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!
Taraka stood atop a tall tower, gazing down at a sprawling city all around him, its spires and structures existing in harmony with large trees. The monk stood at the heart of the city, upon a familiar looking central structure rising up from a beautiful blue lake. Advanced flying vehicles moved between the towers on the skyline, the likes of which Taraka had never seen before.
Suddenly, the monk’s vision clouded. The view of the city faded as he was bombarded with glimpses of events, flashes of history. The flow of images was overwhelming; there was far too much information for Taraka to process. Then, just as quickly as they began, the flashes stopped.
Taraka opened his eyes to see his hand outstretched, fingers tightly wrapped around his holoscroll. The monk retracted his arm and examined the scroll. One of its sections now glowed with a pale purple light. A slight smirk appeared on Taraka’s face; he was finally on the right track.
“Are you alright?” Taraka heard Ace ask, a concerned tone in his voice.
Taraka looked up at his crewmate and his smirk grew into a wide grin. “I am fine,” the monk told his crewmate.
“Great,” Axel said. “That means we can go back and search for valuables in the other room. There was certainly no treasure here.”
“The treasure was knowledge,” Taraka replied, holding up his scroll.
“That may work for you, but I need something more tangible.”
With that, the Mercenary turned and headed toward the room’s exit. Taraka let out a brief chuckle as he followed his crewmate out.
Captain Cyrus Drake kept his pistol raised as he moved through the overgrown tunnel, its flashlight attachment lighting his way. Ever since he climbed out of the pool he fell into, the Maverick’s captain had been navigating through a series of dark, winding corridors full of vines and other plants. It had been quite some time, but he still felt no closer to finding a way out.
This passage must lead somewhere, he thought as he pressed on. Whoever had built this place must have had a reason for putting it there. Cyrus just hoped that it didn’t lead to a caved in or flooded section. That would make getting out much more difficult.
Suddenly, the captain felt a vine shift under his foot, then he heard a low gurgling noise. “Not again,” he said as the vine wrapped around his leg and lifted him up in the air. Dangling upside-down, Cyrus flailed his arm around as he tried to locate what was grabbing him. The beam of his light soon revealed that the vine was dangling him over the gaping mouth of the largest Victreebel he had ever laid eyes upon, digestive juices bubbling up from inside.
“Oh, shit!” the captain shouted. He began rapidly pulling the trigger, but was unable to land a shot. The only thing he was successful in accomplishing was aggravating the Pokemon that was holding him captive. Pain shot through his body as the Victreebel slammed him into the wall.
I need to try something else. Cyrus grabbed the first Pokeball on his belt he could grab. It didn’t matter too much which one he ended up with since both of his two Pokemon had the advantage against his assailant. The captain hit the button on the ball, releasing his Talonflame.
“Peregrine, use Flame Charge!” Cyrus commanded the newly released Pokemon. The Talonflame let out a fierce cry as he charged at the Victreebel, body surrounded in flames. Peregrine struck dead on with enough force that the Flycatcher Pokemon released the captain from its grasp. Cyrus grunted as he made contact with the ground.
Now on the defensive, the Victreebel unleashed a barrage of razor-sharp leaves at its attackers. Cyrus quickly rolled out of the way, while his Pokemon flew up above the incoming projectiles. The captain then picked himself up and fired off a few shots at the Victreebel. “Now, Quick Attack!” he then commanded. The Talonflame dove down at the Victreebel, dealing a decisive hit.
Seeming desperate now, the Victreebel sprayed its digestive acid at Cyrus and his Pokemon. Cyrus quickly threw his arms up to protect his face, but it still hurt like hell. He could feel the acid burning through the sleeves of his coat. Being a bit further away, Peregrine seemed a bit better off, but he was still a little worse for wear.
“Peregrine, use Roost,” the captain instructed his Talonflame before reaching for a Pokeball. He tossed it at the Victreebel, and the Pokemon was pulled inside. The ball fell the ground, shook once, then broke open. Damn.
As soon as it was free, the Victreebel sprayed Cyrus with a powder that left him stunned. The Maverick’s captain fought through the pain and reached for another Pokeball. He threw it with all his might, hitting the Pokemon dead on. The ball fell to the ground just like the last one, then shook once … twice … three times … then it fell still.
“You’re mine now,” Cyrus said as he walked over to claim his prize. He picked up the ball and placed it on his belt. The captain then turned to his Talonflame, perched on a support beam near the ceiling. “C’mon, Peregrine. Let’s find a way out of here.”
Upon returning to the flooded chamber where he and his crewmates had fought the oversized Tangrowth that was now in Taraka’s possession, Axel began searching through the muck to see if there were any other valuable items. The large piece of ancient technology in the center of the room would net Axel and his crewmates their next paycheck, but the mercenary hoped to make a little extra on the side if possible.
While Taraka and Ace examined the artifact, Axel walked around the edge of the water, sifting through the swamp weeds for anything he might have missed on a first glance around the room. After a few minutes, the mercenary spotted what appeared to be some sort of storage container, halfway submerged in a mud puddle. “What have we here,” he said to himself as he crouched down to fish it out. Axel gripped the container with both hand, then pulled with all his might. For a few moments, it refused to budge, but then it popped out, almost knocking Axel onto his rear end. The mercenary caught his balance, then placed the container down.
He quickly located a means of opening it and took a look inside. For the most part, the contents of their container appeared to be useless junk, but Axel found two evolutionary stones: A leaf stone and a sun stone. “These might come in handy,” the mercenary said as he slipped the stones into his pocket. He then stood up and headed back over to the others.
“Do you think that new Tangrowth of yours could carry it out of here?” Axel heard Ace ask Taraka as he approached.
“It may be able to,” Taraka replied. “It did seem quite powerful.”
“It better be able to,” Axel chimed in. “Otherwise we’re not gettin’ very far with—”
A sudden series of splashes cut the mercenary’s words short. Axel turned in the direction of the noise to see Cyrus climbing over a large clump of vines, his Talonflame flying along behind him. Both the captain and his Pokemon were covered in grime.
“It’s about time you showed up,” Axel declared. “I was beginning to think you got lost.”
Cyrus laughed. “You’d like that wouldn’t you, Axel? But no, I found my way out. Had to deal with some new friends along the way, but I made it.”
“Well, you’re just in time to help us lug this thing out of here.” Axel looked over at the technological artifact.
“I assume this is what we came to find?” the captain asked.
“It damn well better be. We went through a lot of trouble to get this thing.”
“What did I miss?”
“There was a giant Tangrowth wrapped around it,” Ace informed the captain. “Taraka captured it.”
“Nice work,” the captain said, turning to face the Sinai monk.
“I’ll say,” Axel chimed in. “It wasn’t an easy fight.”
“Well, it is on our side now,” Taraka said. “And it just may be the means by which we can move this artifact.” The monk pulled out a Pokeball and released his newly captured Pokemon. “Alright, my new friend,” he said. “We require your assistance.”
“This is the fun part,” Cyrus said as the Maverick crew arrived back at the large gap they had crossed with the vine rope.
“I am not sure that this qualifies as fun,” Ace replied. He looked back at the giant artifact they had recovered that was now held in the Tangrowth’s vines. “Getting this thing across the gap will be difficult.”
“I do not think it will be too difficult,” Taraka chimed in. The monk turned to his new Pokemon. “Let’s see what you can do, my friend.”
The Tangrowth set the artifact down, then extended its vine arms toward the ceiling, interlacing them with the vines on the ceiling. The Pokemon then extended more vines downward, gripping the artifact again. Ace watched as the Tangrowth moved along the ceiling using the vines hanging down along with its own, safely transporting the artifact across.
“Impressive,” the captain said, patting Taraka on the back. “I have a feeling this new friend of yours is going to come in handy in the future.”
“We can celebrate that later,” Axel said. “Let’s get out of this place first.”
The captain laughed. “You have a point there. I know I could use a good shower.”
With that, the Maverick crew began crossing the vine rope. When his turn came, Ace spotted one of the Carnivine’s from earlier as he climbed onto the rope. It was still snoozing. “Hold on a minute,” he said. Ace climbed down off the rope, then pulled out a Pokeball. He lobbed it down at the Carnivine, but it missed and plopped down into the water.
“Nice throw!” Axel shouted from the other side.
Ace ignored the mercenary and pulled out another ball. He threw it at the Pokemon below, but it too missed. Annoyed, Ace took out a third Pokeball. Third time’s a charm, he thought as he threw the ball. This time, the ball made contact and pulled the Pokemon inside. It then sank down into the water.
“Great. Now how am I going to get it out?”
“Allow us to assist!” Taraka shouted across. The monk looked over at his Tangrowth, then pointed down at the water. The Pokemon reached down with its vines and fished out all three of Ace’s Pokeballs.
Ace then crossed the gap to rejoin his crewmates and collect his Pokeballs. “Thanks,” he told Taraka and his Pokemon.
“I am happy to help,” the monk replied, a friendly smile on his face.
“And I’ll be happy when we get paid,” Axel said.
“Oh, don’t you worry, pal,” Cyrus said. “Now, let’s get out of here.”
“Alright, that should do it,” Erik said as removed the last clump of mud from Ace’s joints. The engineer leaned back in his seat and watched his robotic companion flex his knee joints.
“Much better,” Ace said. “I didn’t realize how clogged with mud I was.”
“The good news is that that seems to be the only real issue. It seems like whoever built you designed you to withstand a lot.”
“That’s good, but I’d like to avoid going back to another swamp for a while.”
Erik laughed. “I don’t blame you.”
Suddenly, there was a knock at the door, then Axel walked into the room.
“Axel, what can I do for you, my friend?” Erik asked.
“I was wondering if you could help me with something,” the mercenary said.
“Sure. What do you need?”
“Armor. I’m tired of getting shot and hit with deadly vines.”
Erik laughed again. “I think I can help with that. I can whip up something that will integrate nicely with your flamethrower. I’ll need some supplies though. Once we get paid for that artifact you guys found, we’ll definitely be able to afford everything I need.”
“Excellent. Well, I’ve got some training to do. Care to join, Ace? My Pokemon could use some sparring partners.”
“Alright,” Ace agreed. “I think my Pokemon need some more practice too.”
With that, the two left Erik’s workshop, leaving the engineer to himself. “Alright, let’s see here,” he said to himself as he turned back to his worktable. He activated his computer terminal and pulled up his drafting software. His brain was already filling with ideas for Axel’s armor. He knew the mercenary would be quite satisfied with his design.
Taraka sat cross-legged on the bed in his quarters, his holoscroll sitting in front of him. As the Maverick flew through warp space back to Meridian, the monk was meditating on his recent vision, hoping it might give him a clue to help discover the location where he would receive his next one. Holoscrolls tended to pick up a lot more than what Sinai monks were consciously able to perceive while initially seeing their visions, so it was common practice among them to meditate with their scrolls throughout the pilgrimages for guidance. Each time, there was a chance of seeing something they may have missed the first time. Unfortunately for Taraka, it wasn’t the case this time. The monk was still seeing the same glimpses of ancient history without being able to make sense of them.
Of course, the vision he had received in the swamp ruins wasn’t the only thing Taraka had to rely on for clues as to where he might need to head next. The monk thought back to when he first assembled his holoscroll in the Grand Monastery on Mechorah, and his mind filled with the vision he had received there, the one that was meant to guide him on his pilgrimage. Taraka once again saw the same four things: an ancient ruin, crumbling and decaying from millennia of disrepair and the forces of nature taking their toll; a gem glowing with energy, radiating out a brilliant light; a small leatherbound book, its pages filled with words handwritten in an unfamiliar language; and a shadowy figure — a silhouette against a blinding white light.
The ruin had been the most straightforward clue, so Taraka had sought it out first. The vision had led him to many ruins until finally he found his way to the right one. Now that he had received his first vision, he could see clearly that the ruin he had seen in his vision back on Mechorah and the ruin in the swamp were one in the same. The other clues were harder to pin down. They all seemed far more specific, but also more vague at the same time. The monk felt that it would be a long while yet before he was able to make sense of them.
“We’ll be touching down on Meridian in five minutes.”
The sound of the captain’s voice over the ship’s comms pulled Taraka out of his meditations. The monk opened his eyes and took in a deep breath of air, then stood up. He picked up his scroll and placed it gently into the pocket in his robe where he kept it before stepping out of the room. There would be more time to meditate later.
Axel joined the rest of the Maverick’s crew at the front of the ship as it broke through Meridian’s atmosphere. Unlike their previous visit to the planet, instead of landing in Fortuna’s spaceport, Anya flew the ship to the private landing pad they had been directed to deliver the artifact to. The coordinates were quite a ways out from the colony in an isolated location, so Axel was greeted with a mostly uninterrupted view of the jungle as the ship passed below the clouds. The only structure in sight was a massive villa perched on a cliffside, overlooking a beautiful lake. Axel could only assume it was Peter Baker’s private residence.
“This guy’s doing well for himself,” Ace commented as the ship drew near.
“You don’t say,” Axel said.
“I did say he was a billionaire,” the captain chimed in. “Did you expect anything less?”
Before Axel could say anything, the Maverick received a hail. Anya accepted the call, and a man with a serious face appeared on the viewscreen. If Axel were to hazard a guess, he would assume the man was private security. “Identify yourselves,” he said.
“This is the UAS Maverick,” the captain answered. “We’re here to deliver a package for Peter Baker.”
“Right,” the man responded. “You’re clear to land.”
The screen went blank, and Anya began the landing procedure. A few moments later, the Maverick touched down on the villa’s private landing pad.
“Alright, boys, let’s go get paid,” Cyrus said, getting up from his seat.
A grin appeared on Axel’s face. “It’s about damn time.”
Axel followed the captain to the cargo hold where they were greeted by several men walking up the ramp with antigrav repulsor handcarts. “You the ones delivering the tech from the ruin?” one of them asked as they approached.
“You bet,” Cyrus answered.
The man nodded, then motioned for the others to get the artifact loaded up on the carts. He then pulled out a datapad. “Your payment,” he said, swiping his hand across the datapad to transfer funds. “Forty-thousand credits, as promised.”
Axel grinned. They hadn’t been paid so much money at once in a long time. The mercenary was looking forward to having some spending money again.
“So, what is this thing, anyway?” the captain asked, eyeing the artifact as he slipped his Pokedex back into his pocket.
“Hell if I know. All I know is the bossman wants it. I just oversee deliveries to the villa.”
“Was worth asking,” Cyrus said with a shrug.
“I suppose. Now, not to rush you, but we’ve got another delivery coming through soon, so I’m gonna have to ask you to get moving.”
“No complaints here,” the captain replied. “Have a nice day, pal.”
Axel whistled as he made his way through Fortuna’s spaceport back to the Maverick. After subtracting out some funds for fuel and supplies, the captain had divvied up the payment for the delivery amongst the ship’s crew, giving each of them five-thousand credits to spend. While the ship was refueling, Axel had picked up a couple of fire stones from the market in the spaceport. After a little more training his recently captured Vulpix and Growlithe would be ready for evolution. Now the mercenary was prepared for when the time came.
As he stepped back aboard the ship, he found the crew discussing where they were heading to next. “I would like to go somewhere where I can buy different weapons,” Ace said. “I’m not liking this rifle much.”
“And I need to pick up some supplies for my current project,” Erik added. “You can’t find the right stuff in a small colony like this one.”
“Unfortunately, we’d need to visit a more established planet,” the captain said. “And that means more Federation presence. We still need to keep a low profile.”
“There’s always the black market,” Axel spoke up.
“I suppose that will be our only option,” Cyrus replied.
“I know of a few places,” Axel said. “In this sector, our best bet is Crion.”
“I agree, but the only problem is that Crion is Rooker’s base of operations, so we’ll still need to be careful.”
“He might not expect us to show up there, though,” Taraka chimed in.
“I suppose that’s true, and we can land in one of the more distant ports. There’s places on Crion one can go if they do not wish to be found. Alright, Anya, set a course.”
“Sure thing boss.” The pilot fired up the engines, and the Maverick was soon on its way to its next destination.
Notes: Alright, session four. We started a bit late since Novi and Axel were both running late. We started once Novi showed up and took care of wrapping up some things in the ruins, but Axel showed up before they returned to the ship. I was very vague with the details I gave Novi for Taraka’s vision at the end of the previous session since I originally wasn’t planning on giving him one, but I felt like it was a good moment for it. I provided him a bit more info at the start of this session, but I fleshed it out a whole lot more for writing the opening scene. I also wrote up a scene that wasn’t in the session with him meditating with his scroll to flesh out his character more. I sat down and thought more about the details of his pilgrimage visions and what he was looking for to complete his scroll, which is information that will help Novi out with knowing what to do with his character next. I wrote this chapter several weeks ago so I passed the relevant info onto him then.
I also added a scene to show what the captain was up to since in session I just had him show up. I decided to throw another Pokemon his way for the hell of it, to give him more than just the one Pokemon that we’ve seen him use. As seen in the previous chapter he occasionally helps the party out with stuff so having more Pokemon seemed like a good idea. It was a fun little scene to write up. I actually had everything built and simulated the battle with rolls in roll20 because I was bored one day. It was a nice change of pace.
The first part of this session was mostly tying up loose ends from the previous session, so that’s what I focused on in this chapter. A lot of it was taking very short bits of rp-less explanation and just fluffing it up with narrative to make an interesting read. I’m happy with how it turned out. The real meat of the session gets covered in the next chapter.
Post-Chapter Challenge: Here’s a simple one this time. What do you think the artifact the crew recovered for the ruin is? Share your theories in the comments below!
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!