From the Diary of The DM: Iron Gods Session 25

The Crimson Lotus Gang:

  • Charisma, a “human” -mutant- sorceress whose power source is Gamma Radiation which she was exposed to as a child.  As a child of the Atom her hair goes green in the presence of radiation and she progressively gets greener the more powerful spells she casts (and as she gets angry).  She has no love for the Technic League.
  • Sylvanus, a dark elf monk who escaped the clutches of mind flayer slavemasters in the area of the Scar of the Spider after a daring raid by surface dwelling heroes freed her.
  • Brokthor, a human fighter who was raised by dwarfs and thinks he IS a dwarf.
  • Tufast, a human cleric who serves Thor –  power of thunder and lightning.  Much like his barbarian family he hates technology and has a particular spite for robots.  He sees the cleansing power of lightning as the perfect antidote to the curse of the robot infestation of Nimmeria.
  • Isumi, (NPC) a marooned alien sniper and grenadier with a mind flayer vendetta.

The Valley of the Brain Collectors

Session 25

By The DM

After settling on attacking the Hive directly the party moves out.  The plan is to get as close to the Dominion Hive as possible within the protection of Cortina.  The plan is immediately when they are “ambushed” by The Terrantula (as much as something as big as a house can ambush) the legendary mutant spider.  At first the spider doesn’t know what to make of the vehicle and a staring competition begins.  The players break first reversing Cortina away from the giant spider.  Terrantula won’t have any of it and pounces, its mutant fangs managing to penetrate the armour of the Rhino.  Dollar signs (gp?) flash up in Brokthor’s head at the expense of repairing the vehicle and he flies into a rage exiting the Rhino attacking and trying to draw the gargantuan spider away.  He succeeds in distracting it.  Charisma then casts hold monster from her wand and its all over for the Terror of the Felldales (DM’s Note.  Note to self – don’t give players wands that cast concentration spells and take out an opponent on an average roll).  Terrantula never recovers and is butchered.  Literally as Isumi, the consummate survivalist, cuts chunks of meat off for later.

Their revelry is short lived as giant spider-headed wasp creatures descend on the Terrantula’s carcass.  The horse sized creatures ignore the party.  Brokthor makes the point that he doesn’t want spiders the size of houses OR wasps the sizes of horses in his neighbourhood and convinces the party to attack.  Charisma gains surprise and drops a fireball on the creatures.  Not quite killing them but definitely getting their attention.  Sylvanus then uses her *bamf* attack killing two more leaving the final one to be electrocuted by Tufast.  They decide to take a bit of a rest after traveling a whole 10 feet from Isumi’s cave.

They move out the next day following the same plan – drive the APC as close to the Hive as possible then frontal assault.  Its the same plan everytime.  Again their plan is thwarted by the fact the valley is blocked by, what looks like, the carcass of a gigantic whale.  Isumi explains this was the vessel the Dominion of the Black arrived in and as is their way they abandoned it – its carcass left to rot in the sun.  Since they can not drive any further they decide to check out the stinky and bloated ship – using filtration plugs they picked up at another wreck in Scrapwall.

The problem is that the vessel is in the middle of a lake which doesn’t look very healthy.  Tufast says he can part the water so they can all drive across to the rear of the vessel as one of the tendrils looks like a possible entrance and is resting on a sandbank.  Before he finishes his spell Sylvanus decides to sprint across touchy the water gently and essentially walking on water.  Thats when the lukwata (DM’s note.  Don’t google for images.  Fairly warned thee says I) jumps out of the water lock-jaws Sylvanus and drags her under.  Fortunately she doesn’t drown as Tufast splits the water marooning the lukwata who struggles to get back to the water.  Brokthor decides to RUN IT OVER with the APC.  Mortally wounding the creature who flees into the suspended water bank they make it to the ship entering hoping to find something they can use against the Hive.

Entering via the one of the numerous posterior vents was a trial fortitude itself, these immense squamous stalks end in foul-looking apertures connected to 5-foot-diameter tubes. Squeezing their way through the party makes it into the interior. Five fleshy tunnels enter this damp chamber. The moist floor is irregular, a deep green with grayish tumor-like growths scattered across the surface. It has the unsettling appearance of moist folds of skin within some grotesque beast’s mouth. To the west, the walls cinch down into a tangle of pink, dripping fibers that seem to mostly, although not entirely, block passage into an area beyond.  The party decides not to do any more squeezing and Sylvanus uses her lightsaber to cut the rotting meat doors to ribbons moving into the next area.

The smell of putrefaction is overwhelming here. This damp chamber itself appears empty, save for a tangle of ribbed gray cables—or arteries—that hang from rotting walls.  They explore but find nothing of interest, luckily, Tufast notices that the flesh of the floor in a certain area looks rotten.  Using a 10-foot-pole Brokthor pokes the floor which explodes in poisonous gas revealing a pit filled with the rotting corpses of what look like cybernetic spider things – hundreds of them.  The party is glad they are dead and that they had filtration plugs on.
Slashing through another “door” they enter a cavernous chamber.  The drooping ceiling of this elongated gallery rises thirty feet high in places but hangs down to only five feet from the ground in others, sagging like a partially collapsed tent made of rotting flesh. The air itself swirls with multiple motes of various colors of light—what at first seem to be fireflies but, upon closer inspection, appear to be more akin to floating jellyfish-like creatures.   The admire the room for a while – it is beautiful in a disturbing way.  This is when the room’s guardian silently descends from the roof and attacks with a mind-shredder and its tentacles.  Almost killing the party with its acid spit they otherwise make short work of the levitating monstrosity.  Clearly intelligent as it was wielding a weapon.  The room, like others, only provides danger and no treasure.

Shredding the next door they are extra careful this time peering in without actually entering.  They see a twenty-foot-high vaulted ceiling of this round chamber is held up by rib-like arches. Twitching, fuming gray-ribbed cables
hang from the walls, while patches of multicolored lights sparkle near the ceiling across the entire hall. A twenty-foot wide pillar of decaying flesh, two sides of which are dominated by bulging, closed puckers, rises in the middle of the room.  The parties danger-sense goes off – smells like a trap.  Tufast casts sacred flame at the pillar which erupts in a swarm of worms the size of a man’s thumb more teeth and mouth than body.  Brokthor thinks fast and uses one of his cyphers which triggers a wall of fire like affect that lasts for 28 hours driving the creatures back into the pillar.  They write that room off as they have no stomach to deal with a room full of rot grubs.  They move on.
The next “room’s” has strings of tissue hang rancid and foul from the ceiling of this hourglass-shaped room. What may have once been some form of partially biological control panels line the western walls, but today they’ve all decayed into foulness.  Three large crab-like nightmare has a lamprey mouth, twitching eyes on its legs, and several blisters along its back that hold human brains – one with seven brains the other two with 3 each.  They pounce on the party – Isumi yells “NEH-THALGAA!” before opening up with her zero rifle.   The Dominions muscle focus their mental attacks on Brokthor attempting to dominate and turn him on the party, but to no avail, he has an iron will that surprised even himself (DM’s Note.  Brokthor has multiple rerolls – luck, indomitable and advantage as well as access to Fate Points, he uses all of them to resist the Neh-thalgaa’s psionic onslaught).  This is a tough battle draining many of the parties resources but they are ultimately victorious.  Getting a little peeved they find another room without any treasure.  They start pointing fingers at each other and making snide comments about whose idea it was to come here.  But they are here so they push on.
Before they even enter the next room they here a voice echoing in their heads “Then my vengeance shall be known. You, small fleshlings, shall be my new body’s instrument for my murder!”  Sounds “friendly” so they enter.  The smell in this humid chamber still holds the foul stink of rot, but a cloyingly sweet scent mingles with it. To the southwest, the ceiling rises from its initial ten feet to nearly twenty-five feet, where what appears to be an immense iron and glass cauldron hangs from coils of metal and muscle chains and cords. The inside of the cauldron churns with fluid, shaking against its restraints.  The voice they “heard” definitely came from the cauldron.  How they know, they are not sure, since it wasn’t audible but they are sure.

After some back and fourth the creature identifies itself as the The-Stars-Whisper the brain/pilot of this ship.  It reveals all it knows about the Dominion generally and the nearby Hive specifically.  It hates its former creators for leaving here to die.  It explains that  unlike most of its kind who lapse into devotion to the Dark Tapestry, or a black hole, or some other cosmic phenomenon, this shipmind has begun to see the slow decay of its body as the true nature of existence—all life exists only to feed the grave, and it is as one decays that one can truly experience the truth of the universe.

But more than religion, this dying shipmind has developed something unusual, a growing hatred of the Dominion itself. The-Stars-Whisper blames the neh-thalggu for murdering it, and countless other ships across the universe, and whenever the nearby neh-thalggus enter this room, the shipmind lashes out at them. In its state of degeneration, The-Stars-Whisper has abandoned its observation of areas beyond this room but is willing to come to an agreement with the party.  It gives them information as well as treasure if they agree to eradicate their common enemy – The Dominion of the Black.  The party is in no-condition to argue and since they do have the same objective they agree.

The The-Stars-Whisper cackles in glee revealing its treasure to the party – a significant amount of treasure, most of it gathered from worlds similar to Golarion lies in storage here—none of the treasure is of particular use to the Dominion in their current task and so they elected to leave it behind here. The cache is kept in several f luid-filled, blisterlike chests, and includes 16 yellow topazes worth 500 gp each, 7 black star sapphires worth 1,000 gp each, a suit of rubicite armour (+3 banded mail made from a red crystal), a staff of healing, a blue veemod, a rocket launcher, and an ingenuity facet. In addition, one of the pods contains a dozen small spongy spheres that reek of something akin to ammonia.  These are scent glands that can be used to confuse the sentient walls of the Dominion hive. The-Stars-Whisper explains that they’ll need these glands if they hope to infiltrate the hive undetected. A single gland is enough to render a person undetectable to the hive’s walls for 24 hours.

The party thanks the “brain in a vat” and makes to leave.  Unfortunately, The-Stars-Whisper is swiftly degrading, and before they leave, the ooze has one final thing to say: “But, can f leshlings as you even stand against the might of
the Dominion? I must know. If you die to me I shall know you were weak, but if you do not—I die knowing you can do what must be done!”  The mad shipmind then fires a plasma bolt into the party, attacking them with intent to kill under the reasoning that if it can kill the PCs, it needs to stay alive longer to find agents who are up to the task of its revenge.  It is wrong and after a long and intense battle the Shipmind is discorporated but it dies happy knowing that it will be avenged.

 

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