Poster advertising the expedition.

Introduction

An aether-faring adventure on an experimental craft to explore the wonders and mysteries of a nearby moon. The player characters join as passengers or crew, or a mixture thereof. While the adventure follows a planned trajectory, there are many events that can drastically alter the journey.

Background

Lady Mathesia Fogg is a bright, young woman of means, who dreams big. She has studied many disciplines, and has become a powerful sorceress. But now she has her sights set on that blue-green circle in the sky, the Viridian Moon. She seeks to discover its secrets, and to do so she has designed a craft capable of reaching it. In style.

The adventure begins shortly after all cargo has been safely stowed away, and all crew and passengers have embarked on this craft, the Vernilus.

Setup

The players should choose their character’s role aboard the craft. Below are the options, and the sort of things that would be expected from someone in that role.

  • Passenger. Lounge about, explore, relax, experiment, attempt to enter off-limits areas.
  • Stevedore. Load and unload cargo, perform ship maintenance, take care of the balloons.
  • Security. Patrol the ship regularly, keep passengers out of off-limits areas. Probably a cushy job.
  • Staff. Cook, clean, wait on the passengers.
  • Officer. Pilot, check course and gauges, defer to Lady Fogg, explain why the craft cannot go any faster.
  • Musician. Play piano in the lounge, be a part of the ballroom string quartet, continue playing in case the Vernilus sinks.

Tips for Running the Adventure

This adventure involves many characters, many rooms with potential hooks, and therefore it might seem like a tall order on the GM. Instead of trying to cram all possible items, events, and persons into the game, present them like a buffet to the players, and see which ones stick. Perhaps they have to share a cabin with another passenger, sit with prominent passengers or crew at the dinner table, or run into them through one of the many random events.

Before long you’ll have a handful of passengers or crew your players interact with the most, and that’s great. Concentrate on these, and let the others fade into the background.

The same is true for any items (random or otherwise) that the players find. There are many strange and powerful ones dotted throughout the adventure, any number of which can spark adventures of their own. Expand on the ones the players are most interested in.

The goal of this introductory adventure is to wet the player characters’ appetites for all the wonder this and other cosms have to offer, and to familiarize them with the Hypertellurians loop of discovering cool things and gaining Wonder, and then spending that Wonder to do more marvelous things. Reinforce the drive towards exploration through the ship’s crew, especially Lady Fogg herself.

By the end of the adventure, the characters likely have access to an ultracosmic portal. From there on in, all the cosms in existence will be their oyster!

Dramatis Personae

Lady Mathesia Fogg

The mastermind behind the expedition. She designed the Vernilus and plotted the course. Prone to carrying screwdrivers and pencils in her hair.

Lvl 5; Brawn 8, Agility 11, Mind 14; hp 15; Defense 11; Armor 0; Attack +5
Strengths: Build marvelous contraptions, save life by unconventional means, gravity based magic.
Weaknesses: Hopeless romantic and idealist, poor upper body strength.
Drive: Explore the Viridian Moon, the cosm, and beyond!
Secret: Mathesia misses her late mother so. She has tried to rebuild her, but without access to any of the originals parts, only to middling success. The immobile torso and head of Mother 2.0 is hidden in a cupboard in the vitalasium (20), where it’s attached to (and a drain on) the ship’s power via many cables.
Equipment: Elegant and expensive outfit with paduasoy skirt, pencils and screwdrivers and other tools used as hair-sticks, the Agravic Grimoire (see below), assortment of jewelry parts to preserve life mechanically, hidden pockets with loose coins.

Captain Anselmo

A one-eyed iguana man, and seasoned sailor, Captain Anselmo is a person of few words, but under his roll neck jumper and lizard skin beats a pair of caring hearts. He’s known Mathesia since she was a little girl, and is a father figure to her.

Lvl 6; Brawn 13, Agility 9, Mind 11; hp 18; Defense 9; Armor 1 (attached); Attack +6 Strengths: Physical brawn, navigation, making hard decisions under pressure. Weaknesses: Terrible depth perception, close to retirement, gammy leg. Drive: To see this mission through, and bring everyone safely back. The safety of his charges is paramount to Anselmo. Secret: In his younger days, Anselmo fell to the wiles of a wail of sirens. It’s all a bit of a blur, but he disappeared for several weeks until discovered on a remote island, raving about alien mermaids that took to the skies after they were done with him. He worries there are hyperterrestial iguana/siren offspring out in the cosm somewhere. Equipment: Warm and snug captain’s outfit together with hat, trusty pocket knife (1d4; light, fated), aether gas lantern (it holds sentimental value), walking stick with a silvered octopus head.

Salena Mallick

Ace aviatrix, First Officer to Captain Anselmo, and Head of Security at the same time. She’s a slight woman, easily underestimated, and she’s not above exploiting that. She takes her posting very seriously.

Lvl 5; Brawn 10, Agility 13, Mind 12; hp 20; Defense 16; Armor 0; Attack +5
Strengths: Extremely athletic, steady hands and steady mind, pilot anything.
Weaknesses: Trouble asserting herself through anything other than violence, hopeless at escapology.
Drive: To discover and pilot something even more awe-inspiring than the Vernilus. And faster.
Secret: Salena is a spy for an opposed, conquer-happy power known only as the Florid Fist. Her role is to evaluate the Viridian Moon for resources and strategic importance, and immediately report in, if deemed valuable.
Equipment: Elaborate anarkali dress, many hidden throwing knives (1d4; light, precise), ring of x-ray vision.

Magnus Dent

Loyal assistant to Lady Fogg, who crushed on her hard before his accident. Mathesia was able to save his vital organs only, which now reside separately in bubbling jars, connected via synthetic nerve tissue. He speaks via a crude voice synthesizer that’s hooked up his brain jar.

Lvl 3; Brawn 10, Agility —, Mind 12; hp 9; Defense 0; Armor 2; Attack +3
Strengths: Deduction, listening, recalling information.
Weaknesses: Immobile, intimately exposed, emotionally and morally impaired.
Drive: Regain a moving body. Any moving body. Flesh and blood would be nice, but a mechanical one will do.
Secret: He’s hooked up to the ship’s power and other systems, and enjoys limited control over them.
Equipment: Due to his condition, Magnus doesn’t have any equipment.

Miscellaneous Passengers

  • Amberly Jule is a mermaid with iridescent scales. When she doesn’t swim about in her bespoke tank in the lounge, she is pushed around in her wheelchair by one of her two mute servants. She loves jewels (and trapped things in them, like her servants’ voices), and hopes to discover new ones on the moon.
  • Genevieve Gallas is the Mother Superior of her chapter in the Order of the Mercyful Sepulcher. Her habit is made of satin, and she wears a regal crown. She has managed to smuggle her wicked mace onboard. This journey is a means of atonement for unspoken failures for her. She will invariably be the first to throw herself into danger.
  • Argencia, the Silver Sorceress with the Power to Crush Men. All allure, all in silver. Surrounded by deferential, well dressed goblin servants. She knows the Viridian Moon holds an ultracosmic portal, and she wants full control over it.
  • Duchess used to be the favorite pet poodle of a fussy queen, before escaping into a magical realm and transforming into a poodle man. He established himself as the leader of a guild of thugs and thieves in that realm, and now seeks to expand his network off-world.
  • Galaxia and Firella are stowaway ultranauts, philanthropes, and adventurers. They couldn’t pass up the expedition, but have a complicated relationship with the Fogg family, and thought it unlikely they’d be allowed on board via the official channels. They seek to see all the wonders the Ultracosm has to offer.

Miscellaneous Crew

  • Little Taski. Precocious young girl with a huge, trusting smile, and remarkably sticky fingers. She ostensibly works in the kitchen, when she’s not exploring the ship, discovering secret routes around it, or purloining possessions.
  • Doctor Stevenson is the ship’s physician and a close friend of the Fogg estate. Mild-mannered, with a subtle stutter and a persistent shake in his left hand, both of which disappear for a while after he takes a dose of his daily vitamin concoction. Stevenson has recently been trialling a new serum that was supposed to return some of the strength lost to aging back him. Instead however, the serum transforms him into a strong, cunning, and malicious female version of himself for a few hours. He has no recollection of this transformation, but suspects the serum to be faulty. It is also highly addictive.
  • Another friend to the Fogg family, Professor Byronnax is an experimental biologist and anthropologist, and a master of both seduction and lewd verses. Although genuinely interested in the effects of the aether and the proximity of the Viridian Moon to his plants, he is so very easily distracted.

Possible Timeline

Lift-off

After cargo, crew, and passengers have boarded, all hatches are battened, and the Vernilus takes off. As it rises to the edge of the atmosphere—about 40km up—and the pressure drops, the balloons expand. This takes about 2 hours.

  • Curtailed to the lounge. All passengers are to congregate in the lounge for this part, where they can observe through the windows.

Escaping Earth’s Pull

Now it’s time to best gravity and ascend into the aether. To do this, Lady Mathesia Fogg casts her unshackles geotaxis spell from the observatory. Thereafter the captain will vent the gas of all 4 balloons in a concentrated burst, which will propel the Ventilus on its 400 000 km long journey to the Viridian Moon. This journey will take about 4 days.

  • Fogg collapses. Casting the spell on an object of this size leaves Lady Fogg predictably exhausted and helpless. A crew member is to carry her to her room and tend to her for a day or so to let her regain her strength.
  • The balloons are retracted. The teamsters are charged with donning aether suits, exiting the ship, and packing away the balloons.
  • Captain Anselmo is in charge. While First Officer Salena focuses on navigation and engineering, the captain runs the sedate day-to-day affairs on the ship.
  • A typical day for passengers. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all served in the dining room. Dinner is considered a black tie event, during which a string quartet plays on the stage. In the afternoon, a piano player plays in the lounge. The passengers can explore or relax in the lounge (where the bar is always open).
  • Science is happening. While the passengers relax, and the crew go about their business, Professor Byronnax is tending to his plants, or checking the menagerie. Unless he’s been distracted by a pretty or handsome guest. Once Lady Fogg has recovered she will also be performing experiments or calculations, mostly in private.
  • Random events. See the Random Events on the Vernilus table.

Alien Incursion

A day or so before the Vernilus enters orbit around the moon, it is attacked by aliens bent on acquiring new fleshy and mechanical captives. Their ship resembles a giant, armor-plated squid that “swims” awkwardly through the aether, before eventually attaching to the Vernilus and boarding it. See Boarded by Aliens for details.

Away-Team to the Moon

Once the Vernilus has safely settled into a stationary orbit around the Viridian Moon, it’s time to assemble the away team in the observatory and prime the lander.

  • The team can consist of anyone plus Lady Fogg. It’s up to you whether the characters want to accompany her, or perhaps be sent in the second lander as a rescue mission, when she does not return.
  • The lander is a sphere of glass and metal, attached to the Vernilus by a long and sturdy cable, which will be used to retract it.
  • It is supposed to land on the slope of the volcano.
  • Yes, the native Skolrom will attempt to climb the cable, battling the inhospitable aether conditions through sheer determination.
  • The lander is supposed to be retracted with the away-team after 24 hours.

Moon Exploration

This part can play out in a variety of ways, depending on who and how has traveled down to the moon’s surface.

  • It should include an encounter with the Skolrom, or the aftermath of one of their rituals.
  • It should also result in the discovery of the ultracosmic portal.

Return Journey

By now the characters should have had a lot of excitement and Wonder, but the final steps of the journey is for the lander to be retracted, and for the Vernilus to return home. But there is of course the mysterious portal…

The Vernilus

Side map of the aether craft Vernilus.

Lady Fogg’s aether-faring craft is an experimental zeppelin type structure, with two detachable landers connected by a long shaft.

From the Outside

An impressive vehicle, all gleaming silver that’s broken up only by the three rows of windows along its hull. It looks to be inspired by insectoids, almost alien. The lower levels have slightly curving ramps and retractable landing gear.

Four massive balloons attach along a connecting middle shaft; they’re filled with a special gas that’s lighter than air. The balloons expand the higher the Vernilus soars.

On the Inside

The inside furnishings resemble a luxury manor house. Wood panelling up to waist height, then all button-backed padded leather. Rich carpets, experimental gas lanterns in sconces, and wooden furniture.

It would be easy to forget that one is in a flying craft rather than a ritzy club in the most fashionable part of town. The expedition and discoveries are not all Lady Fogg wants the passengers to remember about this expedition.

Vernilus Locations

Top down map of the inside of the Vernilus.

The location descriptions all follow the same format. First, a general sense of the place. What sounds there are, or what it smells like. Then a bullet point list of important items or people, or goings-on. The sort of stuff you’d notice from a quick look around. These points then have more information that might only be gleaned from interacting with it, or at least a closer look. Finally, all relevant statistics or ancillary information is given.

1. Lounge

Grand, stylish, luxurious. Soft sounds of piano music, the murmur of people mingling and talking.

  • Floor slightly recessed, a few steps lead down to it.
  • At any time, various guests mill about here, often gazing out at the aether in awe through the wide windows.
  • A fully stocked bar, and a couple of waiters.
  • A grand piano, played masterfully by one of the ship’s musicians during what counts for daytime hours.
  • A large glass cylinder with metal bindings, filled with water that bubbles softly in a few spots.
    • Used by Amberly Jule, the mermaid.
    • It has an opening at the top.
  • Plush chairs, sofas, stools, and low tables for drinks.
  • A dart board.

2. Spiral Staircases

Wrought iron, noisy when heels clank on them.

  • They run from the lower through the main, all the way to the top level.
  • The top levels have a small landing, with a door. A purple light shines above them.
    • The top level doors are generally locked and restricted to purple access.

3. Passenger Quarters

A little cramped, private. Lockable from both sides.

  • Two bunk beds per cabin, plus a wardrobe with a full length mirror.
  • Wide bowl and a decanter of water, a piece of soap, and towels, on a narrow table.
    • The decanter is refilled daily, and the towels replaced.
  • A writing desk with lockable drawers.
    • Contains ink and quill, and sheaths of paper.
  • A window to the outside, with heavy curtains in front of it.

4. Bathrooms

Candle lighting, sweet smell of flowers, warm steam.

  • A copper bathtub, filled with warm water, petals lazily floating atop it.
    • Kept warm by hot steam pipes running to and along the tub.
  • Marble toilet, behind a beautifully painted folding divider.
  • Shelves with soft towels and toiletries.
  • A bell on a string to call for an attendant.

The first bathroom a character enters contains a scented sponge. When touched, it releases a cloud of spores. These spores automatically make anyone who inhales them or gets them into their system fascinated by and attracted to Argencia. When they subsequently see Argencia they must make a Mind 15 check or instantly develop a high school crush on her. If at any point they go 1 day without seeing her, all effects wear off.

Portrait of Anvil and Manvil.

Sense of being watched. Often a busy throughway.

  • A dozen large portraits on the walls. All in ornate, gilded frames. Including:
    • A life-size painting of two extremely muscled men, likely twins. A plaque read “Anvil and Manvil—Heroes of Sonnos”. The word “heroes” is scratched out and “gods” is scratched into the frame instead.
    • A picture of Lady Fogg when she was a little girl, standing next to her proud father, an academic or sage of sorts. She is proudly presenting a crude but cute automaton.
      • The name “Trigonometron” is embossed on the automaton. This is the password for the secret ritual room in Mathesia’s quarters (19).

6. Library

Smell of dusty tomes, quiet.

  • All walls are shelves.
  • Many of them filled with leather-bound books, but there is room for plenty more.
    • Adventure fiction, expedition documentaries, some on natural sciences, including How to Avoid Huge Ships, An Hour of Red: Digest Edition, Flashman & Flashwoman: A Match Made in a Hurry, Cannibalism for Master Masticators, and How to Protect Your Bedroom Against the Fey and Remove their Charms.
  • High back sofa chairs, little table with candle next to each.

The last person leaving notices a book falling off a shelf, opening on a page with a heraldic tree. Touching any of the shields or names in the illustration imparts a brief memory from the lord of lady mentioned.

7. Observatory

Side view of the observatory.

Quiet but the slightest sound echoes, feeling of serenity.

  • Dominated by a large sphere of glass, metal, and rivets. The bottom hemisphere is set into the floor and provides an expansive view of the aether.
    • Metal stairs descend to its bottom.
    • A control panel of levers, crystals, and valves is bolted onto the floor, next to a padded piloting chair.
  • The top hemisphere hangs from the ceiling via a chain mechanism.
    • It contains a circular door and several padded passenger seats, arrayed on metal rafters.
    • When both hemisphere are combined, they form the primary lander, the craft that will descend to the moon’s surface, and later hoisted back up, via a heavy tether to the Vernilus proper.
  • Speaker tube for communication with the bridge (18).
  • Cordoned off round staircase to the secondary lander (25).
    • Leads through the long connecting shaft (24).

8. Menagerie

Small animal noises: chittering, squawking, flapping, chewing. Disagreeable, raw odors. Aura of danger, from the unusual beasts on display.

  • The walls on both sides are lined with cages, stacked too high in many places.
  • Professor Byronnax brought them along to study the aether’s effects on them.
  • Animals include: purple lotus mice, an albino raven, several snakes and a stunted couatl, an aggressive Sumatran rat monkey, and even a tiny, wild mold hog called Hogley Hogglestein III.
  • The star is a fat cockatrice, a hideous chicken-like fowl whose bite slowly turns you to stone.
    • It’s blindfolded to help it sleep, but don’t discourage characters from thinking that it’s the bird’s gaze that is petrifying and that the hood is to protect against this, it’s huge fun.

9. Botanicum

Fresh but moist air, occasional rustle of leaves, vivid colors, veritable assault of exotic smells.

  • Filled with all manner of plants and flowers.
  • Large work table in the middle, locked cupboard along the wall.
    • Byronnax has the key, but the lock is not great. Salena made him promise to lock it up when he’s not there, as it contains a variety of sharp, gardening implements.
  • Most are pretty but mundane flowers, but some of them are more unusual:
    • Yellow bonny adelaster: its pollen produces uncontrollable sneezing, even in automatons,
    • Amaranthine abbess: eat this flower to extend your life by a day but make your death doubly worse,
    • Grandiloquent gilliver: ingesting its extract inflicts antho- or florimania.
  • One of the plants is a phasmatodea nesting ground. Disturb at your leisure, if you enjoy being swarmed by vengeful, ghostly stick insects.

10. Sanatuary

Chemical, disinfectant smell. Brightly lit.

  • Several sick beds along the wall.
  • Long table and shelves with chemical reagents, burners, and flasks, and distillation in progress along another wall.
    • Also a diffractometer, for learning the properties of a crystal.
  • Several potions arrayed on a tray on that table:
    • Aerostatium: makes you lighter than air and gives you a high pitched voice for a scene,
    • Acetaminophen: numbs pain—immune to excruciating and brutal and gain +5 Brawn buffer for a day,
    • Mermaid serum: 1 dose gives you a mermaid tail and gills for 1 scene, any more doses render the transformation permanent.
  • An upright trunk stands in the corner, battered from age but sturdy.
    • It’s safely locked (Agility 15 to pick with tools), Doctor Stevenson has the key.
    • Inside are many little flasks of chemical compounds, confusingly labelled.
    • A row of flasks are labelled “Serum No. 9”—there are at least 20 of them. A single dose increases one’s abilities by 1d4 for 1 scene. Repeated usage creates addiction and a split personality that is both violent and malicious.

11. Grand Ballroom

Opulence, luxury, scented candles. Dulcet tones of a dedicated string quartet. Delicious smells of exquisite fare at most any time of day.

  • Musicians play on a raised stage during the main meals.
  • Round tables and chairs are spread throughout the room during meals, at other times they are moved to the side to make room for dancing.
  • Polite ushers see to your every need, and remark on any sub-standard outfits (but won’t press the issue beyond sneers).
  • Beautiful statues ring the room.
    • Though they’re made of alabaster and marble, their superb craftsmanship makes the drapery and folds portrayed on them look so very real.
    • They’re hollow on the inside, and filled with a gas that’s lighter than air to reduce their overall downward drag on the craft. If the secret compartments to their interior are discovered and opened, the gas will quickly escape and give everyone within a short distance comically high voices for a few moments. Roll on Random Finds to see what’s inside.

12. Kitchen

Exotic spices, competing food smells, hectic staff, bubbling of many pots on the go at once.

  • Many cooking appliances.
    • Stoves, ovens, grills.
    • Gas powered.
  • Cute little colibri and dragonfly automatons flit about, carrying spice racks and specialized cooking implements.
    • They dash to anyone calling their individual name.
    • The colibri carry the spice racks and are called Delphinae, Thalassinus, Cyanotus, Coruscans, and Serrirostris.
    • The dragonflies carry utensils like basters, tenderizers, and corers, and have names like Odonata, Anisoptera, and Petaluridae.
  • The pots, pans, and fires are large in here.

13. Pantry & Laundry Room

Smells of freshly washed clothes, generally quiet, few staff.

  • During the day, staff only come in occasionally to pick up foodstuffs. At night, the clothes are being washed.
  • Half of the room is dedicated to washing, the other half is all shelves.
    • Fully stocked with any number of fancy spices, dried fruit and meats, cheeses, jam jars, coffee, teas, and conserves.
  • The door to the observatory is locked.
  • Many passenger and staff clothes can be found here, either in a pile, or washed and folded.
    • A basket near the pile contains items left in the clothes that were discovered in time.
  • An expertly carved wooden relief of a comically large wagon with dozens of doors adorns one wall.
    • The little doors can each be opened and contain a tiny compartment behind them.
    • Contents (1d12): chocolate or sweet treat (1–6), brass ring (7), silver ring (8), gold ring (9), bent key in the shape of an octopus (10), lockpick fishing hook (11), red ring that can only be moved while touched with a silken gloved hand (12).

14. Engineering

Hot and stuffy, steamed up surfaces, many valves, hisses of steam or gas bursts escaping, crew checking gauges and adjusting dials.

  • Complex array of valves, gauges, levers, buttons, and dials.
    • Labelled, but with abbreviated terms unknown to laymen. (Eg. ASI, VSI, AI, HI, TC.)
    • All instruments found in the bridge are duplicated here, plus additional more low-level ones.
  • Gramophone-like speakers on two walls.
    • Bi-directional speaker array to the bridge and back.
  • Star charts, very crude moon maps, Vernilus blueprints are tacked to the walls.
    • The blueprints are a flipchart, with each page showing different elements like the gas pipes, mechanical shafts, or other parts pertaining to the running of the ship.

15. Floating Armory

Still, safe, secure.

  • 4 tall, metal and hardwood chests stand along the walls, chained and padlocked.
    • The chains are attached to heavy duty metal rings in the walls.
    • As well as the padlocks, the chests are locked themselves.
    • 3 people carry the keys: Mathesia, Anselmo, and Salena.
    • An assortment of arms are contained within, for emergencies and unforeseen (or perhaps all too foreseen) circumstances. Arms and armament like:
      • Axes, daggers, and crossbows,
      • A bone spear dyed red. The runes along its haft translate to “Violance” (medium weapon; 1d6 damage; brutal, long, magic, throwing). The wielder’s wounds are partially healed whenever they initiate violence.
      • A vibro glaive (heavy weapon; 1d8 damage; force, long, magic) that ignores non-magical armor, and randomly produces an ear-splitting hum once per day at a terrible time.
      • A helmet whose visor prominently features an oversized mouth with fanged lips. This mouth is always hungry, licking its lips or salivating at the thought of eating someone else’s face. No one knows where the mouth goes, and it’s an acquired experience.
      • A bracelet that can emit a floating and buzzing shield of hard light once per session for a scene.
      • A long-hafted morning star (medium weapon; 1d6 damage; backswing, ranged on demand) whose head can be shot off at a target up to a short distance away. It remains attached by a chain. Resetting it is a tedious task.
      • A jar labelled “earth tones”. Each time it’s opened a different one escapes, up to 6. They all sound woody, or earthy, and produce surprising effects: cover a close area in thick mud (1), bark an order that gives an ally another immediate action (2), keep the closest enemy occupied with coughing up fresh earth for 1d4 rounds (3), offer everyone flowers—way too many flowers (4), turn everyone nearby’s blood permanently ochre (5), gift you an ossified piece of bark home to an ancient yet reasonable lich dryad (6).
  • Any weapons brought on board by passengers or crew will be locked up in a chest during the voyage.
    • Unless successfully smuggled on, naturally.

16. Brig

Empty of life (probably, maybe), seemingly redundant, nevertheless a little scary.

  • 3 cells with iron bars, 1 for something large, 2 for people-sized people.
    • Each also contains chains and manacles.
    • One contains an old skeleton in a beautiful gown, for show. Once an incarcerated mermaid pirate queen, it’s now brittle, and the tail bones will break off if disturbed (maybe it has a tail fin pattern suspiciously identical to Amberly). She was Amberly’s ancestor, a fact that she would seek to hide lest it ruin her good name.
    • The chains, manacles, and the skeleton were bought cheaply from a dungeon only recently discovered and renovated into a boutique guest house near Lady Fogg’s hometown.
    • They use pins instead of keys, which need hammering in (and out).
  • A small anvil and a hammer.

17. Crew Quarters

Cramped but congenial. Musky.

  • 4 bunk beds per room, 1 lockable trunk each.
  • Table, mirror, bowl, and water.
  • An obvious crew member possession of interest, probably lying on a bed.
    • A fish bowl aether helmet. Its backpack tank has built-in thrusters, unlike the provided ones from storage.
    • A book entitled “Wailers”, on banshees.
    • An oblique make-shift shrine to an inscrutable deity, or entity, or person?

18. Bridge

Pulsating lights in different colors, occasional bleeps, sense of serenity.

  • Several crew working here at all hours.
  • Many consoles, with lights and gauges, levers and wheels.
    • Most aspects of the ship’s steering and operation (e.g. lighting) can be controlled here.
    • Some low-level functions (e.g. heating) require sending orders to engineering (14) however.
  • An array of two-way speaking tubes, labelled by the room they’re connected to.
  • Wide view of the aether, through one large curving window.
  • An escape hatch leading into the top-level crawlspace (22).

19. Lady Fogg’s Quarters

Sweet smell of flowers, plush carpets, beautiful paintings, somewhat disorderly.

  • Antechamber (A). Sofas, big rug. Creaky door to study.
  • Study (B). Desk, shelves, maps, blueprints, writing and trigonometry implements.
  • Bedroom (C ). Large bed (unmade), free-standing copper bathtub, small bed table with water bowl and decanter, large armoire.
    • The armoire is full of clothes, from ruddy leather dungarees, to minimalistic aether suits, to gorgeous gowns. It’s a very sturdy piece of furniture, requiring considerable force to break.
    • In the back of the armoire is a secret door to the ritual room. It looks like a faintly glowing mystical seal in pink. Touch it and your eyes light up pink, and a vision of Mathesia appears in your mind, asking for the password. Speak correctly (“Trigonometron”) and a panel opens, allowing passage. Speak incorrectly, and the vision screams in your head for 3d6 Mind damage and alerts the real Mathesia.
  • Ritual room (D). A complex magical circle is drawn on the floor in chalk, and circled in salt. A trapdoor leads into the top-level crawlspace (22). Several shelves with books and scrolls on mathematical, astronomical, and ultradimensional treatises.
    • They describe reality’s building blocks as infinitesimally small vibrating membranes, and magic and sorcery as the means of manipulating their vibrations via incredibly difficult and precise formulae.
    • Among them are also 1d4+1 random spell tomes.
    • Mathesia uses the magic circle for limited remote viewing and seeing underlying connections and truths between astral bodies.

20. Vitalasium

Bubbling, tubes, cables, strong pickle-like odor, the sense that things are very wrong in here.

  • Array of interconnected jars of bubbling liquids on tables, each containing a tellurian organ, like a heart, liver, kidney, spleen, stomach and bowels, and brain.
    • This is what is left of Magnus Dent, after the accident, and after Lady Fogg did what she could to save his life.
    • The brain one has a light-up grill attached to it, which allows Magnus to speak, in a neutral, synthetic voice.
    • Magnus still loves Mathesia very much.
    • He is connected to the ship’s systems, and has slowly learned to exert control over them. As this ability grows, so does his desire to take it over. To keep Mathesia safe, of course.
  • A tall cupboard stands to the side. Many tubes and cables go from it into the walls.
    • Gauges on it give the indication that it draws power—a fair amount of power—from the ship.
    • Inside is a reasonably life-like torso and head of a sleeping tellurian woman, bearing more than a passing resemblance to Mathesia, albeit slightly older.
    • This is Mother 2.0, Lady Fogg’s ongoing attempt to build a new mother.
    • Cables and tubes go from the torso into the cupboard.
    • If woken, she is confused, and quickly panicked, and will overload in a shower of sparks if not immediately powered down. This will immediately alert Mathesia.

21. Captain and Officer Quarters

Prim, proper, orderly, a sense of invading an important person’s private space.

  • Captain’s quarters (A). Hammock, exotic memorabilia from many voyages, small stack of adventure books, big book that’s the captain’s log.
    • The log details the goings-on on the ship as they have happened so far. Of note:
      • A comment about Doctor Stevenson’s erratic behaviour with regards to the shake in his hand and his stuttering, which seem to come and go.
      • Admiration for Lady Fogg and this expedition.
      • Reference to an encounter in his youth with alien mermaids or sirens that took to the sky after they were done with him, and the idle worry about discovering siren/iguano offspring in the aether or on the moon.
  • Salena’s quarters (B). Lots of drapes, colors, and scented candles. Several small shrines to bizarre icons or deities, many of which look dangerous.
    • One of the icons, a many-armed woman with a snake’s tail for legs wielding deadly weapons, has a hidden hollow compartment. It contains a fist-sized and shaped ruby that allows telepathic communication with Salena’s handler from the Florid Fist secret group, a man known only as Forward.
    • A selection of weapons are hidden throughout her room, including a kirpan (a form of ornate dagger, light weapon; 14d damage; fated, throwing), a trishul (a triple bladed spear, medium weapon; 1d6 damage; long, parry), and a bow and arrow.
    • Salena is also an avid reader, and several books are tucked away under her bed: adventure books featuring female pilots and captains (blimps, boats, and diving engines), books about self-defence and hiding weapons about your person, and a couple of romance novels.

22. Crawlspace

Cramped, scaffolding beams, thin air, muted sounds, loose gravity.

  • Only meant for crew access, and even then only for maintenance.
  • The top-level crawlspace connects to all 4 hatches in the top level, and the lower-level one has trapdoors in the ceiling to connect to the lounge (1), grand ballroom (11), engineering (14), and the botanicum (9).
  • Low ceilings due to the curvature of the craft.
  • Much of the space is taken up by the thick, heavy tethers to the landers—see observatory (7) and secondary lander (25).

23. Cargo Hold

Filled with crates and barrels. Gives the sense that the voyage is well prepared.

  • All 4 cargo holds have several features in common: a large ramp—the primary means of egress (also for aether-walks), a metal spiral staircase to the main level, a silver rocket life-boat for up to 16 people, trunk with 4 aether suits, crates with mundane and specialized tools, boxes of supplies (including food and blankets), and smaller tanks of gases and oxygen. All have trapdoors in the ceiling for accessing the crawlspace (22).
  • Hold A. Large tank of compressed air and large tank of compressed gases for ship lighting and heating. Huge barrel of water.
  • Hold B. Large crate with the power suit ****(see page 132), and another large crate (with subtle breathing holes) containing the stowaways Galaxia and Firella.
  • Hold C. Huge barrel of water.
  • Hold D. Large tanks of compressed air and gases.

24. Connecting Shaft

Very quiet, weightlessness, very little air.

  • Stairs and metal rungs to pull oneself along in near zero gravity.
  • Many smaller windows to the aether outside.
  • Heavy tether runs through the middle, from the secondary lander (25) to the crawlspace (22).

25. Secondary Lander

Silence, distant, feeling of being cut off from the rest of the Vernilus.

  • Identical to the primary lander in looks and function, a sphere of glass, metal, and rivets.
  • A backup vehicle in case of issues with the primary one.

Random Events on the Vernilus

During the 4 day journey is an excellent time to throw in one or more events, such as the ones below, especially if the characters seem a little rudderless, or to foreshadow things to come. It’s also a good opportunity to get to know the other characters on the ship, and to form relationships with them, so that it’s more impactful if something happens to them, during the alien incursion for example.

d12 Event
1 Theft. Doctor Stevenson’s alter ego—Edwina—snuck around undetected, breached an off-limits door, and stole something from the room beyond. His puzzled regular self finds it in his room.
2 Assault. Edwina enters another passenger’s room, but is interrupted in her larceny by the occupant, and a noisy fight ensues. Unless anyone intervenes quickly, the passenger is knocked out, injured but alive.
3 Exterior damage. Part of the plating has buckled and dislodged itself under pressure and needs fixing before it develops an air leak. Crew in regular aether suits fail to repair it, it requires a volunteer to do it in Lady Fogg’s experimental Power Suit (introduces the existence of the suit, so it’s an option in the alien boarding later).
4 Alien vanguard. As exterior damage above, but the plating was damaged by an alien scout, the same yellow nano-bot soup, but in a six-legged metal dog like form.

Alien Proto-Vanguard
Lvl 3; Hp 9; Defense 10; Armor 3 (attached) Attack +5;
Devastating bite. Rip up metal plating, or deal 3d6 damage.
5 Aether delirium. An infectious affliction starts to manifest itself among the people of the Vernilus. The first signs are subtle, but unless it’s dealt with, it could drive someone to attempt to escape in a lifeboat.
6 Cockatrice carnage! The diminutive but petrifying beast has escaped its cage and room and is on the loose in the ship. Its bite, not its gaze, turns people to stone, who remembers such details in a panic? Blindfolded passengers and crew stumble about, hoping for a brave soul to recapture it.
7 Stowaways discovered. Galaxia and Firella, 2 ultranaut adventurers, leave the confines of the crate they smuggled themselves onto the ship in, but give their presence away through noise or bad luck. What should be done with them?
8 Ghost in the walls. Little Taski can get practically anywhere on the ship by squeezing through the gaps behind the wall paneling. Perhaps she pretends to be a ghostly whisper from the beyond, who can only find rest if offered a specific treasured possession of one of the characters.
9 Dent takes over. The network of organs in jars formerly known as Magnus Dent catches a whiff of hubris and tries to take over vital functions on the craft. It starts harmless enough with doors opening all of a sudden, but could get out of control.
10 Masked ball. One of the passengers has decided that this evening there should be a masked ball. Did anyone bring a suitable mask? Perhaps something can be scrounged from the cargo or the off-limits areas of the craft.
11 Paint me like one of your Frennen girls! Argencia is looking for a painter to create a stunning portrait and spend a lot of private time with.
12 Mutiny. Several crew members or passengers vehemently disagree with how a particular situation was handled—for example the stowaways, the aether delirium, or the alien vanguard. Two camps form, and the tension rises. Regular services, like dinners, cease, and a bitter ship-wide standoff begins.

Power Suit

A large, metal suit of tank-like armor (3 points armor, without the exhausting tag). Designed to perform repairs in hostile environments, but it just so happens that the built-in tools are equally effective as weapons. The suit is powered by compressed gas canisters, of which it carries 12. Some of the suit’s actions include:

  • Basic movement and circulating breathable air, and being airtight: 1 canister/scene (or 10 minutes)
  • Welding something, or melting something/someone up to a short distance away: 1 canister, 1 action, 1d10 brutal damage
  • Breaking, kicking, or punching things is already included in the basic movement cost.
  • Venting a canister for thrust

Aether Delirium

A pernicious condition transmitted through touch. It affects all sentient creatures alike, organic or not. The incubation period is a few hours, at which point stage 1 manifests itself in the sufferer. Each day they must make a Mind 13 check. Success means the condition improves to a lower stage, failure means it worsens to a higher stage (up to stage 3).

Stage Symptons
0 None. You are cured.
1 The feeling that your skin (or outer material) hangs loose, and threatens to fall off. A mild obsession with prodding it, binding it up, and checking yourself in the mirror. You desire to hide this condition from your fellows.
2 You believe that everyone is staring at you, giving you judging, perhaps pitying looks, and you hate them for it. You are convinced that your skin will fall off unless you bind it fully and tightly. You become withdrawn, or at least always keep your distance, lest you infect someone else with your shameful condition.
3 You believe—and indeed it appears that way to you—that everything you touch melts away, including your friends. You know your condition is incurable, so the only way to keep others safe is to get as far away from them as possible. Off the Vernilus, for a start!

Random Finds on the Vernilus

Use when characters are searching and you need more than the location or character description provides. D66: Roll two d6s and read them in order, or whenever it seems fun!

d66 Find
11 Crumpled love letter. From one Dr Givings to one Annie. Enquiring about her “hysteria symptoms”, and suggesting he’d have new experimental treatments to try out on her. Annie was part of the Vernilus’ construction crew.
12 Book of salacious poetry. Part of a stash of one of the passengers, who doesn’t want this sort of stuff found in their cabin, so they hide it about the ship.
13 Absinthe Supérieure. “La fée verte en espace.” An illegal alcoholic beverage, known for its potency and mind altering properties.
14 Professor Globulon. Escapee pet of one of the passengers. In actuality, the vile, everliving sorcerer Ipku Aya polymorphed into a parakeet by a powerful witch.
15 Evidence of tryst. A recognizable piece of clothing or uniform from one of the passengers or crew, where it doesn’t belong.
16 Porcelain mask. A very life-like face, painted and glazed. Evidence of scratches, perhaps from a delicate mechanism, on the inside.
21 Warranty. Certifying the aether suit 1900 to be fit for post-atmospheric pressures.
22 Operation manual. Handwritten collection of sheafs about an experimental power suit, filled with warnings and limits.
23 Haunted musical box. With small dancing bride dolls. If anyone hums along to its melody, the ghosts of the dancing brides manifest. If interrupted, they attack, otherwise they disappear after the song.
24 Flower petal. It’s a rich plum, like one of the plants in the botanicum.
25 Parakeet guano. Strangely, with a hint of sulphur and an air of menace.
26 Springed launcher. Can-sized object that launches violently into the air when tapped on the top.
31 Soap. Worn, but “D + G”, surrounded by a heart carved in it can be still be made out.
32 Discarded alcohol. A half-empty bottle of tongue-numb. Despite its name, it numbs any body part it touches. Will however make tongue or a limb fall off if overindulged in.
33 Bottled volume. Creates volume when uncorked, but the label doesn’t specify whether it’s physical or auditory.
34 Bloodied chalk. A piece of dropped chalk, with bloodied fingerprint smudges.
35 Hosiery. A single, lacy leg. Probably evidence of hanky panky aboard the ship.
36 Escaped hamster. Sadly dead. A long slit along its body makes it look like flowers have burst out.
41 Unexpected possession. An item from one of the characters, which was definitely left in their room. Nicked and dropped by Taski.
42 Manacles. Tasseled and covered in velvet that smells like another passenger’s perfume. The key hangs off them.
43 Charged candelabra. Audibly hums. Galvanic shock on touch.
44 Apple-sized skull. Shows a star field in its shadows. Can help navigation in the aether.
45 Triptych with stylized paintings. One shows a sea of clouds, bedecked with frolicking angels, all whites and silks and drapes. Another depicts a crowded hellscape full of torture, suffering, and wicked demons. The last one is black and featureless. They are labelled “Welkin”, “Tanacles”, and “Sheol” respectively. Touching a pane and speaking its name transports you into real, live version of it, until you speak its name again. In Sheol, the shadowy dead linger, consumed by hate for the living.
46 Simulacrum of the puck. A small statuette of a grinning demon. On touch, take 1d4 damage to a random ability and roll once on the following table. A book in the library lists the antidotes to these curses/charms, though not always accurately.

1. Gain the head of an ass, until led to water
2. Your gender changes, until you bathe naked under a full moon
3. New hair style, length, and color
4. Left foot grows 50% larger, until rubbed for an hour
5. Outfit transforms into a baroque frock, until powdered with scented starch
6. Tongue or similar extension doubles in length, until you lick a third nipple
51 Silver earrings. Shaped like a stylized representation of an atom, with a glowing electron coursing around it. The wearer can listen in to conversations taking place up to a long distance away. They belong to Argencia.
52 Discarded stethoscope. With bloody fingerprints. Poorly hidden by Doctor Stevenson in a panic, after he saw the blood.
53 Poisoned lipstick. In an expensive gold and jade tube. Once applied, it makes the first person you kiss debilitatingly ill and lose their hair over the course of a day. Unless you lick your lips, or forget to rub it off after at most half an hour.
54 Enhanced opera gloves. Made from luxurious golden silk. Lick the palm while worn and they will suck in all your clothes and equipment and cover you in a skin-tight, silky-smooth zentai suit. Shake head violently to return to normal.
55 Mummified phegnomenonolgist. About 15cm tall. On display in a glass box for a thousand years, just awoken by the box dropping and breaking. Will only believe things they can experience with their (remaining) senses.
56 Blonde postiche. Paired with matching merkin. Carelessly discarded.
61 Vaporary tin. Collection of herbs for a steam bath. Said to mollify the uterus, to assuage colical passions, and other dolors caused in the belly regions.
62 Lady Fogg’s shuftiscope. An invasive medical instrument used to test a patient for colon related quandaries, but the practical applications are endless.
63 Portable odophone. Silvered contraption that converts scents to musical notes. Several scales of harmonious odors are etched into it for quick reference.
64 Mermaid scales. If fashioned into jewelry, it imparts a certain amount of charm and allure, and a longing for the sea.
65 Desiccated ear of Magnus Dent. Attached to a wood, brass, and crystal contraption in a hand-sized cartridge. 50% chance of brief communication with Magnus Dent over a long distance.
66 Elephant gown. On the outside this is a sensuous, alluring, and figure hugging deep red gown. On the inside, it’s made from the tough but pliable, alchemically treated hide of a rare proboscidean specimen. It counts as medium armor (concealable, reflective).

Boarded by Aliens

At some point during the voyage, which up until now might have been relatively peaceful, perhaps peppered with some internal struggle, an alien craft attaches to the Vernilus, and powerful, aggressive aliens board the ship.

  • The aliens look like 6-armed knights fully encased in armor. These alien proto-soldiers are lesser servant soldiers. In fact they are but a gloopy, yellow soup of nano bots that animates and controls suitable containers it fits in.
  • Their galvanic lances disintegrate body parts, but they use them sparingly—certainly to frighten into submission—as they’re after captives.
  • It should be made very clear, from a quick disintegration demonstration, that the characters are likely no match for them in a direct confrontation, and that they’ll need cunning and guile to escape this situation.
    • Encourage the use of the secret wall tunnels (perhaps led by Taski) and whatever else assets (such as the Power Suit) the Vernilus has to offer.
  • The aliens round up their captives, manacle them and march them into fleshy cells on their ship that expand and contract like a heart chamber. Instead of metal bars for doors, the cells have thin but vicious fangs.
  • The interior of the alien ship is part organic and part metal. Rooms resemble bladders, and corridors are akin to a trachea. Soft, pulsating lights illuminate the ship throughout in pink and yellow hues. Yellow veins form a transport network that takes the nano bot soup from nutrient-rich sacs and pools to well maintained armor suits. It smells faintly of fresh fish. This odor intensifies and worsens to signal alarm.
  • It is ok for the aliens to make off with some or all characters, player or otherwise. If they don’t manage to pull off a hare-brained escape stunt on their own, the moon’s Megaprimatus shoots and badly damages the ship, forcing it to crashland near the volcano at any rate.
  • The Vernilus’s course remains set for the Viridian Moon, but it might have been nudged off slightly, requiring someone with some skill and know-how to pilot it. This could be extra fun if the relevant crew were among those taken.

The Viridian Moon

So named for the blue-green coloration of the majority of its plant life, even when viewed from afar. Leaves here are thick and leathery, possessing many mind and body altering qualities if prepared in the correct way. Buds and flowers and bulbous and colorful, ready to burst into clouds of choking spores as well as spontaneous vocalizations.

It is a hot place, pregnant with volcanic activity. What little air there is (enough for a tellurian, hyper or other, though the air’s scarcity limits prolonged physical exertion) tastes of sulfur and of burnt eggs. Dissonant drums are forever heard hither or tither, as the native moon savages—the Skolrom—perform this or that unsavory ritual. An air of feral danger permeates this untamed place.

Natives

Many tribes of savage humanoids sit along the middle of the moon’s food chain. Notable for our purposes are the 3-gendered Skolrom, a hunched and hirsute folk, with crude—but just as deadly—weapons and a penchant for freakish fetishes. They huddle in stone houses carved into the walls of the volcano’s crater by unknown, older hands.

  • The Skolrom are extremely superstitious, and forever placating gods and spirits, especially with sacrifices.
  • They don’t speak, but communicate through their grunts and gestures.
  • Above all they worship Megaprimatus, the volcano spirit, and consider tellurian offerings to it the most holy of rituals.

The Volcano

Cut-away of the volcano on the Viridian Moon.

An active volcano juts out of the viridian jungle that surrounds it like an ocean. Along the crater’s rim the ululations of fauna below sound distant, replaced by the bubbling of the lava and the occasional sputter and hiss of fiery rocks and steam.

  • Dangerous, winding paths lead down on 2 sides of the volcano.
  • On the westernmost of these is the crashed, smoldering space craft of the aliens, brought low by a hell beam from Megaprimatus. Aliens and any captives survived or died, as makes for the better story.
  • On the easternmost is a giant dinosaur foot shaped indentation in the volcano slope into which the Vernilus lander possibly set down.
    • Both sites feature an entrance to a series of passages that lead into the crater (see the following page). At the entrance of each is a crude totem of stacked, cubic blocks of rock.
  • Inside the crater, the walls have been carved into 3 concentric layers, each 10 meters further down than the next. They’re connected by ramps.
  • On each such level there are blocky dwellings carved into the crater walls. Two of them are connected to the passages down the volcano. All of this construction predates and is beyond the skill of the savage Skolrom.
    • One dwelling contains a makeshift shrine to an ultranaut pilot who was stranded here several generations ago, and built Megaprimatus from the remains of her crashed aethercraft. Her dusty (but intact) ultrasuit, with a sickle on a black background patch, forms part of the shrine.
  • On the lowermost layer, a platform perches precariously over the edge. Two totemic stone columns stand on it, sporting metal rings and many, deep scratches. It is here that the Skolrom tie their unfortunate sacrifices.
  • The savages call their god with repetitive drumming and chanting.
    • If the narrative allows for it, now would be a good time to have a known and loved character form the unfortunate bound, sacrificial victim, with the natives drumming, chanting, and calling their god Megaprimatus.

Volcano Passages

Map of the volcano passages.

Both sides of the volcano have dried out magma flows through 3 chambers, from the slope through to the stone-carved dwellings in the crater. Use the map below for whichever one the party might venture in (and re-use and mix up as necessary in the unlikely event they explore both).

General features

All 3 chambers share some of the same features.

  • Smooth walls of black stone.
  • Dim light from scattered flickering candle-sized fires that come from a local fruit with an oily center. The natives halve them and set them alight; they burn slowly and produce a sweet scent.
  • Hardened and cooled lava flows and pools. They’re still warm to the touch, and thinnest in the middle, where they might break under dramatic pressure.

Entrance

  • Totemic columns, made from stacked, crudely cubic stones.
  • Side tunnel, stiflingly hot. Breeding ground for the cheliceratae. In their fledgeling state they look like fist-sized balls of black fur. 3d6 of them.

Lower chamber

  • Solidified lava fall, 6m tall, to a round, 1m diameter opening to the middle chamber.

Middle chamber

Thick, moist mist, the scattered flickering lights barely visible, drifts and disturbances in the mist suggests you’re not alone.

  • The mist fills the whole chamber, and prolonged exposure causes eye watering. The mist appears to turn all liquids red, so affected persons appear to be crying tears of blood.
  • 4 mature cheliceratae dash through the room, balls of black fur that are actually just way to many spidery legs, attached to a core muscle. They ignore the Skolrom who rear them.
  • 2 sneaky Skolrom hide in the mists like ninjas. If the opportunity presents themselves they’ll capture a person and take them away to be a sacrifice for Megaprimatus. The Skolrom smear cheliceratae blood on their eyes, which lets them see through the mist.
  • A character might stumble across the Spare Face of the Finder. It’s a perfect match of whoever stumbled across it. Left by itself it hardens into a clay-like substance, but once touched it reverts to a supple, living version (or whatever the face of the finder is made of). Sure, the finder probably has a face already, but now they have a spare!

Top chamber

Murmurs, grunts, and screeches of the Skolrom. Wooden sticks drumming on stone. Air of danger and menace.

  • A score of Skolrom is spread throughout the room, a couple near the entrance to the lava fall, the rest on the raised escarpments, platforms, and hanging bridges.
    • Though threatening, and great in number, they don’t intend to attack en masse. Instead, their drumming, if not stopped early, will awake the lava worm hydra!
  • The top platform appears to have a mouth in the wall. In fact it’s the Mouth of Nefertiti, the last remaining part of a magical statue, melted in with the rock wall (but it can be chiseled out). Depending on the method of kissing the mouth, it will trickle milk, honey, or water for a minute.
  • Bouncy rope bridges connect the higher platforms. Opposed Agility checks to trampoline people off at a short distance.

Megaprimatus Deus

Lady Fogg is an unwilling offering to the monster.

Resembling an enormous primate made of dark metal and obsidian, Megaprimatus is as a god to the Skolrom. His countenance is ferocious and terrifying. His belly is alight with the lava that powers him, and smoke vents through his growling visage. His grating movements send shivers throughout the volcano.

  • After emerging from his cave he grows from his already impressive 6m to a frightening 60m tall among an aura of chromatic aberration and aggravating susurration.
  • He doesn’t speak, he just follows his programming, which is beating his chest in menacing metallic clangs, crushing any obvious threats to the Skolrom, collecting his offering, and leaving, to place them into the ultracosmic portal in his cave.
  • In his chest is a bladed iris that he can open to release a hellish beam that devastates anything in its path, for vast distances. This is how he brought down the alien craft.
  • He can also reverse its power source, for an irresistibly magnetic attraction.
  • Megaprimatus has no stats—he simply crushes anything in his path. But he does have weaknesses that can bring him low:
    • Lava can melt him—canny characters might notice him avoiding it and standing on rocks instead.
    • His metal parts can rust, you know, eventually.
    • The phrase “klaatu barada nikto” spoken aloud shuts him down.
    • He can be avoided, distracted, or snuck around.
  • Megaprimatus’ cave is a natural rift in the crater wall.
    • Inside are various remains of an ancient aether craft with a flag depicting a sickle on a black backdrop. Together with rocks and decomposed vegetable offerings from the Skolrom, this form a sort of nest for the automaton.
    • A tall metallic booth with a single door, and many tubes and cables going to and from it and pieces of improvised machinery, is in fact an ultracosmic portal leading to the Ultranaut’s home cosm upon activation (read: whatever setting or adventures you want to go on next).
    • Other treasures in the cave include: an abandoned belt buckle of powerful magnetic attraction (once per session attract 1) precipitation, 2) lightning, 3) your nemesis, 4) a parliament of ravens or similarly cunning avians, 5) illegal treasure, or 6) a person of your choice, at random for 1 scene), several small metallic food containers a mere few hundred years past their “best by” dates, and a survival knife with a built-in towel that can double as a flag (sickle on black on one side, white on the other).
    • The stranded Ultranaut built him and the portal from the damaged remains of her aether craft. He was to be her guardian while she explored the moon in search of new power sources, which she eventually found. And although she finished the portal, she never got to use it herself, brought low as she was by angry natives. Now Megaprimatus mindlessly sends sacrificial victims back in her stead.

Concluding the Adventure

The goal of this introductory scenario, beyond wild and enjoyable experiences, is to give new characters a taste of traveling through the Ultracosm, via the portal in the cave of Megaprimatus. Perhaps end the session with describing tantalizing glimpses of what awaits the characters in this new cosm. Perhaps add a cliff hanger. And if you’d like the characters to keep the means of ultracosmic travel, simply say they emerge out of ostensibly the same booth in their destination, and allow them to take it with them (if they build a raft or wheels for it).

And if this adventure didn’t go anything like the Possible Timeline, and the characters didn’t find the portal, or never made it to the moon: that’s fine! Wherever you choose to go from here, above all have fun.