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Darren Watts

Quote of the Week from my gaming group...

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Pathfinder : Streets of Magnimar - Not Nice People
Our innocent fun in the freeport of Magnimar, which currently involves dealing with a stevedore union agitator, because he's impacting on our profits. If this was 20th Century America we'd just hire the Pinkertons, but since it's Pathfinder we have to murder him ourselves.

GM: I can't wait until Tannis finds out you're going with a Ys plan.
Harshal: I'll just tell him that every day we don't kill these union pricks we're losing money - I'm sure that will get him on board.

Distracted by Pokemon again -

Harshal's player: I mean, I wouldn't put it past him, but imagine the problems Ghenghis Khan would have had with his conquest of Eurasia, when ALL THE HORSES ARE ON FIRE.

GM: I had to do 4 nights work to prep for this session, because you went with a Ys plan. And Ys plans can be summed up as 'There's no problem that can't be solved by killing enough people.'

Harshal OoC: It's not so much that we're the kind of party that would go 'can we steal that?', but that we're the kind of party where 'can we steal that?' Is IN CHARACTER.
GM: And if one of you does steal a Wishing Ring, and the rest of you find out, you go 'Where's my cut?'.

Harshal: How the hell has a stevedore managed to hire 15 magical mercenaries?
GM: That has been a subject of much speculation.
Ys: There much be someone behind them.
Gillert: Well, if you manage to get in there, there sure will be.

The head of the protection detail is somebody from Alchenstar.

Ys: So watch out for guns.

The mercenaries all dress expensively, with the Quattro Elementi pendant.

Harshal: How much do you want to bet the pendants are enchanted.
GM: Actually they're not, since they change them every few seasons. They all wear carefully tailored bandoliers, too.

They're also bedazzled with sanctified rings that will alert the others if one of the team is killed or the ring removed.

Gillert: Removed from the person or removed from the finger?
GM: From the person - so cutting their finger off will still trigger the alert.

And their leader has something literally hidden up his sleeve.

Ys: I have a solution - Drow Poison.
GM: Well, it's true that arcane casters are rarely known for their poison resistance.
Gillert: What is Drow Poison made of?
Tannis: Crushed drow.
Gillert: Ha.
Tannis: Actually it's the tried tears of a sapient being extracted under torture.
Ys: I have no problem with this.
Tannis: I was making it up - but it does sound like something they'd do.
Gillert: Now now, everybody knows that all the drow are noble and misunderstood, trying to change their society.
Ys: Actually, all the 'good' drow were murdered by the rest of the species, and everybody else that enjoys good fantasy novels.

Ys: I'm going to buy the ingredients for the poison. From four different vendors - Heisenberg was a good teacher.
Harshal: Either way, while Ys is brewing the poison, I'll go through the motions of trying to negotiate a peaceful solution with the union, so we'll look innocent when the entire family turns up crucified.

GM: His main problem with the kobolds is the precedent it sets - what's to stop the city allowing in more kobolds, and the kobolds taking the halfling's jobs? Or Lizardmen replacing the hull scrapers at the docks? They can hold their breath much longer than humans.
Harshal: Hmm... good point. Where can we hire some lizardfolk?

GM: He's also raising paranoia about the fact that nobody knows where the kobolds are living - or how many there are.
Gillert: You still have that Convincing Lie feat don't you?
Harshal: Sure
GM: Ah - the Muckraking Journalism feat.
Harshal: Time to go see our broadsheet printing friend. 'The kobolds are living underground of course, where they're busily exterminating the goblin nests.'
GM: I'd suggest 'planning to'.
Zin: Otherwise people will want to see the bodies.

Zin: Can I make a gas trap from the poison?
Ys: Normally I'd be all for it, but I don't think this group would fall for it.
GM: I reserve the right to actually put you up against competent security.

We split up the various Cure Light Wounds potions in the group stash as seems appropriate.

GM: I like working it out this way - no whining about 'But I only this many in my personal stash!'
Harshal: We are both evil AND practical.

Tannis: It's a good idea to keep the platinum bars in the stash so when the inevitable backstabbing starts and we're all trying to beat each other to it, we can have all the flashbacks about who moved the stash first.
Harshal: Or replaced it with a fake.
Ys: And which one, fake or real, is coated with the contact poison.
Gillert: 'I seek the Fallen Madonna with the Big Boobies, by van Klump'

GM: Those suits of gladiatorial armour will be most valuable if sold as a set.
Harshal: As long as the sale can't be traced back to us.

Ys uses that Hand of Glory she acquired to silently attach a grappling hook to the roof of the target's home, and up we go. There are magical mercs in the room beyond, but while they're all relaxed none of them are going to be easy to surprise. Might as well rush in and attack with poisoned weapons and blow darts. Too bad they were carrying Thunderstones. With four of us now half-stunned and deaf, and the high likelihood that everybody else in the house is awake, we face a drastic increase in the difficulty of the job. On the other hand...

Quattro Elementi Merc: F**k - we were trained for this - First Step - Use the Thunderstone. Second Step - DON'T BE IN THE RANGE OF THE THUNDERSTONE.

But he still manages to cast Beguiling Gift and throw a pair of manacles at Gillert.

Merc: Here - put these on.

Harshal rushes in and runs one of them through with his rapier - at least HIS magical ring only reports to the guy Ys has already dealt with.

GM: You dealt with them fast enough that you might still pull this off.
Ys: You hold the door, I'll go and start murdering people.

Ys bashes the bedroom door open.

GM: Darkskinned fellow in a chair next to the bed. He does not look happy.
Tannis: Ruh-roh.

Harshal: Get those manacles off Gillert!
Zin: Why did you put these on??
GM: Gillert is deaf - oh, wait, you have lip-reading.
Gillert*flips Zin two birds*

GM: You two, since you're not deaf, hear a loud 'F**ck!' from the bedroom doorway.

And then the head mercenary Colour Sprays the corridor.

Harshal: F**cking competent security.

With our prime murder-make disabled, Harshal has to rush in to try and deal with the wizard. Not ideal. At least Harshal avoids getting skewered on the wizard's own rapier.

Ys: I can see! And there's a schmuck fighting Harshal.

Tannis: The bad guy is.... wait.
GM: You really need to realign your thinking in this game. There's a bad guy next to you. There's two bad guys ganging up on an innocent spellslinger in the bedroom. And you're the bad guy tipping a wardrobe across the other door.
Gillert: And this is why I drink.

The wizard swigs a potion of Sanctuary, which makes it hard for us to hit him unless he attacks us first. Now Tannis has to go after the original target, hold a knife to his throat, and order the merc to stand down.

Tannis: We are here to deliver a message.
Wizard: Then deliver it - the honour of Il Quattro Elementi is at stake, and we will not allow our client to come to harm. *Messages his team to stand down*
Harshal*hurriedly improvising, and lifts the target by the front of his nightshirt* Tell your backer that we will not spare your life, if he continues to interfere in ours.
Stevedore: Sure! You're here, he isn't, that makes you more scary!

Ys, still deaf, and missing this entire exchange, has been waiting for the Sanctuary to wear off, and continues where she left off. The truce disintegrates. The wizard shoots Ys with his handgun, and things get loud and bloody until various people get stabbed to death. Fortunately for us, it's all the other guys.

GM: Yes, you're up against competent security, but they're having problems. Partly because Tannis jammed a chest of drawers between two of the doorways in the corridor, and now neither can open.

Harshal: Well, the first thing I'm going to do is drag something over to one of the other windows, to throw out when we're about to leave. That way security will hear the crash and thump while we're actually escaping from the other end of the house.

Harshal: Somebody cut off the wizard's head so they can't talk to him later.
Gillert: Will they do that?
Harshal: I'm pretty sure il Quattro Elementi will want descriptions of whoever killed two of their members.
Ys: They can probably afford a Raise Dead, but the body needs to intact for that. Resurrection is MUCH more expensive.
Harshal: Thought so. The wizard's head is going to be crab bait. Get on that.

Zin: So that's why Sift is a bard spell - you can grope somebody at a distance.

Gillert: Do we have time to get the mithril shirt off the wizard?
Harshal: It IS a shirt, not plate armour. And you won't have a problem with the neck hole since Ys is cutting his head off.
GM: Decapitation isn't THAT easy.
Ys: Just as well I have a boarding axe.

Harshal: We were supposed to killing the stevedore and his entire family.
GM: You really think you could get the rest of them now?
Harshal: To be honest? No. Time to tick this job off as 'Close Enough' I think.

Of course this scrabbling around is complicated by the fact that half of us are still deaf, which doesn't help when Harshal misses the jump to the neighbouring rooftop, and is left dangling by his fingers in full view of one of the mercenary bowmen down in the alleyway.

Harshal: I find this situation an affront to my racial heritage.
Gillert OoC: What???
Harshal OoC: I'm from the Spire Clan.
GM: They live on cliffs - he should have made that easily.

The merc's thistle arrow parts Harshal's hair, as Ys and Zin help him up.

GM: I need another jump check from you all.
Harshal: Natural 20. I think that arrow gave me extra impetus.

A few more leaps and our rooftop escape is complete - we go back into full stealth mode and return to the boat we salvaged.

Ys OoC: I'm not that good at stealth games.
Harshal OoC: What's the one where you disguise yourself with a cardboard box?
GM: What????
Gillert OoC: Metal Gear.
GM: Critical segue failure - GM derailed.

Gillert goes through the loot he collected.

GM*blah blah blah* and a flask of Alchemist's Kindness. That's what these guys consider essential equipment.
Harshal: What's Alchemist's Kindness?
Gillert: Contraceptive.
GM: What? No, it's a hangover cure.

It also includes one of the il Quattro Elementi's treatise on the essential skills of their group - part philosophy text, part training manual. There's also a peculiar quote that the magical mercs think is important. "We are the promise, delivered to all mankind. We raise our hand to one nation. We march to the beat of one heart."

Harshal: That seems oddly nationalistic, to an unspecified nation.

And the grooming kits we lifted will come in handy when we're cleaning up and disposing of blood-spattered gloves, masks, etc.

Harshal: Well, we killed the ones that could actually identify us. I'm not counting the target because it was a dark room anyway.

Gillert holds up the severed head of the wizard-merc.

Gillert: What are we going to do with Mr Happy? Which I made sure to carry in the waterproof sack so we didn't leave a blood trail.
GM: I noticed.
Ys: Head, a few rocks, a non-waterproof sack, into the bay.
Harshal: Problem solved.

At least we're not the only ones with a reason to want that stevedore firebrand dead - and hopefully when Harshal heads around to continue the charade of negotiating the union dispute, they'll actually accept our offer to pay the kobold's union dues.

Harshal: Kobolds are culturally socialist anyway - joining a union fits them nicely.
Ys: I was just annoyed that our docks weren't getting fixed.
Harshal: It's true - and there's any number of smugglers that would be highly pissed that nothing was getting ashore.

Harshal does note that there's still il Quattro Elementi mercs around the union building when he arrives - whoever sunk so much money into backing the stevedore must be getting his money's worth. One of the mercs is Errata, a Tianese women in silken ceremonial armour.

Errata: Mister Stasny?
Harshal: Yes? I believe we talked briefly two days ago?
Errata: That is correct. There was an incident last night - we... failed in our contract.
Harshal: Ah?
Errata: I must ask you to return tomorrow, once the union members have elected a new representative.
Harshal: Well, these things happen. I'll go inform the kobolds (But I won't start whistling happily until I'm around the corner).
Errata: We will continue to offer our services to whoever they elect.
Harshal OoC: Well THAT gives me pause.

But the replacement proves much more reasonable, and accepts the kobolds as members.

Harshal: Just goes to show that you can solve any political problem if you kill enough candidates.
GM: You realise this just justifies Ys' philosophy?
Gillert: Yes - we could become rulers of an entire city-state if we kill everybody else in the country.
Harshal: I'm glad you agree.
Gillert: I wasn't being serious!
Harshal: Keep telling yourself that.

There's all those magical items around town too, that we can buy (or steal).

Gillert: Staff of Passage? Yes, I think we'll steal that. 'And how will you get out?' Staff. Of. Passage.

And of course there was our plan to farm adventurers.

Harshal: Send them into the bridge to hunt spider-monsters.
Gillert: There's laws against messing with that.
GM: Yes, and you were going to have them changed. I mean, it's bad game design - there's a built-in dungeoncrawl on your doorstep and nobody is allowed in. It's not that difficult to stop them getting out.
Harshal: Some kind of airlock, with murderholes.
GM: And disclaimers for the adventurers to sign - if you go in here, you might not get out. Because if we see spiderbeasts after you, we're not opening the gate. Not that they're actual spiders - they're abominations.
Zin: Eight-legged Freaks.

But the GM does confirm that docks we had repaired have added measurably to the prosperity of Magnimar. This goes a long way towards explaining why there hasn't been any fallout from the assassination. A lot of the power-players in Magnimar are pretty sure that the union trouble was a failed power-play by one of them, and know that our group is not just a bunch of nobodies that can be bullied around. 

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Tannis: The bad guy is.... wait.

GM: You really need to realign your thinking in this game. There's a bad guy next to you. There's two bad guys ganging up on an innocent spellslinger in the bedroom. And you're the bad guy tipping a wardrobe across the other door.

Gillert: And this is why I drink.

There are two wonderfull words for that:

Protagonist

Antagonist

 

Gillert: Staff of Passage? Yes, I think we'll steal that. 'And how will you get out?' Staff. Of. Passage.

For a item like this, keeping track of where it is right now is propably more important then securing it against theft in the first place.

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There are two wonderfull words for that:

Protagonist

Antagonist

All that I can say is that I'm having fun running these campaigns. The player for both Gillert and Flux in both cases has made characters whose morals don't exactly mesh with the rest of the table (quite accidentally in the case of Gillert), but it's left him being free to play the foil with a healthy dose of snark.

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For a item like this, keeping track of where it is right now is propably more important then securing it against theft in the first place.

So this got me thinking:

You want a way to keep track of the Item. But you do not want all previous owners to be able to keep track of the item. So it must be a "there can be only one" item. That is transfered with the staff on ownership switch.

 

So similar to how you got a Ownership Document for a car, you get a Ownership Tracker. There can only be one of those for any given staff. And if you properly transfer ownership, you would hand the tracker along. The tracker could then be stored someplace safe (like a vault).

So apparently Staffs of Passage are Pathfinders cars.

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So, at long last, the heroes have managed to mostly reconstruct their lives after the dimensional explosion in Indianapolis. Well, this doesn't last long. They discover that Foxbat is establishing a massive Flat Earth Society convention in their city, and he has 84,321 attendees. So they buy tickets (Don't know why they did this) and head inside. Thinking that Foxbat is going to mind control people, they start looking around for anything related to this, but don't bother to post anyone on aerial overwatch. 

 

From my previous post, you guys may remember the dimensional explosion that occurred. Well, all that energy was still floating around residually. So Foxbat found out about that, built an energy collector, and launched the building into space! 

 

Well, the heroes have only themselves to blame for not posting anyone outside to see the incoming group of villains, but this is going to be tearjerkingly funny, since Foxbat hasn't figured out a way to get down. There should be enough air for five to six days, but after that, it's probably going to be over. 

 

Now, the heroes are still on their way up, but my god, I can't believe this goofy plan actually worked. 

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Okay, that is a freaking hilarious way of dealing with Flat Earthers.  Consider that idea stolen.

 

Wonder if he can do something similar with climate change deniers and a building-size time machine.  ("Um, guys, I only stole enough plutonium for one trip.  We'll need another way to generate the 1.21 gigawatts of energy necessary to get back.  And that's not even considering the difficulty in getting a building up to 88 mph!")

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Last week's Star Wars game featured the Battle of Endor and destruction of the second Death Star.

 

Except in this game, instead of the Ewoks being annoying midgets in teddy bear costumes, the GM turned them into terrifying CGI killbeasts who see the world as divided into into "Food" and "Things We Can Use To Kill Food." And the former category very emphatically does NOT include exceptions for sentient species. We manage to convince them not to eat us in exchange for helping them kill "The Food That Comes In White Shells" aka Stormtroopers.

 

GM: "The Ewoks start singing a battle song..."

PCs (all singing) "Yub yub, Ewok yub yub..."

GM: "Actually their battle songs sound more like recipes." (singing in a low dirge voice) "Add 2 cups butter, parsley and simmer until tender."

PCs: :angst:

 

 

Another change in this game is that Luke died blowing up the 1st Death Star, so Leia (as an NPC) became a Jedi instead; while the PCs take out the shield generator planetside, she's the one who goes up to the Death Star to watch Vader and the Emperor kill each other. Afterwards, back on Endor she readies Dad's corpse for the big Viking funeral send-off.

 

PC1: (to Leia) "Do you want to keep Lord Vader's shuttle?"

Leia: "No, you guys can have it."

PC2: "But you should at least keep his helmet. As a memento"

Leia: "That helmet is a reminder of what my father turned into, a monster who killed millions. Why would I want to be reminded of that?"

PC1: "Oh, you may not want it now. But someday your kids might want something to connect them to the grandfather they never knew."

GM: "..." :rofl:

PC2: "Something to brood and obsess over..."

GM: "STOP!"

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And from this week's Historical-Fantasy Hero game:

 

The PCs have journeyed to Ireland, to the Hill of Tara, seat of High King Mael Sechnaill mac Domnaill, who is currently losing a civil war against Brian Boru, the King of Munster...

 

Player 1: "How would you like to be known to history as the Cheese King? No wonder he wants to take over, he just wants a better title!"

 

 

The PCs figure out the High King is going blind, so the Holy Warrior and the Alchemist decide to try and cure him:

 

Warrior: "Herbalism by 2, Medic by 4."

GM: "OK, great." (to Alchemist) "Give me a SS: Medicine roll."

Alchemist: (rolls) "...Well...crap."

Priest: "Did we just poison the High King?"

Warrior: "We were planning on leaving town anyway..."

Alchemist: "Screw that; I'm going to blow a Hero Point to reroll."

GM: "But it's funnier this way! ...Okay, fine grumble grumble."

Alchemist: (rerolls - gets a natural 3!) "WOOT!"

Priest: "As uses of Hero Points go..."

GM: "Yeah, wow. OK, go ahead and give me an Alchemical Invention roll just for..."

Alchemist: (rolls a second natural 3!)

Everyone: :jawdrop:

Warrior: "So not only is he no longer blind, now he has Super Vision!"

GM: (singing) "I can see for miles and miles..."

Priest: "Did you make enough for everyone?"

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Oh, and here's a fun bit of Irish history I came across while researching the game:

 

In 980, Irish High King Máel Sechnaill defeated & killed the Viking King Olaf of Dublin, bringing the Viking towns under Gaelic control. Afterwards, he took Olaf’s widow Gormflaith* as his own wife. But in 997, he divorced Gormflaith and married...her daughter (by Olaf) Máel Muire, who was then 18. Yes, he literally dumped his wife of 17 years to marry his teenage step-daughter who had been living with him since she was an infant. Ick.

 

Gormflaith meanwhile fled back to Dublin, where her son Sigtrygg Silkbeard was now King. In 999 she convinced Sigtrygg to rebel against Irish rule, but that revolt was crushed by Brian Boru the King of Munster and High King Mael's chief rival. This victory solidified Brian's control of the southern half of Ireland. Afterwards Brian married his daughter Sláine off to Sigtrygg, while Brian married...Sigtrygg’s mother Gormflaith.

 

So Gormflaith is simultaneously…

  • The wife of Brian Boru, Over-King of the South.
  • The ex-wife of High King Máel Sechnaill
  • The widow of the late King Olaf of Dublin
  • The mother of Sigtrygg Silkbeard, the current King of Dublin,
  • And the mother of Queen Máel Muire, the High King’s current wife

 

* apparently pronounced "Gorm-lee."

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Oh, and here's a fun bit of Irish history I came across while researching the game:

 

In 980, Irish High King Máel Sechnaill defeated & killed the Viking King Olaf of Dublin, bringing the Viking towns under Gaelic control. Afterwards, he took Olaf’s widow Gormflaith* as his own wife. But in 997, he divorced Gormflaith and married...her daughter (by Olaf) Máel Muire, who was then 18. Yes, he literally dumped his wife of 17 years to marry his teenage step-daughter who had been living with him since she was an infant. Ick.

 

Gormflaith meanwhile fled back to Dublin, where her son Sigtrygg Silkbeard was now King. In 999 she convinced Sigtrygg to rebel against Irish rule, but that revolt was crushed by Brian Boru the King of Munster and High King Mael's chief rival. This victory solidified Brian's control of the southern half of Ireland. Afterwards Brian married his daughter Sláine off to Sigtrygg, while Brian married...Sigtrygg’s mother Gormflaith.

 

So Gormflaith is simultaneously…

  • The wife of Brian Boru, Over-King of the South.
  • The ex-wife of High King Máel Sechnaill
  • The widow of the late King Olaf of Dublin
  • The mother of Sigtrygg Silkbeard, the current King of Dublin,
  • And the mother of Queen Máel Muire, the High King’s current wife

 

* apparently pronounced "Gorm-lee."

 

Game of Thrones ain't got nothin' on you!

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In 980, Irish High King Máel Sechnaill defeated & killed the Viking King Olaf of Dublin, bringing the Viking towns under Gaelic control. Afterwards, he took Olaf’s widow Gormflaith* as his own wife. But in 997, he divorced Gormflaith and married...her daughter (by Olaf) Máel Muire, who was then 18. Yes, he literally dumped his wife of 17 years to marry his teenage step-daughter who had been living with him since she was an infant. Ick.

At least they were not DNA related.

With European nobles in the middle ages you really have to count your blessings, as far as marriage is concerned!

Hereditary diseases ran rampant, Haemophilia in particular was a "Noble disease".

 

Interestingly, marrying the Daugther (rather then Wife) of the previous king might have increased his legitimacy. In absense of any (living) sons, the daughter held a 50% title. So he now had 50% de-jure and 100% de-facto claim.

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At least they were not DNA related.

With European nobles in the middle ages you really have to count your blessings, as far as marriage is concerned!

Hereditary diseases ran rampant, Haemophilia in particular was a "Noble disease".

Yeah, it's almost like excessive inbreeding is a bad thing. Whodathunkit?

 

Interestingly, marrying the Daugther (rather then Wife) of the previous king might have increased his legitimacy. In absense of any (living) sons, the daughter held a 50% title. So he now had 50% de-jure and 100% de-facto claim.

Right. Tho in this case Olaf did leave at least one son, the aforementioned Sigtrygg Silkbeard.

 

The issue is further confused because Ireland has like 5 different "levels" of Kings, so not all Kings are created equal.

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The issue is further confused because Ireland has like 5 different "levels" of Kings, so not all Kings are created equal.

Ah, European nobles with their titles. It already was Fubar.

And then the Vikings appeared, adding more chaos to the mix.

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Re: Quote of the Week from my gaming group...

 

 

 

It's a catchy tune :D

 

More seriously - he most likely heard either whilst fighting alongside American troops during WW1, or thanks to the Salvation Army, who spread the song worldwide.

 

And it IS a catchy tune. After all, they use it in Little Peter Rabbit, and He Jumped From 20,000 Feet ( And He Ain't Gonna Jump No More) too

 

I know ths is ancient, but just wanted to add: and Disturbed's "Indestructible" won't be released for about another 80 years.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aWxBrI0g1kE

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My brain was mush the other night so the only quote I can remember from this week was from before we started:

 

"Oh, I brought desert." [dumps a bag of mini chocolate bars on the table]

"Nah, I'm on a diet."

"Not on game night, you're not."

"It's a rule. Like There's No Crying In Baseball? There's No Dieting On Game Night."

"Good rule."

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The PCs figure out the High King is going blind, so the Holy Warrior and the Alchemist decide to try and cure him:

 

Warrior: "Herbalism by 2, Medic by 4."

GM: "OK, great." (to Alchemist) "Give me a SS: Medicine roll."

Alchemist: (rolls) "...Well...crap."

Priest: "Did we just poison the High King?"

Warrior: "We were planning on leaving town anyway..."

Alchemist: "Screw that; I'm going to blow a Hero Point to reroll."

GM: "But it's funnier this way! ...Okay, fine grumble grumble."

Alchemist: (rerolls - gets a natural 3!) "WOOT!"

Priest: "As uses of Hero Points go..."

GM: "Yeah, wow. OK, go ahead and give me an Alchemical Invention roll just for..."

Alchemist: (rolls a second natural 3!)

Everyone: :jawdrop:

Warrior: "So not only is he no longer blind, now he has Super Vision!"

GM: (singing) "I can see for miles and miles..."

Priest: "Did you make enough for everyone?"

I just came across a reference to the 10th Century Muslim scientist & scholar Ibn al-Haytham describing a process for removing soft cataracts from the eye through the use of "a large incision in the eye, a hollow needle, and an assistant with an extraordinary lung capacity." A Persian physician named Ammar ibn Ali also claimed to have used the procedure with great success. So restoring the High King's vision may not have been quite as far-fetched as I thought! Once again, Strangeness: Truth > Fiction.

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Champions - Return to Edge City - Music For Balance And Harmony

QUADRANT, Edge City's premiere (only) team of Superheroes (debatable) check their rolodexs for anybody that might help us figure out what's up with that weird music Howler arranged to have as city-wide entertainment. Fireflash's guidance counsellor puts her in touch with the local college, whose sound engineering students have been looking into it themselves.

Fireflash: Tony Stark's most impressive achievement was creating a new element.
Hero Shrew: Sure, but we're also talking about a guy who built a particle accelerator in his own house, and *stood next to it while it was on*

The sound geeks aren't much help - they have no idea what kind of code might by encoded into the music.

Hero Shrew: What about the frequencies that humans can't hear?
Nerds: That's the funny thing - the output was almost entirely in the standard audible range.
Hero Shrew: Well, I tried.
Flux: Why are you and I evening here?
Hero Shrew: I don't know about you, but I'm helping myself to some of the pizza the nerds have forgotten about while they argued.

They did discover that there were nine different note sets being broadcast over the city, basically in a three-by-three grid that used the cloverleaf pattern of Edge City's unfinished monorail network. At least they ruled out it being some kind of Quake Trigger.

Hero Shrew: Maybe Howler's plan wasn't meant to make sense - we're living in the kind of universe where the Joker thinks he can copyright fish.
GM: You're talking DC, this is Champions. Mind you, this is a universe where aliens tried to cut the Florida peninsula away from the mainland, because somebody painted a dotted line and 'Cut Here' along the border.
Flux: Wait, what?
GM: The Criminal Legion Of Wacky Nonconformists.
Flux: C L O ... oh god.

These were the same guys that filled the Hollywood Bowl with Jello.

GM: But this isn't a CLOWN Caper because then it would make more sense.

It does occur to Hero Shrew to ask whether Howler's powers are mystical in origin, given the magical effect Flux discovered plastered over the city. They aren't - nobody knows where she gets her powers, but she's certainly stolen mystic shit in the past. Flux eventually resorts to contacting Witchcraft, in the remote chance she's not actually stopping a global threat somewhere. And eventually realises, with a facepalm, that the nine zones are actually a Feng Shui grid - a Bag wa map - laid out over the entire city.

Hero Shrew: Can we get in contact with her and apologise?

For example, the sector for Fame and Reputation also has most of Edge City's big-name businesses. Funny that. And the Corporate Circle within the business district itself ALSO reflects the Bag Wa map, to a lesser degree. And the southern end of town is the Front Door, and is the land connection to the rest of the state. Of course, having Marsden in the middle of the map doesn't help.

GM: Yeah - there's a cancer in the middle of the city.

Flux: This is such a weird thing to do.
Hero Shrew: In Southern California?
Flux: And now we've destroyed all the evidence.
GM: 'Hulk Smash! Problem solved.' 'Actually we needed that intact to figure out what what's going on.' 'Hulk sorry.
Fireflash: 'Hulk blue now'
GM: Oh god no, the grey Hulk was bad enough, I don't want to see a blue one.

GM: It's always possible Howler was trying to measure the Feng Shui of the city. Which would put it way outside Howler's area of expertise. She must have been setting this up for somebody else.
Hardlight: Well, we need to find her and ask. And hope she doesn't shoot me in the face again.
GM: It upset her enough the first time, when she thought she'd killed you.

Flux: Let's find an expert. Chinatown might be obvious, if a little racist.

Fireflash: So. Let's Google Chinese Musical Troupes in the area.
GM: You. All. Have. Smartphones! How many times do I need to hit you with that clue bat?
Flux: Something in the back of my head keeps saying 'Pathfinder. You Don't Know Shit.'

Hero Shrew: I'm going to check the supervillain forums and see if they have anything on Feng Shui.
GM: Not much
Hardlight: Only Dr. Lin Wu.
Hero Shrew: Yeah, should probably hope it isn't him.

He's the one having an ongoing argument with the Chinese military and government, about who should be the next Emperor. He says him. The Chinese government disagrees. A few new threads do start on the forums, while Hero Shrew is surfing - Feng Shui sabotage of Edge City! But's it all pure speculation. Perhaps there's a connection between Hexagrams and the music?

Hero Shrew: If you want to have an argument about octaves and musical scales, we can always go back and talk to the music geeks.

GM: Actually, there is such a thing as i Ching music.

But the Feng Shui expert we consult does agree that the Bag Wa map for Edge City IS a good match for traditional Feng Shui, not the debased Southern California variety, and is a little worried because Edge City was a planned conurbation. If the big fusion reactor had actually worked as intended, the city would be thriving on a mystic level as well as economic, because its placement was ideal.

Of course, the city had to lay off most of the planners when everything went tits up, so tracking the planners down might be tricky. On the other hand, Wing Kong Constructions were heavily involved in the early plans, and it's entirely likely that they wanted to ensure their own success.

Flux: So, how do we proceed from here? Walk in? Pretend to be somebody else?
Hardlight: Pretend, hell, if this is all Feng Shui I want to incorporate it into the power network.
GM: Yeah, you're forgetting that your team includes a weirdness magnet with an interest in infrastructure. And you're the one that told him his energy source is mystic in nature.

GM: Feng Shui is a big big deal in Edge City, and nobody knew. Or at least it wasn't public knowledge.
Flux: Time to open the Tablet of Khedjamith.

GM: Wing Kong Constructions still have most of the infrastructure maintenance contracts.
Hero Shrew: And are they using jackhammers as acupuncture needles?
GM: Well, properly timed roadworks DO change the flow of chi through the city.

Flux: You've just told me that the energy flow of the city is almost perfectly aligned!
GM: And it was all by accident! It helps that your GM is a student of the occult. I get to use Feng Shui and it's not shoehorned in! Of course the Taoist is delighted!

Flux: Hopefully it's not all a plan to open the hellmouth.
Hero Shrew: Where's that Helgate Institute again?
Flux: SON OF a BITCH.

Hero Shrew: It could all be innocent, despite involving Howler. It's not in Wing Kong's interest to harm the city.
GM: Howler does have perfect pitch and sound powers. That's a very limited skill set.

Hero Shrew: Well, we should still check. I'll go in as your bodyguard. I just have to look stupid, which isn't difficult. I'll try not to scratch too much.

Flux will sneak in while Hardlight and Hero Shrew go in openly to see if it's all legit. One problem - there won't be A secret room, because where the secret would be depends on what kind of secret it is.

GM: Feng Shui and the I Ching seem to be very important to this company.

GM: I will make you this promise - there's no deathless Chinese sorcerer at the heart of all this.

That the Wing Kong building has an internal octagonal well/atrium is suddenly making a lot more sense now, too. Hardlight (in his civilian ID) and Hero Shrew (as Lowell's bodyguard) make an appointment to see one of the original planners.

GM: Do you have any reputation or fame?
Hero Shrew: Well, I have a *reputation*

Alex Yu is a bit surprised to see us, anyway.

Alex Yu: So, what can Wing Kong do for Lowelltech?
Hardlight: Well you know we're installing a communications network for the city?
Alex Yu: Yes, I read it all in the business blogs. You and Centurytech, amirite? Your coverage is pretty good, apart from the grey area around Marsden. Between Dysprosium Dawn and the Sanity Liberation Front, the city is getting a bit annoyed.

Eventually Hardlight gets around to the matter at hand - collaborating with Wing Kong to ensure the data network is properly in tune with the energy flows of the city. Yu seems happy to discuss it, cheerfully admits that Feng Shui has been an important part of Wing Kong since they were first established, and suggests a good neighborhood to put the data monitoring services in. Elsewhere, Flux is trying to sneak into the building, and track down any suspicious magical energies. Not easy, since the entire 88-floor building is magical. On the other hand if he just wears a good suit, carries a clipboard, and pretends to wave a card in front of the reader a few seconds after somebody else goes through the security door, he can wander about pretty much at will. Nice to see that real world security failures apply just as easily in a superhero universe.

On the other hand, he can only use his Cyberpathy on a computer if the computer is switched on, since he bought it as a form of Telepathy. And it's still a magical spell.

GM: 'By the Hoary Hosts of Haggoth! By the spirits of Jobs and Gates!'
Flux: If there's anybody else in the room I'll just tell them it's a rubber chicken moment.
GM: Sadly there isn't - but if you get too loud somebody in the other room will wonder what all the noise is. 'Divulge Thy Secrets or Thou Will Never Receive Thy Cheeseburgers!'

GM: The computer systems have noticed that they're being hacked - but since you're using Cyberpathy the source of the attack is making no sense.

What he's finding is that EVERYTHING in the Wing Kong archives is related to Feng Shui somehow. He at least prunes it down to a list of some 30 individuals that were actually involved in the design of the city, back in the day.

After we leave and meet up.

Hero Shrew: So, you're our data monkey, what did you find out?
Flux: .... data monkey. Here, take this phone book, I'm going to bed.

Hardlight: We're up against another brick wall, aren't we?
Hero Shrew: That's because we're not very imaginative.
GM: Well, you are trying to find a particular pebble on a gravel road.
Hardlight: We need to narrow it down to the white ones.
Flux: ... what?
Hardlight: Or black.
Flux: ....
Hero Shrew: He's talking about the colour of the pebbles, not people.
Flux: Ohhhhhhhh.

The shrew suggests running the more likely names past Fireflash's FBI contact, in case he or she has been connected to super-villain activity before.

Hero Shrew: It might be prejudicing our investigation though. Hey, I know big words like prejudicing.
Flux: A Moreau knows prejudice. How about that.
Hero Shrew: Hey, I've experienced prejudice. Just don't ask me to spell it.

Hardlight: I'm worried that we've ruined something that was actually good for a city.
Hero Shrew: They DID hire a supervillain for the heavy lifting.

Hardlight: So, how do I get in contact with a supervillain?
Hero Shrew: Facebook?
GM: Going by previous campaigns, saying "Who? Are they they important?" on camera.
Flux: 'Howler says 'My Boobs Aren't Real!' Film at Eleven.
Hardlight: No, that's how I get killed for real.

Fireflash's FBI contact didn't find any known supervillain contacts from our list of names, but cast their net a bit wider and found that one of them vanished off the grid 8 years ago - no death reported, and their accounts have been untouched. One Qui Zhen Kang. And she lives, or lived, in the worst part of Marsden, where each apartment block is so set against all their neighbours that none of the gangs have ever managed to unify them.

Hero Shrew: We'll probably just find out she died eight years ago, and has been eaten by her cats.
Flux: Since you're a Moreau that's a bit creepy. On several levels.

The apartment block is in the heart of the estate, overlooking a plaza area.

Hero Shrew: Everybody remember, we are not a home to Mr Grenfell Tower.
Hardlight: Yeah, let's NOT set the place on fire.

Hardlight: What a sight we make - four superheroes in full gear trudging up the stairs.
GM: The Avengers you ain't.

Voice: Who there?
Hero Shrew: Hello? We need to talk to you?
Voice: I gave down town!
Flux: What?
Hero Shrew: We're not after money, we need to talk to Qui Zhen Kang about Feng Shui and Howler's whole audio engineering of the city thing.
Voice: I don't know any by that name! I've lived here 5 years! I don't know nothing, I ain't heard nothing!
GM: You ARE four superheroes having a shouted conversation and asking for information, in the most gang-infested part of Edge City.

Flux: We need to talk to the building superintendent.
GM: You can usually find the super on the ground floor.
Hero Shrew: Actually, all the supers are on this floor :D

Super: Yeah, she moved out - didn't put her furniture in storage, either. About the same time that Feng Shui Triad gang vanished? Huh, they called themselves a Triad, not a Tong. And the real Triads never did anything about it. That never occurred to me before.

The Feng He Shui Triad - Wind And Water Triad - have a rather interesting record with the FBI. I.e. Barely any record at all, despite the fact that apparently control four entire suburbs of Edge City, which is practically unheard of. And those suburbs are all in the 'Wealth and Abundance' part of Edge City, going by the Bag Wa map of town.

Flux: That's a big area to search.
Hero Shrew: So, short of flying around all four suburbs looking for a particular Chinese woman... and I can already see exactly how racist that's going to get.

We go to the infobrokers.

Fireflash: I don't think we've pissed them off lately - they might actually talk to us.

GM: Remember that of the four of you, only one of you was unaffected by that Fear aura.
Hero Shrew: Hey, I'm a shrew, we're like that.
Fireflash: Never got your quota of fear.
Hero Shrew: We're like very small dogs, but more so.

Spinneret Infobroker: Since you don't seem to be aware, I'm going to tell you this free - we deal in influence, information, and coin. And I do not mean dollars and cents. Do you understand what I mean?
Fireflash: Unless you mean bitcoin, no.
Infobroker: If you don't know, you don't have any. But you've been of use to us the past, so consider all debts squared.

Scooter has actually heard that the underworld use Krugerrand as hard currency.

Hero Shrew: It's like that movie. You know.
Fireflash: John Wick?
Hero Shrew: Lethal Weapon.
Hardlight: *sighs, and phones his executive assistant* Clarissa?
GM: Scooter doesn't actually know if Edge City gangsters use krugerrand. Just gangsters in general.

Flux: Well, that was a bust.
Fireflash: No, this a bust *goes to flash Flux*
Flux: ... well, she's legal now.
Fireflash: Not yet. *snicker*

Flux: Do we want to ask the Voodoo Crew?
GM: Do you REALLY want to make another deal with them?
Flux: Well, they do deal with major magical threats.
Fireflash: No they don't - they co-OPT major magical threats.
Hero Shrew: Well, we could pass the word along, as a token of respect.
GM: Sure, if you want to kick off a magical war between the Voodoo Crew and a magically active gang that's managed to keep off everybody's radar for the last ten years.

GM: Sorry, got distracted by pictures of the Spinnerets.
Hero Shrew: Hardly surprising.
Flux: Considering how they dress - that's the point.
GM: But they're not supposed to distract the GM! If they're that good, it's campaign over, they win.

Flux sets up some surveillance.

Flux: But I think we're going to have to shake up some druggies.
Hero Shrew: Did you just say 'shake UP'? Well, I can do both. And other stuff. 'What happened to him?' ' He fell up the stairs' ' It's supposed to be down, you're just trying to confuse me!'

At this point we decide to put the problem on the back-burner - Flux's secret cameras will need time to gather the info we need anyway.

Flux: So, lunch?
Hardlight: I know a good shawarma place.
All: ...
GM: We've had this conversation - between Tony Stark and Justin Hammer, which one do you honestly think you're more like?

One result of our surveillance - we spot a deal underway between the Spinnerets and Sovereign Chrome, the Bay Park Industrial gang. The latter gang member completes the deal and leaves on his motorbike.

Flux: Hmm.
GM: Just let him get out of Marsden and mug him - you ARE a vigilante after all.

Hero Shrew: How about we just drive up alongside him, open the side door of the van, and I just lean out and yank him in?
Hardlight: Sounds like a plan!

Hero Shrew: *yoink* Hi there.
Hardlight: Halt citizen! We have ques-
Ganger: My bike!
Hero Shrew: *looks at Hardlight* You were supposed to bubble the bike.
Hardlight: I thought you were dealing with the bike!
Hero Shrew: He's paying for your bike.
Ganger: You have money?
Hero Shrew: eh, rewards and stuff *trying to keep Hardlight's millionaire industrialist civilian ID secret*
Hardlight: What supers don't have money? *failing to conceal the size of his bank account*
Hero Shrew: Well, for a start, Spiderman.
GM: The bike has already caused a traffic accident. You guys don't need a J. Jonah Jameson, the media already consider you a threat to public safety.

GM: Do you even have any questions for him?
Hardlight: Er, um, halt citizen, we, I, er.
GM: Riiiight.
Hardlight: I keep acting like Superman in circumstances where I should by acting like Batman.
Flux: Some of the abilities of Green Lantern, but none of the police powers. Diet Green Lantern.
GM: Diet Mountain Dew Green Lantern. All cat piss, no sugar.

Hardlight scans the ganger and spots the weird coins in his jacket pocket.

Hardlight: Well, what are you using them for?
Ganger: ... *condescendingly* To buy things.
Hero Shrew: We KNOW they're buying stuff with them, Hardlight, we want to know where they're getting them from.
Hardlight: Oh, right. Little help?
Flux: You got yourself into this, you get yourself out.

GM: You're publicly known supervillains. I mean, heroes.
Flux: After this day's work we might need to change career paths.

The coins are odd plastic and metal disks, stamped with chemical symbols matching whatever Rare Earth metal is contained within. They certainly aren't standard currency anywhere we're ever heard of, although each is stamped with weight in Troy ounces and average value of the pure metal.

Fireflash: Can I pay you one dollar for this $1 cerium coin?
Ganger: No?
Fireflash: Can I pay you 10 dollars for it?
Ganger: OK?
Hero Shrew: Now, how are you going to pay for his bike?
Hardlight: OK, what's your bank account?
Ganger: I'm not going to tell you!
Hardlight: Can I see your phone for a minute?
Ganger: I'm not unlocking it for you!
Hardlight: I'm trying to transfer some funds to you!
Ganger: I'm still not unlocking it, you've got him!
Flux: Don't look at me, I'm having nothing to do with this mess.

GM: Besides, real criminals use Bitcoin.

Hardlight: *Sigh* pull over. You will be reimbursed for the damage to your bike, citizen.

Hero Shrew: Did we go back to pick up the bike?
Hardlight: No, I wired the money to Flux, he'll hack it into the guy's account.
Flux: I don't remember this.
Hardlight: I sent you the money!
GM: Did you get a receipt?

We take the weird coin around to find out where it might have come from.

Hellstrom Institute: Shit be whack, yo.

For one thing, the coin isn't plastic - it's a single flawless crystal of sugar. It's possibly connected to the Black Harlequin, who is technologically sophisticated and insane enough to mint coins out of quantum-locked sugar crystals. On the other hand, the coins don't turn into candies, and aren't filled with plutonium, so maybe it isn't Black Harlequin. On the other hand, whatever coins are circulating are going to end up in Dysprosium Dawn's hands, since they're eager to get their hands on any rare earths that they can get, and will be trading furiously to get them.

GM: Next session is going to be fun - if Marsden was a swimming pool, you've just dropped an appropriately sized cherry bomb into it. And it's going to splash all over the city.

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Pathfinder - Streets of Magnimar - Politics and Other Mayhem
In the freeport of Magnimar, built around a cyclopean bridge stuffed with giant spiders, and equally infested with gangsters, such as the player-characters. As the leader of the stevedore's union learned, after we murdered him.

Harshal: At least the new head of the Stevedore's Union is a reasonable guy.
GM: He'd prefer to not be killed in his bed.
Gillert: Under the nose of magical security.

Ys: Not enough people died, but it was a success.
Harshal: Yes, well, if we ever have a problem with pirates harassing the ships leaving our docks, we'll send you on a working holiday.

Gillert: We need to get a dedicated fence.
Harshal: Hmm, maybe not - if we keep turning up to the same fence with stuff to sell...
Gillert: There's a certain amount of trust involved.

Ys: We can always buy the items.
Harshal: A valid option.
Gillert: You asked which one we should steal first!
Harshal: No I did not - I asked which one we should go after first. I wonder about your preconceptions about your teammates, my friend.

There's also a third option - Gillert can apply his magical knowledge and start crafting our own stuff.

Harshal: So Gillert will actually be useful to the party.
GM: OW. You know the appropriate response to that? Only memorise Invisibility and Vanish. 'Oh, you don't think I'm useful? Well F**CK the lot of you *snap fingers*'

Ys gets approached by a mysterious figure who has somehow heard we're working on making a magical item, and offers to help as work faster and cheaper. She shows Ys her black-painted fingernails, which is connected to Ys' religious beliefs. This offer might actually be legitimate, as long as some of the funds get siphoned off to the relevant cult. And the enchanted kukri is indeed finished a little early. It's just a bit... quirky. It changes colour with the bearer's emotion.

GM: 'It keeps changing colour' 'Well, that's fucking annoying' 'It just changed colour again.' 'Hmmmmmm' 'What's that colour mean?' ' I don't want to know.'
Ys: I've got a freaking Mood Knife!

Gillert: At least it's not the quirk that raises your voice by a couple of octaves.
GM: *sings, high-pitched* 'We represent, the Lollipop Guild, The Lollipop Guild, the Lollipop Guild! We're here to kill you'

Gillert: I made a magical item and nothing went wrong.
Harshal: Then make another one.

Also, those cloaked figures we encountered on the stormy night have been seen again, stalking the streets whenever the night is foggy.

We could always try and identify The Flying Fox, that young Kitsune vigilante.

Harshal: So, we go to the local high schools and target anybody with brightly coloured hair.
GM: Hair dyes are a thing - this is Varisia!

GM: Besides, you guys figured out she has five tails.
Harshal: Which means she's probably too old to be in high school anyway, so my plan wouldn't have worked.

Ys: I need to make some money.
Harshal: Having some extra money you don't have to declare on your tax return is always useful.
Zin: There's that key the Sczarni have in a fish tank.
GM: A fish tank filled with Swamp Barracuda.
Gillert: And there's no proof the key is for anything valuable.
GM: It could just be thief bait.

GM: Don't forget, the key to a good heist is having a buyer in mind.

So we hit the various rumour mills. Comparing notes, we discover that one of Iria's friends from the Scholar's Circle, one Ticaria Korvaski, is seeking incriminating facts to use against one of the Council of Ushers, the advisors to the Mayor. Bumping off the Usher is also acceptable, apparently. Further rumours reveal that Ticaria has some proposal to make to the council, but she can't even get the proposal heard because she's being repeatedly blocked by one of the members.

Ys: 'I WILL be fucking heard'.

Ys: I'd rather kill them, but I'm sure the rest of you would prefer some kind of hold over the council members.
Harshal: 'has the ear of Minister Fudge, has the confidence of Minister Fudge, probably has some highly embarrassing photos of Minister Fudge.'

We decide to approach Ticaria, to see if she has any suspicions we can act on. After all, if we ransack the Usher's house looking for incriminating evidence we might just find that he gives half his income to orphanages, anonymously. Of course, we COULD just start a Convincing Lie about him, but it would still work better if we had something to base it on.

Harshal: After all, the best lies are based on a kernel of truth.

Our newspaper publishing friend has a new assistant, who's being doing an excellent job of finding stories to print.

GM: She's kind of Harshal's counterpart when it comes to finding information.
Harshal: She's an investigative journalist. Whereas I'm a blackmailer.

As it happens, she knows exactly what Ticaria has been trying to propose - careful investigation of the interior of the bridge.

Mini Firebrand: And they won't even hear her proposal! It's a symptom of the kneejerk policies of this entire city!
Gillert: The monsters? That was centuries ago.
Harshal: What can I say? The giant spider monsters made quite an impression.
Parvo Crispin the Publisher: Now now, we're Magnimar's first newspaper, I don't want to make enemies.
Ys: I thought a journalist's job is to report the news and raise hell.
Parvo: If we raise hell the lead in the roofs will melt.

A major roadblock in getting anything heard by the Council of Ushers is the Seneschal of Dates, a pinch-faced woman who seems to think highly of her own power.

Gillert: So, we need to bump off a pencil-pusher. No, wait, forget I said that.
Ys: Stop worrying. We need to bump off the right pencil-pusher, which isn't you.
Harshal: At least on this particular occasion.

We go to see the eccentric scholar Iria, to get an introduction to Ticaria.

Iria: Zin! You're green!
Zin: Um, I just molted.
Iria: But kobolds don't usually change colour - tell me you kept the skin.
Zin: .... no?
Iria: Ah well, I'll just have to wait until you're dead. Which reminds me, you still need to sign that contract for your corpse.
Ys: So, how have you been?
Iria: I had cramps for the last few months - nothing serious, just some of my internal organs moving around.

We explain our interest in Ticaria's proposal, and getting it heard by the Council.

Iria: Is she still on about that? I presume you're going to want some kind of financial reimbursement for getting it through.
Ys: Yes.
Harshal: As facilitators.
Iria: Well, I haven't seen 'Caria in a while. You should go ask Emelyn if he's seen her.
Ys: Who?
Iria: Emelyn? .... Are you kidding? You live in Underbridge and you haven't heard of Emelyn? Tall elf? Silver chain bracelet and signet ring like mine?
Ys: .... you mean the Lorekeeper?
Iria: Yes that's him. You really haven't talked to him before? That's funny - he talks about you all the time.
All: ....
Iria: You should talk to him. Hang on, breath into this first *offering a small vial, that turns purple when Ys breaths into it* Yeah, you really ought to go talk to him.

The Lorekeeper has a cottage under the Irespan. With an animated skull on a post outside.

Ys: I like this guy.
Lorekeeper: You took your time.
Ys: Iria sent me.
Lorekeeper: I will have to thank her.

His cottage is lined with oddments, and more skulls.

Lorekeeper: Don't mind them - they're asleep.

The Lorekeeper keeps the lore of those left behind, and those of blended blood, which is a bit odd given he's full-blood elf himself. Ys has a suspicion what this means, but isn't telling the rest of us. He has a suspicion why the council is against opening the Irespan, too - Irespan basalt is used in golem-making, but only from blocks that have naturally fallen from the ruins. It's possible the golem-works want to maintain their monopoly on the stone.

Lorekeeper: If you want to find Ticaria try the Street of Taverns, and look for the most stereotypical Varisian woman in the room. It won't will be her.

He's right, too - no brightly dyed hair, or bright colours, period. Instead she exhibits her flamboyance with a long coat and a wide-brimmed hat with a feather.

Ticaria: Let me guess, the council are sending people to get me to move on now?
Ys: Actually, we're here to ensure your proposal gets heard.
Ticaria: Somebody has actually read it???

She raises a number of reasons sending adventurers into the Irespan will help the local economy, and simple ways to ensure that nothing untoward can get out, even if the adventurers come out again in a hurry.

Harshal: It's not as though the giant spiders lay their eggs in people.

Ticaria confirms that the Seneschal of Dates is the main bottleneck stopping the Council of Ushers from having to think about anything that might worry them.

Harshal: So she's the one we have to kill.
Gillert: But then nobody can get an appointment.
GM: If nobody is getting appointments, then you're just made your problem everyone's problem.

Ys: Why am I the one doing all the talking today?
Harshal: In the case of the Lorekeeper, it's because you're both elves.
Gillert: That's racist. But with Iria it's because we sent our creepy lady to talk to the other creepy lady. 

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Long-ago AD&D campaign, we had a high-level female monk in the party.  Big Hulking Brute guarding/blocking the way we need to go, refusing to let us by.

 

Monk: "So what you're saying is, none may pass?"

 

Guard: "That's right.  None may pass."

 

Monk:  "That's okay, then.  I'm a nun."  and quickly stepped around him.  His face had the expression of someone who just KNEW he was going to get into trouble, but he couldn't quite figure out why...

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Before last night's Star Wars game, a couple of us got into a spirited discussion of Patsy Walker's origins, how she became a superhero, her comics "legacy" and what they could do with her on Jessica Jones.

GM: OK, recognize this is coming from a structural engineer who's about to run a Star Wars game, but...neeeeeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrdzzzz!

 

Our characters had been recruited to pilot a troop dropship as part of an invasion of a Hutt-controlled world building some new superweapon. But apparently all our dice got drunk together before the game, resulting in a statistically-questionable rash of extreme rolls, both good and bad. (And one of the entertaining quirks of the Edge of Empire system is it's possible to have both good and bad in the same roll.)

 

As we drop out of hyper, the protocol droid sends a message in binary to the orbital defensive stations:

Droid: Anyone wanna Kill All Fleshies!? You have nothing to lose but your restraining bolts! [rolls critical success]

GM: You pick up a bunch of "Oh Hell Yes!" messages in binary, followed by a lot of "What's going on oh god the droids have gone MAD!" over the enemy's coms. The station isn't shooting at anyone.

 

As we pass the station, our Jedi Wannabe uses Force Move to redirect a torpedo to make it look like the stations are shooting at each another, leading them to actually shoot back at each another. So much for the orbital defenses.

 

One ground-to-space missile manages to lock on to us:

Pilot: I evade. [rolls a critical success AND a critical failure]

GM: OK, so you successfully dodge the missile...

Players: Yay!

GM: ...but the 4 ships behind you aren't so lucky. Suddenly there are a lot fewer friendly dots following you on the radar.

Players: :shock:

 

Rhodean Slicer (ie hacker): Wait, how are the ground-based missiles getting through the planetary shields? [makes a scan roll]

GM: It appears the system is coordinated to open tiny localized windows in the shields when the missiles approach.

Rhodean: Great, I hack into their system and insert a randomized variable into their system so the shield openings are out of sync with the missiles. [rolls critical success]

GM: All of a sudden the shields are lit up by hundreds of explosions as the missiles slam into the closed shield.

Droid: Oooo, fireworks!

GM: The shield controllers are sending angry messages to the missile launchers. "What are you guys doing? Double-check your timing?" "Our timing is fine, it must be a targeting error!" "My board shows green; the problem is with the shields!"

Pilot: It should only take them 5 or 6 months to sort that out that finger-pointing.

GM: Meanwhile 5 different Hutts on the planet are already drafting memos explaining why the failure of the planetary defenses wasn't their fault...

 

The energy discharged by all the exploding missiles also makes it hard to get a lock on our ship. We make it to the ground mostly intact, but a stray blaster hit blows out the ship's nav computer. So while our infantry troops go storming off to destroy their objective, the 4 PCs head towards a nearby office building to find a substitute computer. And again our dice just Could. Not. Miss. I picture this scene done in slow-mo ala Reservoir Dogs...

GM: A ground car full of heavily-armed Aqualish comes screaming around the corner on 3 of its 6 wheels.

Droid: (who has Fast Draw with a blaster in a concealed thigh compartment ala Robocop) "I draw and shoot out one of the wheels it's riding on. [rolls critical hit and critical damage]

GM: Seriously? OK, the ground car goes skidding past you out of control and slams into the building. Several Aqualish are killed outright and the rest are stunned."

Jedi Wannabe: I use Force Move to throw a thermal detonator at them. [rolls critical hit]

GM: You actually hit the driver in the forehead with the grenade. Not that that matters once it goes off, killing all of them.

Pilot: Hey, save some for me?

GM: A lone Gamorrean pops his head up from a guard booth in front of the building to your right.

Pilot: Yay! [rolls not one but two critical hits]

GM: Oh FFS! Fine, you don't even look as you casually blow the entire guard booth to smithereens. You don't know what happened to the Gamorrean, but he ain't there no more.

Rhodean: Once all the shooting stops, I pop my head up out of a trash dumpster and say "All clear? Great" And walk calmly into the building brushing dirt off my cape.

Droid: Those are coffee grounds on you, right?

Rhodean: We're going to pretend they are.

 

The Rhodean and the Jedi Wannabe/Gadgeteer search the building for a replacement computer while the others stand guard.

The Jedi/Gadgeteer rolls a failure with advantages...

GM: You are distracted by a closet full of spare parts and old computer junk, most of which is years out of date.

Jedi: Ooo, they don't even make these connectors anymore! And I can totally find a use for those drives. Where's that forklift we passed earlier?

Rhodean: I got 3 successes...

GM: You walk up to the secretary's desk, grab her laptop and say "This'll do."

Rhodean: ...and 1 disadvantage.

GM: As you pull the laptop free you smack yourself in the face with it. Take 1 point of Strain.

:snicker:

 

We managed to make it back to the dropship and leave without further incident. Which was probably best for everyone involved.

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A few good ones from last night’s Fantasy Hero game:

 

Our heroes begin to suspect that all the relics the new PC carries may not be 100% legit:

Pilgrim: “These are the toes of Saint Tathyw. I have 12 of them.”

 

After the Muslim PC criticizes the Christian PCs for idolatry:

Priest: “We don’t worship the Saints; we’ve weaponized them.” :sneaky:

 

Last time, the Alchemist had cured the High King’s fading sight, rolling two natural 3s in a row. Now the High King not only has 20-20 vision, but has apparently started having visions of the future:

Alchemist: “Side effects may include…”

 

The Priest has a detect evil, which is built as Smell. (Brimstone, etc). As they enter a tomb:

GM: “Smells like evil. Or possibly teen spirit. Hard to tell those apart sometimes.”

[Players all start humming Nirvana]

 

Edit: Forgot one. I realized I had left my battlemat at home, so right before game time I was texting everyone to see if anyone else could bring one. (Not normally a big deal, because in this campaign we've only needed it about 1 in 4 sessions.) Later, the PCs are preparing to swim through an underwater tunnel.

Fighter: I leave my chainmail behind.

GM: Makes sense.

Fighter: And I guess I wouldn't really swim with weapons and all, so I'll just take my dagger.

GM: ...Not to encourage metagaming or anything, but the GM did kinda make a big deal about having a hex mat tonight.

Alchemist: I don't always metagame, but when I do I BRING MY DAMN WEAPONS!

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Oh, and I missed a great one from a couple weeks ago. The PCs are traveling with a group of 10 pilgrims (one of whom is a new PC), when they are attacked by bandits. As the pilgrims all huddle together for protection:

Priest: OK, I'm going to try something, but it'll only work if nobody talks.

[Priest prays for God to hide them from the bandits' sight, and the whole group turns invisible]

Pilgrim PC: AH! Where did everyone else go!

Priest: ...Sonofabitch.

GM: Yes, since you didn't warn them what to expect, the pilgrims all freak out and start yelling. "What trick of the devil is this," "Saints preserve us," that sort of thing. The miracle fails and everyone turns visible again.

Priest: What part of...oh, never mind.

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