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.”