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Drhoz

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Drhoz last won the day on June 1 2020

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  • Birthday 08/11/1973

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  1. Pathfinder : Hell's Bright Shadow - A Night At The Opera Civilla’s character’s Drawback is Family Ties. Terzo’s player: Just Family Ties or 80s sitcoms in general? All: …. GM: That was a Kevin-level joke and you should be ashamed. Civilla’s player: When I found this Pokeball item in the TTS menu I said ‘Yes, I’m using that to keep my Summoned Monsters in’ Ayva’s player: Giant F***-off Toad, I choose you! Civilla’s Player: I can’t summon those yet. Ayva’s player: Small F***-off Toad, I choose you! Closing Kintargi’s beloved opera house is not the only bizarre thing Barzillai Thrune has done - his other proclamations include banning the drinking of tea after sunset, and declaring that mint is an abomination. Terzo: The man is a cad. I might, if pressed, go so far as to describe him as a knob-end. Terzo: He’s not married? At his age? Surely he should have ensured an heir and a spare by now. I mean, I don’t envy whoever he’s been married off to, but it’s not like House Thrune haven’t been sticking their… fingers… in everything else. He comes to a city widely acknowledged as having the most beautiful people of the Inner Sea, and the only locals he wants to meet are the canines. Heaven knows there are reasons one might want to conceal one's personal predilections - there’s more beards in Kintargo theatre then there are the nearest dwarfhold - but it’s like the man WANTS to go down in history as Barzillai the Dogf***er. Between people who have been financially inconvenienced by martial law or the closure of the opera house, and people desperately trying to find any anti-government allies that haven’t already been rounded up and publicly tortured to death by Thrune’s agents, and people just tagging along to see what happens, and people pickpocketing the crowd, and Thrune’s Blackshirts, there’s quite a large crowd gathering in Aria Park opposite the Opera House. On the other hand quite a large number of Kintargo’s citizens have gone missing entirely, including the former Lord-Mayor Jilia Bainilus, and the outspoken opera diva Shensen. Anya is there to protest the government. Ayva: The current government, at least. The last one wasn’t very good, but you take what you can get. Terzo is ostensibly there because he invested an unwise proportion of his savings in the next season of the opera, but under his cheerful facade he actually carries a deep loathing of the Asmodean church and House Thrune. Rajira was actually going to BE in the next season of the opera, in Huntress of Heroes. Civilla is there to ensure her former tutor, Terzo, doesn’t get himself arrested with the rest of the mob. Terzo: Ah, Ms. Ononda, isn’t it? One of ‘Shensen’s Songbirds’ as I recall. I don’t suppose you’ve heard anything from her? I was quite looking forward to seeing your performance in Huntress of Heroes - you never forget your first night in a starring role. Although I must admit it’s been a few years since I played the lead in Ser Curlique. Rajira: And you don’t seem to have changed in size at all. Civilla: Ouch. Terzo: I don’t think I could play Ser Curlique anymore - perhaps his acquaintance Ser Lavagna? ‘Hurry Uuuupppp’. Ah, Civilla, dear girl, there you are - have you met Ms. Ononda? Of course Huntress of Heroes was already a controversial choice, given the current political climate. Maybe that’s why Shensen has gone missing. Most of us get to work agitating the crowd. Terzo, for example, loudly points out that some of the new laws would almost be acceptable if they were imposed by an actual local, instead of somebody like Thrune. Terzo: Why should a tiny city across the sea regulate the price of tea? And of course, indirectly slandering Thrune about the dog thing. Trying to polarize the crowd and drown out the Blackshirts etc is also a option to take - Anya pointing out that the Chellish government are technically still pro-slavery (something she has a personal stake in) shuts some of them up, and Terzo leading a portion of the crowd in a rousing chorus of Do You Hear The People Sing? helps Terzo: Definitely not the kind of song Thrune would want pointed in his direction, either. Thrune, who has claimed the Opera House as his residence for some damned reason, eventually stops ignoring the gathering crowd and comes out onto the balcony. Barzillai Thrune: Ah, my adoring little chickadees. I am sorry to say I have not yet adapted to your quaint, country ways, being accustomed as I am to the sophistication and learning of Egorian. Nonetheless, know I have heard your concerns, and that I appreciate your valued feedback, and I know we shall eventually find a mutual understanding in the fullness of time. I take pride in updating Kintargo’s quaint, outdated laws to the modern standards the city deserves, and strengthening its ties with the empire in these cruel times, but obviously I have approached my duties too aggressively. You say you chafe at the presence of nonnatives in positions of power? That authorities not of this city have no place as its leaders? That you will not be yoked by intruders? Your lord-mayor hears you. And so it is with a heavy heart that I issue this proclamation, in response to your demands: all ships’ captains are hereafter barred from leaving their vessels and setting foot on Kintargo docks or streets, under pain of... let’s say... squassation!” That is not good - a large proportion of the city’s wealth comes from the port, and he’s just made us very unpopular. Terzo: You take away our art and now you take away our income?! Somebody manages to fling manure up three stories, and the inquisitor spills his drink over his robes. Thrune is not the kind of man to take constructive criticism well. He sets his Dotarri on the crowd. And he had an alarmingly large number of armed agents hidden in the crowd. GM: If you can move off the map this round you can escape the riot. Terzo: I’m not going to leave these young women behind! Ayva: I’m older than you! Terzo: But you look younger so chivalry applies. Ayva: You flatterer, you. Terzo is the first one to get clubbed down, anyway. Evidently Thrune’s curs have no compunction about hitting old men. So the three women have to fight for themselves - Civilla Summons some of her creatures and whistles for her carriage, and Rajira gets just a teeny bit murderous with her kukri. Rajira: Grab the fat guy! Ayva: You must be kidding. Civilla: Please! The two of us should be able to drag him. Then Rajira gets ‘subdued’ - she’s going to need to be carried out too. Civilla: When we reach the edge of the park I summon a Chthonic Dolphin. GM: As if the riot wasn’t weird enough… And Thrune’s bodyguard Nox can apparently shrug off a dagger to the throat, although the NPC that knifed her is willing to help haul Terzo’s unconscious bulk out of the escalating riot, and we flee just before hellhounds get set on the crowd. Unfortunately there’s not enough room for the stranger in Civilia’s carriage, which she apologises profusely for. Maybe we’ll run into him again - he was certainly a dab hand with a thrown dagger. Civilla frets a bit until she’s sure Terzo and Rajira aren’t bleeding to death, and relaxes. Civilla: *mutters dark thoughts* I wonder if that one with the dung was a plant. Rajira: *mumbles* … no.. pretty sure he was human… Ayva: Wow. Even when she’s unconscious. Civilla orders her footman to drive the carriage back to her apartments. About an hour later Rajira and Terzo regain consciousness. Rajira: Ow. Terzo: *clutches head* I didn’t think I’d drunk that much… Civilla: You didn’t. You were struck in the head. Terzo: Hmm. I could say I’m surprised that Thrune is the kind of man that hires the kind of thugs that attack unarmed old men, but I’m really not. Civilla: He may not have hired them, but I strongly suspect that one that threw the manure was an agitator. Rajira OoC: A Chinese agitator - Who Flung Dung. Rajira comes around with a literal ‘Where am I?’ - she does want to know exactly who had a carriage on hand to get us out of there. It’s certainly evidence that Civilla has strong family connections, as well as wealth. Terzo is more interested in apologizing abjectly to the three women, for letting them get into such danger, especially since rescuing him put them into even more danger. And then he’ll have to find a few bottles of wine, since his Drawback is Hedonism. Ayva: Ah - a drunkard. GM: Wine, Women, or Song. Civilla: Well don’t look at me. Things get worse for the people of Kintargo, with armed groups of Thrune’s curs patrolling the streets on top of the curfew restrictions, etc. A few days later Rajira has to rescue a nobleman from a group of them. She does that by cutting one of their throats from behind. It takes a few goes, and her victim loses his fingers as well as he was trying to hold his throat shut when she slashed his throat again. And then Civilla calls for the Watch. Which shocks the rest of us until she points out that these thugs DID attack a nobleman. Although recognising the victim is a further shock, since he’s the youngest son of the Victocora family, and possibly the only surviving member after their family estate mysteriously burned to the ground a week ago. Rajira: We might have to get him out of here BEFORE the Watch arrives. Raxus Victocora: Do you have somewhere safe? Rajira: Yes. Come with us. Apparently Victocora saw us at the riot, and tried to follow us. He needs our help - Thrune’s agents were responsible for a lot of highly suspicious fires that night, as they eliminated anybody that might be a threat to the Inquisitor’s takeover of Kintargo. And we, at least, were influential enough to stir up the crowd, and lucky enough to not get arrested and tortured to death at the riot. Raxus Victocora: You are people of uncommon skill and I am a man of uncommon need. Rajira: This is my city - I have no wish to see it under the thumb of outsiders. Civilla: My Aunt Ginevra will hate me for this… Terzo: So. You want us to be rebels against the Chelish government? Well, my family always said I was the black sheep - I’m in. Ayva: What have we got to lose? Rajira: We might get killed. Ayva: We nearly got killed attending a peaceful protest. Victocora has a letter from a now dead relative, pointing us towards possible allies - the Order of Archivists who try to preserve historical records threatened by the Chellish equivalent of the Ministry of Truth, and the Silver Ravens, who protected Kintargo during the last civil war. The Ravens apparently have a hideout underneath the abandoned Fair Fortune’s Livery. Terzo OoC: We'll have to invent petrol engines in Pathfinder just so we'll have a place to hang Barzillai Thrune upside-down. Either that or post him to Civilla's brother in the Shackles - all pirates need a friend. Or chum. Ayva’s player: I’d quite like to do a prison break scenario at some point. Terzo’s player: Depending how this goes, we might have to - it’s not like we’re professional revolutionaries. Civilla’s player: First order of business, don’t get caught. Rajira OoC: Running from rooftop to rooftop is theoretically possible, but will involve a lot of climbing and leaping. Terzo OoC: Then let us hope we don’t have to do that, because Terzo leaping from roof to roof is ridiculous. Civilla OoC: I too am lacking in fantasy parkour skills. Terzo: It’s been quite a few years since I’ve had to use any kind of disguise spell… late nights meeting up with like-minded individuals… Civilla: Such is the price of celebrity. Terzo: I'd better go fetch my rapier from under the bed. Civilla’s OoC: Probably wise. I’m bringing my umbrella - so I have at least one square where I can Summon things in, without people noticing. The four of us and Victocora dress inconspicuously and squash into Civilla’s carriage, and try to get across town without being spied on. The strangest thing about the abandoned livery is that nobody has occupied the building - the nearby tiefling slum can’t be as overpopulated as it might be. Civilla: It might be a meeting-place for the local ne'er-do-wells - my Ears of the City spell wouldn’t have told me that. Terzo’s essentially spherical nature leads to problems with things beyond parkour. GM: It’s chained, but loosely enough that any medium creature should be able to slip in easily. Terzo: Ah - slight problem there. Civilla: Well, while Rajira picks the lock on the chain, the rest of us behave as though we’re slightly tipsy and looking for a little... Rajira: Privacy for an assignation? Civilla: Indeed. Ayva OoC: Any performance by Terzo is widescreen. Civilla: It’s been a long time since Terzo has slipped into anything. Other than a bottle. Unfortunately the livery is already occupied by large angry half-starved mastiffs. Terzo: I’m amazed they haven’t already been acquired for Thrune’s collection. Or should I say harem. Ayva: I should have brought some meat with me… Terzo: I shouldn’t have eaten that sandwich on the way here. Terzo is soon mauled by the largest mastiff. GM: You are a tasty tasty ham. Wine-glazed, even. Poking around after the fight reveals the old killing floor from when the building was an abattoir, and a secret door that isn’t very secret anymore. Terzo: Hopefully the ‘killing floor’ bit isn’t a portent.
  2. Champions : Return to Edge City : V Is For Visitors A few night later, while various party members are chomping on midnight mealworm bars, doing something wizardly up in the hills, drinking at a late-night party, and so on, a fiery SOMETHING narrowly misses Fireflash as she’s flying home from university, another takes out the top of Plaza Tower, and the other half-dozen light up the rest of town like daylight before they crash into the sea. Whatever they were they’ve also dropped burning debris all along their flight paths. Hardlight: I carefully put down my drink and dash off to change into my costume. Fireflash: I don’t know about you but I’m definitely buzzed. The Magus turns on the rain to control the spot fires as we converge on the Plaza - fortunately this happened at 3AM so the casualties should be limited, but we’ll still need to check for anybody still alive in the upper floors, which now have a large hole right through the building. GM: Plaza Tower is the tallest building in Edge City. Hero Shrew: Possibly not for much longer. Fireflash and Hardlight are scanning the upper floors for survivors, Flux has life support armour to go in anywhere he needs to, and Scooter stays down at ground level clearing debris off the roads so the emergency vehicles can get in. Hardlight: Oh my god, the team actually knows basic disaster relief. Fireflash also checks with the building security if anybody was logged in as being on those floors, and to our great relief there shouldn’t be. In fact, it looks like sheer fluke has prevented any fatalities in the tower. Hardlight bubbles fires to smother them. It’s still fortunate that the city’s emergency coordination centre wasn’t actually in Plaza Tower. Hero Shrew does think to look for any debris that isn’t part of the building, but is a bit too busy to look closely. Fireflash: Better make sure none of that debris is radioactive or toxic. Hardlight: What the hell was this anyway? A meteor strike? The Magus: Firewing sneezed. Probably not a re-entering satellite - whatever they were they came in from the east, which is unlikely. And once the situation here is dealt with, we can go use the Qruiser’s submarine capabilities to find whatever they were. Although the Navy ships en route do try to wave us off. If they were Coast Guard they could actually do it. We find where they settled into the sediment, but they’re not there now. It looks suspiciously like somebody beat us to the site and moved the objects back in towards shore. There’s also a number of individuals in US Marine power armour. But since we used our police powers to declare it a police emergency, they might just be here to observe and demarcate the limit of international waters, so it doesn’t become Their Problem. The Magus: Gosh, it’s like we need somebody who can reconstruct events of the past. Fireflash does so, but what she gets most of is fish fleeing the scene. And five humanoid things carrying six objects back in the direction of the city. The Navy are probably going to want to know, since that implies the objects were escape capsules or an invasion force. Let’s hope that there’s lots of security cameras along the coast - and that Magus’ rain spell hasn’t stopped us actually seeing them come ashore. It does occur to Flux that we can use one of the scanning spells in reverse, to find anything in the debris that wasn’t part of Plaza Tower. Magus is impressed, and annoyed that he didn’t think of it first. It takes a while to sift through everything that isn’t a photocopier or the shredded remains of a surveillance pigeon, but we do find a shard of curiously oily metal covered in what might be blood. It may have had more blood on it earlier, but the friction coefficient of the metal is so low that most of it probably slipped right off again. The Magus: Anybody got one of those evidence baggies we’re supposed to be carrying? Flux: No? The Magus: Well, I’ll put it in one of the baggies that definitely didn’t contain some of my ‘supplies’ from earlier this evening. Which reminds me, hold this, I left my summoning circle on. We rule out that it was a local lacerated by the shard, too, so it was definitely one of the recent arrivals that was wounded in the collision. Flux: Hag about, you’ve got a spell that hugs people, and a spell called Sugar Crash. Now all you need is a Disabling Tickle Attack. You’re like a 5-yr-old that’s been given magic. The Magus OoC: At this point I’m pretty much a Dark Magical Girl The Magus tries a few spells on the blood, and does determine that the visitors are invisible to his detection spells. The Magus: Unfair - I have REASONS to be invisible to divination magic. I deal with major demonic cults! The shard on the other hand did come from something ‘Up.’ A Ways Up. We get two messages - one from UNTIL requesting a meeting, and one from the EC Fire Department thanking us for the assistance last night. Although carefully not thanking us for the rain spell since weather manipulation is banned by international treaty. Hardlight: There’s some data scientist at NOAA that’s had to reset all the predictions. Flux: Just blame it on 5G. And the first call came through immediately after we determined where the reentry capsules came from. Phone: We need to talk. Flux: God? Is that you? The representative lets us know that UNTIL’s space station detected a high energy event in low earth orbit, and tracked the six pods to Edge City, but immediately lost track of whatever the pods came from. Hero Shrew: Maybe they popped back into hyperspace after dropping them off? UNTIL Rep: We’re unaware of any species that utilise hyperspace. The Magus OoC: Apart from you guys, in your teleporters. GM: A fact that is not public knowledge so his statement is still true as far as you’re concerned. Hero Shrew: Maybe they had a Romulan Cloaking Device? UNTIL Rep: … you do know the Romulans are fictional, right? Hero Shrew: *looks innocent* They are? Fireflash: Scooter, stop trolling the government agent. The UNTIL guy is a bit annoyed that the Magus can still locate where the pods came from hours after all their space tech lost it. Us recovering that shard might help. Hero Shrew: It looks oily, but it doesn’t smell oily. I haven’t done a taste test yet. Fireflash: Well don’t. Flux: It might be radioactive. Hero Shrew: Will I get extra super-powers? UNTIL Rep: Hmm. That’s weird. Looks like a Mandaarin alloy. They visited Earth as peaceful explorers in 99. Hero Shrew: Well, a lot can change in 20 years - here on Earth big hoop earrings were back in fashion. Mandaarins surprisingly, aren’t orange and sort of round, but are instead mostly human in appearance, although about 40% of them are psychic. It’s surprising that they didn’t reach out for assistance from Earth’s governments, if they were in trouble. But as one of the most advanced races in the galaxy, it’s a bit alarming that they ould need help at all. Hero Shrew: Maybe they’re Mandaarin criminals trying to hide among the human population. Or a hunting party. Or Bounty hunters. UNTIL Rep: What part of ‘peaceful explorers’ did you fail to understand? We give him the debris for further study. Hero Shrew: I’m surprised you hadn’t asked for it already. You’ve got all those machines that go ping. UNTIL Rep: Yesssss… we have lots of machines that go ping. *aside* Is he for real? Flux: I’m afraid so. Fireflash: He hasn’t eaten in a while. Flux OoC: So, aliens have invaded Earth before? GM: Yes. One of the most famous superheroes in the world is an alien. Hero Shrew OoC: So is one of the most famous supervillains. GM: Yes. They often fight. Flux failed to detect any more of the alien alloy in Edge City, when he scanned for it. Flux: To be fair I haven’t had my coffee yet. Building another detector is probably still wise, but we’d need to keep some of the debris. Flux: Can we break it into two? UNTIL Rep: It’s pretty damn tough. Hero Shrew: Now I really want to chew on it. Hardlight: I don’t want to find out how many types of cancer he’ll get from having it in his mouth. UNTIL Rep: If you don’t understand their tech, it’s probably Mandaarian. They’re that advanced. In a few hundred years their entire civilization might up and leave the Milky Way. Flux: ‘We like the physics one galaxy over’. Hero Shrew: Well that makes it even weirder that their re-entry was so clumsy. So on top of all this, it’s probably alarming that WorldSat have lost contact with half their satellites. Flux: ‘ET Phone Home’ Hero Shrew: Theoretically speaking, if there was an entire alien fleet with Romulan Cloaking Devices up there, would it block radio transmissions but still be transparent to visible light? Hardlight: Now I have to wrack my brain for ways to defeat an alien invasion. Hero Shrew: The common cold! Fireflash: Cut them off at the ankles - that'll defeet them. We head over to the WorldSat building, in case the problem is at this end, and are surprised to find a very neat square hole in one of the upstairs windows. Magus’ Ghostsight spell soon determines that the building’s security personnel are alive, but unconscious, and neatly stacked against the wall, and that there are other beings crowded into and around the server room. Two of them appear to be Star Trek aliens, one is a human businesswoman with small horns, one appears to be a wolf Moreau, and one is a heavily armed and cyborged out the wazoo. Hero Shrew: So probably not Mandaarians then. GM: Nope - because none of them could pass for human. The Magus: Although there’s any number of Edge City gangs they could fit into without comment. Fireflash and Hardlight plan to fly in the hole and target the pastrolling wolf-morph, while the rest of the team teleport in and gang-cape the cyborg. The Magus will teleport straight back out, taking the security guys with him. Hero Shrew: Just making sure he IS a cyborg right? Fireflash: That’s what the Magus’ spell says. So no dismantling. Hero Shrew: But putting extra right angles in his limbs won’t be as much of a problem? Unfortunately one of the bad guys has Danger Sense, and stun+entangle grenades. And some sort of sealant gun that glues Scooter to the floor. Hero Shrew: What the h*** did they spray me with, starship glue?? GM: Yes. That’s exactly what they sprayed you with. Hero Shrew OoC: I’m frustrated - I want to hit people, the team wants me to hit people, there’s people RIGHT THERE I can hit, and here I am stuck to the floor. It might help us if we knew what they were saying, but of course we don’t speak Alien and they seem unwilling to compromise. Some of the associated gestures don't seem very flattering. Fortunately the Magus teleports back into the building and gives the rest of the team some much-needed assistance in the form of police-approved comas. Various other four-colour pyrotechnics ensue, which is only to be expected when 10 superhumans get together and immeadiately start swinging. Wolf-guy, who got blown out an upper-storey window, uses an Entangle grenade on himself to reduce the damage from his imminent argument with gravity. Hardlight hurriedly creates a giant green glowing catcher’s mitt, anyway. Quite a bit of damage is done to this floor of the building, and the various participants, but with the exception of the steel being ripped out of the walls by Flux to try and entangle the aliens, and the fact that one of the aliens appears to be bleeding out, none of it looks like it’ll be lasting. Quite a few thankfully non-loadbearing walls do get turned into confetti, however. Scooter finally breaks free of the starship glue and takes considerable pleasure out of punching the cyborg in his carbon-nanotube kidneys. It’s at this point the cyborg finally decides to speak English. He points at the alien currently unconscious underneath him. Cyborg: If This One Does Not Pilot Ship Down It Will Crash Into City. Hero Shrew: *skids to a halt* It would have been nice to tell us that EARLIER. Hardlight: I told you guys we should have tried to talk to them first! GM: You guys are making me think of a Miley Cyrus song. Fireflash’s player: Which one? GM: Wrecking Ball. Hero Shrew: We are going to get so many dirty looks… GM: It’s just as well two of you guys have Repair spells.
  3. Champions : Return To Edge City : Silverfish Bait Fireflash is out patrolling one evening when she spots some suspicious midnight furniture removal. Or possibly cow-tipping, with trucks. Hardlight: Was there a football game tonight? GM: That’s actually a good question. Fireflash flies over to the possible drunken hooligans, who are shaking and yelling at a truck with dark windows, and asks what is going on. They take one look at her and run off. She knocks on the van and asks if everybody inside is okay, whereupon the rear doors open and somebody says ‘We will be!’. It’s another attempt to catch Fireflash, by the Doomtroopers. One might ask why Fireflash is out patrolling alone if this kind of thing keeps happening, but as the GM points out, Fireflash is the only member of Quadrant that can be trusted not to turn a basic patrol into a disaster. And there is also the problem that if Scooter, say, is trying to keep up with her, he’d keep running into buildings and passing traffic. It would probably help if we’d set The Magus up with a link to the Crime Computer too, but we keep forgetting. It would certainly help co-ordinating the response of the rest of the team, and whether it would be faster for us to converge on Fireflash’s position ourselves, or have whoever is at the base and has the keys to the Qruiser come pick us up. By the time Flux gets there, he’s in time to see Fireflash being loaded into the back of the van, but instead of driving off in it the Doomtroopers rappel up to their invisible helicopter. Flux: The package has been collected. Hero Shrew: Well stop them getting away! Flux: Scooter, we had a meeting about this, we let her get captured then we follow them back to their base. Fireflash: Please tell me they’re not having this conversation over our unsecured comm channel. By the time the rest of us get there, there’s smoke coming out of the back of the van. Scooter pulls the doors off the van, revealing a circle of melted electronics and no Fireflash. Flux: Tracking teleports is a pain. Hardlight: We planned for this, remember. Flux: I know, but now we have to go get the Magus because we forgot to key him into the Crime Computer AGAIN and he hasn’t got any of the push notifications. At least we have three different ways to track her - one tracker that’s only there for ARGENT to find, one active-on-demand tracker that the one we hope they don’t look for, and a lock of her hair we can track magically if we have to. Hero Shrew: And hopefully they haven’t dipped her in Nair(™) Flux: It doesn’t work like tha- actually that’s a good point. But why would they depilate her if they don’t know about magical tracking? GM: To have more places to attach the electrodes. Fireflash: Ow. Flux: It’ll take me an hour to set up my magical tracking device, but if we get the Magus here it’s five minutes of wiggling. GM: I can’t wait to hear your explanation of all this to the Magus. The Magus is suitably impressed by a plan so half-assed that most of us had forgotten the details. Although in Scooter’s case that probably took under 24 hours. Flux: Sorry we didn’t give you the log-in earlier. Or the low-down. The Magus does suggest we at least LOOK like we’re investigating the remains of the van, before he does his stuff. Apparently Fireflash isn’t that far away - somewhere at the south end of Edge City’s medical center. Hero Shrew: Just point me at whatever you want me to punch. Flux: No, no, no punching yet. I want negative punch. Hero Shrew:... what, hitting myself? The Magus can tell she’s underground, in some kind of sensor equipment, and on an IV drip. He can also tell there’s some large blocks of Edge City opaque to magevision, which will probably bear later investigation, but ARGENT or whoever paid to kidnap Fireflash aren't keeping her in one. He can also see what he presumes is a roomful of cloning tanks. Flux: Who needs a tunneling machine when we have a giant shrew. Flux OoC: I can think of one major problem with our tunneling equipment - most mining machines don’t need to surface regularly and say ‘I should have taken that left at Albuquerque’. Hero Shrew OoC: Hey, that rabbit cut Florida off from the mainland. Flux OoC: … true. You still need a Disguise skill of at least 30. GM: Nah, just a deep understanding of his opponent’s fetishes. The Magus also points out that we should have the police cordon off the building before we go in - ARGENT is an illegal organisation in the US, but we can probably guarantee they’ll have the ARGENT logo on all the stuff in their secret base. They have a strong internal corporate culture, and presumably don’t make their employees pee in bottles. Of course, timing will be everything - we can probably also guarantee they’re listening to all police band communications. Probably best that we use teleportation to organise the police back-up, and then teleport our team into the sewer entrance and sweep in from there. Of course the moment we teleport in the pressure sensors in the floor go off - they might not have defenses against teleporters specifically, but this just proves they don’t need them. Hardlight: Scooter, punch those doors in. Hero Shrew: I thought you wanted Negative Punch? *punches them out of their frames anyway* The ARGENT staff in the dormitory are a bit surprised to see us - they’re still in their underoos. But we can hear machinery somewhere nearby starting up. Hardlight: That better not be an army of Fireflash clones. The security staff we’ve just surprised do have instant-armour-deployment hatches above their bunks, although they at least look embarrassed at having transformation sequences. Hero Shrew OoC: Doesn’t bother me - now they’re in armour I can hit them as hard as I like. ARGENT Mook: *thinking* Out of all these supers that guy is the only one that stands out. Magus looks... Normal. I don’t trust that. *Shoots Magus*. As it happens it’s Hardlight who forgets how fragile humans can be, and blasts one of the as-yet-unarmoured mooks most of the way through a wall. Hardlight: Oh S*** oh S*** oh S*** Flux OoC: You’re rolling GREAT for once. Hardlight: I just did that in front of Hero Shrew! Flux: We had a meeting about that sort of thing - I ignored most of it, but still. We soon run into somebody attempting to flee the complex, carrying an unconscious Fireflash. He seems a little perturbed to come face-to-face with the rest of our team. Evil Scientist: Ah. This is problematic. It’s probably even more problematic that any reinforcements from the room with all the tanks have to deal with the Magus-summoned tentacles holding the door shut. Or rather, holding the pieces of the door in place. Flux adds his own Entangle attack. GM: It looks WRONG. The things coming through the door seem a bit wrong, too - despite the various unnatural senses available to the party, it’s not clear whether they’re robots, cyborgs, or just armoured humans. They’re certainly tougher than the armoured mooks. And it would appear there were a lot of them in those tanks we detected. Flux: Who wants to tell Fireflash that she snores? Hardlight revives an understandably annoyed Fireflash, who flies off to apply a therapeutic beat-down. Hardlight OoC: Well there’s your two page spread for this issue. Fireflash OoC: Actually, what are you wearing? GM: Not your costume. Hardlight OoC: Well, it’ll be fine, unless we’re published by Image. GM: If we were published by Image this scene would be on the cover. Flux OoC: And you’d be nude. One of the new bad hits the Magus most of the way down the corridor - he was extremely fortunate there wasn’t a wall behind him, or he’d have ended up like that mook Hardlight accidentally left coughing up internal organs. Another tries to do the same to Hardlight, who frantically preserves the integrity of his cervical vertebrae by throwing up a forcewall that deflects the punch. At least we find out that at least one of these new bad guys are female, or perhaps just programmed with female voice files. Bad Gal: Irregular. They actually hit Hero Shrew hard enough to knock him out. That is alarming. He has a skull like a cinder block. Fireflash suggests a tactical retreat, but the Magus points out that these things, whatever they are, would slaughter the police waiting to apprehend anybody leaving the building. Although judging by the EM spikes Flux can detect from another chamber, a bunch of the Evil Scientists got their emergency teleporter working and are escaping that way. Bad luck for the rest of the staff that didn’t get there in time. Whatever ARGENT came up with when they were creating these guys, they’re certainly highly dangerous, even when they limit themselves to non-lethal attacks. And then the sprinklers go off. As the only one not wrapped in armour, or force fields, he’s the only one that notices the ‘water’ tingles. And smells weird. Hero Shrew: What does cerebrospinal fluid smell like? I think it might be mine. It’s actually scrubbing the complex of DNA evidence. The tanks in the big room were also being purged, but Hardlight gets there in time to stop the program. The contents are all identical clones of a woman we don’t recognise, with cyberbrains installed to ensure total obedience and custom knowledge sets. And it looks like ARGENT were repurposing an old Genesys lab, which will annoy Scooter when his brain stops rattling. It would further seem that ARGENT were planning to use these clone cyber-amazons as replacements for the Doomtroopers when their contract expired. It’s pretty horrendous, actually. Flux is appalled by the theft of free will, for a start, and Fireflash wants to know exactly why they needed her in captivity again. At least we caught one of the scientists. Fireflash: You will now tell me everything. ARGENT Scientist: No I won’t. Fireflash: *blasts a hole through the wall next to his ear* I wasn’t asking. Hero Shrew: How come she gets to kill people, I don’t. Flux: I’m just going to turn off the cameras… we’re going to be in so much trouble. Apparently he genuinely can’t tell us where the computer records are. Or where his boss is. Fireflash: I find that difficult to believe. ARGENT Scientist: That’s because you’re… I mean I’m not surprised. Fireflash: Take this useless POS away before I do something obscenely violent. Hero Shrew: Notice that she didn’t say ‘that I’d regret’. Hardlight: I’m just staying very quiet and out of her way. There’s still a room half-full of clone bodies that hadn’t woke up yet, before Hardlight shut the room down. Hardlight: Do we know any AIs that want physical bodies? Flux: WE ARE NOT GOING THERE. Hero Shrew: Well, at least we got our Fireflash back Flux: Did we though? She might be a clone.*pokepoke* Fireflash: Quit poking me! Flux: It’s her. A clone would have slapped me. The Magus: I’m going to go invent a spell that turns cyberbrains into real brains so people stop being immune to my mental powers. Flux: The mage’s answer to technology, everybody.
  4. Champions : Return To Edge City : A Slow Week There’s been a break-in at one of the LowellTech warehouses. The entire building got cleared out before anybody got here. They left an electronic signature on the looped footage, but also, oddly, an ‘I Was Never Here’ field. It’s not surprising that the Crime Computer missed it, because it really only responds to actual people in danger, but something is clearing affecting the more unusual sensory abilities we have available. The Magus and Flux do rig a tracking spell, and recover the stolen goods, but Hardlight’s impatience means we botch the chance to arrest anyone. Hero Shrew: And because Hardlight did a Leroy Jenkins the bad guy got away? The Magus: We didn’t even SEE the bad guy. Flux: By the time we found out that we could have found out it was too late to find out. Although Scooter does have news about a new player in Studio City - this Moreau goes by King Tiger. He’s a student of the Shaolin temple, and has been attracting students. Apparently he’s a bit pissed to have missed an invite to that martial arts tournament. He’s also been speaking out against Madam Lil and Colin as representatives of the community. GM: The problem isn’t that he’s vocal, it’s that he’s vocal and people are listening. It’s certainly true that the prostitution at the Collar Club and Madam Lil’s establishment is either illegal or legally problematic, but King Tiger dislikes the tone set by having a brothel owner and a pimp represent the community, more than the legal aspects. He wants to be the Zoo’s face himself, and promote closer relationships with the neighbouring Chinatown. The growing rift it’s provoking might be a problem. Hero Shrew: I feel a need to protect Colin - he gave me a job. That proves he has good judgement. The Magus: This King Tiger might have a point. Although King Tiger turns out to be a good name, since he’s 10 foot tall and can bench-press 6 ½ tonnes. He’s also clashed with Wild Kingdom a few times. Flux: I’ll put a tick in the positive column there. Flux: As long as he doesn’t start anything, I say we don’t get involved. Hero Shrew OoC: I’m more concerned about the growing rift in the tiny Moreau community, but Political Awareness does not feature prominently on Scooter’s character sheet. So we ask The Rep for advice, which is as bad as you might expect. Being Pro-Colin can also be construed as being pro-prostitution and pro-explotation. A public stance of being anti-King Tiger could still work, however. As usual, we feel the need for a shower when we’re done. Hero Shrew: I should tell Colin privately that I’m on his side. If a five minute conversation with The Rep is any indication, I really don’t want to get involved in politics full-time. There’s more Moreau kids on the way too - the contraceptive implants are really starting to fail. And it also appears some Moreaus were engineered for accelerated maturation. Hardlight: Are variously-shaped prophylatics going to be required in future? I should do some research. … I just said that out loud didn’t I. The Magus and Flux do figure out how to dismiss that depressed Chinese Demon that’s been hanging the Zoo back to the Hells, who bows and hands them a note with a written character and old Chinese coin before vanishing. The character is ‘debt’ - apparently getting him out of a contract that he could not complete means he owes us a favour.
  5. Actual people remain anonymous, to protect the guilty A: if the cat is already dead when it goes inside the box, could it become alive again in its unobserved state? Only thing that supports my theory is the story of Lazarus and the resurrection of Christ But both of those lack boxes B: Boxes are a prerequisite. Which may explain the fascination cats hve with them... A: Could it be thats the reason behind the longevity of cats? they are part time dead? could explain the 9 lives C: Jesus dies and gets put in a rock box [cave]. For three days he is both in the rock box and "with god." On day 3 they open the rock box and the chocolate egg industry is born. A: So boxes are basically more efficient and portable caves? B: No, caves are less efficient and portable boxes. A:so how does the chocolate egg tie into it? B: Any time you get cats and boxes together you have to expect side effects. A: wait wait i got it, in the Hobbit, eggs was the answer to the riddle concerning a box with no lid, lock or hinge but golden treasure lies within! Cause of the caves inefficiency and the fact Christ is a lizard *See lizard Mary theory* we have unexpected side effects of the quantum Resurrection B: Now explain the bunnies.
  6. On the Rajira character pic above - "Now there is a Face that says "Your future holds many things: Death, Snu-Snu or Death by Snu-Snu"."
  7. Characters for the next campaign - In Hell's Bright Shadow Civilla Alazario: Changeling scholar and arcanist with occult ties beyond the material world. The family Alazario (motto: Sword or pen, we conquer all) have branches all over the former Chellish empire, and scions of the House include a Pirate Captain of the Shackles. The core branches are loyal to House Thrune, but heavy influence from the Varisian branch in Magnimar causes internal conflict. The Alazarios live their lives by 5 questions and the 4th - Who do you serve and who do you trust? - weighs heavily on Civilla's mind. Rajira: A Vishkanya, exotic humanoids with a proficiency for poisons. Since she’s also a Rogue, and devotee of the goddess of lust and revenge, woe betide anybody that attracts her ire. Ayva Romanya: Half-Elf Tattooed Sorcerer. Her earliest years are a mystery but at a young age she was taken as a slave by Dwarven followers of Droskar the dark smith. She took to the life of toil like a fish to water, honing her craft as she grew. When her 'Parents' mysteriously went to the Dark Furnace early she set out on her own, keeping her joy of 'frivolous' painting as her comfort. "Adventure and toil awaits!" Terzo Porcinus: An over-the-hill bard, who used to be highly experienced but lost most of those skills because he hasn’t actually worked in years, on top of two decades of wine for breakfast. If the Pickled Ham industry ever needs a mascot, Terzo is their man. In Hell’s Bright Shadow is set in Kintargo, a city in the nation of Cheliax. The Chelish government (diabolists all) has a minor problem at the moment - a growing uprising at the other end of the country, so Kintargo is currently under martial law, specifically the law of one Inquisitor Barzillai Thrune. Terzo: You do have to wonder what Thrune was thinking when he came to a city where the two main pastimes are opera, and muttering about overthrowing the government - and he bans the opera. (You also have to wonder what the writers were thinking when they created a country that is clearly supposed to be Fantasy Italy, and made the state religion devil-worship.)
  8. I was wondering why the GM was so keen on having the wedding in the capitol... Maybe, but also a neat cliffhanger ending for the campaign
  9. Pathfinder : The Mummy's Mask - Finale Zenobia’s player: Anyway, that was my bad day - let’s see if we can give Hakotep’s widow Neferuset a bad day of her own. Asrian’s player: Double widow. Zenobia’s player: True, they were both already undead. Nemat: It occurs to me that to accomplish my future plans I need to seek an audience with the legitimate Pharaoh. Onka: I don’t think that will be a problem - we just saved his entire kingdom. Nemat: But I need to get his permission to take possession of an Osirion landmark. Zenobia: Ubet’s Folly at Wati? Cheap at half the price, I should think. He’ll probably be grateful you don’t want more. Asrian uses Hero’s Feast to buff us all. Onka: It shouldn’t take us more than two hours to deal with her. Zenobia: Unless she comes looking to see what happened to her husband. Asrian: True, she might show up while we’re eating. GM: A Teleportation circle opens in front of you. Zenobia: While we’re having breakfast? GM: Yes. Zenobia OoC: I’ll delete those temporary hit points then. GM: Nothing comes through the circle. Nemat: Ah, it’s an invitation. Which I choose to ignore until we’ve finished the feast. Zenobia OoC: I’ll put those temporary hit points back on again. Onka: Pass the chicken. THEN we go through the teleport circle - even if Neferuset has a small army waiting at the other side, our chances are still actually pretty good. We’ve curbstomped nearly everything else they’ve thrown at us. There’s a disturbing amount of fresh blood and older gore splashed around the chambers beyond, but the decorations and statuary are all Ancient Osirion themed. Which is a bit odd, given we know Neferuset was a devotee of the entities of the Outer Dark, rather than the more familiar gods - even if those more familiar gods include Set, who should be Chaotic enough for anybody. Zenobia: I certainly hope they didn’t collect the friends we left outside the pyramid to provide that blood. It’s certainly easy enough to get past some of the defences, once Onka identifies them, when they’re too stupid to realise we’re walking past them just because we put a paper-thin wall in the way. Nemat OoC: It helps that we have three librarians in the party, instead of murder-hoboes. It also helps that we’re too paranoid to follow blood trails to where they end suddenly in the middle of a corridor. Instead we use Tombsight to identify what is probably Neferuset’s chamber off to the side. Asrian: Time for another Magnifying Chime. Zenobia: Do you want me to snipe her in the back of the head with the Greater Arrow of Undead Slaying as well? Zenobia’s player: Just another reason why this module needs more wandering monsters - if they had wandering monsters we wouldn’t have TIME to do things like this. Most of the chamber beyond the one we just reduced to rubble is filled with magical darkness. Queen Neferuset seems a bit upset with us, although the Dark Ones apparently predicted most of what happened today, although were a bit vague on the details. Neferuset: You have defiled our throne. You have killed the true Pharoah of Osirion. You have murdered my beloved Hakotep... I wished that this would not be so for centuries... but the dark ones already foretold this fate for my husband... On you, however.. they are frustratingly vague in their whispers...For they are too occupied with their coming arrival to this world. You shall pay for your transgressions here, "Covenant of Wati". For even should you succeed, and you will not, the Old Ones WILL return, and not even the GODS shall be saved! So Meet the Inhabitants of Oblivion, blasphemers. Experience a taste of the Void's cold embrace! Her minions certainly have a lot of tentacles, and not much else recognisable as terrestrial anatomy. Zenobia: It’s ironic that these things hail from the lightless void - because that end of the chamber is about to light up like the surface of the Sun. Sunburst. It’s the duty of our faith to bring light to dark places, but it’s not usually this literal. Nemat: I bring my morningstar down on her head and don’t stop until I hit the floor. Zenobia: It’s amazing how less stressed I feel, now the entire Hakotep dynasty is dead. I think the last thing we need to do here, before we collect our friends outside and go report to the relevant authorities, is tell that ghost in the engine room the good news? Nemat: She probably already knows. Zenobia: Do we still want to blow up the engine room with another Magnifying Chime? Onka: Trashing the engine room is the kind of plan that comes with the description ‘Minimum Safe Distance’ He has a point - it won’t be easy to get out of the pyramid in ten rounds. Of course, we can just Summon a wood golem and tell IT to set off the chime in an hour. And there’s still the 15 lesser pyramids we shut down remotely. Do we hand over control to the legitimate ruler of Osirion? Asrian instead insists we fly them into the Eye of Abendego and crash them there, although Nemat insists we keep one for study. Nemat: I agree with Asrian on this - we need to NOT give the Pharaoh a fleet of flying pyramids. Asrian: As much as I love my country, I don’t want it to be the world. Nemat: And giving the Pharaoh a fleet of flying pyramids is called ‘empire building’. Jeshura, the pairaka, decides to go her own way after we meet her outside. GM: She intends to go on a long journey of self-discovery. Zenobia: If you ever want advice and a friendly ear, come find us in Wati. Asrian: And if she comes and causes problems I’ll cut her head off. Ruby Prince Khemet III, the Forthbringer: I wish to reward you with titles matching your accomplishments! Nemat: *starts to cackle disturbingly* Zenobia just wants to expand the hospital at Wati, so her friends talk her into accepting a writ to expand the temple of Sarenrae into a major temple. They point out that she is probably the most powerful Sarenite in the country now, and certainly qualifies as a High Priest. As for her fiance... Asrian: Hereditary Princess of Wati and the surrounding countryside. Nemat: … it only had a governor before. Asrian: And now it’s a principality. And I’ll have the authority to raze that f***ing Necropolis. Nemat: So the upcoming wedding is a royal one. Zenobia: And I’m going to have to completely reorganise it! Now I’m stressed again! Asrian: No dear, we’ll have people for that. Nemat requests a Writ of High Justice - Asrian can give him that old fortress herself, now she’s a princess. Onka: Sorry, I was a bit distracted wondering where Asrian is going to put her palace. I’d like a writ of free passage across Osirion and beyond, so I may travel as Onka the Wanderer. Asrian: Onka the Seeker of Truth. Onka: I like that better. And if he phrases the writ properly he can start a travelling order of suitable scholars. Nemat: Good, you can help me eliminate that Nethyrite cult. Nemat: Onka, I need you to brew a particular potion - two doses. She did ask to be a hereditary princess and this way they’ll have options. The wedding of Zenobia and Asrian is spectacular, and given the size of the guest list we’ll have to hold it in the capitol, especially since Asrian is royalty now. She invites most of the friends we made over the last few years (it’s not like Zenobia intends to invite any of her relatives). And Asrian even goes unveiled for the ceremony, although Zenobia does have to hold her hand reassuringly for the whole thing. GM: The ceremony is beautiful, Zenobia and Asrian exchange their vows, and kiss, and the Black Dome dominating the Sothis skyline cracks open and a monstrous beetle hundreds of feet long emerges from the earth underneath it. Nemat: What? WHAT? Asrian: *sigh* Timing... Freeze-frame as Asrian draws her sword from under her dress and the Covenant of Wati turn to face this new threat...
  10. I refer you to this Kurt Vonnegut story
  11. Couple of options here, all pretty micro https://australian.museum/learn/animals/fishes/fwhat-is-the-smallest-fish/
  12. Pathfinder - The Mummy's Mask - Boss Fight We've reached the culmination of the entire campaign - one last level of the Sky Pharaoh's pyramid, and a confrontation with the cruel undead ruler himself. It's probably a good point to take stock of our abilities and resources. Over the last three years of play we've gone from 1st level to 16th Lvl Mixed Combat Archeologists, and would probably be even more experienced (and scarred) if we didn't keep avoiding side quests and obstacles, and using diplomacy instead of weapons. Nemat Merituzat, AKA Nemat of Valat: Now very much an Inquisitor of Wadjet, and more than enough power to back up his support of the Old Pantheon. Popular combat tactics include growing to enormous size and enchanting his weapon of choice with whatever Aspects are going to make his target most unhappy. Onka the Half-orc Spell Sage: His mastery of magical theory and animated constructs has probably saved our lives more than once, given we went into the campaign armed to face undead and keep running into assorted golems, living statues, and automata. Still wearing the eponymous Mummy’s Mask, which contains Hakotep’s ka and hopefully won’t lead to any issues later. Asrian al-Adjir: Has had a bunch of mental adjustments over the past couple of years. She's fallen in love, gained a new level of determination to protect her loved ones, and her body image issues have, through the encouragement of her friends and lover, been significantly reduced. She has also taken her art of combat to levels she has never conceived of before, and reached the pinnacle of her mystic abilities. She isn't quite sure what she's going to do now, aside from marrying Zenobia. Zenobia the Gnoll: Still firmly faithful to the Cleansing Light, Sarenrae, although under increasing stress every time she sees her fiance and found family put themselves in harm’s way. Does have some plans for after the wedding, assuming she can keep everybody alive until then. We’ve amassed a large number of useful magical items, some acquired, some created to order by Onka in his hyperbolic time chamber, and some purchased on quick teleportation trips back to town. And we can use Portable Holes, Create Constructs, Summon Planar Ally, and Summon Monsters, to get all our allies and Hakotep’s disgruntled former employees together and accrue more. And if the Sky Pharaoh is one of those undead that regenerate, we have some 100 needles designed to stop assassination victims coming back to complain. With any luck we now outnumber anybody left in the Pyramid, and Hakotep will roll over to avoid a much-deserved beatdown. Zenobia: Lets find him, talk him down, and resolve all this peacefully. Onka OoC: Spoken like a true Sarenite who will be going last in the initiative order. It seems unlikely that anybody else in the party will GIVE Zenobia a chance to parley with the Final Boss. Even assuming we survive that long - the gynosphinx that Nemat summons with a request for assistance has a LONG list of Hakotep’s most favoured minions and monsters that we haven’t encountered yet. Zenobia’s face becomes increasingly aghast at the recitation of horrors. We descend into the horrible depths, with superhero landings. This might have been unwise given Onka is back in his Ancient Osiriani Mecha Suit. Zenobia: This big crack in the floor wasn’t from you landing, was it? We’ve landed in what appears to be some kind of engine room, possibly, although one of the engines is broken and spewing pink smoke. There’s also some kind of spirit engineer, who appears to be a tad cranky with Hakotep, and a bit cranky with the state of the pyramid. Ghost: I take it you’re here to take the Pharaoh ‘out’. Onka: Absolutely. Asrian: That’s the plan. Zenobia: I keep suggesting we talk to him first but they don’t agree. Nemat: Not This Time! Nemat: We need to put him down and send him on to his reward. Onka: I think you mean his Just Desserts. She’s a Shory Engineer. Nemat: But the Shory are long dead. Asrian & Zenobia: So’s she. She’s also Jeshura’s sister, and had been murdered by her, so it’s just as well we didn’t bring Jeshura into the pyramid for the final fight. Zenobia nearly blabs that we know her, until Asrian shuts her up. Zenobia: Would you like us to help you on to your final rest? Shory Engineer: I wouldn’t mind seeing my husbands again. Assuming they weren’t too stupid to find the door to the afterlife. Onka: Part of me wants to bottle her and take her home with me. We’ll probably have to destroy the pyramid’s power source to release her ghost. We press on - using the door in the other direction we intended, on the ghost’s recommendation - she designed the pyramid after all. Shory Engineer: Have fun storming the castle. We do the obvious thing, and try to go through the wall instead. It turns out the designers of the traps thought of the obvious thing too, and a Symbol of Insanity goes off. Shory Engineer: I wouldn’t do that if I w- oh dear. It also appears that the ghost’s information is out of date - the short corridor beyond is lined with sealed chambers, that Nemat can check for undead without even opening the doors. That doesn’t stop him drilling holes in said doors to check. It would appear that one chamber has a teleportation circle, but there’s no safe way to check where it goes, and while the spell in question prevents teleportation anywhere innately dangerous, there’s still plenty of ways they can kill you. Zenobia: Such as onto a frictionless floor overlooking a chasm? Nemat: Or just to a point several miles above the ground. On the other hand we still have Overland Flight going. Still probably wiser to check the other corridors first. Zenobia: I wonder how that gynosphinx does her make-up, with paws. Nemat: Prestidigitation. Onka: Maybe she’s born with it. Nemat: Maybe it’s Maybelline. GM: This next bit was supposed to be a cool reveal, but you WOULD summon somebody with Legend Lore. Zenobia OoC: We always do our research first. It’s like having a high Library Use skill in Call of Cthulhu. The next chamber contains that Herald of Hakotep we’re run into before - although it appears her rather attractive appearance in those previous meetings was because she was wearing somebody else’s skin as a costume. She doesn’t look nearly as appealing now, unless you like flayed corpses. We’re not about to kinkshame you. Ain-Mekh: It was my belief we would meet again. Welcome to the workshop of Anubis - Anubis as he should be. Soldiers of the Sky Pharaoh! Slay these intruders so that we might add their numbers to our strength! Zenobia OoC: My go now? Nemat OoC: What? No, it’s Asrian’s turn - you’re merely engaged, you’re not a single organism yet. Zenobia OoC: We’re only joined at the hips sometimes.*lewd smile* Asrian casts Wall of Sound across the room - which is especially effective since the herald’s back-up archers keep setting it off again and hurting their boss more. We very probably could have killed her by throwing handfuls of pebbles through the barrier. GM: At this rate she’s going to be killed by her own henchmen. Nemat: Par for the course with us. Zenobia OoC: That herald of Hakotep frightened my fiance. So, hopefully the boundless love and mercy of Sarenrae will render her down to her constituent atoms.*Channel Ray of Positive Energy, with added Sun’s Blessing and Beacon of Faith* Onka: I wish wizards had some kind of magical sleeve we could pull Rods and Wands out of as needed. Nemat: We do, it’s the Wizard’s Golfbag. Also known as the Efficient Quiver. In the end we barely need to do anything to her henchmen - they follow their previous orders and march straight through the Wall of Sound and blow themselves to pieces. Asrian: That spell was a lot more effective than I thought it would be. Not that I’m complaining. Among the valuables we sieve out the debris are a couple of interesting spell scrolls. Some of them rendered illegible because of exploded pickled viscera, but Prestidigitation deals with that problem instantly. The next chamber is knee-deep in mummified bodies, more bodies hanging from chains, hieroglyphs apparently drawn in blood, and ominous glowing sigils. Zenobia: … can we NOT go through this room? Even if it was merely the site of a major industrial necromancy accident, we can avoid it using Tef-naju’s Stone Shaping abilities, and we don’t even have to go all the way through in one go - letting Nemat use his Tombsight through a now paper-thin wall will help avoid any surprises. In fact, whoever is on the other side of the wall is going to be more surprised when we bypass half the pyramid. In fact, since Tef-Naju has unlimited uses of Stone Shape and the pyramid’s engineers can’t have installed Symbols of Insanity EVERYWHERE, we can install our own secret tunnels inside every wall, like a party of heavily armed termites. Asrian: More like a worm through an apple. And with a Silence spell up nobody is going to hear us tunneling away and drilling spyholes. Localised Silence will also be useful if we have to use Wall of Sound again. The power of the undead and constructs Nemat can detect strongly suggests we’re about to burst out of the wall right behind Hakotep’s throne. Alternatively, Asrian can just roll a coin enchanted with Magnifying Chime out into the room and do even more damage. Although we might have to back off in a hurry since after a few rounds of Chime the walls and ceilings are going to be coming down too. The GM has gone rather quiet. Nemat’s Player: Well, I’m going to go get a drink while the GM works out how much damage that did. Asrian’s player: Me too. Zenobia OoC: So Mr. GM, how many weeks of play have we just bypassed? GM: No. Comment. Especially if we use the Limited Wish scroll to ensure Hakotep fails his Spell Resistance check. Zenobia: I’m glad I thought of that. Nemat, Asrian, etc:*pleased agreement* Zenobia’s Player: Hooray! Zoidberg is useful. Chiming Coin: womWomWOMWOMMWOMM!!WOMMM!!!!!! Nemat: You might want to come over here, Zenobia. Onka OoC: ‘Does this sound like thermonuclear detonation to you?’ Nemat: I don’t know how they expected us to deal with this, but I’m glad we did it this way. Onka: Make of me still wants to have cast Magnifying Chime on the Mech suit and march it into the room. ‘You still want your mask back?’ Nemat: But it would still take damage. Onka: Nope - the spell radiates out. Nemat: Good point. Onka: ‘Ok, everybody budge in here with me.’ Four rounds later stone is starting to crack, but it’s not until the 5th round that Hakotep figures out what’s happening. But the effect is now wide enough that he can’t flee around the edges and get away. Nemet: See, I told you the throne room was through there - once you’re seen enough Ancient Osirion architecture it gets a bit predictable. GM: I can’t believe you cast this at 16th Level. Onka: Be glad it wasn’t me casting it or it would be Level 20 with my Spell Sage feats. Zenobia: I wonder if this is going to flood the throne room with lava from the fire level. Onka’s player: Well we can always do it again - we can use Hero Points to restore the spell slot. GM: What?? WHAT???? Asrian’s player: And I still have 6th Level slots free anyway. Alas, his throne room is large enough that if he cowers right in a corner he’ll only be affected by the final round of damage. Zenobia: Well, at least we made him hide in a corner. Hakotep The First: I am the Sky Pharoah, master of the worl- what’s that noise? Hakotep’s throne room is thoroughly trashed. Unfortunately, our tunnel is revealed as well, so sniping the Sky Pharoah in the back of the head with a Greater Arrow of Undead Slaying, through another spyhole, is probably off the table. Alas, his four golems are all the clay variety, and completely undamaged by sonic effects, and are immune to most other magics well. On the other hand, Clay Golems are also notorious for going berserk mid-battle, and half the golems have already gone berserk and started attacking the splinters of Hakotep's throne since there was no other target in sight when Hakotep realised how much trouble he was in. In fact, Hakotep doesn’t even know we’re there until HE staggers past the hole. Zenobia: I guess this is where we found out what the Ancient Osiriani for WTF???? Is. Hakotep stares down the tunnel, completely ignoring Tef-Naju, Mohebi the sphinx, and our entire party, with the exception of the Bronze Sentinel mecha suit that Onka has been piloting for months now, and within which Onka is still wearing the Mummy’s Mask that the entire campaign is named after. Hakotep I:*snarls* My Ka!*casts Meteor Swarm* Which may have been a mistake on his part since he’s in range of his own fireball, but doesn’t help us in the slightest. GM: The guy had a super-impressive speech he was going to say from his throne, but NOOO, you had to throw a coin at him. Onka: I’m surprised he uses clay golems - actually, no I’m not, he has a history of bad decisions. He was blessed by the Bad Decision Fairy when he was born. One of those bad decisions was choosing to stand between us, and one of the Clay Golems that Onka just assumed control of. Targeting Asrian with a Boneshatter spell was probably a bad decision too, since it will probably ensure Zenobia tears his head off and shoves up his wrinkled, mummified arse. Zenobia does need to tap Asrian with a Wand of Restoration, first, to remove her Fatigued condition. Zenobia: I’m sure that wand will be useful on our wedding night, too. The last golem still under Hakotep’s control chooses this moment to go berserk. Not ideal, but probably more useful than letting Hakotep keep hold of its leash. Hakotep finds himself in a not-very-good position. Hakotep I: Who let a sphinx in here?? Nemat OoC: He’s currently being attacked by a sphinx, a tomb guardian, an angry archaeologist, one of his own golems, and... A ninja? Zenobia OoC: Garlic Woman. Nemat OoC: And there's a gnoll up the back there that’s carrying a symbol of Sarenrae??? Hakotep attempts to retreat, despite all the rubble. We, of course, are still flying. Zenobia: Flee and die a coward! And die he does, as Nemat descends on him like the wrath of God. Which as an Inquisitor of Wadjet, he is, since no Pharoah rules without Wadjet's blessing. He ends the Forgotten Pharaoh in his own throne room. Nemat: In the name of Wadjet, I deny your rule! Zenobia: May the mercy of Sarenrae guide you to your final rest, whatever rest you deserve. Presumably, the next few hours will be spent sending the rest of his undead minions after their master, making absolutely sure Hakotep can’t come back, and then getting on with our personal plans. Zenobia: Four funerals and a wedding. Onka: I’ll have to make you a house. Zenobia: We can get one in Wati easily enough. Nemat: Just give it chicken legs. Onka: There’s a perfectly good flying pyramid available - one previous owner. We grab Hakotep’s remains and leave the golems to their crazed devices. Zenobia’s player: It’s a bit strange that it’s clay golems that go berserk - historically speaking those were the most reliable golems. GM: The fact that you’re going backwards through the rest of the rooms makes most of the traps redundant. Zenobia’s player: Good. Nemat’s Player: Sorry, not sorry. We do run into one of Hakotep’s generals.Riding a chariot at 100kph along the roof of a large chamber. So it’s more likely she’s going to run into us. Asrian: Hold, general! There is no need for us to fight! She doesn’t seem amenable. The Wall of Stone Tef-Naju creates in front of her isn’t very amenable to being hit at 100kph either. Being hit by Sarenrae’s Tactical Nuke (Sunburst) probably even less so. Further, Onka’s mecha suit is mostly immune to her attacks, especially since his poppets keep opening and closing the firing hatches. But at least Asrian gave General Tarawet a chance - maybe Zenobia’s morals are rubbing off on her. In the end it’s some offensive Healing that takes Terawet down, but it’s Nemat not Zenobia that does it. We still have to find Hakotep’s wife, the cultist. Nemat: She’s going to be a problem in her own right. Zenobia: And I don’t want her crashing the wedding. Onka: That’s why you put a permanent Symbol of Healing on the venue. One of the other guardians accuses us of being intruders, but we confuse it briefly by pointing out that we’re leaving the throne room. Unfortunately it still attacks and constricts our new gynosphinx ally. And starts dehydrating everybody nearby. And regenerates as fast as we can hurt it. And has horrible spells. Nemat OoC: I think we’ve found the Secret Boss of this level. Thankfully, Onka can banish it to an extradimensional Maze it will be too stupid for solve for 10 minutes, given us a chance to heal up and Restore ourselves, and prepare our best attacks for the moment it reappears. But even with the prep time, we’re extremely lucky that Zenobia offensive Heal does 150HP damage and Onka’s Acid Arrow finishes it for good. It’s probably just as well we went after Hakotep first, because some of his underlings are a lot more dangerous than he was. Of course, Nemat’s extensive knowledge of good burial practice does tell us that the only way to put Hakotep to permanent rest is to restore him to his sarcophagus, along with all his assorted parts, so with any luck will find that somewhere down here too. Zenobia: It would be amusing if we think we’re leaving the pyramid and we actually stumble across his tomb chamber by mistake. One possible hidden chamber is protected by a riddle. The obvious answer doesn’t work, surprisingly - when you live in a country like Osiria, that’s been having riddle contests for thousands of years, the old classics tend to be pretty well known. Happily, we have a sphinx in the party. Onka: Hey, Mohebi, do you know this one? Onka: Let’s do our usual thing and go through the wall. Nemat: We haven’t got this far by using doors. Zenobia looks like she’s going to seek parley with the next bunch of undead, but pauses. Zenobia: Do you think gnolls can be redeemed? Nemat: Of course. Asrian: You’re not an undead monster. Zenobia: Many people would say my kind are monsters. And we’ve given undead a chance before. Nemat: The Undead we have parleyed with before were undead through no fault of their own - these individuals willingly chose their path. Zenobia: I see. It’s not that they were born monsters, but chose to become them. Nemat: Monsters aren’t born Zenobia: *twitch* Nemat: Well, goblins. But most ‘monsters’ simply need an opportunity to learn a better path. Zenobia: As I did. I see. You have relieved many of my concerns, friend Nemat. There’s another alchemical barrier, which Onka investigates. Onka OoC: Well, I can tell what it is by taste but I am now dead. It’s Nemat’s Tombsight that saves us again, because it makes it quite difficult for any kind of undead to sneak up on us. At least the undead in question is intelligent enough to be sneaky, which makes an interesting change. Most of Hakotep’s minions aren’t exactly subtle. Although this one is not exactly as threatening as Imhotep’s sandstorm form from the movie. Zenobia: He’s an itty-bitty little sandstorm. GM: He is, he’s Small. Zenobia OoC: Does anybody have a DustBuster? Zenobia: Well, it’s intelligent enough to sneak up on us. Nemat: Which doesn’t necessarily mean much - it’s not intelligent enough to realise that sneaking up on this party is a bad idea. He’s certainly wildly outmatched by opponents that can walk in and out of the walls at will, or bunker down inside nearly impregnable armour, or blast them with Positive Energy around corners. Being mostly composed of dust would appear to leave him quite flammable, too, at least once Zenobia’s Channel Positive Energy is applied. A few items are acquired that would probably have been quite useful if we’d gone through the pyramid in the order the creators intended. Zenobia: Well, at least it will be an interesting curio for the museum…they won’t be able to Clone Hakotep from this, will they? Asrian: I think they require a pound of flesh for that. But it all ends up with pitchforks and torches. At least we find the right sarcophagus, eventually. Zenobia: Do we have any way to properly record the moment? We are sending the Forgotten Pharaoh to his final rest. Anybody want to say anything? Asrian: I have some final words - let me check for traps first. Onka: Are those your final words? They might well have been her final words if she hadn’t been that cautious. The Pharaoh spared no expense on this room. Of course we have enough excavating equipment on us, including block and tackle and animated ropes, to set off the traps without danger to us. Time to refill that fancy coffin with a mixed assortment of Pharaoh-bits. Zenobia: Any last words? Asrian: Good riddance you stupid loser. Zenobia: … fair enough. We do have one problem - Onka seems really, really, REALLY reluctant to take off the Mummy’s Mask. At least until he uses his four-leafed clover. Nemat: I was going to cast Remove Curse. Asrian: I was just going to sleight-of-hand it off him. Zenobia: You okay there, friend? Onka: Like I wasn’t prepared for that - I made an anti-possession amulet the week we got the mask. GM: The Mask of the Forgotten Pharaoh now covers the visage of the one for whom it was fashioned 6,000 years ago. For a moment, all is silent in the crypt. Then, light seems to flicker within the mask’s sightless eyes before slowly expanding to cover its entire golden surface. A ghostly figure rises above the pharaoh’s dead body—Hakotep as he appeared at the height of his reign: strong, determined, and ruthless. His eyes glare at the Covenant of Wati in pure contempt. But then the form begins to dissipate, lose shape, and slowly blow away like rings of smoke in a breeze. Faint whispers of diminishing protest drift about the crypt, until they too disappear, leaving only the silence of a grave. At long last, the soul of the Sky Pharaoh passes on into the afterlife and the judgment that awaits there. And as the apparition fades away - Zenobia: We catch a glimpse of a long line of people putting on brass knuckles? Nemat: No no, a set of scales, and a feather. We know he’s going to fail, but he still gets tested. There IS an unearthly, blood-curdling scream from somewhere in the pyramid the moment Hakotep disperses for good. Onka OoC: Right, let’s go find his wife and get a Level Up.
  13. 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.
  14. 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.
  15. 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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