The Blistonia Conflict

Basic Training

“…she slayed them all, her hammer was the deadly projection of power itself. Aye, I was there! The last one didn’t even have time to blink before she smashed him into a rain of blood. You’ve never seen anything like it! 150 pounds of man, turned into a puddle, aye! And I swear, not a drop so much as touched her…” - Drunkard, regaling the tavern on the execution

Fiona the Cleric, Grokduul the Paladin, Tevach the Rogue, and [Tess’s Char] were conscripted in to the Blistonian military by annual draft. They are all initiates of Squad 16. They were assigned the Psyker Kuri as communications and intelligence adviser.

Their staff sergeant took them to the initiation grounds where the 5 soldiers ruthlessly executed the state’s prisoners as a test of mettle. After cleanup the humans and dwarves went to the tavern looking to relax. Grokduul demonstrated his drinking problem, Tevach his insecurities, Fiona her brawlish nature, and [Tess’s Barbarian] her right hook.

The next morning Squad 16 were up at dawn. They were formally introduced to their Utility attachment, Seven, a recommissioned Warforged left over from the war. The mission was to replace a regiment of troops stationed at the lumber mill, just over 4 days hard march from Blistonia Capital.

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The West Road

“…They say all kinds of things when you head out west. Mostly it’s just sand and more sand. Occasionally you get the odd stone or two, but as long as you stick to the road it’s alright. What no-one talks about is the mosquitoes. Those buggers will keep you up all night unless you cover yourself up right. Take him for instance, he’s too green to get it right on the first night; he’ll be flagging on the march by noon, don’t you just see if I’m right…” - Veteran guard, on the march out on the West Road

Squad 16 set out straight from the barracks that morning and passed through the gates of Blistonia Capital to the West road. The wastes stretched out beyond them for miles, and they knew the 4 day walk ahead would be anything but interesting.

On the morning of the second day they encountered a strange party in the fog – creatures that did not identify themselves and scampered from sight at the sound of the approaching guards. Keeping in mind their mission, they pressed on without searching for any nearby camp or settlement; nothing could live this far out in the wastes anyway. That night Kuri and Fiona sparred for a mild claim to close combat prowess (Both of them knew that the claim was only of intellectual value – Fiona’s strength laid in aiding others, and Kuri was a specialist in psychic combat, so the true titles belonged to the Drawves). A host of green skinned creatures ambushed them as all eyes turned towards the two sparring guards.

Despite being tired out from the hand to hand combat, once the ambushing host identified themselves as aggressive (the battle cries and frenzied charge did much to clarify that) Squad 16 effectively dispatched the greenskin crew in it’s entirety. Kuri performed a detailed surgical dissection and reported back to command via telepathy that there had been an unexpected encounter on the West Road, 5 hours march from Mining Town.

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Mining Town

“…Tommy you OK? He sure slapped you praddy hard. You can tail green soldyars when you see ‘em, behayvin’ all rash and bawsy like that. Ah guess they were praddy shook up too – even I never seen a shaft go up like that before. It was a close call, eh buddy? Here, drink this, it’ll makea ya feel beddah. Gee, I sure hope those guards get us some help. Wait – didchoo hear somethin’? Tommy ol’ pal, shoosh now, I think someone’s coming.” – Derek and Tommy, in Mining town at their final moments

Our adventurers pushed on at sunrise. Kuri lead them to a rise where they could see Mining Town only a few kilometers away, on this clear hot day. The industrial smoke from the ore smelters and refineries clearly pinpointed their intermediate destination before resupplying and moving on to the river, where they would relieve the squad stationed there at the mill.

A few kilometers further on, the squad become increasingly alarmed at the persistence and sheer volume of the smoke over the settlement. Whilst none of them have been out so far as this from the capital, none have ever seen so much pollution and the stories that reach bars and ears never tell of how the sky becomes so obscured.

When they make the next rise only minutes from the first buildings that make up the settlement known as Mining Town, they realise that they can hear the thrum of the industrial fires, far too loud for the distance they are at. They break into a double time march and arrive to a deserted town center. The trading post in the center of town is shut up and locked tight – the silos have no activity, and the supply stocks are unmanned. Where is everyone in town? Kuri decides to split the squad – Seven and Tevach to head north in search of citizens, Kuri and Grokduul to make their way south with the same objective. The plan is to hook around and rendezvous at the West entry to town.

Grokduul and Kuri weave between the hovels and shacks, until they heard voices – and make a line straight for them. They come to a clearing where they have site to a mine entrance, and two miners having a heated one sided argument outside. As the guards head towards them, the miners break into a run, clearly away from the mine entrance itself. The guards move to engage but then an earshattering blast fills the air and the mine entrance spews forth fire, smoke and debris in a jet over their heads, littering the town with projectiles and desmembered miners.

Grokduul and Kuri reach the two miners, who are in a state of shock. After ascertaining that the town is under attack, the guards leave them to recuperate in the shelter, and head to the rendezvous point.

Seven and Tevach encounter an injured Human – shot in the chest with an arrow. Before Seven can get much more out of him than a few deluded sentences, rocks, shovels and other tools, and high-speed detritus preceeded by an immense explosion begin to rain down upon them. Seven hefts the man in his arms, and vaults towards a small house. As he enters the building a great slab of rock cannon balls into the building, trapping him inside. Tevach , seeing the warforged run into a house which promptly got demolished by a tonne of stone, intelligently hides beneath the sturdiest construct he can and waits for the worst to be over.

Squad 16 meet at the rendezvous west of town and, after dispatching all but one of a group of elite commandos operating in the area, recommune with Seven to discuss their latest attempt to communicate with headquarters. Kuri was interrupted in his telepathic ritual, and the message from HQ was cut short. With no more ingredients on hand and a desperate situation unfolding – 280 citizens of the town missing, as well as at least 5 of Blistonia’s finest, how will they proceed?

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In the Ashes - Desperate Battle

The ash & smoke billowed and gusted, hanging ominously over all of Mining Town like an omen of impending doom. The roar of the flames and rushing wind was thunderous, as though the gods themselves were shouting with a battle fury to match that of the combatants who struggled mightily in the drifts of ash gathering below…
Donis the Bard – “Tales of adventure in Blistonia- 1st Ed.”

Beneath the roiling clouds of smoke and drifting ash, the Party was set upon by a squad of hardened Goblin commandoes – trained stone-cold killers. They emerged from the murk near-silently, gliding forward with deadly grace and efficiency.

Although initially caught unawares by this assault (and 1 man down, with Seven trapped in the damaged shack) The squad rallied and with firm resolve managed to face down their attackers. Grave wounds were sustained on both sides, with Grokduul nearly falling to a veritable rain of blows – but with valiant effort and no small amount of luck all but one of the attacking commandoes were vanquished, leaving the remaining warrior to flee into the murky shadows.

With no further attacks forthcoming, the squad took time to recover: resting, bandaging wounds and regaining their strength for whatever they would need to face next, until the expected reinforcements could arrive. In this brief interlude Seven finally managed to free himself from the damaged shack and make it to the rendezvous.

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Grisly Encounter in the Abandoned Miner's Office

“…there are things, beyond this mortal plane – objects of great power, and loathesome beings of such terrible visage as to strike an ordinary man or dwarf dead merely to behold them… I will venture to these places and conquer them all, tapping their power to increase my own, until no barrier remains to me in this universe – I will be like unto a god!”
Kiithugn Jeffar – Scrap of a partially destroyed letter bearing his seal, thought to be addressed to the Magi Council

Once fully recovered from their battle with the commandoes, squad 16 took stock of their situation: there was at least a day before reinforcements from the city could arrive, even at a forced march, and yet the townsfolk were mostly still unaccounted for – and according to one hysterical miner, possibly trapped underground in the mines, in grave danger. The next course of action for the squad seemed clear; to scout the mines, trying to find the townsfolk and provide succor if needed, whilst assessing whatever potential threats to the town and its people might stil remain.

With this in mind, the Squad commander ordered an advance to the main mine-entrance (where the main ejection of debris had come from, but now had stopped), and preparations be made to descend. During this brief interlude, Kuri’s finely tuned psionic senses alerted him to the presence of something powerful in Grokduul’s backpack, and felt whatever it was tugging at his mind – clearly a powerful artifact of some kind. Somewhat alarmed at this unexpected turn of events, Kuri all but demands that Grokduul turn out his pack to reveal what lies hidden inside. With some chagrin, Grokduul reveals the items he looted (and hid from his companions) after the skirmish with the goblins the previous day – two elongated diamond-shaped pylons of earthy-coloured stone or perhaps crystal, with tiny spikes protruding from them, and vibrating slightly.

His curiosity piqued, Kuri took the pylons from the dwarf – and immediately, his mind was flooded with a sea of knowledge, the entire memories of an ancient race (as it turns out, HIS race which had been a secret even to him until this very moment) spanning a collective racial memory of millenia. Kuri collapsed into a dead faint, and becoming hysterical with terror the halfling rogue also fell into a gibbering heap. After some minutes of tending to their comrades, the squad commander & Grokduul managed to revive and calm them both – however Kuri had clearly been transformed by his experience. He demonstrated his new found identity and mysterious power by transforming his body completely into the natural form of his race: that of a perfectly-proportioned humanoid, made completely of crystal. Although the commander was initially wary f this change in the squad specialist, Kuri was able to re-assure him of his continued benevolent intentions & loyalty – the commander was satisfied, for now. It may well take Grokduul somewhat longer to win back the trust of his companions after his deception, however.

As the squad made final preparations and discussed strategy for advancing down the Mine tunnel, suddenly the body of a Townsperson smashed through one of the windows of the nearby Mine Office building – a large building raised on stilts, used for administrative purposes of marshaling and tracking the activities or this large mine. The person fell badly, appearing to suffer a broken neck, and lying slumped and motionless on the ground. The squad was immediately on alert, and quickly entered the office, moving cautiously to sweep the structure for enemies or other townsfolk.

What they found was highly unsettling – the floor was virtually covered with a slurry of blood, bones & viscera. Clearly something awful had happened to several townsfolk, judging by the sheer amount of body-parts and gore spread throughout the structure. As the squad approached the rear of the office, advancing cautiously around piled desks, chairs and other debris, they found a hunched figure seemingly cowering in the shadows. Seeing its ghastly blood-stained visage, the squad struck without hesitation, knowing they had found the culprit for this horrifying scene. A brief but brutal combat ensued, the crouching beast unfolding itself to reveal a mutated monstrosity, spawned of some hellish other dimension. Despite lashing out with apalling and unnatural strength the creature could not withstand the combined might and military precision of the squad’s attacks and was quickly dispatched with, whereupon it disintegrated rapidly into a mess of blood & bone indisinguishable from the rest of the gore covering the floor.

Acting quickly, Kuri searched the crumbling filth in the hope of shedding some light on the origin and nature of the horrific monster, and was rewarded with the discovery inside the remains of a tiny golden artifact – a tainted golden star which revealed the source of both the corruption and of the monster itself – evidently one of the poor townfolk mutated into a beast from another dimension. Sickened and shaken by the horror they had witnessed, the Squad re-grouped outside.

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Recon begins: the Mine Tunnel

“Be not afeared of the darkness itself, for that is folly; but the things to which the darkness gives concealment and succour – against these, be always wary and on your guard, and know well the man who is at your back, as it may save your life in the deep places of the earth..”
Veteran miner briefing new recruits

Taking a brief rest to recover themselves after facing the horror of the mining office, squad 16 formed up and moved out to begin recon of the mine. Hopefully to rescue civilians in trouble – potentially to engage in deadlier work.

Using a sunrod to light the darkness (the tunnel walls had been stripped by the eruption event, including the removal of all lanterns/torches), the squad cautiously made their way down. At first they attempted stealth, but when it became clear that this was impossible in their armor and other military garb, they instead tried to make a lot of noise which would seem to indicate a much LARGER force, to anyone untoward listening in.

The incline of the tunnel descended at an even rate, clearly bored by large-scale industrial mining methods directly forward and down towards some destination – with only a couple of side passages or shafts to either side, which proved inaccessible due to their ladders/supports etc. being blasted away in the eruption. At the terminus of the slope the tunnel opened into a cavern with a large central pit descending straight down, and two smaller passages exiting to either side of the pit.

The squad stopped here for a short while, and discussed their options, debating various methods of investigating the pit (it seemed some distinctly human noises were coming from the pit) and also debating which of the two side passages to investigate. After some minutes however, Kuri’s keen senses alerted him to beings, unknown in number, hiding in the left-hand passage. With this in mind, the Squad took direction from their commander to make loud noises, and march loudly as though exiting the cavern via the passage to the right (while secretly remaining in the main cavern). Their intention: to sneak across and into the left-hand side passage, and attempt an ambush of whatever – or whoever – lurks there.

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Kaldin's Desk
Meanwhile, in the Blistonian Military Operations Facility

Tyrian had been at his post for a good 20 hours already. His relief hadn’t shown up yet, and they were always undermanned. Command didn’t see the value in long range Psionic communications – runners were effective when messages needed to be carried, and they could communicate more effectively. There was also the added bonus of being able to deliver physical things, such as notes or letters, which did a better job of ensuring secrecy. The psions hadn’t yet created a means of being able to enable or allow telepathic communications between parties without being the interpreter, or at least listening in.

Besides, with all of Blistonia’s interests so close to the capital, how could he justify this project when they could only communicate as far as The Mill? The Iron mines and the Forests were too far away for even their best Psions – and they’d need two, to properly relay communication.

At that moment, Tyrian felt the signature tug of Kuri, sending a long range communication. This was strange, because Kuri’s unit reported in just the other night. Tyrian focused on the connection, welcoming the Psion and making a mental effort to memorise whatever message Kuri had.

Tyrian was horrified – Kuri’s message identified that Mining Town had been attacked by an unknown enemy, and that there was something afoot. The entire population of miners was missing. Tyrian rang the bell, and a page arrive at the doorway.

“Fetch Kaldin at once. This is urgent”
The page started – “Meister Psion, Kaldin is in a meeting with-”
“Whats your name? Karlay, Isn’t it? Your father was half the fool. There’s an emergency at Mining town, Kaldin needs to provide direction. Tell him Meister Tyrian demands his presence – lives depend on it.”

The page departed quickly, and Tyrian began to plan the logistics of the possible strategic options Kaldin might execute. What is happening here?
~

Not a minute later Kaldin’s fearsom frame burst through the door.
“This had better be good, Psion. What have you got?”
“General Kaldin, excuse my lack of formalities – Initiate Kuri has communicated in that something is wrong at Mining Town – they appear to have been attacked, and the entire population is missing. They are requesting medical and military reinforcements, as well as standing orders.”

Tyrian was always impressed with Kaldin’s ability to flawlessly assess any situation and instantly make any decision, even the hard ones.

“Tyrian, advise that we’ll have a company on forced march. I’ll send Thrakker’s Company – they’ll get there inside 20 hours. Kuri’s the attachment to that squad? Make sure you advise…”

The Meister Psion marked down Kaldin’s orders, and constructed his response to Kuri.

A moment later Tyrian looked up at Kaldin, eyes wide.
“Whats wrong, Tyrian?”

“It’s Kuri. I just lost him.”

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A Whisper in the shadows

Tevach awoke. His mind instantly alert, he remained still, his eyes closed. He knew from years of experience that people generally didn’t ask favours from a sleeping Halfling. Something was different, something wasn’t quite right. Tevach searched his mind, then it came to him. There was no sound. He halted his breathing, listening out into the cave for a noise. All around was silence, interrupted only by occasional drip of dirty water, leaving a deposit of Calcium Carbonate where it landed, slowly growing long spindly speleothems that seemed to reach out through the darkness towards you. Tevach knew that these objects took millennia to grow, but the mere thought of their pale, flesh coloured rock faces leering at him made him sit up with a start. His eyes flashed open and he looked around for his party.
Tevach was in complete and utter darkness. Suddenly it dawned on him, he was alone. Feelings of loss, abandonment, betrayal and terror filled his heart. Terror bloomed in his mind as he realised that he would breathe his last breath in this god forsaken cave. His throat began to close, his heart, beating so rapidly that he was afraid it would rip from his very chest, his chest locked up, each breath an immense effort. Tevach’s vision began to grey.

“No! Stop that You pathetic worm!” A low voice from within the depths of Tevach’s mind growled. “If you collapse here, we will both die. You must know that!” Tevach’s eyes, widening with panic rasped “What are you? Where are you?!” The response came pounding through “You disgust me. Look deep inside yourself, you know what I am. I have always been here. You have denied me since first we met. I wasnt what you wanted me to be. But now you want me. No, you need me. If you accept my assistance now, I will be with you forevermore.” “Alright! Anything” Spluttered Tevach. “I need you. Please help me.”
With a snap, the world seemed to shift, ever so slightly, as though a translucent veil had been lifted. A cold shiver ran down Tevach’ spine. The terror and paranoia had drained from his body, leaving him with dark sense of foreboding. “What have I become?” He muttered to himself under his breath. “Enough of the self pity you useless, pathetic creature. I have to get out of here. We have to get out of here. First you must stop resisting, I know what to do. You must ride the winds of vengeance and repay those who sent you down here and those that abandoned you, cold and alone in the dark.”
Tevach nodded. Suddenly he felt a cool draft briefly touch his face. He knew what he had to do, he knew how to break free from this cursed mine. When he made his way to the surface, he would reap a terrible vengeance on those who had betrayed him, those who had looked down on him.. those that pitied him.
Tevach was snapped out of his reverie by a monumental shaking. The whole world seemed to be moving. The caverns ere collapsing! A booming thunderous voice echoed through mine from its very cavernous heart. TEVACH!! TEVAAACH!!!

Tevach?
Tevach?

“Tevach? Wake up old friend.” The dwarf was gently shaking his shoulder. “Are you alright there? Twas a terrible dream you were havin. Go back to sleep now and rest easy. Been a long day for all of us.
Tevach, confused and groggy with sleep thanked Grokduul. “I’m sure I’ll be alright now, thank you for looking after me friend.”
Tevach rolled over, laid his pounding head back down onto the dank, cold rock and tried to sleep. As he began to fall back into the warm embrace of sleep a voice whispered to him “I told you I’m not going away again.”

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Descent into the Skittering Dark

“…Now remember as I said – the dark is not your enemy nor your ally, but by gods the beasts it bares are rarely your friend. The old shafts will get cobbled in mostly as a safety precaution to wandering younglet like you lot, but also because the mines make great homes for spiders, bugbears and packs of dogs closer to the surface. If you see silken thread, and you haven’t got more’n five men with you, run like hell and Dont. Touch. The Web. You have been warned. Now, here’s the staff room…” - Veteran miner, showing the new recruits to the mines.

Squad 16 charged into the roughly cut tunnel in the mines. Making their way as quickly as possible over the uneven rock floor, they rounded the corner and were confronted with two miners. A female was sitting in a corner with a collapsed male miner in her care.

Warily, Content Not Found: fiona approached the couple, and attemped to console her, whilst assessing the nature of the injury of the male miner.
“I’m Julia,” said the miner “and this is Rob. We were attacked out of the darkness, just before the explosion.”
Julia had begun to cry.

Meanwhile, Grokduul carefully began to remove the shirt and mantle from Rob. Beneath he saw many puncture wounds, at least two score. Grokduul focused his divine powers and with a healing touch ejected shrapnel from Rob’s body and closed the wounds. Rob’s breathing eased noticeably. Grokduul cleverly searched for any potential wound where they may have found another of the Golden Diamons, but it was in vain. He roused Rob from unconsciousness.

Fiona had continuned to talk to Julia whilst Seven and Kuri kept watch. The miners told the story of how they were just starting on shift when they had been attacked in the dark by militants who must have come from deeper within the mine. She had taken Rob and bought him here and hidden – they only other thing she remembered was the explosion

Grokduul asked Julia if there was a way down into the mines, and Julia told them of an old abandoned passage, which would lead them to the base of the mine shaft. It had been sealed for years. Kuri found the entrance and broke open the sealed cobble. They walked in to the old tunnel.

Upon progressing, Fiona’s sunrod spread light into the tunnel, and the reflection of thousands of threads of spiderweb shone back at them. Testing the web, Fiona threw a rock, and the whole tunnel tremored. Squad 16 advanced with care. Kuri began to hear the tittering and growls of some creatures further down the tunnel.

Quickly they descended the old passage, working their way into thicker webbing. All of a sudden, Kalee disappeared, diving into the tunnel wall as 4 large scaled spiders burrowed through webbing into the tunnel, both infront and behind them.

Cornered, the squad bunched up and fought back. Grokduul hammered away at the spiders; Tevach split one clean in two. Kuri focused his psychic powers, and Fiona helped him bring one down. Seven poured arrows into anything with more than two legs. After the gruelling battle the squad licked their wounds and proceeded. The sounds of the spiders were still loud around them – perhaps they had only encountered the guards!

The squad round the corner, and a few meters decent into this new passage, there is a tearing sound from behind them. The Tunnel is collapsing! Grokduul swings his hammer against the wall of the web tunnel to try and brace himself against the collapse of the tunnel. His effort was in vain – his Hammer sailed through the web wall, and beyond he could see only open black space. The ripping sounds intensified behind them, and all of a sudden the tube of web they were in separated from the tunnel behind it and began to slide down the old mine at breakneck speed.

Grokduul, his balance already askew from his near miss with the wall, was thrown off his feet and felt every rock on the way down. The other soldiers kept their footing and rode it out. There was a crash as they broke through some rock face or another and they were all thrown forward when the sliding web tube stopped against the wall of a man-made mine.

They carefully exited the webbing to discover they were at the bottom of the elevator shaft. Behind them a decrepit mine with crude stairs led back up to the surface. In front of them a staff room and a few collapsed tunnels. The squad busted into the staff room, flattening most of the contents with the door in the process. They scavenged some food and a lamp or two, but nothing else much of use.

Entering the least damaged of the remaining tunnels, they turn a corner to find a bunch of cocooned bodies – must be 4 or 5 dozen! From amongst the bodies more giant spiders leapt from the ceiling and attacked!

The fight was a close and near battle – Tevach, Grokduul and Kuri were all knocked unconscious at some point or another. They pulled through, only just ending the onslaught of the final spider’s attack. Worn out, bloodied and otherwise exhausted, Squad 16 turned their eyes upward to see if they can help the civilians.

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In The Belly of the Mines
  • Rescued the Civilians
  • Saved 48 of the 57.
  • Grokduul and Seven Fought more spiders in the stairs
  • Found out the explosion was caused by the miners trying to seal off the unknown assailants.
  • Rescued the miners from the mine (bar one casualty from a fall at the elevator shaft.)
  • Waited for rescue from Thrakker’s Company
  • Thrakker sent Squad 16 with an attachment to check out the tavern
  • Kuri and Seven broke in upstairs, while the rest proceeded to break in the front door
  • Most of the attachment were killed and Grokduul injured in a pit trap at the door.
  • The pit was mostly filled with the townsfolk – all dead in a room full of goblins.
  • Succesfully cleared the main entry dining hall.

Will fix this up when motivation allows.

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