The Shard of Astaroth V

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Re: The Shard of Astaroth V

Postby Ian » Thu Mar 29, 2012 5:57 pm

[Reserving some space here for summaries I'm skipping for the moment--will come back to them later, but I want to get the most recent one up now. *g*

Long story short: party nearly gets blinded, party nearly gets eaten by magic ticks, party jumps down a hole and nearly drowns, party runs into a group of hidden thaalud that wants all their magic stuff.]
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Re: The Shard of Astaroth V

Postby Ian » Thu Mar 29, 2012 6:01 pm

[We start in media res, since I was more or less working backwards in the summaries.]

At that point, negotiations broke down, and with the party unwilling to retreat and the myserious thaalud unwilling to allow further passage without Astaroth in their possession, combat with the magic-hoarding beasts of legend ensued.

The thaalud revealed themselves to be true masters of their terrain--alternately burrowing quickly out of the walls and floor just long enough to swing their man-sized warhammers at the party (and reveal but a glimpse of their bizarre forms) or using their stone shape abilities to open up vents through which they could toss hollow stone grenades full of green slime or meteoric fire, all the while rendering the tunnel floor nearly impassable via a thick layer of nearly-invisible spike stones that shredded the party badly wherever they moved.

The party momentarily gained the upper hand, they thought, when they all held back until one of the creatures burst out, then filled its slavering abdominal maw with enough magic to blow it apart! Even that victory was short-lived, however, as Fios discovered upon shifting to umber hulk form that the remaining thaalud had apparently put out a call for reinforcements. Their enemy then showed its high level of combat intelligence as it adapted instantly to the party's wait-and-ambush tactics--it used its stone shape to create a decoy of itself appearing to emerge from of the stone, and with Fios the only one with eyes keen enough to detect the ruse, the arcane trickster watched helplessly as the rest of his party wasted precious time and spells blowing the decoy apart, only to be flat-footed when the thaalud itself burst through again to toss more green slime and firebombs!

With Rhyl and Fios badly weakened by slime, the rest of the party fire-singed to varying degrees, reinforcements en route, and the realization that the party had been held at bay by merely two of these creatures (leading to questions of just what a full war party would do), Fios and Val decided discretion was the better part of valor and led the party away in retreat until Fios's tremorsense detected no further signs of pursuit.

Swinging wide around the outer edge of the strange magic circle that apparently constituted the entire tunnel system, Fios worried that he had consigned the party to returning to the previous battle-site to get where they needed to be, with the added bonus of having given the apparent inhabitants warning and time to prepare fully. The gods were perhaps smiling on him, for he needn't have worried; after perhaps a half-hour of stewing on their failure and trudging along the shoreline of the river they entered on, following the outer edge of the circle, Fios discovered what looked to be a crumbled wall that opened to a long-forgotten passage further into the circle. With no signs of thaalud activity nearby, the party moved in.

Squriming through a couple of fallen walls of strangely-faceted purple stone, the party found itself in an odd chamber that made the hair on Fios's neck stand on end. With some study, the arcanist determined that they had discovered a nexus point of the magic circle encompassing this entire area. After a few long minutes of studying the inscriptions on the stone, strangely still as fresh as they day they were carved, Fios determined that the circle here was abjurative in nature, either a gate or a circle of imprisonment--but, notwithstanding the unpleasant implications of that latter possibility, the nexus points of the circle could be transited much like a teleportation circle, allowing the party to navigate closer to the center of the place, where it was likely they'd find what they were looking for.

Unfortunately, understanding the route didn't give Fios much insight on how to actually activate the nexus point. But here Berenind's goddess came through again...somewhat: given a firmer destination than before and a request from Berenind to give what was specifically the fastest route to it, Sehanine was able to give her cleric very specific instructions. Using the first several of those instructions, Berenind was able to lead the party through several of the circle's nexus points, apparently getting closer to the center of the circle without having to brave the connecting passages and their potential deathtraps or thaalud guardians.

The last nexus point, however, proved troublesome: now in a major node of magical energy constructed of the same bizarre metal as Avarisa's sword and covered with even more ancient markings than before, Berenind was told by his goddess that the next hop would reach his destination, but that he would have to actively use the command word to which the node was keyed--a Word of Power apparently never meant to be spoken by a humanoid tongue! Berenind and the others mulled that over for a bit, as each of them tried to parse the utterance given them by Sehanine and come up with a pronunciation that would work, and each of them somehow came up with an entirely different way of saying it. Finally they all agreed on which of them should attempt to trigger the node, and they plunged ahead blindly...

There was pain, a lot of it, as the party apparently felt its very discorporation and transit through the node, and emerged in absolute darkness. Staggering and catching their breath, hoping they had all been re-assembled in one piece while not quite feeling like it inside, they sprinted through the tunnels ahead, following the last of Sehanine's directions precisely and in absolute silence. After a couple of minutes running through the cold, clammy corridors, dreading a new ambush at any moment, they realized that they'd reached an area with no signs of the thaalud's passing. Sweet respite could be theirs, at least for a little while.

Ahead lay a bend in the tunnel, beyond which there seemed to be at least a little bit of light, likely cast by the same strange purple crystals that had lined the outer tunnels. Before they turned the corner, however, Rhyl noticed that a spot on the wall nearest them had been smoothed out and inscribed with a short phrase. Looking closer, the sword Astaroth revealed that the handwriting was his own, and Fios translated fluently: Do not approach further, the door responds agressively to intruders.

At this the party paused, as anything sufficient to give Astaroth pause was surely worth being careful with, and the inscription had provoked the sword to recall a bit of its former life:

Astaroth wrote:This was one of the things I came here to study, that I got past the thaalud to see--some sort of strange structure, tied strongly to the history of this place. As I recall, it let us approach, but when we actually tried to get in, that's when it fought us.

We didn't destroy it, I know that...we survived the defenses, but the door itself was immune to pretty much everything we had at the time. I know I set up shop somewhere else in the caves here, used it as a base from which to work, but I don't remember actually getting past the door to this place. Of course, my not remembering things doesn't mean a whole hell of a lot, but I get the impression I'd have remembered that.

Its attacks acted like magic, but I distinctly recall disjunction didn't phase it, which suggested it wasn't proper magic at all.

His curiosity piqued, Val rounded the corner, Avarisa following behind to back him up, to find:

Descriptive Text! wrote:The tunnel around the corner opens outward like a funnel, the floor heading up on a slight incline. The walls and floor are rough, unworked stone of a deep purple hue, with strings of the strange crystals and their pale, swirling lavender light tracing through the room like a web of diseased veins in the skin of a poisoned beast. On the far end of the 'funnel,' the stone opens to reveal a smooth polished wall. About ten to twenty feet before that, there is a roughly five-foot dip in the floor, likely the remains of an old creek bed or a moat that silted up and petrified millennia ago; across it has been laid a solid hunk of raw iron, like a wall of iron conjured and tipped on its side.

This section of wall is roughly forty-five feet wide by twenty high, and made of an unknown metal--if one were to guess, it looks like a blend of gold and adamantine, and on closer inspection it appears to be the same metal used in the primary node the party went through earlier, as well as that comprising Avarisa's sword. Fios finally recognized it as an apparent alloy of orihalcon: "A bizarre material that seems to repel and destroy magic, it is found sometimes in areas of dead magic, but is exceedingly rare. Pure orihalcon is somewhat brittle, and can be hammered into submission, but this appears to be kind of a fibrous blend that adamantine or starmetal? Maybe neither--could be quan iron, that stuff Altair brought back from our extraplanar excursion some time back."

There are three seamed sections across the face of it that appear to be closed doors; the central section is shaped like a human-sized door, while the others are each ten feet square, and none have any sort of visible handle or trigger. The middle of the central section houses two items: a single plate, scribed with some sort of text, and a black gemstone with the imprint of a hand--and based on the shape, size, and fine grooves left by wrinkles in skin, it's definitely a human male's.

Pondering their current circumstances, the rest of the party discussed whether to rest or to try and circumvent the door ahead first; Berenind and Fios advocated rest, while Astaroth reminded them sarcastically of the thaalud: Yes, let's assume the giant stone beasts hunting for us won't come bother us just because we don't see their tracks down here. That's a guaranteed successful plan.

While they discussed, however, Val moved on ahead--and fatefully decided to place his hand in the imprint on the gemstone, trying to activate the passage with the Word of Power used earlier. The party winced, and Devdan moved in behind to back up the tiefling. Nothing happened for a moment, just long enough for some of them to think they'd dodged a bullet...but then a female voice spoke out, her monotone a tongue not spoken on Toril in the memory of any living creature.

The Voice wrote:CompLang: "Intruder alert. Activating Point Defense System. Intruders, you will vacate this area immediately, or lethal force will be applied."

At that, the two doors on either side of Val came open with a soft, whisper-like snick, and a pair of circular platforms rolled out, each topped by some sort of massive cannon. Lights came on as the cannons power up...

Avarisa sprinted forward almost by reflex, taking cover under the iron bridge spanning the old moat. Val turned to flee, carrying himself away as fast as his wings could carry him, while the cannons swung around to target Devdan and the tiefling.

The Voice wrote:CompLang: "Lethal force will now be applied. Force shield activated, seeking auras, engaging targets."

As the cannons spun up, Berenind attempted to intercede by quickly conjuring a wall of force between them and their targets. Unfortunately, his choice was only partially effective: each cannon began spewing rapid-fire pulses of grey-white energy, and the first pulse expended itself against the cleric's wall, collapsing it instantly into wisps of plasm dissolving into ether as they floated away.

The second, meanwhile, slammed unimpeded into Devdan, whose body could not handle the pelting of sheer energy--and just like that, the elf was gone, dissolved with obscene celerity!

The party beat a hasty retreat back around the corner, shell-shocked at the rapid turn of events that had cost them one of their number and left Avarisa stranded beneath the bridge not ten feet from the cannons. The cannons themselves seemed to ignore her, sweeping instead across the rest of the party as they fled, but thankfully not acquiring any further targets before they lost contact. Breathing heavily, the anguished party barely listened as the female monotone rung out again.

The Voice wrote:CompLang: "No targets detected. Cycling into passive scan mode."

His mind reeling, Val more or less walked away from the party, withdrawn and unresponsive. The rest, meanwhile, debated how to rescue Avarisa...Rhyl wondered aloud if the system would forget about them and "reset" after a bit, which might allow her to escape if she remained hidden until then, while Berenind suggested the Bedine woman might have to just make a dash for it.

Avarisa herself tossed a rock up into the cannons' view, but while one swiveled around as if detecting the movement, it ultimately did not fire. Apparently, she considered, they at least do not target non-living things. She then peeked her head up veeeery slowly from beneath the bridge, looking towards the turrets and the tunnel as if to gauge the run she'd have to do, and thankfully still drew no fire.

Finally, not wanting to take a chance that the turrets would not deactivate or that Avarisa wouldn't make the run, Fios decided to shift himself into the form of an umber hulk and burrow beneath the tunnel, hoping to come up beneath the woman and give her a concealed route to escape. As he came up into the creek bed, however, even with no direct line of sight between him and the turrets, the female voice spoke once more...

The Voice wrote:CompLang: "Possible target detected! Engaging active scan."

A tense moment followed, but the cannons did not fire, and Fios managed to pick up the little woman and bring her unharmed through the stone back to the rest of the party. Convinced at this point that they had already pressed their luck too far, the party decided now would be a good time to conceal themselves, rest, and tackle the twin tasks of bringing Devdan back from the Land Beyond and somehow bypassing the door that not even Astaroth had circumvented.

Fios attempted to conjure a rope trick to conceal the party from the thaalud that would almost certainly come seeking them out at some point. (If nothing else, the party had killed one of them, still had the magic toys the ancient constructs wanted, and the group wasn't willing to risk a hammer in the face that the thaalud wouldn't come after them.) A rude awakening followed, however--as much as Fios glared at the ceiling, waiting for his rope to extradimensional safety to descend, it adamantly refused to come forth, finally confirming that the entire area must be dimensionally locked!

Stuck between a rock and a hard place now, Berenind consulted find the path once again in the hopes that Sehanine would direct him on how they might circumvent the now-literal deathtrap ahead. She apparently did not tell him how to get through, however, and he noted merely that her response was "extremely frank."

A long moment of silence followed, as the party was collectively stumped, drained, and without much in the way of morale. Then one bit of good news finally showed up, as Rhyl and Berenind heard a long pneumatic hiss from around the corner, and a tentative peek revealed that the door had finally given up on finding new targets and retracted its deadly cannons. Slowly, the party rounded the corner, and several tentative moments of slow advance revealed that the group's mere presence was not about to get them shot at again.

Resolving this time not to touch the door, the party began analyzing the facts they knew. Fios, with some reflection, identified the language being spoken by the disembodied female voice: it contains elements of ancient Roshoum and the original form of Thorass, and is perhaps a variant of the tongue many of the party heard spoken on Xapur by the Devil in Iron, Khosatral Khel.

Berenind and Fios laid alarms and tried to organize watches, as if hoping that the party might still salvage a bit of rest here to recoup their spells. Rhyl, however, resolutely insisted on first collecting Dev's belongings (still full of smoldering ash and reeking of ozone) and discussing the facts at hand, the half-drow apparently recognizing that their only hope of safety (and explicitly not getting pinned between the Cannons of Ultimate Destruction and a bunch of angry stone giants looking to pound them into red mush) was to get through the door. At his urging, Fios ventured close enough to the door to translate the inscription around the gemstone that Val had seen and ignored earlier:

The Door's Inscription wrote:Here lie the shattered armies of Sarnath
And severed shackles of humanity.
Here lies proof of At'ar's will, and Acheron's first defeat.
The hated dead, alas, sleep lightly.
Now Altixun's tainted throne opens to At'ar alone,
All others on pain of death must flee.

"I am not At'ar," Fios said softly...and was that a gulp?

[There's a couple more little things to add here--I'll get to them later tonight--but this should give you a good look at everything that happened last time, with a better perspective from which to figure out what you're doing next time. If there's any questions, feel free to ask, and likewise feel free to RP some stuff here if you like.]
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An Aside

Postby Ian » Sun Apr 01, 2012 3:49 pm

As An Aside...

The party has found a few bundles of potentially useful stuff, and with Val taking a moment last time to identify and itemize some of what he's discovered so far, I figured I'd take this opportunity to break down just what all you have. None of it has been added to individual sheets yet, but you'll still want to keep in mind just what you have in the communal pool--as some of it may be useful before this trip is over.

Discovered by Fios in the Palankasha's alchemical storage closet:
- Alchemical Bomb x10 (20-ft range increment, 5-ft. radius, damage 2d6 + Ignition [as A-Fire], Ref DC 20 half and negates ignition, deals full damage to objects, market price 100g)
- Alchemical Sleep Gas x5 (as described in FRCS)
- Flash Grenade x5 (as thunderstone, also blinds 1 round on failed save)
- Smoke Bomb x10 (as smokestick)
- Stink Bomb x8 (replicates stinking cloud for 1 round, Fort DC 15)
- Tanglefoot Bag x5
- Tindertwig x60
- Unknown Grenade x8 (skull and crossbones painted on the side of each; poisonous?)

Discovered by Val in the various surviving rucksacks of the adventurer corpses found in the Kanche Rasatala:
- Bottles of colored glass; identified as the following potions: cure serious wounds, fox's cunning, resist fire 30, and two that appear to be mundane alcohol
- Coiled sheets of inscribed metal foil; identified as the following scrolls: glibness, legend lore, magic circle vs. evil, Nystul's magic aura
- Coins and small gemstones, currently uncounted and unidentified
- Holy symbol; metal and deity unidentified
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Re: The Shard of Astaroth V

Postby Ian » Mon Apr 16, 2012 3:40 pm

The party had paused to recuperate from their injuries and exhaustion. With no view to the world outside and no way to contact anyone beyond, they had no idea what time it might have been--whether it was still even the first day of their trek, or whether the night had come and gone to the next day. What they did know, however, was that they were all exhausted, teetering on the edge of total collapse.

The previous few hours had revolved around a dizzying array of new information and unanswered questions, after the party managed to circumvent the great door that had stymied some of the greatest minds of the elven race and killed Devdan outright--only to find that the air within was dangerously low in both supply and quality, requiring the group to race into the labyrinth of corridors beyond and rectify that situation lest they either suffocate or be forced to turn back.

In the process, the group found a pair of ancient skeletal corpses, or at least shattered pieces of the same (with enough nearby evidence to suggest the shattering was not post-mortem!), the console they needed (and to which they had been directed by the disembodied female monotone they'd heard outside, now having learned their language and convinced that the bedine woman Avarisa was At'ar himself)...and a creature lurking near that console that took some sort of offense to their approach!

That battle had been fierce in the extreme. Facing but a single opponent, a spectral arcanist with magic both alien and cruel but lacking the party's raw power, our heroes still managed merely a draw; the wraith-like creature retreated into the floor when its allies failed to appear and its most potent spells were exhausted. Fortunate timing indeed, as Val had been altered by some variant of baleful polymorph into a hideous, rainbow-sheened ooze the size of a watermelon, mindlessly twitching and quivering, and both Rhyl and Berenind had been stunned and nearly brain-killed after the sorcerer-ghost exposed them to a truly bizarre experience Fios recognized only from legend:

Fios's Remembrance wrote:The spell conjures a fragment of the yellow sign, which is spoken of in Xapur's ancient texts as the sacred wisdom of Him Who Is Not To Be Named, a terrifying entity about which little is obviously known. So the spell is at least as old as Khosatral Khel, 10,000 years or more, and if Khel's books speak of the sign with fear and reverence, it's obviously Not Good...

And by the way... wrote:The yellow sign was bracketed on either end by other spells long-lost to modern arcanists. The first, forlorn doom, conjured a crystalline gaol of pure shadow-stuff not unlike Otiluke's resilient sphere, but the gaol then devours the very soul of creatures trapped within it similarly to enervation. And the spears of Ammutseba, another ancient spell only referred to obliquely in Khosatral Khel's writings, conjure planar rifts from the space between planets--where no living creature of Toril has ever trod, but in which the "Dwellers in Darkness" (whatever the hell they are) make their home. Is this magic even of mortal origin?

Neither Rhyl or Berenind seemed to remember anything of what they had been exposed to while under the spell of the sign, but perhaps that was for the best. In any event, with the help of the Female Monotone, and the robotic Number Eight's comprehension of the language she was using (apparently not even translating into Common helps translate concepts like "the central circulator's primary processing unit"), Rhyl managed to restore the facility's air circulators. Fios's attempt to help nearly electrocuted him, and the elven trickster contented himself instead to restore Val to his normal tiefling form via limited wish.

Twenty minutes later, the party had retreated back to the entrance of the great complex. Quarters were tight, but with nothing beating down the doors to destroy them and the only noise now the soft rush of cool air being blown through the facility, no one really seemed to mind. Indeed, the party even realized they wouldn't need to set watches--the Female Monotone could monitor for approaching entities, and between her and Number Eight the party could rest with relative ease. Berenind and Fios quickly planned a two-day stay in the tiny room, hoping they would be afforded the time to resurrect the fallen Devdan and restore all of their costlier magical protections.

Rhyl, looking a bit askance (and perhaps wondering just where the privy was going to be for the next 48 hours), settled in to try and rest. Sleep failed to come to him, however, and instead he decided to engage the Female Monotone in some questions about the history of this place...
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Re: The Shard of Astaroth V

Postby Ian » Mon Apr 16, 2012 4:27 pm

A transcript of the conversation between Rhyl and the Female Monotone (with some tweaking for easier readability and to fix my typos) follows.

Rhyl: "Night, know...whatever time it is. Between the glass and caves, and the water, and the swarms, and the tomb tappers...I really have no idea what time it is." He blinks.

FM: The current time is 2247 Acheron Standard, Guest Rhyl Illaer. The solar cycle is offset at this facility by +03:01, making the current local time 0148.

Rhyl: He listens to the voice and just blinks again, not saying anything in response to that. Instead he settles down to get some rest.. however much rest he gets.. and between 'today' and everything else, he doesn't expect it'll be that restful. Once he's had some sleep and such, and he's remained quiet for a time for the others, he glances up toward the ceiling. Just seems to make sense for a disembodied voice. "Where does this facility go? And what else does it contain?"

FM: This facility is, in rough approximation, a cylinder 1 kilometer in height and 0.75 kilometers in diameter. There are five primary sectors: Grey Level, your current location, is the service area, containing many of the facility's primary systems as well as the primary power core.

Among the remaining sectors: Red Level is the facility's primary residential sector. Blue Level contains the R and D facilities, as well as the detention center. Green Level holds the primary command center. Black Level holds the Archive Core and the QED.

Rhyl: Rhyl nods as he listens for anything that would click regarding why Berenind's spell lead them here. He's got Astaroth inhand so the sword can hear better - there's not much to see. And then, looking curious, he waits to be sure the voice is done speaking before asking more questions.

"What is R and D?" A pause. "What does the Archive Core contain, and what is the QED?" Another pause, trying to to ask too much all at once. "What happened to the people in this place?"

FM: The voice rattles off answers sequentially, apparently unperturbed by the rapid-fire nature of Rhyl's questioning. R and D signifies Research and Development, the laboratories used for all sorts of experimentation: biological, technological, and magical.

The Archive Core is the repository of all knowledge generated in this facility and all reference materials used in its production.

The QED is the Quantum Entanglement Device, the facility's primary secure long-range communications unit.

Access to all three areas is currently sealed. And the former inhabitants of this facility were trapped inside when At'ar of Endymion sealed the facility on date 474516. All died over the following 183 days due to various causes.

Rhyl: "Why was the facility sealed at the time? I mean.. why did At'ar do that?" Another pause, trying to ignore the fact that At'ar is supposed to be among them right now. "What areas are not sealed within the place?" He frowns thoughtfully, glancing toward Berenind, then back again.

FM: At'ar seized control of this facility from Altixun, Exalted of Sarnath, on date 474513. Files related to this action are affected by the previously detected data corruption, and must be restored from last full backup. His motivation for sealing the facility is otherwise not known.

Red and Grey Levels are sealed only from exterior access; all internal access points are open. Blue Level itself is accessible from Section R on Red Level, but all entry to Blue Level core sections, Black Level, and Green Level is currently sealed.

Rhyl: "When did the non-living unknown entities show up?" Rhyl seems to be trying to piece together the deal between confusing language and missing information - what with the trouble making air work, he is doubtful these backups will be restored...whatever that means. "Who was Altixun?" Another pause, and Narsingel perks up at this question.

FM: The non-living entities appeared over time, as the former inhabitants of this facility died. Accessing bigraphical data...

Altixun, Exalted of Sarnath: Date and place of birth: unknown. Date and place of corporeal death: 474513, Sarnath. Creator of this facility, alongside At'ar of Endymion. First Lord of the city of Sarnath. Third Exarch of Acheron.

Much of my data on Altixun is likewise corrupted, but I may be able to answer some contextual questions via cross-referencing.

Rhyl: "So Altixun and At'ar made this place, and then At'ar took control of it from him?" He nods thoughtfully. "Where was Sarnath?" Another pause. "How many people lived in this place when it was sealed up? Why were they left inside when it was sealed?"

FM: While this facility is named Sarnath, colloquial use of the term refers to the city that immediately surrounded this facility, which was located in its center. That city was destroyed prior to At'ar of Endymion's seizure of control of this facility. At the time this facility was sealed, it had 1,347 living inhaitants. At'ar's motivation for sealing them into the facility is unknown.

Rhyl: Then he blinks. "Does the facility go up to surface-level or is it all underground?"

FM: At the time this facility was sealed, several of the upper levels were above-ground. Post-sealing, the entire facility was buried on date 474517. Outer sensors registered an extreme thermal event at the time of burial.

Rhyl: "Thermal event outside of the facility?" He nods, and glances toward everyone else, to see if anyone else has any questions, including Narsingel, and the sword, and Berenind. "How deeply is it buried? No way to the surface from here?"

Astaroth: A thermal event hot enough, melt sand and rock into glass?

FM: Confirmed. The heat registered by exterior sensors was equal to that theorized to exist in the corona of the sun, by far sufficient to both sublimate rock and create glass as a byproduct in nearby earth-forms.

Rhyl: "Soo...okay. There was some explosion or fire nasty enough to turn the desert into glass. How does that happen?" This seems a general question toward anyone who might have a guess. "There is a lot here that makes no sense. Berenind, do you have any clue why we were lead to this place?"

Then he blinks, and peers toward Avarisa. "...and remind me why magic is something to be avoided again?"

FM: At the time of the thermal event, the exterior of the facility was not a desert. At that time, this geographic location was an island in the eastern reaches of the Black Sea, west of the region referred to by local tribes as Boitumelo.

Avarisa: Avarisa looks to Rhyl and speaks as if reciting from deeply ingrained memory. "Magic was the tool of the overseers, used to enslave humanity and make a mockery of the natural order. It is an inherently corrupting force, and those who rely on it will eventually use its power to enslave and destroy."

Rhyl: "Okay.. that just makes even less sense." In response to the voice, and he exhales. "So their big explosion or fire or whatever turned an island and sea into a big glass desert." He rubs his face, and then listens to Avarisa's recital. "So these two put the place together, and the people here--" A pause, and then he speaks up. "The people in here all used a lot of magic, right?"

FM: Every resident of this facility was an arcane practitioner. Either they were researchers, and thus high-order arcanists, or they were bodyguards of same, trained in the arts of both magical and mundane combat.

Rhyl: "So At'ar and Altixun must have had a falling-out, probably on magic. At'ar took over the place, and then some years later he closed it all up, sealed it, left the people here, somehow buried it, and then whatever this fire or explosion was that turned the sea into a desert. And then he took his people and taught them against magic." He blinks, and leans back against the wall. "Which still leaves about a million unanswered questions."

FM: Correction: At'ar siezed command of the facility on date 474513, and sealed it on date 474516. Rather than "several years," the time differential was three days.

Rhyl: "Ooooh. Oh. I see. So boom, you all get stuck in a big prison under a glass desert. And they're still all stuck here. I wonder why they didn't all.. move on or something. Go wherever they should have gone. If it was -them-, or the place itself."

"Do you know what happened to Altixun?" Again toward the voice.

FM: Altixun met corporeal death on date 474513.

Rhyl: He sighs. "Okay - so he was probably killed when the takeover happened..." A nod. "...Alright. Enough questions from me for now, I think... I think this is about all my brain can absorb for one sitting." He looks between Astaroth and Narsingel. "How's this for a history lesson?"

Astaroth: I'd guess the people that died here didn't move on for the same reason we can't access extradimensional space here, and why it's next to impossible to get in without using the doors--there must be some sort of barrier keeping as much in as out.

That said, there's one thing you're forgetting: she mentioned an intruder earlier, too.

Rhyl: "Yeah, leave it to me to forget the important part." He sighs, and speaks up. "Where is this intruder located, and how did it get in?"

FM: Unknown xenobiologic entity is currently located on Red Level, Subsection A. My internal sensors are malfunctioning in that area, so I do not have more specific data.

Unauthorized entry was gained via the Left PDS Turret Conveyor at Red Level Exterior Access Point 7M. Unknown entity destroyed the left PDS turret at that location, then rode the conveyor into the facility when the turret was reclaimed for repair. It circumvented the secondary force shield in that area by unknown means.

Rhyl: "Great.. Alright. can just stay put there a bit until we're all rested up...hopefully." He sighs, leaning back against the wall again to think on all this.

Transcript ends here. If any members of the party wish to continue questioning the Female Monotone, feel free to use the thread to do so if you wish, since that sort of thing is easy to take care of in downtime here. Also, since you are in downtime, you may feel free to RP amongst yourselves, just let me know if you do.
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Re: The Shard of Astaroth V

Postby Ian » Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:40 pm

Female Monotone: No. Altixun met corporeal death prior to the sealing of the facility. The first non-living entities did not appear until after the facility was sealed.
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Re: The Shard of Astaroth V

Postby Failbhe » Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:53 pm

Fios comes up with a few questions of his own:

"So .. there are 1347 non-living entities currently in here with us?"

"What is a PDS Turret?"

"Do you have a physical description of the unidentified entity? Or description of what it did to damage this PDS turret?"

"Where does At'ar originate from?"
Makin - 6th lvl (Cleric of Amaunator 5 / Combat Medic 1)
Ogmios Vox - 1st lvl (Bard 1)
Fios-Khelek Heru (Grunt Ka Thunk) - 20th (Rogue 3 / Wizard 3 / Frostmage 4 / Arcane Trickster 10)
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Re: The Shard of Astaroth V

Postby Ian » Mon Apr 16, 2012 8:20 pm

Female Monotone: Correct. 1,347 non-living entities currently inhabit this facility.

PDS Turret: Point Defense System endpoint module. Installed by Altixun, Exalted of Sarnath and At'ar of Endymion during the initial construction of this facility. Two PDS Turrets are placed at each facility entrance. The primary loading dock on Red Level, Subsection R has four such turrets. PDS operates independently of the Internal Defense Grid. More detailed schematics are available if desired.

No physical description of the unidentified xenobiologic entity is available due to rolling sensor malfunctions in areas traversed by the entity. Logs from PDS Turret Red-7M-Left indicate the target approached to within 1.7 meters. Force shielding was then disrupted by a foreign object, followed 1.3 seconds later by catastrophic power loss and critical system failure of the entire PDS unit.

Loading biographical data...At'ar of Endymion: Date and place of birth: unknown. Date and place of corporeal death: unknown. Creator of this facility, alongside Altixun, Exalted of Sarnath. Creator of the ASCA system. First Lord of the city of Endymion. First Exarch and Praetor of Acheron.

Much of my data on At'ar is corrupted, but I may be able to answer some contextual questions via cross-referencing.
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Re: The Shard of Astaroth V

Postby J.C. » Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:19 pm

:::Val shudders at all the information as he slides down the wall, his wings spreading out beside him, his head falling with a low thump against his knees, mumbling between his legs as a question enters his slowly returning to normal brain:::

Are there internal defenses that could disrupt or destroy the xenobiological entity?

Can this same entity be sealed within the current location?

Is there something you have that can tell us where the non-corporeal beings are located so we may avoid them? Because they died here I would rather avoid them than confront them.

This R and D area, is it still intact and accessible?

Will we need any more rebuilding of this facility to be able to access any of the areas?

Now that we have restored the power needed to ventilate the facility will you be opening any external portals?

:::Val becomes still, his breathing shallow:::
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Re: The Shard of Astaroth V

Postby Ian » Tue Apr 17, 2012 7:53 am

Female Monotone: No means available to me have been sufficient to destroy or hinder the intruder, or to seal it within a particular location, though it has likewise been unable to circumvent the pre-existing seals. I have switched the defense protocols in that area to Surveillance Mode to prevent further damage to the facility.

I am capable of identifying the locations of all the non-living entities in this facility.

Running Level 4 diagnostic of Blue Level, Sections J-R: Research and Development.
Structural integrity of the R&D unit is intact.
Warning: Main power to the R&D unit has been depleted.
Warning: Auxillary power to the R&D unit has been rerouted to Blue Level, Sections A-D, as per Directive 2217. Administrator passcode authorization required for override. Emergency power packs activated in R&D for essential containment functions.
Warning: Full defense protocols are engaged for Blue Level, all sections, as per Directive 2214. Administrator passcode authorization required for override.

All external portals remain sealed, as per Directive 2201. Only At'ar of Endymion and designated guests may pass under current security protocol. Administrator passcode authorization required for override.
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Re: The Shard of Astaroth V

Postby Keith » Wed Apr 18, 2012 9:54 am

Berenind listens to the conversations with the voice and a question comes to mind.

"Who is the Administrator? And what should we refer to you as?" he asks the voice.
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Re: The Shard of Astaroth V

Postby Ian » Wed Apr 18, 2012 11:28 pm

Female Monotone: At'ar of Endymion is the administrator of this facility.

I am the A.S.C.A., or Artificial Sentient Construct Assistant, Model Two. At'ar of Endymion often colloquially referred to me as Asca. As his guests, it would not be inappropriate if you chose to do likewise.
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Re: The Shard of Astaroth V

Postby J.C. » Thu Apr 19, 2012 4:47 pm

:::Val snorts, like catching his breath, his head coming up slowly from his knees, blinks, clearing his throat:::

If the R&D area is intact as you say, but is still without power, is the air breathable, and if not, would you direct us to make it breathable, and can this be done without threatening the air we have already established?

Also, will you direct us into the area possibly avoiding the entities on the way?

:::frowns, thinking:::Do you have any way of limiting the travel through this complex by the entities, or possibly redirecting them away from the party?
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