Ptolus: City by the Spire

The Aspis

The party dressed their wounds and searched the chamber, while Gideon eyed Bel suspiciously. There were several tunnels leading out from the room, in all directions. Each, though, was trapped with a similar sap-laden net attached to a tripwire, like the one which had entangled Gideon earlier. As Ian began to disarm the many tripwires, Gideon backtracked to the stairway the party had used to gain access to this part of the dungeons beneath the Ennin Temple. It was in this area where Ashton and Bel had been during the previous battle. It was also here where, according to Bel, he had lost sight of Ashton, and it was presumed he had fled back up the stairs, abandoning the party at the first sign of battle.

Gideon searched the area for blood, tracks, discarded effects, anything that may have hinted that Bel’s story may either not be entirely true, or an outright lie. He found nothing – no blood, no signs of a struggle, no sign of Ashton at all. He was gone, just like Bel said.

Returning to the group, the party wondered where to go next. A large, wide tunnel (wide enough for two men walking abrest) led to the east. A pair of smaller tunnels (requiring the party to move slowly and in single-file) led to the south and west. Numerous smaller, shorter tunnels, obviously made by the giant ants, led in several other directions, but would require everyone, save Maur and Ian, to crawl their way forward. Naturally, the party chose the large, wide tunnel.

After travelling a short distance, the party was attacked by yet more ants. Fighting them back, pressing deeper into the dungeon, while ignoring several side passages, they soon found the tunnel was leading them downwards at a slight angle. It was also growing more narrow.

A short distance further, Gideon taking the lead, the party began to see lit torches in wall sconces at regular intervals.. They soon spotted a series of iron rungs embedded in the wall, serving as a ladder up. After some consideration, it was determined this ladder must lead to another area of the surface temple. The party decided to continue exploring the dungeons for now, continuing down the torch-lit tunnel which now twisted and turned, but generally led to the south west.

For a time, the smell of rot and refuse had grown stronger. The air grew heavy and damp. Finally, the party found themselves in another large chamber, this time filled with rubbish and garbage, rotting away. The refuse was piled in heaps, shoulder height, leaving only a narrow stone ledge near the walls to safely navigate the room. Tunnels led out on both the north and south walls. On the opposite (west) side of the room, a much wider, torch-lit, passage of worked stone led even deeper into the dungeon.

Having learned that heaps of trash often hold danger in the rat nests beneath Midtown, the party proceeded cautiously. hugging the wall, being careful not to wade into the heaps of trash. Catching sight of several large grub-like creatures crawling through the trash, some as long as a man’s arm and several inches in diameter, everyone was relieved when they made their way to the large stone passage on the opposite side of the room.

Entering the passage, the party soon found a relatively familiar site. As Ashton had said earlier, in some areas of the dungeon are sections of abandoned city sewers. The party is no stranger to the city’s sewers and soon soon found this expansive tunnel change to a narrow stone catwalk with a ten-foot wide sewage canal running along it’s length. The torches continued at regular intervals along the catwalk.

Rats, lizards and cockroaches scurried away as the party advanced.

After a time travelling along the sewers, the sound of drums were heard ahead. A rhythmic “toom…toom… …toom” echoed down the passage. At this point, the sewer canal split. The party could go south west, where the sewage appeared to grow more shallow, but was bereft of torches, or they could go north, where the torches continued but it would be necessary to cross a seemingly sturdy wooden bridge (no handrails) to continue. The drum beats echoed from the north.

After some consideration, the party decided to cross the bridge and continue north, going to wherever the torch-lined sewer canal led them.

After a long walk down the catwalk along the northern sewer channel, the passage widened to form a room to their left. Here, the repetitive TOOMTOOM… …TOOM reverberated, maddeningly. The rear portion of this room had collapsed in ages past, filling the space with chunks of earth and rock. A steady trickle of water from some source on the surface above made it’s way through the remnants of the sewers ceiling dripping down to land on an rusted metal tun. The steady drip on the empty tun, amplified by the narrow confines produced the drum-like sound the party had followed. Maur shaked his head in disbelief.

The sewage canal and catwalk trailed off into the darkness to the northeast. The trail of lit torches that had guided the party to this point ended here.

Investigating this section of the sewage canal revealed that it continued for about fifty more feet before being blocked by another cave-in. Before leaving this area, backtracking to the wooden bridge far behind them, Ian took a few minutes to search for secret doors. To his surprise, while searching near the rusty metal tun, he found a number of loose rocks in the collapsed debris. Moving these aside, he (along with Maur’s help) managed to clear several large stones revealing yet another narrow tunnel dug into the earth. Ian stood aside, allowing Gideon to lead the way, torch in hand.

The narrow passage continued roughly westwards for seventy or eighty feet, illuminated by Gideon’s torch. As he rounded a corner, a loud grunt and warcry signaled the attack of a pair of orcs.

The party fought many orcs, aided by a spellcasting shaman, in the narrow confines of the tunnel. Despite a darkness spell (which was quickly dispelled by Stavislav), and several other magics from the shaman’s lips, the party forced the orcs back, finally slaying the shaman and his half dozen bodyguards in a long chamber with three passages to the west. Each of these short passages ended at a small ledge ringed by a low wall of stacked stones, projecting about five feet out into yet another sewage canal.

As Ronas walked out onto one of these ledges, wondering at their purpose, he spotted a pair of orc guards on a stone catwalk on the opposite side of the sewage canal. Dropping quickly behind the stone wall, hoping to not be seen, he quickly crawled back down the passage to rejoin the party.

The party hastily searched the area, finding a stone chest (where Ian found a pair of gems and two sacks of gold), and a pair of wooden planks (15 feet in length) mixed among the bedding of the shaman and his retinue.

With a sleep spell dancing in Stavislav’s memory, the party took a brief moment to catch their breath.



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