The group looked into the next room, a smaller chamber with tubes and nozzles on the walls. Petra identified the room as some sort of cleaning room, where diseases and infections plaguing a character can be removed with blasts of air. The room like all the others encountered so far was without power, so the devices would not function at this time. Deciding it was safe to continue, they passed on into a small, natural-looking cave with Sal on point.
Sal’s extraordinary vision was unable to detect the weird monster up ahead in the cave, however, as the sand beneath her and Aton’s feet became a sticky quagmire and tentacles lashed out from a porous rock-like shell. The alien monster, which no one has yet to identify, flailed with tentacles but was unable to find purchase. Aton became briefly entangled by the goo, but was able to break free, and together, he, Sal, Petra, and Sandtongue quickly beat the beast into submission. Sal jabbed at its dying form with her switchblade, finishing the monster.
Moving the head with extreme caution, the group found themselves within a vast, dark desert-like world below ground. The air was still and no sounds of habitation could be heard, path wound around the cave mouth consisting of an older set of tracks from a large group (no less than five and no more than ten individuals) followed by the footprints of two smaller groups of four individuals. All the tracks seemed to have been made by boots and were mostly human sized, with a few smaller tracks. The group decided to follow the tracks at least until they could get their bearings.
Not far along the path, the PCs discovered an old four-armed skeleton that rose from the sands and attacked them! As they fought, more came in waves from the east, slashing at living flesh with sharp bony claws. Aton and Petra utilized a tag-team technique where Aton would engage with his spear while Petra would come around into a flank position, felling the things with sneak attacks from her cestus, while Sandtongue went toe-to-toe alone, breaking ancient bones with his strong jaws. Sal suffered a spate of bad luck with her shots but was still able to assist Aton in destroying one of the undead by grazing one of the things’ ancient skulls.
The fight turned grim, however, as a series of quick, brutal strikes from one of the skeletons dropped Sandtongue to the ground. Petra and Aton were able to hold the horror at bay while Sal once more called upon her mysterious divine benefactor and unleashed a potent blast of healing energy, allowing Sandtongue to regain consciousness and pull the skeleton to pieces with claws and bites.
Knowing from their discussion with Sef that the monsters reformed after about a day and unsure of how to lay the monsters permanently to rest, the group settled on burning the bones. As the old bones cracked and charred over a makeshift rope-and-gunpowder fire, Aton attempted to find the roof of the cavern with a mightily thrown torch. It was deduced from the light emitted by the torch that the metal ceiling was 150 feet above and seemed to arch above them.
Group consensus told them to retreat to the surface for the day, as several of them were wounded and they lacked healing supplies of their own. The group returned to the surface, sending the young boy off and meeting up with Joram Kyte at the temple of Brigh. Joram healed the group’s wounds, and they told Joram to forgo preparing his standard water breathing spells in favor of restorative magics, fearing diseases and other dangers more than calm, brackish water. Sal consulted with the aging priest about her unusual gifts, which he was unable to provide much information on. They also inquired about a healing wand, and found that the church did indeed have a partially-used one but it was beyond their means at the time. Without much to do at the moment, and eager to make some easy money, the group decided over dinner to take up the offer of hospitality from Garmen Ulreth and head to Silverdisk Hall to try their hands at gambling.
The group exchanged pleasantries with Garmen before setting about the gambling hall in search of easy marks. Aton and Garef spotted two well-off looking, very drunk dwarves playing a game of towers in the back, while Sal tried assorted games of chance. Aton and Petra bribed a server to continue supplying the inebriated dwarves with regular mugs of booze, then headed to the table, introduced themselves, and got dealt in to the game. Petra’s unreadable face and Aton’s ability to force the dwarves into bad bets, along with the dwarves’ continued drunkenness, assured many easy victories. As the dwarves played, the mentioned to the PCs of a weird goo that was seeping from the crater where Torch’s eponymous flame normally sprouted. Apparently, one of the dwarves’ cousins and a friend drank the stuff on a dare; the cousin became prodigiously strong, while his unfortunate friend nearly died from the foul stuff eating at his insides. Quick magical intervention prevented the story from becoming a complete tragedy. The group’s interest was piqued.
Winnings in hand, the group made a trek to the top of Black Hill to investigate these weird goopy emissions. Garef and Sal determined the stuff was the infamous drug known as Numerian fluids, an unpredictable cocktail of runoff and seepage from the technological ruins infused with radiation and other strange effects to make a substance with very unusual properties. Sal briefly considered drinking some (for SCIENCE!, maybe) but thought better of it. Instead, the PCs chose to bottle the stuff and find a buyer, knowing it to go for a small fortune in more illicit locales. It was decided that of the people in town who might have an interest in the Numerian fluids (and there wouldn’t be many), the traveling peddler Sanvil Trett would be the one most likely to bite.
The group located Sanvil Trett’s room at the Evercandle Inn. Sanvil was surprised with the group’s appearance at his door at so late an hour, but willing to talk shop, and when the PCs showed him their five pints of Numerian fluids, he became interested in working out a deal. When asked where they acquired such a rare and precious drug in a place not known for any supply, the group demurred, only piquing Sanvil’s interest more. Aton took the position of primary negotiator, and with assistance from every other PC he was able to get a price of 400 gold per dose. In exchange, the group bought some of Sanvil’s pharmaceutical items, as well as a roll of a material they called space tape, and a small device that emits an electrical charge they dubbed the space pen. They also gathered a large amount of payment in coin and Numerian silverdisks, and bid the traveling merchant good night, heading to the Foundry Tavern to rest and recover for the evening.
In the morning, the PCs brought a bag of coins for Joram and bought his partially-charged wand. Now stocked with plentiful healing, they dove into the waters, traveling through the underground caves and taking a detour into the beckoning cavern to find and identify the body of Parda Garr, a popular local brawler who fell in with the slain group of local thugs to her unfortunate demise. Plans were set to deliver the poor half-orc’s body to the surface on their next return trip, but further adventure awaited.
The group followed the previous expeditions’ trails as they walked through the dark and silent desert. Coming across another stone cliff at the far end of the small desert, the group encountered yet another cave, this one seemingly ending in a stone wall that emitted a light from which there appeared to be no source. Everyone but Sal quickly saw through the technological illusion, and the gunslinger was pulled through the image to face a metal door that opened with a swipe of one of the flexible brown-striped cards. This door led to another small room with tubes and nozzles upon the walls. Several things stood out as different from the previous tube-and-nozzle room, however. First off, this area seemed to be powered, with flickering illumination provided by glowing ceiling panels. Second, small arcs of electricity shot from this room’s nozzles, occasionally erupting into bright bolts. The eruptions appeared to be totally random, and it was determined the room was malfunctioning. Petra was sent in to disable the machines and allow for safe passage through.
Petra worked swiftly at disabling the broken machinery, but just before she completed her work a blast of electricity knocked her unconscious. Thinking quickly, Sal created a lasso with the space tape, snagging Petra and using the space pen to turn the tape into solid plastic. The group easily reeled Petra out of the room, and Sandtongue used their new wand to give some much-needed healing to the downed rogue. Petra was able to bolt back into the room and finish the job before another blast jolted her again, and they pressed on into a hallway with three doors. They decided on a door with a red stripe and some sort of error message in Androffan, and despite the door’s higher access rating, their brown-striped cards still opened it. The room contained many machines and a strange purple pillar with a glowing golden panel on its side. Sal took a gamble and pressed her hand on the panel, causing a series of hums, whirs, clicks and beeps, and making a table in the room emit a hologram image of a strange machine. Sandtongue recognized it as like the metal vessel that took him and his people from their homeworld.
Further discussion on the matter was cut short, however, as several PCs heard swift footsteps down the hall approaching the door to the room they were in. Aton used the steel weasel to clamp the door shut, further bolstering the locked door’s security, but the thing beyond the door was able to slip two hands between the doors. As it slowly pried the doors an inch apart, Sandtongue was able to identify the monster as a juju zombie, though its original species was unknown to the group. Petra decided action was required, and stabbed the monster with her not-rapier, dealing a small amount of damage to the undead thing and earning its eternal ire. As the monster’s fingers pushed the doors further apart, Sal began to develop a strange headache of unknown origin. Oh noes!
The doors and the steel weasel were holding for now. But it would only be a matter of time before the monster pried the doors open (probably?). With the door’s panel beeping angrily and a horror coming to tear them limb from limb, what would the PCs do? We’ll have to find out next week, because for now, we’ve reached the…
END OF SESSION 03
37 wand charges remaining