Definition of Insanity

Rested after their battles with the myriad puzzle-creatures, the adventurers move on through the strange plane. Finally, they come to the spire they sought—but they're expected. A voice booms, "Congratulations! None before have bested my traps and minions. But it ends here—with your doom," and battle begins.

There are two foes—a beast that exists mostly in our reality, but that can throw its opponents into a vast, empty-seeming alternate world, and something that appears to be made of flames but does not burn, which exists primarily in the alternate world itself. Is the beast the servant of the flames, or the other way around? We may never know, but eventually they are both defeated, and our party moves into the spire.

There they find a most curious individual. He's a man—under a lot of dirt—who seems to have been in the spire for ages. His job appears to be to guard something, though what he doesn't remember. He has a map of a portion of the spires and worlds, showing functioning ladders and teleportation routes. He recognizes the Colosh'i tokens, and informs the heroes that Colosh'i is "infected" and will have to be "cleaned." He tells them, very earnestly, that he doesn't go outside any more, and shows them an amulet which appears to be made from a spire token with only an "o" symbol instead of the usual three numbers.

The party's reaction is mixed. Gurthark wants to get back to hunting down CHADs, and advocates strong-arming the man into handing over the amulet, but fortunately calmer heads prevail and the dialog remains cordial, if odd. Finally, however, it's clear that they've exhausted what the man can tell them, and they head into a short shaft and down the ladder to its bottom.

There, the exit dumps the heroes into a great room, where a scene is playing out—two men interrogating a third in a language none of the heroes understand. The group prepares for battle—Jebs casting a spell to create hidden spikes to immobilize the possible foes, but plans to hold off until the party can determine their intentions.

Unfortunately, the party is unable to communicate to them before they move—seemingly to run away—and trigger the spikes. And the situation quickly escalates—one fiddles with a panel on the wall, presumably to sound an alarm, and the other begins to fire crossbow bolts at what he perceives as dangerous attackers. There's nothing for it but to fight until they are knocked unconscious and bound.

Whether or not they intended to, our heroes seem to have chosen sides, so they question their new "ally." He reveals that he was arrested for smuggling. In exchange for release and protection, he can lead the way back to his ship, which will get everyone out of hostile territory. To the sound of cries of alarm and running boots, the party heads out into the hallway…


owangolama aroyfaderman

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