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!
“Alright, boys. Let’s get this cargo moving,” Captain Cyrus Drake addressed the members of his crew gathered in the Maverick’s cargo hold.
“Right away, Captain,” Ace replied before grabbing one of the crates full of supplies they had been hired to transport from Nimia. With relative ease, the android lifted the crate and placed it on one of the available anti-grav carts.
Ace was soon joined by Gaster, Taraka, and Cyrus himself. Together, it didn’t take long for the four of them to get all the crates loaded up and ready for transport into town. This time, the town the Maverick crew was making a delivery to was the mining colony settlement on Omen known as Devil’s Landing.
“You boys good to deliver this stuff on your own?” Cyrus asked the three members of his crew once they had finished. “I’ve gotta see about getting the ship refueled.”
“I think we can handle that,” Gaster said, nodding.
“Yeah,” Taraka agreed. “You can count on us.”
“That’s what I like to hear,” Cyrus said. “I’ll meet you back here later.”
Dry grass crunched underfoot as Gaster walked down the dusty streets of Devil’s Landing with his two crewmates and their cargo. The planet Omen was a dry, arid world covered in deserts, dusty grasslands, and rocky mountain ranges, and the small mining colony that the members of the Maverick’s crew now found themselves in was as desolate as one would expect to find in such a place, if not more so. Glad I don’t have to live in a place like this, Gaster thought as he watched a lone tumbleweed blow past.
“Where is everyone?” Ace asked as they walked along.
Gaster looked around and realized they hadn’t seen anyone since leaving the spaceport. The engineers that worked there had been the only people they’d encountered since landing on Omen. The former smuggler glanced back at his crewmate and shrugged. “I’m sure they’re around somewhere. It’s not like this is normally an exciting place or anything.”
“What do you know about this place, Gaster?” Taraka asked. “You said you’d been here before?”
“Yeah, a long time ago,” Gaster told the monk. “That was before they built this colony. They only built this place like ten years ago, but the history of Devil’s Landing goes way further back than that.”
“Why do they call it Devil’s Landing?” Ace asked. “Seem like a weird choice to name a town.”
“Well, I heard the Alliance explorers who first discovered this world called it Omen because it gave them eerie vibes or something like that,” Gaster explained. “And then it gained a reputation because people were even more dumb and superstitious then than they are now. The rumors and its out of the way location made it a popular planet with the scum and scoundrels of the Galaxy. They used this place to conduct their business and called it Devil’s Landing. It was a smugglers’ den the last time I was here, but it was a pirate hideout long before that. I guess the name stuck even after they found ores here and built a mining colony.”
“You seem to know quite a lot about this place,” Taraka observed.
“What can I say?” Gaster replied. “Back when I was a smuggler, I was in and out of places like this all the time.”
“I see,” Taraka said.
“Anyway, let’s get this stuff inside,” Gaster said, looking up at the customs office that he and his crewmates had just arrived at. He steered his anti-grav cart toward the building and headed for the door.
Inside, the office seemed to be empty and there wasn’t even anyone behind the counter to greet them. Gaster glanced over at Taraka, and the monk gave him a confused look.
“Anyone here?” Taraka called out. “We don’t deliver to ghosts,” he jokingly added.
“Well I’m afraid you’ve come to the wrong place,” a man’s voice responded. Gaster turned back around to see a dark-haired man emerging from a door behind the counter. “You folks here with the delivery from Nimia?” the man asked.
“Yeah,” Ace answered. “But what did you mean about coming to the wrong place?”
“I guess offworlders wouldn’t know,” the man said. Gaster shrugged and began offloading the crates from the carts. As he did so, the man continued to speak, “You see, our little town has been plagued by ghost attacks as of late.”
“Ghost attacks?” Ace asked. “Like ghost Pokemon?”
The man behind the counter nodded. “Yes. Ghost Pokemon. They’ve been constantly attacking the town. It’s gotten so bad that the mining company that funds the colony has pulled out. Now the whole damn place has fallen on hard times.”
“Well that doesn’t seem fair,” Ace said. “They shouldn’t be allowed to do that.”
“Sadly, that’s just the way things work out here.”
“Maybe we can help,” Ace suggested. “We can check out where the ghosts are coming from and see if we can find a way to stop the attacks.”
“No objections here,” Taraka said.
Gaster nodded. “I think we can do that,” he said, turning to the man behind the counter. “Do you have any idea where the ghosts are coming from or do they just appear everywhere?”
“They seem to appear everywhere with no rhyme or reason,” the main explained. “There’s no predicting when or where and it’s got everyone scared.”
As if on cue, a loud scream from outside interrupted the conversation. “Ghost attack!” a different voice shouted. Ace responded by running out of the building. Gaster and Taraka looked at each other, then followed their crewmate out.
Outside, Gaster spotted a group of four ghost Pokemon terrorizing some townsfolk. There was a Banette, a Gourgeist, a Gengar, and a Haunter. Deciding to lend a hand, the former smuggler sent out one of his Pokemon, specifically his Parasect, then reached for his tesla coil rifle. His two crewmates sent out Pokemon of their own, Ace going with his recently caught Fennekin and Taraka selecting his Togekiss.
Lining up a shot on the Haunter, Gaster squeezed the trigger, sending a bolt of electricity arcing through the air toward the ghost Pokemon. The shot was a direct hit and it completely dissipated the Haunter’s gaseous form.
“Dang, that ghost just got busted,” Taraka said.
In response to the attack, the remaining ghost Pokemon all turned to face the Maverick crew and their Pokemon. One of the hostile Pokemon may have been removed from the picture, but they still had three more to deal with. Leading the charge, the Gourgeist moved up to the Pokemon standing in its way. It then lashed out with its long arms, striking Gaster’s Parasect.
“Sirius, use Thunder Wave!” Taraka commanded his Togekiss. The monk’s Pokemon zapped the Gourgeist with a bolt of electricity, immobilizing it, then he blasted it with psionic energy.
Coming to the aid of its fellow ghost, the Banette floated closer, then unleashed a ghostly attack upon Sirius. The Gengar moved in as well and attempted to shoot a stunning ray of energy at Gaaster, but the former smuggler managed to dodge out of the way.
“Blaze, Fire Spin!” Ace then ordered his Fennekin. The small fiery fox spewed out a swirling vortex of flames at the Banette, totally engulfing it and leaving it trapped. Ace himself rushed the Gengar, slashing through it with his laser sword. The Gengar floated up and away from the android, then counterattacked, rapidly extending a ghostly arm down towards its assailant to strike with a shadowy fist.
“Jacques, use Dire Spore on that Banette!” Gaster gave a command of his own. The former smuggler’s Parasect skittered away from the Gourgeist and toward the Banette, then spewed out spores into the swirling flames surrounding it. Gaster then aimed his rifle at the Gengar and fired.
“Sirius, use Fairy Wind!” Taraka commanded his Togekiss before moving toward the Gourgeist. As the monk’s Pokemon flew in to make her attack on the Banette, he pulled out a Pokeball and threw it at the Pumpkin Pokemon. Sirius missed her attack, but Taraka’s Pokeball made contact with its target. Unfortunately, the Gourgeist managed to break free. Reemerging, the ghostly gourd Pokemon sprayed out a flurry of razor-sharp leaves. Taraka quickly hopped backwards, narrowly avoiding getting hit by the attack.
Ignoring the Parasect and the Togekiss, the Banette slowly floated by the two Pokemon, fighting against the vortex of flames and poisonous spores swirling around it as it moved toward Ace’s Fennekin. Once it was in range, it lashed out at the fiery fox with its sharp claws.
“Blaze, hit it with Ember!” Ace commanded in response. As his Fennekin sprayed the Banette with more fire, the android rushed it as well and struck it with his sword, slicing right through it. The ghost Pokemon let out a spiteful screech as it evaporated away into nothingness.
“Two down,” Gaster said, shifting his aim to the Gourgeist. He squeezed the trigger, dousing the Pumpkin Pokemon in electricity. Taraka then followed up with a second capture attempt, but the Gourgeist broke free once more.
“Dang,” the monk grumbled.
Meanwhile, Ace kept up the pressure on the Gengar. “Blaze, Fire Spin!” the android commanded his Fennekin. Unleashing a second vortex of flames, the Fox Pokemon began to glow with the same fiery energy. As the glow grew brighter, Blaze began to increase in size and stand up on his hind legs. With the extra power that came with evolving into a Braixen, Blaze burnt the Gengar away. The ghost Pokemon faded from sight with a frightening howl.
“That just leaves one,” Gaster said, taking aim at the final ghost Pokemon remaining. “Should I take it out or do you still want to try to capture it?” he asked Taraka.
“I would like to attempt capturing it,” the monk replied.
“Okay,” Gaster replied with a nod, lowering his rifle. “All yours.”
“Sirius, use Yawn!” Taraka commanded his Togekiss. Ignoring the Jubilee Pokemon as she flew in, the Gourgeist sprayed out Leech Seeds at Taraka. Unfortunately for it, the Gourgeist’s attack missed and then it fell asleep from Sirius’s attack.
Confidently, Taraka pulled out another Pokeball and threw it at his prize. Despite being asleep, the Gourgeist somehow managed to break free. Just as quickly as it emerged, it was trapped again, this time by a Pokeball thrown by Ace. This time, the Pumpkin Pokemon stayed in the ball. Ace walked over and picked up the ball, then tossed it to Taraka.
“Here you go,” the android told the monk.
“Thanks team,” Taraka said.
“Well, looks like all the ghosts are gone,” Gaster said, taking a look around.
“For now,” Taraka replied. “I still have an uneasy feeling.”
Gaster nodded. “Agreed.”
“Thanks again for offering to help us with the ghost Pokemon attacks.”
“It’s no problem, ma’am,” Gaster told the local woman he was speaking with to gather information on the colony’s situation. “Now, can you tell us anything you know about these attacks? Maybe a particular event that caused them to start?”
The woman paused for a moment to think. “Well, they were mining up in the mountains when the attacks started,” she eventually said. “I don’t know if that has anything to do with it. The guy that came before you seemed to think so.”
Gaster raised an eyebrow. “What guy?”
“Some other offworlder showed up a couple days ago to investigate,” the woman explained. “A bit of a strange-looking guy. He spoke with the colony Administrator, then went up to the mines in the mountains to look around and he hasn’t come back yet.”
“Interesting,” Gaster replied. “Can you tell us where, specifically, these mines are?”
“Sure. They’re just up in those mountains there,” the woman said, pointing out some facilities up the slope of one of the mountains just outside of town. “Just follow the path up.”
“I see,” Gaster said. “Thanks for the tip. I think we’ll go check those mines out.”
“I’m happy to be whatever help I can if it means stopping the attacks.”
Gaster smiled back at the woman. “I hope we can take care of the problem.”
“That should do it,” Taraka said, setting down the last of the batch of cleanse tags he had made on the table. “These should help if more ghosts show up.”
“Good to know,” Gaster replied.
“Let’s hope we don’t need them,” Ace said.
The three members of the Maverick’s crew had been fortunate in that no more ghost Pokemon had attacked since the ones they fought outside the customs office, as were the people of Devil’s Landing. The trio now sat around a table at a pub in town, waiting for nightfall before continuing their investigation. Taraka had needed some time to prepare some cleanse tags and they had all heard from the people of the colony that the ghosts seemed to be more active at night. After informing the captain of their plan, the three of them had come to the pub to wait things out. Soon, night would fall.
“I believe we will,” Taraka addressed his android crewmate. “Something strange is going on here.”
“I know what you mean,” Gaster said. “Something just feels off about this place.”
“Well we’ll just have to find what’s causing it and put a stop to it,” Ace said. “These people need our help.”
“Indeed,” Taraka said, nodding in agreement. “We shall do our best to provide it.”
“This place is creepy as hell,” Gaster said as he passed the flashlight on his rifle over the abandoned structures of the mining site in the mountains outside Devil’s Landing.
“I agree,” Taraka seconded the former smuggler’s opinion. The place would have been creepy enough at night on its own, but the chilling atmosphere that hung over it wasn’t doing it any favors. The off feeling the monk had sensed in town felt even stronger here.
“Let’s hurry up and find the problem and get out of here,” Gaster replied.
The former smuggler scanned the area with his flashlight again and Taraka followed the beam, taking in every detail that it illuminated. Amongst the large rocks, mining equipment was still set up as if everyone had left in a hurry. A huge structure built into the side of the mountain stood tall over everything else. The large garage doors on the front for moving mining equipment in and out had been left open, but Taraka couldn’t see all the way inside; the flashlight beam couldn’t reach the back.
Suddenly, Taraka caught a movement out of the corner of his eye. He quickly turned to see what it was, but only managed a glimpse of what looked like a shadow melting into the wall. “There!” the monk called out, pointing in that direction. Gaster focused his flashlight on the spot Taraka pointed out, but there was nothing there.
“What?” Gaster asked.
“I thought I saw something,” Taraka said.
“Maybe it was that guy that came here to investigate before us,” Ace suggested.
Taraka shook his head. “I don’t think so.”
“More ghosts?” Gaster offered.
“Perhaps,” Taraka said. “It definitely wasn’t the person the townsfolk mentioned.”
“I wonder what happened to him,” Ace said. “Maybe my Braixen can track his sent to find out where he went?”
“That’s not a bad idea,” Gaster told the android. “The only problem is we don’t have anything belonging to him.”
“But no one’s been here recently, right?” Ace pointed out. “If he came through here, there might be a lingering scent.”
“It is worth trying,” Taraka said. “We don’t have any better ideas.”
“Alright,” Gaster replied. “Let’s give it a shot.”
Ace nodded then sent out his Braixen. “Alright, Blaze,” he said. “We’re looking for someone that came through here recently. See if you can pick up a scent.”
The Fox Pokemon sniffed the air, then began to look around. After a few moments, the Braixen started wandering around as it continued sniffing. Several minutes passed, then the android’s Pokemon suddenly grew excited, as if it had detected something. Moving quickly, the Braixen walked towards the main building.
“Looks like he’s found a scent,” Ace said. “Let’s go see what it is.” With that, he began to follow his Pokemon. Taraka followed close behind, with Gaster just behind him.
Ace’s Braixen led the trio through one of the open garage doors and into the building. They followed the fiery fox to the back of the building to a magnetic track for transporting ores out from below ground. Following this track, the Braixen led them down one of the mine tunnels that branched off from the building into the mountain.
“I guess we’re going underground,” Gaster said, pointing his rifle down the tunnel, illuminating it with the flashlight.
“Well, that seems consistent with the theory that the miners disturbed something,” Ace observed.
Taraka nodded. “That it does. Let’s go find out what they disturbed.”
The air grew heavier as the three members of the Maverick’s crew traveled further and further underground. Following Ace’s Braixen deeper down the mining tunnel, the flashlight attached to Gaster’s rifle was their only source of light illuminating their descent. Old. That was the only way Taraka could think to describe the way it felt. It was as if the air now filling this tunnel was far more ancient than the mine itself.
The monk soon learned why; rounding a bend in the tunnel revealed a gaping hole in the wall that opened to a massive underground cavern buried beneath the mountains. In the low light, this hole seemed to lead into a dark abyss that stretched on forever, both outwards and downwards. The air flowing out from this abyss carried that heavy, ancient feeling Taraka had been sensing for the past few hours of walking, and it sent an uneasy shiver running down his spine.
“I guess they did unearth something,” Gaster said, shining his light into the abyss.
“Indeed,” Taraka replied. “This must be what caused the ghosts to attack.”
“Yeah,” Gaster agreed. “I’ve got a real bad feeling about this place. I don’t like that I can’t see a damn thing.”
“I can see something,” Ace said as he peered into the cavern through the hole.
“Right, you can see in the dark,” Taraka said to the android. “What do you see?”
“Ruins, maybe?” Ace replied. “It’s hard to tell from here. If we could get down there, I’d be able to get a better look.” He made a downwards motion, pointing into the blackness. “I can see some ground way down there.”
“If only I brought Fels Vogel with me,” Taraka said, wishing he’d included his Aerodactyl on the team of Pokemon he left the Maverick with.
“Don’t worry, I’ve got just the thing,” Gaster said. The former smuggler reached into his bag and procured an impressive length of rope. “I salvaged this from my shipwreck before you guys rescued me. I knew it would come in handy one day.”
“Perfect,” Taraka said. “It’s good that one of us is always thinking ahead.”
Gaster let out a chuckle. “In my line of work, you can’t afford not to be. Now come on and help me secure this rope.”
“I’m getting some real creepy vibes from this place,” Gaster said to Taraka as he scanned the immediate area around the bottom of the rope with his rifle-mounted flashlight. “I think I preferred the sketchy abandoned mine.”
“I agree,” Taraka replied. “But we must press on and find out what is causing the ghost attacks.”
Gaster sighed. “I know. Let’s just make it quick.” The former smuggler then glanced up the rope toward the third member of the trio. “You good, Ace?” he called up to the android.
“Yeah,” Ace responded. “I’m almost there. Just taking my time so I don’t accidentally break the rope.” A few moments later, a metallic thud sounded as Ace’s feet touched down on the rocky ground. “Alright, let’s go,” he said, letting go of the rope.
“Hold on, let’s send out some Pokemon,” Gaster said. “Just in case we run into trouble.” He then grabbed the ball containing his Typhlosion off his belt and sent the fiery Pokemon out. “A little more light wouldn’t hurt either,” he added as the flames on the Typhlosion’s back ignited.
Taraka nodded. “Good idea,” the monk said before sending out his Zebstrika.
Ace sent his Braixen back out, then began walking, leading the group in the direction of the ruins he had spotted from the tunnel. As they got closer, whatever the android had seen came into view for Gaster. In the distance stood what looked like a ruined temple of some sort, pyramidal in shape and looming ominously.
“Do you think this place was built by the same people as the other ruins we’ve visited?” Gaster asked his companions.
“I don’t think so,” Taraka answered, shaking his head. “I can’t quite describe it, but there’s just something about this place … It feels far older … darker.”
“That’s a chilling thought,” Gaster said, shuddering. “Maybe they were onto something when they named this planet Omen.”
“So this must be where the ghost are coming from, right?” Ace asked.
“That is my belief,” Taraka said. “Ever since we came down here, it’s felt like … how do I put it?”
“Like there’s something watching us?” Gaster said.
“Why don’t you do that little trick of yours to see if there are any invisible ghost Pokemon here?” Gaster asked the monk.
“Oh, you mean the cleanse tag,” Taraka replied. “Good idea.”
Gaster watched as Taraka procured one of the small paper tags he had made earlier and set it alight with a psionic flame. Almost immediately, ghosts began to reveal themselves. “Fuck!” Gaster cursed in surprise as a Duskull appeared right in his face. He quickly moved backwards, but the Pokemon took a swing at him with one of its ghostly arms before he escaped its reach.
Once at a safe distance, Gaster aimed his rifle at the Duskull and squeezed the trigger, dousing it in electricity. “Rusty, use Ember!” the former smuggler then commanded his Typhlosion. Moving in on his trainer’s assailant, Rusty spewed out a jet of flame, burning the hostile ghost Pokemon. The Duskull fired back with a Night Shade attack, but failed to land the hit
With his Typhlosion keeping the Duskull busy, it was only then that Gaster noticed there was more than one ghost to deal with. A Misdreavus had appeared near Taraka while Ace was contending with a Gastly.
Taraka dazed the Misdreavus with a burst of psionic energy, then moved back and ordered his Zebstrika to attack, “Blitz, use Pursuit!” As the Zebstrika made her attack, Ace’s Braixen jumped in to help, trapping the Misdreavus in a vortex of fire. The flames completely engulfed it, burning it away.
Meanwhile, Ace slashed through the Gastly with his laser sword. As it passed through the Pokemon’s gaseous body, the blade sputtered out, but it at least seemed weakened. Zapping it with his tesla coil rifle, Gaster caused the Gastly to fade away just like the Misdreavus.
Now, only the Duskull remained. “Blaze, Ember!” Ace commanded his Pokemon. The Braixen shot a jet of flame at the Duskull, but it dodged past it and then counterattacked, landing a good hit on the Fox Pokemon.
Before the Duskull could do anything else, Ace threw a Pokeball at it, trapping it inside. The ball fell to the ground, then shook once … twice … three times … then it fell still. The Pokemon was caught, but the uneasy feeling lingered. Gaster had a feeling it would last as long as they were in this place, but at least it no longer felt like they were being watched … for the time being.
“Let’s get moving,” Gaster said as Ace collected his new Pokemon.
The android stood up and Pocketed the Pokeball, then nodded. “Right.”
After about another hour of walking, the three members of the Maverick’s crew and their Pokemon arrived at the base of the ruined pyramid. Its scale was impressive, towering over the group with its looming presence. From his new perspective, Gaster could make at more details on the structure. A staircase led up the middle of the pyramid to an ornate entrance that was illuminated by a flickering yellow-orange glow.
“What’s causing that light?” Ace asked.
“Only one way to find out,” Gaster said, putting a foot down on the first step.
Slowly and cautiously, the trio ascended the stairs, unsure of what to expect. As they neared the top, a stone came loose under Gaster’s foot and tumbled down the stairs. In the eerie silence, it seemed to echo. Holding his breath, the former smuggler watched as the shadow of a figure rose to its feet in front of the entrance, silhouetted by firelight.
As the figure turned to face them, Gaster recognized a familiar face. One with shaggy, ghostly-pale blonde hair, dressed all in black except for a long, flowing purple and red scarf. An expression of recognition soon appeared on this man’s face and he opened his mouth to speak.
“Oh, it’s you.”
Notes: And so begins the spooky October Halloween arc of Spacemon: Frontier! Now, it’s not October when this is posting, but it was during this session. It was October 2017 and I decided to do a spooky plot arc for the month. I planned a three-session storyline to start on the second week of the month and it ended up being a ton of fun for everyone. This chapter covers the majority of session 47 with the exception of the very beginning, which I put at the end of the previous chapter, and the very end, which I put at the start of the next chapter.
Omen was actually randomly generated during the session, but the generator was on the same page I was and the first thing it spat out was a ghost planet. It was perfect. Plus the biomes I got were a good fit for a spooky wild west ghost town. The initial idea for the session actually came from an acoustic cover of the Lavender Town theme from the games that had this old west vibe to it that I found when looking for music for the campaign near its beginning. I titled it Ghosts of the Frontier in the Roll20 jukebox and much later the initial concept of the plot arc was born.
We experienced some annoying technical difficulties this session, specifically Discord died on us for a bit and we had to use Roll20’s awful voice chat. Interestingly, the whole debacle resulted in me fixing a persistent audio issue I’d been having on recent recordings of the sessions where my audio on the recording was super quiet. I didn’t know about it at the time, but way later when I was listening to the session recordings to write the chapters, I noticed I could barely hear myself. That all was fixed after the incident though, and it made listening and writing easier.
There’s so much more to say on this arc, but I don’t want to spoil the fun and mysteries. As I mentioned before, there was a bit more to the session, but the cliffhanger opportunity here was just too good to pass up. Stay tuned for the next part of this four-chapter arc!
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!