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Completed CYOA - Mysterious Caves

ERYFKRAD

Barbarian
Patron
Joined
Sep 25, 2012
Messages
28,589
Strap Yourselves In Serpent in the Staglands Shadorwun: Hong Kong Pillars of Eternity 2: Deadfire Steve gets a Kidney but I don't even get a tag. Pathfinder: Wrath I'm very into cock and ball torture I helped put crap in Monomyth
Suppose we could take partial cover behind a rock and engage them there if they prove hostile?
 

HeroMarine

Irenaeus
Vatnik
Joined
Feb 3, 2019
Messages
16,306
Location
Rio de Janeiro, 1936
You run up the stairs, and try to hide behind a nearby stalagmite with the guide, putting out the fire of your torch. You see the three approaching figures and you can see them more clearly now. One of them is holding a torch. They are all wearing robes and hoods, and carry bags.

The first one holding the torch approaches, a man wearing some kind of black robe. "It is the priest of the old god," the guide whispers. You can see he is well-fed and looks middle aged. He walks slowly, while his companions follow behind him. One a big man with an iron mace fixed to his belt in full display, and the other looks small and scrawny. The torch lights up the stairwell, but you can't see any sign of danger.

When the torch bearer reaches the bottom of the stairway, he stops, looks around, but doesn't see the two of you. He seems alert, but doesn't seem too afraid. He continues walking, and soon the others join him at the edge of the stairs.

They look like they will continue walking towards the cave entrance, but their torch light is so bright in contrast to the darkness of the tunnel that you can barely see them in detail. You notice the foul smell is stronger on the top of the stairways than at the bottom.
 

HeroMarine

Irenaeus
Vatnik
Joined
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Messages
16,306
Location
Rio de Janeiro, 1936
Time passes slowly in what seems like an eternity. They are still at the bottom of the rocky stairway. The stench coming from above isn't helping the uncomfortable situation of hiding and sneaking.

"I'll wait until they pass," the guide whispers. "Then I will go out and kill them." You are shocked and say nothing.

One of the two men who approached the stairs stops, and starts looking around, trying to locate where the sound came from. The second man is still moving slowly.

The torch bearer stops and looks at the cave entrance. "I think there is someone there," he says. "Are you sure?" His companions ask.

"Yes," he replies. "Can't you smell it?" He waves the torch in your direction to show what he means. "Come on," the large man says, "we have to go." But the black robed man doesn't move. "What's wrong?", his companion asks. "I heard a whisper up the stairway." You see the large man cracking a smile. "We are not going to investigate every little imp whispering in vain in the darkness. Let them be and we are on our way." The torch bearer grunts softly. "Fine, let's go."

He turns around and continues walking. The other two, the big fellow and the scrawny teenager follow him, walking behind the torch burning. The guide takes the opportunity to sneak out and attack the black robed man.
 

HeroMarine

Irenaeus
Vatnik
Joined
Feb 3, 2019
Messages
16,306
Location
Rio de Janeiro, 1936
At first you're thinking: "Didn't he say he wasn't carrying weapons?" but things are moving fast so you follow him trying to not make sounds. The group of men are distant enough, about 20 paces from the base of the stairways and moving towards the windy and clear entrance. You figure their senses will be too overwhelmed to notice the approach from the two of you from behind. Your plan to back up the guide is waiting for him to attack first and then moving to cut off the escape of the others while they are in a confusion about what's happening. You can already see that the guide has a surprise in store for them, he's holding a pointy dagger and moving really fast albeit silently as he reaches the bottom of the stairway.

You get ready to follow his actions and act at the last moment, and try to keep a close distance after him. He sprints suddenly and jumps onto the large man, who was last in their line, knocking him to the ground, while hitting him with his fist. The big guy tries to hit him with his mace from the floor, but the guide is already out of reach.

The scrawny teen starts turns at the guide in a fury.

You see that the guide has already taken out his holy symbol with his other hand and is holding it high, in the air, and starts chanting.

"Dagda! Dagda! Dagda!" He yells.

The teenager stops and raises his hands, he's also holding a dagger. He looks confused, stunned by the sudden attack of the guide, and the loud voice from the dark. He's about to strike with his weapon when the guide shouts again, "Dagda!" The boy is still frozen, unsure of what to do.

The guide drops the holy symbol, and grabs the scrawny boy by the throat. The teenager starts choking, and you realize that he's not wearing any armor underneath his clothes, he only wears a thin shirt and pants.

You pass the due and you see the black robed man turning back to the action, and unsheathing a sharp longsword. You charge past him, sword raised high. Now he turns to you in a reflex. You try to slash him across the chest, but your sword hits only air, the man is too far away to harm. How did someone so nonathletic move that fast? "Tyr!" You shout, and see that the teenage scrawny boy being choked in terror, unable to move. The large man is slowly trying to stand up from his fall. "Get him!", you yell with rage. You swing your sword and connect with the man's side. The large man stumbles back into the other two, the boy and the guide.

The large man finally manages to prepare himself to fight back. The guide jumps backwards in time, avoiding the mace blow, and is about to stab the scrawny boy in the back with his dagger and finish him, but he's too late. With surprising speed, the black robed man swings his mighty sword, cutting the guide in half. He falls on the ground, and you see his blood splashing in the snowy rocks.

You hear a growl as you are watching the body of the dead guide. When you turn, you see the large man trying to attack you, trying to swing his mace. He seems enraged. Before he can reach you, you raise your sword and strike him in the belly, making him roll on the floor in your direction, but you manage to sidestep him.

With your adrenaline pumping you charge forward against the black robed man. He's a bit fat and old but clearly a great warrior, but your training allows you to defeat him in a few swift blows, throwing his sword away from his hands. He's surprised and you are able to smash his face against the wall, breaking his nose. He falls unconscious and you kick him in the stomach to make sure he's not going to recover.

"Tyr!" You yell and turn towards the barely conscious teen. You try to strike him with your sword, but he kicks your weapon away from your hand. You get your sword back at your side, but the boy manages to dodge your next attack, he's incredibly agile now.

You're worried that he might escape. You don't have much time to think. There's something else you can do. You charge again into the scrawny teen, this time knocking him down on the floor and pinning him on his chest. "I am not going to kill you," You say to him, almost out of breath. The scrawny teen tries to punch you on your body, but your leather jacket and padded shirt protects you from the puny force of his strikes.

He manages to get loose from your strong grip. You chase after him, grabbing him by the neck, as he's already running away. You use your sword again and this time succeed in stopping his attempt to flee with a thrust to his back. You continue to press down with the tip of your sword, forcing him to bend over on the floor. The teen struggles for air while you notice blood coming out of his mouth. "How can people even stand the smell?" You say, disgusted. "It makes me sick." Your vision becomes red while you're holding him, as if you're going to faint, you feel dizzy, but you don't.

Moments pass. The kid has stopped breathing. You examine the others slowly. The guide is surely dead, the large man with the mace has bled out. The only one alive is the black robed middle aged man who has a big cut, several small cuts and a broken face.
 

HeroMarine

Irenaeus
Vatnik
Joined
Feb 3, 2019
Messages
16,306
Location
Rio de Janeiro, 1936
You speak to black robed man, he doesn't respond. You shake his body and kick his stomach, he has no reaction. Must have hit the head hard in that rocky wall. You're feeling your muscles ache from the effort, your heartbeat is still a little fast and you take the opportunity to find a smooth-faced boulder to sit on in the well lit entrance of the cave. As tears of sweat roll down your forehead and neck, you finally put your mind at ease to remember things properly, as the loud and cold wind blows past you.

You are not a hero, you are not Sir Knight. You are a survivor, n adventurer, a good fighter, a good friend. You are a good person, you convince yourself. You are a good person, you seek to win gold and glory, no harm in that if it is properly guided by your god.

"The guide", you think. Cael. He's gone. And you can't bring him back. He's dead. It's a shame. He had a lot to offer and you were happy to help him.

"But why?" You think. Why did he die? He was a good man, but he was always too trusting on his own abilities. He was an idiot, but you liked him. He was too trusting on his god. Dagda? What was that about?

"I can't believe he died because he was too stupid to stay away from clearly armed men." You say aloud.

You look around you, there's nobody left alive except you, and the black robed man. You wonder what he has done to deserve such a fate. He looks rich, surely they were all carrying treasure. No doubt there's treasure to be won deep inside and underneath this cave... and you shall have it.

Looking back at the battered black robed man. He's lying on his stomach, his face is smashed in, he's bleeding profusely from the side, his arms spread wide, eyes closed. You kneel down beside his body and search him. You find a bag with copper and silver coins inside his robe and some rings, also made of copper and silver, one with a white gem. You take the ring and put it on your finger. You have a feeling that the ring will give you power and strength.

You stop in front of the teen's body, you have to be careful not to step on him as you approach him, his clothes now covered with blood. You notice that he's wearing a necklace with a golden pendant, a symbol of a wolf head with a crown on its head. He has some copper and silver coins as well. You search the large man that used a mace, he only has copper and silver coins on him. You take all. You look at the rest of the stuff, the sacks they are carrying are full of silver and gold coins. Conveniently, you put all the coins and the rest of the stuff in a couple sacks.

You wonder what to do next. Do you leave the cave and return to the inn you came from, satisfied with the loot you've got already? Or perhaps do you want more?
 

HeroMarine

Irenaeus
Vatnik
Joined
Feb 3, 2019
Messages
16,306
Location
Rio de Janeiro, 1936
Oh, you want to head down the tunnel in the direction the three men were traveling. The problem is the loot you acquired already, you take the ring with the white gem from your finger and puts it inside one of the two sacks with the copper, silver and gold coins. You hope you don't need that ring later. You quickly put the mace and the daggers inside one of the sacks as well. You see the elegant longsword of the black robed man, and you fit it halfway inside a bag.

"What should I do with the black robed man?", you ask yourself. He seems to be bleeding out, although slower than the large man who is dead already.

"Let him be," you reply to yourself. "If he wants revenge against those who killed his crew, then he can come back and fight with me." You smile to your own words. You're ready to fight for your glory and your right to get rich by any means necessary. You grab your sword and your bags and walk towards the dark, wide, damp and cold tunnel.

***

"There's the entrance of the cave," You say as you look back at the light coming from the opening of the tunnel, grabbing one of the still lit torches. You proceed with caution and keep your hand close to your sword, looking around for signs of danger.

You enter further into the cave cautiously, you can hear water dripping somewhere in the distance, and you can see some strange rock formations ahead, though they could be natural. The tunnel is becoming very dark past the stariways you climbed before.

You wish you could turn back in case this place might be dangerous, but you feel compelled to go forward, you don't know what you're going to find. The only thing in your mind is the thought that you might lose the chance of finding a hidden treasure.

The tunnel begins to narrow within eighty paces after the rocky stairway and at some points you have to climb over obstacles on the floor, and go up and down the inclines.

As you continue into the tunnel you can see dimly through the darkness ahead, and you hear faint noises from far away. You finally see a bifurcation, with a wider and more straight tunnel to your right and a subtle turn to your left, almost ninety degrees. This path seems to have more natural obstacles on the floor. It also seems like where the faint noises are coming from. You wonder what will you do now.
 

HeroMarine

Irenaeus
Vatnik
Joined
Feb 3, 2019
Messages
16,306
Location
Rio de Janeiro, 1936
In the bifurcation, you think for a bit and chose to go right, to the wider and more straight tunnel, carrying your torch on your left hand with your right free to draw your sword from your scabbard if needed be. You are weighted down a bit by all the coins and weapons you are carrying on a sack tied to your back.

After some time going straight on the tunnel with no incidents , you arrive at an naturally arched entrance to a small empty room, filled with stalactites hanging from the ceiling. You direct your light inside and see it more clearly The walls are have many small cracks, and you see a small pool of water in the middle of the room, which you notice now has ice on top of it, coming from an opening in the ceiling. The air in the room feels colder than in the surrounding tunnel. You wonder how many other chambers are there in the cave system. You further look around the room, searching for anything useful. There's nothing that can help you find treasure, but you do spot something else interesting. There's a stone tablet on the floor near a wall with several pieces of parchment lying on it.

The first is a map showing the area around here, outside the cave, with the names of various places written next to them. The second one is a letter signed by someone named 'R' with the title: "The Path of the Sword". The third one is a list of names of people with titles such as "Captain" or "Warden", or simply "Herald".

You move your attention to the parchment with the names. One of the names looks familiar. Cael, that's the name of the guide who died in the beginning of your adventure. His last name seems familiar to you. You remember reading it somewhere once, maybe on a scroll in a library in some town. "Cael was a nobleman?, you think. "He was probably a cousin or a distant relative of a local lord." You examine the other names. Some of the titles on the list are familiar to you, but all of the names are unfamiliar to you.

All of this could be from someone who was working hard to prepare their expedition.

You inspect the walls, but you don't find any markings that would indicate a secret door, or a trap. The room doesn't seem to lead anywhere else but towards the icy pool of water in the center of the room. There is no way out of this room but through the natural arch leading out to the cold tunnel you came from. You decide that this is as good a time as ever to check out and keep exploring the tunnel going further inside the mysterious caves.

You walk slowly and carefully down the tunnel, taking each step carefully and trying not to slip and fall on your face and hands as you descend into the darkness. Your torch light is not that strong and it is not easy for you to make out your surroundings as well as you'd want to. You know you're far from the entrance as there's little wind and it's not as cold.

You reach the end of a wide part of the tunnel and there's a narrow walking passage in front of you, with a low ceiling. It seems to be quite long and go on and, as it looks darker and darker.

You have a feeling that whatever lies beneath will be worth investigating, so you take a deep breath, put your hand on the handle of your sword and proceed forwards, moving your feet in careful steps, holding your torch close to your face, so you can see better.

You have been walking for a while, you think. The passage eventually ends and you are again on a wide tunnel, but now you can definitely feel a low angled downwards slope. You keep walking a bit and there's a niche in the tunnel with a rock you sit on to rest your legs a little. In front of it there's another bifurcation, one which the path to the left is narrow and very steep upwards slope and with a sharp curve further to the right not that far. The path to the right this time is seemingly a gentle descent further under the earth, but otherwise not very notable. Which path will you take?
 

HeroMarine

Irenaeus
Vatnik
Joined
Feb 3, 2019
Messages
16,306
Location
Rio de Janeiro, 1936
The fucking gnome

lYbtvi1.png


You waste what seems like a long time sitting on the cold rock. Your buttocks are chilling and you wake up to reality. You feel a deep hunger in your stomach, it must have been three or four hours since you had a good breakfast at the inn before setting out with the now deceased Cael, the guide. "That dimwitted optimist," you say out loud, to no one in particular. You pick a hard bread you brought with munch it down with bits of smoked sausage. You don't eat much just enough to satiate the hunger, you don't want to be heavy in case you have to run or fight again. You rest a little bit contemplating the two paths again, as you feel any choice can be major. Eventually, you decide to climb the narrow slope to the left, with your sword at quick reach on your sheath.

You don't walk slowly, pouting with your bright torch forward, gaining on the slopes of the turning path. Touching the rocky and dirty walls with your other hand you can tell they were clearly carved by digging and scraping tools. By whom, you have no idea. You spiral around the path maybe three or four times, going up. The path suddenly opens up as if it was a doorway into a very large room with walls going up way beyond your head; you can't see the end of the walls on the other side. Hah, you reached a large chamber. The air is flowing from your back into the room, so it might be leading somewhere from here to an eventual opening somewhere. You see the dirty floor is smoother than the previous, more natural cave tunnels.

You wonder what's inside this room and why this strange passage leads here. You decide to investigate forward, as your torch is barely illuminating the area. You look for notable or strange objects. You walk slowly towards the nearest object, it looks like some sort of human skull, and it is not well preserved, covered in dust and moldy dirt. You hear a faint noise coming from further the middle of the room. You hear quiet but fast footsteps, they sound like small boots. Is there somebody else here?

You walk towards the noise, and the steps get a little louder as you approach, then suddenly stop. You reach a place somewhere to the center of the chamber and you see a small figure in the middle. You recognize the face of the white bearded, wrinkled little man. Wearing a red cap, a yellow wool shirt and green pants with tiny brown boots, he is standing in front of a pedestal, on top of which there's a glowing white orb.

"I am glad you found me," says the gnome.

"Who are you?," you ask. "How come were you expecting me?" You are suitably confused.

The gnome waves his hand dismissively "Not that important, but I'll sate your curiosity anyhow. Then you will tell me what you seek."

You quickly reply, as if charmed. "I'm looking for treasure in these caves of the Cradle Valley, as I was told they had plenty. I'm wondering if you know anything about them," you blurt out.

"Yes, indeed I do. I can show you the treasures if you pay for my services, in coin or services. Not too much for such a legendary place, is it?" He keeps a bright smile on his face, illuminated by your torch. "Allow me to introduce myself, I am Dignugget, an elder gnome of centuries of age. I have arrived at these mysterious caves by my own volition months ago, and have made myself at home, so to speak. Now this brings the question about you..."

You've always heard of gnomes, they're always trouble. But you've never met any, or heard a first person account. The gnome seems nice, maybe he can help you. However, you're uncertain what to do. On one hand, you'd like help to find treasure, but on the other hand, you're afraid of getting tricked by the gnome. What should you do?
 

hello friend

Arcane
Joined
Feb 26, 2012
Messages
7,847
Location
I'm on an actual spaceship. No joke.
Ask the gnome about the nearest way out, the quickest way out, and the safest way out, and ask what sort of help the gnome is looking for. Emphasise that any terms should be clear beforehand before making any kind of arrangement, and tell him you are interested in engaging him for coin both now for his services as a guide and in the future for his expertise in treasure location and retrieval - coin or services, to be negotiated after we get back to town and sell some of our wares.
 

HeroMarine

Irenaeus
Vatnik
Joined
Feb 3, 2019
Messages
16,306
Location
Rio de Janeiro, 1936
muLKIUG.jpg


"...aham, you, the adventurer. Your name is not important. Unless you consider it important and want to informe me." He smiles wryly then relaxes his face, and continues: "You are exploring these caves and I have noted you are carrying some metal loot on your sacks. No need to ask me how I know, I can feel it as a gnome. I can see also feel that your sheated sword is wet with fresh blood, and that means you are an action man. From these two feelings, I decided to show myself to you, as a gnome can hide in plain sight if he wants to, as I presume you are aware of." You are unsettling impressed, but decides it only confirms what you have from stories of gnomes.

"Uh, what, o potent gnome, uh, what is the nearest way out of these caves you know so well? I would also want to know the quickest way out, and the safest way out?" You begin waveringly stammering but recover your wits midway. The gnome points to the peculiar shinning orb on top of the pedestal behind him without saying a word, you find that unhelpful and decides to pursue a different line before he brings that strange item into the conversation. "These services you have spoken of, what sort of help would a magical gnome need from a simple adventurer such as I?"

The gnome squinches his blue eyes and says, "Why, o confident adventurer, I might trade you the secrets of these mysterious caves for the well-meaning expectation that you will set apart some of your spoils to me. Meanwhile, I can rest here safely while you do the hard work. A fair trade, in my opinion."

You emphasize that any terms should be clear beforehand before making any kind of arrangement. "Excuse me, wise gnome," you say, "I am not interested in offering you my hard earned money for services I haven't even agreed upon yet."

"Well, o brave adventurer, perhaps we can come to an arrangement." He holds up his hands, palms outward, and shrugs. "I can assure you that I am not a thief or a malefactor, though I admit that I am somewhat greedy. I would prefer a smaller amount of gold, of gems or baubles over a larger sum, as I can store those more easily."

You tell him you are interested in engaging him for coin both now for his services as a guide and in the future for his expertise in treasure location and retrieval - coin or services, to be negotiated after you get back to town and sell some of your wares.

The gnome nods. "Deal! I will take your offer, but you must realize that I have taken some risks, hiding in these caves with some fear of being caught by hostile forces." The gnome glances at your torch, which is in the process of being extinguished. "I hope you won't leave me in darkness while you ran off, because that would be rude."

You mention that he does not need to worry about and that you can also get several more companions with you in future trips if needed be. You are looking for ways to return to the surface safely and repeatedly, other than the simple path you took to this chamber. You hope he doesn't point to the creepy glowing white orb again. Instead, this time he says, "I can help you that, there are many different paths out of these caves, some of which I know well. And some come out in very distance places from one another, so you might want to map them eventually."

He then asks if you want to continue in search of treasure now, or return more prepared later. If you want to continue, he says he can point you to treasure locations leading from this upper level large chamber, or continuing from the tunnel below from whence you came. What will you do?
 

HeroMarine

Irenaeus
Vatnik
Joined
Feb 3, 2019
Messages
16,306
Location
Rio de Janeiro, 1936
You tell the gnome that you would rather come back later, perhaps bringing hirelings. You would also want to know something about this glowing white orb on a pedestal behind him.

The gnome seems unfazed by your request, and he answers. "Oh yes, o intelligent adventurer, I can help you with that. That is a powerful item, I call it the crystal orb of distant light visage. It is a source of light in this chamber, someone made it from some magic crystals a long time before I found it. It is able to shine far away of us, as we are here, and show inside it illuminated areas in the distance. However, it can only be operated by someone with magic skills. If you have no magic yourself, you cannot activate it, but it shows you enough information to enable you to return to this chamber from any other corridor in the caves. It can even show you the tunnels that lead outside of this cave back to the valley." He puts his finger to the orb and begins moving it around, the glowing moves erratically and faintly. "It can even show you shortcuts to other chambers, if you can't find them otherwise."

"So," you ask, "can it also show me the way out of these caves?"

"No, not quite," he replies. "That requires an activation spell of my own, which will activate the orb. So let us go back to that spot and I will assist you in activating it, then you will know all about the exits from these caves."

You don't fully believe the gnome, and decide to trust his words. He turns to the pedestal of the orb, and you follow after him. The crystal orb currently shows you misty clouds instead of the exit you want.

"Don't worry, there isn't only one way out of these caves," he says cheerily as he stands on the pedestal looking towards the orb. "For example, there's a secret passage down here that leads to the lowest levels of the caves. But first we have to activate this orb."

"What do I need to do to activate the orb?", you ask. The gnome says that if you truly want to leave the cave and return later to find loot, perhaps with help, you should in good faith trade half your current coin stock and the rest of your plunder with him for his help. He will then gift you with a magic amulet of protection which will make you powerful and also help you persuade other men of your magical stories. Will you accept the gnome trade?

─ Yes: You trade half of your treasure for the gnome's magical help.

─ No: You do not wish to part with your treasures and would rather go back to exploring alone.

─ You haven't decided yet and would like to hear more from the gnome, perhaps about the crystal orb, and its powers
 
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