Grimwyrd: Faint Glimmer

we gonna do the thing with the stuff?
Adolf S.: Around mouthfulls of emergency-food, yee
Joush M.: Indeed, strikeing north to kick ass of those people performing their ritual near Academs mine
P.P. A.: Aye
Ken (GM): we gots weird demon allies! We gots magic maps! we gots
Fiss, you alive?
Syviis: [Elf Mode Activated!]
Ken (GM): huzzah
Joush M.: Hey, welcome to the party

Ken (GM) The town is quiet, and as your men make camp, the residents are adamant about staying within their homes “for fear of the High Lord’s hexes! His magic can strike a man dead for tresspassin!” They seem to be self-imposing a curfew in Carne, staying behind closed doors and wishing you well from the other side of them…

Gray spends the night after the meeting with the strange dead man with his dead dragon performing his regular camp task and brooding over the strange alliance they’ve made, leaving the magic map the man left them on a simple camp table near the caravan wagon that holds the supplies and banner.
Gray examines the magic map, curious about what else it shows.

Suðri Skornbrekker approaches Bomrek at some point, and sits down next to him: “If the mine is a trap, there are only two ways they could make it one, given how there would be enemies waiting for us inside regardless: either a second force would attack us from outside, or they could have rigged the entire mine with explosives to bury us alive when we go in. I am more worried about that second possibility; since you have set such traps before yourself, is there a way to spot hidden explosives in advance?”
Bomrek nods his head, the right amount of concern and thoughtfulness in his face until near the end “Explosives? These people? It’s a shock they could even use magic-” Bomrek lets out a small, forced laugh. “Give them 10 years and they still won’t understand mine architecture and the explosives-sciences”
“..Then again, perhaps they could just use magic.” He shakes his head in thought and quickly adds “Yes, we should be able to tell from afar. But, it’s been some time since I’ve set a trip-wire. Frankly, it seems easier to just send in a group of Beastmen and listen for detonations.”
Suðri Skornbrekker thinks for a moment, and agrees: “Good point. At most, they might have set up magic explosives, in which case one of our magic folks should be able to detect and disable them.”
Suðri Skornbrekker: “Well, it is good to keep one’s eyes wide open in any case.”

Bomrek nods. “I think we should split the force, depending on how well fortified the mine is..” Bomrek breaks off a small stick from some tinder, and starts drawing in the loose-packed dirt beneath them. “If it’s just a hole in the ground, we leave almost all the men at the surface to protect the entrance…” he draws something akin to that crudely in the dirt. “If it’s a proper fortified-mine…” he draws something akin to that. “We split the men. Half into the depths with us, half protecting the surface. Chances are they’ll keep their men inside, to set up many small ambushes… ” he glances over his shoulder at some of the half-elves and beast-folk. “We may need their bodies.”
Suðri Skornbrekker nods, and breaks off a stick as well, illustrating his thoughts: “I do not know what the surroundings look like, but if there are places to hide, we should perhaps split those of our troops that are waiting outside, and have them hide nearby in two groups. That way, if a second enemy force approaches from behind—or above—they will have an advantage.”

Joush M.: How much detail can the magic map give us? Would it be useful for the Dwarf’s planning?

Bomrek nods. “I don’t expect any sort of counter attack from outside really, I just want to make extra sure my resting-tomb isn’t some human mine.” He makes a displeased, almost angrily-apathetic expression with his eyes.
Suðri Skornbrekker: “Me neither, but better safe than sorry. Our troops could also catch any enemies trying to flee outside, but if it’s skeletons again, they might not even bother.”

Gray walks to the others, a dark raven perched on a massive shoulder and a thoughtful frown on lupine features as the amber eyed beastman spread the map across a makeshift table. “Magic. If we can trust the source, it might offer useful information, if nothing else then to plan our approch to the ritual site”

Ken (GM) the magic map is a fine thing, shimmering colors over a pale milky white sheet. The seasoned wooden handles are topped with fine gold caps, and the thing looks like it would fetch a mighty price even without the magic.
The map shows the lands around Carne; the town has a mark over it denoting your group’s location, and a general blob describing the disposition of your army. Overland along the map, some 12 inches away, a days march will lead to Academs mine: a town on the river surrounded by fields, with a short jut of road leading into the foothills West where the mine proper is situated

Ken (GM): [the map’s resolution seems to be limited to a scope of a few miles to several hundred. Moving the items about on the map requires concentrating and speaking aloud what you wish. ]

Suðri Skornbrekker: “We ought to visit the village first, so that we may gather information, make sure the locals are well, and prevent anyone attacking us from within the town when we approach the mine itself.”
Gray: “That seems reasonable. Or we could take a small group ahead and strike at the ritual swiftly, then come back to the town. Try to have it over and done with before anyone there could intervene.”
Bomrek: “Magic” Bomrek gives a dismissive eyebrow tilt, but scowls all the same. “I prefer my tools un-bound to dark things…” he looks over at Suthri and gives a short, slow nod.
Doc: ritual is in the mine itself, right?
Ken (GM): [yeah the nameless demon told as much; the mine contains the living metal captured and bound to Jadeite’s will]

Roderick nods at Gray’s suggestion. “Numbers would grant us no advantage if we were to wait for the main force. It would likely be best to handle it ourselves.”
Gray nods to the others. “It will be good to ride with just us. The rest can follow.”
Roderick was going to say ‘send a small, mobile group of elites’ but there’s no point in pretending that means anyone else

Bomrek: “I’d agree” Bomrek nods. “We need to protect the mouth of the mine, ensure we aren’t sealed in, aren’t burned out.. And it wouldn’t hurt to hold the village in place as well.”
Suðri Skornbrekker nods. “We could split the troops, have half of them pacify the village, and have the other half guard the outside of the mine to prevent an attack from behind.” He pauses a moment, ponders “No, Wait, our army is mostly beastmen scorned, rovers and— …perhaps sending them into the village will cause misunderstandings without us there.”
Dorf Captain: “I’m sure your trained men in my capable hands will be able to keep the peace, assuming Jadeite hasnt put any forces in our way. We’ve walked through two towns already, and met only one witch in resistance…”
Suðri Skornbrekker looks at the Captain, and nods. “Very well.”
Gray: “Humm.. Sounds good” He nods again in reply.

Syviis nodding intensifies

Bomrek thinks for a moment, and chews on the clean end of the stick he’s been drawing with, and looks to the others “We just need to make sure the beastmen don’t decide to rape and loot the town while we’re away.”
Syviis: sidelong glance at THAT comment “I’m sure they’ll behave themselves Bomrek. They do have the Rovers with them. That should at least keep them gambling and fortune telling enough to be distracted from the barbarism…”
Gray: “It’s a group with families, elders and young, no roving pack of blood mad marauders. Don’t worry about it”
Bomrek closes his eyes idly and shrugs “One would hope. I’ve seen an idle dog turn into a devil once away from it’s master before.”
Doc: rod probably would have set up a policy where the penalty for looting is death
P.P. A.: RIP Bomrek

Gray collects the things they require and settles in for the night, planning to leave around dawn and make for the mine. The beastial Scorned restless.

Suðri Skornbrekker looks at the map and points at Splinter: “Is there anything of note in that village? …other than a lot of lumber?”

Ken(GM) Your militia settles in too; there is plenty of space about Carne to pitch camp, and your men make a defensible circle about the place. The locals remain in their homes, but are grateful to see you outwardly defying the mage-king
[As Suðri speaks the question aloud, Splinter centers in on the map, and your view of it expands as the magic shows you the surroundings. The small town backs into the mouth of the forest, a river appearing from a rock-spring waterfall and several wetlands converging in a river]
Gray: “They cut wood there and float it down the river. I don’t think there is much there, besides those that harvest from the forest. It’s supposed to be attractive.” He says with a faint shrug.
Suðri Skornbrekker: “We could also just ask the locals here in Carne if they have heard anything from Splinter; if not, we might as well ignore it.”
Bomrek: “They float the wood?” Bomrek says scornfully. “So wasteful.”
Gray: “I’m no expert on lumber” He says with a faint chuckle. “Get some rest. We make for the mine before first light”
Ken (GM): [I think Gray is excited to crack skulls :P]

Ken (GM): [so, whats the plan on this next stretch; same as usual? March all day, keep it leisurely, but aim to hit town by evening/sundown?]
Bomrek: I’d say so.We don’t want to get there, then need a few hours to sleep, giving the enemy time to prepare.
So leisurely until we hit town sounds like it’d keep our guys fresh
Joush M.: caravan is like 2 MPH right? Gray wants to range ahead and get to the mine/town ahead of the rest. Get a good look around and get a feel for the place at least. Let the rest follow at marching pace
Ken (GM): ah okay then, so put ya’ll on horseback, take the road quickly with an army on your heels?
Joush M.: Sounds good
Doc: yeah it’s easier to avoid notice that way, too
Joush M.: Or Gray can just run. He can keep pace with most horses carrying a man that way
Ken (GM): hahah
that and unless its a Clydesdale , he might break its back 😛
okay then, you’re leaving orders with your men to march on, and getting yourselves ahead of them. So they should occupy the town proper, and otherwise await your return?
P.P. A.: and a detachment should take a look at the outside of the mine to warn us of ambushes from behind
after we’re inside
Ken (GM): my god, that sounds perfectly reasonable
Onward then!

Absolute units

Ken (GM) Morning rises, and you strike the road with metal shod hoof and feral beastman stride! Gray runs, nearly entirely unencumbered alongside trotting horses. The dwarves ride on sturdy ponies, their mystical dwarf-tek gunrack hovering along with them. Syviis on a mustang painted by her elven mages with symbols of fierce power and bright magic prowess. Bavieca leads you, Lord Roderick at the saddle, bright and gleaming green in the dawn light.

Ken (GM) The day passes quickly as the road rides away below you; the hills break open into a wider valley, and you see the rising bluff to the West on the horizon by midday; Academs mine is a town nestled on the river to the side and it shimmers in the clear sunny day ahead.
The town seems to shimmer too brightly; you realize that you can see it reflecting beams of light as if the whole place is carved from glass…or like light gleaming from winter snows? the sight is strange…

Suðri Skornbrekker: “Well, that is odd.”
Bomrek narrows his eyes, and shields them a bit with his hand, staring at the place. “It’s like a tree-bulb..” He turns to the others “What the hell is this?”
Syviis watches the shimmering light for signs of movement or activity upon our approach. In a time of peace, this might be beautiful, but the Darkness has a way of twisting even beauty here.
(To Syviis): You see strange wisps of magic here, like the shimmer itself is unnatural in some way. But it’s not brightly concentrated. More like…residue
Syviis: “I don’t see any concentrations of magic, but it certainly is…or was…active in this place.”
Gray studies the place, examining the spirits of the land and scenting the air as a hand rests on a tree, he gazes with a scowl at the gleaming town. “Memory? Have you seen anything like this before?”
(To Gray): You see some more sprites and motes here, than usual. Little creatures of magic gravitating towards the place. They flit in and out of the grasses and trees, hiding from your passing but making their own way toward the town
Memory cocks her head and stretches her neck, regarding the town “It looks odd to me too; as if a great gift for a king, carved from glass, shimmering like a jewel. I have never seen this before in my long life…”
Gray murmurs softly. “Spirits seem drawn to it. This must be part of the strange Rite the dead man warned us about.”

P.P. A.: What’s our elevation relative to Greyhold?
Ken(GM): [@ppa : youre above it, with the land rolling out to Greyhold down to the Loch. River flows Northward.

Suðri Skornbrekker strokes his beard. “‘A great gift for a king,’ is it? We should see if we can interrupt the rite without getting rid of the glow. Loathe as I am not to extinguish such magic, ’tis like a beacon to Greyhold, and while Jadeite knows of our coming anyway, if this village’s shimmer faded, it might particularly alert him or his forces.”
Syviis: “I thought we already discussed the improbability of sneaking up on him?” smiles at Suðri
Bomrek: “The Elf has a point, Suðri.” he says, thinking. “Magic like this is evil masquerading as beauty. Destroying it seems worthwhile.”
Suðri Skornbrekker shrugs. “I s’ppose. Might as weel tear it d—” He halts at his own words. “I do hope the town doesn’t fall apart if we purge the mine, but I guess the Scorned earthmages could make some earthen hovels for the villagers if that happened.”
Roderick: “Jadeite’s mages must be stopped regardless, so hopefully that will not be a result.”
Gray: “I don’t know. But we have no answers waiting for us on this hill and I can’t see any enemies from here. Let’s scout closer, see if we can learn more.”
Suðri Skornbrekker nods and confirms that his weapons are all in order.
Memory: “I shall be nearby, but watch the skies for any surprises Gray”
Gray smiles a touch at that and nods to the raven, keeping alert for danger, lifting his eyes often to check the sky as they advance.

Ken (GM) at that, you press on, the shimmering visage of the city to your right as you head for the jutting hills that contain the Mine, above you to the left.
The horses (and Gray) press on into the hills. The road leads winding between quickly ascending sandstone bluffs and Hoodoos, switching back and forth again and again in a steady climb into the hills.

Ken (GM) You reach the mine proper, round a bend in the trail, and come to the sight of the place finally. Carved into the hills like a knifemark in the surface of the land; Academs mine

Bomrek: Are these fortifications, or mine wall materials?
Gray lopes along at that long legged ground eating pace, the beast restless, feral as he goes.. then stopping at last, catching his breath and studying the mine.
Suðri Skornbrekker packs a dorfgun, his trusty musket, a dorfmace, and of course his bardiche and sword (Suðri tries to remember when he last used that sword, but he’s lost a lot of weight thanks to his crystal armour)

Ken (GM) Walls of heavy timbers block the entrance, with a gate built in to allow passage of a cart; the gate is unmanned, and the place….glimmers. The whole place seems to shine like its slick with something. To the side, you see an odd tree with gold colored leaves twinkling in the light
(To Syviis): The place is….crawling with magic energy. Like static electricity. It’s twinkling off everything like its electrified
(To Roderick): You can TASTE the magic in the air coming off this place

Doc: don’t eat the tree
Gray: “I don’t recognize that kind of tree, or this kind of magic. It’s nothing like what we saw in Gorgoth or the Stormcaller’s art I’ve seen from Syviis”
(To Gray): You can smell sulphur and saltpeter….and something else more tingly. This place is also just alive with crawling magical elementals. Little sprites of energy flitting about and crawling through the walls
Syviis: “Let’s be careful of what we touch…this entire place crackles with power.”
Roderick: (To GM) rolling 3d6 vs 12 thaumatology? ( 6 + 1 + 3 ) = 10
(To Roderick): Theres a thrumming power here and you feel it; youre likely sitting on a nexus of power, a High Mana zone….but its weird
Bomrek nods at the Elf’s words and straps on his own guns. His brace of pistols across his chest, his double barrel musket with his bayonet across his back, and his new magical gun in his hands, also affixed crudely with it’s own rope sling.

Ken (GM): [just added the token for floaty gun-box, FYI]
Bomrek: (What’s the deal with that, it follows us around in general, or?)
Ken (GM): [it floats, but you can drag it about without issue. Imagine it just has invisible magic wheels, and acts like a magic cart]

Gray: “Sluphur and niter.. Saltpeter. There’s gunpowder here.” He warns the others as he studies the place, moveing closer to the enterance and exameing the gate.
Suðri Skornbrekker: “As you would expect from a mine. …I do hope we do not accidentally blow things up.”
Syviis: “Walking into a magically charged powder-trap is something I’d like to avoid. Perhaps I should send down an arrow ahead of us to see?”

Ken (GM) the gate sits closed, but not barred; it is ajar slightly. As Gray draws closer, he sees the shimmer alight with a glow defying the midday sun.
(To Gray): the surface of the whole place is….crystallized? Its like a thin layer of salt crust, but transparent almost completely.
Gray: “It’s like.. salt has grown over the whole thing.” He says thoughtfully, studying the crystal grown across the timber. “Light reflects within it. Leads to the sparkle.”
Bomrek steps forward a bit “If it sets something off, the entrance may just collapse.”
Roderick: “I should probably avoid burning anything. With this much mana in the air, things could get out of control very fast.”
Suðri Skornbrekker quietly looks at his muskets; he prefers the feel of one in his hand, but is glad he is also carrying a bardiche.
Syviis: “I can refrain from using lightning inside, but should any foes we meet be desperate enough, who knows if they’d be willing to blow themselves up to stop us.”

(To Suðri Skornbrekker): “….come to me….” A voice whispers in your ear, breathy, quiet, a woman?….
(To Bomrek): “….come to me….” A voice whispers in your ear, breathy, quiet, a woman?….

Suðri Skornbrekker startles, and looks around. “Did you hear that?”
Syviis blinks, looking about
Bomrek looks at Suðri, and then looks around wildly for a moment or two before quietly saying “Me too.. Another.. whisp-woman?”
Gray shakes his head, listening more attentively.
Suðri Skornbrekker: “I heard a female voice saying ‘come to me’,” Suðri explains as he braces his rifle in case a target materializes.
Roderick dismounts his horse and lowers his visor, holding his longsword in a defensive grip
Gray: “Could it be the voice of the stone? I hear nothing, but if they only speak to the children of the stone..”
Suðri Skornbrekker looks around, checking less for enemies than inspecting his surroundings—looking for any unusual structures, other than the glowing tree.
Bomrek: [In Dwarvish] “[What do you think, Suðri? Is this voice Good.. or evil?]

Gray puts his hands on the gate and gives a slow, steady push, trying to open it slowly.

Adolf S.: (This is when the grenade trap drops a ‘nade, and we get attacked from the sides by NVA troops)

Ken (GM) the gate creaks and you hear a heavy CRAK as something gives way. A shower of flaky white dust billows from the gate hinge as it squeaks open, echoing hollowly in the quiet. Beyond the gate… a shimmering red glow hidden behind the walls reveals itself

Suðri Skornbrekker mentions to Gray, whom he sees approaching the door: “If we cannot open that door… easily, then I would like to try these contraptions we found in the to— ah, nevermind.”
Gray: “Eerie crystal, but at least not bloodroot or that concentrated manna that drugs elves and explodes.” He says grimly as he stands in the doorway, then walks inside, looking around for for dangers as he takes the scarred, damaged shield from his back.
Syviis walks in behind him, keeping an arrow ready but lowered
Bomrek walks up behind Syviis, staring in awe over at the crystal.

Ken (GM) A heap of crystal glows red here, growing from the wall eerily reminiscent of the bloodroot plant you exterminated not-so-long ago. Bulbs of wavering plants sway against an unseen wind, waving in unison like reaching vines. Veins of green, violet, and blood red suffuse the area. Its like an infestation…
Syviis: “So we have crystal instead of blood-root? I suppose it’s an improvement…but…”

Suðri Skornbrekker walks over to the crystals coating many of the surfaces. He gently touches one with one of his own crystallized body parts, and waits a moment to see if he notices anything.
(To Suðri Skornbrekker): “COME TO ME” a woman’s voice seems to shout; the sound is deafening! roll HT
Ken (GM) Suðri reels as he prods the crystal!
(From Suðri Skornbrekker): 10v13
(To Suðri Skornbrekker): You’re okay; your head hurts, but the sound seemed to echo in your mind like ringing a gong. You feel as if the woman was a million miles tall and screaming for you, pleading for your help!

Ken (GM) To your left, an outbuilding crusted in the rime. ahead, another much like the first. The cut disappears ahead behind them

Gray looks to Suthri with some concern. “You okay?”
Joush M.: wait, can’t see him from here.
Gray instead looks back out the gate, to Roderick.

Suðri Skornbrekker takes a step back and holds his head. He notices that the others have already gone inside, and follows quickly.
Doc: waiting to see if PPA does anyth- okay so he wasn’t paralyzed or dying

Suðri Skornbrekker looks a little distraught, but when he steps inside and sees the giant crystal, he stops in some awe.

Gray nods when the young dwarf joins them. The towering lupine scorned relaxing a touch and walking to the outbuilding, checking around it then testing the door.
Syviis watches for spikes in magical activity, otherwise is content to cover the party, ready to act
Suðri Skornbrekker does not say anyhting as he looks at the scene before him, taking especially a closer look at the strange outgrowths.: “What are these things…” he mumbles, stroking his beard, and looking worried.

Ken (GM) the door to the short building is also crusted over, but it pops open with a shower of dust and inside is a warm and secure office. A desk lit by a smokeless torch, paperwork out, a drawer of papers filled to near bursting behind it
Gray: “Eerie. It’s like they just went out and will return in a moment.”
Roderick: “Best not to touch anything. Something very powerful is going on here.”
Gray nods to Roderick and walks into the office quietly, looking to the papers a moment then checking the door on the far wall.
(To Gray): perception please
Gray: rolling 3d6 vs 14 Perception with Night Vision 5 and +4 to Scent from Discriminatory Scent, or Detect (Spirits) with Precise ( 3 + 3 + 1 ) = 7

Bomrek follows Gray, and looks around inside the office. Are there any signs of hurry, signs of evacuation, or speed?

(To Syviis): The big protrusion of crystal? Theres a swirl of power deep within it, like a vein of glowing gold
(From Syviis): elemental-like or does all of this seem more ‘placed on purpose’?
(To Syviis): Very much elemental like. Growing like a riot of earthly cancer even. As if somehting big, below, grew up and pushed out of the rock

Ken (GM) the office seems abandoned mid-though; a quill with ink sits on an open ledger, a line half finished. A cup of wine sits nearby, undrunk.

Ken (GM) as you walk through the workyard, discarded tools, past crates of workstuffs and ore, the plant-crystals wave and shimmer. They seem to reach for you, like undersea anemones, their tentacles wriggling and writhing

Suðri Skornbrekker explains aloud, as he watches cautiously and takes a step back. “When I touched a bit of exposed crystal, I heard the voice again loud and clear—but it was not the ‘FREE ME’ kind of stuff of rogue ghosts. It sounded rather like it was screaming for help.” He solemnly looks up the large crystal. “I suspect it was this lady here… Presumably, whatever these plant-things are are not supposed to be here.”

Suðri Skornbrekker: “Grey, can you smell anything in the air? Is this place doing to explore if I light a little fire?”
(To Gray): You notice the above details, as well as some very distinct smell of death. The smell of Deloth-ainur!
(To Gray): also, that torch on the wall is burning freely, but you dont feel any heat from it. Or see any smoke. It’s probably magical
Bomrek: “We should destroy them then, I’d say” Bomrek calls from inside the office.

(From P.P. A.): can I use just a sprinkle of red dust in my dorfgun to produce a weaker beam?
(To P.P. A.): Possibly; whats your intent?

(From P.P. A.): I want to try and shoot one of the anemone-looking things or, better yet, the “root”-things that connect it to the crystal and just see what happens.

Gray: “Deloth-Ainur.. death. We are in the presences of our old friend and people that have died.” He scowls and scents the air like an animal, then calls out for the others. “Be ready for a tough fight.” He advises them, walking over to the wall and grabbing the smokeless torch from the wall, holding a hand above it a moment then nodding, he walks out. “This seems to be magefire. No smoke, no heat.. I’d be careful with fire here, the miners certainly were.”
(From P.P. A.): hearing that I might try something else though
Bomrek looks down at his laser musket somewhat apprehensively, and switches it for his double barrel instead.

Suðri Skornbrekker likewise will switch to his trusty old gun, but first he takes out his bardiche. He carefully approaches one of the plant-things, making sure that he is keeping a safe distance, and then hacks at its root!
Suðri Skornbrekker: 13v16
Adolf S.: (You get past it’s firewall, what files do you wish to access?)

Ken (GM) The metal weapon cuts deep into the crystal vine, and it splits easily. Then, when the weapon comes free the green fluid within bleeds out… splitting into even more vines!

Suðri Skornbrekker looks at the scene in horror, and takes a step back.
“I believe it is safe to say that these roots are… at least one of the problems we ought to solve here.”
“And something to tread carefully around.”

Gray goes and tries to open the door on the far wall in the small office.

Ken (GM) the door pops open for Gray easily, and the red mage-fire torch illuminates the yard ahead. An army of crates, barrels and containers sit empty ahead of the entrance to the mine

Gray looks around a moment, then walks in the direction of the other outbuilding, looking back to the others. “It looks like the crystal grew rapidly from the wall there. It’s overgrown carts and barrels, erupted from the stone.”

Suðri Skornbrekker has a stern expression as his eyes follow the root to the crystal, and he ponders. After a moment, he lightly knocks on his crystal-armour. “[If you have any ideas, I’m all ears,]” he whispers in Dwarven.
(To Suðri Skornbrekker): Your armor spirit is quiet, and you feel it’s grasp over you, it’s embrace of power and protection

Syviis walks around back of the mining shack and checks out the next building.
Ken (GM) the door sticks, but putting a shoulder to it Syviis reveals the interior. A room of more papers, sheets and drawings in all directions, and splattered with blood “Looks a bit more dramatic in here…”
Bomrek peers through the door. “Now it’s starting to make some sense..”

Suðri Skornbrekker shrugs and follows Grey & co. deeper inside.

Gray scents the blood and the tracks. No body here. “Let’s see where they took the dead”

Syviis looks over the papers and books quickly in case any clues are abound by…well…bound leather

Suðri Skornbrekker steps inside and looks over the drawings and sheets of paper, if they are readable. He glances over them looking for any keywords or pictures relating to either the crystal or those plants.

Ken (GM) the room is full of sketches of the area, designs for tunnels, plans of buildings and other structures. The books are reference texts, some ledgers covered in dust, and other tomes written in dwarven!
You notice much of the handwritten text in here is in a kind of blocky dwarven hand, clunky and angular.

Suðri Skornbrekker strokes his beard and takes a closer look at those writings.
(To Suðri Skornbrekker): Journals, work logs, and just half-finished ideas all over. Like a scatterbrained person keeping track of their life in script. Alongside the designs…you might be dealing with a smart but scattered type
Suðri Skornbrekker scratches his head, and shrugs. He heads outside, but pleads the party to wait a moment, as he heads behind the hut and approaches some roots again.

Gray examines the scene, allowing Suðri his privacy as he goes to water the crystalvine.
(From Gray): Is the blood dwarven?
(To Gray): from your memory of scents, yes? Very ruddy, a bit old though
Gray: “Dwarf blood. Not very fresh.” He says thoughtfully as he examines the stains… then rising to his feet. “Maybe we can find more answers deeper.”

Syviis wanders about, looking for clues further in

Suðri Skornbrekker had seen through the window that the roots grow along the wall here, extending far from the crystal. He looks for a spot that looks safe from sudden vine-slaps, and cuts through what looks to be the central/longest root. He wishes to see which way it regenerates, in the hopes that he’ll know whether they grow from the crystal, or to it from somewhere else.
Suðri Skornbrekker: 7v16

The vine splits and writhes; the spreading vine crystal grows out of the remaining trunk, reaching up to Suðri from the ground like a dying mans hands…
P.P. A.: so it grows from the direction of the big crystal?
or from both ends?
(ends as in the now-severed openings)
Ken (GM): it grows out from where you cut it, toward you
P.P. A.: well, I mean
N <— —> S
if this is the vine:
and then Suðrt cut it:
— —
P.P. A.: then do the new ones grow like this:
—> —
or this:
— <— or both: —><—
P.P. A.: oh, so they don’t actually sprout from the cut itself but rather from around it, or from wherever the fluid spills?
Ken (GM): yeah, like a riot of growth, released by your violence
P.P. A.: Oh, I see
P.P. A. strokes his beard, disappointed that he didn’t learn what he had hoped to learn, and returns to the party. He will look for some exposed crystal and hover his hand over it though—not touch it as before, but get really close to it—and “listen” again.
(To Suðri Skornbrekker): There is a thrum of energy, like power running through cables, but no voice now.

Gray walks from the outbuilding and starts deeper into the mine. “The ritual must be deeper”

Suðri Skornbrekker crosses his arms and ponders, but doesn’t want to slow down the party any further. “I really don’t get this.”
Gray: “Most of the time these things become clearer when we find Deloth-Ainur and demand answers”
Bomrek: “What is this mess? How do we kill something like this, if not with fire?”
Roderick: “We should find more questions and answers as we press on.”
Suðri Skornbrekker: “I do wonder if it would not be better to just light this whole cave up from a safe distance. From what I can piece together, they are using these plant-vines to sap… energy, mana, whatever from the giant crystal.”
Bomrek: “Would that harm the crystal?”
Suðri Skornbrekker: “Well, it screamed for help to me earlier, so probably.”
“If my hunch is correct, then these vines will run deeper into the mine, and lead to where they are conducting their ritual. If we could sever them somehow, we could cut off their… whatever it is they are channeling, but cutting the vines at the end here does little…”
“…which is why I would suggest just trying to burn them, but I could also see the arguments against that.”

Syviis ponders and looks to her notes
Syviis: [thaumaturgiees???]
Ken (GM): fiss, was that fiss-talk for a Thaumatology roll?
Syviis: yus
Syviis: (To GM) rolling 3d6 ( 5 + 2 + 6 ) = 13
(From Syviis): damn, missed by 1 unless I’m getting spooky bonuses
(To Syviis): Youre not 100% sure, but the theory Suðri has could be right… the vines and crystals seem entwined somehow, and magic is powering the growth. You’ve certainly never seen it before, so more information is required. But this all kinda fits with the red dust crystals growing and being left behind by elemental forces. Somthing is making this all happen, from down in the mine

Suðri Skornbrekker: “Also, if cutting them makes them grow violently and suddenly, burning them might just fill the whole mine with angry vines, who knows.”
Syviis: “Finding the source down the mine definitely seems wise…we might burn the wart but miss the root deeper within the skin should we strike here.”
Suðri Skornbrekker nods.

Gray scents the air again, trying to see if saltpeter and suphur is stored in any of these cases, or if the scent comes from deeper in the mine.
(To Gray): The boxes seem halfway prepared to carry something fragile; straw packed loosely but nothing inside. The smell comes out of the mine like a wind. As well as something that tickles your spiritual senses. Like a sandy wind of tinkling glass? Its odd.
Gray shakes his head as if to clear it. “The scent of gunpowder comes from deeper. This place could be very volatile… and there’s something else. Something I don’t recognize. Let’s go deeper. We can leave and try fire if other attempts fail.”
Syviis: “Let’s hope the fire doesn’t come prematurely…I rather like my eyebrows.”
Ken (GM): [so Y’all heading down into the deep?]
Bomrek: “Aye, and I rather like breathing. Be careful with that lightning of yours, ‘Elf” Bomrek says, following along
Gray is ready to go Into The Deep
P.P. A.: dig deep, dig greedy
Syviis: “I can control my lightning…can you control the sparks from your muskets?” she asks with a smile
Suðri Skornbrekker: “I have faith in Dwarven craftsmanship and precision,” Suðri answers deliberately vaguely.
Roderick: “I can only wonder if magic energy or gunpowder is more likely to set off a chain reaction…”
Syviis is about to raise an arrow to provide light, but then thinks better of it and does not leave a perpetual spark at the end of her weapon as they go forward, relying on the smokeless/fire-less torches.
Gray grumbles to the other. “Cold steel and claws won’t start any fires. Be careful”
Suðri Skornbrekker has both his musket and his bardiche ready.

Ken (GM) You enter the DEEP

Ken (GM) the passage dips down into the hillside, and the sloped path splits off several times into small ‘rooms’ where sulphur and saltpeter are mined out. Nothing of note comes from those smaller rooms, just dust and silence.
Ahead, you see a glowing light suffusing the air itself, and you press on. At the bottom of the tunnel, it opens to a short step down to a kind of building, or dungeon, under the earth
A pale blue glow crawls along the air above you, casting everything in a shadowless light. Down from the steps, on either side of you are four doors in a kind of barracks. On each door is a bright red and gold rune of dwarven script. Ahead, a large hall with a cross passage, and beyond that, a maelstrom of color and energy twisting around a central column of shining crystal…
In the air, you each feel a tingling power here. Its like the place itself is alive with it.

Gray steps into the hall, looking around a moment and speaking softly. “Old here. This place might be older then the mine.” He says thoughtfully as he moves ahead and stands beside the first door.

Ken (GM) Gray’s torch seems to flare up in the hall, the red light climbing up and swaying unevenly, in an unseen breeze

(To Roderick): You ever been electrified? There is a tingle crawling up and down your skin, like ants.
(From Roderick): super-strong magic then?

(To Roderick): SUPER. and not stable. Its washing up and down, all over.

(To Fiss): You ever been electrified? There is a tingle crawling up and down your skin, like ants. Its overwhelming

(To Suðri Skornbrekker): This is certainly a dwarven building….and youre standing in the threshold
(To Bomrek): This is certainly a dwarven building….and youre standing in the threshold
Bomrek lets out a low whistle. Does this look like new construction, or…Old?
Ken (GM): old….old as balls
Bomrek: Ah

Roderick: “The magic here feels as if it’s about to explode on its own… we should be careful and move quickly.”
Roderick presses on, uneasiness on his face hidden beneath his visor

Suðri Skornbrekker boldly steps forward, taking a good look at the runes, and the general architecture of the place.
(To Suðri Skornbrekker): Names: ranks and titles. But they’re…..foreign. You recognize it as that ancient demonic dwarven! Same as in the Dreugar keep!

Suðri Skornbrekker slightly recoils from some of the runes. “The Dreugar engraved these!”

Ken (GM) Roderick’s armor clanks on the stone, echoing dully. The sounds here are all wrong, muffled yet tinny and louder. It is disorienting.

Bomrek runs his fingers against the walls as he walks. “Well, this is a welcome change.”
Bomrek looks to Suðri, “[They did? How can you be sure?]

Gray tests the door. “They ranged wide across this land.”
Ken (GM) the door slides sideways on hidden tracks, quiet as a mouse, and reveals a room with finely wrought details, but spartan. An abstract tapestry on one wall, a framed landscape on the other
(To Syviis): Thats an elven painting of the mother tree; the forests of your homelands!
Syviis walks over to the tapestry, jaw open
Ken (GM): [psst, the painting, not the tapestry]
Syviis: “This is elven, of that I’m certain!”
Syviis walks over to the painting instead
Bomrek looks at the tapestry instead.
Ken (GM): lol
Bomrek: “Yes yes, it’s a very nice rendition of a twig, but what’s this?”

Gray looks thoughtful, looking into the room at the art. “Elven relics in dwarven ruins. Strange.”
Bomrek: “Elf, how… old are these?” He looks over his shoulder at her, questioningly.
(To Bomrek): Looks like a painting, done on Fungus-hemp canvas. Typical dwarven work.
Syviis: sighing “Despite some of the… off colour comments… This is hardly the first time Elves and Dwarves have worked together in harmony. We are both very old peoples!”
Syviis examines the artwork for signs of age/era
Ken (GM) Silver frame, fine hempen canvas, fine mahogany inlay

Suðri Skornbrekker answers Bomrek: “The ranks and titles these runes refer to are not ones of ours, or of the old Empire; they’re written in that same chisel as in the old Dreugar keep down south.”

Bomrek: “The word ‘Harmony’ in Dwarvish can translate into many things. One of them is something like.. ‘Begrudging Acceptance‘ ” Bomrek says, hand lightly rubbing his chin, staring at the piece.
Syviis smirks at the translation and nods
Syviis: “Sometimes, I know exactly what you mean…”

Suðri Skornbrekker turns to Syviis: “Remember the strange pedestal in the tomb that turned hearts into… heart-stones? That was Elven too. Do these bear any similarities to it?”
Syviis ponders
Suðri Skornbrekker: “Well, beyond also being Elven. You get what I’m asking.”
Syviis: [I have to refresh her memory here, Ken, is it the same style?]
(To Syviis): Yep; elven and dwarven designs kinda mashed together. Like Art Deco/Art Nouveau side by side

Syviis: “Seems all of this is that same bespoke Harmony style… mashed together, but two or more distinctive elements.”
Suðri Skornbrekker: “Odd,” the Dwarf notes, not really any wiser. “But I see, thanks.”

Gray looks thoughtful then back to Roderick, nodding to the human as the elf and dwarves examine the old art in the hidden room. He gestures to the next door, walking over to check it next.

Ken (GM) the next room opens with a touch, the door sliding into a hidden recess on tracks again.
Within, a bare ‘bed’ carved up from the floor and wall, and two other paintings on the walls in fine frames of gold

Roderick turns and moves to open the door on the opposite side

Ken (GM) in the room rod opens, a large and thick mattress lies on the bare stone, dressed with large pillows, all of it of a fine soft silk and velvet. The finest dressings you have ever seen.
Gray looks thoughtfully around, then into the room Roderick discovered. “Luxurious.” He observes, spending just a moment trying to guess the value of the things inside before he nods to the man.
Ken (GM): that shit looks comfy as fuccccck
Suðri Skornbrekker: “Wouldn’t want to accidentally burn those, they might fetch a fine price.”
Syviis: “I’m glad we didn’t burn the place down now…but why are all these luxuries and treasures here in the first place?”
Bomrek considers how to best transport the tapestry. Can it be done reasonably today, without damaging it over time, y’think?

Suðri Skornbrekker opens a door they had passed. “Fascinating though it is, we should not waste time here. Let’s throw open the doors to see if anyone is hiding behind them, and then simply proceed.”
Syviis nods
Ken (GM) The door slides away, and inside is a simple room with a table, a few jars, fruit and cutlery
Roderick advances quickly but cautiously, opening any doors he passes
Gray nods in agreement, going to open another door.
Ken (GM) one room is a simple jug on a slab, and the smell reveals its a latrine.
The next seems to be a paddock/tie up for a horse?
Below, bare except for two cloth dolls the size of children, crudely fashioned.
Next, a storage room of some kind. Jars and boxes emblazoned with a bright lime color, an ironclad box, and some white jugs

Ken (GM) the crossroad hall has four mazzive pillar structures holding up the vaulted ceiling above. The top stretches up at least fifty feet

Syviis cautiously sticks to near the pillars as she investigates the south
Gray: “The dolls..” He sounds thoughtful about that, shaking his head to clear it and trying not to think of those eerie, large dolls.
“Four ways. What direction should we go?” He asks, following the elf south.

Ken (GM) You hear the oddly muffled crackle of electricity from around the corner to the south, and flashes of bright light shimmering there

Bomrek’s head turns to look every which way, expecting some kind of ambush in a room like this.

Ken (GM) Some kind of …..mechanism turns here; a lightning bolt crackles through the air, and a wheel turns with the shimmer pushing the thing to spin in the air…
Syviis gets closer, but cautiously
Gray: “Some kind of Dreugar apparatus. A device to harness the elements?”
Syviis: “Seems to fit some of the previous devices and magics we’ve seen in the Dreugar strongholds.”
Bomrek follows the Elf and Gray down south, looking at the figure in the distance.
(Er, not figure. The thing in the distance there.)
P.P. A.: ooh, I spy more carpets

Ken (GM) Two bare rooms, save for a carpet on the left, and a strange rune carved to the floor on the right. A door of metal opens into the cavern beyond. The stone half-wall at the engine reveals a tunnel in the earth the lighning crackles through
Ken (GM): [black line is the half-open wall, that should be clearer]
Gray: “Runes. Magic? What could this all be for?”
Syviis investigates the Rune “Check and see, if there are others under the carpet?”
Bomrek looks at the runes, anything familiar?
(Dwarven nursey rhyme perhaps?)
Suðri Skornbrekker (same)
(To Bomrek): Thats the Imperial Seal of the First Empire
(To Suðri Skornbrekker): Thats the Imperial Seal of the First Empire
(To Gray): nothing under the carpet but floor there

Gray nods and walks over to lift the carpet with Suori, seeing if there’s another pattern of runes hidden under it like unswept dust. “Nothing. It’s clean over here….huh, This is a fine rug.”
Suðri Skornbrekker: “A-ha!” Suðri proudly proclaims: “There was no way the Dreugar built this; ’tis the seal of the First Empire!”
“I believe, quote me not on this, I have not picked it apart, that my rifle functions similarly to this.”
Syviis: “Very old, very powerful…Is it possible that Jadeite has been seeking the power left by the First Empire then? Could these devices be known and usable by the Dark power we’ve seen?
Gray: “At a much smaller scale. Thor’s power in a bottle in there.” He gestures into the lightning chamber. “We can’t let them claim this place. It’s dangerous.”
Syviis: “I also suspect the Dreugar would have fashioned this place to survive most anything we could do to it in a hurry. Especially if it’s lasted these centuries.”

Suðri Skornbrekker: “As the old saying goes:
‘Evil awaits whoever delves
Into the witchery of Elves;
Magic lightning, though, is fine
So long as we can use it to mine!’ ”

Roderick: “I don’t believe that’s a real saying. It doesn’t even rhyme in Dwarven.”
Suðri Skornbrekker: “In any case, with this here proof that the place was built during the Empire, the Crystal’s voice I heard must be of one similar to the one who blessed Bomrek and me with these armours. It must be an all—”


Bomrek: (somebody’s cranky)
Doc: nice, new trick
Doc: rod just has to be a smartass to make the villain appear
Deloth-Ainur: “You FOOLS! You stumble into this demesne and….what? Debate nursery rhymes!?”
Suðri Skornbrekker: “Hello!” the dwarf cheerfully greets the old frien-emy.
“I actually just made that one up just now.”
Gray: “We also complemented the rugs. What the hell is the Usurper trying to do here?”
Roderick turns to Deloth-Ainur. “I’m afraid we’re here to ruin everything yet again.”
Bomrek: “Masons are often known to be thoughtful. When you spend 8 hours chiseling boulders to make a total of 5 rock slabs, your mind has time to wander.”

Deloth-Ainur: “By the Lords of NIGHT! You can’t BE here?! How did you get past the elemental?!” Deloth-Ainur looks some sort of cross between bewildered and angry.
Suðri Skornbrekker furrows his brows. “What have you done to bind the poor thing? Be so kind and tell us how to release it from those vile vines, please.” Suðri Skornbrekker props up his gunpowder-musket, just in case.
Gray: “You are the first person I’ve met here.” He assures her, the towering beast lifting a hand empty and open. “You know you can’t prevail if you fight us all together. Let’s talk like rational people.”
Syviis: whispering “I suspect she knows she can’t prevail even if she fights us one at a time…”
Deloth-Ainur screws up her face, and seems to stamp something down before stepping forward, hands up

P.P. A.: Did Grey and/or Syviis, when they mentioned the crystal armours of Suðri and Bomrek, ever refer to them explicitly as Elementals?
P.P. A.: I’m having Suðri act as if they did, but I’m not sure if they just said something like “spirit”
Syviis: [ Syviis did mention the elemental power of the armor, but it might have been forgotten due to all the insanity of that day]

Deloth-Ainur: “Youre right Gray, theres no need to fight. I’m just….confused. Seriously, how are you not all red smears right now?”

Suðri Skornbrekker steps forward, his crystal-encrusted chest puffed up. “This place was built by the Dwarven Empire of old, under our All-father. The Crystal outside served him, as we do today. Why would it attack us?”
Deloth-Ainur’s jaw drops. Se looks at you, eyes agog and mouth agape “You….you’re wearing….thats a!” she stammers

Deloth-Ainur faints

Suðri Skornbrekker: “It only cried out in agony; please, tell me how to release it from the bonds you—” (Oh shit)

Syviis genuinely is surprised
Roderick clanks over to the unconscious woman

Suðri Skornbrekker strokes his beard thoughtfully. “Bomrek!” Suðri calls out to him, “This confirms that the large crystal outside is of the same kind as… ours—and that it was its voice that we heard. Being that it must have been a vassal of the All-Father, we must help it!”
Bomrek nods. “No other option.”

Syviis runs over as well, elf-first-aid in tow
Syviis: (she IS still kinda elfy right?)
Ken(GM): [yes, long determined to have at least been an elf some long time ago]
Syviis: [jams a Sploodie Bit in her Squiddlysplooch and hopes for the best]

Roderick: rolling 3d6 diagnosis, hopefully she didn’t bash her head or anything ( 4 + 3 + 5 ) = 12
(To Roderick): shes faking!
Syviis: rolling 3d6 ( 6 + 6 + 6 ) = 18 vs First Aid

Doc: oh no

Bomrek: >Deloth-Ainur faints
>Typical Elf

Gray walks over to the fallen woman more slowly, allowing them to check as he scents the air. He’s seen Deloth endure far worse then an occasional shock, the Beastman frowning thoughtfully.
Rod bends his knee, and checks over the woman quickly

Doc: she was okay but then syviis killed her
Joush M.: Syviis goes for Elf defibrillator mode and shocks her a lot
Doc: rip
Syviis: lol
P.P. A.: I guess that’s what happens when you jam a sloodie bit in someone’s squiddlysplooch.
Doc: she’s been underground too long, elves need sunlight to photosynthesize!

Ken (GM) there is a burst of black smoky dust, billowing out from all directions from Deloth-ainur; as you are enveloped in the darkness, a familiar mind-voice echoes about you


Syviis: OH FUCK
Joush M.: Goddamn elf first aid
Adolf S.: Thank Fuck Bomrek decided to stay back away from the elf
Ken (GM): LOL
Syviis: Elf First Aid: “Make sure to sanitize your wrappings…OR MOTHERFUCKING ELDER GODS WILL DO IT FOR YOU”
Ken (GM): thank GOD for constant racist suspicions!
Adolf S.: ^
P.P. A.: Mabye this is an Elf’s true form and Syviis just cured Deloth of her Meat-Sheath Disease?
Joush M.: “She was a little anemic and had low blood sugar, so I ripped open the walls between our reality and the eternally hungering void”
Adolf S.: Racism always keeps me safe
Syviis: It’s entirely possible
Adolf S.: “Around Elves, Watch Yourselves,
Turn your Back, You’ll be Attacked”
My god
Syviis: “I had Pink Eye…so I got some holy water and burned a hole into the 238th dimension.”
Adolf S.: That image looks like
evil spaghetti
P.P. A.: Chronic Meat-Seaht Disease is very common among Elves; sad.
P.P. A.: Is it actually moving?
Doc: roderick has been undone by the perfidious female race
P.P. A.: o ok
Syviis: I like how our panic keeps changing depending on ken’s movement of items on the map
“Hahaha…OH FUCK!….oh, okay that’s…NOPE THAT’S WORSE!”
Ken (GM): hahaha
just readjusting the elements
sorry to spoop you
P.P. A.: \o/
Syviis: guess I was due for an 18…glad it wasn’t during combat at least, lol
P.P. A.: 4 pts?
Ken (GM): four points!
P.P. A.: \o/
Adolf S.: Good game
Ayy wait a sec
P.P. A.: Good game indeed
(and good timing)
Joush M.: You summoned IT.
That isn’t better then accidentally dropping your bow!
Ken (GM): [i try]
Adolf S.: Ken, give us a re-description of the elf Thot before she exploded like an over-full vaccuum cleaner bag?
P.P. A.: I apologise if I slowed things down by prodding too much stuff, though
Fiss: Prodding is half the fun!
Adolf S.: Syviis tried mouth-to-mouth and ended up over-filling her demon-sac to explosion

Ken (GM): Deloth Ainur, as you remember her. Robed, arms and legs wrapped in her metal coin armor, skin pale like death

Adolf S.: Does she look skeleton-y, or relatively normal besides the paleness
P.P. A.: She also notably lacked tentacles.
Ken (GM): JUST like that day you met her
Adolf S.: I wonder what she does in her spare time
Crosswords? Knitting?
Bomrek hunts and cooks and gambles in his
Fiss: Knitting is either REALLY hard…OR really easy…depending on how many tentacles.
Ken (GM): You either get high manual dexterity, or Ham-Fisted…
Joush M.: Lean and feminine, right? I remember a picture for her, but that might have been GURPSgen. Anyway, not unattractive. Just Evil
Adolf S.: Post pic of her in discord
P.P. A.: Maybe we can patch up the fabric of space by knitting all these inter-dimensional tentacles we counter into, well, fabrics of space, and then filling the holes with them
Ken (GM): up in discord
P.P. A.: Well, time to sleep. Thanks for the session, lots of nice things that made me wary and curious!
Adolf S.: Adios PPA
Doc: o/
Adolf S.: She better not dirty up that damned tapestry
Fiss: Hehe. Have a good one peeps

About KentonBlack

I'm an avid gamer, computer troubleshooter, and all around dashing fellow. I blog After Action Reports on my gaming, running as the GM for several GURPS 4e games
This entry was posted in #GrimWyrd, #GURPS, Chat dump, Game Log and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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