04 – The Northern Journey
Sheckel spends a couple hours to take a closer look at the partially-assembled vehicle in the underground base. The ATV is of military construction, with a spare utilitarian appearance. Although most of the components are in good shape, there are several obvious pieces missing from the engine. The gas tank is also empty. Sheckel believes that given enough spare parts and some fuel, he could get it running again.
You also take time reading through Jomat’s Journal (see Campaign Rumours). Intrigued by the reference to the “Lost City”, you elect to journey north and seek out the Rift.
The night passes without event. The following morning you replenish your supplies with some of the gear in the basement, and as the red sun rises you set off once again into the wastes. After years in an underground vault, seeing the open sky still fills you with a rush of adrenaline.
(The referee rolls some dice for your third day of exploration.)
Based on the map in the underground base, you figure that the road towards Torrington would be the quickest route. You set out to the north-east, leaving Crestone in favour of the open plains. (The strange odour still lingers in the air here.) You spy some low mountains in the distance ahead, and use these to keep on-course. After several hours of travel, you reach the ragged remains of an Ancient highway extending to the north. You follow this trail for the rest of the day, and its condition improves (becoming a road). As the sun begins to set, you ascend to the top of a steep hill and take a survey of the surrounding lands:
(The referee rolls some dice as you make camp and grumbles at the results.)
You climb a steep embankment to find a potential campsite that is concealed and difficult for predators to reach. During the first watch, you spot mysterious lights moving silently across the sky, but you have no idea what they may be. Otherwise the night passes without event.
(The referee rolls the dice for day four. He grins with menace and rolls some more. He rolls an Awareness check for the party, getting 6+10=16 – a fail. He tosses another die; it comes up 2.)
The high cirrus clouds glow an unnatural green in the pink morning sky as you set out again. You scramble down the steep embankment towards the highway, and you do not spot the creatures below! A trio of giant insects skitter around the brush nearby, apparently searching for food. Crimson chitin protects the enormous man-sized ants, and the gleam in their multifaceted eyes hint at an alien intelligence. One is larger than the others, and its jaws click ominously as it shuffles towards you…
(You have caught each other by surprise and are already in melee range. The three giant ants do not appear to be friendly. Declare your actions – melee attack, ranged attack, flee, negotiate, or whatever. I will run several rounds of combat per post.)