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!
“Oh, it’s you.”
Gaster loosened his grip on his rifle as the figure of Adrian Avallach, the ghost type Gym Leader of Sector 33, approached him and his crewmates. “I have to say, I didn’t expect to run into you here,” the former smuggler addressed the Gym Leader.
A smirk appeared on Adrian’s face. “I could say the same about you. Now, come. Have a seat.” He motioned toward the small campfire illuminating the entrance to the pyramid. “You must be tired after climbing all those stairs.”
Looking to the fire, Gaster saw that Adrian had set up a small camp just outside the pyramid’s entrance. It wasn’t much more than a bedroll and a place to sit by the fire, but it seemed more than sufficient for one man. What stood out to Gaster was the fact that the entire area was covered in cleanse tags much like the ones Taraka had made earlier.
“One can never be too careful,” Adrian said, noticing the former smuggler eyeing the tags. “Especially in a place like this.”
Gaster nodded. “Agreed,” he said as he took a step toward the makeshift bench set up by the fire.
“So, you must be the person who came to investigate that the people in town mentioned?” Ace inquired as they all found seats around the fire.
“I would assume so, yes,” Adrian replied. “I arrived on this world a couple days ago … After I heard the colonists were suffering from ghost Pokemon attacks. As the gym leader of this sector, it is my duty to investigate such matters … and as an expert on ghost Pokemon, I am certainly one of the most qualified to do so.”
“Did you get lost or something?” Gaster asked.
“I simply haven’t concluded my investigation of this place,” the gym leader explained.
“I see,” Gaster said, looking up at the pyramid’s entrance. “So have you been able to find anything?”
“This place is massive and crawling with ghosts, so the investigation is taking a while.”
“Well, in the couple of days that you’ve been here, have you been able to discern anything about this place?” Gaster asked. “What it is, why it’s here?”
“It’s clearly from an ancient civilization,” Adrian answered.
“We got that one,” Gaster said. “Do you think the ghosts are angry about the hole that got busted into this place?”
The Gym Leader nodded. “That would seem likely.”
“So why don’t we just patch it up and leave these ghosties to stew in their own anger?” Gaster suggested.
Adrian shook his head. “I’m not sure that would do anything. I suspect the miners awoke something in here. I can sense a very powerful energy here and it makes me feel uneasy.”
“If it makes you uneasy, then it must be pretty powerful,” Ace said.
“I’ve never seen anything quite like this place before,” Adrian continued, gazing out into the darkness of the cavern. “The ghost Pokemon here seem more aggressive than any other place I’ve visited.”
Thinking back on his own experiences, Gaster agreed with the Gym Leader’s assessment. The ghost Pokemon he and he crewmates had so far dealt with on this world had been extremely aggressive, especially when compared to the Yamasks they had encountered in the ruins on Idrinda.
“There is something mysterious and sinister at work here,” Adrian concluded, bringing his focus back to the group. “But enough about that. Tell me, what brings you here?”
“The same reason that you’re here,” Taraka answered.
“We also came to investigate,” Ace said, nodding in agreement.
“We had a job that brought us to Devil’s Landing,” Gaster elaborated. “Then we heard about the ghost attacks and decided to investigate.”
“I see,” Adrian said. “Well, in that case, perhaps we should work together. I have seen your skill as trainers first hand and I know you can be depended on.” He paused and motioned toward the pyramid’s entrance. “I have ventured into this structure, but the ghosts inside seem much more powerful than the others. Together, we should be able to make it further inside than I was able to on my own.”
“Yeah, let’s do it,” Ace said.
“What do you think’s in there?” Gaster asked.
“I believe that whatever is causing these ghosts to attack the colonists is likely within,” Adrian answered.
“Then let’s find it and put a stop to these attacks,” Taraka said.
“It’s settled then,” Adrian said. “But first let us rest. I have some potions if you need them for your Pokemon.”
“Thanks,” Gaster replied. “We could use them.”
A thick, eerie fog swirled around the three members of the Maverick’s crew and the Gym Leader as they proceeded down the entrance corridor of the pyramid. Pressing on into the cold darkness, Gaster felt a shiver run down his spine. Adrian hadn’t been kidding; there was something deeply unsettling about this place.
Shaking off the uneasy feelings, the former smuggler focused his attention on his Typhlosion in front of him. Rusty’s flame illuminated the way for the group as they moved deeper into the ancient structure.
Eventually the long corridor opened up into a large square-shaped room. A raised stone pedestal sat at the center of this chamber, surrounded by four stone statues of robed and hooded figures. The fog in this room seemed thicker here than in the corridor and it swirled ominously around the center pedestal, as if carried by a nonexistent air current. As uneasy as the corridor had made him feel, this room felt far more threatening to Gaster. It felt as if some unseen force was applying pressure against his body from all directions.
“Is this where you started having problems?” the former smuggler asked, glancing back at Adrian, whose Gengar was floating calmly behind him.
The Gym Leader nodded in response. “I never made it past this room,” he said.
“What did you encounter here?” Gaster pressed for more detail.
“Ghosts,” Adrian replied. “Lots and lots of ghosts.”
“Oh,” Gaster said. “Well they seem to have left … or, at least, we can’t see them.”
“I’m inclined to say the latter,” Adrian said. “On my own, I encountered major ghost opposition in this room. I suspect that traveling in a larger group has made them more wary of us … at least for now.”
“Hey, there’s something there,” Ace suddenly spoke up, pointing at the pedestal.
Looking in that direction as his android crewmate began to approach it, Gaster saw that there was indeed something sitting on the pedestal. It appeared to be a stone object of some kind, but beyond that, he wasn’t sure what it was.
“What do you think it is?” Gaster asked, walking up behind Ace. From this distance, the former smuggler was able to get a better look at the object. It seemed to be an artifact of some sort, a smooth stone with rounded edges with runes carved into it.
“Not sure,” Ace replied. “But there’s only one way to find out, right?” he continued, reaching out to touch the stone.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you,” Adrian cautioned, but it was too late. Ace’s hand made contact with the surface of the artifact and it screamed to life.
The android jumped back in surprise as a giant purple mass sprang out of the stone. Virulent green orbs of light began to appear within the mass, swirling together to form a wretched face. Gaster backed away, instinctively aiming his rifle at what was surely the largest Spiritomb he had ever seen.
“Shadow, use Shadow Ball!” Adrian was quick to command his Pokemon. The Gym Leader’s Gengar floated up near one of the four statues, then lobbed a ball of ghostly energy at the Spiritomb. Unfortunately, the much larger ghost Pokemon proved to be a hard target to hit, maneuvering out of the path of the attack.
“Rusty, use Toxic!” Gaster issued an order of his own. His Typhlosion moved in to attack, spewing out a cloud of toxic gas. The Spiritomb avoided this attack too, but Gaster had been anticipating that. He squeezed the trigger before the Forbidden Pokemon could react, zapping it with volts of electricity.
Meanwhile, Taraka put up a psionic barrier to protect everyone, then sent his Togekiss out. “Sirius, use Fairy Wind!” the monk commanded the Pokemon. The Togekiss flew over the Spiritomb and made her attack, drawing its ire. The spectral Pokemon launched a retaliatory sphere of ghostly energy at Sirius, landing a powerful blow.
While the Spiritomb was distracted, Ace brandished his recently captured Honedge in hand, prepared to attack. “Sentinel, Swords Dance!” the android commanded before charging in. The Sword Pokemon glowed with energy as Ace used her to slice through the Spiritomb’s phantasmal form.
“Shadow, use Sludge Bomb!” Adrian followed up with a command. His Gengar spewed out a huge blob of sludge on the Spiritomb, doing a real number on it.
A harrowing wail rang out from the wretched Pokemon, and it reverberated off the walls of the chamber. Stones scattered across the floor began to rise, lifted by an unseen telekinetic force. One by one, the Spiritomb launched the stones at its assailants. Gaster dove for cover while Ace deflected them with his shield.
Regaining his bearings and peeking out from cover, Gaster saw his Typhlosion narrowly dodge a flying stone. “Rusty, use Smokescreen!” he commanded the fiery Pokemon before taking aim at the Spiritomb with his rifle and firing another arc of lightning at it. Rusty then unleashed a thick cloud of smoke, obscuring Gaster and Adrian from the Forbidden Pokemon’s view.
With his cybernetically enhanced vision, Gaster watched as Adrian advanced through the smoke. The ghost Pokemon specialist raised a hand toward the Spiritomb, then unleashed a pulse of psionic energy at it, sending it into a daze. Gaster hadn’t realized that Adrian was a psionic, but he was glad the Gym Leader had a few more tricks up his sleeve to help them out.
Taking advantage of Spiritomb’s dazed state, Taraka seized the opportunity to strengthen his psionic barrier. “Sirius, use Fairy Wind!” the monk commanded his Togekiss once he had finished. Sirius made her attack and the Spiritomb shrieked in response, but it remained too disoriented to retaliate.
Before the menacing ghost Pokemon was able to reorient itself, Ace threw his Honedge at it. “Sentinel, Shadow Sneak!” the android commanded the Sword Pokemon as he ignited his laser sword in his newly freed hand. Ace’s Pokemon slashed through the Spiritomb, then he followed up with his own attack. With another shriek of rage, the Spiritomb focused its ire upon the Honedge. It summoned a sphere of ghostly energy, which it fired at Sentinel, doing a real number on the ghost sword.
“Rusty, use Flame Charge!” Gaster ordered his Typhlosion as he opened fire on the Spiritomb once again. Under the combined assault of the former smuggler and his Pokemon, it seemed to be showing signs of weakening.
It appeared that Taraka had picked up on this as well, as the monk pulled out a Pokeball and tossed it at the Spiritomb. Unfortunately, it managed to break free. “I guess we need to weaken it more,” Gaster heard his Sinai crewmate mutter. “Sirius, stun it with Thunder Wave!”
Once Taraka’s Togekiss had immobilized the Spiritomb, Ace made an attempt to capture it of his own. However, once again, the Forbidden Pokemon broke free. Letting out a wailing scream as it reemerged, the Spiritomb fired off a blast of ghostly energy at its nearest enemy, which happened to be Ace’s Honedge. Fortunately, Sentinel managed to evade the attack.
“Rusty, use Ember!” Gaster commanded his Typhlosion while the Spiritomb was focused on the Honedge. Once the Forbidden Pokemon had been doused in another jet of flames, Gaster pulled out a Great Ball and threw it. Much like the two attempts before, this one ended the same; the Spiritomb broke free and let out another shriek.
“Allow me to assist,” Adrian said calmly. “Shadow, use Hypnosis!” Floating down to the Spiritomb from above, the Gym Leader’s Gengar emitted a hypnotic ray that put their foe to sleep.
“Rusty, hit it with Toxic while it’s asleep!” Gaster followed up. His Typhlosion spewed out another toxic cloud, this time surrounding the Spiritomb in it as it was unable to dodge. While the Spiritomb continued to slumber, Gaster pulled out a second Great Ball and lobbed it at his target. The ball made contact with the Pokemon and pulled it inside, then it fell to the ground. It shook once … twice … three times … then it fell still. The spiritomb was caught!
Almost immediately, the deeply unsettling aura that seemed to permeate the room began to subside and the swirling fog fell still. Gaster could still feel a lingering unease, but the immediate sense of impending doom was gone.
“That was intense,” Taraka said, breathing a sigh of relief.
“Yeah,” Ace agreed. “Do you think that Spiritomb was what was making the ghosts attack?”
“I don’t think so,” Adrian said, his gaze falling upon the large door on the far side of the room, opposite from where they had entered. “I believe there is far more to this place.”
“Let’s get moving then,” Ace replied. He approached the ornately-carved stone door, then grabbed one of the handles and pulled. The door, however, did not move. The android then attempted to push the door open, but the door still refused to budge.
“It seems to be stuck,” Ace said, turning back to the rest of the group.
“Hold on, I’ve got this. Stand aside.” Taraka said, stepping up to the door. “Open Sesame,” the monk then addressed the door in a commanding tone.
The door remained still.
“That never worked for Axel, so I don’t know why you thought it would work now,” Gaster said, letting out a slight chuckle.
“I know,” Taraka replied. “But this is weird occult stuff we’re dealing with here, so who knows what might work.”
“Fair point,” Gaster conceded. “Perhaps there’s a keyhole?” The former smuggler joined his two crewmates by the door and began to examine it closely, looking for anything that resembled a locking mechanism or a place to insert a key. None was apparent, however.
“Maybe the Spiritomb is the key,” Gaster suggested after giving up the search. “The base of one is called a keystone, right?”
“It is, but I don’t think that’s the answer,” Adrian said. “There’s no obvious place to insert it.”
“True …” Gaster grumbled, trailing off. “How do we open it, then?”
“How about this?” Taraka spoke up. The monk raised a hand to the door and gave it three hard knocks.
A moment passed, then three knocks sounded in response.
“Woah,” Gaster said, stepping back in surprise. “Normal doors don’t do that.”
“This is not a normal place with normal doors,” Adrian said.
“Maybe I can just cut through it with my laser sword,” Ace suggested.
“Just in case we haven’t angered the ghosts enough,” Gaster replied, eyeing the door with caution.
“Yeah, maybe not,” the android agreed.
“Can you open for us, please?” Taraka addressed the door once more.
There was no response.
“I guess asking nicely isn’t the answer either,” the monk said.
“Any other bright ideas?” Gaster asked.
“Wait, I think I do have one more,” Taraka said.
The monk proceeded to pull out one of the cleanse tags he had prepared earlier. Stepping up to the door, he slapped it in place on its stone surface. With a loud, piercing shriek, the door violently swung open, smashing against the walls of the corridor that lay beyond.
Gaster stared into the dark corridor as more fog drifted out into the room.
“Well, that certainly worked.”
The fog seemed to grow ever thicker the further down the corridor they went. That’s what it seemed like to Taraka. From the moment he and his companions had stepped through the doorway, it felt as if the fog was slowly closing in around them. No matter the case, the monk knew they needed to press on.
Eventually the group arrived at a four-way intersection between the corridor and another. Taraka peered down the three paths before them, but he could not see more than a few feet ahead through the fog.
“Which way should we go?” the monk consulted his companions.
“If we just hug the wall, we should be able to make it through,” Gaster said.
“But which wall?” Taraka asked.
“The left one,” Ace decided, heading in that direction. Taraka nodded, and he and the others followed the android.
After only a few moments, Taraka noticed a shape moving through the fog alongside them. As soon as whatever it was realized it had been spotted, it began moving toward the monk. Materializing out of the fog, the shape revealed itself to be a Gastly. It’s eyes flashed rapidly, emitting a hypnotic ray. Taraka had planned ahead, however; the Gas Pokemon’s attack was absorbed harmlessly by the psionic barrier the monk had placed around himself and his companions.
Reacting quickly, Taraka raised a hand and fired a burst of psionic energy at the Gastly. Gaster was quick to follow the monk’s example, raising his tesla coil rifle and firing. With one more psionic blast— this one originating from Adrian— the Gastly was dispatched.
“That was easy,” Taraka said once he was sure no more were going to appear.
“More may be on their way,” Adrian said. “Let us continue.”
Taraka nodded. “Indeed.”
Continuing on their way, the group soon arrived at another four-way intersection. Taraka mused that they were in a maze of some sort.
“I guess we go left again,” Gaster said leading the way down the passageway on their left.
After a few more minutes, the group emerged through a doorway … back in the room where they had started. The four statues surrounding the platform where the Spiritomb had once rested were an obvious landmark.
“How did we end up back here?” Gaster asked, exasperated.
“Some sort of curse placed upon this place, perhaps,” Adrian mused.
“So how do we get through?” Ace asked.
“Maybe there’s a specific route we need to take,” Taraka suggested.
“Good idea,” Gaster agreed. “And we can leave a mark so we know if we end up in a loop.”
With a new plan of action, the group proceeded down the corridor once again, arriving back at the four-way intersection. Before continuing on their way, Gaster used his laser rifle to burn an arrow-like pattern into the stone floor, pointing straight ahead. Once that was taken care of, they began to test the corridors to find the correct route, starting with the left. The plan was to continue straight ahead instead of taking a second left, but they ended up back at the mark Gaster had made, emerging from the right.
“I guess that’s not the right way at all,” Gaster said. The former smuggler then tried the path straight ahead from the door before anyone could react.
Only a brief moment later, Taraka saw his crewmate emerge from the corridor that led back to the door. “Damn it,” Gaster grumbled upon seeing them.
“I think we’re missing something here,” Adrian said.
“I think you’re right,” Ace agreed. “I think the right-hand corridor is going to loop back to the left-hand one too.”
A quick test proved the android right.
“Now what do we do?” Gaster asked.
“That’s a good question,” Adrian replied. “A very good question …”
Notes: Well, it’s been a while since the last part, but we’re back. It’s kind of sucky that I had to take two months off after posting just one chapter of this multi-chapter arc, but it is what it is. Now the spooky Halloween arc is actually posting in October, though. It’s crazy to think that this session was two years ago now. Anyway, this chapter covers the last few minutes of session 47 and a good chunk of session 48. The original plan was to include a bit more and have this be a four-chapter arc, but once I was a good way into writing this chapter I decided it would be better to make this chapter shorter and have this be a five-part arc.
So the person the party encountered was Adrian, the Ghost Gym Leader! They learned this and spent some time chatting with him at the end of session 47, but it flowed way better to end Part 1 on a cliffhanger and do the reveal at the start of the next. I knew from the start that I wanted to bring back Adrian for the Halloween arc because it just made so much sense.
Moving on to the session 48 material, I made up most of it as I went along. I had planned the Spiritomb encounter, but the rest I was figuring out in real time. I actually decided the door puzzle on the spot and Novi thought of the solution like a minute after I decided what the solution actually was. It was actually a lot of fun to do. The fog puzzle was fun too and really screwed with the players. They spent a lot of time trying various solutions, but for the sake of pacing, I decided to push some of that to the next chapter. Look forward to part three of the Halloween arc soon!
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!