Police in Eastern Washington have set up a tip line for information on Kayou’s disappearance, and he will henceforth be known as Brick Getting all the Whackadoo Phone Calls Sir Not Appearing In This Session.
The group is standing on a pile of rubble with choker and dark mantle bits all over the floor, having rappelled down. There is some confusion about how to draw a spiral staircase and passage to scale. There is a 5m passageway beyond the end of the stairs; through there is a large,, pentagonal room about 15m wide with stuff all over the floor. The room has 4 passageways out that are roughly equally-spaced.
There are a few beds, some generic camp-ground type goods like someone had a basecamp here, and some skeletons. The skeletons aren’t magical, happily, but they show signs of cannibalism – scrape marked where scrapes ought not to be. The skeletons aren’t just lying around randomly; they’re propped up on the walls facing each other with some stones in between them, like they were playing some sort of game. The skeletons have been posed and articulated to do so. There do appear to be some ghosts in the room that Maxime and Alex can see (yay Attainments!).
Our friend Mr. Darkness, the one we had a chat with, kept asking for playtoys because he wore them out. These are probably those playthings. Gross. Great.
Alex tries to talk to the ghosts, asking them about what happened here. There are two of them, one male and one female. When spoken to, Alex gets a really blank stare. The woman warns us about the darkness. Her name is Desolus; she doesn’t know much about how to get rid of the Darkness. They’ve been stuck down here for a while and can’t seem ever escape. She has no concept of time passing, and is also not a mage. Anfall is the gentleman ghost.
They know about Jerome, which could be very helpful, and offer to show us to the machines that Jerome used to play with to create the DnD creatures. Desolus compliments us on fighting off the other creatures. Alex starts to chat with Anfall. He asks if there’s a way that we can help them move on. He explains that there was a laboratory down here from when they worked on the Ladder. Jerome played with the labworks and kept fiddling with it; apparently he kept feeding it with mana and soul jars.
The Ladder was supposed to be a sort of ascension device and then it went boom on inauguration day. They ended up down here, and a spirit from the abyss came with them. It was The Darkness, of course. Things shifted around the time the Ladder went kaboom, but they didn’t have much time to analyze that, and then the cannibalism happened. There are a few other spirits around here; not all of them are still totally with it after all these years.
Anfall shows them to the machines in the laboratory via a small tailor-shop that popped up in the middle of the underground area – other shards of Atlantis. The clothing in the tailor shop is extremely dry, but well preserved; it has two entrances. There’s a bakery that Desolus worked at, or at least portions of a bakery and street with another two entrances beyond. A similarly small room with another entrance past it that contains a bunch of desiccated tables and chairs that could have been some kind of cafe. An interesting note is that around the walls of the cafe, where the wall and the table met, the tables were bisected. There are also people that are sliced. Beyond the cafe we finally reach the laboratory.
The room is oblong and has only the entrance we came in via. There is a large portion of a lab in there, but again with partial objects like the cafe did. It’s kind of like the makeshift smithy that was set up above us; this is more advanced but partial, as in some of the equipment has been sliced. Of what exists, it is much more advanced-looking, ala university lab equipment Atlantean clockwork edition.
There is some gear in here that is obviously not Atlantean, because it has things written in English that Jerome brought in. His equipment is near a fully-functioning machine. We find big stacks of empty soul jars; a few old scotch bottles from fancy scotches, a few mason jars, a few canning jars, etc. Maxime examines the equipment; the Atlanteans were doing experiments into planar travel and similar. This particular piece looks a lot like it would send things between planes, but it’s made in physical clockworkiness. It bears a resemblance to the device Jerome gave A Barnes, but this is the size of half a room. It has knobs and dials for tuning it.
Anfall has only very vague memories of how it works, but not specifics. Dialing it in precisely is key, and there is a lot of complicated clockwork that a lot of people spent many years working on.
There’s a USB device that’s a 3D scanner; Jerome had 3D printers in his home. Dading!
There are a few partial devices here as well, but it’s difficult to tell what they were for. They’re extremely intricate, so even knowing what they are it would be almost entirely impossible to make them work.
The clockwork device would need about 5 souls and some serious mana, the more the merrier. There is some tuning that determines where the portal comes out; Jerome didn’t leave a lot of notes behind, but if you get it wrong you summon chokers or chain demons rather than dragons. The device also allows for partial planar travel and message-sending. Removing any single piece from it would make it essentially inoperable.
While Alex argues vehemently with Maxime and Craig about destroying and/or utilizing the machine for nefarious purposes, Eric scans the machine onto his laptop to send to Smokey, but remove a piece of it to take with us. When he’s starting to do this, he notices that there’s some mind magic coming from a remote location. Eric effectively defeats it, and it’s coming from Infovore apparently. Eric sends it an email and apologizes, since he didn’t recognize it immediately. ‘Yes, it’s me. Email is so inefficient, just use mind magic.’ He gets another incoming connection by the time that happens. Eric doesn’t resist, says hi, and Clippy pops up on Eric’s Linux computer: ‘how can I help you today? I hear you’re going through Jerome’s stuff’.
Eric sends a PGP message to Smokey with the attached extremely detailed multi-gigabyte CAD file of the machinery. There’s a long pause, a minute or two, and he just responds with smiley-face, exclamation point, heart, happy meal, etc. He asks if we tried using it and if it sends or receives. Eric answers tht we haven’t tried it and it requires souls to use, and don’t plan to use it unless we’re going on offensive with dragons. Smokey: Can haz nukes? Eric: yeah, unless we’re going Stargate on the problem. Smokey: Have you learned how to tune it?
Infovore was more focused on understanding Jerome as a person than getting his knowledge; those parts of him might not have survived. But it’ll try to find that for us so we can stop the dragons.
P.S.: Infovore asks if we’d like to know more about Dragon. Eric has to mouse over and click it in his mind. It found a few things: they brought some eggs with them, about 5 give or take. The Dragonborn we killed was the party cleric and there were 5 other dragonborn that had the eggs. They’re working with mage humans; meant to meet at a particular spot on UW’s campus. Eric passes on the information and asks to check the cameras and NSA satellites, and Smokey responds: one sec, busy procuring. Gonne research the nukes plan; might not work because their world could be bigger than single nuke, might just piss them off or delay them.
Eric informs Smokey that part of his party is way too interest in dragons. Smokey responds with: your loyalty is appreciated. Future ordinates possibly required request, basically. Smokey requests updates on their loyalty going forward. Tickets to GitMo are very cheap these days. Eric recommends Smokey redirect a lot of forces to Seattle now that we know there are eggs, and gets a thumbs up, pistol, USA flag, humvee, eagle emojis.
There are notes, stacks of papyrus that are really hard to read. Our brains don’t quite process, basically. Eric and Alex make copies to share with their orders later.
Anfall guides them around the rest of the complex as long as Alex is willing to chat. Off of the bakery, there are two houses and an alleyway that are partial. Maxime finds a jewelry stash with a gold necklace. Alex finds some old papers lying around, including what looks likes scraps of Atlantean recipe cards in a cupboard. She also yells at the rest of the group to be careful and not steal things. Rama finds a medicine drawer with a Heal Light Wounds Potion. Alex has been walking around with a GoPro and a camera this entire time because this is awesome.
The passageway off the tailor shop is quite long, extending 50m away. The room is about the size of the lab. It’s a town square with lots of bodies, though none of their ghosts. In particular, they’re not just standing around, they’re huddled up with each other and laying in heaps. Maxime finds about 27 gold pieces in loose change. Craig finds boots of spiderclimb. Eric finds Gauntlets of Overpower. Alex finds the distribution of various people in the time square; roughly equal numbers of men and woman, a few children, and were milling about until they huddled together and ran out of air.
There’s more houses off another passage of the pentagonal room, which of course Maxime and Craig are all to thrilled to desecrate as well. People find various amounts of loose change, about 5gp each. Maxime finds an old bust of a family relative, or what he thinks is one, that’s just a nice sculpture. He asks if Alex wants it or if it’s valuable; she just tells him to put it back and don’t break it. He does check to see if its homogenous and if there’s anything inside it, but no go, much to Alex’s relief. Rama finds a gold ring. Eric finds an antidote to all generic poison.
Another room off the pentagon is the guild craftsman workshop. Craig finds a backpack with one of the lighting gun on it, but it needs to be powered. Maxime locates some plans for perpetual motion machines, generic diagrams and such. Rama finds plans for using many PPMs in a bank and with a battery; a diagram of how to build some serious Atlantean tech. Fragmentary bits at least, a lot like how-to manuals. Eric finds a similar notation structure for how the energy to mana conversion works, or how energy to mana works at least.
Here’s the thing: people keep talking about how paradox wasn’t a big deal. These devices all work well in low-paradox areas, but would be a paradox bomb elsewhere unless we created another demesnes with a tiny part of our souls. Doing this means one wouldn’t be able to ascend, really, so seems like a thing to avoid.
The last passage off the pentagon leads to a partial Atlantean elementary school, including books. There’s math books, which would get us up through calculus, which is a little weird for elementary school. Basic cosmology, where what’s interesting about that is that they don’t have this idea of gauntlets. There’s our world, the supernal world, and the spirit world (there is a gauntlet here, but barely). The abyss was not to be found, which is really interesting. There’s some hints of historical dragonyness and they were fearing dragons might return, but don’t worry we have it under control kind of thing. Not all the children survived the trip. The school also has a connection to the second guild craftsman workshop.
In the second workshop, Eric finds a magical bracelet that’s very clockworky. It’s a mage armor plus plus, more like a personal force-shield – nothing goes in, nothing goes out. It’s a non communicating shield; even sound is difficult to hear. It’s just a raw matter force barrier powered by mana. All of these magical items run on mana and need to be powered. Alex locates some schematics for triggering, on/off switches using not-energy. The very beginnings of magic circuits, basically. Maxime finds a bunch of raw crafting materials, like Atlantean metals and the stuff everything is made out of, and some fine jewelers tools. Rama locates a medium-sized (Type 2) bag of holding. It holds 500lbs.
Alex and Rama work to collect the fifteen spirits (only five of which are functional) in soul jars and bring them back up to the surface to release them. Eric works on figuring out how to run a monitoring station down here to ensure that the Darkness doesn’t come back while we’re away.
Slam dunk dungeon.