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Chapter Four – The Hospital
Last chapter saw the PCs encounter the Broken Gear gang and take care of one of the gang’s cells in Vorakis, as well as recover an item of unknown power that was stolen from Dek’s shop. It ended with the PCs entering a passage that opened at the back of a storeroom.
This chapter is concerned primarily with allowing the PCs to explore a building from the time of the Chaos Wars as well as set the stage for the ruined city they will soon be exploring. The hospital itself, as the players will discover, is the only powered building left from the Vorakis Enclave and the situation within has recently become dire. With the PCs help, the last remaining survivors, bound to the building until the spells lining its walls are broken, will restore power to the ailing facility.
Scene One – Exploration
The passage way that the PCs find themselves in is carved from solid rock and leads on into darkness as far as they can see. As soon as they start walking, magical sigils begin to glow in the rock around them, providing enough illumination to see by but no more. The light travels with them, the sigils fading as the PCs pass.
After an appropriate amount of time has passed, the PCs encounter a smooth metal door. It opens at their approach and the rock tunnel becomes the smooth white of painted walls. Although they currently don’t know it, they have found their way into a hospital in the ruins of the Vorakis Enclave, a part of the city that was hidden during the Chaos Wars in an attempt to preserve as much life and culture as possible.
When the PCs enter the building proper, read the following:
The cool air of the tunnel disappears as the door slides shut behind you. Those that turn notice only a featureless blank wall stretching off into the distance on either side. The air itself in this place seems to provide the illumination, faintly seen sigils, floating like dust motes, glow ethereally, disturbed only by your passing.
Around you, all is silent. The air is still, the doors all along what you now see to be a corridor are closed and you desperately want to say something, anything, to break this tomb-like silence. You have no idea how long these plain white walls have stood and guarded whatever lies ahead of you, but you know instinctively that this place is old, far older that its condition would suggest.
Should any of the players be missing health, they begin healing at a rate of one hit-point every five (in-game) minutes or are healed to full health whenever you, as the GM, feel it is narratively appropriate.
Any mages with Healing Arcana automatically know that the air in this building is saturated with sigils and glyphs related to healing magic. Any character may make a TN 13 Intelligence (Arcane Lore/Healing) test to discover this fact. In both cases, it should be explained that this kind of magic is extremely rare, requiring several very powerful mages to cast, and is not known to be practiced any more.
Investigating any of the doors reveals the following scene:
The door opens smoothly at your touch, swinging silently inwards. A slight breeze brushes your face in the wake of the movement, and then all is still.
It takes a few moments for the magic in the room notice your presence but a soft glow gradually fills the air. At first you can make out only dim shapes in the darkness, the light from the corridor behind you spilling faintly into the room, but as the magic strengthens, you realise what you are seeing.
The room contains twelve beds, six along each wall adjacent to you with a series of numbered lockers along the wall facing you. Upon each bed rests a person, their features calm and relaxed. As you watch, their chests rise and fall slightly and their eyes flicker rapidly beneath closed lids.
Should any of the PCs try to wake the people sleeping in this room, they remain unresponsive. A TN 13 Intelligence (Healing/Arcana (Healing)) test will reveal the patients to be in a coma-like state induced by the magic that fills the air.
The lockers along the wall are filled with the patients’ property and the exact contents are left to the GM’s discretion.
With the exception of a few storage closets (the contents of which are also left to the GM’s discretion), all the rooms on this floor contain scenes similar to that described above. After an appropriate amount of time has passed, the PCs find a stairwell with a map of the building pinned to the wall. From now on, they should be allowed to travel wherever they wish in the building.
GM’s are encouraged to create rooms and scenes which highlight the eerie atmosphere of being in a seemingly deserted hospital, as well as ramping up the tension for the next chapter. They should also make it clear that someone, seemingly recently, has been through this hospital and cleaned everything, including making patchwork repairs where necessary.
Scene Two – Social, Exploration (optional)
When the players indicate that they have explored as much as they wish and head to the main entrance of the hospital, they pass a door behind which they can hear someone crying softly. Upon investigation, read the following:
The door opens silently, as have all the doors in the building, revealing an already lit room. Within are the now expected twelve beds, the twelve storage lockers and something new. Hunched over one of the beds, seated on a stool, is a pale elven woman.
Her shoulders shake as she sobs to herself and she doesn’t appear to have noticed your approach.
Approaching the woman without her noticing requires a TN 15 Dexterity (Stealth) test. Anyone succeeding on this test hears her say: ‘I’m sorry, Allie. We had to. We had to put you to sleep so Methris and I could keep watch. I’m so sorry.’
Failures on this test, or PCs who hang back and announce themselves, cause her to jump visibly and turn around. When her initial shock wears off, she stands and introduces herself as Nytera Rosethorn, as well as asking if the PCs are agents of the Mountain Guard. When she stands, the players can see that she is wearing a very clean, ornate white coat embroidered with magical sigils. During any conversation they hold with her, Nytera will answer questions as honestly as she can, sometimes repeating the same things over and over in different ways, quite clearly excited at having someone to talk to.
She will tell the PCs the following facts over the course of any conversation they have with her if the topic has a bearing on the conversation:
- The only people left alive and awake in the building are her and Methris Glimmerfist. She was the head of the Healers in the building and Methris was the chief engineer.
- They used to receive supplies from the Mountain Guard (using some sort of thaumaturgical mechanism to airdrop food, water and batteries among other things into an open window on the third floor) but these supplies stopped coming three weeks ago and they are about to run out.
- She knows little of the Mountain Guard, save that their scouts found the Enclave and the hospital as their supplies were about to run out and after they had enchanted most of the survivors in the building. They reached an agreement where, in return for healing and advice, the Mountain Guard would send supplies to the two remaining people in the hospital. While she doesn’t know how long it has been since the Mountain Guard scouts found them, she suspects it has been centuries.
- She explains that the magic in the air is focussed on healing and preservation and was created to keep as many people alive as possible in the Enclave. When people fell mortally ill, or suffered great injuries in the Chaos Wars, they were sent here to recuperate. Unfortunately, the Enclave was besieged by the forces of the Prophet and by the time the Wars ended, the people could no longer be awoken by the magic or technology of the time. They have slumbered since. It is the magic that has kept everyone in the building alive.
- She will explain that the Enclave was created as a safe haven for the local population, an entire portion of Vorakis was built underground and intended to act as a bunker/safehouse during the Chaos Wars. It was intended to preserve the lives of those within as well as pre-Chaos Wars culture and technology.
- There used to be more than just two people awake in the hospital, but shortly before the Mountain Guard found them, they had to commit everyone else to the unending sleep to conserve supplies.
- The hospital itself remains besieged, the Prophet unleashed a curse of Undeath upon the Enclave. The curse remains and the city outside the walls of the hospital is full of the undead. They are dormant and can be observed through the hospital’s windows, but will be attracted to noise and movement.
- Methris went to check on the generator that powers the magic in the air, as well as the building itself, a few days ago and has not returned. She admits that this is unlike him and has become increasingly worried, unable to leave her charges and daily rounds of the hospital.
- She will admit (honestly) that she was unaware of the passage they used to gain entry into the building, saying that she has forgotten most of the emergency exits from the building. She will explain that if the PCs can make it to the Library in the middle of the Enclave, there is a tunnel there that will lead them into the Broken Spires which they can use to escape and, hopefully, return to Vorakis and Dek.
- She says that she will give them a key to the hospital’s main doors if they find Methris. She suggests checking the generator room and provides directions.
Following the directions will lead them directly to the generator room where the PCs can find the dwarf, Methris Glimmerfist. When the PCs reach the generator room, read the following:
The door into the generator room is made of solid metal, at least three inches thick, and hangs partially ajar. From beyond, you can hear a quiet, constant muttering punctuated every now and then by a loud clang.
Opening the door reveals a wild-haired dwarf pacing backwards and forwards, slamming a wrench against solid metal panel when his route brings him near it. As he strikes the panel, he glares at an open aperture on the side of a squat metal box.
At your approach, he stares in amazement, the wrench dropping from suddenly nerveless fingers.
Methris, much like Nytera, is happy to have someone to talk to and starts speaking immediately. His words rush out in a torrent and he explains that he saw them outside the passage through an external, magical sensor but had no idea that he had managed to open the door that let them in. He says (honestly) that he tried, but was unsure if that part of the building was still powered and was not surprised when the console he used to open the passage began to emit clouds of smoke as a quiet popping noise came from within it.
The source of his frustration is the metal box he was glaring at. He explains (without letting the PCs get a word in edgewise) that he managed to cobble a device together that is ten times more efficient than their current generator and should strengthen the magic in the air, letting the people in the hospital be awoken when the time is right.
As his initial babble of words wears off, he introduces himself and then points at the open aperture, explaining that all he needs to complete the device is five batteries. He then swears loudly and points to a nearby locker in which stand four batteries, before explaining that those are the last of the supplies sent by the Mountain Guard and they’re needed to keep the generator running when the current batteries run out of power sometime in the next week.
Should the PCs engage him in conversation, he knows little more about any of the topics raised by Nytera but is happy to talk nonetheless, learning eagerly of how the world has changed in his absence.
Should the PCs NOT offer him the use of one or more of their batteries, he will offer them a map of the city in exchange for any batteries they can scavenge from buildings near to the hospital. These buildings are left to the GM’s discretion but should be in a state of extreme decay and disrepair. They may also be host to several zombies and environmental problems as described in the next chapter. Should they offer him enough batteries, he will give them this map.
Upon being provided with the batteries, he activates the machine, sending a magical pulse through the air, and bids the PCs follow him back to Nytera. There, they are offered a small meal and a chance to rest, before they are sent out into the city to look for the Library.
As they leave, Methris informs them the Enclave itself remains unpowered and the Library is fully locked down. They will need to restore power to gain access to the Library and leave the Enclave.
Read Chapter Five here.
Any feedback is gratefully appreciated.