The Labyrinth of Forgotten Kings

Run to the Hills
Betrayal at Ancestors' Post

[caller: Braennan]

We kick off in media res …

Roused by Stump's alarm, the Mobos stand in the doorway of the bunker at Ancestors' Post as the Kyuss warband known as "the Brood" streams over the walls and through the gates.  Javelins and short blades glitter in the guttering flame of their torches, illuminating the single eye  they have tattooed on their foreheads.  In a blink the gates of Ancestors' Post erupt in flames.  In the courtyard before them the troopers mill about in confusion, unsure of what to do – but there is a palpable sense of fear as a massive Son of Kyuss strides through the gate carrying a long raygun, his purple skin alternating hue in the firelight.  Before him he drives 3 albino Kyuss on chains – with a snap of his wrist they are freed, and two of them grip odd metal staves in their hands that suddenly erupt in blue fire, like blowtorches.  A scream rises from the host – “BROOOOOOOODDDD!!!” – and Warden Black blanches and flees the battlefield.

Flicking a white cloak from his shoulders, the purple Kyuss drops to one knee and aims his raygun at the party in the doorway.  And there, near the gate, the Mobos catch sight of Trooper Bronz, staring wide-eyed at the party, mumbling and gesticulating.  Magnuss is the first to break the horror, leaping from the doorway with a rallying cry that screws the Troopers' courage to their sticking place, so that they might not die in vain – in the first sortie, 8 Sons fall to his spear, darting like a serpent's tongue.  The purple Kyuss fires two shots at Braennan but both break wide, and Braennan summons his powers to protect his comrades from evil before jumping himself into the fray.  Tom too wades into the fight just in time to save Magnuss from almost being brought low by a lucky strike from a handful of Kyuss, and even Stump grips Gunnar's Raygun and leaps into battle, slaying 3 more Kyuss using the weapon as a spear.  Meanwhile, Balthazar casts spell after spell into the melee, blinding some with color spray and creating a protective barrier for the warriors to dodge behind.

Kredique keeps her eye on Trooper Bronz and ducks quietly into the shadows, slipping unseen through the combat as the bodies begin to pile high.  The first attack of the Sons of Kyuss on the Troopers does not go well for the Iron Maiden, and more than half of their number fall to tooth, claw, and iron in the first moments – were it not for Magnuss's rallying cry, they would surely have broken and fled.   Braennan attempts to Banish Trooper Bronz, who turns on his heel and attempts to flee the scene, but Kredique silently steps behind him, knocks him unconscious, and drags him into the darkness.  Meanwhile, the party continues to whittle down the warband, even as the last of the Troopers falls defending this outpost in the lonely wastes of the Upper Plateau.

After a time, and a showdown mano e mano with the purple Kyuss that costs Braennan his left hand (temporarily), it is over.  50 or more Sons of Kyuss lay dead, as well as all of the Troopers of the Iron Maiden, some score in number. A handful of Kyuss and a single albino champion managed to escape into the wastes, blinded and desperate.  Trooper Bronz is dragged from the shadows for questioning – despite the proximity to Braennan causing him physical damage, Braennan pushes next to him, questioning him as he writhes in agony.  Bronz confesses he is a priest of Judas before ultimately succumbing to the wounds opening across his body, his blood soaking into the muddy sands of the slaughter at Ancestors' Post.

The party finds Warden Black hiding and mewling in his barracks, desperate to save his own hide.  Though disgusted with his actions, they hope he might make an adequate guide to the Fort Vengeance, where they hope to speak to Captain Ozzy who may know the way to the place called Epsilon City; as such, the Mobos clamp one of the chains that held the albinos around his neck, hoping to have Black lead them like the dog he is.  

We learn something of Stump too – that in his apprenticeship as a haberdasher his master did some work making clothes out of flesh, and that another of the apprentices – Jean de Georday – was taken away for questioning when Stump was very young, never to be seen again.   Stump thought nothing of it at the time, but the fact that the Sons of Kyuss drape themselves in the skins of their enemies has brought back unpleasant memories.  Stump grabs the rayrifle used by the purple Kyuss, with human (and otherwise) teeth hanging from sinews along the barrel like clattering windchimes, and gives Gunnar's rayrifle to Braennan.  He also takes the white cloak worn by the purple Kyuss and, after some investigation into its properties, gives it over to Balthazar for safekeeping.  The party also finds a stash of greenstone shards as well as a Low amount of supplies, hopefully enough to help them make it to the Fort.

There is some discussion to spend the night and heal, but the circling vulture-like gribb and the burned gates drive the party forward, west toward a mushroom forest where, on the other side, Warden Black insists that Fort Vengeance lies.  2 leagues west of Ancestors' Post the party comes across a gruesome sight – a pile of Kyuss corpses with the Yellow Sign carved on their foreheads.  In the middle of the bodies is a crucifix in the shape of an X … a corpse, standing upright and tied by thick ropes, its face contorted in final agony – the face of Trooper Bronz. The abdomen looks like it burst from the inside, and a strange yellow ichor clings to the inside of the cavity. A long drag of gore stretches across the ground east, back towards Ancestors' Post, and disappears.  Warden Black identifies the warband as "the Fleshbiters" – it would appear you've had some help whittling down the warbands of House Cocyst.

A few more leagues west the Mobos come across 6 gigantic broken ribs jutting from the ground, the skeleton of some great beast, with a black object in the middle, sticking out of the sand.  Creeping closer they feel uneasy, and there are numerous humanoid skeletons around the ribcage.  Looking closer they see that the black object is a large casket draped with sand-blasted iron chains, but it is too much for Braennan, who orders the party to continue west.   Magnuss speaks now of his desire to get home, away from this primitive planet and back to the lush forests and hills favored by Ildavir.  He aches for life, and for living things, and has a promise he has sworn to keep – to level Portsmouth to the ground and leave it a smoking ruin, the repayment of an old debt.

Finally, just before entering the mushroom forest, Stump bids the party to stop.  He hears quietly beneath the sands the words "failure … failure … failure …" repeated over and over.  With help and some searching, the party uncovers what appears to be  a crashed airship, its sides scoured from the sand.  Cracking open the cockpit they find a silvery body suit with an attachable fishbowl-shaped glass helmet; inside the suit, a bleached skeleton.  It appears that the ship was transporting a crate of some sort, and Magnuss opens it to find 12 bottles, neatly lined up, with wax caps.  Their labels are worn away and illegible.  Not wanting to leave this treasure behind, Magnuss divvies the bottles up among the party, ultimately taking 4 for himself, before leaving the ship – and it's repeating message – behind in the sands.

The canopy of the mushroom forest looms large, and Warden Black seems anxious to enter into it, out of the glaring sun.  He steps into the shadows and turns to beckon to the party.  "We have made it!  Almost there!  Come, come!"  

The party steps carefully into the loamy gloom, eyes alert and weapons at the ready.  The back of your neck itches, and you could swear you see Warden Black smiling …
 

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Arcane Montane
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Brave New World
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How Heavy This Axe

DRAFTROUGH NOTES!!

fight with bellwart. staggering blow against magnuss.  healed by mercer. darkness and bolts from the blue and true name and poisonous clouds. stump mixes blood with shard and dips blade in it, gives it to kredique. she luckily hits. millstone falls and breaks. he is healed! magnuss kills him anyway.  fight ensues.  who will get the axe? eric gives it to mad tom.  fight ensues.  mad tom gives up axe for (a) 200 gp, (b) 3 casks of ale, © really nice axe, and (d) for Magnuss to say he is a "mad tom is a valued member of the team"

party goes to the east, sees the wormhole laser firing. braennan casts divine aid, succeed! iron maiden tells him how to turn off the laser.  they do.  ship begins shaking and rattling.  they head west.  do the same thing.  ship shakes.  balthazar notices that orbit is decaying. they begin to hear chanting.

return to the central room.  door bursts open, the king in yellow arrives. he shows Magnuss his face. casts mirror image. spell duel with balthazar – phlogiston disturbance, balthazar gains red hands and white eyes. mercer fails disapproval, arms turn into black tentacles, screams in horror. braennan manages to banish king in yellow just in time to see that the orbit has decayed and the ship will crash. the party runs pell mell for the teleporters … but the power is out. darkness. 

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Prodigal Son


explore the study, no one can seem to cast any magic.  investigate big anvil, have discussion about how to get it out of there.  find journal and two books.  communicate with luca about divining.  decide to go back to gallifrey.  when they do, find gallifrey destroyed.  find a child there and question him. kelsier happened.  take him and other children to the "hotel". visited by Mr. Gold [letter for Rob].  decide not to head back to portsmouth and deal with problem in carcosa instead.  braennan cleanses Thornprick

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Fear of the Dark

The party, lead by Stump Beefknob, spent time mapping the mystical teleportation machine, calculating the various endpoints – including one they had never visited before, a locked room with a key card reader next to it and, written on the door, one word:

Unable to open the door of the room and feeling that discretion might be the better part of valor, the Mobos returned to the Eternal Laboratory to continue their exploration, and (it was hoped) to find the keycard to open the locked door.

Encountering another security detail, Braennan summoned forth a rolling sphere of darkness, shutting them down in their tracks.  So powerful was his spell that the he was able to control its movement, so they brought it to the mysterious building machine to attempt to shut it down – unfortunately, it appeared this machine was powered in other ways, so the Mobos used the opportunity to clear the level of the remaining security details.

Moving on to the large area south of the Workshop, the party discovered a broken (and bloody) elevator leading down approximately 30m.  Letting Stump lead the way, the Mobos lowered him down to investigate.  Herein he discovered an enormous glass(?) dome, presumably either underneath the island itself, or inside of its hollow core.  In the dark waters surrounding the dome swam a large creature – but the party had no time to investigate before being attacked by a dozen Children of the Deep, mad with hunger and hell-bent on destruction!

The Children were dispatched easily, and it was discovered they had escaped from some sort of "lobster traps" in the room.  In the eastern end of the room they discovered a tentacled brain in a vat, who babbled incoherently save to tell the party its name (Verso), and begging them to press two buttons so that it could be "released".  If pressed for answers, Verso kept responding that "only Septyeux knows!" before falling back into mad laughter and weeping.  After some discussion, the Mobos decided to leave the creature to its fate – and its wailing, mad screams of pain followed them back to the rope headed back to the upper floor of the Laboratory…

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Sun and Steel

The session opened with Braennan returning to this plane from his mystical journey "home" to serve the Iron Maiden, finding the rest of the Mobos severely burned and injured from their experimentation with the various and sundry items they found around the workshop.  Quickly healing everyone, the party decided to create a "trap" of sorts at the east door before opening it; this turned out to be an excellent idea, for when Kredique slotted in a blue key card the doors slid open directly into a Security Team, who rushed forward to attack.  Magnuss and Balthazar were put to sleep just as Balthazar struck the Repairbot with a massive meteor; the robot hung back while it repaired itself, covered by the Spellbot and Shootbot while the Fightbot rushed forward.

Braennan threw a Darkness spell into the center of the crew that hung back and they went suddenly quiet – through a war of attrition the Fightbot was cut down, but its friends did not join to protect it.  It was at this point that the Mobos realized that the robots were solar powered, and that the lights in the ceiling were providing sunlight for the machines to function.  Stump and Magnuss headed into the darkness – Magnuss destroying the inert machines and Stump finding a number of Mr. Fixits that had rushed forward to attempt to "heal", or at least clean up, their brothers.  Stump smashed all of the Mr. Fixits and the party headed north once the Darkness cleared.

The Mobos opened a door to a room filled with glowing blue crystals, lightning arcing along their surface.  Discretion being the better part of valor, they closed this door and examined the door just to the north of that, where they found 8 small, metal tents with 8 apertures along their base.  Assuming these apertures were where the Mr. Fixits came from, the party spiked the doors shut and continued to the eastern doors.

The doors to the east appeared to be guarded by two tubes at the far north and south ends of the room, each hooked to a box covered with hieroglyphics.  Balthazar examined the hieroglyphics and fought down a wave of insanity – the writing apparently spoke of ancient Gods of unsurpassed evil.    When Kredique approached the doors, the tubes seemed to "wake up" and train themselves on her; she nimbly rolled out of the way before finding out what the tubes were up to.   The party decided a different approach was necessary.

Keeping well away from Kredique, the Mobos watched as she carefully opened the box attached to the tubes, an extraordinarily difficult feat.  Kredique discovered the box was full of the blue "lightning crystals" from the room to the north.  After some discussion with the rest of the Mobos, Kredique poured some of the acid they had found in the workshop inside the box – luckily there was no adverse chemical reaction, and the crystals were destroyed, which seemed to disable the tube.  The party then headed to the northern tube where Kredique repeated the process.  It was now deemed safe to approach the door.

None of the key cards the party had in their possession (Green and Blue) seemed to open the door.  In a fit of inspiration, Kredique attempted to hotwire the lock on the door  - and in a one in a million chance, succeeded.  On the other side were the array of strange tubes and levers familiar to the Mobos in their adventures in the Labyrinth – some sort of teleporter.  The Mobos activated tube 0100, and discussed what to do – experiment with the teleporter, head back to town, or continuing exploring the southern part of the Workshop.

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The Assassin

The Mobos have travelled to the eastern edge of the Great Trade Road to Ulaan Khot – the Red City – last known location of the wizard and seer DellSpero on a tip from Joss in Gallifrey.  Along the way you went on a side quest to help out Braennan against the servants of the Temple of Syrinx (who just happened to be mind flayers).  

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In the temple you found a number of star charts as well as a workbook bearing DellSpero’s signature, filled with a strange language.  Luca examined the star charts and believes she knows which star is next to disappear, in roughly 2 to 3 months time.

You made it to the city safely, but within a day of your arrival there were several attempts on your lives by a group of assassins.  The last occurred while you slept in the inn named The Pearl, near the western gate of the city.  A fire was started and, when you attempted to escape through the windows, you were ambushed.

Kredique, grabbing Stump, had lept from the windows to save him, but was very badly injured when she hit the ground.  Braennan was shot with a strange missile and fell from the window; as he got to his feet, one of the assassins quietly snuck up behind him and put a garrotte around his neck.  At that moment two of the assassins – wearing masks of a lion and a wolf – came around the corner, trapping you in the alley.

Stump, rolling free of Kredique and grabbing a bucket nearby, threw it with all his strength and (luckily) was able to hit the assassin behind Braennan in the head, giving Braennan enough time to break free [Rob, you’ll note that Stump’s luck reflects this].  Braennan, turning to face his attacker, sees that he is wearing an extremely lifelike mask of a jackal.

Leaping from the window, Magnuss ver Magnusson landed between Kredique and the oncoming assassins, hurling his handaxes with unfortunately little effect as Luca climbed carefully from the window to the ground some 20 feet below.   Crawling to her feet, Kredique readied her blade for what would surely be her final stand as cries and the sound of battle erupted from the floor above – the screams of Mad Tom and the droning incantations of Balthazar echoing from the upper floors.

A pitched battle ensued for a few moments – Braennan dodging the sword strokes of the Jackal, the Lion swinging a giant falchion which sparked against the stone, the Wolf armed with two spears leaping across his partner’s back, its strokes lightning fast.   The end of the Mobos fast approached.

Suddenly, the three members fighting on the ground picked their heads up, turned and fled at unnatural speed.  They meet a squad of town guards at the mouth of the alley investigating and fighting the fire, making quick work of them but giving you enough time to rally and catch up with them.  You burst from the alley as the assassins spare you one last look, then flee into the darkness.   

Down the Red Way comes a small army of militiamen, moving at high speed.  Cityfolk run back and forth from the fountains on the other side of the Red Way, carrying buckets of water to fight the fire while a sergeant begins organizing them into a bucket brigade.  The Pearl is completely covered in flame.  Tom and Balthazar are nowhere to be seen.  

Kredique beckons for you all to follow and you head across the red way to the south wall, then follow it to the eastern edge of the City.  You pass the slumside garrison and find your way into the Maze, where you break into one of the many ramshackle abandoned houses near the Shrine to Loki.  A dangerous area of the city, but safer than where you left – you are clearly going to be wanted for questioning concerning the burning of the Pearl, and the assassins are still hot on your trail.  

Time to lay low and figure out what to do next.

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The Red and the Black

Your trip through the Trollstep mountains allowed you to move more than 150 leagues in an instant, but you are still a league away from the city of Ulaan Khot, hidden from view in the pass between the Trollsteps and Barrier mountains.  Braennan seems much calmer and more sane now, but he is preoccupied as you make your way down the road. 

The Great Eastern Road is a shell of its former self and in wide disrepair, trade preferring to travel by ship or through the Southern Road, though now that the pass between Drachen and Westlake is open this may change.  Other than the howl of a wolf and the occasional rock slide the land is cold and desolate, even as you approach the summer months.

You make camp in the rough one last night – without horses your provisions are meager, and you hope to find civilization soon.  At daybreak you set out again, coming over the final hill as the sun crests the horizon with a view of the valley below.

Your breath catches in your throat.  Ulaan Khot, the Red City, the meeting point of the Great Steppes and the Barrier Mountains, is a site to behold.  Only Kredique the Lankhmaran seems nonplussed – Magnuss and Luca stand momentarily dumbfounded as they gaze at the colossal red walls surrounding the Western Gate, said to be stained their wine color by the armies that have died attempting to invade.  You nudge yourselves forward and blend into the throngs that are beginning to make their way into the city, through vast tent villages of nomads and miners alike, for Ulaan Khot is known for the gems and jewels, gold and silver it brings to the empire.  Mingol riders mix with dwarven workcrews mix with salt-bitten sailors and merchants, and the cries of a thousand different voices and languages reach your ears just as your nose is assaulted by the smells of cookfires, fish, sweat, and refuse.  You are clearly dangerous and are given a wide berth, though many glittering eyes watch you from the shadows, and your shoulderblades itch from the stares you can feel in your back.

The gates are thrown open and bored guards keep an eye on the passersby – before you know it you have entered, the city opens wide before you.  Now to find your needle in the haystack.

Dellspero.  Where you could you be?

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The Temples of Syrinx

It is only a few days before you leave the eastern portion of the Great Forest. No longer can you see the fjords of the frozen sea, for the north here is bordered by tall hills known as the Trollstep Mountains. You follow the Great Eastern Road, now in great disrepair, through the Cold Waste to the last known location of Dellspero – the lawless city of Mlurg Nar at the northern feet of the Uldominor Mountains (called the Barrier Mountains outside of the forests). Your journey is generally without incident … that is, except for your companion.

Horrible dreams have been tormenting Braennan, Last Priest of the Iron Maiden – he awakens each night screaming and clawing at invisible terrors, but tells you he can remember nothing. More and more gaunt he looks as the days wear on, and a feverish look begins to permeate his eye. His hair grows long, his beard thick – even Mad Tom begins to keep his distance …

One morning, he suddenly jumps to his feet during breakfast, pulling his sword from his scabbard. He points a shaking finger at the Trollstep peak known Great Stardock, and his voice rasps …

"There brothers. There! Can you not see it? We must bring them down, destroy them before they infest this world!" Spittle flies from his lips and his eyes roll back into his head.

You grow uneasy. Kredique slips quietly behind Braennan while Magnuss puts his bowl of porridge down to free his sword arm. Only Luca seems unfazed.

"See what, Braennan? What do you see?"

He looks down at her, his eyes brimming with tears of fury. "It is the Temple of Syrinx. Syrinx of the Red Star. And if It his here, Its priests must be here also. We must kill them … kill them all … and destroy whatever inside, before It destroys us!"

-

You guide your horses through the rocky terrain north from the broken cobbles of the Great Eastern Road, Braennan at the forefront, sweating and mumbling to yourself. The ground here is chaotic, and you fear that your horses will throw a shoe or turn an ankle … until, very abruptly, it isn't.

A village … or what is left of it … stands silent and cold in the afternoon light. The largest building appears to have had its eastern wall neatly removed – it lies unbroken on the ground – and the insides are completely empty. The ground – it raises the hairs on the back of your neck. You examine it more closely and see the ground is unusually clean, except here and there where stones have been neatly stacked in symmetrical patterns of 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, etc. Kredique slips into the house and returns with a puzzled look on her face – the house is absolutely spotless, as if it had been swept clean, save for a single note tacked to the wall 



You see a path roughly 3 meters in diameter leading north, and you decide to follow it, proceeding cautiously despite Braennan's reckless urging. After a few hours you come to a large black … cube, roughly 10 meters on a side and 10 meters high, crawling with green runes and with a single red star above a dial of numbers in the middle.

"This is it!" cries Braennan, and leaps from his horse and rushes forward. He makes a strange sign with his hands before the star, then wipes a strange slime from the star, and turns the dials so they read "2112". The door hisses open, and Braennan leaps inside, the rest of the Mobos hot on his heels.

Almost immediately you are set upon by a handful of large, multi-faceted, metallic creatures. The creatures (Braennan later identifies them as "Scions" are stacking boxes in a giant warehouse – much, much larger than the outside would seem to indicate) turn and announce “Organic Lifeforms Detected, Possible Hostile Intent, Terminate" and rush forward to attack. They seem to concentrate their attacks on Braennan, who after blessing weapons to strike true goes down beneath a barrage of blows. Fortunately, Braennan almost falls into the arms of the witch Luca, who heals him with a whispered prayer to Badb. Meanwhile, the rest of the party makes short work of the metallic beasts and, after catching their breath, hazard a look around.

The room is filled with boxes of all sizes, each box with a strange writing on it. Kredique begins opening them in quick succession, but they are filled with strange things. A box filled with seashells. A box filled with rocks. A box filled with leaves. You spend roughly 10 minutes opening boxes until Kredique opens a box and backs slowly away – it is filled with human limbs of all ages, all neatly severed and dissected, jumbled together in a pile.

A door to the north promises more answers and, readying your weapons, you manipulate the door so it slides into the wall and step through. 

On the other side you see a familiar site – a robotic Security Team, the same as you had encountered in the Labyrinth. The Shootbot aims its fire wands on you, and you rush forward to attack ….

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