Monday, September 5, 2016

ASE CAMPIAGN - SESSION XII - The Irrefutable Offer

Looking through an old folder I found some notes on the last few seven session of the ASE campaign that started this blog back in 2012.  I've decided to maybe write a few up and see where it goes.  This is the first, starting directly after this Play Report.  I think this season was played late 2012 or something, before Huxley's player had a kid.

Huxley McTeeth - (m) Fighter (Lvl 2) - Short, strong, grizzled, armored, and wielding a magic white saber from the tomb of a Rocket Man.
Grimgrim "The Seared of Monstcrom"- (m) Cleric (Lvl 3) - Recently extra fervent. pig masked.
Druizzilnax (aka Drusilla) - (f) Elf (Lvl 1), physically frail, spear wielding, hideous armor wearing and from a society of militarized cannibals.
Nell Hassenphafler "The Topstown Gore Bird" - (f) Assassin (Lvl 3), Scarred face, sinewy physique, fancy purple metal dress and poison hatpins.
Lemon Jackson, Evoker - (m) Magic-User (Lvl 2) Gun totting, hell-bolt flinging and heavily tattooed.
Gurgur, Greymol - (m,m) Moktar, Moktar Holy Tom, (Lvl1,Lvl1) Moktar henchmen , serious catbrawn. 


Geof Darrow - A Denethix Street Scene?
Back in their dingy apartment, covered in the tiny scabs of grunkie inflicted wounds, Huxley, Nell, Lemon, Grimgrim and Drusilla wake to another day, stunned and sore and for the first time cannot begin an immediate debauch, the last bottle of hooch purloined from the depths of the Old Brewery having been spilled down Lemon's sweaty torso the night before. 

The booze brought back from their last adventure may be gone, but the desperation lingers. Nell's arm set in a crude cast, but clearly broken to the point where even Grimgrim's divinely aided ministrations won't quickly restore it to functionality.  The band needs a rest, a long rest, preferably somewhere peaceful, but it seems doubtful that their enemies will allow them one.  It's been a week since the raid on the Old Brewery's lower levels and each of the adventurers knows there will be a price to pay.  It's not clear who will come to collect, the Unyielding Fist, drug running gangsters, the death cult of Furter, or even Drusilla's anthropophagic relatives - but a debt has come due and payment is going to be rough.

After collecting their henchman, the Moktars Gurgur and Greymol, from the Street of the Alien, the adventurers sit the rest of the day nursing heroic hangovers with mushroom beer and grunkie drumsticks at the Toothless Gear.  Still nothing happens, the day turns into evening and the party returns to their apartment for fretful sleep.

It's not until a few hours more that the walls come down, almost literally when huge booted foot comes crashing through the front door, followed by several bulky armored figures and the grinning face of Lt. Tsu, of the Unyielding Fist.  Huxley grabs for his sword, and Lemon his pistols but they are quickly dissuaded by several rifles pointed their direction and the party is rounded up, sitting in an uncomfortable, unarmed cramped line on Grimgrim's chaise, while Tsu paces back and forth theatrically with his hands behind his back.

"I'm really quite sorry to do this to you, I like you, you have moxy ... but the Vizer has decided this whole block is to be cleared for the new munitions factory worker's community hall.  I'm sure you understand."  Tsu Begins.  "There's nothing you can do now, we're evicting all you squatters - and I can't afford to be soft-hearted like you lot. Out. Now.  Everything here has been confiscated and is property of the Vizer, you can take only what you're carrying!"


The next few minutes are a blur, walls smashed, homes looted, screaming apartment dwellers pushed into the gutter by a fist cordon,  and then the careful controlled burn of the block by the Vizer's silver suited, flamethrower wielding Redevelopment Corps.  The party can do nothing but stand idle with this neighbors, clutching sacks of a few possessions. Rescuing their armor, weapons, spellbooks and gear and a few hundred coins, they may be better off then some of their neighbors, but they are still homeless in a town where everything is dear except human life. It got worse though, as backlit by the red light of the burning apartment building, Lt. Tsu and his bodyguard of big Fist officers turned to the party and said conspiratorially "Nothing I could do about those murder changes by the way...All those priests down in that shrine, a bad business."

The party realizing that the penalty for crossing Tsu by not committing a massacre was more then dislocation and loss of a good chunk of their wealth, but a shame trial, wracked their brains for a way out.  Maybe flee back to the Certopsian or even to the Livid fens to hunt Froghemoth, but in the end they weren't ready to give up, and Nell and Huxley looked concerned about returning to lands where there was a price on their heads.  With dawn peeking through the smoke, the party heads back to the Toothless Gear, spending 40 of their remaining gold.  The bartender only lets them in because they are favored customers and recommends they get a lawyer fast!

Not quite right for a Steel Leviathan,
but - Moebius
By midday following, ensconced in the bar's dingy and overpriced rooms, Huxley, Lemon and
Grimgrim decide that obtaining representation and researching the charge against them is a good idea. Drusilla slumbers onward mumbling about the succulence of human flesh in dreams, and Nell just broods in the common room sipping at a fifth of scale brandy and flinging throwing knives (or hatpins) into the wall. Stopping first at the courts of the Palace Immaculate where they can't even get to the door before being turned away by five turreted Steel Leviathan with white and gold paint (one of the bigger new models for Certopsian war) and a platoon a Fist guards in tall gilded hand shaped helmets.  Resolving to find a lawyer Huxley and Lemon skulk down into a local drinking spot, "The Learned Hand", and begin to ask among the law clerks, scriveners and court runners that are punishing themselves insensate with quick drinks of Northern Pine Liquor and measured shots of searing Alchemical Grade alcohol during their lunch breaks. 

Several firms are suggested, but each time a 'consult fee' is mentioned of 200 - 1,000 GP, and Lemon asks for recommendations to a cheaper attorney.  Finally the name of Rudeness Cincinnatus is provided and a clerk promises that his fees are reasonable, if only because the attorney is an elf.  Huxley and Lemon head to "Cincinnatus and Associates, A Professional Legal Cabal" an office with a gilt covered sign that almost dwarf  the small building where the Street of the Alien meets the Street of Students.  Cincinnatus keeps an office on the top floor up three flights of dingy stairs, but the office itself is high enough quality, covered in glass fronted cases full of serious looking books.  Cincinnatus has no secretary, and the elf, with slick hair parted down the middle wears a surprisingly mild (for an elf) grey suit and blue cravat.  He asks for 100 GP for an hour of his time to consult over the parties' problem and despite Huxley's attempts to negotiate, remains unmoving, unblinking and unmoved until the coins have been locked into a safe in his large wooden desk.

"Well hmmm, you say this is a politically motivated prosecution, but that doesn't make it any easier, if it was just a killing or two of non-citizens by non-citizens, it'd take only a few thousand gold to push it so far down the calendar and get you released on your own honor that you'd die of old age before it came to trial.  With the church and the Redevelopers involved however I'm afraid this would be a fight, I'll need a 10,000 GP retainer to get started, and there's no telling how it will go then, the forces arrayed against you are powerful."

Rudeness Cincinnatus, sits waiting for questions.   Lemon asks if the party can represent themselves, and the lawyer laughs, showing his razor edged elven smile. 

"Oh of course you can, but suicide would be less painful, because you will lose and be executed.  You don't know the laws of Denethix, or even the proper courtroom etiquette do you?  You can't switch the case to a non-citizen's diversionary court to avoid the summary executions for non-payment of judges' fees can you?  You didn't even know that was needful did you?"

Lemon looks askance at the books around the office and asks if perhaps Cincinnatus could lend him some, he could learn Denethix's laws.  This makes Cincinnatus look suddenly cautious and very grave.

"We'll have none of that, while self-representation is guaranteed as a right of any sentient under the laws of Denethix, and a dear tradition, the laws themselves are property of the Vizer and the Palace Immaculate, and under current law only authorized members of the Denethix Bar, Bench or governing Judicial Bodies may possess or read the laws.  Don't try to bribe me sirs, I take legal ethics very seriously."

Flabbergasted Huxley and Lemon leave, promising to return with the retainer at some point, but entirely discouraged.

Out of options the decides to take the issue to their sometimes benefactor Exalted Brother Joohanssanville, hiring a carriage to reach his estate on the waterfront of the Street of Upright Men.  Another 10 GP wasted, but the fancy chemical burning carriage with its tall polished wood cab, silvered figurehead of a diaphanously clad, anatomically impossible elven maiden and coachman with the fierce mustache and top hat of an expensive Druid Hilll mercenary should keep the Fist patrols and Upright citizen's patrols from chasing off or murdering the soot stained adventurers.   

Joohanssanville is unsurprisingly in a fairly good mood, having had the drug den in the Old Brewery looted and shown his enemies that he's capable of delivering "a stern reprimand" but he shrugs over the parties' problems, smiling and eating a poached, purple shelled dinosaur egg held in the still hands of an elaborately dressed child.  Eventually Joohanssanville narrows his odd eyes and suggests that a simple murder charge should be easy enough to pay off with his help, but the animosity of church and Lt. Tsu are more expensive and he'd need a 30,000 GP bribe, plus a vigorish of 10% to get the charges dismissed.  Joohanssanville even offers to pay 10,000 of the bribe if the party agrees to become his 'exclusive agents for special political and scavenger work'.  He can't be seen paying the whole amount in that if he did pay the bribe for free (which he insists he'd like to) he'd be angering the Furtites and Lt. Tsu, and he really doesn't want that trouble.  The party stammers that Tsu took all their gold, and offers limited services, the magnet looks unhappy.  The party offers the treasure map to Mt. Rendon and Joohanssanville and tells of their earlier expedition. 

Clapping his hands the Exalted Brother says he will buy a copy of the map, for the price of delaying the action against the party of two weeks (or sessions) while the party investigates the Mt. Rendon ruins for the remaining 23,000 GP needed for their bribe.  With no better option the party agrees and spending most of their remaining gold on a mule, tents, dried mold cakes, dino jerky and other trail rations, heads to Mt. Rendon immediately.

Night catches the party only a few miles from Denethix, among sorghum fields and industrial trash heaps, but at least camping on some farmer's verge is free, a relief after Denethix's avaricious citizens have picked the party's bones for the past month.  Huxley sings a mournful Tricertops herders lullaby, with Greymol and Gurgur yowling along on the chorus, but despite the noise his companions quickly fall into exhausted sleep.  Nothing disturbs the adventurers' rest, despite their failure to post a guard, until mid-morning, when a Drusilla wakes suddenly to see a human boy, barefoot, clad in ragged denim dungarees and a sorghum stalk in his mouth peering through the flap of her pup tent.  The boy recoils quickly as the elf reaches for her saber and hisses a warning through her grey lips, but the intruder is just a curious farm child, not the scout for a murderous army of rural cannibals, and
he retreats quickly to a safe distance among the stalks of the field to watch the fascinating strangers pack up camp.

Passing quickly through the hedgerows and shade trees of Retinnis travel is quick and the adventurers meet nothing along the road except a coffle of slaves, the sores on their backs staining the dusty road dark with blood, as they are marched to Denethix by four wary eyed League thugs.  Soon Mt. Rendon, the sight of the parties' first disastrous foray into a proper ancient ruin looms large on the horizon, and before dusk the a band of footsore travellers are sitting at one of the rickety benches in the Muddy Cup, Chemfoldshire's only tavern.  Chemfoldshire is a dirty sad town, filled with dirty sad people and dirty buildings that teeter on collapse from a lack of maintenance.  It is a town where dreams die pressed underneath the enormous gravity of care, and its slatternly despondence is contagious.  The mud colored gruel that the Muddy cup claims is a local specialty and which comprises its entire food menu seems breed lethargy and hopeless resignation rather then satiety, and the party soon tires of it, even washed down with weak but astringent mold brew.

Again, rising with unaccustomed alacrity the party is on the winding, half obscured path up Mt. Rendon's face before the sun crests Rendon's foothills.  While passing quickly through the brambles and forest of dropping evergreens, Nell spots a strange horned animal flying high above on great eagle wing, but it only circles briefly before flying back toward the top of the mountain.


The cave entrance to the strange fortification that the party long ago explored is unchanged, set in a small dell, filled with bear tracks, bear spoor and a musty stink, but thankfully free of a bear.  The door at its rear and the strange face in the wall seem untouched, with light spilling from the open doorway and a few bear prints on the smooth white floor beyond.  Caution grips the party with Lemon, Grimgrim and Drusilla relating the dangers that wait beyond the innocuous doorway: huge clanking machines made of bone and ancient metal and wielding razored limbs, but they press on out of fear of Denethix's judicial machinery.

Letting out a sigh, Huxley leads the party forward into a hexagonal room with several doors, followed by Gurgur, Drusilla, Grimgrim, Lemon, Nell and Greymol. Inspecting the signs amid the flickering white lights Lemon reads off the signs on the doors.  To the Northeast a "generator core" the East "The Subsurface Research Facility" and the West "Barracks".  Deciding to avoid the Eastern door that the last disaster unfolded behind the group looks West and Huxley pushes open the door into a large room with the same hard white walls and buzzing unnatural light as the previous room.  Shattered inch sized fragments of wood, metal and ancient cloth are scattered about the floor, blanketed in dust.  Two doors on the South wall and one to the North lead deeper into the complex.

Beyond the first Southern door is a large locker room or bathroom, with broken blue tile on the floor, torn up in swath to reveal a featureless white surface beneath, and several shower heads, toilets and shower fixtures.  Drusilla flips open the toilets with her crescent shaped military fork and sees a hideous stew of bright green sludge within that bubbles and seems to reach slowly for the weapon. Quickly slamming down the lid, Drusilla suggest the party leaves the bathroom, which they do.

More Moebius
The next Southern door is barely open when a voice beyond shouts "This room is under interdiction and quarantine, entrance is not permitted!" almost stuttering into static at the end of the sentence.  Huxley shouts back "I don't know if y'all have right or wrong of that, but were fixing to violate your quarantine if you can't explain the whys and whatfores of it."  The voice beyond the door hesitates for almost ten seconds before exclaiming "Gas Leak! .... yes, corrosive gas has leaked into this chamber, cannot you receptors feel it?" followed by a tinny and unconvincing series of coughs.  Huxley trhows back the door, and reveals eight humanoid figures, their bodies made of faded pink plastic, articulated metal tubes and tarnished metal framing.  Huxley shouts "What gas?" and the automatons shout back "You are outnumbered, lay your weapons on the floor and prepare to surrender your bones to the proper authorities." 

The fight begins with the automatons rushing the door and their leader spitting on Drusilla's pole arm.  Nell and Lemon fire into the advancing mass, but both miss. Huxley smashes the sparking automaton free of his companion's weapon and it clatters to the ground, smoking and twitching. Only two of the automatons can attack at a time, through the narrow door, and both scrape their steel claws on Huxley's armor while Gurgur bats ineffectually at one of them with his saber. Retreating into the trashed barracks room beyond the door, Greymol, Gurgur, Huxley and Grimgrim form a semicircle around the doorway as the remaining seven automatons press through.  Nell prepares a firebomb, and as the automatons try to break free of their lair to attack the party in numbers they are quickly cut, stabbed and incinerated, with only a minor wound to Gurgur.

Stepping over the pile of broken tubes, sparking dynamos and smoking machines that were once their antagonists Huxley and Nell investigate the room beyond.  Oil puddles and a few ancient bloodstains are all that cover the front of the room, but the rear half has a veritable carpet of human bones, tangled in a few pieces of cloth and laid out almost as if on display.  Searching through the bones the party discovers most are very brittle, and all are ancient.  In the back corner a larger pile of smaller bones reveals both a tarnished silver triangular fixture of some kind and a fused mass of gold jewelry, coins and buttons.

Ignoring the bones and gleefully collecting the gold lump, and silver fixture the adventurers are in a better mood - the horrors of the ancient ruin seem manageable, even weak, and they have some actual golden treasure.  Only the 23,000GP it will take to save them from undoubtedly imaginative and gruesome execution weighs on their souls, driving the party deeper into the ancient site.

Buoyed by success, Huxley pulls open the Northern door and is struck in the chest by a large metal pipe that swings from above on a crude rope of ancient wiring. Huxley is knocked down with a gonging boom as the pipe impacts on his plate armor and at least one rib is painfully cracked by the blow. As Hux kneels on the floor coughing and spitting up blood Grimgrim and the rest of the party peer beyond the door, finding a short hall with doors on all sides.

The rooms are largely empty with small bathroom (lacking slime) and a pair of rooms that are bare except for a single lockbox, with a broken lock.  Inside the box is a pair of golden eagle pins that Nell quickly pockets.  The last room, at the end of the hall is more intact, with several pieces of furniture that crumble into dust when the party touches them, and a large, seemingly unbreakable mirror on the East wall.

Kicking the mirror a few times, the adventurers shrug and dash back the way they came.  The banging of the pipe trap and repeated kicks to the mirror seem to have attracted attention however, and four strange creatures, much like the automatons encountered earlier, but more ramshackle with much of their plastic sheathes and many of their supporting rods replaced with human bone stand seemingly gazing confused at the ruins of their less degenerate fellows.  The party has the drop on them, but just barely and hesitates long enough for the lead automaton to hiss and pop like a warped record through the human skull filled with lights and wires that makes up its head "You may go in peace, if you do not disturb us, we have claimed the right to scavenge here." The party asks the creatures if they have any gold, but the automaton cocks its head in confusion and speaks again.

"Gold lacks structural strength, it has minimal use value and is purely a commodity fetish."

When the adventurers seem not to understand it quickly adds,

"We have no gold, but there is a big bar of it to the North-East." "Yes a big bar of gold to the East in a harmless room filled with peaceful statues."

The party is happy enough to edge past the jury rigged automatons as they begin to beep and whir excitedly, dragging the wrecks of back into the bone room and tearing through their innards for parts. Back in the hexagonal entry, the adventurers open the door labelled "Emergency Generator Core" to the North East, though Nell checks it carefully first for traps or other oddities.

A short hall leads to a second hexagonal foyer, but with doors labeled "Emergency Generator Core" to the North and "Authorized Personnel Only" to the East.  The core beckons and with a careful search that finds nothing the door is thrown open to reveal some kind of office, filled with dusty desks and large greenish metal cabinets overflowing with slick plasticized documents.  Stepping forward to search the room, the dust swirls around the party, to form strange internally lighted dust devils with tinny distant voices that whisper "403 Forbidden" and "PEERDIST_ERROR_NO_MORE 4053 (0xFD5)".  Before the adventurers can grasp their situation the dust devils sweep forward crackling with static electricity and mob Huxley and Grimgrim.  The electrical charges of the machine ghosts prove feeble however, though Huxley is starting to look exhausted and bruised from his various injuries, and a quick sword blow will dissipate the ghosts rather effectively.

The fight is again ended quickly, with six relatively uninjured explorers covered in strange sterile dust.  Nell and Greymol both also receive minor burns, but there are no serious injuries, and even Huxley looks much better (though still grumbling over his cracked ribs) after a quick dose of Monstacrom's power.  Ransacking the cabinets and crumbling desks reveals nothing except reams of plastic paper covered in incomprehensible gibberish and strange drawings. 

A door North from the cabinet room leads only to a room filled with metal racks that contain nothing of interest beyond a line of eleven dented automaton heads, with dangling cables.  The door to the East is far more exciting, too exciting.

As soon as the Eastern door is open an emerald light spills forth and a the faint noise of machinery, rhythmic and grating fills the room.  The menacing green light is almost enough to scare off the party, but the lure of gold bars proves persuasive and they push into the strange circular chamber.  A green pillar, pulsing with light rises up several stories to a cavern roof covered in strange stalactites, while a catwalk, covers the edges of the room 40' from the floor.  Another door waits directly across from the entrance the party used, and a third door leads South.  Deciding that the generator room looks dangerous and doesn't contain gold, the adventurers try to push through it to the Eastern door, but are interrupted as six football sized green lumps descend from the ceiling on ragged bat like wings.  Rather then fight the creatures, which dive aggressively revealing nasty proboscises dripping with glowing green slime,  the adventurers dash through to the Eastern door and slam it behind themselves only to hear angry scratching from the power room beyond.

The party finds itself in a large room, lighted and with the smooth white walls common to the ruins.  A large metal box, dented and with a few stripes of yellow and black paint barely visible on it is bolted to the center of the floor.  Lemon moves closer to examine the box, and discovers a lid that he can easily be pry off.  Within the box are a collection of wires and jagged metal scraps, once part of a larger mechanism.  Lemon begins to sort through them with his dagger and is sharply shocked, his hands blistered.  Rooting through the box with Drusilla's pole arm's wooden shaft reveals nothing except live wires and junk.  Two doors exit the room on the Eastern wall, and the party exits through the North door, still hopeful that there will be gold bricks and marble statues in the next room.

The adventurers are disappointed again, as Huxley leads them into another featureless hall, which goes Eastward to a cross shaped junction and then to turns South.  Walking towards the junction the party sees that it both the Nothern and Southern branches end in doors, though the Southern also continues Westward at the door.  As they debate which direction to turn, a roar that turns into static reverberates from the Eastern end of the hallway, and something terrifying emerges around the corner.  A massive shaggy form of stinking meat, fur and metal - seemingly the remnants of a large black bear, but with metal limbs jutting from its sides and a variety of tubes pumping sluggishly dangling beneath it.  The bear's head, flensed down to a skull, has a pair of cylindrical automaton heads crudely strapped to its sides and their blinking LED eyes seem to track the party as the monstrosity waddles forward.  The party dashes South and throws open the door, as the bear thing begins to shuffle towards them.  Lemon and Drusilla mumble about a repeat of the last time they entered this ruin, but the entire party manages again to escape behind a closed door before the monster can reach them.  Huxley and the Moktars brace the door as its hinges creek under the weight of the bear abomination pressing against it, while the rest of the party is faced with another white room blanketed with dust.  A strange circle of black metal studded in aquamarines is affixed to the Eastern wall and Grimgrim recognizes it as a "God's Eye", one of the portals that the Orbital Gods use to communicate.  This Eye proves to be malfunctioning however, as it whispers and hisses briefly to Grimgrim when he seeks to invoke Monstcrom in it.  Drusilla, a soulless atheistic elf, begins to pry the chips of semiprecious stone from the rim of the God's Eye.  Meanwhile, hundreds of pounds of human and feline muscle are counterpoised against a similar weight in rotten flesh and straining dynamos, but he doors of the ruin are strong, and nothing moves.  Ten minutes pass, then twenty, before the weight on the door subsides and the static roaring retreats and finally quiets. 

The adventurers relax slightly and contemplate returning to the North, but are dissuaded when Nell suggests that the bear thing is likely just waiting for them, and they instead head through the room's Southern door into a dingy locker room.  Lockers made of green metal hang open along the West wall, filled with mounds of molding grey fabric.  When Drusilla uses her spear to disturb one of the mounds of fabric it proves to be a rotten grey jumpsuit with red piping and the word DYNAMAT stenciled across its back.  There are also 10 silver coins in the jumpsuit's hip pocket, which clatter to the ground when Drusilla shakes the thing off of her weapon.  A cursory search of the lockers reveal another few silver coins, though the adventurers take care not to disturb the jumpsuits with their hands.  Doors lead West and South from the locker room and the adventurers opt to go South after collecting coins from the lockers.

As soon as they enter the room beyond the locker room the party is met by the blinking, destroyed faces of ten ramshackle automatons, their decaying mechanical bodies reinforced with old bones. Both groups stare at each other for a a few seconds, hands on weapons, and manipulator claws clenching, before Lemon says "Hello, mechanical friends", and the automatons, taken aback by friendliness, respond with quizzical beeps before one says "Be silent, the abomination roams in search of prey."

Lemon holds up his hands and points to the door to the South, making a walking motion with two of his fingers and pointing at the party.  The miserable automatons seem to understand and totter to the Eastern wall, making a path for the humans, who walk slowly to the door in the room's South Western corner, with their backs to the wall. Delicately opening the door, the Grimgrim leads the party into a T shaped hall, before Huxley and Lemon slip in and close the door behind them.  The long upper arm of the T runs East to West between the door the part entered and a large vault door on the other side. A short hall runs South from the hall's center to another simple green metal door.  Deciding to investigate the vault door it appears that the door's opening mechanism is broken, a crank handle in it's center missing a bar to rotate it and undog the vault's latches.

Throwing open the Southern door the party encounters an imposing sight, as a larger automaton, its arms terminating in gun pods and a heavy grey metal carapace covering its vital parts instead of the plastic of the previously encountered models, swivels towards the adventurers.  The automaton's pods begin to glow, and it says "You must vacate this area until the central command approves rescue operations, please retreat to your quarters and await instruction from the proper authorities." 

Not waiting Drusilla and Lemon look at each other knowingly and unleash a magic missiles at the creature.  Lemon's hellbolt slashes into the automaton's arm, while Drusilla's cascade of searing butterflies pepper its chest, boring tiny holes into the armor, but the thing still stands, and raises its arms to shoot as Huxley Grimgrim and the Moktars charge and Nell levels her crossbow.  Nells bolt shatters on the automaton's armor and it unleashes a fierce blast of searing light from each of its arms, the first glancing from Grimgrim's lowered shield and the second badly burning Drusilla.  HUxley and the Moktars' blows ring against the Automaton, but don't penetrate, but Grimgrim's flail cracks into its head and leaves a sparking dent.  Wheeling to fire again Lemon Drusilla topples the automaton with her crescent shaped pole arm and Huxley slashes its head from its body with his gleaming argonium saber as it tries to right itself.

With the automaton down, Grimgrim again calls on Monstcrom and the Eyes in the Blackened Room answer, soothing Drusilla's burns.  A search of the room reveals three footlockers of battered metal, which open easily and contain a large amount of silver coinage and utensils as well as several pieces of jewelry, an antique bronze helmet and a gold plaque awarded to "Mahdi Mohammad Gordan" as "Explorer of the Year 2367".

Another short corridor leads South and the adventurers follow it to a 20' square room, with metal rollers on the floor leading to a large barred arch which open would lead to a darkened, endless looking stairway that descends deep into the earth.  A heavy knife switch in the down position with a small screen nearby is the rooms only other feature.  On the screen the words "Safety period expired. Fuel replenished. Subsurface entry permitted."

Grimgrim throws the switch and the message on the glowing screen changes to "Subsurface Research Facility Main Power Facility Re Activating" as the bars slide into the ceiling and strange grinding and klaxons begin to echo in the distance.

Moebius again
Not waiting for whatever will come up the stairs the party dashes back through the well lit halls of the ruin, the lights above now strobing red and white. Nothing impedes their progress, the automatons in they see seem frightened and confused, ramming themselves into walls, running in circles or simply beeping to themselves.  Once they clear the ruin it becomes clear that something big is happening on Mt. Rendon, search lights play across the dusk cloud and the grinding noise of rocks pulverized by automated drills herald several clefts and doors opening into the mountain.

Sneaking back into Chemfoldshire is easy enough as every eye in the town, stares Northward at the now illuminated mountain and listens in horror and wonder as it wakes from its eons of slumber.

TREASURE RECOVERED:  500 GP Golden Lump, 100 GP Silver Wall Sconce, 100 GP Gold Eagle Insignia 100 GP, 200GP Handful of Aquamarine Chips, 13 GP in Mold Crusted Silver Coins, 300 GP in Silver Coins, 100 GP Silver and Bloodstone Ring, 200 GP Gold Plaque, 75 GP Platinum Teardrop Earrings, 100 GP Bronze Antique Helmet - Total 1,788 GP


  1. Aw, now I want to play ASE and/or get the third book. Either one would suffice.

  2. Oh man, what a glorious day! I've missed the ASE play reports. They are what originally brought me to your wonderful blog Gus. I know they are a lot of work, but they are truly excellent examples of the art.