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  • Locked thread
Shardix
Sep 14, 2011

The end! No moral.


Iggy

Iggy's eyes went wide as saucers. Leaning in, she whispered."So...what should we do about it?"

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Rhyos
Jan 2, 2006
It's probably my fault.

Bortevo Undermarket - Junk Stall

The old dwarf continues. "Me? I think we should let them be. The deeper we go, the more there are - the more there are, the more they take - the more they take, the more we dig - the more we dig, the deeper we go -" He resorts to mumbling the circuitous logic again and again.

Wahad
May 19, 2011



Everything by design.


Dr. Hyrgan Thornthwaite

"You want some more, huh...?" If the creature weren't obviously domesticated, Hyrgan might've been worried. As it was, he simply crumbed off some more cheese. "Alright, my hungry friend, let's see if we can find your owner." Hopping off the cart and occasionally beckoning the pard with more cheese, the halfling took a moment to look around for a possible pet-collector. "Hello?! Has anybody lost their cat?"

Rhyos
Jan 2, 2006
It's probably my fault.

Bortevo Capitol Square

The folks travelling through the streets look a little confused as the halfling makes his inquiries. Some shake their heads and move on, others gawk for a moment before shying away. One chimes in before continuing on. "Are you all right, friend? Looks like you're wasting some good grub, there." Sure enough, as the good Doctor takes a look back to the animal, he finds nothing. Not a track, not a hair, nor any other sign that anything had been there.

Ryuujin
Sep 26, 2007
Dragon God

Nero

When they arrive Nero spends some time looking after the horses and cart, making certain they are safe and secure before slinking from shadow to shadow to find the others. Eventually he makes his way to the Bortevo Mining Coalition HQ just in time to witness Drumlin's drunken antics.

As Caitlyn goes about trying to get Drumlin to stand he looms about and speaks. "It seems you have been having a good time. Have you accomplished what we were came for?" And if necessary he aids her in getting Drumlin to stand, and move about without falling down again.

Shardix
Sep 14, 2011

The end! No moral.


Iggy

Iggy nodded. If what the dwarf said was true, what could really be done about it anyway? Still. She would keep her eyes and ears open for evidence to support the claim, should she have opportunity.

She bid the old dwarf farewell, though it seemed he was already lost in his work and unaware of anything else. A bit enviable to be able to so thoroughly lose yourself in your job. Then again, you could miss much if you rarely look up.

Iggy will keep window shopping with Viktor, but she's not looking for anything in particular. She'll regroup with the rest at your convenience.

Werewhale
Aug 10, 2013


Bortevo Mining Coalition HQ

Drumlin

Drumlin giggles as he's helped/carried out of the office. "Yo guyz arr tall hee hee hee..."

Wahad
May 19, 2011



Everything by design.


Dr. Hyrgan Thornthwaite

"What in the bamboozle?" Hyrgan is left standing a touch embarrassed at the end of a trail of unconsumed cheese. He returns to the cart - unconcerned with the cheese - and pokes around the belongings still left there, to make sure the critter hadn't somehow gotten inside a bag or the like. He looks all around. He'd never heard of a pard that was able to literally teleport before, and yet, that was exactly what the creature must've done; how else could i have disappeared so readily?

Perception to locate the magical disappearing cat at 1d20+6=12.

Rhyos
Jan 2, 2006
It's probably my fault.

Bortevo Capitol Square

As the negotiators return to the cart/rally point in varying states of sobriety, they find the halfling peeking and poking around, obviously looking for something. Try as he might, though, he can find not so much as a trace, nor any other indication that it had ever been there at all.

Bortevo Undermarket

As the junk dealer returns to his ramblings and ravings, Iggy certainly has some additional quandaries to think about. The Undermarket's eyes follow all, and while information is certainly dispersing around town, the market remains open for business.

Waiting until the end of the day for a post from Viktor before defaulting and regrouping.

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


Viktor Wlazdek


"A cat? Here?" Viktor asks. "Are you sure you weren't seeing things?" He shakes his head indulgently. "We should get back. It's getting late, and we need to meet up with the rest of them to see what sort of deal our companions struck with the miners."

Rhyos
Jan 2, 2006
It's probably my fault.

Bortevo Capitol Square

Just as Hyrgan begins to wonder aloud where the pard had gone off to, Viktor and Iggy reunite with the remainder of the party, back at the party wagon. Their direction clear, their task secured, it was time to begin their grim work.

Going to take a while to do the start of the mines up right. If there are any further things you want to do before heading in, now would be the time.

You have gathered your party before venturing forth.

Wahad
May 19, 2011



Everything by design.


Dr. Hyrgan Thornthwaite

"Bah!" Hyrgan waves his fist at Viktor. "I did not receive a magna cum laude diploma at Ryuon Tower by seeing things, you upjumped minstrel! It was here, despite the damned disappearing act!" A foul expression reflects his mood, but he takes out his journal and shows the page with the notes and sketch on it. "Here! I took notes, as a scientist behooves!" But indeed, there were more important things at stake. He joins the party, though still surly about his embarrassing little event.

Unknown Quantity
Sep 2, 2011

!
Steven? Steven?!
STEEEEEEVEEEEEEEN!


Joyce Johnston

Having hopped back on Thunderstruck, Joyce seems to have gotten over their uneasiness over someone getting drunk before the job even started. "So, all things considered, I think we got off easier'n I expected that'd go. For the rest of y'all who don't know? We're goin' down ta look fer the workers as we signed up fer. But someone else who I ain't namin' made a bet ta try ta sign us up fer killin' the bug things that've been attackin' them. And succeeded, so...We're exterminators on top o'bein' a rescue squad, but please don't forget that our first job is savin' the miners. Once we get them all out, then we can go get rid of a bug hive. Speakin' o'which, who's got a light? And, well, somethin' ta get rid of a bug hive with? I'm guessin' we just burn 'em?" The cavalier shrugs. Usually most farmland pests could be gotten rid of with either a torch or the pitchfork, so she imagines just upping the scale will make it apply to anything.

Shardix
Sep 14, 2011

The end! No moral.


Iggy

"I...would like to suggest caution on the matter of burning anything out." Iggy wrung her hands absently. She didn't like to contradict people, but this was a potentially serious matter. "Mines - even dwarven mines - are dangerous, and fire delights in escaping its wielder. We could find ourselves cut off, or asphyxiated. Um. As well, depending on what they were mining it may be doubly unwise. If it is something that can ignite, there's no telling when it would stop."

Anias
Jun 3, 2010

It really is a lovely hat


Bortevo Mining Coalition HQ

Caitlyn Merriweather Charming

"Asphyxiation is not particularly fun. Let's do this the easy way and just save the dwarves and stomp the bugs."

She looks around a moment, then nods.

"We'll want some rope and supplies, but do we want to start now or in the morning?

Ryuujin
Sep 26, 2007
Dragon God

Nero

Nero steps into a nearby shadow, further concealing his already shadowy features. "Fire would be bad. Light may be necessary for some of you. Though that can attract unwanted things. Still if you do need light I would suggest finding something other than an open flame."

Rhyos
Jan 2, 2006
It's probably my fault.

EY4794 - The Dwarven Hub of Bortevo - The Hollow Mountain



Cities have a tendency to construct themselves in a way that places their chief occupation first and foremost. Capitol cities have grand views of palatial buildings, cities of industry extol the mighty forges who's smoke breathes life into the markets of the world. At the center of Bortevo lies the great Dwarven Mines, home of the raw resources that drive civilization across Eden's Seed. Great bellows move fresh air down massive tunnels, as the Dwarves of Bortevo risk life and limb for the next big haul. Streams of molten metal pour from refineries that smelt and separate ores and recycle scraps, processing everything into ingots for travel and sale across Eden's Seed whilst letting gravity and viscosity do most of the hard work.

Passing through the main security checkpoint, a few of the miners have their interest grabbed by the eclectic mix. Commentary can be heard of a recovery team, or wonder about the bugs finally being dealt with. Mine security helps navigate the group through the mines to the incident scene, bypassing branch after branch of hallways leading to the depths. "We're glad you showed up when y'did. We'd hate to give up on our own, but... Well, after a week, most searches become recovery efforts." Cart after cart of broken down rock and brilliant metals are being pushed, checked, inventoried, and cleared. Different heraldries mark each shaft entrance, identifying the company responsible for that excavation. Those whom negotiated with Zevlin would recognize the one over the turn they take inward.



As the group is escorted deeper into the mine, work becomes more sparse. The hand-hewn tunnels grow smaller and smaller - a perfect size for a Dwarf, less so for a human on horseback. Any with a sensitive nose would notice the finer and finer rock dust beginning to cling to the mucus membranes. Occasional signs of combat begin to appear on the wooden supports and the rock surrounding everything. "We were able to push the bugs back during our search, but they were not happy about it." Before long, the party is brought to a hastily-constructed barricade that reaches from floor to ceiling, held in place by a padlock. Included in the construction is a metal bell on the exterior of the obstruction. "It's been too dangerous to go any deeper, so we've set this up to prevent whatever's got them trapped from coming up this way. Standard procedure, really. Over the first day or so, we had folks showing up - just a quick yank on the chain or hell, even shouting will get this thing opened right quick, but we've had bursts of rather... unfavorable conditions. Clawing, scratching, and the like. Damned buggers nearly broke through, so we reinforced with wood - they hate the stuff. If you do find anyone, send them our way - they'll know what to do when they get here. Ring that bell, and we'll open up and grab whatever you bring to us. Best of luck t'ya, tallkin. Those buggers play neither nice nor fair. If things get too tough, don't be afraid to head back - we can take care of you up here, but not down there."

With a loud, clunky THUNK, the padlock is opened, the way forward clear. The air is stale, but flowing, and those with acute senses of smell could swear they smelled baked goods amidst the metal, sweat, and rust. Like an artery, 3 veins spread to the left, right, and straight ahead. Just how deep did they go? Lighting is sparse, and there are clear signs of combat in the area. Blood, slashes, bashed rock, and something that would look very familiar to Iggy and Viktor - a fragment similar to what was at the junk table.

Shardix
Sep 14, 2011

The end! No moral.


Iggy

hachoo!

Iggy let off a quiet sneeze as the dust tickled her nose and the way forward was opened. She wasn't entirely sure about bringing a horse into these depths, but that was Lady Joyce's prerogative. That Thunderstruck was calm and willing to do it was testament to the young lady's skill. Pausing, she knelt and pulled a pair of cloth sleeves from her small pack and slipped them on. Her ratty attire shifted into a sleek fighting outfit, lacking any loose folds or bagginess to catch or be caught by foes and detritus. Rising back to her feet she slipped her fighting claws on and gave Caitlyn a firm nod. Like Joyce, she was a warrior. It behooved her to act the part and be confident now, in the face of the unknown.

"Pardon me, my lady." Squeezing past Joyce, Iggy carefully moved forward. She gave the shattered fragment a cursory glance. It only now clicked that the buggers that had attacked were probably the same "buggers" the shopkeep had mentioned. She felt a fool for having missed that. "I think," she mused as she looked about "That these buggers are not actually living creatures. Not as we typically know them." She cocked her head towards the broken remains she had seen. "A gentleman dwarf Lord Viktor and I spoke to referred to the remains of mechanical things he worked on as buggers as well. He implied they were alive in a sense but still machine-like. We should be wary of behavior uncommon of actual insects."

Setting that thought aside, Iggy knelt and began scouring the area for fresh tracks. Whether dwarf or otherwise, it might give them a direction to start in.

Survival: 1d20+6 = 26
The dice like Iggy, it seems. Equipping the Sleeves of Many Garments to change my armor and clothes into something more suitable for fighting.

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


Viktor Wlazdek

"They hate wood?", Viktor wonders. He peers down the three tunnels, but all he can see is darkness. He looks at the mess around him, and pushes it with his foot. "So if these things are these....bugbits, I think the crazy dwarf called it, what else did he say? That they want to repair the tunnels? Undo the mining? If they're mechanical, they must have been created. So, it's not enough just to find these dwarves. If we want to solve the problem, we also have to figure out how these things were created and stop whoever created them from making more."

Rhyos
Jan 2, 2006
It's probably my fault.

Iggy's Results

Nat20! Woohoo!

The tracks tell quite the dramatic story. Undisturbed for days, she can tell exactly how the most recent fight went down. Divots in the ground show that multiple insectoid beings had gathered at the barricade. Scattered sets of footprints, lighter, then heavier, show that there had been an attempt to sneak up on the intruders, but ultimately failed. Pick marks in the floor show either a lack of skill or an act of desperation during the attempt. Two faint lines indicate that a body was dragged toward the shaft to the left. Two heavier lines surrounded by footprints indicate that a futile effort to reach for the dragged body was stopped by the group and dragged back to the right. Staccato pockmarks indicate that the bugtracks originated from the center. She can surmise that these creatures primarily operate at ground level, have anywhere from 6 to 8 legs, and, if predatory, appear to be clean with their kills, clearing the area as they withdraw.

Shardix
Sep 14, 2011

The end! No moral.


Iggy

Iggy lifted her ear from the ground and slowly opened her eyes. Whatever lurked down here, it was still. She heard and felt nothing.

Rising, she nodded gravely to Viktor. She turned to her companions, ears twitching every so often from nervous tension. "Survivors made an escape attempt. It did not fare well. Someone was taken to the right. Alone, I think. More were taken by the left passage. Perhaps two. Perhaps more. I cannot say if any of them were alive when they were taken. We must simply pray for the best." She turned her head to glance over a shoulder. "The center...should lead us to whatever these things claim as a nest."

She closed her eyes sadly and willed herself not to get emotional. What must it have felt like, to come this close to escape and fail? Taking a deep breath she opened them again and nodded, resolved to see this through.

"I defer to you all in how to proceed. I am confident I can prevent us from becoming lost."

Anias
Jun 3, 2010

It really is a lovely hat


A Dark Tunnel

Caitlyn Merriweather Charming

"Left, and quietly. If you need a light, carry this. If you can detect the arcane, you should be able to see my mark. I'll leave it on the left, at shoulder height."

She picks up a stone and hands it to whoever asks, leaving it lit. As they walk down the hallway, she marks the left wall with glyphs every 30'. Invisible to those without magic, they show a clear pathway back to the door.

Wahad
May 19, 2011



Everything by design.


Dr. Hyrgan Thornthwaite

"Living mechanisms? Fascinating." Hyrgan peers down the tunnel, as he hands out torches to those who need it. "Well, onwards, I suppose. I'll let the rest of you take the lead; I am more suited for ranged engagements, at any rate." Nevertheless, he follows with quiet footsteps, hoping somebody else will catch site of the little critters first. Perhaps, once this was over, he could study one of the creatures and see what made them tick. The thought of a living machine... who could create such a thing?

Stealth to trail behind at 1d20+11=27.

Werewhale
Aug 10, 2013


Drumlin

"All righ' -hic-, I ken fellow de marks," Drumlin stage-whispers and leads the others after Caitlyn, alcohol fueling his confidence. He is a dwarf, so this is his home territory, and he's determined to play the part, treading lightly and keeping his eyes open for discrepancies in the stonework. He does pretty well, only stumbling noisily a couple of times.

Stealth: 1d20+0 11

Perception: 1d20+1 19, 21 if Stonecunning applies

Ongoing effects: +2 to strength modifier and -2 to dexterity modifier for two hours from getting drunk as a skunk

Rhyos
Jan 2, 2006
It's probably my fault.

Deeper into the mines

With proverbial chalk lines and light in tow, the party descends through the left branch. The drunk dwarf stumbles a little over some of the detritus in the tunnel, but so far as he can tell, these mineshafts are wholly Dwarfmade, with small holes in the lining of the tunnel for any full pieces of steel that had been discovered.

In fact, nothing would be out of the ordinary were it not for what those with darkvision could see: 5 insectoid forms interspersed along the walls and ceiling of the shaft, a few feet beyond the radius of the light. With every step they take inward, they take a step back, unblinking eyes observing their every move. A sixth being is further back, scuttling silently back and forth between the floor and the wall. Nero's unique vision allows him to see that it appears to be replacing the dirt in one of the minor holes.

A downward slope veers off to the right while their path continues forward.

Ryuujin
Sep 26, 2007
Dragon God

Nero

Nero stops. Looking straight at the furthest insect as it tries to fill one of the holes. He dashes his view over the various insectoids between them. "Hmm. Curious. Five insectoid creatures, probably these buggers that were mentioned, are keeping pace with us. Stepping back each time we step forward so that they keep just outside of your light. Yet further back there is a sixth, scurrying about filling one of the holes that the dwarves pulled steel from."

He lets out a soft laugh. "No idea what their plan is. They don't seem to be rushing us, perhaps more curious about what we plan, though the last filling the hole does pique my curiosity. So what shall we do? Speak in the hopes they understand us and are willing to converse? Rush forward to catch them by surprise and murder them without mercy?"

Shardix
Sep 14, 2011

The end! No moral.


Iggy

Iggy narrowed her eyes at Nero's words, and dropped into a combat stance. If the things could understand language, or were interested in speaking or listening, this mine wouldn't have needed to be cordoned off in the first place.

Activating Outer Sphere Stance (When wielding two weapons while in this stance, the disciple gains +1d6 points of damage with his weapons and suffers a -2 penalty to AC.), and sneaking up on the bugs.
Stealth: 1d20+4 = 8

Rhyos
Jan 2, 2006
It's probably my fault.

A dark corridor

As Iggy drops into a defensive stance, the motion stops, and a single red glare comes from the insectoid at the top of the cave, rendering one of the beings visible.


None of the beings make an aggressive move, but are clearly in their own defensive stances.

If possible, those with Darkvision should make a perception check.

Ryuujin
Sep 26, 2007
Dragon God

Nero

Nero's shadowed hand reaches up to the shadows that conceal his face, perhaps resting on his chin.

"Hmm. They seem to have reacted to your defensive stance. No hostile moves so far, but they seem to have taken their own defensive stance in response. Perhaps they are not hostile so much as reactive? Perhaps the dwarves panicked and attacked them?"

Perception 1d20+3 14

Shardix
Sep 14, 2011

The end! No moral.


Iggy

...Or she could be entirely wrong. Not like she had experience with this sort of thing before. Mines were definitely not one of her usual haunts. Against all her instincts, Iggy shifted back to a neutral stance and silently cursed the gloom ahead. For certain, give her moonlight or starlight overhead any day versus this omnipresent blackness.

"What...what do you think we should do?" It was a barely audible whisper.

Werewhale
Aug 10, 2013


Drumlin

"Hic!" says Drumlin, staring dumbfounded at the bug.

Perception: 1d20+1 18

Rhyos
Jan 2, 2006
It's probably my fault.

A dark corridor

As Iggy resumes a neutral stance, the glare winks off, one of the five breaking off to assist the one behind that had stopped it's work. An acrid smell emerges from where the workerbug was, the pair of the insectoids bobbing a little before all of them stand at what could be considered a position of attention. A series of chitters is heard between them before the majority of them scramble off further up the corridor. One stays behind, continuing to watch the party, remaining outside of the radius of the light. A series of red glows flicker briefly as the beings rush further down the corridor.

From what Drumlin can tell, the hole the bugs were working on has been filled, and well enough that it's indistinguishable from the rock surrounding it.

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


Viktor Wlazdek


"They don't seem to make any aggressive moves unless we initiate. So far, they're strictly responsive. Anyone have any ideas? " He looks at the creatures carefully, trying to determine a weakness.

Knowledge (Engineering): 1d20+4 20

Rhyos
Jan 2, 2006
It's probably my fault.

Viktor's Results

In your travels, you've seen all sorts of historical and engineering records. Tales of bugs in the mines are nothing new, but between what you've seen at the junk stall and what you witness before you, the synaptic connection finally fires. The creature in front of you has been referred to in old texts as a Clockwork Spy, an insectoid machine that observes and relays messages back to a larger collective. In terms of weaknesses, you remember reading that a lightning strike was known to cripple them outright, however the shrapnel-filled explosion that resulted left little to be recorded or observed.

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


Viktor Wlazdek

"This thing seems to be a watcher for a hive mind. Maybe we can talk to it, or at least through it. Otherwise, if not, well, fighting this would certainly be an electrifying experience.", he says, hoping that the rest of the party will understand but that the robot isn't up on the idiom.

Unknown Quantity
Sep 2, 2011

!
Steven? Steven?!
STEEEEEEVEEEEEEEN!


Joyce Johnston

"Are you sayin' it ain't a critter, but a buncha metal shaped like a critter? 'Cuz I know how ta handle critters, but not metal critters. But iffin' it's watchin' us, it probably doesn't want us gettin' too close to it. Or gettin' too close ta whatever it's tryin' ta protect....Wait, do machines just occur naturally? I was under the think that folks make the machines an' order 'em around..."

Epicurius
Apr 10, 2010


Viktor Wlazdek

"Yes, I'm saying this, as you would put it, isn't a critter, but a machine, either mechanically or magically made."

Shardix
Sep 14, 2011

The end! No moral.


Iggy

"Let's...keep moving. Nero, please inform us if the things react in any way."

Cautiously, Iggy began to move past the creature, heading towards the downward tunnel branch.

Rhyos
Jan 2, 2006
It's probably my fault.

Deeper into the Black

The creature keeps apace, always in front, but never within the range of the light. Movement is slow going, with the footing shifting somewhat as the walls turn from the normal square-ish shape to a more hexagonal one. The rock here seems as though it were more pressed into place, rather than carved and shaped. Similar hexagonal holes can be seen in some of the walls, with appropriately-shone light showing that they connect to other similar tunnels. Before long, a consistent, patterned, non-animal hissing sound can be heard, growing in volume as the party advances. After a hefty distance moved, the creature following ahead dashes up the tunnel. Soon after, a loud THUMP-THUMP resounds bassfully through the corridor. The creature does not return, and the noise goes quiet.

Rhyos fucked around with this message at Jul 28, 2017 around 00:56

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Ryuujin
Sep 26, 2007
Dragon God

Nero

Nero's shadowed eyes narrow. "Suspicious. It dashed ahead, right before that thumping started. Perhaps there is some door that opened, sealed well enough to prevent the sound?"

He walks up to a wall, and up the wall, and onto the ceiling.

"Shall I go ahead and investigate?"

If there is no objections he begins to move forward carefully, trying to avoid detection and if necessary throwing up some darkness around himself if he needs to.

Stealth 1d20+11 13

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