Monday, January 12, 2015

Westmist Session #88 - Brains ... Brains ...

Khoog refused to spend another night below ground, so he left Erijay and Kern (with Bjorn) to bed down with the centipede-women. They were joined the next day by Lomar and Jasper, and the cleric had his work cut out for him healing all their wounds. That done, exploration continued. In particular, exploration to identify a way to get in behind the metallospiders and hopefully get the drop on them. Descending the long spiral staircase, the party passed through a door just above and opposite the one they'd encountered the spiders last time. Behind it were stairs going down and a spiral staircase going up. As the party started past the spiral stairs, a pair of metallospiders surprised them from above, dropping onto Erijay and Kern in the front rank. Lomar fired his web bracelet and  entrapped both, but also caught Erijay in the sticky mess. Thankfully, the rest of the party was able to destroy the two metallospiders and retrieve Erijay before any serous harm was done. Investigating where the spiders had come from, Kern climbed the spiral stairs and found a small dead end tunnel. Out of the wall protruded two small pipes, surrounded by globs of metal. Next to each was a lever. After some soul searching, Kern decide to pull a lever. And was doused in a spray of hot molten metal.

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Once Kern stopped screaming, everyone decided it best to  head down the other stairs instead of poking around with the tubes any further. These stairs led to a tunnel, then an opening in the tunnel floor. Handholds led down,  and Kern was about to try them out when a flying ape rose out of the pit and attacked. It was quickly slain, and Kern tried climbing down again. But only after Lomar tied a rope around the merchants waist, just in case.  Lowering himself down, Kern found himself dangling above a bizarre mass of glass tubes, wires, pipes and valves. A circle of glass tubes sat in the middle of the room, each large enough to hold a person. Deciding it would be best to find a more direct (and easier to flee through) entrance, the party dragged Kern back up and returned to the long staircase. Just about to open the door, Kern now heard scurrying noises on the other side. Fearing more metallospiders, Kern pulled open the door and Erijay cast a web to block the passage above. Which, luckily, was where the spiders were lurking. But not metallospiders this time, just regular run of the mill, giant poisonous black widow spiders. With the spiders barred behind the web, the party descended even further down the stairs, and were able to walk right into the strange laboratory when the reached the bottom. They could now see that two of the glass tubes were filled with liquid. One held a humanoid skeleton with three arms and two heads. The other was a murky, opaque mess. On the west wall was a huge switch. Kern played around with the valves for a bit, and learned he could fill the empty tubes with some kind of broth or protoplasmic goo. He then went over the throw the switch, at which point the liquid filled tubes began to glow green-blue and a loud hum filled the room. Not sure if they should tinker any further, Kern shut down the power and the party headed east.

There, they encountered another steel door, which opened easily. On the other side was a huge room, with multiple floor of steel grating above and below. A strange blue glow faintly lit the whole area, and before they could proceed into the room, the mechanical voice of an unseen metallospider challenged them. And warned them to leave and NEVER return, or suffer the consequences. The party did try to engage in some conversation to figure out what made the metallospiders 'tick' so to speak. The were able to learn that the creation of the Gann which they'd been designed to run was a machine built to destroy the world! With that sobering fact, and the fact that they could not see their adversaries, the party prudently decided to retreat and forget about their bargain with the centipede-women. Time to focus on finding the Cerebral Shield and get the heck out of these depths. So they retraced their steps back to the blood-thristy head, and tried to feed it the blood of the slain flying ape to get more info. Alas, it still did not speak. Next step, Lomar tried to dispel the angry air elemental Bjorn had inadvertently trapped below. No luck; Salue did not hear his prayers. So back to the surface and a night of rest before they delved once more.

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Starting again at the head, they followed Erijays directions. They got so far, and then turned back up towards the surface. There they ran into two strange laboratories. One contained what appeared to be two steel coffins, held upright on metal racks and filled with weird foam. On one was a dial with 8 settings. Lomar crawled in one and had Guy turn the dial to 7. Everything hummed and glowed, but Lomar emerged unharmed except for a little missing hair. The second laboratory contained a chair with metal straps at arms and neck, plus a large arm dangling overhead, with various saws and drills attached. Next to it was a steel cabinet with a dial marked from 1-10 on it. Kern managed to pick the lock, and opened it to find 10 jars, most of which contained a head in some kind of preserving fluid. Human, non human, and one medusa head. Which luckily Kern avoided looking at closely and therefore avoided getting turned to stone. And which Jasper popped into a sack for potential future use. No one wanted to sit in the chair, so they headed out and went further down to try picking up the right path to the Cerebral Shield. They found themselves moving to the west, and shortly came to a rope bridge spanning a wide gulf. And swirling around it, still trapped, was the air elemental. Lomar tried once more to dispel, and once more failed. Salue must be angry with her servant! In the end, Bjorn and Erijay blasted the trapped thing from a distance with spells, and Kern with bolts from his magic crossbow, until it finally dissipated and left the way open for them to continue.

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Just past the bridge they encountered another strange lab. In this one they found two metal tables in the center of the room, and shelves with glass jars containing preserved body parts lining the walls. At the far end of the room was a metal cabinet and a big glass tank in which floated a number of brains. Kern again unlocked the cabinet, and inside found a small glass ball on a chain. Inside were three interlocking rings and in the top a hole with a plug. Also in the cabinet was a convoluted distillation apparatus, and a book. Kern gingerly opened and read the book, and found that the little glass ball was the Cerebral Shield of the Gann. He was a little perturbed to find that in order to provide mass protection against mind affecting magic, the glass  ball had to be filled with the freshly distilled essence of a fresh humanoid brain. Well, might as well start with the brains in the tank. As the party started to recover the brains from the tank, suddenly ... TO BE CONTINUED