The choice here is between ‘twisting stairways’ and a literal ‘road’. I guess that if you’re trying to sneak into a place, the back, sneaky way is normally the best.
Aside : I am not following the counter-intuitive path as recommended in such works as Poe’s ‘The Purloined Letter’. Sue me.
There are various ominous phrases about the stairway being ‘crumbling’, ‘unused’ and ‘half-eroded’ but, in summary, I successfully ignore the flavour text and make my way steadily down (get used to that word) for about an hour.
I reach a gallery of caves cut into the side of the wall, and note that, like a video game, I have reached the ‘first tier’. No word on whether this means that I get an extra life.
I make sure to invoke the light-giving powers of the Torch of Lumen and move on.
I snoop around, and notice a storeroom, forge and armory, all deserted. Lower down (see! told you about ‘down’!) there are further sounds of life, including ‘growling’ and ‘wailing’. Guess there are a bunch of Collingwood (or insert your local failing sporting team) fans down there.
In a delightfully classist comment, it is mentioned that here the ‘refuse, the helpless or foolishly scrupulous inhabitants of the rift are forced to eke out their days’.
Well, that’s just nasty. Maybe some of these guys just wanted to try and get a tan every so often.
The books does (to be fair) mention that if an individual decides to live on this ‘top’ tier you are vulnerable to such crusaders (lunatics) as Dore le Jeune as well as renegade Orcish tribes who ignore the dictates of the rulers of the Rift.
Hey – I guess maybe getting a suntan isn’t so vital after all, hmmm?
The book takes the metaphorical reins from my hands and informs me that I have apparently decided to ‘take to the tunnels’ and move down away from the chasm’s edge to the next tier.
Another extra life, maybe? No?
I am pleased to confirm to the book (my arch-nemesis!) that I have not been spotted on the ‘roadway’ leading into the Rift.
As I descend, I note that many roadways converge on a cave where there is a fresco that ‘chills my blood’. Rather than being a nude study of Danny DeVito, it apparently depicts a web, and a spider. The spider is presumably the Black Widow, and at each leg she is crawling over an unfortunate such as an Orc, Dark Elf, Old One or reality TV star.
In a separate painting, a Paladin has spiders all over his ears, nose and mouth.
On this second tier, there are apparently entire villages, and I raise a curious eyebrow to learn that they raid each other for slaves and ‘booty’. I remain silent on which meaning of the word ‘booty’ is applicable in this instance.
At this stage I get a clear (and interesting choice). I can either continue to rely on ninja-sneaking skills, or alternatively try to obtain (through ninja means) a disguise to stroll down some of the more exposed pathways.
Bluffing my way down with a disguise sounds more fun – sold!
My efforts to disguise my handsome features, such as may be possible, will have to wait until another day..
Stats: Endurance : 20, Punch Modifier : +2, Kick Modifier: +3, Throw Modifier : 0, Fate Modifier : +1, Inner Force : 5