Chapter 08: Illusions

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Session Number: 208
Date: Sunday 25 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

Violet's Find that Path spell remains fixed on the west door that now stands open. "Are we leaving?" she asks.

"Not yet," Breg answers. "Troll, did you do something on that middle bit to keep this door glowing longer to the wee druid's eyes?"


"Could you make keys for the other two doors?" Calico asks.

"I suspect so."

"Let's have a look, then," Breg says. He moves to the southern door and examines the keyhole with his lit thieves' tool.

"Do you think we need to keep this door from shutting?" Violet asks, still standing at the west door.

"Let's jam it open," Lionel says. He retrieves an axe head from a pile of remains, its haft long-gone, and wedges it beneath the lower edge of the west door to keep it open.

Breg notes that the southern door's keyhole looks very similar to the previous. "We might be able to use the same key," he says. "Shall we have a go?"

"Alright," Troll says.

Breg puts the key device into the lock and turns it. He hears a click, then…

he hears another click from behind him. The centre device peels apart like a starburst and retreats into the surrounding stone.

From within the resulting pit, some floor rises and stops level with the rest of the floor. On top of it is a table. On top of the table is a strange-shaped box. Calico detects magic: not on the box, but perhaps on what it contains. Breg searches the box. He doesn't believe it is trapped, but there is the odd whiff of smoke about it. Calico smells it too. Breg performs a thorough search. The case looks like it is supposed to hold a stringed instrument: long at one end and bulbous at the other. Its top is held in place by two hook clasps.

"Is there anyone here that is a little bit resistant to fire?" Breg asks.

"No!" Troll answers.

"Strangely enough, we should be," Rowaine adds.

"I can make myself a wee bit resistant if I need to," Breg says, "but I was wondering if any of you already had a spell going, or had any natural resistance."

Nobody has any resistance already in place. Breg casts Resist Energy on himself, keying it to fire. "You might like to stand back a bit, I'm about to open the box." Breg raises the hooks and lifts the lid. The first thing he sees inside looks to be a stringed instrument. The strange thing about it is that it appears to be on fire. Fort save: 22. That's enough. Cake for everyone.

cake_group.jpg cake_alone.jpg

…the door opens inwards. Breg jams it open with a piton from his backpack. On the other side is a hallway eighty feet long and 20 feet wide. Along its length are seven pairs of stone statues. Some depict evil warlords, other hideous demons, others timid halflings and frail-looking wizards. A pair of stone double doors stands at the opposite end.

"Let's check the last door before we go on," Breg says. He moves to the northeast door and checks it for traps. Finding none, he uses the key. 'Snick.' Breg tries the door handle, which turns. He opens the door. Beyond is a 10 foot wide corridor leading to the northeast for around thirty feet, then turns to the east. Breg pitons the door open.

Troll stops him. "So what we're doing is opening multiple doors…"

"…So the enemy can flood in," Breg finishes.

"Close them! I'm just sayin'… Close the damn doors."

"Are we a hundred percent sure we can open them again?"

"No, but we're also not a hundred percent sure that things aren't gonna come through."

"That's a good argument," Breg concedes. He removes the piton holding open the northeast door and closes it.

Calico looks down the statued corridor, noticing that the third pair radiate magic. Unlike all the other pairs, they seem to be identical in shape and pose. The others are different, ranging from the two halflings, both timid but posed differently; to the last pair, peasants, one fat and one thin. Breg comes over, Calico tells him what he has seen. Breg points out that the last pair of statues are outside the range of his Detect Magic effect.

Breg checks the floor immediately inside the door. It looks sound and solid. The walls are of flagged stone, divided by floor-to-ceiling pillars into arched alcoves. Breg advances, looking for traps. He asks Troll for his opinion but there is nothing evident for Troll to analyse. Calico spends some time concentrating on the enspelled knights in the third rank. Each bears a single, faint dweomer. Breg continues to advance. Calico determines that the magical auras are both of the school of illusion. He tries to see any flaws in a potential illusion. If it is, it is very good. Breg checks the left statue visually. It doesn't appear to have any traps visible to the naked eye. It is very well crafted, made of stone but from a distance it is so highly polished that the surfaces resemble the metal armour the creature supposedly wears. He doesn't believe this is the result of petrification. The statue on the right tells a similar story.

Calico casts Eyes of the Avoral; Breg casts True Seeing. Nothing changes for Breg. He attunes to the ethereal plane. It is a grey, misty, three-dimensional wasteland with nothing in any direction.

Troll shoots off a Fiery Burst at the left-hand statue, narrowly avoiding Breg who is backing out. Boom! The alcove is engulfed in flames that vanish as quickly as they appeared. The statue stands still.

"Holy shitballs mum, what are you doing?" Violet says.

"He has got to be really tough if he can stand still through that," Breg adds, looking at the soot layering the statue.

Troll does the same to the statue opposite. The fire marks it less than the first statue, and it too stands resolute, unyielding.

Breg continues advancing cautiously, checking for traps. Troll lets another Fiery Burst loose, coming close to Breg - the dwarf's eyebrows and whiskers are singed, but he does not react, continuing to pace forwards, looking at the floor. Another Fiery Burst explodes to his left, followed by a snicker from behind. Breg sighs and straightens up. "Don't miss!" he says. He looks to the end of the corridor. "Actually, it makes sense that the trap trigger is right over there," he says, pointing to the door. "Blocking your retreat." Troll pushes the floor just ahead of the statues with Telekinesis. Nothing moves. Breg continues forwards, stopping at the blackened knights. Calico follows behind, looking down the corridor length. He sees nothing further: no movement, no magic.

Breg searches the left statue. It looks to be trapped in a number of ways: mechanical parts that look like they move, slits and holes that could emit Marthammor knows what, and it seems to be radiating heat. It looks intact. And very large; he gets the sense that if it fell on him it would really hurt. He turns his attention to the statue's twin. It too is trapped.

"These things are trapped to billy-o," Breg says. "Why don't we get Troll to acid the hell out of it while we're all in the corridor?" Nobody appeals as Breg and Calico clear the area. Troll stations himself at the doorway, aims and looses a bolt of acid. It marks the statue which does not seem to respond.

"This might take a while," Troll says.
A'right, then," Breg replies, then looks around at the others. "Who's hungry?"

As Breg starts getting lunch together, Troll continues. Minutes later, the statue's upper torso is ruined and its head falls to the floor.

"Do the other one," Breg says, munching on a sandwich.

Not long after, both beautiful works of art are totally ruined. Breg finishes his sandwich, then returns and checks the leftover slag. He still believes they are trapped. Whatever Troll has done has not disarmed the trap or traps. He wonders whether it is the statue itself, or the negative space around the statue. There is something about it that makes him very wary. He examines the floor that supports the left statue. It looks very sold - as befitting something supporting several thousand pounds of stone statue. He asks Calico and Lionel for cover, and with their assistance he proceeds to the end of the corridor, looking for traps. He makes it all the way to the door. It is a pair of stone double doors carved into panels. There are no handles or keyholes; it appears as if it pushes open. Calico confirms that the door bears no magic and Breg cannot find any traps. He pushes on both doors at once. They swing open easily, revealing a 10 foot wide corridor heading 30 feet east and west. He immediately looks behind at the statues, looking for any changes. The statues stand solid.

"Any change?" Breg asks Calico. The druid looks around. The statues indeed haven't moved, but he notices that the magic on the third pair seems to be filling in the gaps left from Troll's acidic barrage.

"See that head there?" Calico says to the others, pointing at the disembodied stone head that fell from the eastern statue. "I can see the outline of where it was, painted in magic."

"That's weird," Rowaine says.

Breg turns his attention to the corridors. Each ends at a door. The one to the right is a single version of the double door, whereas the one to the left is far more elaborate.

"What's down there?" Calico asks.

"Two doors at the end of 30 foot corridors," Breg answers. "There's an ornate one on the left and on the right a plain door. On the left it seems to be some sort of figure of a face, and not a very pleasant one. With horns."

Breg also notes the face's eyes, nostrils and mouth have tunnels leading into the stone. He returns to the trapped statues. "I can attempt to disable the traps," he says, "But I don't know if my skills are up to the challenge. It might be better to leave it for now. But I think if we go on, we should go on as a group."

"Agreed," Calico says. He walks to the southern end of the corridor and checks both doors for magic. He sees none.

Everyone returns to the circular chamber to consult. They decide to close and lock the door to the south and revisit the northeast door. Breg opens the door and follows the corridor to the northeast and then the east as it turns, carefully checking the floor for traps and finding none. He inspects the door at the end: another panelled single stone structure, this time with a pull handle. He places a hand on the handle and looks back at the others, eyebrows raised.

"Go for it," Calico says. Breg opens the door.

The dismal room beyond is dimly lit by an unseen light source. The ceiling is 50 feet high. A wall, some 40 feet high separates the party from the other side. Along the wall are several discarded devices that were obviously used to ascend the barrier: a knotted rope complete with grappling hook hangs from the centre of the wall. A narrow, rotted latter leads to the top on the left, and someone appears to have driven stakes into the stone at regular intervals on the right.

"I'll go up and have a look," Troll says, and leaps into the air, circling upwards.

"Don't go over just yet," Breg advises.

Troll peers over the top of the wall. "More chamber," he says. "There is a corridor opposite. The light is coming from a sphere in the centre of the ceiling."

Breg moves to the south end of the wall and looks carefully at where it meets the south wall. He is interested in determining whether the wall looks like it will move. The masonry suggests it does not.

"Let's make a hole," Breg suggests.

"Let's just climb over," Troll replies. "It'd be quicker."

"Yes," Breg says. And if there was something we don't want chasing us out of here, a wall could be a bloody good idea."

"I don't see a way that we could get over the wall quickly," Lionel says.

Breg inspects the stakes. He believes they would be of great assistance to anyone climbing the wall.

"How good are you all at climbing?" Breg asks.

"It's been a long time," Rowaine replies.

"I have Spider Climb," Violet says.

"I'll just fly," Troll adds.

"Can you fly, lady?" Breg asks Rowaine. "It seems the rest of your team can."

"I could, right up to the point where I dismissed my mount."

"Troll, do you have any more of your Discs?" Breg asks.

"Two," Troll replies. I can use one and ferry people over."

Troll casts Tenser's Greater Floating Disc. "Jump on," he says to Breg and Lionel. They settle into the force dish and Troll takes to the air. The Disc climbs with him. Violet follow behind on her carpet.

As the four crest the top of the wall, Breg's eyes widen. "I thought you said it was more chamber!" he says.

"It is!"

"Not to eyes with True Seeing. That floor is an illusion, and there is inky blackness beneath it. The corridor over there seems to be real, though."

Troll floats the Disc to the corridor and circles while Breg and Lionel hop off. They feel the reassuring heft of solid stone under their feet. "I'll be back!" Troll says, and returns. Violet has landed her carpet at the top of the foot-wide wall and is coiling up the rope. "What are you doing?" Troll asks.

"Good rope, this," Violet answers. She places the rope and grappling hook into her backpack.

Troll ferries Rowaine and Calico to the east corridor. Violet joins them. The corridor continues thirty feet to the east then turns to the northeast. Breg takes the lead. "Wait!" he says, hand up. "Quiet!" Everyone stays still. There is the sound of chanting at every pitch coming from further along the corridor, as if a plethora of voices were crying out as one. Breg looks at the others questioningly. "I don't think they'll be that friendly to us," he says.

"Well, it's not like we're not going to go down there, is it?" Troll says.

Breg takes point, searching the floor ahead for traps. The corridor turns to the northeast, continues for another thirty feet then widens and abruptly ends at a set of double doors leading directly east. The chanting voices are much louder at the door, and yet it is very difficult to make out words, there are so many of them in many languages. The doors have handles and appear to open inwards. Breg cannot find any obvious traps on the door.

"Are ya ready?" Breg asks.

"Yes," from everyone.

Breg opens the doors. The party stand at the open gates of a vast, cathedral-like chamber. The vaulted ceiling is a hundred feet above. The room is at least five hundred feet wide and all can tell from the sparkling torch sconces extending far into the distance that it is several thousand feet long. A massive, translucent hourglass seems to float in mid-air just below the ceiling, its sands just now starting to fall. Breg notes it as being an illusion. But it is not the ornate detail or the strange hourglass or even the vast scale of this room that draws the party's attention. The room is filled with hundreds, maybe even thousands of strange creatures, chained to the floor. Many are tossing bones, staring into the sky, chanting eerily, scratching nonsense on the ground, or tearing their hair as they screech prophecies. It is these creatures that make the noise the party heard. They extend as far as the party can see. Here, a white-orbed old lady, chanting; there, a dehorned minotaur reading tea leaves boiled in his own hollow horns; over there a mummified giant scratching at his eyes. Past him, a gypsy amputee using her tongue to deal tarot cards. Before the party are hundreds or thousands of diviners, oracles and prophets, all chained to the floor. And then the party notice one more thing: as far as they can see, the walls of this room are lined with doors. There must be at least a thousand of them, each with a different prophet chained before it. Every door is similar: a simple stone portal with the symbol for 'Fate' carved into it. Some doors have the symbol carved in common, others elven or dwarven, others giant, goblin, terran, and many others the party do not understand at all. Even for those whose language is unrecognisable, it is easy to infer that every symbol has the same meaning. The party's fate lies behind one of these doors.

Calico looks for magic but sees none. "Are any of these evil, lady?" Breg asks Rowaine. The paladin concentrates. "I cannot see many, but yes, some of them are evil."

"Not all of them?"

"Not all."

Calico looks around for any human captives. He sees what might once have been a human child, gaunt and feral, with buttons in the place of its eyes.

Breg looks at the hourglass. The illusory sand looks like it will be exhausted in under an hour.

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