Wednesday, December 9, 2020

Delvers Guild – Session 31 – The Portal of Stones

[In-game November 23rd – With plenty of time still, the Delvers decide to investigate some of the other portal addresses.]

[This game uses the Fifth Revised Edition of the Hero System rules along with the Fantasy Hero supplement.  This session happened November 23, 2020, same day as in-game!]

Player Characters:

Jala – human female – a person of discretion, studying aspects of the Law [to avoid them] at the Dusk Academy

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

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

Vorgand – human female – professional porter and Adventurer’s Aide, irregularly attends classes at The Tested military academy, practitioner of Steel Serpent martial arts, and Guildmaster of the Delvers Guild

Via Roll20

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

Not Appearing in this Session

Clarence – human male – studies Religion in Temples district, coincidentally the group healer

Non-Player Characters:

Torsten, Fish, Harek – ex-bandits, now The Torchbearers for the Delvers Guild

Konrad Moonclub – Stalwart family factor in Little Wytheford

Orm Oxdriver – driver of the guild’s over-sized, double-decker vardo

Yggsday, November 23rd, 1st year of the reign of King Vladik the Gamesman

Mid Afternoon (about 3:30 or so)

With the moon base portal no longer in position [portal address 1.0], the Delvers decided to investigate portal address 1.2, which their notes stated was a mine of some sort.  Vorgand set the destination cubes to that address and activated the portal.  The portal blipped a number of times and eventually opened up on the cavern that made Zarek very uncomfortable, portal location 2.0.  Zarek quickly flew to the control cabinet and removed the power gem, shutting down the portal.

The Delvers discussed this and concluded that all the portal addresses that start with a 1 are probably locations on the moon.  As the moon is only in position from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, outside those times the portal will always fail to open for any address that starts with a 1.

Thwarted in investigating the mine, they decided to try location 5.2.2.  This address opened the portal inside a room with no windows.  Looking through the portal, they could see the walls were made of huge stone blocks.  The darkness on the other side was from a lack of light and not magical as a torch thrown through the portal lit up the chamber.  [Some of the other portal addresses open on a magical darkness that torches do not light.]

Ricky cast his Nightvision spell upon himself so he can go through with Zarek and explore.  Jala lit a torch and was ready to go through with them, but Vorgand told Jala to wait and let those who don’t need a torch to see go first.  Jala accepted this.

Zarek and Ricky went through the portal.  They reported that the portal on their side was in a thirty foot by thirty foot room with a high ceiling made of a corbelled arch [the walls gradually step inward until they touch at the top].  There was only one way out of the room, a wide corridor that descended steeply.

Jala, having waited as long as her curiosity would let her, stepped through with her torch.  The torch stayed lit, which verified there was air on the other side.  She stepped back through and told The Torchbearers, “Time to get back to work.”  They got up off the couch, brushing the crumbs of their lunch off and picking up their gear.

The rest of the Delvers and The Torchbearers stepped through the portal to the new location.  The walls were formed by huge blocks of granite, polished to a shine.  The air was dry and cool, but not cold.  The corridor out was twenty feet wide and over a hundred feet long.  Ricky could see down its length and saw four sets of stone protruding about a foot in from the walls and ceilings.  These brackets seemed to be evenly spaced about thirty feet apart with the first bracket five feet down the corridor.

Zarek and Jala volunteered to explore the corridor.  Vorgand told Jala to let Zarek go first to avoid having Jala’s torch alerting anything that might be there.  Zarek floated down the corridor, staying up near the ceiling while Jala followed behind, her Spiderclimb spell allowing her to walk on the left wall to the first bracket, where she stopped.

Just past the second bracket, Zarek spotted a ten-foot wide shaft going straight up.  Using the magic earrings, he reported this information to the Delvers and asked Vorgand if she want him to fly up it.  She did.  As he flew up and out of sight, Jala’s curiosity got the better of her again and she ran to catch up with him.  [Vorgand may have rolled her eyes here.]

Zarek and Jala followed the shaft up a little more than thirty feet [hereafter referred to as “the chimney”].  When they peeked over the lip of the shaft, they saw a smaller room than the portal room, but one decorated with frescos in an elven artistic pattern in midnight blue.  The ceiling was flat and the lip of the chimney was three feet above the floor surface [it formed a small well] and against the back wall.  On the opposite wall was a very large stone doorway with a block of dark granite in it.

Vorgand told Zarek and Jala to wait there so the rest of the group could follow.  Vorgand asked for rope and had Nick drive a couple of spikes into the stonework.  Once the spikes were in place, a knotted rope was tied off and the other end tossed down the slanted corridor.  Nick placed his Button of Escape next to the control cabinet for the gate.  This sparked a thought for Vorgand and she opened the portal control cabinet to see if there was anything in it.  She found three control cubes [which she calls “destination dice”] but no power gem.  She took the cubes.

At the top of the chimney, Zarek leaned over the lip and saw stone brackets for tying off ropes.  He reported this and Vorgand told he and Jala to each tie off a rope and let it drop down the chimney.  They did so.  With the ropes ready, Vorgand asked The Torchbearers who among them was the best climber.  Torsten and Harek each immediately whipped one of their fingers to the side of their nose to indicate “not it.”  Fish was watching down the slanted shaft, not entirely paying attention.  When he turned to look, he saw he was the odd man out and sighed.  “Me, I guess,” he said stoically.  Then he asked, “This does count as hazard pay, yes?”  Vorgand confirmed it did, so Fish nodded and got ready to climb.

As Vorgand, Fish, and Nick started using the guide rope to walk their way down to the chimney, Ricky did the math to work out where the room Jala and Zarek were was in relation to the portal room.  He then did a blind shadow-jump to the room.  His calculations were good and he only dropped a foot or so when he appeared, easily able to keep to his feet.  Clarence announced he was going to stay at the portal with Torsten and Harek as it would be safer for him to do so.  [This was done for two reasons: Clarence’s player was not at the game and Clarence took the Physical Limitation: Two Left Feet.]

While waiting for the rest of the group to arrive, Jala asked Vorgand if she should start looking at the door in this room.  Vorgand suggested she wait in case there were glow skeletons [See their Creature Catalog entry].  Jala pretty much ignored this and started investigating the door “without touching it”.  Zarek held the torch over the chimney so those climbing up those ropes could see.  Ricky investigated the rest of the room but did not find anything new.  Jala determined the “door” was a solid block of stone that the group might be able to lift – depending on how thick it was.

Once Vorgand, Fish, and Nick were up the chimney [and had caught their breath], Ricky, Vorgand, and Nick [using the Wand of Wind] attempted to lift the stone slab.  It didn’t budge.  Ricky took a moment to look around for a place to use a card key but, finding none, broke out his sledgehammer.  Vorgand pulled out hers as well and the two started hammering away at the stone slab.

To get away from the noise, Zarek flew back down the chimney to see if the noise attracted anything from lower down.  After twenty minutes, Vorgand and Ricky were “making progress” but were not through the very thick stone slab.  Jala started working out a way to use engineering to move the slab.  She was not very educated in the subject, so she took her time sketching out various possibilities on the walls in chalk [she was taking an hour of extra time to get a bonus on her familiarity].

Zarek, bored, decided to fly down the slanted corridor to see what he could see.  Not in a hurry, he took his time looking around and keeping one eye on the end of the slanted corridor in case something showed up.  Just as Zarek passed the third bracket, all of his spells failed and his magic items stopped working.  The sudden fall caught him by surprise as he dropped down nearly thirty feet to the corridor floor and then rolled uncontrollably to the bottom of the slanted corridor another sixty feet.  When he came to a stop, he knew he had broken a bone or two.  When he called for help over the magical earrings, he got no reply.

At about the same time, Ricky and Vorgand announced that they had finally knocked a fox-sized hole through the five-foot thick stone slab.  Clarence called out that something had happened to Zarek – Clarence saw Zarek suddenly fall.

Vorgand immediately climbed down one of the ropes in the chimney while the others attempted to get a response from Zarek on the magical earrings.  They only got silence in response.  When Vorgand reached the floor of the slanted corridor, she asked Clarence to throw her a lit torch.  Torsten handed Clarence the torch he had been holding and Clarence threw it to Vorgand, who caught it easily.  She then proceeded to work her way down the slanted corridor with the guide rope in one hand and the torch in her other.

As Vorgand passed the third bracket, she noticed all of her magic stop working.  Because she was not tumbling from a fall, she noticed when her magic started working again just past the fourth bracket.  She paused to report this to the others, but only Zarek could hear her.  He was in a defensive crouch with a magic dagger in one paw and the fancy lightning pistol in the other.  He looked adorably cute.

When Zarek heard Vorgand over the earrings, he realized his magic was working again and immediately recast his Stoney Skin and Flight spells.  Vorgand dew her magical rapier and let Zarek hold it so it would heal his broken bones.  The two of them looked around while Zarek’s bones mended.  The slanted corridor ended at a T-intersection with a smaller corridor that went to their left and right.  At the edge of the torchlight they could see that both side corridors turned to go the same direction.  The walls were covered in murals showing majestic elves lording over lesser races.

Once Zarek was done healing, Vorgand started climbing back up the slanted corridor using the guide rope.  Zarek flew up and landed on her shoulder and backpack so he would not fall when the moved back through the anti-magic zone.  When they passed the fourth bracket, their magic stopped working again.  Zarek spent the entire time between the fourth and third bracket attempting to cast as an experiment.  He determined that the entire area between the two brackets was an anti-magic zone and it wasn’t just the brackets doing it.

Clarence, watching from the top of the slanted corridor, relayed what he was seeing to Nick, Ricky, and Jala, so they were aware when Vorgand and Zarek started their return.  No longer concerned about Zarek’s fate, Ricky turned his attention back to the stone slab.  Peeking through the breach, he saw a large room with lots of pillars.  The pillars were carved to represent strange trees, the likes of which Ricky had only seen in the murals of an ancient elven tomb.  Jala, ever impatient, pushed her torch through the breach, causing shadows in the room beyond that she could see through [and eventually shadow-walk through].

Eventually Vorgand and Zarek rejoined Ricky and the others at the top of the chimney.  While Vorgand rested a bit, Zarek cast Detect Magic and looked through the hole in the stone slab.  He saw no magic on the other side.  He then flew through the hole and into the room beyond.  Jala shadow-walked into the room as well, but Ricky decided to wait and find out what they saw before joining them.

What they saw was a very large chamber that went beyond the range of their torchlight.  They also saw two groups of Blue Fire Skeletons moving to attack them from either side!

End of Session

[I’ve been inconsistent about how I refer to the ways that Ricky and Jala teleport.  Both make use of shadows to teleport, but there are some underlying differences between their two styles of magic.  Ricky teleports from point to point, using shadows as gateways, so him teleporting should be referred to as shadow-jumping.  Jala actually steps through a shadow into the Realm of Shadows and then back out through a different shadow, so she is properly shadow-walking.  There are in-game reasons for this to matter.  I’ll do better at differentiating going forward.  When I put the Delvers Guild notes into a single PDF, I’ll edit for stuff like that so there is consistency.  Yes, I am a tech writer by trade and consistency is important to us.]

Delvers Guild

Guild Organizational Outline

Session A, Character Creation Part 1

Session B, Character Creation Part 2

Session 01

Session 10

Session 20

Session 30

Session 32 [Not Yet Posted]

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