Following some much needed rest and a little shopping, the adventurers set out for a new challenge. They looked North, to the ancient city of Draughbelor.
The road was long, but not entirely difficult. Days passed by without incident, until they got closer to the site of the great city. Fifty miles outside the city the vegetation started to turn black and the ground around them was barren. By about 30 miles it was a void of life. The mountains to the North served as the only guide, until two towering statues came into view. The statues stood 250 ft tall tall, depicting armored guards standing at attention. The scale of the four-armed humanoid statues was impressive, until the city walls came into view. The walls were 150 ft high around the entire perimeter of the city. And it took a few hours of traveling for the full city to come into view.
Other than a large crack down the front of the Western Wall, they seemed to be in good condition for the age of the city. Despite the overcast skies above, the city still seemed to glisten as if struck by bright sunlight. The Western Wall housed the front gate and stretched for 14 Miles with the Main Gate Standing at the center. The doors of the Main gate stretch for half a mile across, the dizzying scale of them left the mechanics of their operation a complete mystery. Entrance seemed impossible if it wasn’t for a smaller wicket built into the side of one of the colossal doors.
The adventurers approached the smaller gates and they were still facing two doors twenty feet across and thirty feet high. A quick knock spell took care of the gate lock with the sound of heavy gears turning. The Paladin stepped forward, rubbed her hands together and failed miserably. Several attempts later pointed to the fact that the gate may not have been meant to be opened with human might. It was now time for a step up, dinosaur might. A team of Ankylosaurus was summoned and tied together. The combined pulling power of the dinosaurs saw the gate slowly open, revealing the ancient city behind the walls.
Behind the gates the brightness of the city was disorienting. Outside the city the consistent overcast weather only added to the feeling of desolation. Within the walls the skies were clear and blue with sunlight streaming down, one could even feel the warmth of the sunlight and a light cooling breeze. The temperature was almost too perfect, remaining a constant 70-75 degrees. In front of the party a huge multi-layer fountain stood in the middle of wide plaza. It’s waters seemed to maintain a comfortable level of humidity for the surrounding area. Behind the plaza main street stretched farther than the eye could see. It was a street half a mile wide, and the carefully laid brickwork was paved with solid gold.
The wizard took some time to survey the city, he summoned a Roc and took the ranger along with him. As the Roc rose it found that seemingly open air above them only extended to the top of the city walls, a force field of some sort stood in their way. The rest of the flight served to outline the city, allowing the wizard to highlight a few buildings from lore about the city. He scrawled his findings on a map, Draughbelor Map.
The scouting trip brought to light a few facts. The trip lasted a few hours, but the weather never changed, the sun remained at the same point in the sky. The buildings looked to be in good condition despite their advanced age. There were no signs of life, no people, nothing. And around the Grand Palace seemed to be a barrier of some sort. When the Roc would draw near it had the sudden compulsion to turn around.
After scouting the group decided to visit the Loading Docks first. They entered to find a massive warehouse with several large shelves extending into the building parallel to each other. There were no boxes on the shelves near the door so the Ranger decided to climb up the shelves for a better vantage point. He stood on top of the highest shelf and found himself immediately gripped by a large metal claw. A metal door was opened on the side of the building and he was deposited into a small cart. The cart sealed and began to drive deeper into the city. Luckily the wizard decided to teleport the Ranger out of the cart before he was deposited into a small chute within the Forge.
A minor crisis averted the group went to the Draughbelor Armory next. Its imposing black exterior was sealed tightly. Only a small guardhouse stood open outside the gate. The ranger stepped forward and entered the guardhouse, only to find himself underground with a combination lock to solve. After the second failed attempt the air was removed from the chamber. If it was not for some fast work on an air bubble spell, he would have died then and there. It took two more tries, but the ranger successfully opened the main gate and was returned to the surface.
The adventurers faced a new guardhouse inside the structure, but a brief poem left by an unsuccessful pioneer allowed entrance to the building, and closed the gate behind them. They face a dark lobby with a few scatter clusters of chairs and a hallway behind metal bars. There was a door built into the bars that was controlled by a desk on the other side. A flip of a switch and the adventurers were able to continue exploring down the hallway.
The first floor had two sections of particular note, a large mysterious door leading to the vault, and a massive generator and workshop. The workshop was filled with spare parts and broken robotic limbs. The mesh of gears and wires was extremely precise and far more complex than anything the adventurers had seen before. And the generator still looked fully functional, a device that was already far beyond their understanding, had maintained functionality for several thousand years.
The adventurers decided to delve down into the basement, there they found a long dark hallway with rows off doors on either side. A pale blue glow emanated from beneath the doors, and a plain plaque written in Ancient was placed on the side. The lock was quite difficult but picking it became rather unnecessary when the combined efforts of the tiger and the paladin smashed the door into the room beyond.
The room was lit by a blue flame, other wise it was a simple 10×10 room. At the back corner was an extremely frail old man in fetal position staring at the wall. He had a rough tunic with characters matching the door plaque sewn onto the back. He did not move, he did not blink, only a keen observer could see the shallow breathes confirming life. The Ninja took a step towards the man and used a potion to read his thoughts. A flood of garbled information filled his mind, and he barely escaped losing his sanity completely. Loneliness depression and bitterness began to consume his thoughts after the brief mind meld, and the light seemed to emanate a sense of apathy and hopelessness.
The door was replaced and repaired, but something had been awoken. Coming down the hall was thundering footsteps, with a sharp metal sound. The adventurers began to run at speed back up the stairs, while the ninja waited to look into the face of the enemy. The hulking figure eventually came into view and the ninja looked into the emotionless face of a large mechanical golem. The ninja used the best of his abilities and ran like the wind (literally) eventually catching up to and surpassing the group. They stood at the top of the stairs only to see a blur yelling, “This is so bad!”
There was some time though, the adventurers built up their defenses in the lobby behind the safety of the black metal bars. It wasn’t long before these defenses were tested, as the golem struck the cage with force and his spinning gears left a blinding flash of sparks. Spells flew with holes and grease abound until the golem slipped through the bars, transforming into a walls of dangerous gears. The paladin attacked the golem head on, charging bravely. She was met with equal enthusiasm as the golem gave her a bear hug to remember. dozens of finely crafted gears spun at amazing speeds, and served to turn a warm embrace into a mess of blood and trauma for years to come. Eventually the golem fell, only to give one final fuck you to the adventurers as he exploded in a cloud of deadly shrapnel.
The adventurers licked their wounds and rested, even taking some time to learn to cast a lore spell and learn the history of the Draughbelor Armory. The rest of their time was spent trying to escape the fortress. They found the captains office on the second floor, and despite the difficulties of the ranger, (there’s a reason he lived in the woods and did not become a thief) the group was able to steal some weapons a set of keys and a few extras from the Captain’s safe. All under the currently angry eyes of an ancient automaton.
Let’s see, highlights: Ranger almost exploded after setting off a tripwire (don’t trust angry looking graffiti), The wizard tried to get away with stealing under the “you can’t see me” principle, the ninja’s prized afghan was melted by a lava elemental, and a small robotic bird almost lead to waking an army of golem’s and certainly lead to a lance stuck in a wall and an arrow ricocheting into the Ranger’s shoulder. They also now have a necromantic amulet that placed a death hex on the wizard and the cleric, and a kilo of magical powder.
After several rounds of elemental summoning and continued running between floors, the group ended up finding the code to the door in a chest, and collapsed outside relieved.