Two weeks in a row, we’re going strong! This week again we have Flint and Kardin as well as a new character, Ilsa, who’s part matronly healer, part shepherd (she’s also Flint & Arak’s aunt).
Back at Camp
Rewinding a day, Captain Arak comes to wake up Ilsa. He wants her help looking after Halel. The host’s Khirurgeon (Khirurgy is a Dwarven doctoring skill and covers quite a bit of ground), Tigh, is looking after her, but Arak is worried that Halel is poisoned and Tigh isn’t really treating her properly. Ilsa agrees to check things out. She goes to the medical tent where Halel is being cared for. It looks like she’s being pretty well cared for, the bad laceration on her neck from the attempted strangling is still inflamed, but clean. Tigh is in the tent, reeking of alcohol. Tigh is reluctant (to put it lightly) to let anyone else take a look for Halel. “I’m the doctor! This is MY job!” Ilsa is able to keep him a bit distracted by talking about different things (she also learns that Arak apparently has a thing for Halel) and eventually gets a good look at the young girl. “Look here, do you see the color of her lips and the way her tongue is extended? She’s definitely been poisoned and the treatment is simple” (successful Khirurgy test). “Bah, we just need to keep this wound clean. She’s got a bit of a fever from infection, that’s all. Now get out of here! This is my patient and I’ll take care of her!”
Unable to make Tigh see reason, Ilsa heads out into the camp. She figures her only chance at getting to the patient is to distract Tigh away from her for long enough. Ilsa decides a little family drama is just what’s called for and determines that not only is drinking on the job like Tigh is a huge social sin, but that it’s been an ongoing argument between Tigh and his father. So, she gets Tigh’s dad involved and while they’re yelling at one another she gets into the tent and applies a poultice to the wound on Halel’s neck that will cleanse the poison. Unfortunately, she’s caught going behind the doctor’s back by Tigh and his father and that’s even more of a social no-no thank drinking (failed Family Wise with Clan Wise FoRK). Ilsa’s poultice has an obvious effect on Halel’s health, but High Captain Grahm can’t let Ilsa’s mis-step go, so he sends her out of camp with the group that’s going to the ziggurat.
The Next Night at the Ziggurat
Kardin comes stumbling back into camp, heaving and vomiting. He’s holding his hand where there’s a large purplish welt of some sort. He can barely get a word out. Luckily Ilsa comes to the rescue and without any warning sharply stabs the welt to lance it. She recognizes his symptoms as similar to what Halel was going through so she also applies a poultice to the wound and he begins to show recovery pretty quickly. Kargin tells how he found a recently abandoned site that must have belonged to Urgo, but he left a nasty surprise and something stabbed his hand. Looks like that’s two poisonings under Urgo’s belt now. Turns out he’s been using the berries Flint and company found a few days ago when scavenging for food that made them violently ill. Definitely have to be more careful from now on.
Down the Shaft
The Dwarves wake up the next morning and Grahm has sent a runner with a message. With the news of the dwarven shaft as well as all the writings he’s sending some more personal to check out structural integrity and he’s also sent along Fergus, the chronicler. They’re on the way and will be arriving later this morning behind the runner. Kardin & Flint decide to descend the shaft Kardin had discovered yesterday. They borrow one of Captain Arak’s dwarves as backup and ask Ilsa to come along in case they need any medical help. They’re able to make their way back to the room with the entrance to the shaft with no trouble. They pull away the stones and Flint starts making preparations to climb down. With a little light he can see that there are rings along the walls at regular intervals, hinting at some sort of pulley system in the past. “I’ll go first and set the rope. I’llcall up if all is clear.” Flint slowly makes his way down the rock wall, anchoring the rope to rings along the way to help Kardin & Ilsa once they follow. He’s able to get to the bottom with little trouble (successful Climbing test).
Flint takes a few minutes to look around and discovered a circular room about 50 feet in diameter with 6 tunnels leading off and a waterway passing through. Seeing and hearing no signs of anything else down here he calls up that it’s safe to come down. Kardin climbs down and with the help of Flint’s guidance is able to reach the problem without incident (successful Beginner’s Luck Climbing). Ilsa, however, isn’t quite as lucky. She gets most of the way down, but loses her grip on the last bit of climbing and twists her ankle upon landing (failed Beginner’s Luck Climbing). She sits a moment tending her ankle (successful Health test) while Flint & Kardin check out the tunnels more. There are some way-runes near the tunnels and it looks like one passageway leads to the forge, 4 lead to residential & storage areas, and the 6th to some mining tunnels. “The forge! I have to see the forge!” Kardin blurts out.
Once Ilsa is up on her feet, the four dwarves set off towards the forge. While the large chamber was rough, unworked stone, they soon pass into a tunnel that is smooth and worked by dwarven hands. The tunnel is wide enough for 3 dwarves to walk abreast. They walk on for a ways and the tunnel opens into a larger more decorated room. In the middle are 6 dwarf-sized figures. As the party walks into the room, the figures turn their heads as one and seem to come to life. They’re the general size and shape of dwarves, but their heads are the heads of animals. They appear to be made of metal and stone. Some of them are brandishing weapons while others seem to have weapons built right into their arms. Whatever these things are, the Dwarves have never seen anything like it. They must have been crafted by dwarves, no other people have the skill to create something so well.
As the creations advance, the party backs up into the narrower tunnel to keep from getting surrounded. The figures stop, but don’t go back to their previous locations. They must be defenders of some sort. “The forge has to be past there, that room looks just like the hearth-forge entrances back home. We have to get past them!” Kardin says. Easier said than done as they look quite formidable. Kardin decides to look around for something useful and finds a usable bucket (successful Scavenging). He fills the bucket with water from the small river in the main chamber, then comes back and rushes one of the creatures and splashes it with water, hoping that whatever makes it move is stopped by water. It has no obvious effect and Kardin barely retreats back into the tunnel before getting swarmed. They decide the only they’re getting through to the forge is simply to take the creatures on.
They plan to stay at the mouth of the tunnel so the creatures superior numbers aren’t as advantageous. They take on the creations, but are unable to make any real headway past them (failed Hammer vs. Brawling). The dwarves retreat to the main entrance after Kardin and Flint take a few blows (a Light Wound each). “We’re going to need to come back with reinforcements if we’re going to make it past those things.” “Agreed. Let’s check out these other tunnels.”
Four of the other tunnels lead to residential areas. All told, 120 or so dwarven families could be housed comfortably down here. The tunnels leading into the housing areas have some small amount of storage areas as well as some carved frescoes. Most prominent in all the carvings is a bald, beardless dwarf. “That’s exactly like the statue I saw where I found the forge key,” Flint says.
They decide to check out the remaining tunnel where rock was being mined. Eventually they reach the end and Kardin is able to find a couple good samples of iron and silver. “There’s still veins of ore down here with good, usable ore!” One thing they notice checking out all these areas. There’s no evidence of any sort of disaster or forced retreat. There’s not broken bits of furniture or equipment all over the place like you’d expect if the inhabitants left on short notice. All the areas are still well made and in good condition, so no major disasters that might have cause areas to collapse. These areas look like a great place for the dwarves to settle for the time being.
The Spiders’ Lair
Before climbing back out, Kardin & Flint take a bit to to rest and recover from the fight with the constructs (successful Health tests). The team climbs back up with no more complications and decides it’s time to scope out what’s going on with the spider (or spiders) that Flint encountered yesterday. Flint leads them back down the way he went and eventually comes to the room covered in webbing. It’s since been re-covered and there’s no signs of his passage through there yesterday. He makes a bit of noise and calls out and eventually a spider comes along the webbing (while a second one stays along the walls). Judging by the lack of wounding, neither of these are the spider he dealt with yesterday.
Flint explains how his people have come to be stranded here and are looking for shelter. There’s no reason that the spiders and dwarves can’t exist peacefully and share the space. The spider (when asked states that the Dwarves can refer to her as Dew, “the word you use for water on the ground in the morning”) says that the spiders won’t cross into the territory of Midnor and the Sons of Midnor aren’t to cross into the spider’s territory (which is everything past this webbed room).
Meanwhile Kardin takes the opportunity to examine the 2nd spider. At first glance they seem pretty identical, but once Dew points out the 2nd spider is a bodyguard of sorts, Kardin starts to pick out small differences (successful Beginner’s Luck Great Spider Wise). While the bodyguard appears to be quite plain and nondescript with larger mandibles fangs, Dew has unique markings around her face and body. They’d seem to indicate she has some importance within whatever community exists here, while the bodyguard is like some faceless soldier. Flint puts forward how he thinks trading could be good between the two cultures. He mentions how he knows this used to be a place of trading for two peoples to come together, the Sons of Midnor and the Children of the Sun “Those were the bad times!” Dew says, but doesn’t elaborate. “What are you interested in trading?”
“We’re dwarves. We can provide all sorts of crafted goods. Right now we’re hoping you can give us knowledge. Knowledge of this place and knowledge of its past.”
“For knowledge, you must trade dwarves.”
“Midnor used to give us Dwarves.”
“We’re not Midnor’s people. For now, we’ll stay out of each others way. I don’t have the authority to speak for all my people, but I hope we can work something out in the future.” Leaving it at that, the party goes back above ground.
Back on the surface, the party of Dwarves are confronted almost immediately by Fergus, the Head Chronicler. He launches into a rant about he should have gone down with them and how as Head Chronicler all new knowledge should go through him. Kardin really doesn’t want to hear any of it so he storms off after calling Fergus out for destroying writings in the staircase, then goes off to write up a daily report to have sent back to Grahm.
As Kardin is storming off, Fergus yells out “well you would, too, if you knew what I knew!” There’s two histories of the dwarves. There’s what most dwarves are raised learning and there’s what the chroniclers know and pass down, but keep secret.
Flint asks what Fergus knows and Fergus goes on about how Dwarves were never meant to come back down here. It’s too dangerous. “Why? Does it have to do with Midnor?”
“What do you know about Midnor!?” Fergus blurts out.
Flint tells him about the great spiders referring to the dwarves as the Sons of Midnor and he’s starting to think this beardless bald dwarf might be one and the same. Fergus says how Midnor was a bad dwarf. The histories say he trafficked in really dark things and was known to sacrifice dwarves, which is inline with what the great spiders were saying. He says that he really should have been with them in the mines and that if this truly is the home of Midnor that they can’t stay here. It’s too dangerous and too much chance of disturbing something awful. Fergus is reluctant to go on at that point. But, at least for the time being Fergus, Flint, & Kardin agree: the mines need to be explored more fully and first they have to get past the creations down there (which Fergus admits to having no knowledge of).
End of Session
Another good session with some questions answered and new questions popping up. Out of character,we know that the stone/metal creatures we encountered are a type of collosi that we talked about when we first put the game together. So, we’re all interested in learning more about them and definitely finding out what secrets are in the forge. I definitely see a Duel of Wits coming up soon. I fully expect we’ll get down into the forge and verify that the mines were Midnor’s, which of course means Fergus will tell Grahm that we can’t stay, so we’ll have to convince him otherwise.
I also realized at the beginning of the session that Flint doesn’t have armor training, which means penalties to do pretty much anything while wearing his new shiny Dwarven mail. Definitely need to find some down time for him so he can get some time to learn how to properly wear heavier armor (before all he had was light armor which wasn’t an issue). I avoided too many complications this session by not being in front too much and mostly helping with rolls — and I removed the armor to climb down the mine shaft, but don’t think I didn’t consider keeping it on, penalty or not!