Umbra Luna

The Paintings in the Strange Hallway

The players figured out some of the paintings that were present in the hallway, hinting at other stories – critical points and junctures in time – past and yet to come.  Here's the list of the ones that I had put together, though there are certainly some more.

Which ones do y'all recognize?  wink



A winding tale of a group of mercenary heroes, over the course of several murals.  Their faces obscured, they rise to prominence, then heartbreak after a cataclysmic battle against a hovering fortress.

A group of world-class heroes who fight and bleed together, only to lose it all to their own betrayals.  Each of the heroes wears two different outfits.  In the throes of tragedy, they unleash a storm that crosses the universe through all dimensions and realities.

A group of uplifted people in retro-Earth, who struggle to comprehend the universe that unfolds before them, threatening to swallow them whole.  The moon hovers behind them, its rays guiding them from birth, though they are turned away and cannot see.

A group of prosaic monsters who have walked a spiral of death and tragedy, and whose fate carries them to their end at a beautiful bridge over a bay. 

A city of wood and stone, cracked by tragedy and storm.  A great dragon of fire enfolds it in its protective wings, as heroes fight and die.  A sublime song surrounds the scene.

Sun shines down on a wood and stone port town.  Merry townies go about their business happily, uncaring about the pickpockets stealing from them.  A trail of yellow footprints leads toward the background.

The group who fought the unearthly at every turn, but all their battles and efforts end at a stand-still.

Strange, quadrupedal mutants who discover that the magic of their world is clad in the metal boot of terror.

A brutal world where so much has been forgotten and so much lost.  Mere children rise to their feet to try to reclaim some.  Some change shape, and some have twins forged of light and shadow.  Two moons look down from above, while cosmic terror dwells imprisoned below.

At the end of the hall, the team turns the next to last corner.  They see a mural of themselves, standing in a cluttered room.  A man sits at a crowded desk, though his eyes are empty.  He appears to be sad but stoic.

Starting to Look Like Home
Harlan moves up in the world!

Sunrise over Uberon was slow, but the day was already well underway.  Fog clung to the cold, brackish water below Uberon City, as if weighed down by the funk of the medieval city's runoff.

The sounds of urban construction rattled over the bay.  Hammer-taps rang in chorus with 'eeave-'oohs of heavy stone and wood being moved.  Valkyrie engines spun at idle, sounding a low drone outside the wall.  A pilot-trainee would soon complete pre-flight and strap in, and those engines would drown all city-sounds during liftoff.

A pontoon ferry made its way across the bay, tugged by a contraption of rope and pulley toward Sun Runner.  The ship sat at ease at anchorage, the bright yellow hull seeming especially out of place amidst the foggy dark colors of the bay.

Harlan laid on his side, keeping his weight low and balanced while two local pulley-men eased the ferry forward.  He had a too-small binder open on the decking between his midlimbs, reviewing procedures and test questions on the cheerfully colored plasti-print cards.  

The idling Valkyrie spun up and lifted off again, drowning all other noises.  Today was the day for all Vorox taking pilot orientation and certification; the Valkyrie had an a'athantra acceleration bench and large-hands control pads installed.  

Harlan had piloted the Valkyrie earlier this morning, earning credit for a befogged takeoff, waypoint flight, and landing.  Fresh initials certified his mango-colored card for flight in an inclement atmosphere.  Few people aboard Sun Runner would care, anymore, that each card in Harlan's binder was branded proprietary of the Charioteers.

The ferry bumped softly into Sun Runner's temporary jetty – a joined and leveled log platform held at water level by one of the ship's cargo arms.  A long rope spanned from the wooden jetty to the largest pier of Uberon City.  

Tugged by two local pulley-men, the pontoon platform was a deck built atop gunwales, using six large row boats as pontoons.  It shuttled ship-to-shore all day, carrying crew, guests, and cargo.  

Harlan rose carefully and stepped, still crouched, onto the jetty.  The pontoons bloomped as the platform rose higher in the water.  Sun Runner's #1 bay stood open above the jetty.  Harlan made his way up the fog-damp boarding ramp.  The bay was crowded with parcels, people, and animals.  Noises and smells clamored, clashing with the funk of the bay and sounds of the city.

He had stopped to pick up a few things in town, after his morning flight.  He waited for Quartermaster's Mates to wrangle them up from the jetty and check them in.


Harlan's life had never seemed so busy.

On days when his exposure index was normal, he led expeditions into the Danger Zone.  Twelve hours at a time was the limit, but the Zone was finally explored and mapped.  A catalog of natural and technological wonders – and dangers – was drafted and nearly finalized.

His other days – exposure level too high – were filled with combat and survival training for the new local militia.  Some of Sun Runner's crew had joined, as well.  The long, wearying months of travel and the shared excitement of exploration had worn away the crew's division by Guild and function.

Surprisingly, Harlan had gained a following among the locals.  He could only guess what they might see in him.  

He was certainly no cultured sophisticate, as was Sophia.  

He was no savant of technology or of the mind, as was Crypto.

He was no bastion of holy conviction, as was Tragan.

Despite all the things he was not, wherever Harlan decided to spend his night was sure to be packed.  Whether wandering to a seedy tavern, attending a spring bonfire in a field, or raving in Sun Runner's Zocalo, he seemed to draw a crowd.

The only thing Harlan could come up with to explain his following was assertiveness.

The locals seemed especially fascinated that he felt no need to hold his tongue to anyone, on any subject.  Invariably, opinions would flow with the pace of the drinking.  

Just as invariably, the raw talk would turn into a brawl, scattering most of the bipeds.  The local Vorox had started to rediscover their nature – the brawls, to Vorox sensibilities, became less serious and more fun.

That the bipeds couldn't tell the difference between fighting and flirting wasn't Harlan's problem.  He was a sure to go home with the first 'roxa who could catch him with a solid punch.  Many mornings he returned to Sun Runner to clean up – wobble-legged, bruised, dehydrated, and grinning.


Sun Runner's chronometers showed a mission time of over a year.  Nearly half a year had passed in the real universe.

If Harlan had leaned on his connections with House Arienwel, he would have had no problem claiming an officer's suite on day one of their journey.

He couldn't forget, though, that he bore the tattoo of a pirate band, and served at the pleasure of the House and Rogue Traders who spared his life.  So, from the start of the strange voyage, he had "made his bed beside those he bled beside" and kept only quarters suitable for a Starman Marine.

Over a year of relative time had passed since they had left the Confederation, when the officers of Sun Runner announced that they would begin planning their return voyage.

A week before the announcement, Ulric had requested that Harlan investigate a security breach on Deck 5 – in the Officers' Suites.

Responding to trouble so close to the command deck, Harlan had sprinted to the scene, ready for trouble.  

What he found, instead, was a Daggerstar painted on the door.  Six clawed arms, ready in every direction, surrounded sacred icon.  Below, the words "MARINE COMMANDER" were neatly painted in a suitably large font.


The Q.M.'s Mates unloaded the last of Harlan's parcels from Dum-Dum's cargo tray.  Harlan signed for them, and waited for them to scurry out the door and on to the next delivery.

He peeled out of his flight suit.  Even with the cooling circulator engaged, it felt like a miserable, swampy body-bag.  The last limb, for some reason, was always hardest to get off, and clung, inside out, to his wrist until he managed to kick it free… by hopping around and stepping on the limb-sleeve.

He stretched and looked around his suite.  He had two viewports with a starboard view; by the time he got through inspection and delivery, the fog had lifted, and Harlan had a splendid view over the shimmering ocean of Uberon.  Deck 5, with the officers' suites and command deck, was just above Sun Runner's waterline.

The corner of his main room, between the twin viewports and aft bulkhead, was filled with Republic-standard survival pods, built in.  These were, of course, sized for large Populux, but the suite had several extras.  The Republics engineered their ships for wholesale family survival.

The aft-interior corner was organized by built-in secure racks for flight suits, gear, uniforms, and other duty items.  Harlan's flight suit would soon be returned to its place for forced-drying and recharge.  It would join all of his other duty gear.  Harlan's well-kept equipment was first to be moved in and carefully organized.

A ship's console repeater was neatly centered in the forward bulkhead.  Updates scrolled up the monitors.  Its matching bench, already adjusted to Harlan's fit, was folded and tucked away underneath.

The walls around the rest of the main room were mostly bare.  His new furniture, freshly built and just delivered, would occupy those spaces.  Local woodworkers had reinforced their finest cabinetry work with template-correct L-bars and spacer's locks.  The pieces still smelled of fresh hardwood, and were bolt-in ready and spaceworthy.

Folded giant bear-skins were stacked along the floor.  They were soon to be trimmed and hung on the empty wall spaces.  Ship's machinists had built a set of bolt-through hooks and trophy racks that would secure to the bulkhead through the skins, accentuating the visual appeal while keeping everything in place.

A built-in multipurpose table and matching large-Populux benches were installed between the console and forward viewport, arranged for a fine view.  The aft viewport was surrounded by a sunken area.  It was ready-made for whatever hobby telescope or social space that the occupants might wish, but as yet was unused.

Both viewports were certain to be secured for months at a time.  Sun Runner seemed to rarely visit places where safe, all-green status cruising was wise.

The center of the room was also sunken, ready for use as a social space.  Harlan had chosen to fill it with a low table and kotatsu, to accommodate bipedal and Vorox guests.  Kit pieces were still strewn about, awaiting assembly.

The suite's bedroom was bedecked with black and gray furs contrasting with white furniture.  A corner bed filled over half the room, covered with brilliant red giant wolf pelts, natural wool blankets, and a pile of brightly-mismatched colorful pillows.  It formed a comfortable nest, with the bedroom viewport behind.  A built-in desk, wardrobe, and small table filled the rest of the room.  Harlan's well-worn and familiar cargo-net hammock was still hooked to the wall.

The spare room and kitchenette were full of packed parcels yet to be either opened or secured for flight.

The private refresher was spotless, yet to be used.  Mod-kits to accommodate Voroxish shedding and excretions awaited in a plastic bin, soon to be installed.  It couldn't happen soon enough – hurried trips to Deck 4 were already getting old.

Harlan wasn't sure if he would ever get used to this space, but he meant to try.  He was a long way from where he started, in every sense.

First, though, he had to study.  

His qualifying transorbital flight was scheduled for the next day.  He would take command of Star, under supervision, to plan and pilot a round trip from ground, to the Uberon Expedition Moonbase, and back.  

Harlan peeled off his scant few underthings and tossed them in the general direction of his bedroom.  He flopped, bare, on the kotatsu cushions and cracked open his binder again.


Pulling the Trigger

Sun Runner fast-orbited over the doomed planet. Her inertial systems needed tuning, but she held course and altitude each pass.

‘Morgor A 3’, Harlan supposed it would be called. The shining white planet deserved a better name.

‘Harlanville’ … no.

‘Harlantopia’ … no.

It didn’t really matter. He was stalling anyway, trying to postpone the sin of firing on a terraforming Pylon – a relic of the lost Republics. Sun Runner’s neutron projector swung silently though its locked arc, the triple triangular barrels compensating for the orbital movement of weapon over target. The end of the Pylon and its green oasis of life awaited only the pull of a trigger.

There wasn’t really a way around it. The Pylon maintaining the dent in the clouds had to go.

He waited for another orbit to finish. Sun Runner’s vector brought her back on target in only a few minutes. Targeting information in the holographic Tactical display held a tight lock, with very little variance. Harlan’s strong hand couldn’t quite pull the trigger, yet.

Was there any way, he wondered, that somebody might find this place? Might recover it? The Pylons of the Confederation kept living worlds living.

‘Dentworld’ …. no.

‘The Hole’ … He’d heard worse, but no.

Another orbit swung by. Tragan’s voice was on the comms, insisting on a status. Harlan brushed it off, mumbling about a check of the gunnery subsystems.

Had one of the Saints visited this place, long ago, before history destroyed itself? It was unlikely, but not impossible. Miraculous footsteps might have graced the paths of the tiny spot of green.

‘New Cloneberg’ … was fun to say, but no.

Harlan took a breath and rolled his shoulders. Tasks must be done, even if they are abhorrent.

“A 3” Harlan sighed.

“What was that? Repeat, Harlan.” Tragan sounded annoyed. Harlan had left the comms open.

Harlan didn’t reply. Sun Runner’s orbit reached perfect aphelion, and he finally pulled the trigger.

Time to Suit Up

Vorox space suits, built on the Standard Template, had 223 field-removable parts.  Most of them were articulations for the multiple limbs and double-jointed torso.  Some few were connectors and relays.  The remainder were reinforcements and load-bearing adaptations.

A comparable humanoid space suit had 41 field-removable parts.  Most of the articulations very ably handled by a bodysuit built for four limbs and a typically flexible torso.

Harlan was no soft-clawed rookie.  Though he was low of rank, he'd dealt with the peculiars of space travel, and combat, almost since he could stand on all sixes.

He dumped out the contents of his big, well-worn spacer's duffel into his g-hammock.  The parts of each suit assembly were separate, contained in colored nyloprene mesh bags.

He picked up the orange mesh bag.  It was still tied with a double-bow knot – his mnemonic that he had inspected all the parts.  Untying it, he pulled out the parts of his midleft glove.  Each had one orange spot of paint near where it attached to something.  A few of the parts had two spots, showing that they were wearing out but servicable.

The midleft glove went together quickly, passing inspection, needing only a few drops of slick – from the white mesh bag of tools and lube – to be just right.  He put the glove back into the orange mesh bag, for now, untied but magna-clipping the bag to the bulkhead – assembled and ready to go.

Harlan quickly got into the swing of his routine: more untied, colorful bags magna-clipped to the bulkhead; ready time checked against the ship's mission timer and alarm set; hit the refresher after all the limb pieces were assembled and before inspecting the bodysuit segments.

At five minutes to suit-up time, he bagged all his loose possessions, mementos, and money in his g-hammock, tied around with straps left and right of the bundle to keep it from spilling.

Four minutes: stretch, blow nose, stretch again.

Three minutes: strip from his downtime tunic and Bermudas; clean underwear.

Until alarm: stretch and review.

Harlan tapped the button on his communicator, stopping the alarm on the first beep.  It was a needless habit, but a harmless superstition for good luck.  Fifteen minutes remained until he expected himself to be ready for anything.

Bodysuit went on, segment by segment.  Inner seals set, smoothed, checked.  Secondary and final seals each in turn.  Fraal tape over the seal below his left ass cheek, where the final seal was buckled from wear.

Ten minutes:  Limb segments went on, working outward from the body and upward from lower limbs.  Each one pressure checked.

Five minutes:  Torso reinforcements and adapters went on, locking down the limb segments and engaging power.  Plates, pouches, webbing all hung in place.  Helmet at standby.  Check-lights all green.

Ready time:  Harlan carabiner-clipped his big duffel, filled with empty mesh bags and his suit repair kits, to the wall alongside his hammock.

Harlan stepped out of his cabin, exactly on time for deceleration on approach to Aldebaran XI.

Welcome to your campaign!
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1. Invite your players

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2. Edit your home page

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3. Choose a theme

If you want to set a specific mood for your campaign, we have several backgrounds to choose from. Accentuate it by creating a top banner image.

4. Create some NPCs

Characters form the core of every campaign, so take a few minutes to list out the major NPCs in your campaign.

A quick tip: The “+” icon in the top right of every section is how to add a new item, whether it’s a new character or adventure log post, or anything else.

5. Write your first Adventure Log post

The adventure log is where you list the sessions and adventures your party has been on, but for now, we suggest doing a very light “story so far” post. Just give a brief overview of what the party has done up to this point. After each future session, create a new post detailing that night’s adventures.

One final tip: Don’t stress about making your Obsidian Portal campaign look perfect. Instead, just make it work for you and your group. If everyone is having fun, then you’re using Obsidian Portal exactly as it was designed, even if your adventure log isn’t always up to date or your characters don’t all have portrait pictures.

That’s it! The rest is up to your and your players.


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