Numenera 10 and 11: When you go down to the woods today…

Just getting caught up now – if I get last week’s session (fairly short, influenced as it was by the celebratory mood following the Vikings game) and tomorrow’s session ( an ultra-rare Saturday session) I’ll be happy and caught up. Spoilers for a few of the adventures in Weird Discoveries…

  • Sharad, an Intelligent Nano who Leads and has ‘Future Messianic Cult Leader’ written all over him.
  • Meef, a Mechanical Jack who Exists Partially Out Of Phase and… oh gods no, Beeees!
  • Giana, a Strong-willed Jack who Focuses Mind-Over-Matter and juggles bear cubs.
  • Red Pepper, a Graceful Glaive who Wields Two Weapons and might not be all there.

and introducing

  • Loretta, a Graceful Nano who Crafts Unique Items and arrives like really weird, disorganized cavalry.

Probing into the outskirts of the Ausren Woods, the party of irresponsible recyclers didn’t take long to find a trace of the missing agents of Orrudis. Cries for help were audible through the blue leaves of the very poisonous deciduous forest. Upon tracking down the source of the cries, they found a small container, set into the ground, with desperate eyes and waving arms at the vents that ringed the circular pod. Inside the pod were big bluff Horrik, imperious Tavarana, scowling Nils or Niles (I can never decide how I’m going to say it until I’m saying it) and a small, pale haired mutant called Yeri.

They had been walking along, they said, minding their own business and trying to get to town quickly because Horrik’s bro, Nuemos had been badly mauled by a bear. When snap! They were caught up in this tiny pod. They’d been in there for a few hours and were all really regretting having those high-fiber breakfast bars. Horrik was distraught at leaving his brother unattended for so long while he was bleeding out.

The party questioned them, to find out what exactly had happened (they stumbled across a metal disk set in the forest’s floor in their haste), whether they were working for Orrudis (they were) and if they had anything that could get them out (they did not). They tried forcing the greenish metal of the pod, but that didn’t work. Sharad scanned the pod, eventually figuring out that it had a small antenna that was presumably meant to pick up a nearby remote signal – presumably also tied in with whatever release mechanism must surely exist.

The explorers spiralled out from the site of the trap, to try to find the injured brother and anything that might be a release mechanism. Giana discovered the wounded man, propped in the bole of a tree, looking really bad. Real bad. Guts barely held in, he’d been mauled by a ravage bear and was losing a lot of blood. Unfortunately, in his delirium, he was terrified of Giana and didn’t divulge much information, except that he was getting cold, so cold. She told him to uh, hang in there.

Meef, meanwhile had found a gross little naked dwarf. Yovoki are horrible, stinky, flabby midget abhumans with all sorts of vile genetic adaptations, like a post-apocalyptic naked Louie Anderson.

Urp…. blarf.

Why they’re naked I don’t know, but I admire their self-confidence. Meef got to admire a faceful of angry bees as the Yovoki hurled a bee-grenade at him when he chased after the little bugger. Meef was having none of that and sank into the ground which is a novel, maybe not quite by the book use of his phasing ability, but it worked. The bees left and the midget left too.

The others converged on where they thought Meef was and Red found an adorable little cub doing clumsy and adorable baby animal things. Aww. Bad news was that it was a ravage bear cub and turning its eyeless, tusk filled-widdle face to Red, it bleated out an adorable wee alarm call. Within not too long, Mama and Papa bear were on the scene to come to the aid of the frightened offspring. Ravage Bears might be blind, but they’re still real dicks in a fight and they waded in to frighten away the interlopers. Fortunately the interlopers didn’t go head to head with them, but instead Giana TK’ed the bear cub into the air, which confused the hell out of the bears. What are they rescuing it from? What’s going on?

To make matters more confusing, Loretta appeared. Crashing through the undergrowth, across the melee and with the aid of a whip, kind of up a tree.

– It doesn’t matter how she got there.
– … it doesn’t matter how she got here.
– You’re just going to accept that’s a thing that happens.
– Uh, that’s just a thing that happens.

Loretta – Waylon Jennings explains, as the scene is momentarily freeze framed – is Red’s sister and Giana’s half-sister. And she’s come to help them out because she knows that Giana’s dad, her stepfather, is a bad guy and going to extraordinary lengths to find her. So Loretta is assisting in the running away. Thanks Waylon.

Action resumed with a stench grenade being lobbed in to the bear fight and the bears, their cub no longer in immediate danger deciding that discretion is the better part of valour and headed in the opposite direction from the crawling humans, who were trying to flee the Limburgerbomb that had just been dropped.

Who knows how the ancients assembled such a device? Truly their science is a mystery.

Back to searching the forest for signs of a release mechanism, they found a weird cracked dome. Inside was oh, just a whole bunch of radiation and electricity. But if they were real careful, there was also a bunch of shins and cyphers and also a live, but not active slug-like creature that apparently was the thing that Orrudis had wanted the trapped-in-a-jar gang to bring back to him.

Getting a decent dose of cypher-sickness, they were able to fish the slug and some goodies out of the broken whatever-it-was. There was no sign of a release mechanism here though. More alarmingly, messing with the dome and suffering a wave of cypher sickness had somehow elicited some sort of seizure in Red, who was unconscious, rigid and bleeding from the eyes and nose for a few minutes.

Doing some tracking, Meef was eventually able to pick up the trail of a Yovoki, maybe not the same one, but at least heading in the direction they’d been going. This led them to an open area of forest below a cliff face. The party was already aware that the geology beneath the Ausren woods wasn’t exactly natural and the face of this cliff was no exception, appearing to be a large machine of some kind. Around the machine, crude fetishes had been tied to sticks, as offerings or boundary markers.

Just as they were checking it out, a band of Yovoki appeared. In a break with the traditional greeting of arrows and grenades (remember the completely friendly and not at all aggressive Iani that they grenaded?) Sharad pulled a variation of the “Officer! I’m so glad you’ve arrived…” fib, welcoming the Yovoki as fellow devotees of big metal cliff god. He had a) read the fetish placements correctly and b) the magnetic personality to pull that kind of Obi Wan Kesnowjob on these dim little fatties.

Keeping their examination of the machine respectful, they were able to retrieve a canister of antidote that had been placed as an offering and reactivate the machine enough to engage the release mechanism on the metal pod. All without getting into a fight with the poisonous barb spitting Yovoki.

Leaving to meet up with the newly released agents of Orrudis, they also fetched the probably dying Nuemos and helped make a travois to carry him home. They trekked, at a cautious rate as they tried to not shake the last of the blood out of the wounded Nuemos, back to Plainsight having achieved everything that Orrudis wanted them to achieve. But a germ was growing in their minds that maybe Orrudis wasn’t entirely on the up and up with them. The other party of Orrudis’ agents were a bit cagey on the plans Orrudis had.

Back in Plainsight, Orrudis was visibly relieved to receive the antidote and slug. He insisted that the next step of his noble plan should be carried out forthwith: go to Berenock and present the audio recording to as large and as important a crowd as they possibly could to make the case for the restoration of the Nooran monarchy. They nodded, said yes but had no intention of going to the niacali ranch that could transport them to Berenock.

They set out the next day for The Beanstalk.