Star of Tha’lus Trilogy – (CthulhuTech) Borrowed Time

This is the third and final installment of the convention-run trilogy, after the runners in part two are assumed to have destroyed the artifact toward the end of the Insect Nest.  As per usual with my CthulhuTech adventures, the team are trained mech pilots with other specialties (Para-Psychic, Soldier, Engel Technician, Covert Ops, Sorcerer, Federal Agent, Demo Corps).

The Unit, in a rare exercise, is deployed on the home front after an explosion rocks Downtown Redmond.  The media has been pitting the explosion at the hands of terrorists, but seeing as their squad is being deployed, there is little chance that that is actually the case.

Once on the ground in Seattle, they are picked up by a mobile command center, where General Hansen awaits to brief them on the situation.

“All right, you’ve likely heard on the news about the explosion that flattened a couple square blocks of Redmond.  However, our experts have determined that the explosion was not triggered by an explosive device, but rather something occult in nature.  The OIS boys are on the ground dealing with the surviving populace and convincing them to remain quiet until our investigation is complete.  While our team of sorcerers have not yet determined the nature of the spell that flattened the area, they will know soon and if things go as we expect, you will be called upon to clean up this mess and put an end to the people responsible.”

“Since we don’t want to alarm the locals further, the use of mechs in the city is not authorized until there is probable cause.  Maintain contact with the local branch and if the situation changes, we will see your mechs deployed accordingly.  Good hunting.”

Act I – The Weavers

Dispatched to Redmond, they find the area that was once listed as an industrial park, looking as if a nuclear blast had hit.  The area is flattened and rubble lays strewn about in an outward traveling rings.  Towards the center of the blast no buildings remain standing.  All life in the area appears to have been silenced, save for an abnormally high population of insects that seem to scamper about the landscape aimlessly.

At the epicentre of this apocalypse, sits an untouched ritual circle, where the OIS team is currently investigating.  They are met by Agent Rollins, a senior Agent.  “Welcome to Redmond, such as it is.  As you can see, there was nothing normal about this attack.  Our sorcerers are deciphering the circle, trying to figure out if the explosion was the purpose of the ritual, or a side-effect of it.  Unfortunately, these things take time and that’s one thing we’re short on.  If any of your team would like to help the ritual along, we could decrease the time needed.”

Tell the players that non-sorcerers could supply their Orgone to fuel the ritual, as they are untrained in its use, but psychics and sorcerers could find themselves powerless if they offer their aid.  Sorcerers can also use their occult knowledge to decipher the writings, without investing their Orgone.

There are numerous things the party can learn about what happened here.  First of all, by deciphering the runes that make up the circle, they can learn that it is a summoning circle, designed to pull something in from a parallel dimension.  However, something happened at the moment of summoning within the other dimension and there was severe backlash from the portal that sent ripples through Redmond, flattening everything nearby.

Those who lend their Orgone to fuel the ritual will get to share the visions of those conducting the ritual.  They see hooded figures standing in a ring while a central figure chanted in the middle of the circle.  Energy coalesced into a dark rift before him and he spoke in R’lyehan to something within the rift (offering use of his body as a vessel for his particular God).  As a shadow was ready to move through the rift there was a flash of sickly yellow light and shockwave blast outward, knocking over all the members of the ritual and shattering the landscape beyond.

As the ritual is wrapping up, gunfire erupts as the same hooded cultists that performed the ritual attempt to keep the NEG from learning anything of their plans.  The Elder members will use magic to confuse their foes and the fresh recruits use standard weaponry to try and cut down all the OIS and military personnel.  Use Children of Chaos stats as the base for the cultists.

Any members of the team partaking in the ritual can attempt to pull away to assist in the fighting, but they must make a Challenging Tenacity Feat.  Failure may mean they lose a point of sanity as the visions claw at their mind as they’re torn away.

If they can detain any of the sorcerers (they have a scar in the form of a spider web marring the surface of their right eye), they can interrogate them.  The cult are called the Weavers, they worship some extraplanar being called Tha’lus and tell them that the aborted ritual sent the object they were after in another direction and they already have men on their way to collect the artifact.  If the OIS ritual was not disrupted by the attack, those still participating will learn the location of the wayward object and send the team to get to it first.

Act II – Spring is in the Air

The ritual in Redmond points them in the direction of Puyallup.  There was an impression of flowers, lots of people and animals in the middle of the city.  Checking for major events in the city reveals that their Spring Fair is in full swing.  One of the biggest fairs in the United States, it attracts people from all around.  And unfortunately, this year it has also attracted the Weavers.

The sorcerer that headed up the ritual is here, tracking down the artifact that he felt was rightfully his.  He has forsaken his cultist robes for street attire, wearing sunglasses to conceal his ocular scar.  Lurking out the outside of the fairgrounds are some of the cultists servants and a pair of Bahki to sow discord in the crowd if required.

One of the largest draws this year is author Paul Travers.  He has written several best selling occult adventure novels and is here as part of his autograph tour.  When he arrived at the fairgrounds this morning he found the Star of Thalus in his things.  Assuming it was a gift from a fan, seeing as it looked occult-like in nature, he has kept it.  The longer the stone remains in his presence the more its influence grabs hold.

When the players arrive, the fair is in full swing and even showing the badge is not likely to help part the crowd any (firing shots will work, but it will draw the attention of fairgrounds security, which may complicate things).

Travers is in Building 20C and that is where the cult leader will be found when the players arrive.  The cult leader sees Travers playing with the gemstone like an oversized paperweight and immediately orders his men to seize the stone.  The Bahki (see CthulhuTech Core Book) sweep in from the out edges of the venue and fly over the crowd, inciting random people into violence via their magic.  The area is thick with innocent civilians, so getting a clean shot will be quite difficult.

The Star of Tha'lus

The cult leader will die trying to get to that stone, but Tha’lus’ grip on Travers has grown quickly and the author quickly erects a spell barrier and begins chanting in R’lyehan (in a voice other than his).  By the time the players reach Travers he activates a relocation spell and vanishes.  From the place he stood, a swarm of insects scurries out, seemingly from nowhere.  These insects have a ravenous appetite and descend on anyone they can reach and begin to consume them.

Once the cultists have been dispatched, any team sorcerers can use their occult skills to determine that the author teleported to Mt. Rainier to the southeast.  Upon reporting to their superiors that the artifact has left the city in favour of an active volcano, they are authorized to use their mechs.

Act III – Tha’lus

Travel to Mt. Rainier is uneventful and the vision had by the sorcerer to track Travers takes them near the mountain’s summit, to a glacier that until recently had been undisturbed for ages.  As if carved from the inside out, there is a man-sized entrance through the glacier and into the side of the volcano.

Some players may choose to simply vapourize the hillside, but have the fallout of them having killed a celebrity haunt them thereafter.  If they choose investigate the antechamber, they find a small room alight with candles and featuring a stone altar at its heart.  Travers stands before the altar, his knuckles are white with pressure on the sides of the altar and they can hear his grunts of pain.  When he finally turns to look at them, they can see that the amber gemstone is embedded in his right eye socket, replacing the eyeball with a yellow glow with an insect at its center.

“All will bow to Tha’lus…” he says, seeming to look right through them.  A loud cracking sound fills the air, as he sprouts insect-like legs and begins moving toward them.  In his semi-human incarnation, Travers is immune to small arms fire.  Out of the cracks of the mountain and the forest below emerge several Chiranae (see CthulhuTech Core Book), drawn here by the rise of a Lesser God.  They will attempt to bring down the mechs so they can serve their souls to their new master.

Treat Tha’lus as an advanced Chiranae, with Occult skills, higher Strength and an Integrity of 15.

With the death of Tha’lus, the gemstone shatters and Travers’ body is reduced to ash from the exit of the God.

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~ by 1nsomniac on April 18, 2012.

2 Responses to “Star of Tha’lus Trilogy – (CthulhuTech) Borrowed Time”

  1. This series is exemplary work, both as being great for convention gaming, and as being compelling scenarios to play.

    Fantastic~

    • Glad you liked it. I’ve received quite a bit of positive feedback on the scenarios, both online and from the players that participated in the events. I’m pleased that they’ve been so well received. I may have to try this type of system crossover again some time.

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