In The Key of Time V

When Are We?

                The Wayfarers are exploring a strange complex outside of the city of Shallamas in Navarene. The complex appears to be a huge machine capable of shifting through time. They have been to the past and possibly the future and are currently (they think) back in their present time. It is also apparent that the time shifts are affecting the balance of things; strange insectoid creatures called Chronal Feeders keep appearing and attacking selected targets. Central to all of this seems to be a mysterious creature, a Philethis that speaks only in riddles.

                The Dead Soldiers advanced towards Judson and Sonny, who shot arrows at them. These had little effect; in response the Soldiers raised their swords and fired back crackling blue orbs that exploded with a booming electrical display of coruscating electric arcs. Both Judson and Sonny were skilled in avoiding this sort of attack; unsure of what else the Soldiers were capable of, they retreated*

The Wayfarers re-united in the Philethis’ chamber (“You seek understanding – then listen to the music, not the song”.) They headed south, after a short distance they found a round chamber. There were exits NE and SE. The chamber was lit by a glowing synth strip that ran round the top of the wall. In the ceiling was a hemispherical metal dome. On the floor was a body; clad in the robes of an Aeon Priest. Galadiir ran over to the body and picked it up. A massive bolt of electricity arced out of the metal hemisphere and struck him full on. He stood there, staggered, and a second bolt hit him. Galadiir started to crumple; Judson ran forwards and barged him into the NE passage; but in turn was hit by a bolt of lightning. He ran for the NE corridor; Sonny followed; using his speed to dodge the murderous bolts. Harrylock followed; he took a couple of hits from which he took minimal damage; but then took a massive hit that bypassed his armour. Charred and injured; he fell forwards into the corridor.

They took some time to rest; Galadiir searched the body of the Aeon Priest; as he had rightly guessed, it was Kappad, companion to Holger. There was a notebook; Galadiir took this and read it without divulging its contents to the others. The book was a scrawled set of notes: –

“Kappad’s notebook // Must keep this secret from Holger – he’ll try and steal them as his own //This whole place is a time vortex // the sliders control it – HOW?

Present = 00141523 = Now?”

Suddenly, from the chamber of the Guardian, came the explosive sounds of multiple electrical arcs and a foul smell of burning flesh. At the entrance to the corridor appeared three Merkadian Soldiers**. Galadiir stayed back, Sonny, Judson and Harrylock moved forward to attack and keep them back. The Merks raised their swords and launched the detonations; Sonny and Judson dodged them; Harrylock took some damage. The Merks were eventually taken down by a combination of melee and missile attacks. Judson picked up a Blaster-Sword but was unable to get it to work. He carried it anyway; surmising it might be worth something.

‘Ding’

The sound came from Judson’s belt. He groaned and pulled a small device and glanced at it. It was the numenera device that warned if his Beast transformation was due. Sonny especially was concerned (as Beast-Judson had attacked him before).

“We’re underground. How do I know when the moon is up?”

“Does it matter whether you can see the moon or not?” ***

Galadiir decided to explore the corridor to the south; this meant passing the Guardian again. He made it, but was Disabled (again). Harrylock followed him (for his own safety). The corridor led into a round chamber, two passages led off into darkness. Against the W wall was a Portal. In the chamber were some cot beds and travel gear, a small heater / stove and a glowglobe. Galadiir went to lie down on one of the beds.

“Stop!” The voice was commanding. “Who are you and what are you doing here?” The speaker wore the robes of an Aeon Priest. Galadiir recognised him as Tevarus; leader of the mission.

“Hello Tevarus. We have met before.”

“We have never met. Now, state your business here and how you got in.”****

Galadiir sat in the edge of one of the cots and related their story. Just as he reached the end; the terrible wheezing and groaning sound filled the air. Galadiir watched as Tevarus and the other Aeon Priests faded from view. Replacing them was a chamber full of Margr; a brief fight ensued and became apparent that the Margr were armed with powerful black beam emitters. Harrylock was severely injured *****.

In the control room, Judson and Sonny watched as the siders moved on their own and the noise began. They ran down to the Time Rotor to see it arcing and flaring with strange energies. Random patterns and clumps of time were floating about; Judson saw Sonny revert to being about three years old. For a brief instance there were two Sonny’s; then he reverted to his normal self. It did not take a genius to work out that there was something wrong. They went into the chamber where the tomb was, to find it dark and empty; two of the rings were broken.

“This is what we saw earlier. We are in our future.”

To be continued

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GM Notes

* = Turned and ran

** Identified as what the Dead Soldiers were

*** I had created a Game calendar; but the players don’t really care about it. For the ‘Howls at the Moon’ Focus; I use a real calendar and look to see when the full moon is. If it is within 2 days either side on a Gaming session then the PC MAY transform. If the Full Moon is ON a Gaming night then the PC WILL transform.

For all other time-dependent things I use GM intrusion.

**** Cue another involved discussion about time travel. The final conclusion was that they were in their own time, but before the time when Tevarus met them.

***** His luck has well and truly run out, it seems (Harry has been rolling a non-stop stream of ‘1’s).

We tried the last few combats using a mapping system used in the board/miniatures game ‘Mars Attacks’. I don’t think it’s added much so we are reverting to a maples system.

I’m interested in how any other GM’s handle the maples combat. Comments welcome.

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