Portentous petraportals - Intro and Series 1 ( Yuff )

1.1 Rumours and lighning
The story begins

Our heroes are in The Three Cups tavern in Lifi
An Orc comes in and smashes up the place
The characters defeat him and meet each other
Grimface Stonepecs and Uriel (sp?) take night watch duty and see some purple lightning to the east near Arl
Gretchen seduces Felonius

In the morning, the bartender convinces them to go to Arl and see if his family are alive and ok.

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1.2 A traveller and the stones
What dark magic is this?

The heroes meet Trevor on the road to Arl
He guides them to the place where a mystic stone was set up by some goblins
From there they track to Ley where more stones appear to be fading into existence
Having killed off the goblins by the lead stone Uriel looks through the portal that this stone becomes when close to an amulet, and sees a force of greenskins about to come through.
Grimface Stonepecs swiftly digs a trench to aid in tipping the stone to prevent the greenies coming through.

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1.3 Archways and a shamen
Boggo must die

The heroes tip the stone on top of the first group of greenskins
The lead stone and the power stones start sparking upwards
Our team meet a small group from the village
The whole gang go through one of the power stones to confront the source of the lightning
Boggo is stood on the control stone surrounded by a lightning shield being generated by the portal arches
Gofhi and the others smash down the archways, reducing the shield enough for Felonius to incinerate Boggo
The uncontrolled powers cause the last archway to explode with most folks on the Marl Lands side, but Grimface Stonepecs and Uther with the control stone along with the dying villager captain
He reads enough of the added goblinese inscription on the control stone to determine that the stones were being used to swap areas of goblin territory with human territory in an attempt to rebuild their lands
The control stone explodes, sending Grimface and Uther into a dimensional warp.

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2.1 Lightning and arrivals
Strange lightning heralds curious travellers

On his way from Neberg (where his sick mother lives, and with whom he has left his worldly wealth), Nikolai and his companion XR-77451 are on their way to the Mochawa region. It’s a 3 day walk, so they are camped on the side of the road on the first night. That night, they see what appears to be a falling star, close by to the North.

The following morning they investigate to see if they can find where the meteor landed. After a little while they find a small crater with an advanced life-pod in it. As Nikolai sends XR in to have a closer look, the pod opens and inside they find a very groggy and disoriented First Officer Jax Vikerns.

Jax appears harmless, and like he may have valuable assets, so Nikolai approaches and after a distrustful start, begins to befriend Jax. While Nikolai and Jax are discussing the value of his blaster and any other technology in his escape pod, a bizarre ape-like creature emerges from the nearby bushes and attempts to sneak up on the group to steal XR’s leg! He is spotted, and an explanation is demanded at blaster-point.

The strange orangutan-esque individual introduces himself as Udan: an alcohol dependant member of a technologically advanced race, who crashed on Yuff around 5 years ago in a drunken stupor. His ship was stripped for tech-salvage while he was passed out from the booze and the crash. Now he’s scouring the world for technology to allow him to rebuild his ship and get home.

After a tense and distrusting round of introductions, this rag-tag group decide to stick together. The new arrivals recognising that Nikolai is a useful guide, and Nikolai with an eye on how valuable these people could be in identifying ancient tech artifacts. They conceal Jax’s pod, and continue towards the {{Mochawa region]]. That night, Jax notices a brief and disturbing lightning storm over where they expect the nomadic Mochawa village to be.

When the party reach the Mochawa village the next afternoon, XR and Udan stay out of the village as they dislike technology and would not take well to a space ape (who would? -ed). While Nikolai is negotiating with Hank (a village elder), it transpires that the lightning the night before was around one of their holy relics (a round stone table with strange runes on it). From the lightning and chaos, 2 strange creatures have appeared; a tall one and a short one. They were subdued and held captive. Later that morning, before the party arrived, news reached the camp that one of the scouts sent to check on the planned next settling area noticed a bunch of animals getting spooked, went to investigate what might have scared them, and didn’t return. Filled with concern, Hank offers Nikolai a bargain on some intricate pieces in exchange for help figuring out what’s going on.

Nikolai and Jax interview Uther and Grimface. Their story about fighting goblins, and a land of magic leads Nikolai and Jax to the belief that they are probably mad, but not dangerous as such. Hank introduces Zachary (a young tribesman with some magic ability to shape the ground), who confirms Uther is magically active by acting as a conduit for a difficult and low-effect buff from him. This upgrades Uther and Grimface from “probably heading for execution” to “prisoners”.

Upset that the prisoners weren’t able to explain the strange goings-on to the east, Hank urges Nikolai to take his party and investigate, with Jonas (the scout who brought the bad news) as a guide to where the trouble seems to be.

… what will they find?

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2.2 Living dead zone
It's quiet... A little too quiet

Udan’s jump device has malfunctioned and sent him 600 miles Southeast to the coast! Oh dear. (rabidacidbadger missed this session)

A few hours (10 miles) east of the Mochawa village is the area where Jonas’ brother went missing. Jonas takes our characters out there. They follow the trail east for a little way before turning back to the place Jonas was camping the previous night, which is presumed safe for the night.

During the evening, several animals are heard briefly in distress then quiet. There are occasional mechanical noises too. Mostly though, the area they were exploring is eerily still. This piques the interest of Nikolai and Jax who decide to go out in the night to investigate. XR-77451 accompanies them as he feels compelled to protect them from expected danger.

Wandering in the dark, our group hear a squawk a little way away to their left. They follow the direction of the noise. Cautiously, they explore, when suddenly a metal claw on the end of a cable strikes Jax in the chest and starts dragging him at speed along the ground. Nikolai dives and grabs Jax’s foot, while XR runs alongside, trying to get ahead to attack the cable with his sword. Jax shoots wildly, but to no avail, missing the cable each time. Realising that this isn’t going well, Nikolai decides to cut his losses and at least recover the shoe he sold Jax a couple of days ago.

Jax vanishes down a metal-rimmed hole and falls to the bottom of a 6 meter shaft with a crump.

Filled with concern for their friend, and curiosity about the hole, Nikolai and XR clamber down the shaft. As XR is about to drop, the grapple-hook mechanism resets itself and appears next to him in the shaft. XR carefully grabs the support pole, then jumps up and down on it (in the shaft) to snap it off. He arrives at the bottom of the shaft with an almighty crash in a pile of broken metal and grapple cable as the device fired while falling.

After identifying the device as an animal-catcher, they realise this is probably a facility for gathering food. The group decide to explore the barely-lit, meter diameter tunnel in which they find themselves. After a while, they find a hole leading down into a larger (6 meter diameter) tunnel. Jax falls and is so injured he passes out. XR stays with him while Nikolai goes to find a first-aid kit.

Nikolai manages to find a kit and a control panel. After returning and tending to Jax, they all go to the panel to see what can be done. XR manages to to bring up a map showing many many warnings and errors in what appears to be a large underground network for harvesting both arable and livestock. A look at the productivity logs reveals that another human was dragged down in a neighbouring tunnel. Believing this to be Jonas’ brother, the team prepare to head to his position.

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2.3 Restoration
Up from the grave they arise

Udan teleported into the sea near the town of Kuste, where he nearly drowned in the acidic waters. He was rescued by local Wally and taken to a near by bar. Unknown to Udan, Wally intended to display him as an oddity to make money. A bar fight ensued but Udan was captured and now is waiting to be exploited by Wally.

Jax, Nikoli & XR-77451, carried on exploring the tunnels of Mochawa region. Jax being severely injured was carried for much of the journey by XR until they were set upon by a ferocious lion. Jax in his wounded state hurled his gun, in a critical fail at the lion rather than shooting it! Nicoli and XR managed to kill the lion although Nikoli was severely wounded.

After much effort tying ropes the adventurers escaped the hole. Using XR’s absolute direction to locate Bartimaeus, they managed to find him. Unfortunately in the rescue attempt Jonas was dropped this was conveniently blamed on XR. After a struggle with ropes Bartimaeus was rescued and taken back to the tribe.

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2.4 Next Steps
Where do we go from here?

The adventurers returned to the Mochawa village, Jonas went to fetch the elders to hear what had gone on, and bring some healers to tend to the injured,

Upon learning that there is ancient technology beneath his feet, Hank is disgusted and wants the tribe to move out to the savannah.

Drew is somewhat more balanced in his views and asks the adventurers to go back and turn off the plow and animal-grab parts of the machine, but leave the fertility drive on.

Roused from his semi-concious state by talk of disabling the machinery, First Officer Jax Vikerns called XR-77451 to one side and revealed to him that he has a strong motive to increase the fertility of the land, not decrease it. They make a deal with Drew that if they do as he asks for this area, Drew and the tribe will help them as much as they can if Jax manages to enable the machinery in the region to the south of the Mochawa lands. Satisfied with this deal, Jax is taken away to be tended to by Joan and Joanne, 2 pretty young healers from the tribe.

Meanwhile, Udan has managed to return to the group. Having a little way away appeared during the deal-making, he stayed hidden until the deal was done. When the group dispersed, XR welcomed him back and learned of all that happened to him while he was away.

The following morning, Jonas, Bartimaeus, XR and Udan trek out to the hole-ridden area. XR spends the days interrogating the computer, while Udan goes scavenging for parts to fix his warp drive. The tribe lads act as guard against a few wild animals, and provide shelter in the wild.

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2.5 Debrief
XR has a head full of new knowledge

XR-77451 spent several days in the tunnels learning his way around the computer system there and extracting information from it:

  • Last communication from base was in 2222
  • This system has no map of Bergang
  • Central control can be accessed via hatch NE3/4-hatch-003
  • “Agri-2” security clearance required to get into NE3/4 from circle tunnels or hatches
  • Clearance is determined by multipass + PIN
  • First Officer Jax Vikerns is not listed in the Agri staff database
  • No recorded security stations in the AGri-belt
  • There are periodic automated guns in NE1/2 and NE3/4
  • Turned off animal capture
  • Turned off Arable plowing
  • Turned off arable harvest
  • There are only surface access hatches within the city perimiter
  • Opened animal capture tube NE3-521-g
  • Logs show power spike 6.5 days prior to enquiry
  • Video footage shows a control panel exploding in a shower of purple sparks
  • Set internal speakers to “play smooth jazz”. This is now on repeat in the tunnels:

The adventurers then headed back to the village where they relayed the information about having shut down the machinery and sealed the animal capture holes.

The village Chief wanted to be rid of their once-sacred stone after he heard that it could be related to the machinery due to the purple sparks shown on the video footage in the underground tunnels matching that which occurred when the two strangers appeared on the stone.

The adventurers agreed to transport the stone with them using a 4-wheeled cart provided by the Chief which XR obediently pulled along. They headed out towards Jax’s pod in order to recharge his weapon on the way to Nicolai’s Mother’s house in Neeberg.

Along the way, they were ambushed by a gang of three bandits – a big burly man wielding a large sword and two scrawny archers.

After scaring them off with a few well placed shots and slices, they continued to Nicolai’s Mother’s house with stone in tow (planning to either sell it or find someone who might be more interested in its strange properties).

We left our adventurers with promise of a nice cooked meal and a warm bed to recover from the journey and the brawl outside the town.

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2.6 Neberg
A little R&R? If you're lucky

The adventurers had a good night’s rest in Mrs. A’s “Hole” and felt refreshed in the morning.

They each decided to go their own way about the town and look for services or activities to suit their own needs.

Day 1
Jax went fishing with Udan ‘disguised’ as some sort of exotic pet, and the pair enjoyed a spot of relaxing fishing for a few hours, caught a moderate fish. Udan studied the stone to no avail. Nikolai bought some shuriken, and XR got his sword polished.

Day 2
Udan managed to control the stone a little.
Nikolai convinced Jax to act as his protector.
That night Mallory Al’Turo appeared late that night and floated around demanding some “Peace”. As XR attempted to delay her departure she melted his sword.

Day 3
Gryth Astor contacted Nik to defame his rival Varn Gillock.
Jax went to the local apothecary and got a bit of surgery to help him heal.
Nik went and bought a family pack of “Peace”

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2.6 Peace of Neberg festival
How to discredit a puritan?

Having been contacted by Gryth Astor to discredit his house’s rivals by intoxicating Varn Gillock at the town fair, Nik also acquired some more “Peace” to use to pacify the highly dangerous Malory.

Malory appeared at the arranged time and hovered in the cloud of peace smoke produced by the fire. Thus-calmed, she answered the adventurers’ questions and revealed that she is not from this world, but from another layer of the multiverse. Trapped here on a slow-time planet the Peace helps her deal with existence. She is unable to leave due to her travel partner going missing. He was the one that drove the stone and she doesn’t know where he’s gone. XR bravely stuck his head through the portal and verified that it appears safe to travel through and seems to be on Yuff.

The following day Nik and Jax went to the apothecary to get some “Healing Metabolism Boosters” (ancient meds) to help Jax recover. They noticed they were being followed. After getting the meds and Nik getting patched up they tried to approach their tail but lost him in a crowd.
XR spent the day helping the blacksmith that was replacing his sword which Malory melted.

The following day was the day of the 20th annual Neberg fair.
Jax failed at the shooting range. Nik had a crack at it and aced it, winning a teddy which he gave to XR. XR terrified a stall owner from out of town, then tried to dunk senator Arnold by throwing balls at a target.

With the festivites enjoyed, the team set about framing Varn. Nik pulled him away from a bar full of city watchmen that he was berating and convinced him to come to another pub. There he tried with limited success to get Varn to drink so they could then convince him to smoke. He was too aware of his duties though and then almost caught Nik planting a bag of “peace” on him.

As a plan B, Nik went to “The Alley” to find a ne’er-do-well to report a commotion to draw Varn down there. After a confused conversation with one of the ladies of negotionable affection in that street, the message was sent. Unfortunately, Varn brought some men with him, so the opportuntiy to bag and drug jim didn’t arise.

Gryth Astor didn’t seem happy with Nikolat as the Midday archery contest got under way without any sign of an intoxicated Varn.

Brian won the archery contest.

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