Azu, Cel and Zolf make their way out of the flooded room to a suspicious, golden pressure door. Hamid and Skraak crawl around in circles through the maintenance tunnels until they open a hatch into an enormous room with a giant pipe organ.
Skraak helps Hamid by being genre-savvy, old 'no fear' Zolf is at it again, Azu just needs a hug, and Cel shows off another neat trick.
Hamid and Skraak
Hamid and Skraak are in the maintenance tunnel where they heard a loud groaning of metal which slowly ebbed away. Skraak tugs at Hamid's clothes and tells him that it's probably pressure equalization. Hamid notices that Skraak begins to become more coherent as time passes as apparently the effects of whatever drug Skraak was under is slowly wearing off.
They continue crawling down the tunnels, and make what they think is steady progress, but it takes quite a long time and they do not see any other exits. Eventually they reach another T-junction to what Hamid feels is the middle of the complex, and Hamid goes left. Skraak disagrees with him, and suggests they should go right instead. Hamid looks left and right, then shrugs and goes right.
Azu, Cel and Zolf
Azu, Cel and Zolf are still in the flooded room while alarms are going off, and Cel was just grabbed by Azu. Cel screams and kicks at Azu while in the mean time, two large solid steel doors start shunting down into place over the two entrances to the room (one of which was the door the party entered through, while the other is on the opposite side of the room).
Azu pushes off against the floor and using the wall manages to get above the water, and she calls for Cel, who yells in surprise. She explains that it was her grabbing their foot and that they should probably get out of the room. Cel asks if Zolf is dead, and Azu says no just as Zolf also breaches the water and tells Cel he's fine. He informs them they pulled an emergency lever in the hopes it would drain the room, but Cel doubts Shoin would have built something that useful.
A high-pitched ringing starts, which they recognize as a sign of pressure equalization taking place, and Zolf determines it's best to stay below the water while this takes place. Cel follows his, as does Azu, reluctantly. There is a loud mechanical noise underwater and Zolf tries to reassure Azu by giving her the thumbs up, although he hesitates when the sound becomes louder and more concerning. Eventually the pressure equalizes and Azu grabs Cel by the arm and makes her way over to Zolf to stay close to everyone. Zolf pops up above the water and takes a breath, which seems to go fine. Azu and Cel surface as well.
Cel asks if anyone has any healing, and Azu also indicates she could use some. Zolf heals everyone (15 + 11 HP), and Azu casts a Lay on Hands on herself (11 HP). The speakers above them burst into life, and Shoin rambles another rhyme about 'hotel Shoin' where the food is to die for, and that such noble heroes deserve a rest and they shouldn't tarry too long or they will 'fail the test'.
Azu indicates she would like to leave, and they discuss what to do next. Zolf suggests to pull the lever again to try and get the blast doors back up, and Cel asks if there is anywhere they could stand up. Azu takes them over to the walkways, which are still above the water, and apologizes for dragging them around, and Cel tells her it's fine, except for the part where she dragged them underwater. Zolf dives back under the water and switches the lever back. The alarm starts ringing again and the blast doors raise back up, although the one covering the entrance through which they came in stops halfway and then lowers again.
Zolf and Cel both talk about how badly designed the doors and engineering is in this place, and Azu again reminds them she would really like to get out of there. Zolf compliments everyone on how they handled the situation, and on how Azu didn't panic. Azu tells him he's saving her panic for later. Cel commends her for this, and Zolf grows somewhat concerned about everyone's coping mechanisms and tells them they will have a talk about it after they get out of the Shoin Institute. Cel and Zolf get into a small argument about this.
The speakers again burst into life and Shoin tells them 'Tick tock, tick tock. Let's not fall to toxic shock!".
Hamid and Skraak
Hamid and Skraak continue making progress while Hamid is humming Toreador from the opera Carmen to himself. When they reach about the thirtieths junction they've passed, Hamid notices a long, broad scratch carved in the wall and Skraak gives a sigh. Hamid asks them what is wrong and Skraak points behind them, where intermittently there are other long scratches that Skraak has left behind them. Hamid apologizes for not marking their way before to orient, but Skraak indicates they already did, and suggest to open a door at random. Hamid agrees so that they can determine where they are, but says they need to do it very carefully because some of the rooms have been flooded. He asks Skraak if there is any way to check before opening a hatch.
Skraak thinks on it for a moment, then crawls over to a side hatch and pulls it down. There is a pressure gauge inside which they tap a few times and then they say that it seems okay. Hamid takes out one of the utility wrenches he got from one of the lockers earlier and opens the door. Skraak tells him to be ready with his magic for what is potentially behind the door, and Hamid uses the wrench to open the door about 15 feet down from where the hatch is. The hatch opens and a peculiar, lurid green light floods into the tunnel from that opening, and Hamid realizes that most of the tunnels were probably filled with these kind of hidden hatches but that he was just unable to notice them as he was crawling along.
Hamid goes to the opening and cautiously peers inside the room.
Hamid carefully looks inside the room and finds himself up in the rafters of an enormous, domed room. There is a walkway right next to the opening Hamid is in. The room is well lit by a lurid green light. There is a huge domed glass ceiling above, reminiscent of old Victorian green houses, reinforced with metal. The dome is around 100 feet in diameter and is perfectly circular, and the walkway at the edge of the dome is at the same height as the maintenance tunnel, from which one can look down into the room. The glass dome above is a little bit grimy with some weeds and Hamid is unable to see the surface of the sea, which too far above them.
Hamid asks Skraak if he recognizes the room, and Skraak admits they've never even been in the lift before. Hamid tells Skraak to stay put and stay quiet, and Skraak warns him that the room has 'Big Boss' vibes and that it is big enough to hold a 100 foot tall man made entirely of fire and lightning. Hamid thinks this might have been an exaggeration but that it is indeed possible, and again tells Skraak to stay quiet and hidden while he will make a lap of the room to get a closer look. He asks Skraak if he has any weapons, but all Skraak has is their claws. Hamid gives Skraak one of the injection spears he picked up earlier, including some of the canisters to reload it.
Hamid puts on the Cloak of Elvenkind and steps into the room, and then uses the Sleeves of Many Garments to change his outfit back into a three-piece suit and prestidigitates himself. He then quietly makes his way over to the edge of the walkway. When he looks down in to the room he immediately notices on the far side of the room what appears to be an enormous pipe organ, apparently filling the far third of the room. It has a lot of different pipes running all the way up into the dome and also out of it. On both sides of the organ are two enormous cylinders with a diameter of about 20 feet, filled with a lurid green liquid which is bubbling. There are pipes leading from the cylinders into the pipe organ. The pipe organ is designed in such a way that it looks like a huge figure is leaning over whoever is playing it, with a pair of large eyes looking down.
Another thing Hamid notices is that there are a large amount of pipe entrances leading into the room, although they don't look like they're there to be able to flood the room necessarily as they have a fine mesh grating over the end of them, like filter paper. The room furthermore appears to be divided into several sections. One third of the room on the far side is for the pipe organ. Another quadrant appears to be a lush study, with a mahogany desk and a good chair, chaise longue, filing cabinets and gentle lightning, while on the opposite of that is a bedroom setup. Underneath where Hamid came into the room is a quadrant that appears to be a kitchen or laboratory with alchemical stuff splayed around. In the exact middle of the room is a large, circular table. It has four places set, while between the table and the organ is a large, ornate chair which is occupied by a humanoid figure who is sat with steepled hands resting on the table.
Hamid begins to sneak all the way around the room towards the pipe organ and one of the large cylinders, in order to be behind the figure and outside of their line of sight.
Azu, Cel and Zolf
Azu, Cel and Zolf are still in the flooded room, and scattered throughout the room are the remnants of the items that were in the room before it flooded, like a mundane axe, long sword, bow, hammer and brace of daggers, as well as a huge amount of broken bottles, trashed furniture and wet and damaged books. Azu takes Cel's hand to guide them as they still can't see in the darkness. Zolf asks Azu for help as the door leading further into the complex opens inwards and might require some strength to open against the water. As they open the door, water begins draining out of the room until it is about 2 feet off the ground.
On the other side of the door is 20 feet of corridor and then another door similar to the one they just opened. Cel takes a torch out of their bag of holding and flicks it on. The corridor looks straightforward and blank, and it appears the group are leaving a zone for another zone of the complex. They move into the corridor and close the door behind them. As they do so, electric lights burst on one by one all the way down the length of the corridor, highlighting the door on the other end. They notice this door is gold-plated.
The group looks around for traps, and Azu finds an incredibly fine and well-made tripwire running the entire width of the corridor about 3 feet off the ground. Zolf uses his boots of levitation to fly over it, while Azu steps over it and Cel crawls underneath it. Cel wonders if they should do any preparations before opening the door, as they might be a fight waiting for them on the other side. They drink a potion that beast morphs them into a bat-like creature, giving them bat wings, a bulkier physique, and huge teeth and claws. Azu lets go of Cel's hand after the transformation.
After they finish other preparations, they open the golden door.
- Helen: "Azu is not functioning very well, so-"
- Ben: "I look over and give you like a thumbs up, 'this is fine'."
- Alex: "There is an extremely loud noise-"
- Helen: "Azu is shaking her head, like 'I'm not fine.'"
- Alex: "-under the water, of like [makes loud mechanical noises]."
- Ben: "Even more vigorous thumbs up!"
- Alex: "Like it sounds like something is tearing itself apart."
- Ben: "I... hesitate slightly with my vigorous thumbs-upping, and like, the thumbs go to the side."
- Alex: "The loud noise stops. And then you hear a sort of, you know, like bubbles reaching up through water and so on."
- Ben: "Thumbs go back up!"
- ―Azu and Zolf wait underwater to make sure everything is fine.
- Zolf: "How we doin'?"
- Cel: "I've got a small amount of extra life that would be nice? My-my inner vigors are--"
- Alex: "Cel is the only character that I would allow to have come up with a way of tracking their own health via hitpoints, because that's a very Cel thing to do."
- Cel: "I would assume that about like, maybe, 8 to 15% of my vital - like, I-I call them health percentage? It's a proportion of my health. Now, it's a very unique, personal system. Other people may have different health percentages, it really, it depends on other things, including I think one's constitution - also I think, personality and star sign. I haven't quite worked it out."
- ―Zolf and Azu reappear to help Cel.
- Ben: "Just before he starts talking, do- eh, Lay on Hands yourself!"
- Helen: "Yeah, I will do."
- Alex: "I will allow that to happen first."
- Lydia: "You touch yourself. It feels good."
- Helen: "I do! Azu touches herself for comfort."
- ―Azu heals herself.
- Cel: "Who was the one who was doing all the light stuff earlier?"
- Zolf: "That'd be Hamid."
- Cel: "Oh, he was really useful..."
- ―Cel is left in the darkness of the room.
- "Is there anywhere where I could maybe stand? Maybe, half a door that has like been broken off and I could lay on that, and you guys can peddle around the edges?"
- ―Cel isn't able to maneuver out of the pitch-black room.
- Azu: "I would really like to get this over with, and go back to..."
- Bryn: "And find Hamid..."
- Helen: "Yeah, that's the end of -- the end of the sentence was 'and go back to Hamid'!"
- Bryn: "He's the only one you've got left, Helen! [...] And you just let him go. Off by himself."
- Ben: "Shut up, those ripples in the room!"
- Alex: "Yeah, quiet! Azu was too busy letting everyone else down."
- Lydia: "Oh my god, you're such bullies!"
- Alex: "I'm being so mean."
- Helen: "I'm being maltreated!"
- ―Azu wants to get back to Hamid.
- Zolf: Actually, I just want to quickly say, I think we dealt with that quite well, so well done everyone! That could've been a... that...
- Cel: Cheers, Mister Smith! Good - good work on the door shutting.
- Zolf: And well handled, Azu. Most people will... panic horribly, and you didn't, so...
- Cel: Good swimming!
- Zolf: Yeah.
- Azu: Just... I'm saving my panic for later.
- Zolf: --Okay! Um...
- Cel: That's such a great survival technique! Now, I mean, look. Obviously it's not the healthiest way, but really like, having a bit of a panic afterwards?
- Zolf: Eh-- hm.
- Cel: You know when you have a really busy day and at the end of it you just have a little cry?
- Zolf: Ok. I - I just think. Okay, I --
- Cel: -- Like a tactical one.
- Zolf: I think maybe we need to have a discussion about coping mechanisms after we're out? Because I've been there?
- Azu: We've all been there.
- Cel: We-- Where have you been, Mr. Smith? Cause I spent my whole life going through different war zones, eh...
- Zolf: I, eh, lost my faith in a God and had an argument with that God, so...
- Cel: Oh, that sounds nice!
- Zolf: No... Anyway. Ehm.
- Azu: Oh?
- Zolf, sighing: Well-- eh, I can explain bu-
- Azu: Wasn't it Poseidon?
- Zolf: I'll expl-- Yes, and I'll explain later. Look, not now, but later I will, all right? Anyway.
- Cel: We can all have arguments.
- Zolf: I don't-- n--
- 'Cel: Mister 'Coping Mechanisms.
- Lydia: -splashes around.
- Zolf: Cel. Please.
- Hamid, whispering: "Skraak! Skraak, come here. Do you recognize this room? We must be quiet."
- Skraak: "Eh..."
- Hamid: "Have you ever been to this bit of the base before?"
- Skraak: "I've never even been in the lift before!"
- Hamid: "Okay, okay... stay here, stay quiet."
- Skraak: "I mean, I'll be honest though, this does have 'Big Boss' written all over it."
- Ben: "Genre-savvy NPCs, uh-oh!"
- Hamid: "Okay!"
- Skraak: "I mean, that- that is a room big enough for a hundred foot tall man made entirely of fire and lightning!"
- Hamid: "I mean, I still think that might be a slight exaggeration, but... you're right, it is - it is possible."
- ―Hamid and Skraak enter a very elaborate room.
- Bryn: "I mean, if someone does see me, I want to look good!"
- Alex: "Fair!"
- Bryn: "Prestidigitation!"
- Alex: "Naturally."
- Bryn: "Yeah!"
- Alex: "So the vocal and somatic components of prestidigitation alert the guards... No, that's fine. I'll allow it, but it does have a vocal component!"
- Bryn: "Oh no. I do it quietly!"
- Alex: "CILLIT BANG!"
- Bryn: "That is the best version of prestidigitation I've ever heard! Bang! And the dirt is gone!"
- ―Hamid casts Prestidigitation.
- Alex: "I gave you all an enormous pipe organ, why all the sass?"
- Ben: "No, you gave yourself an enormous pipe organ, this is for you!"
- Helen: "Yeah, this is you!"
- Ben: "This one is you!"
- Alex: "This is wonderful!"
- Ben: "This is so self-indulgent, and you got away with it by making a self-indulgent villain!"
- Alex: "He's right, I have!"
- ―There's an pipe organ in the elaborate room.
- Zolf: "I haven't been in a mine for years, so, I completely forgot that!"
- Azu: "Oh, you used to be a miner?"
- Zolf: "... Yes, again I can give you a f-- We'll talk later."
- Azu: "Yes."
- Cel: "I mean, technically, we all used to be minors."
- Bryn: "Yes! Thank you! I was thinking that so hard!"
- Zolf: ".... with an 'e'."
- Cel: "Oh, right!"
- ―Azu and Cel learn that Zolf used to be a miner.
- Cel: "Surely you would want the lights to go like this when you open the door, right? Not when you shut the door behind you. That's just- that's-"
- Azu: "He's not a very intelligent person, it sounds like."
- Cel: "Whoever designed this, they're like - they're on the edge of genius, but they fall so short. It's like, mind the gap."
- ―Cel is not impressed by Shoin.
Dice rolls and Mechanics
- Hamid Sense Motive check on Skraak: 15
- Hamid and Skraak Survival Check to make onwards progress through the tunnels: 5 (Hamid), 3 (Skraak)
- Zolf Survival Check to determine whether it's better to stay above or below the water during the pressure equalization: 11
- Hamid Stealth Check to look into the room: 14
- Hamid Knowledge Arcana: 19
- Hamid Stealth Check to sneak into the room using the walkways: 30
- Perception check for traps: 20 (Cel), 20 (Zolf), 26 (Azu)