The Ninth World

Session 23
A Web of Lies - Part 7

The party uses the invisibility cloak to shuttle people back and forth and climb over the window. Cairn scouts out the interior, which is quite dark. We find a lit room with guards, two scary looking robed guys, and the box, seemingly connected by pipes to the building. Jesus uses his mystical sensing abilities and determines that the cube is radiating large amounts of power. The group debates whether to use diplomacy, combat, or stealth. Upon realizing how good sneak attacks are, they decide to launch a surprise attack and try to take out the leaders before they can react, then sprint out of the fortress.

 

Jesus and Elswyr fire arrows at one of the robed figures, and he falls over. Mesmer the fleet-footed rushes towards the other robed man with incredible speed despite his heavy armor and huge sword, and buries his sword in the enemy’s head. Jesus touches the cube and disappears in a flash of light. Elswyr searches for him in vain. Cairn and Mesmer overwhelm the guard captain with their mighty weapons and fell him. Elswyr tries to knock the cube off the pedestal by throwing her shield, but it just disappears as well. The guards flee in terror as Cairn growls at them. Cairn tries to knock down the pedestal with his hammer, but it proves incredibly solid. Cairn willingly touches the box to follow Jesus. Mesmer greases the entrances to the room with his can of lubricant. Guards start rushing in, only to fall down. But the room quickly fills with enemies. Thinking quickly, Mesmer produces his wall of fire, facing his foes, burning them slowly. Elswyr and Mesmer return their attention to trying to free their friends from wherever the box took them. Naturally, Mesmer tries stabbing the  with his rapier. It sparks. He tries smashing one of the many machines standing nearby. The machine sparks and sends out a blast of light. Elswyr and Mesmer feel a sharp tug, are dazed, and their vision goes to black.

 

As their vision returns, they see pinpricks of light and a warm glow around a large red globe. Everything else is still pitch black.

 

While Jesus had been trapped, he attempted to investigate the realm he found himself in. He determined that no matter how far he seemed to walk away, the orb appeared the same distance away. He scanned the ground, and found that the substance was foreign to him, millimeters thick, and that beyond it was only vacuum.

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Session 22
A Web of Lies - Part 6

We snuck up to the fortress, scared some culovas, used invisibility and ambushed some folks

 

Mesmer intimidated a bunch of spider people. Cairn climbed up some trees. And Elswyr was the only one who didn’t fall in the tree hole.

 

Jesus went to physically inspect the portal, finding that it is made of robust but complex machinery and electrical things. And there appears to be a pipe with presumably power running between the keep and the portal.

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Session 21
A Web of Lies - Part 5

After Jesus rejoins the party, the three venture back into town to purchase some worker’s clothing. Having disguised themselves appropriately, the party begins their attempt to infiltrate the palace grounds. Having established a meeting point in the palace grounds, Cairn and Jesus retrace Jesus’ steps from his previous excursion, passing uneventfully through both gates under cover of the invisibility cloak. They take up their position at the meeting point (a distinctive clump of bushes in a corner of the grounds) and settle down to wait under the cloak.

 

Meanwhile, Elswyr leaves the city and hikes back to the clearing where the party stashed the fire-fliers. As night falls, she dons a flier and makes her way over the city towards the palace. Once she reaches an altitude of about 600 feet above the grounds, she cuts the engine and spreads her wings in an attempt to glide silently to the ground. However, the bulky fire-flier prevents Elswyr from fully extending her wings, and she begins to plummet rapidly towards the ground. With a mighty effort, she frees her wings from the flier, and with an acrobatic front-flip, gracefully glides to the ground. She stealthily sneaks to the bushes, and nearly trips over Jesus and Cairn in their cloak.

 

Each party member swallows a sleep-preventing pill, and Cairn, garbed in the invisibility cloak, approaches the great hall and lobs the sleeping stone into the hall. With a soft thunk, the stone shatters on the floor, and guards and servants alike slump to the ground in a deep slumber. The party immediately rushes forward into the room. Elswyr pulls the sleeping guards into the hall, and shuts the doors, blocking them with heavy chairs. Jesus approaches the candelabra, and, fortunately, discovers that one of the candles functions as a lever. He pulls the lever, and the sound of gears whirring and clicking reverberates through the hall, and the seal in the center of the hall slides to the side, revealing a dark shaft below. A ladder leads down into darkness.

 

Cairn leads the way down the ladder. At the bottom, a single, dim passageway leads away from the shaft, and Cairn, hand on his hammer, ventures cautiously down the passage. As he steps forward, a bone-white tile depresses slightly under his foot. A rushing sound fills the corridor, and Cairn jumps back just in time to avoid a searing jet of flame from the wall that engulfs the space where he stood just moments before. Upon closer inspection, the party finds that the passage is tiled in four colors: bleached white, frostbite purple, dried-blood red, and sickly yellow.

 

Cairn cautiously reaches out with his hammer and depresses a purple tile. No visible change results. Jesus scans the immediate area, and detects no anomalies. Cairn cautiously walks forward, stepping only on the purple tiles. The last purple tile is some distance from the end of the corridor, though, leaving Cairn with no choice but to jump. He takes a flying leap, and clears the remaining tiles. Jesus follows in his footsteps. He reaches the last tile and jumps, but slips at the last moment, stumbling on a sickly yellow tile before sprawling across the floor at the end of the hallway. Three doorways open up silently, and from each doorway crawls a menacing, mechanical creature, one shaped like a crab, another like a scorpion, and the third like a metal lizard.

 

As the three approach, Jesus scrambles to his feet, and Cairn gleefully raises his hammer. He smites the crab with a devastating blow, sending it flying down the corridor. The creature ricochets off a wall and lands on its back on top of a white tile, and a gout of white-hot flame flashes above its body. Elswyr springs into action, leaping across the purple tiles while freeing her spear, and, at the last hop, thrusts it into the scorpion, raising her shield and shouting, “Don’t touch my friends!!”

 

The scorpion lunges towards Cairn, and plunges its stinger into Cairn’s leg. Searing pain shoots through Cairns body, and the wound throbs with poison. Cairn, enraged, strikes back with his hammer, smashing the heavy weapon into the scorpion’s carapace. Jesus draws his crossbow and quickly fires a bolt at the crab. The bolt flies wide and ricochets off the wall near the crab. Elswyr stabs his spear once more into the metal scorpion, which seems to shudder in agitation. The lizard leaps onto Cairn, grappling with him with its sharp claws. The crab rights itself and shuffles towards Elswyr, who evades its snapping claws. The scorpion strikes Cairn again, taking advantage of the opportunity afforded by the lizard’s distraction.

 

Cairn thrusts the lizard away and takes up his hammer, ready to do battle once more. Jesus lays his hands on Cairn, and a soft, healing light surrounds him, invigorating him and soothing his wounds. Elswyr thrusts her spear again, but, off balance from the crab’s attack, misses the scorpion.

 

The lizard launches itself at Cairn, latching on once more, while the scorpion strikes yet again, dealing a powerful blow. The crab snaps at Elswyr, who nimbly dodges its claws.

 

Cairn rips the lizard away, and with a cry of rage, throws it bodily onto a white tile, which obligingly blasts it with searing flames. Jesus heals him once again. Elswyr raises her spear, and impales the scorpion with a mighty blow. The scorpion quivers once, and is still.

 

The lizard rushes back to Cairn and bites him. The crab snaps at Elswyr, who scornfully deflects the blow with her shield.

 

Cairn crushes the lizard’s skull with a powerful blow, and Jesus heals him again. Elswyr stabs the crab with her spear and attempts to leap to safety. She stumbles, and depresses a blood-red tile. Current courses through her body, and she falls, stunned, to the floor at the end of the corridor.

 

The crab snaps at Cairn, who leaps back, avoiding the metal claws. Cairn raises his hammer and smashes the crab to bits.


 

We see a mechanism holding a man in suspension. He has long white hair covering most of his face, but we can still see a large scar on his face. His old looking face contrasts his strong looking body. The color of his body appears as though it was stone, and he is surrounding by a shimmering gel. There is also a pedestal with a single, circular opaque tile.

 

Jesus inspects the pedestal, and does not see any explosives or other immediate signs of danger. He also scans the dude, who appears to be made of not-quite-stone – in all appearance human, just made of stone rather than flesh.

 

Elswyr tries pressing the tile, nothing happens. Elswyr then tries pressing the tile with the staff, which seemingly releases the person, who looks like a person under the stone and slime.

 

Jesus says Hi, Shilomen. Shilomen says Hi back. Jesus explains we’re here to rescue him, he requests that we help him just a little further. He is tired and weak, but not injured. Jesus engages in physical inspection, and prepares to heal. Jesus tries to heal several times before hitting his stride and Shilomen stands up straight, expressing his surprise and Jesus’ power. Shilomen recommends we get the hell out of dodge.

 

We successfully jump across the purple titles, get the hell up the ladder, open the front door, close the dungeon doorway, and hurry outside. We see the guardsmen are asleep, and head down to the gate to try and get out. The gate is locked from the other side, but there are stairs up to the guardhouse. Jesus heads up to the guardhouse, where he finds two levers. He pulls the lever facing left towards the palace, and the left door opens. The guards start to stir, but we scram into the city.

 

Bishop Ardentia calls out to Jesus as we hurry through the city, but we ignore him and run for it. We bring Shilomen back to Dracogen and meet back up with Mesmer. Shilomen, as it turns out, is an engineer, who is going to build a portal back to their world. He explains that the cube is highly useful but not necessary, but without the cube we would be long dead before the portal was complete.

 

Dracogen summons Ruthan, who says that the Golden Sanctum, which is hidden deep in the West Woods – fairly unfriendly place. The forest is full of creatures with a penchant for killing those who enter. Ruthan has been scouting from air, watching the Convergence gathering their power. Ruthan opens his mouth and projects an image of the Golden Sanctum. Incidentally, we flew over the West Wood earlier when we were headed to the castle.

 

The Sanctum is a busy place – there is a massive stone wall, and loggers are busily logging, getting massive timber to support the defenses. Doing all this activity are both people in peasants’ clothes, who likely were pressed into service.

 

--tactical discussion—-

 

The group decides on the ‘Use the Aeon priesthood to attack the Convergence and in exchange for the information they will give us the cube. We’re telling them the cube is an ancient relic we found – any attempt to put a human touch inside the cube results in tremendous pain, which we’ve used before for “enhanced interrogation”.

 

We go to Charmon to the house where the bishop is staying, and approach the guards. Jesus requests an appointment, announcing them as a group carrying an object that would be of great interest. The guard says that the wedding is over, and the bishop has a bit of time. The guard escorts us into the building and announces us. The bishop comes in, and Jesus apologizes for having to run away last time we saw him. The bishop took no offense, and Jesus explains we have information of great importance.

 

Jesus explains that we’ve spent the past while investigating and tracking down the Convergence, and we believe that we have found a key stronghold of there’s. The bishop inquires why we were talking about the Convergence. Jesus explains that in our hunt for the key Numenera, we encountered them. The bishop acknowledges that he is aware of the Convergence and that they are terrorists. Jesus offers a deal where we point out the stronghold, they give us the box if they find it. The bishop acknowledges that as reasonable. Jesus dramatically hands the bishop the staff, who wraps it in an unused curtain.

 

The bishop wonders where the sanctum is; Jesus explains it is in the West Wood. The bishop says that the West Wood is in his jurisdiction, so he will gather troops at the amber monolith.

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Session 20
A Web of Lies - Part 4

While Dracogen prepares to wipe out the Convergence, he tasks us with one of his missions. We are to rescue a prisoner by the name of Shilomen. This person is held by Navarenean royal family, within their palace. He offers us the sleeping stone (and pills to resist it), along with an invisibility cloak. He also offers a keystaff that opens a door to the prisons. We are also reminded that there will be a wedding occurring soon for the princess.

 

Elswyr asks about the prisoner’s appearance and reason for incarceration. Dracogen explains that Shilomen is a man who most often appears as an elder with white hair and beard, strong of form with a scar across the forehead. He was imprisoned because he is not from this world. Elswyr asks if he is likely to not want to come back to Dracogen, but Dracogen assures us that will not be the case.

 

Dracogen offers us fireflyers, and we set off with them. We stash them near the town. Jesus asks a local about all the wedding preparations, feigning ignorance. We learn that Prince Trythsa is marrying Prince Jym of Thaemor. Jesus also asks about the wedding customs. We learn that it will begin in the great hall of the palace. There will be a reception with guests. Then at noon the bells ring, and the couple moves to the church to be married. We also learn that the wedding is 2 days from now.

 

Cairn suggests that we use the fireflyers to approach. Elswyr points out that we would surely be spotted. It’s suggested that Cairn and Jesus approach on foot using the invisibility cloak and Elswyr fly up high under cover of night and then glide on top of the castle.

 

Elswyr suggests we perform some reconnaissance, so the party approaches the castle. There seems to be a lot of traffic back and forth, guests and workers. There are guards at the base of the hill where the road to the castle begins. There are more guards at the top of the hill at the on which the castle is built. Both sets of guards seem to be checking people. There are many guests and hired help as well. Every group of hired help has some kind of supervisor who has a pass or invitation of some kind allowing them to enter. The guards check the pass, then wave the group on without talking to any of the workers.

 

Cairn prefers the flying/cloak approach. Elswyr prefers the servant approach. Cairn suggests a compromise, and Elswyr pounces on the idea. They can enter the courtyard by flying/cloak at night, bearing servant attire and paraphernalia. In the morning they pose as hired help and have their run of the grounds. However, she also suggests someone have a look inside the castle and flag potential threats, using the invisibility cloak. Jesus volunteers.

 

Jesus dons the cloak, and waits for a large group, then crosses with them. He focuses hard on being stealthy, and sneaks past the checkpoint. He enters the main building and looks around. He sees many servants but can’t find one alone to interrogate. Instead he heads to the bathroom, takes off his cloak, and pretends to accidentally barge into a man. He asks about the basement, and the main directs him towards the wine cellar. He puts the cloak back on and heads to it. He enters, and finds a seal on the floor of the cellar. He scans it, but it seems ordinary. He goes back out to the great hall and finds a similar seal. He scans it, and detects an opening beneath it. Jesus looks for a mechanism to lift the seal. He finds a gap beneath the stone, perhaps a secret chamber?

 

Having explored as far as he dare, he flees the estate. He trips over another group of workers and nearly reveals himself, but through sheer luck escapes notice beneath his cloak. He returns and rejoins the party.

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Session 19
A Web of Lies - Part 3

Previous on Numenera

The party met with Priest Ponnark at the gates and convinced him to share some additional information in exchange for them keeping Jesus as collateral (the Priesthood being interested in his unusual healing abilities). The party learned that the thieves were well-equipped, dressed in red and black, bearing advanced equipment and enhancements, which could possibly be linked to the assassin enhanced by Mnoma. Cairn also tracked the thieves’ trail to a clearing in the forest where Elswyr found 6 sets of scorch marks, ~10 feet apart each. The group suspects that this could be the result of a fire-flyer-like technology and plans on going to Dracogen to inquire about who may have similar technology or to discover if he is the culprit.

 

Broader Recap

There are 3 factions that you are “indebted” to so far. You owe Dracogen the box, but to get the box back from the Convergence, you offered to help them with the investigation. To advance the investigation, you gave Jesus to the Aeon Priesthood.

 

Additionally, Dracogen wanted to find out about the disappearances in Charmonde which you have mostly confirmed are linked to the Convergence. The Convergence wants to know more about this new threat stealing powerful numenera which could be Dracogen. It’s unclear what the Aeon Priesthood want other than to physically inspect Jesus and to get their shit back.

 

Today’s Session

REMINDER +1 XP to Cairn for his forestry last session! Don’t forget to spend your XP everybody!

 

As the party approaches the city of the Aeon Priests, they see in the distance an ornate caravan leaving the city. A messenger detaches from the caravan and speeds quickly towards the party. As he approaches, he calls out to the party,

 

Messenger: Ahoy, mateys! My master, Bishop Ardensha, wishes to speak with you, and to return your friend.

Elswyr: Why, was he making a ruckus? Perhaps physically inspecting everybody?

M: Well, I’m not authorized to tell, unfortunately. My master just thought it would be convenient to deliver your friend to you as we cross paths.

E: Very well, we will meet with your master.

 

The messenger departs, and after a while, the party approaches the caravan. The most notable part of the caravan is a large palanquin, suspended above the ground through the work of some strange numenera. The messenger meets the party outside, and invites them into the palanquin. The party accepts the invitation, and steps into a lavishly decorated chamber. Surrounded by wall hangings and all manner of finery, Jesus and the Bishop are seated around a small table, upon which rest a number of snacks.

 

Bishop: Welcome, adventurers! Please, join us and partake of our modest meal.

 

Party sits.

 

Bishop: I must apologize for the behavior of my subordinates. They were rather… overzealous… in the performance of their duties, and should never have held your friend here hostage.

Elswyr: Don’t trouble yourself about it; we’re just happy to be reunited with our friend.

Bishop: I’m glad to hear it. Is there anything you’d like to ask about before you depart?

E: I mean, all of our interactions thus far have been with the purpose of helping the priesthood, and I think we’ve gotten off on the wrong foot, so to speak. We have the same goals, and I know it’s a stretch, but is there anything else you could tell us at all that might help us on our quest?

B: Well, the reason why security was so tight and the reason why the priest was unwilling to tell you what was stolen is because the thing that was stolen was an important relic known as the Keystaff.

E: What is the keystaff, exactly?

B: It is a relic of great power, but over time we have lost the knowledge of its use.

J: What was its original use?

B: We have only records to tell us, and we know that the original Amber Pope was able to use it to access the Amber Monolith, but nobody since then has been able to use it, and its purpose now is largely symbolic. Nevertheless, its loss is a severe blow to the Aeon priesthood.

E: Yes, I could understand why you would be distressed by its loss.

Mesmer: We’ll make sure to let you know immediately if we learn anything of it.

Cairn: Is there anything else that would be immediately relevant to our investigations?

B: Not that I know if. I believe we’ve told you everything we know, and we’ve sent teams to investigate the other thefts. I’m on the way to the princess’s wedding in Charmand, myself, so I’ll be out of touch with these matters for the next days.

 

Later

 

J: Is the groom in the coming wedding well-liked among the citizens of Charmand?

B: Well, and don’t tell anybody I said this, but he’s perhaps not the most powerful of princes in the area, and the princess, being quite popular in Charmand, is thought by some to be marrying beneath her status.

C: Do you approve of the marriage?

B: Me? Yes, I approve wholeheartedly. Political marriages like this can provide much-needed stability in trying times like this.

 

C: So, what news of the world?

B: Well, these thefts have certainly been interesting, but apart from that, nothing particularly noteworthy. Although I did hear of a castle which apparently fell from the sky some time ago.

C: That sounds like an old wives’ tale if I’ve ever heard one.  

B: Stranger things have happened.

 

The party parts ways with the Bishop, and, after confirming Jesus’ identity via physical inspection, questions him regarding his imprisonment and interrogation.

 

TImeskip!

 

The party has arrived at Dracogen’s house, and Cairn knocks on the door. The party enters, and finds Dracogen at the back of the room.

 

Dracogen: Ah, welcome back, friends! It’s been some time!

C: We come bearing news, both good and bad.

D: Is that so?

C: We travelled to Charmand and met with Larmy as planned, but our beautiful relationship was cut tragically short by an assassin. So if you haven’t heard from him in awhile, that’s why. _____call cut out_____ …bioenhancement provider with links to an organization known as the convergence. Are you familiar with them>

D: Well, that was a lot of information. I suppose first of all I am saddened by Larmy’s loss. He was a good friend. With regards to the Convergence, I’ve heard stories of them, but I wasn’t aware that they still operated.

C: They have returned, and have a new quest – they’ve become convinced that the thefts that have occured in recent months are connected, and directed towards a greater diabolical goal. And that brings me to the second piece of bad news – over the course of our attempts to track the convergence, the excellent box that you gave us was stolen, and we were unable to recover it.

D: Before we address that, what indications did you find of Larmy’s connection to the Convergence?

C: (((Noma stuff)))

D: So, then, to be clear, you left my box in the hands of a terrorist organization who killed my friend?

C: It certainly wasn’t voluntary – it was stolen from us, and we were told that the only way to get it back would be to cooperate with them.

E: Dracogen, long story short, here’s what happened. (((Summarizes events))) So that’s what brings us back here, and leads us to ask you what you know of these events.

D: Well, first I have a few questions of my own. As your friend Cairn explained, you managed to defeat two castles of Convergence soldiers. And yet you claim a cordial relationship with these men?

E: That’s not exactly how it went – after having killed the soldiers with no sign of the box, we encountered a higher-up in the organization, and rather than responding with deadly force, we confronted him and interrogated him, and it is the information we acquired from him that we convey to you now.

D: I will ask you two very direct questions. Firstly, did you have anything to do with Larmy’s death?

C: No, certainly not! At least we hope that nothing that we did led to his demise.

 

Cairn notes that as Dracogen asks the question, he seems to focus intently, and one eye changes color.

 

D: Secondly, given the Convergence’s clear hatred of my friend, why would you cooperate with them? Are you working for them?

 

(((Call cut out .)))

 

E: Listen, we did as much as we could. What did you expect us to do? Hold their leader at swordpoint until he led us to another, inevitably guarded castle, fought our way through that and killed everybody until we recovered the box?

D: Perhaps I didn’t impress upon you well enough the immense importance of this artifact.

 

(((Call cut out again .)))

 

D: …I had heard rumors, but I wasn’t aware that these things were possible in the Ninth World. I think it is best that this box be immediately retrieved or destroyed.

E: I agree that we certainly owe you something for this loss, but we have gone through an incredible amount of trouble in our attempts to retrieve this, so it


 

(((Call cut out yet again, and for a longer time :’( )))

 

We find out that it is in fact Dracogen who has been stealing the items that have recently gone missing.

 

E: Listen, we’re willing to put in the effort to retrieve your box. But I need to know that you don’t have any kind of nefarious intentions for this box. We want to be sure that we’re not putting in this effort to help a man intent on doing evil.

D: I assure you that my motives are far from nefarious. But I’m curious: why do the Convergence care so much about these thefts? What is their motive?

E: I wasn’t clear about that either. They seemed to think that the person collecting these items was doing so for the sake of creating a world-ending weapon, and the Convergence has decided that the best response would be to create their own doomsday device.

D: But why do they think this? What do they know about me?

E: I don’t know why they think this, but I can assure you that they know nothing of who you are.

C: They also told us that they believe that the entity behind this perceived plot is something not of this world, and with enormous potential for harm. They want therefore to create a weapon even stronger than this being and its weapon.

D (chuckling wistfully): I am surprised at the extent of the Convergence’s knowledge.

M: Are you suggesting that you are from another world?

D: Yes, I am an exile here. My thefts have been an attempt to find a way to return to my world, but also to defend myself against the Convergence and those like them who would prevent me from achieving my goal. I will not commit violence unless provoked, but as this is the only place I have left, I must defend my stake in it with my life.

E: Alright, Dracogen. If you will equip us for another expedition, then we will steal back or destroy the box from the Convergence, so long as you promise that unless violence comes to this valley, you will not commit violence elsewhere.

D: I think the time for delay and subtlety is past. I intend to destroy the Convergence, and you are welcome to accompany me, but I have made my decision.

 

Party huddles

 

J: Dracogen, the Convergence has a documented tendency to use innocent people as pawns in their schemes, and we would like to minimize their suffering. How do you intend to destroy the Convergence?

D: (GOing to try to minimize collateral, but need to do what needs to be done.)

J: What would be the consequences of their use of the Venerator?

D: The Venerator harnesses the power of the stars, and in the wrong hands, it could destroy the world.

J: Fair enough. What do you intend to do once you have the box?

D: Well, as I said, I am an exile, and I wish to return to my home.

J: Can you do that immediately once you have the box?

D: No, not quite. There are still several items I must acquire.

J: How easily can they be acquired?

D: That depends upon the amount of resistance I encounter.

E: I like Jesus’ line of questioning, and I think that we ought to ensure your departure comes to pass as soon as possible. Your presence here is a continuing source of conflict, and we would end this as soon as possible. Tell me, could the artifacts be returned after you return, or will your use consume them?

D: They would be consumed.

C: Just wondering, but you said you were an exile. Doesn’t that mean you’re not welcome back home?

D: Well, in addition to the means to go home, I intend to bring some additional means to… convince my people to take me back.

J: What nature of things?

D: Let’s just say that I intend to return by force if necessary. My people are not accepting of weakness; the way to win them over is through power.

 

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Session 18
A Web of Lies - Part 2

Previously on Numenera

The party learned from Magistrix Iom that three thefts had happened recently in the vicinity.

  1. An rare sleeping stone of unusual size stolen from Bodrov 4 weeks ago

  2. An unknown item stolen from a rich merchant in Shallamas 3 weeks ago

  3. An unknown item stolen from the Aeon Priesthood at their complex near the Amber Monolith 2 weeks ago

 

The party set out for the Amber Monolith where they learned that the gates into the complex were closed. In an attempt to learn more information, the party tended to the wounds of travelers seeking aid from the Aeon Priests. Priest Ponnark, the priest tasked with tending to the travelers, insists that he doesn’t know what you’re talking about but agrees to meet you at dusk at the complex’s gate. The party agrees, but suspects it may be a trap.

Today’s Session

Mesmer: If its a trap, do we want to just walk into the trap to get captured, or do we want to fight our way out..but if it’s a trap and we start killing people we’ll be in the same situation we were before, but we don’t know what’ll happen if we go with them.

 

Elsewyr: That’s a good point, but I don’t know if I want to accompany them without my items. How tall is the wall?

 

A: It’s about 20 ft tall, without much in the way of handholds. Possible but difficult

 

Elsewyr: If they attempt to arrest us, we should be able to approach in such a way that we can flee. We’re free people, we haven’t done anything wrong – if they try to arrest us, they’ll be pretty shaky ground, especially out in the open. IF we can approach the gate, see how many people there, if there are lots of soldiers, we should not approach them.

Mesmer: We could bribe some pilgrims?

Cairn: Remind me what the guards said before at the gate?

A: People have been getting turned away from the gate since the theft, we were turned away without further information.

Mesmer: Has anyone been going in the gates?

A: Not that we’ve noticed

Mesmer: If our end goal is to investigate these thefts, and the reason we’re here is to investigate this theft, ideally this guy will tell us and we won’t need to go through the gates.

Cairn: I think that even if this is an ambush, we’re better off being ambushed than hanging out here, since we do need to get in and learn about what’s happening, and we have nothing unpleasant or harmful to tell them since we just want to find the thief and retrieve the item.

We walk up the road, the sun has set so there’s just evening light.

Elsewyr recommends as we approach, we should walk near to the wall to minimize the odds of being noticed before we see the guard.

The party sneaks over to the side away from the gate, and starts inching towards the guard. Lo and behold, there is a figure standing in the darkness, who looks like an Aeon priest.

Elswyr: Is the person alone? Is the gate open or closed?

A: Yes and open.

Elswyr: At least he’s alone.

Mesmer: Well, maybe he can handle himself.

Cairn: Well, the question is whether we can handle him.

 

The group agrees to approach the individual, and does so.

 

Elswyr: Good evening.

The Priest seems moderately surprised to find us approaching from that angle, and says “Whoah, I didn’t see you there.”

Elswyr: I hope we didn’t startle you. I am relieved to see you here. I hope we can assist the priesthood.

The Priest: Yes.

 

Mesmer: So, the first thing is that we think the theft that occurred at the Amber Monololith is not alone, but rather a series of related thefts. So any information you give us, we can use to connect the dots to further our search.

 

Priest: It is still unclear to me how you are aware of the theft; we have kept it quite secret that this theft has occurred.

 

Elswyr: We do what we can and are quite well connected; I’m sure the priesthood is well aware that knowledge is power.

 

Priest: Fair enough, but we already know about the other thefts. We already know about a spate of thefts across the steadfast.

 

Cairn: Are you making any progress in the case?

 

Priest: I’m not at liberty to discuss any hypothetical progress in these hypothetical case.

 

Elswyr: Your words are telling, priest. Is your hubris so great, that you would turn away honest individuals.

 

Priest: The issue is with the word honest. Aether, who I contacted since we last spoke, denies having told you that this happened.

 

Mesmer: glances at Jesus, subtly signals possibility of memory wipe

 

Cairn: We are unable to do as you ask; we are sworn to secrecy on this matter, but we genuinely desire to help you guys, is there some sort of task that needs doing that we might to do to convince you we are only trying to help.

 

Priest: I don’t think it would help.

 

Elswyr: I don’t think you understand my companions request – we are asking, if you have something that needs doing (enemies that need defeating, etc), we will happily demonstrate where our allegiances lie, if that will convince you to trust us further with this matter.

 

Furthemore, we want to plug into your efforts to deal with these thieves in any way possible, so as to bring them to justice: so please, point us in the right direction.

 

Priest: let’s say I agree with this offer. The cost will not be cheap, so if you want to back out, now’s the time.

 

Cairn: What do you mean by the ‘cost’.

 

Priest: There is no easy way to put this…let’s say I agree to encourage your investigation, one of you would have to stay here as collateral.

 

Elswyr: I didn’t think the priesthood was the type to take hostages. However, it would be good because Jesus is capable of healing, and I would like to pick his brains on these unorthodox techniques he showed before.

 

Jesus nods in acceptance.

 

Priest: Hmm…ok. Well, in that case – what’s your next piece of information about the quest? What’s your next lead?

 

Elswyr: Well, our intention was to come here, speak to the locals, look for the trail, try to find where it has passed through. Such a large object doesn’t vanish without notice. But if you can kick us off with that information, I guess there’s no need to go inside. We can get started on the trail and go from there,

 

Priest: Well, I can’t tell you exactly what it was until I have further evidence of your allegiance, but it was easy to conceal, but the thieves were advanced and had some numenara you probably haven’t seen. They were not averse to leaving behind damage. We do know there have been two thefts recently, (we know them), we were sending out parties to investigate the thefts at those locations as we speak.

 

Elswyr: Presumably this theft happened within the compound. They left survivors, this is a well populated area – what did people see? Are there clues as to their equipment or their steeds?

 

Priest: Based on eyewitnesses, the group left to the east gate. It was not seen what steeds they used, they vanished quickly into the forest and we were not able to track them further. While they were in the compound, they wore primarily black and red, using advanced ciphers as armor as well as slugthrowers and fairly advanced weaponry. They could pass through walls easily, and defeat any guards that came to stop them. This is no small task, given how well guarded the complex is.

 

Cairn: Did they kill the guards or just knock them out?

 

Priest: Kill them; it wasn’t indiscriminate, but they weren’t averse to killing.

 

Elswyr: We fought some of their agents before, one in particular, who bore some kind of mechanical armor made by a master craftsmen who is surely in league with these foes. We handled the craftsmen, but there’s reason to believe her creations are at large. They were black and metal and masterfully created. Does that match the description of your adversaries?

 

Priest: I’m guessing that most assassins wear black, so it’s difficult to match to your description, but these were highly technologically prepared people. Based on our knowledge of the thefts, they act as teams generally. It is entirely plausible that it is the same group (or persons or person) but purely based on the information you’ve provided, we cannot come to a definite conclusion. How’d you kill him?

 

Mesmer: Well, he tried to run away. I threw a rapier straight through his neck.

Priest: Wow, that is quite impressive.

Mesmer: Your guys should probably get gud

Priest: I’ll keep that in mind

Mesmer: Have you heard of any thefts more recent than yours?

Priest: No.

Mesmer: How long has it been?

Priest: 2 weeks

Cairn: It took 2 weeks to mobilize a team to go investigate the other places?

Priest: No, we sent a team before, but we’re just now finishing our investigation here so we’re sending more people out to investigate further.  The nearest city to hear is Charmon.

Mesmer: How can we get Jesus back – what is our goal here? Is there anything specific we’re looking for?

Priest: Bring us back information.

Mesmer: Any specific information?

Priest: No, just information.

Cairn: We’ve discussed as a group, and we’re prepared to leave him with you in order to begin our investigation. Unless you have further information to provide, we’ll be off.

Priest: Alright, sounds good, I’ll take one Jesus.

 

The group camps out, the hour of Cairn’s ability passes and Jesus appears to have been led into the compound. The night passes, nothing happens, the tent isn’t particularly comfortable.

We wake up in the morning, feeling almost exactly the same as we did the previous night.

 

A group of people passed through this part of the forest in great haste (farther spaced apart, several footprints instead of just one). Cairn follows the path, not noticing anything new, but he can follow the track. Still on the trail, notice that some branches are broken, indicating people ran by in great haste and not caring for their surroundings; they aren’t children and they aren’t giants. We then arrive at a creek where Cairn loses the scent.

As we leave the brush, we are overlooking the creek (which is a few feet wide), it is pretty stagant with algae grow, and has steep banks. Cairn manages to pick up the trail on the other side by finding some footprints on the other side, and the crashing resumed. We walk along the trail just a bit longer and come to a clearing. The trail seems to end, as the theives milled around in the clearing.

 

Elswyr notices some stones arranged in a firepit, as well as some that were cleared recently. Elswyr also notices that on one side of the clearing, there are scorch marks scattered around one side of the clearing, located a few feet apart from each other..

 

Cairn: That could be their point of transit out.

Mesmer: Maybe Fire Flyers, like we used before.

Elswyr looks closely, and discovers that there are 6 of them.

 

Cairn climbs a tree and finds a beautiful bird, but not much in the way of clues. I can see the path of the creek and some gaps where there are other clearings.

 

Mesmer suggests potentially going to Dracogen to follow up on this and report on all that we have seen. Cairn approves of this suggestion.

View
Session 17
A Web of Lies - Part 1

The party returns to the room in which we found Magistrix Iom, and find him still hard at work on some equipment.

 

Jesus: Magistrix Iom! Thank you kindly for your generosity in compensating us for the loss of our equipment. We’ve acquired some items that should prove useful in our investigations. If you don’t mind, we have a few additional questions for you.

Iom: Not at all.

Jesus: Could you provide us with a description of the items that were stolen? In particular, is there anything particularly recognizable that you can think of?

Elswyr: And from where were the items stolen?

Iom: Let’s see… A rare crystal known as a sphere of sleeping was recently stolen from the city of Bodrov. Such a crystal is capable of putting people in its immediate vicinity to sleep, and this one was known to be particularly large, perhaps capable of rendering an entire building of people unconscious. A relic of the Aeon priesthood was stolen from the vicinity of the Amber Monolith; we’ve been unable to ascertain exactly what it was, but they were quite distressed at its loss. Finally, something of great value was stolen recently from a merchant in Shallamas; we were once again unable to determine the precise nature of the stolen item, but it was again an item of great value.

Jesus: Can you describe for us in detail what the Sphere of Sleeping looks like?

Iom: It’s a pure, quartz crystal sphere that periodically changes color. It’s quite recognizable, and there’s thought to be none as big as the one in question in the whole world.

Jesus: How big is it, exactly?

Iom: Roughly the size of a man’s torso, I’d say. Also, you might be interested to know that the theft in Bodrov was the least recent of the set, and took place a full month ago. The theft in Shallamas occurred three weeks ago, and that at the Amber Monolith, a fortnight ago.

 

The party sets out for the Amber Monolith. After several days of walking, we spot the Monolith in the distance. The Monolith is an enormous amber obelisk, suspended high above the ground by some unknown force. As the party nears the structure, intricate designs carved into the sides of the obelisk gradually become apparent. A small town sprawls around the Amber Monolith, and as the party approaches, the road grows more and more crowded with pilgrims of all walks of life.

 

The party enters the outskirts of town, which are composed of a large array of huts and shacks, evidently intended as residences for the pilgrims. The complex which surrounds the obelisk is walled off, and the gates are shut. A church stands outside of the gates.

 

The party approaches the gates, which are set into a wall of perhaps thirty feet in height. Two spearmen stand on either side of the gates, attired in rich amber armor. As the party approach, one guard calls to halt.

 

Guard: Halt! What is your business here?

Mesmer: We are travelers, and wish to visit the Amber Monolith.

Guard: The gates are shut.

Elswyr: Yes, but they can be opened?

Guard: You will be allowed through when they open.

Elswyr: Friend, I think we’ve been misunderstood. We’re here to speak to an Aeon priest.

Guard: Is your question of a religious nature?

Mesmer: Yes, and we wish to know where and when the Aeon priests hold service.

Guard: (Points to the church) There. A priest, Ponnarkt is there most of the time to address to the pilgrims’ needs.

Elswyr: Thank you, sir. Tell me, do the Aeon priests live within the compound?

Guard: Yes, as do the guards.

Elswyr: Thank you for your help.

 

The party retreats from the gates. Jesus approaches a pilgrim.

Jesus: Friend, where do the pilgrims stay?

Pilgrim: We are provided housing in the huts you see around you. But you’ll have to wait in line over there (points to a large, more permanent building near the huts, in front of which there stands a long line of pilgrims).

Jesus: Thank you.

 

The party joins the back of the line. Elswyr approaches the pilgrim in front in the line.

 

Elswyr: Hello there! Is this the line to get housing for the night?

Pilgrim: Yes it is!

Elswyr: Ah, excellent. I just arrived, and I was afraid that I might not get housing for the night. Tell me, is there anything a pilgrim ought to know? Any recent goings-on?

Pilgrim: Well, I just arrived myself, as you can see since I’m in the back of the line as well.

 

The party leaves the line, and Mesmer approaches a bored looking pilgrim.

 

Mesmer: Hello! Why are the gates closed?

Pilgrim: I don’t know – they’ve been closed for the past two weeks. I came here all the way from my home town to see the Amber Monolith, and if they don’t let me in, I’m going to be pissed!

 

The party walks to the church. Elswyr suggests taking an honest approach with the priest. Some debate ensues, after which the party decides to lie by omission. The party enters the church, and spots a hairy young man dressed in the robes in the Aeon priest, standing in front of a long line of pilgrims. The party decides to offer Jesus’ services to the priest in healing the sick in line, in exchange for some time to chat once the line is dealt with. The priest agrees. The party realizes Jesus may fail to heal some people, so Elswyr asks the priest for his supplies so she can treat any that are beyond Jesus’ ability to heal.

 

The group heals a man with a cough, a gardener with a bad arm, and many others. They all seem to leave satisfied, and most of them actually healed.

 

Mesmer approaches the priest and explains that we spoke to Ather the Aeon priest and became aware of the theft, and want to help.

 

Priest: “I don’t know what you’re talking about.

Elswyr: “We assure you we’re here to help. We are worried about the importance of these stolen items, and want to prevent them falling into the wrong hands. Can’t you let us help you?”

Priest: “I don’t think you should be talking to me about this.”

Jesus: “Who should we be talking to?”

Priest: “I think you should let this drop”

Elswyr: “Listen, I know you’re not telling us everything. And that’s understandable, we’re strangers. That’s why we haven’t told you all we know of the theft either. Clearly the priests havent recovered what was stolen yet. Shouldn’t you welcome new information?”

Priest: “Fine. Meet me at dusk at the gate”

The party agrees, but they fear an ambush or arrest.

View
Session 16
Assassins in the Dark - Part 7

Flame retardant belt

Spray cannister of lube (Elsewyr would recognize this anywhere)

Heat nodule (Magistrate uses it for soldering, could do extra damage if attached to weapon)

Syringe which adds 1 to Intellect edge for an hour

Glass that returns any liquid poured into it a cold, sweet drink

 

The Magistrix instructs us to head down to the armory, where we will meet up with someone from the organization. The party turns around, waves goodbye to the Magistrate (his pet belches a farewell fireball), and heads off to the armory.

 

We pass over the gap to a set of doors with helpful labels, selecting the ‘Laboratory’ option. We are greeted by a Laborater as the Mystery Crew, and invited inside to see what he has to offer us. The room is cleaner than the upper levels in terms of dust, but there is much machinery strewn about. On the central table, there is a metal spike, a shiny circle, another belt, and what appears to be a telescope.

Jesus: what do these things do?

Laborater: Let’s start on the end. This thing that looks like a telescope, is in fact a telescope. It has a 5 mile radius.

The belt is something we’ve been experimenting with in preparing for upcoming battles. Once you activate it, it increases the strength of your armor for about 5 minutes. It is fairly unstable at the moment, which is why it doesn’t last longer, but it could help in a pinch.

There’s also the spike, which was intended to be..well, it isn’t very pleasant, but you can stab it into someone’s skull which will inhibit their mental process until it is removed. The metal spike may or may not cause permanent brain damage, we haven’t tested it sufficiently, and may or may not be less likely to kill someone than just stabbing them in the head. It’s noticeably larger in size than an arrow.

The shiny circle also requires another metal component that you also stab into the head, but it doesn’t cause brain damage, instead training the user in a skill, but take 3 points. Laborater says that we can’t take the shiny circle because it’s still in development.

The Laborater takes us across to the Armory, commenting in passing that he noticed we have the hammer and the armor from Captain Sumoc. He inquires whether we could be interested in learning how the hammer works. The Armory contains shock gloves that deal two damage and ignore armor, but you can’t equip any other weapon while wearing the gloves

Mesmer/Jesus get crossbows and some bolts.

Elsewyr decides not to take anything downstairs.

Cairn takes the telescope.

Mesmer stabs himself in the head. After some flashing of lights and such, he feels a little dumber but quite sneaky. (3 intellect damage)

View
Session 15
Assassins in the Dark - Part 6

As the captain falls, Mesmer waves his hands in an arcane gesture, and with a sharp pop, an illusory one-way mirror comes into being between the party and the soldiers. Shaken up from the battle with the captain, the party takes advantage of the soldiers’ confusion to rest. Elswyr strips the captain of her armor, which has ceased to glow following the death of its owner. Setting aside her own armor, Elswyr dons the armor of the late captain, which seems to change its shape to better fit her own body.

 

Cairn hands Elswyr the HAMMER!, and as the mirror flickers out, Elswyr, dressed in the captain’s armor and wielding the mighty HAMMER!, leaps across the gap, and loudly states,

 

Elswyr: “Unless you want me to wear your armor next, I suggest that you stand aside.”

 

The soldiers cower in fear, and offer no resistance. The rest of the party jumps across, and Elswyr, stepping forward, says once more,

 

Elswyr: “Stand aside!”

 

The soldiers make way, and the party proceeds to the room with the pedestal. Upon closer inspection, the party finds that the upper surface of the pedestal seems to be some sort of control panel containing six small buttons and a much larger, red button.

 

Elswyr: “You soldiers! What is the purpose of these controls?”

Soldier: “Um, they’re used by a commander when defending the room, ma’am”

Elswyr: “What do they do specifically?”

Soldier: “They, uh, move the platform, ma’am.”

 

Mesmer moves to depress the large, red, button.

 

Soldier: “Don’t do that!! That’s not a good idea!!”

Mesmer: “Why not?”

Soldier: “It electrifies the floor.”

 

Elswyr turns to address the soldiers again, speaking in a milder tone:

 

Elswyr: “You, soldiers. Tell me – these events; these circumstances – do you believe in what you’re fighting for? Do you believe in your mission?”

Soldier: “Yes, we do. Our mission is good.”

Elswyr, hefting the hammer: “So if I were to ask you to leave and never have anything to do with this organization again, I presume you would take umbrage at my request.”

Soldier: “Well, yes, but we also don’t want to get smashed, ma’am”

Elswyr: “If we find that you get up to more mischief, we will find you again. It wasn’t difficult. And we will make sure that you do no mischief ever again.”

 

The soldiers hastily file out of the room. Once the soldiers leave, the party makes their way up the stairs. As they do, Elswyr turns to Cairn:

 

Elswyr: “Cairn, I’d like to offer you a deal. I’ll let you have this fine HAMMER!, but in exchange, I’d like your shock-stick.”

Cairn: “Done. Good doing business with you.”

 

Cairn and Elswyr exchange weapons. The party reaches the top of the staircase without incident, and find themselves in front of the opening to a large room. The room appears to be the highest in the facility, and is well illuminated from the evening sunlight filtering through a large skylight set into the ceiling. The pillar which has pierced through the previous floors terminates here in a pyramidal shape, and is surrounded on all sides by machinery and wires which cover the entire floor. A solitary figure stoops over a table on the opposite side of the room, his back towards the party. He wears simple robes, and a mechanical device of some sort is perched upon his shoulder. The man wields a wrench, and appears to be engrossed in work of some kind.

 

Mesmer silently draws his rapier, and walks into the room as quietly as possible. Before he walks more than a few steps, his feet tangle in a cluster of wires, and he loudly falls into a pile of machinery. The figure turns, and, speaking calmly, says

 

Iom: “Friends, there is no need for conflict. You’ve proven yourself more than capable and I have no need for more enemies. Perhaps we can come to a mutual understanding. You have been fighting against us but for what reason I cannot ascertain. You don’t seem to be careless mercenaries nor do you move as tactfully as malicious saboteurs. Would you care to explain your intentions?

Elswyr: “Perhaps it would be better if you explain yours first.”

Iom: “My brethren and I represent a revival of the ancient order known as the Convergence.”

Elswyr: “We haven’t heard particularly good things about you.”

Iom: “Ah, you’ve been talking with Aeon Priests, then.”

 

Elswyr: “I am no sympathizer of the Aeon Priests, but your tale seems inconsistent with our experience.

Iom: “With all respect, friend, you haven’t engaged with the upper echelon of the Aeon priesthood. Nothing passes in the Ninth World that the Aeon priests do not have a say.”

Elswyr:

Iom:

Mesmer: “I think my friend here refers to the villagers and others that have been kidnapped and used against their will.”

Iom: “Yes, we have been forced to move quickly and consolidate our resources.”

Elswyr: “It would seem that in an attempt to move against your foes you have become no better than they

Iom: we don’t move against old foes

Elswyr: Who then?

Iom: A new actor has joined the stage. Powerful numenera have begun disappearing, presum arsenal. Spies tell of high ranking officials presumably being seduced by the other side. How did you come to know of our organization? What brings you here?

Cairn: “Well, our most direct concern is that an item of ours that we value highly has been stolen, and the theft appears connected to your organization. We would certainly appreciate any help you could provide in retrieving it.”

Iom: “What item is this?”

Cairn: <describes it>

Iom: “Ah, yes, the hypercube. Unfortunately, we need the technology of the cube to activate the Venerator. However, we would be happy to compensate you for the use of the item. We have many rare Numenera which we would be willing to trade.”

Carn: “We will consider your offer. But another more urgent matter: on our way to the Sanctum, we encountered several creatures, seemingly wolves, but who upon their deaths reverted to human form. Inside the sanctum, we saw evidence that your organization was involved in “producing” these individuals.”

Iom: “Yes, the Ferals. The elixir we produce is responsible for them, yes, but they are all volunteers. They desired more power and were grated it. “

Cairn: “Were they fully aware of the risks involved?”

Iom: “Yes, and the elixir is temporary.”

Cairn: “If they were volunteers, why conscript?”

Iom: “Labor is scarce.”

Mesmer: “But we met somebody forced into service.”

Iom: “Again, labor was scarce.”

 

Cairn: “I’m curious. What then is this all trying to accomplish? I understand your feud with the Aeon priests, but why conscript villagers? Why the urgency? What do you want?

Iom: “We want to release the Aeon Priests’ hold over the people and the governments of the world. But more importantly, we wish to save the Ninth World from a much greater threat.”

Elswyr: “What is this threat?”

Iom: “Before I say more, I would know more about you and your motives.”

Mesmer: “Well, a friend of ours was murdered, and an item of ours was stolen. So at this point, perhaps you ought to tell us why we shouldn’t retaliate against you further.”

Iom: “We will compensate you for the item, and if you’d like, offer you assurances of safe travel back to Charmand.”

Elswyr: “From a moral standpoint, we’re concerned that you’re deriving profit from the suffering of the conscripted masses.”

Iom: “We make no profit.”

Elswyr: “Then why?”

Iom: “Can’t tell you until I know more about you. Or you could join”

Elswyr: “Won’t join something we don’t know about.”

Cairn: “Look, we’re trying to work with you here. But we need ot know more.”

Iom: “Alright, I’ll tell you what I can. Lots of numenera going missing recently. Even stuff that’s well guarded. The stealth with which they’ve done this indicates that they’re very powerful. Haven’t heard until recently, aso troubling. Evenheard that this ator has come from another world, which is super scary. Ninth world has hadto repel such an attack er before, and it has always lead to tragic loss of life.

Mesmer: “Hold on. If the Aeon Priests won the last war, why are they not working to defend the world from this new incursion? Why would you, as the losers of that war, attempt to do this?”

Iom: “It is our duty.”

Mesmer: “And you’re telling me that revenge is not a factor here?”

Iom: “Not at all. We fully intend to right the wrongs of the past.”

Elswyr: “With your leave, Magister, might we confer before we decide whether to offer you our support?”

Iom: “Very well. Please don’t break anything.”




 

Elswyr: I cannot in good faith let this group continue to operate. They claim to have the world’s interests in heart but that could be a lie they tell themselves. They should be rallying people to their cause, rallying leaders and governments—instead they take away freedom and bend men to their own wills. Even if their cause is just, they’re doing it in a way that is unacceptable.

 

Jesus: If what they say is true, then they can’t recruit because the Aeon Priesthood would retaliate.

 

Elswyr: They could be allies against a common threat!

 

Cairn: Public recruitment would not be viable also because of the unknown group. Covert tactics are their best option. If they are required to use covert means and this unknown group is also real, are we really taking away freedom of choice if we can choose to help the people help themselves.

 

Jesus: Basically, do the ends justify the means. Especially since the people would die anyways or be enslaved.

 

Elswyr: The ends do not justify these means.

 

Mesmer: They’re unreliable. The only group we’ve seen do awful things is them. Why do we trust them? They kidnapped, stole, and killed.

 

Jesus: Let’s ask for hard evidence. Or maybe we could get concessions.

 

Mesmer: They also did offer compensation.

 

E: Seems like a bribe.

M: Do we ever intend to do business with Dracogen? If so, we need to

 

E: Could Dracogen be the threat?

 

C: I’ve been thinking the same thing.

 

E: He hasn’t taken any of our things, but he could be looking for a specific thing.

 

M: We’ve only observed Dracogen helping us whereas this group has only hurt people.

 

J: If he was the bad guy, he wouldn’t have just given up the hypercube.

 

M: It doesn’t seem like Dracogen is much of a threat. If he was actually a threat, he would’ve known more. Even if he’s the threat, I’m more likely to side with him. I’m more likely to believe the group that has been wronged and is gathering power rather than the guy picking up random numenera.

 

E: We have the devil we can see vs. the devil we can’t. We should take action against people we know are doing bad things.

 

J: Let’s see if he has some evidence.

 

C: I am very reluctant to side with anyone because the Convergence could be wrong. I don’t like the Aeon Priests because they’re crazy weird political priests.

 

M: My best friend as a child who gifted me the grenade was an Aeon Priest

 

C: They’re destroying old ruins and nature.

 

M: Actually that’s us.

 

J: If it weren’t for the Aeon Priests, I wouldn’t be here.

 

E: I don’t think individual Aeon Priests are bad.

 

C: The Convergence could be a well-meaning villain.

 

M: Perhaps all they need is a moral compass. And Elswyr could be that. We could work there for a while and usurp power if they do something bad.

 

E: What if I help recruit if they promise not to use people against their will.

 

M: Also, compensation. And we care about Lermy.

C: If we do this, we are giving up connection on Dracogen.

 

E: We can’t let them keep using kidnapped slave labor. I also think this guy would be willing to admit to kill Lermy. If they’re murderers and kidnappers, we should choose the side of the merchant/collector.

 

J: We want (1) proof, (2) you to stop using slave labor, and (3) box or compensation for box + Lermy.

 

M: Ok, well if we want to find the box and escape, what’s the plan?

 

E: Or we could just tell Dracogen we don’t have the box and ask for his help.

 

M: We just don’t want to piss off two powerful factions. We want proof and compensation. If we’re satisfied, we promise to help if you stop doing the kidnapping and murdering. If we decide not to join, we’ll just get compensation.



 

Iom: Have you made a decision?

J: Magister, you’ve offered us no proof.

I: Well, I can show you the bodies of our agents, but I don’t imagine that would be as convincing to you.

M: What convinced you?

I: The bodies are of course more convincing to me, since I knew and recruited many of them. But I’ve heard many, many rumors, which I’ve used to put together a complete picture of the situation.

M: How do you know it’s not the Aeon priests?

I: Doesn’t seem like them.

C: What kind of patterns have you identified that lead you to these conclusions? Are tthere common grounds among people killed or things sttolen?

I: For one, the number murders and thefts have increased sharply. For another, the perpetrators have been described by survivors as extremely technologically advanced infiltrators. Unfortunately, such firsthand evidence is rare, asthey tend to leave few survivors. However, they leave behind distinguishing signs.

E: Say there is a threat as you say. What definitive steps are you taking to actually save the world?

I: We’re trying to accumulate enough power to be able to stop the threat.

C: What are your standards for that? How do you know when you have enough?

E: And power is the most generic thing ever. How are you going to direct it?

I: Fair point. We intend to generate enough power with the Venerator to exert an influence over the whole world. With the Venerator, we will power the world.

C: What does the world’s biggest power source do for you?

I: We can use it not only on the battlefield, but in the realm of research. And when the battle is done and the enemy defeated, we intend to use the power to improve the entire world.

C: What is the role of the hypercube in the technology? Can you replace it?

I: I’m not the most well versed in this topic. But once the threat is passed, we are absolutely open to working to find a replacement.

E: I’m not convinced that anybody should have that much power.

I: I understand your concern, but our belief is that the power is necessary to defeat this threat, and our goal is noble. We want to provide access to this power to everybody who needs it.

E: Listen. When you find that people are stockpiling weapons, why is it that your first reaction is to build the biggest weapon you can? Why not learn more about the politics?

C: And you have no reason to believe that you have a chance to win this arms race

I: We believe that this is our best strategy. Out of various proposals, this was chosen to be the best. We know very well that it might not suffice, but that is no reason to not try in the first place. And we’ve tried quite hard to understand our foe. Thus the dead spies.

E: What if we were to investigate this threat for you? We would need our box back, or at least some form of compensation, as well as assurances that you won’t kidnap any further people. If and when we return from this mission, we will also help to recruit for you. We are well-connected adventurers. Let us help you.

I: I would be happy if you merely left us alone, so your offer is generous. I accept.

E: I wish to emphasize that you are to kidnap no more. If we return to find that our conditions hae not been followed, there will be hell to pay.

I: I don’t think you fully understand the reasoning and methods of our organization, but I accept nonetheless. Besides, the… alternative methods… were mostly the work of Magister Tixszal. He wasn’t the most savory character.

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Session 14
Assassins in the Dark - Part 5

We find ourselves alone in an antechamber full of boxes and contraptions, but hear movement up ahead. Jesus peeks around the corner. He sees a large open room, also filled with boxes and machinery. A large cylinder sits in the center, rising up through the ceiling and down through the ground. An exit stands across the room. The room holds about ten guards, though they don’t notice us just yet.

 

The party hesitates and deliberates for a moment, then decides on trickery. Mesmer weaves an illusion around Jesus to make him appear to glow with power just as the magister had. Then Jesus strides forward confidently, brandishing the staff. The party follows him, brandishing their weapons.

 

Jesus: “Behold! I have slain your former master, and now I bear his staff. Swear fealty to me or perish!”

 

The guards hesitate, dumbstruck. Jesus blasts one of them with his staff, trying to inflict only pain and not a mortal blow. A ray of red light streams from the staff, and the man is consumed by it, writhing in pain before collapsing, unconscious.

 

Jesus: “I said bow to me!”

 

The guards cower and submit, crying for mercy. Jesus orders them to follow the commands of the rest of the party as well. They interrogate the guards, and order them to lead the party towards the Venerator.

 

The guards lead us up a flight of stairs and back around. Room with metallic floor with a lattice pattern engraved on it. In the center stands a glass platform with 6 guards, who look more disciplined and better equipped than our guards. Also on the platform stands a crystalline pedestal. One of the guards speaks up.

 

Suspicious Guard: “Halt! Who goes there?”

Elswyr: “Your new overseers. Tell them.” gestures towards talkative guard

Ally Guard: “It’s true. We just came from the Empty Sanctum and brought them with us”

Jesus: “Magister Tixszal in his incompetence has allowed the fortress to be compromised. We saved these guards from the fortress and have brought them here.”

Cairn: “He left clues in town that were leaving unwanted attention. Some adventurers were going around asking questions”

Elswyr: “Have you never known a commanding officer who was utterly incompetent?”

Suspicious guard: “Where is Tixszal? We need to speak with him.”

Jesus: “The aforementioned adventurers stormed the castle, causing its collapse. They defeated Tixszal before we arrived and slew them.”

Suspicious Guard: “I will have to fetch the Captain. He will need to speak with you.”

 

He leaves to get the captain. The crossbowman in our group speaks up.

 

Crossbowman: “Wait! These four are lying. I was with them when they slew Magister Tixszal.”

Jesus: “Blasphemy!

 

Jesus zaps the crossbowman, and he collapses, writhing in agony. However, the gemstone on the staff cracks and the light in it fades. The guards begin to murmur in suspicion.

 

Suspicious Guard: “What was he going on about?”

Elswyr: “He was whispering blasphemy.”

Suspicious Guard: Squints at us “Very well. I will return with the Captain. Men, if they try to escape, kill them.”

 

The suspicious guard returns, along with a woman bearing a large warhammer and glowing blue armor.

 

Captain: “Who are you?”

Jesus: “Mercenaries hired by Tixszal”

Captain: “Tixszal was not authorized”

Elswyr: Shrugs

Mesmer: “We still expect to be paid”

Captain: “Why are you here?”

Elswyr “Listen, we’re here to work. Do you need muscle or not?”

Crossbowman: “They’re lying, I saw them cut down John and Tixszal”

Captain: “Can you explain what my soldier accused you of?”

Elswyr: “Do you tolerate such insolence from your subordinates?”

Captain: “I think our guests have overstayed their welcome. Guards, arrest them!”

 

The party flees back towards the stairwell. Mesmer uses his phase disruptor on the ground at the top of the landing, and the group watches from the stairwell, baiting their foes to follow. One man chases, eager to catch us, but falls into the pit and snaps his neck with a sickening thud.

 

Jesus throws his detonator across the gap towards the group of soldiers standing at the edge. It explodes in a flash of light, blinding the soldiers. Mesmer fires his crossbow and hits a soldier, and Jesus mind-blasts him. He falls over, dead. Elswyr fires an arrow but misses. Cairn stands on the defensive, trying to fend off anyone who tries to jump the gap.

 

The captain does just that, shoving her men out of the way and crossing with a mighty spring. Cairn tries to fend her off, but she blocks his staff with her heavy hammer, twisting inhumanly in order to block his swing in time (intrusion). Mesmer swings his sword in a mighty swing, trying to knock her off the edge. She almost falls, but again regains her footing with surprising grace (intrusion). Cairn hits her with his staff, and Elswyr’s spear finds a gap in the Captain’s armor.

 

The captain swings her hammer with a mighty swing, trying to hit all the heroes. They all leap out of the way, and the hammer crashes harmlessly into the wall, crushing it with the impact. The party retaliates with three well-placed blows. Jesus tries to heal Mesmer but his spell backfires, sapping some of his mental fortitude.

 

Finally brave enough to enter the fray, two guards leap the gap, while a third takes a shot with his crossbow. One soldier hits a surprised Mesmer, knocking him off balance. Mesmer tries to hit the captain, but his clumsy blow doesn’t even come near her. Jesus channels his magic, intent on succeeding where he failed last time, and with a growl of frustration infuses a huge amount of life force into Cairn, restoring much of his lost might. An emboldened Cairn strikes at the captain, hitting a sound blow. Elswyr lashes out at one of the spearmen and runs him through the heart, before kicking him off her spear into the pit. “You will not harm them,” she snarls, but she winces afterward, clutching her side. Her energy is nearly spent.

 

Jesus rushes over and restores the weary Elswyr. Mesmer misses the captain, but Cairn hits with his staff. Elswyr attacks another spearman but misses. The captain tries to retaliate, but Elswyr sees the blow coming. She dodges and knocks the captain off balance. The soldiers also strike at Elswyr. She dodges the first, but takes a grievous blow from the second. Jesus, already beside her, mends her wound.

Mesmer attacks with a swipe of his large, flat blade, and the captain falters from the impact of the blow. Elswyr finds an opening and drives her spear just above the captain’s pauldrons, running it through her throat. She sinks to her knees, then falls over with a heavy thud.

 

HAMMER! (2-handed weapon): Deals +2 damage on hit but you suffer -1 penalty to speed rolls

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