The party that defeated demons and restored a draconic guardian in Covenant spent the first hours of its interplanar jaunt tossing worthless coins off a floating plaform.
Between the platforms that mattered, two fifty-by-fifty squares floating in a pink sea of unknowable sky, lay a bridge, forty feet below them, of five smaller platforms. At intervals of 18 seconds apiece, they shot flames upwards all the way up the forty-foot difference. The jump down to the first platform seemed dangerous enough, but to be pressed to then jump the remaining platforms, then figure out how to climb back up forty feet to the destination platform seemed impossible. So there we sat, tossing small change to study the physics of the dimension, and pretending to ignore the stark reality of our situation.
I searched the platform twice. I poked each tile, stood up and stomped on them. The way forward clearly lay over the bridge of fiery detonation. DarWynn even fired arrows across, but no experiment drew us toward a solution. We could not even sleep. Time had slowed to a halt, laying in wait for us to move forward. In that moment of frustration, I happened across the mechanic that would lead us across. By placing a single coin on the underside of our platform, I proved to the party that we might walk underneath and experience the puzzle in another way.
With the platforms inverted, the flames fired at intervals downwards. DarWynn used her wings to fly UP the forty feet to the first section of the bridge. Flames shot down from her platform in turn, each piece of the bridge firing 18 seconds apart. She had carried a rope with her, and tossed it down to us. The plan was for Kat to scale the rope and pull the rest of us up.
With the puzzle theoretically bested, Kat confidently jumped onto the rope as the first platform expelled its flame. 18 seconds too late, we all realized she would swing directly into the flames of the second platform. Though the flames barely singed Kat, they were more than enough to snap the rope. Much like so many coins before her, Kat dropped into a planar floor that would launch her out of our ceiling. DarWynn, having already seen the coin do the same, knew to watch for her falling half-sister. As Kat slid our of the ceiling in a slowed fall, DarWynn tackled her, but not with enough force to drive her onto a platform. Both tumbled into oblivion, or at least to reappear above us.
DarWynn landed first and collected herself. Kat landed in DarWynn's outstretched arms, only to cause both to collapse. Both began preparing to lower rope and bring us up. I'd been working on another plan entirely. Why swing into fire? Why worry about it at all? The bard and the warrior weren't as light on their feet as I, Davian Dawntracker. I jumped (and flipped) off the side of the platform.
The transition between the bottom of our plane and the top felt like a town crier ringing a bell, but with your head inside it. Any acrobatic poise I had on the way off the platform was lost entirely once I passed through the plane's lower boundary. I reappeared, falling unprepared atop the equally unprepared Kat. Since it was my idea, I laughed off the pain and pretended the jump had gone as planned. I am confident Kat knew otherwise.
With three of us atop the flaming bridge of platforms, we were able to haul Brega up using a rope. After one more major fall through the plane, we managed to jump across the bridge and descend onto our destination platform. It was, in this descent, that we dropped Brega, and she pulled DarWynn down with her. With all of us tied together, Kat and I had to claw that stone floor for every single inch until they were dragged back up. The puzzle is behind us.
The plane the puzzle ended on bore a secret door underneath a heavy stone tile. When moved, water shot up from under it, then subsided to the point we felt we could pop our heads down. As we climbed out, we felt gravity transition again as the ceiling became the floor. We stood in front of a gigantic bubble of murky water three stories high. Through the trap door still lay the bridge puzzle, yet underneath the plane lay an entirely different place- a murky water bubble of equivalent size! We stood sandwiched between gigantic water droplets and opposing gravitational forces, atop a floating floor of muddy stone, pondering our course of action.
DarWynn acted without explaining, as she often did in times of clear and present danger, but not without precaution. She tied a rope to herself and walked into the bubble. I instinctively picked up the other end, knowing that she likely intended me to pull back if she was in trouble. How, one might ask, would I know? For example, when the mud itself rose up and engulfed her barely visible form, I interpreted it as dangerous. The whole party pulled back on the rope, dragging DarWynn back out of the bubble, and the dark, muddy form along with her!
The creature stood taller than any of us, a barely humanoid blob of mud. Globs of mud and streams of water ran off its arms as it flailed at DarWynn, and we drew our weapons. After slipping and sliding around in the muck, we cut down the abomination and regrouped. There WOULD be another adventure into the murk bubble, but this time, we would establish a code. One tug of the rope meant the brave bubble-explorer was ok, and two meant we had to pull them back in. Kat attached herself to DarWynn as well, leaving Brega and I to pull them to safety.
After what felt like too long for people to spend underwater, but no two-tug signal, Kat and DarWynn emerged from the bubble empty-handed. "We have to try the other side," DarWynn said, confidently, as she crawled over the side of the plane to the other bubble, with Kat scampering over right behind her. I felt I had better footing by the trap door, so Brega and I stayed on the other side and peered over. I tied the rope around my waist to keep from losing it.
Kat would later explain that she found a pedestal serving as a drain plug between the two bubbles, and would also later explain that she unscrewed the drain plug and mightily hoisted it above her head as mud-creatures approached her. I, on the other hand, saw only the blurry, dark brown creatures swirling around in a a typhoon as water from their bubble was sucked rapidly into the bubble on my side. Brega and I had seconds to act, or face separation from the rest of the team.
"Hang on, piggy back!" I exclaimed to Brega, and she jumped on just as I felt the rope pull taut as we were jerked from one side of the plane to the next, shooting up the side of the draining bubble and entering the murky water at a 45-degree angle. We swirled around with the mud creatures a few times before popping through the floor to the now doubled muck bubble. Although Brega had fallen off my back and Kat nearly drowned, we managed to climb back through the drain onto now relatively-dry side.
The bubble had hidden a path to another stone platform, this one an island complete with a strange ivory volcano. Lava poured down one of its bright white sides. DarWynn's demonic disease showed in her increasingly red eyes, progressing faster than Cantankerous had projected. The other members of the party must surely have noticed. The problem seemed related to her immersion in the waters of this plane, and we could not afford to keep doing it. I prayed this mysterious volcanic oasis contained a cure as we approached the stunningly bright mountain.
If mud-creatures guarded the mud-mountain, surely the lava mountain must be afforded the same protection. The burning golem lurched from behind the lava-covered section of the volcano, staggering toward the party and waving its flaming arms. We fired arrows, swung steel, and Brega froze the thing with a ray of ice. The lava creature could learn a thing or two about the element of surprise from its muddy brother. As we hacked it to burning or partially frozen chunks, the oasis platform fell silent.
I can't explain how I wound up sleeping inside the volcano. I suppose I could say that the ivory substance making it up was permeable to my hand, and that my hand felt the warm embrace of opiate bliss. I could say that I got tired. I could even say that DarWynn jumped in and out first, and I only climbed in for a nap after I learned it was relatively safe. Nevertheless, I spent one of the most relaxing nights of my life submerged in an unidentified extra-planar substance. It remains to be seen how the other members of the party will stop me from trying to drag a vat of this blissful shit home with us.