Four players this session:
Halma, Human Rogue played by Jesse
Ana, Half Elf Cleric played by Chelsea
Therryk, Dragonborn Paladin played by me
Lucan, Elf Fighter played by Colin, who also DMed
We left off last session with a part of the party returning to the boat to relay what they had found and to gather some help for the deeper dungeon. I guess some of those adventurers are really enjoying the fishing at this lake or need to work on their tan some more...
Ana joined the three of us who had already explored the upper part of the structure, Sylus was busy copying rituals from Arlarond's book so he didn't join us. We followed chalk marks in the caverns to the huge room with the chasm, and descended the rope to the tunnel we had explored previously, following it through the secret door and into the room with the gears oriented horizontally, stopping where we did before. During the journey we filled her in on the things we had seen and discovered, so that by the time we got there we were all prepared to move on.
The room we had stopped on was very large, with a 10 foot wide walkway on either end, and the remains of a similar walkway extending partially along the right wall. At the same level as the door were a series of large 20 foot in diameter or so gears, about half a dozen, that were turning at a few revolutions per minute, pretty slowly. Our plan was to leap across the gaps and make our way across the room, entering the double doors on the opposite wall.
Therryk removed his armor as he knew it's restriction would make the jumps difficult, and the four adventurers leaped across the first ten foot gap. We all made it, but Therryk, perhaps a little afraid that he would come up short, jumped a little far and crashed into Halma, knocking them both down. At this exact moment we were ambushed.
Four . . . clockwork men clambered over the edges of the gears in the center of the room. They were man sized, and composed of intricate gearing and clockwork mechanisms, with long powerful apelike springs for arms. They immediately swung those arms and wrapped up all four us. Highlights
- The setup of the fight put Halma and Therryk at the junction between two gears with two enemies, with Ana and Lucan on the other side of a gear with their own two enemies to fight.
- Halma pretty easily breaks the grapples in this fight, and gets to work dismantling the clockworks. Knowing that Therryk would not have as easy a time, he grabs the leg of the machine with its arms around Therryk and shoves it between the two gears, hoping it will pull him off. It succeeds.
- The fight is dizzying as positions change constantly due to the rotation of the gears. Ultimately we are more than a match for them and the last one is knocked from the platform by a timely shove from Lucan.
The careful progress across the room continues almost without incident. Another difficult leap to a lone gear near the far wall is uneventful, but during the final leap to the platform on the other side Lucan falls short and tumbles down, landing a story below us. Not a devastating fumble, but one that made us hold our breath.
The double doors open into a similarly sized room, with 2 10 foot wide walkways intersecting at the center. The floor of the room, a story down, was littered with parts and pieces of mechanical gear, and there were several tanks in the room, one of them quite large and taking up almost a quarter of the room. We cautiously made our way to the center, and were not very surprised when we were ambushed again in the middle of the room. Two bulky mechanical men charged out of the double doors in front of us, and from each of the double doors to either side a squat clockwork man appeared with a mean looking crossbow and two shields for protection. We sprung into action:
- Halma darted towards the left side, flinging a dagger at the robot, and being surprised by the return slam he got from the shield
- "So much for them being helpless in melee."
- The burly mechanical men charge and mark the two party tanks. Luckily, this is just what they wanted.
- The two crossbow wielders fired volleys at the three other party members clustered together at the intersection, missing mostly but hitting their own side.
- The four fighters trade blows, one of the clockworks falls, disabled, and the other is shoved into the pit.
- By this time Halma has single-handedly taken out one of the clockworks and he makes his way across the room towards the other, throwing daggers as he goes.
- Therryk attempts death from above again, leaping on the soldier from the walkway 10 feet up. This time he hits, and is satisfied.
- The one in the hole is marked by Lucan, who continues throwing his enchanted trident to maintain it, but must engage Therryk. Therryk is very difficult to hit.
- Halma meanwhile has engaged the last clockwork remaining on the platform, and positions himself into tricking the think off the edge and into the pit.
- Ana leaps into the pit, as does Halma, and the remaining enemies are dispatched quickly.
A search of the three doorways reveals more of the same in two rooms, and one room with something new. The center of this much smaller room held a model of the solar system, spinning slowly around the sun. Levers in the corner of the model altered the orbits of the model planets, but little else in the room was a clue to the purpose of the model. None of us are rocket scientists. It took some experimenting, but we were able to discover that the model was not currently accurately displaying the orbits of the planets. With some fiddling of the controls we corrected the model, and a grinding noise as the model slid away to reveal a ramp down was our confirmation.
The short ramp ended in an even smaller room, this one about 15 feet square. In the center of the room was a throne, and upon this throne sat a clockwork man. His hand on the arm of the throne was connected to it with a complex array of gears. It was soon apparent that he was not hostile, and we spent quite some time questioning him.
This facility was built by a civilization long gone. It's purpose is to hold the memories and emotions of the creators. They felt that they had advanced sufficiently and were ready for the next step, as it were. The complex mechanisms are all a part of the original construction, though the giant's temple is not. Some of the energies used in the upkeep of the place are necrotic in nature and have been leaking of late. This could explain the ghouls and zombies that we saw. We explained that we were here looking for treasure, and seeking to eliminate the undead as vengeance for our friend who was killed.
He. . .it. . .explained that he was having a hard time accessing the problem, as the guardians had been preventing him from getting his resources to the area. He agreed to supply us with wealth in exchange for destroying the rogue guardians. In this way we would accomplish both of our goals and help the overseer with his problem. He illuminated the way with blue lights and we began the next part of our journey.
Short players again, this time not with such deadly consequences. The first fight was what a 4e fight should be, IMO. The room had 4 or so gears, represented as a 4x4 square, with the first two meshing. Colin drew arrows to show how they would turn, and at the bottom of the round all those on the outer edge moved four squares along the rim, and those in the middle moved one square. Part of the tension was from not knowing what would happen if we fell, underneath us was a mess of machines with no real clue as to how far we would fall or if we could get back up. Plus I took my armor off again. I am seriously considering retraining for the Athletics skill. AC 13, ouch.
The other fight was also fun, and I would love to use some more of the tactic we used at the end, with Colin marking him and him only being able to hit me. That is a 24 he had to hit, pretty rough. I was surprised how well Halma did, since he took on the first bolter without anyone to flank with. He had enough tricks up his sleeve to knock him out really fast, which is cool.
The astronomy puzzle was not really the forte for the four PC's there. I don't think I can convey accurately the roleplay that took place with the overseer, it was quite a bit of talking and exposition, represented by the concise version in the Actual Play.
And this Saturday for reals should be fun with warlocks for me, yeehaw!