Chapter 07: Hugged by a Bear

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Session Number: 207
Date: Sunday 18 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

Harley snaps at Lionel again but misses. Rowaine stops at the door, turns around, sees Harley attacking Lionel and says "Begone!" Harley disappears.

"Rowaine, what are you doing?" Calico says.

"Trying to save Lionel! What's going on?"

"Why did you go to the door?"

Lionel spins on the spot, babbling unintelligibly. "I don't know!" Rowaine replies. "I turned around and saw a door and wondered what I was doing over here. Then I heard Harley growling."

"Get out of my way!" Breg says to Calico. "I'm going to break the enchantment!" Calico does so, concentrating on the magical emanations from Rowaine. It will take a while for him to make sense of the auras. Breg casts Break Enchantment on Lionel. Nothing discernible happens. He moves away.

Violet morphs into a dire bear. She falls heavily to the floor, her flying carpet utterly unable to cope with the creature's eight thousand pound weight. She moves closer to Lionel, cutting off a path of escape. Rowaine screams and runs to the northeast door, trying to open it. She shakes the door handle but the door doesn't open. She reaches for her axe.

Red mist fades from Lionel's eyes and he awakes. "What happened?" he asks. "Yes, my spell worked!" Breg says. "You were enchanted by the gas somehow. Rowaine looks to still be under the effects of it." Lionel waits, confused, eyeing the bear to his right. "Violet?" he says. "Yes," Breg replies. Lionel readies his sword in case he is attacked.

Troll flies towards Rowaine and lands beside her. "Rowaine! It's me, Troll! Calm down!" Rowaine glances at him, then back to the door, raising her axe. Troll puts his hand on Rowaine's arm. "Calm down, it's gonna be OK." Rowaine flinches at the touch.

Calico moves and continues to magically examine Rowaine. He discerns at least eight magical auras on Rowaine, the strongest of which is moderate.

"I don't think I can break these enchantments," Breg says. "I don't have another spell like that. I think we'll just have to wait it out. Try not to provoke Rowaine and keep your distance if you can."

"I'm going to use the power of love," Troll replies. Violet lopes towards Rowaine, who lowers her axe, screams, and runs towards the west around Troll.

Breg considers the odd actions of his teammates and puts two and two together. "I think they're under the influence of a Confusion spell!" he says. Lionel screams, backs away and tries to open the west door. The handle simply rattles in his hand. "Dammit, my spell didn't work after all!" Breg curses. Calico stops concentrating on his Detect Magic spell, moves towards Rowaine and readies a spell should she move closer to him. Violet notes that the doors still rotate, although the direction has changed recently. She positions herself in front of the north door, preparing to ram it when it takes its turn to glow.

Rowaine smashes the ground in front of her with her axe, then again, then again. Sparks and debris shower as metal smashes stone. Lionel starts bashing maniacally at the door with his gloved hand. Much more of it will result in shattered knuckles. Calico seeks to restrain Lionel with a Kelpstrand spell, but the strands fall short. Rowaine sits down and starts bashing her head against the ground. Violet moves closer and wraps Rowaine in a bear hug, careful to keep her 5-inch-long claws clear of the paladin. Rowaine resists. She is strong, but not as strong and not even remotely as massive as the dire bear. Violet rolls her into her immensely strong arms and holds her there.

Lionel draws his long sword and attacks Calico striking heavily. Breg casts Dispel Magic on Lionel; the spell is ineffective. Violet turns her grapple into a pin; Rowaine can barely move.

"Lionel and Rowaine," Breg says, "You are under the influence of a spell. Sometimes you are yourselves, sometimes you are not. Drop your weapons so you don't hurt anyone!"

"Can't drop the dire bear right now!" Rowaine mumbles. "Let me go! No - don't." Violet feels Rowaine go limp in her arms but maintains her grip. Lionel moves to the northwest wall, dropping both sword and bow along the way. Calico Wild Shapes into an eagle and casts Blinding Spittle at Lionel. It hits; Lionel is blind.

"How are you feeling, Lionel?" Breg asks.

"Still blind. Kinda stings."

A couple of minutes passes and Rowaine and Lionel remain lucid. "Druid!" Breg says. "How long does your blindness last?" The eagle shrugs its wings. Troll explains that the effect lasts until the spittle is washed out of the target's eyes. Breg washes Lionel's eyes with some water, restoring the elf's sight. Violet slowly releases Rowaine, who stands up and stretches her arms. "You did well, Violet," Rowaine says reassuringly. Violet reassumes gnome form, smiles, and collects her carpet. Breg cures Rowaine's wounds, then Lionel's. Calico sees to his own wounds with Lesser Vigour.

"Is Harley going loopy in the celestial plane right now?" Violet asks Rowaine.

"I'm hoping she's as good as we are now. I'm hoping; I don't know."

"I think this door lighting up thing that you have described," Breg says, "lets us know the correct door to go out if we want to go back to the campsite. But it's not telling us how to open them."

"It's got something to do with the door handle and the keyhole," Violet says. "Pretty normal, really. But who has the key?"

The party thoroughly search the room, looking for a key. Calico keeps an eye out for anything magical. Violet amuses herself by turning back into a dire bear and ramming the north-facing door when it is its turn to glow. Slam! Many doors would fail subjected to such violence. Not this door.

Breg moves the first set of remains off the pressure plate they lie on, then searches through them. The bones are that of a human, Breg suspects it was a female. They have been here for an exceptionally long time. Cloth and leather have wasted almost to nothingness. A belt buckle and a dagger have fared a little better, but are both ravaged by rust. Nothing is magical. The second set of remains, an elf, is much like the first. The third set was a human male that once wore something similar to sackcloth. There are no weapons evident. The fourth is a human; a heavily rusted axehead lies nearby. The fifth and final corpse may have been human; it is hard to tell, as it looks like it exploded.

"When it comes to doors," Breg says, "the owner usually wants a way to get through without breaking the whole system. There has got to be a way to get through that's not too onerous. We just need to figure out how."

"Use the key," Troll says.

"Perhaps he keeps the key on him," Lionel ventures.

"That's the most likely," Breg says. "In which case, we're all going to die."

"We've tried looking through the keyholes, right?" Troll asks. "And we can't see to the other side?"

"True," Breg confirms. "There was one slightly different to the rest."

"There is also magic on this centre thing," Calico offers.

"What sort of magic was it?"

"Universal."

"Troll, what do you make of this map rose in the centre of the room?"

Troll carefully inspects the symbol set into the floor, aided by a Detect Magic spell. It certainly radiates universal magic, but its purpose remains unclear. He gets the sense that it is something akin to Arcane Mark. He casts Read Magic, but it does not reveal any words or runes.

"Is it a red herring?" Calico asks.

"I'm not convinced of that," Troll replies. He carefully inspects each point as Violet indicates the corresponding door lights up. The points do not change noticeably.

"I think the compass rose is a map," Breg conjectures. "I think what's happening is that this chamber possibly rotates, either physically or magically, and the rose will tell you which door to go through to get to where you want - if you know how to work it. But you still have to be able to open the doors, which we still dinnae know how to do."

"I'm gonna try something else," Troll says. "It'll take an hour. Smoke 'em if you got 'em."

Troll casts Identify on the compass rose. The others consider positively identifying the effect of each of the pressure plates, but decide to wait until Troll's spell is complete. About 90% of the way through Troll's spell, Violet notices that the glow afforded her by her Find the Path no longer moves between doors. The west door remains solidly lit.

Troll's spell identifies that the dweomer on the compass rose is akin to Arcane Mark, but it is different: it merely highlights one part of the device over another. Three of the eight rose pointers are so enspelled: to the northeast, the south and the west.

"Presumably these are the doors that actually work, since we know that that one did," Breg says, pointing to the western door.

"Rowaine ran towards this door," Calico says, indicating the northeast door.

"And the creature tried the same door when we first entered," Troll adds.

"Have a look through the keyhole of the door we came through," Breg suggests.

"You put your eye up to the keyhole! Violet says. "Oh, whatever." She moves to the west door, stands next to the catch side and tries the handle.

"Doesn't open."

Breg looks through the keyhole. "Let me know, lassie, if it stops glowin'."

The dwarf cannot see through to the other side. He notes that it is an unusual shape.

"Shall I cast Crumble on the door?" Violet asks.

"I'm not so keen," Breg replies. "I'm not sure what it will do. We may not be able to get through it afterwards."

"It may cancel the spell that means we can go somewhere else," Troll adds in agreement. "If it opens this door, it may make it so no other door can be opened."

"The keyhole looks quite strange," Breg continues. "It makes me think that some not very keylike needs to be put in…" Breg thinks. "What kind of pervert built this thing, I ask you?" He looks at the keyhole again. The hole in the door is about an inch in diameter. Behind that there is what seems to be a horizontal slit. "Can anyone cast Light on the end of this?" he asks, showing the others the end of one of his thieves' tools. Lionel obliges. Closer inspection of the keyhole reveals it to be a very stretched-out diamond shape: only an eighth of an inch high and nearly an inch wide, narrowing to a point about an inch and a half deep. The sides are very smooth.

"It looks like a diamond shape in there," Breg says, describing the recess.

"Like a dagger?" Troll asks.

"Do you have anything long and narrow that might fit?"

Troll smirks, "Well, nothing long and narrow…"

Breg shakes his head and returns his attention to the keyhole. The more he looks at it, the more weapon-shaped it appears.

"How about one of these bones?" Violet asks.

"None are the right shape," Breg says. "Unless you are thinking about working them?"

"I can draw something that is exactly the right shape and size," Troll offers.

"It's worth tryin'," Breg replies.

Troll looks closely at the hole, then draws with the Pigments. An object takes shape, like a fire poker with a flattened-out tip a little like an arrowhead.

"Is the door still glowing?" Troll asks Violet. She nods in confirmation. Troll places the device inside the keyhole and turns. 'Click.' Breg tries the handle: it turns and the door opens. Beyond is a fifty-foot-long corridor, ten feet wide, that ends in a slightly irregular-shaped open door. Beyond it is an open space. It is the corridor the party entered by.

"Why did the glowing stop on this door?" Breg asks. "I reckon it's because Troll stood on the centre piece for a long time. But why would you create a system that made you stand still for so long?"

"I think the traps were timed," Lionel says. After we stopped standing on the pressure plates, it eventually timed out."

"Could be," Breg says.

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