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Drhoz last won the day on October 3

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  1. Pathfinder - Hell's Bright Shadow : No-one But You (Only The Good Die Young) Good News - there was indeed a Silver Raven secret hideout under the old livery. Bad News - the hideout was quite thoroughly compromised and defiled. It’s entirely likely that Terzo and the girls are the only people in Kintargo in any position to get an organised resistance off the ground, which is not a job with good prospects for long-term employment. We make contact with Raxus’ contact, the halfling Laria, and not too long after that are situated in some tunnels and a forgotten shrine to Calistria that had been used for some light smuggling and as a part of the Bellflower Network, an underground railway for halfling slaves. The temple is certainly convenient for Rajira, especially since the worship of her god has been banned by the Chelish Fun Police. Between Civilla’s Ears of the City spell and Terzo’s avuncular diplomacy, we also managed to make peaceful contact with some Tengu who were down here with their adopted Dire Corby sister, who is having aggression management issues and is currently being detained in the hopes that we can help her learn to control herself. It might be a tall order, since Dire Corbies are best described as 'psychotic', 'cannibalistic', and ‘lacking any instincts of self-preservation'. Terzo OoC: Not entirely negative attributes if they're directed at the appropriate target - Thrune's agents, for example, and not the nearest kindergarten There are also other things down there. Terzo OoC: So, Kintargo has two things in common with Judge Dredd’s Mega-City One - firmly under the thumb of a brutal authoritarian state, and giant albino alligators in the sewers. Civilla suspects that the Tengu sisters are going to be our rebellion's first team, and we're going to need a good number of teams. Quite a large part of the Hell's Bright Shadow campaign is bookkeeping about rebellion cells, officers, caches, and rebellion funds. We also have to decide exactly which angle of attack to use, since open combat in the streets is hardly going to work, and encouraging a popular uprising openly would paint a great big target on our backs. Ayva: There is a small part of my brain jumping up and down wanting a printing press so we can print our own broadsheet to influence the people of the city. Civilla: Remember the Fair Fortune Livery? I'm wondering if we can re-purpose the upper area into a workshop and the lower section into a lair for us. Ayva: I do not envy whoever has to clean it out first Terzo: The print shop would be a bit of an obvious target for Thrune's inquisitors, though. Civilla: The print shop would be in the underground section. Terzo: Ah, ok, of course. My knowledge of underground resistance movements is alas pretty minimal. Ayva: If it was a wine cellar Terzo would know it intimately. Which reminds me, must find out if Civilla's family herb garden has any wild basil - also known as dog mint. "Basil sent me" could be a useful code phrase. Terzo’s player: I wonder if the White Rose Network is why the goddess of resistance, Milani, has all those rose associations Rajira’s player: That and probably the nature of wild roses. Beautiful, but very pokey and very hard to get rid of. Terzo’s player: I also wonder if we could get Thrune's agents to waste their time chasing an imaginary resistance leader. Call him Adam Selene. There’s quite a few things we can do with the former livery - turning it into a workshop to earn some coin for the rebellion, for example (assuming we can thoroughly hide the secret lair again and pretend we never knew about it, whilst still having our own means of access). Ayva: Was not expecting The Artisans Workshop for Painting but it's appreciated. Means I can do at least 3 types of earnings that way. Terzo: People are going to need a lot of portraits of Queen Abrogail II too now - it’s a legal requirement in all business under Thrune’s new laws. Ayva: .....I honestly did not think of that *headdesk* Terzo: So I hope you don't mind painting hundreds of pictures of the same heinous bitch. Ayva: If I get bored I'll just paint her bare arse on the opposite side of the canvas before backing and framing. As a Bard-Provocateur Terzo certainly has plenty of options for undermining the government - popular slander is a class feat. GM: Why do I just know that the words "Dogf***er Thrune" are gonna be bandied about across the city? Rajira OoC: Because it was inevitable? Terzo OoC: Graffiti such as ‘Thrune F***s Dogs? Knot Likely’ We also recruit a group of ‘seamstresses’ to generate another income stream for the Rebellion. Civilla observes that between the party members, the Tengu sisters, and the ‘seamstresses’, the Rebellion is becoming something of a clam bake. And then has to explain the term to Terzo - it’s the opposite of a sausage fest. Terzo: Ah, I see - I was insufficiently filthy-minded. Terzo Offers His Teeth To The Cause! Ayva: Terzo? Terzo: Yes, m’dear? Ayva: We’re going to be using you as bait. Whilst there are a lot of things we could be doing right now, it’s a number of pretty horrible murders around the tiefling ghetto that get us involved. Surprisingly, it’s not somebody taking advantage of Thrune’s takeover to practise some genocide, and is instead the predations of a pack of tooth fairies. Rajira; You’re the obvious target. Terzo: Because I smile so much? Rajira; Well, partially. Nothing comes after Terzo the first night. Terzo: Perhaps I need to smell more of peppermint. Civilla: Please don’t - Thrune’s Proclamation the Seventh ‘The odour and flavour of mint is an abomination to the refined palate. Be not the cretin! Mint use in candies, drinks and all manners of confections are hereby proscribed’. Rajira; A man with no taste. Civilla: I’d be tempted to make the same proclamation about vanilla. Terzo is yawning widely late on the second night’s fairy-baiting, when he hears chittering from an adjacent alleyway. Terzo: *jaws snapping shut* …. Hello? The rest of the party are following well back, or leaping from rooftop to rooftop. Terzo OoC: I’m going to regret lighting a match to see what’s down there, aren’t I? Civilla OoC: Dude, do you have any idea how expensive matches are? Terzo OoC: Well, at least in that case I WON’T see the wall of tooth fairies about to descend on me. Terzo OoC: Well, I certainly hope the others are close-by, but I don’t want to do anything obvious like look back over my shoulder. ‘Is there anybody there?’ Civilla OoC: A question - what will you do if somebody replies ‘No’? Civilla OoC: I don’t mean to be rude but in-character the logic of the question just irks me - I’m a very logical character. A woman who has Views on the idea of Love. Terzo takes a few nervous steps into the alleyway, sees a large number of small flitting shadows, and backpedals rapidly. Civilla: I seem to have underestimated how many tooth fairies were involved. I should have known better, knowing they were overpowering full-sized humanoids. Civilla probably should have prepared a Dancing Lights spell too - since we’ll be fighting in the dark. GM: You have a target-rich environment. Unfortunately the tooth-fairies also have a large target - specifically, Terzo. Terzo: Who supplies these little b*****ds with their pliers is what I want to know. Terzo continues to backpedal, and Inspires Courage in the others with a few verses of ‘Feed Them Their F***ing Teeth’. Although it’s a bit slurred because Terzo’s jaw is half-off. Those pliers are lethal. Fortunately the rest of the party pile in before the fairies can get away with the entire mandible. The surviving fairies attempt to flee, but Civilla glues one to a wall with Adhesive Spittle. Ayva OoC: You basically hocked a giant loogie at it. Civilla OoC: I AM a Changeling and offspring of a Hag. Terzo OoC: Is Adhesive Spittle a Changeling trait? Civilla OoC: Nope, it’s a spell! It originated with witches, IIRC. Ayva OoC: Sounds about right, I can’t see a wizard inventing it. It’s a pity we can’t actually interrogate the thing - none of us can speak Sylvan. Hopefully the Tiefling who helped us identify the little monsters knows somebody that can translate for us - a flock of murderous fey is the last thing Kintargo needs at the moment. GM: The older Tiefling will translate for you, despite the shocking language - you can use Diplomacy or Intimidate, depending on your approach. Terzo: Given we’ve already used a cold iron dagger on it, and we set the others on fire in front of it, I suggest we go on as we started. Civilla: How so? Terzo: Intimidate. Civilla OoC: I’ve got a +3 on Intimidate, and +4 if they’re sexually attracted to me, but frankly I don’t want to know. Apparently the tooth fairies want to build a fortress entirely out of teeth. Even given the creature's size, a disturbing image. Best nuke the site from orbit. Or at least crawl into the ruin, soak the place in Keros Oil, and reduce them to a greasy cloud of soot. That’s the plan, at least, but the frankly awful series of dice rolls we’ve made all night continue, and Rajira is promptly paralysed while headfirst in the tooth-fairy den. It’s quite fortunate for the rebellion that none of us get killed trying to exterminate these vermin. We also find some rather horrifying evidence that the tooth fairy infestation was deliberately engineered. Which is honestly a bit odd - between the gate to hell in the old Silver Ravens base, and the fae infestation, it’s looking like somebody is trying to escalate the problems in Kintargo. And it seems unlikely that Thrune and his agents are responsible - they have no reason to be subtle about it, and have full authority to be as brutal and public as they like. Work on translating the documents we recovered from the Silver Raven’s former lair also continues, but for some reason Civilla’s decision to keep the one with the Secret Page between two sheets of lead, on the grounds that we’re not equipped to deal with magical documents yet, is so unexpected that our GM had to go ask other GMs for advice. No doubt we’ll find out how badly we’ve stuffed up soon.
  2. Champions - Return To Edge City : Squid-jigging On why most of Earth’s polities have abandoned super-soldier programs and are going with external augments or recruiting natural talents instead. Hero Shrew: External augmentation technology is also a lot easier to shut down remotely, if your supersoldier goes rogue. Hero Shrew: They just have to look at the personal history of half the world’s superheroes - sorry, supervillains - and say ‘well, we’re not doing that again’. GM: Half the superheroes too - you were right the first time. Of course now we’ve got an alien super-soldier with unknown augments running around on Earth. At least the tentacles should make him pretty conspicuous. We have no idea what it intends to do here - could it use Earth technology to open a concordance to the Sirian fleet? Fireflash: Probably not - anybody who has that kind of technology can probably deal with the problem themselves. The Sirian presumably doesn’t have any contacts on Earth - but Earth does have a very broad information network, easily accessed. GM: You can probably program your Crime Computer to look for any unusual internet activity. Fireflash: I’m resisting the urge to say ‘To the Bat-Computer!’ GM: Why? Adam West is awesome. The alien salvage crew are a little shocked that Earth isn’t as primitive as they were told - Magus and Flux’s magical knowledge is pretty advanced, in arcanotech terms. It’s possible they can use the Sirian’s life-support tech, still in the cargo hold of the alien’s ship, to track the Sirian. Magus: Tracking down an alien using its iron womb is more your sort of thing. Flux: *rolls a fantastic success* GM: Oh f*** off, the Sirian hasn’t had time to do anything yet! It’s under the bonded warehouse holding the Sirian tech we handed over to the ECPD a while back. Magus: Sorry, gotta run, we had better deal with this now. Alien Captain: What? Magus: We found the Sirian, it’s already found Sirian tech. Alien Captain: WHAT???? They do want us to take the Moreau-looking crewmember with us - he’d attract the least attention in Edge City. GM: When he finds out that there’s a whole organisation that has better tech than his, he’s going to cry a little - Earth is supposed to be a backwater. Happily, the Sirian hasn’t had time to finish the warsuit it was making, and between the alien’s grenades and Magus’ stun attacks it doesn’t even get to self destruct. Hero Shrew: So who wants to tell UNTIL that we caught a Sirian super-soldier? Alive? The Magus: We can tell that UNTIL agent back at the ship. Flux: We only told them an hour ago that one was on the loose - they were just getting warmed up, and we go ‘Found it’ Of course the alien crew now need to get their ship repaired, without giving away so much about interstellar flight and dark matter accumulators that they’d get thrown straight into jail when they get home. Or bankrupted by the rescue fees. Flux: Hey, UNTIL guy, do you have a standard procedure for this? UNTIL Rep: No? Usually they only stay a few hours and leave, or blow up their ship and forcibly emigrate. Or get dropped off here. The Magus has been doing some arcane calculations - he can theoretically use extra-dimensional travel to take one of the aliens on an interstellar shopping trip. Aiming is the tricky thing. The captain is a bit sarcastic about that, but they have a point - missing your target planet by a light year is A Problem. GM: It amuses me that one of you has forgotten a completely broken power on your character sheet. Flux: Hmm? GM: The keyword is ‘broken’. Flux: OK, fine, I’ll do it *starts casting Repair* Alien: What? How? *string of what we are now pretty sure are alien profanities* Under what paradigm is that even POSSIBLE?? Hero Shrew: He’s restoring a platonic ideal. GM: He’s reinforcing a platonic ideal, and - oh f*** he’s doing it holistically. GM: They let Flux have a look at their Dark Matter Accumulator so he can fix it. It looks like a cross between a Philosopher's Stone and a fairyfloss machine. The Magus: Given Flux’s alchemical abilities he could probably make one. Flux: Um. GM: Remember how I said that there are certain people that get upset every time Flux does alchemy? Flux: Oh dear. At least the salvage crew can make some money from the Sirian computers we hacked.
  3. Pathfinder : Hell's Bright Shadow - Great King Rat Terzo: Poor dogs. Civilla: They just tried to eat you! Terzo: They were starving! Civilla's player: At least they can’t say ‘I am!’ when you ask them if they’re a good girl. Terzo’s player: Yessss. Father of The Year, Shou Tucker was not. Ayva's player: Is it children and animals you’re not supposed to work with? Terzo’s player: And Tucker worked with both! Terzo: Some people might wonder why I didn’t make some comment when Rajira knifed that man earlier, but I’ve worked with a lot of opera divas in the last 40 years. The old killing floor has been abandoned for some time, but there are some unusual patterns in the dust. And the way the equipment inside animates to attack is pretty unusual too. The blood oozing from the walls is a bit stereotypical, though. Apparently Grimples are responsible. Terzo: Gribbles? No, they’re a kind of woodlouse that eats jetties. Civilla: Grimples? Terzo: That’s the monkeys, yes. Terzo’s player: What’s a Grimple? Civilla's player: A not very good punk band. Which arguably makes them a good punk band. Just not very good. Terzo’s player: Also something on Urban Dictionary but I’m afraid to look. GM: They’re basically one step above an angry magical possum. Unpleasant giggling comes from under the floor. Terzo: Ahem - before we go any further I’d like to point out we can just set the building on fire. Instead Civilla just Colour Sprays the hole, and knocks the vermin-encrusted fey unconscious. Too bad that 90s punk bands aren’t the only thing down there. Ayva: I thought I was joking when I said Dire Rats. Civilla OoC: Well, we’re going down in an urban environment. GM: You went down on a Grimple? Civilla's player: What?? EW! EWWWWW! The formerly hidden shaft and ladder might be a tight fit for Terzo. Civilla OoC: You are not Mister Five by Five. Civilla adds to the local population of Rodents of Unusual Size by Summoning one of her own. Terzo demonstrates the importance of voice projection in the theatre by Ear-piercing Screaming another to death. The eye watering stench of the giant rats and the Grimple isn’t the only unpleasantness down here, especially after the creatures get stabbed to death. Terzo: After we’re done down here, can we still set the place on fire? Civilla: No. We’re In A City. Fires in City Bad. (You know you’re in trouble when the Neutral character is telling you off) Arson thus prohibited, we move deeper, only to discover more damn Grimples. Terzo: Well, I didn’t bring any lamp oil anyway. Ayva: I did. Civilla’s Summoned monster rat is spitting lethal acid at the revolting gremlin-possums, who also projectile vomit. Terzo OoC: Exactly what kind of rat did you Summon there? Civilla: Dark. A creature of Shadow. Terzo OoC, GM: Ah - Edgy. Ayva OoC: The Rat that Squeaks In The Night. Civilla OoC: I don’t like to advertise the fact I can see in the dark, but needs must… Terzo OoC: On the bright side, it’s so dark down here none of us can tell you can see in the dark. Terzo DOES know the Grease spell, but unfortunately, so do the Grimples. Terzo barely manages to keep his footing. Ayva OoC: Fatcrobatic. Civilla OoC: Hiram Worchester he is not. Terzo: You know, unless their standards have really dropped, I don’t think these things are the Silver Ravens. Ayva: Perhaps they were honorary members. Terzo: Probationary, perhaps. *sigh* We’re going to have to search through their nest, aren’t we? And since I’m not going to ask the girls to do this, it’s going to be you and me, Raxus. We find a small assortment of shinies, and a Cloak of Protection. None of us want to touch it. Ayva: I know Prestidigitation will clean it, I STILL want to send it to the laundry. There’s more to the Silver Raven’s lair, further down, behind some grilles and locked doors, but it’s flooded by sewage, and actually smells worse than the Grimples, incredibly. And the walls are covered in profane writing, and there’s greasy chains and some very dubious-looking pillars. GM: And wallowing sound in the pool are two, well, S***-demons. Ayva OoC: Excrelementals. Terzo OoC: Funnily enough, they’re not Cacodemons. Terzo: What in the Name of ALL THAT'S HOLY happened down here??? Raxus: What in the Seven Hells is that SMELL???? Civilla: Nine Hells. Raxus: Ah, yes, Nine. Ayva: It’s fine, you were busy and missed a few. Civilla’s Summoned Celestial Eagle is quite effective against the unholy feculence, as is turning a coin into a ranged weapon, which is just as well since the rest of us don’t want to get anywhere near the things without Hazmat suits and flamethrowers. We try to figure out what happened here. Rajira and Civilla, at least, can read some of the sigils painted onto the walls. Civilla: I can read Infernal…. I’m a Chellish scholar, OK? As much as I don't want to traffic with the things, a lot of the stuff around here is written in Infernal, alright??? Apparently somebody tried to open a Gate to Avernus, the uppermost level of Hell. It would only have opened for minutes at best, but probably explains the animated ordure. Terzo: So… not much chance of any Silver Ravens down here. Civilla: There were never going to be any Silver Ravens down here! We were only going to find records, evidence at best! The Silver Ravens were all killed! What were you expecting, some undead Ravens that would have been useless to us anyway? Terzo: *sigh* I was being hopeful. Civilla: You were being delusional. We DO find hundreds of pages of documentation about the Silver Ravens in a crate. Civilla speculates on what kind of precautions and codes they may have used to protect their secrets - as it happens, she’s spot-on for most of it. GM: It will take somebody fluent in Celestial, Strix, and Elven weeks to decipher them. Civilla: It’ll take me weeks then. Raxus: *holds up a hand* Um. Ayva: And Raxus can help. Unfortunately one of the more mundane-looking journals is also enchanted with Secret Page, which will be rather more difficult to bypass. And a useful assortment of other magic items, including the enchanted silver ravens the group used for communication, and that they named themselves after. GM: I’m starting to wonder whether you’ve read the campaign notes. Civilla's player: I’ve got my own notes on how to run a secret society! I’ve tried to run through Kingmaker TWICE! Terzo’s player: And they’re playing a paranoid scholar. GM: And an Alazario - fair enough. Civilla: It looks like we’re getting roped into resurrecting the Silver Ravens. If not us, who else? Terzo: If nobody does anything, nothing will change. And there is nobody else, so it has to be us. Raxus suggests we go to the Long Road Coffeehouse, to meet another possible contact. Terzo: Bath first.
  4. A Situation Has Arisen - it turns out the aliens we were beating up really had a good reason to be here. Hero Shrew: We probably should have realised something was up when we saw that the security guards were unconscious and stacked against a wall, instead of splattered all over it. Of course now we have to patch up the seriously hurt pilot and one of the other aliens, before we can do anything else. She was connected to the computers when we came in blasting. Hardlight: I may have just accidentally screwed that up. What am I talking about, I did it on purpose, and I’m superbly embarrassed. It’s also not easy to get a straight answer from the aliens about how much time before the invisible starship re-enters, or exactly why they needed to commandeer half the satellite fleet, but most of that is the result of half-arsed translation software. The Magus OoC: It’s got a huge STOP sign in the rulebook so I need to ask the GM first, but can I please invent a Universal Translator spell so we stop having this problem? Apparently the reason they had to abandon the ship was because of serious damage to the power systems by a stowaway and saboteur. Fireflash: And which one are you? Alien Business-demon: *indignantly* I am Captain! The ship will probably also self-destruct now, if it detects anybody boarding it without proper protocols, so teleporting to it probably isn’t going to work. Hardlight uses his civilian ID and business community connections to ask if we can use WorldSat’s primary server farm to try and connect to the alien ship before it craters Edge City. One hopes they’ll be agreeable. And answer their phones promptly. Hardlight: *texting everybody while simultaneously frantically talking on his phone* Hey everybody? Ask for Forgiveness. At least we can teleport into the main server farm instead of knocking down more walls. Hero Shrew: Hey Flux, Hardlight, how long would it take to make the Qruiser space-capable? Alien Hacker: Ship Is Translating With Ports Open! This Is Not Good! Not Good! Apparently one of the aliens - their magic user apparently - recognises SOMETHING about the Magus’ teleport spell, and recoils with abject horror after the jump. The Magus: Don’t worry about it, I’m reformed. Fux: I don’t believe a word of it. Hardlight: All I know is that his Teleports hurt. Fux: You should try it with your Third Eye open. Hero Shrew: Did I miss something? Seemed like an ordinary teleport to me. Hardlight: You just used ‘ordinary’ ‘and ‘teleport’ in one sentence. Hero Shrew: Sure. It wasn’t destructive at that end and we didn’t get reconstituted from a pool of blood at this end. Or did we? Fux: We’ll never know. Their hacker can’t stop the ship from crashing. Or redirect it away from the city. And self-destructing it will be very bad given the Dark Matter engine. And it’s already entering the exosphere. Hero Shrew: Hey Magus, can you open some kind of portal in front of it so it becomes somebody else's problem??? Instead, Magus hurried invents a Flying Belt, slaps it onto Hero Shrew, and the Moreau finally gets to use his Stronger Than a Locomotive power. Hardlight: Scooter, this is your big ‘Superman Saves The Plane’ moment. The aliens turn off the ship's cloaking device, and Fireflash grabs the shrew and flies off at top speed to intercept. The Magus: OK, Scooter, the Flight Belt will obey your thoughts. Actually that’s a terrible idea, Scooter has a lot of stray thoughts. Ok, now it follows what’s in your heart. Fux: Just make it so he points where he wants to go. The open pod ports are the only thing Scooter can get a grip on (and the only thing that was blazing on re-entry) given the frictionless metal. Then it turns invisible again, to Scooter’s shock. Thankfully it’s just the cloaking device being turned back on. Fireflash: OK, I’ll direct Scooter to that wrecked and empty lot. Hero Shrew: Wow, this spaceship is really slippery. Fireflash: Well don’t drop it, we’ll never find it again. Hardlight: Oh look, he’s flying over an orphanage. At least the Dark Matter engines would probably have survived the crash without exploding, even if we hadn’t brought it down safely. The alien captain is more concerned about losing her charter thanks to accidental contact with a pre-Warp civilization. Scooter is mostly pleased that he got to show off his muscles. Hero Shrew: So is that stowaway still on board? Alien Captain: No. He was in the other pod. The Team: … Hero Shrew: Oh. I was going to ask about that. Hardlight: Aaaaand it’s right about now that I finally get through to the business council. It doesn’t help that the aliens have no idea what their stowaway looked like. Hero Shrew: It didn’t have acid for blood did it? Hardlight’s Player: I really must play Alien: Isolation in VR sometime. Flux’s Player: Not while I live in the same house. Hero Shrew: Do you want me to tell that UNTIL guy what happened? I’m sure I remember all the details. Fireflash: .... no, I think I’ll handle that. The Aliens aren’t particularly encouraged by the fact that Earth has had other alien visitors in the past, and are utterly horrified to discover that one of those other aliens was an Elder Worm. Alien Mage: They All Dead! They ALL Dead! The Magus: Well, he should be. Alien Mage: Then Make It!!!! They Make Your People Into More Worms! The Magus: He’s tried a few times but got his ass kicked. Alien Mage: Kill Them And All Of Them! Burn Them To Ash And Scatter The Ashes! Hero Shrew: You’re lucky you didn’t come here in 70 years ago, you probably would have been autopsied. UNTIL Rep: To be fair most of them were autopsied because they were already dead. The Magus: Crashes will do that. With the exception of Ironclad who basically walked it off. Hero Shrew: If we do find a way to get you home, will you be in trouble? Alien Captain: Probably not, given the unusual circumstances. But the situation with the stowaway has me most concerned. The stowaway was aggressive, and technologically proficient, and we don’t know where it is. It did something with our drive that should not have been possible. It made a correspondence point. So this stowaway, which they picked up on a derelict ship they were salvaging, somehow knew enough to take the alien ship straight to Earth and then sabotaged the safety systems in such a way to force the launch of all escape pods and crew towards the nearest inhabitable planet. They have a picture of the derelict - and it’s a classic Flying Saucer. Little Green Men from Mars, or rather Sirians that used Mars as an invasion staging point in the 30s. GM: Little Green Men, but usually Grey - only 15% of them are green. But the alien’s lifeforce detector should have picked up any Sirians on the wreck, and it didn’t. Maybe the Magus and Flux can track it down after examining the wreckage it was hiding in to get aboard the other ship. Or at least have a look at exactly what the lifeforce detector DID detect. It’s one of HG Well’s Martians, although the upper part of the body-head really looks like a Sirian’s head. GM: Although the tentacles are a bit spindly. Fux: It just got out of a cold shower. Fireflash: Is there anywhere around here that’s storing Sirian tech? UNTIL Rep: You do understand that whether there is or not my answer will be no? Fireflash: If this thing gets its tentacles on Sirian tech we may have a problem UNTIL Rep: … I’ll kick it up the chain. GM: If you really want to understand where the Sirians sit in the Champions Universe, think of them as the Daleks But With Even More Fail. Fireflash uses her Retrocognition to figure out what the Sirian Tree Octopus was doing aboard the alien’s ship as it snuck around, which included siphoning off some of the dark matter to power its modifications to the systems. The aliens aren’t happy about having Fireflash aboard their ship, but since the Magus has already scanned most of it with Magesight they reluctantly let her get on with it. Between their various researches and study of the Sirian wreckage, the smarter members of the team come to an alarming conclusion - the thing that came to Earth in the sixth pod was an experimental Sirian Warrior, a specially designed and self-improving biomechanoid supersoldier. It was supposed to be part of the last Sirian invasion. GM: Oh F***, I’ve just realised - this is Invader Zim only competent. The Magus OoC: Just lacking supplies. Flux OoC: Have you seen this planet? That’s easily rectified. GM: It’s the alien version of ‘Dude, You’re Screwed’.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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"."
  11. 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.)
  12. 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
  13. 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...
  14. I refer you to this Kurt Vonnegut story
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