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Darren Watts

Quote of the Week from my gaming group...

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DnD - Phandelving Finally Done

 

Still going through the lost mine of Phandelver, trying to find that missing dwarf. The number of undead down here has been troublesome.

Lamech: And we'll leave Agent Skully locked in the forge's firebox.

The gnome that ran off while our backs were turned stole some dwarven clothes, after he did the same thing to the people we left on guard at the cave mouth. That's evidence that he was another doppleganger. We update them on our progress, which is slow and methodical. After all, we don't want to be surprised by attacks from the rear.

Gundrun: Well, that's prudent anyway.
Lamech: I'm all about prudence. Don't eat any strange mushrooms unless I know exactly how strange they are.

Lamech: There's also an underground sea - if your brother isn't in the main cave, we're simply not equipped for underground sailing.
Gundrun: You're telling me my brother may have been sold into slavery to the Drow?
Lamech: Yup.
Gundrun: Well, that's just lovely. Nice way to break the good news, too.
Lamech: What, you'd rather we lie?

GM: Which NPC do you want to take back into the cave with you?
Lamech: I'd say our portable Healing Potion. Hey, Thorn.

We're all more interested in the piles of probable undead to practise proper military spelunking safety. Thorn looks up and yells.

Thorn: BATS!
Lamech: I didn't even think to check the ceilings - It seems I'm not cut out for dungeoneering. So, is everybody up to date on their rabies vaccinations?
GM: *singing* You're going to need theeeeemmm!

They're actually Stirges. Obviously we failed our Unnatural History classes as well.

GM: You're high enough level you could have stirges as pets.
Kavorog: Why???
Lamech: Well it might be a Giant Dire Riding Stirge. Or if it's a Aquatic Giant Dire Stirge it'd be a Sturgeon.
Urlon: ಠ_ಠ

Fantasy pest control.

GM: If it's fifty dollars to remove a dead animal from a trap, you could charge a hundred to remove undead creatures from a trap.

Striges dealt with, we press on to the next room, which is completely overgrown with strange fungi.

Lamech: I'm more interested in which ones I can sell to fellow aficionados of recreational mycoproteins.

And in a room after that there are crunching noises. It's the surviving ghouls, who demonstrate an impressive long-term memory from the day before, and run away.

There's also some collapsible boats.

Lamech: Huh. Looks like we ARE equipped for some underground sailing.

Lamech: Spelunking Regatta... would that be a Splatter?
Urlon: Are you TRYING to get yourself thrown overboard?

More sealed doors.

GM: It's not that bad - you've got a musclebound thug in the party who has Gauntlets of Ogre Strength.
Urlon: The idea was to surprise people.
GM: Tearing the door off its hinges would surprise them.
Lamech: Especially if you then hit them with it.

The room contains green fire and a giant floating eyeball with multiple additional eyestalks, which is already looking at us.

Urlon: Fuuuuuuuuuuuuuu-
Lamech: Oh **** we're going to die
Kavorog: *sob*
Beholder: Hello.
All: ?????
GM: So, is anybody going to stop Elethandiel and Kavorog's charge?

Beholder: Visitors! How nice. Is there anything I can do for you? But I warn you this is a restricted area.
Lamech: Uh ah blah uh ah BSOD.
Urlon: Hey, it's a ball, I wonder how many times I can bounce it off the walls with Thunderwave?

Beholder: So you're mine security then?
Lamech: Uh... yeah? You could say? We were certainly sent down here to deal with a security issue.
Beholder: That's nice.
Lamech: We're just looking for a dwarf that got dragged down here.
Beholder: I haven't seen him.
Lamech: Well. Um. We'll just move on then. If you do see him, tell him he's got some friends up on the surface that are worried about him?
Beholder: OK.
Urlon: Do you want us to fix the door?
Beholder: If you want. I haven't seen the janitorial staff in a while.
All: ...
Urlon: How long have you been here, exactly?
Beholder: I forget. It's been a while. My master told me to guard the room, so I have.

We prop the door back into position and retreat well out of earshot - Lamech has figured out it's actually a Spectator, guardian entities summoned to protect an object until dismissed. This one has probably been here for centuries.

GM: Deranged spheroid in dungeon. Summoner died hundreds of years ago. Still does its job.

GM: You feel a grim foreboding.
Kavorog: I hate grim foreboding.
Lamech: Could be Grim Fandango.
Kavorog: That's worse - I'd look terrible as a skeleton.

We sneakily Mend the hinges to the next double doors, so we don't get any nasty surprises while trying to nastily surprise somebody else. We needn't have bothered - the room is empty, and appears to have been a luxurious bedroom fried in a magical battle.

Kavorog: *sigh* we go investigate the chest.
Lamech: Even though we know it's a trap.

Wraith: MY TREASURES ARE MINE ALOOOOOONE! NOT YOURS TO PLUNDER!!!!!!!
Kavorog: OK. *turns around and walks back out*
Wraith: ????

Apparently the wraith believes this is some kind of trick and attacks anyway.

Kavorog: Are wraiths the ones that steal experience levels?
GM: You're about to find out.

The spirit of the late mage materialises next to our cleric.

Wraith: *incoherent hissing* TALK TO SAVE YOUR LIVES, OR JOIN ME IN UNDEEEEEEAAAATH!!!!
Lamech: Pardon?
Wraith: What???
Lamech: No, seriously, I couldn't understand that first bit.
Wraith: GODSDAMMIT, I'M A VENGEFUL SPIRIT, YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO COWER AND OBEY NOT ASK ME TO REPEAT MYSELLLLFFFFFFF!!!!
GM: You wouldn't have believed an incorporeal spirit...
Lamech: Could froth at the mouth?

Lamech: Are there any descendants we could inform about your final resting place? Anything we can do to calm your restless spirit? *proceeds to roll 4, 4 times in a row, on Persuasion checks* *sigh* I suppose it's still upset with me over the 'say it, don't spray it' thing.

Kavorog actually manages to get a straight answer out of it.

Lamech: Well, they both hiss all the time, that's hardly surprising.

It wants magical items - particularly the green firey thing next door. But the Spectator keeps attacking the wraith, and any undead it sends in.

Lamech: Wait.. you did actually TELL the Spectator you're the same wizard that summoned it?
Wraith: ...
GM: It gets agitated, because that never actually occurred to it.
Wraith: It does not recognise me after my change of state!
Lamech: Well, maybe if you had a few witnesses to testify on your behalf?

Wraith: DESTROY THE GUARDIAN OR JOIN ME IN DEAAAATTTHHHH!!!! *fails to intimidate*
Lamech: Probably all that ectoplasmic spittle.
Kavorog: Ew.

The wraith sags dejectedly, and opts to kill us all, but Thorn's aura of insufferable righteousness scares it off. We have less than 60 seconds to re-equip to finish the thing off - after all, we don't have time to run back for reinforcements, and it can attack through the floors and walls.

Kavorog: You ever play street fighter?
Wraith: ???
Kavorog: SHORYUKEN!

Kavorog's player leans back in his chair, which shatters, throwing fragments everywhere and nearly precipitating him through the gaming's store's internal wall.

Peanut Gallery: Did you at least do a roll?
Kavorog's Player: I rolled a Nat 20 and did a Crit.

Wraiths are resistant to practically everything, but not, it turns out, to Magic Missiles. Lamech blows the thing away with his first barrage.

All: *skid to a halt and look around and at each other, confused*
Lamech: ... did we get it or did it just disperse?

There's a pipe with platinum filigree in the late wizard's chest. Probably the 'precious' the wraith was going on about.

Thorn: We should break it.
Urlon: Or not touch it.
Lamech: *already stuffing it full with his best weed* What? I need a relaxing smoke after that.

We report back to the missing dwarf's brother outside the cave.

Lamech: But in lighter news we found some boats.

But we have somehow managed to miss the assayer's office in the old mine. Back in we go to find it. And a roomful of animated skeletons.

Lamech: Godsdammit. Hey, Gundrun! You remember how I said we'd killed most of the monsters down here?

Skeletons smashed, we find the mine's old pay locker. Lamech gets to work. After all, if a brilliant physicist like Richard Feynman can take up safe-cracking because he was bored, a gnome sorcerer can because he's an arsehole.

Lamech: They're not thieves tools, honest - the fact that they came with a balaclava and bag labelled 'SWAG' was just part of their novelty value.

GM: You can't go across the underground sea yet - your spellcasters need rest.
Lamech: We can rest in the boats - the NPCs can paddle. It's not like they've done anything else, apart from let that deep gnome get away.

We do indeed find a moaning, near dead dwarf on the far side.

Kavorog: You do realise this is a trap right?

Judicious work by Lamech Judocus reveals two extremely dead bugbears - the ones that kidnapped the dwarf in the first place.

Lamech: Um...
Urlon: Er....

Nonetheless we proceed cautiously.

Dwarf: Save me! Help me, before it comes back!

Lamech: Why is it, that despite the fact that this is an OBVIOUS trap, do we proceed anyway?

Thorn: He's afraid of something called a Wealth-eater.
Urlon: Rust monster?
Lamech: Rust Monsters wouldn't do THAT to the bugbears.
Urlon: Good point.

The thing that emerges from the wall has 3 legs, tentacles, and pairs of eyes. And a very large mouth on top of its presumed head. We retreat at speed - judging by the name, Lamech grabs fistfuls of silver coins from his beltpouch, and waves them over his head yelling.

Urlon: What are you DOING!
Lamech: Trying to distract it. *throws them to one side*
Thorn:Fall back, it only wants our treasure, not our lives.
Lamech: And if Kerak was here this is when he'd grip his axe and yell 'You're not getting either!'
Dwarf:Kill it! Kill it! Kill it, before it comes back with more of its kind! They'll breed and ruin the mine!
Thorn:You're not helping!

Fistfuls of gold appear to be enough to satisfy the monster, which appears intelligent enough to crude sign language. Gundrun is delighted at the recovery of his brother. He's infuriated that we didn't kill the creature.

Gundrun:They infest tunnels! They're worse than Horta! Only the deep gnomes can control them! And do you SEE any deep gnomes around here?
Kavorog: Actually...
Lamech: There WAS one, but you let him get away.

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Shadowrun 2070 : #OrcLivesMatter

 

Pregame chat, which covers many things, including the fact that Weldun has gaming cabinets only three hours younger than some of the players. Unrelated conversation.

Weldun: There's a reason I shaved my head back when I was doing security.
Poe's player: Yup. Don't put handlebars on your head.
Me: Unless you're a Khornate berserker.
Weldun: I'm glad I'm not playing Inkubus right now - he'd say something about seeing the advantages.

Oracle wants to start a company in Shadowrun, set up in the Ork Underground, making a cheap customisable car for Orcs and Trolls.

Ripper K: And since everybody will assume its a front, they'll be too busy to notice what's really going on.

Ripper K: I can picture myself doing the TV Ads.
Poe: No, somebody would recognise you. That would be bad for sales.
Ripper K: Not if I make a joke out of it. 'Plenty of room in the back'
Oracle: Nah, not for the runabout. Save it for the luxury models and RVs.

Me: Remind me, what's an anti-paladin?
Weldun: Not a nice person at all. In fact, they're probably the kind of people who would that that on their business card. 'Here's my card' 'what kind of person would have this on thei-' STAB '...oh.... I... See' *dies*

GM: Apparently Poe is 13, and ages at the same rate of an actual crow. MIDLIFE CRISIS BURD! MUST BUY BURD BOAT! MUST GO BURD SKYDYVINGOHWAITICANFLYFUCK

The GM has doing some research on future adventures, and reading some jackpoint articles out loud to practice his RP skills.

Poe's player: *Comes in* You're talking to yourself again!
GM: I'm prepping for the adventure. And that was my Harlequin Voice.
Poe's player: Fuck. Fuck fuck fuck fuck FUCK!

Weldun: I'm glad Bubbles never met Harlequin. If Harlequin explained who he was, Bubbles would never leave his apartment again.
Me: I think he'd be more annoyed that he'd lose more credibility with the conspiracy-sphere. He's already lost all credibility on the government conspiracies since he worked for the President.
Ocelot: If he started hunting down the rumours of immortal elves...
Me: And then one turns up at his door.

Ripper K: I've got a day job - Now I do high end porn.

Anyway - Shell has been missing for a month, since his odd reaction to meeting Greenlight. He's not the only one concerned - Shell's own contacts have been contacting us, too. One of them - a Japanese cyber-surgeon - fears Shell is sinking into the first stages of cyber-psychosis. And then we get a report of him in Japan.

Oracle: What the fuck? Did he walk???

Someone matching Shell's description attacked a Black Site. And then turns up at Oracle's hideout a week after that, wearing a ruthenium fibre cloak.

Oracle: Sunavabitch. You're one of the few people that pull that look off - your low thermal output plus that cloak can actually get past my security sensors.

Oracle: Were you in Japan a week ago?
Shell: Hello Oracle. I need your help. *displays his missing arm and half his face*
Oracle: So you were in Japan a week ago.

Oracle: I might need to hire the team. What's the rate for that?
Poe: Depends what you want us to do.
Oracle: Not sure yet. I might need you to raid a biotech company.

Oracle: Seattle really is the Emerald City. And look at the lovely green of Pungent Sound. I mean Puget Sound.

We get a videocall from the Orc fixer McAllister, who's hired us for a number of jobs lately.

GM: He looked pissed. Pissed off, I mean.
Oracle: Whatever it was, it wasn't us.

McAllister is so pissed off he doesn't sound remotely happy - no jokes, not even any runner slang.

Ripper K: Out-of-Character is Serious Business.

McAllister wants the teams help with a personal job. So, off to the Ork Underground again. There's lots we can discuss on the way - for example, Boots has considering getting Oracle a job with a legitimate company.

Boots: Let's consider a hypothetical - 'Why should we hire you?'
Oracle: Look at this way - do you want the mad scientist on the inside pissing out, or on the outside pissing in?

Shell is wearing a t-shirt he picked up in Japan. Its Engrish legend reads 'Never Be Game Over'.

Me: What ARE you doing over there?
Ocelot's Player: Trying to hit a moth.
Shell's Player: He can't hit it - it's size template is too small.

The Gold Mine bar explodes as we're going in.

Shell: Status Report!
Ocelot: I'm fine.
Shell: Ripper! Report! What's your status!
Ripper K: ....
Shell: Ripper! Report!
Ripper K: Just counting my legs... Still got two. Well, three, according to some.
Oracle: That's it, from now on everybody wears a biomonitor.

We hurry to locate, evacuate and triage the wounded - once again Oracle's medivac drone proves invaluable. As do our submillimeter radar equipment (for locating bodies in the rubble) and TacNet (for tagging the wounded with AR icons) and Ripper's backpack full of emergency medical supplies and tranq patches. And we get to use Shitkicker for his original purpose - exploring confined spaces. McAllister, incredibly, survived the explosion.

Ripper K: How?
Shell and Ocelot: Orc.

We hustle him into the medivac drone, which stabilises him and lets him regain consciousness long enough to text us over thought-mail.

McAllister: Dr What. Street Doc. The Narrows, east side. Then call Tosh. He knows details.

Our assistance at the scene, and all the TacNet info Oracle patches through to DocWagon and all the other emergency response services, will increase our public notice. But never mind, we're not the kind of shadowrunners who would just walk away. Ripper and Astronauta are soon fending off calls from those reporters, who have already recognised us from the footage at the Gold Mine.

Oracle: You're pretty recognisable. Especially to other Seattle luchadores. 'Astronauta Peligroso! Madre Dios! You are the reason I became a luchadore!'
Poe: 'Please Piledrive me!'
Astronauta Peligroso: 'I can't - the last person I did that too, his head exploded.'
Ripper K: 'Like a watermelon'

Oracle: It better not be the same Dr What that tortured Inkubus 20 years ago - he's dead.
Astronauta Peligroso: Extremely dead.

Dr What: What do you what? Who are you? *notices the medivac drone*
Oracle: Seriously? All those flashing lights and sirens and you didn't notice it straight away?
Poe: Well, in this part of town you learn to ignore sirens.

Dr What has neurological issues - he's forgotten pretty much everything but medicine. And will probably forget ever meeting us when we leave.

Poe: Can we keep his number? He seems useful.
Oracle: I've been needing a reliable doc - I want to get this datalock in my neck jailbroken.

Oracle: I'm not going to contact Shell's contact to tell him he's showed up. Shell can tell him himself.
Shell: Unless you called him a week ago, you won't be able to.
Oracle: I have a sneaking suspicion that Shell's medical friend is no longer among the living.

Oracle preps something useful for Dr What - a software agent with facial recognition, that will remind him who he's talking to. In return, he gets to find out of the datalock in his spine is reporting everything he does to the CIA. Oddly enough, it isn't. Which just leaves him more paranoid.

Astronauta Peligroso: We might want to inject that software agent directly into What's brain.
Oracle: Nah - let's not mess with his neural architecture any further.
Ocelot: He might have given himself his own memory problems for a good reason.

Tosh is Boot's boss, and the head of Special Crimes at Knights Errant Seattle. He's shocked at the news about the explosion and McAllister, which doesn't look good for a man with his job.

Ripper K: We must have woken him up.

Tosh Athack is a huge troll, and a high-ranking detective at KE. Shell and Ocelot meet him at a suitable location, with Shell playing sniper - just in case. Tosh seems relieved that McAllister survived, although in an induced coma. He does indeed know why McAllister called us, but says he'll need to call in his own team, who he calls the Black Knights.

GM: The Black Knights are all ex-military and shadowrunners, and highly trained and competent.
Ripper K: And they're invincible.

Tosh says the job is an Internal Affairs job, which explains his need for a trusted team, but not why McAllister was taking it personally. We get briefed on the job at the Arbitrary Bar & Grill.

Boots: I swear I had nothing to do with this.

Tosh exposits - 20 years ago Seattle was victim of a serial killer nicknamed the Mayan Cutter, who targeted Orcs and Trolls, and butchered them and stole their hearts. He was caught, but last year there was a copycat killing, and McAllister's daughter was the victim. McAllister hunted the copycat killer down and got his revenge, but discovered evidence that he was working for someone else - one Mathers, head of Public Relations at Knight Errant.

Ocelot: What happened to to the original Mayan Cutter?
GM: He was executed - so was the copycat. Just less officially.

Tosh wants us to investigate this quietly, since it's going to be a huge scandal for KE either way. He also wants Mathers alive. There's a number of possibilities, including possession by a murderous ghost, that Mathers is the original killer and set up the copycat as a protege, or that Mathers hired the copycat killer to drum up business for Knight Errant.

Ripper K: Or that Lonestar framed Mathers for the whole thing so Knight Errant will take a huge PR hit.

Mathers lives in Bellevue, the most luxurious and secure suburb in Seattle. We do NOT fit in. Nor does Mathers, since Knight Errant doesn't pay him nearly that much.

Poe: He's probably spending 100K a month on that lifestyle. Follow The Money.

Mathers is Old Money, and has contributed heavily to Governor Kenneth Brackhaven's recently announced run for President. At least he doesn't have much in the way of staff - two housekeepers and a gardener.

Shell's Player: I call bullshit - I work at a school with that many acres of ground and they have an entire team of gardeners.
Ocelot's Player: To be fair, Mathers probably doesn't have to deal with hordes of schoolkids running around.
Ripper K's player: And he can afford a small army of gardening drones.
Shell's Player: Ok, that I can accept.

Shell: I want to know all about his security precautions, before I turn up with Biggie McChucklefucks here.
Ripper K: Excuse me? I'm Biggie McChucklewhat now?

We drive past the estate and drop off our infiltration drone.

GM: I really hope Shitkicker enjoys clinging to the underside of moving vehicles.
Oracle: No. Oh wait, yes he does - I programmed him with a virtual personality.
Poe: Why are we getting excited squealing over the TacNet?
Shitkicker: Wheeeeee! Bebo!

Ripper K: Can we get Boots to shut down Mather's security system? It's linked directly to Knight Errant after all.
Ocelot: Probably not.
Oracle: He's not high enough up in the company.
GM: And remember - the Black Knights are going to be running interference while you infiltrate.

Oracle: I'll have Shitkicker veeerrrry sloooooly move up to each motion detector and prop up a playing card in front of the lens.
All: *snicker*
Ocelot: Jokers?
Oracle: Nah - I'll dose them all with Flash, so they'll go up in a puff of smoke.
Poe: And set off every detector at once.
Oracle: An hour after we're gone :D

Of course, we can't use an Astral spirit to conceal us - even basic wards will notice THAT coming in.

Ocelot: We need to get into his study and his bedroom. And the basement, if he has one.
Ripper K: If he IS associated wth the Mayan Cutters, I don't want to imagine what he has in his basement.

GM: Three hours of planning. Ten seconds of screaming.
Ocelot's player: That's Shadowrun for you.
Shell's player: That's how you get the big karma.
Oracle's Player: By avoiding unnecessary combats.

Oracle is riding around Bellevue in a Hermes delivery van, dropping off Prop 23 pamphlets. Shell and Ocelot lurk in the back of a Ford Americar with coffee and donuts, being Really Obvious Undercover Cops. Ripper loiters a suburb away on his monocycle, waiting for when it all inevitably goes wrong. And Poe just lands on a tree branch his raven form.

GM: You literally pass as scenery. Alright, cue the Infiltration music.
Ripper and Oracle: *sing the Mission Impossible theme* Dun dun DUNDUN dun dun DUNDUN DAdada, DAdada, DAdada, DADA.

Shell heads in under his ruthenium cloak to disable all the multimillion dollar security systems the playing cards haven't already made useless. Mather's office is tastefully and expensively furnished, the only oddity being a bookshelf made from the faintly luminous wood of Sangre el Diablo trees.

Oracle: Aren't those the ones that fight back when you try and cut them down?
Ocelot: Yup. They're becoming a bit of a problem in Brazil.

Oracle gets to work analysing the mansion's datasystems. They're pretty pathetic.

Oracle: It's got the same vulnerabilities as our TacNet, but he hasn't taken any of the precautions that I have. He's like a basic user - relying entirely on his firewall.

But Oracle soon realises that the entire node is a fake - the REAL node, and the real financial records, must be elsewhere. Down to the basement it is then. Where there's a safe behind a painting in Mather's Mancave.

Shell: Hold the fucking phone - there's a safe. Behind a painting. BEHIND AN ACTUAL PAINTING.
Oracle: Kudos to him for being Old School, anyway.
Ocelot: The real twist is that the Ultrathin Safe was in the painting.

There's a much more secure node inside the safe.

Oracle: This will take a while.... seriously? He hasn't downloaded that patch that yet?
Ocelot: He probably updates it by hand. So only does it once a month.

We copy the entire file system, to decode at leisure.

Ocelot: He probably relied on the fact that the kind of people who could break in aren't the same people that would go after files like this. Unless you're expecting shadowrunners, in which case all bets are off.

Shells recovers our infiltration drone and makes his departure.

Shitkicker: Bebo! Bebo!
Shell: Get off my arse!
Shitkicker: Bebo!
Shell: NOT IN THERE!
Poe: He doesn't have an access port there XD

We head home, while Oracle plans a deployment method for Astronauta Peligroso.

Oracle: They'll see the drone coming in, and swoop past. 'What the hell did it just drop?' 'I AM ASTRONAUTA PELIGROSO! FIGHT ME!'
Ocelot: Take the freefall adept power and they can drop you from any height

The data is verrrrry interesting, detailing millions taken and spent in bribes, dummy accounts used to make illegal contributions to the presidential campaign, footage of Humanis Policlub meetings Mathers attended, and video calls with Edmund Jeffries, the Governor's press secretary, who drunkenly suggested the Copycat Cutter scheme, Mathers hiring the Copycat to target prominent Orcs activists, Mathers panicked call to somebody about McAllister and the runners, and proof that there's a mole in the Black Knights.

Oracle: We're talking ONLY to our employer. We'll tell him we have a lead.
Ocelot: And set up some snipers.

Shell and Astronauta amuse themselves during the decoding, by punching each other up. Then it's time to go.

Shell: Once again, the eternal question of which of us can bore the other with hand-to-hand combat remains unanswered.

Tosh isn't followed, in person or astrally. And he can guess who the mole is. And where Mathers is tonight.

Ripper K: There's a Humanis Policlub meeting tonight?
Tosh: Yup.
Astronauta Peligroso: I want an invite.

Oracle: I have just had the best idea.

Oracle wants Ripper and Astronauta, the most noticeable party members, to pick a fight with each other at the Humanis building. And when Mathers comes out to watch, we grab him. Astronauta's skill include Smack Talk.

Ripper K: So you want to play the Dozens? The Dozens is a game, but the way I did your mother, is a god-damn shame.
Astronauta Peligroso: What did you say about my mother? My mother was a SAINT.

The Humanis building is fortified. And the cyber-KKK guarding it heavily armed. Happily, the rest of the team have sniper rifles with gel rounds.

Ocelot: This will be great publicity - as long as none of them actually die.
Ocelot: So Flamboyant Bane and Porn Moby Lick rollerskate up to the Humanis base...
Oracle: I'm ordering six pairs of Goblinstompers, with Prop 23 as the brand in the heel. As in, actually brands the people we stomp with 'Prop 23'.

Our snipers take out their minigun nests before they know what hit them. The luchadore and the porn actor get to work.

Astronauta Peligroso: Just look at these arseholes.
Ripper K: I bet I could go up to those doors, hit them, and they wouldn't even have the balls to come out and fight. In fact, I think I will.
Astronauta Peligroso: Come on out, boys, lets see those fancy white hoods.
Ripper K : Those special pyjamas.
Astronauta Peligroso: Yeah, BRING OUT THE PYJAMAS!
Ripper K: Let's see the jim-jams!

A bunch of heavily armed Humanis come out, accompanied by mages, and guardian spirits.

Astronauta Peligroso: Oh look, it's heavily armed condoms coming out the door. At least I won't get pregnant.

They also have a tank.

Shell: Hi guys.
Astronauta Peligroso: Hey there. We need you to punch out this tank.

Actually, it's more of an APC.

Shell: Oh that's adorable! 'the trolls link pinkies, run forward, and flip it onto its back'
Astronauta Peligroso: Do you want to flip it, or me?
Ripper K: Together - let's get it airborne.
Ocelot: 'and funny things in the news today...'
Oracle: I was going to tell them to stop, but after 'I'MA GONNA FLIP IT' I'll let them go ahead. We're going to have some awesome footage for our reporter friend tonight.
Astronauta Peligroso: Ripper, we are totally hi-fiving after it leaves our hands.
Oracle: Followed by a fist bump.

The Humanis heavies flee.

Ripper K: YOU SHOULD HAVE WORN BROWN PYJAMAS.

The ones still in the compound open fire, and lob grenades, but by then Astronauta and Ripper are already charging forward and joyfully slapping the racists silly. All filmed in glorious 3D.

Ripper K: Stop hitting yourself, stop hitting yourself, stop hitting yourse-
Racist Scum: Buh.. but you're hitting me!
Ripper K: Stop trying to confuse matters. Stop hitting yourself, stop hitting yourself, stop-
Shell: You brought this on yourselves.

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Black Crusade : The Eighteenth Arcana

 

On the run from Scintilla, and the wrath of the Inquisition, space marines, Adeptus Mechanicus, imperial traffic control, and everybody that wants to carve off a chunk of the party's hide. Luckily for the party, the Obsidian Resolve's engines are raring to go, and the ship dives deep into Scintilla's gravity well as she makes her escape.

Skerrit: I'm probably not actually helping.
GM: No change there then.

Indeed, the engines are so efficient that soon they light up the nightside of Scintilla like daylight, and the ship is soon faster than anything else in the system - including the two cruisers moving to cut off their escape. Even so, it's a couple of days until they're far enough out to jump into Warp Space. They have have a little free time to discuss future plans. And ponder how the Inquisition can discover their interest in that remote star cluster, by checking the list of what was stolen. Eniek also ponders how those space marines actually managed to hurt him.

GM: Maybe you should reorganise your internal organs so they can't target vital organs. The standard recto-cranial inversion seems ideal.

He also intends to vivisect that captured space marine librarian into living wallpaper.

Eniek: His four lungs will be spread out and as he breaths you'll be able to watch the blood flow over to his brain.
Digna: Nice.
Daniels: I don't think I'll be going in the ritual room for a while.
GM: Lab.
Eniek: Bedroom.

Skerrit: I'm picturing Digna having a little Slaneesh and Tzeench on each shoulder.
GM: And one of them is humping her ear.

A lone escort ship at the edge of the Scintilla system managed to punch numerous holes in the heretic's vessel, before they heretic return the favour and coast on silent running out into deep space, and into the Warp. The Obsidian Resolves flees to the giant space Station of Port Wander, well ahead of the all-points bulletin demanding their destruction. After that, things don't run as smoothly. They don't have time to fix all the holes in their ship before they must move on, for one thing - ostensibly into the Koronus Expanse, actually the the Thirteenth Station, the only 'safe' way into the Screaming Vortex. And FTL travel in the 40K universe is never fun. Some Warp Phenomena are comparatively minor - the entire bridge catching fire while they're in it is less so.

GM: 'Is it just me or has the air con stopped working?'

Of course, not even nonspontaneous human combustion is going to hurt unstoppable cyborgs like Eniek and Digna. Both sit there and regard the flames with interest.

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Daniels: This is the bridge speaking. Could you send a fire crew?

Digna: I like to think the fire only killed 2% of the crew - the rest bumped into Little Sister and triggered Mr Bubble's Red Mode.

Discussing the holy mysteries of special and general relativity.

GM: And you're in a warpstorm so that's all out the window anyway.

The Thirteenth Station, where somebody has taken tens of thousands of the usual freeze-dried corpses and bound them into a gigantic Glyph of the Black Angel, the personal sigil of the traitor Cassius from the previous campaign. Eniek gets to work inventing a ritual that will open passage into the Screaming Vortex, preferably without tearing the Obsidian Resolve in half. He succeeds in inventing one that doesn't even need hundreds of human sacrifices.

Eniek: I kick a rat out the airlock and say some nice words.
Skerrit: Please make it explicit that it's not me.
Eniek: It was a very propitious rat.
GM: Well, Khorne won't be pleased.
Eniek: Why?
GM: Not enough bloodshed.
Eniek: Sure there is - I injected the rat with nanogenics - its entire bodymass will be converted into blood.
Daniels: As will every floating body out there that the nanogenes run into.
Digna: Hopefully not the ones making up the sigil?
Eniek: .... probably not.

The gate opens, a ghastly fistula in space-time, and the ship moves forward to take refuge among the heretics and monsters of the Vortex.

Daniels: Well, what is there to see in the Screaming Vortex?
GM: There's that fleet of ships your previous PCs set to blockade the Gate. They're quite interested in this lone raider, with all the holes in its armour, that's just come into the Screaming Vortex.
Daniels: Oh dear.

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We had fun with my Turakian Age game today, but the part I really want to share is about Xanthrax again.

 

The party was being attacked by, among other things, Trolls riding on mastodons. After the riders had been forcibly dismounted from one of the mastodons, it grabbed up Xanthrax by the legs and was dangling him upside down.

 

Xanthrax STILL managed to hit the beast in the head with his pickax so hard it lost consciousness.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary says mastodons are fun, and I musth use them again sometime.

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We drive past the estate and drop off our infiltration drone.

 

GM: I really hope Shitkicker enjoys clinging to the underside of moving vehicles.

Oracle: No. Oh wait, yes he does - I programmed him with a virtual personality.

Poe: Why are we getting excited squealing over the TacNet?

Shitkicker: Wheeeeee! Bebo!

Actually, it's "Peebo!"

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The battered Obsidian Resolve is confronted by the blockade fleet at the Thirteenth Station, and finds itself staring down the barrels of hundreds of macro-cannon. Lord-Captain Daniels, for some reason, thinks this is a fine time to barge in like he owns the place.

Luckily for him, somebody in the fleet recognises the name of the Obsidian Resolve, and instead of blowing the ship away defers to the cultist currently doing an inspection tour of the fleet - one Jrska, devotee of Slaanesh. I've been looking forward to this encounter, since Digna is also a devotee of the Prince of Pleasure, and the two characters butting heads (or butting something) promises to be amusing.

Digna OOC: A CHALLENGER APPEARS!

Jrska chats pleasantly enough with the PCs, although it's obvious she's using camera angles to her best advantage.

Digna: I sense a familiarity
Daniels: It’s the cleavage.
Digna: Well, they’re nice, but nowhere nice as mine.
GM: Oh HO, and now it’s on.

The heretics when asked in whose name they entered the Screaming Vortex, claim that Cassius, in the form of the Black Angel, set them on the path here. True enough, but Jrska wants some confirmation - exactly how did Cassius appear to them?

Digna: Arrogant as hell
Jrska: Yes, that sounds like him.

Jrska invites them aboard her vessel, and sends a shuttle across to pick them up. A small shuttle - this is obviously a way to separate them from their ship and allies, but equally obviously they can't turn this 'courtesy' down.

Daniels: I’d like to have shown you some hospitality of my own.
Jrska: That’s OK sweety, you can make it up to me later.

One of Jrska's stewards meets them in the shuttle bay, to arrange introductions and accommodation.

GM: His eyes flicker only briefly over your … chassis.
Digna: I’m insulted.
Daniels: It just means they’re professional.
Digna: Allow me to be insulted.

Steward: And your pet?
Digna: He's our ally, not a pet.
Skerrit: Skaven, Lord of Thieves. *attempts to pickpocket the steward despite not having Sleight of Hand.*
Steward: I’ll be sure to let everyone know.

Skerrit: I’m just glad I don’t have to keep this wrapped around my leg anymore.
GM: Hmm?
Skerrit: My tail.
Digna: We’re among friends now, feel free.
Daniels: I wonder if I can swing him around by that tail.
GM: And imagine the fun Jrska can have with it.

The horrendous advantages various Slaaneshi mutations and traits can give to social interaction get discussed - Hermaphrodite, for example, doubles the number of successes that Jrska and Digna can make on their fellowship tests.

Daniels' player: Hermaphrodite is fucking disgusting
Digna's player: Don’t be so close-minded.

Daniels' player is also beginning to dread what will be coming up soon, despite the fact his character is also Slaanesh-aligned.

Daniels: We’re just walked into Rocky Horror Picture Show, haven’t we?

Daniels: I have a bad case of foot-in-mouth.
GM: Well, I’m sure you’ll have something in your mouth before long.

Steward: And what gifts have you brought for her Ladyship?
Daniels and Skerrit: ….
Digna: I guess we’ll just have to pay in trade.
Daniels: I despise you both.

Jrska enters the dining hall singing 'I'm too Famous', and she and Digna promptly turn the full force of their 'personalities' on each other. One difference between the characters is how their apply their superhumanly enhanced sexuality - Digna wields hers with the precision of a laser. Jrska's is more like a flamethrower, with a correspondingly higher risk of property damage, screaming, and innocent bystanders.

Daniels: Don’t mind me, I’ll just enjoy the soup. But please, not on the table.

Jrska: *noticing Skerrit* Oh, you're ADORABLE! Why do you get out of that silly armour, and come sit on my lap?*leers*
Skerrit: *looks very nervous*

Daniels: I’m just waiting for Jrska to press a button that flips all the furniture and turns it into a sex dungeon.
GM: ALL the good sex dungeons provide nibblies.
Digna: I know, what is this, amateur hour?

After the first few courses, Jrska inquires what that bought as gifts for her. Digna had anticipated the possibility of meeting influential characters, and presents a matched pair of those gun-blades she made for the gang members on Scintilla. Jrska is visibly annoyed that the gift is not only mass-produced, but that Digna gave them to mere underhive thugs first, but Digna manages to spin it as a prologue to the tale of their adventures on Scintilla, and as weapons that require finesse.

Jrska: And what about you, cutie? What do YOU have for me?
Skerrit: …… um…. Er…
Digna: Skaven has spent same days in training, on a trick with his tail, especially for you.
Skerrit: *headdesk*
Digna: So, Daniels, after what I just did to Skerrit, what are you going to give her?

Eniek's player was missing this session, which was just as well, since the GM and players spent a good hour complaining about his signature weapon - the Doom Siren - which is so horrendously overpowered that it can wipe out whole squads of space marines with one shot. Eniek was probably too busy experimenting on his vivisected space marine wall hanging, anyway.

Digna: Eniek had to have his Skin Pizza party.
Jrska: I'll have to see that at some point - I trust the space marine got spread out in an aesthetically pleasing as well as informative manner?

Jrska is also amused by Digna's minion Little Sister. This is alarming on multiple counts, not least because of the risk of Mr. Bubbles going berserk should Jrska actually DO anything. Still, it gives Weldun a chance to use more of his Bioshock soundboard.

Jrska: You’re adorable too! Come up here and sit next to me.
Daniels: *alarmed* um…
Little Sister: NO TOUCHING!

Jrska and Little Sister braid each other's hair and Mr. Bubbles is ordered to go sit in the corner, which lowers tensions all around, and the cyborg stomps off. Daniels apologises for the damage to the polished floors.

Jrska: Not to worry. The servants will buff it out later with their tongues.
Daniels: It might need more than buffing.
Jrska: You haven’t seen what my servants can do with their tongues.

The meal continues to the wine and cheeseboards. Alcoholic Daniels attempts a compliment.

Daniels: Do tell me where you found the cheese.
Digna: It’s probably best you don’t know.
Daniels: …. I walked right into that one, didn’t I.

There's entertainment during dinner, of course - a pair of androgynous dancers who sew themselves together to music.

GM: The tricky bit comes after they've sewn their faces together, and they have to do the rest blind and one-handed. That's Slaanesh for you - beautiful and really freaking disturbing.

After Jrska sweetly points out that pissing off the entire Calixian Inquisition, Imperial authorities, and an unknown number of Space Marine chapters and then leading them straight to the Screaming Vortex is unlikely to endear the PCs to the inhabitants of said vortex, she asks what the PCs actually want. Mostly, a safe place to refit and repair the Obsidian Resolve. Jrska says she'll think about it, and has the PCs escorted back to their rooms until summoned.

Digna: I was hoping she’d help with that fashion problem.
GM: Don’t worry, she’ll be doing that. In person. After she’s got all your measurements.

The first one she summons is Skerrit - after all, he can supposedly do interesting tricks with his tail.

Daniels: Please, I’m begging you, no details.
GM: I just want to see what skill he tries to use and how badly he fails.
Skerrit: *rolls a 100* *headesk*
GM: He gets delivered back to the suite with a broken spine and a disappointed note.
Daniels OOC: ‘That was indeed as new experience – nobody has every failed to pleasure me that badly’
Digna OOC: ‘There is now a new low bar for everyone else to clear’

Then Jrska goes to visit Digna in person, bringing all her sewing supplies to plan Digna's new armour. And, of course, attempt to seduce her. Digna, conversely, is going to attempt to seduce Jrska, since her Addictrix talent if successful will make Jrska her willing slave, at least for a while. And since we've already established the exact nature of Digna's addictive substance, I was cackling at the chance to run with the idea. Especially since, compared to everything else Jrska has done, lactophilia isn't even in the top 10.

As it happens, Jrska utterly botches the ensuing social combat, and falls victim to Digna's charms.

Digna: I’m trying to resist the line ‘Suck it, bitch’ because that’s exactly what’s going to happen.

Digna: Wait… it didn’t work. Addictrix doesn’t work on NPC with a higher Infamy than you.
Daniels: Well, she probably still enjoys herself.
GM: Oh, I KNOW she does. You’re probably surprised when she sits up afterwards, from the tangle of fabric swatches and tape measures, and says “That was fun. You should open an icecream bar

Still, Jrska is amused enough by Digna's attempt on her dignity to remain intimate, and agrees to Digna's request for a safe berth, and material for some shiny new Mesh Armour outfits. Afterwards she sends for Lord-captain Daniels.

Digna: And I’ve got a manipulator mechadendrite.
Daniels: ARgHhh Fade to Black! Fade to Black! Can we please play Tzeench or Khorne characters next time, instead of Slaanesh? Please?

GM: Jrska is looking a bit tired.
Digna: There, Daniels, you’re safe. You owe me.

GM: Digna has a very short refractory period. Must be all that tungsten.

Daniels: You look like…
Jrska: The cat that got the cream? Something like that.

Daniels: More is always best.
Digna: Jrska can get behind that.
Daniels: *facepalm*

Jrska hands over the co-ordinates to the Ragged Helix, where the Obsidian Resolve can lay up for repairs. Daniels attempts to be grateful.

Jrska: You may kiss my ring.
Daniels: … not on a first meeting.

Jrska also calls Digna back before they return to their ship, for another exchange of gifts. Jrska gives the tech-priest a vial of a nanotech drug especially designed for tech-priests to enjoy. And Digna has a few flasks of her own to proffer.

Digna: Here’s some more, for later.
GM: Ah, the tech-priest breast-pump .
Daniels: … erk.. argh… all I can think now is “Thanks For The Mammaries”

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"Fantasy pest control.

GM: If it's fifty dollars to remove a dead animal from a trap, you could charge a hundred to remove undead creatures from a trap."

PC's doing pest control does have some level of tradition. Giant Rats are all the rage I heard.

Of course for this group you would propably need something like a nest of Were-Rats to be challenging.

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I unfortunately didn't do well at writing down and then posting quotes of late, but I'll try and reconstruct here.  The week before they had fought a Grief Tyrant (I took a picture from a card from IIRC Magic the Gathering and created a creature that can grow over 8m tall and use a Mental Entangle to paralyze a target with grief).  Once they got it down to about 10 STUN it teleported away, and it became apparent that the thing was going to keep doing that repeatedly until it's insanity aura had turned the heroes into twitching phobics and paranoids.

 

After that first encounter, Shadowboxer found a concealed door in the basement of the house he had inherited from McGinty, opening to a dirt tunnel showing bootprints / cane prints coming and going.  He followed the tracks alone...  and then abruptly dropped from Circe's Mind Link with the team.  (He had passed a point in the tunnel where he traveled back in time.)  The rest of the team went to the house and entered the tunnel as well to locate him.

 

After a while, they found a rather large spider, which looked like somebody had hit it with a shriveling spell and then pounded on it repeatedly with both boot and cane. 

 

GM:  The dead spider is about this big.  (holds hands to a bit bigger than a soccer ball)

Honey Badger:  Those are some long legs!

GM:  No.  That's just its body.

HB:  Okay, THAT'S not natural.

 

The other heroes eventually find Shadowboxer.  After finding they have no cellphone reception, even though the tunnel doesn't seem to be all that deep underground...

Maker:  I can be my own hotspot.
HB:  I can vouch for that!  (leers)

Maker:  (glares) I meant wifi hotspot. 

 

After changing her gadget pool to do so, she learns that she's not getting any wifi signal at all.  Nor any satellite signal for GPS.  No FM radio stations, though she's picking up AM signals. 

GM:  You hear some old-time music.  Jazz, maybe, or big band.

Circe:  #!&%!@!  We went back in time!

 

Malarky discovers traces of a magical alarm spell, where Shadowboxer had reached before turning back upon hearing his teammates.

 

Malarky:  Not much sense in being stealthy.  I'm pretty sure somebody already knows we're coming.

 

They open the concealed door at the other end to find themselves in another building's basement.  Coffin with a sign ("Reserved for previous occupant", I believe it reads).  Large cabinet with plenty of weapons and ammo, including several shotguns and a Tommy gun.  A few wooden crates containing dynamite. 

 

The door at the top of the stairs opens, and they hear the voice of an elderly, crotchety man.

 

McGinty:  When you're done fookin' around down there, mebbe you lot could find your way upstairs?  I'm not getting any damned younger, y'know.

 

GM realizes there's some info he wanted first, and asks everybody their favorite drink... except Malarky, who doesn't notice the oversight and volunteers that he likes a good whiskey, even though he's technically under the drinking age.

 

They come upstairs and into McGinty's den.

 

McGinty:  Good to see you lot again.  (shakes Shadowboxer's and Honey Badger's hands, makes a few suggestive comments at Nexus and Circe, then turns toward Malarky)  And you brought the damned Catholic too.  (shakes his head sadly, then turns to Pops with a wicked twinkle in his eye)  Don't recognized you, though.  Ah, damn me, that's right, we're meetin' in reverse order.  You lot are just starting out, so you (to Pops) must not last long.  Don't worry, though.  If it's any consolation, the lad they replace you with is a right prat.

 

He has a tray with various glasses on them, which he proceeds to hand out to the heroes.

 

McGinty:  Sugar Beaver, here's your beer.  Shadowboxer, hope you like this bourbon.  (hands out the rest of the drinks, then gets to Malarky)  And last but least, some grape juice for the kiddie table.

 

Nexus is looking at McGinty's library, which contains both normal reference books as well as some tomes that are better left unread.

 

GM:  You see a copy of the Necronomicon.  McGinty has about thirty different pages marked with slips of paper, ribbons, and other makeshift bookmarks.  One of the slips of paper has written on it, "Ooo!  Try this!"

 

Nexus sees the book that she had made a magical pact with Charles Aching a few weeks prior, swearing to acquire that book for him, in exchange for Aching bringing her long-lost brother back to her world.  But the pact precludes her revealing her interest in the book or her even meeting Aching, so she has to walk a very fine line.

 

Nexus:  Do you mind if I take a look through these books?  Maybe take some pictures?

McGinty:  Feel free to look all you wish, lass, but I don't have a camera handy.

Nexus:  No worries.  I have one.  (Holds up her smartphone)

McGinty:  Riiiiiight.  (holds up a cigar case)  And this here's me radio.

 

Shadowboxer:  Speaking of which, your will and letter mentioned your books, but they weren't in the house.

McGinty:  Damned shyster lawyers.  Must have made off wi' 'em.

Shadowboxer:  Actually, we have reason to believe you hid them, but we can't find them.  Can you tell us where?
McGinty:  (Gestures at his library)  Well, I ain't hid 'em yet, now, have I?  (pause)  And you can't have 'em yet, cause I'm not yet done with 'em!

 

Using Malarky's eidetic memory, they rewrite McGinty's letter to Shadowboxer and give it to McGinty to see if it gives him a clue.  The letter is sprinkled with such phrases as, "Well, lad..." and "well-read books" and the like. 

 

McGinty:  (stifles a grin)  Welllll, lad, I can't rightly say.  Ye'll just have to sort it out when you get back.

 

Circe realizes that McGinty knows where he hid the books and decides to use Telepathy to get the info.

 

GM:  Remember when you touched the mind of one of those mythos horrors, and got to share some of its insane thoughts?

Circe:  Oh, no!

GM:  (rolls dice)  Yeah, you find yourself down a few more points of EGO and PRE.  Though you do catch McGinty thinking, "Well, now, aren't I just fookin' brilliant!"

 

McGinty shares other info with them.

 

McGinty:  Now, I heard tell ye'll be needing some information on grief tyrants.  Bloody scary buggers, can turn themselves even bigger than ol' Deborah Einstein, if you can believe that.  Damned powerful too.  Not a lot of info out there on 'em, so it took me a few weeks to gather what I could.  (gives some info that the heroes have already figures out for themselves before getting to the juicy bits)  And they can slip far away if they wish, but if it's not short range they can only go to a place they've been where there's concentrated grief.  Like a temperance lecture.

 

Shadowboxer:  How can we get rid of it for good?
McGinty:  I've always found judicious use of explosives and fire to do the trick.  And if that doesn't work, try running away.  You don't have to run fast, just faster than him (nods at Malarky).

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Looking back, I realized that I never posted about the A-Team at the PRIMUS base.  All of this takes place before the heroes ran into the Grief Tyrant and McGinty. 

 

The heroes arrived at the PRIMUS base to find the members of A-Team waiting either outside the building or just inside the open vehicle bay.  The heroes had brought Major Justice (NPC flying brick stick-in-the-mud who applied to join Just Cause) along just in case.

 

While the front-line fighters on both teams engage each other, A-Bomb (actor with radiation powers) zooms over to Circe and gestures at her costume.

 

A-Bomb:  Wait... is that a Versace influence I see?

Circe:  Yeah, you like it?  I designed it.

A-Bomb:  Tres chic.  Very nice.   I had to fly to Florence and kidnap Riccardo Tisci to do mine.  (Looks at the other heroes)  You had a hand in some of the other outfits too, didn't you?

Circe:  You have a good eye. 

A-Bomb:  I tried to talk some of my teammates into getting designer costumes, but they didn't want to be bothered.  I mean, look at Ankylosaur.  He thinks matte black makes him all badass.  Granted, it's better than that horrendous green-and-rust color scheme he used to have, but that all-black look is so 1990s.

Circe:  Um... are you planning to attack me?
A-Bomb:  Only if you attack me first.  Ankylosaur said to keep you tied up.  I told him, she seems much more the handcuff type.  But he so did not want to listen.

Circe:  But aren't you a villain?
A-Bomb:  (stage whispers)  Not really.  I just play one on TV.

 

One of the players reluctantly agrees to also run Major Justice.

 

Player:  But I don't know what he does.

Shadowboxer:  He's a FISS.  Flight, Invulnerability, Strength, Speed.  Your basic flying brick.

Honey Badger:  But he takes a lot of knockback.  I mean, a LOT.  If he takes a hit, he won't get hurt, but you'll take a while getting back to the fight.

Player:  How about personality-wise?

Honey Badger:  Self-righteous uber-hero.  Think Superman or Captain America with a major stick up his rectum.

 

Major Justice flies up to Auger.

Major Justice:  (loudly)  Halt, foul miscreant!  (strikes a heroic pose in midair)

Honey Badger:  (OOC) Nailed it!

 

(work is interrupting.  Hope to post more tonight)

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The battered Obsidian Resolve is confronted by the blockade fleet at the Thirteenth Station, and finds itself staring down the barrels of hundreds of macro-cannon. Lord-Captain Daniels, for some reason, thinks this is a fine time to barge in like he owns the place.

 

Luckily for him, somebody in the fleet recognises the name of the Obsidian Resolve, and instead of blowing the ship away defers to the cultist currently doing an inspection tour of the fleet - one Jrska, devotee of Slaanesh. I've been looking forward to this encounter, since Digna is also a devotee of the Prince of Pleasure, and the two characters butting heads (or butting something) promises to be amusing.

 

Digna OOC: A CHALLENGER APPEARS!

 

Jrska chats pleasantly enough with the PCs, although it's obvious she's using camera angles to her best advantage.

 

Digna: I sense a familiarity

Daniels: It’s the cleavage.

Digna: Well, they’re nice, but nowhere nice as mine.

GM: Oh HO, and now it’s on.

 

The heretics when asked in whose name they entered the Screaming Vortex, claim that Cassius, in the form of the Black Angel, set them on the path here. True enough, but Jrska wants some confirmation - exactly how did Cassius appear to them?

 

Digna: Arrogant as hell

Jrska: Yes, that sounds like him.

 

Jrska invites them aboard her vessel, and sends a shuttle across to pick them up. A small shuttle - this is obviously a way to separate them from their ship and allies, but equally obviously they can't turn this 'courtesy' down.

 

Daniels: I’d like to have shown you some hospitality of my own.

Jrska: That’s OK sweety, you can make it up to me later.

 

One of Jrska's stewards meets them in the shuttle bay, to arrange introductions and accommodation.

 

GM: His eyes flicker only briefly over your … chassis.

Digna: I’m insulted.

Daniels: It just means they’re professional.

Digna: Allow me to be insulted.

 

Steward: And your pet?

Digna: He's our ally, not a pet.

Skerrit: Skaven, Lord of Thieves. *attempts to pickpocket the steward despite not having Sleight of Hand.*

Steward: I’ll be sure to let everyone know.

 

Skerrit: I’m just glad I don’t have to keep this wrapped around my leg anymore.

GM: Hmm?

Skerrit: My tail.

Digna: We’re among friends now, feel free.

Daniels: I wonder if I can swing him around by that tail.

GM: And imagine the fun Jrska can have with it.

 

The horrendous advantages various Slaaneshi mutations and traits can give to social interaction get discussed - Hermaphrodite, for example, doubles the number of successes that Jrska and Digna can make on their fellowship tests.

 

Daniels' player: Hermaphrodite is fucking disgusting

Digna's player: Don’t be so close-minded.

 

Daniels' player is also beginning to dread what will be coming up soon, despite the fact his character is also Slaanesh-aligned.

 

Daniels: We’re just walked into Rocky Horror Picture Show, haven’t we?

 

Daniels: I have a bad case of foot-in-mouth.

GM: Well, I’m sure you’ll have something in your mouth before long.

 

Steward: And what gifts have you brought for her Ladyship?

Daniels and Skerrit: ….

Digna: I guess we’ll just have to pay in trade.

Daniels: I despise you both.

 

Jrska enters the dining hall singing 'I'm too Famous', and she and Digna promptly turn the full force of their 'personalities' on each other. One difference between the characters is how their apply their superhumanly enhanced sexuality - Digna wields hers with the precision of a laser. Jrska's is more like a flamethrower, with a correspondingly higher risk of property damage, screaming, and innocent bystanders.

 

Daniels: Don’t mind me, I’ll just enjoy the soup. But please, not on the table.

 

Jrska: *noticing Skerrit* Oh, you're ADORABLE! Why do you get out of that silly armour, and come sit on my lap?*leers*

Skerrit: *looks very nervous*

 

Daniels: I’m just waiting for Jrska to press a button that flips all the furniture and turns it into a sex dungeon.

GM: ALL the good sex dungeons provide nibblies.

Digna: I know, what is this, amateur hour?

 

After the first few courses, Jrska inquires what that bought as gifts for her. Digna had anticipated the possibility of meeting influential characters, and presents a matched pair of those gun-blades she made for the gang members on Scintilla. Jrska is visibly annoyed that the gift is not only mass-produced, but that Digna gave them to mere underhive thugs first, but Digna manages to spin it as a prologue to the tale of their adventures on Scintilla, and as weapons that require finesse.

 

Jrska: And what about you, cutie? What do YOU have for me?

Skerrit: …… um…. Er…

Digna: Skaven has spent same days in training, on a trick with his tail, especially for you.

Skerrit: *headdesk*

Digna: So, Daniels, after what I just did to Skerrit, what are you going to give her?

 

Eniek's player was missing this session, which was just as well, since the GM and players spent a good hour complaining about his signature weapon - the Doom Siren - which is so horrendously overpowered that it can wipe out whole squads of space marines with one shot. Eniek was probably too busy experimenting on his vivisected space marine wall hanging, anyway.

 

Digna: Eniek had to have his Skin Pizza party.

Jrska: I'll have to see that at some point - I trust the space marine got spread out in an aesthetically pleasing as well as informative manner?

 

Jrska is also amused by Digna's minion Little Sister. This is alarming on multiple counts, not least because of the risk of Mr. Bubbles going berserk should Jrska actually DO anything. Still, it gives Weldun a chance to use more of his Bioshock soundboard.

 

Jrska: You’re adorable too! Come up here and sit next to me.

Daniels: *alarmed* um…

Little Sister: NO TOUCHING!

 

Jrska and Little Sister braid each other's hair and Mr. Bubbles is ordered to go sit in the corner, which lowers tensions all around, and the cyborg stomps off. Daniels apologises for the damage to the polished floors.

 

Jrska: Not to worry. The servants will buff it out later with their tongues.

Daniels: It might need more than buffing.

Jrska: You haven’t seen what my servants can do with their tongues.

 

The meal continues to the wine and cheeseboards. Alcoholic Daniels attempts a compliment.

 

Daniels: Do tell me where you found the cheese.

Digna: It’s probably best you don’t know.

Daniels: …. I walked right into that one, didn’t I.

 

There's entertainment during dinner, of course - a pair of androgynous dancers who sew themselves together to music.

 

GM: The tricky bit comes after they've sewn their faces together, and they have to do the rest blind and one-handed. That's Slaanesh for you - beautiful and really freaking disturbing.

 

After Jrska sweetly points out that pissing off the entire Calixian Inquisition, Imperial authorities, and an unknown number of Space Marine chapters and then leading them straight to the Screaming Vortex is unlikely to endear the PCs to the inhabitants of said vortex, she asks what the PCs actually want. Mostly, a safe place to refit and repair the Obsidian Resolve. Jrska says she'll think about it, and has the PCs escorted back to their rooms until summoned.

 

Digna: I was hoping she’d help with that fashion problem.

GM: Don’t worry, she’ll be doing that. In person. After she’s got all your measurements.

 

The first one she summons is Skerrit - after all, he can supposedly do interesting tricks with his tail.

 

Daniels: Please, I’m begging you, no details.

GM: I just want to see what skill he tries to use and how badly he fails.

Skerrit: *rolls a 100* *headesk*

GM: He gets delivered back to the suite with a broken spine and a disappointed note.

Daniels OOC: ‘That was indeed as new experience – nobody has every failed to pleasure me that badly’

Digna OOC: ‘There is now a new low bar for everyone else to clear’

 

Then Jrska goes to visit Digna in person, bringing all her sewing supplies to plan Digna's new armour. And, of course, attempt to seduce her. Digna, conversely, is going to attempt to seduce Jrska, since her Addictrix talent if successful will make Jrska her willing slave, at least for a while. And since we've already established the exact nature of Digna's addictive substance, I was cackling at the chance to run with the idea. Especially since, compared to everything else Jrska has done, lactophilia isn't even in the top 10.

 

As it happens, Jrska utterly botches the ensuing social combat, and falls victim to Digna's charms.

 

Digna: I’m trying to resist the line ‘Suck it, bitch’ because that’s exactly what’s going to happen.

 

Digna: Wait… it didn’t work. Addictrix doesn’t work on NPC with a higher Infamy than you.

Daniels: Well, she probably still enjoys herself.

GM: Oh, I KNOW she does. You’re probably surprised when she sits up afterwards, from the tangle of fabric swatches and tape measures, and says “That was fun. You should open an icecream bar

 

Still, Jrska is amused enough by Digna's attempt on her dignity to remain intimate, and agrees to Digna's request for a safe berth, and material for some shiny new Mesh Armour outfits. Afterwards she sends for Lord-captain Daniels.

 

Digna: And I’ve got a manipulator mechadendrite.

Daniels: ARgHhh Fade to Black! Fade to Black! Can we please play Tzeench or Khorne characters next time, instead of Slaanesh? Please?

 

GM: Jrska is looking a bit tired.

Digna: There, Daniels, you’re safe. You owe me.

 

GM: Digna has a very short refractory period. Must be all that tungsten.

 

Daniels: You look like…

Jrska: The cat that got the cream? Something like that.

 

Daniels: More is always best.

Digna: Jrska can get behind that.

Daniels: *facepalm*

 

Jrska hands over the co-ordinates to the Ragged Helix, where the Obsidian Resolve can lay up for repairs. Daniels attempts to be grateful.

 

Jrska: You may kiss my ring.

Daniels: … not on a first meeting.

 

Jrska also calls Digna back before they return to their ship, for another exchange of gifts. Jrska gives the tech-priest a vial of a nanotech drug especially designed for tech-priests to enjoy. And Digna has a few flasks of her own to proffer.

 

Digna: Here’s some more, for later.

GM: Ah, the tech-priest breast-pump .

Daniels: … erk.. argh… all I can think now is “Thanks For The Mammaries”

 

Ewwwwwwww...only a Drhoz post could be so disturbingly hilarious ( :ugly: ).

 

 

Major Tom 2009 :jawdrop:

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We've had quite a few quotes in the past few weeks in the campaign:

 

1) character disguised as a ninja faces a villain with bola weapons called Black Bola. Black Bola threatens the hero with his bola. A spur of the moment reply to his threat: "You are not Black Bola; you are WIMPY Bola. You could not hit a gourd in a silent stream!"

 

2) Villain Hexmaster from Adventurer's Club decided to steal all the Thanksgiving frozen turkeys in the city to force people to buy from him - and also gives quite a few quotes: "I will take all the frozen turkeys and people will have to bow down to me. I am the master of turkeys!" Later, after a hero tells him to give up, Hexmaster replies, "I am the master of turkeys. When you are the master of turkeys, you can do anything!"

 

3) Hero response to last quote above: "You ARE a turkey!"

 

4) Villain named "The Nose" with a giant nose with powers of supersneezes. He sneezes on someone saying "Feel my nostrils!"

 

5) Hero response to above "You can pick your friends, and you can pick your nose but you can't pick your friend's nose." The Nose responds, "My nose is big enough for anyone to pick.".....  The lines from 2-5 were so bad that the dice seemed to agree - everyone (heroes and villains) kept missing after those lines.

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Finishing up the A-Team:

 

While most of the hero and villain teams are trading blows, A-Bomb and Circe are basically standing off to the side, critiquing the battle and chit-chatting.

 

Pops:  (to Circe over Mind Link)  Last time, you spent the whole battle disguised as a bag lady and doing nothing.  Are you going to help us at all?

Circe:  Hey, I'm keeping A-Bomb busy.  You should be thanking me.

 

A-Bomb:  So, do you know if Honey Badger is available?
Circe:  (OOC)  Is he gay?

GM:  (OOC)  Are you going to ask him?
Circe:  (OOC)  Sure, why not?  (IC)  So, A-Bomb, are you gay?

A-Bomb:  Actually, I'm bisexual.  (grins)  Although I like to say I'm trisexual, because I'll try anything once.  (Looks Major Justice up and down while he's battling Augur)  Hmmmm... he looks interesting too.  (Circe)  Maybe you, me and the Major could have a little fun later on.

 

Malarky had researched Agrippa and found out that he is reportedly a direct descendant of famed 16th century German mystic Heinrich Agrippa and had supposedly found his great-great-etc-grandfather's secret journal listing many powerful magic spells.  Last time they fought, Agrippa had made Malarky's life miserable (flitting around the battlefield shrunk, locking Malarky in a mental entangle and then dispelling Malarky's spell giving defenses to his teammates).  So when Agrippa finally shows up, Malarky immediately moves up and attacks the mystic, blasting him from behind.

Malarky:  Well, now, lad, how d'ye like them apples?

Agrippa:  (CON-stunned and woozy)  Madre de dios!

Malarky:  Interesting German you're speaking there...

 

Circe sees a way of hurting the A-Team while also taking care of a little problem that Just Cause has -- namely, an earnest but destructive hero who is trying to join their team.

 

Circe (to A-Bomb):  You know, you're much more the heroic figure.

A-Bomb:  But every actor wants to play a villain.  It's a much better test of your acting chops.

Circe:  But think of the adulation of millions.  The fans, chanting your name and throwing themselves at you.  The endorsement deals...  I'll bet you could get a multi-movie deal out of it.

A-Bomb:  Hmmmm... you may be right.  Are you suggesting I join Just Cause?  Because I'd rather something closer to LA.

Circe:  No, you want a small team, where you could really shine.  Maybe a partnership... say, Major Justice is looking for a team.  You two could team up!

A-Bomb:  That is an idea...

Honey Badger:  (over Mind Link)  You've got to be kidding me.  Teaming up Captain Ultra-conservative with Super-Liberal.  That should be an... interesting partnership.  You are an evil, evil person. 

 

Of course, Just Cause won the day, capturing all the members of A-Team (though the New Gods got away without a problem). 

 

A few game sessions later, the following article appeared in the Hero.Net Herald:

 

 

 

New Heroes In Town

 

LA – A new two-man hero team announced their presence Friday afternoon in a major media event that included flashy demonstrations of their super-powers and in-depth interviews to all major networks. Flying brick Major Justice and energy projector Rad vowed to “bring sanity and safety to southern California.” 

     

Members of existing LA hero team Tech Knights could not be reached for comment.

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The best I can share is an incident from our Pathfinder Game...

 

The Party:

Othar Deltrothus, Gentleman Explorer - Half-Elf Gear Head from Pure Steam

Shantara Swiftstaff - Half-Elf Bard/Fighter that will be taking the Dervish Presitige Class

Veleda the Huntress - Human Ranger with a Monkey named Spanky as an animal companion

Belanon, Scourge of the Undead - Cleric of Pelor

The PC's had been sent to look for a Precursor Artifact to help kill a Vampire who was trying to become a God. The person sending them was a Demonic Oracle. Their search took them to a Hobgoblin Crypt to find the remains of a Hob Archaeologist who specialized in Precursor MagiTech so they could find said Artifact. There they found and killed a strangely powered-up Gelatinous Cube. Inside the cube they found a small glowing orb.

 

I explained to the players that the orb is a fragment of a Demon Soul, typically created when a Demon is not powerful enough to resist having a piece of it soul sheered off. Basically a Long-Term investment, as the Soul-Shard grants control over the Demon much like knowing its True Name.

 

When they holed up for the night, they heard a whisper coming from the Orb. It was the Demon Oracle.

 

"It's about time, I thought you'd never find my Soul Shard."

 

Othar: "I thought we were looking for the Sun Stone?"

 

"You forgot rule number one. Demons Lie, Dumb-a$$."

 

Othar: "I'm really starting to like her."

 

Me: "Is that because I'm role-playing her the way I think you act?"

 

Othar's Player: "And you are doing a wonderful job!"

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The many adventures of the Helping Hands Consortium, a group of mages working for the Seers of the Throne, who secretly rule the mortal world. The campaign is set in the city of Prague, noted for having three times the necromancers and one third of the diviners of any other city.

 

The Cast:

Dian Cécht: A 122-year-old ex-IRA terrorist and spirit magic specialist, from a family of faerie blooded druids. Works for the Panopticon, a Seer faction dedicated to spying on everyone and making people feel paranoid about being spied on. Looks about 25 thanks to a family blessing of longevity.

Moriarty: one of the few people in Prague who can see the future. Moriarty is a gun crazy thug from a family of mystical craftsmen, who acts even dumber than he is to make people underestimate him. Works for the Praetorian ministry, who specialize in violence and strife.

Orwell: Another Panopticon member, Orwell’s day job gives him direct access to facebook’s servers. He’s from a family of mystic manipulators, and specializes in mind reading and ESP.  

Maleficent: A young woman from a family of astral explorers, Maleficent specializes in fate magic. She works for Mannon, the ministry of consumerism and capitalism.

 

Ex-pylon members:

Maslow: Our first Mannon went insane from a combination of curses, and currently resides in an insane asylum. He specialized in life magic, especially mystic drugs.

Typhon:  Team Necromancer, working for the minor ministry of the Thanatoic, who have the responsibility of keeping people from finding out about the undead.

 

Between Moriarty and Maleficent we have a third of the city’s acanthi (Divination mages) on our team, which gives us an unprecedented ability to come out ahead and with our hands clean. Thus far, we’ve managed to make our enemies look like fools repeatedly without seeming to raise a finger. We’re also ridiculously rich in magical loot, having done some very important favors for the head of the Mannon ministry.

 

Character introductions:

Typhon: Yeah, but what are you people worth?

ST: …. wow. We haven't even begun the first session yet, and with that you've already earned xp for the first "stumble across vital stuff" achievement.

 

Dian Cécht: When all you have is a hammer…

Orwell: Everything looks like a diamond.

 

A phone rings:

ST: *looks questioningly over at player*

Moriarty (OOC): My pants are all a-quiver.

 

Moriarty: This is why new beginning-level mages can actually have obstacles at times

 

We find a Norwegian body double for Dian Cécht via Facebook, as Moriarty has predicted that our enemies will attempt to kidnap Dian in the mistaken belief that he knows where the philosopher’s stone is:

ST: Sure, he might've been born & raised in Lofoten, but that's why he entered university and moved to Bergen as soon as he grew up: to get away from all that small-town stuff and live in a more urban and civilized environment.

Moriarty (OOC): And now he gets to taste the fruits of that civilization! *Chloroforms & abducts the guy*

 

Our enemies send a SWAT team after the guy the next day, while one of Typhon’s assets (a tv news crew), happens to be nearby. The result is an international incident, allegations of human smuggling, and a government crisis that ends with new elections being called. None of this sh*tstrom falls on us.

 

Typhon (OOC): So, are there any handjobs left?

ST: My first reaction there was "What?!? Handjobs are a finite resource now? How can you run out of handjobs?!?"

Dian Cécht (OOC): We have mages of Mammon. We can make a scarcity of anything.

(Mammon is the Seer department for using capitalism and scarcity to keep the people down)

 

Moriarty (OOC): It's Europe. It's not like you can even throw a rock anywhere without it hitting history.

 

When we finally chase down the philosopher’s stone, it isn’t quite what we expected:

ST: Yes, you're holding a fleshy, beating heart!

Maslow (OOC): Must. Resist. Urge. To. Eat!

 

Typhon: We could kidnap a Mystagogue.

Dian Cécht: That's your answer to everything.

 

A ghostly curse makes Maslow unable to interact with electric systems:

Dian Cécht: That's right, he can't give us money or even flick light-switches. What are you for, anymore?!?

 

The relative merits of an AI controlled society:

Moriarty: Why would you leave the choice up to people, when you can leave it up to cold unfeeling machines?!?

Maslow: Exactly! They're SO much easier to bribe. They don't have all those pesky ''love'' and ''honor'' things.

 

Moriarty is a virgin, and makes the mistake of letting the rest of us know:

Moriarty: Are you actually going to prevent me from getting laid just in case we meet a unicorn?!?

Maslow: Not only that, there's all sorts of things that want virgin sacrifices.

Moriarty: Because if you do I will shoot you. With ALL the bullets.

 

We’ve called in the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse to help us with the small matter of an invading ghost army:

Typhon (OOC): The angel of death is coming?

ST: No, he's sitting at your table, not drinking anything.

Moriarty (OOC): Yeah, you'll have to seduce him first.

 

ST: Significant discovery?

Maslow: MONEY!

 

Discussing Mage Legacies:

ST: Mhm, it's variant of bioremediation, which is sort of thing where they use algae to clean up an oil spill, but with nature-spirits instead.

Dian Cecht: Active terrorists? Apply spirits: Problem solved!

Moriarty: But terrorism IS a natural phenomenon!

 

Typhon (OOC): I like the color of dead people.

 

Moriarty: Maybe I NEED a bomb. For the feng shui.

(beat)

Moriarty's Player: I don't even know what that means.

ST: Interior decorating. Mystical interior decorating.

 

Players are visiting a bank, to get some ancient stone tablet grimoires out of the vaults. Moriarty's phone rings:

ST: It's Porlock, your mentor. He just says a single word.

Moriarty (OOC): Run?

ST: Nope.

Typhon (OOC): Duck!

ST: Exactly!

 

Moriarty hits the deck, then there's a dramatic shootout-sequence:

Croesus: (bleeding out on floor next to them) I. Blaaaaame. Yooouuuuuuuuu…..

Moriarty rewinds time, to the turn before. His phone rings:

Porlock: …oh, never mind then.

ST: Moriarty short first.

 

Typhon is on a spirit quest:

ST: He's no longer entirely in the astral

Dian Cécht (OOC): Yeah, he's in Gotham.

 

Moriarty: You know, if you want I can shoot your dad for you.

Orwell: I think I can manage.

 

Orwell (OOC): It's a castle. And it's about to be stormed by an angry mob

Orwell (OOC): So, who's Frankenstein?

Typhon (OOC): Hopefully he's in another castle…

 

Moriarty (OOC): When you have that level of power you don't need to care about morals any more.

 

We accidently awaken a new mage, and attempt to fill him in on how the world works:

Maleficent: The secret organization ruling the world is…

Kaz: S.P.E.C.T.R.E.?

Maleficent: …I don't understand.

Kaz: ''SPECTRE''. The board of villains in the James Bond movies.

Maleficent: Not exactly. Less organized, I suppose.

 

Dian: We have access to slightly better than average equipment, you might say

Typhon (OOC): We're hung

 

Dian Cécht (OOC): Now you will experience the awesome power of a fully operational Thyrsus mage.

Maleficent (OOC): Fully functional and anatomically correct, even.

 

Dian Cécht (OOC): I'm tempted to text him the name of a nice restaurant.

Orwell (OOC): A place without irish.

 

We’ve teamed up with another pilon, and Moriarty has already hooked up with their sexiest female:

Typhon (OOC):  We also picked up that Monroe was a big player in the Pantheon of Hollow Dreams.

Dian Cécht (OOC): Mhm.

Orwell (OOC): But don't worry, we have a man on the inside

GM: So to speak….

Orwell (OOC): *grins*

 

Orwell, meanwhile, hooked up with Presley, at the Pantheon’s lair:

Dian: And now you know where they live and everything

Orwell: OH GOD! I ACTUALLY DID SPYING STUFF!!! I don't know how to cope with this!

 

The Pantheon call their lair the Hall of Fame:

Dian: No no, we need to set up a ''Hall of Frame''.

 

We have received epic rewards for the body parts we keep uncovering in ancient ruins:

Maleficent (OOC): Maleficent would suggest herself as Custodian of the Profane Urim

Dian Cécht (OOC): Hmmm…. Well, it is Mammon property.

ST: Mhm, true, true.

Dian Cécht (OOC): And she IS the most easily bullied member of our pylon.

 

In need of clues, we ask for a prophesy by Moriarty’s mentor:

Porlock: I foresee……rich wives that are more than they seem?

Orwell: Werewolves?!?

 

Dian: WHY DO I KEEP GETTING ATTACKED BY WILD ANIMALS?!?

Orwell: Maybe the animals are afraid that you're onto them?

 

Maleficent: No, DAMN, I can't look at the diamond with the diamond! I need more diamonds!

ST: MAMMON! «I need MORE diamonds!»

Maleficent: Could I maybe look at it in a mirror?

Moriarty: That probably leads to a bad place

 

Moriarty looks into the future to figure out who the mysterious Red King is:

Moriarty: Ok, guys, so…we need to kill the Earth.

 

 

Dian’s mind has been infected with astral snakes serving the Red King, and we wonder where he might have picked them up:

ST: You mean like the ancient stone tablets? The ones where the memory of them contained more information than the actual physical tablets did?

Dian Cécht (OOC): ….that should probably have been a warning, shouldn't it?

 

Dian Cécht (OOC): TABLET!

ST: As in ''stone tablet'', not ''iPod tablet''.

Dian Cécht (OOC): Oh god, I'm showing you a tablet….on a tablet!

 

What to do next:

Orwell (OOC): We had leads

ST: And Birmingham (leads / Leeds)

Moriarty (OOC): for now….

Dian Cécht (OOC): What?

Moriarty (OOC): We have plans

 

A supposedly simple task would have ended with two pylon members dead if Moriarty hadn’t turned back time and avoided the encounter altogether. Only Orwell knew what we were up against in advance:

Maleficent: Ok, new policy: Next time Orwell asks us to do something, we waterboard him until he tells us everything.

 

Dian: Are you sure you didn't just have a dream?

Maleficent: Yes. There was also a horrible spider-monster piñata

Dian: Are you sure it wasn't just a scene from your childhood?

 

We need to requisition an anti-spider vacuum cleaner:

Moriarty: I guess I'll have to write an…unconventional…letter to Darth Vader.

 

ST: You don't have the flexibility.

Moriarty (OOC): But you DO have the spear of Longuinus.

 

Maleficent: I don't think I would be very good at spying on the tentacle

 

Dian: Why do you think I faked my death twice?

Maleficent (OOC): Damn those librarians! So persistent!

 

Maleficent (OOC): That's right, we have an Acanthus. We can KILL their parents!

 

We dress a guy up with technical toys to infiltrate the Pantechnicon:

Orwell (OOC): I didn't expect Pantechnicon to be this shallow.

 

Orwell needs to pay for an unusual taxi drive:

Orwell: So, what do you give an undead driver?

Maleficent: Brains? Oh, wait, you don't have any!

 

Maleficent: Come to think of it, do you actually swing that way? I don't think I've actually seen you with a woman yet.

Dian: Back in my day, there was no other option.

 

Maleficent: Or we could find Saint Patrick in the astral, and invite him into your head!

Dian: Yes! That would solve ALL my problems!

 

Dian: Or her. I mean, It's the 21st century: gay rights activists can be female too.

 

Dian: You and Presley on the other hand…..you should also keep it up. You're pretty cute together.

Owell: You're just saying that because he's useful.

Dian: Yeah.

 

Dian seems to turn into a walking corpse at sundown:

Maleficent (OOC): I will tell him after the scheme.

ST: What, you don't want to distract him with minutiae?

Dian Cécht: What, that I was DEAD last night?!?

ST: No, no, you were dead drunk.

 

Orwell (OOC): That explains why Batman is only active at night.

ST: Exactly: Because that's when his parents are dead.

 

Dian: On the other hand, can the dead meditate?

ST: Sort of like ''do androids dream of electric sheep?'', isn't it?

 

Orwell (OOC): Well, he's IRISH. He's sort of lost to the land of the living already.

 

ST: It's not like she's laminated or anything.

Dian Cécht (OOC): She could be! It's not like I know how women work.

 

Dian can always tell if someone is related to him:

ST: Each of the paths has something like that.

Moriarty (OOC): Yeeeah, Acanthus can always know if a woman is legal.

ST: WHAT?!?!?

 

Dian Cécht (OOC): A century of careful planning, and then

«right, this is what Fate magic feels like».

…FUCK YOU GUYS.

Maleficent (OOC): Nothing stops you from picking up the superior magic.

 

Moriarty: Riiiiight, phones. They're so useful, but also so evil.

 

After chatting with the extremely blonde Stacey:

Moriarty (OOC): This must be what people feel like when they speak to Moriarty.

 

Orwell and Moriarty infiltrate a secret society while pretending to be a couple. Maleficent is providing the funds to make them seem upper class:

Stacey: So, you're the rich one, or he is?

Orwell (OOC): No, we both have a mutual girlfriend who supplies us with money.

Moriarty (OOC): That's so sad, but so true.

 

Orwell: I anticipated everything….except my plan succeeding.

 

ST: (talking about Presley) There's a reason he deals with fame and media. He's good with people, but he's not so much a brain.

Dian Cécht (OOC): (singing) it's pinky and the brain….

 

Orwell (OOC): No, not Hollywood fake. Real fake.

 

Moriarty: Now you see what it's like being ME. Well, having to deal with unhelpful undead things.

Maleficent: Like Dian?

 

Dian is infiltrating a religious cult:

Tobias: So, you believe in witchcraft now?

Dian: Well, I'm Irish.

ST: WHAT?!?

 

An angel has taken an interest in Dian’s infiltration attempt:

ST: Actually, your raven-familiar isn't the only one out there anymore. The guardian angel of the cemetary is also hovering outside the window, right behind him, also looking in, and still scowling disapprovingly at Dian.

Diaval (Maleficent’s familiar): So….come here often?

Orwell (OOC): Roll seduction!

 

Orwell: Have you read ''le mis''?

Presley: Oh, there's been made a book of it now?

Dian Cécht (OOC): AUGH!!! shaking fists at them

 

Dian Cécht (OOC): That IS a question: Does your imaginary raven poop?

Maleficent (OOC): You know, I haven't checked.

ST: Ah, the high-brow philosophical and metaphysical questions that only show up in Mage.

 

Maleficent (OOC): I'm starting to suspect that for the panopticon, if nobody's watching then it didn't happen.

[…]

Maleficent (OOC): Blackmail or it didn't happen.

 

Dian Cécht (OOC): Bah, boundaries are for people with something to hide.

 

Orwell: He's backed up by two acanthi. What's the worst that can happen?

 

Dian Cécht (OOC): Same thing I do every night.

ST: Turn into an undead abomination!

 

We have a new mission. We’re to make sure the public takes an interest in the elections and keep believing that it makes a difference who wins:

Moriarty (OOC): We're ready to defeat…..politics?

ST: Not really. Rather like you're gonna help with making sure liberty remains defeated.

Moriarty (OOC): Kicking it while it's down.

ST: More like "help keeping the boot firmly placed on its neck".

Moriarty (OOC): Ah, yes, it's time for the annual boot adjustment.

 

ST: You don't need a demonically-empowered hormonal teenage boy on a lust-driven rape-rampage to ruin a relationship, but it helps.

 

Dian: I was busy watching spirits.

…And talking to spirits.

…And talking to people with sprits.

…And drinking spirits.

 

GM: Is there anything in the charter that forbids you from waterboarding each other?

Maleficent (OOC): No. INTENTIONALLY.

 

Maleficent: Dian, please don't rouse Moriarty's hat.

 

Moriarty: Praetorians! We can always find an excuse to shoot something!

Dian: You have my permission to shoot yourself.

 

Dian explores an ancient cave with paintings in Maleficent’s head:

GM: But you do notice that not all animals are represented. There's certain animals that Dian knows about which aren't anywhere on the cave-paintings of all the ways animals can kill and die.

Dian Cécht (OOC): Like Penguins?

GM: …..yes. That would also be one, true. No penguins.

But more interesting, perhaps, is that there's also absolutely no dogs. At all.

Moriarty (OOC): Maybe dogs don't kill people…?

 

Orwell: I think we must have fucked up somewhere, if the worst thing that can happen is people giving us what we ask for.

 

Dian: So….come here often?

Moriarty (OOC): Seduce the darkness!

 

You're in the astral.

There's a wolf.

It's armed with a gun.

Roll initiative?

 

GM: You still have Death Sight active, right? So you can see how much someone has been around Death. You see something like that out of the corner of your eye.

Dian Cécht (OOC): I turn around

GM: It's your shadow. Stretched out on the ground behind you, and it registers to your death-sense like a black hole registers for gravity.

Dian Cécht (OOC): *groans* Oh no, Dian actually jumps at his own shadow, flinching backwards.

GM: And given that you were standing right in front of the rock face so the birds on your shoulders could read the carved text, you'd now have the rock wall at your back, so you'd jump back into it, probably hitting your head pretty painfully.

Of course, if you're now standing with your back pressed up against the rock wall, how can your shadow be stretched out in front of you?

*the 'shadow' begins to stand up, and soon resolves itself into a hovering skeletal specter wrapped in a black shroud that flaps in the non-existent wind, holding a scythe in one hand.*

Creaure: (points a bony hand at Dian) I have come for you!

Dian: Who are you?!?

Creaure: I am your death!

Dian: Aaaaaah!

Moriarty (OOC): So, is this an ideal time for my character to finally get back to the group?

GM: Ayup. So, Dian, you see the wolf emerging out of the fog and mist on your left, the gun still clutched in its jaws.

Dian Cécht (OOC): Ah, now it makes sense.

(later)

Dian: Everyone, meet my new familiar.

His Death: so…what's up?

 

Dian Cécht (OOC): I swear, this will end up as some sort of children's show.

Orwell (OOC): Dian the explorer?

 

GM: (as Dian) Death! How could you betray me!

 

GM: (as Dian): I will never trust Death again!

 

Moriarty (OOC): In that case, I'm going to shoot down the fruit.

Group: *WTF?!?*

Moriarty (OOC): I brought a gun, and I'm going to use it!

 

GM: It is… (dramatic doom-voice) the garden of enlightenment and understanding!!!

Moriarty (OOC): That has to be an evil place.

Dian Cécht (OOC): Well, the "garden of enlightenment and understanding" does sound like the sort of place the Seers would burn down pre-emptively.

Moriarty (OOC): Bah, why would we burn it down? Imagine: a McDonalds on every corner.

 

Dian Cécht (OOC): Don't worry, I have some books that might help.

Maleficent (OOC): Bible fight!

 

Orwell: I think I'll just retreat behind here and do mountain lion things.

Maleficent: Ritual magic!

 

Dian can sleep in the astral, even while his real world body is a corpse:

Dian: Interesting thing: I can't sleep when I'm dead, but I can possibly sleep in my head.

 

Dian: Besides, I don't think I can die here.

His Death: I'm sure we can figure something out.

 

GM: That's actually really weird: Diaval can also speak in a language everyone can understand, but nobody tried to do telepathy with him so he could tell stuff to the whole group.

Moriarty (OOC): Because he has a sense of humor.

GM: Yesss, [sarcasm] how horrible! [/sarcasm]

Dian Cécht (OOC): Wait, and I don't?

Moriarty (OOC): Exactly!

 

Dian discovers he can choose whether to appear as a corpse in the astral:

Dian Cécht (OOC): I'll spend the time trying to switch back and forth between being alive and being dead.

GM: You want to toggle?!?

 

Dian Cécht (OOC): We are chasing the worm.

Moriarty (OOC): Heh.

Dian Cécht (OOC): That is not a euphemism.

Moriarty (OOC): It sure sounded like one.

 

Dian is currently the human, as the rest have taken the form of their spirit animal:

Dian: *intensely waves double middle-finger* I HAVE HANDS SO I CAN DO THIS!

 

We find a pool of blood which appears to belong to a supersized version of Dian’s cardiovascular system:

Dian: I would prefer NOT to swim into my own heart, thank you!

Diaval: Why? You're afraid it's made of stone, and will crush you?

Maleficent: At least we know it won't be made of gold.

 

Maleficent: I like the suggestion that we should get to the heart of the matter.

 

Maleficent receives the negative effects she encounters in the astral in the real world too. This makes her a bit more skeptical than the rest of us when it comes to taking gigantic risks in the astral:

Dian: She drowned.

Pyramid: In what?

Dian: IN MY BLOOD!

 

Maleficent (OOC): With Moriarty and Orwell and Maleficent, we went into their minds, but with Dian we went straight into his heart.

 

ST: Sadly, Poland is not submerged in blood plasma.

Dian Cécht (OOC): YET.

Maleficent (OOC): So, first part of our invasion plan: submerge Poland in blood-plasma.

 

Maleficent: I feel we're learning lots of stuff here.

Orwell: Just not the stuff we came here for .

Dian: My blood could invade Poland with sufficient effort!!!!

 

Orwell (OOC): Looking for thrones in all the wrong places.

Maleficent (OOC): The exarchs were within you all along.

 

We find a throne in the supersized body:

Dian: I hope there's not a throne in me.

 

Maleficent (OOC): Is there anyone on the throne?

ST: Nope.

Dian Cécht (OOC): MINE!

Maleficent (OOC): MINE!

Orwell (OOC):  So apparently the first thing we do is argue about who gets the throne.

 

ST: Thyrsi never have problems with premature ejaculation. Unless there's something occult going on.…did I just say that?!?

 

Maleficent (OOC): Maybe you're the town bicycle.

ST: Of the universe?!?

 

Moriarty (OOC): That's one thing we can brag about to our superiors: we're expendable

Orwell (OOC):  Our number one selling point!

 

ST: Soul infection

Moriarty (OOC): He has crabs!

Maleficent (OOC): Soul crabs?!?

 

Orwell (OOC):  But this was a civilized dog: it had a gun.

 

Maleficent: How can I make it up to you? What do you want? Anything!

Moriarty: When we're done here, you. Are getting. THERAPY!

 

Dian gets lost in Maleficent’s memories of Jurassic Park 3:

Dian Cécht (OOC): I vaguely seem to remember that cars are dinosaur-proof

Maleficent (OOC):  Apparently Ireland was more awesome than I was aware of

Dian: Let's go save a dinosaur's life. It's not the stupidest thing I've done today.

 

Orwell:  I didn't really have a choice in the underage boy thing/fling

Dian Cécht: Suuuure

 

Orwell (OOC): That was that happy childhood marriage

ST: Well, it WAS happy

Orwell (OOC):  Then you ruined it. Just like your parents' marriage

 

Orwell (OOC):  Are my eyes still there?

ST: They seem to have melted

Orwell (OOC):  Wow. I really want to poke my finger in there

 

Orwell: I think what we've learned is that things can always attack us, even if they're dead

Dian: Or imaginary

Orwell: We should never come across Dracula

Dian: Or we should. We really shouldn't, but we totally should

 

Orwell (OOC):  I'm bleeding from the eyes, so your argument is sort of valid

 

Moriarty: Ah-ah-ah, you all look alike to me, puny humans without awesome abyssal powers!

 

Moriarty: The watchtower has shown me so much. I think I maybe should set it down eventually

Dian: Yes. Something should surely be put down, yes….

 

ST: She may be walking around, but she IS legally dead

Dian Cécht (OOC): That's easy enough to arrange

Maleficent (OOC):  We're not killing her

Moriarty (OOC): Now, let's not say things we can't take back

 

After scrying on Marquis de Sade and catching her interest:

Moriarty: Why did you do that?!? It's like the Eye of Sauron, only sexy.

 

Moriarty: You think you can do bad choices in life?!? Watch THIS!

 

Dian: And you know, SEERS of the throne, not THINKERS of the throne

 

Dian Cécht (OOC): That might be better if the corpse is also there

ST: One of the few times that phrase has ever been uttered

 

Orwell (OOC): But we'd need a magically enchanted hearse

ST: When you said that, I imagined it like cinderella, with the pumpkin into a carriage, but with a hearse!

Orwell (OOC): You really must be back before midnight

ST: Yes Voldemort, you SHALL go to the ball!

 

Dian: I'm not too dead to DRINK, I'm too dead to GET DRUNK. There's a difference!

 

We debate whether to attempt to break through an illusionary wall that the construction workers set up in our lair without informing us:

Dian: In order to avoid 'Canadian girlfriend' we should NOT look at the wall. Is that our conclusion?

Moriarty: Yes.

 

ST: Mhm, "Norma Jean", the actual birthname of Marilyn Monroe.

Dian Cécht (OOC): ….she was born?!?!

 

The Pantheon of Hollow Dreams stock ice-cream with narcotics for dealing with traumatic events:

Moriarty (OOC): Ah, the Pantheon. Then again, not like we're any better.

Dian Cécht (OOC): We are. We have absolutely NO coping methods whatsoever!

 

Dian: A friend of mine just got a promotion like that. Well, I should say "colleague".

Orwell (OOC): Freudian slip!

 

Dian Cécht (OOC): So, get Pinocchio.

Orwell (OOC): Then, make a table.

 

Moriarty argues that Monroe is the best girlfriend of the pylon:

Dian Cécht (OOC): I'll agree with the claim of "best girlfriend", if only because these two have boyfriends.

 

Discussion about assassin's guild as business model:

Maleficent (OOC):  First hit's free

 

Maleficent: Your shadow is a bit pale. Maybe you should see a doctor?

 

A cursed instrument kills Cobain when he tries to play it, and brings him back as a ghost mage:

Maleficent: Oh god, the question I didn't expect to ask today: Does anyone have anything we can keep my boyfriend's ashes in?

Dian: So, Presley…..did you bring a lunchbox?

Presley: ….yes. I did.

Dian: SEE? The panopticon KNOWS!!!

 

Dian, already dead for the night, is about to get himself decapitated to cheat his way out of a faery deal:

Maleficent: I'm counting on the duct tape.

Dian: I'm counting more on the ghost (Cobain) being able to change the cause of death to something I can live with.

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Before I get into last night's game, some quotes from the week before:

 

During some pre-game discussion of the Jessica Jones show on Netfllix, the player of the team's mentalist had this to say:

 

Circe:  (OOC) After watching that show, now I know why everyone thinks mentalists are pure evil.

 

The week's Heronet.Herald news had a recap of the prior adventure.

 

News article:  "Honey Badger would not give further details, except for one cryptic comment that 'DEMON doesn't have cool hats.'"

Honey Badger:  (pouting that he hadn't gotten a headgear trophy from the prior adventure)  Well, they don't.

 

Another article was about an environmental group's research ship sinking, and the Coast Guard revealing it this was no accident as several bodies recovered from the wreck had been shot.  Two of the heroes do some preliminary investigation, including diving on the wreck (with the Coast Guard's okay), and then ask Malarky to hack into the environmental group's computer files.

Malarky:  The more I hang around with heroes, the more criminal I become.

 

Noting that the shipwreck doesn't include the 3-man submersible that was part of the ship's manifest, Maker and Honey Badger go to the last location where the ship's scientists were in contact with their home base.  Maker sends an ROV down and finds an extensive dump site of toxic chemicals and radioactive waste, along with the submersible lying on the seafloor nearby.  From the state of the dump site and the submersible, it appears someone also dropped a bunch of depth charges on the site to make it impossible to identify who did the initial dumping.  Honey Badger offers to go down and check out the sub first-hand.

 

Maker:  But what about all the radioactivity and toxic waste?  Oh, never mind, that's right.  Honey Badger don't care.

 

Honey Badger not only doesn't find any bodies in the sub; it appears that something clawed its way through the hatch, from inside the sub.

 

Malarky:  So, what they're looking at is a supervillain group's origin story.

 

The weekly news also included an item on the hero team raiding a warehouse where the New Gods (androids with the appearances and powers of various Greek gods) had taken a kidnapped scientist.  This event hadn't happened in-game (yet).  The news item included a quote from Circe.

 

Circe:  "Hey, Apollo's head was lying there when we popped in!"  Yeah, I could see me saying that.

 

The actual adventure started out right after the heroes had raided the warehouse and were investigating.  The kidnapped scientist (a 41 year-old expert in nanotechnology at MIT) was found unconscious and, when awoken, insisted he was an 18 year-old freshman at SoCal and that it was 1992.  Circe goes into his head and, in his mindscape, discovers all of his memories are badly faded and water-damaged, and the place smells like a not-so-pleasant beach.

 

Circe:  I guess what we're looking for is an aquatic mentalist. 

Pops:  Shouldn't be too many of those around.

GM:  More like, none.  Well, other than Aquaman types who can mentally control fish.  But the scientist is decidedly not a fish.

 

Since two of the news items featured the Foxbat Force (the cowled crusader's newly-formed supervillain team), the heroes suspect they're somehow involved.

 

Circe:  Does Foxbat have a mentalist on his team?
GM:  Garble.  And even though you've never encountered him or any victims of his powers, you're pretty sure from what you know of him that if he were involved, you'd be finding the scientist's memories all jumbled and mixed up instead of faded.

Shadowboxer:  Garble - the only person to whom Foxbat's Master Plan makes sense.

 

At the warehouse, they also find shattered pieces of glass lying on the floor that appear to have come from a fishbowl.  Picking up one of the pieces, Nexus has a vision from the POV inside the fishbowl, apparently being carried into the warehouse though she doesn't see any hands holding it.  She sees Apollo, the scientist, and four mercenary soldiers who serve as ground troops for the New Gods, all doing normal things, when suddenly they all clutch their heads in pain.  The scientist and soldiers fall unconscious, and then Apollo stops and stands stock still for about a minute, before walking over to the table and begins working at removing his own head.

 

Nexus:  Wait, he's cutting off his own head?

GM:  No, removing it.  With tools.  Unscrewing and stuff.  Remember, he's an android.

Nexus:  Still, ewwww...

 

Apollo also dumps the contents of the fishbowl into a larger glassteel globe, with the vision's POV likewise changing to inside the globe.

 

Pops:  It's a mentalist goldfish, isn't it?  We're going to have to fight a mentalist goldfish.

Honey Badger:  You mean I'm getting sushi?  (grins and licks his lips)

Malarky:  Y'know, I'm not sure about the ethics of eating a hyperintelligent fish.  That might actually be okay.

 

Eventually, Apollo resists enough that he's mind-blasted to unconsciousness, and then the tools float up on their own and complete the work.  After the detached head falls off, the globe floats up and mounts itself atop Apollo's former body.  The body then picks up the fishbowl and chucks it at the floor, shattering it and ending the vision.

 

Maker:  Well, at least we know what happened to Apollo's body.

Shadowboxer:  A mentalist with Apollo's light powers.  That's just great.

Nexus:  You're pretty tough.

Shadowboxer:  Not against light I'm not.  (Note:  most of his defenses don't apply against light powers.)

Nexus:  Oh, yeah.  Ouch.

 

Through a fashion model friend, Circe learns that local fashion designer Candice Wu has had a "stroke" with loss of memory similar to the scientist (but only the past year or so).  This happened the day after the warehouse incident.  A check of her mind reveals the same mental signature - faded and water-damaged memories, fishy smell.

 

GM:  Ms. Wu works primarily with 3D-printed clothing.

Maker:  (who also works with 3D printing)  Wait, can we get into her studio and check out her printer?  It should have its most recent jobs in memory.  Maybe we can find out what was printed.

Malarky:  So, we're doing some B&E?  (shakes his head)  The crimes are just piling up.

Circe:  (waves hand dismissively)  I know her professionally.  I'm sure she'd give me permission if she still remembered me.

 

What was printed was an aquatic-themed costume, in bright orange and purple, with brass-colored bracers, boots, and abdomen piece.  I show them a picture of Dr. Pisces.

 

GM: Hey, he needed a costume.

Circe:  He stole Candice Wu's skills at fashion design and came up with that?  (pause)  It's probably a good thing she lost her memories.

 

One of the news items had reported two of Foxbat's minions (Harmonious Fist and Exoskeleton Man) stealing a weapon-capable Predator drone and portable control gear from a USAF base, which seems a bit more hard-core than Foxbat's normal modus operandi.  So when Foxbat and Batfox break into a Millennium City University lab and steal a sample of weaponized version of ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) taken from one of Dr. Destroyer's labs to try and find a counteragent, the heroes worry that perhaps he's being mind controlled.  Perhaps by a hyperintelligent fish riding an android body.  It's nice when the players are all on the right page, isn't it?

 

Dr. Ellis:  The samples were all kept in a special vault, to which I had the only key.  It was built to withstand even Grond.

Honey Badger:  So how the heck did Foxbat get in?
Dr. Ellis:  Take a look.  (leads heroes into the lab to reveal the vault door has been reduced to powder, and a ping-pong ball lying in the pile)

Malarky:  (after Maker inspects the ball and figures out it could project vibrations at variable frequencies)  Resonance.  He found the precise resonant frequency for the vault door.  Brilliant.

Honey Badger:  Brilliant?  This is Foxbat we're talking about.

Pops:  Yeah.  Now we know he's being mind-controlled.

 

During the lab breakin, Foxbat insisted he was stealing a mind control drug.

 

Foxbat:  With this, I will take my rightful place as President of the United States.  Maybe even the world!  All will be mine!  Perhaps I'll even have enough power to... dare I say it?... get the rights to the Fantastic Four returned to Marvel Studios!

 

After discussing and rejecting various ways they can track down Foxbat, Nexus decides to bite the bullet.

Nexus:  Okay, I guess there's no other way.  I'll send him a message through his fan club, offering to go on a date with him.

Circe:  Are we really that desperate?

Honey Badger:  She does go for bad boys.

Nexus:  (OOC) Hey, Nexus hasn't done that.

Honey Badger:  (OOC) Yet.  All of your prior characters did

Nexus:  (OOC)  Not all of them.  That one dated a PRIMUS agent.

Honey Badger:  (OOC)  But didn't Shamrock also get lucky with her?
Nexus:  (OOC)  Oh, yeah.  I forgot about that.

 

Her posting on his fan club website gets her two responses.

 

Foxbat email:  While I'd love to meet you and discuss my many fine qualities, I'm currently rather tied up in another project.  Perhaps we can get together for dinner next week?  In the meantime, I'll send a signed photograph and a commemorative ping-pong ball.

Nexus:  That man is all humility.

Batfox email:  You'd better stay away from my Foxy, you shameless hussy, or I'll use my Batfox Paws to rearrange your face!

Circe:  Looks like you've acquired a new Hunted, Nexus.

 

When the photo and ball arrive at Just Cause's public office, Maker discovers that the ball is actually a recording device and projector of some sort.

Playing the recording, they see various members of Foxbat Force in a large (100m long) room whose metal walls have evenly-spaced indents.  There's a slight rocking motion.  Exoskeleton Man and Dot are working on the Predator drone, mounting missiles that apparently contain the deadly virus.  It is apparent that Foxbat recorded the scene in secret, then palms the ball to turn it off. 

 

Maker:  The indents in the walls - can I calculate how long and tall they are?  Are they roughly as long as a shipping container?
GM:  They're exactly the same size as a standard shipping container.  Good job.

 

The covert recording of Foxbat Force ends, replaced by a scene from the pilot episode of Firefly. 

 

Honey Badger:  He must have recorded over his favorite episode.

 

The heroes get access to the records of all container ships coming into Boston harbor over the past few weeks, and mention of the SS Nate Fillion catches their eye.  They go to the docks and Shadowboxer decides to use his Clairsentience to take a peek and listen from the shadows.  I lay out the map and begin placing all the characters on it.  Dr. Pisces, Foxbat, Batfox, Dot, Exoskeleton Man, Harmonious Fist, Static Man... and four Foxbots.

 

Pops:  Man, that's a lot of guys to fight. 

GM:  Don't worry.  The Foxbots serve one main function.  (turns to Shadowboxer)  You hear the following:

Foxbat:  Soon, we'll be ready to launch and can disperse the mind control drug over Boston! 

Foxbot 1 (Froederick):  Great plan, boss!

Foxbot 2 (Freddo):  Couldn't have come up with anything better myself!

Foxbot 3 (Frederika):  Wow, he's handsome and brilliant!  (swoons)

Foxbot 4 (Derf):  Are you sure that's a good idea, boss? 

Foxbat:  (sighs)  Open up, Derf.

Foxbot 4's abdomen opens and Foxbat makes some adjustments.  Once he's done:

Foxbot 4 (Derf):  Amazing plan, boss.  Where do you come up with them?  (rolls eyes once Foxbat's back is turned)
 

The heroes teleport in and the fight is joined.  The dice seemed to know that Foxbat Force's heart really wasn't into the fight, because the battle was decidedly one-sided.  Nexus stayed invisible the entire time, robbing Batfox of the opportunity to use a stink-paint pellet (3d6 Drain Striking Appearance) on her.  Once Dr. Pisces is taken out, Foxbat shoots himself with a ball that boosts his Ego enough to allow him to break free of Dr. Pisces' mind control, then orders Foxbat Force to stand down.  The heroes graciously allow Foxbat and his people to leave before calling in PRIMUS.

 

PRIMUS Lt. Det. Williams:  Let me get this straight.  You guys had Foxbat captured, dead to rights, but you let him go because... he said a goldfish made him do it?

Malarky:  I think it's more of a puffer fish.  Or maybe a beta.  (OOC)  It's hard to tell from the picture.  (IC)  It got mutated by radioactivity and toxic waste, so we're not sure what it was originally.

Williams:  Still... a fish?!

Malarky:  It's not that much stranger than some of the other stuff we've faced.

Williams:  (shrugs, turns to his men)  Okay, take this... fish into custody.  (shakes his head as he walks away)

Malarky:  (to Williams' partner Melissa Garrett)  I'm not kidding.  The fish really can do nasty mental stuff.

Garrett:  Don't worry, I'll make sure we put it under psionic protocols. 

Honey Badger:  Wait, don't I get to eat it?

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And now for last night's game.

 

The news items included a recap of last week's adventure; information on the disappearance of Jaguar, who had formed a new Champions team after the prior one disappeared in the Cross-Rip; the murder of a Saudi oil billionaire and the theft of his submersible yacht; and CLOWN disrupting the Millennium City Thanksgiving Parade and Black Friday sales.

 

Shadowboxer:  (OOC, pointing to a picture of the stolen submersible yacht)  That's cool, where did you get that?

GM:  (OOC)  Online; search for "Lover's Deep."  It's an actual vehicle.  Costs about $300,000 a night to rent, though.  (pause)  But I thought Lover's Deep didn't really fit for a supervillain vehicle so I changed it to Emerald Deep.

 

CLOWN disrupted the Thanksgiving Parade by dive-bombing it with live turkeys.  (Thankfully, each had a tiny parachute.)

 

Circe:  Nice to know CLOWN likes WKRP in Cincinnati.

 

The heroes made a perfunctory check into Jaguar's disappearance, since Honey Badger and Jaguar have a Rivarly.  But the actual adventure started with Shadowboxer (in his secret ID as PI Jack Black) getting hired to investigate a child's kidnapping, then dealing with some deviltry I had pulled on Nexus.  I apologize in advance for the long setup info.

 

Her backstory included her brother Mateus disappearing when he was a kid, and her mage father being unable to locate him.  Her father more recently disappeared, right after the Cross-Rip, following a lead on Mateus. 

 

I don't know if I posted about it before, but several months ago Nexus (who can see and speak with spirits) being lured by a ghost into going into an apartment, supposedly to save the ghost's daughter but she actually stepped through a portal to another dimension.  There, she met Charles Aching, a denizen of Drhoz's Call of Cthulhu campaign who in my campaign was responsible for giving Heavy Metal lyrics that allowed Road Kill to unwittingly summon mythos creatures to Earth.  He offered her a deal:  procure an item for him, in exchange for which he would bring her brother back home safe and sound.  The conditions were that she wasn't allowed to tell anybody about the deal, nor try to steal back the item nor assist in any way in taking it from him.  To my extreme surprise, she said yes. 

 

Since I had been positive she wouldn't make a deal with a demonstrably evil individual, I had run her encounter with him in front of the other players even though going to another dimension had broken her Mind Link with the rest of the team, since Nexus had allowed Circe to use Telepathy to replay her memories before.  So the players all knew she was compromised, but their characters didn't (though her lame reason for the Mind Link getting cut was enough to make Circe suspicious).  This was aggravated when Nexus mentioned Charles Aching when they were enroute to meet Paddy McGinty, and expressed way too much interest in McGinty's collection of books.  (She was to bring Aching an ancient tome that explained some of how the Great Old Ones were initially exiled from Earth.)

 

After the heroes found McGinty's book collection wrapped in oilskins and hidden behind the stones in the wall of the well behind the house he had left them, Nexus stole the book and returned to the apartment where she again stepped through to the other dimension to complete her deal with Aching.

 

Aching:   (sipping tea while jazz music plays on a wind-up Victorla) Ah, Isabela.  So good of you to come.  I see you've completed your part of the bargain. (She hands him the book, which he passes through a metal hoop causing it to disappear.)

Nexus:  Now, my brother.

Aching:  Of course.  Would you like some tea?

Nexus:  No thanks.  I don't want to have to pee and miss part of the spell.

 

Aching leads her back to a stone altar and stone slab set up with elements necessary for a powerful spell.

 

Aching:  The world Mateus ended up at has powerful barriers to prevent departure.  It will require similarly powerful elements to breach those barriers.  (claps his hands three times, and a bit later a star vampire floats up carrying a small girl bound with wire and gagged with tape)

Nexus:  (to both the GM and Aching)  You bastard.

 

Nexus rightly objects to the girl's potential sacrifice, so Aching offers some alternatives.

 

Aching:  You could simply release me from my part of the deal.  I assured you that you would be free to leave unharmed.  Of course, I'll keep the book.

Nexus:  Not really liking that option.  I want my brother back.

Aching:  Instead of the Blood of an Innocent, I could use the Blood of a Hero, Freely Given.  Specifically, yours.  (grins evilly)

Nexus:  I repeat.  You bastard.  Fine, we'll do that.  But I want all of my blood back that's not used in the ritual.

Aching:  (smiling slyly)  We'll amend our agreement to specify that the ritual to return your brother will use your blood, and that I will then turn over the cup with your blood to you after the ritual is complete.  Are there any other conditions you wish imposed?

Nexus:  I think that pretty much covers it.

Shadowboxer:  *cough*the girl*cough*

Nexus:  Oh, yeah.  And I'm taking the girl with me too.

Aching:  (still smiling smugly)  Of course, we'll add that to the agreement.

Nexus:  Wait, it won't take all my blood, will it?

Aching:  (laughs)  No, a few ounces should suffice.

 

He uses a ritual knife to cut Nexus' arm, collecting several ounces of her blood in a stone cup.  ("It is a rather lengthy and involved ritual.")  Sheathing that knife, he begins chanting and gesturing.  He then pulls out a (second) ritual knife, dipping it into the cup and using her blood to trace runes engraved in the stone slab as well as draw other symbols on the slab.  After a minute a portal appears, showing Mateus walking through a forest, and Nexus can sees a web of fine lines across it.  As the ritual progresses, lines light up and disappear.  Once the last one is gone, Aching gestures strongly and the portal passes over Mateus, causing him to appear on the stone slab (rather confused).

 

Mateus:  Izzy!  (hugs her)  You got me back!  I couldn't get past the barriers!  How did you do it?

Nexus:  Wait, how did you recognize me? 

Mateus:  Dad showed me a picture of you.  You're even more beautiful in person.  (hugs her again)

Nexus:  (glaring at Aching, who just smiles)  Dad was there too?

Mateus:  Of course.  He's still trapped there.  Whatever spell you did, let's start a new one so we can get him back.

Nexus:  I only made a deal to get you back.  I didn't know Dad was there.

Aching:  Perhaps we can make another deal...

Nexus:  (Expletives deleted)

 

Aching:  I'm sure you and your brother have much to catch up on, so I'll send you on your way.  (opens a portal for them to go home, with the little girl in tow)

 

After the Nexus re-establishes contact with her teammates and, deal complete, can explain what happened, she allows Circe to read her mind and replay her more recent encounter with Aching. 

 

Shadowboxer:  Wait, which book did you hand over to him?  (to the GM) Did I recognize it as one of the books from the well?

GM:  Yes.  It was the Liber Noctis Aeterae.  It explained how the Great Old Ones were exiled from Earth.

Circe:  Ah.  Yeah, for someone to bring them back it would help to know how they got sent away in the first place.

Shadowboxer:  (to Malarky)  We are putting some protections on the remaining books, right the **** now.

 

[Edited to include post-game quotes]

 

After Nexus' player had left, Malarky was thinking about her encounter with Aching.  After making a few skill rolls:

 

GM:  You realize that Aching very smoothly and carefully changed her demand to have all of her remaining blood returned to her, to specifying that the cup with its contents be turned over to her. 

Malarky:  Crap.  The knife...

GM:  Actually two knives.  Thinking back over that memory, you saw him sheath the knife he used to cut her arm on his right side, but during the spell pulled a ritual knife from a sheath on his left side to dip into the cup.  Granted, he doesn't have enough blood to do truly evil things to her, but he has enough to make her life miserable when he wants.

 

(to be continued)

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The bulk of the adventure started with Pop Tart contacting Honey Badger about something that was most likely beyond Snak Attak!'s capabilities.  (Snak Attak! is a group of Boston College students, some with low-level powers and some with no real powers at all, who patrol the BC area to reduce crime and protect other BC students.) 

 

Two BC students (Geoff Weaver and Melanie Wong) have been missing for most of a week, both last seen at Great Scott, a bar/club popular with BC students.  Whopper and Twizzler asked around and found out Weaver left with a "Goth chick," while Wong was last seen with a "scary Goth guy."  Nerds hacked the traffic cameras and saw all four of them leaving the bar in a dark BMW, but the license plate on it that night was registered to an Escalade.  He tried tracking it via other traffic cameras but lost it around Beacon and Mass.  The teen heroes were having no success getting further on it until this morning when some guy (not matching the Goth guy's description) flagged down an ambulance and handed over Melissa Wong, unconscious and near death.

 

Honey Badger:  (to Circe)  You're coming with me to the hospital.  If she's still unconscious, we may need you to tiptoe through her tulips.  (to Malarky)  If the hospital doesn't want to cooperate with us, you may need to hack into their records.

Malarky:  Invasion of mental privacy.  Illegally accessing HIPAA records.  The offenses just keep racking up, don't they?

 

Honey Badger:  What takes this outside your ability?

Pop Tart:  She was almost completely drained of blood and had a series of puncture wounds on her neck.  In pairs.

Honey Badger:  Ah.  Vampires.  Got it.

 

Since Honey Badger is the only member of Just Cause who actually went through the official rigamarole needed to work directly with the BPD and PRIMUS, the cop at Wong's room will only let him in, not Circe.

 

Cop:  I'm sorry, but those are the rules.

Circe:  That's okay.  I can wait here.

(She stands at the doorway, so the officer closes the door to Wong's room)

Circe:  Humph.  (OOC)  Fine, I go down the hall and pretend to talk on my cell phone, while I establish a Mind Scan link to the girl.

 

Honey Badger smells something that's mildly familiar but he can't quite place it.  Eventually he tracks it to the closet in the room, where they've bagged the clothing that Wong was wearing when she was found.  (GM Note:  I realized after the fact that these should have been taken by the police.  Mea culpa.)

 

GM:  It's Sybaris by Antonio Puig.  A Spanish cologne.

HB:  How did the ambulance driver describe the guy that flagged him down and dropped her off?
GM:  Swarthy complexion.  Long dark hair.  In the EMT's eloquent words, his accent was "Spanish-ish".

HB:  By any chance, would I have smelled this cologne before on, say, Jaguar?

 

Circe's read of the girl's mind is not clear due to her being kept drugged most of the time after she was grabbed.  However, she does catch glimpses of several vampires feeding on her, and a vague look at the room she's in, plus a brief bit where the swarthy guy leaned over her and whispered, "Don't worry, I'll get you out of here."

 

Not finding a local seller of Sybaris, the heroes have Malarky go into the company's online orders database...

 

Malarky:  "Internet crimes - that's an oldie but a goodie"

 

...but the most recent one they find shipped to the Boston area was before Jaguar's disappearance.  They do, however, use the company's shipping records to Millennium City, along with Circe's knowledge from the girl's memory of what the guy looked like, to tease out a likely secret ID for Jaguar.  From that, they find his flight into Boston several days ago, as well as his initial flight from Millennium City to Buenos Aires.

 

GM:  I didn't even write up notes on any possible ways for you guys to track down the vampires.  I figured, no matter what I came up with, you'd find some other way.  So why bother?

 

After a few dead ends, they figure out the identity of the Goth guy - a French national named Jean-Paul working at the Consul General for France in Boston.

 

Malarky:  Oh, great.  A diplomat. 

GM:  Are you hacking into the consulate computers to try and find out more about him?

Malarky:  Not quite yet.  I don't want to add "international incident" to my resume.

 

Eventually, they figure out that Jean-Paul is one of several consulate employees living at a place on Beacon Street.  I give them the map and they pull up the Google satellite view.

 

Nexus:  That part looks like a tower.  What is the place, a mansion?

GM:  Good guess.  It's called the Residences at Hooper Mansion.  They live in Unit 4, on this floor.  (points to street view on screen)  But on your recon, you see that all the curtains are closed.

Pops:  There's a surprise.

Malarky:  Yeah, those curtains will be coming down, first thing.

 

They figure out the boss vampire is Danielle du Coudray, a diplomat at the consulate.  Finally hacking into the consulate computers, Malarky learns that she came to Boston with 7 other French nationals, several of whom live with her at the Beacon street mansion.

 

Malarky:  Seven of them?!  What did they need Jaguar for?

Honey Badger:  Someone has to run errands during the day.

 

The players opt to go in sooner rather than later, planning a late afternoon assault.  Shadowboxer does his normal peek-through-shadows recon of the place to find where all the bad guys are located, and they settle on a plan:  Honey Badger will bash through the big bay window on the north side with Maker while the rest of the team teleports into the bedroom where Geoff Weaver is currently serving as a snack for a pair of vampires.

 

Malarky:  He should be able to open that all up... unless they have something on the other side of those curtains.

GM:  You mean like a sheet of armored steel, followed by another set of curtains on the inside?  (pause) Just, y'know, as an example.

 

Still, HB manages to do enough damage to open a fairly large hole in the armored steel and stands right in the middle of the sunlit area.  The two vampires he surprised quickly retreat to the sides of the room still in shadow.

 

HB:  What're you gonna do now, boys?  Come into the light to get me?

Vampires:  (pull out blaster pistols and take aim at him)
HB:  Guns?!  What are vampires doing with guns?!

 

The rest of the team teleports into the "feeding room" and begin taking out the two vampires there.  Mlle. du Coudray figures out that HB is a distraction and that the other heroes are probably rescuing the innocent, so she heads there, arriving about the same time that Pops teleports one of the lesser vampires outside.

 

GM:  With the thick stone walls and steel over the windows, you probably don't hear the vampire scream.  (rolls twin 6's on the vampire's 2d6 Susceptibility to direct sunlight)

Malarky:  I think we might have heard that scream.

du Coudray:  (in French, pointing at Pops)  Kill him!

Pops:  What?! I'm nothing to worry about!

Malarky:  I think you just made a whole lot of new friends.

 

 

Despite Pops being rendered unconscious, the heroes manage to literally take out all the vampires (leaving them in the sun to turn to ash) and render Jaguar unconscious to try and break du Coudray's mind control of him.  Circe uses her mental powers.

 

GM:  If you don't affect both human and animal minds, subtract 15 points.

Circe:  Wow, that's a lot!
GM:  Oh, wait, that's right.  He doesn't have any mental defense right now. 

Circe:  Why not?
GM:  The big bad drained it all away.  She has a magical item.  Malarky or Nexus can detect it.  It's called the Ruby of Rapture.

Malarky:  That's going to disappear before PRIMUS gets here.

GM:  Remember, you can't use it regularly unless you pay points for it. 

Malarky:  I'll get the points.

 

After Honey Badger takes a few selfies with a posed Jaguar, they call PRIMUS to sweep up the vampires.

 

Det. Williams:  (points to ash piles)  So, these are the vampires? 

Honey Badger:  Yep.

Det. Williams:  (to a pile of ash)  Looks like you need a bit higher SPF.

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Black Crusade : The Sixteenth Arcana

 

Moored in the Ragged Helix asteroid belt, the Obsidian Resolve is undergoing extensive repairs - but being hereteks and madmen the PCs aren't going to be satisfied with mere nuts and bolts. Instead, Digna wants to use Warpcraft to cannibalise other ships.

Digna: I need your help with a ritual.
Eniek: What ritual?
Digna: I don't think the ritual exists yet.
Eniek: You have my attention.
Digna: I want to take the Obsidian Resolve to a starship graveyard, and 'fleshcraft' the parts to turn our ship into a Cruiser.
Eniek: You had my attention. Now you have my interest.

Eniek: I'm fine with all of you being dedicated to Slaneesh, I'd rather not live a ship altered to suit same.
GM: Indeed. You don't want a ship that will suddenly decide to ***** ** **** ****** **** the people in the corridors.
Digna: Even if they'd enjoy it.

Skerrit is absent this session - he's still recovering from the broken spine and fractured pelvis Jrska gave him, while Eniek was busy reading the Liber Ex Mortis they stole from the Inquisition's archives. It turns out to be a detailed study of the Chaos God of Decay and Rebirth, Nurgle. Eniek is a bit annoyed about this - there's no point fleshcrafting on a planetary scale if 90 percent of the population succumbs to hideous disease and necrosis immediately after.

Digna: Eniek was busy doing this while I was plowing Jrska. And she was plowing me.
Daniels: ....
GM: There was much agriculture going on.
Digna: It was a nice agricultural exchange.

Eniek: I need a population to experiment on.
Digna: We just picked up 7000 slaves.
Eniek: Do you need all of them?

They do manage to stop most of the crew from being lured away to the fleshpots of the Helix, also a few members of the crew do bring a few doxies back on board, and end up a conjoined bubbling pink slime plastered over three walls of a cargo deck antechamber.

GM: You're not quite sure what they were doing, but evidently they enjoyed it.
Daniels: Is this one of Eniek's experiments?
Digna: We should ask.
Daniels: Is this yours? No? Do you want them?
Eniek: Eh - I don't like people's sloppy seconds.

Despite their existing talent at Warpcraft, they decide to consult an expert in combining the Warp with technology - to whit, a Warsmith of the Iron Warriors traitor marine legion, who happens to be at the Ragged Helix trying to acquire supplies, and who is being frustrated by the way the Slaaneshi lords of the Helix keep getting distracted. Worse, Digna acquired half the stuff he was after first, since she has Jrska's favour.

Digna: First come, first served. And I came first.

Digna: Who's on your shit list? I need a message delivered, and I don't mind if the reply comes back with his body.

They send the petty officer that should have prevented the pink slime incident. Digna accurately predicts the meeting - the Warsmith grabbing the messenger by the throat and bellowing something about Digna's audacity, while the unfortunate individual croaks out something about Digna sending a gift with her request for a meeting. The gift is some of the gene-seed they acquired from the space marines on Scintilla. Extremely valuable, since it's uncorrupted by Chaos, and most progenoid glands that get to the Ragged Helix end up on somebody's dinner plate as a delicacy (much to the fury of the traitor legions).

Digna dresses her best for the meeting.

Digna: It's still red Mechanicus robes. Just nothing else. And they're a bit see-through.

Daniels: 'Damn, she's built.'
GM: Space Marines don't care about that.
Digna's player: No, no, no, she's BUILT. Nine levels of the Best Quality Machine Trait.

Warsmith: May I enquire as to the scale of you project?
Eniek: Capital.
Warsmith: *blinkenlights*
Digna: Thanks. I love nailing a description with one word.

Digna also has other goods to trade - six more Progenoid Glands

GM: His enhanced eyebrows climb off the top of his head.

Eniek wants to show off his own project - that space marine librarian that he turned into a living anatomical mural.

GM: 'Moisturise me! Moisturise me!'

Eniek: I can wake him up if you want.

Next up, acquiring everything they need, and trying to prevent the Warp from horrendously twisting the end result, or infecting the Obsidian Resolve's cogitator cores, engines, and bridge.

Eniek: The ship's soul, heart and mind.
Daniels: You're treating the ship like it's alive.
Digna: We have to, for this ritual to work.

One complication - even the wreckage of ships is in short supply at the moment. Jrska and her colleagues are on something of a shipbuilding spree, as part of their plans to carve up large swathes of the Calixis Sector. And the wreckage they do head out to cannibalise is already being towed by a Khornate raider fleet. The Khornate leader attempts to scare the PCs off, and escalates to a challenge. Natural Eniek, who is the kind of combat monster GMs dread, is delighted by this.

Digna: This is Digna. One lawn-chair to the arena. I repeat - one lawn-chair to the arena.

The Khornate champion, who at some point had most of his lower face burnt down to the bone, is accompanied by a retinue of berserkers. Half the Obsidian Resolve's crew turns up to watch Eniek curbstomp them.

Digna: Ladies! Gentlemen! And those of us blessed with a certain gift of Slaneesh! In the blue corner, our very own Ghost In the Flesh! In the red corner, Sargim Baak of the Iron Skulls! And now, without any further ado - the match between the Enigmatic Eniek and Barbeque Baak!

Despite the fact Baak was a khornate space marine armed with with a deamonically infused weapon, Eniek takes him apart. And does the same to the retinue of berserkers, who go berserk. This is great news for Digna - the buckets of gore splashed around the place will make the perfect finishing touch to that sword she's been forging.

Eniek: And now I walk back to the lawn-chair and finish my drink.

The ritual itself proceeds without incident, mostly because of the precautions the heretics took to prevent any passing deamons taking an interest, but does leave the ship haunted by the 1001 people they sacrificed to fuel the transformation. Their screaming faces leer out of walls and bulkheads all over the ship, and move when the crew aren't looking.

Digna: *waves* Aren't you a little cutie? Shame we got rid of you.

And as Digna's player puts it "So here she is, in all her Glory. Like an interstellar ghoul, she has feasted on the ship-flesh on the fallen and been reborn to sow terror and discord among the mewling masses of the Corpse-God."

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D&D 5th Ed. - Dealing With A Dragon

 

One final (as I've said so many times so far) loose end at the village of Phandalin, before we can head off to the simple pleasures of the Temple of Elemental Evil. The loose end in question is the green dragon Venomfang, who Lamech conned into moving house to Wyvern's Tor. Unfortunately, word has come to us that he's not only been scouting the entire region, but he seems to be building an alliance with the surviving hobgoblins from the Cragsmoor ruins. This is disastrous - such an alliance would completely dominate the trade route to the east. He's going to have to go.

How, then, to kill a dragon?

Kerak: Are there enough locals that we can use some as red shirts?
GM: Yes
Kerak: Sacrificing minions - is there nothing it cannot do?

Kerak: Well, there is something we can do with those Red Brand prisoners. Pump them full of opiates and stake them out for the dragon to eat.
Urlon: NO.

It's true the prisoners are going to be hanged for extortion, etc. Some of the PCs object, on the grounds that the death penalty isn't warranted on this case anyway.

Lamech: Wait, we're only hanging people for murder now? When did that happen?

Urlon: We've got enough troops here now the dragon won't be stupid enough to attack us.
Lamech: Excuse me? *Adolescent* dragon. Young, dumb, and full of cu-
GM: Yes yes, we get the idea.

Various interested parties and troops from Waterdeep have been arriving at the village, now the little matter of the Lost Mine of Phandelver has been resolved. If they weren't going to be any good to us by turning up wen we needed them, perhaps they can be of use now?

Kerak: If you could send some troops with us.
Urlon: Archers would be good.
Sildar Hallwinter of Waterdeep: Yes, well, if I had an army we could destroy the castle, burn down the forest, and wipe out the threat that way.
Lamech: Ahem - Druids present.
Urlon: Rangers too.

Kerak: As long as the Cragmoor ruins are there they'll keep attracting hobgoblins and orcs to live in them.
Urlon: I don't mind.
Sildar: I know YOU don't. Incidentally, the village headsman has asked if you can stop punching any half-orcs that get in your way.

Urlon: I've been leading the group, I suppose.
Lamech: And I've been providing comic relief.

Perhaps we can reduce tensions in Phandalin by getting our half-orc allies to take over the Cragsmoor ruins instead? It is a prime location, after all. This seems acceptable, as do our attempts to weasel every volunteer, potions of poison resistance, dwarven sappers etc from everybody that owes us a favour.

GM: The troops are camping out at what they're already calling Hobshead Cross - that intersection where you kept putting hobgoblin heads on stakes.

Kavorog: I can keep secrets.
Lamech: Yes, we know - we still haven't found out exactly what you did to that kobold.

How to kill the dragon without facing the pointy and poisonous end? Lure him into a pit trap by posing as dragon cultists again, and yelling that a Xorn is eating his hoard?

Druid: Green dragons can breath underwater, but as far as I know they can't breath under dirt. So your plan has some merit.

Kerak brings up the drugged-prisoner-as-bait idea again.

Druid: Or you can just stuff them with poison. Are you serious?
Kerak: Sure. It saves you on the cost of an execution, and kills the dragon. Problem solved.
Druid: Well, it's ecologically sound, but DOES violate the tenets of Good.
Elethandiel: Or we can just go berserk and try to kill it.
Lamech: Well, you can go in first.

Urlon: The treasure we leave there as bait could be used to rebuild the town.
Kerak: Dude, I'm a dwarf, I know, it hurts.
Urlon: Well, we could leave it in there a hundred years and come back for it after the dragon's dead.
Kerak: True, we'll both live that long.

Lamech: I suggest building a deadfall trap, and once the lintel or whatever lands on its neck we shove every sword and spear we have up his clacker.
Kerak: Works for me.

Assistant Druid: Owl for you, sir.
Kerak: Hedwig?

Our party heads out to Tor, where our scouts report odd activity.

Half-orc Scout: There's a bunch of humans camped out there.
Kerak: Are they wearing cloaks and dragon masks?
Half-orc Scout: Funny you should say that.
Kerak: Fuuuuuuu-
Lamech: Oh fuck, it's the real dragon cultists.

Our half-orc allies circle around to attack from the flank, while we don our dragon cult costumes and march right in.

Kerak: Why doesn't your leader come out to meet us.
Cultist: Our doings take place in darkness, brother - if you ARE our brother.
Kerak: Look around you. The place is deserted. Who will see?
Lamech: *gestures to the dwarf to lean over, and slaps him across the head* Please excuse the acolyte - he imagines he knows our brotherhood better than his actual knowledge warrants. I'm sure our brothers of the scale know the tactical dangers of the area - despite it being attacked before. *gestures to the bloodstains from our previous visit, but fails his bluff*
Cultist: Wait. Here.
Kerak: When the cultist is facing the other way I slap Lamech back.
Lamech: That's fair.

Lamech is told to enter the cave. Kerak and Thorn bluster, but he turns to them - and away from the cultist - and gives the hand signal for 'One Minute'

Cult Leader: *using the Command spell* WHO ARE YOU, REALLY?
Lamech: *thankfully passing his save* SWORN BROTHER OF THE SCALE *starts as if reacting to the compulsion* Rude!

And then the PCs and half-orcs attack. Happily, this works, and we even manage to take some alive. How we'll spin this when Venomfang gets back from hunting remains to be seen...

Lamech: Right - first things first. Thorn, plant a symbol of your Order of the Gauntlet on that dead cult leader over there. Now, let's wake up the first one.... Hi there. We're going to have to ask you some questions, but we've got a problem. People tell me enhanced interrogation is an evil act. So what we're going to do, is that us three are going out for a bit, and Kavarog here is going to show you what he did to that kobold.
Kavorog: *leers* Keep the dragon mask on.

Despite all the screaming, the cultist doesn't crack.

Lamech: Ah well. Gag him and tie him up, then wake up the next one. Hi there. Let me introduce you to my friend with the axe here. He calls it Moses. Can you guess why?
Cultist: .... no?
Lamech: Because it's going to part you like the Red Sea.

This doesn't work either. Fortunately, cultist three promptly blabs how the real cultists had been forewarned about our duplicity, and had been preparing to capture us for Lord Venomfang.

Lamech: Fool! Your own cult leaders were the traitors! You! Brother Thorn! Search that body for proof!
Thorn: Ah, this is a symbol of the Order of the Gauntlet!

The cultist has now been successful convinced that his own friends were the actual traitors, and that they were intending to lure Venomfang into a trap. He also explains how they were supposed to signal to Venomfang once they had captured us. We get him to do so, and warn him he better have a good excuse for his stupidity when the dragon arrives.

Unfortunately for us, Venomfang is no fool, and sends in more minions to confirm that THIS isn't a trap. A blue dragonborn knight (the one the Many Arrows orcs were themselves hunting), and a small army of normal and winged kobolds.

Lamech: Venomfang has obviously been networking furiously for the last few weeks.

Most of us fail to notice that this dragonborn is unusually draconic in his features. He is, in fact, a half-dragon.

Kavorog: I'm too busy looking at his butt.

Even after the Blue Knight get his kobolds to carry out all our carefully arranged loot from the cave, and bring out the bound and gagged prisoners, we still try to get him down here to walk under the deadfall. Perhaps Kavorog can lure the other scaley stud into the cave, and thereby prove it's safe? He does so, although his seduction efforts are risible, and Venomfang lands on the Tor, but still doesn't enter the cave.

Lamech: Now that Lord Venomfang is here you might want to tuck it into your pants for a bit.

Our triple-crossed cultist attempts to beg for his life, and gets decapitated by Venomfang, who goes on to use the others as glove puppets.

Lamech: Well, they were going to get executed anyway, getting eaten by the dragon is just karma.

Our druid ally, lurking in the woods, realises that the plan is falling apart, and attempts to entangle the dragon in rapidly growing vines etc. He evades it, and the fight is on!

Lamech attempts a Sleep spell against the dragon, which doesn't work. Kavorog tries the same against the Blue Knight, who had just pushed Kav into the ravine while yelling "It's a trap!"

GM: So you're trying to Sleep the knight, or sleep WITH the knight?
Kavorog: ..... either, or.

Kavorog: I attempt to grapple the Blue Knight.
Lamech: I bet you do.

Lamech: Maybe we can polymorph him? I knew a cleric that polymorphed himself once. Wilfric the Obese. He fell down a well and became a Deep Fat Friar.
All: *pause in mid battle to stare at Lamech in utter disgust*

The Druid, in desperation, summons lightning and ice storms to try and take the dragon and half-dragon down, despite the risk of collateral slaughter.

Lamech: Fair enough. I'M in cover anyway.
Urlon: Pity about the two dragonborn.

Kavorog: If the half-dragon survives the next round I'm going to heroically save him.
Lamech: Hurt/Comfort slashfic, is it?

The dragon and half-dragon get away, despite the PCs efforts to ensure they don't become recurring villains, and Kavorog's efforts to ensure the half-dragon hottie doesn't actually die.

Lamech: Well, we should send a message to Phandalin 'Um, we didn't manage to kill the dragon, it's your problem now'.

GM: Rangers can track elementals, although how you track Earth Elementals escapes me.
Lamech: Seismometers.

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D&D 5th Ed. - AKA Shadowrun With The Serial Numbers Filed Off

 

The Shadowrun game imploded because we've executed or refuse to work for certain essential NPCs, and because everybody had interesting backstories they weren't getting to use. Instead we're playing D&D 5th Ed., and The Lost Mine of Phandelver, the same adventure two of us have already played. Most of us are good enough to ignore player knowledge, but knowing this group of players the plot will go off the rails within minutes anyway. At least we have an appropriate backdrop - a ferocious lightning storm.

Ewen's player: I'm still waiting for the lightning to flash behind me as I gesture dramatically.

A party of deeply suspect and eccentric individuals has been hired to escort supplies to a mining camp.
 

 

Heather McKnight - Paladin, who got sick of waiting for a knight in shining armour and set out to find one of her own.

Ewen Douglas - Batman to Heather

Dirty Franz - Hobo and cart driver

Jurgen - Muscle. Mercenary Swordman & Enforcer

Salazar - Rogue legbreaker, tiefling

 


Me: So apart from the tiefling, we're all human?
Ewen: Well, I glow in the dark sometimes, but it's only obvious at night.

On why people are nastier when they have online anonymity

Ewen's player: People don't get punched in the face as often, so they keep doing it

GM: You're in a 20x20 room. There's an orc guarding a cake. You want the cake - what do you do? Just kidding...
Heather: I was all ready to start roleplaying to that! Are you starting your campaign on a lie?

Heather: I'm not going anywhere with someone that smells like you!
Dirty Franz: .... Dirty Franz smells better than the donkeys...
Salazar: Very slightly.
Heather: Go drive the cart over there, downwind. Oh god, the wind changed.
Dirty Franz: Dirty Franz can drive the cart behind you.
Heather: You are a very intelligent man.
Dirty Franz: *attempts a nervous smile*
Heather: Now look at that, what a smile, a smile that could crack glass. .... that smile will haunt my dreams tonight.

Dirty Franz: It's not garbage night tonight, Dirty Franz can take all your stuff.
Heather: And apparently we're paying you in potato peels.
Dirty Franz: I had a potato once...

Dirty Franz: Dirty Franz will make sure cart is nice and clean for pretty lady.
Heather: *still holding nose* You're a good man, Franz, a good man *pats Franz on shoulder*
Dirty Franz : And then put shirt back on again.
Heather: *snatches hand back*
Jurgen: You touched him, your problem.

GM: You're halfway to Phandalin when the smell you've been dealing with changes.
Heather: Oh god, the wind changed.
GM: There's a dead horse in the road.

Heather: *to Jurgen* You need plate armour. It's nothing personal, it's just... not plate. Plus I suspect you're not noble. Or a knight.
Salazar: *snickers*

And just like the last time I played this scenario, it's an ambush by goblins. Who get ambushed by us.

Ewen: Congratulations! You get to be on fire.

Heather: Cop this, ya gobshite! *misses* Fooking Hell!

Jurgen: *comes back out of bushes, goblin brains dripping of his war-pick*
Dirty Franz: If you keep picking it, it'll never heal.

Dirty Franz's contribution was hurling a bag of flour into the bushes, which missed.

Heather: Who threw that bomb?
Dirty Franz: *holds up hand cautiously*
Heather: Are you some kind of alchemist?
Dirty Franz: ... just flour...
Salazar: So you smell bad AND you're weird.

Off to rescue our employer.

Heather: I can make food for us - oh, wait, no I can't, until next level.
Dirty Franz: *waits until everybody is looking at him and flashes his filthy coat open, revealing bags of flour and assorted cooking implements on hooks* Dirty Franz is wizard of the kitchen.
Heather: You're one creepy but effective individual! Glad to have you on board. And downwind.

Heather: I want you out in front, you daft bastard.
Jurgen: That sounds awfully like putting me out in front to be attacked.
Salazar: I'll bring up the rear, behind Heather.
Heather: Pervert.

Salazar: Saw a trap once that yanked your hand in, held it there, and stabbed you with poison. Poor bastard. Took him three hours to die.

Salazar: I tend to shun bright lights. Except when I don't, and then it's a hooded lantern right in their face.

Heather: Stealthy people advance, non-stealthy people to the left. *steers Franz by his shoulders off into cover*

The goblin guards don't know what hit them, despite Heather lobbing a glowing stone into the cave mouth to get their attention.

Salazar: I retrieve my dagger.
Dirty Franz OoC: From the one you pinned to the wall by the head.

Salazar: I know I've got a bag of ball bearings here...
Dirty Franz: Dirty Franz has three.
Salazar: *gives Franz a baffled look*
Dirty Franz OoC: At the very least a bagful of ball bearings to the face will really slow someone down.
Salazar OoC: Yeah, but you get a penalty. I'm used to sneaky tricks like that.

Salazar: Wait, I've got TWO crowbars?
Heather OoC: You can Double Freeman.

The bugbear isn't going to know what hit him either, since we manage to completely infiltrate the cave without anybody noticing us ghosting past.

Dirty Frank OoC: No big exclamation marks appear.

GM: Two of your characters are Stealth-based.
Heather: I nearly did too.
Weldun: Wait... we stopped playing Shadowrun and we all made shadowrunners?

Salazar: So.. a club is a stick, and a mace is a stick with a bad attitude... and a morningstar is a stick on the way to a BDSM party.
Dirty Franz: Dirty Franz has a rock.
Heather: Good for you!
Dirty Franz: ... it's a shiny rock.

Ewen: Is this the first bugbear in history that doesn't have minions?
Dirty Franz OoC: He DID
Heather OoC: But he just finished yelling at them and telling them to get back to work.
Salazar: Intelligence check for the minions, to see if they come back.

Salazar OoC: Dirty Franz better do something more useful than throwing a flour bomb, or he's going to find himself with his throat cut.
Dirty Franz: Dirty Franz still has his shiny rock *casts Tasha's Hideous Laughter*
Bugbear: *fall helpless with laughter and is swiftly exterminated*
Salazar: Wait, what just happened?
Ewen: It was the wizard.
All: What??? *turn to stare at Franz*
Dirty Franz: *looks nervous and carefully stows his shiny rock back under his filthy coat*
Salazar: That's a wizard? Wait, I thought wizards were all 'I HAVE ROBES AND AM MORE POWERFUL THAN YOU BECAUSE I HAVE A TINY PENIS!'

Heather: *mimicking the Bugbear* COME BACK AND LOOK AT ME!
Dirty Franz OoC: How does a tiny Scots woman mimic a bugbear?
Ewen OoC: Lots of Scotch.
Salazar OoC: She's an unholy blend of two redheads - Merida and Princess Fiona.

GM: The stores are the usual food, supplies -
Dirty Franz OoC: Elf porn, lingerie...

GM: .. and a tiny statuette of a frog, with golden eyes.
Dirty Franz Ooc: It's the Hypnotoad
All: WHOoooOOooooOOOoooooMMMMM

Dirty Franz stays as far away from the falling water as possible.

Heather: I'm not even remotely surprised.

Salazar: Simple rule, Franz - If the moon is full, it's time to have a bath.
Ewen: 'I must destroy the moon!'
All: MOOOOOON!

Ewen uses Prestidigitation to dry out the slick wet cliff-face.

Salazar: Prestidigitation - also known as 'Least Wish'

GM: There are a dozen unwashed goblins around a cooking fire.
Salazar: I wonder why they make the distinction between washed and unwashed.
Ewen: Occasionally they fall in the river.

Dirty Franz: Dirty Franz has idea *giggles* Have you ever thrown flour onto a fire?
Salazar: Yes. You get a snuffed out fire a burned bread smell.
Dirty Franz: *sags*

Salazar: Jurgen, you remember that time at the bar? With the six goblins hiding behind a table? *runs up, lifts the table high in the air, and hits them with it*

Interrogating the captive.

Salazar: I should have taken 'gagged Common' as my second language. I've heard it enough.

Potential new characters, such the dwarf that might be joining the party.

Ewen: 'Beardfist Fistbeard, the greatest of dwarfs'

We've just rescued one of our fellow employees from a cave full of goblins, without the goblins even noticing us going in and out.

Dirty Franz: Maybe they're used to their bugbear boss launching into hysterical laughter for no reason.

GM: Well, I'm not hitting you with a Gelatinous Cube in the middle of the wilderness.
Dirty Franz: Didn't you know? Gelatinous Cubes are migratory. Every year they ooze down to Mexico and gather on mountaintops. Then the next year they fly back.
Heather: I think you're confusing them with birds.
Jurgen: No, that's monarch butterflies.
Salazar: Wait, what?
Dirty Franz: Dirty Franz is about to have a random encounter with monarch butterflies.

Me: I've never actually seen any episodes of Jem and the Holograms.
Heather: That's truly outrageous.

GM: Suddenly, Gnolls!
Dirty Franz: Noels? What's Noel's? I don't know any Noels.
Heather: Positions!
Salazar: Lying down in the back of the cart because I'm a lazy bastard.
Heather: ... up front sitting next to Franz. Unwisely.
Ewen: Swinging my legs off the back of the cart.

GM: A arrow flies past the front of your head!... and a second one flies past the back.
Dirty Franz: The Gelatinous Cubes are migrating fast this year.

GM: Don't worry Drhoz, these are the bad kind of gnolls.
Salazar's player: So, Vitus' kind of people?
Me: Eh, Vitus considers himself a perfectly agreeable person.
Salazar's player: That doesn't make it true.

GM: And the gnoll archers target....
Ewen: The really dangerous one that just cut somebody's head off.
Jurgen: True.
Salazar: I'm just nasty and vicious *repeatedly backstabbing a gnoll*

Heather: That one's busy stabbing the donkey.
Dirty Franz OoC: Just as long as he isn't Muffin the Mule.

Heather: I'm going to throw a javelin at one! Which just goes to show I have no sense of pattern recognition.

She actually manages to hit with it repeatedly.

Dirty Franz: It's your lucky javelin.
Heather: I'm going to call it Stabby!

Dirty Franz consistently fails to hit the closest gnoll.

Dirty Franz OoC: Possibly the gnoll keeps recoiling from the smell.

GM: In the pockets of the gnolls...
Ewen: .. we find 49 dead monks.
Heather: It's what they use for currency.
Jurgen: Snacks.

There's only a few rooms available in Phandalin.

Salazar: Bags not doubling with Franz.

Innkeeper: I'm not a dwarf, I'm just short.
Heather: It's ok, I'm 5ft 2 myself.
Dirty Franz: Pretty lady will always be big in Dirty Franz's eyes.
Heather: .. Thanks, Franz... that's.. phrasing.

There's a paper notice nailed to a post, seeking experienced adventurers and healers.

Dirty Franz: Dirty Franz always on lookout for scraps of paper.

Salazar: Here's my test for experience. I stab you once. If you survive you're hired. If you die I loot your corpse.

Before long, Heather is table dancing in the pub. Salazar relaxes with his feet up on a table.

Salazar: Things are looking up.

Heather introduces the party to the dragonborn Strun Bah Qu, who's looking for a party to join.

Heather: And that one out in the yard playing with the donkey is Franz.
Jurgen: Franz! Stop that!

Troublemakers in cheaply died red leather.

Dirty Franz: Probably leaves pink marks on his arms and legs as he moves.

Drunken Red Brand lout: Oi! You big Kobold! Get out of here before you get a sword stuck in your throat!
Heather OoC: Wow. He really wants a blowjob. We've walked into the most violent gay bar in town.

Salazar throws a knife to pin the lout's arm to something.

Ewen: Like his arm, to his other arm.

Dirty Franz: Problem with their leather armour is they didn't soak it in urine long enough. Franz will help.

The lout survives Ewen's first spell.

Heather: Wow, maybe they are actually tough.
Dirty Franz OoC: Up until we showed up, they were probably the biggest thugs in town.

Salazar: That's why Dirty Franz is so poor - he spends all his money on My Little Pony memorabilia.
GM: You should see his Rarity body pillow.

The Red Brand louts retreat to get reinforcements and swearing revenge.

Ewen: Thank you for this information.
Salazar: I recover my knife and follow them.

Heather drags the original lout out of the pub and throws him in the horse trough.

Heather: When you fish him out, Franz, try to give yourself a bit of a wash.
Dirty Franz: Dirty Franz is allergic to water.
Heather: Ah, but this isn't water - it's magical cleaning grease!
Ewen: I can always clean him with Prestidigitation. Hang about, you have Prestidigitation, Franz - what's your excuse?
Dirty Franz: ... Dirty Franz is not a godly man.

Salazar waits for them to leave the ruined mansion, and heads in to rob them blind while they're out. The others wait for them to come back to the pub, and lurk at a nice steep slope with Grease Spells, Area of Effect fire spells, and so on.

Ewen: We can grease the alley, let them all slide down into the horse trough.
Dirty Franz: And then Strun can Thunderwave them back up again.

Heather: What does the guy in the horse trough look like?
Dirty Franz: Well, his armour is pink now.

Heather poses as him and lures the louts into our ambush. It works as well as we could have hoped.

Heather: Proceed with the murderizing.
Dirty Franz: You could always strip them naked and paddle them through town.
Heather: Yeah, but that sounds like work.

Strun : And then I Sacred Flame them.
Heather: It's a useful spell, we find.
Ewen: I've got a lot of mileage out of that one.

Dirty Franz: Dirty Franz and his donkey will put out the fire. *unzips*
Heather: Good ma- oh god, put it away!

Salazar finds evidence of monsters at the mansion.

Salazar: I'm backing out - I'm not here for a fight. I'm here to loot!
Ewen OoC: But if this were a computer game it'd be 'hit Save, BANZAI!!!!!!!!'

Salazar does run into an invisible mage. Who proceeds to slip on Salazar's ball bearings, fall down a flight of stairs, and get punched to death by Salazar waiting at the bottom.

Ewen: His Concentration Lobe is over there now.
Dirty Franz: That's funny, he had a large Bump of Attentiveness.

Salazar: And that's why it sometimes pays to let a party member go off by themselves.
Ewen: Yes, they come back with fun stories and cool stuff.
Salazar: I bring presents.
Heather: Nice! And these guys had chain mail.
Salazar: Sweet! They had a pet.
Dirty Franz: What kind of pet?
Salazar: I dunno. It was big, it was purple, it had one eye. I didn't hang around.

Heather: Are you evil?
Salazar: I like to think of myself as differently motivated.

At least Heather can still detect certain kind of monster, even if she can't Detect Evil. The thing in the mansion basement is certainly that kind of monster. It's also been digging a trench.

Ewen: It's digging for China.
Dirty Frank: Dirty Frank is aficionado of fine porcelian.
Heather: Well, we can't let anybody do evil home renovations around here, it'll lower the house values.

GM: How long did it take you to pick up all those ball bearings?
Heather: You know what would make it quicker? Cantrip! And it looks like he had a 'can-trip' of his own.
Salazar: *facepalm*

Eye Monster: (Telepathically) Interlopers! Why are you here? You are not Red Brand!
Heather: I bring these fools to you, master!
Salazar: Well, THAT'S a good way to get yourself shanked.

The eye monster isn't fooled by Heather's bull-shitting. It doesn't like it. It doesn't like getting a scimitar driven through it's single eye into the brain, either.

Salazar: Eh, I still think it was my noogie that weakened it.

Treasure includes a longsword that Ewen wants checked for magic. He waves it at Dirty Franz.

Dirty Franz: Dirty Franz already has long sword.... at least, that what Franz's woman-friend back in city said...
Heather: Oh gods...
Salazar: I did not need to hear that!

GM: In this world wizards started putting labels on their potions.
Dirty Franz: Started after those child protection laws came into effect. Potion bottles all come with child-proof tops these days.

The party proceeds to wipe out everything else in the ruined manorhouse, with minor conversational asides about such things as Heather's strap-on sword.

Salazar: And if she hits you with that, you're really fucked.

A fourth mage gets slaughtered before he realises what's happening. Jurgen decapitates him with a simultaneous scimitar scissor strike.

Heather: We went in there to back him up against a wizard, and found them standing around a red water feature.
Salazar: OK, the scissor action I understand, but what was the last hit for?
Strun : Style.

And we find a letter indicating that the Red Brands or their mage allies knew we were coming.

Heather: 'you know that group of murder-hoboes that are about to arrive in town? Maybe you should kidnap them.'

It's always nice to have retroactive justification for pre-emptive self-defence.

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Circe:  I guess what we're looking for is an aquatic mentalist. 

Pops:  Shouldn't be too many of those around.

GM:  More like, none.  Well, other than Aquaman types who can mentally control fish.  But the scientist is decidedly not a fish.

 

Well, cladistically speaking, humans ARE fish - highly derived, air-breathing tetrapod, bony fish.

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