Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Iron Gods - The Choking Tower 4

We continue with our Iron Gods campaign - spoilers ahead.

The company returned the next day after a night of rest at the lair of the star monarch. By once again using the secret stairwell, they bypass a couple of floors, arriving eventually at the private bed chamber of Furkas Xoud. Though in his current state, he had little need for sleep, his spellbooks were in the room and their loss would be devastating to him. He arrived immediately to destroy the intruders for good. Starting off once again with a fireball, followed by a spectral miasma, Xoud did some damage, but the party was fresh and Xoud had no allies. Grendal was gravely weakened by the effects of an irradiate spell, but the party prevailed nonetheless. Furkas Xoud was vanquished a second time and this time, there would be no return.


With Xoud defeated, the remaining hazards and minions, including Xoud's two remaining robotic apprentices and a large, animated crane, proved only minor inconveniences. The most dangerous threat turned out to be a haunt in one of Xoud's private study rooms. Among the depraved technomancer's more diabolical research interests was suffocation. He had a vacuum chamber in which he would place test subjects to study their deaths as they gasped for breath. The cruelty of their deaths created a haunt which sought to destroy the living by drawing the air from their lungs. This malevolent entity attacked Smangtooth and the party had little success in figuring out how to destroy it. They eventually left the area and the haunt did not follow as it was attached to that one room.They would later realize that destroying the vacuum pump would lay the haunt to rest.

With his minions slain and his treasures plundered, the ghost of Furkas Xoud was laid to rest and the party had the Choking Tower to call their own. It was a find of extraordinary value for it had both a medical lab and a military lab, as well as the smoke furnace to provide power. The party was further able to remove enough equipment from the buried module at Iadenveigh to also set up a production lab. Let us hope the Technic League does not learn of it.

-Rognar-

Monday, November 14, 2016

Review: Numenéra Character Options 2

The newest expansion for the Numenéra game from Monte Cook Games is the Numenéra Character Options 2. Those familiar with the game or other games that use the Cypher System will know that character concepts are presented using the formula "I am a adjective noun that verbs." The "noun" in this case is the character type. In Numenéra, the are three character types, the glaive (fighter), the nano (mage) and the jack (rogue). The "adjective" is the character descriptor, a single word that best describes the characters strongest attribute, such as tough or charming. The "verb" is the character focus, a word or phrase that describes what the character does such as "masters weaponry" or "controls beasts". For example, a typical archer would be described as "a graceful glaive that carries a quiver". Each of the three components of the character concept formula adds a set of characteristics and abilities to whole character build. So one could create "a clever nano who talks to machines" or "a clever jack who talks to machines", two smart characters with an affinity for technology, but with different abilities.

Obviously, this is the second expansion to add new character design options. The first included a bunch of new descriptors and foci, as well as options for customizing the three character types. This book takes it a step further by introducing two entirely new character types, the glint and the seeker. The glint can best be described as the party "face". This character type is the master of social situations, skilled in the arts of diplomacy and deception. The seeker is an explorer, adept in survival and extremely resilient, almost as good in combat as the glaive, but with skills to boot. NCO2 also introduces a bunch of new character races with a strong emphasis on aquatic and amphibian species, as well as regional descriptors for humans such as the nature-loving Gaians, bloodthirsty Vralkans or seafaring Rayskelans. All in all, some pretty useful stuff, well presented and much of it easily adaptable to other Cypher system campaigns. Highly recommended.

-Rognar-

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Iron Gods - The Choking Tower 3

We continue with our Iron Gods campaign - as always, expect spoilers.

Having discovered a secret stairway, the party decided to head down instead of continuing up the tower. They uncovered a hidden dungeon beneath the tower. The first room they entered had a small desk with a journal written by Furkas Xoud describing various creatures he had summoned and studied. The last entry described a leukodaemon. Sure enough, in the next room was a large glowing summoning circle with a very angry leukodaemon trapped inside. The fiend was clearly contained so the party felt confident they could approach. However, when they entered, a cackling, ghostly figure entered through the wall. It cast a spell and the circle stopped glowing. The ghostly figure then fled and the leukodaemon attacked the party with a hideous breath weapon made up of biting flies.


The battle was difficult, but the party vanquished the leukodaemon. They went on to battle some belkers in a strange wind tunnel built by Xoud to study air creatures, then found a shrine to Zyphus, the god of accidental death. Eventually, they came to Xoud's holding cells. They found a lone occupant, a worm that walks named Nargin Haruvex. Nargin was imprisoned by Xoud as a study subject and was anxious to be freed. He agreed to aid the party against Xoud in exchange for his freedom.

Eventually, they arrived at Xoud's most important research lab. They found his smoke furnace, a power generator combining magic and technology and a room called "Lab Zero: Mnemotechnic Recovery". The lab had a very sophisticated locking mechanism, but Nils was able to defeat it. They entered to find the corpse of Casandalee laid out on a table with a strange robot guarding it. The robot, which the party would later determine to be a thought harvester, attacked the party. Just as they were engaged with it, the ghost of Furkas Xoud arrived and caught them all in a spectral miasma. Unable to see and being drained of life energy, the party fought on bravely. Eventually, they destroyed the robot by causing it to fall into a magical pit and forced Xoud to retreat. Searching the lab, they found some useful information, most notably, the location where Casandalee hid her neurocam, a valley to the northeast called the Scar of the Spider. Before pursuing their new lead, the company decided to finish exploring the tower and hopefully find a way to put Furkas Xoud to rest permanently.

-Rognar-

Sunday, November 06, 2016

Iron Gods - The Choking Tower 2

We continue with our Iron Gods campaign, expect spoilers.

The party realized that the next chamber contained some sort of nanite canisters, which were probably leaking and causing the mutations to the local plants and animals. They figured they could neutralize the nanites by activating the nanotech lab and programming it to neutralize the nanites. Using one of their precious batteries, they were able to briefly power the lab through the exposed conduit and neutralize the mutagenic nanites.

With nothing more to do in Iadenveigh for now, the party prepared to pursue their newest lead. The learned Augusto figured Master Xoud was the Technic League turncoat, Furkas Xoud. A little research led them to learn about the Choking Tower, a strange keep in a distant forest thought to be the last known residence of Xoud. After a week of travel through the Numerian hinterland, the party arrived at the Smokewood, where the Choking Tower was located. They battled a couple of hill giants and a warden robot, before encountering an unearthly creature called a star monarch. The giant butterfly-like creature, sacred to Desna worshippers (such as Nils), had been monitoring the dreams of the inhabitants of the tower for some time. There was only one dreaming creature active at the time, indicating that most of the inhabitants were probably undead or constructs, valuable information indeed.

The next morning they entered the tower. Initial resistance was light. A couple of riot suppression robots guarded the first floor. They proved fairly easy to defeat. In one room, they found an old spellbook belonging to Xoud. It had a collection of fairly common first and second level spells. The second level of the tower was made up of servants' quarters. They had clearly been abandoned years earlier, but a few traps and a trio of gearghosts remained. In one room, they found a small metal pod attached to a wall. They figured out it was a nanite cocoon. Upon removing it, they uncovered a small crack in the wall and a hidden stairwell behind it. More to come...

-Rognar-

Friday, October 21, 2016

Iron Gods - The Choking Tower 1

We continue with our Iron Gods campaign - spoilers ahead.

Following their successful defeat of Hellion at Scrapwall, the party headed back to Torch before deciding what to do next. They had heard about another Iron God called Unity which Hellion sought to destroy. They also heard about Casandalee which Hellion thought of as a sister and who may have escaped from Unity with useful information on how to defeat him. Casandalee was believed to be an android and was last reported to be in what is now the town of Iadenveigh. Although Casandalee most likely died many decades ago, she was said to have a device called a neurocam which can record thoughts and might contain vital information about Unity.

The people of Iadenveigh were rather insular and particularly hostile to high technology. Still, the company was able to earn the cooperation of the town's self-appointed guardian, Iadrin "Redfang" Ashworth and Ivek Gunnett, a member of the town council. Gunnet had reason to believe a spy from the Technic League was in his town and requested that the party investigate. They uncovered clues that led them to a group of Varisian merchants. Rather than presenting their suspicions openly, the party decided to befriend the Varisians. After a couple of nights of interaction, they learned that one among the troupe, a dancer by the name of Ilarris Zeleshi, was a very recent addition. A dancer fit with the information they had and the party realized they had unmasked the spy. Zeleshi soon realized she'd been made and fled at the earliest opportunity. Nonetheless, Nils was able to follow her to a well that had been covered with a capstone. She entered the well, but not before setting off some sort of glyph. The party followed after her, but had to fight through a cloud of nanites.

At the bottom of the well, they found an opening that led into another part of the spaceship buried underground. They came upon a room with computer terminal that still had some power. After some experimentation, they were able to get a video playback of the room on the monitor. It showed a human leaning over the computer. He mentioned something about having charged the computer with a magic spell, but that he couldn't learn anything useful. The man seemed to be talking to an invisible companion whom he called Sahasho. The companion, in return, called the man Master Xoud. The video ended as the man exited the room. The party explored further and battled several deformed androids. They determined that the section of the ship they were in was an android foundry, although the damage it had sustained degraded the androids produced. They also caught up with Ilarris Zeleshi. She was wounded from the glyph and the nanites and they were able to subdue her without killing her. They tied her up for later retrieval.

Moving on, the party pushed its way through a collapsed and trapped section of the ship. Once across, they encountered a group of gearsmen who demanded the immediate surrender of Casandalee. Unsatisfied with the inability of the party to produce her, the gearsmen attacked. Fighting through the gearsmen, the party uncovers a nanotech lab. The lab showed evidence of recent activity including a section of floor tile that had been lifted, exposing what appeared to be a power conduit. The company is addressed by a disembodied voice, which they recognized as that of the invisible companion in the video playback they saw earlier. The creature, which they identified as an invisible stalker, asked if there was any news from Master Xoud and if they had come to release it from its service. When it became clear the party did not come to free it, the invisible stalker attacked. It proved a formidable foe, but the party prevailed. Casandalee may have been here at one time, but it appeared Master Xoud may have left with her remains some time ago. Deciding to move on, the party noticed another door with a sign saying "Canister Access" in Androffan and a bright orange sigil displayed prominently upon it. Until next time...

-Rognar-

Monday, October 03, 2016

Iron Gods - Lords of Rust 3

We continue with our Iron Gods campaign - spoilers ahead.

The time had come for the final confrontation with Hellion. Nalakai came before the group who had decided to occupy the abandoned ratfolk warren and informed them that Hellion demanded their presence for the final initiation into the Lords of Rust. Smangtooth, Targus and Grendel answered the call, accompanied by two members of Redtooth's Raiders. The new members, a pair of ratfolk rogues named Kodo and Podo, were brothers who were highly skilled in robot fighting tactics. The five gathered at the arena and were led to an underground temple. Awaiting them were Nalakai's acolytes. They gathered before a large holographic projector which suddenly sprang to life revealing a hideous demonic figure - Hellion. The image spoke, ordering the group to kneel and prepare for the final test of faith. As the party knelt, Hellion cast an unholy blight upon them. Their agonized response revealed they were not evil and, therefore, not worthy followers. Hellion ordered Nalakai and the acolytes to attack. Though fanatical, Hellion's priests were no match for the group and were quickly dispatched. Nalakai joined Helskrag, Meyanda and Kulgara on the list of deceased Lords of Rust.

The party descended further into the structure beneath the arena. They battled other followers of Hellion, notably dark folk, orcs and another member of the Lords of Rust, the ettin, Draigs. She put up a respectable fight, but at this point, the company was not intimidated by the Lords and they slew her as ruthlessly as they had the others. After some exploration, the party realized they were exploring a huge, buried vehicle. They located another holographic projector which displayed the vehicle in its entirety, revealing it to be an enormous excavator. They also located the central processor and were able to install the inhibitor facet they had acquired earlier. This caused Hellion to terminate its connection with the central processor, but the damage was done. The AI was infected by the disruptive program, weakening it for the final battle to come.

The company exited the excavator and entered the caves around it. They came upon a cave with a pile of fairly fresh orc, ratfolk and human corpses with their torsos burst open. A crude painting of a red, four-armed demonic figure adorned the wall of the cave. Continuing on, they entered another chamber occupied by a figure appearing very much like the painting. The creature, a xill, introduced herself as Zagmaander, At last, the mysterious final member of the Lords of Rust was found. Zagmaander did not immediately attack. She indicated that she knew they were there to destroy Hellion and that she could assist them if they could help her. She was cursed to spend eternity in her cave unless someone could remove the curse. The party discussed it among themselves, but in fact, none of them had the ability to cast the remove curse spell. The xill reasoned that if she could not be freed, she would use them to implant more of her offspring, the same fate as that suffered by the corpses in the previous cave. Zagmaander swung her swords, fired her laser torch and even employed her paralyzing bite, but outnumbered 5-to-1, she didn't last long. She welcomed the release of death.

Finally, the company came upon their ultimate foe. At the far end of excavator, the giant bucket wheel protruded into a large cavern. Plenty of debris and partially-constructed robots lay about. A large scorpion-like robot rose up before them. Hellion had retreated to an arachnid robot chassis.


It opened fire on Smangtooth with its plasma beam as the ratfolk charged up to engage. Using its claws to fight the ratfolk and its plasma gun to strafe Smangtooth, Hellion fought hard. It concentrated its attacks on Smangtooth and being a divine creature with mythic power, it had many attacks. Smangtooth struck repeatedly with her chainsword, while Kodo and Podo teamed up, stabbing with their adamantine rapiers. Grendel and Targus followed up, surrounding the 'bot. Weakening quickly and still confused by the inhibitor facet, Hellion directed all its mythic attacks at Smangtooth. The orc barbarian was hideously battered, but still barely held on through sheer force of will as Podo drove home the killing blow. Unfortunately for Smangtooth, Hellion's robot chassis exploded. Everyone was caught in the blast, but for Smangtooth, it was too much. Her scorched body fell to the floor. Smangtooth was dead.

Good thing they still had that scroll of resurrection.

-Rognar-

Monday, September 19, 2016

Iron Gods - Lords of Rust 2

We continue with our Iron Gods campaign, spoilers ahead.

After defeating the Smilers and rescuing Whiskifiss, the company paid a visit to the hangout of Redtooth's Raiders. Redtooth was greatly relieved to have her brother returned safe. The party learned that Redtooth and her gang were fighting a small-scale insurgency against the Lords of Rust. The party agreed to help and Redtooth told them she believed there were some explosives in a wreck of a small vessel in a fog-shrouded canyon at the far end of Scrapwall. She wanted to use the explosives to destroy the arena and the receiver array, two structures that were important to the Lords of Rust. The party agreed to retrieve the explosives.

To avoid the eyes of agents of the Lords, the party took an unwatched route guarded by a mutant manticore. They defeated the monster, but Smangtooth suffered a nasty radioactive bite resulting in a serious bout of radiation poisoning. Although she was weakened, Smangtooth and the rest of the party pushed on. The small ship was suffused in necromantic energy. The group fought shadows and skeletal champions before a final battle against a wraith. They acquired a number of useful items including three explosive charges and an inhibitor facet, a valuable weapon to use against artificial intelligences.

The party's exploits had finally attracted the attention of the Lords of Rust. Nalakai, a half-orc cleric of Hellion, came before them with an invitation from the Lords of Rust. Helskrag, the troll master of the arena, offered them a chance to join the gang in a trial by combat. They agreed to battle the following day only to find out they would be fighting Helskrag herself. Riding an enormous chariot pulled by two ogres, Helskrag charged toward them. As she closed on Smangtooth, she fired her autograpnel at Targus, embedding in his chest. Nils and Fact opened up on one of the ogres with laser rifle and alchemical bomb respectively. It proved too much for the ogre who staggered. The chariot crashed into Smangtooth, who was thrown twenty feet in the air, while Grendel moved up to engage in melee. A short, but bloody battle ensued. Nils concentrated his laser fire on the troll, knowing she could not regenerate the damage, while Smangtooth got to her feet and proceeded to dispatch the remaining ogre. Targus got mauled pretty good by Helskrag, but gave a good accounting of himself. In the end, they were battered, but victorious and offered membership in the Lords of Rust.

Fresh off their victory over Helskrag, the company was feeling confident. They had now slain two members of the Lords of Rust and were keen to collect another trophy. In accordance with the rules of the arena, they called out Kulgara, orc barbarian and leader of the gang.


She accepted the challenge and the next day, the group found themselves facing off in the arena against the orc leader and her elite ogrish bodyguards.The roar of the crowd and the rumbling of Kulgara's chainsaw was deafening as she started off by lobbing an inferno grenade. The group scattered to avoid the blast and the melee was on. Blood splattered everywhere as Kulgara's chainsword chewed into Smangtooth's flesh, but she gave as good as she got. Grendel battled two ogres, while Targus fought the other two. Fact and Nils concentrated their ranged attacks on Kulgara. Things looked bleak as Grendel went down from a massive strike by one of the ogres, but luck would smile upon the company at just the right time. A well-aimed blow from Smangtooth slipped past Kulgara's parry, crushing her skull and killing her instantly. Silence settled upon the crowd as Smangtooth picked up the chainsword, checked its heft, then slung it over her shoulder and walked away, leaving the orc warchief's ruin upon the field. Hellion awaits.

-Rognar-