Numenera 1: Into the Beyond

  • Sharad, an Intelligent Nano who Leads and who travels with friends.
  • Meef, a Mechanical Jack who Exists Partially Out Of Phase and is seeking the truth of his origins.
  • Red Pepper, a Graceful Glaive who Wields Two Weapons and accompanies her sister.
  • Giana, a Strong-willed Jack who Focuses Mind-Over-Matter, and really needs to flee to Steadfast.

Spoiler alert: this contains plenty of spoilers for the Beale of Boregal scenario presented in the main book, although I suspect anyone else’s game isn’t going to be quite like this one. Still.

We started this session by figuring out everyone’s backstories and motivations for getting on the road. Primarily driving the need to get on the road is Giana, who has come to her half-sister Red Pepper for help in fleeing a bad situation. Urgently.

Sharad and Meef decide to go with the pair for their own reasons, but it was imperative that they hit the road: soon and anonymously. To effect this low profile escape from whatever Giana is escaping, they decide to insinuate themselves amongst the pilgrims on the Wandering Walk, which wends its way out of the civilised Steadfast, through the mountain range of the Black Riage and into parts unknown, eventually.

At first this seems like a great idea: the large, chaotic crowds of pilgrims preparing to leave are difficult to monitor and there’s a tradition of respecting the anonymity of these walkers, “Peregrines” is the unofficial term for them, as many leave old lives behind when they take to the walk. And the villages and towns in Navarene and Thaemor that see the most Peregrines arrive have an almost festive feel about them at times. Travel is not common in the Ninth World, with most people staying near their towns, so the pilgrims are odd celebrities.

The shine gets taken off that almost right away as the Walk takes them through the Black Riage’s Tremble Pass and the town of Legrash. A few days into the Walk, Legrash exists solely to part Peregrines with as much money as they can. It is a seedy, unapologetically cynical town. Boooo Legrash!

After Legrash, the stream of pilgrims thins a little. The group of acquaintances found themselves keeping pace with a few of the same faces and after almost a week of walking, they emerged from the Black Riage and were keen to find the shelter of the mouth cairns, campsites in hollows beneath vast ribs of metal and synth that are found across the plains beyond the mountains. Each hollow is circled by the bone wall that gives the features their name – constructed of the jawbones of pilgrims who die along the Wandering Walk.

They found themselves sharing food with a long-time Peregrine, Teff, the old man’s arms were patterned by the circular blood blisters common to all who walk the Walk for long enough. These stigmata had not yet had time to form on the new pilgrims. In addition, four thrill-seeking men from Navarene, a taciturn woman and a mother and son duo occupied the same site.

They talked late into the night about the various dangers on the road: rumours of skulking bands of murderous bandits ignoring the sanctity of the mouth cairns, hopes to see the once-a-generation light swarms that this area is famed for and the spectacles that await them down the trail.

In the morning, finding themselves not murdered by skulking bands of robbers, they rose in good spirits. While everyone prepared to be on their way though they began to sense tremors, which resolved into a audible drumming that seemed to be coming from the northeast. Relayed through the machine-made eyes of Yunia, the older woman who had camped with them, they could eventually make out two figures clinging to the back of a scutimorph, a feat never before seen.

It’s scutimorphing time!

The giant centipede like creature deposited two figures gently to the ground, a girl of about 12 – flipping the fuck out – and a very badly wounded young man. He had sustained deep cuts which had lucky missed arteries but in places cut him to the bone. There was a great deal of confusion – the young man, Patel, pleaded with anyone to take his sister to Cylion Basin as she needed healing. She pleaded manically – in between pulling her hair and gnawing at her hands – for someone to go help her family and village which was under attack. Meanwhile everyone looking on could see that Patel urgently needed medical attention.

It took a while to get the whole story. The brother and sister (Seria) lived in a settlement by the False Woods, northeast of here. It had been attacked by an enraged swarm of Pallones, vicious creatures who had moved into the area only recently. Patel reluctantly admitted that he suspected the attack was due to his it was his sister’s weird psychic ability and that she had to get to Cylion Basin because a healer there would know what to do. He needed someone to take her there, so that he could go back to help against the Pallones.

Seria, meanwhile babbled incoherently except when she contradicted her brother. She could go on to Cylion basin herself – they should go back with her brother and defend the settlement. She seemed to dismiss the scutimorph which she had been controlling.

Yunia and Teff worked to bandage up the worst of Patel’s wound’s, but he was in no condition to swing the nice sword he wore at his hip. The group, having slighted the four Pilgrim-bros earlier, now rallied them (Meef is the stick in this equation, Sharad the carrot) and gave them the task of taking Patel back to his people, while they would take young Seria to the healer in Cylion Basin, over her objections.

Not Cylon basin, that’s a whole other thing.

Talking to her seemed to help as they hiked over the foothills, and she calmed considerably although she seems permanently on the verge of Britney Spears 2007 mode. They walked as fast as they could, but the twelve-year-old could only handles so much, so they rested on the blue-green loam of the hillsides and ate some lunch, while Meef set off to see if he could trap anything, since that’s what he felt like doing today.

He certainly found something – the four Pilgrim-bros were stealthily following the group, various different wrenches held as clubs. Sensing that they meant no good at all, Meef rejigged his snare to man-sized, then lured the bros in his direction before darting down towards the others. He took out one bro with his snare, and dodged the blows of the other two as they charged down the hill at him. He turned and fought on the hillside as Red Pepper joined in with a blowgun (!) and Giana with her bow. Sharad peeled off from the rest of the group and drew one more bro to him, but delivered a pair of mind-generated waves of force that hit his attacker like hammer blows to the skull.

Meef and Red dispatched the other two before Johnny-come-lately who had been stuck in the snare limped over the rise and was tackled, knocked unconscious and trussed up for interrogation. It transpired that the four had done in poor Patel as soon as they were out of sight of the mouth cairns and double-backed, hoping to snatch the girl and use her to bring scutimorphs back to the Steadfast for sale at exorbitant prices. The plan was as dismal as its execution, but speaking of which, they decided not to kill the remaining chump, but haul him the rest of the way to Cylion Basin to have justice dispensed there.

They did just that, Sharad confiscating Patel’s sword in case Seria discovered the truth. A deputy appeared as they approached the town with a bound man in tow and took the miscreant off their hands.

Even in the early evening, Cylion Basin had a certain amount of bustle to it. The town was built around and between five coloured pools which are purported to have healing benefits. It is therefore a popular place for those with degenerative diseases, chronic health problems or for those seeking medical aid in the area and a small town has been set up to accommodate these visitors. Like a weird spa town, crossed with Yellowstone’s funkiest pools.

Thanks?

The Deputy directed them, despite the hour, to look for a healer named Darvin, along the main drag, at the post with the brain on it.

Eh, close enough.

They found it, it was a giant brain, nailed to a sign and Darvin appeared to be waiting for them. She ushered them into the tent-like area in front of her abode. It was set up as an apothecary and she introduced herself as a healer of the mind. She seemed taken aback by Meef’s arrival, for some reason and kept side-eying him as they spoke.

She knew immediately what was wrong with Seria. She explained that the girl was a Beale – a person with an inherited ability to allow other… things… to speak through her. Unfortunately at the moment, she was being spoken to at such a high and frantic volume that it was dangerous to the girl, if not perhaps others around her.

Darvin gave the girl something to help her sleep and explained that  she would normally have supplies on hand to cure her ailment or at least help her, but that the small garden she cultivates outside of town has been overrun by Broken Hounds and her last few trips to try to gather supplies have seen her chased away. She was surprised that the Broken Hounds moved in and suspects they’ll move on eventually, but in the meantime she is without supplies. If they could go speed the departure of the Broken Hounds they could get the supplies they needed right away. If they did, she’d fix Seria up for free.

via GIPHY

They agreed to get on it, settling for waiting until morning after some argument between Sharad and Giana. Red Pepper went off to find lodgings that might appreciate news from the road in the quantities she can supply it. Giana hovered outside, trying not to be embarrassed by her sister, while Sharad sought out a tiki bar by one of the pools and settled in, letting the waters rejuvenate him after the drinks poisoned him. Meef stayed behind and had a chat with Darvin: she reminded her, to an alarming degree, of someone she worked with a long time ago. This man, Roshe, and she worked for  man, a very powerful man that she would not name aloud. They and their companions crossed this individual and lived to regret it. If anyone would know what happened to Roshe, their wronged benefactor would, she was sure. He had taken residence in Picalah, a city on the southern edges of the Plains of Kataru, the area they were approaching. She wrote a note and gave it to Meef.

via GIPHY

Outside some weird stuff was going down. Sudden shrieking and scrambling from the eerie black pool brought everyone running. Late night bathers were fleeing the scene with thick black burrowing leeches attached to their skin. In horror, they watched as the leeches began to chew their way beneath the skin of the victims. Sharad was first on the scene, assisting people in removing and then stomping the bugs. The others rushed in to do the same. Red Pepper rushed the excise one of the worms, but nicked it with her knife causing the creature to panic and burrow through a vein or artery, causing the victim to bleed out suddenly as the worm thrashed around inside them. From the edges of the pool the worms crawled and slithered before boots and sticks found them.

Gah.

Giana didn’t have the presence of mind to NOT say “Hey maybe this has to do with the girl we brought with us.” and said “Hey maybe this has to do with the girl we brought with us.” at which point an angry mob thought about exploring the possibility of beginning to form. Sharad jumped in to cool things down, which is kind of his bag and channeled their energy into more constructive pursuits, like quarantining the pools until they could be sure the worms were gone, clearing up and helping the afflicted. The angry mob remained unformed.

That’s where we called it a day.

 

 

 

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