Iron Gods - Mike Korupp

Devon watches the last Lord of Rust disappear.

Only being one lord left, Zagmander, we head further into the belly of this gigiantic machine. We bicker a bit about whether we should go straight to the remaining lord or make sure nothing jumps us from behind. Thinks have tried that twice so far and I’m no longer interested in a third occurrence. As our fighters are in desperate need of glasses, they rush into the lair of the DarkCreepers and are completely oblivious to their presence until the stabbing begins. Thankfully they are not very tough and we are able to walk out without too much effort. I scout further ahead and see some weird thing sitting in a vat of bubbling stuff. It knows we’re here since we through some exploding DarkCreepers its way eariler, so I suspect it won’t go anywhere on its own initiative. Declaring that side done we head to the other.

The first thing we find is a large collection of bodies who have been killed by alien chest bursters. This looks rather ominous. we get together and try to figure out what could do such a thing. Our conclusion is a Xill and they are important since, their bite paralyzes. Sadly, we have no antitoxin on us, so we’ll just have to take our chances. Further into its lair, we see that all the monitors are broken. It seems to have had a falling out with Hellion. We finally meet it and it is willing to talk to us. We learn it only joined the Lords of Rust in exchange for Meyanda removing a curse from it that placed upon her several years ago. The curse stopped her plane shift ability and left her stranded and in pain. Meyanda was unable to remove the curse and her replacement was pretty incompetent. So Zagmander dummped the Lords of Rust and has been down here killing off any stray followers she comes across. We tell her we are well aware of Meyanda’s lack of magical ability and that we are more pwerful than her. If she helps us we will remove the curse. Secretly talking to each other, we plan on attempting to remove the curse via magical means, but if that fails we will remove it via executing her, since we don’t wat to leave behind any surprises.

Zagmander warns us that if we don’t go take care of Hellion quickly, he will escape. We head down to his lair and find he has kind of possessed a little drone and it the process turned it into a huge scorpion bot. He moves incredibly fast in it and hurts several people. Thankfully we are able to overcome him with Zagmander’s help.

The next day we successfully remove Zagmander’s curse and she disappears, never to bother us again. At this point we have finished of the Lords of Rust and find ourselves the defacto rulers of Scrapwall. However, Redtooth and the Steel Hawks seem to want us to leave soon. Redtooth is the only one with any power left and is eager to be the new force in town. I’m not sure what the Steel Hawks issue is. They were the very lowest faction when we arrived and they are no number two. We’ve been deliberate in our dealings with them and they know we’d like to see their position here improve. Our presence here can only be a boon to them as they raise themselves up on our coattails. Anways, we are now planning on relaxing a day or two and then progressing north to Chesed.

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More of the lower levels with Vidon
More Dark creatures exploding.

We move to the south and run into 6 small creatures like the ones that attacked us earlier. The ones that exploded after they died. There was a taller one that turned out to be a female. Arim went to check the passage. He found a cauldron of bubbling liquid. The general attitude seems to be to let it be until after we deal with the alien.

We find the bodies of Orcs and Ratfolk that appear to have exploded from the inside out. They figure out that the creature that did this was extraplanar and called a Xill. We wind up listening to Arim talking to a Xill. Finding out that she is trapped here by a curse. The Xill has convinced the others of the need to kill Helion now before he escapes. Helion does hit hard. I raged and got into range to attack his guards. Helion had 3 scrap yard robots that went down fairly easily. Mal drops a dark spell and Helion had to come out. He attacked the Xill. Helion dies when we combine attacks.

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Letters Home
letter 13 (Touch of stupidity)

(what i believe I am writing on paper) (As you read, think of Sean Connery narrating this)
_Dearest mother and father,
As an update from the past few hours we continued our trek into the enemies base, stamping out the cohorts of evil with the utmost efficiency. The first wave of minions tried and failed to corner us on the catwalk but the lads just couldn’t handle our group dynamic and thought our strategy. moving down the hallway, that was through a door on the catwalk, we preceded to the second door down the hallway, the first one being locked in such a manner that we couldn’t open it without a proper key card.

Getting through the second door, the buggers finally got smart and sent BIGGER fodder for us to slay in the vain attempt to FINALLY do us in, sadly for them that wasn’t the case. Because even though they had all the advantages to finish us off quickly, the only thing that allowed their plan to fail was that the minions not RUSHING us to keep us in the hall. This allowed us to barrel out into the opening and rain hell down upon their numbers with as much force and determination as a lion preying on a gazelle.

Ending the futile attempts of the evil doers we did what any self respecting adventurer would do and helped our selves to the spoils of battle. It would also seem that my companions found what they needed because they were able to open the room that was previously locked. Strange thing is that when we entered the room it was filled with roaches and more of that unpleasant fellow on the monitors. Honestly though i felt that the roaches were having a more important conversation in the few seconds that they had together than when the fellow tried to talk to my companions. But that’s a story for another time.

After that there isn’t much to tell. The only thing that i found odd was that it my companions started to talk in a dialect that i haven’t herd them use before. Weird to be sure but I won’t question it for now. There is only one more Lord o Rust left and we aim to do away with him just like his other comrades.

Wishing you all the best,
your son, and future hero,
Flynn Sileet,_

NOW WHAT WAS REALLY WRITTEN
(Turn of off the Sean Connery, and think of stereotypical drunk speech)

DSear ma ad pa
Walking cat was hiigh away from ground and ifghtz was easlizy. Touch siny pictre ana now everwy thng furry. Smawshin people, SMAWSHIN FACES and hawig goat tim wit frinds. Gotta kill un mas bad guy and laeve shite tpwn.

Wwrite LATER

Flymm Siluut

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Arim misses Hellion getting Labotomized

We continue our travels through the Lords of Rust base into the 2nd level. This place is half machine and half dungeon. It looks odd and the lighting sucks. Later we figure out that we are in a giant excavator that Hellion secretly plans on driving all the way to the capital in order to take on Unity. This giant contraption with help slightly less intelligent than the average goblin, he’s definately not as smart as I thought he was.

Our initial encounter is with three rogues. The only think of note is the explode upon death. We go into the next room and it is full of orcs, a huge ettin with a backdrop of a loud grinding mechanical noise. Hellion cast some truly beneficial spell on me. I’m not really sure what it did. It made my mind real cloudy, but as soon as I shake it off, I realize everything is dead. However, some more rogues tried to sneak up on me, so we had to deal with those.

We learn about Casandalee, an android that betrayed Unity and ran away with all of it secrets. Hellion thinks if he can find these secrets, he can learn these secrets and use them to stop Unity. Unfortunately Casandalee got killed by some of Unity’s thugs in the town of Iadenveigh, a bit to the West of Torch if I recall correctly. Kulgara, was planning on leading an assault upon this place, but isn’t quite sure where in this town to look even if she could take it. An added complication in this town is a group of druids who live there. They are a bit more militant about their hate for technology than your average druid, so walking into town with metal armor and weapons in the middle of a lightning storm would have been a very painful siege.

We search Kulgara’s room, but we don’t find too many tangible things. Seems she had aspirations of being a crafter, but couldn’t get her little golem to do much. However, we take her green access card and go to this room we had seen earlier. We enter the room and it is the control center for this excavator and the system where Hellion resides. We dispatch with mechanical cockroaches and I talk to Hellion a little. I tell him we’re just here to cause trouble and a second group is here to collect him and take him back to the Technic League. After our conversation I leave, but Susie pulls out an Inhibitor Memory Facet that she lifted off the corpse of the pilot/wraith we fought in the northeast part of town. She plugs it into the system and it locks in, labotomizing Hellioin. I can’t say he’ll be missed, but I was hoping I wouldn’t have to keep an eye on my own teammates. It looks like some of them are into looting corpses and not sharing with the party.

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Lower in the arena
Exploding creatures?

We went down a set of stairs and ran across another set of monitors. Helion cast a spell that confused the hell out of me. When we opened a door 3 darkly dressed small creatures attacked. As the others killed the creatures I tossed them over the edge to a floor 20 feet below. After all three were dead they exploded and the bodies disappeared leaving their gear behind. We checked the first door to see what looked like a creatures lair.

The second door was closed and had a card reader for a green card. Moving on we opened a third door to see 12 Orcs and an Ettin waiting for us. I think Helion cast another spell…….

I did manage to destroy a monitor before I had to retreat which irked me. I managed to hit my self and to hit the Orc with the chain sword. We got hit with 2 grenades that did a lot of damage. I am worried that I might wind up hitting a party member. I went forward to help take down the Ettin, but it was actually good that I did cause every time I was attacked I attacked that creature. Harkness drew some of the Orcs away and did his usual damage.

Between Dalora, Arim, Mal, and Susie they manage to take down the rest of the Orcs while I concentrated on Kulgara and her Chainsword weapon. Flynn will take the Chainsword. Arim wants to check out Kulgara’s room. They find some information that Harkness is going to compare his notebook to the journal we found.

They decide to check out the room we couldn’t get into earlier. Flynn opens the door and charges in and gets burned by some robots on either side of the door. Arim and I move in to eliminate the others. Arim is talking to Helion trying to convince him to work with us.

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Susie's Thoughts 5/30/15

What would it be like to live in a city under the heavy hand of the Lords of Rust. I foresee a time in the near future where the Lords of Rust are no more, but then what becomes of Scrapwall? With the Lords of Rust gone will it blow away and become just another mound of junk in the countryside or will it flourish under someone else’s rule? Could that rule be ours? Either the rat folk or the Falcons look like they would be better rulers than the Lords of Rust, but what will happen to either group if they are entrusted with power over the town? Do we want to turn this into a base of operations for ourselves or would we prefer a more civilized town like the one we left behind…Things to ponders

I also am trying to consider what or who Helion really is. Our best guess is that he is an AI of some sort. But then how does he cast spells and grant the ability to cast spells. What if he is not much different than me? Granted the ability to cast spells by an entity that you neither know nor understand. I have accepted the fact that I can do magical things, but what if Helion started out like me? Of course he may have started out like me but his benefactor could have been much more evil/diabolical and made him this way. Or Helion may have been evil to start with and gladly went down the path to where he is now. I want to know who my benefactor is up and to the point of knowing who it is. what if I don’t like or am not proud of my benefactor? What if my benefactor and I are connected via some link and they don’t even know they are granting me the ability to use magic – then what?

First things first, we free the residents of scrapwall from the Lords of Rust and then decide how to have them be ruled or rule themselves. Then there is Helion, my past and several others’ pasts that we may want to explore.

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Susie's Actions 5/30/15

Just like the heroes we like to think ourselves to be, we walked away from the destroyed structure with billowing dust at our backs. As we walked away though we heard the bells of the arena ringing. Not being positive what it meant I talked to some of the passer-byes. It seems that the bell ringing is for us. The Lords of Rust attempted to get at us indirectly – not necessarily agressively either – and it just has not worked in their favor. We have taken out their puppet leader of the Falcons, eliminated most of their Smileys and destroyed their communications array. Guess it appears they realize that they have taken too long in dealing with us and no longer holding the power they used to they need to make a statement. I agree a statement will be made, but it might not be the statement they were looking for.

Inside the arena the energy is electrifying even with the crowd seemingly subdued. There are some people openly cheering for us and I would guess if the Lords of Rust hadn’t ruled this town so ruthlessly that more people would be openly cheering for us. Of course if the Lords of Rust had ruled more fairly there would not be as many people cheering against them too. Helskrag started the show off with all sorts of bluff and banter. Basically saying how good we are and how we will tremble in her midst blah blah blah. Bring it on bitch! She jumped down into the arena and hopped onto her chariot which is pulled by ogres. She did some showmanship stuff trying to pump up the crowd and it may have worked to some degree, but not enough. As she came at us with her harpoon cannon we did not have a good angle at her, but we did have a good angle at the ogres pulling her chariot and when you are pulling a chariot you just can’t defend yourself like you can in normal combat. Most of her previous opponents must have been pretty weak or had not thought about this option. Once her ogres/chariot were out of commission it was relatively easy to dispatch her. We learned one thing, flying around when you opponent has a harpoon cannon is not the best option. Fortunately, after Harkness got shot he came down to us so that we could free him of the attached cable. A little repair magic and we are not the proud owners of a harpoon cannon. We have not used one of these before so we will have to look at the possible strategies where this thing could come in handy.

After eliminating Helskrag, Harkness learned how much fun it can be playing with the audience in a coliseum. Once Helskrag died I think they saw that this was truly the beginning of the end for the Lords of Rust and began cheering madly. Unfortunately our fun was ruined by the voice of Helion. We went inside and Helion offered to let us be his servants, how kind of him, we answered with the only answer that was appropriate – HELL NO! We then learned that these television monitors were more like gateways to wherever he resides as the next thing that happened was that he cast blight on us through the monitors.

After getting out of there we ran into the new High Priest of the Lords of Rust. I’ve got some bad news for you buddy, you weren’t good enough to be the High Priest until the last one was eliminated and we were the ones that did that. He charged us with a pretty impressive group of followers but Harkness got lucky with a gas grenade and that made all the difference in the world. Helion had more monitors and a projector in this room and he joined the battle against us until someone got off a silence spell and silenced the monitors. Helion definitely was not appreciative of that. Once we cleaned up there were two less Lords of Rust.

We did some exploration and found a gray ooze. Not too sure what we should do about those so we decided our best course of action was to flee. Not the bravest thing I have ever done but we need to become more educated about oozes and slimes before we start tackling them. It does seem that this extraterrestrial metal does make for a good door against them though. So for now that will have to do.

We found the journal of the High Priest and besides the obvious fact that this guy was never going to win any handwriting contests we did learn what appears to be contradictory information. It would appear that Helion is some sort of AI born out of Silver Mount. Now AI’s need a host brain/device to live and I am willing to believe that Helion has found that. I’m not sure how that enables him to cast spells or grant the spell-casting ability to his followers. I do foresee that we are not done with him yet though. Helion, we are coming for you!

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Arim meets the Lords of Rust and they don't want to be friends.

After walking away from our explosion, it has suddenly occurred to me that this is the kind of stuff Harkness wants to make. I can’t wait until he starts producing large amounts of it and we can go visit the Technic League.

We head to the Collesium and talk to some locals on the way. They inform us that the troll likes to use an ogre powered chariot. While this sounds awesome, i still think the rust monster calvary is better. The populace is true to their word as she hops down and gets her chariot moving. Thankfully the ogres are only normal strength and they sacrifiiced armor for speed. So we are able to shoot them down before she gets up to full speed. She does have an interesting technique where she used a grapel gun to pull people towards her. Susie and DeLaura use a ton of spells and the fight goes pretty easily.

Hellion invites us in after our victory and we do so, fully planning on stomping him into the dirt. We get into a waiting room and he begins talking to us via the monitor. Evidently he his some kind of weird electronic abomination as he lives in these systems and can see through and communicate out of all of them simultaneously. This is very disconcerting as I don’t know how to kill someone who doesn’t have a body and can be in multiple places simultaneously. He also casts a couple spells at us through the screens too.

We encounter the second Lord of Rust, he is the replacement for Meyanda. He is with 16 minions and Hellion is on a dozen screens at once casting spells at us. He also has an image projector which he can communicate through too. Much to our chagrin, Hellioin’s presence in multiple monitors means he can cast multiple spells at once. Surprisingly Mal’s silence spell works normally on him and he spends most of this fight raging at us. I took down the Lord of Rust with an arrow to the mouth as he was attempting to pray to his pathetic idol. Harkness’s gas grenade is incredibly useful against the horde of cultists.

After the fight we begin to search the area and find even more monitors for Hellion to yell at us through. Thankfully he has stopped casting spells at us. As we go around smashing his precious monitors, I tell him we’re here on behalf of the Technic League. While I really hope we find a way to put him down, if he does manage to escape, his anger should be directed their way. We find a shrine to Hellioin that has some kind of unholy scripture. Hellion is searching for something called The Source or The Prime. I believe it is related to the main crashed space ship which resides under Silver Mount the capital. Regardless of what happens here, I see us heading that way someday. However, we have a few other places to visit first.

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Letters Home
Letter 12 (Arena/Underground)

Dear mom and dad,

Our tour of Scrapwall has taken an interesting twist. We were INVITED to the Colosseum and were met with a spectacular crowd. We killed a Lord of Rust before we were allowed to enter the underground. But that’s where things get weird. As we entered the Colosseum’s underground there were four slates with a moving picture on them that could make sound from seemingly no where. But we soon found out that breaking the slates is as effective as breaking bones. Once broken the images on the other side lost all influence on the room.

What comes next is less savory to write about. After the first room, the next was filled with more slates and a horde of minions of Hellion. They were a bit ambitious but that doesn’t replace skill. And before 90 seconds was up, every body had hit the floor. We are currently trying to ransack the rooms and our deed was rewarded with the discovery of a new type of slime. Needless to say we won’t be back for it.

Progressing deeper into the Colossium and don’ think its going to get prettier before it gets worse. Love you both and write when i can.

Flynn S.

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Journal of Shadow Mal 14
The self-styled god reveals himself.

Entry 159, Day 39, still noon

Shortly after the explosion came the blaring horn of a call to Scrapmaster’s Arena. The majority of Scrapwall’s denizens began flowing in that direction, lured with the promise of public news and bloody entertainment. The call and the meaning of it were obvious, a showdown was being called. The lords of rust can no longer afford to ignore us, and are issuing a challenge. This makes it more difficult for us to divide, distract, and destroy but it also makes it more difficult for them to flood us with every last loyal minion and slave-soldier to their name.

Delora and Susie were still uncertain, so they asked random people walking towards the arena for confirmation. We determined that the troll woman who currently rules the arena prefers to fight from a chariot, using a grapnel launcher to harpoon individual enemies and drag them behind her as she rides and battles around the arena floor. A lot of betting and discussion is taking place, it seems the odds favor us, though we did not get to see any large-scale book-making before entering the arena proper and being met with the roar of the crowd.

You could feel the energy of the crowd pouring forth from the stands. Harkness seemed to take particular fascination in the power that one can have when a bloodthirsty crowd is focused solely on you. He seemed to enjoy experimenting with how his actions caused reactions within the screaming mob. For my own part, I finally understand what an old acquaintance of mine meant about the intoxicating nature of the faith and belief of others. “Be it enraptured admirers, obedient soldiers, or duped worshippers; people put as much value on fame as on any pile of precious goods you care to name,” he once said to me, “and be wary of its addictive avarice.”

Moving on, once the roar had died down enough that her bellowing could be heard, Helskarg greeted us and gave a fairly familiar speech about being impressive and joining her team if we could prove our worth and various predictable pleasantries I cannot be bothered to recall. Basically, “fight me and then join us.” She then hopped on her chariot (which looked like it had been decorated by a very aggressive magpie), whistled a command to the two ogres in spiky fetish gear that were pulling it, and started a loop around the arena to work up the crowd.

We are not performers, so we simply pulled out our ranged weapons and opened fire, killing all three of them rather quickly. The crowd was forgiving of our lack of showmanship, I suspect because the Lords of Rust are quite widely hated. During the battle I gave Harkness a chance to fly magically and inadvertently made him a target for her harpoon gun, but we cut the cable before it could do more than injure him.

I mended the device for future use and Flynn seemed to take a shine to it, something about “sweet hookshot.” These technological toys may be a bit off-putting, the way they act like magic but do not LOOK like magic, but I cannot deny their usefulness. I prefer to stick with the magic I know, but to paraphrase the words of Gunnarrex the auric sage, “Know your strengths and your limits, but do not forget to test both.”

But I digress, as we looted her smoking corpse there was a booming laugh from a dias that invited us to enter the sanctum of the Lords of Rust and discuss joining them (or something like that). We trooped in the door and came face-to-projected face with Hellion. From a pair of flat panels the cruelly grinning face of some unique brand of fiend shouted the usual “worship me” speech while I loaded my crossbow. The projection was like a moving painting, two-dimensional, and clearly some brand of technology. I shot one of the images, the panel was too sturdy for my bow to break it, but it got the message across that we were not interested in serving him. He responded by casting a blight spell through his image (impressive) before my compatriots destroyed them. This underground dungeon is well-kept and fully-powered, as its “light panels” and “telescreens” are functioning properly.

According to our techsperts, the telescreens are like two-way portals which only allow sight and sound through. This, combined with the lack of further spellcasting leads me to believe Hellion cannot see us if we are not within sight of the screens. More interesting, however, is his ability to hurl magic through these devices. Line-of-effect through windows and portals is a complicated situation. More to the point it was magic, not some technological trick that simply seemed like magic, I could see the lines of divine energy take shape.

We advanced, going down a winding stairwell and entering a room where the new high priest, his temple guard of 16, and more of Hellion’s own projections stood ready to fight. Harkness opened up with a toxic gas grenade that left most of the faithful doubled over and retching instead of fighting, and once I was able to push my way in I silenced Hellion’s magic-hurling screens. The battle was a long slog and I found myself wishing we had an evoker in our midst, but we still won the day as Hellion silently raged over his unexpected impotence. Curious that silencing his projections silence his spells. If our intel is correct, Hellion’s magical support is now exhausted beyond whatever powers he can bring to his servants’ aid.

We continued on, being attacked by a gray ooze in what I presume was a waste pit before slamming it behind a door and locking it in. We are continuing to smash screens as we go, and when we entered this last room Arim impishly told the beast that we worked for the technic league (flashing Sanvil Trett’s membership pin, the one we appropriated several weeks ago) which angered him. Further, Arim stated that if Hellion would simply serve Unity, he would not be having these problems with us. With this, Hellion showed a look of shock and (I suspect) fear. Interesting…

We discovered the quarters of Nalakai (the priest) which were filthy, and we discovered his journal, which was poorly-written and stupid. Harkness has been flipping through it for the past 20 minutes or so, trying to find relevant information about Hellion, I should read it later.

Ah, he has just finished, Hellion was born of a greater power in Silver Mount similar to himself, and that he rejected service to it, and that he seeks to destroy this power and replace it, taking its resources and powers for himself. The technological nature of Silver Mount and the inhuman nature of Hellion suggest that he is a machine spirit, like Unity or Task. The child of a machine spirit (properly called “artificial intelligence” or “AI”) and I am told a normal machine spirit needs a body (or more accurately, some form of technological brain) to exist at all times. Of course, that conventional wisdom ALSO states that such an AI cannot work magic, so it is hard to say. But if anyone knows of a robot or machine that came to Scrapwall from Silver Mount, that might have been Hellion.

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