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Darren Watts

Quote of the Week from my gaming group...

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Champions : Return To Edge City : Superhero Mentoring Program
Getting Scooter to explain anything can be an exercise in confusion, due to his habit of fixating on what elements are interesting to him, and a tendency to add whatever flights of fancy he had, when his mind started to wander mid-conversation.

GM: So, who wants to recap?
Hero Shrew: Apparently there’s a Seal-Moreau who’s interested in me.

Game temporarily halted to assist Damselfly in distress.

Allana has ensured that the Marine-Moreau community has an alarm beacon in case Genesys finds them. But she still doesn’t tell the rest of us about them. Perhaps we just have to wait until they kidnap Invisible Girl.

Flux: ‘We have Invisible Girl!’
Fireflash: How can you tell?

Hardlight OoC: So, what do we do now? Wait for the Bat-signal to go off?
Flux OoC: What Bat-signal?
Hero Shrew OoC: *points at Allana*
Flux OoC: Oh, right. I guess it really is a Bat-Signal. Huh.
Hardlight: I suppose I could ask the ECPD to install a searchlight…
Fireflash: No, a Bat-signal is a terribly inefficient message system. I HAVE a phone.
Hero Shrew: Plus this isn’t Gotham, it’s California, so we don’t have permanent overcast.

GM: I was trying to come up for a villain for you this week. Maybe a Matrioshka Brain.
Hero Shrew OoC: I don’t think we’re ready for Cosmic-Level threats yet.
Fireflash OoC: I’m sorry, but anything that registers on the Kardashev Scale is Too Much.

Crusher Joe has arrived in town, as part of the mentor system in place for newer superheroes.

Hero Shrew: Oh RIGHT, he’s mentoring me, not the other way around.
GM: Yes, this was made very very clear to you.

He has overalls for Scooter to wear.

Crusher Joe: And this a hard hat. Because of regulations.

Crusher Joe: I’ve always found it a good idea to get a superstrong hero to patch a wall or two. After you’ve fixed a few, you think twice before punching someone through one.
Hero Shrew: How long have you been patching walls for?
Crusher Joe: About 20 years.
Hero Shrew: Were things different back then? Did you have a Bat-signal?

Flux is being visited by some heavily into the Noir look, who managed to get into Flux’s room without setting off any of the protections, and knows more about Flux than he would like.

Flux: You are a very creepy individual.
Mysterious Mentor: *sigh* I’m aware. My superhero name doesn’t help either - it’s Nightwalker. Because my ACTUAL name is Walks-by-Night. I’m Salish.
Hero Shrew OoC: *ears prick up*
Flux: Can I get you some coffee?
Nightwalker: Thanks. I couldn’t afford the real stuff back in the day.
Hero Shrew OoC: Wait, what was that elf nation in Shadowrun?
Fireflash OoC: Salish-Sidhe.
Flux OoC: What’s that got to do with anything?
Hero Shrew OoC: There IS that dimensional gate off the coast here.
GM: *grins evilly*

He offers to tutor Flux in a few fun ways to mess with people. And other useful advice such as ‘don’t rely on your magic’, and ‘Don’t get killed’.

Hardlight OoC: And then my mentor arrives, and it’s Centurion.
GM: I should TOTALLY do that.

Hero Shrew: My Rep said that me working at a titty bar doesn’t look good.
Crusher Joe: Yeah, I can see why he might say that.
Hero Shrew: I want to set a good example to young Moreaus - well, when we have any - but the problem is that bouncing people and bouncing people off walls is the only thing I’ve done since puberty set in.
Crusher Joe: You need a hobby. Well, what are you interested in?
Hero Shrew: …
Crusher Joe: *sigh* you’re thinking titties, aren’t you.

Crusher Joe: You have to find something different to do with your life.
Hero Shrew: What, like become a butt fan?

And there really isn’t much philanthropic work that needs super strength either, especially since exo-armour is a thing.

GM: So what are you going to do with your cape time, Hardlight?
Allana: Sit on a roof and flick peanuts at Centurion’s house.
GM: Yeah, I think a lot of it comes down to jealousy - because Centurion is Iron Man and you’re basically Justin Hammer.

Maybe we should finally clear up the gang situation in The Zone. Who should we target first, that wouldn’t be missed?

Hero Shrew: Humanity First.

And, of course, they were funding that giant mecha. And sent those armoured fighters into the Zoo.

Fireflash: And I’m going to play ‘Follow the Money’.
GM: Good idea - there’s no way gang activities could fund getting a Minuteman robot.

Hero Shrew: Maybe the Orphans gang just need a good example, so they’ll become a superhero team.
Hardlight: You should join them, and work your way up into a leadership position.
Hero Shrew: It’s the wrong decade for me to suddenly go ‘edgy’
Fireflash OoC: ‘I’m suddenly sprouting pouches’
GM: ‘Where did my feet go? ****, I’m being drawn by Liefeld’

Maybe Hero Shrew could make housing for Moreaus.

Fireflash: Habitat for Inhumanity.
Hero Shrew: It’s not like I need a nailgun.

GM: Anyway, one evening while Allana is closing her clinic (which incidentally is totally illegal) -
Allana: It’s not illegal until they make me a person.

Her visitor is Dr Soma, here to swap a few pointers about tissue regeneration. And a few other things that might be of interest. Such as the problems the tiny genepool is going to have for the various Moreau species. What Dr Soma doesn’t know is that Allana can tell who she really is, under the clockwork robot suit - Guilt-rider.

GM: Who said you only ever needed one secret identity?

Hero Shrew is having a bit of an existential crisis, after the mentoring. Since he’s realised his life has basically been ‘hit puberty. Got a job hitting people. Got a second job where he could hit people harder.’

Flux: This was interesting - not ‘who do I have to hit?’ as ‘What do I do with my time?’
Hero Shrew: Time? What do I do with my LIFE?!


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Not exactly a quote, but an interesting event overall, and I can't really think of a more relevant place to put it.


My youth group game is the only "weekly" game I have, after all, the other two being a bi-weekly game and an "at least every four weeks; more if possible" game.


I picked up a set of these:





Not _exactly_ those, but similar.


For those not wanting to follow links posted by relative strangers on the internet, it leads to a set of wooden dice roughly 3-1/2" on a side.  They are essentially waste cuts and drops from hardwood 4x4s, evened up and finished into "yard dice" or "lawn dice" or  (creatively)  "Yardzee" dice.  Went to Statesboro yesterday (wife wanted to go to Hobby Lobby and get some new brushes) and I saw the set of five (yeah, the set I bought only had 5 pieces, but then, it rang up at ten bucks, so I'm good ;)  ) and picked it up.  On the way home we stopped and she bought a car, but this isn't that story.  In fact, all I will say about that story is that, after nearly two decades of road tripping in the Leviathan, she now claims she wants something that rides better.  (the nerve of some people!)



So, in honor of the last of the bearable summer weather  (by this time next week, central GA will be Hell's own bakery), I decided to do something to get us out into the weather and enjoy the last breeze we're going to have until January.  


We used three of the dice as "Skill check" dice-- forgive the non-HERO-ness of the term, but over the years, I have found people pick up on the roll for Skills and Roll to Hit if they learn them to be "Skill Checks."  Don't know why, unless it just helps them group the mechanics in their head.  Now make no mistake, rolling three of those dice isn't possible.  You end up sort of backsnap-tossing it into the air to give it random spins, etc, and wait for it to land.  (I know: I played around with the viability of this idea last night when we got home and the wife was tired of driving her new car.)


I don't know why-- probably for _me_, as things conspire to keep me out of pretty weather but locked outside in rain, blast-ovens, of near-freezing temperatures with shocking regularity-- but I really wanted this to be a fun thing to do.


So I grabbed a few paint paddles-- the little balsa or white-wood slats they give you when you buy a can of paint-- and selected tomorrow's (today's) bad guys and a few random NPC-types, ad of course, the Heroes themselves, then printed the character portraits (remember I still use 2e, and our character sheets are _way_ more fun than anything that's come after 4e) and glued them the paint paddles.


Today's game featured the all-new fair-weather attack technique of "Bowl to Hit."  When a character wished to make an attack, his target's wood-and-paper effigy was stuck in the dirt roughly eight feet away.  The player had three shots (roll 3d6, right? ;) )  he would fire off his three dice toward his target.  If at any time he hit the target with one of the dice, bingo!  Automatic hit.  :D.  If he did _not_ hit the target but the total of the three dice said he made it, then he hit.  If he both hit the target _and_ made his roll, then a random good thing happened: extra damage, automatic Stunning, or some such thing as that.


If there were _multiple_ opponents, then multiple targets were set up.  You might hit an opponent totally different from the one you were aiming at!  And of course, the die total might say "nope; seems you hit the _both_!  :lol:  


And if there were innocent bystanders, well things got....  dicey..... (wow. That hurt more than I thought it would) 


It was really funny watching them just _sling_ the dice at the villains, but when there were civilians, they'd oh-so-carefully line up their shots, roll the die, and wince at every odd tumble.....   :rofl:   "There."  I proclaimed.  "Now you have a _much_ better idea of what it's like to actually be a super-hero-- to know how much power you have, and how easily you could accidentally hurt someone.  You understand the worry and fear your character's should have when fighting out in the open, and you understand why you might want to restrain the amount of power you use when something bad happens at the mall or the amusement park. "  Most of them found that to be eye-opening, as most of them (the oldest is in ninth grade right now) get their ideas of superheroes from movies, which don't seem to put a lot of emphasis on internal struggle or watching out for the civilians.



Yeah, this story goes nowhere, and only has a single quote, and it's by the world's worst Superhero Sensei, but still: it was a blast, and I wanted to share it. :D



Y'all have fun.






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From yesterday's youth group game:


First off, everyone was up for Bowl to Hit, but it was just too stinkin' hot.  :lol:



Red Cloak, for reasons no one can understand, gets swept up in the moment and attempts to do something truly ridiculous: the character is not remotely acrobatic and, it should be noted, wears a large, heavy cloak.  He attempts-- from 4" away (2e rules: 8 meters) to leap over a railing, grab a chandelier, swing across the convention center, and leap to the deck on the other side.


In spite of the penalties against him, using just his natural DEX he is able to make the initial leap, impart momentum to the chandelier, then he fumbles the next roll.  He gets a six on his Luck roll, so I rule that his cloak has become entangled in the chandelier and he is now suspended thirty feet from the floor below.  (This handily explains how he failed the roll, and saves him from a nasty fall to the floor below).  His player (the oldest player, at 14) is chagrinned, but wants to champion the idea of what he tried.


Firefly's player, out of character:  "Dude, I'm twelve and _I_ knew that was stupid."

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@Drhoz: You realize there is a book/anime series called Crusher Joe, right? Authored by the same guy who created the Dirty Pair.


Wonder how many anime references you can slip past your players. Like calling Onigiri "jelly donuts". Or a lesbian couple as " cousins". Or something up Hero Shrew's ally, "talents".

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Champions : Return to Edge City : Punch a Nazi Today
Some quotes I've forgotten the context of, since it's been almost two months since our last session.

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

GM: That was the most Keystone Kops fight I've ever gamesmastered, and I used to GM Toon.

GM: Ah yes, Spiderman 3 - the one with the Rule 63 K.D.Lang.

The five members of Quadrant have decided to get a bit more proactive, regarding the gang situation in Edge City. A good excuse for Weldun to play more of the soundtrack he put together for the Edge City Gangs. The first target is going to be Humanity First, largely because they tried to send power-armoured terrorists into The Zoo, and also because they somehow managed to acquire a giant robot. Who is diverting resources to them?

Of course, the designer drug problem in Marsden is pretty bad too - each gang with their own speciality. The Voodoo Crew, for example, sell Super-C, cocaine cut with ground bone. Oddly enough it seems to be much safer than the original.

Hero Shrew: How much do you want to bet that half these drugs are the same thing, with different food colouring?

Apparently not - the drugs are all very different, with some potent effects. Edge City’s biotech industry has been inventing some pretty alarming stuff. Our GM certainly did his research on these drugs, including prices.

GM: This is the research I do. I am now for certain on yet another ****ing watchlist.

GM: The whole King of the Hill game in the Booster gang leadership now has a Queen. Nobody knows where she came from but she’s following Dysprosium Dawn’s line, so…. I’m resisting calling her Mecha-Shiva.
Fireflash: Mecha-Kali.

GM: Becoming a superhero might have ruined Fireflash’s sex life, but…
Hero Shrew: I’m sure Bad Dragon could do something special for her.
Fireflash: *facepalm*
GM: Actually, Flux knows that Guiltrider does a line in super-science sex toys.
Hardlight: … Why is she a villain again?
GM: She did call the four of you Poser, Try-hard, and Token, but couldn’t think of a good name for Fireflash.
Allana: I found her perfectly pleasant.
GM: Well, you’ll have something to tell Fireflash, assuming the conversation ever happens.

Still the question remains - where are Humanity First getting their weapons? They stopped buying from Warlord years back, for some reason.

Hero Shrew: I need to talk to some slightly dodgy people.
Flux: What, us?
Allana: More dodgy.

Apparently there’s a pop-up Underground mercenary tech show that shows up in Edge City every few months, and Humanity First hosts it every time. And the reason they stopped buying the Warlord’s stuff is because it’s hinky alien tech, and he’s been turning his minions into cyborgs, which is against their politics.

How to find the tech show? Apart from waiting until Allana finishes her regenerator technology, scent marking it, waiting until it gets stolen, and following the scent to the auction.

Allana: It’s a long-term plan.

Of course, even if we do find out when and where it’s happening, how do we get in?

Hero Shrew: I suppose Hardlight could show up in his civilian identity, with a suitcase full of cash.

Or even better, since both Hardlight and Iron Claw are powered by the same kind of alien crystal, we send him in disguised as Iron Claw.

Hardlight: That’s actually a good idea!
GM: Why are you surprised? Flux came up with it. If YOU had come up with it, I’d be surprised.
Hardlight: Would my Weirdness Magnet complicate things?
Hero Shrew: Sure. The real Iron Claw shows up - and so does somebody else, also pretending to be Iron Claw.
GM: Yes! Or even better Iron Claw shows up pretending to be Hardlight.

Maybe Guiltrider (AKA Dr Soma, although only Allana knows that) could get us in, since supertech is her schtick.

Flux: How do we contact her? None of us have her number.
Hero Shrew: It’s not like any of us know her personally, or meet her on a regular basis.
Allana: ...

And where in Edge City do they HOLD this tech show?

Hardlight: It’s going to be a comics convention isn’t it. All those fake swords and toy guns on display? They aren’t fake. But somebody stuck orange tips on them all.

Actually, there probably isn’t anywhere in Edge City itself that they could hide such a paramilitary meeting. So when do the Humanity First leadership vanish off social media? And what sort of big events outside Edge City could provide cover and are happening at the same time? Big private paintball events? Dunebuggy races in Baja? Anywhere with lots of big tents?
A recent Cybertech decathlon seems suspiciously timed. As do a few of the paintball events. Which were run by a family member of one of the Humanity First leaders. It seems we’re on to something. Hardlight gets his company, Lowelltech, to find out which weekends are available for corporate paintball events. And which weekends are already pre-booked by the weapons expo.

Hardlight: I know a guy in Alaska.
Flux: We’re going to a weapons expo at a paintball range - there WILL be a polar bear fitting grenade launchers and lasers to a paintball gun.

And since we have weeks of warning, Scooter can dig tunnels under the paintball range, and set up metal pitons every few meters so Flux can teleport in and out, and use his technomancy to spy. Of course any information we acquire might be inadmissible in court, but will still be useful to us as we break Humanity First by other means.

He soon learns that ARGENT - "Advanced Research Group ENTerprises" - is one of the groups attending the expo. And the ARGENT rep is apparently telling off Killzone for some of her failures, because they make the FUSION-POWERED PISTOLS (!!!!!) she’s using, and the rest of the Doomtrooper tech, look bad. And that Killzone plans to make a third attempt at kidnapping Fireflash, or they’ll have to get a contract extension with ARGENT.

Flux: It’s lucky I can’t make any noise down here, or they’d hear me yelling on the surface.
Fireflash: I didn’t even realise they were trying to kidnap me the first time.

Flux and Allana start planning ways to track down Fireflash and any other team members that might get kidnapped. But where to put the tracking samples so can’t be used against us?

Flux: We’re going to hide hair samples in Gareth Lowell’s safety deposit box at the bank with a little black book of non-existent women’s names. So if anybody finds them they’ll just think Lowell collects … trophies… from his conquests.
Hero Shrew: Isn’t Hardlight gay?

But we still don’t know where Humanity First are getting most of their money. We also learn that somebody is making quadrupedal drones fitted with stolen miniguns (stolen by Ankylosaur) and tail-mounted knock-offs of Ankylosaur’s tail-mounted grenade launcher..

Hero Shrew: So we’re going to hunt shooty shooty robots.
GM: Now I have Chitty Chitty Bang Bang stuck in my head.
GM and Hero Shrew: *sing* Shooty Shooty Robots, Shooty Shooty Robots, Shooty Shooty Robots, We Hunt You.
Allana: We’re tracking down Humanity First’s combat robots.
Fireflash: I need to get together with Flux first.
GM: Okaaaay.
Fireflash: I need a tracer put on me.
GM: Oh, I thought Flux’s work on the heat resistant condom had paid off.
GM: I just, I, what?? *brain derails*

We’ve certainly learned that Humanity First has some alarming assets, even if somebody walked off with their giant robot because somebody wanted to fight kaiju in it. But it’s the combat bots that have as most concerned right now. They could kill a lot of people if unleashed on a target-rich environment. So we should probably find out which Humanity First member is in charge of the On Switch. Just smashing the bots would also work, if we can get them all.

Hardlight: Are we going loud?
Hero Shrew: Sort of? The rest of us are overt, but not very loud.
Hardlight: Ok. Screw it. PHOTON BLAAAADE!
GM: If you weren’t going loud before you are now.

The two we catch patrolling are easy enough to subdue. They’re just robots - not supertech robots. Their handler hurriedly pretends to be an innocent bystander and scurries off, since we dealt with the things before he could even pull his smartphone out. The bots are carted off to the ECPD, where we can take them apart and disarm their flashbang grenades. We discover it has rudimentary intelligence, but has to obey all orders from its owner.

Fireflash: Can we redefine ‘owner’?
Hardlight: Great! Flux, we’ve found you a friend.
GM: You’re pretty sure your rental agreement with Bubo the mechanical owl said ‘no pets’.

On the other hand, its owner made sure to wear a mask and voice distorter, and its operating protocols ran on a smartphone dongle, which no doubt is dissolving in an acid bath somewhere by now. Still, there’s enough evidence at the building the two robots were stored in that the EPCD can start serving warrants, and actually charge Humanity First members.
If our team keeps wrecking their robots as well, the next few days should annoy them immensely.

Hero Shrew: Bonus!

The rest of the gangs in the area are staying oddly quiet. At least four of them would object to a truce until the gangs can carve up Humanity First’s territory, too. It’s starting to look like we’ll have to deal with the more extreme gangs first, before we leave a power vacuum by eliminating the racists.


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Pathfinder : The Mummy's Mask : Things To Look Forward To - Death By Snu-Snu
Peanut gallery: Can I interest you guys in cursed filament?
Onka’s player: You lost me at ‘cursed’

Zenobia OoC: How did the session I missed go?
Asrian: Quite well. We had to go through a chariot race for Muminofrah, but that got us permission to enter the Dark Depository, where we found the information we were searching for. Unfortunately, we've also found out that more info is available at a different and hidden section, the location of which can only be discerned by watching from the top of a particular tower at dawn at midsummer. Sadly, said tower no longer exists. However, we figure we can get the location from the city model we saw earlier. We then had to fight a Bone Golem, which was a complete comedy of errors but we got out in one piece.
Onka OoC: We miss our good luck gnoll
Zenobia OoC: Aw, shucks. So… you kept sending me off on shopping trips whenever you needed to get another ‘favour’ from Muminofrah?
Nemat: Yes.
Zenobia: *plaintive sigh*
Nemat: Oh look, there’s some bottled musk for sale in the markets.
Onka: What?
Nemat: To help Zenobia regain her girlfriend.

Onka and Asrian were assigned to the camel-chariot, since Zenobia was being kept preoccupied, and Nemat is at a penalty for anything that doesn’t involve books.

Nemat: Do you know how embarrassing it is to be a follower of Wadjet and be bad at Handling Animals? We’re a snake cult!
Zenobia: To be fair that’s a very specific animal.

Suddenly, Ninjas!

Onka: Let’s hope there are lots of them.

Nemat: Blistering Invective! ‘You suck at being Ninjas! You surprised someone, stabbed them in the back, and MISSED!’

GM: Why do I keep sending these poor goons after you?
Zenobia: Because we’re not well-known enough in this town, yet. If somebody sent assassins after us in Wati, they’d be demanding danger money.
GM: True. And they’d be sniping you from a distance.

Still, a couple of them survive long enough to variously surrender or run away. Nemat Shackles the smart one and strolls off in pursuit of the one who tried to flee.

Nemat: If Zenobia was here I might spare him, in deference to her faith, buuuuut -
Zenobia: ‘But this is valuable reading time he’s cutting into’.

Asrian OoC: Zenobia, how good is your Intimidate?
Zenobia OoC: Let me check - Oh. Apparently I’ve been working so hard to not frighten people that I’ve got into the habit of seeming harmless.
Nemat: I’m not a nice person. I was going to suggest Zenobia try ‘Tell us what we need to know or I’ll eat you’.
Asrian: Zenobia eating somebody isn’t what I’d call intimidating.
Zenobia: *blushes bright red under her fur*

We do discover that whoever sent them ensured they can’t spill the beans, even if we use Speak With Dead - they’ve had their tongues cut out.

GM: You think I’d make this easy for you? I mean you could try True Resurrection and Regenerate on their tongues, but-
Nemat: No matter - we can find somebody to teach Onka Detect Thoughts.

We consider handing the survivors over to the authorities. It will be interesting to see what happens to them - if it was the city Governor that sent them, it’s unlikely they’ll still be around tomorrow.

Zenobia: ‘They were killed trying to escape’

Still, literacy is widespread in Osirion. They can always write their confessions out.

Nemat: I’m wondering if I should be good cop or bad cop.
Asrian: I was going to cast Honeyed Tongue on myself.
Nemat: Done. *heads back to the one that surrendered* This is eating into my reading time - I have better things to do than chase your friend halfway across the city and get back here to find out you’re being uncooperative!

They don’t know who commissioned the murder - more basic operational security. Nice to know that somebody out there is competent. Pity it’s the assassins.

Zenobia: So, did I miss anything?
Asrian: Well, there were ninjas.
Zenobia: Oh? I hope you gave them a chance to surrender.
Asrian: Technically, yes. Also, could you break out the healer’s pack? Being stabbed in the kidneys hurts.
Zenobia: Eep!
Onka: Healing and don’t forget the back rub.

Selling off loot to avoid Death by McGuffin.

Nemat: You’re a bard, you know this stuff - if we keep the Golden Camel, one of us will get our head bashed in with it.

Nemat knows the spell Ears of the City - a stupidly useful first-level spell, available to most spellcasters, that makes a joke of Gather Information checks. Combined with Speak with Animals you can use it in the middle of the wilderness too. We just need to find somebody that knows the height of the now-demolished Tower of Ra’s Glory. Ramat Glyphkeeper the Third, a retired dwarf architect old enough to have firsthand experience of the tower, will do nicely. And using the spell means nobody will KNOW we came out of the archives asking about the tower. Just as well the spell only lasts a few minutes - Inquisitors are stupidly OP enough as they stand.

Asrian: The city wants its ears back.
Zenobia: Imagine an artefact that makes the spell permanent.
Nemat: Do Not Want. DO NOT WANT. Nethys did that, ended up violating Schrodinger’s Uncertainty Principle and had to become a god. And STILL went insane.

Asrian: Ramat Glyphkeeper?
Ramat: Yes? What’s up?
GM: What Up? Does that work for dwarves?
Zenobia: ‘What’s down’

Ramat not only knows the height of the tower, he built the thing. And still has the plans. Some geometrical calculations ensue - the shadow points to a nondescript bathhouse on Wadjet’s Walk.

Nemat: Well, if that’s not a sign I don’t know what is.
Peanut Gallery: Unless somebody built a rather tall bathhouse in the interim.
Nemat OoC: Godammit.

Anyway, at least we have the location of yet another secret library - how many secret libraries does this town have, anyway? Is there a guidebook? At least there won’t be any living guardians - but could be any number of traps, undead, or constructs.

Nemat: Is anybody else suspicious of this chest sitting in the middle of the entrance hall?
Onka: Yes.
Zenobia: Maybe it has the Visitor badges in it?

Nemat leaves a scrap of coloured cloth hanging out of the chest when we press on.

Nemat: Anybody that isn’t suspicious of chests left like that, and gets distracted by something colourful, deserves whatever happens to them.

We find a journal that speculates that to allow the Sky Pharoah to pass on to the afterlife, somebody has to reassemble the various parts of his body and soul. Of course, it also speculates that you could bring him back to life if you had all the bits, too. We also learn the identity of the Sky Pharaoh’s chief architect, and the designer of his flying pyramid, and that he was killed and entombed to protect the pyramid’s secrets. No doubt we’ll be raiding his tomb at some point too. Especially if the fresco commemorating this early attempt at copyright protection is where we think it is. Even though we already know what they’re using for Cease and Desist lawyers.

We trigger the trap carefully, using long ropes.

Asrian: Rocks fall, nobody dies.

The location of the architect’s tomb is indeed described, in some really obscure hints, but it’s Onka that figures out that it’s referring to a particular stretch of wilderness. It’s still an area where Sphinxes are known to live, which is handy for Nemat’s ongoing plan to become Judge Dredd. There’s also design elements portraying some kind of vast weapon, used against a city of figures with their own weapons of black fire.

Nemat: I’d better copy that down - it might be important when we need to shoot down a pyramid.

As it turns out, we aren’t the only people down here. Although the other people have eight arms, sixteen hands, and no heads between them..

Nemat and Zenobia: What the **** is that?

Apparently they’re some kind of entity from the Outer Planes, but it’s not at all clear what they are doing down here, or how they’re reading the scrolls and books with no eyes. But it does seem a bit upset about the damage we did to the ceiling, and we keep getting telepathic flashes of burning libraries. And potential fates.

Zenobia: Falling out the sky towards a very distant ground?
Asrian: ****ing genies!
Onka: Dying in bed?
Zenobia: That’s not too bad.
GM: Death by Snu-snu.

The other guardians prove straightforward enough to bluff too, given that Nemat really is an Inquisitor servant of the old pantheon, a genuine researcher, and we don’t intend to remove any artefacts or irreplaceable tomes from the library (we don’t mention the ceiling).

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Pathfinder: Mummy's Mask: Wasteland Warriors
According to the Golarion map, Magnimar is in the same geographic location as Seattle.

GM: So our Streets of Magnimar campaign was Shadowrun all along.
Weldun: Yes, I know - that’s why I ran it there.

Anyway, The Mummy’s Mask, in which our party of wannabe law robots, half-orc spell mechanics, swordswomen cosplaying as cloves of garlic, and lovesick gnolls, head off into the wilderness to locate the tomb of a long dead architect. Let’s hope he didn’t keep the best traps for his OWN tomb.

At least we don’t need as many supplies as most such expeditions would need - Two of us can Create Water, Asrian can cast Tiny Hut for shelter, and Nemat has a Ring of Sustenance. Throw in the Cauldron of Brewing, and Marching Coffee, collapsible bathtubs, and a few Bags of Holding stuffed with rations and Wandermeals, and we should be fine.

Zenobia OoC: And how many kilos of Bolivian Marching Powder?

Automated Cartographers will be pretty useful too.n We don’t take any camels, or other beasts of burden.

Nemat: Camels get eaten. Camels get turned to stone. I’m not going out there to feed the local wildlife.

Although that does mean we don’t get to visit Crazy Hassan, or Honest Achmed’s Used Camel Emporium.

Adventurer: We need oceangoing camels.
Crazy Hassan: I have just the thing, master.
Adventurer: … That’s four camels in a boat.
Crazy Hassan: Ah, I see where I have misunderstood you sir. You meant aquatic camels. These ones merely know how to handle the rigging.
Adventurer: … How?? They don’t even have thumbs!
Crazy Hassan: *shrugs* It is a mystery.

Before we leave town, we go to see the Pharaoh's concubine Muminofrah one last time. Zenobia is a bit uncertain about this - she’s still a bit hurt about the woman’s interest in her girlfriend.

Zenobia: Why are we doing this, instead of just skipping town?
Nemat: She’s been useful. And we shouldn’t burn bridges.
GM: It doesn’t matter - her guards won’t even let you on the barge. You can see her on the deck, in the arms of a dark-skinning man, giggling as she’s fed grapes.
Asrian: Ah. She has a newbie.
Zenobia: Well, I’m relieved. Are we going to misinform the Governor about where we’re going?
Nemat: No. We’re not going to tell her anything.

As it happens we’re attacked almost as soon as we’re out of sight of town. It’s Pharaoh-cultists. And there’s a sphinx padding along behind them.

Zenobia: Two questions - will Saranae be disappointed with me because I didn’t give them a warning first?
Nemat: No. She doesn’t expect you to put yourself in undue danger.
Zenobia: That’s good. And the other question - why do these dumb-asses always try to close to close combat?

Onka adds a Disruption effect to his fireball, which nicely wrecks any attempt by the nearer cultists to cast magic, or keep any running. The fancy-pants leading them holds back, and is clearly trying to cast something, which naturally makes him a priority target. Pretty soon it’s just the cultists who are still alive, and entangled.

Zenobia: *gesturing significantly with her scimitar* Which of you would like to live?

They’d rather explode than surrender.

Asrian: Well, that was kind of pointless.

There’s a caravan at the first oasis we get to, which reacts with understandable alarm at the party’s approach, until they realise it’s not all gnolls, and lower their weapons a bit. Apparently they’ve had to fight off multiple gnoll packs as they crossed the desert. Nemat introduces us.

Caravaneer: You’re from Wati? I heard rumours of a terrible necromantic event.
Nemat: Don’t worry - we dealt with it.
Caravaneer: You must be great heroes!
Asrian: Not great. But still pretty good.

Asrian does a sword dance to entertain our hosts that evening.

Zenobia OoC: I hope nobody comments about the cushion I have to hold over my lap. Asrian’s sword skills are the sexiest thing about her.

Caravaneer: That is the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.
Nemat: Indeed. But she’s taken. Not by me, though!
Caravaneer: I meant the dance.
Zenobia: *panting*

He warns us about the salt flats to the south - they’re teeming with Basilisks.

Zenobia: Maybe we SHOULD have bought those smoked goggles.

Caravaneer: There’s also an enormous bird - of prodigious size! - in the western wasteland. Big enough to snatch up a camel in both claws!
Nemat: There’s a reason the desert hasn’t been mapped yet.

They also have a bunch of trade goods worth looking through, although the gnoll skulls and grave goods do make Zenobia frown, and Nemat give them a warning about the Cult of Pharasma.

Caravaneer: And the rarest of rare creatures! The single-headed hydra!
Nemat: So it’s a snake.
Caravaneer: …
Nemat: Shall I tell you about my home town? The only building of note if the temple of Wadjet. To whom snakes are sacred.
Caravaneer: Half-price?

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Champions: Return to Edge City: A Deficit of Punching Stuff
As well as the major gangs in Edge City, there’s a wide selection of smaller ones, with various lines of income and gang beliefs. At least one of them is a gang of religious fundamentalists, that we promptly nickname the Piss-stains after the colour-code of the gang map, right next door to the Knights of Hell.

Hero Shrew: Can we put them both into an arena and go “Fight! Fight! Fight!”
Fireflash: No. Probably.

And, of course, there’s one gang with the sworn intention of wiping out Moreaus.

Fireflash: I think we’ve found our next target.

And of course, Allana can glide silently overhead for nocturnal surveillance on whoever we target.

Fireflash: We’ve got Whispering Death right here.

Flux: Allana, do you need a cover story in case they chat social media for what you’re up to? A night on the town, or something?
GM: She’s too busy for anything like that - her superheroics at night are her relaxation time.
Hero Shrew: She patches people up during the day, and inflicts serious injuries at night.

We go after the Knights of Hell instead - their business in drug exports makes them vulnerable.

Hero Shrew: And there will be fewer social ramifications if we take them down, instead of the Piss-stains or the racists. Who’s going to complain if we target a gang of Satanist drug-dealers?
GM: They’re only called the Knights of Hell because the Hellgate Institute is on their turf, and everybody knows it.

They’re also pretty anti-Moreau, since the mass break-out on S-Day happened in their neighbourhood, and they’ve always been paranoid about other things buried under Edge City. And they’re not wrong either - there was that recent Kaiju for one thing.

Of course we’ll have to consult with the Edge City PD drug squad first. And there’s also the legal consequences of acting on info gained by Flux hacking into their security systems, or using a magical machine that goes Ping in the presence of illegal drugs. Both could lead to the case being thrown out, if we find anything that we couldn’t have learned from normal means. X-ray vision automatically counting as illegal search is just the start of it.

GM: I still remember the time Wonder Woman had a mid-air collision with another plane.
Hero Shrew: And that’s why she should have stuck to the giant space kangaroos.
Flux: Yes, those were practical.

Maybe they’re getting their drug deliveries out underground?

Hero Shrew: Edge City probably doesn’t have a stormwater system of the same scale as L.A. So there probably isn’t a nest of giant ants down there.

But we should probably compare the map of tunnels that SHOULD be down there to the ones that are - Hardlight can do submillimeter scans of the ground if we drive around slowly.

Hero Shrew: Let’s find out who delivers the community paper around here and tell them to take the day off.
GM: Wood pulp? Ugh.
Hero Shrew: But if one of us is throwing the rolled-up newspaper out the window, we’ll probably put it through somebody’s wall.
GM: Or head.

Fireflash suggests we use a streetsweeper instead. The scans indicate that the underground is more of a mess than the maps indicate, and that there are people and robots down there, but nothing conclusive, apart from a bunch of the Greys who flip Hardlight the bird as we drive overhead. We also learn the interesting fact that somebody installed a radio-opaque barrier all around the ground the Hellgate Institute is built on - but that probably dates from when Genesys owned the buildings.

We could infiltrate the gym they congregate at, but since Flux is the only one of us that both human and not immediately recognisable, that’s a terrible idea. Maybe we’ll just trace any gang members as they come and go. We learn that they have, and use, a ridiculously high-speed water vehicle best described as a manned torpedo, that can easily reach 200kph as it skims over the waves. Gee, I wonder how they’re doing their drug pick-ups and deliveries.

Hardlight: Now we just need Probable Cause.
Fireflash: Not necessarily - what happens if one of its hydroplanes hits an obstacle?
Hero Shrew: Ask

Allana has a sniff around the beach over the next few days - literally. On top of her other abilities she has a superhuman sense of smell. The first few days are a bust, but on their third trip out into the Pacific, Allana can smell some really powerful cleaning agents. The kind that would eliminate any smell of drugs on the package.

Hardlight, hiding in tunnels nearby, also decides to hold a passing drone in a force bubble while he scans it, and all hell breaks loose. It’s owned by the same company, Ravensholme Biotech, that maintains Fireflash’s radiator suit and is behind the Hellgate Institute. And they don’t like it when somebody messes with their stuff. Hardlight flees the scene while the drone howls and screeches to attract attention.

GM: We all know the bird call signal for this one, don’t we? FAAAAARRRRK
Flux: We have a Code Brown, repeat, Code Brown.
Fireflash: Code Boss.
Allana: We already know he makes inappropriate advances to humans, now we know he does it to machines as well. At least Mechanon will be too afraid to come to Edge City.

At least he can believably claim he tripped over it in the dark, and used his millimeter radar to see what he’d hit, when Ravensholme message him via social media to ask him what the hell he was doing.

Flux tries hacking into the cameras at the former community center the Knights of Hell are using as a MMA venue, and eventually confirms a connection to the tunnels. The same tunnels that the Ravensholme Biotech maintenance drones from the Hellgate Institute wander around in. The same drones with strong anti-scanning, anti-hacking defences. The same company that has highly advanced labs with powerful cleaning protocols behind strong anti-scanning defences. Hmmmmm.

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Red Cloak, attempting to lecture an NPC on the history that lead to the current problem:

"... and they did this sort of thing portentously, even when they knew they were under constant surveyance, (sic), which lead to this sort of geese / gander die costomy (sic)--"


Feral's player, OOC: "Dude!  It would hurt a _lot_ less if you just rolled Conversation, Man...."




Kinetica, witnessing an angelic woman in a long flowing white robe walking barefoot across the bay:  "Holy crap!  I think it's She-zus!"



Firefly is coming in hot for a rooftop landing just as Magnificent (below) uses his Energy Eye to cut a precision escape hatch through the roof.  A flubbed unluck roll (Magnificent) and a flubbed Dex roll (Firefly) gives them the same target area-- Firefly makes a hard landing and tumble twelve feet lower than he planned on.  Firefly:  "Okay, this roof isn't going to hold all of us."



Red Cloak begins chanting his levitation spell as he steps from the helicopter.  He refuses advice to secure his cloak against the rotor wash, concerned about the loss of his clothes earlier (given to a victim of a sinking boat:  "He can have my dry clothes; I've got my cloak, right?")  another flubbed Unluck and his flapping robe snags the chopper skid, jerking his arm back (interrupting his gestures) and starling him (failed EGO roll means he was distracted enough to interrupted his incantation; he immediately begins to drop, cloak billowing up about his head as one would expect it to.  Feral, from the copter, on the coms:  "Well, bums away!"



Red Cloak recovers in the nick of time, joining the ground fight with two of his comrades.  The thugs outnumber them and have them surrounded, and are beginning to tighten the circle.  Red Cloak, grasping his silver sun pendant:  "I Flash them!"


Kinetica:  "Nope; had enough of that, thanks."





Very, _very_ long session with the youth group yesterday, but I think they're finally starting to come alive with spontaneous in-character interaction.  It's fun to be part of.  :D




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Crap, I totally forgot the best one of that night!  That'll teach me to try to save it for last, won't it?   :lol:



In an attempt to deceive the would-be assassins, the team has hatch a plan to make the assassins _think_ they have taken their charge to the Lockdown super-prison for the ultimate in protective custody.  Half the team and their charge load up onto a well-guarded and armored boat and head for Lockdown.  Once beyond the horizon, Kinetica, carrying the target, leaps off the boat and runs across the water back to the mainland.  As she approaches, a voice on her coms yells "Inconspicuous!  You're headed straight back to the marina!  How do you expect to hide the fact that you're carrying him right back to shore?!"


Kinetica:  "Uhm...   drag him between my knees and make jet ski noises?"



:rofl:    :rofl:   :rofl:



Took _several_ minutes to recover from that....   :)






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Playing in a low powered super-cop game;


Player1: When he takes off his helmet he is all grim and sweaty.

Player2: Not sweaty, glowing.

Player3: What, is he pregnant?

Player4: Pregnant with RAGE!!


Player1 is affectionately called "judge dredd", in character, by his fellow rookies (a pair of necromancers (twins), a guy with odd sensory powers, and a former CIA agent). Mostly, he's called judge dredd by the necromancers, who are very bad at keeping up the goth-necromancer image.

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As one of you already knows, my job gives us the week of July 4 off.  The youth group is, of course, off all summer.  We have played a _lot_ of Champions this week.  :D


Final game of the week (I called off the Sunday--the normal-- game because, well, I have other things to do, I'm afraid. :lol:


Red Cloak's player:  Okay, I want to unleash my Cloud of Fear, but I want to make a presence attack out of it. 


Me:  sure; no problem.  Describe it for me. 


Red Cloak (per description):  [eyes begin to glow, clouds begin to circle overhead and the sun seems to dim just a little]


Red Cloak's player: I let the Dark Spirits slip just a little bit into me, and my voice becomes raspy and like rocks grinding as I start chanting the incantation for the cloud of fear.  The wind starts to pick up and the air feels electrified.  Slowly long ribbons of fog start to ooze out from beneath my cloak, and they bring the smell of burning brimstone... 


Two other players look at each other with clamped lips and big knowing eyes.  A third catches on and begins to giggle


Red Cloak's player:  It's a _spell_, you idiots!  A spell! 


At which point the entire table lost it. 





I love kids.  :)

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Pathfinder : The Mummy's Mask - Booty Call
Exploring the wastelands, searching for a particular tomb, currently occupied by one Chesisek, head engineer for the Forgotten/Sky Pharoah - all part of a convoluted plan to track down all the plot tokens, when we are attacked by a pack of giant spiders.

Zenobia: At least lunch is sorted. Was anybody bitten?
Nemat: Yes, a few times. Why? Oh right, these are poisonous.
Zenobia: Venomous. If they bite you and you die, it’s venomous. If you bite it and you die, it’s poisonous. If you bite each other and neither of you die it’s a kinky Friday evening.

A bit later we chance upon a camp of more idiots in funerary masks, backed up by fire drakes.

Onka: It’ll be difficult to intimidate them - they’re religious fanatics and tend to be nutjobs.
Nemat: To be fair, so are we. We’re out here in the desert of our own volition looking for the pieces of a dead pharaoh that used to fly around in a pyramid.

Zenobia: But the goddess Sarenrae gives this one chance to surrender.
Asrian: *scimitars and arms suddenly shimmer with frost*
Fire Drakes: … that’s gonna hurt. A lot.

It doesn’t work on the cultists. They’re fanatical.

Zenobia: Absolute certainty in the righteousness of his cause.
Nemat: I’ve got that too. The difference is I’M RIGHT. This is a religious argument in the desert, and they only end one way.

At least the fire drakes decide this would be a good opportunity to fireball some of the cultists.

Nemat: ‘We do whatever is best for us’
Asrian: ‘And right now what is best for us is bad for you’

Nemat: ‘Pepper Breath!’

Nemat OoC: Now I have to play an orange-scaled kobold pyrokineticist in Kingmaker.

Some of the cultists apparently want to add to the pyrotechnics by rushing at Asrian, and exploding. She shrugs it off, because naturally any girlfriend of Zenobia is awesome.

Cultist Leader: I will die in glorious battle!
Asrian: No, no, you’re just going to die.

At least there isn’t much we need to bury after they explode. The Fire Drakes toddle off in the aftermath.

GM: Chaotic Evil doesn’t mean Chaotic Stupid.

One of the cultists was carrying a fragment of stone marked with a hieroglyph of an owl in a house - the symbol of the long-dead architect we’re seeking.

Nemat: But how did they know to look for the guy?... Hmm. I suppose they DO work for a guy that actually knew him.

We should probably keep our eyes open for any signs of Sphinxes while we’re out here - Nemat needs to see some to continue his quest to become RoboCop. That night he dreams of a beautiful sphinx.

Nemat OoC: Is this a booty call?
Onka: I’m glad I brought earplugs.
Sphinx: Follower of Wadjet! Hours needs your aid!
Nemat: !!! There’s a lot to unpack there.

Apparently the Sphinx wants us to come to a hidden valley. The minions of the Sky Pharaoh are upon her! Just as well there’s a devotee of the old gods, close enough to receive her call for help.

Nemat: I’m awake! I’m awake!

Zenobia: Wise of you not to burst into the part of the tent Asrian and I are sharing.
Nemat: Because you’ll bite me and she’ll burn me.

GM: Congratulations, you just got propositioned by a Charisma 21 gynosphinx.
Onka OoC: ‘Help me Obi-Wan, you are my only hope’

Nemat: It came to me in a dream.
Zenobia: ... Well, no obvious signs of heatstroke….

The hidden valley is accessible by a ravine barely wide enough for one person.

Zenobia: That would be a TERRIBLE place to be ambushed.
Nemat: Well, let’s go trigger the trap. I mean, search for traps.

Going by the tracks, at least a dozen people have been up the ravine before us, including multiple large snake-bodied things, and at least one humanoid giant. Nemat continues up the ravine - the rest of us go up over the ridge. We don’t get attacked on route, and there’s a small pyramid, temple facade, and natural stone bridges at the far end. Asrian and Nemat sneak into position, while Onka and Nemat prepare to snipe at the cultists and giant left on guard. Asrian intends to whisper to the scimitar-wielding giant first, who lucky for us fails his Sense Motive check and follows Asrian off around the corner.

Zenobia: I must be rubbing off on you.
Asrian: *tosses a pebble at the giant to get his attention*
Nemat OoC: ‘Psst! Psst!’
GM: This all depends on whether the giant knows who it’s been warned to look out for.
Zenobia OoC: Has it been warned to beware the Garlic Woman?
Onka OoC: The what???
Zenobia OoC: She’s wearing a bulbous white silk headdress, with a few strands of silver hair sticking out.
Onka OoC: Oohhhh, I see. I was wondering where that came from.

Asrian gets into a whispered circular argument with the giant, who values personal freedom, but is somehow compelled to obey the cultists. Eventually she gets Nemat to sneak up and break the enchantment, and demonstrate that the giant now has free will again.

Asrian: Just ask yourself - do you want to kill us any more?
Giant: *shrugs* Not particul- OHHHHHHH.
Zenobia: But what is the giant’s opinion of the cultists now?
Nemat: You mean the enslavers?

He’s happy to warn us about the Lamia leading the cultists - she’s a powerful spellcaster.

Nemat: And very jealous of the sphinxes. Lamia can’t fly.

The giant is now quite remorseful about helping the cultists capture and imprison the sphinx, and he’s quite eager for some revenge.

Nemat: Brilliant! Everybody play dead - and you tell the cultists that you caught us.
Giant: I got them! I got them! I got them TO FREE ME! *WHACK*
Lamia: Oh, ****.
Nemat: Improved Dual Weapon Fighting. Better known as ‘I am the desert Cuisinart’
Asrian: Just like me.
Onka: Lucky for us Desert Giants have terrible ‘Sense Motive’
Zenobia: Maybe they just like to think the best of people?

At least the Lamia doesn’t have to regret using mind-controlled guards for long - she and her cultists are dead a few seconds later. And none of us took a point of damage. Now we just have to find that sphinx before all the extra XP kicks in.

Nemat: Please please please, let that sphinx know the ritual!
Asrian OoC: Nemat is Evolving!

Nemat OoC: Quick, use an Everstone!

The gynosphinx Tetisurah has been immobilised with a Sepia Snake Sigil, and used for target practise. Just as well the party has 3 people that can cast healing magic.

Nemat: We are the Covenant of Wati.
Onka: Yo.

Zenobia: So, do you two want some privacy now?
Nemat: Too tired. And so are you - we haven’t slept in 24 hours.

Like her mother before her, it’s been Tetisurah’s duty to combat the cultists, and guard the valley and the very tomb we’ve been looking for. Unfortunately, the cultists have already removed Chisisek’s body and sent it north. But the gynosphinx can oversee the implantation of Nemat’s Ib Stone in the morning - the next step in him becoming a Living Monolith.

But we’ll probably have to go into the tomb anyway - we need all the clues for the whereabouts of the Forgotten Pharoah’s bits that we can get. We enter, and promptly step on a pressure plate trap. Cue the giant rolling stone ball. Zenobia throws herself flat along the bottom of the corridor wall

Zenobia: A smart architect would have had a stone cylinder rolling down the corridor towards us.
GM: Well, you could always turn it into a giant meatball - anybody know Stone to Flesh?
Nemat: That would at best only half its weight. And make it horrifying.

Asrian: Well, that’s left one door unblocked.
Zenobia: How much do you want to bet that the one the stone ball just blocked is the important one?
Asrian: Well that goes without saying.
Nemat: I hate tombs like this - if they intend to block access to the tomb, why not do it when you built the place?
Asrian: Because this way they squash any tomb-robbers too.

Unfortunately it looks like the cultists already removed any scrolls related to this tomb, or the Forgotten Pharoah’s. And we manage to destroy some wonderful murals breaking through the wall into the actual tomb chamber. And upset the giant statue of Ptah, god of creative types, who was guarding it.

Zenobia: So, is there anything in the sarcophagus worth our while, after the cultists looted it? I’m doubtful, unless they were careless.
Asrian: I’m wondering how they got past the golem. But they did have those Lamia with them. The cultists themselves seem pretty incompetent.

There’s nothing about Chisisek’s later life in the murals, but Nemat does spot the single spelling error in the hieroglyphs that hides a secret button. It looks like the cultists took the body and intend to cast Speak With Dead on it, and never found the secret extra chamber. Unfortunately they never found the other guardian device either. Fortunately, Nemat has an adamantium rod that will theoretically jam up all its gears. It doesn’t.

Device: *CRUNCH*
Nemat: Well, I’m not doing that again.
Zenobia: I’m not sure you’re getting your rod back either.

This device was probably Chisisek’s greatest creation. It’s certainly the Osiriani equivalent of a combine harvester. With us as the chaff. Apparently it’s also made of Explodium. The amount of damage to the engravings and murals as almost as distressing as the damage to us.

GM: Remember when I said the stone golem was the Boss of this level?
Nemat: You lied.

But at least Chisisek’s library is mostly intact. Time for Nemat to cackle like a lunatic and rub his hands together. It certainly has some interesting information about some of the projects he worked on for his Pharoah. Including some kind of massive weapon he used against his flying enemies. Nothing on the actual LOCATION of the Pharaoh’s tomb, unfortunately.


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Champions : Return To Edge City : Gangs of Edge City

So, it looks like somebody is using Ravensholme Biotech facilities to make designer drugs, and the Knights of Hell gang to smuggle them out of Edge City via the tunnels and high-speed jet-ski. And we can’t just go in there without a warrant. Well, we could, but...

Hero Shrew OoC: We’re not an actual Shadowrun team, so we can’t go around blatantly breaking the law.

Flux points out we’re not really connected or sneaky enough to bluff our way into the facilities. So we should just focus on the Knights of Hell section of the pipeline. Or better yet, inform the Drug Squad and let them do it.

Flux: It helps that there’s a standing ordinance in Edge City that the ECPD can enter the tunnels at anytime. No need for a warrant. So the stuff we discovered down there is all legal evidence, since we have police powers.
GM: You’re being perfectly reasonable. Now give me a few minutes to figure out how the plot will go since you’re being reasonable. At the end of last session it sounded like you were going to go full Leroy Jenkins. You probably would have killed somebody.

So, if we are leaving the Knights of Hell to the human authorities, do we turn our attention to one of the other gangs? We haven’t dealt with those human supremacists that were running MercCon for a start. Maybe that gang that uses powered exo-armour? They even fight in the stuff - which admittedly is the illegal part of it.

Hardlight: It’s like fighting in forklifts.

The local police advise that the gang in question also deal drugs, but it’s a bit of a mystery as to how they avoid getting caught doing it. So it looks like another week of covert surveillance. Of course, they could be using their own drones - it’s a low volume product.

GM: Which one was Dr. No again?
Allana: The TV Special on Informed Consent.

So now we have to research how gangs actually deal drugs, including runners, back seat deal, and actual dens. At least we don’t have to look around town for every pair of sneakers over the power lines.

GM: Uber Drugs

Of course, just as we’re about to bring the hammer down on THIS gang, we hear that the Heaven’s Devils, a demented motorbike gang that have Blues Brothers-style races as an initiation, are driving along the top of the Wall around Marsten.

Fireflash: *flying down alongside the head of the pack* Uh.. Why are you guys doing this?
Heaven’s Devil: Grand Flying! We’re moving up a rung!

Hardlight puts up a hardlight wall and stop sign across the top of the wall. Hopefully they won’t just drive into it at 60kph. Instead the lead rider flips his bike into a slide, and lets the rest of the gang use him as a ramp over the top. All but one of them actually manage it.

GM: Fortunately he made his Long Hard Road check.
Hero Shrew: Damage Reduction vs Roadrash.

Hero Shrew and Flux, driving the Qruiser parallel to the wall, are grudgingly impressed.

Hero Shrew: That WAS pretty awesome. You okay driving, Flux?
Flux: Yes?
Hero Shrew: Great, I just need to bring up the Internet and check the betting pool on the Heaven’s Devils.
Flux: What??? Oh, right, you have Streetwise.
GM: But not Gambling.

Hardlight tries to grab a couple with giant holographic barbecue tongs. We don’t want their bikes to fly off the top of the all into somebody’s apartment, or the crowded street below. They dodge, doing sick motorbike stunts as they go, off the Wall, and through Marsten.

GM: They’re basically showing their arses to Humanity First.
Allana: Not a sentiment I necessarily disagree with, but…

Hero Shrew: I do have an applicable skill I could use here, but it’s going to be equivalent to driving into a wall. Stronger Than A Locomotive. +44 Strength, but only versus moving objects.
GM: Ah. So the bikes will stop, and the riders… won’t.
Flux: That’s ok, Fireflash can catch them before they hit anything.

Allana is already doing something similar, two bikes at a time. But then they do more than drive recklessly. They deliberately clip a few Humanity First gangers as they drive past.

Hero Shrew: That’s Vehicular Assault! Now we really have to shut them down.

GM: Hardlight, why do you suck?
Hero Shrew: Because he’s roleplaying Golden Age Green Lantern.
GM: No, he’s roleplaying Justin Hammer, if he got the Green Lantern Ring in a crossover event.

Hero Shrew: How frustrating is this, that we can’t just punch them?
Fireflash: Well, now that they’re at ground level, we can. Just keep in mind that they’re just humans.

Flux: Just stick them on a ledge somewhere, I doubt they know parkour.
GM: They do, but it’s vehicular parkour.

Eventually, the ones we haven’t picked off pick up speed to get out of Marsden. We try to cut them off at the 48th Street Gate, since that’s the nearest exit. Unfortunately, Glowing Girl In The Sky is a bit conspicuous, and they head to the Marsten Street exit instead. Fortunately, Allana is sneaky, and cunning, and waits behind a corner to sweep them off their bikes after their feint.

GM: Bat steps out, wings go FWOMP, bikers yell ****!, go into a skid, and get swept up into her embrace.
Flux: ‘Hey guys, they ARE real!’

Hero Shrew: Ok, guys, that was some awesome driving, and Humanity First are scum, but you could have killed somebody.
GM: No they couldn’t, controlled collisions at that speed ae only 6d6 damage.
Hero Shrew: Yeah? And if a pedestrian had stepped out from between some cars without looking?
GM: Good point - that would be an 11d6 Move Through.

Hardlight: Scooter - Would you be okay with being shot from a cannon from the Qruiser?
Hero Shrew: … sure!

And then our Crime Computer informs us that the pursuit has a high probability of being a distraction from something happening at the far end of town.

Flux: Sigh.
Hero Shrew: Should I get back in the Qruiser, or superleap.
GM: Qruiser is faster.
Fireflash: Or you could travel by Batmobile.
GM: Eh, he’s still a bit ‘handsy’ for Allana to do that much.
Hero Shrew: Just carry me by the scruff of the neck, I’ll go limp.

Hardlight stays with the captives and the Qruiser. Long Park is a minor warzone - A bunch of Heaven’s Devil bikes are wrecked, and a number of the bikers themselves are laid out on the ground. There’s an alarming strong scent of blood in the air, too. Looks like the bike gang tried to take on the Daughters of Lilith - the ones with some seriously illegal cybertech.

Flux: Who did this?
Allana: I don’t know, I only remember the names of the important gangs *listens carefully for any noises of outrage*

Hardlight, over the communicator: What’s happening over there?
Hero Shrew: Major gang confront, between the Devils and the Daughters of Lilith. Lots of casualties - we need a bunch of ambulances.
Hardlight: Have you called them?
Hero Shrew: Bit busy - why don’t you?

GM: You want to know one of the arguments against recognising Moreaus as people? Because if one is walking down the street, sniffs the air, and says ‘there’s cocaine in that house’, it counts as admissible evidence, because it was detected by a person without any kind of illegal search.

Allana smells out the victim’s blood types, which will help the paramedics when they arrive. Flux, Firefight and Scooter get involved in the ongoing battle. And then Scooter gets a tranquiliser arrow in the neck.

Hero Shrew: … The ****??? Ok, I think I need to use a car for cover. Not hiding behind it, picking it up to use as a shield.

Hardlight: Do you have Danger Sense, Scooter?
Hero Shrew: If I did, it would be ‘there’s something around here I can fight?’

And then the tranq arrow is followed by a gas grenade arrow, which stuns him.

Hero Shrew: … Help.
GM: Care to guess who this is, Drhoz?
Hero Shrew OoC: It’s the Unnaturalist, isn’t it?
GM: Yep! You’ve had this Hunted since the start of the campaign, and they've finally shown up!

At least Allana heard the gas bomb going off, and sees that Scooter is in trouble.

Hero Shrew: Somebody is shooting at me!
Allana: It’s happened before
Hero Shrew OoC: Yes, but that time I sounded annoyed. This time I sound scared.
Hardlight: You OK buddy?
Hero Shrew: There’s an arrow in my neck, is that bad?

Fireflash blasts a large crater in the middle of the fight.

Fireflash: BREAK IT UP!
GM: You actual do more property damage than Scooter.
Hero Shrew OoC: That’s because she does explosions - my damage is more linear.

GM: And then the Hawkeye wannabe hits Scooter with a taser arrow. And I KNOW you don’t have any sort of defence against electricity.

Allana can see where the arrows are coming from - but can’t detect whoever is loosing them.

GM: The reason why the Unnaturalist is hunting Scooter might come up. Or might not. It’s going to annoy Fireflash, anyway… He doesn’t know much about Allana, but has made some educated guesses. So the next arrow is at Allana. But it won’t hurt, because it’s a mistake.
Allana: ?
GM: It’s a Bolas arrow.
Flux OoC: So you break out easily.
GM: In theory. But for now you’re entangled and falling out of the sky.
Flux: Use your scalpels.
Allana: Oh yeah, I forgot I have though.
GM: LOL - but fair enough. You only think about them in their utility function, rather than attack. Fireflash, you heard Scooter scream and go silent. And Allana is falling out of the sky.
Hardlight: I’m this close to dumping these guys and getting in the Qruiser.
Flux: You won’t get here in time to do anything.
GM: It’s still his state of mind at the moment.

Fireflash has trouble dodging the next few arrows too, which have alarmingly large and explosive arrowheads. At least the gang battle breaks up, with the surviving bikers driving off with assorted rude gestures.

Allana: There aren’t that many super-archers out there. Crossbow? Rainbow Archer?
GM: Rainbow Archer has been retired for years.
Allana: It has to be Warpath, but it can’t be them, because where is the rest of the Warlord’s crew? They don’t get to work alone.
Fireflash: These kind of people come back out of the woodwork all the time.

The next arrow isn’t going to hit Flux, Allana, or Fireflash, but Fireflash turns to see what it IS going to hit. Which is unfortunate, because it’s a Flash-Bang arrow. At least she’s immune to the light effect. Unfortunately for the Unnaturalist, it doesn’t stun Allana enough to prevent a superpunch through the thin air the attacks are apparently coming from. Since the Unnaturalist was using an invisible hunting hide to snipe from, they are forced to flee via jetpack, and have a KCAW interceptor drone in place for automated extraction, too.

Hero Shrew: Team Rocket blasting off again.

Flux: What happened.
Hero Shrew: I look more like a spiny tenrec than a shrew.

But the glimpse they got of the assailant confirms it was the Unnaturalist, a little-known supervillain that once had an archery contest with Warpath. It ended in a tie, because both resorted to trick arrows.

Fireflash: Well, at least we stopped whatever the Heaven’s Devils had planned.
GM: Well, they mostly stopped themselves, because the Daughters of Lilith were much tougher than they expected.
Flux: And now I have a taser that works on Scooter.

Hero Shrew OoC: Well, I think I’m going to be a lot more paranoid now.
GM: Yes. You know that the Unnaturalist, a supervillain that hunts mutates, is actively targeting you.
Allana: At least you can sleep in a hole in the ground. That’s why we have an underground base.
Hardlight: Man, I’m glad I don’t have anybody coming after me. Apart from my shareholders.

Scooter calls his old boss, Colin, from the Collar Club, to warn them that the Unnaturalist might be hunting superpowered Moreaus.

GM: Gotta catch them all

Colin was in the middle of someone at the time, and doesn’t appreciate the interruption.

Hero Shrew: Sorry, I’ve got a hole in my neck.

So, who do we turn our attention to now? Back to the Park Front Dragons - the exo-boxers? How do they make money? Drug sales, and basic protection rackets..

GM: You come back, and oh look, your delivery van is upside-down. Or your entire fuse-box has been pulled out of the wall.

Of course, the whole organised crime situation in Edge City is complicated by the number of superpowered individuals in town.

GM: They found the mob boss hanging upside-down under pier, with his neck at high-tide level.
Hero Shrew: And they say climate change isn’t real.

GM: There are some beneficial effects to being on cocaine.
Hero Shrew: Yes, you get all the housecleaning done.

Fireflash, conveniently, is still a student at Edge City U. where they’re getting the designer drugs they sell cooked up. Oddly enough their contact appears to be in the Engineering Department, not Chemistry. What we actually do with this information is another thing - going around asking ‘hey, where can I get drugs from?’ is probably a bad idea. On the other hand, the three human members of the team are a lot less conspicuous than Allana and Scooter.

Four individuals in armoured exo-frames are leaving one of the university buildings, carrying something heavy, and making the kind of comments guaranteed to attract the attention of suspicious super-types. Hardlight is certainly suspicious, but that’s only because of certain inadvertent comments over the years that have put him on multiple watchlists.

Flux and Fireflash move off to intercept them. Hardlight, rather than follow the suspects, nips into the engineering building they came out of.

GM: Good, that was your last chance to not be an idiot.
Allana: You sent him into a possible social situation by himself.
GM: You can be a fool on your own time.

The Geek-in-Charge is one Brent Mandler (cruelly nicknamed Bent Handler thanks to a certain issue that he can’t help and can’t afford to get fixed in America’s medical system). Apparently the suspects just ran off with his newly invented super-batteries.

Hardlight: I technobabble back at him.

The two Moreaus are lurking off campus, waiting for the call on their communicators.

Hero Shrew OoC: I’m probably having a nap.
GM: At least he’s not using them as pillows - he’s learning.
Allana: I’m too tall for him to do that, if I’m standing.
GM: That’s what milk crates are for… I should have said fruit crates, not milk crates. I have tiddies on the brain.

Allana swoops down and snatches the box off the bad guys. Possibly they were distracted by the way her anatomy behaves when her wing muscles are working.

Hardlight: She Gainaxs.

Scooter was being pleasantly distracted by this display of elastic pulchritude, when his attention is suddenly directed towards a couple of crows, who are just watching the encounter.

Hero Shrew: Uh, has anybody else noticed those suspicious birds?
Crows: *Suddenly fly off with highly suspicious nonchalance*
Flux: Crap. We know about a certain Knight of Crows that wants power armour, don’t we?

Fireflash uses a subduing blast on the four exo-armoured guys. Curiously, three of them do the Dance of the Electric Cockroach, and the fourth bursts into some impressive if socially unacceptable volubility.

Hero Shrew: Hey, that kind of language is offensive, be more thoughtful in future.

Apparently the engineering of these exo-suits isn’t as robust as they’d like, especially when they’re scooting along on their in-line skates. Since it seems the team doesn’t need his help with these four, Scooter turns the Qruiser around to go after the crows. They dive down into the trees and buildings, and he promptly loses them.

Hero Shrew: They got away.
Flux: Who? Did you do property damage?
Hero Shrew: No, do you want me to?

Hardlight, still disguised in his civilian identity of Gareth Lowell, gives Mandler the good news.

Hardlight: Quadrant happened to be in the area, they’ve already dealt with it. So you make novel battery tech, hey? Can I have a look?
Allana: That is a terrible idea in every respect unless you want hideous legal trouble further down the line.
Hardlight: …. Good point. Here’s my card.

Mandler figures out that these idiots stole his batteries to run their science fair project.

Powerskater Nitwit: It was just going to be two-on-two powered-armoured street hockey.

Fireflash explains to them at length that if they take their power-armour ideas to PRIMUS, they’re less likely to get charged with Public Endangerment for driving their exo-armour across campus at reckless speed.

Nitwit: We just wanted to see if they’d batteries fixed the power issues we were having. If they did we would have sucked up to Mandler until he forgave us.

At least they don’t seem to have been working for Black Paladin.

GM: Some nerds stole some tech from another nerd. It’s just as well Allana snatched the box, and Fireflash stunned them, because if Fireflash had snatched the box and you handed and went ‘talk to the wing’ you probably would have snapped their spines. It’s one of the problems in this city - telling the difference between actual powered armour, and armoured exosuits.


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Champions : Return To Edge City - Heist!
Quadrant’s plan to take down the more ideologically-unpleasant gangs of Edge City, one affiliate at a time. At the moment, we’re focussing on the Park Front Dragons. Or rather, were, until we got distracted by an attempted tech heist at UC-EC.

GM: You do realise that the way Allana sniffed out the ganger’s blood types is going to spread around the paramedics, and the rumour is going to be you’re a VAMPIRE bat?

Those crows that Scooter chased were Hooded Crows, an exclusively Eurasian species.

Hero Shrew: Well, all we have to do is check the birdwatcher’s network - because if any hooded crows are flying around California someone will notice.

Of course, the Black Paladin was accompanied by carrion crows, not hooded crows. Hooded crows are more associated with the Morrigan and Cú Chulainn.

Allana: So, who’s pissed off any Celtic death goddesses or Irish Hercules lately?

Flux: Do we really want to spend time tracking down these crows Scooter spotted?
Hero Shrew: If they’re important, I'm sure they’ll come back to bite us on the arse later.
Allana: I assume we just checked the internet while we were waiting for campus security to show up and cart off the battery-stealing idiots.
GM: You spent time explaining to them that what they did was a horrifically bad idea that could have got them charged with multiple federal crimes. That generally makes them back down.

Allana’s right, too - the laws regarding crimes committed in powered armour are still overly broad. Of course, that’s not Allana’s only skill - she overhears one of the security people telling Brent that he’ll put the new superbatteries in secure storage until it’s time for his big presentation. And Allana can also tell that the security guy is COMPLETELY full of it. He also smells of unusual welding compounds and advanced engineering. She considers scent-tagging the batteries, but doubts she can do it inconspicuously. Or she could just carry them back to secure storage herself - she’s strong enough, and Brent went through too many years of high school to doubt the obvious jock can do it.

Hardlight: Well, if we’re down here I’m going to go hang around the chemistry labs.
GM: As Gareth Lowell?
Hardlight: Yes. If they need me as Hardlight I’ll duck into the toilets.
Hero Shrew: It not like you can find a phone booth these days.

Hardlight: What do you actually DO to scent-mark something? Lick it or something? Or do you have a spray bottle?
Hero Shrew: ‘And this is Mine, and this is Mine, and THIS is Mine…’
Allana: Actually, I can always wrap my wings around the batteries as I’m carrying the crate. Then I can do what I like.
Hero Shrew: How much do you want to bet that security guard is planning a heist? Or is he just the Park Front Dragons’ contact on campus?

Allana heads off to run her free clinic for a few hours, Hardlight, Fireflash and Flux lurk around campus, and Scooter parks the Qruiser off-campus, switching on the ‘Nondescript Van’ disguise, and has a nap.

Allana: Just as long as it isn’t the ‘Low-Cost Nuclear Waste Disposal’ van.
GM: Or the Septic Avenger.

Hardlight: I’m at one of the cafeterias, peoplewatching.
GM: And how old are you?
Hardlight OoC: Mid-thirties?
GM: So, you’re hanging around a campus cafeteria looking at people? You do remember the kind of reputation Gareth has, right?
Hardlight OoC: Sigh.

Hardlight does notice a number of students wandering around with aviator goggles hanging from their bets, and bags, and necks, and suspects they’re Dysprosium Dawn members who want to mark themselves with something less conspicuous than shipbuilder’s wrenches.

Flux: I HAVE goggles, but they’re in the Qruiser, where Scooter is sleeping.
Hero Shrew: *draped sideways across the pilot’s seat, mouth open, drool dribbling down his chin*

Flux notices a hooded crow hanging around.

Allana: The great tragedy of The Ring - everybody watches videos on their smartphones these days. Tiny screens.

Flux: How fast can a crow fly?
Allana: Pretty fast?
Hero Shrew: But is it as fast as an unladen swallow.

Flux: I’m being shadowed by a crow.
Hero Shrew: Appropriate colour at least.

Hero Shrew: Offer it some bacon.
Flux: You’re asleep!
Hero Shrew: Offer ME some bacon.

Allana OoC: And Hardlight spends 30 minutes thinking he’s being followed by a crow, that turns out to be a pigeon.
GM: Actually he IS being followed by a crow. He just didn’t see it until now.
Hero Shrew OoC:: I’m going to wake up and find three standing on the window sill, aren’t I?
Allana: If a second crow shows up we’ll have an attempted murder on our hands.

The crow easily follows Flux around campus, even as he tries a few teleports. It doesn’t laugh at his attempted joke, either, but that may have been the delivery.

Fireflash: Birds can’t laugh.
Hero Shrew: Kookaburras.

Fireflash leaves her class, takes flight, and actually manages to catch one of the hooded crows. It’s much stronger than any natural bird should be. And moving without flapping it’s wings.

GM: up down up down left right-
Fireflash OoC: is it doing the Konami code?

They call Hardlight in to scan it with millimeter radar, but he takes so long changing from his civilian ID and sneaking outside invisibly that the bird wriggles free.

Fireflash: The bird is loose in the room!
Hero Shrew: Is that a code nobody told me about?

The crow tries to bash it’s way out the window, as the other bashes its way in, but when Hardlight bubbles it in a force field, it goes limp and the other flies off. And his scan reveals nothing of its interior.

Hardlight: It’s s bright vaguely bird-shaped object.
Fireflash: *turns to Flux* Well, you’re the scientist.
GM: Wow. Right in front of Hardlight too.

But it does have carbon fibre feathers, and Flux detects emeralds.

Flux: Ah. Oh dear. They’re Guiltrider’s.
GM: Yes. She’s an Irish lass so Hugin and Munin wouldn’t have been appropriate.

GM: This took much longer than I expected. You guys are consistently showing more restraint these days.
Hero Shrew OoC:: Well, I was asleep in the van.
GM: True. You’d have tried to eat it.

Evidently she made the crows to keep an eye on us, without being too creepy-stalker. It’s just unfortunate we had that run in with the Black Paladin too.

GM: these were just her first model.
Hero Shrew: It’s when she has carbon-fibre cassowaries that we need to worry.

GM: Recently Gareth Lowell achieved a new position.
Hero Shrew: He had some ribs removed?

He actually got a position on the Corporate Advisory Council

Allana: The junior junior version of the Illuminati.
Fireflash: If you can’t control the sandbox, how can you be trusted with the world?

It’s more an attempt to moderate the excesses of corporate ownership of Edge City, using that most universal of powers, mutual enlightened mistrust.

Allana and Hero Shrew take the night shift, watching for the theft of that battery tech. Hero Shrew takes up position on a nearby roof.

Hardlight: So you’re a gargoyle now?
Hero Shrew OoC:: Well, I just botched that perception check. Evidently I’m perched on the wrong corner of the building.
GM: Or you were too busy staring at Allana’s tits.
Hero Shrew: Very likely.
Hardlight OoC: Did you remember to add your Brooding bonus? Any dramatic flashes of lightning nearby?

At least we didn’t get spotted.

Hero Shrew OoC:: Despite the implausibility of a gargoyle on a building at a Californian university.

We might not have seen them go in, but we do see a cloaked figure coming back out, carrying the battery case. But Allana can’t smell the scent she tagged it with. The figure also has a grapple gun, and their cloak transforms into a glider.

Hero Shrew: What’s going on? I was too busy staring at Castor and Pollux.

Allana swoops off in pursuit, whilst Scooter jumps down and heads into the security building.

Allana: Not a bad idea, actually. Check that the security guards are OK.
Hero Shrew: And that the person with the bat-cloak isn’t a decoy.

It’s impressive that they can fly and still carry the battery. But that assumes the battery is actually in the case, and besides, we’re living in a comic book universe.

Flux: Theoretically, you can fly with an elephant, if you can pick up an elephant.
Allana: I can.
GM: Well, you follow the batglider without much difficulty.
Hero Shrew OoC:: I’m not surprised - if he looks over his shoulder and see giant bat wings he’ll just assume they’re his.

Scooter, meanwhile, is checking the side door of the security building, discovers that the batglider reset the security systems and locked it as he left, and heads round the front to let the night guards know the bad news.

Allana snatches the case from the batglider.

Hero Shrew: He just got mugged in mid-air.
GM: Yep! I bet he wasn’t expecting that.
Batglider: Tesla’s Magnificent Moustache! *draws a curious gun, pauses to think for a second, and shoots a large pellet at Allana*

But it’s not a ping-pong ball, so it can’t be FoxBat. It’s pretty easy for Allana to take him down too, and we might be able to find out who he’s working for.

Batglider: They haven’t paid me enough for confidentiality.
Hero Shrew: … so… if we let you go, you’ll tell us who hired you?
Batglider: And you won’t take all my stuff? Sweet - usually I have to rebuild it.
Hero Shrew: *looks up at Allana* He’s smarter than they usually are.
Batglider: Sure I am *jiggles the Dysprosium Dawn google on his utility belt*
Hero Shrew: You’re holding him against your chest and he’s not even wriggling. I mean, I would.
Batglider: Anyway, it was Johnny Chen. Of the Park Front Dragons.
Allana: *dramatically flings her arm out and doubles over in badly-faked pain* Argh. Ow. He’s getting away,
Batglider: No no no, I don’t want a rep for that! You think I want people to think I could hurt either of you?
Allana: You’ve got gas grenades.
Batglider: True. *shoots Allana and Scooter with them, and ‘makes his escape’*

Hero Shrew: So, Allana, do you want to go fly around over Park Front and see if any gang members try to flag you down? If they’re looking up at the night sky looking for a big bat shape they might make an understandable mistake.

She doesn’t see any, but when she returns to the university she can smell chemicals burning. Somebody has dissolved a hole in the wall. And the case we just returned is gone again.

Hero Shrew: *sigh* Hey, security guy! They got in again.

It looks like the Batglider played us for fools. At least he had to drag the case out along the ground, since we kept the impeller unit he’d been using to minimise the weight before.

Hardlight: What happened?
Hero Shrew: We caught the Batglider but we let him go because he was smarter than most of the people we catch. But he went around the building and broke in again.
Hardlight: … Flux, what happened?
Flux: A burglary. Well, two burglaries.
Hero Shrew: Technically it was the same burglary twice.
Hardlight: … … Allana, what happened?

Hardlight does detect the beeping signal coming from Allana. That pellet was a tracking bug, so the batglider knew that she had left the university and he was free to try again. On the other hand, Allana can follow the batglider’s sweaty exertion as he tries to drag the case across campus. He didn’t actually get very far, despite having an hour to work. No deal this time.

Batglider: That’s fair.
Allana: And we’re taking your utility belt too.
Hardlight: Shark repellent? Why does he have shark repellent?
Hero Shrew: It’s bat-shark repellent. It only works on bat-sharks.

He has a bunch of other very interesting tech, too. Including a crime-scene analyser.

GM: He’d actually be a better superhero than some of you, if he wanted to be. But he’s perfectly normal without his tech, so he’ll be going into minimum security, and nowhere near the machine shop. The batteries will get into proper police custody.

Hero Shrew: Even if it WAS the Park Front Dragons that commissioned the theft, we can’t prove it. But hey, we stopped the theft. Twice.
Allana: Three times.

It’s probably going to be a big blow to the Park Front Dragons. Not least because Dysprosium Dawn are going to be annoyed that their top procuring agent is locked up. What now?

Allana: Visit Millenium City. See the sights. Like the Mini-godzilla in the zoo.

Hero Shrew: So how long until we do one of those PSA videos?
GM: The Rep is not putting Scooter anywhere NEAR a PSA. You all know what information is like after it gets filtered through Scooter’s brain.
Hero Shrew: You want me to go tell this campus news reporter everything that happened?
Flux: I do not have a Gag superpower.

We decide to patrol around Park Front, to make it harder for the gang to collect protection money.

GM: But if you spend all your time there, you won’t be elsewhere.
Hero Shrew: At least we have the Crime Computer to send us alerts now.
GM: It only really notices major things.
Hero Shrew: Doing better than we do, then.

But Fireflash has figured out how the gang collects their protection money. It’s through Patreon.

Fireflash: Great - then all we have to report the account and get them suspended.
Flux: And the IRS will take an interest too.

And we’ve got enough evidence that the ECPD can get a warrant for external surveillance, so if they try to collect the protection money in person, they’ll be on film. If we can shut down their exo-armour fight ring too, the gang will lose all its income streams.

It turns out that we’ve been hitting them at the worst possible time - there’s an underground martial arts tournament coming into town soon, and the Dragons were going to running the exo-armour part of it, but it meant cancelling most of their local matches in the lead-up. We start asking around, in case a friend of a friend knows exactly which martial artist pros are coming to town, and where they’d be. Oddly enough, it’s the Neo-druids of Lo-Carb, and Madam Lil the brothel madam, who have the contacts we need to track down this Street Fighter problem.

Madam Lil: You have to understand that my clients expect a certain amount of discretion, but some of these people have very specific tastes. And don’t feel much.

The event is the Valhalla Invitational, which used to be held in Vegas. She gives us the information she has, on the condition that when the fighting starts we’re nowhere near her place of business. And Lo-Carb provides organic produce for the fighters that want that sort of thing. Especially the mystically enhanced produce.

The person we need to talk to about the Valhalla Invitational is one Makoto.

Lo-Carb: She - and we MEAN she, we’ve heard about the way your brain work, Scooter, don’t make any comments about her, *gestures* you know, she’s sensitive about it. SHE is one of the contestants this year. And she won’t be happy if she finds out you’re going to be messing with the tournament. Actually, take Allana when you talk to her, she’s less likely to stick her foot in her mouth.
Hero Shrew: Let’s just hope Allana doesn’t make her feel inadequate.

We do have one good reason to be involved.

Hero Shrew: These guys are wearing exo-armour when they beat each other up. And that’s assault with a deadly weapon. And PRIMUS come down heavy on this kind of tech crime. Do you really want PRIMUS to show up in their powered armour and trash the whole tournament?
GM: What, those old things? I mean, even the Iron Guard - wait, they can’t even afford those these days.

Allana lends on the veranda of Makoto’s rented penthouse apartment. The doors slide open. Without power.

Makoto: I’m upstairs.

In fact she’s sitting cross-legged in mid-air, in the lotus position, with a couple of vases orbiting her. She opens her eyes and comes face to face with Allana’s primary attributes.

Makoto: Wow. They really - I mean they mentioned. They warned me.
Flux: Oh wait, that’s what Scooter meant by Castor and Pollux? I think one of the twins was supposed to be bigger than the other, but I’m not going to check.

Makoto explains that the oldtimers of the Valhalla Invitational aren’t happy about exo-armour fighters being at the event at all. Mere cyborgs are borderline. So the exo-armour event was going to be a side-tournament. If any of the gangs are going to get into trouble over this, she’s pleased to hear it’s one of the ones affiliated to Humanity First.

Makoto: These people want to put a bullet in my head just for breathing - but you know all about that.

She also points out that if we come in to break up the event before all the betting is over and the organisers get their cut, a lot of people are going to be very very unhappy with us. She drops a few nicknames that we should probably recognise, but don’t. But she CAN get the five members of Quadrant in as observers, if we bust the Park Front Dragons outside the event. She’ll even feed us video of the tournament, if we do her a favour later.

Allana: Well as long as it’s nothing completely heinous.
Makoto: Nothing illegal, I promise. The last time the Invitational started letting organised crime get this involved, well, it got bad.
Allana: OK then.
Makoto: Great! You can be my +5.

Hero Shrew: I’m looking forward to sitting and grinning at the Park Front Dragons, and looking up at the clock every five minutes.
GM: And they won’t be able to leave, because they need the money. 

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Pathfinder: The Mummy's Mask - More Desert Meandering
Heading north in pursuit of the cultists/amateur tomb robbers. It might be the middle of the desert, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things to encounter - including a scorpion-man in need of proper burial, a Royal Naga archeologist, and some really, really annoying birds. But we do find a river, which is nice, since it means Asrian and Zenobia can wash the dust off.

Onka: And I’m going to camp over here, since I don’t want a knife somewhere uncomfortable.

Zenobia: Any suspicious logs floating about?

This is also the first time that Zenobia has seen her girlfriend undressed in daylight - she has silver-blonde hair, and skin almost as pale as paper. Rather unusual, since we’ve met her family and they’re all ethnically Osiriani.

Nemat OoC: On the other side of the God-Rock, she’d be gorgeous.
Zenobia OoC: I imagine her mother got some cruel accusations after she was born, right up until her father got kicked in the balls.

Asrian is still extremely sensitive about her appearance, despite the fact that Zenobia isn;t at all repulsed.

Zenobia: You’ve seen the way people look at me, before they know me. I’d NEVER think you’re ugly.
Asrian: You’re fuzzy, it’s nice! I look like I’ve been dipped in flour!
Zenobia: Well, let’s see if it washes off *rolls around in the shallows with her for a bit*

Asrian eventually explains that she had a perfectly ordinary complexion when she was younger, but had an encounter with a djinn, and after she was returned from the djinn’s palace, she looked like this. Apparently she had djinn ancestry somewhere on her mother’s side of the family, and her Suli blood got awakened. Which probably explains why her mother insisted she was still beautiful. Zenobia, of course, agrees.

Zenobia: The power of your ancestry shows on the outside. The light of your soul shines inside. You are gorgeous to me.
Asrian: *hugs tight*

Asrian is at least confident enough to go without her veil when we return to the rest of the party, but she’ll have it back on before we catch up with the cultists.

Nemat: You’re actually quite attractive.
Zenobia: MINE.

We also acquire some unusual loot - the power source of some unknown construct.

GM: It’s an ARC reactor.

Of course, all these side quests are going to take us over most of the desert, but it’ll probably be OK since the cultists have no idea we’re in pursuit, and are probably expecting the Lamia and other cultists to catch up with them. Although that assumes we don’t fall victim to things like the stinky stinky goo ghosts that emerge from some of the dunes.

Nemat OoC: Hang on, let me make a ‘Wot Dat?’ roll.

And things like featureless black obelisks are just annoying to the archeologist in the party, even if the proportions aren’t 1:4:9.

Zenobia: What’s the point of putting up an obelisk without inscribing the name of whoever commissioned it?
Nemat: I think the point is if you need to know, you already know.
Asrian: Actually I think the point is up the top there.

It’s actually powerfully and dangerously enchanted, but useful as long as you don’t fry yourself as you put it to use. Happily we have a spell-sage in the party who can fiddle with that sort of thing with minimal chance of spontaneous arc-welding. It’s not the only weird relic out here either of course - arrangements of skull-sized pale rocks also attract our attention.

Zenobia: Blood for the Blood God! Oh wait, they’re not skulls.

Voice from Above: Do not take another step!
Zenobia: *politely takes a step backwards*
Rest of party: That’s a step!
Onka: Let’s hope it’s not a copper dragon.
GM: Actually it’s a blue.
Keferuzagra the Blue Dragon: *lands* This is my garden! Stay away!
Asrian: OK.
Nemat: Nice work.
Keferuzagra: Uh, thanks?
Zenobia: Would you like to show us your garden or is it entirely private?
Nemat: Are you familiar with the Tien form of rock gardening?
GM: *sigh* And you’ve just taken him from hostile to friendly
Onka: Have you tried looking down in the wastelands south of here? There’s basilisks, you might find some interesting rockery.

He invites us to stay the night, to show off his other art, which includes golden statues of dragons. Admittedly gold leaf, but still very nice work.

Nemat: Are you sure you’ve never heard of the Tien forms?
GM: This dragon is SO going to find himself a new lair.
Nemat OoC: Once he finds a couple of portable holes so he can take his rocks and statues with him.

Keferuzagra gifts us an Efficient Quiver he found in an abandoned temple of Sarenrae, before he makes plans to emigrate. Some Tianese rock garden master is going to have something to be smug about, later.

Nemat OoC: We’ll give the quiver to Onka - it’s the Wizard’s Golf Bag.

He also warns us about a temple in the direction we’re heading, dedicated to Areshkagal, the demon lord of portals and riddles. Should be worth checking out, just in case, even if only to add a large AVOID to the map we eventually produce.

Nemat OoC: I’d really like our GM to be familiar with compass directions.

We hear flapping overhead, as we head north.

Zenobia: *peering * Keferuzagra again? No, that’s yellow, not blue. Are there yellow dragons?
Asrian: There’s gold dragons.
Zenobia: No, definitely yellow.
Nemat: Might be a really lost Imperial.

Actually it’s a flock of Yrthaks, huge eyeless flying beasts with a powerful sonic attack.

Asrian: SCATTER!

These things are NASTY. To the point some us go into negative hit points. Lucky for us that half of them plow into the ground when trying to do hairpin turns in mid-air, and that Zenobia can do ranged healing from behind boulders, at least until said boulders get blasted apart by the Yrthaks’ sonic attacks. Things probably would have gone much better for us if any of us had remembered Nemat knew the Silence spell, earlier.

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