Sunday, February 23, 2014

Numenera - Vortex - Session 4

Numenera Session 4

“Vortex, Part 4”

2/23/2014

Jen - Oswin, an Intelligent Nano who Fuses Flesh with Steel
Nate - Lynq, a Rugged Glaive who Explores Dark Places
Tom - Torrent, a Clever Jack who Rides the Lightning
Sarah - Silus, a Stealthy Jack who Exists Partially Out of Phase

Summary

After reality sunk in with Oswin, Lynq, Torrent, and Silus, that they were on a floating platform located within the Sun’s interior, it was time for a little snack break.  Tearing open their ration containers and patching their wounds, the team spent a few moments on the flip-side of the Vortex getting healed for their next encounter.  It was during this break in the action that Torrent noticed some rubble and debris on the floor of the room in which they were resting.  The clever jack approached the debris and examined it closely in way that allowed his perceptive eyes to uncover the dark truth: the debris was recent, and something terrible was happening to the floating station.

Knowing that time was of the essence, the party set out to explore the station.  Although they would not know what it meant immediately, as they moved towards a small block of rooms adjacent to the Vortex chamber, a small red light in the ceiling started to go off.  An alarm of sorts possibly.  No matter, Silas had a remote viewing unit and was ready to use it to check out a pair doors to the southeast.  One contained the skeletal remains of a dead alien.  A horrific creature with a triangular head, three arms, and three legs.  This ominous sight caused a bit of fear for the party, so they moved on to another door, where there was rubble but also a great deal of supplies on the other side.  Choosing to open that door first the party found that the rubble in the floor was nowhere near as dangerous as the dangling wires above.  Rather than try to squeeze through the tight gap between rubble an wires, Lynq gritted his teeth and muscled through the debris through shear force.  On the other side the rugged glaive found foodstuffs of weird yet tasty varieties, and a few oddities.  While the cup that would turn liquid purple and the shoes that obviously fit the nearby skeletal alien were both interesting, the stone that showed an image of the holder’s father would be especially useful on a day-time talk show from a billion years in the past.  With the alien skeleton in the other room still invoking the party’s curiosity, the crew managed to open that door, allowing the remains of the thing to clatter against Lynq’s shield and fall to the floor.  It was just a dead guy, not some undead alien beastie, and given the goods in it’s ancient satchel, it was probably a custodian.  So the party took it’s tools and lone defensive cypher, a Hunter-Seeker device.  

With the westernmost passage (using the Vortex as true north) blocked by debris the party moved to the east along a long hallway illuminated by opaque windows that possibly led to the Sun’s atmosphere.  At least the window blinds still worked!  But as the party moved down this passage, the station shook in a foreboding way.  The team needed to move faster.  This would’ve been the plan if their path had not been blocked by a terrible form.  A hovering knightly figure with a flashing red light was approaching.  Attached to one arm was a shield, and it was clutching a blade that radiated intense heat.  The radiance knight was clearly on a mission:  destroy!  Fortunately for the party, Lynq had a similar mission, but before the party’s glaive could engage the target, Oswin, the nano, started bad-mouthing the automaton.  Taking this for what it was worth, the mechanical beast charged Oswin, who fortunately rolled to the side.  The rest of the party assumed combat positions.  Lynq locked shields with the floating machine allowing Torrent to lead Silas to it’s rear and perform attacks from behind, where the radiance knight’s shield would do no good.  Oswin would continue to sass the knight from afar, attempting to use her beam attack multiple times to no avail.  Torrent’s powers  over electricity were equally difficult to discharge past the knight’s armored shell, so it was up to Lynq and his battle-born sword-arm and Silas with her neural disruption artifact to perform the tag-team.  Lynq’s blade struck true several times, causing significant damage, but it would be the stealthy jack’s neural disruption attack that would shut down the machine’s defenses.  This in turn allowed Lynq to perform attacks that were progressively more powerful.  Slice, chop, stab!  Lynq’s blade tore at the knight’s shield, armor, and then internal units before one last blow by Silas’ artifact crushed the cybernetic brain of the radiance knight.  The party’s glaive rummaged through the remains, and pulled out the knight’s radiance blade.  Now the glaive had an artifact all his own.  

The next room the party came across after traveling down the long hallway contained a control panel and an access portal to a engineering chamber.  With the party’s cypher count dropping, Oswin used her abilities to uncover numenera to raid the control panel, and then charge up some of her precious lozenges with energy that could be used to empower cyphers with additional energy.  With nothing else of interest in this area, the crew started to move to the next chamber when a great rumble hit the station, causing an even more dangerous vibration.  The ceiling gave way directly above Torrent, nearly crushing the jack, covering him completely in rubble.  Oswin whipped out her internal beam generator and tried laser-slicing through the rubble to no avail.  Lynq pushed the nano aside and would call upon his great might to lift the stones, but with the amount of debris, and the fine nature of most of it, it was just taking too long.  So Silas used her unique ability to pass through walls to move within the rubble and then in a successive string of impressive blasts, explode out of the pile from the inside out.  This strange strategy would work, freeing the clever jack from an untimely death.

With the knowledge that they were most definitely running out of time hanging over the party, they swiftly entered another chamber, which was the defensive control room for the entire station.  There were pillars all around them seething with energy, and a docking station for the now destroyed radiance knight, but what seemed to interest the keen eye of Torrent was a beautiful jeweled crystal that was powering one control panel.  Although he didn’t know what it did, Torrent knew that it was worth some serious shins, but after debating with the rest of the numenera hunters they decided that plucking it from it’s pedestal could possibly cause a giant boulder to appear, with intent on crushing the team.  The door to the north looked interesting enough, so Oswin took a look at it realizing that it was locked and sealed.  Taking a peak in the general vicinity, she found an access panel to a ventilation shaft, so she tore the grate off and squeezed into the chute.  Figuring out that she could use the shaft to move into the chamber beyond the locked door Oswin quickly shimmied down towards another grate, pushed it off it’s hinge, dropped into a room filled by an enormous projection screen, and then unlocked the door for the rest of the party.  It was about this time that the largest sun-quake hit the station, which caused another collapse above the party.  These events were becoming more and more frequent, and were taking their toll on the numenera hunters, so they needed to pick up the pace!

Once everyone was in front of the screen a familiar voice filled the chamber.  It was the entity that had first enticed the party to pass through the Vortex, an entity that called itself Aerridomos.  Aerridomos explained that it was an intelligent program that was in charge of communication for the station.  It had been calling out to possible users on the other side of the Vortex for a very long time, to come and save it from destruction.  The station had been abandoned for millennia upon millennia, and Aerridomos was alone but at least content.  But in recent years the station began to suffer from power and structural failures.  Aerridomos being a communication system, it could do nothing to stop the destruction, and with other intelligences within the station’s mainframe destroyed, it would require someone else to come to it’s rescue... someone with a physical body.  To the south of the chamber with the view screen was a room that Aerridomos called the Wishing Well.  It explained that the Wishing Well contained a power strong enough to fix the station, and it begged the party to aid it in it’s plight.  

Interfacing with the Wishing Well was much more difficult than the party had first expected.  Oswin being the party’s only nano and expert on the numenera plunged her hands into the glowing sphere that floated at the center of the room, trying to take control of the amazing forces that raged within it’s surface.  She tried repeatedly to gain command, but it was no matter, she was not able.  Completely frustrated and ready to quit on the whole scene, Oswin stormed out of the room.  Aerridomos called to the nano, begging her that if she could not fix the station, she could at least hit a button that would “exile” all of the intelligent programs from the station to a place “beyond”.  This fate, Aerridomos explained, was better than electronic “death.”  Oswin didn’t seem moved by this, and just crossed her arms and tossed the numenera book that she had to the rest of the party.  Lynq was the next to try, but using the device was far too taxing for the glaive.  Torrent had little effect as well, and had to quickly pull his hands from the glowing sphere in frustration.  But when Silas placed her hands within the, the stealthy jack was able to get some understanding of what was going on with the flowing pool of radiant nanos that resided inside.  Silas realized that she had the choice to manipulate the wishing well to do the bidding of either Aerridomos or actually help the party gain some kind of physical benefit themselves, but despite her roguish ways, the jack did the right thing and fixed the station with the nanites! 

Aerridomos was elated!  It offered the band of numenera hunters a “boon” to speed up their ability to attain knowledge if they pressed their hands to the screen, which they all did.  In addition, Aerridomos told Torrent that he was welcome to take the crystal that he kept asking about, and said that it wouldn’t damage anything or cause any boulders to drop down and crush the party.  So the jack took the crystal, and led the team back to the Vortex where they passed through.  On the other side they found that the light behind them was extinguished.  The path to the station within the surface of the sun was closed... for now.  Heading up and out of the Temple of the Vortex the party bid the remaining cultists adieu and met up with the varjellen merchants on the outside  When they looked for their “cut”, Torrent tossed them the crystal and breathed a sigh of relief.  It was good to be back on the Ninth World!

Quotes

“I love art with Jim.” - Jen mocks her husband’s map drawing abilities.

“We should’ve sent Frank on through.” - Nate kept wanting to use Frank’s character as the scout, since he had to bow out of the campaign.  

- “I feel bad, kinda want to put his shoes back on him.” - Torrent had a bit of empathy for the poor triangle skull alien who’s shoes Lynq found in a nearby room.
“Finders keepers!’ - Lynq was keepin’ those Keds.  

“If it bleeds... it can die...” - Lynq

“I have a feeling it’s going to be all ‘Indiana Jones’ if we take that thing.” - Jen wasn’t feeling very comfortable with Torrent taking the gemstone from the security room.