Annals of Aldamere

A different boat narrative
Marcel, Olis, Mr Dwight, Thorne, Gabriel

A pilot, in those days, was the only unfettered and entirely independent human being that lived on the earth.

After the terrible fight to put down the demon infesting “High-Energy Site”, the party returned to Gateway City after handing over the remains of the creature to the Protectorate—thus earning Mr. Dwight an improved reputation which will no doubt sour his mood when they decide he’s the right man for a future job.

Back in Gateway, the party consulted with Professor Cartwright about the next destination to find the remaining items for the quest to create a Portal to return the Aladamere folk home. Cartwright was impressed with the artifacts and information we had recovered to date, and he suggested we check out “Oakridge National Labs” near a town known as Knoxville. While long, the travel would be safest done on a river boat.

Since it not a normal trade-route, the company decided to invest in a vessel of their own, and Mr. Dwight with Khiron’s and Justice’s aid was able to secure the Bessie Bell. Rather than hire a crew, Gabriel and Olis decided to put some time in with another vessel so that they would be better equipped to handle the vessel directly. Mr Dwight offset the price of the boat by offering his services to the shipyard ‘un-cursing’ some troublesome vessels.

Going up that river was like travelling back to the earliest beginnings of the world, when vegetation rioted on the earth and the big trees were kings. An empty stream, a great silence, an impenetrable forest. The air was warm, thick, heavy, sluggish. There was no joy in the brilliance of sunshine. The long stretches of the waterway ran on, deserted, into the gloom of overshadowed distances. On silvery sandbanks hippos and alligators sunned themselves side by side. The broadening waters flowed through a mob of wooded islands; you lost your way on that river as you would in a desert, and butted all day long against shoals, trying to find the channel, till you thought yourself bewitched and cut off forever from everything you had known once somewhere far away in another existence perhaps.

Having little else to do with the few weeks of time while the other members of the party worked on securing the river route, Ser Marcel visited a “gun range” to improve his familiarity with the local arms. After a few hours of training, it was apparent that one of his challenges to date is that he has a melee-man’s vision rather than the eyes of a natural archer. As it turns out, there is a local remedy: corrective eyewear.

Gabriel and Olis returned from their river crewing, and Gabriel in particular took to the role. With Gabriel captaining the vessel, the company made good time up the river stopping at Ledbetter to pay a nominal passage toll and to gain insight into the points further north. The next stop was Bakersville which was likely to be a less friendly and fair exchange…

Never get out of the boat. Absolutely goddamn right. Unless you were goin’ all the way. Kurtz got off the boat. He split from the whole fuckin’ program.

View
The Battle of Fort Smith
A battle? A skirmish? Or the opening engagement to something far worse?

The corpses of the Janette’s clones littered the grimy gantries and dirt covered entryway of the one time government facility. The lights flickered in the dust and debris floating through the air; the smell and taste of cordite mingled with the mélange of death. The banshees (for lack of better term) looked shrunken, nearly desiccated as if their efforts drained their very spirit.

Our heroes paused long enough to look at each other over the results of their skill and check on Janette Prime to see if she had any further injuries when a great bellow and crash could be herd from far below the facility. To a man they rushed forward to see what new evil awaited; past the rec room filled with books and tapes of the dead world, past a kitchen with a sandwich waiting for someone who will never eat it, past the cryogenic chamber where the rest of the science team were thawing into death, down into the main chamber of the weapons room.

There they found a disturbing sight; computers smashed, the rail gun disassembled, and the silo opened with a clear indication that some… thing had crawled its way out to the surface. Dwight lead the group in searching the ruins for the grimoire he knew must exist to no avail.

Dr. Armstrong joined them after a spell, and questioning her is how they discovered that the ‘computer’ that ran the facility was anything but your standard electronic gizmo. Instead it was some sort of biological neural construct thingamajig and more impotently, that piece of biological hardware was now missing.

To the surface they dashed, to see what doom awaited them. But no, there was no sign of whatever it was. Off went the Cricket and Khiron in search of who knows what which quickly revealed a giant amalgam of biology and machine trotting toward Potu. Khiron raced off to warn the village while the rest of the group and the good Doctor trotted down the path in pursuit.

The defenders of Potu were valiant, but well decided by the time the group arrived. Khiron helped a bit in the carnage, but he related to the rest that the battle was mostly over once ‘Nana’ became possessed or controlled by the entity and turned her magical furies on her relatives. Potu was deserted, with the controlled survivors riding in a sled behind the walking nightmare on their way to Fort Smith.

So the chase continued.

By the time the group reached Fort Smith, the town had already fallen. Many were killed, but a company of troops and artillery were able to evacuate and set up a line a couple miles to the east, blocking the growing army from heading deeper into the Protectorate setting up a stalemate.

The group found the commander of the Fort Smith blocking force, a lowly lieutenant. Apparently the Major who was in command of the garrison fell in the initial assault as well as the rest of his command staff.

Captain(!) Dwight was able to assume command based on his bonafides as a reservist, allowing for a combined attack against the Demon. The troops and artillery would commence a general assault on the town as our heroes engaged the entity with a combination of attacks, and EMP grenade, a magical Abatement assault, and a hoard of angry spirits commanded by Thorne.

The three pronged assault significantly weakened the Entity, allowing for the direct assault to come off. Khiron ran interference using his grenades and flying armor to assault from various directions, Dwight and Thorn split their arcane efforts between the Entity and Nana, while Olis and Marcel directly engaged the Entity.

In the end they were successful, with the creature destroyed (and perhaps even captured within Thorns walking trunk) and the remaining people of Potu and Fort Smith freed from the entities influence.

The only note of concern was that Khiron noted some sort of rocket which launched from the entity and exploded several hundred feet in the air when it fell, and no one knows that happened to Janette Armstrong.

View
The wrong kind of rustic
Mr. Dwight, Khrion, Olis, Gabriel

Having located evidence of where the “ABM” site was south of Fort Smith, the company set off through the overgrown paths and stifling heat. The locals at the Fort had mentioned the village of Potu in the direction we were headed, and Mr. Dwight’s status as an Inquisitor of the Protectorate seemed to be a relief to the folks at the Fort who had heard strange stories of the ‘hicks’.

Noting tracks of some great beast that wasn’t a ‘Jesus lizard’, Gabriel sought to ask Mr. Dwight if he knew what kind of creature could dwell here. He confidently spoke of some tree-swinging monster and the party keep a wary eye up. Alas, Mr. Dwight’s knowledge of such things is limited and he was surprised as the rest as we stumbled onto an “octo-elephant” that took umbrage at our passing. With little cause to kill the creature, Mr. Dwight far-stepped away to safety, Khiron flew away, and Gabriel disappeared into the shadows. Unfortunately, that left Olis. Rather than kill the beast, he tried to jump aside as it charged but ended up thrown back some distance for his pity.

Arriving at the village proved that they were not demon-possessed, but just extremely isolated. The forest around the village was sickly, heavy with beetles and other blighting insects. Mr. Dwight noted that the beetles themselves carried some taint, possibly demonic, but couldn’t be sure. The source he felt was definitely up in the mountains where the “ABM” site lay in wait. The wise-woman of the village spoke of dark dreams, and something dreadful in the pits below the ground awaking.

Resting the night in Potu, the party set off through the blighted forest. There were no animals or birds, just insects. Mr. Dwight’s sense lead up to a buried structure. Gabriel noted that the whole area had been turned over by hordes of insects coming in and out of the structure. Digging down to a door, an old screen lit up and a woman spoke

She introduced herself as Janette Armstrong, and spoke of many ancient things. The insects were her work, but insisted it was done with care. Mr. Dwight pressed her to ask that we come and see if her work had been subverted without her knowledge. The company was let in and led to a ‘conference’ room where there were three identical women. Her story made little sense to some, but apparently she and her companions had been sleeping since the Fall, and she was the only one awake. She was using the ancients systems to coordinate many copies of herself and “generic engineering” to gather energy from the forest with insects of her creation.

What became apparently quickly was that her perceptions of the outside world were an illusion. She thought that the insects had careful pruned the forest per her instructions instead of laying waste to the surroundings. When Mr. Dwight and Khrion took her outside, she still didn’t perceive the world as it was. Mr. Dwight put up a ward to block out the influence of her ‘wifi’ and she immediately passed out. That’s when all hell broke loose.

Olis and Gabriel fought a pitch battle with three of the ‘clones’ who exhibited demonic powers and traits as they fought. Mr. Dwight and Khiron tried to wake the woman with little effect, then joined the fray along with the remaining ‘clones’. All pretense of a peaceful resolution as destroyed and the company had to put down four of the six Janette’s, only to hear the demon below rising in response.

View
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

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.