Monday, April 16, 2012

14: Summary for the Caving Survival Horror

Between the two sessions of the caving adventure, I transferred the action back over to the forums and to make sure that everyone was on the same page since Kevin had to leave the first session early, I did up a big summary. I thought I may as well include it here.

So, without further ado, here it is:

So, after crawling, walking, hiking, and climbing through the tunnels beneath Nairne toward Mount Barker, the interpid seven heroes ended up facing their greatest confrontation. A series of three narrow, semi-submerged passages that opened up into higher ground each time. A fight ensued when Seperel refused to journey into the water, causing a hysterical Barzel to verbally abused him until Seperel clipped him in the chin. A small scuffle ensued ... though luckily they aimed to hurt and not to wound so no more healing was wasted. They were finally broken up by Zephrox and Anaphriel. Due to Zahaviel's clever thinking, Barzel went and used his lores to evoke an oxytocin / endorphin / dopamine mix onto Seperel so that he was dopey and compliant.

This became a problem because, while they could easily lead him into the water, the third passageway was wider at the bottom and there were two zombies dragging themselves along the floor. No one saw this until Barzel's legs were shredded and Zephrox sustained a scrape along a calve muscle. They struggled onward. Zephrox slammed a seed into the wall and tried to make it grow, but in his haste and fear, his Torment overwhelmed his Lore, causing it to begin growing with thorns and other dangerous implements. Barzel was attacked again, his calve muscle punctured by steel embedded in the zombie's finger tips, and he fell beneath the water line. Anaphriel picked him up, carried him over her shoulder, suffering strikes all the time. Even when one of her legs was ring barked with the blades, she managed to move onwards, struggling to lift Barzel onto the dry, vertical rise, but getting him up there in the end before succumbing to her wounds.

Luckily, Barzel had brought on his True Form and his natural healing kicked in. He reached into the water, ducking his head three feet under, hanging from his waist, and he grabbed her and with a tremendous effort of will, dragged the drowning soldier up and onto dry land.

Meanwhile, Olga, Zaphrox, Zahaviel, Harbinger, and Jhoriel had all climbed out of the water and were poised above the water line, their backs and knees pressed against the edges. Zephrox struggled through the water and got out, followed by Zaphrox and Harbinger, but Jhoriel, Olga and Zahaviel were all on the opposite side of the weeds.

Olga managed to climb high enough up the slope to get around them, as did Jhoriel, but Zahaviel found it difficult to move, perhaps because of his bung knee and the awkward cane. He had revealed his true form and was a burning figure, ensconsed in flame, which the newly pyrophobic Zephrox found truly terrifying. With one touch, if Zahaviel fell into him or any other, they would be set alight to burn and die! So, already horrified by the sight of his beloved plant powers tainted for this was the first time Torment had overcome his power, he purposefully sent a tainted lore to control the plant and try to grapple the inflamed Zahaviel to keep him away.

Zahaviel slashed at the weeds and managed to cross the cleft, causing the pryophobic Zephrox to turn and spring away. Zaphrox followed his brother, but was soon left behind lost in the tunnels and not knowing which way Zephrox had gone.

Zephrox made it into a widened, boulbous dead end tunnel where he saw a figure surrounded by a whipping coat, with a bright light upon 'his' forehead. Zephrox raised his axe and menaced the 'man', telling 'him' to fuck off, and 'he' dug into the Earth instantaneously, and he rushed over to the spot, dropping his axe and pulling the Fate-Tie-Splitting-Dagger and the Compass-That-Sees-Fate-Ties. He couldn't locate the ties, but the sound of Earth roiling behind him made him turn, only to find his wrist clasped in the 'man's' hand as the coat whipped around them.

The two struggled for the dagger, and Zephrox activated the compass, revealing the thick, viscuous thread that roped from the back of 'his' head and through another wall. They kept struggling for the knife, even as Zahaviel invoked them, hearing only grunts from Zephrox but being told by Zaphrox that he'd lost them.

Barzel healed the remainder with his powers, though causing a few more derangements as he went as his Torment kept overwhelming his powers. The lingering effects of which were being maintained by the maddening moans and groans of the Dead that move through the tunnels around them. They collected themselves and hobbled, too few fully healed, down the tunnels, following the boot prints. They reconnected with Zaphrox, who had back tracked, and kept going.

Zephrox gained control of the knife and split the tie that bound the thrall to 'his' Earthbound master, and 'he' jolted as the power left 'him'. As Zephrox held the now ex-thrall in his arms, just as the others came around the corner. Fearing that Zephrox was still in combat with a thrall or a zombie, seeing only the two of them locked together in the middle of the room side-on, Anaphriel fired off an instinctive shot that bored through 'his' shoulder and out the other side, spattering Zephrox with a bit of blood. Zahaviel came rushing up and slashed her back with his sword and the sword bit deep. Lieutenant Harbinger, unsure of the situation, and coming low enough in the Initiative tree that he couldn't be sure, held his fire. Barzel and Jhoriel, too, held his fire. Seperel was too dopey to be upset or get involved and Zaphrox didn't have a chance to shoot.

Which is lucky, because to see the ex-thrall die in his arms, so close to finally proving the whole enterprise, would've broken Zephrox. Even now, he throws the thrall over his shoulder (realising its actually a woman) and tries to bolt but is confronted by the others. He snaps, angered by how they always shoot first, and worse, how eager they always are to have their swords and bullets bite deep into human flesh. So he chews them out before finally relenting to let Jhoriel tend to their wounds.

Zephrox is a pacifist toward humanity. He sees the Earthbound thralls as being no different to the humans liberated and saved from the Ebon and Silver Legions during the Long March. He can barely bring himself to grapple with a human, let alone injure them, so closely does he identify with his angelic self whose sole purpose, truly, in the end, was to love Humanity and help protect them, even while overseeing his space of wilderness.

Of course, all of that anger, all of that need to be a staunch defender of someone, all that Iron backbone, comes to nought when Seperel steps forward and silently offers the hip flask of brandy that Anaphriel had given to him. His big-eyed look of utter adorableness is very disarming and Zephrox looks at him, considers a verbal assault, but no one can resist the disarming nature of Seperel's generally meek sweetness. So instead he takes a swig from the flask and things calm down.


Now the heroes have a chance to rest up, a bare 200 yards from the Dead Space that Zephrox sensed with his Wilderness Sense (Dead Space suggests an artificial construction absent any real wild life). Somewhere in that Dead Space are two enthralled and lobotomised Knights and the Earthbound herself. The two 'Cryers' (or Super-Zombies) have also not been confronted yet.

But for now they are in a large cul-de-sac, about 32 feet in diameter and 15 feet high. The corridor that enters into it is 5 feet wide on a slightly upward slope and they can see down about 18 feet of that corridor. They need to rest up until dawn, at the very least, so that Barzel and Seperel can regain all of their Faith so that their final wounds can be healed. It'd be really easy to watch that one corridor. There are no other tunnels in close proximity to this cul de sac.

A few minutes of rest reveal to them how hungry, thirsty, and sweaty they are. They're also all aching and sore from the various scrapes they gained from the rough dirt and rock, let alone their injuries, and eight hours of climbing, crawling, squeezing, walking, is enough to give their entire bodies are work out. They all feel the need to sleep pressing deeply upon them. Fatigue is starting to set in and their sheer exhaustion of marching is enough to make everyone who has Stamina 2 take a -2 fatigue penalty. Those with Stamina 3 will take a -1 penalty. One more hour of this, or ten more minutes of fighting, would grant a -1 penalty to those with Stamina 4 and a cumulative -1 fatigue penalty to everyone else. A 2 hour nap will be enough to remove this penalty (at least for the two hours following).

Or Barzel can remove the fatigue toxins ... at a risk of tormenting his Lore.

Anaphriel is strongly against taking a nap or sleep and will do her utmost to ensure no one does - at least for the first hour. After that is up to the player.

Of course, those who may have nightmares will likely have it aggravated if they sleep (a roll every half hour). Everyone else will have a chance to have a nightmare (a single roll). And the ground will be pretty damn uncomfortable to sleep on, though there's a couple patches that aren't too bad.

There's only forty five minutes until dawn. In eight hours time, it would be midday, which is when Zephrox and Zaphrox would have their batteries revitalised. If they decide to wait that long, they could certainly take shifts to sleep with plenty of people to watch that entrance. There's also enough space for people to have quiet conversations without being heard automatically. The cul-de-sac muffles noises, which allows the derangements to clear up on their own without the constant aggravation from the moaning voices of the dead.

So you can all also have private conversations though simply clarify here that you're grouping up with people.

Any conversations or major acts you would like to do can be spoken of here. This will count as an RtR for additional XP (potentially up to 3). You can eat (if you've got food), share food, share water, nap, take a watch, or otherwise organise yourselves. You can push to move on or to wait. And yes, Zahaviel, you have most certainly got enough opportunity to spend five minutes giving a rousing speech. At this stage it'd be most worth-while.

You can read prior articles over here.

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