You wake up tired the next day after a cold night on a hard surface in your hut. Or rather, you’re woken up by the sound of a gunshot. A look between the logs in your drafty hut shows you that the sun is just starting to rise.
One of the people in your hut, a balding elf in his early 50’s, is already up and folding his blanket. He doesn’t seem fazed by the noise.
(players ask about the gunshot)
“Probably an execution. A partizan escaped yesterday. Not the first time.”
(players ask who the elf is)
“Thelenas. Horse thief. Life sentence hard labor. You?”
A guard approaches the reinforced wood door and unlocks it. He shouts: “Outside. NOW!”
The old elf gives an “after you” gesture to the door.
The guard directs you and the other prisoners to line up.
(if players did not receive introduction)
The old elf lines up behind you and says in a hushed tone “My name is Thelenas. I’d rather be your friend than your enemy but if you get into trouble, leave me out of it. You want to survive here, do what the guards say and don’t let anyone steal your food or stand behind you. When they call hut number five, that’s us. We can talk more when we get our assignments”
The guard assigns work orders to huts. Your hut is assigned to work the mines as haulers. Thelenas curses under his breath.
The guard opens the gate to the mines and orders the assembled prisoners (nearly 50) to report to a foreman
players do not comply
“Alright, then.” The guard pulls out a whip and begins striking you with it
(1d4 subdual damage per strike, will save DC 10+damage received or players will comply)
The foreman, a human man in somewhat better kept prisoner’s clothes with a coiled whip at his hip, addresses your hut:
“Okay, you’re hauling today. For those of you who are new or stupid, that means hauling crates of ore through the tunnels and sending it topside with the pulley. Any questions?”
“Good. Midday meal is in six hours. Your quota is ten crates each. If one of you fails to make that, none of you eat today.”
You descend the ladder into the mines. Benavin and Thelenas are with you. The torchlit tunnel forks off at many points, with crude barricades barring entrances to old tunnels and signs leading to and from the current worksite.
Deeper in, you start to see smaller passages, some too small for a human to fit into. In other locations, the passage widens and the floor drops off into a chasm with primitive rope bridges erected to cross. You also see bodies of dead prisoners. Some fresh, some not, some reduced to skeletons. Occasionally, you’ll come across a pile of bones and bodies shoved into a dugout to make room to pass. Many of them are being eaten by rats, others have been eaten by things other than rats. It’s not immediately apparent how they died.
(DC 15 heal/knowledge (dungeoneering))
Some appear to have died of bite and/or claw wounds. Others show signs of death by disease. Presumably the others died of exhaustion, malnutrition or exposure.
(DC 16 Knowledge (religion))
You note lesions and bite marks on several of the bodies that indicate death by Ghoul Fever.
The foreman yells at you to keep moving.
Players keep moving
You begin to hear the clattering of pickaxes down the tunnel and soon you come to a vein of ore that reaches from the floor to the ceiling of the tunnel. The vein, and tunnel, continue on for another 30 meters or so, with miners digging further to expose more of the iron. There are a number of crates on the ground ready to be moved.
Players start moving ore (DC 12 strength check)
The foreman takes a lash at you (+7 attack, 1d4 subdual damage, provokes will save): “Put your back into it, rot.”
The crates are enormous, but you manage to lift it high enough that you can carry it.
You carry the ore almost a quarter mile before you begin to hear footsteps behind you. The foreman from the mining site is following you. The foreman draws a knife from under his tunic.
“Get over here, you rabbit eared treefucker scum”
Combat, foreman and Displacer beast
Players notice displacer beast
(describe displacer beast)
You hear a loud clatter from the direction of the vein. You see Thelenas standing behind you, his crate spilled all over the floor.
“What the seventh hell did you just do?”