From the Diary of The DM: Iron Gods Session 26

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 26

By The DM

The party decides to drive the Rhino as close to the entrance as possible.  Though the Hive entrance is hidden by a cunningly crafted illusion of vines the fact the vines were purple, tumours and wriggled unnaturally made it easy to spot.  They also noticed the cave mouth was huge so drove Cortina right into this enormous domed cave.  The rock of this chamber had been cut with startling precision and shines with a glassy finish. A wide-mouthed corridor filled with hanging vines lies to the east and a fifteen foot wide corridor exits the room to the south. Opposite this hallway to the north, a strange pucker-like growth of green scaly flesh grows on the wall.  The damaged arachnid like death-machine lurches to life and attacks.  A tank battle ensues with the party along with Cortina.  Cortina trades holy-bolt fire against plasma lances from the damaged Annihilator as spells fly back and fourth.  Eventually the blessed boltor wins against the unclean Annihilator.

They lick their wounds and decide to set Cortina on sentry mode and head towards the tightly sealed fleshy pluckers entrance.  They douse themselves with the Dominion scent glands and the doors then open with a touch.  They move through and the sphincter like door closes behind them.  The corridor are 15 feet in diameter and circular forcing the group to move single file.  The walls of the hive themselves are encrusted with a strange form of Dominion biotechnology.  In appearance, these walls resemble the hide of a crocodile in both color and texture, with occasional odd protrusions and repeating patterns of alien geometry. A thin layer of pungent, translucent jelly coats the stuff, and infrequent twitches and undulations ripple across the surface, like the movements of musculature beneath skin. Numerous small glowing creatures that resemble weird jellyf ish the size of a human’s hand slither and float across the walls, providing dim illumination throughout the area.  The jellyfish like creatures are drawn to the party and attach themselves harmlessly albeit annoyingly.

As soon as they enter Sylvanus, a former thrall of the flayers here, receives a mental welcome from her former master:

“Welcome back Sylvanus”, the sibilant voice says, “have you returned for forgiveness?  Come to me and we can… talk about your disobedience”.

They enter a room.  The walls of this chamber are plated in swaths of what looks like crocodilian hide.  An immense sculpture, or perhaps a machine, that looks something like an insectile cephalopod built from fleshy leather and strips of dull red chitin looms against the northern wall, its seven tentacles splayed out into the room, each arm ending in a bulbous pucker the size of a curled-up halfling.  They investigate the octopus like thing but decide to let lying dogs lay and move on (DM Note.  The scent protected characters didn’t trigger the ugothokra incubator).

Down another icky corridor and another sphincter.  The flesh valve that provides entrance to this room is different than the others.  It oozes a small amount of translucent pale orange slime that has left what appears to be chemical burns along the seam and in a puddle on the floor.  The party touches the door, but instead of opening instantly there is a delay.
The chamber beyond serves the hive as a disposal chamber, but functions more like an immense detached stomach than anything else.  When it activates, the door peels open and three large slimy tentacles extrude to snatching up Brokthar and Sylvanus while Charisma and Tufast clumsily dodge.   The heroes struggle but Brokthar panics when he sees the acidic filled pool at the centre of the room that looks a little too much like a stomach.  Hacking like a madman he frees himself while Sylvanus bamfs away (shadow step).  They run down the corridor until they are at least 30 feet away.  Being digested is not how they want their careers to end.  They take the next exit instead as the jellyfish continue to cling to them.
The flesh valve opens to reveal a long room consisting of three octagonal chambers connected by a fifteen-foot-wide tube. The walls are covered with crocodilian hide and are swarming with tiny points of light that flit back and forth between two slowly pulsing pillars of strange metal at the chamber’s eastern and western extremes. Dozens of pale green spheres sit on these pillars, each containing a bubbling pale green fluid in which bobs a humanoid brain. When the points of light touch a pillar, their color grows brighter, and when that point of light flies back to the walls, the color dims once again.  Brokthar acts as soon as he enters and throws aces at the pillars – they explode spilling their contents and filling the room with the vicious green fluid that filled the pillars.  As soon as the pillars are destroyed the lights in the complex dim and the flesh-valve doors lay limply open.  Sylvanus receives another mental message from the master of this Hive:
“tsk tsk” says the wet voice.  “You must be disciplined Sylvanus for your destructive streak”.
Almost immediately they hear the footfalls of approaching creatures as four sickly looking kasath appear from the shadows of the room and attack.  Isumi says something in Gothic they don’t understand but immediately engages her former comrades.  As she fells them one after the other their heads explode in coloured gas as the controlling intellect devourers emerge dazed and Isumi STOMPS them with vigour.  The inhabited kasaths are soon reinforced by a Dominion Hulk – a mind flayer the size of an ogre with muscles to match, a ten-brain neh-thalgaa and four ugothokra – sickly cybernetic spiders with gaping maws and one red eye.  A titanic brawl ensues with Charisma supporting her allies with fireballs and more direct spells turning the battle to their favour until they put the aberrations down.  Exhausted they take a short break before pushing on.  They know the master of this place can see them and it could spring something on them at anytime.  Isumi does what she can to gather her comrades and cover their bodies.  She says she wants to give them a proper burial but will see “the mission” through to the end first.
The walls of this sizable hall are composed of green crocodilian substance, but the small glowing jellyfish-like creatures evident elsewhere in the complex are lethargic and barely glowing at all.  A great green and blue dragon sits at the centre of the room.  In a wispy telepathic voice it says “Welcome, will you bargain with me or shall I just eat you?”
“Maukai!” Isumi hisses.  The intellect devourer admits to them that it only wears this dragon as a skin, yet implying it can use the “skin” as skillfully as the creature originally born into it. Yet it does not wish a fight. Maukui instead proposes an exchange of information for a service.  In return for reclaiming a certain treasure for the intellect devourer, it will answer the groups’ questions.  The canny characters calm down Isumi and ply the creature for information and promise to return this treasure – an intelligence trapped in a crystal.  Guessing this is Casandalee they decide ahead of time they won’t honour their agreement but before any further discussions can be had the Dweller-In-Dark-Places intervenes and sends a coterie of its minions to kill the traitorous dragon as well as the annoying group that has undone years of work.  Though they have provided plenty of entertainment for one so long-lived as the mind-flayer. He decides he will consume their brains and commands his minions to not kill them.   More ugothokras attack along with neh-thalgaa but with the help of Maukui they are able to defeat them.  They take a short break while the “dragon” watches over them…
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