5 – A Party to Questionable Events
Cement steps climb through a stairwell filled with echoes of raucous laughter and dissonant music. Sounds float from the space beneath the door along with the flickering lights from shadows of movement. Tinged red, the light beneath the door is dim, it casts the unpainted stairwell maroon. Unlocked, the simple and unpainted wood door swings easily open on well oiled hinges. Moving, dancing, talking, eating, and drinking, anthropomorphic moths clothed in sheer dresses party with humanoid lizards in shiny suits and slick wigs. If they become aware of being watched, the music will stop with the hard rip of needle on vinyl. If they are unaware of interlopers in their midst, they will continue their party of dark drinks and mating rituals.
|Never party with lizards|
[I want to include an encounter that is can be resolved through talking or violence. Perhaps link it to Chad's idea of the Moon Maiden. Maybe one of the rewards she gives for the optional quest she gives is an object that will smooth over relations between the players and party-goers.]
|A rusted hatch to deep places.|
5a – A Hatch to Deep Places
Degraded with the passage of short ages, the hatch's black paint is blistered and broken by eruptions of rust. Its latch is fused by rust, requiring brute strength or ingenuity to open. [Require some kind of strength test or other means of popping it open] A choir of screaming hinges herald the opening of the hatch, the timbre to close to that to the cry of a child. Bright light spills from the opening, revealing the nature of the stairwell to be the one mundane site an insane maze. Two passages split away from each other, the first stacked upon the second. Once again, the down of the current position is in another direction than the down of the way forward.
|Watch your step.|
6a – You Take the Low Road
Bucking and rolling like the sea, the lower passage undulates as if it were alive. Walls covered in wet paint the color of old linen, the scent of perfume wafting from the fresh coat. A freshly waxed floor of checkered black and white tiles give slightly with each wavering step. Bright light pulses brighter in a steady rhythm, the timing of a visual heartbeat. Each step risks unbalance and a fall, requiring a skilled grace to avoid a tumble. [Insert some kind of Dex check or other skill check to avoid falling]
[If they fail whatever check, this is what happens]
With a speed that exceeds normal thought and reflex, an arm forms from each tile surrounding the fallen. Humanoid in form, and pliable as supple flesh, the muscled arms of men and graceful arms of women embrace the prone individual. No matter the form, the arms' strength is hard to deny, requiring brawn from the victim of help from others. Echoing off the walls, a sigh without gender rolls through the hall along with a series of sudden shifts from the floor. [Another check is required for the other people in the group not to fall and suffer the same fate] After the sigh, the floor stills, now sated with it catch(es). Those embraced soon find a mind slipping into a soporific euphoria, as the body begins sinking onto a overly pliant floor. [Victim has to make some king of save vs. poison or magic not to zone out, friends and the victim have to make strength checks to pull the arms away].
[If and when the group succeeds at either not falling or escaping the floor's embrace]
Undulations roll down the hall, risking a fall at every step for the graceless. A long walk, made longer by the threat of hard embraces and euphoric suffocation, leading to a downward view of two new diverging paths. [If someone falls again during the 100 ft long hall, go through the embrace effects again. Wash, rinse, repeat until the group is out of the hallway]
|A hallway smoothed with pearl.|
7 – And I'll Take the High Road
The upper of the two paths has an obvious, but gradual, in the dip of its elevation. Its yellow walls, checkered floor, and off white ceiling with its fixtures all have a smooth opalescent sheen covering them. A myriad of subtle rainbows unveil themselves in the light cast upon the hall's surfaces. Corners and edges have been rounded by the substance covering them, as if it was poured over the entire hall in one thick coat. Perfectly smooth floors make movement difficult, though then entire hall is dry. After a hundred feet the floor begins to dip, spiraling down into themselves, though the direction of down still stays with the floor. Within a dozen feet the spiraling become tighter, making the curve of the floor more pronounce with the direction of down still staying with the floor. As the inevitable terminus approaches a gentle tick-tack can be heard in an arrhythmic tempo, interrupted by a tiny bell and then a long zip.
At the near terminus of the hall, a woman can be seen sitting at a desk, her slender long fingers tapping away at the mechanical source of the tick-tack, ding, and zzzzzzip noises. Behind her is a wooden door, a window framed in its upper portion, lettering stenciled in gold upon the glass' surface. Golden words read:
Edsel Q. Forsythia
Project Station Manager
[So, the 'secretary' is actually a strange crustacean with moveable armor plates that combine to make her look just like a lovely redhead in her twenties. When in place, the plates do not move, so she always appears to be bent over typing. Her voice would be 'normal' but having a hollow quality, as if she was speaking through a short pipe. The players should be given a chance to notice there are no legs or feet beneath the desk. She will bar entrance into Edsel's office, since the door is just another piece of moveable chitin. If pressed she will attack, casting aside the desk to reveal a lobster like body with hundreds of feeding appendages and swimmers below a vertically aligned mouth and two black eyes on stalks. The 'door' is actually just the upper parts of two HUGE pincers fitted together to appear like a door. The hall is just the interior of the secretary crab's shell]
|An all seeing eye.|
6b – Eye Above, Floor Below
Same checkered floor, same yellow plaster walls, same white plaster ceiling and light fixtures, new direction for 'down'. Acrobatic skill is needed to land and cope with the new sense of 'down', otherwise a hard fall is the only other option. A few yards into the hall, its ceiling opens up into a wide dome painted a midnight blue, its surface dotted with light fixtures to simulate stars. Set upon a ledge opposite of the entrance is a large eye-ball. Attaching the eye to the ledge are movable silver struts, allowing it to pivot in any direction. Though it is painted to appear life-like, closer inspection reveals it to be mechanical, rounded rivet heads dotting the yard wide sphere. Lit green, the iris expands and contracts as it regards the new visitor(s). A pencil thin green beam of light is emitted from the pupil aimed at the floor directly beneath it. Juddering and sweeping, the light beam creates the illusion of green words flickering on the floor. Unsteady green words spell out:
Please do one of the following options, otherwise lethal force will be used.
1) Present Valid Process Company Identification.
2) Halt all forward progress.
3) Return by the way you entered into the area.
[So, I was thinking one of the things the Moon Maiden can give the party is a valid Process Company badge. This badge can be used to smooth things over with the Moth and Reptile party in room 5. Otherwise the party has to turn back or fight a laser shooting robo-eye.]
|A climb through a mechanical heart.|
6c – Through the Works of Restive Machines
Beyond the mechanical gaze, the floor slants down to a larger, dimly lit space. Tapping, clicking, and humming pervades the air while the form of a large machine is resolved in scant light. Flush against the floor, the smooth black face of the machine looms over the floor. It blocks progress, requiring a climb of forty feet over the obstacle or some way through it. [So, I was thinking of having a very difficult climb check, or a easier check for secret doors]
[For a successful climb check]
Atop the smooth humming block, another machine can be seen before the slant of the floor levels into another room. Black and vibrating minutely, the surface is covered in small tessellated images of candles subtly lit in the shifting hues of flame. Below is a short area of slanted floor before the corkscrewing form of another machine.
[For a successful secret doors check]
A panel slides smoothly back and away into the machine, revealing a space the width of a human and half as tall. It is lit in the hues of flame, the colors shifting slower than any flame. Steel grating makes up the floor of the space, the same light follows the space beneath the floor down beyond the sight of a bottom. To either side of the path through the machine are rows of black cylinders filling back into an infinity that spreads beyond the boundaries of the machine. Each cylinder is topped with a teardrop curve of wire that gives off the colors of flame filling the room. A similar panel has slid away from the far end of the passage, allowing an exit through the machine.
Another small stretch of checkered floor, another machine rises up to block further progress. Rotating planes of bundled wire orbit a smooth black cylinder, the wire inwardly lit the color of fire. Spinning wire the color of fire creates the illusion of a flaming crown surrounding a black candle. It spreads to take up the entire width of the room, requiring a jump between the wire to get beyond the obstacle.
[So, some kind of dex or acrobatics check is needed to get beyond the obstacle, otherwise they get burned by heated coils of wire. Maybe allow a spot check and a to hit roll to notice a switch or machine box. To hit roll to hit the switch or destroy the box to make the wire stop moving. If they jump through then they will need a second roll to get back out.]
Beyond the coils, the floor continues to slant down until it levels out at the floor of a large room bathed in shifting hues of prismatic light.