The PCs have been in the well for months now. The exact amount of time is unknown, but probably 8-9 months, maybe even 10. The session starts with the PCs following the Trade Road to the port city of Merikano. They are in the transport Calvin captured last session, flying about 20 feet up, following the marching armies of Conan and Mihrimah. While slow going, it’s at least peaceable.
Donovan makes regular scouting trips ahead and during one such trip discovered several miles of railroad tracks simply sitting out in the plains. The tracks intersect the Trade Road, but don’t cross it. They simple end and then start up again. The far ends of the railway are quite sharp, much like the edges of the Enrichment Testing Center back up near Jayanama. Even more interesting is a single passenger car that looks to date from the 1800s. It’s old, rotted, and dusty, but has the still legible “Mid-World Railway” written on the side. Inside the passenger car is dust, cobwebs, dead leaves, bones (human and animal) rotted furnishings, old luggage, and a lot of metal bits—coins, rings, bracelets, and the remains of several five-shot revolvers. One of the coins bears a man’s face on one side, crossed revolvers on the other, and the name “Gilead.”
Donovan brings some of these artifacts back to the PCs and Marcus eventually shows them to Conan. He recognizes the name “Mid-World” as coming from The Dark Tower novels of Stephen King. Gilead was the home of gunslinger Roland Deschain, who carried twin revolvers forged from the sword Excalibur. Conan also states that Roland’s life centers around a quest to find said “Dark Tower,” which lies at the center of the universe and may be the linchpin of reality. His voice trails off as he find the parallels with the current situation to be rather uncomfortable. Marcus, for his part, takes the revolver frames (this includes the butt, cylinder, and barrel, but the wooden grips have rotted away.)
Eventually the PCs arrive in Merikano. The city is a major port and sits on the shore of the Ocean. It is almost as large as Virava with an estimated population of 8,000, and surrounded by fields of cotton, flax, and hemp. It is also a major fishery, and the large semi-circular bay is filled with caravels, dhow, drakar, lateen-rigged galleys, and fishing schooners and smacks with square and lateen-rigged sails.
The town itself is built on and around the ruins of a much older city, apparently the city of the people who made the Trade Road. It also is the most cosmopolitan the PCs have yet seen, even more so than Virava. The weather is mild, much like the Caribbean or Mediterranean, and local fashion consists of short tunics with over-tunics, kilts, simple dresses, and so on. Much of the clothing is light-weight as well, although not quite as sheer as certain ancient Egyptian fashions. The people come from all over the Ocean and the Plains and include Scaled People, who are the stock Gator Troopers are drawn from. The harbor and bay itself have Sea People, who live amid the sunken ruins, and look like WaterPeople, except they have dolphin-like lower bodies and not fish (Calvin still avoids them for some reason.) The PCs also encounter the Boat People, a race who get their name from dwelling near full-time on large trading galleys. They are possible the most unusual-looking people seen yet, seeing as they have two-toned skin with dark bluish-purple bodies and pale near-white torsos, faces, and hands. They also have a second set of small (but nimble arms), webbed fingers and toes, pointed ear, and hair.
The PCs find out it will take 3-4 weeks for Conan to gather sufficient ships (he needs near 100) and supplies to attempt the assault on the Center. During this time, the PCs explore the city.
Billy Jo spends time either with Mihrimah and her troops, or bar hopping.
Calvin explores the city, often accompanied by Jiranee. He’s the first to encounter the Boat People and instantly works to capture a portrait in a sketchbook, much to Jiranee’s amusement. He also finds another bottle of the wine he was looking for.
Cyan visits the vast markets and purchases supplies.
Donovan crosses the Ocean and finally sees the Center. It’s nearly a mile high or so, a spire of rock that juts out of the water. It’s surrounded by the “Teeth” sharply-pointed chunks of rock that form a ring around the center island.
Edward accompanies Billy Jo from time to time. He makes the mistake of asking for water (then milk) in a bar, and ends up running afoul of a locl tough and his allies, much to the tough’s regret. He also has a huge Gurren Laggan banner made for the transport.
Marcus finds there’s another Pylon Plaza on the far side of the harbor. He and Vilgerther make it rain for a bit, them examine a schematic of the Well, confirming that A) the world is flat and round, and that B) only the Ocean separates the PCs from the Center. The question of what lies on the other side of the Mountains ringing the Well is still unknown.
Whilst exploring Merikano, Donovan also finds an immense (600’ long) cargo vessel sitting wrecked and abandoned on the far side of the harbor (near the Pylon Plaza.) It seems to be an early 20th Century coal-carrying cargo ship, with an extensive superstructure. The stern of the ship states its the USS Cyclops. Inside the ship has long been stripped of most anything useful and even Marcus can’t get the engines to turn over (perhaps because they run off of coal and steam and he’s can manipulate electrical devices.)
Eventually the fleet is assembled and the PCs set out. The fleet covers roughly 90-100 miles a day, perhaps 150 if the wind is good. This means they’ll be at the center in only 4-5 days. However, about two days out from Merikano, disaster strikes.
The PC’s transport, now known as the Winnebago, cruises about 60 feet off of the surface of the Ocean. The water is amazingly clear, leading the PCs to believe stories of the Chesapeake Bay once being so clear one could see the bottom. There are vast forests of kelp and beds of sea grasses, as well as huge schools of fish. This rather tranquil scene is interrupted by the arrival of an ocean-going reptile bigger than the Winnebago, which makes it nearly 25 meters long. The huge Liopleurodon makes a beeline right for Mihrimah’s ship (where Billy Jo is practicing his ‘swing by a rope from the mast’ trick) and slams into the vessel, causing it to rock back and forth. While Billy Jo grabs a sword and does battle, Donovan also notes three gunships diving in from on-high at a range of around 500 meters.
The PCs are quick to give battle. Cyan fires several arrows into the Liopleurodon, Marcus turns the Winnebago to face the attacking gunships, and Donovan goes to help Billy Jo. Vilgerther, Calvin, and Edward man the Winnebago’s guns. The Liopleurodon bites holes in the galley’s rail, devours 3-5 sailors and/or soldiers, and then takes a sword to the head from Billy Jo. The massive reptile then nearly devours Billy Jo in a single bite, but he manages to drive his sword into the creature’s brain (from inside the mouth!) As the reptile slips down under the waves, Donovan dives down and snatches Billy Jo from certain doom.
Meanwhile, the Winnebago takes fire from the attacking gunships and returns same. Edward burns out a waist gun with an amazing display of firepower, but to no avail. Finally, the ships pass each other, and Calvin and Marcus combine to blast one out of the air. Edward leaps onto another, opens the hatch, and wrecks a second. Donovan does the same to the third, then snatches a leaping Edward out of the air and returns him to the Winnebago.
1) Marcus asked a Merikano smith to melt the collected revolvers down and make him a blade. This has been done. You have a short sword of rather fine steel.
2) The Liopleurodon had some sort of crown or helmet of silvery metal on its head. It certainly looked artificial.
3) The gunships were fully-enclosed and armored.
4) Billy Jo was down 1/2 BODY after being nearly eaten by the Liopleurodon. I presume Cyan dod her best to patch him up.
5) The Winnebago has taken damage and is missing the right waist gun. It can still fly, but need a lot of repairs.
6) The PCs are in sight of the Center at the end of the session. I forgot this.
7) I am going to presume that Ayna was left in Merikano, seeing as being her with you is not advised (she’s not a combatant.)
You’ve met the following people:
Akela: She’s a Boat Person and is as described in the main text. She stands around 5’8” (just shorter than Calvin) with long darkish blonde hair and a slender figure. Calvin met her in a wineshop in the Merikano Market.
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