Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Barrow's Entrance

The time is about an hour later than the last post, about one in the afternoon.

Where Aleksandra says, "I will pry up the remaining keystone," I need to point out that only one keystone has been removed at that point.  There are two keystones that have not been removed.  (OOC: I shall endeavor to refer to you as She, Aleksandra.  That will be quite easy, once I concentrate on it - I had not, and obviously I defaulted).

I have never been clear on the lowering of the torch concept.  If the twine is tied to the handle of the torch, than the fire will curl up the shaft of the torch towards the twine; it can be lowered soon enough that the fire won't envelop the twine, but not if the torch is held in that position for a long time.  Moreover, the twine can't be tied in the middle of the torch; the twine has to be balanced towards the oil cloth of the torch that burns, making it difficult to get the burning torch through the hole, if the torch is perpendicular to the hole when it is lit and then lowered.  And obviously, if the twine is tied on the burning end . . .

But let's just say I'm quibbling.  The party is standing out in the light, looking down into a dark hole, with a torch lit down below, without nearly as much candlelight power as the outside above the barrow.  I'm not actually certain this would illuminate anything, not to someone standing outside . . . ah, but I'm probably quibbling again.

The torch can be lowered about fifteen feet (measured by the amount of twine needed, before the torch hits bottom).  I'm still not sure what illumination of the subterranean it would provide.  Any thoughts on that?

50 comments:

Aleksandra Ivanovna said...

OK. This torch plan seems better suited for a different kind of hole.

With the 7" gap and sunlight above, can I see anything more below than I could before?

What if two of us lifted the 2nd keystone while a 3rd (or 3rd and 4th) held the remaining one so that it does not fall in?

Aleksandra Ivanovna said...

Let me clarify: I (with the aid of another) will remove the 2nd keystone while 1-2 others support the 3rd keystone.

Rowan said...

Yeah, I guess I just thought, since the keystone's removal wasn't providing what we were looking for, and given that we're at the top of a hill, (envisioned in my mind as a relatively dome-ish shape), I thought maybe the chamber below was farther down than it looked from the outside? As if the torch would provide some radius of illumination that the sun couldn't through the gap, especially with us crowding around it to lever the stones.

I thought about the twine thing all day yesterday though, shaking my head at work. Duh. Thought about suggesting tying it to the Bo Stick or my spear, but figured that would either make no particular difference/ruin the attached stick in some way. Basically, sitting tight and either waiting for someone to catch it and come up with a better idea, or getting this exact post of "that doesn't make a lot of sense".

I just found the barrow guys, that is one-hundred percent of my useful skills for us. Someone with a higher INT is gonna have to get us inside. :P

Maxwell Joslyn said...

I'll help Alexandra lift the 2nd stone.

Aleksandra Ivanovna said...

Well, removing one keystone added 5" to the hole's diameter, so I think removing all of them will allow entry inside.

Aleksandra Ivanovna said...

Thank, Gudbrand. Great. Will someone hold the 3rd stone in place? Rowan?

If someone commits to that, then Gudbrand and I remove the 2nd stone.

Lothar Svensson said...

I hold the third stone.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Not wasting time, the second stone is removed. Lothar is left holding the stone.

Aleksandra Ivanovna said...

Can we see any further into the hole?

If not, I help Lothar remove the third stone.

Rowan said...

I'll go ahead and assist in holding the third stone, dropping whatever I've managed to grab vis a vis firewood by the farmhouse as I jog over.

Alexis Smolensk said...

The expanded hole does seem to reveal, with the aid of sunlight, some sort of ~ possibly ~ earthen flooring about 15 feet down.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Rowan, you and Lothar are holding the third stone together now. Would either of you like to do something about it?

Rowan said...

Unless Lothar voices an objection, I'll solicit his help to remove the stone from the entrance.

Aleksandra Ivanovna said...

We remove the stone.

Maxwell Joslyn said...

(ooc: Oh, I typo'd another name, sorry Aleksandra. Is this curtains for Gudbrand?)

(ooc: Alexis I'd rather have you quibble about details of our plans than have us succeed despite overlooking a detail that would be clear in real life)

I step back from the hole a few feet.

Aleksandra Ivanovna said...

(OOC: That depends... How's your Heightened Senses study? ;-) If you really want to do it correctly, it's Александра Ивановна)

Engelhart Askjellson said...

I wish I had the light spell to alleviate our troubles.

Here I go presuming the ground stands under the strain of our efforts; I aid in lifting the third stone.


"The moment of the drawing of lots now looms large, my fellowship..."

Lothar Svensson said...

I'm good with removing the last stone.

Two thoughts occur to me now: one, I have a roll of twine myself, we could twist both lines together, and then double them and twist again. That should make a 50 foot rope capable of supporting somewhere close to 400 lbs. How close is the closest tree to the hole?

Second, we should get down there as soon as possible to scope it out as lodging for the night. If we make a fire down there it should keep us snug until morning.

Aleksandra Ivanovna said...

In general, I concur with this plan.

Lothar, that assumes that rope strength increases linearly per added strand, which I don't think it does. If we braid our rope together, I wouldn't put more than 200lbs, just in case.

I volunteer to go down first, with the rope tied about my waist for quick escaping.

Lothar Svensson said...

According to my research that is exactly what it does, especially for natural fiber strands. But 200 lbs is a good limit for safe working loads, as knots can reduce rope strength by more than 50% in some cases.

I'll volunteer to go down second.

Alexis Smolensk said...

(thank you for the break; let's get some running in)

When the third stone is removed, with difficulty, it demonstrates that the floor surface underneath you is very definitely made of earth. It is about 15 feet down.

[it is clear that rangers, thieves, monks and assassins need a 'drop' ability in the sage list]

Lothar, the twine argument works for me. There is no closest tree, however; you'll have to double the twine, tie it using a reef knot [a scout would certainly know that! I don't need to add knot tying to the sage abilities, do I?] - then use someone else as a counterweight.

It is possible to hang from the lip of the hole and simply drop. Because it is an earthen floor, and the actual distance would be minus your height; the surface below looks like it could be reasonably soft ~ if it is, then it counts as falling on a yielding surface which would mean a 10 foot drop would cause only a d4 damage; but you could be wrong about the ground. If the distance is less than 10 feet, I'll allow a dexterity check [writing it into the falling rules right now], in which case you'll take no damage.

Once one person is down, the others could be 'caught' ~ say, at a +4 to their dexterity checks.

'Course, getting out is another matter.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Huh, I've already made a provision for short falls. It counts as a deliberate jump - so make a successful check and remove a die for every 10 foot distance.

Lothar Svensson said...

Getting out being a large concern of mine, I immediately begin searching for a downed limb long enough to bridge the hole, and strong enough to support the full weight of the heaviest of us.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Well done! That is very easily found. Take any length up to 14 feet.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Please have a look at the new post I've put up today.

Aleksandra Ivanovna said...

Excellent idea, Lothar. While you are searching for a limb, I knot and braid our twine together and tie it onto the center of the limb.

With the limb over the hole and the twine dangling down, I carefully descend into the barrow.

Alexis Smolensk said...

As a dwarf, Aleksandra, you can see quite well without a torch. You find yourself in a circular room about forty feet across, with ten foot walls around the exterior and a fifteen foot ceiling at the apex, in the center. The entrance, above you, is about halfway between the wall and the center of the room. The roof of the barrow is about three feet thick and made of earth, mortar and stone.

The floor has been literally chewed up, creating a two foot deep matting of crushed wood, vegetable material and earth, which you find is very soft to step on. This covers the whole room. In the room's center, there is a mass of such matting that rises up and over ~ but doesn't quite cover ~ what might have been the tomb in the center of the barrow.

The matting is clearly a nest of some form, created by some creature. In the opposite corner, where the matting is deepest, your dwarven eyes detect a gentle red glowing, as like the glow that would appear above four pools of embers ~ though you can see no embers, only the four holes from which the glow rises.

[remember that I am treating 'infravision' as straight up vision in the dark, dispensing with any rules about the detection of heat or any such thing, since it only creates arguments ~ just treat your infravision as the ability to always see 60 feet, in any conditions].

Aleksandra Ivanovna said...

Alright. Are there rocks around, outside of the barrow? If so, I climb back up, grab a couple (stuffing them in my sleeves) and descend halfway down the twine.

Lothar Svensson said...

I will climb down into the barrow with my bow and arrows over my shoulder, dropping my Quarterstaff down just before I enter.

Aleksandra Ivanovna said...

I'm thinking rats. We could try to ignite the flooring, but that might cause a great deal more damage (structurally) than we might like.

I also don't like the idea of fighting whatever it is in the 2" deep matting.

Thoughts?

Lothar Svensson said...

(Taking care not to hit Aleksandra)

Let's see if you've got time to climb out and get some rocks, this might get pretty hairy pretty quickly.

Aleksandra Ivanovna said...

That's a fair point. If I don't have time to do so, then I call out to my compatriots still above-ground: "Toss down my stick!" (since my bo stick is helpfully right next to the hole, topside).

Alexis Smolensk said...

The matting is far too damp (meshed with earth) to catch fire. You might also want to ask for rocks if you want them, Aleksandra. I don't think you two are alone up there at this point.

Aleksandra Ivanovna said...

Alright. Then I ask for my stick and a couple of rocks. When I get them, with your blessing, Lothar, I'll toss them towards the glow.

Rowan said...

This is exactly the sort of environment our toad king might prefer. Be careful, as frogs may leap from below, assuming it is in some way animated by the barrow, perhaps as a guardian.

I have my club in hand, and will descend last, making excuses to cover for my vertigo as I let the others go down before me.

Rowan said...

Oh, wait! Before I go down, I retrieve my spear from the longhouse, and retie my club to my pack.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Rowan ~

When you say "last," you mean after Engelhart and Gudbrand?

And I take it that you'll be using your spear and not your club when you go down?

Alexis Smolensk said...

Check out Aleksandra on the "Appearance" post.

Aleksandra Ivanovna said...

Oh man! I look fantastic! Thanks, Alexis.

With all of the commotion and people coming down, has there been any change in the glow? Can I assume that I have a rock or two and my bo stick?

Lothar Svensson said...

I'll toss down some rocks and your bo stick before descending.

Aleksandra Ivanovna said...

Thank you, Lothar.

Aleksandra Ivanovna said...

Once everyone is down who wishes to be down, I toss a rock towards the red glow.

Alexis Smolensk said...

At the glow itself or in its vicinity; if at the glow itself, the nearest one is about 20 feet away.

Right now, only Lothar and Aleksandra are actually down. Rowan has indicated going down, but he said "last" . . . I don't know if that means behind you two or behind everyone else, too. So I'm stuck.

Aleksandra Ivanovna said...

Nearest one...

How close are each of the four holes from which the glow issues, both to me and to each other? How are they arranged?

Alexis Smolensk said...

Aleksandra, you'll find the answer to your question on a new post, "Under the Barrow."

Rowan said...

To confirm, yes, I do mean absolute last, after Engelhart and Gudbrand as well. I will be using my spear for now as well, passing with a gentle toss to whomever will catch it (or the floor nearby if noone can) and then collecting it when I get down.

Also, Aleksandra looks awesome.

Gudbrand Andersen said...

I put my sling in my belt and go down too.

Engelhart Askjellson said...

*Holding his hands apart in a rogatory gesture*

"Huddle close, my comrades, take my hands unto yours, that we may be touched by the good Lord's Grace and wield it to strengthen our resolve in facing the unknown".



Before the descent is effected (if Alexis will allow me to tug the time-line just so), I cast Bless upon any willing members of our party. It has a one-hour duration and it was my wish to cast it prior to Aleksandra's lowering.

Note that it'll only affect believers, which yet remains an unknown quantity as regards our party. I'm assuming that Rowan might be right out?

Also, I'm the third going down the hole.

Engelhart Askjellson said...

The above stated holding, I descend and go no further than the radius of the hole's illumination;

I aid Gudbrand's landing and receive Rowan's spear, returning it with a grim smile.

I take up position next to Aleksandra and Lothar and confer with them.

"I'm about to need a little light and a lot of Faith..."

Alexis Smolensk said...

Please do not comment further on this thread.