Friday, December 5, 2014

Numenera - Tales of the Broken Mask - Session 10

Cover art by Reece Ambrose


The Sun Below: City on the Edge, Part 4


Disclaimer!


Before you begin this adventure summary I need to let you in on a little secret.   So full disclosure, what you are about to read deviates significantly from the plot of the original adventure,  Dread Unicorn Games' The Sun Below: City on the Edge by John W. S. Marvin.  As I mentioned in my first post, this adventure is huge, and chock full of weird and bizarre goodness.  Since our group only meets for two-and-a-half hour sessions, we could’ve spent several months running through the adventure.  Unfortunately, we were up against a deadline of concluding this portion of the campaign by the holiday break, and I had a choice: stop in the middle of the adventure, or bring it to some kind of logical conclusion.

Actually I went with plan B with a slight modification… I left the ending open, so that the players could return to Urbamorr for future questing, perhaps even getting more involved with the twisted politics of the City on the Edge.  But to do this, I had to make some drastic changes to some of the political landscape, and cut out some of the larger plot points towards the end of this sandbox campaign.


Who knows though?  Perhaps our Unmasked Seekers will have future adventures with the Praithians and all their fun friends!

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

  • Raa-em, 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

  • Mor-Klish, Slithik guardian
  • Contessa Kyyndance, Praithian floating head 
  • Breesh-Vass, Slave
  • Purl-Vass, leader
  • Ennuanan old associate of Chase who was an Aeon Priest and now belongs to the Three Swords 
  • Vock, Chief Assassin of the Broken Mask
  • Tuctin and Tar, the grandchildren of Ennuan
  • The Mutator, horrific and grotesque "change" of human


Summary


When the Unmasked Seekers finally docked at Urbamorr, they received a warm welcoming, but the same could not be said for their dear friend Mor-Klish.  The party was greeted by a procession of three floating stone heads (Praithians), each eight feet tall with three eyes, and a cadre of didgeridoo-alpine horn carting, hermaphroditic purple people (dh’lann).  The lead Praithian announced herself as Contessa Kyyndance, and while she was rather cordial to the party, she had Mor-Klish carted away, since his slave-crystal had been removed.

Poor Mor-Klish!

Contessa Kyyndance seemed very interested in the Unmasked Seekers, and offered them exquisite lodging at the Queen’s Head Inn, as it was rare that Urbamorr received visitors from above.  Ralyx put on his best face (closed his third-eye, despite matching the Contessa with it open), and pressed the Praithian about the whereabouts of Tuctin and Tar, the two stolen children.  Contessa Kyyndance confirmed that the children were taken, but were very secure. She then offered to speak with Ralyx in private.  Once alone, the Contessa offered a deal.  She believed that the party would be seen as possible saviors to the local slave-rebel cause.  If the rebels approached the bounty hunters for assistance, and the leader of the rebellion could be revealed, Contessa Kyyndance would have the children handed over.

Ralyx took only a moment to ponder this before agreeing. The Contessa "handed" the Mlox a special cypher with two switches, one that would put him in direct contact with the Praithians and one that would summon a unit of Praithian controlled Slithik guards.  This unfortunately put Ralyx over his cypher limit, causing all of his devices to simultaneously implode.  Shaking her head (which pretty much just meant shifting back and forth) the Contessa "handed" another summoning cypher to the Mlox Jack.

The party settled in at the Queen’s Head Inn and it didn’t take long until Glyquorg was approached by Breesh-Vass.  The dh’lann was part of a movement that figured out how to block the slave-making cyphers.  Breesh asked the Exiled Jack if his team could help take down the Praithians and bring freedom to the purple Dh’lann.  When Glyquorg announced that this was possible, Breesh asked for as many singularity detonation cyphers as possible.  When Glyquorg announced that this was not possible, a brief impasse was reached.  Eventually the dh’lann gave in, and offered to take the party to see his leader, his spouse Purl-Vass.

Breesh led the bounty hunters to an abandoned warehouse, where an entire congress of dh’lann was assembling.  Purl was not too pleased to meet the characters, as he greatly despised and feared any species that had more than one sex.  Ralyx waited only a few moments before pulling the communication cypher, but then realized that it was missing! Just a few feet away, another dh’lann was fiddling with the device.  Confused, Purl-Vass grabbed the cypher and started to question the party, right up until the point that Ralyx used his hedge magic to flick the switch.

Purl found herself talking with the Contessa telepathically, giving not only himself away, but the location of the secret meeting place.  Purl dropped the cypher and screamed, calling for the death of the bounty hunters.

At the center of the room a large lever was pulled and three massive, green robotic constructs appeared to rise out of the floor.  Pyronic Sentries!  They were also partially on fire, which made them look like a trio of friggin’ badasses.  The bounty hunters wasted no time digging into combat.  The machines caused horrific burning wounds whenever they landed a blade, but Ralyx’s bullet-fast javelins were making short work of the creations.  A third machine found itself lowered back down the platform that brought it into the room when Glyquorg ran across and pulled the control lever.  Jak’s blade struck true several times, as did Raa-em’s onslaught, but not before one of the Pyronic Sentries got really, really angry.

Pyronic Sentry courtesy of Dread Unicorn Games 


Finding itself alone and nearly defeated the remaining green machine started spinning like a top with blades extended, flying towards Jak.  Sensing that this could be a killing blow, Glyquorg commanded his shannu Lemux to hurl itself across the room and save Jak.  Jak was pushed backward just in time by the little cat-monkey, but soon realized that his chest was covered in sticky blood.  One of the blades caught the little creature in the torso, cutting it in half.

Poor Lemux!

Once all three Pyronic Sentries were destroyed, the Contessa’s head broke through the wall, followed by Slithik guards.  Purl and Breesh were carted off, as were the rest of the rebels.  Good to her word, Contessa Kyyndance handed over not only the two children, but four unique artifacts to show goodwill to the people from the world above.  Ralyx bartered for the opportunity of future trade with the world above in return for the life of Mor-Klish, so the walking bag of jelly was handed over.  The bounty hunters had one last request, to be taken to a different exit so that they could bypass Ennuan.  Once topside, the party returned to Nihliesh.

Outside of the city, Gurn-Ellohesh the Lattimor Fixer met up with Jak to give him the bad news.  One of the children, the younger boy Tuctin, was going to be executed as an example to the Three Swords and Ennuan.  Gurn-Ellohesh and Jack were soon joined by the assassin Vock, who was ready to perform the killing.  This turned Jak’s stomach, so he offered a better plan: turn Tuctin into a mutant! Vock agreed, and dragged the young lad away.  Tar was left with Jak, for safekeeping.

After getting paid their shins Ralyx and Raa-em waited with Tar, and Mor-Klish at Bel’s for the other two members of their team.  Jak and Glyquorg took the offer of further mutations as payment for their services, with undesirable side effects of course.  The Mutator, a man tasked with deforming the bodies and figures of others, was delighted to offer this form of payment, and seemed giddy as he placed his hands on Jak and Glyquorg, morphing their bodies.  The fat serpent-man would pull and draw on the skin and flesh, while simultaneously petting the head of a horrible, wormlike, hairless dog-thing that sat beside him.  Jak became more durable, and Glyquorg gained resistance to cold.  But before the two bounty hunters could leave, the Mutator complimented Jak on his idea to turn Tuctin into a mutant.  His grin was sick, as he stroked the back of the weird wormlike, hairless dog.


It was then that Jak realized the "pet" had a face very similar to that of a young boy he just rescued…  

...And the face was crying.


Quotes


"You can really say that the game went down the tubes last session." – Marc… Ugh!

Marc - "Can they talk? Can they do the safety dance?"
Frank - "Only if they want to…"

"I just want to grow some moss right on that thing." - Raa-em was pretty bummed out that his new human body couldn’t spawn new lichen.

"Giant Head lady and me in a building alone… what could go wrong?" – Marc had a good point, and it actually turned out well.

"No hallucinogens, I've already seen giant floating heads…" – Jak refusing Breesh-Vass’s offer of a dreaming smoke.

"Look, up on the surface we're freedom people… we don't like all this slavery going on down here!" – Glyquorg is freedom people!

"Did someone say shannu with a caper-lemon sauce? Don't mind if I do!" - Marc, impersonating Elehar.

"Actually, Chase would've been 100% on your side, but Raa-em couldn't care less." – Frank found roleplaying a several millennia old former piece of moss very liberating.


"Mor-Klish is baby-sitting, that's awesome!" – Marc knows how to find good help for his "kids".