Down, Down, Deeper, and Down

Session 12

1628, Fire Season, Fertility Week

Dramatis Personae

PCs

Berra
Irillo
Maalira (‘Lira)
Suuraki
Valseena
Varanis (Ranie)
Xenofos (X’fos)
Version X1138

NPCs

T’Dwarf
Some trollkin
Some more trollkin, but over in a different group
Some trollkin hidden in the mist
A dark troll
Several dead mostali who nevertheless took an active part in the battle
Well, a passive part

Events

The group returned to T’Dwarf to report on what had happened, and leave the unconscious Valseena somewhere safe.  On putting her down, Rajar forgot not to straighten up, knocking himself out.1Thus, their players got to take the session off.

After a brief moment of consideration, T’Dwarf summoned a replacement2‘Prepare self for combat in maximally efficient fashion. Report to Sublift 3, Base Adef for assignment to working crew.’, bringing in a dwarf dressed in iron.  It took about a quarter of an hour to arrive, and was introduced as Version X1138.  It had a briefing immediately, where the humans could hear.3This will be your temporary working crew. Working under supervisor Varanis, making suggestions as required, your own objectives are: 1) Damage to the enemy that you believe will be final, 2) Preservation of the lives of your crewmates, here, 3) Preservation of your own life  The group elected to call the Dwarf ‘Eks’, part of its name.  This was deemed acceptable.  Eks noted that the Mine Manager was wearing his second-best suit of armour.  T’Dwarf also told Eks to let them know they were approaching the pump room, if they went past a certain marker.  Eks let slip that he thought that spirit magic was a thing that could be intellectually understood, as could everything else.4Or words to that effect.

The group headed back into the tunnels.  Soon, as they got towards where the lights had flickered, Varanis heard Rajar yelling.  She wanted to go back, but Xenofos was sure he could see that the lights were flickering once more, and there was a short discussion.  During the discussion Berra decided that her magic would soon wear off, and stepped close to the light.  She was attacked by a spirit, and defeated it pretty easily, with the help of Humakt which was still on her from the last time.

Suuraki spotted trollkin tracks, blowing salt on them so that everyone else could see them.  With Eks up front to protect Suuraki in case of trolls, the group followed them until it was more obvious that they were on patrol, as the ground was wet here and there.  Suuraki could make out at least three trollkin that went back and forth a lot.  Berra told Eks not to use his shield to protect her, puzzling the dwarf greatly; Varanis explained it was a design flaw, and Berra then felt she had to explain about geases.

While walking, Berra asked Eks to describe the list of underground risks.  He listed troll-kind, Chaos, water/flooding, falling rocks, bad air, and explosive bad air.  This resulted in some discussion about Storm Bull, but at least the group had information on things they might have to worry about.

The group passed the marker where Eks was instructed to tell them about the Pump Room being up ahead, and then he had to do his best to tell them what a Pump Room was.  Xenofos noted that flooding might lead to crocodiles, which Eks said was only a small risk.

They approached a large round door, a little over a meter in diameter.  Once they were arranged for battle in Berra’s chosen order, Eks unlocked it by putting his hand into a dwarf-hand-shaped dent, and turning it.  The door swung open, revealing a very steamy room within.  Visibility was variable, but generally low.

Surprising no one, Berra charged in. Eks did as well, blocking most of the door as he went through, but the little Humakti wriggled in beside him. On entering the balcony, she spotted something moving down below and tore off down a set of stairs, while Eks took aim with his strange wand and shot at it before following her. 

Suuraki and Varanis were next through the door, managing to wriggle through almost together. Like Eks, the Praxian took stock of the situation, trying to work out what was in front of them. Varanis Varanised, which is to say she cast Leap and jumped across the open air towards a target she could barely see, turning left when realising she was between two targets. The thing facing her turned out to be a trollkin with a sling, so she hit it.

As Xenofos entered the balcony space, he was torn. His cousin had clearly leapt into trouble, but he could also make out the sounds of Berra in combat with an unknown foe, somewhere below them, and he could see something to the right.

As Suuraki and Xenofos examined both the situation and their options, the trollkin let loose with a flurry of sling stones. They did impressive damage to each other and the walls, leaving a vaguely Suuraki-shaped outline in one of the walls, but failing to cause any harm to the party. At this point, Suuraki decided that following Varanis is probably impractical, so he opted for the stairs, following Eks.

Xenofos threw one of his javelins at a target balanced near to Varanis, hitting something that went ‘clang’.  Later it transpired that this was a suit of dwarf armour.

Below, Berra was fighting what turned out to be a dark troll, clad in lead armour.  Eks failed to see a trollkin in ambush, running straight past it.  However, as Suuraki drew closer to Eks, he spotted it.  It was in fact one of two trollkin readying himself to ambush Eks. He tried to call out a warning, but yelled in Praxian instead. As it happened, the trollkin was not alone, but there was no safety in numbers. The trollkin missed Eks, and Suuraki struck.  Eks stepped into Berra’s fight with the Dark Troll, and neatly removed its head with his broadsword.  Between Eks and Suuraki, there was very little left of the trollkin.

Berra ran to try to help Varanis, but could not get up, as she had no idea where the ladder was, despite Eks stating it clearly.  She did not understand that the shaft was, in this context, the weight-bearing part of the pump.

Another trollkin plummeted to the ground, missing Suuraki. This one had come off the worse for engaging with the Vingan up above.  Suuraki spotted the ladder, and left a lantern there.  

Still on the balcony, Xenofos became a target. One lucky trollkin lodged a sling stone deeply into the Esrolian’s shoulder, disabling the arm and putting him at risk of death. He began a tactical retreat after getting hit in the other arm by two more shots, both of which fortunately bounced off his armour. Xenofos applied his first aid skills to removing the bolg embedded in his shoulder. This resulted in a clean wound that he could heal5AKA, ‘a first aid roll happened’, and he managed to keep himself together and call on Lhankor Mhy to help him heal himself.

On her balance beam, Varanis turned to what she thought was her next target. It turned out to be an immobile dwarf. Given its utter lack of response, she ignored it in favour of a trollkin. Bolgs flew past the Vingan, but she ignored them and instead took a swing at the trollkin. Frustratingly, he cried ransom and she was forced to accept. This did not stop her from decapitating the trollkin behind him.

Xenofos cast speedart on his javelin, and threw it at one of the ambushers on the right of the balcony, but missed.  After a bit of consideration, he cast Lantern on his shield and charged, finding that although the balcony was broken there, he could step around.  Eks, however, had heard the horrible sounds that the pump was making, as it jerked and a grinding came from the bearings.  He headed to the controls to stop it as quickly as he could.  

Suuraki began to climb up the ladder leading to Varanis’ balance beam. He reached the top in time to find the stationary troll, but at about the same time, the beam went from moving smoothly to stuttering dangerously as Varanis knocked an empty suit of iron armour from the end of it. She lost her own balance and slipped. She managed to land well6thanks to the Leap spell, but sadly, her prisoner did not. Suuraki sensibly took the ladder back down again and on reaching the bottom, found the corpse of the dwarf who’d been above him moments before.

Xenofos fought a trollkin and there was another clang – the thing he was striking at was an iron-armoured body.  However, he quickly transferred to the right target, the trollkin next to it, which panicked and jumped off the balcony, to a swift demise.  With that dealt with, he could make sense of where he was – on the end of a partially collapsed balcony, under which there was a hollow tunnel, which was how the troll band had broken in.

Berra reached the bottom of the ladder, following Suuraki, and then as trollkin plummeted and Eks called his warning, went back down it again.  Eks stopped the beam in good time, and now every trollkin had either fallen off a high beam, or had already been killed.  With quarter of an hour to get out, they did not have to hurry much.  After consultation with Eks, Berra told people to get the dwarf corpses out, and anything of value on the other corpses.7Possibly.  I can’t remember if we looted that corpse.  Up to Eks to decide if it was too dangerous. Xenofos pointed out where the damage to the room was, and Eks took note of that.

Given the extra weight of six dead dwarfs and the iron they were all wearing, and the difficulty of getting them back, Berra suggested taking only their heads, so the group could be sure they remained dead.  The troll corpse was left just outside the room, as it was already in two pieces, and did not need to be decommissioned.  The group went back.

They found T’Dwarf where they left him and Varanis once again failed to report effectively. She delegated the task to Berra8…who had just been GMing for three hours. instead, too irritable to deal with his particularity. Between them, Berra and Eks provided the details, with Suuraki adding a comment about the spirit in the lights. T’Dwarf ordered the Vingan to leave the corpse of the trollkin she’d carried out behind. It was forbidden to bring it into his domain. She argued, feeling responsible to the creature’s kin, but acquiesced in the end, in part because the group worked out that the dead troll was probably the one responsible for the trollkin in the first place.

As they returned to the moving room, T’Dwarf informed Eks that he could take a food break and would then head up the effort to rebuild the wall and repair the pump.. Acting on impulse, Varanis invited him to join them as the party went for a meal.  The Mine Manager did not forbid it, thus condoning the action, and Eks accepted.  They talked about the fight, and Eks asked to be told why Berra had thanked Suuraki for making the right decisions.  This was difficult to explain, but they did their best.  They found out that Eks did not know what a reward was, when Berra stared at him and asked, aghast.  Nobody had the heart to explain to him.

‘Prepare self for combat in maximally efficient fashion. Report to Sublift 3, Base Adef for assignment to working crew.’ – Letter
“So I do that.” – X1138

“Biology, the strong point of dwarves.” – Xenofos

“This will be your temporary working crew.
“Working under supervisor Varanis, making suggestions as required, your own objectives are:
1) Damage to the enemy that you believe will be final
2) Preservation of the lives of your crewmates, here
3) Preservation of your own life
“Good communications with your team should be maintained where possible. Leaving the team should only be considered if it has a high likelihood of achieving objective 1.” – T’Dwarf
“…I do note the order of 1 and 2…” – Xenofos

“The sling shot have all hit the wall behind you. There’s going to be a Suuraki-shaped patch of unmarked wall.” – GM Berra

GM: “That was a sling critical. You’ve still got a bolg embedded in the arm.”
X1138: “Cool! You’re in profit!”

tastes blood “That’s not trollkin blood.” – Suuraki