Expedition 33(a) - Charmingly Queer Islands

That's nice, let's avoid it.

June 18, 2017

[underground science building level 1]
[level 2]
[level 3]

Syathir Kendaeshi – Me. I’m an archery and ritual specialist. [Fighter 1]
Saiorse Brannoch – Our resident sneaky lockpicker. [Rogue 1]
Beau … – Friendly Neighbourhood Ranger. I’m pretty sure she’s braver than she thinks. [Ranger 2]
Jean-Lee “Gucci” (rest of name) – Behb. [Cleric 1]
Lee-Jean “Prada” (rest of name) – Behb Jr. [Paladin 1]

Plastic toothbrush (30gp) — sold
Plastic soap container (10gp) — sold
Biology treatise (15gp) — I bought this
Metallurgic compositions treatises part I and II (20gp) — Beau is buying these for JP
Record player w/ 3 records (40 gp + 3/disc) — sold
Canoes immune acid, resist fire (500 for the 2) — Kept. Obv.
100gp glassware — sold
8 Jars: 2 oils (1gp), 4 acids / bases (25gp ea) — sold
2 alchemists fire (50gp ea) — Keep?

200gp alchemy glassware –gives double alchemy proficiency b/c it’s very high quality — the Bebhs are buying this
50gp worth of Bunsen burners — sold
3 animal pelts, 20gp total value — sold
8 large petrified eggs, 3gp each — Beau is buying these for Tabby
A wheat bomb — mine. It’s not worth anything, but it’s cool. And I took the risk for it.

2 POI (the two facilities) – 250 gp
Log +100gp

Total 1570 gp in value; of which 711 is converted to GP, the rest is kept in various forms.
LMF gets the 2 canoes (500gp value)

The Behbs – alchemy set (shared), 57 114 gp ea
Beau – Petrified Eggs, Metallurgic Treatises, 170gp
Syathir – The biology treatise, 202 199 gp
Saiorse – N/A, 224 214 gp

324 (356 w/ on-time update)

Trip to the lake was uneventful. The Fela seem not to be very interested in us today for some reason. The scouting reports from our friend Lucens made it clear that there are three major islands to explore.

We decided to head to the SW island first, and landed at the NW tip of it. The area is moderately forested once we get a few feet back from shore, and we travel along the edge of the forest in order to keep an eye

We find a stone structure, and Prada, Saiorse and I move to examine it. We do a circle around the clearing to look for any danger. Beau and Gucci determine that this is a scrying pool, and Gucci waves me off when I try to perform a detect magic ritual. He then snorts a line of powder, and proceeds to explain that the pool is magical, containing enchantment and conjuration.

Prada tries to scoop some water out of the well, and the water forms into a weird and grabs her. She staggers, but stays up and we launch a volley at it. Beau heals Prada then the weird gets a devastating blow that takes Prada down (crit, 17 damage – temporary injury disadvantage on con saves). I grab Prada and run away, and we prepare to continue the fight, but the Weird does not pursue us. We feed Prada a potion, and carry on, planning to return and kill the Weird from the trees when we are in better condition. Later, we forget.

The high grass appears to have been a wheat field at one point – it now is growing wild outside of the boundaries of fences, etc. The area between the two forests on this island appears to have been logged within the last 10 years.

We get back to the canoes, and realize it would have been a good idea to hide them. Beau shows us a hollow under a tree [Beau Survival 16] to conceal them, and we hide them there and continue on our way.

After the full circle, we cut through the middle of the forest to see if we missed anything. Near the southern edge of the forest, we spot a wooden lean-to and a small campfire. It’s been a couple of weeks since anyone was here, but it is clear that intelligent things have been here not too long ago. The size of the lean-to and the remnants of some footprints suggest beings roughly Halfling sized. Beau believes that they were only here for a couple of days, then headed south towards the other forest.

We follow the footprints through to the other forest, but the tracks are a little old and we lose the trail [Beau survival 9]. We follow the SW shore of the island inside the bounds of the forest. After a short while we find another camp, with tracks leading north [Beau investigate 20]. We estimate that there were five or fewer of them. They appear to dart off in various directions during their travel.

Following those tracks (which are a couple hours old), we come across a large metal disc set into the ground, roughly 15ft in diameter and with another metal ring around it. We inspect the ring and the disk [Prada investigate 18], and the area surrounding it, noting that a tree nearby is metal and finding a lever on it.

We stop so I can cast comprehend languages, then pull the lever. The disc descends 5ft, and claws cover it as it continues to go down.

We test it a couple of times, and decide to go down. Saiorse pulls the lever and hides nearby, the rest of us decide to descend. We find that we go down ~200ft with metal walls, and the tube opens up into a 20ft corridor (7ft tall). There are buttons on the wall. I suspect that they operate this transport tube.

We cut the lights since we don’t know what’s here, and move to the large pair of 15ft wide sliding doors at the end of the hall, and try to listen at them. We hear nothing (Beau perception 12, Gucci perception 11).

We push the buttons, starting with the top. The disc goes back up. Saiorse tells me that she saw the disc come up and decided to come down since her friends seem to be missing. She pulls the lever and hops on, emerging in the corridor where we are waiting.

We test the rest of the buttons, which suggest that there are two additional levels (probably below us?). The second button brings the lift-device (lift from here on) to us. We decide to go through the corridors instead of using the lift further. We start to explore the complex, which has many passages and numerous doors. See the map for more details.

The first batch of small doors we come across have a foul smell behind them [Beau perception 21]. As she is inspecting the second batch of doors, Beau notices a sound coming from one of the hallways. Prada peeks around the corridor, and sees a room with a cluster of broken down benches, tables, etc. and 4 gnome-sized humanoids with unkempt hair scrabbling around on the floor. The walls are covered in runes, equations, etc. The writing is a combination of words, math and magical scripture. It seems extremely chaotic, and all of the humanoids are writing (often squabbling & writing on top of one another’s work)

We confer briefly and then Beau and I go around the corner. The humanoids stare at us, and I approach to touch the wall and understand it with the last of my comprehend languages. When I touch the wall, the gnome-things scream and charge. One of them hurts me slightly, and I pin the armed one to the wall.

A brawl ensues in which we try to subdue /calm them but they continue to attack. Beau tries repeatedly to calm them unsuccessfully, soothing one which turns back to what it was doing. Eventually, Prada loses patience and stabs one as it attacks Gucci. I think any negotiation is lost, and fire a shot into one of them, but eventually Beau manages to calm another one and I think better of it. Prada tries to intimidate them, and scares one. The final one stares at Prada and she collapses into laughter [Wis save fail]. Prada shakes it off, and is immediately charmed by it [another failed wis save].

Eventually we pacify them, and I inspect the writing further – eventually I determine that it is working on the orbits of celestial bodies, and it seems to be trying to figure out how to put things into space. I give it some notes from my studies of that area [arcana 26] and it seems to think some of them are useful.

We decide that we can’t make any more progress with these gnomes and decide to rest. As we rest, gnomes come in and out of the room, and the relentless writing continues. Lee-Jean suspects that something is controlling the gnomes.

In the room beside the gnome-things we find a weird orange-goo making machine. I could not make anything out of it, other than that it generates sizzling orange good every few minutes.

We find some sleeping quarters – I investigate them to see if we can learn any more. I find a piece of clear non-metallic material that bends but holds its shape. It’s 8 inches long, and has bristles – it seems to resemble a toothbrush, but made of this strange material.

We unlock a door [lockpick 13], and find a dusty laboratory which seems to have been unoccupied recently. We found 100gp worth of delicate glassware – it seems to have an alchemical purpose. Prada searches the area, and finds a book which Beau is able to read. It is a treatise on humanoid biology – focused especially on blood flow. We re-lock the lab with a key we found inside, and continue investigating.

We find another couple of labs that have been covered in writing. In one of them we find two books.

Saiorse unlocks another (less dusty) laboratory. The room appears to be ventilated with air flowing in and out of it. Bunsen burners here, etc – we might try and take those later. At the back of the room are metal doored cabinets. One is locked, and Saiorse unlocks it. There are a number of clear liquids in jars inside. We will probably come back for those too.
The last set of locked cabinets has a number of metal cylinders inside that appear to be empty.
We leave & re-lock this room.

We find some more sleeping quarters, and continue exploring.

We realize we never went through the doors near the beginning, and backtrack to the double doors by the lift. They open up into a large room with a number of crates. We search through them [investigate 16], and find 200 gp worth of fancy glassware. We gather up all the loot, and put it in one of the locked labs. We also collect 10 bunsen burners for a total of 50gp.

At this point we have explored this level. We go into a corridor that slopes down sharply (45 degrees).

Once the corridor levels out, we find an area that appears to have 8 cages arrayed around the outside of a semicircular corridor, and another 6 along the inside of the semicircle. ~3 cages have normal looking bones, ~10 are somewhat odd looking (a cat like one with huge leg bones), and some are extremely crazy. The age range of the bones is between 30 and 300+ years, suggesting that some are pre-corruption and some are post-corruption.

We find some more storage rooms, and search them. One crate contains 8 egg-shaped rocks about the size of someone’s head. Beau believes that they are actual petrified eggs. Another has animal pelts, which seem well preserved. Two crates are empty except for packing material.

We find the lift again – we’re on the 3rd level now for sure.

The next room we find is full of filing cabinets. We find a locked room with a desk. There seems to be nothing in it. We then find a bunch more pens – there are ~8 gnomes moving around and scribbling on the walls here. There are a bunch more gnomes actually, we think we’ve seen 2-3 dozen gnomes squabbling and scribbling.

We find a hallway covered in orange goo, and the floor in that hallway is moving. There is another room that is mostly full of orange goo.

The orange goo is acidic and starts to lurch towards us when Saiorse pokes it with a stick. A flashing blade at the edge of the room slices off a chunk of goo, and then flames fry the goo. We decide the goo / processing is too dangerous and back off.

We find some offices and search them. They seem to be thoroughly emptied. A filing cabinet in one is labelled “expenses” and “project”.

We find four preserving jars, and gather them up.

Gucci alerts us that he experienced a weird intrusion into his mind, and we back out. Lee-Jean now has a splitting headache [failed int save] and drops, taking 10 damage. [temp injury, loss of religion skill] We run away, and administer a potion. I suspect an intellect devourer or some other similar psionic creature, but elect not to confirm my hypothesis.

We take the lift down to the final level, and find ourselves looking at a dense underground forest-like area in a room behind a gate. The room looks huge, and the plants seem fairly natural. We decide to explore it. We think these mushrooms are probably valuable.

We investigate, and start hearing scratching & clicking sounds. I head towards one of them, and the group follows.

We spot two 7-ft tall furry creatures with hooks for hands, try to sneak away and barely manage to get out before the [hook horrors] reach the door – we lock the doors & watch the claws scratch against the exit for a minute before backing off.

Collecting our glassware and other valuables, we make our way out and stash the treasure with the canoes.

There is a dark area of forest, approaching makes it clear that they are full of webs. There are two human-sized spiders, and one humanoid thing that might have had spidery features.

1st night – we sleep without incident in the facility.

We check back on the spiders, and they seem to still be sleeping. We traverse the wheat field, which contains exploding wheat. I take one for study, and pack it very carefully.

After that we head to the second island.

We head to the island with the buildings on it – we find a tunnel in the side of the cliff as we approach, and paddle into it. It opens into a large grotto. There are a number of white non-metallic non-wooden canoes here, and there are a number of gnomes here. One of them shot Beau with a metallic dart, and it caused comprehend languages. They had a brief conversation & Beau indicated that they started asking who we were and what we were doing here. They also repeatedly asked us for authorization and whether we had filled out various forms (12b, 121, 14u, etc)

After that they shoot the rest of us. They start asking for authorization to be there – apparently it was a secret facility. We tell them that the guild has been given sole authorization to make treaties with anyone on the continent. They had us sign some strange documents that claim to absolve them of ‘liability’ for any harm that comes to us, and take us through to a council. They

They tell us that they have been here since before the corruption, and that they just kind of rode it out because they were in a protected facility that was designed to contain dangerous things.

They use a zone of truth effect on us, then tell us about themselves. They tell us that when they come of age each of them becomes obsessed with a specific concept, or creation and go insane in pursuit of it unless they solve it. If they solve it, they become sane again

They give us permission to explore the islands – warning us that the final island is full of warlike inventors, and that they tend to fight each other and create increasingly dangerous things.

Estimate – 12 who have achieved their obsessions, 20 who are obsessed, 20-40 who are too young to be obsessed.

Warned us that the lake eats plant matter – our canoes are slowly dissolving. We have been given new canoes that will resist it.

They seemed to believe that they had been spared from the corruption, but I am not convinced. I am confident that the obsession is a form of corruption, and I’m not convinced by the ostensible restoration of their sanity afterwards (or their possession of it beforehand). Also, I am highly skeptical based on my knowledge of history that signing forms of the sort they provided was ever an integral part of the old empire’s practices.



James_Elcombe JamesMinor

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