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Entre Nous (We GMs)
This ruin was designed as an extension of the Numenera Weird Discoveries adventure Natural and Unnatural. If used as a continuation of that adventure the Iani lair is the starting point to access the ruin. If you are running this material independent of that adventure, you can easily relocate the lair anywhere else in the Ninth World and have it inhabited by Ravage bears or any other creature of your choosing (or not). Whether the creatures are directly related to the ruin or are simply itinerant inhabitants of the lair is up to you.
As presented, the material that follows has a considerable amount of Numenera that the PCs could cart away. That's if they can figure out how to extract it from the ruin without destroying it? Likewise, if word gets out, their PCs are bound to have problems with scavengers and raiders coming in to gut the ruin by force, stake their own claim or pilfer it under their noses.
If the PCs do secure the treasure trove and make it public knowledge be prepared have it challenged by competition or catastrophes. Easy come, easy go, they say. Demonstrate how fast they can lose the lottery. Alternatively, you might bring on some sort of conflict, perhaps the materials will be commandeered and conscripted to shore up a defending force against some insidious invader such as the Vralk?
What has been presented is not absolute. Scale anything presented according to your whim. I have thrown in a lot of stuff. Want more, go over the top. Want less, run the stingy GM edition. Do what suits your mood and temperament, as well as that of your players, but most of all, have fun! If the material provided is not your thing, but you like elements of it, please feel free to borrow some of the ideas for use in your game instead!
An age ago, between the world known now and ones suspected prior, an alien race established an outpost to scout, secure and hold this once strategic area. They conducted operations until their mission was abandoned, quickly forgotten by a failing empire. The tiny outpost, deemed nothing more than the most basic of structures, containing storage space, an energy source and basic Numenera to support operations, in addition to a few guards and staff conducting their duties, was one of many outposts used to exploit regional resources and secure them from a threat or threats long lost to time. The facility was considered otherwise expendable against the larger tapestry of a dying civilization.
As they old adage goes, one ancient race's junk is another person's treasure. Let us begin shall we...
(USGS Landsat Image - LC80380352015342LGN00)
A) Lair & War Chest
B) Glass Garden
C) Fluid Range
D) Main Deck
F) Proto-creature Pod
G) Oorgolian Pod
H) FabHab (Pod)
I) Holding Tank
J) Toxin Pump and Pipe
L) Top Seal
M) Main Shaft
N) Tunnel and Breach
P) Lower Collection Chamber
Q) Bottom Seal
R) Perpetual Bio-mass Reactor
The outer shell and major supporting structure of the ruin is fabricated from a bonded silicate material that is deteriorating with age. It has become friable, is dusty to the touch and can be easily worked or dug through with basic heavy hand tools or appropriate Numenera of level 3+.
The acrid odour that pervades the ruin is responsible for the slow decay of the primary structure. The toxin and fumes from the entity sealed in the lowest basement chamber will eventually disintegrate the majority of the structure from within. The miasma is breathable in the upper levels and is only likely to affect biological creatures that dwell too long within the facility (see Mutagenics under Perpetual Biomass Reactor Pit (P) below). Toxicity increases with proximity to the creature below and is highly mutagenic within the confines of the ruin. Once filtered through the Pump (J) and disposed into the local ecosystem only the toxin remains, not the mutagen... mostly!
The ruin is 60m (200 feet) in diameter and 130m (425 feet) top to bottom, with 12m (40 feet) of that structure above ground level, buried under ages of drit, debris and residue of time, with the remaining 118m (390 feet) plumbing down into the depths of the Ninth World.
The entity in the basement is the greatest threat that will be faced by explorers, either directly or indirectly, from within the ruin. If it is not found and dealt with it will eventually escape into the Ninth World proper and wreak havoc according to it's nature.
Many of the interior features within the ruin could provide a treasure trove of materials for a resourceful individual or group with a mind bent on recycling or re-purposing them (possibly at great profit) if they can figure a way to strip the ruins efficiently and safely, after eliminating any threats and neutralizing the toxin within the ruin.
Properly securing the facility and drafting local help, knowledgeable trades folk, engineers or drawing on other Numenera equipped resources to assist in a salvage operation would very likely greatly enhance efforts to recuperate these materials from the decaying facility with minimal losses.
Structure, Level 3, Armor 1 vs. energy attacks (ablative - one shot) per cubic meter
The tunnel entrance is back lit by the ambient light of the Ninth World. It smells of stale bile and is fabricated of the same crumbling
silicate material that constitutes the rest of the ruins, but is nowhere
near as deteriorated as inside the ruin. The tunnel as depicted in the side profile of the ruin (above) is 15m (50 feet) long and 1.3m (5 feet) in diameter, requiring hunched movement or crawling to enter or exit the lair concealed by the darkness beyond. Combat within the tunnel confines would likely mean fighting one-on-one in most instances, likely increasing the difficulty of many combat tasks by up to one step. A GM may opt to have a tunnel that is larger, longer, tighter, winding, angled, fractured, partially obstructed or even a maze with multiple dead ends, reflecting the fact in possible GM intrusions or requiring periodic stat or skill rolls.
The lair at the end of the tunnel has no light source and consists of four adjoining 6m diameter polygonal spheres. The lair may or may not be occupied and will smell of and be decorated according to its past/current tenant(s). The fifth sphere is not connected to the rest, is situated at the end of the row of four spheres (the lair) and is only accessible from within the ruin. The four spheres connected to the tunnel have surfaces that act as gravity normal for the usual inhabitants of this lair (the Iani) which may rest on, stand, walk or prowl across any surface as they please. This allows the Iani an asset in defending their layer from external attackers within the confines of the lair. Gravity is otherwise Ninth World (Earth) normal for all others.
The Iani, if used from the source adventure, have no concept, recollection or awareness of the ruins on the other side of their lair. There is nothing within the ruins that they would seek as part of their programming as they are now ready to make their way into the Ninth World.
Short of digging or mining down to the ruin wall/structure through the detritus covering the ruin, the only readily available access into the ruin, beyond the lair, would be through one of the many faceted panels within select spheres of the lair. Allying, making a deal with, eliminating or waiting for the Iani (or any other inhabitants) to evacuate their lair would likely be required in order to do access the panels with minimal effort.
The lair may have once been used as airlocks and/or ready rooms between the ruin and the outer world. Various levels inside of the upper ruin can be reached depending on whether PCs open a panel at the base, along an upper wall or on the ceiling of any given sphere, providing access to the Main Deck (D), Fluid Range (C) and Glass Garden (B) respectively.
Illumination, page 96, Numenera corebook
Iani, page 24, Numenera Weird Discoveries, Natural and Unnatural
Access Panels are level 4 to find and operate the first time, level 5 Might to force open. After several uses they become automatic.
A) War Chest
The fifth spherical chamber, in line with and located at the end of the other four chambers that comprise the lair, can only be accessed from within the ruin. Access to the war chest (armory) is an automatic task for Oorgolian soldiers, and otherwise operates as per the access panels within the neighboring lair. Upon breaching the chamber an age old amber hued glow will flicker into life. The stale-oily smell and taste of burnt metal and deteriorated bio-lubricant assaults the breathing passages of any who enter. A welcome change from the acrid bile air now seeping in from outside of the chamber.
Within, explorers will find an armory of Oorgolian weapons, enough to outfit a six soldier scout or fire team, consisting of 6x slug throwers, 36x detonations and 1x detonation launcher, as well as a large fabricator, which is deactivated but is currently programmed to produce slug throwers. The fabricator also has templates for a variety of detonations and a detonation launcher.
The fabricator is massive enough to be called a discovery as opposed to an artifact. There is no stockpile of raw feed stock for the fabricator. Suitable feed stock for the fabricator could also consist of cyphers and artifacts in sufficient quantities and types. Alternatively, automatons and bio-mechanical creatures of sufficient mass, quantity or quality, as long as they have not been stripped of cyphers and/or artifacts, as determined suitable by the GM, would also be quite suitable as feed stock.
Basic feed stock consisting of anything less than the Numenera will produce the cypher or artifact currently templated on the fabricator, but it will be of inferior quality, prone to greater odds of inducing a GM intrusion with each use, many times resulting in catastrophic failure. This can be simulated by using the Cypher System Rules (CSR) horror mode as a trigger to roll for a catastrophic failure, and then determining the effect(s) from the Cypher Danger Table for each subsequent use of the device(s). If producing batches of detonations by this means vice slug throwers, each detonation used in turn is more likely to be defective than the last. The explorers, or anyone else getting hold of these defective devices by means fair or foul, do not have to be aware of this issue until it is too late... unless they determine the problem exists through the judicious use of scanning, Numenera knowledge or other means.
The current stockpile of cyphers and artifacts in this armory could be defective, if the GM so chooses. In this instance they would also make good feed stock for a fresh batch of weapons. Repairing any of these Numenera, if defective, should be fraught with peril.
Oorgolian soldiers, page 250, Numenera corebook
Slug Throwers, Detonations and Launcher as per Oorgolian soldiers, above.
Fabricator, page 113, Numenera Technology Compendium
Horror Mode, page 262, Cypher System Rulebook for GM Intrusions and catastrophic failure
Cypher Danger Table, page 279, Numenera corebook
Upper Chamber - Lighting
Dim lighting throughout most of the upper chamber (floor B down to deck D) is provided by a scattering of weakly lit protrusions spread across the ceiling, directly above and just out of reach of a normal sized human. Of the few glowing protrusions, there are a many hundreds more, no longer glowing, that once formed a bright three dimensional mosaic, almost stalactite-like. It is no longer obvious as an artistic presentation without a level 5 Intellect task. What the mosaic could represent is left to GM fiat.
All the protrusions are fabricated of varying transparent-to-opaque-to-coloured stronglass materials of varying lengths, shapes and thicknesses, with many able to comfortably fit in a palm, with some rods up to 1m in length. Many appropriately sized samples of these can be used as light weapons, either clubs, spikes or daggers by those crafty enough to think of them as such. Several of these gems, bars, sticks and rods of stronglass can be found scattered about the Glass Garden (B), around the edges of Fluid Range (C) and on the Main Deck (D). A complete scouring of tiers B thru D will yield around 1d6x10 of these objects. There are a total of 3d6x100 of these stronglass protrusions affixed to the ceiling of this area.
Enterprising individuals might also be able to discern that these are basically stronglass glowglobes, except in hand-held gem and tubular shapes, coming in a wide range of sizes, shapes, colours. Most of these glowgems and glowsticks have discharged with time or due to lack of connectivity to a power source. Figuring out a method and means to recharge these to be used as either minor or major glowglobes could yield yet another source of considerable income for an enterprising individual or group...
Illumination, page 96, Numenera corebook
Light Weapons, page 79, Numenera corebook
Stronglass, page 77, Numenera corebook
Glowglobes, page 82, Numenera corebook
B) Glass Garden
A glass garden of sorts, this tier of flooring is composed of individual 2m (6 feet) x 2m (6 feet) wide x 2cm (1 inch) thick tiles of hovering stronglass. The tiles cover an area of 18m (60 feet) x 24m (80 feet), with a total count of 108 tiles. Each tile will compensate in buoyancy for up to four human sized occupants. If this capacity is exceeded refer to the next paragraph. Each tile, as a raw material source, could fetch a minimum of 100 shins, and possibly more for tiles imbued with additional traits such as unique markings, distinct coloration or other special properties. Recovery of all the tiles, excluding added value for those with special properties, could yield a minimum total estimated market value of ~10000 shins and quite likely more for a savvy negotiator.
Normally, each tile is well anchored to all adjacent tiles but decay of the matter and force that binds some of them together has deteriorated to the point that some tiles have dissociated from the rest (1 in 10) requiring a level 3 Speed check to avoid falling through them down to the next level (roughly 3m/10 feet) and taking 1 point of ambient damage. Once PCs are aware of the issue, tip-toe testing or other measures to test each tile, such as poking with poles or weapons, should avoid most future requirements for checks short of GM intrusions for specific tile effects.
One of the most basic functions of these tiles, aside from providing a floor, is the capability to form steps. Any group of tiles in a line may be activated and used as steps leading down to the next level after an appropriate scan and activation of said tiles as a level 3 Intellect task on first use. All other attempted manipulation or control of the tiles described below is usually a level 4 Intellect task until their operation is understood. Variations for specialized stronglass tiles include, but are not limited to the following:
1) The tile hums at a different resonance for each PC or creature that stands on it, presenting a unique sound signature for each, as individual as fingerprints or DNA patterns. If more than one creature stands on the tile it will resonate with multiple frequencies creating a musical score of sorts.
2) A nearby tile pops up vertical and tracks one random character face on. If this or any other character approaches, the tile starts to deform to take on the aspects of the approaching characters face, hands and arms or whole body, mocking and or mirroring their movements and gestures, or possibly enticing the character to join with it when the tile starts to form a half mold into which the target of interest can walk into. The first character brave enough to do so will be engulfed in a temporary flexible stronglass armor membrane that provides armor and protection against mutagens.
3) A multi-tiered fountain of some barely visible force pops up to a metre in height from the tile drawing fluid from the tiles below on the Fluid Range (C). This forms a wellspring that sprays up and recycles the fluid for a few minutes or until it is deactivated. Refer to the Fluid Range (C) regarding the properties of that fluid.
4) Several of the tiles are perforated with square or round patterns. Anyone leaving any traces of biological matter in the empty spaces of the grid patterns will find that the matter suspends itself within the airspace of the perforations. Something as simple as seeds, spores, bacteria or microbes shedding off footwear would provide more than enough biological matter to seed the gratings. The matter will start growing in short order but will rapidly mutate over visible time scales of hours to days should anyone figure out the use of these tiles. Remember those formerly functional clean rooms now used as a lair? The toxic mutagens that permeate the air are enough to slowly nourish the biological matter that sprout from them. These experiments will grow faster if explorers add water to help germinate and nourish whatever starts growing (especially if it is contaminated by the runoff). Otherwise, explorers can accomplish the same feat by getting a reverse rain (vice fountain) to rise from the fluid floor below.
5) The tile flashes brilliantly and projects an interactive light display (soft or hard light) which initially appears as a light sculpture of alien design or a similarly weird choice of creature/entity/structure. The display can also be used as a control interface by anyone interacting with it that makes an effort to discern it's true nature or by scanning it and rolling against Intellect at level 4. The extent of what it can control within the confines of this area or what information can be gleaned from it is left to GM discretion.
6) Five of the end tiles, closest to the top level Proto-creature Pod (F) are designed to float across to the upper pod and produce an interface between the pod and the person riding the tile. There is one tile for each day in the process of gestating proto-creatures produced by the pod. The tiles will stick out as distinct from others to PCs examining the end tiles. Learning how to use the tile interface initially is level 5 Intellect task and requires about one hour of being barraged with mental tutorials on the care, maintenance and operation of the Proto-creature Pod (F).
Numenera, related craft and Valuation skills would be of assistance in determining the values of materials found within the ruin.
Flexible stronglass armor, 1 Armor, immunity to airborne or liquid mutagens, reduce all speed tasks by one step, duration: 28 hours
GM Intrusion: Any of a number of possible pets, experiments or threats could be cultivated in these tiles by explorers, even accidentally, then inflicted upon them or others.
C) Fluid Range
The lighting on this tier is also Dim unless someone or something activates a simulation, at which point the fluid range activates, brightening the entire upper space (floors B through D) to a normal level of lighting. The individual simulations themselves also take on the bright fluid hues appropriate to the subject matter being simulated.
Instead of square tiles, this floor is composed of what appears to be free-floating, interlocked, fluid filled hex tiles about 2m (6 feet) to a side and 2cm (1 inch) thick. The metallic stripped frame of each tile contains a sheaf of continually flowing, clear, translucent fluid, easily mistaken for water. The fluid is controlled and powered by an interface built into each tile and is quite dynamic, changing from a very fluid, to plastic, to a dilatant/crystalline state and back again in fractions of a second. The more force applied by an outside agency, the stronger the shear of the fluid becomes to counteract the opposing force. The tiles can simulate anything from an insect infestation to crashing waves on a beach and many things in between. In another age, these tiles where programmed and used as part of a training/briefing/experimental simulator.
There are 169 tiles on this level of floor. Valuations for each tile, should they be scavenged successfully, would equal or surpass the value of the tiles from the Glass Garden (B) above. If a tile is damaged, the fluid contained by it will evaporate into nothingness within a round.
Several of the gems, bars, sticks and rods of stronglass from Tier B above can be found scattered about this tier and down below on the Main Deck (D). As indicated before, a complete scouring of floors B through to Deck D will yield around 1d6x10 of these objects.
As per the Glass Garden above, explorers in the know can activate stairs down to the Main Deck (D) as a level 3 Intellect task if using them for the first time. To reach the Glass Garden (B) above, one would have to activate the steps of the tiles overhead to drop down to this level in order to walk up.
Direct interaction with the simulations listed below will be met with a mostly equal and opposing force unless the PCs exert Effort into either hitting their intended targets, or by inflicting more Damage on them, in both instances the PCs stand a chance of beating an opposing simulation. Each simulation operates at level 4, either individually or as a swarm, against each PC.
When PCs use Effort, treat all damage inflicted against the simulation as normal. Once each simulation has taken 12 Health in damage it dissipates. The simulations attack in return but only ever inflict one damage.
If the PCs do not use Effort, the simulations are treated as armored, the Armor rating varies and depends on the weapon used against them. Light weapons will face 1 Armor in counter-force, medium weapons - 2 Armor and heavy weapons - 3 Armor. All other types of attacks have to exert some kind of physical force to have an effect and can be treated as ambient damage against the simulations bypassing the armor.
If PCs roll 17+ treat their attacks as you normally would with the bonuses and minor or major effects for these rolls, Armor still applies.
Any roll that hits (rolling less than 17) inflicts damage to the simulation and half as much damage back on the attacker (after Armor reduction and round down), against speed first, then might, due to the jarring effect of the fluid.
Any roll that misses has no effect.
On a roll of 1 the fluid will encapsulate most of the PC, their weapon arm or weapon, immobilizing them in a crystallized cyst, frozen in this position until the simulation ceases. It is a level 4 Might task to break free. That simulation then dissipates.
The simulations never gang up except in the second simulation listed below. They otherwise cover off targets as evenly as possible. The other way to beat the simulations is to ignore them or not react to them at all. Lack of opposition deactivates each simulation.
GMs may pick and choose any of the following simulations to inadvertently activate (possibly as GM Intrusions) or none at all. Interfacing with and controlling the tiles is a level 4 task requiring the use of appropriate Numenera, esoteries or skills to interface with the tiles during initial use. Sample simulations or events are listed below. Feel free to design your own.
This simulation consists of fluid doppelgangers appearing based on each
individual currently situated on the Fluid Range. The simulacrums
quickly take notice of the intruders and come over to check them out. If
the PCs make any aggressive moves their fluid-cloned images will
counter-react in appropriate fashion. If they stand down the simulacrums
will do one walk around them and dissipate from whence they came.
2) Two fire teams, of six Oorgolian soldiers each, elevate from the fluid, unless there are six or fewer PCs on this tier in which case only one team activates. The Team(s) quickly take up some tactical formation of the GMs choice, such as encirclement, sandwiching, etc. You may choose to describe the Oorgolians as 2.5m (8 feet) tall upright insects or whatever you think is appropriate, especially if the PCs are not familiar with them yet...
3) Any of a variety of threatening creatures common to the Ninth World appears to challenge or threaten the explorers. None will be larger than 3m (10 feet) in height and they all operate as per the parameters outlined above under Fluid Effects above and not as per the creature described in its reference manual.
4) Nearest the center of this tier the tiles start swirling in several torrential counter-rotating circles whipping up whirlpools that reach tendrils down toward the Lenticule (E) for about a minute's duration. They then retract and the whole spectacle fades away. Anyone caught in a whirlpool, having failed a level 4 Speed task will be washed down across the Lenticule, bouncing off its bouncy membrane and will be parked somewhere in close proximity to it.
5) The terrain changes to simulate dense brush, jungle or forest with various small , medium and large sized creatures lunging out of the foliage at the intruding explorers.
6) A wall of fluid representing a natural disaster or plague, such as a crashing tidal wave, blast or shock wave of an explosion, insect swarm, or something else of your imagining, flows from one edge of the tiles to the opposing edge, starting at the edge furthest from the explorers. The fluid force moves at the speed of the slowest character to react. If one chooses to stand against the wall of fluid, the wall passes without effect. Those running off the edge down to the floor below will have to make a level 3 Speed check to avoid taking 1 Damage to Speed.
Simulacrum and all other simulations described, level 4, as per fluid effects above.
D) Main Deck
This space was primarily used for the bulk storage of whatever resources where being cultivated by the former inhabitants of the outpost and appears barren for the most part except for a scattering of gems, bars, sticks and rods of stronglass, which can be found scattered about this tier and on tiers B and C directly above. A complete scouring of Tiers B thru D will yield around 1d6x10 of these objects.
Remains of two proto-iani can be found centered somewhere between the Bottom Pod (H) and the Lenticule (E) each yielding a level 1d6+2 cyphers that can be jury-rigged as a pair of footwear allowing those that wear them walk across most metal surfaces as normal gravity, regardless of orientation, for up to 10 minutes. One of the proto-iani has sustained less damage than the other and the bits of Numenera under it's brain case could be carefully extracted (level 3 task for success) to cobble together a Machine Control Implant.
There is a large 3m (10 feet) diameter hatch of an indeterminate metal to one side of the main deck, which would normally lead out to the exterior of the outpost. It has been sealed in by tons of sediment and debris accumulated around the outpost by the ages. A successful scan and/or Numenera related technical assessment of the door will reveal that it is operational and even has emergency demolition charges on the outer side of the door in order to blow away a certain level of debris. The door, in its current configuration, if activated, would blow inward causing catastrophic damage to the upper level of the facility and possibly the explorers that might have activated the charges.
Machine Control Implant, page 289, Numenera corebook
Within the transparent lenticule appears a dim projection of swirling filaments of dark lanes highlighting pinpoint stars (that compose a galaxy). It glows primarily with a reddish tint from the top side and seems to pull at and bend light shone across it into itself. The Lenticule is centered in the floor of the Main Deck (D) and is 13m (43 feet) in diameter and 2.5m (8 feet) thick at its center. Anyone staring into it and concentrating on an actual specific destination that can be recalled will cause the whirlpool to transform into the scene they remember, but doing so is a level 4 Intellect task. Activation of the lenticule to perform an teleport usually requires a "vision" from the HeadMan located in the Hab (H). Luck or training can circumnavigate the need for the HeadMan. The lenticule functions as a one way (send only) teleportation device. Once activated, it will teleport any using, standing on, touching or looking down over it to the place currently visualized within. The gateway stays open for one minute. The lenticule itself is a delicate level 4 discovery, and can only take 12 damage or hold up to 12 human sized creatures before collapsing and consuming itself leaving a large hole in the floor.
The lenticule also focuses power drawn from other dimensions downward through the ruin to bolster and sustain the containment of the biomass below. Destruction of the lenticule makes all tasks involving the lifting of seals one step easier in addition to extending the biomass' psychic range by one band and allowing it to exert a one step increase in it's psychic attacks against any interlopers in range.
Option: If the GM chooses, they can have the lenticule also be used as a one-shot time travel device (pushed to level 7), allowing the users travel up to one day back in time to the place they would have been at the chosen time. By this means they might right some wrong or compound their errors as they see fit. Unfortunately, using it in this manner would destroy the device.
Lenticule, level 4 Discovery. one way teleport to anyplace visualized from memory.
F) Upper Pod - Proto-creature Creator
This is a bio-factory that holds the genetic transcript and Numenera required to manufacture the Iani. Entering the pod can be achieved by tearing through a section of the self-sealing outer shell. The interior is quite sticky and disgusting but is otherwise, a non-hostile environment. Genetic material is stored at one end (the left side looking head on) and progresses slowly up the pod to the other end, developing into the bio-mechanical creatures that become Iani. This process takes a five days once started.
The upper pod appears as an amorphous leathery oblong pod measuring 3m (10 feet) tall, 4m (13 feet) deep and 15m (50 feet) wide, suspended against the back wall and stacked above the larger Oorgolian Nest, directly below it and the Hab (H) below that.
The entire pod is a level five artifact that can manufacture up to a half dozen Iani at a time as long as there is a continual feed source from the biomass or the reservoir below. Successful seeding, gestation and birthing of a batch of Iani requires one successful level 5 Intellect roll per day for five days. Each failed batch is expelled stillborn shortly after the point of failure and increases the odds of depletion by one on all following batches. Two separate rolls would be required anywhere during the week long process to blank out and then re-write the programming of a gestating batch of Iani to new user specifications beyond their current programming, which would currently follow that of the Iani in Weird Discoveries scenario Natural and Unnatural. At the end of the fifth day a half dozen Iani will tear through the right side of the membrane ready to take orders or learn about their new environment. Depletion: 1in 1d6 if the Holding Tank (I) has been drained, otherwise 1 in 1d20.
G) Middle Pod - Oorgolian Soldiers
The exterior and interior of this pod is much the same as pod above it, only larger. Further investigation of the interior of the Oorgolian Nest will reveal that there are six bio-skeletal frames with some amount of musculature and organs in development but parked on stasis, ready for further gestation. The process to grow these Oorgolians seems to have been halted at some distant time in the past. Restarting the process could yield fully grown Oorgolian Soldiers within two days, one day to apply skin tissue and another apply armor. The existing programming for each soldier was corrupted and has already imprinted. They can be reprogrammed individually as a level 7 Intellect task taking a day for each while still in the confines of the pod. Other than that, the retraining process would require retraining from the ground up on the order of several weeks, if done boot camp style. If one of the explorers presents them self as a convincing authority role as a level 5 Intellect task, the soldiers will follow for lack of any other leader figure.
The middle pod appears as an amorphous leathery oblong pod, is also gooey on the interior and measures 3.5m (11 feet) tall, 4.5m (15 feet) deep and 20m (66 feet) wide, is suspended against the back wall between the larger Hab (H) directly below it and the smaller Iani Nest (F) directly above it.
a) This Oorgolian soldier takes a shining to one of the PCs and follows them around like a puppy dog, hanging on their every word, trying to process and interpret the PCs gestures and commands. Congratulations, you have a friend and bodyguard for life! One of your lives at any rate...
b) The Oorgolian soldier wanders about aimlessly while the PCs are within sight or earshot, once out of range, it will get up to mischief by sabotaging various systems, starting with all the pods, working it's way from the bottom to the top of the pods, then working it's way down to the Lenticule (E), the Pump (J) and lastly, the Shuttle (K). Once it's mission is accomplished it will grab up whatever weapons and equipment it can carry and make it's way into the Ninth World using the Iani lair and tunnel as a point of egress.
c) Rarely, some Oorgolians totally lack any drive, this is the prototype for the rest that follow. This chap lollygags as soon as it comes up for air. It frequently lays down, three-fingered hands laced behind head, legs crossed and a dangling foot tapping out some unknown beat while it stares up at the ceiling. If there were a grass straw about, it would poke one in it's mouth and ponder the universe with it. Once in every while it will make some chirping noises and stare intently at one its brood mates then go back about it's business. The next time it will be sitting on a higher level tile, legs dangling over the edge while staring intently at the PCs.
d) Meticulous from the outset, this soldier goes through the motions of cataloging end conducing inventory of any kit in the War Chest and any other consumables it can muster from inside the pod. It also does a meticulous job of taking notes (or making entries into a device embedded in it's arm) about the Lower Tier - Range (C). While doing so it does not set off any of the simulators.
e) From the get-go, this soldier is belligerent and rude, pushing, kicking and shoving it's brood mates to badger them into some other unspecified task. After a short bit and some level of consternation it leaves the scene, making its way out of the ruin through the Iani Lair (A), possibly taking one or more Iani with it if any remain in the area. PCs may or may not expect to encounter it later.
f) This tyke is of slighter build and height then it's brood mates, yet still looms over the PCs. It follows the PCs at a distance, always keeping them in sight as if keeping tabs on them or trying to figure out what they are all about.
Oorgolian soldiers, page 250, Numenera corebook
H) Lower Pod - Hab
The Hab, from the exterior, looks much like the other two smaller pods above it. It is also self-sealing. Inside it is quite a different environment from the other two pods. The interior is completely modifiable, very warm, dry, comfortable and safe, leastwise in comparison to the rest of the outpost. All the floor, wall and ceiling surfaces can be commanded by hand (or other manipulating appendage) gestures to conform and create surfaces in the form and detail the controlling mind and hand wishes. Figuring this out is a level 3 Intellect task on the first few attempts. The end result usually being some form of furnishing, be it chairs, tables, beds, closets, drawers or other furnishings. The moldable foam materiel inside the Hab also emits light with the appropriate command gestures. This Hab measures 4m (13 feet) tall, 5m (16 feet) deep and 25m (82 feet) wide and can accommodate 10s of explorers.
There is a head-sized metallic globe rolling around on the floor of the Hab. It used to be a very powerful intra-galactic communications device. It is now a hunk of dented metal and wires having been destroyed by the original inhabitants before they left. It is possibly worth 5-10 shins in salvage.
Hab Structure, artifact, level 4, modifiable biological container, resist many elements up to level, including mutagenic matter from this outpost. Depletion: -
At one time this outpost and most others like it, was managed by an entity we could call the HeadMan, the "one" that was left in charge when the Masters traveled between the stars. When the Masters left this outpost, they did so in such haste that they accidentally lost part of their fabulous creation.
This HeadMan is a biological construct affectionately know as Serial 346 (once explorers figure out how to communicate with it). All that remains of the original 346 is its head. The body left with the Masters. New star scenes and other sites more terrestrial nature are continually playing across the surface of 346s eyes. It's neck is composed of thousands of tiny starfish-like tube feet structures which once bound it to its body. These also allow it to adhere to most any surface. It can extend a few of these tube feet at a time as fine manipulatory tentacles of a few hairs breadth. It knew the full operations of the facility when it was functional, including how to use the Lenticule and destinations through it. It can pick up languages quickly (within a few hours) and counts as an asset for general knowledge questions about the Ninth World when it can acquire contact with the Datasphere.
One of the places explorers might find the HeadMan is in some confined space within the Hab. Likewise, it could be found elsewhere, between, under or behind the pods, in the corner of the War Chest (A), submerged in fluid and wedged under the Pump (J). A GM might introduce the HeadMan as an intrusion in whichever location might be of use in advancing their story. Like the Oorgolian soldiers, 346 has been trapped here for an Age, it'll gladly follow and help where it can, like it has a choice...
HeadMan (346), level 3, Armor 1, Health 6, specialization in outpost operations and linguist. Counts as one asset for general knowledge questions about the Ninth World.
I) Holding Tank
There is a lot happening in this chamber, it is dimly light in a bluish hue from the Lenticule above. The slow deep chuff of the pump fills the room while the foot-deep bilious fluid on the floor laps at the explorers legs and gurgles into the pump. Otherwise, a massive metal plate dominates the floor at the center of the chamber, under that foot of fluid, and measures 16.5m (53 feet) in diameter. A domed glass tube, taller than a human, sticks out of the metal plate opposite the pump.
This circular chamber is 38m (125 feet) in diameter and 5.5m (18 feet) high floor to ceiling. The lens above protrudes into the holding tank area from center of the ceiling. The fluid on the floor is pumped up from the lower extremities of the outpost. See the section on Mutagenics below (Biomass Reactor Pit (R)).
The Shuttle Tube (K) pokes up 2.5m (8 feet) through the Top Seal (L). The tube is transparent, fabricated of stronglass and is accessed through an electrostatic field that will allow the transit of most creatures or things except for the creature in the Biomass Reactor (R). It is tall and wide enough to allow passage by one human sized individual.
The Lenticule (E) in the ceiling again appears as a projection of a swirling galaxy, much as it does from the Main Deck (D) above but seems to glow with a bluish tint, vice red, and seems to exert a downward force on any form of light crossing between it and the metal plate on the floor, bending all light down toward the Top Seal (L) and the Main Shaft (M) directly below.
Illumination, page 96, Numenera corebook
J) Toxin Pump and Pipe
The pump is not working at full capacity. The pipes that wind their way through the walls of ruin that suck up the output of the biomass below have slowly started to clog and congeal over the ages. The biomass will use this to it's advantage in due time. Shutting off the flow of toxin leaving the ruin is possible, as described in the Weird Discoveries adventure Natural and Unnatural. The pump can also be disabled from within the ruin. The pump itself is working at quarter capacity and will keep doing so for a long time to come unless something else happens to it. It can be turned off, disabled or repaired as required (level 4) taking 10 minutes to figure out how to turn off or an hour to disable it completely or repair it to full function. The Holding Tank (I) in which the pump is situated is not filled to capacity and has about a 30cm (1ft) pool of toxin covering the entirety of the Holding Tank (I) in which the pump is situated. The fluid covering the floor has not been filtered and is highly mutagenic (see the Mutagenics write up below under the Biomass Reactor Pit (R).
Unfortunately, in the short run, turning the pump full off will assist the biomass in achieving its ultimate desire, a chance of escape. As the fluids build up around itself the Bottom seal will eventually pop like a champagne cork, damaging the lower seal, chamber walls and quite likely the Main Shaft (M) above.
The space inside the shuttle is very dry and sterile due to the electrostatic field used to transport occupants up or down the shaft, depending on their point of origin. Movement choices are either up or down, stops in between are possible by touching the walls but transit will continue in the direction started. Exit and entry is required to restart the process. Likewise, a stronger version of this field operates at the upper and lower portals of the shuttle, which allows passage to most anything except the biomass contained below. The shuttle is a sealed stronglass cylinder that measures 54m (177 feet) from top to bottom and is 1m (3 feet) in diameter. It can fit one large or heavily equipped person at a time or two skinny people of human stature and size (very tightly). The fully transparent stronglass affords a most interesting (if not eerie) view of hand-sized bacteria aglow and swimming around in their own private vat (Main Shaft (M)) through which the shuttle runs.
Quick tactical transit of a large group of individuals through the tube is possible, but players may not likely know or think of this. If they do, and they attempt transit in quick progression, level 3 speed rolls will be required for each individual in the tube in order to avoid any mishap. Likewise, transit down through the tube to the Lower Chamber (P), should the Bottom Seal (Q) drop again after damaging the lower extent of the tube, will require a level 5 Speed roll to land safely and to avoid taking falling damage from 7m (23 feet) in height. If the Bottom Seal is still raised, transiting characters will land on the top of the seal and remain there until the seal lowers.
If anyone really wants to craze, chip, break or otherwise penetrate the stronglass of which the shuttle tube is made it can only be affected by tools, attacks or Numenera of level 7 or more and is rated Armor: 3. Damage of 21 is sufficient to blow a hole large enough to squeeze a human through. The bacteria and fluids within the Main Shaft (M) will not migrate through the tube while the electrostatic field within remains active. Destruction of both ends of the shuttle tube would be cause for the field to fail completely. Although, it is quite likely with the destruction of the bottom of the shuttle that cracks and fissures in the shuttle would give way to a slow and eventually a quick leak of the "inoculating" life forms from the Main Shaft (M).
L) Top Seal
The top seal is divided into upper and lower plates that sandwich a layer of very dense dark red clay-like material with mysterious properties. The upper plate is 17m (56 feet) in diameter and the lower plate is 9m (30 feet) in diameter. Both plates are emblazoned with double rings surrounding a broken but stylized seven point star. The remainder of the area on the plates is totally filled in with alien scrawls, both text and geometric designs, probably unlike anything the PCs have ever seen before or imagined. The metal of the plates appears so unfathomably dense that the edges of the floors and and shaft in which they are anchored are cracking. In fact, they have an almost magnetic quality to them, a quality that is in fact a slight constant local shift in gravity (1.2g) that would cause objects dropped near the edge of the plate to gravitate toward it and then towards the center of it. Anyone standing on the seal will feel heavier and all Might and Speed tasks while over the seal will be at -1 to their roll.
Deciphering a small sample of the text and geometric designs from the upper plate of this seal might be possible and is considered a level 6 task taking at least one hour of study before rolling. A success yields enough knowledge to conduct the task described below.
Opening the seal is done by bleeding out any living creature for a total 7 Health into the finger sized hole in the center of the star on the top plate, that and speaking the long forgotten words "Y-SILA-THU-SHRO." On command, the blood will fuel the anti-gravitic clay material that slowly lifts the whole seal, including two super dense plates, upwards. The seal will top out at the ceiling of the chamber wall directly above leaving a 3.5m (11m) high gap to look down into the seething abyss that is...
The knowledge and the words are also well known to the biomass, which will gladly provide insightful information to the right party(s) in order to procure its release. Likewise it will lure or entice them to stay and study the glyphs longer, if it can?
M) Main Shaft
As viewed through the stronglass of the Shuttle (K) or from the opened Top Seal (L), the main shaft is filled top to bottom with a roiling mass of fist sized, bio-luminescent, (single celled) organisms (macrobes) that mutated from their original form. Many are amoeba-like, others are sphere, rod or spiral-shaped and range in tints from light brown through red into hues of green and blue. The macrobes co-exist with a colony of nanites whose original function was as a back-up defense system against the biomass. They appear to be alive and active, although their function will probably be beyond the know of most anyone investigating them more closely.
The main shaft is 9m (30 feet) in diameter and extends 40m (131 feet) from its top to the bottom.The shaft is one of the few structures that is not slowly disintegrating because is has been lined with a thin but very resilient coating of stronglass along the side walls and the bottom. This coating takes on a bluish cast in sufficient lighting, is level 5 and is Armor 1, except at the bottom where the main shaft joins with the Shuttle (K) , where it is designed to break easily to flood the Lower Collection chamber (P) in order to terminate the creature below. If the main shaft is opened from the Top Seal (K) or breached through the Shuttle (K) the macrobes will slowly squidge, slop and seep out leaving slimy trails and a pervasive mix of odors such as alcohol, earthy notes or yeasts. They are completely harmless to most biological matter and might in fact be of utility in various fields of research into the Numenera.
Roiling mass, level 1, nullify mutations and attacks biomass to destroy it as level 6, ignores biomass armor.
N) Tunnel and Breach
This is an optional feature, feel free to use it or remove it as you prefer. Creatures foreign to the ruin have breached the wall of the Main Shaft (M) possibly for any of a number of motives. The connecting tunnel extends for endless kilometers (miles) in a slow gentle arc in a direction preferred by the GM. Maybe it eventually goes up to the surface or down to deeper parts of the Ninth World? The creatures that dug the tunnel may or may not be the same as the creatures that breached the wall between the tunnel and the Main Shaft (M). The stronglass liner is still intact and the huge single celled bacteria within the Main Shaft (M) can be readily observed through it. The breach between the tunnel and the Main Shaft (M) is approximately 36m (118 feet) below ground level and will fit one or two human sized creatures at a time.
I like using Magmids as a plot device to create subterranean tunnel networks that can be used in later adventures. Whether the players discover these and investigate or make use of them will only be known in the fullness of time? Other possibilities include connecting to ghoul warrens, or encountering a wide range of other subterranean creatures such as those listed in the Ninth World Bestiary under the Exploring the Ruins or Delving Deep Underground tables. The tunnel would also provide an excellent lead to The Sun Below series of adventures by Dread Unicorn Games.
P) Lower Collection Chamber
There is no lighting in this chamber and it is more decayed than the rooms above, with a thick powdery dust layer composed of equal amounts of disintegrating silicates and spent nanites, the last which are readily detectable to any Nano. The chamber also reeks enough to make each explorer present to make level 4 Might roll against gagging, vomiting or choking, incapacitating said individuals for at least one minute, unless they have somehow protected themselves against the stench prior. This circular chamber is 31m (102 feet) in
diameter and is 6m (20 feet) high at the sides, rising to 7m (23 feet) tall at the base of
the Main Shaft (M) directly above.
Aside from Shuttle (K) coming through the ceiling and terminating over the Bottom Seal (Q) the only other thing of note in the room is a series of five or six coiled grimy thigh thick metallic cables encircling the room. These cables are porous and absorb the fumes and energies from the pit demon, converting and transporting them though fine filaments in the outpost structure up to the Hold Tank (I).
The ceiling retaining wall between this chamber and the Main Shaft (M) directly above is only 30cm (1ft) thick and can be readily penetrated by as little as 3 damage, producing a breach that will likely rupture the rest of the ceiling. The remaining stronglass lining will not be enough to hold the column of macrobes above it, allowing the remaining macro-bacteria above to flood down and join the fray if there is one ongoing. The macrobes will otherwise attack the biomass and devour any other biological remains from a battle with the biomass. The macrobes are otherwise "mostly harmless" to most living entities, except for being flooded by them, where alternate means for breathing or swimming skills would definitely come in handy.
Q) Bottom Seal
The only difference between this seal and the Top Seal (L) above is that this seal is encased in a thin but very resilient coating of stronglass on both top and bottom surfaces. This coating takes on a yellowish cast in sufficient lighting and cannot be affected by any attack less than level 7, it is rated as Armor 3, not that there is any reason to try and chip at the stronglass coating at this point? The upper plate of this seal is 15m (50 feet) in diameter and the lower plate is 9m (30 feet) in diameter.
Deciphering a small sample of the text and geometric designs from the upper plate of this seal might be possible and is considered a level 6 task taking at least one hour of study before rolling. A success yields enough knowledge to conduct the task described below.
Opening the seal is done by bleeding out any living creature for a total 7 Health into the finger sized hole in the center of the star on the top plate, that and speaking the long forgotten words "Y-SILA-THU-SHRO" - which are otherwise only known to the seething biomass below. The biomass will gladly provide this insightful information to the right party(s) in order to procure its release. Likewise, it will lure or entice them to stay and study the glyphs longer, if it can? On command, the blood will fuel the anti-gravitic clay material that slowly lifts the whole seal, including two super dense plates, upwards. The seal will top out at the ceiling of the chamber wall directly above leaving a 3.5m (11 feet) high gap to look down into the seething abyss that is...
To confound matters, the raising seal will easily shatter and destroy the lower extent of the Shuttle (K) tube, also cutting access (at least temporarily) to the only means of escape from the levels and world above for at least one hour while the macrobes in the Main Shaft (M) seep out through the damaged shuttle at an ever increasing rate.
After the seal drops, climbing back up the shattered shuttle tube, should the explorers survive the encounter with the biomass, is an option if the explorers are talented or properly equipped. Flying up the tube presents no problems. If there is contact with someone in the Holding Tank (I) above, they can always lower rope down the tube after forcing their way through the tube door open at the top end, a level 4 Might roll would be required since the tube will have deactivated for safety reasons.
R) Perpetual Bio-mass Reactor Pit
Any explorer getting this far and surveying the pit after the seal is raised might note that it is as much a prison or a tomb as it is a reactor vessel. Any of these labels would be appropriate depending on your point of view. The contents, an ancient being of malign and evil intent that originated from outside of the Ninth World. The pit is 9m (30 feet) in diameter and 11m (36 feet) deep.
The race that fashioned this facility and bred the Oorgolians for their own ends, most particularly for the security of this facility, also bred or enslaved other creatures for various uses, in this case, the Perpetual Biomass (hereafter referred to as biomass). The biomass has been sealed within its cell for ceaseless ages, abiding its time until it can escape. It senses that the time is near and calls out to any that might help it escape so that it may wreak havoc on the world above. In recent history, other creatures have come close to heeding its call but they have not returned to release the biomass as bargained with.
The biomass continually exudes and stews in a pool of it's own fluids, which it in turn uses to feed itself. The ancients that bred and used the biomass kept that creature in check by pumping most of this toxic bio-sludge into the Holding Tank (I) high above it and then converting that through various reactions to run the facility and to make other useful creations such as Oorgolians and Iani. The residuals have been continually pumped out for ages, subtly polluting and mutating the local flora, fauna and inhabitants.
If contact is made with the biomass, and if any care to ask its name, it refers to itself as "I am." It will attempt to make contact as soon as it can with any weak, foolish or willing victim, sensing and specifically targeting the weakest or most worn out mind(s) in proximity, those with the lowest Intellect pools and edge, while also factoring in the amount of effort a victim can put forth against it's psychic advances.
The biomass cannot make a psychic connection with anything other than a 100% biological mind. The biomass can detect biological life forms, speak to them and force affected victims to certain compulsions but it cannot read minds.
The psychic abilities of the biomass are reduced by one step for each seal between it and any creature with which it is attempting to contact or control. The Lenticule (E), and the coils in the Lower Collection Chamber (P) also count as seals for the purpose of counting seals between the biomass and its intended target. This results in a weak, level 2 psychic pull, in the upper chamber and a level 1 effect in the vicinity of the ruins (within a few hundred meters/yards), usually expressing itself as a presence or the feeling of being watched by most interlopers explorers.
The biomass will make an attempt to control another creature each time the chosen target's Intellect is reduced or each time the proximity between the biomass and target creature is reduced, either due to distance or an opening or disruption of one of the seals. It will also whisper the chant"Y-SILA-THU-SHRO" continually and provide visions of explorers making a blood sacrifice over the holes in the center of the seals. Other control attempts will be used to move the target in an intended direction or to conduct a specific task that aides the biomass in escaping it's confines.
The fluids exuded by the biomass are highly mutagenic. Each hour or less of direct contact with the biomass or its fluids will likely result in the eventual manifestation of at least one mutation. A roll of 1 (usually an automatic GM intrusion) will result in a harmful mutation (unless the GM is feeling beneficent), while any other unsuccessful result against a level 5 toxin vs. Might will result in one of the other kinder types of mutation. The mutations will generally take a week to a month to develop, depending the level of failure on the Might task roll, lower rolls will show up faster. A successful roll against this mutagenic effect is only good for the hour in which it was made.
Those inhaling the acrid, bile tainted air stagnating within the outpost, without proper filtration, will require a similar roll for each full 28 hour period spent within the outpost while breathing the air. A Might roll will be required against a level 4 toxin in the upper levels of the outpost (floors B through D) and against a level 5 toxin in the areas below ground level (I through Q).
Perpetual biomass, level 5, health 24, Armor 1, mutagenic, level 6 sense biological creatures, messaging and psychic control (one victim for one minute), can also physically attack up to 5 targets at up to short range with various appendages
Substitutes might include the Shoggoth from page 11 of In Strange Aeons or the Neveri, page 91, The Ninth World Bestiary
Mutations, pp. 123-128 Numenera corebook
Options, options, options...
It would not be unusual to find other variants of this outpost, such as a Biological or Mad-science Lab, Communications Facility, Hospital or Barracks as suggested possibilities. This has the added value of allowing you to create more than one facility of standardized design and construction with each being of differing utility to the pre-Ninth World inhabitants that built them. More particularly, it allows you some flexibility as a GM to more readily fit an outpost into your game based on whatever you conceive or need.
The Ninth World is large and many of the locales that you wish to open up to your PCs might also be accessed through a facility such as this. I like to put at least one, if not more, optional means of transit from ruins to other locations or environments in the Ninth World and possibly beyond. If you want to put in another or differing teleport device such as a door or disk, a tunnel or a creature that can transport the players elsewhere than feel free to do so. The Tunnel and Breach, described previously, is an example of one of the options I like to build into some facilities, even if my PCs never find it or make use of it. If you don't want it there, leave it out.
Wherever possible, I attempt to make use of the wide array of existing creatures, Numenera and other odds and sods that already constitute the Ninth World. There is tons of stuff I will probably never use otherwise, so I do not feel the need to try and fill the sidebars with new creations, unless something does not fit my concept for the scenario, especially when there are so many options readily available in official or third party released products.