Wednesday, April 6, 2011

E is for Elevators

Welcome to the Tower of the Archmage’s April A to Z Challenge!

Today’s post is brought to you by the letter “E” the number “5” and the support of readers like you.

Thank you.

The door was stuck, or perhaps barred from the inside. Nimble finished examining it and nodded the all clear to Rathgar. Wedging the pry bar between the door and the frame, he started applying pressure. Slowly, the door began to bend before finally popping open, some of the wood splintering. Beyond the doorway was a shaft that ran down far below the reach of the torchlight. Each of the adventurers in turn took a look down into the darkness. Nimble was the first to really look up, and noticed a large dull silvery disk pressed into the ceiling. As everyone was looking into the darkness, Rathgar lit a spare torch. When Nimble was done, Rathgar passed him the torch, and he tossed it down the shaft. It finally came to a rest deep down, probably over 300 yards.

“I think I saw another doorway on the opposite side of the shaft.” Nimble reported. “Maybe 50 feet down.”

Everyone silently considered for a moment. “Well, if you want to scout it, we’ll wait here and pull you out.” Rathgar offered.

“You know, I think I do.” Nimble quickly dropped his pack, keeping it well away from the edge. With quick deft movements he tied a silken rope around his waist and began his climb. Rathgar fed the rope out as Nimble clung to the wall, working his way around and down the shaft with unsurprising dexterity. It didn’t take long for him to disappear into the darkness, his presence indicated only be the continued movement of the rope, and the hints of something moving in the dark.

“Ok, I’m on the platform.” Nimble said up the shaft as quietly as he could. “Slide down a lantern.”

Rathgar took the lantern that Allianora was carrying, and slipped the rope through the top ring. “Here it comes.” He warned. The lantern dropped the length of the rope with remarkable speed, but Nimble looped the rope and caught it easily. The doorway was similar to the one his companions were on, except that the door was closed, and hanging on the wall was a small lever.

“Hey!” Nimble called up. “Is there a switch behind the door?”
Everyone standing on the upper doorway looked at each other. “Did you look behind the door?” Rathgar asked Feris and Allianora. They both shook their heads no. Shuffling around, they closed the door, and looked at the wall behind it, seeing a small switch.

“There’s one up here too.” Rathgar replied to Nimble’s question.

“I’m going to flip it” Nimble warned. Reaching out, he pulled the switch down. There was a clicking sound, and the switch snapped back to its original position. A humming noise could be heard from above, and the grey disk dropped from the ceiling, four chains attached at equidistant points on the edge of the circle. It fell with enough speed to cause a good breeze before coming to a stop at the level of Nimble’s doorway. Rathgar dropped the rope so that it didn’t catch on the disk.

On the center of the disk was a small orb standing on a chest height pillar. Nimble stepped gingerly onto the disk. Under the orb was a series of symbols. Not knowing what any of them meant, he pressed one at random, and the disk started moving down.

“Nimble?!?” Rathgar called down

“I’m ok, just trying to figure out how to work this thing.” The disk came to a rest at another platform on the same wall as the one Rathgar was standing on. Nimble pressed another symbol, one that was one away from the original one, and the disk jerked upward, passing the lower doorway that he had just left. It came to a stop before Rathgar. “I think we’ve found our way down.” Nimble announced.

Elevators make for interesting ways to allow characters to move through a dungeon, especially given how many issues they can have! Will it work, or get stuck during use? Will a chain break, or is someone else controlling it? What if someone - or something else wants to use it while the adventurers are on it? Plus there's the whole question of how deep down the adventurers are willing to try to go!


  1. For some reason this makes me think of the seventh Doctor Who. There was a lift in the Victorian-era story Ghost Light and another in Paradise Towers, giving a sense of the possible fear and fun.

    Good going getting an unexpected subject for the letter. Few would claim to be expecting elevators, but it's an interesting entry.

  2. Good call on the Doctor Who reference, P.

    Aliens had fun with lifts too. You can lots of fun with D&D lifts: put a gelatinous cube in one for much hilarity :)

  3. I'm loving your blog. Thanks for the great posts :-)

  4. @ Sommer - Thank you!

    @ Porky - I'm trying to be a little more inventive with my A to Z posts, at least with some of them.

    @ Simon - excellent thought on the cube!