Monday, January 13, 2014

[Actual Play Report] DWAiTAS - The Exiles of Time 1.01: 'Liminus'

Here we go; the first of my series of recaps of the first 'season' of my DWAiTAS campaign. I may skim over the details in these recaps, especially the earlier ones, since it has been several months now since the actual sessions. I will also borrow a little from the write-ups already done by Luke (who plays Malik) over on the Exiles of Time blog, but I'll also fill in the blanks and correct some misconceptions that were included in those write-ups.

THE CAST
Robyn Dalton (played by Heather W): A UNIT researcher for the top-secret Project Broadsword, Robyn is haunted by a shameful past, but her history gives her knowledge and expertise that make her a valuable asset to UNIT. She is dark eyed and has dark hair cut in a bob style with green or blue highlights depending on her mood. (Kinda like Claudia from Warehouse 13.)
Malik (played by Luke): A Silurian from a time when his species' reign on Earth, displaced in time by the Cardiff Rift, Malik has been living in a TMNT-style pad in the sewers of the Welsh capital, feeding on criminals and becoming the subject of urban legend, the 'Lizard Man of Cardiff'. He wears a hessian cloak and cowl to hide his features when he walks among the apes that have taken over his homeworld.
Pan (played by Maggie): A student of Archimedes, and the real inventor of Archimedes' screw and the fabled 'heat ray'. Possesses technological knowledge beyond his time, owing to his precognitive abilities. Pan is tall and has messy 'mad scientist' hair, dressed in a Grecian tunic and sandals.

EPISODE 1.01: 'Liminus
Cardiff, Present Day: In a dark alleyway, a man is held against a wall at knifepoint; the mugger is interrupted by a hooded figure who orders him to let his victim go. When asked what he's going to do about it, he drops his hood to reveal his reptilian features and says: 'I'll make you look like me!'
Mugger and victim alike run from Malik's inhuman visage, and as Mal is about to jump back down into the sewers he feels the world shiver around him, and he doesn't stop falling when he should hit the sewers...
Same Time, Elsewhere: Robyn Dalton watches TV with her dog, letting her mind drift after a long day in the lab, working for the Unified Intelligence Taskforce, the United Nations' main defence against extraterrestrial activity. The world shivers, disturbing the dog from its dozing and, as it barks frantically, Robyn feels herself falling; blinding light envelops her vision and a throbbing rhythm beats at her ears...
Greece, 2000 years earlier: Pan sits in a lecture theatre, not really paying attention, his mind bombarded by a painful series of visions: a flaming, screeching bird...a blue box in flames...a lizard man swinging a sword wildly...a woman with short, blue streaked hair waving some sort of device in the air...a sensation of great loss and loneliness from some other intelligence...and then he feels himself falling, a strobe light pulsing blindingly in his mind's eye, hammers ringing in his ears, pain searing his mind...

All of them fall for what seems like forever, before landing together on a dusty barren plain. Pan is out cold from the psychic overload of the journey, and as Malik and Robyn adjust to the dull light and see one another they both accuse each other of being responsible for bringing them here. Then they look over the edge of the cliffside they are on, to discover the island they are on is one piece of debris among many caught in the accretion disk of a black hole. They should be dead, and yet somehow, they're alive. Pan awakens, and is likewise awed and horrified by their predicament.

Before they've really had time to adjust, a winged creature - which Robyn recognises as a Reaper - appears out of the gloom and chases them across the flat plain. Fearing that there is nowhere to hide or escape to, they team up and come up with a plan to trap it, using Pan's belt and Malik's cloak to form a makeshift blindfold. Malik leaps on the Reaper's back and ties the blindfold over its eyes. It goes into a nosedive, trying to shake Malik off and loose itself from the blindfold, when it is struck in the chest by a blast of fiery blue light. It crashes to the ground. Mal rolls off, and lies on the ground, dazed and exhausted.

From the darkness, the figure who fired the blast steps forward, wielding a staff with a glowing blue gemstone at its tip. She introduces herself as Anith, claiming to have been stranded here for a long time, but she has been working on a way to escape from this place. They're welcome to join her, but she'll need their help if her plan is to work. They don't necessarily trust her, but they don't have many other options, so they follow her as she tells them she has something to show them.

She leads them up a mountain pass, to where a scorched blue 1960s police box stands with its door ajar. Robyn recognises it right away as the TARDIS; the time machine used by the Time Lord known as the Doctor. Anith leads them inside. The TARDIS interior is only dimly lit, operating in low power mode because its power supply is running low. Anith's plan becomes clear: if they can get the TARDIS back online, they can use it to escape this strange realm. But first they need power. Anith has been scouting this island for a while, and two ships recently crashed that might have salvageable power sources, but the inhabitants don't seem friendly. Indeed, once Anith has described them, Robyn recognises them as Cybermen and Daleks. They decide to head for the Cyberman ship, as Anith has only sighted one survivor standing guard over the wreckage, whereas multiple Daleks guard the other ship. After a visit to the TARDIS wardrobe to replace Pan's belt and Malik's cloak - his new cloak, unbeknownst to him, belonged to the Doctor's third incarnation - the group heads out to the ship in order to retrieve the power source.

They have to sidle down a crevasse to reach the ship, which has a gigantic hole in its rear after crashing on the island. They decide to enter through this hole, rather than use the entry hatch. It leads them into a corridor filled with what look like giant glass coffins frosted over at the front; cryovats, containing partially-converted Cybermen. With one fully converted Mondasian Cyberman standing in the middle of the corridor, head bowed in stand-by mode. Robyn warns them all to be quiet, but Malik walks on ahead, past the dormant Cyberman, not even trying to be stealthy. The Cyberman lifts its head and comes online, speaking in monotone: 'Intruders detected. You shall be like us.'

Luckily, expecting they would encounter Cybermen and knowing that some versions of the cybernetic race had an adverse reaction to gold, Robyn had brought the remains of a broken star badge with gold plating on it that she found in the TARDIS. She jammed it into the Cyberman's chest cavity, causing it to asphyxiate.
With the threat dealt with, they head into the ship's engine room and take the power source needed to recharge the TARDIS. Before they leave though, Robyn decides to decouple one of the cryovats and fits anti-grav units to it so they can take it back with them. They can't rescue all of the Cyberconverts, but they can at least save one.

On their way back to the TARDIS, they are ambushed by a patrol of three Daleks. Malik laughs at how ridiculous they look, much to Robyn's horror, which angers the Dalek leader. Well, Daleks are angry anyway, but in any case the Daleks attempted to exterminate the group. Anith tries firing her staff at them, but it's barely doing any damage. Robyn points out that the eyestalk is a weak point on these models, and when Anith starts targeting there, she blinds one of the Daleks. Pan does the same to another of them by lobbing a ball of Greek fire at it, and they soon eliminate the third Dalek and each other by firing blindly in panic.

Hearing more Daleks on the way, they race back to the TARDIS and slam the doors shut, hook up the power source and then Anith - somehow able to fly the TARDIS, albeit poorly - puts the ship in flight, taking them towards the rift in space-time that brought them here. As the TARDIS shakes violently as Anith clumsily pilots it through the rift, it seems uncertain whether they'll make it out in one piece or not...

NEXT TIME...
A ship, adrift in deep space...
"Who the hell are you?" A man and a woman in military-style uniform demand of Mal as he stands in front of the TARDIS. He points to the top of the TARDIS, "I'm with the police!"
They aim at him more intently, nervously even.
A young woman wakes up strapped to a bed as a strange man tries to help her get free, "What's your name?"
She looks down at the clinical overalls she's been dressed in and reads off the first three letters of the serial number, "Aru?"
A door slides open to reveal an android with a holographically projected smiling face in front of its otherwise blank mannequin-esque head: "You should go back to bed."
The man from before steps back from the door, "I'd rather not, thanks."
"I insist." The holographic face glitches briefly as it steps forward, becoming a screaming mask of rage and pain...

Next Episode: 'The Avatars of Madness'

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