Sunday, February 28, 2016

Far Isles Session #25 - The Old Man and the Telescope

Abdul el Abdul (Fighter 3)
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 3), with familiar Hermes, and henchman Xavier (Swashbuckler 1)
Chaff (Vivimancer 3), with familiar Pretty Bird, riding hound Stinky Dog, and henchman Dudley (Cleric 1)
Torak (Cleric 2)
Beuford Bumbletoes (Halfling 2)

Making the perfectly logical assumption that no wizard worth his robes would actually label the door to his treasure room with a large sign that said "Treasure", the party decided to try the "Workshop" first. After a check for traps revealed nothing, Abdul opened the door and waved the rest of the party through. Alas, there was an undetected trap; a sharp portcullis dropped out of the door frame and impaled the less than fully concious Dudley, killing him instantly. Chaff, observing one more dead henchman, shrugged and spurred Stinky Dog on into the room. It was empty except for a series of beakers on a table; most open and dried up, but with a few still stoppered and filled with coloured liquids: blood red, clear with bits, emerald green, gold, orange, puke green, sky blue, and violet. Kwinsea grabbed all of these, packing them as carefully as possible to prevent breakage. Abdul el Abdul, on the other hand, took the table.

Removing Dudley from the portcullis and laying him aside, the party decided next to tackle the "Treasure Room". Rather than walk in this time, Abdul shoved the table ahead of him to trigger any traps. Of which there seemed to be done, so most of the party crowded in to explore. The room was packed with large wooden chests. Kwinsea sent Xavier with a crowbar with orders to pry open one from behind. Which was a good idea, since when the henchman wrenched open the lid, a poison needle shot out of the latch. The chest was packed with straw, and held large stoppered glass jug. Inside of which was a demon idol, obviously too large to fit through the neck of the bottle. With most of the party rapidly running of room to carry more items,  the jar was carefully placed it in the bloody bucket with some straw. To make it easier to carry and less likely to break. Kwinsea likewise repacked the beakers with straw.   Meanwhile, Abdul el Abdul started hauling out the chests and prying them open. Chest after chest contained nothing but piles of copper coins, which were dumped on the floor so the bottom of each chest could be searched for more valuable treasure. After a few chests had been thus treated, Torak noticed something. The coins didn't sound like coins when they were dumped out on the floor. No metallic ring, just a dull thud. Closer examination showed they were not copper coins at all, but discs of stone coated in copper paint.

Blood on the Stairs
Disgusted and disappointed, the party headed back up to the tower, and proceeded to the next level. This was a pretty nondescript space with a bit of furniture and cooking pots, plus a trio of uninteresting bedchambers.  Xavier, however, noted a slow trickle of blood coming down the stairs that led up to the next level. Torak was convinced to climb the stairs to check it out, so the dark cleric lit a torch and gingerly followed the path of blood. At the top of the stairs was a  locked door, and the blood was slowly dripping out of the keyhole. Torak tried to look in the keyhole, but there was something in the lock on the other side blocking the view. When he reported his findings to the group, Chaff surmised that the key was in the keyhole on the opposite side of the door. Ripping a page out of his spare spellbook, the vivmancer tried to talk Xavier into getting the key by sliding the paper under the door, and pushing the key out of the keyhole, and then pulling it back out under the door. The swashbuckler turned to Kwinsea for guidance, and she indicated it was safe for him to follow Chaff's instructions. And indeed the plan did work, and the party soon had the door open. Cracking the door open just a little, nothing could be seen except the curve of the outer tower wall. Torak therefore slipped on his ring of invisibility and moved into the room as quietly as possible. It was a bedchamber, with a bed, desk, and shelves. But of greatest interest was right next to the door. Inside a circle of salt on the floor stoodd an old man, dressed in wizards robe and pointed hat. On a stand next to him was a perfectly formed crystal egg the size of Torak's head.

Even though the cleric was invisible, the old man had seen the door open and heard movement. "Hullo, who's there? Please, can you help free me? Just brush away the salt to break the circle" he spoke. At this point, hearing from Torak there was no immediate danger, the rest of the party entered. While most fanned out around the room to loot, Chaff and Kwinsea proceeded to question the old man. He claimed to be a wizard who'd gotten trapped in this summoning circle thanks to a bumbling apprentice oh so many years ago. He didn't convince Chaff and Kwinsea, who suspected he was in fact some horrid demon from beyond space and time, just disguised as a half-senile magic user. The old mage offered a small reward to have the salt brushed away, but Chaff insisted he tell them where his treasure was hidden, to prove he was who he said he was.  At this point the wizard started to get angry, and was soon  frothing at the mouth and SHOUTING, THREATENING TO FLAY THE FLESH FROM THEIR BONES AND SCATTER THEIR SOULS TO THE FAR ENDS OF THE COSMOS IF THEY DID NOT LET HIM FREE!!! AND THEN HE'LL GO AFTER THEIR FAMILY, FRIENDS, VAGUE ACQUAINTANCES , AND ANYONE THEY SO MUCH AS EVER SPOKE TO!!!!!! As he lost his temper, he attempted to cast a spell at Chaff, but it exploded in a shower of sparks inside the ring of salt.

Whatever or whoever that was in the circle was obviously no threat, so the party in the end just ignored him and looted the room. Abdul el Abdul took the crystal egg, and Kwinsea grabbed a book, covered in odd leather and titled "Communications and Signaling the Beyond". There were no stairs going up, but a door led into a round shaft, similar to the one seen in the basement. Looking inside this time, a dial was found on the north wall, labeled from 1-5. In addition, a round disk was suspended in the shaft, connected to a mass of machinery by chains and pulleys and belts.  Xavier and Kwinsea squeezed onto the disk, and set the dial to "4". This brought them up to the next level. They quickly checked out the two doors which led off the shaft; one led to a room with a table, the other into an ice cold room. Shouting down, they told the rest of the party it was safe to come up. Chaff, Stinky Dog and Pretty Bird were the last to leave the wizards' room. Except of course the figure in the summoning circle, still screaming and ranting, and warning Chaff to fear the "wrath of Calcidius" when he finally escaped.

They party now gathered in the larger room with a table. A book, "Surviving the Interorbular Ether" lay closed on the table. Kwinsea pocked this one as well, finding after a brief read that it discusssed outer space and how unfriendly an environment it was for regular life forms. There were several other doors out of the room, and the party first checked the north exit. It opened with a "whoosh", like an airlock being opened. The room was a library, and a brief survey of the titles on the books' spines showed volumes on glass, light and metalworking. By the door was a table with fine kid gloves, tongs, a lantern with red glass, and a quill and pile of parchment. Abdul lit the lamp, but it did nothing but let off a red light. Chaff tried on the gloves, but they didn't fit. Meanwhile, Torak went to check out the other door in this library, which led back into the cold room. In there he found a small metal chest, which upon opening was found to be very cold and contained several dozen stopped vials of what appeared to be frozen blood.  This got hauled out into the central room for safekeeping, along with the demon jar.

Everyone then headed for the next door, which led into a small room with a table and pair of chairs. Another door exited it to the south, so Torak once more put on the ring of invisibility to go explore. He tried to open the door, but a force field stopped him. At this point,  a ghostly figure appeared in one of the chairs and asked "Who will gamble their soul in a game of chance and skill for the opportunity to pass through the door?" No one was inclined at first, but when they could find no way through the door, Chaff decided to sit down and accept the challenge. The ghostly figure pulled out a pack of cards, and challenged the stubby vivimancer to  few hands of poker, the best two out of three being the winner. Sweating bullets, Chaff lost the first hand. But with help from the rest of the party, he was able to squeak a win on the second and third hands. The ghost screamed in frustration, and then he and the cards disappeared. As did the force-field around the door. Passing into the new room, the party found it was another library. This one was filled with books on communication with other worlds, creatures from beyond, and two hundred scrolls about knots. Chaff rooted through the scrolls and was rewarded with 4 spell scrolls. Meanwhile, everyone else fanned out to look for other treasure and possibly a secret door leading to a 'blank' space on their tower map. When nothing was found, Abdul el Abdul got frustrated and started chopping bookshelves off the walls, and slicing up the books. Luckily Torak was watching, for he managed to recover a spell book from the fighters hands before it became confetti.

It was now late in the day, the party decided to settle down in this apparently quite secure room for the night. After a good rest, they decided to head up the elevator once more. They found themselves in a room that seemed to fill the entire top of the tower. The roof consisted of overlapping metal plates, and a number of odd items occupied the room. At one end was a shallow pool in the floor, filled with a clear liquid and a handful of bizarre fish. At another point were three metal bins; one empty, one filled with coal, and one with a little bit of gunpowder. But most impressive was a dome with a telescope sticking out. Next to it was a podium and a control panel with four switches and a button. Closer examination of the telescope revealed a strange metal cage over the objective lens. Which Abdul el Abdul found held the crystal egg perfectly. At the base of the telescope was a small metal chamber, generally empty but with a residue of burned coal or gunpowder or something similar. Kwinsea meanwhile and examined the podium, recovering another book, this one titled "Flora and Fauna of Necropoli Centauri".
Telescope and Dome

Chaff now began fiddling with the control panel. He pressed the button, but nothing seemed to happen. Flipping the first switch, the metal roof retracted, revealing the lighting and cloud filled sky. The second switch extended the telescope, which the third unblocked the objective lens. The fourth switch seemed to do nothing, so Chaff decided to light a coal and gunpowder fire in the metal chamber to see what happened. Flipping the fourth switch now resulted in a weak beam of red light shooting out of the telescope and through the crystal egg. In fact, the red light burned a small hole though the cloud cover and when Chaff and Abdul el Abdul took turns looking through the 'scope, they could see the surface of a planet, with mossy plant creatures  moving around an alien landscape  with a motion that can only be described as  “bopping.”

To be continued ....


Demon in a Jar
8 Beakers of Questionable Fluids
Crystal Egg
Ice Chest filling with Frozen Blood
Book - "Communications and Signaling the Beyond"
Book - "Surviving the Interorbular Ether"
Book - ""Flora and Fauna of Necropoli Centauri"
Spell Book- 1/Charm Person, 1/Shocking Grasp 1/Floating Disk 1/Jarring Hand, 1/Read Languages, 2/Detect Evil, 2/Knock, 4/Polymorph Others
4 Scrolls - 1/Message, 1/Enlarge
                  1/ Mending, 1/Detect Magic
                  1/Allure, 1/Shocking Grasp



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