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Endgame
Into the shadows...

Time remaining: 00:00

Teleported into Hell Hollow, the party had to fight through undead, reptilians tooled up with Sil’ess hardware, demonic skulls, mechanical scarabs, Sirens, the sons of Acher and finally Acher himself, in the form of a demonic serpent. After a mighty battle, Acher’s serpent form collapsed and he fled into a deep pit. With the planar stabiliser destroyed, Riffkin appeared in his true form, revealing that the version of him that died in Spookfall was some kind of similacrum, and informed the party that Acher would be fleeing through a Sil’ess portal to his allies, the Scales of Fate.

The party went after him, stepping through the portal into a Escher-like shadow realm, where they were assaulted by plasma-spitting demons. The demons were defeated, but in the fight the portal was destroyed, trapping the party in this alien dimension…

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Escalation
Stirring up a hornet's nest...

Time remaining: 18:32

Trying to provoke a full-blown war between Acher and Riffkin, the party moved on the settlement surrounding Hell Hollow and engaged a human and reptilian militia, broadcasting their allegiance to Riffkin. The militia posed little threat, but broiled undead began rising from the volcanic pool. Their job done, the party retreated back to the Newtown proper, North’s quick wit getting them past the The Garbagemen once more.

Finding that their apartment building in the Hob was being staked out by unknown agents, the party headed for the Spatters, but on the bridge an almighty explosion rang out from high in Spookfall, radiating magical energy. Turning back for the Newtown spire amidst agitated Newtown Militia troops, the party captured the spy outside their building and dragged him inside for questioning, where they learnt he was an operative for the Black Hill Army before he killed himself with an implanted micro-explosive.

Corzo showed up at this point, burnt and battered, and revealed that Acher had attacked Riffkin’s Headquarters, killing Riffkin and most of his minions, and capturing the Mouldstone. Calling on their contacts in the The Doghouse and the The Striders, the party formulated a plan to hit Hell Hollow, backed up by Corzo and what men he could muster.

After tooling up from the Sil’ess Arms Warehouse, the party and their henchmen assembled in the Church of the Marching God to be teleported into the hollow by Sorn – the magical defences apparently having weakened – while their dogboy and human allies would descend through the chokes.

Engulfed in blinding light, the party were suddenly elsewhere…

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The Descent
Suiting up, going down...

Time remaining: 20:47

The party took some time to assess the items that they had looted from the Sil’ess Arms Warehouse, breaking open the treasure chest from the vault room to find a silver sphere inside with an incredibly intricate serpentine pattern scored into it, similar to the designs of the Sil’ess, but apparently fractal, repeating itself on a smaller and smaller scale to the limits of Ellis’ magnification. When held, the sphere tugs faintly in a northerly direction, and it emits a supernatural scent that Patch found quite distinct from other Sil’ess artifacts. Opening his psychic senses to the sphere, Patch found himself drawn deeper and deeper into the design, which appeared to move around him with a grinding of metal until he emerged into some temple hewn from rock, carved with Sil’ess symbols and illuminated in crimson by crystal lights. Patch was drawn into the rumbling darkness before the vision abruptly ended.

Mulling over their next move, the party decided to promote conflict between Riffkin and Acher. Hoping that Riffkin might blame Acher for the warehouse break-in, they suited up in the looted Sil’ess armour, modifying it where appropriate for Ellis and Patch, and armed themselves with Sil’ess weapons, aiming to attack Acher’s people in Rock Bottom and claim it was retribution from Riffkin.

Using their knowledge of Newtown geography, the party made their way through the back streets of the Hob and down into Bowler, trying to avoid detection. They were spotted by minions of Katya, however, who then waited in ambush for them with The Rotters. She shot North, but the party managed to disable her men and disarm her without any fatalities, and explained the situation. Kayta wasn’t impressed, but let them continue on their way.

The party moved down through the Chokes, with Ellis detecting the distant sound of wings in the haze. They reached Rock Bottom without incident and moved through the work site of The Garbagemen, past the dumps and landfills and fire pits, following the scent of Sil’ess magic that Patch felt led north. Three borg guards followed the party beyond the works and further into the caldera, at which point the party confronted them. North demanded a password, which seemed to confused them. They inquired if the party were from ‘the hollow’, and when North repeated his demand they said they did not work for ‘him’. North dismissed them and they returned to the works site, leaving the party alone.

They continued northwards past the shanty settlements of subsistence communities, at one point being spied upon by a crater-dweller with a skull painted on his face mask, close to a field of human bones. Pressing on, the party came to a black serpentine sigil painted on a rock, beneath which were more bones. Beyond this lay a large volcanic pool, emerging from a cavern in the crater wall, and surrounded by a shanty settlement, patrolled by squads of guards. The stench of Sil’ess magic issued from the hollow in the rock, Hell Hollow, and the party knew where they had to go…

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Dangerous Goods
Guns, lots of guns. And things in jars...

Time Remaining: 22:58

The party went toe-to-toe with the Sil’ess automatons, which came at them with crystal drills and electric pulse guns. After disabling the guns they finished them off in short order, Patch riding around on the back of one as it frantically tried to throw him off, and Ellis chucking another down the lift shaft.

With the immediate threat countered, the party scoured the warehouse, finding a wealth of guns, melee weapons, armour and esoteric artifacts (see Sil’ess Arms Warehouse Inventory). The vault was next on the agenda – North had it open in short order, and inside was a wealth of crystal energy clips, along with a fragment of some large metal structure, covered in Sil’ess writing. The plinth the fragment rested on also held an ornate treasure chest.

With Patch sensing supernatural energy emanating not just from the items, but from the floor itself, Ellis hurled Patch to the plinth to recover the chest. Attempting to pick the lock, Patch triggered some sort of mechanism leading to an EM spike – he leapt out of there with the chest, caught by Ellis before his feet touched the floor, but guards were quickly converging on the vault.

These were the guards that the party had encountered before at Riffkin’s Headquarters, wearing black full body armour and armed with laser pistols. Apparently able to see through Patch’s technowizard stealth system, a firefight ensued. It soon became evident that the suits were empty aside from a strange luminous mist that appeared to animate them.

With the supernatural guards taken out the party loaded up with loot, filling a container with guns and other items, and rode the lift down to the Sil’ess Arms Warehouse Lift Terminal. More guards were waiting in the darkened lower warehouse, but Patch sniffed them out and Ellis and North dispatched them with brutal efficiency, leaving the exit to the Hob clear…

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On the Clock
Steal back the mouldstone, kill the badguys. Easy, right?

Time remaining: 24:00

The party regrouped at Ratchet and Hank’s Depo after getting the information from Steig and the ultimatum from The Woman. Putting together a list of priorities, they headed back towards the Gatehouse to return to Newtown proper, but spotted one of The Black Band lurking nearby, scoping out the gatehouse traffic. Patch tried to sneak through the crowd and get the drop on him, but was rumbled when Rex came bounding over to say hello. The reptilian fled, but Ellis leapt into action, easily catching up with his quarry and slamming him into the ground, with Patch hot on his heels. North flanked through the shanty alleys, spying a heat signature in the building the reptilian had been heading for.

Just as North blew the building apart, the partial conversion mutant burst out to unleash plasma death at Ellis, who retaliated with his power sword while Patch took pot shots with his ion blasters. This gave North enough time to reacquire the target and put the borg down. Messily.

The party detoured through the Spatters while the Newtown Militia descended on the scene, and got the eerie feeling one of the Sirens was flitting around on the rooftops. Once things had calmed down, they headed through to Newtown, Patch heading for The Doghouse while North and Ellis went to scope out the elevator to the Sil’ess Arms Warehouse.

Patch caught up with Biggs, who he convinced to introduce him to Tark, one of the senior priests of The Striders. Tark confirmed that the Striders are well versed in magic and can move people and material through space, but they were still deliberating whether or not to get involved. He did mention that the Night Brethren may have more insight into the nature of Mouldstone.

Meanwhile North and Ellis made their way through the Boltons to where the elevator shaft for the warehouse emerged from the city interior and ran up the outside surface. With North hanging on, Ellis began climbing the skeletal metal framework of the lift shaft, concealed for the most part by the clouds of steam rising up the side of the city. Reaching the doorway, North cut through an exterior panel to reach the security camera controls and access the local network.

There was a moment of panic when birds flying around the lift shaft made them think the sirens were stalking them, but North soon had the run of the network, blinding the cameras and opening the doors, while Patch began climbing up to join them.

Inside the warehouse, they found a variety of Sil’ess firearms and melee weapons as promised, but the exploration was cut short when they awoke four Sil’ess automatons…

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