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Darren Watts

Quote of the Week from my gaming group...

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Pathfinder : Mummy's Mask - Sidequest!
Off to find a former friend of Unwrapped Harmony, who got a little too interested in mummification, and not in a sexual sense.

GM:
Zenobia OoC: I derailed your brain, didn’t I? Sorry.

It’s safe to assume he’s not a friend anymore, since she wants proof of his death in the form of a magical stone he swallowed. We sneak up to the old villa he and his Dark Creeper acolytes are hiding in.

Zenobia OoC: Oh dear - I don’t do sneak well - it’s probably my ears sticking up above whatever cover we’re using.

Apparently the giant Devil’s Coach-horse Beetles lurking in the yard think Zenobia’s ears look tasty. Zenobia blushes a bit later, when she sees how swiftly Asrian came to her rescue, but it’s hard to tell under all the acid burns. One of the Dark Creepers in the villa sticks his head out to see what all the noise was, just as Asrian trying to pick the other door. Zenobia tries to pull the door open as he tries to slam it shut again, keeping them both nicely busy why the others keep working at the other door. Since Asrian is wrapped in white cloth from head to foot, the acolyte leaps to an understandable conclusion.

Dark Creeper: We’re being attacked by a gnoll, a human, an orc and a mummy! And the mummy is picking the lock!
Other Dark Creeper: Who’s holding the door?!
Dark Creeper: The gnoll!
Other Dark Creeper: You’re on your own.
Asrian: That’s not going to work, you know - you might as well open the door and we’ll let you run away.
Nemat: We’ve only here for Gaunt Cadaver.
Zenobia: Although Unwrapped Harmony would be pleased if you came home again.

GM: The Dark Folk look like colour-inverted versions of you, Asrian.
Asrian: I know - just shorter.

Zenobia: I swear in the name of Sarenrae that I am not here to harm the rest of you.
Asrian: Not the best idea, invoking the Dawnflower - they’re dark folk - they don’t like daylight.
Zenobia: I still gave my word.
Asrian: Fair enough. Look, you lot, just go back to the others - they’re welcome you, and you’ll be safe there.

Apparently unwilling to risk being brutally murdered before Gaunt Cadaver can ‘enlighten’ them, the acolytes hood up and slink off back to the rest of their clan. For some reason reason they’d barred the doors to the inner courtyard of the villa too. Probably because there’s a humanoid mound of rotting flesh, bone and hair trying to drink from the fountain. Nemat, naturally, recognises what it is, and recalls to our general alarm that they’re mostly immune to magic. Still, going through the courtyard is clearly a better idea than going around the long way, like whoever put the monster here intended.

Nemat: We are a party that believes in direct action.

Of course, the door opposite is barred from the inside too. But using a pillar as a battering ram is a good shortcut too, and we burst in on Gaunt Cadaver mid-ritual, surrounded by his ‘enlightened’ followers - sapient zombies. He welcomes us and tells his minions to seize us for ‘enlightenment’. We object, strenuously, and recover the rock we’re after from the resulting piles of dust.

Zenobia: No cascara required.

But at least we know where the Elegaic Compasses are know - and Unwrapped Harmony is also aware of a masked figure spotted inside the Necropolis just prior to the necromantic pulse, who dropped a parchment that Unwrapped Harmony passes on to us. It’s an incomplete star chart. Unfortunately, we draw the attention of giant locusts when we go to the first location, which is pretty distracting when you’re trying to investigate a possible crime scene. It’s curious how many kinds of giant arthropods infest the Necropolis - you’d think there would be more giant carrion beetles, if anything.

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18 hours ago, Drhoz said:

Playing Blackstone Fortress - one of the PCs is playing the Kroot Mercenary, and another the Navigator

 

Me: No wonder the Kroot is sticking close to the Navigator. The Kroot are directing their own evolution, by assimilating useful genetic traits from the species they eat. So if the Kroot eat enough Navigators, they'll acquire the Navigator gene and they'll be able to use Warp-travel properly. So if you happen to lose an arm while we're in the fortress, don't ask the Kroot what happened to it.

Kroot: Can't you spare a finger?

Navigator: I've got a finger for you right here.

 

Kroot take "you are what you eat" to a totally new level :)

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On ‎12‎/‎29‎/‎2018 at 8:41 AM, Drhoz said:
Champions - Return to Edge City - King Arthur Is Public Domain
The Usual Gang of Idiots

Scooter ‘Hero Shrew’ Sorex - Superstrong but not completely stupid manimal
Gareth ‘Hardlight’ Lowell - Geek CEO with hardlight holograms
Allana ‘Superhero Name To Be Announced’ - Literal Batwoman
Chris 'Flux' Jones - Paranoid computer wizard
'Fireflash' Helstrom - And you thought YOUR teenage years were a problem


Black Paladin - Actual Arthurian villain
Talisman - Gritty 90's Reboot of Bewitched
Morningstar - Big Demonic A-hole With a Big Spiky Club
Shadow Dragon: Master of Black Chi








Allana: Is he trying to set up his own version of Arthur’s Court?
Hero Shrew: What’s the opposite of Round?
Fireflash: Square?
Hero Shrew: Donut? They all sit in the middle.
Allana: But the point of the Round Table was equality.
GM: Yeah, not really the Black Paladin’s thing.


 

 

Obviously, the Black Paladin would mock the Round Table with a LONG Table. Instead of a circular gathering of brotherhood and equality, there would be a strict hierarchy of rank, from the Black Paladin himself at the head of the table on down, with seating corresponding to one's place in the pecking order.

 

Lucius Alexander

 

And a paladindrome on a palindromedary

 

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I created an anti-Round Table for my own games, made up of Champions villains with a fantasy-medieval-knight motif. They were led by Black Paladin, but gathered and financed by Brangomar, the Shadow Queen (Champions Villains Vol. 1). Other members were drawn from the CV trilogy, including Morningstar, Hell Rider, Shadowdragon (all from CV Vol. 3 -- I know Shadowdragon comes from a different tradition, but Brangomar would probably find that name appealing); Lightning Man (Champions Worldwide); and Matachin, one of the Sylvestris (briefly described in CV 2, but detailed and game-statted in the old Ultimate Super Mage for 4E Hero). I didn't include Talisman or any other females, due to Brangomar's insane jealousy of any good-looking woman. She might accept Harpy, though, on account of her half-avian form (also in CV3).

 

Because there were six of them, I had them seated at an hexagonal table, and referring to themselves collectively as "the Hexagony." (Word-play intentional.) ;)

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Champions - Return to Edge City : Heart of Darkness
In Old Monterey, tracking down the Black Paladin’s powered armour army, and shortly to suffer the most grievous blow the team has yet endured. Hero Shrew points excitedly at his zombie detector. Flux, pointing with less excitement at the actual zombies.

Hero Shrew: Flux. Flux. FLUX.
Flux: Yes, I know, OK?
Hardlight: There’s zombies?
Flux: Yes, they’re RIGHT THERE.
Hardlight: Oh. Shambly.
Flux: Well, let’s HOPE they’re the shambling type and not the ‘i’m in your face eating it now’ type.
GM: No, they’re not murder-wraiths.

Hero Shrew: Wait, I’m Hero Shrew, not Hero Zombie.
Flux: Give it a few minutes.

At least Hardlight has tweaked his hardlight field to turn himself invisible now - maybe he can sneak past the zombies to see whatever is in the abandoned bungalow they’re protecting.

GM: It’s been abandoned for years - it’s been vandalised, graffitied, etc.
Hero Shrew: Maybe that’s what they made the zombies from.
GM: Then their average IQ went up.

And, indeed the inside of the building has been excavated, and the Black Paladin and his entire crew, three magic circles, a bunch of other minions doing fine engraving work, and multiple copies of the suits are in there. Incredibly, they don’t notice Hardlight creeping around. Or as he tiptoes away again, tripping over a bucket.

Minion: The basic concept is sound my lord, but we overreached - we shouldn’t have gone for such a powerful animating force.
GM: I can’t believe how badly I rolled for their awareness checks.

It will take at least an hour for anybody that could survive a fight against the Black Paladin and the others to get here. We’re on our own.

Hero Shrew: Well, at this point I’d ask if we know anybody with an Orbital Laser Weapon, but…
Fireflash: There’s one person with that tech. And he doesn’t let anybody else have it.
Allana: And it’s kind of unpopular after what happened to Detroit.

There’s also the problem that anything heavy enough that we can drop on Black Paladin is going to be unhealthy for his human thralls. We instead plan to glide down onto the roof - right up until Scooter spots all the crows on the roof.

Hero Shrew: Doesn’t the Black Paladin call himself the Knight of Crows or something?
Fireflash: Can any of you dig a tunnel?
Hero Shrew: I can.
All: …
Hero Shrew: What? You’ve never asked me to before.

Of course, Allana won’t fit through Scooter’s tunnel - so she’ll have to infiltrate through the roof anyway. Flux can teleport in along the old cable tv lines.

Hardlight: How can I move silently? Oh wait, I can fly.

Flux: Scooter just need to pop through the floor like a horrible fluffy flower.

Unfortunately, the roof of the building can’t even support the weight of Allana anymore, because all the internal walls of the building have been knocked out. Allana and Fireflash drop in, just as Scooter bursts out of the ground. And then the invisible figure on the roof jumps down the hole after Allana and Fireflash, talons out. Just as well Fireflash put her forcefield up. Even better, Allana has four arms, so she can hold onto Fireflash as Fireflash blasts people, and still grab Lady Crow by the ankles and throw her at Talisman. Morningstar tries to play Whackamole with Scooter.

Morningstar: Round Two, fuzzball!

Black Paladin: Really, Miss Helstrom?
Fireflash: It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Hardlight resists the impulse to telegraph his attack, and stays invisible and silent long enough to blast Black Paladin in the back. All it does is make the Black Paladin laugh. The swarm of crows mobs Allana and Fireflash, which doesn’t do her echolocation any good. But with her wings, toughness, and Fireflash’s forcefield, they’re as safe as if they were sitting in an Abrams tank. In fact, safer.

Black Paladin: I’m disappointed Miss Helstrom - you KNOW my plan, and you STILL brought him?

He teleports over to Flux and attempts to knock him out with his mace, the Crusher of Hope, and Talisman attempts to teleport the stunned Flux and her team away. Allana snatches Flux into her embrace next to Fireflash - if she can keep moving, Talisman won’t be able to snatch him. Fireflash attempts to blind the badguys, and the flash illuminates one of the side rooms - Scooter sees immobile figures - a lot of immobile figures.

Hero Shrew: Hey, guys? I’ve found the exo-suits.
Fireflash: Then smash them!

Talisman might be intangible right now (since there’s a bunch of people in the room swinging highly energetic objects like fists, maces, and high-energy particle blasts around) but that doesn’t stop Hardlight blasting her out through the ceiling.

Hardlight: Team Rocket is blasting off again!

Morningstar, now blinded by the Black Paladin’s Fog Spell, is not having a good day, and seems incapable of hitting anything. Likewise, Shadow Dragon is being unpleasantly reminded how vulnerable he is to Fireflash’s blasts.

Fireflash: Fate has chosen him to be the buttmonkey.

Flux risks a blind teleport towards the exo-suits - and they’re bunched up nice and tight for his electrical attack. No point letting Black Paladin KEEP all the armour for his order of anti-paladins. Black Paladin is getting increasingly frustrated, since we’ve apparently learned how to tank - his hardest attack bounces harmlessly off Allana’s skull, and when she unfurls her wings Flux isn’t there.

Black Paladin: WHAT?!?

Unfortunately Talisman DID notice his teleport, and uses a mind control spell on our technomage. It’s pretty convincing, especially since he’ll get to tinker with things like the exo-suits.

Talisman: Why resist us? We offer you Knowledge. Power. Safety. Come with us. Come with us.
GM: And the rest of you have no idea what’s happening.
Flux OoC: *groan* the city is going to suffer.

Hardlight tries to clear the fog with a holographic giant industrial fan. Black Paladin draws his sword, the Eater of Shadows, and tries a shadow blast on Allana.

Allana: Good idea, target my even stronger defence. *stalks forward, cracking her knuckles*

Hardlight: Where the f*** are Flux and Hero Shrew?
Flux OOC: Well, Scooter is over here near me, but hasn’t seen anything yet, and Sonja is still tucked under bat boobs.

Hardlight’s submillimeter radar does see Flux and Talisman standing over in the other room.

Hardlight: F***!!!!!!!! Whathername! She’s over there! Trying to kidnap thingy!

Not very useful when we’re all blinded by fog and squawking crows. Allana grabs Black Paladin by the head and throws him through the wall in the direction of Talisman. Too late to stop Talisman, Morningstar, Shadow Dragon and Flux teleporting out. At least Black Paladin is still here, since he was moving at high speed at the time, through two walls.

Fireflash: Grab an arm each and make a wish.

Sadly, while the rest of us pile on the attacks, the bastard teleports himself away before we can twist his head off. We’ve got the exo-suits, but lost our friend.

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GM: Why is that even still installed?
Me: So, ‘No’ then?
GM: Yes. I mean, yes to No.
Me: that’s not very helpful - I’ve already pressed No.
GM: I’m a computer engineer!
Onka’s player: Then Yes and No should be your bread and butter.

Patching up all the holes after our encounter with remarkably carnivorous grasshoppers, we proceed over the rooftops to the glassblower’s shop we were told about. One of the Elegiac Compasses is there, and apparently intact - with one important exception. The copper-wrapped quartz crystal that should be making up the core is missing. Happily, it was removed so recently that we can track the thief - apparently a young dragon.

Zenobia: *sigh* So it saw something shiny and nicked it.

Perhaps a blue dragon? The desert locale, and electrical properties of copper and quartz, would suggest it. But maybe not.

Nemat: A juvenile blue dragon would be larger.

The tracks lead to a large sinkhole behind the glassblowers, happily in a courtyard not crawling with zombies.

Zenobia: Do we need to send up a Dancing Lights signal?
Onka: What signal? ‘Here be Dragons’?

Nemat: I’ve got rope. My parents gave me it, along with the rest of my kit. ‘It’s dangerous to go alone. Take this. And this. And this.’

Asrian carefully climbs down, and since her low-light vision is full colour, realises that the dragon isn’t a blue. It’s something much more unusual. It does explain why it wanted a 50-pound quartz crystal though.

Asrian: It’s a crystal dragon. And it’s asleep.

Nemat argues that diplomacy will be more successful than theft or killing her in her sleep.

Nemat: Ahem! Cough! AHEM!
Dragon: Five more minutes mummy…
Nemat: AHEM!
Dragon: WTF??? *jumps up and tries to look big* Who are you? Did Mum send you? How did you find me?
Nemat: We followed your tracks.
Dragon: … what tracks? *trying to look innocent*
Nemat: From the compass.
Dragon: Compass?
Nemat: The one you took the crystal from.
Dragon: What crystal?
Nemat: *sigh* that crystal right there.
Dragon: Oh, the shiny thing from the clock thing.
Nemat: We kind of need that back. Look, why not use the glassblower’s shop as your lair, there’s plenty of shiny stuff in there.
Dragon: Uh, zombies, duh?

Nemat negotiates a deal - we clear out the zombie infestation, and she can be the guardian of the compass, as well as having a nice location for future business.

Zenobia: Diplomancy wins again!
Nemat: And I didn’t even have to use my penis. Yet.
GM: You would have had a penalty at that - she’s not into males. Human males anyway. She looks at Zenobia with interest though.
Asrian: MINE.

Nemat’s player digs out his 140 year-old copy of ‘Enquire Within Upon Everything’

Zenobia’s player: Anything in there about clearing out zombie infestations?

We stick our heads down the chimney of the shop. From the smell, it actually seems like the glassblower’s kilns have been in use recently, which is odd. Even more so, the bricks are still warm. Asrian starts climbing down - and gets grabbed at by a long black hand. What ever owns the hand soon regrets it.

Zenobia: So, basically the same result as grabbing a cat by the belly?

There is a lot of swearing, in a variety of languages.

Asrian: That sounds like Zenobia, when I- nevermind.
The Owner of the Hand: Palm! Oshwyt! Worm! We have intruders!

Apparently somebody is using the glassblower’s workshop as an alchemy lab. Nemat soon deduces that the whole rumour about mumia use is true, at least if you’re careful with your abuse of the drug. Although it doesn’t do your bodily hygiene any favours.

Nemat: But they don’t smell so bad when they’re dead.
Zenobia: IgiveyouhalfasecondtosurrenderCHOP

Nemat Petrifies one of the minions. The players all launch into ‘I Will Survive’. A little while later (and perhaps because the NPCs didn't join in the song) Zenobia is looking at the last surviving minion, who is still Petrified, and also on fire.

Zenobia: Is he still alive?
Nemat: I think so?
Zenobia: … should we do something about that?
Asrian: I could pick him up and put him outside.
Nemat: He might have useful information. And it would be nice to take a prisoner back with us for once.
Onka: We are law-abiding citizens, supposedly.

Either way, these mumia-producers were very lucky that their stockpile of raw materials weren’t woken up by that necromantic pulse a week ago.

Zenobia OoC: Well, Miss Crystal Dragon, it wasn’t zombies, it was Mumia producers. So if your new place of business has a reputation as a meth lab, that’s why.
Nemat: Also, there’s a roomful of potential zombies in the side room, but we sealed it up and they should be fine if you leave them alone.

Once we get it repaired, the Elegiac Compass projects a beam out across the rooftops, towards the centre of the Necropolis. Not entirely surprising. We still need to find another compass to triangulate it properly.

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In our version of the adventure, my Character, a super High Charisma Dragon Disciple (Bronze), Flirted shamelessly with the young Crystal Dragon for about a half hour, much to the amusement and cat calls from the other players, and got the Crystal, by basically buying it off of her (He's rich).  Now that he can BE a dragon, he can't return, but won't, as he is now betrothed to another...  *sniff* She was so pretty, though.

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One of the players in Sunday's D&D game was not able to attend.  The prior session, her character got engaged to an NPC, with a wedding planned basically the next game session.  Since she wasn't able to attend, we delayed the wedding, though texts went back and forth:

 

GM:  We could have your wedding and the groom would get to make all the decisions.

Player:  Oh, I don't think so.

Me:  Two words:  Nude wedding.

Player:  Umm, I have no response to that.

Player 2:  For everyone, or just the people getting married?!

Me:  Well, Raphael [my character, a vain, flirty high-Charisma paladin] would be good with everybody.

Player 3:  Absolutely.  Good heroes like us have nothing to hide.

Player 2:  Oh my!

 

During the game, some more texting to and from the missing player:
 

Me:  The bride was very lovely in her lace veil... and nothing else.  The groom had a very fetching bow, strategically placed.

Player:  Ugh.  I'm at work.  Quit bothering me.

 

In prior sessions, our female fighter (Marie, who used to wield a +2 great sword) got an intelligent, powerful spear with additional cold powers, so she sold her great sword and used the money to buy some magic plate mail.  Later on, she got transformed - the spear disappeared and she became able to generate an ice spear at will.  However, due to other baggage she didn't like her transformation so we managed to get her changed back to normal.  However, she now has no weapon.

 

Marie:   Does anyone have a great sword I can use?

Raphael:  I do.  (wiggles eyes suggestively)  You know why I call it my "great sword"?  Because I have to wield it two-handed...

Marie:  😮😣

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Two players are riding divine winged horses to the moon and encounter one of the dragon riders of Ka'ruk en route.

 

Bill, playing Stoddard the Barbarian: "Is it possible for you to be stealthy and we can sneak up on the dragon?"

 

WInged Horse: "We are living symbols of divine inspiration. We are not sneaky, we are glorious."

 

 

Lucius Alexander

 

The palindromedary says it was something like that

 

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Flux, our technomage, has been mind-controlled and kidnapped by Talisman and the other bad guys. He’ll probably realise that going off with them was a bad idea, but not until the spell wears off.

GM: 24 hours later you go B**** F***ing MINDCONTROL!

Not that some of us have actually realised this yet - we’re still in a smoke and crow-filled California bungalow, where we were trying to pull Black Paladin apart like a stewed chicken. He teleported out before we could.

Hero Shrew: Coward! Come back and fight like a man! *looks around* Where’s Flux?
Allana: He got teleported out. Willingly.
Hero Shrew: … what?
Flux OoC: I’m going to put it all down to mind control.
GM: You’ve seen the way Talisman dresses, right? There will be debate which brain you were thinking with.

Scooter is bit upset. Quite more upset than the rest of the team are used to.

Flux OoC: You weren’t nearly as upset when Fireflash was kidnapped.
Hero Shrew OoC: Letting her be kidnapped was the PLAN. Then it went pear-shaped.
Flux OoC: That’s true. We all panicked a bit when my thingy-detector stopped detecting.
GM: ‘Thingy-detector’ - this is the level of competency Quadrant had before Allana joined.

GM: Does ANYBODY in this team apart from Flux have any occult knowledge?
Allana: Of course not. *pointing around the team from herself, to Scooter, to Fireflash, to Hardlight* Mundane, mundane, mundane, mundane and an idiot.

And least there’s a few minions half-buried in the wreckage we can apprehend. Less happily half the magic circles were destroyed when Scooter burrowed up from underground. And the bungalow is still surrounding by guardian undead.

Fireflash Hi, my name is Fireflash, this is my ID. You’re under arrest.
Minions: Lawyer. Lawyer. Lawyer.

GM: Sonya recognises some of the symbols though ‘Those are planetary symbols! They keep showing up in Sailor M- … never mind’. Her Geek is showing.

Flux OoC: Are these headshot zombies? *BLAM* Nope, still moving - limbs it is then.
Hero Shrew OoC: Unless it’s Saturday Morning Cartoons zombies, who always seem to revert to human at the end of the episode.
GM: Even in Saturday Morning Cthulhu - I mean Inhumanoids.

Hero Shrew: I’m going to have to ask Colin for time off from my other job. I’m going to have to concentrate on finding my friend.
GM: You could always rent out one of those new Sleep Pods.
Flux OoC: Non-zero chance of psychosis though.
Hero Shrew: If we don’t find Flux soon, I’m probably going to go psychotic anyway.

We DO try to track down where the bad guys got the generator, inflatable mattresses, and porta-potty from, but it’s hardly likely that Black Paladin, Talisman, and Shadow Dragon would have been hiding out here eating microwave dinners. This site was probably just one of their attempts to get their Big Project to work, and they’ve probably taken Flux back to their actual hide-out. And we’ve got no way to contact Alberich, the mage that showed up to assist in the previous battle. That doesn’t stop him and his Cabal (which apparently includes a necromancer, a former vampire, and a Moreau voodoo-practitioner) from finding us.

Allana: Mr. Alberich is here. Sorry, I never found out if Alberich was a first or last name.

From the scent Allana picks up, the wolf-Moreau apparently used some of Scooter’s hair to locate the team, but she doesn’t stick around long enough to ask. She used her magic to get Alberich here in a hurry.

Alberich: So, there was a magic circle here. Which you destroyed.
Allana: Scooter came up through it and the roof couldn’t support my weight.
Alberich: A collective ‘you’.

Apparently they were trying to bind a fire elemental. Our new Harry-Dresden-wannabe also analyses the residual magic to get us a bearing on wherever Flux was taken, and opens a portal. Using the same black smoky energy Talisman uses. This doesn't reassure Fireflash and Allana. But they’ll have to hold Scooter back once Alberich explains.

Allana wisely waves her smartphone through the portal to get a GPS signal first - it’s Ellison Heights, a few blocks from Fireflash’s home. Allana’s plan is to grab Flux and bug out. The room on the other side is nice enough, but Allana can hear somebody watching porn nearby.

GM: The guy watching porn has a stab vest and a shock rod. He uses it on Girl Scouts.
Hero Shrew: What???
GM: Ok, that come out wrong - he uses it on anybody that comes knocking on the front door and won’t go away. Jehovah’s Witnesses.

GM: The rest of the guys have gone to get everything on Flux’s shopping list. Flux IS there, gesturing and chanting over a pile of crystals.
Allana: Sorry about this *punches Flux out*

We grab Flux and everything that looks expensive or important and try and sneak out again. Happily, Alberich obliges with another portal. Scooter thinks he recognises one of the Moreaus in the porn, but doesn’t alert the bad guys by ejaculating something to that effect.

GM: And in related news Dysprosium Dawn have a reduced presence on the streets for a while, because somebody rolled them, and they don’t want to say who. That’s because Flux told Black Paladin and Talisman they should steal the materials they need from Dysprosium Dawn.
Flux: I was mind-controlled at the time.

It also takes Allana to remind us we got our copies of Superhero Teams For Dummies from PRIMUS, and we all put it to one side because we were busy.

Fireflash I was in the middle of exams at the time. My copy is back at Mum’s place, at the bottom of the ‘to read’ pile. Or maybe in storage.

And Scooter is back working the door at the Collar Club when some guy in a suit apparently offers a job. He’s one of those excessively friendly people that leave Scooter baffled.

Hero Shrew: Um, OK? My shift ends in an hour.
Strange Guy: Great! I’ll meet you inside - take in the ambience. You stay you, champ.

Hero Shrew: So what’s this job? I’m already working two.
Strange Guy: It’s not a job offer, it’s a revenue stream. Call me Rep.

Rep: You’re an important guy, Scooter - working a place like this isn’t really image-friendly.
Hero Shrew: Hey, it’s the best titty-bar in the Zoo.

Rep: We’re talking endorsement deals, licensed merchandise. You eat a lot of those food bars, right?
Hero Shrew: Wow, you’ve really been doing your research.

He also knows where the other team members live and work - or at least those with public identities. He also knows all about the importance of keeping secret identities secret. But apparently going to Allana’s clinic or Fireflash’s home would be more sleazy than going to the Collar Club. He only wants 15% of whatever deal he arranges for us, after Scooter talks it over with the rest of the team. Scooter calls Fireflash, at 3AM. She answers the videophone naked, but he doesn’t comment.

GM: He works at a titty-bar.
Hero Shrew: I see LOTS of co-workers naked.

Fireflash So what impression did you get?
Hero Shrew: 15% seemed fair?
Flux: Net or gross?

Hero Shrew: Can I get an action figure?

Apparently the Rep also represents people like Sapphire, and a few of the Bay Area teams. Fireflash calls her mom to get advice - she’s a commerce attorney for accounting firms - and arranges a lunchtime meeting with the Rep, herself, her mom, and Flux. Hero Shrew needs to sleep, Hardlight has a krill-farming meeting he can’t afford to miss, and Allana wouldn’t fit in the chairs. Or perhaps she would have - the Rep has actually arranged reinforced steel chairs with the restaurant.

Rep: Miss Helstrom, Mr Flux! And this gorgeous creature must be your sister? I know, I know, it’s an old compliment, I know she’s your mother. Afternoon, Mrs Helstrom, charmed to meet you.

Rep: I can see Nocturne as the spokesperson for brassieres. What’s the biggest complaint for large-chested women? Lack of support!
Fireflash *comparatively flat-chested* Really.
Rep: And swimsuits for you!

Rep: I’m talking those three magic words in marketing - Collect. Them. All.

Fireflash’s mom certainly likes everything she’s hearing, and the example contract he brought with him is comprehensive.

Flux: Why us?
Rep: You’re new! Used to be Hero Shrew might have come across as tokenism - too much of an uphill battle for me. But now you have Nocturne - two Moreaus on the team, and two women! Great visuals.

Fireflash What do you think, Mom?
Ellen Helstrom: Well, I feel like I need a shower after this, but he really seems to been looking after your interests, not his own.

Fireflash I think we can introduce him to the rest of the team.
GM: At the very least it’ll be fun to watch fur crawl.

Rep: Sonya, you change your outfits all the time, that’s great! Flux, you never change yours. We’ll ramp up the Snake-eyes aspect - all your details are redacted. It’s a SECRET!
Allana: Glowy axes and shields...
Rep: Hardlight is the Accessory Hound! Scooter has to be brushable.
Allana: My toy is going to be HUGE.

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Pathfinder : Mummy's Mask : Wandering Monsters
Nemat: One of the advantages of being an urban adventurer is actually getting to sleep in a bed.

Onka: For a minute there I thought we were going to tart up the gnoll.
Zenobia: ...what?
Nemat: Nothing!

Even if most of the undead in the Necropolis are crowding around the gates like Black Friday shoppers, there's still plenty of random monsters to run into. For example, we're heading towards the second Elegiac Compass location, and realise we’re being followed by some exceptionally unpleasant undead - hairless, festering, so malformed that they’re quadrupedal. Happy, their actual combat prowess isn’t so sophisticated. If they’d just waited until we reached the bathhouse, we wouldn’t have smelled them coming - the place is a swamp.

Asrian: But no naked zombies.
Nemat: Thank the gods.

Nemat does find a Lens of Detection among the wreckage, though.

Nemat OoC: An Inquisitor just found a Lens of Detection - all the criminals leave town. I can go full Mad-eye Moody with this.

Asrian: Well, this was a bust. But not as beautiful as Zenobia’s.
Zenobia: *blushes under her regrown fur*

The other two locations we need to check are the Pyramid of Arithmetic Bliss, and the Tomb of Menket Maatya. Nemat, naturally, wants to go to the latter, so he can exercise his History Geek skillz. Menket was a wizard and astrologer who died about a century ago, who just before his death made arrangements for his tomb.

Nemat: Just before? This was a good astronomer.

Unfortunately it looks like somebody got here before us. The place has been looted, and the crystal from the middle of this compass is missing as well. Nemat launches into a high-speed pursuit of the culprit, and the first thing he finds is a metal skull amid the rubble, which he picks up. Apparently it’s a Gearghost, and it doesn’t like being disturbed.

Skullboy: OI! Getoff! This is my loot! Nobody else gets it!

Gearghosts were thieves killed by traps, and exist to spread the pain by making their own traps. It seems likely he was one of the people the Silver Chain used to loot the Necropolis.

Onka: It would be such a useful undead is it wasn’t bats**** crazy.

Happily, one of Nemat’s abilities synchronises very well with and scimitar-work by his friends, and Zenobia and Asrian both use scimitars. The demented metal skull is promptly dispatched, although it will probably reform soon enough. Off to the Pyramid of Arithmetic Bliss! It’s just as well there aren’t any maths geeks in the party. For one thing it’s trapezoidal.

Nemat: Ah, it’s a conceptual pyramid.

Naturally we try to get in through the topmost floor, first. This could be a problem, since the chamber is black. With spiders. Happily, Onka knows Fireball. Less happily, the surviving spiders pile up around the body of a gigantic dead spider. Which animates. And sprays web at us. Which catches fire in the burning oil we set up as a barrier ( and the toppings contains Potassium Benzoate). Happily, Nemat can easily make himself resistant to the flames, which is even better when Zenobia hits the monster with a Tangleburn Bag.

Zenobia: Doesn’t Tangleburn explode if you try to put it out with water?
Onka: I believe so. Who knows Create Water?
Nemat: *grinning evilly* I do.
 

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Finally getting back into gaming, running D&D 5e's The Sunless Citadel.  The PCs have just encountered the kobold Meepo, who has agreed to take them to see his leader.  There's a password he shouts every once and again.

Meepo: "Meepo will say (word) sometimes.  Is sa--password."

Me OOC: "I almost said safeword.  That's just not right."

Jeff OOC: "That's a whole 'nother kind of dungeon."

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Pathfinder : Mummy's Mask : PC Parkour
Zenobia OoC: Another random wandering monster then?
GM: No.
Zenobia OoC: Ah, this is SUPPOSED to be here then.

GM: Apart from the burning corpse of the giant spider - well, AGAIN corpse -
Zenobia: Double-corpse.
GM: There’s another body. You didn’t see it before because, well -
Zenobia: The room was black with spiders. You said. And now we have a light source.

It’s a recent corpse, wearing a funerary mask. Just like those favoured by the weirdo who took over the Silver Chain, and who was seen lurking around the Necropolis before S*** Got Real. He’s covered in spider bites, but it’s the numerous claw marks and slashing injuries that killed him. He also has a notebook, giving the locations of the Elegiac Compasses, and orders to go to same from one Nebta-Khufre. It also mentions the Sanctum of the Erudite Eye, the Shining Bauble, and a couple of other places that we’ve been to ourselves. Some of them have been crossed out. But the Elegiac Compass that is SUPPOSED to here, isn’t, and nor is there any visible space for an attic.

We head downstairs, where there are some bored mummies. Who stop being bored the moment they spot us coming down the stairs. And paralyse everybody but Asrian with their auras of despair.

GM: Asrian, you slash the nearest mummy across the abdomen. It’s guts are on the floor… Or would be, if it had any.
Zenobia OoC: I was about to say - it’s guts should be in a canopic jar somewhere.

Nemat gets over the paralysis soon enough to attempt to Shackle the mummies to each other. Perhaps we’re making a remake of The Defiant Ones. But given the undead are soon just dead, perhaps not. We rifle through the empty sarcophagi, unfinished scientific and mathematical manuscripts, and a campsite somebody apparently set up in here. But by the looks of of things, they were NOT looting the burial chambers - the mummies got up by themselves later. The LIBRARY got looted. Happily, Nemat knows the Sift spell.

GM: Book, book, scroll, scroll, book, hidden switch, book -
Asrian: Switch?
Nemat: Yeah yeah, I’ll get back to it. Book book, scroll, book.

He also stuff’s Zenobia’s extradimensional backpack with as many books and scrolls as will fit.

There’s a hidden stairway leading up, revealed by the switch. Also something is chattering, but it doesn’t sound like language. It’s a pair of shadowy ghost-skeletons, trying to operate the Elegiac compass. THESE have an aura attack too. But at least we can get a bearing from the compass before heading back to the temple in Wati to get all our mental and spiritual damage healed. And now we know the epicenter of the necromantic energy, a temple and observatory dedicated to Maat and Thoth.

Hopefully Nemat won’t need to seduce a free Restoration out of Sebti the Crocodile.

GM: You know what? I’m going to make all the female NPCs lesbian, just to stop you doing that.
Zenobia OoC: But that won’t stop Asrian or me.
Onka OoC: So you’re screwed either way.
Zenobia OoC: As the actress said to the bishop.

Nemat’s eventual plan is to become a Living Monolith, the walking embodiments of Justice.

GM: Most spellcasters want to be liches. You just want to be a robot.

The Pharasmaens can’t think why somebody would want to set up the observatory as the epicentre of the necromantic ritual, but it is one of the tallest buildings in the district.

Zenobia: At least we can go find that other guy and tell him ‘guess who found the Elegiac compasses?’
Nemat: And ‘Your Nosoi would never have found it’
Zenobia: Can’t operate hidden switches for one thing.

An overnight rest and back into the Necropolis, via the tunnel and rooftops.

Zenobia OoC: PC parkour.

GM: You enter the Observatory of Truth and Wisdom!
Zenobia OoC: Which in most worlds means there’s not much to observe.

Asrian: I’m casting Honeyed Tongue on myself.
Zenobia: … no comment.

Nemat uses the spell ‘Locate Object’ to see if a certain golden mask is anywhere nearby, by contemplating one of the cheaper versions we picked up earlier, and imagining it gold. It is - somewhere underneath the observatory. We can expect to encounter the new master of the Silver Chain real soon...

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