You can watch this game session on YouTube at https://youtu.be/UIgT6l3OOh8.
With the threat of the snake beasts dealt with the PCs begin to investigate the entrance to the Vault of Tales. They find more of the charcoal drawings, a ruined ticket booth, and a sealed set of double doors. Above the doors hung a sign depicting the location to be the “Istamak Historical Museum.”
Nuil collected 128 Bio UBPs from the corpses of the snake beasts. Once finished she asked Tyzael if this was the door they normally enter through. Tyzael confirmed Nuil’s thoughts and informed them this was the first “feat of strength” through which they must pass.
Secret Door Attempt #2: The group searched around the booth/counter and I called for another Perception check to find the secret door. The dice did not favor the players this time either and the secret door remained hidden.
The group began to search the area for a way to open the door, wireless connections, or data ports. They search for a long while when Ryder realizes one of the charcoal drawings is actually pointing to a particular spot on the wall. Searching that spot, he finds an incredibly well-hidden panel with a switch inside.
Wesley decided to do a quick scout of the area and deploys Canary to search the outside of the building. He found no windows, alternate doors, or any ventilation access points big enough for them to enter.
Cypher flipped the switch. A hologram of a welcome sign popped up which quickly transformed into a 3D map of the city of Istamak. Wesley realized it showed an older version of the city with many differences from the one they were exploring. The ysoki records the 3D map with his cyber eye.
Once the greeting was complete the entrance to the museum rolled up out of the way. Tyzael complimented them on a job well done. Wesley mused on how he was beginning to believe Nuil’s creators valued brains over brawn.
Through the doors, they found dusty shelves, another booth and a dim hallway leading deeper into the Vault of Tales/Maze of Ghosts. The PCs realized this must have been a gift shop thousands of years ago. Drez moved to the hallway to scout for danger while the others searched the room. He spotted some holograms showing the early days of Istamak when the city was first being built.
Although the gift shop had been looted long ago a thorough search revealed an ancient package which had been overlooked. Inside the group found a holoskin still in good condition. Wesley dressed TIM-X in the holoskin and tried to make him look like a giant dog.
Drez checked for traps ahead and determined the way was safe. Wesley studied the holograms and the glitches hoping to find a pattern but he found none. The group continued ahead cautiously. The holograms in the next hall depicted industrial projects such as gas mining vessel zooming through the atmosphere of Nejeor VI. These panels have touchscreen displays which the earlier ones did not.
While Nuil gives Cypher a crash course in the Maltur/Kishaleen language, Wesley watches over their shoulders. He doesn’t pick up much of the language but he does pick some kish curse words.
A new hologram popped up which said, “Thank you for choosing Chief Engineer Hasha. What questions can I answer for you today?” They noted it spoke in the pure language of the kishaleen, not the broken language of the kish.
Ryder asked if Hasha knew anything about the temple doors but the holograms said it knew nothing about a temple. The envoy asked what Hasha was famous for and the hologram responded it helped to build the Foundry, a center of industrial innovation and growth. It detailed numerous incredible items which the real Hasha had helped to invent and manufacture. It lauded the automation capabilities of the city and how very few individuals had to engage in menial tasks here in Istamak.
Nuil retreated to where Tyzael waited and reviewed the 3D map. She where the Temple Found was located and Tyzael showed her. The Herald gave a quick tour and highlighted the differences between the map and Istamak today.
Ryder asked the hologram if there was a central power hub for the city. Security protocols kicked in and the hologram deflected the question.
Nuil returned to the hologram and pointed to the Temple Found and asked what it was. The hologram indicates that was the Foundry, the heart of the city’s industry. Ryder inquired about accessing the Foundry but the hologram’s responses were elusive. Using his mind circlet, Ryder communicates with Cypher and asked if he could hack into the datapads to get the information they wanted. Cypher engineered an interface and jacked into the datapad.
The hologram glitched a little and then turned to Cypher, “That was a mistake.”
Cypher checked the system and found between 20 and 30 hologram sub-routines running the facility’s system. He asked the group to hold them off for a couple minutes while he shut them down.
Wesley tried to reprogram his holoskin to make him look like a hologram but he botched the attempt and ended up looking like an insectoid alien with smoke coming out of his arms.
Drez attacked with his nova lance but the hologram dodged much to their surprise. Zaleria identified the source of the holograms and fired at the projectors but missed.
“Careful! I’m working over here,” Cypher complained.
“Well work faster!” Zaleria retorted.
The hologram of Chief Engineer Hasha swung its fists at Nuil but missed the nimble lamerta. Still the group wondered if the holograms could even hurt them or if they could hurt the holograms.
One of the holograms slammed Zaleria with its fists and the question was painfully answered.
Two of the holograms closed on Drez and began to beat him down. Somehow the holograms were able to focus their energy into hard light when they attacked.
Nuil could not recall the Maltur having a similar technology but she does remember extremely rare occurrences of holograms becoming sentient and becoming living holograms from her mystic studies. She took a guarded step back and lined up three of the holograms for her arcing surge spell. Her magic ripped right through them. It did not destroy them but it did draw their ire and she could tell they were somewhat resistant to her attacks.
Ryder followed Zaleria’s lead and tried to blast one of the projectors but missed in the flashing lights of the holograms. As always, he rallied his allies, “Get em!”
Cypher killed a group of the sub-routines and one of the living holograms disappeared. Meanwhile, Switch swooped in and cleaved through two holograms with his sword destroying one of them and drawing the attention of the other.
Wesley (disguised as an awful alien) ripped out a piece of tape and went to cover one of the projectors before he realized it wasn’t that kind of projector. Instead, he decided to jack in with Cypher and attack the hologram sub-routines. He stripped a cable and fashioned the necessary hook up.
TIM-X (partially disguised as a big dog) tried to smash one of the holograms but crashed his hammer into the wall beside his target.
On the other side of the fray, Drez launched a flurry of attacks and managed to land a solid hit on the closest hologram.
Holding the other line with Switch, Zaleria’s photon aura continued to grow in strength and intensity. She drew her solar weapon and slashed through the adjacent living hologram. She immediately realized the creature took full damage from her attack.
The Hasha hologram pummeled Switch with its fists. Light flashed from the hologram as each blow fell and dazzled Switch with their brilliance.
Nuil lined up another arcing surge using up the last of her high-level spell slots. Her might destroys one of the living holograms and Hasha begins to twitch and distort violently.
One of the approaching living holograms closed on Zaleria and punched her hard (draining the last of her stamina and beginning to eat into her reserve of hit points). Kymber expressed her dislike for me which I gleefully enjoyed. 😀
The living hologram next to Drez moved to challenge Ryder and Drez stepped up and slashed the creature across its back. He drove it down to 1 hit point. Woot! The One Hit Point Wonders strike again!
Ryder guardedly stepped away from the attacker and used his envoy abilities to restore some of Zaleria’s stamina.
Cypher killed another sub-routine and a second living hologram winked out of existence.
Switch pressed his advantage and cleaved through the two holograms in front of him (including Hasha). Neither dropped but they were not looking good at all.
Wesley ordered TIM-X to attack one of the projectors and the combat drone ripped it apart. This caused another one of the living holograms to disappear.
Drez slashed through the living hologram beside him.
GM Note: I made a mistake here. Cypher shut down the unharmed living hologram and Drez hit the one that had 1 hit point remaining. He should have destroyed it. My apologies!
Zaleria reached full attunement and unleashed her supernova ability. The blast nearly destroyed the Hasha hologram (and Kymber giggled). LOL
More copies of the Hasha hologram suddenly appeared.
Wesley pleaded, “Cypher! I think you turned the dial the wrong way!”
The Hasha hologram smashed into Switch (crit) and the android’s joints began to lock up (crit deck, no ranged attacks for a few rounds).
Nuil cast a higher level magic missile which immediately destroyed both of Hasha’s mirages and the harmed him as well.
Ryder opted to encourage Switch (envoy stamina boost, for the win).
Switch ended the battle with a pair of slashes through the Hasha hologram. There was a flash of light and the last hologram disappeared.