Monday, 10 September 2018

Weird Worlds (part four)

The Switchboard
When the technocratic society of the Vendin-Conglomerates expanded rapidly and spilled out, off their home-sphere, their first act was to establish a vast communication network that would act as the bastion of their ever-growing revolution. It was the Vendin who first designed the crystal-sets which would resonate between realities, and who managed to reverse engineer the songs of dragons and angels to understand the frequency of different spheres. Before these marvellous breakthroughs, though, the daring engeniuses of the Conglomerates set out on an ambitious plan to link as many spheres as they could reach with a powerful wired network. Huge gate-towers still stand on several worlds as testament to this project, but somewhere adrift between these worlds lies the source of the great thick bands of cables that spill out of those towers: the Vendin Switchboard.
            When the Vendin-Conglomerates inevitably collapsed inwards, the Switchboard had been running on a skeleton staff for years: the technology and magic that powered it was long outdated, and it was considered by the engeniuses of the time to be impossible to update and improve. The fall of the Conglomerates forced the last few resident engeniuses to flee the Switchboard, leaving it as a flickering husk, out between the worlds.

The Room
The Inhabitants
The Equipment
A huge room divided into many, many corridors between huge banks of cables and archaic circuitry. Dark and dusty.
The room is deathly silent except for the occasional whirring sound, followed by a gasp. Somewhere out of sight lies a half-clockwork man, dying at an excruciatingly slow pace and completely maddened by the process (9/6/1)
A massive, multi-powered portal cannon sits inert in this room, apparently partially dissected by looters. A misfiring and dangerous cable lies loose from it.
A low-ceilinged crawlspace full of detritus. The “roof” is a wrought iron grate through which a room can be seen above.
There is a constant pattering and ticking, generated by hundreds of tiny copper insects which click and whirr, always endeavouring to stay just out of sight of the players. They are ostensibly there to fix small faults in the cables, but for whatever reason they have swarmed this room (3/2/1 each)
A bank of consoles still occasionally flickers with lights and low “boops” alerting non-existent cable-jockeys to incoming transmissions that are more likely the space-bugs out in Nothingness chewing on the cables somewhere. Maybe they could be jury-rigged to send out some kind of communication?
A long, boxy room with shelves and shelves of machine parts and spools of cable. 1-in-6 chance that there is a still-barely-working version of any broken machine on the Switchboard somewhere in here.
An automaton is slowly working its way through the room, marking notes on a pad it carries as it goes. It will answer most questions the players pose to it, and apparently believes them to be engeniuses here on a survey. (8/20/1)
The various parts of an automaton are in a heap on the floor, right next to a casket that seems built to animate things of that very nature. If only it had a power-source…
A narrow set of corridors and cubicles, each with a dusty little console area of brass dials and switches.
A pair of grubby-looking human looters are here, trying to work out how best to transport spools of the valuable interplanar cable out of the Switchboard. (7/7/2)
A full and working set of engenius tools is laid out on a work-desk, including a spanner-staff and welding rifle plus several high-vibratory screwdrivers and a bag of wire-ties.
A long and low hall with plenty of decorative features and minimal Switchboard hardware. This must have been a reception area of some sort, because there are once-comfortable chairs dotted in the corners.
There’s a curious and immobile set of clockwork androids frozen in interaction with this room, who will activate if moved in any way. Their internal wind-up mechanism is extremely efficient and will power them back up if they are nudged in the slightest, letting them get back to the random busy-jobs they were attending to. (8/10/1)
A loose tangle of cables cascades from the ceiling, with a large and badly damaged portal-hole beneath. Nearby is one of the old portal control panels, which looks vaguely usable.
A tall cable-room, filled with great wrought-iron cages through which run thick lengths of cages from floor to ceiling. The cables disappear into strange devices that would once have acted as portals between the various spheres, but now are inert holes.
EITHER no animate entities inhabiting this room OR a clockwork facsimile of a dragon is coiled dangerously in the corner, depending on your own sensibilities- if, for example, the players have just managed to escape one dragon it would be fair to let them off of this one. The dragon is 16/36/4 and does damage as a real dragon, but cannot breathe fire. It is without a doubt the personal project of an engenius, crudely stashed here as an impromptu security measure.
Hefty, boxy switchboard units have been wheeled in here for storage, each one covered with cable-plugs and levers. One amongst them, barely distinguishable as different, controls the layout of the Switchboard (which itself acts as a huge circuit) and adds or subtracts rooms as required.

New Background: Old-World Engenius
Whether you’re merely emulating the old Vendin Engeniuses or you’re a bone-fide relic of that time somehow preserved or transported to the present is irrelevant: the fact is that you’re a dedicated problem solver and there are plenty of problems before you. Grab your spanner-staff and tighten up your adrenalin-valves, because the fun has just begun.

- EITHER an archaic spanner-staff OR a repurposed welding-rifle (damage as fusil, but with a limited range)
- A thick, hardy apron and metalworking gauntlets (modest armour)
- A set of goggles that don’t serve any purpose other than emulating the vaguely steampunk aesthetic of the old Vendin ways.
- 1d6 spools of copper wire
- 1d6 Arcane Fuses

2 Metalworking
2 Engineering
2 Evaluate
1 Tool Fighting
2 Spell (Jolt)

Using a combination of evaluation and engineering you can try to jury rig a wide range of objects into animation if you have a spool of copper wire and an arcane fuse handy. The less suited to mobility it is, the faster it decays back into an inert state. 

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