A Rocky Start, part 1

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Log Info

  • Title: A Rocky Start
  • Emitter: Landslide
  • Characters: Tenoc, Lysos, Ashes, Smuldur, Locien
  • Place: Landslide's Room
  • Time: Friday, July 24, 2020, 6:33 PM
  • Summary: The sewers are opened up again, but workmen still aren't coming back, so the explorer's guild is sending a party to check it out. Several, are new to both Alexandria and Adventuring. A greenscale Sith-makar is chosen as the collective committee leader and they venture below. Following tracks and the map, they find the wall that should have been destroyed. A detect thoughts spell reveals only the party's, and an alarm spell renders Lysos able to see in the dark, but perhaps not the light. Assuming the Engineer got lost, the party explores a side passage and find him - being devoured by dark chitinous bugs with wings, clickering away in the dark.
-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=  Appearing, in Order  =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
Ashes        5'11"    177 Lb     Hobgoblin         Female    A somber arvec in grey clothes with a skull face
Locien       5'4"     140 Lb     Dawn Elf          Male      A handsome Sil male wearing the trappings of Vardama.
Lysos        5'6"     105 Lb     Human/Tsuran      Female    Dark eyes, dark hair, olive skin, a jotun-sized chip on the shoulder.
Smuldur      3'4"     45 Lb      Goblin            Male      A gently used (cut, scraped, burnt, exploded) gobber.
Tenoc        7'0"     280 Lb     Sith-Makar        Male      Tall, green-scaled Sith'Makar hunter

=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=  As the GM  =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=
Landslide                 Lb                                 A pile of rocks and code.

The interview with the Guild representative, just before you depart for this job, is mercifully brief. He's a lucht, only noticeable if one realizes that he's standing on his chair to talk to you. "So," he says, looking around at the lot of you, "you're to venture down into the sewers and see if you can find that poor workman that went missing a few days ago. The chap blew up a wall, and it dropped in such a way as to trap him. We think he was somewhere beneath the warehouses at the time, so hopefully that will help you search. Try not to collapse anything else just yet, if you can avoid it. Any questions?"

From his place standing behind the others, Tenoc knows better than to remark. But eyes. *Eyes*.

"Hssk. One does think less of them, leaving call for help thisss long," he remarks against his better judgement. "...sewer. What is? Not Am'Shere thing, no."

"Uh, yes..." Lysos says, raising a hand as she straightens up. "The oozes are definitely gone, right? And what if we do collapse something? Hypothetically I mean. I'm sure none of us are prone to breaking things...."

"Do we get a map?" An ashen arvec nar asks. It is Mourner Ashlee, on loan from the Vardaman Temple so she can lurk and loom somewhere else for a change. She's tall, her clothing is various shades of grey, and once might have been considered expensive. A disquieting aura surrounds her, like being in a cemetary, and this is not helped by the skull tattoo she has on her face. She doesn't make extraneous movements, and has a habit of staring quietly when she's not performing some activity. So she stares at the lucht after she asks her question.

"Boom too small!" Smuldur explains the engineering failure that obviously led to this catastrophe. "Will use bigger boom!" Because gobbers know how to engineer.

Locien has been standing quietly and patiently behind his fellow Vardaman, deferring to their lead except the occasional interjection. For his part, the unnerving aura she exudes seems to pass over him without effect.

The lucht frankly _stares_ in bafflement at Tenoc at his question, sandy blonde curls falling around his face. "You ... don't know what a sewer is. Oh, you're from Am'shere? It's a set if tunnels underneath the city where wastewater flows out to the ocean. It's a bit dirty down there, but the workmen surveying the place said that they didn't see anything at all," he nods to Lysos. "As best we know, those ... oozes that caused the plague are gone. They didn't see any, or any sign of any. Or anything else, including that demon that was reported to be down there. You should be safe enough."

He _eyes_ Smuldur at the question of collapsing something. "I suggest taking the explosives away from the gobber before you go," he tells Lysos. "The city wants specific walls knocked down, they didn't say why. Those walls are stone, and they're sturdy enough. They shouldn't so much as move unless you really try."

Lastly, he turns to Ashes, eyeing her warily as well. "Yes, I should have one somewhere ... ah, here we are." After a few minutes of rifling through scrolls and papers on his desk, he pulls out a scroll that contains a portion of the map, and shoves it forward for all of you to see. "This entrance ..." he points at the map's edge, "is just behind the Guildhall. Hopefully none of the drunkards are pissing in it right now. The engineer was sent to knock down this wall...." he points to another portion of the map, this time in red ink. "I'd start there." Tenoc Peers over at the map-- pausing first to sketch an odd sign in the air Ashes' way. Eyes. EYES.

He studies the drawing with great care, peering intently as he gazes. "....will try to track," he finally growls, chuffing briskly. "From Redwall. Will start. Hopefully, not chewed upon by Sewer Demon things. Otherwise....'

He grins, toothily.

"Thanks," Ash says, staring at the map for a little while, then at Tenoc when he draws eyes at her, finally turnin back to the map. She nods at the suggestions, for the approach they should take, and the care necessar for Smulder and at the guild hall. "Ok."

She looks around at the group, says, "Who is in charge? He's with me, to collect the body," then points at Locien. Slowly, she turns and stares at Locien, perhaps considering if he should be in charge.

"Sewer...demon...things..." Locien repeats, in a tone showing more curiosity than discomfort. "I should have travelled sooner; this city truly does have everything." He nods to the group when Ashes introduces him, his carefree demeanor draining into skepticism as he is looked over by his fellow Mourner. "Oh no. Speaker Silmeria played that trick on me when I first presented myself to the temple. I can hardly make my way along the streets yet, let alone beneath them. I shall be, as I asked, your dutiful second."

Lysos holds up her hands, palms forward and slowly shakes her head when Ash starts looking for someone to take charge. Of course, then she looks at the others... really looks at them. Ashes, Locien, Smuldur, Tenoc. "Ah.. maybe it can be a group effort? Leadership by committee?"

The lucht looks around at the lot of you as discussion turns to who will lead. "I suppose as long as someone does, that's up to you to work out. You can have that copy, I've plenty, and I thought you might ask." He nods approvingly. "Now, if there aren't any more questions, I suggest you be on your way. That engineer might still be alive."

Lysos nods, then frowns, looking down her skirts at her boots. "I need to remember to buy special sewer boots..." she says, mostly to herself. Then she's heading out of the representatives office. "Let's go! Probably safe to say he's not going to save himself at this point, so.."

Tenoc nods grimly, straightening up (as best he can). "We will find him," he intones, rumbling. "Or his bring back his bones. Punish, if he was brought to harm." He grins toothily, eyes glittering with hungry promise.

Ash slowly dips her head, looking at Tennoc, commenting, "He's tallest." However she also agrees with Lysos, "Committee sounds fine. Let's go." She starts towards the door, leaving the map behind, hopefully having committed it to memory.

Locien follows Ash a few steps behind, pausing to scoop up the discarded map and tuck it into his belt. He nods a thanks to the lucht as he passes.

Finding the sewer entrance behind the Guildhall isn't that hard. The smell of urine is strong here, and the heat and humidity of an Alexandrian summer make it worse, it's a bit early yet for the drunkards from the Ox-Strength to be using the place, so the group makes it into the sewers and away from any unfortunate mishaps swiftly enough.

Once down here, though, orienting is a little tougher. First, it's dark. Second, the pattern of the tunnels does not in any way follow Alexandria's streets, and without sun or stars to guide you, determining where you are in relation to where you want to be is tricky.

GAME: Tenoc rolls survival: (11)+9: 20
GAME: Lysos rolls survival: (8)+2: 10
GAME: Locien rolls survival: (5)+3: 8
GAME: Ashes rolls survival: (12)+3: 15

Dark? Hah! Smuldur has god-like powers! Let there be light! A tindertwig sparks to life. Followed by a torch. Now he is beyond even the gods! He let there be TWO lights! Not that he couldn't see decently already, just... everything's better with fire.

The sewers beckon. Tenoc leads the way, less offended by the heat and the humidity than by the rancid smells that affront keener senses. With a sound suspiciously like a growl, he bends forward, hunched; too-long spear lowered toward the ground, he begins-- steps shockingly quieter than one might expect, he moves with the hush of a skilled tracker and outdoorsma--lizard(?). Not a hunt for enemies or for food, but no less a hunt-- he rumbles, pleased.

GAME: Lysos casts Light. Caster Level: 5 DC: 15

"Tenoc, then Smuldur," Ashes suggests quietly in her monotone, "then Lysos, me, and Locien. He can provide light."

Lysos indeed gravitates towards the middle of the procession, quite satisfied with the arven mourner's suggestion in that regard. Many bodies in front of her, many bodies behind... that way, when something bad happens to her, someone will definitely notice. As the gobber lights up his fire sticks, she pulls a stone out of one of her pockets then waves a hand over it, chanting softly. "Luminas." When she pulls her hand away, it glows much like a torch might, only with a steadier light. "I can cover this up if we need to," she assures.

Locien high-steps his way through the sewer, alternating his attention between watching the others ahead and peering into the darkness behind. A small grey stone lazily draws circles above and around his head, casting a wan light that casts subtly swaying shadows.

With Tenoc leading the group, and with the light sources from several of you, navigating the sewers, even with its differences, takes only a little thought. It is dank down here, and the smell isn't great, but at least it isn't quite as hot as it is above. Lights show that watching one's step is definitely in order, but it's very, very quiet down here, with only the sounds of your footfalls and your breath, and the quiet burbling of the water that runs down the center of each passage. There are no other sounds of life.

Soon enough, you find the wall that the Guild had marked on their map as intended for destruction - and it's intact. Untouched.

GAME: Ashes rolls perception: (7)+3: 10
GAME: Locien rolls perception: (20)+7: 27
GAME: Tenoc rolls Perception: (7)+9: 16
GAME: Lysos rolls perception: (8)+6: 14
GAME: Smuldur rolls perception: (5)+8: 13

Smuldur is happy to be near the front. That's where things usually need fire. For light. For burning. For light burning. He looks back to Ashes, whom he does know, somewhat. "Good gobber name, if too tall for gobber." She does have the second-best name here!

Tenoc leads the way, growl ntensifying briefly before cutting off. Bared teeth clasp behind tight muzzle, he stalks through the tunnel, claws barely clicking on the stonework. "...not as hot," he remarks sullenly, possibly sulking to the lack of temperature. He glances back, to the sides-- slowing as he draws up short before the wall. He blinks, staring at it.

"...does not *look* like broken wall," he remarks, dryly.

Lysos stares at the wall. Without getting too close. Because you never know. "Sooo.... did we take a wrong turn somewhere?"

"Okay." Ash says, watching Lysos' back. Staring holes into her. She looks away, occasionally, to observe the walls and watch where she steps. Sometimes she reaches out and touches something.

Her familiar, a rather large centipede, finds the conditions favourable and emerges from her clothes. It weaves through her hair like a headband and also watches. Lysos' floating light appears to have captured its attention, but like its mistress, the familiar also looks around with small, glittering eyes.

Despite this, neither are very attentive. "Smuldur can fix that."

"Where broken?" Smuldur looks around. "No sign of boom..." He sounds rather disappointed. "Or worker." Because they're supposed to be looking for that person, too.

Locien continues scanning as the group nears its expected goal, letting the ones at front examine the distinct lack of not-wall. He happens to glance left down a side passage, then frowns, peering hard down the long path. "There's something down this way..." he offers, pointing down the side passage. "I see rubble some distance away. Perhaps we made a wrong turn?"

Tenoc frowns, glowering. For a moment, he considers the stone facade before him-- kneeling down, brushing his fingers along the spoil on the floor, stirring the mix of moisture and dirt with care.

"...No booming," he answers, warning rumble riding deep in his chest. "No break, no fault. Pebbles..." He pauses, picking one up to show the others, glancing back. "Hssk. Should check other tunnel," he remarks, nodding in agreement, He sets the pebble in a pouch on his hip, sliding the cover over the packet before he moves towards the other tunnel. He pauses briefly, head curving up-- sniffing at the air before hand.

GAME: Ashes casts Detect Thoughts. Caster Level: 3 DC: 15

The ashen arvec touches the wall and looks thoughtful for a moment. She speaks facing the wall, with measured words in monotone, as if she's reading notes from a book. "This is the right wall. It's position is strange, it doesn't fit a structure intended to funnel wastewater to the ocean."

She looks around, her white skull-face standing out in the mixed illumination, "We're in the right place. It matches the map. Maybe the engineer knocked down the wrong wall."

She holds up a hand, with stylized bones marked on her skin, "Let me try something." She brings out her holy symbol, a small set of scales, shakes and makes a few careful gestures with it. Somehow, it seems a little darker around her, and her stare a little more intense, if that was possible. She concentrates on the wall again.

GAME: Ashes rolls will: (14)+8: 22 to Landslide

"Bigger boom fix that," Smuldur re-iterates. Big enough, and it will take down the right wall even if it's put at a different one. Simple. Easy. Loud. Beautiful.

Tenoc holds at the new tunnel's entry, glancing back towards the bone-tattoed arvek with a shiver. He intones hushed breath, murmuring- sketching the air again as he tightens his grasp on his greatspear. He glances back towards the side tunnel, watching with studied care. "No big boom," he adds, rumbling with a snort. "Big boom too loud. Plan small, quiet boom." He glances back at Smuldur, grinning wickedly. "Less boom, more fire. Better, yus?"

Locien continues to glance down the side passage, even as the rest examine the frustratingly intact wall. "I appreciate your problem solving spirit, little one..." he offers to the gobbo, othewise waiting for the investigators to conclude.

Smuldur opens his mouth, possibly to object to Tennoc... who then mentions more fire. Ok, he has a very good point. Smuldur nods. Four times. "Smaller boom, bigger fire." He looks around, now only needing to know one thing... "Where?"

"Soooo...." Lysos ventures into the conversation about booms. "If the wall is still up... then that probably means the engineer is not, in fact, trapped on the other side, right? Or is there something I missed?"

Ashlee finishes staring at the wall, returns to staring at the party and along the open areas of the tunnels. Her eyes are often lost in shadows, making it seem just a skull is observing, and that perhaps she could see what is inside other skulls if she really wanted.

"Locien, is there a similar 'T' on the map. The engineer might have gone further. This is too neat for a collapse. I suppose someone could have put a wall of stone back up."

The arvec stares for some time, finally saying, "No thoughts. Just ours."

GAME: Ashes rolls intelligence: (4)+3: 7

Tenoc grins more, suitably distracted himself. "In..." He struggles for the word, his knowledgeof the common tongue finally failing him. He gestures with one hand, a circle, growing wider. "...hssk. Like, flashy bird-thing-that-is-not-bird. Soar into air; boom. BOOM. Showery glittersparkle." He pauses grimacing. "Ssssk. Gobber come to Am'shere, once. Practice with these. Pretty things-- still, eaten by Greatooth." He grumbles-- blinking, the nods back towards the Arvek. "Side-way?" he suggests, gesturing with his spear. "See more, hunt more."

Locien removes the purloined map from his belt and spread it open, angling so that Ash and any else curious enough to bunch up can see.. "Not out of the realm of possibility. See, here..." he points to the mentioned t-section, which helpfully coincides with the rubble-containing left passage he noted, "You may be onto something. Not a difficult mistake in these tunnels. Shall we have a look?"

Peering at the map in Locien's hands reveals that the Mourner is right. A similar intersection to the one in which you now stand would appear to be perhaps another 15 or 20 feet further on, in the direction that Locien and Tenoc have been looking.

"I think we should," Lysos offers in response to Locien's query about searching on. "I can place a spell here that'll tell me if anything else comes through... just in case the engineer wanders through." She pauses. "Or something that might have got him."

"Go look!" Smuldur agrees... or volunteers? Whatever he means, he moves futher in that direction to look. He has more lights than the gods! By definition, that makes him invulnerable, omnipotent, and incontinent!

"Fireworks." Ash says, after listening to Tenoc. Her head nods slowly. Her centipeded headband, also nods slowly. Lysos' suggestion gets an affirming nod, then she gestures down the rubble-filled passage, "Yes. See more Side-Way. Don't let Smuldur get too far ahead Tenoc."

Goblins are great for finding trouble, something hobgoblins appreciate.

Tenoc rumbles darkly, but-- nods, if reluctantly. "Call spirits to watch tunnel?" he asks, hazarding the guess. And then, leaving the magickal finnicky things to Lysos-- following after the Great and Glowingly Glorious Gobber, spear at the ready as his eyes gleam. Warm, bright-- delightful!


GAME: Lysos casts Alarm. Caster Level: 5 DC: 16
GAME: Landslide rolls 1d10: (5): 5

Locien steps aside from the others, allowing the caravan to reform as it had been. "Very well, after you. And you. And you. And you." Lysos waits until everyone else has stepped out of the area her spell will affect, then holds her hand out, palm down. "Gardus Hushem." She keeps holding her hand out, frowning... then her eyes widen. First slightly, then with somethint crossed between alarm (heh) and amazement. "Uh... hey. So.. something strange just happened."

Something strange has indeed just happened, for anyone looking at Lysos will see that her eyes are now completely covered in a jet-black film.

Smuldur peers further ahead down the path that the scribbled paper thinks the engineer might have gone, instead. "Don't see anything strange..."

Tenoc basks in the sparkly light of the go--- er, watches. Watches carefully, rumbling, he looks back towards the Arvek--- eyes widening in his own alarm.

He diesn't even bother with the words; hand is quick to sketch on the air, warding away evilthings with a muttering hiss! "Malsvir navik!" he growls, glancing around suspiciously. "Evil spirits are evil! Hsssk."

Lysos turns around to look at everyone. "Okay. So. I don't know how to explain this." She also has no idea what her eyes look like. "I think I can see in the dark, now?" Her voice might be just a little higher pitced than normal. Her breathing might be a little more shallow than normal. Tenoc's hissing doesn't seem to reassure her.

"Where? Where?" Smuldur doesn't seem to see any evil spirits. He finally looks back to those behind him (meaning most everyone) to ask, "Where?"

Well, that's curious. It's fortunate that Ashlee likes to watch people, so she catches the change in Lysos' eyes. This is followed by touching her arm, and her attempts at reassurance. Very calmly and in a monotone she says, "There, there, everything will be all right."

This always works, she's been told. She has every confidence in her comforting abilities.

"Tennoc may be right. Spirits may be intereferring with our spells. Keep looking around for now."

The elven Mourner begins to resume his sweeping scan of the areas behind, but turns back around to lok when Lysos makes their understated comment. He tenses to move to the afflicted woman's side, but Ashes beats him to it; instead, tensed, he does his best to keep watch, attention torn by force from the changed human. "Beware unbidden boons from dark places..." he murmurs warily.

Lysos swallows, licks her lips once... but nods to Ashes. She rubs her eyes, blinks them rapidly.. but her expression is more than telling. Whatever ails her remains. "Right. I can still see. It's okay. Weird, but okay." She looks at the glowing stone in her hand, closes her hand over it.. opens it again. "Right. Sorry. Let's go. Maybe this might give is a clue about what happened to the engineer."

Ash takes her hands, placing them on either side of Lysos' head, holding it steady as she stares into her face. Up close, the arvec's features are clearer, she's not undead, there are cracks and things normal for skin, even with the decorations. Her eyes are dark, but not as dark as the human's are now. "You have Spellblight. It's normally a curse. I haven't seen anything around here that might have caused it."

She is thoughtful, "Spellblights are really annoying to remove. You can see in the dark, you are probably blind in daylight now. We should minimize casting."

Letting go and stepping back, she looks to the rest of the party, "Have you explored all the way down that passage? We should check the next spot Locien found if there's nothing there."

The wall doesn't look new, and while it is a bit worn around the edges it's quite solid, there are no cracks a centipede could go through.

A venture in the direction of the side passage tells Tenoc and Smuldur that Locien is exactly right. Some twenty feet down the passageway, a pile of rubble stands where the similar wall to the one the lucht marked had stood. Pebbles are scattered everywhere, but the remains of that wall are easily stepped over, and a passage behind it disappears into the darkness.

"Found boom!" Smuldur announces with a stealthy shout. Stealthy as in it isn't visible. He sniffs at some of the rubble, then steps over it. Once the passage has been explored by the more exciteable and durable party members, Ashlee joins them, following in their footsteps and keeping pace with Lysos in case she needs some assistance. She likely doesn't, since she can see in the dark, but there's always the possibility a sombre grey shadow is a bolstering presence. Ash also touches the walls now and then, and her centipede runs under her sleeve and out onto her wrist, turing into a live bracelet that sometimes crawls on the walls beside her when she stops.

Tenoc follows behind the gobber, spear rising as his eyes turn from the (creepy-eyed) team member behind him, attention refocusing on the depths of the tunnel beyond. Click-click-click. "...need more sparkle," he comments nonchalantly, eyes roaming about.

Lysos stiffens when Ashes declares what her affliction is... but she nods and reaches up to pat one of the arvec mourner's hands to indicate her understanding. "I'm okay. For now. Though... casting is rather what I do, you know?" But she shrugs. When Tenoc and Smuldur return to lead them into the side passage, she waits her turn then falls into line, quietly grateful for the skull faced mourner's presence. Locien resumes his guardianship of the rear as before: a look ahead, two behind. There is more tension in his actions than before now, however. Rather than an interesting diversion he acts with a sense of intent and wariness.

GAME: Tenoc rolls Perception: (9)+9: 18
GAME: Ashes rolls perception: (18)+3: 21
GAME: Ashes rolls knowledge/arcana: (1)+9: 10 (EPIC FAIL)
GAME: Locien rolls perception: (17)+7: 24
GAME: Lysos rolls perception: (2)+6: 8
GAME: Smuldur rolls perception: (6)+8: 14

There is a clacking and scraping up ahead.

"A wizard did it. That's what causes spellblights." The ashen arvec says, with solid confidence. Resting her hand against the wall, her familiar crawls off the surface and vanishes back beneath her sleeve.

She tilts her head, large ears flopping as she listens, "There is a clacking and a scraping sound up ahead."

Tenoc rumbles grimly; further words are unecessary as he glances back at his companion's words, cuffing quietly as he tightens the grasp on his spear. He considers: the hunt might have become a rescue mission more fully than before. "One is not being remunerated enough for this," he states matter-of-factly-- said with a grin of wicked, sharp teeth. Hunching down, he narrows his profile, tail lashing once before he slips ahead of the gobber with a quiet remark. "One regrets, but.... You must put out flames. Brightness. Not time for fire, just yet." "But no burning?" Smuldur sniffs, then listens. He doesn't smell or hear any burning. No clacking or scraping, either for that matter. There was mention of wizards, too. Wizards must scrape and clack. That would explain everything. He then looks at Tenoc in wide-eyed disbelief. It's as if he was just told he had to surrender his first-ten born! But worse!

"I knew it. It's always a wizard!" Lysos says quietly, if vehemently. Even though it really isn't. Not always. Tenoc's instructions to Smuldur have her closing her fist over her own glowing stone again, stuffing it in her pocket this time to douse the light. One of her eyes twitches as her stone stops contributing to the party's ambient light.

Locien's chin lifts at the same time as Ashes' pronouncement, apparently having heard the same. "Good fortune might offer us a chance to find our lost one intact. Ill fortune..." he shifts the shield on his arm, leaving the thought there.

Smuldur snuggs out his torch. It's like snuffing it, but with more hugging involved. Goodbye, fire. On the brigh side, this means he just gets to light it all over again!

Tenoc rumbles evenly, the Makar returning his gaze towards the blackness beyond. << "Will move forward,">> he rumbles-- shaking his head as he repeats hmself, remembering to speak the Tradetongue this time. "Will move forward," he rumbles, gesturing ahead with the speartip. Waiting for the other to prepare, he slips ahead, spear at hand; quiet, careful, he slips forward-- a scaled shadow descending on his prey.

Ash can see in the dark, so the lack of light doesn't bother her. Her steps are careful and quiet as she moves forward. She keeps a watch on Lysos, and looks back at Locien occasionally, but otherwise she's very curious what is making the noise up ahead.

Locien makes no move to douse his light; however, he does pause a pace or two before following again, seperating himself from the front somewhat so that the light of his ioun torch does not carry so far beyond their scout to render his care in approaching moot.

Dimming the lights and moving on slows the party only a little, for its members either have sufficient light to see by, or have light sources that suffice for now. The smell is getting nastier, and not only can all of you hear the clacking, the unmistakable smell of rotting corpse begins to hang in the air. Lysos sees it first, and then those with darkvision - a crumpled figure in coveralls is slumped by one wall, and shadowy - things - move over and around it. Like giant insects, their bodies are jet-black, segmented like insects, and yet with a pair of bat-like wings on its back, just behind what would be its head, judging from the way they move.

Ghoulish cp line.png