Campaign of the Month: May 2014
Ladies in Hades and the Dyval Wears Prada
Well that certainly was an interesting finale! The shocking culmination of a four month stint trek across ancient Babylon went not with a bang…but a whimper. We had previously left the group outside of Mount Sodom (Mut Shedim) right on the shores of the Dead Sea. The system of tunnels bored through the salt tower overlooked the Dead Sea and the prospect of meeting a salt flats demon deterred the group from venturing further down the road less traveled. Trent’s temporal dimensional envelope afforded the group a window of 24 hours for a few minutes in “real-time” so everyone was able to heal up before deciding to head straight for one of last two unexplored points on the celestial cartography map — the one that just so happened to coincide with James’s Easter Egg wink. So without further ado we accelerated time and travel out to the city Uruk where the group relived and re-discovered an alternate ending to the Epic of Gilgamesh. You guys ventured into a temporal anomaly that had you voyeuristically witnessing the events of the past. You saw the citizens going about their regular lives and going through the motions of business as usual. The smell of smoked meet and curing aromas filled the dino-olfactories. With a little more investigation you noticed many carcasses of game hanging from the ceiling like a butcher shop — and this was right in the main building and seat of the government — the place that should have been Gilgamesh’s place of power. With a little more investigation you also noticed that some of the game was mounted to the walls like trophies in a hunting lodge; there were even corpses of demons and deevils on display! This immediately struck you as odd because traditionally their bodies disappear in a cloud of smoke or a flash of light or just vanish altogether upon being killed. They are supposed to “return” to their home dimensions and are bound from coming back to the realm of earth for another hundred years. Trent noticed some teeny, tiny scintilla of dimensional anomalies on the corpses and James noticed the corpses had all been pierced with some incredibly wicked arrows that bored giant holes through the prey.
Up in the throne room you found a room in disrepair that was littered with corpses and trophies. Steve’s detected a concealed passage and Pall Mall skillfully disarmed the wards to open a room behind the throne that, in the past, was littered with gold and gems and valuable items. In the present and with Trent’s Time Barrier spell you guys honed in on the smell of smoked meat and a massive, hairy body hanging upside down from the ceiling; it was the body of Enkidu, Gilgamesh’s oldest friend and Shamhat’s husband. It was quickly determined that he was near death and would die very soon if the suspended animation was broken. James, carried lovingly by McGreggor went off at Mach 17 to find How He Who Once Was Old Becomes A Young Man Again — the flower. They mashed it up and shoved it in the wooly man’s mouth and arrested the disease and toxins. Once he was stabilized the group introduced Enkidu to his wife, Shamhat. Shamhat, the Priestess of Ishtar, was still stuck in the crown after a long series of convoluted invasion of the body-snatchers swapping. We did some funky finagling with the crown and James became possessed by Shamhat and, with the aid of the Deevil amulet from Trent enabled Shamhat to metamorphose into her true form to prove to Enkidu that she was authentic. Trent then cast a Time Barrier which enabled you guys to see that the real citizens of the city of Uruk were NOT here but instead there were Scorpion people and they were dragging giant carcasses of game back from the Great Hunt. They talked of the Huntsman (also referred to as “the Stalker”) and spoke of his having taken over the city of Uruk in the absence of Gilgamesh.
James, through further investigation, was able to glean more important bits of information he’ll be able to use to find this elusive hunter who has been hot on the trail of his mother, Artemis. This Huntsman, known as Orion, he is tied to the constellation in the night sky and — the conspicuous disappearance of the constellation’s “belt” stars in the present day on Rifts Earth. His appearance here in Ancient Babylon appears to be tied to the emergence of Chaos forces. Only one thing is known for sure about this enigmatic being: He thrives on the thrill of the Hunt.
After the Easter Egg we healed up and buffed and basically went straight out to the tower of Babel where Trent immediately opened a portal into one of his dimensional envelopes and the group took a load off — at a reduced rate of time-passage. Whew! Their next step was to waltz right into the Tower and spelunk the underdark. Trent ignited every able-bodied cobweb in the entire building with his spell and cleared a path by getting the attention of every eight-legged freak in the place. The group found out, after a prolonged battle down into the bowels of the tower that they would be harried every step of the way. A few fights with the mini-cooper Widow Wives and the Widowlings prompted a reevaluation of strategy. You guys decided to mystic portal downward through the landings instead of fighting and ice-blocking every painful inch of the way. On the third landing the group took a breather in one of Trent’s envelopes, saved their game, and told james to Astrally Project himself deeper into the Tower for a little reconnoitering. Which he did faithfully. He came back to the group with a little information that the group used to little avail. Next on the menu? NEXUS MAW!!!!
When you guys stood in the doorway the heroic Steve charged in…with Pall Mall’s Shifter minions…and froze. It looked like the entire room was being subjected to a form of Time Stop!
When Trent’s Time Barrier stopped the Time Stop Steve unfroze and continued rushing headlong into the room and baiting the monstrous beast into focusing on him. Whoa! Look at the size of those cajones! You guys immediately noticed what looked like an anti-magic cloud in the room. The Nexus Maw quickly focused on a few shadow beasts, a demon locust (the only real casualty) and the Splicer Scuba Steve. It appeared to be operating at a disadvantage after James’s Demon and Monster lore explained that it knew a whole host of spells, could dimensional teleport and open gateways to almost anywhere and had master psionics. The monstrous beast was resorting to fighting with its tentacles and very limited range psionics. For a moment it looked like Steve was ensnared and was being delivered right into the rift to the pocket-dimension mouth for dinner! McGreggor seized the opportunity to dart into the room with his insano-speed necklace, pickup the corpse that was later determined to be the counterpart to the “Naked Man.” Unfortunately he also tried to pickup the giant monolith of the Code of Hammurabi but had to drop them both when he was entangled by a huge tentacle. James then heroically stopped trying to make the giant nexus maw save versus psionics and ran out to retrieve the body and deposit it outside the room. Scuba Steve wielding Conan began hacking tentacles to bits but after rolling a one on his save versus psionics became “mentally possessed by others” — Oh shit! He started coming after the group with that crazy alien weapon in his hands…until he failed another save and went BERSERK! This quickly erased the MC / possession but now he was a raving lunatic slaying the nearest thing in any direction. James attempted to soothe him with hypnotic suggestion but Conan would not be deterred. In three insane chops he made quick work of the giant demon locust — Pall Mall’s summoned minion. He then set his sights on more tentacles but not before almost going for both McGreggor and James. McG, upon seeing James pickup the Code of Hammurabi and waddle with it out of the door took out his plasma shoulder cannon, knelt down, and began taking pot shots at the Nexus Maw.
Meanwhile, outside of the room, Pall Mall supported his minions relatively risk-free with Trent and Jescha hanging out and providing versatile aid where necessary. It wasn’t long before a SECOND anti-magic cloud appeared to counter the “existing” one and a carpet of adhesion subdued Conan-possessed Steve. The body of the naked man prompted everyone’s attention to turn to the ACTUAL naked man who was striding confidently down the ramps toward the group and past a giant melting block of Ice Wall. Upon seeing his actual corpse, the two bodies of the Naked Man actually created a Temporal Paradox which quickly spiraled out of control and erupted into the “deaths” of both and the emergence of a shimmering wave of temporal energy. Before your eyes stretched a yawing temporal portal the likes of which you had only seen one other time before…from the sword back in Pall Mall’s sanctuary before you guys left Rifts Earth (110 P.A.).
At this point everyone was SUPER tired and we were all pretty fuckin’ cranky. If I remember correctly Trent teleported the massive monolithic Code of Hammurabi to the throne room at the ziggurat Etemenanki in Babylon. You guys investigated it a little bit and found writing that was a little different that the cuneiform script covering the rest of the rock. Upon even further inspection you noticed little cracks in the stone where piercing rays of light beamed out of the Code and eventually you broke the stone (the first instance in the entire installment when McGreggor’s preferred method of investigation was actually “required”) and released the corpse of the god Marduk — his tongue neatly severed. The Plague of Babylon still hasn’t been solved but I can’t see our NOT finishing this via Email.