“Wait a second Hawmett… there’s something here.”
Benthre’s player succeeded a level 3 (demanding) Intellect roll, getting a 12.
I’d noticed that there was a barely visible seam on the edges of the front of the rostrum, on which stood the great statue of the disturbing hooved and tentacled thing. I tapped the stone with a small crafting hammer from my kit, and sure enough, there was a hidden compartment inside. As I looked for a way to open the hidden compartment, I kept my eyes averted from the statue, for my head swam, and bile rose in my throat every time I looked at it. It seemed there were faces, eyes, limbs, and other body parts in the statue that were there, but were replaced by some other disturbing thing as my eyes moved over the statue’s surface.
As I moved around the side of the rostrum, I noticed that one of the statue’s tentacles reached down farther than the rest. As I placed my hand on it to examine its surface, I heard a “Schick!”, and a round section of stone opened at the end of the tentacle, leaving a suppurating sphincter. I looked over at Leve, and he immediately said, “No. NO. HELLS no. Just… no.”
Hawmett said with a smirk, “You’re the Jack Ben. Get Jackin’.”
“Tragg ME. Fine. You’re both windstripped traggers, you know that?”
It bears mentioning that I ran this game on the main sales floor at our local FLGS, Game Knight Games and Cool Stuff, and at this point people had started gathering to watch us play. Everyone at the table was going “Ewwww” and cringing when I described the sphincter, and so was our impromptu audience. Benthre’s player started looking around the table, and at the bystanders, contemplating doing the unthinkable. “Well… uh… I…. I….”
Everyone was saying “No… no man… don’t do it… oh GOD don’t do it…”
“…… I shove my arm into the sphincter.”
Everyone, player and bystander alike, cried out in unison. They cringed, and shuddered, and laughed in glorious disgust. We’d now grabbed the attention of everyone who hadn’t yet gathered at the table.
Incidentally, this was originally a 1 XP discovery moment. I bumped it to 2.
I rooted around in the… canal… for a bit, and found recessed places in the… flesh?… where my fingers could get into. It was difficult, but I contorted my digits into a position where all four of the recessions were filled by a finger. It was at this point I heard a “Click!”, and the front panel popped out a bit. As I withdrew my arm from that horrible place, the slime that I expected to stay on my hand withdrew itself from my arm and back into the sphincter, like when you dangle spit from your mouth and then suck it back in. I think it would have nauseated me less had the slime remained on my arm.
I set the difficulty level of the Speed check to open the lock at Level 5 (Challenging), so Benthre needed a 15 or better. He lowered it one difficulty level by convincing me that his hand, being partly mechanical could bend in ways his fingers couldn’t. He then lowered the difficulty one more step by spending 3 speed points to reduce the difficulty another step. He rolled an 11 against the new target number of 9, and picked the lock.
In the compartment we liberated a good bunch of shins, and some bizarre looking s. One of them seemed to glow, but a point in the middle of it seemed to draw the light toward it. It also had an ominous red switch. We gave that item to Leve. There was a tube with a claw on it, and Leve said that he believed the device to be mounted on the shoulder. We gave that one to Hawmett, and when he put it on his shoulder, it snapped closed, digging into his skin. A cable shot out of it and attached itself painfully to the back of his head, dropping the big man to his knees. Leve rushed to his side, concerned for his lifebound companion. Hawmett gave Leve a reassuring look, and stood up. Wherever Hawmett looked, the tube looked, and he said he could feel in his mind that the tube was some sort of beam weapon, similar to the beams of the trap we’d encountered earlier.
“Ben, you’d better not make us regret joining you in this insane pastime of yours.”
“Passtime?”, I said. “I’m in this to get rich.”
It was only partly a lie. I took the three vials of viscous liquids. Leve said they might have some regenerative properties if applied directly to wounds and lesions.
This is one of the most fun parts of being a GM in numenera. You can make up ANYTHING and hand it to the players. Sure, you CAN do this in other systems, but Numenera is designed to let you do it and not break your players’ suspension of disbelief, and with it their mindset and sense of immersion. Not only that, but as I intimated on Reddit, Numenera = Inspiration. If you’re running dry on creative juice, read you some Numenera. It’s dream food.
We went out to the outer walls of the room to check for some sort of egress. As we found a hallway out of this room, we heard the distinctive scratching skittering of the things we’d just fought off, but from a larger number of them. MUCH larger.
We began to run down the hallway as fast as we could, but we knew we’d never be able to outrun them. It was then that the hallway ended in a hole, and an ancient ladder made of some sort of rope descended down into the darkness. We started racing down the ladder for our lives.
Everyone succeeded in a speed check, but I handed 2 experience points to Leve’s character, and told them that they could hear the rope above them starting to snap, and the bottom was still nowhere in sight. He gave the extra point to Hawmett’s player… and they began to frantically discuss how to get themselves out of this mess. It was then that Bethre’s player saw that he had the Numenera equivalent of an uber immovable rod, called a “Reality Spike”. This thing not only anchors in space, but in time, dimension, and reality. You could anchor something on the event horizon of a black hole if you wanted to.
We heard the ancient rope ladder starting to snap and unravel at a weakened point some place above us. I drove my Reality Spike into the wall, and tied the rope ladder to the Reality spike. We then continued racing down to the bottom of the shaft, and when we got to the bottom, we could no longer hear the skittering of the creatures above. Here, deep in the hollow mountain, under an unfathomable volume of rock, we were bathed in a sickly purplish-green light, surrounded by horrific carvings and a language etched by minds un-sane. Into what kind of nightmare has the Order of Truth sent us, and for what purpose?
To be continued…