The Khuzan ruins

Discussions regarding plotlines, paranoid musings, and other related ruminations

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Postby Lord Ewen » Mon Dec 28, 2009 8:52 pm

No, I wasn't suggesting that we cease speculating. I just have this incurable need to attach a warning label to our wilder woolgatherings, lest they be confused with attempts on our part to engage in anything as disciplined as inductive or deductive reasoning. :lol:

No, I didn't imagine dwarves using the spiral staircase to transfer quantities of ore vertically, but you have to admit the spiral staircase is efficient at aiding personnel movement in that direction in close quarters. I don't suppose any evidence exists that Khuzan engineers invented the elevator while allegedly sulking over Sinadarin betrayal after the Battle of Sorrows...

Based upon our meager available evidence, perhaps we can tentatively conclude that the site has not been exploited or used on any medium or large scale in ages. Anything that is going on in there likely involves a small number of persons. We only found the place due to Imarë's perceptiveness, a feat likely beyond most humans, and the application of some logical thinking (diito 8) ). The entrance does not suggest a long habit of human access, but does indicate recent clearing. Of course, any conclusion we might draw from the state of the entrance we found is moot if another unknown entrance exists, but this is all we have to go on for the nonce.

We are pretty sure the girls (at least one) are within, but I for one doubt they both cleared the rubble at the cave entrance and reconnoitered so deep into the complex that they became trapped or lost. I also hesitate to assume one of the girls was the spy who ran away. Just for the record.

Pace my point above about the obscurity of the entrance, however, I am equally reluctant to conclude that nobody in this little village knows it exists. The complex has probably been at Selepan for a millenium, and the village has certainly existed there for hundreds of years if not longer. Many of these people, everyone from Sir Herrill on down, come from families who have lived in the area for generations. While Dave's point is a good one (non-arable land is of little interest to medieval folks), we have already seen that the locals enter this wooded area for the swimming, and I imagine there is some allowable foraging for drop wood in the winter and such as well. Do we have any guess regarding the chances that the locals are completely ignorant of the complex?

Would the presence of an old Khuzan warren be researchable or discoverable information (paging Kaelyn)? By which I mean to suggest, there are a few oddities about these villages Sir Ewen has come into. These oddities may be entirely coincidental to the Khuzan ruin, or may be not. Like, what's a Deryni named Hodril doing in a place like Selapan? Yeah, impregnating the local beauty, I've heard that before, but Selapan? Or what about those nearby scholars at Inbernel? Any reason they settled there, of all places? Like Dave says, just speculating (see the top of my post), but if we are going to be exhaustive then I guess we should consider keeping in mind the possibility that these are not all entirely unrelated oddities.

One final thought tonight: we shouldn't be blinded to the possibility of non-human nasties in this place, either. If that door has been ajar for any amount of time, it would almost be odd if nothing has taken up residence, especially in the winter...
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Postby Imarë » Tue Dec 29, 2009 3:31 pm

You are right, this is the place where paranoid ramblings can be aired and (hopefully) dispensed with. As I recall, some of my ramblings about Lord Morgan were at least in the scoring ring, something which would not have happened in session.

As to our current predicament, I am just trying to cover the bases as to what we may run across in the Khuzan site. My first thoughts were that this was an abandoned place and that traps set by the little rats would be our biggest worry. It does make sense to prepare for the unexpected, locals doing secret things there or some fearsome creature taking up residence or some other threat to deal with. If the girls are trapped in here, my mind goes to some kind of booby trap set to prevent anyone but returning Khuzan to run into trouble. My guess is that this site was abandoned well after the Battle of Sorrows, more about the time when the Khuzan kingdom contracted to it's present size after the Foulspawner. That is before the founding of the current kingdom of Kaldor and it's predecessors. Dwarves do not forget and no doubt thought that they would, someday, return to their previous boundaries. In my thought, they took the trouble to conceal an opening from what I call the quarry, to the point that only an elf could even tell there was a difference. The entrance, on the other hand, seems to have been filled with rubble and not made to match the surroundings. To me this could indicate a couple of things. First, they did not anticipate being gone for a long period of time and only lightly covered the entrance so as to make it easier for them to restart the mine. A second reason could be that the entrance was found (or been known about) by locals and they broke in hundreds of years ago and ransacked the place soon after the dwarves left. Once they were finished, they just piled stone in the entrance to keep the place secret (in a time of warfare, this might make a good hiding place for the locals). The knowledge of the site could have been passed down through the generations and have become something like a fable to the current residents. When whoever it was who saw Sir Ewen blasting the cliff, it could have brought back the old stories. The girls could have done what we did, looked around for anomalies and dug into the pile of stones. Perhaps a recent landslide had dislodged some of the piled stones. I think we will need to find the girls to get the ultimate answer.

My knowledge of dwarves tells me that they are most comfortable living underground and would probably make their dwellings there to the exclusion of surface dwellings (of which any indication would have long ago have melted into the forest). My mind goes to the finish of the places we have seen so far. Would they have expended energy to finish the mine tunnels to the state they are in. Would they put a table with 24 chairs (I believe) in their mine? Would they bother putting doors in a mine? The front door also is a massive and highly decorated item made out of bronze and I doubt would have been put there to keep people out after the dwarves decided to abandon the site. All these say dwelling to me. I could be well outside the mark. It could be both, a dwelling above and a mine deeper within the hill that we have not seen yet. It could be a processing facility (the sealed entrance could have been a shaft to bring unprocessed raw materiel in by). If the pond was once an open mining pit, I really don't think that it was for rock. That would be hard to transport and could be easily quarried locally to whatever they were building. It could be a fine stone (marble or granite) that is only available in the local area. It could be an ore, such as iron or copper (or dare I suggest gold?). It could be a source of gems, precious or semi-precious. From what we have seen, this was not a minor operation. It took a lot of time and resources to make this place and it was carefully concealed when they left. This says to me that they were doing something valuable to them here. All that ultimately matters is that they did make it. It survives, and it is still somewhat of a secret. This could play into the hands of an ambitious knight with a desire for more and the family connections to get what he wants.
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Postby Lord Ewen » Tue Dec 29, 2009 5:53 pm

Your mention of Khuzan traps is a good one, in spite of the inevitable cliche. While the front door, in all its brass glory, remains reassuringly open, other nasty surprises may exist further in. We should perhaps take stock of resources and assets to be employed in that most unusual of items on the Melderyn Campaign curriculum: Dungeon Exploration 101.

Cekiya, we already know, is comfortable scouting this environment, given its superficial similarities to the hive of the Busy Bees. Running around in pitch darkness replete with traps and poison and loathsome murderers is mother's milk to her. She can see in the dark (how many times can she do this?), while Sir Ewen can provide light when needed. How about detecting traps? Is this just Awareness, Engineering, etc. or does somebody like Cekiya have a specialty in this? Sir Ewen can Extend Senses, say beyond a door, and can try Clairvoyance on the girls again if need be. Imarë has been cultivating some elven magic, I know; anything potentially useful down here? How about Kaelyn? That fog spell takes on a different potential utility in closed quarters, perhaps. Other resources or tactics to enumerate? We can get a starter list going, instead of waiting for the session...
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Postby Imarë » Tue Dec 29, 2009 9:16 pm

Most of Imare's spells deal with growing things (wood). Nothing for stone. I can make wood expand (and therefore maybe break if in a confined area) but that is about it. We both have rudimentary telekinesis, which could be helpful as long as the object is not too heavy. Walking about with a burning hand is quite spectacular but could draw unwanted attention to Sir Ewen specifically. Torches would be better but I don't see how we can get them (the dungeon adventurer supply store is not handy). Candles perhaps? I would also suggest that we not bunch up, a trap (or nasty thing) would be less likely to be able to take us all at once if we are not in a small group. Since I have never tried to see in the dark specifically, I am not sure of Imare's capability in this area. She could be able to see fairly well but I don't know. Perhaps the GM could weigh in on this point (I assume he is still on Christmas break in Penn).

I think we are ready for anything that this dwarven rat maze can throw at us but I could be wrong. Time (and body count) will tell.
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Postby Lord Ewen » Wed Dec 30, 2009 5:52 am

Not only draw attention, but Sir Ewen accrues fatigue while keeping handfire going, I believe, so using that for our light will not serve in the long run.
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Postby Matt » Wed Dec 30, 2009 5:32 pm

Good discussion - I should go away more often. :D

Imarë cannot see in the dark, though her superior eyesight will make more use of what little light there might be. As to Handfire, the fatigue cost is fairly minimal. Cekiya can manage her 'trick' for a considerable period of time, but it does leave only her with vision.

Another solution could be lanterns, which put out less smoke than a torch. Of course, you didn't happen to bring any as I recall.

Were there other areas of your conversation you wished me to opine on?
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Postby Lord Ewen » Wed Dec 30, 2009 6:03 pm

Well, any comments on any of the above are wecome from the headmaster, of course.

Lanterns would be great, but going back for one poses potential complications. We already ran to fetch Kaelyn, lest she miss the shenanigans, and going back again to borrow or purloin a lantern seems a sure recipe for a GM administered caning, in the form of Somebody Getting Suspicious. On the other hand, if we think somebody might be using the place, odds are they have some kind of light source stashed in there somewhere, unless they've got eyes like Gollum or something. So should we procede with handfire in hopes of finding a light, or risk the headmaster's wrath by dithering around in the village some more?
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Postby Imarë » Thu Dec 31, 2009 2:53 pm

I don't think we need worry that the GM will do something to us if someone goes back. He was going to do it anyway so why worry? The bigger problem would be the curiosity factor, what would Sir Ewen need a lantern for? If we still had the dwarf, we could ignite the alcohol fumes coming from him and have a nearly permanent light. Probably there is some kind of luminary source here. We know the torch brackets are empty currently but there could be something else available. We shall have to brainstorm.
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Postby Matt » Thu Dec 31, 2009 4:32 pm

The persistence of the dwarf bigotry is astounding.

Happy New Year everyone.
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Postby Imarë » Fri Jan 01, 2010 3:25 pm

I'm trying to stay true to character. Elves think of dwarves with distain as I read it.

I hope you had a nice Christmas and a good New Year.
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Postby Lord Ewen » Fri Jan 01, 2010 8:05 pm

I for one am foursquare for dwarf bigotry in an elf. Brings a certain verisimilitude and sense of development to the character.

Although, come to think of it, I do sort of miss the bauble-crazed slattern featured earlier in the campaign. :twisted:
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Postby Matt » Sat Jan 02, 2010 10:55 am

Sir Ewen wrote:Although, come to think of it, I do sort of miss the bauble-crazed slattern featured earlier in the campaign. :twisted:

It's clear Kaldor is less blue-skinned than Tharda. :D
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Postby Imarë » Sun Jan 03, 2010 1:16 pm

The last reply puts me in mind of a question that bothers me. What color does a Smurf turn if you choke it? This, of course, has absolutely nothing to do with the subject at hand or the campaign.

On topic, if someone went back to our room(s), there is probably some form of illumination available. They could grab that with a minimum of fuss I think.
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Postby Matt » Sun Jan 03, 2010 6:25 pm

Torches or tallow candles. No lamps.
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Postby Lord Ewen » Tue Jan 05, 2010 7:54 pm

I don't recall; if Ewen has to turn his attention to swordplay or some such activity, will handfire then extinguish due to insufficient concentration? If so, I suspect we should send someone back for a torch or two.

Also, any druthers regarding where we start our search? Upper or lower level, or continue further down? Clockwise or counterclockwise?
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Postby Matt » Tue Jan 05, 2010 11:19 pm

No, Handfire requires minimal concentration. It would preclude use of both a sword and a shield, as one hand must be designated as the "fire" hand. And of course, the failure of a shock roll would put it out. Other than that ...
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Postby Lord Ewen » Wed Jan 06, 2010 5:55 am

Thanks for the clarification. Well, I'm pretty sure I left my shield back at the manor, so I lean toward my initial inclination, which is to forge ahead with the handfire, as opposed to acting like a bunch of ninnies and going back for a light. 8)
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Postby Imarë » Wed Jan 06, 2010 3:22 pm

I just want to point out the dangers of this course. First is that Sir Ewen is target one. Second is that if anyone sees him with fire coming out of his hand, it might cause talk. Third, if Sir Ewen is rendered unconscious, his handfire will go out, leaving the rest of us in the dark. The last problem is that if we are attacked, Sir Ewen will not really be able to participate in any combat, just be a human cnadlestick. Once this is said, I too would prefer to get on with exploration and would chafe at waiting.
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Postby Lord Ewen » Wed Jan 06, 2010 5:32 pm

Granted, these are considerations. But note that, against fellow humans, the playing field is basically even, or tilting in our favor. Human foes would perforce carry their own lights, in which case Sir Ewen can choose to extinguish his handfire if he pleases, or not, depending upon our strategy. Given that Cekiya can cast her spell again, and Imarë might have a shot at making something out if the faintest of ambient illumination exists, I think we would still have an advantage over human foes even if Sir Ewen is disabled. And besides, I think a human foe without their own light would be crazy to target Sir Ewen, on the loopy assumption that plunging themselves into complete darkness would be the clever tactic of choice for them. :?

So I would argue that most of your objections only hold against non-human Smeagol types, dwarven shades, etc. But in those cases, whoever is holding whatever torch we scampered back for would be just as much a target as Sir Ewen with his handfire, no? So the target thing doesn't wash, to my mind. Besides, in my experience, dwarven shades are bound to be accompanied by chill drafts of air, which cause mundane tapers and torches to gutter and extinquish. But not patented Deryni handfire!

Sir Ewen can try to make anyone (like the girls) forget they saw handfire, so there is a remedy there. And I took Matt's earlier post to indicate that I could maintain the handfire while cutting and thrusting with my sword, so long as I don't try to employ a shield as well. Also, Sir Ewen has some other tricks he can do with Lights, such as moving the handfire elsewhere than his hand (which could obscure the fact that it's tied to Sir Ewen, presumably), or manifesting an aura while fighting two-handed (I believe either dad or brother did this during combat). I also can potentially light a torch or something with the metaphorical snap of the fingers, or snuff out the enemy's lights at a distance as an alternative tactic. As long, of course, as I make my roll. 8)

In summation, then, I would argue that our current situation is the very raison d'etre of the Deryni Light skill. Not using it seems asanine, from a pure player perspective. Therefore, I still favor getting on with it. :wink:
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Postby Matt » Wed Jan 06, 2010 11:45 pm

Sir Ewen wrote:Also, Sir Ewen has some other tricks he can do with Lights, such as moving the handfire elsewhere than his hand (which could obscure the fact that it's tied to Sir Ewen, presumably),

Yes, though this would require some additional concentration. Mere maintenance I would assess at -5EML. Other tricks at -10EML or greater depending on distance and distraction.

Sir Ewen wrote:or manifesting an aura while fighting two-handed (I believe either dad or brother did this during combat).

Quite, although this is less for illumination and more for intimidation/revelation.

Sir Ewen wrote:I also can potentially light a torch or something with the metaphorical snap of the fingers, or snuff out the enemy's lights at a distance as an alternative tactic. As long, of course, as I make my roll. 8)

Correct.

Sir Ewen wrote:In summation, then, I would argue that our current situation is the very raison d'etre of the Deryni Light skill. Not using it seems asanine, from a pure player perspective. Therefore, I still favor getting on with it. :wink:

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Postby Imarë » Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:54 am

I believe my last line says I also favor going ahead. I just wanted to take stock of the possible problems with this course of action. While we have the time and leisure, look at all sides.
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Postby Lord Ewen » Thu Jan 07, 2010 4:56 pm

Agreed. Anything else we can profitably hammer out before Saturday?

Remind me (no notes yet :cry: ), does the bronze exterior door open inward or out? If the latter, any concern that someone might barricade us within, entombing us in the process? Any prudent precaution to take before venturing deeper into the maze?
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Postby Imarë » Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:35 pm

I don't recall that ever being mentioned... I presumed that it opened inward so it could be barred against unwanted entry.
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Postby Matt » Thu Jan 07, 2010 11:25 pm

It opens inward.

I do have the notes, but won't be able to get to them until tomorrow evening. Been working on a project all week.
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Postby Sir Baris » Fri Jan 08, 2010 3:26 pm

Imarë wrote:On a personal note, we have a new grandchild born 12:27 am (US time, 8:27 Kuwait) on December 25th (a Christmas baby). Her name is Sondra Elizabeth. Her father is our son, Erik.


Let me add my congratulations!

See you guys tomorrow.
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