Torg

Episode Seven: Wizard's Shame
Don't kill the pets!

Act One – Fathers and Daughters

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Enjoying a peaceful picnic in Hyde Park, the Storm Knights are approached by Tolwyn of House Tancred, who is need of some assistance. Aysle’s Home Guard has intercepted an assassin from the Cyberpapacy who was sent to slay a wizard loyal to Pella Ardinay by the name of Duncan. Tolwyn asks the group to look in on Duncan to make sure that no ill has befallen him (and definitely not to kill his pets if things unexpectedly get out of hand). The group agrees and prepares for the journey by going shopping and having tea at the Ritz. Or just waiting for hours and hours in the truck, in Marshall Roger’s case.

Arriving at Duncan’s cottage near Dover, our heroes find it deserted and, in the course of their investigations, accidentally trigger a magical defence system that shrinks them all to only a few inches in height. Duncan’s pets – a snake, three clever rats, and a parrot transformed into a dragonet – are now something of a problem. Things unexpectedly get out of hand, and so the Storm Knights kill the snake and the dragonet. Although they feel bad about doing so. Maybe. After the fires have gone out, further investigation reveals that Duncan’s daughter Victoria appears to have been kidnapped by a certain Dr. Randall of the Orrorsh School of Medicine in Calais. Randall is very politely coercing Duncan into murdering Bishop Bernard of Calais in return for Victoria’s freedom.

Our heroes guess that shenanigans are afoot – Randall was also responsible for alerting the Cyberpapacy to Duncan’s intentions to murder the bishop, which is why the Cyberpapacy sent an assassin to stop him. Guessing that Orrorsh might be trying to force Aysle into open conflict with the Cyberpapacy, the group decides to follow Duncan to France. They learn that Duncan has used the Channel Tunnel to avoid the reality storms that wrack the border between the two realms, and follow suit. With Kuranath’s aid, they pass through the Ayslish end of the tunnel and brave the subterranean reality storm that bars their way. Crossing into the French half of the tunnel, the Knights discover that it has been fortified by Cyberpapal forces, including gospog of multiple plantings, a cygoyle, and a transformed cybertroll. Naturally, they fight.

Act Two – Victoriana

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Battle rages beneath the Channel! Rosa pins Gralor the cybertroll under the bumper of the truck while Ragnar pummels him into unconsciousness and tries to pull his head off. Emily dispatches gospogs with precision grenade fire (a term you don’t hear that often, actually) while Rick engages the cygoyle in airborne combat. Jaidyn, meanwhile, hacks a pair of Cyberpapacy gun turrets, turning them against their foes. The battle draws the attention of both the Resistance and the Cyberpapal authorities – the former provide handy escape transport when the latter bring down the tunnel roof with unwise shellfire from a hover tank. As the North Sea floods in through the breach, Rosa drives the group to safety through a heaving tide of freezing water and masonry.

Emerging in Cyberpapal France, our heroes hole up with their new Resistance friends, Rico, Lisette, and Christophe. While Christophe deals with spyware in the group’s captured Cyberpapacy gear, Lisette discovers that Duncan has been captured and is set to be burned alive at a special midnight mass at the local cathedral. The Knights decide to rescue Victoria from Dr. Randall before saving her father, so Rico arranges for disguises and transport to allow them to infiltrate the Orrorsh School of Medicine. While Rick and Jaidyn take up position on the school’s roof, the others work their way to its secure wing in search of Victoria. They manage to get as far as Randall’s lab before their ruse is finally discovered – by none other than the good doctor himself.

Randall is every bit the Victorian gentleman doctor – meaning that he is secretly a werewolf, unleashes a Frankenstein-like monster against our heroes, grabs the hapless Victoria, and drags her to the school’s rooftops to do battle in the pouring rain. The Storm Knights slay his monster, pursue him, and proceed to pound him mercilessly. Even when a ravagon comes to Randall’s aid, the doctor is unable to resist their furious onslaught and naturally falls from the rooftop to lie battered and broken on the rain-soaked earth below. Ragnar helpfully breaks both of his arms. With the ravagon likewise dispatched and Victorian soldiers closing in, our heroes flee as rapidly as they can – taking both the liberated Victoria and the captured Randall with them. They head directly to the cathedral for a reckoning with Bishop Bernard and the wizard Duncan…

Act Three – Midnight Murder

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Approaching the cathedral, the Storm Knights see several Church Police checkpoints set up around the square. Some quick talking by Rosa gets them through without further scrutiny, and they convince a deeply unnerved Randall to admit that he has manipulated the bishop and the wizard. If Randall admits this to the bishop, perhaps Duncan will be spared. Emily slips into the cathedral for a meeting with Bernard and arranges a handover. Even as the Knights enter the cathedral under Church Police escort, Marshall Rogers – circling high above – notices APCs establishing a perimeter around the building. He alerts the others. It is clear that Bishop Bernard cannot be trusted.

Within the cathedral, as hundreds gather to see Duncan burned alive, the group begins tense negotiations with the bishop. Initially, Bernard is unwilling to surrender Duncan – as a heretic, the wizard must burn. But our heroes convince him that Randall is the true prize. Not only is the good doctor a monster in human form, but he has been experimenting on the citizens of Calais and is breeding gospog in the School of Medicine for some unknown purpose. Randall tries to lie his way out of the predicament but, under extreme duress, confesses. He admits that he was ordered to foment conflict between the Cyberpapacy and Aysle on the orders of the current regent of Orrorsh – a techno-demon from Tharkold known as Thratchen.

Bishop Bernard briefly considers betraying the Storm Knights and burning both Duncan and Randall, but his loyal underling François reminds him of the importance of keeping his word, and the bishop relents, ordering the Church Police to free the wizard. Unfortunately, this proves to be an unwise move. The GodNet is watching the proceedings and manifests a Host – a vengeful holographic angel – which excommunicates Bernard on the spot for cutting a deal with heretics and attacks the Storm Knights. Only the arrival of Kuranath gives our heroes an avenue of escape and they are soon clambering atop the dragon for a frantic race back to Ayslish reality.

The Storm Knights hurtle through the streets of Calais on dragonback, with the Host, Church Police APCs, and a quartet of cygoyles in pursuit. The battle wreaks havoc throughout old Calais, but our heroes manage to evade or destroy their pursuers and, thanks to Cleophee’s superior riding skills, are soon streaking out over the Channel towards Aysle. But even the journey home is not without mishap. Their loyal ally Rico disconnects in the reality storm, perishing as his cyberheart fatally malfunctions. Back in Aysle, Tolwyn thanks the Knights for their aid, but brings sore news of defeat at the hands of Uthorion’s forces. Despite honour, sacrifice, and heroism, still the forces of the Dark grow ever more powerful. Earth’s battle is far from over…

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Episode Six: The Big Apple
Smoke on the water, fire in the sky.

Act One – Back to the Beginning

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News of Spartan atrocities spreads and the Delphi Council sends Spartan Team #1, under the command of the biggest moustache in the Near Now, to hunt our heroes. Emily arranges for extraction from the Living Land via the SAS, and the group is soon aboard the HMS Vanguard and bound for New York. While there, they agree to locate missing UK diplomat Crispin Maitland. The UK is concerned Maitland may have fallen into enemy hands and be leaking intelligence to the Possibility Raiders. The group also discover that you actually can fit a moderately sized lakten into a submarine’s ballast tank. Which is nice.

Approaching New York by sea, and avoiding a protracted encounter with a fucking huge mosasaur, our heroes make landfall on Manhattan and find a sizeable settlement of humans living in a hardpoint at the 9/11 memorial site. Calling itself the New York Metropolitan Protectorate, the settlement is home to none other than missing former President Douglas Kent, now content to be the Protectorate’s gardener. While the group is getting to know the locals, Malcolm Kane and his moustache arrive, along with the rest of Spartan Team 1. They demand that the Protectorate hand over our heroes as war criminals, but the group manages to convince their hosts of the danger the Spartans pose. The Storm Knights depart, using intercepted Spartan communications to draw Kane and his men away from the Protectorate and deeper into the jungles of Manhattan.

They decide to see if they can locate the missing diplomat, last known to be at UNHQ, and use Manhattan’s ruined subways to avoid tangling with edeinos in the streets above. Instead, they run into one of the city’s gangs, who foolishly demand tribute from the Knights. Ragnar quite literally beats one of the gang members to death and the others decide that perhaps tribute isn’t such a big deal after all. Emerging from the sewers, the group see a weird crystal tower and deduce that it must be another fragment of a conquered cosm embedded in the Living Land. Rick Rogers heads up to investigate, while the rest of the team pass into pure Living Land territory in search of Maitland.

They do find him, although it’s a little complicated. Maitland has transcended and become a Stormer, but the experience has sent him slightly mad. He now rules over a gang of transformed humans who worship him as a god due to his reality-bending abilities. Maitland has embraced his new position with gusto and dubbed himself the Thunderlord. Naturally, the Thunderlord demands that our heroes serve him – and give him Cleophee as a gift while they’re at it. Unsure of quite how to handle this development, the Storm Knights don’t have to decide just yet, because Kane and his Spartans arrive. And an enormous edeinos war party. And Marshall Rogers, who helpfully crashes in the street outside. Brandishing his M16s, the Thunderlord leads his allies forth to confront the new arrivals…

Act Two – Rolling Thunder

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Battle commences – a chaotic and brutal affair. The Thunderlord sacrifices his tribe, sending them to their deaths against edeinos warriors. The Storm Knights throw themselves into the fray, battling elite edeinos who fight with supernatural skill, thanks to blessings from their goddess Lanala. Cleophee commandeers a carnol, Jaidyn finds a semi-functioning tank, Emily provides cover and supporting fire, Rick wreaks havoc among the Spartans, and Rosa turns up with Picnic and Protectorate troops. As the battle wears on, the tide slowly turns in favour of our heroes. The Thunderlord is also eaten by a carnol, thereby preventing him from leaking any intelligence to the enemy (although he leaks pretty much everything else).

With the combat nearly over, a strange dimthread descends from the skies, depositing the same winged reptilian creature that hurled lightning at Rosa, Jaidyn, Emily and the others, way back at the start of the invasion. Known as a ravagon, this creature is a powerful foe, able to steal Possibility Energy from those who confront it. The Storm Knights bring all their not-inconsiderable firepower to bear on the ravagon, dealing it a mortal wound, before a second dimthread plucks it from the battlefield. In the aftermath of the combat, it transpires that Kane – heavily wounded and abandoned by the Delphi Council – has crawled away, his fate unknown. His two surviving Spartans agree to join the Protectorate as a way to make amends for their misdeeds.

While the group treks back to the Protectorate, the ravagon enjoys the safety of a cut-scene. It confronts none other than the Saar of the edeinos, Baruk Kaah, in a strange forest of black stone trees. Criticising the Saar for the weakness of his warband, the ravagon insists that Sallsboratza will not be pleased at his lack of progress. The Saar proclaims his disdain for the Gaunt Man and his opinions, but takes the ravagon’s words seriously enough to order a pale edeinos priest to unleash the Great Gospog and send it against the New York Metropolitan Protectorate. “Release Er Crakken!” the Saar orders. And even the ravagon rolls its eyes.

Back at the Protectorate, our heroes find themselves with decisions to make. Marshall Rogers reveals what he has learned in the crystal tower – Central Park is being used to grow thousands of the plant zombies known as gospog. Becoming increasingly powerful with each successive harvest, these gospog are creatures of multiple realities and none at the same time, immune to creating contradictions. After a heated debate (which reveals Jake’s keen tactical mind, Mayor Bradshaw’s desire to avoid open conflict, Kent’s quiet air of command, and Quin Sebastian’s dickery), they settle on a plan to brew a potent chemical that should destroy the gospog fields. Now all that remains is a scavenging mission in the ruins of New York to acquire the necessary supplies, and the rapid fortification of the Protectorate in the face of an inevitable assault from the Saar’s forces – including the monstrous Er Crakken.

Act Three – Salted Earth

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The Storm Knights gather huge amounts of salt from the Spring Street Salt Store and send it back to the NYMP so that Kent can mix it with atrazine and various other chemicals to make a truly badass weedkiller. Picnic leads Jake and his men to the former Hells Angels HQ in the East Village to retrieve some detonators that the Angels totally just found this one time, while our heroes head north to retrieve some shells to combine with the detonators and spread weedkiller all over Central Park. Their destination? The Air and Sea Museum aboard the USS Intrepid.

The Intrepid is in a pretty bad way and home to a large flock of lakten, but the Knights manage to sneak aboard, hoping to scour the museum’s exhibits for missiles that they can rig to carry their gospog-slaying payload. They discover that the prow of the ship is a small hardpoint emanating from nothing less than the Space Shuttle Enterprise. They also run across a band of Nile shocktroopers who are here to scavenge gear for their Pharaoh. Making the mistake of letting Rick do the talking, negotiations soon go awry and combat breaks out. While they trounce the Nile intruders, Rick discovers that their commander – The Vanisher! – knows his father and learns that Admiral James Rogers is currently a prisoner of the Insidious Wu Han. Unfortunately, the mosasaur from Act One turns up and sinks the Intrepid and the Enterprise, so our heroes are forced to flee, snagging a pair of Sidewinder missiles at the last possible moment.

Allowing The Vanisher! and his surviving troops to depart in peace, the group turns its attention to rearming the Sidewinders with Kent’s weedkiller and prepping Quin’s plane The Blue Meanie for the assault on Central Park. Thus prepared, they fly north and actually make it all the way to the Park before the ravagon turns up again and invokes a reality storm, causing the Blue Meanie to crash. Although Rick, Emily, and Cleophee are able to deploy their weedkiller barrel-bombs, they realise that Er Crakken has chosen this moment to attack the NYMP, aided by a horde of gospog swarming out of the subway tunnels. Emily and Cleophee race back to the Protectorate on Oscar, leaving Rick, Jaidyn, Quin, and Rosa to finish the job at Central Park.

Jaidyn holds his own against the ravagon until Rosa fells it with deadeye sniper fire. He is unable, however, to free the Sidewinders from below the crashed Blue Meanie. Rick puts his armour’s strength to good use, flips the plane, and detonates the Sidewinders with his boot-jets, even as he carries Jaidyn and Quin to safety. Below them, the Central Park gospog field burns from end to end. Back at the NYMP, Cleophee decimates the gospog horde with well-placed fireballs, and Emily single-handedly slays Er Crakken with her trademark grenade-in-the-gullet manoeuvre. While Protectorate troops mop up the remaining attackers, Picnic rides out to rescue Rosa from her sniper’s perch near the Park. The Storm Knights are victorious, the Saar of the edeinos has suffered a great loss, and a final cut-scene reveals that the biggest moustache in the Near Now has survived. What more could a bunch of reality-hopping heroes ask for?

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Episode Five: The Savage Garden
That's showbiz, baby!

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Act One – Movie Magic

It’s the Delphi Council’s first Annual 4th of July Family Cookout and the Storm Knights are invited! Also in attendance is famous movie director Alexander Becker, who wants to take a documentary film crew into the Living Land. The Delphi Council thinks this is a great idea and knows just who to bully into providing security for Becker. Also, protestors from the Common Ground Association storm the cookout, disrupt the BBQ, set fire to the Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute band, take Becker hostage, try to shoot Picnic, and threaten to blow up the entire proceedings with a malfunctioning suicide vest. Good times.

Our heroes arrive at Mount Sterling, a lawless borderlands town on the edge of the Living Land, to meet Becker’s film crew. They’re a really dodgy bunch, testament to the Delphi Council’s usual sound judgement in choosing its associates. Becker also reveals that they’ll be sharing transport with the surviving cast and crew of the Rex Able – Freedom Fighter TV show, to some consternation. Narrowly avoiding an unpleasant encounter with some local mercenaries, the group boards its new Humvees – Rose, Buttercup, and Daisy – and heads into the Living Land.

The weather in the Living Land is atrocious and a massive mudslide and accompanying swarm of crosktreckts briefly derails the expedition. Later, a lakten tries to carry Rex away while he’s filming a scene for his show. Matters deteriorate when the mercenaries from Mount Sterling, who have followed the group, choose this moment to mount their inevitable ambush. Losing Rex’s PA to enemy gunfire, our heroes rally and sow death and discord among their foes before hightailing it to nearby Constitution. There they discover the truth of ugly rumours doing the rounds: the majority of the town’s population lie dead in the streets – apparently massacred by none other than Spartans.

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Act Two – Constitution

After Marshall Rick Rogers and Ragnar Ragnarson rejoin the group (Ragnar doesn’t even get a saddle this time), our heroes are forced to contend with the remaining mercenaries. And a swarm of lakten. And three carnol – including the one Jaidyn gave a rocket enema to on their previous trip into the Living Land. They handle the challenge with grace and dignity, apart from Emily, who ends up covered head-to-toe in an impressive variety of dinosaur gore. Constitution’s hardpoint – the church bell – is destroyed in the battle, and the Deep Mist sweeps in over the ruins.

It transpires that Trask survived the Spartan attack on Constitution when she emerges from the jungle, accompanied by Tal Tu. From her and Billy-Ray, another survivor, the group piece together the picture. Spartan Team 15, under command of Captain Volker, ordered the people of Constitution to depart, killing them when they refused. Our heroes realise that this is the Delphi Council’s response to the discovery that untransformed Core Earth natives in occupied territory are providing Possibility Energy to the High Lords. They contact Delphi HQ, only to be rebuffed, their loyalty now openly in doubt.

Suspicious of how much Becker and his film crew are concealing from them regarding the true nature of the mission, the group try to question them. Ragnar suggests an alternate method of discovering the truth and, when the slaughter is over, they learn that their expedition is actually a death squad with orders to wipe out a community of humans who have transformed to the Living Land and are now apparently able to communicate with its dinosaur denizens. The group also capture three scouts from Spartan Team 15, who confirm the news and confess to their attack on Constitution. Becker finally proves his worth by filming it all.

With the day lengthening, the group split up. Trask and the non-combatants take one of the Humvees and head out to spread the word of Spartan atrocities to other nearby resistance communities. Tal Tu offers to lead our heroes – and their prisoners – through the jungles to Carter Caves. Hopefully, they can reach the settlement before the Spartans do…

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Act Three – Salvation Run

As sun sets across the Living Land, our heroes forge a path through its perils. They persuade one of the Spartan prisoners – Estevez – to change sides. Estevez cements his new allegiance by helping his former captors kill the other two Spartans. Leaving the bodies to decay, our heroes climb (or are carried up) an immense waterfall. Before long, an edeinos hunting party has their trail, and harries the group as they press onwards towards Carter Caves. The edeinos adopt guerrilla tactics, striking fast and fleeing into the forest before their targets can retaliate. The group fights on the move, killing any edeinos that dares expose itself, and finally reach the entrance to the caves. The edeinos refuse to follow.

At the entrance to the caves our heroes discover what appears to be a downed spacecraft, half-buried under decades of mulch and creepers. Investigation reveals a genuine alien corpse inside. Within the caves, matters only grow stranger, as a curiously intelligent theropod leads the group into a grand cavern. Here, a ruin from a conquered cosm remains intact, inhabited by a tribe of Jakatt Teks who have gained psychic powers from the ruins and can now communicate with dinosaurs. From them our heroes hear ancient legends of the cosmverse and of Apeiros, the Nameless One, the Darkness Devices, and the Torg. In turn, they relate the tale of their own endeavours and see that the stories of their glorious exploits seem to refill the people here with hope. With Possibilities.

Further discussions are interrupted by the arrival of Spartan Team 15, who demand the surrender of the group. Emily unsuccessfully tries to convince the Delphi Council to call off the assault in return for vital intelligence on how to safely uproot stelae, and battle is soon joined. Combatting twin Apache helicopters and Spartan fire teams, our heroes staunchly defend the tribe. Although they are unable to save everyone, they eradicate the attackers, with Captain Volker meeting his fate surrounded by the bodies of his men.

Our heroes know that they have almost certainly burned their bridges with the Delphi Council and upload Becker’s film of the Spartan atrocities to YouTube, then prepare to forge a new future for themselves. Armed with the knowledge of how to deal with stelae zones, they decide to learn more about the larger situation in the Living Land. And where else to find such knowledge than in one of the largest hardpoints in the realm? Next stop, New York City…

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Episode Four: Drawing the Lines
Worst. Conference. Ever.

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Act One – Back to the Beach

The Storm Knights attend a conference of war on Walker Cay, organised by the Delphi Council. They are joined by two new Ayslish emissaries, Cleophee and Ragnar, who arrive atop Cleophee’s rambunctious dragon Kuranath. At a high-level briefing, our heroes learn of how the invaders use stelae to impose their reality on Earth and drain Possibilities from the untransformed dwelling in conquered territory. Removing stelae would restore Earth’s reality but would erase from existence those who have already been drained of their Possibilities and transformed.

Hoping that the conference can find some way to restore drained Possibilities to people in the invading realms, our heroes soon have other matters on their hands, when one of the conference attendees turns up dead in the swimming pool. Clues implicate another of the delegates, but Rosa’s keen investigative powers reveal that the clues have been faked. Someone is trying to turn the conference attendees against each other.

Matters don’t improve much. Another attendee is found strangled, Jaidyn misses an opportunity to have a very adventurous threesome, and Ragnar discovers a masked vigilante from the Nile Empire trying to steal secret conference documents. The Dark Shadow (seriously, that’s his name) attempts to escape but is subjected to a truly horrifying barrage of abuse before our heroes capture him. Ragnar interrogates him to little effect, but Cleophee is able to learn something of the Dark Shadow’s purpose here. Of course, the Dark Shadow uses some weird Nile gadget to escape, laughing melodramatically.

Rosa, meanwhile, discovers hidden cameras and further investigation reveals that they are Cyberpapacy technology. It transpires that “Sparky” Pete from the Delphi tech team is actually Brother Pierre of the Church Police and has been spying on the conference for his masters in Avignon. Our heroes pursue him through the labyrinthine maintenance level, dodging steam jets, booby traps, and swarms of cybernetic drones, before finally confronting and overcoming Pierre.

Act Two – Daggers in the Dark

The Dark Shadow interrupts proceedings by trying to blow everyone up and seduce Cleophee. He fails spectacularly at both, but kills one of Jaidyn’s Spartans during a standoff. Our heroes react predictably and the Dark Shadow receives another hail of abuse (including a well-timed tail-slap from Kuranath) and is captured once more.

The surviving delegates regroup to assess the situation. Several suspect Cleophee of aiding the Dark Shadow, so Rosa and Bianca stand guard over the elf. It becomes clear that, while Brother Pierre was here to spy on the conference and the Dark Shadow here to steal documents (and blow things up and get his ass repeatedly kicked), neither were the murderer. Also, another delegate – Yuka – is almost slain by a sudden ninja attack. Which is totally legit and not some attempt to divert suspicion.

While the group try to make sense of events, it also transpires that Orrorshan delegate Sir Maximillian is actually a vampyre (that’s how you spell it in Torg, OK?) and, now that night has fallen, he completely loses his shit and flips out and starts trying to murder everyone. He manages to kill the Russian delegate Piotr and another of Jaidyn’s Spartans, as well as bring half the ceiling down in the hotel lobby before Jaidyn beheads him with the Nile Sunblade.

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It’s all getting a bit much for the surviving delegates, and Jaidyn calls for extraction. Yuka argues that they should take a boat from the fishing village in order to escape sooner. The other delegates want to use the remaining hours to reach some kind of consensus, at which point Yuka decides that enough is enough and unmasks herself as the assassin. And also a ninja. She manages to kill another two delegates (including Delphi Council regional director Kastella) before Ragnar cleaves her well and truly in twain. Examination of captured ninja gear suggests that it comes from an as-yet unidentified cosm – Earth has six invading realms, not five.

Our heroes end their stay on the cay back at the fishing village, sharing tales of their exploits with their old friends. At these tales of glory – How Rick Destroyed the Drones and How Ragnar Killed the Ninja – hope fills the villagers’ faces. Hope, and the realisation that there are always possibilities. Even though the conference has been a failure, it has revealed the existence of a sixth, hidden realm And it has revealed a possible solution to the problem of restoring lost Possibilities to the transformed – through deeds of glory and the tales that they inspire…

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Episode Three: State of the Union
Another dead president!

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Act One – Rocket Science

The Delphi Council sends Jaidyn, Rosa, and Emily into the Living Land to rescue the survivors of a crashed Nile plane who have come to Core Earth to help fight the High Lords. The only survivor is Marshall Rick Rogers of the Rocket Rangers. With the help of edeinos hunter Tal Tu, our heroes head to Rick’s crashed plane to recover vital gear. Crossing a dam, they tangle with a torada and a carnol, two of the Living Land’s monstrous denizens. Jaidyn gives the carnol a rocket enema, Emily and Rosa send the torada over the dam, and the group retrieve the gear from the plane.

That night sees riotous celebrations at the resistance community of Constitution. Rosa gets Tal Tu very drunk. The edeinos enjoys the experience immensely and dances the dance of his people. The group departs Constitution and heads back to Core Earth. Passing out of the Living Land, they are intercepted by a band of Spartans under the command of Jaidyn’s old colleague, Kane. Kane is determined to kill Tal Tu, but the group convince him that the edeinos is from a faction that opposes the invaders and has agreed to return to Houston and share what he knows. Kane grudgingly agrees, and orders his men to stand down.

Back in Houston, our heroes attend a high-level Delphi Council briefing and learn that President Wells will be flying into Houston the next day in preparation for a conference of Core Earth’s defenders and allies. The group is invited to attend in recognition for past achievements and potential assistance. But the meeting turns into a total clusterfuck. Marine One is shot down by a drone and a combat assault team from the Cyberpapacy attacks in full force, dropping from VTOL aircraft onto the roof of Delphi HQ.

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Wielding energy weapons and almost impenetrable armour, the Cyberpapal troops steal the nuclear football from Marine One and make for the coast. Our heroes give chase, assisted by Picnic and the displaced New York chapter of the Hell’s Angels. They manage to deal with the assassins in a battle that ranges from downtown Houston to the sea, including defusing a wayward Cyberpapal nuclear missile launched from a hidden sub. When the battle is over, Jaidyn reveals that President Wells warned him against some agenda of Vice-President Quartermain with his dying words.

Act Two – Friends in High Places

Marshall Rogers immediately takes to the skies and hurtles back to Delphi HQ, smashing through the windows, and carries Quartermain into the sky, where he proceeds to demand that the vice-president confess his crimes. The others catch up (bringing the defused missile and captured Cyberpapal warrior) and they decide to head back to Delphi HQ to reveal what they know. There, Dellphi Council Director Ellen Connors defuses the situation, promising a full investigation. Quartermain promises dire consequences for those who have crossed him.

Back at the safehouse, Ellen further debriefs the group. Examining the Cyberpapal gear, they realise that the Cyberpapacy could possess technology capable of controlling minds. They identify the six people who knew Marine One’s flight plans, and Ellen promises to scan them all for invasive hardware. Our heroes head into town with Tyler and get him very, very drunk with Picnic and the gang. Tyler ends up with an ornately descriptive tramp-stamp.

Tyler contacts the group the next day and says that Loretta wants to meet them in secret. He claims she has discovered who leaked Marine One’s flight plans to the Cyberpapacy. But when the group arrive at the meeting place (a creepy abandoned fairground), Loretta is dead and her assassin apparently a cyberknight backed up by off-duty Delphi Council guards. The group kill one of the guards, capture another, and disable the cyberknight. He claims that Loretta was the traitor, which is why he killed her, and that he has arrived here to lend aid to the Delphi Council.

Unsure of who to believe, our heroes take their captives back to the safehouse, and face a tense confrontation with Ellen Connors on the helipad. She backs up the cyberknight’s story, saying that she has proof of Loretta’s treachery. Suspicion also falls on Tyler, and Ellen orders his capture. But when our heroes demand further explanation from Connors, she pulls rank on them, reminding them that they serve the Delphi Council – not the other way around. The group protest, arguing that they have more than earned her trust. Connors eventually concurs and offers to bring them into the inner circle. With this offer hanging before them, she leaves the group to ponder their allegiances and the choices they have made…

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Episode Two: Before the Dawn
To save the Still Earth!

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Act One – Still Life

Forced to enjoy a week of Caribbean exile while waiting for transport back to the continental USA, our heroes decide to return to unfinished business at Big Blue. Along with new acquaintance Jess, they are joined by Yuha and Atabey to watch Daniel and Jaidyn plunge into the depths. There, Daniel recovers the Pearl of Atabey. It also transpires that Yuha and Atabey neglected to mention the giant octopus. Oh, and the world is apparently slowing down. Which is just great. 

Bidding farewell to the Bahamas, they join a military transport chopper back to Houston. The city is at breaking point and our heroes are soon immersed in their new lives. Tyler comes looking for them, inviting them to a meeting with Loretta – she is now a respected member of the Delphi Council. Loretta offers them a mission to investigate a meeting between agents of the Nile Empire and a tribe of Living Land edeinos. Apparently the edeinos have something that is key to unlocking the Still Earth and a certain Professor Marlen is bringing Nile agents to trade with the lizard-people.

Back in the Living Land, our heroes soon discover Hildy Marlen, the professor’s daughter, fleeing in the midst of a botched escape attempt. They rescue her from an edeinos hunting party and she explains that her father tried to overpower his guards once his Incredible Digging Device reached the Living Land. She begs the heroes hurry back to the Digging Device to help her father. Scouting ahead, Jaidyn reports that the Device is surrounded by several Nile shocktroopers. The group prepares for battle.

Through a combination of long-range sniper fire and close-quarters hatchet-work, the group makes short work of the Nile forces, liberating Professor Marlen. They discover the Nile commander’s diaries and a Fabergé Egg. Rosa and Jess deduce that the Nile agents traded guns to the edeinos, in return for the egg – which would seem to be the key to unlocking the Still Earth. They deduce that further information will be found at base deep in the Nile Empire. Leaving Hildy in the tender care of Father Callahan, our heroes board the Incredible Digging Device and tunnel their way to Egypt.

Act Two – The Empire of the Nile

The Digging Device arrives at the Nile base. Here, Pharaoh Mobius is staging his expedition to wrest control of the Still World from the Gaunt Man. The group stealthily infiltrate the base and discover that the Fabergé Egg is to be used to somehow overcome a demon called Gibberfat, who stands guard over whatever is slowing the world down. Looking for the pilot who knows where to find Gibberfat, Jess and Rosa realise that he is currently in the brig, sleeping off a drunken binge.

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When guards spot Daniel, our heroes throw stealth and caution to the wind. While Rosa and Jaidyn pick off shocktroopers like lice from a hound’s backside, and Daniel lays down suppressing fire, Emily and Jess ram a stolen truck directly into the brig to liberate the pilot. Rescuing him at gunpoint, our heroes bundle the pilot into a stolen seaplane and are soon airborne, fleeing the Empire of the Nile.

It is not a trouble-free departure. Two Nile fighter planes streak out of the clouds to intercept the fleeing Storm Knights. Daniel, Rosa, and Emily man the seaplane’s guns while Jaidyn struggles to pilot the plane well enough to keep up with the nimble Nile fighters. Matters only become worse when Jess discovers that they have a stowaway – a Nile mechanic who was having a sneaky snooze in the back of the plane. While Jess struggles to deal with this foe, the mechanic does his best to ruin our heroes’ day, including attempting to throw Emily out of the plane. After a hard-fought battle in the clouds, the two Nile planes are downed and the mechanic knocked unconscious. Emily and Rosa throw him out of the plane. And there was much rejoicing. Following the captured pilot’s directions, our heroes soon find themselves nearing Indonesia and the stormwall that surrounds it… and the realm of Orrorsh.  

Act Three – The Infernal Machine

The plane passes through the reality storms surrounding Orrorsh. It is a particularly intense tempest and the group is wracked by the energies of clashing realities. Ahead, they see a tornado-like vortex rising out of the ocean, close to a recently-created volcanic islet. Jaidyn lands the plane, which is promptly attacked by an enormous shark. Our heroes fend off the beast, then rapidly don Nile diving gear while the plane sinks around them.

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Descending into the depths, the group lands on the slopes of the volcanic islet. Below, a kelp forest separates them from the energy vortex that is presumably their destination. Passing through the kelp, they are attacked by a giant eel and it soon transpires that shark and eel have both been Gibberfat in disguise. When the demon appears in his true form, Daniel tries to bargain with him using the Fabergé Egg, but only manages to insult the creature. Naturally, combat ensues. It ends badly for Jigglypuff. I mean, Gibberfat.

With the demon dispatched, our heroes see that the vortex emerges from a strange machine housed in a wrecked 17th century galleon. Somehow this machine is responsible for the Still Earth. As soon as the group set foot aboard the rotting hulk, their presence activates the machine’s final defence – it heats the rock beneath it and begins to sink into the planet’s crust. Also, undead pirates attack.

While Rosa figures out a way to deactivate the machine and return Earth’s stolen kinetic energy, the others battle the undead. The machine sinks deeper and only Jess is able to complete what Rosa started. She reverses the energy flow and the Earth begins her rotation once more. The infernal machine sinks into the molten rock, forever lost, if not destroyed. Our heroes return to the surface to see the sun rise, glinting off the windows of their approaching rescue plane.

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Episode One: Storm Warning
The invasion of Earth begins!

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Act One – Escape from New York

In New York, five unlikely heroes are thrown together: Jaidyn Scott (Navy Seal), Dany (local hoodlum), Rosa Diaz (New York cop), Emily Chen (MI6 agent on leave), Father James Callahan (a doubting cleric) and Eric (a tribal shaman). They are all aboard Harlem’s elevated subway when Earth is invaded by the Living Land, an immense maelstrom bridge of vines slamming down into City Field. At least they have a good view. As reality transforms around them, they find themselves connected to a primal energy that seems to well up from the Earth itself in response to small acts of heroism to save others and defiance against the invasion. Using this energy to nudge reality in subtle ways – healing injuries, enhancing abilities, thwarting attacks by weird lizard creatures – they survive the subsequent subway crash (along with local politician Loretta Lamar, her personal assistant Tyler, and others of lesser importance) and emerge into a world gone mad.

Seeing that New York is being overrun by reptilian invaders – and that many humans seem to be succumbing to savagery as a strange new reality sweeps across the city – the group commandeer a pair of abandoned military Humvees and make a break for it. They are attacked by a terrifying winged reptilian that snarls “Stormers!”, then hurls lightning at them before flying off. Our heroes drive the humvees deeper into Manhattan, attempting to reach an apparent rendezvous point at Marcus Garvey Park. Of course, it’s overrun by some really horrific spider monsters. And, if that weren’t enough, a shambling horde of freaky plant zombies lurches into view. The group turn Boris and Doris (perfectly normal names for Humvees) around and head for the NYPD Harbour Unit, splattering zombie parts in their wake.

There they find Officer McGee – the only harbour cop not to abandon his post and go charging into the mist shrieking like a baboon. With his help, they fire up a police patrol boat and set off down the Harlem River. A flock of monstrous pteranodon-like beasts assaults them as they flee, but Dany steers the boat like a seasoned pro, avoiding the aerial assault and blazing hulks of other wrecked vessels alike. Father Callahan finds his own flagging faith bolstered by the spiritual nature of the new reality and finds his prayers to calm the attacking beasts answered. The pteranodons are overcome by a supernatural lassitude and return to their perches, buying the group enough time to reach the East River and the safety of the Atlantic Ocean.

Act Two – Beach Bums

Actually, calling it “safety” is probably somewhat premature. Heading south, our heroes witness the aftermath of a mid-Atlantic battle between US forces and an unknown enemy – boats sinking and burning, fragments of fighter jets strewn across the waves. This enemy shortly reveals itself when a war zeppelin from the Nile Empire cruises into view. It disgorges waves of fighters that are essentially Spitfires covered in weird hieroglyphics. With only a single .50 cal machine gun and small arms, our heroes are hard-pressed and their police boat takes numerous hits. They nevertheless manage to deal with all the fighters and find refuge in a fog bank. The airship lets them escape – for now – in order to deal with a fresh assault from US jets that come streaking from the mainland. Also, Tyler spills his orange juice.

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Rosa and McGee both agree that the engine is fucked. The boat drifts in the fog for hours before the group attracts the attention of Vincent, a local fisherman. He takes them to Walker’s Cay, northernmost of the Bahamas. There the group discovers that Nile forces have already been to the island looking for them and have killed Vincent’s uncle and abducted his cousin Isabella. If the islanders turn our heroes over to the Nile troops when they return, they’ll release the girl. Our heroes offer to rescue Isabella, so the villagers agree to offer them refuge. There’s also a weird encounter with an old dude called Yucahu who wanders out of the forest to offer beer and cryptic pronouncements about Earth choosing her defenders and his even older mother Atabey offering the group a valuable pearl for no apparent reason. Our heroes aren’t quite sure what to make of this, but Yucahu’s beer is quite nice.

While the group is getting ready to dive for Atabey’s pearl, the Nile zeppelin returns. Our heroes abandon all thoughts of the pearl and ambush the Nile troops (and their commander with his kooky electro-belt), then charge aboard the zeppelin to find Isabella. On board the vessel, the axioms of the Nile Empire hold sway, and the group is soon in the grip of the pulp heroism of that cosm. They thoroughly trounce the Nile forces, who manage to crash the zeppelin while trying to escape. Twice. Jaidyn personally rescues Isabella and behaves entirely appropriately for the genre. For which he is rightly rewarded with several slaps to the face. The zeppelin’s captain tries to escape in his personal fighter, but receives a sound thrashing for his efforts. And there was much rejoicing.

While the dust is settling, a woman dressed like someone out of Game of Thrones arrives on a dragon and info-dumps all over the place. Introducing herself as Tolwyn of House Tancred, she explains that she is en route to bring messages of peace to the interim government in Hoo-Stun. One of the invaders, it would seem, has turned against the others and now pledges to fight for Core Earth. The fantasy cosm of Aysle has joined the fight against the other High Lords. She invites our heroes to meet her there and help Earth coordinate its defence. Naturally, they agree. They’re getting quite good at this hero business…

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Episode Zero: Tempest Fugit
The storm has a name.

Act One – Mother Russia

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The Epimetheus Foundation, a research group and think-tank dedicated to investigating and preserving archaeological antiquities, has received word of a weird object in a Siberian mine. It sends a team to investigate. Led by renowned scholar Christopher Doyle, the team also sports tech whiz Raymond Scott (don’t call him Scottie!), security chief Carter Mentz (who is totally not a CIA operative using the Foundation as cover), and security operative Brad Curtis (Brad likes guns. A lot.)

Ljubskaya mine is at the ass-end of nowhere, manned by a thoroughly unpleasant collection of Russian rejects. The Foundation team skilfully negotiate this tangled web of suspicion, threats, and vodka and are allowed access to investigate further. What they discover defies understanding. It’s an artifact made from some unearthly metal that seems to have been embedded in the rock for centuries – and yet is clearly of recent manufacture. Doyle and Scottie decide to do what all good scientists would do, and run an enormous electric current through the object.

It proves to be an unwise decision. The object responds as if alive, reaching out with malign intelligence, filling Scottie’s mind with suicidal thoughts. Poor Scottie grabs the nearest knife and slits his own throat. Or he tries to. In that moment, Doyle sees reality laid out before him like a finely balanced equation. He reaches out and rebalances the equation so that he can act swiftly enough to grab the knife from Scottie’s hand. Doyle saves his colleague and transcends, becoming a Storm Knight.

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Act Two – Ill Omens

While the team investigates the object with more caution, new arrivals appear at the mine – FSB agent Nicolai Ondarev and his colleague Katarina Tovarish, a member of Russian psychic research outfit Project Omen. Katarina has been having visions of a storm. A storm that has a name. She heads into the mine to see the object while Nicolai interrogates the rest of the team. Carter hides his CIA gear in a nearby generator but evades suspicion when a case of mistaken identity convinces Nicolai that poor Brad is actually the spy. Brad endures a really unpleasant interrogation as a result, much to Carter’s relief and everyone else’s amusement.

Further dalliances of this sort are cut short when Katarina announces that the object in the mine has sent out a psychic call for help. It arrives in the form of a pair of winged reptilian creatures that proceed to attack everyone at the mine. A furious battle breaks out, with the rest of the team transcending and becoming Storm Knights as they battle to defend each other from these alien beasts. They slay both of the creatures but accidentally destroy the generator, plunging the base into darkness and ruining all of Carter’s secret CIA gear. Oops. Our heroes are now cut off from the outside world.

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Act Three – Maelstrom’s Eye

Fresh insight comes in the form of a stranger captured nosing around the mine. Identifying herself as Dr. Hachi Mara-Two, she insists that Earth is about to be invaded by another reality and that the object in the mine is an anchor point for the imminent attack. When questioned on how she knows this, Mara reveals that she too hails from another reality – one that was recently destroyed by the same cosm that is about to attack Earth. A realm of technological horror known as Tharkold.

Convinced by Mara’s words (and also her advanced cyberware and funky hairdo), our heroes resolve to destroy the object in the mine. Mara calls it a stela and says that it will allow Tharkoldu reality to take hold here unless neutralised. Drawing on their nascent command of reality, the team combine forces and pit their own reality against the stela’s. The result is Glorious. In a rush of energy, the stela is annihilated. But, as it crumbles, it sends out a last call for aid. And aid comes – techno-demons and their enthralled human slaves. Worse, a vast storm cloud erupts above the mine. Unable to halt the invasion despite the loss of the stela, Tharkold has come.

Nicolai manages to get his radio working and alerts the Russian military to the situation. Their response is to dispatch jets armed with nuclear warheads to the mine. Because of course they do. Our heroes have only minutes to make their escape. From the clouds above an immense bridge of metal and flesh descends, carrying a hellish invasion force. But, deprived of its stelae network, the bridge cannot overcome Earth’s native reality – and it starts to unravel.

With Tharkoldu invaders literally dropping from the sky around them, the team fight their way to a battered helicopter and coax it to life. They flee the mine and invasion site as missiles hurtle past them to detonate on and around the collapsing maelstrom bridge. Buffeted by shockwaves and seared by fire, our heroes nevertheless make a safe getaway. They recuperate at a Russian airforce base, congratulating themselves on having held the invasion off… and then see the first reports of storm fronts appearing over the USA, Western Europe, North Africa, Indonesia…

The Possibility Wars have begun.

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