Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Cave of Secrets: Tests

Okay, sorry this hasn't been all that timely, even by my standards. But lately I've been in the process of trying to buy a house and it's been stressful and distracting. So let's do this thing.

So where we left off, the pack learned they needed a few things to fully awaken what appears to be an ancient lost caern: Something called a 'Moonstone,' a focus on which to place the Moonstone on the pedestal at the entrance to the cave, and then a person known as the 'Child of Secrets.' As the Moonstone was deeper in the cave and that's where they were, they decided to start with that.

Venturing deeper into the cave, the pack came to a chamber with three other exits. Above each one was a glyph labeling them: 'Test of the Wyld,' 'Test of the Weaver,' and 'Test of the Wyrm.' They briefly discuss the possibility of splitting up to tackle the tests individually, but they realize that since the rooms are specifically labeled with Garou glyphs that these might be challenges intended for the entire pack, so they stick together.

The pack goes into the Wyld room first, where the tunnel through which they entered quickly seals up behind them. They find the Wyld glyph carved into the floor and what looks like a large glowing mushroom with a face -- a spirit of some sort. Claudiu communicates with and translates for it as it explains that a member of the pack must step forward onto the glyph and 'endure the chaos.' And that as long as one of them passes the test, they may all move on.

Jerry, the pack's Ahroun, volunteers to be the first to attempt the test. He steps onto the glyph and the room is filled with an intense wind, focused around a small twister rising from the glyph. He's lifted into the air and is pelted with rocks and debris from the room, realizing all too quickly that the nature of the twister carrying him is trapping him in an effective vacuum. So he has to try and keep from losing consciousness while being hit with first rocks... and then lightning tossed around in the mini-storm. However, he does manage to keep it together long enough to pass the test.

An exit appears in the wall, and the mushroom-thing gestures them onward.

They step through the tunnel into what for all intents and purposes appears to be the earlier chamber in every way that matters, except the 'Test of the Wyld' tunnel has completely vanished. They decide to hit the next tone down the line, and go into the tunnel leading into the Test of the Weaver.

This time, the tunnel doesn't seal up behind them, and there are three other exits from the room at what appears to be roughly the compass points. There is a Weaver glyph on the floor, but the mushroom-spirit is also here. It explains to them (through Claudiu as interpreter again) that they have entered a maze and one of them may get to see a map of said maze, to try and memorize it and lead the others through. Berry steps forward onto the glyph, which unfolds into a map of the maze. (If anyone's curious how I handled this mechanically, I gave Berry's player an Intelligence + Enigmas or Academics roll, difficulty something-or-other -- I can't recall it now -- and each success gave him ten second to memorize and try to copy down the map)

He proceeds to lead the others through, revealing that each room of the maze is an identical room with four exits (what was called, OOCly, a 'Zelda maze' after the Lost Woods from the Legend of Zelda games). One of them (I wanna say Åke, but I know a couple of them had the idea independently of each other) tried to leave a claw mark on the wall to mark their passage, but the mark appeared on the next room they passed into. Berry, however, managed to lead them through the maze without incident. Which led them back into the earlier chamber, where only the Wyrm tunnel remained.

There was some brief debate as to what the test would likely be -- a combat test, or perhaps some thematic puzzle -- but the debate was quickly settled when they entered the chamber (the tunnel sealing behind them) to find a massive, hulking monster with dripping claws and a skull for a head. At first glance, it looked like a Halassh (a spirit of powerful corrosives, spilled carelessly), except it didn't appear as Wyrm-ish as the typical bane is -- either something preserved from the days of the Wyrm of Balance, or a simulacrum created by another spirit. Either way, when they asked it what the test was and had Claudiu to translate, its response was pretty straightforward regardless of language barriers as it roared at them and charged. It pretty heavily wrecked up Jerry, but Åke managed to deliver the killing blow to strike it down -- at which point an exit appeared in the wall.

They walked through the tunnel and came out in a chamber with part of that underground creek running through it, with the Moonstone -- a petrified ball of knotted roots -- held up on a 'stand' of stalagmites. When they took it, the stalagmites retracted into the ground.

They carried it out front, where they proceeded to just blow the mind of the Garou who'd been waiting out front for the rest of his pack with the ordeal they'd just gone through. While they try to figure out what to do with the Moonstone and whether they need to camp out at the cave for the night, Claudiu discovers -- and proves to the others -- that the cave can speak through the Moonstone to whomever's touching it, though they can't get a lot out of it just yet. And then Aedan's pack turns back up, telling them that he's been in touch with sept, who've been talking to the other septs, and that his pack has been assigned to watch the cave for the night and that everyone nearby is going to be sending representatives the next day.

The Sons of the Saga (my player character pack) head back to the Cranberry Glades Sept with the Moonstone to rest. When they get back, they encounter Build This Wall and start telling him what happened. He gently asks them to pause while he starts calling everyone at the sept and out in the woods back, so Åke only has to tell the story once. It's not a proper moot, but they build a bonfire and he tells the tale of what they found out in the woods and in the cave (leaving in the bits about Roy the Nuwisha, painting him as more of an obstacle than an antagonist, and completely leaving out Andrea the Bastet).

And that's where we left off.

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