We’re into slightly more traditional dungeon crawling at this point, with the adventurers finally having located the lost House Cannith research facility. Marked on the map in the refinery as a mine, the only thing at the location when they got there was indeed what looked like a long-abandoned mine entrance. A careful examination revealed a large initial cavern with a corridor crudely hacked into the rock right at the back, so breaking out some of the sunrods, looted from the Emerald Claw soldiers, they began to explore.
For a change, the freelance locksmith (Curtis) was in his element, leading the way, checking for and finding a number of traps along the way. Not so easily circumvented were the series of decoy entrances, magically trapped to shock anyone trying to open them. Koff took the brunt of these, until close examination revealed one of them had a slightly different enamelled pattern around the lock. With the aid of a key pass previously provided by their employer, they descended into the facility.
The first chamber was a spherical room with no apparent exits and a control panel with a number of coloured slots. Different coloured keys would make different openings appear as the room rotated its single opening to match the selected slot. As a few of the slots matched the colour of the pass they already had, it at least gave them somewhere to stop.
Evidence of the great disaster was to be seen everywhere, even deep below the ground. Cracks across walls and ceilings were apparent, and most of the magical conveniences such as everbright lanterns were dim and flickering, providing about a candle’s worth of light. Offices, and a laundry were quickly found, with the bodies of the facility’s owners still in place where they were when the Day of Mourning struck. As with the bodies discovered in the outside world, everyone appeared to have just that moment died, despite the passage of four years. Another corridor was deeply scorched and littered with the charred remains of people, so they decided to come back and have a go at that later, especially as they could hear the crackle of flames away in the distance.
Another side effect of the disaster had been to affect animals, and in this case they found themselves being approached by a talking dire wolf. While not the most surreal thing they’d encountered recently, it certainly made some jaws drop. The dire wolf, who called herself Rosa, had rescued a couple of ordinary wolves from the research kennels elsewhere in the complex, but had been driven off by what she called a stone wolf. She offered treasures and another key pass gathered from the ex-employees as a payment if they dealt with the stone wolf and allowed her to rescue the other wolves.
So that’s how the adventurers came face to face with one of the experiments that had been underway when disaster hit – a half-stone golem dire wolf with obsidian claws and teeth and implanted stone armour. They managed to resist its attempts to cast slow on them while they fought, and eventually overcame its armour plating to lay the creature low. They reunited the pack, and carried on looking for the schema. With the new key in hand, they tried a different corridor that sloped downwards gently.
This brought them to a bizarre mirrored room with a glowing mass of coloured light bouncing around in it. It ignored them until they attacked, at which point the living colour spray spell – which became known as the littlest rave party – flowed over the party and assaulted their senses with colours and bright lights, leaving many of them stunned and blind. A quick defence shredded the amorphous energies – the result of existing spells disrupted by the disaster – and we called a halt there.