And we continue… I wasn’t 100% sure where I wanted to send our group of lost survivors, so I stalled for time by running a “one page dungeon” that is basically a waiting room 🙂
* Thora: a Legion-born knight (lvl1 Fighter played by R)
* Elin: a wild-woman recruited by the legion (lvl1 Fighter played by P)
* Atli: a guild-quartermaster with a shady past (lvl1 Thief played by M)
Things started poorly. They were ejected from their travels high above a clearing. Thora and Elin were badly battered, but Atli fell on his head and wasn’t moving – he was heavily concussed and one side of his head was already starting to swell up. The two Legionaires found him unconscious, but applied some bandages to keep him together.
The landscape was strange – things shifted and bent even while looking at them. Walking around was challenging. But Elin managed to scout around a little and spotted a building in the distance. They decided that a safer place to rest was a priority, so struggled their way towards the building (changing course often as the building seem to be trying to hide behind hills and trees)
The building is a brutal block of stone and glass with signage at the door. Thora is able to basically understand the instructions, asking for documentation about visiting travellers. Atli finally feels useful and concocts some paperwork. Inside they feel they have entered a beurocratic hell. Various uncomfortable benches are swathed with unwashed clothes and sleeping refugees, while numbers are called out by boxes on the walls. A corpse-like official refuses to talk to Elin and just points to a sign “Take a number”.
Atli nearly looses it, but composes himself and goes to charm the socks off the beurocrat (its his thing). He learns that the wait is for “departures”, but they can rent rooms to rest and recuperate. Also that there is a relaxation center somewhere in the building. Another bored beurocrat takes all their money in return for week long room rental. “Gamma-744-Yellow” is their room.
Turns out the building is not simple… The puzzle-tower they escaped from was only the beginning. The corridors here loop back on themselves, and rooms seem to change position depending on how you leave them. The trio spend hours trying to puzzle their way through the corridors and eventually they decide they are well and truly lost and make camp on a stairway landing. Thora and Atli spend time talking long into the “night”. They share a lot of history of the places each have travelled and where they would each like to live. They agree to each other that they will find (or make) a new safe home. (I love the “make bond” thing during camp)
The next day was spent mostly lost in the maze-building. From time to time the spotted other “guests”, but they avoided contact. Eventually they worked out that the halls and rooms only “looked” 3 dimensional, but the rooms changed based on how you entered them, or followed patterns. Atli and Elin felt like they worked out a pattern, and realised that the “room” was actually directions. By the end of the day they had reached their room (and worked out how to quikly traverse the multidimensional hotel)
The room is amazing – with running hot and cold water, and a preservation box for food stuff. And a bath. They are wary around the magic-window on one wall, and feel uncomfortable – like its watching them. They are all running short on rations, only a few days left. They agree to try to find the “Relaxation-Center” the next day. Over the snoring of Atli, Thora tries to get to know Elin better. The stories of how Elin’s tribe was destroyed and she was essentially conscripted into being a Legion-Soldier leave Thora feeling a lot of remorse and shame about her own culture. While Elin sleeps, Thora resolves to try to make things better.
The next morning Atli and Elin gear up to find some food (Atli wants to find some rich widow to sponser them… The others think he’s insane), but Thora decides she needs to find the “administration office”. They agree to disagree on what to do and Thora heads off alone.
She spends some time practicing navigating through the maze, and once she feels confident sets off to find the “staff only” back corridors. She soon finds herself in narrow bare corridors, festooned with multi coloured pipes and wires. After an encounter with a “pillar golem” which escorts her back to the guest-corridors, she becomes more stealthy in her exploration.
She find her way to a heavily patrolled area – where a seemingly bottomless canyon blocks her. She can see many levels of balconies across from her, and a entrance to “administration office”. She waits for a gap in the patrols, and desperately jumps across – taking cover behind the balcony railings. When another gap presents itslef she climbs up a few levels to the Office entry…
Meanwhile Atli and Elin meet another guest headed for the relaxation center – A vulture headed merchant named Goncalo. They talk amicably as they traverse the hotel corridors, answering many questions! But when they arrive at the “Soylent Love Recreation Center” Elin realised how out of their depth they are. Their key proves them access to “basic” food and drink (a slurry dispensed from taps) but there is a whole marketplace of inhabitants who are trading goods out of makeshift stalls, as well as games of chance, and other random activities in a multidimensional bazaar. Goncalo is selling exotic spices (which add flavors to the slurry) and agrees to let the pair follow him around to meet some locals. Atli immideately starts talking to anyone he can, learning about the situation.
They learn of “The Staffers“: People who have decided to live and work here. The Golems go about their tasks, but some people help (or subvert) the automatons and provide for the other guests/refugees (Goncalo is one of these). “The Crows” are those who trade/scavange/steal for rare items from various worlds. They often ask about paths and maps. (They are recruiting!). “The Nobs” are the real guests, travellers with lots of resources and their own entourage of specialists to look after them. Then there are the “Waiters“, those who’ve gotten stuck here and are surviving until they can get away.
Thora found herself in the “Admin Office” – a huge dome festooned with boxes and wires like an upsidedown artificial forest. An appendage emerged from this – a mechanical armature with an eye on the end. It calls itself “The Big Golem”. Thora tentatively explains her situation, and amazingly Big Golem is happy to listen to her (I swear the dice must be loaded… ). Big Golem also feels somewhat lost. It was built (and is the whole building complex!) to equip and protect armies. But as the wars continued it became a transport hub for refugees. Now it has not heard from its commanders (or been resupplied) so it is struggling along, getting its own supplies and trading with travellers to keep going. Big Golem wants to make contact with command again, or barring that, be able to leave! Thora makes a deal, she will help contact Command (a long journey), if Big Golem will help her and her friends. They tentatively agree, and Thora offers the “Gateway Gauntlet” as a possible device to be modified by Big Golem (it pokes holes in worlds… can it be a communicator?)
With their confort in traversing the corridors, all three make it back to their room to discuss future possibilities. After a lot of arguing (seriously…) they agree there are three top contenders –
* Help Big Golem and take its free trip to wherever Command is.
* Join up with the Crows and become scavengers.
* Infiltrate one of the Nobs’ entourages and stow-away on a leaving trip.
They are in a tenuous position. They are eating their last rations during this conversation… The infiltration sounds fun, but has disasterous possibilities. The Crows sound interesting – interdimensional pirates! But the players all agree that they want to be “good guys”, so decide to help the Big Golem and request some up front payment.
The “magic window” lights up with a rune insignia and scrolling text – the voice of Big Golem comes out “Thank you for accepting my offer. Someone will be at your door in the morning to show you the way… I will prepare tonight.”
Alignment goal? (preserve/Impose order): nope
*Trait? (+Loyal, +Responsible, -Ruthless): yep – responsible
Class: solve prob with violence: nope
Align (correct imbalance): nope
Trait (+resourceful -impatient): nope
Class: solve w/ violence: nope
Align (Disrupt prevailing Order): nope
*Trait (+gregarious -greedy -deceitful) yep – gregarious
*Class: solve w/ stealth or trickery: yep
*Discovery: Yes – the dimensional rest stop!
*Obstacle: Find way to get off!
Thora 3xp (6xp)
Elin: 2xp (5xp)
Atli: 4xp (7xp)
I was fairly happy with this session. Its strange but the way we’re playing Freebooters is leaning more and more towards a weird “World of Dungeons” No one is using any of the “moves” from their characters, and pretty much defaulting to using the roll as a “vs danger” roll. I’m vaguely wondering if I should fiddle systems again… (silly me..) I do tend to run things in a very light manner, and none of us seem to like heavy systems.
We’ll see next time.