Monday, April 24, 2017

Shadowbreakers: the Perilous #1

A combination of World of Dungeons and Worlds of Breakers, Apocalypses and Shadows. I kind of prefer harm clocks instead of hit points, so I thought I would try it. Instead of tracking World of Breakers gear slots, I am experimenting with a character being able to hold ten significant things, and the rest is carried in a Bag of Tricks a la Felix the Cat and Mary Poppins. I imagine the move would be akin to:

When you pull something unlikely from your Bag of Tricks, roll 2d6. 10+, you have it but why? 7-9, choose 1:
  • It isn't on you, so where is it?
  • You have it, but what did you leave behind?
  • You packed it, but it is a Significant Item.

Vincent has expressionless brown eyes and auburn military hair. Casual denim jeans and dark short sleeve shirt is his usual style, often worn with a heavy jacket when he goes hunting. Even after leaving the military, he has kept himself physically active.

S +1 D +2 C +1 I +0 W +0 C +0
SKILLS Athletics, Awareness
ABILITIES Smart-link, Summon

PACK Bag of Tricks (canvas ruck), C-4, First Aid, Supplies
HAND NorAm Thunderbird pistol (2 harm, close, piercing, loud), PacPro armored jacket (1 armor)

HARM [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ] [ ]

Beneath Pioneer Square, boots kick up small clouds of dust under the purple prism lights. Muffled voices came from an adjacent room, speaking in measured monotones. Vincent strode quietly across the concrete and old dust. As quiet as hard soled boots would allow. Muted scrapes and scuffs marked his position as his head peeked around an aged doorway.

A trio of silhouettes stood framed against orange lightning. The trunk of the bolt was as wide as a person standing sideways. Tendrils of energy forked into the ground like lightning trapped in glass. A low rumble of building thunder hummed faintly instead of the expected roaring clap.

“X is not One,” three voices droned in unison.

Three robes parted as three arms lifted. Their left arms gleamed in the orange light, the appendages resembling sharp metallic spider legs which ended in a single pointed spike. The right hand remained human. Mostly. A sidearm had been grafted over their hand, taking the place of their first two fingers.

“Solve for X,” they recited as the room echoed with the sound of gun fire.

Vincent ducked behind the wall as bullets ripped the concrete and struck stone around him. He glanced out for two quick heartbeats, producing his pistol and firing. Two shells ejected and two bullets found a target. One head, one chest. One of the three robed creatures fell to the floor.

“One, distance of X equals seventeen,” said the right hand.

“Point zero six, insufficient penetration. Moving to zero negative four,” said the left.

More bullets flew at the wall Vincent hid behind. A couple ripped holes in his pants and scratched light wounds into his leg. He pulled back further against the wall and fired two more times around the corner. Vincent heard the faint thud as another body fell to the floor.

There was a loud sizzle, then… silence. Vincent dared a look around the corner and found the room empty save for the frozen lightning and two corpses. He walked into the chamber and inspected the bodies in the dim orange light. Red robes. Grafted weapons. Human. Mostly. Each wore a necklace with a cluster of cogs. His gaze shifted back to the Break.

The other side of the Break was an ashen waste. Grey dirt broken by skeletons of dried black trees. Not a single leaf or blade of grass could be found. The sky was a similar dead grey, overcast with an orb of pure ivory statically burning a patch of clouds away. Aside from his denim and streak of orange lightning, the world was a sea of greyscale. The Shadowlands twisted everything it conquered. Natural laws were violated. Creatures were twisted. And, sometimes, it could spawn envoys to extend its influence even further.

A short distance away, a figure wearing a red patch of color descended behind a hill. The figure moved toward a series of Tuscan columns. Vincent walked after it and kept to the broken trees as cover. From this distance, he watched as the robed person raised its arms and seemed to perform a ritual.

In the center of the columns, a black hemisphere glowed with black light. How black glows black was still beyond Vince’s comprehension, but he knew what he saw. From its depths, a metallic construct emerged. An inverted cone, the flat base up toward the sky, its four limbs each ended with a singular sharp spike like the arm of the three cultists.

The construct and cultist met before the glowing gate. The cultist was saying something, though Vincent couldn't hear from this distance. The construct responded, first driving a spiked limb through the cultist then pinning him to the ground. Another spike pierced the other shoulder while the cultist lay silently beneath it. Two metal spikes flexed, and the red patch of color grew wider.

Unfortunately, closing this Break would require destroying the obsidian hemisphere. He suspected that would include getting past the automaton in front of it. Vincent crouched low and sped closer to the Break and its guardian. The thing had no discernable eyes, but it registered his movement. The construct swung what passed for a torso in his direction.

Vince’s vision overlaid the ground with a green grid, his target flashing white where the spikes connected to the conical body. The Thunderbird roared as another two bullets flew from its muzzle. He knew as the construct plodded toward him that the shots were remarkably precise. Both struck the join with rich solid clangs and separated one limb from its body.

With one leg missing, the construct awkwardly swung an appendage at him. Vincent ducked, two shots piercing the conical torso while he sidestepped. He must have struck something important. The thing toppled and crashed to the ground faster than he had anticipated. Its bulk bruised his shoulder as the metallic thing knocked him aside.

Vincent rested and bandaged his wounds. The sun hadn't moved from where it had been. He rummaged through his pack and grabbed the explosive to seal the Break. Vince paired his watch with the detonator. He would need to trigger it from within the Break but close enough to escape.

Satisfied, he began the walk back to the rift. As he passed the mutilated corpse, an inky pool bubbled to the surface and enveloped the body. Tendrils of shadow grasped the ripped limbs. The once quasi human form stood in grotesque parody of a person. A grimace made with too long jaws showed black pointed teeth. Vincent returned the smile.

“Napana,” he muttered.

Orange runes flowed down the side of the Thunderbird. Honey slowly filling invisible channels. The spirit bound to his pistol bristled and burned in anticipation.

“Keahi,” he responded.

The runes flared once the flow reached the end of the slide in reply. The orange transmuted into sky blue.

The wretch whipped a tendril at Vincent, wrapping around his leg. As he fell to the ground, two shots flew at the creature. Napana’s enchantment ignited the bullets as they split the dark mass. Rings of fire burned where they punctured it.

“Aniaki’i,” Vincent uttered.

The runes slowly changed from sky blue to iridium in response. The tendrils drew Vincent up by his leg toward the gaping toothy maw. He fired again. Napana mirrored the two bullets, splitting them into a quartet. The shadowy head burst with the impact of four 10mm shots. Vincent was dumped unceremoniously to the ground.

Nearing the trapped lightning cloaked in orange, he cast a glance over his shoulder. A finger tapped the face of his watch. The planted explosive shattered the hemisphere. Flames leapt along concussion waves, reaching for Vincent. The orange doorway slammed resolutely shut against them.

He missed the Break already...

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