log in or register to remove this ad

 

ZEITGEIST [ZEITGEIST] The Continuing Adventures of Korrigan & Co.


log in or register to remove this ad

gideonpepys

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
Session 255, Part Two

Emmanuel of the Planes


With the solo missions over, it still remained for Korrigan to free Slate. Lauryn Cyneburg suggested she take him to Shale too. Gale went along to broadcast his words, as did a squad of ‘battleminds’ trained by Orum Dwist and Throgmorton at the behest of Sebastian Harlock. (They had laid low since the Ob took over; now their job was to counter and disperse resistant pockets of hiveminds.) These endeavours took time, but involved little or no peril. Korrigan freed Viscount Price-Hill and addressed the people of Slate, then freed Duchess Ethelyn and did likewise in Shale. Price-Hill offered to resign his post; Korrigan said it would not be necessary. Ethelyn knelt when she was freed and re-pledged allegiance.

On their journey, Korrigan told Gale and Cyneburg about Sor Daeron, whom he’d had the chance to talk to just before leaving Seobriga. It was a sad tale. Though physically hale, the eladrin general was evidently senile, locked in the past and convinced that his true enemy was Kasvarina – that he needed to face her in order to defeat the Ob.

Korrigan also made telepathic contact with Naz Duchamps, his contact in Cherage. Naz replied that he and his allies were ready to take advantage of Han Jierre’s absence, and establish a new Republic of Danor.

Out of sheer curiosity, Leon visited his Dream Palace to see if it might be possible to meet himself (as his sundered self had access to the Palace too). Nothing untoward occurred and he left. (Shortly after he’d gone, his other self came out from behind a large pot-plant, where he had hid to avoid confusion.)

They also received a message from Bishop Antonescu, who had been visited by his friend Malthusius in a dream. The old deva had asked him to help King Baldrey. So he invited them all to the clergy cathedral in North Shore, where they found Bendick and many other Family bravuras, hiding from the hiveminds. They asked the unit to help bring Morgan Cippiano back from Alais Primos, to which they agreed. Antonescu then opened up his vault for the second time and gave them a scroll of heroes feast.

Before departing Flint, they gathered what they needed for the Sacrament of Apotheosis: Linia fetched the entrails of an eagle; dockers were easily able to provide the innards of a whale from a whaling station in the newly industrialised Ayres; Harkover Lee peformed his ‘last service to the nation’ in posthumously donating his guts.

They gathered on the Coaltongue, already on its way to Axis Island. Matunaaga’s wife, Ayesha, provided healing for the whole team. Then they teleported to Pemberton’s lair.

Once repairs to the Coaltongue were underway, they gathered with their allies to discuss their plans, and Linia told them what icons they could expect to receive (as and when Uriel was able to send them to Kai). After much discussion over many hours, their sundered selves had chosen the following planes:

LIFE – Jiese, keeping the trait of clever technology, but shifting away from the fires of industry

DEATH – Av, to maintain their allegiance with the Dreaming

TIME – Ascetia, a plane that made people more aware of the lessons of history

SPACE – Urim, to provide some security against teleportation

EARTH – Mojang, to enable bio-technology, boosted by the cunning of Jeise; industry will be less of an anathema to the fey

AIR – Caeloon, a plane that made people more resilient in the face of tragedy (and also helped out their allies)

FIRE – Etheax, making people more patient, and fire magic (and therefore life and technology) easier.

WATER – Ostea, to keep the trait of healing.

Linia explained that they had discovered certain planes that could be conjoined with others, just as the Ob had added Baden. Each such addition was increasingly difficult, but they had chosen to risk adding three minor planes, in the following order of importance:
  1. Dunkelweiss – a dwarven pocket-plane that made alcohol healthy. Added to Mojang.
  2. Iratha Ket – people would become more altruistic and inclined to burst into spontaneous song. This would not be a place, but a people – a celebration of death that passed through the night like a musical Great Hunt. Added to Av.
  3. Teykfa – an eternal clock that allowed the manipulation of time. To be joined with Ascetia.
Pemberton glowered. He had anticipated taking a part in this discussion and was unhappy that the decision had already been made. To placate him they agreed to consider a change he wished to propose: Pemberton said that his own researches had solved the mystery of the plane Mavisha. It was, in fact, able to function as a Space plane too. If used in that slot, it would enable travel to the closest plane by ship from the Yerasol Archipelago. As the only dragon on Lanjyr, Pemberton was keen to explore the rest of the universe and find more of his kin.

None of the unit was hugely attached to Urim in the Space slot, and they agreed. (Though Korrigan wondered all the while just how dangerous it would be to cross Pemberton. His flash of ire, though suppressed, was a reminder of his true nature. Rumdoom was glowering too. But he’d been doing so much of that lately, that everyone ignored him.)

Once they had discussed the planar alignments, they turned their attention to the sacrament, and decided how they would divide the power they absorbed from their global network of supporters.

Conquo told them he would be able to grow big enough to move the stone pillars on the island, but hey decided he needed back-up: Rumdoom would generate substantial support in any case, from his cult, if he channelled even more, he would be able to move the stone pillars too. Uru would take on the divine power to create – to mend the Coaltongue he she was damaged again. Quratulain chose plentitude, all the better to wield her many weapons. Korrigan would become unstoppable as he and Kai would need to implant the icons when they received them. (When would that be?!?) Gupta already drew enough power from the eladrin; she would need no more. Leon said he would decide later.

Now Pemberton made the suggestion that they create an illusory decoy of the Coaltongue approaching from the south, to augment their subterfuge. Leon could create such an illusion well enough to defy all but the closest scrutiny; Linia could bear him aloft from the south to distract the Ob.

They made final preparations and had some time to themselves. There was enough time for Uru to enter a fey trance and wake refreshed. When he did, a small, sealed scroll had been placed in his lap. Opening it, he found a contract for the assassination of Sovereign Han Jierre. “He will be found aboard his flagship on the Island of Axis. Approach unseen and ingress will be provided.” Uru excitedly skipped to the end, to find out what payment would be due and to his astonishment found that his mystery patron knew his deepest, dearest wish: to establish a new, secure vault under the Anthras mountains to replace the Vault of Heresies. His reward for killing Han Jierre would be “the provision of materials and arcane expertise, as well as the ideal location for the planned Crypta Damnatorum”. Excitedly, Uru showed it to Korrigan, wondering if he could trust the anonymous sender. Korrigan pointed out that the sender had in fact signed the contract, shortly before appending payment details in a postscript (a detail Uru had missed, in his haste). The ‘mystery patron’ was none other than El Extrano

(Do not be impressed.)

*​

And so, once prepared, they boarded the Coaltongue, and set off for Axis Island on their final mission.

Elsewhere, their other selves were approaching Reida and their confrontation Voice of Rot. The winds of the Gyre howled about them, causing the very hull of their vessel to shudder. They manoeuvred the ship as carefully as they could, hoping to get a shot at the titan with the Coaltongue’s brand.

All of a sudden, a terrible noise issued from the engine room. They began to lose power! The ship listed and banked, in the grip of the terrible vortex.

“Sabotage!” Uru declared and at once he realised the culprits: the gremlins of Metarie had somehow stolen on board.

“The stone discs!” thought Uriel. If only he hadn’t summoned them back to him, perhaps they would have known they had been compromised.

But there was no time for regret, only action: the unit needed to get onto Reida, and their crew (if possible) needed to be rescued.

Tune in next time for the penultimate episode of… ZEITGEIST
 

gideonpepys

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
DM's Notes:

There are always things you wish you had handled differently or better. For me, in the last session, it was this bit:

Once they had discussed the planar alignments, they turned their attention to the sacrament, and decided how they would divide the power they absorbed from their global network of supporters.

Conquo told them he would be able to grow big enough to move the stone pillars on the island, but hey decided he needed back-up: Rumdoom would generate substantial support in any case, from his cult, if he channelled even more, he would be able to move the stone pillars too. Uru would take on the divine power to create – to mend the Coaltongue he she was damaged again. Quratulain chose plentitude, all the better to wield her many weapons. Korrigan would become unstoppable as he and Kai would need to implant the icons when they received them. (When would that be?!?) Gupta already drew enough power from the eladrin; she would need no more. Leon said he would decide later.
The metagame urge to provide the players with the means to make useful, strategic decisions, trumped any attempt to attribute a sense of magic and wonder to the whole process of the sacrament. Maybe the handout contributed to that, I don't know. After introducing Gupta's divine aspect so organically and narratively, I wish I'd been able to figure out a compromise here.

Having dropped the ball, I made no attempt to pick it up, and just proceeded with the powers active and in play during the final session. There were already enough things to worry about. (The write-up stands at around 23 pages of typed A4 and it isn't even finished...)

To make up for this, as well as the sacrament powers, I gave each of the main characters something special for the finale, some of which don't feature in the write-up, so I might as well list them here:
  • Korrigan's telepathic network went global. Their supporters could see what was happening during the final combat. (Led to jokes about heart and thumbs down emojis rising from the rift at certain points.) Korrigan could use his leadership powers without line of sight, at any distance.
  • Quratulain got the jet boots.
  • Leon had access to all the martial scientist technqiues (as per the AP).
  • Uru gained regeneration, like a true titan.
  • Gupta would discover a new aspect, tranforming her divine form into a huge tiger.
  • Conquo could grow to 150 feet!
  • Rumdoom was granted total immunity to all forms of damage. When the unit first saw this in action, they thought it was a good thing...
Most of these were revealed in play, rather than being handed out up front.
 
Last edited:

Yeah, maintaining the magic in a big complex scene is a challenge.

I recall a game where my GM wanted a battle with a strange artificer to be spooky, but he had so many gizmos in the arena that he got distracted, and when the big reveal of the artificer's masterpiece came, he fumbled.

Instead of saying "it was a behemoth of black metal, tall as the highest tree, shaped like a knight in plated armor that had been not hammered, but draped across its emaciated frame like the steely flesh of a skinned demon, with eyes that shimmered with eldritch red flames, and a howl so unnatural as to drive inanimate matter to flee from it in terror," he said, "It looks like an Eva from that anime, with a force field."
 

gideonpepys

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
Yeah, maintaining the magic in a big complex scene is a challenge.
You should check out my set-up for the finale, for truly immersive magic. :D Maybe I’ll post some pics later.

Session 255 was our last regular three-hour Monday night session. And so began a week of holding my breath, with fingers and toes crossed for everything to work out fine.

When I pitched the idea of an ‘away weekend’ for the finale a year earlier, I was pleasantly surprised by the positive reception from my players. As the campaign came to a close, and I was able to better estimate its running time, just before Christmas (after the players sped through the latter part of the Gyre) I was even more surprised when we managed to find a suitable pair of weekends when everyone said they were free, without having to stall things, or truncate them in any way. (Having initially intended to run both the final encounters in the ‘Climax Double-Helix’ on that same weekend, I realised some distance out that this was a mistake. So we decided to run Rough Beast over six hours at a player’s house one Sunday, saving Axis of Revolution for the Friday/Saturday RPG sleepover.)

Though it would have been a lovely surprise for me to reveal my plans for the finale without any spoilers, I also realised that I wouldn’t be able to source all the props required without driving myself crazy. I sent the players a list for them to check off what they could handle, and this process also went very smoothly. If anything, I think the gonzo prop list whetted their appetite. And the fact that we needed an eight-foot diameter playing surface was the icing on the cake. Another bonus was that one of the players also volunteered to organise the venue, which was a huge load off my mind.

All that remained was to hope that real life didn’t get in the way and prevent any of us from turning up.

It nearly happened! On the last Monday (Session 255), Rumdoom’s player told us he’d come within a hair’s breadth of being sent to New York for the week by his workplace. He still wasn’t 100% sure he was in the clear. I told him if that happened we’d have to rely on my long-term back-up plan to have Rumdoom die on the toilet just before the finale – an idea that was christened by Uru’s player, “The Spicy End of the World”.
 

gideonpepys

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
Session 256, Part One

The Rough Beast


Sabotage!

Gupta tried to calm the crew, but their morale had only been bolstered by the thought that they might help to defeat the serpent. Now as the ship began to list, their suppressed fear was given full vent.

From the engine room, Uru announced that the damage was catastrophic – it would take hours to fix. Quratulain looked over the side and saw more gremlins scampering round the arcane levitationals. She began to pick them off, one by one, for all the good it would do.

Rumdoom was so keen to engage the titan he kept his feet planted firmly at the prow and didn’t budge even as the deck tilted beneath him.

Leon looked to Korrigan. “Evacuate?” he asked.

Korrigan gave a single arcane command, activating the fey portal pad.

A moment later, instead of falling towards the Gyre, the ship was falling through the shattered glass debris of Av. It would do so for another minute or so, before it was drawn back to Reida. The king had bought them time to consider their options.

Calm was restored, but urgency was maintained. They divided the crew into those who had been on the Coaltongue when she was reflected, and those who had joined since and would die if they fell into the Gyre. The latter group was evacuated by Leon to Dunkelweiss, whence they could either wend their way, or remain until Dunkelweiss was joined to Lanjyr – then Leon would come to fetch them.

This done, the unit – and only the unit – gathered round Leon. No one else would be powerful enough to harm the titan. (Not even Amielle, who was loath to remain behind.) Uriel blessed them all with the Staff of the Hierophant; Leon bathed those who would benefit in the invigorating light of the lantern; Rumdoom grew to giant size; Gupta focused on enacting Vekeshi revenge.

Then Leon took them back to Reida.

They reappeared on the plane’s glassy surface. Beneath their feet, images of the centuries between the clergy’s two victories played out; not far off, beyond the the vision of the fall, they saw the rise of Danor and Risur and the smog of industrialisation; further still, a huge gap, where the plane had been shattered.

“Good of you to return,” said an unmistakable voice, a simultaneous growl and hiss, audible over the howling storm. They saw now that the titan had moved from there it had been before they vanished, and now slithered on the far side of the plane, heading towards them at speed. “Five ages have I glimpsed, my honoured foes. Lo from the Golden Dawn, to First Crown, from the High Demonocracy, through the Malicious Victory, and now to the Obscuring Steam. Long did I await the end of this, a beautiful and dying world. I ask that you challenge me, that I may smother the last high hope. If it be yours, then I will kill and you shall rot. If it be mine, you will return home and I shall despair. Either way, I shall be appeased.”

With that, he issued forth an almost subsonic growl and a piercing hiss, and the whole ring of Reida shuddered. Cracks appeared across the surface of plane beneath his head. Another flick of his forked tongue, and comets began to fall from the sky; he tried to direct one towards Leon, but the Book of Kelland protected him. Leon was also protected from the rotting arms that writhed up from the plane beneath their feet – centuries of the dead awakened by their master’s call. Rumdoom and Korrigan were grabbed.

Gupta shifted into hybrid form and leapt away from the grasping limbs, then she studied the serpent closely, searching for weaknesses, as it slithered inevitably towards them.

Uru shadow-stepped upwards, took flight on Little Jack and licked the Sword of the Black Needles threateningly. He had long harboured the ambition (once a mere pipe-dream, now an imminent possibility) that he would one day slay the Voice of Rot and bring its tyranny over the dead to an end. He could never have imagined that he would do so as a titan himself, now possessed of the power to command spirits – a power lost by the Voice of Rot. Uru could hear the spirits of the centuries clamouring to come to his aid.

“I will form a cadre of spirits to rival the ghost council,” Uru had said, not long ago. That effort would start here.

The serpent hurled a comet at him; it missed.

Uriel levitated into the air and weaved the titan’s fate, enabling him to predict its movements and its attack.

Quratulain shot at the head; a sizable hole appeared in its left cheek – first blood (if there had been any blood inside the desiccated titan).

Ignoring the grasping arms, Rumdoom decided that it would be a good idea to help the Voice of Rot destroy the plane beneath them: When it came apart, they would rejoin their other selves; the Voice of Rot would perish. Without sharing this idea with anyone, he brought the Stone of Not down hard on the surface of Reida, cracking this section too. At once Uriel cried out in alarm, and implored him not to do so again. “If Reida is destroyed, our world will cease to exist!” said the deva.

Leon sought to give Rumdoom something better to do and teleported him into the path of the titan. He whisked Korrigan out of the grasping arms as well. Korrigan then flew into the air and issued orders to support his team. Now he could see that the section of the plane the Voice was on was the thousand-year era of the Demonocracy.

The Voice of Rot caught sight of the king and thanked him for bringing his son. “I knew that if you thought I wanted him, you would bring him to me.” This made no sense, thought Korrigan, but then, here he was, with Kai strapped to his back. Fey logic was infectious, it seemed.

The titan chuckled with amusement, and the gaping wound Quratulain had made closed up, to their horror. Then the Voice susurrated again and the era of the Demonocracy began to shear apart.

Ever forwards the serpent surged, knocking Leon aside. When it came close enough, the stench from its rotting head was so powerful it nauseated even Rumdoom. Then it clamped its jaws down on the dwarf and sought to affect him with the same soul rot poison that had killed Kasvarina; Rumdoom was made of tougher stuff and struck the rough beast on the snout with his hammer. The blow was enfeebled by the titan’s stench, so he kicked off the Icy End of the World, to encourage it to let go.

Seeking answers to the serpent’s regeneration, Gupta Stood in Wonder. She realised that he had bonded to the plane to such an extent that his mere presence carried the weight of eternity. This fey titan had survived millennia. They could only harm him if they struck him in two eras of time at once. So she used her icon of Apet to teleport to the far side of the plane, and found that to be the period of humanity’s rise and the decline of the Ancient Orcs.

“I’ll take his ass; you take the head,” said Uru, speeding along on Little Jack to get into position, hiding in his own portable cloud of shadow. While he lined up his shot, he heard Amielle’s echoing cry, “Me first! Me first! Pick me!” He did so, and they both opened fire on the titan.

Leon whisked Rumdoom out of the titan’s jaws, then created a pair of linked portals to ease movement across the plane.

The Voice cracked another era with his decaying susurrus – the period of clergy ascendancy between the two victories; it hurled another comet at Uriel and raised more grasping arms to stop the unit moving away from him. Uriel dodged the comet and studied the susurrus. “We need to defend the plane with our own vigour!” he announced. “Someone must be standing on the section of the plane he’s trying to destroy!”

Quratulain had previously jetted over the huge, jagged gash onto the Ancient Orcish side. Now she jumped back again, before taking a shot at the serpent’s body. The hide was thick, but she managed to punch through. She invoked her icon of Nem and stood firm, hoping to thwart the titan if it tried to crack the modern era.

Rumdoom used his tyrant’s teeth necklace to bite down on its flank, tearing out a sizable chunk, before he was pushed aside and fell close to the edge of the plane. The serpent fired a comet at him, and chipped off the edge where he had been lying; he barely clung on.

Leon teleported right up to the face of the serpent, stabbed at it with his Dreaming Blade, then teleported away again. Now the Book of Kelland would not prevent the titan from attacking him!

The titan tried its susurrus again, but now it had no effect on Reida itself, though it harmed those who stood firm with necrotic rot. The Voice summoned more grasping arms around Gupta, who was still on the far side of the plane; then it crawled off the jagged edge where the ‘modern era’ ended and began to loop back under itself.

Gupta took on tiger form and tore free of the rotting limbs, then caught up with the serpent in a few bounds and mauled its tail. The arms caught her again, and dragged her down, clawing at her.

Now in the era of the Ancient Orcs, Uru was inspired to summon Toteth Topec to their aid. Toteth shrugged and said “I’m not much of a fighter” but both he and Amielle found themselves empowered by Uru’s dominion over the spirits. They and their new master attacked the titan to great effect.

Doing his best not to succumb to the whirling winds of the Gyre, Uriel flew over the edge of the plane and fired a lance of radiance at the titan’s head. The titan cried out in pain and pleasure. “This battle fulfills me,” it rumbled. “Let us reminisce upon battles past.” The surface of the arc of Reida shuddered, and soldiers from across time clawed their ways out of ancient graves. Modern Danoran battalions, their uniforms and faces decayed, hefted rifles and fired wildly, while a few hundred feet away, eladrin and Clergy crossed swords and spears, and beyond them orcish skeletons swiped stone clubs at stampedes of zombified beasts. Every open space on this plane was consumed with war.

Time itself seemed to speed up for the titan and it looped back under the plane at double speed and now rose up on the other side, to descend upon Quratulain, who had previously been behind him. She leapt out of harm’s way, fired back into his open mouth and then used her jet boots to get completely clear.

Frustrated, the Voice of Rot said, “A little help from my friends, perhaps? Jenny, you promised me a battle.”

At that, in the centre of the ring of Reida, an undead whale appeared. Upon its back stood Jenny Greenteeth and her foul cabal, all of whom should have been dead.
 

gideonpepys

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
Session 256, Part Two

“Time Travel, Kids: Not Even Once”


How was it possible for Jenny and her cabal to come here? Once, they had been pursued by Leon through the Dreaming and had used the ancient icons of time and space to escape. Leon had tried to thwart them multiple times, in multiple timelines. Was this one of them?

They were all here – Jenny herself, and the sea-hag Weary Enid, both slain very recently (and the former subsumed by Lavanya); Blue Meg, the swamp witch, whom Unit B had killed the foot of an ancient ziggurat; Ambertain the Black, who had met his end in the palace of the blighted dragon, Tatzel; and Gorago, the annis hag, whom Leon had killed in the Vault of Heresies, in the process of retrieving the bloodstone ape.

Joined together in a cabal like this, their magical powers were fearsome: Blue Meg summoned vipers to beset Korrigan; Jenny tried and failed to betwitch Quratulain; Ambertain sought to implant false memories in Uriel; Weary Enid summoned a squadron of ghouls. Gorago drew a great sword, ran along the length of the whale and prepared to leap the gap to bring the fight to Rumdoom.

The unit was flagging; this new set of foes, plus the complication of hundreds of battling undead, sorely tested their morale.

Rumdoom struggled up, fighting off cadavers. Leon created another portal, from the clergy ascendancy to the age of the Ancients, and teleported Korrigan to the modern era to defend that region from the susurrus. The susurrus failed, but caused Korrigan to flag, having absorbed its necrotic energy. The serpent threw another comet at Uriel, raised even more grasping arms, then slithered back under the plane through the gap, creating a figure-of-eight, and crushing Korrigan between his contra-flowing coils

Gupta fought her way out of the grasping arms, and did her best to pursue the serpent, despite the battling dead. Uru summoned El Perro to join his squad of spirits. Their old friend was much more himself than he had been on Nem and said how much he enjoyed the chance to fight alongside them again.

Uriel was about to turn his attention to the cabal, when a portal began to appear on the back of the whale. Not more enemies, surely? Leon recognised the arcane signature. “I think it’s one of mine!” he said, baffled.

When the portal opened, his Dream Team leaped through: Ascodel, the irrepressible bralani; Redcoat the drunken and foul-mouthed bear; Nbed, the vampiric satyr; and their two recent companions, Etiotek Ekiokiet and the Huldregarl. They had caught up with Jenny and her cabal at long last, and made the most of the element of surprise: Redcoat charged at Gorago and seized her from behind; Ascodel unleashed lightning at the other four, declaiming all the while; Nbed attacked Ambertain and almost killed him with a single blow; Etiotek played a tune that seemed to mould or direct the Huldregarl, which crashed like a wave onto Weary Enid’s ghouls.

Another figure still stood silhouetted in the portal. It was Leon! He gave a smart salute to himself, then stepped out of sight to avoid confusion (leaving the portal open).

With the cabal distracted, Uriel instead invoked his monster slaying incarnation, Jannick, formed the arsenal of Dhebisu into a broadsword, and carved a chunk out of the Voice of Rot. Quratulain carried on shooting at its head, shrugging off zombie attacks from all sides.

Weary Enid muttered a spell and Ascodel began to drown. The sea-hag cackled, pleased to have shut him up.

Rumdoom stepped through one of Leon’s portals to the era of the Ancient Orcs, where the titan’s head was now, and threw his last Icy End of World Grenade. It created a freezing sphere, which the whole of the serpent would now have to pass through.

“Ah! You are using time against me!” said the Voice. “Truly, you may be the greatest of all of us. Zubov, Morkanstall, Komanov, all of my servants slain by your hands; all of my greatest treasures in your hands: The Skull, the Stone, the Eye. If you strike me down, you will worthy of the title, Champion of the End, and thus you will continue my great work. Finish it, Rumdoom. Finish it!”

Grabbed again, Leon teleported free, then began to set up more portals. By now, he had created a complex network, making it easier for his allies to defend the plane, and get around without fighting through hordes of zombies.

The serpent had moved far enough that its coils released Korrigan. Now able to see one of Leon’s portals, he transformed into a lightning bolt and shot through it, appearing as far away as he could, on the lip of the Rise of Humanity. The Voice of Rot could still see him, though, and summoned more grasping arms to beset him, then threw a comet at him, smashing a hole in the plane as he dodged aside. Then the serpent surged forward to susurrate, causing Korrigan to flag again and cracking the era of the Rise in the process. This onslaught greatly amused the Voice of Rot and it began to laugh.

Gupta was nowhere near the Voice. She switched to hybrid form and levelled Reason at Gorago, to help out the Dream Team. Her shot rang out and Gorago fell into the abyss. Freed from his struggle, the raging, drunken Redcoat turned to charge at Enid, who was forced to break concentration and defend herself. Ascodel was freed from her spell instantly.

Uru kept up his attacks on the serpent and added Lorcan Kell to his roster of spirit warriors. The crime boss might have been wicked in life, but he did not wish to see all life destroyed, and hurled a swarm of knives at the titan.

Uriel landed where he could. “Get the king to me!” he said to Leon.

Quratulain jetted into the Icy End aura (as the closest clear space), expecting that the cold would not affect her, but felt the painful chill – the first she had felt in centuries. Nothing could resist the Icy End of the World, she learned. Still, she found it invigorating!

By now, Rumdoom had been grabbed by more arms, and couldn’t pull himself free. He used a destructive cold blast rune to freeze the arms solid, then drew his blunderbuss.

Leon added more portals, then teleported to Korrigan, and sent him to Uriel, where he was fully healed. But this manoeuvre left Leon exposed, right next to the head of the serpent! The titan snapped at him, but missed, knocking him aside.

Gupta shot at the serpent with Reason, to distract him from Leon. This wound caused the serpent to surge towards her at an incredible speed.

“Would you desire songs of your deeds?” asked the Voice “Would you be paintings? Statues? Even if you win this day, the time that you live will be dwarfed by your misremembered history.”

Across the whole plane, all the serpent’s foes began to retch. Some were able to resist the urge, but the others – the Dream Team, Uru, Quratulain – were forced to vomit up a white that pulsed with their heartbeat. Quratulain had to pull off her mask to release hers. They slithered towards the Voice of Rot and were absorbed. As it bore down on Gupta, the titan continued his diatribe. “I seek to fulfill my purpose, for I was created to witness death!”

He sank his fangs into Gupta, injecting her with Soul Rot poison – a death sentence, for this body of hers. She fell to the ground.

Uru summoned Olivert Boone, whom they had recently encountered on Nem. Uru's phantom posse continued to attack the serpent on his behalf, while he caught his breath.

Quratulain wiped her mouth, then took steady, careful aim…

Rumdoom fired his blunderbuss. It didn’t do much good.

Leon teleported himself and Gupta to Uriel. Uriel was waiting for them and healed Leon instantly. Gupta saved him the bother, thrashing about in sudden paroxysms, restoring herself.

On the back of the whale, the fight had tipped against the Dream Team, as they had been crippled by the White Worm spell.

Korrigan gave orders. He moved to cover the Demonocracy; Leon moved the Clergy Ascendancy. Uru, by now very weak could see what was coming, and flitted out of the way: the Voice of Rot aimed for Leon, moving as fast as it could, calling down a comet that struck him squarely and susurrating as it came. Though freshly restored, Leon felt himself flag already, but grasped the hilt of his Dreaming Blade and bravely stood his ground as the serpent came on, mouth agape.

Behind him, another portal opened. Not one of his!

Through the new portal stepped an odd assortment of strangers: an olive-skinned warrior in RHC garb, wielding a greatsword; an eladrin weretiger in hybrid form; a dwarven priest in ice-blue armour; a huge metal minotaur; and – strangest of all – an enormous biomechanical flea, the mount for a rangy rider wearing a hooded boiler suit and rebreather, and wielding a aelectronic lance.

“We’ve arrived at the turning point, just as Uncle said we would,” cried the warrior. They rushed forward and interposed themselves between the titan and Leon. The minotaur clapped its hands together and caused a wave of thunder to slow the titan down; the dwarf muttered an incantation and summoned two ice elementals in its path; the warrior and the eladrin moved swiftly to flank it; the gigantic flea leapt high into the air and landed on the back of the serpent, allowing its rider to apply the aelectric lance.

Though their attacks did little to harm the titan, they certainly vexed him. And they saved Leon from being attacked – the serpent smashed into the ice elementals instead.

“We’re from the future,” said the dwarf to Leon. “Please don’t ask us too many questions. We’re not supposed to talk.” Leon noticed that, although the portal had closed, the priest was holding in his hand a fragment of the Arc of Reida (of similar size and shape to the one now possessed by Uriel).

Rumdoom stepped through a nearby portal, attacked the titan with the Stone of Not, and was immediately knocked to the floor again. The frost priest knelt when he saw him. “My lord,” he said, with tears in his eyes.

While the titan was occupied, Quratulain – who had been carefully aiming for a long time – opened fire: right into the serpent’s empty eye-socket. It screeched and raised its head and neck into the air.

Korrigan flew through the air towards the fight, giving orders to Gupta and Rumdoom to get back on their feet. As soon as he saw the newcomers, the Humble Hook told him their names and something of their histories. (He kept them to himself for now.)

Leon saw the terrible struggle going on between the cabal and his Dream Team, and decided to try to turn it for them. He cast mire the mind on Jenny, Enid, Blue Meg and Ambertain; with great effort, he caused all four of them to throw themselves into the Gyre. He watched them go, just to be sure.

Now the Dream Team could leap across the gap and attack the titan, even as the undead whale sagged and fell towards the Gyre itself.

Gupta watched them fall. Behind her, the fight went on. Leon, Quratulain, Rumdoom, Uru, Uru’s ghosts, Leon’s Dream Team, the travellers from the Future – all attacked the titan as it thrashed about trying to harm them. It bit down on Korrigan. As its jaws closed, Kai cried out in fear and instinctively unleashed a blast of Apet energy that caused the itan to reel.

Now they all became aware of a rhythmic beat that had grown in volume for a while, and now could be heard distinctly over the roar of the Gyre. Could it be music? Suddenly, the prow of a golden ship breached the debris field, as the vessel hurtled towards the upreared titan. It crashed squarely into his head and neck, knocking the great beast sideways.

Rock Rackus and his skeleton crew leapt off the Aural Pleasure just before it hit. Rock waved his arms frantically as he ran towards the unit. “Get back! Get back! I rigged that motherfucker to blow!”

It blew, taking the Voice of Rot’s head clean off. The sheer weight of its coils dragged it slowly off the silver disc and downward, into the maelstrom.
 



SanjMerchant

Explorer
Session 256, Part One

The Rough Beast


...

Leon looked to Korrigan. “Evacuate?” he asked.
"In our moment of triumph!?"

Ignoring the grasping arms, Rumdoom decided that it would be a good idea to help the Voice of Rot destroy the plane beneath them: When it came apart, they would rejoin their other selves; the Voice of Rot would perish. Without sharing this idea with anyone, he brought the Stone of Not down hard on the surface of Reida, cracking this section too. At once Uriel cried out in alarm, and implored him not to do so again. “If Reida is destroyed, our world will cease to exist!” said the deva.
I kinda love how Rumdoom thinks he's found the Gordian Knot solution and winds up actually advancing his foe's cause. Was that only in character or was the player caught off guard by that as well?

Session 256, Part Two

“Time Travel, Kids: Not Even Once”


...

Through the new portal stepped an odd assortment of strangers: an olive-skinned warrior in RHC garb, wielding a greatsword; an eladrin weretiger in hybrid form; a dwarven priest in ice-blue armour; a huge metal minotaur; and – strangest of all – an enormous biomechanical flea, the mount for a rangy rider wearing a hooded boiler suit and rebreather, and wielding a aelectronic lance.
Are these a reference to something in the campaign I've forgotten, or is it just one of those things like they do in the comics involving such things where the character design team is allowed to go nuts and the reader is just left to imagine the rationale?

EDIT: The last guy sounds like a Darth Vader reference, but the mount doesn't fit that. If the others are pop culture references, I guess the Rumschatology priest (I'm assuming he's a follower of Rumdoom's teachings, given the comments he makes) is Sub-Zero, of Mortal Kombat fame? I never played those games, so all I really know of him is "wears blue, has ice powers."

It blew, taking the Voice of Rot’s head clean off. The sheer weight of its coils dragged it slowly off the silver disc and downward, into the maelstrom.
On a scale of 1 to Donald Duck Gif, how angry is Uru that he didn't get the killing blow?
 

gideonpepys

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
"In our moment of triumph!?"
:)

I kinda love how Rumdoom thinks he's found the Gordian Knot solution and winds up actually advancing his foe's cause. Was that only in character or was the player caught off guard by that as well?
Bit of both. The player enjoys not having to think too much or pay too much attention, and the occasional chaos that ensues from his misunderstandings.

Are these a reference to something in the campaign I've forgotten, or is it just one of those things like they do in the comics involving such things where the character design team is allowed to go nuts and the reader is just left to imagine the rationale?
I'm glad you put it like that, as this was exactly as it was intended.

EDIT: The last guy sounds like a Darth Vader reference, but the mount doesn't fit that. If the others are pop culture references, I guess the Rumschatology priest (I'm assuming he's a follower of Rumdoom's teachings, given the comments he makes) is Sub-Zero, of Mortal Kombat fame? I never played those games, so all I really know of him is "wears blue, has ice powers."
No cultural references at all. The guy on the flea is a weird Star Wars mini I own.

On a scale of 1 to Donald Duck Gif, how angry is Uru that he didn't get the killing blow?
Not bothered, funnily enough. So 1 or 0. I think killing one titan was enough for him.

Unlike many other groups I've read about, my group loves Rock Rackus. (Even though I added a mechanic whereby the terrible glory hog actually steals their XP. Here, I said that he'd taken the XP for the whole Voice of Rot encounter, but I was only kidding.)
 

gideonpepys

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
Session 256, Part Three

Blank & Pitiless


“Man, am I glad I showed up when I did,” said Rock. “I’d hate for anything to have happened to you guys.”

They asked him where he’d been. “Got hit over Egalitrix. Ship went down. We managed to get her back under control, but by the time we made it back there, you guys had gone. The place was a slag heap. I’m glad to see you made it out in one piece!”

Everyone was equally glad to see Rock. Even Rumdoom didn’t mind that he’d shamelessly stolen their kill.

“Is he the new titan of rot now?” asked Uru.

Uriel shook his head. “He’s not fey. An honorary member of the Unseen Court perhaps, but not a fey.” He turned to Rock. “Since you felled the titan of the swamps, you get to appoint a new titan.”

Rock shrugged. “I don’t know, man. That’s not my kind of thing – loading responsibility onto unsuspecting folks. Why don’t you guys choose for me?”

Fey? Powerful? Oriented towards rot? The Huldregarl was their unanimous choice. Now Uncle Uru would have an ally, close by in the High Bayou.

After a brief thank you, the Dream Team retreated through their portal. The visitors from the future opened up a new one with the shard of the arc, and were about to leave without a word, when Rumdoom asked the priest, “Were you there for the end?”

Despite himself, the awestruck priest answered, “It wasn’t the end.”

Korrigan approached the warrior. Up close, he was older than he seemed at first – perhaps forty or so. Korrigan gave him a hug and said, “I’m proud of you.”

“Me too,” said Kai.

The warrior nodded. He’d been told not to speak, and had more discipline than his dwarven friend, so he retreated, wordlessly through the portal, along with his allies, and in a moment they were gone.

(What Korrigan knew, courtesy of the Humble Hook was that these were RHC operatives from the future – thirty-odd years in the future, to be precise. Their leader was none other than Prince Kai. The Prince had been tasked by his father with putting down the Construct Uprising, a rebellion led by the Clockwork King himself. His allies were Thunder, the Metal Minotaur (whose mother had taken his father’s name rather too literally); Talios Valenar, who had travelled from Elfaivar to follow in the steps of heroes and had served in the RHC for three decades; Pomposs Stonefust, priest of the Cult of Rumdoom; and a hobgremlin named Twee, who served not the RHC, but Uncle Uru. It was the titan of the mountains who had sent them here – in return for his help in putting down the uprising.)

Uru summoned William Miller to him. They had intended to go back for him, to Dunkelweiss, but this was simpler. Miller arrived and gave a nod to show he understood what was next. Uru drew the spirit of Little Jack out of his mechanical shell, took him by the hand and said, “Let’s go home.”

“What shall I do?” asked Rock.

They didn’t know if he’d been reflected or not. Leon offered to take him back to one of the worlds they planned to join with. Rock didn’t like the sound of that. He was bored with the Gyre. They left him to decide.

Leon stood next to Toteth Topec, studying the Axis Seal Ritual as it played out beneath him. He knew there was something he wanted to ask, but for the life of him couldn’t remember what it was.

Gupta watched the Fall of Srasma again. She began jabbing weapons into the cracks all around it, to mark it out.

Korrigan took Kai on a slow walk across the plane, and showed him the great events of history. At length, the little boy asked, “Uncle Rumdoom says the world will end soon. Is that true?”

All that Korrigan could think of to say was, “I don’t think so.”

Rumdoom glowered. What the Voice of Rot had said had struck a chord within him. He hefted the Stone of Not. It felt even heavier now.

Quratulain stood still, waiting for the king and his son – her charges – to finish their walk. She had seen the future of her son. That was good news, surely? Until now she’d had the feeling that she wouldn’t survive all this; knowing otherwise was oddly disconcerting.

Since the combat had finished, Uriel had meditated. The others were used to that. And since his shock of white hair was always unruly, and his eyes always glowed with a pale light, they did not at first notice that a change had come over him – that his hair was writhing as if possessed of its own atmosphere, and his eyes were glowing much more brightly. Just like Kasvarina before him, Uriel now understood his role in all this. It was time to Transcend; to slough off his mortal chrysalis and become something else entirely. Grappa said he understood too, though his destiny was not the same. Xambria wondered what would become of her. You will return to Lanjyr with others, said Uriel. Now it is time for me to say goodbye.

When Uriel stood, Uru guessed what was coming and pre-emptively leapt off the edge of the plane to avoid having to listen to it. Uriel caught him telekinetically and held him there. But rather than a final speech, he shared only a brief moment with each of his friends, a smile and a nod, a handshake or an embrace depending on the individual. No words, but a fond goodbye and the intimation of good luck.

No one questioned him. He knew what he was doing. Only Korrigan spoke to him, privately, telepathically, “I hoped we could see this through to the end together, but it seems it was not meant to be. I don’t know what fate awaits you, but I am glad to see you are looking it in the eye. Now I am going to do the same. Goodbye my friend.”

Then they leapt off the plane one by one:

Uru went first, when Uriel let him go.

Then Rumdoom, who had seen this act in a vision long ago. He went down brandishing his hammer, howling with rage, as if he planned to destroy the Gyre from within.

Next Gupta, then William Miller, then Korrigan and Kai, hand-in-hand, then Quratulain.

Leon shot a glance at Rock. “Last chance,” he said.

“Fuck it,” said Rock. And jumped in ahead of him. Leon followed.

Below them, the Coaltongue reappeared and shattered to pieces as it struck the teeth.

Uriel waited until last. He steeled himself for metamorphosis, then threw himself into the Gyre.

"Spinning, whirling,
Still descending
Like a spiral sea,
Unending
Sound and fury
Drowns my heart
Every nerve
Is torn apart…"



End of Session
 

gideonpepys

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
As a preamble to a post about my incredible finale set-up, I thought I'd post some pics of our semi-final weekend. In this case, I kept it simple: a big Arc of Reida cut out of thick, white cardboard, on a table big enough to hold it (at 1" = 5ft scale).

Then the Voice of Rot was made from toilet paper tubes, cut in half lengthways and then snipped into 1" strips. Worked just like the coins idea, but looked a bit nicer. Used a purple worm mini for the head.

Anyway, here are some pics one of my players took:

IMG_20200119_115947.jpg
Tilt-Shift-1579435269019.jpg
IMG_20200119_164828_593.jpg
IMG_20200119_164838_937.jpg


As you can tell, the watchword is 'utilitarian'.
 



gideonpepys

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
Now for the showstopper - our set-up for the final encounter. Take a look at this:

4c9eaf73-6426-42f7-8053-bba7f5b2e00b.JPG
e8c6dbcf-edf4-4032-a326-ab6541d80645.JPG
IMG_0212.JPG
IMG_20200125_133914.jpg


I sent these pictures to my wife. She said it looked like 'budget witchcraft'. Note the Revolution floating above the battlefield (taken two weeks after the event, slightly deflated, having realised no one got it in shot).

Here's the full prop list:
  • shop-store mannequin
  • chargable light
  • coloured stones
  • helium balloon with weight
  • wooden arrow on stand
  • a couple of yardsticks
  • netting or similar (from kids' size goal maybe)
  • bright 'cordon' tape
  • little toy house
  • hula hoop
  • a set of place name holders
The cordon tape we ended up using (for the energy tendril) was actually bondage tape. Useful stuff!

EDIT: Note my croc, filling in for Borne’s foot.
 
Last edited:

gideonpepys

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
Oh, and here are some close-ups of the planar pillars and the Coaltongue:
20200115_202405.jpg
20200122_174444.jpg
 
Last edited:

gideonpepys

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
Finale, Session 257, Part One

The Island at the Axis of the World, Reprise


Flying in low towards Axis Island, borne aloft by Linia, Leon maintained a detailed illusion of the Coaltongue in flight. Sure enough, a couple of miles out, this illusion was subjected to incredibly powerful blasts, which Leon recognised as emanating from lantern cannons, similar to, but even larger than those Han Jierre employed when retaking the island from Pemberton.

Linia took evasion action, while Leon caused the image to respond as though badly damaged and unable to gain altitude; he wanted to see how long it would take for the cannons to fire again. About a minute later, there were two more blasts. Leon had the ‘Coaltongue’ nosedive into the sea.

Now he and Linia were sweeping along invisibly, just above the surface of the water, close to the shoreline, and Leon was about to teleport away, job done, when he spotted something rising up from the shallows: a half-submerged, stone structure, the shape of which he recognised, although it was tilted to one side and broken in places.

Closer investigation revealed it to be the citadel of the maustin caji! They’d been told the gith had gone to confront Nicodemus when the global hivemind began. Their attempt had ended here, it seemed; the citadel was riven by lantern blasts. There was no sign of life from this distance and even Leon the Clever was spooked. He chose not to stray too close.

Resisting the temptation to flee immediately, he had Linia sweep on towards the island. There, rising up above the jungle he caught sight of two, then three – and in the distance at least two more – huge, fifty-foot-tall lantern walkers, with cannons mounted atop their legs. It was a good thing the real Coaltongue had not approached from the South!

Leon had done all he could here, and swiftly rejoined the others. There, he reported what he had seen. “Goodness,” said Quratulain. “That is bad news. Their defences are very powerful, then.”

“Don’t worry, Quratulain – Uncle Uru’s here,” said Uru. “He’ll protect you.”

“Thank you,” said Quratulain. Her slight eye-roll was concealed behind her mask.

Korrigan had pared down the crew of the Coaltongue. Only Admiral Smith and the minimum number needed to operate the ship were coming with; Ayesha and her children, Bhalu, Kieran Sentacore, Amielle, Hildegard and Thurgid – all would remain behind. The fearsome energies unleashed by the axis rift would slay any who strayed too close, save those protected by the Sacrament.

For this reason, as soon as she arrived with Leon, Korrigan graciously dismissed Linia. The angel bridled and said, “For all that you have done for me, I am prepared to sacrifice my eternal life.” But Korrigan would not hear of it, and insisted that she stand down.

Save for the crew and the unit, only Xambria remained. Shortly after they had taken off from Pemberton’s lair, Alden Wondermaker had arrived with her new duplicant body. However, she would remain on board, and advise on the nature of the seal from her aerial perspective. (Wondermaker had also brought an upgraded pair of jet boots for Quratulain, which would enable her to fly.)

“Axis Seal ahead,” Rutger Smith told them.

The glowing rift had lit the sky from miles away, but now they could make out the crackling arc of energy itself. They could also see a huge, well-armed dirigible, patrolling the skies and Borne, clambering ponderously to his feet. It would appear that they had arrived just in time, as always…

To their surprise, the dirigible, the Revolution, opened fire as soon as they came within extreme range. It missed – a likely outcome at this distance, which begged the question why they had fired so early. But then the Revolution fired again, and again – at a far faster pace than a ship’s crew could ordinarily manage. They were outgunned and, because they had to get closer, not in a position to return fire in any case, except for the forward turrets and the short-range brand; they charged the brand and waited for the right moment.

Gupta scrutinised Borne through a spyglass. “My family are still in there,” she said, knowing this for certain thanks to her newfound divinity. She had been worried they might have been destroyed already. Still, she could not prioritise extracting them. The primary mission took precedence.

Uru studied the Revolution for the access he had been promised. “Time to get in its gears,” he said.

Kasvarina must be on there somewhere, thought Leon. He asked Gupta to confirm this, and she was.

Xambria studied the energies playing around the rift and tried to work out if they had changed at all since the Ob’s last attempt to perform the ritual was sabotaged. After a while, she said, “It’s the arc we need to watch out for. It goes up a couple of hundred feet. We need to stay out of it – those of us not subject to the sacrament. The rest of the area is still relatively safe, except for the fact that the arc moves. Oh, and the rift itself is dangerous too, but that goes without saying.”

By now, the Revolution’s aim was getting better; their shots were coming alarmingly close. Korrigan activated the fey portal pad, aiming to reappear as close as they could and return fire.
 

gideonpepys

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain.
Session 257, Part Two

The Axis of Revolution

Rounds 1-5


When the Coaltongue reappeared from deep space (where she drifted during her ‘jump’ to the Dreaming), she found herself at the extreme edge of the axis seal site, heading inwards at about ‘4 o’clock’. The deadly energy arc was crackling away at 10 o’clock, but according to Xambria, the glowing bright spot they could now see at 9 presaged a sudden jump to that spot. Quratulain studied the arc to see if she could form a predictive equation, but the arc was too chaotic.

By now, Borne had already pulled out the Air pillar and was setting it down very gently. “Uh oh,” said Admiral Smith. That wasn’t good news for the Coaltongue. Slightly better news came when the Revolution fired again and missed; though the Coaltongue was closer, the Revolution hadn’t had time to recalibrate in response.

Gupta scoured the whole area looking for any threats they might have overlooked. First she spotted a cluster of lesser golems armed with lantern cannons, lurking behind a concrete bunker on the far side of the circle. They had been placed out of range of the energy arc, but now began to move forward in response to the unit’s arrival. Then she noticed a figure flitting about near Borne’s head, dwarfed by his sheer size. She raised her spyglass and recognised him immediately. It was Matunaaga! Just as he had once dominated Andrei, Nicodemus had chosen their old friend to be his host for this terrible showdown! And Matunaaga was far more dangerous than Andrei.

Korrigan felt a strange sensation, something akin to déjà vu. Had he connected to Matunaaga from the Gyre in some way? Other memories were slowly returning, as they were for the others. No sign of any icons, yet, though!

Putting all this aside for the moment, and fearing that the opportunity would be gone if the ship lost altitude, Korrigan gave the order to fire the Coaltongue’s brand. What might have been a solid shot simply stopped in mid-air around fifty feet from the Revolution. The blazing beam of the brand spread out over a curved surface, like a jet of water on thick glass. Force shields! Another artful manipulation of wayfarer technology.

Sure enough, thanks to the extraction of the Air pillar, the Coaltongue began to sink.

The energy tendril sprang adjacent to Borne, just tickling him with its proximity, and the colossus groaned in heavy fear, having fallen victim to it in the past. This energy was sufficient to destroy him if he stayed in it for too long. Nicodemus ordered him south, to the Life pillar. Borne obeyed, and removed the pillar easily. Nicodemus took out the icon of Mojang and replaced it with another.

“I don’t know that one,” said Kai. A new plane! Still nothing came to him from Uriel.

The Coaltongue came under yet more fire from the Revolution. Each time it got that little bit closer, and if she lost much more altitude, she’d be a sitting took.

“Time to move in,” said Korrigan.

Quratulain leapt off first, keen to test out her fabulous new jet boots. The sacrament of apotheosis had caused her to manifest multiple arms, like an eladrin goddess, and she drew many more guns than she needed from her cloak. Even as she flew, she took aim at the lantern walkers with her blaster rifle.

Uru took a Fourmyle Jaunt over to the dirigible, and buzzed around it on Little Jack, looking for a way in. El Extrano had promised him ingress!

Leon also teleported to investigate the dirigible. The balloon itself was protected by arcane wards. Windows from the bridge were also magically reinforced. He saw figures moving about inside; doubtless, Kasvarina was in there.

Rumdoom used a Jaunt too, to take him close to the bunker, as did Conquo, jaunting close to the Air pillar.

Gupta used her divine power to ask Nicodemus a question, despite the distance between them: “Did you think it would be this easy?”

From within Matunaaga, the mastermind laughed. “You’re going to fail, you know. You’ll fail, and I will kill you. The wisest minds of twenty generations agreed to join with me, but you...” He laughed again. “My new world is almost complete, and I’ll burn you alive before I let you ruin it.”

Now the tendril swept back, clockwise, to where it had started.

The Coaltongue continued to slowly fall and the Revolution fired on her, relentlessly, still to no avail.

Borne released the Life pillar so it slid into the ground, then moved ponderously south towards the Earth pillar, leaving Nicodemus behind, too busy responding to Gupta to follow on.

Korrigan used Fourmyle Jaunt to reach him. He hoped to grab Matunaaga and get through to him somehow, but the gith was too fast for him to lay a hand on. But as soon as he had darted away, a look of recognition came over Matunaaga’s face and he adopted a meditative pose. With intense concentration, he ejected Nicodemus, and immediately struck the mastermind with blast of psychic energy.

“Very clever,” said Nicodemus. “I should have killed you along with your obstinate brethren.”

“I knew Nicodemus couldn’t hold you down, my friend,” said Korrigan.

“I was only waiting for you,” Matunaaga replied.

This tender moment was interrupted when Kai suddenly cried with excitement. “Look what I’ve got! It’s Etheax! The fire one! Uncle Uriel sent it to me, like he said!” He waved the icon about from Korrigan’s back.

Nicodemus glowered. The threat to his ritual was greater than he’d realised.

Now energy from the reinstated Life pillar radiated outward. Kai said it would make people easier to push around. Xambria recognised it as Patricalus.

“I see you are doubling down on your mind-control scheme,” said Korrigan. “You would have the whole population of Lanjyr turned into slaves?” A powerful argument for their worldwide audience who had only just been freed from the Obscurati’s hiveminds.

Within the energy arc, Conquo grew to incredible size – half the height of Borne! He picked up the Air pillar, and was immediately subjected to fire by the lantern golems. These beams fixed him to the spot, although he was strong enough to work his arms despite them. Some of the golems fired at Rumdoom, but their beams proved ineffective.

From the Coaltongue, Gupta scoured the area for any more hidden threats and spotted one, or at least its trace: the Ghost Council Swarm was here, but it remained hidden for now. Then she steeled her mind and asked Nicodemus another question: “Are you ever going to shut up?”

Nicodemus chortled and refused to be drawn. He introduced the unit to ‘an old friend’ – drawing what looked to be a gidim artefact of some kind. He waved it, and released a thoughtform from within – a greater worm maw (affectionately known to the unit as a ‘tooth anus’.) Leaving them to deal with this distraction, he flew off to join Borne.

Suddenly, someone realised that they didn’t have an icon of Mavisha. That hadn’t been on the list their Gyre selves sent them, but when Pemberton insisted on its inclusion they had agreed without considering it. Never one to knowingly mislead an ally, Uru contacted Pemberton and admitted as much. There was no response.

“Caeloon!” cried Kai. Their chosen Air plane had arrived in his possession.

The deadly energy tendril swept back anti-clockwise; Korrigan led the attack on the worm maw; Gupta teleported down to help, and grew into her giant goddess form; from the air, Quratulain shot at and almost crippled one of the lantern walkers; Rumdoom grew to gargantuan size and brought his hammer down on the bunker, destroying it instantly; Conquo lowered the Air pillar to restore flight to the Coaltongue, but thanks to the lantern walkers he could not otherwise move; Leon broke away from the dirigible, and teleported himself and Conquo to deal with the walkers.

Uru flitted all around the dirigible. There was a long gantry to the rear, leading from a rear hatch to the engines and tail. As he drew close to it, the rear hatch opened. Uru flew towards it as fast as he could, waving his Codex of the Little People like a passport.

By now, Borne had lifted the Earth pillar. Nicodemus removed the icon of Ratios and replace it with another icon: Mojang! (That was the same choice as the unit had made.) Throughout the area, all creatures lost their resistance to energy forms – even their sacramental immunity was compromised!

The Revolution hit the Coaltongue and damaged her crew quarters and sick bay. It was a good job Ayesha and her children had been evacuated.

Korrigan was subjected to a sustained attack by the worm maw. It grabbed him with a tentacle, and tried to stuff him in to its jagged mouth. He resisted the attempt. Matunaaga dodged its tentacles and attacked back with a mind slice. Gupta tried to think it solid and failed.

Borne released the Earth pillar so it slid into the ground, then stomped east toward the Death pillar.

The Revolution fired yet again, and completely destroyed the Coaltongue’s crew quarters and sick bay.

Kai told his father that another icon had been delivered: Dunkelweiss! Korrigan transformed into a Bolt of Avilona and appeared next to Conquo by the Fire pillar.

Still streaking through the sky, Quratulain destroyed one of the lantern golems; Rumdoom crashed into another from behind and damaged it severely; Leon struck a third with his Dreaming Blade.

Uru entered the Revolution, and found himself in a storage area. Four kobolds stood about self-consciously and greeted him with a bow. One closed the hatch behind him. From a side-chamber came a voice:

“What happened there? I thought I heard the hatch,” the speaker entered, sleeves rolled up, drying his hands and forearms on a towel. It was Wolfgang Von Recklinghausen. He saw the kobold turning the access handle to close it. He did not, of course, see Uru. “I don’t think you should fiddle with that. Now get ready. When this infirmary starts to fill up I’m going to need you halflings to hold people down, compress wounds and so on.” (The kobolds turned significant, guilty glances at Uru.) “Use some of the bedding from the crew quarters for pallets.”

Uru told the others what he was seeing. Gupta wondered aloud if Von Recklinghausen was on his inexplicable shit-list, but Uru said no, and let the doctor live (for now).

The energy tendril swept anti-clockwise and struck both the worm maw and Gupta. Matunaaga threw himself clear. The worm maw popped in a fine psychic spray. Matunaaga ran – at a speed only he could muster – away from the energy tendril.

Even in her goddess form Gupta was instantly killed, as the energy lit up her form from within.

End of Session
 


Most Liked Threads

Advertisement2

Advertisement4

Top