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Interlude - Adventure in Amsterdam
Posted: Sun Oct 21, 2018 6:08 pm
(calling the art department for an online newspaper headline)
PRINCE ERIK SEEN WITH STORM KNIGHT
Romantic connection? Two seen fighting thugs from Nile Empire
Why’d he have to pick such a nice place to eat? Why’d he have to tell his -mother-? Oliva’s foot is tapping against the ground, dressed in a simple dark purple dress with a black overcoat, staring across the hall at a door. There are voices murmuring on the other side, before it opens and Prince Erik, dressed in a similarly simple navy blue suit, steps into the hallway. Behind him, his mother gives a small wave and a quick statement in English. “Have fun!”
Olivia’s face goes into a forced smile and a wave of her own. “Thank you!” The door is shut, and Olivia’s smile lowers to a smirk as the two of them start to move away from the door. Speaking softly, Olivia tries to lighten the mood. “I was expecting coffee, to be honest.” Erik gives a nervous smile, shaking his head. “Once Mother found out, she couldn’t have it just be coffee. The Prince of Denmark doesn’t just have coffee dates. I’m.. sorry that she found out, but it’s hard to lie to my parents.”
Olivia shrugs herself, a more genuine smile as she sees Erik’s own smile. “I learned when I was young. Then again, I didn’t have to avoid paparazzi and fans. Just needed to learn how to climb a tree and get back before too late. This isn’t going to be a big production at the restaurant too, is it?”
Erik shakes his head as the double doors in front of them get pulled open by security guards. “At least, I don’t expect it to be. Amsterdam has their own royal family to make a big deal about. Security did insist I pay for a secure VIP treatment, after everything that has happened recently.”
Olivia makes a face in response, then reaches into her coat to pull out a tiny derringer-looking device. “I always bring my own security. Quiet restaurant won’t be the worst.” Erik gestures towards their vehicle, a brand new BMW sedan, as Olivia starts towards the driver’s seat. Erik makes a sudden grimace as the security opens both back doors. Olivia’s smile drops. Erik mumbles a quick sorry.
The restaurant was basically empty, specially set up for the two of them to look over the canals: A single small table without any other distractions. Security spreads out as soon as Olivia and the Prince are inside, and the maitre d’ quickly escorts the pair of them to the table. The sky is clear, and the moon is nearly full in the background of the extensive view. The maitre d’ holds the chair for Olivia, her face somewhat surprised by the attention, before the older gentleman runs down the menu and everything to go with it. The whole time, Erik and Olivia look at one another quietly, the occasional awkward smile between them.
Olivia waits for the maitre to leave, speaking low to try to still be polite while definitely out of her element. “When I eat, there’s usually a cheap paper menu if I’m lucky. Is that.. Is this pretty much every meal for you.” Erik leans in conspiratorially with a grin. “Sometimes I sneak in a burger here and there. But yes, this is pretty normal for me. Outside of the company, of course.”
Olivia breaks into polite laughter, covering her mouth a bit. “Sorry, this is absolutely wild for me. I’ve been a Storm Knight for a while, and I’ve been fighting Dr. Mobius for even longer. Family wasn’t rich by any means, mostly learning everything I know from teachers in the field who happened to be visiting. This is a brand new world for me.” She stops awkwardly at the end as they both laugh again. “You know what I mean.”
Erik nods quickly, still smiling. “If it is anything like that rescue, I know what you mean. You and your team did seem quite confident and calm while everything was going on. I was so caught up in the moment, just trying not to be a step behind.” Olivia grins back to him. “To be honest, when the Council told me I’d be saving a prince, I was expecting a bit more of a take charge attitude. Maybe even a giant pain in the ass who wanted to lead. I like reality a bit better.”
Erik smiles himself as the sommelier brings out a selection of wine. On the roof, a number of shapes uncloak from the shadows, now very obviously minions of the Nile Empire. The egyptian-inspired stealth armor fades back away from sight as the dinner continues. Erik and Olivia enjoy some wine, laughing as one of the wait staff brings out some complicated-looking appetizers.
“Kash had ground beef on his nose, looked the officer straight in the eye and told him he had no idea where the supplies went!” Erik seems to enjoy the story, laughing at the punchline much more than anything before it. “The officer gave up on it, though. Kash is persistent like that.”
“Your companions, you seem to get along with them.” Olivia grins, shrugging in response to the question. “We’ve been through a lot. We’ve got each other’s backs, even though we’re very different people. If Kennington saw me in this outfit, he might blush, but out in the field, that sort of thing doesn’t matter. Even their CIA buddy is a good team player, even if he’s a bit too much of a planner. Went better than our usual plans, who am I to judge?”
“And you said you’ve been doing this for how long?” Erik seems enthralled with the stories even moreso than the person telling them. “More than a decade, although not always with the full Storm Knight kit. Terra’s resistance been fighting with Mobius since I can remember.” Olivia’s eyes dart over towards the window as she finishes, muttering for a moment as Erik looks a bit confused. “Is something wrong?”
“Either something’s wrong or I’ve been doing this for way too long. Just act natural.” Olivia forces a smile and takes another sip of her wine. Two new servers, a very similar looking man and woman, come out of the kitchen carrying two covered plates. Erik tries his best to play along, until the two servers suddenly throw the covers up into the air and the plates towards Olivia at the same time, four fighting sticks flying gracefully through the air into their hands.
Olivia barely deflects them with her own plate, smashing the fancy ceramic dish and sending some puff pastries flying into the air. Erik scrambles out of his chair as Olivia flips the derringer out of her coat’s pocket, quickly firing it at the man, who drops immediately from a sudden smaller ray of lightning. The stealth armored minions pop out, four in addition to the woman standing with the fighting sticks. Two of the minions reach for Erik, one getting punched by the Prince himself while the other gets an elbow from Olivia, followed up by another shot from the little electric gun.
The skirmish intensifies as the woman moves with purpose towards the prince, but is interrupted by Olivia and the steel plate. Olivia blocks most of the attacks with the plate, but a few get through, doubling Olivia over as the sticks hit her in the gut. Olivia gets a lucky shot off before getting slammed to the ground by the leader of this squad, another nameless, faceless minion taken to the ground. The two remaining minions try to dogpile onto Olivia, but with the help of a convenient use of her reality powers, go flying into a nearby table. Olivia gets up to a defensive kneeling stance as the woman aims a pistol at her head.
“Unlike the prince, I can kill you. Olivia.” Both Olivia and the other woman’s eyes narrow as they get a good look at one another. Olivia’s eyes widen for a second as she puts the puzzle together. “Sybil. It’s been a while. How’s your dad? Still monologuing?” The gun loudly cocks, Sybil’s eyes still narrow. “Father’s fine. Lukas, get up and grab the Prince. We’re going to kill two birds with one stone. Goodbye Olivia. Say hi to your brother.”
Before the gun has a chance to go off, the crashing of a chair onto Sybil’s head followed by a sudden jolt of electricity into her chest. Olivia rolls onto the ground, looking up at Erik as she holds one of her bracelets in her hand, a weird spark coming from it. She speaks up, calmly looking at Erik. “Backup plan. I had it.” Erik forces a smile, looking out of breath but with the wherewithal to pretend to be bothered by. “Not even a thank you?”
Olivia smiles, feigning helplessness for a moment with a strong level of sarcasm. “My hero..” The two smile at one another as security breaks into the room.
Re: Torg Eternity: Dark Skies
Posted: Mon Oct 22, 2018 3:13 pm
Was this a 1-2-1 RP or some narrative description of how the romance was taking place outside of the game?
Re: Torg Eternity: Dark Skies
Posted: Tue Oct 23, 2018 7:07 pm
Count Thalim wrote:Very nice.
Was this a 1-2-1 RP or some narrative description of how the romance was taking place outside of the game?
The interlude was a short fiction written by Olivia's player. Its taking place outside of the game session, but we'll incorporate the events into the ongoing campaign.
Interlude - Dust and Shadow
Posted: Wed Dec 12, 2018 2:09 pm
Doctor Willhelm Sconce dragged the coffin across the blasted land, his back and shoulders burning with the effort. The flat terrain around him stretched seemingly to eternity, a wretched landscape of dirt, debris, and snow. The thin Victorian paused for a moment to rest himself beneath the shade of a twisted streetlight without a street, taking out a flask of brandy to refresh his lungs. The people waiting for him at the end of his arduous journey were not far now, visible as a circle of torches on the gray horizon. He knew if he did not perform up to their standards, the penalty would be worse than death, perhaps even worse than what would happen if he once more failed the Gaunt Man.
Flames flickering atop their torches, the five hooded figures watched the narrow silhouette of Sconce approach, his sweating visage coming into focus before them, the wooden box creaking with each pull. One of the five raised a hand dressed in rusted chainmail, palm toward the outsider who had promised so much.
“You have found what you sought?” The figure’s voice echoed hollowly from under its cloak, a metallic rasp like broken swords.
Sconce nodded. “Indeed.” His frame trembled as he let go the ropes binding the coffin, breathing ragged. Swiping a sheen of sweat from his pale brow, the man of science regathered his composure, fixing his dusty vest and collar. “You must forgive my state, but it was quite an effort.”
The impassive circle of torchbearers regarded him without motion.
“It would have taken less time if you had simply loaned me the use of a cart or other conveyance,” Scone continued. “How very churlish.” The Victorian began unpacking a valise, gathering the components necessary for the demonstration. He laid them out upon a black velvet cloth spread at their feet. Small bottles stoppered with corks. Fetishes from long-dead tribes from the remote places of Gaea. Strange bronze coils. “Certainly with as many followers as your master has at his beck and call you could have afforded some aid to me.”
“It is of no concern to us.” The hollow reply came from one of the other five robed figures, an echo that sounded as if it rose from deep within a well.
“Show us your alchemy, outlander,” said another.
“But of course,” Sconce said, opening the lid of the coffin with the aid of an iron crowbar. The expected stink rose from the dessicated remnants of the unknown Russian, a woman of Core Earth who had died in the war. Her name, her life before the fabric of reality was torn asunder - these meant little to the scientist or his gloomy audience. Sconce began his work in earnest now, inserting a tube into the bloated neck of the corpse, feeding some green substance into its vitals. He adjusted some instruments and looked to one of the cloaked watchers. “Let us place her somewhere nearby….”
Dr. Sconce cast a look around the circle, noting an antennae rising from some scorched rubble. “That will do.” He gestured toward the body, nodding. “She is almost ready, but you must raise her upon that metal frame.” He smiled slyly, holding up a hand. “I am afraid this time you will have to aid me, gentlemen.”
Two of the hooded figures walked to the body and raised it up, carrying it under Sconce’s direction to the antennae, hooking it to the bent stines with iron chains and bands of leather. One of the figures raised a pair of human bones from under their cloak, crossing them to form an ‘x’, placing them over the rotten corpse’s chest.
“And now,” Sconce said, with the air of a showman, “The final piece.” He produced a metal box from the valise, opened it, and poured the contents into the slackened mouth of the dead woman. The dust sifted out into her maw, and within moments the body began to writhe, an unholy glow surrounding it, the antennae metal bars screeching with each jerk of the corpse’s limbs. The glow expanded outward from the horrible totem, the air rippling in a larger circle outside of the gathering.
The five observers turned to feel the change surrounding them, enveloping them; the colors of the Blasted Land were changing, shifting to richer, darker hues. The change stopped in a visible circle some fifty meters from its center, a bordered patch of Aylish Darkness in the midst of the radioactive waste. The figures raised their heads to regard one another and flex mailed fingers. One spoke in an old tongue, his voice joined by the eerie chanting of the others. Wisps of cold light rose from the ground around them, an assembly of shades and wailing souls lost in the nuclear blast that had destroyed the bridge from Tharkold a year before.
Sconce turned slowly, his mad smile growing ever wider, his eyes gleaming with a mix of wonder and pride. “Yes. Yes!” He looked enthusiastically at the circle of chanting people, hands splayed out before him. “It is as I said, is it not? You are able to work your magic again in this place. The effect is temporary and limited in range, but with more material it will increase tenfold. No need for stelae to work the ritual - think of it!” He swept a hand over the horizon.
The chanting subsided, the swirl of spirits faded, and the dead Russian ceased her writhing, the energy of the ritual having drained her essences and reduced her corpse to a wrinkled husk.
“You have proven your claim, alchemist,” a hooded figure intoned, regarding the shriveled form dangling from the antennae. “And you say we will be able to do more with a greater number of dead?”
Sconce nodded. “I need only to be provided with the subjects necessary to do the work. The power of your brotherhood and my genius, Sir Knight, working in unison!” The scientist allowed himself a cackle of mad laughter.
The hooded knight did not add his voice to the Victorian’s mirth, but instead raised his cold sword to the stormy sky. “Upon my oath, the Knights of Corbaal shall claim this land! For Uthorion! For the Dark One!”
The other robed figures echoed his cry, pale blades raised in unison with their lord, the dread master of their undead army, the dark paladin known as the Amber Knight.
Re: Torg Eternity: Dark Skies
Posted: Thu Dec 13, 2018 12:18 am
Episode 23 - Knights of the Wasteland
Posted: Sat Dec 29, 2018 12:49 pm
Knights of the Wasteland - Act I
The Knights head to Tallinn to meet Nigulas Kaljurand, a contact of the Delphi Council who has reported surveillance footage indicating that the villain Dr. Willhelm Sconce passed through the city two weeks prior. The team is supposed to go in as subtly as possible and track him down.
The city is crowded by refugees from the Possibility War along with delegations from Aysle and Tharkold. There’s also a large Russian police presence, with laser guns and high-tech armor. There are no issues with meeting with Nigulas, where he shares what info they have on Sconce’s entry into the Blasted Lands by way of the border town of Narva. Sconce’s medicinal bag is with him.
As they talk with Nigulas, alarms sound and the Tharkold-Russia military forces begin heading east. Reports have come in about a large-scale attack on Narva by some sort of undead force, and the Knights quickly depart aboard a Dodge Ram pickup provided by Nigulas.
The Knights travel from Tallinn to Narva, seeing the sights of the mixed Aylse-Tharkold zone on the road. Among these scenes is a haggard trio of men slowly but deliberately pushing a handcar on a railroad leading into the Estonian wilderness.
Approaching the burning city, they are stopped by a Russian checkpoint guard who asks for papers and then asks Kash to get out of the vehicle. With the use of a bribe, William convinces them to not bother Kash and get a special pass marking them as allies of the Russian Army.
Once they arrive in Narva, William notes that there are few if any corpses left behind by the recent battle, but there are footprints leading from places where bodies clearly fell. This indicates that there’s necromancy involved, with the attacking force taking undead reinforcements with them when they departed. The Storm Knights suspect that Sconce’s sighting in the region has something to do with the army of dead soldiers.
Using their Russian Army pass, the team gets an audience with the Mayor of Narva (Irina Simonov) and two knights of the Ayslish deity Dunad at the town hall. The paladins, Aveda and Virkus, explain that they are chasing a being known as the Amber Knight, who is apparently leading the force that attacked Narva.
They explain that the Amber Knight was a nigh-immortal construct created by the dwarves of Aysle to fight against the armies of Darkness. He was slain when his heart was stolen by a “winged demon” which the Storm Knights identify as a Ravagon, and was subsequently turned into an undead servant of Uthorion and the Dread Council. Harrison tells the shocked knights that he carries the heart of their former comrade due to the craft of Dr. Sconce, causing tension with the paladins, most notably enraging Virkus. He and some other Knights of Dunad nearby threaten to cut down the Orrorshan monster-man.
After regaling the paladins of tales of Harrison’s recent fight against evil, William and one of the paladins manage to calm things down. They agree to work together for the moment, and prepare for the journey to pursue the Amber Knight in the hope that it will lead them to Dr. Sconce’s current location.
William spends some time to create some alchemical elixirs for the journey, Olivia works to supply the team with equipment and survival gear, Harrison goes to try and find evidence of Sconce’s involvement, and Kash finds some time to try and reach out to his goddess Lanala. Harrison comes across a corpse hanging from an antenna on a city side street, and he can tell it has been treated by some of Sconce’s alchemical formulae. He calls on the other Storm Knights to come and take a look as he keeps a wary eye on it. William is able to ascertain that the totem somehow influences the local reality’s Magic axiom in the immediate vicinity, like a specialized and smaller version of an invading cosm’s stelae.
While investigating Sconce’s experimental mystical corpse antenna, the group is suddenly attacked by a Ravagon who turns out to be the one who is working for Sconce. Tzumak, the Ravagon, tries to take the Amber Heart from Harrison’s chest, saying it belongs to another “vessel” of the Gaunt Man. The fight results in the accidental destruction of an apartment building by a reckless and frightened Russian soldier (Cpl. Plotkin) who fires his RPG at the monster, narrowly missing the Storm Knights. They continue the hard fight against the Gaunt Man’s servant among the smoking rubble. Tzumak is finally cornered by the Knights who unleash a series of melee attacks on it, knocking him unconscious.
They tie up the Ravagon and discuss trying to interrogate it, but the dwarf paladin Virkus brutally executes the captive despite Harrison’s attempted intervention. The group then boards some Russian Army APCs which have arrived to deliver the Storm Knights and the Knights of Dunad into the Blasted Land, continuing their search for Sconce and the Amber Knight in the forbidding wasteland.
XP: 5 (150)
Episode 24 - Crusade of the Dead
Posted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:31 pm
Knights of the Wasteland - Act II
The Blasted Land, Russia
The Knights head into the Blasted Land with their Russian military allies and the Aylish paladins. On the way there, the team experience Torturous Visions of the landscape overrun by shambling, animate undead, a wasteland overtaken by the influence of necromancy. The Russians and the Knights of Dunad all react in fear and dread, straining the short-lived alliance. William helps out the Russians with a speech and some brandy while Olivia and the dwarven Paladin Sir Virkus have a short argument about what the vision was about; Virkus believes it is an omen sent by the Gods of Light about their doomed quest while Olivia is convinced it is merely a potential reality, not a certainty. Virkus and the Russians are particularly suspicious of Harrison but the Storm Knights ultimately convince them to continue on their journey.
The convoy drives on after their unsettling respite, and it arrives in the ruins of a Russian town that has been recently visited by the Amber Knight’s undead force. They investigate the village cemetery, where there are a number of ghuls scavenging around the upturned earth of the local graveyard. There is shattered caravan cart from Aysle among the ruin, and the group finds the severed hand of a gnome bearing a distinctive signet ring. Harrison also recovers a treasure chest from inside of the cart, sneaking back to the line of APCs where the rest of the convoy watches from a safe distance. When Harrison tries to force open the chest, however, it triggers an acid trap which alerts the ghuls. The battle between the surrounded convoy and the ghuls proves costly, with two Russian soldiers and one of the paladins dying in gruesome fashion. The looted chest is left behind in the chaos of escaping from the village.
As they are speeding away from more ghuls aboard their APCs, the convoy is suddenly beset by raiders from the Blasted Lands pursuing them aboard junker cars and utilizing a remotely-controlled flying drone. The Storm Knights are separated from the APC carrying the Aylish knights during the chase scene, but they are able to fight off and lose the marauders despite sustaining some damage to their vehicles. The Aylish group rejoins them on the snowy road after likewise breaking through the wastelander assault.
One of the raiders who attempted to board one of the APCs is captured and when questioned they told the team that they were a Race soldier trying to stop the Russians from running slaves to Tharkold camps. It appears that the Russian authorities in Narva have a deal with the Dukes of the region to deliver Race refugees in secret deliveries across the border into the Blasted Land utilizing Russian APCs like the ones they are also using.
Olivia, Virkus, and Aveda got into another disagreement over cooperating with what they now know are allies of slaving demons, but this time come to an understanding: the knights agree to swear the raider to an oath as a squire of the paladins so that they could be protected from the Russians, and then the zealous Virkus can later deal with the Russians and the slaver convoy once they have finished their quest.
As they are talking this over, booming sounds are heard in the distance coming from a nearby industrial railyard. As the crashing sounds grow louder, the convoy observes a bloodied and terrified gnome running towards them in search of protection. He is Stubs, a representative of a merchant house from Aysle who had sought out the Amber Knight’s cult in a failed attempt to negotiate a business deal. His group’s caravan was the one the party had found back at the village graveyard. Stubs is evasive when the Knights of Dunad ask him about his loyalties, but he does say that before his recent escape he saw the Amber Knight leading his army from the cult’s hideout. He also explains that the frost giant is a cultist called Vanapagan and he now is trying to recover the escaping gnome….
Episode 25 - The Cult of Corba'al
Posted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 5:32 pm
Knights of the Wasteland - Act II (cont'd)
Vanapagan and a trio of necromancers from the Cult of Corba’al come after the frightened gnome and the Storm Knights go to try and hold them at bay. The dark magicians utilize the rusting hulks of the railway cars nearby as cover while Vanapgan strides forth with his club and flings bits of wreckage at the Knights. William pilots one of the three APCs at the giant while Harrison uses the mounted gun to disarm Vanapagan. Olivia and Kash dart around the railyard and flank the necromancers, evading their lightning spells and finishing them off with electro ray bolts and arrows.
William lures the giant into the tighter confines of a nearby building by driving the APC straight into one of its walls. The building is an out-of-commission fur factory that contains the gory remnants of skinned animals (and a few humans) and an altar dedicated to Corba’al. The Knights speed around the cramped interior of the factory floor to evade the frost giant, and they work together to keep Vanapagan at bay. During the pursuit one of the industrial containers holding some preservative chemicals is punctured, spilling the flammable liquid out onto the concrete floor.
Kash shoots a perfectly targeted arrow through Vanapagan’s eye, causing the wounded giant to stumble onto the pooled chemicals, accidentally setting off a chain reaction that sets fire to the factory-temple. Glory near Mshinskaya in the Blasted Land. The heroes escape the conflagration and the frost giant is lost amongst the collapsing, fiery ruin.
While this doesn’t stop the undead army, it fills the region’s Ords with possibility energy and cleanses it of the totemic power of the foul altar.
XP: 5 (155)
Knights of the Wasteland - Act III
In the aftermath of the fight with Vanapagan, the heroes talk with Stubs and discern that his delegation was allied with Uthorion and was hoping to profit by trading Aylish furs with the Amber Knight’s forces. This predictably turned out to be a bad idea, and Stubs is the only survivor of those who were taken prisoner for sacrifices to their Dark God.
As the group is questioning the gnome, they take note of movement near the burning ruin of the fur factory - it turns out to be none other than Dr. Willhelm Sconce, fleeing from the scene and escaping into the nearby treeline.
The team follows Sconce through the woods into what looks like his workshop, an old fallout bunker, where the Knights find notes left in the first room they enter. William examines the clues and deduces his cousin’s sinister plan: to use the Amber Knight’s slaughter of a nearby city to channel occult energies into a nearby tower and flip the region to Orrorsh’s reality - not in fact to Aysle as the Amber Knight and his followers believe. The city in question is Pskov, and it is clearly where the Amber Knight and his massive force of undead are now headed.
They work together to get through traps left behind by Sconce as they continue chasing the mad scientist, running into a woman dressed in a mix of Aylish attire and Core Earth metalhead leathers. She turns out to be ex-Death Metal vocalist Sandra Opik, leader of the Cult of Corba’al that has allied with the Amber Knight. She taunts the Storm Knights about the coming tide of death and destruction, and she summons up some massive one-eyed doomwolves and a few gospogs. Harrison manages to delay her some by telling her about Dr. Sconce’s plan to betray the Dark Lord Uthorion and claim part of the wasteland for Orrorsh, but she launches her attack regardless. The team, with some precise shooting, takes care of the trouble, Harrison throwing the cult leader into a crevasse down below.
They press on through the bunker’s tunnels and approach Sconce’s tower, a pinnacle of concrete rising up out of the blighted wilderness.
Meanwhile, miles to the southwest of their current location, the Amber Knight leads his massed forces of skeletons, spectres, and other unholy abominations toward the unsuspecting walls of Pskov….
Episode 26 - The Battle on the Ice
Posted: Sun Feb 03, 2019 2:27 am
Mshinskaya Bunker, Russia
The Storm Knights get to the tower connected to the Russian bunker system and ascend to its top. Inside Dr. Sconce is found being tortured on a table by Thratchen, a cyberdemon and one of the Duke of Tharkold who claims the Blasted Land as his domain. The Knights prepare for a fight but Thratchen says he’d like to talk instead.
The Tharkold Duke points out that the Knights have only a few allies in the region and will be facing an entire army if they go after the Amber Knight. Thratchen tells the Knights that he’s willing to offer a force of Thrall soldiers to help them stop the ghoulish horde provided they allow the cyberdemon take the city Pskov afterwards. The party reluctantly agrees to accept Thratchen’s offer and arrange to meet him upon the shores of the Lake Peipus near the Estonian border. The demon uses a cybernetic blaster to zap a collector at the top of the tower, effectively disabling Sconce’s device before flying away.
The Storm Knights take the exhausted Sconce into their custody, tying him up and taking him to one of the APCs as a prisoner. William finds more of Sconce’s lab notes and a letter written by the Gaunt Man to congratulate Sconce on his future success. It mentions something called “the Nightmare Court” as being related to his reward for his hard work. Olivia examines the device that Sconce was making, figuring out that the mad scientist was going to channel the death energy from the slaughter of Pskov to transform the nearby landscape. She takes some parts away for later use in her own gizmos and the Knights set the structure aflame.
The team discusses the alliance with Thratchen and agree with the Paladins of Dunad that they cannot trust the demon or let him enslave an entire city. They ultimately decide to turn on the Tharkold force after it has helped them defeat the Amber Knight’s army. To do this, though they will need more comrades.
The group makes a radio call to their Resistance contact in the Ukraine, Cyra, whom they had previously helped escape the stronghold of a cyberdemon. They get her agreement to bring some freedom fighters to them by air, and she mentions that there is a nearby enclave of Race refugees who raid local slaver caravans. These turn out to be the same Marauders that the Storm Knights were pursued by recently. The slavers are working in secret with Irina Simonov, the Mayor of Narva, to supply their Tharkoldu contacts with defenseless and forgotten refugees from the region.
Olivia confronts the four surviving Russian soldiers who came with them from Narva, saying that they have to decide if they are still loyal to Tharkold and Duke Volkov. Due to the World Laws of Tharkold, she is able to bend them to her will and make them her personal guards.
Lake Peipus, Estonian Border
A few hours later the Storm Knights travel to Lake Peipus, a frozen body of water on the Russia-Estonian border that the army of undead is going to soon cross on its way to Pskov. They rendezvous with the Resistance fighters Cyra has brought aboard an Osprey transport and the Marauders who come with several wasteland vehicles. The leader of the Marauders turns out to be the cyborg Shans, who they have met twice previously and under less-than-ideal circumstances. He appears to be badly damaged and accuses the Knights of abandoning him to fight the hunchback monster Golo during their encounter in India. He claims to have defeated Sconce’s former assistant and “stuffed and mounted” the head of the creature. He then turns as if to depart but they call him back.
The heroes and Cyra manage to convince Shans and his Marauders to join up with the other Resistance fighters as their allies in the coming battle.
The Storm Knights lay out their plans for the fight with their lieutenants:
* They will plant explosives near a narrow strait in the middle of the frozen lake.
* The Paladins of Dunad will wait on the eastern bank. Cyra’s Resistance fighters will hold a position to the south. Thratchen’s force, led by a cyberdemon named Dvok, is already waiting on the western bank of the lake.
* The Marauders will drive their wasteland junkers in advance of the Amber Knight’s army, luring them across the lake and into their trap.
* The explosives will be set off and destroy some of the ice behind the army, drowning some of them and trapping the rest.
* The other forces will then surround the undead horde and start cleaving their way toward the Amber Knight.
* The Storm Knights will move in to take out the Amber Knight personally.
* Unbeknownst to the Tharkold contingent, the Knights plan to have some snipers help them take out the cyberdemon.
The massive force of skeletons, wights, spectral knights, and other undead horrors descends upon Lake Peipus, initiating the Battle on the Ice.
As planned, the Marauders race ahead of the army on junkers, with Harrison, Kash and William riding with them and evading some balefire spells flung after them by necromancers. Kash helps guide the friendly forces through the strait where the trap has been set by holding a flare aloft with his tail as he drives a motorcycle across the ice. Olivia creates a device to help lure the undead, but its strong scent of tasty flesh was almost too strong and draws a lot of them to her place on a hillside south of the lake. She and the Russians who had become her followers fight skeletons and a spectral knight on the hill, and she uses her jetpack to evade some of the knight’s attacks.
With the enemy drawn into the trap, the living forces set off their planted explosives and collapse the ice at the rear of the undead horde. This causes many of them to fall into the freezing black water and prevents them from shifting position as the Thralls, Resistance soldiers, and Paladins attack them from all sides.
Spectral Knights inhabiting black armor suits surround the hulking Amber Knight as their main force is decimated by the combined force. The Amber Knight confronts Kash after forcing a brief retreat with his menacing aura, and William, Harrison, and Olivia join him shortly after. The Amber Knight slips and falls into a hole in the ice after a brief flurry of attacks, and the heroes end up on separate ice floes fighting his personal guard. The Amber Knight resurfaces to tear out Harrison’s heart but the Orroshan is able to rend the warlord’s armor and destroy the foul dark heart pulsating in the shell of the golem. The Paladins tell him to preserve the body so they can later attempt to reanimate the former ally of Light. The motley army cheers their victory over the Amber Knight and his undead followers.
Dvok arrives on the scene in person and challenges the Knights as the forces surround the cold hole in the ice. His thralls stand and observe his fight with the Storm Knights, waiting to see how the match goes. The demon is thrown off-balance by Kash who tosses the body of the Amber Knight at him, causing it to sink into the water despite Lady Aveda and Sir Virkus’ protestations. William, wielding his handcrafted handgun and alchemical bullets, shoots the technodemon in the heart and then finishes him with a shot that beheads the staggered Dvok. Glory at Lake Peipus, Russia/Tharkold.
Harrison dives after the remains of the Amber Knight but disconnects as he hits the water and disappears beneath, seeming to join the other undead trapped under the lake. Sergei, the surviving Russian from the four that previously swore loyalty to Olivia, explains that the Lake was the site of a famous battle between Alexander Nyevsky and Teutonic Knights, and it may not be willing to give up the undead who sank into the water.
In the aftermath of the victory, Dr. Sconce is discovered to have hung himself in his captivity, leaving a note that he “goes to a better place”. A perplexed William finds himself in charge of Dvok’s thrall slaves and has to think of what to do with them. Kash prays over the lake with the Paladins on behalf of Lanala, gathers some adherents from the surviving thralls.
The team decides to stay in Tharkold for the time being and see if they can perhaps recover their absent friend, deal with the local slaving ring, and maybe free the region of a stelae ….
XP: 5 (160)
Episode 27 - Dance with the Devil
Posted: Mon Feb 25, 2019 1:11 pm
The Storm Knights are joined by two new heroes - Sigma, an occultech-enhanced freedom fighter, and Sir Oswyn, an Aylish paladin of the Knights of Dunad. They are advised by the Resistance and Delphi Council that the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland is preparing a vote to publicly declare Russia a compromised nation. If they can gather evidence of the complicity of Russian President (and Tharkold Duke) Volkov, it could make a big difference in global response to the cosm.
Determined to expose and break up the slave caravans delivering refugees from Narva into the hands of the Dukes of Tharkold, they target a refueling site used by Thralls of Duke Volkov. Two APCs with a load of captive refugees have stopped there to refuel before heading to a processing facility. The Knights charge in aboard a wasteland junker and quickly take out the Thrall forces, including their leader, a burly thug nicknamed “Americansky”. A handful of Thralls are captured alive and the refugees are given vehicles to get them to safety.
A mutant refugee named Fanya informs the team that she can lead them to the processing facility and that she wants their help rescuing a friend of hers. She claims to have escaped the place before and gives them directions, hopping aboard the APC they have taken for the trip.
The journey takes the Storm Knights into a toxic zone located in the Russian wilderness outside of the ruins of Moscow. The place is a misty and desolate place with a variety of hazards that the group has to navigate through. The APC gets stuck for a moment, and while talking with Fanya, Sigma figures out that the mutant did not escape from the processing facility as she claims but was simply hoping to get the Knights’ help. She explains that she felt guilty for not helping her friend when the Tharkold forces captured her, and she promises to not deceive them any further.
Olivia manages to use the radio to detect where the facility is located, which led the APC to a mono filament fence along with a bunch of repair spiders. The Knights dodge the spiders and end up in a tunnel where they run into a strange Anomaly - a floating bright white ball of energy which momentarily traps them inside of a hallucinatory prison. William determines that it is an illusion, and he and the others break out of the psychic trap after an unknown period of time.
As they recover from the eerie experience, the next wave of security is on them, a group of Ghuls led by a larger “Super Ghul”. The Ghuls surprise the Knights with their sudden appearance and blast up the APC, but the team comes back to take them out, shattering the big Ghul with a combined fusillade. With the immediate threats disposed of, they turn their attention to how to best get into the facility proper.
XP: - (160)