They arrive in a place that feels different. And they feel different. Nar, rewarded by the Tome for the journey through the shadow tomb, should feel better, if more tied to the dark book then ever, and yet…different
Ghen is not with them.

The lush and exotic vegetation that surrounds them implies a tropical location, but the temperature is mild. And the orange and blue fruit look like nothing the nature-knowing ranger or elf would ever imagine.

As they think of camping, Forge checks the bag of holding. Which is now just an empty bag..and all the contents are lost, or at the best inaccessible!
This includes food. When Nar tries to make some, it seems much harder than normal…

They are watched. Then comes giggling. Then little (technically “Lil”) winged humanoids emerge, and speak into the mind of the party without making a sound.

They speak of an oasis in the “deadlands”. Of a ancient site in the mostly deadly part these lands, and another site and settlement in the other direction. On roads paved, presumably long ago, with a strange metal.
Nar tries to show them “magic”. He fails.

They enter the deadlands and eventually head into the hills, curious about the “base” mentioned by the small oasis dwellers. Though there is concern about remaining in the deadlands, especially as it seems to be making some of them sick…and interest in food grows…

But the location in the hills also turns out to be interesting. The materials, the contents…its like nothing the party has ever seen. Strange machines built by “Terradyme Industries”. Artificial lights, including an orange one with a sort of stand. A device to be sat on that would seem to move yet goes nowhere.

And the sentinel orbiter that Forge finds.

Lucian finds the security robot, that proceeds to shock and shoot sonic grenades at the party.

Even better, not only does Nar have trouble with his magic, the others also find their own fantastical maneuvers to be erratic, or simply not possible. It’s a long fight with the robot.

And there is another. Clearly more shy then the first, but friendlier when they talk to it. The robot mentions “the collapse of communications”, strange non-living visitor(s), the other base in the deadlier lands, “databanks”, and that it has some healing capability. Luckily for the party, it agrees to go with them.

They are still stuck in the deadlands. But with effort and luck, the wizard overcomes the nature of this place, or becomes more attuned to it(?), and still manages to summon phantom steeds to whisk them out of the radioactive (a term they have heard from “Robot 1”) terrain.

Their luck does not last long.

The “badders” swarmed out of the rolling land, backed up by a heavy armored vehicle. With a flame thrower. At first the four plus Robot 1 were confident, so confident they thought they could capture the vehicle. The cigar smoking badder commander had other ideas.

Even with Nar turning himself to flame, Buckthorn finding some maneuvers he could still use, and Lucian and Forge getting up on the vehicle and driving sergeant badder off of it, the 30 or so of the mutants, and the ability of the light-tank to not only shoot flame but drive right over them, makes things look grim.

Still, for all their tough squeaking, the mutant-animals lack a death wish, and when half their number are down, the rest decide the time has come to go. Probably just in time for the party.

The road lies ahead.

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