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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 reptilian 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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