Iron Gods

Bastards and Broken Bots.
Session 1

A band of bastards and outsiders raised a glass at the Copper Coin, unaware of the impact their new fellowship would have on the history of Numeria, Golarion and even the multiverse.

They had come together to delve into the newly-discovered caves beneath Black Hill, searching for a missing councilman and an answer to a catastrophe. The town’s primary source of income (a violet flame that burned atop the hill, as large as a house and hot enough to soften sky metal) had suddenly been extinguished. If it was not relit, and soon, the seasonal tithe to the evil Technic League would fall short and the town would be garrisoned.

The adventurers paid for their meal and went to speak with Val Baine, Councilman Khonnir Baine’s adopted daughter, to gain insight into their missing man.

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They found her house being dismantled by a crazed automaton, and destroyed it with fire, blade and bullets. The girl was safe, if a bit agitated. They learned little, save that Khonnir sought a blessing from the priests of Brigh before his fateful expedition.

From Councilors Joram Kyte and Dolga Otterbie they learned of their reward (4,000 golden sovereigns and a scroll of resurrection for the successful rescue of Khonnir Baine and the reignition of the fire). Joram also called upon his goddess to bless the rescuers with magic to breathe water so as to traverse the underwater tunnel that fed into the hidden caves. He also lent the rescuers an ivory wand of healing, with the understanding that it’s cost must be repaid.

So equipped, they dove into the tainted waters of Weeping Pond and navigated a drowned tunnel into the dark caves. They slew strange mastiff-sized insects, predatory slimes, found the bodies of previous rescuers.

They discovered an underground village with huts made of scrap and junk. Near it stood a huge wall of strange burnished steel, with a man sized circle etched into its face. Before they could investigate they were nearly captured by a tribe of under dwelling humanoids with chameleon like skin.

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Their leader, called Sef, struck a bargain: if the group cleared out a nest of gremlins near the village, she would allow safe passage. The group accepted and made their way towards the infested tunnels.

Almost immediately, they were attacked by evil gremlins, tiny and vicious and surrounded by an aura of misfortune that caused the explorers to accidentally slice their hands while drawing weapons, or sneeze exactly when firing a shot. Through perseverance (and not a small amount of frustration) the band slew the vanguard of gremlins. In the darkened tunnels, the shrieking laughter of more could be heard advancing. Many more.

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Just Desert (and Blade and Bullets and Bone and Blood)

In the darkened depths beneath Black Hill, a misfit band of bastards (a common if somewhat derogatory term for the half human children of human-elf or human-orc pairings) knelt and crouched among the junk and refuse collected by a nest of gremlins. Their gnomish companion Alnite was the only one to stand comfortably in the low and narrow tunnels. As the jeering and shrieking swarm of gremlins surged into their light, he plucked a vial of unstable fluid from his pocket and shook it vigorously, it rapidly grew bright and much too hot as he flung the bomb into their midst. So began a frantic and furious skirmish in the dark as flashes of light from gunshots, bombs and fire spells briefly exposed the rear ranks of gremlins and their advancing chieftain. When the smoke and cordite cleared, many gremlins lay still among their collected trash.

The band returned to the leader of the underfolk, Sef and demanded their passage through the camp. Sef, surprisingly, was true to her word and even gifted them a bag filled with shiny steel hexagons with geometric patterns cut into them (silverdisks, used as currency and often found in the metal ruins that fell from the sky) and a single square of metal that seemed to shimmer with a brownish tinge wherever it was touched. These cards were often linked to the metal ruins in some fashion. Holding one near a door caused it to sometimes open, or display strange sigils , make odd noises, or any number of other effects. Sometimes they did nothing at all.

Past the camp, the band came to a large curved wall of steel with a hair thin seam running in a perfect circle on it’s face. The seam encircled a man-sized portion of the wall for no discernible reason. Touching the wall caused strange lights to form within the steel itself, lights in the shapes of sigils. The group pooled their knowledge of the sigils and Dalanlara, the mage of the group and well-versed in both the ancient sigils and esoteric topics from the Rain of Stars, realized that they were some sort of control mechanism. They, perhaps foolishly, began experimenting with the lights, causing a thin probe of metal to extend with a light glowing on its tip. Touching it caused the probe to swiftly retract and an angry buzzer sounded, but there was no other reaction. By holding the metal card near it, caused the panel and the card to shimmer brown in unison and the door (for that is what it was) seemed to spiral open.

Within, they discovered a metal ruin, and battled an automaton similar to the one that was dragged to the surface. Near it, they discovered an odd device that look not unlike the haft of a hammer, minus the hammer head. Nestled where the head should be were a tightly packed collection of minute needles, diminutive probes and improbably thin wedges and other implements of confusing utility. They discovered that touching a stud of metal near it’s base would cause it to cast a blue light and a number of implements would extend, seemingly based in some way on what it was pointed at. A few minutes of playing with it caused it to suddenly cease functioning, save for a blinking amber light, and a slot opened in its base and the thing spat out a silverdisk, now bereft of the disks odd shimmer. On a hunch, Gilphy inserted one of his disks and the device resumed functioning. The disks, it seemed, were power sources.

They also made their way through the ruin and through odd doors that needed to be lifted out of the way through brute force. They emerged in a rocky cave, composed of a reddish sandstone that did not match the dark basalt of Black Hill. The cave gave way to a red sand-filled tunnel which opened to a vast and unlit desert.

If there was a ceiling, they could not see it with their light and the odd rock walls went left and right further than they could see. They did see tracks, deep ones, in the sand that ran out into the blackness. As they ventured into the darkened desert, they suddenly came under assault by the walking dead, skeletons animated by some evil force. Yet these were not the bones of anything they had ever encountered or heard of. They were four armed bipeds with elongated skulls and a lower jaw that split into mandibles. They kept coming and nearly overwhelmed the bastards before the tide of battle broke and turned. A well placed bullet from the barrel of Caldarel’s gun obliterated the upper skull of the last skeleton and it slid down a dune as the flat crack of the shot echoed and died. Healing magic closed their wounds and they pressed on.

The tracks led to another rock wall too tall to reveal the top with their light. In it’s face a jagged scar seemed to swallow the sand and tracks. They ventured in and discovered that the tracks gradually faded in the sand. It was much too disturbed to have kept the imprints. The cave floor exploded in a shower of sand and some vile gloop as tentacles sprang up to grasp at them. The slimy appendages fed into a rocky carapace riddled with knobby holes from which bizarre winds whistled. They slashed at the thing and tried to pierce it’s carapace but even Khorek’s faith-sharpened blade managed only to wound it. It seemed to suddenly inhale a great deal of sand and descend into the depths, exhaling the sand into the tunnel it formed. After a moment, it was gone and did not return.

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The cave was a dead end, but the tracks led no where else, so they began to search. Khorek inadvertently discovered that a section of the wall was immaterial, his hand passing through it as easily as air. Beyond was a small alcove and another steel wall with a circular door cut into it. They waved their card and it responded, spiralling open and nearly blinding them with bright light. The chamber beyond was lit by flat panels set into the steel walls. A metal arch riddled with nozzles, protuberances and a frightening array of needles neatly bisected the room into two halves. At the far end stood another door. They deliberated for a moment before Khorek stepp through, causing the arch to suddenly shriek gibberish and display maroon sigils (Dalanlara recognized them as symbols of contamination or poison). Lightning infused mist filled the space between the arch, burning them.

They rushed past the arch and into a bright hallway. It wound deeper into the ruin with a single squared door of steel midway down it’s length. Their card had no effect, but merely touching the door caused it to open. Inside was a bewildering array of desks with glowing panels of light set into them, a large cylynder of glass or crystal dominated the room while floor to ceiling panels of raised dull steel were set onto the wall like a triptych someone had forgotten to paint. All of the glowing showed the same sigil (negation, or perhaps the reverse of truth) save one which glowed with a single golden image: a serene sigil taht Dalanlara recognized as the rebirth of truth, or something akin to restoration or reversal. After a moment’s deliberation, they touched the panel which caused everything to suddenly begin to flicker on and off. The light show lasted only a moment before everything shut off and only their own light illuminated the hall. With a grinding shudder that can be felt in the steel floor, all of the desk panels were restored to light and began to display sigils scrolling too fast to read. The central cylinder filled with an image of a vaguely transparent dome with small protuberances beneath it and behind it, riddled with tunnels, tubes and thoroughly unhelpful writing pointing at seemingly random points along it’s length. The triptych filled with light as a vessel fills with liquid and began to display images of a strange red desert with a thin blue sky and a pair of distant suns. It took a moment for the group to see the tracks running down the center of it and the site of their recent battle.

The group was still reeling from the light show when the door opened and the stench of rotting flesh nearly overwhelmed them. In the door stood a rotting corpse, it’s elongated head wrapped in a red cloak and hood, it’s four seemingly exsanguinated arms clutching sharpened blades of serrated bone. A melee broke out in the room, as the thing, far faster and stronger than it’s rotted form would suggest, proceeded to tear its way through their ranks. Magefire, sharpened steel and hot lead drove the thing back nearly to the door, but it stood its ground and wove it’s dance of blades and blood among them. Surrounding it, the group finally succeeded in cutting it down through sheer butchery. kasatha.jpg

As it fell, the bastards took a collective breath and turned their gaze back to the image of the vessel inside the crystal cylinder.

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The Rescue of Khonnir Baine

Giphy’s amateur attempts to utilize the controls in the room causes a torrential rain to fall in the desert tableux. Further attempts to alter the habitat causes the controls to permanently shut down. After an extensive search, the party found a keycard that allowed access to an interior area, a place devoted to study and experimentation. Within, they discover a small guard station stocked with some advanced weapons and armor, but find no means to open the lockers. They head north through a blood spattered door into a grisly hallway filled with broken robots and blood. Some battle was fought here and it seems that several men were dragged away, judging by a wide smear of blood that wound its way down the length of the hall. The group followed the blood smear into the Geology Lab, wherein they encountered a telepathic, fungal blob that had apparently licked all of the blood clean in it’s room. It was totally new to the world and was intensely curious (particularly where it might find more “red food”). Caldarell befriended it (in a sense) and dubbed it “Meatball” (despite the fact that it is made of fungus).

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They pushed on into the interior and discovered a surgery theatre where they encountered a medical drone and a gore covered surgical bay. Destroying the drone, they moved on down the hall to a door marked with Androffan sigils for recovery, rest and healing. Their current library of keycards do not grant them access so they elect to back track and search for an alternate route. They find what is obviously some sort of advanced latrine (the Androffans had, apparently, similar needs to their own) and a room for the preparation of meals (Yolanlara discovered this when she touched a glowing panel on a counter only to discover that it was searing hot). They looted the room of all of its food paste tubes (sampling some).

In a central room, they discovered a broken conduit linked to a display filled with messages proclaiming dire errors. The display stated that the room was in fact a lift, but it could not function without a proper conduit. After some study, they reasoned that the broken piece could be replaced and reseated but the delicate work would take time and required a forge. Beyond this room, they discovered another entrance into the recovery room, this one unlocked. Openeing the door, they were greeted by the a pair of robots (one flying witht he aid of rapidly spinning blades and the other a medical drone). The pair were overseeing a bed encased in clear glass, the interior bloodied by the screaming form of Khonnir Baine. HIs forehead was riddled with silvery grey lines that seemed to be flowing under his skin and his bloodied legs were badly slashed.

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Blades and bullets only seemed to ricochet off of the flying robots armored chassis, only lightning seemed to punch through to damage it’s interior. Steadily, slowly and inexorably, they wore the thing down until itsuffered a massive malfunction and crashed to the ground in a heap. The unarmored medical drone was destroyed much more easily.

Forcing open the glass bay, they discover Khonnir has been mentally and physically crippled. They scrambled through the materials and tech in the recovery room and found something that seemed like it might help but injecting him only caused his cuts to heal rapidly. He was still crippled and babbling incoherently in between bouts of screaming.. He would occasionally enter states of brief lucidity but was unable to do more than grunt and point at objects in the room. The band took a hunch and tried one of the devices he was point at, an injection gun loaded with a canister of greyish sand. Slowly, the grey lines under his skin receded from the injection point and he began to regain his senses (though only marginally). Khorek carries him out of the caves and back to the Temple of Brigh. On the way, they encounter a tech dealer, drawn by tales of a new (and only lightly explored) ruin. The dealer, Sanvil Trett, offers to purchase any devices or artifacts they dredged up from the ruins and will sell from his own stock as well. At the Temple, Joram Kyte heals Khonnir Baine and restores his mind with prayers. Thus restored, Khonnir forges a replacement coupling and tells the group what he knows of the technology found in the ancient ruins.

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The party spends a week training, gathering supplies and recovering. Though they have rescued Khonnir Baine, they have not discovered a means with which to reignite the Torch though they surmise it must lie within another area of the ruins. They return to the ruins and explore the rest of the science deck. They encounter slimy ooze creatures in the Chemistry lab but shut them into their laboratory. In the xeonobiology laboratory they battle alien plants and find the remains of the expedition of Brigh worshippers. They are covered in fungus and their chest have burst open from within. While examining them they are nearly ambushed by a band of small and primitive plant men. One of the creatures flees from the battle and raises the alarm, summoning their chieftain. Armed with a magic hammer, the chieftain nearly lays them down but is eventually brought down. The group discovers more corpses and finds them filled with the gestating bodies of more plant creatures. Grimly, Caldarell and Khorek put an end to them..

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They discover a higher level card than they previosuly owned and return to the armory to try their luck. The keycard works and opens the lockers revealing a suit of white armor with some sort of built in display and a slot for power cells, a cracked but still functioning gun of some kind and several dodecahedral spheres with a small button and knob mechanism. They also discover that the fungal creature"Meatball" has since grown somewhat larger in size and its intellect has increased. They leave it trapped and repair the elevator. The lift takes them up to a floor marked “Engineering Deck” and the door opens to reveal the lair of four small marsupial creatures. The beasts are starved and attack immediately, howling and yowling in an odd amalgam of feline and canine noises. They drive off two and kill the others. The beasts flee up a ramp and down a long curving hall but the party does not give chase. They examine the doors that lead further into this level, one opens into a narrow access hall but the central door opens into a deathtrap: a long hallway marked by four nodes of machinery arcing green lightning. Theere are panels on the floor and clear evidence that this was deliberate sabotage. They make several attempts to damage or destroy the nodes with gunfire and adamantine bolts but only manage to dent one fo the heavily armored devices. Their noise does, however, attract attention.

A door opens and an orc armored in what appears to be rusting scrap and wielding an improbably large bent pipe peers into the room before bellowing for reinforcements.

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