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Darren Watts

Quote of the Week from my gaming group...

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Setting is early 1800s. Boss villain has monkey who hands her a fresh loaded pistol after each sot.

 

Aarrrgh, the demon, after taking a couple of pistol rounds: "I'm not not gonna spank that monkey, I'm gonna eat him."

 

(Aarrrgh in demon/monster form is neuter; in human form appears as a gorgeous young Chinese woman.)

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Champions - Return to Edge City : Gumbo and Gunfighters
Hardlight: I'm not Lawful Good, I'm Lawful Capitalist

Fireflash's player: Hopefully I can stay awake for this session. What happened last time?
Hero Shrew's player: Apparently we have to overthrow the Despot of Undersconsin.
GM: That was a throwaway line!

Hardlight: Maybe I can have the Centurion CEO as a rival.
Hero Shrew: So, out of the two of you, which do you think is Tony Stark, and which one is Justin Hammer?
GM: Because we've got some bad news for you.

Hero Shrew: We did kinda screw the pooch on that whole Six Teens thing. Maybe we should do some public appearances, and prove we're not completely incompetent?
Flux and Fireflash: ..... No.
GM: I can't stop laughing.
Hardlight: Oh, come on, parties, orphanages...
Hero Shrew: Children's hospitals.
Hardlight: What could go wrong?

Fireflash: If I ever find the journalist that started calling me Fireflash...
Police Contact: I'd probably have to arrest you.
Fireflash: You'd never find the body.
Police Contact: ....
Fireflash: I'm joking!
Police Contact: Maybe, but if he ever goes missing you're a suspect.
Flux: So, how is that hole you're digging coming along?
GM: Seems to be a party trait.

The police do have more info on the hooded dead's head figure that's been killing Voodoo Crew, including video of him strolling through heavy gunfire, only to falter and go down to Voodoo Crew heavy soldiers with shotguns. And despite having his head blown off, and being more full of pellets than a bag of sheep manure, the killer turns up again a few days later. Tear Gas has no effect either.

Police Contact: San Fransisco is supposed to get this kind of shit!

Fireflash suspects that the killer is some kind of ectoplasmic construct, but there's only one supervillain she knows that uses ectoplasm that much.

Fireflash: We'd better hope it isn't him.
Hero Shrew: Hmm?
Fireflash: Crown, floats around on throne, already dead...
Hero Shrew: Oh. OH. Oh fuck!
Flux: Hmm?
Hero Shrew: Taco-face.
GM: Takofanes the Undying Lord. He's been around since the Hyborean Age, and back then he looked at Thoth-Amon and said "How cute, you actually think you're someone."

Actually, since the remains they found have no physical qualities other than mass, volume, and viscosity, it seems more likely the killer is some kind of revenant - which hopefully means we won't get killed by Takofanes any time soon. What to do about it? We can't really let it keep killing people. Or worse, the Voodoo Crew somehow gain control of the wraith and use it as an unkillable soldier of their own.

Fireflash: I don't like killing people.
Hero Shrew: Hey, it's not like I go out of my way to kill people either, they just break so easily, yanno?

His revolvers apparently have unlimited ammo, too. Perhaps sending a screengrab of his rather distinctive pearl-handled, machine-stenciled handguns to some gun-fancier's forum will turn up a clue?

Flux: .... That's actually a pretty good idea, Scooter.

We now also realise that the killer's hoodie is actually an oiled greatcoat with a hood - a slicker.

Hero Shrew: Ah, that makes it obvious! He must be Billy Crystal.
All: .... *sigh*
Hero Shrew OoC: Look on the brightside - if I'm busy watching 1991 comedies for clues I'm not causing property damage.
Hardlight: I don't care - I need you for muscle as I go see the Voodoo Crew. They don't like me.
Hero Shrew: Yeah , I know - nobody else likes you either.
Flux: Well, Fireflash and I can do the research.
GM: And those two are going to talk to the Crew. THOSE two.
Hero Shrew: Yes, the 'diplomatic' ones.
Flux: *facepalm*
Fireflash: We forget the leashes again, didn't we?

GM: So, how are you going to go about this?
Hero Shrew: Ask random passersby if they know where we can find the Voodoo Crew, since we need to talk to them about the revenant that's been filling them with more bullets than a Powerpoint presentation.

What actually happens is he attends a polite meeting at an al fresco Creole restaurant, where Mdme. Dantelle has a few unbreathing, unmoving minions holding parasols to shade her. The menu today includes a wide range of invertebrates, which makes Scooter's mouth water.

Hero Shrew: Fancy spread - nice to meet someone who likes a meal with more than four legs.

The meeting goes are well as can be expected when the group is represented by someone like Hero Shrew. He might not be stupid, but he DOES live entirely in the moment.

Mdme. Dantelle: It is appropriate you should be here, since you are responsible for our problem.
Hero Shrew: ... me, personally? Or me and the guys?
Mdme. Dantelle: We could have contained the revenent, but you interfered with the two... assets.
Hero Shrew: ... Oh, right, them, the zombies! I remember them! I'm glad I didn't get bitten.
Mdme. Dantelle: Bitten?
Hero Shrew: Yeah, bitten by zombie, turn into zombie. You know.
Mdme. Dantelle: *polite laugh* Ah, but no - they were volunteers. Only volunteers could become zombi like those.
Hero Shrew: Oh. Like your zombie with the umbrella there?
Mdme. Dantelle: .... No. Not like these.

She also has an ominous comment about how our team aren't the only Inheritors, but it goes right over Scooter's head.

Hero Shrew: Thanks for the meal, lady.
Mdme. Dantelle: ... Madam.
Hero Shrew: Yeah, one of those.

Flux: So, did you record the conversation?
Hero Shrew: Was I supposed to?
Flux: *facepalm* Explicit bloody instructions.
Hero Shrew: Hang about, I wrote it down somewhere.... Yeah, the dead guy is Phillip Graves, which is supposed to be funny but I don't know why, and his guns aren't his fetters but the bar he's after is, but I don't think the bar is a nightclub, but they can't give him the bar because of some gate they have to keep shut and they've got some kind of deal with San Fransisco like what the Zoo has with Chinatown.
Flux: ...that's it, we're fitting Scooter with a bug.
Fireflash: Hopefully one he won't eat.

After quite a long time the mechanical owl Bubo manages to get an idea into our thick heads - check the newspaper archives. We discover that Phillip Graves was a sheriff's deputy in the 1890s, and the last victim of the Tombstone Kid, an undead cowboy. The Tombstone Kid was then taken down by a coalition of 19th century heroes.

Hardlight: Hey, Flux, can we get some help from your police contact?
Flux: Sure. What for?
Hardlight: We're going graverobbing.
Flux: ... I did not need to hear that.

At the very least we need to find Graves' grave, to see if there's been any auto-exhumations lately. It turns out he was put in the family mausoleum in Harristown - better known as Little Haiti.

All: OH FOR FUCKS SAKE.
Hardlight: Ok, time for the holographic crowbar.
GM: Don't you have X-ray vision now?
Hardlight: Oh yeah - Wideband Radar! What was I thinking?
Fireflash: We wonder that all the time.

Hardlight: What did you say Graves was after again?
Hero Shrew: Some kind of bar? For a gate?
GM: Don't you just love it when the most literal-minded character gets told things in metaphor?
Hardlight: Oh god, it's some kind of gate to the underworld.
Hero Shrew: *points at the door of the mausoleum* What, like that one?
Flux: Time for more research! *watches an illegal download of the original Ghostbusters*
GM: Cats and dogs, living together!
Hero Shrew: Hey, Mdme. Dantelle said the same thing!
Hardlight: .... OK my next power is going to be called Unliscensed Nuclear Accelerator.
Hardlight: So we're facing a biblical apocalypse or something - maybe we should call in the big guys?
Hero Shrew OOC: No, we're supposed to be the heroes of this comic. And the sales are good enough that we don't need crossover events yet.

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Flux: So, did you record the conversation?

Hero Shrew: Was I supposed to?

Flux: *facepalm* Explicit bloody instructions.

Hero Shrew: Hang about, I wrote it down somewhere.... Yeah, the dead guy is Phillip Graves, which is supposed to be funny but I don't know why, and his guns aren't his fetters but the bar he's after is, but I don't think the bar is a nightclub, but they can't give him the bar because of some gate they have to keep shut and they've got some kind of deal with San Fransisco like what the Zoo has with Chinatown.

Flux: ...that's it, we're fitting Scooter with a bug.

Fireflash: Hopefully one he won't eat.

Depends how big the bug is. And how delicious:

http://www.lfg.co/page/1035/

 

When in doubt, just install it like one would with a Dog: Wherever he can not bite ot scratch it out.

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A few from Wednesday's Fantasy Hero game. Our heroes have been transported to the land of the Fey. I'm describing the village they're approaching, with all the elfin villagers gathered in the town square.

 

Player: "Do they have these really tall hats? Are they singing the Whoville song? Is there Who Hash?"

Several of us singing: "Fahoo Fores, Dahoo Dores...!"

GM: "It's not Christmas here."

Player: "It's always Christmas in Whoville!"

 

They make friends. Over dinner, the village poet/Lothario is chatting up Thyri, the beautiful woman warrior. Next to them is Father Edmondo, the Priest and designated storyteller.

GM: "He spends most of the meal flirting with you."

Thyri: [dismissive hand wave] "Yeah, good luck with that."

Edmondo: "He's a poet right? I get him going exchanging stories."

GM: "Great. Now he spends the rest of the meal flirting with you."

Edmondo: [shrug] "Meh. I probably don't even notice. Friendly guy."

Other Player: "Should've known he goes both ways."

GM: "All elves go both ways. I thought everyone knew that." :)

 

Later, our heroes ask the Fey for magical advice. My (not terribly original) take on the Fey is that they're basically all magic users, and while some are obviously better at it than others they don't see it as a separate class/profession/whatever. And this is a small village, so everyone has to earn their keep somehow.

Edmondo: "We're hoping you can help us understand [bad Guy's] magic so we can figure out how to fight him."

Village Elder: "Ah, if you want to learn the secrets of magic, you must talk to...the Baker."

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What made Elves so terrifying to other races that they feel the need to belittle them so?

That life for a minor eternity, are more agile and even thier men are so pretty you have issues distinguishing them from the women.

What is not to fear with them?

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Edge City - Go West, Young Man
In which Team Quadrant, Edge City's latest superhero team, are trying to stop an undead sheriff, one Phillip Graves, from murdering his way through the Voodoo Crew with a pair on antique revolvers. Apparently he was the last victim of the Tombstone Kid, another Horror/Western crossover. We don't know how he's up and about again, but he seems highly pissed about something. It might have something to do with a Gate the Voodoo Crew representative mentioned while Hero Shrew was gorging himself on a free Creole meal.

Hardlight's player: Are we missing anybody?
GM: No. Quadrant is four people.
Flux's player: Four people and an owl.
GM: Bubo is the bases DNPC.
Flux's player: I still count him as part of the team.
GM: Bubo is his own mechanism.

Somebody finally explains to Hero Shrew why the name Phillip Graves is funny. It takes a while. Still, we have plenty of time to spend waiting for Graves to show up again. Of course, we have no idea how to take the revenant Graves down - he's certainly not attached to his ectoplasmic body, and his remains are still in the mausoleum, and we don't know what fetter is holding him to the mortal plane. We hear shooting, and screams, and it's Graves, and Fireflash swoops down to interpose herself in the line of fire, and yells "STOP!".

Graves actually flinches.

Hero Shrew tries to takes Grave's guns away (he might put somebody's eyes out) and is quite put out when Graves disperses into shadow and reappears elsewhere.

Hero Shrew: That's cheating!

Graves reappears and shoots Fireflash twice in the back.

Fireflash: There's a reason I had my shield up.

Although given how much hurt she suffers, it's just as well she DID have her shields up. But we do manage to get enough hits on him to knock him sort of unconscious, and we get a good look at this strange figure.

GM: This guy had a skull for a head, and an ectoplasmic body - 90s shit.

Hero Shrew: I think we ought to call in the proper authorities to contain him. Who's the proper authorities to contain a guy with an ectoplasmic body?
Fireflash: I can check-
Hero Shrew: The Ghostbusters!
Flux: OK, limiting ourselves to the real for a moment-
Hero Shrew: You mean the Ghostbusters aren't real????

We also discover that he disappears if moved into shadow. Which explains why he shot Fireflash - he has something against light sources.

Hero Shrew: At the very least we can arrest him for carrying firearms without a license.

Hardlight: So, does his body start dancing if I play 'Higher and Higher' nearby?
Flux: Please don't.
Hero Shrew: Hey, you're the one who said you were watching Ghostbusters for research purposes.

Flux: Where did the Voodoo Crewmembers go?
GM: They ran away. They're not stupid.

ECPD: So, what is he? Some kind of nutjob?
Hero Shrew: Some kind of zombie ectoplasmic revenant thingie.
ECPD: .... So if we put him a cell and he wakes up? He just...
Hero Shrew: *excitedly realizing a pun* He ghosts out!
Fireflash: ... yeah, that's actually about right.
ECPD: So we need to call PRIMUS and get them to bring a Special Containment Unit out?
Fireflash: Yes.
Flux: Didn't we call them first?
GM: You have to go through channels.

We keep him unconscious enough for the experts to arrive, although he wakes up as we're doing the paperwork.

Mobile Special Containment Cell: *pings*
PRIMUS Tech: Huh. He just tried to get out.
MSCC: *pings again*
PRIMUS Tech: And again.
Hardlight: You can stop teleporters?
Tech: Well, I sure hope we can. Actually ... it looks like he isn't trying to teleport. He's not going somewhere else... he's going somehow else.

Graves: *hisses*
Fireflash: Hi.
Graves: I misjudged you. You are not a child of Elysium.
Flux: Not last time we checked.
Fireflash: I want to help you.
Graves: The only thing that will help is finding the guns.
Fireflash: The revolvers you keep manifesting?
Graves: *laughs mockingly* You are a fool.
Hero Shrew: The guns the Tombstone Kid killed you with?
Graves: .... Who could have guessed - The Beast is the smart one.

Hardlight: The Voodoo Crew said the your fetters were holding off the apocalypse.
Graves: .... I don't know anything about that.
Flux: Aaaand we're going to get you into custody now. Hardlight, next time don't volunteer information to the bad guy.

Hardlight: We need another meet with Madamme Damselle. And this time I'm coming - fuck her 'scary juju' shit.
Flux: We should reciprocate her lunch offer.
Hero Shrew: Well, let's check the interwebs. What Edge City restaurants have good reviews?
GM: You could be really cheeky...
Hardlight: The Collar Club.
Flux: No.
GM: For one thing Colin the Collie would go mental.
Flux: 'You've what? No. No. Get out. Get out of here yesterday. And Scooter? You're fired.'
GM: Na, he wouldn't fire Scooter. Nobody wants Scooter to have more free time.

The Voodoo Crew high-up is not pleased to see Hardlight at the meeting.

Madamme Damselle: I see I will not be accepting an invitation from Quadrant in future.
Fireflash: Sorry, what?
Hardlight: I wish I knew what you people have against me.
Madamme Damselle: You wish to know? Very well - you are like a moth in the fabric of the world. But since you have done us a favour today, I will overlook it this time.

Flux: So, you're using the Tombstone Kid's guns as a bar on the gate to Hell. Or Purgatory, or Limbo, or whatever it is. Out of the goodness of your hearts.
Madamme Damselle: Not exactly. How does the quote go? 'The world is were we keep our stuff'. So not so much the goodness of our hearts, as enlightened self-interest.

She does tell us that whatever realm is on the other side of the gate is NOT the realm of the Loa, but the gate used to be an artifact of Baron Samedi and a gate to the realms of the dead. And somebody *changed* it. This is alarming.

Hardlight: I think we need to talk to-
Flux: Please don't say we need to talk to Baron Samedi.
Hero Shrew: I'm sure they could arrange a meeting. Real intimate meeting, I'm guessing.
Madamme Damselle: I'm sure Papa Friday could arrange a meeting. He is blessed by all three Barons, after all.

Madamme Damselle: Perhaps you should consider a more permanent solution for Mr. Graves.
Hero Shrew: Well, his remains are still in the mausoleum.
Madamme Damselle: ..... Oh realllllly.
Hero Shrew: ... I just volunteered information to the bad guy, didn't I.

She does tell us how the Tombstone Kid came back the first time - he was struck by lightning. But his remains got incorporated into the mysterious gate.

Madamme Damselle: So, we have the beginnings of a mutual understanding?
Flux: I'm sure the police would call it something else, but it looks like it.

Madame Damselle: We operate under certain restrictions. But you can utilize other avenues-
Hero Shrew: I can make avenues! Just point me at a row of buildings you want removed.
All: ...
Flux: That's nice, Scooter. *pats him on the shoulder*

Madamme Damselle leaves us a mobile phone in the event we ned to contact each other. It's pink, and has unicorns.

Hardlight: I wonder what corpse she got this off.

Madamme Damselle: This is your lucky day, Monsieur Flux. Papa Friday has agreed to meet you.
Flux: Should I bring my own concrete boots?
Madamme Damselle: Most amusing. But why would we waste useful material?
Flux: ....

Flux: I'm off for a meeting with Papa Friday. If I'm not back in two hours, I'll be back-
Hero Shrew: As a zombie?
Flux: I'll be back. Late.

Flux gets picked up. In a stretch hearse. It begins to sink in that this meeting may have been a mistake, especially when Papa Friday is a tall, slender black man with skull make-up, and sunglasses with one lens. And a small skull on his tophat. An actual skull.

Papa Friday: Your power is of a type, Mister Flux. And Baron Samedi tells me you are to seek the Tablet of Kedjamith. He tells me it is full of much knowledge - which is strange, since the Baron says a book is a thing of little knowledge, and a tablet is but a single page.
Flux: .... any hints as where I should start looking?
Papa Friday: It is hidden in a place I am sworn not to go.
Flux: ....
Papa Friday: *sigh* San Francisco. I suggest you start in Chinatown.
Flux: Well, thankyou. Give my regards to the Baron, and my hopes I never have to give them in person.
Papa Friday: All mortals give their regards to the Baron, one day.
Flux: Hopefully no day soon. Thanks, anyway.
Papa Friday: And I should thank you. It is rare I get to serve the Baron with this hand. *shakes Flux's hand, and let's him out in Edge City's version of Chinatown.*

Meanwhile the rest of us a scrambling to try and find Flux, since this meeting sounds like a really bad idea.

Flux: please don't show up and offend Papa Friday, please don't show up and offend Papa Friday...
GM: How would you track Flux down anyway?
Hardlight: Through the team communicators!
Flux: The *untraceable* connection? Remember who made these.
All: ...
Flux: Perhaps Hero Shrew knows a bloodhound.
GM: He knows a scenthound. In fact, he's sweet on her.
Hero Shrew: *happy sigh* maybe I should get her a box of chocolates for her birthday.
GM: *facepalm* You are really bad at wooing a dog.
Peanut Gallery: ?
GM: It's not as creepy as it sounds.
Peanut Gallery: I'm sure it's EXACTLY as creepy as it sounds.

But since we're too incompetent to actually track Flux down, we end up meeting him at a Chinese restaurant afterwards. Flux calls in some favors - the Tablet of Kedjamith is a known minor magical artifact, that describes creating and binding a vengeful spirit. But the tablet is incomplete, and is completely unresponsive to any known magical probes. It's written in an especially obscure form of Hebrew, and required expert consultation to translate. It's passed through multiple collections.

Flux: OK then, looks like we need to go to San Francisco.
Hero Shrew: Road Trip!

Photos of the Golden Gate bridge show up on the room's screensaver.

GM: That's good timing.

Edge City is a two-hour drive from San Francisco.

GM: The residents of San Fran have a saying about Edge City. "Nice place to visit, but you would want to live there".
Hardlight: Well, my powers didn't cut out when I left the city limits.
Flux: And you didn't explode. *hands $5 to Fireflash*
GM: You carry enough cash to cover your bets? Classy.
Flux: Well, I use electronic funds for most things, but figure paper money would piss her off more.

Despite his general cluelessness, Hero Shrew nods the little side street that's somehow behind other side streets, and which is somehow bigger on the inside.

GM: So, who remembers the start of Gremlins?
Flux: Nobody touches anything, nobody feeds anything, nobody buys anything.
Hero Shrew: How about a Frogurht?
Hardlight: Hey, a Monkey's Paw!

Mysterious Old One-eyed Chinese Man: How may I assist you, gentlemen?
Flux: We need the Tablet of Kedjamith.
MOOECG: That is a very specific request.
Flux: We have a very specific need.

MOOECG: My customers are not always so ... flamboyant.
Hero Shrew: This is San Francisco, they're all flamboyant here.
MOOECG: That is a misconception - while the city has a sizable gay population, they are not all camp.

The shopkeeper soon figures out that Papa Friday sent us.

Hero Shrew: Papa Friday said he was working on the Baron's right hand for this - that's not the kind of thing you want to lie about.
Flux: Scooter...
Hero Shrew: Hey, I'm not supposed to volunteer information to the bad guys - this isn't a bad guy.
MOOECG: Such naivety - it is good to see in the young. Most practitioners are quite evil. Fortunately, I am not!
Flux: You're a good businessman too.
MOOECG: Not exactly. After all, Location, location, location. And I don't get much walkthrough traffic.

When we step out of the store, it's gone. And Flux and Fireflash realize we were just in THAT magic store - the one that exists in the Ur-City Babylon, and is only ever found by people who need what is within it.

Flux: Godammit.
Fireflash: Aw, I really wanted that model castle!

Apparently there is a group in San Francisco that recently had a downturn, mustered their resources to alter their fortune, and unlike most such groups actually succeeded. But they then took it further, in a grab for power. This is who we have to find to get the Tablet.

Flux: We thought this would be simple!
 

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In which a group of outer scumbags have burgled and murdered their way into positions of increasing wealth and influence. In most respects this makes them no different to any other D&D or Pathfinder party, but in one respect we differ. We're fully aware that we're scumbags.

Harshal: We'll have to put the kobold in charge of the warehouse security.
Zin: Wait, what?
Harshal: 'These premises are protected by Underlord Security - Trespassers will be decapitated'
Ys: 'Trespassers will be eaten'
Zin: I don't eat people.
GM: No, but you are short - so the whirling blades will all be at human neck height.
Gillert: But the rest of us are human-sized!
Harshal: Ah, but we're not trespassers.

Gillert: We should install an escape route.
Tannis: Why, do you think we will fail?
Harshal: No, the escape route for Gillert, on the day he thinks he can actually get away without us hunting him down. *pats our pet poet-mage's shoulder companionably*
GM: Or when he decides the reward for handing you in is actually worth it.

GM: Gillert HAS been a moderating influence on you all.
Ys: Just as well, since I've seen how you react when I start muttering 'Bored, bored, bored' to myself.
GM: That's because your solution to boredom is sticking a foot and a half of steel through somebody.
Harshal: And if she's really bored she makes sure the point doesn't stick out the other side.

Tannis: Do you know how a cockatrice is made?
Harshal: When a Mummy Cockatrice and a Daddy Cockatrice love each other very much-

Gillert: I'm not finding any information on repairing damaged buildings.
GM: First you build it.
Harshal: Build it, and they will come.
Ys: That's only true of brothels.

Zin: I need a barracks.
GM: I think you mean Bunks.
Zin: Oh, right - I'm housing some workers, not building an army. Yet.
Tannis: Our main problem is that to getting to our new warehouse people have to come through Undertown. Which isn't as bad as people think, although I'll admit the population of criminals has gone up by five.

Tannis suggests we hire the local delinquents to cause trouble, then hire same delinquents as a security force.

Tannis: We need to claim that there's a problem, prove that existing precautions are inadequate, and then solve the problem. That we made.
GM: Why do I get the impression that this is going to be an "Ellipsis, Profit!" Situation?

Gillert: How do we get away with all this when 'Detect Evil' exists?
Tannis: We won't show up until we're Level 4.
Harshal: We need to be evil AND a threat.

Tannis: And as an added bonus they'll be a whole bunch of undefended businesses. Which we can rob.
Ys: Why rob when you can run a protection racket?
GM: The Watch have been overtaxed by the looting during the plague.
Gillert: We did one job!
GM: It wasn't JUST you.

GM: Harshal! There is a knock on your door.
Harshal: Quick, hide the evidence!

There's three Shoanti at the door, who greet Harshal by his Shoanti clan-name.

Harshal: Can I help you?
Shoanti: High Seeker.
Harshal: ... Kinsman.

Their tattoos are indicate Storm Rock sentinels, Earth elemental sentinel, and Scarab sentinel. The later is odd, given it's more a Skull clan symbol than Spire clan. For that matter so is Earth elemental.

Harshal: This is mildly alarming, especially given our interaction with the local Skull Clansmen earlier.

One of them is a Tattooed Sorcerer of the Necromancy school. It probably meant she spent time with the Skull Clan tribe, as part of some exchange programme. They're here to investigate some minor desecration of Shoanti burial grounds, and there suspicions have been raised by the fact that Magnimar's Skull Clan inhabitants don't want to talk about it, when protecting Shoanti burial grounds is the Skull Clan's JOB. Harshal says he'll make some enquiries, and strolls with practised casualness around to Tannis' offices. After all, it was Tannis' cousin Emelliandra who said she was in the market for the kind of trinkets that get used to decorate Shoanti graves - and it was us that uncovered that stash of such trinkets in the possession of the Nightscales Thieve's Guild, and ensured they got passed on to just the right people to ensure they could be stolen again later. Tannis, naturally, denies any wrongdoing on Emelliandra's part - the Oberechs have to stick together, even if they're all complete bastards.

Tannis: So don't insinuate anything about my family or I'll kill you. Although I don't say that last bit out loud.

Tannis: When your family is not only of Azlanti descent but connected to a creature of ambition and avarice...
GM: Yeah, that didn't help.
Harshal: ?
GM: There's reasons Tannis can see in the dark.

Still, Tannis does drop by his cousin's house, since it probably was her anyway.

Tannis: Cousin.
Emelliandra: Go away!
Tannis: Cousin? Is there something I can assist you with?
Emelliandra: Go away! You've done enough damage already!
Tannis: Is this something to do with our lilac friend?
Emelliandra: Oh, so he's a FRIEND is he?
Harshal: ?
Tannis: The Black Knight smelled of lilacs.

Emelliandra has become an intermediary between the party and the Silent Circle (the Silver Masks that have been causing trouble) and is rather upset about it, since she had been going out of her way to avoid such entanglements, and didn't get a choice about this one.

Emelliandra: You mean you didn't even KNOW WHO HE WAS???? The Circle calls him the Prince of Tombs.
Tannis: Would this have anything to do with the Shoanti Skull Clan?
Emelliandra: Oh, that, no, that was actually very usef- oh. OH. *makes strangling motions at Tannis* I could- .... I forgot to send the letter.
Tannis: ?
Emelliandra: Those Thassalonian fragments from that dig you broke up - they got given to the Skull Clan to add to grave sites. I hired the Skull clan to bring them back here to me. I was going to get a third party to cover their tracks... but I forgot to send the letter.

As for how she got involved with the Silent Circle herself - she had been solving a small 'interesting' problem for a client, and found herself in a room with an animated silver mask - she doesn't think she's even actually met a member of the Silent Circle, proper.

Emelliandra: My advice is to follow my lead - get out from under them. Because any group that has a GRAVE KNIGHT in their number... I don't think they can be killed. I certainly haven't found any way to do it.
Tannis: They don't like being offered tea, either.
Harshal OoC: Perhaps they're allergic.

Emelliandra: You tried to cultivate a contact, didn't you? With some strange figure that smells of lilacs and wearing full plate? And YOU tried to cultivate a contact.
Tannis: *bristling* is it not within my rights?
Emelliandra: That is what you're in Magnimar to learn - did it even occur to you to make a background check first?

Harshal's investigations get nowhere - everybody is determined not to talk about it.

Harshal: So... items were added to the gravesites, and these items were taken away again. Therefore there was no actual theft.
Gillert OoC: Gee, which of us was playing the lawyer again? I can't tell.

Gillert is becoming increasingly certain that the Silent Circle and their silver masks are some kind of Cabal. The various methods of intimidation they've been using confuse Tannis a bit.

Gillert: Well, some people send letters, and some send crowbars.
Harshal: I favour a quiet alley and a length of lead pipe, myself.

About grave knights

Harshal: well, there's one thing worse than Grave Knights.
GM: Oh?
Harshal: Graver Knights. They're the ones that go DOOSH_DOOSH_DOOSH and wave glowsticks.
GM: .... and moving on.
Harshal OoC: Hey, somebody had to say it, Kevin's asleep.

Ys: Maybe we can find one of their couriers and slit his throat?
Tannis: Ironically, it was trying to contact one of their couriers that got us into this whole mess.
Gillert: Well, you know what they say - you can't unbottle the genie.
Harshal: Yes you can, it's the whole point.
Gillert: ... REBOTTLE the genie.

Harshal: I think we're going to need a diagram for all this.

Iria contacts Zin, because she needs to find Ys.

Harshal: Just follow the screams.
Zin: Iria needs you.
Ys: She already has a girlfriend.

Iria: Ah good, you're here. I have an uncomfortable question for you.
Ys: Only when I bored.
Iria: ... that seems like a bad time to kill people.
Ys: It stops me being bored. But you actually want me to kill someone?
Iria: Uh, yes? You do that don't you? Kill people? For money? I wasn't sure I was reading you right but Sala thought you were the kind of person who would.

Who does she want killed?

Iria: There's these three Shoanti that have come into town, asking questions.
Tannis: Ah, of course it's them.

Apparently Iria is part of the same research group - or chain of conspirators - as Emelliandra. She's also discovered some underground chambers that might be good living quarters for the kobolds, if the kobolds agree to keep working with her. Conveniently, the cave entrance opens onto the same bay as our warehouse and salvaged wreck.

Zin: I've always been OK working with Iria as long as she doesn't cut any of my compatriots open.
Gillert: But it's OK if it's you? Lots of loopholes in that statement.
Zin: ... I can afford healing potions.

GM: It's a grotto.
Gillert: An upmarket cave.
Harshal: It's not a proper grotto unless it's inhabited by a potential saint.

Ys: has been doing her own investigations into the three Shoanti, and discovers that they've been to see Harshal.

Ys: Oh really.
Harshal OoC: I can even tell you where they're staying.
Ys: You might have noticed I'm wearing my work clothes. I've been hired to kill three people.
Harshal: Let me guess - Tannis, Gillert and Zin.
Ys: I'd charge more for them. And wouldn't tell you first.

We all repair to Tannis' office, where he is snowed under even more paperwork. He is not happy to see us.

Harshal: Would your client be satisfied if they merely left town for good?
Ys: No.
Harshal OoC: I'm not going to question that, since I know it would be your answer either way.

Zin: We can make them disappear.
Ys: I don't want them to disappear.
Harshal: Ah. Gruesome and bloody murder seems to be the order of the day.

Gillert: We should make sure the murder doesn't get connected to your client - who in Magnimar doesn't like Shoanti?
GM: There's the Sczarni organised crime families.
Harshal: And we've still got those Nightscale knives.
Gillert: Niiiice.

Gillert: If we do it properly now we won't have to kill as many people later.
Tannis: I like the view from the top of your slippery slope.

Ys: If they're sleeping in the Common Room in the inn, that's a problem - too many-

Gillert: Witnesses?
Tannis: Collateral.
Harshal: Freebies.

Gillert: I offered them a non-lethal solution and they're all '100 GP a head'
GM: It's nice to know how much it costs to abandon your morals.
Gillert: I'm not arguing with them once they get murder-happy.

Ys: We could ambush them as a group, but that's far too close to a fair fight for my tastes.
Gillert: We could try and lure one away.
Tannis: Seduction?
Gillert: Sure - Harshal hasn't seen his kinsmen in ages, it's a good excuse to invite one of them to a pub.
Zin: Oh, I thought you were looking at me - how am I supposed to seduce them?
Harshal: Everybody has heard the stories about kobolds, and you're just the right height.

After Harshal goes in to report his ongoing investigations (and get a layout of the rooms, and who is staying in which) we prepare our assassination. A storm is rolling in too, which is helpful.

Zin: The thunder will mask the screams.

But it doesn't help Zin climb up onto the roof.

Harshal: Lower a rope with a loop on the end. We can haul him up - he's small enough.
Ys: True.
Gillert: What do you know, we just swung a kobold in through the window.

Harshal: You know, one additional benefit of pinning this on the Nightscales is that we know the NIghtscales were involved in digging up the Thassalonian artifacts in the first place - there's your connection.
Ys: *thumbs up*

Our precaution of lowering the trapsmith and the mage-poet to the windows first pays off - one of the rooms has a Chime of Warding set up. And Ys finds an empty room with twisted reeds all over the floor in the other.

GM: You remember this inn, Tannis - the owner is a prude. As an unwed woman, the third Shoanti would have to take a separate room.
Tannis: That's why I always carry multiple fake wedding rings.

We burst into the other room, weapons raised for combat! 

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Some gems from last night's FH game, only some of which were because one of our players just had surgery and was on major pain meds....

 

The Fey are telling our Heroes about two legendary swords:

Fey: "They have been known by many names, but in the legends of your people they are sometimes called Fragarach & Moralltach*"

Thyri: "Wait, Fraggle Rock and More Talk?" (OOC) "Shut up, I'm on pain meds!"

 

Later...

Thyri: OK, so we find these swords, Latitude and Longitude or whatever..." (OOC) "Shut up, I'm on pain meds!"

 

 

A few episodes ago, Father Edmondo got poisoned, tortured and generally mistreated, and was hallucinating. The others are giving him a hard time about it.

Thyri: "You got into a theological debate with a lamp..."

Edmondo: "It was a good discussion."

Thyri: "...and you lost."

Edmondo: "In my defense, that lamp made some surprisingly good points about the nature of God that I hadn't considered before."

Aeddan: "What kind of lamp? Just curious."

Edmondo: "An oil lamp. Of course. No mere kerosene lamp could match my intellect!"

 

 

Aeddan the Ranger gets into an archery challenge with a Fey woman named Aletcien. There's some mutual flirting as they head off:

Edmondo: "Have fun. Be sure to empty your quiver."

[cue juvenile snickering that cannot be fully blamed on pain meds]

Edmondo: "What?"

 

With some lucky rolls, Aeddan manages to win the contest. Aletcien is so impressed she jumps his bones there and then.

Thyri: (to Edmondo) "You did tell him to empty his quiver."

Edmondo: "Yeah, my bad."

 

Afterwards...

Aletcien: "So are all the men of your land so skilled with their...arrows?"

Aeddan: "Yeah, pretty much."

Thyri: (OOC) "Dude, seriously? That is not the right answer!"

 

 

* Actual sword names from Celtic myth that the GM did not make up.

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Star Wars - The F Troop Getting In Deep
GM: So, who remembers what happened last time?
Fakybe: An astromech who belonged to us, and a bunch of droids we brought into the system, hijacked a ship we owned, with the aid of a friend of ours, and we managed to enable their escape by opening fire on an Imperial pilot.
Fendri: Who was flying another of our ships.
GM: And you're going to claim complete innocence?
Fakybe: Naturally.

GM: After the grim interrogation and beatdown, the Imperials are still highly suspicious, and want to assign the Imperial pilot you shot up to accompany you as you try and track down the rogue droids. If looks could kill, or she had Force powers, you'd be dead.

Lt. Marelle the Pilot: You didn't even fire at their ship!
Fakybe: They were out of range.
Marelle: *growls*

Fakybe: I'd quite like to know what your lot were doing to all those droids, if they could hijack a freighter.
Marelle: I wasn't teaching them anything, I'm a test pilot!
Fakybe: Riiiiiiight

We 'follow' the droids to the pirate's system. After all we placed a mythical tracking beacon on the freighter since it was our salvage. And our original plan was that the droids would hold off on resupplying at the ex-pirate base until after we'd 'checked' it.

Fakybe: This would be a lot easier if we still had an astromech.
Fendri: Funny that.

We don't have any luck scanning the system for the droids (or anybody that might have pursued us here). We don't even have to fake our failure. But we double-check to keep up appearences, and find another ship already scanning the asteroids... and then the frigate full of Imperials emerges from hyperspace. Which might have something to do with the astromech and the hyperspace beacon we find in the cargo hold. Evidently the Imperials don't trust us as far as they can spit us. The droid R3-KT claims it was ordered to infiltrate the Deniable Plausibility by the Imperials, so they could track us. We act with appropriate suspicion, and contact the Imperial frigate to report the discovery - after all, it might be another rogue droid. They say they'll get back to us. Forvuk prepares to take a vibro-axe to the beacon.

Fakybe: We could also drift closer to that other ship, do a spacewalk, and attach the beacon to them.
Forvuk: *halts mid-swing* Cool! Let's do that.

The Frigate says their stock of droids is all accounted for, and decide to just broadcast a menacing order for all ships in the system to identify themselves. It turns out the mystery ship is that bounty hunter who was hunting down the Wookiee and the the rest of them. So the only way they could have found their way here is if they teamed up with the surviving pirates. Uh-oh. How to confuse things?

Fendri: We tell them we need to split up. If the droids went to Nulhutta, we get the others to go to Kessel.
Forvuk: Well, in that case we tell them 'If they're going somewhere that welcomes rogue droids, it must be Kessel or Nulhutta. How about you go to Nulhutta?' Then they get suspicious and say 'How about WE go to Kessel and YOU go to Nulhutta' and we say 'Well, if you insist'.

We all head back to Fomos for resupply.

GM: The frigate has to rendezvous with the big wedge-shaped star destroyer that's back in orbit.
Fakybe: I'd like to be a fly on the wall at THAT meeting.

Fakybe has a good poke around in the astromech's programming, after it BSODed at Forvuk's threats. It's been altered to only obey Imperial commands, can't be aggressive, but still has self-preservation protocols. Probably not a suicide bomber, them.

Fendri: Let's give him back his free will.
Fakybe: Droids shouldn't have free will.
Fendri: *gasps in shock*
Fakybe, after taking Fendri aside: As long as we talking IN FRONT OF THE IMPERIAL DROID, I'm not going to say anything that says we're in favour of droid independence.
GM: Good idea.
Fendri: We do need a replacement astromech.
Fakybe: Well, if the Imperials insist it isn't theirs, I suppose we can.

The authorities on Fomos are just as suspicious as the Imperials.

Fakybe: We only brought the droids here because they didn't need life support en route! And they were Trade Federation droids! They were junk!
Forvuk: You're not saying the Imperials were outsmarted by Trade Federation droids, are you?
Imperials: *glower*
GM: Either way, it's going to be next to impossible to get legitimate contract work from the authorities on Fomos, because they don't trust you anymore.
Fendri: So we go straight to the Hutts.
Fakybe: *headdesk*

Mogul has already set up his mansion with all the luxuries that befits a budding Hutt crimelord or Hollywood producer.

Mogul the Hutt: Hohoho, scum, what you do for me?
Fakybe: Nice to see the Hutts are living up to their racial stereotypes.
Mogul's mojordomo: My master assumes you are going to Nulhutta to meet with your confederates.
Us: ...
GM: He's a Hutt - as far as they are concerned there are no innocent explanations.
Fakybe: I think we're going to have to take the Hutt job - it's not like we can get legal work anymore.
GM: Mogul wants you to do a simple favour for him on Nulhutta.
Fakybe: So, do we stop digging our hole when we reach subspace?

He wants us to find mercenaries to protect his illustrious presence.

GM: He wants you to acquire mercenaries, beer, and do a small favour. Knowing the Hutts, it'll be the last thing that gets you killed.

Of course, Forvuk wants to take advantage of the hiring, to find the people responsible for the death of his family.

Fakybe: Now hiring - mercenary/bodyguards. Special consideration for those with previous experience on Drelkh?

We also have to go see the famous opera-singing Hutt, Melba. Who is Mogul's mother.

Fakybe: So, did she eat her husband or what?
GM: Well, yes.
Forvuk: So, do we have to go find a new husband for her?
Fendri: WE ARE NOT PLAYING MATCHMAKERS TO HUTTS.
Fakybe: Yente the Hutt.

Actually, all we need to do is pick up a bundle of stuff from Mogul's old room.

Fakybe: How much you want to bet that Customs on Fomos will be waiting for us?
GM: Well, of course, you'll have just come back from Nulhutta.
Fakybe: That's not how this will work - Melba will have contacted Fomos to tell them what we're carrying. And then Mogul will bind us to his service by paying our bail.

There's still no sign of the droids and our ship either.

GM: What's your supposition?
Forvuk: They failed an astrogation check and flew into the sun?
Fendri: ... They flew off and joined the Rebellion, didn't they.

Another thing we could try - find out wherever M-PSR-E0 was staying when he was on Nulhutta, and see if he left any clues. After all, he was only planning to be on Fomos temporarily, before he got involved with our gang of idiots. We break in and convince his security computer to cough up an emergency contact. Maybe we'll be able to figure out what actually happened, who conned who, and all without the Hutts, Pirates, Bountyhunters, BOSS or the Imperials killing us in our beds.

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Pathfinders - The Streets of Magnimar : The Killing in the Name of Competence Caper
Pre-game chat - rocket science and why Kenya is the best place to build an Orbital Railgun

GM: Evacuated Launch Facility.
Me: Just call it the BFG and be done with it. Everyone else will.

GM: Where were we?
Gillert: We were fishing with a wizard and a kobold on a string.

GM: Pass me the critical hit deck. We'll need the big one because it's Muskie rolling.
Zin's player: .... Fuck You.
GM: Past Participation Predicts Piss-Poor Performance.
Zin's player: *rolls, headdesks*
Harshal: So, Zin, just how badly have you fucked us?

Zin's failure to take out the magical alarm bell doesn't screw us completely, because the rest of us were already swinging in.

GM: You assumed Zin would succeed in taking out the bell?
Ys: Actually we assumed he would fail - which is why we're all going in at the same time.

Harshal soon learns the difficulties associated with being the only party member in the room without darkvision, trying to stab somebody in a dark room, and stabs the mattress instead of the Shoanti investigator.

Tannis: 'Die! ... this guy is made of straw'
Ys: Attacking the strawman :D

GM: So, the only one not bloodied is the Shoanti sorceress.
Gillert: Whoops.

The sorceress rolls under one of the beds, and uses Ray of Enfeeblement on Ys.

Ys: Bitch! Right, step back, draw out an Acid Flask, and make her eat it.

The Shoanti investigators defend themselves against a surprise attack by superior numbers with the success usually limited to PCs. And then the door to the room opens.

GM: Open/Close - it's a wonderful cantrip.
Gillert: Logic dictates they're going to make a run for it.
GM: What have we said about logic?
Ys: It only allows you to be wrong with authority.

GM: The Shoanti scout realises Harshal is no threat and rummages in his pack for a sword. Harshal gets an attack of opportunity.
Harshal: *rolls and headdesks*
GM: And now the scout has a sword. And because it's funny, the Sorceress hits Zin with another Ray of Enfeeblement.
Zin: *falls over and flails helplessly under the weight of all the gear he's trying to carry*

Tannis: Godammit Harshal kill that Scout!
Harshal OOC: ..... did you just just say my name? Mid-op?
Tannis: .... uh...

The Scout jumps out the window.

Harshal: Pity we can't throw Zin and his backpack at him.
Zin: I would be an improvised weapon at this point.
GM: Yeah, but you don't have the equipment to throw something that heavy. And you can't see him in the dark anyway.
Ys: Which is why I'm the one going after him.

The Hunter is taken down, but the Sorceress is now protected with Mage Armour.

GM: She's also begging for her life.
Tannis: Bitch. *stab*
Harshal: Rightio - draw those Nightscale daggers and finishes her off.
GM: There's a streak of red and white as one of her tattoos turns into a fox and runs for it.

Harshal and Tannis: What the fuck was that?

Tannis collects it, after it knocks itself out leaping from a third story window.

Tannis: Some kind of small dog?
Harshal: Fox.
Tannis: Is that some kind of country thing? Well, I know somebody that will buy it...
GM: Familiar. Worse, Sage Familiar. Ah, wizards, creating intelligent creatures that get left to wander the countryside when the wizard gets killed.

Meanwhile, Ys is trying to track the scout. Despite her Elven heritage, tracking is not one of her skills. And it's night. And raining.

GM: At least he's trying to use the back alleys, so I'm counting that as soft ground.
Ys: 23.
GM: He runs about 400 feet, and then you shiv him in the dark.

Harshal moves a chair in front of the door, to delay any investigation.

GM: The only thing anybody has heard in the rest of the inn is the Alarm bell clanging. Which only some of them might recognise as an alarm spell. 'Somebody is getting robbed. And it's now muffled... and louder again. OK, time to get my armour on. But it's still not my problem'

Zin tries to loot the hunter's armoured coat, and Harshal grabs the scout's backpack. Then we all disperse to throw off any potential pursuit.

GM: The fight would have been a lot shorter if any of you had had some kind of light source ready.
Tannis: If I'd remembered Gillert had Colour Spray I'd have had him use that first.
GM: How could you forget he had Colour Spray? He used it in the first fight!
Tannis: Because I don't have a good memory.

The loot -

Tannis: Magical Fox.
GM: Wait, what? It was a familiar.
Tannis: Well, I don't know that.
GM: Good point. As far as you know it's actually the sorceress. Or a fox that was wearing a people-suit.

The Watch do come around to see Harshal in the morning. After all, he was the last one to talk to them. The Watch Commander takes an unholy glee in dropping Harshal in it, although Harshal's entirely truthful explanation that the Shoanti had asked him to investigate graverobbing does deflect his attention. He still has to go around to the inn and identify the bodies, though.

GM: Yeah, it's definitely the people you murdered last night.
Gillert: 'They're just where I left them'
GM: You can already hear the guards talking in the room as you come in.
Harshal: It's not Colon, is it?
GM: No, it - goddamit, I drew The Fool - it IS Colon.
Colon: It's obvious innit - the bint should have been in her room. Snuck in for a bit of rumpy-pumpy, the other bloke took offence, stabbed them both, tried to leg it, and ran into the local gangs. Easy.

Harshal attempts to portray total innocence. Happily, even rolling one on the bluff is enough to convince the Watch, partly because Harshal such a good lying snake.

GM: And partly because they want it to be true.
Harshal: And if it is true, it means less paperwork.

Unfortunately, the offsider is that worryingly astute watchman.

Watchman: If it was a crime of passion, explain the potion bottles.
Harshal: .... A keen observation. That would indeed imply premeditated murder.
Gillert: 'Or they were kinky'.
Harshal: .... yes, that's entirely possible, Sergeant Colon, but I believe 'sophisticated interests' like that are more of a city thing. Can I see the bottles?
Watch Commander: Not unless you want to apply to the justices for a Warrant of Investigation, and take the case off our hands.
Harshal: ... tempting, but no.

The Watchmen are also admiring the equipment that got left behind.

Harshal: Not theft, then?
Watchmen: Doesn't look like it.
GM: I'm sure it's fridge brilliance, but the scout's backpack being the one you stole DOES suggest he was robbed after he fled. I couldn't believe it when you said you were grabbing his.
Harshal's player: OK, I admit I wasn't planning that.

Tannis also discovers the fox can understand human speech, after he's passed it onto to Iria for study.

Tannis: No invasive stuff, we might have a use for this.
Iria: But then I can't do anything!

Tannis: Are you going to be co-operative?
Fox: *Three taps for maybe*
Tannis: Your mistress is dead.
Gillert: Do you know who did it?
Fox: .... *two taps for no*
Harshal: Well of course it'd say that, wouldn't it.

The GM checks some rules, and is finding out how hard it is to talk to an familiar, since they aren't ordinary animals anymore.

GM: ..... Actually... I might do something with that. *evil chuckle*

Sala No-name might be able to talk to the fox, but there's no way that would be a good idea, since Harshal has figured out she's a Wild-blooded, probably Fae, Sorceress, AND a Shoanti. On the other hand, she does assure us the fox familiar with probably lose all it's abilities over the next few days. Not entirely true, but a merely intelligent animal isn't as dangerous as one that can testify in court.

Harshal: Problem solved.

Tannis: I feel.. that I ... am a nice man.
GM: Nice wording.
Gillert: He actually said that with a straight face.
Tannis: I'm evil, but I am humane.
Ys: True.
Harshal: *raises skeptical eyebrow*

Translations via Sala No-name, and her wolf, to the fox, and back.

Tannis: I believe you're going to lose all your magical abilities over the next few days. How do you feel about this?
Fox: I dunno, how do you feel like scratching about in the dirt and throwing your poo at people?
Tannis: .. I believe some people enjoy it, but it's not for me.

Harshal: Tannis, may I have a word outside?
Tannis: Alright.
Harshal: Do we really want a witness who can identify us by scent running around?
Tannis: I'm confident it can't find me. And I don't particularly care.
Harshal: Well, alrighty then. *mutters* At least I have an alibi.
Tannis: I did the deed. YOU did fuck-all in the entire fight.

The fox doesn't want to be given to another mage, or lose his Familiar abilities.

Fox: I don't want either - but I can't afford to bring her back!

Tannis eventually convinces the familiar that it will be looked after, as befits any intelligent creature in Magnimar.

Fox: You're a good human.
Harshal: *snorts*
Iria: Actually, that's a good question? How many intelligent ex-familiars are running around out there? I need to ask some questions....

GM: There's a reason Sala No-Name is such a good information broker. She casts Ears of the City and Commune With Birds, and now she knows everything that's been happening in Magnimar in the last day. 

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So, a couple days ago, I was running for one of my many Champions groups, New Frontier. 

 

The current team consists of:

 

Capacitor: Arrogant scientist and energy absorber redirector

Celestia: Non-Earth Human who wields the power of the Galactic Soul, a source of cosmic energy. 

Lady Liberty: Insane mystical defender of freedom with mystic armor.

Vasily: Temporally displaced Russian Brick

Garaja Nari: Vudra-infused Americanized Indian

Rogue: Invisibility generating Ape in a Man Suit (This will become important soon.)

 

So, the characters encounter a villain named Manyapes. Manyapes produces more apes every time he's struck physically. This leads to problems. Figuring out a way to track him after he places a bug in Rogues apartment (Because the gorillas he is roguing against are pretty darn sure he's also a gorilla) and a horrific fight in Rogue's apartment, the heroes track him to an abandoned SPIDER base where they previously fought one of their old enemies. 

 

When they get there, as Rogue  disabling alarms, Lady Liberty busts in.

 

Rogue: I can go home, you know. 

 

So, they make their way down, now that the apes are alerted, and, of course, they decide to have a conversation with the gorillas. There are two scientist type gorillas, Gilberto and Jose Orilla (Yes, those really are their names), who were considered brilliant enough by the people of Ape Island to have their brains transplanted into gorilla bodies, and Manyapes. Sitting in the center of the room is their temporary power source for the base, a tiny chunk of glowing blue rock in a console with some advanced technology they don't have time to analyze. Jose Orilla is invisible. Floating above the console is Capacitor's archenemy, Bill Watson, in an insubstantial state, because he's been separated since his last fight with the characters and molecularly exists in two places at once. Bill was sucked into the energy source when the Apes rebuilt the base, and they really don't know what to do about him, which was why they bugged Rogue's apartment in the first place...

 

Gilberto: Buenas Noches

 

Capacitor: And good evening to you, sir. Please desist in whatever you're doing, and we will go easy on you.

 

Gilberto: You are a very clever man, sir. We would like to give you a reward for your intelligence. 

 

Capacitor: What sort of reward is this?

 

Gilberto: We would transplant you into a body like ours, and you would join our side. 

 

Capacitor: No thank you, but when we defeat you, I would like to compare scientific notes.

 

Gilberto: You will have plenty of time to discuss this in your new body. 

 

Combat Ensues....

 

During combat, Rogue tries to sneak around the side, as he can also go invisible.

 

Me: Please show me the exact nature of your path. 

 

Rogue: (Tracking it on the battlemap) Is there a trap here? 

 

Me: Not exactly. You bump into something. 

 

Rogue: What? 

 

Me: So as two invisible gorillas collide in the corner...

 

Rogue: I can't see him?

 

Me: That's okay. He can't see you, either! 

 

As the fight continues, Ag Vandar, cybernetic leader of Ape Island, shows up, because he's about to lose two of his top scientists, and he can't let that happen. Ag Vandar generates cosmic energy through the power of the bluish rock. They throw everything they have at him. Garaja Nari, whose rolls are on fire, is pasting everything they have with arrows that rain fire from the sky, there are unconscious apes all over the place, and it's general chaos. Now. Please refer to the special effects section of what the characters do at the top of the chart before reading the rest of this. 

 

Realizing that with Ag Vandar in the fight, they cannot win, one of the heroes flies over and hits the self destruct button. The chunk of meteor generates a massive energy wave. Everything in the combat takes 15d6 of Damage. BUT...

 

The massive amount of energy absorption, redirection, cosmic energy, quantum mass displacement (man suits), and advanced technological devices involving similar energies and warping space and mass creates a colossal disaster. Garaja is knocked out. Lady Liberty is knocked out. The two scientist gorillas are slingshotted around the globe to random locations. The desintegrator pistol, used to apparently kill Manyapes, is within the radius, making things even weirder. Ag Vandar is sucked through a hole in the dimensional fabric. Vassily reappears at the Center of the Earth, in the lands of the Pterodactyl Men. Bill (remember Bill?) turns solid, so there are now two of him in separate locations. Capacitor, since their powers are opposites, is now insubstantial. And when Rogue wakes up, since his Man Suit was left behind, he's in chains, somewhere in the world, in a cage.

 

And the Monster Maker, a lovely lady with a grudge against dozens of other superheroes, is grinning at him through the bars of the cage. "Looks like someone has some explaining to do." 

 

So, yeah. It was a blast. I have no idea how they're going to fix this stuff. But it was awesome.

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A few from last night's FH game, including a follow-up to this quote from last session:

A few episodes ago, Father Edmondo got poisoned, tortured and generally mistreated, and was hallucinating. The others are giving him a hard time about it.

Thyri: "You got into a theological debate with a lamp..."

Edmondo: "It was a good discussion."

Thyri: "...and you lost."

This week one of the PCs gets into an argument with Edmondo -

Aeddan: "Great, now I’m the lamp."

Thyri: "No, the lamp won." :sneaky:

 

Our heroes are debating the implications of some new information (which would require too much context to explain and isn’t relevant to the punchline) -

Geralt: “It doesn’t have to mean ____, it might just mean _____…”

Abida: “Yes because the approaching apocalypse means we need to take optimistic assumptions.”

 

The GM (me) is making up a new NPC on the fly -

Edmondo: "Who is this guy?"

GM: "He's...a trapper."

Edmondo: "OK, what's his name."

GM: "Um, John." (beat) "He's Trapper John." :ugly:

 

Lastly, I was kindof proud of this little monologue, which I totally adapted stole from Ardant du Picq -

NPC: "Among my people, it is said that five brave strangers will not dare to attack a lion. But five others, less brave, but trained together, knowing each other well and sure of each others' reliability, will not hesitate but attack resolutely. Some call this the essence of training armies in a nutshell. If you hope to defeat the lion that you face, the five of you must become an army, rather than five strangers who happen to be traveling together."

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When I showed up at my friends' house for gaming last night, their daughter was sitting in the living room with a friend.  Her mom (who plays Maker) mentioned that I'm the gamemaster for the night's game.

 

Daughter:  That means he's the one who's going to murder someone.

Me:  What?!  Did you read through my notes?  How did you know I planned to murder one of them?

Maker's player:  Yeah, yeah.  We've heard it before.

Me:  (moves behind her so her daughter can see me but my friend can't, and starts pointing at Maker's player and mouthing, "Her".

 

For various reasons (other GM running his game, then holidays plus a death in the family) I haven't run my Champions game since late November, so I put together two sets of news items for last night's session.

 

Me:  I wanted to mention what you've all been up to all month.

Pops:  We have real lives, you know.  We don't have to be fighting people constantly.

 

Circe:  (reading how Honey Badger stopped a drive-by shooting)  I can totally see you flipping a car over and banging it on the ground repeatedly.

 

Maker, formerly a NASA astronaut, is asked by her UNTIL Contact, Lt. Jaxon Roe, to lend her technical expertise to an UNTIL investigation of a recently-found Mechanon base in Canada.  (Someone spotted a supervillain group fighting Mechanon sentry bots in the woods, and UNTIL backtracked the battle damage to the mine where the Mechanon complex was hidden.)

 

Lt. Roe:  (After explaining why they need her)  So, are you willing to go?
Maker:  I get to play with high-tech Mechanon toys?  (grin)  I'm in!

 

Lt. Roe:  To clarify, we need Li Jenkins, astronaut.  Not Maker the superheroine.

Honey Badger:  Li Jenkins?!  As in, "LEEEEROOOOYYYY JENKINS!!!!"?

Maker:  Shut up.  Leroy's my father.

 

She is flown by UNTIL jet to Montreal, and then onto an UNTIL Grav-Sled to the hidden Mechanon complex.  Seeing one of the news items about the new UNTIL Grav-Sled (the Cordero, replacing the 1980s-era Martinez Grav-Sleds), she's all excited. 

 

Maker:  So, how fast does this new grav-sled go?
GM:  Sorry, the one you're riding in is one of the old ones.

Maker:  Awwwww.... (pouts)

Malarky:  The new ones are still in testing.  Be patient.

 

She meets some UNTIL techs, one of whom recognizes her from her time as an astronaut.

Sgt. Ramos:  It's a shame what happened on Gateway.

Maker:  Yeah.  But I survived so it's all good.

GM:  (OOC)  From his comments, it seems he knows you're a gremlin magnet.

Maker:  What do you mean, gremlin magnet?
GM:  The disad.  On your sheet.

Maker:  I don't have any such disad!  See, there's her psych lim to always be the best, her scientific curiousity...

GM:  Keep reading...

Maker:  Wait!  Social limitation:  gremlin magnet.  Where did that come from?!

GM:  It's been on your character from the start.  Honestly...  (sigh)

 

She also meets members of Canada's superhero team, the Sentinels.

GM:  There's A-Man, Adamantine...

Maker:  A-Man?

GM:  Hey, I didn't name him.
Nexus:  Is he played by the Fonz?

 

In addition to a robot assembly plant, the complex included a silo, though the rocket inside was blown up by the supervillains as a distraction while they stole stuff from the robot assembly plant.  With A-Man's help, they dig through the rubble and find the remains of several dozen mini-bots, each about the size and shape of a thermos, which were apparently the payload of the rocket.  With much experimentation, she figures out that the mini-bots were designed to project a localized gravity field.  Working in tandem, several hundred of them could create a giant gravity lens to redirect or focus light.

 

Maker:  Like a giant laser beam?
GM:  From your calculations, it looks like Mechanon wasn't planning anything so focused as an individual or even a building.  It would cover whole countries.  Y'know, just something to give global warming a kick-start.

Malarky:  (OOC)  They worry about a 1.5 degree increase?  Let's see how they like 10 degrees!

 

GM:  And the best part is, if someone launched something to take down the gravity lens, the mini-bots can just disengage and scatter, then come together elsewhere and start up again. 

 

GM:  From what you're finding, it doesn't look like Mechanon was quite ready for launch.

Maker:  They the rocket shouldn't have been fueled.

GM:  Good point.  And yet it was.  Which tells you...?

Maker:  So, did one of the villains fuel it up?

Honey Badger:  Wait... did someone feel up a rocket?!

Maker:  Fuel.  Not feel.

 

Maker presents her info and is ready to leave. 

 

GM:  You overhear the UNTIL techs and one of the Sentinels mention Titanium.  Though not the metal.  It sounds like they're referring to a person.

Maker:  Is there a villain named Titanium?
GM:  As a matter of fact, there is.  Member of a group called the Heavy Metals.  (pause)  You never asked about the villains who attacked the place, so I felt the need to spoon-feed you the info.

 

Malarky:  When you leave, do you steal one of the thermos bots?

Maker:  Of course not!  I'd never do that!

Malarky:  Like the VIPER bot collection you have?  Face it, dear, you're compulsive.

GM:  (to Maker)  Make an EGO roll to not try sneaking one out.

 

(more to follow)

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Continuing the events of Metal Mayhem (part 1):

 

Shadowboxer (driving a cab in secret ID) discovers he's being followed by a guy who keeps checking an old military compass clipped to his motorcycle handlebars.  Through trial and error, he and Malarky discover that the compass is magically detecting the mind link the team uses constantly (even in secret ID).  Checking the guy while he's sleeping, Malarky discovers that the guy has both a divination and an evocation spell on him.  Specifically, one spell to detect telepathic contact, and another to trigger hellfire.

 

Circe:  What you're saying is, if I try to tromp through his noggin, his head will explode.
GM:  It's just a hypothesis Malarky came up with.  You'd better test it.  Y'know, for science.  (evil grin)

 

The team's PR guy, T.J. O'Roarke contacts Nexus.  (And special mad props to death tribble for creating the idea of Rhode Island Red.)

 

T.J.:  There's a superhero from Rhode Island who's checking in with you guys.  Normally, I'd call Honey Badger in to talk to him, but in this case I don't think it's a wise idea.

Nexus:  Why not?  Who is this guy?

T.J.:  He's called Red.  Specifically, Rhode Island Red.

Pops:  Rhode Island Red?!  What is he, a giant chicken?

GM:  (shows players a picture of the character, who is indeed a chicken-man)

Pops:  Yeah, best not call Honey Badger.  He'll show up with barbecue sauce.

T.J.:  It's generally bad PR when one hero eats another hero for lunch.

 

GM reads the bit from death tribble describing Red.

 

GM:  (dramatic voice)  Who will Cry Fowl and stand firm against injustice?  In a world of danger you need someone who will not chicken out.  When others have flown the coop he remains steadfast.  The Battling Bantam, the Resourceful Rooster, the Courageous Cockerel, behold!  Rhode Island Red!  (pause)  I have to admit, I didn't write that, or come up with the character idea.

Maker:  You just loved the puns too much.

GM:  Yep!

 

Pops:  He's probably into cockfighting.
GM:  He does practice Kung Fu.  Well, a variation.  He calls it Cock Fu.

Nexus:  No.  You didn't just go there.

GM:  I did.

 

Red:  (while tilting his head and bobbing it back and forth repeatedly)  I'm investigating the kidnapping AWK! of pilot Lauren Hamilton and the theft of a Bombardier Global 6000 jet from Pegasus Air in Providence on December 1st.  Since then, I've tracked it to Millennium City, Montreal, Chicago, AWK!  back to Millennium City, and now to Boston...

Nexus:  Is he really doing that?  The squawking and head thing?
GM:  Yes, he is.  Kinda has to.  It's not a costume.  He's a man-chicken.

Pops:  You need to stand up and do the wings too.  Get the full effect.

 

Nexus:  (OOC) Does he lay giant eggs?
GM:  (sarcastic)  Yeah, giant rooster eggs.

Malarky:  He's a rooster, not a hen.

Nexus:  Oh.  Yeah.  Right.  Never mind.

 

Red:  This is the first time I've actually caught up to the jet.  I found some papers when I snuck in last night...

Nexus:  Wait, you snuck into the jet?  How?

Red:  (mildly offended)  I have skills.  I am a private eye.

Nexus:  I just thought you'd kinda stand out.

Red:  I did it early in the morning when nobody was around.  (pause)  I always get up early.

 

It should be noted that the chicken puns ("winging it", "ran afowl", etc.) were flying fast and furious all night. 

 

Malarky:  (makes EGO roll by a lot)  It should be noted that Malarky, master of tomfoolery and pranks, is keeping a totally straight face and not cracking any jokes at all.

 

The papers have doodles of circuit diagrams and equations. 

Nexus:  We'll want to show these to Maker.  She's our tech guru.

Honey Badger:  (OOC)  Will you be able to read that chickenscratch?

Maker:  (to HB)  Are you through yet?
Honey Badger:  (grin)  Nope.  I got a million of 'em.  I can do this all night.

 

Red explains that the people who hired the plane and pilot, and then absconded with them, are likely drugging the pilot to make her cooperate.

Malarky:  That's kind of a chickenshit move.
GM:  Really?  I thought you weren't going to go there.
Malarky:  Sorry.  I'm weak.

 

The players learn some of Red's abilities.

 

GM:  He has a Crow of Justice.  Adds to his PRE, gives him a 10d6 Presence Attack.

Pops:  Holy crap!  That would make anyone run away.

Shadowboxer:  But really, would you want to take the chance of getting beaten up by a chicken?  Think what it would do to your rep.

 

(more to come)

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One quote from the beginning that I forgot:

 

Circe:  (reading a news article about PRIMUS honoring the hero team for their hard work over the past year)  Why are they giving us an award?  Do they hate us?

 

(Player paranoia is a funny thing.  Thus far in this campaign, I don't think I've had a villain team attack the team once during an awards ceremony in their honor, and they've had several.  One heroine was even knighted by a foreign government for nearly sacrificing her life stopping a nuke from hitting their capital.  Nobody attacked or disrupted the ceremony.  I guess the takeaway is, players are never happy.)

 

On with the show.  Red shows the heroes some pictures of the people who have been flying around in the jet, from security cameras at each airport.

 

GM:  ...one guy looks young and is completely bald; one is big and bulky, with wavy black hair and a pornstache...

Maker:  Did you say 'pornstache'?  :shock:

 

Shadowboxer makes an intuitive leap.

 

Shadowboxer:  When was the jet in Montreal?
Red:  December 11.  Left the 18th.

Shadowboxer:  Was that the same time as the attack on the Mechanon base in Canada?

GM:  Maaaaaybe.

 

Looking at the notes Red found in the jet, Maker realizes that someone is modifying the same gravity lens idea that she investigated at the Mechanon base.  Which makes it very likely the people Red is trying to catch up with are the Heavy Metals. 

 

GM:  To clarify, don't confuse the Heavy Metals with Road Kill, whose lead singer is named Heavy Metal. They Heavy Metals aren't a band.

Honey Badger:  And yet, I'll bet they still sing better than Road Kill.

 

UNTIL lets the heroes know that the main thing taken from the Mechanon base is one of his repair/rebuild units.  Also that a quantity of adamantium was stolen for a metallurgy lab at Millennium City University, and the guts from an old Mechanon shell at the MC Science Museum.
 

Malarky:  So, they're going to build their own Mechanon?

Lt. Roe:  Rhodium's not stupid enough to do something like that.  Thus far, they've been pretty smart and careful.

Shadowboxer:  They'll at least make sure it has a switch, for Good and Evil. 

Lt. Roe:  Besides, they don't have access to the kind of resources Mechanon has.  We think they've already built a robot, a scaled-down version of Mechanon.  Probably programmed to be loyal to them.

Pops:  (heavy sarcasm)  Perfectly safe, I'm sure.  I don't see any way that can go wrong.

 

The heroes contact the PRIMUS base as well as UNTIL to warn both organizations.

 

Honey Badger: (to Red) I'll bet you don't want to meet the Colonel...

Red:  Why would you say that?  I've heard that Col. Hardin is a consummate professional, and I look forward to working with him.

Honey Badger:  ...

Maker:  Remember, dear.  Red doesn't have a sense of humor.  At all.

 

Meanwhile, the company Malarky works at in his secret ID is EcoOp (a clean energy, environmentally friendly company), and his work computer (specially tricked out with its own firewall and anti-hacking stuff) sends him a text that someone is trying to hack in.  Backtracking the hack, he discovers that the hacker spent most of his/her time looking at info on EcoOp's solar cells, and then started nosing around into other stuff before running into Malarky's enhanced security.

GM:  As you're tracing what the hacker did, you notice that someone just placed a relatively large order for the exact solar cells the hacker was looking at.  Are you going to interfere with it in any way?

Malarky:  Nope.  Let the sale go through.  It's more money for the people who pay my salary.  Who's paying for it, and where's it being shipped?

GM:  The order came from Montgomery International, and it's to be next-day shipped to an address in Chelsea.

Pops:  Next day delivery?  Who is this, Amazon?

 

They check out the delivery address, with is a disused warehouse.

 

GM:  There's a new looking sign out front:  Monty Haul Cartage.  "Transporting your Treasures Securely."

 

Inside, they find three hired guns (a female bodybuilder, an ex-con, and a former military guy).  Also a parked, empty refrigerated truck.  Circe reads the bodybuilder's mind. 

 

GM:  She was hired to guard the warehouse and receive a shipment.  When it arrives, they're to load it into the truck, sweep for bugs, make a call, and then leave.  They're not supposed to look into the boxes, but she's planning to.  Doesn't want to find out she signed for drugs or a dead body.'

Circe:  Why a refrigerated truck?

Honey Badger:  Camouflage.

GM:  Yep.  Everyone uses plain old panel trucks.  They're instantly suspicious.

 

Malarky:  Why did they come to Boston?  They could have ordered the solar cells and had them shipped anywhere.  What else do they need for that gravity lens idea?

GM:  Framework, electronics, the gravity manipulators...

Malarky:  The gravity manipulators - anyone in town make those?
GM:  As a matter of fact, Dyna-Tech, the company who did most of the parts for the new UNTIL Grav-SLeds, has a small factory on the west side of Boston.

Circe:  So they're probably going to break into Dyna-Tech while we're waiting across town for the shipment to arrive.

Red:  Why do that before they have the solar cells?  Why not just wait for the shipment, and then hit Dyna-Tech.  After all, a bird in the hand... damn it, now I'm doing it.

The shipment is delivered, loaded into the truck, call made, and the guards take off.  Malarky teleports into the refrigerated truck, tags a crate with a magical beacon, and teleports back out.

 

Circe:  When are they going to get here? 

Honey Badger:  Why would they all show up, just to drive a truck away?

Circe:  I don't want all of them.  Just two or three, so we can whittle down their numbers.
GM:  After an hour or so, nobody has showed up.  It appears they didn't read the script.

 

Malarky:  Maybe nobody's going to drive it off.  Maybe they'll just teleport in, and then teleport away with the goods.

GM:  Funny you should mention that.  Your magical beacon is suddenly sending a signal from somewhere other than the warehouse.

Malarky:  I hate it when the bad guys get smart.

 

They track it to another refrigerated truck, in Roxbury (several klicks away).

 

GM:  It's heading in the general direction of the airport, but not directly.  It's taking a circuitous route.

Shadowboxer:  Maybe the guy that hired the driver said, "For an extra hundred bucks, can you hit all the Pokemon Go stops in town?

Malarky:  I want a Pikachu!

 

The heroes / players don't know it, but one of the Heavy Metals spotted them tailing the truck.  Thinking they might lure the heroes out of town, Rhodium sends the pilot out to the plane after the solar cells are loaded up, with orders to take off and fly elsewhere.  But the heroes have other ideas.

Malarky:  I'm not so worried about the solar cells.  But it looks like they're drugging the pilot to get her cooperation.  So after she closes up the jet, Pops can teleport in and teleport her to the PRIMUS base for safekeeping.

Red:  Want me to stay with her at the PRIMUS base?
Malarky:  No, I think we'll need your help against the Heavy Metals.  We don't have a lot of front-line fighters.  Just Honey Badger and Shadowboxer.  The rest of us are more like support.
Pops:  Wait, I thought he was the guest star in our comic book.  Are we actually the guest stars in his comic book?

 

Shadowboxer:  How big is the Dyna-Tech factory?  Pretty big?
GM:  Well, it's not too big.  It's big enough to, say, fit on a standard battle map at a scale of one hex = 2 meters.

 

So the heroes are keeping a close eye on the Dyna-Tech facility and gearing up to take on the Heavy Metals and their Mechanon Junior, with the aid of Rhode Island Red, an UNTIL strike force, a Silver Avenger, and a PRIMUS assault team.  Plus, Dyna-Tech has four guards in sets of TURTLE Armor.  Should be a cake walk for the good guys, right? 

 

Of course, villains have Hunteds too.  Especially those who dare to steal from Mechanon, trash a base of his, and build their own lackey in his image.  Heh, heh, heh.

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Of course, villains have Hunteds too.  Especially those who dare to steal from Mechanon, trash a base of his, and build their own lackey in his image.  Heh, heh, heh.

 

Bolo you are positively devilish! I love it... Not sure if it helps or hinders you...  Didn't Mechanon create a love called the Engineer?

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I figure Mechanon will hack into Dyna-Tech's security cameras to wait for the Heavy Metals to show up and watch the fight when the heroes pop in (they love their group megascale teleport), making its move when numbers are whittled down a bit to trash anybody remaining (concentrating on Rhodium and Kid Bronze, who built the Adamant robot, and Maker, who likes to capture VIPER robots and reprogram them as unpaid-for Followers).  If the heroes are smart, they'll immediately convince any remaining villains to join them in stopping Mechanon. 

 

As to the Engineer, according to the Book of the Machine, she was created by accident and Mechanon considers her an abomination.  It did create Mechana, a "female" version of itself, as a mate.  But as far as Mechanon is concerned, it would be completely natural for mechanized "life" to create other mechanized "life."  Another thing entirely for humans or other organics to dare to create - and "enslave" - mechanized "life."

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Pathfinder - Streets of Magnimar - The Thief On Thief on Thief Caper
Pathfinder - Magnimar, continues, as as usual the Harroe Deck in use by the GM and Gillert's character is reading to some interesting random problems - for a certain level of interesting.

Harshal's Player: What I'd like to know is why is there so much kobold porn on Tumblr.
All: ...
GM: Wait, what????
Harshal's Player: I wonder if Kobold Princess has something to do with it.
GM: Probably - you know how things snowball on the internet.
Gillert's player: *shudders*
GM: I bet I can guess where YOUR mind just went. Fun movie, Clerks.

Rumours - the Nightscales have settled their remaining differences, after the leadership struggle.

GM: The previous leader gambled and lost. He shouldn't have lost, but he hadn't taken PCs into account.
Harshal OoC: Rolled badly on the Wandering Adventurers table.

The new leader of the Thieves Guild is one Athar Torn.

Tannis: Meanwhile, we're looking into the Tannis Oberech Home For Wayward Familiars.

Of course, such an undertaking will be a drain on finances, as will rehousing all those kobolds.

Zin: I'm fine with raiding another strange wizard's mansion.
Gillert: They're not called wizard mansions - they're called magical deathtraps.

On the other hand, hiring the kobolds out as work teams generates income. Get to work, you little scaley buggers! Our work on the docks and warehouses is also attracting renewed interest in that part of Magnimar - some people are already showing tourists around.

GM: Which basically involved hiring our armed guards to accompany you - since you still need to go through Underbridge to get there. So other people are already making money from your enterprise.

Tannis: We need to put a stop to that.
GM: ... These guys have no concept of economics, do they.
Ys: I think they've already invented vertical integration. Whereas I'm a fan of vertical disintegration.

Gathering info on Athar Torn. He's a cult leader, of the Elemental Queen of the Inferno.

Harshal: Even with the most benign interoperation of 'cult', this is not a good sign.
Gillert: 'We're a book-reading club - over here is the King in Yellow, the Necronomicon...'

Consulting the world map as we investigate Athar's background - the map with such useful annotations as 'Huge International Clusterfuck', 'Pirates and More fuckin' Pirates'.

GM: There's a lot of interesting stuff in Bungabungaland.
Harshal: And we're not going to see any of it, since we're city folk and will never leave town. Magnimar is the best city in the world - who would ever want to leave?
GM: Top three, sure.

GM: Athar made a statement - you didn't find out what the statement WAS, but apparently there were a number of injuries, and they other gangs are happily following their lead now. So it's possible he had the other gang leaders made an example of.
Harshal: I wonder if it's related to that murder in the alley a few weeks back.
Gillert: The one we perpetrated or the other one?

Harshal: If we keep asking questions about Athar, and the cult, and the Nightscales or whatever evolves to replace them, it's going to attract attention back to us.
Gillert: True.
GM: Maybe - but as new businessmen - Up-and-coming venture capitalists -
Tannis: Thankyou.
GM: - you'd have a good reason to wonder what a renewed Thieve's Guild will mean for your business.

And of course, sooner or later people in suits are going to show up for their cut. How do we deal with them when they do?

Tannis: This is mostly directed at Ys -
Ys: You don't want me to kill them, I get that. But I've recently acquired a new toy - see? It has a flat side.
Tannis: Very good.

Gillert: OK, if they're polite we'll deal in good faith, but if they're stand-over thugs-
Ys: We beat them unconscious and dump them in an alley to recover.

The inevitable mobsters do indeed show up - but they're Nightscales, not Sczarni.

Tannis: And who might you be?
Mobsters: Our names are currently unimportant. But you may call me Mr Black, and my associate is Mr White.

They want to enter a business agreement, using our docks to import certain goods. They assure us that none of the goods are actually illegal in Magnimar, that they'll expect us to deal with any Customs inspections honestly, and will deal with any transport problems offered by Underbridge.

Harshal: Well, they're certainly taking a weight off my mind. If the stuff isn't illegal...
Ys: Of course, they've said nothing about whether it was illegal to export from the original port.
GM: Magnimar generally doesn't care - that sort of thing is the other country's problem.

Mobsters: One more thing - some of the goods will arrive in sealed jars. It is important that only us or the Customs inspector open them. The contents might be spoiled by exposure to air.
All: .... Okaaaay

The contract Harshal draws up after the negotiations is actual very favourable - although we have no idea what the weird metal objects and stranger fabrics coming in from Alkenstar, and glassware and the mysterious jars from Osirion, are actually for.

Gillert: Ah... what do these jars actually look like?
Harshal: They don't have animal heads for stoppers, do they?
GM: They're not canopic jars, no.

Gillert: Can we avoid importing or exporting cattle for a while?
GM: Well, there's one cow that would be a really dick move to export.

Hanging around during the Customs inspections doesn't help either - Harshal doesn't spot any of the symbols meaning 'Don't Check This Bottle' that he was expecting, and Ys' best guess that the Nightscales are doing something alchemical to volatise the strange oils they're importing.

Harshal OoC: So... they're making a fuel-air bomb because Athar Torn is a cult leader of the Queen of the Inferno.
Tannis: ... Oh. I forgot that.
Ys: Oh. Greek Fire.
GM: You did notice the Customs inspectors were using safety lamps.

We do figure out that the metal stuff is made from Alkensteel, a remarkably durable and corrosion-resistant metal. And some of the fabrics are probably asbestos. Ys needs a closer look at that oil - so we plan to hit one of he convoys after they leave our warehouse. After all, if they got stolen from our warehouse we'd have to replace it, but if it got stolen during transport...

Harshal: Sign this. Now it's your problem.

GM: I would like to remind you that last time you were on a job one of you referred to another by name.
Ys: Yes, but everybody who heard us is dead.
GM: Either way I'd suggest codenames.

Harshal: We need to steal it of the back of a truck.
GM: I think you're planning to steal the entire wagon.... and you've finished the false front to the kobold grotto, haven't you. You fuckers.

Of course, since all this commerce is legal, we'll have to do it in broad daylight.

Gillert: Our stealth bonuses aren't that good.
GM: Yes they are.
Gillert: Well, we still need to set up a distraction.
GM: Kobold festival! Cymbals! Fireworks! It's a Kobold Holy Day! Nobody will know better.
Tannis: And that's why I'm paying them a bonus.

Ys: I don't want to hit the wagon in Underbridge - I don't want to piss off the Gargoyles.
GM: You live there.
Ys: Yes, but that's not the reason. Some of them are drinking buddies. A gang that stayed independent from the Nightscales AND the Sczarni. And we go to church together.
Tannis: ... which church.
GM: That's the question. You've heard Ys say stuff before she's killed people before - you're not sure, but it had the cadence of a prayer.
Gillert: 'I have sinned... and it was awesome'.

The plan - distract the driver and guards, Zin snipes the driver, and the rest of us, in disguise, dash out of the alleys to deal with the guards, and then we drive off in the wagon. For some reason the GM thinks this is hilarious.

Tannis: Zin, how do you feel like setting up a distraction?
Zin: What kind of distraction?
Ys: Total destruction.
Tannis: DISTRACTION.
Zin: I'd need more money for total destruction. Hey, guys! It's a day off!

The Kobolds do their best to be as conspicuous as possible, while the PCs are invisible. Stealth Synergy is such a useful feat. However, the GM's gleeful expression has us highly concerned.

GM: It's a kobold band playing 'Dance of the Parasprites'. You really are just Fraggles, aren't you.

The wagon we're hijacking has two half-orc guards, in addition to the driver. This should be easy. Which makes us even more nervous.

Gillert: Thought for the day - a tripwire for a dragon is neck height for most creatures.

GM: -and... What's the name again?
Tannis' player: Tannis.
GM: Sorry, it's been a while since I've used the names.
Tannis' player: That's alright. Mark.
GM: Mark works actually - it's my middle name.
Tannis' player: Goddammit.

Zin fires, and we rush out. And we find out why the GM has been so giggly - as other nondescript figures dash out of the alleys. Some of them were in the same alleys we were. We stare at the Sczarni hijackers, and they stare at us. The driver tries to stare at the crossbow bolt sticking out of his head. One of the Sczarni trips over the trap Zin set to cover our retreat.

GM: You're not the only group out there with Stealth Synergy.

Happily, Gillert's Colour Spray affects everybody.

Gillert: ... and I've just realised that includes the horse.

The guards, driver, and one of the Sczarni go down to the magic. The Sczarni sniper, who had been readying his own shot when Zin fired his and triggered everybody else to run out, finishes off the guard and calls down "Well, THAT was interesting."

Ys: Parley!
GM: Ys, of all people, just called for parley. Make this date on your calendar.
Tannis: *in his Taking Charge voice* OK everybody, continue with the plan! Down this alley!
Sczarni Sniper: *reloading* You got a closer spot?
Tannis: *hurriedly trying to remember if there are any empty lots nearby that AREN'T our kobold grotto*
Ys: *too busy offering up the driver's blood to the god of Murder and Assassination*
Gillert: And is anybody even remotely surprised?

We wake up the horse, and then we hear whistles, and look down the street.

GM: Coming out of UNDERBRIDGE is a full squad of guardsmen.
Gillert: Oh, fuck off.
Harshal: Exactly what Harrow cards did you draw over there?
GM: *grinning evilly* Not saying

And thus we flee, trying to outrun the guards, and not alienate our new friends in the mob, and keep hold of the wagon of mysterious goods.

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Champions - Return to Edge City - The Streets of San Francisco
So, basically, a Mysterious Old One-Eyed Chinese Gentleman wants us to track down some dangerous amateurs for him, and in return he'll help us get the tablet we need to contain a deadly undead sheriff.

Hero Shrew: So we're looking for some yuppies who put the cocaine away for a while and took up sorcery. They found a little mystic shit and wanted to turn it into a whole lot of mystic shit. Somebody hasn't been reading their 'Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds', or they'd recognize a bubble when they saw one looming.

So now we have to figure out who it actually is. Perhaps they've been boasting on FaceBook about using mystic shit to make large amounts of money?

GM: OK, first problem - 'Make Money Fast Using Ancient Mojo"
Hero Shrew: Yeah, I know. And even if you do a geographical limit on the search - this is Southern California.

Hero Shrew: What's the street food like in San Francisco?
Fireflash: Great, apparently.
GM: Plus, you're in Chinatown.
Hero Shrew: Great! I'm going on a curb crawl. I'm going to try everything!
GM: What's your income again?
Hero Shrew: OK, fine *sadface*
GM: 'Opens wallet, moths'
Flux: Wait, moths? 'Grab, eat'.
Hardlight: Oh, fine. *hands Hero Shrew the credit card*
GM: The black one?
Fireflash: Well, I'm not going back to Edge City in the same vehicle as Hero Shrew after he's been on a protein binge.
Flux: Point. I think I'll travel by wire.

GM: You do have Streetwise, Scooter - this IS in your skill set.
Hero Shrew: OK, OK, I'll ask all the street vendors if they've seen any yuppies doing magic.
GM: ....
Hero Shrew: Don't I get to do the tourist stuff sometimes?
GM: You're a superhero - this IS the tourist stuff.

Hero Shrew comes back with a range of novelty T-shirts, a couple of hats, and armfulls of shopping bags.

Hardlight: I gave you that credit card for lunch.
Flux: Well, he bought lunch.
Hero Shrew: Yeah. And all this stuff.
Hardlight: *sigh* well, I hope you got a T-shirt for me.
Hero Shrew: Sure - 'Meet The New Boss, Same As The Old Boss'
Hardlight: *sigh*
Hero Shrew: I got one for you, too, Flux (OOC - Who's a popular Mystic figure in the Champions Universe?).
GM: Hmm - it occurs to me that most of the magical heroes in Champions are female. Good representation.
Hero Shrew: It's the mystic power of the uterus.

Flux: Well, if it's low-order magic they're using then they must be transferring the money or luck from somebody else to them.
Hero Shrew: I'm sure the business reports will have noticed a company that went inexplicably bankrupt 'What happened? This was a healthy company last week!'
Hardlight: So basically... we're looking for a White-collar Coven.
GM: By George I think he's got it.

Fireflash's accountancy schooling might actually come in handy here.

Fireflash: Well, there's one company that keeps going up on the stock market - LowellTech.
Hardlight: Oh, ha ha. Very funny.
GM: You realise that everybody calls it LOLtech by mistake?
Flux: It probably trades as LOL.
GM: That's what it shows on the scroll at the market as - LOL, up 5 points.

GM: Actually, you nearly go past the company think it's a food ad that got in there by mistake. LoCarb Property Development. Real Estate is one of the Top Ten growth industries in the Bay area - the shit I have to research for you guys. They specialize in low-impact developments.

Hardlight: OK, we sneak in and see if they're up to anything.
Flux: So, do any of us have stealth skills?
Hero Shrew: Well, I could get the door open, but I wouldn't call it stealthy.
Hardlight: I wouldn't show up on the cameras, and neither would you Flux.
Flux: And what about security guards? Or guard dogs.
Hero Shrew: Assuming its actually a dog...
GM: Yeah, but when it grows two extra heads and breaths fire you'll know you've found the right place.
Flux: These days guard dog. Might mean a German Shepard with an Uzi.
Hardlight: True. But are their many canine Moreaus in the security business?
GM: Some, but not all are suited for the job.
Fireflash: 'Hi, I'm half Pug and half British Bulldog. I'M DOOMED.'

Flux: so how do we find the Magic Shop afterwards anyway? Walk into a Starbucks and the MOOECG is there saying 'Latte?'
GM: 'Surprisingly there is little call for mystic artifacts in today's economy - I needed a second job'.

Hardlight: OK, so Flux and I are going in.
Hero Shrew: And when the screaming starts we come in and rescue you.

The LoCarb buildings are low-profile, and built into the landscape - LoCarb does stand for Low Carbon, after all.

Flux: I'm half-tempted to knock on a door and ask if Bilbo is home.
Hardlight: Well, first we have to get in there.
GM: It's a gated estate after all, one of their first developments.
Flux: We could just fly in.
Hardlight: Oh yeah, we can fly. I was thinking in Shadowrun mode again.
GM: *cracks up*

Hardlight: Try not to tear up any trees.
Hero Shrew: But, but, what if I need a battering ram to get into the building?
Hardlight: OK, don't tear up any trees until you need to rescue us.

Hardlight's Infra-red senses don't show much - probably because of the building's energy efficiency. And Wide-spectrum Radar shows a single computer in the entire building, and lots of lap-top ports, for the same reason.

Hardlight: Is there a tunnel to Undersconsin?
GM: You're nowhere near Wisconsin, why would there be a tunnel to Undersconsin?
Hardlight: Scooter, we need you to dig a tunnel.
Hero Shrew OOC: We're never letting you forget that.
GM: Why would I want to? I'm actually statting Undersconsin up. For one thing, something will finally happen in Wisconsin. This is a state that decided its claim to fame was cheese.
Hero Shrew: Lots of German immigrants in Wisconsin, aren't there?
Flux: We aren't going to find Hitler in Undersconsin, are we?
GM: A lot of German immigrants in EIGHTEEN FIFTY 

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