Numenera: Marauder Kingdom

King of Nihliesh

Day 6: Evening

Despite being surrounded by mercenaries, Reina and Garrus persuaded Khorev to let them continue their investigation elsewhere. However, their exit was interrupted by two of Khorev’s henchmen, who had captured Kareen en route to warn them of the Three Serpent’s involvement in Gayv-oreth’s assassination.

Garrus and Reina were pinned in the Black Shack’s dark alley by the mercenaries, unable to act as Khorev beat Kareen for information. The girl revealed the Peers had discovered his crimes, but falsely told him Reina and Garrus’s comrades were away in the First Tier, still investigating.

Around the corner of the alley, the other Peers listened to Khorev’s brutal interrogation, trying desperately to think of a plan. Twarog stumbled forward preparing to improvise, alerting the mercenaries.

Unable to withstand the tension, madness gripped Lumos. Tzefira, Dahm, and Phaenna watched in horror as the jack threw a numenera device down the alleyway, unleashing an explosive singularity of immense gravitational force.

The mercenaries and the Peers were caught in the singularity, none able to escape its pull. When they awoke at the epicenter of the destruction, the impaired Peers discovered several had been caught in the eruption. Khorev crawled free from the bodies of his men. Corpses of mercenaries and homeless alley-folk littered the street, among them Kareen.

Realising the extent of the carnage he’d caused, Lumos snapped. His body flickered out of phase, his abilities somehow altered by the singularity. The city watch arrived in time for Khorev to lay blame on Lumos, before the jack vanished out of reality.

After taking time to recover, the remaining Peers convinced the guards to keep out of their way while they interrogated Khorev. Under duress, the Three Serpent’s leader admitted to poisoning Gayv-oreth’s food, but insisted he didn’t orchestrate the mutant’s assassination. He served Fah-orez, High Priest of the Fah. With this knowledge, the Peers delivered Khorev to the city watch and returned to Ni-chodoss.

The mutant expressed her delight at Khorev’s fall, commenting that the Peers’ way of doings things was amusing, as they managed to kill everyone but the man she wanted dead — yet derailed his operations nevertheless. Ni-chodoss rewarded them with information confirming Fah-orez had Gayv-oreth assassinated. The high priest had been silently at war with the Fahat, using the Three Serpents as his proxy. He killed Gayv-oreth in a bid to take his place as a member of the Fahat, so he could usurp them and become king of Nihliesh. Ni-chodoss warned the Peers to approach him carefully, for in his paranoia he had increased his security.

As the Peers left to sleep, Tzefira remained to ask Ni-chodoss if she was aware of any slavers who might have gone underground, hoping to get information that would lead to her lost enslaved siblings, Niva and Dror. The mutant gave her a name — Dvorah.

Day 7

Still dealing with the emotions of the night before, the Peers took a day to mourn Kareen and reflect. Unable to sleep, Phaenna trained and Garrus-Dorn crafted incendiary bolts. Dahm drank with Twarog at the Madya Cantina, hoping to forget their concerns for Lumos, who remained missing. Tzefira investigated the tiers in search of Dvorah, discovering the slaver had fled to the city of Aian in Milave after the Slave Rebellion.

Day 8: Morning

Dahm awoke in a haze, somehow feeling drawn to Lumos’s house. He entered the building, finding a naked, dark haired Lumos muttering to himself. The other Peers gathered in the house and attempted to snap the jack out of his catatonia. With no other option, Twarog carried the boy to the Black Shack alleyway to confront his actions. Unable to run from his memories, Lumos broke into tears as his comrades contemplated their next move. Realising Fah-orez had ruined them and threatened to undermine everything the republic had worked for, the Peers set out to confront the high priest at the Gravitas.

The Peers entered the chamber of the high priest, where they found Fah-orez mounted on a hovering golden throne with a numenera crown atop his head. The priest showed signs of advanced mutation, possessing tentacled limbs and gelatinous milky skin. Tzefira attempted to push Fah-orez into confessing his crimes, but the mutant proved cunning and twisted her accusations back onto the Peers. The discussion ended when Fah-orez summoned his guards in ‘self-defence’.

The guards were quickly killed, prompting Fah-orez to release gazers from a hatch in the back of his throne apparatus. As the Peers destroyed the flying machines, the priest utilised his throne’s blast cannons against the party. In the confusion, Phaenna unleashed a physical onslaught of esoteric energy at the priest, revealing she was a nano (much to the surprise of her comrades).

Fah-orez targetted Tzefira and Phaenna, believing their esoteric abilities to be heresy against the Fah. To defend his comrades, Garrus fired an incendiary bolt, which struck the priest and caused his throne to malfunction. The device exploded, electrocuting the mutant. The high priest cried out for help as his membranous skin melted. Dahm and Tzefira hurried to save him, but were unable to prevent his death.

After investigating Fah-orez’s throne and finding a key, the Peers broke into his bedchamber and uncovered a letter written by Khorev, connecting the priest to the assassination of Gayv-oreth. With all the evidence they could salvage, the Peers decided to bring their findings to Dhaval. Before speaking to their leader however, the party concocted a plan to save Lumos from the possibility of execution for his crime at the Black Shack. Lumos materialised his second self, who the Peers bound and escorted to Dhaval under the pretense of bringing him in for justice.

The party met Dhaval in the High Chamber, but before they could conduct their ruse, Tzefira blurted out the truthful events of the past three days.

Dhaval stared at his companions with a stern face, clear in his judgement.

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Three Serpents

Day 6: Morning

The Peers brought a comatose Lumos to the High Chamber, where they met Dhaval and Bacchian Shir, owner of the Madya Cantina. Bacchian examined the jack, who suffered from the Broken Sickness; a disease common among broken hounds. Bacchian advised they visit Gayv-oreth, Fahat of the First Tier, to cure his ailment.

Twarog carried the sickly jack to the First Tier with the others in tow, while Garrus-Dorn lugged crates of food provided by Bacchian, hoping to please Gayv-oreth with the gift. They entered the Underwatch, home of the mutant.

The Peers were welcomed by the sight of an obscenely obese man covered in oozing pustules, bathing in a churn-cast spa with servants attending him. The mutant welcomed them, happy to see his food. Twarog presented Lumos to Gayv-oreth and asked for his help in curing him. Proving to be kind and compassionate, he accepted their request and feed Lumos healing elixir excreted from his pustules.

Lumos awoke, dazed but alive. As the thankful Peers made their way out of the Underwatch, Gayv-oreth invited them to return whenever they were in need.

Afternoon

In the lobby of the Grand Spire, the Peers encountered Jalessa Orli attempting to appease a beggar, who had once been a well-treated slave before the rebellion took his master. Phaenna gave the man shins to feed his family, giving Jalessa time to listen to the Peers’ request to find their captured thief, Kareen, a job in Dhaval’s service. The chief clerk agreed to make her the Peers’ private courier.

An alarm suddenly rang throughout the city, triggered by the death of Gayv-oreth. Dhaval assembled the Peers to the High Chamber, admitting they were the last to see the mutant alive, making them suspects. While he ran his own investigation, he warned the Peers not to leave Nihliesh.

The Peers split and set out to investigate on their own. Phaenna, Tzefira, and Dahm inspected the Underwatch for clues; Twarog and Lumos visited Bacchian at the Madya Cantina, suspecting the food he provided was poisoned; while Garrus and Reina spoke with Ni-chodoss.

In the Underwatch, Dahm spotted an image of a three-headed serpent branded inside one of Bacchian’s food crates. Phaenna recognised it as the emblem of the Three Serpents, a Fahat legion that was destroyed during Dhaval’s uprising. Its commander, Khorev, retreated to the Second Tier underworld, operating from a crime den called the Black Shack. Dahm, Phaenna, and Tzefira resolved to find him.

Two guards stopped them on their way out of the crime scene and threatened to blackmail them unless they were paid to keep silent. Phaenna seduced the guards the brought them back into the Underwatch, where she attacked them and warned them to stay quiet.

At the Madya Cantina, Lumos’s questioning offended Bacchian, who didn’t take kindly to being treated as a suspect. His offence turned to anger after Lumos accidentally knocked over fifty shins worth of food crates. Twarog proceeded to inspect the broken crates, discovering a brand identical to the one Phaenna discovered. After Twarog paid for the ruined food, Bacchian explained he bought the crates from a supplier named Avarra. Twarog and Lumos spoke with Avarra, who admitted she supplied Bacchian with poisoned food after Khorev threatened to kill her. Hearing this, they headed to the Black Shack to confront the criminal.

Meanwhile, Garrus and Reina talked with Ni-chodoss. The mutant swore to have had no part in Gayv-oreth’s death, though knew who was responsible. Before she told the Peers what they wanted to know, she requested they do her a favour first. Her rival, Khorev, was undermining her operations and needed him ‘out of the way’. Understanding their task, Garrus and Reina travelled to the Black Shack, unaware that their companions were in tow.

Evening

Garrus and Reina arrived at the Black Shack and demanded to see Khorev. The doorkeeper lured them inside, where they were ambushed by Khorev and his men.

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Home on the Rise
Interlude

Day 5: Morning

The Peers arrived at Nihliesh with the replacement part in time for Kizzie to repair the machinery. The churn pumps were restored, saving the city from catastrophe. The group reported the news to Dhaval, who awarded them before introducing his new chief clerk, Jalessa Orli. She, Dhaval informed, would manage the Peers’ new residences in the 2nd Tier.

Jalessa escorted the Peers to their homes and suggested they visit Mayim’s Bathhouse to wash off the four days of filth they’d accumulated, offering to install baths into their houses once they had the shins to pay for it. The Peers took up her advice and trailed over to the public baths.

The group were welcomed by Mayim the bathkeeper, a fat man dressed in orange silks, who guided them into his great establishment. The party undressed and handed their belongings to the servants, splitting up to enjoy the baths of their choosing.

In the male-only pool, Dahm questioned Lumos about his dark-haired doppelganger. The young jack panicked, screaming to his reflection in the water. When the boy finally calmed, Dahm noticed his turquoise hair had faded in the bath steam. Meanwhile, fresh out of the shared pool, Garrus-Dorn returned to the clothing room to discover his crank crossbow was stolen. After intimidating the head servant, he learnt the thief was employed by Ni-chodoss — Fahat, and former ruler of the 2nd Tier. Enraged, Garrus ventured to find his comrades before confronting the mutant.

Garrus entered the exotic pleasure baths, where Twarog and Phaenna were served by accommodating servants and sex-sellers. Clean and satisfied, the two left with Garrus and found the others. Mayim directed them to Ni-chodoss’s estate in the Lower Plaza and bid them farewell.

Afternoon

In the Lower Plaza, the Peers made a trip to Mogo’s. Reina paid her debt to the merchant, and Lumos purchased dyes — a curious act noticed by Dahm. The jack asked Mogo if he knew any rumours regarding Ni-chodoss. The merchant revealed that a valuable item of hers was stolen recently. Their business done, the Peers left Mogo’s and made their way to Ni-chodoss’s.

The mutant’s estate was the largest in the entire tier, its grand exterior dominating the Lower Plaza. The Peers approached its fortified entrance guarded by two grush. Garrus intimidated the abhumans into granting them access.

The party entered a dim-lit hall that led directly to a chamber clouded by devilweed smoke, where they were greeted by a jester with two faces. A pool of red wine encircled a dais of cushions at the heart of the chamber. There, exotic men, women, and abhumans covered in intricate tattoos and piercings gathered around to serve food and drink to a blind, serpentine woman with no arms and six breasts — Ni-chodoss.

Ni-chodoss welcomed the Peers to her hall, naming their intrusion a ‘dubious pleasure’. Garrus began to explain the reason for their visit, but was cutoff by the mutant, who was already aware of their situation. She informed them of a thief in her service, Kareen, who went rogue and stole a strongbox with a precious item of hers inside. The mutant confirmed that Garrus’s thief and her thief were one in the same. Ni-chodoss agreed to divulge the whereabouts of Kareen and some other piece of good information, in exchange for retrieving her strongbox. The Peers agreed and took to the alleys.

Evening

The Peers were attacked by a pack of broken hounds in the dark streets surrounding the Lower Plaza. The viscous skull-headed creatures circled and mauled Lumos. The jack was saved by Dahm, who aided the others in killing the beasts. The remaining hounds retreated. In the shadows, Phaenna spotted a figure watching.

Phaenna and Garrus pursued the figure, snaking through alleys after them. Phaenna reached the person first, knocking them to the ground for Garrus to pin down. The figure, a young girl with feline features, was carrying a bag full of stolen items, including Garrus’s crossbow and Ni-chodoss’s strongbox. Having captured Kareen, the Peers chose to rest for the night at their homes in The Peerage.

In the night, Lumos grew sickly from his wounds.

Day 6: Morning

The Peers returned to Ni-chodoss with her strongbox, and Kareen. The mutant thanked them for their assistance and revealed the contents of the box to be a rare devilweed pipe. Wanting to protect Kareen from any retribution Ni-chodoss might inflict, the Peers agreed to take her into their services. Before leaving, Phaenna insisted the Fahat tell them the ‘piece of good information’ she promised, hoping it regarded her former lover, Pixx. Ni-chodoss complied, and gifted them with a valuable bit of knowledge: Never steal from Ni-chodoss. The entire hall boomed with laughter as the Peers took their leave from the smoky den.

Outside, as the group discussed placing Kareen under Dhaval’s protection, Lumos fell into a hallucination. He saw the streets filled with panic and uproar, people shouting for blood. The jack collapsed, unresponsive to the Peers’ cries.

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A Broken City
Part II

Day 2: Morning

After a night’s sleep, the Peers continued south-east through wind and snow. In the distance, a bloody man in white furs ran towards them, screaming before vanishing into the sky. The young jack, Lumos, heard the terrible sound of wings beating in his head. Horrified, he shouted for the others to run and dashed ahead of them. Before they could react, a monstrous black carrion bird swept through the air and caught the nano, Tzefira, in its talons.

Garrus-Dorn turned and fired his cranked crossbow at the beast, clipping its wing. Injured, the bird dropped Tzefira to the ground and wildly thrashed its talons at the Peers. The comrades overwhelmed the beast and the Angulan Knight, Reina, felled the creature with her spear. Not wanting to let the meat go to waste, the mutant Twarog set his hooks into the dead bird and dragged it behind the group as they struggled to catch up to Lumos.

The Peers found the boy standing in front of a shanty built of mismatched metals with a leaning watchtower — Rafal’s home.

A heavy bolted door kept the house secure, prompting the Peers to knock first. They were surprised when a disassembler answered, greeting them in an unknown language of clicks and tones. Using his array of knowledge, Lumos was able to familiarise himself with the mechanical lifeform’s speech, prompting it to let them inside.

When asked about Rafal, the disassembler directed the Peers to a door that led to his workshop, warning them repeatedly that its master was not to be disturbed. Ignoring the warnings, Lumos devised a plan to infiltrate Rafal’s workshop without alerting the disassembler.

Much to the surprise of the other Peers, a second, naked Lumos with dark hair materialised outside of the machine’s vision. With the help of a light-footed Twarog, the dark haired Lumos sneaked into the workshop and discovered the corpse of Rafal at his workbench, with half his skull cleanly cut off. Meanwhile, the Peers watched as the disassembler showed apparent signs of instability.

Inside the workshop, the second Lumos searched through piles of salvaged parts to find the one the Peers needed to repair Nihliesh’s machinery. He eventually found the part, along with an old cloak to dress himself in, and a strange metal rod that made him sneeze when he held it. The noise alerted the disassembler, triggering it to attack the Peers.

Despite destroying Phaenna’s weapons and wounding Tzefira, the disassembler was defeated. Twarog’s hooks slashed into its wiring, dismantling it permanently.

Realising time was dwindling for Nihliesh, the Peers took the few valuable cyphers and oddities they could find in Rafal’s workshop and headed back to the city.

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A Broken City
Part I

Day 1: Morning

The Peers were summoned to the Grand Spire by Dhaval, leader of the freedmen and the Nihliesh Republic. Sat around the ancient council table of the High Chamber, the Peers were informed of a crisis: the First Tier’s machinery was malfunctioning and ready to explode.

Nihliesh’s structural integrity and economy were threatened. The First Tier’s machines produced the city’s main export, an orange-brown substance called ‘churn’, which could be formed into any shape and dried to become strong as stone. The destruction of the machines would bring an end to churn production, and severely damage the city.

Dhaval assigned the Peers to address the problem and advised they speak with the First Tier’s chief operator.

The Peers were introduced to Chief Operator Kizzie, the one who first noticed the machines were malfunctioning and shutdown the area. Kizzie suggested the Peers find a hermit salvager named Rafal, who was likely to have the replacement part needed to repair the machinery. Rafal’s last known location was a two-day walk south-east of Nihliesh, in the cold wastes of the Matheunis Desert.

Before undergoing their trek, the Peers visited Mogo the Merchant for supplies, a devilweed-smoking mutant of the Second Tier. In order to afford all they needed, Phaenna and Reina made separate deals with him. As they left, the merchant reminded Reina that owing him was a dangerous game. With everything they needed, the Peers set off to find Rafal.

Day 1: Night

After a full day of travelling, the Peers made camp as the sun sank beneath the horizon. In the darkness, Phaenna heard a guttural noise similar to bleating and alerted the others. The rest of the camp awoke as a band of abhuman margr ambushed them.

The Peers fought and killed the margr leader, causing the other assailants to retreat…for now.

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