Past week we started the “Raiders of the Labyrinth” campaign, whose premise you can read here.
But first I want to do a report of what happened in the first session and a bit before.
Creating the setting and characters together
While I created the idea of the campaign, the overarching great Villain (the King of Pain) and some places for it like Ashworld and the Labyrinth (though the latter is part of Shadow Lords core setting, Anubia), I left a lot of details to the players to develop and add their ideas. Thus they gave me a lot of informations on the mysterious King of Pain, who remains an obscure figure and yet each of them saw him inflicting pain on someone. So we have their direct witness and yet none of them knows exactly who he is and the limits of his seeming unlimited powers.
Another piece of information that I asked them was “who is this friend whose daughter you want to save?”. And I discovered that is a mythical smith (I called it Wayland, out of norse mythology, and this sprang a lot of ideas on what is actually going on) and that they were tasked by him, on behalf of the King of Pain, with retrieving the “Dark Iron” of King Oberon, ruler of the magical kingdom of the Faries. He said them that while the King wanted the metal for his purposes, he needed it to contain his daughter mysterious powers and hide them from him. However the mission was somewhat of a failure and while they recovered a bit of Dark Iron they were wiped out from fairies first, and later, while sleeping, from the Scarlett Knights in the service of the MAUL, right-hand of the King). The few of them that survived (the PC of course) were helped to escape by Wayland, which then suffered the wrath of the King who destroyed his hands with an hammer or Orichalcum (a mythical Atlantean metal that destroys magic, and kills supernatural creatures and immortals since its wounds can’t be healed or regenerated through magic).
Enter the Heroes!
So, LYDUS, the Atlantean-gene carrier Soul Mage (Heritage +Discipline), lost all his clan of mercenary Atlanteans, and now wants revenge against the King.
ANANSI, the most famous thief of Anubia, and also a Trickster Deceptor, met the King 5 years before the mission, when he told him to steal an Apple from the Garden of Hesperides: for every hour he was late he would kill one member of his home-town. When he returned home he was cursed for what he did in the sacred Garden and now he can’t refuse to steal something asked to him. Thus the King tricked him a second time into service by asking him to steal the Dark Iron. There’s no need to say that he hates the King now…
CRUGRETOR CARTER, their guide into the Labyrinth and also a Disciple and Seer, was a student at the Magical College of Lyw who joined the mission to discover more about the King, because many of his fellow students at the College followed the King in one of his many disguises and disappeared forever. So he wants to find more about them and joining the Cabal of Heroes (the PC) was the easiest route.
SINE LOCUM the Asura Stoicus (an Asura is a cursed one like a vampire or Dorian Gray), is an Henchman of the King of Pain, bent into his service and cursed with Asura immortality by the King himself. He took him in various parallel worlds were parallel versions of Sine Locum had a family and an happy life, and he killed and tortured “his” families. After the tour Sine Locum will was broken, and he drank the blood of the King and became an immortal Asura and one of his right-hand, kept in check by the fear of what the King can take away from him (a normal life and happiness). However, Sine Locum is planning to overthrow the King and kill him, and thus he created the Cabal of Heroes and recruited Lydus, Anansi and Crugretor. But before them, he recruited T’Hailaggath, the Champion of the King, into his service.
T’HAILAGGATH is an Imbued Champion Bellator, a warrior imbued with the energy of DEATH by the King of Pain and Sine Locum. They ripped the wings of the fallen Angel Samael (which now is Earth-bound and brooding hate against them and the King) and used his energy to make T’Hailaggath immortal and an unstoppable machine of war. He possesses the power to channel Death through himself and destroy anything in his path but the evil of the King is too much even for him, and now he is helping Sine Locum in secret to undermine the King’s plan.
The first mission of the Cabal is simple: the King told Sine Locum and T’Hailaggath to kill the High priest of the Cult of Twilight of the world of Ashworld, because they embody hope for the people in a dying world that otherwise would be completely ruled by pain and angst, and so by himself. However this information was spread by Sine Locum on purpose: because he needs to steal the Twilight Gem at the Church, a powerful focus of magical forces that he plans to later use to destroy the magical protections of the Fortress were the daughter of Wayland is imprisoned (in fact he promised the smith he would free her).
So, they are officially on mission for the King, and unofficially for Sine Locum to thwart the King’s plans.
What happens during the session, apart from the brainstorming and idea burning that I already wrote, is that they arrive at a group of lone towers of some kind of forgotten civilization.
These seem to be a mix of now-rusted sci-fi tech and medieval tech, but only Lydus, due to his Atlantean heritage (Atlanteans reached a futuristic techno-magic society before the fall) recognizes the fact and tells the others. They ring an intercom and a voice asks who they are. Lydus answers “the intercom technicians, we are here to repair the Tower’s tech”, and the voice is all “Fiiine, very good!! Come up! There is an elevator still working somewhere!”.
So, they go inside and find the elevator, but before they find a “teleportation mirror” (again, Lydus recognizes the tech and investigates it), and Lydus decides to repair it to use it to go directly to the “City of Sun”, where the Church of Twilight is located.
But to do this he needs to divert the elevator energy to the mirror, so the others start to go upstairs, except for Locum and T’Hailaggath that stay behind to protect Lydus (they feel observed and there is some kind of animal dung everywhere, the smell is terrible).
So Anansi and Crugretor go up, and find an enormous man (Anamas), more than 3mt tall, very fat, unable to move and resting atop cushions in the middle of a room. An old (and seemingly crazy) lady is cleaning the room. Ananasi feels some danger and hides in the shadows (he has the power to move into the Shadow, which in Shadow Lords is the spiritual realm adjacent to the physical one).
Crugretor greets the giant man, and in response he tells him he is an ex-Tyrant of Ashworld, now deposed, but that with his help he can get back in shape if he only can steal his powered armor suit from the other tower. Crugretor is finding excuses to leave, but the man enters his mind with his telephatic powers!!
In the meanwhile Locum and T’Hailaggath ask Lydus to give some power to the elevator, and to go with them up to follow their friends (the player knew that they were at the first floor, but the PC not, so they played along!).Lydus puts the mirror on “auto-search” to find the closest analogous mirror, and goes with them.
However, when they are about at the first floor, there is a power surge and the elevator stops! Ananasi, which came downstairs to seek their aid to help Crugretor, silently watches a row of robots coming out of the mirror (see my speed painting on the left: the mirror contacted something, but maybe not what they were searching for, automatically searching contacts is never a good idea when you don’t know the place!). At this point T’Hailaggath opens a hole in the lift and the wall with a fist, and they find themselves in the big man room!
He immediately starts to use his telepathy to scan them, but T’Hailaggath patience is already to his limits and blasts the poor Tyrant with his death ray: he scenically explodes in a cloud of blood and entrails. The already crazy lady (that became mad because of years of mental control by the Tyrant) screams in horror and jumps from the tower…
Baladam the mad scientist
The group goes upstairs to meet the somewhat crazy scientist Baladam (see image on right, not my work this time but something I found on the web and can’t find who is the author), that tasks them with repairing and cleaning his laboratory. They talk with him to find informations and take time, but in the meantime the row of “Terrorbots” arrives at the door! It’s again T’Hailaggath who is tasked to fend them off with his beams. He destroys many, but they seem to have no ending and are armed with steel blades and some kind of energy rays. Locum, Lydos and Crugretor flee with Baladam that takes them to his secret small dirigible, while T’Hailaggath stays back to cover the escape.
In the meanwhile, were is Anansi gone? Well, coming out of the Shadows, he disables the mirror to stop the robots…but there are already too many in the tower, he hears the screams of its inhabitants and sees that the robots are beheading them and placing themselves in place of their heads, their robotic tendrils entering their nervous systems. The “cyborgs” created in this way seem to possess new strange powers, their energy beams more powerful and their actions more focused and somewhat “intelligent”.
Thus he follows his friends but before he activates an ancient small nuclear device they noticed when they entered Baladam lab.
The last image of the session is T’Hailaggath running on the rooftop of the tower, robots in chase, and then jumping to reach the dirigible while the tower (and robots) explode in a small nuclear mushroom cloud!