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On 8/15/2020 at 7:25 AM, DusterBoy said:

Have you heard of the Nephilim?

 

I couldn't stop laughing. Given how our conversation started and the direction it was heading, I imagined you as an innocently enthusiastic minister knocking on my door in order to ask me that question.

 

To answer your inquiry, though: yes.

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On 8/16/2020 at 11:32 PM, Ragitsu said:

 

I couldn't stop laughing. Given how our conversation started and the direction it was heading, I imagined you as an innocently enthusiastic minister knocking on my door in order to ask me that question.

 

To answer your inquiry, though: yes.


Adjusts glasses and knocks on Ragitsu’s door “Excuse me, have you time he hear about the Nephilim?”

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On 8/16/2020 at 11:32 PM, Ragitsu said:

 

I couldn't stop laughing. Given how our conversation started and the direction it was heading, I imagined you as an innocently enthusiastic minister knocking on my door in order to ask me that question.

 

To answer your inquiry, though: yes.


Adjusts glasses and knocks on Ragitsu’s door “Excuse me, have you time tohear about the Nephilim?”

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  • 2 weeks later...
Champions - Return to Edge City : Geomancy 101
I realise it's been quite a while since the last Edge City post, but between COVID-19, lightning strikes, Weldun somehow nearly getting his ears blown six feet into his skull by an audio glitch, and more, we haven't actually got many hours in. The same has applied to the Pathfinder game, to a slightly lesser degree.

Cleaning up after Humanity First tried to prepare deadly chemical weapons to use against the Moreau population.

After Scooter nearly murdered one of the racist mooks at the chemical plant, he’s going to have to face the music from the Moreau leadership, as well as from his teammates - turning an ordinary human into a pretzel is bad optics. The reactions from the various community leaders are going to be mixed - the otter brothel-owner will at least understand where he was coming from.

Madam Lil: Don’t get caught doing it, or if you do get caught at least make it look like an accident.

She has a point. Attempting to put somebody’s head up their own ass is hard to pass off as an accident, even if they’re Reed Richards.

Scooter makes his way to the Collar Club to drink heavily, which is probably a waste of time since his Constitution is superhumanly high. At least the word of what Scooter did isn’t out in the rumour mill, since he didn’t actually kill anybody (magical healing is a useful thing) and nobody is inclined to bother the guy who used to be the club bouncer, when he has never been seen to drink heavily before. Fireflash would probably be off drinking somewhere too, if that wouldn’t be a different problem.

Hardlight: Surely she’s old enough now?
GM: Nope. Old enough to die for her country, not old enough to drink.

UNTIL is going to have to be called in to deal with a terrorist weapon like this - and to Gareth’s dismay, they recruit his rival Centurion into the effort. His powersuit has full environment capabilities, for two people, and a water cannon.

Eventually Scooter rings Fireflash and mutters what is probably the best apology she’s going to get. Hopefully that means we can have actual team meetings again, such as one about the pair of former sunbeds that got dropped off to Bat-Moreau and former team member Allana/Nocturne, with the note "one for you and one for your friends associates". Apparently they’ve been altered to read and display auras, for medical purposes.

Nocturne: Now we just have to figure out how they work.
Flux: Well, plug it in over there and we’ll screw around.
Hero Shrew: ‘F*** around and find out.’
Flux: All we need is a test subject… hmm. Hey, Hardlight, we have a new sunbed for you.
Nocturne: ‘Most of it is cool blue and then there’s a vortex of doom in your neck.’
Hardlight: Well, I know about THAT.

Hero Shrew: Well, I’m game *climbs in, then grabs Flux’s wrist* We ARE sure this wasn’t sent by a supervillain, right?
Flux: Could you grab Allana’s wrist instead? If you have an involuntary muscle spasm her hand won’t go bye-bye.
GM: That would give Nocturne a chance to try out her flesh regenerator.
Nocturne: It doesn’t work on bones.

It’s likely the devices were made by Guilt-rider/Dr Soma, although Nocturne has never told us that they’re the same person.

GM: Although it doesn’t have the hallmarks of Guilt-rider’s stuff - no chrome skulls.

Hero Shrew: So it’s not some kind of magitech cloning device sent by a supervillain.
Nocturne: I’m 30% sure it’s fine.

The Magus, now that he’s confident he’s not going to die of Martian Anthrax, can get on with his investigation of exactly what kind of mystic bulls*** is going on in Edge City. He has been learning all kinds of interesting things about Edge City, at least as far as what kinds of occult groups are operating where. He’d probably be fascinated to learn about that dimensional gate in the bay, but it’s not like any of us are likely to tell him about it. It’s unlikely Scooter even remembers it. We probably never would have discovered half the stuff the Magus has, either.

GM: Because the party’s magical expert really isn’t that much of an expert on magic.

Although there does seem to be at least one other technomancer, or group of technomancers, operating in Edge City. But then technomancers are the kind of people that wave rubber chickens at malfunctioning servers and then be surprised when it works.

But even without the kind of future problems that could be avoided with a five minute conversation, he soon discerns that there’s a surprisingly large number of relatively minor cults at work - even more than there are in San Francisco, and Vibora Bay - and there’s a surprisingly large amount of co-operation between them. They seem to have divided the town into nine sections. And a lot of them refer to the East. Certainly sounds like it’s connected to the whole Feng Shui deal that the superteam has been uncovering over the last year.

Hero Shrew: You know, I have to wonder if we’d be a more successful superteam if the Feng-Shui of our secret base was better.

But the Magus has a few problems too - he completely missed the fact that the entire city is Aspected, and the two biggest targets of his attention are things he really doesn’t want to interact with.

Hero Shrew OoC: Just as well he knows an entire team of useful idiots.

So eventually he tracks Flux down, while the team is on patrol. Flux and Fireflash ask him if he knows about how somebody was trying to alter the Feng-Shui of the entire city. To the point of hiring supervillains to help.

Magus: … that is a f***load of geomancy.
GM: I did some research into large scale geomancy, and the biggest one I could find was the Forbidden City.
Fireflash: Which would fit into one section of Edge City with plenty of room to spare.
Magus: Well that’s mildly terrifying.

Flux could probably offer more insight, but then he’s never got on well with the more traditional magic-workers in the region.

Flux: I ask questions about conductors and resistors and they look at me funny.

But comparing notes does reveal something a little alarming about the geomancy of Edge City. As well as all the Feng-Shui slapped over the town, there’s a major leyline running right across the centre of town - one that now runs exactly along the bridge across the bay, under Corporate Circle, and ending in Lake Effinger. Where something magical and Atlantean and some fire-underwater has been humming away for an unknown length of time. Possibly predating the day that experimental fusion reactor nearly wiped California and adjacent regions off the map.

GM: Portland would have been a seaside town.
Magus: So you’re telling me it was all planned by Lex Luthor.

So despite all the headaches it’s been giving us, the current situation is still preferable to the alternative. Although the fact that at least two other leylines cross the Corporate Circle, intersecting at a pleasant little park with large rocks artfully placed around, is now highly suspicious.

Flux: Crap. I’m going to have to consult a druid. Or a geomancer. Or possibly both.

And another leyline ends at the highway cloverleaf nicknamed the Infinity Interchange.

GM: So despite Edge City being built on biotech as its primary industry, somebody has been deliberately designing the place as an innately magical city. Or at least two somebodies.
Magus: They’ve been trying to use Western Geomancy AND Eastern Geomancy. No wonder it’s such a mess.

Hardlight: I guess we’re taking the Quadraphibious Qruiser to the bottom of Lake Effinger then?

Magus: My theory is that the CEO of LowellTech is behind the Western Geomancy half of it - I know he has a bunch of druids working under him.
Flux: … no, no, we checked him. He’s harmless. Good-natured, but a bit of an idiot.
Magus: Being an idiot doesn’t preclude him being responsible.
Flux: … give me a minute, I need to make a phone call. Hey, Hardlight, you didn’t sign off on any city restructuring a few years back, did you?

Flux: I need to check exactly when that park got laid out. If the Low-Carb Druids have f***ed things up again they are going to be in so much trouble. The thing with the hobos was bad enough.
Magus: … what?

But it does appear the purpose of the park at the ley nexus in Corporate Circle is to stop the geomantic power flowing into the area from building up catastrophically.

Flux: Well at least they’re good at what they do. They didn’t ASK, or tell anybody what they were doing, but it was good work at least.

At least the local gang situation has been quiet, while everybody waits to see how the federal case against Humanity First shakes out. Taking over much of a city’s street-level supercrime is one thing, but attracting a full federal response is something else entirely.
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  • 4 weeks later...

I have a player who premiered his new character: an underwater type, which is an absolute first for any of my groups.  Keeping in mind that we started with 1e, that's a length of time that I feel sufficiently demonstrates our appreciation of the concept.  ;)

 

Breathe under water or in bad atmosphere, density increase, strength, durability, hand-to-hand attacks, and of course, swimming (and lots of it). He's a mutant who can sprout a membrane akin to the fins on a skate (which he  can also use for short-distance gliding) , retractile claws and finger webbing, claws toxic on command. 

 

As we generally don't "respect" the aquaman / namor / prince of Atlantis thing (I mean the group, of course, and not the board at large), he was undergoing some good-natured ribbing from the other characters:

 

So are you from Atlantis? 

Was your mother a mermaid? 

Do you have to stay on the water? 

 

The _player_ was taking it in stride,  but the _character_ was becoming annoyed:

 

"can you talk to fish?" 

"I know a few starfish barks I could share with you...." 

 

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Weldun wanted us to come up with Alternate Universe versions of all our characters, for upcoming sessions. Naturally, one of them is simply Mirror Universe. Time to break out the sticky-backed goatees.

 

Me: Well, obviously Mirror Universe Scooter is Antihero Shrew. With absolutely no compunctions about using lethal force.

Hardlight's Player: Putting you down as Liefeldian Antihero

Me: There are probably pouches involved, yes. Presumably full of live snacks. 

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  • 1 month later...
The Pharaoh’s pyramid has spikes, and lightning.

Nemat: Oh god, he’s gone full edgelord.

He also has colossal scorpions as guard dogs, which does him no good at all since the entire party is invisible and flying. Doesn’t stop the slightly-built woman that appears out of thin air and a blast of trumpets at the top of the pyramid and strolls unconcerned down the side towards us. It’s the same woman who was doing the illicit research in the secret library, months ago. She addresses us, the entire area, and, as we’ll learn later, is doing the same from smaller pyramids hovering over every major town in Osirion.

Spokeswoman: These are the words of Hakotep the First, Lord of the Sands, Scourge of the Shory, Most Beloved Son of Set, Glorious and Eternal Sky Pharaoh of Osirion! Let all who would grow wise fall silent and listen!
Zenobia: Well, we can probably still hear her if we go inside, so let's go inside.
Nemat: No no, she might give the game away.
Zenobia: ‘Don’t stop the bad guys when they’re monologuing’
Spokeswoman: Rejoice, faithful of Osirion! Your god and pharaoh has returned to rule over His lands and His people with strength and wisdom, to return the kingdom to the glory lost by His unworthy successors!
Nemat: Actually she’s not saying anything useful, I’ll just cast Silence.

The woman splits into two, one image continuing her spiel, and the other looking at us and heading towards us.

Spokeswoman: Is it you who called down the pyramid? Who would dare impede the Sky Pharaoh in his divine undertaking? Who would stand in the way of a living god?
Asrian: Yes.
Zenobia: Well, we’re not going to lie.

She seems a bit unprepared to deal with anybody that isn’t as prolix as her.

GM: STOP BREAKING THE NPCs

Spokeswoman: If you wish to meet He who wields the Crook and Flail of Kings, you must demonstrate your worthiness by traversing the Fourfold Path—Walk on the Wind, Breathe in the Water, Swim through the Soil, and Dance in the Fire. Only those sorely tested may come into the divine presence of the Most Beloved Son of Set.

Nemat: I can do all of those. But I’ll need Onka’s help for one of them.
Asrian: Or we can just obliterate you.
Spokeswoman: I would like to see you try.
Nemat: Thank you! That’s exactly what we were waiting for - permission!

But the spokeswoman is clearly an illusory projection.

Nemat: I’m not going to waste a reply on somebody who doesn’t have the courage to be here in person.
Spokeswoman: *smiling sweetly* Then perhaps, mortal, we shall meet in person.

Hopefully we’ll survive that long - some of the challenges inside the pyramid are amazingly nasty.

Nemat: Did you just kinkshame a chaos beast to death?

We also discover that some of the sarcophagi are just painted wood.

Asrian: I’m getting the impression that Pharoah-guy is just cheap.

He probably spent all the money on the Hurricane Shaft - not fun. Especially since we literally have enough rope to hang ourselves. Asrian manages to run up along the wall without being Mixmastered, to place some helpful ropes.

Zenobia OoC: At least I don’t have a heart attack.
GM: You do see her slip.
Asrian: She’s seen my slip many times.

And of course then something like this happens

BEES

And who would have guessed that a thorough knowledge of funeral practises would be relevant? We all turn to our local expert, Nemat. Of course after so many instances of poorly done funerals leading to Problems, having a properly done funeral leading to Bigger Problems is entirely apropo for this campaign.

Zenobia: Can Nightmare Vapour poison be counteracted by cuddling?

And it looks like somebody actually considered the possibility of adventures flitting around like swallows, since Asrian triggers a Dispel Magic trap while she’s flying over a 300ft-deep shaft.

Zenobia OoC: And now Zenobia has that heart attack.

Fortunately it negated her Delay Poison first, and she knows Featherfall anyway. It also turns out that the Pharaoh had a rather geeky son that Nemat probably would have quite liked, and that the Pharaoh thought well enough of to get a statue of Thoth made to represent him. He might have been an evil ****, but at least he was fond of his kid. Typically arrogant, of course. The kid’s mum, on the other hand, was apparently a follower of the Dark Tapestry.

Asrian: So she’s probably gone on to her fate worse than death.
Onka: And good riddance.

Unfortunately it looks like we’re going to break into the kid’s sarcophagus. None of us want to - he seems like he would have been an OK kid. Maybe we should ask his spirit for permission first?

GM: oh my god why must my players try to make friends with everything including THE LONG DEAD. They've Undertale'd half this adventure I swear.

Even if the Pharaoh didn’t go bonkers until after his son was killed, it’s practically certain that the sarcophagus will be trapped out the wazoo.

Zenobia: Well, at least it’ll give Nemat more time to copy down the hieroglyphs.

As it turns out, it’s enchanted with a illusory trap.

Onka: So cheap he didn’t even set traps on his own son’s grave.
Zenobia: Better than getting a False Negative on the Detect Traps..

Even better would be not having to fight a pair of giant fire-immune lightning birds. Asrian’s skillset isn’t going to be very useful here.

Zenobia: You’ll just have to handle the Wand of Cure Light Wounds.
Nemat: I refrain from commenting on your knowledge of her wand-handling skills.

Zenobia OoC: If I CAN banish them it’ll be Thunderbirds Go!

Nemat Chains of Light them - they plummet to the bottom of the 300ft shaft.

Asrian: That might not kill them.
Nemat: It’s THUDD at the very least.

Zenobia OoC: Now we defeated the Zapdosses, do we put them in our Pokéballs?

Gnolls

GM: ah, so that's why Asrian fell in love, you can't help but boop that snoot
Asrian OoC: That, and taking a lover who wouldn't judge her appearance. Asrian has serious body image problems.

Nemat OoC: I need healing, I have a booboo.
Asrian OoC: Imagine how much you’d need if you had a Yogi.

Zenobia: Would it be asking for trouble if we take bets on what’s in the next tomb?
Asrian: Yes.
Zenobia: Just as well I’m not a gambling gnoll then.
Nemat: Well, the last few were thematically appropriate, so the shrine of the Sphinx will be a sphinx. Or my girlfriend, according to you guys.

It’s a mummified sphinx.

Zenobia: Your girlfriend isn’t looking too well there.

Androsphinx: *hisses* Finally, some visitors!
Asrian: Do you need a cough drop?
Androsphinx: I’ve been here ten thousand years, I don’t think a cough drop will achieve much.
Nemat: Actually it’s been closer to two and half.
Androsphinx: It felt much longer.

Zenobia is appalled that a thinking being has been locked up in here that long without any contact with the outside world or even anything to read. We attempt our usual trick of talking them around to our side, or even just escorting them out of the pyramid for some fresh air.

Nemat: Oh no we aren’t - do I have to explain androsphinxs? They’re evil rapists. And probably have baby-eating in their description. If anything, becoming a mummy probably improved his disposition.
Androsphinx: So do you want the riddle or do you want me to eat you?
Nemat: Oh, we’ll try the riddle first.
Androsphinx: Excellent choice, I do so enjoy them.

He gives us the riddle, which Zenobia solves instantly:

Asrian: She from the desert. There’s nothing to talk about but sand and camels out there.
Nemat: Allow us to introduce ourselves - we’re the Covenant of Wati. Adventurers and scholars.
Androsphinx: Ah. Not the usual meatheads then. Well, do what you want, I’ll be back in ten minutes. I’m going for a walk.

We’re left in charge of one of the control panels for the Pharaoh’s fleet of flying pyramids. Asrian suggests we order them to fly into an infamous manastorm that should scuttle them quite nicely. Or better yet, just inform them all that the Covenant of Wati has infiltrated the other pyramids and they should attack each other. And then shut down the interface completely. Pity we don’t have time to saw it off the base and take it with us.

Asrian: It’s emerald, I want it.
Zenobia: I thought it was gnolls that like emeralds.

We head off to sabotage another level of the main pyramid, although we do return the late Prince’s mask.

Asrian: It’s not his fault his dad is a d***.

Unfortunately the next level apparently requires the sacrifice of a sentient humanoid before we can get in.

Nemat: Or I can just knock repeatedly, because f*** that s***
GM: There’s no response.
Nemat: I meant knocking with my adamantium hammer.

Unfortunately, the entire passage is trapped and we get somewhat toasted. It would appear the entire area is the home of some kind of major fire demon. This, presumably, is the Path of Fire.

 
 

 

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Champions: Return To Edge City : Do Not Poke The Synchronoclastic Infundibulum

 

Hardlight’s player: I tried for Lord of the Flies for my new Twitter handle, but apparently Mike Pence already had it.

Me: I can clearly picture some of the comic panels from Antihero Shrew in the Liefeld Continuum - Shrew handcuffed and beaten in some kingpin’s penthouse, villain is monologuing, Shrew says “I have one question - who has two thumbs and can bench-press a truck?”. Then he snaps the handcuffs, and the next panel is the kingpin with two bloody eye sockets, being thrown from the penthouse window. Or two cops clearly about to sexually assault a sex worker, and there’s a soft thump behind them as Antihero Shrew lands on their patrol car. “Hghnnn. I can play ‘hide-the-truncheon’ too.”

We’ve found out what’s at the bottom of Lake Effinger. It’s a Tesseract, bracketed by two Atlantean underwater torches. One has to wonder if that alien engineer who nearly blew up California knew it was there. Or whether Doctor Destroyer knew about it, when he helped save California by lending the Champions etc some of his antigrav tech.

Hero Shrew: So do I poke it with a stick now?
The Magus: Please don’t poke it with a stick.
Hardlight: Yeah, I have a perfectly good telekinesis power.

Fireflash: So, is something going to come through it and attack us?
The Magus: It’s been down here for years, if anything was going to come through it it already would have.
Hero Shrew: Well, that’s tempting fate.

The Magus: As the closest thing we have to an expert, I advise against adding high energy phenomena to the strange glowing ball.

The way it turns into a hypertorus when we get closer is a little alarming, and the Magus dissuading Hardlight from poking the thing is probably the only reason we don’t star in a reboot of Sliders. Weldun has to come up with an entirely new adventure, because Hardlight actually showed restraint. We wall up the underwater cave and leave.

Flux: It’s been perfectly fine for an indeterminate amount of time and will hopefully be well and truly not our problem by the time it isn’t.

Perhaps we should figure out which of Edge City’s occult organisations has been messing with the city’s geomantic aspects. Or at least somebody, or a very rare book, that can give us a hint. Maybe the Doom Platoon?

Hardlight: Well, they do smuggle stuff. Maybe they acquired a… book?
Flux: …. Huh.
The Magus: That’s actually worth checking out,

GM: At least the occult community of Edge City doesn’t use Moreaus as a source of animal parts for rituals. They universally agree that they’re people.
The Magus: So they just use them for human sacrifices.

Flux: As much as I trust the Magus as an upstanding person who happens to creep me out, I don’t trust him enough to hand over the Tablet of Khejimeth.
GM: Imagine how he’s going to react when he finds out you had that.
The Magus OoC: Actually you’ve been doing pretty well with that - for the last few thousand years it’s basically been a fancy paperweight.

We should probably introduce the Magus to Gareth’s druids too, before he elaborates on his theory that Gareth Lowell is behind it all.

Hardlight: They’re not my druids!
Flux: No, they’re the local branch of Lo-Carb Real Estate, under contract by Lowell-tech LLC to provide agricultural support and manufacturing. Merger/Hostile Takeover Pending.
GM: Actually, I think Lowelltech is publicly traded.
Hero Shrew OoC: But LoCarb is LLC?
GM: Absolutely, they’re a bunch of hippies.

Flux: The Magus, meet the fertility druids. Fertility druids, meet The Magus.
LoCarb Druids: I wish you’d stop calling us that, we’re not fertility druids, we just use aspects of fertility magic in our Work.
The Magus: They’ve been calling me THE Magus since they met me, which is wildly overblown.

As it happens, one of the druids HAS heard of the geomancy book, The Whispering Path, that the Magus has been trying to hunt down. It was offered for auction in Edge City a few decades back, and his mother was quite put out when she was outbid. Further, the druids are pretty sure that at THREE influences messing with the geomancy of Edge City, with two based in Western Geomancy, and one Eastern. At least nobody has been adding South American geomancy to the mix.

The Magus might also want to talk to that Chinese demon that showed up too. If it causes trouble, he can also seal it inside a jade box.

The Magus: The problem is getting a big enough box.
Flux: Well, I can find one, but it’ll annoy some people. Will Candii with two ‘i’s do?

The Humanity First trial has hit a slight stall - they’re claiming that they can’t be charged with planning mass murder, because Moreaus aren’t human. And that the terrorism charges don’t apply because at the time they were apprehended they were decanting Black Smoke into safer containers. There are also some legal precedents looming that we don’t know about yet, but which threaten to make the case far more prolonged then we would like.

Hardlight: Well, I’m certainly happy to be called to the stand, but I probably shouldn’t be because I’ll just f*** things up.
GM: Gareth has clearly been spending a lot of time with the druids, that was some impressive self-awareness there.

Hero Shrew: Shouldn’t we tell somebody about that tesseract?
Fireflash: The question is who.
The Magus: Your PRIMUS handlers, perhaps?
Flux: I don’t recall agreeing to that.
The Magus: You might want to check the paperwork you signed. I’m pretty sure you’re supposed to tell them if you find anything like the tesseract.
Flux: Is there a time limit?

That technophile at Fireflash’s college, who invented the superbatteries, is in the news again. He part-sold the technology to a company called Diamondback.

Hero Shrew: DIAMONDBACK?????
GM: Yes, it’s a relatively new company, only a few years old.
Hero Shrew: Uh-huh. And when did the last front company for VIPER fold?

Actually, no front company with any brains would invite superhero attention with a name that obvious.

The Magus: And no company with any brains would pick a snake name because VIPER would show up and tell them ‘join us or die’.

Although they do seem to have suckered the inventor, and likely have an even better grasp of new technology’s potential than he did. The inventor also comments that he was getting intense romantic interest from somebody they both know (probably just golddigging).

Inventor: And there’s another guy I pay to help me with the corporate stuff, and he gives me good advice, but every time I feel like I need a shower.
Fireflash: … it’s The Rep, isn’t it.

His involvement is probably the only reason the inventor wasn’t completely railed by Diamondback, but it also appears that somebody higher up in that company sent the order down to give him a better deal than expected.

The other corporate entities in the city have been really pushing to invest inside the city, despite the economic drainpipe it’s constantly circling.

GM: It’s like they’ve finally realised they’re stuck here too.
Hardlight: Edge City - It’s Too Big To Fail

Scooter has been moping a bit since the whole Humanity First raid - he hasn’t been needed to punch anything since he nearly killed that mook, and he’s been feeling bad about not telling the Zoo’s leaders just how much danger the Moreaus were actually in. He probably should have told them earlier, but it’s too late now since all the details are coming out in the trial anyway. But as it happens, most of the Moreaus are sympathetic about the dilemma he was in.

GM: It helps that Pastor Doug has been one of your supporters,
The Magus OoC: Wait, a pasta chef? Oh wait, a priest.
Hardlight OoC: Now you need to stat up Pasta Doug.
GM: NO I DON’T. …. Itsa me, Doug! And the Danger Noodles aren’t old enough to be involved in anything yet anyway.
Hardlight: How are the Danger Noodles doing?
GM: You have no idea, they’re still in an undisclosed location.
The Magus: I didn’t think there were any serpentine Moreaus.
GM: There weren’t until recently. A Genesys splinter lab was making them, and they got rescued, but that got UNTIL interested, and VIPER showed up as well.
The Magus: Like I said - anything remotely snaked-themed and VIPER just HAS to get involved.

Scooter does want to get some legal advice, though, given it’s quite likely he’ll get called in as a witness, and having somebody as honest and unfiltered as the shrew-Moreau in the stand is going to be a nightmare. He goes to talk to the community leader Simon.

GM: Well, you get to see a look of sheer terror cross his face as he realises ‘Oh S***, Scooter could get called to the stand.’
Hardlight: That’s worse than me being called up.
The Magus: Wouldn’t it invalidate their own argument if they call a Moreau up to the stand?
Simon: … If the defense does, yes. And the prosecution isn’t likely to want you to testify.
The Magus: I seem to recall a case where a dog was called in to testify.
Simon: If they DO call you up, just say it’s all in your statement. You DID tell the truth in your statement, didn’t you? And you can ALWAY refer to your notes. They told you about the importance of note taking in your police powers training course, didn’t they?
Hero Shrew: I usually put anything like that into my phone.
Simon: You’ll probably want a separate notebook. And remember: if they ask any questions about what happened, you can ALWAYS say ‘I’m checking my notes’
Hero Shrew: I’ll make a note of that.

Simon also tries to put a small telepathic compulsion on Scooter, to ensure he doesn’t f*** up the case. It bounces off Scooter’s thick skull, unnoticed.

GM: Simon is SO glad that his psychic abilities are invisible, because if Scooter ever realises that Simon has been psychically manipulating him, he’s going to be a smear on the wall.

There’s a rally on Moreau rights coming up - somebody invited Scooter. Since most of the headline speakers are actually Moreaus, it’s hopefully not some kind of trap (just having Scooter there is asking for trouble as it is). Simon has a speech.

Simon: For a decade and a half, there has been a debate in this nation, centered on this city. The subject of this debate is whether the artificial beings known as "Moreaus" are “people-” whether they possess the same degree of personhood as humans, and whether that entitles them to the same rights. The implications of this debate extends to all sophonts and their place under the law.
But let me make this argument. The law is built on assumptions. It is assumed that a person over the age of majority is competent and able to understand their rights and responsibilities. Until proven otherwise. It is assumed that a person is law-abiding and peaceable. Until proven otherwise. I put to you that any being that requests that they be recognised as a person, is capable of true cognition and understanding the rights and responsibilities that come with personhood. Until proven otherwise.
We are going forward into an era where we not only face even more artificial beings entering society, but will also begin to reach out into the stars where we already know, know for a certainty, that there are other thinking, reasoning beings. I put to you that the only reasonable position for the law, going forward into this era, is to assume personhood for any being capable of requesting it.
We Moreaus request that we be recognized as persons. We request that we be able to fully enter society. We request that we be able to work at real jobs and pay our taxes openly. We request that we be protected by, and held accountable to, the law. This is all that we have ever asked for in the fifteen years of our existence. We have been patient. We have been polite. We have not made demands.
Yet.

A lot of people are murmuring about the Enclave Proposal, afterwards, but that idea has been talked about for years as well.

That Chinese demon who has been hanging around trying to fulfil his contract is here too - somebody gave him a ticket. The residents of the Zoo are quite used to him, and in fact, have started a new sport of teasing him about his rules regarding ‘only attacking those who challenge them’.

GM: Demon-baiting has become a thing.

Xiǎo Lǎbā would quite like to go home, but unless one of us can contact The Magus, it’s not like any of us can help.

Scooter also notices that a number of Moreaus are talking more reasonably then they usually do. It’s a bit out of character honestly.

Hero Shrew: But then I’m being more reasonable than usual myself *eyes cricket-on-a-stick suspiciously*.

It’s not all Moreaus in the crowd, though, there are plenty of humans in the crowd. Although one of them, a rather gothic woman currently talking to a Moreau voodoo priestess, one Modena, that Scooter knows but hasn’t really interacted with, is having an odd effect on the surrounding crowd. Moreaus keep recoiling from her for no obvious reason. The two of them are talking in Haitian creole. Scooter is aware that the Moreau has a reputation of being powerful enough that the Voodoo Crew avoid her, but the two are talking amicably enough. He asks one of the people that recoiled why they react like that, but they’re not sure, and just complain about something feeling off, and feeling cold. He calls Flux over to investigate.

Hero Shrew: He’s the closest thing we have to an expert on Mystic S***.

Flux at least has come in costume today - Hardlight is in his civilian ID. Flux can actually introduce himself as another practitioner, assuming he can bring himself to actually interact with somebody.

Flux: Enjoying yourself?
Modena: Why wouldn’t I be? My people are finally getting the rights they deserve.
Mystery Woman: I have a personal interest myself *holds out a very cold hand*. Laura Hollis. My people deserve rights as well.
Flux: A pleasure to meet you. I have to say that the books and movies haven’t done you justice.
GM: Oh s***, you recognise the name?
Flux OoC: Well, cold, pallid, animals avoid her, there’s not that many types of intelligent undead about.

In fact, he assumed she was one of the loa. The fact that Hollis is a vampire will be a shock.

Flux OoC: I’ll probably realise later and s*** myself.

Hollis has a point - undead have even fewer rights than AIs. Although that might have something to do with the diet - she doesn’t smell of anything but perfume and her last meal, whoever that was.

The Enclave idea is *really* taking off - if Simon is using his psychic abilities on the crowd, it certainly isn't obvious. In fact, he seems a little perturbed by how intense but calm the crowd is. Flux reports ‘Don’t worry, she’s just an undead’ then has to hurry off and blank some security cameras so Hardlight can change into his superhero costume without anybody wondering what happened to Gareth Lowell.

Hardlight: Greetings, citizens! I mean, future citizens!

At least he can scan the crowd now. Hopefully he’ll remember not to use ultrasonics around Moreaus. He confirms that Hollis’ body temperature is no higher than room temperature, but there don’t seem to be any other undead or cyborgs or other oddities among the locals. He does spot somebody he should recognise - one Matthias Winslow, the Owner/Proprietor of the Lunar Lounge cinema, and other properties. Unusually for a wealthy Edger, he has no implants. He shows up in the society pages sometimes, and has a minor reputation as a letch.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Sorry, guys: this one takes a bit of set-up.  Well, no; it _doesn't_ take a bit of set-up.  I just wanted to brag a little about getting to be a _player_ for the first time in a few years!   Out of town, ran into-- of all the people on earth-- Davien.  His buddy / GM has rented a table at a joint in the 'boro, and he's headed there, and asks if I'm interested.   I recall just what a horrible player Davien was, but if he's not running......

 

Short version:  I tagged along, GM offered me a pre-gen, and we sat down to play what he estimated to be a four-hour session using his freshly-acquired reprint of TFT.  Won't say I wasn't insanely jealous.  😕

 

blah-blah-blah we have spent the past three game days trying to talk one character (and his asinine player) into letting the fairies go.  We had to travel through a fairy-infested wood (this GM's fairies were cute, and very dangerous) and the player had decided to capture a couple and "breed them" to sell them as good luck charms.  "Fairies," everyone (except me; I was just playing essentially an NPC, as, being fair to the group, I was up-front about not having played TFT since discovering Champions way back when, so I was more "character actor" than mover and shaker) including the GM tells him-- "do _not_ bring good luck!  They may have brought good luck with some other group or some other game, but in this world, in this game, they do not bring good luck."

 

Didn't sink in.  He wouldn't let it go.  Day three (game time), the GM thinks he has it sussed out: when Jack the Jerk (who has completely de-railed the game, meaning there is no way I am going to see the session concluded) goes to feed his fairies, he notices that he can't breed them; they are both female.

 

Does this encourage him to let them go?

 

_NOOOOoooOOOOooo_!   He pitches a stink about going back to the fairy wood so he can capture a male, blah-blah-blah.

 

Day six, game-time, and we have already flat out _missed_ a Relatively Important Event screwing around with "but fairies are good luck!" guy.   As we're making camp (_again_), one of us hears something-- a song?  A chant?  A prayer?  

 

He alerts us and we snap to attention, weapons on hand, keen to find the sound.   We trace it to the little basket cage with the two she-fairies.  

 

"Well, what are they saying?"

"Do any of you speak fairy?"

A round of "no" from the table, save Mister Fairy Breeder, who says "I have two languages that might be like fairy, and a couple unspent points.  I could use them to know Fairy."  The GM rules that this guy is passingly familiar with Fairy, but doesn't actually speak it; he just recognizes various patterns:  angry speech; friendly speech: pleading, etc.  Further, he rules that they are clearly chanting together, and that it's not a song, but a prayer.

 

"So what are they saying?"

"You don't speak fairy; we've established that."

 

"Right, but I should be able to know what the words are."

"Okay, you recognize fairy words!"  (GM clearly _well_ beyond perturbed)   "Happy now?  You know that they are sing-chanting a prayer."

"But what are the words?!"

GM, starting to say something supremely snarky, as we've all realized this whole adventure is scrapped (we'd been just beyond the fairy wood for six game days, and nearly four real hours.  PC-on-PC violence was a very real possibility at this point, but Dingbat just failed to pick up on it), then his face has that flush of absolute relief, of hope, of-- it bore all the signs of a deeply frustrated man who has been struck with true inspiration, and an idea that could solve all his problems.   He beamed a closed-mouthed smile so wide that I was willing to bet real money on just how much it physically hurt.  Then he says "well, you don't speak fairy, of course, but the haunting beauty of their prayer captivates you; you are spell bound, mesmer--"

 

"Are they mind-controlling me?!  Fairies can't mind control!"

 

As if there had been no interruption, the GM continued "there is resolve, peace, longing-- the truest, deepest of emotion in their voice.  It touches something in you, and you feel as if you have transcended your mortal form, shaken free of all concerns---"

 

"But what are the words?!  If I can understand fairy, then I should know the words!"

 

GM, in a hollow, lilting falsetto that was actually quite impressively musical:  

 

"Mosura....   y  Mosura.....    Dongan kasakuyan indo mu......"

 

Duke's character:  "Well, I'm totally creeped out, and tired of arguing with this clearly crazed person, and I leave my tent and my bedding and hop on my mount and take off as fast as the fading sunlight will let me!"

Davien's Character "Yep; Duke's right behind me!"

 

 

:rofl:   :rofl:

 

So Davien and I left, met up to grab some food and a couple beers (not in a restaurant, of course; despite what our idiot governor thinks, there's a plague about), caught up for an hour or so, remembered why we don't keep in touch, and went home.  I swung back by the game joint in time to see the GM and one of his players leaving together.  "So.....   Giant moth?"

 

"Colossal moth.  Humongous dragon-eating moth."

 

"Good to know."

 

I fired up the truck and went home.   :D

 

 

 

I have to say, I was sort of impressed; I didn't know anybody remembered more that the first line of that song.  :D

 

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On 10/31/2020 at 6:22 AM, Drhoz said:
The Pharaoh’s pyramid has spikes, and lightning.

Nemat: Oh god, he’s gone full edgelord.

He also has colossal scorpions as guard dogs, which does him no good at all since the entire party is invisible and flying. Doesn’t stop the slightly-built woman that appears out of thin air and a blast of trumpets at the top of the pyramid and strolls unconcerned down the side towards us. It’s the same woman who was doing the illicit research in the secret library, months ago. She addresses us, the entire area, and, as we’ll learn later, is doing the same from smaller pyramids hovering over every major town in Osirion.

Spokeswoman: These are the words of Hakotep the First, Lord of the Sands, Scourge of the Shory, Most Beloved Son of Set, Glorious and Eternal Sky Pharaoh of Osirion! Let all who would grow wise fall silent and listen!
Zenobia: Well, we can probably still hear her if we go inside, so let's go inside.
Nemat: No no, she might give the game away.
Zenobia: ‘Don’t stop the bad guys when they’re monologuing’
Spokeswoman: Rejoice, faithful of Osirion! Your god and pharaoh has returned to rule over His lands and His people with strength and wisdom, to return the kingdom to the glory lost by His unworthy successors!
Nemat: Actually she’s not saying anything useful, I’ll just cast Silence.

The woman splits into two, one image continuing her spiel, and the other looking at us and heading towards us.

Spokeswoman: Is it you who called down the pyramid? Who would dare impede the Sky Pharaoh in his divine undertaking? Who would stand in the way of a living god?
Asrian: Yes.
Zenobia: Well, we’re not going to lie.

She seems a bit unprepared to deal with anybody that isn’t as prolix as her.

GM: STOP BREAKING THE NPCs

Spokeswoman: If you wish to meet He who wields the Crook and Flail of Kings, you must demonstrate your worthiness by traversing the Fourfold Path—Walk on the Wind, Breathe in the Water, Swim through the Soil, and Dance in the Fire. Only those sorely tested may come into the divine presence of the Most Beloved Son of Set.

Nemat: I can do all of those. But I’ll need Onka’s help for one of them.
Asrian: Or we can just obliterate you.
Spokeswoman: I would like to see you try.
Nemat: Thank you! That’s exactly what we were waiting for - permission!

But the spokeswoman is clearly an illusory projection.

Nemat: I’m not going to waste a reply on somebody who doesn’t have the courage to be here in person.
Spokeswoman: *smiling sweetly* Then perhaps, mortal, we shall meet in person.

Hopefully we’ll survive that long - some of the challenges inside the pyramid are amazingly nasty.

Nemat: Did you just kinkshame a chaos beast to death?

We also discover that some of the sarcophagi are just painted wood.

Asrian: I’m getting the impression that Pharoah-guy is just cheap.

He probably spent all the money on the Hurricane Shaft - not fun. Especially since we literally have enough rope to hang ourselves. Asrian manages to run up along the wall without being Mixmastered, to place some helpful ropes.

Zenobia OoC: At least I don’t have a heart attack.
GM: You do see her slip.
Asrian: She’s seen my slip many times.

And of course then something like this happens

BEES

And who would have guessed that a thorough knowledge of funeral practises would be relevant? We all turn to our local expert, Nemat. Of course after so many instances of poorly done funerals leading to Problems, having a properly done funeral leading to Bigger Problems is entirely apropo for this campaign.

Zenobia: Can Nightmare Vapour poison be counteracted by cuddling?

And it looks like somebody actually considered the possibility of adventures flitting around like swallows, since Asrian triggers a Dispel Magic trap while she’s flying over a 300ft-deep shaft.

Zenobia OoC: And now Zenobia has that heart attack.

Fortunately it negated her Delay Poison first, and she knows Featherfall anyway. It also turns out that the Pharaoh had a rather geeky son that Nemat probably would have quite liked, and that the Pharaoh thought well enough of to get a statue of Thoth made to represent him. He might have been an evil ****, but at least he was fond of his kid. Typically arrogant, of course. The kid’s mum, on the other hand, was apparently a follower of the Dark Tapestry.

Asrian: So she’s probably gone on to her fate worse than death.
Onka: And good riddance.

Unfortunately it looks like we’re going to break into the kid’s sarcophagus. None of us want to - he seems like he would have been an OK kid. Maybe we should ask his spirit for permission first?

GM: oh my god why must my players try to make friends with everything including THE LONG DEAD. They've Undertale'd half this adventure I swear.

Even if the Pharaoh didn’t go bonkers until after his son was killed, it’s practically certain that the sarcophagus will be trapped out the wazoo.

Zenobia: Well, at least it’ll give Nemat more time to copy down the hieroglyphs.

As it turns out, it’s enchanted with a illusory trap.

Onka: So cheap he didn’t even set traps on his own son’s grave.
Zenobia: Better than getting a False Negative on the Detect Traps..

Even better would be not having to fight a pair of giant fire-immune lightning birds. Asrian’s skillset isn’t going to be very useful here.

Zenobia: You’ll just have to handle the Wand of Cure Light Wounds.
Nemat: I refrain from commenting on your knowledge of her wand-handling skills.

Zenobia OoC: If I CAN banish them it’ll be Thunderbirds Go!

Nemat Chains of Light them - they plummet to the bottom of the 300ft shaft.

Asrian: That might not kill them.
Nemat: It’s THUDD at the very least.

Zenobia OoC: Now we defeated the Zapdosses, do we put them in our Pokéballs?

Gnolls

GM: ah, so that's why Asrian fell in love, you can't help but boop that snoot
Asrian OoC: That, and taking a lover who wouldn't judge her appearance. Asrian has serious body image problems.

Nemat OoC: I need healing, I have a booboo.
Asrian OoC: Imagine how much you’d need if you had a Yogi.

Zenobia: Would it be asking for trouble if we take bets on what’s in the next tomb?
Asrian: Yes.
Zenobia: Just as well I’m not a gambling gnoll then.
Nemat: Well, the last few were thematically appropriate, so the shrine of the Sphinx will be a sphinx. Or my girlfriend, according to you guys.

It’s a mummified sphinx.

Zenobia: Your girlfriend isn’t looking too well there.

Androsphinx: *hisses* Finally, some visitors!
Asrian: Do you need a cough drop?
Androsphinx: I’ve been here ten thousand years, I don’t think a cough drop will achieve much.
Nemat: Actually it’s been closer to two and half.
Androsphinx: It felt much longer.

Zenobia is appalled that a thinking being has been locked up in here that long without any contact with the outside world or even anything to read. We attempt our usual trick of talking them around to our side, or even just escorting them out of the pyramid for some fresh air.

Nemat: Oh no we aren’t - do I have to explain androsphinxs? They’re evil rapists. And probably have baby-eating in their description. If anything, becoming a mummy probably improved his disposition.
Androsphinx: So do you want the riddle or do you want me to eat you?
Nemat: Oh, we’ll try the riddle first.
Androsphinx: Excellent choice, I do so enjoy them.

He gives us the riddle, which Zenobia solves instantly:

Asrian: She from the desert. There’s nothing to talk about but sand and camels out there.
Nemat: Allow us to introduce ourselves - we’re the Covenant of Wati. Adventurers and scholars.
Androsphinx: Ah. Not the usual meatheads then. Well, do what you want, I’ll be back in ten minutes. I’m going for a walk.

We’re left in charge of one of the control panels for the Pharaoh’s fleet of flying pyramids. Asrian suggests we order them to fly into an infamous manastorm that should scuttle them quite nicely. Or better yet, just inform them all that the Covenant of Wati has infiltrated the other pyramids and they should attack each other. And then shut down the interface completely. Pity we don’t have time to saw it off the base and take it with us.

Asrian: It’s emerald, I want it.
Zenobia: I thought it was gnolls that like emeralds.

We head off to sabotage another level of the main pyramid, although we do return the late Prince’s mask.

Asrian: It’s not his fault his dad is a d***.

Unfortunately the next level apparently requires the sacrifice of a sentient humanoid before we can get in.

Nemat: Or I can just knock repeatedly, because f*** that s***
GM: There’s no response.
Nemat: I meant knocking with my adamantium hammer.

Unfortunately, the entire passage is trapped and we get somewhat toasted. It would appear the entire area is the home of some kind of major fire demon. This, presumably, is the Path of Fire.

 
 

 

And now you have gone past where our party ended their adventure. I await more, eagerly.

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  • 2 months later...
Pathfinder : The Mummy's Mask - The Floor Is Lava
The Path of Fire naturally includes some lethal conditions and cunning traps, some of which we only avoid by being paranoid f***ers.

Onka: We push the iron golems, they slide into the lava, and they’re not a problem anymore.
Zenobia: Until they climb back out now glowing with a red heat.

Zenobia: Note for the future - don’t be on this level when we crash the pyramid.

Zenobia: Asrian wait - even if we free these slaves, how do we get them past the lava?
Asrian: We fly them out, swiftly.
Zenobia: … Good point.
Onka: We’re going to leave them outside?
Zenobia: With the giant scorpions?
Nemat: One problem at a time!

Onka: I hope this isn’t another one of those ‘screw with good people’ traps because those are starting to s*** me.

Nemat: They’re all dead.
Zenobia: *looking down at the one I’m trying to feed water to* But we were only in here two minutes!
Asrian OoC: They’re all dead, Dave.

And another trap requires a depth of knowledge about ancient artificers guilds.

Zenobia OoC: Who would have guessed that watching so many episodes of Antiques Roadshow would be useful.

Asrian has to disable room after room of traps.

Asrian: I’m good, I’m good.
Zenobia: As far as I’m concerned you’re perfect.

GM: Just give me a moment to grab some popcorn.
Nemat OoC: Well THAT doesn’t bode well.

The inhabitant of the next room is a bit surprised to see us - possibly because the room was well-hidden, but more likely because we came through the wall. Whoever employed him to sit around here presumably paid for some kind of fire resistance as well, since the floor in here is also lava.

On the other hand, he also has a lot of friends.

Zenobia: So, are we negotiating with these ones?
Nemat: NO.
Imhetef: Finally, after all these centuries, FRESH BLOOD!
Nemat: Yeah, there was never going to be any talking with this guy.

It also looks like this guy was an Inquisitor once, which is guaranteed to irritate our version. He starts walking towards us - on molten lava.

Onka: That must be some amazing Fire Resistance.
GM: No, just some very good shoes.

Fortunately Asrian shakes off the compulsion to walk forward into the lava.

Zenobia OoC: Asrian isn’t into Domination.
Asrian OoC: Asrian is a top.

She then casts Dispel Magic on Imhetef’s boots. He looks briefly surprised, before sinking into molten rock with all his protections suddenly removed. And when he turns into a swarm of bats, they promptly fry as well. Zenobia adds insult to injury by Channelling Positive Energy, which his Channel Resistance completely fails to stop. And then he sinks deeper into the lava.

GM: There are now crispy-fried bats floating on the lava. Why did I have him walk across???
Onka OoC: He knew the slippers worked. Until suddenly they didn’t.
Zenobia OoC: He was overconfident. And then he was on fire. And then he was dead.

And then it’s time to hole up, patch a few minor wounds, level up, and send Onka out shopping with teleport and to fabricate more magical items in his Hyperbolic Time Chamber. It helps that Nemat has been carefully collecting the remains of all of the undead we’ve been killing over the last few months - the undead dust will be a useful ingredient in arrows of greater undead slaying. A few crossbow bolts designed to destroy constructs will also be handy - Hakotep is quite fond of constructs. Zenobia can help with some of the spellcasting Onka needs.

Onka: Bring a book.
Zenobia: Certainly. It’ll be the Book of Sarenrae.
Onka: And sandwiches. Don’t forget sandwiches - this is going to take a while.

Unfortunately, the controller of the Earth level is a Div known as Kaahbek, Sedeb Ianew, Eater of Woe.

Asrian: Tell, me, how would you say ‘Eater of Feces’ in Ancient Osiriani?
Nemat: Please don’t.
Asrian: I’m not going to say it to the magic door, I’m going to say it to his face.
Zenobia: Look on the bright side, maybe you’ll get to say it to him as often as we need to chant it here.
Nemat: Actually, if I chant Kaahbek and you chant Eater of Feces that fulfils the door requirements and satisfies us at the same time.

Unfortunately knowing how to pronounce his names and titles helps us not at all once we’re actually inside the Div’s domain, although it does help us translate the boasting of some long-dead alchemist. Of course, being the kind of party that just rushes in would be much worse, and probably fatal.

Asrian OoC: Whereas WE are archeologists.

I mean, a team of professionals like ourselves is less likely to stroll up to a mysterious barrier, and see if it’s edible. It’s not often we get to meet the craftsmen that created the tomb chambers either, such as the pair currently arguing about who is the better painter.

Zenobia: Shall we ask if they want a third opinion?
Craftman: *Looking up* You aren’t authorised to be in this area! You invite a taste of the whip!
Nemat: Excuse me for asking an odd question, but what year is it? I think we’ve encountered some strange magic.

They call for their boss, who doesn’t seem to be the kind of guy that will be earning any workplace awards any time soon.

Hussef Daat: Shirking your duties again! *kicks a painter* And what of this lot? Do you require encouragement to labour? Kneel, and submit!
Zenobia: I have an alternative suggestion - take yourself to the summit of this pyramid, emplace yourself thereon, and swivel.

Zenobia expresses her concerns about the workplace conditions by casting Holy Smite on Daat and his Barbed Devil associates, and roasts and blinds both.

Nemat: That will hit Asrian too.
Zenobia: Yes, but it only harms the evil, and Asrian is good. In fact, she’s excellent.
Asrian: That might change what Daat does next.
Zenobia: Will he need help getting to the top of the pyramid?

Unfortunately his retaliatory Fireball kills his employees.

Zenobia OoC: What a pity they didn’t have protection against unfair incineration.

Further along we can hear the cheers of a crowd - and gladiatorial combat arenas were hardly unique to the ancient Romans. Admittedly the Romans didn’t have huge golems in their arenas. It’s also rather odd that the three people that are about to be smashed by the golems are the same three craftsmen we saw in the previous chamber, before they got toasted. Just as well Onka can assume control of one of the large constructs, Nemat can catch the last in Chains of Light, and Zenobia can get the attention of one of the more unpleasant ones before it eats the slaves

Mentu-Nebef: What is the meaning of this! Who dares interrupt the punishment of these slaves?
Zenobia: *sigh* Our names would mean little to you. However, I must say this - my training in the worship of Sarenrae has taught me much of patience, and of forgiveness of the failings of others. But for the last month I have watched people I care about putting themselves in more and more danger, and your master endangers my adopted country, and I have a wedding to plan. So you will sit down, and you will shut up, or I, personally, will jam this sword up your dick.

Of course, that will take about 3 rounds to say, so it’s possible Zenobia’s monologue will be interrupted by exploding golems. At least she’ll have a nice backdrop for her threat.

Nemat: *hums the 1812 Overture*

The golem Onka is puppeting is doing an AMAZING number of Critical Hits.

Zenobia: That must be a very well-constructed golem.
GM: Perhaps you can keep it after the fight.
Onka: It won’t fit through the doors (and I’ve been thinking about it).
Nemat: Besides, we were going to make our own by splitting off parts of our souls.
Zenobia OoC: Look how well that worked for Voldemort.

Mentu-Nebef: ENOUGH! *tearing the cartouche amulet from around his neck and throwing it to the ground in front of Zenobia* There! You have earned your passage! Now return to whatever hole you crawled from!

Nemat: OBVIOUSLY he’s referring to the secret tunnel in the floor we used to get into this level.
Zenobia: OOOOH, I just assumed the ‘hole you crawled from’ was a personal insult.

The next few chambers are variously suspiciously nice or just wildly suspicious. Once again, our skill as archeologists and professional mantra of ‘identify and record everything before you touch anything’ proves invaluable. The next person we encounter appears to be a horribly burned priestess, who claims she was enslaved by the Sky Pharoah after he banned the worship of Osiris.

Zenobia: That DOES sound like something he would do.

Of course she’s lying, as Nemat can easily tell.

Nemat: Here’s a hint - Don’t lie to an Inquisitor.
Zenobia: Well we don’t know WHY she’s lying, she might just be embarrassed. *turns back to the ‘Priestess’* You can tell us the truth, you know, we might be surprisingly understanding.
Asrian: Darling I love you but sometimes you’re too trusting for your own good.

The Priestess reveals her true form.

Nemat OoC: Apparently somebody decided Ursula the Sea-witch was too fat and not ethnic enough.

Nemat gets rid of her with his first spell.

Nemat: I am so done with all this - I just want to find the Sky Pharaoh and apply the beating.
Onka: No no, he belongs in a museum.
Nemat: He belongs in the ground - there’s at least 3 gods that want a word with him.

We sabotage another flying pyramid control system, and trash more of the Sky-Pharoah’s fleet.

Zenobia: I’m just amazed the Pharoah hasn’t taken more of an interest - he MUST know we’re in here by now. We’ve even been taking time for naps.

The last level of the pyramid is presumably going to be water-themed. Just as well we know the spell Life Bubble, which would protect us against being underwater, extremes of temperature, pressure, and poisonous gases.

Zenobia OoC: Ideal if we ever wanted to make a field trip to a Black Smoker.

To get in the last crypt we need to slake the thirst of the resident demon. Onka recalls that blood is a suitable libation. But we don’t have any bottles of manticore blood or random animal corpses left.

Asrian: *sighs and rolls up her sleeve*
Zenobia: *whimper*
Onka: I just heard an unhappy gnoll noise and I don’t like it.
Zenobia: I used to be a butcher and now I’m a healer - I can cut somewhere safe!
Asrian: That’s why I’m handing you the knife.
Nemat: Hold on, I’ve got some Unholy Water at the bottom of this backpack.
Onka: Oh right, you can use that instead of blood.
The Rest of the Party: *give Onka A Look*

The crypt is all canals, complete with creepy funeral barges, with even more creepy ferrymen.

Zenobia: At least I don’t need to use the Collapsible Bathtub as a raft.
Nemat: I still have this Swan Boat token.
Asrian: And we still have Overland Flight.
Onka: And Life Bubble - we could just walk on the bottom of the canal.

We decide to pay the psychopomps anyway, and pile into two of the boats.

Onka: And the lovebirds in the other boat? Hey, we could have had Asrian and Zenobia in the Swan Boat.
Nemat: I’ll let them use it for the wedding

It’s entirely too easy to find the control pyramid, although it’s embedded in ice. Alarm bells are ringing - metaphorically, inside our heads. There’s apparently still no response to our rampage through the rest of the pyramid. We assume that this one has to be a fake and go looking for the real thing. Maybe it’s in the room commemorating the Pharoah’s sister-in-law, who was fed to crocodiles after attempting a coup.

Zenobia: What a charming family.

Although we have a suspicion that ‘fed to the crocodiles’ might mean ‘sealed inside this crocodile statue’. The Banshee and her handmaidens are a more immediate concern, especially since the former nearly kills Zenobia with her screech, and the latter seem inordinately eager to get inside the party members.

Nemat OoC: Well, you do hear a lot of rumours about the nobility and their handservants.
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Champions : Return To Edge City : Whacking Day
Hardlight OoC: Why didn’t any of us get the Magus’ contact details?
Hero Shrew OoC: We didn’t realise he was a PC

Hero Shrew: Maybe we need to project the Magus-signal on some low clouds?
GM: And what exactly is the Magus-Signal?
Hero Shrew: A searchlight with a big ‘M’?

A few days later the Shrew-Computer alerts us to break-ins at Saints Row and Peon Place, hangouts of two gangs we haven’t interacted with much.

Hero Shrew: *surfaces from a pile of BugBurgr wrappers* H-wuh?

Hardlight: To the Qruiser!

He’s quite pleased that he gets to use the holographic lights and sirens on the Qruiser.

Hardlight: Whee-OOOOwhee-OOOOwhee *etc*

GM: I still have no idea how to involve the Magus in this.
Flux OoC: Just pull the Coincidence Lever, he happened to be nearby.

There are a bunch of likely bad guys, in distinctive green and gold armour.

The Magus: It's like the Australian Cricket Team, gone bad.

Hero Shrew: So, do these guys have to worry about Testicular Irradiation?
Fireflash: No, they don’t use that shield technology anymore.
The Magus: Not that they’ve been informed. ‘My nuts feel warm, do your nuts feel warm?’
VIPER technician: That’s our new Nutwarmer Technology, don’t worry about it.
Hardlight: And some VIPER mad scientist is crowing about his plan to make sure all VIPER members have serpentine children, and how it’s finally complete.
Fireflash: Actually, that DOES sound like something VIPER would do.

Hero Shrew: If anybody happens to spot the vehicle they came in, let me know and I’ll flip it.
Flux: How will we know it was their vehicle?
Hero Shrew: It’ll be the one that’s advertising something snake-related on the side.

Unfortunately they’re not the pushovers that VIPER agents used to be considered. They also have some rather effective weapons.

Hero Shrew: How far could I throw that truck?
The Magus: Don’t damage civilian vehicles.,
Hardlight: We might have police powers but we don’t have immunity to insurance companies.
Flux: It will be difficult to claim it was reasonable damage if you pick it up and throw it.

Scooter doesn’t end up throwing the truck, but Hardlight does end up unconscious underneath it anyway. Scooter has to jump across the street, into a position effectively surrounded by the bad guys.

Hero Shrew: I would have to say this puts me in a bad place.
Fireflash: Perhaps. Conversely, it’s put all of them into a bad place.

One of the VIPER agents unwisely flies within arm’s length of the team brick.

Hero Shrew: Well, let’s give him a big Hero Shrew welcome *punches out his teeth, and the rest of him across the street* Let’s hope VIPER membership includes good dental care.
GM: It does. It’s one of the selling points - EXCELLENT medical plan.

They’re also smart enough to know when to surrender, while the rest of the bad guys we didn’t know about make their escape. At least they didn’t get to use their hoverdiscs, since we stuck them to the ground with their own glue gun. It appears they were raiding the different gangs for advanced technology. At least we can have all the unconscious gang members arrested for possession of illegal tech. The VIPER agents also all have a cyber-implant we don’t recognise - one stamped with the VIPER logo, and that Flux determines acts as a fact-checker for your brain. Basically, a cybernetic Mental Defense. At least with the Magus and Flux working together, we can locate more of the implants - some over in a Dysprosium Dawn hangout, and some underneath a building in Billington. Dysprosium Dawn are a bit annoyed that VIPER have stolen their tech again, when Flux inquires.

Time for a quick search warrant. Especially since VIPER are classed as a terrorist organisation. Happily, Flux can hide the entire team from cameras and other electronic surveillance.

Fireflash: Magus, while I have a chance to ask, are you intending on staying in town?
Magus: For a while, yes.
Fireflash: In that case I’d like to extend an invitation to join the team.
Magus: I’ll think about it.
Hardlight: We just need you to fill in this paperwork.
Fireflash: No no, we don’t have paperwork - registering with PRIMUS, on the other hand, THAT requires paperwork.

Fireflash exercises one of her new abilities - Retrocognitive Photon Tracing - to try and see how the VIPER guys got into the target building. It doesn’t work, which is odd. The obvious access - stairs and elevators - and probably trapped, or at least more secure than the upstairs cameras that are studiously ignoring us.

Hero Shrew: OK, just want to double-check before we go in - if they have armour I can hit them as far as I like? What if they don’t have armour, but do have powers?
Fireflash: Hit them as hard as you like. But if they have guns, just smush the guns.
Hero Shrew: Got it *cracks knuckles and grins happily*
Hardlight: “Colt .45. Semi-automatic. Play-doh.”

The Magus can teleport most of us in, although Hardlight will have to come down the stairs, since the Magus’ Door Of Shadows hurts him.

Flux: It’s like going through a Resistor *shudders*

They might not be able to see us on the cameras, but they might notice the secret door opening. And the fact that half the walls down here are transparent doesn’t help.

Hero Shrew: They certainly like their open plan layout, don’t they?
GM: This base is nicer than yours.
Fireflash: I assume that warrant you got was a No Knock?

The glass walls means we almost immediately come face-to-face with one of the armoured agents. He seems a bit surprised to see Scooter prowling down the corridor. At least glass walls won’t even slow Scooter down. The concrete ones don’t slow Flux down much either, as he blows out a wall to let Hardlight in.

Fireflash: Those of us with police powers, remember to say as much before you smash someone.
Hero Shrew: ON THE GROUND! THIS IS THE COPS! *Smashes two walls to pieces on way to the bad guys*
Fireflash: REGISTERED SUPERS! SURRENDER OR BE OBLITERATED! *blinds a roomfull of mooks*
Flux: At least I don’t have to admit I’m a cop now - I’d feel dirty.
Hardlight: Surrender Villains! You are under arrest for suspicion of terrorism!
Magus: Tremble before the generally adequate might of Hardlight.

They surrender, but not before warning their superiors and self-destructing their SERPENTINE Network node.

Flux: That’s a pity.
GM: Nobody has ever managed to decrypt the SERPENTINE Network, but they still take the precaution of destroying compromised connections because of, well, people like you, Flux.

Still, some of the equipment they had set up to produce those cybernetic implants wasn’t networked to SERPENTINE, so the specs they used to produce the hundreds they’ve made so far are still on the hardware.

Hardlight: Hint hint, Flux, hint!
Flux: I thought this was a crime scene and I shouldn’t start looting it.

At least we’ve stopped every VIPER agent suddenly getting access to all kinds of cybernetic Addies.

Flux: Can you imagine getting awesome snake powers? And not being able to do anything with them because everyone will assume you’re working for VIPER?

We also find a big pile of stuff they’ve already stolen from Edge City’s gangs, including a bunch of old Iron Guard armour technology that Humanity First somehow got their hands on, in alarming quantity.

Of course, it’s also entirely likely that the local VIPER cell leader in Edge City was never here, since he’s smart enough to trust his underlings to run their own sub-cells around the city.

GM: I mean, look at this place, this is actually a nice place to work!

Sudden good news! Two of the nodes are depowered, not actually wiped yet! If Flux is very careful, he might be able to get useful info off them before they self-destruct. It looks like VIPER had been reverse-engineering some advanced vehicles. It would certainly explain some of the stuff we’ll be auctioning off later.

GM: There’s a handful of Cyberpaths on the same level as Menton is among Telepaths.
Hero Shrew OOC: And they HAVEN’T been assassinated by the Ultron rip-off?
The Magus OOC: One of them IS the Ultron rip-off. And the other is his crazy girlfriend.

We should probably get some proper computer databases installed in our base.

Hero Shrew: It won’t upset the mechanical owl, will it?
Fireflash: Well, if it does he has ways to express it.
Hero Shrew: It’s not like he’ll throw up in our beds.
GM: Well, if he does, it’s probably indicative of some bigger problem.

Flux does go tell Dysprosium Dawn that they should go public with their anti-cyberpathy implant, before VIPER start selling their knock-off stolen version. We might have discovered where some of the interesting tech that went ‘missing’ after that big supertech raid that we instigated got to.

One the other hand, it would appear that one of the VIPER agents that we didn’t catch was working on improving the scanner technology demonstrated at that illegal supertech convention, and he was also vain enough to be driving a high-end colour-change sports car around Edge City. The latter isn’t illegal, as long as you inform the authorities of each colour change - he wasn’t - and driving a completely ordinary vehicle around town would be much less conspicuous anyway, even if he was switching license plates to fake being the others of the same make in SoCal. Using the automated license plate reader records for the city and the driver registrations of the legit drivers the team was able to isolate the common locations for those cars and where VIPER Agent Garry was going.

So we got a warrant for his apartment. Magus then used Garry’s hairbrush to find out he does his work in a small workshop and cabin in the woods - the hunt is on!

Fireflash: We’ll land a bit away and go in one foot so we can surprise him.
Hero Shrew: No smashing our heads through the door and saying ‘Heeeere’s Johnny!’?
Fireflash: He might have a superblaster and blow your head off.
Flux: And that’s assuming he didn’t electrify his door like a sensible person.

Hero Shrew does think to grab the first aid kit out of the Qruiser, just in case, until the GM points out that we never included one in the price of the vehicle. Which is a problem, since as a registered law enforcement vehicle it’s obligated to carry one. We should get onto that.

Hero Shrew : *opens the kit - there’s a few band-aids at the bottom and they’re expired*

GM: Most modern horror takes place in the woods.
Hero Shrew: What are the odds that a VIPER agent would have a basement full of monsters under his cabin.
GM: Pretty low - that’s more of DEMON’s bivouac.

Although it does look like Garry has been practising with a Pulson Blaster, judging by some of the trees he’s been shooting at.

Flux: Well, I’m going Invisible To Cameras, because why wouldn’t I.
Hero Shrew: Maybe he’ll mistake me for a bear.

Hero Shrew and Flux circle around to approach the building from behind. Hopefully he isn’t listening in on radio frequencies.

Hero Shrew: Want me to go ‘Cawcaw! Cawcaw!’ over the communicators when we’re in position?

Hero Shrew: So, who’s moving up first?
Magus: We’d much rather have them shoot at you, than us.
Hero Shrew: Fair enough.

Sneaking around the cabin and sheds suggests Garry is busy welding more armour onto a pair of Big Armoured Suits. They seem a little primitive, technology-wise.

GM: The Mk.I Iron Man suit looks better than this.

Fireflash: Surrender! You are WILDLY outmatched.

Garry goes down without much of a fight. Pity we can’t say the same about the robots. Of course, since Scooter has gone through two walls already, without the excuse of being blasted back through any, it’s debatable which side is doing more damage.

GM: Property Damage, your name is Hero Shrew.
Hero Shrew: Is it really a wall if I can just walk through it?
Magus: Brick-type superheros aren’t allowed to make that argument.

Fortunately Dee and Dum aren’t very bright - one of them even shoots at its own feet after it gets Entangled. It's an educational experience all round, really - for example, Flux discovers why it’s a bad idea to teleport through a Tesla Powerwall, and Hardlight is having trouble keeping Garry trapped in a force bubble. And it turns out that the Tweedlebots are Tyrell domestic robots, extensively modified to get around their hard-wired Three Laws. Not a simple problem - even dressing a homeless person as a robot stopped working the moment the robot realised that wasn’t oil leaking out all the holes. He’s had to install a suite of VR overlays in which Garry is the last human and everybody else is an enemy robot.
Scooter has been doing some charity work to occupy his time and improve his reputation - mostly in the construction part of things.

Hero Shrew: Habitats for Inhumanity.

At least the construction industry in Edge City isn’t as hostile towards the superstrong as it is in other parts of the country. And there’s always an orphanage that needs building somewhere.

Hero Shrew: Just doing my bit to support the sidekick industry.
The Rep: I need to put a muzzle on my client. We’d cop less flak having him muzzled then we do if we don’t.

But it looks like there’s going to be a need for more construction in the near future, since a trio of guys in powered armour are trashing a building and stacking cars on the other side of town.

The Magus uses Dark Majesty to try and intimidate the antagonists. It does more to unnerve Flux.

The Magus: Morning All. Are you REALLY sure this is what you want to be doing? It hasn’t worked for anybody else.
Bad Guy P: Uh. Um? Could you stop the fire spreading too far, please?

It would appear that the damage he’s been doing is his attempt to stop the fire he started from spreading to the rest of the city block.

Bad Guy T: RELEASE THE HOUNDS!

There are now a half-dozen cybernetic attack dogs to complicate the next few minutes.

Hero Shrew: Is PETA likely to complain if we do the same thing to cyber-mastiffs that we do to the usual villains?

Admittedly, flinging them around in a residential neighbourhood presents all kinds of different problems. The bad guys attempt to flee, hoping the hounds will keep us occupied.

Bad Guy: Later people, Elvis has left the building.

GM: No matter what happens, the Rep loves Magus.
The Magus: Because it’s much simpler to spin stuff when we’re invisible to cameras.

Scooter manages to leap right through a brick wall.

Hero Shrew: That’s unfortunate - because I wasn’t actually meaning to do that, this time.
Little Old Lady Inside The Building: Tea? *privately thinking ‘This f***ing city’*

The cyber-mastiffs really were a very good distraction - a genuine threat to any civilians that came out to see what was happening in the neighborhood. It’s just as well we dealt with them all before anybody could get bitten in half. It’s also just as well that the Magus spent most of the fight putting the fire out, because there’s a person in a steel net inside the building.

GM: It’s probably why the bad guys were trying so hard to put the fire out when you arrived ‘S*** s*** S***, we’re supposed to be catching this person alive’.

The woman in question is a landscaper, and has no idea why any supervillains would want to kidnap her.

Hero Shrew: Just as well we showed up when we did, then. And put the fire out too, of course.

Although it IS slightly odd that she wasn’t even singed in the out-of-control fire.

Hero Shrew: Well, we should have you checked out by the paramedics when they get here. We don’t want to find out you had smoke inhalation and die of an asthma attack overnight.
Jadwiga Jaworski: *nods vigorously* Yes, we don’t want that.

We wait for the police, firefighters, and animal control to arrive.

Cyber-mastiff: Good Girl? I’m a Good Girl.
Flux: .... Now I feel bad. I just punted one through a fence and into a tree.

The enhanced attack dogs are three male and three female. By coincidence it was the males that went after the Magus.

Hero Shrew: Clearly they know who the biggest bitch in the party is.
Flux: ...the one day Hardlight isn’t here.

Scooter, on the other hand, dealt with the other three.

GM: He did a lot of bitch-slapping.

hmm. not sure why that merged the two posts into one - the VIPER-related sessions were supposed to be one post, and the cybermastiffs seperate

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

From old campaigns long ago:

 

First mission of the campaign, the heroes defeated generic terrorists, but one of them knocked a terrorist into a VIP hostage, doing body damage to both.  Afterward,  as the press arrives, the hero who hates the press flees, and the other secretive hero also flees, leaving behind the only player with a "cannot tell a lie" limitation to speak on camera.

 

"And how did the Senator get injured, <superhero>?"

 

"He was...uh...struck by a terrorist. "

 

In a later campaign, a darker and grittier "street-level" game, my character was a Bullseye analogue,  able to add damage and accuracy to any ranged weapon.  Long story short, we were betrayed by a teammate and captured by my arch nemesis. 

 

Because my character could throw almost anything as a weapon, he was bolted to the wall stark naked.  After much embarrassment and frustration, I made a spectacular roll and got free from my bonds, loosening a single bolt.  Hurling the bolt, I smashed the cell door lock.  Hurling the lock fragment, I KOed the approaching guard,  and retrieved his armor-piercing energy pistol -- a very nice weapon that would be outright deadly in my character's hands.

 

Without waiting to dress, I  ran down the hallway, blowing open the other cell doors to free my team.  The character who had betrayed us (and since apologized and offered to rejoin us) was the last to be freed.  She gasped in alarm as I raced to confront my arch foe:  "Wait!  You're still naked!"

 

And thus I had the God-given opportunity to deliver my best line of the campaign:

 

"I'm not naked.  I  have a gun."

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From Thursday’s D&D campaign:

 

The gang is in conversation with some NPCs, including Magos, a necromancer. At one point, he says this:

Magos: “I live to serve. Unfortunately, I don’t live.”

Garshak (my half-Orc fighter, innocently): “Does that mean you don’t serve either?”

 

Well, it got a laugh at the time.. 

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Champions : Return to Edge City : The Landscaper Caper
Last session we prevented the kidnapping of an oddly-fireproof landscape gardener.

Flux: We’ll keep an eye on her, in case there are shenanigans.
Hero Shrew: No shenanigans in this town. Unless we’re responsible.

Of course, we blunder into so many shenanigans it’s amazing we’re not in a Pokemon episode. Although that idea does have us complaining about the completely insane economy in the Pokemon universe, and the question of where they get their meat from. It’s from Pokemon.

GM: Farfetch’d carries his own garnish, for crying out loud.

The cybernetically enhanced canines are about 18 months old, but despite being intelligent enough to talk probably aren’t Steiner’s work - the upgrades are too crude.

Hardlight: You rescued Landscaper? Funny name for a superhero.
Fireflash: No, an actual landscaper.
Hardlight: Why were you rescuing a landscaper?
Flux: Why wouldn’t we, they’re worth rescuing.
Hardlight: Indeed, it’s not like she was a lawyer.
Fireflash: ….. Or an accountant?
Flux: Hey, accountants are worth rescuing, they know where all the money is… I know she’s giving me A Look, I can hear it.

Oddly enough, the cars that the bad guys were stacking were stacked very nearly indeed. Minimal damage, which is impressive for somebody wearing powered armour. Most of the cars in the pile are shiny and new. It's also impressive that he managed to lift an older car that was notorious for outweighing a lot of trucks. That was no standard powered suit.

Flux: I’m surprised the other cars aren’t flat.
GM: Oh, it was on the bottom of the stack.
Flux: Well thank god for that.

In fact, Hardlight’s scan of the pile reveals that the Grubecker has been heavily modified, and is even HEAVIER than it was originally. Checking with the police reveals that the vehicle was once involved in a super fight, and had its density permanently altered, and was reinforced further afterwards. Whoever owns it owns a piece of superhero history, but also must have an appalling petrol bill. Whoever was wearing that Rumblesuit has strength that rivals superhumans. And one of them was apparently using plasma technology when they set the landscaper’s apartment on fire. And their armour is a sophisticated ceramic.

Hero Shrew: We can always ask our contacts in Dysprosium Dawn if they know who’s working on technology like this.
GM: It always amuses me when you think you have a good relationship with Dysprosium Dawn.
Fireflash OoC: We don’t.
Flux OoC: We just shake them down for information sometimes.
GM: Or they decide it’s easier to get us to do the hard work.

We should probably have a look in the empty house across the street, where the cyberdogs came from. Apparently they dug their way up from an underground utility tunnel, and spent a few days watching the landscaper’s home and planning the kidnapping. There’s definitely something they knew about the landscaper that they know and we don’t. We should go keep an eye on her, at least while she’s being kept for observation at the hospital. The veterinary cybernetics angle is also worth investigating - some of the upgrades to those cyberpuppies, like the hemoglobin and retinal variants, are very new.

Fireflash: We should visit them, as a group.
Hero Shrew: Oh?
Flux: Must... resist… spaying and neutering joke…
GM: To be fair, it’s not thinking with that head that gets him in trouble.

Finding out who the cyberpuppies originally belonged to is more difficult - their microchips were removed, probably at the same time they had a bunch more added. Although six Dobermans going missing should have come to somebody’s notice.

GM: You attract some attention at the Laguna Complex, probably because you’re a pretty well-known superteam now, and you’re with that new guy.
The Magus: I have a sudden urge to show up with a different face every week.
Flux: Don’t, or you won’t get into our base.
GM: Facial recognition tech makes no sense in a setting with shapechangers.

The vet agrees that the six dogs should have been chipped - it’s certainly a legal requirement in California - but if they’re going to sic them on a team of superheroes to cover their escape it’s unlikely the perps were very concerned about chipping laws. And the address is a fake.

On the other hand, the vet has done the same modifications to a pair of pitbulls, for the same people, and we didn’t see any pitbulls earlier.

Hero Shrew: Well, at least we have something in our favour - they don’t let dogs into hospitals.
Hardlight: Remind me to get a sticker for Scooter - ‘Emotional Support Moreau’
Flux: That is unimaginably racist.
Hero Shrew: And I’m not good for anybody’s emotions!

Tracking down where the perps got the money for the operations is going to take longer. We do get one address and name in Marsden, which we connect to one Rumble, who we last heard of during the thing between the Booster and Juicer gangs. This latest escapade DOES seem like something he’d get involved in. He certainly loves his cybernetics, as his police record confirms. On the other hand, nobody has seen him since the Juicer exodus.

New Occupant: You think he might still be alive? That B**tard owes me $500!
Fireflash: If we find him, we’ll be sure to let him know.

The creditor in question lets us search the house for any items we can use to track him down - old hair brushes etc have been thrown out, unfortunately, but we DO find a small package stashed in an air vent, containing an earlier FreeWeb device and memory chips. But Flux can confirm the device never connected to a network, ever. And the chips are encrypted.

It’s probably a bad idea for Scooter to hang around the hospital - as the others keep telling him, he’s the most conspicuous member of the team, at least since Allana eft, and Allana at least had two major distractions.

Hero Shrew:*sigh*I just want to be useful.

Flux and the Magus working together to create a tracking spell to locate Rumble will probably be more useful - they certainly have an ample supply of crystallised chicken blood. Hero Shrew is driving the mages around town as we try to triangulate on a moving target, when a woman jumps out of an upstairs window. She’s probably just as surprised when we all pile out of the Qruiser. But not as much as those power-armoured goons that emerge after her. At least that makes it more likely that Rumble is one of the goons we’re after. The other two, apparently, are codenamed Pillage and Takedown. The former has a deadly plasma field, and the later an assortment of entangling and stunning weaponry, at the very least.

The usual exchange-of-multicoloured-light-until-somebody-wins ensues. One of the Magus’ spells is apparently called Sugar Crash, and is as dangerous as it implies, and would be better described as Hypogylcemic Shock. Scooter leaps into the fray, and overshoots so badly he gets intercepted mid-air by Rumble.

Hero Shrew OoC: I hesitate to compare him to a Patriot missile.

Hero Shrew gets punched most of the way back up to the Qruiser. And then the woman that’s the focus of all this attention throws Scooter straight back into the fray. Scooter is rather shocked to find himself neatly placed right in the middle of the street.

Fireflash: Yeet!
GM: This ability is called Get Back In There!

Hero Shrew: So, this one is called Takedown? Nice that he comes with instructions.*leaps into the air and suplexes the guy several yards into the pavement*

Rumble does some swift calculations of his new odds, especially since his other colleague is semiconscious with his plasma sheath burning a hole in the ground, and surrenders.

Rumble: I give.*lands on roof, which collapses under the weight of his armour*
Hero Shrew: You owe your old flatmate $500.

The woman, Tanya, insists she’s fine, despite the fact she jumped from a second-storey window, and claims to have no idea why the goons tried to kidnap her, less than a day after they tried to kidnap the other woman.

The Magus: I can’t fault their work ethic

Fireflash: Why are you after this woman?
Rumble: Takedown said to.
All:*look at the crater with unconscious goon*

Flux: Is that your house, or are you going to have problems?
Tanya: It will be fine, I have understanding with landlord - he does not cause me trouble, I do not crush his head like swallow’s egg.

The Magus: Do you want me to wake him up, now we have him out of his armour?
Hero Shrew: And if we need to we’ll put him back in the armour and I’ll suplex him again.
GM: That would be against police procedures.

Cyberkinetically interrogating their brain implants is legally dubious too - but nothing stops Flux ransacking their powersuits for useful information. Which helpfully includes files on their two targets - the landscaper, apparently, is a minor hydrokineticist. And Tanya apparently has high-end low-profile military cybernetics. The files also list Tanya as being of possible interest to The Cabal, but doesn’t say which group calling itself a cabal that refers to. But according to Rumble, the Cabal supplied the powersuits, tailored to their proportions. They’d even told Takedown that they’d need somebody like Rumble to do the job.

Flux realises that the Cabal must be a new faction in Dysprosium Dawn.

Flux:*sigh* We leave them alone after the zombie thing and they start making powersuits.
GM: To be fair they weren’t responsible for the zombies - they were responsible for AUGMENTING the zombies.

It also seems likely that the suits were specifically designed to counter our team - it's just their bad luck that we didn’t pair off the way they predicted we would. We might not be much closer to figuring out why these particular women were targeted, but we may have stopped an incipient supervillain group getting started.
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Pathfinder: The Mummy's Mask : Moist
Zenobia: Do the psychopomps seem annoyed about us nearly accidentally killing them in that fight?
Nemat: They don’t have faces, it’s not easy to tell.
Zenobia: They have middle fingers.

Hopefully we won’t run into these particular psychopomps when we eventually die - that could be awkward.

Nemat: You have to feel sorry for Anubis now that Pharasma is the god of death. She probably calls him ‘Noob’.
Onka: ‘Please, you’re a goddess, act like one’
Nemat: ‘Aw, does someone want a bellyrub?’

Nemat: The whole point of these boats is to do a non-linear dungeon in a linear fashion.
GM: You paid to get railroaded.

The GM describes an apparently innocuous room.

Asrian OoC: I detect a ‘but’ coming up.
GM: A big but.
Zenobia OoC: And I cannot lie.

It is, of course, set up as an elaborate trap. Which we can avoid by going through the wall. It turns out the chamber beyond is yet another memorial to somebody who tried to stage a coup against Hakotep - two brothers who only failed because they got too distracted arguing about which of them should be crowned afterwards. We’re supposed to decide who deserved it - which is obviously another trap. Of course, the entire level is a trap - most parties would have entered this crypt first, and thus faced the banshee etc a few experience levels earlier. And our precautions would have made us immune to this trap anyway.

The boats split us up, going down different tunnels.

GM: You’ve got time-
Zenobia: For a quick snog?
Asrian: Now is not the time, dear.

There’s a few statues with gems inside their fanged maws.

Zenobia: It’s like they never heard of Mage Hand.

Or, for that matter, Immovable Rods. Or maybe they did, because it’s another Phantom Trap. Although given the grinding noises elsewhere in the crypt, they appear to control SOMETHING down here. Possibly opening the door for a giant undead crocodile, or similar. But then we can use Control Water to drain the entire next section of the crypt.

Nemat: Never fight on their terms.
Onka: ‘That undead shark looks very unhappy. And we’re flying over it anyway.’

The thing that IS in here looks a bit perturbed that we removed all its advantages. We’re more shocked that Nemat doesn’t recognise whatever it is. Onka recognises it as a kind of aquatic Div.

Onka: It’s a Div - where’s Asri- oh, she’s attacking it already.

Asrian really, really does not like Divs.

Nemat: We don’t need to fight him - he’s going to suffocate.

And if he’s Bound to the room, he can’t even flee to where there IS water. In the end it doesn’t matter - Nemat Dismisses it back to its home plane before Asrian can decapitate it, or Zenobia throw a Tangleburn Bag at it.

We do the usual - sabotage the control pyramid and crash the rest of Hakotep’s flying pyramid fleet, and bug out. It's time to go after the Forgotten Pharoah, Hakotep I, himself.
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Holy Champion of Torm*: "I find it difficult to pin you down."

Queen: <strongly puzzled expression>

Holy Champion of Torm (realizing his blunder): "Your skill as a rhetorician, to be precise. I have only ever seen Your Majesty speaking to the people."

 

Player, OOC: "Even exemplars of heroic magnetism are allowed a gaffe once in a lifetime...right?"

DM: "That could have been one awfully short lifetime."

 

--- --- ---

*That is the closest you can get to being a Paladin in AD&D 2e without actually being a Paladin.

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The Youth Group concluded the long-stalled (thanks, Corona!) Halloween special mini-run.  At some point, the meticulous mind of the detective character grabs a jug of Delish-S softdrink (a long-running joke in my games, celebrating a particularly heinous concoction that even Truck's Tacos-- home of the chocolate-covered mayonnaise ball-- refuses to carry).

 

Mycroft [grabbing a jug from a player about to throw it an approaching zombie]: No; I am checking the label.  I have _got_ to know what's in this stuff, and who makes it!  

 

GM: You check the label, and notice that the first four entries are Corn Syrup, Orange Juice, Milk, and baby aspirin, followed by about seventy preservatives

 

Mycroft's player:  Oh, for Pete's sake!  Why can't you just say "Sunny D" like a normal person?!

 

 

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