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Darren Watts

Quote of the Week from my gaming group...

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Black Crusade : The Fifteenth Arcana
Having successfully acquired all the fragments of Haarlock's daemonic mirror, and ensured that everybody will blame Marshall Skarman and Enforcer Khan for the string of murders and riots currently rocking Sinophia, all that's left is window dressing, and deciding what to do with the daemon in question.

Eniek: We need to splash some more blood around.
GM: Well, you've got that telepath.
Digna: I've got all those Dark Adsecularii too. I won't suffer too much of a leadership problem if I kill, say, 30 of them.

The daemon itself seems agreeable to bargaining, and knows quite a lot about the PCs. This is never a good sign.

The Daemon of the Mirror: Prefect Digna, who has replaced her entire body with plastic and steel, and seeks the Silica Anima, the forbidden artificial intelligence. The perfect mind for the perfect body?
Digna: Well, THAT should be news to everyone here. And Eniek is going 'Are you insane? Wait, of course you are.'

The Daemon: Magos Eniek, who seeks to push human biology past all limits of the unaltered flesh, and explores realms your hypocrite colleagues would call blasphemous.
Eniek: Yes, yes, you know all about us and state the obvious. Can we get on with this?

The Daemon of the Mirror: And you, little noble? Perhaps I can recommend a good bar.
Digna OoC: It's called the Floating Vagabond

The Daemon: After all, if you are so dissatisfied with reality as it is that you must gaze at it through the bottom of a glass, it's little wonder the Ruinous Powers could tempt you with the means to remake reality to match your drunken hallucinations. Or perhaps you simply drink to forget the fate that awaits you and all mortal flesh? I can see your desire, little noble. Speak it. Or wait. But do not wait TOO long...

The Daemon: And your little pet wyrdling there, who despite his new armour, and his allies, and his power, still refuses to face certain issues from his past.
Skerrit: I DO NOT HAVE ANY ISSUES

Methinks he doth protest too much.

Skerrit: I'm the weirdest psyker ever – I can see the future, see everything that's going to happen. AND I DON'T CARE
GM: Black Crusade is tricky to prepare for - the players might decide to do anything. Declare war on Holy Terra in one ship, for example.
Eniek: Nah, not Earth. Only one ship has ever got that close.
GM: Indeed. And it took the Time Cannons on Luna to stop it.
Eniek: Yeah. Declaring war on the Inquisition, on the other hand...
GM: *headdesk*

Eniek has heard whispers of a certain Liber Ex Incarnis, so his question to the daemon is as to where the Calixian Inquisitors keep such artefacts. The daemon answers instantly - the Tricorn Tower, in the middle of the ruling hive on Scintilla, the sector capitol.

GM: I'm sure the daemon will be amused if you blow up the Tricorn Tower and go through the rubble for the book.
Digna: Other way round – get the book, THEN blow up the tower. Remember – Pillage, THEN burn.

Digna makes a bargain - in return for one of the daemon's names, she and the other PCs will free the entity from its confinement in the mirror. The daemon even offers to teach them a ritual that will move the mirror somewhere where they can question it at leisure. Not being complete fools, they decline this offer, and release it where it stands - the Ritual of Unmaking being suitably spectacular, although the eldritch shrieking form that burns up into the stormy skies over the burning city might take some explaining.

Digna: Not bad for a ritual originally used against the Polish Remover of N'all, and the Staff of Q'tip.

Still, blaming it all on some warp-based technology Skarman and Khan unearthed during their smuggling enterprise isn't too difficult - they just have to provide the Inquisition with a believable bodycount. The PCs head downstairs, and Digna hands her assistants a large packet of high explosive.

Digna: Hold this satchel. And stay here.

Skarman's Adjutant Fihad Constantine would quite like to know what was going on upstairs.

Digna: Just dealing with more of your previous superior's mess. hits detonator

The ritual also seems to have screwed up all the holo-screens and computers down here.

Digna: Have you attempt the Cant of Power Cycling? It's a basic prayer for restoring recalcitrant machine spirits.
GM: 'Have you tried switching it off and on again?'
Eniek: Recite the tech-litany and castrate the unbelievers.
Daniels: Stop everything, we need to requisition some more unbelievers.

The Inquistorial Acolytes and the Governor finally arrive. Time to present their evidence, and ensure the Governor never, ever tries to eliminate the party to cover his own role in this debacle.

Digna: And it's an unsubtle reminder that no matter where he goes we can get at him. So he'd better play ball.

The Governor is not a good actor.

Governor: What might have happened if my GOOD FRIEND Digna here had not uncovered this nest of vipers in my very midst!
Digna: Would you like a sedative, Governor?
GM: Qualuudes. 'Luuudes, Man. 'Nyquil, Nyquil, Nyquil -'
Digna: '- you giant fucking Q'
GM: In the original Green Death flavour.

Time to get off Sinophia before the Inquisition smells a rat. How to profit from the rioting, carpet-bombing, lynch-mobs etc? Looting, of course.

GM: I've got all this valuable artwork to sell. They fell off the back of a truck. Ignore the burn marks.
Daniels: Plasma burns. They're ancient.
GM: It adds to the patina.

Digna has other ideas.

Digna: I shall relieve the burden on the Administratum by taking it upon myself.
GM: ?
Digna: Orphans.
GM: You evil bastards.
Digna: And the public considers us philanthropists. Right – the older orphans, just hitting puberty – line them up for my steroid trials.
GM: Actually by 40K standards this is a minor evil.
Daniels: Nevermind, we'll get better.

GM: So you've got your adorable orphans going 'Please sir, may I have some more Human Growth Hormone?'

Technical manuals of the 40th Millennium.

Digna: At least it isn't one of the Codices of St. Jane.

Digna wants to make a daemon weapon from the iron in the blood of a thousand victims. She'll need something that will burn off the non-ferrous elements almost as fast is it drains the target.

GM: Call it the El Chupacabra – can exsanguinate a cow at 200m.

Routes to Scintilla - do they travel via the wretched mining world of Sepheris Secundus, or the treacherous politics of Malfi, where the nobility genetically engineered themselves to be better at Machiavellian intrigue? Queen Lachryma III of Sepheris Secundus is pretty noteworthy herself.

Queen_Lachryma_III_1.jpg

(have I ever mentioned how much I love John Blanche's art? If anything could be said to typify Warhammer and Warhammer 40K, it's his designs and illustrations)

warhammer_queen_lachryma_iii_by_ashitaro

Skerrit: She has a big hat.
GM: Well, of course, she's queen.
Skerrit: Which is why the God-Emperor's head is welded to the Golden Throne.
Daniels: 'I wear the Imperial Palace as a hat'

Skerrit is looking up certain psychic weapons. He is NOT going to get the trademark device of the Culexus Assassins.

GM: No you can't have a Animus Speculum. For one thing, you're not a psychic Pariah. A social pariah, maybe...

Digna makes some improvements to the ship, en route.

Digna: We now have a best-quality Resolution Arena.
GM: Let me guess – you'll be exsanguinating everyone who loses.
Digna: Yup XD

She also further alters her own appearance, to better influence her targets, and conceal the more obvious mutations. And gifts the party with a matching set of power swords.

Daniels: I'm a bit worried about Digna – first she gets a boob job and then she gives me a sword.

Daniels: Good lord – I see you went with the LARGE Etheric Beam Locators.
GM: They need Double-D batteries.
Digna: 'they're all synthetic, boys!'

Of course, getting a chaos tainted ship from place to place is not as straightforward as the bizarrely baroque efforts of the Navigator Guilds. The 'navigator' on the Obsidian Resolve usually selects a crewman, gets stoned out of his mind, flogs the crewman to death, and reads the auguries for the next trip from the blood splatter.

Daniels: We've got passengers for that!
GM: Eh – they're not really part of the ship.

Digna decides this is inefficient, and acquires a wildly illegal technology that allows her to substitute herself. This is a profoundly unsettling experience, not least because it allows her to perceive the Astronomicon - the psychic beacon of the God-Emperor's might, broadcast from Terra and fuelled by the deaths of a thousand psykers a day. And it's LOOKING at her. Side-effects of the trip include disturbing whispers from just behind everybody's left shoulder.

Daniels: That's not so bad – I'll just turn up the Melodium for a few days.

Arrival at Scintilla is delayed by some ship called the Rose Tattoo screaming ahead and taking their parking spot. But at least they have a plan for a heist against the Tricorn Tower - Hive Sibellus is built upon the mausoleums of its past, and a popular pastime for the nobility is paying for expeditions into the underhive to find the tombs of their forebears. Some describe this as the fortune of the city being built on the works of their illustrious ancestors. The more cynical describe it as being built on the bones of the dead.

Either way, it should be fairly simple for Lord-Captain Daniels to stage one such expedition into the catacombs, and seek out whatever secret entrances the inquisitors have into the Tricorn Tower. Now, where can they get some nukes?
 

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More overdue quotes, starting with some mostly out of context:

 

Honey Badger:  The Banana Splits had a great theme song.  Don't f*** with it.

 

Maker (discussing what kind of car someone is driving):  A Lexus Luthor

 

Honey Badger:  I break things, therefore I am.

 

The news recap of their fight with Deathstroke included the following quote from the reporter:

 

Nadine Acer:  "The heroes used some unusual tactics, but they seemed to work.  For example, Honey Badger grabbed Scatterbrain and carried her away from the battle, putting himself at great personal risk to keep the mentalist from messing with the other heroes.

Circe:  Great personal risk?!  She was trying to boff him in the stairwell!

 

The heroes finally settle on a team name.

 

Honey Badger:  I want "Just Cause."  That way, when people ask why we're doing this, we say, "Just 'cause."

 

The team pays a visit to the offices of BEST (Boston Elite Super Team) to have words with T.J. O'Rourke. Circe establishes Telepathy with TJ in case he's thinking of screwing them over.

 

Honey Badger:  I'll walk in, put my hands on his desk, and growl at him.  Say, does he have anything on his desk that I can bite?

GM:  What, like a sandwich?

HB:  No, something non-edible.  Like a stapler.

GM:  Sure, there's a stapler on the desk.

HB:  As I'm glaring at him, I take a big bite out of the stapler.

O'Rourke:  (pouts)  That was my good stapler.  It never jammed...

 

O'Rourke:  Listen, I'm not doing anything technically illegal!  I never claim that I'm actually affiliated with your team.  If people want to assume that, well, that's their business.  And even though I never say that donations would go toward your team, I do send you some cash.  Well, a little cash.  But if you really want me to close up shop...

HB:  We never said that.  We want you to work for us.

Circe:  What does he think about that?

O'Rourke:  (thought bubble)  What, like legit?  Have I ever worked legit?  There was that one time in Tampa... naw, that's right, I completely conned that guy out of his car...

 

Shortly after, TJ passes along a call from a local high-end Italian store / caterer (Salumeria Italiana), that they have a pre-paid food order and some "very fine wine" for the heroes.

Maker:  Is this from Dr. Draconis, thanking us for taking down Deathstroke?  (It was)

 

The heroes go to pick up the food and find that it's accompanied by a 1.5L magnum of Chatueau Lafite-Rothschild 1978. 

 

Pops:  (Does a quick web search)  Holy s***!  A magnum of that stuff goes for over $1,600!

Gaetano Martignetti (owner of Salumeria Italiana):  I told you it was a very fine wine.

 

The heroes are investigating a series of demonic hound attacks (which was the gist of the adventure).  One demon hound killed a man in Boston, and another killed a retired couple in nearby Arkham.  In each case, the dogs bit off one of the hands for each person after mauling them to death.

 

Pops:  Which hands were bitten off?

GM:  For the professor, Dr. McPool, the demon hound bit off his right hand.  With the elderly couple... it bit off the woman's right hand, and the man's left. 

Pops:  Was the guy left handed?
GM:  Nope, sorry.

HB:  Maybe he just wanted a matched set.

 

(More to follow)

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Shadowrun, where the goof troop are currently infiltrating what is probably a Skunkworks. (I gather this plot was lifted from a Shadowrun computer game)

Oracle OoC: There were metagaming reasons to do it this way - I switched off half my brain so the combat characters will have something to do.

Shell’s Player: Nibble Nobby’s Nuts
Oracle’s Player: Before he nibbles yours.
Shell’s Player: Eh, I’m an equal opportunity nibbler.

Shell prepares his melee weapons, just in case.

Ripper K: A memory metal claymore?
Shell: Hell yes.

The mission promptly goes to hell.

Shell: *steps out of elevator and cuts guard in half* I am that OTHER shadowrunner tonight.
Ripper K: D:

We won’t be able to cover up our presence here, either.

Oracle: What do mean, you don’t have Sterilize???
Poe: I had other priorities, OK???
Streetrat: I thought we were going in quiet! Oh, fuck - I forgot to bring the silencers.

Ripper K OoC: Oracle, are you sure you only switched off HALF your brain for this mission???

At least there’s no cameras down here.

Ripper K: Um?
Streetrat: Makes sense - there are things that can escape through cameras.
Poe: Input /output node.
Ripper K: So, are we modifying the odds that Dr Carroll is an AI?
Poe: No bet.

There’s no signs either.

Ripper K: We wake up in a maze of twisty corridors, all alike.
GM: Pretty much.

There’s a guard station between sections - millimeter-band radar is so useful.

Ocelot: Stun weapons? You got a stun weapon? Ripper, you got - never mind, you’re a walking stun weapon.
Ripper K: I know - I could just walk in naked.

Shell: LEROOOOOY JENKINSSSSSSS!
Ocelot: Quietly enjoying their donuts and then the security barrier explodes and a cyborg jumps through.
Ripper K: We’re going to have to move in a hurry, aren’t we?
Ocelot: We were already going to.

Shell: *humming something under his breath*
Ocelot: Are you singing ‘Rule of Nature’? (Metal Gear: Revengeance)
Shell: Yes >:D
Oracle: *starts playing it over the TacNet*
Poe: Can anybody else hear that?

Ripper somersaults through the gap, snatching a guard out of his chair while still in mid-air, slams him onto the table and tasers him in the throat.

Shell: Show-off.

Ripper K: *starts securing the guards back to back*
Shell: Good idea! Hey, buddy, are you awake? Let’s GET ON WITH THIS.
Ocelot: It’s going to be at least an hour before they even wake up.
Ripper K: Fair point - if we’re still here in an hour we’ve got bigger problems.

Streetrat: If they don’t know we’re down here yet they deserve whatever happens next.
GM: There’s a laser security grid.
Poe: Pass me another grenade.
GM: *headdesk*

It’s still dead quiet down here. The rest of the building above, not so much. Alarms are going off everywhere.

Oracle: And there they go.

At least the four-legged heavily armed drone Streetrat is piloting, and the sword waving street samurai, are encouraging everybody to keep their heads down.

Shell: Hi there! Where’s Dr. Carroll?
Researcher: He’s out the back!
Shell: Great! You can show me the way!
Researcher: I can’t go in there! I’ll die!
Oracle: Oh, right, that radiation source…
Shell: I pat Streetrat’s drone and head on through.
Ripper K: And while they’re all staring at this maniac, I quietly spray the supervisor’s workstation with Screen Capture Spray.

Shell doesn’t even bother turning off the radiation source - it can’t hurt him in his cyborg chassis, and he’s got a rad suit for the Doctor. Which proves completely pointless, since the only thing in the far room is a large nexus node.

Shell: Dr Carroll? Are you hiding behind the desk? ARE YOU HIDING BEHIND THE DESK?
Dr. Carroll: Is it safe to come out?
Shell: For a given measure of safe.
Dr. Carroll: Very well then.

A small flying drone drone carrying something that looks like a laptop emerges from a concealed panel on the node.

Oracle: A good nano-tattoo would hold more data than that thing.
Ripper K: He’s probably just using whatever tech he could get his manipulators on.

Dr. Carroll: Very professionally done, but there’s no time to waste. We must leave immediately!

Not least because the reinforcements are arriving in helicopters.

Oracle: Great, I’ve already wanted to try skeet suiting.

GM: Of course, they didn’t notice a big van backed up to the wall.
Oracle: Well it didn’t register as a threat.
GM: Until now.
Shell: The van was as much of a threat as a dead wombat.
Ripper K’s player: Saw three wombats on my trip east.
Shell’s player: Really? Were they dead?
Ripper’s Player: Yup.
Shell’s Player: What the hell hit them?
Ripper’s Player: Dunno. There weren’t any wrecked cars by the road, but they might have been carted off. The wombats were probably too heavy to move.

Streetrat switches control to his aerial drone, so he can have some fun with the reinforcements too.

Ocelot: You know, each one of those choppers we shoot down will cost ARES close on a million nuyen.
Streetrat: More. That’s High Threat Response - more like 2 million in personnel.
Shell: I’ve got a new song ‘It’s Raining Men!’

Boots, former PC now working for ARES and Knight Errant, is probably listening to the reports with growing apprehension.

Boots: This sounds familiar - what kind of van are they driving? No reason.

We get back to the lifts - to find the DataDyne security have used the lift shaft to move in and barricade our escape route. They have armour and a chain gun.

Guards: Throw down your weapons!
Shell: Well, I COULD, but I’m currently carrying your Doctor, so feel free to shoot me.
Ocelot: Actually, they probably have orders to shoot if the AI does try to escape.
Shell: Good point.

Oracle blows the ground floor wall - and finds more guards, gathered to head down the lift shaft to the basement labs.

Oracle: Oh. Fuck. Hi?

Unfortunately for the guards in the basement, we have more grenades. And it’s a narrow corridor. And we still have that maniac with the memory metal claymore. Ripper K is getting a bit upset at this carnage.

Ripper K: I don’t want to be a murderer! I mean, can you think of any porn star murderers? I can’t!
Dr. Carroll: Don’t worry, you’re not a murderer. You’re an accessory to murder.
Ripper K: Well, assuming we even survive to get to trial, I’m fine!

At least we all get out alive. With the target, no less. But we are SO going to be on the run now…

Shell: If you really want, Ripper, we can stop at a Stuffer Shack and you can go in and buy a change of underwear.
Poe: Besides, it’s alright - there were no cameras down there. Of course, nothing will stop you remembering it - nothing short of Persona Editing anyway.

Apparently Dr. Carroll was a DataDyne invention, but his creators got nervous when it started questioning the direction of DataDyne’s research.

Oracle: Yeah, that kind of thing always makes people nervous.
Dr. Carroll: So, if you can just give me Matrix access…
All: *Exchange worried glances*

Streetrat’s dad Labrat tells us to take Dr Carroll to the Draco Foundation.

Shell: We just did a high profile run and they want us to take the target straight there. Straight there. Not to a safe house. STRAIGHT THERE.
Ripper K: I bet the client doesn’t even work there - they’ll be somebody waiting for us in the foyer and the moment we leave again they’ll be straight out the side door.

The Screen Capture Spray collects some interesting data from the workstation. On such things as Neutron Grenades, personal force fields, and some really advanced smart links. One of which Ocelot snaffled on our way out - ripping out the software should be very useful. Oracle sells this info to The Company, for more than we are already being paid for extracting Dr. Carroll.

Oracle’s Player:: I can’t wait until Drhoz hears what I’m going to do - he has a wonderfully expressive face when it comes to horror and disgust.

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A warning – this session includes scenes of actual human trafficking and sexual slavery, unlike my jokes about the last one. Spoilers for a published adventure 'Hiding in the Dark', even if we did manage to come up with a better plot to salvage things for the GM.

Oracle: I should tell you what I have planned, and not leave it hanging in front of everybody like a dick…. I just realised what I said. Sorry.

What Oracle has planned is combining existing tech into contagious mind-control nanites. But he’s not going to show us the prototypes until he’s perfected the antidote.

Shell: Oh good, so I don’t have to kill you.

GM: Why would Shadowrunners even take this job?
Oracle: Ethics, money, personal interest
Poe: Boredom.
GM: But working for the DA?
Ripper K: It’s legitimate money. We have to put SOMETHING on our tax returns. We’ll just put a few extra zeros in somewhere.

Ripper K: So is there any fallout from extracting the flying laptop? Do we get a phone call from Boots asking us what the fuck did we just do?
Shell: Probably not – we didn’t kill anybody in a way that made it obvious it was US.

GM: You hand Dr Carroll over to the Draco Foundation and they are very pleased and give you lots and lots of money.
Shell: Yay!
Ripper K: Will you be burnishing your nipples with this money too?
Shell: Only if you ask nicely.

Astronauta’s Player: How much is Cash for Karma?
Ripper K: *deliberately mishearing it as ‘Cash for camera’* Depends what kind of performance you want me to do.

GM: A chill rain soaks you to your bones.
Shell: That’s what the sensors on my bodyshell tell me.
Ripper K: And apparently I’m webcam whoring for Astronauta.
Ocelot: I’m picturing it as perfectly legitimate work on polishing Astronauta’s promotional videos.

We DO get a phone call from Boots, but it’s a job offer.

Boots: We need somebody with your skill sets.
Oracle: Given some of the projects I have on the backburner, that’s actually pretty alarming.

We approach the faux-adobe exterior of Reno’s, where frat-boys try to look tough in combat biker gear and cute little racing crotch-rockets, no doubt bought by their rich fathers trying to buy their love.

Oracle: I do a Reverse Visa ad – fake leather jacket, 400 nuyen, Victory cargo pants, 25 nuyen…
Ripper K: Public humiliation, priceless.
Oracle: Failing to impress me, priceless.
Ocelot: Oh, don’t be mean.

Boots: Sorry about the surroundings, but I didn’t feel like ice cream again.
Oracle: I LIKE ice cream.
Boots: Well, I don’t. I don’t like mass destruction either. You know what I mean?
Oracle: …. I can’t say I’ve heard of any MASS destruction lately.
Ripper K: I was visiting my granny.
Boots: Oh? You didn’t hear about that ARES chopper that got shot out of the air downtown?
Oracle: Well, maybe if they’d used their own model of chopper they wouldn’t have had so many problems.
Boots: YES! FINALLY! Someone who fucking AGREES with me when I point this kind of thing out! ‘But nobody uses ground-to-air missiles downtown’ Like FUCK they don’t! Even if it was just medium calibre assault rifle rounds they fished out of the wreckage of the helicarrier! Er, troop carrier.
Ripper K: It would be pretty impressive to take out a helicarrier with a rifle.
Ocelot: Although Hawkeye nearly managed it with a bow and arrow.

Boots is here to set up an Augmented Reality meet with the Assistant District Attorney, who we’ve avoiding working for in the past.

Oracle: Well, that explains why Boots called us – if the ADA had tried we wouldn’t have picked up the phone.

ADA: I dislike turning to those outside of the law. However, I find myself yet again using those of your kind.
Poe: Well, now we’ve walked off that conversational cliff…
Ocelot: Starting out strong.
Boots: Ma’am, may I suggest that if we are going to work with criminal scum, we at least exercise a modicum of tact?
Oracle: I object to being called criminal scum – I’ve never been convicted of anything. We’re just scum.
Ocelot: Well, I got that traffic ticket once.

The Assistant DA wants us to collect evidence to convict various organised criminals involved in the Seattle drug war – especially one ‘Junior’. A number of her best undercover agents are already dead or missing. We all get to bountyhunters for a week! Yay!

ADA: Only for a week though.
Oracle: *closing a computer menu* Aw.
Ripper K: ‘Seattle’s Most Wanted’?
Oracle: Yup.

GM: The pay will be 15000 nuyen per runner.
Ocelot: Works out to that for the runners in the party, anyway. Otherwise we’re calling every shadowrunner we know and given them high-fives. And then march in a line from one end of Seattle to the other.
Oracle: ‘How did the budget for this operation end up in the billions????’ Well, we imported more shadowrunners from out of town. And a whole bunch of mercs from Bogota.

The larger bounty depends on bringing Junior in alive. Half that is available if he turns up dead.

Oracle: That’s still a lot of nuyen for one bullet.

Junior has never been caught by surveillance.

Ripper K: Electronic or Mk I Eyeball?
ADA: Electronic.
Ripper K: Hey, Poe, you’re our expert on things Mage-ical. Is Junior magical?
Poe: *frowns* More likely technomancer.
Ripper K: Good point.

Junior also runs restaurants and brothels.

Astronauta Peligroso: I don’t mind going to the brothels – I’d like that part.

GM: A drunken man stumbles up and winks at you with his piercing blue eyes.
Shell: McGINTY????

It’s Joe Martin, a TRiD news anchor, who apparently has figured out who we are, who we were meeting with, and wants contacts in the Running community.

Oracle: If he doesn’t succeed on his Judge Intentions check he’s a dead man, because I’m going to lure him into an alley and kill him.
GM: He has Charisma 7 (and a bunch of other diplomancer enhancements)
Oracle: Fuck. I actually like the guy.

Oracle: *Over the team’s TacNet* Does anybody know where I find a mulcher?
Shell: I do! And he lives just down the tracks from me! ‘Hey Joe! Got something special for you!’ ‘Grraarrgghhh - This one doesn’t have any Humanis tattoos’ ‘I know! It’s special!’ ‘ Grraachhhhchomp - Tastes like pure douche.’

Oracle’s Player:: I played in a Shadowrun group that retired when we realised we could make more money making movies than doing runs.
Ocelot’s player: Van and I did that in Cthulhupunk.

Oracle: Mr Martin, you need to work on your approach – while we’ve been talking here I’ve sourced a mulching machine and a WiFi deadspot where I can kill you.
Mr Martin: Oh dear. Well, here’s my card.

And then we get another phone call, from Athena Tatopoulos, the Editor-in-Chief at KSAF

Oracle and Shell: IS THERE ANYONE IN SEATTLE THAT DOES NOT KNOW THIS RUN IS HAPPENING????

Athena makes an even less favourable impression on us than Martin. He, at least, approached us in person, and not as a recorded message.

Poe: I like the balls on the other guy.
Ocelot: Whatever floats your boat.

This job will require old-fashioned legwork.

Oracle: Can we start at the restaurants?
Ocelot: Let’s do the brothel.
Oracle: Aw, I was hungry.
GM: Well, one of the brothels is under a deli.
Astronauta Peligroso: I’M THERE.
Shell: And instantly everything turns into innuendo.
Ripper K: ‘Who ordered two kilos of Italian Sausage?’

Shell makes the mistake of going in with Astronauta – forgetting his phobia of nudity. Worse, all the working girls are Bunraku – biochipped with a range of personalities from Shy Housewife to Dominatrix. Which is just creepy. Especially since it’s such a cheap brothel the blank-faced girls are rented out to Seattle’s addicts and chip-heads for less than 40 nuyen an hour.

There is also screaming from behind one of the walls. Shell, who is not coping well already, kicks through the wall, and finds an operating theatre where a 12-year-old girl is being operated on for biochip implantation.

Shell: *drawing his memory metal claymore* Hello Doctor. I’m ready to make the incision.
Astronauta Peligroso: Don’t kill the doc, we need him to put the girl back together.
Shell: I beg to differ.

Ripper K: You know, with your distinctive appearance it’ll be pretty easy to track you down after trashing the place.
Astronauta Peligroso: Not a problem – I’ll get Oracle to wipe all the footage.
Ocelot: Not from eyewitnesses.
Shell: OK – we’re killing everybody in the room.
Oracle: Don’t look at me – Ocelot and I are researching Combat Drugs and delivery systems, so we can dose Junior up in a public place and get him arrested for going berserk. Where can I get a collapsible bow and a dose of Woad?

How very useful is Shell’s cybernetic nature – especially when he can call a surgeon friend of his, and use his own body as a tele-operated waldo for remote emergency surgery on the girl.

Shell: And suddenly my personality and body language is that of an 70-year-old Japanese man.
Astronauta Peligroso: What?
Oracle: Don’t worry, you’re not high, that actually happened.

We then call Boots and get Knight Errant to come down on the brothel with both boots. Ripper also suggests we pass suitably edited footage on to Martin and Tatopoulos, since both networks will milk the story of illegal neuroplug surgery on 12-year-old runaways for weeks. The doc, who survives Shell’s rampage, confesses everything to the DA – he was approached by Junior’s thugs, who demanded a cut of his profits in return for certain support in his ‘research’.

The second location is a battered apartment block that looks like it survived WWI, II, AND III. It’s a Better-than-life Den. One Drekhead claims he witnessed the murder of the undercover cop sent here.

Ripper K: You know, you can make more money telling your story on the networks…
Shell: Well THAT didn’t go the way I expected.
Ripper K: But before you do that you have to prove you have something to show off.
Shell: It’s like you start every sentence with a double entendre and yank it back at the last minute!

He has the cop’s commlink.

Drekhead: I’ll give you a thousand nuyen for it!
Ripper K: … I think you mean you’ll give it to us for thousand nuyen.
Astronauta Peligroso: That’s not what he said!

The third locale is an active drug den in another apartment block. Oracle pretends an interest in the motorbikes of the Trolls acting as security.

Spike: You here to see Little Bill?
Oracle: ….. yes!
Ripper K: ‘I am indeed here to see Diminutive William’

Little Bill is a dwarf, who has somehow become the boss of troll gang. He has a rap sheet a mile long.

Shell: Which includes dwarf-tossing.
Ocelot: Is that what they call it these days?

Little Bill: Whatchoo you want? You don’t look like the usual clientèle.
Oracle: Um, can you score me some Woad?
Little: Well, I can, but not today – I usually carry BTLS, Novacoke, that kinda thing. But I can get you some if you come back tomorrow.
Ripper K: *over the TacNet* Well, he just confessed on microcamera that he deals in drugs. Ask him whether Junior won’t be here tomorrow.
Oracle: OK, I’ll come back tomorrow… wait, your boss won’t be here, will he?
Little Bill: *narrow eyes* What boss?
Oracle: Tusker? Name of Junior? That I never want to run into?
Little Bill: Well… I don’t see him often. He has a schedule.
Ripper K: Bingo XD

The runners drive up to the next location Junior is known to frequent, an old Irish pub called “Murphy’s Law”, but the place is swarming with Knight Errant patrol cars, ambulances, and bodies riddled with bullets. Boots leads them behind the bar to one of the secret entrances to the Ork Underground. Apparently two of the crime families – Yakuza and the Finnegans - had a shoot-out, and there were a lot of innocent bystanders, including a 7-year-old girl. Oracle gets to work with his sensor drones. The trail leads to an ork standing over the body of a Japanese man.

Shell OoC: Hey there! You gonna eat that?

This would have especially offensive, since the Ork is a member of the Yakuza as well. He’s already extremely pissed off, since the shoot out happened when the Yaks got a tip-off that Junior was going to be at the bar, the Irish crooks spotted the guns, and panicked.

Oracle: How much do you want to bet that Junior sent them the tip?

More PTSD for Shell – the Yakusa Ork takes us to a strip joint. To meet an Italian Ork mobster. It looks like everybody is joining forces to take Junior down.

‘Legitimate Italian-American Businessman’: I love the Ork Underground. I’m a silent partner in half of the businesses down here. Since the fire a few months ago I’ve been heavily involved in the reconstruction.
Ocelot: ?
Oracle: We didn’t do it – that’s why we didn’t hear about it.

LI-AB: I have a lot of information on Junior. I just need you to do a small favour for me.
Oracle: Goodbye.
Ocelot: It had better be a bloody small favour – we’re already trying to take Junior down.

He just wants us to escort some building supplies.

Ripper K: What, he’s running short on concrete boots?

Shell: I respectfully insist we do this one job for you, then go deal with our mutual problem.

Oracle: I’m coming around on the escort thing.
Astronauta Peligroso: ?
Oracle: I have six kilos of C12. WE can guarantee the building supplies arrive safe. They won’t STAY safe…

Shell: This is like babysitting a team of marines that are bored and already don’t like you.

Topside Construction is actually a legitimate business.

Oracle: Actually I won’t blow this up – if Junior has been attacking legitimate businesses, that’s just dirty pool.

This actually appears to be a simple, straightforward, and innocent job, escorting and unloading building supplies down into the Ork Underground. And the other two jobs would have been to a homeless shelter and a soup kitchen.

Oracle Ooc: Nice curveball from the writers there.
Ocelot OoC: It just means we didn’t see what went wrong.

Back to the nightclub – where all the lights are off.

Ripper K: Oh god.
GM: You go in.
Oracle: Oh no we don’t.
Ocelot: Drone goes in first.

LI-AB: I suppose I should hold up my end of our bargain. I told you I could help you find Junior, and I can. I’m him.
Oracle: Dammit. Ocelot, I owe you twenty nuyen.

Junior explains how he’s spent years building up the Ork Underground’s legitimate economy, despite the opposition from Humanis, xenophobes, organised crime, etc. If it wasn’t for the 50-odd innocent people killed in the escalating gangwar after he got the Finnegans involved, we’d actually be sympathetic. He makes a counter-offer – tell the ADA we failed, and he can wind up the Junior persona over the next few months.

Shell: Earlier tonight we raided a Bunraku parlour. You have anything to do with that?
Junior: Bunraku? No, I hate those things. I’ve got some brothels though.
Oracle: Then you’ve got a problem – someone has suborned the Junior identity.

Shell: Counter-offer – stop ALL your illegal activities and we hand over a Junior.
Ripper K: After all, we still get paid if he’s dead.
Oracle: But only half.

This seems a good compromise – the real Junior fingers a suitable fake, provides evidence to incriminate him, and we take him down and present him to the ADA as the real deal. Junior will have to pay us the difference, though. Mystery Ork X, who has a counterpart in the Yakuza, and who figured out what was really going on and found a way to make money on the side, turns out to be the manager of the Gravity Bar, a legitimate Manhattan-style singles bar up on the surface.

GM: ‘Try our range of speciality martinis!’
Shell: ‘We call this one the Slippery Nipple’

Unfortunately, X’s Matrix security is ridiculously good for a nightclub.

Ocelot: Jesus! He’s got corp-level security!
Ripper K: Well, he is trying to not get himself killed by the Yakuza AND Junior.

Alarms go off all over the place, and we just have to storm the place.

Shell: Hey. Wake up. Do you have anything to do with that Bunraku parlour?
X: Which one?
Ripper K: Ouch.
Astronauta Peligroso: Wrong answer.
Shell: *pops X’s head off*

True, his friend in the Yakuza will get away, but at least we’ve got a body to pass off as Junior, a very messy van to clean, and a deranged cyborg to hose off.

Ocelot: A decapitated corpse is really difficult to pass off as an accidental death. If you’d left him I could have passed it off as an accidental overdose of slap-patches. Now we’re going to get so much shit from the DA… did he have a motorbike?
Oracle: Hey Shell, how many Bunraku-parlour owners are you willing to decapitate?
Shell: How many Bunraku parlours are there in Seattle?
Oracle: Problem solved – the rumours will start by themselves, after Shell pops the heads off some more.
Shell: Excuse me while I go for a very enthusiastic walk.
Ocelot: Let’s get our story straight. ‘We found him like this’
Ripper K: We got there while the alarms were still sounding. Which is true XD
Ocelot: Actually, let’s blame it on a drone malfunction. ‘I haven’t finished tweaking my extraction drone’
Shell: I don’t know whether I’m pleased or annoyed that you’re covering for me.
Ripper K: But you’re still going around decapitating Bunraku parlour owners?
Shell: Eh, I’ll stop after the fourth. ‘1, 2, 3, 4, bored now. See you next year!

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The carnage at Castle Cragmaw continues, but since the PCs claimed the moral high ground nobody gets to complain. One curious thing - the goblins are using coal for fuel. Despite the ruins standing in a forest. Is the Lost Mine of Phandalin a coal mine?

There were plenty of quotes from the session, and nearly every damn one of them was lost thanks to cloud storage failure. I will never use it again. 

Thorn's player: You know, in 25 years of roleplaying, this is the first time I've actually encountered an owlbear. Never get between an owlbear and its cub. Or possibly fledgling.
Kerak: Chick?

Kerak: Are there more bad guys coming in the side doors?
GM: No.
Kerak: Thank Christ for that.
Thorn: *corrects the dwarf's mythology* Thank the Red Knight for that.
Urlon: Does the Red Knight even exist?
Kerak: I should bop you with this warhammer for that.


We do eventually find a nearly-dead dwarf being held hostage by a dark elf woman. We can't let her kill the dwarf - or let her get away.

Elethandiel: You know what will happen if she gets away.
Thorn: Yes, we'll have another recurring villain.

Drow: Leave now or the earthworm dies.
Thorn: *snarls* You labour under a misapprehension, elf - the only way you're getting out of here alive is if you earn our good will. And there is no way you're leaving here unless you put the dwarf down NOW.
King Gurnt: *snorts* Then we play a waiting game - we wait until my minions return, and then we will see who eats whose bones.
Kerak: What minions would those be? The dead ones in the castle? 
King Gurnt: Only the strong go on patrol. 
Thorn: Ah, like the ones with that wanted poster for the dragonborn. 
Kerak: They're dead too. Face it, you're alone.
King Gurnt: And a green dragon might fly down and kill everybody.
Thorn: Oh, you've met him too?

Of course, the biggest problem is that the dwarf is near death and can't defend himself. That, however, can be changed.

Thorn: *holding up clerical symbol* In the name of the god Helm I swear to let you leave alive if you release yo- HEALING SURGE

The drow is now struggling with a fully healed hostage, and we storm the room. All that follows is surprise reveals of who the drow actually is, the whereabouts of the other missing dwarfs, and clues about the various conspiracies. For example, the dwarf that we just rescued - and the one we were originally hired by all those weeks ago - sent his brothers to Wave Echo Cave. And somebody named the Black Spider organised the kidnapping. We take our leave. Unfortunately, King Gurnt wasn't kidding about his patrols... and there's 30-odd hobgoblins waiting for us outside the ruins.They throw an elf's head at us by way of intimidation.

Kavorog: Seriously? *throws the changeling's head at them, shows off the dire wolf skin he collected earlier, and throws down the owlbear paws the halfling wants to make into epaulettes.

The new hobgoblin leader chooses to interpret this as a tribute.

Kavorog: Nevermind, we can kill him later.
Thorn: Or the dragon will.

GM: The sun sets, your mission is complete, and big dark shadows are cast across the land.*flying a dragon toy across the table*

The next session, which included getting Kavorog's totemic animal on side, the return of Lamech the Gnome, and plothooks for Temple of Elemental Evil.

GM: Well, now you know why lions were hanging out near the road – it’s dangerous out there in the wilderness, even for lions.

Kavorog: Is there anywhere I can get my axe Turned into +2?
Thorn: Yes – you can go ask the Red Wizard of Thay to do it.
Kavorog: … let’s not.

On top of all the other stuff we’ve been putting off, there’s that door to the shadow realms under the ruined mansion we probably should investigate. And bored fairy dragons to entertain. But there is still the dwarf’s brothers we need to locate and rescue.

Thorn: We don’t even know they’re in trouble – they could be hacking away at a huge pile of gold and lost track of time.

Of course, not all the PCs are coming with us – their mothers complained.

Urlon: When something goes wrong I want you to be in the rescue party.

Lamech meanwhile, has been making a tour of the Sea of Monsters, Sea of Holes, etc.

Lamech: It’s probably concussion speaking.

He gets rescued by birdlike beings.

Lamech: At least it’s not machine elves.

They recruit him to prevent an evil elemental takeover of the world. Lamech takes the opportunity to drop a bundle of stuff on Kavorog’s head through the Aarokocra’s viewing portal.

Lamech: Wait for it, wait for it…. Bombs away!

GM: The blazing portal appears in the sky, and winged figures emerge playing trumpets, and Lamech is borne to earth by
Lamech: Shining winged figures
GM: … who look exactly like Aarakocra covered in glitterdust.

Monstrous_manual_2e_-_Aarakocra_-_p5.png

Local cleric: We’re sure this is blasphemous – he’s passing himself off as a divine being – but I’ll buy into this for now.

Lamech: I bring word from the airy realms, word that must be given to the greatest fighters of the age, lest the world fall to chaos! That’s you, you, and you.
Kavorog: *looks around* Elminster must be around here somewhere, laughing his arse off.

Lamech: The dark elemental forces are going to make a move on Faerun, and we’re in the right place to stop it. And I get to be an Emissary!
Kavorog: That has to be the strongest stuff you’ve ever taken – where can we get some more?

GM: You’re still got your set of dark common clothes.
Lamech: Actually it’s covered in glitterdust at the moment, but that’ll wear off.

The druid tells Kavorog about the Emerald Enclave, an association of barbarians, rangers, druids and other treehuggers.

Druid: If you tell anyone about this I will be forced to kill you.
Kavorog: Well, you could try.

Druid: Do you want to join?Druid:
Kavorog: That was sudden. I’ll just need to pop back to camp, and get the oil for my initiation. *gleefully oils himself up*

Druid: Your initiation name will be ‘Late-for-Dinner’

Lamech: Kavorog might not be good, but he does a convincing impersonation. At least when there’s anybody around to watch.

Lamech: While I certain appreciate the products of nature, I’m not sure I’m the kind of person your group is after.
Druid: You’re a nefarious hippie drug-user who can string two words together and bluffed a dragon. You were born to be either a Harper or a member of the Emerald Enclave.
Lamech: … that’s fair enough.

Lamech: Do I get an initiation name too?
Druid: *sigh*
Kavorog: I’ll go get more oil.
Druid: Fine, you’re Ergot.

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Black Crusade : The Ace of Adepts, Inverted

 

Where the party have successfully framed major law enforcement officers as dabblers in Warpcraft, and intend to continue their pose of sanctioned investigators, infiltrate the Tricorn Tower in Sibellus Hive, and run off with books that really should have burned and the ashes dropped into a black hole.

Digna: I can't believe I'm still getting away with this.

Getting through Customs at Scintilla.

Eniek: We don't actually have much in the holds.
GM: Apart from all those orphans.
Daniels: Oh yes.
Digna: You leave my orphans alone.

If there's anything guaranteed to make Imperial Customs suspicious, it's a starship turning up with nothing they can confiscate.

Skerrit: Well, if they must find something they can alway find my suitcase of xenos pornography.

And of course if they scan the heretics thoroughly they'll spot all those mutations. Digna attempts to cow them.

Digna: Lord-captain Daniels has seen fit to ferry me to.. where are we again?
Eniek: Scintilla.
Digna: To continue my investigations - I am commencing them now.

Daniels: I could try and smuggle in a crate of booze as a decoy.
GM: That could work - there's no such thing as duty-free in the Imperium.

Distracting Customs by showing them the Archeotech starship engines.

GM: He calls in all his friends to go OOOOOH. And meanwhile, in the background, Daniels and Skerrit are running around with the crates of stuff they actually want to smuggle to the surface.
Digna: This give you a chance to run the Thousand Swords gambit.
Daniels: ?
Digna: You're supposed to have 1000 swords. But most of them are 'out for polishing', and all you actually have is 50 and a lot of empty crates. Keep the inspectors distracted and you can keep moving the full crate back to the front.
Customs Tech-priest: I really need to check your cargo manifest.
Digna: Very well - come with me to the bridge. The Bridge of Antiquity.
Customs: OOOOOH.

Digna: Adsecularii are part of the Adeptus Mechanicus, but they're the lowest rank of the AdMech. They're not privy to the Mysteries. They're just there to lift things.

Customs Tech-priest: Can we come back later and examine your engine specifications?
Digna: Buy me dinner first.

Daniels: Can I get the Melodium to play the Benny Hill theme?
Digna: Less Yakety Sax, more....
GM: The Sgt. Bilko theme.

Eniek: I'll connect to the local datasphere.
Digna: An actual noosphere!
Daniels: 'Give me half an hour, I need to meditate'.
GM: Is that what you call it. 'Excuse me, I'll be in my bunk'

Studying the Tricorn Tower, and the underhive beneath it. Especially which gangs are most prominent in that area. There's a few that are particularly notable - the Resplendent Droogs, Crypt Boys, and the Saboteurs.

Eniek attempts to figure out what military forces the Inquisition have in the Tricorn Tower, by digging through any purchase records he can find. Skerrit stealths his way into a neighbouring spire to study the defences and access points (climbing down the outside of the building after) and casts an augury to see what the future might hold.

GM: Those who to the tower go, Must choose above, between, below 

It's not looking hopeful - the only entrance visible on the outside of the tower is the Ominous Gate, the tower has its own power supply, they have at least a platoon of storm troopers in there, and there's a rumour they have a teleportarium. On the other hand, there's also a story that a renegade Inquisitor, called to account for his use of alien mercenaries, escaped into the Sibellus catacombs. If the heretics can track him down, he could prove very useful indeed. The auguries certainly suggest that finding him won't be that difficult, but also warn that 'every villain considers himself the hero'. They also warn that at least two of the party are being hunted themselves.

There are indeed tales of Kroot lurking in certain sections of the underhive.

Kroot2.jpg

Skerrit's Player: Google Search, you've done it again.
Digna: ?
GM: There's Kroot Porn.
Daniels: ... of COURSE there is.
Skerrit: It's not porn!
GM: Alright, it's a tasteful Kroot nude.

Digna will not be going on this expedition - she'll be busy interpreting a clue the Daemon of the Mirror gave her about the whereabouts of the Silica Anima. To whit, to 'make the choice that your colleagues illustrious ancestor did not'. 

Digna: Now that they're not around to fucking distract me...

She figures out that this means the choice that lead Daniels' forebear to Hersilia, and places the Silica Anima somewhere in the coreward half of a remote star cluster. And heading into the Catacombs gives the party's cartomancer a chance to show off his Magnificent Horns again.

Skerrit: If we're going into the underhive can I take off this fucking wig?
GM: The Inquisition has eyes everywhere.

GM: So basically the only way you can hide these things is with a giant Princess Leia hairdo. 
Skerrit: Pretty much.
GM: Or a clown wig.

Tracking down the renegade proves relatively straightforward. It's a little surprising the Inquisition failed to do so.

GM: If you're on the run from the cops, don't hide in their basement.
Digna: actually.....

She has a point - we're reminded to a spectacularly inept case of race fixing here in Australia, where the ringleader went on the run, and slipped the horse in question into the Mounted Police paddock. It took them weeks to notice.

The compact - get the Liber ex Mortis etc.

Digna: Secondary objective - Get out alive
GM: Well, the gods do approve of suicide runs under certain circumstances.

Digna has sent her combat servitor Mr Bubbles along in her stead.

Digna: Well his primary programming is offline - he doesn't have a Little Sister to protect.
Daniels: Oh.
Digna: But I do have all those orphans.

Digna's player is also using sound effects from Bioshock to reinforce how creepy the servitor is. Mr Bubbles soundboard starts playing 1930s Swing

Daniels: Mr Bubbles? Are you OK?

They find the Kroot, who seem amused anybody wants to talk to the Grade-A Whackaloon the renegade has become.

Eniek: We'll see how funny they think I am when I pull out their organs.

The renegade inquisitor, after ranting for a while about 'the traveller returns', the Ordo Chronos, and how he'll 'show them all!' agrees to show them how to get into the Tricorn Tower, and where the Liber ex Mortis is probably concealed. Things are looking up.

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Black Crusade : The Ninth Arcana, Reversed

 

Daniels' player: Have you considered letting Tzeench into your life?

Weldun: *watching the Jaws of Hakkon intro* Sigh - looks like I'll be committing genocide. Again.

Digna: I want to get this tower done and dusted. Done, dusted, and launched.

Having successfully convinced the deranged renegade Inquisitor to join forces, the heretics head back out of the underhive, but the renegade's Kroot mercenaries opt to remain behind.

Eniek: I hope they do come with us - I can't wait to get him on the table.
Digna: Why their Shaper, in particular?
Eniek: He pissed me off.
Digna: Oh, right. So, 'You're going on The List'

Digna muses on various applications of warpcraft and dark science she can embark upon. A creature that can manipulate the target's emotions, for example.

GM: There's always the Orgasmotron from Barbarella.
Digna: I don't need a homonculus for that - but thanks for suggesting another engineering project.

Digna: OK, that's it - this campaign is becoming Warhammer 40K : The Musical.

Digna: I hope you didn't tell Mr Bubbles to retrace his steps - I'm pretty there were some places that wouldn't take his weight twice.

Skerrit's player is sent forward as a scout and rolls 100 for Stealth. and 100 again for perception. This is as bad as it is possible to be, so it's fortunate there are no Critical Fails in the Black Crusade system. Fortunately the servoskull accompanying him spots the heavily armed Victorian undertakers waiting for them in a subterranean chapel.

Skerrit: it's a steampunk cosplay group.

But even plasma cannons and demo charges are no match for the characters, as powerful as they now are.

GM: They weren't expecting a tech-priest - you DO have the vocoder voice, yes?
Eniek: It's a vox unit, yes.
Daniels: He forgot turn it off from 'Little Girl'

The ambushers do not seem to been sent by whoever is hunting the PCs - it was a random encounter. Thus back to the luxurious spire apartment Lord-Captain Daniels hired for his stay on Scintilla. It has all the mod cons.

GM: And quite possibly generations of servants standing by the privy with a sponge on a stick.

Eniek: So, how was your day? How went the research?
Digna: It went swimmingly, now I was without distractions.

She's also become a Champion of Slaneesh while they were away. As happened with the player's previous character, this was because they didn't keep track of how many blessings they were getting from which Ruinous Power.

Skerrit: ... did you get even prettier?

Skerrit: I don't even swing that way!

Digna: I've figured out when I got the Mark of Slaneesh. It was the Addictrix advance.
GM: You pour a pretty poison.
Digna: Not pour, no.
GM: Inject?
Digna: No.
Daniels: Oh no...
GM: ?
Digna: The Milk of Human Kindness.
GM: Oh god... and all those orphan children.
Digna: Yup :D


Digna: First I defeat them in social combat.
Daniels: And then you pop out a tit.
GM: *headdesk and gibbers*
Digna: Hey, you wanted to run Black Crusade.

Skerrit has a new ability too - Mind Bullets.

Skerrit: And poor little city creatures are exploding around me as I think at them.

Digna's research into 'the choice Daniel's ancestor did not take' has narrowed down the whereabouts of the Silica Anima to one half of a troublesomely turbulent star cluster. Once she has the A.I., she'll build it a body.

Digna: She's a gynoid designed to go in among the poor and impoverished to incite riots. So of course she's called Maria.

The rest of the party want to infiltrate the Inquisition's Tricorn Tower as soon as possible.

Digna: Really? I have work to get on with!

Like that Little Sister to go with Mr. Bubbles.

Daniels: 'I made a new friend' ' He was OK as he was!

Digna: Fine, I'll come. If only to stop you trying to convince me.
GM: Well, there's one reason for you to stay here - if the entire Tricorn Tower goes up in a mushroom cloud you're well out of it.

Skerrit: How are we supposed to hide my horns?
GM: We put a microwave oven on your head and paint it chrome.

Daniels: How cheap did you get those Adsecularii for?
Digna: *twitch* Parsing Error. Redo from Start. You don't get any cheaper then Adsecularii - I had to buy them as a horde.

They swear to carry out the theft, and do as much damage to the Inquisition as possible while they're at it, and still get out again afterwards.

GM: So don't get caught - you have to get out of the tower somehow, even if it's in an expanding cloud of debris.

Purchases - grav-chutes, in case they need to escape through a window and jump to safety.

GM: How many Adsecularii are you taking in with you?
Daniels: Who said they're getting grav-chutes?

They also want to acquire a Meltabomb, disguised as innocuous monitoring equipment, and somehow affix it to the underside of the Tricorn Tower's plasma reactor.

Daniels: It needs to be gilded.
Eniek: It's a throwaway, one-use device.
Daniels: IT NEEDS TO BE GILDED.

GM: Your Adsecularii are carrying equipment worth dozens of times more than they are.
Digna: Actually, mine are quite valuable. I augmented them to Machine Trait 2. They LOVE me - devoted and fanatical.
Skerrit: You're the freaking Borg Queen!
Digna: Oh, you just noticed?
Daniels: Milk of Human Kindness my arse.

Digna: I should fit Mr. Bubbles with a Stummer - so it sounds like normal footsteps. 'Who's behind me, walking so slowly?' *turns around. Looks up. And Up.*

The renegade probably won't be much use after he's given them directions to the tower's archives, teleportarium, and secret underground entrance.

Digna: And if nothing else we can have Mr Bubbles throw him at the enemy.

The Crypt Boys gang that Digna recruited will help guide them through the underhive to the tower, despite the dangers of gas build-up, and collapses, and dangerous underhive monsters.

GM: They're willing to follow you, even without respirators and filter plugs.
Digna: Don't worry, Mr. Bubbles is immune to fire.
GM: They're not.
Digna: I repeat, Mr. Bubbles is immune to fire.

Daniels: If in doubt, bodies can be used as ladders.
GM: And field rations.

The servoskull that Digna sends ahead gets eaten by a giant chameleonic bobbitt worm.

That+my+friend+is+a+bloodworm+it+is+an+a

Skerrit unwisely takes the GMs advice and overclocks his psi-powers, killing the worm, but causing dangerous side effects - in this case, distorting every reflective surface for some distance. Ruined : every las-weapon, auto-sense, and gilded surface in the party. Overjoyed : the GM

Digna: I remind you the Compact only requires us to leave the tower. It says nothing about what state you are in.
GM: You could always rip his arms and legs off, and carry him.

Little Sister sings to herself as she dissects the giant Bobbit Worm. She was designed to harvest interesting genetic materiel, after all.

Eniek: How would you like chameleonic skin?
Skerrit: You can do that?
Eniek: I can now. Well, not right now, but later.

The renegade muses on how unlikely his escape from the tower actually was.

Eniek: Maybe you had the Emperor's Luck on your side.
Renegade Inquisitor: Yes! That's it! I'm doing righteous work!
Daniels: Religious nuts are so fun.

The Crypt Boys are sent home - there's not much else they can do for the party, and they've been wounded by larval bobbitt worms anyway. There is some argument whether it was the bobbit worm or the autogun rounds that took his foot off.

The secret entrance to the tower is booby-trapped, of course, discharging millions of volts through the first person to touch it. Since this is Eniek, and he can store that charge in his Luminen Capacitor, the trap proves worse than useless.

Eniek: oooooooOOOoooOoooOOH thankyou

Digna gets to work bypassing the locks on the secret entrance.

Digna: If all else fails we use a lascu... oh wait *glares at Skerrit* If all else fails we use Skerrit as a battering ram.
Skerrit: Actually that works - I do have these horns.

The chamber beyond is a deathtrap - or at least it was meant to be. I made the mistake of letting the Slaneesh-aligned character open her mouth, and within minutes she had them convinced she and her team were there to check the plasma reactor. Despite the fact they'd just watched her disabling the blast doors behind the party. The gun-team calls a tech-priest for her to talk to.

Digna: +++Brother+++
Tech-Priest: +++Brother. In the purely non-gendered sense+++

After spinning a story about dangerous hereteks that seek to destroy themselves to become one with the Omnissiah, they give the tech-priest the disguised melta-bomb and tell him it's a gravimetric sensor array, to check the plasma reactor for distortions of the critical elements.

Eniek: +++It's similar to the way glass in cathedral windows is thicker at the bottom, because it flowed downwards over the centuries+++
Tech-priest: +++That is a myth. You have been misinformed, brother.+++

After scanning Digna's particuars, he goes to do the same for the rest of the party, until Digna points out none of them will be entering the reactor chamber themselves, so he doesn't have to. Just as well - their mutations would have been obvious.

Digna: He IS recording my measurements for later perusal.
GM: He'll be in his bunk.

Digna: +++Here, brother. It must be placed at the very base of the plasma reactor.+++
Tech-priest: +++What tech-litanies must be recited?+++
Digna: *gives him archeotech lore he's never even heard of*

That sorted, the rest of the party have but a few hours to locate the Libris ex Mortis, hijack the Inquisitorial teleportarium, and get out. Assuming everything is going to plan...

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The GM, in an effort to ramp out just what a hypocritical POS the target of this week's run was, and inadvertently aided by some very unflattering character art, managed to make this session rather transphobic. We took him to task over this and he promised not to do it again.

Ripper K: So, do we know if Oracle is alive or not?
Shell: Hang on, I'll check *bringbring*
Oraclet: Yeah, what?
Shell: He's alive.
Ripper K: He told us to not disturb him.
Oraclet: It's OK, I'm not bunker coding anymore, just coding.

GM: News of the Day! Prop 23 got vetoed as unconstitutional.
Ocelot: How did that happen?
Ripper K: Racist arseholes.
Poe: Insert Arbitrary Bitching

Kenneth Brackhaven, Governor of Seattle, vetoed the recent Proposition 23, which had given Seattle's goblinoid population a political voice. Given Brackhaven is the only known case of 'remission" from goblinization, and was raised as a complete arsehole anyway, this surprises nobody. Nor does the fact that the Goblinoid's protest rally is happening the same day that the Humanis Policlub are having their own counterrally. Or that the planned routes meet at Town Hall.

Kenneth Brackhaven ran for UCAS President under the Archconservative Party, and narrowly lost out to Dunklezhan.

Ocelot: He couldn't stand up to the Big D.
Ripper K: *splutters*
Poe: He actually said that without smiling.

Naturally, we have an incentive to see this veto gets overturned - have the party are goblinoid.

Shell: And what are you, Ripper?
Oraclet: Living novelty dildo.

This is one of the occasions we can approach the client first - we call our friend in the Ork Underground. He does indeed have a job for us. Off to the Howling Griffin, a goblinoid rock club.

Astronauta Peligroso: What's goblin rock?
Oraclet: Glam rock for orkls.
Astronauta Peligroso: I see. So now someone needs to explain glam rock to me and I'll be fine.
Ocelot: Jem and the Holograms as played by fantasy stereotypes.

Bouncer: I know the drill, you were never here.
Ripper K: I don't even know where we are. *turns to Poe. Spittakes* Who are you?
Shell: I was just looking for the bar.
Ocelot: I bet at least once a month a random group of people get mistaken for shadowrunners. That's how new teams start.
 

Our contact wants to ensure that the goblinoids win the brewing war of public opinion. Congressman James Grey is a staunch ally of the governor. We have to make him appear in the upcoming Humanis rally, on live Tri-D, to publicly associate him with racist extremists, and then humiliate him to destroy his political career and associations.

Shell: Voted Most Punchable Face of 2069

Snatching him while he's visiting his mistress seems best. The Congressman's wife will be delighted if we can prove he's an adulterer, too.

All: We get paid twice! *do the happy dance*

Ocelot: 50 nuyen says the mistress is metahuman.
Oraclet: No bet
Client: Typical for 'family values' types, right?

Oracle's plan is to film the congressman canoodling with his mistress, then kidnap the mistress, and send the congressman a message threatening to 'expose you, you hypocritical piece of shit' if he doesn't attend the Humanis rally. Meanwhile we put the mistress up somewhere nice, and hand her over to the better journalists afterwards. The chatshow circuit will dine out on this for weeks. And we get to frame some racists with kidnapping. Ripper suggests one from the FBI Most Wanted list - a kidnapper with known Humanis associations. A Physical Mask spell, and we can insure he 'accidentally' wanders past some security cameras at the apartment block. First, we need to find the apartment where they'll be meeting - fortunately, our infiltration drone Shitkicker has been getting some up-grades.

Shitkicker: +++SQUEE!+++I HAVE GECKO TIPS!+++AND JUMP JETS!+++

His driver certainly noticed us following him, but since we were only doing so long enough to be sure Shitkicker was attached to his undercarriage, he decided it must have been nothing. The congressman's mistress is indeed metahuman. The surprise is who's on top.

Poe: He's screwing an elf.
Shell: He's getting screwed BY an elf.

Much of the next few minutes is occupied by the party arguing about gender identity and political correctness. But she's still getting kidnapped.

Astronauta Peligroso: So we have a body.
GM: Excuse me? She IS still alive.
Astronauta Peligroso: I can fix that.

Shell: Excuse me for asking, but what do you identify as?
Luisa: *through the gag* MMMHHGNNMGHN!
Shell: You heard them - they're MMMHHGNGHNN! *tranq patches them, and starts singing a lullaby* Go to sleep, go to sleep, go to sleep little MMMMHHGNNGHMM!

Shell: Hey Congressman, we have your MMHHGNNNMM.

Oraclet: He can always claim he was co-erced into appearing at the rally - and he'll be telling the truth. It's a shyster's wet dream.
GM: Right up until you show the footage anyway.
Oraclet: Yup.

We also give the journalist Holly Brighton the heads up that she'll want some cameras at the rally. And that we have a 'special guest' for her show. And show her some of the footage. She's willing to pay extra for the exclusive with the Mistress, and best quality copies of the film.

Oraclet: We don't have the congressman.
Ripper K: But we know where he'll be.

Oraclet: Do this right and we can get paid three times.

Shell: Just tell me we can go beat up some Humanis after all this.
Poe: Sure - it IS Saturday.

The Congressman is trying to be inconspicuous at the Humanis rally - wearing a hoodie, etc. No doubt he has lots of incognito security hovering about too, for all the good it will do him.

Oraclet: That's fine - I have a spotlight on one of the drones.

Ripper K: I'll just be sitting on the edge of the roof, eating popcorn-flavoured NERPS.

We wait with glee and anticipation, as the Humanis march off towards Town Hall. Then we turn on the spotlight. Humanis reacts predictably, roaring their approval of the congressman's presence. Then we set off the Augmented Reality displays, and a six-story tall full-colour movie of the congressman appears on the building over-looking the road. Suitably pixellated so it can appear on all the news channels.

Humanis protesters: KILL THE ELF-F*CKER!!!! ELF-F*CKER! ELF-F*CKER! ELF-F*CKER! ELF-F*CKER! ELF-F*CKER!
Poe: That's a chant you can get behind.

The resulting riot is glorious. And the Ork protesters are entirely uninvolved. We drop Luisa off to Holly.

Oraclet: By the way, your boyfriend was an ass.
Luisa: *shrug* It was mostly for the money.
Oraclet: He's also probably dead. He was surrounded by hundreds of Humanis Policlub members when we played the footage.
Ripper K: I'm sure he had bodyguards.
Oraclet: Speaking as a security expert, he was still dogmeat.

True, we had to use Oracle's other drones to stop any of the Orks joining in the violence, but we sell the designs to Knight Errant afterwards (via Boots) to obscure our presence. They can always pretend it was a prototype.

Knight Errant Rep: Wait - you've made the prefect extraction drone... out of our parent company's back stock??
Shell: Now if you'll excuse me, my city needs me *holds up hands*
Vulture Drone: KCAW! *extraction drone swoops down and snatches him up into the sky*

We also just finished a four-hour session in an hour. The GM hurriedly preps a bodyguard job in New York for us, to protect an artist-mage. Apparently he and his cronies want to summon a major free spirit. As an art project.

Poe: OK, it's a spirit of Art, but..
GM: They want to summon it at the Guggenheim.
Poe: *headdesk*
GM: The Spirit is called Mister Dada
Shell: Why do I feel this job is going to get weird?
Ocelot: My arsehole is puckering so hard right now.
GM: The reason they want Shadowrunners instead of corporate security is because they want to fake the ritual going wrong, for dramatic purposes.
Ocelot: You remember that puckering I mentioned earlier?
Oraclet: I want to know exactly how this ritual is going to 'go wrong'. I want safewords. If I hear 'banana' it's weapons free.

And all this in Manhattan, a hyper-surveillance hub for the elite.

Ocelot: What we could POSSIBLY be adding as security??
Shell: We're not security, we're ambiance.

Ripper and Oracle drop by Mortimer of London's Seattle outlet to pick up a really nice suit for the job.

Poe: Damn - If I knew Shapechange I could have gone as a woman.

Oracle: Trousers, 800 nuyen. Shirt, 550 nuyen. Suit jacket, 1500 nuyen. Looking stunning - priceless.

Ripper struts up the red carpet into the event. And gets 12 successes on 14 dice. Oracle does nearly as well - and he's wearing a mask! So does Astronauta.

thumb0.jpg

GM: You're going to get movie offers! Legitimate movie offers!
Shell: And nobody notices Shell *sadface*

In fact, Ocelot is the only one who actually looks and acts like security. But then, that's what the clients want. They're delighted at the media frenzy. Half an hour later the party gets gatecrashed by giant walking statues of various 20th century celebrities. This might cause alarm - but we know it's part of the show, so simply do our best to ensure nobody gets trampled. Our clients animated them from the Pre-Crash Pop Collection, and they proceeed to dance in the middle of the rotunda.

Shell: Dance off!
Oraclet: It's just a jump to the left.

Of course, the other part of the contract was that we destroy these things. Which we do. While dancing. Shell slices one in half, Oracle shoots up another, Astronauta uses wrestling moves, and Ripper executes an enthralling pas de deux, intending to lift a statue gracefully over his head.. and piledrive it into the floor. It doesn't quite work out that way - instead, one of the statues is so Enthralled it leaps from an upper level of the rotunda towards Ripper's arms, and only avoids squashing some attendants because Poe caught it with a Levitate spell. At this point the mages drop their spells, and attempt to 'make their escape'. But when they reach the doors they're still glued shut. And he rumbling build-up that signalled the dancing statues is back.

Mage: Banana! Banana!

And on this cliffhanger, as the Guggenheim's entire collection comes to life, is where we leave it for the evening...

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 D&D : More Loose Ends
Lamech attunes a certain looted Staff of Defence

Lamech: I just threaten it until it agrees to co-operate.

One last loose end to tie up - go to the actual Lost Mine of Phandelver known as Wave Echo Cave, and locate our dwarf employer's brothers. That, and find out who the Black Spider is. Some rogue dark elf seems likely.

Lamech: They were torturing you for the location of the cave, right? And you never told them? And they never STOPPED torturing you. So they still don't know where it is - what's the rush?
GM: The fact that he sent his brothers to the cave, and haven't been heard from since, is a bad sign.
Lamech: Good point.

Plus we'll be getting some mithril gear out of it, on top of 10% interest in the lost mine. Of course the wandering undead archers wandering about are a bad sign too. Especially if they were intelligent enough to run away when they were attacked. We argue over whether the dwarfs have a claim to the mine, under prior ownership, or whether the descendants of the orcs that trashed it and the village of Phandalin generations ago have a better claim.

GM: What a pity you have to run off and deal with an elemental apocalypse, instead of staying here to argue the legal intricacies of ownership of the Lost Mine.

The cave does indeed boom like heavy surf. Which is odd, given how far we are from the sea. We find the dwarf's campsite, and a dwarf who has been dead for at least a week. It's one of the missing brothers, after we get his boots identified.

Lamech: I wonder why he hasn't got up and started walking around.

Subsidence has also collapsed the original entrance to the mine, and opened up this cavern.

Kavorog: I drop a rock down the chasm.
GM: You really want to alert everything down there?
Kavorog: It's just a rock.
Lamech: If you want to alert everything you need to drop a bucket. And then someone calls you a fool of a Took.

Most of the first chambers are abandoned minefaces, but in one cavern there's a pool, and freshly harvested mussel shells. SOMETHING is alive down here. And it's unlikely to be anything as cute as a sea otter.

GM: It'd have to a giant sea otter, or a pygmy sea otter. There aren't any normal sized creatures in dungeons.

A hour dragging the pool turns up human remains.

GM: Not an undead skeleton, or an Aboleth skeleton, or a giant dire sea otter skeleton.

It's still wearing platinum rings and carrying a wand, too. It's a Wand of Magic Missiles.

Lamech: Let's just call it the Boomstick.

The booming noise drowns out conversation, and clanking around. Handy, that.

Lamech: Of course, it drowns out THEIR noise too.

GM: At least you're not the Famous Five. Or it would be secret submarines, blah blah, missing atomic scientists, blah blah
Lamech: And lashings of ginger beer.

Urlon: I put my ear to the door.
Kavorog: Have fun with the door weevils.

There's bugbears or hobgoblins on the other side, complaining they haven't been fed.

Kavorog: How many?
Lamech: At least two. Unless... what are those giants with two heads?

Urlon: *in Goblin* Oi! I've got your food - come out and get it!

Lamech waits until they unbarricade the door. The hobgoblins are clearly suspicious, since we here them arm up and prepare to retaliate if surprised, as they open the door. This does them no good, since the door and whoever is behind it goes away with a Shatter spell, backed up by the dragonborn's electric loogies.Thereafter, apparently annoyed at our methodical and cautious exploration, Elethandiel fails a common sense check, wanders off by himself, crosses a roomful of corpses, and gets jumped by a pack of ghouls. Worse, the next room has a flying skull burning with green fire. And what we strongly suspect are zombies. Of course, the rest of us aren't stupid enough to just stroll in. Instead, we turn around and go back the other way. It's not like the missing dwarf is going to be in that room anyway.

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The Game: Monster Hunter International

 

The Game Operations Director: My long-suffering friend Mike

 

 

So far the characters are

 

Titania "Call Me Fiona" Melungeon, my character, a basketball playing  computer hacking female Troll

I have been inconsistently referring to my character as a Trollop, thanks to Robert Asprin's "Myth Adventures" series using that word for female Trolls. I looked it up and the words ARE cognate!

 

Titania likes to call herself Fiona after the princess is the movie Shrek, and uses the radio call-sign "Faerie Princess."

 

 

Kylie "Don't call me Crocodile Dundee!," a young woman from Australia here on the Monster Hunter's Exchange Program, with a boomerang enchanted by an Aboriginal shaman as thanks for saving some of the tribe's children from were-dingoes.

Kylie gave up on trying to stop Titania from calling her "Crocodile."

 

 

John Lee Pettimore III, the hillbilly army veteran from the song "Copperhead Road" who inherited the family business of moonshining and branched out into more profitable prohibited substances. We took the write up from Surbrook's Stuff and expanded it.

Remember the name: Surbrook's Stuff, source of more Hero characters and goodies than you can shake a

 

Stick: (Total: 7 Active Cost, 2 Real Cost) Hand-To-Hand Attack +1d6, Reduced Endurance (0 END; +1/2) (7 Active Points); OAF (-1), Hand-To-Hand Attack (-1/4), Real Weapon (-1/4), STR Minimum 3 (-1/4), Required Hands One-Handed (-0) (Real Cost: 2)

 

at!

 

Titania has taken to calling this character "Copperhead."

 

 

So far, my best quotes are the stuff I put on the character sheet

Last session the Game Operations Director finally noticed that under Knowledge Skills I had put "Carnal."

 

And then there's Don Gunn, the guy giving us our marching orders and Mike's "GMPC" who runs Don Gunn's Guns. He's not in it to make money - he just LOOOOOVES to sell guns. If you're not from around here (we're in Indianapolis) don't worry about not getting that, it's an inside joke.

Last session the G. O. D. made it clear the name is "DOM" not Don. Copperhead's player and I agreed that we'd start imagining him as Dom DeLouise. Then we had to explain to Crocodile's player who that was. In any case Titania the Trollop always calls him "Big Boomstick." Crococile's player is the one with Clairvoyance, but Titania's nickname for Dom turned out to be precognizant.

 

...Speaking of tanks, there's a tank on the extensive grounds, of a type Mike went out of his way to state that no one would recognize.

 

Titania the Trollop: Are we going to get driving lessons for this thing?

Don: No, you are not getting driving lessons for this tank.

Titania: So it drives itself? Cool!

 

 

Don ("Big Boomstick" to Titania) doesn't know it yet, but Titania is going to hang a basketball hoop on that tank's gun to have a place to practice.

This (basketball practice with the tank holding the hoop) has since happened. The tank has also actually seen use; we'll get to that.

 

So we end up fighting, and destroying, a giant scorpion that came up out of a tunnel. So we have to go down the tunnel to find out where it came from, if there are more, etc. Copperhead, who is carrying a grenade launcher and has "paintball" grenades (filled with brightly colored powders) opens a couple of them to make red and green arrows(edit: that is, arrow shapes on the ground. He's not turning missiles meant to be launched from a grenade launcher into missiles to be launched from a bow.) to mark tunnels we go down and tunnels we came from.

 

At one point when we hear something coming we all douse lights, switch to night visions goggles, and make Concealment rolls. And it turns out that the night vision goggles themselves give off a green light that makes it impossible to hide in a dark chamber while wearing them. Our choice seems to be either to be blind or to be blindingly obvious. I resolve to buy up Titania's Inventor Skill and work on a solution to this.

 

After a couple of scorpions reduce my Trollop to negatives in STUN and BOD:

Copperhead (OoC): These monsters can one-shot us but we can't one-shot them.

Fiona (OoC): I am starting to think Monster Hunter is designed to just shred player characters.

Remember, Copperhead's carrying a grenade launcher and he's feeling ineffective about the damage he does. Goes to show even the Hero system can be a meat grinder if the monsters outclass the adventurers.

 

Fortunately, Trolls regenerate so I'm in play again shortly.

Fiona (OoC): Troll First Aid is "sit down a minute, you'll feel better soon."

(Repeated several times, it's becoming a catch phrase.)

 

Fiona (OoC): My team mates may hate me for saying this, but if I was stung and took BODy, am I going to be feeling the poiston soon?

 

Game Operations Director: Oh yeah, I forgot. It's a STR Drain. (Rolls 3d6, gets 5) Lose 5 STR.

Fiona (OoC): Lost 5 out of 30? I'll never notice.

I wish he'd rolled that poorly on damage and hit locations against us...

 

One scorpion is smeared with yellow and red substances, probably a clue to where it's been that we haven't figured out yet. Fiona tastes it and determines it's ketchup and mustard. Then cracks open a claw, tries some of the meat with ketchup and mustard - she has an Iron Stomach, Immunity to ingested poisons, pathogens, and noxious substances, on a CON roll. G. O. D. makes me make the CON roll; I fail, but it's not poisonous just noxious, so I declare that giant scorpion does NOT taste like lobster. We still haven't been down all the tunnels so we still don't know how it got condiments on it.

 

Eventually we track the scorpions to their apparent source, where the tunnel came up as a big hole in the floor of a warehouse. First thing we do is get GPS coordinates and call it in, I think that was Crocodile's excellent idea. The place was guarded by two gargoyles. As we're falling back to the hole, hoping they won't pursue beyond the place they are programmed to guard, the Tank comes busting through a wall

Everybody: HEY KOOL AID MAN!

and opens fire with the main gun, shattering a gargoyle. Big Boomstick (Dom Gunn) pops out and grabs the Tank's machine gun and starts damaging the other gargoyle.

G. O. D. :He's using a bigger caliber than anything you've got.

 

Fiona, to Copperhead: See the size of that gun? I know why he's using such a big caliber. He's compensating for something. I've hacked into his account.

Copperhead: He has self-porn?

Fiona: I've read the emails from disappointed women.

 

The second gargoyle actually manages to damage the Tank before it's taken out. Then Fiona runs up to Dom and says

Fiona: Boomstick! You came to help and you brought the self-driving tank!

Another hatch pops and the driver sticks his head out.

Driver: What do you mean, self driving tank?

Fiona points to Big Boomstick: He said it was self-driving!

Driver: I'm driving this tank. (closes hatch)

 

So far this character hasn't been named, but as far as Fiona is concerned, he's Kool Aid Man.

 

Fiona checks out the office, and finds documents and computer (after a Hacking Skill roll) show nothing more recent than four months ago. She picks up the computer tower and carries it to the Rank.

Big Boomstick: You know all we need is the hard drive?

Fiona: Maybe all YOU need is a hard drive.

Copperhead: Yeah, the rec room needs something to play games on.

 

We search the warehouse, finding it mostly full of four month old foodstuffs, so the Trollop is snacking as they go along. Without the uncanny perceptual abilities of "Crocodile" Kylie, we never would have found the false bottom in one of the crates. Secret Security Systems rolls are made for both the redneck and the Trollop to see if there are traps, then Fiona opens it. The other two position themselves a few steps back.

 

Of course there's a fiery explosion - an Energy Killing Attack. Fortunately Trolls do have some Resistant ED. I mark off a couple of BOD that won't Regenerate.

G. O. D. : Don't you have a Vulnerability to Fire?

He's right. I recalculate damage and mark off several points of BOD that won't Regenerate.

Fiona: It burns!

Runs towards the Tank, falls into the hole in the floor, makes Breakfall roll to leap to her feet again and keep running

(remember, this was a tunnel sloping up to the floor; Fiona ran into it from the "back" and thus fell, then easily ran up the slope back to ground level)

Fiona: Hey Kool Aid Man!

bangs on the hatch

Fiona: I need to cool down, where's the Kool Aid?

Kool Aid Man pops out: There's no Kool Aid here.

Fiona: You came busting through the wall like Kool Aid Man but didn't bring the Kool Aid?

Copperhead: That thing doesn't have a Kool Aid dispenser in it?

Crocodile: How soon can I go home? (Meaning back to Australia) Hey Dom, that trap was protecting some kind of case. It's locked.

Big Boomstick: Bring it over here.

They approach, avoiding the hole.

Fiona, to Boomstick: Know what I hate about Humans? You invented fire.

Big Boomstick: We didn't invent fire, the Titans gave it to us. Well, that's if you believe in legends.

Fiona: You're talking to a Troll.

The other two arrive with the case.

Fiona: There aren't going to be any more fiery explosions, are there?

Crocodile: If there are, you'll be the first to know.

Fiona: I'll just wait over on the other side of the Tank.

It was decided to take the case back to base for further investigation.

 

Oh, and at some point regarding the burn injuries:

 

Fiona: That's what Mother Ettindam's Unguent is for. Treating burns is the one kind of first aid Trolls WOULD know.

 

And yes, I have since written up that Trollish secret unguent and if it meets with the approval of the Game Operations Director I'll be using it.

 

Edit: Next time we played, everyone except "Crocodile" Kylie forgot about the case. Which turns out to contain a scroll that no one can read - except Crocodile. Seems we have a potential mage.

 

Copperhead John started making Weaponsmith rolls to try to get some of the beneficial modifications Monster Hunster International allows for fire arms, and was frustrated by repeated failures: until our Game Operations Director remembered we were using Dom Gunn's facilities, which he'd already written up as giving a +6 to such rolls. Now we ALL have bonuses to our boomsticks; my character's light machinegun has a +4 OCV now. Oh, and we're all getting armor piercing ammunition.

 

Copperhead engraved his own personal weapons and wanted to put flowers and the words "Faerie Princess" on mine, but I wanted something else on it.

 

Fiona(holding up the machinegun and addressing it dramatically): I will give you a name. I will call you MINA'S REVENGE!

 

Then I had to explain who that was (the character in the original Dracula story.)

 

Lucius Alexander

 

Correction: Palindromedary Enterprises has received no promotional consideration from Kool Aid. Mother Ettindam provided 128 cases of unguent, but the Game Operations Director confiscated most of them. Surbrook's Stuff provided the character John Lee Pettimore III but the version appearing here has been extensively revised and expanded.

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A month or so back, I was trying to come up with a new supervillain team for my Boston Champions heroes to face.  Looking through character art, which of course was sorted by name.  Ankylosaur.  Airstrike.  Armadillo.  Hmmm... it occurred to me that I could create an entire team of villains whose names begin with "A."  (Hey, last campaign the PC hero team was known as S-Squad, with all members' names starting with "S.")

 

And thus, The A-Team was born.  Mercenaries to the core, they specialize in taking out or distracting those darn pesky superheroes, as well as PRIMUS, UNTIL, the police, etc. so their client is free to commit crimes.  I decided they'd be a new team, and taking on the PC heroes would be their first public appearance.  (Their coming-out party, as it were.)

 

I designed the adventure to be a series of city-wide property damage attacks by an unknown, unnamed group of villains, to culminate in the attack on the hero group.  The villains left a clue at each attack, hinting at the target for the next attack.  They also passed along the attack location to a reporter (Joshua Petersen) who is not a fan of the heroes, so he could make the PCs look bad if they don't figure out the clue and head off the next attack.

 

First attack was on the A-7 District police headquarters, with Ankylosaur lobbing firebombs at the building before leaping away.  (Side note:  The Google Maps satellite view of the area shows nearby streets forming a very distinctive "A."  This became a feature of all four A-Team attack locations -- and even though I handed out a printed aerial view for each, none of the players caught it.)

 

GM:  John (Honey Badger's player), you're always saying "We go to Paris, France," so when I saw it was on Paris Street, I knew that was the spot.  And it being at 69 Paris Street, well, I knew you'd appreciate that.

 

The heroes go to where Ankylosaur was spotted and find a Revolutionary War-style candle lantern, a cigar stub, and a book of Longfellow's poem, with a sticky-note To-Do list marking the page where Paul Revere's Ride begins:

 

To Do:  

  • Monday 1:00 - See how hot the Boston Police are.
  • Tuesday 2:00 - Give 'em a history lesson they won't soon forget.

Malarky:  (doing some research on his PC)  At 2 am, Paul Revere would have been across the river and to (nearby town).  Maybe they're planning to attack there.

GM:  You guys are giving Ankylosaur waaaay too much credit in the intelligence department.  You're assuming he even read the whole poem.

Nexus:  Does it say 2 am?

GM:  Nope, it just says 2 o'clock.  Neither AM nor PM.  (smiles)

 

They narrow the potential targets to either the Old North Church (where the lanterns were hung for "one if by land, two if by sea") or the Paul Revere House (just a handful of blocks away), and decide to wait at the church.  Two a.m. comes and goes without incident.  They gather again at the church in the afternoon, and right after 2 p.m. hear police reports of "huge stone men" menacing people on the same street as the Paul Revere House.  Actually, it's three men and one woman, all stone elementals summoned by the mage Agrippa.

 

Rocky:  (holding aloft a man)  Where Paul Revere House?

Opal:  (grabbing a man on the street)  Where I find Revere House?

Jaspar:  (grabs a passing limo and begins shaking it, shouting at the driver inside)  Where Jaspar find Revere house?
Stoner:  (hand resting on a man's shoulder like a hundred-pound weight)  Duuuude.  Where's Revere's home?

 

Honey Badger punches Rocky. 

Rocky:  You hit Rocky.  Summoner say now Rocky can hit you!

 

HB takes down Rocky.

Rocky:  (in Stallone voice)  Adriaaaaannn!

 

Malarky (himself a college student) finds himself facing Stoner.

Stoner:  Dude!  Got any munchies?

Malarky:  Munchies? 

Stoner:  Y'know.  Peat gravel.  Quartz chips.  (whispered aside)  I just finished off a dime bag of talc powder, dude!

Malarky:  No, what you want is pizza!

Stoner:  What's pizza?

Malarky:  Food of the gods, man.  Start with a nice flaky crust, something that'll melt in your mouth...

Stoner:  Like limestone?
Malarky:  Sure, if that's what you like.  Then some sauce, nice and hot...

Stoner:  ... lava!  Mmmmmmm!

Malarky:  But the toppings are where it's at!

Stoner:  What are toppings?

(They spent the rest of the fight discussing possible stone pizza toppings, from grated tin and iron spices to granite slices and chopped hematite.)

 

Once the elementals are dealt with, the heroes figure out that they were summoned underground; a roadway tunnel runs just under the street in front of the Paul Revere House.  Teleporting down there, they find an abandoned car blocking traffic; inside is an antique safety lantern, and old fireman's helmet (for Engine 39), with a sticky note:

 

To Do:

  • Tuesday 2:00 - Won if by land -- literally!
  • Wednesday 3:00 - Don't want firefighters feeling left out, do we?

Honey Badger:  (grabbing fireman's helmet and putting it on)  Ooo!  I got a new hat!

 

(More to follow)

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Plan Comes Together, Part 2

 

The heroes smell a rat with the reporter, Petersen, always on the scene and hounding them, so Malarky "borrows" Petersen's cell phone (with a teleport assist from Pops). Flipping through Petersen's texts, he discovers that someone has been texting the attack locations and times ahead of time.  With Maker's help, he clones the sim card from Petersen's cell phone.

 

The heroes (along with the Boston PD and PRIMUS) camp out at the firehouse for Engine Company 39, waiting for 3 am to roll around.  Come 1 am, Malarky's clone of Petersen's cell phone gets a text, telling him to be at an intersection about a mile away from Engine 39's firehouse.  The hero team splits up -- one group goes to Petersen's place to mess with his car, while the other group goes to that location, where they discover it is across the street from the Boston Fire Museum, housed in the former firehouse for Engine 39.  They also notice a car parked across the street, with PRIMUS detective Williams inside.  CIrce runs to a nearby coffee shop, then comes back.

 

Circe:  (knocks on Det. Williams' window)  Anything happening?  (holds out a cup of coffee)

Williams:  Not yet.  (takes coffee)  Thanks.  (nods toward the Fire Museum)  So you capes also think it might go down here?

Circe:  Yeah.  Pretty sure.

 

Shadowboxer uses his ability to look and listen through shadows to check out the inside of the fire museum.  Nobody at all inside, but he (eventually) notices that someone has replaced all the real fire extinguishers with fake ones.  Teleporting in, he gets one for Maker to check out, and they learn that the fakes are actually fuel-air bombs with timers set to go off at 3 am.  He also discovers a tunnel into the basement, dug by Armadillo.  In the tunnel he finds a bulk-food can of cream of mushroom soup, a ladle, a pamphlet for a south Boston church, and the now-familiar sticky note.

 

To Do:

  • Wednesday 3:00 - Hot time at the Fire Museum.  Hope Just Cause brought marshmallows.
  • Thursday 4:00 - Feed Hizzoner and Just Cause their teeth.

Discussing what to do with the fuel-air bombs.

 

Maker:  Can I deactivate them?

GM:  Do you have Demolitions skill?
Maker:  Um... no.  Can I maybe use my Gadgeteering roll?

GM:  (evil grin)  Maaaaybe.  Want to make a roll?  After all, what could possibly go wrong?

 

Pops:  We should put 'em in Petersen's trunk.  Or his house.

 

(Eventually they dump them in the river where they can just cause a bunch of gaseous bubbles.)

 

Honey Badger:  So, we turn over the ladle, pamphlet, and note to Williams.

GM:  What about the can of soup?

Honey Badger:  (belches and wipes his lips)  What can of soup?

 

It doesn't take long for the heroes to figure out that the next attack is going to take place at 4 pm during a soup kitchen opening that the mayor is attending as a photo op.

 

GM:  Are you going to coordinate with PRIMUS?

Honey Badger:  It all depends.  Are they bringing soup?

 

Circe calls the team's liaison with the city.

Honey Badger:  (shouting in the background)  Make sure they're bringing soup!  And none of that generic crap!

 

Some of the heroes go into the sewers and discover that someone (*cough*Armadillo*cough*) has dug a bunch of tunnels all over the place under and around the soup kitchen.  Malarky (whose player works for the local water company) makes plans to deal with that.

 

Malarky:  I'll buy an inflatable raft and get it set up near the downstream end of the sewer.  Tie the raft up so when it's inflated, it'll completely block everything flowing through the sewer.  Figure a half hour should be enough to fill the sewer line and Armadillo's tunnels.

 

The mayor and his entourage arrive for the soup kitchen opening.  As soon as the mayor sees Honey Badger, he holds up a large can of tomato soup.

 

Honey Badger:  (thumbs up)!

 

Four o'clock comes, then 4:05.  Then 4:10.

 

Shadowboxer:  Maybe this was all a plot to keep us busy while they hit somewhere else. 

GM:  Or maybe their plan got delayed because somebody filled the tunnels with sewage.

Malarky:  (giggles like a little kid)

 

Finally at 4:15 pm, hidden speakers all over the area kick on, with the sound of martial music and helicopters.  And then the voiceover:

 

Ankylosaur:  In 2014, various supervillains were sent to prison by a federal court for crimes they probably committed.  These men recently escaped from a maximum security superprison to the New York City underground.  Today, still wanted by the government, they survive as soldiers of fortune.  If you have a problem with superheroes, if no one else can help, and if you have enough money, maybe you can hire… The A-Team.  (GM cues playing of the A-Team theme music)

 

(more to follow)

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Plan Comes Together, Part 3

 

The heroes seem incredulous that the villains are calling themselves the A-Team.

 

GM:  Really?  You knew Ankylosaur, Agrippa, and Armadillo were involved.  You researched known associates and found Airstrike, Augur, and Abyss. Plus some actor named Adam radiation powers that Ankylosaur saved from mutant hunters last week.  (lays out the Google Map printouts that had been handed to the players before each encounter)  Every single location they hit was right where streets formed a nice big "A."  Granted, the one at the fire museum was kinda a stylized "A," but still!  The address for the soup kitchen is 87 A Street.  And you didn't see this coming?

 

The heroes act quickly.  They've already pre-evacuated the area, replacing many locals and homeless people with undercover cops.  Nexus uses a gate spell to get the mayor to a safe vehicle quite a ways away, while her teammates search the skies, rooftops, and streets for the villains.  Finally, they spot four Vietnam-era choppers approaching from the north, about 100m up.  (Note that the week's news included an item where somebody stole a pair of Hueys getting prepped for an air show, flew them around for a few hours, and then left them in a field for the state police to find.)

 

Pops:  I could teleport one of you into one of the helicopters to take the controls, and teleport the pilot out.  Maker?

Maker:  I don't know how to fly a helicopter.  Just small space planes.

Pops:  How about one of the PRIMUS agents? 

GM:  Sure.  Master sergeant Ross says he knows how to fly a Huey.  (grins)  So, you're going to teleport Sgt. Ross up there?

Maker:  Wait a minute.  I don't trust that smile.  I'm going to fly up and check them out.

 

She flies closer to discover that all four look exactly the same, down to the rocket pods and the crew manning the miniguns. 

 

Maker:  What, do they have Duplication?

Shadowboxer:  More like holograms. 

GM:  Are you still going to teleport Sgt. Ross up there?

 

Abyss (an alien mentalist scientist studying humans) shows up on a nearby rooftop and hits Pops with a mental illusion.  He sees a truck going out of control, barreling right at him, Malarky, and the squad of PRIMUS agents.

 

Pops:  Sorry, Malarky, you and I are going to have to take our chances.  I'm teleporting the agents to safety.  Somewhere off the street, like... (puts the squad up on the roof about 4m from Abyss) ...right there.

 

One of the heroes sees Augur and Agrippa step out of a building, and then Agrippa casts a shrinking spell and the hero loses sight of him.

 

Nexus:  Wait, I have a spell to do a Mind Scan.  How do I use that to find him?

GM:  You make an attack roll, your OMCV vs. his DMCV, minus modifiers for how many people are in the area.  If you hit, you roll the dice of effect and I compare the results to his EGO.

Nexus rolls, and misses.  CIrce, the team mentalist, finds out Nexus only has a 3 OMCV.

Nexus:  Hey, I said I had the spell.  I didn't say I was good at it.

 

Circe (disguised as a bag lady) begins scanning for Agrippa, but her scan is only 3d6, Cumulative.  Meaning that it's going to take a while.  It also means she has to drop her Mind Link, so the heroes can't instantly communicate with each other.

 

Pops:  So, is Circe planning to help us out any time soon?

 

Nexus is inside the soup kitchen, alone, when Armadillo pops up through the floor.

 

Armadillo:  Hey babe.  Just you and me, eh?  Nothing personal, wouldn't want to hurt that pretty face, but I've got to take you out.  (blasts her, doing a little STUN but nothing major)  I mean, you're only #4 on our hit list, but I'm more than happy to dance with you all on my lonesome.

Nexus:  Number 4?  Who's #1?  The mayor?

Armadillo:  (scoffs)  No, Circe.

Pops:  (OOC)  Sure, because mentalists are evil.

Armadillo:  And then Pops, he's #2.

Pops:  Wait... what?!

GM:  Hush.  You're not there, and without the mind link, you're not privy to any of this.

Nexus and Armadillo trade energy blasts, and Nexus is afraid he's going to take her down.

 

Nexus:  He's in powered armor, right?  Is there any way I can push some buttons, shut him down?

GM:  (looks at Armadillo's Psych Comp:  Sucker for a Pretty Face and thinks about Nexus' 3 levels of Striking Appearance)  Not the buttons you're thinking of, but yeah, you could push his buttons.

 

The villains do some damage to the heroes (taking two of them just a few points shy of unconsciousness), and Agrippa casts Silence on Malarky (effectively nullifying him, since all Malarky's spells require Incantations) and then Dispels his Mass Stone Skin spell.  Meanwhile, the heroes take down Abyss, Ankylosaur, and Augur.

 

Pops:  Circe, have you found Agrippa yet?  'Cause we're about to get our butts kicked.

GM:  What...?!  How?  Half the villains are KO'd, and all of you are still standing!

 

Eventually, Nexus gets outside the soup kitchen and flags down Silver Avenger Melanie Flannagan to tell her Armadillo is inside.  Flannagan discovers Armadillo has gone tunneling again and follows him.  When she catches up to him, instead of attacking she plays him like a harp.  (I couldn't possibly beat you in that big, tough armor, etc.)

 

SA Flannagan:  (Keys her radio microphone, on the assault team's frequency)  Instead of fighting, Armadillo, why don't we go someplace else?  There's a bar just up the street, Williams Tavern.  Why don't you and I go up there, to Williams Tavern.  My assault agents won't even know we're there. We can have a few drinks, get to know each other, just you and I...

Nexus:  (monitoring the frequency)  Really?!

GM:  I said you could push his buttons.  Not my fault you didn't pay attention during the briefing, and she did.

 

Of course, the heroes prevailed, as they are wont to do.  Five A-Team members carted off to the PRIMUS base's holding cells.

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Malarky (himself a college student) finds himself facing Stoner.

Stoner:  Dude!  Got any munchies?

Malarky:  Munchies? 

Stoner:  Y'know.  Peat gravel.  Quartz chips.  (whispered aside)  I just finished off a dime bag of talc powder, dude!

 

 

 

I'm guessing that's a typo, and should be pea gravel? clever puns there :)

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That A-Team adventure was actually two Sundays ago.  I was planning to have two weeks to prepare for my next game (our gaming group alternates between my Champions game and a D&D game), but on Friday evening the other GM texted, asking if I could run that Sunday instead.  Eep!

 

I decided to have a few non-combat events -- an NPC applying to join the hero team, a public appearance at a high school, and a trial of a supervillain captured a while back -- followed by a gratuitous combat.  Not wanting to map out a new location, I looked through my old paper maps and found one of a PRIMUS base.  Perfect.

 

Bit of background:  in my game, captured villains are typically taken to the PRIMUS base and put into holding cells until they can be transported to Stronghold.  In addition to capturing most of the A-Team, the heroes had previously captured a handful of the New Gods, a set of androids passing themselves off as various Greek gods and mythical heroes (Apollo, Artemis, Hermes, and Heracles).  The New Gods all have the Physical Complication that they can be turned off, so I figured PRIMUS had them deactivated and stored in their vault.

 

I told the players at the start of the evening that I had thrown that evening's adventure together on short notice and hadn't even had time to draw out a map, but that basically the bulk of the adventure would be a super-brawl.

 

Circe:  (reading from the weekly news)  "PRIMUS Detective Williams... said Just Cause was instrumental in helping PRIMUS stop the attacks and capture the villain team."

Pops:  Wait, he actually complimented us?  I think you may need to check if that's really him.  Or maybe he's been mind controlled.

 

Another news item is on the upcoming trial of Wight (who is Maker's Hunted and attacked Maker's mother a few adventures back), aka Russian cosmonaut Andrei Vyelov.

 

Circe:  (reading that article)  "Irving Probalino, Vyelov's lawyer, insists that his client is innocent.  'He is just as much the victim here, and I intend to prove that in court.'"

Malarky:  Probalino?  Isn't he that pain-in-the-a** lawyer with all the luck?

Pops:  You guys have run into him before?

Malarky:  Yeah, in a prior campaign. 

GM:  He's a high-priced lawyer who seems to win most of his cases, even against incredible odds.  (pause)  His six dice of Luck helps out a lot, though.

 

(Probalino appeared in a Digital Hero #16, courtesy of Dave Mattingly)

 

The team's PR face, T.J. O'Rourke, passes along a request for a public appearance by the team.

 

TJ:  They mainly want Maker because of her gadgets, but they'd like the other female heroes to attend.  It's part of a statewide program to get girls more interested in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math).  You'll speak at the Noble and Greenough School in Dedham, Massachusetts.

Nexus:  Aw, crap, that's the school my sister attends.

GM:  Gee, I wonder whose DNPC made the roll to appear...

 

The male heroes also plan to attend (expecting a supervillain attack based on my "super-brawl" comment).

 

Circe:  Maker, you can demonstrate various gadgets on Honey Badger.  'Cause Honey Badger don't care.

Honey Badger:  (leers)  What kind of gadgets are you going to use on me?

Maker:  "... and this little beauty can project flames up to fifty feet!"  Woosh!

Honey Badger:  (shrugs)  Eh, I regenerate.

 

Honey Badger:  (to Maker)  Just put on a fancy light show, maybe some holograms, fly your drone around...

Malarky:  Your stolen VIPER flyer bot?  Maybe not a good idea.

Honey Badger:  ...tell the girls that there's better things in life than shopping and fashion.

Circe:  (a rich girl with KS: Fashion)  Hey!!!

 

Contrary to the players' paranoia, the presentation goes without a hitch.  Afterwards, there are photo ops with the heroes doing a meet-and-greet with the students.

 

Teen girl:  (to Circe)  Ooo!  You're my favorite.  You always look great, so collected, and with-it.  Can I get a selfie with you?
Circe:  Sure!  (picture taken)  So, how are you doing?

Girl:  Okay, I guess.  Parents are always pushing me to do stuff.  Speaking of which...  (she pulls a paper out of her purse and hands it to Circe)  You've been served.  (smiles wide)  Thanks for the pic!  You're still my fave!  (flounces off to show her friends the picture)

Circe:  Why didn't the prosecutor just ask me?

GM:  This is from the office of Irving Probalino, Esquire.

Circe:  He wants me to testify?  For the defense?

GM:  Maybe about your visit to Wight at the PRIMUS base.

Circe:  Oh, when I asked him for info about that Carrier Pigeon?

GM:  Just Pigeon, but yeah.  Wight gave you the info that helped you locate Vermin and stop that mutated disease from spreading.

Circe:  Crap.

 

On to the trial.  Maker's mom (Dr. Hu Jenkins) is lined up testify, and wants her daughter to be there as moral support.

 

Maker:  Do I have to? 

Dr. Jenkins:  No, I suppose you don't.  I'll just be there, all alone, by myself.  Don't you worry about me...

Maker:  Since when did my Chinese tiger-mom become a Jewish grandmother?  She should be all, "Yes!  You be there!  I say so!"

 

Again, the heroes expect a fight there and make plans.  However, there won't be one.  Instead, Honey Badger notices that the prosecutor (Doug Carson, who went over HB's testimony the day before and seemed fairly confident and together) seems very out of sorts, stumbling over what he's saying, looking nervous, and making a lot of stupid mistakes.

 

GM:  A few times, while Probalino is cross-examining witnesses, he takes things a bit far, and the judge looks at Carson expecting an objection, but he doesn't.  In one case, even Probalino looks like he's expecting to get smacked down, but Carson doesn't say anything.

Honey Badger:  Maybe he's being mind controlled.  (to Circe)  Can you check his mind?
Circe:  There's psionic scanners in the courtroom, remember?  They'll lock me away.  No thanks.

 

Finally, during the lunch recess outside the courtroom, Circe uses some Telepathy and learns that Carson's wife told him that he'd better allow the defense to win the case or she'll kill their 2 year-old son.  And if he goes to PRIMUS or the heroes, she'll just wait until things cool down, and maybe their son will run into traffic one day.

 

Circe:  (to GM)  Is she being possessed, or Mind Controlled?

GM:  Strangely, Carson doesn't know.  Not being a mentalist and all.  You're reading his mind, not hers.

 

(more to follow)

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There was a scene preceding the trial that I forgot to include:  an NPC hero flying brick (Major Justice) with nearly two decades of experience applied to join Just Cause.

 

Nexus: (looking over his resume) Flying Thunder, Longhorn, Lieutenant Freedom, Captain Incredible, Stalwart... he's certainly had a lot of superhero names.

Pops:  That's not a good sign.

 

They contact the last team he was an "associate" of:  S-Squad

 

Nexus:  We're checking references on Major Justice... ah, he went by Stalwart when he was working with S-Squad

S-Squad office manager:  Oh, yeah, how is ol' Crash Bandicoot doing?  Let me get one of the S-Squad heroes to talk to you.

 

Subliminal explains that Stalwart / Major Justice is a good guy, he just has a little problem with knockback.

 

Subliminal:  Synergy explained it once; his repulsion field makes him almost indestructible, but as it repulses damage, it pushes him away.  He'll take a huge hit, and then spend the next few minutes flying back to the fight.

 

Players from my prior campaign are discussing the NPC's personality with the newer players.

 

Malarky:  (OOC)  He's a real Dudley Doright type.  No shades of gray. 

Pops:  Well, he is not going to fit in with this bunch.

 

The heroes tell Major Justice that they'll get back to him.

 

Also, before continuing with last Sunday's quotes, I should summarize a scene from the week before that I forgot to include.

 

Nexus (in secret ID) was walking down the street when she saw a ghost of a woman, pleading in vain for passersby to help her.  (Nexus can see and communicate with dead people.)  The ghost told Nexus that she had just been killed by her ex, who was now going to either kill or take away their child.  Nexus followed the ghost up to the apartment (with the ghost passing through the wall beside the door before Nexus got up to the door).  When Nexus stepped through the door, she found herself in a spooky swamp, near an old bloodstained stone altar.  Scattered around were bones that weren't quite human.  And of course the door she just passed through is gone.  More troubling, the Mind Link she always has with Circe cut off as soon as she stepped through the door, since she actually traveled to another dimension.

 

There, she meets Charles Aching (those of you who read Drhoz's quotes of his Call of Cthulhu campaign may recognize him), who had previously given Road Kill some "music lyrics" that summoned various horrors including star vampires and a flying polyp.  He offers her a very binding mage pact:  she procures something for him, and he will bring her long-lost brother safely home.  Lots of conditions that should have made her rather nervous -- he won't tell her what the item actually is until she agrees to the pact, she can't reveal her interest in the item to anybody at any time, she can't work or aid in any way (including inaction, such as letting Circe read her mind) any attempts to take the item back from him after she gives it to him, etc.  To my complete surprise, she agreed.

 

(Being the evil little GM I am, I played this all out in front of all players, except revealing what Aching is after:  an ancient tome that McGinty and crew had acquired back in the 1920s.  Just sowing a little dissension in the ranks.)

 

Back to last Sunday's game.  Nexus, Malarky, and Pops go to the prosecutor's home to see what's up with Carson's wife.  When Nexus sees the woman, she also sees the spirit possessing her:  the same ghost that led her to her meeting with Charles Aching.

 

Nexus:  That b**ch!  She's going down!

Malarky:  Okay, what's the plan?  Because I don't think Pops or I have anything that will affect her.

Pops:  And if we take her down, how are we going to hold her?

Nexus:  [expletives deleted] 

Shadowboxer:  (OOC)  Anybody know the number for the Ghostbusters?

 

With Circe (whose mental powers might help capture the ghost) and Maker (who might be able to build a gadget to contain the ghost) both stuck at the trial, the heroes try to come up with ways to delay the trial's conclusion until the next day to buy them time.

 

Honey Badger:  Pops, can you teleport a big ol' cobra into the courtroom?  Then I can point and yell, "Aaaaah!  Cobra!"  That should do it.

Pops:  I am not teleporting a cobra into the courtroom.  They'll know it was me, and arrest me for contempt of court.  (Pause)  If you want, I can borrow a cobra from the zoo, and you can come out of the courtroom long enough to get it and bring it in with you.

HB:  How am I supposed to sneak it in?

Pops:  Stuff it down your pants.  You're immune to snake venom, aren't you?

HB:  I'm big and all, but a giant cobra might be a bit conspicuous.

GM:  Plus, there's getting it out once inside.  "Hold on, everyone, while I whip this out. (ziiiip)"

 

Eventually, they have little choice but to let the trial run its course, resulting in Wight being found not guilty and walking free.  As soon as the verdict is read, Carson's wife gets a phone call, after which the ghost leaves the body and flies away.  The heroes meet with Carson and his wife, vowing to capture the ghost and keep her from ever messing with their lives again.

 

That's two events down -- public appearance and a trial -- where the players fully expected a brawl, but nothing happened.  So they're almost relieved when TJ forwards a video file that was just emailed to him.  They see Ankylosaur, helmet off and smoking a cigar, sitting in the PRIMUS base's security monitoring room kicked back and relaxed.  In the background are noises of things getting demolished.

 

Ankylosaur:  Howdy do, Lost Cause.  Thought you'd like to know that there's a party at PRIMUS, and you're the guests of honor.  (puffs on cigar and smiles)  Don't you love it when a plan comes together?

 

(more to follow)

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Lamech: Well, at least we know why those undead ganged up on Elethandiel.
Urlon: ?
Lamech: Ghouls just want to have fun.

We decide to check one more room before retreating to the surface to recharge our spells and rest.

Lamech: I am sure that 'Let's take a look' have been the Famous Last Words of somebody

The room has at least three different groups in it. And what appears to be a ritual to desecrate a chapel to a Dwarven god.

Lamech: Remember what I said about 'Famous Last Words'?

On top of the bugbears and giant spiders, there's a drow male with a big-ass staff.

GM: Suddenly a figure appears!
Lamech: Sudden figures are never good.

The drow gets a horrible shock in the form of an arrow through the lungs, and uses a Vampiric Touch spell to suck out half of Urlon's innards. Lamech is doing really, really badly in this fight - not only is he out of spells but his crossbow attacks don't hit a damn thing, and the bolts whistle off into the far ends of the room.

Lamech: I guess I really am attacking the darkness.

But the Dwarf Kerak demonstrates a talent for medical diagnosis, determines that the drow is in urgent need of brain surgery, and performs an emergency hemispherectomy. With an axe. The drow really should have avoided coming into melee.

Lamech: If he'd been smart he'd have drained the hostage and got away while we were busy with the hobgoblins and spiders. That's what I'd do. If I wasn't Neutral Good, anyway.

Lamech gets nibbled on by a giant spider in passing.

Lamech: Given it tried to run away when it was outnumbered, that spider is probably the smartest thing - PC or NPC - that we've run into in this campaign so far.

The hostage being prepped for sacrifice is a Deep Gnome, not the dwarf we're looking for.

Lamech: I don't suppose you were adopted into a Dwarf family, were you?

Lamech: I'm guessing this Electrum ale mug will be your share of the treasure, Kerak.
Kerak: I kind of wanted the Spider Staff, but that would be more useful for you, wouldn't it?
Lamech: Dual-wielding staffs - Defence! Spiders! Defence! Spiders! AHahaHAhaHA!!!!!!

We try to figure out where the missing dwarf is by questioning the Deep Gnome. Unfortunately none of us know Undercommon.

Lamech: Time for Charades then. Dwarf... Beard! Short! Quaffing Beer!

GM: The next room is pretty impressive - you could make a nice little cottage here.
Lamech: As long as it's a defensible cottage. What's the Neighbourhood Watch like?
GM: Undead.

Kavorog: Dibs on the bed.
Lamech: Now Kav, that's not very fair - shouldn't we try and fit as many people on there as possible? We could only fit one lizardborn on it, whereas the dwarf and I-
GM: So everybody is in Room 20?
Kavorog: Yes. Arguing about sleeping arrangements.

The deep gnome has disappeared while our backs were turned.

Lamech: I'm betting the deep gnome was the real Black Spider.
Kerak: The drow had a black spider staff - it was probably him.
Lamech: The gnome lied about what was in the next room and legged it the moment we were busy elsewhere.
Kerak: Well, I would.

GM: You did take King Gurnt alive.
Kavorog: True. That's the kind of prisoner you keep the car batteries for.
Lamech: Eh. Why use car batteries when you have cheese graters?

GM: Let me describe the cavern.
Lamech: *singing* In a cavern, in a canyon, they were digging, for a miiiine.

Lamech: Well, lead the way Clementine.

That underground stream we found earlier careens down a chasm - the noise of crashing surf is louder than ever.

Urlon: How deep is the water?
Lamech: Waist deep for a human, I should think.
Urlon: And you're short.
Lamech: I'll just ride on the Dragonborn's shoulder then.

There's an ancient corpse buried at the bottom of the chasm - probably killed when the mine was originally overrun. It still has Gauntlets of Ogre Strength.

Kavorog: Gimme a d2.
Urlon: What?
Kavorog: We'll flip a coin for them.

Kavorog: I put Lamech on my shoulders.
GM: So you Equip the gnome.
Urlon: We can pile everything we have on him and it won't slow him down.
Kavorog: Oh god, I'm becoming Nodwick.

There is a strange underground bay down here, with surf bashing against the rocks. A bit worrisome, given the implication that there's an even larger underground sea, with its own weather and no doubt crawling with monsters, out there in the darkness. There's also a sluice running down from the other levels, probably from that forge room with the floating skull. Urlon and Elethandiel climb up to check, and it's just as well that the surf is so noisy, because he falls back down. And the skull was waiting for them anyway.

Kerak: At least it didn't attack us.
Lamech: Or consult the penguin puppet floating next to it. 'What's that Mr Flibble? Fry them with my Hex Vision?'
Kerak: Mr Flibble is very angry.

Urlon: Could be human skull, could be dwarf. Could be elf, too. Probably elf or human - how many dwarven mages do you know?
Lamech: Might still be dwarf - does it have a flaming green beard?

Skull: YOU SHALL NOT PASS! THIS FORGE IS SACRED! AHAHAHAHAHA!
Lamech: Sounds like it was set to protect the forge and went insane after centuries of solitude.
Kerak: Worn down its Sanity Chip.

Urlon: Shoot! Shoot! Shoot! Duck!
GM: You'll be pleased to know there are no ducks down here.
Lamech: Might be Giant Albino Penguins - we've all heard about these underground oceans....

Lamech's Player: Here, use this token for me - it's the only one that actually looks like he's happy to be there.

Thorn scrambles up the sluice and Blesses the idiot PCs who triggered this mass attack by zombies and floating magic skull.

GM: Blessed are the stupid, for they are damage masters and haveth not the brains.

Lamech attempts to blow the yelling skully thing apart with a barrage of Magic Missiles. Unfortunately, the Yelley Skully has Shield. It also has Fireball.

GM: At least it manages to kill half its own zombies.
Kavorog: Wait - since we didn't kill them we don't get the XP.
Kerak: Fair breaks the heart.

Kavorog: I still have a free action - FLEE FOR YOUR LIFE, FOUL DEMON! Unlife. Undead. Whatever.
Kerak: Fuck you, evil skull from beyond the grave!

Lamech is on fire. Thorn throws himself on the gnome to try and smother the flames.

Kerak: Hopefully just the flames, and not the gnome.
Lamech: He wouldn't be the first.

The flames are a Wild Magic effect - and they're actually doing Cold Damage.

Thorn: What in the nine hells have you done???
Lamech: *shrugs, still on fire* Buggered if I know.

Mobbed by angry PCs, the Yelley Skully retreats into the machinery of the forge, where we we can't get at it. We've still got a bunch of zombies to deal with, unfortunately. But after they're dealt with the skull is still hiding in the forge. Kavorog sticks his head in to see what it's doing, but gets pulled back out, and the grill shut.

GM: It can't get out - and it's quite happy with that.
Lamech: *sings* It's only a skull in a grill-ded cage...

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Weldun: I've decided that 'Acid Splash, Acid Splash, Acid Splash is wizard equivalent of tea-bagging.

Best without context -

Weldun: Why is it so hard to chase Derpy with the nipple?

Context - his laptop has a Derpy Hooves screensaver, and a dodgy rubber cursor control.

Weldun: You're talking to a person who figured how to run an aircraft carrier on the daily calorific requirements of a hamster. In RIFTS.
Poe's Player: I'm sorry, but the cleverness of the first part is negated by the stupidity of that last bit.
Weldun: With a first-level character.
Poe's Player: OK, I take that back, that IS impressive.

Two sessions of Shadowrun - trips to New York, and Salish-Sidhe

GM: Anyone want to recap?
Oracle: BANANA!
Ocelot: Everyone knew this would end badly, and then it went bad.

Ripper K: Because we're all very attractive people we got hired to add ambience to an art event at the Guggenheim.
Oracle: This is a hell of a way for him to tell us he's been cheating on us. Apparently he has a whole other team of attractive people.

The entire Guggenheim Collection has come to life and is terrorising the patrons.

Everybody: BANANA! BANANA!
Oracle: See? Aren't you glad I set up that safeword?

As far Poe can determine, a horrendously powerful spirit is casting magic right through the metaplane. But it probably has a physical link here somewhere.

Oracle: Except the Guggenheim is significant enough to have an actual astral presence.
Ripper K: Oh. That's not good, is it?
Poe: Not really. It's the same reason the Statue of Liberty could theoretically walk down the street.
Oracle: We agreed to never speak of that again.

Patron: THAT PAINTING IS WORTH 6 TRILLION NUYEN!!!!
Shell: *cuts it in half* Now you've got two of them! No need to thank me.

One of the art mages starts to cackle.

Mage: I have a plan so crazy it might just work!

Patron: Just get us out of here! Name your price!
Ripper K: THANK you.
Shell: Oh yes!
Patron: Oh no.

Shell tears the security shutters out of their track.

Shell: Door's open! Please trample me in an orderly fashion.

He also grabs a passing curator.

Shell: Hi there! I notice you're having a little paranormal problem. How much is the museum willing to pay us to solve it?

The Mage wants to drug us all up and send us into the metaplanes. He also confesses that he and his team thought they had the art spirit under control.

Poe: Oracle, did you get that confession on tape?
Oracle: I'm getting it ALL on tape.

Oracle: I notice that all the art is moving... but none of it is being destroyed. This is Mr Dada were talking about - could a spirit of art really bring itself to destroy art?
Shell: Wait...
Ripper K: There was that painting that Shell cut in half...
Shell: So.. the only damage to the art is being done by a jarhead running around waving a sword?
Ripper K: Mr. Dada is going to LOVE you.

Oracle: Everybody heard that mage say he'd pay us if we stop Mr. Dada, right?
Ripper K: Yup.
Oracle: Good. Because I'm going to tell Mr. Dada that if he stops it, we'll come back and put a bullet through that mage's head. You know, the mage that bound him and knows his True Name.

There's also the problem that Shell's cybernetic body and heavily chipped psychology does not react predictably with the metaplanes. His brain is six years old, for one thing. But as it turns out, his astral form is indistinguishable from his real one.

Shell: I'm disappointed - everybody else gets to see 'their ideal form' and I'm still stuck in this tin can.
Ocelot: I'm not sure if this a good thing or a bad one.

The Doorkeeper to the metaplanes appears in a form and voice personalised for each shadowrunner.

Oracle's player: I'm just glad he isn't appearing as a wizened anthropomorphic rabbit with a scythe and answering to Jack.
Ripper's player and GM: *scream and cringe*
Oracle's player: *smugly* Bullseye.

The threshold has a bunch of shepherds standing around a tomb engraved "Et in Arcadia, ego". Funnily enough, the scene is from a painting. Indeed, several paintings. Shell notices one of the shepherds is tracing his own shadow, instead of the words, and does the same.

300px-Nicolas_Poussin_052.jpg

Doorkeeper: Congratulations! You have passed the first test!
Shell: Yay! Do I get a prize?
Doorkeeper: You get to go on to the next test.
Shell: Booo.
Ripper K: Somehow I don't see this game show getting past the first episode.

We all find ourselves standing on a deserted beach, with melting clocks draped over the trees, and facing constructs comprised of time and our most exaggerated characteristics. Since we'll be facing our spirit trials alone, most of the ensuing commentary took place in the Astral waiting afterwards, why we waited for everybody to catch up.

Ripper K: *cackles*
Oracle: Hands up who's glad they can't see Ripper's opponent right now.
GM: I'll just assume Ripper's astral combat is completely censored, shall I?

Oracle is in real trouble - the reason he lurks behind the scenes, and doesn't connect to other people, is because he doesn't connect to himself. So his grossly male opponent has a huge advantage, and is as arrogant as Khan Noonian Singh. The spiritform trying to get under Shell's skin isn't doing as well.

Spirit-Shell: *incites Homicidal Rage* Wait... I'm the only one here. Fuck.

Ocelot's spirit-opponent is unlucky. So unlucky it's dead. An empty-eyed doppleganger of Ocelot that hits her hard right in the uncanny valley.

Poe: Well, I'm glad we all have good therapists on speed-dial.
Oracle: Dude, I'm ALWAYS in therapy.

Ripper's opponent has none of the genuine self-confidence, or morals, of the original. That orca-form changeling is a complete monster of appetite, and completely amoral. The kind of shadowrunner that could happily cut somebody in half.

Shell: It's OK, not everybody is cut out for shadowrunning work.

Ripper rapidly finds himself in big trouble - when HE tries to subdue somebody he goes out of his way to not cripple or kill them. The alt-Ripper has no such compunctions. That they're in unarmed combat, and the spiritform has a touch attack Essence Drain, is worse.

Shell: Two killer whales are wrestling on the beach.
Ripper K: Oiled up, of course. Roll us back into the water!

Ripper K: Ok, since I'm fighting for my life here I'm going to have to put moral compunctions aside, and go straight for his 'most prominent characteristic'.
Oracle: OK, I was about to complain that the GM was implying docking...
Ripper K: *grab, grab, Twist*
Spirit-Ripper: *screams and poofs*
Shell: You DO have it in you to to rip somebody in half! I'm so proud.

Streetrat's alter ego is an ordinary, law-abiding citizen, understandably terrified by his shadowrunning version.

Streetrat: Hey man. No need to shoot me - let's make a deal.

This works, and the Spirit-Streetrat bargains away its own existence.

Shell: You know, I thought I was going to have the most trouble here, but just look at easy this was. Hi guys, how'd it go for you?
Oracle: Well, you are pretty confident in your own self-image.
Ripper K: You know, it can't be psychologically healthy when a solipsistic universe proves you're just awesome.

Shell: I thought my alter would be some innocent child, a sign of what I might have been, and easy to cut in half, but instead it was just a cybernetic monster. And I'm already a cybernetic monster.
Ripper K: You know, maybe that WAS the real you, and you're the spiritform?
Shell: That's a good question! So ask yourself this - which of us would you rather have around? And while we're talking philosophical issues, wanna tell me why you were busy jacking yourself off?

Poe is faced by a giant carrion-bird version of himself, and blasts it in the face with a wildly overpowered spell.

Poe: It inflates like a giant balloon..
Ocelot: And blows out its own arse.
GM: It's still alive.
Poe: That's surprising.
Ocelot: It regrets still being alive...

Spirit-Poe: If I'm going out, I'm taking you with me! *casts the same spell on Poe*

Spirit-Oracle: Look at you, you even work for the CIA - the Central Irrelevance Agency. I'll put you out of your misery - I'm taking over from here. *conjures a Great Big Gun and prepares to shoot Oracle in the head*
Oracle: Reality Check - what temperature does it take to melt watches and how long have you been here?
GM: You're rolling to disbelieve??? *headesk* The beach poofs and you find yourself in The Dentist's Waiting Room.
Shell: What took you so long.
Ocelot: Shell got here first.
Poe: This isn't a competition!
Shell: Sure it is, when you're first.
Doorkeeper: The Dweller will see you now.

The next realm is a 1930s Italian Futurist painting.

GM: Imagine William Gibson trying to describe the internet to an audience 50 years before the technology existed.
Doorkeeper: Go, find the words that lead to tomorrow.
Oracle: OK. I go buy a newspaper.

Oracle: I use my Reality Filter again.
Ripper K: 'I reject your reality -'
Oracle: '- and substitute my own.'
Ripper K: But is this kind of thing that Mr. Dada would appreciate? Shouldn't we at least try to play along?
Ocelot: Dada has absolutely no power here.
Ripper K: Good point - this is an Italian Futurist painting.
Oracle: Fuck, I've just reinforced Shell's delusions again.
Doorkeeper: Well, that was new. I appreciate new ideas - you may pass.

The next level of the metaplane is a young woman in a field, gazing up at a farmhouse.

Christinasworld.jpg.

Shell: I know that arse.
Ripper K: She's paralysed with polio - that's as far as she ever GOT from the farmhouse.
Shell: Well, that's made this significantly more depressing.

Shell tries to pick Christina up and carry her, and goes right through her.

Ripper K: I'll try and pick her up - art is supposed to invoke an emotional response, and it's not like YOU have any empathy.
GM: ... the module doesn't cover this... OK, you pick her up.
Shell: BULLSHIT!
Ocelot: Maybe the spirit of Art is pleased to see somebody actually having an emotional reaction to art?
Shell: *muttering* Spirit quest bullshit gnashing, frashing.

Mr Dada is indeed waiting in the farmhouse.

Streetrat: So, what's been happening in the place with no meaning?
Mr Dada: How did YOU get here?
Poe: We walked.
Streetrat: Spirit quests aside, what is happening?
Mr Dada: A Happening. My Happening. Who do you think I am, exactly?
Streetrat: We were given a name for you - Mr. Dada.
Mr Dada: Ah, the 20s.
Ocelot: ...2020s?
Oracle: 1920s.

Mr Dada: I want to to be seen, to be recognised.
Poe: You do realise you were given an invitation to appear at the Guggenheim?
Mr Dada: Oh, is that what that was?
Ocelot: Yes, and now you've scared off your audience.
Mr Dada: I feel so embarrassed.
Poe: Well, we're inviting you again. But we'd appreciate if you fix any of the artworks first.
Mr Dada: And I'll have to accept.
Oracle: *looking completely horrified*
You just gave a major Spirit a free invite into reality.

Shell: Hey Christina, I bet you're sorry you came back to the house now.
GM: She's watching the television.
Ripper K: What television? Wrong period.
Oracle: There's a television here now - because when somebody said the 20s, he thought they meant the 2020s.

We poof back to reality, where a Force 15 Free Spirit is now showing off for the cameras. Shell is glad he can touch things again.

Shell: High five bro!
Oracle: .....
Shell: Don't leave me hanging, bro!
Oracle: *high five*
Shell: Yay, I'm not a shadow any more.

Oracle: You do this sort of this willingly???
Poe: It's usually worse than that. That was Happy Fun Candyland.
Ripper K: BULLSHIT

Oracle: I'm never taking a job like this again. Too much exposure - I'm going back in the shadows where we belong.

Oracle: And the leftover 30 grand goes to getting out out New York. 'Oh, hello officer, we'd like to make a donation to the Policeman's Ball'

Oracle: OK, I need to stage a public ritual where I dig up the bones of Mother Teresa. And shit on them.
Ripper K: What???
Ocelot: He's getting too much public awareness to be comfortable. So he needs some notoriety to burn it.

GM: Oh right, movie offers - Ripper's Public Awareness goes up by 2.
Ripper K: Hmm. My Notoriety is still higher than my Public Awareness. I wonder why? Oh, right - the OTHER movies.

Shell: OK, conversation time. That means this conversation does not leave this van. Switch off your phones.
Oracle: Um. OK. Give me a moment.
Shell: Right, this is imp-
Oracle: Hold on.
Shell: What?
Oracle: I'm still switching off phones. Actually, I better leave. I AM a recording device.

Oracle: Anyway, this is important. It's about Ocelot. Ocelot, we saw your real face in the Astral.
Ocelot: Oh. Fuck.

Ocelot's day job is host of a popular daytime cooking show. She just slathers on the nanofoam disguise for the shadowrunning jobs.

Ripper K: Well, I have an advantage there. If people recognise me, it's not because they recognise my face.

Shell: Right, let's drive this thing back to Seattle. 'I brake for Orcs'.
Ripper K: I brake for paracritters.
Streetrat: I break paracritters.

On recent events in Australian politics, and the way recently ousted PM Tony Abbott actually managed to make previous conservative leaders look good.

Streetrat's player: Most of Howard's decisions were actually good ones.
Ocelot's Player: To be accurate, the caterpillars controlling his mind made good decisions.

howard.jpg

The conversation also wandered across vampire mythology, such as the ones that arise from infants strangled by their own umbilical cord. You don't know they're undead. And they can only be killed by a picket from the fence around the home where they were born.

GM: Can we start the game now?
Ripper K's player: Hey, we're enjoying this conversation. And you should be using this for ideas. For example, does the HMHV Virus cross the placental barrier?
Oracle's Player: Yes.
Ripper K: There you go then - vampire fetuses.
GM: OK, fine, you'll be fighting vampire politicians.

The PCs have been busy since New York - Ripper has been launching a film career.

GM: You haven't even started filming yet!
Ripper K: Ah - read-throughs.
Poe: He has photographic memory!
Ripper K: And Enthralling Performance
Ripper K: Do I get to be the villain? With cool armour?
Ocelot: You'll probably be the lieutenant they fight a few times before the end, but ends up being stupidly popular with the fans.
Oracle: The boards are going insane 'Live Action Street Sharks confirmed! They've already got a Moby Lick'

2-Moby-Lick.jpg


Oracle gets a call - one of his contacts is out in the wild and needs a pick up. He runs a Wildlife Filter on the audio, and narrows down her location within minutes - the northern end of Salish-Sidhe.

Fiona Craig: How the hell did you know that? This is supposed to be an anonymised network!
Oracle: You forgot who you're talking to, didn't you? Oh, and it sounds like you have one of the Awakened Mountain Lion species in the area, you might want to be careful.

Fiona wants pick-up in 3 hours.

Ocelot: Are you sure you want to wait that long? That's a long time to spend in that wilderness.
Oracle: I can lend a friend one of my drones, he can nip over the border, and we can get to you inside the hour.
Ripper K: And Streetrat has dual citizenship.
Oracle: Every right to be there ... Sometimes my KCAW! drones scares me.
GM: *headdesk* Right. Moving on the next adventure.
Ripper K OoC: Nah. Now we get to see how the extraction goes wrong.

First up - a virtual meeting with the Johnson. The virtual band is playing a classic Flim concert from the 2020s.

Oracle: Dude, look, just put on some Pentatonics.

Everybody shows off their new Matrix Avatars.

Ripper K: Korosensei from Assassination Classroom.
Oracle: ....
Ripper K: Alien tentacle monster. But an excellent teacher.

The Johnson's original driver pulled out when he thought Salish-Sidhe law enforcement recognised him. She needs us to get her and artifact out of the country. The item needs to be accompanied at all times.

Oracle: That's fine - we have a service called KCAW! You might have seen it on the news a month ago.

Oracle: What the hell is a Celtic artefact doing in Salish-Sidhe?
Ocelot: Same thing as a polar bear in Australia. It's lost.

GM: She's only got 5000 nuyen on her.
Ripper K: She's good for it. Or the Draco Foundation are.
Poe: And the KCAW service is the cheapest we offer.
Ocelot: Risking a 14,000 drone is much preferable to risking any of us. Unless something goes wrong, and she isn't there when the drone arrives.
Ripper K: That IS the obvious way this will go wrong.

Ripper K: Two vans and my bike then?
Streetrat: That works.
Oracle: I'm working on a way to deploy bikes at speed - a drone deployment rack, vehicle mounted.
Ripper K: How big is your van?
Oracle: I'll be using a big rig for this. I want to go full anime on this.
Ocelot: That would be a awesome way to kidnap people.
Oracle: Yup - an even bigger rack that can lift other cars off the road XD

Most of the party actually have legitimate SIN records, and can get tourist visas.

Oracle: Who's coming in my van?
Shell: *hands up*
Oracle: Dammit. You're going to hear my real name. If you EVER reference it I will find a way to make you suffer.

Oracle: Shell, I hope you trust me enough one day to modify your systems. Although I can see why you don't yet - this is the party's resident Mad Scientist talking.
Ripper K: Says the person who wants to build automated motorbike deployment racks for an anime big rig.
Oracle: That's different, that's PRACTICAL.

Oracle and Streetrat spend most of the trip discussing ways to kill Shell. He seems fine with this. Streetrat also wants to know what Oracle is working on that requires the rest of us getting military-grade nano-defenses.

Streetrat: Your Avatar is looking a bit too DEUS-like for my liking.
Oracle: I'm just turning social engineering into a hardware issue.

Oracle: Wait, you're got that stupid-arse monocycle? I take it back, you're never getting deployed from my big rig.
Ripper K: Well, I like it.
Oracle: And it is the basis for my Death-sphere.
Streetrat: OK, that's it, you can't deny it anymore - you're a Evil Overlord.
Poe: The problem with this country is that you can't buy a volcano lair - they're all owned by evil nutters, dragons, or mage groups.

Poe: How much does it cost to make a manufacturing facility in Seattle?
Oracle: Hundred thousand nuyen, if you have the space. Which I have.
Poe: *facepalm* This after his says he's building Roboscorpions and Death-spheres.

Ripper K: I expect you'll have an expert system that knows the Evil Overlord list, and will remind you when you go astray.
Ocelot: And the personality of a five year old.
Oracle: I already do.
Ripper K: Of course you do.
Oracle: I'm not kidding, it's already one of my software agents.

Oracle: I'm not an Evil Genius, I'm just a moderately unpleasant one.

The safehouse is suspiciously quiet - and the satellite uplink is missing. We deploy tactically.

Oracle: *giggles* It's dangerous to go alone - take this *hands Shell a Remington Roomsweeper, with Shocklock Rounds*

There are indeed snipers. Invisible snipers. Although the terrain has forced them to deploy far too close to the safehouse to avoid our revenge. Not that we can tell if we're hitting them with grenades, etc, until Poe spots the magical aura of their Air Elementals, and the people they're Concealing.

Ocelot OoC: The way the rules work it's harder to spot a team of the enemy than it is to spot one.
Poe: They're not freaking zebras.

Despite the various kinds of concealment, the shadowrunners manages to take down three. And then Poe banishes one of the air elementals.

GM: That reveals two live people and a corpse.
Shell: I disagree *raising rifle* You revealed three corpses.

We do manage to take one of them alive, and while the medical evac drone is patching him up for interrogation, we search the safehouse. There's no sign of Fiona, but no evidence she was abducted either. Oracle DOES find an AR tag link for Oracle's commlink, and an attached video file saying the Fiona knew she was being followed, and moved on to another safehouse. THIS time we send KCAW (from Seattle) and Streetrat's fighter drone (from the rack on his van's roof) ahead to actually check what's there. We wonder what Salish-Sidhe
air traffic control is like.

Poe orders the Air Elemental to locate it's controlling mage, every ten seconds.

Ocelot: Your PREVIOUS controlling mage. Or it's just going to say 'You're Here. You're Here. You're Here.'

The next safehouse is in the nearest small town - Streetrat's drone screaming in a roof level probably would attract some attention.

Nut: It's wern of Obama's Sekrit Muslim Drones! It's looking at mah wife! Shoot that dang thing down!

The sheriff's SUV pulls us over when we come into town. He's a human built like an Orc. We bluff him with the prepared story that we're in Salish-Sidhe to track Canadian Geese.

Streetrat: He's probably suspicious because I'm a Cascade orc and we do a lot of smuggling.
Oracle: A lot? THE smuggling T-bird is made by the Cascade Orcs!
Streetrat: I'm driving a nondescript van.
Ripper K: That's even more suspicious.

The Sheriff launches his own drone to keep an eye on us. Streetrat wants to deploy a Steel Lynx drone.

Shell's Player: I'm not going to stop another player doing something stupid, but I reserve the right to facepalm afterwards.

Fortunately Oracle notices the military drone powering up and shouts Streetrat down - the locals will CERTAINLY notice a Steel Lynx on their quiet streets.

Fiona gets out to the van without being shot by anybody. Poe promptly disguises himself as her, and vice versa.

GM: She finds this a bit weird.
Shell: I find this a bit weird.
Ocelot: There WAS a six-man sniper team at the other safehouse.

The artifact is a falcata - a sickle-edged Iberian sword. If it's an elf artifact, we had better hope the Sidhe don't know it's here, or that we have it, or we'll never live to retire. Just as well we have KCAW to smuggle her back across the border.

Oracle: Just as well KCAW can sedate the people it carries.
Fiona: I should be nervous that we're crossing a heavily defended border. At zero feet. In heavy forest.

GM: You probably have a few people in mind you can sell it to.
Ripper K: Oh? Fiona was freelancing?

We attempt a deal with the Draco Foundation, where Ripper has to talk to two people from the previous campaign - Greenlight and Inkubus.

Greenlight: I'm not put off by the fact you're a changeling, I'm put off by the fact you're a deviant porn star.

Inkubus's player: I keep picturing myself wandering in and out of Nadja's office, helping myself to the booze, lounging about on the lounge, and flirting with Nadja while the Head of Security glares at me. Not that I'd ever actually sleep with the boss of the Foundation - it's just funny messing with the Head of Security.

Inkubus: Wait... Cetaceans Gone Wild?
Ripper K: 2 to 4, yes
Inkubus: It doesn't really go all... does it?
Ripper K: Yes, prehensile.
Oracle: No! NO! Data-search OFF! DO NOT LOOK THAT UP.

Ripper K leaves the Draco Foundation building to discover that Shell has disappeared. SOMETHING about meeting Greenlight severely wigged him out, although his chemically controlled emotions let him keep his composure until he could get out of the building.

Inkubus gets his first close look at the falcata at the handover, and discovers just in time that the sword is inhabited by a force 12 free spirit. He recoils, and politely asks it a few questions - after all, getting a spirit's true name by assensing is rude and probably lethal. The spirit is pleased with this courtesy, and manifests as an ancient Tir elf. It's happy to attune the sword to any elf that's completely sound in mind and body.

Inkubus: ... I think I qualify!

And that challenges a leader of Tir na nOg, or Tir Tangaire to a leadership duel and wins.

Inkubus: I hope she chooses grappling - have you seen pictures Brahne Dei? She's gorgeous!

Inkubus: But there is something that disqualifies me - I'm already taken. By Titania.
Spirit: Oh! Oh, I'm sorry, my lord - I had no idea you were the Consort.

Ocelot: Tir na nOg would be a good name for a gay bar.
Poe: It's where all the fairies are.
Greenlight OoC: To be sure, to be sure.
Ocelot's player: That's the McGinty Irish accent, which is terrifying.
Poe: They serve their Guinness with little paper umbrellas.

Inkubus: It's a pity Nadja doesn't qualify - her versus Brahne Dei would make a mint on Pay Per View.

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On the recent discovery that a species of early human carefully disposed of their dead in a remote and difficult-to-access cave.

Daniel's Player: Well, archeology is a major undertaking.
All: ...
Me: was that a deliberate pun?
Daniel's Player: ...no.
Me: Well done.

In Black Crusade the heretics have successfully talked their way into the Tricorn Tower, the Inquisitorial fortress on Scintilla. This is a tremendous achievement for them, as was talking one of the resident tech-priests into attaching a large bomb to the tower's plasma reactor.

Eniek: We're not blowing anything up, we're just going through the sacred ritual of conversion.
GM: Yes, from Matter to Energy.
Digna: We're converting the reactor into a poor man's plasma rocket.

But before they head to the Archive, and steal the Liber ex Mortis and anything else that catches their eye, they check on the tower's ancient Teleportarium. It will make a useful escape route. The chambers in question are strangely shielded against interference.

GM: You don't want somebody's stray Wifi signal scrambling the teleport signal.
Daniels: 'It's stuck on producing cats. Why?'

Digna's player finally rigged up his own soundboard for Mr Bubbles and Little Sister. It's suitably disturbing.

Daniels: Mr Bubbles ate something that disagreed with him.
GM: SomeONE who disagreed with him.

There's a delay at the Teleportarium while the adept calls his superior. Happily, the heretics allowed for such delays when they set the timer on the meltabomb.

Daniels: We calculated an embuggerance factor of 500%

None the less, Daniels pretends irritation at the delay, while Digna and Eniek talk to the adept, in order to find out any planned teleport departures and arrivals over the next few days.

Daniels: Be reminded we are now running at 5% inefficiency.
Eniek: THANK you.
GM: Do you really want to embarrass Eniek by claiming your group is already inefficient?
Daniels: Ah, my phrasing was bad - you are CAUSING us an inefficiency of 5%.

Digna: As long as my authority is holding we may as well use it. All of it.

Apparently the Teleportarium has been ordered prepared for a combat insertion - for something, or at least 11 things - large and heavy. The target is a ship in orbit around Scintilla.

Eniek: ...well.. we don't need to recalibrate the settings anymore. It's targeting our ship, isn't it?
GM: Yup >:D

Despite this proof that the Inquisition is already on to them, they continue with the plan - and even convince the Master of Teleportation to adjust the target inside the Obsidian Resolve, from the Gellar Field generators to the Resolution Arena. Digna points out that there's more open space there. She then sends of an encrypted message to the ship, warning them to set up a heavily-armed reception committee. Then off to the Archives, which are even more heavily armoured than the Teleportarium and reactor levels. It's richly adorned with the symbols of the Ordo Hereticus, who hunt within the Imperium, the Ordo Xenos, who protect it from aliens, and the Ordo Malleus, who hunt down psykers and daemons, and other threats from the Warp. There's lots of popular Imperial sayings like "Blessed is the mind too small for doubt", and "Knowledge is a curse - seek it not". There's a trio of heavily cybered librarians in the chambers before the Archive's giant blast doors too. The don't react well to Digna walking right past them to consult the index console.

Librarians: Identify Yourself! State Your Purpose! IDENTIFY! IDENTIFY!
GM: Picture a trio of Librarian Daleks.
Digna: 'YOU WILL CONFORM TO THE DEWEY DECIMAL SYSTEM!'

Digna turns their attention to Eniek, who has something to say, at about 40,000 decibels.

Digna: Thank you for this discourse.
Eniek: Don't make me repeat myself.

Eniek: Shit, I just remembered - you're supposed to be quiet in a library.
Passing Cherub: Shush.

GM: There's books that are merely banned as well. You might find a complete run of 'PlayEldar'

Getting past the blast doors proves more difficult than expected - it requires synchronous quantum unlocking from the three pulped librarians, each of whom represented one of the Ordos. Digna gets to work kit-bashing some of her Adsecularii, wiring up their brains to the neural cybernetics fished from the three piles of chunky salsa.

Digna: Right, you three. When I say go, I want you to look down at the cards in front of you and concentrate on the image. 'ok, it's a little ducky... it's a doggy... OH MY GOD ARGHHHHHH!!!'
Fucking Malleus.

The doors open - and the ten Space Marines and Dreadnaught waiting behind the door attack. They have been planning this for a week, because not only the heretics have precogs. Also, Skerrit spent most of a day in full view of the Tricorn Tower, then climbed down the outside of his building. And word got back to the Inquisition that Digna had been asking questions about them. Sadly, even the might and heavy weapons of the Deathwatch prove insufficient to subdue tech-priests who have been further enhanced by the Warp. Although Eniek is briefly inconvenienced by the assault cannon rounds that pulp his viscera. And Eniek's sonic weaponry is horrendously lethal, even to Space Marines in armour.

Deathwatch: Sonic Cannon wasn't in the precog briefing. Oh fuck!

Eniek: I forgot to ask - which one is the Ultramarine? I mean, which one is in charge? Effectively the same question.

Skerrit fucks up again, his mind bullets wrenching apart reality and inflicting internal injuries on everybody nearby, including Digna's minion Little Sister. Mr Bubbles goes berserk, but fortunately for Skerrit has to drag himself across the floor after the psyker. Digna's horde of minions eventually catch up with their mistress, who has been fighting two space marines in hand-to-hand. Unluckily for the marines even power weapons can barely injure her mostly mechanical body. The marine isn't so lucky, when dozens of the Adsecularii pile in and tear him apart.

Digna: Ripped apart by the fanatical horde of Adsecularii. "WE WILL SAVE YOU, MISTRESS!!!!"
GM: It's like being torn apart by bunnies.

Little Sister gets to work harvesting the gene-seed and progenoid glands of the dead marines, while Eniek subdues the Space Marine psyker they managed to take alive. Little Sister's voice and glee is still something to raise the hackles.



Little Sister: *giggles* can we keep it?
Daniels: This is why I have to work so hard at morale on the ship.

Digna patches up Mr Bubbles, while the others race through the archives grabbing the Liber ex Mortis (in its own hexagrammically warded safe, festooned with 'Threat Level : Biologis Extremis' warnings) and anything else that looks interesting, such as Inquisition star charts to that cluster where Digna hopes to find the Silica Anima. They everybody legs it back to the Teleportarium, sending the horde of Adsecularii the long way around as a distraction. They don't even bother trying to hide their guilt from the Master of Teleportation.

Digna: I apologise for putting you in this position, Master Tech-priest, but I must insist you send us to the prearranged destination. Or I will be forced to damage that which is irreplaceable.

This is the ONLY threat that could have moved the M-o-T - the priesthood of Mars revere technology, and ancient tech like teleportariums even more so.

M-o-T: +++YOU MONSTER+++

The enraged tech-priest complies, and the party have escaped Scintilla, and rush to get the engines started before the planet can rouse their defence fleet. It looks like the Obsidian Resolve will have to flee Imperial Space entirely, before the wrath of the Inquisition and the Adeptus Mechanicus can catch up with them...

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