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Quote of the Week from my gaming group...


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Assassin: Watch out! They're spellcasters! Split up or you'll get hit. Screw it, if you bunch up I'll shoot  you myself!

(minutes later five members of the party are caught in a single spell)

Assassin: Remember? When I said don't bunch up and then I ran a half-mile down that hallway? Remember that? And you guys just stood over there?

Cleric: The room's not big enough to split up!

Druid, only other character not hit by the spell: Don't look at me, I got it right this time.

 

Sorceror: So we made one ally and, like, ninety enemies. We should re-think our methods.

 

(regarding NPC mind flayer we had been traveling with and just parted company from- )

Male Player: He was good in a fight but I -hated- making camp when he was around.

Female Player: He wasn't that bad.

Male Player: He kept looking at me like I was a cheeseburger!

Female Player: Now you know what it's like, hmm?

 

"Next time we get to a town with a magic shop, I need to get a new Horn of Blasting. My old one broke."

(Every time a Horn of Blasting is used, 20% chance it explodes and destroys itself. The PC in question nearly died when "it broke".)

 

(regarding whether to help save an Evil Empire or let it dissolve into chaos)

Lawful Good Cleric: Where there is law, there can be justice. It would be easier to redeem the Empire than to build one anew.

Super Edgy Hot Topic Goth Fallen Angel Aasimar: Hell naw! Death to the Monarchy! Anarchy in the UK!

Barbarian: Never mind the bollocks!

 

Sorceror: Whatever. Fireballs don't go stale. *rolls damage on fourth fireball of the session*

 

Arcane Knight: *has been making every attack roll and failing every saving throw all session* Well, it's better than the alternative I guess.

 

Barbarian: I'mma chop his face off. *rolls a brutal critical, does 32 damage*

Barbarian: Face-chopping for the win!

Cleric: *rolls to hit, does six damage* Well, it's no face-chop, but it's honest work.

 

(the arcane knight warforged is known as FIv3, pronounced "Five", but it's an acronym of Fortified Infantry version 3)

(Five starts screwing up in the middle of a battle against high-level monsters)

Gnome Assassin: Fortified Michael Infantry the Third, you knock that off right now!

*whole room dies laughing. warforged has new nickname*

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I wish to ask for a bit of tolerance up front:  While I generally try to put in as little set-up as possible (believing that if it was really noteworthy, it shouldn't need much help), but this time th

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This week's session played over Roll20.

 

<On finding out that local law requires cutting off a thief's hand for a first offense>

Assassin-subclass Rogue: Oh man I'm sure glad that I'm just a professional killer and not a pickpocket.

 

The eldritch knight can't show his face in town, but his shield was recently broken. For reasons that defy all sense, the cleric and druid have decided that this shield -must- be repaired, not replaced. They polymorph the eldritch knight into a rat, keep him in a bag, and go to the armorer. They work out all the details for payment, materials, delivery, they come up with alibis and needlessly complicated stories of how it came to be broken in the first place.

Shopkeep: Okay, so where's the shield.

Druid and Cleric: stare dumb at each other.

DM: was it on the Knight when you polymorphed him?

Cleric: ... yes.

DM: So now it's part of him until he reverts to his own shape?

Druid: ... Yes.

Shopkeep: So... the shield?

Cleric: Ah, we, uh, forgot it. We've got to run real quick, we'll bring it right back to you.

 

DM: Okay, so you're looking for the beggar's dog. We're gonna take this quick and easy, just a couple of up-down investigation rolls. Give me all the results and we'll see how you do.

Druid: Okay, so I bombed it. But, uh, I can use the probability warp of my clockwork pendant to change my roll to a ten, so... ten?

Sorceror: I rolled a one. But, I have advantage because of this magic item, so .. a twenty.

DM: Uh-huh. One more for each of you, you're getting close.

Druid: A one. I'm spending inspiration to re-roll. And... a nineteen.

DM: Double-You-Tee-Eff with these rolls.

Sorceror: I know, right? Okay, that's a nineteen.

DM: Roll again for your advantage, you may get a crit after all.

Sorceror: Nope, it's a one.

DM: Hmm. One more investigation roll. Either of you.

Sorceror: That's a two, and... a four. Screw it, I'm spending the sorcery points to succeed automatically.

DM: Fine. Okay. Let me describe what you see. First, have any of you seen the movie CATS?

<Full round of horrified screeching and protests from all the players>

 

No specific quote for this one, but the cleric blew out most of his good spell levels curing a homeless roughneck going through drug withdrawals and severe malnutrition. Asks the down-and-out-er how he came to be this way, NPC reveals that he used to be an acolyte of the evil god that is opposed to the cleric's god. Lots of pointed glaring at the DM over that.

 

<Evil cultists barge into inn room, looking for good-aligned priest.>

Warlock: What? Who? No, I'm... uh... Carrie. <gives name of prominent local family that is known by every resident of the town>

other player: Good trope: when someone is just AGGRESSIVELY bad at lying.

Druid: Oh, yeah, we'd love to help you find those good-aligned priests. Hey, Carrie, why don't you help these guys get some tea?

Warlock: ..

Druid: -Carrie-, go get them some tea.

Warlock: ...

Druid: -ahem-, -Carrie!-

Warlock: Oh, me?

other player: AGGRESSIVELY BAD AT LYING

<good-aligned priest in the next room over tries to escape through the window, rolls a hilariously bad stealth check>

DM: That's a loud crashing noise.

<Simultaneously> Warlock: I throw myself down the stairs to cover up the noise. Sorceror: I cast minor illusion of a crash to cover up the noise.

DM: So, let's look at this. The cultists have heard a loud crashing coming from this direction, this direction, and over here, all at the same time.

Player: SO BAD AT LYING

Cultists go to investigate the noises. Sorceror, Warlock and Druid all roll Deception checks. Druid rolls high af, convinces cultist that that busted window frame was always there. Sorceror rolls high af and convinces that cultist that he's a wild mage and always wakes up with a sound of thunder. Warlock rolls hilariously poorly, tells cultist she had never seen stairs before.

Player: I'm dying.

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There’s a giant shining pyramid hovering 500ft over Wati.

Onka: Oh good, it’s in range of an Anti-Magic field.
Zenobia: What I want to know is where he was hiding that - I can’t think of anywhere on this plane where he could have hidden a giant golden pyramid and no-one would have stumbled across it in the last few thousand years.
Onka: Space?
Zenobia: I’m pretty sure the astrologers would have noticed a giant golden pyramid floating past.
Onka: Floating in an invisibility field?
Zenobia: OK, that would do it.

Onka: We would have had more downtime if we’d just walked back across the desert. Now we have to deal with this s***.

Zenobia: Why would he bring it here, anyway? Wati is not that important. He can’t have brought it here just to get revenge on us, since he has no idea who we are. Why not go to the new capitol, or the old one?
Onka: We do still have his mask.
Zenobia: Then he should have flown the pyramid out into the desert, where we were until 50 seconds ago. Maybe he wants to find out what happened to his necromantic fountain.

The pyramid is casting a shadow, both literal and spiritual, over the city. It’s also inscribed with a sigil, not of the Forgotten Pharaoh, but of one of his generals, one Isatemkhebet.

Onka: Does it have a giant death laser?
GM: Of course.
Nemat: If this is just his general does that mean he has more than one of these things?

Onka: One strategically placed Anti-magic field and it’ll fall out of the sky. Admittedly onto the city.
GM: Oh please, it’s Shory Magitech, it won’t be that easy.
Peanut Gallery: Cast Greater Darkness over it and cut off its solar power supply.

Isatemkhebet: City of Wati! Cast aside Weapon and Tool, Armor and Cloth, for you cower before Isatemkhebet, General of the Sky Pharoah! Witness the power of the Five Pointed Sun! *Giant laser beam fires from the top of the pyramid, blasting a 200-foot wide crater in the city* The Sky Pharoah has one demand! Bring onto us the Covenant of Wati! You have one week to comply, or your city shall be destroyed!
Onka: Well, piss. Just as well we’re at the temple of Sarenrae - they’re less likely to rat us out. Everybody inside.
GM: Why are you assuming half the city will want to hand you over?
Onka: Human nature.
Asrian: We DID end the undead scourge - we’re heroes.

Zenobia: The general is also assuming we don’t just hand ourselves in to protect the town.

We receive a Sending from Ptenemib, a gentlemen we rescued from the cult weeks ago.

Ptenemib: There’s a giant floating pyramid over Wati and it’s demanding we hand your party over or it will destroy the town!
Zenobia: *taps Ptenemib on the shoulder*
Ptenemib: EEP!
Asrian: We’re aware.

Zenobia: I take it the writer wasn’t expecting the party to teleport straight back to town.

Ptenemib rushes us off to a safehouse before anybody recognises us. There are also undead harpies flying around, so flying up to the pyramid early and sabotaging stuff won’t be easy.

Peanut Gallery: And the harpies aren’t being shot down by anybody with a bow, why?
Onka: Giant death laser.

The Desecrate effect of the pyramid’s shadow is a problem, too. Using Control Weather to make it overcast so there’s no shadow probably won’t help. At least the Consecrations on the many temples in town should hold. A lot of people are fleeing town, but the harpies aren’t harassing them - but they ARE checking that none of them are the party members.

Zenobia: We need to tell your family you’re alive. Hmm. But then they’ll be worried about you being handed over to the pyramid.
Onka: ‘Hi mum and dad, I’m alive, this is my girlfriend, we’re going into the death pyramid, I love you, bye.”

At least we have a week to buy scrolls of Fly, and anything else that might be useful for sabotaging the pyramid. And we DO have that map to a possible Anti-Shory weapon, that we found in Chessisek’s tomb. Can we retrieve it within a week?

Zenobia OoC: We can always use one of those magical feathers and send the general a message saying ‘We heard you’re looking for us, we’re in the capitol’ and make it somebody else’s problem.

Asrian doesn’t see the point of the spell Switch Souls, which enables the caster to swap souls with their familiar - especially since bards don’t get familiars. And the bodies are just as vulnerable as the animal was originally.

Zenobia OoC: Clearly the spell was invented by a pervert druid.
GM: Pervert wizard. At the suggestion of pervert druid.
Peanut Gallery: Pervert druids invented Wild Shape.

So, time to cast Speak With Dead on the spirit of that dead architect we recovered. Onka has been keeping his sarcophagus shrunk and in his pocket.

Onka: Time to interrogate the tiny dead guy.

Onka wears the Pharaoh's Mask, just in case, before casting the spell.

Chessisek: Who dares wake the dead? You are not the Pharaoh Hakotep. You wear his Ka, but you are not him.
Onka: Where is the Anti-Shory Weapon?
Chessisek: Weapon? They called it a weapon? HAha ha ha ha. Tis not a weapon. Tis an apocalypse. You wished to know the whereabouts of Hakotep’s tomb?
Onka: That wasn’t an answer.
Peanut Gallery: Yes it was.
Onka: Oh dear.
Chessisek: You seek the *chokes trying to pronounce the jargon and language*
Onka: Do you need a drink, what do the dead drink anyway?
Chessisek: My apologies, my throat is a bit dry. I AM a corpse.

Chessisek is quite boastful about all the effort he put into launching the Sky Pharaoh’s tomb into space, promptly followed by the flying pyramids of all his generals, and how elaborate the mechanisms were that launched them all, and can call them back, and how it’s warded against Divination and Observation.

Peanut Gallery: But not warded against Greater Teleportation.
All: ....

Chessisek: Trenchs? Trenches! The Khepsutanem is much more than ditches and mounds of earth. Hundreds of obelisks, each containing a bound elemental spirit, adorn the paths of the Khepsutanem. Among these stand 11 great monuments,each infused with the spirit of a particularly powerful elemental. These 11 monuments are the Sekrepheres, and they must be activated in the proper order between the hours of dawn and noon on a single day to focus their energies upon the Sun Disk plaza, which can in turn call down Hakotep’s tomb.
Zenobia: Does this actually help us with the pyramid flying over Wati?
Onka: Eventually.
Peanut Gallery: The general has one flying pyramid, so you steal his bosses even bigger one.

Onka: Can we just turn the gain up on the launchpad and push Hakotep’s Tomb out into the Outer Planes and let the Great Old Ones deal with him?

It looks like dealing with the launchpad is going to take well over a week. It seems like we’ll have to deal with the one here ourselves. And using Anti-magic or Disjunction to cancel its levitation would crush most of the town.

Zenobia: My future in-laws live here!

Of course we can always teleport to a larger city to avoid being recognised, and have a wider range of stuff to buy, before we teleport back. Avoids the harpies too.

Onka purchases a permanent timeless demiplane. This is going to be quite useful for his crafting of items, and popping into, casting all his buffs, and back out to rejoin the fight. And if Zenobia learns Plane Shift we can use it as in instant hospital. Although we all get hit with the ageing when we come out again, so Onka is going to be going through a bunch of birthdays in rapid succession.

GM: … I just let a PC have access to the Hyperbolic Time Chamber

We return to Wati, kitted out the wazoo, do some telescopic surveillance on the pyramid to spot any entrance points, and fly up, invisible, with featherfall potions and magic parasols ready, at high noon. Happily, undead harpies can’t see invisible things. Unfortunately one of the ones guarding the door turns at an inopportune moment and its wing brushes Zenobia. Battle commences! And the harpies variously shatter or drop their weapons. Asrian, as usual, goes through them like a Tomahawk missile through soft butter.

The entrance chamber has a incomplete mural proclaiming that ‘those who gave the gift of uncompromised service to the sky pharaoh are known to him and blessed with BLANK’. And the room is lined to the ceiling with magical traps. Happily we’re smart enough to figure out where the disabling mechanism is, and discover that the BLANK is ‘Death’. Although you do have to wonder why you’d set it up with traps that do double damage to your own minions.

Nemat also deciphers later warning inscriptions too.

Nemat OoC: I’m finally accepting that I’m an archeologist who is exceptionally good at thumping people.
Zenobia OoC: *quietly sings the Indiana Jones theme*

Happily we can still fly over most of the traps, and Nemat also has Tomb Sight. With that, Detect Magic, and Detect Undead, we can avoid nearly everything. Especially once Nemat realises that a lot of the directions inscribed on the walls are deliberately misleading. It also seems that the general might be a woman, despite the voice broadcast over Wati. We sabotage various defences as we go.

Nemat: At least I have a good copy of the fake map to put in the Chronicles. Especially now I know what you get paid for chronicles - highest challenge rating x 100.
Zenobia: A good reason to publish in installments.

Things get weird when one corridor apparently leads into open air. At night. And we’re apparently high over the clouds. But of course Nemat has an orrery and a cosmogram and other astrological instruments in one of his bags of holding, and starts comparing the stars to what they should be. They’re thousands of years out of date. Of course the Pharaoh has his own planetarium.

Onka: Wow, everything in this pyramid really is ‘Me Me Me’ isn’t it?
Nemat: Onka, you HAVE been in pyramids before.

Peanut Gallery: So how thick do you want the doors to be, to stop the PCs using magic to look through everything?
Nemat OoC: No no no, just coat them in gold - a little Dutch filigree and we’re f***ed

GM: The floor turns Ethereal and you fall 10ft.
All: No we don’t.
GM: Godammit, the writers assume you fly up to the pyramid, but half these traps assume you’re walking around when you get there!

The Black Pudding in the pit trap is certainly ravenous, so it’s probably just as well we’re still bobbing around like helium balloons.

Zenobia OoC: Anything we need to know about Black Puddings?
Peanut Gallery: Depends on how well you can pass a Knowledge Check.
Nemat OoC: No no, I am an Inquisitor, I am the God of ‘Wot Dat?’

Nemat casts Dispel Magic on the floor and turns it solid again.

GM: The Black Pudding has been magically sustained for thousands of years, starving, and you just showed yourself as food and then sealed it away again.
Nemat: I’ll try to feel sorry for the mindless blob. But honestly, there are fungi smarter than these things.
Zenobia OoC: Do Not Taunt The Happy Fun Blob.

One of the next rooms looks like some kind of light puzzle, but the room reeks of necromantic magic. We debate resealing the door and pressing on.

Zenobia: There’s no GOOD reason why the room would be full of necromantic energy.

We seal the door and press on.

GM: Adventurers generally investigate this sort of thing.
Nemat: We’re archeologists. Well-armed archeologists, but still.
Onka: We may be the owners of this pyramid soon, stop breaking our stuff.

We find a statue of Hakotep, too. It tries to curse us, and we loot it for the Immovable Rods holding it off the ground.

Zenobia: So this is the face we’re punching later?
Nemat: Maybe. But especially if he starts looking like this again, because then we have to punch him hard and fast.

The statue falls to the floor with a noise and impact no doubt audible throughout the entire pyramid.

Nemat: Well, that IS what’s coming - DOOM.

Another reason to punch the Sky Pharoah in the snoot - a gallery of what are probably real people, turned to stone, and then had their faces ‘corrected’ with the spell Stoneshape. Restoring any of them is going to take some high-end spells. We do find a Rod of Splendor, which among other things can create a magnificent tent pavilion that can house 100 people.

Zenobia to Asrian: Well, I know what we’re doing for our wedding… of course I have to get permission from your parents first. I don’t recommend asking mine.
Onka: If we can even find them.

The next fight is brutal, despite the fact we dealt with the same kind of creatures earlier. Asrian and Nemat both lose fingers, and need emergency Healing from Zenobia to survive. In fact, it was only Onka’s Revenant Armour spell on the partie’s stuff, Zenobia’s Stone Shape, catching the last harpy in a big stone fist, that ensures the party survives at all.

Zenobia: So now we get out swords and knives out, find the gaps between the big stone fingers, and poke poke poke.
Asrian: Make a hole.
Onka: We have that Adamantium auger too. Drill a hole.
Asrian: Why stop drilling?

Onka OoC: XP probably won’t be relevant until we get out of the pyramid. Assuming we get out alive. Which we will because Overland Flight is awesome

We’d still like to take the flying pyramid intact, of course - there’s so much interesting stuff to loot. Such as the tomb of Isatemkhebet, currently occupied by someone inclined to monologue. She certainly doesn’t have the distinctly male voice that threatened the town earlier.

Isatemkhebet: Finally, you have arrived, Covenant of Wati. It would be an honor to add your forms to my gallery, as I did with the Sekpatras so long ago... Your meddling in Hakotep's affairs is over! Kor-Ahn-Tuk, Charge the leader!
Nemat: At least she got our name right.

Unfortunately she has a pet Gorgon. Fortunately, Nemat is already partly stone.

Nemat OoC: *deep inhale* Alreaady stoooooned, maaan.

Hilariously, Isatemkhebet is also the only one that succumbs to the harpy’s song. Unfortunately she's undead so it has no effect.

Isatemkhebet: Not me, you fool!

After we destroy her minions, she tries to take cover inside a sarcophagus. Which is unfortunate for her.

Nemat: As much as I’d like to make an undead feel fear for the first time in centuries, as I slowly chip away through the stone between it and me… Zenobia? Open the way.
Zenobia: *casts Shape Stone*
GM: The lid of the sarcophagus melts away. The general looks rather shocked.
Nemat: B****, we’re the Covenant of Wati.
Zenobia: I could have opened a small hole and started pouring in holy water - I’ve got 25 flasks in the haversack.

Unfortunately she’s a load-bearing boss - when we kill her the pyramid starts falling out of the sky. We scatter to try and find the control room before it crushes half of the town. Just as well we still have Overland Flight running - some of us aren’t very fast on the ground. It’s also very fortunate that Nemat is basically a Combat Archeologist, and can accurately guess where the control room should be. Happily the mechanism seems straightforward enough, and we redirect the fall to somewhere outside town, while we use Onka’s pre-prepared Teleport to get us all the hell out of there before it hits. We watch it plow a giant divot into the onion fields, Nemat wincing as he watches all that invaluable archeology get smashed to pieces.

Onka: It’s ok, we know Make Whole.
Asrian: Yes, just look at the hole we made in the onion fields.

Nemat is even more annoyed by the fact that by the time he can come back to investigate the wreckage properly, it’ll have been looted, and relics and fake relics scattered across half the continent. Onka has his own plan.

Onka: ‘Dear Royal Highness, I apologise for the pyramid illegally parked outside Wati, I’ll be back to deal with it someday. Signed Onka’
Nemat: Oh f*** off, you already have a private dimension, you’re not getting a flying pyramid too.

GM: You have dealt a dire blow to the evil that was Ancient Osirion! *plays Imperial March*
Nemat: Fair call. Humanocentric empire.
Asrian: And they had a Death Star.

GM: And somewhere else one of twelve lights on a magical display blinks out, and a mummified fist slams down on the arm of a throne.
Nemat OoC: Sounds to me like we have 11 more chances to get our own flying pyramid.
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Champions : Return to Edge City : The City-Planning Conspiracy
I missed a session, where the rest of the team responded to a fire in a former maker space, turned data-storage, got into a fight with three Furies who had set the fire apparently because they objected to the Feng Shui of having a non-creative business in that location on the city map, and found clues about further mystical alignment conspiracies, and figured there is probably more of the same to come.

Flux: And I got punted through a window. Or rather a wall.
Hero Shrew OoC: And where was your team brick when you needed him?

GM: Huh - of the twelve business council members, only seven are Caucasian - I didn’t intend that.
Allana: It’s the most unrealistic thing in the setting.

Hero Shrew: Centurion isn’t on the business council, is he?
GM: No. He doesn’t actually have a presence in Edge City.
Hero Shrew: Ah, I was probably misled by the way Gareth keeps muttering about him.

GM provides us with the handles of those Sanity Liberation Front members we encountered the other week.

GM: “TURT-L", "UP-LINE", "C47CH-22", "5463", "6L00M", "FLÛK", "FURY", "H0UND", "CRYP70N1C", "PR4NK573R", "5W4N"
Hero Shrew: … what? How the hell do you pronounce 5463?
Hardlight: Sage.
Hero Shrew: Of course YOU’D know.

Hero Shrew: Do we need to tweak the Crime Computer algorithm to flag possible Feng Shui crimes?

Probably not practical, especially since if we really want to get serious about fighting Feng Shui crimes we’d have to move our own base. And since the school of mysticism doesn’t really use an idea of opposites, we can’t really paint a target around the bigger offenders. Fireflash suggests we consult an expert - and hope that they aren’t actually behind the city planning conspiracy.

Hardlight: Maybe we should go looking for the Mysterious Oriental Shop?
Flux: How much do you like living in this reality? Stay away from Mysterious Shops.

Do we know any experts? No, but we know some supervillains. But Green Dragon is a complete d*** so probably not.

Hardlight OoC: Somebody needs to take Knowledge : Feng Shui.
Hero Shrew OoC: Bags not me.
Hero Shrew: So the best we could get them with is ‘Conspiracy to Commit Arson’
Flux: But then I’d have to get a mystic expert to testify in court.
GM: On the magical side of things you only have to prove that they BELIEVE it works.
Allana: People have done all sorts of stupid stuff in the name of retarded ideas.
Hero Shrew OoC: The difference is that in a superhero setting, sometimes the retarded ideas actually work.

Hardlight: … no, too stupid.
Hero Shrew: *head swivels towards Hardlight, privately thinking ‘Gareth thinks something is TOO STUPID???’* No no, Gareth, tell us what you think.

Fireflash suggests that we lure them out by having Lowelltech build something completely inappropriate for the Feng Shui map, in the worst place possible. Flux continues his research, seeing if there’s a preponderance of Feng Shui-type crimes over the last 15 years, since S-Day. Fireflash looks for any oddities in zoning approval. Together they dig out a very suspicious pattern of burst water mains, and other convenient disasters, including a bizarrely localized rat infestation, that have strengthened the City Planning Conspiracy. They prepare a map.

Allana: All you can see are the pins - all the strings are in AR.
Fireflash: I’d have done it all in virtual reality myself.
Allana: He switched to AR after he started having trouble getting around the room.

The number of likely crimes dropped for a while 16 years ago, then spiked after the death of two early Edge City supers, Harrier and Hawkmoth, and it seems likely they were investigating the conspiracy at the time, based on sightings of the two at the time, and throwdowns with local gangs, and activity by the supervillian-for-hire Bulldozer. The crimes dropped back to a only occasional after that - perhaps the conspiracy only needed minor tweaks to stay on track.

Hero Shrew: Well of COURSE you’d hire Bulldozer if you wanted some buildings knocked down.

It’s not sure if Harrier and Hawkmoth were actually murdered by the City Planning Conspiracy, since they were murdered in their secret identities. While they were in bed. Together.

Hardlight: Why would they be sharing a bed if they were in their secret iden- oh.
GM: Humanity First sent out a very specific message - they did not kill them because they were gay. They were certainly happy to take credit for the kill, but they have nothing against same-sex relationships. Which points them at odds with some of their supporters, true.

Either way, it’s evidence that the conspiracy has been around for at least 5 years before S-Day.

Allana gets a call from her contact, the Silver Avenger.

Silver Avenger: Why is your team asking about Harrier and Hawkmoth?

Silver Avenger: Are you telling me that you’re investigating what got them killed 15 years ago? Because I’m telling you there’s NO way Humanity First figured out their secret identities back then.

Hero Shrew: With all these real estate crimes is this just Scooby-Do writ large? Do we need to pull the face off the monster to see who it really is?
Flux: Generally a bad idea Scooter. Usually what’s underneath is somebody’s skull.
Allana: But if you get a chance to pull the face off the actual Monster, feel free - there’s money riding on whatever is under the mask. My bet is some kind of ghost robot.

Allana: What we need is a psyker - we sit in a cafe near Humanity First’s offices and scan through their brains until we get the info we need.
Hero Shrew OoC: What’s Zero doing these days? If we get him on his day off he’ll be happy to commit a crime.
GM: Ah yes, the super with the flaw ‘Sense of Ethics (only in Super Identity)’. He was HAPPY to abuse his telepathy to get stock tips, but it took him FIVE YEARS to just yank the info he needed out of some thug.
Flux OoC: Supers are weird.
Hero Shrew’s player: Nope, MY CHARACTERS are weird.

Hardlight: I still don’t trust that mechanical owl.
Allana: It’s just a clockwork exoskeleton for a hamster.

There’s also a chronological sequence in the crimes, working clockwise around the Feng Shui map. That might narrow down the next target - somewhere near the Laguna Complex megamall. All the industrial, freight, and warehouse districts down there would make for a complex Feng Shui pattern, but it does it easier for Lowelltech to set up a big juicy target. Assuming the capacitor bank for the nearest windfarm isn’t a big enough target, given it has nothing to do with travel or helpful people which would me more appropriate for the area on mystical grounds.

Regarding a rabbit Moreau -

Hero Shrew: How does she maintain a blood supply to those ears?
Hardlight: *eyes drawn to another part of her anatomy* THAT’s your question? Not ‘How sore is her back?’

A subsequent bovine example is even more eye-catching.

GM: Her poor back.
Hero Shrew: And some genetic engineer was actually responsible for that.

There’s been progress on the Moreau personhood movement, too - partly due to speciesism backfiring.

GM: Some senator objected to granting the Moreaus personhood on the grounds that ‘we don’t know anything about them!’. So Doctor Silverback volunteered to lead an investigation team. The best biologist this side of the law, almost a Moreau himself, and recognised as a person under the Individual Emancipation Act.
Hero Shrew: Let me guess, the senator got all stroppy?
GM: The senator got told to sit down and shut up. By his own party. “Congratulations, you just helped expedite the process.”

Doctor Silverback has already determined that some Moraeus are templates, and others are deliberately designed constructs. With the canines showing a much higher number of deliberate designs than other species. One even has a hero shrew spine to help with his speedster abilities. Of course one human journalist tracks down a construct Moreau and asks him what it feels to know he was made.

Allana: ‘At least my designer was competent’?
Max: I would already be dead by now. Most dogs don't live longer than fifteen years. No real friends or family. No hands. No music. No language. No peanut-butter and chocolate. No CHOCOLATE! No COFFEE!
Allana: Good answer.

Scooter and Allana, and every Steiner that gets tested, is a construct. Although it seems Dr. Steiner overlaid the construct elements over a pre-existing template.

Allana: Made his own modifications to an off-the-shelf model.
GM: Maybe.

And apparently the Genex company has been investigating Laron Syndrome dwarfism to make a race of future spacers.

The speciesists seize on the difference between templates and constructs, because of course they do. ‘You don’t DESIGN people!’.

Senator: Templates might be one thing, they’re practically ordinary animals, but Constructs are clearly MADE!
Allana: So were you - at least I was made by somebody with actual qualifications.

Of course a certain group of ‘wolf-Moreaus’ are refusing testing. The fixer fox ‘Judas’ Mackie that was secretly spying for Genesys is a construct too, as is everyone else with that biochemical dependance on the drugs that kept them leashed to their creators.

Hero Shrew: For some reason I’m more annoyed about being denied personhood because I’m a Construct, than because I’m a Moraeu.

What’s worse is that the difference between template and construct is starting to take root in the Moreau community.

Hardlight: Oh joy, intra-Moreau racism, wonderful.

Even if Constructs aren’t people, what about their kids? Like the son of Judas Mackie, fox construct, and Tinker Kate, fox template?

GM: And Kate’s got some signs of psychic ability.
Hero Shrew: What, in a template?
GM: Yes, psychic abilities aren’t a construct element.
Hero Shrew: Huh.
GM: And it’s not like they were testing for psychic abilities either - but she’s a technopath and was messing with the equipment.

Hero Shrew: At some point we’re going to have to figure out which Moreaus are genetically compatible.
GM: Current consensus is there’s a fun way to find out.
Hardlight: Are you going to volunteer to find out, Scooter?
Hero Shrew: *nod vigorously*
GM: But only if Sally is involved. She’s a template incidentally. As well as a psyker.

And then there’s a third option - Greenhouse Tara is a Mutate - her plant abilities aren’t a template ability, but a novel mutation.

GM: A lot of the rat-Moreaus are refusing testing too.
Allana: They don’t want anybody to find out they’re a hivemind.
Flux: Or that they’re were-rats. You can’t tell me that any creature like that wouldn’t rush to Edge City and the Zoo.
Allana: ‘We have travelled here from the Blasted Hellscapes’ ‘Ah, New Jersey’.

The ECPD has made it abundantly clear that the police presence at the testing facility is for security only - they aren’t going to arrest anybody even if they have warrants out on them. The secret marine community don’t want to come forward either, understandably. That way they don’t have to explain where they came from. Although the Newfoundland-canine does want to know why the hell her breed had webbed toes even before they were Moreaus. The testing of Sandra Polis, a Moreau with the EPCD, might reveal where the hell Genesys got viable Thylacine DNA from.

Hero Shrew: So, how many perps wet themselves whenever Sandra yawns?

One of the Greys from the tunnels under the city does show up, when the building is otherwise mysteriously clear, to ask a few questions and express the Grey communities concerns about whatever the DNA testing might reveal. Are they actually what they believe themselves to be - Moreaus with powerful mental abilities? Allana goes to ask Dr Silverback for a private consultation, and he IS highly regarded by the Moreaus.

Doctor Silverback: Is there something unusual about your anonymous friend?
Allana: …. Welllllllll. If I’d met them on the street I’d never have guessed they were Moreaus.
Doctor Silverback: Intriguing. They appear human?
Allana: … Maybe you should meet them.
Doctor Silverback: AH! Um. I see what you mean. Moreaus?
Allana: They smell like Moreaus to me.
Grey: And we came from the same lab.
Doctor Silverback: Hmm. I was under the impression Genesys only worked from animal templates. *tests* This is puzzling. You have template markers, but I’m only finding human DNA. In fact… oh dear. Human, templated over human. And you say your people all have psychic abilities?

It seems whoever created the Grey template was deliberately reinforcing certain human traits, perhaps pursuing the theory that psychic potential is an inevitable and natural part of humanity’s future.

Doctor Silverback: And you believe the Moreau community will accept the ‘Grays’?
Allana: Welllll … of the Moreaus that have met them, 100% like them.
GM: A bigger question is what the human community will think. ‘This is probably what you’re going to turn into in a few thousand generations.’

And certain groups are going to what the Greys dead even more than they want to exterminate the animal-Moreaus.

Hardlight: We need to spin this… we need to ring The Rep.
Allana: Isn’t The Rep like Hardlight, a Horrible Hole in reality?
Hardlight: Excuse me, I’m a “moth on the fabric of space time”, not a gaping hole, make the distinction!

The Rep promptly starts spinning, framing every aspect of the Grey’s life including the various addictions they have to try and suppress their constant telepathic abilities, in a positive light.

The Rep: You’re like Little Orphan Annie and ALF rolled into one, without the annoying cackle! You’ve got the big forehead and the big eyes, what does that say to you - babies! Just let me get you on screen! As long as you keep me off - wish I’d learned that lesson myself a few years back, amirite?
Flux: He’s a sleaze but he’s our sleaze.

He even models the ad campaign after the Orphan Children In Africa ads, taking advantage of their child-like stature, pot-bellies, and wrinkled skin. He’s that much of a sleazeball, despite being a basically good man.

Lots of the names that the Moreaus’ chose for themselves are based on their professions.

Hero Shrew: So Collar Colin would be just as appropriate in the police force as a sex club.

Of course none of us noticed that Veronica Auberge & Elizabeth "Beth" Tonnelier were Veronica Lodge and Betty Cooper.

At least there aren’t any genetic surprises like terminator genes in Moreau DNA, although there is an increased sensitivity to the long-term fertility suppressing drugs there were given.

Flux: At least Moreau birth control pills will be cheap.

Hero Shrew DOES want to go ask Harrier and Hawkmoth’s associates a few questions, but their secret identities are still legally protected. So it’s back to nightly patrols while we wait for our harassment of Humanity First to pay off. It’s probably not a good sign that Hardlight suddenly feels completely exhausted, to the point of passing out, mid-patrol.

Hardlight: I had too much of a long night last night… *sways on his feet*... I just need to sit down for a bit.
Flux: *after a quick medical check* Huh. You should be fine.
GM: And that’s when the shadow looms over you.
Hardlight: *looks up at the huge ogre with a giant sword* I really hope you’re friendly because I’m not in any state to deal with you right now if you aren’t.
Ogre: YOU ARE THE ONES KNOWN AS QUADRANT.
Flux: Two out of five aren’t bad.
Ogre: YOU FOUGHT THE FURIES.
Flux: Yessss?
Ogre: TELL ME WHO HIRED THEM.
Hardlight: I don’t think I was there for that fight. Flux?
Flux: I was against letting them go, but got outvoted.
Ogre: DO NOT LIE TO ME INSIGNIFICANT WORM! YOU WOULD NOT HAVE LET THEM GO IF THEY HAD NOT REVEALED THEIR EMPLOYER!
Hardlight: OK fine, it was a superhero named Centurion.
Flux: I’m pretty sure your code of ethics included ‘don’t be a dick’. Throwing another superhero under the bus counts.
Ogre: I AM Xiǎo Lǎbā AND YOU WILL TELL ME OR I WILL RIP OUT YOUR ENTRAILS THROUGH YOUR MOUTH AND READ THE TRUTH IN THEM!
Hardlight: OK, OK, do you have a Freeweb device? I’ll Airdrop you our recording of the fight.
Xiǎo Lǎbā: … Webbing? Are you trying to confuse Xiǎo Lǎbā?
Flux: It was probably on the news, you can see us get punted through a wall.
Xiǎo Lǎbā: … they made a woodcut?

Xiǎo Lǎbā: YOU WOULD NOT HAVE LET THEM GO IF THEY DID NOT TELL YOU WHAT YOU WANTED TO KNOW.
Flux: Or we didn’t know they could teleport you giant dingus.
Xiǎo Lǎbā: YOUR MEWLING OFFENDS ME BUT NOT AS MUCH AS YOUR INCOMPETENCE.
Hero Shrew OoC: Well, he’s not alone there.
Flux: Look, just watch this magic lantern show and you’ll see our incompetence on display.
Xiǎo Lǎbā: HA THAT WOMAN KICKS HIM BETWEEN THE LEGS, I LIKE HER.

For some reason the Ogre keeps looking over his shoulder. Fireflash is inbound, at top speed, and overshoots the city.

Hero Shrew OoC: God knows how the UK copes with superheroes, given how busy their airspace is.
GM: They don’t have many supers.
Hero Shrew OoC: Just as well. Can you imagine how many would get sucked into jet engines?

Hardlight is quietly scanning the ogre with N-rays, infra-red, and sonar. He’s not getting any pings, on any sensors.

Flux: That’s awesome armour - where did you get it?
Xiǎo Lǎbā: IN HONOURABLE BATTLE!

Allana arrives. Xiǎo Lǎbā is immune to her two charms.

Allana: The Furies were working for somebody that wants to set up the city as a Bagwa map.
Xiǎo Lǎbā: THERE’S ANOTHER? I, UH, MEAN *coughs in clumsy attempt at concealing the facts*
Allana: Yes.
Xiǎo Lǎbā: *apparently forgetting he was here to get information, not give it* BUT IT WAS SO CLUMSILY DONE! THE DESTRUCTION SOURED THE QI IN THE AREA! DAMN THE MEWLING INCOMPETENCE OF MORTALS!

Allana: We want to know as well - were they the only ones they hired? Were there other crimes?
Xiǎo Lǎbā: BLAST IT ALL!

Fireflash arrives:

Xiǎo Lǎbā: BAH, LIGHT! YOU WERE THE ONE I WISHED TO MEET THE LEAST! SO... REPUGNANT!
Fireflash: ...Lovely. Who’s Mister Charming?
Flux OoC: Do any of us have any social skills?
GM: Only the one still trying to get here.
Hero Shrew OoC: Yep :)

Flux: We are standing around on a street corner here. Do you want some coffee?
Xiǎo Lǎbā: … I must decline your kind offer.
Flux: Oh? Any reason?
Xiǎo Lǎbā: … I MUST DECLINE YOUR KIND OFFER.

Xiǎo Lǎbā: WHICH WOULD YOUR CITY SEND AGAINST ME!
Fireflash: Well, the police for a start.
Xiǎo Lǎbā: *suddenly looking worried* Police? Duly bonded forces of the law? Empowered by the magistrates?
Fireflash: Well, we’re empowered by the courts too.
GM: Now he looks alarmed.
Xiǎo Lǎbā: Please tell me if I have contravened any of your laws!
Fireflash: Well you might have to have that sword in a sheath.
Xiǎo Lǎbā: Surely you are jesting.

For some reason this ogre is really uncomfortable around Fireflash, does not want to accept any gifts from us, and is very keen on not actually breaking any laws. At least if he’s not brandishing the sword, he’s not violating weapon statutes. And if he gets some of the silver he’s carrying into local currency he can’t be arrested on vagrancy charges either.

Fireflash: Well, we’ll get your silver assayed. Shouldn’t take long.

Accomodation at the Collar Club IS a possibility, but he’d be paying by the hour. As he follows us to the hotel, he apparently forgets himself and walks right through a telegraph pole.

Flux: In this city we respect the laws of physics.
Allana: THE F*** WE DO.
GM: Hands up everybody who’s violating causality right now.

Hardlight: You’re clearly not of this world.
Xiǎo Lǎbā: I AM MORE OF THIS WORLD THAN YOU ARE!
Fireflash: That might actually be true.

He has trouble with the colours of traffic lights too, which is odd, since he can criticise fashion choices freely. Flux is getting a better idea on what this guy actually is. He’s a Chinese Infernal, a being of pure negative Qi.

Hardlight: Siri? Give me everything you have on the Celestial Bureaucracy.

He’s probably get a better answer asking Centurion’s personal AI, but like that would ever happen. Hero Shrew eventually reaches the area, doubles back after the party, and is visible coming down the street with a big grin, until he sees that there isn’t a fight happening and slows to a disappointed crawl.

Flux: Probably hoping one will start before he gets here.

Hardlight: I was just surprised my irrational fear of unnatural darkness wasn’t triggered.
GM: It wasn’t unnatural - it was a ten-foot-tall ogre with a great big sword looming over you.
Hero Shrew OoC: Which is an entirely rational thing to be afraid of.

But on the way to the Zoo, we have to go through Chinatown.

GM: Well THAT’S going to be fun - you see a whole of people take one look at who you are with and go inside in a hurry.

The only person that doesn’t get out of the way is Tabytha, the tiger-Moreau that won the martial arts contest.

Tabytha: Why are you with THAT?

Tabytha: You don’t know what he is, do you?
Hero Shrew: Well I was hoping it would be somebody I could fight, but apparently not.
Tabytha: … Why AREN’T you fighting?
Xiǎo Lǎbā: *looks uncomfortable, shuffling his feet*
Fireflash: He didn’t start anything.
Hero Shrew: By the time I got there they’d already offered him coffee.
Tabytha: *starting to grin* You’re not allowed to fight anybody unless they fight you first, aren’t you?

He also has to follow the local laws, especially since we have court-appointed powers, and he can’t directly lie.

Tabytha: *sigh* Well, as long as he’s only staying in the Zoo temporarily. I’ll show you a back way through Chinatown so you don’t stir up too much trouble.
Hero Shrew: Well, I’M happy to follow her through town *leers*
Flux: *sigh* Congratulations on the tournament win by the way.
Tabytha: Whatever. The money didn’t go very far.
Flux: It never does.

At least we can find out which City Planning Crimes aren’t being organised by his lot, hopefully, although he seems to be under some kind of geas not to tell us too much. And for some reason anybody in the Zoo that can speak Chinese is sniggering at the demon’s name, which means ‘Little Horn’. Which is admittedly more amusing than trying to explain credit finance to an elemental.

Hero Shrew: You’re from China, aren’t you? Would you be interested in some junk bonds?
Allana: Every member of Quadrant but me is now banned from speaking.

Well, at least we know there’s TWO groups trying to mess with the Feng Shui of Edge City.

Hardlight: How do you even hire mercenaries anyway?
Hero Shrew: Craigslist.

Whatever is going on, we need to find out who hired the Furies. Difficult, since they operate out of Greece.

GM: Whatever happens you’ll need a licence to transport livestock.
Hero Shrew: Hey!
Flux: Well you should shower more.
Hero Shrew: *mutters* so should Allana, you know what I could get for a shower video?

Or we could wait until they show up somewhere in the world and go after them. Or even better, hire them to go somewhere we could ambush them.
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After a small-time (but vicious) bureaucratic villain got away scot-free during the course of our latest escapade, we met with the NPC that hired us to investigate said fiend.

 

NPC: *still upset, but steadily beginning to cool down* "Merrius will get his due. Every rope has an end."

Me: "Comforting words. Your own?"
NPC: "My father's."
Me: "He must have been a wise man."

NPC: *takes a measured sip of his drink* "He was a hang man."
Me: *takes a swig of ale with nonchalance plastered on my features* "Doubly wise, then."

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  • 2 weeks later...
Champions : Return to Edge City : Salvage Rites
GM: Facing is important in this game. That’s the advantage of this standee - it has an ass.

Hero Shrew: We’d better give the concierge the heads up.
GM: Con.. see.. Urge?
Flux: There’s a guy behind a barred window with a ringful of keys hanging next to him.
Hero Shrew: Well, anyway, this guy isn’t a Moreau, he’s a demon, don’t pick a fight with him, because if anybody does no-one can prove it was our fault.
GM: Half of Chinatown saw you walk the guy into the Zoo.

Fireflash: This whole situation is very close to ‘not our problem’
Hero Shrew: It would still be funny to see if the mercenaries try to fight the demon.

But she does have a point - we COULD just leave the demon to find the mercenaries by himself - why get involved?

Hero Shrew: I thought ‘too much responsibility’ was a universal problem in superheroes.

Maybe we should just leave him in the hotel room with a tablet and a wifi connection, and a quick primer on how Google works. It’s not like crime in Edge City takes a day off just because we’re busy. The Quadrant Crime Computer sends us a ping, regarding the city library in Old Downtown. It’s picked up social media queries from a known Humanity First member. Of course this happens at the same time Hardlight is at a board meeting about the ongoing diversification of Lowelltech interests. Apparently he’s looking up details on Dr .Siegfried Qual, Dr. Otto Clausenhausen, the “Dreadnaught" armour used in multiple destructive criminal rampages over the years since WWII, and something called the ÜBERSCHWERER KAMPFSCHREITPANZER, which doesn’t sound encouraging. Especially since it was colloquially known as ‘Thor’s Hammer’.

Flux: *sigh* It’s always Nazis.

He’s also looking up something about a particular storm off the Californian coastline in 1946, and a particular location.

GM: Qual and Clausenhausen vanished at the end of the War.
Fireflash: Impromptu trip to South America?

Flux and Scooter hurry to the library.

Flux: It’s a library, so shush.
Hero Shrew: Be wery wery qwiet, I’m hunting Nazis.

We spot the Humanity First member leaving the library, and tail him.

GM: He goes into a Dennys.
Hero Shrew: Well clearly he’s corrupt to the core.

Hero Shrew heads in as well, and gets himself a takeaway lunch.

Hero Shrew: Entirely in character as well, since I’m corrupt to the core too. But why in hell is their Star War- themed meal with two fried eggs called Two Moons instead of Twin Suns?

We continue tailing him, although it seems to be a dead-end lead.

Hero Shrew: He hasn’t done anything illegal yet, but he’s a Neo-Nazi so it’s only a matter of time.

Fireflash taks advantage of a nice bright sunny day to stop anybody looking up, while she investigates that location offshore, where something dodgy is going on. It almost certainly violates the international Marine Salvage Convention, even if they don’t have anything specific about vintage machine gun turrets being hoisted onto barges.

Hardlight’s Player: *types in "Rules about Salvaging nazi objects" into google... mashes delete before he hits enter*

Fireflash is happily aware that US federal criminal law considers machine guns a restricted item (in fact it considers them weapons of mass destruction) and that’s more than enough excuse to stick her nose in.

Fireflash: Did you know you’ll need a permit to bring that thing in to shore?
Salvagers: Um, no? Thanks for letting us know. Get on the radio, tell them we need a permit.
Fireflash OoC: What they don’t know and I do is that permits pertaining to machine guns take at least 30 days to come through.

We COULD ask those marine Moreaus to investigate, but only Allana knows about them.

The salvage crew agree to meet up with the Coast Guard on their way in, and hand over the machine guns. That doesn’t explain where they’re finding all these machine guns. And flak cannons. And what is almost certainly the Überschwerer Kampfschreitpanzer, in very good condition.

Fireflash: What on EARTH is that doing on THIS coast? How did you find it?
Salvagers: Good old human ingenuity, freak.

Well, that certainly confirms that they’re scum. Fireflash lets them putter off towards shore, and dives down to see what they were salvaging. They probably didn’t expect a fire-themed superhero could fly underwater, but her powers are actually light-based. They probably also won’t appreciate that the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has been warned they’re coming. And the Coast Guard are probably going to want to know the location of a Nazi wreck with an unknown amount of unexploded ordance on board. Unfortunately it looks like whoever is handling things on shore for them is very efficient - Customs are taking an interest, of course, but they already have a buyer lined up, and all their bills of lading are in order. Perfect order.

For some reason someone is shining a laser pointer into Fireflash’s eyes. It isn’t hurting her, or even dazzling her, but it is annoying. It’s Hank Flitch, the leader of Humanity First. He’s trying to get Fireflash’s attention, and nodding towards an alcove, and gesturing to the rear of a pillar. Fireflash strolls over later, and retrieves a folded up piece of paper. It says ‘Lake Park, North Lake’ and a time. Presumably today.

Hero Shrew: You want us to stop following this guy?
Flux: Please say yes, Denny’s is starting to look appetising.

We meet up

Flitch: Miss Helstrom. I really hate having to reach out to you like this. This whole salvage thing? The first I heard about it was when the news hit the news.
Fireflash: But you’re in charge of Humanity First.
Flitch: Nah, I’m just a political activist. This has Lang all over it.

Martin Lang is his 2IC, with a known skill in Urban Combat Armour, which is worrying given the likely purpose of the Überschwerer Kampfschreitpanzer. Apparently there was something ELSE in the wreck, something so beyond the pale that even Flitch never wanted to see it used. So we’d better get back to the wreck before Lang and the others do. Just as well we’ve got that Quadraphibious Qruiser, and Flitch gave us the rough coordinates of the wreck.

Our vehicle moves about the depths, peering about with our various senses, until something looms out of the dark. Something with a disk-shaped body, three jointed legs, and metallic tendrils.

Hardlight OoC: Ull-laaaaaaa.

(at this point, between sessions, Allana’s player had a catastrophic hard drive failure, and recreating Allana from scratch would have been a major pain - so he’s introducing a new character, while the Bat-Moreau focuses her attention on her clinic. On the other hand, he also found out some details of international salvage law, which means those Humanity First guys who were looting the wreck don’t have a leg to stand on, since the wreck is clearly still the property of Germany, and the Maritime Courts have absolutely no sense of humour.)

A few weeks after we uncovered the plan, we find out what it is they were actually bringing to the surface - the new PC introduces himself to Fireflash as the Magus, and a scholar of the history of the world. It’s useful information, since it’s not like any of us would have realised it was a Martian Tripod Black Smoke Generator that was stolen.

Magus: I’ll be around this part of California for at least the next few weeks, and I’d rather not die.

Fireflash nips into the Ladies to switch into her other identity,

GM: Most superheroines put on LESS clothing when they change into their superheroic identities.

Hardlight: My first impression is ‘Who’s this douchebag?’
GM: Don’t worry, I’m sure he has the same impression of you.
Hardlight: He’s wearing eyeliner. And he looks like he escaped from a Harry Dresden novel.
Magus OoC: … that’s not entirely inaccurate.

Fireflash: This is Mr. Magus.
Magus: *sigh* that’s going to be my name from now on, isn’t it? Anyway, I understand you were involved in the recent salvage situation?
Hero Shrew: Well, it was mostly Fireflash. And funnily enough the leader of Humanity First warned us about it, afterwards.
Flux: Scooter, you are SO BAD at keeping secrets.
Hero Shrew: Yes, yes I am.

Hardlight: How did the Germans even get their hands on a Martian Tripod?
Hero Shrew: Probably one of the ones in the English Channel that the Thunderchild took out.

(although in the Champions Universe the ‘Martians’ attacked New Jersey in the 1930s, so they’re evidently going with the Orson Welles timeline - we chose to push it back to the 1890s)

At least Black Smoke can be neutralised by water, or steam. Unfortunately, we’re heading into a Californian summer. We should probably let the authorities know that the racists have a chemical weapon that can kill everybody in the Zoo.

Allana/Magus’s Player: Allana has been gone for an hour and we’re about to have the biggest Gang War in US history. ‘I piss further because I stand on the shoulders of giants’

We decide to tell the Moreau council that they have to make sure that every sprinkler in the Zoo is in working order.

Magus/Allana’s Player: After all the Furies DID burn down a building last week :)

GM: I think I need to go Vape. Hardlight just had the beginnings of a good idea.

Fireflash: I’ve had enough of these people - we know where Humanity First meets, let’s go give them a lesson in realpolitik.

Of course, if they think they’re about to be caught, they might very well set off the projector wherever they are. At least we can use the Law of Contagion, so the Magus or Flux can use the tripod wreckage to locate the black smoke generator.

Hero Shrew: So, how much do you want ME to tell the Moreau council about the threat, since I can’t keep a secret?
Hardlight: Ah… oof.

Moreau Council: Scooter, Hardlight, what all this about?
Hero Shrew: You know how we were looking into that warehouse fire the other week? Yeah - Hardlight can tell you the rest.
Hardlight: Ha haha. Right. Um. Yeah. Well, it looks like Humanity First hired the Furies? And they might be planning further attacks?
Allana: *facepalm*

Simon: I was thinking Misters over the Agora would be a good idea - for the heat?
Hero Shrew: *NOD NOD NOD*

Allana: You’re all sensible people, we thought we should give you a heads-up.
Hardlight: Thankyou, Allana.
Flux: Will will miss you, Clue Bat.

Shadehanger Jackson: Well, we were planning a fire readiness programme, since we’re going into the hotter months, and arson attacks were always a possibility - I wasn’t expecting an organised one though.
Hero Shrew: *sotto voice* Yeah, let’s go with that.

Out at sea in the Quadraphibious Qruiser, the Magus is waving an iron swastika around on a chain, to better locate the Nazi ship and its Martian cargo.

Magus: Like calls to like.
Flux: Damn, why didn’t I think of that.
Magus: One of the most important things to learn about magic.
Flux: After ‘which way round the warding goes’
GM: And the difference between Fireball and Soccer Ball, and why you shouldn’t kick the former.

At least there doesn’t seem to be anything else hysterically dangerous on the wreck.

GM: Depends what you count as hysterically dangerous.

Unfortunately it looks like the Magus was right about what might have been on the ship before it sank - Walking Armour, for example. At least the Nazis didn’t have any nuclear weapons on board (we don’t have the spare XP to spend on radiation-induced character rewrites for one thing). Unfortunately we can’t just push the wreck into the Monterey Submarine Canyon and forget about it, so the whole salvage situation has just become more complicated.

US Navy Salvage Unit: You’re telling me you’ve found a whole ship full of Nazi Wunderwaffen?
Fireflash: Hopefully that'll light a fire under them.
Hero Shrew: Hopefully not literally, given all the unexploded ordnance.

The spell to locate the Black Smoke Projector should work really well, and it’s not something that Humanity First can prevent, even if they assume that ‘magic’ is just a delusion utilised by some supers. And the Magus can probably call down a 20 minute rainstorm, just in case they do set off the Black Smoke Projector.

GM: uHHHHN, why did you guys suddenly have to start being competent.

Admittedly the Magus doesn’t seem to be very impressed with Flux’s brand of magic - technomancy apparently ranks somewhere down near hedge wizardry.
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Pathfinder : The Mummy's Mask : Wedding Plans
We've brought down one of the Forgotten Pharoah's flying pyramids, onto the fields outside Wati - a much better option than bringing it down on the city.

GM: Wati is safe - for now.
Onka: Unless you built your house just there.
Nemat OoC: ‘my cabbages!'

Asrian: Zenobia wants to meet my parents, and I do want to make sure my family are OK.
Zenobia: And that’s something that makes me much more nervous than assaulting the giant floating pyramid. I have NO IDEA what to do when asking for somebody’s hand in marriage.

Onka OoC: It’s like an anime, it writes itself.
Asrian OoC: At least it’s not a harem anime.

Zenobia OoC: I mean when David asked for somebody’s hand in marriage he got sent out to collect 200 Philistine foreskins. Gnolls don’t do that - we wouldn’t let the rest of the meat go to waste.

Zenobia: Is there some kind of traditional gift I should take? I have no idea! … I NEED TO BATHE.
Nemat: Yes, yes you do. Here’s some scented soaps and oils. And rub this into your fur when you get out. I’ve had this bundle waiting to go for months.
Zenobia: Squee!

Happily there’s some nice loot that Zenobia can offer as a greeting gift, and after that, to Asrian’s parent for her hand in marriage - a polished darkwood chalice and a silver egg with an encircling dragon. Valuable, and symbolically appropriate too. And a platinum comb, but Zenobia’s holding onto that for later. There’s also that Rod of Splendour, which also enhances Charisma, but Asrian already has a Charisma enhancer.

Zenobia OoC: And if Asrian came in carrying both, I’d probably lose the power of speech.

At least Asrian’s large family don’t throw Zenobia out of the house - in fact if anything they seem more surprised that Asrian is marrying another woman, than marrying a gnoll. But either way, any plans for setting the marriage date will have to wait until after we’ve dealt with the returned Pharoah. That doesn’t stop Zenobia looking at potential homes to buy.

Of course we all do a stint at our respective temples. Nemat’s god Wadjet might not be much worshipped in Osiron these days, but there was a small shrine to Wadjet built on the location of the town’s founding, and various city rituals consider the site significant. Nemat has an eye on Ubet’s Folly, a ruined fortress modelled after a sphinx, as a future rebuilding project.

But at least we know where we’re going now, and haven’t offended any of the various temples before we head up river - the Slave Trenches are probably defended, but we’ve killed so many of the Sky Pharoah’s cultists that his intelligence-gathering network is probably in ruins. On the other hand, there's also some 17sq.miles. of slave trenches to search. Happily we’ve got those Immovable Rods to use as a ladder in thin air, so we can get up high enough to study the layout, or at least compare to what we get on the Automatic Cartographer. The trenches spell out, depending on whether you read them from east to west or otherwise, “The Sun And Sky Are Bound To The Stones Below” and “Let Earth Call Down And Bind The Sky”. A useful hint as to which parts we activate first, assuming the other objects we might need are actually around here.

There’s also an Ominous Hum. Also oversized earth elementals. Hopefully its gemstone eyes weren’t something we needed, because Zenobia Banishes it to its home plane. And various entrances to buried temples, and so on, so it looks like there will be some dungeon crawling on top of the open-air combat archeology.

We’re using Gnoll as our battle-cant, since we can all speak it.

Nemat: And it will disconcert our enemies to see a mostly human party attacking while talking in yips and growls.

Asrian doesn’t know as many languages as her fiancé..

Zenobia OoC: So I’m the cunning linguist? *wagging long gnoll tongue*
Asrian: *grin* oh, absolutely.

We also find what appears to be a particle accelerator, but standing in the middle of the barrel is probably a bad idea since we’re not playing Marvel Superheroes.

Nemat’s Player: Or Champions, with 30 unspent XP.

One major fight we avoid because of your average adventurer’s resemblance to a magpie, and tendency to grab anything shiny. At least the unworked tunnels are illuminated by glowing lichen, although we probably shouldn’t eat it.

Asrian: It’s put there by the gods, to help adventurers that didn’t bring enough lanterns.
Zenobia: That or phosphorescent crystals, or mysterious sourceless glows, that sort of thing.

Of course lichen that is both glowing AND writhing is even more unappetising. Especially combined with laughing coming from the walls. We have a major problem - a haunt-controlling undead that has just hit us with panic, compulsion, and blinding attacks. Asrian, for example, seems determined to eat the lichen.

Zenobia OoC: I could make a very off-colour joke here but I won’t.

But at least we survived it, without gouging out our own eyeballs or eating random bush. And now knowing the kind of thing we have to deal with down here, Nemat figures out a way to get past them.

Nemat: Asrian, put your hand on Zenobia’s shoulder.
Asrian: Does it have to be her shoulder?
Nemat: I’d prefer you to be able to concentrate on keeping your eyes closed.

Of course, creepy kid voices saying “Oh, so that’s the pharaoh’s form these days.” and “He might actually survive the test.” is even more ominous. Especially when they follow it up with a permanently blinding attack on the entire party. Happily, whatever these things are, they’re not immune to being turned into bunny rabbits. Unfortunately they’re still bunnies with laser beams.

Zenobia: Bunnies with frickin’ lasers is not how I wanted to die!
Onka: I’ll be sure to put that on your tombstone, if I survive the next two minutes.

Tragically, it looks like we’re going to have to make a tombstone for Nemat, because Zenobia is too bady stunned to stop him from dying from his injuries, and he is in a really, really bad way.

Zenobia: He can’t die! He was coming to our wedding!

At least Onka discovered that if he closes all the portholes on his mecha suit, he’s protected from these creature’s searing light. And they are both vulnerable to Phantasmal Web.

Creepy Children: Well, this new form of the Pharaoh is quite powerful - and despite everything we threw at him he actually protected some of his friends!
Nemat: I. Still. Fight!
Creepy Children: His powerful companions.

And then the illusions on the room drop.

Nemat OoC: Are you ****ing kidding me.
GM: I did say it was a trial.
Asrian: At least the bunny bleeds out from the wounds I hit it with.

We’re probably EXTREMELY lucky that they mistook one of us for the Pharaoh, or they would have finished us off instead of ending the test and buggering off where-ever they came from.

We do hit a slight roadblock, after resting and patching each other up - there’s a set of token here that might be some kind of communication device, or possibly summon a giant carnivorous bird into a small room. Nobody is eager to find out which. At least one of the tokens turns out to be the former, and the person at the other end is apparently somewhere else in the Slave Trenches, bored, and excited that somebody is in contact with him.

Tef-Naju: Who is this? How did you get this number? And what are you doing that close to the second Sphere of Activation?
Nemat: I am here to serve the Pharaoh Khemet III.
Tef-Naju: Ah, so that is who rules Osirion in this century.

Asrian: I assume you’re a servant of the Sky Pharaoh?
Tef-Naju: Not by choice.

Tef-Naju has apparently been bound to protect the Slave Trenches until the Sky Pharoah won his war with the Shory. Since that war never really reached a proper climax, he’s been stuck here for thousands of years. He is quite interested in a loophole Asrian suggests, which would certainly end the war, and probably leave an even bigger crater than the one now outside Wati.

Tef-Naju: Wait there, I’m coming over.

Tef-Naju: Well, you’re a varied lot.
Nemat: Yes, but we’re all archeologists.
Tef-Naju: One of you is a gnoll.
Nemat: Your point?
Zenobia: I’m mostly the expedition medic.
Tef-Naju: Hmm. *peers suspiciously at the mask Onka is wearing* Why do I feel like I’m in the presence of my boss?
Nemat: Because you are.
Onka: Technically.
Nemat: The mask contains one aspect of Hakotep’s spirit. So technically, whatever we do with the Slave Trenches, it’ll be the Sky Pharoah doing it.
Asrian: Everybody wins!
Onka: Except the Sky Pharoah. He’s going to be pissed.
Asrian: Yeah, but he doesn’t deserve to win.

Tef-Naju is happy to give us a guided tour of the place, and warn us about some of the nastier traps. After all, he can always claim he was giving his boss a project update. He can’t tell us whose bright idea it was to mummify and animate an adult Spinosaurus, or who told his boss that a Roc would be a good pet. He CAN tell us some of the stuff that Nemat hadn’t already figured out about activating the Slave Trenches, and yanking the Sky Pharaoh’s pyramid out of the sky.

We do come across a Stone Maiden as we're traversing the miles of trenches.

Zenobia: A girlfriend for you, Nemat.
Nemat: No, that’s Tef-Naju’s GF.
Zenobia: Love triangle!

GM: You have a pleasant evening, because you’re not ****ing murder-hoboes.

It’s at this point that Tef-Naju explains that we haven’t actually activated all the mystic statues we’ve been locating yet, so we have to do a lot of backtracking in the morning.

Nemet’s player: If it wasn’t for the fact he could kill us all with a wave of his hand, I’d reach across and slap him.
GM: Are you talking to Tef-Naju or me?

It certainly helps that we have Onka in the party, who makes constructs and poppets with some regularity, because some of the constructs wandering around are nicely vulnerable to his Control Construct spell.

Onka: Is its creator around? Because if they are I have questions.

We do find a workshop for making soul-bound constructs, and the surprisingly easy instructions for making them. We stash most of them in Onka’s private workshop dimension.

Nemat: Well worth doing if you want an army of them.
Zenobia: Is that really something we want to publicise?
Nemat: What?
Zenobia: So you’re not going to include the process when you write up this expedition?
Onka: Oh, no, we’re not going to publicise the process.
Nemat: We’re just going to report that we found it.

Nemat: That is clearly a tomb-robber trap.
Zenobia: And we’re not tomb-robbers, we’re archeologists.

We also find a bunch of preserved centipede things, they are apparently supposed to be swallowed for knowledge.

GM: When you open the jar the thing immediately springs to life and starts crawling up your arm towards your mouth.
Zenobia: May I take this opportunity to register my reservations about this?
Asrian: I’m surprised you’re the one with reservations.
Zenobia: There are a LOT of things about my old diet that I regret, dear.

The one that Nemat swallows apparently does nothing but puncture his throat-lining and dissolve into goo.

Nemat: I think that one had gone off.

He tries a few more, with mixed results.

Zenobia: Well, I’m relieved - I was half-expecting you to be possessed by the personality of the original donor.

Nemat: Are you sure you don’t want to try one of these, Zenobia?
Onka: ‘Slimy, but satisfying’

In the next room we find out what the centipedes grow into. It is not a pleasant discovery. The defences in the control room aren’t particularly pleasant either, but at least we can disable them before we start pushing buttons.

In theory.

At least Zenobia’s Searing Ray is quite effective.

Zenobia OoC: Gnolls with frickin’ laser beams.
Onka: I’m chargin’ mah lazer!
GM: SHOOP DA WHOOP

GM: You and Asrian are a good team.
Zenobia: I’m aware :)

But we should be able to call the pyramid down now. At something approaching escape velocity, in the middle of the desert, would be nice, but it seems likely it will want to return to the launch pad just west of the Slave Trenches, and that kind of impact is nothing we would want to be near, since the crater alone would be 5km across, and 500m deep.
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  • 4 weeks later...
Pathfinder : The Mummy's Mask : The Scent Of Burning Feathers
Nemat’s Player: Apparently we’ve missed a lot of stuff in this campaign because we actually talk to people. And aren’t psychopaths.
Onka’s Player: It’s like we actually get paid to do our job - archeology.
Zenobia’s Player: Although I don’t think we’ll be returning some of this stuff to the people that made them - under any circumstances.

On the way to the final activation point, we nearly have a major dust-up between a Phoenix, a Roc, and a Sphinx land on top of us. A feather-dust-up, as it were.

Nemat: Onka? Fireball that.

It’s a good idea - it’s not like the Phoenix will be hurt by the fire and it’s clearly outnumbered by the other two monsters. Zenobia has a few helpful spells along that line too - it’s so helpful when divine destruction can make moral judgements on your behalf. Before long the Phoenix is actually intervening on the Sphinx’s behalf before we finish it off.

Nemat to the Sphinx: Are you going to be a problem?
Sphinx: *feeble squawk*

Onka is heading over to the roast Roc.

Onka: I don’t think we have a big enough bag for this.

Actually, after he clambers all over the corpse, and marinades it with Unguent of Timelessness, he actually manages to stuff the entire thing into a Bag of Holding.

Onka: It belongs in a museum.
Zenobia: We’ll have it stuffed.
Nemat: Hire some taxidermists. Emphasis on the plural.

The Sphinx recoils from the Phoenix’s healing touch, hisses ”Our deal is finished - we are EVEN” and flaps off back to its clock.

The Phoenix had come to investigate why the magic around the Slave Trench had suddenly lit up like Las Vegas.

Nemat: Oh, that’s just us - we’re about to crash a pyramid here. At least, I think it’s going to be here. Onka, before we flip the final switch we’d better check that. If you’ve read any of the accounts of the Fall of the Shory you have to think about these kinds of things. Some of those mountain ranges over there didn’t exist before then.

The Roc was upset by the Slave Trenches activating, and the Sphinx was just a dick.

Tef-Naju and the Phoenix can’t help us in the next section - the latter won’t fit, and the former has been barred from ever entering the area. Onka can’t even get his mecha-suit in. We’re on our own from here. And some of the traps are very cunning indeed.
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Champions : Return To Edge City : Scooter vs. The Human Pretzel
A warning in advance - events in this episode have been planned months in advance, and it's total coincidence that they happened the same week that the protests kicked off in the States. The parallels certainly upset some of the players, but were not intentional.

The Magus has used a spell to locate the salvaged Black Smoke Projector, and tracked it to Bayside Industrial, an area of Edge City that boomed before the whole ‘fusion reactor went BOOM’ situation on S-Day, and now has lots of derelict chemical storage facilities and abandoned warehouses.

Hero Shrew: Well, just as long as it isn’t Axis Chemicals.

Hero Shrew is quite pleased, since he’ll probably get to punch somebody, something he hasn’t had a chance to do in months. Better yet, they’re Humanity First, planning a terror attack with chemical weapons, so he can hit them as hard as he likes and still have the moral high ground. Grabbing them by the heads and introducing them to the concept of autocolonoscopy might be going a bit far, though.

GM: Just don’t punch them into the chemical weapon.
Flux’s Player: They might have 30 character points to spend and come back as a supervillain.

On the other hand, at least Scooter is forward-thinking enough today to ask how long fire sprinklers actually run for, once they’re set off. And most of them are mechanically triggered, so Flux can’t set them off with his hacking magic. Worse, since it’s a chemical warehouse it’s entirely possible the fire suppression isn’t even water based, which will be no help at all if the Black Smoke Generator goes off.

Watching the building lets us see that they have guards patrolling, and that their patrol patterns are annoyingly competent. Not that it matters much, since some of us can fly while invisible, and Scooter can tunnel through solid concrete. Complicated plans are made to synchronise and navigate the prongs of the attack.

Magus: Alternatively, I can teleport us all in.
All: *turn to look at him*
Hardlight: You can do that???
Magus: I was waiting for that >:)

On the other hand, the tracking spell is telling us that the Black Smoke Generator is somehow filling the entire chemical production facility. Which is EXTREMELY worrying, since it implies they’re making the stuff. We should probably tell the police to turn up with full breathing apparatus, or better yet stay well back and send in firefighters with same, and all hoses going. Since the building was used for making industrial spray-painting equipment and paint, we’d better make sure to avoid anybody carrying some kind of backpack or pushcart compressor.

Unfortunately Hardlight IS injured by the Magus’ teleport, since he’s susceptible to unnatural darkness, and he lost his connection to the crystal that gives him his powers. Nonetheless, the mook we appear next to is about to have a Very Bad Day.

Hero Shrew: Let’s hope that employment by Humanity First offers good Dental.

It looks like Humanity First have at least one supermerc on the books, and a number of early-model powersuits with in-built threat analysis. That might be a problem, if punching them through walls as soon as we see them doesn’t work.

Breaker: Oh ****! *goes for his guns*
Flux: Right, targeting him - Always go for the talkie ones first.

The Magus drops his target into an illusionary Hero Trip, where us superhuman freaks just can’t hit him. That should keep him busy, even though the powersuited guy had some kind of unexpected mental defence. Quite a surprise in somebody that should just be an armoured mook. Evidently Humanity First went to the trouble of giving these guys special training, but they have been planning to fight metahumans for decades. Which probably explains how a basic unarmoured mook manages to put Scooter on the ground, even though the Moreau was rushing forward at full speed with the intent of knocking his head off.

The powersuits also have flight capability.

GM: And probably flamethrowers.
Magus OoC: Next to the swastika ninja-stars.

GM: Mook 3 is going to have bragging rights in prison, since it took two of the supers to take him down. Unfortunately it wasn’t Fireflash and Nocturne.

Or more likely won’t survive to boast, because Hero Shrew has no particular inclination to hold back, and his forcefield fails to activate both times.

Hero Shrew OoC: It’s ironic that this guy is against Moreaus, since I’m about to turn him from plantigrade to digitigrade. By putting some extra bends in his legs.

Hardlight is certainly upset, since he has a total Code vs. Killing, and turning a human into a pretzel is rarely conducive to their health.

Hardlight: Scooter, NO!!!!
Flux: Welp, they’ve just murdered somebody over there - I’m going to pretend I didn’t see that.

That does take Hardlight out of the fight, though, since Gareth spends the rest of it trying to stop Mook 3 from bleeding out from his numerous open fractures. It’s probably fortunate that Fireflash can’t see what happened over there either, although she does hear Hardlight yelling for medical assistance from the Magus.

GM: The forcefield belts that the Mooks are using are the same model VIPER used to use. They stopped using them for a couple of reasons. One of them was the position of the powercell. ‘You weren’t planning on having kids, right?’. They weren’t quite that bad but the rumour was bad enough. The other reason was that the charge on the batteries meant that if someone like Scooter did something like what Scooter just did, the paramedic that showed up to stop them bleeding out couldn’t help them because the forcefield was still running. So in that respect it’s sort of okay that the forcefield didn’t actually turn on?
Magus: On the other hand, if they DID produce exotic radiation, they’ve increased their chances of having superpowered kids.

The mooks at the gate and on patrol leg it as soon as they realise the heavies and mooks in the warehouse aren’t reporting in. Hardlight bubbles Scooter before he can find any more racists to mangle. Scooter IS looking rather more intently serious than they’ve seen him before. He and Fireflash get into a screaming match - these a**holes WERE intending to murder everybody he grew up with, after all.

Hardlight: Scooter, when you signed up with this team you agreed to help the people of Edge City. ALL the people. Yes, these people are awful, but that means we take them into custody and put them through a court of law. What you just did was lethal force against an unarmed opponent. That is NOT ACCEPTABLE.

Fireflash flies off, sobbing, but Scooter does not seem remotely chastised. At least securing the Black Smoke, which had been decanted into individual sprayers to reduce the chance that Humanity First would accidentally kill any humans, is straightforward enough. It’s certainly enough to get everybody charged with multiple terrorism offenses.

Fireflash: Well, I hope they enjoy their time in Guantanamo Bay.

But there are going to be consequences from the fight. He’s lost Fireflash’s trust for one thing. And then there’s the fallout from when The Rep finds out what Scooter did.

The Rep: Scooter, it doesn’t matter if you are right or wrong, it’s the optics, baby. You’re the face of Moreaus. If you kill a human. Moreaus. Kill. Humans.
The Magus OoC: The worst part of it is that you’re being told off by a sleaze.
Scooter OoC: Yeah, that might actually make me feel bad.
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Man, Inhave missed these. Sadly, this is where our group halted it.’s adventures with The Mummy’s Mask,  Our conversation with Tef Neju was supremely civilized and pleasant; Compared to bringing down the General’s Pyramid. But Tef Naju wanted us to kill the Roc, which we did, oddly, somewhat reluctantly, but upon completing our bargain, he was a gentleman and told us the information.  The trap with  the haunts blinded our rogue who scouted ahead, and the poison gas trap was a pain. Layer were all set up to bring down the flying Pyramid, when two key players had to drop out due to life reasons, and that ended the campaign just short of it’s goal, in 2018.  So...close...

 

Good ol’ Nazi armored suits, my first attempt at a published Champions Adventure featured those. Never got anywhere with it, but the idea surfaced a few times in campaigns. Interesting soap opera developing within the super team.I would take the Hero Shrew’s position on this, as they were using weapons of war on a civilian population, but I can see the other side of this, especially the PR Guy’s reasoning. 

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  • 1 month later...
On 6/28/2020 at 2:33 PM, Sundog said:

Sorry to hear you missed out on the denoument of Mummy's Mask - we're having a blast, and hopefully more so now that we're going to be going back to live RP instead of over the computer.

 

Your state is clear? Awesome! Looking forward to the resumption.  

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13 hours ago, Scott Ruggels said:

Your state is clear? Awesome! Looking forward to the resumption.  

 

Yup, Western Australia is all but completely clear. All we have is a few people returning from elsewhere, and they have to stay in quarantine for 14 days in all cases. We're still playing better safe than sorry and doing a lot of gaming virtually, but we have a few folks around to game at times.

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Pathfginder: The Mummy's Mask : How To Win Friends And Influence People
Despite nearly dying in an assortment of horrible ways, we DO unbox somebody who’s been stuck down here for thousands of years, and for SOME reason (can’t think why) is a bit upset with the Sky Pharoah.

Jeshura: Hakotep's lapdogs! All of the sky pharoah's underlings will die a thousand times over before I am done!
Nemat: In the name of Wadjet BE QUIET!

Zenobia attempts to Banish her, helped by the fact that Onka was still wearing the Mummy’s Mask, and Banishment is assisted if you are wielding something the target hates, fears or opposes.

Nemat: Just grab Onka by the back of his head and push him forward!
Onka: Oi!

Although there IS an anguished scream from somewhere to the south as Jeshura vanishes. Onka suspects she got got by an anti-teleportation trap. She’s still out there somewhere, but not in this chamber.

Nemat: That’s frustrating, but funny.
Zenobia: A problem for Future Zenobia.

It turns out that being released from a sarcophagus after a few thousand years, and a few seconds later being magically stuffed into another cell, has broken her. She throws herself on our mercy. We do our best to talk her around to our point of view.

Zenobia: Before… before I became what I am today, I was a monster. Of a race of monsters. My kind did... Unspeakable things. But through Sarenrae I was given a second chance. And in redeeming myself I have found true friends, a true chance to build, to protect, and to heal. We seek to cast down the works of the Sky Pharoah - if you help us do that, it will go a long way to purging yourself of your past sins.

Nemat makes her swear an oath to assist us, and disables the enchantments on the cell, and Zenobia helps her to her feet.

Zenobia: Come sister - we have much to do.

GM: So now you’ve picked up another GM NPC for me to worry about - well done.
Zenobia OoC: The subtitle for this campaign should be How To Win Friends And Influence People.

Admittedly, Zenobia’s fiancée is a bit put out. Not only because of her own personal history with Divs.

Asrian: If she ever takes your pants down I’m cutting off everything you’ve got.
Zenobia: … fair enough.

It’s probably really unfortunate that Jeshura resurrected herself in the form of a Pairaka back before she got stuck in the sarcophagus - Pairakas are an embodiment of corruption and disease that sabotage the relationships and links that make up a community. They specialize in manipulating human sexuality and taboo desires. There are going to be soap opera shenanigans in the near future, even with Jeshura’s magical oath to follow the path of redemption. At least she was a close associate of Hakotep I back in the day, so her insider knowledge is going to be invaluable. While Asrian is working on a series of magically locked doors, Zenobia helps with Jeshura’s modesty with some spare clothes, and Nemat’s Sleeves of Many Garments. Although given that Pairakas have a permanent Shape Change going, to conceal their grotesquely diseased natural form, it probably isn’t strictly necessary.

Then we get spotted by a bunch of patrolling animal-headed constructs.

GM: Jeshura thinks very hard about betraying all of you, but doesn’t.

Onka: I’m sure our leader would spot an illusion.
Nemat: Wait, what? Since when was I the leader? When was this decided?
Onka: Everybody that wants to vote Nemat as leader, hands up.
Zenobia: I thought we were an anarcho-syndicalist collective.

The floor is one room is suspiciously covered in sand. Zenobia attempts to prevent any surprises by repaving the entire room with Stone Shape.

Nemat: AHAHAHA. That’s brilliant - Zenobia, re-tile it.
Onka: ‘Why do we hear tiny screams?’ ‘Oh, that’s the elemental under the floor’ ‘Help Meeeee’

Helpfully, the next bunch of burial chambers include plenty of evidence of the moral character of those interred. And plenty of quite nasty traps to disable as well.

Asrian: I’m starting to feel less bad about violating their final resting places.

Although, since Asrian is the one attempting to disable each trap, Zenobia is rapidly developing an anxiety disorder.

Nemat: That’s the equivalent of eating the seat of someone’s soul.
Onka: Pretty bad then?
Nemat: The blackest of necromantic acts. So we’re not doing that.
GM: The option is still there.
Nemat: The option is still there for me to beat you around the head with my morning star.
Onka: So what I’m hearing is ‘Don’t Get Caught’.

Unfortunately one of the chambers is such a challenge to the wit and sensibilities of half of the party that we linger a little too long, despite the angles of the room being distinctly non-euclidean.

GM: I’ll give you a choice - do you want to face more animal-headed constructs, or Hounds of Tindalos?

Zenobia uses another Stone Shape to trap the regenerating monsters in their alcoves.

Asrian: And now they’re stuck in there forever, or at least until some future archeologist says “I’ve read there were animal-headed constructs in this tomb, but clearly they are mythical - pass me that sledgehammer.”
Zenobia: We might want to paint a warning on that wall.
Nemat: No-one will pay attention! Do we? Well, we do, usually, but not ALL the time!

Onka Summons a pair of Aurochs to trample the surviving construct flat, which admittedly isn’t out-of-character for an Auroch or for that matter most large herbivores, who really don’t need an excuse.

GM: The Black Djinn stands and greets you politely.
Zenobia: That makes a change.
Black Djinn: I’ve been waiting for you, tomb-robbers - is it time for our final battle.
Onka: All together now -
All: We’re not tomb-robbers, we’re archeologists.
Black Djinn: Either I will slay you or you will slay me - I accept either resolution.
Zenobia: I DO have one more Banishment saved up for today…
Nemat: Option Three it is then.

Unfortunately, since she’s Bound to the complex, she ain’t going anywhere. Worse, since Black Djinn hate religion and especially hate good gods, Zenobia is right at the top of the list of ‘People To Be Bisected’. Happily Asrian and Nemat are willing to throw themselves in the way, with Onka and Jeshura in the rear ranks - just as well, since some of the prayers Zenobia can wield would do bad things to the half-orc and the Pairika.

Onka was born in the jungles south of Osiria, and is familiar enough with the ruins of the Shory cities there to note something odd about the Djinn’s model city - the skyline is wrong. Nemat gets very excited, and uses the Automatic Cartographer to make a copy, and runs out to consult Tef-Naju. He doesn’t recognise it or the puzzle. Jeshura, on the other hand WAS a Shory, and instantly realises what needs to be slid around to make the model match reality. Some rather valuable stuff is revealed, although hopefully we won’t need to use the Oil of Life that was in the cache as well. Some stairs leading to the Sun Disc activation area are also convenient to hand. Nemat is quite glad he can put the maps we’ve been making away - they were getting a bit large and awkward. We can finally activate the Slave Trenches! Arcane electricity flickers and dances through the complex and between the hundreds of obelisks!

Asrian OoC: We finally have the Iludium Q-36 Explosive Space Modulator.

But it looks like it will take a while for them to warm up. After well over 24 hours of running around, trying to set up the complex before it all shuts done again, we can finally level up in time for the Final Boss Fight. Asrian casts Restful Sleep on the party to ensure we’re all at our best for when the pyramid arrives.

Zenobia: Time for Snuggling!

GM: Near sunset, you see a pyramid flying towards your position, over the dunes. It’s quite a bit larger than the last one. And the moment it has line of sight, it opens fire on the Sun Disc.
Zenobia: Well, crap. *dives for cover*

Onka, on the other hand, can use Nemat’s suggestion of the spell Wall of Split Illumination to stop the beam. It doesn’t stop at least four Ossumentals from sweeping in from the rest of the Slave Trenches. This is less than ideal. They are powerful, difficult to destroy, and intent on smashing the Sun Disc before the pyramid smashes itself on the ground. Happily, Zenobia and her teammates are capable of some useful new prayers and spells now. Such as Sunbeam, which against undead is practically an anti-tank laser cannon, if you used one against ranks of infantry.

Zenobia: The Dawnflower is with us, today :)
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True... the others are fortitude, stoicism, self-discipline, pride in self and nation and race and that humility before the gods which is the mark of true wisdom

 

(If you.look at the Classical Virtues and compare them to the Christian Virtues, there is a lot of crossover)

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28 minutes ago, DusterBoy said:

True... the others are fortitude, stoicism, self-discipline, pride in self and nation and race and that humility before the gods which is the mark of true wisdom

 

(If you.look at the Classical Virtues and compare them to the Christian Virtues, there is a lot of crossover)

 

It was a way of breaking the notion that chastity/celibacy is an absolute necessity for that individual striving for harmony. Plus, in that setting, there are celestial beings that come down from the heavens to meet with mortals.

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5 hours ago, Ragitsu said:

 

It was a way of breaking the notion that chastity/celibacy is an absolute necessity for that individual striving for harmony. Plus, in that setting, there are celestial beings that come down from the heavens to meet with mortals.


And more than just “meet“. Have you heard of the Nephilim?

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