From the Diary of the Cleric: The Sky Fortress (Silver Mount) Session 34

Game log of a ToEE adventure that somehow turned into an Expedition to the Barrier Peaks.  You can find the original google doc here. Silver Mount didn’t really work for a space station, so the PCs started calling it The Sky Fortress.


Rogues Gallery – “General Puggin’s Moribund of Mercenaries”*

The Hommlet Raiders
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 Android (brain tape swap) (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 Cleric – Lorenz Brandt (character #2), the scribe.
  • The Wizard – Boris the Jaws-Dodger (Deceased Session 25, retired from the game).

*Due to a transcription error by the Verbobonc mercenary company registrar, “Merry” become “Moribund.”

Session 34 Recap

They were going to chase the snail, but a bunny stared at them when they left the stasis room, sitting proudly on a stump. Stopping in their tracks, once they noticed the bunny turned away as if interested in something else. As soon as they pretended to look at the snail it stared at them intently, obviously studying their movements.

“There is something very wrong with that rabbit,” Lilie said. “It’s creepy.”

“It’s an evil spirit!” Aki deduced. “Because of the bunny testing at the gene-splicer!”

“You haven’t gotten over that, have you?” Bustov sighed.

“It was so mean to do that to the adorable creatures!”

Lintelfaden approached the bunny and, though it didn’t move, turned around as if it didn’t notice him. Eating some leaves on the stump, it glanced over its shoulder at times, realised he was being watched, and quickly turned back to eating as if it was still inconspicuous..

“Very suspicious.” Bustov tapped Lorenz’s shoulder. “Go pet it.”

“No way, that’s clearly not a normal bunny.”

“Rock-paper-scissors?”

“Hmm…” Lorenz watched as everyone was overthinking what the bunny could really be. Sighing, he took on the challenge. “Bet.”

And within moments, he pushed Lintelfaden out of the way and started petting it.

Without warning, the stump opened, revealing rows of teeth soaked in blood and ate Lorenz, trying to digest him in the trap. The bunny cackled hysterically inside, satisfied that its plan worked like a charm, having the stupid adventurers fooled, and ran away with its meal. Extremely slowly. It was probably moving slower than the snail.

“Why do I always lose bets?” Lorenz muttered, unbothered that he was getting eaten alive.

Bustov laughed and charged an arrow. “Hahaha, you don’t win them all!”

“I never win any!”

Gisella stopped Bustov from attacking the enemy, risking damage to the cleric inside, and instead forced the mouth open. She pulled him out of the trap much to the bunny’s rage and to the backline where Aki was able to heal the acidic burns.

With its impeccable disguise gone, the monster was open to attacks as the fighters charged it down; Wolfram was finally among the three of them. Its roots lashed out, trying to force them back but it couldn’t harm them through their armour, bouncing off harmlessly. Desperately, it dug into the ground to escape, barely avoiding the deadly blows of the three that would have surely crushed it.

“What was that?” Lintelfaden wondered, sheathing his blade.

“Venus-flytrap-bunny-stump-faker!” Aki decided and nothing could change her mind.

Before they could explain that the name was horrible, the ground beneath Gisella burst open and she was eaten by the Venus-flytrap-bunny-stump-faker. Laughing at its ingenious plan, it tried heading back underground with its new meal.

“Not to worry!” Paladin Mike assured. “For I am here to protect my-!”

He was lifted off his feet by the roots and slammed into the ground repeatedly like a ragdoll. Augusta severed the outstretched limb to help Mike but another caught him before he fell and slammed him again.

“I’ve got this!” he assured. “I’m wearing him down, playing the long game!”

Fensal shot a black arrow at the Mantrap and it burst into poison, spreading from the wound and throughout the stump. Screaming in rage, it spat out Gisella and dug underground again, bursting up underneath the android, just barely missing him. Lilie could, at any time, summon her Jeffery and Co. but she preferred a more background role, cheering for Wolfram as his single blow knocked the entire creature out of the ground.

“Woo! You go get ‘em!” she laughed. “Who would’ve guessed he’d be so effective up close?”

The monster furiously pulled itself back onto its slithery roots but it never aggressed, freezing in place as a howl in the distance was answered by another beast. Night fell and the Trap dug underground, running from the party as fast as it could. From the forest massive dogs sprinted out, drooling and barking as it charged its prey. Bodies like a tyrannosaurus, tiny front claws yet massive backlegs, it dragged its jaw against the ground and rammed through the party, catching Lintelfaden suit and all.

Bustov fired an arrow but it shrugged it off. “That looks messed up, what is it?”

“I don’t know but it’s almost as ugly as the pug,” Lorenz admitted. “Almost.”

Fensal loosed an arrow and it burst into a venomous cloud, choking the dog as it coughed up the fighter. Confused and hungry, it wildly snapped at anyone near it, barking and calling for the other beast hidden in the dark. Answered by a howl, its ears perked up and it doubled its efforts, trying to crush Lintelfaden’s armour.

Daggers flew in and pierced from all angles, sending a psychic shock to the beast’s mind. Even if they could barely penetrate the thick hide, Gisella’s attacks to the mind were unblockable and dangerous. Augusta was always quick to strike next, punching the monstrous dog and charging a blast of wind, slamming it into the ground in a single blow.

Before anyone else could catch up to it, the dog scrambled to its feet and ran for its life, knocking anyone out of the way to escape. Another of the pack arrived on the battlefield but, watching another of its kind sprint away covered in blood, it glared at them from a distance, barking and stomping its feet. But when Bustov turned around and approached it, it ran with its pack.

“Huh, that wasn’t too bad,” Augusta sighed, relieved it wasn’t another tough fight. “I guess it’s just a big dog. Feels great to have these easy fights.”

Aki cocked her head and pointed at the snail. “Oh, it’s so pretty when it’s glowing.”

The Mantrap Bunny ‘hopped’ next to the snail, pretending to be innocent. Looking to make the snail its meal, it seemed to be looking for an opening to strike but the prismatic shell pulsed and stunned the monster. Ever so slowly, the snail turned to the bunny, and six more stalks protruded from its body, though these had massive spiked orbs instead of eyes. In a sudden burst of speed, it pulverised the Mantrap and the earth below, destroying the stump itself and creating a small crater. Pulling the flails back into its body, it calmly continued on its way as if nothing ever happened.

“Let’s just leave the snail alone,” Gisella suggested. “It’s night, we’re tired, and I don’t want to fight that snail.”

Taking refuge in the stasis hut, the old and abandoned place made the perfect place to rest undisturbed on the dangerous level.

◽️◽️◽️◽️◽️◽️◽️◽️◽️◽️◽️

Getting from one place to another took hours and they would find nothing in all that time. From hills to forests, crossing over wide grasslands, their only encounter was with a few beasts that they would usually call ‘deer’ but were strangely mutated in various ways. Nothing here was normal yet it functioned like a proper ecosystem and could fully sustain itself. A few of the dogs were chasing after some wildlife or snapping at bugs, passive and calm as long as the party didn’t cross over to their territory; their vantage point on the hill let them survey the unnatural beauty of the gardens.

“It’s a cool place,” Lorenz admitted. “You’ve got weird fruit growing from trees, polka-dot berries, crazy mutated beasts; I wouldn’t be surprised if we found someone living in these conditions. Though they could be just as unnatural as everything else.”

“Not a bad place,” Bustov agreed. “It’s relaxing when there isn’t anything attacking us.”

And he fell into the hill they were climbing on.

The ground warped and bulged as a massive pseudopod formed, trying to crush and eat the party. Another one held Bustov, slowly dissolving his armour and getting through to his flesh. The ooze threw them off and rose above the ground, taking the hill with it, swinging wildly at anyone unfortunate to be caught by its heavy attacks.

Augusta had the marvelous idea of punching the ooze, immediately regretting her choice and backing away, trying to flick the ooze off her fists. “Ow, ow, ow! I should’ve use the pinion blades!”

“Don’t worry, I’ve got this all under control!” Lilie assured, releasing a bolt of lightning straight through the ooze, splitting it in half. Other than stunning it for a second, the two blobs continued their attack as if nothing happened. “Hmm, they’re immune to lightning, Jeffery and Co. can’t bite them, and probably fire too. Right, I’m leaving.”

In a blink she was far out of pseudopod reach, much farther than she had too while cheering on Wolfram.

Calling out to Bustov, Fensal created a crimson sightline for the ranger, aiding in the attack even at point-blank range. The Lenz transformed into a shortbow, much more suited to the restricted space, but its energy wasn’t gathering correctly. Despite this, Bustov still pulled back the string and the frost arrow discharged, shutting down the Lenz for a second time as the sightline shattered.

“You’ve got to be kidding me,” he cursed. “Why now of all times?!”

“Less talking, more stabbing!” Lintelfaden ordered, either stabbing the ooze or her allies with needles.

While some of the party dealt with one of the oozes, Gisella lifted the other off the ground and wrung it out like a rag, twisting and crushing it until it rained black acid. Dropping the blob less than half the size of what it was before, its movements were sluggish and it barely held together when it attacked. Lorenz shot a laser through it and the compound dissolved, tainting the earth with disgusting but otherwise harmless gunk.

One down, one to go. Then two to go as Wolfram split it in half again.

As dangerous as the situation could be, they were weaker than if they were whole and the frontline kept them in check. Pulling Bustov out, Elmo, Wolfram, and Lintelfaden took the lead, allowing the others to fight freely and uncontested. Augusta used her elemental attacks rather than punching the hill ooze and they were promptly dealt with. Though they didn’t hurt anyone directly, the damage they did to weapons and armour was a different situation.

“It was eating through my blade,” Lintelfaden cursed, trying to wipe the ooze off. “Even though it is magical.”

Augusta flicked the slime off the pinions. “Yeah, same here. And Elmo’s armour was getting corroded as well.”

Lorenz touched the armour and his magic flowed through it, cleansing the corrosion and mending the damage. A lot of their gear had been hit by the ooze but a quick fix was all that was needed, even for the important magic items. Lilie and Aki could heal any burns together and Lintelfaden… stabbed people whether they needed healing or not.

“I have a medical degree!,” he said. “All signed and official, now who wants some healing?”

“I don’t really-” Lilie began and was instantly attacked by a gnome with a needle.

“Bam! All healed up!”

“Ouch! I don’t need it! Wolfram, sick him!”

Wolfram picked the halfling off his feet and threw him aside despite the orders to eat his soul with the sword.

By far not the happiest family of mercenaries, they did rejoice at their new strength; a fight that looked worrisome was handled with ease even without proper coordination. When not in combat, they tended to use their ‘strength’ on their own team, particularly Lilie who threatened everyone with flying snakes and lightning bolts. Though not without a good reason, she chased Lintelfaden for stabbing her again without consent, firing magic that went wide from their target in the sky.

“Oh, I know this place,” Bustov realised, tossing Lorenz the Lenz. “Hey, fix that, I want to check something.”

“Check what?” the cleric stuttered. “And what do you want me to do with this?! We need the recharge station on level 6!”

The area was extremely familiar and his keen ranger abilities led him down the exact path they had come when they first arrived. Retracing the steps, he could see the destroyed KIT MK II in the distance, untouched by the salvaging drones which was a relief. But they did try, multiple lay destroyed, shards of metal or broken cords strewn around the wreckage.

Calling over the party, he pointed at a massive ape sitting on KIT MK II, eating a large pink fruit while about a dozen of smaller monkeys played at its feet. Over twice the size of the tank, it picked up some of the other apes with its four arms and tossed them around for fun, bullying them and ignoring their enraged screeches. Their eyes were like spiders, and, as it yawned, its mouth opened outwards like a trap, revealing rows upon rows of teeth.

“It’s kind of like the white ones we found on level 1,” Lilie pointed out. “Only huge and mutated.”

“There’s ten of them including the alpha,” Elmo observed. “Six small ones like chimpanzees and three gorillas.”

“Oh, that is the dreaded King Mong,” Paladin Mike said and for once he wasn’t screaming. “It seems he has made that tank his territory. We should just move on and not anger his pack.”

“Or we could just attack him,” Lintelfaden fearlessly suggested, approaching the king.

As soon as they spotted him, the Monglings got to their feet and started screeching wildly, banging the floor like a drum or beating their chest. When he got even closer, King Mong himself pulled himself up and roared. The powerful wave shook their bodies, the ground trembled as he slammed it, and he beat his chest furiously. Flexing whenever he could, Lintelfaden turned around and regrouped, letting the beasts slowly calm themselves and their crazy dance.

“Anyone have a plan?” Lorenz asked. “I want to salvage that tank so bad but of course there’s a dumb monkey on it.”

Augusta scratched the back of her head. “We can usually handle one big powerhouse, there’s enough of us here for that, but the little guys could be a problem if they swarm us. We’re pretty weak when it comes to healing multiple people.”

Lintelfaden opened his suit and tossed Fensal a golden apple. “Take this and throw it at them, it should pull most of the monkeys to chase after it. Even if it doesn’t attract King Mong, it will group the little ones up for an AOE.”

Piercing the golden apple with a black arrow, it was surrounded in a small smoke, as if waiting to be released. “The arrow will burst into poison once you throw it,” Fensal explained. “They’ll be drawn to it and inhale the gas.”

Augusta snatched the apple and ran towards King Mong. “Then what are we waiting for, let’s get on with it!”

She hurled the apple as far as she could at the monkeys and it flashed with light, luring others to come and grab it, giving in to their greed. She glanced back at the party, at the monkeys, then to the apple, rushing to steal back the apple she just threw.

“The magic affects the thrower too,” Lintelfaden added, a little late for the important information.

“And why didn’t we just get Gisella to drop it with telekinesis?” Lilie asked.

They shrugged and joined the battle, they couldn’t help it now. The first half of the plan worked like a charm though, every ape rushed for the apple except King Mong, who roared and beat the ground in a desperate effort to command the monglings. Tearing up the earth, he heaved a boulder over his shoulders and hurled it at the oncoming monk. She channeled the wind into her hands and palmed the boulder, deflecting it to the side as much as she could just so she could reach the apple.

“Well, might as well go all in,” Lorenz shrugged and he muttered a prayer to UNITY. Pieces of the destroyed tank segmented into drones, homing in on the golden apple and trapping every mongling attracted by its magic. Crushing them within an orb of steel, nothing was left of them or the apple as the droids fused themselves together.

And King Mong couldn’t care less. He picked up the steel ball and hurled it at the party.

Thanks to their plan, the minions had been cleared, but Lorenz wished he had waited just a little longer as six more apes climbed out of the tank, heeding their king’s roar. Flinging anything they could get their hands on at the party, it was like they were asking for an attack, ready to crush the opposition with their strength.

“You know what would be really good right now?” Gisella asked. “Another explosion.”

“Look, the Lenz shut down when we fought the hill ooze!” Bustov snapped, firing an arrow at one of the monglings.

First and at the forefront, Elmo and Wolfram charged forward, striking down the monglings that opposed them. Lilie’s knight didn’t even swing at times, shoving aside the lesser beasts and going straight for the king. Anything he didn’t fight, Augusta was there to finish the job, striking swiftly with the pinion blades.

Her jaw dropped as Elmo went flying from a single punch from King Mong. Beating his chest, he flexed before every blow, forcing Wolfram back and creating craters against the earth with every stray punch. His aim wasn’t all there but his attacks were relentless and savage, denting even the skymetal hull of KIT MK II.

Fensal’s poison did nothing to the king, ignoring its effects as he threw another boulder at the ranged attackers. In stark contrast in his fight with Wolfram, his aim was unerring when hurling things at distant targets, catching both Bustov and Fensal with one stone. Barely able to get out of the way, jagged edges and stray shards of rock cut deep wounds in the ranger’s flesh; sparks flew from the androids ‘skin’ and blue blood leaked from his damaged arm.

“I could use some healing,” Bustov coughed, even pulling back the string hurt him.

“Hmm… Nah, you’ll be fine.”

“What?!”

“You’re at the back, I’ve got to prioritise the frontline over the rangers.”

“My brother in UNITY, that beast hurls boulders at us. It’s only because I am the amazing Bustov that I survived.”

“You survived, stop your complaining.” He fired a golden bullet at the halfling, buffing the power armour. “Now get in there, Lintelfaden, do something violent!”

Eager and hyped up, he flew into the air while rummaging through his possessions in the suit, trying to search for one particular magic item. “Where is it… where is it… Aha!” He spun around a yin-yang disc on his finger. “Might as well send it all the way!”

The white ‘yin’ followed the path of his blade, guiding his hand, leading him towards the King’s weak points. Propelled by the rockets, a single slash cut through the hide of King Mong, tearing through his arms and chest, gashing open a viscous wound. Power surged through Lintelfaden and the ‘yin’ continued to control the blade, performing a second upward slash with the Katana of the Lich Shogun’s Eternal Shogunnette.

Yes, kill another one… the katana whispered, her voice quiet and misleading; grating like steel. Call on me, say my name, and nothing can stand before you…

“Oh, that didn’t kill it,” Lintelfaden murmured. “This is going to hurt.”

Balance must be restored and debts will always be repaid in full – an equivalent exchange. An ethereal black ‘Yang’ formed around King Mong’s fists as he roared with rage, and guided his fists, increasing his power tenfold. If he hit hard before, it was incomparable as a titanic slam destroyed the earth and bent the tank. Lintelfaden’s forcefield was shattered instantly and a swift second punch started breaking the power armour, burying the knight with brute force. Wildly, he bashed Wolfram out of his way and into the wreckage as he hurled another boulder at the party’s backline.

“I told you to heal me!” Bustov cried, trying to run out of the way of the boulder. But the ‘yang’ was still circling the rock, almost curving its trajectory towards the target.

Elmo shoved the ranger out of the way just in time and braced himself to take the full brunt of the attack. Both hands on his shield, it almost crushed him and he felt the impact throughout his whole body. It was much heavier than he expected it to be, still trying to force him down but the ‘yang’ gradually vanished and so did its amped power. Cracks ran up the rock and it crumbled into shards, falling around him harmlessly, nothing but dust and smoke remaining.

“Argh, that hurt, damn it!” Elmo cursed. “Be a man, Bustov, and take a hit rather than complaining about healing!”

“Uh, sir, yes sir!” Bustov replied, compelled to answer with respect.

“Tch, looks like the others have got it under control anyways.”

Before King Mong could recover from his frenzy, Augusta climbed on his outstretched arms, running along as if it was solid ground, and punched his jaw with all her might, knocking him onto his knees. He tried to pull himself up but Gisella’s daggers were dipped in poison, paralysing him for Wolfram and Lintelfaden to aim for the neck. The monk spun the pinion blades between her fingers and dealt the finishing blow with the other two from above, beheading the king.

“Woo!” Augusta cheered. “We’re awesome, you know?! We beat another big guy, easy peasy!”

Lintelfaden jumped out of the suit as soon as he could, eager to shut it down to prevent overheating. “He almost broke my suit! This is not good, not good at all; Lorenz!”

“I’m on it,” he assured, repairing the armor with magic and tinkering with the other damaged parts.

Lintelfaden showed his doctor’s certificate and opened the medkit. “Now then, who needs some healing?”

Lilie immediately hid behind Wolfram. “Whether we say yes or no, you stab us anyway.”

“You don’t trust me? I’m a certified doctor!”

Elmo flexed his palm, watching his wounds heal in surprise. “This troll blood really puts in some work. Heal someone else, better not waste it on me.” He gestured at Bustov. “How about him since he complains so much.”

“Nah, I’m fine, Aki is healing-”

“Bam!” Lintelfaden yelled and stabbed the ranger as hard as he could.

Gisella and Lorenz ignored the ensuing commotion, it served only to distract them from the real prize of the fight; KIT MK II. Though damaged even further from King Mong, it was still a jackpot when it came to powerful tech for their KIT. Disregarding the multiple robot parts that Lorenz chucked into his Bag of Holding, they were able to salvage a chaingun upgrade, what seemed like an airlock attachment, and a plasma lance that replaced one of the claws. The cleric managed to remove them from the hull while telekinesis safely and gently brought them to solid ground.

“Oho, what’s this?!” Lorenz laughed, giddy with excitement. “A rocket launcher…? Haha, it’s a rocket launcher!” He jumped out of KIT holding a launcher with six barrels. “Oh, am I going to have fun with this!”

Bustov caught a silver disc Lorenz tossed him. “What’s this?”

“It’s a battery,” Lorenz explained from inside KIT. “It’s a portable charging device for your Lenz. I used to use them for my tech but UNITY’s blessing is all the power it needs.”

It worked like a charm. The Lenz was able to siphon the energy out of the battery and it glowed with power again, cold to the touch as the energy string manifested.

Augusta sighed in relief and sat on the airlock upgrade. “Finally, I think we can leave KIT while underwater with this airlock thing. Since Kwalish gave us a tank without any upgrades at all, this is great.”

“So how do we carry this back?” Elmo asked. All Augusta had to do was to give him puppy eyes and he conceded, sighing heavily. “I’m carrying this back, aren’t I?”

“You’re the best, Elmo!” she laughed.

Gisella carried the airlock with her telekinesis, Wolfram and Elmo picked up the Plasma Lance, and Lintelfaden and Bustov picked up the chaingun. Getting up the levels without being noticed was impossible, garnering the attention of every robot they passed by. Out of level 9 to level 8, the Gymnasium, an arguing band of mercenaries dragging massive weapons interrupted practice. A few of the robots were interested and started following them around the whole level until an entire band trailed behind. Luckily, they weren’t hostile, only interested but the amount of times the party was scanned was unsettling.

Glad to get out of there, the Peerless Wheel didn’t make their travel much better, tunnels constantly turning, rooms spinning round and round, making it extremely difficult to balance themselves while literal tons of metal was on their backs. They had to take numerous breaks before continuing their ascent but they didn’t have the attention of dozens of gymnastic robots on this quiet level. They finally found the path out onto Level 6 at the cost of Lorenz having serious motion sickness.

“Thank goodness we’re out of there!” he sighed, falling to the ground. “Ah, it’s not moving!”

“Come on, nearly there now,” Gisella assured.

“Wait!” Lintelfaden commanded. “Don’t the Zhev’s hate it when we salvage robots?”

They looked at each other then to the three massive tank upgrades in hand. The plan changed significantly and they sent Augusta and Fensal to scout, making sure there were no Zhevs lurking nearby. Going around through the Surks, they made them swear not to tell anyone about what they saw, especially not about the KIT pieces.

“There are Zhevs coming!” Augusta hissed.

Lorenz immediately ran up to them and tried to make them leave, he was not sacrificing his new hoard because of their rules. “Hey, what’s up guys?! How are we doing? How’s the patrol?”

“Nothing sighted as of yet,” one said.

“It’s been quiet on this level but we will remain vigilant,” another added.

“Peaceful is good,” assured another. “No one is stealing or breaking apart fellow machines, peace will be preserved.”

“Uh huh,” Lorenz chuckled. “And if there, for some hypothetical reason, were to be people dismantling some robots around here-”

“We would dismantle them,” came the stoic reply.

“UNITY rebuke them!”

Flooded by magical light, UNITY shut them down so the party could sprint past, a little annoyed that her power was being used in this way.

Thankfully, there was nothing along the other levels that threatened them. No more robots, no more legendary brain eaters; for once getting to Kwalish wasn’t an arduous and life threatening task. Getting into his lab with the massive parts drove him up the wall but all the fear they once had for him was gone, they were now regulars at his bizarre lab.

Upgrades were inbound, all they had to do was get them fitted onto KIT. Then maybe the water temple could be properly handled but that wasn’t a priority on the list. Lintelfaden still wanted one more thing before they left.