I'm really feeling it!
I'm really feeling it!

Spacemon: Frontier - Chapter 19: Merchants and Monks

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Original image source could not be found. The original image used to create this header was uploaded to hundreds of wallpaper sites

Welcome to another exciting installment of Spacemon, the tale of a Pokemon TRPG campaign! This is a spinoff of the sci-fi space epic played using the Pokemon Tabletop United (PTU) system, this time GMed by yours truly. You can get caught up the entire Spacemon saga here!

Illustration for article titled Spacemon: Frontier - Chapter 19: Merchants and Monksem/em

Verdant’s sun was beginning to sink below the planet’s rolling hills as Taraka and Roland arrived back at the Maverick. After a brief stop in the med bay, the two stepped into the ship’s living quarters to find Axel chatting with the captain. The pair fell silent and turned to look at them as they entered.


“This the new guy you were telling me about, Captain?” Axel asked.

“Yup, that’s him,” Cyrus replied

Taraka watched Roland approach the mercenary, eager to introduce himself. “A pleasure to meet you, sir!” the merchant said, shaking Axel’s hand. “Roland Mercette at your service!”


“Axel,” the mercenary replied.

“So, what did you find out about the object?” Cyrus asked.

“Not much, I’m afraid,” Roland answered.

“It does not appear dangerous, though,” Taraka added.

“That means we can sell it no problem, then,” Axel said.

“It would appear so,” the monk replied. “The trip was not a waste, at least,” he continued. “We managed to catch a few Pokemon while we were out.”


“You went looking for Pokemon without me?” Axel asked.

Taraka smiled. “Something tells me all the grass Pokemon on this world would not do you much good.”


Axel laughed. “Fair enough,” the mercenary said. “Now, how about we go sell this thing and get paid?”

“Sounds like a plan,” Cyrus said. “Next stop, Khalimuck.”

Axel walked down the main corridor of the Maverick in search of Ace as the ship made the short trip across the system to Khalimuck. The mercenary had a proposal for his android crewmate that he had been thinking over for a while. With his affinity for fire Pokemon, Axel was hoping Ace was open to trading his Ponyta in exchange for one of his non-fire type Pokemon.


Entering Erik’s workshop, Axel found Ace working on a robot with the ship’s engineer. Erik liked to tinker around with robots in his free time, which was a hobby that Ace seemed to share in interest in. In fact, lately Ace had been showing more interest in working on robots with Erik than going on jobs with the rest of the crew. That was part of the reason Axel wanted to trade Pokemon with him.

“What can I do for you, Axel?” Erik asked, looking up at the mercenary as he entered. “Armor need a tune-up?”


“I’m actually here to talk to Ace,” Axel replied.

“What is it?” Ace asked.

“I was wondering if you’d be willing to part with your Ponyta,” Axel said.

“I like Flare, though,” Ace said. “He is a good Pokemon.”

“Well, I noticed that you’ve been spending more time working here than coming out on jobs or exploring with us,” Acel said. “I figured a fire Pokemon would do more good in my hands, especially if you’re not battling as much.” Axel smiled, hoping his argument would be enough to persuade his crewmate. “I’d be willing to trade one of my own Pokemon for it.”


“I guess you have a point,” Ace agreed. “I am willing to trade. Which Pokemon are you offering?”

“Well, you can have one of these two,” Axel said, pulling out two of his Pokeballs. “Chimecho and Pineco. I got both of them in trades, but they don’t really mesh with my battling style.” The mercenary sent out the Pokemon so Ace could get a look at them.


Ace looked at both Pokemon, then approached the Chimecho. The Pokemon floated up to Ace’s face and looked at him curiously.

“I like this one,” the android said after a few moments.

“He’s all yours,” Axel said grinning.

Upon the Maverick’s arrival on Khalimuck, Axel, Roland, and Taraka departed from the ship and headed to the market. Axel led the way, bringing his crewmates back to the merchant that had told him he would buy ancient tech off him.


“And so you have returned,” the merchant said, recognizing Axel. “I take it you have something to sell me?”

“You bet,” Axel said, grinning.

“What have you got for me?”

Axel reached into his pack and pulled out the object he and his crewmates recovered from the ruins. “We’ve got this cube thing here,” the mercenary said, showing it to the merchant. “It’s got some buttons on it that do stuff. We found it in a ruin and it’s really important. You know, I’m not sure if we should be selling it to you because we really could get in trouble.”


Oh really?” the merchant asked incredulously as he took the object off Axel’s hands to examine it for himself.

“Yeah,” Axel said, crossing his arms.

“I find that hard to believe.”

“We went through a lot of effort procuring this particular item,” Roland chipped in. Axel had brought him along, thinking his skill as a merchant would help secure a higher price point. He hoped it would pay off. “Surely it’s worth a little bit of a markup given the effort and expense we took to obtain it.”


“I’ll tell you what,” the other merchant said. “I’ll give you three-thousand credits for it.”

“Thirty-three-hundred and we’ll give you the notes on our discoveries of what it does as well,” Roland countered.


“I’m already being quite generous,” the merchant replied. “Don’t push your luck. Three-thousand is my final offer.”

“Three-thousand it is, then,” Axel said.

A few moments later, the three crewmates walked away from the merchant’s stall, each a few hundred credits richer. “That could have gone better,” Roland commented.


“It is what it is,” Taraka said. “We got more than I was expecting.”

“I suppose you’re right, my friend.”

“I don’t know about you two, but I’m gonna go buy some gear,” Axel said.

“I too would like to make some purchases,” Taraka said.

“In that case, I will set up shop while you browse the market,” Roland said.

“Sounds good. We’ll meet back here in a few hours.”

It was nearing late afternoon on Khalimuck as Taraka made his way through the crowded market. Having made his purchases — namely some evolutionary stones for his Pokemon — the monk was making his way back to where Roland had set up his curio table. Returning to the spot, Taraka found Axel was already back. His two crewmates were conversing while they waited for him.


“There you are, Taraka,” Axel said when he spotted the monk. “Thought you got lost or something.”

“Just taking my time,” Taraka replied.

“Ready to head back to the ship?” Axel asked.


“Give me a few minutes to pack up, if you will,” Roland said.

“Gladly,” Taraka replied.

As he waited for the merchant to stow his curio table and wares away, Taraka looked out into the crowd, watching the people browsing the market. Despite how busy it all seemed, there was also something peaceful and soothing about it. Suddenly, out from the masses, Taraka saw a familiar face appear.


“Hello again, Taraka,” the monk Samir said as he approached.

“Hello, Samir,” Taraka replied, nodding at his fellow monk.

“This a friend of yours, Taraka?” Axel asked.

“He is the one who informed me of the ruins we visited the other day,” Taraka explained.


“So you made it out there already, then,” Samir said. “Did you find what you were looking for?”

“Unfortunately, no,” Taraka said.

“I am sorry to hear that.”

“We came across another monk there,” Taraka elaborated. “He was killed by a strange shadowy figure just before we arrived. Before we could confront it, it just disappeared.”


A worried expression appeared on Samir’s face. “Most troublesome.” The monk fell silent, not speaking for several moments. “There have been rumours circulating,” he eventually continued. “Rumours of a mysterious individual who hunts monks on their pilgrimages and takes their scrolls as trophies. No one has really been able to say for sure if these rumours are true or not ...” Samir trailed off, as if deep in thought.

“Until now, it seems,” Taraka said. He did not like the sound of this monk hunter, fearing that he might become their next target.


“Yes,” Samir agreed. “So it seems.”

“Well, it was nice knowin’ ya, Taraka,” Axel said, playfully slapping the monk on the back. “But it sounds like traveling with you has become too dangerous.”


A slight smirk appeared on Taraka’s face. He was more than accustomed to his crewmate’s tendency to joke around by now, and he appreciated his lightheartedness at a time like this. “But think about it this way,” he said. “If we capture this hunter, he might have a high bounty on him that we can claim.”

“True,” Axel said. “I do like money. We should hunt him down, then. Let’s visit another ruin and try to draw him out.” A grin appeared on the mercenary’s face. “Maybe we can use you as bait.”


“I don’t know about being bait, but I do need to keep visiting ruins for my pilgrimage,” Taraka said. “And I would very much like to catch this guy and stop him from killing anyone else.”

“I guess that decides it,” Roland said. “Tell me, Samir, what else do you know about this mysterious assailant? Are there any survivors that we can speak to?”


“Not that I am aware of,” Samir replied.

“What about any particular sites that are more dangerous than others?” Axel asked.


“From what I have heard, certain sites that were more recently uncovered have been where this hunter has tended to strike,” the monk explained. “Ruins that were discovered long ago that many monks have since visited have not seen any attacks.”

“How curious,” Roland commented.

“Indeed,” Samir agreed. “Monks unlocking new secrets are being targeted while those unveiling more of the history of things long known are not. It is almost as if this hunter — this assassin, if you will — does not want them to find something out.”


“Then it seems that we must visit these sites if we want to find this assassin,” Roland said. “As an archaeologist, I would very much like to know what secrets they hold. Do you know of any monks on pilgrimage that may know of other ruins sites that we can visit?”

“None that I know personally, but I am staying at a monastery here on Khalimuck where monks on pilgrimage may rest and meditate while on their journeys,” Samir said. “Perhaps someone there can help you.”


“Where is this monastery?” Taraka asked.

“It is just beyond the edge of town,” Samir said, pointing to a hill off in the distance. “I can take you there, if you wish.”


Taraka nodded. “Lead the way, brother.”

After a short trek led by Samir, Taraka and his two crewmates arrived at a small monastery on the other side of a hill on the outskirts of Khalimuck’s main settlement. As they followed Samir inside, Taraka noticed a few monks meditating in the small garden outside the building. Inside, Taraka was greeted by the sight of several more monks. Some were meditating, others conversing with each other in hushed tones. It reminded him of home. A few of the monks looked up at the newcomers upon their entry, but quickly returned to what they were doing.

Image Credit - JP NIK
Image Credit - JP NIK

“Here we are,” Samir said. “I am certain that at least some of those staying here will be able to help you.”


“Thank you, Samir,” Taraka said. He bowed his head to his fellow monk before leading his two crewmates further into the room. Samir followed a short distance behind the trio.

“Hello, monks!” Axel called out rather loudly from the center of the room. “We are looking into the mysterious killer rumored to be hunting your kind. Any information you could provide would be appreciated.”


Slowly, a small group of monks gathered around the three crewmates to help in what way they could. “Has anyone seen this assassin?” Axel asked them. “Have you seen any dead bodies in ruins or know any missing monks that might have been killed?”

“Pilgrimages are generally solitary journeys,” Samir explained to the mercenary. “We often do not see other monks for long periods of time, except in places such as this.”


“It is also hard to say if one who has not been to this monastery in a long time has moved on as opposed to having met a terrible end,” another monk said.

“Maybe another approach, then,” Roland said. “Does anyone know of any recently uncovered ruins? We have heard that is where this assassin chooses to strike.”


“I believe I may have what you are looking for,” a voice said. Taraka looked over to the side to see another monk approaching. He looked a bit older than the rest — perhaps in his late forties or early fifties if Taraka were to guess.

“Taraka, meet Kailash,” Samir said, motioning toward the older monk. “It is by his kindness that this place exists.”


Taraka bowed his head in acknowledgement. “A pleasure to meet you.”

“Kailash, this is Taraka,” Samir said. “He and his friends here are looking into the hunter the rumours speak of.”


“So I have heard,” Kailash replied. “I believe I have information that might aid you on this endeavor,” he then said to Taraka. “In the past few years, ruins have been uncovered on several worlds within this sector and those neighboring. These sites all seem to be related in some way … and those that have visited them have tended to disappear.”

“What can you tell us of these sites?” Roland asked.

Kailash proceeded to share what he knew about the locations he mentioned. As the older monk spoke, Taraka realized that his descriptions sounded much like the sites he had visited with the Maverick crew. The ruins where Ace had been discovered, the ruins in the swamp where he had his first vision, and the ruins where they had encountered the assassin they were looking for all fit the description. Taraka knew it could not be a coincidence.


“Do you know the coordinates of the planets where these ruins are located?” Taraka asked.

Kailash nodded, then procured a Pokedex from his pocket. After several moments, he brought up a short list of planets and their coordinates. Sure enough, Taraka saw the coordinates of the worlds he had visited while traveling about the Maverick. There were also two more planets which they had not visited on the list.


“These are the worlds we must investigate,” Taraka said to his crewmates, pointing out the two planets on the list. “Not only do I believe we will find this assassin there, but they may also hold the key to completing my scroll.”

“Then what are we waiting for?” Axel asked.

“Thank you for your help, Kailash,” Taraka said to the older monk.

“You are quite welcome,” Kailash replied, a warm smile on his face. “Best of luck to you, but be careful.”


“We most certainly shall, sir!” Roland said. “We most certainly shall.”

“So, Taraka,” Axel said as he and his two crewmates made their way back to the Maverick. “What makes you so certain we’ll find this assassin at one of these locations?”


“The locations Kailash provided us are all sites that appear related and have had a higher frequency of supposed attacks by this mysterious person,” the monk replied. “And we’ve already been to three of them.”

“That logic seems sound,” Roland agreed.

“But maybe it means the assassin is already on our trail,” Axel mused.

“That’s a disturbing thought,” Taraka said.

“Well if he is,” Axel said. “Then we’ll just have to stomp him into the—”

The mercenary’s words were suddenly cut short when he felt someone bump right into him. He quickly turned to face forward just in time to see a person falling to the ground.


“Hey, watch where you’re going!” Axel shouted angrily. His tone, however, quickly changed when he saw that it was an attractive young woman. She looked to be of Sinai descent, judging from her features. “I’m sorry,” he said, offering his hand. “Can I help you up?”

The young woman grabbed the mercenary’s hand and he pulled her to her feet. “Thanks,” she said. “Sorry about that. I guess I wasn’t paying attention.” She let out a laugh as she straightened out her chin-length dark hair.


“Don’t worry about it,” Axel said. He was willing to let things slide when it came to pretty girls.

“Say, do any of you know how to get to the monastery?” the young Sinai woman asked.


“May I ask why you want to go there?” Axel asked.

“I’m looking for monk I met earlier who told me he was staying there,” the woman explained.


“It is just outside of town, over the hill,” Roland said, pointing off in the direction they had come from.”

“Just down the road,” Axel added. “You can’t miss it.”

“Thank you very much,” the woman said, flashing a smile.

“Would you care for an escort?” Roland asked.

“No thanks.”

“Very well then,” Roland replied. “Farewell, miss.”

“Man, I should have got her name,” Axel grumbled once the woman was gone.

“I do not believe she was interested, my friend,” Roland said. “Come now, let us return to the ship.”


“Right,” Axel agreed.

Not too much later, the trio arrived back at the Maverick. They made their way to the living quarters to find the captain waiting.


“You three were gone a while,” Cyrus said upon seeing them.

“Well, we picked up some leads on that shadowy figure we saw,” Axel explained. “We’ve got the coordinates for some more planets with ruins where we might fight him. And we can salvage some more stuff while we’re there.”


“Good idea,” the captain agreed. “Let’s have a look at those coordinates.”

Image Credit - Ryan Church
Image Credit - Ryan Church

Cyrus led his crew to the nav chart, where Taraka provided him with the data to plug in.

“Fraxion and Freyeon, huh?” the captain said, reading the names of the planets. “Looks like we’ve got one in Sector 32 and one here in 33.”


“Might it be wise to visit the one in Sector 32 first and then visit the one in this sector on the way back to sell the salvage here on Khalimuck?” Roland suggested.

“A good a plan as any,” Cyrus agreed. “Freyeon it is, then.”

Notes: And here we have our first session with the full party at this time in the campaign. Axel was back and it was nice to see all three of the players having some good chemistry together. This chapter covers the majority of the session, minus the stuff on the planet they went to at the end, which will be covered in the next chapter. There was a tiny bit missing from the beginning of the recording since I forgot to start it at the beginning again, but nothing crucial was missed.


There was some good RP stuff happening in this session. First off, since Ace had shifted from a PC to an NPC, Axel wanted to trade with him for his Ponyta. He made a good argument for it and rolled well on his social skill checks that he made so Ace agreed to the trade. I don’t actually think Axel ended up ever using it, though. I did like the scene, however.

Then everyone failed trying to persuade the merchant to give them more money for the object. They all rolled terribly on their skill checks and it was quite funny. After they used their new funds to buy some items, I then threw some plot at them. I used the monk who had told them about the ruin at the start of this plot arc to shed some light on the shadowy figure they encountered, and since they wanted to speak to more monks about it, I came up with the idea of a monastery where monks on pilgrimage could rest, run by an older monk who had already completed his. If you’ve read through the original Spacemon series, then you might recognize the monastery, the monk Kailash who runs it, and the whole planet of Khalimuck from the seventh Profile. That post may have come out before this one, but it was in fact a cameo of some things from Frontier, as this campaign session happened over a year ago.


So, I provided the players with some planets to visit over the next few sessions at the end of it all, one of which they chose to go to right away. That will get covered in the next chapter.

Post-Chapter Challenge: Another simple challenge this time. What do you think the crew will find on Freyeon? What do you think the planet is like? What will be in the ruins? Tell me your theories!


That does it for this chapter. As always the Spacemon gang and I will be monitoring the comments to foster discussion and answer any questions. Feel free to give feedback and critiques of the writing so I can improve it for the future, or just leave a comment with what you think about what went down in this chapter or what you think might happen next! You can also revisit past chapters, check out the rest of the Spacemon saga, join the Spacemon Discord server, or like our Facebook page to stay updated on all things Spacemon! Click here for the next exciting installment of Spacemon: Frontier!

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