Episode 29: 7/31/10
Ashelia Raminas, elf ranger 5/rogue/3
Nineve, human knight/8
Sarek, human wizard/8
Haroldur 2.0, human fighter 1 /cleric 5 /divine knight 2
We exit the acid zombie room and reunite with Nineve, who stumbles into the lab unexpectedly. Apparently she’d gotten separated from 31E and wandered the Nexus for a while, finally being guided by 31E to us. After a brief exchange of pleasantries (difficult in such repulsive surroundings), we wade through the muck to another door.
Nineve and I shoulder it open. Littered on shelves and cabinets throughout this room are shattered glass vials and tubes, corroded metal tools rusted beyond repair, spools of dark thread, and other things we cannot identify. Several tables, still upright, contain a number of humanoid bones strapped to their rusting surfaces. Delightful. We pick up a few interesting looking items, several glass ampules in particular, and move on.
Next, we come to a short hallway with several small rooms adjoined to it. We poke around, making our way through the small labs and finding small treasures: mysterious ampules, a bracer, a belt, a metallic sphere, and a torc. As we’re rummaging, we start to hear the damp rustling of zombies! We try to talk him out of it, but Haroldur charges forward and throws open a door to one of the labs at the end of the hallway, which is full of bloated zombie-like things! A rusted cage encloses their withered faces and unnameable implements pierce the their sodden flesh. Their clawed hands reach for us dripping filth and dark fluids
Sarek blows up most of the zombies with a fireball, and Nineve and I hack through the rest. When we’re finished being heroic, we look around and find a few more ampules.
We move to the end of the hallway and up some stairs, and scrabble for several minutes against two seemingly unopenable blast doors. Thwarted, we backtrack a little and make our way down another corridor. It opens into another larger lab. Things are still gross here. Dark, stagnant water laps against a pair of iron vessels against the nearby wall. A large window, overlooking the open lab area dominates the far wall. I am not surprised to find that these large iron vessels also contain acid zombies. I wonder at the significance of that while we prepare for combat.
Sarek drops another fireball from above and I deftly avoid all damage. Nineve activates the mysterious torc in time to gain sufficient SR so as to be entirely immune to the fireball as well. We hack and slash and Sarek throws around lots of magic missiles and a lightning bolt. I powerfully double-slice into my foe, gracefully ducking as it vomits its toxic payload onto Nineve and Haroldur behind me. It collapses into its barrel. Just then, a trio of zombies come crashing through the window. Sarek drops another fireball on them, totally frying me in the process. Aghast, I charge forward and take out all the wounded zombies in one whirling slash of death!
Then, as Nineve is still struggling with her acid zombie, I rush in to assist. I leap heroically up onto the adjacent barrel, but lose my balance as I try to attack. Fortunately, I manage a graceful dismount and even get a hit in while I recover my composure. Nineve decapitates the acid zombie and we heal up and look around for loot – I find two disc-scrolls and a strange metallic belt.
We heal up a little and the decide our only remaining path is through a large observation window 20 feet above the open lab area. We stand underneath it, hurling projectiles in an attempt to smash the glass, when from the depths of the zombie-chum, a “skuz” appears. It is a vaguely monstrous form of noxious green – a kind of semi-putrid congealed jelly with suggestions of translucency. It rises up from the water behind me, seeming to pull the algae and slime from the surface to constitute its form. As something resembling a head forms, it turns toward me, the jellified jaws opening to spill forth a false tongue of ooze and putrid flesh. It smells just as great as it looks, too. The skuz surges forward, grabbing me and attempts to drown me in the horrid slime. Nineve rushes to my aid and with her help, I escape the skuz’s grasp.
Then, grotesque, bloated zombie-like things emerge from the filthy water to join the party. A rusted cage encloses each withered face and unnameable implements pierce the thing’s sodden flesh. Delicious. I move to deal with them.
Meanwhile, Sarek grapples 2 of the zombies and the scum monster with Tentacles of Forced Intrusion. Never play “Gross-Out Chicken” with a wizard.
I slash through 2 more of the cage-face zombie horrors, felling them, but succumbing to their hideous putrescence. I fall beside my foes into the murky depths. I am told Sarek tried to pull me out of the zombie-chum but instead tripped and fell into the ichor himself. Haroldur heals me, and I stand up to find myself threatened by the skuz yet again. Sarek activates the jade falcon, which goes after the remaining bloated cage-face zombies. Then, he magically transforms into an air elemental and blasts the skuz into oblivion. Nineve destroys the last cage-face zombie and we decide it’s time to rest.
We exit the laboratory the way we came in, and clean up (THOROUGHLY) once we find a safe-looking place to camp. Before we go to bed it is obvious that I (and the rest of the party) am suffering from the effects of Slimy Doom. In the morning, my condition has deteriorated, so Haroldur uses the “Rod of Lawsome” to Heal me, and I am completely cured! The rest of the party finishes healing up as well, and we head back into the lab for another crack at the window.
After a few more tries, we smash the glass and use the handy troll-gut rope with grappling hand™ to climb up into yet another ruined lab. Despite the lack of water in this chamber, the bad smell is even worse here. A raised platform dominates the chamber, where a pair of metal tables surmounted by complex machinery, hoses and other apparatus stand. Patches of strange pale lichen grow along the floor and walls, shedding strange, unsettling light. Nineve is immediately sickened by the horrible stench. We explore the chamber further, when suddenly we notice a strange yellow vapor steaming up from the floor. It materializes into a seething, dimly phosphorescent cloud of fungous loathsomeness, from which a charnel house stench seems to emanate in palpable waves. The caricatured likenesses of legions of screaming faces emerge and dissolve, melting like tallow within the vaporous form.
The monstrosity, a Caller-In-Darkness, radiates a palpable menace. Haroldur uses Amsophar’s circlet to Call Lightning. Then, waves of hate emanating from the Caller wash over us. Nineve becomes despondent as Sarek springs into action as a magic missile machine gun. I throw one of the spheres we found, which turns out to be a holy hand grenade of force damage. Unexpectedly, Nineve cleaves herself in the face with her own sword. Haroldur calls down a bolt of lightning and I am dazed as my mind crumbles under the weight of the Caller’s hatred. Sarek continues his magic missile assault, and Nineve comes to her senses momentarily and hurls her blast sphere at the Caller as well.
Unfortunately, seconds later, Nineve and I are overcome with grief and decide, in our highly vulnerable and emotional state, to kill ourselves. Turns out we’re pretty good at self-destruction. Haroldur and Sarek continue to blast the Caller with their magical attacks as emo-Nineve and I cut ourselves. In the end, Haroldur blasts the Caller from existence. As soon as it is gone, Nineve and I recover from our terrible ennui (but not our life-threatening, self-inflicted wounds). We heal up and move on.
Banks of silent machinery clutter the next room. Here and there a light blinks feebly, or a needle flutters on its gauge. The ever-present fungus has also invaded this chamber, coating the machinery and clogging its intricate clockworks. It’s a pretty safe bet that this is the control room 31E spoke of.
We spot the access hatch 31E spoke of in the ceiling. Wet patches of shiny green goo cling to the seams around the hatch, occasionally dripping to the floor below. The hatch is locked – I unlock it without much trouble. Nineve opens the hatch and narrowly avoids getting a face full of slimy green goo! We carefully maneuver around the goo and climb through the hatch.
The hatch leads to a cramped corridor that heads off into darkness in two opposite directions. A metal grate provides a level surface on which to crawl over the tangle of pipes, hoses and tubes that cover the floor, walls, and ceiling. Other than the lights we’ve brought with us, the darkness here is complete. We pick a direction and head into the darkness.
Unable to stand, we have little choice but to crawl toward the unknown, hoping that we made the right decision. Here and there other, similar corridors join with the passage we are following; it wouldn’t take long to get hopelessly lost in this maze of passages…