Sunday, April 5, 2015

City in the Mirage, Chapter 2

What follows is a write-up of my group's playtest of the new game I'm working on: Exiled in Eris.

I am running them through the introductory adventure I included with Swords of Cydoria, adapted to Exiled in Eris. Not to mention some final playtesting and fine tuning of the rules.


Rage Bourne Crusader, Human Artifact Hunter
Theris, Human Celestial Guardian, searching to recover lost artifacts of the Celestials.
Jip-Jip, Tintazi Scout with a slave-bond to Theris
Pi 2-50, Cyberdroid Aerine and sniper
Thyra, Barbarian warrior from Gatas, land of the Amazon women.

"The City in the Mirage, Chapter 2"
A horde of diminutive gibbering reptile-men descended upon the expedition in the middle of the night. The members of the expedition were thrown into disarray.

The contingent of students, including Magister Reeg and Dentir Osso, scattered into the darkness seeking to hide in gullies and behind boulders. They were chased by eight tintazi raiders. Lord Kendrik's house retainers grabbed their rifles and ran off to help defend them.

Lord Kendrik stood back to back with his loyal bodyguard firing their plasma blasters at the eight raiders that surrounded them.

The guides, led by Rage Bourne, formed three small groups. Rage Bourne was caught apart from the rest, surrounded by three barking fiends, Theris and Jip-Jip fought side by side against another three tintazi, and Pi 2-50 and Thyra stood back to back firing their ranged weapons at point-blank range.

Eventually, Theris was able to leave Jip-Jip to fight a single tintazi. He dashed across the dark terrain to provide assistance to a student that has been captured and tied up by two tinazi and was being carried off.

Soon, Pi 2-50 broke away and ran to help another student who had likewise been set upon by two scaled assailants. Once Theris defeated his two, he turned to help Pi 2-50.

Eventually, enough tintazi had been killed that the remaining survivors turned and fled into the night. In the end, the expedition had survived with one casualty: Lord Kendrik's bodyguard Kabak had been killed in the fight. Kabak's remains were buried under some rocks and at dawn Lord Kendrik said a few words commemorating the sacrifice of his loyal guardian.

Instead of using a strict scale representation on the battle map, I used a conceptual representation showing who was fighting whom. I had a circle drawn for the "student group" and a circle drawn for the "Lord Kendrik group" with lizard-men miniatures in each group. Players could send their characters to help whichever group they needed to. Instead of playing out the individual actions of each member of each group, I had a table that I rolled on at the end of every turn to determine what happened to each group.
Student group:
One of the tintazi has caused 1D6 + 1 damage to either one of the party.
1: Magister Reeg
2: Master Osso
3-6: one of the students
7-8: Dergo
9-10: Frunk
One of the four students has been found. Two tintazi wrestle the student to the ground. On the next round, the tintazi will bind the victim’s hands and legs. On the third round, the tintazi will carry the student away into the dark.
As above, but two of the group have been found.
Stalemate. The tintazi cannot find any of the students and no one is captured, injured, or killed this round.
One of the tintazi is killed
Two of the tintazi are killed
Lord Kendrik's group:
Lord Kendrik is injured, taking 1D6 + 1 damage
Trin is injured, taking 1D6 + 1 damage
Kabak is injured, taking 1D6 + 1 damage
Stalemate, no one is injured.
One of the tintazi is killed
Two of the tintazi are killed

The expedition continued after sun-up. They loaded up the three girahs and set off across the flat expanse of the dry lake bed. The entire plain was covered in two inches of fine white crystalline powder that crunched underfoot and kicked up huge plumes of white dust. The dust was toxic so everyone in the team wore filtered breathing masks and goggles. The girah wore no such masks and suffered as a result.

The Journey
By mid-morning, the expedition had covered nearly ten miles. A dark flat wavering shape could now be seen on the horizon. Magister Reeg pointed to it as their destination.

Suddenly, the ground beneath each of the three girah erupted as tentacled horrors emerged from their subterranean burrows. The expedition had been beset by three large sand-squid. Each sand-squid grabbed a girah and began dragging it down under the sand. The girah squealed in confused pain. The team grabbed their weapons and began firing into and otherwise attacking the sand-squid attacking their girah. Thyra was grabbed by a tentacle and was risk of being eaten when the team killed the predatory creature, primarily with Theris' armor-piercing starmetal sword and Pi 2-50's plasma rifle.

Sand Squid attack!

After killing their sand-squid, they rushed to the next. The students had scattered, giving the team a wide berth to attack the leviathan. Once again, the starmetal sword and plasma rifle made short work of the armored creature. The third creature, meanwhile, was killed by Lord Kendrik and his retainers.

This time, the expedition faced a real problem. The girah were wounded and were unable to continue. Either Thyra would have to use her healing power to save them or they would have to be put down. Thyra decided to keep her healing powers in case a human member of the expedition needed them and the girah were eliminated. The expedition would have to carry their gear on their backs for the rest of the journey and would have to make several trips. They loaded up and continued to the dark patch on the horizon.

They reached their destination by mid-afternoon. As they approached the dark patch, it resolved itself into a shimmering translucent dome of some kind of energy at least a mile in diameter. The dome was empty and the ground beneath the dome appeared dark as in shadow. The air around the field crackled with a static charge and smelled of ozone. The mouths and eyes of everyone in the expedition had become unusually dry. Magister Reeg believed the dome to be some kind of invisibility field, concealing the city within.

The team decided to investigate the field. They cautiously moved forward. The field offered mild resistance but was otherwise pliant and tingly, almost "fuzzy". They pushed forward. As they entered the field, they were beset by an overwhelming disorientation and feeling of nausea. Even Pi 2-50's circuits were scrambled by the field. Ultimately, they pushed through, though they felt significantly weaker than they did when they first entered it.

Each character lost 1d4 Hit Points passing through the field. 

Within the field was a ruined city! The city was built atop an artificial island, like a flat stone platform. The sides of the platform were steep and over fifty feet tall.

Rage Bourne Crusader recognized the architecture as Aeonian. He could also deduce that the city was once an island in a large lake. He could also tell that at one point the water of the lake had been poisoned or otherwise polluted by whatever left the white crystalline residue and that the lake had risen to a point where it flooded the city thirty feet deep. All of the buildings were coated in the residue to a height of thirty feet.

The city had also fallen to an attack. Buildings were toppled, entire sections of the platform were destroyed, monuments had fallen. Other than the battle damage and the residue from the poison flood, there was no sign of weathering. It had obviously not rained here for hundreds, if not thousands, of years, nor had strong winds blasted anything inside the energy field.

The team climbed the steps into the gates of the city and looked around.
The Ruined City

Rage Bourne recognized it from the model city in the tomb of Yalzhas. He stood now in the ruins of Hrosek, the Lost City!

To be continued!


  1. Good afternoon sir, I just wanted to say that I really enjoy reading this blog. It gets me through the downtime as my group can only meet once per month. Keep up the great work!

  2. Good afternoon sir, I just wanted to say that I really enjoy reading this blog. It gets me through the downtime as my group can only meet once per month. Keep up the great work!