Friday, March 20, 2015

Numenera - Pulse - Session 3


Call of Duty


So far the player characters have death with many threats in the Ninth World, but rarely have they faced an enemy as coordinated, prepared, and dangerous in combat as they did in this session.  What began as a simple investigation into the strange goings-on near the Jutting Remnants became a pitched battle against expertly trained and equipped forces.  

Characters

  • Chase Rombek or Raa-em, a Mystical Nano who Sees Beyond or a Mad Nano who Wields Power with Precision, 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
  • Takkorek, Slaker Nano who Entertains, played by Jeremy
  • Garren, Varjellen Glaive who Studies Anatomy, played by Andreas

Frank was absent during this game, so Raa-em was considered to be daydreaming for most of the scenes.


Non-Player Characters of Note

  • Cacoethes:  Leader of Ballaster, and somewhat creepy seducer 


Summary


With the remaining ithsyns retreating into the woods, our intrepid band of numenera-seeking ex-bounty hunters patched their wounds and examined the corpses of their slain foes.  Interested in the befuddling poison that the ithsyns expelled, Garren and Glyquorg took out their toolkits and got to work.  Garren’s surgery expertise allowed the visitant to remove the poison sacs from three of the ithsyns, which Glyquorg weaponized for the party’s use.  Not one to be left out on some keen crafting, Ralyx took the time to fashion some clawed gloves out of the ithsyns’ talons.  Once they were all finished, Takkorek told a rousing story to bolster the group’s attitude, and they continued their long, three day walk to Ballaster.  

The village of Ballaster rested in a swampy valley, with about a dozen families living in bamboo homes nestled atop long struts.  Despite the attempt to keep the homes away from the water, just about everything in the village was cold, damp, and dripping with sour-smelling, bacteria laden water.  There were no inns or taverns in the village, and none of the villagers came out to welcome or even question the party… save for a young girl.  

The child was barely ten years old and had pale, sickly flesh covered in hard, weeping sores.  Her eyes were sunken, and her skin dripped from the marsh’s mist.  She grabbed Ralyx’s hand and led him away from the rest of the party while Takkorek and Jak climbed the ladder to Cacoethes’ home.  The girl seemed interested in Ralyx, and told him that he could come visit her house and her family.  As soon as the pair reached the girl’s cave-like domicile, an angry man came charging out from the doorway.  It was the girl’s father, and he smacked his daughter hard across the face, and then dragged her back inside.  The man made it clear that no one in Ballaster wanted visitors, and Ralyx simply walked away.  Unfortunately for the mlox, he realized that the hand he used to touch the girl was now covered in a rash of hard bumps.  

Realizing that he had quickly contracted some kind of dermatological malady, Ralyx ran into the hills using his survivalist instinct to uncover a cure.  When he returned to the rest of the group, he had his entire hand, up to his wrist, engulfed by a massive amphibian.  The saliva and the stomach acids of the six-legged amphibian could remove the rash, so long as he kept his hand in the thing’s mouth for a few hours.  Ralyx looked less than amused.  The amphibian shared the mlox’s sentiment.

While all this was going on outside, Takkorek and Jak were meeting with Cacoethes.  The village leader was a sickeningly thin woman, whose pale, scab covered skin hung on her bones like a damp burlap sack.  Her entire home smelled of mildew, and turned Jak’s stomach although Takkorek didn’t seem to mind.  Cacoethes thanked Takkorek for returning to Ballaster, and after hearing of the party’s difficulty in coming to the village, acknowledged that the blood and machine fluids polluting the waters were clearly to blame for the village’s more recent problems.  The woman did not confirm exactly what the effect was on her village, but insisted on the party traveling north to the Jutting Remnants to stop the flow of the alien liquids.  

During the conversation, Cacoethes couldn’t stop staring at Jak, and the mutant glaive did his best not to return eye contact.  In a rather grotesque manner, the town’s leader was picking at a particular scab, and removed it completely.  At first Jak was completely disgusted, but when a mist of particles were emitted from the fresh wound floated into the air, the mutant no longer saw a sick figure, but rather a beautiful maiden.  

While the glaive’s mind said no, his body was saying “yes!”

At the end of Cacoethes’ conversation she offered Takkorek’s party refuge in her home for the evening, and had her servants retrieve the rest of the group.  In the middle of the night some of the party members heard one of their own slip away towards Cacoethes’ room, returning just before dawn.  When a breakfast of cold gruel was served just a few hours later, everyone arrived at the table.  Much to Ralyx’s delight, the rash on his hand was gone, and he no longer needed the amphibian’s secretions.  This was especially good news for Jak, as he had quietly requested not long before to use the creature’s services.  

For when the mutant glaive arrived at the breakfast table, his mouth and chin were firmly attached to the amphibian’s yawning maw.  

Bidding the unwelcoming people of Ballaster adieu, the band of adventurers followed the river Wyr north towards the Jutting Remnants.  It took half a day to get to the strange and ominous landscape, said to have been created by a crashed vessel from the heavens, long before the Ninth World gained its title.  The swamps, hills, and fields were covered in metal and synth structures, some barely noticeable, and others sticking out from the ground several hundred feet.  The blood in the river was much thicker, and the waters appeared to be filled with the red substance, a thin layer of oil and other light fluids resting on top.  

The party noticed a strange tube floating along the top of the river, and moved in to investigate.  The fleshy object was leaking the same blood entering the river.  Using Takkorek’s cable cypher, Ralyx fired a hook into the tube and pulled it ashore.  The tube was a living artery.  Even after pulling fifteen feet of the artery out of the water, it could’ve stretched hundreds more below ground.  As the rest of his team examined the weird organic object, Takkorek caught sight of something in the distance.

It was a creature holding a long cylindrical tube pointed towards the party.  Takkorek crashed to the ground, and the rest of the team did the same.  Looking out again, the figure was gone.  Sensing trouble, Glyquorg pulled out one of his javelins and crawled stealthily into the red water, moving carefully up the shore.  Takkorek looked again and saw that there was a small body tumbling down the side of a hill… the body of a young human child.  

The nano didn’t see any more figures, so he walked carefully across the grass towards the body.  When he reached the body, Takkorek carefully poked at it to see if it was alive.  There was no response, save for a faint beeping that began… and then the nano heard a click up in the bushes above.  

Boom!

A massive explosion rocked the area, as the child’s body erupted in flames, throwing a dazed and disoriented Takkorek to the ground.  Immediately six figures stood up, two on a northern hill and one on an eastern, and started raining “fire” upon the party using slug-throwing artifacts.  Glyquorg was still not noticed, so the jack carefully crawled through the water towards the northern hill, his head only barely poking above water.  Ralyx, Jak, and Garren were not so fortunate… most of the suppressive fire was focused on their position.  If they didn’t react soon they would be shot down!

Garren pulled out the “Head of Sago”… a mace created from the cybernetic skull of a Marish Clan underboss… and charged the line of creatures.  As he got close enough to engage, he saw that they were skinny, artificially enhanced, humanoids, with long spindly limbs and thin, wormlike heads:  oorgolians!  Garren engaged one of the creatures, while Ralyx and Jak charged as well, all under heavy fire.  After a toothsome disarm with the Head of Sago, Garren managed to smack one of the creatures with a befuddling poison sac, causing it to stumble backwards in confusion.  One of Ralyx’s razor rings managed to topple another oorgolians, and the three remaining on the hill retreated into the thick grass and bushes.

Meanwhile Glyquorg was trying to take down the northern two oorgolians while Takkorek slowly recovered.  The exiled jack lobbed a javelin at one of the creatures, and continued forward, gaining their attention, and keeping them away from the wounded nano.  Unfortunately Glyquorg noticed that there was another pair of oorgolians, carrying some kind of “launcher” artifact, moving in from the east.   Their “missile” exploded above the heads of Glyquorg and Takkorek, causing further pain and suffering.  Glyquorg, still standing, managed to drop one of the creatures with his water-sword, but before he could slay another he was struck with a mind-affecting cypher that turned him blind and deaf momentarily.  The cyper-using oorgolian tried fleeing but was caught by a sleeping detonation, tossed from a now conscious, and somewhat recuperated Takkorek. 

Back on the hill with the other party members, Garren, Ralyx, and Jak chased the fleeing oorgolians.  There were traps waiting for the three, however, and while Garren and Jak leapt over the poison coated bamboo stakes, Ralyx’s legs were pierced with a painful poison.  The oorgolians turned back around and reengaged, but didn’t last long against the party’s exceptional strength and fortitude.  


At the end of the battle only one oorgolian had escaped, running to the east along a small stream of pure blood and oil.  The party of ex-bounty hunters regrouped, collected some of the oorgolians’ numenera, and took a brief pause to bind their wounds and prepare for more dangers ahead.  


Quotes


Jim - "You're all going on the black list now." 
Marc - "I don't even know James Spader!" 

"My shirt is a sleeveless affair, that is tight to my body…" - Marc's response when the GM asked what he was wearing.


"You probably shouldn't do that… could leave a scar." - Jak didn't like that Cacoethes was picking at her scabs, seductively.


"That's a great trap… just throw a baby at somebody!" - Jim really liked his plan to start off the Oorgolian Soldier encounter.


"… with the 'Head of Sago' in hand." - Andreas (as Garren) charged into combat!


"THE BITE OF SAGO!" - Marc named Garren's attack, after the teeth of Sago caught one of the Oorgolian's slug-throwers.


"I am a Kill Stealing Jack who Throws with Deadly Accuracy!" - Marc doesn't lie.