Once again, here we have a player session log with some additional notes inserted to allow it to serve as a general session log as well…
The locals had wanted everyone to pass the Rite of Adulthood if they wanted to be full-fledged members of the tribe. While Ben had – fairly sensibly – concluded that membership offered no actual long-term benefits to make it worth the risk, and opted out, most of the others had decided to go for it – and were headed into a ruined city to hunt one of the local horrors.
The sunlight was intense as we headed to the ruins of the city. I just knew I was going to be really sore later at the sunburns manifested. Not much I could do about it at the moment though except try to cover myself as much as possible.
The city was nestled in the hills and was roughly circular in shape. The general consensus was that was because of a shield generator that protected the city from attack. I wasn’t sure I bought that explanation, as there weren’t many threats to a city that couldn’t readily overpower a shield generator of that size. Against orbital bombardment, you used planet size shields not city sized.
The suggestion came up that it may have been to protect against internal threats. After all, the Sith backstab each other readily. That was why after more than forty Sith wars the Republic was still around. I still didn’t buy the idea that Sith were lobbing nuclear weapons at each other on the same planet. The sheer level of idiocy that implied was hard to believe even for Sith. Maybe they were just worried about small raids or wanted to control access at ground level? Recalling events at the Sith Academy made that seem considerably more plausible.
Once in the city we started our hunt. It looked like the city streets twisted and turned with very few straight sections to be found at all. Just how paranoid were these guys? Such obstacles could be readily bypassed with repuslorlifts, and that was hardly new technology.
We saw that one area to the right of the center of the city was glowing with a blue light. I really had no urge to see the pile of radioactive materials that could glow that brightly for two millennia. Some of the other party members joked about rolling in it to gain superpowers like in the holos. Like that would work. The only supernatural ability I knew of was Force ability and that wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.
Lazlo and Shipwreck took point, Alys and the locals took the center, and I brought up the rear of the line. From what I’ve seen, those up front fall into all sorts of hideous situations and those in the middle of the line are usually the first to get eaten. Not wanting to be eaten, I stayed towards the back of the line and ran my senses trying to feel out the creatures we hunted.
I was proven correct shortly as a section of the road began to give way and plunge Shipwreck and Lazlo into the subsurface levels. Lazlo managed to catch himself on the ledge while Alys reacted far faster than I thought she could and got a rope to Shipwreck. While she got them out of the hole, I lectured the local youth on how this was why you don’t run out front into danger. Then I realized that I was quoting my Sith instructor… Blast it. If pragmatism leads to becoming a Sith, avoiding that is going to be harder than I thought.
At least it looked like nothing noticed the mess we made. I wasn’t sure if that was because collapses were common or if there was nothing around to care.
Looking around some more, something isn’t adding up. The local legends of gods and demons are too fresh and accurate for two millennia to have passed. Plus there was the fact the Republic and supposedly the Jedi had bombed the place this thoroughly. The ground is so saturated with metals from the cities that the food is inedible. It was clear the Republic didn’t want the Sith to reclaim this world ever again, but why? What was it about this world that brought them here and the Republic wanted to keep away?
There were no answers to be had yet, although I couldn’t shake the sense that something was out there just beyond my ability to feel it.
The attack predictably come to the center of the line. One of the youth got spat on and was now paralyzed in place. I was dismayed to see the other youth circle around each other while paying no heed to the one lying on the ground. Of course, they KNEW that that spot was targeted by something that spat paralytic venom, but STILL.
Lazlo heaved Shipwreck and Alys around the corner up ahead to either break line of sight or chase after something and darted back to grab the paralyzed kid. Fast and strong enough to remind me of Valerie… The remaining kids ran into the building on the right – leaving their companion behind to Lazlo, who heaved him (her?) up and dodged into the same building.
While all that was going on, since I was unsure where the attack had come from and needed to get a better vantage point, I tapped into the Force and leapt upwards to the roof of the building on the left. My leap became a levitation effect about halfway up though, as I lost steam. Once on the roof I took a quick look around to survey the situation. None of the lizard things were up here thankfully, but I couldn’t see any out on the streets. Sniping from a window?
I did catch a glimpse of a big one poking it’s head out a broken window in the building opposite me. It looked like it was trying to see where the rest of the group went. Seeing the advantage as good as any, I pulled out one of my throwing knives and flung it towards the lizard with as much telekinetic force as I could manage without pulling too heavily on the Force. I felt a warning twinge – oh, yeah, “never for attack” – but it wasn’t like a throwing knife was going to be more than a distraction to the blasted thing.
I actually managed to give it a gash – sticking the knife in it’s scales. The creature pulled it’s head back in the window away from my attack – or to head downstairs to get lunch. That was also the building the youth and Lazlo were in… I could hear blaster fire and explosions coming from another direction that I could only assume was Alys and Shipwreck fighting. I figured the experienced hunter and the guy with a lot of grenades could take care of themselves and so went to assist Lazlo with the big creature.
Up the street, Alys and Shipwreck had problems of their own – apparently the large one had a nest of hatchlings to care for. They weren’t as accurate, as tough, or – perhaps most importantly – as full of other creatures to transfer damage to, as the mother, but there were eight of them – and Lazlo had accidently shoved them out right in front of two. They split to the sides of the street and took cover behind the rubble – Alys working on picking off the lizards before they picked her off and Shipwreck opting for his bandoleer of variable grenades.
Meanwhile, Lazlo and the kids had swept the ground floor and Lazlo was leading the kids up the stairs. At least according to the kids there were enough tracks to indicate that SOMETHING was using the building as a lair – and huddling behind piles of junk in ambush just wasn’t his style. Unfortunately, with the Lizard on it’s way down, they met in the middle – and when the lizard lunged forward, there were too many kids behind Lazlo for him to leap back fast enough. With his own minor force talent fighting the poison and the damage-transfer effect, he was able to remain active for a few moments though – although he was unable to break free.
The leap to the other building was a thrilling experience. It was something I always dreamed about doing, and now have the chance and ability. Sometimes superpowers are nice. I landed on the opposing roof with a thud and climbed down the stairs to where I heard the fighting going on. I rounded the last flight of stairs and came face to face – well, face to lashing tail – with the biggest lizard I have ever seen. It also had Lazlo in it’s mouth and was busy trying to finish swallowing him.
Losing the supersoldier was not going to improve my odds of surviving. So I leapt off the landing and plunged my lightsaber into the creature’s skull. The lightsaber blazed against the armor – damn, but these things are tough – but inflicted a massive gouge before I broke contact as I finished the slash.
Which caused no effect whatsoever to the creature that I could see.
Well that is new.
Ah wait, it was probably transferring the damage to the contents of it’s stomach. Hopefully that wasn’t Lazlo I just brained. Still, I would have thought a lightsaber to the skull would have done something more. Maybe it’s brain was really small and I hadn’t come anywhere near it?
The creature threw me off and onto the floor with a shake of it’s neck. The local kids were trying to attack the eyes to little effect. It looked like Lazlo wasn’t going to be digested without a fight as the creature was suddenly stunned and groaned in pain. The youth finally managed to get one eye and I was busy trying to cause as much damage as I could. Three more kids were paralyzed by poisonous spit and I barely dodged as it spat at me.
Damn it was tempting to use The Force to kill it! So seductive… No wonder the Sith found it so easy to recruit!
Finally with a great swing neatly cutting it’s throat, the creature collapsed and died. I heard another massive explosion outside and figured Shipwreck either detonated finally or used all his grenades at once. Well I had to get Lazlo out first before I went to see on the others. The stench as I sliced open the gut on this thing was unbelievable. I pulled Lazlo out but the paralysis poison was beginning to affect him. I left him for the moment to check on the others.
Around the corner, Shipwreck had thrown a variable grenade in thermal mode into the partially-collapsed building the things seemed to be nesting in – but hadn’t anticipated just how many of them would come boiling out. Faced with creeping paralysis, he’d tried to scatter all his grenades into the midst of the pack – but had caught himself in the explosion. Alys has picked off the survivors, but had been splattered with a light dose of paralytic venom herself.
Alys was succumbing to the poison too, but was busily trying to help Shipwreck before she finally froze up. Shipwreck had blown himself up, apparently trying to kill as many of the baby lizards as he could. He was obviously dying, but with Alys and I receiving instructions over the radio from Jarik [who spent a Force Point to score a 54], he was stabilized. Leaving one of the local kids and I as the only ones still fully functional. Not good.
It took a lot of effort to drag everyone to a safe corner. Jarik caught up with us and helped me move everyone – well, everyone but Shipwreck, who needed more attention before he could be moved – before he began to treat them. Jarik got everyone patched up to some extent – but Shipwreck was going to need more attention from a proper medical facility. There was only so much that any doctor – no matter how skilled – could do with a portable kit.
It really wasn’t relevant at the moment, but maybe there was really something to this “Trouble Magnet” thing. Maybe some sort of unconscious force power? I mean… SOMEHOW I’d managed to wind up in a group with three of the most astounding experts I’d ever seen. Handell, Jarik, even Shipwreck… In their specialities, they were better than any droids I’d ever seen and they kept pulling off astounding successes to go with their equally astounding bad luck. Maybe there were just people who routinely lived on the far ends of probability curves? Hell, Shipwreck even seemed to have some sort of CONTROL over the wild vagaries of luck…
I was again lectured the kids on why it was smart to stay in the back of the line where you were less likely to be eaten than your friends. Did I just say that? That was something a Sith would say. Damn it, I haven’t even embraced the Dark Side and I am already thinking like they do. I think it is fairly safe to say I will never make it as a Jedi at this rate.
The kids didn’t see anything wrong with mottos like “Every man for himself, monsters take the hindmost, if they can’t take care of themselves they should be slaves, and lead from the back!” either. Well, if we hadn’t known it already, that would have been a dead giveaway. The local “gods” had definitely been Sith.
Astoundingly, Jarik got Shipwreck conscious again – although he’d still need to be carried.
As we were about ready to depart, what looked to be a war droid came down near us and began a search pattern. I guess the explosions had drawn it out looking for us. Disturbingly, I could feel the crystal in my lightsaber begin to resonate with the droid. Was it tracking the crystal? Or was the repulsor weakly interacting with it?
No way to find out without a lot of risk. As the droid got closer, I told everyone to lie low while I tried to draw it’s attention away long enough to allow the others to escape. An argument broke out over the whole idea and the droid floated right over us before I had a chance to do anything. Apparently two millenia of patrols was enough time to seriously degrade it’s sensors – enough so that Shipwreck had been able to jam them with his own sensor systems somehow. The droid went on about it’s search and we were able to avoid it as we left.
The locals seemed to be quite familiar with the things. Called them “Demon Ghosts”. Apparently they operated well beyond the city. Blast it, that meant there were a lot of them, and they probably shared information. It was a feature that I would have put in!
We limped back to the local village with everyone still alive. There was considerable astonishment at that. I was mildly annoyed that they didn’t expect the gods to be able to keep everyone alive, not that it wasn’t close. They busily prepared a feast in our honor.
Meanwhile Ben told us of his adventures in smelting on someone else’s land. He’d run a line from the shuttle’s fusion plant, and rigged a remote-operated power-adjustment / limiter so that he could adjust the power to his smelter. He’d gotten it working, spent an hour or so happily getting some local metal smelted down until it was pure enough to use – and then had been attacked by a “Demon Ghost”. Apparently the Republic had left a large number of war droids similar to the one we ran into to watch over the entire planet and stomp out any signs of technology. It destroyed Ben’s smelter and was about to destroy Ben – and then, at least according to what the locals said was the usual routine, to start a spiral sweep of destruction outward that would have destroyed the shuttle and the nearest village – when Ben used the force and his remote control to short the entire output of the shuttle’s fusion plant through the thing.
I am really beginning to wonder if all of my efforts are for naught. Extension cords and table legs have proven more effective than the months of harsh training I had endured. I mean, seriously, the least dangerous one here is the Sith apprentice. The wound to my pride was hard.
Plus there is the fact we are currently stuck here. Valerie is back in the Alderaan system only a few miles from a superweapon capable of destroying or holding it hostage everything I care about. A superweapon these guys insisted on going looking for because they were bored! Never mind the fact that the food seemed to be toxic and the resulting danger of starvation.
I don’t know where the stick came from, but I ended up smacking Ben and Shipwreck with it a few times. It damaged pride and vented frustrations more than it caused pain. Should I have done it? Probably not, but then digging up superweapons while we have Sith pursuing us isn’t smart either.
The feast was ready and Jarik informed us that – according to his tests – about half the vegetables and fruits would be safe to eat. Great, we won’t starve, but I’ll have to become a vegetarian. Shoot me now.
I couldn’t tell if the locals were insulted by our not eating the meat or not. The dialect and customs are so primitive that understanding the nuances is nigh impossible.
Shipwreck and Ben managed to get a workable transmitter-booster constructed. The amount of wood, leather, stone and poorly wrought metal in their design was not encouraging, but Ben insisted it would work – or at least that it would work once all the pieces were suspended in a vacuum. They took the shuttle to orbit and began transmitting. They got in touch with some lowlife with the Andramalus Space Cab Company. After much arguing over proper frequencies and the requirements of necessity, Ben stupidly announced our trouble-magnet status at this point and I could have sworn the guy was going to cut us off. Ben should be glad he was in orbit and I was on the surface at the time. The guy finally agreed to forward a message along for us to Handell and the Republic military.
They came back down with the news the messages had been forwarded. Hopefully that means rescue will be on the way soon. Ben went to planning how to kill war droids with logs and rocks, like something out of one of the more absurd holos. Shipwreck was drinking himself stupid, Alys was investigating the local wildlife and legends some more looking for big game, Jarik was playing with medicines and plants looking for new drugs, and I was brooding.
Would Valerie use a superweapon? Would she use it on Alderaan? She is a Sith, but I like to think she was saner than that. Handell doesn’t know who she is, and might be conned by her even. Valerie might even be able to figure out what we did to escape and follow the coordinates here before rescue can arrive. After some lizards nearly managed to pull a total party kill, I don’t think we stand much of a chance against her.
So who will get here first: Handell, the Republic, or Valerie? And why do I get the sneaking suspicion that something is down here that will make Valerie look like a rescue?