[DW] The Knockers' Mine [All 1.2]

edited November 2012 in In-Game
early afternoon

You were not terribly delayed by the interruption at Black Oak Ridge, and - Brandon - you've led the party on surely and swiftly. You've brought them into a sort of a box-ended gorge, a sharply cliff-sided cavity in between a pair of hills. The trail doesn't end here, but it does take a bit of a turn, delving into the hills themselves.

There is an old mine here, and you each can make out three shored-up mine entrances, square holes into the faces of the cliffs, one before you and one to each side. The leftmost is clearly very shallow, since the sunlight penetrates deep enough for you to see the stones that choke it off just a little way in. Was it abandoned shortly after it was begun? Or did it collapse and seal off tunnels beyond?

The other two entrances are more promising, sunlight petering out into thick dark as you peer in. Brandon, you have to cast about a little to find the trail again, but you are certain that the thieves, these rock trolls, descended by way of the entrance to the right. Their tell-tale fragments of rock are indistinguishable from the general debris of the untended mine, but you make out fresh scuffs. The other tunnel, the middle one, looks as if it has not been touched in years.

By that middle tunnel is a wooden sign, possibly identifying the mine or its owner, but it is so aged and weathered that it is difficult to read. The lettering has faded, and the wood plank has split and splintered. You could probably make out the lettering if you examined it more closely ... if one of you does that, Spout Lore to see if the name means anything to you.

Gaston is puzzled, and he confesses that he did not know this mine was even here, hidden away as it is.

"Odd thing this is. We, er, the Rums that is, a little birdie told the Rums where to find the irons. A goblin creature named Teacutter traded the word for a little coin. And they've been trying to get at the trolls' lair without messing with the goblins, see? Ol' Briac had a buyer lined up and everything. But, ah, if the metal's gotten there, then I can't rightly say how they'd of come through here. Back door, mayhaps? Reckon Briac would of loved to know about this place."

Bucan, you haven't treated Castor yet. You meant to, but it really seemed wiser to get clear of the site of the fight, first. Castor's wounds were not dangerous, and here you have a moment to pause and attend to him. Do that now.

Other than that, what do you do?
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Comments

  • Does Bucan or Tiernon have a light spell that the rest of us know about? If not, I start preparing a few torches to hand out, then go over my arrows and check up on all my equipment – until everyone else is ready, but I figure I'll do it when everyone else is busy anyway. "Once you're done, we're heading down this right tunnel – that's where they went."

    I assume I've told the others the fact that it's trolls we're following, don't want that to spring as a surprise.
  • edited November 2012
    How well does Kiera deal with being underground, Brandon? Close spaces?
  • Tiernon, leaning close to the sign, casts his light spell in order to read it better.

    #DiceRoller( 2d6+2 )
  • Tiernon speaks a Word to his staff and a Fey sphere of light appears at it's tip. He frowns as he senses that something in the Other World may have heard him, but is distracted by deciphering the sign. He holds his light close to it and squints, letting the fragmentary letters tickle his memory.

    Spout Lore #DiceRoller( 2d6+2)
  • edited November 2012
    Ack! XP claimed for Spout Lore fail.
  • edited November 2012
    The sign just reads "CRADDOCK", in split and faded letters.

    Someone told you about this, Tiernon. Someone, you know, human. About thirty years ago, there was a mine out here in the hills, dug out by the Craddock family: a speculator, his two sons, and a small team of hired workers. These hills are too full of the fey races for mining to be common, but Craddock thought he could strike rich. By some counts, he did ... his sons came back with a load of rich silver ore, but only just the once.

    The sons returned to the mine after that, and nobody heard a thing from any of them, ever again. The mine collapsed, trapping them down one of the shafts, and nobody dared to go in and dig out their corpses. Some said that the knockers and bluecaps might've been offended by the theft of their silver, might've dropped the ceiling in on them neat as you please.

    The one load of silver was enough to comfortably set up Craddock's now-widowed, now-childless wife, and maybe she remarried? You can't remember. The families of the workmen probably didn't do nearly so well.

    You hear something: a hollow *thock thock thock* from way down deep in the mine, both of the open tunnels. In fact, all of you hear this, if you're paying any attention.

    And far, far down the rightmost tunnel, the one Brandon's telling you all to take, a light appears, like a flickering blue flame, not bright enough to illuminate the tunnel around it. It's hard to say how far it is ... it is well beyond your own light, and size and distance are difficult to judge in the dark.
  • Tiernon, you feel a sudden shift in the air, as well. You're standing right by the central tunnel, nobody else there with you, and you feel something start to draw the otherwise-still air down into the tunnel. It's strong enough to pick up some of the dead leaves scattered about, not strong enough to move around your heavy robes. After a few moments, the air current reverses, now blowing back out of the tunnel and over you in a distinctly warmer exhalation. It smells wet, hot, and alive, with a hint of carrion, like the breath of a great predatory animal.

    Then the air is still again. But maybe you have reason to be glad that Brandon is planning to lead you down the other tunnel?
  • Oh, and Tiernon has a light, Brandon, but if you want to produce torches or a lantern anyway, you could go ahead and mark off a use of your adventuring supplies.
  • No, Tiernon's light will do.

    Keira doesn't really like close spaces or underground locales, but she can handle it. Where allowed, I have brought her inside when someone didn't believe me when I said I had a tame boar. And for the year or two after he revealed Keira to the village until left the place, he practically moved out to a shed where she was allowed to enter.

    I think tunnels so long or windy that she starts losing track of how she got there might be pretty scary for her. As long as she can just get out the same way she came in it's okay.

    I'm pretty much standing in the tunnel entrance, leaning against the wall, waiting for everyone else to finish getting ready. "What's it say, Tiernon?"
  • I follow the sound with my eyes and find myself staring into a dark tunnel. And then... a flickering light. A breath.

    I furrow my brow. We'll be meeting something in these old mines.

    We have some shelter, momentarily, and I use it to cure Castor's wound. I hover a hand over the arrow puncture and murmur quietly to Laug. Before the prayer is over, the wound should already be starting to close.

    Cure light wounds. #DiceRoller( 2d6+2 )
    Damage healed: #DiceRoller( 1d8 )
  • "The tunnel breaths," Tiernon mutters. He joins the group before the rightmost tunnel and speaks aloud. "The sign says Craddock, name of a prospector. His sons secured a load of silver some years back and returned for more, never to be seen again." He casts a troubled look back at the central tunnel. "Perhaps consumed..."
  • "You afraid?" I shift from leaning against the wall to standing tall in the middle of the tunnel entrance. "With your knowledge, Castor's strength and Bucan's protection, I don't think we have anything to be afraid of." I scratch Keira on the back "And you too, of course. Good girl."

    Unless stopped, I start walking down the tunnel, expecting Tiernon to stay close enough behind that I don't get out of his light.
  • "The wise man fears what others know and he does not," Tiernon mutters, following the the impetuous ranger.
  • Tiernon knows the story of this place, or at least of the significance of Craddock. A man who reached too far and paid the price. I resolve to follow up on this story at some later time in Knock, see what happened to the family. For now I take up my mace and shield, and am right behind Brandon as he proceeds down the tunnel. To Tiernon's mutterings about what the wise may fear, I say nothing, but I smile to myself. I realize that I'm hunching over slightly, despite myself. Dark, enclosed spaces do that to a man.
  • edited November 2012
    Wood-shored walls, stones and earth, the living roots of trees piercing the walls. The smell of earth in the air, undercut by a faint, but growing, smell of decay. It is a square tunnel, sloping slightly downward, wide enough for two of you side-by-side, but low enough that the timbers cross just above your head.

    Behind, the light of day recedes into a bright square in the distance. In front, the flickering blue flame dances away, staying well ahead of you and of the reach of your own light. It is silent, but it pulses warningly. Have any of you heard or read lore, or witnessed something like this, before? After a minute of leading you, it winks out, leaving behind no sign.

    Moments later, when you reach about the place the flame must have been when it disappeared, Tiernon's light shows that the walls have fallen away to your right and left. Your eyes adjust ... you are now in a small chamber, most of its floor occupied by a wide shaft that falls away into utter darkness.

    The key feature of the room is a heavy-beamed winch assembly. It was once crouched over the pit, but now the timbers have been pulled down and shattered, methodically ruined, most likely by hammers and picks. The ropes lay tangled about, moldering and useless, and the blocks of pulleys lie scattered and broken. The damage is old, years and years old. It looks as if someone wanted to make certain that the winch would no longer be used to enter the mines, or perhaps to be very sure that they would pull nothing back out.

    Other features: an iron-bound chest sitting in the corner, a small sledge and yoke by the mouth of your tunnel, and a well-sealed barrel that - on closer examination - is still half-filled with lamp oil.
  • edited November 2012
    Keira shies a little at the sight of the pit. Gaston walks to the edge, peers down, kicks in a fragment of wood. It is only a couple moments before you hear the impact echo up. Deep enough that you wouldn't want to fall, but not so deep as it could be.

    But then, from down in the dark, you hear more knocking: *thock thock, thock*
  • Tiernon wonders about the blue light ahead. Spout lore #DiceRoller( 2d6+2 )
  • edited November 2012
    Tiernon, it was almost certainly a bluecap, a sort of spirit. They inhabit mines, usually invisibly, but they can also manifest as a blue flame. They are supposed to draw attention to rich veins, to warn of immanent mine collapses, and sometimes to cut ropes at inconvenient or dangerous moments.

    Since they're spirits, you could probably call one to you with contact spirits, if you wanted, but that's fairly obvious: that's what the spell does, after all.

    Incidentally, the knocking sound is probably the work of knockers, one of the fey races. They're related to bluecaps, but - like all fey - they straddle the line between this world and the other. They're gnomish little men who dwell in mines, sometimes friendly to mortal miners, sometimes not.
  • I produce a torch and firesteel from my adventuring gear. I it in the oil, hold it over the edge, then light it and drop it immediately. I figure it'll burn brighter (but you can't hold it) that way, and I want to see if I can see anything of what's down there.

    I also ruffle Keira's back and neck a bit, maybe that'll ease her a little.
  • Keira is okay, for now, just smart enough to realize that you might want to go down that hole. Doing so would pretty much have to involve lowering her by rope, which would not be a good time for, well, really anyone involved.

    Well, though really you could also leave and try the other mine entrance ... it's customary for different mine shafts to be interlinked, to provide more air and to allow an escape route if the one path collapses. There might be an easier way down in the other part of the mine, though it would be a less direct path and you'd have to relocate the trail that you're following.

    You drop the burning brand, and you see brief movement before the brand has hit the bottom. Small shapes, maybe three or four? They scatter from your field of view looking down the shaft, and you can't be sure what they were. The brand hits the bottom of the shaft, burning fitfully. Nothing more to see, just cut stone and possibly an old coil of rope.
  • By the weird light of my staff, I'll make some gestures and whisper into the other worl, calling a Bluecap to me. Contact Spirits #DiceRoller( 2d6+2 )
  • A slight shiver passes through anyone standing near Tiernon, as if the world flickered in and out of existence around them. A glowing blue light appears from the dark of the deep corridor and floats close to the other side of the chamber.

    Though he appears grim on the outside, Tiernon is anxious to help his companions, When the spirit arrives he poses the single question without consulting anyone.

    "Spirit," Tiernon hisses, "Through which of the three tunnels lies the greatest danger to man?"
  • edited November 2012
    The bluecap, when it appears, is a dim and wispy blue, the heart of its flame about the size of a child's fist. It hangs in the air, spectral, and it's voice is like the tolling of deep-voiced bells:

    It warns you, "No difference, no difference. There is no safe way forward, children of sun and sky. Not any longer. Too deep you have delved here, and woken the nameless fear, the wolf-lord, the bone eater. Its prison is broken, and its corruption bleeds into the stone. Heed our warnings, and do not press on. And if you continue, go swift and go silent, and you may still escape undetected."
  • "There's someone down there, but they didn't look too threatening to me. We should get down." I start digging through my pack for a long enough rope.

    I'm startled when the blue light appears again, just close to Tiernon. I step back, circling the hole, arm reaching for bow.
    "What's it say?" (Do the rest of us hear what it's saying?)
  • The resonant voice is discernible to all.
  • edited November 2012
    Knowning that it's wise to be polite to spirits, I thank the Bluecap.

    When Brandon says "There's someone down there," I throw a barred arm across his chest and say: "Or some thing."

    I study his face. "Brandon, friend, is there something you know that I do not?"
  • I assume I have told the rest of the party about the trolls? It's not something I would keep to myself…

    "No, I don't think so. I have heard one or two ghost stories about old mines, but you must have, too." When the blue light disappears (if it does), I start fiddling with the rope, uncoiling it and looking for some wooden support to tie it to. "Whatever little imps live here, they harbour those thieving trolls now. And if they won't give 'em up, I don't think they'll be any match for Castor's blade, or your magic."
  • Bucan follows the exchange silently. To hear the bluecap speak, there is something deeply unnatural in this mine. If this is the case- and Bucan has a feeling that spirit is speaking the truth- then this hunt for the stolen iron has just become something more. There is something down there that does not belong in this world, and it needs to be put away before it can spread.

    He squints down into the yawning shaft lit by Brandon's torch, then eyes Brandon, so eager to go down there.

    I imagine Castor is pretty stoic here, but how is Gaston reacting to this?
  • edited November 2012
    The bluecap remains. It hangs in the air directly over the pit, a couple feet below the timber ceiling. Normally it would vanish upon imparting its news, but (as Tiernon could no doubt tell you) this is its proper place, and it has evidently chosen to stay and see.

    Bucan, Gastion sees you eying him, and he seems to guess your thoughts. He grins a grin, horribly crooked-toothed, "I seen a good lot o' weird things in these hills, pater, and none of 'em of killed me yet! These ghosties and goblins, their barks is worse then their bites, I'm thinking ... and Olak blesses gamblers."

    Brandon, though the old winch has been torn down and shattered, it was anchored on heavy iron spikes, and those are still driven into the ground. Excellent anchors, if you wish to descend by rope.

    So you press on? Who descends first?

    With rope and perhaps a few bits of hardware, it shouldn't be difficult for you humans to descend. Just mark off a use of gear. Getting Keira down there, though, that will be slightly more tricky, Brandon. Less because of the physics of it, more because she fairly reasonably objects to being trussed up and lowered into a pit. Briefly explain how you do it, then roll to defy danger, but roll+her Cunning.

    Do you intend to retrieve the ropes and such, or leave them in place for a possible quick exit?
  • Olak blesses gamblers. Hah.

    "Laug blesses gamblers who know the difference between good bets and bad ones," Bucan says, wryly. He sees Gaston's meaning, though, and he's not about to argue with what gives him comfort.

    Lowering Kiera into the pit presents an issue. Bucan doesn't want to go down before her and have to wait while the others lower a huge and almost certainly furious boar into the shaft above him. He also doesn't want to be on the other end of the rope. Between these logistics and the fact Kiera almost tore his face off earlier at the ridge- and that it was not the first time for such an incident- Bucan's thinking she would be more useful as a dinner than as a traveling companion.

    "Can we leave the boar up here?"
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