Here There Be Science; Here There Be Dragons!

Chapter 8: New Primus

The members of the party best acquainted with strange lands are BetterBorn and Jerome, and they recognize that they have ended up in the Clockwork Nirvana of Mechanus, an entirely new plane of existence. Since they had just seem Reem make a dragon-line for the tall central spire, they take their journey in that direction. Along the way, they meet the modrons, small robots shaped like spheres, cubes, and other geometrical solids. They have a very clear heirarchy, and many of them speak some little logic-based language that the players can’t understand. Luckily, the cubes can speak Common, so they learn that the spire belongs to the Primus, the supreme ruler of Mechanus.

In a nearby alley, a harpy in pirate garb dreams that she is back on her favorite ship, the Black Wing, fighting alongside unfamiliar crew members (a hunchback, a cyborg, a rakshasa, and a robot) to fend off an aboleth, a fearsome, tentacled, psychic sea monster. The monster is killed just before she wakes up, finding herself surrounded by the crew from her dream. The other players offer her waffles as the harpy takes in all the strange sights around her. He introduces herself as Areosona. She got on the bad side of a hot-tempered wizard and was banished to Mechanus. Her ears perked up when she heard the others were off to fight a dragon, and she knows that dragons have huge piles of money. Areosona joins the cause against Reem.

The players walk a little farther before they hear a tremendous explosion and see the Spire of Primus erupt in a pillar of flame. All the modrons have a glazed look over their robot eyes and begin to repeat two words. In Common, they translated to be “New Primus. New Primus.” The players could easily guess what happened at the Spire. The robots then start to march past the players in one direction. BetterBorn remembers that once every 289 years is an event called the Great Modron March, in which all the modrons in Mechanus walk through every plane, including the Material Plane where the players came from, and the few that survive report everything they saw to the Primus. But, the previous Modron March was about 100 years ago. The players pick up a few words from the modrons: “Arkan. Material Plane. Destroy.” The players rush to the charred Spire.

They find Reem, the Ancient Red Dragon, at the Spire, surrounded by swirling multicolor energy. On his right claw is a rainbow-colored cloud of opaque mist, and on his left a cloud of blackness. Reem revels in his new power and regards the pitifully tiny group of adventurers. Reem’s roaring voice echos over the turning and the clanking of the gears and cogs that make up the unfathomable machine that he now controls. The players charge into combat. Before they do, four humanoid figured emerge from the four corners of the potential arena space. They are the four Secundi, each Secundus rules a quadrant of Mechanus under supervision of the Primus. One of the four speaks, “Here in Mechanus, the order is law, and the law is order. Therefore, the order of battle must be kept in order, according to law.” This battle would be different in two ways: 1. Turn order is determined by dexterity (with wisdom and then strength as tiebreakers), 2. All damage is relegated to average damage. Though players and characters made attack rolls and saving throws, no damage dice were rolled, taking the average damage that would be dealt.

The battle is fierce. The adventurers may have slain a fire giant and a black dragon, but Reem was a new force to be reckoned with. Indeed, most of the players come very close to their own day of reckoning. With one gigantic fire breath, BetterBorn and Areosona both nearly died, and would have if Slade had not blocked another fire breath with his shield. Booth, finally close to revenge, becomes incredibly weak after Reem’s bite, wing, and fire attacks. BetterBorn tries his Tesla coil once and becomes stunned when he believes that he sees his deceased father, who was lawful neutral. BetterBorn hugs the illusion of his father, and he hears his father say “I know you can do it, son. I am so proud of you.” As the illusion ends, BetterBorn is inspired with new hope, believing that he may get to see his real father again someday.

Meanwhile, Jerome jumps onto Reem’s back, slashing at his eyes and face with his shotels. Reem reacts by trying to claw Jerome off his face. In the process, Jerome is subjected to the rainbow and black clouds on Reem’s claws. The clouds turn out to be portals to other planes. Jerome’s brain becomes extremely disoriented after seeing alternating images of perfect, geometrically-shaped natural landscapes and layers of huge iron cubes in endless collisions. Jerome continues to hold on, interjecting another insult against Booth (this time reducing Booth’s HP from 4 to 2). Jerome deals the finishing blow on Reem, slashing the dragon’s eyes and neck. Reem collapses, and Booth’s homeland is avenged at last.

Jerome stands proudly, expecting to receive the title of Primus, since Reem claimed the title by force. The Secundi come forward and ask for Jerome’s alignment, which is chaotic. The Secundi shutter to think of a chaotic Primus, so one of them is promoted to Primus, and a Trius is promoted to Secundus, and a Quatranus to a Trius, and so on until a small spherical modron is created to complete the vacancy created by promotions. When asked how Reem claimed Primus status, the new Primus explained that Mechanus itself couldn’t contain Reem’s chaotic ambition, but now everything will be set back in its perfect order, with the premature Modron March called off. The players ask to be taken back to their home in the Material Plane, and the Primus gladly send them off by creating a portal with both of his hands. The players return to the cave of treasure that once belonged to Reem/Arkan.

Areosona is thrilled to find such an enormous treasure horde, and decides to come back later after she reclaims her ship from the wizard that banished her. With no reason to stay with the party, the bomb-throwing pirate harpy takes flight to pursue her path.

The rest of the players decide to return to the Capitol, after failing to find the black dragonborn, Aryan. When they arrive at the Capitol Checkpoint, they see Mr. Suur again, but this time the more perceptive heroes notice a few new grey hairs on his head. The official is surprised to see the party, since they have been gone a long time. The players didn’t think they were gone that long, but Mr. Suur confirms that the last time they came through was over a year ago. The time spent in Mechanus, only a couple of hours, was equivalent to about a year and a half in the Material Plane. The players are surprised further when Mr. Suur says that uncommon races are not allowed at all in the Capitol anymore. Jerome disguises himself again, fooling Mr. Suur effectively for the second time.

The party discovers that Borack the Great has taken the highest position of power in the Capitol in such a short time. Not only that, but the players aren’t collecting any profit from the Sweetmeat Factory. Someone else has taken charge of the establishment. The players decide that it would be good to speak with Yarjerit to find more information about the political and social climate of the Capitol. They arrive at Yarjerit’s library to find it barred. When they crash through, the heroes discover an abandoned library. They approach a commoner on the streets about Yarjerit. The human commoner expresses disgust, and suspected that “the lizard filth” is kept in jail, where all uncommoners belong.

After all the experience these heroes have in saving villagers, exploring caverns, and slaying dragons, one might wonder how they will handle the mysterious intrigue and plot that has been festering in the Capitol the whole time.



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