Monthly Archives: January 2014

Session #6

The party has been planning to send Olivia into the mercenary camp, but as the session begins the party explores other options.  There is discussion of whether to send Jacob away with Hunter (ultimately not followed through, even though Eli missed this session), and whether to have Mithril create a smokescreen above the camp and rain lightning down (shelved as Plan B).  Jason’s Plan C, dubbed “the Star Wars plan”, involves the party entering the camp by pretending to be captured by Olivia’s minions.  Ultimately the original plan is kept, that Olivia will go in with her minions and try to draw one of the leaders outside.

Olivia breezes through the checkpoint with her loyal East Valley Mercenaries talking them through.  She confers with the Lieutenant who leads her minions to have her brought directly to the cultists.  She is let in and told to wait for them as they are in a meeting, but she rapidly identifies Silken Cowl’s voice as one of the three discussing military activities in the next section of the big tent (after scoring 8 successes on perception + awareness!).  Thinking quickly, she asks to wait in any available bedroom, and easily persuades the guard to locate a bedroom for her.  She then has her lieutenant send one of his men as a messenger to the party waiting in the forest on the pretext of taking a leak.  The mercenary messenger soon arrives and finds the rest of the party and alerts them that Silken Cowl is one of the cultists.  Mithril releases his iBot on the Moral Ambiguity and regenerates a new one, and gives this new one to the messenger to give to Olivia.  The messenger seems unnerved but does as he’s told.

Soon the lieutenant arrives back in the bedroom, giving the new iBot to Olivia, who wears it as a brooch.  She continues waiting and after some time hears two of the voices, one of which is Silken Cowl, discussing her being there.  Soon Silken Cowl enters the room along with another figure, tall and dark and excessively creepy.  The newcomer stares at Olivia with a cold, silent stare with red-glowing eyes and a very tall stature.  Silken Cowl expresses shock that Olivia has so brazenly arrived, but she immediately turns up the heat, seducing him with all she has.  Silken Cowl rapidly melts before this sustained seduction and clearly enjoys having his ego stroked.  The leader says very little and seems suspicious, but finally says he has other business to attend to and leaves Silken Cowl to his enjoyment.  Olivia carries the seduction farther before suggesting that the forest would be a much more exciting venue.  Silken Cowl agrees and the two sneak out to the forest, where Mithril is lying in wait to tase Silken Cowl.

The party has gathered around Silken Cowl and hears about what has been happening from both Olivia and Mithril.  The party debates its next move, but Olivia hears the sound of a runner approaching the camp from the base they had just raided, so Blade cloaks, catches up to him and clotheslines him while invisible, then “gently” bashes his head and drags him back.  The new runner, wearing East Valley mercenary gear, is the first one to come to, so Olivia stands before him in a very angelic pose while saying he has died.  This man isn’t very bright and seems confused that he is not in Malfeas, as he had been assured if he died while failing to complete a mission, he would suffer eternal hell.  Olivia persuades him that he is in heaven instead, then asks about his mission.  The runner says he was to alert the main camp that the research station had been raided, the equipment stolen, the doctor kidnapped, and the commanding officer Jammie-Jammie assassinated.  Having acquired all useful information, Mithril tases him and the party ties him up.  Blade goes to watch the camp and make sure they aren’t pursuing.

Once Silken Cowl awakens, the party questions him as well.  Silken Cowl reveals that their leader, the creepy man, is Garmenberger the Great, and he is very powerful in sorcery and in “the ways of men”.  They are working together to tear down the world and build a better one using the East Valley Mercenary Company.  He also says that they are going to sell the ship to the Silver Prince, and that his envoy is already in the camp, negotiating the price.  Silken Cowl, once questioned, also reveals he knew the Pool of Death, and had originally thought they were his friends, and that when he shows up they do business.  Olivia tries to convince Silken Cowl that they can do the job better than him and that she has more to offer than Garmenberger.  Silken Cowl doesn’t seem very persuaded, and when Mithril hears a second runner and flies over to investigate, Silken Cowl bolts towards the camp as well.  Olivia activates her armor to catch up to him and wrestle him to the ground before he can get into the clearing, and Kami pursues as well.  Mithril watches the second runner but lets him go, as he and Olivia are hoping the mercenaries can be drawn out and leave the leaders undefended.  Olivia in particular is hoping to kill the Deathknight envoy and take her method of payment so they can prove themselves superior to the cultists.

Unfortunately, Blade is not on board with this plan and tries to keep the runner from the camp, but her cannon shot misses.  Two sentries from the camp run down, one escorting the runner up while the other investigates the trees, so Blade, still cloaked, kills him using one of the Pool of Death’s soulsteel daiklaves.

Around this time, Kami realizes that Hunter is missing, and asks if anyone has seen him.  Olivia has an epiphany (7 successes on 4 dice) that Hunter must have left when the runner and Silken Cowl both fled, and did it intentionally.  Kami tries tracking Hunter, finding his footprints heading towards the camp, and activates his anima banner to see better.  Unfortunately, the mercenary camp is now a storm of activity as they clearly believe they have been attacked, and soon a strange blast of blue energy is emitted from the camp, catching a previously invisible person in the clearing in bright crackling blue bindings.  A squad of mercenaries run out to catch this intruder, but Blade runs out to interfere with this capture.  Battle is joined!

The mercenaries prove to be both physically and tactically strong, wounding Blade and trying to drag away the captive.  Kami leaps in to protect the captive, who doesn’t quite seem human, while Olivia tries one final time to persuade Silken Cowl to join them, and he finally does so.  With Olivia and Silken Cowl trying to stop the fight, the mercenaries seem to hesitate, but Blade is in no mood and ignores her commands.  Mithril tries to use a blast of lightning to drop the mercenaries but they are able to block the lightning with their damaged weapons, though this breaks them.  Blade then kills one and wounds another, but another squad is on the way.  Olivia meets the new group and tells them to stand down, while Blade decides to free the prisoner.  Once freed, he immediately sprints away, and Mithril runs him down but has his tackle broken.  The captive escapes into the forest, but Mithril manages to get his iBot to sneak onto the fleeing captive and successfully has it avoid detection.  He then returns.  The mercenaries are busy yelling at Olivia, Silken Cowl, Kami and Blade, but Mithril calms them by saying he is tracking the captive and will lead the East Valley Mercenaries to their rendezvous point.  The mercenaries then lead the party into their camp.

Just as they are entering the camp, however, a massive storm breaks out, twin vortices of black power and death.  At the center of one is Hunter and at the center of the other is the deathknight.  Hunter doesn’t seem to be doing well, so (most of) the party intervenes (Mithril fails his valor roll).  Blade fires her cannon but it is blocked.  Kami interposes himself between the enemy and Hunter, successfully blocking an attack.  When the Deathknight throws more juice into her attacks, Olivia’s force field blocks the second attack, and then Kami absorbs four attacks without a scratch due to Iron Skin Concentration.  Not having recovered essence from her attacks, the deathknight is vulnerable to Hunter’s full attack, which after a number of athletic flashes removes her head.  Hunter then feasts on her blood, mostly just because he enjoys it.

Kami applies Anointment of Miraculous Health to Hunter as he had earlier to Olivia and Blade, which is good since he is badly wounded.  A few of the mercenaries have fled or gouged their own eyes out and some others were killed by collateral damage from the fight, while the rest are terrified but holding ground.  The session ends as the party is in a bizarre standoff with the mercenaries who aren’t even sure what happened.

To be continued!…

Most Badass Moment Candidates:

  • Olivia’s 8 successes on identifying Silken Cowl’s voice was a huge stroke of luck, preparing the party for another round with the troublemaker.
  • Blade is not only a Space Marine but also a Cyberpunk Ninja, repeatedly catching and/or killing people in the darkness.
  • 11 successes by Mithril to detect incoming runner.  ELEVEN.  Though this was upstaged a bit by Olivia’s 7 successes on 4 dice to realize where Hunter is, or more accurately is not.
  • Kami and Olivia deflect attacks from an Essence 5 Abyssal with no damage.  Epic.  Also as Louis pointed out, excellent synergy.

Funniest Moment Candidates:

  • On the subject of what to do with Jacob: Jason: “I ask the soldiers about child labor laws.” Debbie: “Because everyone wants a sickly three-and-a-half year old working for them.”
  • Louis: “I ask to be taken to the leaders.” Jason: “They’re going to think you’re a comfort girl.”  Louis: “That’s the idea.”
  • Louis, as the party brainstorms ideas for why they would send Hunter off to protect Jacob instead of the obvious choice of Kami: “Applied properly, murder can be a very powerful form of protection.”
  • Jason: “I give him a gentle bash to the head.”
  • DM: “Kami, you diagnose him as having recently been given a gentle bash to the head.”
  • Jason: “I’m going to keep an eye out.”  Debbie: “Not literally I hope?”  Taylor: “No, that’s my job.”
  • Debbie: “I’m sure this is a bad idea, but I’m going to do it anyway.  I touch the chains holding the blue enemy.”  DM: “You lose four… [Debbie waits to hear ‘health levels’]… motes of essence.”  [Debbie breathes a sigh of relief]
  • Jason played with a laser pointer at one point, which successfully distracted everyone.
  • Jason, to Taylor: “You can fly at 60 mph, go after him!”  Taylor: “Into the forest?!”
  • Debbie: “I jump in the middle of combat and do ‘Defend Another’ on Hunter.” Alejo: “Do you really want to do that?”  Debbie: “Um… yes?”
  • DM, after Kami has taken no damage from several attacks due to Iron Skin Concentration: “You know, if you get a bad roll, you’ll need everything you have to not die.”  Debbie: “And that’s why I have a dot of lucky.”

 

Session #5

The morning of the fourth day, Kami and Mithril are still finishing up their work, Blade is training, and Hunter is still learning Old Realm with Jacob.  Around midmorning Hunter, trying to get a break from the living, steps outside and sees the Guild ship arriving in the fjord.  He heads down to the sandbar that doubles as a “dock” and is slightly disconcerted to see a shipwide orgy taking place, with only essential crewmen managing to get the anchor dropped and sails struck before returning to said orgy.

Olivia eventually bids the sailors wait for her and jumps down to meet Hunter, going for a hug before changing her mind.  She and Hunter head back up into the manse to get caught up.  As soon as Mithril finds that Olivia has returned he immediately takes her rifle, as they had found out there’s a tracking device concealed somewhere in it.  After Kami and Mithril extensively experiment on the rifle, they find it is constructed of a strange metal material, and each piece is connected to the next through a very thin loose thread that channels essence out of a core that contains some kind of essence-producing soul and a small radio emitter using a bit of that essence to broadcast a signal.  Kami and Mithril score 11 successes on building a casing for the core out of lead and soulsteel that absorbs and blocks the tracking signal.

The party is now ready to set out in search of the East Valley Mercenaries.  Olivia volunteers to have the Stormchaser, the Guild ship whose crew is now madly in love with her, take them on the secret route to the valley through an underground ocean inlet.  Captain Pistamar assures everyone the route is safe, though he hasn’t taken it himself before, and that he knows it’s safe because it was discussed by the previous captain, Tory, and by Silken Cowl as a way for the ship to reach the valley if needed.  The party is somewhat leery, not being especially persuaded by the “no danger whatsoever” claim and troubled by the lack of clarity as to why the Mountain Folk no longer use this passage, but sees no other way of getting there in a reasonable fashion.  They sail west for an hour, then wait for the low tide and a sea cave is fully exposed, large enough to permit the ship to sail in.

The sea cave goes on and on, and is also pitch black.  The crew has put up torches, and Olivia flies on point above and ahead of the ship.  After a few hours of travel, Olivia hears a bit of scratching on rock, and vaguely sees at least half a dozen pits in the rock ceiling of the cave.  Olivia flies back rapidly to warn everyone, and Mithril volunteers to do a flyby to see what’s going on up there.  However, Mithril’s approach vector to the ceiling is far too steep, and only a last-second scream by Olivia gets him to snap out of it and realize he was about to fly directly into one of the rock pits filled with the waiting tentacles of a number of strange monsters with giant heads, pale blue eyes, a number of tentacles surrounding their body, and strange claws and teeth and maws hungry for flesh.

The creatures, surprised at Mithril’s sudden stop, writhe in strange bizarre contortions, and a moment later all hell breaks loose on the ship as the crew start panicking, attacking each other, and fleeing belowdecks or overboard.  Blade is also affected, as a number of tentacle monsters climb onto the ship and Blade attacks the nearest one with her beamklave, not realizing she’s actually attacking Kami.  Kami, fortunately, avoids the attack without parrying (which would destroy his spear) and manages to identify and pinch one of Blade’s pressure points, causing him to blue-screen-of-death and reboot without the illusions.  The remainder of the crew is still freaking out, so Olivia performs a mass social attack with enough successes to penetrate the illusion and return everyone to normal.

Mithril activates his laser drill and starts burrowing through the rock in a spiral pattern, digging out a number of the tentacle monsters and sending rocks and purple blood flying.  Hunter has activated his combat charms and so runs up the rocks and the arrows fired by the crew and starts mass-murdering the monsters with ease.  Blade and Olivia also open fire, killing more, and soon the creatures are fleeing.

Kami wants one to examine, so Mithril finds one that is swimming away and tases it, bringing its unconscious man-sized form back to the ship.  Kami vivisects it, finding its biology makes no sense and its body parts are unlike any other living thing (something he thinks is its liver is actually a heart, spraying purple blood everywhere when he slices in).  With 10 successes on a lore roll Kami realizes this is an example of the Primordials’ experiments with creating living things, a creature which is an experiment in biology that didn’t pan out.

Olivia talks to Captain Pistamar again, asking about his earlier assurances that the route was safe.  The captain is confused, as he had it on good authority from the previous captain that this was a safe route, though it had not been used recently.  The party concludes either these creatures are a new development or that the previous captain and Silken Cowl intentionally knew this would be a death trap for the ship should they attempt to use it.  Regardless, the monsters have now been scattered and the ship continues without further incident.

At the end of the underground ocean inlet is a sandbar, so the ship drops anchor and the party wades ashore, leaving the crew ready to leave at a moment’s notice.  Olivia locates a hidden mountain path that leads up towards the surface, but Mithril would much prefer to make his own path, and so uses his laser drill to dig his own tunnel through the rock towards the surface.  Whilst drilling, he hits a gold vein, and Olivia goes back to instruct the crew to mine some of the gold while they wait.  The party digs through rock for quite some time before hitting soil, at which point Mithril drills straight up and breaks the surface in a redwood forest.  Everyone gets up to the surface, and Olivia flies above the trees to scout around in the dusk (map attached).  They are in the middle of the East end of the Valley.  To the west she sees a number of campfire lights, and to the east, nestled in the foothills of the mountains, a few other lights.  Once this is reported back, the party debates for a while what to do and ultimately decides to investigate the foothills first.  It’s also apparent that the path out of the mountains they would have taken would have led them directly to the major camp, but only Olivia’s vantage point and angle revealed the hidden buildings.

It’s night by the time the party reaches the buildings, and several guards are visible stationed in front of the two major buildings and patrolling around.  Olivia takes point, going in first to see what’s up.  She’s met by two guards, one of which Mithril identifies as having an implant, and is also the one more resistant to allowing Olivia in, since they are concerned about infiltration.  They suggest she go to the main camp, and when Olivia asks that as many as possible escort her, the guards bring backup, and five guards accompany her into the woods.  With almost all the guards out of the way, Mithril and Blade decide to go in stealthily and investigate.  Mithril investigates the smallest building first, finding it is just storage for supplies such as food and water.  Blade meanwhile circles the buildings, finding front and back doors to both buildings and a few lights on in a few windowed rooms.

The two Alchemicals enter one of the buildings through the back door, finding little of interest in the hallways and moving to the second floor.  On the second floor, one of the rooms is labeled with various Keep Out signs, so of course they investigate.  They find the Kamak Artifact Duplicator and a number of shoddy knock-off artifact pieces.  Mithril absorbs the Artifact Duplicator and Blade destroys the crappy artifacts, and they proceed to the third floor.  There is a light shining from under the door at one of the rooms with more Keep Out signs, so they call that something is happening outside.  The doctor from the manse opens the door but both Alchemicals are still invisible, so he peer down the hall and wanders out looking for who said that, allowing both to slip inside.  The doctor is working on some completed implants here, burning a few candles to keep working into the night.  The doctor returns after a bit, and Blade moves in front of the door to block his exit should he try to leave again.  Mithril goes to an open window and launches a lightning bolt, setting a tree at the forest outside on fire.  The doctor notices this and goes to the window, seeing the first, and isn’t sure what’s going on, so Blade just cracks him on the back of the head.

Kami and Hunter interpret the lightning bolt coming from the third floor as a signal that they are needed, so they go up to the building and Hunter carries Kami up the walls, further abusing Raiton’s Nimble Perch, because why not.  Once inside, Kami examines the doctor, finding his injury severe but not life-threatening, and also noting he is still addicted to the locust food.  Kami and Mithril then scoop the implants into an available crate and Kami keeps both the crate and the doctor while Mithril and Blade try to scope out the other building.  The other building, however, is more of living quarters for the soldiers, and as they are entering, mercenaries are starting to rouse each other because of an imminent forest fire brewing.  Blade notices officer’s quarters and sneaks in, finding the commanding officer asleep in his bed, decloaks and cuts him in half with her beamklave.  On her way out she bumps into a mercenary who was coming to wake the commanding officer, who promptly flees from her but she kills him with a blast from her essence cannon.  She and Mithril leave, and Hunter brings Kami down the back wall of the first building they are holed up in, and then he goes back for the doctor and crate of artifacts after a short debate.  The four leave through the back end of the fence where it meets the sheer mountain cliffs, and wander through the woods looking for Olivia.

The party soon finds Olivia (she wasn’t hard to find, given the sound and smell) and she introduces the five mercenaries she has met as her good friends now.  The party decides now to head to the other camp, and by the time they are nearing the other camp, Olivia has not only created intimacies in all five mercenaries but has also eroded their intimacies for their former employer, so they gladly spill the beans that the East Valley Mercenary camp they are heading to is very well-guarded against both physical attack and infiltration, since they expect attacks from the West Valley Mercenary company at any time there.  They explain that the implants some of them have were received as payment by the Cold Winds Cabal, and a few cultists are there at the camp.  The party identifies these cultists as the real target, since the East Valley mercenaries are, after all, just mercenaries trying to make a living in a violent world.  Mithril and Blade want to infiltrate again, but the mercenaries rapidly claim that there are countermeasures against invisible and dematerialized infiltrators in the base.  Olivia then wants to go in first, as before, to try and flush out the head cultist and arrange a meeting in the woods between this head cultist and the party.  Preparations are made, and the encounter is To Be Continued!

Most Badass Moments candidates:

  • Kami and Mithril’s research on the AK-47 is a display of creativity, caution, and inspiration that forced the DM to invent a lot of Exalted™ brand made-up science on the spot.  Also a lot of dice were rolled (though Kami’s first pool of 27 dice scored only 5 successes, which granted is a lot better than if he botched on that many dice…)
  • Hunter leaping from arrow to rock to ceiling and butchering underdark creatures in a truly gruesome display of Abyssal Essence 4 combat.
  • Mithril’s drilling made short work of the holed-up tentacle monster encounter and also bypassed the intended route through the mountains which changed the dynamic of the entire encounter at the valley.
  • Blade’s slaughter of the commanding officer was not only epic and something out of a sci-fi horror movie, but also will have some far-reaching consequences.
  • Olivia’s seduction of the entire ship may have been off-“screen” but her conversion of five mercenaries to their side was entirely Louis’s doing.

Funniest Moment candidates:

  • DM: “Okay so how about you guys tell me what you’ve learned so far.”  Debbie: *posts link to Exalted website* Eli: hax
  • Taylor: “Mithril’s still working.”  Debbie: “Kami’s still working.”  Blade: “Blade’s training and getting those charms.”  Eli: “Hunter’s… babysitting…”
  • DM: “So Silken Cowl and the doctor are gone, though nothing’s missing… all the artifacts are still there, Jacob and Veria are still there… Yes there was that one time when Jacob was stolen, not this time fortunately.”
  • Louis: “Yes you basically see a shipwide orgy taking place on the Guild ship.”  Hunter: “…”
  • Louis: “Alchemicals can’t get STDs, right?”  Jason’s followup: “Can Alchemicals introduce new STDs?”
  • Taylor: “I think Hunter and Kami should ask about the mercenary we got this gun from.  By the way Alejo I may have flipped through the Tides of Fortune story.”  DM: “Yes I was about to ask if you did that, you’re awfully interested in that guy now.”  Taylor: “Well there were just a couple red flags, like the punching everyone in the face and running away thing.”
  • Eli: “Okay so that’s like 34 dice of damage… I kind of feel like a bully now…”
  • DM: “Wait so Kami you’re just gonna start dissecting it while it’s still alive?”  Debbie: “Yup.”  DM: “I’m trying to decide whether you need to roll something to vivisect a living thing… Seems like it should erode your compassion or something…”
  • Tenga Toppa Gurren Lagann references were made.  They were quality references.
  • Taylor: “I don’t see any creepers or lava do I?”  DM: “No, not yet.”
  • Taylor: “I call out that someone’s outside.”  DM: “…. Okaaay, the door opens, and it’s the same doctor guy before, he recognizes you two and panics, running away–” Taylor & Jason: “Whoa we’re still cloaked!”  DM: *derpface*
  • Eli: “Sword in one hand, ally in the other, we scale the building.”
  • Eli: “Oh yes, is he still getting his grasshopper muesli?”
  • The party: “We’re gonna have to look for Olivia.”  Louis: “Oh Olivia is very easy to find, she’s not trying to hide at all.  There’s a lot of noise, this is intentional.”
  • Eli: “We did not purchase tickets to the love boat…”