Cleaning Out the Facilities
We send for Willow from town, a tiny pixie witch who’s been in town for a few months now. We send for her because she is small enough to walk within the large branching system of tunnels the infected rats have been using. She’ll help us in exchange for gathering some very specific knowledge she needs to continue her knowledge. Willow goes in in her hazmat suit to explore and chase down those that escaped, murdering them rather quickly with her lightning powers. She has a familiar that appears to be a little like each of the major members of town- she’s bonded to the town, like warlocks do.
The rats have not been identifying as ‘vermin’, therefore getting around the facility’s wards that would normally keep them out.
First time Willow returns, she mentions there are blue explosive rats. We get a taste of one first hand when one emerges from the tunnels and runs straight for Verinal. He manages to get a shot off, but the rat does indeed explode very hard, infecting 11 people, including two ritual casters, as well as the warforged. Verinal notices that when the warforged isn’t paying attention, her right arm and eye tend to seem to have a mind of their own. Warforged hobbles right arm by attaching a manacle to her arm, and then around her waist so the arm has limited moving ability.
Doing the Remove Affliction ritual seemed to take care of the ‘outer layer’ of the arm infection and the eye. Arm cannot infect, eye is far less capable. As the ritual went on, orange liquid started pouring out of Warforged’s eye. Luckily, the most excellent emergency responder ever brought a torch and fought to burn every bit of the liquid, even as Warforged’s arm turned into long claws and tried to rake the guy! What a great guy. Underneath the eye became basically an Evangelion eye when they are exposed.
Strangely, while doing this, Warforged felt like she had extra bonuses to the ritual, though unclear what exactly were giving them.
Oriana is super smart and crafts Warforged an eyepatch so that the eye can’t infect anyone. This is probably good, as Warforged was getting shadows of the others actions, but also was giving a feed to the enemy. Have a bit of a headache now that the eye’s been covered, as the enemy wants to see.
The group tries to do the ritual on the other 11, with mostly success. While they do this for a few hours, Willow returns into the tunnels and continues blowing things up.
She returns with tales of a weird blue-green thing growing on the walls, and teeth/jaws growing out of the walls.
Willow also dissects one of the rats and discovers they have unusual glands. These glands are allowing the rats to communicate. It turns out we’re dealing with hivemind/ increased computing power: The bigger and denser the rat swarm in a place, the higher its int. Also learn the rats have anticoagulants and grooves in their teeth. Less able to identify what the jaw growing out of the wall is.
Chant ponders the rats and Willow’s mention of the Netherial spell wars- these wars erupted when a pair of lords hired some wizards to fight for land. I need to see if I wrote more on this, I’m not sure I had my notes out when this was discussed. One of the wizards in these wars ended up basically placing himself into several vessels/swarms, each hold part of his int. This situation seems to have similarities to that time.
After doing the ritual for everyone, Chant gives Warforged a heal in order to try and get her hp back up (she’s well below bloodied at this point), however when Chant /does/ do this, Warforged gains 1.5x the amount of hit points she should, and Chant takes fire damage from the spell. It’s unclear what exactly happened, and if it had to do with the T-virus or not. (On a mostly unrelated note, Chant is not actually uninfected)
Willow tells us she stopped at a place where the tunnels are crossed by a stream of water, and that the t-virus seemed to stop there as well. We decide to go exploring and follow the tunnels to this stream and beyond to find the source.
Pool of Sorrows
“It’s called the Well of Sorrows. Sorrows? No one should go in the well of SORROWS.”
Traveling through the tunnel, the group comes upon the water. It’s highly purified, and the virus seems to shrivel around it. We definitely want some to fight this infection. Do a religion check- initial check describes a Halfling god of a set of Halflings. In the past, some halfings stayed in nature, becoming Dark Sun-style Halflings, others became excellent growers but isolationist and territorial (they basically work with the people who own the facilities sort of like how NA reserves work). Other Halflings became the kind we know.
The god here seems to be some combination of Mystra, Mielikki and the elven FR god of Luck (this is probably not completely accurate, see later notes on what this might be).
Warforged begins to ask the god for permission to take some of the water to fight infection, when Willow suggests that she should use a different form instead- basically using a greater god’s (Probably Firestar) keycard for access rather than asking for permission. We invoke it, then take a flask of the purified water. (Note for Chant and Warforged: The three images used to do this will not be forgotten)
Warforged note: discover that drinking magical water can gain xp for Leviathan gem.
Chant then prays for permission but does not use the override code and pokes the water. By Shiva does it get ridiculous. Chant gets SMOTE. Basically the staff absorbs 3/4ths of the pool, the last quarter smites Chant. Half of that quarter is absorbed by the cherry tree.
Chant basically gets purified for each of the types of things that his staff wards against- losing fire, necrotic and psychic, and also I believe warlock powers (however his pact is intact).
Surges are halved, dex, int, wis, cha checks are minus 10. Acrobatics and athletics are minus 10.
The deity tries to look at what just happened, but can’t see us and passes over. She is really not fond of Asmodeus, Chant’s inner nature rebels as basically an enemy of Asmodeus just smote him.
The staff’s power grows immensely particularly against demons and devils. Unfortunately for Oriana, the aura that’s now around Chant hurts her, so she can’t get close to him. (By the end of session it was aura 3) On the plus side between Chant’s arm and staff, we have one hell of a potent anti-virus. Chant is now clean of the virus completely- he wasn’t able to identify that fact earlier.
Chant’s arm is pink and pitted as if touched by acid- it looks much closer to human. He’s pretty shredded up, this will take a long time to heal- unclear if he’ll heal the same way he was before or something new.
Warforged does some considering of Chant’s aura, trying to figure out who and who isn’t being affected by it. While doing so, she notices that Verinal appears to be ‘dead but still moving around’. Aaron starts talking about how Verinal when he goes down to zero and the levels of ‘being dead’, which triggers thought of how this is similar to the Mourning Armor. Gives Warforged another check, she rolls a 1 which means she fails her horror check against Verinal, but gains knowledge of what he is.
Verinal’s soul felt something was too important to leave, and that coming back as revenant would take so long, so it basically pulled a ‘I’m not done yet’ style of thing and the hand came back directly, instead of the hand covered by the glove. The hand is pretty scarred up, which makes it pretty horrific to look at. The fact that this is possible is pretty boggling.
However, it also means that the ubersoul/core soul is showing, allowing Verinal a chance to access parts of his former (and possibly future) lives and memories. (AARON, WATCH SENSE8). In some ways it’s rather like avatars accessing their past lives for advice and memories. See Verinal’s page for the full mechanics of how his ‘states of being’ and pushing memories power works.
Warforged sanity: 96% sanity. 13 separating some as they have different reactions to seeing such things. From here on out, certain checks or interactions dealing with souls man mean sanity checks. Basically, let’s not turn into my astropath in the Rogue Trader game ><
The group presses onward, coming out on the other end of the tunnels and finding themselves in the mountains. Mitch takes 45 minutes to find some remaining animals to talk to about what’s going on.