Journal of the Wayfarers 2

#1
Adventure One – The Nightmare Switch

(Spoiler – This is more-or-less The Nightmare Switch written by Monte Cook. As it was published in 2013 as a Kickstarter bonus, I think it’s safe to do a write-up of how the Thursday group got on with it.)

Episode 2

25th Homecoming, 405th AF – Night

Fluke tinkered with the panel and soon found she could turn the tower lights on and off and also turn off the green light defence mechanism. They found they could keep the door unlocked so they dragged the body of the guard in and sat him on a chair just inside the door. On the next floor was a laboratory with several part-completed experiments. A scribbled note read ‘just nothing works!’ A few items looked like cyphers so they took these to examine later. The top floor was a living area with three beds and a round table with three seats. The symbol of the Order of the Truth was prominent on the walls. There was a handwritten journal – the property of one Xarmun. Written in the Truth, key salient points were: – the terrible dreams started on the last day of Storm Season, twenty-six days ago. There was a sketch of a dome-shaped structure with a note ‘1 day north?’ The last entry was dated 23rd Homecoming ‘Brogun wants to go to the dome.’

Fluke and El Greco tried to sleep, but were immediately hit by the indescribable dream and woke sweating and shaking. *

They decided to investigate the antidotes that Deymish had brought on the boat, after some time getting past the Death Nettles and climbing over the wall again, they got a box back into the laboratory.

Well, someone was ripping off the Aeon Priests – the “medicine” was just coloured sea water.

They decided to set off for the dome before fatigue set in and didn’t wait until morning. The route took them through the red stone quarry. Fluke was still not convinced that the stone was involved somehow. **

26th Homecoming

By Morning they were into the Seshar desert; El Greco’s hunting skills had kept them heading north. The desert was dotted with scrub bush and cactus-like plants. Small, three-legged beetles crawled everywhere. On the horizon gleamed something bright in the sunlight. El Greco found tracks; three sets of booted feet heading towards the light; which revealed to be a gleaming white dome made up of triangular segments.

Around midday they reached the dome; there was a canvas tent set up. The tent was slashed and bloodstained; a torn scrap of paper showed a drawing of a cylinder; an arrow pointed at the sun and another arrow labelled N pointed off to one side.

A churned up area of sand showed where two of the Aeon Priests had been killed; there were bones and rags of orange and black robes. From the bone spear fragments and the tracks leading north-west; they determined the attackers had been Margr.

“There’s not enough bones for three bodies,” said Edgar (showing an unusual flash of brilliance.) “They must have taken one of them prisoner.”

El Greco turned her attention to the faceted dome. There was no obvious door; the surface felt smooth and cool to the touch. She suddenly fell forward; through and into the dome. She re-appeared a moment later.

“How did you do that?” yelled Fluke. “I don’t know,” replied El Greco; “I just thought ‘let me in’.”

Inside, the dome was filled with intricate machinery; spinning turbines and discs; rising and falling columns of polished metal and a central sphere on a pedestal. A panel at the base of the pedestal was open and an (obviously) burnt-out cylinder lay on the floor. A nearby rack was empty, indicating that a cylinder had been removed. Inside the panel were connections and sockets that matched corresponding ones on the cylinder.

They rightly surmised what had happened; the Aeon Priests had been doing something with the cylinder outside the dome; the Margr had arrived and attacked; killing (and probably eating two of the Priests); then taking the third prisoner. They probably took the cylinder as well, not realising what it was.

The tracks led off to the north-west. The Margr were obviously not travelling fast because by Wane they had caught up with them

The Margr were camped in a small valley. Seven were asleep on the ground; a group of four aneen were tethered to one side; a Margr stood guard there. Tied to one of the aneen was an Aeon Priest, slumped on the ground. A blanket on the ground held several items, including the cylinder. Examining these was a huge Margr; twice the size of the others.

Edgar crept closer to the camp but was nearly surprised by a patrolling guard. He drew his axe and yelling a battle cry, he charged at the big Margr. His first strike bit deep and causes a serious wound. Fluke fired a dart at the guard on the aneen; the first shot didn’t kill them but the second did. El Greco ran in, using her running skill to good effect and despatched the patrolling guard with one blow (she has a density nodule cypher active on her verred doing extra damage.

Edgar stood his ground against the boss Margr and did more damage; El Greco was threatened by two awakened Margr but Fluke took out one with a superb shot that also hurt the one behind it. Edgar took out the boss and his sidekick; Fluke took down another, as did El Greco (for her, any hit was a guaranteed kill thanks to the cypher.) Finally the remaining Margr broke and fled.

The Aeon Priest was very grateful for his rescue; his name was Brogun. He examined the cylinder, it was undamaged as far as he could tell. “It has to be aligned with the sun and … and a slatlite? Stallitie? Xarmun knew the word; I have never heard of it. All I know is that at Midday, with the sun overhead; you turn the cylinder to the north where a bright star will show. Then the cylinder will work properly.”

Edgar jumped on an aneen and went riding off round the hollow; Fluke examined the other items. Most were junk; there were a couple of oddities and a cypher that allowed unlimited access to the Datasphere for one hour. She picked up two metal rods and touched them together; a bolt of lightning shot out and blew apart a rock near to Edgar and the aneen.

At the Faceted Dome; with Brogan’s help it was easy to align and install the new cylinder. The sphere began to rotate. An immense sense of relief swept over everyone; it felt like something had happened.

Back at Redstone; the whole village was, for the most part, in a deep sleep; As they awoke; they all confirmed; the dream had gone.

There was, however, some bad news. Danias, the night guard at the Aeon Tower, had been found dead, killed by an unknown assailant. It was surmised that it was someone driven mad by the lack of sleep; although how he had ended up inside the Aeon Tower was a mystery. Hataniah; his sister and the day guard at the tower vowed revenge on the murderer. ***

Brogan was very grateful and paid Deymish what he was due (the Wayfarers didn’t mention the fact that the medicine was fake.) Deymish paid them 18 shins each and offered them transport back to Nebalich. However, the Wayfarers had also taken an aneen each and decided to ride off into the sunset. ****

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GM Notes

* In Game-Terms, no-one can get the 10-hour rest slot and eventually they will suffer sleep deprivation (losing points from stat pools.)

** “Maybe they dug too deep and disturbed something.” “What, like a Balrog?”

*** Muttered words of “Oh, how absolutely terrible” and “who would have thought it?”

**** On something that looks like a cross between a toad and a T-Rex.

A really good Game that lightened up what had been a pretty crap week. Everyone enjoyed it and are looking forward to the next Game.

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