Game log of a ToEE adventure that somehow turned into an Expedition to the Barrier Peaks. You can find the original google doc here.
Retcon occurred, the silver mount become a sky fortress which eventually become Moon Fortress. Essentially the original moon was destroyed/replaced sometime in the distant past and is now one giant fortress (mega-dungeon) run by a friendly AI called UNITY.
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 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 (ex-human, reincarnated as an orc, brain-tapped and transferred to an android body), The Mou-Mou Bird (bloodthirsty ghost 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 42 Recap
Lorenz finished the finishing touches on Badaboom, cleaning, shining and upgrading her. “I just realised something…”
“What’s up?” Gisella asked, more or less paying attention while she did tricks with her knives.
“That Renwick wizard guy wanted us to find his brother, right?”
“I think his name was Michael, a paladin for the unicorn.”
“Uh, pretty sure, yeah,” Augusta agreed.
“Isn’t Mike just short for Michael?” Lorenz asked.
“You can say so,” Lintelfaden agreed. Then realisation dawned on him. “Oh, wait, don’t tell it’s him.”
Fensal said what everyone was thinking. “Paladin Mike is Renwick’s brother.”
“He could be anywhere in this space station, where are we going to find him?” Elmo wondered. “Level 9 again?”
“I guess so,” Lorenz shrugged. “Let’s look for him on the way down.”
Bustov returned with Aki, regrouping with the party. With everyone ready, they continued to head further into the station to reach the Hospitaller Genetica and gene-splice Lilie with the Tear of Time. The first few levels shouldn’t be too hard to get by until level 9 and even then they were confident they could kill any robots or typhons that attacked.
Reaching the Peerless Wheel, their path to level 7, they were blocked from entering by a human sized machine. He wasn’t as large as the Mk I, barely taller than the tallest in the party, but he gave off energy superior to that of the Enginseer or Rethiarius. The light of purple energy shone between his armour of black steel, yet it felt as if he was suppressing his power.
“I am Peerless,” he greeted. His voice echoed as if a hundred different voices overlapped with each other. “I have an interest in magic and you seem like a wealthy group. Surely my toll will be… easy for you to pay.”
“And that is?” Gisella asked, ready to fight if they had to.
He held out his hand expectantly. “I just need a single magic item of interest. Just one.”
All of their minds went to a single cursed weapon. “Give him the onyx hammer, Fensal,” Lorenz ordered.
“No!” Fensal snapped.
“Please?” His hand glowed with magic energy and he hit the androids back, flooding him with magic that disabled him temporarily. The curse was broken and the weapon dropped to the floor. “There we go, we can give you this.”
Gisella telekinetically lifted the weapon to avoid being cursed and gave it to Peerless. Seemingly immune to its effects, he inspected the weapons authenticity and, once satisfied, bowed to the party.
“You may pass through my Wheel unharmed,” he assured. His core opened up and he tossed the weapon inside him before he transmatted out.
Sure enough, they were able to explore the wheel without any risk of being attacked. Not thoroughly as they wanted to hurry to the gene-splicer and back as soon as possible. They constantly told themselves that the elemental cults were top priority but ‘big cool machine’ always distracted them. And the machines were very big and very cool on Luna Castellum, the official name of the space station.
One such was when they arrived on level 7. It looked so out of place, a massive generator sitting in the middle of a stage in a large and empty auditorium. There was no power coming to it and it was on the way to level 8 so there was no harm in checking it out.
“Is it off?” Lintelfaden asked.
“No power whatsoever,” Lorenz murmured. “Hmm, can’t see a way to get it restarted either, I’d probably just scrap it for the parts and call it a day.”
“No way, are we staying here?!” Marvin the Fireproof Cape, the most depressed magic item in the Ninth World, complained. “Hey, tree guy, walk around the place! I listened to this cleric bang away at his machines at the Auto-forge, I can’t do it again!”
“Don’t tell me what to do,” Elmo sighed.
As soon as Lorenz started hammering, the cloak started screaming. And when he started screaming, Jack-Sam started screaming. And when he screamed, Lintelfaden yelled at him to be quiet. There was no way the noise wouldn’t attract attention and robots began to crawl down from the walls or out of their hiding places. No bigger than an average human, they approached the party on all fours, dressed in flesh, and clearly malfunctioning. Suddenly, they screamed and charged the party, bleeding green blood around their eyes.
Wolfram easily knocked one off its feet in a single blow but the ‘blood’ was pure radiation, melting his armour and searing his flesh. He was immediately forced to back away and the robot he attacked flipped back onto its feet and charged again.
Adding to the incessant screaming, Jack-Sam was panicking, flying around in circles, screeching and releasing spores in the air. It was how he immobilised his prey before sucking their blood but he was directly above the party.
“Tell him to stop screaming!” Augusta snapped. She was losing feeling and her movements became sluggish increasingly sluggish as the spores filled the room.
Lintelfaden was unaffected by it and was protected in his suit.. “Hey, come here! These guys are weak, we can deal with-”
And Jack-Sam flew head first into a wall and fell to the floor with a thud, knocking himself out.
The flayers – gholish cyborgs that wear human flesh as cloaks – attacked like wolves, swarming around the party and leaping at them to sink their teeth into their flesh. Though the initial bite didn’t hurt, screws around their mouth began to tighten and amplify their jaw strength, strong enough to bend and break steel. And if anyone attacked them, they sprayed irradiated blood to fend off melee attackers.
Fensal slammed the cannon against one of the robots and pulled the trigger, blasting one across the room and tearing off its arm. He shouldn’t have been hit by the blood but one of the flayers grabbed the severed arm and hurled it at him, spraying blood everywhere.
Bustov finished the wounded one before turning to the others. “Tch, they are really anti-melee. And they don’t care about getting hit in the slightest.”
“They’re like rabid beasts,” Elmo cursed, taking the frontline but was extremely hesitant to swing. “If I hit them once their blood will melt my body…”
Lintelfaden cut another one down but the spray of blood destroyed the force field around the armour and began to eat away at the thick plating. Riding proudly on his unicorn, he became a clear target for the others and they lunged for him, tripping over themselves just to catch him.
As he pulled them away, it gave time for Lilie to fire a lightning bolt into the group, knowing full well that their mechanical bodies would malfunction but they recovered almost instantly from the attack. Splitting into two groups, some continued to chase down the knight while others switched their focus on her.
“Their blood burns through anything easily,” Lorenz cursed, struggling to mend Lintelfadens armour faster than they could damage it. “It’s melting through faster and faster.”
“Deal with the ones at the front first,” Gisella ordered, slamming one into the wall. “They’re attacks are weak, Lintelfaden will be fine as long as he doesn’t cut them and waits for us.”
Aki loaded the crossbow they found at the earth temple and loaded one of the magic bolts. It struck the flayer and hardly pierced its armour but it lit him up clearly in the dimly lit room. “Let’s focus on that one,” she suggested.
“Got it!” Augusta acknowledged and quickly weaved around her party members and channelled her ki. As she prepared to attack, a faint spiritual mist began to seep out of her and her eyes began to glow.
Haha, it’s time to play! Chuckie laughed, taking form as a ghost behind her.
She struck true, landing a clean blow to the flayer’s skull, but Chuckie mimicked her movement and hit with almost ten times the force. He blasted its head into paste and dented the floor; the force of his punch reverberated throughout the ground and echoed in the large room. And as soon as he appeared, he vanished, laughing the whole time.
“Augusta?” Elmo cried. “You alright?”
“H- Huh?” she stuttered, just as surprised as he was. “Oh, uh, yep! I’m good! One down!”
“Make that two,” Gisella added and she twisted another flayer like a rag, squeezing its blood out so it couldn’t hurt anyone else.
Suddenly, Lilie screamed and ran over to Wolfram, trying to heal a lethal wound near his chest. The robot had used its own severed arm to spray its blood and it had melted straight through his plate mail and it began to burn right through his skin and muscle. Elmo took the frontline in his place, careful to avoid the flailing arm and blood melting anything it touched.
“He’ll be fine,” Lorenz assured, placing his hand on the burn. “It didn’t burn all the way through. The wound is bad but it won’t kill him.”
“Tch, these things are a pain to fight,” Fensal cursed and fired the Wand of Bullets at point blank, killing the last flayer that had jumped them. “Let’s go help Lintelfaden.”
The wall warped and a beast burst into the room, searching for its next meal. It was like a bullette that the earth cultists rode but it was made of steel and ‘swam’ through the skymetal floors. It didn’t look like it was on anyone’s side, attacking the ghoulish robotsand the party alike with reckless abandon. Using the distraction in their favour, the party disengaged and two of the flayers leapt at the bullette.
“Only one left on me,” Lintelfaden realised. “I’ll strike it down then focus on the bullette.”
The ‘yin’ symbol guided his blade and empowered his strike, slicing the maniacal machine cleanly in half. It should have been killed but in its last moments, it leapt onto him and tried to bite through the armour.
“It’s teeth can’t break this suit. I’ll be fine-”
And it exploded, blasting radioactive blood everywhere directly in his face. To the party’s shock, smoke and sparks began to fly from the suit and Murphy the Robot Unicorn panicked. The suit fell to the ground as it melted through, severely damaged and almost unusable, caving in on anyone inside and crushing them with burning steel.
“Lintelfaden!” Lilie cried. “Are you in there?!”
Luckily, the halfling crawled out from underneath one of the chairs and brushed the dirt off his suit. “Geez, what was that? I didn’t think they could melt it!”
The ice climbed up Bustov’s arm as he charged the Lenz, aiming directly for the bullette. “Finally I’ve got the space to shoot without hitting my team.”
Lorenz rested the rocket launcher on his shoulder and charged it with energy, newly upgraded and glowing with newfound power. “I know, right? Destroy them while they’re grouped!”
Light them up.
An arrow of pure frost struck the beast head on, staggering it and creating a field of ice like a small blizzard. As it began to implode, rockets of burning energy crashed against the arrow, detonating with every hit and igniting the flyers and the living-metal bullette. At the same time the arrow released its own blast and the room was filled with cold steam suffused with faint twinkling ice fragments.
All that was left were the remains of both the beast and the machines were their charred remains with a faint coating of frost.
“Ahaha, blasted to bits!” the ranger cheered and he gave Lorenz a high-five.
The cleric opened a section in Badaboom and released the steam. “Sometimes it’s just that easy!”
“Oh, wow!” Aki cheered. “Even as a creepy orc you’re still the strongest in the party!”
“I need an android body now,” Bustov ordered. “Aki is going to hate me.”
They tried to salvage what remained but there wasn’t much considering what they were fighting weren’t even robots. The flayers were cyborgs wearing armour while the bulette was completely organic, only protected by the steel plating. Maybe destroying half of the auditorium with an explosion wasn’t the best idea, and it damaged the only valuable parts, but it sure did look cool.
“How’s the armour?” Lintelfaden asked. “Kwalish gave me that as a prototype and I just upgraded it.”
Lorenz looked at the damage and shook his head. “There is no way I can mend this. The back is kind of okay but the front has been completely melted through from the radioactive blood. Oh, the stuff inside is also extremely damaged and hardly usable.”
“Oh man, my doctor’s certificate! No one is going to believe I’m a doctor!”
“Shouldn’t you worry about your magic items?”
“They’re fine.” He spun the yin-yang disc on his finger and rested the katana on his shoulder. “But is the armour really unsalvageable?”
“I wouldn’t say that… But you aren’t getting into this thing again until Kwalish can get a look at it.”
They carefully dismantled it and placed the individual parts into his Bag of Holding. Deciding not to head back up to save time, they continued on to the lower levels; Lintelfaden had to live without the armour for now. Thankfully Level 8 was rather uneventful and they could head down to the ‘gardens’ on Level 9.
Since they had the MK Is guiding them, they had not mapped out a clear path to the Hospitaller Genetica, only knowing it was somewhere west. The massive landscape would take hours at least to go from one end to another and the monorail was on the other side of the entire garden. There was no reason to stand around so they pushed on, telling themselves to ignore any side adventure and head straight for Level 10-
They were distracted by the first interesting thing they saw.
A small lake could barely be seen reflecting the sun’s rays within a thick grove. That wasn’t the important part, the large building in the centre looked like a lab of sorts and certainly smelled of sweet sweet magic (technological) loot.
“There’s a bridge that leads over to it,” Bustov pointed out. “Probably trapped of course, they wouldn’t leave this lab here without some kind of protection, right?”
“Always safe to assume so,” Gisella agreed. “There could be something in the water, the lab could animate, the bridge might attack; there are so many things that could happen. Let’s not dwell on it too long.”
Fensal loaded the hand cannon and walked onto the bridge. “Well, if something is going to attack it would’ve by now-”
A tongue shot out from the water and pulled him off his feet, yanking him straight into the lake. Now that it revealed itself, three eye stalks were now obviously peeking out from under the water, watching their every move but camouflaged in the algae. It swallowed him whole and ducked beneath the surface.
“Hey!” Lilie snapped, rushing up to the edge and charging her arm with electricity. “Bring him back!”
Firing a lightning bolt, it coursed through the lake and shocked the beast trying to swim away. Burning away the algae cleared up the murky water and what had swallowed Fensal was not a normal animal. It was a frog the size of a hill giant, with tentacles instead of front legs, three eyes on a stalk, and a bloated stomach.
It was cunning too, turning around and surfacing onto the bridge. Wary of Lilie’s lightning, it tried to swallow her, but Wolfram was there to block the powerful strike from the tongue. The froghemoth’s tentacles whipped out erratically, forcing the party back at its vocal sack inflated as it bellowed as if calling for someone.
“Oh, there are eggs at the bottom of the lake,” Bustov pointed out, aiming an arrow right for one. “This thing probably has a mate. Well, I think I can make it mad.” The ice shot travelled straight through the water, froze the egg, and shattered it into fragments.
Just in time for another froghemoth to burst from the lake, leaping over him and shaking the ground once it landed. Enraged, its tongue shot out and grabbed Gisella before she could go invisible and swallowed her while its tentacles grabbed Lorenz, preparing him as the next meal.
“This got bad real fast,” Elmo cursed. His axe couldn’t cut all the way through their thick hide. “We’ve got to get them out.”
It sounded like a bomb went off inside the male froghemoth and smoke rose from its mouth. It puked Fensal and the Wand of Bullets into the river and began to stumble a bit from the shock of the hit. Elmo Wolfram and Lilie fought one of the monstrosities while Gisella, Bustov and Lorenz fought the female beast at the backline.
“It feels so weird without my suit,” Lintelfaden admitted. He charged the male froghemoth and severed one of the tentacles that held Elmo.
Though they kept that beast under control, the female one ate one after the other easily. First, Gisella, Lorenz, then it lifted Aki off the ground. Those inside tried to make it puke, but it hardly noticed their attacks, and there was no room to get a proper swing inside.
“It’s starting to burn a lot,” Lorenz coughed. He lost grip of his rifle and couldn’t concentrate enough to pull off a proper spell.
“I’m trying,” Gisella huffed, slamming her dagger against its stomach. “It’s not flinching… from my attack.”
Bustov tried to make it vomit from the outside, but his attacks only drew her attention. It tossed Aki aside and picked him up off the ground, furious that anyone dared attack her eggs.
“C’mon, work!” Augusta muttered, fumbling a potion around in her hands. “Shen wouldn’t lie on the label; this has gotta work!”
She swung a potion against the female froghemoth, which shattered against her hide. As soon as the glass broke, acid burst out from the potion like a dragon’s breath, knocking the monstrosity off her feet and completely consuming her in the tsunami of acid. It killed the wildlife, grass and trees, poisoned the lake, melted the bridge, and seared right through the thick hide and to the muscle, exposing and burning it.
“What was that?!” Bustov yelled, leaping out of harm’s way.
“Aha! So it really was a dragon’s breath in a bottle!” Augusta cheered. “Shen didn’t lie!”
The froghemoth landed on its stomach and vomited up those inside, throwing them onto the dead earth. It barely pulled itself back onto its feet, but it was just in time to see Wolfram, Elmo, and Lintelfaden fell the other beast, plunging the Nine-lives Stealer into its heart.
The tiny monk wasn’t done yet and her eyes glowed again. She grabbed the froghemoth’s tentacles and, as she prepared to throw it, Chuckie materialised once more and amplified her strength, brutally tearing off the arm entirely and kicking it into the lake.
“Ugh, I hate this thing,” Lorenz shivered and aimed Badaboom at the lake. “Blow her up, baby.”
Rather than rockets, thick bolts of lightning-like cannon shells were fired into the lake, shocking the entire water and chaining towards the beast, cooking her underwater. The light was blinding for a brief moment, and as it faded out, a charred body could be seen at the bottom beside the eggs.
They used nearly all of the remaining magic they had to heal the burn wounds from the acid, draining the party just as much as the ghastly flayersdid. After all that, there was no way they weren’t going to search the lab.
“Got us out of there,” Gisella thanked Augusta. “What was that blast we heard outside?”
“I bought a dragon’s breath in a bottle from Shen,” she giggled. “I think he said it was from an ancient copper dragon? It did the trick!”
“What else did you buy?” Lorenz asked.
There were a lot of things, and most didn’t even have a use. A strange dagger, some dice, and a colourful cube; she spent about 400 gold on his Potluck Grab Bags, and those were only 10 gold per grab.
Entering the lab, they quickly realised that it was almost completely empty. A stairwell led down below the surface of the lake, and windows allowed them to look outside and observe the sea life in a natural habitat. But there wasn’t much loot or tech they could find. The first level was devoid of anything useful, same with the second, and only on the third did they find something that could be valuable.
Five suits were lined against the wall, and the party easily recognised them as Atlantean Armour. Kwalish charged nearly 20,000 gold a suit, but there were five that could be used right here in mint condition. Three were damaged and it didn’t look safe to put them on but they could either be fixed or salvaged nonetheless.
“Oh, these can help us swim,” Aki realised. “Real swimming suits and masks.”
“Hmm, these could fit some of us,” Lorenz muttered. He pressed a button on his shoulder, and his armour retracted itself around him, neatly contained within the shoulder piece and a device on his back.
“You built a few things at the lab,” Bustov chuckled.
“Auto-armour and upgrades for my weapons. Not too much though it did use a ton of resources.”
The lab shook from below as it was struck by something big. A deafening echo reverberated through the steel walls and they just now realised this was not the sturdiest of structures. Half submerged, it swayed in the water with every hit and threatened to collapse around them.
“Let’s leave, let’s leave!” Lilie shouted and ran back up the stairs. And she found a pile of broken stairs that had collapsed from the powerful hits. “Uh, where do we run?!”
“There’s a path here,” Wolfram stated calmly. His hand rested on an exit from the room that led out to the water. “This whole room… is a big airlock.”
“That thing is underwater though,” Lintelfaden pointed out. “I can barely move unless someone carries me; Murphy’s still on land-”
Another bang shook the lab, and it sounded like water was gushing through a hole below.
“Let’s leave before the lab caves in on us,” Gisella ordered. “Anywhere is better than here right now, get ready to swim out.”
Taking a deep breath, Wolfram spun the wheel and opened the door, letting the water rush in. Taking the suits with them, they realised that the masks let them breathe underwater, acting like gills for them. As they swam back to the surface, they saw a froghemoth bigger than the other two tearing down the lab from below, perhaps sensing the party inside, but it didn’t notice them escape from right under its nose.
Resurfacing without trouble, they quickly left the area, not wanting to deal with another enemy for the time being. They weren’t afraid of it but fighting underwater was not ideal, and even on land, it would drain what little magic they had left.
Heading west once more, the trip to the gene-splicer finally took a turn for the better. It seemed the constant battles were over, and they could relax a little underneath the sun. The weather was always perfect, the heat was always off-set with a cool and constant breeze, but not quite strong enough to be irritating. The whole level was a manufactured world with its own unique beings and atmosphere, replicating a real world to a tee.
They didn’t encounter any other hostile inhabitants until they reached what looked like a garden. Jewels lined the edges of a rose-filled hedge, leading into a clearing where two people slept in peace. The trees were overhanging a small altar, sort of like a place where you would hold a wedding.
“Money, money, money,” Augusta chanted, skipping over to the gems. “Cue big enemy jumping out of the hedge to eat me.”
For once, she was able to take it without being attacked by said ‘big enemy’. She grabbed another, nothing happened, and then Gisella joined the looting and quickly gathered the gems with her telekinesis into a bag. The trail of loot led into the clearing, and they walked right in, lured in by the shiny sparkles of the sunlight on the gems and gold.
As they approached the sleeping men, the bodies were flung aside, and roots broke the surface of the earth. The ‘trees’ animated and attacked the ones who fell into their inconspicuous trap, reaching out with their branch hands and smiling gleefully. The ‘sleeping’ people were long dead and crushed as the trees uprooted themselves and walked over them.
“Trees?” Lorenz muttered.
“Trees,” Fensal repeated.
“We’ve fought typhon mimics, telepaths, froghemoths, the Centipede, and elementals… and the trees are attacking us?”
Lorenz readied the rocket launcher on his shoulder. “It’s nice to have an easy fight now and then.”
It was over in a flash. Six rockets of pure fire crashed into the enemy and incinerated them instantly, reducing them to nothing but ashes blown by the wind. The corpses, the hedges, flowers; everything was destroyed from the completely overkill attack.
“Hey!” Augusta snapped. “You almost hit us!”
“You’re fine,” he assured. “You evaded it, we got the loot, and the trees were destroyed. All’s well that ends well.”
Gisella sighed and flicked an ember off her clothes. “Next time warn us, even if we can dodge it easily.”
Bustov interrupted them before they could start to fight each other. “Let’s leave now. I can see the monorail over there and my legs are killing me.”
Quickly gathering the loot, they completed the final stretch of their trek and could finally relax in the monorail. Unlike the weather outside, there was always cool air inside the carriages, and it provided a much-needed reprieve for those wearing heavier armour. Taking the ride to level 10, they decided to talk about how to tackle the earth temple when they got back.
Please exit the Garden of Zinn, a voice ordered over the speakers. Reconfiguration is about to begin. Failure to comply may lead to fatal and permanent side effects. Thank you for visiting the gardens and have a wonderful day.
As they left level 9, a large holographic countdown clock appeared in the sky, gradually counting down and giving more than enough time for the inhabitants to make their swift departure: 10 hours left until reconfiguration.