Friday, December 2, 2011

Obelisks I (Scenario Seeds)

Obelisks I

These Obelisks mark the perimeter of an ancient crash-site where an alien war machine has been imprisoned by the spells of a now forgotten civilization. As the hieroglyphs fade and the obelisks crumble away in the constant winds of this desolate place, who remains to preserve the seals and wards that forestall doom and destruction on a cosmic scale?

The priests of the twenty-third dynasty were clever. They knew all too well that the earlier tombs of the great queens and mighty kings had been plundered and defiled by tomb-robbers, adventurers, and even some of their own colleagues. But they were determined to not have their own graves despoiled or broken-into, that they would never allow. Clever, scheming priests who knew many dark secrets, they arranged for shafts to be sunk, tunnels to be dug, and secret tombs to be arranged below the shifting sands. No living slaves dug these places out, nor did anyone outside of the clandestine secret society know of these works. Slowly, patiently, discretely, as each slave working on the vast monuments fell victim to the inhuman conditions and ruthless demands of the hybrid overseers of the Great King, the priests gathered them up and brought them to this place where they imparted unto them an unholy sort of non-life so that they might serve yet longer in terrible bondage. Some were incorporated into the very walls of the tunnels and galleries that they might form a macabre lattice-work of bones that held the walls in place. Others dug deeper, ever deeper into the dismal depths, carving out niches and sepulchres and catacombs for each new generation of priests to join in the sorcerous conspiracy. This continued for hundreds of years until finally the conspiracy was crushed by a radical sect of reformers who brought about their own ruin in their zeal to wipe-out the burrowing necromancers...and thus these secret places of the dead priests have been mostly forgotten, mere footnotes in musty tomes or barely decipherable accounts transcribed from decayed scrolls that sages and scholars only whisper about in hushed tones, lest they draw the ire of some unmentionable wrath upon themselves.

Your group just found an opening no one knows anything about in-between some old obelisks...

For more than ten thousand years It has lurked deep beneath the tainted greenish sands of this place, dreaming and inspiring acts of depravity and bloodshed to amuse Itself. Now, finally, the sands have ebbed and worn away enough that It is close enough to the surface to begin to extrude tiny tendrils of madness and corruption upwards, outwards into the world outside the soil within which it was long, long ago trapped. But this blasphemous advent has not gone unnoticed. Cultists from across the world and from places rumored to be beyond the world have begun to make pilgrimages to this vile, Chorazin-like place amidst the ruins of those who once sought to imprison their dread mistress deep beneath the crust of the world. Already the faithful are showing signs of tumorous stigmata. It has begun.

On an archaeological expedition into the cratered wastes of Altair 5 funded by the Orne Foundation, one overly curious young girl, Gabrielle Adams, the daughter of Commander Adams and Alta Morbius, finds herself separated from the rest of the expedition by a freak sandstorm. Wandering blindly, lacerated and running low on oxygen, the all too perky grad student from Centauri University stumbled against a peculiar obelisk that seemed to glow eerily in the storm's weird fluctuating light. Suddenly she was dropped down a hidden rampway and deposited deep below the surface. She awoke an indeterminate time later, half-buried in gritty greenish sand and with no obvious way out. Her comms-unit was defunct, but there was oxygen to breathe in this place. Being a headstrong girl, not given to hysterics or fear, Gabrielle Adams slid the hidden blaster she always carried out of her belt-pack and started to explore this strange alien underworld...

Garonk squatted menacingly at the head of the deeply scored and scarred table of hand-hammered meteoric stone. His people had entered into undeath millennia ago, not like these upstarts from other, later races. He scowled pensively. These bickering fools were the cast-offs and abandoned dregs of the ones who had all but exterminated his kind. They had nearly taken over the entire world. Mighty in their sorceries, ruthless in their pursuit of their ambitions, they only pretended to respect Garonk and his kind. They thought that they knew everything. But they also harbored doubts. Deep down they feared that Garonk and his kind still possessed secrets that they had not revealed or shared with the newer generations of ghouls.

Garonk smiled evilly in the flickering glow of corpse-tallow tapers and compressed oil lamps. He knew many such secrets. His people were accomplished dreamers and had plundered the oneiric reservoirs of countless worlds for many centuries of centuries before the others found their way into the deep vaults and became transfigured and transformed into ghoulish versions of their own kind. Unlike these modern fools with their dependence upon the vagaries and cruel whims of sorcery and superstition, Garonk and his people had long ago learned to harness the secrets of scientific knowledge and the strange technologies dreamt of by the slumbering prodigies and suppressed savants of hundreds of worlds.

The Congress of Ghouls was being called to order by the bone-masked necrotects who had originally built these places deep, deep below the chambers and passages that they intended for robbers to find. Garonk composed himself and rearranged the draping of his ceremonial robes. It had been a bit of a wait, but it was finally time to take the next step in his people's great plan...

Griswold checked his slide-rule and the abacus one more time. The green-paged ephemeris that he had acquired back in that festering stinkhole from the jaladari trinket-peddler was authentic. He was sure of it now. Once he stepped out from under the flap of his tent he was more than sure; he was certain. The flickering outlines of a vortex-like gate were forming in-between the ancient obelisks. He could see some hint of what lay beyond through the coruscating energies of the gate. It looked like...

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