Numenera Up North

Beneath the Unseen Lake (Part 2)

Nibov struggled to haul Mondo out of the precarious position he’d been left in: dangling down in the centre of a steel spider infested shaft. Not quick enough to pull Mondo out of harms way, two of the spiders scurrying up the shaft managed to latch onto Mondo. Perhaps spurred on by the looming threat of danger, Mondo managed to pull himself up onto the edge of the doorway that the rest of the party had gathered in.

Psychic blasts were hurled at the spiders, as the second pair neared their prey. Nibov donned a pair of cypher gauntlets with the power to create a repulsive magnetic field.

The party returned to the room where they had discovered the large hour glass and decided to investigate the rooms purpose further. Numenera experts Von Katzenjammer and Seeto studied the device up close and at a distance. A careless tap from Von Katzenjammer’s metal suit caused a crack in the surface of the hourglass, but it was Seeto who brought the sphere truly to life.

Sseto activated a small sphere that the group had picked up earlier, in the very same room, and the small sphere caused the large sphere at the centre of the hourglass to come alive. It rotated slowly and its surface lit up with dozens of interlocking circles: some large, some small, some concentric, some bisected by lines. The consoles surrounding the sphere also illuminated, the chunky buttons on their surface lighting up with similar circular patterns. The walls of the room – and the corridor beyond – began to radiate with a luminous pale green glow. Frantically mashing the console inputs, the party saw the spheres rotation accelerate and decelerate over and over, and heard the sound of metal grinding against metal somewhere nearby.

Returning to the corridor behind them, the path ahead of them was now newly illuminated. It seemed that activating the sphere had returned power to the structure around them. Curious what effect this new power might have had on rooms they had previously explored, the group returned to the room containing nine identical slabs. Deciding to try and prove a hunch, Nibov laid down on one of the slabs and a pale green light rose up around him, responding to his presence. Translucent circles – similar to those that had flashed across the surface of the structure power source – appeared from the side of the slab. When touched, an energy shell slid into place over Nibov and immediately the temperature around Nibov began to drop. Once again, the rugged glaive’s naivety of technology had betrayed him – and if lucky hadn’t been on his side, he might well have been frozen inside the shell forever.

Deciding against any further meddling with the slabs, the group returned to the shaft and decided it was time to explore the structures upper levels. Though the inside of the shaft was covered with steel spider webs, a well-placed series of psychic blasts from Mondo sheared through the webbing and gave Nibov the space needed to climb to the next level. Not quite as confident in their own climbing skills, the rest of the party turned to their resident tinkerer, Seeto, for a solution. Cobbling together tools and parts of his own with the remains of the steel spider he’d scavenger earlier, Seeto fashioned a crude yet highly effective grappling system, which would allow the groups less nimble members to make their way to the upper level without difficulty.

On the second level of the structure, the group were confronted once again with a locked door. Von Katzenjammer scanned the solid metal door, in search of any traces of life, but could feel only faint traces. Deciding against investigating this for the time being, the group pressed on to the right of the shaft and discovered what appeared to be an abandoned laboratory. Seemingly dead steel spider specimens contained within huge glass cylinders were overlooked by banks of controls and equipment. The group picked through the equipment, trying to find anything of use, and decided to chance activating some of the controls too. While some causing the spider specimens to move or rise upwards in their containing cylinders, it was the buttons which activated the peculiar device in the rooms opposite corner that worried some of the party.

Peering at the strange sphere – a construct that looked to be made of a metal different to the steel spiders, and different again to the structure itself – Seeto recalled an early memory of wandering past the abandoned ruins of a factory, where he’d seen something very similar drifting through the air and been warned that he should, “stay away from diassemblers. You never know what they’re up to.” In no hurry to find out what the diassembler had been programmed to do, the group left the lab behind.

At the opposite end of the corridor, they at last found another sign of life – though not the kind that they might have hoped. At the far end of a room containing a few tables and benches, the group found a creature stuck to the wall. A roughly humanoid torso with arms and a head, the body looked to be missing from the waist down – though it was tough to say, on account of the steel spider web covering almost all of the creatures visible flesh. Its chest cavity torn open, there appeared to be dozens upon dozens of tiny metal eggs incubating inside of it. Frozen and uncertain whether to try and engage the creature or make a run for it, Zaine sought a compromise as he sent an illusion of himself to test the creatures reaction.

As the illusion of Zaine neared, the creature wheezed through its slit of a mouth, a metallic groan rising from its throat. It’s lifeless eyes watched Zaine’s illusion, growing wider under the illusion was within arms reach. At that moment, the creature began to choke and splutter, and within seconds tens of tiny steel spiders began pouring past its lips. With a little power still left in his magnetic gauntlets, Nibov created a safe zone around himself, allowing the party to avoid the steel spider swarm – but engaging with the creature proved useless. In the interest of science, Von Katzenjammer removed one of its hands: a large, two-fingered appendage with smooth almost metallic flesh. With nothing else to be done for the creature, the group made a swift exit, with Seeto sealing the door shut behind them and trapping the steel spider babies inside.

Not deterred by the oddities they had found on the rest of this level of the structure, the group returned to the last sealed door and forced their way inside. To their dismay, invisible water began to rush out into the hallway. With barely any time to spare, the group scrambled up the shaft, carrying as much scavenged debris and loot as they could. Quick investigation revealed an access panel in the ceiling of the ‘shaft’ – which lead the group into what appeared to be an elevator. Unable to fight his own curiosity, Seeto hauled the lifeless disassembler into the elevator, sealing the small room shut as water level rose beneath them.

In a moment of respite, the group caught their breath and examined what they had salvaged from the levels below. Recognising the strange circular symbols on the walls around them, the group activated the elevator and continued their journey upwards…

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Beneath the Unseen Lake (Part 1)

Three weeks ago, the party set out from the city of Charmonde with a merchant caravan of aneen-riders. The caravan followed the winding path of the Tithe river, heading west. While the merchants traveled on towards the sea-port of Harmuth, the party left their company at a fork in the river and traveled north instead, leaving the safety of The Steadfast for the The Beyond.

Trekking into the Cloudcrystal Skyfields, the party came to The Unseen Lake, where they’d heard rumors of a strange and unexplained appearance. Sure enough, a huge metallic wedge – some 300 feet long and 60 feet wide – was half-submerged in the lakes invisible waters. With the help of a local fisherman, the party reached the centre of the lake and began to investigate the surface of the wedge. In all of their diverse experience, they had never seen a metal like this before and not one of them understood how an object of such considerable size could simply appear over night.

Finding an opening in the exterior of the wedge, the party crawled their way into its interior and found themselves in complete darkness. The cool air inside had a strong metallic scent to it and the sound of metal tapping against metal could be heard. Using esoteric ‘hedge magic’, Zaine conjured a small light, trying to discern where they were. The light revealed a room with walls and ceiling covered in crisscrossing metal cables, and a floor littered with mismatching metal crates and barrels. Nibov touched the wires over head and the source of the tapping was revealed: six steel spiders skittered out of the shadows and attacked the party.

Unprepared for the attack, the group struggled in the darkness to fight off the spiders – with one clamping onto Mondo‘s face – while Von Katzenjammer used the encounter to scrutinise the creatures. Nibov sprayed the spiders with a ’Metal Death’ cypher, turning their steel bodies as brittle as glass and sealing the creatures fates. Though the spiders the attack had not been lethal, it had unsettled the party and made them cautious of what else they might find in their exploration.

After dispatching the spiders, some of the party took trophies of their victory against the steel spiders, while Seeto opened a couple of the crates in the room, revealing stacks and stacks of semi-transparent disks. He took some of these disks and a small box from one of the other open crates, unable to distinguish what purpose or function these objects might serve.

After a moment to catch their breath, the party ventured gingerly out into a corridor to explore further. Ahead of them was a doorway leading to an empty shaft, four feet across and rising up and down into the unknown parts of the structure. Before exploring this peculiar opening anymore, the party took the time to examine a little more of their surroundings.

Turning to the left, they found yet met steel spider webs covering the walls and ceiling. They found found another doorway and after blowing the door off its hinges, discovered another empty room: this one containing only nine identical metal slabs. Von Katzenjammer scanned the slabs and discovered traces of heat on their surfaces, but inspection by Seeto revealed nothing about their purpose. Further passage in this direction was cut off by what looked like a collapsed or impacted section of the corridor wall.

Travelling down the corridor to the right of the room they had originally emerged from, the group found a room containing a gigantic hour glass. At the narrowest point of the hourglass, a sphere appeared to be held in suspension. Around the hour glass, there were various tables and panels covered equal measures in steel spider webs and unidentified equipment. Zaine searched the room and found a numenera repairing cypher, which he gave to Seeto.

The group returned to the shaft and decided to lower Mondo inside, using Nibov‘s rope. As he was lowered inside, Seeto tossed light-emitting sphere down into the shaft to reveal a nest of four steel spiders down below. Startled by the light, the spiders began to scurry up the shaft walls towards Mondo’s dangling feet…

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