Annals of Aldamere

Through the looking glass
Olis, Mr. Dwight, Khiron, Gabriel

The strange events at Mt. Tabor took some time to piece together. The “etheric device” laid waste to the mountain and the nearby village, and threw the company out of time. When the dust settled, a year had past in a matter of minutes.

Making their way out of the wreckage and returning to Gateway City (mostly by foot), the company found that Justuss had assumed us dead, and collected the reward for the Raptor Egg for himself. He had kept Mr. Dwight’s belongings safe and his affairs in order, so there were no hard feelings beyond the usual grumblings and threats.

After a week or so of recovery, rest, and Khiron getting his own affairs back in order, the party decided to head back in search of the “ABM” site. On the way to Little Rock, Mr. Dwight was ordered to report to his superiors in Jackson. The detour proved informative, but Mr. Dwight talked his way out of taking on the Protectorates’ current crises and the company continued to Fort Smith.

From the strange map we had discovered, we knew the “ABM” site was somewhere in the area, but with hundreds of miles of wilderness to search it seemed a challenging task. Olis’ attempt to gather information from the local children landed him in jail, while Gabriel’s attempt almost landed him in bed with a lonely trapper. In the end, Khiron’s tinkering combined with Mr. Dwight’s magic located the site in a matter of hours. Getting there, however, was another matter…

View
Mount Tabor Go Boom
As recounted by Mr. E. Dwight

The words of the bear trapper didn’t necessarily fill me with delight. The local despot, Lord Sticks, only came down from his mountain fortress for the Bi-Annual Virgin Sacrifice, or some shit. He pretty much had the locals well under his thumb and no one had ever ventured into Mount Tabor. It sounded like this was going to be a tough nut to crack – if we could crack it at all. And given that there were bound to be local snitches and even loyalists, informing all and sundry of our presence seemed like a bad idea. We didn’t reckon we would have much success charming him none. So a thorough reconnaissance, from a distance and without alerting the locals was recommended and agreed upon.

The Noisy Cricket showed us a pretty tight looking affair: one of them big ol’ blast door type things – not exactly something we could bust down with our puny firepower. Khiron went up to provide a better perspective. He wasn’t gone but an hour when he reported back finding something interesting out in the woods on the eastern slope of Mount Tabor. He was able to guide us overland through the vines and the briars. Thankfully, even Thorne was in good shape due to all our pounding through the weeds over the last couple of months.

The interesting thing turned out to be some sort of large concrete pad with weird bent over plastic pipes coming up at the corners. Fuck if we could figure out what it was. Damned Ancients and their cryptic crap. But some poking around the weeds did turn up a metal hatch – thanks again to Khiron and his nose for things out of place. It was just as well, Gabby, our erstwhile scout, was laid-up with some sort of gut bug and barely able to keep up with us (not that he had been much of a help of late). After some prodding, speculating, and magical scrying (by Thorne and Myself), we concluded that the hatch could only be some sort of long forgotten escape route out of the bowels of the Mount Tabor complex. Hot damn! I think these Aldemari are some kind of lucky charm.

With some effort we were able to spring the hatch – it opened into a long dark and musty shaft that seemed to drop into the very depths of the mountain. I sent down the Cricket: ladder rungs all the way down and some sort of security door at the bottom. Well fuck, down we went. The security door proved to be impervious to our usual magical means of entry (blast the fuck out of it!). Thorne however was able to provide some spiritual ghost hackery to get us through. Damned convenient. He or she is a spooky motherfucker most of the time and usually about as reliable as fuck-all (something I often ask Marcel: How long has he been putting up with this?) – but sometimes she manages to pull one out. Case in point.

The tunnel beyond the security door led to a much disused hatch into the main giggery-pokery power chamber of the site – complete with a window in the door. Who the fuck does that? The chamber beyond was pretty damned impressive. Lots of Ancient artifacts and machinery all centered on some sort of etheric flux capacitor – which according to Thorne, Lord Sticks was using to repeatedly shred ghosts. Apparently that is bad. Our suspicion was that he was doing it to prolong his life. Initially we could see him in the center of the etheric flow and when he emerged he looked brand-spanking new. There also seemed to be some sort of vampire manning the controls. Thorne was not taking the whole ghost killing/un-killing thing well and insisted we needed to stop it right fucking now. The rest of us were a bit more cautious – Lord Sticks looked pretty bad ass and who knew how powerful the vampire was or how many minions were close by. Many plans were discussed and discarded with the usual amount of despair and deconstruction.

While we were plotting we noticed that Lord Sticks and his vampy had left the chamber on some errand. The hatch into the chamber wasn’t alarmed or hatched – for whatever reason – so we rolled in. The first order of business was closing the really huge blast door that led to the rest of the complex…which turned out to be simply accomplished. With that done we had free range of the power chamber and all the high energy machinery within. Thorne and Khiron quickly moved to secure the control booth and shut down the etheric-spirit gizmo. I was left to toy with the gadgetry in the center of the chamber. Thorne summoned up one of her spirit friends to “hack” the control booth. Which enabled her to shut down the spirit shredder. While Thorne was attempting to communicate with the post-shredded spirits, weird stuff started to go down in the main chamber. With the etheric-spiritual flows stopped, the local “screens” flashed gibberish asking if the Standard Restart Sequence should be started. Seemed like a good idea – I pressed the YES button. The fucking shit storm commenced.

I’ve seen some weird shit. Not “ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion” level of shit. But definitely near-Biblical level weirdness. This fucking pegged the meter.

I’m not even sure I can accurately describe what happened. But quite suddenly we didn’t seem to be under Mount Tabor any more.

At first we were amid a hall of chanting skeletons.

THEN

A large glass walled room with a huge ass dragon, lots of glass and shiny metal in the background.

THEN

A grungy-greasy industrial chamber with a window to the stars. They were shouting about “a singularity containment failure in the electro-gravitic drive”.

THEN

Back to Mount Tabor wrecked to hell – but five years from when we had left.

View
Gabriel's very bad, no good day
Ser Marcel, Olis, Gabriel, Khiron, Mr. Dwight

After months in this weird and unfamiliar landscape full of “rads” this and “etheric” that, Gabriel was really looking forward to the next phase of the quest for a return to Aldamere. Only a few unpleasant hours riding in “The Beast”, then finally a long trek on foot. Gabriel had spent many years walking forest paths and game-trails, and at last Ser Marcel’s men in the company of Mr. Dwight and Khiron were setting off on an honest-to-goodness hike. Quietly Gabriel also hoped to set Mr Dwight straight about his scouting prowess in the woods. Alas, this luck turned sour quickly.

Upon encountering “Prospector Pete” on the trail, the party paused to determine how best to deal with a monstrous lizard/bird creature that lay ahead—Justuss had always insisted they were called “Jesus Lizards” for no apparent reason. In any case, when the suggestion was made to bait the creature away as the party passed, Gabriel set off to hunt down a deer confident in hunter’s training. After many hours of finding little game-sign, he finally set sights on a deer, even if it was a little scrawny and perhaps ill, and let loose with his bow to bring it down.

Meanwhile, the party was gathering supplies to craft some sort of hobbling trap, when the creature let off into the forest, leaving the path clear. The company contacted Gabriel via one of Khiron’s contraptions, and informed him of the good news. It seemed, that the silent shot failed to pierce the throat of the creature which let out a terrible death-rattle which had caught the huge beast’s attention. He quickly realized that he was now the hunted. With some quick action, and a little aid of the fallen deer carcass which he had no time to do more than throw off in the other direction, the party was able to evade the monster. Putting the incident behind them, the company continued on the trek.

Some ways later the party encountered a strange object, a yellow ball sitting atop a pike in the ground, which seemed to repel animals and keep them away from the area. Realizing the day was growing dark, and signs of smoke across the valley, the Gabriel set off to find a suitable stealthy camp for the party to wait out the night. Again, his luck was sour and he was unable to locate anything suitable in the area, only to have Mr. Dwight note that he was standing on a half-buried hatch right beneath his feet.

Exploring within the company found the entrance way to a survival shelter built into the mountain. The wall had apparently collapsed, blocking further entrance so the party settled down their beds in the cave. In the middle of the night, Olis was attacked by something within the deep mounds of earth. With Mr. Dwight’s magics, the party discovered and engaged some kind of ‘mole-men’ with the power to move the earth at their will. The enemies proved to be skilled ambushers, filling the area with a rain of stone, dirt, and debris. Mr. Dwight was able to shield much of the party with his wards, but alas Gabriel had stepped closer to fire his shotgun and was by chance beyond the protection for another onslaught. Ser Marcel and Olis engaged several at close range, Khrion and Mr. Dwight took them at range, and Gabriel tried to keep from becoming a casualty.

In the aftermath, the party found a supply of “energy bars” by Master Clif, and a role of “Duct Tape” which pleased Mr. Dwight to no end. Taking refuge in the shelter proper, the party was able to recover and recoup before pressing on their journey. Gabriel had disquieting dreams of Saints sitting in judgement as the sound of Mr. Dwight’s laughter drifted through his mind.

Heading down into the forested valley, Gabriel set off to scout out a way around the large lake or find the signs of a boat. By the time the party caught up, Gabriel had been snared by a bear trap set by a local hunter. Mr. Dwight’s delighted scorn was as unpleasant as the day before had been long.

None-the-less, the party did learn from the huntsman some of the town and the “Lord Sticks” who apparently claimed domain over the Lake Tabor area and dwelled within the ancient “High Energy Physics” research area the company was seeking…

View
The room with a view
Ser Marcel, Olis, Thorne, Gabriel, Khiron, Mr. Dwight

“Giant salmon badgers… Very dangerous… You go first.”

Scouting deep into the bowels of the dam lead Marcel and company into a great chamber—Khiron referred to it as the turbine room—which a number of strange aquatic creatures had made their lair. Exploring the area as Gabriel kept a close watch on the creatures, Mr. Dwight used his arcane magics to locate a source of the rare element palladium, which lead the party up to a ‘control room’. There the hunt for the reagent came to end not because we found what we had looked for, but instead we found what we really needed: a very detailed map.

The map in the ancient control room of the “Military Power District” revealed many secrets, even more once Khiron was able to provide it with additional power. The party found locations and details on a number of “DOE” sites scattered throughout the mountain range, including the most intriguing “Mt. Tabor High Energy Site” which was not in fact where we had found the infestation of EYFOB.

After taking some time to take detailed notes from the map, as well as securing the information by changing the map’s “display mode”, the party then set about leaving the ruins. Unfortunately, the local creatures took much more interest in the party attempting to leave than they did when the party first entered—perhaps they had grown bored. In any case, the pack of animals (maybe part fish or salmon? part badger or wolverine?) attacked and the company as forced to respond with violence. Mr Dwight’s gun lanced out with arcane power, Thorne froze one creature solidly with hir’s Weird Ways, and Olis and Ser Marcel fought back the razor-sharp claws with spear and sword and shield.

As the company emerged from underground, a powerful storm was coming down from the mountains which necessitated finding secure shelter. Just down the road was a sturdy survival shelter that Khiron and Mr. Dwight said had likely been built by Mor-mons. While it provided more than adequate shelter for the company and Mr. Dwight’s vehicle for the night, a chamber beneath proved to be infested with something deeply malevolent. Even Thorne was shaken by the encounter as some things were never meant to be found. Arcane bolts, fire, and even holy blasts were needed to again lay it to rest.

Once the storm passed, the group returned to Hot Springs to prepare for an extended trip on foot into the mountains. The party secured provisions, drove up as far as possible in the Beast, and then set out on foot. There they were greeted on the road by a prospector making haste back the way from whence they came…

View
Welcome to fun town
Ser Marcel, Olis, Thorne, Gabriel, Khiron, Mr. Dwight

While taking stock of the company’s options for dealing with the “Iowans” partying loudly into the wee hours outside the walls of Mountain View, Mr. Dwight got an itchy trigger finger and set out to snipe “The Karl”. His patience was rewarded, and the well-placed shot tore into the huge man’s shoulder. Alas, the Karl had some sort of “etheric warding” and the wound was not fatal. It did, however, prove to be highly disruptive to their festivous mood.

Khiron prepared more contributions, and Gabriel worked his way into plant it in and among their ‘speaker truck’. Gabriel’s efforts to go unnoticed as an intruder proved a bit too effective, however, and was pulled into the event as a participant. The explosion was at once both awe-inspiring, and deeply disturbing. Attempting to get away, Gabriel ducked into the cab of one of important supply vehicles, but being unfamiliar with the controls ended up crashing it into the walls of Mountain View. At this point, all hell broke lose and the party became a violent mob.

Khiron and Thorne joined the fray, with Mr. Dwight contributing layers of ice onto the truck which turned out to be full of a volatile liquid. Ultimately the party was successful in turning back the frenzied attack, while a not insignificant portion of the Iowans packed up.

With the siege broken in a messy and violent manner, the company enjoyed the quiet hospitality of Mountain View, and choice pickings of their salvage—the damage to the walls was offset by the readily available supply of high-grade fuel. Alas, there was little of the sought-after rare element, so the party continued on to Hot Springs.

Hot Springs proved to a prosperous town, and there we were pointed to a metallurgist named Edwin. There was no real leads on “palladium metal” to be found there, but we were pointed to the town Little Rock as another possible site. Before leaving, the party stop in old Hot Springs and found the remains of a great, broken damn. Scouting the area, Mr. Dwight noticed an overgrown entrance. Gabriel saw traces of some animal, perhaps a large cat, in the area as well.

View
Beset and besieged
Ser Marcel, Olis, Thorne, Gabriel, Khiron

While awaiting the crafting of some additional gear for dealing with the FOEYFOB problem at the local DOE site, the party decided to journey to Owichita in the hopes of finding required rare components. Initially travelling with a caravan proved useful, but Thorne suggested the party take a side-trip over to Mountain View as a potentially promising source.

After some rough-terrain travel, Marcel and company found that the town of Mountain View was both a likely source of rare components, and under siege from a gang of rough folk. Khiron was able to communicate with the town elders through a “ham radio”, and were promised suitable reward should we be able to break the siege.

Upon nightfall and moving on the less patrolled upper-side, Gabriel and Khiron set upon a group of look-outs in the hopes of gaining more information. The gang proved to be well trained, but with luck the party was able to secure two prisoners.

Thorne used hir weird ways to gain the confidence of the male prisoner, but once the interrogation was complete there was some consternation about how to deal with them. Ser Marcel put the first to the sword feeling there was no alternative, which Thorne took great offense to—although in the ethos of these “Vikings” death by the sword was preferable. In any case, it was decided to keep the woman asleep until the siege was broken in the hopes of turning her over to the town for justice.

The information gained did prove the force was quite large, well-trained, and ruthless although not without a code of a kind. The party set about preparing materials in the hopes of destroying the sieging-forces supplies through stealth…

View
Disturbing is another word for neat
Marcel, Thorne, Gabriel, Khiron, and Mr. Dwight

Having successfully trapped one of the creatures—Thorne referred to it as a “worker”—, the company encountered some strange cat-like creature attempting to gain an easy meal. Mr. Dwight felt that firing his pistol and creating a massive wound would be the most efficient way to scare the panther-like hunter away from our quarry. It worked. Gabriel, however, discovered a short while later that the creature was a pack-hunter. Having secured the E.Y.F.O.B. sample in the apparatus Khiron built, Justus applied speed to resolve the affair.

On the trip back to Springfield, Thorne and Mr. Dwight engaged is some arcane shenanigans which ended up killing the bug by cutting it off from it’s “hive mind”. Despite the set back in keeping a live specimen, the party sought to find an expert in these matters—or at least an enthusiastic and knowledgeable amateur. Such a man turned out to be Evird, an apprentice to the owner of Trafalga’s Weird Widgetry in Springfield. After some rather messy examinations which put many off their food and delighted Thorne, it was determined that various methods of defense would be needed to have a chance of searching the former D.O.E. building that was their nest, and that some rare materials would be needed for the preparations.

In the meantime, the party arranged passage with another caravan that would be headed to Hot Springs, the rumored location of another ancient site which could turn up the needed materials and valuable salvage.

View
Diagon alley run by moonshiners
Marcel, Olis, Thorne, Gabriel, Khiron, and Mr. Dwight

Having driven off the creature dubbed “Lizard Jesus”, Mr. Dwight, Khiron, and Gabriel picked over the remains of the few fallen “Road Rash” gang members while Justus cooked the severed tip of the lizard’s tail for a meal—we were assured that “the rads are cooked right out”. The remainder of the trip to Springfield in Iron Home was reasonably uneventful, although many hours in the vehicle over rough terrain was no more comfortable than days riding in a saddle.

Springfield was an imposing sight, with a great smooth stone facade built into the mountain, overlooking a surface outpost where “guests” were expected to stay. The caravan put into this “foreign quarter”, and Mr Yezzel got touch with his contact and sponsor in Iron Home, a merchant named Yord Stonefoot. Thorne seemed disappointed to discover the so called “dwarves” were nothing more than rough-looking mountain folk, but was soon distracted by the strange clothing worn by folk the locals called “Pueblos”.

After some discussion, Yord agreed to sponsor the party to enter Springfield proper to conduct business in the market, as well as pointing us to Mildred Steadfast, keeper of ‘antiquities and old shit’. The invitation was conditional on good behavior and providing Yord a cut of any proceeds, and distinctly only a ‘day pass’ as strangers were not trusted to stay in the city proper after dusk. The market and it’s denizens proved more than interesting to both Khiron and Thorne, and the party was able to suggest a number of items of interest to Mr Yezzel for the return trip of the caravan. Thorne in particular was able to trade for a coveted raptor egg, which if it can be returned safely to our patron could be worth a good deal of favor—“a side quest” as Thorne had told Lady Nagastor. Mildred also proved to be a font of information providing the location of the “DOE Site” in “Old Springfield” as well as hints of another such site near the ancient town of “Hot Springs” in Owitichta territory.

Having been warned that the “DOE Site” was overrun with E.Y.F.O.U.F.O. bugs (Eat Your Face Off Ugly Fuck Off bugs), the group approached carefully with Gabriel and Mr. Dwight’s “drone” keeping careful watch. The area near “Old Springfield” was seldom travelled by men as the sense of dread and suffering from the cataclysm of the ancients was still palpable—Thorne confirmed it was something disturbing on the spirit plane or perhaps I should say something specifically disturbing on the sprit plane. After some searching among the overgrown ruins, Gabriel and Olis were able to spot crawlspaces into the collapsed structure that had insect tracks—large but not immense in size. Khiron and Mr. Dwight also noted strange well-cleared holes on the top which were likely ventilation maintained by the bugs.

Thorne integrated the shade of one of the bugs past victims and confirmed much of what Mildred had told us, and added that the animals stayed inside in the day and strayed out at night. Mr. Dwight sent in his drone to explore the nest to discover a well-preserved DOE site and lots of dangerous, fast, and powerful warrior bugs—the drone was recovered but the worse for wear having been nearly crushed by one of the warriors’ pincers. Gabriel walked out the tracks to determine the foraging range of the nest, and the party set to create traps along the perimeter with a camp some ways back to keep Justus calm about the E.Y.F.O.U.F.O. bugs (also called “brain bugs” by some). Late in the night, a trap was indeed triggered but as the party arrived to inspect the catch they quickly found they were not the only ones to hear the alarm call.

View
All politics is local
Marcel, Olis, Thorne, Gabriel, Khiron, and Mr. Dwight

With the aid of the machine-spirit that Thorne seemed quite fond of, and whose secrecy Mr. Dwight seemed little concerned about maintaining, the company learned of the most promising “DOE SITE” to explore. Alas, it lay within the confines of another land known as “Iron Home”.

The information-merchant—and apparently unpleasant employer to Mr. Dwight and Khiron—Kavella offered to smuggle the party into Iron Home in exchange for dealing with some local concern in Gateway City. It seems an old friend of Mr. Dwight, a former smuggler and fellow “scruffy nerf-herder”, Matticks had taken over security at “The Wall” which controls access between the city and the docks. He was considered “too clean” for Kavella’s tastes, and we were told to solve the problem in whatever matter we wished.

After some tentative discussions, Mr. Dwight, Thorne, and Gabriel came clean with the situation and learned a it of Matticks’ situation the workings of Gateway City. His benefactor (and apparently lover) was of one of the great houses, and he suggested we come to dinner “in costume”—the locals find the armor we arrived wearing quaint. In any case, Clarrisa Nagastor was pleasant if aloof, and eventually offered to provide some method for reaching Iron Home without Kavella’s aid. She also mentioned that she would pay handsomely for “raptor eggs” should we acquire any on our journey.

A few days later a caravan master “Mr. Yezell” called upon the company, and the group set off on the road to Springfield. Travel in the wilds of this world is fraught with strange perils, as the caravan of trucks was set upon first by “tribals” on strange scorpion-horses, which had left some sort of trap in our path that Khiron set off with a quite loud explosion that in turn attracted an immense creature—dubbed “Lizard Jesus” in later retellings of the events. The company earned their keep guarding the caravan, although somewhat the worse for wear.

View
Cave of the Cooked Food God
Mr. Dwight, Khiron, Thorne, Marcel, and Olis

I’m never quite certain how things end up the way they do. But there we were, trying to break open some sort of DOE site in the ruins of Aimseyeohwa – somewhere in that nebulous area not quite controlled by the Hawkeye Empire, or left to rage and wreckers outside of it. The weird little muties called it the Cave of the Cooked Food God, or some shit. Fucking great. We seemed to have deactivated most of the external defenses (don’t ask how, I’m not sure I recall). But the vault door required some sort of pass-key. The weird girl,Thorne, claimed that the ancient spirit she was channeling could get us past the door – but we would need to reconfigure the ident cards the muties had given us at some OTHER Ancient Site. It seemed like a ruse to get us to leave, not sure why. But then again I’m not sure Thorne is anything but some sort of very deluded lunatic. Half of what she says is 100% horse shit the other half is so crazy that it can’t be credited. I’ve seen these “readers” at other Ancient Sites and they are difficult to spoof – but not impossible. Usually I know ahead of time and bring a Cracker, not a talent we are currently gifted with. I thought maybeKhiron had some faculty – but he gave his usual blank look. Damned fly boy. The rest of the Aldemari (them so strange foreign folks) were even more baffled. I reckoned I could try some jiggery-pokery, but most of what I do in that regard is to make holes in things or transcend space and time – ain’t none of that gonna be terribly useful in this sitch. I turned away for a second to confer with Justus about maybe rigging a door buster, and suddenly Thorne has us in. So that is neat. Not sure what happened, something to do with spirits. Why is it always fuckin’ spirits with that girl? Ain’t we got enough problems with the living? Douche-baggery on an epic scale.

So, in we go. Pretty standard layout. The important shit is going to be down and probably under further security. Fuckin’ Ancients and their preoccupation with burying things deep in the ground. Ain’t like it made a big fuckin’ difference as far as I can tell. But salvage is salvage. Or in this case, we need to figure out what the fuck happened at SITE 109. No way old Doc Cartweight can avoid us forever. And no way I can continue to put off Mr. Caville. More douche-baggery. There is shit in the complex, but down we go.

And then things get weird.

Big fuckin’ open area, lined with gantries, conduit, and all sorts of confusing shit. In the center of which are eight big fuckin’ shiny cylinders connected to all manner of glowy tubes and wires and crap. All of it pulsing with crackling blue-white light and ‘lectricity. Fuckin’ great. The Thorne girl does something stupid, I know, big shock, and turns on the party – firing off all manner of hocus-pokus. Voices in our heads coming out of the nowhere. More folk trying to beat one-another. Weird ass mental storms sweeping the chamber and frying everyone’s brains. Minotaurs? Fuck me! We finally figure out that the shiny silver cylinders are filled with old psychic brain soup that are causing all the rampant crap. Smashing the cylinders – with the accompanying spraying and dripping goo – weakens the brain attacks and allows us to incapacitate those folks that have been brain dominated and smash further cylinders. Finally, all of them are smashed and we are all plum fuckin’ beat.

It would appear that this complex is some fuckin’ Ancient bio-engineering, brain mutant making, laboratory. The fuckers intentionally hooked up a bunch of fuckin’ brains to try to make some massive fucked up brain beast. Fuck me. That went well. After all the smoke cleared we were able to find some interesting doo-dads and geegaws. Fuck if I know what they do but they are probably dangerous. But just maybe we can find some fuckin’ clues as to what the DOE was up to elsewhere.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.