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Darren Watts

Quote of the Week from my gaming group...

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Fireflash: As I recall you had me there to grab the item the Six Teens were handing off to their employer. And for some reason, YOU, Hardlight, kept attacking the Six Teens despite the fact they'd already passed it off.

Hero Shrew: In my defence, I'd forgotten why we were there.

 

Hero Shrew: Don't we have to give a copy of that data to that Dysprosium Dawn weirdo?

GM: Dammit!

Flux OoC: GM, foiled again.

 

Hardlight: I can alter all the data before we give copies back to the police and that mad scientist.

Fireflash: So LowellTech will be the only group with the data and can profit from it? In a word - I DON'T THINK SO.

GM: Plus there's the small matter of tampering with evidence.

 

Hardlight: Flux and I aren't going to kill anybody! We've got a code against killing.

Flux: So what you're really telling me is 'don't do it where you can see me'.

 

Flux: So we don't need proper sanctioning.

Fireflash: Pity, I enjoy a good sanctioning.

Flux, Hardlight: ....

Hero Shrew: ... I don't get it.

 

Hardlight: We're the Light Irregulars.

Flux: No.

Hardlight: We three are the light, the shrew is the Irregular.

 

Hardlight: Well, next weekend -

GM: So you're the Weekend Warriors now?

Fireflash: How about Quadrant? There's four of us.

Flux: You okay with that, Scooter?

Hero Shrew: *shrug* I guess. What's a quadrant?

 

Hardlight: Now I have to redesign all our costumes.

Fireflash: I am not having a giant Q over my nipple.

Flux: And do you really want to put the shrew in spandex? He already smells like wet dog.

GM: How about a colour co-ordinated man-kini?

Flux: *shudders*

 

Hero Shrew eventually realises that various fluffy-tailed Moreaus have gone missing. This enrages the shrew, because that cop stopped him shaking the truth out of the unconscious Alsatian.

 

Hero Shrew: I'm going to that cop eat his own power armour.

 

GM: I still haven't found a good picture to use for Hero Shrew.

Flux: Funny, he doesn't look shrewish.

 

Hero Shrew goes to talk to his boss at the Collar Club, who is a bit upset to learn that Genesys might still be around. He gets the various bouncers to take suitable precautions.

 

Flux: Every time I see that place I think it should be called "The Pussy Palace".

 

Hero Shrew walks into Hardlight's office - forgetting the whole 'secret identity' thing.

 

Hero Shrew: Hey, you remember how that Alsatian said some perv was stalking fluffy-tailed girls-

Hardlight: .... Who are you and how did you get in my office?

Flux: You really think human security could stop him?

Hero Shrew: *notices the human security clinging to his ankles and being dragged along*

Security: I'm sorry, Mr Lowell, we couldn't stop him.

Hero Shrew: .... Er... So... If you could tell that other guy. The one with the light suit. Who isn't you.

Security: Wait, aren't you the bouncer at that furry bar? ... We'll be outside if you need us, sir.

Hardlight: *headdesk*

GM: *sings* Oh Lord, won't you find me/ a super-strong, muzzle / My brick won't stop yapping / I must make it, end.

 

Hardlight tries to ring Fireflash.

 

Fireflash: He's still blocked.

GM: I thought you were going to unblock him?

Fireflash: I was going to but I forgot.

 

Hero Shrew OoC: So you're going to have to ring her at home and talk. Via her Mom :D

 

Flux is at work too, which makes for an interesting conversation when his co-workers listen in. He begs off drinks after work, claiming he needs to put in overtime. Fireflash discovers a problem with her new costume. Sure, it ensures good airflow and won't flap when she's flying along - she just forgot that she lands feet first, at speed.

 

GM: And your dress whips up and over your head, to the delight of all the pedestrians with cameras on the other side of the street.

Flux: I'm already following it on Social Media.

 

Hero Shrew OoC: What kind of captions are they putting on the photo? ... 'Curtain Matches The Capes?'

 

Hero Shrew: ... Yeah, so my other boss said I should talk to you guys too.

Fireflash: Your other boss?

Hero Shrew: Yeah, I'm a bouncer.

Fireflash: Ah, I see.

Hero Shrew: Yeah, at that titty bar this boss met me at.

Hardlight: *headdesk*

Fireflash: .... Really. *turns to Hardlight, and angrily flaps the inadequate dress* What, this isn't enough for you?

 

Hardlight: Flux, I'm asking you to do the data search because you have the investigative skills.

GM: Nope.

Hardlight: *sigh* I know, the shrew does. But he can't use the database.

GM: Because he's illiterate. :D

 

GM: The other problem with searching the database is 'How do you quantify fluffiness of tail'

Hero Shrew OoC: I'll help. There will be gestures. 'I Like Big Butts And I Cannot Lie.'

 

Hero Shrew asks the missing girl's neighbours if he can check their apartments for clues.

 

Hero Shrew: In case I need a key. Me and doors don't get on.

 

Of course, most Moreaus don't even bother closing their doors - they can smell whoever has been in their rooms anyway.

 

Hero Shrew: That's funny... Smells like a car.

Hardlight: What, new car smell?

Hero Shrew: Nah, one of those ones that starts with an N. The front end looks like a face.

Hardlight: ...

GM: Nakajima.

Hardlight: Weird.

Hero Shrew: Yeah, I know - how would you even get a car up the stairs?

 

Fireflash finds a photo print-out on the table - of herself, at her school. There's a note on the back.

 

3 4 1. Deal? - K (anonymous email addy)

Fireflash emails the address - "I assume I'm the One" and get another anonymised email in confirmation. The K stands for Killzone, an effective and capable mercenary, but one who is honourable and keeps her word. Hardlight suspects that this exchange is an attempt by the people that gave her her powers to hand herself over, and that the missing Moreaus were bait to get the superheroes involved. Flux and Hardlight hurriedly collaborate to invent a way to track Fireflash before this Three-for-One exchange can happen. Flux's private lab is a strange mix of circuit diagrams and occult symbols.

 

Hardlight: ... Is that chicken blood on your 3-D printer?

 

And then Flux's co-worker shows up.

 

Bob: Hey, Chris, you up there?

All: ....

Fireflash: Hey babe, Chris was here but said he'd be back later!

Bob: Oh, I see, I understand, I didn't know he had someone over, I'll leave you to it! ... You sound familiar.

Flux: .... I am so going to jail...

 

Bad news - Killzone has assistance from Doom Troopers. At least the missing Moreaus are being kept in comfortable quarters in an otherwise typical Abandoned Warehouse

 

Hero Shrew: You girls OK?

Fluffy-tailed Girls: Yeah, bit nervous, but they asked us really detailed questions about what we needed for food.

Hero Shrew: Good to hear. If they hadn't been looking after you I'd be really cross.

Doom Troopers: *thumb their triggers nervously*

GM: They know all about your rages.

Hero Shrew: Nice to be recognised.

 

Killzone won't let the hostages go until Fireflash gets into the crate, and after they've removed all the obvious bugs and trackers.

 

GM: All the obvious trackers.

 

They even go to the trouble to explaining what sedatives they'll be using and checking her medical allergies, etc. and reimburse the kidnapped Moreaus for their lost wages. Very thoughtful. Less thoughtful is the reaction from Flux and Hardlight when we entered the warehouse, and they completely lost all the signals from our bugs and trackers. Cue rising panic. Then the warehouse doors open.

 

GM: NOW you get a signal.

Flux: ... I was going to say she's putting out again, but...

GM: Unlike Hardlight, YOU have a filter.

 

Hero Shrew leads the girls off around the corner, and tells them to leg it for the Zoo. And then hurries off to meet up with Hardlight and Flux.

 

Hero Shrew: I'm following the plan. I'm a good shrew I am.

Flux: .... Please tell me he's not coming straight here.

GM: Did any of you tell him not to?

Flux: *headdesk*

 

Flux: Scooter, don't lead them to us!

Hero Shrew: *holding a paw to his ear to listen to his communicator* I can't see anybody following me.

Flux: They might be ninjas.

Hero Shrew: I can't see any ninjas.

 

And then the tracking technomantic spell indicates that the Doom Troopers, Killzone, and the crated Fireflash are travelling underwater.

 

Hero Shrew: Well, I start looking around for a boat we can steal.

Flux: We look around for a boat we can legally requisition for lawful pursuit.

 

Instead we pile into a robot cab and follow northward along the shore.

 

GM: Let's Rock! ... And take public transport.

 

Hardlight: I have a brilliant idea.

GM: Why am I suddenly afraid?

Flux: 'We blew up the marinas' "Why" "because we couldn't be arsed searching them'

 

At least their sub isn't moving fast.

 

Hero Shrew: They're in a submersible. And probably pedalling it.

 

Hero Shrew starts looking around for something heavy.

 

Hero Shrew: Can I jump off the bridge and use the weight of the cab to get me down to the sub?

GM: Yes, but the cab company might object.

 

Hero Shrew: I'm going to swim down to the sub and start punching holes in it :D

GM: The sub where Fireflash is drugged and unconscious? Wait - they said the mask would keep feeding her oxygen while she was being shipped, didn't they?

Hero Shrew: Yes :D I remembered :D

Fireflash: Who are you and what did you do with the real Hero Shrew?

 

Flux and Hero Shrew run up on the bridge while Hardlight runs to get a boat, and then back to an ATM to get money.

 

GM: Larry, Curly, and Moe.

 

Hero Shrew: Maybe we should tell the Coast Guard.

Flux: About the mystery sub?

Hero Shrew: Full of armed mercenaries.

Flux: 'And how do you know this?'

GM: 'We just did a hostage exchange with them'

 

Hero Shrew plunges in to intercept - and discovers the mercenaries aren't in a sub. They're all using underwater sleds.

 

GM: I love how you all assumed it was a sub. I mean, who can afford a sub?

Hero Shrew OoC: Prohibition bootleggers who want to prove a point by torpedoing the Coast Guard.

 

Flux's blast attack misses all the Doom Troopers - they were towing the crate, after all - but DOES destroy the crate itself, and that half-wakes Fireflash. And brings the sixteen mercs to the surface. And pisses Killzone right the hell off, since she considers the troopers family.

 

Fireflash: Why aren't we sticking to the plan!

Hero Shrew: If they'd gone by land we could have followed them.

GM: Which is why they didn't go by land. Competent mercenary, remember? So, no clue where they were taking you. Blame your teammates.

 

GM: You realise there's nothing around to use as a weapon, since you're in the water.

Hero Shrew: But if I can get my hands on one of them, I WILL have a weapon :D

GM: You're learning the First Rule of Successful Bricks.

 

Killzone isn't with them - she just put on a jacket and hat and strolled off along the boardwalk. But she DOES come running when she sees her team in trouble. She is also a very good shot with her Pulson pistols.

 

GM: The Doom Troopers are worried, they have an angry Murderball in their midst.

Hero Shrew: Who is about to use one of them as a club.

GM: He's only stunned, not unconscious.

Flux: You can still use him as a club - he'll just be less enthusiastic about it.

 

On the other hand they have their own Flash-based weapons - and Hero Shrew is promptly blind and deaf. And the other eight are heading after Fireflash.

 

GM: They have very specific orders when faced with a Brick in close quarters - try to Flash them, then get the fuck away.

 

And then Fireflash erupts from the water like a Polaris missile, and Killzone and her mercs scatter while the scattering is good.

 

Killzone: My services are for hire - not my life.

 

Fireflash is not happy with the rest of the team, for rescuing her when the plan was to find out who paid to kidnap her.

 

Hero Shrew: We would have followed you but we didn't have a boat. Blame him, we sent him to find a boat.

Hardlight: I was perfectly happy following you, but then HE had to go and jump off a bridge!

 

Flux: Where do you hire someone like Killzone anyway?

Fireflash: I don't know! There isn't a forum for supervillains!

Hero Shrew: Actually, there is, it's on the Black Net.... Something to do with fishing, I think.

 

In fact, the villain's forum in question is a moving marketplace, that sets up in locations around the world, fairly often in Edge City, where villains can trade tech, cursed artefacts, hire mercs, etc.

 

GM: But it only ever meets on weekends.

Flux: Villains have day jobs in this economy.

 

The mention of the Black Net leads to the discussion of the Shadownet, and the AIs that monitor it.

 

Flux: I am not going near an AI.

Hero Shrew: If the Internet is for Porn, I'm sure the AI is lonely - you'll be really popular.

Flux: I am NOT going near that AI.

 

Flux: *sigh* Why is the most normal one of us the genetically engineered shrew?

Hero Shrew: *is currently picking his teeth with a length of rebar*

GM: Where did you get the rebar?

Hero Shrew: Had to break a bit off the bridge parapet.

GM: You broke part off the bridge??

Hero Shrew: Needed some weight to get down to where I thought the sub was.

Fireflash: *facepalm*

 

Hardlight shuffles funds into a secret account for use in emergencies.

 

Hardlight: I have created the Bat-Creditcard.

GM: And I will have to kill you.

 

Fireflash hasn't realised her improvised top is soaked through yet.

 

Hardlight: I've noticed, but I'm too polite to look lower than her eyes.

Hero Shrew: I'm not.

GM: But you've seen hundreds of boobies.

Hero Shrew: Yeah, but they look different without fur on.

Flux: *looks down* For fucks sake.

 

The Shrew's bosses are glad the missing Moreaus are safe, but less so that Hero Shrew damaged the bridge in the process.

 

Hero Shrew: I don't think they got it on camera. They might find my tooth marks in the rebar though.

Bennie the Bouncer: Goddamnit, I keep telling you, just keep some tire rubber to chew on.

Hero Shrew: Those reinforced radials, pretty rough coming out the other end.

Bennie: Not the whole tire!

Colin the Collie: *sigh* Tell Cham to go see the Head of Main Roads and smooth things over. He'll do anything for a paw job.

 

Colin the Collie: I only followed about half of that explanation.

Hero Shrew: Yeah, I didn't pay much attention to the debrief myself.

Colin: ... I sympathise with your other boss, I really do.

 

Hero Shrew: *pauses in my chewing on another Mealworm Bar*

Flux: Something wrong?

Hero Shrew: Think there was a Superworm in that one.

Flux: Superworm?

Hero Shrew: Kinda big beetle grub.

Flux: Oh. Superworm suggests something very different in a Superheroic Milieu.

 

Somebody has anonymously sent Flux a document called Magick and the Modern Practitioner. This worries him, since nobody but him knew he was actually a Mage. And the message arrived via a semi-conscious program primed to find technomancers. And did it through an unconnected modem. He also digs deep into the info on Killzone and her Doom Troopers. She's very protective of them, and does NOT react well to mind control. She's been known to go toe-to-toe with the superhumanly strong, and she's an expert shot. The Doom Troopers' suits and weapons are pretty alarming too. Flux makes a few connections, and comes to the alarming conclusion that the tech leads back to Terror Incorporated and the work of the supposedly late Professor Muerte. Which would also explain Killzone's antagonism towards the terrorist organisation Eurozone, since two of them fused Muerte into his armour and dropped him into the Marianas Trench. 

 

Hero Shrew: But if I can get my hands on one of them, I WILL have a weapon :D

 

 

And Clubber's spiritual descendant makes his appearance...

 

 

 

Major Tom 2009 :sneaky:

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Star Wars: Edge Of Empire game. One of the mechanics is that if you're a Force user you can get short-term boosts to your power by Giving In To The Dark Side, but of course that has longer-term character effects. One of our two Force users is contemplating the latest in a series of really crappy rolls, and received this advice from the player sitting next to him (Dust Angel):

 

"Eh, you may as well give in to the Dark Side; at this point, it won't change your character that much."

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Arrrgh, the demon from the netherworld whose root form is an anthropomorphic crocodile (he can also appear as a stunning young Chinese woman) has piled into the back of a pickup truck as the PCs race after a bunch of bad guys in stolen cars. It is about 2AM local time.

 

(There's two PCs in one character's Ferrari Spider, but the other three piled into the gardener staff's pickup, which is good, because none of those three actually have the Driving skill.)

 

GM, narrating conversation in one of the stolen vehicles: "Dude, there's a big-a** alligator in the back of that truck chasing us."

 

Arrrgh is not trained in use of firearms, but someone hands him a .45 so he is powing away from the back of the truck, nominally at bad guys but really mostly randomly, doing little more than raising his own morale.

 

GM, continuing narration of conversation in one of the stolen vehicles: "Dude, that big-a** alligator in the back of that truck chasing us is now shooting at us."

 

After the truck driver spins out but does not wreck the truck, the three guys in the truck do a ethnic fire drill. Arrrgh now is driving ... he's no worse than the guy who had been driving ... and the guy who actually has substantial training in firearms is in the back. Pursuit resumes.

 

GM, continuing narration of conversation in one of the stolen vehicles: "Dude, that big-a** alligator is now driving the ****ing truck."

 

Arrrgh, purely through spectacular lucky dice (the GM was sympathetic with, but did not actually provide benefit for, Arrrgh's "DRIVE LIKE HELL!!" battlecry as he stomps on the accelerator) succeeds in getting within a carlength of one target vehicle, though it took the PC sitting beside him physically swatting his hand off the gearshift to keep him from "shifting into R for Race". Elmo, who had been driving, now is in the back of the truck, and shoots up the stolen vehicle and its occupants with great success, so it drops out of the chase (and it doesn't have the big bomb we were after) so the chase of the remaining stolen vehicles continued....

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Forgot to write down the previous session of Shadowrun 2050, Hellhound gang member (or rather everything that is left)

 

Medicine Man: Me. Ameridian Doctor and Face; not yet acustomed to the streetlife

Freddy 0 aka "Dr. Feelgood": Dwarf Mage and drugdealer, with rules to never sell to children/pregnant women

 

Conclusion Elementals:

The whole story about the Johnson being the Music producer for the band did not pan out. He still wanted the band and alive, but for something other then making them the next big hit.

So the team decided - against my objections - to not fullfill the job. As thanks we got attacked by a magical assasin.

 

Remember how I mentioned the food fight scenario a while back?

The women we resqued was Rowena O'malley. As in daughter of the Mafia Don for Seatle, O'malley. Or rather ex-don.

Turns out that the Runners that had a run-in with our team while chasing Rowena (after missing her at home) were the distraction for the Sniper who killed the dad.

Guess who Rowena thought of to investiage the crime against organised crime?

 

Everything looks like the Sharpshooter was a absolute professional:

Maxrange shoot, custom rifle (with a unusually large calliber), custom ammunition.

He even hired those runners we meet at Stuffer Shack to kill Rowena - all so they would work as distraction and take out the houses mundane and magical security system for his shoot. Luckily our goal is more then person that hired the killer, with the killer being only a bonus.

 

Time for some legwork.

My chracter goes for our contact from the Elvenfire Adventure, Knight Errant detective Koren Thark (Metahuman division).

 

MM: We are looking into that assasination of the previous Don - O'malley - and were wondering if that weapon was used in any other assasinations before.

Koren: First the Yakuza and now you are working for the Mafia too? How do you even know them?

MM: We meet them at th Supermarket.

Koren: Yeah, as if I believe that.

Freddy 0 (OOC): Ironically that is exactly what happened.

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GM: (describing The Temple of High Light in L5R) "You see some monks working on a mandala like the ones in Tibet." <looks around table to see if *anyone* knows what he's talking about.>

 

Me: <nodding enthusiastically> "Yeah, I learned all about Tibet from Groupon."

 

Other players: <looking back and forth in confusion> "What?"

 

Awesome Gamer Fiancee: <glowering in disapproval> "I can't take you anywhere."

GM: <buries face in hands with cosmic sadness> "Why me?"

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GM: Yes, I would punch a cripple.

The only context I'm giving you -

Me: He might be a cripple, but he IS an arsehole.

The new Pathfinder campaign is set in Magnimar, a Freeport with a sizeable population of escaped slaves, built around the ruins of a gigantic ocean-spanning bridge. Archeology in Magnimar is strongly discouraged ever since they discovered the bridge was infested with giant man-eating spiders. The party are all various flavours of rogue.

Zin: Kobold trapsmith, escaped slave. Harrow Card - The Locksmith.
Tannis Orbereck: Ethnically Azlanti, human rake, fledgling noble sent out to see if he can do the family proud before can actually inherit the position. Harrow Card - The Tyrant.
Gillert: Varisian, human, eldritch scoundrel. Writer. Harrow Card - The Wanderer.
Ys Danar: Elven cutthroat, former pirate. Harrow Card - Demon's Lantern
Harshal High-seeker: Shoanti investigator and barrister. Harrow Card - The Bear.

Gillert OoC: 'The Wanderer' card has come up four times in a deck of 52. This is mildly disconcerting.

GM: So nobody took basic rogue - you ALL took archetypes. And how many of you have Good alignments?
Gillert: *holds up hand*
All: *pause*
Gillert OoC: Somebody has to be the killjoy.

Harshal OoC: I don't have many of the 'traditional' rogue skills, but if you need legal counsel or a ironclad contract, I'm your man. And if I need anybody stabbed or houses robbed, I've got the rest of you.

The GM mocks the choice of Kobold as PC.

GM: So human, human, Azlanti, and kick-toy. I'm sorry, I thought you want to avoid being the butt monkey of the campaign this time?

GM: Eldritch scoundrels are generally failed wizards. They couldn't keep up with the training because they kept wanting to go out and fun. It's like the difference between Dedicated Martial Artist and Worldly Martial Artist. Dedicated Martial Artists get two schools or a unique. Worldly Martial Artists get one school -
Me: And get laid from time to time.

GM: Somehow I avoided all the 'Let It Go' covers until I saw the movie six months after release.
Me: You never heard Jrska's take on it.
GM: And that is a good thing.
Me: True. Although she DID put her own twist on some of the lyrics.
GM: Maybe, but in her case 'Conceal, don't feel' is good advice.

Zin OoC: I'm not sure what God I should follow.
GM: Be polytheistic.
Harshal: Just burn a candle for whatever God you think pulled your arse out of your fire this time.

Harshal OoC: Gillert keeps autocorrecting to Gillette on this.
GM: *sings* Gillette - the best, a man can geeeettttttttt.
Gillert: *headdesk*

The PCs have all worked together in various combinations before - the pirate was on the ship that was smuggling slaves out of Chilliax. The failed wizard writes the biography of the rake-hell, and provides an unforgable Arcane Mark whenever the barrister needs a witness on contracts.

GM: I am NOT running another Avengers Assemble plot.

Harshal's client, the Chelaxian printer Parvo Crispin, wants a crate moved from the docks to his place of business, without it being seen.

Parvo: Oh, it's not something I'll get in trouble for having.
Harshal: Interesting - I don't get many cases like that.

The item in question isn't illegal, but the thieves guild ARE expecting a large fee for it, which the client would like to avoid.

GM: ... The only ship name I can think of now is 'The Wonderful Fanny'

The chest has come from a city famed for its metalwork.

Harshal OoC: He's importing movable type, isn't he?
GM: *looks innocent*

It can be picked up from a sailor by the name of Razor.

Harshal: And let's hope he hasn't made a side deal with the Guild?
Parvo: Oh, he already has a deal with them. He goes to one dock, one tavern, and one flophouse, and they don't cut his throat.
Harshal: With his own razor, no doubt.
Parvo: I didn't inquire.

The plan is to find out where the guild are loitering today, 'borrow' a handcart, and haul the crate back, avoiding any guild observers, and any city guard that might want to check the tariff stamps on the box.

GM: You're making me break out 'Ultimate Intrigue' already.

Gillert: Maybe we should take a larger, emptier crate and carry the smaller crate inside it?
GM: Nice. Which Harrow card gave you that idea?
Gillert: None, it just came to me.

First hurdle - the ideal crate is in a locked shed behind a spice merchant that always has somebody working nearby.

GM: This plan sounds like it's got way out of hand already.
Harshal OoC: Shadowrun!
All: Yay!

Harshal and Tannis will distract the guy while Zin picks the lock, and Ys and Gillert leg it with the box.

The crate contains a large amount of garlic.

Ys: I have enhanced senses.
Harshal: I guess you'll be pulling the handcart then, instead of pushing it.
GM: Enhanced senses is the main reason elves like subtle spices.

GM: OK, hang on...
Gillert: We're being checked for unlawful garlic.

Razor: Wouldn't have guessed a thin streak of piss like him would have had the stones to try something like this.
Harshal: Yes, it's been an unusual job, that's for sure.

The chest we're picking up is solid Darkwood. And has a very elaborate box. With huge merchant marks on all sides.

Tannis: We're not being paid to be curious.
Ys: Plus we don't want to die.
GM: You've got an addiction you to feed - it's called living.

The chest is also MUCH heavier than we expected. Ys can barely lift it.

Ys: .... OK.. Somebody go steal the handcart.

GM: While you're manhandling the small box into the big one, you notice one of the dock hands slip out the door.
Harshal: Aw, crap.
Ys: We're blown - move it!

GM: Stevedores are very strong, keenly aware that they carry a deadly weapon, and don't like scab labour.
Tannis: Like us.

Tannis and Ys hurriedly change into their disguises, and stagger off with the crate. Right past the three thugs scanning the crowd and checking a piece of paper.

GM: 140 pounds of lead isn't easy to move.
Ys OoC: It IS moveable type - Drhoz was right.
Tannis OoC: I was wondering why you keep trying to calculate the weight of drawers.

GM: The thugs are minor guild muscle - they've been told to look out for a particular chest with a particular mark on it.
Ys: I guess we lucked out going for a larger crate.
GM: Yup. I'm not going to punish my players for a good idea.

GM: And now you know why the thieves' guild tax on it was so high - the tax on boxes you can't open is based on weight. And anything this heavy was probably gold.

We converge at the clients to drop off the chest, collect our fee, and head home to try and scrub off the smell of garlic.

GM: And you've got twenty pounds of garlic.
Harshal: I'm not entirely sure what I'm going to do with that.
GM: Sell it on the black market. It IS twenty pounds of garlic.
Gillert: How about we sit on the garlic until the heat dies down?
GM: That sounds uncomfortable.

Parvo carries the entire chest with one arm.

Tannis: No wonder he said one person could carry it.

Parvo: Why does it smell of garlic?
Gillert: Vampires.
Parvo: Was there any trouble?
Gillert: Vampires.

Parvo proudly shows off the drawers full of small lead blocks.

Parvo: Gentlemen! And lady! And.. Maybe a lady. Witness the future!

Harshal: I think your friend Razor thought you were smuggling in precious metals.
Parvo: In a way, I was.

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Just by sheer chance I found this image on Deviant Art:

http://elysiumeternal.deviantart.com/art/Honey-Badger-Commission-614890144

 

A fit for Honey Badger or more for Hero Shrew (after changing the animal type)?

 

Not really - Scooter is short, broad, has tiny little eyes, and long conical snout. 

 

http://www.paradoxwiki.com/images/9/99/Womble.png

 

more like that :)

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Flux's player: As enjoyable as this conversation is I'm more concerned by the fact the GM has been rolling dice for the last five minutes.
GM: Yeah, I have to roll for all your Hunteds, Rivals,
Hero Shrew's player: Unluck.
GM: Yeah. I which case there's tonight's plot right there.
Flux's player: And it's all self-inflicted.

GM: Hold off on buying a base - I'm going to give you one.
Fireflash's player: ... Why am I suddenly nervous.
GM: It's a base with potential.
All: Oh god.

Registration of superhumans is not enforced, mostly because nobody wants to try and legally define human and superhuman.

Hero Shrew OoC: After all, if they have to register everybody with sonic weapon powers, do they have to sign up every Pistol Shrimp?
Fireflash: And most cetaceans. Then you have chemical attacks.
Redneck: Aw gawd, it's terrorists!
Moreau: I skunked you, asshole.
Redneck: A TERRORIST SKUNK????

This week looks like it will be set in The Zone, an area of Edge City under constant low-level gang warfare, where most of the gangs have low-level superpowers. One gang territory, that controlled by Humanity First, backs onto Edge City's nicer neighbourhoods.

Hero Shrew: Gee, I wonder where THEY get their money from.

Flux has noticed that some of the gangs - the Voodoo Crew and the Spinnerettes - are being quite active in part of The Zone. But all the cameras in that area have mysteriously stopped working, which makes his cyber-magery difficult. Are the Boosters up to something? Or are the Voodoo Crew and the Spinnerettes up to something in Booster territory?

Hardlight: Hey Scooter, can you get off for an hour?
GM: He works at a titty bar/brothel, I'm sure he can get off for an hour. Unless you meant get off work for an hour?
Hardlight: *headdesk*
Flux: Seriously, invent a foot shield for your mouth.

Scooter finishes shaking a troublemaker unconscious, and dumps him headfirst into a dumpster.

Bennie the Bouncer: Not headfirst, Scooter - they can suffocate that way.

Hardlight: ... I really don't want to piss off Fireflash by calling her on a school night.

GM: How do you get from The Zoo to The Zone?
Hero Shrew: Walk up between Chinatown and Victoria to the freeway.
GM: Good idea - they don't like Moreaus in Chinatown.
Hero Shrew: Except when they're using us in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Flux: Do Moreaus count as livestock on Californian Freeways?
GM: Nah - the Highway Authority avoided the whole problem by counting them as wildlife.

Hardlight: We need to find a Spinnerette and ask them what's going on.
GM: That's easy - look for a hot chick in red.
Hero Shrew: Any bets on what will happen if Hardlight tries to talk to a Spinneret? Anybody?

The Spinnerets are reinforcing the border to stop the trouble in the Booster territory spilling out.

Spinneret: They're having a top-down reshuffle.
Fireflash: A coup-d'état?
GM: Not really, they're...
Hero Shrew OoC: They can't even spell 'French'.

Apparently the Booster's infighting is down to a philosophical disagreement over exactly how one gets augmented. Which given how willing the Boosters are to let anybody implant they with experimental military tech, etc, is a bit laughable. So why haven't the local cops, PRIMUS, or the military locked them up?

Hero Shrew OoC: They're a minor threat and they're containing themselves.
GM: They're mostly a threat to each other.

There are, indeed, running battles in the streets between Boosters. One combatant in particular is gigantically muscled and apparently only has two toes on each foot.

Hardlight OoC: Ah, the wonders of Liefeldian anatomy.

In fact, all the most effective combatants have what look like drug tubing running down their arms. Maybe that's what the argument is about? Especially since the current booster leader - a former commando of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea - has distinctly old-school enhancements. Fireflash recognises the drug-harness technology - it's the same gear Ripper, one of the strongest super-terrorists in the world, uses. This is extremely alarming.

Fireflash: We need to find out where they're getting these chems.
Hero Shrew: We need to tell PRIMUS.
Flux: We need to get a sample.

Fireflash rings Primus and gets their pre-recorded message. Fortunately someone actually picks up in a few minutes. The rest of us are clearly audible in the background.

Hero Shrew: That's gotta sting - she just pulled his arms off.
Hardlight: Ask them if they want a sample.
PRIMUS Op: I didn't just hear that, did I?
Fireflash: No.
PRIMUS Op: Good, because you're not sanctioned.
Hardlight: Hey, I sent in the application forms!

Fireflash: We need to get a sample of that drug.
Hero Shrew: Hey, Hardlight said that! You mean it was actually a good idea? Hang about, I need to adjust some odds.

Hero Shrew's plan to get the one on the motorbike doesn't work, since he recognises Scooter and doesn't go anywhere near him.

Hero Shrew OoC: I'm a bit disgruntled about this - my reputation seems to be working against me for some reason.

GM: First rule of the Speedster - don't go anywhere NEAR the Brick.

Hardlight has more luck - by putting up a forcewall across the road one of the Boosters is running along at superhuman speed. The wall shatters, but the superhuman tumbles on for a few blocks.

Hardlight: Scooter! Sic him!
Fireflash: Shouldn't that be 'Retrieve him?'
Hardlight: Good point.

GM: Congratulations - you caught one.
Hero Shrew: Yay! A plan actually worked. For once.

Flux attempts to hack into the harness control systems, but he's locked out because the harness is the only thing keeping the Booster alive right now.

Hero Shrew: They're killing each other in there.
GM: Actually no.
Hero Shrew: They're dismembering each other in there.
GM: The traditionalists are trying to kill this drug guys, but the drug guys are just having fun.

Every few minutes the guy starts coming around, and Hero Shrew slaps him unconscious again. Do we have anybody we can even hand this guy over to?

Fireflash: Actually, I might - my school counsellor.
Flux: ... OK, I can't wait to hear the logic behind this.

The counsellor question in has numerous contacts himself.

Counsellor: Sonia?
Fireflash: Hey. You know about my... Accident, right?
Counsellor: This something to do about your 'extra-curricular activities'?
Fireflash: Might be. Anyway, where would I take a friend to get their cyber harness and drug systems analysed?
Counsellor: Wait, are you over in Marsden? I'm watching this on the news.

Flying to the university.

Flux: Hardlight is slow. But Fireflash is fast.
GM: ... I'm not touching that with a ten-foot pole.
Flux: *headdesk*
Fireflash: It's true though. My mom doesn't know, but I haven't 'Got Any' since the accident. I've got a body temperature of 64 degrees C now.
Hardlight: And the boys are afraid of rug-burn?
Hero Shrew: Then shave.
Flux: We are not having this conversation on the way to the university!
Fireflash: Besides, I don't have body hair anymore.
Hero Shrew: Eh. Some people like that.

The scienticians at the Uni eventually get quite animated and upset about the drug harness effects - for one thing the device and drugs will kill a user within a decade.

Fireflash: We need to kill this.
Flux: Agreed.
Scientist: ... You mean kill this technology, right?
Flux: ..... Yessss, that is what we meant.

Fireflash: We can't handle this. I'm calling PRIMUS.
PRIMUS message: PRIMUS is aware of a second incident in Edge City. All operators are currently busy.
Fireflash: Aw crap.
Hero Shrew: So, what's on the social media?

It's all over the news too - the Dysprosium Dawn gang used the violence in the Zone as a distraction while they raided the Higson Institute of Biotech. Hardlight boosts Hero Shrew's leaping with his own powers, while riding the shrew's shoulders. This is faster than flying himself. And also worth photographing and posting on Facebook.

Flux: Banjo Kazooie to the Rescue!
Hero Shrew: So, what's your blog title? No Flux Given?
Flux: *two thumbs up*

GM: Can you imagine the pool services in Edge City? 'Mummy, there's an alligator in the pool!' 'No Bobby, that's the new pool man'... I need to post to the HERO forum, get some suggestions for jobs for Moreaus.

The Higson Institute is well aflame by the time we get there, but at least the people there recognise us. In fact, they paid the news blimp to NOT broadcast the footage of us kidnapping that unconscious Booster. In return they'd like to know what happened to him and the harness. We oblige. It turns out Dysprosium Dawn were especially after all stocks of Dysprosium at the institute. It's a very useful metal, with all sorts of hitech applications.

GM: The Spinnerets use information, and coercion. And weaponised sexuality.

The situation in the Zone burns itself out, because the drug-harness Boosters are badly outnumbered and simply leave, running all the way up Stompanato Street, out through the biggest gate in the Zone Wall, and into Edge City proper. Shit. Flux settles down to design a spell to track down the stolen dysprosium - all two tonnes of the stuff. Three-quarters of a million dollars-worth.

GM: They stole a truckload of it. A whole truck. You were picturing a bunch of guys on rollers skates going "wheheeheehee" weren't you?
Hardlight: Why the hell did the Higson Institute even HAVE two tonnes of dysprosium???
Hero Shrew OoC: They were making a Dysprosium Dragon.

Hero Shrew: I hope they don't expect us to carry it back.
GM: Why? YOU could carry with one hand without breaking a sweat.

Flux is working with a gramme of the stuff, donated by the institute.

Hero Shrew: 'Keep it as a souvenir'
Fireflash: I guess he's got a mono-gramme.
All: *wince*
GM: It's not fair, I'm the GM, I HAVE to listen to this stuff.

Fireflash gets home to find a offer from Ravenholme Biotech. Which is peculiar, since they do cybernetics. ONLY cybernetics. And whatever Fireflash's condition is, it isn't cybernetic. Hero Shrew sleeps off the all-nighter.

Hero Shrew OoC: You can take bets on whether the string of drool from my muzzle reaches the ground before I inhale it back in again.

Fireflash heads to school.

GM: 'Hey, look, everybody is in class early! Oh, wait *looks up, sees bucket over door* Right.'
Fireflash: Come on guys, again??
Hero Shrew: ?
GM: Bucket of water, and what she wears?

GM: Make a note - you go to Morningside High School.
Fireflash's player: Morningside National? Most US Schools have a second part to the name. Morningside Memorial?
Hero Shrew: Morningside Generic.
GM: Who wouldn't want to go to Northeast West Hollywood Middle School?

Fireflash: The worst thing is that I used to be part of the Geek Clique.
Hardlight: Part of the DnD club?
Fireflash: Pathfinder, thank you - I play a cleric.

Fireflash goes to find out about this Ravensholme thing, with Hardlight for backup just in case. After all, she's underage.

Flux: And she's walked into situations like this before. It's how she got her powers in the first place.

But they won't let him in - his emissions will interfere with their RF sensors. She goes in anyway. It turns out they work closely with the Higson Institute - indeed, the Institute is a subsidiary of Ravensholme. And their cybernetic work might actually be useful for Flux, since dumping excess heat is a problem with cybernetics too. They want to sponsor her career as a superhero, by building her a more modest outfit.

Hero Shrew: But you will have to go around with a Ravensholme logo plastered across your butt.

Flux notices that nearly everybody at the Institute uses a holo-haptic wrist display for their work.

Flux: This might be a problem - I glow.

She heads back down and picks up Hardlight.

Hardlight: So my paranoia wasn't justified, this time.
Hero Shrew OoC: 'They just wanted to make some clones of me, no doubt it will be relevant in future issues'

GM: On you way out you see a small riot outside the Tyrell building.
Hero Shrew's player: What do they do?
GM: Seriously?
Hero Shrew's player: .... Oh, right. Blade Runner.
Flux OoC: AIs and cybernetics.
Hero Shrew OoC: And electric sheep.

Apparently, after the success of the robotic Johnny-cabs, Tyrell has announced the release of a whole line of simple AIs that threaten a large range of professions.

Protesters: Real Jobs For Real People!
GM: And they don't just chant that kind of thing about AIs, either.
Hero Shrew OoC: Just as well I'm not there, hey?

Hero Shrew's Player: 'Advanced Hoard Evaluation'?
Flux's Player: ?
GM: It's an illustration in the Ultimate Skills book - a dragon lying back on his pile of gold and reading a book called 'Advanced Hoard Evaluation'.
Hero Shrew's Player: 'I'm sure I had an Arkenstone around here a minute ago'.

Hero Shrew sleeps through the Prog Grunge Techno Dubstep rehearsal next door.

GM: At least, that's what they say they are this month.
Hero Shrew: *shrug* If annoyed me I'd add a counterpoint by bouncing the fridge on the floor.
Flux: Please tell me you live on the ground floor.
Fireflash: Why?
Flux: So he doesn't putting the fridge through the floor.
GM: Why do you think he's always destitute?
Flux: 'Oh dear, I've killed the little old lady downstairs, time to move'
GM: But you slept through it - apparently they've learned the basics of melody. Only took them four months. Now they just have to settle on a style. They're very popular with the Edge City hipster crowd.
Fireflash: 'I love these guys, you never know what you're going to get'

Hero Shrew's player: It would amuse me if I've been learning Disco dancing in an attempt to impress my romantic interest.

Hardlight drops by Flux's place, disguised as a workman, to check on his progress.

Hardlight: Cable guy!
Flux: *wakes up, blearily* Wha,what? Wait, I'm my cable guy.

Flux: Let me get dressed. *looks down to see he fell asleep still fully clothed* Never mind, done.

He's tracked down the stolen Dysprosium to South Pinnacle, a headland overlooking Monterey Bay. And every other large Dysprosium deposit in North America, since he slightly overdid the spell.

Flux: It's the best I could do on one night and caffeine.

Flux: Where's the wrecking ball?
Hardlight: ... I didn't pick him up.
Flux: *facepalm* He might be useful!
Fireflash: I'll go get him. *calls ahead* Scooter?
Hero Shrew: *deafening rehearsals in the background* YEAH???? *WHOOM WHOOM WHOOM WHOOM*
GM: SKRANGGGGGGGG!!!
Fireflash: Are you busy? Or strangling a cat?

GM: As Fireflash lands, carrying Scooter, Bubo takes notice.
All: ?
GM: The mechanical owl from one of the Harryhausen movies Clash of the Titans.
Hero Shrew OoC: So there's a mechanical owl perched over the freeway watching us?
GM: Yup.
Hero Shrew OoC: OK.... Oh, fuck.
Flux: Fucking mad scientists.
GM: Actually, Bubo has been seen around Monterey Bay for over a century and a half. It keeps looking over at you and down at a particular warehouse.
Hardlight: Blam.
Flux: No, wait!
Hero Shrew: It's on our side, nimrod.
Fireflash: Don't shoot the help!

Hero Shrew OoC: Didn't Harryhausen live around here?
Fireflash: Yup
GM: Thankyou! That's a very useful detail.

The warehouse is full of Dysprosium Dawn. Doing presentations to each other about their latest Mad Science ideas.

Hardlight: OK, them I Blam.
Flux: Wait until we're all in position!
GM: I think he has a power mechanic that transforms Intelligence into Energy Blast.

Hero Shrew: Want me to throw a garbage truck through the wall as a distraction?
Fireflash: Wait for the signal. And preferably something smaller.
Hero Shrew: OK. *tests the weight of some Dumpsters*

Fireflash dives down into the warehouse, punching through the force field they had set up, and does a three-point superhero landing on the stolen truck.

Fireflash: OK guys, party's over! I don't care what else you're doing, but the dysprosium goes home!
Dysprosium Dawn gangers: Oh come on, really! We didn't hurt anybody!
One particular Dys Dawn Ganger: MwahahHaHaHAHa! I shall SHOW you my MechaMorph is the best! *presses a button, and a giant robot assimilates the flame tank and looks pretty damn threatening, actually*
Fireflash: Ok, nice trick. Now for mine.
GM: The rest of you can hear a lot of tearing metal and crashing inside.
Hero Shrew: Was that the signal?

Hardlight: So the rest of us are making grand entrances and Flux sneaks in through a side door.

Fireflash flies around behind the MechaMorph and targets the napalm tank.

Hero Shrew OoC: Oh joy. Why am I suddenly picturing a mushroom cloud of flame over South Pinnacle.

Hardlight: Finally! Melta-missiles! BLAMBLAMBLAMBLAM.
Flux: Every CEO needs a hobby.
GM: Whoop! Whoop! Litigation Alert! Litigation Alert!
Hardlight: It's only a machine.... As far as I know.

GM: So you're using Armour Piercing attacks?
Flux: Explosion doesn't help you much against Oh My Fuck

The MechaMorph sprouts a force field, reroutes its systems around the current damage, and assimilates a cyberbike fitted with missile launchers.

Fireflash: Um. Help?

Hero Shrew attempts to take out an ankle, and bounces off.

Hero Shrew: Well, I'm annoyed now. I'm famous for the amount of damage I can do... Or was it infamous?

Fireflash charges up for a maximised attack, and drains all the light from the vicinity.

GM: The shadows are getting deeper and deeper. It's like somebody turned the contrast waaaaay down.
Flux: That's actually pretty creepy.
GM: 'I. Am. The Light! In! Darkness!'

Hero Shrew hits it hard enough to jam one of the MechaMorph's claws into it's own leg.

Hero Shrew: I can help with that! *rips the arm off*
Fireflash: You are our god.

The MechaMorph grabs one of the other mad science vehicles, and assimilates the bits into a big fuck-off laser along one limb.

Hardlight: Multiple Variable Refractor Prisms????
Flux: *whimper*

GM: The last time I used the MechaMorph they killed it in the first round. Trawler grabbed it by a leg and beat it to death against the floor.
Hero Shrew: ... I don't remember this.
GM: Yes. Because your team killed it in the first round.

The Dysprosium Dawn gangers are cowering in the corners as the battle tears apart the warehouse.

Dysprosium Dawn: Turn it off!
That Ganger: It's not automatic! They took out the radio on the first attack, I can't tell them to stop!
GM: It's not a robot. It does have two pilots though. I'm good at designing vehicles.
Hardlight: Time to take out Gypsy Failure, then.

Hero Shrew: Robots have balls, don't they? I've seen Transformers.
GM: *glares* Transformers fan here - that movie was a travesty.
Hero Shrew: *shrugs* Trucks have nuts, too.

Ganger: Look at the emitters on that!
Fireflash: Funny, that's what they say about me.

Flux overloads the force field emitters.

That Particular Ganger: NOOO, those took me three months!
Other Gangers: *taking notes*

MechaMorph: HYDRAULIC SYSTEMS ONLINE
Flux: *points at the inventor* You, you sir, are an idiot! No vocal systems! It's like saying FORCE FIELD DOWN.
MechaMorph: *rotating to bring missiles to bear* FUCK YOU, ASSHOLE.
Flux: You and I are going to have words later.
That Particular Ganger: It's not illegal to make stuff!
Flux: How about Property Damage?
Hero Shrew: We've done more property damage so far.
Flux: And the flamethrower?
GM: Not illegal in California.
Fireflash: True.
Flux: OK, I'll get back to you once I figure out what you're guilty of.

GM: The Lantern Bearers don't go near Earth - because four of the five animal Lanterns come from here.
Flux OoC: 'If I die, I don't want my Power Ring going to a pigeon.'

GM: I like the idea that Flux's Haymaker attack is less KAMEHAMEHA as frantically stacking sigil and babbling 'Not yet, not yet!'

And then Fireflash's Haymaker takes it out.

Flux: *Frantically collapses his spell again before it goes off* Nononono... Whew.

Four of the gangers piled into an invisible car and escape while we were engaged. The rest are quietly unloading the dysprosium.

Gangers: The truck's ours.
Ganger: And the bike was mine.
Fireflash: That's fine, we only wanted the dysprosium.
Other Ganger: Warehouse is mine.
Fireflash: You'll probably want to wait till the cops get here.
Ganger: That's fair.

On the other hand, the open space underneath the warehouse, revealed by the battle, is news to all of us except the mechanical owl.

GM: WHOOHOO! WHOWHOO!

It's a small anachronistic complex, with glass domes and spools of paper.

Flux: That's a ticker tape machine.
GM: There's five of them.
Fireflash: .... Oh my god. OMIGOD. *starts geeking out*

Because 150 years ago The Mechanist protected California with steam-powered flying armour and other steampunk tech. And we just found ourselves his base.

GM: And the clockwork owl just used you to get those damn kids off its lawn. After all, Bubo didn't want a group of mad scientists finding the museum of super villain trophies down here.
Fireflash: Hardlight, order some concrete. You have a hole to patch.
GM: And a warehouse to buy.

It has a moon pool exit into Monterey Bay, that the Gilmore Tunnel missed by a few feet. It even has a Difference Engine, albeit damaged.

And the California Museum of Superheroes will be delighted too.

GM: HAHAHA, see, it's not just Detroit and New York that have a long history of superheroes!

True, the Dysprosium Dawn leadership escaped.

Flux: They were smart enough to get away.
GM: That's why they're the leadership.

Flux's Player: This was a good session - and Fireflash didn't end up naked!

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Flux's player: As enjoyable as this conversation is I'm more concerned by the fact the GM has been rolling dice for the last five minutes.

GM: Yeah, I have to roll for all your Hunteds, Rivals,

Hero Shrew's player: Unluck.

GM: Yeah. I which case there's tonight's plot right there.

Flux's player: And it's all self-inflicted.

 

GM: Hold off on buying a base - I'm going to give you one.

Fireflash's player: ... Why am I suddenly nervous.

GM: It's a base with potential.

All: Oh god.

 

Registration of superhumans is not enforced, mostly because nobody wants to try and legally define human and superhuman.

 

Hero Shrew OoC: After all, if they have to register everybody with sonic weapon powers, do they have to sign up every Pistol Shrimp?

Fireflash: And most cetaceans. Then you have chemical attacks.

Redneck: Aw gawd, it's terrorists!

Moreau: I skunked you, asshole.

Redneck: A TERRORIST SKUNK????

 

This week looks like it will be set in The Zone, an area of Edge City under constant low-level gang warfare, where most of the gangs have low-level superpowers. One gang territory, that controlled by Humanity First, backs onto Edge City's nicer neighbourhoods.

 

Hero Shrew: Gee, I wonder where THEY get their money from.

 

Flux has noticed that some of the gangs - the Voodoo Crew and the Spinnerettes - are being quite active in part of The Zone. But all the cameras in that area have mysteriously stopped working, which makes his cyber-magery difficult. Are the Boosters up to something? Or are the Voodoo Crew and the Spinnerettes up to something in Booster territory?

 

Hardlight: Hey Scooter, can you get off for an hour?

GM: He works at a titty bar/brothel, I'm sure he can get off for an hour. Unless you meant get off work for an hour?

Hardlight: *headdesk*

Flux: Seriously, invent a foot shield for your mouth.

 

Scooter finishes shaking a troublemaker unconscious, and dumps him headfirst into a dumpster.

 

Bennie the Bouncer: Not headfirst, Scooter - they can suffocate that way.

 

Hardlight: ... I really don't want to piss off Fireflash by calling her on a school night.

 

GM: How do you get from The Zoo to The Zone?

Hero Shrew: Walk up between Chinatown and Victoria to the freeway.

GM: Good idea - they don't like Moreaus in Chinatown.

Hero Shrew: Except when they're using us in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

 

Flux: Do Moreaus count as livestock on Californian Freeways?

GM: Nah - the Highway Authority avoided the whole problem by counting them as wildlife.

 

Hardlight: We need to find a Spinnerette and ask them what's going on.

GM: That's easy - look for a hot chick in red.

Hero Shrew: Any bets on what will happen if Hardlight tries to talk to a Spinneret? Anybody?

 

The Spinnerets are reinforcing the border to stop the trouble in the Booster territory spilling out.

 

Spinneret: They're having a top-down reshuffle.

Fireflash: A coup-d'état?

GM: Not really, they're...

Hero Shrew OoC: They can't even spell 'French'.

 

Apparently the Booster's infighting is down to a philosophical disagreement over exactly how one gets augmented. Which given how willing the Boosters are to let anybody implant they with experimental military tech, etc, is a bit laughable. So why haven't the local cops, PRIMUS, or the military locked them up?

 

Hero Shrew OoC: They're a minor threat and they're containing themselves.

GM: They're mostly a threat to each other.

 

There are, indeed, running battles in the streets between Boosters. One combatant in particular is gigantically muscled and apparently only has two toes on each foot.

 

Hardlight OoC: Ah, the wonders of Liefeldian anatomy.

 

In fact, all the most effective combatants have what look like drug tubing running down their arms. Maybe that's what the argument is about? Especially since the current booster leader - a former commando of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea - has distinctly old-school enhancements. Fireflash recognises the drug-harness technology - it's the same gear Ripper, one of the strongest super-terrorists in the world, uses. This is extremely alarming.

 

Fireflash: We need to find out where they're getting these chems.

Hero Shrew: We need to tell PRIMUS.

Flux: We need to get a sample.

 

Fireflash rings Primus and gets their pre-recorded message. Fortunately someone actually picks up in a few minutes. The rest of us are clearly audible in the background.

 

Hero Shrew: That's gotta sting - she just pulled his arms off.

Hardlight: Ask them if they want a sample.

PRIMUS Op: I didn't just hear that, did I?

Fireflash: No.

PRIMUS Op: Good, because you're not sanctioned.

Hardlight: Hey, I sent in the application forms!

 

Fireflash: We need to get a sample of that drug.

Hero Shrew: Hey, Hardlight said that! You mean it was actually a good idea? Hang about, I need to adjust some odds.

 

Hero Shrew's plan to get the one on the motorbike doesn't work, since he recognises Scooter and doesn't go anywhere near him.

 

Hero Shrew OoC: I'm a bit disgruntled about this - my reputation seems to be working against me for some reason.

 

GM: First rule of the Speedster - don't go anywhere NEAR the Brick.

 

Hardlight has more luck - by putting up a forcewall across the road one of the Boosters is running along at superhuman speed. The wall shatters, but the superhuman tumbles on for a few blocks.

 

Hardlight: Scooter! Sic him!

Fireflash: Shouldn't that be 'Retrieve him?'

Hardlight: Good point.

 

GM: Congratulations - you caught one.

Hero Shrew: Yay! A plan actually worked. For once.

 

Flux attempts to hack into the harness control systems, but he's locked out because the harness is the only thing keeping the Booster alive right now.

 

Hero Shrew: They're killing each other in there.

GM: Actually no.

Hero Shrew: They're dismembering each other in there.

GM: The traditionalists are trying to kill this drug guys, but the drug guys are just having fun.

 

Every few minutes the guy starts coming around, and Hero Shrew slaps him unconscious again. Do we have anybody we can even hand this guy over to?

 

Fireflash: Actually, I might - my school counsellor.

Flux: ... OK, I can't wait to hear the logic behind this.

 

The counsellor question in has numerous contacts himself.

 

Counsellor: Sonia?

Fireflash: Hey. You know about my... Accident, right?

Counsellor: This something to do about your 'extra-curricular activities'?

Fireflash: Might be. Anyway, where would I take a friend to get their cyber harness and drug systems analysed?

Counsellor: Wait, are you over in Marsden? I'm watching this on the news.

 

Flying to the university.

 

Flux: Hardlight is slow. But Fireflash is fast.

GM: ... I'm not touching that with a ten-foot pole.

Flux: *headdesk*

Fireflash: It's true though. My mom doesn't know, but I haven't 'Got Any' since the accident. I've got a body temperature of 64 degrees C now.

Hardlight: And the boys are afraid of rug-burn?

Hero Shrew: Then shave.

Flux: We are not having this conversation on the way to the university!

Fireflash: Besides, I don't have body hair anymore.

Hero Shrew: Eh. Some people like that.

 

The scienticians at the Uni eventually get quite animated and upset about the drug harness effects - for one thing the device and drugs will kill a user within a decade.

 

Fireflash: We need to kill this.

Flux: Agreed.

Scientist: ... You mean kill this technology, right?

Flux: ..... Yessss, that is what we meant.

 

Fireflash: We can't handle this. I'm calling PRIMUS.

PRIMUS message: PRIMUS is aware of a second incident in Edge City. All operators are currently busy.

Fireflash: Aw crap.

Hero Shrew: So, what's on the social media?

 

It's all over the news too - the Dysprosium Dawn gang used the violence in the Zone as a distraction while they raided the Higson Institute of Biotech. Hardlight boosts Hero Shrew's leaping with his own powers, while riding the shrew's shoulders. This is faster than flying himself. And also worth photographing and posting on Facebook.

 

Flux: Banjo Kazooie to the Rescue!

Hero Shrew: So, what's your blog title? No Flux Given?

Flux: *two thumbs up*

 

GM: Can you imagine the pool services in Edge City? 'Mummy, there's an alligator in the pool!' 'No Bobby, that's the new pool man'... I need to post to the HERO forum, get some suggestions for jobs for Moreaus.

 

The Higson Institute is well aflame by the time we get there, but at least the people there recognise us. In fact, they paid the news blimp to NOT broadcast the footage of us kidnapping that unconscious Booster. In return they'd like to know what happened to him and the harness. We oblige. It turns out Dysprosium Dawn were especially after all stocks of Dysprosium at the institute. It's a very useful metal, with all sorts of hitech applications.

 

GM: The Spinnerets use information, and coercion. And weaponised sexuality.

 

The situation in the Zone burns itself out, because the drug-harness Boosters are badly outnumbered and simply leave, running all the way up Stompanato Street, out through the biggest gate in the Zone Wall, and into Edge City proper. Shit. Flux settles down to design a spell to track down the stolen dysprosium - all two tonnes of the stuff. Three-quarters of a million dollars-worth.

 

GM: They stole a truckload of it. A whole truck. You were picturing a bunch of guys on rollers skates going "wheheeheehee" weren't you?

Hardlight: Why the hell did the Higson Institute even HAVE two tonnes of dysprosium???

Hero Shrew OoC: They were making a Dysprosium Dragon.

 

Hero Shrew: I hope they don't expect us to carry it back.

GM: Why? YOU could carry with one hand without breaking a sweat.

 

Flux is working with a gramme of the stuff, donated by the institute.

 

Hero Shrew: 'Keep it as a souvenir'

Fireflash: I guess he's got a mono-gramme.

All: *wince*

GM: It's not fair, I'm the GM, I HAVE to listen to this stuff.

 

Fireflash gets home to find a offer from Ravenholme Biotech. Which is peculiar, since they do cybernetics. ONLY cybernetics. And whatever Fireflash's condition is, it isn't cybernetic. Hero Shrew sleeps off the all-nighter.

 

Hero Shrew OoC: You can take bets on whether the string of drool from my muzzle reaches the ground before I inhale it back in again.

 

Fireflash heads to school.

 

GM: 'Hey, look, everybody is in class early! Oh, wait *looks up, sees bucket over door* Right.'

Fireflash: Come on guys, again??

Hero Shrew: ?

GM: Bucket of water, and what she wears?

 

GM: Make a note - you go to Morningside High School.

Fireflash's player: Morningside National? Most US Schools have a second part to the name. Morningside Memorial?

Hero Shrew: Morningside Generic.

GM: Who wouldn't want to go to Northeast West Hollywood Middle School?

 

Fireflash: The worst thing is that I used to be part of the Geek Clique.

Hardlight: Part of the DnD club?

Fireflash: Pathfinder, thank you - I play a cleric.

 

Fireflash goes to find out about this Ravensholme thing, with Hardlight for backup just in case. After all, she's underage.

 

Flux: And she's walked into situations like this before. It's how she got her powers in the first place.

 

But they won't let him in - his emissions will interfere with their RF sensors. She goes in anyway. It turns out they work closely with the Higson Institute - indeed, the Institute is a subsidiary of Ravensholme. And their cybernetic work might actually be useful for Flux, since dumping excess heat is a problem with cybernetics too. They want to sponsor her career as a superhero, by building her a more modest outfit.

 

Hero Shrew: But you will have to go around with a Ravensholme logo plastered across your butt.

 

Flux notices that nearly everybody at the Institute uses a holo-haptic wrist display for their work.

 

Flux: This might be a problem - I glow.

 

She heads back down and picks up Hardlight.

 

Hardlight: So my paranoia wasn't justified, this time.

Hero Shrew OoC: 'They just wanted to make some clones of me, no doubt it will be relevant in future issues'

 

GM: On you way out you see a small riot outside the Tyrell building.

Hero Shrew's player: What do they do?

GM: Seriously?

Hero Shrew's player: .... Oh, right. Blade Runner.

Flux OoC: AIs and cybernetics.

Hero Shrew OoC: And electric sheep.

 

Apparently, after the success of the robotic Johnny-cabs, Tyrell has announced the release of a whole line of simple AIs that threaten a large range of professions.

 

Protesters: Real Jobs For Real People!

GM: And they don't just chant that kind of thing about AIs, either.

Hero Shrew OoC: Just as well I'm not there, hey?

 

Hero Shrew's Player: 'Advanced Hoard Evaluation'?

Flux's Player: ?

GM: It's an illustration in the Ultimate Skills book - a dragon lying back on his pile of gold and reading a book called 'Advanced Hoard Evaluation'.

Hero Shrew's Player: 'I'm sure I had an Arkenstone around here a minute ago'.

 

Hero Shrew sleeps through the Prog Grunge Techno Dubstep rehearsal next door.

 

GM: At least, that's what they say they are this month.

Hero Shrew: *shrug* If annoyed me I'd add a counterpoint by bouncing the fridge on the floor.

Flux: Please tell me you live on the ground floor.

Fireflash: Why?

Flux: So he doesn't putting the fridge through the floor.

GM: Why do you think he's always destitute?

Flux: 'Oh dear, I've killed the little old lady downstairs, time to move'

GM: But you slept through it - apparently they've learned the basics of melody. Only took them four months. Now they just have to settle on a style. They're very popular with the Edge City hipster crowd.

Fireflash: 'I love these guys, you never know what you're going to get'

 

Hero Shrew's player: It would amuse me if I've been learning Disco dancing in an attempt to impress my romantic interest.

 

Hardlight drops by Flux's place, disguised as a workman, to check on his progress.

 

Hardlight: Cable guy!

Flux: *wakes up, blearily* Wha,what? Wait, I'm my cable guy.

 

Flux: Let me get dressed. *looks down to see he fell asleep still fully clothed* Never mind, done.

 

He's tracked down the stolen Dysprosium to South Pinnacle, a headland overlooking Monterey Bay. And every other large Dysprosium deposit in North America, since he slightly overdid the spell.

 

Flux: It's the best I could do on one night and caffeine.

 

Flux: Where's the wrecking ball?

Hardlight: ... I didn't pick him up.

Flux: *facepalm* He might be useful!

Fireflash: I'll go get him. *calls ahead* Scooter?

Hero Shrew: *deafening rehearsals in the background* YEAH???? *WHOOM WHOOM WHOOM WHOOM*

GM: SKRANGGGGGGGG!!!

Fireflash: Are you busy? Or strangling a cat?

 

GM: As Fireflash lands, carrying Scooter, Bubo takes notice.

All: ?

GM: The mechanical owl from one of the Harryhausen movies Clash of the Titans.

Hero Shrew OoC: So there's a mechanical owl perched over the freeway watching us?

GM: Yup.

Hero Shrew OoC: OK.... Oh, fuck.

Flux: Fucking mad scientists.

GM: Actually, Bubo has been seen around Monterey Bay for over a century and a half. It keeps looking over at you and down at a particular warehouse.

Hardlight: Blam.

Flux: No, wait!

Hero Shrew: It's on our side, nimrod.

Fireflash: Don't shoot the help!

 

Hero Shrew OoC: Didn't Harryhausen live around here?

Fireflash: Yup

GM: Thankyou! That's a very useful detail.

 

The warehouse is full of Dysprosium Dawn. Doing presentations to each other about their latest Mad Science ideas.

 

Hardlight: OK, them I Blam.

Flux: Wait until we're all in position!

GM: I think he has a power mechanic that transforms Intelligence into Energy Blast.

 

Hero Shrew: Want me to throw a garbage truck through the wall as a distraction?

Fireflash: Wait for the signal. And preferably something smaller.

Hero Shrew: OK. *tests the weight of some Dumpsters*

 

Fireflash dives down into the warehouse, punching through the force field they had set up, and does a three-point superhero landing on the stolen truck.

 

Fireflash: OK guys, party's over! I don't care what else you're doing, but the dysprosium goes home!

Dysprosium Dawn gangers: Oh come on, really! We didn't hurt anybody!

One particular Dys Dawn Ganger: MwahahHaHaHAHa! I shall SHOW you my MechaMorph is the best! *presses a button, and a giant robot assimilates the flame tank and looks pretty damn threatening, actually*

Fireflash: Ok, nice trick. Now for mine.

GM: The rest of you can hear a lot of tearing metal and crashing inside.

Hero Shrew: Was that the signal?

 

Hardlight: So the rest of us are making grand entrances and Flux sneaks in through a side door.

 

Fireflash flies around behind the MechaMorph and targets the napalm tank.

 

Hero Shrew OoC: Oh joy. Why am I suddenly picturing a mushroom cloud of flame over South Pinnacle.

 

Hardlight: Finally! Melta-missiles! BLAMBLAMBLAMBLAM.

Flux: Every CEO needs a hobby.

GM: Whoop! Whoop! Litigation Alert! Litigation Alert!

Hardlight: It's only a machine.... As far as I know.

 

GM: So you're using Armour Piercing attacks?

Flux: Explosion doesn't help you much against Oh My Fuck

 

The MechaMorph sprouts a force field, reroutes its systems around the current damage, and assimilates a cyberbike fitted with missile launchers.

 

Fireflash: Um. Help?

 

Hero Shrew attempts to take out an ankle, and bounces off.

 

Hero Shrew: Well, I'm annoyed now. I'm famous for the amount of damage I can do... Or was it infamous?

 

Fireflash charges up for a maximised attack, and drains all the light from the vicinity.

 

GM: The shadows are getting deeper and deeper. It's like somebody turned the contrast waaaaay down.

Flux: That's actually pretty creepy.

GM: 'I. Am. The Light! In! Darkness!'

 

Hero Shrew hits it hard enough to jam one of the MechaMorph's claws into it's own leg.

 

Hero Shrew: I can help with that! *rips the arm off*

Fireflash: You are our god.

 

The MechaMorph grabs one of the other mad science vehicles, and assimilates the bits into a big fuck-off laser along one limb.

 

Hardlight: Multiple Variable Refractor Prisms????

Flux: *whimper*

 

GM: The last time I used the MechaMorph they killed it in the first round. Trawler grabbed it by a leg and beat it to death against the floor.

Hero Shrew: ... I don't remember this.

GM: Yes. Because your team killed it in the first round.

 

The Dysprosium Dawn gangers are cowering in the corners as the battle tears apart the warehouse.

 

Dysprosium Dawn: Turn it off!

That Ganger: It's not automatic! They took out the radio on the first attack, I can't tell them to stop!

GM: It's not a robot. It does have two pilots though. I'm good at designing vehicles.

Hardlight: Time to take out Gypsy Failure, then.

 

Hero Shrew: Robots have balls, don't they? I've seen Transformers.

GM: *glares* Transformers fan here - that movie was a travesty.

Hero Shrew: *shrugs* Trucks have nuts, too.

 

Ganger: Look at the emitters on that!

Fireflash: Funny, that's what they say about me.

 

Flux overloads the force field emitters.

 

That Particular Ganger: NOOO, those took me three months!

Other Gangers: *taking notes*

 

MechaMorph: HYDRAULIC SYSTEMS ONLINE

Flux: *points at the inventor* You, you sir, are an idiot! No vocal systems! It's like saying FORCE FIELD DOWN.

MechaMorph: *rotating to bring missiles to bear* FUCK YOU, ASSHOLE.

Flux: You and I are going to have words later.

That Particular Ganger: It's not illegal to make stuff!

Flux: How about Property Damage?

Hero Shrew: We've done more property damage so far.

Flux: And the flamethrower?

GM: Not illegal in California.

Fireflash: True.

Flux: OK, I'll get back to you once I figure out what you're guilty of.

 

GM: The Lantern Bearers don't go near Earth - because four of the five animal Lanterns come from here.

Flux OoC: 'If I die, I don't want my Power Ring going to a pigeon.'

 

GM: I like the idea that Flux's Haymaker attack is less KAMEHAMEHA as frantically stacking sigil and babbling 'Not yet, not yet!'

 

And then Fireflash's Haymaker takes it out.

 

Flux: *Frantically collapses his spell again before it goes off* Nononono... Whew.

 

Four of the gangers piled into an invisible car and escape while we were engaged. The rest are quietly unloading the dysprosium.

 

Gangers: The truck's ours.

Ganger: And the bike was mine.

Fireflash: That's fine, we only wanted the dysprosium.

Other Ganger: Warehouse is mine.

Fireflash: You'll probably want to wait till the cops get here.

Ganger: That's fair.

 

On the other hand, the open space underneath the warehouse, revealed by the battle, is news to all of us except the mechanical owl.

 

GM: WHOOHOO! WHOWHOO!

 

It's a small anachronistic complex, with glass domes and spools of paper.

 

Flux: That's a ticker tape machine.

GM: There's five of them.

Flux: .... Oh my god. OMIGOD. *starts geeking out*

 

Because 150 years ago The Mechanist protected California with steam-powered flying armour and other steampunk tech. And we just found ourselves his base.

 

GM: And the clockwork owl just used you to get those damn kids off its lawn. After all, Bubo didn't want a group of mad scientists finding the museum of super villain trophies down here.

Fireflash: Hardlight, order some concrete. You have a hole to patch.

GM: And a warehouse to buy.

 

It has a moon pool exit into Monterey Bay, that the Gilmore Tunnel missed by a few feet. It even has a Difference Engine, albeit damaged.

 

And the California Museum of Superheroes will be delighted too.

 

GM: HAHAHA, see, it's not just Detroit and New York that have a long history of superheroes!

 

True, the Dysprosium Dawn leadership escaped.

 

Flux: They were smart enough to get away.

GM: That's why they're the leadership.

 

Flux's Player: This was a good session - and Fireflash didn't end up naked!

 

GM: It's not fair, I'm the GM, I HAVE to listen to this stuff.

 

 

Yes, that's a definite drawback to earning a GM's "Devious, Sadistic Rat B######" Merit Badge, all right...

 

 

Major Tom 2009 :snicker:

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Parvo proudly shows off the drawers full of small lead blocks.

 

Parvo: Gentlemen! And lady! And.. Maybe a lady. Witness the future!

 

Harshal: I think your friend Razor thought you were smuggling in precious metals.

Parvo: In a way, I was.

I friend of mine recently went to a Workshop about making jewelry and ordered some raw minerals home. His mother had to take them from the post office and remarked over the phone:

"That package was heavy. What was in there, lead?"

"Kinda..."

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Pathfinder : Craptastic
(Small note - Harshal's Harrow card should actually be the Twin, which makes much more sense than the Bear.)

In this episode, the party learn more than they ever wanted to know about Magnimar's sewerage disposal systems, rescue a bunch of kobold slaves who go on to invent communism, and enable graverobbing from Fantasy-Native-Americans (awkward!!!!).

GM: I give a Hero Point to the Chronicler, and whoever keeps track of the party treasure.
Harshal: Which is currently two hundred pounds of garlic.

In fact, the garlic is more valuable than the job we were originally hired for - substantially more so.

GM: Which explains why there was always a guy out the back of the spice merchant's shop. You can guarantee he'll be investing in a better lock.

GM: And that set of printers dies was only the basics.
Harshal player: Didn't even include the cliches.
Gillert: Ha.
Harshal's player: I'm serious - it's where the word cliche came from. Preset blocks of frequently used words and phrases, 'clicked' into place.
Gillert's player: I love gaming at this table - you always learn something. History, criminology...
Zin's player: Entomology.
GM: AND etymology.

Erstwhile noble Tannis Orbereck has been hearing stories about the Silent Circle turning up around Magnimar - deeply creepy individuals with suspicious synchronisation and blank silver masks. Typically for the Circle, nobody knows what they're doing in Magnimar, or why they're here. Also, the Nightscales - the Magnimar thieves guild - are pissed off that somebody bypassed their smuggling operation.

GM: They've been asking questions, but haven't got very far.
Harshal: *looks innocent* I hope they make an example of somebody.

And one of the Gargoyles - a brutal Underbridge gang - got mauled in an alleyway. Despite his bodyguard being just outside the alley. In hopefully unrelated news, Tannis gets an invitation from his cousin Emalliandra Orbereck, inviting him - and Harshal! - around for tea.

GM: Knowing your cousin, you might want to take your own chair.

She is very diligent into her research into Azlanti heritage and artefacts, so you'd think she'd be quite respected in the Orbereck clan. But she doesn't actually like her family much, and keeps to herself in her bookshelf-choked rooms in the Docklands. Harshal shares her interest in Azlanti and Thassalonian artefacts, which may explain why he's been asked to attend. Tannis shows up deliberately late.

Tannis: My family may deserve respect, but they are not masters of me.

Emalliandra: Who is it?
Tannis: Your cousin.
Emalliandra: Is it teatime already?
Harshal: *sigh* I anticipated this - I brought a hamper.

Emalliandra: Look at you, cousin! You've been busy!
Harshal: 'And look, you've actually grown a beard!'

The rooms are even worse than rumours suggested, with books piled up high against every wall.

Tannis: You know, dear cousin, if you were actually willing to pay you could find a better apartment.
Emalliandra: Oh, I couldn't do that - it's too entertaining listening to the landlady entertaining her visitors.
Harshal: *chokes on his tea*

There is actually a small table and four chairs.

Emalliandra: I've been making friends. And I friends tell me you and your friend Harshal have been naughty boys.
Harshal: *tenses up*
Tannis: I'm pretty sure that's not true.
Emalliandra: I'm pretty sure it is - that much lead coming into the city will be noticed.
Tannis: We didn't do anything illegal.
Harshal: *internal facepalm*
Emalliandra: Did you pay import duties?
Tannis: Oh, you mean illegal under Guild Law.
Emalliandra: Now, I've nothing against a little smuggling now and then, but the Nightscales have been making enquires and they're getting close. Your friend Harshal here - good day to you by the way.
Harshal: *bows and kisses her proffered hand* Ma'am.
Emalliandra: As I was saying, your friend here is a known associate of our Mr. Crispin, so it won't take them long to make the connection.

However, the Nightscales can be distracted. They've been digging a tunnel - not under the Irespan, since they're not insane - and if this smuggling operation gets disrupted, the current master of the thieves guild will lose a huge amount of face, and hopefully lose interest in pursuing minor smuggling issues.

Tannis: And how does this benefit you?
Emalliandra: Who knows how many priceless Thassalonian artefacts they're smashing as they dig? This is an area that needs finesse and careful excavation, not...
Harshal: Hamfisted pick-axing in the dead of night.
Emalliandra: Exactly. But you will be doing me a favour, and favours must be repaid. I offer you and your associates silver - so much less suspicious than gold, don't you think? - and an assortment of potions. I can reward you appropriately. *glances at the alchemical and appraising set-up in one corner*

Tannis: Well, thank you, cousin. Family must stick together.
Emalliandra: Especially those more 'interesting' family members.

Half an hour of small talk over tea and cakes ensues, as Harshal considers the matter.

Harshal: I'll need a reliable team - or at the very least warn them they may have to get out of town in a hurry.

One complication - nobody seems to know who is doing the actual digging for the guild. And of course getting involved in Nightscales affairs right now is possibly the worst thing we could do.

Zin: So... Your solution to our pissing off the thieve's guild is to piss them off even more?

Emalliandra's contributions include potions of Cure Light Wounds, and one of Concealment from Animals.

GM: The effect ends if you actually touch an animal, so it's not much use in the sewers, because you'll keep stepping on rats.

Tannis: This operation might be rewarding for us.
Harshal: Her Ladyship is in a position to express her gratitude appropriately.

Gillert: I bought an umbrella.
GM: Some people in Underbridge never see rain. Or daylight.

Harshal: Do we need to put a false tail on Zin?

Zin: I'm a Kobold who disguised as a Halfling trying to disguise himself as a gnome.

We gather rumours.

Dockworker: Damnedest thing - bunch of Nightscales come in to pick up a shipment. That's not the weird thing - it was all moon-radishes! And mushrooms.
Harshal: Moon-radishes. Hmm.
Tannis: Gee, I wonder what races eat moon-radishes and mushrooms.
Harshal OoC: *nudges Zin* Hint, hint.
Tannis: Oh look, the Halfling seems to know something.
GM: 'Hey, I remember moon-radishes! *drools*'

Tannis: They must have wanted miners that aren't very bright.
GM: That explains why they're using kobolds.
Harshal: 'Gee, I wonder what burrowing race we can pay in radishes'

Insulting Zin's heritage is quite easy, even if most of us don't actually know he's a Kobold yet - maybe we can stir up the kobolds against the Nightscales just as easily.

Zin: And then we'll have freed Kobold slaves running around under Magnimar.
Ys: Not our problem.
Harshal: Unless they burrow into the Irespan, and then it IS our problem.
Ys: Nope. Then it's the city guard's problem
GM: Nah - The kobolds would run into the sewer goblins first. Rats aren't the only pests under Magnimar.

We track the excavations down by backtracking along the complicated chain of gangs, mafia, and nightsoil carts the Nightscales are using to conceal their activities. Fortunately, the team is very very good at not being noticed.

Harshal OoC: Stealth Synergy - the entire party sneaks down the street disguised as a wall.
NPC: 'This corridor seems a lot shorter than it used to be'

Harshal notes that the Shoanti gangers the Nightscales are using are all from the Skoan-quah or Skull Clan, who when they're out on the steppes protect the Shoanti burial grounds, and so on.

The richest districts of Magnimar are all up on the ramp leading to the stumps of the Irespan, overlooking Underbridge and the port.

Harshal: Makes for easy sewerage disposal too. *reach out, pour*
GM: Actually, when they were founding Magnimar they got a master engineer in to design the sewer system.
Zin OoC: So Magnimar is one of the few medieval cities with indoor plumbing.
GM: One problem is that nobody has a complete map of the sewers. Which is why they have all those cultists down there. Turned out later the engineer was a Norgorber cultist. He put in a lot of extra tunnels and dead-ends.

One puzzle is why material from the excavation is going in multiple directions.

Gillert: Maybe they're finding valuables as they excavate.
Harshal: Thassalonian artefacts? Well, they're not gong-farming, anyway.
Gillert: Gong-farming?
Harshal: Collecting old nightsoil for gunpowder production. Fine old profession.

The Nightscales have been very clever - the building they're using as a front is also the main collection point for uptown's privy buckets. Hiding the excavated soil and stonework is easy, given all the nightsoil carts that come through the yard here. The carts head out of town to deliver the valuable fertiliser to surrounding farms, and nobody finds out about the digging operation, which is just as well for the Nightscales since everybody remembers what happened the last time somebody delved too far and dug too deep.

Tannis: So, how are we getting in?
GM: There's one entrance that's unguarded. The slide all the nightsoil comes down.
Harshal: Ah. And if we ever need to blackmail Tannis in future, when he's become an actual noble, we can remind him about the day he slid down the shitslide.
Tannis: I'm not going down the shitslide.
Harshal: Oh?
Tannis: No. Ys is.

Given the number of people watching the building - 'sleeping' beggars, suspiciously inefficient street sweepers, and the fairy dozing on the lintel, it's just as well we're a party of sneaking sneakers.

Ys discovers somebody waiting near the bottom of the slide, flicking through a loose-bound pornographic blockprint by the light of a candle-clock.

Harshal: Ah, technology.

The unfortunate porn aficionado is promptly murdered by Ys and Zin.

Harshal: I don't think he needed to DIE for his taste in erotica. Publicly flogged, perhaps.

Harshal narrowly avoids an unfortunate accident getting into the building.

GM: Nearly went face first into an ogre's dingleberry.

The dead guy get dumped down the slide into the waiting nightsoil cart, with the hope enough nightsoil comes down to cover him up before anyone checks.

Harshal: Do we need to make our own contributions?

At least we've found the tunnel entrance. And the tunnels is much more complicated than we expected, wide enough for carts, with sound-baffling turns, workers camps for the Kobold slaves, and scorched mud-and-shit ceilings.

Harshal: Let me guess - they're burning dried shit as fuel? They've got plenty of it.
GM: Nope - they've got a use for that. *points to ceiling*

This explains a rumour about a 'black market' we heard, too - it's certainly going to be big enough for a market. There's a number of Nightscales guards about the place too - some with scourges to use on the brutalised kobolds.

Nightscale: Break! Taskmaster! On high!
High Taskmaster: This one! No buckets spilled, no matter how I tried to trip him. Quick on his feet. I like that. *throws the Kobold a radish*
Nightscale: On low!
Low Taskmaster: This one! Three buckets dropped - a new record. You know the price - you make up the difference. The rest of you get to eat!

At least one of the ten overseers is a Mage. Sneak attacks and stirring up the kobolds seem like the best plan. Tannis doesn't actually know that Zin is really a well-disguised Kobold.

Tannis: Can the Halfling speak Draconic?
GM as Zin: *mutters* Speak it better than you do, smooth-skin

Zin: *sneaks in and whispers* Clanmates! Help is on the way!
Kobolds: *stare at the Kobold-disguised-as-Halfling-disguised-as-gnome* Uhh.... You want us to do anything? We wouldn't mind getting a few hits in.
Zin: Just wait for the signal.
Harshal: The signal will be screaming.

Sneaking into position. Ys is already within arms-length of a taskmaster. Gillert is going to colour-spray the others, and Tannis, Zin and Harshal are going to turn the Mage into a kebab.

Ys: *Whispered prayer* Norgorber hear my prayer - this blood for you.

Tannis: I ready my Vorpal Cudgel.
Harshal: *raises eyebrow* Is that what you call it?

The surprise attack works brilliantly - right up until the mage's familiar, a raven that was resting under the table, flies off cawing in panic. Crap. Ys manages to wing it with a thrown dagger.

Zin: *in Draconic, to the kobolds* Clanmates! Attack!
Tannis: *who also speaks Draconic* ... Wait, what?

Tannis is pulling hidden daggers out of every orifice, Harshal is doing pinhole surgery on people's spleens with his rapier, Zin is pinning people to the wall with his crossbow, and Ys is being sneaky death on two legs. The kobolds turn the raven into nuggets. Then the survivors get their retaliation in. Harshal goes down with a club to the solar plexus. Gillert tries to Acid Splash them and takes mental damage as the spell backfires.

Tannis: Next time don't visualise the spell effect inside your own head.
Harshal OoC: It's 'Acid', not LSD.

Tannis: Lower your weapon or die like your friends!
Thug: *looks intimidated, drops his club, and is torn apart by a mob of Kobold slaves*
Ys: You were right - he didn't die like his friends. He got killed by kobolds.

What to do now? Could we use the tunnel for our own purposes? Inform the authorities about unlicensed archeology? Or collapse the chamber? We now discover that the brutalised Kobold slaves are all bearing the brand of the same Chellaxian trader that owned Zin. So we can leave by the other end of the tunnel, hand the kobolds over to the guards as slaves illegally imported into Magnimar, and let the powers-that-be treat them as a public relations opportunity. Or there's a half-elf alchemist in the Docklands named Iria that's known to take on unusual cases.

GM: She's the kind of alchemist that has stuffed specimens and organs on the shelves.
Harshal: Let's hope that's a crocodile hanging from her ceiling and not a Kobold.

Kobolds: You're taking us all? Even the weak????
All: ....
Tannis: ... Yesssss?

The kobolds start talking animatedly among themselves, invent communism, and start sharing out the moon-radishes equitably.

Harshal OoC: Have those kobolds just invented communism? I sure that will end well.

Some of the loot includes fragments of Thassalonian inscriptions - quite valuable to collectors. And the Mage was reading an elven family's magical workbook, despite not being an elf.

Harshal: Gee, I wonder where he got that - oh wait, the Nightscales are all thieves.

Gillert recognises the Mage from his apprenticeship.

GM: He was the master's favourite. He was the studious one.
Gillert: I became a rogue, he became a douche.

Tannis: We need to collapse this chamber. Hey Gillert, I've heard wizards can cast Acid Splash. I don't know if you can.
Gillert: .... Arsehole.

Iria is very excited.

Iria: Do you realise how little opportunity I've had to study scalykind!
Zin: Please! You have to help them! *whips off his disguise, revealing his species to the rest of the party*
Harshal: Huh. Well then.
Iria: Can I speak to you later about optioning your body after you die?
Gillert: She's one of those people with no filter between brain and mouth, isn't she?
Tannis: You're not dissecting any of them.
Harshal: Or vivisecting.
GM: How did you guess her archetype?

Zin: I'm going to stay with the kobolds overnight.
Harshal: Is that what you call it?
Tannis: ?
Harshal: Kobolds ARE the notorious hornbags of scalykind.
Zin: Well, yes, but then Iria would want to watch.

Emalliandra: Cousin! My friends tell me the thieves guild were busy last night. Apparently the bodies were piling up.
Harshal: I'm surprised they could dig the bodies out that quickly.
GM: No no no - what she's referencing is what happens when there's a leadership spill in a thieves guild. The bodies start piling up.

She's also very interested in the inscriptions, and suspects that's how the Skull Clan got involved. Since the Shoanti are the descendants of the Thassolonian slave-warrior caste, adding such inscriptions and fragments to a Shoanti gravesite adds honour to the late inhabitants. She happily mentions that there are always Shoanti who can be paid to take them away again, and starts making plans to do so. This makes Harshal - Shoanti himself - very uncomfortable, but he doesn't say anything. Either way, she adds extra magical items into our payment, on top of paying for the inscriptions. One of the items is a elf's hand on a chain.

Gillert: ... Well, as long as it wasn't made recently.
GM: It was.
Gillert: ...
Tannis: My family are not nice people.
Gillert: Isn't there a spell that lets elves regrow lost limbs?
Tannis: There's a business idea for you.

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Champions - Return To Edge City : Retro SF
Refurbishing the Machinist's old lair under South Pinnacle, and various major public works.

Hero Shrew OoC: At least THIS place isn't infested with giant man-eating spiders.

And the base comes with its own 150 year old clockwork owl.

Flux: Who keeps that thing wound up?
Hardlight: Who? Whoo-whoo.

Hero Shrew: Can we have a Danger Room? We take turns sitting on top of a ladder with a bucket of water balloons.

The Dysprosium Dawn gangers admit that the drugs the cyborg gang were using were produced by the DD leadership - the leadership that escaped in their invisible car.

The Machinist's files include his encounter with something he called the Iron Devil, which was some kind of automaton.

Fireflash: Let me guess - his version of Ultron?
GM: Yes - except he didn't invent it.

Hardlight: Nancy, hold all my calls - I have one hell of a data-entry job ahead of me.
GM: Well, you do have years of notes to transcribe.
Fireflash: Hey, I'm helping!
Hero Shrew: I'm not.

Hardlight: Oh great, he had clockwork sex-meks.
GM: Actually, it's part organic. It used to be a woman.
Hardlight: .... Well, foot in mouth already.
GM: At least you're staying in character.

Hardlight: Flux can set up his lab over there - the Feng Shui is good there.
Fireflash: Feng Shui? Is that some Chinese superhero I should know about?
Hero Shrew OoC: I'm willing to bet they're a Californian super.
GM: That IS more likely XD

We also discover what happened to him - increasingly disillusioned with the US, he applied one of his discoveries about anti-gravity.

GM: 'IMA GOIN TA MARS!' Or beyond.

GM: Your mother will have things to say if you spend too much time with two grown men and... Hero Shrew works at a titty bar, OK?

Opinions are mixed about the association between human and Moreau super beings. For one thing the underage Fireflash can't go into The Collar Club if they need Hero Shrew. But then Hero Shrew is his own problem.

Edge City Racists: Great, the humans can keep him on a leash.
GM: He is pretty notorious for doing property damage - but admittedly he hasn't been doing as much of that lately.
Hero Shrew: Well, I'm working two jobs now - I don't have the time.

Fireflash: Time for exams.
GM: Oh look, A++ on everything. Again.
Fireflash: Why did I get an A- on this one?
GM: Snoring in class.

Fireflash's new outfit has glowing piping.

Hardlight: And in red 'If this is blue you're going too fast'.

The Booster's breakaway group have taken to calling themselves the Juicers, and have established themselves in West Haven.

Hero Shrew: And what is West Haven known for?
Fireflash: Juicers.

On the other hand the cocktail of drugs that go into Juice are turning up on Edge City's recreational scene. Which can be alarming, given the nature of the drugs and the variety of biochemistry possessed by the locals. Even the Dysprosium Dawn gangers making the stuff are being cautious who they sell to. One of the new drugs is called 'Cooling', for some reason. Oh, and some kind of very big thing has been spotted swimming around in Monterey Bay.

Flux: So, which of us can swim?
Hero Shrew: I can sink pretty well.

And people have been seeing Grey aliens in Saint's Row. Wearing t-shirts and jeans.

GM: Saint's Row is just north of the Hellgate Institute.
Hero Shrew OoC: HELLGATE??
GM: Where you were born.
Fireflash: Decanted.

Flux: Well, the aliens might have a mundane explanation.
Fireflash: I'm assuming a mundane explanation - it's aliens XD
Flux OoC: ... Damn superhero milieu...

There is precisely ONE photo of the aliens on the Internet. Which is pretty odd, and highly suspicious. Flux copies the file into a honey trap, to see if anybody tries to delete it, while the rest of us study the picture for clues. Apparently it was taken near a cinema and a newsstand, judging by the 'Plan 9 from Outer Space' and 'Mars Attacks!' posters and bundled newspapers with Roswell headlines. There's only one cinema in Saint's Row, and that's disused. More weirdly, the stack of newspapers in the photo are 50 years old, but the empty bottles are a few years old at best.

Hardlight: Why are we looking for these guys?
Fireflash: Because someone doesn't want us to.
Hero Shrew: That's always a good reason.

Flux: We'll pick Fireflash up after school hours, so her mother doesn't murder us in our sleep.

Hardlight gets to work on the cinema locks.

Flux: Fine, break in, I don't give a shit.
Hero Shrew: You don't give a flying flux.
GM: At least Hardlight looked around to see if the news blimp was filming you, this time.

Hero Shrew smells the scent of a lot of frightened people, who were here recently. Also, so many empty bottles and tin cans that's it's impossible to move quietly.

GM: Their diet appeared to be mostly Cheetos and tinned food.
Hero Shrew: My god - no wonder I could smell it when we opened the door.

The aliens apparently fled into the utility tunnels shortly before we arrived.

GM: Does anybody have tracking skills?
Flux: I do? I used to be a vigilante. But no stealth skills, apparently.
GM: I am the bat that flaps noisily in the night.
Hero Shrew: Ghost Rider. Not stealthy at all - indeed, rather conspicuous.

We eventually catch up with them - mostly because they're exhausted by the evacuation and trying to telepathically confuse the pursuit.

GM: Congratulations - how nice a guy is Flux? Be causing you've literally just run them to ground.
Flux: Vigilante, remember?
Hero Shrew: Illegal aliens.

Fireflash tries to talk to them, but they really just want to be left alone and unnoticed.

Alien: And if I wasn't so tired you never would have noticed us. Just like the last three times. *he collapses*
Fireflash: Quick, does anybody have any energy bars?
Hero Shrew: I do.
GM: Are they fit for human consumption?
Hero Shrew: ... They're fit for Moreau consumption.
GM: Aren't mealworm bars marketed to people anyway?
Hero Shrew: Insects are edible.
Fireflash: SOME insects are edible.

But what to do with them? Even if they want to be left alone we can't really leave an unknown number of aliens squatting in an empty cinema, eating expired tinned goods and shooting up.

Hero Shrew: How many more warehouses can you afford, Mr Lowell?
Flux: We're not putting them in a warehouse.
Hero Shrew: Why not? They'll be studied by top people.
Fireflash: Top people are useless anyway - they just stand in one spot and grin.
All: .... Groan.

Flux: We only found these guys because we have better endurance than them.
Hero Shrew: Well, of course we do - we have to endure Fireflash's puns every day.

We can't hand the aliens over to one of the extraterrestrial affairs bureaus - because they're Moreaus.

Hero Shrew: Huh - my Live Action Zootopia theory is looking more likely. Looks like they were going to make remakes of 50s SF too.

But that's where things get especially weird - these guys claim to be Moreaus - and they think they're Moreaus - but they have none of the genetic markers shared by all the Moreaus that came out of the Genesys labs. 

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The start to the Northlands campaign (basically, all characters are young members of the Viking Jarl's household, starting out eager to prove their worth). We are summoned before the Jarl, and assigned the task of watching over his three young daughters as they go out this early Spring day to pick wildflowers for the festival. The daughters range in age from about 9 or 10 to 16. There is an almost apologetic "I know this isn't exactly the assignment a young, eager Viking is hoping for, but there's no one to bash and pillage at the moment" aspect to the speech.

 

When we note that our four PC's consist of a young Elven druid (who's pretty OK with going out to pick wildflowers), a 17 year old warrior (who's OK with it since nothing better's out there) and two...sixteen year old twin sisters, one of whom is likely hard to distinguish from the Jarl's daughters.

 

Now, on the way out, we meet a band of hardy warriors headed back from a (failed) assignment to find a couple of criminals (clearly very nuanced foreshadowing of the foes we will face later in the scenario). One of whom chooses to be insulting, and mock the PC's with their "job of shepherding young girls". 16 YO female PC responds, loudly as they depart, "Of course [Warrior's Name] would think little of such a task. EVERYONE knows he doesn't like girls."

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Star Wars game, referring to our captain:

"She's sticking with her core competencies: hurting people and breaking things.'

"Don't forget threatening to hurt people and break things."

"What about her piloting?"

"That would also fall under threatening to hurt people and break things..."

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I forgot this one from last week's fantasy game. It's the night before their quest begins. Several members of the party are off to the tavern to bond over ale, while The Pious PC spends the night in his room praying for God to bless their voyage.

 

PC 1: "Are we going?"

PC 2: "You & I are going. [Pious PC] has to hold his vigil."

PC 1: "Oh, is that what they're calling it now?" <Snap!>

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The start to the Northlands campaign (basically, all characters are young members of the Viking Jarl's household, starting out eager to prove their worth). We are summoned before the Jarl, and assigned the task of watching over his three young daughters as they go out this early Spring day to pick wildflowers for the festival. The daughters range in age from about 9 or 10 to 16. There is an almost apologetic "I know this isn't exactly the assignment a young, eager Viking is hoping for, but there's no one to bash and pillage at the moment" aspect to the speech.

 

When we note that our four PC's consist of a young Elven druid (who's pretty OK with going out to pick wildflowers), a 17 year old warrior (who's OK with it since nothing better's out there) and two...sixteen year old twin sisters, one of whom is likely hard to distinguish from the Jarl's daughters.

 

Now, on the way out, we meet a band of hardy warriors headed back from a (failed) assignment to find a couple of criminals (clearly very nuanced foreshadowing of the foes we will face later in the scenario). One of whom chooses to be insulting, and mock the PC's with their "job of shepherding young girls". 16 YO female PC responds, loudly as they depart, "Of course [Warrior's Name] would think little of such a task. EVERYONE knows he doesn't like girls."

 

I don't suppose that someone in that game session started playing the song "Barroom Blitz" at that moment, did they?

 

 

Major Tom 2009 :snicker:

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Ballroom Blitz?  No.

 

It's a no win for the fellow - how does it look for that tough viking warrior to attack a 16 YO unarmoured girl?

 

 

I know, right? He beats her and he's the worst guy ever. She beats him and he's humiliated for the rest of his life. Even though she's the one being a jerk.

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I forgot this one from a few weeks ago. Historical fantasy game, set in the "real" Europe of 1001 AD. The PCs have been summoned to meet with Pope Sylvester II aka Gerbert of Aurilac, who in real life was also one of Europe's leading scholars and mathematicians of his day. (Granted not a ton of competition for that title in 1001...) They find the Pope has constructed a giant room-sized abacus, with His Holiness up in the choir loft directing monks who are pushing large disks around like a giant game of shuffleboard which is apparently a thing Gerbert actually did. So I'm describing this to the players - mainly just because I thought it made for a cool visual and gives a sense for the guy's character - and I offhandedly remark that I have no idea why a giant abacus would be better at solving mathematical problems that a regular-sized one, when one player explains:

 

"Well you see, Moore's Law tells us that the maximum size of abacus stones doubles every 5 years..."

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I forgot this one from a few weeks ago. Historical fantasy game, set in the "real" Europe of 1001 AD. The PCs have been summoned to meet with Pope Sylvester II aka Gerbert of Aurilac, who in real life was also one of Europe's leading scholars and mathematicians of his day. (Granted not a ton of competition for that title in 1001...) They find the Pope has constructed a giant room-sized abacus, with His Holiness up in the choir loft directing monks who are pushing large disks around like a giant game of shuffleboard which is apparently a thing Gerbert actually did. So I'm describing this to the players - mainly just because I thought it made for a cool visual and gives a sense for the guy's character - and I offhandedly remark that I have no idea why a giant abacus would be better at solving mathematical problems that a regular-sized one, when one player explains:

 

"Well you see, Moore's Law tells us that the maximum size of abacus stones doubles every 5 years..."

 

Sooo...His Holiness (in the campaign you've described) has basically built an 11th-Century supercomputer, eh?

 

At least they won't have to worry about the thing going Skynet on them ( :sneaky: ).

 

 

Major Tom 2009 :eg:

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Pathfinder : Craptastic

(Small note - Harshal's Harrow card should actually be the Twin, which makes much more sense than the Bear.)

 

In this episode, the party learn more than they ever wanted to know about Magnimar's sewerage disposal systems, rescue a bunch of kobold slaves who go on to invent communism, and enable graverobbing from Fantasy-Native-Americans (awkward!!!!).

 

GM: I give a Hero Point to the Chronicler, and whoever keeps track of the party treasure.

Harshal: Which is currently two hundred pounds of garlic.

 

In fact, the garlic is more valuable than the job we were originally hired for - substantially more so.

 

GM: Which explains why there was always a guy out the back of the spice merchant's shop. You can guarantee he'll be investing in a better lock.

 

GM: And that set of printers dies was only the basics.

Harshal player: Didn't even include the cliches.

Gillert: Ha.

Harshal's player: I'm serious - it's where the word cliche came from. Preset blocks of frequently used words and phrases, 'clicked' into place.

Gillert's player: I love gaming at this table - you always learn something. History, criminology...

Zin's player: Entomology.

GM: AND etymology.

 

Erstwhile noble Tannis Orbereck has been hearing stories about the Silent Circle turning up around Magnimar - deeply creepy individuals with suspicious synchronisation and blank silver masks. Typically for the Circle, nobody knows what they're doing in Magnimar, or why they're here. Also, the Nightscales - the Magnimar thieves guild - are pissed off that somebody bypassed their smuggling operation.

 

GM: They've been asking questions, but haven't got very far.

Harshal: *looks innocent* I hope they make an example of somebody.

 

And one of the Gargoyles - a brutal Underbridge gang - got mauled in an alleyway. Despite his bodyguard being just outside the alley. In hopefully unrelated news, Tannis gets an invitation from his cousin Emalliandra Orbereck, inviting him - and Harshal! - around for tea.

 

GM: Knowing your cousin, you might want to take your own chair.

 

She is very diligent into her research into Azlanti heritage and artefacts, so you'd think she'd be quite respected in the Orbereck clan. But she doesn't actually like her family much, and keeps to herself in her bookshelf-choked rooms in the Docklands. Harshal shares her interest in Azlanti and Thassalonian artefacts, which may explain why he's been asked to attend. Tannis shows up deliberately late.

 

Tannis: My family may deserve respect, but they are not masters of me.

 

Emalliandra: Who is it?

Tannis: Your cousin.

Emalliandra: Is it teatime already?

Harshal: *sigh* I anticipated this - I brought a hamper.

 

Emalliandra: Look at you, cousin! You've been busy!

Harshal: 'And look, you've actually grown a beard!'

 

The rooms are even worse than rumours suggested, with books piled up high against every wall.

 

Tannis: You know, dear cousin, if you were actually willing to pay you could find a better apartment.

Emalliandra: Oh, I couldn't do that - it's too entertaining listening to the landlady entertaining her visitors.

Harshal: *chokes on his tea*

 

There is actually a small table and four chairs.

 

Emalliandra: I've been making friends. And I friends tell me you and your friend Harshal have been naughty boys.

Harshal: *tenses up*

Tannis: I'm pretty sure that's not true.

Emalliandra: I'm pretty sure it is - that much lead coming into the city will be noticed.

Tannis: We didn't do anything illegal.

Harshal: *internal facepalm*

Emalliandra: Did you pay import duties?

Tannis: Oh, you mean illegal under Guild Law.

Emalliandra: Now, I've nothing against a little smuggling now and then, but the Nightscales have been making enquires and they're getting close. Your friend Harshal here - good day to you by the way.

Harshal: *bows and kisses her proffered hand* Ma'am.

Emalliandra: As I was saying, your friend here is a known associate of our Mr. Crispin, so it won't take them long to make the connection.

 

However, the Nightscales can be distracted. They've been digging a tunnel - not under the Irespan, since they're not insane - and if this smuggling operation gets disrupted, the current master of the thieves guild will lose a huge amount of face, and hopefully lose interest in pursuing minor smuggling issues.

 

Tannis: And how does this benefit you?

Emalliandra: Who knows how many priceless Thassalonian artefacts they're smashing as they dig? This is an area that needs finesse and careful excavation, not...

Harshal: Hamfisted pick-axing in the dead of night.

Emalliandra: Exactly. But you will be doing me a favour, and favours must be repaid. I offer you and your associates silver - so much less suspicious than gold, don't you think? - and an assortment of potions. I can reward you appropriately. *glances at the alchemical and appraising set-up in one corner*

 

Tannis: Well, thank you, cousin. Family must stick together.

Emalliandra: Especially those more 'interesting' family members.

 

Half an hour of small talk over tea and cakes ensues, as Harshal considers the matter.

 

Harshal: I'll need a reliable team - or at the very least warn them they may have to get out of town in a hurry.

 

One complication - nobody seems to know who is doing the actual digging for the guild. And of course getting involved in Nightscales affairs right now is possibly the worst thing we could do.

 

Zin: So... Your solution to our pissing off the thieve's guild is to piss them off even more?

 

Emalliandra's contributions include potions of Cure Light Wounds, and one of Concealment from Animals.

 

GM: The effect ends if you actually touch an animal, so it's not much use in the sewers, because you'll keep stepping on rats.

 

Tannis: This operation might be rewarding for us.

Harshal: Her Ladyship is in a position to express her gratitude appropriately.

 

Gillert: I bought an umbrella.

GM: Some people in Underbridge never see rain. Or daylight.

 

Harshal: Do we need to put a false tail on Zin?

 

Zin: I'm a Kobold who disguised as a Halfling trying to disguise himself as a gnome.

 

We gather rumours.

 

Dockworker: Damnedest thing - bunch of Nightscales come in to pick up a shipment. That's not the weird thing - it was all moon-radishes! And mushrooms.

Harshal: Moon-radishes. Hmm.

Tannis: Gee, I wonder what races eat moon-radishes and mushrooms.

Harshal OoC: *nudges Zin* Hint, hint.

Tannis: Oh look, the Halfling seems to know something.

GM: 'Hey, I remember moon-radishes! *drools*'

 

Tannis: They must have wanted miners that aren't very bright.

GM: That explains why they're using kobolds.

Harshal: 'Gee, I wonder what burrowing race we can pay in radishes'

 

Insulting Zin's heritage is quite easy, even if most of us don't actually know he's a Kobold yet - maybe we can stir up the kobolds against the Nightscales just as easily.

 

Zin: And then we'll have freed Kobold slaves running around under Magnimar.

Ys: Not our problem.

Harshal: Unless they burrow into the Irespan, and then it IS our problem.

Ys: Nope. Then it's the city guard's problem

GM: Nah - The kobolds would run into the sewer goblins first. Rats aren't the only pests under Magnimar.

 

We track the excavations down by backtracking along the complicated chain of gangs, mafia, and nightsoil carts the Nightscales are using to conceal their activities. Fortunately, the team is very very good at not being noticed.

 

Harshal OoC: Stealth Synergy - the entire party sneaks down the street disguised as a wall.

NPC: 'This corridor seems a lot shorter than it used to be'

 

Harshal notes that the Shoanti gangers the Nightscales are using are all from the Skoan-quah or Skull Clan, who when they're out on the steppes protect the Shoanti burial grounds, and so on.

 

The richest districts of Magnimar are all up on the ramp leading to the stumps of the Irespan, overlooking Underbridge and the port.

 

Harshal: Makes for easy sewerage disposal too. *reach out, pour*

GM: Actually, when they were founding Magnimar they got a master engineer in to design the sewer system.

Zin OoC: So Magnimar is one of the few medieval cities with indoor plumbing.

GM: One problem is that nobody has a complete map of the sewers. Which is why they have all those cultists down there. Turned out later the engineer was a Norgorber cultist. He put in a lot of extra tunnels and dead-ends.

 

One puzzle is why material from the excavation is going in multiple directions.

 

Gillert: Maybe they're finding valuables as they excavate.

Harshal: Thassalonian artefacts? Well, they're not gong-farming, anyway.

Gillert: Gong-farming?

Harshal: Collecting old nightsoil for gunpowder production. Fine old profession.

 

The Nightscales have been very clever - the building they're using as a front is also the main collection point for uptown's privy buckets. Hiding the excavated soil and stonework is easy, given all the nightsoil carts that come through the yard here. The carts head out of town to deliver the valuable fertiliser to surrounding farms, and nobody finds out about the digging operation, which is just as well for the Nightscales since everybody remembers what happened the last time somebody delved too far and dug too deep.

 

Tannis: So, how are we getting in?

GM: There's one entrance that's unguarded. The slide all the nightsoil comes down.

Harshal: Ah. And if we ever need to blackmail Tannis in future, when he's become an actual noble, we can remind him about the day he slid down the shitslide.

Tannis: I'm not going down the shitslide.

Harshal: Oh?

Tannis: No. Ys is.

 

Given the number of people watching the building - 'sleeping' beggars, suspiciously inefficient street sweepers, and the fairy dozing on the lintel, it's just as well we're a party of sneaking sneakers.

 

Ys discovers somebody waiting near the bottom of the slide, flicking through a loose-bound pornographic blockprint by the light of a candle-clock.

 

Harshal: Ah, technology.

 

The unfortunate porn aficionado is promptly murdered by Ys and Zin.

 

Harshal: I don't think he needed to DIE for his taste in erotica. Publicly flogged, perhaps.

 

Harshal narrowly avoids an unfortunate accident getting into the building.

 

GM: Nearly went face first into an ogre's dingleberry.

 

The dead guy get dumped down the slide into the waiting nightsoil cart, with the hope enough nightsoil comes down to cover him up before anyone checks.

 

Harshal: Do we need to make our own contributions?

 

At least we've found the tunnel entrance. And the tunnels is much more complicated than we expected, wide enough for carts, with sound-baffling turns, workers camps for the Kobold slaves, and scorched mud-and-shit ceilings.

 

Harshal: Let me guess - they're burning dried shit as fuel? They've got plenty of it.

GM: Nope - they've got a use for that. *points to ceiling*

 

This explains a rumour about a 'black market' we heard, too - it's certainly going to be big enough for a market. There's a number of Nightscales guards about the place too - some with scourges to use on the brutalised kobolds.

 

Nightscale: Break! Taskmaster! On high!

High Taskmaster: This one! No buckets spilled, no matter how I tried to trip him. Quick on his feet. I like that. *throws the Kobold a radish*

Nightscale: On low!

Low Taskmaster: This one! Three buckets dropped - a new record. You know the price - you make up the difference. The rest of you get to eat!

 

At least one of the ten overseers is a Mage. Sneak attacks and stirring up the kobolds seem like the best plan. Tannis doesn't actually know that Zin is really a well-disguised Kobold.

 

Tannis: Can the Halfling speak Draconic?

GM as Zin: *mutters* Speak it better than you do, smooth-skin

 

Zin: *sneaks in and whispers* Clanmates! Help is on the way!

Kobolds: *stare at the Kobold-disguised-as-Halfling-disguised-as-gnome* Uhh.... You want us to do anything? We wouldn't mind getting a few hits in.

Zin: Just wait for the signal.

Harshal: The signal will be screaming.

 

Sneaking into position. Ys is already within arms-length of a taskmaster. Gillert is going to colour-spray the others, and Tannis, Zin and Harshal are going to turn the Mage into a kebab.

 

Ys: *Whispered prayer* Norgorber hear my prayer - this blood for you.

 

Tannis: I ready my Vorpal Cudgel.

Harshal: *raises eyebrow* Is that what you call it?

 

The surprise attack works brilliantly - right up until the mage's familiar, a raven that was resting under the table, flies off cawing in panic. Crap. Ys manages to wing it with a thrown dagger.

 

Zin: *in Draconic, to the kobolds* Clanmates! Attack!

Tannis: *who also speaks Draconic* ... Wait, what?

 

Tannis is pulling hidden daggers out of every orifice, Harshal is doing pinhole surgery on people's spleens with his rapier, Zin is pinning people to the wall with his crossbow, and Ys is being sneaky death on two legs. The kobolds turn the raven into nuggets. Then the survivors get their retaliation in. Harshal goes down with a club to the solar plexus. Gillert tries to Acid Splash them and takes mental damage as the spell backfires.

 

Tannis: Next time don't visualise the spell effect inside your own head.

Harshal OoC: It's 'Acid', not LSD.

 

Tannis: Lower your weapon or die like your friends!

Thug: *looks intimidated, drops his club, and is torn apart by a mob of Kobold slaves*

Ys: You were right - he didn't die like his friends. He got killed by kobolds.

 

What to do now? Could we use the tunnel for our own purposes? Inform the authorities about unlicensed archeology? Or collapse the chamber? We now discover that the brutalised Kobold slaves are all bearing the brand of the same Chellaxian trader that owned Zin. So we can leave by the other end of the tunnel, hand the kobolds over to the guards as slaves illegally imported into Magnimar, and let the powers-that-be treat them as a public relations opportunity. Or there's a half-elf alchemist in the Docklands named Iria that's known to take on unusual cases.

 

GM: She's the kind of alchemist that has stuffed specimens and organs on the shelves.

Harshal: Let's hope that's a crocodile hanging from her ceiling and not a Kobold.

 

Kobolds: You're taking us all? Even the weak????

All: ....

Tannis: ... Yesssss?

 

The kobolds start talking animatedly among themselves, invent communism, and start sharing out the moon-radishes equitably.

 

Harshal OoC: Have those kobolds just invented communism? I sure that will end well.

 

Some of the loot includes fragments of Thassalonian inscriptions - quite valuable to collectors. And the Mage was reading an elven family's magical workbook, despite not being an elf.

 

Harshal: Gee, I wonder where he got that - oh wait, the Nightscales are all thieves.

 

Gillert recognises the Mage from his apprenticeship.

 

GM: He was the master's favourite. He was the studious one.

Gillert: I became a rogue, he became a douche.

 

Tannis: We need to collapse this chamber. Hey Gillert, I've heard wizards can cast Acid Splash. I don't know if you can.

Gillert: .... Arsehole.

 

Iria is very excited.

 

Iria: Do you realise how little opportunity I've had to study scalykind!

Zin: Please! You have to help them! *whips off his disguise, revealing his species to the rest of the party*

Harshal: Huh. Well then.

Iria: Can I speak to you later about optioning your body after you die?

Gillert: She's one of those people with no filter between brain and mouth, isn't she?

Tannis: You're not dissecting any of them.

Harshal: Or vivisecting.

GM: How did you guess her archetype?

 

Zin: I'm going to stay with the kobolds overnight.

Harshal: Is that what you call it?

Tannis: ?

Harshal: Kobolds ARE the notorious hornbags of scalykind.

Zin: Well, yes, but then Iria would want to watch.

 

Emalliandra: Cousin! My friends tell me the thieves guild were busy last night. Apparently the bodies were piling up.

Harshal: I'm surprised they could dig the bodies out that quickly.

GM: No no no - what she's referencing is what happens when there's a leadership spill in a thieves guild. The bodies start piling up.

 

She's also very interested in the inscriptions, and suspects that's how the Skull Clan got involved. Since the Shoanti are the descendants of the Thassolonian slave-warrior caste, adding such inscriptions and fragments to a Shoanti gravesite adds honour to the late inhabitants. She happily mentions that there are always Shoanti who can be paid to take them away again, and starts making plans to do so. This makes Harshal - Shoanti himself - very uncomfortable, but he doesn't say anything. Either way, she adds extra magical items into our payment, on top of paying for the inscriptions. One of the items is a elf's hand on a chain.

 

Gillert: ... Well, as long as it wasn't made recently.

GM: It was.

Gillert: ...

Tannis: My family are not nice people.

Gillert: Isn't there a spell that lets elves regrow lost limbs?

Tannis: There's a business idea for you.

 

I can just hear the line now:

 

Kommunist Kobold: In UKSR*, you not have to worry about finding a party every night. In UKSR, the Party finds you ( :eg: ).

 

 

*UKSR: United Kobold Socialist Republics

 

 

 

Major Tom 2009 :snicker:

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