Content of the article: "Barbarians, Princesses and Artificers, Oh My! Part 2"
When last we left our valiant heroes, the Barbarian had just survived a battle royale that ended up with fourteen elves dead in a warehouse.
In the meantime, the Princess and the Artificer have been informed (by Ellowyn, the Princess' sole remaining royal bodyguard) that both Caerwyn (the other bodyguard) and Barbarian had snuck out to deal with the problem posed in the first session.
Barbarian, not wanting his worthy foes (and his worthy ally Caerwyn) to be picked over by whoever finds them, goes and gets a town guard while Darian (his new NPC half-elf ally, and possessor of a bitchin' repeating crossbow) watches the scene. When the town guards show up, Darian leaves and goes to let Princess know what's happened.
She takes it pretty well, all considered, and goes to the local watch house to see how Barbarian is going. His wounds have been tended and he's been given food and water, but because he wasn't totally forthcoming about some details of the fight (tried to lie to the local watch captain's face) he's in a cell. Princess has a good reputation with the Mayor, which the guard captain knows, so once she gets Barbarian to give the other details (specifically, Darian's part in the fight) he's released into her custody.
The captain does, however, want her out of town as soon as she can manage it, because fourteen dead elves in one night is going to cause a few eyebrows to raise in the Dominions, which is only about a day and a half ride away. She explains that a lot more eyebrows are going to raise if she's forced to leave town before her father the King (not the high king of the Dominions, but he's up there in the hierarchy) can get a replacement bodyguard to her. So, after some Diplomacy checks, he backs down, mainly because he knows the Mayor will probably back her up.
So she pens a letter for him, and it goes away by fast post rider. Once inside the borders of the Dominions, her summary will go by carrier pigeon to the capital. She's tactfully left out the exact reason for Caerwyn's death, but her Diplomacy roll to elide over that was amazing, so not many people are going to pick up the difference.
We had a time skip then; it was going to take about ten days for the replacement guard to show. About day six, she gets a message back from her father stating "Stay where you are, replacement guards are on the way." She's irritated that he's sending more than one, but this is what happens.
About day seven, there's a minor earthquake in the region. This sort of thing is uncommon but not unheard of, but the PCs go on the alert anyway.
On day eight, the Artificer finishes an amulet of Natural Armour for the Princess, because she's lacking in the AC department. On the same day, the party gets a visit from the captain of the local city watch. It seems that in the last day, about two dozen children have vanished from farms and small villages to the south of the city. He's sent men to investigate, but they've got nothing. So he was hoping that Darian and the Barbarian (both of whom are more wilderness types than the city guards) could take a look and maybe find out where they were taken to.
They head out and start looking around, eventually locating some tracks that don't look natural. In fact, with good rolls, they look like footprints from something engineered, not born.
Cue interest from the Artificer.
Following on, they locate a hilly area where one of the hills has had a minor landslide, and a metal door has been uncovered. There is lettering and numbering on this door that matches up to what's on the Artificer's warforged chassis. There's also a press-button keypad that the Artificer figures out, and eventually works out the combination to. Entering it opens the door.
Within is a metal-lined corridor, leading inward. They step over the threshold, and are greeted by a hologram (a 'ghost') of a human wearing odd clothing (21st century battledress) giving them a verbal warning. They don't understand the words, but the context is pretty clear. "Don't go in there."
(What it's saying is 'state name, rank and access code'. They of course don't know this).
They descend into the darkness, dealing with a pair of ceiling-mounted guns on the way, then enter the facility proper. Off to the side, they see a bunch of human-sized robots that would fit the tracks they've been following, all on charge (they don't know this). Up ahead, a bunch of cylindrical tubes with the kids suspended in them. Off to the other side, a classic sci-fi lab and workspace area.
Princess and Ellowyn start trying to figure how to release the kids. Artificer goes into the workspace and begins to fiddle with this stuff there. Barbarian and Darian have no idea how this stuff works, so they stand guard.
Artificer locates a workbench that looks like something could rest on it, with a human skeleton beside it. He accidentally triggers a holographic replay that shows a human standing over the bench while a holographic version of him (right down to the characters stamped into his body) lies on the bench. The human puts on a headset, then a moment later he falls over, right where the skeleton is. The holographic version of him sits up, just as the image shakes and holographic rubble starts falling through the picture.
Princess uses her Knowledge (Engineering) to puzzle out the control panels, eventually deciding that the big red button is the best place to start. So when she hits it, it starts draining the tube. She gets the kid out, makes sure he'll be okay, and moves onto the next. This sets off an alarm and the robots start waking up. Unfortunately for them, Barbarian and Darian are already at the ready, and make spare parts out of them pretty quickly.
Session ends with everyone apart from Artificer leaving to get the kids back to their parents. Artificer wants to stay, especially as he's starting to get flashes of memory back. Besides, he's got lots of cool spare parts to play with now.
He's figured out how to trigger the recordings now, and the last one that triggers before I wrap it up is a 'really high up' (satellite) view of the Great Salt Way, only it's full of water and the sun is coming up from the south instead of the east.
And then just before the image shuts off, it zooms way in to one of the cities around the inland sea, and there are enormous dragons attacking it …
Leaving the players going 'whut'.
- The Barbarian’s Solo Adventure
- Barbarians and Princesses and Artificers, Oh My!
- The Bridge of Jumping Sharks.
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