One of the youths couldn’t make it to this meeting, change of season colds and being sick making their way around everyone’s family over time. So it was 2 at the table and I NPC’ed the not here Cleric for the time being.
This meant that there were 2 making decisions and somewhere along the way, it was decided that they were going to be more diligent and exacting in their exploration – not leaving any room unexplored and following all the leads wherever they may go. So instead of just going to the stairs down from level 2 after the stirge fight, they went exploring over the rest of the level first.
Write up follows:
Delsin tried to knock the stirge off of Volkan but was unsuccessful; and then Volkan was struggling to pull it off, but also with no results – the grappling flying menace had it wing claws and talons tangled in the mage’s robes. So they were yelling for Safir to shoot – even though it was stuck to Volkan and it meant that a bad miss could kill the mage.
But the archer took aim and let his shaft fly – and it pierced the stirge in the side causing it to squeal and deflate – allowing the mage to tear it free. With 2 left, one flying one hopping about the floor, Delsin found himself hit by one of the stirges when it found a weak place in his armor and the other made to escape.
We helped the fighter finish the last fighting stirge off and then the group went around stomping on them to make sure they were crushed and dead. From here we looked over the room and amidst the trash the stirges had been using as nesting material in the center of the room, we did uncover 4 small gem, 2 sapphires, 1 emerald, and a diamond. We split up the loot and then took stock of the situation. Delsin took a small draught and the group looked over the room for anything interesting, coming upon another secret door, this one in the north wall.
We used some rope to weave through the missing handle holes, and then Delsin and his strong back had the door open and we could look through. The passage went left and right, the right heading back some 15 paces to a door (which according to our best guess is the same door as originally found in the fire beetle room) and left it went a short distance and then turned to the right and went north.
We discussed it and decided we’d come back to the stairs down after exploring the level to make sure we missed nothing and went left and then north. As we travelled we went slow, looking for any secret doors or something of interest. We lit an actual torch at this point to go along with the glowing beetle sack we were using for light. Eventually the corridor did continue after looping about, with so far a single door on the south wall.
It was a storage room and although we poked around, it was very dusty and shown it hadn’t been used for a very long time. We left after taking a drink or two and continued down the corridor. The passage meandered about, heading east now, and although it did continue, there was another door here, this time on the left side/north wall. Once more Delsin was elected to open up and check it out.
After making sure it wasn’t trapped, the fighter gave the door a single pushed and looked in. The room was lit by maybe 10 flying 2’ tall winged people talking to each other in some sing song musical language. He backed out and we talked about what he saw, eventually deciding that we should try to make contact with them.
Volkan started off by trying to talk with them but the fairies could only reply in song and twinkling music. 5 of them joined hands and a cycling of power flowed through them and then we could understand them! The one who talked to us was very open to chatting, identified itself as a number, and would often parrot back our answers in the form of a lilting question. There was another room down the hall and we should go “see” it. They don’t get involved with Gorm, Usimagaus is the best. And yes, they do know lots of magic.
Volkan was hoping to learn some of their spells or curses when the one we were talking to grew bored and another came and spoke to us (#5). He was different, a bit more curt, and not interested in making friends. Delsin was getting nervous during all this, seeing the fairies getting less helpful as time went on, but Volkan pressed on for some help in learning the fairy curse spell. We managed to trade one of the fire beetle glowbags for some flash powder and were going through the motions to get some roman candles as well.
Then #1 came forward (identified as a jerk by the others fairies), threatened the group and Volkan, and a five count were ordered to “curse this magic user”. They cycled some power again between them and Volkan managed to jump away in time when the ground below his feet turned to black oily tar. Safir fired into the room trying to break up the fairy ring, and for this, the fairies were gathering themselves for another blast of magic. One of them was stabbing the party with his tiny sword and then we took the lit torch and hurled it forward and into the open crate that had the fireworks.
The room exploded. Everyone inside the room near the box was killed outright; everyone else was shaken and stunned by the blast. When we picked ourselves up, we were deafened and partially blinded, but one of the fairies was trying to escape and we failed to stop it as it flew down the corridor and made its way elsewhere.
Eventually our hearing and vision returned and we took stock of ourselves. The fairies had been obliterated in the burning remains of the chamber, so we closed the door and cleaned ourselves up, Volkan taking the heat for pressing the #1 fairy into talking to him and trying to get some information out of them.
We went towards the end of the corridor now, seeing it ended at a door on the right (the scent of vinegar was strong and in the air) and there were 3 4’ jars at the end of the hall. What were in the jars? We thumped them and tested it out, eventually taking the covers off – and it was sand. Was there something in the sand? We tried sticking a sword down in the sand and even after shaking it about, couldn’t find anything in the jars.
Maybe it was lower? Whatever “it” might be? So we cracked one of the jars and stepped back…and sand spilled out. Lots of sand, nothing else. We did the same with the other 2 jars – also just sand. Ok. Three (originally) large ceramic jars of sand. We took a small pouch full of the sand, tied it off, and turned our attention to the final door.
We opened the door and looked in. The room was very acrid, our eyes were already tearing. It also seemed to step down a few inches. The floor of the room was covered in some slimy green residue. Not wanting to chance touching it, we borrowed Mark’s lever and tapped the surface of the green muck. The lever began to smoke and hiss and pulling it free showed the end was acid scored as the slime continued to eat the lever! We dropped it in the slime and watched as it smoked and popped and then dissolved away in only a few minutes.
Delsin took another torch, lit it, and let it fall into the slime. It flashed into fire and the party backed away shutting the door and holding our nose under the edge of our cloaks to keep the smell and most likely toxic fumes from taking us down.
Eventually (10 minutes?) we went back, opened the door, and saw the slime had burned away. The vinegar scent was mostly gone and the room now had just lumps of char dotting it. Mission accomplished.
We followed Safir back to the original secret door and went down the corridor until we arrived at a set of steps behind a door going down. We drew up into marching order and took the steps one at a time until we arrived at the bottom of the steps. To avoid any issues, we removed the robes and tabards of Gorm we had gotten from Kanadius (Safir understood and was ok with it, Mark tucked his holy symbol down but did not remove it), and opened the door.
There was a long corridor here heading south and we followed it along, some 25 paces until it turned to the left and traveled east. It was while we were walking, to the best of our guess 90’ WITHOUT another door or corridor until it turned to the left again and went north that Delsin was convinced that we had to have missed something.
So we went back down the hall and started to look for any secret doors…getting lucky at finding one about 1/3 of the way down on the north wall. We drew up into line and opened to door – showing some sort of storage room filled with foods stuffs and water – and there were 4 large beetles diving into the supplies!
Knowing how hard the fight against the fire beetles had gone, we wanted to be better set on this one, so we took some flash powder, had everyone turn their gaze, the lit it and tossed it in the chamber – blinding and stunning 3 of the beetles and only 1 closest to us made to attack. We lit one of the Roman candles we had gotten from the fairies and let fly as many flaming balls as we could go to the beetle. Having almost no effect.
Two of the beetles had run out of the room out the north door on the other side, but the 2nd was getting closer when the closest spat out a jet of the oily spittle it had been using on the boxes. It hit the group and BURNED, making the party moan and grow frustrated as the two beetled then started to charge at us. We decided to shut the door for now and then proceeded to clean the burning residue off of us and heal up. Our cache of draughts was getting dangerously low – we would need some and soon.
Going back to the hall we went back down until it turned to the north and proceeded until we arrived at an open door. Inside was another long corridor (beyond our light range) but on the wall were 8 buttons with odd symbols next to them. One of them, 2nd one down, was pressed in. We couldn’t identify the symbols and were at a loss of what they might mean.
Mark was going through his Gorm prayer book on the off chance that one of them night be in there and he found one! On an older map in the back of the book that showed the Sinai Peninsula the compass rose had the “north” symbol that looked like one of the symbols on the bottom of the column of buttons!
From there, with Delsin taking most of the lead, we tested out the button pressing which had the entire room move and rotate clockwise. It was through the diligent counting of passing doors, checking the corridors beyond (which were different with each button), going to the other end of the revolving room where another row of button were but these had a different button pressed in here (always 4 down or up from the other side of the room) as well as a door out, that we were able to identify the 8 buttons as the cardinal directions and ended our hypothesis by assuming we came in on the SOUTH button, so rotated the room 1 cycle to the SOUTH WEST button and stepped out.
We were in a short hall that ended at a statue of Usimagarus (winged child) and there were two oil beetles here (the ones we scared from the supply room) we ran at us coming into the hall down a south corridor and disappeared into a closed door room (the supply room).
So we decided that we were going to ignore the statue for now, head down the corridor and proceed to the NORTH EAST corridor hoping to meet the Usimagarians and see what they had to say.