After nearly a month of cancelled games due to no one being able to meet or having half the group with obligations elsewhere, we finally almost all got together this past Friday for part 3 of the excursion into my version of Freeport. Two players were still unable to meet due to various job related problems. Hopefully the next game will have everyone present.
I didn't get the prep time I had hoped for this game because I managed to get the bug that most of the 7th grade was sharing at school. Ugh...never like being that sick. Then, I had promised to do a Christmas show in our planetarium and suddenly found that looming. So, as the group gathered I had two hooks ready. And they promptly squished both of them.
Well, fine then. I pulled out a resource I had forgotten I had: Vornheim. What a great urban resource! I rolled a random encounter for the group: Ice, all movement at -4. So, I said, "well, you get up this morning and open the front door to find the entire street caked in ice. A layer of ice stretches in both directions about a block, though it stretches further to your right than your left."
Immediately, they were hooked. "Wait, isn't it fall?" "It's not due to ice at this time of year and it never ices this bad." "Did we hear anything?" "Can we find the epicenter?" "How is everyone else reacting?" The group decided to find the epicenter and then try to track the creator of the large ice patch. This involved trying to break into a business (a woman engineer), talking with folks on the street, and lastly interviewing 25 kids. They learned the "wizard" was wearing red & green robes, running from something, and disappearing in a "hole in the sky".
Searching for the hole, they found an invisible opening about 8 feet in the air and just above the location where the mage's footprints stopped. (1st ed Rangers are ridiculous trackers. 65% to track in a city. Wow...) So, the group climbed up into the opening to find a 30 x 30 room. The opening was in the wall and bordered by an oval frame, being roughly 4 feet tall and 3 feet wide. One door exited the room, locked. Opening the door, they forgot to try to track him anymore....(snicker....) and found a hallway stretching left and right. Going left, they found a barracks room, a partially worked cavern and lastly a strange door with 2 buttons to the right. Pushing a button, they heard and felt a hum. In a few moments, a "ding" was heard and the door parted in the middle to show a small room (about 10' x 10') with a broken mirror opposite the door, no other doors...and no floor. Looking down and dropping a torch, they figured it was 8 feet deep since it took the torch 8 seconds to hit bottom. (Remember, this is the half-orc group....)
So, they pushed a few buttons on the interior wall on the left and let the doors close. Then they forced open the doors and saw the top of the room sinking away. To the right though, they found a ladder that went up and down, and was recessed far enough to not get hit by the moving room. Looking up, they saw 2 doors above them, one at about 10 feet and another at about 25 feet. Looking down, they noticed at least 6 more doors. Going up, they opened the door 10 feet up. The hallway that stretched off had gray very smooth walls and a floor of a white granite like material but the slabs must have been huge. There were odd torch sconces on the walls that produced light and heat but no smoke. The cleric went to pull one off the wall and there was smoke and sparks, and the torch went out. A little panicky, they dropped the "torch" on the floor and opted to go up another floor.
Opening up this door, the light was everywhere but there were no obvious torches. Moving into the hallway and walking down it looking for doors, a section of the wall opened up with a "shushing" sound. Inside, they found a room with an odd shelf
opposite the door, 5 tables each with 4 to 6 chairs, and more of the
strange lighting from the ceiling with no flickering, heat or smoke.
The right wall had 16 small concealed doors which presented plates of
hot food as each was opened (different food for each door, but the same
food as the same door was opened). The left wall had a concealed door
with odd handleless mugs that were very light, translucent, but
apparently unbreakable. Also, there were 7 small round openings, facing
down with small levers behind them. Pushing a lever caused fluid to
disperse from the opening. The favorite fluid was a warm brown liquid
that, though bitter, was rejuvenating and invigorating. On the tables
were 2 small cylinders, one black and one white, and three tall
cylinders with pointed tops: one yellow, one red, and one brownish.
They grabbed the "mugs", the cylinders, and as much of the brown liquid
as they could.
Continuing down the hallway, the walls didn't open up until they got to an intersection. The room beyond the wall as dark and there was snoring as well as bunks. It looked to be about 40' x 40' with several human sized creatures in it. After a few moments, one shouted something angrily toward the group. When there was no response, he at up and looked at the group and let out a yell. He grabbed an odd stick like device and started throwing magic missiles toward the group. One hit the ranger and one hit the cleric. Then several other sat up and did the same. One of the fighters threw a handaxe at the first "mage" and apparently killed him. The ranger fired two arrows into the room, hitting and apparently killing another. A short melee followed as the mages started trying to put on white plate mail while shooting magic missiles. However, three failed to react well and ended up shooting their compatriots. Eventually, the thief and the other fighter threw lamp oil in the doorway and followed that with a torch. The ensuing blaze caused a raucous sound to start coming from everywhere and the hallway light changed to red which then flickered in a pattern moving toward the fire. The group hightailed it back to the vertical shaft and went back down one level.
Exiting into the gray hallway again, they found the broken torch still sitting one the floor where they left it. They didn't hear or see smoke, so they continued exploring. The hallway had several doors before branching off left and right. The first door opened upon a temple like place with tables and chairs all facing away from the door but toward a large altar like object opposite the door. The room was 40' by 60' and sloped gently down. The far wall was all white. Moving down the slope, the discovered concealed doors in the white wall. Opening one door displayed a wall which had odd knobs and buttons. Pushing one caused it to light up green, then an image appeared on the white wall. It was animated and a voice speaking an unknown language was loudly coming from everywhere. Pushing other buttons caused other images to appear, or the sound to get louder or softer, or the lights in the room to change from brighter to dimmer. Opening the other door showed a bookshelf with odd items (none sharp) and several pieces of paper, some with odd writing and some blank.
Continuing down the hallway, they opened one door to find a group of adolescent humans scattered in small groups at tables. Walking amongst them were 2 human adults who were looking on at what the adolescents were doing. Everyone was speaking some odd language and focused upon the tasks at the desks. No one was wearing armor or carrying weapons. Soon, one adolescent female saw the group....which had opened the door with weapons drawn...and in a terrified manner nudged her group to look at the door. Pretty soon, everyone was looking at the group. The adult female was carefully walking back toward a small box on the wall while the adult male was making calming sounds and motioning the adolescents behind him. The cleric and the ranger tried telling everyone they weren't in danger, but no one responded. However, one female which had been at the back of the room moved forward. She called out in Pixie, "What are you doing here? How did you get into this area?" The only one who could speak Pixie was the ranger. A discussion ensued, with lots of confused looks between the humans and the girl as well as amongst the group and the girl & ranger. Finally, they agreed to go back to the room with the portal and to meet the girl there.
Going back to the portal room, the girl met them after a few moments but she was enshrouded. Some threats moved back and forth, which she finally quelled by having a small snake peek out from behind the veil at them. The group learned that the red & green mage was an escaped criminal. The medusa (yep, another steal from Vornheim) was one of a group of Guardians who watch over the different dimensions. The mage had apparently killed or incapacitated a Guardian and stolen the key to open the portal to and from the group's dimension/plane. The medusa was willing to give them the rights to sell this brown liquid to sell in their dimension in return for them finding this rogue mage and either bringing him back to justice or bringing proof of his demise. The key is a greenish blue gemstone fashioned like a teardrop, hanging as a pendant on a necklace. She also gave the cleric a bracelet that would allow them to communicate with her in case they needed questions answered. All she could provide is information, not help.
And that's where we ended it for the evening. Now to work out more about this character....