Until I actually do the writeup. Enjoy your break!
The party is on the Moral Ambiguity, which is sailing towards a meeting with one or more representatives of the Silver Prince, to sell the ship in exchange for ???. The meeting is scheduled for a few days, so the party is now plotting how to ambush Quetzalcoatl/Garmenberger when he comes through to make the trade. A very long discussion ensues.
The teleportal is moved to in front of the main cannon, hanged upside down, with dolphin grease on the ground. Kami mans the cannon, Olivia will project a force field to prevent his escape, Blade will shoot him, and Mithril is holding his attacks in reserve to respond to any counters. Hunter was originally slated to also chop him up, but he has brought Jacob, Veria, Jonas and Isabelle through to his manse, and when the day arrives and they look for him, they say he’s downstairs talking with the Raksha (Eli couldn’t make it). As a final preparation, Mithril has left iBot concealed on the platform and is watching for approaching people.
As the island appears on the horizon, Mithril (through iBot) detects Quetzalcoatl coming through the teleportal. He’s definitely the same guy from Mithril’s team back in Autochthonia, complete with the short cloak made of brilliantly colored feathers and green headband. The man steps onto the platform and immediately falls, is blasted by the two cannons and flies backwards into the ocean. Olivia retrieves the body but it isn’t Quetzalcoatl now, it’s one of her mercenaries, Elipses Corter.
Everyone realizes they neglected to ask Mithril about this erstwhile ally, and Mithril says Quetzalcoatl was their expert in sorcery, stealth and disguise. Everyone now feels pretty dumb for trying to ambush an infiltration expert, and they turn off the teleportal to prevent anyone else from coming through.
The time of the meeting is approaching, and the party resolves to deal with that first. When they reach the coordinates, a natural harbor on a deserted island, they see another ship much like the Moral Ambiguity but much larger. There are a number of undead zombie/skeletons crewing the ship, and as they approach they see two new figures emerge from the cabin: a man in soulsteel armor who seems entirely too cheerful, and a very grim-seeming black-cloaked figure.
Blade sneaks on while cloaked and carrying iBot, while Olivia and Mithril step over and Kami stays behind, dressed like one of the cultists (since they might recognize him). Blade Spider-mans around to the cabin and watches as Olivia plies the emissaries with her charms, mostly causing the chipper man to bleed profusely from one eye. They present the required payment: a chest filled with ingots of soulsteel (and nineteen more in the hold as promised), and another chest with a large wedding bell made of pure blackness.
Olivia and Mithril invite the Abyssal, Hunger of a Hundred Years, to inspect the hold of the Moral Ambiguity, while his grim compatriot orders the skeletons to bring up the rest of the chests. Olivia also whispers to Mithril to deactivate iBot, which is the “oh shit” signal for Blade. Olivia, Mithril and Kami accompany the Abyssal down to the hold, where he takes a panel off the warp core and sees the infected coma guy strapped in, and he seems equal parts gleeful and in awe. Blade, meanwhile, kills the skeletons in the cabin and commandeers the large ship to start sailing away at top speed.
The moment the party and Hunger hear the rumbling of the other ship, Olivia screeches, “How dare you betray us!,” creating a moment’s hesitation in him while Mithril prepares his latest trick. He activates his Obvious-version electrification charm and moves as though he’s casting a spell, causing Hunger of a Hundred Years to go after him with a martial arts combo intent on disrupting the spell. Mithril detaches his now-detachable arms as he takes hits to help deceive Hunger, who is not completely fooled but is mostly confused as Mithril seems to still be casting a spell. Only, there is no spell, just an electrified metal net and a bunch of stabbing. This rapidly slays Hunger, presumably satisfying his hunger for death (he seems to keep talking after he’s dead, with one of his hearthstones pulsing like a heartbeat — weird).
Meanwhile, the black cloaked figure has rushed into the cabin, reset the alignment of the ship (Blade is cloaked on the ceiling), and heads out to cast a necromantic spell. Blade simply rappels back down and resets the course again, and is back on the ceiling when the black cloaked figure cuts a black swath of death energy through the room and calls skeletons around the entire cabin to protect it. He then leaves again, and Blade changes the course again, so when the black cloaked figure returns he searches the controls for remotes, viruses, or who knows what else.
Soon the party is back on the top deck, and Olivia sees the black cloaked figure coming back out so she drops the (already looted) corpse of Hunger on him, while Mithril repeats his “spellcasting” trick, while Olivia calls out for him to surrender to their sorcerer and Kami aims the cannon. The necromancer takes the bait, casting a counterspell on Mithril to no effect, and soon he is netted, enabling Kami to blast him to oblivion with the Moral Ambiguity’s cannon.
The party now has both the Moral Ambiguity and the other larger warship, twenty chests of soulsteel, and a bell that might end the world. What to do next?
A sampler of funny things:
- The entire conversation regarding setting up the trap was gold.
- Jason: “I’m gonna hunt dolphins while we wait.” Soon, Louis: “Oh we can use the dolphin carcasses to build that!”
- Louis: “Olivia will inquire as to what the payment is.” DM: “Okay roll it.” Louis: “No Olivia would say it way better than me.” DM: “That’s why I’m making you roll it because it’s suspicious as hell.”
- Olivia: “Oh, Hunger of a Hundred years huh? *flirtatious* What have you been hungering for?” DM: “His left eye starts just weeping blood like crazy, he takes a hankerchief and starts dabbing it away.” Louis: “No way, that’s not possible–” DM: “It’s not a resonance effect, it’s a charm, stop arguing.” Hunger: “Sorry, that seems to happen when the pretty ladies try to have their way with me. And as to your question, the answer is death. I have hungered for death. We all hunger for death, really.” No one knows what to say.
- Louis: “Okay Olivia tells Taylor to deactivate iBot.” Jason and Alejo: “Uh…” Taylor: “Okay I deactivate iBot.” Apparently there was a miscommunication somewhere, where Olivia and Blade have different interpretations of “oh shit.”
- Taylor: “Mithril’s going to make it look like he’s casting a spell.” DM: “Okay roll.. uh… manipulation… plus …. uh …. “
- Jason: “I’m gonna keep doing this until he figures it out or until the rest of the party shows up.”
Mithril has completed his sidequest, and with a new motivation he returns to the Moon-Sheltered Manse to find the party leaving the underground tunnels. The new plan is to wall off the underground tunnels as they were walled off before, and leave them for later. All plans to engage creepers and purple spiders have been postponed. The new plan is to set out for Bloodspike Mountain with only the elite of the mercenary group, leaving the others behind to train and improve, possibly by playing a game with a prolate spheroid…
The party sets out on foot, as there is a major road that passes somewhat near the manse (though the manse itself is hidden on a cliff by the forbidden forest). Once on the road, Olivia knows the best route to near Bloodspike Mountain, but when they pass near the valley (Blood Gulch), they encounter a small group of the mercenaries bringing additional supplies back to the Moon-Sheltered Manse. These mercenaries report that a strange woman was walking around asking questions, so the party hustles over as quickly as possible (rapid transit now involves Blade powering down and entering the vat that Mithril can then absorb). In the ruins of the now-abandoned West Valley Mercenary camp, there is a tall, well-dressed woman with a flowing green cape and a brilliant silver sword on her belt wandering around. Olivia approaches and flirts, per the usual, but gets the sense that this woman, who asks if she is Olivia immediately, is rather more than she appears to be. The party approaches to talk with her (Blade is removed from Mithril’s vat as well), and everyone gets a similar sense that this woman is something powerful but not overtly hostile.
The woman identifies herself as Kathexa, the new Celestial Censor of this region. She discloses that the previous Celestial Censor was ineffectual and allowed corruption to run rampant, and she is going down the laundry list of major violations. In particular, she is very interested in Cadmius Questor, God of Grundelplith, as his actions were highly illegal and he seems to have disappeared. The party brings her to his “sanctum,” in which is still sitting the last of his lieutenants, despondent and somewhat clueless. Kathexa tries to interview him, but he only answers his own name, “Ozamataz Buckshank,” and then a repetitive stream of motivational word salads. Kathexa finally gives up, and warns the party that C-Questor could probably still be reconstituted under the right conditions. Hunter disposes of Ozamataz.
The conversation then takes a turn for the unsettling, as Kathexa asks about an auction of supernatural artifacts that happened recently. According to her information, one of several enemies who were collaboratively masquerading as the “Wind Creature” had the power to corrupt gods, and his essence was not recovered. She is concerned that the essence may have been present at the auction. When the party volunteers that it was run by the Loquacious Seeker of Secrets, Kathexa is alarmed, as he is known to be dangerous, but also confused about what he might want with something that could corrupt gods. She also asks where he went. Blade puts the pieces together and realizes the Pool of Death intends to complete Autochthon’s corruption. Kathexa isn’t terribly helpful but is aware of Autochthonia, and is also surprised to learn that Blade and Mithril are from a different nation than the ones who are in the embassy to the east. This perks up Blade and Mithril’s ears, as they weren’t aware of any embassy, though Mithril did know someone who came from Creation to Autochthonia before.
Olivia also tries seducing Kathexa, to no avail, but Kathexa does promise to keep in touch. Also apparently she goes for the butch girls more, which prompts Blade to remove her helmet at one point. Much amusement ensues.
The party leaves, richer in knowledge and more troubled because of it, then completes the two-week overland journey to Bloodspike Mountain. The guild caravan trail dead-ends at a small trading post in the distant shadow of Bloodspike Mountain. Olivia kicks things off by finding the local guild contact, who is easily found, and pumps him for information. It seems this is a trading post that is well-visited and there are many Wyld-created materials such as feathersteel here for sale. They barter for many necessities, though when it comes to food only for luxury goods. The villagers seem highly superstitious of the mountain itself and relate many horrendous stories about it at every opportunity, and also do not allow anyone to take the trails deeper into the forest surrounding the mountain.
Everyone does their own reconnaissance after this initial meeting. Kami meets with the local doctor, who relates a ghastly story of someone whose arm is cut off by a monster but the person could still feel it and move it around (prompting an int+medicine check to determine that the story makes no sense). Olivia tries to fish for information on how regular this supply of feathersteel is and finds it is a very regular supply indeed, rather remarkable for such a rare material. Mithril uses his Essence sight to analyze the materials for sale and learns for the first time about the “Wyld,” and how its chaotic energies have produced these fantastical materials. He also determines the village guards watching the trading post are actually wearing a good deal of essence-related materials under their clothing. Blade, meanwhile, cloaks with Optical Shroud and sneaks down the path that the guards are preventing anyone from using. She passes a few more guards before she sees two guards on a low platform in a tree, one of which wearing some type of goggles. Blade manages to sneak off-path around behind them and monitors them, noting they do not look upwards. She eventually sneaks back.
The party reconvenes at dusk and shares information. Hunter uses his investigation excellency to put together everyone’s information and determines the villagers are likely creating rumors intentionally to protect the region that they want no one to enter, and something important is probably there. The party goes aerial and flies in the night over the heads of the guards. Olivia lands and meets the guards, overwhelming them with her charm and taking the goggles, and also confirming Hunter’s theory since they essentially admit they want no one in. The party goes aerial again and flies towards the mountain.
Suddenly, the world shimmers and the forest in front of them appears to actually be a city of a substantial size, with tall buildings, streetlights, and a number of hovering saucers that surround the party and demand they land. Mithril lands and allows Blade out, and Olivia lands and puts down Hunter and Kami (still with Jacob and Veria). The captain of the guard approaches cautiously while a number of other guards have trained weapons on the party. The captain states they are in the city of Langri-Sha and they are not permitted to be there. They are to join him at the police station for interviewing. When Olivia name drops Heinz as their friend, the captain then suggests they should be thrown in the dungeon instead then since Heinz is a notorious criminal who discovered the city’s secret and escaped. The party decides to accompany him to the station since they want his cooperation in finding their target, Garmenberger.
At the police station, Kami draws a picture of Garmenberger, but no one identifies him. One of the rookie guards suggests they can search the lower areas of city hall since strange things have been happening there, but he is immediately shot down by the older guards. The guard then leaves for his break and Mithril discreetly activates iBot and sends him after the rookie with a handwritten note: “You can communicate with me through this”. The guards are getting hostile and Olivia’s charms aren’t getting the captain to bend to her will, so when the rookie finds iBot and realizes he can talk with the party, he suggests they allow themselves to be locked up so they can talk. Mithril and then Olivia request a waiting area, and they are escorted to a relatively comfortable holding cell. Kami also notices all the rooms are lit with electricity, which is quite an interesting thing to him.
The rookie shows up, telling the guard on duty the captain wants to talk with him, then lets the party out and they take the back exit. They head over to city hall as quickly as possible, since it’s late at night the streets are nearly deserted (and yet still well-lit). The rookie, named Jonas, points out the tallest building as city hall. The doors are locked, but the party rapidly enters through the second floor and heads down to the first floor. The door to the basement is locked, but Blade shoulders it open and— well that’s all it took I guess.
The staircase down is very long, and at the bottom is a vast concrete level filled with technology of various kinds. Kami and Mithril’s initial reads are that they are essence extractors of some kind, apparently extracting Wyld energy from deeper underground and converting some to electricity while others can be used to make things.
Wandering around a bit more, the party discovers a research section, including a teleportal set to the same number as the destroyed teleportal back at Blood Gulch. A woman in a lab coat is working there and is startled by the party. She identifies herself as an apprentice technomage named Isabelle, and Mithril uses his intimidation abilities to demand she explain what is happening here. She reveals that Langri-Sha is built over a hidden unshaped raksha from the Balorian crusade, Zi-Band-Ar. He is trapped and they are harvesting his energy to build their society. She also reveals that the rookie is wrong and the society has been around for more than a hundred years, in fact it has existed since the Great Contagion. This also confuses the rookie.
When she is shown the picture of Garmenberger, she recognizes it as an alternate form of one of the technomages, a powerful one on the Technomage Council at that. She describes his alternate form as a man of similar size but wearing a magical feather cape and a green headband. This matches someone Mithril knows: his teammate in GROUP, Quetzalcoatl. Shocked at this betrayal, Mithril is now furious enough to seek out and kill Quetzalcoatl, but when asked where he is, the technomage says he went to the mountain on a mission and doesn’t know when he’ll be back.
Now the party turns its attention to the teleportal. Blade volunteers to go in first. She activates her shroud and steps on, seeing two glowing paths leading away from her position superimposed on the world around her. She walks down one path (causing the real world to vanish) while holding a rope produced by Mithril, and when she reaches the edge, she steps in and finds herself on a teleportal in an abandoned sea cave with a powerful, evil black box in the corner. She returns and then heads down the other hallway, finding herself on the hold of a familiar ship. She reports back, and everyone piles into the ship. It’s definitely the Moral Ambiguity, sailing through the open ocean.
Mithril deploys iBot to the upper deck, seeing two more men wearing black with gold trim, clearly members of the Cold Winds Cabal. These two thieves, or stealers if you prefer, are steering the ship and manning the cannon respectively. Kami shuts down the power to the ship while Mithril deploys his smokescreen, and the helmsman sends down his companion, who is promptly captured. Hunter then calls out while mimicking his voice that he should try it again, then climbs up and draws his sword, continuing with “Never mind.” After staring at Hunter for a moment, the cultist leaps into the ocean and tries swimming away. This surprises Hunter, but does leave him with another person to interrogate still. The other cultist rapidly divulges their destination is a few days away still and that is where the trade will happen with the Silver Prince’s new envoy. This means the party could possibly set a trap here for both Quetzalcoatl and for the Silver Prince’s deathknight, which particularly pleases Mithril and Hunter respectively.
The party also realizes that perhaps Jonas and Isabelle should be brought through the portal and not be left behind to be arrested by the guards. Mithril dashes out and finds them and brings them back, and Olivia gets to work ensuring they will stay loyal to the party. The session ends with various plottings for what forms of deathtraps to set.
Funniest Moment candidates:
- Louis: “You really should keep Jacob in a backpack or something.” Debbie: “I do!” Eli: “You should keep him in an orichalcum hamster bubble.”
- Mithril apparently keeps Blade in his crotch now. Also, Jason: “I’m just wondering, am I about to give Mithril an erection?”
- Louis, re: Oz: “Olivia can change who he worships.” Eli: “Hunter can change whether he worships.”
- Kathexa: “I really go for more of the butch girls.” In response, Blade removes her helmet.
- Louis: “Brokeback I mean Bloodspike Mountain.” Alejo: “….”
- Jason, re: the villagers’ secrecy: “It’s where they hide their porn.”
- Olivia: “How about I give these goggles to Blade. It will also build intimacy.” Jason: “Blade accepts them, she’s that kind of girl.” Someone else: “Artifacts are a girl’s best friend.”
- The mercenaries are now referred to as Nature’s Kevlar.
- Louis refers to Olivia as a “diplomancer” which is highly appropriate. Also Mithril is described as the swiss army knife, though at this point he’s starting to turn in to a Marvel amalgamation instead.
- Olivia: “We come in peace, capitalism, and free love!”
- Party starts to prepare to search the entirety of City Hall, floor by floor. The Rookie cop points out they should probably hurry. Debbie: “[Guard] you wanted to see me? [Guy in charge] No…” Eli: What were you doing when you found out I wanted to see you? [Guard] I was guarding the prison..ohhhh. [Guy in charge]: Do you think they’re still there? *shrug*”
- Alejo: “Roll perception plus awareness to figure out what’s going on.” Eli: “One success.” Alejo: “You’re on the Moral Ambiguity.”
- Taylor: “Oh Alejo I was wondering if the spider silk I can extrude could be made of metal?” Alejo: “I’m probably gonna regret this but sure okay.” Taylor: “Okay so does that mean my electrical attacks can be conducted through the wire?” Alejo: “I KNEW something like that was coming!”