Session V

The party plunged forth into the nasty basement, down a long narrow hall cluttered with debris and filth. A few small dark alcoves revealed more debris, and filth.

Eventually the hall widened slightly into another filthy room, with two passages in the northern wall. In the corner was a large pile of debris, sticking out from which was a skeletal hand which held a nasty black dagger, “its bits all jagged.” As either Spiderssen or Stark inspected these, the pile was disturbed by the emergence of five giant rats with hungry looks in their red eyes. A grueling battle ensued, with many hit points lost and much disease accumulated, though ultimately the rats were vanquished (Bunny, Koringa, Stark, and Spiderssen.

After ascertaining that the skeleton was in no way sentient or harboring brain leeches, the party started down the first narrow passage to the north. A small alcove was found to contain a half-decayed corpse wearing a black robe with red trim and a rope belt, another nasty dagger at its feet. The corpse was male, and appeared to be naturally aged, though there were several burn holes in its robe – and weird burn marks on its remaining flesh. The party moved on.

Continuing down the hall, it opened into a wider room large enough that the light of a single torch could not illuminate the far end. A brief passage to the left led to a closed door that looked as though it had been splintered from the inside out. Entering the small room, Stark found himself confronted with a giant spider! He battled it valiantly as the rest of the party watched over his shoulder, though eventually Koringa shoved his way through and helped Stark put at end to the nasty bug. Other than the spider, the room was empty.

Returning to the large room, and exploring it further, the party now found themselves confronted by five oversized beetles, with horrible mandibles. After a round or two the party retreated down a short passage to the east, where the hallway turned south. In the northern wall of the hallway was a door, which Stark opened – only to be swarmed by a swarm of (normal sized) rats! He did not fall to the swarm, and they in fact dissipated fairly quickly. The door led to what was presumably the stairway Turlough was referring to – except that it had been the victim of some kind of collapse, and was completely impassable.

Eiluned and Bunny hid in the ruined stairway, while the men of the party went down the hall, which turned out to be the second passage from the room where they fought the giant rats, and returned via the first passage to finish taking out the beetles. Spiderssen put two of them to sleep (which Stark promptly crushed), and there followed an exciting battle in which no PCs died, though several were sprayed by a foul beetly substance which did no apparent damage and yet made the sprayed heroes feel decidedly weaker.

At the end of the room was a manhole cover, which when removed revealed a narrow cylindrical shaft with iron rungs in one wall. Stark threw his torch down (fortunately it stayed lit) and descended about 30′ into a plain stone room with no apparent exits. After about 15 minutes of searching he found a pressure plate in the floor which, when pressed, caused a portion of the wall to slide open.

The rest of the party joined him and they moved through a short, dark, narrow passageway into a very large room, the dimensions of which were difficult to ascertain by torchlight. The corners of the room seemed to catch light and twist it back upon itself. In the center of the room was a slightly raised pool about 6′ in diameter, with a small raised dais in the middle and 13 hard black cushions around it. There were also three unlit braziers made of a strange kind of smoky glass. The walls were all black, and the southern wall was particularly smooth to the touch. There were two exits in the eastern wall, and a black gong in the corner.

After Koringa tested the black water by tossing a copper piece into it (nothing happened), the party went through the right hand exit and found itself in a very narrow hallway. Floors and walls were black, and this floor seemed much more deliberately carved than the basement above. The party found two rooms containing four hard wooden bunk beds each, and a large room with a urine troth and two toilet stalls that connected them. In the narrow corridor someone found a secret door leading to a dark downward staircase, but they left it for later.

Coming to the end of the hall the party found themselves in a 15′ wide room that narrowed to a 5′ piece of wall. The room featured an odd black font (of the watery sort) that was empty. Searching for secret rooms, Koringa stumbled and suddenly the room was plunged into an unnatural darkness. Eiluned cast Faerie Fire on the walls and thus the party were able to make their way back out the way they came. Pursuing a side passage they had previously ignored, they found themselves in an identical narrow passage. Following another brief hall brought them to a small kitchen and a small mess hall that was crowded with furniture, but otherwise not of much interest.

The next passage brought them to an individual toilet, and beyond that two single bedrooms, each significantly nicer than the barracks they had seen earlier, though they – like everything – showed signs of not having been used for some time. A search of the small room turned up a jar of honey and a leather belt under the bed. Upon entering the larger room they noticed a black tapestry hanging against the wall – at the bottom of which stood a pair of boots. Thrusting the tapestry aside, Stark found nothing but a blank wall. The boots were empty.

Leaving  the “executive suite” the party found a closet which contained three long black robes with red trim and rope belts, a hammer that looked as though it belonged to the gong in the large chamber, and a black lantern that was made of a smoky glass similar to that of the braziers they had seen earlier. The three non-fighters donned the black robes, and the other items were taken. The party had every intention of going into the chamber, lighting the braziers, and striking the gong, but for some reason decided to go investigate the secret door they had found.

Again Stark led the way, and descending the dark, narrow stairs entered a 10×10 chamber . A long worktable contained some nasty looking implements: saws, needles, and tongs (which Koringa picked up using the tongs he had picked up in the wizards’ tower). Next to the table was a sinister looking chair, with straps and bolts in unpleasant places; across from the chair, a washtub. There were dried bloodstains on the floor.

Spooked, and wondering just what the hell Louie was really involved with, the party started talking about how to get out, and whether they should just go back the way they came to Louie’s apartment, try to dig out the stairs on the level above, or find another way out. Koringa remembered that when he stumbled, he felt something weird in the wall right before the darkness came, and so the party returned to the room with the mysterious black font. This time Koringa was able to to find a loose stone in the wall and the wall rotated (“put the candle back!”) to reveal a long narrow passage.

The party followed this passage, which zigged and zagged for some time (perhaps as far as a mile) before the party turned a corner and found the corridor just as narrow and long, but straight. After a few feet they found an unlocked door on the right, which also led to a long downward stairway. Stark led the way but upon setting foot on the third step, the steps swiveled and flattened and Stark slid down about 30′ and then, after a 20′ drop (which miraculously did not harm him) found himself in a 5×5 room with no exits. A tattered tunic full of holes was on the floor. Stark wanted to stay in the room but the rest of the party lowered a rope and pulled him to safety. As he cleared the 20′ overhang, a series of sharp spikes sprung out of the floor, but did not touch him. Rope-aided, he ascended the smooth former staircase, rejoining his companions in the hall. They moved on down the long, narrow  hall.

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~ by erranttiger on June 26, 2011.

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