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A story kit for

By David A Hill Jr, a Machine Age Production


Ephesus Abbey shouldnt have existed. Supposedly, it was home to an order of monks that had an apocryphal text from the Bible, an unearthed letter to the
Ephesians from Saint Thomas the Apostle. They clung to that text, hiding it away from the rest of the world. Indeed, their station wasnt on world records until after
the Cataclysm. No written account of the orders existence or the station exists before 2107.

Who were these monks? What were they really hiding?

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The letter existed only in rumors. Shortly after the dig, Bishop
About This Kit Claudius, one of its supervisors, vanished without a trace. Rumor
This kit details a small space station damaged by the Cataclysm, had it that Claudius stole the letter because of its heretical contents
just like most in the world of Maschine Zeit. It offers a framework that threatened to bring down the Church. In reality, Bishop
for a story to play through, with a few clues and hints toward a Claudius did steal the letter, with hopes of selling it on the black
greater plot. Since Maschine Zeit allows players severe control over market. However, he didnt make it very far. One of his students
the story theyre participating in, nothing here is set in stone. The killed him and stole the letter, maintaining his status in the Church
basic format is simple. Click on the section names in this paragraph without telling anyone of the documents continued existence.
to jump to the section. First, an Introduction. This addresses the
background for the station and gives some ideas for character
motivations. The story has three main scenes. These are suggested
in their own section, called Scenes. Then, there are eight encounter
areas. Each gets a description and a possible encounter for that
area. These are in the Places section of the kit. Lastly, the zip file for
this kit contains a folder called Assets, containing a rough map of
the station and a few in-game props to print and hand out.

Ephesus Abbey: An
Introduction
In 2035, a group of archeologists funded by The Vatican Berkants sketch of the Cerberus from his last will and testament

unearthed a repository of old papyrus in western Turkey. These


Over the years, the student, Brother Berkant, built a small cult
documents were spread over the space of a small settlement,
around the letter. The cult numbered only thirty-three members at
preserved in a series of clay pots. The hundreds of pages accounted
any given time. Three top cultists, called Heads, each governed
for medical and financial records, folk stories and legal edicts. Most
ten of the other cultists. Berkants cult used the image of Cerberus
importantly, one pot contained a thirty page letter. It was written in
for identification.
Coptic, supposedly a letter to the Ephesian people by Saint Thomas
the Apostle. In 2074, the aging man put down his last will and testament.
The three Heads, now of respectable age themselves, would take
over the cult. Berkants stipulation was simple; he left them with a
vast fortune (none knew where it came from, or asked for that
matter,) and insisted they build a station like the many in the sky at
the time. He promised them that the station would remain
unmolested, so long as they maintained secrecy of Thomass letters
and their contents.

The followers built the station as asked, naming it Ephesius


Abbey after the city to which Thomass letter was supposedly
addressed. In the Cataclysm, the station went dark. Only after its
systems had been shut down for over two years, did humanity find
the tiny station hanging on to the Earth by an elevator shaft.
Nobody knows why it went unnoticed for over thirty years, despite
global satellite imagery.

Thomass Letter to the Ephesians


Thomass letter is the real thing. Carbon dating puts its
authorship somewhere in the second century, making it the oldest
surviving text of the Apostles. However, its not the true reason for
the station or the cult. Amongst the documents found in the same
pot was the description of a ritual for devouring souls to achieve
godhead. It was attributed to the great beast Typhon. Berkant was
maddened by his selfishness when he read the document, and
believed its authenticity. His madness inspired others, likeminded.
Typhons child, according to the Greeks, was Cerberus. Berkant felt
himself the child of whatever penned this ritual, so he took to using
the Cerberus as his coat of arms.

Thomass letter to the Ephesians


The truth is, Berkants madness infected his cult. During the maintained the station, they did not craft it. They worked alongside
Cataclysm, the madness consumed the lot of them, leaving their a few independent contractors that, if the players identify, cannot
spirits hungry and hostile. be located anymore.

If the players investigate, they can find the letter. However, its If youd like, you can keep the map from your players. If you do
in Coptic. They could sell it for quite a bit, if they found the right this, it can be part of the prop reveal in Scene Two.
buyers. However, its existence and implications arent the focus of
this story. Character Motivations
The Station To help get characters onto the station, here are a handful of
motivations, one for every major group and a few generic ideas.
The station itself is small, compared to most every other one in
the sky. Theres no real explainable reason why it went thirty years The Anderssen Group
without detection, it just did (leaving room for the players to fill in
Not only did The Anderssen Group find documents claiming the
with their Conditions.) The elevator still works on auxiliary power,
existence of this station a number of years ago, an investigator
which leads to the assumption that there were no survivors. Since
found a letter between the late Brother Berkant and a scholarly
the station is relatively low, it benefits from Earths atmosphere.
contemporary discussing the Great Typhon. The letter requests the
This means life support isnt needed, and characters can enter in
contemporary visit his home to see the glory of Typhon first-hand.
plainclothes.
Life Sciences International
Not only is the station smaller than average, but its very
barebones and far from luxurious. The outside literally looks like a A preliminary researcher took a trip to the station shortly after
large, oddly-shaped sculpture made of sheet metal. The inside isnt it was discovered. They found the strangest thing; they found
much better. The walls are just sheet metal over a steel frame, the nothing at all. No survivors, no bodies, nothing. The station was in
floors have second-hand carpet laid haphazardly over diamond use, but where did the people go? Did one of the radiations backfire
grating. The whole place feels and sounds like it might fall apart at and erase these religious men from existence?
any minute.
World Mining Union
The station was populated by the thirty-three men alone. Each
had a function, some were gardeners, some were engineers; the The station is owned by no corporation, by no government.
entire station ran entirely self-contained. While the cultists Every owning body is ostensibly dead. That means theres no
finders fee on any salvage. Not only that, but the station is mostly Youve heard the rumors about Thomass letters. If theyre on
made of roughly-bound metals, mining it should be a breeze. that station, theyre remarkably valuable. Theyre a quick ticket to
fame and fortune for whomever finds them, and you wont let that
SLClemins be anyone else.
SLClemins says this station existed the whole time, and was on
global satellite reports. Why did nobody know about it? The Vatican Scenes
struck it from existence. They were so embarrassed by the theft of
Here, we outline the three rough scenes that comprise the
such a valuable piece of the Gospel that they wrote the station off,
story. This can be used as a map for the game session, offering a
denying its very existence.
loose arc. For the more specific encounters and threats, consult the
Global Peoples Liberation Front Places section. The scenes are written in such a way that they can
be plugged into the various locations with little manipulation.
Lets not mince words; this was the home of a cult. Cults do Theres nothing concrete in the three scenes or props. Players must
terrible things, all in the name of religion. Its important that come up with their own conclusions, which they can do as they
whatever they were doing is discovered and released to the public. expend Conditions.
And if the cult survives still, maybe that should be changed.
Each scene has a goal, a piece of information that needs
The Church of the Reckoning relaying. These come in the form of printable props (in the Asset
folder of the kit,) three letters from Berkant to his Head followers.
The Reckoning applies to all, even those of fringe religions. Also,
Unless the flow of the scene suggests otherwise, hand this out after
this is the first destroyed station comprised solely of religious
the locations encounter. For example, if the first place the
people. The coalition of churches is curious of the Cataclysms
characters visit is the Dormitories, have the characters encounter
effects on religious groups, how the radiation would affect their
the Dormitory specter. Afterwards, have them find the letter from
souls.
Berkant. In the case of Scene Three, Berkants ghost appears after
Other Interests the main encounter. If you find it dramatically appropriate or youre
running short on time, have his reveal occur during the encounter.
After some searching, youve come to realize that your long-lost
father was part of the order of Ephesus. What was he doing up Scene One: Questions
there? Why was it so important that he not communicate with his
family?
The question is, what were these people doing? A cult of thirty- survived this long. The third letter can be found in media res, during
three men inhabited an unknown station. Why were they on the the given encounter. If so, Berkant will devour that specter in front
station? The truth of the matter is, it came down to Brother of them. Otherwise, theyll find him feasting on the remnants of it
Berkants commandment. He believed that only in the sky, would when they read the last line.
the soul-eating ritual work.
Specter: Brother Berkant
The goal of the first scene is to make the characters curious. To
do this, you just have to plant a couple of hints. The first is a letter Brother Berkant has become something else. Because his body
between Berkant and one of his followers. You can find this letter in was kept on the station, the Cataclysm radiation changed him. He
the Assets folder for the kit, labeled as Chapter One Prop.pdf. devoured the souls of his three followers, and now stalks the halls,
looking for things to feast upon. Hes almost eliminated all thirty-
Scene Two: Investigation three of his congregation, only a few remain.

Hes become a Cerberus in his own right. His body is three


Now, the characters have reason to go looking, they have their
power tools, each with a mouth full of whirling blades. Hes kept
first lead. Now, you have to lead them along and give them a route
together by rubber hoses and sheet metal. The conglomeration of
to their conclusion. Theyll realize that Berkant knew his people
the Cerberus is about eight feet tall, wide and long. The threshers
would die, and that their sacrifice was intentional. If youve kept the
can extend almost indefinitely to pursue prey.
map from the players, give it to them as part of this scenes reveal.
Threat Element: 75
The goal in this scene is to motivate the characters to a
conclusion, to move them along to Scene Three. The second prop is Universal Elements- Pneuma: 25, Soma: 25, Psyche: 25
another letter to one of his followers. It gives a little more of his
plot. You can find this letter in the Assets folder for the kit, labeled Injury- Core: Third Degree, Conditional: 5%
as Chapter Two Prop.pdf.
Protection- Core: Third Degree, Conditional: 3%

Scene Three: Answers Genotype: Undying Hunger Brother Berkants ritual worked. Or at
least, hes living beyond death, eating souls. Each time he causes
Now, the reveal. When the characters get the third letter, it Injury to a character, the character loses a Push of a Psyche
becomes clear that Berkant had an agenda. When the third letter Element, as he devours part of their soul.
surfaces, Berkants ghost appears. Hes been devouring the stations
specters, and only the ones the characters have witnessed have
Places Threat: Elevator Door Jammed!

The station needs fleeing, the elevator door wont open. To get
These are the various locations on the Abbey. Each has a box of
it open might require prying, it might require rewiring. Either way,
read-aloud description text (in italics,) followed by a Threat to go
its going to take a moment. Thats not a moment the characters
along with it (in the box below.) If youre using the scene structure
have.
from the previous section, use the Threats in a given location before
offering the prop for the scene. Youll note that the locations Threat Element: 50
correspond to the map key. Threat Type: Immediate

Location A: The Elevator Universal Elements- Pneuma: 25, Soma: 25, Psyche: 0

The elevator slows to a crawl, then slams into a stop, shaking Location B: Dormitories
violently. It hasnt been used in years, and it shows. Youre confident
itll make the return trip, but you shouldnt tax it with anything too This is where the Order once slept. Along the walls are thirty
heavy without some maintenance first. small cells, each only large enough to fit one man, a desk, a bed and
assorted personal effects. There are exactly thirty-three, sixteen on
The elevator lobby is small and cramped. It doesnt serve for one wall, seventeen on the opposite.
much more than an entrance and exit to the Abbey. Much of the
sheet metal lining the wall has fallen, and needs to be moved aside As you walk the hall, one particular cell radiates heat. You
before you can proceed. However, youre pleased to note that the instinctively turn that direction, and a transparent man is being spat
auxiliary lighting still glows in the station. on by pale green silhouettes. He screams in pain, the room feels hot
enough to almost catch fire. The silhouettes turn to face you. They
The elevator isnt an encounter location in the proper sense; its have no features, only a light static where their faces might have
just the entrance and exit. It doesnt count for a scene unless you been. The heads open, showing no teeth, no tongue, but a palpable
absolutely need it to. The Elevator Door Jammed Threat below darkness. Their breath is painfully cold, breaking the heat of the
should not be used the first time the characters are there. Instead, room.
save it to add to the tension of an escape. Maybe the station is
shaking violently. Maybe Berkant is chasing the characters out, and The Dormitories kept the cultists. The one in particular the
they havent found a good solution to his being there. characters find died feeling guilty, as he was masturbating when the
Cataclysm begun. Hes now trapped in perpetual punishment.
Specter: The Guilty If the characters investigate the mumbling sound, theyll find the
specter of the chef, who died locked in the walk-in freezer unit.
The Guilty is a manifestation of a mans hatred and self-loathing
at the time of his death. His form remains on his bed, while the Specter: The Icebound
specters of his guilt try to drag anything they can inside the room,
The Icebound was once the stations chef. He was good at his
showing them the hell he fears. The collective of apparitions
job, and proud of his work. During the Cataclysm, he was preparing
haunting him are actually part of one complex specter.
the next days breakfast. When the station was jarred, the door to
Threat Element: 50 the freezer slammed shut on him and he couldnt break free. Now,
the freezer seeks to devour all those that come near enough.
Universal Elements- Pneuma: 15, Soma: 10, Psyche: 25 Explorers that come within about a meter or try to open the door
will be sucked toward the opening. If they are pulled in, the door
Injury- Core: Second Degree, Conditional: 5%
closes and the freezing temperature tortures them.
Protection- Core: None
Threat Element: 25
Genotype: Visions of Hell Those drawn into the room are
Universal Elements- Pneuma: 25, Soma: 0, Psyche: 0
bombarded with the dead cultists visions of hell. After being
Injured by the specter, for the remainder of the scene, any time the Injury- Core: Second Degree, Conditional: 7%
character succeeds in an Active Conflict, the initial Condition of
Success is used up. Affected characters fight the visions with that Protection- Core: First Degree, Conditional 2%
initial Condition, scratching their eyes, slamming their heads against
Genotype: Consume The Icebound draws in its victims with a
the wall and floor, or otherwise trying to get the imagery out of
fierce and frozen wind. After the first Active Conflict to Injure a
their heads.
character, the door shuts on them. Opening the door requires an
Active Conflicts initial Condition. Characters inside take 5%
Location C: Refectory
Conditional Injury each Active Conflict (or minute) inside.
The refectory is a cafeteria and kitchen, combined into an efficient
little space. The tables have all been overturned, and kitchen supplies litter
the floor thoroughly.
Location D: Engineering Core
From the kitchen area along the back wall, you hear a faint mumbling,
as if someone were stuck amongst the appliances and fixtures.
The engine core takes up almost half the floor space of the Orthrus, one Brother Ladon, the other Brother Chimera. The
station. Its a giant room, filled with machinery of all shapes and assistants placard has been scratched out, and is unreadable. As
sizes. There are four walkways through the room, theyre narrow you pass the desk, you hear crying in the back of your mind.
and unwelcoming.
The assistant was planning to assassinate the three Heads when
The machinery spews steam all about, its loud and obnoxious. he died. He was going to lock them up and flush the room with gas.
You thought the core wouldnt be functional after all this time. Because of the Cataclysm, his plan backfired. He was trapped in the
room and died from the emissions.
Once all the characters are inside, the pressure causes the doors
to shut and the steam increases drastically. Specter: The Envious

Threat: Steam Trap The Envious doesnt incorporate. He considered himself nothing
compared to the subject of his envy, and that reflects in death. He
The pressure from the steam slammed the doors shut. As the prowls the room, invisible, making the various office supplies fly
pressure increases, the characters find themselves in more and
around sporadically, futilely.
more danger. Instead of a traditional Threat, allow Active Conflicts
to make escape. These Conflicts are at a -20% penalty, as the Threat Threat Element: 25
expends Soma Pushes to resist. After each and any failed Conflict, or
any Conflict that doesnt result in escape, all characters inside are Universal Elements- Pneuma: 10, Soma: 10, Psyche: 5
subject to the Injury ratings below. Injury- Core: First Degree, Conditional: 3%
Threat Element: 50 Protection- Core: First Degree, Conditional 2%
Threat Type: Immediate
Genotype: Melancholy Any in the room can be affected by The
Universal Elements- Pneuma: 15, Soma: 20, Psyche: 15 Envious. Make an Active Conflict. Conditions can be spent to force
Melancholy on a character. Affected characters must spend a third
Injury- Core: First Degree, Conditional: 5%
Push for Active Conflicts, which doesnt add to the chance for
Location E: Administration success. This lasts for the scene or until the player spends a
Dramatic Element on any Active Conflict.
The administrative offices were nothing more than a series of
four desks, one for each of the three Heads, and one for their Location F: Auditorium
assistant. Placards announce the owners. Ones marked Brother
The auditorium is tucked away, arranged something like a The chapel, unsurprisingly, is the most magnificent part of the
college classroom. Theres a lectern, and bleachers with about thirty Abbey. While the walls are still made of steel, there are recessed
small writing desks. When you enter the room, you feel installations with stained glass and backlights, depicting traditional
overwhelmed, tense and angry. Youll note that papers, pens and biblical imagery. Standing out amongst the imagery, though, is a
notebooks levitate just off their respective surfaces. large, three-headed dog. His heads extend to each of three sections
of the wall, taking up more than a fourth of the total space.
The auditorium is home of The Hateful, the spirit of the
theologian of the Order. He inhabits the speaker system, and There are no specters in the chapel, unless Berkant appears.
inspires horrible behavior. The four speakers around the room must However, in the installations, an interested character would find
be destroyed to end his preaching. that theres Second Promethium, which would require removing the
stained glass for access.
Specter: The Hateful
Threat: Stained Glass Installations
The Hateful exists within the rooms four main speakers. He
preaches incoherently, the sound is shrill and terrifying, it inspires The stained glass installations were damaged in the Cataclysm,
hate in all that hear it. Once hes started, he will not stop, and the but still stand. Removing them is difficult at best, deadly at worst. If
speaker system broadcasts all throughout the station. the panes shatter, they blow outward as they tilted down at the
congregation. Any efforts to remove the installations suffer a -25%
Threat Element: 50 penalty, as the threat expends Pushes in defense. Failed Conflicts
Universal Elements- Pneuma: 10, Soma: 15, Psyche: 25 used to remove the installations cause an automatic Active Conflict
to Injure all those around.
Injury- None
Threat Element: 50
Protection- None Threat Type: Immediate

Genotype: Two Minutes Hate The Hateful cannot cause harm Universal Elements- Pneuma: 25, Soma: 25, Psyche: 0
himself. Instead, he inspires violence. For every Condition he gets,
he causes a character to harm another. Use relevant Injury ratings Injury- Core: Third Degree, Conditional: 8%
for whatever cause of harm would be available to them.

Location G: Chapel
Dearest Brother Orthrus - My Greatest Student,

Youre coming close. Youre advancing so well. I never thought Id


see the day that one of my students would be ready for revelation. Soon
youll see what Great Typhon has to offer. When I fall, youll receive
one of three letters. Your letter details how the Order will find itself in
the sky, ready for the next stages of the rite.
On a personal note, I want to thank you. Youve kept the faith alive.
Youve helped to breed honesty and confidence amongst the flock. When
the time comes, you will be rewarded.

Eternally,

Berkant
Brother Berkant, called Cerberus
Dearest Brother Chimera - My Greatest Student,

You are the shepherd. You are tasked with the most important of goals.
My vision says that on August 1, 2105, the world will be all but destroyed. If
you keep the congregation on the station, when the end comes, youll be saved.
Because of the ritual, because of the faith, youll all be exalted.
On a personal note, I want to thank you. Youve kept the faith alive.
Youve helped to breed honesty and confidence amongst the flock. When the time
comes, you will be rewarded.
Lastly Keep my body on the station. This is of the utmost importance.

Eternally,

Berkant
Brother Berkant, called Cerberus
Dearest Brother Ladon - My Greatest Student,

Enclosed is a map. When I die, you must take the money enclosed in
this package, and build a platform in the sky, similar to the kinds weve
seen in recent years. I must say, its very important that you build it to
the correct specifications. If the design is not correct, the ritual will not
work. Remember, none of the Order can leave once the Abbey is built.
On a personal note, I want to thank you. Youve kept the faith alive.
Youve helped to breed honesty and confidence amongst the flock. When
the time comes, you will be rewarded.

Eternally,

Berkant
Brother Berkant, called Cerberus