Friday, November 7, 2014

Numenera - Tales of the Broken Mask - Session 8

Cover art by Reece Ambrose


The Sun Below: City on the Edge, Part 2


This week we continued playing  Dread Unicorn Games' The Sun Below: City on the Edge by John W. S. Marvin, a licensed adventure for Monte Cook Games' Numenera.  I expected our troupe of adventurers to get a bit further in the adventure than they did, but certain… interesting complications took up a lot of our time. 

One additional note:  any and all artwork included in this post is straight out of the adventure and can be found on Dread Unicorn's website here.

Characters


  • Chase Rombek, a Mystical Nano who Sees Beyond, played by Frank
  • Jak, a Mutant Glaive who Constantly Evolves, played by Craig
  • Glyquorg, an Exiled Jack who Controls Animals, played by Andy
  • Ralyx, Mlox Jack who Throws with Deadly Accuracy, played by Marc


Non-Player Characters of Note

  • Ennuan, an old associate of Chase who was an Aeon Priest and now belongs to the Three Swords 
  • Klaro, Woman infatuated with Jak 
  • Mor-Klish, Slithik guardian
  • Nyxie, Captain of the Grinder 


Summary


The Unmasked Seekers needed to spend a little time resting and patching their wounds before delving further into the synth and steel hallways of the structure.  While sitting there, Ennuan the Aeon Priest and secret member of the Three Swords arrived.  He wanted to know what his former compatriot, Chase Rombek, could do about his stolen grandchildren. Chase stated that he and his team would help rescue the children, and Ennuan insisted on following along.  He had a few strange oddities in his satchel that could potentially be useful.  Klaro, the woman now infatuated with Jak, was also willing to come with the party, and kept trying to massage the Mutant Glaive's shoulders.  

While his team relaxed in the hallway, Glyquorg traveled down one of the passages to the stasis pod containing the mummified Travonis ul. The tentacled creature looked less than threatening, but the Exiled Jack needed to make sure.  The flesh of the creature looked properly desiccated, and gaps in the skin revealed broken down muscle beneath.  Yes, it was definitely dead.  It looked like the stasis pod operated by distorting time for the occupant, which could come in handy later.  So Glyquorg took one of the control modules off of the machine, a handy cypher that could dilate time for the user.  

When Glyquorg returned, he started kicking his teammates.   Break time was over.  Two kids were missing, and they all needed to get on the move quickly.  The three bounty hunters started looking for tracks, but just when they realized that it would've been nice for their Mlox associate to assist with his third eye, a familiar form arrived.  

It was Ralyx!  

Apparently he was traveling in the area, and needed to find somewhere secluded to relieve himself.  A dissolving face in the side of the cliff seemed like the perfect location!  By the time the Mlox Jack entered the portal, however, he lost all interest in using the facilities and became dedicated to the other mission at hand.  

The trail looked rather interesting.  Ralyx and Glyquorg seemed to believe that the tubes dragged the children down the path, and that a larger, possibly snake-like creature helped aid them along on their terrible journey.  The tubes and tracks led to another room several hundred feet down the hall.  This room was easily two-hundred feet in diameter, with a spiral staircase on the East and West points of the chamber.  Ten feet off the ground was a ten foot deep balcony that encircled the room.  At the center was a horrific sight indeed!  A twenty foot tall, green slime covered in tentacles and a flower-like head with eyes and tubular mouthparts.  It also had a pair of metal claws!  



Image by James E. Shields

The creature's voice was booming!  It demanded that the party flee the chamber immediately, and declared the stolen children as new property of the Praithian Empire.  The creature then reached into a satchel, pulled out a six-legged rabbit-creature, and drank its blood and juices.  Chase Rombek used his powers of sight and perception to see past the image, and revealed to the group that the creature was actually some kind of projection.  But when the Mystical Nano moved into the room further he was blasted with a psychic detonation.  The image itself may not have had the powers to attack the party, but the chamber was full of deadly tricks and traps!  The creature, revealing itself to be a "Slithik", claimed that other Slithiks… in fact a whole army of 'em… were on the move, and would be in the room soon if the party didn't leave quickly.

Glyquorg wasn't buying any of this.  The Exiled Jack and his shanu companion Lemux went into full stealth mode and started lurking along the outer wall of the chamber.  Once the pair reached the western stairwell, they carefully climbed it and took a look around the room.  On the far northern side of the chamber was a metallic curtain covering some kind of alcove, and as soon as Glyquorg's shanu saw this, it ran across the room revealing a normal sized Slithik on the other side!  The image below ordered the party to completely disregard the Slithik behind the curtain.  Ralyx charged forward towards the eastern stairs, dodging beam attacks as he ran.  At the top of the stairs the Mlox quickly tumbled out of the way of one blast, causing the one ray emitter to destroy another.  

At this point the skilled bounty hunters were no longer scared of the Slithik, so they approached the creature as a group.  The creature repeatedly stated that it could not stand down, nor could it allow the party to move past the large entry chamber.  Ralyx had an inkling that something was interesting about the entity's words, and his shrewd third eye caught one rogue tentacle on the guardian's back pointing to a red pyramid affixed to its spine.  The Mlox motioned to Chase, who in turn scanned the item, showing that it was a mind control device.  It only took the skilled nano a few moments to shut the device down, allowing Mor-Klish full control of his mind for the first time in hundreds of years. 

After declaring his everlasting commitment to Chase Rombek, his savior from bondage, Mor-Klish became a wealth of information.  The Praithian Empire ruled a massive city called Urbamorr located far below ground, and that was most certainly where the two children were taken.  The Slithik revealed that there was a chamber to the north that would take the characters below to a special vessel that could transport them all to Urbamorr, but there were two very dangerous paths leading to the chamber: one of fire, another of ice.  

While Mor-Klish spoke to Jak, Ralyx, and Chase Rombek, Glyquorg left the tunnels and went to get Nyxie.  The Exiled Jack brought the grinder captain back inside and introduced her to the team.  Nyxie agreed to travel further with the party, at least to the chamber containing the path to Urbamorr.  Klaro also stated emphatically that she was going with her beloved Jak.  

Jak seemed disinterested in having Klaro tag along, and told her that she was to stay on the surface.  The woman refused proclaiming her love repeatedly, and insisting that she be allowed to protect her man.  It didn't matter what anyone said to her, Klaro absolutely refused to back down.  Glyquorg came up with a plan on his own: he thought it best to knock her unconscious with the blunt end of his sword.  But when the Jack's steel pommel struck Klaro's skull, the sound it made was not that of a human skull cracking.

Klaro was something else entirely.

The woman turned around and started wailing on the Exiled Jack, punching him and striking with powerful elbows.  Glyquorg called out for help, but no one, not even Jak, seemed interested in intervening.  Hoping that some good sense could still be talked into the maniac, Glyquorg started to grapple her, pinning her to the ground.  It only took a few minutes for Klaro to relax, but when she was allowed to stand up again, she turned to Glyquorg and told him that the shanu-loving Jack was her real true love.  

[GM Note:  I was channeling my inner "Saffron" from Firefly for this scene, really proclaiming Klaro's love for first Jak and then Glyquorg.  I even went as far moving my shirt a bit to show some shoulder… I don't think it had the desired effect.  It may have tipped the players off.]

By this point Ralyx was flipping through one of his tomes, and finally figured out what she was: a Nibovian wife.  Nibovian wives are entities that desire sexual intercourse with humans, so the they can become pregnant with an extra-dimensional baby, and then give birth to the beast which would turn on the daddy.  

The party wasn't about to let this happen.  

Ralyx threw one of his javelins at Klaro, impaling her shoulder.  She tried to fight back but had little chance against four highly skilled bounty hunters.  A second javelin finished her off, and as she fell to her demise, she gave one last look, this time at Ralyx.  "I love you," she mouthed as she fell.  

Mor-Klish reminded the party that they could choose a path of either fire or ice to get to the chamber that led to Urbamorr.  Since Jak's mutations made him well suited for the cold, the party choice "ice."  A long hallway to the west ended in a small chamber with brown crystals adorning the roof.  Glyquorg piloted his remote control flying insect down the hall, but when it reached the area with the crystals a frozen web dropped, shattering the small oddity.  Although Jak could try muscling through the chamber's freezing powers, Ralyx mentioned his skills in sabotage.  The Mlox Jack crept forward and broke into the control panels of the trap.  It was fairly easy for Ralyx to shut the chamber down, and then unlock the door ahead.  

The party was finally in the chamber that lead to the city below.  The four bounty hunters were obviously traveling below, as was Mor-Kilish, however Ennuan declared that he hadn't the nerve to continue forward.  Nyxie stated that she would stay behind with the Aeon Priest, and keep an eye on him.  The team found this agreeable, and stepped on one of the platforms that led below.


Quotes


"Her name is meat shield." - Andy referring to Klaro and her possible use to the party.

"Don't do that when I'm drinking!" - Marc warned the GM to try and refrain from jokes at inopportune times.  

"This is the worst stage magician ever… I'm going to pull a rabbit out of my hat… and drink from it." - Marc's initial impression of Mor-Klish, after the slithik pulled a small rabbit-like object from a bag and drank its blood.

Andy, regarding Mor-Klish:  "Are those metal claws?"
Jim:  "Yes, it's like Freddie Kruger and a bowl of Jello had a baby."

"I wish you would step back from that ledge, my friend." - Mor-Klish to Ralyx, the party's Mlox, in reference to his "third eye".

"I'm gonna let you go now, and we are mutually not going to try to kill each other." - Glyquorg to the Nibovian Wife Klaro.  

Mor-Klish to Glyquorg:  "You want me to kill your beloved?" 
Glyquorg to Mor-Klish:  "I be something, but not lovin'" 

Andy:  "What's a brown prism?"
Marc:  "It's how you split UPS shipments?  What can brown do for you?"