Last week was spent mostly with making characters and setting the foundation for this week’s gaming. This week, we tried our hardest to kill off our painstakingly-made characters.
It was midday when we arrived in Meturius, and we then proceeded to make our way down the road to the mine. This took the rest of the day, and as the sun was setting we reached the camp of four guards who were charged with watching the mine.
They were not informed of our arrival. Upon asking for our reason for being there, Ronin replied “We’re here to fix your dragon problem!”
The guards were not amused. They had no dragon. They weren’t even sure they had goblins. They were also significantly less amused by Carric’s proclamation of “We’re the idiots that were sent to clear out your mine.”
To make things even better, a horse and rider came thundering up the road, barely halting before horrifically trampling all of us. Seemingly compounding the fact that we’re a bunch of idiots, the crazy horse lady announced that the Constable, the one that had hired us, had doubts for the four of us completing the mission alone and sent her.
And then she proceeded to dismount and almost started a fight with her horse. While Carric explained things with the guards, the woman simultaneously attempted to pawn the horse off onto one of the guards and do whatever care she could for it. While she didn’t like the horse (And the horse didn’t like her much either!), she wasn’t one to let it just die.
In the interest of making the guards not immediately hate our guts, I passed the one that had been roped into horse duty a couple of silver pieces. They had no food, no equipment, and certainly weren’t expecting such a burden.
When the horse was dealt with, Carric had not only managed to secure us a location to camp for the night (An empty field behind the guards’ camp), but had made a bet with one of the guards on our survival in the mines.
The night passed uneventfully, with the new member Octavia quizzing each of the rest of us on our backgrounds. After our rest, we were escorted to the mine by Carric’s guard friend, who explained to the guards at the entrance what we were doing. Again, wanting to encourage positive thoughts on us, I gave him a silver piece for his troubles. If all goes well, there will be plenty enough coin to replace it.
This mine is more in the Roman style – essentially straight down. This created some problems – First, we had to find a way down. After Ronin took a peek down seemingly-endless shaft, I lit my bullseye lantern and we made our way forward.
Carric found a winch mechanism, which I managed to figure out how to work. Octavia, meanwhile, found the platform which we figured they used and used her rope tying skills learned at sea to rig it up to the winch.
Gathering as many rocks as we could, I lowered it down in a test. It failed, dumping the rocks down the shaft and into the water at the bottom. One of the knots had come loose, and after I returned the platform to the surface it was obvious that the whole thing had almost fallen completely off.
Octavia set about her knot-tying again, but thankfully Carric decided to keep an eye, finding some issues with the knots and having her re-tie them properly. With that issue settled, it was time for the real test – Sending Haltz and Carric down into the first gallery, about two hundred feet below us.
I volunteered to operate the winch, being the strongest of the group. I also wouldn’t have to trust someone else with lowering me down, especially given the fact that if we had trusted the previous knots, someone would have died.
Sending them down was uneventful. Someone stumbled a little upon getting off, but that’s to be expected with a jury-rigged rope elevator. It was at this point that I realized just how much work it was to lower two fully-equipped adventurers two hundred feet down a hole, winch or no winch.
Bringing the platform back up was easy, and it was at this time that Octavia decided to ask one of the guards outside to help us back up after we made our decent. Somehow, an exit plan had not exactly been considered by any of the rest of us.
With our return route secured, it was time to send down Octavia and Ronin. This was where the fun begins. About halfway down, I loose control of the winch for just a second. The platform tips, spilling both Octavia and Ronin off, with at least 650 feet of shaft below them. Even had they managed to land in the first mining gallery where Haltz and Carric were waiting, the fall would have left them as little more than smears.
Like something out of a cartoon, Octavia managed to catch herself on one of the platform’s eye hooks, and then Ronin, missing the platform, managed to latch on to Octavia’s leg. Realizing that holding on to someone that was similarly holding on to something else was a Bad Idea, Ronin managed to grab onto the platform, both helping level it out and reducing the strain on Octavia.
With the pair now dangling, it was a significantly easier option to resume lowering them. Pulling them up would have been much harder, and they were just as far from the surface as they were from the gallery. Haltz and Carric, having heard their shouting, were standing by to help them off the platform without having them fall down the remainder of the shaft.
With no others to lower me down, I decided to reclaim the extra climbing rope, secure the winch, and climb down the line to the platform. This was easier said than done, and a simple loss of grip led me to plummet fifty feet before suffering pretty heavy rope burn before stopping myself. On finishing the journey down, Haltz took some of the rope and some of his pitons, making a net at the shaft’s hole. At the very least, the platform wouldn’t be lost even if someone above cut the rope.
The mining gallery we now stood in was pretty significant. About 150 feet long, 30 feet wide, and 15 feet tall, it was obvious that a significant amount of effort had been put into this mine. This was just the first gallery, and there were four shafts leading from it. One was the main shaft, heading down another 500 feet or so beyond where we were currently. Another looked like the mine’s secondary shaft, and a third was fairly short. The fourth shaft decended some distance before terminating in rubble, but not before expanding into another mining gallery.
That is where we left off this week. Three people almost died in the first 250 feet of our adventure, with no monsters needed. Plus, I had my hand in all three!
And as it would be unfair to leave Octavia without an introduction:
Race/Class: Human Cleric (Disciple of Nera)
Background: Coming from a merchant family devoted to Nera, Octavia was sent to a boarding school run by the priesthood of Nera. There, she learned many things about exploration and the oceans, things that would be useful for an adventurer. Upon her graduation, the head of the school arranged for her to have some work with the Obsidian Vault Reclamations, who then assigned the poor woman to work with us.