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 – “General Puggin’s Moribund of Mercenaries”*
- 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, retired from the game).
- The Cleric – Lorenz Brandt (character #2), the scribe.
*Due to transcription error by the Verbobonc mercenary company registrar, “Merry” become “Moribund”
Session 26 Recap
To no surprise, the party spent days in the Manufactorum, upgrading or creating new weapons for themselves. Changing the laser rifle a little, giving it a golden griffin design as Lorenz combined it with the Reaper’s rifle. Bustov cleaned up his Lenz and nagged the cleric to help him add more attachments to it all to increase its power. Gisella’s daggers now glowed softly with a red light, shining brighter as she whistled and controlled them through the air; now she just had to practice whistling. Finally Fensal was able to find a corrupted bow among the remains of the heroes Rethiarius had killed; akin to the mimics, black energy and tendrils consumed the limbs of the bow whenever he pulled back the string.
“It’s not just technological weapons,” he realised. “It can even make magic weapons, items, or armour as long as we have the materials.”
“Still not as good as mine, Pencil,” Bustov laughed as Lorenz did all the work. “Ice laser arrows that are so cold they burn… or black creepy, boring, not-as-good poison wood; is there even a choice?”
“Are you going to try and reforge your pinions?” Fensal asked Augusta, ignoring Bustov entirely.
“Hmm, I’m not sure…” she muttered. “I could but we don’t have that many resources and I might find something stronger.” She spun the crimson feather blades between her fingers. “Although, I really like these weapons.”
“Bustov!” Aki called, showing off her glowing hands. “See? Now I can heal properly and the berries taste good. Now I don’t have to go anywhere near the enemy and still be useful.”
“You’re always useful,” he corrected. “Much more useful than Elmo.”
Elmo, half-asleep leaning on the wall, instantly woke up. “Huh? I must’ve misheard you, what did you say?”
“It’s kind of like an in between. Less useful than Aki but more useful than Pencil.”
“How did I get pulled into this?” Fensal sighed, though not surprised.
Once the upgrades were finally complete, they decided it was time to leave the Autoforge, completing everyone’s wish list of weaponry. They knew they would return here anyway once they had more resources and to head deeper in towards level 10 and reach the gene-splicer. But for now the elementals were the biggest threat they might have forgotten about just a little bit. Before all that, they had to do a favour for Kwalish as well as doing something about their gnoll.
Gisella balanced on her knives in midair, going through the map The Triumvirate gave her. “Should be easy to get to the Android Creche from here, it’s mainly in Surk territory so no risk of running into anything dangerous.”
“We can handle it!” Augusta assured. “Even if Reapers attack we can… Actually, maybe not Reapers, but other enemies I’m confident against!”
Bustov nudged Lorenz. “Whatever you do, get Pencil, a short female body, preferably four-foot-six.”
Fensal knocked him on the head. “I can hear you.”
As expected, the path to the android creche was rather simple, now having a complete map of the large level. Once they entered Surk territory, paying a visit to Gisella’s precious oil ‘just in case’, they felt at ease, certain there wouldn’t be a threat anywhere near. The guards looked weak, no different to an average Surk, but were strapped entirely with grenades, all pins tied to a single point in their hand; no one in their right mind would attack it let alone dozens of them.
Passing The Triumvirate, the creche was just ahead, and through a door that was easily opened with Bustov’s platinum disc. The sight was strange, entering a large dome and seeing a massive machine humming in the centre, reaching the roof. Tubes connected themselves into the backs of six robots thought to be androids, completely dormant in their chairs. Their eyes were glowing faintly as if they were active but stared through the party, uncaring about anything around them. The massive room seemed to be split in half by a wall but windows allowed them to inspect the other side; at least a hundred coffin-like containers hanging off of hooks from the ceiling.
Lorenz investigated a control panel in front of them. “So… we can just use this and turn off the machine? Is it that easy?”
The sound of steam being released interrupted his thoughts as the tubes pulled away from the six androids in the chairs. Without noticing them they got up and started to leave through a door at the back, moving in single file and perfect unison.
“Hey!” Bustov called. “You know where we can get some androids?”
One of them turned around, breaking out of line. “Greetings. You are at the Android Creche.”
“You’re talking and all…” Lorenz muttered. “Uh, you know where to get some, empty, not working, brain swap dormant androids?”
“Do you mean android blanks?” it asked.
“Yes, exactly, pretty much what I said.”
It pointed at the room with the hanging coffins. “That is where many of the android blanks are, remaining dormant until brain taping. Now I must be on my way.” Without further adieu, he left and returned in line with the others.
Augusta rushed over to the door connecting the two room and opened it, no pass required. “Finally here, it takes so long to get from place to place on this level-”
A machine twice the size of Lintelfaden’s space marine suit stared at her. Silver plating and a core blazing gold akin to lava, he loaded a cannon which was nothing more than a rifle to it, marching towards the door.
“You are breaching security,” it informed. “State your purpose or leave immediately.”
“Huh? Wait, another robot-”
“You have ten seconds to comply. Ten. Nine. Eight-”
Lilie bolted out of there and ran around the corner, one foot out the door towards The Triumvirate. Fortunately, Bustov was quick to come up with a plan that wasn’t ‘run’ and showed the Mk II the platinum palm disc.
“As you can see, I am Temegen Fenans here on official business,” he lied.
The Mk II scanned the disc and lowered its weapon. “Do what you need to do but follow protocol.” And it returned to its post, eyeing him carefully.
From what Bustov could tell, there was no way to drop the coffins from the roof within the room. With the Mk II watching his every move, he was hesitant to start climbing the walls or breaking the hooks to get the android blanks.
Lorenz investigated the control panel in the other room, assuming it was connected to the android blanks. Careful to avoid the Mk II’s attention, Bustov made an excellent distraction while he tried to figure out what the commands were. He eventually found a grid which roughly correlated to the positions of the coffins, each numbered and listed down.
“So if I just pick, 3, 36, and 22 they should drop in the other room…?” he wondered.
Sure enough, Bustov barely avoided being crushed as three coffins dropped down and opened, a cold mist seeping out from inside. Three androids blindly walked out and towards the control panel, waiting for orders. Unlike the others, their eyes were empty, staring through things not at them, and expressionless. But they were able to listen to orders perfectly, following the party up level by level, protected from sudden encounters or wildlife. Two male and one female body, Lorenz and Bustov were doing everything they could to mess with Fensal.
“Kwalish!” Bustov called. “We’ve got the android bodies.”
“That’s wonderful…” he replied, uncaring. He was surprised to actually see the party return with the bodies. “Oh. How are you not dead?” Shrugging, picked up the two brains-in-a-jar and beckoned Fensal over. “I’m a very busy gnome; let’s get this done nice and quick.”
“So how exactly does the process work?” Fensal asked, a little worried.
To this, Kwalish brightened and began to rant endlessly, always glad to talk about his geniusness. The information flew way over their heads and he threw Fensal into a vat, wrapping something around his temple. He told them not to worry but it didn’t seem like a very safe or reliable process.
“Are you sure about this?” Lilie muttered.
“Hahaha, surely you jest!” Kwalish flipped through a book, shook his head, and threw it across the room. “Of course I’m not, but that’s the best part!”
“Y- You’re not?!” Fensal stuttered.
“Uh, you’ll definitely, most likely, probably, be fine… I dunno, but here we go!”
He kicked everyone out of the lab and slammed the door shut as he worked his magic. They could hear sparks flying, a flash of light, and the scientist muttering under his breath ‘Oh, that’s unfortunate, but it’s not my problem anymore.’ He finally let the party in and they charged past him, afraid of what was happening to Fensal. Most were at least.
“Surely he got the female body,” Lorenz laughed.
To their surprise, once the brain taping was complete, the android bodies looked identical to human ones save the faint lines of circuitry running up their arms and neck. As good as new, Fensal flexed his palm and grew accustomed to his new form, now taller than almost the entire party. His ‘skin’ was a shade paler than a basic skin tone but it wouldn’t stand out if he was to go out through towns alone.
The other two androids thanked the party profusely for their new bodies after being threatened by Kwalish to be ejected into space over a dozen times (a process Kwalish called ”getting spaced”). He did unfortunately get the two genders swapped with the bodies but that was an afterthought after being in a jar for years; they wanted a body and got one, they weren’t about to complain it wasn’t perfect.
“By the way, androids turn into blanks again after 25 years,” Kwalish informed. “So either get a new body or figure something out.”
Augusta knocked on Fensal’s head and he didn’t even flinch. “Wow, you’re made of metal yet you look so human.”
“Except the hair…” he chuckled, flicking his now bright red hair. “Heh, that went a little wrong.”
Lorenz was just following the party at this point. They mentioned so many different names for cities like Hommlet, Nulb, the strangest one being Verbabonc, it seemed that they liked to give meaning to the sectors that they lived in instead of simply giving them a number. Then there was the wind cult commonly known as the Howling Hatred, a lady named Aerisi who was fighting an unbelievably handsome man they constantly referred to as Lareth the Beautiful and his bodyguard, Karl the Unattractive. And spiders, a lot of spiders that hated… wind.
“So why exactly are the spiders attacking air?” Lorenz asked.
“No, the spyders are Lareth’s spies,” Augusta explained, butchering the pronuncisation of ‘spider’. “They spy and gather information to fight the wind cults.”
“And there are four cults? I don’t remember spiders hating elements this much.”
“He serves the Spyder Queen, Lolth. He’s one of her clerics and, although he isn’t ‘good’ in that sense, we have to help him because the elementals blowing up the world aren’t much better.”
“This would be so much easier if everyone just listened to UNITY and obeyed her commands.”
They regrouped with Lareth the Beautiful who definitely lived up to his name. He did not have the immaculate chin of Chad the Veggie Pygmy but he was chiseled nonetheless, the top buttons of the shirt purposefully left open. Somehow, the wind was always following him, flowing through his luscious, blonde hair. Women chased after him and men aspired to reach his stunning fabulousness; a single wink could make both fall to there knees.
“This is disastrous!” they heard someone cry within the hideout.
Readying their weapons, they rushed towards the danger, ready and confident about their skills and power. Floating blades, laser rifles, and corrupted magic all enhanced by the Autoforge, if the cultists had found this place then they would drive them out. Augusta, faster than everyone else, overtook them and slid around the corner, jaw dropping as she saw the sight.
Lareth was fixing his hair, holding a hand mirror. “Aaaand, there! Damn, that was close! My hair almost got messed up.”
“Hello,” Augusta sighed. “Why did I even bother thinking you were in trouble.”
“Oh, you’re back! Long time no see!” He put the hand mirror aside and combed his hair, still flowing. “I need to refresh my memory; are you Mickey?”
“Because you are so fine.” He winked and did finger guns.
Augusta had to be held back from killing him.
The entire time he explained the situation, he was either fixing his hair, flicking the dust off his jacket which he wore only on his shoulder, or looking in a mirror. The information he held was invaluable, a full rundown on the current situation of most of the elemental cults and what was going on. The main point was that they had begun to mingle with the towns with ease, gaining more and more political power as the days went by, unable to be stopped by the police as long as they didn’t commit any real crimes.
“As long as there is infighting, it will slow them down,” Lareth explained. “But not forever, one of them is going to get close to the ritual and summon an elemental prince, and the more control they have over the people the harder it will be to stop them.”
“Do you have any information about the wind cult?”
“They took back their tower. Multiple cultists, properly reinforced if you’re thinking about taking it.”
“Uh, do you know how many people have come in and out?” Augusta asked.
Lareth’s hair stopped flowing and he simply stared at her. “Do I look like I sit in front of their base with a telescope 24/7 counting how many people come in and out?”
“No, I meant reinforcements! You have the spiders to spy for you anyway!”
His hair started flowing again. “Ah, right, they’ve definitely grown bigger. It might be tougher to take them out this time around.”
The Howling Hatred’s main temple, explained to Lorenz who was extremely confused about the situation, was hidden within the Sighing Canyon while the guard tower known as Feathergale Spire watched the entrance from a distance. Thanks to Bustov’s incredible illustration, he explained how they first tried to attack it but were caught by Aerisi. They managed to form an alliance instead of battling her, the safer bet considering her strength. At that moment it was a terrible situation; they barely escaped but now they were going to use the alliance to get safely through the temple and surprise her.
The plan didn’t sit right with Lorenz. “Wait, so you’re meant to be working together? Then why attack them?”
“They’re the weakest, that’s why,” Lilie explained, much more confident than the first time they tried. “We can easily beat them and, if not, I can run while they’re focused on you.”
“But if you make a treaty you should honour it… right?” He shrugged, realising his voice wasn’t being heard. “I guess that’s the plan then, might as well go with it.”
On the bright side, there was no need to take back Feathergale Spire – now held by the Fire Cult, allies of the Air Cult, easily avoiding it and sneaking past. Whether it was camouflage or invisibility they had no problem or shortage of spells in their arsenal. The plan was simple, in and out, flawless, nothing could possibly go wrong.
“Good plan, great plan,” Bustov assured. “We aren’t going in guns blazing, we’re doing this all sneaky-”
At the entrance, they hadn’t even entered the temple built into the canyon walls before they were spotted. A troll stomped towards them, glaring and resting a massive club over his shoulder.
“Who you?!” he snapped.
“Who are we?” Fensal replied. “You know, we’re allied with you and your leader, Aerisi.”
“No, you intruder!”
Gisella scratched the back of her head. “Oh… didn’t we sneak in last time wearing Howling Hatred robes from the cultists in the spire? Yeah… we snuck past this guy, didn’t we?”
The troll began to bang a massive bell. “Sneak past?! You no sneak past, intruders! We crush you!”
Behind, an owl bear tried to rush them but the chain around its neck was attached to the wall, keeping it at bay. But it was banging the walls and screeching wildly along with the constant painful ring of the bell. Without delay, they could hear armoured warriors rushing down the hall.
“Reinforcements…” Bustov realised. He charged an arrow within the Lenz. “It was a good try but this will be a cinch.”
It was hardly a fight. The knights that they feared were defeated with ease by a single shot as they entered the room. Another leapt into the air, trying to target the weaker casters in the backline only to be struck down by Gisella without a second glance. Panicking, the troll smashed the chain of the owlbear, charged them, and took the full force of Lilie’s favourite lightning bolt as it streaked down the tunnel.
“I crush you now!” the troll roared and his club shattered the earth with a single swing. Luckily, his slow attacks were easily avoidable and Augusta swiftly countered during the opening.
His regeneration was soon shut down by either flame or the heat from a laser burning a hole through his shoulder with ease. The owlbear didn’t even try to fight, spinning comically on a dime and fleeing in terror from just a glance.
Lorenz shivered and shook his head. “I am not going to get used to killing… living things like that.”
Aki and Lilie did any little healing they needed before heading on, the stealth plan being scrapped completely. Considering there were eleven of them, they made up a small battalion, and their confidence was boosted as they took out the front guards with minimal effort.
“There is this one guy called Birdfood that is sort of dangerous,” Gisella explained. “He’s one of Aerisi’s main fighters-”
“Birdfood?” Lorenz repeated. “Like… seeds? On his birth certificate it says ‘Birdfood’?”
“Maybe? It’s probably an alias.”
Bustov laughed and waved his hand. “Nah, his parents would call him Birdfood.”
Augusta stopped them as they entered the first hallway, remembering the murder holes along the side of the hallway. She carefully approached them and, to her surprise, they were vacated, no one hiding behind the walls. Either the guards haven’t replaced each other or they got lucky with the timing of their attack.These things don’t happen randomly and they would take advantage of it.
Aki cocked her head and pointed towards the door at the far end, backing off behind Bustov. “I can hear guards coming. A lot of them wearing in armour.”
The visor appeared over one of his eyes. “I can release a full blast when we need to. Get ready to snipe one, Lorenz.”
As they pushed open the door, four knights protected a single monk, reinforcements to help those at the main entrance. Seeing the intruders, one blew a horn and alerted the entire temple while the others charged forth, wind whipping around them. The knights glided across the ground just shy of touching and the frigid air allowed them to perform great leaps and dangerous blasts with a single strike.
As the monk charged forth, he was killed instantly by a shot from Lorenz; what was cloth to a laser beam? Even if he did have magical protection it was easily pierced through and no magic could heal a hole through the head. The cleric shivered as he killed another human, shaking his head and trying to move past it.
No one else seemed to have an issue with killing. Gisella caught one of the knights mid-jump and slammed him into another, throwing them both across the hall. She didn’t even flinch as another closed in, knowing full well that Elmo was there to block the halberd. Augusta flipped over her bodyguard and the pinion blades cut through steel with ease, ending the knight’s life. As she landed, another tried to take advantage but she dexterously twisted barely out of harm’s way and opened a shot up for Fensal, aiming true and hitting his mark. Black tendrils burst from his mimic bow and wrapped around his arm as he shot, corrupting any arrow with toxic poisons.
It wasn’t a surprise when the remaining two knights froze, turned around, and used their speed to bolt out of there. Slamming open the door, they called for backup, alerting the entire temple of the party’s presence.
“This is the worst stealth mission to date,” Gisella sighed, her rogue pride slightly hurt. “If they’re coming to us we can wait here and get ready.”
The party had no trouble fighting back the waves of cultists through the choke point, well protected from their spells and fully supported by the healers. Toxic arrows, icy beams, or flying daggers, they were breaking the confidence of the enemy with ease and shattering morale. But they quickly rallied together as a roar of a wyvern filled the temple.
The one they called Birdfood, clad in crude, bronze armour, rode atop the wyvern through the massive halls. His black iron greatbow, adorned with a lion mane motif and claws, was anchored on the saddle specifically made for his style. Nocking a large arrow, purple magic began to condense around the head, suddenly weighing down the wyvern, crackling violently and uncontrolled. Cackling, his single shot was heavy and Lintelfaden felt the weight, knocked to his feet and forced out of the choke point despite his space marine suit.
“Go get them, Birdfood!” one of the cultists cheered. “Let them feel the power of your gravity arrows!”
“Stop yapping and blow the horn!” he snapped, readying the bow for another shot.
Gisella shivered as she heard the horn being blown, knowing exactly what was to come. “They control a genie with that horn… He’s going to join the fight as well?”
“A genie?” Lorenz exclaimed. “Oh! The wish granters! I read about them in the space station, some are blue or red or even look like a fish!”
Ahtayir, the genie suddenly appeared right before Bustov, chanting words of power and trapping him within a whirlwind. Restricting his movement, preventing a proper shot, he quickly flowed towards his next target, passing by like a gentle breeze before striking with the fury of the storm. Almost illusive, it was difficult to tell what he was going to do next, fists crackling with electricity only moments before he attacked.
“I apologise,” he said. “I must fight to the sound of the horn.”
“We promised to set you free from these wind cultists,” Augusta reminded. “If you die here, you will return to your plane, right? Then we’ve got to beat you up!”
He chuckled slightly as he dashed past her. “It could be said with a little more class but yes, defeating me here would free me in a way.”
Lorenz was sure there was some tragic story between the party and Atayir but he couldn’t care less as he was suddenly blasted off his feet and into the wall within seconds. What seemed like a single blow were rather multiple simultaneous strikes, peals of thunder echoing from the blows. Mind rattled, Lorenz struggled to pick himself up before his legs gave out from under him and he crashed to the floor.
“Oh my goodness, Lorenz is dead!” Lilie panicked, running across the halls, heading for the exit. “Someone call a medic!”
“You are the medic!” Augusta snapped.
“Oh! Good point!”
She ran back towards Lorenz, healed his wounds and cleared his mind. She helped him back on his feet, assured him that he was healed, and then continued running towards the exit.
The cleric had no such qualms about killing a genie, realising they were nothing like what he had read, and they didn’t have blood either. While Ahtayir pulled Bustov over within the whirlwind and released another flurry of blows, he was open to a shot from behind.
Without hesitation, the entire party focused on Ahtayir, the clear threat dancing in their backlines, and quickly surrounded him and let him have it with everything they had while Lintelfaden and Fensal held the other cultists off. Yes, he was powerful, but there was strength in number; even a genie would be pressed to fight off eight trained adventurers with laser beams, lightning, fire, and who knows what else. With a final blow, he discorporated into a faint mist, thanking them as he returned to his elemental plane.
“Lions!” Lilie giggled. “No, no, tigers! Which one is better, Augusta?!”
“Uh… both?” she replied, no idea what the druid was thinking.
Vines and wildlife began to sprout around her and formed orbs filled with magic as she summoned the two great beasts to aid her. Bursting out from the orbs, they charged towards the cultists without fear, fighting for her while she cheered from the backline. Once totally against fighting the cultists head-to-head, she was totally onboard while protected and on the winning side. They tore through the ranks, fearless and bolstered by magic, and pushed past Lintelfaden.
“There she is!” the cultists cheered. “Aerisi herself is here!”
Flying on eagle wings, the pale skinned elf spun Windvane with one hand and with the other, lightning sparked between her fingertips. Disgusted by the party’s actions, she flicked back her hair and ordered the cultists to fight for her, completely manipulating them to charge into certain doom while she fought safely from the backline.
“How dare you betray me?!” she snapped. “I should’ve known not to trust you impudent fools!”
“Light them up?” Bustov asked, completely ignoring Aerisi. He pulled back the string and the party knew to get out of his way.
You already know…
Aerisi pointed at Lintelfaden. “What is that unsightly armour?! I will not suffer your presence any longer! If you think you can come to the Howling Hatred so brazenly with your fancy toys then you have-”
She didn’t even finish her sentence before she was struck directly in the chest by Bustov’s shot, an aura of frost pulsing from the arrow.
3… 2… 1… Bang…!
The energy imploded, catching any cultists unlucky enough to get caught in the aura, turning them into icy statues instantly before shattering them from the blast. Birdfood was nearly knocked off his wyvern, the mount’s wing being severely damaged and crashed to the ground, roaring in pain; the knights stared in horror as Windvane fell from the sky, a sheet of ice coating the weapon. And their arrogant leader was reduced to nothing more than a faint mist…
“Uh… Aerisi?” Birdfood muttered. “I see… That is an interesting turn of events…”
The cultists and knights wasted no time bolting out of there, being chased by a lion and tiger. Birdfood, though fighting, was terrified of the party and soon gave up as well once his wyvern was grounded, leaving everything behind; the lion greatbow was not worth his life.
“That’s it…?” Bustov muttered, shaking his frosted hand a little from the powerful shot. “Huh, I thought that was a good opener to the fight but it kinda just ended it.”
To no one’s surprise, Lilie was the first to be brave and chase after her cats. “How do you like that, wind elf?! What can you do against Lilie and friends when they come back this strong?!”
“Didn’t you guys lose to them before?” Lorenz asked. “Isn’t that why you came to the space station.”
“Correction, we didn’t lose, we surrendered before we even fought. Big difference.”
With their leader gone and Windvane out of their hands, the Howling Hatred fell in a single hour, the cultists scattered in the wind; One down, three to go.
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