Jun 302018
“Simple. This was supposed to be simple,” Jacob thought, as he panted, near exhaustion. It had been, of course, but one-way traps were like that. Easy to walk into, hard to leave. Sue had set it off, of course. She always had to touch something.  No, don’t think about Sue. She was gone. Survive now, think later.
A door slid open behind him as he rested. Because with the D’ni it was always about thinking. When you stopped thinking, you died…
 
Meanwhile, in the Deep City, a small community of people slowly grows as “The Called” arrive at the Cleft near Carlsbad, California. As the populace grows, a dark thought becomes an obsession, and with it the will to recreate a violation of the D’ni way of life. The rebirth of the Hunter’s cult.

Scene:

An acquaintance of the party’s named Claudia Jones uncovers evidence, using survey information, indicating the possibility of a concealed chamber in a mausoleum under a D’ni noble’s house. The house is located in an unexplored section of the city across the glowing lake. Careful excavation reveals a puzzle room of colored light on a bas relief depicting playing children. She calls the players in to investigate with the promise of an undiscovered D’ni chamber. Aspects are marked using brackets such as this: [aspect].
 Claudia Jones (FP: 3)

Aspects:

  1. [Reluctant Anthropologist]
  2. [Agoraphobic]
  3. [Writer, Savant]
  4. [Reader, Influencer]
  5. [Strategic Thinker]

Skills: Great – Research, Good – Surveying, Good – Experiment, Fair – Deceit

The Search: Buried Secrets

On a small island where the wealthiest D’ni once lived, with large manor homes towering over the glowing waters of the lake, Claudia has made a discovery: an entry in a log detailing a request by a wealthy citizen to move the link to the Age of Gilder to a more protected area as the Fall began. There is a family name that she has cross-referenced to a manor home location using new survey information. Most of these homes are in ruins after all this time. This area has the least “reclamation” work done to it due to its distance from the new arrivals. Most of those who come out here are bottom-feeding looters looking to pick over bones long ago stripped clean. The majority of the new arrivals spend their time rebuilding more urban locations among the residences.  The area is located far away from the comfort of the group and shrouded in cold mists which rise from the lake in streamers of phantom blue and green light. The area feels [Foreboding] and [Damp].
Discovery of the lost passage can be achieved in several ways. Some of these are easier than others.
  1. Dig – Athletics vs. Great – each failure adds an additional one hour of backbreaking labor to the three hours required effort and gives the party the scene aspect [Exhausted] for the next scene.
  2. Survey vs. Average – create the advantage aspect [Precise Coordinates] which can be free-tagged to help with the Athletics or Intrusion rolls.
  3. Intrusion vs. Good – locate an entryway that is easier to reach, possibly by knocking out a weakened wall section.

The passage is dark and dust streams from the opening driven by the release of long held dead air. The breeze smells of old dust, rot and the sweet smell of books. Inside, a distant red glow flickers, inviting the intrepid to explore further within.

The Buried Chamber of Gildis:

The remains of a richly decorated hall lit by (red flickering fire marbles.?) The door is strong, hard stone and unlike the ruins surrounding it, shows no signs of age. A puzzle door is how ancient D’ni kept out the unwanted visitors. They are also how they tested and amused each other. The secret of entry was a bond shared between friends or a debt owed between rivals. The party has no such help and therefore must find the secret of the door themselves.

The Door is dark gray the same color as a stormy sky in winter. In a circle are 12 carved symbols that glow, burning white, when touched. All of the symbols must be touched in a particular order until the last. If the sequence is correct then the door slides silently open, if not then the light quietly fades.

(479,001,600 possible combinations, but D’ni never did anything random. Look for the hidden meaning.)

The buried chamber puzzle uses the deduction rules for its solution (Unwritten pg.136).
  1. Frame: How does the ancient vault open?
  2. Establish the participants
  3. Round 1-roll vs a difficulty of good
  4. Round 2 -roll vs result from round 1.
  5. Round 3-roll vs result from round 2.
  6. The Reveal.

The Reveal:

The door slides open to reveal an ornate chamber. Red flickering light from cracked fire marbles illuminates a book stand. The book stand resembles a small child holding a large open book over its head. It’s features straining to show the reader something, an expression of rapturous joy on its face. The book’s flickering linking panel displays a children’s playground. The discovery of a private book this far from the main paths of the Deep City is a important discovery by itself. The discovery of the lost world of Gilder has far reaching implications…

Gilder:

Theme – [Lost Childhood]
Aspects – [Long Forgotten Tragedy],[Buried Guilt and Hidden Crimes]
Written by an unknown genius of the art as a fun and safe place for children to vacation, much like Disneyland. Gilder emphasized education, puzzle solving, and exploration in a safe natural environment. It was staffed by natives, the caretakers, tasked with the care of the children. Now it is silent and scattered with bundles of rag and bone from the ancient dead. large and small, no one escaped their fate. There were no dangers in Gilder. In many ways, it was written to be boringly safe from the beginning. During the fall many families sought to hide their children here,away from harm. The bodies here didn’t die of the plague something attacked them and scattered their bones. An Age is marked using brackets and bold as [Gilder].

When the hunters came…

The fall was a turbulent time. Many fringe groups saw it as an opportunity to rise up. One such group were called, “The Hunters. ” They trained and worshiped in the park. the fall was interpreted as the realization of  prophecy . Their end time myth was enacted in Gilder.
The myth spoke of the great dying of the prey. From the dying would rise an apex predator. Who would rule as cities were devoured in a return to the natural order. The Hunters came through the book of Haldis with trained packs of Avian beasts. The Pack hunters found native in the Haldis jungles. Each hunter commanded a war pack of many, many dozens. The caretaker natives, most of whom were educators, were no match for the quickly expanding packs. Though they tried, most were slaughtered. A few caretakers escaped into the neighboring cities and a defense was rallied to contain the packs within the park. To this day the caretakers leave tokens and symbolic gifts around the walls of the park to atone for their failure to protect the children of the gods.
The pack rampage for weeks, but with little real effect. The hunters had failed to account for the plague, believing themselves immune. Several of their victims had been carriers. When the hunters died, the war packs turned on each other to eat or were slain by caretakers when they attempted to leave the park.

Areas of interest:

The zoo: filled with exotic animals from little-known ages, these beasts starved to death or kill each other.

The aquarium: once beautiful with examples of brightly colored fish and rare aquatic animals. It is now a brackish puddle more akin to a soup.

The library: exhibit books, dozens of linking books to small ages fitted with observation domes to allow visitors to watch creatures in their natural habitats. One book is central and ringed by the most bodies of adult size yet seen. Here is the stand for the linking book to Haldis (missing).

Locating the hidden Book to Haldis.

The book was taken from its shelf and hidden by a dying caretaker trapping the hunters. The Deep City return book is also missing.
Description: the corpses of six hunters and twice as many defenders, probably natives, lie here.
Notice:
Adequate= Scattered bones of victims and an unfamiliar species of huge avian
Fair= Area of intense combat at the book of [Haldis]
Good= Non humanoid bones in debris. A species of Ax beak. A pack hunting avian long extinct in the age of Earth.
Great= A smashed neck piece. A Hunter’s torque with strange gems. One shattered torque neck piece lies here where a custodian got lucky and smashed it before being torn apart by something large and beaked.
 Investigation:
Adequate = Evidence of cannibalization
Fair= Hunter bodies and smashed equipment, book stands and camping equipment.
Good= Evidence of plague in victims and hunters. Signs that the avian packs were abandoned to die here.
Great= Reconstruct the attack. Attack began at the book of [Haldis] and ends when the plague infects the hunters. The aftermath is the pack tearing itself apart.  Locked in the park with nothing left to eat it’s social structure collapsed into chaos. There are definite signs of the native caretakers killing stranglers after the D’ni are all dead.
Deduction:
  1. Frame- where is the linking books?
  2. Establish participants
  3. Round 1-roll vs a difficulty of fair
  4. Round 2 -roll vs result from round 1
  5. Round 3-roll vs result from round 2
  6. Reveal

The aviary: a large wrought-iron birdcage. Silent now, the ground is littered with little bones.

The park: square miles of park, now overgrown. Paths lead into and out of the village. A lake is located near the center of the park and fed by the river. The native flora and fauna have spent the centuries reclaiming the park. There is evidence of offerings being left at the wall as though the native people were trying to placate an angry God for some great failure.

The Draw bridge:  has 2 modes, 1 obvious and 1 hidden.

  1. A set of sliding crystals when set to a pattern reveals a linking book back to the library
    1. Frame: How does the Pattern “L” work?
    2. Establish the participants
    3. Round 1-roll vs a difficulty of good
    4. Round 2 -roll vs result from round 1.
    5. Round 3-roll vs result from round 2.
    6. The Reveal. A linking book back to the Deep City
  2. the sliding crystals can be set to a pattern found in the dark temple in Haldis (Pattern “H”). This lowers the drawbridge revealing a hidden nook under the bridge. A decoy book that looks like a book to [Gilder]. The small statue of a child holding a book up. But, this child isn’t in rapture its face is twisted with vicious glee and has small horns hidden in its hair. {Notice] vs good to detect. This links to the dark temple in a room without windows or doors, the Alter room

Haldis:

Theme – [Harsh Lessons in Caretaking]
Aspects – [Cannibal Cults],[Testing the  Fit]
Written for the genius of the Art that created [Gilder]. An apprentice was given the task of creating a reasonably “friendly” kid’s camp. A place of discovery and life lessons. Intended to give young adult D’ni a sense of responsibility and respect for the Ages they would be visiting as they entered D’ni culture and took their places as adults. Unfortunately, the apprentice was not of sound mind and a species of avian pack hunters was purposely included in the design. At first there were few issues, the D’ni lived apart from the avians. The inadvertent discovery of an ancient temple not found in the original text changed the relationship of the groups. The temple was in the deepest forest, deep in pack hunter territory. The pack hunter’s strange reverence for the temple and those who had lived there fueled the rebirt of a cannibal cult as D’ni with suspect goals moved in and began to assume the role of a lost priesthood.
The cult began indoctrinating like minded young D’ni and waited in the shadows preying on lone victims until the omens were right. The Fall started marking both the cults prophesied rise to power and their inevitable fall.

Areas of interest:

The Forest Glen: A beautiful place of tall grass and bright sun. Several stout stone buildings here provide shelter and comfort for the visitor. They are called “the barracks.”

The Lake: A bright blue fresh water lake. Small to medium sized fish can be seen swimming in it. A dock and a floating raft are provided for boaters and swimmers. No boats can be seen. The lake connects to the river.

The River: A slow moving river enters the lake on the opposite side. Down the river a days journey is the Forbidden Temple. Up river is another glen used for picnicking and camping. There are many simple camp sites visible both in the Glen and along the rivers edge.

The Forbidden Temple: Built by the original inhabitants of the Age, a race of human type that developed a taste for their neighbors. Early in their history they domesticated a large flightless avian predator and through selective breeding made them cunning and hungry for human flesh. These people easily dominated the region for hundreds of years, but over-hunting eventually turned them against each other. A priest class rose and through decree and divine inspiration devoured an entire generation of their own elders. With no guiding wisdom remaining the various factions decided the fault must lie with the other factions and so they too must be devoured. Before long, they are all killed and eaten leaving only a powerful species of pack predator with a hunger for human flesh. As a people, they vanish from history. A legacy is left behind in detailed temple art that describes the glory and power of the cult , but very little of its mistakes. The Pack training are shown in detail and the temples darkness calls to those of like mind. A D’ni centered version of the cult is born among the more decadent minded.. For decades, these D’ni hunters occupy and practice the rituals of the Devoured. At first, they limit their predation to the natives of the ages. Leaving trapped linking books around other ages and then hunting the unfortunates who find their way to Haldis. As they spiral into depravity, they build a secret linking trap into Gilder in the form of an elaborate Draw bridge puzzle. The D’ni clever enough to solve it will be the hunter’s greatest of prey.

Deduction: 5 orb puzzle in an old cannibal temple leads to a linking book back to [Gilder]
  1. Frame- how do I activate the orbs (Pattern “H”)
  2. Establish participants
  3. Round 1-roll vs superb = fact: orb colors correspond to ceiling mosaic.
    1. Success at a cost(SAC)= minor consequence
  4. Round 2 -roll vs result from round 1= fact: 5 panels match orb colors as they change.
    1. SAC:Player must hold exterior door closed as pack bird tries to get in.
  5. Round 3-roll vs result from round2=fact: panels accept the orbs and unlock door
    1. SAC:trapped in temple as a siren calls more birds. New challenge = mount orbs while restraining birds.

The Stones that Sing.

The hunters success is tied to a set of special crystals from another age. (The age of Stonesong (Unwritten Pg. 199): Research vs. good)
The stones resonate in tune with specific sounds, amplifying, altering,  and channeling the vibrations. These sounds were used to train the packs using ultra and infra sound.

Game terms:

Song topaz: allows performance(new skill) rolls to create advantages using sound.
  1. sonic blast – create advantage ,aspect [stunned]
  2. Infrasound- +2 provoke
Appearance: torque necklace with inset colored gems clear to bronze.

Scene: Avian Attack!

Research teams follow the players after they report their findings to Claudia. Claudia and several others begin an investigation of gilder. Use this to relay any info the players missed. It is during the debriefing that the chaos begins.
Challenge: contain the pack.
Information: the following aspects are in play. [undisciplined][panicked crowd]
Task1: attract predators away from researchers
Task2: protect panicking researchers
Task3: cage/ corral uncontrollable predators
This scene is about maintaining control of [Gilder]. All non panicking researchers have used relto books to escape. Those remaining have forgotten them, or lost them. Keep these people safe. A lone dark figure collects torques leaving damaged ones. Pack hunters run around and past this figure as though it is one of them. Attempts to confront the figure are menaced by pack hunters. If the players found a torque and turned it over to Claudia it was stolen in the deep city.
Scene cleanup/aftermath:
Depending on the outcome of the pack attack on gilder.
Options:
  1. Armed volunteers are brought to protect researchers.
  2. Full retreat to deep city with any loose books or equipment.
  3. Occupation , a permanent fort is created in the library. Open books to various research pods throughout th3 tree of possibilities. Researchers keep relto books on hand at all times.
  4. The gilder book in haldis is blocked behind wrought iron or removed.
Discoveries:
  1. All non broken torques have been stolen by unknown parties.
  2. Pack birds in attack were all young and inexperienced.
  3. The dark figure was wearing traditional dni h7nting garb. But no goggles, a bird mask instead.

scene: Rise of the Cannibals

chapter aspects: [Hidden cult],[Insidious presence]

A hidden cult has been preying on explorers and  restoration crews for weeks. What once seemed simple predation and accidents have taken a darker meaning. The Cult has decided to act on the discovery of gilder. Anyone could secretly be a cultist. The resident population of the deep city is tearing itself apart with paranoia. The New Seed was quick to attempt to capitalize on the situation until it is publicly discovered that they have been infiltrated by cultists. The discovery of several popular high profile victims results in a wave of Anti-New Seed sentiment. This backlash drives the New Seed membership into hiding among the ages. This is all according to the hunters’ plan.

Scene: New Seed runners

A very violent group of vigilantes begins rounding up suspected New Seed members on the grounds that they could be the killers. The vigilantes are planning to hold a trial followed by a down home hanging. Surprisingly, Claudia has overcome her agoraphobia enough to speak publicly against the New Seed. This further fans the conflict’s flames. A second camp of residents forms to support the New Seed. This group petitions the deep city’s most influential members, the players, for support. They ask them to step in before violence erupts.

events:

  1. Petitioners approach the party in an attempt to get them to stop the vigilantes. So far, no one has been killed, but they believe it is only a matter of time.
  2. A group of New Seed converts have been trapped in an old Deep City ghetto.
  3. The vigilantes are actively trying to flush them out. They are led by Claudia. Who has the best working knowledge of the deep city.
  4. The undecided inhabitants are watching to see who comes out on top before they pick a side.

Scene : The petition

New Seed supporters led by:

Simon Applegate (fp:2)

Aspects:

  1. [voice of reason, High School history teacher]
  2. [Inexperienced Negotiator]
  3. [How is this not exactly like High School]
  4. [Too old for this…]
  5. [Disciplinarian]

Skill:

Great – Empathy, Good – Will, Good – Experiment, Fair – Research

Petitioner mob (5 groups of 4)

5 x [],[],[],[] Skill: Rumble – Adequate

After the party’s actions in Gilder, most people living in the deep city have the opinion that they discovered Gilder and that makes the discovery of the cannibal cult their responsibility.  This belief also exempts them from being members of the cannibal cult and makes them the most apparently trustworthy public figures. They are member’s of a very tiny group of trusted folk.

Data points for the petitioners:

  1. The newest victims were all New Seed members in long standing. Simon new some of them personally.
  2. The discovery of trhe bodies was made by persons unkown and revealed initially to only anti- newseed factions.
  3. There has been no proper inquiry.
  4. Simon and several others are convinced that the murders were staged.
  5. Simon wants the party to investigate as impartial agents of the community. He believes this will work for both sides as Claudia is a friend of the party’s

Scene: – In the Ghetto

Vigilantes led by

Dorian Crowell (fp:2)

Aspects:

  1. [Vigilant hunter of evil]
  2. [Not a reasonable person]
  3. [Claudia is my guide]
  4. [Revenge for Ramon]
  5. [n/a]

Skill: Great – Provoke , Good – research , Good – Deceit , Fair – empathy

Vigilante mobs (5 groups of 5)

5 x [],[],[],[],[] Skill: Riot – Adequate

Dorian personally knew some of the victims. He was a staunch supporter of the New Seed until his very close personal friend , Ramon was eaten. Now his grief has taken on a form of murderous righteousness. A very bad combination of traits complemented by his ability to manipulate people.

Data Points for vigilantes:

  1. This is none of the party’s business. He’s only cleaning up the mess they and their explorer friends created.
  2. He feels the people in the ghetto stronghold may have personally snacked on Ramon and this sickens him.
  3. Claudia personally investigated this group and they were all in or near the part of the deep city where Ramon died. <she says>
  4. His group is bigger then theirs.

Scene: The Unaligned

  1. Keep track of unused or permanent aspects created in these confrontations. These can be applied to convincing a group of undecided watchers to join one side or the other.
  2. After the confrontations word will spread . The actions of the undecided will be based on these aspects and outcomes.
  3. Use a group roll to decide the final outcome of the se scenes. Players may use social skills to influence the outcome further.
  4. Pick a player or roll for them. The roll is a contest for control of the undecided.
  5. Roll versus Good with no skill modifiers. Use fate points or free tags on preexisting aspects.

Outcomes:

Success – creates a session aspect  [Friendly populace]

Failure – creates an aspect [Hostile Populace]

[Friendly populace]

Invoke – locate a handy person who can help out.

Compel – Responsibility for the population

[Hostile populace]

Invoke – For distractions or create advantages with provoke

Compel – Angry mob complete with pitch forks and torches

 

Chapter: New Seed Panspermia

Chapter Aspect [Panic of the ages],[New seed pariahs], [Hidden Cultists]

Scene: The Festering Quiet

The quiet is broken by the sounds of panic linking arrivals. Wounded and fleeing refugees arrive in the dozens from “relto” havens. Refugees quickly spread word of hunter packs striking at a number of New Seed encampments throughout the ages at strong holds they thought secure. Divisions and arguments flair up as , again, two sides form. One group wants to organize and attack the hunters. The other wants to leave the New Seed to their fate.

Dorian begins fanning the flames using provoke  to create barriers to action.

aspects: [What have they done for us?], [They are murdering cannibals]

(If Dorian was taken out in an earlier exchange his replacement is a stubborn old woman called “Dar”. Dar has the same skills as Dorian.)

Claudia will tag her aspect [reluctant anthropologist] to increase the barrier by +2

[Hostile populace] would add an additional +2

[Friendly populace] would reduce the difficulty by 2

Outcomes:

The hunters hunted: A popular uprising organizes to drive off the hunters from a entrenched New Seed encampment of New Avalon. Players can create scene aspects (1/each) to prepare to break the hunter’s siege on New Avalon.

Or,

Dorian’s Last stand: Dorian has convinced the populace to sit idle. The players may act independently or join in barricading the Deep City for a prolonged siege.

Dorian and Claudia seal access to the surface by disabling the old lift in the Shaft. A series of explosions seal the well known access routes to the surface cutting off the Deep City.

Scene: Siege

 Claudia Jones (FP: 3) – Cannibal Leader

Aspects:

  1. [Cannibal Anthropologist]
  2. [Xenophobic]
  3. [Writer, Savant]
  4. [Reader, Converter]
  5. [Strategic Thinker]

Skill: Great – Research, Good – Surveying, Good – Experiment, Fair – Deceit

Dorian Crowell (fp:2) – Cannibal Beast Handler

Aspects:

  1. [Vigilant hunter of prey]
  2. [Not a reasonable person]
  3. [Claudia is my guide]
  4. [Revenge on the Called]
  5. [Cult Beast Handler]

Skill: Great – Provoke , Good – research , Good – Deceit , Fair – empathy

Where the siege takes place is dependant on the successes or failures of the players. The actual events are unchanged.

  1. Ambush – Hunter packs link into positions behind the players. Using linking books previously written to these positions.  (notice vs great, Investigate vs good: They have a skilled writer.)
  2. Challenge 1 – Rally the defenders (Dangerous action)
    1. Drive off Isolated predators
    2. Barricade overrun sections
    3. Organize an offense
  3. Challenge 2 -Betrayal! Two dark figures join the hunters as leadership. Dorian and Claudia, dressed in traditional D’ni hunting garb of red and black begin stalking the battlefield gathering and directing packs dispersed in Challenge 1 Dorian is using the stolen sonic necklace to stun isolated pockets of defenders to allow packs to overwhelm them.
    1. Neutralized the sonic effects of the necklace
    2. Separate Dorian and Claudia from the packs.
    3. Capture Dorian and Claudia: They will be resisting by creating counter advantages

Scene: Aftermath

Fires burn out of control and the cries of the wounded fill the night. Smoke reduced visibility as isolated members of the broken packs run full speed trying desperately to escape.

Aspects: [Smokey Haze],[High speed pack hunter crashes]

Tasks:

  1. Fires to fight: Athletics (or anything else a player thinks up) vs good
  2. wounded to great: Medicine vs
  3. treat any wounded players (if any): Medicine

Scene: Clean up

The survivors will call a gathering to determine the fates of the hunters and in particular the fates of Dorian and Claudia.

Dorian will describe his becoming a cannibal and joining the cult after watching his love being devoured.

Claudia will reveal that she has been a cult member since her arrival to the Deep City. She read certain rare records describing the cults history and became infected with the idea of predation. She admits to carefully guiding explorers into dangerous trapped areas and then devouring these unfortunates. When she discovered the location to the book of Gilder, she knew it contained the last link to [Haldis]. She had planned to explore it after the players had been killed. When they failed to die, She was forced to “overcome” her agoraphobia to move her plans along. She stole the Control Torques.

Fallout from this adventure:

  1. New Seed camps are everywhere. Without their prophet new leaders are rising from their ranks. Some want only the best but others are charlatans out to improve their personal standing.
  2. A law enforcement task force is discussed. Does it grow built around the players?
  3. Hunter packs without guidance become an ongoing issue throughout the ages.
  4. Diplomatic problems are being caused by rogue hunters who have returned to preying on native populations.
  5. The next episode, The King in Night…..

 

I hope you enjoyed this. It was originally intended to be a four hour session in a duo I had with my wife. We are huge fans of Cyan and the Unwritten rpg .

If you find my typos , have questions or requests for clarification leave them in the comments, please. I’ll get to them eventually.

And Thanks for reading this.

The Lodger

 

 

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