The party is currently exploring the interior of a facility, at the top of a mountain overlooking Damascus. They are looking around the giant cavern. The river that leads down into the city of Damascus has vanished, and they’ve found that the river has been redirected into this cavern. Sasha checks the door nearest to them for traps but doesn’t find any. She disables the lock on the door and they find a storage room containing a few crates; a few are open, revealing mundane goblin tools (though some are more advanced tools). The party continues to search the rest of the facility; none of the doors have traps on them. Most of them are just for storage; one is for a hastily-built canteen, one is for some toilets. There’s nothing interesting in this particular area of the facility. They decide to backtrack on their path and try out the other direction. It becomes very apparent that this is more of an outpost rather than an entire factory. They head back the way they came; Sasha is able to find bypass switches so that they can get through all the traps easily this time. They make it back to where the path diverges and continue in the opposite direction. In a slight turn of the corridor, right where it bends, they notice a large rune or sigil that stretches from floor to ceiling. It seems out of place; it’s purple with a silvery edge to it. Hamid tells the rest not to look directly at it, and he casts detect magic. He detects a very faint transmutation spell, which he presumes is simply the magic used to put the rune on the wall. He doesn’t recognize the language; it’s moving slightly, in the way that magical script does. Sasha doesn’t recognise it as a magical trap.
Hamid says that it doesn't seem dangerous, and Grizzop offers to shoot it. Hamid hesitates, but Grizzop insists, saying that it could explode if they just pass by it. Azu agrees to be cautious. Grizzop shoots it from a distance, and it clatters off without anything happening. Sasha tries rolling a piece of cheese past it. Sasha and Grizzop hear a faint click as it rolls past the sigil, but they don’t see anything happen. Azu hears slithering in the background, very faintly; Hamid doesn't hear anything. Sasha asks him to turn her invisible so that she can sneak up to it and investigate it, but he refuses, saying that if something happens to her, they won’t be able to see. Sasha just goes off by herself to investigate the trap; Azu starts to go after her, but Grizzop convinces her to stay back because Sasha is built for sneaking and Azu isn’t. Grizzop nocks an arrow and gets ready as Sasha moves forward with daggers out. Azu gets her axe out.
As Sasha gets closer, the symbol moves a bit more quickly, but nothing else appears to be happening. She walks past it, avoiding the place where they heard the click, and finds a pressure plate immediately in front of the sigil. She points it out to the others and tells them to avoid it; Sasha is past it, and Grizzop, Hamid, and Azu walk through in that order. Hamid casts read magic: when he casts it, the movement of the sigil accelerates - it’s clearly reacting to him, but it isn’t doing anything. Azu spots a very small section of the ceiling sliding back as Hamid approaches; a grub falls and drops on Hamid’s shoulder, and he immediately notices. It tries to bite him but misses. Azu sees it has too many teeth for something that small; it’s about the size of a thumb, but the mouth doubles when it’s trying to bite. Hamid starts panicking and Azu yells out, drawing the attention of the other two. Grizzop shoots it and Hamid casts magic missile; the grub explodes. Hamid scampers forward to get away from it, disgusted and tense. Grizzop points his arrow up at where the grub came from and waits in case another drops while Azu is passing under it. Three more start to fall and he shoots them; Hamid is prepared to cast magic missile if necessary. They are very easy to kill, and seem to rely on the surprise effect. He and Grizzop go over to investigate the grub; Grizzop remembers a seminar he had while starting his tutelage at the temple of Artemis where he learned about a creature called ‘wizard’s shackle’ - it wouldn’t have too much of an effect on a paladin, but it would on an arcane caster. Hamid remembers a different lesson from when he was at university, when one of his professors was describing the wizard’s shackle (he remembers Gideon joking about it looking like a penis and laughing, and then Liliana turning around to shush them, smiling at Hamid). They call it insidious, explaining that its a grub that burrows inside your skin and eats your spells and attacks you at the same time. It’s a creature that relies on ambush, and is an incredibly popular method for assassins to use.
Sasha realizes that this is one of the traps that you set specifically for magic users. The sigil is there to be really interesting for wizards; tempt them in to cast spells and identify themselves as a magic-user, and then the trap goes off and gets them. Azu deduces that they might need to be using magic further down the corridor. They continue down the corridor a bit longer; they find another set of doors similar to the ones in the water room earlier, and Sasha finds a bypass switch. Both doors open; Sasha’s laying it on a bit thick, but she makes a production of tying a rope off to herself and going into the dark room. Sasha says that if something happens, they just need to pull her back again. Down the next corridor, they hear mechanical noises and the sound of running water. Sasha walks through the room; once she’s crossed the room they all follow, then head down the corridor. They reach a larger room, where the sounds of machinery was coming from. It’s clear that there are a lot of moving parts; it’s rhythmic, the noises of a factory that has some weird bits to it. There are no doors: they can all peek through the doorway.
It’s a cavernous room. They find themselves at the top of a set of stairs that goes down to a factory floor. There are a lot of motorized arms for construction and a conveyor belt that appears to have chunks of simulacra chassis being constructed.
Hamid and Grizzop see that there are four major entrances to this room. On the main floor, they can see the whole river entering into the room, into a sluice. There’s a huge piping system diverting the water around the factory. They see that they’re at the starting end of the conveyor belt, with constant sheer loads of raw adamantine coming out and beginning to be constructed into the simulacrum chassis. There’s no one else in the factory; it doesn’t appear to be abandoned, just empty. Sasha cautiously asks if it’s Mr. Ceiling, and Grizzop asks if that’s the weird brain thing. Sasha says that anytime she’s seen anything weird like this, it’s been being run by some diabolical creatures. They decide that they should properly destroy it, however, the entire facility is going to be dangerous to walk around without turning something off. There isn’t going to be a way to bring down the entire thing in one go, but they’ll definitely be able to do some damage. Hamid goes over to the adamantine and grabs a hefty amount of ore, sticking it in his bag of holding. He explains that it’s very expensive, and that it’s so durable that it’s a great option to toss in a piece of machinery if they want to break it. As they wander around, they notice that there are some tools that have been put down nearly. The tunnel that the adamantine is coming from is big. It clearly was done by a single long drill. It’s wide enough for vehicles to go side by side. Running alongside it is pavement for people to walk along.
Sasha realizes that they could probably take out a conveyor belt, though it will take a few hours to really break it. Hamid wonders if there’s a way to dump the adamantine into the river and block up the water from coming into the factory; Grizzop instead suggests that they toss it into the pipes and start flooding the factory. Hamid says that that’s a good idea, and they decide to separate and start breaking things. They all do solid work; Hamid does the most damage, by taking the time to assess the situation, looking at the early part of the factory and working out the best places to drop chunks of adamantine and break the mechanism. Hamid thinks he sees someone moving around near him - when he goes to investigate no one is there. Grizzop sees it as well, but there’s so many moving parts that he can’t make it out. He heads back over and starts to investigate it.
Suddenly, Azu sees an arrow fly by her; she asks if Grizzop accidentally shot an arrow at her and he, sort of offended, says no. He says that he saw someone and Hamid backs him up, saying that they both saw a figure. Sasha somersaults over to the two of them, pulling out her daggers, and Azu follows her. Grizzop looks over at the arrow, then glancing in the direction that he thinks it came from, pointing it out to the others. An arrow hits Hamid in the back, coming from the opposite direction to where they were looking. He takes 4 damage, and exclaims. None of them saw where the shot came from, but Hamid spins around and glances at where he thinks it is. Sasha gets hit next; Grizzop notices that the arrows appear to be adamantine-edged. Sasha hops on the conveyor belt and sees what she thinks is a woman; they seem to be an attractive-looking human woman, with a large hood that doesn’t cover their face. They are very stealthy, having similar skills to Sasha. They move in time with the machine without even having to look; Sasha notices them lining up a shot on Hamid.
- Sasha: "And also, maybe when I step into that room it’ll fill with water and I’ll nearly die again."
- Azu: "Let’s hope not."
- Hamid: "Can we try hooking a rope around you first, maybe?"
- Azu: "Yes."
- Alex: "For Sasha’s benefit and no one else’s, you’re like, 99% sure that’s not gonna happen, but that doesn’t mean you can’t lay it on thick."
- Lydia: "That’s what she’s doing."
- Helen: "Why are you doing this?! Azu’s soul shrivels up a little bit more."
- Alex: "Gooood. Gooooood!"
- Lydia: "It’s really nice having someone there who doesn’t have that much of a care for their own personal safety, surrounded by people who do."
- ―The party doesn't want Sasha to be hurt.
- Sasha: "Alright, well, I’ll just go through, and you know, if I get trapped or whatever, just pull me out then."
- Grizzop: "That’s the plan."
- Helen: "I’m holding onto the rope so tightly, I’m like we’re not, we’re not failing this."
- ―Sasha heads back through the room.
Dice rolls and Mechanics
- Sasha makes a Perception check: 24
- Sasha takes 10 to unlock the door
- Sasha makes a Perception check: 19
- Sasha makes a Perception check: 15
- Hamid makes a Knowledge (arcana) check: 31
- Grizzop makes a Knowledge (religion) check: 13
- Everyone makes a Perception check: Grizzop gets 19, Hamid gets 16, Sasha gets 21, Azu gets a nat 1
- Sasha makes a Perception check: 30
- Hamid and Azu make a Perception check: 24 and 22 respectively
- Hamid makes a Knowledge (arcana) check on the grubs: 23
- Grizzop makes a Knowledge (nature) check on the grubs: 14
- Everyone makes a Perception check: Grizzop gets 13, Hamid gets 19, Sasha gets a nat 1, Azu gets a 12
- Sasha makes a Perception check: 25
- Everyone makes a Perception check: Grizzop gets 20, Hamid gets 20, Sasha gets 20, Azu gets a 24
- Everyone makes a Perception check: Grizzop gets 24, Hamid gets 20, Sasha gets 15, Azu gets an 18
- Sasha makes a Disable Device check: 21
- Everyone makes a straight d20 check to break the factory: Grizzop gets 9, Sasha gets 14, Hamid gets 19, Azu gets 16
- Everyone makes a Perception check: Grizzop gets 23, Hamid gets 23, Sasha gets 27, Azu gets a 9
- Everyone makes a Perception check: Grizzop gets 13, Hamid gets 21, Sasha gets 30, Azu gets a 26 (nat 20)
Grub trap initiative: Grizzop (19), Hamid (18), Sasha (12), Azu (6)
- Grub: Tries to bite Hamid but only gets a mouthful of cloth.
- Grizzop: Shoots the grub. He rolls 20 and hits, dealing five damage.
- Hamid: Casts magic missile and deals 16 damage. The grub explodes.
Strange figure Initiative: Strange figure, Sasha (24), Grizzop (18), Hamid (17), Azu (13)
The strange figure is hidden and takes two attacks against the party before they enter initiative.
- Strange figure: Fires an arrow at Azu and misses. Fires an arrow at Hamid and hits him for 4 damage.
- Strange figure: Fires an arrow at Sasha and hits her for 2 damage.
- Sasha: Melts into the shadows and tries to go in the direction that the arrows came from. She gets a 30 on her Stealth check and hops onto the conveyor belt, going in that direction. When she turns the corner, she notices someone hidden among the workings. They’re hiding incredibly well.