Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Iron Gods - Fires of Creation 5

Continuing with our Iron Gods campaign, as always, there will be spoilers.

The next day, the company headed out to Garmen Ulreth's warehouse to confront him on his activities. They decided to use the direct approach, walking right up to the door and knocking. One of Ulreth's men answered the door, but refused to allow them in and told them to go away. Smangtooth took umbrage at that and proceeded to smash in the door. This led to a brief battle between the group and Ulreth and his men. Ulreth proved to be little challenge. The party then searched the building, uncovering the item they sought. It wasn't a magic item at all, rather it was a power relay, taking energy from a source somewhere inside Black Hill, amplifying it and transmitting it to a location somewhere off to the northeast. Further examination revealed the destination to be Scrapwall, a lawless region several days travel from Torch. Targus decided to shut down the power relay, assuming this would be necessary to restart the forge.

The company then headed back to the caves. With the coupling for the elevator repaired, they were able to activate it. Only one destination was available, the engineering deck, so that is where they went. The encountered a group of orcs and ratfolk who battled hard, but ultimately proved little threat to the group. Moving on, they came to a large domed chamber. A machine with a large holographic projection showing the habitat section of the ship shared the room with some bizarre statue of an upraised claw made of broken bits of technology. The statue has the appearance of a crudely-built altar to some unknown deity. As they examined the room, a hulking gargoyle entered. The gargoyle was covered in bits of broken technology. Despite its fearsome appearance, the gargoyle was defeated easily. The reactor core and a final confrontation awaited beyond a pair of immense black metal doors.

At the heart of the room was two huge cylinders pulsing with violet light. Hovering around them was a collector robot which moved down to attack, while the purple-haired woman fired some sort of crude laser pistol from a platform above. A tough battle followed. The purple-haired woman was revealed to be an android and a cleric. As she died, she called out to a god she called Hellion.

With the defeat of the android cleric, the company was able to disable the power transmitter that was feeding energy to the relay in Ulreth's warehouse. This re-engaged a fail-safe venting system that provided the fire to the forge. Torch was saved...for now.


Monday, August 22, 2016

Iron Gods - Fires of Creation 4

We proceed with the next chapter of our Iron Gods campaign, spoilers ahead.

It took some effort getting Khonnir Baine and Sanvil Trett back up to the surface, but eventually they managed. The Brigh cleric, Joram Kyte, examined Baine. With healing magic, he was able to cure Baine's wounds and temporarily recover his faculties, but some sort of infection continued to ravage his body and mind. The infection resisted Kyte's magic, suggesting it was some sort of nanite disease requiring a technological cure. Thinking back over their time in the ship, the party recalled that each of the passageways into the habitat dome had a small room with some sort of spray apparatus, which could have been a decontamination chamber.

The next day, with Joram's help, they got Khonnir into sufficiently good shape to make the journey back into the caves. They took him to the room which, they hoped, would heal him. Targus and Smangtooth were able to get the machine working and Khonnir was sprayed. They promptly returned to the surface to wait and see if the nanite infection was removed.

Meanwhile, Sanvil Trett had regained consciousness and was willing to talk in exchange for leniency. He indicated that he had once worked for the Technic League, but had fallen into disfavour and was hoping to find something here in Torch that he could present to his former employers to get him back in their good graces. He said before the company had come along and started bringing technological artifacts out of the caves, he had actually been more interested in Garmen Ulreth, a prominent local businessman and owner of Silverdisk Hall, a gambling house. Trett mentioned that he had been spying on Ulreth and overheard mention of a new business partner and the arrival of a valuable magic item which would be stored in his warehouse until a buyer could be arranged. Trett was fairly certain whatever Ulreth was up to had something to do with the extinguishing of the torch.

That night, as he slept in preparation for the next day and a confrontation with Garmen Ulreth, Targus had a vivid dream. Great battles fought on distant worlds, flying ships, titanic war machines, powerful magic and advanced technology, men in armour fighting horrific monsters and hatred of an ancient enemy known simply as the Dominion of the Black. Targus snapped awake and instinctively reached for his sword. The strange black blade he had carried for years, indeed, he could not clearly recall a time when he did not have it, nor could he recall where he got it. The sword now displayed a string of dimly-glowing red runes along the whole length of the blade. Targus could sense its consciousness at the edge of his own. Two had become one.


Iron Gods - Fires of Creation 3

Continuing with our Iron Gods campaign, as before, there are spoilers ahead.

The death of Edvin was a grievous blow to the party. They mourned his passing, but were gladdened that he had joined the Lady of Graves in the afterlife. Fact informed the group that he had personal obligations to attend to and would meet up with them at a later date. This combined with the loss of Edvin left the company dangerously short of men. So they turned to a woman...sort of. During their time in Torch, the party had met many of the locals including an orcish giantess named Smangtooth. Though orcs are generally viewed poorly in these parts, Smangtooth was more than capable of discouraging the local thugs and had kept out of trouble in town long enough to earn a grudging amount of acceptance. Her fighting prowess and surprising degree of expertise in technology made her highly valued by the company and she was invited to join.

Descending once again into the caves of Black Hill, the party proceeded to the one remaining door they had not yet entered. They came into a large room with a desk and some glowing panels and patches of mould. More importantly, a dried blood stain covered the floor near a set of double doors. After looting the room of everything of value, they followed the trail of blood. Eventually, the came to some sort of lab containing many rock and soil samples. Featured prominently in the room was a humming machine containing a flickering sphere of reddish-brown mud. As the company examined the device, a hideous creature emerged from the shadows.

Augusto, having some learning of such things, identified it as an alien horror from a distant world called a cerebric fungus. Luck smiled upon the company as they did not succumb to the weird mind-altering powers of the creature and they were able to kill it without loss of life.

With a sense that they were close to uncovering the fate of Khonnir Baine, the party pressed on. Following the blood trail, they eventually came upon a chamber that may have once served as a hospital of some sort, but had recently seen a great deal of violence as blood splatters could seen everywhere. A medical robot and a collector robot occupied the room. 

In violation of their standard operational protocols, the two robots attacked with great ferocity. By this point, the party had some experience fighting robots. They eventually succeeded in destroying the aggressive robots. With a moment to catch their breath, they could hear muffled screams. The noise came from a large metal pod in one end of the room. Opening it up, they found Khonnir Baine, alive, but badly wounded and clearly delirious. They administered to him as best they could, but he clearly needed more healing magic than they could provide. They decided to check out the remaining parts of the ship in case some useful medical technology might be found. During their exploration, they encountered a group of vegepygmies, the spawn of the unfortunate party of Brigh worshippers who made up the fourth expedition. They had apparently ran afoul of some russet mould, probably mutated by the weird fluids that oozed and pooled in parts of the ship.

They also came upon a small chamber which appeared to be a transport device of some sort. The device did not work, but after some study and a few nasty electrical shocks, Nils was able to remove a piece of equipment that needed to be repaired to return function to the device. He figured Baine could probably repair the part once he was returned to health.

Having found nothing that could cure Khonnir Baine of whatever it was that ailed him, the party headed out. As they passed through the large cavern where the skulks once lived, they were set upon by a group of men with swords and crossbows. The leader of the brigands was a hooded figure of some prowess with both sword and spell. The battle was hard-fought, and the struggle between Smangtooth and the bandit leader was particularly ferocious. In the end, the company was victorious, though all were bloodied. The bandit leader lay on the ground, bleeding, but not yet dead. Nils moved to attend to the villain in order to keep him alive for questioning and trial. Pulling back the hood, the bandit leader was revealed to be Sanvil Trett, a local technology merchant the party had met a few days before. He had offered his services if the party wished to identify or sell technological items they found. Hopefully, he would have some useful information to barter in exchange for his life.


Saturday, August 06, 2016

Iron Gods - Fires of Creation 2

We continue with our Iron Gods campaign. As always, there will be spoilers.

Upon returning to the town, Targus, Edvin, Grendal and Augusto met up with Nils, who had just arrived in Torch. At some point, Nils had joined up with a traveling companion, a strange fellow named Fact. He is an alchemist with elaborate tattoos over his body.

After healing and rest, the party was ready to return to the Black Hill caves. The leader of the skulks had mentioned a purple-haired woman who had passed through the caves a couple of weeks ago and had continued on through the gremlin warren. The party returned to the warren and found a large door made of glaucite, a strange alloy common to the ancient ruins throughout Numeria. Despite their best efforts, the party was unable to open the door. Returning to the skulk chamber, they were directed to another glaucite door which was easier to breach. Passing through, they entered a very different sort of passage. The walls were glaucite, rather than natural stone. They passed through a series of metal doors and small rooms and fought a brief battle with an automaton like the one Khonnir Baine brought back from his first expedition.

Eventually, the party came to a large chamber with natural stone walls, a sandy floor and a glaucite domed ceiling. It appeared to be some artificial structure made to appear natural. The sand floor revealed tracks which Nils was able to follow. As they crossed the open terrain, they were beset by a group of four-armed skeletons. The party handled the skeletons with little difficulty. Feeling confident, they continued on until they came to a cave on the other side of the chamber. There was illumination in the cave entrance, but they could not immediately locate the source. After some searching, they determined that there was a glaucite door in the back of the cave that was obscured by an illusionary wall. The door was slightly ajar and there was illumination inside. Continuing on, the party came to a room with a lot of equipment, flashing lights, buttons and switches. They spent a considerable amount of time attempting to understand everything they saw. Eventually they were able to make some sense of it and realized it was a control centre for the structure. With some further experimentation, they were able to power up the habitat. The ceiling of the large chamber lit up, revealing an alien sky. Also, many of the de-powered door locks became active. The party then continued on to another chamber and it was there that fate dealt a cruel blow. Inside the room was a juju zombie, a potent foe to be sure. Like the skeletons before, it had four arms and it wielded two swords. A long and deadly battle followed. The juju zombie proved very difficult to fight. It enjoyed immunity to many magical attacks and even weapons seemed to do less damage than one would expect. Men would fall, the party would retreat. They would advance to rescue fallen comrades, only to see others fall. Eventually, Augusto and Edvin were the only ones left standing and they came up with a desperate plan. They had lured the juju zombie out of the room and they planned to run past it and seal the door behind them, leaving the monster outside while they recovered inside. Augusto went first. The juju zombie swung one of its swords, but Augusto was able to dodge successfully. Edvin then ran through, hoping the juju zombie would be unable to recover in time to take a second attack. Sadly, the juju zombie was not caught off guard. It swung low and caught Edvin through the chest. He went down, bleeding badly. With great regret, Augusto was forced to slam the door shut and seal it tight, leaving Edvin to his fate.

The party locked themselves in for a few days. As various party members recovered, they were able to administer aid to the rest. When they were all once again in fighting shape, they emerged. Edvin's remains lay where he fell. They gathered his body and headed back to the caves. As they walked through the now illuminated habitat, they encountered the juju zombie once again along with the reformed skeletons they had fought earlier. The juju zombie was still damaged from the previous battle and they were better prepared. Vengeance was swift and merciless. The undead horrors were put to rest for good. With sadness, they headed back to Torch.


Monday, July 18, 2016

Iron Gods - Fires of Creation 1

We now continue the story of our Iron Gods campaign. As always, there will be spoilers.

The first stop for the party upon arriving in Torch was the town hall. There they met Dolga Freddert, an aged dwarven female and member of the town council. Councillor Freddert explained the current situation to them, including the reward for the return of Khonnir Baine. In addition to the 4000 gp reward, they would also include a scroll of resurrection if he was found alive as it was intended to bring Biane back if he was deceased. She also mentioned that another councillor, a cleric of Brigh named Jorum Kyte, would cast water breathing on the party before they headed down into the underwater cavern. Finally, she mentioned that Khonnier Baine's adopted daughter, Val, has made their tavern available for the use of any group seeking to rescue her father free of charge and that all the town's merchants would be offering a 20% discount on all purchases. With so many incentives, the party was eager to get started.

They headed off to the Foundry Tavern, owned by Khonnir and Val Baine. As they approached, they heard screams and a commotion coming from Baine's house behind the tavern. As they ran toward the noise, they saw a young woman busting through the front door with a clumsy, staggering construct in pursuit.

They charged forward. A well-placed grease spell from Augusto followed up by several devastating strikes from Targus and Grendal quickly rendered the construct into a heap of junk. The young woman, who was, of course, Val Baine, thanked them for her rescue and explained that the construct was the one her father brought back from his first expedition. It had not shown any ability to function until now.

The next day, the party headed for Weeping Pond. They had six hours of water breathing, so haste was the order of the day. They swam inside the cave for a short distance until coming upon an opening to the air. They were inside a larger cave complex within the Black Hill. As they were pulling themselves up onto a ledge, the party was set upon by a trio of fire beetles. They proved little more than a warmup for the group as they pressed on. A cave full of stalactites and stalagmites lay before them and at times, they were forced to squeeze through. They encountered the deceased remains of a female half-orc in the cave, most likely a member of a previous expedition. Continuing on, they came out into a larger cavern. At one end, they spotted what appeared to be a patch of cultivated mushrooms and other fungi. As they approached, a frog-like humanoid stepped out of the shadows. It opened its large eyes, which glowed with an intense light. Targus, Grendal and Edvin were blinded by the flash, only Augusto managed to avert his eyes. With three party members blind, the battle against the creature, which they later determined was a blindheim, proved difficult. The creature was tough and the melee fighters had difficulty hitting it. Augusto's spells and Edvin's negative energy channeling eventually won the day, but Targus was badly mauled and Grendal was down. Happily, the blindness wore off after about an hour and Edvin was able to heal up the fighters enough to continue. The aftermath of the battle also revealed another corpse submerged in the water. The party was able to loot it for some gold, a silver unholy symbol of Zyphus and two healing potions.

With a few hours left before their water breathing spells expired, the party continued on. Eventually, they came upon a large chamber with several huts constructed of fibrous fungal material and bits of technology. Approaching slowly and without weapons drawn, they were able to make peaceful contact with the inhabitants, a small band of skulks. After some negotiation with the leader, they made a pact. In exchange for chasing off a group of nearby gremlins, the skulks would give the party some technological treasures they had accumulated. The gremlins proved to be rather weak, but their numerous traps were not. Grendal and Targus endured several injuries as they pushed their way through the gremlin warrens until they finally encountered the leader. Rather than face certain doom, the gremlin chief used his dimension door ability to escape and the party had fulfilled their side of the bargain. They collected their reward (some silverdisks and five brown access cards) and returned to the surface for rest and recovery.


Sunday, July 17, 2016

Iron Gods - And so it begins...

Numeria, one of the most mysterious lands in all of Golarion, source of the world's adamantium, a land known for its strange ruins and weird science. It is here that the Iron Gods campaign takes place. Please note that what follows will contain [major spoilers] for the Iron Gods Adventure Path.

A stout band of brothers, Edvin, a scholarly cleric of Pharasma; Targus, a magus with a blade of mysterious provenance; Augusto, a wizard with a passion for life's pleasures; Grendal, a ranger with a hatred of the Technic League and their mechanical servants; and Nils, an inquisitor of Desna with a liberator's zeal, having heard that the town of Torch is desperate for adventurers, decide to offer their services. Nils is briefly delayed by matters of a personal nature, so the others head off to Torch, intending to meet up with their companion a few days later. Targus has some history with the town, having lived there for awhile and gotten to know several prominent citizens, including a town councillor named Khonnir Baine, a man figuring prominently in Torch's current predicament.

Torch is named for its most prominent feature and the source of most of its wealth, an ancient and mysterious source of fire hot enough to melt adamantium. Most of the time, the intense violet flame is the size of a large bonfire and it is at these times that smiths from many lands gather for the opportunity to forge their adamantium weapons and armour. Occasionally, the earth begins to rumble and shake. The locals know that they must vacate at such times, for the fire becomes a massive inferno that blasts right through the top of the mountain, before dying down once again. Unfortunately for the town, the fire that sustains it has recently been extinguished. Khonnir Baine took it upon himself to solve the mystery. He soon discovered recent tracks along the banks of the Weeping Pond, a contaminated pool at the base of Black Hill. Further exploration revealed an underwater cave. Since then, five expeditions have entered the cave including two led by Baine himself. Baine's first expedition was the only one to successfully return. He reported seeing walls of solid metal construction and brought back a broken automaton of some sort. He did not return from his second expedition and the town council is desperate to have him returned, dead or alive. A reward of 4000 gp for his recovery is offered. Luckily for Torch and its citizens, the right men for the job have just arrived.


Monday, May 23, 2016

Savage Tide 11 & 12 The LIghtless Depths

The Quick Version since I have fallen behind.

After the battle of Farshore the leadership question of the colony needed to be settled. The Mayornenshi faction spread rumors connecting Lavinia to her her undead brother and a family curse. The PCs chose to stay out of the politics and Lord Manderlay won the election easily.

One of his first tasks was to clear the trade route back to the mainland and asked the PC to remove a Dragon Turtle that was known to live on the north end of the island. The PCs, spotting a cave while trying to lure the dragon out, went to investigate. They stumbled upon a settlement of diseased troglodytes who were dispatched easily. The troglodytes were dispatched with ease and two captives were found: a feeble minded human in rags and a healthy troglodyte. The human was restored and he said we was a missionary from Garund. He was spreading the word of Sarenrae and was attacked by strange men with animated skins on their back. Next thing he knew he was here.

The troglodyte was a member of the tribe but never received the blessing of their god (the disease). He began to suspect that something was off an was imprisoned when he spoke out. He told the PCs of the Shadow Pearls. The tribe were the middle men between the Lords of Dread below and the Crimson Fleet. Uzeye recommended the they travel down and speak with the Father who could tell them more.

Along the way The PCs did battle with a Roper and visited the Mongrel settlement of Bargas. There they were shown a petrified fish that was actually an Aboleth that had dried out and was in "Long Dreaming" a state of petrified hibernation. The was likely due to the Cerulean Curtain, a blue ghostly wall that forced sea water out of the area.

The PCs continued their trip down into the earth under the island. They finally reached the temple partially willed with slimy, scummy water and spoke with the Father. The ghostly troglodyte told them of the war of old - a conflict between the Olman civilization above and the Aboleth below. After many honorific sacrifices Tlaloc, the reptilian god of Rain, intervened and created the Tear of Tlaloc. This was dropped into the Aboleth city of Golismorga forcing the water out and putting most of the Aboleth into a state of hibernation.

After many years the aquatic race of Kopru moved in and tried to learn the Aboleth's secrets. An old temple in the city was dedicated to an Elder Evil. Tapping into the Black Blood of the Earth they managed to master a process of finishing Shadow Pearls - weapons of mass insanity and chaos. The Father suggested that if they wished to disrupt the process the should first destroy the artifact Tlalocs Tear which will cause the Kopru to panic as they rush to remove to finish off their ancient enemies the Aboleth leaving the temple relatively undefended.

The PCs continued on and finally found the city of Golismorga. The city of organic horrors filled an enormous cavern and greeted the PCs with its alien strangeness. A scouting mission found the location of Tlaloc's Tear and that it was guarded by an alien entity known as a Brain Collector.
The PCs opened with a Feeblemind spell which was actually successful.  This made the fight much easier even with the local environment so hostile to mortal life. An adamantine dagger eventually destroyed the artifact - its presence in such an evil alien environment for a millennia had weakened the artifact to a point where it could be destroyed.

As Tlaloc's Tear crumbled to dust, the earth began to rumble as the vast caverns under the city began to fill with water. The PCs rushed to the the temple and were assaulted by the Kopru Behemoths. One managed to Dominate Isis. Only a quick Hold Person by Trevain prevented Isis from killing most of the party until the controlling Kopru could be slain.

The PCs advanced on the temple and found a way in. They first battled a Kopru Cleric of Demogorgon before battling a Bilewretch of Holashner, a greater minion of an Elder Evil. With these dead, the production line for Shadow Pearls was disrupted. The PCs grabbed what treasure they could and teleported out.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

New Life for West End Games

Back in the late '80s and early '90s, West End Games (WEG) was a major player in the tabletop rpg industry. Best known for the classic Star Wars: The Roleplaying Game, WEG also held licenses at various times for Ghostbusters, Indiana Jones, Xena: Warrior Princess and Men in Black. It also developed classic games such as Paranoia and TORG. Unfortunately, even the Star Wars license couldn't sustain the company, which declared bankruptcy in 1998. In 2003, WEG, now stripped of all its licenses, was purchased by Eric Gibson, who hoped to develop its game mechanic, which became known as the d6 System. Gibson's company published the core rules as three books, d6 Space, d6 Fantasy and d6 Adventure as well as announcing the release of Bill Coffin's Septimus campaign world. However, it could not repeat WEG's past success. In 2008, Gibson dissolved the company, released the d6 system and Septimus as OGL and sold off its remaining IPs. Gibson retained nothing except rights to the name. Apparently, the name still has some value, however, because Stewart Wieck, one of the original designers of Vampire: The Masquerade and other White Wolf titles has just announced that he has acquired the rights to WEG. The first plan for WEG is to make all the d6 products and Septimus, which are currently available for free download, available for print-on-demand. Wieck has also set up a Kickstarter to bring back Web and Starship, an '80s era boardgame published by WEG.

I once had a great deal of fondness for WEG and still have a sizeable collection of original SW:TRG books as well as all the free d6 content. Although I've long since moved on to other games, that nostalgia will probably entice me to keep an eye on new WEG developments.