Campaign of the Month: May 2014
Ladies in Hades and the Dyval Wears Prada
Well I think we had a very productive session despite getting started a little later than we would have liked. We also got off to a slow start with some indecisiveness. I know folks are starting to get a little tired of Ancient Babylon. There was clearly “too much” content to keep you guys adequately entertained for a few sessions. But I’m learning from my sandbox-building experience and I have thoroughly enjoyed watching you guys sift through the content. I had predicted approximately three months of gaming (six session) to ride every ride in the theme park and it’ll probably take about eight. I believe tonight was six…or was it seven? Regardless, the player-specific easter-eggs are a pretty decent-sized diversion that I can remove from the future playing fields to streamline the adventure a little better. I’ll take a vote on that after calling, polling, and gleaning some feedback from everyone.
So, we started off in the hanging gardens of babylon where everyone was fully rested and recuperated from our last harrowing session. You decided to create a circle of protection and share information and RP while McGreggor went off to jury-rig a space-suit-helmet antimatter vessel. James was given the Epic of Gilgamesh. Pall Mall was informed about the mad prophet Abdul Alhazred. Blammo! You guys were off to the aqueduct tunnels to rescue the antimatter comet. On your way there you met a crazy man and his chicken — and he was actually speaking through what looked like a communication rift to his “patron god.” He was speaking in a gibberish we assumed was a result of the plague of Tongues. There were tentacles reaching out of the portal and caressing him, his undead, bio-mechanical chicken, and emitting an inky-black cloud-like ooze — not unlike squid ink. MacGreggor vaporized the man from behind — honorably — and perfumed the group with a potpourri of Arab giblets. The chicken squawked and shuddered and made a terrible commotion whereupon seeing this Trent unleashed the Time Barrier spell and cut off communication through the temporal anomaly. Pall Mall, as a Shifter, recognized what he thought was another shifter speaking through a communication rift — only a temporal one — to his “master.” The exception: His master was a tentacled, dark god who attempted to reach out and communicate telepathically with Pall Mall and who identified with the name Cthulhu. When the time barrier eradicated the temporal anomaly the probing tentacles literally were sliced off and left to writhe and wriggle on the floor of the tunnel and Pall picked one up and shoved it in his bag. He also plucked a feather from the chicken, much to its chagrin, and fended it off when it squawked and tried to claw him and bat the tentacle away from him.
You continued onward toward the section of the tunnel that was hand-hewn and near the meteor crash site. Macgreggor produced a space-suit helmet he had taken from the starting O.C.C. inventory of Trent’s Temporal Wizard, jury-rigged two e-clips to it in redundancy. He used basic mechanics, Jescha’s basic electronics, and field armorer…and a few hours of his time to create an electromagnetic field inside of this space helmet. They then used a respirator to create a vacuum / void inside the helmet, turn on the e-clips, and now Trent’s turn. He created a mystic portal, a dimensional envelope, and telekinetically siphoned the antimatter into the electromagnetic stasis-vacuum and ferried it into the mystic-portal’d dimensional envelope to release it. Awesome! Now that’s some serious ingenuity!
From there you guys decided to head back to Steve’s Easter Egg in the Ishtar Cult Cave. Steve, when faced with the well, decided against skinny-dipping and everyone left pall mall in the room with the well to go check out the giant amphitheater-sized cavern. You felt some vibrations under the floor and perhaps some disturbances in the small puddles and pools. After some hunting, pecking, hemming, and hawing MacGreggor did what he does best and smashed the altar. He actually took the opportunity to appreciate it first as the sucking sound of a rushing river rapid filled the entire cavern. And rush it did…SHOT STRAIGHT UP out of the hole like a geyser and quickly blasted everyone and everything up to the ceiling of the cavern where it kept you guys pinned! The tidal force of old faithful actually shattered the floor around macgreggor’s hammer-sized hole until it completely ate away and expanded the radius of onrushing water to nearly 25ft. When the surge finally reached a pressurized equilibrium you noticed the sandtrout swimming around and filling the chamber. Steve decided to shuck his armor suit and skinny-dip / chunky-dunk into the abyss. Once his bare skin was exposed the sandtrout that were previously uninterested in nibbling at his armor now became considerably more excited and made little fish-faces while masticating our native Splicer. This was practically a scene right out of Dune. Steve found that, despite not having the swimming skill when the sandtrout attached to him and began bonding to him he was able to swim like a fish. He also found that despite not having his suit’s gills the sandtrout were oxygenating his blood and providing him with enough nitrogen to respire and to continue almost “breathing” through them. Through his biology and genetics skill rolls he was able to determine they the sandtrout were a primitive almost proto-worm form of Shai’Hulud the ancient mile and a half-long sand worms. They excrete a cinnamon-like substance and naturally encyst and encircle and drain all the water that is available to them…inevitably turning their every environment into a desert. This was the Dune eventuality. Remember, Arrakis used to be a lush, green jungle planet rife with life and thriving with rains and moisture and, well…paradise!
When Steve finally reached the bottom of the abyss he found an “air bubble” like that scene out of The Abyss and swam downward out of the water. The entire cylinder of thousands of gallons of water was actually above his head and he was walking about on dry land. He traversed the length of the pipe corridor and found the bottom end of the well room where Pall Mall was meditating. He then called the rest of the group down there and Trent opened a Mystic Portal to the area. Then the search began in earnest. You guys sensed the same PPE dust particulates you had seen in the same cavern up above. Just like last time at the point of that massive concentration of particulates you used the iron rod or McGreggor’s iron sword and pierced an illusory wall that opened into a downward spiraling chamber. In the chamber you found a book called the Ley of Treenen — an ancient history text of the second age of the Megaverse — it talks about everything from the Prometheans, Star Elves, and other Elder races to the Dominators, the War that ended the second age, and even the coming of Center, Phase World, and the third age of the Megaverse. It even talked about Splicers! The Ley of Treenen will have its own entry on the Obsidian Portal page so you’ll be able to refer to that and avail yourself of the information contained therein. I think that’s all you found down there.
Next you decided to go to another point on the map. You traveled down to the Desert of Judea to the Cities of the Plain: Zeboim, Alda, and Bela. These were three ruined sister cities and they had clearly been overrun by demons and destroyed. When you got to Sodom and Gomorrah you found that these cities were nearly opaque enough to be translucent and, upon further inspection, the Shifter and Temporal Wizard determined these cities to be simultaneously existing in two dimensions at the same time — much like Psyscape or the Bermuda Triangle etc. Sir Altinius was sent into the temple to see if it had an altar. And I think it was just before this latest foray that you guys figured out the SEVEN points on the celestial cartography map coincide with the seven points of the Star of Babylon. Then you pieced together that there was indeed a shrine / altar at each of the seven locations (though you had only been to five). Congratulations on those awesome deductive reasonings. I think Pall Mall determined that the demons in Sodom and Gomorrah were actual HADES DEMONS — in fact they were the first Hades demons you had ever laid eyes upon in Ancient Babylon. Every demonic creature to this point has been a CHAOS DEMON. In fact, the demons in Sodom and Gomorrah didn’t even appear to notice you or pay heed or even care. Something strange was definitely going on. Sir Altinius went into the temple and James went into Astral Projection mode and found that, indeed, like the previous altars, beneath this one was a system of pulleys and a chase / shaft that went downward into a system of tunnels. He was able to determine that they went to a large body of water since they followed the aqueduct and it was most likely the Mediterranean Sea.
After that you guys traveled to the Dead Sea where James tracked humanoid footprints from the sheer cliff-face to the salt-laden water. McGreggor volunteered to go for a swim after Pall Mall’s Mythology roll reminded him that there’s an Arthurian legend revolving around a lake like this and a lady who lives in it…and a sword named Excalibur. McGreggor made two saves versus lethal poison and turned the gravity on his suit harness all the way up so he was able to sink like a rock to the bottom…and sink…and plunge…and plummet…for minutes until he was a mile and a half or two miles deep…like the Marianas Trench. He kept his head lamp lit for a while and felt things slithering past him in the deep, dark waters. Something brushed against his leg. Something brushed against his shoulder. He got a little unnerved and decided to come back up. LOL! Not long after that he had a fitful bout of daring and courageously delved back into the Dead Sea to plumb the depths of yet another abyss! Y’know, for a desert, you guys sure saw your fair share of water! Regardless, the water was unnaturally dark and ridiculously deep but once MacGreggor turned off his headlamp he was able to see that there was some kind of light down further, past where his eyes could clearly see. At this time Pall Mall went up to follow Sir Altinius to the cave where the footprints led and he pierced an illusion that allowed him and Steve to walk right into the cave. The road forked a few times but they were definitely in a giant pillar of salt known as Mut Shedim or Mount Sodom — made entirely out of the RISING SALT from the Dead Sea. When Sir Altinius went down one tunnel and Pall Mall shared his vision for long enough to see a giant flaming axe and a ten foot wheel of fire coming barreling down at his poor bird familiar he decided to pull the plug and he and Steve went back to the beach where Trent, James, and Jescha awaited McGreggor’s return.
McGreggor’s feet FINALLY touched solid ground and the water was rather warm — he was just atop a tectonic plate at the earth’s crust and actually felt calm, quiet, and peaceful. He got a much better look at bioluminescent bacteria that lit the water and seemed to be basking in the heat that escaped the cracks and crevices in the floor. McG surveyed and accidentally stubbed his toe on a strange carved piece of striped rock. It was actually a band of metal that had been bored into the bedrock. McGreggor’s supernatural PS allows him to life three tons so he picked the entire thing up, hefted it onto his back, turned down his gravity all the way, and became the human air-bubble that floated the giant slab up to the beach — nice and slowly so he didn’t contract the bends or double-over with blood-bubbled oxygen or a cavitation in his heart. What he neglected to mention to the group was that when he peeled a piece of the earth’s crust off liquid magma began to flow into the dead sea and vaporize the water leaving giant salt deposits. It quickly heated and evaporated the water but then heated and super-heated those pockets of gas into super-heated plasma. Eventually, with enough distance, the magma began to cool but the damage had already been done. Once the slab was on the beach and everyone’s attention was diverted Trent decided to go off to investigate an alternate dimension. Steve, McG, and James heard the most lovely soothing cooing — it was the sound of the most beautiful lullaby they’d ever heard AND it was their own mothers who were each singing to them individually. Incredible! Pall Mall resisted the song-spell and managed to read a scroll of anti-magic cloud to awaken his companions. What he saw rising from out of the lake vaguely resembled a Splugorth. It was a GIGANTIC EYE and it focused right on him…and blinked. It attempted to say something into Pall’s mind but the Sowki resisted yet again! Then this gigantic thing started booming out in a great voice that everyone could understand, “You dare waken me? Your transgression is heresy and sacrosanct! You have disturbed my slumber of ages, insignificant peon, bow before me and you shall leave with your lives! I represent the hive! I am the mother of the hive! Kneel and show your subservience!”
Well that went over like a turd in the punch bowl and Steve defiantly refused to kneel. James and McGreggor kneeled and Pall Mall cast invulnerability on Steve. You guys kinda egged him on a bit more but your noncompliance and nonconformity upset the behemoth and he swung a giant tentacle at you — about the size of a tower crane coming so slowly and ponderously that everyone dodged EXCEPT Pall Mall who got flung and hurtled like a rag doll a hundred and ten feet and took over a hundred points of damage. Yeow! Brutal! Steve used his best Playing In Character to get the thing’s attention and distract it from the other members of the group but he ended up taking some damage too. McG and James slid forward on bended knee opened the chest under Pall Mall’s anti-magic cloud, negating the alien wards I had designed as a TPW and made off with all the loot. WELL PLAYED!!!!! You guys unearthed the zweihander sword, Conan, a Greatest Rune Weapon (not a claymore), a set of traveling tibetan monk bolla-balls bead necklace that makes McGreggor move ridiculously fast — or appear to, and another two books — two parts of one book actually, a Heresy of the Forge. The first, in fact, which details a false account of the Cosmic Forge. (Fleets of the Three Galaxies again). You guys decided to go into a cave and take on two greater night chaos demons — head on — with no time stop. And Steve came within 5 MDC of death. McGreggor didn’t take any damage. James took hundreds of damage but had nearly 1000 MDC from his magical adrenal rush. You guys were caught up in a series of carpets of adhesion and mystic portals and entangling tentacles — using SHITLOADS of PPE to cast annihilates, and scrolls, and ensorcels, and craziness. You ended up vanquished the two greater no joke chaos demons and found the Dead Sea Scrolls. Whether you decide to explore the pillar of salt further when next we meet is up to you. You did a great job of working together tonight and Pall Mall saved the group with more than a few timely dispel magic barriers or an anti-magic cloud. We had the most deductive reasonings from James actually tonight and Steve did a real bang-up job tanking the shit out of stuff and playing very strategically. McGreggor had the most Clever and Usefuls so all in all it was a really wide spread tonight. Everyone really excelled in one area or another. It was a relatively low XP night with only two people scoring over 2000xp but I feel like it was a very productive one. Well done!