A summary of what happened during the game sessions:
September 14, 2001 - Session 15
Winter found that there was a pile of rubble in the corner, with a small bit of light coming from underneath it. It proved to be a common, with the light spell cast upon it. But no sign of what had made the sound he had heard.
Jack, meanwhile, went to work on the door. This lock, however, proved to be beyond his expertise. While the others came to gather around him, Ezhno was asked to break the door down with his hooves. With one quick and mighty blow, the door broke open, hanging crazily from its hinges.
This room was a circular one, like a tower room, but the stairs in this case went downward instead of upward. The rest of the room looked like a sitting room, with a fireplace (which, upon inspection, Jon discovered the flue went downwards instead of upwards). Instead of heading down the stairs immediately, the group decided to check out the rest of the doors on this level. Since they could not lock the door behind them, Hildegaarde was asked, and agreed to, position herself on the balcony area and notify the others if she saw anything.
Continuing counter-clockwise around the balcony, the next door was opened easily by Jack this time, and proved to be an extremely well-appointed guest room. The furnishings alone would bring a fortune, provided one could get them out of the house. The four-poster bed was even made up, with a strange, soft woolen blanket at the foot of the bed. There was another door, and again the windows that looked out upon stone.
This door was not locked in the standard manner, and opened with no difficulty on to the most luxurious bathing chamber any of the group had ever seen. There was a spigot with handles that, when turned, produced cold and hot water respectively, along with a huge tub with another high-placed spigot with handles for cold and hot water. The tub itself had some controls, and holes in the sides of it at unusual places. Jack played with the controls, and it produced a roaring, groaning sound, and was quickly turned off. There were also toilets with running water, and the softest towels imaginable. Another door lead out, both doors capable of being barred from the inside only.
This door lead onto what must have been another guest chamber, this one with a slightly more feminine air about it. A quick search turned up nothing else, so it was onto the next room.
The next door was the one opposite the tower, and proved to be a mirror image of the other in style, if not in the substance of what was in the room. This was a more richly-appointed bed chamber, with a fireplace and furnishings fit for the person who must have been the master of the house. The covers on the bed were even softer and warmer than the previous bedchambers' were. Sana took an extra set of the extremely soft sheets she found in a truck at the foot of the bed. There were stairs here that headed downward also, but a decision was made to leave those be for the time, and continue looking in the rooms.
The last two rooms were to the right and left as the group had descended the stairs to this level. There was glass (and the obligatory rock) between the rooms, as one descended the stairs. The rooms themselves appeared to be children's rooms, with smaller furniture and a partition in the back that held a more primitive version of the bathing chamber, with a basin in each that was full of fresh, clear water. Inspecting the water, Sana dumped the water out of one of them and reset the basin back up, and watched it fill up again, slowly. As long as the basin was flat, the water filled to the brim. When the basin was tilted, the water trickled in and out, but did not fill to overflowing. The group quickly grabbed up both of these, and maneuvered them in such a way so they would not fill their packs with water when carried.
That left the lower tower rooms the only ones not explored. They went back to the room with the broken door, and cautiously proceeded downward, with Ezhno staying up top for now. He could get down the spiral stairs that hugged the wall, but if the group had to retreat, it would be most difficult for him, and for them.
The lower room appeared to be a workroom of a magical sort, with beakers and apparatus on a table, and a chest in the room with a few chairs. It was behind that chest that they encountered their first living being in the house (not counting Hildegaarde, who was outside it when they ran into her again). A small man, a gnome in fact, hiding behing the chest, wailing, imploring them not to hurt him.
He told the group that his name was Gleam, and he had been "hired" by a woman, named Nise, to find magic things and secret places for her. He also said that he had been told that it would be a partnership, but it had not ended up being that. He had been searching and looking for secret doors too, but hadn't found anything yet. He also mentioned an elf, and grumbled about why couldn't he look for secret doors. Winter made him extremely nervous and jumpy, though he did not detect as evil when Winter tried.
When Sana asked Winter to leave the room for a moment, Gleam got very frightened and renewed his task of searching for secret doors along the walls. Sana was in a quiet discussion of her disbelief of the gnome's story with the others near the stairs, when Gleam suddenly yelped and vanished, an echo of his shout fading in the distance.
Rylan and Jack immediately went to searching the area the gnome was last in, and in no time discovered the secret area, which was a movable stone in the floor, right along the wall.
While the two of them searched the area and what lay beyond the opening, Sana turned her attention to the locked chest the gnome had been hiding behind. With quick work, she had the lock open, and discovered some items on the top. The background magic of the place made it especially difficult to tell if the items were magical, but their aura was a bit brighter than the rest of the area around them. She found a jar, a scroll tube, a belt, and a backpack. She was convinced that there was more with a quick inspection of the chest, and discovered a false bottom in the chest. Wanting to be careful with it and not finding a way to open it, she asked Jon for help. He smashed at the bottom with his fist, and with two blows, broke open the bottom and found a crystal figurine of a veiled woman. This also possibly radiated magic, again glowing just slightly more than the rest of the room.
Jack, meanwhile, had found a short ladder leading down, as the "roof" of the tower decended. This must have been storage/attic space before, for the ladder ended as the roof narrowed to a point, giving just enough help for someone to climb up/down into this area. The point, however, was broken off, and a hole going down into blackness, along with the faint sound of someone yelling as they descended. Jack tied a rope to the ladder and headed toward the hole, with Rylan assisting him.
Once he was at the edge, he could hear the sound of rushing water nearby, and the echoing sounds indicating a large cave. Dropping his light source, it fell a long distance, showing him the vast cave that was beneath the upside-down house. Getting another light stone, Jack descended beyond the safety of the roof and into the cave, and saw the most unnatural sight in an very unnatural/unusual day. The rushing water was made by the river that ran through the cave, straight up the wall, to then gush out into the river they had seen outside, above ground. Taking a moment to stare, Jack then looked around him, and realized if he went to the very end of his rope and swung back and forth, he could make it to the wall where the reversed waterfall was. The rest of the house was encased in stone, and he couldn't see the other tower.
Just as he began to swing, a distant *twang* was heard, followed by another, and two crossbow bolts shot past him. They were not that near him, but the longer he stayed out there, even swinging, the more visible a target he was, and with Rylan's help, he quickly reascended the rope into the roof.
The group decided that the bugbears must have a way down, and it must be in the other tower. There was no way to get to Gleam, even if he wasn't working willingly for the woman, so they had to find a way down. The other tower was the only other possible way they'd found so far. Margaret stoneshaped the hidden stone in the floor, so it would not be accessable again from above or below.
The other tower's stairs descended the same way, but this tower room was encased totally with windows that looked out upon rock. That is, except for the three nearest where the stairs ended. These windows had been broken and smashed out, and the rock chipped or shaped or broken away. Two ropes attached to strong furniture in the glass-enclosed room descended into the gaps provided by the windows.
They started to bring the ropes up, but then the group decided to cut them, cutting off an escape route. And while debating their next action, suddenly they were acted upon! A huge fireball exploded into the room coming from the windows, knocking everyone for a loop, even those who were able to recognize it as an illusion. They still took damage, for it was a very powerful spell. Rylan fell to the floor in a smoking heap, and Margaret quickly tended to his wounds. While the others had been injured, none were as severely so as Rylan.
The group quickly moved back up the stairs to nurse their wounds, and decide upon a course of action. They locked the door behind them and Sana offered one of her magicks to ward the area, so they would know if someone came into it. Since they were nearly out of magicks and had been going for a long time, they decided to rest for the evening in the guest rooms, setting a watch schedule which would allow their spellcasters to regain their spells.
So the group slept, warded and watched, and awaited their next decision.
No quote of the evening was recorded.
This page was last updated 09/28/01.