Entry 185, Day 104, noon
It has been a while, I have allowed myself to get distracted from my note-taking, and much has happened.
The battle of Witchlight Vale was informative but inconclusive. We found the invisible beast, and its mother, and its entire secret community with other invisible beasts all made invisible by some nasty techno-ruin and its malign radiation. It appears the menagerie cannot leave its tunnels and warrens for long, and when they die they evaporate into a toxic miasma of poisonous energy.
We pottered about for a while longer, but with the radiation levels threatening our health we withdrew before nightfall and returned to the village that had sheltered us before. We informed the locals of the true nature of the beasts, and that many are intelligent but many are not, and set out the next morning for Torch.
Bas was, sadly, off on assignment, but he left a lovely letter. I responded in kind, but such correspondence is not for this record. Suffice to say he continues to be an enchanting fellow I should like to see more of. In other news, I have been training with Mistofelees, when we work in tandem we are learning to become more adept at dodging the wild swings of combatants as we move. He watches my back, and I get the both of us out of the way.
After a day’s rest and carousing we set forth towards the canyon known as “The Scar of the Spider.” As is so often the case, no one knows why it is called that, I presume it has to do with giant spider-monsters or their robotic facsimiles. I do not recall facing many dangers along the way, perhaps a minor scuffle with some ill-informed giants?
Flynn continues to perilously flirt with the insane torture devil. He stares death in the eye and forced it to cock its head in perplexed confusion. He looks into the abyss and the abyss sort of rolls its eyes and looks elsewhere. For a man so important to so many plots and plans he seems as directed and coherent as a hyper-active kitten. He reminds me of Nicky Sanders, a nice boy, but…difficult.
In less confounding news, when we arrived at the entrance to the canyon we found, in quick succession, a giant robot leaking fluids, gasses, and dying lights; the corpses of several plainsmen, their brains neatly carved out of their skulls; and a madman with severe brain damage and a very suspect garden. It seems he has a way with plants, despite his metal leg, and has been cross-breeding local and alien cultivars with strange results. The glowing apple was all right, but I chose not to try the spiky peppers or the purple roots. One only has so much luck to spend on dining-room diplomacy and “local cuisine roulette.”
Regarding the robot, it is clear from the tracks (enormous and alien as they are) that there were two. Both were damaged by a very powerful explosive device, presumably technic in origin, but only one was destroyed outright. Pete, as the scarred man calls himself, claims to have watched a woman with four arms and technological gear place the mine and how it damaged the machines. Less clear is the state of the humans it was carrying, as the ones we found were missing their brains, but perhaps some were still alive? Sadly, getting straight answers is difficult when the book is missing so many pages.
Also of note; Susie says that the power source of the robot is still active and salvageable, but that she lacks the skill necessary to retrieve it safely. Further, it is unstable and will explode. Lacking a better option, we are simply leaving it be and withdrawing to a great distance. A shame, but such is life. I should also mention I think that these robots are the titular “spiders” of this place. It is hard to tell when the thing is in such a condition. It may have been more of a scorpion.
We also got some garbled information about the surrounding area, the canyon walls are fairly riddled with caves and troublesome things within those caves. For now we are taking care of the “evil things” that live right across from Pete’s shack and garden. I expect mutant kobolds.
Entry 186, Day 104, afternoon
It was mutants, but they were not kobolds. 3 enormous ogre-spiders, made even uglier by their mutations, assaulted us upon entry. After the battle we found some treasures but much toxic radiation, and beat a hasty retreat. Aside from the random leavings of other adventurers there was the half-eaten corpse of a member of some kind of anti-technology cult. While I freely admit that the strange not-magic of these devices are a bit creepy with their dead, unthaumic effects I find that technology is little different than all other forms of power or influence. It simply is, and good or evil can be wrought from it.
We still have a few hours of light, and will be pressing on towards the cavern Pete is so afraid of. Four arms may mean the same race as the city councilor we met in Hajoth Hakados, or it might be more related to the poor cursed dead we met in the dungeon underneath Torch.
Entry 187, Day 104, evening.
An excursion of mixed success. Upon entering the cave of “four-armed untrustworthy women” we found massive amounts of broken scrap and pools of dank, fetid water. We went left, which proved to be a mistake, behind surprisingly tough torture-bots and intimidating taxidermied aberrations were 4 supremely skilled and armed gynoids with powerful guns. They shot us up rather badly, though strangely all of the weapons and threats were intent on taking prisoners rather than killing. It is ironic that for all their attempts to not kill, they lack the capacity to stop attacking if someone attempts to surrender or parlay. When I laid down arms and spoke of conditional surrender, they “accepted” while continuing their attempts to subdue me.
After retreating from the 4 robot women we spotted Isuma; the alien, 4-armed woman Pete had mentioned. After some challenges we managed to communicate with her. She was a fellow to the undead we found in the artificial desert underneath Torch, and had more to their story. She and her people were known as Kasathas, from the planet Kasatha, a desert world akin to the terrarium we found her fellows in. She and her fellows had been invited to join, teach, and learn about her world and others by the Androffens and were treated as equals until the Dominion came upon them.
When the Dominion of the Black infested the Divinity, its mad cultists captured many of the “ambassadors” and trapped them. Trapped them in the same place that WE found them 9000 years later. Truly a sad story.
In any event, she has adapted well to this world and stands against the Dominion forces. Her Aurumvorax-hide armor and laser rifle can attest to that, though I cannot help but think I should try and get her something better if the opportunity arises. Hide armor is still just hide armor.
In any event, she gave us more information about the features and factions here in the Scar, there is a Dominion ship, another cave full of kill-bots, and several other items of interest here. For now we shall return to Pete, I believe I can help him, and we all need rest.
We also faced some awful tree-like monsters from another planet. They were camping around the corpse of a lost witch of some sort, though I do not know if they killed her or something else. The beasts drained will, and had a very powerful opening strike, but after their psychic blast they were simply bruisers. STRONG bruisers, to be sure, but when the fight finally turned against them the survivor fled, to another planet apparently. Spell-like abilities are always so incongruous, power to rend a dimension, but only in ONE way and only once in a period.
Entry 188, Day 105, Noon.
Last night we were visited by a messenger. A foul-looking orb of armor, flesh, and tentacles spat up a kidney (likely humanoid) on Flynn before flying away at great speed. Inside was a message to our resident fool. Ms. DeFlay wrote him a message in infernal demanding submission and evil and all that business. He doesn’t KNOW infernal so I had to look into it before even realizing it was the twisted torture-fetishist’s version of a love letter. He still thinks he can “convert her”. So many fools, such faith in the magic powers of their “cleansing rods” or whatever…Draline wonders why I don’t “dress up more.” Ah well, this isn’t the place of a rant about gender politics.
In the morning I cured Pete, and he was very unhappy. As a devout servant of Gozreh, his metal peg-leg is a rather grievous sin, but with time and effort (and the removal of his offending appendage) he believes he can return to the good graces of his god. Why his god is such a jerk, and why he serves the god of seas and storms and nature’s fury in a landlocked country is a mystery I choose not to pursue.
After some further investigation we learned about the anti-technology cult and a marsh that is inexplicably dying. We stowed and hid our technological gear and asked Isuma to keep an eye on things elsewhere, and set out to speak with the cult. I had hoped to recruit them and their useful zealotry in fighting the strange technological horrors, or at the very least return the amulet of their fallen friend to them. The former was clearly impossible when we saw their forces, though the latter was easily done. They wanted to search us, but I convinced them otherwise, and conversation was cordial if not particularly fruitful. They are mostly androids and intend self-destruction upon completion of their little crusade, they are too small a force to actually DO much, and they are a bit paranoid.
As an aside, I have found that the offer of really, really bad booze is a useful rhetorical tool. Their reaction to an offering of rotgut measures their character and intent, their taste in alcohol, the quality of their supply chain, and their own skill with diplomacy.
In any event, we convinced the cultists to head for Chesed, where they will hopefully make trouble for the League. Such an awful town…
After this, we are going to check out another cave which holds rumors of strange things worth poking.
Entry 189, Day 105, Evening.
The cave contained some treasure, a corpse, and a revenant. It seems some adventurer from decades past had a grudge that outlived both him and his enemies. In the end he was still trying to fight someone that is doubtless already dead and met us instead. He fired on us with his guns, but ultimately fell. After that we began the slog into the blasted heath. I was levitating above the mess, but had to drop into the muck when we were assaulted by 3 strangely-blanched stone giants. They moved with the purpose of an unbound undead and had a color that is hard to describe, both brightly vivid and dully banal, and vaguely luminescent in a way that defies comprehension.
In short, ugly and alien.
The giants fought, and with spell and weapon we put them down. Upon their deaths they exploded like a gas spore into foul-smelling gasses and fine powdery dust. I cast cure disease on anyone touched by it as a precaution, but I suspect it was not contagious. The fight was still quite difficult, and after all of that we decided to head back to camp.