Begin by filling out your character sheet. The only thing you need to do is determine your SKILL.
To do this, throw a six sided dice 2 times and add the results.
The resulting value will be needed to determine your luck and ability to evade danger on the DARK PATH ahead.
Get ready a D20 and enjoy!
Flickering amber-colored light illuminates the dark passage before you as you hold your torch high over your head, moving forward into the black. You do no longer remember if you descended into the dark corridors around you by your own volition or if you were sent here as some form of perverse punishment. You vaguely remember the idea of sunlight. The only thing keeping you from attributing its existance to one of your abstruse dreams are the moments in which, from the ceilings of tall caverns a glimmer of it has graced your vision not long ago. In moments like these thoughts of the futility of your existence as an aimless wanderer in dark tunnels, a rat in a maze, bubble up to the surface of your consciousness. Before you can reflect further on them the floor beneath you crumbles as you are sucked into a black chasm that has opened beneath you. Flailing wildly you attempt to hold onto anything around you but to no avail. In an avalanche of rubble the ceiling spits you hard on the ground and your consciousness fades for a moment as the world turns black.
You insert the assembled skeleton key into the hole. It fits! You take a deep breath as you turn the key. A dry, high-pitched clicking sound can be heard echoing through the catacombs. You swing the squeaking metal door open and carefully step through it, holding your torch out infront of you as if it was a sword and shield at once. A metallic bang from behind makes your heart skip a step! The gate has fallen shut. You check if you can open it and find that you can not. No way back now. You continue with tentative steps. One foot at a time, in the bladed stance of a fencer you make your way down into the dark until you reach the bottom of the staircase. You find yourself at a crossroad again. The mere thought of turning your back to one of the black passageways makes the beads of sweat that have formed on your forehead make their way down towards your eyes. The cold sweat makes you shiver as it is emphasized by the howling wind that blows from the doorway ahead to the north. To the east lies a door that is slightly ajar. You swallow heavily as you think you can hear faint, whispering voices coming from the room behind the door. Are you imagining things?
Something is coming for you in the dark. You can feel its dire presence lurking just outside of the reach of your lightsource. How long will this torch keep the presence at bay?
[Keep track of how many times you turn to the next section in the dark. When you would do so for the fourth time, turn to 30 instead.]
You light the match shielding it with your hand and ignite the small crooked cigarette in your mouth. You sit down against a wall inhaling the warm, itching smoke while admiring the soft blue glow of the walls around you. Your mind begins to wander as you begin to associate the aromatic stinging flavor with hazy images and feelings of your past life, before the catacombs and endless mazes. The self-reflection and calming effect of the cigarette fill you with determination.
[Fill in field (D) on your COURAGE track]
Your small projectile hits the owl and makes the bird flail its wings in shock. It hoots angrily and ejects a splat of smelly droppings onto your shoulder, while flapping upwards and away into the darkness above.
You enter a round cavernous room. The damp floor and humid air in this room seem to intensify the cold of the deep. The first thing you notice as you enter the room is a stone well in its center. The damp air has facilitated the growth of lush, green moss on the stones around the well. As you circle the well you briefly freeze as you notice a decaying corpse leaning on its side!
You follow the stream of ants on the floor into a desolate looking room. Every time you take a step the ants disperse underneath your feet as if they collectively knew where you will step next. Bewildered you look around. A passage to the corridor is to the west. There is a small opening of a crawlspace on the north wall of the room. Then an object on the floor catches your attention. As you approach it you recognize that it is an ornate ring that is slowly being dragged across the floor by dozens of ants. They are carrying it towards a small hole in the floor.
[Check box 3 on your character sheet]
The owl gives a small hoot that almost sounds like a sigh and swoops down from its ledge. You take a step back raising your arms in fear that the bird will attack your face with its unsettling claws. To your relief the owl lands silently to your feet and begins scrawling a crude map into the dirt on the floor.
She keeps muttering little hoots under her little owl breath you cannot understand as she finishes the last details of her map.
"There" she whispers into your mind as she spreads her wings and looks up to you. "Farewell human!"
Her screech echoes through the endlessly tall chamber as she ascends into the dark above, dropping a final, grey, smelly present unto the artwork she left for you from above.
[Mark checkbox 2 on your charactersheet.]
With all strength you have left you smash your torch against the barely visible enemy. A deafening screeching and hissing numbs your ears as the torch finally breaks and splinters into hundreds of sparks, splinters and flying embers. With a guttural grunt you shove the smoldering, sharp remenants of your trusty lightsource into the monstrosoties obscene body that has now shriveled to a dark, twitching and huddled pile on the floor. Panting you step back and watch the darkness dissipate into the cracks of the stone floor. You look around and see a faint blue glow slowly filling the room around you. You fall to your knees gasping. This is over. But what now? Where are you?
As you put on the ring you feel a power surge through you and you begin to smile.
[Raise your SKILL by 2 and mark checkbox 5 on your character sheet]
But a sudden, painful sting on your hand makes you flinch and stumble back.
You feel the ants collectively crawl up your arm! Panicked, you try to shake them off while you hastily flee the room.
[To shake off your insect attackers, roll your D20. If you roll over your SKILL, gain one INJURY. Ignore this if you have already "found" some protection for your hands.]
You briefly trip over your own feet as the room you find yourself in starts spinning rapidly around you. Have you lost your mind? The walls really seem to be spinning around- or the ground you are standing on is. You are brought to your knees by a massive pressure. You realise that you must be moving upwards with massive speed! With a deafening bang the walls stop their rapid movement. Looking around you see that you are standing in a round, tall chamber. You notice three doors that are evenly placed into the wall that surrounds you.
They all bear a pictogram that reminds you of a tree. The only thing differentiating the doors are symbols that are branded into the wood above the little tree. Which door will be the right one?
Again the searing pain spreads through the entry wound. This time it is your abdomen that took a severe hit.
Gasping you go to your knees.
[Mark one INJURY.]
Would it be better to turn and run? You quickly look around where your battle has led you to assess your options. Then you concentrate on your attacker again.
"Or this ends here and now." You think, raising your torch and standing up while you stare down your opponent.
[If you choose to run, reset the counter you are instructed to keep at 2]
You quickly whip around, just in time to narrowly dodge an oncoming attack. Your torch spews sparks into the dark as you thrust it into the opening your sidestep has created in your enemies defenses. A deafening screech echoes through the corridors.
[You have wounded the lurker in the dark!]
Emboldened by your successful strike you decide to rush forward with reckless disregard. Screaming you lunge forward striking the monstrosity. Dealing mighty blows with the burning stick, held with two hands. Each time the burning rags at the end of your lightsource connect with the entity the flames and light cut through it like a knife through butter. "Butter?" you think while ramming your torn up boot in one of the many fanged mouts around you. "This is it. One of us dies now."
[Repeatedly roll your D20 against your modified SKILL. Everytime you roll under, wound the lurker. Everytime you roll over, gain an INJURY.]
You arrive at a crossroad in the cavernous path. The corridor with the pile of rubble lies behind you to the south. In front of you, to the north, a staircase descends down into pitch black darkness. A slight but chillingly cold breeze blows from the deep. Westward to your left lies a passage to a room that seems to emit the flickering glow of a fire. To the east lies a dank smelly tunnel, that leads to a room that seems darker than your surroundings. Where will your journey lead you next?
As you approach the moose it breaks eye contact with you for the first time since you entered the room. Stopping it's chewing as it notices the moss in your hand. Cautiously you offer the freshly picked moss to the creature from another world and as it devours your offering, it allows you to scratch it's back for a short while. Feeling its fur fills you with determination.
[color in field (A) of your courage track]
The strange, round and metallic object in the mooses antlers dangles infront of you, knotted to a thin leather strap. You pick it up carefully. [Add piece Χ to the key on you character sheet]
As you swing open the massive wooden door by its iron handle you are blinded by the brightest light you can remember. You force yourself to stumble through the doorway and shut it behind you. You cower next to a warm stone wall. Doused in the blazing, blinding light you bury you face in your hands. You have escaped the terror from the deep and the eternal darkness of the mazes. An unknown sense of warmth and calm seizes your entire being as your eyes slowly accustom themselves to the massive ball of fire that spreads its rays like honey across the unbelievable scenery that unfolds before you. The surface is more beautiful than you could have ever imagined. You slowly come to your feet. Columns of white marble, towers and giant ruined structures rise from a deep fog below the tower you are standing on. They form an endless ruined city. The majestic structures glisten in the blinding light as you marvel at their grotesque beauty. Trees grow on some, waterfalls fall into the abyss from others. Creatures seem to inhabit the skys far in the north. You smile as you feel the SUN on your dirty face. You have left the dark path you have been walking. You pick up a giant, broken in half sword from the ground and rest it on your shoulder. Even it feels warm up here. With wide, determined strides you march north onto the bridge that extends from your tower into the light.
Now is the time! You reach to your chest to where the mysterious gift of the owl dangles. Your heart skips a beat when you can't feel it. The you find it, grasp it and crush it in one fluid motion. A cloud of ashes seeps from the shards of the amulett and envelops you completely. Hundreds of whispering voices fill your head as you feel an arcane power surge through your body and an involuntary smile curls your lips. Whatever stands in your way will be crushed!
[Return to the section in which you had to roll a skill check, and treat it as if you had rolled under your skill. Erase the marking from field F of your courage tracker.]
The world turns dark around you as you fall onto your back on the cool stone floor. A peaceful feeling overwhelms your senses as you drift off into another realm. At least you will find peace now and won't have to fear what lies down the next dank corridor in an endless journey through the tunnels. "Was there ever even a chance of escape?" you wonder as a bright light rips you from the darkness. A dark hooded figure stands above you as you look up. Its face is invisible underneath a deep hood. As you sit up perplexed, you notice that one of the figures skeletized hands holds up an hourglass that has you name written on it as the other boney hand flicks the glass with a reverberating PING. The last few grains of sand fall through the small opening inbetween the glass chambers of life and death.
YOU WERE NOT ESPECIALLY LUCKY OR HAPPY IN THIS LIFE WANDERER. Says the hooded figure. AND I CAN SAY THAT ABOUT A LOT OF MY CLIENTS BUT BY MY BROTHER MORPHEUS YOU'VE HAD IT ROUGH! You get up to your feet not sure what to say. IF YOU ARE NOT READY TO GO, HOW ABOUT A LITTLE GAME? He says showing you his boney fist.
[SCHERE STEIN PAPIER]
If you want to follow the stranger into the light, your journey ends here.
A long silence follows your foreboding question and you begin to fear that there is no answer coming. "Down in the north tunnel there lurks an amalgamation of everything terrible your kind has ever dreamed up." whispers the tiny voice in the center of your skull. The hair on your arms stands up as the voice continues: "The collective hatred, fear and darkness of a whole civilization dripped through these stones and coalesced into a being that is only held by the black gate in the deep and the faint light of these caverns. It only fears the light and the courage of the unbroken - both things hard to come by down here." The owl lets out a little hoot and puffs up it's feathers. It looks down at you while tilting it's tiny round head. Your being vibrates with a whisper of "I wish you the best human."
The owl spreads it's wings and takes off into the darkness above.
Tentatively you approach the door from underneath which a faint light seeps onto the floor beneath your feet. The heavy and old wood of the door seems to carry an inscription at head height. You squint to make out the words "ALCES ALCES". You grasp the door by a heavy iron ring and pull. A dry and deep scratching sound reverberates through the labyrinth as you drag the heavy wood across the stone floor, far enough to enter through the doorway.
You enter the room before you with caution. Your eyes, however, are not accustomed to the intensity of the light in this room, and so you have to shield them, squinting through the gaps between your fingers at a scene you can not believe. The room is illuminated by a bright crystal hanging by a chain from a ceiling as high as the highest cavern you can remember. Underneath this ball of warm light stands a tall plant with a thick brown trunk. "Tree" you think, wondering where your word for this plant came from. Your gaze wanders downward to underneath the tree, where a large brown, four-legged creature looks at you chewing what seems to be some moss. Mesmerized you stare back at it thinking "moose" taking half a step backwards towards the door through which you entered. You see something small and shiny dangling from one of the mooses antlers.
You feel as if you are stretched into an infinity while all air is pressed out of your lungs. Clenching your teeth you are hurled through a dark, swirling void filled with strange floating objects. With a mixture of wonder and horror you float past a small house that slowly hovers on its own in the darkness. Through one of the illuminated windows you can see a sad looking man staring at two very peculiar, colorfully glowing panels. He is pressing strange buttons. His eyes widen and he suddenly looks through his window directly at you, makes a face and shakes his head. He continues pressing his buttons at which moment you are flung into the void spinning uncontrollably at nauseating speed. You see a large stone structure ahead that seems to match up with your rotation and speed. You manage to grab hold of it and pull yourself into one of the large, smelly crevasces that are carved into the stone structure.
The room is illuminated by a campfire by which a person wearing heavy plate armor sits and stares into the flames. The suit of armor does not move an inch as you walk around the fire to the opposite of the figure. Bewildered you notice that although you feel a burning in your eyes the room is not filled with smoke and you can breathe fairly easily. As you look toward the ceiling you notice several cracks that seem to allow for the circulation of air. You sit down next to the fire and warm your dirty hands looking suspicously at the unmoving knight sitting across from you. His face is completely obscured by a large round helmet and only the darkness from beneath small metal slits stares back at you.
You take out your extinguished torch from your backpack. When suddenly a pair of gloves in the knights lap catch your eye.
[If you so choose you may ignite the torch, marking checkbox 1 on your character sheet.]
You are unsure if the owl just loudly hooted at you or asked "Who?!". A tiny owl-chuckle tickles the inside of your skull. The owl seems lost in thought for a moment as it stares off into the darkness above. "Your kind calls me Athene Noctua and you are standing in my toilet." whispers the voice in the center of your mind. The strange tiny laughter in your being mixes with her screech that bounces from the walls above as she ascends into the dark. "But..." you say as you look upwards confused. Your eyes widen and you narrowly dodge a volley of owl droppings from above.
[Mark checkbox 2 on your character sheet.]
You enter a cold smelly room that seems to stretch endlessly into the dark above you. The floor beneath your feet cracks as you carefully step on the grey dried substance that seems to cover it. Looking around the room you notice a small crawl space in the south wall. Your wandering gaze stops with perplexity on the sight of a puffed up bird. "Owl" you think. It is seated on a small ledge that protrudes from the wall about two meters above your head and emits a faint snoring sound.
The moisture in the air had worked a number on the dead travelers skin. As you look at him a heavy knot forms in your throat. This was a tunnel rat like you. A maze dweller that maybe ran out of moss and maggots to pick from the crevices of his resting place. His skeletized foot is wrapped in stained, improvised bandages. A piece of paper that sticks out from the mans pocket catches your eye. You carefully pick it up and unfold the following letter scrawled in a barely legible hand:
"To whoever finds this piece of writing in this globforsaken place:
When you read these lines it means that i have left these tunnels for good. You, however are still here and as lost and hopeless as i was for the longest time. However, do not look at my remains as a symbol of this hopelessness. For I, in my dying hours remembered the trees, the grass and the sunlight of the surface and i cried tears of joy. I want to bestow unto you the hope that one day you shall return to the green fields above. You will slay the dark beast that lives in the north end below and unlike me, find the right door to leave this place.
P.S. I have used my last strength to throw an unlucky tunnel goon into the well in hopes of feeding my friend who has got herself trapped down in the well. Should you find this letter in time, please safe her for she was my only source of comfort in the labyrinth."
The hair on your arms stands up as you read the lines of the dead wanderer. His words of hope fill you with determination.
[Fill in box (E) on your courage track]
You feel a sharp stinging pain in your calf and a warm trickling sensation on your leg as the creature seems to have sunk its teeth in your flesh. Your agonizing scream echoes through the dark as you keep on struggling.
[Gain one INJURY.]
You approach the well and look down. The round, narrow stone walls emmit the same faint glow as the walls above. You can see something small moving below. Cautiously you sit on the edge of the well. It seems to be narrow enough that you can push yourself off of the oposite wall, pressing your back against the slippery wall to slowly shimmy your way down into the damp opening. You are halfway to the bottom when you notice a red centipede, slyly wrapping itself around your boot trying to make its way towards your ankle.
[To crush the centipede against the wall before it bites you roll your D20. If you roll over your SKILL, gain one INJURY.]
You arrive at the bottom of the well and notice a pair of yellow eyes staring at you from the dark. Upon further inspection they seem to belong to a black ball of fur that meows at you from behind the skeletized body of a fellow maze rat. The traveller down here seems to have served as food for the little fur creature for a long while. "Cat" you think. You search the broken backpack of the well-skeleton. You find a small metal box containing dry biscuits and a big lump of dried meat. Furthermore there are two hooks that seem to be made for scaling brick walls. Taking things with you is not an option as you left your backpack in the cavern above due to your method of descent.
Looking around further you notice a small crawlspace just broad enough to slither into. The black hole eminates a strange attraction and you want so see what lies inside.
The moss feels damp and cool in your dusty hands. A fresh yet earthy smell tickles your nostrils as you stow it into your backpack.
The sound of your heart beating in your throat drowns out every other sensation as you observe with numbing fear as your torch extinguishes suddenly. Panicked you blow into a crevisce trying desperately to reignite glowing, dying, embers. You whisper short prayers to your lightsource in between blows, trying to disregard the noises. The dry breathing, the obscene scratching and squelching sounds that are approaching you from behind. Your torch ignites! You whip around and raise it toward whatever has been approaching you in the cover of darkness. Gasping, breathing heavily you face down your enemy. Supressing the urge to stumble backwards from the unspeakable, ancient horror that is trying to find it's way past your torches dying light. A quivering dark mass of black tendrils, numerous eyes and fanged mouths moves towards you from the dark. You swallow your fear and breathe in deeply. Your courage will not be broken. Your light will not be snuffed out. A tendril shoots forth from the entity - aimed directly at your head.
[Roll your D20. Add 1 to your SKILL for each field of the Courage track you have filled out]
You quickly dash into the room keeping your eyes tightly shit feeling around for the dagger when you suddenly feel the soft obscene d͗ͮͧ̌̐ͦͮͦ̑̈́̿̊ͤ̈́͐̊̀̀̚҉҉̹̗̻̤̟̻̹̲̫̖̥̮̻░f̵̩̩͇̫͉̘̖͙̠͍̠̪̦̂̒ͦͭ̇͐͋̃ͨ̓̒͋ͫ̍̌͆͠ḁ̛̦͚̮̲̮͈͇̳̰̫̲̘͎̺͋ͨ̑̆̌ͨ̾̈͑̓͐ͭ͑͡͞ͅͅg̷̵̊̉ͩ̓͋ͥ̋̔ͧͮ́ͩ̌͗͟҉̤̟͕͈̰͙̖̣̼͚̤̰̣̠̪͚ it is lodged in. A agonized sound escapes your throat as you brace your foot for stability and pull out the dagger with a nauseating squelching noise.
You will not forget what you have done. As you run out of the room breathing heavily and supressing the nausea rising in your stomach you nevertheless feel alot safer holding your torch in one hand and the grim looking, heavy dagger in the other.
[Fill out field C on your courage track]
You approach the moose slowly.
[Is box 6 on your character sheet checked?]
Whistling inconspicously you slowly circle the knight shooting him a glance from the side every few steps. You act like you are trying to tie your shoelaces next to him and cuatiously fish at the leather gloves with your fingers. Your heart is pounding through your chest.
[Roll your D20. Add 2 for every filled out field of your courage track to your SKILL. You may add another 3 if you, the player, have stolen anything in your life. You may pause the game here to earn this bonus before rolling. But you would not take something that is not yours would you?]
If you roll under your modified SKILL, you sucessfully steal the gloves. Take note on your character sheet.
If you roll over your modified SKILL, you drop the gloves, panic, and are too afraid to ever try again.
"Hell-" you say as your gravely voice cracks under the pressure of its uncommon use and the smoke that fills the air. "Hello" you manage to bring forth. The voice of a human, nonetheless your own, sounds strange, echoing in these catacombs. A quiet, muffled and sardonic little laughter comes from the iron helmet. Still, the aromored stranger has not moved a bit. "Hell indeed" a quiet voice says from across the fire. Baffled you try to think of something to say. "Who are you?" you ask. More joyless laughter, this time in the form of a quiet cackle that sounds unnerving and deranged. "Who are you?" Asks the figure softly. You do not know how to answer. Seeing you struggle for an answer elicits another quiet chuckle from the man. "Just give up" he whispers into his helmet. His words are barely audible over the crackle of the fire and over the entire course of your conversation he has not moved even the tiniest bit. You swallow heavily, tasting the flavor of smoke and desperation. "Can I- have your gloves?" You ask. No answer.
You rush forward with reckless disregard. Screaming you lunge forward striking the monstrosity. Dealing mighty blows with the burning stick, held with two hands. Each time the burning rags at the end of your lightsource connect with the entity the flames and light cut through it like a knife through butter. "Butter?" you think while ramming your torn up boot in one of the many fanged mouths around you. "This is it. One of us dies now!"
[Repeatedly roll your D20 against your modified SKILL. Everytime you roll under, wound the lurker. Everytime you roll over, gain an INJURY.]
The endlessly tall seeming room is now empty. Looking up you think if this might be the inside of a tower? Who builds an underground Tower? And why are there no stairs? Without the strange owl this place is still smelly, dank and dark. To the west lies the passage back to the corridor to the south awaits a small crawlspace.
The amber torchlight forms a protective sphere of flickering warmth around your weary head as you continue your journey into the depths below. The murals on the tunnel wall grow increasingly brutal and show scenes so gotesque that you have to avert your gaze to hold on to the courage needed to keep descending into the dark. A faint growling can be heard from below, the source of which seems to lurk just outside the shine of your lightsource. You are almost glad to discover that your path is blocked. Out of the dark the torchlight peels an ornate, black grille gate that fills the entire corridor before you. Upon closer inspection you notice a keyhole and a locking mechanism toward the right wall.
As you approach the chewing moose it becomes clearer and clearer, that this large majestic creature has no interest in being bothered by dirty tunnel goons like you. It slowly but steadily retreats from your attempts to establish an interspecies exchange in the form of backscratches.
You enter a tight corridor through which a strong wind blows. You shield your torch with your torso while slowly pushing yourself into the corridor backwards. You have to lean heavily to not be blown over or slide across the stone slabs. You cautiously make your way further into the corridor. Frequently you squint over your shoulder to make sure you are not ambushed from behind. Suddenly you lose your footing on the wet stone floor and begin to slide. Quickly you try to hold on to the walls.
[Roll your D20. If you roll over your SKILL you are blown back through the tunnel. In this case, turn to 2.
If you rolled under, keep reading here.]
You hold onto the wall and make it through the rest of the corridor, stepping backwards through a strange black veil. The wind around you suddenly subsides.
The rotten smell worsens as you start to crawl into the small opening, moving on your hands and knees. You feel a wet, dark substance on the floor and walls of this tunnel, small white feathers can be seen protruding from the foul, partially dried and brittle substance. Suddenly you feel a cold metallic sensation on your hand! It is a small metal rod, half buried in the dirt. You clean it, and take it with you. [Add piece Ψ to the key on your character sheet] The unpleasant smell grows stronger toward the north exit of the tunnel and you can see some ants crawling at the south exit.
The soothing crackling of the fire and the warmth around you calms you. You feel the enticing arms of sleep wrap you in a cozy cocoon. As your consciousness fades and your eyes fall shut, you wonder if it is maybe a fatal mistake to leave yourself so vulnerable in the presence of the very peculiar and very armored stranger across from you. You dream of a bright orb in the sky warming your face and projecting fireworks through your closed eyelids as you lie in a green field atop a hill.
[You may draw one additional heart on your character sheet, if you have not done so before in this section]
A loud pop makes you jolt out of your dreams and you look around franticly. With relief you see that a log in the fire has split and has sent sparks flying towards the ceiling with a loud noise. The man in the armor still has not moved an inch since you entered the room. Is there even someone in there? The suit could not hold itself up in the position the figure is sitting in...
The desolate room is completely empty now. The ants must have all crawled into the small hole in the floor. There is a small crawlspace on the north wall, as well as a passageway toward the corridor westward.
You flail and fight, determined to fight until your last breath. Kicking and punching at the snarling creature that has entangled you in its numerous heavy and clawed extremities. With a scream you thrust your heel in what you assume is the creatures mouth. You hear a deafening howl as you skid across the floor fighting . and exploit a moment of opportunity in which you feel its grasp loosen around you, to roll backwards and swiftly to your feet. You turn around and run as fast as your feet can carry you towards the light above, flying up the stairs you hear the creature approaching behind you as you stumble. Gasping for air you manage to recover and keep running. Breathing heavily you reach the top of the stairs. The darkness from the deep seems to be unable to follow you up here...
Indeed your body seems to be intact. To your surprise you survived the fall with only a couple of bumps and bruises and even your dusty, trusty backpack seems to be in working order. Your torch however, has been exstinguished by falling rubble. As you stuff it into your backpack with a sigh, you notice that you can see your surroundings without carrying a lightsource. The stone walls of the corridors around you give off a faint blue glow that illuminates the passage just enough to regain a rough sense of orientation. As you look up you see that the hole your fall has created is narrow and high, choked up with rubble, you realize it is impossible to climb back up. A painful knot in your stomach and throat forms as you realize the map which you have been drawing for as long as you can remember, has now become useless. You look around and notice that you are in a long corridor that extends before and behind you. Standing on the pile of rubble you created during your fall, you flick the compass that you wear on your wrist and as it spins into position you learn that the corridor continues before you northward and southward behind you. Where do you go?
You sit down on the clammy floor of the well and offer pieces of dried meat to the cat while eating. Tentatively at first, but with growing vigor, the feline consumes your offering. The dry biscuits bring some long needed nourishment and return some strength to your tired body.
[You may draw one additional heart on your character sheet, if you have not done so before in this section.]
Meowing thankfully the cat curls up into a ball in your lap and its purring, and your full stomach send you drifting into dreams, leaning against the wall of a dark hole, your mind conjures up images of hope, warmth and light.
[Fill in field (B) on your courage track]
You awake and begin to look around confused. You are no longer at the bottom of the well! Panicking you search around for your backpack. It is right beside you and the well dwelling cat has curled itself up in it sleeping peacefully. As you put your backpack on and inspect your surroundings you realize with a mixture of relief and befuddlement that you are back in the cavern in which you found the well.
The strange whispering grows louder as you approach the heavy wooden door. You cautiously push it open with your foot. Your jaw drops and you have to supress a scream of horror. The room is full of terrible z̵̵͕̪͍̬͍̞̤̦̫̅ͪ̇̊̿ͨ̂̽̈̓ͭ̔́̕ȧ̷̸̙̙͖̱͍̲͖̯͍͈̩̺̠̪̊̓̓ͣ̃̀̑ͨͪͭͯͯ̆̈́̀̚͘͞ͅ█ļ͙̰̟̺̦̟̳̞̳̻͓̬̐̏̈̊͛ͯͩͨ͌͜g̴̭̬̭̬͖̪͓͎̜̤͓̫̭̪͎̱̗͙ͮͪ̋̓̾ͭ̐ͣ̓͞ơͨ͗͛ͩ̈͑̒ͪ̆̓ͥ͌ͪ̀̂͊͂͑̇͢͏̺͔͓͍͔s̸͒̄̏̿̿̀͏͉͍̦͓̰̯̳̻͎̼█ that were taken directly from ▒ŗ̶̨̡p̷̢̕͟͠ş̧̡̛͡t̷̸̀͝▒t͡҉̵́t̀͏. A long, grim looking dagger is lodged in of one of the ü̬̼͍̼̬̦̗̯͈̱̃͒̃̈́ͬͯ͐͑̓ͪ̔̏̋͞ä̵̢̹͚͈̪͖̼̪̲̻̰̣̺̍̆͒͂̂ͩ̒̊͒̓ͥ̓̄͛̄͞ͅ┤ö̴̪̠̖̟̲͔̫̱̔̊̂̉̋ͥͯ̋ͣ̇̓̇ͪ̿ͯ͜ͅä̸̢͓̻̗̘̫͙͔̱͕̦̞̹͇̮̲̇̀ͥ̾̀ü͊͆͂̒̽̓̑̐́ͦͦ̔͋̇ͬ͝҉̹̝̦͚͚̗̭͇̞͚̻ͅ. You need to get out of here. You need to run away! Y̛͓̖̰͖̹̠̘̊̏̌̾͑̀ǫ̛̫̺̹͚͓͍͔̮̮̱̼̆͛̇͋̓̄ͩ͗̊͛ͫ͛́ų̸̪̭͓̻̠͕̼̱̼̫͍͚̟̗̪̤̳̍́ͯ̐ͩ̽̃̐ͩ͛ͪͦ̇̌͗͂̚̚̚͜ ̜̣̳̮̯̮̦͔̬̩̬̏ͣ̂̍ͪ͑̄̏ͣ̎̽̈́͂̐̕ͅn̴̵̨͎̮̙͍͉͔͍̬͔̂̾ͭͮ̂ͨe͌͋͆̅ͤͪ̚҉҉̙̪͎̞̳ͅẽ̵̢͚͎͇̬̺̪̬̝̰̺̞͈̩͈̲̲̥̱̋̌̚͜͞ͅď̸̶̡̠̝̦̹͖͍̼͕̬̭̮̳̪̱͋̂͑́̍̂͛̑̈́̋̆̈́̋͐ͥͤ̒̚͝͡ ̸̡͓̣̤̬̙̜̦͈͚̣̪̪̥͓̺̼͎͈̗̇̽̔̉tͫͤ̌̿̃͋͂͗͌͌ͧ̀̄̿̍͐͏̢̱̩̝̞̻̭͓̰̲́͢o̽̉́ͩ̀͒ͬ̓͑̆҉̛̟̯̙̬̺̤͡ ̴̴̧͉͈̻̳͎͓̭̲̣̠̰͎̫̥̩͈͍̩̉͑ͣͫ̽̈͋̍̀ͥͥ̌̂̊́͠ŗ̦͎͈̤̳͔̰̟͕͊̎ͬͫ̔̓̀u̺͙͓̻̭̟͉̗͍͋̄͊̓̐̃̿͊̃̏͑̚͞͝ņ̴̸̣͔̺͙͚͉̺̌̍ͬ͆̀ͣ̎̓́̚ ̸͔͉̯̤͓̭͋̐ͩͨ͛̇̈̊̐̚͡͝ǎ̢̠̟͚͉͚̞̊ͥ͋̆̍̄͑̓͞w̶̨̢̘̟̜̦͈͉̪͎̼̉̔̑̅͆̓ͧͬͧ̏̽̈́̏̏ͩ̈́a̵̸̹̱̮̪̬͍̗̞͈̭̰̟͓̻͙͉̐ͩ̋̈̐͋̉͊͐͋ÿ̵̢̯̻̖͙̳̬́ͯ̉͐̇ͩ̒̀͘͢!̸̙͎̜̩͍͓̯̗̳̻͚̘̔̓̀͆̊͒̑̓̀̃̔͋̃̾ͩ̂͐́́ ̢̞̜̜̭̜͚́̔ͦͨͮ̚̕̕
You swat the attacking extremity with your raised torch. A high pitched hissing noise can be heard from the entity as it jerks itself back into the darkness.
[You have wounded the lurker in the dark! Keep tally of how many times you have wounded your nemesis. When you would add the third wound, immediatly turn to 50]
You follow it with confident steps, torch raised high, you advance on your enemy under a hail of flying embers. You briefly lose sight
of your attacker as the creature seems to blend back into the dark. Suddenly you hear something approaching from behind. Could it be?!
[Roll your D20. Add 1 to your SKILL for each field of the Courage track you have filled out.]
Continueing down the staircase, the blackness around you is so thick and all consuming that it feels like your moving through an endless pool of black aether. The icy wind around you has grown to a howl that echoes through the unseen corridors. You hear a deep growl in the dark that seems to come from everywhere at once. Shocked you look around the darkness, eyes widened to pierce the black veil and find what is making this horrible noise. Nothing but the faint glow of the light above that you have left behind. You wonder if it would be best to make a hasty escape back up the stairs when from the dark something suddenly grabs a hold of your leg and throws you to the floor with a harsh pull. Flailing and gasping you are dragged down the stone steps further and further into the blackness. Part of you wants to just give in and end your endless struggle with a mind at peace, instead of one that is filled with panic and anger. You are suddenly thrown against cold metal bars that you can brace against to rip your limb free from the monstrosity in the darkness. Your teeth produce a sickening crunch as you struggle not to faint from the burning, cold pain. Your calf is impaled by sharp, dark talons!
[Take one INJURY]
[To struggle and break free from your attacker, test your SKILL. You may add the number of filled out fields on your COURAGE track to your SKILL.]
To your great surprise the ants do not appreciate your visit in their humble abode. A burning pain sears your hand as you feel around in the hole. You grasp at something and pull it out, shaking the attacking ants off of your hand.
[Roll your D20 if you roll over your SKILL, gain one INJURY. Ignore this if you have already "found" some protection for your hands.]
Breathing heavily, you stand up and open your shaking, swollen hand. You found a small, cloth bundle containing a small matchbox, with one match left and a small rolled cigarette! Next to the cigarette you notice a small metallic object. You pick it up with two fingers and inspect it more closely.
[Add part Ω to the key on your charactersheet.]
You briefly think about using the match to ignite your torch but quickly realize that the small flame from the match would never suffice to set it alight.
"Hello?" Your raspy untrained voice echoes uncannily as it bounces from the wallsup into the darkness above. The owl slowly opens one glowing eye, then the other. "Hello maze dweller" A tiny voice whispers from the very center of your skull. You flinch and look around as this sensation of a foreign voice reverberating through your very being is a rather unusual experience. "You have awoken me and i have things to attend to human. Unless you have shiny things to offer, I will grant you only one question." the tiny voice whispers while the owl ruffles her feathers with her beak.
You are pushed over from behind, as a dark, cold tendril has grasped your feet. Your torch slides out of your hand and rolls across the floor before you. The entity pulls you toward itself, dragging you across the dank stones. Flailing you try grasp at your torch while kicking at the creature. You feel a freezing, biting cold take hold of your foot as you grasp the tip of your torch. You scream in pain.
[Gain one INJURY]
Clenching your teeth you hold your torch to your feet in hopes of losening the creatures grip. Can you bear the heat longer than it can bear the light?
[Repeatedly Roll your D20 against your modified SKILL until you roll under. Until then, gain one INJURY for every failed attempt to break free.]
Finally you feel the grip around your feet losen! You roll backwards, over your shoulder and onto your feet, picking up the torch in the process.
Should you try to run or is this your last stand?
[If you choose to run, reset the counter you are instructed to keep at 2]
You quickly open the door and find yourself infront of a swirling, screaming maelstrom of wildly spinning colors that fills out the entire doorway. You hesitate for a moment at the sight of this otherworldly phenomenon. Maybe a moment too long, given your circumstances...
You quickly try to think of things the owl might appreciate.
You run toward the door and reach for the iron ring that acts as a doorhandle. You freeze when your hand reaches into thin air and feels nothing but flat, cold stone where are heavy iron ring should be. How is this possible? You step to the side and look at the door from an angle. You have been duped by a fascinatingly realistic and haptic looking painting of a door on the wall! Despite your dire situation you can not help but admire the craftsmanship that must have gone into fooling you with such a perfect illusion.
You keep approaching the grazing creature as it takes a swing at you with its mighty antlers. Frantically you try to dodge the sudden attack.
[Gain an INJURY]
[Mark one INJURY!]
A searing pain fills your head as you stumble backwards trying to not lose sight of your attacker. You shake off the cobbwebs at the periphery of your vision and charge forward with a scream of blind rage, swinging your torch against the monstrosity.
You aim for a small opening in the whirring chaos of its strange extremities. Suddenly one of them darts forward!
[Roll your D20. Add 2 to your SKILL for each field of the Courage track you have filled out]
You gather all of your courage and carefully descend into the darkness feeling the cold wind brush against your face. An unusual sensation in these labyrinths. You pass strange murals and carvings in the walls as you follow the stairs. They depict a strange creature with sharp teeth devouring several crudely depicted figures. The hair on your back seems to stand up as the faint blue glow of the walls above fades and the darkness beneath envelops you. You feel like you are nearing the end of your journey.
You arrive at a crossroad in the dimly lit corridor. The corridor in which you fell with the pile of rubble is to the north. To the south there is a small door from underneath which a light shines into the dimly lit passage towards you. Eastward extends a path, crawling with ants, that seems to lead to a room. To the west you see a passageway leading to what seems like a round cavernous space.
The owl looks on with it's big glowing eyes as you begrudgingly remove the ring from your finger. A feeling of weakness creeps back into your bones as you do. Looking up to the strange creature you ask "If i give this to you.. will you make it worth my while?"
"Oh yes human" whispers the tiny voice in your skull "Yes i will".
[If you keep reading this paragraph you will hand over the ring to the owl. Feel free to return to 50 now if you have changed your mind...]
You throw the ring toward the Owl who catches it with surprising dexterity, gives a thankful hoot before flying off into the darkness above.
[Lower your skill by 2!]
You kick a pebble across the room while muttering a curse. Duped by an owl! Of all the things that have happened to you down in the dark, the depths of this maze seem to never run out of ways to mess with you. You are just about to give up and leave the room as you hear the faintest sound from above as you look up you see the owl silently landing on the ledge above. "Hey you! Give-" Your voice breaks as you hear a faint thud at your feet. Perplexed you look down and see that the owl has dropped an amulet beneath your feet. "Go ahead!" It whispers "put it on!".
You inspect the amulet more closely: A dark wooden disk is attached to an old leather lace. The artifact seems brittle and has an eye etched into both sides. "If you are ever in dire need of protection human, crush this amulet in those mammal hands of yours! Oh to have opposable thumbs for a day!"
[Mark field F on your courage track. If you ever fail a skill check, you can turn to 18 instead to crush the amulet. Just make sure you remember where you were!]
Crawling into the little opening you become stuck almost immediately. You try breathing out to make your ribcage slide out of the strangely formed crevasse. You begin to feel light headed as you respirate your own, panicked, hot breath in the small dead end hole you have maneuvered yourself into. Tunnelvision sets in as you desperately push off of the wall infront of you to slide back into the well. You heart beats in your head as if a mightily beaten drum heralded the arrival of the grim reaper.
[Roll your D20. Each time you roll over your skill, gain an injury. If you roll under, turn to 5]
The stinging hunger makes way for immediate regret. A strong taste of ammonia creeps through your mouth. You gag and collapse to your stomach. Through tears that well up in your eyes you see stars dancing infront of you. Gasping for labored breaths you curl up in between rattling coughing fits.
[Either consume a small piece of this page or receive two Injuries]