Hidden behind a maze of tunnels in the sewers is vast chamber that branches into a hundred underground paths. This nexus is where a subterranean transit system once housed its vehicles and managed its network of traffic. Now it is built up with an alien architecture of pillars, catwalks, and small domed huts that change nearly every time the adventurers visit. This is the home of the Sappers, an intelligent cousin to the Galeb Dur who control the Wallers.
History of the Sappers and Wallers
The Sappers were once the foremen and masters of the Wallers who now run amok above ground. Long ago their control crystals wore down preventing them from directing their subordinates. The Wallers are non-sentient semi-autonomous creatures of lithomantic construction. Without direct control they are executing the basic behavior of repairing and constructing walls and roads in a fractal fashion. They would have long ago destroyed the Lithomancy district with their constant construction and demolition if it were not from the continued indirect interference of the Sappers.
The Sappers control comes from their careful pruning or ‘sapping’ of the walls their former underlings construct. By carefully altering the paths of the walls and roads the Sappers keep teams Wallers building along existing paths, each reinforcing and reacting to the other teams of Wallers that travel along the district in an intricate dance that only those who live and breath architecture can understand. This careful and extensive shepherding keeps the Wallers in check but is exhausting. The Sappers yearn to return to the days when they had their control crystals and could return the district to its former glory.
Request for Aid
As the party travels through the Undercity near the Sapper’s headquarters they will find an entrance to the labyrinth that leads the headquarters proper. If they enter will hear voices in the stone speaking to them. The voices will ask what the party’s intentions are and their objective in the city. If the presents themselves as somewhat trustworthy the walls will open to reveal a tunnel into Sapper’s headquarters. Otherwise they will keep going in circles, finding themselves back where they entered. A DC 15 Intelligence check reveals the walls keep changing.
If the party has a Narn crystal or Narn stone on them the Sappers sense this and will call out to them as they pass and invite them in.
Once invited the Sappers will request the party help them reforge the command crystals, in return the Sappers will reconstruct the collapsed bridge to the Bibliomancy district and create safe routes for the party throughout the Lithomancy district (30 free hexes of supply lines). To achieve this the party must complete the following tasks.
- Take down the mad sapper they keep trapped beneath their headquarters and retrieve its broken command crystal
- Render it back down into Narn dust at the Reclaimation plant
- Get a prime fragment from the Collosus
- Reforge the command crystal using the narn dust and prime fragment at the Smithy
Forging the Command Crystal
Once the party has collected the narn dust and prime fragment a collection of Sappers appears before them once they clear the Smithy.
As you gaze about the now empty forming room stone figures begin to emerge from the walls, passing the solid rock as if it were fog. The six sappers stand before you and proclaim through their tremor-speach “Now is the time for renewal, gather the components and we shall provide the vibrations of binding and growth”. One of their number gets on top of one of the stone tables and lies down. His companions wave their arms gently in the air and the chosen sappers hands and feet fuse with stone beneath him. The leader moves forward and grasps its crystal with surprising dexterity and yanks it free. The patient jerks as the crystal is removed then goes completely still, the faint light that emanated from his eyes now gone.
The sappers will then need to see the prime fragment before they proceed. If it is not the prime fragment of lithomancy then they will grumble that it is not acceptable for their purposes. They will not assist in creating a Command Crystal for any purpose other than for replacing their own but a DC16 Deception check can make them accidentally divulge some of the secrets of how to craft one without their assistance. This counts as a single clue for the secret of crystal crafting (described in the Command Crystal section)
If the party inquires the Sappers are forthright about the sacrifice the chosen Sapper is going to make. On how he will lose all his memories when his current command stone is removed. Those souls will be released and hopefully captured in the prime fragment before they escape. However there is no guarantee the same souls will enter the newly manufactured stone, they hope that some will but accept that he will awaken a new person. If pressured to explain their beliefs they will say it is like reincarnation, sometimes the soul is old and the body is new other times the body is old but the soul is new. They are all prepared to make the sacrifice in their own turn.
_The solution of narn dust swirls with glittering light in the crystaline crucible as the head Sapper takes the prime fragment gingerly from your hands. The light from the particles intensifies as he approaches until the entire room is brightly lit with a white-violet hue. As he gentle dips the tip of the fragment into the liquid there is a flash and almost faster than you can follow the dust coalesces near the point where the fragment made contact. In the blink of an eye a new crystal hangs from the prime fragment, a miniature replica of the greater shard. _
If the party wishes to betray the Sappers and take the command crystal for themselves now is the opportunity. Pause briefly here to allow any member of the party to interject but do not prompt them, this decision should be their own. If they take out all 6 sappers they gain the command crystal and can collect the spent crystals from the defeated opponents. However without the skills of Sappers crafting crystals is an inefficient process. The spent crystals can only be reclaimed for enough narn dust to make 1 attempt at crystal crafting.
With the command crystal in their possession the rest of the Sappers dare not oppose them and will do their best to remain hidden underground away from its effects. Above ground the Wallers go uncontested and begin to tear the district apart. While character with the crystal can easily command the wallers to clear any obstruction for themselves the rest of the district suffers . Whenever the character with the command stone rests or spends downtime outside the Lithomancy district there is a 1/5 chance that a random supply line hex in the district is destroyed and a 1/20 chance that a random outpost in the district is demolished by uncontrolled Wallers. Commanding Wallers to destroy themselves or rounding them up using the crystal never seems to work as it always misses a few which then reconstruct the others. It is likely the Sappers continue to manufacture these disruptions to spite the betrayers.
Nominally this adventure assumes the party will not betray the Sappers and continues with the following box text.
The leader delicately breaks the fresh command crystal off and passes the prime fragment to one of this companions. He walks to the immobile form of his former companion and intones “Your motion and thought has ended, this empty vessel before me is now receives new animation and will. May it prove worthy of your legacy.” He places the crystal into the empty socket which clicks into place with the sound of shifting sand. The eyes of the recipient light up brighter than before. It looks about moving its mouth as if to speak but unable to make any sounds. You feel a series of tremors run through the stone beneath your feat, deeper than you can hear. The recipient seems as confused as you and the leader shakes his head dolefully. He looks down at the recipient and in tremor-speech pronounces “You are newly born of stone the ways of motion, sound, and thought will come to you soon. You are our brother now and we shall teach you the song of stone.” The rest turn to you and speak “We mourn the passing of our companion but rejoice the new animation you have brought to us, our compact is compete. When you have decided how to use our services simply knock upon the stone in the following pattern and we shall come”
1500xp per character
30 free hexes of supply lines and 1 free outpost in the Lithomancy district.
Unlocks the bridges to the Bibliomancy district.
The Waller random encounters are now benign.