|Now imagine it with a mole man whaling on it with an ax|
Released form the relative comfort of the infirmary and subjected to a series of irksome and insulting personality testing, the castaways were herded to the rust gates, a fortress barricade bristling with cannon that leads from the civilized Sterntown into the lost regions of the hull.
Of the 30 odd lost souls, our six adventurers appeared to be the most well equipped and skilled.
An elf of many skills and wearing near impenetrable magical armor led the way, followed by a burly bastard sword wielding dwarf of the bearded beer loving variety. A manmole - armored and hailing from bleak future, and a crossbowman of rare skill (he just kept hitting) followed with two neophant mages bringing up the rear.
The party gravitated towards each other as outworlders, but there was little to do but wait by the massive gates for something to happen. Around them was the poor but bustling neighborhood of Rustgate, with sheet metal, driftwood and scavenged I-beams creating a maze of shanty towers, cheap bars, noodle shops and flophouses - all catering to the lowest of the scavenger class, the castaways locked into Rustgate until they proved their value and loyalty to the crew.
The boredom of waiting was finally interrupted by a grizzled scavenger named Mechamn, and his one-winged flying monkey companion Twinkles. Mechamn, wearing heavy boiler powered armor, climbed a small podium near the gates and motioned the scavengers forward. Smoke from his armor's stacks boiling around his head Mechamn explained that the party and other new scavengers were about to get a chance to earn their keep by exploring the hull to find valuable items. The scavengers would not be allowed back into the gates unless they returned with valuables. He offered to answer questions, but the sullen lot before him asked nothing. With that a small door within the larger gates creaked open and the majority of the castaways started to shuffle resignedly towards the gates. The characters followed a larger group made up of around twenty men and women in salt stained clothes, poorly equipped with homemade spears, prybars and clubs. This desperate band was led by a local tough wearing a bronze ringmail vest and torn piratical clothing. The "pirate" was surly and told the adventurers off in a condescending way as he shouted and threatened his frightened companions thorough the gates.
The party followed, walking past trenches, wire, boiler mail armored Steward guards, slavering mutant attack dogs as large as 7' at the shoulder, and siege weapons of every possible description. After 150' the defensive works ended and the wide arching cavern of steel (100' tall and 160' wide running West to East with a steel plate floor and girder buttresses along the walls) began. The vault narrowed to a 10' tall, 60' wide passage in the East. The party followed the gang of scavengers down the wide hall, whose floor was lightly corroded plating with torn scraps of threadbare rug atop it. A pile of trash and broken furniture along the north wall distracted the party and their investigations startled a pair and then a quartet of mottled green crabs about the size of dinner plates. The dwarf smashed one with his shield and one of the magicians killed another.with a sling stone and the party gathered up the oily crab meat for unknown purposes.
By the time they returned to the passage the large gang had moved to the end of the hall and down a short flight of steps into another huge vault, seemingly identical to the one holding the rust gates, except containing a cave in. The scavengers were setting up a circle of torches and digging into the cave in, tossing chunks of metal aside and singing a guttural work song. Ignoring them, the party investigated a pair of doors on the angled walls to the side of the stairs. They chose to open the southern door, and kicked through its lock.
Beyond was a wide hall running South West for 30' and then South, with doors on both walls. After listen at all the doors the group chose to kick open the Southern most, a rusted memory of a door that the wizard in a purple bowler hat had heard gurgling behind. With a forceful dwarven kick the door flew open and beyond the source of the gurgling was immediately clear - the room was filled with pipes from wrist thick to man-sized and in the center stood some large tank like pumping machinery. The chamber was over 60' long, but how much over was unclear as the Western wall was lost in the darkness. The room climbed up to about 20' and a catwalk about appeared to circle its entirety. Immediately in front and on the sides of the adventurers was a field of bizarre pinkish polyps - as the party watched a feathery frond whipped a few inches from one as if tasting the air. Not taking any chances the dwarf threw his torch at a polyp in the middle distance, but failed to set it aflame, rather the torch sputtered on the wet surface of the plantlike thing. A flask of oil followed and charred a 10' section of the polyp field to bits, but as the flames began the party noticed a pair of odd creatures darting towards them from benath the pipes. Two to four feet long the strange beasts looked like earthworms with a beaked jaw and running on four hairless legs resembling those of a monkey or dog. A few shots were fired, but they clanged off the pipes - except for the deadly acurate crossbow of the party's fighter - it spitted one of the worm-things and pinned it to the floor. As the melee fighters in the party advanced to battle the sole running worm, two more of the horrid beast dropped from the ceiling, one onto the neck of the Moleman. Luckily the mole's armor was solid and he only heard the worm's teeth grinding on his steel armor for a second before it dropped off.
The worms are quickly slain, but a well placed sword stroke bisected one revealing it as lacking any formed innards beyond a digestive track.
The moleman attempted to investigate a polyp, but as he gingerly removed it more worms come boiling out of the darkness and one managed an almost harmless bite. The party retreated to the doorway where the elf in magical plate armor was able to deflect the blows of a whole army of worm creatures while the rest of the party shot and stabbed around him. A few more minor injuries were caused by the worms, but their bites were weak and caused little more than bloody flesh wounds. In the end some 20 worms died to the party before they entered the room and climbed to find a door on the catwalk.
Opening the thin steel door with a window hole, the party entered a derilct office space with several exits including a stairway to the West that led to an overlooking supervisor's office. The floor of the room was rusted horribly, and appeared unsafe. Banging on it with a crowbar produced a booming and a distinct sag in floor, so the party didn't try to cross it.
A steel desk and several broken chairs stood along the East wall, and after jimmying the desk drawers the party found a small revolver, which one of the wizards took.
As the party continued to investigate the stairway they heard a banging from under the floor and almost before they could act a massive worm creature burst through the thin rusted plating from some kind of tank beneath the room.
The creature was heaving itself over the edge of the crumbling floor so the party was able to examine it closely and pepper it with missiles before it attacked. At least 10' long the worm shared the same coloration and legs as the smaller worm beast in the pump room, only instead of two pairs a multitude of legs ran down its sides like cilia. On the worm's back were several round bumps that appeared to have human faces, opening an closing their mouths.
The Dwarf and Moleman leapt to the attack, both striking the massive worm with the Moleman managing to climb onto the worm's back and straddle its oil drum sized body, a perch from where the moleman could drive his ax into the worm repeatedly pinning himself with his claws.
Emboldened, the rest of the adventurers brutally attacked the worm, and it seemed dazed by its climb from below, unable to fend off their attacks. The worm snapped its huge razor beak at the dwarf, but missed him by scant inches. Then the moleman's blows finally severed something within the worms head, a magic missile in the form of a black winged entity stole its will to live and various swords and bullets ripped up its body.
The worm defeated, the party entered the supervisor's office and discovered the scene of an old massacre. Four human-like skeletons rested against one wall, their hands tied behind their backs. Stranger still, an 8' humanoid lay staked to the floor and surrounded by candles and mystic symbols in the center of the room. Close examination by one of the wizards revealed that the four bodies weren't quite human, their arms were a bit too long and the bones seemed strange in other minor ways. A pile of equipment, including four bronze scale mail hauberks, each sacle marked with a fish tail like design rested beyond the skeletons and the party collected these before examining the staked corpse.
The staked corpse appeared to be armored in a suit of green plates, something like shell, that were revealed to be grafted or otherwise grown into its body. While it was humanoid in form the creature had a fish-like head originally topped by a fin. The man-fish also appeared to have been stabbed repeatedly in the chest.
Not sure if they should take the fishman corpse, they party investigated one of the Northern doors in the lower room and discovered an old adding machine with gold and silver coins in the till. Further exploration revealed a door, sealed and painted over - and the room beyond containing paintings of a bearded priest and several posh men in top hats. This room also contained a safe, which the party broke open with difficulty. Inside were more coins and a box of large pistol ammunition, including two black bullets of an obviously magical nature. At the bottom of the safe were a deed for a mushroom farm made out to 'Erasmus Erasmus' and a sheaf of indenture contracts, both of which looked at least 20 years old.
Deciding they had enough loot, the party returned to the gates, passing the larger work gang who appeared to be digging steel girders from the rubble in the great vault.
The gate guards accepted the paintings, adding machine and a handful of bullets to let the party return to town. Back inside the gate the party may squander their new found wealth on the items detailed here. There's also a frogling shaman running around selling item identification and maybe a few spells.
POST SESSION XP & MONEY REPORT
XP Worm massacre - killed 20 odd crawling death wormlings for 100 XP. Large Worm, 500 XP.
Stuff given to guards (16XP bullets 10XP paintings 5XP adding machine): 31 XP.
Coins - 800 Silver pieces (80 GP), 145 GP - 225XP.
Bullets - Black bullets are magical the rest normal. Effect is unknown.would require going 'Magicman' (frogling) by the gates to identify. Stewards will pay 20GP per black bullet, and 2 GP per other bullet (6 remaining). (12XP - XP only for magic if sold).
Heavy Bronze Scale Mail - 4 suits (AC 5) - marks the wearer as a thrall of the fishmen (according to the Steward Sargent, likely to get you in a fight if marines see it, otherwise people will think you're a bit the badass and assume you took it off a fishman thrall. Well known to allow ease of movement in water (swim as if unencumbered). Three suits sized for large male humans, one for a smaller female human. Each Suit is worth 60GP on the Appollyon. (240GP total - if sold) (240 XP).
Fishman - The Stewards take you fish man and give you a 100 GP award and a small copper medal that allows the wearer free access to the Scavenger's dining hall (Mushroom/kelp stew mostly) in and out of the Rust Gate without charge. They are very hush hush, the Sargent brings in a Detective Lieutenant with his badge blacked over ritualistically and they quiz you about how you found him and answer no questions. Upon mention of the way it died you hear the phrase "That's not uptown style, it might be them, but we haven't seen a patrol in years." and "Dammed swimmers - they shouldn't be this close, good it wasn't missed." 100 GP, 150XP for the fish man find. (250XP total)
Maps: Mechamn will give each mapper 5 GP for the maps - they aren't worth much as they're in the safe part of the hull and don't show anything especially useful or unknown. (5XP if you mapped)
Bonus XP for finding the mushroom farm/Documents: Nobody wants your deed, but you learn that Eramus Erasmus was a priest of the Ship Spirits (gods who claim humans must live aboard the ship and make it into a paradise) who set up a mushroom farm about fifteen years ago. His farm was destroyed by either low men (bandits), cannibal tribesmen or possibly the Stewards - the few survivors definitely said the attackers were human. Mechamn the Scavenger boss and his Monkey friend Twinkles will tell you more for 5GP. Bonus (300 XP) for discovery.
Pistol: 4 shot revolver, around .38 caliber - 1D6 (Exploding damage on a 6 in Apollyon). Bullets easy to find/have made, 2 GP each. Needs a good cleaning. Worth 150 GP (150 XP)
Sack of crabs and worm meat, polyp - No one will by corpse crab or crawling death meat - you are told both are mildly poisonous (stomach ache etc) and laughed at by traders.
That's 1808 XP total or 302XP each. Also you have 727 GP worth of stuff to hand out - or 121 GP each (or less somone elects to keep the gun/armor)