The characters make their way towards the south. About the midpoint of their journey they start seeing a strange visual distortion ahead of them. As they approach the distortion they find a camp beside the road consisting of several tents. Several trader’s wagons, goods still on board, are parked beside the road. The horses are tied beside some trees nearby.
There are also signs of a fight. Some arrows are scattered around, a broken sword lies near the wagons, and there is evidence of blood.
Searching, they find the camp has been searched. Some of the goods on the wagons have been searched through and broken and searched and all of the tents have been ransacked. They also find a shallow grave nearby with a number of bodies in it; apparently the traders and their guards.
Strangely, there are no signs of whoever attacked the caravan. Checking the horses it appears they have not had water or anything else for a day or so.
They examine the strange distortion for a while and find that if they throw something into it it will rocket away from them. They decide not to step into it.
The group looks around and can’t find anything else at first, until one of them notices that if they stand in one particular location they can see a corridor appear ahead of them, leading “into” the distortion. They decide to investigate.
Before they do they take one of the wagons and horses. They go through the trade goods, finding most of them to be various spices, herbs, and medicinal plants. There are a few weapons. They move what they think is the most valuable to one of the wagons, add their extra equipment to it, and lead it and the horse pulling it into the corridor.
The corridor is hexagonal with dark grey metal for floors, wall and ceiling. Light comes from tubes embedded in the wall that appear to be filled with a glowing mist. The light is a bit too harsh and bright and makes them uncomfortable.
The corridor ends in a wall. Beside the wall there is a panel that has been ripped open on the wall and a number of tubes protrude from it. After some experimentation, they discover that they can open or close the doors by blowing into or sucking on particular tubes, but they have to close the door at the other end before they can open the one in front of them.
The door lead to a shifting maze. The maze consisted of a number of triangular rooms, each the width of the corridor and with three corridors leading away from them at 120 degree angles. The tricky part was that if you came into a room from the “open” side the only choice was to make a 120 degree turn and head down the other corridor. If the party came upon a “closed” side then the corridor would appear to end in a wall, but a wall they could push open to the left or to the right. Doing so revealed another 120 degree corridor, but the wall of every other maze room would also move to the same configuration. So, as they went through the maze, it was constantly shifting around them.
Oh, the maze also wrapped back on itself, so if the party continued in the same direction they would eventually wind up back where they started.
Embedded in the maze were nine large, hexagonal rooms. These rooms fell into three types.
Four of them contained a large, central raised platform. To anyone who stepped onto these platforms the rest of the room seemed to disappear. They found themselves standing on what seemed like an endless plain of gravel, stretching out into darkness. In the center of the area was a small table under a beam of light. Sitting on this table was an object. One room had an elaborate clockwork woman’s head, one had a plain monocle with a faceted gem for a lens, one had a statue of a thin, winged, female humanoid, and the last had a clear box.
These objects could be picked up and carried away. When the person carrying the item reached the distance of the edge of the platform they suddenly found themselves in the original room again (and usually fell off the unexpected edge).
Other rooms held monsters or raiders that had gotten trapped in the maze. These they defeated without too many problems.
The central room contained another raised dais this one with four smaller tables around it, similar to the ones in the strange “gravel” places. The leader of the raiders was here and claimed that understanding this room was the key to understanding the complex. The characters fought him and defeated him.
They then started trying to understand the room themselves. At one point one of them starts examining the tubes that are producing the light and break it. A glowing gas starts escaping into the room and they start feeling ill, but the character collects some of the gas in a jar.
Before they can do much else a giant mechanical humanoid enters the room and attacks them. This is a long and difficult fight but the characters are eventually victorious. They then are forced to retreat from the room due to the escaping gas.
A bit later they return and find the gas leak has been repaired. They start investigating the room and what they have found again.
They come to understand the items they have found. With a key recovered from the raider leader they are able to wind up the clockwork head and learn that she is an intelligent automaton named “Ada”. Unfortunately, she says she has been damaged and has very little memory of what has happened or how she came to be there.
The monocle is much more dangerous. If a person puts it to their eye they suddenly gain an incredible ability at fighting and warfare (equivalent to a 4(!) level shift in attack/defense in combat). But, it also takes a difficulty 4 task to remove or control the “Occulus” once they are wearing it. Otherwise, they must fight and will attack the nearest person, even if they are friendly.
The clear box was the hardest to figure out. Eventually they determined that it was a teleportation device. If someone “enters” the cube they find themselves in the last room the cube was used. So the first time they use it they are in the room they are in.
But, if they then take the cube and carry it somewhere else then re-enter it, they find themselves in the first room again, and the cube is there with them. But now entering the cube takes them back to the last room they came from. The cube can always be used to return to the last room it was used in, but every time it is used the “last room” is reset.
Ada identifies the statue. It is a “navigation crystal”. However, she is not able to determine what crystal is is because the plaque (that the statue should be “holding”) is missing. So it is unidentified.
Ada also is able to tell them that the location they are in is a “shuttle” connected to a “Nightship” overhead. But the shuttle is locked.
The characters eventually determine that the way to unlock the “shuttle” is to place the items they found on the tables in those odd gravel-floored places on the corresponding tables in the central room. They do so, then place the navigation crystal on the central dais.
The shuttle is immediately somewhere else.