Survey Team 4 the Search for the Sundered Realm

Session 2 XP

All characters receive 20 xp for the session. The explorers who were more active practicing archery with the local sentries, preforming modest day trips for skills building or collecting, or politicing (including Ezikiel MacSweeny, Garbharr, Snurfdar, Famjen, and Gaerdain Ungart) all receive an additional 15 xp.

Famjen specifically spent time with Bhat, the Myconid priest of the Cult of Cerus. He has learned a new cantrip, with a spell slot, any school of magic. Similarly, Gaerdain Ungart made a tenuous bond with a strange, bent crone known around Vasa as ‘Strega Nona’. For that he will also gain a cantrip. More on the witch later…

Player and NPC Roster
The Oil Trade

There are 14 members of the Away-Team, charged with finding a passage to the City-State of Tantala, and to safely deliver an ambassador to that court. Of the group, 9 are player characters and 5 are non-player characters.

That means there are 14 ring-wraiths as well, for symmetry’s sake.

The group has joined the commercial oil fleet, operated by co-owner and Navigator Flor Grimsock, of Vassa town. Travel time to Tantala is estimated at approximately 20 to 35 twenty-four hour cycles (days). Approximate distance is 500 kilometers +/- 50 km.

Harbor time at Tantala, including trade, and refit is two weeks.

The fleet will then push on along the island (mountain) chain due South for the Oil Place and eventually the City-State of Trebuli Mutina. The Oil Place is situated on a medium sized island some 550 kilometers from Tantala; and Trebuli Mutina is some 550 kilometers further along.

Work gathering the crude and trading with the Hivers who have a city there generally takes one month.

Total one-way travel time from Vassa Town to Trebuli Mutina is somewhere between 104 and 149 days.


Regional Destinations:

Microclimates or Districts:
The Trackless Caverns
The Estuary/Great Torrent Headwaters
The Edge of the Veldt
Mountains and Mines
The Narrow Way
The Sunless Sea

Tantala Metro a city several week’s travel into the veldt, on an arm of the estuary. The town is built into a massif, and burrowed underground, with a protected harbor built into a cavern below the cliff face. This is a jumping off point for journey to the oil place, Dhole holes, and the Midden pile area. Carved into the huge down hanging rock above is Tantala Superior, an ancient place some two thousand years old.

Vada Volterrana a city several week’s journey into the south; accessible only from the South Shore or by sea. Roughly equidistant from Vassa and Tantala Metros. The vast barrier mountain sometimes referred to as the ‘Lesser or Southern Wall’ and hundreds of kilometers of open ocean lie between the sites.

Upland/Brix a town well into the Veldt, about a week upcountry from Tantala Metro. Brix lies on the Western Route, at Monitor Pass. A stopping point for caravan trade.

The Narrow Way is a chain of semi-habitable caverns marching off from the mouth of the Great Torrent River. This is the route is used both ways by south bound caravan traffic from Vassa. Eventually opens up into the Southern Vale region.

The Oil Place a vast depression, with ancient steps cut into the walls. Oil bubbles up and runs down one cliff face. Below, entrance to the oil caverns. Off into the Sunless Sea and the object of the Oil Trade.

The Midden Pile area was the objective of the Salvage Trade. Considered too dangerous to visit.

The Shire
The Singing Vale
The Southern Steps
Terriccio/Lake Transcimene District
Trebuli Mutina

Away-Team, Player Characters:

C. Team Leader Ezikiel MacSweeny (of the Ministry of Culture; Bard, Luthier, Actor)
C. Sig Zilrock (of the Ministry of Culture; Bard, Botanist, Caving Specialist)
C. Sargent Garbharr (of the Department of Defense; Fighter, Caving Specialist)
C. Glim Turen (of the Ministry of Culture; Warlock, Tinker/Engineer, Printer, Educator)
D. Niryk (of the Ministry of Magic; Initiate Loremaster, Biotinker, Animal Friend)
D. Snurfdar (of the Ministry of Facilities; Initiate Loremaster, Mining Engineer, Surveyor)
D. Famjen (of the Ministry of Biosciences; Botanist, Medic, Acolyte of the Cult of Cerus)
D. Gaerdain Ungart (of the Ministry of Biosciences; Ecologist, Herbalist, Medic)
D. Mhurren Stonefoot (of the Ministry of Facilities; Explorer, Caving Specialist)

Away-Team, Non-Player Characters:

T. Claudia Campula (of the Ministry of Culture; Designated Diplomat, City-State of Tantala)
S. Sirius (of the Ministry of Applied Technology; Equipment Specialist, Marksman)
C. Lucius Vorenus (of the Department of Defense; Security Specialist, Explorer)
C. Titus Pullo (of the Department of Defense; Security Specialist, Explorer)
C. Smiley (of the Ministry of Applied Technology; Photographer, Archivist, Communications Tech)

Vassa-Based Survey Explorers, Non-Player Characters:

M. Roxanna Naxos (of the Ministry of Bioscience; Mission Xenobiologist, Zoologist, AgTech Advisor)
M. Polystasia (of the Ministry of Bioscience; Mission Botanist, Archivist, Φ Equipment Technician)
M. Pelus (of the Ministry of Engineering; Master Surveyor, Geologist, Construction Manager)
M. Bresis Antares (of the Ministry of Engineering; Architect, Archivist, Cartographer)
M. Nitra Tassitia (of the Ministry of Magic; Observer, Archivist)
E. Lukas Longsbeardsson (of the Ministry of Bioscience; Microbiologist, Φ Equipment Technician)
T. Polyandrus Nikkos (of the Ministry of Magic; Sociologist, Designated Diplomat to Vada Volterrana)
T. Barbados (of the Ministry of Applied Technology; Equipment Specialist, Transport Tech)
T. Dandy Pyrmon (of the Ministry of Culture; Archivist, Designated Diplomat to the Shire)
S. Sammes (of the Ministry of Applied Technology; Mechanic, Electrician, Communication Tech)
C. Underlubricator Nesbitt (of the Ministry of Engineering; Black Thumb Mechanical Genius)

Underinspector Grix (Ecology/Internal Security)

M=5th Level, E=4th Level, T=3rd Level, S=2nd Level, C=1st Level, D=0 Level

Survey Team 4
Pandora's Box

The massive effort that will soon be Survey 4 is now being unpacked. We all knew that it wasn’t a question of “if” but “when” the breakthrough would occur with the Vassa. Quietly, programs have been in the works for years. Although no one knew exactly what we would be confronted with, work went ahead based on certain broad assumptions.

Collectively known by the code name Pandora, the intent was to rapidly create a stand-alone offsite having quarters, labs, communications, transportation, and security. More than a base, thinking devolved around the creation of new caving systems, emphasizing robust flexibility, and less traditional or alternative solutions. Of course, the base was built as well.

The public declaration of Survey has effectively placed all citizens on City Year, the main distinction being that the duration and the demands of survey are more open ended. Legally, a citizen not on City Year can demur and refuse work reassignment, however under the circumstances, the reality is that such a refusal would be social and political suicide. Many citizens are in fact volunteering for the honor of service, right now.

The social realignment referred to in the Survey Announcement amounts to the reallocation of finite resources to new programs. While Citizens might not think in terms of ‘money’ as an enabler, be assured the concept is fully familiar to the civil servants who need to ‘fund’ their Ministry or pet program with energy, talent and material over all the others clamoring for attention. Right now, decision-making power is being centralized and streamlined in committee. New fiefdoms are born and others are shelved. There will be winners and losers. Everything now for Survey!

Much of the new focus and the new programs will be multi-disciplinary. Some of the territorial walls built up around the five Ministries are expected to crumble as talent is shifted to new work groups, and experts get to talking. The better sharing of what would typically be proprietary data within a Ministry might just usher in a new renaissance.

A quick word about personal power in Alpha Complex: with the successful destruction of the family system of social organization, and the elimination of the accumulation of personal wealth, it might appear everyone is equal-not so. Personal merit and a system of patronage have replaced these as a measure of a man. Information is power, and much like the Roman Republic, reputation and personal prestige in society translates directly into personal power. The measure of a Citizen as an embodiment of civic virtue is only one of many ways such power may be won.


Survey Team 4

Overall on the spot management will be provided by the Ministry of Culture. Citizen-Manager Azekiel will head things up, organize task oriented committee(s) to include the head personal of the various disciplines, and in particular be entrusted with shaping a message for internal consumption, and projecting the official face to our friends amongst the Peer Culture(s).

Communications are real time from the temporary quarters located at Barter town, and via the City Sigil. The facility is expected to ramp up quickly, and will eventually include a deep range of resources, both human and material. A list of new personal and equipment is amended to this document.

All Survey personal are reminded not to test the limits of the official Latitude granted by Survey. Let’s not abuse the privilege, folks!

New Personnel:

Technician Barbados (of the Ministry of Applied Technology; Equipment Specialist, Transport Tech)

Specialist Sirius (of the Ministry of Applied Technology; Equipment Specialist, Marksman)

Specialist Sammes (of the Ministry of Applied Technology; Mechanic, Electrician, Communication Tech)

Citizen Smiley (of the Ministry of Applied Technology; Photographer, Archivist, Communication Tech)

Master Roxanna Naxos (of the Ministry of Bioscience; Mission Xenobiologist, Zoologist, AgTech Advisor)

Master Polystasia (of the Ministry of Bioscience; Mission Botanist, Archivist, Φ Equipment Technician)

Expert Lukas Longsbeardsson (of the Ministry of Bioscience; Microbiologist, Φ Equipment Technician)

Master Pelus (of the Ministry of Engineering; Master Surveyor, Geologist, Construction Manager)

Master Bresis Antares (of the Ministry of Engineering; Architect, Archivist, Cartographer)

Citizen Underlubricator Nesbitt (of the Ministry of Engineering; Black Thumb Mechanical Genius)

Technician Dandy Pyrmon (of the Ministry of Culture; Archivist)

Citizen Vorenus (of the Ministry of Culture, Department of Defense; Security Specialist, Marksman)

Citizen Pullo (of the Ministry of Culture, Department of Defense; Security Specialist, Marksman)

Master Nitra Tassitia (of the Ministry of Arcane Solutions; Observer, Archivist)

Technician Underinspector Grix (Ecology/Internal Security)

Immediate Mission Objectives:

1. Conduct negotiations to secure a forward base convenient to Alpha Complex. Facilitate the preliminary groundwork by Masters Pelus & Bresis, of Engineering.

2. Negotiate with the Vassa, and if necessary smooth over the fact of our trespass at the Vassa Burial Grounds and the theft of the relic found there. Determine who we need to talk to and put things on a permanent basis.

3. Dispatch ambassadors to native population centers at ‘Tantala’, ‘Voda Volterrana’ and the ‘Shire’. We understand these are the closest major centers. There is a question about reaching out to the ‘Hivers’. At the moment, they are a bit of a mystery, but being intelligent, should be considered for the establishment of diplomatic relations.

4. Discover the origins of the two Father Culture artifacts, ASAP.

5. Solve the riddle of the disintegrator rifle, carefully.

6. Scout, map and discover in the immediate area. Build and sharpen caving skills in the major microclimates (the Estuary, the Veldt, and the Caverns).

7. Conduct yourselves professionally, shape the message- remember: mission positive!

1. GENERAL USE-Great Pavilions (6)
2. GENERAL USE-Dome Tents (10)
3. GENERAL USE- Portable Kitchen (1)
4. GENERAL USE- Portable Privies and Solid Waste Digester (1)
5. GENERAL USE-Medium Duty Wheeled Cargo Trucks, Electric (2)
6. GENERAL USE-Portable Water Treatment System and Cistern (2)
7. GENERAL USE-Task Lighting (8)
8. GENERAL USE-Short and Medium Range Wireless Radios (8)
9. APTECH-Charging Station, Jenny and Power Infrastructure (1)
10. APTECH-Kodiak Inflatable Boats (4)
11. APTECH-Mobike Wheeled Transports (4)
12. APTECH-Quad Buggy Wheeled Transports (3)
13. APTECH-Chemistry Lab (1)
14. APTECH-Mechanic Shop (1)
15. APTECH-Restricted Unlabeled (6)
16. APTECH-Caving Equipment (6)
17. BIOSCI-Portable Surgical Theater (1)
18. BIOSCI-Portable Laboratory (1)
19. BIOSCI-Torsion Crabs (3)
20. BIOSCI-Vactors + Hoses (5)
21. BIOSCI-Beach Ball (3)
22. BIOSCI-Headsak Survival System (10)
23. BIOSCI-Stinger Staves (16)
24. BIOSCI-Squib Launchers (10)
25. BIOSCI-Rokroper, various (6)
26. BIOSCI-Pharmaceuticals (1)
27. BIOSCI-Screamers + Cabling (24)
28. BIOSCI-Lasdich Perimeter Weapons (15)
29. FACIL-Portable Forge (1)
30. FACIL-Bridging Gear (1)
31. FACIL-Surveyor’s Kit (1)
32. FACIL-Portable Communication Center (1)
33. FACIL-Caving Gear (6)
34. FACIL-Restricted Unlabeled (3)
35. MAGIC-Fearnaughts (50 pairs)
36. MAGIC-Portable Laboratory (1)
37. MAGIC-Restricted Unlabeled (1)
38. INTSEC-Restricted Unlabeled (4)
39. CULTR-Restricted Weapons (8)

New Equipment:

Φ FEARNAUGHTS (BLINDERS) Rush manufactured by the Ministry of Magic, when worn these goggles curtail the disturbing perspectives common to the Endless Caverns through the addition of soothing, reassuring or familiar scenes to the user’s view. Distance vision and disturbing vistas are selectively editing out, and the illusion of interior space and lighting are semi-transparently superimposed over the user’s immediate view. The goggles are also helpful for overcoming the fear of heights.

Φ BEACH BALL An exotic bioform product utilizing animal muscle tissues, used for emergency flotation. This is a self-inflating product made in several styles: the fisherman’s barrel (or waist floatation for arms free use); the life raft (fits four); the bridging or buoy pod; and the ‘beach ball’ form, which totally encloses the user in a three meter diameter bubble. The units are designed to leak for a time after inflation to establish appropriate ballast.

Φ STINGER STAVE A pole mounted exotic manipulated bioform, based on the neurotoxin common to certain Manticores. The stave is intended for martial defense, and looks much like an oversized wasp’s sting, complete with a nasty barb, on a telescoping pole. Proper manipulation of the poison gland at the base of the sting sets the dosage (one to six doses per discharge; one dose stuns a small target, two a medium target, etc.). Users are cautioned against overdose, which may be lethal.

Φ LASDICH This is a directional burst perimeter defense mine, wholly biological in construction. It may be triggered directly by the operator, by pressure, or be part of a smart network when connected to screamers via strung or laid umbilical ‘wiring’. The unit somewhat resembles a gooey, fibrous egg sack, which may be applied to floors, walls and ceilings. Detonation ejects hundreds of semi-alive burrowing grubs (or squibs), stunning and sickening targets caught by the blast.

Φ SQUIB LAUNCHER This is a fairly accurate burst fire rifle, wholly biological in construction. Somewhat resembling a large mushroom cap, the operator holds the unit by the stem, with the cap facing the target. Each unit is unique, and drill and practice fire at a range is advised to achieve decent accuracy. At short ranges, a target may be plastered by one or five round bursts. The weapon holds 75 squibs and may be reloaded twice before the fleshy storage medium is consumed by the living ammunition and the ravenous squibs erupt from the spent weapon.

Φ SCREAMER An exotic manipulated bioform product, available in several styles for the establishment of secure perimeters. The unit may be installed like a tiki torch, anchored as a float buoy, or dug in and camouflaged and still provide good early warning of an intruder. Packed in nutritive jelly, each case of four screamers has a six month shelf life. Once deployed, the unit must be tended to (fed) or returned to it’s packaging after short periods of use. About 55 cm long, topped by a primitive eye fringed by sensitive feelers tapers down to the floor spike, which is driven into the soil. Several screamers may be networked by umbilicus to other units, mines, and autonomous systems forming a comprehensive ‘smart’ perimeter. Use requires a trained operator and the unit must be fed.

Ψ KODIAK A tough, seaworthy inflatable boat, with a rigid floor plate. Large enough for six, plus some cargo, the vessel is rowed or powered by an electric outboard motor.

Ψ MOBIKE A single seater off-road dirt bike, powered by a electric motor.

Ψ QUAD BUGGY A fairly large, light weight vehicle suitable for three (medium sized) crew. Equipped with oversized tires and good suspension for a smooth ride, and sporting a full roll cage. When floats are added, the propeller renders the vehicle amphibious. Electric power plant.

Ψ BUZZBEE A remote piloted, autonomous or programmed quad rotor drone aircraft. These may be used to deliver small cargos, or carry surveillance equipment, such as cameras (typically sensitive in the infra-red spectrum).

Ψ FIELD HAB A large pavilion type shelter, featuring internal poles and frames and guyed outer corners. The fabric is a special ballistic material, very tough and resistant to tears. Shelters twenty personal.

Ψ TASK LIGHTS This refers to a variety of free standing or clamp base battery lights. The largest are equivalent to a search light in output. Most may also be cord and plug connected, if a jenny or charging station is available.

Ψ CHARGING STATION Linked to a City power source, or free standing and burning chemical fuel (through a combustion process) these units provide electricity in the field. Use requires authorization and as a jenny constitutes ecodamage.

Ψ AMMUNITION, 42mm DAZZLER GRENADE Shotgun rounds, combining white phosphorous and magnesium filaments for visually stunning targets in an area, and for starting structural fires. Use requires authorization and constitutes minor ecodamage. Dept. of Defense use only.

Ψ AMMUNITION, 42mm CONCUSSION GRENADE Shotgun rounds, combing tear gas with a concussive ‘flash-bang’ explosion for a double dose of whup ass. Non-lethal. Use requires authorization and constitutes minor ecodamage. Dept. of Defense use only.

Ψ AMMUNITION, 42mm TRANC GRENADE Shotgun rounds, combining several irritant chemicals which induce (temporary) blindness, vomiting, dizziness, and shortness of breath. Non-lethal. Use requires authorization and constitutes minor ecodamage. Dept. of Defense use only.

Ψ AMMUNITION, 42mm APF GRENADE Shotgun rounds, launching six rocket assisted hardened armor piercing flechette darts at high velocity. Intended for use only at short ranges, as the round is not accurate. Lethal ammunition. Use requires authorization and constitutes minor ecodamage. Dept. of Defense use only.

Ψ HEAVY ANTI MATRIAL RIFLE, 25mm A team served weapon system, designed to interdict hardened targets at very long ranges. Nominally man-portable, the weapon breaks down into barrel, bipod and receiver components for transport. The crew consists of a forward observer, a loader/spotter, and the sniper, typically all in radio contact. A variety of ammunitions are available, including fusible or smart rounds for the neutralization of out of LOS targets through air burst or downward directed explosions. Use requires authorization and constitutes minor ecodamage. Dept. of Defense use only.

Ψ FLAMER A compact, man portable flame thrower suitable for anti-personal or anti-structure use. Use requires authorization and constitutes ecodamage. Dept. of Defense use only.

Ψ CATTLEPROD Delivering 50,000 volts, this non-lethal system may be freely attached bayonet style to rifles, affixed to a pole, etc.

Ψ LIGHT INTENSIFYING GOGGLES In near total darkness, close objects are quite visible; long distance vision is poor but serviceable.

Ψ INFRA RED GOGGLES A sophisticated system in which heat signatures are read and a projection of the interpreted results are displayed on the visor surface. Potentially capable of very long distance target acquisition, depending on the relative temperatures of the target and its background, and the environmental heat between the user and the target.

Ψ HANDSET WIRELESS RADIO Similar to the modern cell phone, but larger and capable of broadcasting a modest signal, to a distance of twenty-five kilometers.

Ψ MEDIUM RANGE WIRELESS KIT A backpack sized unit capable of sending and receiving over 150 km range

Session 1 Recap of the main points

Welcome Feast and Entertainment:

Later that ‘night’, starting at 16:00, a meal is served at the fairgrounds. The performers are greeted, given refreshment at long tables set up under the Maypole. Bunting and ribbons flutter in the breeze. Beyond the festival ground there is a glimpse of farmland and in the uncertain light, the sea. The food is good. There are pies, flagons of ale, salad, and steaming meat cut of a saddle of extremely large animal bones. The many vegetarians amongst the group might think before trying this dish. About an hour into the feast, dancers and vocalists serenade the Citizens from a small stage set up within the tables. Around 18:30 the hosts prod everyone to their feet and over to what appears to be a very old amphitheater. Stone seating is worn comfortably smooth.

Initially, it dark. The entertainment opens with the thunderous percussion of at least eight Tycho drummers. The drumming is immense, magnified in intensity by the peculiar acoustics of this excellent venue. In unison, torch bearers light braziers and urns behind the stage and within arches in the proscenium. Beyond and above this, several more bonfires are lit in urns cut into the backdrop of the cavern wall.

Onstage female dancers execute a delicate form. The women wear loose and revealing gowns of lustrous sheen and color. The dancer’s long eye lashes, palms and feminine curvature have been subtly accentuated by the fantastical application of bioluminescent make up in several hues. The arrangement is naturalistic; they are flowers, opening. Hunters arrive, bare-chested, with spears. There are other creatures represented, possibly insects. The dancers wear man-sized carapace costumes, very realistic. The hunt is now on the water. Children have come onstage carrying boat hulls. A beast appears; some sort of huge lizard. As in a dragon dance, the monstrous toothy head, and a long flap of alligator skin covers several dancers, whose hands can be seen holding up the affair at the monster’s blank and open eye sockets. Venturing into the crowd, townsfolk good naturedly join in, taking swings and even striking the beast with their torches. Eventually, the hunters overcome the beast.

First Night: the Passage of the Corn Fairy:

At some point on the first night after arrival, the sharp eyed sentinels posted on the shorelines fortified massif passes word that the creature approaches. Apparently without concern for their safety, people rush down to catch a glimpse of the passage of the immense insect. Although the visiting Citizens may have been told what to expect, the reality of seeing a huge and dimly seen moth-like creature is shocking and deeply impressive. As the creature moves down cavern, wind from its great wings can be felt. For the inhabitants of Vassa, this event marks the beginning of the New Year; the jumping off time for the Caving caravans to harvest silk from the spent egg cases of the monstrous Corn Moth; and the season for outbound mercantile shipping.

the Festival of the Corn Fairy:

It is the season of the Festival of the Corn Fairy; celebrating the arrival of a vast moth-like form that historically migrates past this point on the estuary in a night or two. The community holds a Bacchanalia and other rites, including the random sacrifice of a participant, snatched by pterodactyl’s nesting in the crags of the Sacred Place. This occurs at the most sacred moment, when attendees are high under the influence of Myconid vapors; inducing group telepathy with all beings in the immediate area. Thus, everyone is eaten by and eats the sacrificial victim. Throughout the long, long night lasting until participants literally collapse unconscious, wild Bacchanalia reigns. Epic quantities of strong drink are consumed as is the fermented regurgitation of the captive Snok-Trux.

the Aftermath

In the drugged and drunken confusion of the festival, attendees see many strange things you might expect and a few completely beyond the pale. At the climax of the sacred festival, one of the visiting musicians is took up by the wild beasts and torn asunder before the horrified eyes of his companions. There is nothing to be done. For many, it’s a good night: sleeping with your neighbor’s wife, your sister, or just the livestock in wild abandon. For others, a bad trip; waking up with a ringing hangover to torn, missing or muddied clothes; all metal adornments, buttons and buckles mysteriously vanished, to be replaced by gnawed shoe leather, frayed threads and rust stains.

The Burial:

Very few people from Vassa attend. It appears to be a matter for the priesthood. The Citizens are welcome to tag along. A few laborers push the cart with the body, led by a very strange creature; some sort of sentient fungus. It turns out this is the town’s priest of the cult of Cerus, a Myconnid named Baht. Some may recognize him from the terrible scene at the Sacred Place where the monster swooped down and took our companion. He is very calm, very philosophical. It says that his kind has collaborated with the Halflings for many generations; that they have “grown together”. He explains what will follow. The body will be stripped of flesh; a ceremony honoring the cycle of life, and the renewal of fertility will be performed. Normally, the bones of an outsider would be placed outside the cave; Townsfolk with families are interred separately from outlanders; i.e. those who aren’t ‘spoken for’. It has been decided to “mingle your bones with those of Vassa”.

The Sepulcher:

(picture) A cave mouth, lined outside and inside with skulls and bones. Everywhere is carefully stacked the accumulation of hundreds of generations. The corridors are of stacked skulls and bones from floor to ceiling. The flesh is dissolved from the bones in a sunken chamber: small vents near the floor open onto another chamber. The body is laid out and left to be carefully cleaned of flesh by the town’s captive gelatinous cube. Hal Tenbraun and the Myconid priest placed the dreadful taboo object (the disintegrator rifle) here for safekeeping.

Inside the Cleaning Chamber:

Someone spots the glint of the thing, and may recognize it for what it is: another tangible link to the Father Culture. Players decide how to handle this; but probably recovering the artifact is the next step. Whoever goes in has to be very small; it’s a tiny opening. In the chamber beyond are several revelations. There is a very large but dormant gelatinous cube (the City Slime). It is sated and not accustomed to live meals. As the Citizen enters, it withdraws in apparent disgust.

More disturbingly, the grotesque and almost unrecognizable body of Daphnine Tenbraun hangs here; suspended by ghastly crystalline growth. Daphnine’s body is totally encrusted in complex metallic crystals; her skull is fleshless: its tissues have been replaced by the growth of a dull faceted metal. She is still alive, deathless, and immobilized where her new form has merged with the walls and floor. It’s evident that the plague that consumed her did so without any clear purpose.

Returning the Relic to the City, Survey is Authorized:

Within hours they are summoned to a large empty assembly room in the commercial building. As they enter, they notice the camera crews are present, odd. Inside, three walls are lined by Ministry of Culture/Department of Defense drummers, at attention. Standing in a formal yellow uniform, the party might recognize the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Culture (!), flanked by Grix, the creature from Ecology. In the middle of the room is a scroll, held down by a stone paperweight. No one speaks. The cameras are filming everything. At a signal, the drummers let out a deafening martial clatter from their snare-drums.

From nowhere, fanfare. The object is changing; inflating. Extending silvery legs, it rises to eye level. A metallic sphere forms, studded with optics and projectors. Abruptly, light and crisp and convincing sound pour out of the device. Holy shit! It’s not a paperweight, it’s the City Sigil! A holographic image of Secretary Nox is projected from the ‘paperweight’. A second much larger image of the interior of the Council Chambers, full of dignitaries, somehow manages to convey the gravitas and severity of that room. Tribune Salubrious, an immensely fat Orc and Speaker of the Council of Sixteen, stands and raises an imposing hand. His corpulent body and flawless green complexion done up in complex robes, at once elegant and commanding. Deep in Bartertown, at the front of the assembly, the Undersecretary is seen to speak softly into the cuff of her formal uniform. Far away, deep within the Council Chambers, and almost simultaneously, Secretary Nox raises his arm to his ear. Holy shit, this is live!

See Tribune Salubrious’ speech: Survey 4 is Authorized.

Session 1 Initial findings on the relic

Item recovered from within the Peer Culture’s National territory.

1. A senior archivist (with M.Culture) has found references to this particular object.
2. It was manufactured. We made it; I mean the Father Culture did, about four thousand years ago.
3. Its a weapon. It can blow holes in pretty much any material. It was made for war; i.e. mass murder.
4. The weapon is live; warm to the touch. We haven’t tried firing it, yet.
5. There is no power source (we know of) that would be viable after this much time.
6. We think it might draw power directly from it’s environment by a process(s) unknown. This is not consistent with the original design.
7. Somehow this inert manufactured object was changed or modified, at some point.
8. Although it’s implausible, this object may have been the agency behind a death (one Daphnine Tenbraun, a Vassa). We’ll need to explore this carefully.
9. —redacted content—

That is all.

Session 1 Forum, Consequences and the Relic Examined

Theo and I started a little discussion about what he’d like to see.
My response, and a little more follow up. I’m going to single out a few characters for consequences. If anyone thinks that’s not cool-let me know.

Unless Matthias, Theo and Owen are uncomfortable with this storyline, Myr and Dargain’s gambit with the relic has cost his family and reputation, a little. He (Dargain) finds out a few things: he has a new enemy (not sure who yet), and old enemies in the upper circles of City society have taken note of the disfavor (i.e. he has been publicly slandered and outed). A little digging reveals that his file, and the files of the Gnome Myr, and the Goblins Garbhar and Snufdar all have been flagged by Ecology. This is not good. Fortunately, no one at his employer, the Ministry of Bioscience gives a shit about all that.

Despite the stigma, several of you are on hand for the arrival of the heads of the Ministries of Magic and of Applied Technology. Under controlled circumstances, the relic is examined and several very strange and inexplicable characteristics are posited. As follows:

1. A senior archivist (with M.Culture) has found references to this particular object.
2. It was manufactured. We made it; I mean the Father Culture did, about four thousand years ago.
3. Its a weapon. It can blow holes in pretty much any material. It was made for war; i.e. mass murder.
4. The weapon is live; warm to the touch. We haven’t tried firing it, yet.
5. There is no power source (we know of) that would be viable after this much time.
6. We think it might draw power directly from it’s environment by a process(s) unknown. This is not consistent with the original design.
7. Somehow this inert manufactured object was changed or modified, at some point.
8. Although it’s implausible, this object may have been the agency behind a death (one Daphnine Tenbraun, a Vassa). We’ll need to explore this carefully.
9. Someone mentioned the term “the curse of aberrant technology”. I’d like that struck from the record. We need to concentrate on science, people, not some witch hunt.

That is all.

On other news, popularity of the Cerus cult has overtaken the official state religion. New converts are probably hedging bets by attending several congregations (as the worship of Kronos, lord of orderly time has not declined). The Ministry of Facilities (Engineering) has come out publically as an organization “in the image of Cerus”. No doubt there will be others!

Theo’s forum topic:

Overall I really like this setting. Let’s talk in person about what happens next. From your question (Directions you’d like to go in or the carving out of new roles for your characters) I take it that you want us to drive the action and make some choices at this point, but it’s a little hard to sort out over email.

I think it makes sense that the first session was more dictated to us, but from your question, I assume you want us to drive things going forward. If the City is just going to dictate a mission to us instead, that’s ok – but just tell us and let us know what decisions we have when they come up; that way we won’t have missed expectations on our roles.

In character:

Basically the Fangtooth brothers will follow orders.

The oldest brother really, really wants to get out into the world – not out of a sense of exploration but in order to get out from the stifling conformity of the City. He is politically totally inept though so he won’t really know how to advocate for that to well. Since he’s the only Culture Security PC, probably he’ll go with Famjen (suave youngest brother) to the Culture Security guy and ask/demand to be appointed security on an away mission.

The middle brother basically just does what the other two are doing. He wants to keep the three together.

The youngest (Famjen) also wants to get out into the world, but more out of discovery than out of discontent. He’s an Acolyte of Cerus and a biologist, and he wants to see the xenobiology of the caverns for both religious and intellectual reasons. He’s a bit more politically astute than the others so he’ll go to Azekiel (Dave’s PC) and Betta (?) with a suggestion: 12 of us (ie the PC’s) should accompany the silk trade mission on their 10 month round trip. That’s the perfect way to see the rich diversity of the caverns.

Out of character:

I’m trying to balance between a few factors:
1) displaying authentic motivations for my characters while respecting their position. Realistically there’s no reason why my 3 PC’s would influence the course of the 98 overall (they’re overall low-status/low-influence characters); so I’m giving their motivations but not assuming that they have total free reign.
2) trying to keep the group of PC’s as a single unit. This is a little artificial because there’s not any specific tie between our 12 PC’s vs the 100 overall; but I think we should hand wave over that and form a smaller PC group that is led by one PC (I assume Dave’s Azekial), that will be more fun than always being members of a group of 100 led by an NPC.
3) trying to turn the PC’s in general into an active driver of events vs passive observer (in line with my opening observations).

I’d suggest we discuss these 3 things at the beginning of the next session.

GMs reply:

Until Deputy Inquisitor Ash is squirted from it’s pod, Dave’s character Azekiel is in charge. So far as the city is concerned, the Brothers Three can leave any time; more biology work to do and this is consistent with how they’ve operated in the past.

They would be issued a medium range wireless set, but until the radio tower and receiver facility and repeaters are installed, they would be on their own. That said, you may want to make another character to stay with the main effort.

All Citizens not on City Year are sent home (all the musicians) to be replaced by scientists, construction workers and other specialists as soon as a facility is ready for them.

Session 1 XP

Dave, please make this available to Owen. I’m delighted he could come. If he would like to receive emails, let me know.

I hope you all enjoyed the first session. There are some consequences that I’ll deal (partially) at the end of this message. If any of you have the time and inclination to communicate with each other or with me about
1. Questions that arose in game play/next steps
2. Directions you’d like to go in or the carving out of new roles for your characters (the Survey needs managers, and everyone knows there will be an ‘away team’)
3. anything else

A note about leveling up: all experience point thresholds (i.e. 300 x.p. to graduate to 2nd level) are doubled. It’s 300 x.p. to reach 1st level.

So, all characters received 20 x.p. for seeing the Endless Cavern.
All participants (musicians or performers) get 20 x.p. for the concert.
All Citizens that attended the ceremony at the Sacred Place and belong to the Cerus cult receive 15 x.p. all others that just attended get 5 x.p.
Jeb, Zed and Azekiel get 15 x.p. each for initiative shown on day one. They also got about 20 Thalers from the crowd. Everyone has about 8 more Thalers left over from the coin issued at day 1.
Azekiel gets 50 x.p. for his P.R. efforts.
Glimturin (the Orc ?)gets 15 x.p. for the boxing match.
Dr. Dargain and Professor Mirin may split 50 x.p. for discovering a new species/new area of study (the Termights).
Dr. Famgen gets 40 x.p. for his efforts in discovering 5 new species (4 plants and one animal: the pest species).
Professors Myr and Mirin Stonefoot (not sure if these are the right PCs, you guys know who I mean) who went back and collected the disintegrator rifle, each get 25 x.p. and a warning from Internal Security for having attempted to smuggle it into the City.

Despite (or due to inside help) Ministry Troopers descending on the facility for the Survey Team ceremony, Garbhar was able to hide the pistol and shotgun the guards lent him. When examined the shotgun is loaded with “TC” tranc gas grenades (6) and “APF” armor piercing flechette grenades (4) in a holster on the stock.

Manager Azekiel is field promoted and is the ranking Citizen on the spot(at the moment).

The Survey is still a Ministry of Culture operation, nominally.

All non-City Year personnel are evacuated to the City after debrief.

Any character you want to keep, please make an argument for it ( see note # 2 above, they are still in play, at labs).

A word about the artifact: if anyone else (besides a noble with political friends in high places) had tried to smuggle it into the city, they would be in chains about now. As the group is debriefed, it comes out who was involved and you are all “entrusted with state secrets” -sworn to secrecy. Any of the players that wish it may be part of the study of the relic. The video taken at the Vassa Sepulcher/City Slime lair raised questions for the very smart people at Ecology (they’re not all bad, really) and an INTERDICT has been placed on the relic. It’s too dangerous to bring into the habitat. A laboratory will be build ASAP, at a location negotiated with the Vassa.


Welcome to your campaign!
A blog for your campaign

Wondering how to get started? Here are a few tips:

1. Invite your players

Invite them with either their email address or their Obsidian Portal username.

2. Edit your home page

Make a few changes to the home page and give people an idea of what your campaign is about. That will let people know you’re serious and not just playing with the system.

3. Choose a theme

If you want to set a specific mood for your campaign, we have several backgrounds to choose from. Accentuate it by creating a top banner image.

4. Create some NPCs

Characters form the core of every campaign, so take a few minutes to list out the major NPCs in your campaign.

A quick tip: The “+” icon in the top right of every section is how to add a new item, whether it’s a new character or adventure log post, or anything else.

5. Write your first Adventure Log post

The adventure log is where you list the sessions and adventures your party has been on, but for now, we suggest doing a very light “story so far” post. Just give a brief overview of what the party has done up to this point. After each future session, create a new post detailing that night’s adventures.

One final tip: Don’t stress about making your Obsidian Portal campaign look perfect. Instead, just make it work for you and your group. If everyone is having fun, then you’re using Obsidian Portal exactly as it was designed, even if your adventure log isn’t always up to date or your characters don’t all have portrait pictures.

That’s it! The rest is up to your and your players.


I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.