The Obsidian Monolith Campaign for Numenera 02 - The Windmill in the Woods

Here is the first adventure in the campaign, The Windmill in the Woods, as well as some NPCs in the town of Bonespir. Learn more about this adventure in episode 12 of the Game Master's Journey podcast.

Articles in This Series

01 - The Town of Bonespir
02 - The Windmill in the Woods
03 - Law & Order in Charmonde
04 - Heroes of Bonespir
05 - The Machine of the Emols
06 - The Town of Delirium
07 - Exploring the Obsidian Monolith

Companion Episodes of Game Master's Journey

OM 01 - Preparing for an Adventure
OM 02 - Laying the Foundation for your Campaign
OM 03 - Location, Location, Location
OM 04 - Prepping and Running a Numenera Session
OM 05 - The Town of Bonespir
OM 06 - The Windmill in the Woods
OM 07 - Connecting Adventures Together
OM 08 - The Village of the Culovas
OM 09 - The Machine of the Emols
OM 10 - The Conclusion of the Campaign

Actual Play (Audio)

Session 01 Part 1 - The Town of Bonespir
Session 01 Part 2 - The Windmill in the Woods
Session 01 Part 3 - Inside the Windmill
Session 02 Part 1 - The Swarm from Hell
Session 02 Part 2 - Numenera Hunters
Session 03 Part 1 - The Order of Tianma
Session 03 Part 2 - Bugbusters
Session 04 Part 1 - The Man They Called Zain
Session 04 Part 2 - Madame Saydle's Wondrous Soup

Actual Play (Video)

The YouTube playlist includes the first session and sessions 8-12.

NPCs About Town

Father Ahn

Since arriving in Bonespir the PCs have gotten to know Mosha Ahn, the sole Aeon Priest in the town. [Level 5, use Aeon Priest stats on page 269 of the Numenera corebook]

Mosha is a grizzled man of indeterminate age (he could be anywhere from 50-70 years old). He is partially bald and the hair he has is thinning and gray. He is unshaven with short, gray stubble. Mosha is of average height and build and has gray eyes. He commonly wears a belted robe of umber and brown. He has a black metallic device embedded in the back of his neck that gives him farseeing/clairvoyant abilities. When he uses these abilities his eyes turn white.

His personality is rock solid; he is slow to anger and not one to joke around. He takes his work and that of the Order very seriously. He has a very idealistic view of right and wrong, and his public disapproval of some of the Order’s more political moves (such as the recent Crusades against the Gaians) has prevented him from rising as high in the ranks of the Order as he should have.

Father Ahn spent a great deal of time studying the culovas when he first arrived at the town some years ago. After much effort and time, he was able to learn their language and can teach it to any PC who wants to learn it (if a PC chooses to learn the language at the end of Enraged Slicer Beetles, it’s assumed Mosha has been tutoring her all along). He met with the leader of the culova tribe in the nearby region of the Westwood and made an agreement with her. In exchange for the culovas not attacking the loggers of Bonespir, the people of Bonespir agreed to only log in specific areas of the Westwood that the culovas designated. This peace has been maintained for a little over a year, and both sides seem happy with it, although relations between the two peoples has not progressed beyond the initial agreement.

Madame Saydle

Madame Saydle is very grateful and impressed with the PCs. She tells them they are always welcome to stay at her inn for free, and enjoy free food and drink.

Madame Mayor Anica Oviil

Mayor Oviil (whom most people call Anica) is a middle-aged woman with blonde hair and blue eyes. She usually wears her hair up in a style that is elegant and practical. Of average height, she is an imposing presence due to the intelligence in her eyes and the steadiness of her gaze. She is an excellent judge of character and does not allow herself to hold preconceptions of a person based on rumor or appearances. Her ability to see into the heart of someone and see potential they may not know themselves that they have is legendary in the town. She is selfless with her time and her energy, spending her every waking moment in service to the town. She came to the town some ten years ago. Rumor has it her husband was killed soon before that, but no one knows for sure or even where the rumor came from, because she won’t talk about it. Though she’s had countless suitors, Anica is far too busy to spend time on romance.

Anica is intelligent and fair-minded, and if it were up to her, she’d pursue closer relations (even alliance) with the culovas, but the people of the town are an insular, superstitious lot, and she knows it. It wasn’t that long ago they all believed the culovas were spirits or treefolk. Though she admires Aneej’s spunk, it’s unfortunately too soon for the overtures to the culovas that the girl requests.

Hedia

Hedia is a young lady with long brown hair and brown eyes. She’s likely to develop a crush on an attractive or assertive male PC. She wears one of Crayl Sult’s glowing air plants in her hair.

Crayl Sult

Crayl Sult is a merchant who grows strange glowing air plants that only he knows where to find.

Brask Vel

Brask has light brown hair, blue eyes and looks to be in his 40s. He is of medium height with broad shoulders and a short beard. His is a widower and a lumberjack. He is blunt and honest and more cunning than he often lets on. He approaches the PCs during the Festival to request their help. See The Festival for more information.

Aneej Vel

Aneej is about twenty years of age and has red hair and blue eyes. She is tall, thin and pale with an athletic build.  She is smart, strong-willed and opinionated. She is direct and looks you in the eye when she talks to you. Though she’s serious-minded, she has a good sense of humor if you can bring it out. She speaks culovan and has survival and hunting skills. Aneej is not currently in town as she’s left to seek an audience with the culovas. See The Festival for more information.

Nara de Vin

Nara is Bonespir’s teacher. She is a big fan of Father Ahn, and there could be a conflict between her and Madame Saydle for the Priest’s affections.

Aldus Drud

Aldus is Bonespir’s doctor. He has some numenera devices to help him and is always on the look-out for more.

Kairdric

Kairdric is the stablemaster for The Logger’s Rest (which also serves as a stable for anyone else in the town who needs one). He also breeds and sells gallen.

Elrid Smith

Elrid is Bonespir’s blacksmith. Big, burly guy with black hair and beard. His arms are covered in wiry hair and burn scars. Fearless.

Brell Ultann

Brell owns and operates the general store. 

Merid

Merid is a logger who hates the culovas (because secretly they frighten him). He doesn’t trust the PCs or their motives, and will make trouble for them every time he can.

Beginning the Adventure

The adventure begins in the spring. Father Ahn summons the PCs to meet with him and tells them he has a very important mission for them.

He noticed a couple weeks ago that the plants in and around Bonespir (flowers, vegetables, fruits, etc.) weren’t budding. He investigated and found that the plants weren’t being pollinated. Though the usual pollinators were still about (bees and hummers mainly), for some reason they weren’t interacting with the flowers on the plants as they normally do. Realizing this could spell disaster and famine for the town and surrounding area if the problem wasn’t found and dealt with, Mosha began using his farseeing ability to try to find the source of the problem. At the same time he began speaking with the farmers, herders and loggers of the area.

He thinks he now has a lead worth investigating. Four hours travel from the edge of the Westwood, is a large structure built by the ancients that people of the area call the Windmill (mainly because it looks vaguely like a windmill). The structure has always emitted a strange buzzing sound that could be heard up to a half mile away and felt up to a mile away. This sound has gotten slightly louder in recent weeks, and what’s more, some of the loggers and others who venture into the Westwood say that the animals and insects near the Windmill have started acting strangely, becoming much more aggressive than normal and even attacking people.

Father Ahn hypothesizes that the strange behaviors of the creatures around the Windmill and the problem with the pollinators are connected, and he suspects the Windmill may somehow be at the root of the matter. He wants the PCs to go explore the Windmill, figure out what’s going on and rectify the situation any way they can. He has no idea what the Windmill does and is more than a little curious about it. If asked for more information by the PCs, he says he hopes they can find a way to return it to “normal”, but if they can’t, they may have to destroy it. He hopes it doesn’t come to that, not only because it would be a loss of opportunity for further study, but also because one never knows what might happen when one tries to destroy an ancient numenera device.

Getting to the Windmill will involve an hour long float down the Heartsblood Canal (it’s assumed the PCs tag along with the loggers in the morning), and then a four hour hike into the Westwood. There is a trail leading from the logging camp to the Windmill, so finding it won’t be a problem.

Allow the PCs time to gather supplies in town. They leave first thing the following morning, so they can have all the time to roleplay the night before if they want it. Otherwise, they wake up the next morning, have a bowl of Madame Saydle’s Wondrous Soup (free of charge, as she is in a romantic relationship with Mosha and knows what the PCs are up to), and set off with the loggers.

Storytell the trip down the canal to the logging camp, and then the hike into the Westwood. When the PCs enter the forest, they are approached by a swarm of mosquitoes. If they’ve eaten Madame Saytil’s Wondrous Soup, the insects buzz around them for a minute and then leave. Otherwise they will be slapping at mosquitoes until they enter the Windmill.

An hour out from the Windmill, the PCs begin feeling the vibration in their bones, and a half hour out the hear the low throbbing hum of the Windmill (like the hum of high tension power lines, but lower in pitch and more powerful in intensity).

The action begins with Enraged Slicer Beetles, which takes place in the wooded area surrounding the Windmill.

The Windmill in the Woods

The Windmill isn’t a windmill at all but is a structure built by one of the previous eight worlds millions of years ago. It uses neutrinos (or some other high energy particle) to generate energy. This energy is beamed to a satellite (or perhaps a network of satellites) in high orbit of Earth. Excess energy is collected and stored in huge batteries hundreds of feet below ground level (well beyond the reach of the Scan esotery).

Somehow the wireless connection between the Windmill and the satellite(s) has been recently severed. The batteries deep underground have been charged beyond capacity. They are now emitting harmful radiation and electromagnetic fields that are the source of the strange happenings in the area.

In order to solve this problem, the connection between the Windmill and the satellite(s) must be reestablished. Another possibility would be destroying the windmill, but that would be exceedingly difficult and dangerous to do. Also, if this method is employed, it will take some time for the excess energy to bleed from the batteries (probably a matter of months). This will not solve the problem soon enough for this year’s crops and other plants to be pollinated. Widespread famine would be only one of a multitude of unpleasant consequences. If, however, the connection is reestablished, the excess energy is beamed to the satellite(s) in space, rectifying the situation in a matter of hours.

The land around you is heavily wooded with deciduous trees of various species. Other than the narrow path you’re following, the ground is choked with underbrush. The path leads you up a steep slope. You can see the top of the Windmill ahead through the trees.

You climb to the top of the rise, and the path ends there. You look out below you and can finally see the Windmill in its entirety. The ground slopes down, choked with underbrush, ultimately leading to a large bowl set in the earth. The bowl is constructed of some seamless golden metal that is highly reflective. The light of the sun gleams off of it, dazzling your eyes. As you shade your eyes from the reflected sunlight, you see that the Windmill rises from the center of the bowl.

The Windmill does look slightly like its namesake. It is constructed of a shiny silvery metal. It stands approximately 1500 feet tall. The bottom half of the structure is large and solid, roughly pyramidal in shape. The top half of the structure is a thin spire, seeming too thin to hold itself up.

Attached to the spire are two sets of blades. Each set of blades has four blades. One set of blades is attached at the base of the spire, halfway up the Windmill, the other set of blades is at the very top of the spire. Unlike a true windmill, however, which has blades in a vertical plane perpendicular to the ground, these blades are in a horizontal plane parallel to the ground.

The blades are long and thin and appear to be made of the same silvery metal as the rest of the structure. The top set of blades are spinning clockwise, while the bottom set of blades are spinning counterclockwise. You don’t know what’s making the blades spin, but it’s not wind, as there is no wind at all.

The vibrating hum you’ve been hearing for some time now is obviously coming from the Windmill. At this distance, you can feel the hairs on your body and head slowly lifting up with static charge.

[For the GM]

There is an interior to the bottom half of the structure that can be explored. The structure is entered via an entranceway 20 feet tall and wide. There are no doors or any other apparent way to seal the entrance.

When the PCs begin to make their way down the slope toward the bowl, they are attacked by advanced adult Slicer Beetles that have been hiding in wait amidst the trees (1 beetle per PC).

The underbrush on the slope makes any movement beyond immediate distance require a roll (speed or might). It takes two rounds of Immediate movement to get to the edge of the bowl, only one round if the PCs manage to move a Short or Long distance.

        Short: difficulty 2

        Long:  difficulty 3

The bowl is so smooth it’s slippery, and moving along it any faster than a walk is not easy. Any PC who tries to move more than an Immediate distance in a round while on the bowl must succeed at a difficulty 4 Speed task or fall prone. It will take 5 rounds to reach the Windmill if moving an Immediate distance per round. If the PCs can move a short distance, it will only take 1 round.

Enraged Slicer Beetles

1 Adult Slicer Beetle per PC

See page 117 of The Ninth World Bestiary for stats.

Spice: Underbrush makes any movement beyond immediate distance require a roll (speed or might).

        Short: difficulty 2

        Long:  difficulty 3

If PCs do well, bring in more normal adult beetles as a GM Intrusion.

When things look grim, culovas come to save the day. Culovas use spiked clubs and javelins, attack from ambush, and use terrain, stealth and traps to their advantage.

After the encounter, any PC can spend 2 xp as a short term benefit to say they have learned the Culova language from Father Ahn.

If none of the PCs can communicate with them, the culovas take their leave. Otherwise the PCs can speak with them. The culovas can tell them that the slicer beetles have been acting much more aggressively for the past couple weeks. They have noticed strange behavior form the other insects and animals in the area in that time as well. They have also noticed the lack of pollinating. They have no knowledge about the interior of the Windmill (which they call The Tower), but they can corroborate the increase in noise emissions for the past 2 weeks. The Tower has been here long beyond the collected memory of their tribe.

The culovas are neither friendly nor unfriendly to the PCs. They don’t trust humans. They have heard rumors of humans in other parts of the Westwood killing their kind by the scores. However, so far their truce with the people of Bonespir has been a good deal for them.

The PCs can improve the attitude of the culovas with them if they wish. This is a difficulty 5 task, and must be roleplayed.

Entering the Windmill

Entering the Windmill is easy once the Slicer Beetles are dealt with, as the main entrance has no doors.

The interior of the Windmill is a single central vertical shaft lined with conduits and pipes with small branching chambers and halls extending from it. There are stairways going from level to level at various places. The central shaft is relatively open, allowing someone to look up the entire 750 foot height of the lower part of the structure.

For the most part the interior is unlit and PCs will need their own light sources. The first level is partially lit from the open doors, and occasionally there is a little ambient light from still operational control panels. In a few areas emergency lights in the form of red track lighting along the walls at floor and ceiling level flicker feebly, but in many places the lights are no longer functioning (although they could possibly be brought online by crafty PCs, as could the main lighting arrays).

Most of the chambers in the structure have ceilings at least 20 feet high. The doorways are also this large, suggesting that the builders of this facility may have been quite large indeed. However, the control panels and interfaces are at a height that makes them comfortable for human use. There are no chairs or furniture in the facility, all stations are appropriate height for an average human to use while standing.

There are no doors in the structure (except the ones at the entrance), only doorways. The doorways normally have “doors” that consist of an impassable energy field. See the Satellite Control Room section for more.

Stifling Heat

It is stifling and hot inside the Windmill. Each PC takes 1 Might damage each hour spent in the structure. This problem can be solved by reactivating the Windmill’s ventilation and climate control system (see Control Panels and Interfaces below).

Mutation

Within an hour of entering the structure, the dangerous radiation and electromagnetic fields results in each character gaining a random cosmetic mutation (roll on table on Numenera corebook page 128). This mutation fades an hour after leaving the Windmill.

Electricity

The entire structure is constructed of exotic metals, ceramics and synth. Dangerous electricity arcs across the rooms and corridors, seemingly at random. This can happen any time as a GM Intrusion, as well as when rolled for on the Exploration Progress table.

Dangerous Electrical Discharge. Speed defense difficulty 4 or take 6 ambient electrical damage (ignores armor). Those hit must also make a Might defense roll difficulty 4 or lose their next action. PCs take 6 ambient electrical damage each round they remain in the area. Getting out of the area is simply a short move (assuming the PC has an action). Dragging an immobilized comrade out is a difficulty 3 might task. The discharge lasts a maximum of 2 rounds.

Control Panels and Interfaces

Control panels are touch screens made of reflective metal or clear synth or glass (or something like it). When a PC’s fingers get close to the surface, electricity arcs to his fingertips from the screen, making the connection. A repelling magnetic-like force keeps the PC from actually being able to touch the screen.

Instead of letters, numbers, or pictures, the interfaces show complex three-dimensional fractal shapes the PCs have never seen before. After a time using the interfaces, the PC can start to understand the shapes. It is a difficulty 5 Intellect task to start to figure out the shapes.

Each action a PC takes with the interface results in the PC taking 1 Intellect damage (i.e. each roll the PC makes with the interface results in 1 Intellect damage). Once a PC has succeeded at the task to begin to understand the interface, she can attempt other tasks.

Most tasks involving the facility (e.g. turning on lights, activating and adjusting climate control, etc.) are a difficulty 6 Intellect task to perform (keep in mind that each task results in 1 Intellect damage, regardless of whether it succeeds or fails).

Reestablishing the connection with the satellite(s) is a difficulty 7 Intellect task and can only be done from the Satellite Control room.

The fractal language can be learned as a short term benefit for 2 xp. The PC will only be able to read it; she won’t be able to speak it or understand it if she hears it spoken. Theoretically she could write the language (at a rudimentary level) if she found some way to produce the complex 3D fractal characters (perhaps using hologram technology), but this is impossible with a 2D writing method like pen and paper. The PC also won’t be able to understand everything she reads because it is an alien language with no frame of reference. Knowing the fractal language lowers the difficulties of interacting with the technology of the Windmill by 1 unless stated otherwise.

Exploration Progress

Rather than mapping out the entire structure or turning the story into a “dungeon crawl”, describe the general nature of the Windmill’s interior and roll on the Exploration Progress table for each half hour of exploration. For each consecutive half hour of wandering, add 10 to the roll. This determines what the PCs encounter and how long it takes them to find the Satellite Control room.

Alternatively, the GM can choose the creatures and features she wants the PCs to encounter and decide how long the entire process takes.

Regardless, the GM should ensure that the PCs have at least one encounter with the Gazer swarms. If a Creature result is rolled on the Exploration Progress table, the first creature is automatically a Gazer swarm. If the PCs manage to get to the Satellite Interface Control room without encountering a Gazer swarm, they encounter one there.

Again, the GM should feel free to either roll for encounters or hand pick the ones she wants to use. These tables are intended as a Guide for the GM, not to constrain her. If the GM does use the table, it’s recommended that she make the rolls ahead of time, so she can prepare for the encounters and decide how she wants to present them.

If the GM would like a “final showdown” encounter, perhaps in the Satellite Control room or just before it, the Disassembler would serve this purpose well.

The assumption is that the PCs only end up exploring part of the facility in their search for a way to repair the Windmill. If the PCs state they want to explore every chamber, have them encounter each result from each of the following three tables at least once (with the exception of the gazer swarms, which they should encounter at least twice).

PCs may also end up exploring the entire facility if they haven’t found the tools and are unable to complete the repairs. If this happens, give them a hint, and suggest they may find something that could help if they keep exploring.

Exploration Progress Table

01-40  More of the Same. PCs explore more of the structure, but find nothing of interest.

41-70  Strange Feature. Roll on the Strange Features table.

71-90  Creature. Roll on the Creatures table.

91-105  Inactive Device. Might be a built-in control panel or an abandoned machine of some kind. PCs can scavenge 3d6 shins, 1d6 cyphers and an oddity.

106-125  Dangerous Electrical Discharge. Speed defense difficulty 4 or take 6 ambient electrical damage (ignores armor). Those hit must also make a Might defense roll difficulty 4 or lose their next action. PCs take 6 ambient electrical damage each round they remain in the area. Getting out of the area is simply a short move (assuming the PC has an action). Dragging an immobilized comrade out is a difficulty 3 might task. The discharge lasts a maximum of 2 rounds.

126-145  Dangerous Radiation. All characters take 4 ambient radiation damage (ignores armor) and must make a difficulty 4 Might defense roll or gain a harmful mutation (roll on page 45 of Numenera Character Options book or page 124 of the Numenera corebook). This mutation begins to disappear one hour after leaving the Windmill. If this result has already occurred, then result is either More of the Same, Strange Feature, or Creature (GM’s choice, or determined randomly).

146+  Satellite Control

Strange Features Table

01-10  Corpse of mysterious creature, recently dead. If this result has already occurred, use next higher result.

11-20  Scattered clear synth tablets with unintelligible writing and diagrams of machine components. If this result has already occurred, use next higher result.

21-30  Pile of cylinders filled with poisonous chemicals. If this result has already occurred, use next higher result.

31-40  Broken transmitter. Scavenge 2d6 shins, 1d6 cyphers and 1 oddity. If this result has already occurred, use next higher result.

41-50  Still functioning mysterious machine with lights and whirring motors. If this result has already occurred, use next higher result.

51-70  Metal box filled with miscellaneous tools. Each tool is useless unless identified (numenera training applies) difficulty 5. Each identified tool can be used as an asset when accessing the Windmill’s systems (standard two asset limit applies). If this result has already occurred, use next higher result. Suggested tools: diagnostic program activator, polarizer-depolarizer

71-80  Random oddity.

81-90  Glass wall that glows with flickering lights.

91-100  Lift device, takes PCs up a few levels. Add +10 to future Exploration Progress rolls. If this result has already occurred, the PCs find the metal box with miscellaneous tools if they haven’t already found it. Otherwise roll on the Creatures table or give the PCs a random oddity (GM’s choice, or determine randomly).

Creatures Table

01-30  Gazer Swarms. If this encounter has occurred twice, use next higher result.

31-50  Chance Moth Nest. If this encounter has already occurred, use next higher result.

51-70  Steel Spiders. If this encounter has already occurred, use next higher result.

71-90  Yellow Swarm. If this encounter has already occurred, use next higher result.

91-100  Disassembler. If this encounter has already occurred, use Gazer Swarms or More of the Same or Strange Feature (GM’s choice, or determine randomly).

Gazer Swarms

1 swarm of 3 per PC

This encounter should happen at least once because the gazers defend the interior of the facility. Whether they were installed here by the makers or came later is unknown.

Spice: The gazer swarms dart among the conduits, pipes, etc. Each turn only 1d6 of the swarms can be attacked by the PCs.

GMI: Another gazer swarm arrives.

Steel Spiders

1 steel spider per PC

Spice: If things go badly for the spiders, they retreat and hide in their webs. Getting to each spider will involve encountering 1d6 webs that must be perceived and dealt with (see entry in corebook).

GMI: When the first spider is killed, a new spider enters the fray and rallies its companions. 

Yellow Swarm

Spice: This encounter occurs while the PCs are crossing a “chasm” on a narrow walkway.

Crossing the walkway: Speed difficulty 1

Making an attack or other action while on the walkway: Speed diff 2

Each time struck while on the walkway: Speed difficulty 3

If a PC fails any of these rolls, she falls 100 feet and takes 10 ambient damage.

GMI: The PC slips (perhaps on a puddle of blood or sweat on the walkway) and must immediately make a difficulty 3 Speed roll or fall off the walkway.

Chance Moth Nest

1 swarm of 10 moths per PC, together in a nest.

The moths will not attack unless they or their next is messed with. This encounter is given to give flavor to the Windmill, however PCs might use Scan or a similar ability, detect the cypher in the nest, and decide it’s worth angering the moths to get at it.

Spice: This encounter occurs in a large open chamber (to make the most of the moths’ gravity abilities). Have fun with the random effects of the moths, and feel free to choose effects that seem appropriate from the chart as opposed to rolling for them (or reroll any results that seem mediocre).

GMI: The cypher in the nest somehow activates. This could be a great GMI if the effect of the cypher would be interesting and/or if the GM wants to give the PCs some consequence for disturbing a colony’s home for the sake of greed.

Disassembler

Spice: If the disassembler is reduced to 10 health or less, it uses rockets to boost itself up among the girders at the ceiling of the chamber, about 50 feet up. It begins disassembling girders and dropping them on the PCs. Once per round each PC must make a Speed Defense roll difficulty 5 or take 5 damage. The PCs must either flee, use ranged attacks, or get up to the disassembler somehow, or draw it back down somehow (there is no way to climb up).

The disassembler is intended as a “final battle” for the PCs. If it hasn’t been encountered via the Exploration Progress table, consider having the disassembler in the Satellite Control room or in one of the rooms the PCs cross before it.

As a level 5 creature, the disassembler should give a group of Tier 1 PCs a good fight. However, if the GM would like the disassembler to be even more of a challenge, she can give it the NPC boost package found on page 349 of the corebook.

The disassembler protects the Windmill. It knows the facility is malfunctioning and wants it fixed. It can be reasoned with if the PCs can convince it they’re there to help repair the facility. The disassembler can explain the failed uplink and the batteries overloading deep underground. It can also lead the PCs to the Satellite Control room and will follow them there to supervise.

If at any time the PCs do something to arouse the suspicion of the disassembler (perhaps by accidentally causing a malfunction or complication while accessing the Windmill’s systems in the Satellite Control room, they will have to reroll to regain the disassembler’s trust. If they fail, it will attack immediately.

Repairing the Satellite Connection

Once the PCs have defeated the disassembler and found the Satellite Control room they can attempt to repair the connection to the satellite(s). Stairs lead up the the control room (all stairways are above human size and big enough for the disassembler to use via its rocket). If the PCs haven’t encountered the diassembler, the GM can place it in the room just before the Satellite Control room or in the Satellite Control room itself. The Control room has glass panels with fractal touch screen interfaces on all four walls of the room. In the middle of the room is a large semicircular control center, designed to be used from both within and without the semicircle of stations. The stations are designed to be used by a standing creature of human height.

If the PCs have already figured out how to use the control interfaces, they can skip that step. Otherwise it is a difficulty 5 Intellect task to start to figure out the shapes.

Each action a PC takes with the interface results in the PC taking 1 Intellect damage (i.e. each roll the PC makes with the interface results in 1 Intellect damage). Once a PC has succeeded at the task to begin to understand the interface, she can attempt other tasks.

Most tasks involving the facility (e.g. turning on lights, activating and adjusting climate control, etc.) are a difficulty 6 Intellect task to perform (keep in mind that each task results in 1 Intellect damage, regardless of whether it succeeds or fails).

Reestablishing the connection with the satellite(s) is a difficulty 7 Intellect task and can only be done from the Satellite Control room.

Remember that if the PCs found and identified the numenera tools from the metal box (numenera training applies to identification, difficulty 5), each identified tool can be used as an asset when accessing the Windmill’s systems (standard two asset limit applies).

As the PCs successfully use the interface, a holographic schematic of the facility appears in the air above the semi-circular control center. As the PCs proceed with their administrations with the system, the hologram illustrates the satellite far above and shows the failed link as a red dotted line connecting it to the Windmill. The diagram will also show the batteries far below the windmill. When the PCs repair the uplink, the red dotted line turns green.

NOTE: Be careful with your language when describing the connection to the satellite. The word satellite is used in this book for simplicity of communication with you, the GM. However, when speaking to the PCs, try to use terms such as “unknown object high above”. The PCs will likely come up with numerous ideas of what this object may be—a satellite, a space station, a starship, etc.—try not to confirm or deny any of these guesses with the language you use. Keep it a mystery.

Once the connection is repaired, things return to normal within a few hours (probably by the time the PCs get back to Bonespir).

The PCs can also activate the doors from the Control Room. The doors are actually cyan energy fields that can be lowered by inputting the correct code into a panel on the wall beside the door on the left side (the panels are not visible when deactivated). The doors and panels can be activated in the Satellite Control room; they are currently powered down. Each door must be opened with a separate code. This is a difficulty 4 task for someone who has learned the fractal language. Otherwise it is difficulty 5. PCs using the panels take Intellect damage as described in the Control Panels and Interfaces section. The force fields are effectively level 10.

Activating the doors also creates a field in the entrance that prevents access to the Windmill without entering the code.

The PCs can also access the lift from the Satellite Control room. They can use the lift to reach the bottom level of the windmill (the lift entrance is in the Satellite Control room). The lift is hidden on all levels except the Control room.

If the PCs try to find a way to access the satellite above, they can succeed with a roll of difficulty 7 roll. If they do so, the holographic schematic zooms out to show the location of the Windmill in this region of the Ninth World. The image shows many other Windmills, and all are connected to a central location with dotted lines (some green, some red, some white). It appears that many (perhaps all) of these windmills are either no longer functioning or no longer exist. As the PCs continue to try to find a way to get to the satellite, the display zooms in on this central location, revealing a diagram of an obelisk that will instantly remind any who are aware of it of the Amber Monolith. With another difficulty 7 roll the PCs can determine that there are various spatial, gravitational, and maybe even temporal anomalies in the vicinity of the monolith. Another difficulty 7 roll reveals a few pieces of information:

The monolith appears to be some kind of control hub for the Windmills.

The monolith somehow gives access to the satellite above, although it’s unclear how.

The general location of the monolith.

NOTE: The PCs will likely guess this is the Obsidian Monolith if they know the title of this campaign and/or have seen the cover art. Neither confirm or deny this as GM.

It is not necessary for the PCs to uncover this information. It’s included for especially curious and investigative PCs. If found, it provides an early hook and foreshadowing to the Obsidian Monolith, however there are other hooks later in the campaign. If this information is discovered, the GM will have to be on her toes in order to prevent the PCs from going after the monolith early. This can be avoided by providing them with the next hooks in the campaign before they get bored and start looking for something to do. Keep them busy!

If the PCs decide to try to destroy the Windmill, it will not be easy. The materials that make up the Windmill’s structure are all level 10, so it will be at least one difficulty 10 task (if not more than one) to destroy it. There could also be consequences to destroying the Windmill, depending on the methods used, precautions taken and what the GM feels is appropriate. These complications could include the following:

A catastrophic explosion

Intense radiation flooding the immediate area

Discharges of electricity that hurt the PCs

Aftermath

Once the PCs leave the Windmill, it is a simple matter of a 4 hour hike to the logging camp. The PCs encounter no dangerous creatures, although the GM could throw in an encounter with slicer beetles (normal or advanced) if she wishes. They notice that the hum of the Windmill is much diminished, although they can still hear it for the first half hour of their hike, and they can still feel it for the first hour.

If the PCs aren’t protected by Madame Saydle’s Wondrous Soup, then this may be a fairly miserable trek, as they’re swarmed by mosquitoes. The GM can convey this through storytelling, or she can have each unprotected PC take 1 ambient Might damage for the entire hike from the numerous bites. She could also impose a -1 difficulty penalty to any tasks requiring concentration, as the constant stinging and itching is extremely distracting.

Once they’re an hour’s hike from the Windmill and even the sensation of the hum has faded, their mutations begin to fade. Any cosmetic mutations gained slowly fade over the next hour. More extreme mutations fade more slowly, but are completely gone when the PC wakes from her next full night’s sleep.

Any cosmetic mutations the PCs received within the Windmill slowly fade within an hour of leaving it. Any other mutations gained in the facility fade at a slower rate, but are completely gone by the time the PCs wake up from their next 10 hour recovery.

If the PCs arrive at the logging camp before dusk, they can hitch a ride back to town with the loggers. Otherwise they will have to wait until the next day, unless they want to make the long trek or swim themselves (it will take 4 hours to walk back).

The loggers are happy to see that the PCs have survived. If the PCs tell them they have repaired the Windmill, the loggers are overjoyed and confident this will solve the problem with the pollinators (they trust Father Ahn’s intelligence and wisdom).

If the PCs head back to town with the loggers, they can ride on rafts that the loggers make by lashing together trees they’ve felled that day, allowing them to stay dry on the trip. Each raft is pushed by the numenera tug devices.

When the PCs arrive in Bonespir, everyone they meet wants to shake their hand or give them a hug. Father Ahn has noticed the pollinators resuming their normal behavior and told Madame Saydle who has further disseminated the news throughout the town. Each person they pass thanks them heartily for their help. The townspeople were facing a very real threat of starvation, and they know it.

Optional Encounters

Depending on how the story is progressing, the GM may want to include some optional encounters between when the PCs exit the Windmill and when they return to the logging camp. Judge the mood of the players. If they’re enjoying the story and you think they’d benefit from and enjoy the encounters then feel free to use them. If they’re sick of the Windmill and eager to do something else, feel free to allow them to reach the logging camp without incident.

Adult Slicer Beetle

The GM can use this encounter if she’d like the PCs to have a chance for combat before reaching the logging camp. This encounter is with another slicer beetle. This encounter serves a couple purposes. First, it allows the PCs to get another crack at a creature that was probably their first real defeat. There is only one beetle, but defeating it may be a cathartic experience for the players. Second, it further impresses upon the players that the Westwood is a dangerous place. This will be a useful impression for them to have in the following adventures in the Westwood. The PCs should be able to defeat one adult slicer beetle, though it should be a good fight.

This encounter should take place near the Windmill within a half hour of the PCs leaving it.

Iyl and the Other Culovas

The GM can include this encounter if she’d like to give the PCs another chance to establish friendly relations with the culovas (especially if one or more of the PCs learned the culovan language). If the PCs are specifically looking for signs of the culovas, definitely include this encounter.

Depending on the situation, the GM can either have the PCs encounter the culovas on the trail back to the logging camp, or they can discover culova tracks on the trail that lead them a little ways off of it. Either way they find Iyl and three other culovas gathered around a recently killed slicer beetle. If a PC speaks the language, Iyl will ask him if they were successful in the Tower. If the answer is yes, she will be grateful and will tell the PC she will tell her chief what they’ve done. She suggests that perhaps her people are wrong about the humans, and they’re not so bad after all.

Experience Point Awards

If the PCs manage to improve relations between the culovas and the people of Burnspir, award them each 1 XP.

If the PCs figure out how to repair the connection between the Windmill and the satellite(s), award each PC 3 XP. If, however, the PCs solve the problem by destroying the Windmill, they only get 1 XP each (if they reestablish the connection and then for some reason destroy the Windmill, they only earn 3 XP each—they don’t get an additional XP for destroying the Windmill).

The PCs receive 1 XP each if they befriend the disassembler.

The PCs receive 1 XP each if they discover the connection between the Windmill and the Obsidian Monolith.

These awards are in addition to any XP earned from recovering artifacts.

The next adventure begins the next day when the townspeople throw a feast in honor of the PCs. Please see that adventure for some encounters with various NPCs about town (Mosha Ahn, Madame Saydle, etc.).