Chapter 06: Circular Reasoning

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Session Number: 206
Date: Sunday 4 May 2014
Venue: Densial's
PCs & Players:

Breg Rog3/Clr10 (Fergus) (kills: none)
Calico Drd13 (Yeran) (kills: none)
Lionel Rgr6/Wiz1/ArcA6 (Ash) (kills: none)
Rowaine Pal13 (Craig) (kills: none)
Troll Wiz13 (Densial) (kills: none)
Violet Drd13 (Tammi) (kills: none)

XP Awarded: TBA

May the Fourth be with you!

"Violet," Breg says, "I am very happy to have you along! You are most efficient at dealing with this evil."

"Thanks Breg."

Rowaine, Lionel snap out of their stupour, confused. The others fill in the details they missed. Violet examines the walls, being careful not to touch them. The surface is very shiny and smooth, but sort of ripply, almost as if there were a slight breeze disturbing its surface. She thinks it may be an optical illusion caused by the chaotic light sources above. She climbs and retrieves an acorn from her inventory. At near ceiling height she tosses it at the wall. The others watch on; Calico notes that the walls are not magical. The acorns hits the surface and bounces off, falling to the floor. It bounces three times towards her, then stops. She flies down and picks it up. It seems pretty normal.

Lionel touches the wall. It feels like cold, very smooth stone. Calico moves to the centre of the room and examines the inlaid object there. It is an eight-pointed metallic star. His magic-attuned eyes sense the magic emanating from it. Breg inspects the nearest door to the right and its surrounding stonework. He would say it is made from a single piece of obsidian, although he has never seen a piece anywhere near this size. Violet speaks with Troll and gives him the cloak. Calico concentrates on the magical emanations from the centre.

Breg moves to the nearest pile of bones on the floor while Lionel moves along the right-hand wall, inspecting the walls. Breg and Lionel hear a very faint but very distinct 'click' as they are moving. Then, a slam from the open door they entered through. There is then a very faint whir of machinery that soon fades.

"Everyone freeze!" Breg warns. Lionel looks down, Violet looks up. They don't see anything. Breg starts a thorough search around the area where he is standing, extending his search area towards the spot where Lionel stands. Calico detects a faint aura around the central star.

Troll flies around the chamber, keeping off the floor. Calico determines the spell on the star to be of the universal school. The hemispherical sources of light also radiate magic, as do two of the eight doors, opposite each other (northwest and southeast). He concentrates on the northwest door and determines that it radiates faint evocation. As does the door opposite. He then turns back to human form and tells the others.

"Is there any evil in here?" Violet asks. Rowaine peers around. "This place is like the last: all of it is steeped in evil. It is like there is a fog of evil that permeates this place."

Calico turns back into a bird and circles around the room, then paying more attention to the star in the centre. It is gold and silver inlaid into the stone. Each of its eight points points directly to one of the doors.

Breg notices that he has stepped off the edges of a large pressure plate, one side of which is ten feet long. It is an eighth of an inch proud of the surrounding flagstones. He traces the edges and finds it to be a full ten feet square.

"Shall I stand on it again and see if the door opens?"

Some yesses, some noes. Breg decides to travel in a circle, staying 7-10 feet away from the wall and looking for further pressure plates. He finds one not far to the southeast. Discussion about marking them somehow: scorch them with fire, etch them with acid… No one has any chalk or sufficient ink. Oil… that you set on fire? The group eventually decide to mark the corners with coins - each square delineated with coins of the same type. Breg does a more thorough search and finds a total of ten pressure plates, each ten feet square.

Breg returns to the door they came through and checks it for traps. None. He tries to open it: it appears to be locked. There is a keyhole that cannot be seen through. Breg cannot open the lock; he does not have that skill.

Breg checks the next door, moving clockwise. There are runes around the door handle that look very trappy. He calls Troll over for his opinion. Troll is not certain what the runes will do, but is fairly certain that they cast an arcane spell of some sort. Probably an evocation, given that Calico detected evocation magic on the door previously. Breg moves on to the next door. Violet climbs towards the ceiling and touches one of the light orbs. It feels like glass, cool to the touch, with swirling points of light of different colours within. Breg finds no runes on the door, but spots grey slime on the doorknob. He asks Troll to deal with it. Troll Fiery Bursts the door. The surface is now covered with a layer of soot and the goo on the handle is charred and toasty. Breg tries to open the door, and finds it to be locked. He moves to the northeastern door. It does not appear to be trapped; there are no runes present. It appears to be locked. The eastern door has runes around the doorhandle that almost hide eight needle-sized hole evenly spaced. He is wary of touching the handle, then fetches a clamp from his masterwork thieves' tools and attaches it to the doorknob. It moves ever so slightly as the clamp tightens, but nothing happens. Breg breathes a sigh of relief and starts tying a length of rope to the clamp. The handle turns just a touch, and eight needles shoot out of the holes, painfully burying into Breg's hand and wrist. He pulls them out one by one, then finishes tying the knot. He uses the rope to turn the handle. Again, it appears to be locked. Breg's damaged hand feels a little weaker than his other, and he feels a sensation creeping up his forearm, but he is fairly certain his hardy dwarven constitution will shrug it off. He casts Detect Poison to be sure, finding none. He removes the clamp from the doorknob and moves to the next door, southeast of the centre of the circular room. It too has runes around its handle, but this one has no holes. The next door to the south has neither runes nor holes. He moves to the southwest door and notices that the keyhole is in a slightly different place to the others he has observed. This grabs his attention and he looks inside. There appears to be something pointy inside.

"Six out of eight of these doors appear to be trapped," Breg says. "It is quite possible I'm missing the traps on the two that I am not finding traps on."

Calico lands on the inlaid metallic ornament in the centre of the room and examines it. He cannot make out any writings, runes or inscriptions. Each fleur-de-lis point is made from two metals: the left side is made of gold, the right of silver. Each concentric circle is similar, the outside made of gold and the inside of silver. He tries putting his weight on various parts of the object but notices no change as a result; nothing seems to be moving. Concentration reveals that it bears universal magic.

"Two of the doors seem not to be trapped," Breg says.

"Let's go through that one," Troll says, indicating the door they came through.

"Before we open a door in a way that we can't close it again," Breg says, "I wonder if we could look for another method of opening them." The dwarf moves to one of the pressure plates to the north. "Sir bird," he says to Calico in the centre, "I am going to step on this pressure plate again. See if anything about that centre piece changes."

"Raaark."

Breg steps on the pressure plate. He hears an audible 'click'. From eight points arranged in a circle around the ten foot plate come eight puffs of gas. It smells strongly of almonds. Calico doesn't notice any change to the centrepiece.

"Don't stand on the pressure plates!" Breg warns, moving his arms in large circles trying to dissipate the gas. "I don't think we can afford to trigger all these devices to see what they do. But one last indulgence, sir bird. I am going to go back to the first pressure plate that I stood on." Calico continues to monitor the centrepiece. Violet takes it upon herself to monitor the strange hemispherical light sources. Lionel stands in front of the south door, listening. Breg counts it in, then stands on the pressure plate. The fleur-de-lis centrepiece doesn't seem to change as a result, nor do the light sources. Besides another slight 'click', nothing seems to happen. Breg tries to open the southwest door. The handle makes a 'click' and an arrow shoots out of the keyhole, grazing his arm! Its flight ends near the centre of the room. Calico takes note; the projectile does not radiate magic. Breg's wound starts to bleed.

"If we are going to use a powerful spell for disintegrating doors, we should first use it on the door we need to get through to get out of here."

"I could cast Find the Path," Violet suggests.

"Good idea," Lionel says. "Try finding our campsite from last night."

Violet casts her spell, then looks around. In her head, the southern door starts to glow yellow. Then it stops. A few seconds later, the southeastern door starts glowing yellow. Then it fades. The east door then starts to glow. Violet stations herself beside the northeast door and waits.

"What's happening?" Troll asks.

"That door glowed, then that one, then that one," Violet answers. "I reckon this one's next."

"When it glows, open it!" Troll says.

Sure enough, the east door fades and after a time the northeast door starts to glow. Violet tries to open it. It is locked. The door fades, then moments later the north door glows to Violet's eyes.

"Tell me when this door glows!" Lionel says, beside the west door. Violet does so and Lionel tries the doorknob. It rattles but does not open the door, as if it were locked. The yellow glow fades to Violet's eyes. She checks the hemispheres; they do not appear to have changed. The southwest door begins to glow. Breg steps off the pressure plate. The next door in an anticlockwise direction starts to glow. Then fades. Violet moves to the north door, waits for it to glow, then tries the handle. It does not open.

Calico lands on a pressure plate. The doors continue to light up and fade in order. Calico turns into a human. He notices that the plate he is standing on sinks ever so slightly. He moves to the fleur-de-lis; the plate rises ever so slightly as he steps off it. He puts his weight on the centre of the metallic centrepiece; nothing happens.

Violet tries to read the runes on the northwest door. She cannot understand the runes. It lights up… then fades. She notices that the door handle and the keyhole glow just that bit brighter than the rest of the door. She checks the next door; it glows in the same manner, as does the next one.

"Can you Fireball this?" Calico says to Troll, indicating the compass-shaped design in the centre.

"Sure!" Calico moves away and Troll Fiery Bursts the metallic symbol. The stone surface is covered with soot but the symbol seems to be intact.

Violet confirms that all doorknobs and keyholes glow brighter than the actual door.

"Violet," says Breg, would you be so kind as to tell me when this door glows?" Breg indicates the southwest door.

"Yes." She does so, and Breg carefully watches the door's keyhole. He does not notice any change in the keyhole.

"It seems to me that the only things that we can affect in this place are the pressure plates," Breg says. "I cannot pick the locks."

Calico steps on another identified pressure plate. There is another click. Violet notices that the previous door lights up this time: they are now lighting up in clockwise order. Calico gets off the pressure plate then steps back on: the doors begin lighting up in anticlockwise order.

"This," Calico says, indicating the pressure plate under his feet, "may change the rotation!"

"Maybe what we need to do is stand on a number of these pressure plates," Troll muses. "Preferably the ones that don't have corpses on them."

"I'll go stand on another one," Calico says, getting off the plate he has triggered.

"Before you do that," Breg says. "There are two pressure plates that do not seem to trigger traps are those on their own: the other six have adjacent plates." He stands next to one of the paired pressure plates. "Why would you want to change the rotation?" he asks aloud. "It only takes less than a minute for the same door to come around again…"

Calico gets impatient and stands on another plate. The rotation reverses again.

"Lady Rowaine?" Breg asks. "I wonder if you would do me a service. Maybe a risky service. I wonder whether you would stand on the first pressure plate that the druid stood on and see if it does the same thing for you as it did for him. I am wondering whether it is something about the individual that steps on the plate."

"Of course," Rowaine replies. Calico steps off the plate he is on, then Rowaine triggers hers. The sequence the doors light up reverses again.

Calico stands on one of the pressure plates that Breg previously triggered. Nothing happens, the rotation of the lit doors continues uninterrupted. He stands on another plate: eight gouts of almond-tinged gas erupt from the floor and envelop him, harmlessly. The rotation remains the same. He steps off and back on again: nothing further happens.

Calico steps off the plate and steps onto another. Pffft! Another cloud of gas. Another plate results in no gas but changes the rotation. He crosses to an untested plate and steps on it. Pffft! Eight jets of gas billow out, enveloping himself, and Lionel, Harley and Rowaine who are adjacent. Calico is unaffected. Lionel looks around, and it is almost as if the figures around him flicker in form between his allies and the inky, translucent creatures they faced not long ago. He is not sure who is friend or foe! He crouches down, yelling "Yollololoyoloyolll!" Rowaine looks down at her feet, screams, then flees to the east, straight across one of the pressure plates. Harley looks around, sees Lionel, growls, then snaps at him with massive jaws (AC23 hits for 14 damage).

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