Torg Eternity: Dark Skies

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Episode 32 - Wolf in Sheep's Clothing

Postby mathey » Sun Apr 28, 2019 4:27 pm

Turin, Italy

The Storm Knights are in Turin to meet with Colonel Hastings and talk with him about what he’s learned about the pack of werewolves troubling the region. It is hoped that they can track down Babin the Beast and put an end to his reign of terror in the Cyberpapacy.

Waiting for their appointed time near the local Egyptian Museum, the Knights don’t see any sign of Hastings. Oswyn goes to a confessional booth to look for information, speaking to an AI projection about Cyber Catholicism. He naively signs up for an account and eventually gets himself a free GodNet smartphone.

After a half-hour has passed, the Knights leave to investigate the apartment block where Hastings was staying. They arrive at the place and see Church Police setting up a barricade while they deal with a recently discovered corpse lying on the sidewalk. It is apparently a woman and her body is extremely bloody, showing signs of some sort of animal attack.

William spies some large paw prints leading into an alleyway and deduces that they belong to a werewolf which leapt down from the balcony of Hastings’ apartment room.

Olivia and Sigma investigate the apartment, finding a werewolf hair in the bathroom along with notes about recent wolf attacks happening near the town of Castellamonte. Sigma checks Hastings’ luggage and sees that the hunter has taken his pistol and holster with him, leaving behind a box of some .455 silver bullets.

Hearing sounds of gunfire and screams, the Knights pursue the source of the noise and find the werewolf is still in the immediate vicinity. Racing to get to it before the Church Police reach it, they take a variety of routes to try and catch up to the quick-moving lycanthrope. Oswyn grabs himself a scooter which he speeds through the alleys on while Olivia jets into the sky with her rocket pack. Sigma and William run after them on foot, with Kash taking lower paths and almost slithering across the asphalt and concrete. In the midst of the pursuit, Sigma uses a spell to disguise himself as a streetbeater and misdirects the Cyberpapacy’s officers, sending them to the kiosk where Oswyn earlier registered himself.

Cornering the werewolf down near the Po River, the group surrounds the speedboat it commandeers from a bystander, with Oswyn ramping the scooter off of the bank and onto the back of the boat. William deduces from the monster’s features that it is in fact Colonel Elvin Hastings, transformed by the curse of lycanthropy. They are able to reason with the bestial creature and capture him, using an anchor chain from the speedboat to keep him under control. Piloting the boat away from the scene, they eventually locate a riverside cottage to hide Hastings in. William calls upon an Italian acquaintance of his to come to the small house and keep the transformed monster hunter under lock and key until they can potentially find a way to reverse the curse.

Castellamonte, Italy

Rejoined by Bianca the Corsican witch, who had been waiting in Turin, the Knights then drive their car north toward Castellamonte, the location of the recent rash of wolf attacks. They see that there are Carabinieri checkpoints surrounding the town, so they have Kash examine a 3D map of the region to find another route. He pinpoints a former lumber road used by an inactive lumber yard and they take the worn path to elide the police.

The Knights get to the inn where the Colonel was planning to stay, charging their rooms to his account for the six people. They meet the depressed innkeeper and some Swiss tourists who are also staying at the place.

They move almost immediately to prepare for the hunt: Olivia looks for supplies, William researches the subject, Oswyn tries to find some transportation, Kash goes with Bianca to do some tracking around the nearby Gran Paradiso National Park, and Sigma goes to the local bar.

Kash and Bianca have a long conversation about their respective belief systems, finding parallels between the teachings of Lanala and the Wiccan system Bianca follows. They are not in agreement about how to view death, however, with the witch feeling it is needed component of her practice. The two see tracks that seem to indicate that there are packs of wolves around the Gran Paradiso forest. They eventually also find larger paw prints suggestive of multiple humanoid scale wolf-like creatures which have been coming in and out of the woods. The activity appears to happen mostly at night, and the wolf packs sometimes work in coordination with the werewolves.

William finds some online information about Italian myths and legends related to werewolves, including stories about “the Benandanti”, men and women who supposedly could commune with nature spirits and ride the forms of animals - including wolves. They opposed their enemies, malandanti, evil witches who disturbed the natural order. Historically, those who claimed be members of this “good witch” organization were condemned for heresy by the 16th century Inquisition.

Oswyn rents some off road buggies for the team. While at the rental place he overhears people talking, mentioning that the innkeeper’s teenage daughter was killed by a wolf attack when she foolishly went camping out in the nearby forest with two friends. One other girl was killed and the third is still missing.

Sigma visits the bar and chats with the barkeep about the wolf attacks, claiming that he and his friends are in town to hunt the animals. This raises some suspicions among the other patrons, including a flashy anchorwoman for a tabloid news show and a pushy local punk who threatens him. He stares down the punk unflinchingly, and she leaves, promising to meet him again later. Chatting with the bartender, he learns some more about the tensions in Castellamonte.

Olivia asks at a store about finding wolfs-bane and silver bullets, then gets directed to a Roma camp where a shady guy called “Patchy” sells a range of items, many of which are black market and exotic.

Kash, Bianca, and Olivia arrive at the Romany camp around the same time, finding it to be a fairly rundown location filled with trash and broken down looking RV trailers. Their arrival gets some attention from the inhabitants, who regard with them some suspicion until Olivia asks to talk to Patchy. They are led to Patchy’s trailer by a young Roma woman with several piercings and an American accent. She introduces herself as Ethelinda, and she appears to have an interest in herbs and pagan magic.

Patchy is a salty older Roma who offers to help the Knights get the werewolf-hunting gear they are asking for in exchange for a lot of cash. The team promises to get him the money, and Bianca and Ethelinda seem to bond over their shared Wiccan interests. The punk that Sigma encountered at the bar shows up briefly to report on her encounter to Patchy, but the dealer tells her to leave them alone for the time being. She reluctantly stomps back out to wait outside.

While talking with Patchy about the locals’ suspicions of his people, a window of the trailer suddenly shatters as a Molotov cocktail is flung into it. As the deadly flames of the burning alcohol begin spreading inside Patchy’s trailer, the team hears sounds of a gathered mob of townies flinging more petrol bombs around the camp, shouting epithets at the Romany.

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Episode 33 - Scions of Nature

Postby mathey » Sun May 19, 2019 8:15 pm

Castellamonte, Italy

William and Olivia work to put out the fires started by the masked crowd of rabble in the Romany camp. Sigma, Kash and Oswyn walk out of Patchy’s damaged trailer and frighten members of the mob, causing several to flee the threatening Storm Knights. Others continue to attack with rocks, sticks, clubs and anything else they happen to have at hand, driven by their hatred and fear of the outsiders. Kash eludes their attacks with savage cunning while Sigma simply relies on the resilience of his occultech implants to protect him.

William shoots a water storage tank to flood a burning trailer and put out the flames, but soon finds himself surrounded by a cluster of masked men. The Victorian is badly beaten in the muddy ground, suffering some broken ribs and a shattered arm. Oswyn rushes to aid him, dispatching the assailants with blunt force.

Finding a fire extinguisher, the Weird Scientist sprays down some burning crates and boxes in Patchy’s battered home. As some of the mob breaks into the black marketeer’s trailer, Olivia creates a bright spark with her two ray guns, blinding the men and forcing them to scatter. Wailing sirens announce the arrival of a responding Church Police hovercar, which circles over the scene and tells the Romany camp to disperse. The cops do nothing to stop the mob violence happening below, content to observe and intimidate the outsiders.

Kash and Sigma take down the masked townsfolk who are attacking them, and the Edeinos punctuates his success by flinging an unconscious member of the mob up into the air. The body lands on the hood of the Church Police hovercar, causing the streetbeaters to panic and start firing at the lizardman. Before they can radio for backup, Olivia takes to the air with her jetpack and fries their antennae with a blast of her ray gun. As the damaged police vehicle begins to speed away from the scene, an enraged Bianca summons a fiery spell which destroys it and the two cops inside.

With the mob dispersed and the Romany camp saved from the molotov cocktails, Bianca and the Knights get the Romany set to leave, getting free supplies for their werewolf hunt.

The group discusses William’s findings about local werewolf legends, particularly those associated with the “Good Walkers” or Benandati. Looking for the means to trace the movement of wolves in the Grand Paradiso park, the team finds out about White Wind, a tagged wolf that was being traced by an RFID chip as part of scientific research. The team follows the traces of White Wind’s movements around the park and discover that he is currently located inside the compound of a local cult known as the Followers of Damanhur.

The compound is a large, sprawling complex that is largely built underground and is home to close to a thousand members. The Knights decide to attempt an infiltration of the Damanhur site to investigate further on site, using Kash’s position as a priest of Lanala as a way to gain access. Explaining that his faith shares much in common with the new age principles of the organization, the Edeinos and his “entourage” are welcomed into the Damanhur compound for a tour of the grounds. They meet an Italian woman named Frederica who shows them around, and then speak with the current spiritual leader, a man named Mauro Horvath.

The investigation shows that the cult’s Temple of Humankind has imagery of people being both wolves and human, participating in some communion rituals. The cult seems pleasant and peaceful otherwise, sharing in their well water ritual. It seems as if this place either is or was a cover for Benandanti - but the cult did not mention anything about the previous leader or how the group was before the current leader. The Knights spend the night in the compound as guests of the Damanhur society.

The next day, after noticing movement throughout the night, the team goes to try and investigate the cult’s possible connections to Babin and the werewolves. Oswyn, trying to figure out whether the wolves are werewolves, gets bitten by one of the pet wolves located in an animal pen and is transferred to a medical area to care for him.

Chiara, the tabloid TV anchorwoman Sigma encountered at the local bar, shows up around the same time to do a piece on the cult and its activities. She and her cameraman Zack snoop around the grounds and approach Kash for an interview. Chiara asks some impertinent and pushy questions, implying that the Edeinos’ faith is “savage”. She also presses Olivia, Sigma, and William for details about their lives, causing embarrassment but nothing to break their cover.

Oswyn wakes up from his trip to the recovery room inside of a narrow cell. He is greeted through a video feed by Babin the Beast. Babin decries his former faith in the Cyberpapacy and says that he has now taken over the cult to commune with nature. As Oswyn watches the former Cardinal transforms into a massive black cyber-werewolf. He claims to be Oswyn’s “Alpha” in the werewolf pack despite Oswyn willing himself to not succumb to the curse of lycanthropy.

Outside, William notices that Frederica was showing cat eyes before the rest of the cult move to surround them. His mind flashes back to the reports of a trio of young women who went missing in the forest and he realizes that the scar on Frederica’s shoulder is the likely sign of her being infected with some sort of curse. Chiara and her cameramen head downstairs into the underground part of the compound, presumably to continue their report on Damanhur. The team also realizes that Oswyn is absent.

The gathering of cult members in the courtyard start acting strangely after this and begin to close in around the Knights. As the cult starts to transform into werewolves and other man-beasts, Kash and Sigma together realize the situation later than everyone.

Kash: (Whispering to William) I think they’re werewolves.
Sigma: Oh, that’s why they’re called werewolves!

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Episode 34 - Rite of the Beast

Postby mathey » Thu May 30, 2019 11:37 am

Castellamonte, Italy

Kash, Olivia, Sigma and William are surrounded by werecreatures in the compound’s open-air temple, including a transformed Frederica who has changed into a demi-human lynx monster. The dozen or so beasts descend upon them from all angles, forcing most of them to fight back-to-back in close quarters. The Knights have trouble damaging their enemies, however, due to their lycanthropic resilience.

Kash darts nimbly around the transformed cultists and Sigma utilizes his Tharkold magic to keep them off-balance. Olivia eventually uncorks a bottle of powdered wolfs-bane and launches into the air with her jetpack, dusting a group of enemies with the substance to weaken their supernatural resistance to normal weapons. William uses his Dragon’s Breath alchemical rounds to burn the small cluster of vulnerable monstrosities, but is slashed by another werewolf when his back is turned.

Just as they have started to put a dent in the superior numbers of the were-creatures around them, four monstrous wolves run out of the woods to join the bestial cultists. They begin closing in to continue assaulting the beleaguered Knights, but luckily for the Delphi Council agents their friends Bianca, Ethelinda, and other members of the Romany camp arrive to help. They attack with spells and guns, buying the group an opening to escape and locate Oswyn. The team runs out of the outdoor temple and heads down the steps inside the main building.

The struggle between the werebeasts and the Knights outside matches the struggle going on inside of Oswyn in his small cell. He fights off the effects of the cursed bite he received from one of the wolves on the compound, retaining his humanity.

The Knights hear and see signs of a large convocation happening in the main underground Temple of Humankind, where hundreds of human cult members are witness to a speech being given by “Monsieur Broussard”, a balding middle-aged man who they recognize as the Ex-Cardinal Babin. The event is being broadcast on the GodNet, cutting into the Cyberpapacy’s official stream through some hacked channel.

Searching the hallways for signs of the missing Paladin of Dunad, they discover an infirmary where there are several coffin-like isolation chambers. Inside three of the sarcophagi are the slumbering bodies of Oswyn and the Swiss couple they met at the local inn when they arrived in the village. They deduce that all three are currently inside the GodNet, presumably awaiting transformation into full lycanthropes. While Sigma is familiar with the Grid, a similar virtual reality from Tharkold, none of the team are especially competent with hacking or computers. They decide to utilize some unused GodNet chambers next to the ones housing Oswyn and the tourists, projecting their minds into the local network while trusting Kash to keep an eye on their bodies.

Inside the GodNet, the Knights find the cells holding Oswyn and the tourists, guarded over by some patrolling avatars of intrusion countermeasures. They struggle to find the means to open the virtual doors without alerting the security system, but several alerts go off once they get Oswyn’s door open.

Kash sees the GodNet broadcast where Babin is ranting about the “Scions of Nature” and the false God of the Cyberpapacy. He can see that Mauro Horvath is nearby Babin at the Temple altar, helping to officiate over a gory ceremony involving several cultists devouring the dead body of the TV cameraman that entered the compound with Chiara. The anchorwoman is still alive but handcuffed by the cult and clearly intended to be the next sacrificial victim in the perverse rite. Hundreds of human cult members observe the scene as they kneel in a circle around the central altar.

Deciding that he must intervene to stop the ritual, the Edeinos abandons the other Knights who are still stuck in the GodNet chambers and runs into the Temple of Humankind to attack the cult on his own. Fortunately for the others, a freak upgrade causes the local GodNet to reset and boot everyone out, including the now fully transformed Swiss tourists. Olivia and Oswyn work together to try and get the two werebeasts off of them, luring them out of the infirmary and into the Temple of Humankind. Still only recently turned into monsters, the couple begin to tear into the outer ring of cult members in the large room.

Racing to join the outnumbered Kash in the convocation chamber, the heroes arrive in time to see him getting assailed by numerous human cult members as Babin continues speaking over the GodNet by addressing a nearby floating camera drone. Kash fires an arrow that shatters the drone, interrupting the transmission, and Olivia zaps Horvath as the supposed leader of the cult begins gathering electrical energy for a lightning miracle targeting the Edeinos.

The Storm Knights prepare for their confrontation with Babin the Beast and the most fanatic followers in the corrupted cult….

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Re: Torg Eternity: Dark Skies

Postby Spatula » Thu May 30, 2019 1:04 pm

How did you handle the mechanics of being in the GodNet?

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Re: Torg Eternity: Dark Skies

Postby mathey » Sun Jun 02, 2019 7:27 am

Spatula wrote:How did you handle the mechanics of being in the GodNet?

I didn't make up any GodNet mechanics, really, just used normal stats and assumed the simulation was based on their self-images. They kept wanting to hack virtual controls without having any Computers training, so I let them make a few Intellect rolls at -2 or -4 depending on their Cosm of origin. I think one of them forced a door open with a Strength roll, and had they thought to have the guy with Lockpicking pick a virtual lock I would have let them.

As it was, after a lot of failed rolls, they played the Mandatory Upgrade Cosm card to shut down the GodNet server and let them out.

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Episode 35 - Beast of Waste and Desolation

Postby mathey » Sun Jun 09, 2019 3:21 pm

Castellamonte, Italy

The confrontation in the Temple of Mankind continues, with the heroes facing the sinister Babin, Mauro Horvath, and their deluded and deranged followers.

The Knights focus on stopping Horvath from unleashing his lighting prayer, with William firing a silver bullet into his chest, causing the lightning bolt to crash into the ceiling - dropping the debris on himself. The ostensible cult leader is crushed beneath, removing one more obstacle between the team and defeating Babin the Beast.

Oswyn leaps to the aid of Chiara, the tabloid reporter who was set to be the next sacrifice to Babin’s “Scions of Nature”. He pulls her away from the altar and the half-eaten corpse of her cameraman, leading her through the crowd of cultists and pushing past any who get in his way.

Olivia looks for the Ex-Cardinal’s weak spot, thinking over the clues the team has gathered thus far. She recalls that the cult compound was once home to some virtuous Benandanti, Italian mystics capable of transforming into animals and who fought Malandanti, their dark reflections. She also flashes back to a cultist noting that wine was not allowed on the premises. Spotting an image of a Benandanti figure striking a Malandanti in the chest with a wooden cross, she figures out the monster Babin’s True Death: stabbing a wooden crucifix through Babin’s heart and pouring wine into his mouth in a twist on the ritual of the Catholic communion.

She boosts her jetpack to go on a wine run outside of the compound, since it was banned from the facility. She communicates with Bianca over a Delphi Council commlink, asking the witch for an opening in the continuing fight going on upstairs. She comes back in less than a minute after finding a bottle of Red and a bottle of White from a local Castellamonte convenience store.

Babin transforms into his cyber-werewolf form, a massive and terrifying monster who lets out a powerful howl. This throws the Knights into confusion for a panicked moment, and Oswyn drops his weapon and makes for the exit before recovering his senses and returning to the battle. The werewolves and Babin scrap with the other Knights, unleashing feral attacks to slash and cut bloody wounds on Kash, William, Oswyn and Sigma.

A badly injured William keeps his distance and focuses on fast-loading his monster hunter gun with a variety of alchemical rounds and silver bullets, taking down one of the two werewolves assailing him with a shot to the heart.

Oswyn leaps to the Gaean’s defense and helps keep the lycanthropes at bay, also suffering some injuries at their claws. Sigma gets in close with the monsters and fires his Webley revolver under the chin of this other half of the transformed couple, blasting a silver bullet into its brain and ending its torment.

The Storm Knights stay standing through gritty determination and inspiring one another to stay up. With only Babin remaining, the Knights work together on taking their enemy down. Olivia tosses a sparking ray gun at the master wolf, blinding it with a flash of Eternium-powered electricity. Kash quickly makes a small wooden cross with a thong of leather and two of his bow’s arrows. Sigma uses his occultech powers to weaken Babin further, providing an opening.

Oswyn jams an arrow-cross into Babin’s chest and the others pummel him to knock him out so Olivia can force the wine down his throat. Bianca shows up to see Babin’s final death as he tries to thrash out at Olivia and vomits up blood and wine. Bianca lights the body on fire as one final act of insurance.

The Church Police try to lock down the ensuing panic, but the Romani, the Resistance and the Knights get away by scattering into the woods of the Gran Paradiso Park.

The team eventually makes its way back to the cabin outside of Turin where William’s friend is still guarding over Colonel Hastings. The team finds out that Hastings remains infected even after Babin’s death, disproving their theory that he could be cured by killing the chief werewolf. The group decides to send their friend to Aysle to see if their magic rituals can cure him.

The Cyberpapacy increases their grip on northern Italy through the fear caused by Babin’s short transmission, raising the spectre of heretical cults as a threat to the local population. Thanks to the Knight’s efforts, however, the people there should at least be safe from werewolves.

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Episode 36 - Crime City

Postby mathey » Sun Jun 30, 2019 10:43 am

The Fires of Ra - Act I

Rome, Italy

The Storm Knights are summoned to Rome to speak with a Delphi Council agent codenamed “SNOWFLAKE”. The meeting takes a secret base located underneath a local cafe tucked away in a side street of the Italian capital. SNOWFLAKE shares a piece of intel acquired from an operative in the Nile Empire, a decrypted telegram intended for the Pharaoh himself. The message is short but suggests that agents of Mobius are going to Venice to acquire something from the Museo Dell’Antico which relates to another object known as the “Eye of Sobek.” The Council wants the team to go there and interfere with the Nile plot.

Venice, Italy

Olivia, Kash, William, Sigma and Oswyn travel to Venice that night and sneak onto the rooftop of the museum. Peering down through a skylight they see signs of security devices such as lasers and cameras. Sigma uses an occultech spell on the cameras and Kash helps guide them on an aerial route utilizing some ancient Roman statues that bypasses the laser-grid covering the floor. Passing through the first exhibit hall, they locate the Egyptian display and and sneak it.

Before they can begin examining the assorted relics an explosion announces the arrival of the masked Nile villain known as the Hooded Cobra, accompanied through the smoking hole in the wall by a squadron of shocktroopers. Caught in the open, the Storm Knights come under submachine gun fire while the Cobra searches for something among the display cases. The heroes respond with attacks of their own, speedily winnowing the enemy numbers with arrows, bullets, and ray gun blasts. Oswyn moves to engage the Cobra in close combat, pinning the villain’s distinctive hood to the wall with his sword.

Responding to Hooded Cobra’s call for aid, a batch of reinforcements comes rappelling down through a shattered skylight, and a large (elite) shocktrooper goes to help free the masked marauder from his predicament. The fresh squad of goons are soon taken down by the heroes, but they buy the villains some time. Freed from Oswyn’s blade, Hooded Cobra smashes a case and grabs a canopic jar with the head of the Egyptian deity Anubis. He departs for a waiting speed boat moored at the canal outside, joined by a handful of surviving shocktroopers.

The Knights leap into an unoccupied motorboat and give chase, speeding through the twisting canals of Venice in pursuit of Hooded Cobra and his thugs. Kash nimbly steers the boat at high speed and brings it close to the boat Cobra is riding in. Oswyn leaps across to engage the villain in close combat and knock the jar out of his grip. A shocktrooper flings grenades out of the back of another boat, nearly hitting the Knight’s vehicle until he is dispatched.

Seeing that the Storm Knights have the upper hand (and the jar), the Hooded Cobra radios for help and a helicopter comes into view, hovering over his boat and dropping a rope ladder. The villain escapes up the ladder, shouting that he will have his revenge before joining a woman in a red evening dress in the canopy of the copter. The Knights turn to questioning the oversized shocktrooper who was piloting the other enemy motorboat and who clearly feels abandoned by his superior.

Interrogating the shocktrooper, who says his designation is #106, the team learns that the Cobra is seeking for a rare artifact that is expected to be in a canopic jar like the one they now hold. #106 says with some contempt that Hooded Cobra believes he can use the item to raise himself up to a level comparable to his beloved Pharoah. Examining the inside of the jar they took from Cobra, Olivia finds that it only contains the dusty remnant of a mummy’s organs. Clearly, the real jar with the relic that the Nile Empire wants is somewhere else. The Knights decide to be merciful to the embittered shocktrooper, telling their bosses to arrange for a slow boat to take him back to Egypt after they have departed.

After checking in with SNOWFLAKE, the team decides to contact Shafira Azar, an underground reporter based out of Cairo. According to the Delphi Council, she has some leads that can aid their mission.

Cairo, Egypt

The Knights travel to Cairo and head to a shadier part of town to visit a gin-joint called “Mick’s” where they expect to meet up with Shafira. The group has dressed themselves in Nile-appropriate attire and concealed their weapons in a variety of suitcases and overcoats. They give the password at the speakeasy’s door and the bouncer grants them entry into the smoky bar. Splitting up to cover more ground, they snoop around Mick’s in search of Shafira, seeing no sign of their contact.

Shortly thereafter, they overhear a loud group of hoodlums talking openly about a lady reporter getting nabbed by somebody named “Professor Plasmo”. It appears they helped grab Shafira for this person due to an old grudge of his. Olivia recognizes the name as that of a mad scientist from Terra, and she goes to the gangsters’ table to try and introduce herself. Claiming to be an associate of Plasmo’s, she is invited to sit and chat by the head criminal, “Scars”. As they are conversing, a group of men in fedoras and trench coats walk downstairs into the bar and fan out near Scars’ table. The men suddenly reveal that they have Tommy guns slung under their coats and fire .45 ACP bursts at the mobsters Olivia is now seated with!

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Episode 37 - The Jar Game

Postby mathey » Sun Jul 07, 2019 3:58 am

The Fires of Ra - Act I (Continued)

Cairo, Egypt

The Hajjar enforcers firing on Scars’ table take out all of his lackies, leaving only Ghanem and Olivia alive in the booth. The other heroes spring into action and close in behind the shooters, with Sigma and Kash intimidating them with displays of claws. The small group of mobsters are overwhelmed by the party and forced into flight before they can do more damage to Mick’s. Scars is appropriately grateful, and, still believing Olivia and her cohorts to be friends of Professor Plasmo, he informs them that Shafira was taken by the mad scientist to the rotating restaurant on Cairo Tower. The place is on the center of Zamalek Island, an upscale part of the city.

When the Storm Knights get to the skyscraper and ascend to its rooftop, they see Shafira tied to a spire at the very top of the restaurant’s observation deck, with no less than twelve sticks of dynamite strapped to her. Wiring leads from the captive reporter to a hatch on the floor of the deck, but the way down is guarded by a large number of humanoid weird science robots. These are the Plasmo-Bots of the nefarious Professor, who taunts, goads, and otherwise annoys the heroes while flying on his own jetpack. The Professor’s dubious science and insane comments gain him a few wry comments from the heroes in return as they work on taking out his minions.

The team uses their superior maneuvering and reasoning skills to outmaneuver the Plasmo-Bots, who prove quite resilient to bullets even when shot in their dome. Several of the robots are so confused or off-balance that they topple over the ledge of the rooftop, falling hundreds of feet to the Cairo pavement below.

Olivia descends into the inner workings of the rotating platform to seek out the means to disarm the bomb. She is followed by some robots but eludes them while looking for the real trigger amidst a group of decoys. William sees that there is a switch is about to be activated by the turning motion of the restaurant, and she goes to a triggering device and turns it off.

Seeing that Oswyn seems smitten by the damsel-in-distress, Plasmo informs him that even if the bomb on her chest is disarmed, he has a device he calls an “Atomizer” that will reduce the journalist to ash with the mere press of a button. Oswyn takes quick action to use his sword to disarm the scientist of this gizmo, preventing any further risk to Shafira.

Pretending that she has an item that draws Professor Plasmo’s interest, Olivia leads him on a merry rocket pack chase over the rooftops of Cairo. She is eventually able to lose the villain and reports this back to the others. Shafira thanks them for the rescue and takes them to the secret location of the Cairo Clarion’s offices under a local laundry.

At the Clarion, the Knights meet Shafira’s boss, Suleman Hassain, and talk with her about Hooded Cobra and the canopic jars he is seeking. According to Shafira’s sources, Cobra is now the head of a team of Nile villains that call themselves The Retribution League, a group which includes the woman they saw with him in Venice, Lady Hourglass. The Hooded Cobra and his comrades are looking for a particular canopic jar taken from a dig site in the Sahara, one of four which were sent to a Cairo-based auction house. One jar ended up at the Venice museum, another was taken by the auction dealer himself, and the other two are at the studios of Osiris Pictures in “Dreamland”, a sort of Nile Empire version of Hollywood across the Giza Plateau. The jar they found in Venice was empty, as was the one that Cobra stole from the dealer, so the Knights deduce that the last two should be at the movie lot.

While she is not certain precisely what makes the jars so important, she believes one of them contains a rare relic from the Egypt That Never Was, an alternate timeline of mythic history whose ruins have been appearing around the Nile Empire. She mentions that she has contact near the dig site where the jars were originally found, at a town in a Saharan oasis. Olivia notes that they’ve already learned from shocktrooper #106 that one of the four jars contains something called a was sceptre, a device used by ancient architects to open and close doors.

Oswyn speaks to Shafira about earning her favor, which she is initially confused by until an amused Suleman explains. Embarrassed by the romantic appeals of the paladin, she offers him her handkerchief, which he then ties to the hilt of his sword. The Knights can hear the Clarion staff gossiping about Shafira’s new suitor as they depart for Dreamland.

The team reaches the gated communities and studio lots that make up the Egyptian movie district, scouting out the walls surrounding Oasis Studios. Speaking with the security guard at the entrance, William concocts a lie that he is a movie makeup expert escorting an actor in extensive edeinos makeup (Kash) to his set. His story is believed and he gains entry and visitor badges for the party. The group hustles to the set of the latest epic of local film star Sahir Faisal, where they believe the jars to be located.

When they check out the massive sound stage containing several sets for the movie, the group locates one of the canopic jars in a mockup of an Egyptian tomb. Looking inside, they see that it only contains some dusty mummy remnants of no value. Kash notes that there is a message pinned to Mr. Faisal’s dressing room admonishing the star for taking the other jar from the set and to his newly opened nightclub in downtown Cairo.

Before they can take advantage of this new development, a group of loud men approaches, composed of a portly studio executive, a squadron of Nile shocktroopers, and the Russian-accented Nile villain known as Bare-Knuckle Branko. Olivia recognizes Branko as a super-strong but also rather stupid enforcer who is likely working with the Retribution League. Taking up hiding places among the sets and bits of scenery, the Storm Knights enact an expert ambush that disposes of the shocktroopers with Branko.

Olivia uses some quick wordplay to completely confuse the slow-witted Branko, and Oswyn adds insult to injury when he cuts the villain’s belt, causing his belt to fall and reveal some boxing bell-decorated boxers. Branko is ultimately made to believe that the jars are at another location entirely, and he and the sole standing shocktrooper (who is aghast at the villain’s ineptitude) depart the scene.

Olivia makes a quick call to Nina, a friend of hers who is a skilled pilot. The fellow adventurer picks up some of the party in her personal auto gyro aeroplane, and the remainder of the Knights take the car Shafira loaned them to the location of Faisal’s swinging hot-spot, The Anubis Club.

The Club is located in the ritzy Cairo neighborhood known as Heliopolis, and well-heeled socialites are turning out in droves to visit the place. Realizing that the club has a strict dress code, the team puts on some tuxes and evening gowns before entering, with Kash sporting a minimalist bow tie outfit. They leave their heavier and more obvious gear behind, concealing a few smaller weapons on their persons as they get past the doorman.

The joint is filled with Cairo’s elite enjoying some big band songs while sipping cocktails and taking in the nightlife. Not long after they start looking around the bar and dance floor for signs of Faisal or the jar, a sultry woman in a black dress steps up to the spotlight on the main stage to croon a torch song for the crowd. This is Cleopatra, a local singing star and the night’s main attraction.

While Cleopatra continues performing, the Knights espy Sahir Faisal leaving a doorway in the rear of the club, accompanied by a woman they immediately recognize as Lady Hourglass. She is carrying the last canopic jar and on her way out of the club. Suddenly, a crowd of uniformed shocktroopers burst into the room and take over the stage, and the Hooded Cobra takes Cleopatra hostage with a raygun pressed to her temple. The villain keeps the songstress in front of him and shouts for Hourglass to toss him the jar. The heroes prepare to intercept it and rescue yet another captive woman...

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Episode 38 - The Key to the Tomb

Postby mathey » Mon Jul 22, 2019 3:09 pm

The Fires of Ra - Act I (Continued)

Cairo, Egypt

Lady Hourglass holds the last of the four canopic jars taken from the tomb complex of Abkhemurna. The Storm Knights advance on her to take it for themselves, but the villain tosses it toward the Hooded Cobra - and the invaluable piece of pottery is bobbled mid-air and lands on the dance floor. As the vessel rolls under a nearby table, Hourglass and an elite member of the shocktrooper squad chase after it, followed closely by the heroes. The Hooded Cobra keeps his ray gun on Cleopatra on the main stage, and the cohort of Nile soldiers open fire on the Knights.

Chaos reigns in the joint as panicked patrons and staff scatter from the MP-40 gun play. Lady Hourglass locks eyes with Olivia, calling her by name to stare into her distinctive monocle. The weird science hero is caught in the thrall of the villain’s hypnotic spell, and she directs Sparks to toss chairs into the paths of her fellow adventurers. The Knights evade the obstacles but also have to take cover from the shocktrooper’s submachine guns. Kash makes the progress toward the table where the jar has ended up, but the elite shocktrooper gets closer, flinging the table aside.

Pulling out the pain lash he acquired in Tharkold, Oswyn whips a chandelier and swings up to the stage, swooping in to nab Cleopatra and free her from Hooded Cobra’s grasp. The angered Cobra orders his minions to shoot at the chandelier, and the light fixture comes crashing down. Cleopatra is able to run for the exit before the lights crash onto the dance floor, and Oswyn rolls aside before they hit him.

A crowd of chorus girls rush out from the backstage area to flood the dance floor in an attempt to flee the club, getting between both bad guys and good guys in the process. A particularly vocal showgirl clings to William, screaming into his face as he uses a pillar to defend himself from Imperial bullets and tries to sort out a strategy. Sigma yells at him to “stop flirting” while he and the chorus girl grapple and she tries to clamber onto the vampyre hunter’s shoulders.

Olivia is commanded by Hourglass to fire her ray pistol at Kash, and she ends up expending all of the power of the weapon as she holds down the trigger trying to catch up with the nimble edeinos. She finally breaks free of the spell of the pulp power shortly after this, and she directs her fellows to target the villain’s monocle. Sigma uses his occultech implants to create some of the most unflattering lights to diminish Lady Hourglass’ charms, then closes in to engage the villain in close combat. He lands a punch that knocks the monocle from her eye, and a passing chorus girl inadvertently crushes it beneath her heel.

Raging at the impudence of the Tharkold cyborg, Hourglass directs the big elite trooper to deal with Sigma. The thug complies, grabbing the Storm Knight and unleashing a flurry of punches that cracks Sigma’s face-plate, spilling some odd fluid onto the shocktrooper’s fist. He then reaches to a nearby dinner table and lifts a swordfish, stabbing it at the freedom fighter’s shoulder. The sharp nose of the fish pierces Sigma’s armor and ends up going clean through the other side, cutting into Olivia’s back.

Hourglass is still able to wield her mind control power, however, and while Sigma’s spell and the loss of her monocle have weakened her, she successfully makes Kash her thrall for a short period. Kash breaks free of her sway when she tries to make him attack an ally, and he continues his pursuit of the jar. Olivia cooks up a gizmo in the form of an ink substance that she sprays into Hourglass’ already mussed-up face, finally putting a stop to her hypnotic powers.

Deciding to leave the scene with a new hostage, the Hooded Cobra has his thugs grab the chorine who had just been hiding with William. The villain and shocktroopers take the screaming captive out of the club and into a waiting Rolls-Royce Silver Phantom. Oswyn chases after them, taking a Nile Empire motorcycle and sidecar that is parked close by.

Kash and Oswyn make for the bar where the jar was just located, but the cowering bartender behind the counter flings the urn away from himself, causing it to neatly land in an ice bucket on one of the guest tables. William sees this and grabs a worthless vase that looks convincingly similar to the relic. Swapping the two he is able to trick the elite shocktrooper into taking the vase as his prize while he holds onto the real canopic jar. With what they believe is their goal in hand, Hourglass and the elite soldier retreat from the scene.

Meanwhile, Oswyn pursues the Imperial baddies through some alleyways that empty out into the busy Heliopolis streets. Following the Hooded Cobra’s Phantom into oncoming traffic, Oswyn is forced to swerve to avoid a commuter’s sedan. The action causes the sidecar to detach from the side of his cycle, turning it into an unmanned wheeled torpedo that crosses the intersection at high speed. The sidecar smashes into Cobra’s car, causing him to lose control and crash into a storefront. With the villain and his goons knocked unconscious in the wreck, the Paladin of Dunad swoops in to take the fainted chorus girl to safety.

William and the others at the club open the jar and find a golden scepter with an inset gem inside, clearly an ancient and valuable relic. It is suspected to be the was scepter that Hooded Cobra hoped to locate.

Having duped the Retribution League once more, the Storm Knights return to the offices of the Cairo Clarion to recover from injuries and plan their next move. William and Kash use their medical and spiritual abilities to help heal their comrades, though Sigma still bears some bruises from his encounter with the elite shocktrooper. The chorus girl - who is named Kamilah - rests on a cot in Sulemain’s office while Shafira tells them some new information she’s managed to uncover during their chase around the city.

Apparently the tomb complex in the Sahara is dedicated to a pharaoh of the Egypt That Never Was named Nefru-Khem-Un. He was a priest who overthrew the sitting pharaoh by utilizing a devastating gem of unknown origins. This infamous pretender to the throne has a burial complex called Abkhemurna, located near the Sahara oasis town of Abu Minqar. The Nile Empire was digging there when the four canopic jars were found and the was scepter subsequently slipped through their grasp.

Olivia and Shafira both know of a black marketeer located in Abu Minqar, a settlement located a short distance from the Abkhemurna dig site. His name is Abdul, and while he has a shady reputation he could prove invaluable in getting them close to the tomb.

Now that they have the was scepter, however, the Storm Knights could potentially use it’s Amaatist power to open the tomb of Nefru-Khem-Un and discover what Hooded Cobra and the Nile Empire are searching for. Doing so could secure valuable treasure for the Delphi Council and deny the forces of evil the “Eye of Sobek”.

The team reports to the Council and begins making preparations to depart for the Sahara desert….

XP: 5 (190)

The Fires of Ra - Act II

Abu Minqar, Egypt

The team of Storm Knights travels into the Western Sahara and meets with the Bedouin nomad Bahira, an old associate of William’s. Bahira introduces the team to her fellow tribesmen, including her lieutenant Khaled. The robed desert dwellers are riding camels and horses, and are armed with jezail rifles and swords. They help get the expedition to their destination, the oasis town of Abu Minqar, a settlement composed of white sandstone buildings and a souk market.

Bahira and the nomads wait outside of the oasis, telling the heroes that they will answer a signal flare when their assistance is needed. It is agreed that the Bedouins will assault the Nile archaeological camp in order to provide the Knights with a distraction. This should give them the chance they need to use the was scepter on the tomb. While they are planning, Oswyn says something chauvinistic to Shafira, earning him the cold shoulder as a result.

The Storm Knights and Shafira head into town, and the group does their best to blend in. They see the locals going to and from their work, and avoid drawing the notice of the Nile Empire shocktroopers who can be seen strutting around the town in small patrols. Olivia and Shafira find their mutual contact, Abdul, who runs a concealed black market shop in the souk. The chubby merchant of death is eager to help the Storm Knights, telling them a little about the dig site outside of town. According to Abdul, the tomb complex of Abkhemurna is overseen by a full company of Nile soldiers, and the place is often visited by members of the Retribution League.

As they are talking, Oswyn decides that he will leave the shop and go out into the marketplace at large. He is still trying to win Shafira’s heart, and apparently believes he can achieve this by picking up a stringed instrument like a medieval lute. He ends up buying a local equivalent from a musician’s stall, but gets distracted when he witnesses two shocktroopers roughing up a local beggar. The swaggering bullies go on to extort some money from the shopkeepers, but when they come to the musician’s shop, the Paladin bashes them over the head with a large basket. The shopkeepers hide the two unconscious troopers’ bodies, and Oswyn is gifted an old Oud that once belonged to the musician’s uncle. Grabbing some of the gear from the incapacitated Imperial soldiers, Oswyn makes his way back to the others.

Continuing his talk with the other Knights, Abdul describes the pulp villains from the Retribution League, including Hooded Cobra, Lady Hourglass, Brick Knuckle Branko, all of whom the team has encountered already. He also tells them about Green Dragon (a transformed edeinos martial artist), Mirage (a beautiful but cold woman of mystery), and Grand Ciacada (a former burglar who uses a flying harness). Olivia talks with him about Jakob and Sybil Burkhaulter, the twin children of the same Dr. Burkhaulter who William, Harrison and Kash encountered at a weird science facility. Abdul says the twins are looking for Olivia and the rest of the Sparks family, a result of the rivalry between the two clans of scientists. Abdul offers condolences on the demise of Olivia’s father, and mentions that the elder Burkhaulter may or may not still be alive. Kash informs the others that the madman was responsible for killing his tribe and trying to use their disembodied brains in the chassis of robot machines. He, like Olivia, has reasons to hope he did not survive the attack on the weird science lab.

The team sorts through the crates of weapons that Abdul keeps in his secret store, and they acquire a range of ammunition, KK08 pistols, and various grenades. Sigma picks up a M1918 Browning Automatic Rifle for himself. They also get Abdul to deliver an Aaki transport truck they can drive around the Abkhemurna camp.

Prepped for the next step of the mission, Sigma uses a Tharkold spell to disguise himself as a generic Nile shocktrooper, and William dresses in a stolen uniform as well. They drive the Aaki out of the town and into the dig site, bypassing the guards they encounter along the way. The rest of the party (and Shafira) hide out in the canvas-covered bed of the truck, waiting for their cue to move out. The group can see local laborers slaving away in the hot desert sun, often under the whips wielded by the many shocktroopers watching over them.

Driving up to the main temple structure rising above the rest of the dig, Sigma and William encounter a shocktrooper officer who questions them about their business there. She is mollified by their answers but orders them out of the truck to join her squad in cleaning their weapons. While the duo do their best to appease the officer’s demands, Kash can feel the was scepter vibrating slightly due to its proximity to the door it is keyed to.

After some debate over what to do next, Olivia sneaks out of the back of the truck. William sees her skulking around the truck and pretends to accidentally stumble, causing a stack of cleaned weapons to fall over. While the officer is chewing him out for his perceived incompetence, Olivia is able to get out of sight and fire the flare gun to signal Bahira and her dozens of nomad cavalry.

The fifty-odd Bedouin storm down from their hiding place in a thunderous gallop, charging the surprised Imperial camp in force. While the officer and her squad turn away from the parked Aaki, the party gathers together by the door Kash has identified as the way in. Wielding the was scepter and willing the door to open, Kash causes the stone slabs to rise up in a shower of sand and dust, revealing the passage into the Temple of the Eye.

Once Shafira and the other Knights are all through the doorway, they decide to shut it behind them to prevent anyone following them inside. On the walls of the tomb they see hieroglyphs depicting the rise of the priest-turned-ruler Nefru-Khem-Un, who wields a destructive red gem that destroys his enemies. The images of bodies are mirrored by the presence of actual skeletons littering the floor, covered in dust and cobwebs. The heroes descend a ramp further into the darkness of the Temple of the Eye….

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Episode 39: Swallowed By Sand

Postby mathey » Mon Aug 05, 2019 7:35 pm

The Fires of Ra - Act II (Continued)


Abu Minqar, Egypt

Descending into a large chamber in the Temple, the heroes see statues of Nefru-Khem-Un and a tiled floor leading to a raised plinth. Atop the plinth is a red gem and on the wall behind it there are other gems near hieroglyphic images. The tiles on the floor display the same symbols in what at first appears to be a random pattern.

Oswyn walks briskly up to the edge of the tiled section but William can see that the chamber has a concealed deathtrap and stops the knight from proceeding. Sigma comments on the similarity of the situation to a film, which Kash also recognizes. William is annoyed by the comments, saying that it would not make sense for the tomb to function like something out of an old adventure film. Olivia spends some time closely examining the symbols on the back wall and the pattern of the tiles on the ground.
After putting some clues together, William determines which of the tiles closest to the group is not trapped, and Olivia is then able to work out a safe path to take. Kash volunteers to walk the route, and after he successfully crosses the chamber unharmed, the others follow the same path and make it to the dais with the plinth.

The Storm Knights quickly see that the red gem is only made of colored glass, and they attempt to lift it and find that it is actually a button. Pressing it down, they see a secret door opening nearby, showing a shadowy passage leading further downward. They walk down into the next chamber and find that it is a dusty and cobwebbed room with sarcophagi and stone tables. The tables have some strange tools scattered on them. Across from the entrance is a barely raised stone block which appears to be the way out.

As they move through the chalky chamber, the coffins burst open and a shambling group of five figures wrapped in ancient bandages emerge. The slow-moving but menacing mummies close in on the party, causing Shafira to panic. The team responds with gunfire and sword strikes, and Sigma seems to savor the savage joy of destroying several with bursts from his BAR. Oswyn hacks away at a mummy far from his pledged love person, Shafira. William drops one of his alchemical bullets in the midst of reloading and firing on a close-by mummy, but manages to put a big hole in it with another round.

Kash calls on Lanala to try and ward off the undead foes, but some of them get close enough to attack. Shafira’s shoulder is painfully dislocated by one of the lumbering mummies, causing Oswyn to retreat from his place at the front of the line and help defend her. He cleaves the undead creature that hurt Shafira in half, leaving behind dust and bandages. Olivia blasts another into oblivion with her ray pistol.

The group finish off the creeping monsters at last, and are able to move toward the slightly opened stone door. Oswyn summons his strength and hefts the stone upward, allowing the group to move through without having to crawl. William and Kash tend to Shafira and pop the reporter’s shoulder back in place.

Looking carefully into the next passage, Oswyn sees no sign of trouble...and steps on a trigger plate which activates a variety of whirling, spinning, and scything blades that pop out of the floor and walls. Olivia takes a quick moment to wedge a tool into the plate and deactivate the traps, allowing the Knights to continue into the next room.

This chamber is decorated by some sandstone statues of the Egyptian pantheon grinning sinisterly at the visitors. The way further on is currently blocked by a round stone door that bears some sort of dial mechanism. As Olivia and Shafira examine the cartouches and hieroglyphs on the walls for clues, a stone slab slams down behind William and Sigma. The vampyre hunter and cyborg hop further into the room to avoid getting hit by the door, but now the whole party is trapped inside. Sand begins to sift into the room from some vents in the ceiling, rapidly filling the locked chamber with gravel.

William keeps his cool and sees that the dial set inside of the round door has several hieroglyphs on it. Shafira makes the suggestion that they need to turn the dial to the symbols representing the name of Nefru-Khem-Un. Oswyn pushes through the thigh-high sand and begins turning the dial as directed by William. Once the proper emblems are selected and Kash pulls the recessed lever, the Maat mechanism unlocks the door and allows the heroes to escape being buried alive.

At long last, the Storm Knights enter the last room of the Temple, a high ceiling room with pillars and a raised walkway. The walkway leads to the real Eye of Sobek, a coruscating red gem with many facets and an inner light. Below the elevated path there is a constant swarm of scarabs that crawl all over the lower level. Olivia rockets across the walkway with her jetpack and grabs the Eye. This act causes the pillars in the chamber to begin toppling, and it becomes immediately clear that the entire structure of the Temple is collapsing.

Racing out of the crypt with the powerful relic in Olivia’s hand, the party passes back through the rooms they have already overcome, reaching the closed exit. They wield the was sceptre to open the way out....and come face-to-face with Hooded Cobra and a small army of readied shocktroopers pointing their submachine guns.

The group talks with the masked villain, and he demands that they hand over the Eye lest he give the order to open fire. Olivia tells her fellow adventurers to relax and go along with her in surrendering to the Cobra; things like this happen all the time in the Nile Empire. The Cobra gloats over his success in stealing the Eye of Sobek, and leads the captives to an officer’s tent. The heroes are disarmed and tied together on a large free-standing pillar. The villain cackles madly and takes his leave of the prisoners.

As the bound-and-gagged Knights begin brainstorming ways out of their predicament, a hooded interloper creeps in and knocks out the single shocktrooper guarding them. Removing her head wrap, the stranger reveals her identity as the dark avenger known as The Raven. Olivia recognizes her immediately and they share greetings before moving onto the business of escaping. The Raven explains that the Mystery Men want to help the heroes recover the Eye from the Hooded Cobra, saying that the scoundrel is headed for Thebes aboard an Imperial armored train. She says she’ll provide them with a distraction to aid their escape. She also gives them a way to contact the Mystery Men - a wooden coin to use at a phone booth in Terminal 3 at Cairo’s Ramses Station.

Recovering their equipment from a nearby chest, the team of heroes sneak over to a motor pool and steal a jeep and motorcycle to chase after Cobra and the powerful gem. The Raven delivers on her promise for a distraction by causing a dramatic explosion in the camp’s fuel depot, drawing away some of the company of shocktroopers. As they speed down from the dig site and toward the train, however, several Nile army vehicles follow them.

Swerving down the narrow dirt road leading away from the camp, Sigma drives the jeep bearing most of the team and Oswyn drives the motorcycle, with Olivia in his sidecar. Wielding a .30 machine gun mounted onto their jeep, Kash begins firing on the chasing Aaki transport truck, ripping many holes into its cab and engine block. The truck spouts smoke but continues its pursuit, with an elite shocktrooper passing the wheel to a passenger. The elite soldier positions himself on the side of the cab and then leaps onto the Knight’s jeep, landing on a canvas tarp covering the light military vehicle.

Bullets fired by passengers on the shocktroopers’ truck and jeeps whiz all around the heroes as they speed along, narrowly missing them. Maneuvering past some dry riverbeds the line of chasing vehicles end up passing into an orchard outside of the oasis town. Sigma sees a herd of goats being shepherded across the road in front of him and does not slow down, hitting one of the pack and causing its body to crack the jeep’s windshield. The scattering, panicked goats create obstacles for the other vehicles, and after Olivia adds some jetpack smoke to the equation, the four motorcycles end up crashing into tree limbs and arroyos as they fail to navigate the orchard.

Kash finishes off the engine block of the big transport with another long burst from the machine gun, causing its cab to suddenly explode and send bodies of shocktroopers flying into the air. William grabs a bloody horn left on the dash by the dead goat and then tosses it at a nearby desert boulder, causing it to roll down a slope and slam into the front end of a shocktrooper jeep. As the number of pursuers dwindles, the Knights manage to get the elite shocktrooper atop their jeep to fall off, but another soldier tries to jump aboard and ends up dangling from the rear bumper. He is eventually made to let go by a splash of water from someone’s canteen.

Arriving in Abu Minqar’s narrow streets, the motorcycle and jeep split up, taking shortcuts that end up leading the last two shocktrooper cars into a dead end alley. Oswyn drives the motorcycle over a small bridge that takes it to the front end of the train where the engine is located. As he and Olivia prepare to board the locomotive, Sigma and the others pull up behind the caboose of the Imperial train. A mounted machine gun nest atop a passenger car swings its weapon toward the Storm Knights as they start boarding….

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