Standing in the intersection, the PCs decided to go southwest, standing on a ledge five feet over a cavern filled with patches of a dusty brown mold. The room itself was quite cold, and a body could be seen down in the cavern. Aton and Petra scrambled down the slope and were immediately inflicted with a bitter cold that left both of them nearly unconscious. Things looked quite grim for the group indeed.
Suddenly, Sal felt a half-voice, half-empathic-pulse and, heeding this call, was able to summon forth a burst of positive energy, healing both Aton and Petra enough to allow them to climb back up the slope and retreat from the cold. The group discussed their options, with Sal mentioning that that mold was most likely brown mold, an insidious fungus that feeds on heat. Garef mentioned that a basic ray of frost spell, applied repeatedly and judiciously, could clear out the infestation, but, lacking access to that spell, the point was largely academic, as he also admitted. Some other form of cold damage would have to be found.
The group discussed what to do with the body as well. Petra, having gotten closest to the corpse, noticed it was equipped with some gear, but voted to leave the body alone, especially after mentioning to Sal that the body had some other, fibrous fungus on it (Sal identified this as russet mold, a possibly more-dangerous mold that drains the health of its victims and then spawns small humanoid plant-monsters called vegepygmies from the corpse). The others were curious enough, however, and Sal hoped that her unnatural biology might provide some proof against infection, hurling a grappling hook into the body and reeling it halfway up the slope, and retrieving some well-made weapons and gear. The body’s fine chain shirt had to be temporarily left behind until the group could come up with a way to remove the russet mold from it. In addition, Petra ran up quickly, identified the body as that of a local rogue and friend of Khonnir Baine named Gerrol, who had recently proposed to a local blacksmith’s daughter named Emelia Otterbie. She would surely like to know her beloved’s fate.
Passing on through the other tunnel with Sal on point, the group found a large cavern that stretched before them, with small huts made of metal and leather and a passage into the depths below. Sal’s keen eyes spotted a group of three slim, gray-skinned humanoids whose coloration naturally seemed to blend and shift with their background (skulks, but I don’t think anyone asked). The skulks, realizing they had been spotted, asked for parley. They suggested two of the group go to speak with their leader, a woman named Sef. The group agreed, and Aton and Sandtongue went forth as envoys.
They met with Sef in a cavern filled with assorted junk, and Sef explained her people’s dilemma: surface-dwellers kept invading their home, one group had recently killed most of their number, and now they are too weak to keep a neighboring tribe of gremlins at bay. Sef offered a deal: if the group would not attack them and agree to slay the gremlins, she would offer information and some treasures her predecessor had gotten from a strange, purple-haired woman who passed by with a large group of orcs and ratfolk some time ago. Aton and Sandtongue discussed it and agreed to the terms. Sef provided the group with some information on the other groups who passed through, which is noted on the updated Campaign Timeline.
The group met back together and headed off to clear out the gremlin caves, spotting both jinkin gremlins and traps in the passages. A lucky shot from Sal finished off one of the jinkins immediately, and two others arrived, hurling stones and insults and attempting to draw the group deeper into the caves. Soon, the group were deep in the cave system, facing the jinkin boss alone after slaying his defenders. The boss used stealth and magic to moderate success, managing a few nicks and bites across several of the teams’ legs, before a swift trip from Sandtongue allowed Aton to hold the thing down with one of his boots and, in a rage, cleave the tricky monster in twain. They spent several minutes exploring the gremlin caves, disabling their traps and finding little but junk. They also discovered a sealed door in a large metal wall, identified as being made of glaucite (an alloy of steel and adamantine that is heavy, dense, and quite hard). Sal was able to read a small panel next to the door that asked for a brown access card. The group returned to Sef with the bisected gremlin chief and got their payment: five brown access cards given to her predecessor by the purple-haired woman, who told the skulks to look for more of these (they found none in the caverns around their home and were unwilling to travel too deep into the strange metal passages beyond).
The group made a quick jaunt back into town to sell goods and restock, rushing their purchases in order to get back underground before their water breathing magics wore off. Coming out of the water, the group met a young boy that Joram Kyte left to keep lookout for them. He passed them each a note inviting them to the Silverdisk hall, Torch’s local gambling den, and a 100 gp credit each. Sal was able to identify the proprietor, Garmen Ulreth, as involved with Torch’s local thieves’ guild, the Ropefists. Petra identified the Ropefists, petty thugs and shake-down artists who mostly work doing protection rackets and enforcer work, as “bullshit.” Not seeing the need to rush off and gamble, the group decided to stick to shopping and their greater mission.
Back in the caves they headed up to the circular doorway up in the metal wall in the large cave, coming across mostly-collapsed passages and a powered repair drone in standby mode. Sal tried with her knowledge of the Androffen language to command the robot, but met with no success until she told it that a passage beyond was damaged and commanded it to start repairs. The robot began piling the ruins of the wrecked passage in orderly stacks, revealing some useful technological tools. The PCs found two still-charged silverdisks, a technological thieves’ tool they nicknamed a sonic screwdriver, and a device they called the steel weasel.
Beyond them lies what Sef told them is a strange subterranean desert where dwell four-armed skeletal monsters that return from death sometime after they are destroyed. But beyond the small enclosed desert (which the robot referred to as a “habitat dome”) squat unknown dangers. What could await them beyond? Who is this mysterious purple-haired woman with a large gang of armed thugs? Will the group ever overcome their fear of the humanoid dead and return a corpse to the surface for a reward? We’ll maybe find out next week, because for now, it’s the…
END OF SESSION 02
1 hour, 31 minutes of water breathing remaining