|By Shamus||Sep 30, 2005||6 comments|
Much to the dismay of the others, Skeeve knocks on the first door. When he gets no answer, he shrugs and opens it. A huge, vile centipede, ten feet long and the width of a small tree, scuttles forward as he opens the door. Its ugly, eyeless head raises up and bites him on the chest.
The party wants to move in to attack, but Skeeve is in the way. He wants to retreat but they have all gathered around him. The battle is a disorganized mess. Skeeve hurls magic missiles and the fighters bring their weapons to bear. Skeeve earns himself another severe bite on the chest and passes out. The hammer of Thordek and the blade of Thu’fir begin to tear the creature apart. Enoch burns it with a beam of holy white light. Skeeve wakes up and crawls away. Thu’fir chops part of it off. Beck finishes the thing with two quick stabs from his rapier.
Enoch heals Skeeve.
With the battle over, they step over the nasty carcass and examine the room.
This room looks to have been some sort of dorm room once. The remnants of a ruined bed frame sits in one corner, as well as a few bits from a rotted desk which now sits legless on the floor. Thordek searches the room and finds nothing. They move on to the next room.
Enoch carefully peaks into this room. It is entirely empty, although the northeast corner bears the mark of new construction. There is an area encased in more rough wood. While crude, it is heavy and sturdily made.
Thordek tries to smash it. Bam, bam, bam! The others comment on his obvious dwarvish-ness. “Is he trying to dig a new mine?” says Beck.
After a half hour or so the wooden walls give way to his hammer. He finds that there is a big contraption here with crossbow bolts. It points out into the hallway. If it were to fire, it would come out of a picture frame (through the canvas) and traveled north down the hall. They note that out in the hallway there is another picture facing south.
Looking at the pictures more closely, they see that they are “new”. The frames are cheap and the paintings are quick, simple pictures.
Making sure everyone is out of the hallway, Thu’fir attempts to take the crossbow bolts out and disable the machine. He breaks the mechanism.
They leave the room. There is another painting out in the hallway that faces east. Thu’fir takes the painting down, but finds no trap behind this one.
Thordek carefully looks in the next room.
This room looks to have once been some sort of dorm room. The remnants of a ruined bed frame and rotting desk are piled together with newer filth. Several Alidian uniforms are piled here, slashed and burned to rags. There are newer bones (small bones) on top of the pile, and a few iron ration wrappings.
Thordek examines the bones and determines they are probably from small game, and not children as they at first feared.
Thordek looks down the hallway carefully. He finds a painting stuck firmly to the wall. It faces south, opposite the crossbow trap painting they encountered earlier. After some debate, Beck walks over and cuts the canvas off, finding a crossbow trap concealed behind it. They discuss how to disable the trap and whether it needs disabled. They elect to leave it alone for now, since it shouldn’t pose much threat now that they are aware of it.
Thordek notices a foul odor from the next room. He cautiously opens the door.
This room smells like excrement. The stench was bad BEFORE the door was opened, and now it is overpowering. Using his dark-vision, Thordek can see that some of the stones have been pulled loose from the floor and a latrine hole has been dug here.
There is a pile of recently cut leaves beside the pile. Thordek quickly shuts the door.
They follow the hallway the rest of the way around, turning west and then going thorough the door at the end, which they already suspect to be the kitchen. Beck stands outside the room and Enoch enters.
The kitchen was obviously as filthy as the rest of the basement, but it is clear that someone has taken time to clean this area. The counter-top looks to have been recently replaced by a fresh piece of raw untreated wood. The wood still bears bloodstains. There is a stone fireplace on the east wall. A cooking pot hangs over the cold ashes.
There is a basket of mushrooms here on the counter, and a stale loaf of bread. A pile of wrappings and strings from iron rations sits in one corner. Also on the counter are a few other food prep items: knives, spoons, and such.
There are three doors in here. Enoch tries the door to the south.
This looks like a small food pantry. The shelves are mostly empty, although there are a few items here: 7 iron rations and a few small vials of spice. There is also a canister of salt. Enoch takes the food.
Thordek comes to the kitchen to see for himself. As he walks to the door, the floor gives way, dropping him and Beck down 20 feet onto more spikes.
Skeeve levitates them out and Enoch heals them.
At this point they are spent. Everyone is tired and injured a little. They have been in here only a few hours, although this seems like a long time for such a small place. They decide to rest before proceeding. Enoch and Thordek take the table from the dining room and lay it over the hole so the others may use it as a bridge instead of jumping. They retreat to the front door. Beck protests that they ought to sleep outside of the door they smashed in. The hole is a bit difficult to climb through, and Beck believes it would be better if a foe had to emerge from the hole to reach them. Also, he didn’t want everyone to have to struggle through the gap if they needed to escape.
The others ignore him and they bed down in the hallway. Eomer keeps watch.
As they rest, Thordek and Enoch ponder the trap doors. Why did they go off when they did? At first they suspect that a certain weight is required to trigger them, but that doesn’t seem to match with events. At last Thordek realizes that the trap doors are activated the third time someone puts his weight on them.