have lightning in a bottle.

Lukas said...

(OOC: New spell idea. "Lukas' Magic Pulley" Instantly appears on any surface and attaches an existing rope. Supports up to X lbs per lvl. Becomes a compound pulley once you hit Xth lvl. Lasts until mage stops touching the rope.)

Andrej said...

I do have the spell handy, but will want to save it for the chests once we are situated below I think. At that time I can detect for the mirror if you like, Lukas.

Alexis Smolensk said...

"The chests have no handles, nor can I wrap a rope around them. The mirror looks valuable and fragile."

Either of the tables will serve to support a character climbing down a rope.

(OOC: I have to call it for the day. I'll find you the usual time tomorrow, though I think I'm going to be busy in the morning)

Lukas said...

That was my thought Andrej.
Note to self: Check range on Material spell. I want to see if I can cast it down there from up here.

Maximillian Boii said...

Alexis, regarding the comment about us not noticing a supply of torches; did we search the storeroom well enough that we could say there are no torches there?

Lukas said...

20ft on material.
On rereading the room perhaps lumber traversing the pool would be useful. Were unlikely to get over there without diving in or doing acrobatics. Also, we might be able to give bert a key?

Ahmet said...

(Checking in!)

Alexis Smolensk said...

(OOC: Checking in myself. I'll be here off and on for about two hours, up to 1 pm EST, then I've got some meetings and work for the afternoon)

There were no torches around, Maximillian, and the ones that are burning are getting dim. They should start guttering in five or six minutes.

20 ft. could make a plank that would reach from one side of the pool to the other, Lukas. You could easily lower yourself onto such a plank, and made of hardwood, it wouldn't give.

Ahmet said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Maximillian Boii said...

Lets do that with the plank, Lukas. We can lower Andrej and you down there. I'm getting more and more worried about a minotaur from below coming along to replace these torches, so I'm wondering about a secret door, or if they just climb up the vines.

Maximillian Boii said...

I'll help Ahmet carry a plank if Lukas doesn't conjure one.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Damn it, sorry Ahmet, did not mean to delete that comment. You hit the wrong damn button as you're scrolling down ...

You said about the trough and using that - too heavy, and it probably wouldn't fit in the hole. The lumber in the adjoining room isn't long enough, and would be too flexible anyway - the wood is too soft.

Lukas said...

At 5 cubic feet per level I can generate 20 cubic feet.
Using construction knowledge and with the spell could I have lumber two foot wide or more cross the pool and not give?

(I'm guessing that having about 20ft long, 2 feet wide and 6 inches thick could easily hold weight. 4 inches thick could probably hold enough as well and score 3 feet wide. But I'm also concerned about my level of control over the spell)

If so I would like the angling of the plank such that it is just to the right of the teacup handle based on concerns that something might be about to emit out of said mirror, but not so far so as to be unreasonable to get to the handle section.

If this is possible, I do it.

Alexis Smolensk said...

I agree completely with your assessment, Lukas. Bert is standing by the mirror and says that he believes it is just a mirror.

Lukas said...

I wont lie. Just a mirror in a room with a glowing energy pool of 'shock an entire lair' doesn't calm my nerves much, but I'm still all for looting the hell out of it.

I have cast the spell so...

Let's do that while I see if I have supplies to get my lightning in a bottle.

Lukas said...

I would like to take my second jar.
Use some rope unwound to make a twine string.
And tie it around the top lip so that I can dangle it.
I would then like to dip the jar into the fluid using this system to collect some if possible.
I will take the utmost pains NOT to touch the liquid.
Ideally I'd like to 'collect' from one of the energy sheets.

Then I would like to seal that jar and chuckle manically to myself should I not die horribly.

I would also yield to anyone else doing this for me or if Bert tells me I'm being stupid.

Alexis Smolensk said...

As you pull the jar up, you see that it contains crystal clear liquid. No self-generated light, no blue color.

I am presuming the plank is in place, probably with a small groove to wrap around the chain descending from the trap door to the pool. Who would like to drop down onto the platform first, lowered by a rope?

Andrej said...

Andrej moves forward and grabs the rope to be lowered down. I think Ahmet should stay topside in case there's any trouble hut I wouldn't mind some company down below.

Lukas said...

Don't forget to take the yet unused key with you.

I can follow afterwards as I have spell called unlock which hopefully does what it sounds like.

Lukas said...

Technically the material spell does not generate perfectly hewn or shaped materials. That said, we could always just offset the platform. (Unless for ease of use the DM wishes to allow it to function without issue for this purpose)

Alexis Smolensk said...

Andrej's boots land on the board, firm and solid and wide enough not to make him feel unbalanced. Bert stands at the end of the board, smiling up at the cleric. The walls around are coated in baked-clay bricks.

To move this forward, it's assumed that Andrej will look into the slot. There he will see exactly what Bert described. Two large chests, each about two feet deep and two feet high, and wedged somewhat into the sides of the wall - which is made of hard clay - the bricks down extend back here, and it looks like the slot was dug out just to store the chests and the mirror. The mirror is 3 feet high, 18 inches wide and completely normal looking - except that, cleaned up, it might be worth several hundred gold pieces.

Maximillian Boii said...

I nominate Lukas as your company, but I begin lowering you down, probably with Ahmet's help.

Alexis Smolensk said...

At about the moment that Andrej drops to the boards below, all the torches in the room suddenly flare with a dull blue flash ... and begin burning strong and brightly, as they did when you first came into the hall outside.

Andrej said...

Weird. I feel like there's something I'm missing here. Andrej presumably took the key and enters the slot.

Ahmet said...

(Well, this was an ancient Greek temple, right? Maybe the gods are still helping keep the place up!)

Ahmet remains up top, guarding the entrance.

Alexis Smolensk said...

It is possible to wrestle the first of the chests loose, to pull it forth; the latch on the chest's lid is broken ... Bert inspects it and doesn't believe there is a trap.

Bert begins to wrestle with the lid, to push it, lift it up.

Andrej said...

Andrej awaits the results of Bert's wrestling, helping to lift the lid if necessary.

Alexis Smolensk said...

(OOC: I'm in the meeting now)

There's a lot of gold coins inside, more than a thousand in fact, and on top is a glass orb perfume bottle with ornate silver filigree, looking very valuable. Buried in the gold is a 12 inch tall lead crystal urn)

Andrej said...

Andrej sees to the other chest, using the key if necessary but asking Bert to check for traps first.

Lukas said...

OK, stupid question. Does the chest fit through the hole we came in?

Alexis Smolensk said...

(OOC: breathing room)

Yes, it will fit through the trap door.

It takes a bit for Andrej to wrestle out the other chest, which is also broken, and find that it contains more of the same ... gold, and a visible vial of very shiny metallic grey liquid. Bert will suggest it looks like 4 ounces of pure mercury, and expensive at that.

Andrej said...

Can Andrej estimate how much the chests weigh?

Alexis Smolensk said...

Both chests are 50 lbs. in weight; both are mostly empty, perhaps only 20% full.

Ahmet said...

Between the chests, the mirror, and the books, we're going to have a hard time toting all this out of here. But sounds like we can consolidate into one chest.

Maximillian Boii said...

Best to get started then.

I stand ready to haul up a chest (perhaps without delicate items)

Andrej said...

Lets consolidate up top, less chance of the rope breaking.

Andrej moves the first chest onto the plank and begins tieing the rope into a sling to lift it out.

Alexis Smolensk said...

As Andrej is moving the first chest to where it can be hauled up, he spies in the water a dark round plate that has the hint of brass color under the blue flashes. And in the center of the brass plate, there is a distinctly shaped black hole.

A key hole.

Maximillian Boii said...

oh ho ho! I Dare ya to stick your arm in, Andrej ;)

Maximillian Boii said...

Once the sling's in place and tested secure, I begin hauling it up.

Alexis Smolensk said...

I have to see what Andrej does, Maximillian.

Andrej said...

Andrej mentions the key hole to his comrades but ties the chest up while he does so. Once secure he signals up to Max to start hauling.

Is there any electricity currently arching throughthe water.

Andrej said...

(OOC: Checking in... I'll look back in @ 11am ET)

Alexis Smolensk said...

The chest comes up to the room, drawn by the other players, without much trouble. At the last moment, Bert will leap on it to return to the upper room.

As far as you see, Andrej, my earlier description of the water hasn't changed.

Andrej said...

Sorry, Alexis, I may have missed somethign above but going back and reading I can't figure what. In describing the room you mentioned...

Strong blue sheets of energy, about the size of blankets, with non-specific edges, float, turn or shoot briefly across and under the surface of the pool. In the pool's center, from beneath the water, a chain reaches upwards to the underside of the trap door, so that it would connect to the underside of the door's knocker.

Later you said the only light in the chamber was entering through the open trap door and reflecting off the mirror and that the pool was not generating any light in and of itself. Also, Lukas's jar was filled with clear liquid not producing any light.

Does this mean that the strong blue sheets of energy give off no or negligible light or that they have ceased altogether? If the latter, at what point did they cease?

Alexis Smolensk said...

The pool is blue, apparently electrified, with stronger sheets of electricity apparently shooting through it, but no, it is putting off no illumination whatsoever; it never did. And yes, when Lukas brought up the jar, it was filled only with clear liquid, not producing any light.

Yes, I recognize the disconnect, but it was intentional; it would be more evident if I could drop Andrej into a visible room of this nature ... alas, someday.

Andrej said...

Agreed, just wanted to be sure before I tired sticking my hand on there. :)

Can Andrej see well enough in the chamber and into the slot now that Bert has left, presumably with his lantern?

Alexis Smolensk said...

Your eyes have somewhat adjusted. The two trunks and the large mirror comprised all that was there; it was only about four feet deep, so the whole slot was completely visible (I should have said).

Andrej said...

Andrej requests the others leave the chest just hauled up close to the edge so it is in his line of sight from the wooden plank.

He casts detect magic

Andrej said...

Once cast, he inspects the upper chest, the pool, the key hole, the slot, the lower chest and the mirror.

Alexis Smolensk said...

There is strong magic emanating from the lower trunk, and weak magic emanating from the pool.

Andrej said...

Oooh! Rubbing hands in anticipation.

Andrej approaches the lower trunk to peek inside and see what is registering as magical.

Lukas said...

Does any of us have a stick we could attach the key to?

I'm just thinking we cut a slot, tie the key in, then use that to unlock the locked thing below...

Maximillian Boii said...

A mundane mirror, even a very valuable one, is a very odd thing to keep in an inaccessible place where no one will look in it. I can't think why it's down there, but I feel there must be a reason.

Andrej said...

Lukas, I suppose this means that ou don't have anything like a mage hand spell?

Proper thinking, Max, and I have entertained similar thoughts. Arguing against our inkling might be the idea that the mirror was simply randomly generated treasure.

Lukas said...

Technically a long time ago I listed myself as having a quarterstaff.

It's never really come up.

If I do I have no qualms about cutting it to ribbons for science and unlocking things better left locked. My thought, notch in the end of the staff as deep as the base of the key. Use shredded rope as twine to tie in place. Stick it in the hole and turn by twisting staff.

Lukas said...

Nope. But I do have unlock. It might even have a range. Let me check on that.

10ft range, moves lock to open position. Doesn't necessarily OPEN anything though.

Maximillian Boii said...

heh, I suppose...

Hey, before you stick your hand in the water, why don't you tie the rope around your waist so that we can pull your body up and ensure that you survive.

Alexis Smolensk said...

moving the coins away, Andrej finds two things; one that is a tightly rolled piece of parchment tied with ribbon, which his still-active spell reveals to emit magic. The other is something hard that is wrapped in a swath of silken cloth, which is tied tightly with a length of rough hemp cord.

Lukas said...

HELL YEAH! Hemp cord! I claim dibs on the cord. I've already needed some of that TWICE this adventure.

Lukas said...

Oh btw did my dipping the jar reveal anything about the depth of this pool?

Andrej said...

Andrej unwraps the silken-wrapped morsel of magical goodness, calling up to his comrades his findings and intentions.

Andrej said...

Lukas, why not hop down here and see what your unlock spell might do to that key hole. With a 10' range we should be able to get close enough with the plank and the ledge of the room. If necessary, I'll toss up a healing salve to you. I also has a death's door scroll in the event anybody, including yourself, buys the farm. Obviously its not a resource we want to squander, but it buys us, perhaps, some greater acceptance of risk, yes?

Lukas said...

Death's door probably wont help if an eldritch horror pulls me through an opening 2 inches wide, but I'm all for it.

Deep inside I will be content to know *I* defeated the world with one cantrip.

Lukas goes down and sees if he's within range of casting unlock on the lock.

He does so if he is.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Having made no attempt to plumb the bottom, the jar did not reveal the depth of the pool.

Andrej ... it is a length of greasy, velvety wood. A wand.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Lukas having dropped down to the plank, he attempts to discharge - but he doesn't unlock the keyhole with his cantrip. Lukas can feel the magic turned back by the surface of the pond.

Ahmet said...

(OOC: Ooh!)

Alexis Smolensk said...

The next post is up.