Session 10: Dracogen’s Price: Part 1
Date: January 5, 2018
Player Characters Present: Jessamine, “The Major,” Frey, Gethin
The heroes continue their journey through the wilderness, and arrive at the port town of Harmuth. Unfortunately, all of the boats out of the town are booked, and they have to wait at least a month to get passage to Qi. They meet Gethin – a cyborg Jack being pursued for a crime he didn’t commit – who finds kindred spirits in The Major and Frey, who are also being chased by bounty hunters. Gethin tells the group of a local numenera collector named Dracogen who frequently sponsors expeditions. He is a man of considerable wealth and influence, and getting on his good side could procure safe passage out of the city.
The group meets Dracogen, a charismatic middle-aged human with a left eye made of metal and glass. Dracogen made his home in a cave-like structure made of ceramic and crystal long considered haunted by locals. Dracogen offers a straightforward and lucrative deal: Go to nearby ruins to collect an artifact (a slender synth rod with a crescent moon-shaped button) and allow him to briefly study and catalogue the remaining numenera they find. In exchange, they could keep the remaining numenera, and he would provide passage on a ship out of town. Though suspicious of his motives, the heroes reluctantly agree to help.
Dracogen provides 4 numenera jetpack cyphers that provide the means to get to the ruins and back. The heroes arrive at a metal, salt-corroded floating platform about 3000ft above the sea around 50 milesoutside of Harumuth. There is a cone-shaped tower on the top, and numerous colored cube-like structures on the bottom. Gethin discovers a round glass plate with a scratched symbol worn into it. By tracing the symbol onto the plate, he discovers the way into the ruin. Inside the conical tower is a variety of alien devices with inner workings of crystal and glass. Though much of the facility is broken and deactivated, the group manages to salvage numerous crystalline cyphers and oddities. The Major also finds the artifact Dracogen is looking for, which he identifies as a device that is capable of turning flesh into crystal. The group also finds an artifact embedded in a piece of still-working machinery – a mirrored tile connected to a glowing pink cube of indeterminate purpose. The group disconnects the tile and takes it for future use; however, in doing so the whole ruin starts to slowly rotate clockwise in midair. The group makes a hasty exit, avoiding tumbling debris and broken glass along the way, and makes their way back to Dracogen. He honours his part of the deal, and offers to let the group stay at his residence for a few days until the boat arrives.
The group becomes increasingly suspicious of Dracogen as time goes on. They are first concerned when they discover that the artifact they were sent to find could easily be used as a weapon. His servants are also unnatural and creepy, with pale, lustrous skin and shiny teeth. They come across as unnatural, as though someone had pulled false skin over a hardened chassis. Gethin perceives that Dracogen has subdermal cybernetics which subtly affect the attitudes and reactions of people, allowing him to manipulate them. After tearing apart his room in paranoia, The Major finds that Dracogen’s house is made of crystal, fashioned too perfectly to be done with any known sculpting method. Over dinner, Jessamine manages to coax information out of Dracogen, and discovers that he somehow knows that they withheld numenera devices from them, despite having never been told or witnessing them take them from the ruins. Finally, Frey explores the off-limits basement by phasing through the walls. As she gets close to the bottom, she has a mental encounter with an alien intelligence that takes the form of a giant crystalline lizard with glowing green eyes. It threatens her, and gives her a first-person vision of a would-be thief being devoured. Before it can continue its mental onslaught, Frey manages to make contact with Freyaga who protects her, and pulls her consciousness back into the real world.
When everyone meets to share information, they decide that the best thing to do would be to tell the Amber Papacy in Qi, who could deal with this issue later. As they sleep for the night, they are awoken by the strange, pearl-skinned servants. This time they are outfitted for battle, and try to kill the heroes in their sleep. Fortunately, they awake in time and fight them off. As the servants are killed, they explode into shards of crystal.
Now that they have earned the ire of Dracogen, what will the heroes do next?