Sunday, March 10, 2019

Under Siege

An encounter from my Labyrinth Lord Far Isles campaign inspired by the Robert Duvall "I love the smell of napalm" scene from "Apocalypse Now". Setting is in the bayou backwoods where the forces of two coastal city states are hammering away at each other. Unknown to the fighting forces (but known to the PC's at the time), the war is actually over but word hasn't reached the back country yet. 

If you're interested in how this played out at our table, the session report can be read at:
http://dragonsbreakfast.blogspot.com/2016/07/far-isles-session-39-assault.html


-----------------------------------------------------

UNDER SIEGE
A small company of Xin musketeers are trapped on a sandbar.  They  laying siege to a force of Cha'nrk  raiders, holed up in an old fort on an attached island. Both have lost their boats and are stuck here. No one knows the war has ended.

Trenches and parapets with cover, burned bodies in no-mans land. Wet and smoky. 

Xin Musketeers
Captain Solond [Mk6, HP31, musket + longsword, pikemans armour AC6, 8x ever-dry gunpower]
Sergeant Lunt [Mk3, HP18, musket and half pike, pikemans armour AC6]
Musketeers (18) [Mk1, HP5, musket and short sword, pikemans armour AC6]
Pikemen (22) [F1, HP5, pike, short sword,  pikemans armour + shield AC5]

Captain Solond insists on pushing on with their fight, and will not believe the war is over without proof. Sergent Lunt can be convinced either way about the war, and is happy to abandon the fight.
Both will try to get the boat from the party, by hook or by crook; Captain Solond 'officially', Sergeant Lunt by underhanded means if necessary.  The men could go either way, or both ways.  

Pay-chest hidden in covered pit below cot in Captain Solond’s shelter: 250gp, 100sp

Cha'nrk Raiders
Commander Phraz [F5, HP30, pistol, longsword, plate mail +1 AC2 (red and black, flame on breastplate, easily recognized)] String of red jasper around neck, pay for troops (30x10gp) 
Insidiator Kolo [C5, HP22, 'firestick', war hammer, chainmail + red and black robes, AC5] Spells: 1/CLW, 1/Firelight, 1/Sanctuary, 2/Resist Fire, 2/ Hold Person, 3/Animate Dead; Potion of Plant Control
Cha'nrk Soldiers ( 20) [F1, HP5, spear, crossbow, chainmail AC5] 

Part of a raid on Xin, separated from the main force and escaped upriver. Trapped now. Would offer all sorts of rewards for help escaping, and would even keep their word. But if they have to play nasty to get the boat, look out. 


Notes
From a rules perspective I used Labyrinth Lord. "Mk" refers to the musketeer class I came up for the campaign. Details at: http://dragonsbreakfast.blogspot.com/2014/12/character-class-musketeer.html

--------------------------------------------------------


Edge of Night Sector Session #3 - One Ticket to Anywhere, Please!

Mouser [2126]

DRAMATIS PERSONNAE
Navy Lieutenant Raj Kundra - 4 terms - UPP 758C8C
Mechanical-1, Pilot-1, Medical-1, Jack-o-T-1, Computer-0

Other Durjan Hammill - 3 terms - UPP A69467
Gambling-3, Forgery-1, Brawling-1, Shotgun-1, Streetwise-0

Army Lieutenant Bill Fisker - 1 term - UPP C643C9
Rifle-1, SMG-2, Admin-0

Navy Lieutenant Alexi Kurigane- 2 terms - UPP AB8579
Vacc Suit-3, Ships Boat-1, Sword-1

Army Major Leif Vilchis - 2 terms - UPP 5A77A9
Admin-1, Rifle-2, Fwd Obs -1, Blade-1, Leader -1, SMG-1, Tactics-1


While recovering from his wounds in hospital, Mr. Kurigane was approached by a doctor (not his treating physician) by the name of Dr. Nixon. Having heard of the lieutenant's encounter with a panther locust, she had a job offer for him. He husband, a senior manager at a remote Consolidated Interstellar mining site, has gone missing. He never returned from hunting panther locusts with a few work colleagues.  His as his hunting companions claim he was killed and eaten by one of the beasts.  But she is convinced he is still alive and offers 30000Cr if the party will go and bring him back alive; 10000Cr if they bring back his body if he is dead. Mr. Kurigane discussed it with his companions, but they decided it best to finish the Kinunir job and then get off world ASAP.  

The party rented a pair of rooms at a starport hotel, then left a message for their mystery employer in the designated starport locker. And then waited. Finally had a reply after six days; the gentleman would come to meet them. Meeting in their hotel room, the exchange went without a hitch. Once assured the data was real and everything was on the up and up, their employer summoned his men to bring the cash; a briefcase containing 200000Cr plasticredits. Inquiring as to any other possible employment (or even a way off-world), the gentlemen suggested it best if they part ways for now. His sources have told him General Shipyards has discovered the data breach and sent word to Concordance Naval Intelligence on Anitgone [2236]. He expects an investigation team to be on-world in a few weeks, and suggests they all need to leave before the investigators arrive. 

Making no argument, the party checked out of their rooms and headed up the beanstalk to the orbital highport, looking for passage to anywhere but here. There were two ships leaving that day: a free trader bound for Buna Cava [2025] (a corporate waterworld run by Seaharvester Corporation) and a scout/courier headed to Mouser [2126] (a moon orbiting the inner gas giant of the systems star, once a massive naval complex, and now a maze of overpopulated subterranean warrens  run by various cartels.) They opted for the later, and soon were in jump aboard the "Space Ghost" under the command of the grizzled ex-scout Jerold Simonsen. The week in jump passed without incident, and once they landed in the cavernous docking  bay, the first order of business was to cover their tracks. The party all booked low passage on a fat trader bound for Rastafar [1827], having no intention of ever boarding the ship. They instead bribed the captain to ensure they 'died' in passage.  This way everyone shed their fake identities, except Baron Kundra who was forced to kill off his real self and assume his plebeian alter-ego. At least for now.


That done, they asked Jerold if he had any contacts on Mouser, as they were interested in finding work. The old coot made a few inquiries for them:
  1. "Spider" Davos is a 'fixer' looking for some help. It seems he had a line on some goods to be had for cheap. But for some reason the seller decided to do business with one of his rivals rather than take his offer. The Spider looking for hired hands to find the goods and 'recover' them for him. He'll pay them 5000Cr for doing to job.
  2. A ships' captain  in a bit of a bind and is looking for help.  The cartel that controls the landing bay in which his far trader "Highliner" is docked is refusing to let him leave without paying an exorbitant ‘docking release fee’. He is looking for help in getting his ship and crew released. He’s offering 10000Cr and free passage to his next destination to anyone who can help. 
  3. A scout/courier captain (Clinton Jager) representing a Tortuga merchant by the name of Malik Jupiter. Seems Malik has lost a scout/courier carrying a valuable cargo to the Crimison Wave cartel. The "Wasp" jumped from Tortuga with the cargo, but never arrived at Mouser. He wants the "Wasp" found and returned, and the cargo delivered to the Crimson Wave before they hunt him down and kill him. Pays 10000Cr each for successful completion of the job, plus high passage off-world should they need it.

The party takes on job #3. First thought is to bring Jerold in on the job, and have him take them off planet and to search. In the end his price is too high and they realized without more information, the search would be the proverbial needle in a haystack. When approached for help, Clinton did offer the use of a pinnace should they need to go search the space lanes. No jump capability, but well suited to searching among the planets and moons of the system. For now, information searching they went:
  • Baron Kundra searched the public arrivals and departures database for any ship matching the description of the "Wasp". One other scout/courier arrived at the same time "Wasp" was due; the "Achilles Heel" piloted by Inigo Summers. By all accounts Inigo is male, and the pilot of the "Wasp" was a woman. "Achilles Heel" also jumped out of system a week after arrival, and did not land at the docking bays typically used by Crimson Wave. 
  • Mr. Hammill hit the streets and bars for information on the pilot of the "Wasp", Nina Claire. No indication she is anything other than a reliable courier and a skilled pilot. No history of double dealing or other troubles. Also asked very discretely about Crimson Wave. Learned a little about where and how they operate. Also learned they are one of the bloodier and least 'civilized' of the cartels on Mouser. Best not to piss them off. 
  • Mr. Kurigane drew on his naval background to muse on figuring out where the "Wasp" came out of jump, and then follow that vector to see if it led to the ship. A bit beyond his education and skill, but might be able to learn something useful if the right person could be hired. 
  • Mr. Fisker and Mr. Vilchis went shopping for more guns and gear. Because they could here, and you never known when you might need it ...

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Spells for Ships and Boats

A few new spells from our recently ended "Far Isles" campaign. Enchantments for boats and boating. Written for Labyrinth Lord, but you're smart enough to use them for any version of the original game I'm sure.


Repair Hull (reversible)
Level: 3
Duration: Permanent
Range: 10’ per level

This spell may be used to repair breaches, warped wood, shattered planks, and other damage to the wooden hull of a ship (or other wooden structure). The volume of wood repaired is 2 cubic foot per level. In terms of ship hit points (SHP), the spell repairs 2 SHP per level of caster. 

The reverse of the spell, warp hull, damages a ships’ hull by twisting or warping the wood, permanently destroying its shape, form and strength. 






Mist Skiff
Level: 4
Duration: 6 turns + 1 turn per level
Range: 0

Casting this spell causes a cloud of mist and vapours to coalesce into the form of a small boat (equivalent to a river boat in terms of size, movement, etc). The boat requires no rowers or sails, instead being propelled by a half dozen misty, vaguely human forms. These rowers take no room. The boat is also unaffected by the effects of wind, waves, and current; it will always move at its base speed, will not be overturned by rough waters, etc. The mist skiff is also immune to normal attacks and damage, and is affected only by magical attacks. 


Enchant Boat
Level: 6
Duration: 1 day or see below
Range: Touch

This spell can be used to enchant one boat; any vessel of sailing boat size or smaller. The exact effects are up to the caster, but in general is can be used to improve one feature of the boat. For example, acceptable uses would be:

Increase speed by 50%;
Increase SHP by 50%; or
Increase cargo capacity by 50%.

The duration of the spell is one day. This is based on the degree of improvement noted above. Lesser improvements will increase the duration. For example, if the speed is increased by only 25%, the duration could be doubled to 2 days. 


Enchant Ship
Level: 8
Duration: 1 day or see below
Range: Touch

This effects of the spell are the same as the 6th level spell enchant boat, except it may be used on a vassal up to the size of a large sailing ship. 


Saturday, February 9, 2019

Edge of Night Sector Session #2 - Collecting Data




DRAMATIS PERSONNAE
Navy Lieutenant Raj Kundra - 4 terms - UPP 758C8C
Mechanical-1, Pilot-1, Medical-1, Jack-o-T-1

Other Durjan Hammill - 3 terms - UPP A69467
Gambling-3, Forgery-1, Brawling-1, Shotgun-1

Army Lieutenant Bill Fisker - 1 term - UPP C643C9
Rifle-1, SMG-2

Navy Lieutenant Alexi Kurigane- 2 terms - UPP AB8579
Vacc Suit-3, Ships Boat-1, Sword-1

Army Major Leif Vilchis - 2 terms - UPP 5A77A9
Admin-1, Rifle-2, Fwd Obs -1, Blade-1, Leader -1, SMG-1, Tactics-1

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Baron Kudra and Mr. Kurigane settle into their new jobs. Mr. Kurigane is issued his sidearm and baton and gets into the routine of the various security patrols around the shipyard; regular patrols on foot and by air/raft between the two 15' razor wired perimeter fences, regular foot patrols in the shipyard, and infrequent patrols in the adjacent scrapyard. There are also cameras and motion detectors around the perimeter, and cameras in the yard. Similar camera setup in the main administrative building. All monitored in the security building by the main gate, although the security guard at the desk in the administrative building usually looks after those cameras. Both Baron Kundra and Mr. Kurigane try to get unaccompanied access to the scrapyard, as they learn the scrapped hulk of the Adda Dubsar (a Kinunir class cruiser) is there. But both are rebuffed by their superiors. 


Outside the shipyard, the others do some further investigation:

  • Mr. Fisker tries tracking down Aya Cheung, the local shareholder with the former Tschadi Shipyards. Easy to get her address and number from the phone directory. Put that info away for future use.
  • Thinking some firepower is going to be helpful in the future, Mr. Hammill goes back to the card table to make a few credits and hopefully a few new underworld friends who can provide connections to some illegal guns. He isn't convincing though and gets no leads.
  • Instead, Mr Fisker and Mr. Vilchis decided to open a fake security company, 'Tacyon Advantage Security Solutions'. Getting Mr. Hammill to draw up some fake papers, they head off to the police station to apply for purchase and carry permits for automatic pistols, small SMGs and cloth armor. The documentation passes muster, and the pair are soon armed, uniformed and undoubtedly dangerous. 
  • While the other two are gun shopping, Mr. Hammill stakes out the General Shipyard gate to see if there is a particular bar everyone heads to after work. This leads him to the 'Spacer's Arms' at the starport. After a few days hanging out and listening, he focus attention on an old guy [Alwin Thorne] that's always drinking at the bar and telling stories about the old times at the shipyard. Buys him some drinks and gets him talking about the old days when they were building the Kinunir cruisers. Able to get remarkably detailed information on the fuel tanks, as well as names of a few old engineers who worked on the cruisers back in the day. A later search of HR records by Baron Kundra shows one engineer, Calvin Voll, is still working at the yard. 

Back at the yard, Baron Kudra and Mr. Kurigane decide they need a distraction to get free access to the hulk of the Abba Dubsar and make some measurements.  A memo appears about next weeks  'Bring Your Kids to Work Day'. Decide that Mr. Fisker (being the youngest and dumbest) will pretend to be Baron Kundra's developmentally delayed younger brother, whom he brings to work for the family day. In the midst of the chaotic day, they are able to slip Mr. Fisker into the scrapyard, where he gets into the engineering sections of the Abba Dubsar and is able to measure the location of the jump drive fittings and maneuver drive/power plant couplings.   Mr. Fisker is able to finish the work before anyone else at the yard notices he is missing and a hue and cry is raised to look for him. 

Still need to get the location of the black globe generator fittings on the bridge. Mr. Fisker starts to bawl and blubber; says he left his teddy bear in the scrapyard. Mr. Kurigane offers to go look for it; manages to get away alone given the general disorder in the yard today. Makes his way to the bridge, and crawls under the open control panels to start measuring. After a few minutes senses something in the room with him; looks up to see a Panther Locust (8' long, 3' high, black fur and six legs. Mix of insect and mammalian traits, scary claws and a maw of teeth). It leaps to attack, biting and clawing the prone Mr. Kurigane. He hauls out his auto pistol, and after a few shots is able to kill the beast before it does too much damage to him. Calls for help on the radio, security and medical response team (including Baron Kundra) arrives to help. Once Mr. Kurigane is carried away to the ambulance, Baron Kundra clears the incident scene to do an investigation (but only after Mr. Kurigane surreptitiously slips the Baron his notes and measuring tools). Once alone, the Baron finishes the measurements and goes to collect his 'brother' and take him home.   

While this is going on, Mr. Hammill decides to shadow the engineer Calvin Voll for awhile. Learns the man is having an extramarital affair with a young blond waitress. Mr. Hammill gets some compromising pictures of the two together, then backed by Mr Fisker and Mr. Vilchis, contacts the engineer to blackmail him; user name and password to the engineering computer network at the yard in return for the pictures and negatives. Calvin tries to bluff his way out of it, but eventually caves. After a few days provides a user name and password (not his own though; doesn't want to be traced); Mr, Hammill likewise turns over the incriminating photos.  Turns the username / password over to Baron Kundra, who uses it to access the shipyard blueprint database while at work. Downloads the Kinunir blueprints to a data-cube, then walks out the shipyard gate with the last of the information they need to get paid ...

Friday, January 25, 2019

Edge of Night Sector Session #1 - Checking References

General Shipyards of Tortuga

DRAMATIS PERSONNAE
Navy Lieutenant Raj Kundra - 4 terms - UPP 758C8C
Mechanical-1, Pilot-1, Medical-1, Jack-o-T-1

Other Durjam Hammill - 3 terms - UPP A69467
Gambling-3, Forgery-1, Brawling-1, Shotgun-1

Army Lieutenant Bill Fisker - 1 term - UPP C643C9
Rifle-1, SMG-2

Navy Lieutenant Alex Kurigane- 2 terms - UPP AB8579
Vacc Suit-3, Ships Boat-1, Sword-1


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

While sitting around a grubby startown bar after mustering out on Tortuga [2126], the characters are approached by a gentleman dressed in a finely cut suit, flashy waistcoat and a bolo tie. He notes the characters look like just the type of folks he needs to do a special job for him. The characters decline to discuss in public, so he invites them to his room at the nearby Travelers Aid Society hotel.  

Meet with the gentleman (who declines to give his name) in his suspiciously unlived-in looking hotel room. Tells them he represents Tschadi Shipyards of Rastafar [1827], who are interested in gathering some commercial intelligence from General Shipyards on Tortuga. Looking for technical information on Kinunir class battlecrusier. Specifically: the actual measured fuel capacity, location of the jump drive fittings, size and configuration of the maneuver drive/power plant couplings, and location of black globe generator fittings. Baron Kundra has served as an aide-de-camp aboard a Kinunir class cruiser so he understands what the man is looking for. He needs the actual data, not the publicly available information. And needs at least two corroborating statements for each fact. He will pay 50000Cr for each item of corroborated information.  Payment will be by bank transfer from an anonymous account or in the form of plasticredits  if preferred. Characters decline to take the job right away; need time to discuss. He concurs, and tells them to meet him at a restaurant in Tortuga city the next night if they wish to take the job.   


Once they leave the still-nameless gentleman, the party splits up to try learning who he really is and who he really represents before taking the job:
  • Mr Hammill heads to an an appropriately seedy startown dive to play some cards with the local rift-raft and inquire about the mystery man. He wins quite a few credits gambling, and learns the man had been in the bar a few days ago. Seemed to be sizing people up while siting quietly at the bar; didn't recall him talking to anyone at the time.
  • Baron Kundra does a public computer search to find information on Tschadi Shipyards. Seems the company went out of business about 25 years ago at a time of political upheaval on Rastafar. No one has made jump capable starships on Rastafar since (hence the 'B' classification of the starport). No other useful information available on the public network, and efforts to hack into the registry of joint stock companies network (see below) to get more information is unsuccessful.
  • Mr. Fisker heads for the office of the registry of joint stock companies to get information on Tschadi Shipyards.  Lucks out, as it seems one of the shareholders in the company lives on Tortuga. Normally the local planetary government would not have information of extra-planetary companies. The stockholder, a lady by the name of Aya Cheung, is apparently still alive and kicking though well into her nineties now. A later computer search reveals two children; a daughter Silvia who does not seem to have anything to do with the family business, and an older son Jordan who runs the business on his mothers behalf. Information filed away for future use. 
  • Mr Kurigane meanwhile sits in the lobby coffee shop at the TAS hotel to watch for the mystery man. After an hour or so he comes down to the desk and speaks a few words, then writes something down and passes this to the clerk. Then goes out to the taxi shelter to await a cab. An air/raft cab arrives shortly and the mystery man heads into Tortuga city. Mr Kurigane notes the cab number and tries to hail one so he can follow, but it takes too long for the cab to arrive. 


Characters get back together to compare notes. Decide to question the cab driver to see where the mystery man went. Calls cab company to request the same cab. Cab arrives, Baron tries to sweet talk the young lady cabbie into divulging said information, but she refuses and takes off. 

In the end, characters decide to take the job and continue investigation into their employer later. Meet with the mystery man as previously arranged and close the deal. He still refuses to give his name or even a location where he could be contacted. Instead gives them a locker number and combination at the starport where they can leave a message if they need to reach him. Meanwhile, Mr Fisker snaps a picture of the man with his hand computer. Baron Kundra uses that image to do a later computer search. He gets a hit on a newsreel about 5 years old, showing raiders from the Iagonn Suzerainty. It would appear their mystery man is part of the personal entourage of one of the Sky Dukes of Heilithium, the semi-piratical, rampaging and raiding rulers of the Suzerainty. So they have been hired not so much to perform commercial espionage as treasonous espionage. All good ...

Still going ahead with the job, everyone decides to apply for a job at General Shipyards so they can get inside and poke around. Everyone except Mr. Kurigane get Mr. Hammill to whip up some forged ID papers for them first. In the end, Mr. Kurigane gets hired by Security and Baron Kundra gets a job with industrial safety. Both jobs allow them some freedom to roam unquestioned about the shipyard. Baron Kundra notes that there is no Kinunir class ship on the ship ways; not a surprise as the Concordance is suffering a shortage of the necessary high technology items required for such construction.  He does note a pair of merchant vessels under construction (a 200ton free trader and a 400ton subsidized merchant) as well as a nearly compete 200ton yacht on one of the final workup pads. There is also a 300ton close escort under construction for the Navy. 

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Edge of Night Sector .. or How I Spent My Christmas Vacation

After running D&D for my face-to-face game group for the last seven years, I decided needed a bit of a break from swords and orcs for awhile. For various real life reasons, I also needed something that required little or no new game prep and no need to gronk new rules. I'd put together a short Classic Traveller game about a year ago that never quite got off the ground, so we decided to try a reboot (the original campaign background is here). It was pretty much ready to run right away, and after several years of playing Classic Traveller myself,  I'm starting to internalize the rules much like I've already done with B/X D&D. So no problem, no prep ...  

And of course I then proceeded to spend untold hours over Christmas rolling up a full sector, of which the players will likely never see more than 2-3 systems. Behold, the Edge of Night Sector!



To be fair, a few of the sub-sectors were all ready done. That said, 453 worlds and 5889 rolls of the dice later (not counting trade routes), a few thoughts on the process:

  • Rolling up Traveller worlds is  really fun mini game all in itself. I'm continually amazed at how enjoyable it is to just play with all the little bits of Traveller (character generation, spaceship construction, world generation, etc) even with the knowledge that most of it will never see the light of day game-wise. That is true of all role playing games, but for some reason I find it especially true with Traveller. 
  • There is some thing cathatic, relaxing, oddly satisfying or whatever of taking that mass of numbers and molding it into a somewhat logical whole. Plop it all down on the map, add some trade routes and suddenly all sorts of connections and adventure possibilities pop out. Why is there a super high tech planet sitting out by itself in the edge of nowwhere? What's up with that sub-sector full of airless rockballs of all shapes, sizes and populations? 
  • I have now internalized the world generation process to the point where I no longer need to look any the book when rolling up systems. Not sure how useful that is in terms of a life skill, but there it is. But I still can't keep the &#$%(^ atmosphere types straight in my head.
  • Progress was slow at first, but by the end I could whip out a sub-sector in a couple of hours, map and all. 
  • Going strictly by the word generation rules,you end up with a lot of Mars-size and smaller planets. Those in the size range of Earth (size 8) are relatively rare.
  • Speaking of which. Earth-like worlds, defined as those planets with earth-like size, atmosphere and hydrology [i.e 867 for the first three numbers of the UWP], are exceedingly rare. Out of 453 worlds, only 3 met the criteria. And one of those I fudged to fit a particular idea I had in mind. 
  • On the other hand, worlds with hellish insidious atmospheres abound; 14 'C' type atmospheres, and  5 'B' types. And there were more, but I decided to re-roll a few as it was stretching the realm of believably with that many really awful planets. You'd think there weren't any nice, comfortable planets available ...
  • However, as a general rule, with just a few exceptions (minimize number of hell-holes as noted above, and adjusting technology levels so there weren't too many tech level 1 civilizations on worlds that required air tanks to breath), I went with whatever the dice gave me. Yeah it's kind of hard explaining a population of 80 billion on an airless rockball, but that's part of the fun.
  • Determining trade route as per the 1977 rules really helped tie it all together in a big picture. Made laying out sensible interstellar borders easy, and offered up lots of ideas about who got along (or didn't) with who. The pattern of Navy bases helped too. The 'Pact of Iron' and "Kazzarian Warlords" came about when I noted the large concentration of navy bases in that area. Obviously must be a lot of conflict going on there. 
  • Number wise, each world is unique. Not one repeat in the UWPs. Not even close. I'm sure someone with a better statistics background than me could show that's not surprising, but to me after rolling all those dice, it's pretty damned impressive. 
  • Coming up with 453 names that wouldn't make me cringe in a months time was a challenge. A huge chuck are random made up spacey type names. There are a few clusters of worlds with related real word names (ex: Arthurian hero, metals, characters from Greek tragedies, trees, etc). Some whimsical names in a Niven's Known Space vein (Onward-Upward, It's Ended), references to classic science fiction writers and the folks at GDW. And one system called 'Name'; obviously some poor scout filled out the form wrong.
Now, where to put that creative energy now ...

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Far Isles Session #99 & #100 - Null Meets Mist

DRAMATIS PERSONAE:
Awg Wahmn (Calmonari 7)
Chaff (Vivimancer 7), with familiar Pretty Bird and riding raptor, Sue
Kwinsea (Aquamancer 7), with familiar Hermes
Rodrigo (Swashbuckler 7)
Wilhelm (Musketeer 2) [NPC]

Glimpsing at least one other 'yellow man', plus a second figure lurking in the room beyond the stairs, Rodrigo sensed an impossible tactical situation and bellowed to everyone "down the stairs!" And down the stairs they went, jumping off the sides of the open metal staircase in their haste to get away. The party spread out in a circle around the base of the stairs and waited for their foe to follow. It soon did, or rather another automaton with a fully functional blast cannon did. Behind it marched the one with the mangled weapon.  The first leveled it's weapon and fired a blast, thankfully missing.  Kwinsea managed to get an angle where she was able to blast both with a lightning bolt. This blew the already damaged one into it's constituent pieces, and scorched the shiny armor of the second. Chaff then followed up with a web spell that trapped it on the stairs, and it then took just a bit more pummeling from Awg, Rodrigo and Wilhelm  before it too was 'aggressively powered down'.

Meanwhile, Chaff had started casting a  chimera spell, and summoned a mossy, be-tentacled, insectoid monstrosity. He ordered this up the stairs to attack whatever it found in the room above. The rest of the party, with Rodrigo once more in the lead, followed some distance behind. They emerged to see the monster lashing out at a humanoid creature. It was tall with reddish skin and black eyes, wearing some type of silver jumpsuit, and with a collection of golden chains across it's face. Its skin and flesh were very decayed and immediately everyone figured this thing was the undead or undying Armul Urthag. The creature raised a laser pistol and shot the summoned monster as the rest of the party charged in. Wilhelm walloped it with the butt of his musket, but Awg and Rodrigo could make no contact. Kwinsea cast spider climb to get above the fray, while Chaff tucked himself behind some machinery to start summoning another chimera. Armul cast a fan of magic missiles at Kwinsea, Wilhelm and the moss monster, all of whom survived. The party followed up with some hack and slash by Awg and Rodrigo. Kwinsea tried to help from above with  a blast from her prismatic ray gem, but hit the unfortunate Wilhelm instead and thus permanently ended his employ with the party. 

Having been badly beaten by Awg and Rodrigo, Armul's next spell caused him to disappear. Both Awg and Rodrigo lashed out again, assuming he'd just gone invisible. But their weapons hit empty space. Chaff by this time has summoned his latest creation, an ooze-like multi-legged, lizard headed nightmare with poison breath. But for the moment at least, there was nothing for the creature to attack. That didn't last long, for all of a sudden Kwinsea (clinging to the ceiling), noticed a roof hatch opening and the hideous face of Armul Urthag appeared. A few words of a spell from him, and the room the party occupied exploded into a fiery inferno. Everyone suffered hideous damage to within an inch if their lives; or in Chaff's case, an inch beyond. The little vivimancer stumbled out from behind the machinery and collapsed dead on the floor.  But not before he'd directed his latest creation to breath its' foul breath on their foul foe. Kwinsea meanwhile had been trying to silence Armul, but the spell effect ended up centered on the hatch itself rather than their attacker. Awg had used his/her sword to levitate up to the hatch, and then planted a grappling hook into the creatures flesh. In return. Armul shot him with the laser pistol and Awg drifted away dead.  Kwinsea, after quaffing a healing potion, cast another silence spell and this one stuck to Armul. Rodrigo for his part had rushed over to Chaff and rifled through the vivimancers pockets, grabbing the ebony fly, which he then summoned and flew up to take Awg's place in the air. Once there he tried to grab the grappling hook and haul Armul out of the hatch. That didn't work, so dodging laser fire he simply drove his short sword into the creatures face. Armul's skull split in half, and his body slipped through the hatch and fell to the floor below. 

With a sigh of relief and a word of thanks, Kwinsea and Rodrigo searched their fallen friends for healing potions and tossed back the life giving liquors. They then respectfully dumped the bodies in the bag of holding for transport back to civilization and hopefully raising.   But first they still had to find the "Null" so they could complete their mission. While Rodrigo set to ripping jewelry out of Armul's face, Kwinsea looked around the room, There were two KRYO-Tanks, one with the same types of hoses and needles as the ones in the room below. The second had been sealed shut at some point, and inside floated a mass of the blackest black. This amorphous material showed no features, but Kwinsea got the impression that it was moving and whirling about none the less. This, based on the description given by the sage, looked to be the "Null". But what to do now; there was no obvious way to get the primordial magic force from point A to point B. There was a connector on the KRYO-Tank that was matched by an identical one on the stasis cube, but there was no way to join the two. Kwinsea and Rodrigo started to search the room, but found nothing that matched the connections, There was a small locked metal cabinet next to one of the KRYO-Tanks. There was no obvious keyhole or lock, but Kwinsea did not a smooth shiny patch on the front. She tired pushing on it to no avail, before dragging Armul's corpse over and tried his fingers. This worked, and with a 'click' the cabinet opened.  Inside there was no connector, but they did recover another laser pistol and 8 fully charged cartridges. 

Having no luck on this floor, they climbed up through the hatch to check out the roof. There they were able to examine the collection of poles, round disks, and guy-wires they'd seen from a distance. But still no connector. They headed back down the tower, searching the tank room, fallen automatons, and storage room to no avail, They even questioned Gor, who was of no help. In the end the only place left was the floor with the elevator guardians. The two were very wary, knowing they stood little hope of winning a fight at this point, But since Rodrigo had been successful in sneaking behind them before, they decided to take their chances and get into the room with the door frame and weird machinery.  Once there, they saw an obvious switch on the free-standing door frame. And after some hemming and hawing, Rodrigo reached out and flipped it on. The frame lit up and after a few moments a shimmery figure appeared in the frame. It looked like a young female of the same race as Armul Urthag, dressed in a similar silver jumpsuit and with the same golden chains on her face. The figure spoke, but in a language neither Rodrgio or Kwinsea understood. Kwinsea dug out Awg's mother of pearl egg in the hopes it would help. It didn't seem useful, but after Kwinsea had tried saying "hello, we come in peace" a few times, the hologram's speech slowly shifted to near perfect Common. "Greetings. How may I be of assistance? I detect that you carry a Mark 4.1 v2.3247 stasis cube, and four Mark 1.3 v1.112bis65a laser pistols. Do you need assistance with your technology?". Kwinsea asked quickly about connecting the stasis cube to the KRYO-Tank, and the hologram indicated it was simply a matter of using the correct dongle. She gestured vaguely to the left where a piece of machinery suddenly came to life. After a few minutes, the moving and shifting pieces stopped to revel a length of hose or wire with connectors matching that on the stasis cube. The hologram then helpfully informed the pair that the stasis cube could hold the full "4.7 uladecs" of null energy contained in the KRYO-Tank. Questioned about what that meant, and explaining the ultimate planned use of the "Null", the hologram indicated 4.7 uladecs was sufficient to form an anti-magic shield of 4.9 imperial square miles (4.2 Esarian standard miles). Which, after a few quick calculations, reveled an issue with the party's plan to save both Bellephrone and Xin from the Mists.  There wasn't enough "Null" to cover both the Anchorage  island and Xin. 

But that was a problem for another day. After first getting the hologram to recharge all their laser cartridges, Rodrigo and Kwinsea headed back to the shore boat (recovering Chaff's dinosaur along the way) and made their way back to the "No Man's Sea". Once there, they directed Lynessa to raise sail and make haste for the Anchorage and Belleprone. They were especially urgent for now they could see an eerie creeping mist on the eastern horizon; it looked like they had little time to waste. Getting back to Belephrone after a weeks' voyage, they took the sorceress up on her offer to bring back fallen companions as her payment for their help in breaking the cycle of the Mists. 

After couple of days stewing in the pot, Chaff and Awg returned more or less as before, and the party had to decide what to do. Bringing Bellephone into their confidence, they definitely committed to saving the sorceress. But they had hopes of also saving Xin, convinced now that it was the target of the returning Mists. No one really relished the thought of their home getting removed from this world to travel trapped through space and time for all eternity along with the rest of the Far Isles. Besides, all their gold was in the bank there. But they didn't really care much for the Faceless Inquisitor, and so hatched a plan. They would use a third of the "Null" to protect Bellephrone, and use the rest over Xin. But would ensure the Palace of the Faceless Inquisitor was outside the protective shield so the insane ruler would be sucked away with the rest of the Far Isles. This unfortunately, due to the geography of the city, meant several other districts of Xin would be lost (Blackmilk, UnderHulks and the Collegium).  To save as many of the people from imprisonment in the Mists as possible, the party decided to throw a party like Xin had never seen before and invite everyone from those districts especially. Then they could make sure the people stayed under the protective "Null " shield and a least they would be saved. And since, if the plan worked, the city would be ruler-less, Chaff decided to go into politics. The little vivmancer with the intestine hand would try to woo the crowds, take credit for saving them, and take over the city with help from the rest of the party. 

Within a few days, the Mist had crept within sight of the Anchorage. Bellephrone informed them all the islands to the east (the Jungle Isles, Coral Cays and others) were already engulfed. As the Mist started to lap the shores, Chaff mounted the ebony fly, and following the instructions given by the hologram, spread a protective semi-transparent magical shield over Bellephone's end of the island. With that in place, the party jumped aboard the 'No Man's Sea' and headed at top speed for Xin. There, they organized their party and Chaff quietly started paying bribes and clandestinely campaigning [19000gp total cost]. The party was a smashing success, and while the city was lost in a haze of celebration, Chaff once more use the fly to spread the "Null" shield. Everyone thought it was part of the party and cheered him on, but when the Mist moved on after a few days to reveal the missing parts of the city, they all sobered up in a hurry. Chaff, building on his new-found fame and connections, put out word of what happened and claimed credit for saving Xin. But the people saw only the gaping hole where their homes and lives had been. They instead rallied behind one of the city nobles to lead the city; the party's doppelganger enemy, Margrave Uhlan of the 30 Chains! Driven out of Xin by a raging mob, the party jumped aboard the "No Man's Sea" and headed out once more on the high seas ....

AND HERE ENDS THE 'FAR ISLES' CAMPAIGN ...

TOTAL XP
141980

GAINS
2 laser pistols & 8 cartridges
18 jeweled chains (7460gp)

KILLS/VICTORIES
2 Automatons
Armul Urthag
The Faceless Inquisitor and approx 40% or the population of Blackmilk, UnderHulks and the Collegium

LOSSES
Chaff [temporarily]
Awg [temporarily]
Wilhelm [permanently]