Awg Wahmn (Calmonari 7)
Chaff (Vivimancer 7), with familiar Pretty Bird and riding raptor, Sue
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 7), with familiar Hermes
Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 7)
Wilhelm (Musketeer 2) [NPC]
Finding no appropriate landing spot on the hilly end of the island, the party rowed ashore to a narrow beach at the jungles edge, and schlepped their way overland toward the tower. Before too long they intersected with a road of unusual design. The surface, rather than a rutted cart track or cobblestone surface, was made up of a continuous strip of grey stone-like material. Obviously old, but apart from a weed poking through here and there, in remarkably good shape. Since it appeared to wind from the water's edge up to the tower itself, the party took the easy route and followed along. As they approached closer to the tower, they could see it was constructed of a similar grayish material, and covered in greenish lichen which suggested it was of ancient origin. Like the road, the stone showed no signs of mortar or seams; instead it looked to be made of one continuous piece of 'stone'. Over 150 tall', it was featureless except for a couple of banks of amber colored windows on the upper levels. In addition, the top featured a strange collection of poles, round plates and cables. As for access, there was a metal staircase wrapped round the base which led to a pair of massive metal doors about 30' above the ground. As Kwinsea started to search for traps around the stairs, she also noted a small opening at the base of the tower which was largely obscured by a collection of jungle fronds and ferns. The party went over to check this out, cutting out the foliage to uncovered a 3' high round tunnel leading into the base of the tower. Rodrigo lit a torch and tossed it in, revealing the passage to be about 40' in total length with no obvious branches to either side. Noting that Chaff was just the perfect height to walk upright, the vivmancer was coerced into exploring further. Apart from a human skeleton sprawled across the floor at about the halfway point, he found nothing of interest except, at the end of the tunnel, a narrow shaft leading down. Collecting the rest of the party to have a look, they noted iron rungs set into the wall of the shaft. Tying the torch to some rope, Rodrigo lowered it down the shaft, finding that it descended about 60' before entering a room or space below. Rodrigo volunteered to squeeze down first, but wasn't about to trust the rungs. He reached into the bag of holding and hauled out one of the long metal bars looted from the crystal eggs. He set this across the opening, secured his rope to it, and lowered himself down.
At the bottom the swashbuckler found a circular room with a flat wall at one end. Around all around the walls were metal racks with panels of glass bulbs, switches and little colored squares. In the centre stood a separate panel, this one with a similar collection of lights and things, but with a massive double pull-double throw switch dominating all. When nothing jumped out at him, Rodrigo called the rest of the party to follow him down. Unfortunately, that meant Chaff had to leave his new riding dinosaur to wander free outside. Reaching the bottom, Chaff and Kwinsea both experienced a vague feeling of deja-vu; this equipment reminded them somewhat of the Kalandrian cosmic computer and the bastard space-elf barge. Definitely not your typical wizard tower look. And speaking of looking, the party spread out to search the room. Kwinsea went to look for secret doors along the flat wall; she noted there seemed to be a hollow space behind , but could see no way to access it. Rodrigo and Awg started to argue the pros and cons of throwing the switch. Chaff listened to their exchange for a few moments, then impetuously walked over the the panel, jumped up, and hauled down the switch. Everyone froze, but when nothing happened, Chaff jumped up again to throw the switch to the upper position. This time something did happen; a deep hum filled the room, and the glass balls and coloured squares on the panels started to light up and flash in seemingly random patterns. Overhead, several long strips in the ceiling lit up, bathing everything in a cool white light. In front of Kwinsea, the stone wall slid aside to reveal a pair of metal doors. Next to the doors was a small panel with two lit squares on it. Awg sauntered over and pressed the bottom one. There was a rumbling sound from behind the doors, and a few moments later they opened to reveal a small metal clad room. Awg and Kwinsea gingerly stepped inside, and observed another panel. This one had five squares from top to bottom. Awg reached over and pressed the second from the bottom. The doors started to close, slamming shut as Rodrigo dove over to try to stop/join them. The swashbuckler then started punching the bottom square frantically, hoping to save his companions.
Said companions had the sensation of being hauled up in the air, and after about half a minute, the doors slid open again. It opened up into a large circular room. There was a circular staircase going up at the far side of the room, while a larger pair of metal doors graced the right hand wall. Otherwise the room was empty as far as they could see; however they didn't look long as the doors closed again and they found themselves falling, only to have the doors open again to reveal a frantic Rodrigo staring them in the face. Reassured that the room was safe, everyone now crowded in and watched Awg press the third button. The box rose again, and after a short time opened up into another round room. Again there was a circular staircase (going up and down), but no doors in the outer wall. There was also a scattered mess of old metal crates, mostly destroyed. Poking around, Chaff uncovered a few square, metal wrapped, soft bricks. He cut one open to reveal a brown crystalline material, which a little sniffing identified as a sugary substance. Meanwhile, Awg strained his/her ears to listen over the rustling sound Chaff was making, and heard something moving over around the stairwell. Rodrigo donned the ring of invisibility and crept over the look. He found, hiding behind a few ruined crates, a rather scruffy looking man. Dressed in crude skins, he looked like he could use a square meal and a drink. Going back to the party, they decided to break out some rations and water, then go over to the man and offer him some while eating some themselves to prove it was safe. At first terrified of their strange strangers, the man soon took the offering and started to gorge himself. Once he was done eating, Chaff said a simple 'hello'. To which the man responded, in an archaic but recognizable form of Common. Questioning him, the party learned he (who's name was Gor) came from a village in the jungle. As to how he got to the tower, Gor reveled he'd been selected with several other villagers to be sacrifices to their god Armul Urthag, who's home was this tower. The god had come to the village with his two 'yellow men', as he did once a year or so, and selected several of the youngest and fittest adults as sacrifice. It was a great honor to be selected, and Gor came along gladly. But once at the tower, he was frightened by what he saw; the sacrifices were locked in metal tubes and a multitude of things stuck in them. Gor ran away and hid, but has been too terrified to look for a way out of the tower ever since. Asked where this all happened, Gor said somewhere on the floors above. He'd been taken there in the moving metal room and didn't really know which floor the sacrifices or Armul and his yellow men were located. Asked about Armul, Gor described him as a tall man with reddish skin, but looking very old and decayed. His face was also covered in gold or something.
The party tried to convince Gor to come with them, but he refused to leave his hiding spot. Awg gave him a dagger which Gor accepted gladly. After a quick double check of floor below via the moving room, the party decided to use the stairs to go up. With an invisible Rodrigo in the lead, they made their way to the next floor. This was not wide open. Instead, there was a corridor leading from the stairs to what they guessed was the moving room doors at the far end. Crouched motionless to each side of the doors was a humanoid figure. Halfway down the hall on each side was an opening. Rodrigo crept down to glance inside, keeping one eye on the crouched figures. Through one opening was an empty room. In the other was a strange mass of metal framework and machines. In the centre was looked like a freestanding door frame about 3'deep. The swashbuckler retreated back to the party to fill them in. But rather than explore further on this floor at the moment, they decided to continue their climb.
The stairs came to an end on the next level; another set of circular stairs could be seen at the far side of the room where the moving room doors should have been. This room, unlike the others below, was not lit up by the cool blue overhead lights. Instead, the only lighting was natural, coming through amber colored panels along one wall. The warm yellow light fell on a series of tanks around the perimeter of the room, 22 in total. These were made of metal with a glass door on the front. The party entered warily, going over to look at closest vessel. Inside, a withered human body floated in a greenish fluid. Stuck into the body was a multitude of hoses, wires and similar pointy things. Awg, meanwhile, went over to the windows, and discovered the centre one was actually a door. It opened onto a narrow, rail-less balcony facing the jungle to the south east. Meanwhile, inside the room the party started to fan out to look around. As they did, the bodies in the tanks suddenly jerked into movement. Doors were opened, fluid poured out, and the grotesque bodies ripped themselves from their attachments and started to shuffle towards the party. Aug called out to everyone to retreat to the balcony; they could deal with them one by one in the doorway rather than all at once. That seemed like a good idea, so they ran out the door and prepared to meet their foes. First shot went to Wilhelm and his musket, blasting down the lead body. He then got out of the way to let Kwinsea blast another dozen with a lighting bolt. But still they kept coming, so Awg and Rodrigo flanked the door and starting chopping them down one by one. Several times one of the warriors was grabbed and slammed against the door frame, but eventually all the attackers were shot, shocked or stabbed and the danger was past.
Worried now that anyone on the floors above would be alert to their presence, the party rushed the stairs hoping to get the drop on any foes. With an invisible Rodrigio in the front, they blundered up the stairs and right into a 'yellow man'. This was a tall humanoid, consisting of sickly beige plates assembled over a metal framework. Of more immediate interest was the raised arm which consisted of some kind of blast weapon. It fired, catching Rodrigo (and to a lessor extent Awg behind him) in a gout of flame. The swashbuckler pulled out a lighting termite grenade and jammed it in the end of the blast cannon. It exploded, slagging the automaton's weapon and spraying Rodrigo with bits of molten metal ...
TO BE CONTINUED ...
22 Kryo-Tank Drained Villagers