Machinations of Doom

It all starts in MercTown with a pair of new arrivals. These two are fugitives from the Coalition State of Lonestar and have a retrieval squad hot on their tail. After laying low for a time in MercTown, they begin to venture out and explore job opportunities. While it's unsavory to have to work with these d-bees and magic-users, it seems they're not all as bad as they'd been led to believe. The work even pays well...

Cast of Characters

Brady: A CS Psi-Hound (bulldog mutant) who was authorized for termination after attacking a human officer.

Lieutenant Michael Bradley: Brady's handler and friend, he aided Brady in escaping Lone Star and, in the process, sealed both of their fates.

Supporting Cast

Ishmael ("Ish"): A light-hearted Grackletooth operator with a shop in MercTown. He's been helpful to Bradley and Brady and has accompanied them on more than one of their jobs.

Gabriel: An enigma, this battle mage was introduced to the ex-members of the CS army through their contact with Ish. He's proven himself to be a powerful magic user and deadly in hand to hand combat.

Cora: Ish's best friend and roommate, Cora is a gambler with a sharp wit and a quick hand.

Robert: A techno-wizard operating a small shop in MercTown, he's been thrust into the exploits of the group. And he's not all that happy about it.

Sarai: Robert's sister, she was asked to get an object of immense power out of the village where she lived and refuses to relinquish it. So, she travels with the group.

Nezumi: A nervous wreck, this ratling isn't the most savory of individuals - with his disgusting habit of rooting through garbage - but he can get the low-down on the goings-on in the city.

Kristof: A Druid living in the town of White Springs in The Black Forest bordering the NGR and Gargoyle Empire, he is the only one who speaks American and seeks only to protect his enclave

Chuza: A Cernun Mystic who has long sought the scabbard of Excalibur, he has traversed the globe and is very concerned by its sudden disappearance from the North American continent.

The Antagonists

Deevils: In addition to the search for the Scabbard of Arthur, the Dyvalians have acquired a Spell of Legend – one which will grant the ability of any magic item to an army.

Mephisto’s Horsemen: The MercTown gang has it out for the players and aren’t above sending Sunaj after Gabriel and the others responsible for disrupting their meeting with the Federation Agents. It’s only a matter of time… And Atlantis is more than willing to help fund their capture, having lost out on a rather lucrative deal.

Ravenshome Guild: The Red Terrors is one of the Guild's pawns. Having discovered Mephisto's Horsemen's involvement with Atlantis, the Guild is feeding the Red Terrors gang information about the rival gang's operations in an effort to disrupt them and cause MercTown to crack down on the Horsemen.

Red Terrors: The Red Terrors actually gave Gorzom Jacob's name as someone trustworthy. They're a little tired of the Burster's activities and would like to take care of both him and the Horsemen.

The Story So Far...

After being hired by Gorzom the Grim of the Collegiate Arcane to intercept a shipment of arms to the Federation of Magic, the pair have uncovered more than one insidious plot. It appears Splugorth slave raids are moving farther inland, within just a few hours of the city, thanks to the apparent ties of Mephisto's Horsemen to the continent. Unfortunately, the group has made an enemy of Ackbar al-Shafar after killing some of his henchmen and stealing the arms shipment.

Not only that, kidnappings have been on the rise in the city. That could be at an end, though, now that a strange cult attempting to summon a "Ball" has been neutralized. Hopefully, nobody comes looking for them...

Now, our heroes are en route to a small Fadetown at the base of the Appalachians. They are searching for the sister of a MercTown techno-wizard who made regular visits but has not come to town the past two months. The players first outfitted themselves in preparation of several days in the wilderness, including some additional rations, medical supplies, and some extra fire in the form of Ishmael, then headed off into the wilderness.

Little did they know, they were being shadowed by the same mysterious individual who had been taking shots at them. Fortunately for Brady and Bradley, this sniper didn't appear to be very good.

During their first night in woods of old Kentucky, Brady takes up watch. The group is ambushed shortly before midnight by the sniper. Though he is fought off easily, the sniper still escaped on a jet ski he had stashed on the nearby Ohio River, leaving Bradley and Brady to wonder at the man's identity. The remainder of the night passes, though Brady gets a disturbing scent of something evil. A ley line, however, prevents him from pinpointing anything and he's left with pit in his stomach.

Continuing along the banks of the Ohio the following day, the weather slowly deteriorates throughout the morning, first becoming overcast, then a steady rainfall. Travel is slowed even in the ATV, but the group is able to cover another 200 miles that day. As the Bradley and Brady prep the camp, Ish searches for some, hopefully dry, firewood.

He comes back to the camp quickly, beckoning the Ranger and Dog Boy to follow. He leads them to the wreckage of a hover-van, the sides torn open by claws. There are signs of a struggle and blood -- and the same strange scent from the night before. Ish is sent back to camp, and the three keep in radio contact.

As they track the scent through the hills, they are ambushed by a giant demon -- 10-feet tall, with great antlers, terrible claws, and wicked teeth. It toys with them, seeming to disappear and then reappear, taking strikes as it does. They soon discover it is turning into some kind of bug, moving around, then changing back and ambushing the duo from another angle.

The creature is winning, but too easily. The game is no longer fun. "Come back when you can offer a real challenge," it taunts, then changes shape again and takes off.

Brady and Bradley radio for assistance from Ish and he comes quickly. Together, the three set to tracking the creature again. They pass through the nearby ley line, then come across a cave on the next hillside. They move in closer and send one man in to investigate and verify the presence of the creature.

He's there, as is an imprisoned human woman. An ambush is set with heavy explosives and the creature is led out of the cave into it. A titanic battle follows and the creature is badly wounded. But it won't give up. It instills Ish with a compulsion, causing the Grackletooth to leave the battle, then continues with its hit-and-run tactics. It appears behind Brady, swiping full force at the already heavily damaged armor. The demon connects and severs Brady's right arm, sending the dog boy into shock.

Seeing his best friend go down, Bradley charges at the creature, firing as he does and screaming in rage. The creature is confused at first and it costs him. The demon is killed, but Brady lies heavily wounded. He is stabilized, but in a coma.

Ish, now having returned -- bagel in hand -- helps dig out the collapsed cave entrance and bring out the woman. It is the mechanic's sister, but she begs Bradley to help her town. It is being held hostage by an evil mage and his minions.

Bradley calms the woman and convinces her of the need for reinforcements. With Ish carrying Brady and Sarai recovering a strange bundle from her wrecked vehicle, they all return to the ATV and speed back toward MercTown. Once there, Brady is hospitalized and prepped for augmentation. Giving the hospital a green light to do whatever it takes to save his friend, Bradley turns his attention to recruiting aid.

Sarai, the mechanic's sister, refuses to relinquish the bundle. After some "presuasion" she enlightens Brady with some information about it. She speaks vaguely and in half-truths, not really knowing much about it. Bradley recruits Gabriel to the cause, a task made easier by the battle mage's recognition of the object -- the Scabbard of Excalibur. It is said that whoever possesses it is rendered immune to mortal wounds.

As the group delves deeper into the history of the object, they are ambushed by the same deevils who invaded Sarai's village. Most are routed, but the leader - a massive Beast - manages to take Cora, Ishmael's good friend and roommate, prisoner.

Pursuit is made immediately, but not before the group is ambushed by Mephisto's Horsemen as they try to leave town. The biker gang is turned away, shy a couple more members, and they continue their pursuit of the Beast. Robert rigs a TW tracking device to aid in their location and the creature is followed to the edge of the Dark Woods.

It is there that the group discovers the creature has dominion over a small population of human slaves. Formulating a plan, the group tries to move in closer, but is spotted by the Beast's sentries - a small unit of Dyvalian Fenry cavalry. The group manages to tame the cavalry and the unexpected appearance of the slaves' taskmaster - an elven witch bound to the Beast.

As his forces dwindle, the Beast shows up, Cora in hand, to end this. Executing an unlikely plan, the group tricks the Beast into trading Cora for a simple e-clip, wrapped in a bundle. They run, ruining the Beast's wings when he attempts to reclaim the object and Cora.

Finally able to rest after days of being on the run and constant paranoia, the group begins the long trip back to MercTown, driving in shifts, stopping only to change drivers. As the vehicle moves through the woods, it is suddenly stopped by a strange wall of force. On the path ahead is a black-clad creature - perhaps it is a naturally armored demon, or an armored humanoid. In the dark it is difficult to tell.

A brief battle takes place before the group is completely overtaken by a flood of bright light. When the light clears and their vision returns, they find themselves without their vehicle and in unfamiliar terrain.

Tending first to Cora and creating a makeshift stretcher, Bradley and, mysteriously reunited, Brady set off to recon the forest and investigate the source of smoke in the next valley. A few hours later, they discover a small village surrounding a steaming spring. Bradley covers Brady's approach. Two sentries intercept him at the entry between the low wall surrounding the village.

They speak in an unfamiliar tongue, but Brady is forced to wait while another from the village is contacted. This one speaks American, though heavily accented. The village is called White Springs and those present are mostly Druids. Somehow, the group has been teleported to the Black Forest of Germany. It seems a safe enough place to regroup and plan their next move, so Bradley and Brady return to the small encampment to bring Cora, Gabriel, and the others with them.

Together, the seven come to the village and are shown great hospitality, provided with a small cottage and help in caring for the wounded Cora provided by one of the druid healers. They stay for two days, trying to scavenge together some armor for the dog boy who reappeared without any equipment, only the IVs to which he was connected.

They salvaged some simple armor plating from a battlefield. They decide to head north to Heidelberg to try and find transport back to North America and stay their final night for good rest and safety, enjoying the company of the villagers and their hospitality - particularly the nightly potluck dinners.

On the morning of the third day, the group awakens and prepares to leave. As they exit their cottage, they are met with commotion as the villagers gather at the north exit where a single, robed figure stands. Kristof, the village elder, speaks with him, eventually bringing him in. He's come to speak with the group.

Brady, Bradley, Gabriel, Ishmael, and Cora all learn that they are part of a prophecy and this traveler is a Cernun Mystic, part of a larger force hiding in the Scottish Highlands. He explains that the prophecy tells of five heroes from a far off land that will come bearing the salvation of the British Isles. He believes that the group carries a mystical object.

Understandably skeptic, the group refuses to turn over the item. In compromise, the Mystic, named Chuza, offers to let them travel with him to the location of his army - so that they may see for themselves. Still unsure, Chuza assures them that he speaks the truth and if he cannot convince them, perhaps Gabriel's fellow clansmen who have joined the cause can.

Convinced, the group agrees to come with Chuza, but will not relinquish the scabbard until they are certain of the Mystic's intent. Together, they depart White Springs to make for Heidelberg - 100 miles to the north.

They depart the small village and begin their trek through the wooded hills of the Black Forest. The day passes without incident until late that afternoon. The hair on the back of Brady's neck stands up as he senses the approach of a supernatural evil - a particularly nasty one at that.

The group hides off the road, hoping they might avoid, or at least ambush, the approaching entity. Cresting the hill, however, are 20 armored knights on horseback. Chuza offers to lead them away, giving the group instructions on how to contact his friends in the mountains outside Long Meg. He then departs, leading most of the knights away.

Four remain however and begin searching the area. Forcing a confrontation, the knights are quickly subdued by judicious use of Gabriel's magic net. The group questions the knights, then takes their armor, horses, and equipment before quickly leaving the area before the other knights return. They travel for several more hours before setting camp alongside a creek.

In the pre-dawn hours, Cora spots something strange - branches moving without wind or creature. She wakes Brady who immediately senses the presence of evil and recognizes the scent, though he cannot remember from where. The group quietly prepares when there is a booming voice threatening violence unless the scabbard is handed over.

Having heard this before, the group stands and fights, despite the fact that three of their attackers are completely invisible. Managing to kill two of the creatures, the leader - a Gallu demon - withdraws and vows to return in full force.

Having barely survived this attack, they decide to break camp and move closer to Heidelberg. Traveling through midday, the group rests for a short time before moving on again. The remaining trip to the city is free from attack, but the group is weary and tired.

After arriving in the city, Ish trades services for spare parts and junk from a local salvage yard. He is able to refit an old ATV. The group used the funds gained from the sale of their horses and surplus equipment taken from the knights to re-supply their own equipment. Now in possession of an ATV and two hovercycles, the group searches for work to help get them closer to their destination...