Outlands Report #1: Threats and Opportunities
I. We face a new enemy
I'm neither king nor commander, but I've seen my share of battles. I've faced everything from Hellgate demons to a pack of angry marmots, and traveled far and wide across the wilds of Albion. I thought I'd seen everything the Outlands could throw at me... but it looks like the untamed north still has a few surprises.
My crew were on our way back from a dungeon run, loaded up with a haul of loot that was sure to fetch a nice handful (or ten) of silver, when we stumbled upon something strange: a big hole in the ground, so deep we couldn't see the bottom of it and lit up with a strange glow. I knew the color: crystal energy, bright and blue as the sky! We approached carefully, but didn't see anything out of the ordinary, so we decided to get our haul back to town and return with a bigger crew.
The next day, we put on our best fighting gear and headed back through the portal, ready for anything. As we approached the site, we felt a strange rumbling: probably Keeper brutes guarding their territory, we thought, or perhaps Heretics mining the crystals for themselves - nothing we couldn't take care of.
Then we saw it.
Like something out of a dream it was: a human figure, massive, dressed all in white. Its feet floated above the ground, and its face was hidden behind an expressionless mask of gold. It was controlling a device beyond description: a great machine of spheres within spheres, which rotated of their own accord to draw the precious energy from the earth below.
We drew our weapons and set upon the being – and it unleashed attacks the likes of which we'd never seen. It wielded no weapon, but cast mighty beams of energy at us through its hands. We fought with all we had, and though several of our group fell, we finally managed to deliver the killing blow.
It died like no being I've ever seen, floating upward and disappearing into a blinding white light. Where it had stood, a strange glowing energy remained – not blue, but pure white. We took the strange substance and rode back to Caerleon to lick our wounds, repair our weapons, and see what we could make of the stuff.
II. The Alchemist
We brought the glowing canister to the old alchemist, who immediately set out to learn more about it. He might be a crazy old loon, but he's thorough. He held the canister up and gave it a shake, and then, muttering something under his breath, wandered off to speak to the Energy Manipulator.
All night, strange flashes of light emanated from his hut, accompanied by alarming sounds ranging from explosions to beastly roars. When morning came, he emerged at last, and declared his experiments a success. What strange wonders had he created, we asked, from this otherworldly material?
First, he said, try a bite of these, and handed out various foods. I hadn't yet had breakfast, so I took a bowl of stew, and my mate grabbed his favorite, a beef sandwich. With each bite, we felt a strange power surge within us, and soon enough we were riding through the wilds, slaying Morgana, Undead, and Heretics alike.
When the effects wore off, we returned to the old alchemist, who was ready to show off his next achievement. Take these, he said, and see what they can do. He handed us tools, which glowed with the same unearthly light. We set out again, me heading for a patch of Skyflower, my mate laying into a herd of wild beasts and harvesting their pelts. We returned to town heavy with the spoils of our labor, and after visiting the Marketplace to hawk our haul, we went back to the old Alchemist.
Come, he said, smiling impishly, I have one more thing to show you. He led us to the Energy Manipulator, where we saw a veteran adventurer named Motown of the guild Dark-Force, holding a Swamp Dragon by its leather leash. Are you ready? she asked. We nodded, and the Energy Manipulator tipped a massive jar of the stuff into the beast's mouth.
It roared – not in pain, but as if with a great surge of power. And then, right before our eyes, it began to transform. It reared up, its eyes glowing, and great crystal spikes emerged from its body. The creature that stood before us was like nothing I'd ever set eyes on.
Behold, she said, a new lifeform, never before seen in Albion. As Motown rode off on his new creation, the Energy Manipulator regarded us and said: care to make one of your own?
Stay tuned for more Outlands Reports in the coming weeks.