Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Delvers Guild – Session 11 – The Agreement, the Moon, the Hand

[The Delvers make a deal and then start exploring through the gate.]

[This game uses the Fifth Revised Edition of the Hero System rules along with the Fantasy Hero supplement.  This session happened August 26, 2019.  Nick’s player missed this session due to work-related reasons.]

Player Characters:
Jala – human female – a person of discretion, studying aspects of the Law [to avoid them] at the Dusk Academy
Clarence – human male – studies Religion in Temples district, coincidentally the group healer
Vorgand – human female – professional porter and Adventurer’s Aide, irregularly attends classes at The Tested military academy, practitioner of Steel Serpent martial arts
Zarek the Red – fox male – a cerebrally-unfettered spell researcher [read: Mad Scientist] turned into a talking fox, studying Natural Philosophy at Monarch University to find a way to become human again
Ricky the Astrologer – human male – has a thirst for knowledge but doesn’t know what he’s searching for, currently studying Astrology at Monarch University

Non-Player Characters:
Torsten, Fish, Harek – surviving bandits and now torchbearers for the Delvers Guild

Nick Stalwart – human male – part of the Stalwart family of merchants, studying Mathematics at The Interesting Institute of Profitable People, a college at Monarch University

Freysday, October 25th, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman
Approximately 10:00 AM
After defeating the four fungal brutes guarding the entrance to the lair of the fungoid people, the Delvers took their first looks around the room.  The luminescent drawings and sigils seen in the hallway were denser and partially overlapping on the walls of this room.  There were large, bulbous structures on stilts or stuck to the ceiling, including a large orange structure with an obvious entrance up in the far corner from the entrance.

The Delvers discussed what to do next for a short while.  Zarek had Clarence cast a defensive spell on him and then recast Stoney Skin to maximize his defenses.  Then Zarek floated up to the entrance of the orange-colored structure.  Inside the structure was hollow with a single fungoid sitting on what Zarek believed was a throne.  The fungoid had a bright red fungal cap and seemed to be waiting, so Zarek attempted to talk, but received no replies.

Not certain what else to do, Zarek landed in the entrance and waited.  The fungoid stood up.  When Zarek continued to wait, the fungoid slowly walked forward.  When it was close to Zarek, the fungoid released a pink spore cloud that enveloped Zarek and the fungoid.  Instead of causing vomiting and paralyzing spasms, this cloud slightly altered Zarek’s perceptions and allowed him to hear the thoughts of the fungoid leader.  Conversing mostly in emotions and images, the fungoid leader impressed upon Zarek the fungoid’s desire that the Delvers go away and not bother the fungoids.  Zarek emphasized the desire for the fungoids to not interfere with the gate room or access to it.  Both found the other’s desires acceptable and an accord was made.

Zarek floated back over to the rest of the delvers [a bit erratically as he was still tripping] and relayed what had been agreed to.  The rest of the Delvers were OK with this result as safe passage to the gate room was what they wanted.  The group of adventurers turned and left the fungoid room and went down the south corridor to the gate room.

After verifying everything was as they left it, they started experimenting with the gate’s control cubes.  They powered the gate with one of the power gems and then waited.  The gate opened to a completely dark area.  After about a minute it switched to a different location.  A minute later it did so again.  The Delvers decided that powering the gate but not using the location cubes set it to randomly cycle to other locations.

Ricky inserted the first cube with the same setting Hefhauer had used [see Session 8], which caused the gate to open on the complete darkness.  Zarek borrowed a torch from Fish and stuck it through the gate.  The flame disappeared and provided no illumination to whatever was beyond.  When Zarek pulled the torch back, it was still lit.

Ricky left the gate alone long enough to verify that it would not randomly cycle while a cube was plugged in and then rotated it to the different facings to see where the gate opened for each.  The Delvers observed:

  1. Several raised plant beds full of dead plants on a floor of grey gravel.  In the short distances is a short cliff of grey stone.  The sky beyond is black and full of starts like a night sky, but there is clearly daylight illuminating everything.  Ricky recognized the stars but would not expect to see them in the night sky for several months, which is peculiar.
  2. A large cave, partially lit by sunlight.  When Zarek went through, it had the musty smell that made him very uncomfortable.
  3. A small room with stone walls.
  4. A room that was completely submerged in water with a few small fish swimming in it.
  5. Ruins of a city with lots of sand everywhere.  Ricky believed it to be the ruins of the city of Labdah, located a week or two across the Serpent Sea to the south.
  6. The completely dark location.

After some discussion, the Delvers suspected that the first gate location was on the moon and wanted to verify that.  Vorgand decided she would go through first as the guild leader.  Ricky switched the control cube to its first setting and the gate opened to the same set of dead gardens.  Vorgand stepped through the gate and found herself inside a structure with mostly transparent walls and ceiling.  She had a moment where she couldn’t breathe very well and then it passed and she could breathe fine.  The ground was gravelly and crunched under her feet.  There was a faint scent of exploded fireworks but no obvious source.

Seeing Vorgand having no issues, Zarek floated through the gate next.  He had trouble taking deep breathes immediately and was forced to dive back through the portal quickly so he could breathe again.  One by one each of the Delvers stepped through and had the same problem, except for Jala.  They quickly realized the communication ear rings both were wearing also provided air for them to breathe.  Vorgand returned through the gate and handed her ear rings to Clarence to wear and then he stepped through.  He had no trouble breathing this time, which confirmed the ear rings allowed breathing.

Clarence and Jala explored the structure the gate was in.  There were two airlock doors at opposite ends of the room – one lead outside the building, the other into a domed hub that connected to three other chambers, those having opaque walls.  Clarence and Jala selected the airlock doors leading to the hub room.  It had no door knob, but there was a glass panel on the wall beside the door.  Having seen something similar, Jala pulled out the key she had from the Moon Manor ruins and tried it.  The key opened the airlock door and she and Clarence went through.  The inner door had a button that closed the outer door and opened the inner door to the hub room.

The hub room had three other airlock doors, each with a button to open it.  There were also large planters along the walls between the doors, all full of dead plants.  The door on left trembled a bit when the button was pushed, but then failed to open.  The door across opened to a living area and kitchen with many plant holders, all dead.  There was hallway to one side with a door to some back areas and stairs down to a lower area.  Jala wanted very much to explore those areas, but Clarence advocated checking the other airlock in the hub first and then returning to report what they had found.  Jala relented [she made her EGO roll to resist her Curious disadvantage].

The last chamber was a storage area, but this time the shelves were full.  There were canvas bags of soil and seeds, three chests of gardening tools, there were worktables along the walls, empty sprinkler buckets, and a large metal tank, probably of water but Clarence could not read the writing on anything.  There were also planters of dead plants.

After some discussion, the two decided to grab the four wooden chairs in the kitchen area and the couch in the living area and haul those back to the gate as loot.  When they returned through the gate with their furniture-loot, the relayed what they had found.  Wanting to explore further but with no way to breathe on the moon without the magic ear rings, the Delvers decided to explore some of the other areas to see if they could find more of the magical ear rings.

The next gate location was the giant cave that made Zarek nervous, so they skipped that and went to the next setting, which was the small room.  Jala went through first and reported through the communication ear rings that the room was just large enough to hold the gate on this end and had a single locked door.  She checked the cabinet in the control pedestal for the gate and found three location cubes and a de-powered power gem, which she took.  She then went to the locked door and oiled the hinges and the lock mechanisms before unlocking it.  While she was doing that, the rest of the Delvers came through, leaving Nick and Harek watching their end of the gate.

Beyond the door was a series of four empty rooms.  All the rooms showed signs of being periodically occupied, but not recently.  The third room had a metal ladder embedded in the wall that went up and down to different levels.  The Delvers first went up.  The room they entered had two doors, one of which showed sunlight around it.  Once all the Delvers had climbed up, the door outside was opened.  It opened onto a ledge that provided access to what appeared to be a cave in a narrow stone cliff.  Zarek floated out and look around and realized the structure they were in was an immense stone hand and the “narrow cliff” was the hand’s thumb!  [See The Stone Sinister by Dyson Logos for details.]

Ricky recognized where they were – it was a famous ruin far to the north of Aegea City but only a week or so west of the Duchy of Aerik and Barrowmaze.  The swamps it was in were different from the Barrowmoors but were drained by a different branch of the same river.  Vorgand was pleased to discover this as it would shorten her trip back north in the spring considerably.

The Delvers explored the rest of the giant hand, finding it currently empty of occupants and treasure.  Jala wanted to use it as the guild house, but the others were not as enthused about its swamp location and she was voted down.  The Delvers returned to the small gate room, closing and relocking the door.  They then went through the gate back to where Nick and Harek were lounging on the lunar couch.

End of Session

[In hindsight, the gunpowder smell on the moon was a marginal mistake on my part.  While actual lunar soil has that smell (as reported by astronauts who landed on the moon) it breaks down upon contact with air and moisture and loses the scent after a couple of days.  The gravel inside the building would have been exposed to air and moisture in the past and probably lost the scent already.  It might have come back after being airless for hundreds of years, but that is speculation as scientists do not know what causes the scent to begin with.  See the July 2019 issue of Smithsonian magazine for more information.]

[The description for the Stone Sinister exploration was short as I forgot to stock it before play.  I will go back and do that, having some locals pick it up as a refuge from storm flooding so there will be something there when/if the PCs return.  It is a location that favors temporary encampments by various groups, so that will work well.]

Delvers Guild
Session A, Character Creation Part 1
Session B, Character Creation Part 2
Session 01
Session 02
Session 03, Part 1
Session 03, Part 2
Session 04
Session 05
Session 06
Session 07
Session 08
Session 09
Session 10

Session 12

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