Agreeing to follow Warbird in pursuit of Goran Steelheart Scourge of Hyland, Kyrian Stone, Nero Torvus, Oskar Dankil, and Rennard Redhill venture into the depths of the upside down Elder city beneath Gathering Island.
Once the group had taken the lifts down to the level below the power center where Kyrian, Nero, and Oskar had last seen Goran and Grelnik, Rennard took point and began to scout ahead. His sharp eyes paid off almost immediately, as he spotted a trap that had been left in the stairwell. Suspecting that the trap indicated the way Goran had went, he had Kyrian lower him by a rope, where he found another level with a series of hallways that he bypassed, and descended one more floor to a broad, circular level with clear walls out to the ocean beyond. This floor was flooded to about waist level on the halfling, but there were no other immediate threats, or signs of the barbarian and the gnome. Rennard explored one ancient office room, and recovered a golden dragon statuette, and a well preserved Elder era coat and hat before growing bored and returning back to the upper level where he’d found the trap.
Deciding to pursue the initial floor further, Rennard opened the first door to reveal a closet with nothing of interest but some old cleaning tools and supplies. The next door was locked and proved too difficult for the halfling to open. Moving on to the next, Rennard unlocked the door, but heard a rustling sound beyond the door and left it for someone of stouter constitution to explore while he moved on to the next room.
Within the opened room, Kyrian and Nero uncovered an Imp, bound within a circle, locked hovering upside down. The Imp claimed to be bound by a Geas to answer three questions for anyone who entered. Nero quickly jumped on the opportunity and asked for the Imp’s true name – believing it would grant him power over the denizen of the nine hells. The Imp grudgingly admitted its name, and forthwith answered every question that Nero presented to him. Nero asked if there were any links to the other cities here within this city. The Imp indicated that he only had the names basic data for the other cities in the archives at his disposal. Nero asked if there was anywhere else within this building that might have that information, and the Imp stated that the ‘server’ would be able to get them virtually any information he desired. Nero asked for directions, and the Imp directed the group down one level, and all the way to the end of the hall.
While Nero was questioning the Imp, Rennard decided to move along to the next door, which opened without any of those silly human privacy restricting locks. The upside down room, had the broken remains of a table and chairs, and several cabinets. While exploring the cabinets, Rennard suddenly went stiff and dropped to the ground. From the doorway, Oskar observed a strange brown fungus grow immediately across the floor like a carpet. The temperature in the room, already notably lower than the rest of the complex had been, immediately dropped substantially. Not willing to leave his companion in danger, Oskar lept to the rescue, and felt the heat being drawn from his body as he grabbed the halfling and pulled him to safety, the carpet growing even larger on the heat from Oskar’s body.
Calling upon The Shield, Oskar restored the warmth to Rennard so that he once again could move, and the group followed the Imp’s directions in spite of Warbird’s expressed doubts on the devil’s trustworthiness.
As the group worked their way down the hall in the lower level at the Imp’s direction, a large, catepillar like creature with tentacle-like protrustions on it’s face emerged from one of the side rooms. Kyrian rushed to the front to protect his team mates, but missed with his initial strike. Fortuneately, the creature also misplaced its return blow. Nero boldly lept off of the wall and vaulted behind the creature, landing a strong blow to its flank. Warbird attempted to run up onto the creature’s back, but slipped and fell. As the creature turned to attack the fallen chieftain’s daughter, Kyrian struck again, this time landing a blow that hacked about three quarters of the creatures head free from its body.
Exploring the room that the creature had exited, the group found a small box mounted to the wall with the symbol of the Healer on it, and a large belt with runes on it that shrank to fit Rennard when he put it on. The box opened easily revealing a Healing Kit, and two vials of fluid, one blue, the other orange.
Moving on, the group passed several doors, and went directly to the end of the hall where the Imp had told them the ‘Server’ awaited. Rennard found the room unlocked, but encountered some resistance as he pushed the door open. The room beyond was flooded and water began to trickle out into the hallway as the door opened. Within, the room was full of boxes, crates, and barrells, all floating along the right hand wall, where a series of ‘tubes’ were mounted in the wall, with shimmering energy at the mouth of each. Nero immediately forged forward to explore the contents of a nearby crate – finding rotted old coffee within.
But the group was not alone. A pair of half-fish half-men emerged from the murk of the water and attacked. Nero cast a fiery dart at the first with minimal effect, and recieved a viscious bite to his arm in return. Kyrian stepped forward and delivered a strike to the second assailant who appeared focused on him, and Warbird sprang to the attack, rolling through the water between the two fish-men and delivering strong attacks to both with her quarterstaff, falling the first that had already been injured by the caravan guard. (Note: Revision- GM double checked Tumble rules and confirmed no Attack of Opportunity is provoked if the roll is successful, which it was, so Warbird did not sustain damage. Thank you Ian for noting this rule.) Rennard attempted to finish off the final opponent with a bullet from his sling, but launched the missile wide of the target, losing it in the water. Badly injured and now alone, the remaining Skum decided to withdraw. Evading a parting blow from Kyrian, the creature fled toward a tunnel leading down into dark waters, but it wasn’t fast enough, and Kyrian’s pursuit ended the creature before it could return with more enemies.
Not finding anything that resembled the ‘server’ the Imp had described, they decided to search the rest of the level. Finding another locked door, Rennard opened it and revealed a sphere of water floating in the air, connected to a series of tubes going to the wall – exactly what the devil had described. He had apparently ‘forgot’ to mention the four foot tall, rust colored dog with glowing eyes that protected the server. Kyrian lept to the front, and took the beast’s first bite with his shin guard, taking no damage to himself, but leaving molten tooth marks in his armor. His counter strike ripped a gash in the creatures face, and destroyed an eye, then Nero struck home with a frozen blast that didn’t appear to faze the creature much. Enraged, the hound belched forth a blast of fire that engulfed Nero and Kyrian. Badly burned, Nero dropped to the ground smoldering while the Stone Caravan Guard withstood the pain, but appeared unsteady on his feet. Warbird once again lept into the fray and delivered two strikes to the creature, the first smacking across its flank and the second breaking it’s left front limb. Kyrian pressed the attack, forcing the creature back from Nero’s innert form and giving Oskar time to step up and restore him to consciousness with his prayers, but paid for it when the creature launched another savage attack and drove the already badly burned warrior to the floor. With an exhausted final blow, Warbird delivered the decisive strike that sent the creature finally to unconsciousness.
Burned, frost bitten, and chewed up, the group attempted to discern the purpose for this levitating orb of water, but even Nero’s keen intellect and experience with magic could not find a way to make it function, and still there was no sign of Steelheart having passed this way.