New York 1984
Week 3, Down the Right Path
We left our heroes in the depths of the utility tunnels under Grand Central Station, contemplating a large, psi-proofed steam tunnel. Cantrel scans it with a quadcorder, which reports that there is a very hard and (to it) impenetrable wall behind the wall of the steam tunnel. We decide to look around for another entrance rather than trying to breach the wall here and possibly set off alarms.
We head off, down a tight and winding route. Chris, in the lead, spots two sets of foot-prints. One is large, by someone who had to crouch and crawl in many places. The other is small, more recent, by someone short enough to walk erect. Both are headed our way.
At one point, the little tracks simply stop. Looking around, Chris finds a well-hidden pipe leading down. Cantrel gives him the quadcorder and Chris discovered that the pipe does not fit tightly into the dirt. Below it, it opens out.
Tom uses his Second Sight and finds a large tunnel, crudely carved, old enough to have acquired a few stalactites (unless they're stalagmites). One way, the tunnel forks. The other way, the small footprints continue for a way, mixed with others, then vanish.
Lorelei remarks that we should be quiet down here, since pipes carry noise well. She then tries to feel for magic. There are very faint traces, but they are overlaid by the stuff we're doing right now.
We continue, finding no way to break into this tunnel, either. Our path takes us to a room full of iron catwalks, about three floors tall. Chris takes a clairview, and finds most of the pipes are inactive, but a few water mains and cables remain. Two floors up, he spots a dozen ragged in lean-tos and other improvised shelter. Above them is Grand Central again.
We decide to leave the hoboes alone and wend on. Following Cantrel's maps, we head down. Where the maps say a shaft should be, we find a wall of cobblestones. Lorelei gets a faint impression of magic. She probes and finds a foot of brick, then a shaft, reached by a hidden door. She locates the trip and Alag opens it. There's a ladder going both up and down, though the maps only mentioned down.
Alag climbs down four stories to find a corridor with footprints in it. Cantrel flies down and looks around with his faithful infrared binoculars. The tunnel is blocked off on way, and the footprints (naturally) lead in the other. We all descend and head that way.
We come to a premature wall where a room should be, and the footprints appear to just stop. Hidden door time again. Eventually, Cantrel finds a faint line marking such a door. What's really interesting is that, even after it's pointed out, Second Sight can't see it, not any sign of a room beyond.
Cantrel uses his Knock spell and the door opens, revealing a room which, to Second Sight and Probe and so forth, is full of rubble. Tom remarks that someone can cast glamour on ESP, and ESP only.
In the room is a manhole cover that can be lifted if you're very strong. It's much thicker than a normal one. Also, there are no more footprints in the dust. Come to notice it, WE aren't leaving footprints in the dust, either.
Cantrel floats down the manhole and finds a sewer with walkways on either side. Far off, his binoculars pick up a trace of heat. Someone ahead of us? Although the sewer water doesn't smell, several of us decide now is a good time to stop and put on our space helmets. We now start following the diadem detector, which leads more or less down the sewer tunnel.
Still following Cantrel's maps, we look for a the third door on the right and find it. It's been rigged with electrical alarms, twice. Cantrel, and then Lorelei, disable them with TK. Tom notes that the second one was wired backwards, so that, though our involuntary hosts are low-tech, they are also tricky. Not to mention magical. The floor starts showing scuffing again.
We go down another trap door, into the psilence. Once you are in it, psi works fine, but it can't CROSS it. It's a barrier of some sort.
We then go down corridor, to a counterweighted door. Between its tendency to slam shut on its own and its ESP-proof quality, we think we're in combat with someone for a while. Eventually, we figure the thing out. But while most of the party is so engaged, Sophie is startled by the appearance of a ragged young man, who also looks startled and vanishes in a peculiar and hard-to-describe manner.
Beyond the door, we find a pit rimmed with a winding ramp, with dark water at the bottom. Going down the ramp, we encounter a "thief," a "wizard," and a "fighter."
The "thief" is our young friend who startled Sophie. We catch sight of him again and again he vanished oddly.
Cantrel flies up to the top of the pit. We start down the ramp. There are a couple of alcoves off of the ramp. Pfusand thinks someone is in the first one, so Tom looks in with Second Sight. He gets hit with some sort of magical attack that feels like he was punched. After we determine that whatever was there (the aforementioned "wizard") has left, Lorelei patches Tom up. Although there are no signs of damage, a bit of mundane doctoring makes him feel better.
At one of the lower alcoves, there are two paths heading down further. At the lowest one, there is a fighter-type skulking about. Sophie heads up to the top to see if she might be able to talk to the thief-fellow, and Chris heads to talk to the fighter, who is holding three spears. Using his translator, he tries to talk, saying that we're here on a quest and we don't want to get into a fight or anything. The fighter answers by tossing his three spears. Chris parries two of them with TK, and dodges the last. Unfortunately, Cantrel was also parrying the last spear, and he pushes it in the same direction the Chris lunged. Fortunately, Cantrel pushes a little farther than Chris leaps, and while Chris has a bit of a scare about homing spears, he is unhurt. The fighter scurries off into the gloom.
Sophie has not made contact with the thief, and the group re-forms. We make a few exploratory stabs with second-sight down our available paths. Cantrel asks Chris to flip a coin and dice it to show us the path to the diadem segment. He does so, and it says significantly to go down the middle path (in game terms, this means Chris's player rolled a 00 on a 99 skill).
We leave them there, not sure what to do next.
Copyright © 1998, Jim Burrows. All Rights Reserved.