War and Subterfuge

Mazes and traps

I am back with my fellow recruits —or would it be better to say draftees? Haven’t figured that out yet. I can’t shake the feeling that Raiden’s death and subsequent resurrection was my fault, even though I know only the death part was. Also, the fault of poor strategy. Our band is too individualistic for group tactics, though I like to think that changed today.

As we walked North I found myself watching Raiden. He seems well-adjusted to his return to life, no signs of a death wish that I can see, or no more than before. Some people might classify his bloodthirsty pursuit of others’ death as a morbid sign, but I know better. Revenge is more about life than death.

We followed that acrid smoke and the sounds of bombardment North until we got to [the city]. It had already fallen. The citizens were all gone —evacuated. We gained the confidence of a commander on our side who told us they were about to blow the city with a strange black dragon powder. Luckily for him, we weren’t Rhonian spies about to betray his plans to the enemy inside the city. We really need some sort of official identification, especially as these outlying commanders don’t seem to know about the secret groups working on their side. Well I suppose “secret” sums it up, but still. Inconvenient. Possibly tactically problematic. Secure, though.

The commander gave us a map of the sewer system. We had an hour. Luckily the city wasn’t very big. The sewers were unsurprisingly sewerish in smell and consistency… but they provided a useful passage under the front lines. We encountered two filth monsters who seemed to be made of shit. Then we passed a small, scrabbling creature, which we talked our way past… Keiran felt an affinity for the poor little guy and tried to talk it into escaping the city with us, but I don’t think it was bright enough to grasp an idea more complex than “junk” and “lair”.

Near the Northern exit the passage was blocked. We backtracked and then, still having almost an hour, we went up to the surface in pursuit of the sorcerer who apparently controls the Rhonian army in these parts. Thanks to our map, we came up in the store room of the city hall. First we fought some very creep animated suits of armour. I thought they were super cool, but there’s no arguing with the fact that they were annoying to have to face. Flames did absolutely nothing to them. Raiden and Halya beat them to a pulp, though. Halya’s cool —cool as a cucumber, as they say. Or someone says. I don’t know who says that actually. But she is.

Anyway, what happened then… oh right our plan to trap the sorcerer and his sidekick on the stairs backfired a hundred and ten percent when they ran away instead of coming down to kill us, and used the giant statue out front to kill us instead. I guess we kind of forgot about magic. Duh.

Some people jumped out a window (completely unnecessarily); poor Halya had to do it in full plate armor. But we got the better of the giant statue eventually. Then we stumbled around in the smoke for a while and almost died of carbon monoxide poisoning before booking it out of the city.

That night we camped next to a hill of stones (aside: not ON the hill, but BESIDE the hill with our BACKS to it). Jinan kept watch, but we’d only been sleeping for a few hours when he noticed something sneaking around. He woke us up and we pursued… unfortunately, underpowered due to lack of sleep. Turns out it was a really adorable tree. It had been scared by the scary orange-wearing sorcerer who escaped us earlier, and it had stolen our important documents that we took from the [city] Rhonian HQ… or so we thought. Turns out it was our secret mission guidelines. I guess we DO have some kind of incriminating identifying documents on us after all. I’d forgotten about those.

We cornered the tree in the middle of a silent ruin in the countryside, where a trapdoor waited. I (EVENTUALLY) talked to it in Sylvan and got the story. Then we set a trap: an innocent piece of paper where the tree would have left our plans, waiting on the trapdoor. We all prepared ourselves to ambush the sorcerer when he appeared.

And waited. For hours. Finally, this second tactical plan failed when someone took the paper from inside the trapdoor. We pursued down into the dark underground, but he had passed through a door that was strangely difficult to open.

And here is where we encountered the Trap of the Moving Rooms.

It went like this: Raiden pushed through the entrance door. Then Halya and I opened the door. The glimpse we got through was of an empty room. Halya went through the door and it closed behind her. So did Keiran. [? sorry guys I don’t remember the exact sequence of how this all went. help me out if you want].

Then I pushed the door open. Raiden was not there. Halya was not there, and neither was Keiran. No one was there, only a symbol on the floor. I was alone.

It was peculiar, and what made it more frightening was the hint that the symbol on the floor provided, perhaps to an invisible peril awaiting in the room with you.
The room had four identical doors, one on each of its four walls. You might at first think your companions had gone through one of the other doors, but then you remembered that you’d seen over their shoulders as they were going through the very same door you’d just come through, and the room you’d seen then had had a different symbol on its floor.
So it became apparent that it was the rooms themselves that moved.
What made the whole trap more cunning was the fact that the doors were very difficult to open. Even in my bear shape I did not always manage to open the doors, though I had much more success than I would have in my normal shape. Halya had horrible luck about it and Keiran found it difficult also, I believe.

Eventually though we worked out that there were nine rooms, eight of which moved in a circle around the center room. They moved every second time a door closed. The way out was opposite from the way we came in. In the moving rooms it was hard to keep your sense of direction. Jinan also encountered a swarm of rats, and glimpsed through an open door a gelatinous cube, that horrible thing. Halya got skewered with a booby-trap spear, and Keiran [? who was in the room when the arrows trap got set off?] got hit with an arrow.

But through shouting to each other through the doors we all kept abreast of what was happening, and gathered in the centre room. Then we made a break for the exit, using Keiran and my longswords to prop doors open between us. Finally we all managed to scramble out into the corridor beyond, and we saw what lay there.

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hazelwillow

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