46 – A Fresh Start

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(Everyone’s back at the artillery building – the PCs, Hex, the Free, and your mongoliant captive. You’ve got two boats pulled up on shore now and you’ve set up a decent little camp)

Stadium Map

Your group is tired, hungry, and wounded. With the mongoliant threat currently dealt with, you decide to take a well-earned rest. You set up camp at the artillery building, but retain a watch at the barricades at all times to keep an eye on the citadel

Leech in Action

Once you’ve regrouped at the artillery building, Hex speaks up. “Please, sirs. I am starving; soon I will die.” He stares at you with mournful eyes of inky black.

Vash looks sadly to Hex and at his cry. “I would offer you something, but I am too weak at the moment.” He looks around and spots the livestock. “Could you eat one of those?” He points them out. He is not giving up on any of them yet. (+10 XP to Vash for the idea.)

Moving towards the fallen flock, Vash and Hex examine the fallen sheep. Most of the livestock are dead, but you find one that is merely comatose. Leaning over the survivor, Hex places his hands on the creature’s chest. Hex concentrates, and the veins in his forehead pulse visibly and he breathes heavily. Hex drains him of their last wisps of life, and is sated.

Soggul steps up to Hex and nods. “Brother, you may feed from me whenever you need to. We work together from this day out. Understood?” The three-armed mutant speaks to the leech as if he was a close family member, not like a stranger.

(Very heroic – 25 XP to Soggul.)

Cobb watches, mildly grossed out at the sight of the leech ‘feeding’ from the animal. He looks to Soggul and says “Uh, yeah… ya know… I just don’t think that’s too healthy. Maybe just a little as long as someone’s watching him.” His shaky limbs quiver involuntarily.

(Ha! The guy who looks like a junkie albino vampire and *bites people* is grossed out by the psychic vampire. 10 XP for making the GM laugh.)

“We are brothers now, all of us, and we must support each other. Hex will not take what he does not need.” Soggul says this with absolute conviction and unwaivering faith in his fellow Freeman.

Cobb examines the squawk box while talking to Soggul. “Hey Soggul, I was thinking that that lightstick might be useful for Thrakazog. You know, since he can’t see very well? Wat do you think?”

Upon mention of the light, the three-armed mutant nods in agreement of Cobb’s proposal. “It should help greatly if his vision is impaired. I will return shortly.” Soggul walks off to find Thrakazog to give the light to him after a bit of instruction on how to operate it.

(Thrak can hold the light in his prehensile tail and use it to see his surroundings – though it will act as an even more obvious beacon than his glowing body.)

Cobb sits down near Vash and lays the remains of the vest down next to him. “Got us something to tinker with when you’re feeling up to it Vash. It’s what’s left of that black light… bomb… thingy.”

Tech Savant

Now that Vash has some time, he tries to decipher the artifacts of the Ancients that you have absconded from the mongoliants.

First he examines the remains of the bomb that detonated on the lead ‘negotiator’. (Intellect check is 16 +10 -1 = 25.) It appears to have been constructed from four grenades with a common rip-cord. It looks like Vash’s shot destroyed one grenade outright and probably caused the others to detonate prematurely. Contemplating the strange black light that they produced and its chilling effect on living creatures, Vash remembers stories he’s read about a mysterious ‘black ray’ weapons used by the machines of the Ancients. From the stories, the black ray snuffed out life without damaging non-living matter – how horrific!

(All the grenades are expended; they cannot be used again. Given the unusual nature of black ray devices, however, the grenades have remained intact even after being detonated. Lord Mraag, for example, would have no way of knowing whether they are useless.)

Vash also takes the time to carefully examine the ‘minifusion cells’ that powers Cobb’s force field harness and Kronic’s plasma pistol. (Intellect check is 15 +10 -1 = 24.) Vash noticed that even though Lord Sogor fired a number of shots during the arena battle, the charge on the pistol has increased again to six – without ever being recharged! Vash surmises that the minifusion cells regain their vital essence over time. (Minifusion cells have six charges per day, every day.)

Knowing that, Vash toys with Cobb’s force field harness (Intellect check is 11 +10 -1 = 20) and figures that the device consumes one charge for every six seconds it’s activated – a prodigious eater of energy (1 charge/round).

(Three for three; 100 XP to Vash for his abilities as a tech savant. Your character sheets have been updated to reflect this new information.)

Vash also confirms that the energy pikes expend a single charge per strike and that the e-clips hold the standard twelve charges. Soggul doesn’t want to expend ammo from his Ancient pistol; he’ll need to use it in battle to determine its characterstics.

Three Days Rest

The Lost City (Detailed Map)

In the perpetual darkness of the Lost City you’re never sure about time, but you figure you’ve spent about three days resting and recovering. With your newly-freed allies, your food stores are expended in this time (you weren’t quite confident in the livestock corpses to feast on them). You make a point to not feed your mongoliant captive; he’s starting to show signs of hunger.

There has been no activity from the citadel, not even a peep. The walkie-talkie has been silent too (though you haven’t tried to use it to contact Mraag yourselves). The only action in the Lost City are the inhuman howls emanating from certain regions (Map Areas #12 and #13, in particular).

Hex has provided additional healing to Vash and Kronic, while relying on Soggul for his unusual sustenance (Soggul has some Endurance damage to show for it). Some of you are still a little scraped and bruised, but in general you’re in much better shape than you were earlier.

With a little ‘encouragement’, the mongo has also been more verbose lately and provides a wealth of background information. He takes it for granted that you know that you’re in an Ancient domed city, buried underground during the Fall. He also seems to assume that you came from the surface world through the tunnels ‘at the far end of the dome’. (He can’t be more specific than that; he’s never been above-ground.) You make sure not to reveal to your captive that these revelations are news to you.

It seems that the citadel connects via an underground tunnel to a second dome. The mongoliants control access to the second dome and the secrets it contains. Mongoliant patrols searching the dome have scavenged a wealth of high-tech gear – such as the artifacts of the Ancients that you have recovered. Such a treasure trove is virtually unheard of in the wastes. Whoever controls such a find could make himself a king!

The slavers are fairly recent newcomers to the Lost City; the mongoliants have been squandering their treasures by trading them to the Blackthorn and his men for slaves. It seems that the slavers have been taking advantage of the naive mongos!

Despite further attempts at interrogation, you’re unable to get much more of use from the mongo, who seems to have resigned himself to death at this point.

You’ve also had time to consider the cryptic message from Lord Mraag that Jumrak and Thrak found on the skulk at the docks. “Blackthorn – urgent assistance required.” it said. “Will pay handsomely for eradication of foes at Arena. If successful, access to the Second Dome guaranteed. Reply on the usual frequency.”

(By the way, the Free identify the ‘skulk’ as a mutant crony to Lord Sogor. Kind of like a court jester, Sogor kept him for amusement. The Free despised the creature for working with the mongoliants and never associated with him.)

Jumrak comments: “Well, it would seem that these Mongos have a bit of an upper hand on the slavers if they’re offering access to something. Do you guys think the ’second dome’ might lead to another way out of here? If there’s any way to take out the slavers, maybe we can rally more people to storm the arena and find a better way out of here.”

“I don’t know. They tried to sneak a messenger to the slavers for aid, so I’m not so sure they’re in as good a position as we think. We may have them stuck. The question is, how do we press the attack if we decide to do that? Blast the doors off the citadel with the cannon? I mean, it’s going to be intense in there. If there was another way out of there they would have pulled off a surprise attack by now right?”

Cobb fingers the key he pulled from Lord Sogor’s body. “Soggul, Sikich; do either of you know what this key opens? I pulled it from Lord Sogor’s body after he blew up.”

Neither Soggul nor Sikich recognize the key, though they suspect that Sogor had his own personal ‘treasure horde’ in the citadel. It may be likely that Mraag has claimed it by now, though perhaps it was hidden well enough to escape his notice? (A scav can always hope…)

Your group has a fresh start now.

What are your actions?

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~ by K-Slacker on 13-Dec-07.

11 Responses to “46 – A Fresh Start”

  1. Even though he was hesitant before, Thrakazog now feels much more of an urge to proceed through the Mongo stronghold, facing whatever resistance they put up. Knowing, as well, the information fed to them by the starving captive, going through the citadel may be the surest way to the surface and relative safety, even with the danger involved.

    Thrak holsters the new light source, with thanks to Soggul, and intends not to use it unless his other senses fail him or circumstances dictate the need. He’d prefer to rely on the companions he’s come to trust over the added danger of making himself a target bigger than he already is.

    Thrak assumes that the message intended for the slavers never got through, so there should be no aid coming from that direction. The party is much better armed than it was, as well as having the means to appear more threatening than they are, and Thrak cites the expended “dark energy” grenades as an example.

    “Let’s go for the citadel,” he finally suggests. “They must be stewing in there, wondering what we’re up to, and they’re obviously in worse shape than we expected if they’re willing to beg aid from those bloody slavers. No point in being sneaky about it though. Blowing the doors off with that cannon could be a good start. Lob some shots over the wall as well, if they’ll reach. I’d hate to leave that thing with ammo, sitting behind us as we push forward. We can get in there, kill what we can, and capture who we can to lead us through the place since we don’t know it.”

    Thrak sits a moment to let that sink in to the rest of the mutants and men. “But we’ll need a better plan than just blowing the doors off and storming the place. Any other, better, suggestions? I want to do this, and I want to do it right.”

    (OOC: sorry for not commenting on the last one. My work filters wouldn’t even let me read the post, and I never got around to it at home. My bad.)

  2. Soggul rubs his chin while thinking. “The second dome mentioned in the note makes me wonder. Why would this Blackthorn want access to it? Perhaps that is where they hide their Ancient weapons? Or is there something else in there? If I was to suggest a course of action, I’d get in this second dome, use what we can find and slaughter the tormentors, then head upward towards the sky.” Soggul’s eyes seem to water at mention of the sky. The memories wash over him and the mutant realizes how long it has been since he had see anything besides dark holes in the ground.

  3. (I wasn’t as clear as I could have been… The tunnels to the surface that the mongo refers to – he believes that they’re at the far end of the *current* dome; i.e. near Map Area #1. The second dome is in the opposite direction; past the top end of the map.)

  4. “Hmm. I agree that we shouldn’t leave any ammo in that thing if we leave it. Now, if the way out lies at the other end of this city, that means we have to go past the slavers to get out.” Cobb grimaces at the thought. “Of course, there might possibly be a way out through the second dome. It would make sense, but the mongo made it sound as though there wasn’t one. I say we fire some of those shells at the Slaver’s camp. Soften ’em up a bit. If we had another squawk-box I could slink over there and call you to tell you if you were hitting them or not…”

    Cobb rubs his face vigorously. “Okay, screw it. I’m with Thrak. There’s got to be some loot in that other dome. Those mongos were trading it to the slavers so I doubt they spent their whole wad in one deal. They were probably rationing it out.” The scav’s eyes glimmer with delight when he talks about the possible swag.

    Cobb hops to his feet. “Before we go, do any of you have anymore of the black powder ammo left? I’m out.”

    “Oh, and maybe Soggul and Sikich could give us what they know of the layout of that place?”

  5. Soggul’s eyes narrow as something devious creeps into his mind. “Before we head to the second dome, perhaps we should fire raining death upon the slavers. Thinking the tormentors have betrayed them, they could come in force and kill them while we are away. The Mongoliants must die and this may serve to benefit us…”

  6. Hold on! Here we are with little or no food and you want to storm a citedal full of giant, mutant, over armed, over powered freaks! Not to mention blackthorn and the slavers are behind us…

    We need to think about this, inside that citedal there is the potential of unbelievable wealth and power. We need to make sure we get it and don’t have any loose strings. This Blackthorn obviously has some idea what is going on and has tricked the mongo’s into giving away gear in trade. He will not want to loose this opportunity, and like me, will do anything to make sure he gets his treasure. We need to do this without him getting wind of it (which so far we have succeeded, however it appears that they have squackie-talkie’s and it is possible he has been talking with the mongo’s already), eliminate him, or negotiate a deal with him and either go through with it or stab him in the back at the right time after the fact (i’d rather make sure he is dealt with permanently).

    It is highly unlikely the mongo’s are going to go anywhere soon, the only other person that knows about the amazing opportunity at the wealth here is blackthorn and his gang. We eliminate them and we can take our time dealing with the mongo’s and getting the treasure.

    I say we go visit blackthorn, get all the info we can from him and his gang, eliminate them as competitors and then deal with the mongo’s with more information and gear. We may even be able to appear as slavers and trick our way into the 2nd dome once we get the info that Blackthorn knows.

    Take the ammo from the cannon, take all our swag from here, recoup and watch the slavers and the dome, and “deal” with blackthorn and his cronies.

    The treasures will be ours, I want to make sure we keep them!!

  7. Oh yeah… and Blackthorn knows how to get out of these tunnels. We where all taken from the surface and brought down here. He obviously knows how to get back… we can try and get that info from him as well. We need Blackthorn alive and his gang dead. We need him to think we are his best chance at getting rich and make him have to deal with us.

  8. Vash listens to the exchange before nodding his head slowly. “I have to agree with Kronic. I mean, I’m like everyone else and would like to stop the Mongo. They have a strong fortress and probably can handle a siege.” He folds his arms slowly across his chest. “And if attack the Slavers, we would make it even worse for us. Stuck between two armies? We would be slaughtered. If we attack anyway, we need to keep the pressure on the Mongo. I just think we need more before we can do it.”

  9. (So what’s it going to be, boys? Mongoliant genocide? Time to take out the slavers? Try to make it to the surface? So many interesting choices…)

    (Sounds to me like you’re leaning towards finishing off the mongos in the citadel, then exploring the secrets of the second dome. Let me know if I’m reading your comments correctly.)

  10. “Good points all around, but hear me out. For one thing, if we leave this spot, we definitely have to deal with the slavers because the mongos can come out an refortify their position here. Or they can escape, or whatever else they want to do. I don’t think they’ve been using the squawk-boxes to talk to the slavers because they tried to send a sneak to deliver a message. If we sit here any longer we’ll starve. If we rush the citadel and win, we’ll be the ones with a fortified position to deal with the slavers. If we rush the citadel and die… well, we won’t think about that.” Cobb smiles his toothy, barbed grin.

    “If we leave to deal with the slavers we definitely get caught in between a pair of deadly foes that may cooperate just to get things back to the way they were before we escaped the slave pens. I don’t think our little band can intimidate Blackthorn. He’s probably already pissed at us anyway. I would also assume that the mongos know we’re not slavers because they tried to get help from them.

    I don’t know guys. I don’t haqve much of a warrior’s mind. I just want to make it out of this alive. Well, rich and alive would be nice, but… you know.”

  11. Soggul listens to everything said, then nods. “I will follow the decision of the group without question. Without your actions, I’d still be a plaything of the tormentors.”

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