Chapter 06: "Water Will Find Its Level"

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Session Number: 6
Date: Sunday 2 March 2008
Venue: Tammi's
PCs & Players:

Catria Rgr1 (Tammi) (kills: )
Nuff Mage1/Drd1 (Densial) (kills: )
Sack Thf1 (Fergus) (kills: )
Sigil Ill1/Thf1 (Craig) (kills: none)

XP Awarded: nil

watery_corridors_and_chute.jpg

Actually, one of us can swim: Nuff. But what to do about the others?

Sack and Sigil head back, looking for anything that might help a non-swimmer to float. Sigil inspects the barge. It is cleverly made: a timber skirt traps air underneath, providing additional buoyancy. However, taking it apart could prove time consuming - especially without tools. Sack heads back to the goblin's kitchen. The firewood is too small to be of much use, but one of the tables looks promising…

The two thieves carry the table back down through the tunnel to the deeper water beyond. Sack ties one end of his 50' rope to a table leg and tosses the other end to Catria. He climbs on while Nuff swims ahead. The current slowly drags them downstream, around a corner to the left. The rope begins to run out so Catria ties hers to Sack's (Tammi demonstrating by tying ribbons).

Several minutes later the pair return, aided by Catria, and reveal what they have learned. The stream follows the passage around two 90° bends, left then right. About 30' farther on the table ran aground as the stream becomes wider and shallower, the passage widening into a small cavern.

We have a viable means of continuing onward, but how to return against the current, however slight? Catria's grappling hook! She ties the hook to the rope and secures it to the upper reaches of the tunnel, embedding it amongst crystal formations and covering it with Dwight's body.

Sigil crawls aboard the makeshift raft, but his weight combined with the others hanging on prove too much for the little table. Sigil rolls off into the water with the others while Nuff does his best to keep the mass stable. The group heads out and makes landfall at the other end, looking towards the cavern. It is roughly spherical in shape with a rough but undoubtedly circular 6' wide hole in the centre of its floor into which the water drains. A hole of similar dimensions opens the chamber's roof, reaching up beyond sight. Sigil believes that the holes have been made by very large mining equipment, almost as if a huge spike had been driven into the stone from above. Stones and rubble cover the opposite wall.

Sigil and Sack attempt to climb up to the ceiling's hole, but the underhang makes it near-impossible, even to a trained thief. Nuff and Catria head back upstream while the two thieves consider the way down.

Catria holds at the deep water's edge while Nuff reenters the chilly water, looking for other possible exits. That goblin must have gone somewhere! Meanwhile, Sack begins to climb down. Sigil drops a pebble into the hole, listening and looking. One, two, three, four… The stone drops a long way before clattering into something solid beneath, beyong the gnome's range of heat-sensitive sight. Be careful, Sack!

The half-elf thief manages the climb and looks around the bottom of the chute. Rubble covers the centre of the floor and the walls beyond the chute are rough. Sack sees something moving - flying towards him on bat's wings, and it attacks!

Sack faces two of the winged opponents, each darting in with its long proboscis, looking for blood. He fumbles his new-found and coveted long sword but eventually manages to kill one of the beasts and the other retreats.

stirge.jpg

The players find out later that the beasts were Stirges.

Nuff quickly climbs back up the chute. He rejoins the rest of the group at the top, Nuff and Catria having returned with interesting news. Nuff has found two possible exits in the centre of the first deep-water tunnel: one opening off to the right and what may be the lintel of a closed door opposite. Each is 6"-8" below the water level.

The group reassumes their positions aboard and abeam the raft and Catria hauls the waterlogged party back to the suspected exits. Nuff takes a deep breath and ducks underwater into the open passageway, trailing some of the reclaimed rope for safety. He returns a tense minute or two later. The passageway continues underwater for roughly 25' before opening into a T-intersection that mirrors the one we are in. The new passageways both turn away after about 30'. What to do? None of us without the swimming proficiency feel very confident of our chances to navigate through the underwater passage.

Sack investigates the door-like shape opposite the open passageway. Lintel-like stones surround what may possibly be a recessed stone door with a metal plate. Sack makes to kick the door and is warned by Sigil to hang onto something, just in case. Just as well! Sack's kick pushes open the door and the water floods into a large, dry chamber beyond. The water level eventually settles about 3' lower than previously and we are all able to touch the bottom - even Sigil. A quick survey of the new chamber reveals little of interest: a bed, a small table and no discernable exits.

The group wades into the first passageway, looking up at the once-submerged roof now dripping down upon them. We head right with Catria leading the way, followed by Sack, Nuff and Sigil. As the group approaches a bend to the left, snarling spear-wielding goblins jump out at us!

Catria quickly cuts one down but takes a spear in her side for her trouble and falls to the ground. Sack valiantly fights off more goblins, killing another. Sigil watches both front and behind in the narrow 5' corridors and is dismayed to see yet more goblins to the rear!

Nuff leans over Sack's ducking head and unleashes Burning Hands at the goblins ahead. All fall to the searing flames. Sigil and Sack pick up their fallen comrade and Nuff leads the party to safer territory. The goblins behind prudently stay away, scared by the dangerous group of intruders.

The party manage their way back to the kitchen unchallenged. Sack and Sigil place overturned tables left and right in the corridor outside the kitchen and take up sentry duty, back-to-back with loaded crossbows. Nuff tends to Catria's wounds as best he can and lights a fire for warmth.

Around two hours later Sigil and Sack still sit at their post, weary and cold but the imminent danger keeping them alert. Sigil spots two spear-wielding goblins approaching from within the complex and warns Sack who whirls to meet them. They both loose their bolts, Sigil's wounding one goblin and Sack's whistling harmlessly past. Sack and his long sword dominate the corridor as the goblins close, Sigil barely able to sneak even the tip of his short sword into the melee. Sack manages to fell both goblins.

The three remaining comrades take shifts of two for the remaining hours of night. Morning comes and Catria regains consciousness as Nuff's tending pays dividends. Nuff's three healing spells are quickly spent and the party is returned to full health (if not full comfort). Sigil casts an Armour spell upon Sack and the group ponder their next move…

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