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 on the entire Spacemon saga here!
Taraka stared into the fog that filled the strange looping corridor he and his companions found themselves in. The monk was stumped on how to proceed. He was sure there had to be a way forward, but neither he nor the others knew how to find it. Letting out a defeated sigh, he gazed deeper into the fog. As he did so, the fog seemed to close in, almost tauntingly.
A shiver ran down Taraka’s spine. “I don’t like this fog,” he said, shrinking away from the edge of the fog. “Sirius, blow it away with Fairy Wind!”
Rapidly flapping her wings, the monk’s Togekiss stirred up a gust of air and shot it into the fog. Her attack did little to disperse the fog. In fact, the fog began to encroach further into the space occupied by Taraka and his companions.
“Nope!” Taraka exclaimed, taking another step back. “This is not what I signed up for!” He reached into his bag and fished out one of the cleanse tags he’d made earlier, then set it alight with a psionic flame. Immediately, the fog began to recede, retreating down all four corridors. It still remained, but at a much more comfortable distance.
“Good call,” Adrian said, nodding at the monk.
“Now if only I could figure out how to move forward,” Taraka said. “I don’t think we have enough cleanse tags to get us all the way through this maze.”
“I think I’ve got an idea,” Gaster spoke up. “The fog reacted to you burning that tag like a ghost Pokemon would, right? So maybe ghost Pokemon can get through it.”
“That’s not a bad theory,” Adrian said. “Let’s put it to the test.”
“Sentinel can do it!” Ace said, holding up his Honedge.
“Alright,” the Gym Leader replied. “Give it a shot.”
“Okay, Sentinel, go as far as you can down that corridor until I call you back,” the android instructed his Pokemon, pointing down the left-hand passageway. He released his grip on the hilt of his Honedge, allowing the Sword Pokemon to float away down the corridor. A few moments later, Sentinel vanished into the fog.
Taraka kept his eyes on the right-hand corridor, expecting to see the Honedge appear out of the fog. Ace’s Pokemon never did, however. After an amount of time longer than the few minutes it had previously taken the group to loop back to this intersection had passed, it became clear that the Honedge had made it through.
“Alright, you can come back now, Sentinel!” Ace called out into the fog. Several moments later, the Sword Pokemon emerged from the fog shrouding the left-hand corridor.
“It seems you were right,” Taraka said to Gaster, looking over at the former smuggler.
“Now the question is how does this help us,” Gaster said.
“Do you think a ghost Pokemon can lead us through?” Ace asked.
“It’s possible,” Adrian answered.
“Worth a shot,” Gaster said.
“Lead the way, Sentinel!” Ace commanded his Pokemon.
Once more, the android’s Honedge began floating down the corridor, but this time the group followed. They stayed close behind the Sword Pokemon, but they soon lost sight of her. Before any of them knew it, they had emerged back into the four-way intersection from the right-hand corridor.
“It appears that plan didn’t work,” Taraka said.
Adrian nodded. “So it would seem.”
“Sentinel, where are you?!” Ace calmly called out to his Honedge. A few moments later, the Pokemon emerged from the left-hand corridor.
“Well, now we know for certain that only ghost Pokemon can get through this fog,” Gaster said. “Whatever good that does us …”
“Well I’m all out of ideas.”
Gaster folded his arms as he leaned back against the wall. He and his companions had tried several different solutions, but they were still no closer to getting through the mysterious fog. They’d tried holding onto ghost Pokemon while walking through the fog, but the fog still managed to separate them from the Pokemon and send them into a loop. They’d tried having Taraka’s ghost type Tangrowth drag one of them through after being put to sleep by Adrian’s Gengar, but that was unsuccessful too.
“Likewise,” Taraka said. “Short of becoming ghosts ourselves, I don’t think we can get through.”
“Unless … we somehow trick it into thinking we’re ghosts,” Adrian said.
“That’s it!” Gaster exclaimed, jumping to his feet. The Gym Leader’s words had given the former smuggler an idea. “Taraka, do you have that Gourgeist you caught in town with you?”
“I do,” the monk replied. “Why?”
“Let’s see what happens if you have it use Trick-or-Treat on us,” Gaster explained. Learned only by Pumpkaboo and its evolution Gourgeist, Trick-or-Treat was an interesting move that shrouded a target in ghostly energy, bestowing it with the defensive properties of the ghost type as well as its vulnerabilities. If Gaster’s hunch was correct, they could use it to trick their way through the fog.
“That’s clever,” Adrian said. “I hadn’t thought of that.”
“Let’s try it,” Taraka said, a hint of excitement in his voice. He then procured the Pokeball containing his Gourgeist and sent the Pokemon out. “Alright, Tumep, hit me with Trick-or-Treat!” the monk commanded the Pumpkin Pokemon. Heeding the command, the Gourgeist doused his trainer in ghostly energy.
“How does it feel?” Ace asked the monk.
“Weird,” Taraka said, examining his outstretched arm, which now shimmered with a pale violet light.
“More importantly, let’s see if this works,” Gaster said.
“Right,” Taraka replied with a nod. The monk then set off down the left-hand corridor, his Gourgeist floating along behind. Gaster watched his crewmate vanish into the fog, eagerly waiting to see what happened next.
Several minutes passed, but Taraka did not emerge from the right-hand corridor. That was a good sign that something different had happened. Several more minutes passed, then the monk and his Pokemon returned, stepping out from the fog shrouding the corridor he had walked down.
“What happened? Gaster asked his crewmate.
“I made it through,” Taraka informed him.
“Finally,” Gaster said. “We figured it out. Let’s have your Gourgeist do that on all of us.”
“I can’t,” Taraka said.
“What do you mean you can’t?” Gaster asked.
“Trick-or-Treat requires a lot of energy,” Adrian said. “Even a super size Gourgeist can only do it about once every twenty-four hours.”
“Shit. I don’t suppose you have a bunch of extra Gourgeists?”
Adrian shook his head. “I do not, unfortunately.”
Gaster sighed. “We’re back to square one.”
“I wouldn’t say that,” the Gym Leader said. “We now know we can trick the fog into allowing us to pass.”
“But how else are we supposed to do that?” Gaster asked. “None of this makes any sense.”
“The occult works in mysterious ways,” Adrian responded.
“Do you think there might be something in another part of the ruins that might help us get through?” Ace asked.
“It’s possible,” Adrian said.
“Well, we’re not making any progress here, so we might as well look,” Gaster said.
“I agree,” Taraka nodded.
“You three go,” Adrian said. “I will stay and continue looking into things here. Take these.” The Gym Leader reached into his bag and procured a handful of cleanse tags. “I know you have some already, but you can never have too many in a place like this.”
“Thank you,” Taraka said, accepting the offering.
“Alright, we’ll meet back here in a few hours,” Gaster said.
Adrian nodded back at him. “Very well. Good luck.”
“Where to now?” Gaster asked, gazing out over the ruins in the cavern from atop the pyramid steps.
Looking out himself, Ace looked from one structure to the next, unsure of what he was looking for. The android’s optical hardware was far more effective than even Gaster’s cybernetic eyes in low light, so he could see better than either of his crewmates at the moment. After a few moments, Ace’s attention was drawn to a long, rectangular building with columns lining its front entrance.
“What about that structure there?” he asked, pointing it out to his two companions. “It looks important.”
“Works for me,” Taraka said.
“Let’s go,” Gaster nodded in agreement.
About an hour later, the trio found themselves standing in front of the building. Up close, the structure looked a lot more imposing than it had from atop the pyramid. Ace was at least glad that it didn’t make him feel as uneasy as that place.
Brandishing his Honedge and raising his energy shield, Ace led the way inside. A long corridor ran from the entrance all the way to a large open room at the back of the structure. This room was lined with rows upon rows of sealed sarcophagi.
“It’s a mausoleum,” Taraka observed.
“If that’s the case, I doubt we’ll find anything useful here,” Gaster said.
“What’s that, there?” Ace asked, ignoring the former smuggler’s comment. His attention had been drawn by some sort of altar against the far wall of the room, the surface of which was covered in bones.
Upon approaching the altar, Ace noticed that the bones seemed to be strung together. They were not laid out in an arrangement that resembled a skeleton or really any pattern at all. To Ace, the bones and— in some cases— bits of bone appeared to be assembled at random.
“Oof,” Gaster suddenly grunted before Ace got a chance to take a closer look. The android turned to see his crewmate staggering backwards from a sarcophagus.
“Are you alright?” Ace asked, rushing over to his crewmate.
“Yeah,” the former smuggler replied as he straightened himself out. “I just touched it and this weird feeling shot through my body.”
Ace glanced at the sarcophagus and noticed that it was slowly sliding open. Both he and Gaster jumped backward as four shadowy arms shot out from the opening, flailing wildly in all directions. The Sarcophagus then began to lift into the upright position as a pair of glowing red eyes flashed to life. It was a Cofagrigus! One with a bluish-silver body with violet bands around the mask.
As Ace gazed into the Coffin Pokemon’s eyes, it conjured a ghostly flame, then shot it at him. “Look out!” Taraka called out, throwing up a psionic barrier just in time to block the attack.
“Thanks,” Ace said as he raised his Honedge and took up a combat stance. Taraka nodded back at him and sent out a Pokemon, while Gaster did the same.
“Rusty, use Flame Charge!” Gaster commanded his Typhlosion as he raised his tesla coil rifle. The fiery Pokemon charged the Cofagrigus and slammed into it with a shower of sparks, then the former smuggler shot it with volts of electricity, eliciting a horrific wail.
“Sirius, use Thunder Wave!” Taraka followed up with a command of his own before blasting the Cofagrigus with psionic energy. His Togekiss then zapped it with more electricity, leaving it stunned. Seizing the opportunity, Ace ran at the Coffin Pokemon and slashed through it with his Honedge.
Letting out another shriek, the Cofagrigus shot a ghostly flame at Ace, burning his Honedge. It then lobbed a ball of shadowy energy at Gaster’s Typhlosion, doing a real number on him.
“Rusty, fire back with Ember!” Gaster commanded before firing on the Cofagrigus again.
Meanwhile, Ace recalled his Honedge, then sent out his Braixen. “Blaze, Fire Spin!” the android ordered his newly sent out Pokemon.
“Sirius, use Dazzling Gleam!” Taraka then commanded his own Pokemon.
The Braixen and Togekiss made their attacks, both landing powerful his. The Cofagrigus wailed back at them and launched its counterattack. It shot a ball of ghostly energy at Blaze and a ghostly flame at Sirius, but both Pokemon managed to avoid the attacks.
“Rusty, use Toxic!”
Gaster’s Typhlosion blasted the Cofagrigus with toxic gas, then the former smuggler threw a Great Ball at it. The Coffin Pokemon was pulled inside, then the ball fell to the floor. It shook once … twice … three times … then fell still.
As the former smuggler walked over to collect his capture, Ace’s Braixen let out a triumphant howl. The Fox Pokemon began to glow and grow in size. When the light died down, Blaze stood triumphant as a Delphox!
“And to think he was still a Fennekin only a few hours ago,” Taraka chuckled.
“Hey, do either of you two want this?” Gaster interrupted the moment, holding up the ball containing the Cofagarigus. “This thing unsettles me, so one of you take it.”
“Sure, I’ll take it,” Ace said.
“Here,” Gaster said, tossing the ball at the android.
“Do we dare check the others out?” Taraka asked as Ace put the ball on his belt.
“Yeah no,” Gaster said, shaking his head. “I didn’t like that.”
“I think we can let them lie,” Ace said. “Those bones seem to be the only thing of note here.”
“What bones?” Gaster asked.
“On the altar,” Ace informed his crewmate. “Let me show you.”
The android led his two companions over to the altar and picked up the strung together bones to show them. “What do you think this is?” he asked. “It’s weird and creepy.”
“This is definitely for some sort of occult ritual,” Taraka said.
“Can we bring it back to Adrian?” Gaster asked. “Maybe he knows something about it.”
Ace nodded. “Good idea. Let’s go.”
Notes: And the spooky arc rolls on. This was originally planned to be at the end of the previous chapter, but once I got to writing I realized it made more sense for it to be its own chapter. This chapter covers the events of a solid chunk of session 48. I decided to split up the party experimenting solutions to the fog maze problem between the end of the previous chapter and the start of this one to make it not drag on so long and to just set up some good scene transitions. Using Trick-or-Treat was a clever idea they had which was close to the solution I had planned so it helped me guide them a bit and get them on the right track. I came up with the mausoleum area on the spot and threw in a Cofagrigus as a fun (if obvious) trap. It ended up being shiny since that was the first art I found to use in Roll20, but there was nothing particularly special about it. I really only sent them there to get the bones …
Post-Chapter Challenge: So what do you think those tied together bones are? It’s a simple question, but I think it has some potential for interesting answers. I look forward to seeing what you come up with.
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!