Duty Session 498: Fireball Solves Everything
Scattered throughout the forests of Eastal, a number of structures which are believed to have been used for religious rituals in honor to The Burning Goddess lie abandoned. It is said that some of them still contain Igneous Stones, specially crafted rocks used to stabilize and control flames. The secret of their manufacture has been lost to time, and scholars all over Yamato are willing to pay well for some samples to study in the hope to re-discover how they were made. As usual, the encountered challenges will require a variety of skills and ability to be overcome, but due to the special attunement of these structures with the element of Fire, the cooldown time for flame-related Artes is reduced dramatically, thus making this mission a favorite of people who specialize in this style of combat.
Rec. Party: 3+
World Rewards: Prove once and forever that Fire is superior.
A Lander from the Hunter's Guild is awaiting the adventurers at the end of a beaten path, where vegetation begins to reclaim a long forsaken area. After a bow to the assembled Adventurers, the Lander briefs them on their mission: "There are a number of abandoned temple-like structures dedicated to The Burning Goddess throughout the forests of the Eastal Free League. It is believed that at the heart of each of them lies a brazier carrying special Igneous Stones, rumored to be particularly apt at stabilizing flames. They are in high demand, and the Hunter's Guild offers rewards to anyone who can bring a few back." He hands the team a map to the nearest structure, and a map of the structure itself. "Good luck, noble Adventurers."
She's arrived in her normal adventuring garb, mail coat and breeches, leather boots and belt, a katana on each hip, and a ferocious expression. There's a sort badge on her chest, a mark of honor from Westelande, it looks like a scale from a dragon, but still alive. She wears a pack on her back, and looks eager to get moving. At seventy five, you never know how many Fire Temples you have left.
"I wonder what they are made out of," the Enchanter says. Haru considers if he really /does/ understand the religion here. He looks to Goldenblade, "You know, me either on the religion side. This may illuminate that more." Because. Fire.
He grins at Haru. "I'd guess they're mad eof stone, but you're right. We won't know until we try."
The party finds a one-story circular structure built out of stone. Run down, smothered by plants and moss, it takes the Adventurers some time before they can free the main door from the vines. Still in place after all this time, wards made of wood and colored strings protect the place against trespassers. If someone could read their ancient script, or knew the enchantment which gives them their power, they could probably understand how to best deal with them. Knowing the exact rules which regulate their activation and removal could also hint at the proper defusing procedure. For the impatient, burning them all down at once is also an option.
Confronted by a vine-covered door, her first inclination is to cut through the vines, but these are /her/ blades, and at a thought, they burst into flame, and now they're both cutting and burning, and that's working out pretty well for getting through the mess.
"I've found the religion here more fascinating as of late," the young Artificer says. Young, but with the silvery hair and monocle he comes off as more mature than he is. Or holds himself that way. "Sounds a lot like a person heavily involved as of late," he asides to Goldenblade. "If you have some local temple recommendations, I can put them on the list to visit."
Now Haru knows Enchantment well, but he isn't crutched to it. If this is about the Burning one there is only one TRUE option: Fire. His floating stones turn a bright red color like that of embers, sending out a series of small flares across the area to burn them all down. "When in Rome," he says with a smile.
He takes some time to observe the Wards, and grins at Haru's suggestion, "Do like Nero?" He turns towards the structure himself, and each of his hands is envolped by red blasts of Mana, soon discharged on the wards. "Fireball!"
The Gordian Knot approach works like a charm, and the Adventurers enter the building. It does not take them long to discover a trap door leading down a musty stairwell. Torches flicker; long shadows are cast against the walls built out of uneven stones as the party descends a long flight of stairs. At the bottom lies a massive oaken door riddled with padlocks. The more roguish types can try and pick the locks, while Accessory Forgers can try and tamper with the hinges. Maybe those adept in the art of woodworking can find a way to cut through the wood? Of course, a well placed fireball can always burn the door down.
The trapdoor leads down, so she goes down, until they're blocked by that great foe of all dungeons, the locked door. A few minutes with the lockpicks ought to solve that. ...
Ought to, but she can't quite get it to work. Finally, she grumbles and backs off.
"Flavor text," Haru says to Goldenblade, "what made you uncomfortable about it?" Trying to learn more about Goldie instead of inject his own opinions on the matter. He is trying to be a better listener. BUT! He will always be a burner. "Fireball!" he echoes with Shenmi, adding in his own elemental fire to the effect. As an Enchanter his effects are due for broad strokes, and he does lament not doing the accessory forging but when in Rome, Nero, when in Rome!
"Oh, let's see, let's see..." he goes. "These are tricky ones, uuuh, nicely done, considering the technology level. Hmmm." He wiggles his fingers, and- uh, has that lockpicking set always been there?
He start with the first lock-
He spends some time on it, scratching the little metal bits to and fro inside the keyhole, closing one eye and attempting to look inside, then trying again...
As the door burns with Haru's fireball, the slight dilation of the metal seems to do the trick: the lock eventually clacks open, and Shenmi dries his forehead with his sleeve, and huffs. "One down, nine more to go..." he comments. And resumes the task. "...these locks are -hard-..."
It takes him some time, but eventually, he manages to open all but one of them.
He quirks an eyebrow, looks at the rest of the party, looks at how structurally damaged the door has been due to the fireball burning...
Kick! SLAM! The last bit of durability of the door is chipped, the lock is broken, and the Adventurers are good to go.
As the Adventurers bring their light sources into the next room, ablood-chilling sight meets them: the walls and ceiling are covered in dire bats. They seem to be asleep, and that is a good thing: they are far too numerous to fight, so the adventurers' best bet is to sneak past them, possibly shrouded in a spell of Darkness. Or, you know, wipe the whole lot out with fire.
The bat-filled room gets a considering 'Hrm' before she douses her torch and vanishes into the darkness. Even from Haru and Shenmi's light. She will move forward under the cover of darkness and unnatural sneaking skills, to the safer area, past the bats.
"Ooh," Haru gets it as he winces from a virtual gnawing on his sides from Rachel, "I never really thought about it that way." And today he learned something new about Goldie, or Goldie's Player at least. "So its like acting in this case," he says in a more whispery tone to where-ever ninja GB went to with those skills. He whispers out, "Thats fascinating. Does that apply to entertainment idols at all? Like Himari?" Idol Tanuki.
"Fireball!", he exclaims, towards the bats, charring a number of them, but... not enough.
SCREECH, SCREECH, run and chase, and with short breath and a shorter HP bar, the party finds itself in the presence of the next challenge.
The Adventurers reach what, according to the map from the Hunters' Guild, is the antechamber to the inner sanctum. The smell of mildew is overpowering, the floor is littered with puddles, and the silence is broken only by the occasional drip of water. If, that is, we don't count the screech from the tangle of monster vines which has taken root in this room: vegetal tendrils attempt to grab at the Adventurers, too many for mere physical beating and slashing. The stench makes it hard to fight, so some aeration could come in handy. Perhaps one could concoct an impromptu weedkiller, or someone familiar with plants might be able to identify some weak spot of this species. Given the level of humidity in this room, fire looks like an unlikely solution, but that is certainly not going to stop some Adventurers from trying.
Confronted with the humidty and vines, a couple hacks with her sword is enough to let her know that just the blade isn't going to cut it. So, she channels fire through her blades, which has given the steel that interesting gold color in the first place, and with the blades burning like lightsabers, she cuts through the growth without too much trouble.
"You know me, once Im in, Im all in. In for a penny, in for a pound," Haru says as he is not /exactly/ sure that is how it goes given the currency difference. "But I wonder if some people do get really devout about it. There is the whole Light element, after all," he says to Shenmi, thinking of those that play up Holy types and Holy to the Goddesses. "Think that is also button pressing based on an abstraction of game logic?" Notably he should be paying more attention to the Earth issues. But Earth is Haru's friend! It would never strangle him and toss him around like an angry Hulk... right? It would, Haru. It would. Especially considering the featherstorm attack desummons the birb.
The plant! It attacks! Shenmi whips out two decks of cards, fans them into a circle, one in each hand, and shoots a fusillade of hearts, diamonds, clubs and spades at the vines, cutting them into pieces as they try to reach for the party.
The Adventurers' torches are the only source of light for this room. The brazier in the middle is unattended, a large number of Igneous Stones just lying there! As soon as the stones are removed, the walls rumble, and dust and rocks begin to fall from the ceiling. As the cliche demands, the structure starts to collapse! Adventurers need to rush back to the surface without being squished by the falling rocks, or killed by any monster that might still be lingering!
The last challenge is ... that there is no last challenge. "Well, damn," she says with a sigh and will just go up and start collecting them. That's when the place starts collapsing, and she grumbles as she pockets one more stone and hightails it out of there. Alas, that was one too many, and she's smashed hard by collapsing ceiling, taking heavy damage, even as she seems to blink away from a major collapse, only to be partially buried by another one. "A hand, please?" she calls urgently.
Run! Run! Or you'll be well done! He starts to work on a Wave Arte chant of the best proportions but gets bonked by a rock. Again. Again. The chant never really finishes. Its enough that he makes it out, walking in a far-from-straight line over towards the partially buried Goldenblade and taking the rocks off, one noodle armed rock removal at a time. "It On. Out you will be in no time." Or eternity from the size of the rocks Haru removes.
Shenmi screeches to a halt when someone in the party needs help. Haru is already on it, so what he does is try to shield the duo from falling rocks using his Fire Barrier.
"Well, ok, not -this- particular sucker," he corrects. "We've already robbed this one Blind- I mean- we've already collected enough specimens Burning from this one. We'll fireball a still inviolated sucker that looks like this one... to the Red Moon!"
There, that does it.
"So, shall we go eat something?" Silence. Pause. "I'm... a little low on coins, so I could use a little loan. However, I'd gladly pay you Tuesday for a meal today." A pause. "And a night at some inn."