Chaos Monks, Mountains of the Moon. Dine and Dash

Chaos Monks MountainsThe monks met in Khalart, an orderly city on an island in the glacier-melt runoff flowing from the mountains.

  • Hum Lae (Max) Lvl 3. Thromil the Goldsmith sent him from the Yellow City to take a mysterious locked stone chest to Dhudek, leader of a dwarven ghetto in the Charikot Oligarchy.
  • Xiao Xiao (Jeremy) Lvl 1. A bald, weaselly, acid scarred former necromancer lackey with a shovel. He and his henchman Ping (topknot, light red jacket with camo not floral) accidentally poisoned the necromancer leader. Nyandak, mistress of the Jade Shadows seraglio, took him on as an agent after he dug something up for her; something that twisted chaos into him. Spellcaster.
  • Gazo (Lu) Lvl 1. She is thin, shaved, and covered in bad tattoos (except the good one, of the Jade Shadow sign, given her by Wangchuk Tenzin, mystic artist.) Roof runner.
  • Tu (Ted) Lvl 1. He is tall, lanky, and a bit lazy. He served the dragon lord Paytrack, but in contacting the dragon’s castoff material he got frayed to the point of chaos flowing into and through him, and he had to leave. He found easy work with Nyandak and the Jade Shadows seraglio.

Mountains of the Moon MapThe chaos monks met in Khalart because Xiao Xiao, Ping, Gazo, and Tu had escorted some plague victims this far south past the Thousand Throat army of bandits cutting off access on the Thirty Back Trail to Charikot. Now they were resting, preparing to head back, maybe with supplies (or maybe those could wait.) They were in a nice restaurant, overlooking the koi pond, out of sight of the main seating area. They found Hum Lae, who was happy to join them, so they could all head up through the mountains together.

What’s the Rush?

They were comfortable through breakfast, and charmed the wait staff romantically through lunch, but it was the manager who told them to leave as supper approached. He was scared off by the monks, so the owner came, with the town guard.

By this point Hum Lae was headed to the bathroom, so right in front of the owner and captain of the guard, he relieved himself on the wall instead of in the bathroom. That was the final straw, so three guards jumped Hum Lae in the hallway while six more piled in after the rest of them in the koi dining room.

Hum Lae slaughtered the first of the orderly town guards, and the rest withdrew to the main dining room; the furious captain of the guard was a short, muscled woman with hook swords. She cornered Hum Lae in the hallway, and he killed his way out past her. This scared off the rest of the guards, who retreated to regroup and return with numbers.

Before they pulled back, Gazo retreated by leaping into the koi pond when the guards burst in. Xiao Xiao incapacitated a guard with his Worm Loop spell, and Ping grabbed him and leaped out into the water, leaving Tu alone against five guards. Tu was doing alright with spear and shield, but was relieved when the guards pulled back. He tossed Gazo’s supplies out to her where she was swimming, but she couldn’t catch them and stay afloat, so much of it was lost. Ping swam to safety with Xiao Xiao, out of the koi pond, ignoring the stirring in the deeper waters.

  • Worm Loop. The target must test Strength or Dexterity or be constrained for 1 minute per caster level. OR, the spell can squeeze for a single round, and the target takes 1 hit point per caster level.

Hum Lae burst into the dining room with Tu, all bloody, and they took the stone chest and the rest of the supplies and retreated quickly to the rendezvous point by the north bridge.

North Bridge

Tu and Hum Lae tried to steal a pair of llama, but they were spotted by a kid who called the guard. Tu escaped with the llama while Hum Lae killed a couple of the guards and escaped. (Tu named them Yut & Yi.)

Meanwhile Tu stone a goat hooked to a cart. (Ping named the goat Mr. Pointy.)

Across the open courtyard, a dozen town guard were blocking escape by bridge. Ping drove the goat cart right at them while Xiao Xiao fired on the guards with a crossbow, and the rest of the monks charged at the guards. Gazo flipped on through, but the other monks killed about half the guards on their way by; the guards lost the stomach for the pursuit, and the monks escaped Khalart without further incident. (The llamas were left behind.)

  • Duplicating Insect. Spell lasts up to 1 hour per caster level. An insect appears in your mouth, it can be programmed to repeat any sound you want. Will tests to get special effects beyond baseline function. (Xiao Xiao’s new spell.)

The Void Herald

They traveled until they ran across a huge yakkish draped on a pile of a dozen or so human corpses, arranged like a fainting couch. He had a double-bitted scythe, and he was lounging on former members of the Thousand Throat bandit army. More corpses had been hurled off the nearby cliff.

He was tired, said he fought his way out of the world accidentally in a dwarven fortress, and was happy to be back where it was warmer (even in the cold.) He knew that the stone chest was coming this way, and wanted it to get through, but in the future they would not meet on friendly terms (though he allowed for the possibility Hum Lae could be his apprentice sometime in the future.) He spoke in hazy riddles and terrifying images, implying he would sleep then wake and eat all the corpses.

Sign of the Herald

They asked for a sign of his favor, since he wanted them to get through the Thousand Throats to Charikot. He dug a handful of something out of the corpse pile and offered it up; Xiao Xiao took him up on it, and received a bone spider; its body made of two shoulderblades, jointed ribs for legs, a spine tail. It can purr, it radiates cold, and it snuggled onto his shoulders and dropped his body temperature. Rudimentary telepathy and empathy, ability as a scout, can distract in combat but not inflict hit points; a Sign of the Void Herald too. It bonded with Xiao Xiao instead of trying to destroy him.

When they continued on and met a few soldiers of the bandit army, Xiao Xiao created a stone locust in his mouth that repeated some of the Void Herald’s words, and the bandits were all too eager to let them pass (especially since the effect was bolstered with some of the Void Herald’s supernatural menace.)

The rest of the trip to Charikot was uneventful, though bandits trailed them on the road.

  • Soul Cascade. The victim must pass a Will test or truthfully answer a question, and also volunteer some awful fact that has nothing to do with the matter at hand. The caster can ask 1 question per caster level.

Charikot At Last

A mercenary band in green armor guarded the entry towers to the valley, but they let the chaos monks through since they had legitimate business below. The monks headed to the Jade Shadows seraglio, the best one in the city state, where they met Nyandak.

The matron of the seraglio likes poison, and has a daughter who is an open secret (though people who go on about her family end up poisoned.) She has some kind of interest in chaos monks, which can’t be good. Still, she welcomed them and paid them for their troubles, gold tabs worth 20 silver.

Also, a stone assayer and regular customer, Kelsang, was there with a couple dwarves. Hum Lae was able to offload the stone chest for gold tabs worth 100 silver.

Finally, the monks could relax.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Guns of Telluria in the Vale of the Iron God

Vale of the Iron God coverThe last big Simon Forster project I adapted was his Lottery Dungeon, before he started developing his hand-drawn maps.

Now that I’ve had a chance to look over his newest book of lairs, Vale of the Iron God, I think it’s time to adapt another of Simon’s projects to a custom rule set and do my own thing with it.

The setting is Guns of Telluria. An aristocratic house is charged with defending the valley and keeping the curious away, because ancient lore holds that the Iron God is buried in this vale. In the wake of a massive war between humanity and the fey, the possibility of an iron super-weapon is too intriguing to ignore. So, the aristocrat is fitting out an expedition with about twenty veterans and sending them into the valley to find out the truth of what it holds.

The mystic door will only be opened long enough for them to get through with their gear, then it will close. They will have to set up camp; the Cave of Bones is recommended as a starting position to get out of the harsh winter weather.

The setup of Simon’s book means I can pull out the maps and put them each on a page in Roll 20. Then I can get the monsters and treasure and such prepped for each, and adjust as needed between sessions. So, with a not-too-heinous setup, I can get the sandbox of the valley set up for as many expeditions as it takes for the veterans to find what facts may lurk behind the legend of the Iron God.

Moving under Vorn’s sight means I wanted to do rust and winter, so here’s a quick adjustment of the original image!

Vale_of_the_Iron_God_Guns of Telluria

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Blades in the Dark: Clockworkers. The Emperor of Goats

BitD Title_01 by James Dudli

  • Pledge. (Elizabeth) An Akorosizan Slide.
  • Deadlock. (Shaun) A Dagger Islander Lurk.
  • Echo. (Iris) An Akorosian Whisper.
  • Needles. (Matthew) An Iruvian Cutter.
  • Zero. (Simon) An Iruvian Hound.

Flush with Coin and low on stress, the Clockworkers were positioned to really DO something. They looked around their new turf and found out Madame Phylo of the Redbud in Shaver’s Row was annoyed with the Shaggy Six; a pack of Skovs who left their territory to come to Shaver’s Row to drink and party, then return home leaving unpaid bills, broken furniture, and savaged locals. Without much Crowfeather presence, they would likely get worse, as the bluecoats just surround the area and monitor the situation until the Six leave on their own.

Freeplay 1: The Shaggy Six

They acquired a mass of Nightwort, a cheap and nasty knockout drug. They deployed their gang of lookouts to keep an eye out for the Shaggy Six. When the Six showed up, headed for the Gecko (a popular Dagger Islands themed bar, which means Industrial Gothic Tiki) the Clockworkers got enough notice to get in position.

There were only four members in the Shaggy Six, but one of them had a pet landeel (like a shark, with legs instead of fins, about 5 feet long and an appendage-amputating bite.) They picked fights with some locals, but Pledge pulled the locals over to drink with her and Echo. Deadlock dosed the Skov drinks, and the Skovs (who didn’t START drinking here) didn’t detect the drugs. They were incapacitated, and Needles fired some sleepy darts from her cane into the landeel. The bluecoats picked them up (they were already wanted for plenty of stuff, no need to frame them) and carted them away.

Freeplay 2: Humphry and the Betting Cages

Looking around their territory, they decided they’d like to take over the betting cages of the hagfish arena (now that they had Shaver’s Row; they might take this thing over one piece at a time.) The betting cages were a well-established information drop and money laundromat.

The man in charge was not with the Crows. He was a big Tycherosian named Humphry, and he had Tycherosian help. He ran a side business of selling custom bred pets, focusing on dewlap hounds (lizards with bacteria-loaded bites that were ugly-cute, big dog sized, and scaled instead of furred.)

They contemplated kidnapping and relocating him, or selling him to his enemies, or killing him outright. They decided to hang on to that “savvy” reputation and offer him something else he wanted more. Zero was still keen to steal the most amazing stud goat in Doskvol, Sparticus. Maybe offer him that magnificent goat for his experiments in breeding monsters, in exchange for his spot at the hagfish arena? Better check and make sure he’s into it before going to all the effort of stealing one of the hardest-to-fence objects in the city.

Pledge and Needles worked through Klyra, who owned a tavern and bought a dewlap hound (named “Snippy Snippy”) who agreed to vouch for them and set up a meet with Humphry so they could buy a dewlap hound of their own.

Escorted back to his throne room, they saw the stylish and magnificently-horned Tycherosian vamping on his throne (it had human skulls bolted on the arms, with something tasty on them, so the dewlap hound would lick them, distressing some visitors.) They got a tour of the breeding facility (some of it anyway) and found out he also had gas-belching burricks he had recently refined in their bloodlines.

They bought a dewlap hound egg, and he painted a sigil for Needles’ name on the egg so the creature would enter the world through her name and imprint on her.

They also pitched the idea of trading Sparticus for his business here; they managed to paint a captivating picture of what could be possible with such strong genetics, and they successfully got him excited about the idea. Now all they had to do was steal Sparticus, the best-defended goat in Doskvol.

To Steal the Emperor Goat

They had to spread some Coin around to basically buy time to do this heist right. Zero dressed in a gilly suit to observe the defenses for a couple weeks. Sparticus was owned by Baron Launius Krek IV, and his estate was in southern Barrowcleft against the massive outer wall, with an interior wall and a moat. On one side, eeleries, dark paddies of knee-deep water twitching with weeds and eels. On the other, radiant fields with glowing willows and crops planted in circles around them. The inner wall was staffed with snipers, and there was practically no cover. The main gate was one way in, and there was a sally port out to a greenspace on the other side, and that was it.

They found out a caravan came and went every three days, led by Captain Veers. Chael, a vicious thug, also knew they were connected to the Hive; he went to find out more, but sort of started punching people and got arrested. Both Veers and the baron were known to like antiques.

Zero smuggled Echo out to review the situation in the Ghost Field, and Echo saw that there was a reserve tank of electroplasm in a Ghost Field backup station. Even if something happened to the tanks on this side of the Mirror, the lightning wall would persist for a while. Also, that the design of the big electroplasmic fences was to pull in nearby ghosts, shred them, and use their energy for the fence; the harder they were hit, the more energy they drew from their attackers. More importantly, there was a ghost door between the outside of the inner wall by a water runoff, and the door to a tower to one of the lightning wall projectors inside the compound.

They studied an old diagram they found of making a harness that had syringes all slaved to a leather pull strap, so you put it on the goat and when you pulled the strap several syringes simultaneously injected to knock the goat out. After all, if Sparticus decided he didn’t want to be stolen, what would they do? He was stronger than all of them together, standing six foot at the shoulder. Deadlock cobbled together the harness and spent plenty of cash to get the best knockout drugs the crew could get their hands on.

Into the Compound

They borrowed an old goat, Minnie, and a wagon, and had their gang pull out any old furniture that looked like antiques, filling the wagon. They figured they’d fall in line with the caravan and get in; the baron liked a little mini market set up in his compound that he could visit without bothering to go into the city.

One bad engagement roll later, they were isolated in the murder hole between the gate into the tunnel through the wall and the gate out, portcullises down and arrow slits open. They presented the papers that Deadlock had forged (and spent a pretty penny on) and the papers were just good enough. They were escorted in to set up their wares, and it turns out after the urchins loaded the cart, they went out shopping for leviathan-hunter-related antiques and bought some actual pieces for their cover; fortunately, their wares stood up to cursory inspection.

While Pledge set up, the others slipped over to where some hats and coats of local servants were on a fencepost. There were pagodas for goats, with fresh fields for frolicking and grazing, and mangers. Then there was a palace, erected for Sparticus, the Emperor of Goats.

Getting to Sparticus

They surreptitiously sprinkled goat amp in the mangers of as many goats as they could, then blew the tiny horn summoning goats to supper. The goats were confused by the change of schedule, but obediently trotted out to their mangers, and moments later there was free-form pandemonium as goats were freaking out all over the place.

With the snipers busy trying to figure out what the hell was going on, the crew clambered up the back of the goat palace and through the vent, seeing the box seats overlooking the fresh grass and waterfall to care for Sparticus, Emperor of Goats. He was magnificent, almost glowing, with his recurve horns and double bar pupils in golden orbs. The goat ignored them, but his guardian did not.

A figure in lacquer armor with waterproofed fabrics and a mask drew a long sword and leaped into the rafters, ambushing them; they were all engaged with looking for the guardian, spotting him in time to cue Needles to fight him, and Needles dodged his savage attack. The four of them (plus Zero’s cat) kept the lone warrior busy, darting in strikes where they could, and put the guardian down. Needles knelt on his back and slit his throat, releasing black blood. Not wanting to think about that any further, they turned their attention to the goat, who seemed unbothered by the battle.

Deadlock figured out how to lower the elegant drawbridge, and Echo reached through the Ghost Field to touch the animal’s consciousness. She formed some kind of connection, so the goat would be patient and obedient–to a point. Deadlock and Zero managed to get the harness on the massive beast, and they led him out of his palace.

Getting Sparticus Out

All the snipers and servants and guards immediately oriented on Sparticus when the magnificent creature entered the open space. They acted fast, with Deadlock hurling a smokebomb in the air that detonated to cover a fairly large area, and they held on to Sparticus as Echo guided the giant goat towards the base of the lightning tower.

She used her spirit mask to unfold the ghost door, borrowing some of the incredible vitality of the Emperor of Goats, startled to feel a touch of the energy of the broken sun in his bones. The Ghost Door had been created by the Spirit Wardens, but there was some consonance between the beaks of the deathseeker crows and the horns of this gladiator goat, reducing the difficulty.

The door opened, and the four rogues plus the Emperor of Goats passed through. They found themselves in a chill space with black and blue-rimed stone breathing fog. They navigated quickly to the exit, but before they reached it, the goat’s guardian came for them, hurling a spear on a chain and nailing Needles in the back, ready to reel her back. The guardian’s slit throat was leaking black blood as though there was no gravity, and it formed a macabre cloak behind him.

Needles was not to be trifled with, and she dropped to her knees and resisted the tug, so the blade flipped free and twirled back towards the guardian that pursued them; they made the most of the moment and pushed through, exiting the Ghost Field and reaching the living side of the Mirror between the inner wall and the moat.

Back to Town

Echo managed to persuade Sparticus to swim the moat with them holding on, and Sparticus’ patience was just about exhausted. They headed back to the road, trusting that the shenanigans inside would keep the snipers busy, and putting a camo tarp over the Emperor of Goats to hide his glory.

They reached the road, where the urchin gang brought a heavy wagon intended for moving stone from the quarry through town. Coaxing Sparticus on it, Deadlock then pulled the leather strap and fired the injectors, knocking the noble beast out cold (and cementing its dislike of him for all time.)

The crew headed back to Crow’s Foot, using some gondoliers who owed them a favor and sneaking through back routes to get home without revealing their intensely valuable, illegal, and deadly cargo.

Meanwhile, Pledge was left on her own. She had prepared for this by purchasing an antique spyglass enchanted to color demonic energies yellow, and she offered it to Captain Veers if he would vouch for her; she became his niece, and six hours later they were allowed to return to the city.

Wrap Up

All the money they would make from this through side channels was choked off by either the need for absolute secrecy or the costs of restraints and care for the monster. They got a 3 Rep boost; it wasn’t clear what they had to do with it, but they were near it, and it was the most audacious theft in years. Deadlock’s work with harnesses and syringes paid off, and they got lots of tips and tricks for carrying stuff subtly.

The Hive was furious, and loomed large to make their lives miserable for the foreseeable future; they sent a diplomatic envoy to the Hive, targeting Captain Veers as he might be somewhat sympathetic, and offered to do a heist for them (now they proved they are capable) as a symbolic offering to make peace. The Hive reluctantly accepted their counter proposal.

They cleared off stress and Heat. Needles finished cementing her friendship with Madame Phylo of the Redbud on behalf of the crew. Echo finished decoding one of the two ledgers stolen from the Crowfeathers and sold it to Lyssa for 4 Coin, helping the somewhat depleted coffers of the crew.

As they settled in to taking over the betting cages as well as Shaver’s Row it was time to get ready for whatever the Hive might want next.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Drink Spin Run: Investigative Games

I’m a guest on a podcast, talking about investigative games!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Black Space: Lost Guardian 4. Monsters

Black Space Hack Banner

Black Space Logo

  • Smitty. (Brian) Captain. A focused spacer with a remote built in so he could control drones, gifted with sharp senses. He had a salvage kit and a drone named Jethro.
  • Gasper. (Jesse) Disfigured ship’s medic.
  • Jan Klaya. (Jeremy) Charismatic sword mystic.

Clyde Bruskin was so skilled with tech that he could put in twice the effective tech hours, better than other spacers, so they left him to get the parts put in. It would take the tireless spacer 13 hours to install the burner and the scrubber, so they were on the clock to get the administrative permission to take off.

They asked Jack who else could grant permission to take off, and he told them Lt. Commander 1st Class Anna Graymalkin could do it. She was logged in to the Belarra Preserve.

Three spacers armored up and headed through the Fringe all over Telmar Bay to go check out the entrance.

They found the entry, but it had a “stay out” pole with various heads and masks on it, and a rusted bulkhead that Smitty’s drone buzzed to find out the other side was a deep pit, and beyond that a door guarded by the purple tough guys.

Reexamining their map, they saw the Tarmaxians were adjacent, and connected; maybe they would help.

Doctor Duke

They approached the Tarmaxian entrance, a spare staircase leading up to a bulkhead, flanked by autogun turrets tuned to a sensor fence. Smitty stepped out to parlay, and a Tarmaxian came down the stairs to chat with him.

He explained the Tarmaxians were mercenary bounty hunter doctors with high tech, distant from various factions in an attempt to stay neutral. Their connection to the Belarra Preserve (or The Garden as the Gardeners call it) was sealed by mutual agreement, except in case of emergency.

Rather than offering errands, Duke discouraged them from working with him, as it carried a price too high because he had to assure their trustworthiness. On the other hand, he encouraged them to escape Telmar Bay, so he told them about how the Gardeners had their own Garden of Eden and would see spacers as “Softies” who were mythical deity figures to them. Smitty thanked Doctor Duke for his time, and they headed back to the Garden.

The Garden

They asked nicely, and the Gardner guard extended the ramp and ushered them into the Garden, taking them to meet the Floating King on the Drifting Throne. In a hollow flanked by cliffs, they saw the King, on a throne flanked by seats and supplies, mounted on the stripped foundation of a hover bus, a meter above the ground. His throne had a killer bird skull on a stick to control its drift, which was slowly to starboard most of the time. King Driftsless welcomed them as Softies and ordered a Righteous Party, where they arranged boulders for the Softies to sit on, and entertained them with various meat and plants. Klaya sat on the Drifting Throne by the King.

Gasper was impressing the Gardeners with his ability to eat anything, and he got chummy with Shaman Nobelt (who had a pot belly.) He casually asked after Graymalkin’s login, and Nobelt freaked out and accused them of being monsters. It was up to the spacers to prove they were Softies, not monsters, or they faced death!

Klaya appealed to the King that surely they were not monsters, calming things down some. The King set a challenge that only Softies (not monsters) could do; fix the drift of his throne. They lacked the proper tools to do so, but he pointed out there were tools in a nearby cave, only a family of 3 deathbirds were living there. They had an egg, though, and if they were defeated there would be another Righteous Party and this time they’d eat the deathbird egg too. They had one hour.


The shaman led them to the cave; it was a garage. Smitty and Gasper took cover, and Klaya climbed up on top of the entry. Smitty shot at the birds, and they came out in a rush of fury; Klaya leaped down to ride one, missed, and ended up flat on her back with a deathbird stamping on her. It managed to wipe out her belt shield as she cut it badly.

The birds were gunned down by the spacers, and they checked out the garage, finding the big egg and also a back room with the necessary tools.

The Righteous Party

Returning to the King, Klaya took time to wash up while Smitty and Gasper worked on the throne; it was a puzzling design, and they were having trouble until they realized the stabilizing matrices were based on theremin technology, and they had to put their hands into the fields and do it manually. They fixed the throne.

The King declared himself anointed by the Softies as King Nodrift, and they had a righteous party that outshone the previous party. The spacers and the King also partook of the hardboiled deathbird egg, which was like rock candy mixed with teriyaki jerky (as close as their senses could interpret the new flavor and texture.) It was oddly affecting.

Shaman Nobelt took them to the Glowing Altar, hidden in a cliff. Graymalkin had been logged in for 425 years, and the Gardners prevented linguistic drift by watching her entertainment list, which included a lot of surfer shows and movies.

Feeling a strange reverence, the spacers enlisted Jack’s help to use Graymalkin’s credentials to authorize their escape. Then they looked deeper into the history of the ship.

Lost Guardian

The ship launched about 825 years ago, sister to the Colony Ship, aimed at a colony 2,000 years away. About 200 years out, they were hit by a cosmic mutagenic wave that killed or changed most of those on board; some made it to vaults built into the superstructure. Some engines exploded. Some engines ran on dimensional folding technology, so some parts of the ship were moved beyond detection or communication with the rest of the ship. Survivors mutated.

That was 625 years ago now. The vast self-replenishing ship could perhaps go on forever. It was over 100 miles long, some of that now in other dimensions. It was a mass of life and death dragged through the void that rivaled the density of some colonies on planets.

Downloading as much as they could into a data cube that they would have to build new technology to read, the spacers took what records they could and left the Glowing Altar as they found it. As the shaman said, push no red Xs, never turn it off. A snapshot to an ancient past.


King Nodrift was so impressed with them he let them ride his giant red triceratops back to their ship. They were mounted on a howdah on its back, and they saw some of the chasekin who were after them run afoul of some of the teksuppar who were after them. But they made it back safe, boarding the ship, putting in the last few hours of work, and blasting out into space.

As they parted ways, they saw the ship from space. In the void, its viewports and energy leaks and damage and displays formed their own constellations against the cosmic background. Then the spacers turned their backs on the spectacle and resumed their journey in Medusa’s Scow, back to the world they knew.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Blades in the Dark: Clockworkers. Shaver’s Row

BitD Title_01 by James Dudli

  • Pledge. (Elizabeth) An Akorosizan Slide.
  • Deadlock. (Shaun) A Dagger Islander Lurk.
  • Echo. (Iris) An Akorosian Whisper.
  • Needles. (Matthew) An Iruvian Cutter.
  • Zero. (Simon) An Iruvian Hound.

Ashes was out, but Echo, Needles, and Zero came back. Zero was musing about getting in to the goat trading industry, possibly stealing Sparticus, a handsome stud goat who was well protected and valuable.

Needles countered with a proposal to start aggression against the cult of the Dreaming God; her family had been burning tentacles for religious reasons, hoping to sour the dreams of cultists, and the crew could steal gems and pressed gold and other valuables from the cult.

Ultimately they decided they wanted to get some more turf. They evaluated two options.

Feathers and Lies is a group of runners and information brokers, young people generally, often connected to Strathmill’s orphan work mill. They could look into taking over management of that network.

Instead they targeted Shaver’s Row, the outdoor bazaar of booths and tents wrapped around the flank of the hagfish arena. Its transient low-paperwork environment made it ideal for fencing goods at a healthy profit, and the Clockworkers wanted to control it.

Scoping Out Shaver’s Row

They discovered that Captain Dimsworth was the bluecoat assigned to Shaver’s Row. He had a watch tower at the end of the Row, but also spent quite a bit of time in the Redbud, a tea house with a brothel as an open secret. The attractive building rising above the tents and shoddy booths was crowned with a radiant redbud growing on a glass dome on the roof, so it was very fancy. However, his investigations of the place got Zero banned.

On the Crow’s side, Marsden was the leader of the Crowfeathers, a big and violent gang that kept the crime in Shaver’s Row organized. Marsden had a rep for being volatile and unpredictable; he might laugh off bad news, or kill the messenger. His people were paranoid and alert. They also wore black and gray serapes and puttees on the legs, usually fighting with long paired knives tucked out of sight until it was killing time.

There were rumors that Marsden might be blackmailing Lyssa, the leader of the Crows, and that’s how he kept his spot in spite of being erratic and arrogant. Pledge checked with Baz to see if there was any secret dirt. Turns out Roric, the previous leader of the Crows, was safe from murder because his mother was a witch who swore to take revenge on the murderer.

But Lyssa may have worked something out to capture Roric’s spirit in a spirit jar of some kind, so his mother could have him with her all the time, and Lyssa could get away with murder. Still, the mother witch died a few months later, and then Marsden rose to power; Baz suspects Marsden has Roric’s spirit and is blackmailing Lyssa, threatening to have the dead leader identify her as his killer, putting her in a very difficult position.

Deadlock worked with Petra, the city clerk with access to restricted building permits. She knew that the plans to the tunnels under Shaver’s Row were risky to share, so she asked Deadlock to kill someone for her. He agreed he would, and she showed him the plans from before the new plumbing went in 30 years ago. The old ineffecient drains for emptying the hagfish arena and dealing with heavy rains were under the Redbud and parts of Shaver’s Row, providing the secret bases the Crowfeathers needed.


They decided to sneak into the secured Crowfeathers underground beneath the Redbud to steal Roric’s spirit jar. As they started up the tunnel, dozens of bluecoats assembled outside, shouting that the place was surrounded; they even brought an electroplasmic light and shined it up the big drain, almost catching the crew before they ducked around the corner.

In ducking around the corner, they came face to face with two Crowfeather guards. While some of the crew swooned and faked surprise and babbling explanations, that was a cover as the others jumped and slew one guard. The other tried to get away, but didn’t get far before hurled weapons and needles from a trick cane killed him. The crew finished lowering the gate into Crowfeather territory, and hid the bodies while Pledge dressed up like a Crowfeather in case further deception was needed.

Echo had difficulty locking on to the signal of a spirit jar, with the death all around and the black emptiness of hagfish nearby. They continued to explore, hearing sounds of battle upstairs, noting that the Crowfeathers had an “all hands on deck” situation upstairs.

They found two more doorguards, a clear sign they were close to something important. They faked the “guard and prisoner” act and got close enough to murder both guards, then they opened the door and found themselves face to face with a hull guarding the hallway.

The crew convinced the hull that it had forgotten the password, and they had said the password and it was right but the hull forgot, and that there was a new password anyway so the old one didn’t matter; the brow-beaten and confused hull let them through.

They found an underground lounge. It had a heavily protected double door, a well protected door with the Crowfeather sigil on it, and a relatively unprotected locked door. They used Deadlock’s expertise to break into the Crowfeather’s vault room.

All the Loot

They found piles of treasure, and chose to take a selection.

  • A skull with crystal lenses over the eye holes that held Roric’s furious spirit. 1 load.
  • 2 big ledger books with coded entries. 1 load each.
  • Small ingots of Skovlander silver with the Skov mint printed on them; 6 bricks, 1 load/Coin each.
  • A lockbox. 3 loads.
  • The Mantle of Feathers, a rare treasure made of Deathseeker Crow feathers and parts (2 loads)

Loaded down some, but not too much, they crossed the lounge to the poorly protected door. The north-facing arches under this area all had a star, to help navigate; Deadlock discovered that much in his work with Petra. And to the south there were sluiceways in parallel, with too many entries to be guarded or sealed, so if they could go south they’d get out.

As they retreated, they heard exasperated Crowfeathers yelling the password “brisket” to the hull, who furiously insisted it had been changed, and was bawling them out and angry all around.

On the way out they passed a vampire in a Crowfeather outfit just laying on the ground out beyond the secured tunnels, so they yelled that the way was open if he wanted to go in, and kept running, hoping he wasn’t interested in them. (Turns out he wasn’t.)

They made a clean getaway.


They found out a whisper named Eightydeath stormed the Redbud and slew a number of Crowfeathers over some personal issue, that’s why the bluecoats were trying to isolate the establishment.

In digging around the clocktower lair, they found an old lockbox area for valuables and tools, and converted it seamlessly to serve them as a vault.

Petra was swept up by the bluecoats for questioning, as there were irregularities in the records of who accessed the tunnel schematics. Deadlock worked through his bluecoat friend Darmot to pay off the right people and get her released before there was any real pressure.

They set up backchannel diplomacy to arrange a meeting with Lyssa, in the hagfish arena. There they gave her the Mantle of Feathers and Roric’s skull, and in exchange she gave them stewardship over Shaver’s Row on behalf of the Crows. (More or less.) They parted ways amicably.

For the rest of the downtime they dealt with stress issues, cleared off the substantial heat from the operation, and started breaking the code on the ledger books. They also started striking up a relationship with Madame Phylo, the madame of Redbud, to get her as an NPC contact. Meanwhile Zero was caught padding around underground, and that’s his second strike; the Redbud staff will want to kill him next time he’s caught on their property (though the change in circumstances may change that result.)

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Black Space: Guardian Ship 3. Permissions

Black Space Hack BannerBlack Space Logo

There is our new logo by Vandel Arden! Back to the adventure in progress:

  • Smitty. (Brian) Captain. A focused spacer with a remote built in so he could control drones, gifted with sharp senses. He had a salvage kit and a drone named Jethro.
  • Clyde Bruskin. (Mr. S) Tech and all around tough guy.
  • Jan Klaya. (Jeremy) Charismatic sword mystic.

Smitty released the drone to inform the Bounders that they had Scratched Skull’s cybernetic skull to trade, and they headed back to the safety of the ship. They took Dollface, the tall and muscular teenage mutant, and the small mushroom creature, Gnobbly. They got back to their crashed ship, Medusa’s Scow, and found that the archaic work of the repair drones on the hull damaged some internal systems. Gasper would need to stay behind and monitor the life support systems to make sure everything remained stable.

Waiting to Trade

They offered Dollface some food, and she rejected their processed space rations and took a stick out to hunt for local plants and animals. She told them about the Fringe, genetically altered bioweaponry that they encountered before; dangerous plants that threatened the Garden where she lived. She brought back food that looked unappetizing (to the point where Smitty ate space rations, thank you very much) but everyone else tried the local food.

Gnobbly wanted to talk to Klaya, and spritzed her with telepathic spores, so they entered the same consciousness and Gnobbly told her a little about his people, and how they lived under the deck plating of Telmar Bay (as well as many other places) and lived in circles that were telepathically tight with each other. She learned about their antipathy with the Teksuppar, who were apparently people where when the Event happened and everyone was dying, the Simulated Intelligence forcibly took over a medical ship and forced it to try and save the dying even without the guidance of doctors. A series of regrettable decisions led to these insane screaming hive mind cannibal cyborgs. Teksuppar and shroomvolk kill each other on sight. (Klaya and Gnobbly got quite chummy.)

Bruskin tried to log in to the Simulated Intelligence system and use the bracelet they acquired from the corpse of Captain Joseph to grant permission for Medusa’s Scow to take off whenever they were ready. That way they could carry the bracelet around to deal with local permissions as needed, and still have a safe take-off arranged. An unexpected surge of security invalidated the bracelet. Now they would have to find another way to get permission to leave the Guardian Ship.

Eventually the bounders showed up, and transmitted to Jack’s datapad where they hid the scrubber, then they took the skull and left. The crew retrieved the scrubber and took it back to the ship to be installed.

Two Components Left

They needed to get a multiphasic burner catalyst, and it was mounted at the top of the shaft by the Teksuppar base in Lift Control Substation 86. And, they also needed to get permission from the Simulated Intelligence for take-off, since the Captain’s authorization credentials were scrubbed.

The Ambush

They decided to lure some teksuppar in for an ambush, to look over their cybers and corpses to make convincing disguises so they could infiltrate the base with a minimum of violence. They had Jack put in a tech support ticket, then they picked a spot between the Teksuppar base and their ship. They tore up some deck plating and rearranged the greenery to make an arc of pit trap, then set up the ambush.

Klaya’s danger sense sent them scurrying; she hid in the door of the hull of a hill/ship, and Smitty took up a sniping position on top. Clyde was going to head to a shooting position, but Dollface slowed him down, flirting with him, until it was too late. (Her affection for his sturdy, fuzzy frame was growing at an alarming rate.)

The teksuppar agents included a gimp hound in the lead, followed by a deer/centaur lightning-armed leader, flanked by cyber-minotaur muscle agents. The scout was shot immediately, and one of the minotaurs chased Klaya into the ship, blasting steam and slinging an axe, until they made it to the bridge area which was overrun with Fringe growths. Klaya put him down, but it was a terrifying solo battle in close quarters.

Outside, the other minotaur charged Dollface and Bruskin, and fell through the deck plating trap, never to be heard from again. Bruskin leaped over the gap with an assist from Dollface, charging into hand to hand with the centaur deer borg as Smitty kept his guns firing; together they brought it down.

The Other Ambush

They retreated with the needed parts, components, and outfits of the fallen teksuppar to make their disguises. Dollface was finally so enamored of Bruskin that she tried to have her way with him, and he rebuffed her and held her off at gunpoint; sullen and angry, she ran off.

Gnobbly showed up with grav belts to help them with their venture, and wished them luck (though there was no way he’d go on such a dangerous mission.) Klaya expressed their thanks by giving Gnobbly a psychic impression of meditation in the deep void of space, for him to share with this circle.

Klaya’s “allclear trigger” was calibrated to teksuppar communications frequencies, apologetically reporting to the hive mind that they were rebooting their drivers and would be available for wireless connection shortly. It would have to do. They dressed as industrial-techno-goth as they could, and headed for the ship elevator.


They passed the spider-like teksuppar guarding the elevator and service shafts, and reactivated a guide chain so they could connect to it and be slowly dragged to the top of the shaft. The allclear responded to a number of queries, its battery starting to go.

They reached the top of the shaft and saw a massive area full of ruined trash, biological and technical. Then they reached the multiphasic burner catalyst at the top of the shaft. They climbed out, disconnecting it, just as the last allclear trigger activated; they were on the edge of being discovered, when catastrophic bad luck bent one of the housings holding the burner, and it tilted over, peeling metal as it began falling down the shaft, banging so both Klaya and Bruskin fell off.

Smitty managed to throw them a gravity belt, and they caught it to slow their fall. He also managed to pivot the burner so it pointed up; a dozen teksuppar leaped down the shaft to kill them, but were microwave burned to the point of disintegration. The hurtling burner caught all 3 of the spacers, and they managed to turn the unmoored engine of destruction and fire it to slow their descent. At the bottom of the shaft, they fired it again so it went out, and then used it as a wingless rocket to escape the converging mass of teksuppar. A short distance away, after landing, they redistributed the grav belts and quickly dragged the burner home to the ship.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment