Moved from >>/th/166920
In the depths of his tomb, known as the Tomb of Honors, the dread demilich Acererak was in the midst of a grim and terrible magical experiment. His skull - all that remained of his body now - sat in front of an elaborate magical circle drawn on the wall in front of him. He would become one with the Plane of Negative Energy, and if his calculations were correct, this gate, and this ritual, had a chance of allowing him to do so.
Two pitiful souls who were to fuel this vile experiment, the last remnants of an intelligent adventuring party that had made it as far as his crypt, were in his left and right eye crystals. Their souls desperately pounded on the inside of these crystals as he whispered the words of power; and then, in a flash, the magic user and the cleric were gone, their souls forever wiped out of existence.
With that same flash, the magic circle opened into a portal into darkness. Negative energy washed over him - as soothing to his unnatural form as healing magic would be to a living human.
No, more so. Something was wrong.
Countless thoughts and analyses buzzed through the mind of the demilich Acererak as he sized up the situation. The experiment had failed - if all was according to plan, he should have become one with the plane by now. Worse, there was too much negative energy flooding this room for even his form to store, and if he didn't stop it quickly, his soul would swell up like a balloon and burst.
He spoke half a dozen words of command, reserved for use in such a dangerous situation as this. Potent wards and anti-magic fields sprouted up all around the room, holding back the flood of negative energy for the few minutes it took for the souls' energy to fade, and for the modified Gate to close.
But he had not erased that magical energy, nor had he truly forced it back. Unbeknownst to him, and thoroughly unpredictably, that wave of death force had been too much for his wards to neutralize; and, with nowhere in either plane to go, it had shot out like a geyser across the multiverse, crossing dimensional boundaries that were not meant to be tampered with.
In a greenhouse, attached to a mansion in the World of Dreams, flower sprouts were pushing up from clay pots. Only the sprouts, so far; but soon, they would become full-grown plants, ready to burst into bloom, for the gardener was no less than a youkai of flowers. She would plant them across Gensokyo.
Then something dreadfully cold rushed by her. She couldn't see it, but she felt it, as did her young flowers - in an instant, they were all withered and dying.
In a house on the border of another realm, a monster of unfathomable power wearing a purple nightgown and nightcap, was suddenly roused from sleep when a wave of death crashed against her border, and passed through, slightly weakened but unstopped.
By a shrine on the edge of Gensokyo, most of the negative energy was absorbed at once by a forgotten evil spirit; with its power, she manifested once more, and called her staff instantaneously to her hand. Curious. The rest of the geyser, what there was left of it after Yukari's barrier and Mima's revival, spread out to further parts of Gensokyo.
The energy flowed as far as a red mansion, the lair of two blood-drinking devils. The younger of these was in her bedroom under the mansion, very carefully coloring in a picture she had drawn of herself and her sister, when the energy wave reached her. She saw it. Not knowing what to make of it, she grabbed it in her hand, and was pulled away by it as it fell back.
Likewise, the energy flowed as far as a shrine on the mountaintop, home to a trouble-causing group of gods from the outside world. The most bored of these, who wore a hat like a frog, felt the energy wave approach, grabbed it, and like the vampire, vanished as it retreated.
Likewise, as it passed by them, the other three also caught hold of the wave. One to see where it was from and take more of its power; another, now properly clothed, to protect Gensokyo; the third, out of a righteous, unstoppable drive for vengeance. All passed out of Gensokyo and into another multiverse.
It was an overcast day; grey clouds filled the sky over the Tomb of Honors. On the north side of the flat-topped hill that the Tomb lay beneath, something strange occurred. A falling surge of energy deposited five strange travelers on the ground not far from each other, then retreated into the hill from whence it had come.
Suwako was the first up, and the only one to intrinsically know the directions and the lay of the land around them. Her inherent bond with the earth told her that the hill was marked with piles of rocks forming the shape of a skull - and that there was something very wrong inside that hill.
Yukari immediately started experimenting with her powers. She quickly found that her gaps wouldn't function - the infrastructure she needed for them to work only existed on Earth, not on Oerth - but that most of her powers were intact. If necessary, she could open a one-way gate to Gensokyo.
Mima immediately spotted Yuuka, and floated over towards her, smiling widely. "Yuuka! I haven't seen you since Makai! How have you been?"
Yuuka didn't return the smile. "I'd love to catch up with you," she replied coldly, "but someone in that direction," she pointed towards the cliff, "has withered a number of my flowers."
"You mean that negative energy surge," Mima said. "That was--"
"Pure, wanton destruction," Yuuka interrupted. "I'm going to find where it came from and make sure it doesn't happen again."
Mima floated backward. Yuuka was more than a little bit scary right now. But at the same time, Yukari came forward. "I also want to find the one responsible, since that pulse struck the barrier. Had it been more powerful, all of Gensokyo would have been endangered."
As they talked, Suwako listened to them, at a distance; but also noticed Flandre looking around confusedly. No, the vampire was more important, for now. "Hey, Flandre. That's your name, right?"
"Yeah," the vampire child replied.
"What's up? How'd you get here?" Suwako asked.
"There was a thing! And I couldn't see it and I grabbed it and I ended up here."
"That was that negative energy wave, huh. Yeah. Me too. Do you want to go home?" she asked.
"Not yet," Flandre said. "I haven't been outside much, and this place is weird."
"Me neither," Suwako said.
Yukari came up behind them. "Good, because we need your help," she said. "That negative energy wave came from under that hill," she pointed to the hill, "and you, more than anyone else, would know how to get into it."
Suwako examined the hill, then crouched and put her hands to the ground, focusing on the geology of the hill. Then, she rose up, and threw a ball of energy at the eroded cliff that formed the north side. Rock and sand collapsed, revealing part of an entryway.
"There's two more there, too," she said, and pointed at two locations in the wall. "But I can't tell what's inside. There's definitely a structure, but something's weird about it, and I can't tell you anything about the layout."
[ ] Try the first door.
[ ] Try the second door.
[ ] Try the third door.
[ ] Check all the doors before going in.
[ ] Blast off the entire cliff face to see if Suwako missed anything.
[ ] <write-in>
Write-ins will always be welcome.
I'm mostly lifting the design and structure from the AD&D version, and I will also cross-reference other versions of the Tomb if I have need. But the edition isn't terribly important, in this case. Game mechanics like skill checks and the AD&D Tomb of Horrors' real-time countdowns aren't as important as the things that they represent and model.
My philosophy for the story is more "challenging but fair". >>/th/167011
This isn't a "how Touhous can die horribly" story. Characters will act intelligently and will not be killed as a result of factors outside of voter control. In any vote, at least one of the default options will not lead to death.
One example of a vote that would kill the party if it won is "[x] Go into the demon statue's mouth."