7 Illumination 508 (cont’d)
After gathering their treasures, the party approaches the wooden double-doors in the northwest corner of the subterranean chamber. Savaric searches the door for traps and finds none. Then he cautiously pushes the heavy, slightly warped doors apart.
The doors open up into a large rectangular chamber. More piping lines the eastern ceiling, leading to, and through, a door in the northeast corner of the room. Another set of doors are set into the western wall and in the northwestern corner. The room is has several mine carts, some overturned, others upright, filled with unprocessed ore. The gleam of minor gemstones flicker in the sorcerous light provided by one of the Ulrich brothers. Mold and fungus gather in patches on the walls and the floor.
Savaric, Surm, and Mõrvar enter the room and begin to search. Surm is accompanied by Rilka, who guards his back. As the party moves slowly about the room, Savaric sees some sort of creature dangling down from the overhead head pipes, reaching out toward Mõrvar. Then he feels a tug on his belt pouch. He turns and sees a small, slightly demonic looking creature with large ears and a mouth full of sharp teeth. It’s wearing some sort of tool belt. The creature gasps as the half-orc swings at it with his sword, yelling that “They’re things hanging from the pipes!”
Mõrvar turns and sees the creature behind him, who has just dropped down from the ceiling. A dagger flicks out toward him and he manages to get out of its way. Surm and Rilka turn toward the ruckus and start to move into action. The half-orc crosses the room the quickly to assist the ranger while Surm begins to ready a spell.
The creature across of Savaric bites him viciously but for very little effect. Meanwhile, Surm hurls a ball of sorcerous frost toward his brother’s antagonist. Soon, both creatures are dispatched and the party are looking over the bodies. None of them had encountered such creatures before. Surm determines that the tools they wear around their belts are essentially lock-picking tools, so his brother collects them for use, and to possibly sell in the city.
Savaric checks the door in the northeast corner and finds no traps. However, he cannot open it as it appears to be blocked with a pile of cold slag. With that exit being blocked, the party decides to try the door to the west. After the usual searches, the ranger opens the doors into a cavern tunnel extending to the left and to the right. Not wanting to go wandering around a cave complex, the group decides to try the northwest door. Once again, Savaric makes the usual searches and opens the doors into a smaller, circular room.
There are doors at the north, west, and east sides of the circle. Near the center of the room is a flat, stone altar. Near the altar are a ring of lit braziers. Above them, the ceiling is nearly black with soot. Some kind of writing is smudged with soot onto the northern door. The party enters the room cautiously and carefully and begin to search it out.
The altar has symbols etched into it depicting an armored dwarf, a swinging hammer, an anvil, and much smaller dwarf-like figures. The door is smudged in soot with characters that none of the party can read. The eastern door has heat emanating from beyond it. This room also has bears patchy colonies of fungus and mold in the far corners and on the walls and floor. Savaric attempts to search the eastern door, but nearly burns himself in the process. Deciding that the writing on the northern door may be a warning of some type, they decide to try the western door.
These doors open up into some sort of catacomb. Surm sends in some magical light so that they can see inside. A narrow corridor goes north and south, with another corridor leading straight ahead into an alcove. The alcove is lined with biers filled with bones and the remains of burial shrouds. Fungus and mold also line the walls and ceiling. They then to decide to split up. Savaric, using his orcish darkvision, heads to the south while Surm and Rilka head to the north with the light.
Savaric turns the corner and sees that the corridor ends in another alcove. The walls are lined with biers and with phosphorescent fungus. The center of the alcove is occupied by the stone effigy of a dwaven warrior, standing on a stone anvil. He bears a shield with some sort of inscription and a metal hammer. Taking in the sight, he decides to report back to his companions.
Meanwhile, Rilka and Surm explore the northern corridor. Turning the corner, they, too, see that it ends in alcove lined with biers and phosphorescent fungus. However, this alcove’s back wall is actually a railing, similar to what one would see on a balcony. Surm hangs back in the light while Rilka moves forward to use her orcish sight. She notes that the balcony overlooks a steep 20’ drop to a cavern below. The cavern is covered in an eerie glow, probably provided by the rows of man-sized mushrooms that occupy much of the chamber. The smell of fungus is strong here and the stuff probably lines the floors and ceiling of the chamber.
By this time, Savaric and Mõrvar have caught up with the others. They decide that they don’t wish to explore the cavern at this time, as there is now telling how deep into the mountain it may go. They decide go check out the stone effigy that Savaric had found.
Surm translates the inscription on the shield from High Dwarven: “Ye that would inherit this weapon, bring me that marvel which can swallow a city, yet can be swallowed by an ant.” The party determines that this probably means water. After a brief discussion, it is determined that Savaric should put some water on the statue’s mouth. Surm backs up into the nearby corridor to avoid the effects of any traps sprung while Savaric steps forward and pours a bit of water on to the carven dwarven lips. A small metallic “click” is heard and the hammer shifts position in the dwarf’s hands. The half-orc takes his prize.
No one can determine what sort of metal the hammer is made of, though it is clearly not steel or iron. After a brief discussion of party treasure distribution, Mõrvar ends up with the hammer. Finally, the party decides to return to the circular altar chamber and continue through the northern door.
After checking the soot-covered doors for traps, Savaric opens them up into a larger, also circular, room. The center of the room is occupied by a raised platform holding a circular table lined with chairs that are thrown about and in disrepair. The floors, ceiling, and walls of the room are covered in mold and fungus and mushrooms grow in batches in the corners. At the far end of the room is a strange creature. It is small, but humanoid, with a large mushroom cap housing sets of misshapen eyes. The cap splits into a wide smile filled with flat, fungoid teeth. Its limbs look like plant stalks that wave out from its stalk-like torso. It waves its limbs at Savaric and slowly makes its way across the room.
The creature finally stops before engaging directly with Savaric. It begins to clear away fungus trails on the floor in the shape of some sort of script. No one can read the script. The creature seems to grow more agitated, its stalks vibrating and waving about as the party attempts to communicate in the various languages known to them—to no avail. It tries to write something else in the floor in some sort of incomprehensible script. Finally, clearly frustrated, the creature returns to the north end of the room and takes up a position near the northern door.
Savaric reveals that the creature is probably a sentient fungus known as a Fungus Leshy. They are guardians of groves of mushrooms and other fungi, protecting and nurturing the colonies. Surm speculates that it may be trying to warn them away from the northern door. After a brief discussion, the party decides to try the eastern door. As they cautiously make their way into the slick-floored room, the Leshy continues to keep his vigil at the northern door, its torso waving back and forth in an alien dance.
Savaric checks the door for the usual traps and opens it into a smaller, square room with counters and a hearth—probably a kitchen. There is a table in the center of the room, surrounded by discarded chairs. Various cutlery and utensils litter the floor of the room. Pipes run in the ceiling and into a small pump near a basin at the corner of the room. There is a door in the east end of the room and in the south end of the room. The party cautiously makes its way inside.
As Savaric begins to search the room, starting with the central table area, Rilka and the others make spread out in the room, taking a look around. The half-orc is looking under the table when he notices that a cloak draped over one of the discarded chairs begins to raise, revealing the form of a hunched figure. All of them begin to hear a wailing moan as the cutlery begins to rise off of the floor. As the others stand watching, waiting to see what happens next, Surm quickly makes his way to the southern door and through it. Suddenly, the cutlery flies through the air, attempting to strike the others. Savaric attempts to attack the floating cloak and Mõrvar moves to close with their foe. The cutlery flies again and then Mõrvar attacks the apparition with a powerful attack. The cutlery falls to the floor.
Mõrvar gathers up the fallen cloak and the party makes their way through the southern door to follow Surm.
Meanwhile, Surm finds himself in a forge. There are several, lit forges in the room, as well as several tubs that have spigots attached to pipes running into the chamber. There are cobwebs and fungus throughout the room. The western door is blocked by two hot braziers burning in front of it. One of the southern doors is blocked with a pile of cold slag while another stands closed.
With everyone getting a better look at the room, it appears that smears and lines in the fungus on the floor indicate that there has been in movement in the room recently. Further, Savaric spies a pair of eyes spying on them from the pipes at the south of the room. Suddenly, flasks of acid begin flying from the cover of the pipes and splashing to the floor. The party engages with the creatures, which take full advantage of the cover provided by the plumbing. Finally, the creatures are dispatched and are revealed to be more of the creatures encountered previously, also hiding in the pipes.
Suddenly, another of the creatures emerges from the non-blocked doorway to the south. This one is obviously female and is a spellcaster, filling the south end of the room with multicolored light, blinding and stunning Rilka and Savaric. Mõrvar and Surm engage in battle with the creature, finally taking her down. The two half-orcs eventually recover from their spell-induced daze.
Finally able to search the room, Surm discovers that the brazier have been rigged to burn anyone who tampers with them. Further, he finds a crossbow trap set up beneath one of the tubs. They also find various masterwork artisan’s tools for weaponsmithing in the room. There are also other works of metal found in the debris near the forges: a battleaxe, a heavy crossbow, and a well-made scabbard. The party then decides to check out the room where the female spellcaster came from.
This room is dominated by three large metal tanks, each with plumbing attached to them. The low, metallic hum of industry fills the room. The floor is slightly slick with water slowly leaking from the pipes. In the far corner of the room is a scattered alchemical lab. Once again, the party encounters a pair of the small, acid-hurling creatures in the plumbing, quickly dispatching despite the cover provided by the pipes. After dealing with the creatures, the party searches the room. Rilka discovers a secret compartment containing a small music box, some discarded gears and other mechanical parts, two scrolls, a small key (like for a cabinet or wardrobe), and a jaunty hat. The group then settles in to decide what to do next. . .