The battle for the Strait.   Posted by Failed GM.Group: archive 0
Failed GM
 GM, 169 posts
 A struggling GM who
 Turns Coffee into Story
Thu 31 Mar 2016
at 01:40
The battle for the Strait
Invisible transfers, long distance calls,
Hollow laughter in marble halls
Steps have been taken, a silent uproar
Has unleashed the dogs of war

Your exit is much easier than the entrance: a duct sucks the group out of the undersea ship to the surface. The desert here is similar to the miles already traveled up north, but the air is noticeably fresher and healthier.

The Strait of Imoros is normally a place of meeting, both symbolic and actual. The saltwater of the Sere Marica and the fresh water of the Navae Marica combine here, somehow. The desert expanses of the Kaloum face the southern lands, especially the white city of Astaria. About 30 miles wide at its narrowest part, the strait gives life and power to the region.

Right now, though, it gives both a lot more, and a lot less: a large construction is visible to the south, and it's thankfully an easy trip. What they see when they reach it is an ancient trapezoidal building of huge synthsteel walls peppered with windows and carved openings, with an enormous staircase on each side that leads up to its flat top. While it evidently could house thousands, you can only see a few people walking slowly under the sun, and none of the normal bustle of commerce reaches your position. There's apparently a small port, or at least a few small fishing boats moored nearby.

The waters are not as calm as this ziggurat appears to be. In the horizon, a dark smoke cloud is clearly visible in the sky over a darkening of the waters, and flashes of orange and green split the air. Several seconds after each flash, a loud boom is audible. War. War never changes.

You can say your parting piece to Taerenai in the other thread first, if you want.

This message was last edited by the GM at 23:23, Sun 03 Apr 2016.

Final Command
 player, 132 posts
 Bazian Jack who
 Battles Automatons
Sat 9 Apr 2016
at 14:14
The battle for the Strait
Final Command puts her arm on C40arla as they arrive at Immos, the first time they have breathed fresh air in several days.  The city in question was well-wrought.  Astaria.  Aramakal. And under siege, or attack.  Or both.  Taerenai had said Aramakal had possibly wanted power, energy, and the Dragon in the Weal would give someone like that ample amounts of both, but he would get it over the corpses of everyone in the Weal.

Which may have been the point.  The possibilities of why someone would attack the Weal had been running through Fin's mind since the attack, with possibilities ranging from simple accident to personal revenge.  Theft had been a possibility, but theft combined with genocide?  Not something it had considered before now.

(What would drive someone to seek out and destroy a family simply for failure to comply?  She has no answers.  If she did, she thinks they would send her into a rage.)

"C40arla, I want to find if there are any traces or evidence of the destructive nanos in Astaria.  The battle should give us cover to move around with less notice.  If we can learn about Aramakal without drawing his notice..." Fin trails off, looking at the immensity of the human-made city and viewing the sprawl, so unlike the crowded, tight quarters of the Weal, with trepidation.  "Let us see how close we can go without getting in undue danger."  Fin pauses before it has taken two steps, and considers its actions of late, the stresses she has undergone.  "By a measurement of five less danger units than my average of late," it clarifies.

This message was last edited by the player at 13:19, Fri 15 Apr 2016.

Failed GM
 GM, 170 posts
 A struggling GM who
 Turns Coffee into Story
Tue 12 Apr 2016
at 17:19
The battle for the Strait
Through the stalks of C40rla's recon mode, the synthsteel ziggurat takes on a whole different appearance. Streams of green mark where people are traversing it, and a few dots mark the observers -snipers?- positioned near boltholes. The Strait also looks very, very different. There's something in the waters, something big, just outside the docks.

C40rla only picks up a faint trail that seems related to the nanite infestation, coming from the pyramid's northern stairs. It's old, though. Looks like one of the green trails people leave, but subtly different. It's more of a puce. The signal reception is lost after a while: this kind of long-distance scan takes its toll on C40rla.

Suddenly the subtle woosh of the wind from the sea is covered by another noise: the cloud of war is getting nearer. The ziggurat starts lighting up in crackling purple flashes. Relative safety is probably to be found in the huge building, if you can enter. The sides of road are strewn with thin synth poles, possibly a local crop. One or two cottages are visible in the middle of the synth fields, but nobody looks to be out and working at this time.

As we've established, C40rla is a L6 automaton, mostly an infiltration and observation unit, with a Scan-like capacity to accurately evaluate the world around her, as well as a way to integrate and interact with automatons.  Also a shape-changing ability like the mestigophre, to be able to shift her appearance to attract less suspicion (which might be reflected in a higher-level disguise than her base level).

To avoid C40rla being hella OP, she'll be a L6 artifact with a 1 in 20 depletion. Please roll for that.

Infiltrating the ziggurat safely by the direct route towards it will be a level 6 task.

This message was last edited by the GM at 17:45, Tue 12 Apr 2016.

Final Command
 player, 133 posts
 Bazian Jack who
 Battles Automatons
Tue 26 Apr 2016
at 15:03
The battle for the Strait
In reply to Failed GM (msg # 3):

Final Command takes in the view from C40rla's scanners, eyeing the solitary spots of possible snipers, the huge shape outside the docks.  An underground habitation?  A vessel like Taerenai's?  A large biological?  Perhaps a large device or ancient structure?  It could be Astaria's enemy, or Aramakal's, or maybe an escape pod of same.  At least the nanite traces did not seem to be going to it or from it, because while fashioning a way to let her survive underwater was within her capabilities, finding the right parts and privacy to do so might not be.  Another time, perhaps.  The nanites were her priority now, while she had some trace of their passing.

Getting to it, though, was going to tax her skills at deception.  Not that the Weal was set up for completely safe passage for a humanoid in all places, she had learned that from an early ago and had managed to find some safe passages, but that was over the course of years, and with no active war activities going on.  She would get one chance to do this correctly.

Fin examined her potential path carefully.  No one was working at the moment, but if the synth poles were something common in the region, maybe her carrying them would provide a camouflage of locality while she trying to find her way into the ziggurat.

"C40arla, this is the path I want to attempt, to avoid the battle coming our way and to try to tag the nanite source," she explains, and uses the grid coordinates from C40arla to make their potential path clear so they don't get separated if something happens.  Or at least have a plan to meet each other again.  "And let me trace you, in event of something unforeseen happening.  Only I will be able to tell what direction to go to find you," Fin says.

If C40arla consents, Fin will touch her and manipulate a few small parts she had with her, companions to one she had with her, and then fix them carefully.  The temporary tracers would only last an hour, but would let her know what direction C40arla was in, if not the distance to her.  That done, it was time to move.

At a trot, Fin began to thread her chosen path, scooping up a light bundle of the poles for a prop on her way, and trying to be as inconspicuous as she could on her way to meet her foe (and save herself).

[Private to GM: 10:05, Today: Final Command rolled 7 using 1d20.  C40rla depletion.
Activating Tracer trick of the trade.
09:56, Today: Final Command rolled 3 using 1d20.  Going to ziggarut - 2 E, T stealth.
09:57, Today: Final Command rolled 17 using 1d20.  Going to ziggarut - 2 E, T stealth - 1XP reroll.
I don't know if picking up the poles and trying to look local would count for an asset, but I thought I'd ask.  :)
Failed GM
 GM, 171 posts
 A struggling GM who
 Turns Coffee into Story
Wed 27 Apr 2016
at 10:54
The battle for the Strait
A few minutes of careful observation are essential, but eventually the duo reach a good impression as to how people of the area look. Molfeen digs deep in her bag of collections, finding stuff dating back to the weird limpet creature she scavenged for parts, a desert ago, and manages to tie together a few tattered rags that cover her and the automaton. Fin's helmet must perforce go, but she keeps it disguised as a basket, holding it with one hand, and a bunch of synth rods -they look to be at least half plants, with functioning roots- with the other, hanging them over shoulder in what looks to be the local fashion, or at least, a fashion used by two local datapoints farmers.

A brisk trot takes the group near the ziggurat in no time. As soon as you step under the shadow of the complex, the walls flow. A couple guards now stand at attention before you. They look... utterly bored. One is very, very young, and is trying hard to blow her nose. The other looks to be about yay old. Yes, old: short white beard bristled with a few brave red hairs, wrinkles, back curved. They look at the duo and just point up "Tha offeranse entranse ees three floores ups." That will take you halfway through your path, which would continue up to the fifth-floor.


This message was last edited by the GM at 12:16, Fri 29 Apr 2016.

Failed GM
 GM, 172 posts
 A struggling GM who
 Turns Coffee into Story
Fri 29 Apr 2016
at 12:16
The battle for the Strait
The walk up the stairs is surprisingly light. There's a force pulling you up, cushioning your steps. Fin and C40rla walk slowly, trying to match the gait of the few observants and psychophants they pass.
As they reach the third floor rest, the walls around the steps flow again. Whether it's an optical illusion or an actual physical effect of the metal slabs is not clear, but two more guards now block the path up. "Offeranses to der left, plahs." These two women are large, muscular, and look well-trained. They also look like they do not enjoy taking any. Whatever any is. Their tridents bar the way.

This message was last edited by the GM at 12:22, Fri 29 Apr 2016.