57 – The Second Dome

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(Your group has done an extensive search of Mongoliant Island for another route to the Deeper Caves. Other than the trapped tunnel beneath the stadium, the only other way that seems feasible is by taking one of the mongoliant boats over the rapids (Map Area #31). The group heads back to the artillery building to confer with the Freemen…)

Another Route

Deeper Caves Map

Not wanting to get blown up, and leery of the dark tunnel with the thin wires set to trigger explosives, Thrakazog again submits the option to paddle their way into the second dome, taking special care around the two sets of minor rapids.

(*Minor* rapids? Ha! This should be fun…)

He adds, “And instead of making landfall right away, we can hole up for a bit in that cave just past the rapids to make a more thorough visual inspection of where we want to start exploring.” (Map area 34.) “We can also take Blinky with us since he’s so small and portable. If he won’t offer up any valuable information here, at least he’ll still be worth something once we eventually get back up to the surface. So boys? Shall we take to the boats?”

Saying that, Thrak adjusts the night-vision goggles he has perched on his forehead. They have quickly become a permanent fixture on his softly glowing mug; he’s able to snap them into place whenever he wants to see something that doesn’t have the proper illumination in this gods-forsaken darkness. Sometimes he puts them on just for the fun of it too.

Happy to be out of the tunnel, Soggul breathes deeply and feels much more confident. “I do not fear the water. If everyone agrees to use the boats, I would be very happy.”

Upon mention of the robot, Soggul peers at it, even bending down to look at it. He points a thumb at himself and says his name. “Soggul. Sog-gul.” Nodding, he stands up and watches for any possible surprise attack.

(As Soggul introduces himself, Blinky prays to the mother of all machines for a rapid demise. It’s unclear whether the quick demise is desired for Soggul or Blinky himself. The robot mutters it quietly in Ancient, so that Soggul doesn’t hear.)

Seeing Thrak and his goggles makes the three-armed mutant smile. Maybe the Ancients had something that could help with his hearing as well? He let the idea stick in his head a few moments before continuing his scan of the area.

Vash practically beams at the treatment he receives from the little robot. He looks back and forth from Sikich to Blinky as he talks. “Well, it looks like we have called you Blinky. I hope you don’t mind. It’s… It’s a term of affection?” He tries to explain.

He nods his head slowly as they explain the second route through the rapids. “Plus, they wouldn’t be expecting us to hit them from behind, would they?” He looks to Blinky. “It looks like we’ll have to seal you in something water tight. We don’t want to lose you after all!” He says with a smile.

After Sikich translates Vash’s comments to Blinky, the Sani-Bot responds: “My components are completely waterproof! ” His tone is the same forced cheerfulness as he used with Vash earlier.

Cobb is all for the plan. “You might be on to something there Thrak. The water seems like a reasonable route to me. It beats explosives, that’s for sure.” (Cobb deftly grabs Blinky and puts the robot back in his pack. The other party members either don’t notice, or choose not to comment.)

Jumrak concedes that this route might not be the best option. “I don’t want to get trapped under falling boulders.” he says. “However, let’s be extra careful in the boat – there could very well be a trap set there too, or patrols. I’m not such a huge fan of putting all my eggs in one basket, er, boat: I think we split the group into two boats if we can, and if one or two of the free are willing and able to join, all the better!” Although he doesn’t voice it, Jumrak feels as though it would be safest just to get back to the surface.

(You divide yourselves into two groups: Cobb, Jumrak, Kronic, and Sikich will be in one boat; Soggul, Thrakazog, and Vash will be in the other.)

You return to the artillery building to confer with the Freemen. You’re not quite sure how they’ll take the news…

The Freemen

Since you were last here, it appears that the Freemen have ‘broke’ your mongoliant captive. His body has been added to the smouldering pile corpses outside the stadium. The act seems to have emboldened to Freemen, who appear more focused and determined now than they did earlier.

Soggul asks the other Freemen whether they would like to move forward with the rest of the group or head to the surface. Each can choose their fate. Secretly, Soggul hopes they go to the surface so they are safe and have an opportunity to meet up with the liberators later.

Thrak seriously thinks the Free should return to the surface. Nobody knows what (if anything) the party will encounter in the new dome and the dangers would likely be magnified for a larger group. “Not only that,” Thrak adds, “but the larger our group means the likelier we are to get seen, so it’s in our own best interest to keep a relatively low profile. We don’t want to drag along a whole bunch of dead weight.” Thrakazog says this last part a little more quietly, not wanting to offer offense, but being as pragmatic as possible.

Hex responds, speaking for all the Freemen: “We thank you once again for leading us to our freedom. You have shown us that hope is possible, but only if we take our fate in our own hands. We choose to rejoin our families on the surface, though the way may be long and hard.”

(For a moment, Sikich looks like he’s about to join the Freemen, then stops.)

Indicating the deceased mongoliant, he continues: “In his final moments, the monster revealed that the tunnels to the surface lie on the far side of the Lost City. We will take one of the remaining boats and explore from the safety of the water’s surface.”

In unison, the Freemen bow low to your group, vowing to aid or serve you in whatever manner possible, should you meet again in the future. “To our saviours!” they salute. Gathering only the most essential of supplies (and planning to scavenge in the Lost City should they require additional gear), they depart in their boat towards the far end of the cave. They promise to leave signs of their passage for you, should you eventually follow them to the surface.

Waterfalls

The Freemen now departed, you row your boats away from the docks in the opposite direction, towards the rapids (Map Area #31). The deep river of pitch-black waters courses over the rough and broken ground here, forming tiny islands of sand or grainy limestone; ancient rubble, stonework, and broken masonry of old structures litter this waterway at various places along its course.

From your observations from Sogor’s chambers, you know that there is a path through the rough water that is less hazardous. “Remember!” says Thrak, “Keep right and we’ll avoid the worst of the rapids.”

(It’s going to be a rough ride, so I’m going to make a DC 10 Agility Check and DC 10 Luck Check for each PC. Note that the DCs would have been much higher if you hadn’t observed Sogor’s security cam. If you fail either roll, you are knocked out of the boat, taking damage and are forced to swim. Fail both, and you’re in for a world of hurt. Also, if anyone fails by 5 or more on any Check, then your whole boat capsizes…)

As the water moves faster and your little vessels begins to pick up speed, you realize that this journey may be more difficult than first anticipated. In the dim half-light of the Lost City, it is difficult to see what lies ahead, but you row desperately to keep to the right side of the rapids…

(DC 10 Agility Checks: Cobb 10 +12 = 22, Jumrak 9 +1 = 10, Kronic 5 +9 = 14, Sikich 15 -1 = 14, Soggul 6 +5 = 11, Thrak 8, and Vash 8 +3 = 11. Thrak fails and takes 9 points of damage as he is washed over the rapids!)

Your speed continues to increase, and the water becomes choppy. You’re hit by a cold sprays of water as the boat begins to bump and tilt. Ahead and to your right, you hear the roar of a waterfall… “Rapids my ass!” shouts Cobb. Suddenly, the boats lurch forward as they cascade over a jagged concrete embankment! Thrak’s oar clumsily catches on piece of debris, and he is hurled into the frigid waters!

“We lost Thrak!” shouts Vash from the rear of the boat; his voice can barely be heard over the roar of the water. There’s nothing you can do, though, as Thrakazog is washed over the rapids.

(DC 10 Luck Checks: Cobb 11 +3 = 14, Jumrak 11 +4 = 15, Kronic 5 +3 = 8, Sikich 8 +3 = 11, Soggul 17 +3 = 20, Thrak 12 +1 = 13, and Vash 15 +3 = 18. Kronic fails and takes 6 points of damage as he is thrown into the water!)

The noise is deafening now; it’s far rougher than you anticipated. You have no hope of maintaining control under these conditions and must trust your luck. The boats plunge down another steep slope and begin to spin uncontrollably! Oars go flying as you grab a hold of anything solid for stability. In one of the violent heaves, Kronic is thrown into the water!

(At this point the GM makes some final rolls, in secret. Everybody – including those overboard – takes another 3 points of damage from the rough ride. One of the boats has a slow leak, but you should be able to patch it. Kronic and Thrak are drenched, and have lost some of their gear.)

“Damn it!” yells Soggul; his peculiar bass tones carry well enough for everyone to hear. “Get these ships under control!” You narrowly miss being dashed on rubble that was concealed at the base of the falls, but the water is flowing more smoothly now, and the remaining crew members manage to keep the boats upright. You’ve made it past the waterfalls!

Glancing around, you see Thrak’s glowing form as the drenched mutant bobs in the water. It takes a moment, but you are also able to spot Kronic – bloodied but still swimming. (GM rolls Strength Checks for the swimmers.) You pull the two party members back onboard as they reach your battered rowboats.

The Second Dome

Looking around now to catch your bearings, you see that you have indeed reached the Deeper Caves! It appears that this Second Dome was once directly connected to the first through streets, covered walkways, and bubble car skyways. Almost all of these connections were destroyed in the cataclysm that sucked the city into the earth, but you have managed to find your way into this still-intact second section of the city. Looking back towards the twin waterfalls that brought you here, however, you have no idea how you’ll get back to the Upper Caverns…

(250 XP to each party member for making it to the Second Dome!)

Wanting to reach a safe haven, you make your way towards a series of what appear to be natural caves along the cold dark shores of the underground river. As your boats draw closer, you see that a low entrance exists in the side of the cavern wall (Map Area #34), as you saw from the security cam.

This entrance, leading into the caves, is about 15 feet wide, and flooded about halfway with cold dark water from the underground river. It will thus be possible to navigate your small craft inside without fear of striking the walls or ceiling.

Before you enter, however, Thrakazog notes an awful smell that drifts from within the caverns…

What are your actions?

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~ by K-Slacker on 11-Mar-08.

7 Responses to “57 – The Second Dome”

  1. Battered and annoyed, Thrak makes a quick pat of his possessions to see what of value has been washed away in the torrent. He’s espesially concerned about the rifle at the moment.

    Smelling the pungent stench that’s emanating from the cavern, he warns the rest of the group in the boats to pull to shore first before proceeding. “Heave to the shore and get your weapons out, lads,” Thrak starts out loudly. “There’s something foul in the air here… and strong.”

    Saying that, and hoping he still has his firearm, he first pulls out the high-powered flashlight with his tail and whips the beam into the ominous darkness of the cavern. As he sighs with relief once his hands retrieve his soggy AKM rifle, he ensures the auto fire mode is set to burst and trains the muzzle into the cavern, tracing the same path as the beam of his flashlight.

    “Hope the bullets still fire all right if they’re wet,” he mutters to himself. “My face will be the first thing to find out…”

  2. To the Freemen before they go:

    Soggul offers each of the Free his hand. “Be safe on the road ahead of you. I look forward to seeing each of you again on the surface.” After the shaking the hands of each, Soggul bows to them. Watching them walk away, a joy finds its way into the mutant’s heart. This is a good day.

    Afterwards:

    Soggul helps to bring the boats ashore and looks around at the cavern. Feeling the world tighten around him again, the three-armed pike-wielder shrinks a bit. Fighting back the fear to the best of his ability, he tries to steady himself. “What does it smell like?” Soggul didn’t smell anything, but Thrak seemed to have a better-than-average nose. The former slave readied his pike, pistol and shield and moved to the entrance to the cave. Feeling the fear come more intensely, a shudder runs through his body and he hides himself behind his large riot shield.

  3. Well that was fun… lets avoid that next time! Kronic will check all his gear and see what he is missing or retained. If his pistol is still good he’s happy.

    He’ll start looking for other options other than a stinky cave… surely we can just avoid it and find a place to rest and dry out first!!!

  4. Freeman: Before they leave, Vash does give the Freeman a look over to make sure that none of them were injured or harmed. Since they had found so much medical supplies and he can’t certainly carry them all, he does leave some of the supplies with the Freeman. At least it will help on that difficult road ahead.

    The Water: Vash squints against the darkness as they enter the rapids. He holds onto his oar with an iron grip, trying to help in guiding their little boat. He blinks and searches for the poor Thrak as he goes over. As the rapids get worse, he just tries to hang on for dear life to the boat itself. He sighs with shaky relief when the waters become calm again. He helps with his oar to get them to their cave. At the first sign of warning, he reaches for his laser rifle. He pauses before squints at the weapon, perhaps there is a light source on it.

  5. With the Freemen: At the mention of scavenging the Lost City as needed, Cobb winces, thinking of the plunder he may miss out on, but he knows he’s better off traveling with his comrades than the Free.

    Later: Cobb brandishes his weapon and sniffs at the air trying to smell whatever it is that Thrak smells. “What is it Thrak? Mongo’s?” He’s wary but tries to peer ahead into the darkness and make some sort of judgement about his bearings from the rough and tumble trip.

  6. (It’s definitely not mongoliant stink; this is something else. Perhaps the cave is the lair of some beast?)

  7. With the Freeman:

    Soggul tells the location of the room with the boxes of ammo, in case they can find weapons. He also offers his pistol to any of the Free who choose to take it.

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