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File: 1607136125227.jpg (38.25 KB, 790x438, like this in the morning, ….jpg)

 No.750099[Last 50 Posts]

Things are starting to go 'bump' in the night, day, and wherever smoky pillars arise at dawn. After a tense night, as the doors and shutters creaked from outside pressure, you and your quiet town awake to a ravaged wilderness and another pillar of pitch black rising into the sky. This smoke is unlike any other, it does not dissipate, or sway to the breeze. Within the material void that rises are stars, nebulas, comets that have no similarity to that of the night. The day is quiet and most ponies have vacated this town for an extended vacation at nearby Tall Tale. The nearby pub is likely empty, as towncentre billboards won’t have anything on this, the best course of action for anyone brave enough is to meet up near this pillar of smoke conveniently located at the base of a nearby mountain

 No.750100

>>750099
Brave or stupid enough. After a final check of supplies, it's time to head there and see which of those I am.

 No.750101

>>750099
I haul myself out of my bed, grumbling about the stiffness, and wait for my room service. Grumbling even more after it never arrives I dress myself, gather my things together, and head to the front desk. The pillar of smoke cheers me up. After raiding the empty kitchen for breakfast I head off to what will no doubt be another grand adventure.

 No.750102

A dappled brown and white goat picks his way across the rocks, with a large hammer slung across his back and a series of bags with travel preparations already packed and a long spool of rope poking out of one the bags.

"So you came to check it out too, huh?" he addresses the other adventurer.

 No.750103

>>750102
"Well, not much other reason to come to town these days. With any luck, we'll at least get a clue about it during our jaunt."

 No.750104

>>750102
"No better way to stay active in my old age, I say. So, what do you think this is? Cultists? Diamond dogs? Hmmm. Vampires? That smoke looks very night-timey with all the stars and things."

 No.750105

>>750104
"Wouldn't diamond dogs be more of a pit operation as opposed to a tower?"
I'll look up at the swirling, star-speckled darkness.
"Hope it's not vampires though."

 No.750106

>>750105
"It's near a mountain. Maybe they blew something up? Or unearthed an ancient evil?"
I spit to the side.
"You'd think they'd learn to not dig so greedily and so deep, but no. Every other year it's a new ancient evil, seems like."

 No.750107

>>750103
>>750104

It could be any number of things. And he closes his eyes and concentrates, trying to change the weather. Wind begins to blow. "So these pillars don't respond to any outside phenomena?"

 No.750108

>>750106
"What's that old saying about old dogs and new tricks…?"
>>750107
"Not that anyone has noticed, as far as I've heard."

 No.750109

>>750108
Gorchander opens his eyes. "Has anyone tried going inside one yet?" And as he's sitting down, he's got a big bowl with broth and he's chopping carrots and celery to add to a soup while he waits.

 No.750110

>>750108
"Well if it is an ancient evil maybe we'll get to meet the princesses. Come to think of it, all those stars and comets remind me of princess hair. You know how it's all floaty and sparkly instead of normal?"
I chew my lip thoughtfully.
"Maybe…nah. Watch out for anypony that thinks way too much of himself and wears velvet. Vampires think that stuff is the bee's knees."

 No.750111

>>750109
I'll shrug.
"It's possible, but if they never came back to talk about it, we'd never know."
I'll check my saddlebags one more time.
>>750110
"I've not met a princess, so that would be an experience. At any rate, we're burning daylight. We should probably get a move on unless we want to travel at night."

 No.750112

>>750110
"So you think this is related to the princesses somehow?"
>>750111
"Where are we going to go?"

 No.750113

Passing from the edge of town you have quite a time navigating downed trees, uprooted bushes, and the stench of trash scattered from this town's dump lot. Among all these disturbances can be seen the movement of shadows that linger just out of eyeshot and disappear as quickly when glanced at. You are followed all the way as even daylight cannot penetrate through this canopy of new night. It looks like evening as you reach a great mineshaft where the great pillar of smoke billows from. Bodies of diamond dogs surround this place, they are entombed by glittering soot and remain even as you get close.

 No.750114

>>750112
"To the smoke."
>>750113
"Oh. He was right, it was diamond dogs."
I'll rub my nose slightly.
"What on earth did they dig up?"

 No.750115

>>750113
I cast Mother Nature to sense if there is any life remaining in these Diamond Dogs.

 No.750116

>>750113
While we travel I keep an eye on the shadows, watching for any hint of velvet or the smell of mane gel. When we arrive I sigh and shake my head.
"Poor mutts. Oh well."
I walk past the bodies and look for survivors. Especially any survivors that have a strange birthmark, or maybe weird coat color, or maybe are coming home right now after being sent to gather something only to find their village destroyed and family dead.

>>750114
>>750115
"Either of you two any good at healing? My wife tried to show me a few times but I never really got the hang of it."

 No.750117

Lighting up my horn, I'll gather up a small cloud of the glittering soot that's covering the corpses of the dogs.
Does it match what's billowing skyward, or just glimmer in the heavily blocked light?
>>750116
"I've a passing hoof at it, magical or otherwise. But I think these dogs are long past any help I can provide."

 No.750118

>>750116
"I can heal, to an extent. Well, it's a little unpredictable. It's a potion that can heal though."

 No.750119

>>750116
[1d10]
Searching for survivors.

>>750117
>>750118
"It never hurts to try. Well…sometimes it hurts. Still doesn't mean you shouldn't try though. How about magic? Don't tell me those horns are just for decoration."

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.750120

>>750115
You sense no instinctive life in any of these diamond dogs, they are as warm and synthetic as the starry pillar that towers over you. Deep below you can feel more diamond dogs though.
>>750116
>>750119
There is no such luck at a hook like that, you push one of the less defined mounds of dust and it falls apart to reveal smaller gems of pastel colors inside.
>>750117
The statue you gently pick from falls apart into more glittering dust and glowing pastel colored gems. The dust itself glitters despite any lack of much light.

 No.750121

>>750119
Gorchander concentrates and an elemental totem plunks down. Roots raise from the ground to heal.

"Does that answer your question?" he says smugly.

 No.750122

>>750120
My eyes will track the gems as they tumble out of the ash remains.
"What are these…?"
Letting the ash drift in the wind, I'll levitate up the colored gems. What colors are they?

 No.750123

>>750120
I poke one of the gems with a stick to see what happens.
[1d10]

>>750121
"Oh, good. Good, I've got the feeling we're going to need some bookworms for this."

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.750124

Gorchander announces: "Guys, I can feel more Diamond Dogs below, if we can find a tunnel, we can find living folk."

 No.750125

>>750124
"There are living folk left? That's good news, unless whatever's spewing this smoke changed them in some way."
I'll glance to the ash piles.
"Though any changes were likely unwilling, if made."

 No.750126

>>750124
"Are they alive? For real alive, mind you. Jumping down into one pit of zombies was enough for a lifetime, thank you."

>>750125
"On a scale of 1 to Run, how bad is this smoke to breath?"

 No.750127

"Well, should we enter or should we stay outside the pillar?"

 No.750128

>>750126
I'll shrug.
"I can't imagine it's healthy. If we've any scarves or clothes to make masks out of, we should probably do so just to be safe."

 No.750129

>>750121
Your Totem of Earth glows as mushrooms and grass of your home-mountain sprout around it. Everyone feels the revitalizing aura of life course through them.

>>750122
One gem is pink, another is blue, a third is almost white, a fourth blends from blue to green. They make crisp sounds when clinked together

>>750123
You grab a sturdy stick and poke one of the gems on its flat surface, but nothing happens. Then you try to throw the gem using said stick and nearly break your wooden tool while the gem slowly and patiently flies through the air.

The dust that's still airborne gets into your nose and tickles, then something warm starts to drip from everyone's nose.

 No.750130

What is dripping from my nose? I rub my nose to find out. Is it just snot?

 No.750131

>>750129
I sneeze while pocketing several gems then start to look for a way down the hole.
[1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.750132

>>750131
*mineshaft

 No.750133

>>750129
That had better not be blood. I'll float the gems into my saddlebag and wipe my nose with the back of my hoof, then look to see what's dripping out.

 No.750134

>>750130
>>750133
It's blood, with small speckles of glitter appearing from the few statues that fell apart.

>>750131
You get to the mineshaft itself but can't push past this smoke. It is pitch black, warm, but solid even as it moves in clouds and bulbs. There is an opening small enough to crawl through if you go one at a time, the gentle light of this smoke goes for someway into the shaft and then doesn't illuminate anymore.

 No.750135

>>750134
Well shit.
Cover my mouth/nose with my cloak. I suddenly regret not studying purification magicks.
"Well, Mr. Trick, I think this answers whether it's safe to breathe."

 No.750136

>>750135
"Well, I hope my totem helps. It seems it's dangerous to linger. I fear what we will find inside, in a tunnel squeezed tight. Not exactly fighting conditions."

 No.750286

File: 1607734971305.jpg (352.97 KB, 1920x1080, 4472-0-1496587844.jpg)

You are all at a diamond dog mineshaft, finding sparse trees here wrecked by some unknown force. The air is still as it glitters with a mixture of dust made by the dead and sparkling flora of Gorchander's totem.
>>750136
There is no life here, but something's wandering close around a bend of the mountain. You can feel this thing's chaotic movements through the earth's whispers.
>>750135
Your nose stops bleeding as you watch Card Trick examine this entrance.
>>750132
As mentioned here: >>750134 but one would wonder how smoke interacts with emplaced stone as it continues further down this opening.

 No.750287

>>750286
I rub my nose then cover my snout with a bit of cloth.

>>750135
>>750136
"I think we should wait for the smoke to clear before we try going underground."

 No.750288

>>750136
"It's bound to be an unpleasant journey down, but if we can find the source of this, maybe we can seal it off."
>>750286
I'm going to have to secure that cloak around my snout so I have some degree of freedom to breathe.
>>750287
"I get the feeling it's not going to be clearing on its own. Call it a hunch."

 No.750289


 No.750290

So, the smoke doesn't really move on its own, it seems, but does it look like it comes from anywhere specifically? And how dark is it going to be down there?

 No.750291

>>750287
"How much time should we wait? Also guys, I'm feeling something really big moving below and it's chaotic and unpredictable. What could it be? It's around the bend of the mountain."

 No.750292

>>750287
Your bloodied nose clears up. The pillars have been going since you woke up, and there's no indication they're stopping anytime soon with the thickness of this stuff. The shadows continue to act at odds with what's normal for shedwlings. There is an absence of darkness near these smoke pillars as if the mimic-like creatures fear getting close enough to cast underneath this mountain.
>>750288
You have a securely wrapped face. The shadows continue to act at odds with what's normal for shedwlings. Diamond dog mining equipment cast no shadow here, nor does their structures that surround the opening.
>>750290
The smoke is very obviously coming from the mineshaft, this sharp dust came from diamond dogs that were turned into reverse-looking geodes, and it could be very dark down there if the dead were negligent enough. The shadows continue to act at odds with what's normal for shedwlings. Some that move from tree-to-tree will wave and beckon for you to follow.

 No.750293

>>750291
"Fighting something big in air we can't breath is a bad idea. Let's give it an hour or two and see if it goes away."

 No.750294

>>750292
Bizarre. I'll look around for a lantern or something we can use while going down into the pit.
>>750293
"It's been going since before we spotted it in town. And that was quite a while ago. Whatever's causing it likely won't go out until something makes it go out."
I'll shake my head a little.
"Also, don't stare at the shadows too long, they're not… right."

 No.750295

>>750292
>>750294
>>750291
I root around my supplies for a torch or lantern of some sort and light it far away from the smoke. After that I carry it over slowly and wave it around in front of the mineshaft to see if anything explodes.
"Weird shadows, huh? That's not too common. Think it's a necromancer of some sort?"

 No.750296

>>750292
Gorchander cracks open a pack of cards and starts playing a solitaire variant to pass the time near the pillar.

He's steadfastly ignoring the beckoning shadows.

 No.750297

>>750295
"Can't say. Haven't run into too many necromancers. And I can't imagine one would give up so many bodies to…"
I'll wave a hoof dismissively.
"…Whatever this is."

 No.750298

He says, "I have an idea. What if we send in something other than us to investigate?"

 No.750299

>>750298
"Is that an option? Any scouting is better than none, and if you've got something on call for it, then by all means bring it forth."
I'll squint at the mineshaft entrance.
"Otherwise we'll likely be out here until nightfall."

 No.750300

>>750298
"If we're hiring adventurers we might as well get a pegasus to blow the smoke out of the tunnel."

 No.750301

"Well, give me a moment." He concentrates on accumulating a crowd of flies and bees and other winged insects to his position.

 No.750302

>>750294
You have a small lantern out and lit, and everything's brighter now.
>>750295
You get close to the mineshaft entrance and wave your torch around to no explosion, perhaps this is a good thing.
>>750296
You play cards and come to a few early finishes before >>750301 calling for a swarm of insects. It takes nearly an hour to get enough of them together out here and some of the creatures immediately start acting strange and violent towards others.

 No.750303

>>750302
"Huh. Do you guys see this?" Motioning with my hoof towards the insects fighting amongst themselves. "I'm not telling them to do that."

 No.750304

>>750302
>>750303
"Let's stick to good old plan A, then. Come on."
I make sure my cloth mask is secure then head into the mineshaft.

 No.750305

>>750302
Well, it'll make me feel better if nothing else.
>>750303
"They're bugs aren't they? It makes sense they wouldn't get along just because you called them to one spot."
I'll look at the infighting bugs for a second.
"Are they the scouts you had planned? Looks like you'd best send them ahead before Card Trick outpaces us both."

And I'll head in after Card Trick.

 No.750306

>>750305
"Yeah, I'll send them in to attack a stone or something. The idea was to see if anything happened to them before we headed inside."

 No.750307

>>750306
The insects start to focus on the few fighting others until they're sent into the mineshaft, some fireflies light their butts and show the progress of your swarm going down. They continue for awhile before coming out to indicate there was nothing past that smoke and then scattering.



With lanterns alight, you squeeze between the mineshaft and its warm smoke pillar that risks a squishing between this rock and a hard place-that-moves. Some trailing insects need to be swatting out of the way before you break free into a normal looking mineshaft. Behind is a bulbous thing on the ground producing that starsmoke, peering into it reveals a small swirling light made of uncountable stars that surround it. There is one long path that follows a rail until even that rail breaks into a three-way change. Three paths are before you, one that follows this rail further straight, one that goes right with its own rail line, and a smaller third path to the left with no steps on it.

 No.750309

>>750307
"Well, the left path seems risky. What do you think. Straight or right?"

 No.750310

>>750307
Is the bulbous thing coming up out of the stone, or is it on top of it? it's not on fire, is it? How big is the thing? Big enough I can't just wrap it in something to stop the smoke, however briefly?

 No.750312

>>750307
I investigate the bulbous thing to try and figure out what it is.
[1d10]

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.750313

>>750310
The bulbous thing is sitting on of the stone from appearances alone, not on fire and as large as a stout stallion. Indeed you find that throwing this smoke yields to almost nothing save for the height and width of this mine's entrance it billows out of.
>>750312
You discover that this bulbous thing is the source of the smoke, and that a crushed pick handle underneath with broken handles of several others discarded on the side opposite where you came from indicate that someone's hiding their tool use to break this stuff apart before.

There is the faint rumble of what's likely an animal roaring in the distance.

>>750309
You hear the roar of a bear coming from the untrodden left path. It is pained, frenzied, and fading to and from life by what you can sense. There is the small chatter of numerous glowing mushrooms down the straight and right path, they speak in hushed tones of their kind and it sounds like panicked whispering.

 No.750316

>>750313
I wonder if I can just… jam whatever loose clothing and rocks that are around into the opening to stop it up. If nothing else, it'll cause the smoke to stop coming out, right? Right.
Hopefully it doesn't turn whatever it touches into that weird dust outside.

Are there sacks or loose rocks I can just shove in there around, or am I stuck with nothing at the moment? I'd like to try and deal with this before we get set on by whatever's rumbling down the way there.

 No.750317

>>750313
Can I tip it over and pour it out?

 No.750319

>>750313
"Hey guys, heads up, there's a bear coming this way from that direction" motioning to the left.

 No.750320

>>750319
"A bear, huh? Well, that's just peachy isn't it. What's a bear doing in a mineshaft anyway?"

 No.750322

>>750320
"How'd it get in here? Bears dig, don't they? Who knows?"

 No.750323

>>750319
"A real bear, or one of those big star bears?"

 No.750325

>>750322
"Through stone, though?"
I'll shake my head.

And then get back to finding something to shove in that smoke-spewing hole. Not sure I want to sacrifice my cloak just yet.

 No.750330

>>750316
You do stuff some large-enough rocks that you can find nearby, but soon realize that this pillar moves and undulates like smoke, or sludge as it undulates along this predetermined path out of the mineshaft.
>>750317
The bulbous part of this smoky pillar is hot to the touch and refuses to budge even when you put more strength than usual into moving it around.

Perhaps this stuff was made to keep the mineshaft closed. Someone with enough magical training can test their knowledge about what they're encountering. The animal sounds start to fade away as Silver Lining finishes places rocks as unsuccessful stop gaps.

 No.750331

>>750330
Okay, do I have enough magical training to find out?

 No.750334

[1d10]
for magical training

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.750335

>>750330
I'll wrack my brain for this. What even is this sludgy, weird stuff? It's not alive, that's for sure. But it sure isn't a rock. You'd think I'd have studied.
[1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.750337

>>750330
>>750331
>>750335
Magical training isn't me. I look t my town horn'd companions.
"Any ideas? If not we'll follow the rails to where the diamond dogs live."

 No.750338

>>750337
On a roll of 1? No idea.

 No.750342

>>750334 Gorchander
You've heard of something like this in stories of a far-off Equestrian colony, materials that are like stone to a touch and resemble the stars under a clear night sky. These stories never said anything about smoke with such properties however. This is new, probably new, or probably a secret of magical research.

>>750335 Silver Lining
You know that this thing is the result of magic, someone had to have prepared this spell and cast it here for whatever dubious reason. This magic is meant to be both an indicator and a barrier depending on how it's used, but it is made by magic of a complex nature.

 No.750345

>>750342
I say, "I've heard of something like this, stone to touch and resembles stars. The stories never said anything about smoke though. So that's new."

 No.750346

>>750342
"Oh. It's just a, well, kind of a warning flare? It's not what's responsible for what happened outside. Complex, but not harmful."
I'll refrain from pulling down my face covering, though. As long as it's been on, my nose hasn't started bleeding again so it must be doing something right.
"Keep any facial coverings on, though, we don't know what caused the diamond dogs outside to turn to ash."

 No.750350

>>750345
>>750346
"Didn't one of you say you felt living diamond dogs down here? Where are they?"

 No.750352

>>750350
I close my eyes and concentrate. What do I sense now with the Diamond Dogs?

 No.750353

>>750352
You sense a number of them where there is much mushroom life. They seem to be surrounded by the things, but as diamond dogs can dig, this is likely a choice. The diamond dogs are likely several winding paths below you.

 No.750354

>>750353
>>750350
I say: "They're further beneath us, where the mushrooms are growing below."

 No.750355

>>750354
"Well, with them alive we should be able to get some answers about what happened here. I've got the light, so you can lead the way."
I'll float the lantern back to a usable position.

 No.750356

>>750354
"Lead the way then. Let's go say hello to the nice doggies."

 No.750357

>>750355
>>750356
"Let's go and hope for the best. I hope they're not all evil or brainwashed or something…"

 No.750360

>>750355
>>750356
>>750357
You follow Gorchander down the right path, illuminating rail tracks and scared rockshrooms along the way. Eventually this path begins to warp and twist with carts strewn along the wall that make barriers to crouching height. Ironically there are a few mushrooms that glow green and others blue nestled conveniently behind these crashed carts. Not far down this path the hall widens into a larger dome with holes bored into the walls and ceiling. You are coming up to all this as signs of life don't mimic each of these holes beginning to glow a faint orange.

 No.750363

>>750360
I'll whisper to the others.
"Are those campfires, or weird fungus?"

 No.750366

>>750360
I try to make out what these orange glows are.
[1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.750808

[1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.750811

I take a few steps back and ready my magic for any eventuality.

 No.750812

>>750363
A strange whispering voice reaches you from the wall
"They're rock guards! Move quietly or they will wake and attack!"

>>750366
The orange glowing comes from a bunch of gems nestled into each hole, and around each hole are even larger stones which look to be carved or formed into a shell from which the stone can be seen. You also notice that most of these holes have large rocks around them but not anywhere else in the 'room' as most of the wall is set by packed dirt and smaller smoother stones.

 No.750813

>>750812
Can I locate the source of the whisper by concentrating and detecting life energy?

 No.750814

>>750812
Is there any way past these holes?

 No.750815

>>750812
I'll startle as I hear the whispering.
Keeping my voice quiet, I'll hiss out a response.
"Who is that? Are you one of the miners? Where are you?"

 No.750819

>>750811
You passively notice that some of these mushrooms are rooted to link this hallway to the small gathering of diamond dogs. The root-connection seems to be recent, until you hear one of the mushrooms start to whisper but not at you.

 No.750820

I start going through my pack and pull out a cord of wound rope we can use just in case and get it ready.

 No.750822

>>750813
Yes, you did, and it looks like there's a diamond dog among the survivors you're aiming for that knows where you are. They could be another shaman.

>>750814
One way is by sneaking, another is by running as fast as you can through this room, a third is to go back the way you came and go left.

>>750815
"I'm the diamond dog you want to be friends with, name's Mush and my haven is several floors below."

 No.750825

>>750822
Can I hear the whispering?

>>750813
>>750815
"Want to try and get past these things?"

 No.750828

>>750825
Let's give our best attempt. So do you want to sneak or run?

 No.750830

>>750822
"Can you lead us there?"
>>750825
>>750828
"Wait, there's a dog talking me through the mushrooms."

 No.750835

>>750825
No, but Silver Lining is talking to the mushrooms, perhaps you can talk to the same mushroom.

>>750830
"Yes of course I can, there's an elevator ahead you can run to. Or there's one in the shanty town behind you. I'd make a path from where you're at but she'll know what I'm doing then."

>>750828
You don't feel life from the glow, but you're starting to notice that the rocks around each glow is held together unnaturally.

 No.750837

>>750835
"She?"
I'll shake my head.
"I'll ask more when we get there."
Turning to the others, I'll inform them of the elevator in the shanty town behind us. We'll meet Mush, a diamond dog who's using the mushrooms to talk to us, down wherever it leads. Apparently we can't get a straight route since Mush is being… watched? Possibly by whatever or whoever is responsible for the mine.

 No.750838

>>750837
I follow along behind Silver Lining, and ready my dagger just in case. I don't run but walk slowly as I sneak by.

 No.750840

>>750835
I trot to the mushroom.
"Hello? What are you doing?"

 No.750843

>>750837
>>750838
>>750835
And then follow these two.

 No.750848

>>750840
"SHHHHH! I don't know if I'm even allowed to be talking to you! This is risky enough for me!"

 No.750850

>>750848
"So what do we do next?" Gorchander whispers.

 No.750851

>>750850
"If you want to me, either elevator down, get close enough to me and I'll show you a secret passage."

 No.750852

>>750850
>>750843
i guess we're taking the shanty elevator. Not sure we can run through those things.

 No.750855

>>750852
>>750851
Elevator time

 No.750857

Gorchander sneaks past the rock piles to get to the elevator.
[1d10]

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.750861

>>750843
>>750852
You two are about to leave before noticing that your goat companion has decided to sneak through the dome-shaped room into the elevator across the way.

>>750857
+1 when in natural environs, diamond dog mineshafts count as natural
You are light on your hooves, being able to quietly get through the entire room with many glowing holes to the elevator shaft. There is a platform in this shaft that is lopsided but still holds weight.

 No.750863

>>750857
>>750861
well, there they go.
"Well, I can't sneak, so I'm going to go the other way. We'll meet up below."

 No.751138

>>750861
>>750861
I wait in the elevator for Card Trick patiently.

 No.751139

>>750861
>>750863
"I can't sneak either. I'm sticking with you."

 No.751140

>>751138
Moments pass before you notice that Card Trick and Silver Lining are going back the way they came. Something about another elevator in a shanty down back the way they came. You can go down now and wait for them, or try sneaking back to go with them through this shanty town.

 No.751141

>>751140
You're firm gold now, not DSTY? okay

Gorchander thinks party separation is a bad thing but hopes his horns can protect himself. He starts to lower the elevator shaft by the mechanism.

 No.751142

oops

>>751141
You pull a lever on the platform and wait as it slowly creaks and descends into near darkness. Small mushroom lights along the wall keep this way down from being complete darkness. Eventually the elevator comes to another creaking halt with a room lit by torches along a large opening. There are boxes stacked along the walls with scattered gems which resemble those you saw on the glitterified diamond dog statues outside. There is a path that looks as though it leads straight into the far wall face.

>>750863
>>751139
You both head back through the winding railroad tunnel and come back to the mine split, then head 'straight' this time. The two of you follow this rail path, finding destroyed carts cast to the sides every so often as it eventually and flattens out to what looks like an underground shanty town. Buildings constructed of wood and scrap line the walls and ceiling as this rail path ends at a large wooden elevator. Statues of diamond dogs are seen here, frozen in place as they tried to escape into their huts. There are five buildings that stand larger than others here: a pub named the Wet Bitch, a store with no name, and another with no windows that has been barricaded. At the opposite end of this town is a great elevator that looks like it’s used to carry large quantities up or down in the mine.

 No.751143

>>751142
Looks like it's pretty obvious where we're going.
Are the statues of dogs the same kind of ashy color as the stuff outside? If so, we probably shouldn't touch them since they might crumble to dust.
"Wonder what happened here…?"

 No.751144

>>751142
>>750863
I roll my eyes when I see the pub's name.
"Stop here for supplies or try to catch up with Gorchander? I wasn't prepared for my adventuring to take me underground."

 No.751145

>>751142
Gorchander exits the elevator and takes a torch from a sconce, lighting it with flint to see the way. Can he see his party members anywhere, or just more boxes and statues?

 No.751146

>>751144
"We… shouldn't need to, once we meet up with this Mush dog, I think. Plus, less chance of accidentally knocking over any of these stoned dogs."
I'll shrug.
"Let's catch up with Gorchander before they wander off too far ahead of us."

 No.751147

>>751146
>>751142
"Good plan."
I head straight to the elevator.

 No.751148

DM, does Detect Life detect my party members for instance?

 No.751149

>>751143
They statues are of the same ashy color, they are even impaled with pinkish/orange-ish gems as the statues were.

>>751144
Your years of adventuring tell you that this is the telltale sign of rampant looting that happened before diamond dogs got turned into statues. The place is likely picked clean of anything useful or valuable anyways.


You both get to the elevator and pull a lever for it to go down. The large platform this elevator is based on suddenly lurches down before it starts moving at a quick and janky pace. You are enveloped in near-darkness except for the shanty town's lights that grow further and further away in your descent before the platform hits a forceful stop. From here is a loading area for rail carts which has no carts, and a rail path that leads straight into a rock wall.

>>751145
Your party members aren't here, but the elevator dropped you off at an isolated room. Or what should be an isolated room as it doesn't feel so isolated, you could test to perceive or sense something off here.

 No.751150

>>751149
uh oh

Okay, I keep my weapon at ready and close my eyes to see what I can feel.

 No.751151

>>751148
It does, and you can trail your party members as they descend an elevator and eventually stop at your level. They are on the same level as you are.

 No.751152

>>751149
I tisk at the bumpy elevator then walk over to where the rail path runs into the rock wall.
"Make it less obvious, would you?"
I start tapping around this section of wall and look for any sort of hidden trigger or button.
[1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.751153

>>751149
Definitely not touching them, then.
Luckily I've my lantern so we're not in total darkness.
>>751152
"I'm not sure how much help I'll be, aside from holding the light, but do want me to poke around as well?"

 No.751154

>>751151
Gorchander is relieved that he won't be alone, but keeps his weapon readied just in case and waits. He whistles a tune to himself.

 No.751155

>>751153
"Do you know any diamond dog? Try saying pass phrases in diamond dog."

 No.751156

>>751150
>>751154
Beyond what you normally feel as the life under this mountain there is something large and full of the unknown energy that insects have, above you.

>>751152
You tap the rock wall three times before your hoof hits air on the fourth tap. The rock wall gives way, magically but not visually, to your leg.

 No.751157

>>751155
"Not a lick of it, but maybe if I try to find the edges of the door with magic-"
I'll cut off as >>751156 his hoof passes through the wall.
"Well, looks like that solved itself, didn't it."

 No.751158

>>751156
Are we seriously under a Changeling Hive or something? the energy that insects have? do you mean like how the insects were all stirred up or something else?

 No.751159

>>751158
Something else, you can always look up if you want to make sure.

 No.751160

>>751156
"Thought so."
I stick my head past and look at what is hidden.

 No.751161

>>751159
Oh… like… immediately above me. Gorchander looks up.

 No.751162

>>751160
Sticking your head through you see the rail passage continue, it is lit by glowing mushrooms that also illuminate another smaller passage between this magical barrier and another at the far end of this shaft. The rails stop at the small passage, with discarded carts and boxes lining the walls to the other magical barrier.

>>751157
You feel a gentle breeze hit when Card Trick sticks his head through the wall.

>>751161
my bad, but yes there is a two-pony-sized white gilded spider immediately above you. It may be aware of your presence but hasn't moved yet. You do feel a slight breeze coming from the far wall, the same wall that appears to block you from meeting up with your comrades.

 No.751163

>>751162
Doesn't look like anything's gotten him after he did so, so I guess it's safe to go through. Floating the lantern ahead of me, it's through the wall we go.
"Once we're close enough, Mush is supposed to show us a secret passage, if I remember right."

 No.751164

>>751162
Oh, lord. There's a GIANT SPIDER above him. Gorchander spends a round freaking out and then takes his hammer and starts to see if that far wall has an opening that can be wedged or widened, first with the handle (since it's quiet)

 No.751165

>>751164
[1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.751166

>>751162
>>751163
"Maybe this is the same passage?"
I walk to the small passage and head down it.

 No.751167

>>751166
>>751163
You both move through the magical barrier and find that this side of the barrier is better lit by mushrooms and other small flora. You near the small passage when a frantic goat comes charging from the other barrier with torch and hammer at the ready.

>>751164
You take a great, mighty swing with your hammer but pass through the wall without any resistance and land in more mineshaft that is well lit by glowing flora. There are boxes and mining material piled at each wall of this path that lead to your companions and a rail line which looks like it's construction was abandoned.

Before continuing: Between the three of you is a small passage that fits two ponies to walk side-by-side.


After Continuing: It’s a distance from the mine path through this small dark space before you come to a large opening filled with tree trunk-thick mushrooms and several square houses built into the wall opposite this entrance. Tending the field of massive mushrooms are several diamond dogs who don't seem to pay you any mind- or they haven't noticed you yet. At the porch of one house is a beshawled diamond dog that, even from this distance, waves you all over.

 No.751168

>>751167
Well, that was a surprise.
"I'm guessing the one waving us down is Mush. Let's go say hello."

 No.751169

>>751165
"Hello again."

>>751167
>>751168
I breath a sigh of relief when I see there's still a few diamond dogs left.
"Yes, let's."
I start trotting the distance to the diamond dog waving at us.

 No.751170

>>751167
Gorchander calms down and says "Uh, guys? There's a giant spider over there and I don't have any flamethrowers handy so if you don't like spiders, don't go over there."
He follows the rest of the party in meeting their friend.

 No.751171

>>751170
"Hopefully it stays there."

 No.751172

>>751170
>>751169
>>751168
Some of the diamond dogs start to notice you, but only before going back to their work. The one who waved you over is sitting in a rocking chair when you arrive, they are larger than the rest and hunched over a wooden pint. The diamond dog is covered in shawls of different, earthy colors and carries several necklaces that hold dangling jewels and gems of non-glowing color. On the floor beside them is a pack of gourds, bottles, and jars of wildly mixed smells.

"Glad you're here." He says, then briefly points to Gorchander, "I was worried you- goat, were going to attack my guard spider. Hah, it's not friendly, but it's waiting for somedo- somepony else."

"I spoke to one of you earlier, but I am the Brewer Mush of this level. If you have the gems, I have some things to sell."

 No.751173

>>751172
"I don't have gems, but I do have questions. What's up with the giant pillar of smoke and all the dead bodies?"

 No.751174

>>751172
"That was me. The name's Silver Lining. A pleasure to meet you."
I guess since it's well-lit enough in here I can douse the lamp and hang that back up.
"I hope you don't mind my being blunt, but… what happened here?"

 No.751175

>>751172
What turned everything to stone that was alive? Well, not everything but it seems like a great curse passed through.

 No.751176

>>751173
"Word from diamond dogs who worked that tunnel outside was that it's a pony witch's doing. Turned 'em into stone or somesuch, and made a smoke barrier out of the stars. Is what they said before runnin' off. Might be further down in the mines or dug off to who-knows-where."

>>751174
"Nice to meet you too. A lot happened here, but it's simple. Diamond Dogs dug up into a mountain, and then a pony witch came down, bartering with them to dig holes for her. Them holes went nowhere of course but she promised payment. Dogs didn't get paid in what they wanted and got turned to gems. The smoke- I don't know, maybe it was meant to keep you ponies out but that didn't work to well did it? Heheheh."

>>751175
"That pony witch's magic did it! Turned them diamond dogs who demanded gems inta gems- if what I heard was right. I didn' get no visit cuz I'm self-sufficient here. Brew keeps me going and them dogs in the mushrooms keep their heads down after what happened."


"If yer here, I'm guessing you'll want to know the witch's location?"

 No.751177

>>751176
"That would be helpful."

 No.751178

>>751176
Do you know the direction they took off in and fled to?

 No.751179

>>751176
"Sure do."

 No.751180

>>751177
>>751178
>>751179
"Right! So it's back the way this goat came, don't mind the spider this time. That lever's also got a shift to it, only goes back to forth if you're going this level or above. Need to hit that thing real hard to the left and then wait for it to come back. Not the right now! Hit it right and you'll all go fallin' and I'm no life saver here."

Mush finishes his pint and then rustles through his bag to pull out several bottles of a transluscent gold liquid.

"Early celebration, I don't want you coming back this way when ya drag her off that pedestal she carries around."

 No.751181

>>751180
I take one of the bottles and sniff it.
"What's this?"

 No.751182

>>751180
I'll nod, but pause at the bottles.
"So we just get her straight out of your hair, then?"
I'll take one if he's offering.

 No.751183

>>751180
I'm more of a lover than a fighter… what's this drink?

 No.751184

>>751181
>>751182
>>751183
"It's exotic, some saddle arabian thing I traded from the hives before shoveling to this mountain. "

The Diamond dog has a bottle to hold up as well, and gives you a toothy smile. but if you're really paranoid you can detect for intent or question him further

 No.751185

>>751184
It'd be against his interests to poison us here.
"To success, then."
And I'll drink it with him.

 No.751186

>>751184
"Can you tell us more about this witch and what this brew does?"
[1d10+2] diplomacy

Roll #1 9 + 2 = 11

 No.751187

>>751184
Gorchander will let Mush take the first drink.

 No.751188

>>751185
The drink is smooth, a little spicy, and gives you the impression of what liquid gold would feel like if it were turned into a liquid.

>>751186
"Word from the dogs was it's a pegasus with paws."
He wriggles the fingers of his free hand.
"Magical like, and she walks on her back legs. I'm thinking it's them dogs trying to make her scarier than what she is but I didn't see her at all so."
Mush shrugs, puts the bottle to his lips and downs a portion of the liquid.
"Whoo! I only got three of them named Retourne al Expedite things, had one of my own when these mushrooms grew to such a size. They're said to be life savin' so it's a good enough thing to celebrate with."

>>751187
You learn that his bottle of gold liquid is different to yours, as he did also look hesitant when giving them out.

 No.751189

>>751188
I'll be sure to savor it a bit.
"Thank you for sharing something so valuable with us."

 No.751190

>>751188
I take a sip of mine then bottle it again and store it in my bag.
"Sounds freaky."

 No.751194

>>751188
Gorchander will wait to open it until later just in case. "Paws? That sounds like a Diamond Dog hybrid somehow or a satyr."

 No.751556

>Drinking from the bottle
>>751189
>>751190
For moments after the first gulp, your vision doubles as you feel beside yourself. The sensation fades away and doesn't repeat itself on a secondary tasting.

>>751189
"Heh! I'm celebratin' early! It's no problem!"

>>751190
"Little bit o' Saddle Arabian magic to it, maybe."

>>751194
"Would be a strange dog to want a litter o' half-pups, least where I come from! Maybe, maybe a Hyena would, they're all crazy."


With this, you've learned how to take one of the elevators down even lower. Why such a mechanism is hidden isn't explained, but perhaps that's a trivial thing. You can proceed to the deep mine shafts.

 No.751557

>>751556
Probably in case people other than diamond dogs wanted in to the mine. A security measure, maybe?
At any rate, I'm good to go down when everyone else is.

 No.751558

>>750861
Diamond dogs are strange. I follow after Silver.

 No.751909

>>751556
I get into the elevator and head down.

 No.751910

You've all apparently decided to take the elevator Gorchander used further down into this mine. Passing underneath an unspoken guardian and turning the platform lever unnaturally to its side starts your descent further into this diamond dog mine. The going is slow and softly illuminated by more glowing flora that line the walls of this place. Eventually the platform comes to a halt in a large empty room. The walls are made of smoothly cut rock with what used to be two just-as-large entrances here: One is barred and barricaded with iron doors that have burn marks on it, the other is shattered and strewn outward to the hall it feeds from. This open path also has faint flickers of light coming from it.

 No.751911

>>751910
Since we're out of the ambient lighting above us, it's time to light up that lantern again.
"So, you think they're behind the locked door, or the broken door?"

 No.751912

>>751911
"Hmmm."

>>751910
What side is the door locked from? Our side or the other side?

 No.751913

>>751911
"I don't really have a means of battering down a locked door and the diamond dog didn't come with us. The broken door is open so let's search that first and come back for the other one."

What life can I sense here, besides the glowing flora?

 No.751914

>>751912
It is locked from the other side, with a loose handle and busted strips of metal on the lock from this end tell you that others have tried to break in with little success. This could either mean the door is chained on the other side as well, or that whoever tried getting through doesn't know how to pick locks.

>>751913
You do sense that there is life beyond both entrances. Beyond the barred door at least fifteen form a line further in, and at the furthest of your perception there are bundles of others moving about at a leisurely pace. Beyond the shattered door are others but less numerous, the closest to you all feel distressed.

 No.751915

>>751913
"Makes sense, I suppose."
I'll float my shield out as well before we head down that way.
>>751914
I should probably Bolster Card Trick as well.

 No.751916

>>751913
>>751915
>>751914
"Good idea."
I follow the crowd.

 No.751917

>>751914
>>751914
Well, that's worrisome. I tell the party I can sense life on the locked door and it's in distress. Same for the other route. "What should we do?"

 No.751918

>>751917
"Well, the door's locked, so… knock?"
>>751914
I'll clang my shield on the door a little.
"Hello? Is anyone there?"

 No.751919

>>751917
"Nothing we can do for them without finding a way through the door. On that note-"

>>751914
I turn around and knock on the door.
"Hello? Who's in here? Can you unlock the door?"
[1d10+2]

Roll #1 3 + 2 = 5

 No.751920

>>751919
Maybe I could back up and try to ram it with my horns?

 No.751921

>>751919
>>751918
>>751917
After a few times battering the iron door someone speaks to you all through what sounds like a horn, their rough voice rings out from above the door itself and echoes through the rest of the cave and into the open hall behind.
"Oh no! You greedy dogs can stay down there and get turned to crystal for all her trouble's worth! 'S your fault she got invited down here in the first place!"

 No.751922

>>751921
"We're not dogs, though."

 No.751923

>>751921
"I'm a goat!"

 No.751924

>>751921
"We're not diamond dogs. We're here to figure out what's wrong. Now quit being rude and invite us in."
[1d10+2] Charming

Roll #1 1 + 2 = 3

 No.751925

>>751924
oof, that roll

 No.751926

>>751922
>>751923
>>751924
"Aw damn it one of 'em was still alive up there!"
you hear someone else's shouting ring out and then the same rough voice start shouting again.
"Hay snorters can stay out of our hive like it's always been! No wait.. You want in here then you better kill that buffalo wing witch who started glassing our kind first! And you better out the traitor who told you about the platform while you're at it!"

 No.751927

>>751926
That does explain the scorches on the doors.
"We were going to handle her anyway. It's why we're here."

 No.751928

>>751926
"Won't you starve in there?"

 No.751929

>>751927
"Good!"
>>751928
"Starve? Starve!? This is the entrance to our hive! Our food comes from this way just like our smarter dogs! We've done everything we can to keep that pony witch and her new dog slaves from getting in! And if she does then we're collapsing this entire tunnel to keep the hive safe! Now git going and stop banging on the door, or you'll wake the gem golems or something!"

 No.751930

>>751929
Well, I guess that's our cue.
"Alright, let's go then. Hopefully the scorch marks on the door aren't how this witch usually greets her guests."
Time to head down the hallway with the shattered door.

 No.751931

>>751929
>>751926
"Hive? Ohhh, Changelings. Let's get a move on. Bugs are trouble."
I head through the busted open door.

 No.751932

>>751929

Gorchander whispers to Card Trick away from the door. "Hive? Why do they all themselves a hive??"

 No.751933

>>751932
I whisper back.
"Changelings. They're bad news."

 No.751934

>>751933

"Let's go down the other path."

 No.751935

>>751932
>>751930
>>751931
You all leave this room and head down the hallway with a shattered door as the voice shouts and curses at Card Trick in particular. Their voice echoes through this hallway for some time while you walk down this large shaft lit by the occasional indentation where glowing orange and pink crystals rest in small piles.

Gorchander You notice that some of the distressed life signs coming from this area get snuffed out, and there are plenty of them that are fighting.

When you get close enough to see, there is a room up ahead that widens out to the size of another dug-out shanty town. This one is well lit from the rays of light it casts to you, and there are obvious sounds of fighting going on from in it.

 No.751936

>>751935
Can I use Animal Swarm here?

 No.751937

>>751935
Looks like we've found the party. Since it's well lit, I'll put out my lantern again so I can secure it.
"Now comes the fighting part, I bet."

 No.751938

>>751935
"Time to see what the fuss is about."
I pull out my mandolin and head towards the sound of the fighting.

 No.751939

>>751938

I take Card Trick's cue and pull out my hammer.

 No.751940

>>751936
You can! It would be best to determine friends or foes before summoning them as the swarm might not care much while they wreak havoc.

>>751937
>>751938
>>751939
You are all armed.

 No.751941

>>751940
Approaching the sound of battle. I'll probably be needing to do first aid on whatever dogs we run into.

 No.751991

File: 1612571098373.png (769.84 KB, 3840x2801, Gemimp.png)

You all approach the end of this large hall and come to the entrance of a shanty town. There are numerous dogs here, some dead, some injured, others still fighting off rock golems larger than the heaviest looking dog here. These geode creatures swing their large arms around in combat, one rounded up and charged a dog into the ground and then began pounding said dog's face.

At a glance there are 10 of these large creatures and 13 of the dogs left, piles of stones/broken gems and bodies of the dead and wounded among this chaos.

 No.751992

>>751991
Looks like I'm triage right out the gate. Card Trick is bolstered, so I don't have to worry about that.
"Work's cut out for us already! I'll start healing the dogs."
And with that, I'll head towards the nearest living-but-wounded dog I can get to. I'm not sure how good Heal's range is but I'll be casting it as soon as I'm close enough.
Thaumaturge and my talent put this at a +3.
'1d10+3'

Roll #1 1 + 3 = 4

 No.751993

>>751991
I pop my back, groaning loudly, then stretch out my legs and roll my neck. My old joints sound like popcorn being made.
"Alright, alright."
I strum a jaunty tune on my mandolin until I've gotten the attention of the rock monsters then pull out a miniscule party popper.
"Let's start this party off right!"
I pull the string. If this is the right one there should be a deafening bang and hail of confetti. If it's the wrong one, well…
[1d10] Chaos

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.751994

>>751991
Gorchander comes out swinging, up his horns to take aim at butting the nearest combatant, while laying down a Fire elemental totem that deals 1 damage to all enemies.

 No.751995


[1d10] forgot to roll

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.751996

>>751992
You ignite magic through your horn and send it to a diamond dog whose skull gets caved in, closing its wounds and fixing most of the bone damage, but the dog is dead. The large geode creature sees this magic connection and looks up at you.

>>751993
You pull the string on your toy and watch it glow, grow, and struggle to contain itself. You also hear the sound of someone familiar laughing jovially to the impending chaos as The popper explodes in gold, silver, and pink shower of confetti, glitter, and cake that manages to hit absolutely everything in its trajectory to the thunderous sound of *fwee* [Action: 2]

>>751994
>>751995
You stamp and chant and slam the Totem of Fire down, implanting it to the earth where it glows with an angry fervour. You hear the sound of someone, likely a pony god, laughing as The totem chokes and sputters out embers. It will ignite and rain fire next turn. [Cooldown: 2]

 No.751998

>>751996
Oh right!

The gems engulfed in streamers, glitter, and cake begin to shake and flail about wildly to get this stuff off. In doing so, they begin to hit and slam into each other, drawing out aggression upon one another! The geode monsters are busy fighting each other as diamond dogs use this chance to clamber into the dirt and clear from the center of this town.

You all have an opportunity to attack without grabbing attention to a few of the closest rock creatures for the next two turns.

 No.751999

>>751996
Ssssshoot.
Skid to a stop. Hope these things aren't immune to magic or something.
Magic Bolt the one that noticed me.
'2d10+1', keeping highest.

Roll #1 1, 6 + 1 = 8

 No.752000

>>751996
>>751998
I play an upbeat party tune on my mandolin while I gather up my energy and get ready for a burst of activity I really ought not do at my age.
Inspire [1d10+2]
Fast Moves [1d10]

Roll #1 9 + 2 = 11 / Roll #2 1 = 1

 No.752001

>>751998
Gorchander is going to pull out his hammer and try to bash the nearest one in the face.

[1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.752002

>>751999
You launch a bolt of magic at the rock creature as it tries to swipe away cake and streamers from it's gem core, striking one of the arms and weakening the connection of that arm in particular. The monster doesn't see this happen to him and can't target you.
Heal [Free]
Magic Bolt [2 Turns]

>>752000
You play a quickening and motivating tune that invigorates your allies, and the stray living dogs here too. Unfortunately as you rush to turn this into extra momentum, one of your legs cramps up and you have to halt this exhausting movement to cool down and rest. [Skill Points spent: Rest next turn]
Fast Moves [2 Turns]

>>752001
You rush the gem that Silver Lining shot at, aiming at the creature and smashing straight through it's rock armor and crushing the glowing gem core inside. Immediately the rock crumbles into a pile as it's arms split apart and roll in random directions!
Totem [1 Turn]

Some of the gem rocks are tripped up, but most have wiped off the party favors off, they will begin to wreak havoc on you and the dogs next turn!

 No.752003

>>752002
Well, at least it can be beaten, if only in pieces. A rapier isn't going to do me much good against rocks, though. Are any of the dogs in range hurt? I'll send a heal spell their way if I can spot one.
'1d10+3' heal the nearest wounded dog.

Roll #1 3 + 3 = 6

 No.752004

I sit down and try to stretch out the cramp and catch my breath.

 No.752005

>>752003
There is one injured dog whose head pops up from the ground, his bleeding stops when your healing spell hits him and he pulls himself entirely out of the hole. One of his arms is hanging limp at his side, but he's not distracted by that.
Magic Bolt [1 turn]

>>752004
You get the cramp out and, in these few seconds, remember breathing patterns that help get your energy flowing again. You'll be ready to return to combat next turn.
Chaos [2 turns]
Fast Moves [1 turn]

Gorchander's Totem of Fire fully ignites and begins spewing out large embers that quickly shower the field. These embers must be smart, or selective, because they only truly land on the rock creatures, trying to weaken and ignite before they fizzle away. Under this shower of small fires you all notice the rock creatures beginning to slow as they take a point of damage this turn.

 No.752006

>>752005
I'll take a Brace action with my shield while I wait for Magic bolt to come off cooldown.

 No.752007

>>752005
I*'ll play another inspiring song.
[1d10+2]

Roll #1 9 + 2 = 11

 No.752008

>>752005
Gorchander readies himself for another attack with his hammer and gets Animal Swarm up to attack the Rock creatures.

 No.752009

This will be a 2-part post

>>752006
You stand in front of the group, shield at the ready as you're set to intercept any of the remaining 9 Gem creatures

>>752007
You strike up a real ground thumping tune and embolden your allies yet again! Even the diamond dogs who've escaped the melee have rejoined it and begun attacking gem creatures that are out of range. Because of this, 6 of the gem creatures are now out of range from ganging up on you as they fight the coordinated diamond dogs.

>>752008
[1d10+1] DC6

Roll #1 5 + 1 = 6

 No.752010

>>752008
>>752009
You mutter a runic phrase and hit the ground with your hammer, the strike point glows with runes of their own for barely a glimpse. Suddenly the ground begins to shake and from it, the walls, the ceiling pour animals of an unsettling visage. They aren't the kind of animals anyone's used to at the surface, but they recognize your authority and begin to attack those gems. This stampede won't last for long as the gems use their big stony arms in steady retaliation against the animals.

One of the rock monsters brings an arm up and charges at Card Trick! [1d10+3] Dodge/Defend against this score
One of the rock monsters moves up after the first charges, it is now in melee range.
One of the rock monsters grabs a large nearby rock and hurls that thing at Gorchander! [1d10-2] Dodge this score

Roll #1 7 + 3 = 10 / Roll #2 6 - 2 = 4

 No.752011

>>752010
I'll jump out of the way and kick it in the back after it passes.
[1d10] dodge
[1d10] cheap shot

Roll #1 3 = 3 / Roll #2 9 = 9

 No.752012

>>752010
Gorchander jumps aside to dodge the rock!

[1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.752013

>>752011
You aren't fast enough, taking part of the hit [-2 Hits] and spinning in the air just long enough to react and kick the thing in one of its rock sockets. The creature doesn't expect this much momentum and tumbles to the ground, losing both of its arms and struggles to get up on two tiny legs [HELPLESS].

>>752006
>>752012
Silver Lining raises his shield and covers himself and Gorchander just enough that when this large rock does hit, it explodes and scatters you both.

Behind you all is a downed Rock monster. Its gem core is exposed and it cannot get up, DC 3 to hit its glowing gem heart like this.
There is One rock monster in melee distance
There is One rock monster at range

[Your turn]

 No.752014

I shoot at the rock monster I just knocked over and get ready for a burst of speed.
[1d10] attack
[1d10] fast moves

Roll #1 6 = 6 / Roll #2 5 = 5

 No.752015

>>752013
Great, but at least I have my spell back.
I'm going to point-blank Magic Blast the one in melee range.
'2d10+1' keeping highest.

Roll #1 5, 9 + 1 = 15

 No.752016

>>752013
I attack the rock monster in melee distance. [1d10] with my hammer.

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.752017

>>752014
You hit its gem core and the thing stops trying to get up. You also push yourself to move faster this time, enacting an additional [Instant] action at -1 to it's roll if it requires one.

>>752015
You fire another bolt of pure magic, launching it at the target right in front of you. The creature's gem explodes from the magic, carrying the creature backward and away from your group. The rock monster has trouble keeping itself together as its gem cores weakly emit their glow.

>>752016
You hit the monster's exposed core and return it to being a pile of rocks and a few shattered gems.

One of the rock monsters grabs another large rock and hurls it at the group. [1d10-2] Dodge/defend against this score

[Your turn]

Roll #1 8 - 2 = 6

 No.752018

>>752017

Gorchander dodges the rock again. [1d10+1]

Roll #1 4 + 1 = 5

 No.752019

Gorchander yells out to the others "Are any of you hurt?"

 No.752020

>>752017
I'll shoot another rock monster then play another inspiring tune.
[1d10] attack
[1d10+1] Inspire

Roll #1 5 = 5 / Roll #2 5 + 1 = 6

 No.752021

>>752019
"I'm fine. Are you?"

 No.752022

>>752017
I'll duck behind my shield so it takes the worst of it.
'1d10'

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.752023

>>752019
"Still good so far."

 No.752024

>>752022
Gorchander takes cover with Silver Lining.

 No.752025

The rock projectile lands between all of you and explodes!
>>752018
>>752024
You jump underneath Silver Lining's shield and ignore rock shrapnel that grazes your unarmored self
>>752020
You get hit by rock shrapnel and your shot gets stuck in more flying shrapnel. [-1 Hit]
You do keep everyone's spirits up by playing a quick local riff that everyone's heard of.
>>752022
You block the entirety of this exploding rock.

The last rock monster at range is suddenly engulfed by burrowing animals and pulled into the underground. This scene is repeated by the rest of the rock monsters either getting destroyed by diamond dogs, or pulled away and ravaged by what's left of the small and very unnatural animals.

Combat over.


There are 7 Diamond Dogs left who can still stand, the rest are gravely injured or being pulled into burrowing holes. You three are being watched with guarded hope.

 No.752026

>>752025
Well, that's over with. I'll call out to the dogs.
"If there are any wounded, I can try my hoof at patching them up."

 No.752027

>>752025
"Hi! We're here about a giant pillar of smoke in the sky. What's up with that and how's a witch involved?"
[1d10+2]

Roll #1 4 + 2 = 6

 No.752028

>>752026
"I can help heal too," Gorchander says and he prepares Natural Remedy with a flask.

 No.752029

>>752026
>>752028
All 7 of them start to move to you for restoration, but some break off to drag their wounded over as well.

>>752027
The first diamond dog to come over is short, ugly, and looks at you with one yellowed eye.
"Oh, yea. That thing's a spell from the pegasus witch. She cast it on a friend of a friend when they was topside and protesting for gem payment. Most other dogs would just burn up and turn into char and gems, but him. He caught fire and ran into the mine, exploded, started making smoke. I don't know how he did it but the smoke made all the animals around go wild, even them shadow things."
He takes a big breath and then continues
"That witch isn't looking to just dig and turn dogs into gems, she's after buried ruins. It's what this town connects to that'a way."
The dog points to another large entrance at the opposite end.

 No.752030

>>752029
Right, I'll be starting with the worse off, and using Mend. Benefits from master caster.
'1d10+1'
Buried ruins is news, but I should focus on healing for now.

Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10

 No.752031

>>752029
"Ruins of an ancient, forgot civilization? Oh, boy. Are they cyclopean?"

 No.752032

>>752029
Gorchander uses Natural Remedy on the injured dog.
[1d10]

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.752033

>>752030
You focus on setting bones and closing grave injuries first, working through the worst cases as quickly as your extensive skill can allow. Passing off the lesser injured dogs to Gorchander

>>752032
Your potion brews are bitter and, for the dogs, difficult to keep down. They are grateful that you are helping them but most have to sit down and keep from hurling after they take the concoction.

The surviving dogs are all healed, 17 left of the town.

>>752031
"Cyclopean, crumbling, full of knowledge that we were threatened to not look at. I think she found what she was looking for because we haven't heard from the witch since she summoned these things and sicced them on us."
The dog scowls and kicks some large nearby rock.
"If you're after her, just follow the path and dead dogs. There were no traps when we left the damned place and I don't think she set any up since."

 No.752034

>>752033
Well, that's them handled.
"If anything, the traps would probably just be more rock monsters built into the walls and floors. Thank you for the heads up."

 No.752035

>>752033
"Is she still down there? Do the changelings factor into this?"

>>752034
>>752032
"Don't read any books or tablets or whatever, you two. Things are about to challenge our perceptions of reality."

 No.752036

>>752034
"Thank you for healing us. I would pay you but my money's supposed to come out of the blood gems, and spending those might be a crime against nature."

>>752035
"I'm guessing she's still down there. I didn't find any other way out when I was digging around."
The diamond dog quickly looks around and leans forward
"Keep it down about them changelings, but they're not a part of this. Little bugs cut their ties when they sniffed the witch out."

 No.752037

>>752035
What do you mean, don't read any books? That's an odd edict.

 No.752038

>>752036
"Payment was already covered by Mush, so no worries there. I'm just glad we got to you in time."
I'm going to have to study the gems I picked up earlier when we have the chance. Maybe they can be turned back into dogs?

 No.752039

>>752036
"Got it. My lips are zipped."

>>752037
"There's some things it's better off not knowing about. Don't ask me about them because I don't know about them. You ready to move on?"

 No.752040

>>752039
Can stop and rest a spell and eat something? Whatever the witch is doing, she probably won't be stopped by us any time soon and we could use this time to plan ahead.

 No.752041

>>752040
"We probably shouldn't linger too long, who knows what that witch will roll out next once she realizes this group are gone."
I'll think for a second.
"But we could probably spare a hoof-full of minutes to catch our breath."

 No.752042

>>752041
"How many days of rations do we have? This is the time to stock up."

 No.752043

>>752040
>>752041
"If you need to, I guess."

 No.752044

>>752042
"Why would we be down here for days? The witch isn't exactly subtle in her choice of directions."

 No.752045

Short rest time! Say what you wish to do during this breath-catching break.

You all gain a Skillpoint for this leg of the adventure. This Skillpoint may be used to purchase a skill or give a +1 modifier when using a known skill.

 No.752046

>>752045
Going to be taking a sit-down, munching on some of the preserved food I brought and using that skill point to pick up Homing Magic.

 No.752047

>>752045
Gorchander is going to stock up on food and ask around more for information.

 No.752692

>>752046
In the calm you learn how to use Homing Magic, you also see that most of the diamond dogs have gathered up gems that were used to power these golems.

>>752047
You gather gems that the diamond dogs seem to covet and use that to barter for food and information. This is a shanty town built closer to where the pegasus witch was sure she'd find something. She was after ancient information and made sure that this was the only thing they looked for. Her promises about gem troves turned out to be the ash-making magic she unleashed on the dogs.

>>752043
While the others passed time, you could pass yours by card games. Roll a D10 for every game you wish to play, DC6+ for gaining cash.

 No.752693

>>752692
Great. One more tool in my arsenal before we go off to fight this witch.

 No.752694

>>752692
Ash-making magic?

 No.752695

>>752694
the stuff that turned the dogs into ash statues and gemstones. We knocked over a few on the way in.

 No.752696

>>752692
[1d10] cards

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.752697

Gorchander is going to make some small talk with one of the diamond dogs about what life here is like for them.

 No.752698

>>752696
You play numerous games with the diamond dogs, growing pot after pot as the survivors cash in with freshly cut gems and coin. By the end of these games you have a pile that makes everyone envious.

>>752697
You're asking diamond dogs what life is like in their endless mines. They take time to answer because they've never thought about how their dens and towns would look compared to that of other races.

>>752695
The diamond dogs you managed to save have thanked you for the help, they offer what they have of the scavenged gems (that get cut into coins and discs).

You all are rested from the journey down here.

 No.752699

>>752698
I'll thank them as well, and be glad I could help.
Once the others are ready, I'll be up and on my hooves as well.

 No.752700

>>752698
Before they leave, Gorchander will inquire if they have any throwing knives or small daggers he could buy or trade for.

 No.752701

>>752698
I have no idea what I'm going to spend this on, but I'm sure I'll find something. Can I assume I've healed during the downtime or do I need to get someone to fix me up?

 No.752702

>>752700
Depends on how many you would like, but some of the diamond dogs can make throwing knives out of the materials they have.

>>752701
Yes you've healed up during this downtime.

 No.752703

>>752702
I'm going to trade away some of my coins I started with (did we start with money?) for five good throwing knives.

 No.752704

>>752702
I'll buy up five healing potions.

 No.752705

>>752703
If you want to start with Equestrian currency, one of the dogs would definitely take it due to your group's earlier help.
Diamond Dog throwing knives (Ranged): 5
Attack: 1d10 (Instant, must be retrieved)


>>752704
You talk up one of the diamond dogs about healing potions, they mention a friend of theirs had a shared stash with healing 'potions' that were bought from Mush in the hopes it would age.
Mush's Healing Gourd: Recover 4 HP upon use
Use (Instant, Automatic)

 No.752706

>>752705
Gorchander puts the throwing blades in his sack for later use.

 No.752707

>>752705
Alright. I think I'm ready to proceed.

 No.752708

After settling affairs, your group travels down what looks like a freshly dug and well-lit mineshaft with numerous piles of gems, rocks, and diamond dog bodies. Along the walls in almost every direction are smaller holes dug out to random distances, and a cautionary peek into one of these holes reveals that it just ends after a certain distance. The main path eventually stops and opens up around the pillars of a huge double doorway with a small opening blasted through them. There are two of those gem-fueled rock golems (the diamond dogs call them gem imps) patrolling the doorway.

 No.752709

>>752708
Right, let's get homing magic set up before we find ourselves in a fight.
'1d10+1' from master caster.

Roll #1 10 + 1 = 11

 No.752710

>>752709
A fine five balls, each guaranteed for at minimum 1 damage.

 No.752711

>>752708
"There's only two of them. Let's go!"
I charge in as heroically as my old body can.
[1d10] Heroism

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.752712

>>752708
Well, the throwing knives probably won't do much damage against gem imps so I use my elemental fire totem instead to do 1 damage a rond and pull out my hammer.

[1d10] Hammertime

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.752713

>>752709
You roll untethered magic into five crackling orbs, their blinding sheen brought to a glow as you don't give your position away.

>>752711
You remember the days of glory that pushed your body to its limits, doing so again as you rush to the midst of these gem imps.

>>752712
You stamp on the ground and from it comes a totem of furious faces that spit fire at everything who isn't you or your allies. The gem imps are showered in numerous embers, their rock armor slowly cracking as fire eats at it.

[HEROISM ACTIVATED: 3]

Gem imp 1: 6/7 [1d10] Initiative
Gem imp 2: 6/7 [1d10] Initiative
Gem imp 3: 6/7 [1d10] Initiative

Now, roll initiative

Roll #1 3 = 3 / Roll #2 10 = 10 / Roll #3 9 = 9

 No.752714

>>752713
[1d10] initiative

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.752715

>>752713
initiative '1d10'

Roll #1 1 = 1

 No.753274

>>752713
[1d10] initiative

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.753275

>>753274
>>752715
>>752714
>>752713
>Gems 22
>Party 20
The gems go first, you may react to an attacker's action along with your own action.

Gem Imp 2 moves into melee against Card Trick [1d10+1] melee
Gem Imp 3 picks up some large rocks and hurls them at Gorchander [1d10-2] ranged
Gem Imp 1 picks up a discarded pickaxe and hurls it at Silver LIning [1d10-2] ranged

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3 / Roll #2 4 - 2 = 2 / Roll #3 1 - 2 = -1

 No.753276

>>753275
I leap on top of the gem imp's fist and blast it in the face with my flintlock.
[1d10] Cheap Shot

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.753277

>>753275
Gorchander ducks and dodges the rocks.

[1d10] Dodging

Roll #1 5 = 5

 No.753278

>>753275
I will launch off the homing magic at the oncoming imps [5d10] as I Wink (via winkmaster) out of the way of the oncoming attack. [1d10+2] wink

Roll #1 7, 3, 5, 1, 6 = 22 / Roll #2 4 + 2 = 6

 No.753279

>>753276
You jump on top of the creature's slow swing and blast its unarmored gem face, cracking and chipping away at the things powering this creature. [2 Damage]
The rock creature then throws another swing! [1d10+1]

>>753277
You dodge the rocks and watch as the monster hits the ground in frustration and moves in to melee range with you!

>>753278
You pop out of the way in a flash of light, losing one of your orbs as it explodes on the flying pickaxe. Shrapnel from that explosion goes flying back at the creature what threw it, followed immediately by a magical barrage that reduces it to a pair of legs holding up the fuel source. [6 Damage]
The creature moves into melee

Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10

 No.753280

>>753279
I try to dodge the swing and shoot it again.
[1d10] dodge
[1d10] attack

Roll #1 4 = 4 / Roll #2 8 = 8

 No.753281

>>753279

Gorchander pulls out his trusty hammer and moves to swing and go toe-to-toe with the Gemmie!

[1d10] Melee attack

Roll #1 8 = 8

 No.753282

>>753279
wink cooldown 2
Homing magic cooldown 2
If it's just the fuel source, I can probably knock it off the legs and finish it off without too much trouble. What's it gonna do, kick me? Float out my rapier and try to wedge it in there with a stab. [1d10] It being an Accurate weapon reduces DC by 1.

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.753283

>>753280
Campfire
You barely, just barely, move out of the creature's attack range. Then you shoot it and blast away the offending creature's arm [3 Damage]
The Gem Imp then digs its… feet, into the ground and charges at you! [1d10+3]

>>753281
Crit!
You swing your greathammer and blast away one of its arms, and send it flying backwards into the large double doors.
This gem imp is Helpless, but also at ranged distance

>>753282
You get your sword stuck between some of the gems and the rocks it's rooted to. The things separate and the monster falls into a pile of rocks!
This gem is ded

Roll #1 9 + 3 = 12

 No.753284

Oh right
[HEROISM ACTIVE: 1]

 No.753285

>>753283
I try to dodge out of its way then shoot it in the knee as it passes.
[1d10] Dodge
[1d10] Cheap Shot

Roll #1 9 = 9 / Roll #2 2 = 2

 No.753286

>>753283
Wink CD 1
HM CD 1
Great. I'll use Magic Bolt on the one charging Card Trick. [2d10+1], keeping highest.

Roll #1 5, 5 + 1 = 11

 No.753287

>>753283

Gorchander pulls out one of his new shiny throwing knives and launches it at the Gem creature in the softest place, the mouth!

[1d10] Ranged attack

Roll #1 3 = 3

 No.753288

>>753285
>Minimum Success
You tumble under its charge and blast off one of its kneecaps, the creature's legs fall apart and it rolls into a wall.

>>753286
You hit it with a quantum ball of energy that breaks away its armor, causing what's left of the creature to fall apart as a pile of rocks and gem rubble

>>753287
You throw one of your knives at the helpless gem imp you knocked against the doors and turn it into rubble as well.

[VICTORY!]

When everything's clear and quiet again, your attention may go back to the massive double doors with a hole blasted through them. This hole is roughly the size of the largest diamond dog back in the shanty town, but still dwarfed by the scale of how tall this door truly is.

 No.753289

>>753288
Gorchander walks over to go recover his knife from the pile of rubble, digging through it until he finds it again and adding it back to his stash. He also puts his hammer back in its bindings across his back.

 No.753290

>>753288
I reload my flintlock and look through the hole in the door.

 No.753291

>>753288
I'll put away my rapier for the moment.
>>753289
>>753290
"Was anyone wounded? If not, we should probably push on before they send another group."

 No.753292

>>753290
Through the hole in these double doors reveals a massive clearing the size of a mountain, and at its center is a great polyhedral structure with many wide roads leading to it at different levels. Small orbs of light sit at the sides of each path, lighting the way. There is such a road at your hooves that leads directly to the structure, but along this path are small drops of water that seem to fall from nowhere.

>>753289
>>753291
Read above when you check the doors.

 No.753293

>>753292

Gorchander marvels at this for a minute. What is his nature sense telling him? As for the raindrops, can he change the climate here?

How close is he to one of the orbs of light, in order to examine it? Are they magical or mundane?

 No.753294

Guess not.

>>753292
I'll float my lamp over to the door before we head through it.

 No.753295

>>753291
"I'm fine. Let's go."

>>753292
I approach the polyhedral building.

 No.753296

>>753293
Your nature sense is telling you the great clearing is an illusion, or perhaps it exists as being both real and unreal. You can sense organic life such as plants and burrowing creatures where what looks like air. At the same time, these signs of life can't be seen by your eyes. Upon reaching the structure, you hazard there is only one faint glimpse of life in it. If you wish to influence the climate here, it is possible as there is enough clearing.

The orbs of light look to be the kind of mundane that you've seen the glowing gems as, biggest difference between these and the gems besides the cut is in how bright the orbs are.

>>753294
>>753295
The three of you continue down the bridge, alone beyond the sound of your hooves echoing on finely cut rock and the occasional drip of water.. Inside this structure are just-as-great halls, buildings, and roads. The place is decorated with wondrous gems and stones embedded so finely they don’t look to have been placed there.

 No.753297

>>753296
"Pretty. Any idea where to go from here?"

 No.753298

>>753296
"So I guess the one we're looking for is deeper in."
I'll look around at the gems.
"Easy to see how the dogs got roped in, though."

 No.753299

>>753296
Gorchander tells the others of his findings with nature sense and that all isn't as it seems.

"With that understood, let's venture further inside."

 No.753300

>>753299
"Lead the way, then."

 No.753301

>>753299
>>753300
"I agree. Lead on."

 No.753302

[1d10] Exploration

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.753303

>>753301
>>753299
>>753300
Gorchander leads everyone into the huge dark structure, following more of the glowing orbs. You pass by emptied buildings, bodies of more diamond dogs, piles of rock and gem, and destroyed or discarded piles of books that have scattered decades of dust when they hit their new unwelcome resting place. The orbs pause and congregate around a vending machine colored red and white, its writing faded to almost nothing, but the machine still runs.

 No.753304

>>753303
"What a bizarre place."
I'll take a moment to try and gather up a few of the books with telekinesis. Maybe they're related to our target somehow, or can tell us what they're up to down here better than we've already heard from the dogs.

 No.753305

>>753303
"Well that's unexpected."
I give the vending machine a prod.

 No.753306

>>753303
Gorchander perks up and goes "Ooo, what's this?" and begins fiddling with the vending machine.

 No.753307

[5d10]
[1d10]

Roll #1 6, 10, 5, 7, 9 = 37 / Roll #2 5 = 5

 No.753308

>>753304
You pick up several books with your magic. The lettering on some of them begin to glow, and two others start to make your horn hurt as you bring them closer.

>>753305
You push the large object and hear the metallic rustle of things inside it.

>>753306
You push a few buttons, then hear the machine come to life and spit something to a catch near the floor.

 No.753309

>>753308
Wince slightly.
I'll just… set them in a pile off to the side. Whatever's in these books doesn't play nice with unicorn magic. Might have to go through them by hoof.
I'll glance at the others to see what they're doing with the weird device.

 No.753310

>>753308
He checks the floor cache to see what it what he got. Wait… can we break it? How durable does this thing look?

 No.753311

>>753309
You get three books in your collection as they continue to glow even as you let go with your Telekinesis.
Card Trick is watching Gorchander fiddle with a large glowing machine, something came out.

>>753310
Inside the catch is a curvaceous bottle with a dark black liquid in it.
The machine itself looks sturdy despite it's (one can only guess) age. You notice that the dust around it has been cleared and scattered by what look to be diamond dog paw prints. They've used it and likely bashed it around as well.

 No.753312

>>753311
I'll frown a little at that. Can I read the text on them, or is the whole book glowing?

 No.753313

>>753311
What's inside? Well, only one way to find out. Gorchander tries opening the bottle with his hooves.

 No.753314

[3d15]
[1d8]

Roll #1 4, 3, 8 = 15 / Roll #2 8 = 8

 No.753315

>>753308
"So, no plans as to where to go from here?"
I examine the bottle.

 No.753316

>>753315
"I'm taking a look at these books here, might give a hint. But they're reacting weird to magic, I think."

 No.753317

>>753312
Just the letters glow. The books are written in a cursive and Griffin-esque archaic that is both illegible and gibberish. One book seems to realize that you're trying to read it and their glowing letters begin to change, by this you catch what looks like a few letters: E S R T F

>>753313
The bottle opens and from it comes a soft fizzing.

>>753315
You notice that this bottle resembles one from an old adventure that a dead soul-bound house spoke of. It is from a time when such marvels were forbidden by the Sisters, to say little else of the trinket's convenience.

 No.753318

>>753317
Hold up, dead soul-bound house? Maybe you meant horse?

Gorchander tries drinking the fizzy potion.

 No.753319

>>753317
I chug the jug

 No.753320

>>753317
"Well that's not… usual."
I'll set the griffish books aside and have the letter-changing book by itself.
>>753318
>>753319
"Can either of you make sense of this one? The letters are changing on me and it might only do that to unicorns."
I'll hold up the letter-shifting book.

 No.753321

>>753320
>>753317
Against my better judgement I try to read the book.
[1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.753322

>>753320
Gorchander stops drinking the beverage, coughing, wipes his mouth and peers at the book held up to him.

 No.753323

>>753318
>>753319
So lets say you each have your own bottle.

Gorchander Your drink is cool, fizzy, and tastes like what ponies believe is strawberry under several sacks of sugar.

Card Trick Your drink is cool, fizzy, crispy, tasting like caramel and nostalgia.

>>753317
Silver Lining passes the book to Card Trick

>>753321
the book's letters rearrange themselves to read: ESPERANTO AND THE FALL OF DWARVISH CULTURE

>>753322
You take a peek at the letters and find they continue to move in strange ways You do notice the letters: A N W V

 No.753324

>>753323
"It's a book about the fall of dwarvish culture, apparently. I've never heard of those."

 No.753325

>>753323
I tell Silver Lining that his book is all scrambled up for me. I pass it to Card Trick.

 No.753326

>>753325
>>753324
"Odd. Don't think I've ever heard of dwarves. Maybe this is one of those 'forbidden' books they keep locked in the deep bowels of libraries."
Still, we've probably spent enough time here.
"You didn't happen to spot a way forward while you were doing stuff with the machine over there, did you?"

 No.753327

>>753326
"Not that I noticed."

 No.753328

Gorchander puts down his empty bottle, and looks around for a way forward. He grabs a rock and lobs it straight forward, remembering about the illusory bits of this building.

 No.753329

[1d10]

Roll #1 2 = 2

 No.753330

>>753328
Your rock sails into the darkness, you then hear it bounce of something wooden, then something metallic. It's not long after this you hear more things crash into each other and cascade into more crashing and breaking. It gets quiet afterwards, then a shriek pierces that silence

Everyone's ears hurt after that, but the echo allows you to guess it came from one direction. Perhaps someone with a lantern could light the night and hazard a guess to where that sound came from.

 No.753331

>>753330
Sounds like a job for me.
Hopefully that shriek wasn't dwarven security roused from ancient sleep. I'll light where Gorchander threw the rock.

 No.753332

>>753330
Wha-

That is definitely not what Gorchander expected to happen. Is it possible to grab one of those glowing orbs from earlier?

 No.753333

>>753330
I draw my gun.
"Hello out there!"
[1d10+2] Introductions

Roll #1 8 + 2 = 10

 No.753334

>>753333
"Come on, Card Trick, do you really expect them to be friendly after I just broke somebody's window?"

 No.753335

>>753334
"Are there even still windows to break?"

 No.753336

>>753335
"I'm extemporizing… extrapolating!"

 No.753337

>>753331
You shine a light to the road as everything goes quiet again. There is a cloud of dust that comes barreling your way where Gorchander's rock cause havoc.

>>753332
Yes, you can grab one of the nearby orbs around this vending machine. Silver Lining has put his light out to show a great cloud of dust that's coming your way from the thrown rock's direction.

>>753333
Something whispers to you, always a voice from behind.
"Hello yourself- rousing the sleep- you should leave- she won't like anyone being here- she knows you're here- you should leave"

 No.753338

>>753334
>>753337
"We've angered the witch. Get ready."

 No.753339

>>753337
I'll squint a little and frown.
Is there… something at the head of that dust cloud or is it just the cloud?
"Just so you know, I don't have a dust-busting spell."

 No.753340

I use Climate Change to alter the weather so those raindrops come down more steadily and it becomes a torrential downpour.

 No.753341

>>753338
"Do you think normal weapons will be effective?"

 No.753342

>>753338
"The witch- yes her- witch the bitch- we don't want her here- get rid of her- follow my voice- no mine- you'll find her."

>>753339
It's dust, lots and lots of choking dust. The light brown kind that makes you sneeze and cough.

>>753340
You start to bring humidity from the tunnels outside in. Everything gets a little stuffy, then soon a light rain begins to fall. The dust cloud is broken up soon when the water turns into a drizzle right over you three.

 No.753343

>>753342
I follow the sound of their voice, whispering: "Hello?"

 No.753344

>>753342
"Follow me, guys."
I start to follow the sound.

 No.753345

>>753342
Oh I hate that kind of dust.
And now I'm soaked. Great.
"I guess that solves the dust problem, though. Do we just follow the screaming or do we have another way of hunting her down?"

 No.753711

>>753343
>>753344
>>753345
You are lead by whispering voices that, by now have made themselves known to you all, through the darkness where the glowing orbs trail eventually ends. The passage through this massive labyrinthine building with shifting darkness and imposing silence nearly cuts into the voices that goad you into one particular destination. Eventually the three of you stop hearing voices and you are left in the dark.

But before anyone gets scared, you feel the sensation of light touching the bottoms of your legs.

 No.753712

>>753711
sounds like a good reason to look down!

 No.753713

>>753711
I stomp down and jump to the side.
[1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.753714

>>753712
You look down and see that this light cuts off at just below the middle of your legs.

>>753713
You jump to the side and see that there's is a large black visor, or curtain, or even wall between you three and an open doorway with light coming through it. Silver Lining and Gorchander's legs are lit by a strong lamp coming through this doorway. Think a two-way mirror that filters light

 No.753715

>>753714
Weird, but not harmful at least.
"Ancient magic or technology, I suppose?"
I'll wiggle a leg in the light for a second.
"Does anyone see a door?"

 No.753716

>>753714
I toss one of my cards at the strange black thing to see what happens.
[1d10+1]

Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3

 No.754073

>>753716
Your card flies through the black thing and lands on something smooth, but you don't see where.

 No.754074

>>753715
"Seems like it. No door that I can find."

>>753715
Does the barrier feel solid?

 No.754075

>>754074
"Well, the light's coming from somewhere…"
>>754073
I suppose since we're back in darkness I'll have to see if I can get my lamp going again. However temporarily.

 No.754076

>>754074
hello it is me

>>754075
"In theory, yes."

 No.754077

>>754075
Your lamp is lit and the path in front of you suddenly stops dead to immediate black. When you put your lamp closer to the floor, this immense darkness looks like a wall as though it were covering something. You can see half of Card Trick illuminated by your light, and the other half of him is covered by this… curtain, or door, or sheet.

>>754076
When Silver Lining turns on his light, you don't see the lamp or a portion of him behind this strange sheet of void. The sheet looks to be covering the light that comes from a small through-way directly in front of it, there is a dull blue luminance from this passage.

While you two stand in front of this place, the disembodied whispers have stopped speaking to either of you. One, or all of them has given a last message that this is where they can't enter.

 No.754078

>>754077
"It's a ghost-blocking, light blocking curtain of some kind. Think we should tear it down? Ghosts are tricky."
I pick up my card and shuffle it back into the deck before stepping all the way through.

 No.754079

>>754077
Huh.
Well, if i can push it out of the way and move through it, I will. And once we're in a properly lit area i'll douse the light again.

 No.754080

>>754078
"Well, as long as it doesn't set off any alarms or come alive and attack us, I don't think we really need to worry about it. It's probably just there so ponies don't see the light's on."

 No.754081

>>754078
>>754079
You pass through into the small passage. Blue-lit metal adorns the floor, walls, and ceiling here before it descends by a staircase. What feels like an overlong walk ends at a complex looking door that opens from a turn-handle at it's middle. You find yourselves in an empty observatory with a closed, dome ceiling where makeshift stars on it look more to that of a city from a bird's point of view. In the middle of this space is a cloaked pony standing on their back legs and their back turned to you. The pony seems to be comparing two open books held by spectral claws covering their front hooves. This pony speaks in a soft, female voice

"I hate that door, it creaks and clanks for no other reason than to be creaky and clanky with its rusted metal."

 No.754082

>>754081
"I guess you're the witch, huh? What's your story?"
[1d10+2] Smooth Talker

Roll #1 4 + 2 = 6

 No.754083

>>754081
Hmm. Don't recall if Card Trick ever went down between when I cast bolster and now. I don't think he did… So it should still be active.
"I take it you're the one responsible for the troubles in the mine, lately?"
Giving up the element of surprise probably isn't the best idea but she at least gets a chance to defend her actions before we go murderhobo.

 No.754084

>>754082
One of the pony's ears flicks when you speak.
"Smooth Talker? That's not new, but perhaps for now I'll oblige you."

>>754083
"I am, and I would prefer to be called that than 'lunch' by that dirt kicker bunch."

The pony turns around to face you while their books are still held up. Cyan blue with a glowing orange mane and eyes, the mare lowers her books with a bored expression.
"I am a simple pegasus looking through their spoils, the bitch who's killed many, pulled a heist across time, but had to watch my prize sink into time unknown before because forbidden knowledge makes a certain princess's blood boil."

 No.754085

>>754084
"Well, it is somewhat… easier that you don't deny the fact you've killed a lot of folk over the last couple days."
I'll orbit my shield and rapier into position.
"I don't suppose you'd be willing to surrender quietly?"

 No.754086

>>754084
"Ooh, time travel? Neat. Anyways, this is the part where I tell you you're under arrest and to come quietly. Why don't you actually do that instead fighting? We can have a nice, boring end to this adventure."
[1d10+2] Smooth talker

Roll #1 9 + 2 = 11

 No.754087

>>754085
"Killed? I paid them what they're owed. Don't come crying to me just because a few sacrificial dogs decided instead to explode. This is my story and I'll leave it when I damn well please, you'd have better luck trying to collapse this impossible building down on me."

>>754086
"I- ugh, seriously?"

[1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.754088

The mare drops her books and undoes her cloak, letting both fall to the floor.

"You're really cutting it close to keep using skills on me, but these aren't fists yet, so I guess we'll see."

A pair of wings unfurl from behind her, a pegasus. She walks unsteadily towards you two with a clearly dissatisfied look.

 No.754089

>>754088
Well, if she's coming quietly, she's coming quietly. That's good enough I guess. I'll sheathe my rapier.
The books, however, I'll levitate up from where they fell. Evidence, after all. The cloak too, since we're not barbarians and if it's raining on the walk back we're not going to let her just get soaked. I'll wrap the books inside the cloak for now, so it's all in a bundle.
"You'll have to forgive me if I hold onto these for the time being."
I've got no rope so there's nothing we can use for restraints…
"Out of curiosity, though, what exactly did you do to those dogs that turned them into gems?"

 No.754090

>>754087
>>754088
"Listen here, missy!"
I walk right up to her and boop her nose in a disciplinary fashion.
"Murdering is wrong no matter who you are and no matter who they are. You don't get to get away with it just because you're 'special'."
I start shuffling my cards.
"What are you? Some sort of time traveling, magically endowed pony that knows secrets not meant for mortals? You've upset a princess badly enough that she's acted against you, maybe you've cursed each other's names? Pretty special, huh?"
I deal out the princess card of the highest suit.
"Well, I've known like, two or three others like you. The reason its two or three is because one of them made a paradox and doesn't…never…"
I scrunch.
"Won't have not ever will exist. See what time travel does?"
I deal another princess card of the same suit.
"Another got blown up by an inquisitor I'm friends with."
I deal yet another princess card of the same suit.
"And the last one succeeded in her evil plan, got away with it all, then slipped on some ice and broke her neck. Really special."
I deal another identical princess card.
"So save all of us, yourself included, the trouble and give up."
All that talking took a lot of breath.
I add a turn of recharge for a +1.
[1d10+2] Sharp Tongue with cards

Roll #1 4 + 2 = 6

 No.754091

>>754089
"Whatever, I'll take them back eventually. And that was blood refinement magic, didn't you see?"

>>754090
!!! [1d10-1]

Roll #1 3 - 1 = 2

 No.754092

>>754091
"I saw-"
and then the sharp-tongued booping happened and now i have to see the fallout.

 No.754093

>>754091
The mare is surprised by getting her nose booped, and moreso when you deal the cards without ever looking at them. A tear runs down her face from your story, the words cut at her far deeper than what she may have read in the chambers down here.

"I'm sorry. I didn't, I never cared to think about what I was doing. This was supposed to be a- oh god I don't even know what this was supposed to be. I just, I want to get out of here."

 No.754094

>>754093
I gently pat her back.
"There there. We all make bad choices sometimes, but we don't always get a chance to make amends. Come with us now, please."
I keep my eye on her but give her the benefit of the doubt that she actually will give up.

 No.754095

>>754093
absolutely bullied.
"I don't suppose there's another way to leave the mines than going back through the dog villages? They might not accept us bringing you out instead of… you know."

 No.754096

>>754094
The pegasus' wispy ethreal claws dissipate and she falls to all fours again.

>>754095
"There is, I can teleport us straight to the surface. I'll have to use some of the choramance spells for it though."

 No.754097

>>754096
"As long as it's to the entrance of the mine, and outside of it, it should be alright."
And if she teleports us eighty feet in the air, well, I'm not sure how good I can catch Card Trick while winking in quick succession to kill fall momentum.

 No.754098

>>754096
"Go ahead. We trust you."

 No.754099

>>754097
>>754098
The pegasus whispers as a single ethreal claw comes back out from the tip of her hoof that she uses to draw out complex looking patterns. The end design looks like a door that poncy unicorns from Canterlot love to have. With a few more words the pattern lights up and the teary eyed mare looks at you both.
"It's ready, we'll end up at the diamond dogs' entrance to the mountain."

And with the loudest popping sound of a cork, all of you flash out of existence in this observatory and pop back into place an inch above the ground at the entrance to the mineshaft. The trees are still destroyed, there are still massive pillars of starry substance that float into the air from the hole, but it looks close to evening. Surprisingly there are still no signs of Equestrian guards despite what could be a whole day or two since this happened so close to your town.

The mare speaks up "I can't believe I did all this."

 No.754100

>>754099
"Well, ponies tend to lose sight of things when they focus too much."
Since that starry thing is just a fancy distress beacon, I can just… pick up the source of it, right? Since we've "solved" the problem.

 No.754101

>>754099
I pat her back again.
"I'll make sure you get a chance to make this right. What's your name?"

>>754097
"Back to town, I guess? Best to not stay out here."

 No.754102

>>754100
The pony remarks that you can't pick it up, but she dispels the beacon and slowly the last of this magical smoke rises into the sky.

>>754101
"Tasia, I don't like my old name and I'm too far from my homeland for anyone to know me."

With no reason to stay here, you head back to town. Eventually an Equestrian Guard escort arrives, takes the pegasus for questioning and doles out an appropriate reward for your part in solving this mystery. Word does reach you that Tasia's sentencing involves community service, but almost none of that service is ever shown to occur in public- as tabloids have stories from time to time about the Princess scarfing cakes from all manner of exotic cultures.

Townponies do come back, but unfortunately few of them believe that you solved what looked like a massive season-wide calamity in less time than the Markers of Friendship are capable of. This is the one problem of living in Tall Tale, most stories are considered to be hoisted up on pillars of smoke.


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