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01 – Introduction

11-Jun-08

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Expedition

The Affiliation has recently been plagued by a rash of unusually weird and terrible monsters of an unknown sort. The western mountains, known as the Barrier Peaks, have long been renowned for the generation of the most fearsome beasts, and have been shunned accordingly — save for a the hardy Mountain Beastmen. Within the last few months, however, a walled town not far distant from the area, and four small fortresses as well, have been destroyed by mysterious attacks!

You have been gathered an an emergency Conclave meeting and assigned a perilous task — it is your job to find the source of these monsters and, if possible, put a stop to them!


The Expedition Begins

Several outer settlements of the Affiliation have recently been plagued by a rash of unusually weird and terrible mutants. The mountains to the west, known as the Barrier Peaks, have long been renowned for the generation of the fearsome monsters, and they have been shunned accordingly. The few settlements that lie in the shadow of these mountains are inhabited by hardy Mountain Beastmen who have built rugged strongholds to ward off the attacks of predatory creatures infesting the lands thereabout.

Within the last few months, however, four small Beastmen fortresses and a walled Barony village at the outskirts of the Barrier Peaks were destroyed by mysterious attacks! A swift-thinking savant of the ravaged lands has preserved in brine several partially decomposed corpses found on or near the sites of the ravaging. While these strange mutants are assumed to have belonged to the forces which were responsible for the destruction, the remains were too far gone to learn anything other than that they were of creatures unknown to even the most widely-traveled outlanders. The urgent plea for aid which accompanied these gruesome corpses could not be ignored, and an emergency conclave of the Affiliation was immediately called in the Free City.

Affiliation Conclave

At the conclave, several unconfirmed reports related that mutant creatures have been disgorged at random intervals from the entrance to an Ancient metal-sheathed vault within the Barrier Peaks. The vault doors are set high upon a rocky face, reached only by a single narrow pass. This protection has purportedly frustrated all attempts to explore the space beyond the entry – although several search parties have entirely disappeared, so it is possible that they entered but never returned.

Each member state of the Affiliation was called upon to furnish several of his doughtiest henchmen for the expedition. Thus the Barons of the Grass Plains, various Warlords from the Necropoli, representatives from the Brotherhood of Radiation, and even the Beastmen of the Barrier Peaks have selected their bravest explorers and equipped them accordingly to accompany the expedition as their representatives.

(Your PCs, obviously, are members of this group that been assembled for the mission.)

Your expedition must find out exactly what this vault is, what is causing the creatures to come forth, who is responsible, and how to prevent any further incursions. In addition, any other information regarding this mysterious locale, its strange denizens, Ancient devices, or relic weaponry is highly desirable. Whatever riches that are gained will be shared amongst Affiliation members according to the contribution each individual or representative group makes to the overall success of the expedition.

If necessary, the Affiliation vows to send forth an army to lay waste to the offending place and every living creature within. Should your expedition not meet with total success, this step will be considered, but the Conclave doubts such extreme measures will be required considering the strength of the expedition and the ability of its members. The Conclave feels assured that you will certainly locate the person or thing responsible for the troubles and eliminate him, her, or it from the face of the land.

The Ancient Vault

Entrance

Your party set forth seven nights ago, and for the past two days have been climbing higher into the crags of the Barrier Peaks. Last night was spent in the only Beastmen keep remaining in the area – and they were fulsome glad for your company. This morning, as the eastern horizon turned from pearl grey to rosy pink, a score of Beastmen guided the expedition towards the unknown area.

It is now afternoon, and you have set up camp in a hidden dell just outside of rifle range from the strange entrance. The Beastmen men-at-arms have been detailed to guard the supplies and mounts at the camp you go onward immediately. They will await your return for seven full days before returning to the keep. Gathering your personal gear, you climb the steep slope of the dell’s north side, pass the rim, and force your way through a dense growth of trees and undergrowth.

Your expedition has just topped the rise when you gain your first view of the metal-walled vault. You see a hillside where erosion has exposed two doors – a small upper door and a larger lower door – both closed.

(Click on the image for a closer view of the vault entrances.)

What are your actions?

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15 comments

  1. The android was uncharacteristically quiet on the journey, perhaps going through the known facts and potential variables of the mission ahead. The Scholarium had placed their trust in him and “Bobby” Olive was not going to let their trust go unreciprocated.

    Not one to waste time, Olive walks up to the door gingerly, scanning the area with his sensorium, looking for potential dangers and a way inside. “Observational comment: This quaint bungalow is tucked away in a quiet part of the Barrier Peaks. It is the perfect place for two young lovers to move in to… then subsequently get mauled to death by the local flora and/or fauna.”

    The android was obviously trying to make a joke, but his sense of humor was a bit off, but at least he was trying to be sociable. His voice was overly excited at all times. One of the older savants referred to it as a ‘Game show announcer voice’, but Bobby Olive had no clue what that meant.


  2. Olive carefully observes the doorways.

    The larger lower doorway is made of resilient metal and stands closed.

    Turning his gaze upwards, he sees that the smaller upper door (atop the pile of rocks) slowly open!


  3. Gene carefully inspects the area around the door for tracks or anything that might give a clue as to the nature of the vault’s inhabitants. He warily eyes the small door that is located higher up. “Yobo,” Gene asked calmly, “feel like climbing?”.


  4. The ground in front of the large lower doorway is criss-crossed with unusual tracks that lead from the vault into the wilderness. They appear to be from creatures that you are not familiar with…

    Somebody has placed spikes and pitons at key points along the rock face leading to the upper door; it would be a reasonably easy climb for the party members.


  5. Gene inspected the tracks more carefully. He hoped to determine the number of individuals and their direction of travel. Was it men or machines? How long since the tracks were made. He cautioned the rest of the party, “I don’t want us caught in a badguy sandwich if whatever uses this door is going to return soon. Maybe we should try the little door?”

    Gene continued to observe their surroundings while waiting for the party to reach a consensus.


  6. Standing quietly behind some rocks, Aka-Vahsa readies her longbow, and watches out for danger. Her two heads scan the environment – no one has ever sneaked up on Aka-Vasha.


  7. “Enthusiastic comment: I would be more than happy to climb up as well.” Olive looks up towards the smaller door and calculates a high-probability of some sort of ambush. “Observation: Caution should be taken if we are to proceed upwards.” The android’s voice was locked into the excited tone of voice even when providing a warning.


  8. Irons has been standing at the back of the group with his arms folded. He observes the smaller door opening and says:

    “Well, who wants to go in first?”


  9. Vasha look back and whispers to her sister “So what do we think, I know we can climb it, but what if their is something beyond that door?”

    “Well then,” Aka hissed. “I guess we just have to find out!”

    Aka-Vasha then proceed to climb the rocks up to the door, with a cutlass clinched between Aka’s teeth.


  10. “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” Gene mumbled.

    Gene drew his pistol and checked that everything was in working order before placing it back in its holder apprehensively. “Watch your heads, it’s a long way down.”


  11. Like his companions, Irons took to the hillside after making sure the large blade strapped behind his back would not hinder the ascent.


  12. Gene checked their surroundings once more before heading to the crude ladder. “C’mon Yobo, I’ll give you a lift.”


  13. “Companions, let us not be too hasty. Why do we not retreat to a vantage point where we can observe both entrances with our spyglasses.

    We can take shifts to sleep while a watch is kept and then we can enter if it seems prudent during the night. This way we have a chance at finding out more about the inhabitants of the vault before we enter and we enter at a time when their activity cycle may be lower – assuming they match their activity cycle with the flow of night and day outside.”

    Rasputin will wait for his companions reactions and follow their lead. If the consensus is to enter the smaller door now, then he will follow also.


  14. As he collects his gear together the Slinker starts a high speed monologue under his breath, picking up his notepad and scrawling in it with a biro, then putting it down, then picking it up for more scrawling.

    ‘Dateline – ur – what is the date? Ah, who gives a damn,’ says The Slinker to himself. ‘Well we’re in the mighty Barrier Peaks, the hog is in the tunnel, the gecko is on the trail and the two headed chick has her eyes on the skies, we are going to certain death at the hands, tentacles, claws and pseudopodia of mutant thingummies, and we are stone cold sober -‘ he takes a swig from a leather flask -‘well stonish cold soberish…’

    He hefts his axe over his shoulder and puts his note pad in his belt pouch and marches after the others, pausing to look at Rasputin over his shoulder.

    ‘Rasputin? You chicken? Or just half chicken like many a mutie I know?’


  15. Yobo sniffs the air for any unusual scents, and then drops to all fours and deftly scurries up the rocks to get a closer look at the upper door, using his tail to aide with the climb if needed.



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