Exploring Dirio

Bronx Log Post

Two penetrating, lifeless eyes bore into my head, staring, accusing me, relentless in their anger. They are all too familiar. I blink, and shake my head, desperately trying to knock loose their hold on me, but they are tenacious. Around me, I hear others begin to stir, groaning and shuffling to their feet, and for the moment I am distracted enough to briefly take in my surroundings. I am below ground, sealed in a completely stone room, the floor and walls piled high with heaps of glittering gold. The air smells damp and mildewy, as though we are beneath the very sea itself, though there is a cloying, metallic scent mixed in the air, the scent of humans and wealth, and I mistrust the smell immediately.

The dead eyes bore into my skull, twisting the serrated knives of their hate and fury into my heart. In this hollow, lifeless room, I choke, my lungs grasping for a taste of natural air, for the scent of nature, for the kiss of Naiwi, but I am alone. She cannot reach me. I have to get out of here. I have to get OUT OF HERE!

A Halfling bounces over while I am still crouched on the floor and introduces himself brightly as Chance. I pause, and consider his face for a moment, my demons hissing and sizzling in the peripherals of my gaze, my scorched throat burning for a whiff of fresh air. He must not know.

“Hello Chance, I am Bronx.” I struggle to rise to my feet and shake his hand, but he is already gone, introducing himself to someone else. I watch the others meet one another for a few moments, uncertain how to participate in their conversations, and inwardly struggling to maintain stony composure.

A blue-skinned man catches my eye as he slowly attempts to pocket one of the golden coins. Certainly such skin cannot be the mark of natural causes? As he unsurprisingly falls unconscious from the work of some magic spell cast on the golden coins, I examine the others more closely. A younger human who searches the room for exits and careful not to touch the coins, carries a halberd and a longsword on his hip. I am wary of this man, for those who protect themselves with iron weapons are often merciless creatures, wielding the forged hands of men to spread their bloodshed in the name of justice. I have already met Chance, who is appears to be nothing more than a bouncy, shallow creature motivated by no more than fun and the acquisition of wealth, though he seems more of a danger to himself than to others. And the gnome, Berty, seems like an unlikely ally of sorts, a fellow magic-wielder and respecter of the arcane, though I would be foolish to make such an assumption so soon.

The room is stifling, suffocating, enclosing, I need to breathe, I need to feel the soothing touch of nature, I need her to cleanse me of these eyes, these horrid, piercing eyes. I need to go. I need out.

Before I can shriek in madness and shatter the mask of composure and control I have painted on my face, Chance’s magical assistant moves the golden piles enough to find an opening in the wall. I eagerly shove through with the others, wildly hoping for a staircase leading above ground, but with no luck.

The rest of the dungeon passes in a desperate daze. I press onward through the halls, dragging the others behind me, recklessly pulling the party through room after room, springing traps, falling into pits, and rousing monsters. I suffer, my body is weakened and bloody, broken, bruised, and I welcome the pain, I welcome the distraction. But the eyes, the horrible lifeless eyes, grow more wrathful and accusing with every step. I watch them die over and over again in my mind, I watch the stolen blade slide cleanly through the man’s ribs and into his heart, and I yearn for her. I yearn for Naiwi.

I don’t know how much more of this I can take. But the others must not know of my weakness.

This place makes my head spin and my tummy hurt

(please note, Chance has the inattentive flaw and much of that is in his own mind. he is easily distracted by his own thoughts. this was written in an attempt to show that.)

After my amazing escape from that mean ship – and i mean the ship not the captain, she was rather nice. the stupid boat gave a me a number of splinters. – i awoke in a odd cavern. Once i got myself oriented and overcame the initial mouthwatering effect the massive gold piles around me i realized that there were other in the same place as me. It would be rude not to introduce myself to the others. I strode up to the first one i could see and gave my typical greeting even if it was a bit subdued due to my just have waking up.
The first thing i noticed is that he was blue. which was odd. People shouldn’t be blue. it was a bit odd but there were more introductions to be had so i moved on. Berty is neat but hes too squeaky sometimes. Bronx is a dwarf… I haven’t dealt with to many of them and his beard is almost as tall as me. He may be hiding something in there. I need to keep an eye on it to see if hes got anything valuable stuck up there. Tatalka… what to say about Tatalka. Hes a bit quiet and has a strange accent. Seems to have a good head on his shoulder.Which are really high off the ground… i wonder if he’d let me ride on them?

anyways Zavrith touched the gold and fell down and stayed there. there were a few gentle attempts to wake him the failed so i have him a a bit of a touch of luck and it woke him up pretty fast. I wonder if what colour blue skin turns when its bruised, ill have to investigate further. With no apparent doors i began to dig through the mounds and mounds of gold that would put me to sleep. I should have grabbed a piece for those nights where the thoughts in my head keep spinning till I get dizzy and cant fall asleep.

I’m not going back there though. Not with that great lizard blocking my path. I don’t even want to think about the itchy feeling he gave me when he looked into my brain. you ever had your brain itch? you cant get at it to scratch it and it gets really annoying. Plus the dragon smelled all burny. and not like a fire. it hurt my nose. definitely not going back there.

the next door spoke in circles and made us guess… the first one was obvios but the others were just silly and made my head hurt… next room please!

This was one of my favourites though. I call it hall way hopscotch. If you landed in the wrong spot you had to dodge a dangerous attack that would poison you. Devilish hopscotch! doesn’t it know it should be fun and not painful? But i came out for the better. I fell into a chasm and found a couple of dead bodies. They looked vaguely familiar but they didnt need their belongings anymore so i plundered their corpses. and made out like a bandit.

Then came the potion room. Lets not talk about the potion room. It made my tummy hurt real bad. dont drink those type of potions again.

then we came across the crazy palidin lady… i knew she was crazy a few moments after i saw her. I never let the energy for my Luck’s Razor leave my mind until we had to kill her. Zavrith and Tatalka argued about her helm. I think i may try and take it when we leave and see if i cant turn a profit.

Then there was the purple gnome. Whats up with running into all these oddly coloured people? oh well, i wonder if ill meet a green elf next. that would be cool. he’d blend in with the leaves. Oh! He’d be really hard to see. His family might think he was lost all the time. That would be very sad. I don’t want to meet a very sad green elf. a content one would do. Berty seemed distraught that he was dead. not that Berty was dead. Well of course Berty would be distraught if berty was dead… or wait… Berty would be dead so how could he be distraught… there were nothing shiney around him so i left him alone. i think Berty cried. if he keeps doing it ill have to cheer him up.

I don’t remember much after the Gnome except before the shifty tentacled kitty. I kinda got bored and forgot what happened

Now the Shifty Tentacled Kitty. And the corpses… there were a lot of them. it nearly killed someone else… though who it was escapes me. We killed it and moved on. nothing shiny on the corpses either… kind of a let down really. maybe i should have cut open the kitty to see if he swallowed anything of value. it looked like he ate the people pretty fast. so there may have been something in his belly. But that would have been gross. Maybe Berty would have don’t it for me? or Tatalka. Hes strong. I wonder if i can ride his shoulders. it would be like seeing the world from a new perspective. Like the mast of a ship. I liked the ships my Pa built. They weren’t mean and nasty like the last ship i rode on. It got really went and sinky. Pa would never build a ship like that.

Anyways all the bad stuff that happened to us got wiped away by a white room (correct me if im wrong alex)and we decended another set of stairs. Do we really want to go down?

To recap

Zavrith = blue and i wonder what colour his bruises are.
Tatalka = Quiet and i want to ride on his shoulders.
Bronx = Dwarf and may or may not be hiding something in his beard.
Berty = Squeaky and should become my minion. (everyone needs a minion and i hear gnomes make good ones)

Things to remember
Dont drink from the bottles
Get Berty to cut open the bellies of creatures to see if they ate anything shiny.
Avoid doors that talk cause they make my head hurt.
corpses are like treasure chests
Hopscotch can hurt
don’t touch unguarded piles of gold first.
Boats that sink are bad
Dragons make my nose hurt and my brain itch.

Initial Encounters with Magic

This vault we are trapped in has used a variety of magics on me against which I have few defences. My comrades in Shynam often shunned magic as an unnecessary dependency and I shared at least some of that sentiment, but I now wonder at how difficult it is take this particular crutch away from those who would endeavour to harm me. Nothing comes to mind thus far aside from greater strength of will on my part and the peculiar character of those whom I have seen wield it.

Of the five of us, only I do not count magic amoung my strengths. The gnome and the halfling (Berty and Chance I believe) make use of their abilities with reckless abandon. The dwarf, Bronx, seems more calm and collected, though less outgoing as well. The shockingly pale blue man named Zavrith values the practical usage of whatever he comes across, seemingly independent of moral questions.

I do not wish to make any brash judgements, especially of other people. However, one question does begin to form and gain credence in my mind: Is the weakness of magic to be found in the character of those who use it? This is not an overly new question I am sure, and those back in Shynam would likely respond with a firm ‘yes’, but I will not let this cause me to overlook the question. Magic very much appears a tool that is relatively easy to earn and use without discipline.

Whether or not a lack of self discipline is the norm amoung magic users I cannot judge for certain. However, I have met one who seems to have prevented himself from becoming careless in his use of magic. If Zavrith were of a kinder nature, I would have one I could learn from about magic’s characteristics. As it stands, he is nothing short of dangerous.

The Vault: Trials
Zavrith's Notes, part I

Slowly regained consciousness, confused. Found myself next to a pile of gold; this continued to fuel my suspicion that I had died. The embrace of nothingness after such a perilous situation alone seemed to be the touch of Iss. Gold, then, would perhaps be my reward? A small gesture for my pathetically small success.

A loud halfling suddenly interrupted my ponderings. “Hi there! Chance is the name, and luck’s my game!” he announced loudly. I responded courteously, offering my new, favored name. Perhaps instead of rewarding me with riches, Iss had decided to punish? Having me see what I could have had, yet due to my failure to remain in the mortal plane, he would have me endure this presence instead. Chance has a sly, devious look about him though, so I considered if instead he were not a servant of Iss himself. Is this a test perhaps?

Chance ran off and began introducing himself to the others in the room; a quick count noted that there were five of us in total: Chance, the dwarf that I had noticed entering the whirlpool was there, a human, and a gnome. Possibly we had survived somehow. I had noticed the glimmer of gold as we entered, so it stands to reason that we are now inside the Vault. It is something I choose to believe: eternity with these people is surely an unfair punishment. Decided to take action while they talked, and so I deftly palmed a gold coin.

Reawakened with something of a headache, the gnome peering at me quizzically. After making some jokes at my expense, they continued sifting through the gold without touching it (clearly having made use of my discovery). So, aren’t complete idiots at least. However, they seem to struggle to make the connection to practical application (most unfortunate for them, but this can come to be in my favor later no doubt). As such, after something of a struggle managed to secure some of the enchanted coins, intending to launch at enemies or to use to pay uncooperative merchants.

Some time passed, and eventually the mage hand (somehow created by Chance) moved the piles of gold sufficiently to reveal an exit. Opening the door, we were greeted by noxious fumes that I immediately recognized: dragon. I was proven correct, naturally. I had not anticipated that it would be able to sense my thoughts, however, and was soon caught off guard and vulnerable. Despite this, I secured us a passage to the next room by tribute of the enchanted gold (no thanks to the others). Also promised to deliver a message to his master, and the dragon (named Carco) noted that the other human thought many questions but asked few. I will have to note for the future that the man, named Tatalka, is irritatingly perceptive for his age. Worse yet, he seems determined to interfere with my progress. Interference has already cost me my eyesight and bought me weeks of pestering; I do not relish thinking of what this will entail while we journey together.

Mustering together through common purpose, we proceeded through the passageways. I stayed back, not particularly anxious to rush headlong into the unknown, and my caution was rewarded with relative safety from the barrage of poisoned darts and pitfalls that crippled all of the others. Strangely, they did not hold this against me. Perhaps they did not notice? Decided to make a chalk trail of safe passage in case a hasty retreat was required. Made note that only I stopped to save the gnome, Berty, when he could no longer move. Began to suspect that the others cared only for their own survival – or perhaps not even that, in the case of Chance who was fool enough to drink unknown potions, of which any (or as the case may be, every) potion could have been poisoned. Chance later revealed himself to have secreted away several items he found from dead adventurers like ourselves; his motives became suddenly rather clear. I suppose I should have expected such shortsighted goals from the reckless halfling. As for the others, I have yet to gain direct insight as to their motivation. The only good person in the party, for that is what we are now, is Tatalka. Why, then, would he have left Burty behind? Mysterious. Nearly as mysterious is Bronx, the dwarven wizard who takes point, despite the pattern of traps. Being neutral aligned, this is a strangely selfless act. Perhaps touched in the head? There is a kind of madness in his eyes that I have noted. I think that Bronx is a threat, or a spy of some kind.

There are forces at work in this place. The type of forces that take my torch, or close a door, but leave behind bodies of others and their gear. The type of force that resets these traps without our notice. Could explain why Bronx takes point; who would suspect the person being hit by traps to be responsible for them? It fits, but I somehow cannot believe it. The wild gaze is more akin to a starved fox than a madman. Bronx must never be at my back, or in a situation of greater power than I.

There is also a voice, a puppeteer of this place. I think this to be the most likely cause of our situation, though I am not willing to set it as the only option just yet. Carco mentioned his master, and I have heard this voice echoed through the corridor of evil warning off competition. I think we are playthings. The strangled gnome and the fool’s trap seem clear evidence of these things. Sadly, he is free to continue this torment; those with the power make the rules, and he has all the power.

I think, however, that he will soon come to regret this choice.

Dirio Hiatus

Due to the long hiatus from Dirio, and the introduction of Schuler’s character (and the replacement of Danny’s), I have decided to start everyone back on the boats slightly before being sucked into the Vault. This will better accomodate the extensive editing I’ve done of the Vault. I warn you now that there is still a Guardian Dragon, and he is still too strong for you. Roleplay that out. After that things get more CR appropriate.

Furthermore, all character crunch information must be posted upon OP before the beginning of next session. Those wishing to include a brief description of their character will recieve 50 bonus XP. Background stories e-mailed to me will be judged and awarded 50, 100 or 200 XP based upon the quality and realism. Questions on specifics of Dirio can be e-mailed to me at any time or (preferably) communciated through a discussion thread on Facebook. Both bio and description ARE OPTIONAL.

Best of luck, and looking forward to getting started again! Alex

Out Done...for now

I swear I’ll get even with that halfling. >:(


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