Arriving in Rarmon, Haro and Karner leave to take care of personal business while Tanasia and Yeti Forn begin their search for Caiden Phorr. They look through the scant info they have on Phorr and note that an interest in games of chance is listed as one of the few bits of information about him. They decide to check out the gambling houses of the city.
They are told that the premiere gaming establishment is called “Garran’s”, identified by the statue of a grazing garran out front. Yeti Forn decides that as a Lattimor he would be too obvious entering the facility and so Tanasia enters on her own.
Inside she sees a luxurious gaming hall, with numerous humans and abhumans wandering about in elegant clothing. While Tanasia was not denied entrance, they both realize that they would stand out within. They decide they need to earn enough shins to buy better clothing, at least, before they can enter.
To that end, they search for a more “rough-and-tumble” facility. They find that an inn known as “Charan’s Hoof” near the trading district will most likely be where they need to visit.
They quickly find someone who is looking to hire freelancers. The first job they are offered is one to retrieve an item from the estate of a member of the Rarmon city council, but are warned that doing so may compromise their standing with the city guard. They turn this job down.
They are then told about a job outside of town. A group of raiders with some sort of “mechanical beast” have been attacking trade caravans heading to and from the city. There is a reward of 250 shins for anyone who is able to get rid of the raiders. They decide this is something they can handle and accept the job.
They head out to where the raids have been taking place and find a small cluster of mountains that one of the main roads detours around. At the edge of this odd mountain cluster a canyon enters the mountains. They see two people standing guard near the entrance to this canyon and, after a bit of stealthy observation, see two more keeping watch from openings higher in the hillside. They dig in to observe the area for a while.
After watching overnight something finally happens; a group of six raiders leaves the canyon and starts up the road to the east. The two wait a bit then start following them.
They manage to catch up relatively quickly. They step out of cover and loose arrows at the raiders.
The raiders immediately turn and four of them charge the characters. The other two raise unwieldy looking metal frameworks to their shoulders and fire something in the direction of the characters.
The characters both dodge and a plume of purple “smoke” appears where the projectiles from the launchers land. The smoke does not dissipate despite the breeze and the characters both wisely avoid it.
Combat ensues and the characters are easily able to defeat their attackers. Near the end, one of the projectiles misses the characters but lands on one of the other raiders. That raider screams as growths start erupting from his body and he collapses. The players eventually defeat all of the raiders.
The raiders all turn out to be badly emaciated, wearing rags and (other than the two with the launchers) armed only with rusty swords. Of the two with launchers, one of them seems to be no longer functional but the other still has what resembles a caterpillar’s chrysalis attached to it. Tanasia takes the launcher.
The raider who was hit with a projectile from the launcher can no longer be found. Where he was there is now a large plant about 2 meters in height. The plant is covered with purple berries that smell wonderful but both characters for some reason decide to avoid them.
With the raiding party eliminated the characters return to their hidden observation site near the canyon. Most of the day passes, then a horrible mechanical howling sound begins deep within the canyon. Shortly thereafter, the “mechanical beast” emerges from the canyon.
The “beast” is a bizarre-looking amalgamation of what looks like junk. A roughly-rectangular box sits atop somewhere between 8 and 12 legs (the exact number seems to fluctuate as the thing moves). Jets of flame randomly shoot out from it in all directions and four more raiders stand atop it. The horrible howling sound continues and Yeti Forn finds himself terrified by it, but he manages to force himself to attack it anyway.
The duo both fire on it, Yeti with his crossbow and Tanasia with the launcher. Both miss and the beast turns towards them. The two guards near the gate leave their posts and advance on them as well.
The characters quickly find themselves at a disadvantage. The clouds of flame and smoke are making it difficult to attack the riders on the beast’s back while the beast itself is seemingly impervious to their attacks. Then, with an exceptional shot, Tanasia manages to land a projectile directly in the center of the riders. All of them scream as they are enveloped by the purple cloud as the plant growths erupt from their bodies, but the beast continues to attack with its flame jets.
By this point the two guards have closed with the characters and are attacking, though their attacks are relatively easy to avoid, and two other raiders have left the canyon and are running towards them. In desperation, Yeti uses a Cypher to contact the Datasphere and asks how they can defeat the beast. He immediately somehow realizes that it is extremely vulnerable on its underside.
Ignoring the guards now surrounding them, Yeti overcomes his fear and charges the beast, ducking past its flames and rolling under it to strike with all his effort at the vulnerable point on its underside with his maul. Immediately flames start erupting from beneath the beast. As Yeti Foan and Tanasia flee the area the beast staggers, emits an even louder howl, and explodes.
The two pick themselves up and turn to face the four raiders still surviving. Tanasia points the launcher at them and points out that the two of them just destroyed their beast and suggests they stand down.
The raiders lower their weapons and one of them addresses the characters. They have no choice but to attack everyone, they say. Their “Mother” needs to feed, and if they do not provide her with new victims they will have to let her feed on them. They plead with the characters to let them feed the Mother.
Yeti decides that the raiders are brainwashed cultists and that they cannot reason with them. The characters attack and kill the four remaining raiders.
The characters now decide they need some time to rest and recover before entering the canyon to finish the job. They retreat some distance away and set up camp to rest.
After a while they are discussing their next move when suddenly three tentacles erupt from the ground around them. Tanasia is grabbed by a pair of them and what they realize is the “Mother” erupts from the ground. The “Mother” is a fleshy mass that is constantly forming and absorbing eyes, mouths and other body parts. It pulls Tanasia towards itself, attempting to press one of its mouths against it.
Both characters try to attack the Mother but find themselves continually having to escape from the grapples of the tentacles. Tanasia is slowly being drained of Intellect while Yeti finds his attacks ineffectual.
Finally, in desperation, Yeti activates a Cypher that lets him go out of phase. With time to think but unable to interact with the normal world he watches helplessly as Tanasia is grabbed and drained further.
Yeti decides to try a desperate act. Still out of phase, he steps inside the Mother itself. There, he empties the contents of his pack, steps away, and cancels the out of phase effect. Immediately the pack’s contents materialize inside the Mother. With a scream, it and the tentacles collapse to the ground.
The battle over, the two patch themselves up as best they can then return to the canyon. The few remaining raiders avoid them as they search the area. They find a shallow well surrounded by bodies which they decide was where the Mother had been living. Nearby is a large pile of junk, debris and items taken from the missing caravans. The pile looks as if the items making it up have partially melted and merged together, and a part of it looks like a “mouth”, but they decide to leave it alone.
With nothing else of interest found they collect what Cyphers they can and return to Rarmon.