We had the next session of my hybrid Numenera/Strange game yesterday, and the big reveal was made.
Another round of A Penny For My Thoughts was completed resulting in:
Asher being involved in another failed op due to experimenting with buttered toast and cats
Selena fleeing the ex-husband from an earlier memory in a Wacky Races style rocket car, resulting in an innocent bovine getting killed
Bhaltair going to a Bananarama hard rock comeback concert in Europe, getting drunk and mistakenly ending up in Amsterdam
The Great Mafini involved in a bet to eat cheesecake with chopsticks versus his stagehand swallowing a live goldfish, which goes horribly wrong resulting in the “disposal” of three people
So, we’ve learned a bit more about the world and the characters. Mostly that Mafini is even more of a psychopath than last session revealed, Bhaltair is an even odder, stranger person than before, Asher has a history of failed stake out ops and Selenas history is positively surreal, almost cartoonish.
At this point, the players refused to complete their therapy, pulling out the cables that fed them with memory fluid. The facility computer became more and more aggressively insistent, until finally it deposited a robot into the room not dissimilar to the repair droids from Fallout 3. After more refusals, it vaporised Mafini to the shock of all and the others leapt into battle, using their mysterious abilities and skills to assault the droid until it was destroyed. Selena used shatter on the locking mechanism of the door to their therapy room and they discovered a corridor lined was doors leading to rooms like theirs, some occupied by non-human skeletons. At either end of the corridor was an arch, one pitch black, another illuminated with light dappled as if reflecting off of water. Exploring the lights arch, they found a room lined with huge glass tubes, most broken or empty but 4 occupied by a thick greenish soup. One was emptying and revealed a perfectly fine Mafini, spluttering a bit, and naked, but otherwise intact. Bhaltair, using his technical know-how, manipulated the control panel on the track to release Mafini who had all his memories intact but knew nothing of the last sessions events or being vaporised. In fact he knew why they were there and who they all where.
The four strangers where in fact all members of an Estate recon team sent to explore and report back on the maturation progress of the Numenera recursion. The recursion was a home grown one made as part of an experiment by the Estate to explore the effects of mass engagement of Earth natives with the source fiction for a recursion on its maturation rates. The rpg Numenera and the recursion was created by two agents in the research division, an Agent Germain and Agent Cook. However, soon after the team translated in, whilst exploring, a rent in the ground opened beneath them and thats where Mafinis memories ended.
On further investigation of the tubes, they discovered copies of themselves inside, one each. Asher, based on Mafinis new memories, and the events prior, vaporised himself using a cypher salvaged from the robot and soon enough the tube with his naked self emptied and he woke up, memories back.
Bhaltair decided to try and open his counterparts tube using the same method he used to free Mafini (and Asher after the tube emptied) but the device refused with a loud alarm. The players figured that the facility would only allow one of them to exist at once and without equipment, they had precious little with which to smash open the tube. Bhaltair instead decided to prise off the panel in the hopes of being able to override the safeties stopping its release but failed, causing the tube to destroy its contents, killing his original.
Selena, having seen Bhaltairs original destroyed decided to leave her self in the tube, they could come back later when they had other equipment. Mafini, with all his memories, remembered that the Numenera recursion was rich in cyphers which could usually be found by smashing things, which he proceeded to do, spreading broken glass everywhere and consequently cutting his feet. However, he did find several cyphers, a canister that destroyed dead, organic matter, 3 biomorph injectors and a crystal virus. Mafini couldn’t identify the latter however, but the odd Bhaltair quickly worked out what it did and slapped it on his forehead, his skin soon getting replaced with this hard, flexible blue crystal. They also found a Chiurgeon sphere in the remains of the robot, an artifact that can repair organic matter.
Eventually, after exploring the dark arch, they found the hole through which they must have fallen into the facility. It was an easy climb up and Mafini and Asher figured, based on the terrain, that they were likely near the Black Riage mountain range, up near the Eastern borders of Naverene. They could see a settlement in the distance, so decided to head there for supplies.
However, as they made their way, Selenas See the Unseen ability kicked in and she spotted an invisible man, or weirdly, several echoes of the same person all overlapped, approaching. It was a dimensional husk and it attacked. Mafini used his illusory powers to clothe himself and intimidate the creature with a massive gun, which partially worked. A round of combat ensued but the players tried to negotiate with the angry, tortured creature, Mafinis persuasive powers as a Spinner and Selenas empathic abilities working together to try and calm it. Unfortunately, Mafini managed to engage it and it attacked, but it missed every time and became so despondent that it followed the advice of the players to try and clone itself in the facility that it threw itself into the crevasse.
The players then continued on to the village, Mafini faking a vast cache of riches in order for them to buy equipment. However, when buying clothing, his skills failed him and he was caught out as a thief or con-artist. A scene began to form but after agreeing to pay and leave the village, Mafini dumped the bag of illusory shins and in the midst of a “gold rush” they made their escape, stealing a set of tamed Ithsyn and riding off (if feeling a little ill from one of the Ithsyn releasing its defence gas).
Selena and Bhaltair couldn’t translate to Earth, since they had no proper memories of it, but Asher and Mafini, having their original memories, could. They planned to potentially translate back, bringing Bhaltair and Selena with them, when they found a safe place to rest and begin the translation trance.