Torg Eternity: Dragon Squad

mathey
Posts: 142
Joined: Sun Jul 23, 2017 12:18 am

Torg Eternity: Dragon Squad

Postby mathey » Thu Dec 12, 2019 1:37 am

This is a thread for posting recaps of our new Torg Eternity campaign "Dragon Squad".

DRAGON SQUAD

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The Storm Knights


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Pavel
Core Earth
An international art thief looking into his sister’s involvement with mysterious conspiracy, at British museum to steal something for a contact.
Campaign Goal: Reconcile with his sister
Motivation: To make up for his past
Arc Goal: Figure out what’s going on

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Black Falcon
Nile Empire (Transformed)
An enigmatic masked avenger from the Nile Empire investigating the secret cult of Apep and its ties to a larger conspiracy.
Campaign Goal: Destroy Cult of Apep
Motivation: Avenge his father and other victims of a bombing meant to kill him
Arc Goal: Learn who is behind the ouroboros symbol he has discovered

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Johnny Tso
Core Earth
A police inspector from the Kowloon district of Hong Kong tracking the mysterious corporate patron of Asian gangs.
Campaign Goal: Uphold the Law
Motivation: Live up to his mentor Wu
Arc Goal: Prove Wei Honghui is corrupt

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Billy Blue Jeans
Pan-Pacifica (Transformed)
A rockabilly biker gang member from Japan who survived the destruction of his gang by the Obsidian Dragons syndicate.
Campaign Goal: Avenge the destruction of his bosozoku gang
Motivation: Prove his worth
Arc Goal: Learn about the Obsidian Syndicate

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Tori
Living Land (Transformed)
A dropout self-defense instructor from the Living Land who was raising her little brother when the War began. She converted to follow Lanala and is now on a vision quest to find her family.
Campaign Goal: Reunite with her family.
Motivation: Live up to the example set by her parents.
Arc Goal: Why did Lanala choose her?

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Loreli
Aysle
An elf thief from Aysle who has strong ties to nature and wants to restore part of the English countryside.
Campaign Goal: Restore countryside destroyed in the War.
Motivation: Protecting the natural world.
Arc Goal:

Chapter One


The Tower of Dawn



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Kowloon

Day 30 of the Possibility Wars

Hong Kong Inspector Johnny Tso is in his apartment in Kowloon. His police career is tanking as he obsesses over case on Wei Honghui, a crooked businessman who he suspects is behind a number of Asian gangs. He gets a phone call from someone claiming to be from the ICPO (Interpol), and they point him to London where they say Wei Honghui is looking to steal an artifact which is on display at the British Museum. Johnny says he doesn’t want to get involved and hangs up on the mystery caller. A second later, he gets a notification of a plane ticket in his name, destination: London.

His mentor, a district chief named Wu, calls him as he is packing later on to talk about the situation in the police department. Corporate security forces are slowly taking over the local force as a result of the Kanawa Plan. Wu comments on Johnny’s bad luck streak and possible trouble from higher ups, then suggests he take “vacation” until the heat dies down. Wu promises to stand up for Johnny if things go bad.

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Japan

Billy is fighting some Obsidian Syndicate gang members hassling a local store. He interrogates the last one standing and then tails him to some docks when he lets him go. He tracks him to a container ship used by the organization and manages to sneak on board. While he’s stowed away he picks off some more of the gang from hiding.

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Germany

Pavel goes to a cyber cafe to meet with a contact named Werner Dassmund to discuss a job and learn what his sister Milena is up to. Werner has heard she’s gotten connected with some group, but doesn’t know much more detail than that. Turning to the heist, Werner mentions interest in a relic related to the legendary story of St. George; it's a bracelet from a larger piece. He tells Pavel the item is on display in London at the British Museum and he can provide the means to travel there. They wish each other well and then part ways.

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Cairo

The Black Falcon clings to the top of a speeding roadster, attempting to stop the driver from escaping him. Another car pursues them through the back alleys of the city, cloaked passengers firing guns at the vigilante. The first vehicle crashes into some rubbish bins and comes to a halt, but the Falcon escapes injury. The driver is less fortunate, and the masked avenger takes a letter from the corpse.

The car full of cultists comes to the alley entrance and the hooded goons try to pin down the Falcon. He manages to scramble up a fire escape and disappear onto the rooftops, taking the envelope with him.

Later on, safely hidden from the cultist thugs, he reads the letter. It bears the symbol of the ouroboros, a snake devouring its own tail. The words beneath mention a future meeting in London at the British Museum on a certain day. Intrigued by the clue, he determines to travel to the United Kingdom and learn who has business with the followers of Apep, dragon of chaos.

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London

Black Falcon appears on the London docks during a foggy night, disguised as a Middle Eastern businessman (alias: Abdul Hassan). He is left with his luggage on the sidewalk, patiently waiting for a taxi that doesn’t arrive. He meets a street kid named Todd who helps him out with a smartphone and locating some accommodations in the vicinity of the British Museum. He gets him an Uber to a repossessed house he’s been squatting in with some other urchins.

Billy and Johnny arrive (separately) at the docks not long after. Billy spots an Obsidian Dragon lieutenant named Eito and follows him, putting on an overcoat to conceal his servo-powered Electric Samurai armor. Johnny sees Billy and tails both him and Eito as they head to the British Museum. As he’s walking he gets a mysterious text message about something called “The Tower of Dawn” from the same anonymous source that arranged for his trip to Aysle.

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British Museum

Pavel is casing the museum for his planned heist when he espies Milena, his sister, enter the place. She is also accompanied by another person - a big guy in a nice suit. Based on his build and posture, Pavel suspects he might be a professional bodyguard.

The Black Falcon is also in the crowd of visitors to the museum, still disguised as a tourist. On the lookout for suspicious characters, he sees Milena and her companion. He gets closer to Milena and feels himself attracted to the femme fatale - and she in turn sees him and mistakes the vigilante for her contact from Cairo!

Stanislav the bodyguard eyes Black Falcon suspiciously. “Abdul” introduces himself to Milena as her cult connection and learns that she and her unidentified patron are interested in a potent relic at the museum with high-tech security. She points to an armor exhibit and says that the thing is there, apparently expecting him to steal it for her organization. She mentions the item is related to something called the “Tower of Dawn”; he thinks this may be more of a metaphorical reference than a literal one.

Pavel sees the trio having the conversation, and he quietly follows them around the gallery. He is espied tailing the three as they talk about the theft and plans to deliver it to a nearby drop-off. Breaking off from Milena and the Falcon, Stanislav starts following Pavel, clearly intending to get him out of the way. Milena and Black Falcon politely part ways after agreeing that the theft should happen sooner now that there’s another party interested. As she turns away, Milena tells Falcon “May the Chaos guide you,'' a phrase common to the members of the secretive Apep cult.

Billy follows Eito to the entrance of the museum, but he waits outside when he realizes his suit of high-tech flashy samurai armor will be noticed. Johnny goes inside the museum to try and tail Eito, but the gangster turns to confront him. The two men converse threateningly but without any overt violence. Eito tries to get the Inspector to back down and leave him alone, but Johnny makes it clear he’s going to stick to him like glue.

Eito walks toward the front exit and Billy approaches Johnny openly now when he sees the Obsidian Dragon and the Chinese detective are not friends. He is combing his pompadour when Johnny turns around to see him. Billy introduces himself and Johnny recognizes him as a crook of some kind.

Billy warns him about the Obsidian Dragon syndicate being involved in something at the museum. Taking in the advice, Johnny looks around for suspicious persons, spotting Stanislav as he heads toward Pavel. Billy says Eito has backup in the form of at least a half-dozen goons. He reveals his telepathic power to Johnny by speaking into his mind - confounding Tso - and then struts inside to confront the Syndicate muscle.

Once the Falcon has left to go examine the objects in one of the exhibit wings, Pavel approaches Milena and confronts her about what’s going on. She refuses to tell him much of anything, and as she backs off the menacing Stanislav moves in.

Before the big Russian reaches him, Pavel notices a tower shield in the medieval objects gallery nearby, emblazoned with the image of the sun - the “Tower of Dawn”....

End Session 1

mathey
Posts: 142
Joined: Sun Jul 23, 2017 12:18 am

Chapter Two: The Elf on the Roof

Postby mathey » Sun Dec 29, 2019 9:49 pm

Chapter Two

The Elf on the Roof


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London
British Museum


Loreli has come to London following the Jade Express container ship from Japan, which had delivered industrial machinery to a gold mine run by her nemesis, Theodore Vermilion. She follows the Obsidian Dragons from the ship to their gathering at the British Museum. She is up on the roof looking down at the scene from a skylight when they confront the Storm Knights. Carefully aiming with her bow, she targets one of the thugs approaching Johnny.

Billy has removed his trench coat and the gangsters advance on the Electric Samurai with weapons. Pavel is looking to keep out of sight and hopes that maybe some of the exhibit cases are broken. Black Falcon sneaks off near an unoccupied coin exhibit to don his mask and cape.

A fight starts: Johnny takes out two of the three gangsters attacking him due to their clumsy attempts backfiring, and Loreli shoots the third down with her arrow after aiming carefully.

Johnny flashes his badge and slides behind some cover shouting “Hong Kong PD!” and ordering people to stand down. He and Eito face off, and some more thugs attack him but he is able to nimbly elude them with acrobatic maneuvers and martial arts parries.

Black Falcon appears and uses his power to summon the fears of the gang members between him and the tower shield. One of them accidentally breaks the glass while backing away from him. Stanislav goes after Pavel and brutally gut punches him. A gangster slips on broken glass while going after the masked avenger and accidentally impales his neck on the shattered display case. Another hits the Falcon with a blow from his baton, bruising the Storm Knight’s shoulder.

The dark avenger growls menacingly at a thug and Stanislav, saying “Death to the Death Dealers!” before grabbing the tower shield everyone is after. He runs to a hanging banner, grabbing it and uses it to swing up to the rooftop. Falcon tells Loreli to stand aside as he runs across the roof, and she cooperatively gets out of the way.

Eito attacks Johnny with a knife, but the samurai's katana expertly deflects the strikes. Loreli fires an expert shot into Eito’s ankle, wounding him and putting him down on the ground.

Pavel distracts Stanislav by claiming the ancient bracelet is under his feet, then ironically shouts “Stop thief!”. He pursues the Black Falcon to the roof of the museum using the same banners to gain altitude. Stanislav sees the way things are going and runs off so he won't be bothered by responding Metropolitan Police officers.

Johnny and Billy turn to the wounded Eito and begin to question him. Loreli drops down using the same convenient fabrics utilized by the Falcon and Pavel, reaching the main floor. Eito insists that Johnny doesn’t have jurisdiction in London as he’s from the HKPD, but the cop does not back down. Loreli shows Eito the emblem of the Jade Express shipping company and asks him about it. Billy looks at the Ayslish hero says she should use her “elf magic” to get answers. Loreli instead takes the arrow out of Eito’s ankle and the body of a dead Obsidian Dragon while trying to scare Eito into telling them what he knows.

Afraid and in pain, Eito claims not to know the names of the parties behind the plan to steal the tower shield or the Jade Express company. He does however appear to confirm suspicions that the Obsidian Dragons are linked to both.

Meanwhile…

Black Falcon flees across the London rooftops and over a double-decker bus, and Pavel follows. Pavel takes out his smartphone and pretends to be calling for associates to cut the Falcon off on his intended path, tricking the vigilante into going down a dead end alley. Cornered by the sly cat burglar, Black Falcon confronts Pavel about his intentions with the shield and what he knows about the Cult of Apep.

The vigilante mentions the other man’s apparent connection to Milena and Pavel explains that she is his sister. Pavel says that he planned to get the bracelet of the shield to his contact Werner in order to find out more about her new associates. The Falcon warns him that she is now involved with a group of assassins and mass-murderers intent on freeing Apep, the Egyptian god of chaos.

Deciding to trust the stranger, Falcon passes over the shield and Pavel starts examining it, noting the bracelet instead of the larger relic. He discovers what appears to be a concealed map on the inner plate of the bracelet. The landscape seems rural and there is an ‘x’ marking some important place.

Falcon sees him take out his mobile phone to take pictures, and he wrongly assumes it is some nefarious gizmo intended to unleash dark magic from the item. He draws his gun and points it at Pavel, smashing his smartphone and interrogating him more suspiciously about his contact and his plans for the bracelet. Pavel tries to explain his career as an "professional acquirer" but the masked man believes Pavel is a thief who is not to be trusted. The Falcon then takes the bracelet for himself as he prepares to leave the alleyway.

Just then, Loreli, Johnny, and Billy pull up on the latter's motorcycle. Johnny shows his badge to the two men in the alleyway and Falcon questions them about their intentions. Johnny is amused by the growling voice of the masked man, but the Falcon eventually hands over the bracelet to the police inspector, telling them that Pavel is a thief. Pavel insists that he’s no common crook and only wants to help his sister. He adds that Milena is a law abiding person who was working for UNESCO before now and previously had no interest in theft or working with crazy cults. His repeats that his contact only wants the bracelet in order to find out more about her current activities.

The Storm Knights discuss the way their paths have crossed and decide they could use the map on the bracelet (which Falcon entirely missed) to find out more. Loreli mentions how her skills with magic helped lead them to the relic’s location, and Falcon suggests she take a look at it. Billy and Johnny mention trying a “sting” operation with the bracelet as bait to entrap the contact of Pavel or agents of either the Cult of Apep or Obsidian Dragons.

Loreli studies the markings on the hidden map and recognizes the terrain, saying that it seems to point to Evesham, a nearby town in England. With this discovery, the heroes decide to work together for the time being to find out what the map points to. They make arrangements to get a wagon and some horses to get them to their destination.

Black Falcon leaves a message for the street kid Todd to let him know where he’s going and to keep an eye out for Obsidian Dragons and other suspicious parties. Loreli finds some adventuring gear for the party to use on their trip to Evesham in the Ayslish countryside, including a replacement smartphone for Pavel.

As they prepare for the trip, they discuss what Loreli knows about the Jade Express logo she found at a gold mine. She explains that the mine has been polluting the land nearby and she discovered the emblem on some shipping containers sent to the facility. This eventually led her to the container ship in the London docks.

Billy says he saw the emblem when stowed away on the ship, and the team ponders the company's ties to the Obsidian Dragons syndicate. Confused by what is becoming an increasingly complex conspiracy involving increasingly outlandish figures, Inspector Tso asks for some Ibuprofen to ease his headache. Loreli kindly offers him some natural soothing salves.


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Evesham

The oddly met group of Reality-rated travelers set forth on one of the roads leading out of London. They trust the elf mage to help navigate the way to their destination, which they only know as the 'x' on the secret map. Eventually they see there's a walled town in their way up ahead, and Loreli carefully examines the livery of the soldiers posted outside. She realizes that they are from the militia of Baron Garrat, a local lord who has not announced an alliance with either the forces of Dark or Light. Garrat’s forces appear to be trying to expand his territory beyond its known bounds, taking advantage of the confusion of the Possibility War.

Johnny asks Loreli what the Baron’s men feel about Core Earth cops, and Loreli replies that they’d see him as an outsider and an annoyance at best. The group considers how to get past the walled town and to their destination further down the road. Falcon suggests that the cunning "acquirer" Pavel fast-talk the guards into letting them into the gate while the others sneak past to the other side of the hamlet.

The cart pulls up to the guards posted at the town entrance. Pavel successfully convinces the thuggish guardsmen that they are delivering goods to the Baron, and they are let through the gates with the cart escorted by a guard. Pavel mutters to the other Storm Knights that they could use a distraction to gallop away. Loreli quickly casts a Distract cantrip, summoning a discharge of energy that makes Garrat's man to look away so they can ride their horses quickly out of town, abandoning their cart in the escape.

Coming to the roadside beyond the town barricades, the party sees that there is a picturesque church located nearby, its position corresponding to the spot marked 'x'....

End Session 2

mathey
Posts: 142
Joined: Sun Jul 23, 2017 12:18 am

Chapter Three: Thank You Mr. Jeans

Postby mathey » Sun Jan 12, 2020 6:51 pm

Chapter Three

Thank You Mr. Jeans


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Evesham

The Storm Knights approach the temple outside of the walled town and discuss checking the exterior before entering. Falcon asks Loreli who the temple is dedicated to, and she explains that it is a house of Dunad, one of the primary Gods of Light from Aysle. There are still some vestiges of the church’s pre-transformation role as a Christian church, with cruciform symbols visible on the spire.

The Black Falcon pulls up a hood to cover his fedora and opens the doors to the house of worship, entering with the others into the main hall. The team sees that there are worshipers sitting in the pews facing the altar where a ceremony is taking place. The priest of Dunad and a local soldier are praying for the safety of those fighting to the North against the armies of Uthorion. Pavel and Falcon stick to the rear of the church while scanning the layout for signs of a crypt. Johnny also hangs back and observes, but Billy and Loreli walk down the aisle to approach the priest mid-service.

Bluntly interrupting the ceremony to ask what they are up to, Billy is told by the priest about the prayer the congregation is engaged in. One of the people of Evesham mentions that their elder brother is with the Army of the Light and that they fear for their well-being during the ongoing war. Loreli apologizes on behalf of Billy for holding up the ceremony while Johnny watches from a safe distance, still uncomfortable in the fantasy cosm.

The thief and the masked crime-fighter locate a door with a familiar sun blaze symbol, similar to the one seen on the Tower of Dawn shield. Falcon motions for Johnny to come over, trying to avoid notice. Despite this, the Dunad priest spots them and confides to Billy that the place they are going is for the dead. He warns that people avoid the crypt due to the high incidents of undead in the region following the invasion.

Billy saunters over to the door to the underground tomb and says to the others that the priest said not to cause damage so therefore they should cause damage to get what they want. This gets him some disapproving looks, and the others open the passageway. Descending some stone steps into the dim sepulcher, the party sees several sarcophagi of prominent deceased. Checking the carvings on the lids with his flashlight, Pavel notes the names and dates listed for the dead. Looking at the sides of a sarcophagus, Falcon finds it and the others each display a Roman numeral. He checks the 10th (X) one, noting that across from it is a knight with a sun emblem visible on his shield. There is a small opening roughly the size of the bracelet taken from the tower shield they got from the British museum.

Johnny has the bracelet and asks if it will trigger traps or destroy the crypt. Falcon says it seems safe, but he and Pavel take a few steps backward. Johnny draws his handgun and puts the bracelet cautiously into place. A stone panel on the other side of crypt slides back to show another doorway.

As they are stepping through to descend further, Falcon rummages in an opening and finds an old potion bottle which he hands to Loreli. Johnny asks what the Hell he’s doing, saying its grave robbery. Falcon claims Horus guided him to the bottle. Loreli says the potion would grant someone the size of an ogre. She hands it back to Falcon. Johnny complains about the cosm and it's weird magic.

Taking the lead as they descend more stone steps, Pavel finds a trap pressure plate on the stairs. He’s never encountered this sort of trap before in his professional life, but he calls it out so the others don’t trip it. Loreli says the forces of Darkness wander the halls, causing Johnny and Falcon to be extra cautious. They safely move past the trap plate and enter a new chamber.

On the walls are carvings and tapestries of battles from the past, many of which feature dragons or other serpentine beasts fighting knights and other historical warriors. It's a fairly crude-looking historical record of a mythic past, and it seems to depict soldiers from other parts of the world than just ancient England. Johnny points out how weird it is to have Egyptian foot soldiers and other contemporary cultures depicted in such a place. The Knights wonder aloud if the images are based on real encounters with serpents and dragons or are just fanciful depictions of invented tales. Pavel takes some camera photos, and the group can see a faint aura of magical light around the carvings.

Pavel says that the armors and other depictions seem to be from roughly the same era, and Black Falcon points out a “Tower of Dawn” motif repeated on the attire of the chief soldiers in each image. Based on these and other clues, he says that they are around 700 years old at the newest. When the real history of Core Earth is brought up, Falcon mentions the recent discoveries of the Egypt-that-Never-Was and how it rewrote the history of Africa’s past post-invasion.

Pavel, Johnny, and Falcon figure out there’s something behind a hanging tapestry and pull it back, seeing what looks like emblems carved into the chamber wall in some sort of puzzle. Each symbol was seen in the margins of other images, with particular ones associated with specific cultures and eras. Pavel checks it out and moves the stone slabs slowly around in the right order. This opens another passage further in which takes the group to a larger room with luminescent light shining within.

The place is a two-story vaulted chamber which appears to be a secret treasure room from long ago. While the others are cautiously entering the area, Black Falcon is lecturing Billy about damaging the new archaeological find and accidentally trips some sort of switch. Stone doors suddenly shut behind the group, cutting off the way out.

An empty suit of armor appears before the trapped group, floating towards them as if worn by an invisible guardian. It asks who they are in a commanding, echoing voice. Pavel says that they’re trying to stop somebody suspicious from tampering with the secret of the place. The animated suit of armor asks about who they are talking about, and Pavel tells them about the Cult of Apep. Taking this as his cue, Black Falcon introduces himself dramatically as the arch foe of Apep’s cult and mentions the “Oriental” group the Obsidian Dragons. The ghostly knight stands straighter and says he was part of an order that fought dragons long ago, but he does not remember the specifics of his past, only the purpose of the group.

The Falcon asks the guardian if he’s from Aysle or from Earth and he says he’s from England. They try to explain the Possibility War to him as best they can and Pavel tells him the year is 2017. Predictably, the ancient guardian is perplexed by this. He says that he is protecting an item that could summon and speak with dragons of old. Falcon asks why Apep would want it.

The guardian says its an amulet that can summon dragons from the North. It could be used to call ancient dragons that were trapped away long ago by potent magic. He calls it the Amulet of Louhi, adding that its one piece that goes with another part that it was deliberately separated from. Falcon asks about Louhi, and the guardian says she claimed to be a queen of the Northlands long ago; a mother of dragons. Loreli says dragons are willing to make deals with mortals in order to get hoards of treasure and territory. Johnny says they can’t make a deal with that sort of creature, but Falcon says the Cult certainly might.

“Yes, we could!” a voice announces from overhead.

Pavel’s sister Milena appears suddenly on an upper level overlooking the floor where the others are standing. Cultists of Apep in ceremonial robes and armed with Nile Empire firearms appear around her from out of the shadows. There are around a dozen looking down on the party, maybe more.

Billy says “You guys have made a big mistake! We have an immortal knight!” Johnny flashes his badge at the new arrivals and announces, “HKPD, put down your weapons!” Pavel speaks in his native tongue to Milena, begging her to stop what she’s doing.

Milena laughs and uses some fiendish magic with a wand she’s wielding to subdue the guardian, causing it to stand still and silent.

The Black Falcon introduces himself as the chosen avenger of Horus and threatens the Cult. Milena says they’ll have to take the amulet if the heroes refuse to hand it over. She uses another spell and this time the guardian flares up again, now angry and roaring, turning on the Storm Knights. “Get them, and get the amulet!” she says, and the cultists open fire.

The animate suit of armor charges at the Knights with a monstrous roar, throwing them off-balance. The squad of cultists fire bursts from their sub-machine guns at the Knights, peppering the columns most of them are using for cover. Billy’s Electric Samurai armor catches a 9mm round in the leg and the Falcon is grazed by another that starts blood to trickle down his shoulder. Milena targets Pavel with blasts of dark black-greenish sorcery, but misses her brother. Falcon tries to feint with a sweep of his cape and grab the amulet that is held in the grip of the possessed guardian, but can’t get it, so instead goes to cover behind another pillar.

The guardian attacks Billy, misses and hits a pillar with a blow that would have killed the Japanese hooligan. Four of the cultists leap down from the balcony above to try and get to the amulet scrambling toward the guardian. Billy tries to wield one of his Pan-Pacifica weapons against their enemies but disconnects, and his gear flickers in and out of reality, rendering him very vulnerable. Johnny and Falcon blow away some cultists with gun play but its clear to the group that they’re pinned down and need to get out of there. Casting a quick cantrip called “Dropsy”l on the animated armor, Loreli makes it metallic fist drop the amulet. Billy runs out from his cover to grab it.

Falcon uncorks and drinks the Potion of Growth, then transforms into an ogre-sized person with a shout of pain and triumph. With the aid of his newfound strength, he knocks over a pillar to make an improvised staircase up to the second level where Milena is. He ascends up the broken blocks of stone, and Loreli follows using elven parkour to bounce between pillars. Seeing the new route up, Johnny, Pavel, and Billy run up after them and see that there are two trap doors near where Milena is standing.

The controlled guardian pursues the heroes up their improvised stairs and stomps closer to the rear of the group. Black Falcon is unused to his new size and bumps his shoulders and head on the ceiling when he tries to intimidate the cultists. Milena casts a spell which brings some rocks down from the ceiling to try and bury one of the two trap doors leading out of the underground chamber.

Advancing down the second level passage toward the exit, Johnny uses his expertise in kung fu to take down two cultists who stand in their way, knocking one over the ledge to the floor below. Loreli nails two more cultists with a single crossbow bolt that flies clean through the head of one and into the skull of the second.

Seeing an opening to get to the still open trap door to Milena’s right, the team runs past her and up and out of the crypt. The rockfall from before continues, closing up the trap door exit, momentarily trapping Milena and the Apep cultists behind the stones. Wounded, battered, and bruised, the heroes see with relief that on the road near the church there is a cart which is being driven by Todd and a young Asian woman Billy recognizes as his friend Akari.

Todd explains that he and Akari followed the cultists and Milena when they started tailing the Storm Knights to Evesham. The group piles onto the cart and quickly depart the area, knowing that they must now see to the protection of the other half of the Amulet of Louhi, believed to be located somewhere in Scandinavia….

End Act One

XP: 5

mathey
Posts: 142
Joined: Sun Jul 23, 2017 12:18 am

Meanwhile, Somewhere in Illinois....

Postby mathey » Tue Jan 14, 2020 1:12 pm

Meanwhile, Somewhere in Illinois....

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The war priest stepped through the walls of the ruined camp, admiring the destruction wrought by his new companion. The human vehicle was overturned and burning, the thatch huts they had made were flattened, and their broken bodies littered the muddy ground. One of them had been a Stormer, but despite their use of one of their automatic firearms and some explosives, it had done little harm to the magnificent undead dragon.

Vata Rek, the war priest, rested a leathery hand on the white bone of the creature’s massive right front claw. “Good. Good,” he said. His voice was calm, soothing, but edged with a rasp gained over decades of service to Thrakmoss the Black.

The Whitespear warriors were gathered nearby, keeping a safe distance from the skeletal dragon which Vata Rek had brought with him, wary and uncertain about the thing. While other gotaks of their cult had revivified the remains of dinosaurs and other beasts of the Living Land, there was something even more unnatural about this new creation. Its structure was reptilian, which was a comfort, but the skeletal wings which sprouted from its massive back and the blue flames which occasionally spurted from its skull’s nostrils were unlike any zombie lizard they had known before. Some were perceptive enough to see something in the cast of the eyeless sockets and the set of its toothy maw - a slant or tilt that suggested curiosity.

“It is a thinking dead thing,” they would tell each other. “It is no mindless husk.”

“I have seen it turn on Vata Rek,” another would confide. “It seeks to free itself of his control.”

“I have heard that even Thrakmoss does not know where it came from -”

At this point in their secretive conversation, a fourth would inevitably warn them against blaspheming their leader and his knowledge of the dead, and the topic would be changed to more predictable subjects like how one of them slew a soft human with their bone spear or how another had some insight into the joys of the end of life.

Vata Rek had heard some of these whispers, but he had no interest in correcting the rumor-mongers. Where other gotaks might make an example of back-biting warriors, he saw little point to it. The mystery of his tie to the dragon - who they named “Xutay Nur”, or “Cold Fire” - was useful to him, a further obstacle to any who might try to usurp his control of the warband and claim the undead juggernaut for themselves.

More besides, he didn’t truly understand it himself.

They had found the bones of the thing within a strange tomb that had been discovered one day by scouts in the Midwestern jungle south of Chicago. It had clearly been a mighty and powerful creature in its life, based on the size of the remains and the surprising sharpness of its bony claws and teeth. The tail had been curled around itself as if to contain the bones intact, its skull turned inward toward its chest bone. One of the scouts commented that it reminded them of a newly hatched edeinos who had fallen asleep in the security of its nest.

Vata Rek was the first gotak summoned to the site, called upon to make offerings to Stalek and to learn what he could about this new kind of dead thing. When he saw it, he had a revelation, his first in many years. There had been other beasts that he’d resurrected as unliving slaves to the will of the death cult, some as large as this one. They had been deadly predators or massive, lumbering herbivores capable of great destruction and inspiring terror in the fragile hearts of the humans who had once called this place home.

But none of them had the majesty or aura of...what was it? Not immortality, clearly; the thing had died, seemingly long before the maelstrom bridges had touched down on Earth.

Inescapable. That was the word. Inescapable. The dragon was inevitable somehow, a thing that spoke to the instincts of all who saw it. It had been here before them and it felt as if it might be here long after Thrakmoss had won his inevitable victory over his enemies and turned this world to dust.

Looking up at the dragon with a reverent smile, Vata Rek felt a shiver of icy pride. It was his ritual that had brought Xutay Nur into the army of Rec Stalek, and his study of the human myths and legends had helped him discover some of its hidden powers. Still, there was more to learn, more secrets to unlock and lessons the dragon could tell him.

That is where mystery came in useful.

If Thrakmoss, the other elders, or one of their lackeys knew just how little Vata Rek understood about dragons and their place in this world, he might be replaced. Directing Xutay Nur was never as easy as sending one of the zombie Rexes after their prey, requiring all of the tricks the war priest had learned. It had never turned on him or refused to act, but he could feel its consciousness rising with each day, like a very slow waking from a very long dream. Sooner or later, it would be more than a shell of its past self. And if that happened -

“Elder Rek,” one of the warriors said, breaking him out of his reverie. “We see no trace of the human child. If he was here, he left some time ago with other soft skins.”

“What’s this?” Vata Rek growled, annoyed. He turned from the undead dragon and regarded the warriors. They were casting their gazes below his eyes, holding out broken pieces of the dead things the human fighters had hoped would save them. A shattered radio. A shredded map made of some kind of plastic. Several metal guns, already rusting in the Living Land’s acrid mist. The war priest sniffed at them, looking for a familiar scent, the peculiar stink of the boy he’d been following all the way from the East.

Nothing.

Shaking his bone fetish at the objects, Vata Rek muttered a prayer to Stalek, offering them to the Void. The clues he had hoped for were not to be found here; he would have to keep searching out human camps, razing more hideaways of the refugees.

“We continue West,” he said, glancing up at Xutay Nur.

The dragon’s skull was pointed toward the horizon, already looking in that direction across the misty plains of Illinois. The boy from the dreams was somewhere out there, another mystery Vata Rek was seeking answers to, and he could not shake the feeling that the dragon knew more about what the visions meant than he did.


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