Chapter 08: Towers and Powers

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Session Number: 31
Date: Sunday 6 December 2009
Venue: Alain's
PCs & Players:

Emily Ftr3/Rog2 (Craig) (kills: none)
Enok Rgr5 (Alain) (kills: none)
Rowaine Pal5 (Craig) (kills: none)
Troll Wiz5 (Densial) (kills: none)

XP Awarded: TBC

The sun rises to its zenith as the party enter the tower. Piles of dust move gently towards the open door, seemingly by themselves. A stone stairway follows the curvature of the left wall, leading up. A similar stairway descends to the right.

Troll has trouble closing the outer door. "Might I be of assistance?" the spectral figure says at it rematerialises. Troll asks for the door to be closed. "Of course, sir," says the figure, and the door closes. The figure remains, anticipating further requests.

Troll looks around the tower's interior. He is struck by a strong sense of having been here before.

"Hello," Rowaine addresses the figure. "My name is Rowaine. We are companions of Troll. How might we address you?"

The figure replies in elven. Quickly the party establish Troll as the interpreter.

"Is this place called 'Elondel'?" asks Rowaine.

"This place is Elondel… as am I," the figure responds.

The party learns from Elondel that this is the last of fifty similar towers built across the world. They were created more than 7,000 years ago to protect from and control "the Arachtria," the smaller of the metallic spider creatures. The larger creatures are called "the Matre." They are sentient, unlike the Arachtria - indeed, the Arachtria are under the Matre's control.

Long ago Troll's family created a Great Spell that blocked the Arachtria's access to their power source which effectively powered off all Arachtria. Unfortunately Troll's father's manipulation of his own and his wife's essence (making them immune to imithrium poisoning) also meant that they would not live long without access to the same power source the Arachtria needed. Their plan was to project their only son far enough forward in time to when the Great Spell would end thus giving the elves time without Arachtria to prepare for their return and saving Troll.

The tower is capable of many functions. It is responsible for the localised quakes that the party witnessed as being so devastating against the amassed Arachtria. It also keeps the Arachtria population somewhat under control over a more widespread area. It is capable of instantaneous transportation, healing, communication with the other towers, the creation of mundane items, and various other phenomena. For all of these functions it consumes imithrium, a dull grey metal, as a power source. Imithrum's hardness falls somewhere between adamantium and iron. The pure metal radiates a short-range field that is chronically poisonous to most creatures, excepting Troll's family who are resistant to its effects. Alloying imithrium with another metal appears to negate the field.

The Arachtria are especially susceptible to the effects of imithrium. Merely being within 60 feet of the metal degrades them over time; prolonged exposure will permanently disable (kill) them. Weapons enhanced with imithrium are not only keener, more robust and easier to use than their normal counterparts, they also bypass the Arachtria's natural (and learned) defences. A single cubic inch of imithrium could be used to create more than enough metal alloy to armour and arm a party of five.

Each tower is traditionally run by a "Keeper" from Troll's family, whose primary responsibility is to maintain the supply of imithrium to the tower. The Keeper also arranges the supply of imithrium-alloyed weapons for more localised anti-Arachtria violence.

Imithrium is mined from under a distant mountain range through a fully automated process. About every three months the system instantaneously transports raw ore from the mine to an area beneath the tower. When fully operational the tower consumes around 5 cubic inches of imithrium per year; the mining process is configured to meet this demand. The system ordinarily maintains a stockpile of 20 cubic inches of imithrium in the tower.

Some 3,000 years ago the system failed to deliver any more ore to this tower. Elondel has pared back services to subsistence levels to prolong the tower's effectiveness as much as possible. Even so, the imithrium is running out. By Elondel's reckoning, the one remaining cubic inch of imithrium will not last much longer - a mere 500 years or so.

An elf's perspective of time is somewhat different to the more short-lived races. It's hard to imagine our earth facing a climate-change crisis if we thought in the same way.

"So Elondel," continues Troll. "I'm hungry. Got anything to eat?"

The party are treated to a sumptuous lunch, which Elondel assures does not noticeably tax the tower's imithrium reserves. After lunch the party explore the tower's upper levels:

elondel_l5.jpg

The topmost (fifth) floor is described as the Keeper's and family quarters. The spiral staircase ends at an open, arched doorway into a circular room. Five similar doorways are spaced around the walls, each fitted with a closed door. Three of the five doors have metal handles, two do not. The party cannot work out how to open the featureless, arched doors. The other doors open to reveal empty, dusty rooms. Elondel is not permitted within this area; in fact, he cannot even hear what goes on mere feet into the corridor.

elondel_l4.jpg

The fourth floor is described as guest quarters. All five handled doors open into nondescript rooms of roughly equal size.

elondel_l3.jpg

The third floor houses kitchen facilities.

elondel_l2.jpg

Half of the second floor is a semicircular hospital, with ancient patient litters.

elondel_l1.jpg

The first floor is described as the "Ready Room". Rather than a corridor, the staircase door opens into a small circular room with three further door exits, all at right angles. Elven script above each door identifies their use: "Armoury" to the left, "Storage" straight ahead, and "Supplies" to the right. The armory contains a large collection of weapons, armour and equipment in good repair, albeit of dated design. Elondel mentions that items herein are well-preserved because he preserves them.

"I am capable of transporting you directly to the imithrium mine," Elondel reports.

"Can we get back here?" asks Enok.

"The other Keepers were able to…" says Elondel.

The tower is capable of healing, but it is expensive. Troll directs Elondel to heal Rowaine:

"I need her, Elondel. Succeed or fail, in the end it doesn't really matter how much imithrium we have. Do it."

The act depletes around half of the remaining imithrium.

Each hp of healing depletes 5 years worth of subsistence services.

elondel_b1.jpg

Elondel describes the basement level as "Imithrium Storage and Allocation". Troll alone opens the door while the others maintain a safe distance. Beyond is a very short corridor whose walls are dotted with many small cubby-hole doors. Elondel answers a summons and indicates a door directly ahead which houses the tower's remaining imithrium supply - about half a cubic inch of dull grey powder.

"Elondel," asks Rowaine. "Is there a physical way down to the levels beneath the tower?"

"Yes," replies Elondel. "There are stairs beneath the basement floor." Troll locates a trapdoor. Rowaine and Enok light their lanterns. Rowaine takes point, followed by Emily, Troll and Enok.

Beneath the trapdoor in the floor is a set of stone stairs leading down into a narrow corridor of clean, cut stone, barely 3 feet wide by 6 feet tall. The corridor bends slightly to the left as it descends. Enok suggests that Rowaine would be better served by his spare short sword. Rowaine hefts her waraxe and agrees, stowing the weapon.

elondel_corkscrew.jpg

The corridor corkscrews downward for half an hour, after which Rowaine's lantern illuminates small, bony remains. Enok cannot positively identify the creature, but suspects it is a large rodent that has been caught and eaten by something larger.

The floor continues its downward spiral and becomes progressively dustier and littered with more carcasses. Enok finds tracks made by a large, clawed quadruped, and notices spore from a carnivore - perhaps a great cat?

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