Game log of a ToEE adventure that somehow turned into an Expedition to the Barrier Peaks. You can find the original google doc here.
Rogues Gallery – The Hommlet Raiders
- The Rogue – Giselle der Gauner the Soulknife due to a mutation granting her telekinetic powers (character #2, previous character was Mirka the Rogue – Deceased)
- The Monk – Augusta “Tof” Bamberger and her henchmen Elmo the Ranger and pet pug General Puggins.
- The Druid – Lilie the Elf and her henchmen Wolfram and animal companion Fuyuko the white wolf.
- The Knight – Lintelfaden Toshcobble, squire of Rufus the Bold.
- The Fighter – Fencil the G-Noll (Reincarnation) (Character #2, previous character was a cleric – Deceased) and his (henchmen Zof the Jarhead Wizard – Deceased).
- The Ranger – Bustov Daman and his animal companion The Mou-Mou Bird (bloodthirsty sparrow).
- The Wizard – Boris the Jaws-Dodger (Deceased Session 25).
- The Cleric – Lorenz Brandt (character #2), the scribe.
Session 25 Recap
Heading down the last of the four corridors, they were able to push through rather smoothly. It seemed they had met most of what this level had to offer and the mimics were no longer targeting them. While they were always aware, the chance of a shade bursting through the wall or a mimic disguised as precious loot were gradually turning into an afterthought. They ignored every knowledge altar they came across, knowing full well that as long as they didn’t trigger a reaper, they could safely handle most anything.
“So many parts!” Lorenz exclaimed, giddy to start tearing the robots to pieces.
It seemed the room they entered was a scrap room of some sort, multiple broken pieces of machinery littering the floor, covering all four corners with technological mysteries. The more pieces he salvaged the closer he was to creating a robot. The only problem was someone also wanted pieces to create a robot unicorn.
“We’ll split what we find,” Lintelfaden explained.
Unfortunately, his competition knew what he was doing and could salvage parts just as well as he could. And even worse, everything they tried salvaging was worth hardly any value, but they were trying to find useful technology in a scrap heap. The best way was to shut down an actual Mk I or II without damaging it but that task was beyond them at their current abilities.
“A helmet, an amulet, and a thin vial labeled ‘The Sheen’,” Lorenz explained to the others. “These are our spoils.”
“Uh, anything useful?” Fensal asked.
“The helmet is pretty bad.” Lintelfaden put it on Aki’s head. “It creates a portal, which is cool, but only around the head, which sucks.” He moved on to the amulet. “This… Actually, I think this is pretty useful.”
Lorenz pulled out a dirty piece of paper. “Time winding powers when we twist the crystal I think. We should keep that just in case and I’ll scrap the helmet.”
“And the vial?” Gisella wondered.
Lintelfaden was already dismantling it. “You inject yourself with this thing and… it makes you have silvery skin. It doesn’t do anything, just gives you a nice sheen.”
Augusta cocked her head to one side. “How did you figure out how this all works without using it? Especially the one that rewinds time.”
Lorenz pulled out a dusty sheet of paper. “We found a manual.”
Pushing on in search for Surks, they passed by multiple rooms of varying interest. Some were completely ignored while others were quickly searched but otherwise left untouched. Then there was the one side room they spent a long time in, though Lorenz couldn’t understand why.
A massive glass orb suspended in the centre of the room was filled entirely of a thick, black liquid. After a few tests, confirming it wasn’t going to attack and eat them, they got excited realising it was extremely high quality oil. Compared to everything they used on Earth, this oil surpassed it with ease.
“But it’s just oil?” Lorenz pointed out. “There’s a ton of that in the ship for the robots.”
“Just oil?” Gisella echoed. She clapped her hands, giddy at the thought of money. “No, no, no, no, this is an extremely rare find! This tank holds… quick math… about 15 gallons in this sphere! That’s 60 quarts in this thing! 240 pints!” She pulled out a vial from her backpack. “This right here is worth a pint and goes for about 10 gold back on earth. 10 for normal oil, this is high quality, but the average would be… 2,400 gold pieces!”
“That’s an unrealistic amount,” Fensal said. “We need to find someone willing to buy all of it as well.”
“It is unrealistic,” she agreed. “That’s the price for normal oil. This quality? This could go for twice as much!”
While Gisella spent the next hour trying to figure out how to transport this much oil, including filling an entire bag of holding with oil, the others thought of upgrades to their weapons. Bustov wanted parts and gold for his Lenz once they got to the Autoforge while Lorenz and Lintelfaden wanted upgrades for their rifle and armour respectively. They were not worried in the slightest about the Surks; the Autoforge was in their grasp.
“What are you doing?” Lilie asked as she heard a click behind them.
Gisella locked the door from the inside and broke it, assuring that no one could enter in through that way and no one was going to break down a skymetal door. “I’ll be back to transport my precious oil, but I need to make sure nobody can get in.”
The creepy oil obsession had to be stopped and the best way was to just leave the room. Luckily, there was another exit out since she broke the way they came in. The sight in the next room was horrible and they thought Gisella was going to pass out at the sight. An exact replica of the glass sphere, except shattered, thousands of pieces littering the floor. The precious oil was splattered across the ground and walls, even reaching the roof and staining it black.
Worried, she ran back to the other room and used her telekinesis to board up the door she locked with anything she could find.
“I’ll bring her over,” Bustov chuckled. “You guys go on.”
Leaving behind the shattered sphere, the room led out to a simple corridor, a door at the far end. One side of the wall was frozen over, a thin sheet that gradually grew thicker as it neared a side room. The locked door was completely frozen, so cold it burned anyone who touched it, and the lock glowed prismatic.
Lintelfaden tried to break the ice, protected by his suit but it didn’t give in. “Brute force won’t get us through. And Bustov is the one with the platinum pass.”
Just in time, he arrived dragging Gisella who was still trying to barricade the door they just came through. He was able to touch the frigid door with ease, unbothered by the cold, but his platinum pass was denied by the prismatic scanner. Whatever was beyond this door, they couldn’t access it now, which may be for the best.
“Can you melt through with the heat blade?” Augusta asked. “Or maybe Boris could cast a fire spell.”
Lorenz shook his head. “I’d rather not. This isn’t natural ice and I don’t want to fight what’s beyond this door. It’s locked for a reason, let’s leave it at that.”
As it always was, Lintelfaden pushed open the door to the next room… one that looked like a little garden. Seven Surks laid broken in the centre of the green room, four blue and three red. What seemed like a peaceful place was now littered with multiple robot pieces much to Lorenz’s delight; he could find anything in the scrap. Until the scrap started to move, then he pulled away and commanded Bustov to kill it.
One of the blue Surks, though broken and sparking, was picking itself up off the ground. It completely ignored the party and headed off in a random direction, falling face first as its leg broke and smoke rose from the short circuited joint. Lilie was the first to rush over and try to heal it, only able to mend the damage but it was enough to get the Surk standing again.
“Rorschach?” Gisella repeated after the Surk introduced itself.
“That is indeed my name,” it replied.
Bustov waved his hand, dismissing the name. “That’s too hard to remember. How about something simple like Peter?”
“No. Peter is not my name,” it stoically replied.
Colour coded and helpful, it explained what had happened in the small area. It called this place the ‘singing room’ where the blue and red Surk would gather together and sing. But the Blue Surk were attacked by the Red when they saw their singing grounds damaged, both blaming each other. Or something like that, the details weren’t the most important thing and they had the five heads they needed without having to lift a finger.
“These Blue Surk lost a 4v3,” Bustov whispered to Lorenz. “How do they even survive on this level?”
“It’s a nice change of pace,” Lorenz admitted. “At least they don’t have cannons, can teleport, and brain worms that want to eat us.”
Without really thinking about it, Lintelfaden and Lorenz went ahead and scrapped the destroyed Surks much to Rorschach’s horror. They didn’t think machines could faint but it looked like it was on the verge as the halfling tossed the cleric a head that was quickly stashed away into the bag of holding.
“W- Why are they tearing them apart…?” Rorschach stuttered.
“The Zhev’s hate you,” Gisella explained. “Because you can’t do your job as workers anymore they are trying to punish you. Moreover, they want your heads as proof.”
“They don’t understand. We do not have a master. The Alpha Enginseer is long lost and her voice is gone so we have no orders.” He dramatically looked off into the distance; a wall. “No one knows where she has gone…”
“Uh… we found her already.”
“You did? Is she alright?”
Lorenz shrugged, splitting his attention between salvaging and Rorschach. “She’s awake, that’s for sure. If gunning us down on sight is alright then yes, she’s doing great.”
The Surk shook its head. “That isn’t right, she must be damaged. She wouldn’t attack randomly without warning.”
“She’s a hologram, right?” Lintelfaden asked. “Is there a way to fix or reprogram her?”
“If you have found her, I could take you to the Angurdromo Sept.” Rosearc began to slowly turn and limp through the halls. “I can show you the way.”
“Anger-what?” Lilie repeated.
“Blue Surk place,” Gisella explained.
Following it through the hall had to be one of the more painful things they did on par with the reapers. Their normal pace was too fast for Rosearc, forced to take a few steps, look back and wait for it to catch up, then take a few more steps. The worst part was when they had to turn a corner and watch it stop, turn a little, then start walking again.
“Alright, let’s get moving,” Bustov sighed and picked up Rorschach on his shoulder. “Which way, Peter?”
To their relief, the Blue Sect wasn’t far ahead. The path was simple and their ‘guards’ let them through once Rorschach explained the situation. They were led straight to The Triumvirate, the current Surk leader while they had lost their Alpha Enginseer. Rorschach left them to their business, hoping that they could somehow help their Enginseer.
The Triumvirate was nothing like a regular Surk. With the body of a massive, mechanical spider, its head was replaced by three surks from the torso up. It fell from the roof and began to barrage them with questions about the Alpha Enginseer without relent. Surprisingly, for its size and intimidation, it was far from aggressive nor did it command as much respect as the Zhevs did.
“So you found the door!” he realised. He revealed a small key and quickly shoved it into Gisella’s palm. “Open it and free our Alpha Enginseer.”
“Um, yeah,” she hesitated. “We kind of broke the door to get through.”
“What? Is she in there and safe?”
Unfortunately, the situation with the Alpha Enginseer was impossible to remedy. He couldn’t repair her in her current state, meaning they would go on without a leader and orders. Perhaps there was some way to fix her but even The Triumvirate didn’t know how, it would be impossible for anyone in the party to do so. Another option they could consider was searching for a new Enginseer but they didn’t even know where to look.
On the bright side, the Zhev were punishing the Surk for orders they didn’t have. If anything, Gisella was willing to try and remedy their bond with each other, with or without an Enginseer to guide them. The trade was simply information, something that The Triumvirate could supply with ease. A map of the entire level that they had barely explored half of, unsurprisingly the Enginseer’s room was not on it. Communicating with the Knowledge Altars without alerting security, he labeled every room, showed them the location of the Android Creche, and assured them safe passage throughout the Blue Sect.
“Nice,” Augusta cheered as the team headed back to the Zhevs “That’s the entire level?”
“Pretty much,” Gisella confirmed. The new map was digital on a tablet. “Let’s explain the situation of the Surks to the Zhevs and, if we can stop the conflict, we might be able to make this entire level safe. That’s one they are supposed to be doing if they cooperated.”
“Aren’t there elementals or something on your earth?” Lorenz asked. “We’ve been in this space station for so long I can’t remember.”
Fensal scratched the back of his head. “Uh, I think so. Yes, definitely, that is what we’re supposed to be doing.”
Bustov slid his hand across the Lenz. “But come on; lasers. How could we not stay here until we find the Autoforge?”
And it was within their grasp. As promised, the golden Zhev took the Surk heads and honoured the deal, allowing them entrance into the Autoforge. But not before Gisella explained the Surk’s situation and the loss of the Alpha Enginseer. They didn’t expect much but the Zhev were suddenly sympathetic to the situation, feeling less hate towards their failures.
“It makes me sympathize with them a little more,” the Zhev said. “We also have lost our leader just as they have.”
“Aren’t you the leader?” Lorenz asked. “You’re decked out in gold so it would make sense.”
“No, our leader was taken over by the Telepath and trapped within the Autoforge. None of us have the will to stand up to him nor does anyone have the strength to destroy him.”
“Within the Autoforge?” Lintelfaden echoed. “Wait, your leader is in there? Why didn’t you tell us before?”
“You were not our allies,” he calmly replied. “Do not take Rethiarius the Sentinel lightly if you value your lives. He has long since lost his original purpose, any attempts to talk to him will be met with failure just as we have.”
No more waiting, access had been granted and the Autoforge was right here. Pushing open the great double doors, a faint heat wave like mist washed over them, alerting all of their senses. Orange light shone from beneath the ground, their only source of light, and a steel, ring pattern filled the entire cylindrical room. It was as wide as it was tall, unable to see the roof through the darkness. Massive machines that would be known as cranes came out from the walls, dormant and powerless. As they entered the room and the door shut behind them, a faint whirring sound slowly grew louder and louder like a machine revving up and they felt energy pulse from the centre of the room. Feeling light as a feather, they realised that there was zero gravity.
A once dormant cube, made up of 27 smaller cubes, began to glow. Its runes on every face flashed with firelight and it began to hover off the ground. Akin to a Rubik’s Cube, its segments began to spin around a single core, interconnected with trails of lightning. Without a single word, it pulsed and a ring of lightning burst from out of the ground behind the party, forcing them to approach it.
Gisella had no problem moving in zero gravity but the others did not have such luxury. They had to painfully figure out how to ground themselves while trying to fight and lightning crackling behind them. Rethiarius waited for their move, analysing its opponents from a distance while they fumbled around but those who could attack from range didn’t hesitate.
Lorenz muttered a chant and an electric gear flashed within Rethiarius’ core. It turned once and it immediately froze, releasing a powerful EMP burst out from inside. The segmented cubes began to rattle and shake, barely staying connected by the electricity but it would take much more than that to break the connection. Gradually, it was able to spin again and this time, rotating much faster, agitated by the EMP.
His entire body configured itself to form a cannon, sights set on the cleric, and the ‘barrel’ began to rotate. At blinding speeds, light was condensed within and the powerful laser fired, putting Lorenz’s rifle to shame. The blast chained from target to target, forming a perfect triangle before returning to Rethiarius and reconfiguring him back into a cube.
Gisella tried to take advantage of the opening and damage him, daggers honing in like missiles, but she was surprised as he constantly reconfigured himself to avoid the blades. They weaved inside of him but could never hit their mark as he analysed and guessed her next attack.
Even as Bustov fired a powerful arrow of frost, one side of the cubes flashed blue and positioned themselves to form a shield. As the icy mist cleared after the blast, all it did was give his armour a nice sheen.
“Something’s inside Rethiarius,” Lorenz realised. He could catch glimpses of a machine that it seemed was being protected. “It’s exposed when he changes his body…”
Lintelfaden began spinning around, trying to stabilize himself with the katana. “Anyone have an idea?!”
“Leave this to yours truly!” Bustov assured, resting on the wall and above the lightning.
As Rethiarius rebuilt himself to avoid Gisella, Lorenz released another discharge around the machine he was protecting, shutting down the power temporarily. But it was enough and, with a final pulse, gravity returned throughout the room and the floating party dropped to the floor, given a fighting chance.
“It’s not forever!” he warned. “So make use of it while you can!”
“You got it!” Augusta thanked, unsheathing the pinion blades and dashing for the enemy. “Let’s go, Elmo!”
“Right beside you,” Elmo assured.
In the massive room, they could clearly see how much faster Augusta was compared to the rest. Light on her feet, she was swiftly closing the distance, sliding beneath a stray cube shot out to strike her. Her wounds healed as Lilie siphoned her magic towards her and enhanced her with a burst of energy.
“Gravity is back, shouldn’t Rethiarius drop?” Fensal wondered, trying to find a weak point in the machine.
He did indeed drop after changing forms into a massive ball. He began to roll towards the party intending to crush them, easily changing directions as his segments pushed off the steel floor. Around the entire room, he knocked Elmo off his feet and missed Augusta by an inch, crashing straight into Lintelfaden. He instantly changed to form a shield and blocked a counter strike from the katana and an arrow.
“An unbreakable shield,” Boris muttered, creating missiles of force between his fingers. “But it’s only one side of him.”
The missiles sought out their target but weaved around the shield at Boris’ command, striking from behind. Rethiarius tried to segment and avoid it but they easily curved and jammed some of the cubes. He rapidly pulled away from Lintelfaden and back to the centre of the room, spinning around and reconfiguring to another cannon form. But this one was different and his runes pulsed a deep green.
In confusion, it fired random lasers and random targets, blasting Lilie, Augusta, and Fensal with radioactive energy. The smoke choked them like poison, the beam burned them like acid, bypassing any defense they thought they had; if this was one radiation laser of many, the battle could get ugly very quick.
It wasn’t just the beam, the lightning on the ground sparked and orbs formed within them, shocking anything that got too close. They coursed through the ground as if attracted by Rethiarius’ core and didn’t bother going around the party. Striking them in the back, the shock was over twice of what the initial electricity had outputted; it didn’t have to move out of the way, the party were forced to avoid it.
“Do what you do best, Bustov!” Fensal ordered and the crimson sightline manifested.
The ranger leapt out of the way of the electric orbs and charged another powerful shot. With the Lenz, he had become someone they funelled in most of their enhancements along with Augusta, relying on them to break the enemy. His aim was unerring and the icy arrow traveled through the sightline, pinpointing a specific cube. The shot froze it over and severed connection with the rest of the body, dropping it to the ground.
As Augusta and Elmo closed in, Rethiarius changed into a triangle, its cubes even splitting themselves in half and forming spikes. It expanded and its segments crashed into them, knocking them off their feet and back, constantly expanding until nothing could get near him.
Then he suddenly dropped to the ground just as they saw him when they first entered; a dormant cube unmoving and unchanging.
“What happened?” Lintelfaden wondered. He wasn’t going to be fooled and charged forwards. “I don’t like this, until he breaks don’t let up!”
The orbs of electricity trailing across the ground picked up their pace, slamming into those unlucky enough to still be in their way. One by one they reunited with Rethiarius, flowing throughout his entire system and coursing in between his segments. The runes flashed a bright orange again and he emitted the newfound energy like a wave, rotating faster and faster; his broken segments were fully restored and so was the connection.
“Get back!” Bustov ordered and the visor flashed over his eyes.
All safety protocols have been removed, the Lenz said. Light it up.
The power peaked and the string burned through his fingers and he lost his grip on the shot. It was more of a laser than an arrow, a pale blue light that crushed one of the cubic segments, but it embedded itself into it and emitted a field like a blizzard. As Rethiarius reconfigured himself, he trapped the arrow in the middle of his systems moments before its condensed energy imploded.
And the blast was destructive. The ice completely severed the electrical link between the segments and rocketed them across the Autoforge in all directions, breaking the formidable sentinel. Nothing was left in the centre of the room except a crystalline mark, shards of ice forming momentarily before melting in the heat of the forge.
Bustov flicked back his hair, the ice now climbing up to his forearm. “Powerful and flashy, just like me!”
“Good shot!” Lorenz cheered. “That’s what we like to see!”
Lilie ran over to heal Elmo but something tapped her foot. On the ground, a segment of Rethiarius rolled onto her foot and the runes were flashing. The echo of the rolling segments became deafening as all 27 began barreling towards the middle of the forge, slamming into the party to reunite with its other parts. One by one they jammed themselves into place, runes slowly turning from blue, to yellow, to orange, and finally a deep red.
Enraged, his segments were now orbiting a single point of pure electricity, bolstering its connection to prevent such a disaster again. He reconfigured into a cannon and radiation balled up inside. His aim was random and the shot was weakened after just reforming but it was not an attack to take lightly. Lilie’s briar shield created a barrier and blocked the hit, giving her enough time to leap out of the way before it melted through but Augusta wasn’t dodging. She was clutching her head after being blindsided by one of the cubes of Rethiarius when he reformed, dazing her.
Lintelfaden shoved her out of the way and took the full blast, protected by the space marine armour and quickly bolstered by Lorenz’s unnatural ability to heal machines. Without hesitation, Fensal created the crimson string and guided the strike to a weakened point; The Katana of the Lich Shogun’s Eternal Shogunate’s razor edge was not easily stopped by armour.
A weak hum of a machine starting up filled them with dread as the zero gravity threatened to return. Lorenz was of two minds to continue healing his team or to shut down the machine for a little longer. Their enemy was adapting but was reconfiguring erratically, changing to a gun which the cleric also had to react to and struggle to alter the direction of the light beam. If anyone got too close he changed to a triangle and expanded, crashing into them and even bringing a few into critical condition.
“Bustov!” Fensal called and created the sightline. If there was someone to rely on, it was him.
“Of course you lean on me!” Bustov laughed, charging another shot. “You’re all so heavy!”
Rethiarius sensed the chill, marking the ranger as his biggest threat, and reacted accordingly. He transformed to avoid the shot and it trailed straight through him, even missing his electric core as it was hidden within the segments. Gisella tried to strike in the opening but he purposely disconnecting, an entire half of the cube crumbling as the daggers missed by a hair, immediately restarting the link to shove back Lintelfaden.
“Bustov!” Lorenz snapped.
“H- Hey! He dodged it, alright?!” the ranger stuttered. “What am I supposed to do?!”
If there was one person who could consistently deal damage, it was Boris with an endless barrage of missiles, whirling with starlight. The force was not canceled out by the powerful electric current, eating through and damaging the runes. Flashing as they were hit, it provoked Rethiarius and he began to change into a cannon again. But it wasn’t random, this time aiming directly for Boris.
Lorenz’s eyes flashed gold as he prepared to divert the light ray but the energy turned from white to deep green. “Get out of the way, Boris!”
Too late. The roar of the beam tore through Boris and consumed him, the energy burning through any magical defense or buff he had, and melted a hole in the wall behind. Nothing but a trail of poisonous smoke was left in its wake and a shadow burned into the ground.
Lorenz brought out his holy symbol and an ethereal golden gear appeared behind him. “Bless us with your power, UNITY.”
The gear turned and began to absorb his strength. Crush him, his Goddess replied.
The room filled with golden light as hundreds of miniature machines were transmitted into the fight, shaped like triangles, glowing red eyes on all sides. They slammed into Rethiarius endlessly, more being teleported in until every single side of the Sentinel was crushed into a ball. If that wasn’t enough, the eyes of the machines heated and welded themselves together, forming a cage of steel that threatened to melt what was trapped inside.
Lorenz loaded a solid magic bullet and shot it at Bustov, healing his wounds but enhancing his power. “Go get him.”
Bustov held his fire, waiting for the cage to go down around the Sentinel. The time was given, a much needed breather that Lilie utilised to heal the party, but the constant echo of steel was distracting. Rhythmic banging as Rethiarius expanded until he broke out, damaging the welding, brute forcing his way out. With one final expansion, he blew apart the cage but his segments were bent and broken.
And as soon as the opening presented itself, Bustov let loose another destructive shot. It busted through the segments that tried to defend the electrical core, almost breaking full control over the segments and shutting down the Sentinel, almost ending the battle but quick adaptation saved him. Forcefully keeping his core stable, he encased it in his segments and continued to fight off the party closing in.
A pulse from the centre machine signaled the return of zero gravity and severely hindered those who could fight in melee. All except one comical individual or a bird for that matter.
Contrary to everyone else, the zero gravity was the only way Moi Moi bird could close the distance to Rethiarius floating in the air. Pulling back a small bandana, he leapt for the core, using the reconfiguring cubes to bound off of. From block to block, he avoided the sparks and stray bolts connecting the segments; could he just fly in? Probably; Was jumping from segment to segment cooler? Totally.
Copying Augusta’s movements, he leapt straight for the protected core and drop kicked it. It cracked beneath the ‘immense’ strength of Moi Moi bird and exploded, releasing the energy in all directions. The explosion created the background as the fearless bird landed lightly on the ground, wings spread out, singed just a little from the heat. Standing up straight and flicking back his feathers, he swiped the dust off the feathers and slipped off the bandana.
In a final burst, every one of Rethiarius’ segments were destroyed, overcharged by electricity and shattered into thousands of shards of rubicite. The shards twinkled in the orange light glowing from below, suspended without gravity, slowly drifting to the edges of the room. A distant crackling still echoed in the air but everything gradually quieted with the end of the battle.
“Moi Moi!” Bustov cheered. “This is easy for you, isn’t it?!”
With the destruction of the Sentinel, the Autoforge was finally free for them to use.
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