Chapter 03:

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Session Number: 133
Date: Sunday 6 May 2012
Venue: Densial's
PCs & Players:

Arrian Rog1/Clr10 (Fergus) (kills: none)
Calico Drd11 (Yeran) (kills: none)
Lionel Rgr6/Wiz1/ArcA4 (Ash) (kills: none)
Rowaine Pal11 (Craig) (kills: none)
Troll Wiz11 (Densial) (kills: none)

XP Awarded: TBA

Arrian receives an answer to his Divination spell:

"There is no immediate threat behind the door, but tread carefully."

As the proclamation ends, cloud obscures the sun and a roll of thunder peals off the distant mountain. Arrian believes it to be part of Corellon Larethian's message.

"We've pissed off another god?" Troll says. "They take ages to kill."

Troll is still not comfortable with the situation. It feels very much to him like a set up. He smells a rat.

"Why are we doing this anyway?" Arrian asks. "Why do we care? Besides the chance that a tree of the planes could be helpful getting Krag back?"

Troll thinks it may help in the fight against the arachtria, but that it could be a trap and that they are rushing into something when there is no urgency. They haven't done their due diligence.

"Three options," Arrian says. "Abandon the whole thing; seek more information about the door; go through the door. I'm with you, Troll. I'm not yet convinced that the gain outweighs the risk."

Calico is within earshot but not part of this conversation. Troll tells Rowaine, Lionel and Arrian the full wording of the trigger phrase, in dwarven. Rowaine thinks about the phrase. "How true do we consider the phrase to be?" she asks. "If it is true, it sounds like any risk that we take by going through, there may be some gain, in correcting the mistake of a Roulae."

"But what was the mistake?" Troll says.

"Do we trust that?" Arrian adds. "It could just be another part of the trap."

"At first glance it doesn't sound that bad," Rowaine says. "If we decide that it is true, then the risk may be worth taking."

"Ignore the phrase," Troll says. "It was made up by someone else and we don't know how true it is. And the mistake could be positive or negative. The mistake might be building the towers. There are so many interpretations of that phrase, I don't think we can trust it."

"I wouldn't rule it out entirely," Rowaine says. "It is still evidence. Does the phrase say 'the mistake', or 'a mistake'?"

"'the mistake'."

"In that case, it sounds like the person that coined this phrase thought there was one Roulae mistake that eclipsed all others."

"…Which sounds like the arachtria, doesn't it?" Arrian says. "If there is a chance that by following this lead we could stop the arachtria, that is an important lead to follow. We need to do something about this, I don't think we can just abandon it."

"How long is it going to be before Calico finds his way back here?" Rowaine asks. "Or someone else blunders across it?"

"Are we going to follow up every lead, every legend, every wild goose chase?" Troll asks.

"We judge each on its merits," Arrian says. "As we have always done."

"OK then," Troll says, "we have two options - go and investigate, perhaps at Harkon; or stay and investigate this here."

"Troll," Arrian asks, "what is the current state of arachtria attacks? Is there any urgency to this?"

"Ethalyn tells me that the frequency of their attacks has not changed much, but the SpiderKillers are mobilising quickly and quelling the attacks where they start."

Rowaine adds "I think we could get answers quicker than a perilous 6-week flying journey by asking some more pointed questions through a Divination spell."

"Shall we consider experimenting on the building?" Troll asks.

Arrian gives him a sideways glance. "How, exactly?"

"Acid?"

"That could let something out," Lionel says.

"It is probably as uncertain as opening the door," Rowaine adds.

The party decide to wait until the following day when Arrian is able to prepare Divination spells. They explain this to Calico, asking him whether he feels a sense of urgency. He apparently does not.

The observation site becomes a campsite. As evening approaches and the rabbits and squirrels are eaten, the party organise the watch schedule. Up first are Lionel and Troll.

"Hold on a sec," Troll says to Lionel. "I've got an idea. I'm just going for a walk, I may be some time." He climbs the hill to the building. Lionel follows. Troll turns and faces Lionel, hand on the doorknob. "Wake Rowaine," he says, then opens the door.

Lionel sprints back down the hill and wakes Rowaine. "He's gone in!" he cries.

"What?" says Ro, sleepily. "Who? Oooooooh! And you let him?" Rowaine wakes everyone else, then starts pulling on her armour.

"I can't believe it! Troll was the one advocating caution, then he just blunders in, all on his own? Moradin's beard!" Arrian hurriedly gets into his armour on.

"This is not good for my REM cycles," Calico says.

Through the open door, Troll sees a small room, 25' on each side, all wooden. He enters, looks around and closes the door. It is pitch black inside. He lights a sunrod. He waits.

Rowaine abandons donning her armour, throws it aside and picks up her axe. She runs up the hill in her nightclothes. Arrian throws his and Rowaine's armour over his shoulder, picks up Rowaine's backpack, then climbs up after her. Lionel follows. Calico gets his gear together.

Troll Detects Magic. The doorframe radiates dweomers with divination, abjuration, conjuration and transmutation signatures.

Rowaine yanks open the door, her axe ready in her other hand. She sees Troll with a sunrod. She grabs him by the scruff of the neck and drags him out. Lionel shuts the door.

"Troll!" Rowaine yells.

"Bit of an anticlimax, really," Troll says in reply.

"What are you doing?" Rowaine says. "What are you doing? Moradin's right butt cheek, sit down! Shit! I can't believe it! You were the one who didn't want to rush into anything! Are you OK?"

"I think so," Troll says. "Want to check the back of my neck?" Rowaine finds nothing untoward.

"So what did you find in there?" Arrian asks, ever the utilitarian.

"Well, I didn't really get enough time to figure it out, but the doorframe is magical. I'm thinking it's a portal of some kind." Troll again checks the doorframe from the outside. It does not radiate any discernable magic.

"What were you hoping to achieve?" Rowaine asks.

"Less casualties."

"Do you not trust me?"

"Of course I do - with my life - but it is not about trust."

"No dwarf left behind, Troll," Rowaine says. "Did you consider what might happen had you died down there? We would have been stranded!"

"I did consider that. I figured that living here is better than dying there. And I figured you'd get back sooner or later. Ethalyn would come looking for me eventually. I would. Just hoping to lower the body count."

"Do you not believe that we deserve to know this in advance? That we might have some input into these sorts of decisions?"

"I definitely believe that you do; I don't believe the outcome would be something I wanted. But never mind. It's all good now."

"Until the next time, when it doesn't go quite as well as you'd hoped!"

Calico arrives. "What happened?" he asks, seeing the tension.

"Nothing," Troll says.

"Thankfully…" Rowaine adds.

Troll explains that after the previous conversation, he thought there might be a chance that the arachtria could be stopped. If giving his life would save the party's, or others', then he would do it - particularly now that other people can manage the towers and Trina.

The party's spells are not yet ready, so they decide to stick to the original plan and rest for the night. Rowaine is plainly worried. Troll says that he promises to stay put, because he knows that if he doesn't, Rowaine will just follow him through.

"Damn straight I will," she confirms. "Troll, you are the closest thing to family that I have."

Everyone starts settling back down. Arrian opts to sleep in the building's doorway. Rowaine will not have him there alone - she relocates. Troll goes too. Eventually everyone uproots camp and moves to the top of the hill. Lionel doesn't want to be left on watch alone with Troll. Arrian stays up with him.

After somewhat restless sleep, morning arrives. Arrian prepares and casts a Divination:

"If we enter the building and follow the necklace's instruction to its logical conclusion, what wrong of the Roulae will this give us an opportunity to right?"

The response:

"An explosion, metal developed from rocks, a reinforced door closes."

OK, WTF is that supposed to mean? Is this describing the mistake referred to in the trigger phrase, or is it a clue about what will happen if we proceed?

Arrian believes that they now know that there was indeed a wrong, or something worthwhile pursuing, although what the details of the answer refer to is ambiguous. Lionel wonders whether it is a warning to remove any imithrium equipment. Troll feels like Divination is more trouble than it is worth. Arrian thinks they should go into the room and see what the necklace says. Rowaine doesn't have a problem with that; Corellon Larethian said the first few steps were safe.

It is put to a vote. Arrian wants to go in. Lionel agrees. Troll waits for the party leader's response.

Rowaine thinks. "We have some information from a deity that at least the first part of our journey will be safe. We may learn more on the way. I say we go in, but be prepared to evacuate at any given point. Is everyone happy with that?"

"I'm happy," Calico says.

"OK," says Troll.

Troll leads the way in, followed by Rowaine, Lionel, Arrian, Calico and Beau. Nothing happens.

"What is the necklace saying, Calico?" Troll asks.

"It says to close the door."

Rowaine lights a sunrod. Arrian closes the door.

"Calico," Arrian asks, "does the necklace give any more instructions?"

"Yes. The door is meant to be opened, but I am not the person to open it."

Arrian opens the door. Nothing looks any different.

"Has anything happened, Calico?" Rowaine asks. "Did we do the right thing?"

"I don't think Arrian was the right person to open the door," Calico says.

"Troll, what do you make of the magic on this door?" asks Arrian. Troll Detects Magic and analyses the glowing doorframe. It doesn't appear to simply have a spell effect in place. He recognises two magical effects: similar to Rope Trick it is a portal to another dimension, and it has some form of containment magic, something to stop something, similar to Hold Person.

"Everyone wanna step back?" Troll says. Rowaine starts Detecting Evil and Troll opens the door. He sees the hill and forest. The sky has a red tint to it, as if it were dusk. What Troll believes they are seeing is another dimension or plane.

"What does the necklace say?" Troll asks Calico.

"It is not saying anything now."

Troll focuses his Detect Magic on the necklace, sensing divination magic within - it is not deactivated. He closes the door and opens it again. He sees the same vista, but now it appears to be morning. He repeats: dusk.

Troll closes the door and gets Arrian to open it twice: both times, it is morning outside. It is the same for Rowaine, Lionel and Calico.

"Let's walk into the darkness," Troll says.

"Wait," Rowaine says. "Let me back out into our world." Troll opens the door and lets Rowaine out where it is dawn. All follow her. Rowaine summons Harley and all go back into the room. Troll closes the door and reopens it, looking out upon the dusk. Troll notices that the hill shimmers with a magical aura.

"Wait here a second," Troll says. "It could be dangerous."

"Hang on a moment!" Rowaine protests.

"Haven't we had this conversation?" Arrian adds.

"I'm not going far," Troll says. He steps out.

The grass is magical, bearing a lingering aura of abjuration, conjuration and evocation. Troll turns around.

"Hello?"

"Hi," Rowaine replies. "Alright out there?" Troll considers playing another prank - asphyxiation sounds pretty funny to him. Too soon?

"I'm good."

The others exit. Arrian recognises the area as very similar to the place they just left, but where on their home he could see the edge to the island surrounded by cloud, here the land continues with mountains visible a long distance away.

"Either we are on a bigger island," Arrian says, "or we are on the ground."

"I wonder if Trina has a root here," Rowaine says. "Calico, is the necklace saying anything right now?"

"No, nothing."

"No information about where to go from here?"

"No."

"Then are we to assume that we are now here?"

"I guess so," Calico says.

"Hmmm…" Rowaine thinks. "Question: opening the door again, to get back. Is it safe to shut it?"

"Good point," Troll says. "Let's find out." Troll closes the door from the outside, then opens it again. Everyone piles in. Troll closes and opens the door twice. He sees two separate views.

"Good," says Troll. "At least we know we can get back!"

Rowaine, Harley and Lionel exit into their world while Troll closes and opens the door twice. On the first opening, Troll sees that it is dusk and there is no sign of his companions. On the second opening, they are there, in the early morning light. Those outside only saw the door open once.

Lionel steps out into the side where it is morning. Troll closes the door. Lionel opens it from the outside. He sees Troll and the group inside.

All go to the dark dusk side…

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