Chapter 1b: Into the Caves

Has Portia decided yet how to proceed with the exploration of the caves? I need to know at least how many grogs she and Tasia are taking, and if she's putting up any spells beforehand.


She'll take a moment to spont Eyes of the Cat (4 + 5 Mu + 5 An (lowest of An/Co) + any applicable aura, halved, probably still higher than 5) and then take a few minutes to rest so that she's fresh. Otherwise, only magical effects on her person is the magical protection against glass breakage.

Before they enter the caves Vrahos will activate Eyes of the Owl in the familiar bond. (Note, A Day Saved for the Future, Howl of the Steel Weapons, and Rider Within are all designed to be ongoing. Tasia does not do so with Eyes of the Owl to avoid Scrying issues.)

OK, you proceed to the entrance: perhaps surprisingly, it's a broad staircase leading downward, constructed of the same limestone as the ruins of both Tanais and the original covenant. There are rubble and debris strewn about it, but it's so big that you have no problem picking you way down into the old covenant's "cellar". The staircase is somewhat steep (though not precipitously so), and you soon find yourself at one end of a natural limestone cavern, with a floor perhaps 10 paces below ground, and a high ceiling that rises four paces above the floor, complete with a sprinkling of stalactites. The cave is empty, save for a scattering of debris; there are no bodies or other direct evidence of combat, but Theodoric must have come this far, since he found one intact lab, and he would have buried any bodies. There are five entrances to the room: an eastern one, through which you've just emerged, one each in the northern and western walls, and two in the southern wall. Of the other four, three are blocked by limestone rubble; the only other open one is the far entrance on in the southern wall.


"Well, let's try the open one first, shall we?" Portia says to Tasia, and heads towards the unblocked passage.

The open entrance to the south turns out to be a passage, with an opening (it's got a door, but the door is halfway off its hinges) in the righthand (western) wall, and, as far as you can tell from here, another set of stairs leading down from the end of the passage.


Tasia follows Portia through the open doorway. She keeps an eye out for magical traps. She suspects the sanctum is probably magically defended.

Are you two doing anything more in that respect than simply keeping an eye out?


Vrahos decides to grab a large stone from the rubble (from one of the blocked doors) and starting hitting things (floor, walls, doors, etc.) well ahead of the magi with it. Maybe it will set off a trap. Maybe it will splinter that broken door. The latter will be more amusing to him. He'll try not to smash any laboratory equipment since he knows Tasia isn't fond of that in the lab.

Galenus flaps up, startled at the noise, and alights on Portia's tablet. He peers down his long beak at his friend, and whispers, "What terrible manners!" Portia glances up, smiles wryly and shrugs, as if to reply 'what can one do?'

No particular precautions, as Portia imagines if she can survive being herself in a lab for as many years as she has, whatever lies ahead probably won't kill her.

Well, someone was an Ignem magus. The moment a rock gets into the doorway (the door isn't blocking it), a wall of flame erupts there, though strangely, the door itself seems unaffected.


Portia casts Ward Against Heat and Flame on herself (no botch) and on Galenus. She will then offer to do the same for Tasia and Vrahos, before entering the doorway.

Tasia will get close enough to look through the doorway with her vision as it is. Then she'll try to maintain the spell while dropping her Parma Magica, "Yes, please." ((Sta 1 + Concentration 3 + 10 or 0? vs. 12. I'm guessing this is a stress roll, but I'll let you tell me. If is, my spell is long gone. If it's not, the spell remains.))

That would be a stress roll, yes. Roll one botch die (it's not all that stressful).


Portia casts Ward vs. Heat and Flames on both Tasia and Vrahos with no botches.

She'll then proceed within.

That's what I figured. 9: no botch. But the spell is lost. Did Tasia see anything through the doorway prior to losing the spell? Certainly she must have seen something about the fire.

Assuming she didn't see anything special besides the fire... Now that she's not worried about losing concentration on her spell, Tasia converts her clothing into a suit of mail. She will join Portia, heading through the doorway.

It's definitely a lab, but it looks like it's been pretty well wrecked: there's broken glassware all over the place. That doesn't mean there's nothing salvageable, or that you couldn't do basic work here, but the space itself is probably more useful than the cave. The lab itself is a pretty standard space, if a little irregular (it's a mostly natural cavern that's been excavated in places; the most interesting feature is an enormous hypocaust (fireplace for heating rooms above), whose outlets must lead to one or more of the buildings above. This room is probably just a bit south of the central courtyard and fountain, and so it's probably a good place to put a hypocaust to serve the rest of the covenant.

Incidentally, the Magic aura is is 5--a bit higher than up top.


Did the fire go off as we entered? Or does it seem to have been expended?

Did Tasia really detect nothing from the fire before it went off? She does have Acute Sense x2 for that spell in case the trap was shrouded somehow.

"Most of the lab equipment looks useless. I wonder if there's any vis left. You aren't carrying any, are you?" Tasia casts a spontaneous InVi spell to smell vis. ((That should be base 4 + 2 Smell + 1 Concentration -> InVi15. Spending 1 fatigue gives (1 Sta + 11 In + 10 Vi + 5 aura + 1 gestures + 1 loud + 9 roll)/2=19, well over 15.))

[Detecting vis is really easy - base 1, not base 4.]

((You're right! Ooops. I used the amount guideline. Thanks! That drops it to InVi5. 1 Sta + 11 In + 10 Vim + 5 aura - 2 subtle = 24 is more than enough.)) Tasia casts the spell silently with a little wave of her fingers (an no Fatigue loss) and sniffs while walking around the room.