Monthly Archives: July 2014

Session #17

(Note: This session was shortened due to DM madness, and the following session will be sans Mithril on the 27th)

The party has regrouped and is making a list of things to do before and during the Yu-Shan trip.  The first order of business is to interrogate the Sorceress, Navrali Tova, further and then the Martial Artist, The Bro.  However the interrogation does not go according to plan.  While she reveals some minimal amount of information (including to not awaken The Bro under any circumstances), she seems to be struggling against her Urge to destroy her enemies.  Olivia tries using her full-power combo to persuade her to ignore her Urge, but all this does is trigger her Torment, which affects everyone in the room to fly into a berserker rage.  Olivia manages to avoid it by focusing on her lust for this hot piece of ass, Mithril and Hunter use virtue channels to avoid succumbing, but Kami is overtaken and immediately stabs Navrali with his sleeping potion needle before Olivia corrals him and uses her persuasion ability to get him to stop.  Since her Crown of Thunders power is already active she is also able to restrain the berserk rage of the minions who are standing guard.

With the interrogation a bit of a wash, the party is now ready to turn over the Infernals and the Bell to Heaven.  A portal is summoned and the party is escorted into Yu-Shan by the plain-clothed Sidereal, Verrance.  Upon entering the magical supercity, everyone is completely blown away by its majesty, of course.  Instead of streets, the buildings have canals running between them with superfast boats that rapidly brings the party to the Forbidding Manse of Ivy, center of secrets in Heaven’s Bureaucracy.

The party meets another Sidereal named T.J. and then is brought to the office of an ordinary looking man who seems to have limitless patience and is completely unflappable (and is also Essence 7).  Even when Kami dumps the Infernal on his desk, he seems mildly interested and directs them to bring the Infernals to Lytek, God of Exaltation, while the bell is taken away to be stored in a secret vault and misinformation to be dealt to the Silver Prince’s spy in Yu-Shan.  Meanwhile, submission of the bell turns out to involve paperwork that Mithril fails to complete on his own, so Olivia helps him while Kami and Hunter bring the Infernals upstairs.  Olivia, meanwhile, is also relentlessly flirting with every Sidereal in line of sight, especially the Instructor whose office they’re occupying.

Kami and Hunter meet Lytek, a wild-haired scatterbrained savant who identifies Kami by his Exaltation number and Hunter as an object of some curiosity.  He also takes the Infernals with a keen interest, putting them on tables for study and at one point casually extracting the essence from the Bro’s chest in a rather messy display of essence vivisection.  In this room, all essence is solid, and he begins molding it to understand it better.  Kami and Hunter try gaining insight into how to reverse Hunter’s condition but the leads are limited, and they are also somewhat put off by how casual Lytek seems to be about actual human lives.  Exaltations are his business, after all!

Olivia and Mithril finally finish filing the paperwork for the bell and head upstairs, Lytek is distracted from his work by the sight of Mithril.  Some interrogation follows, after which Lytek pensively returns to his work.  Olivia asks, as a favor, to never be exalted, which Lytek agrees to with mild surprise.

Mithril is also accosted at one point by T.J. who suggests that if a portal to Kamak is opened, it will need allies on the Creation end for trade and for protection, and that he knows a group of Solars who would be willing to be that ally.  Surprised to find that Mithril has already met some of them, T.J. encourages him to pursue this relationship further.

Olivia has asked for Heaven’s help in masking their actions from view by the Loom of Fate, which it turns out is difficult to do and also probably won’t help since most of their enemies are outside fate, but promises are made about restoring the Moon-Sheltered Manse’s fate-shadowing powers.  Olivia also asks about a way to keep in touch with Heaven, which T.J. can also provide.  He produces a seemingly normal journal but insists it is a powerful artifact and that if you write the date on the top of a page, he will know everything that is on that page.  Mithril can’t seem to absorb this “artifact” into his Technomorphic Integration Engine, and T.J.’s insistence on its power leads the party realize it’s just an ordinary journal, but somehow T.J. will be able to read its contents.  They are escorted back by Verrance, who impresses upon Kami that his work is important and he is fated to succeed.

Once the party is back at the Moon-Sheltered Manse, everyone has work to do.  Mithril flies off to check on the progress of the portal with Kamak and then collect the last artifact from the Solars in the Northeast.  Hunter schemes how to get his Monstrance out to Heaven for further study without winding up a lab rat himself, and ponders capturing an Abyssal for Heaven’s study and possibly getting in touch with his last spy in Skullstone.  Olivia makes several trips back and forth to her factory-cathedral to have the soulsteel ingots manufactured into power armor and weapons for her minions.

Meanwhile, after a good deal of effort Kami manages to get the sequence of DNA that produces the virus.  Kami then designs and creates a new version of the virus with an enzyme that can remove the sequence, and tests it on a tissue sample he took from Jacob.  He finds it works somewhat, but after a while it stops working before the cells are fully cleansed.  Turns out some of the viral sequences have been injected into the telomeres (tips of the chromosomes) and there isn’t enough DNA on both sides for the enzyme to remove the sequence.  Attempts to isolate the enzyme telomerase don’t seem to go so well, so Olivia steps in and digs into the Guild archives, finding a reference to a “telomere” in the summoning incantation of the God of Cancer.  Olivia promptly arranges to have a summoning conducted, where Kami is also present.

The God of Cancer shows up, a wizened, cranky old man who seems to be used to mostly being asked to inflict cancer on people (since Solar medicine can normally cure cancer).  Kami asks about telomeres, and it turns out the God of Cancer has two incantation strips, one that can lengthen telomeres on any designated tissue and another that can shorten them.  Olivia arranges to have these purchased for a fair price and have the Bureaucracy of Heaven bribed in his favor for the trouble.  With these strips, Kami believes he may now be able to finally cure Jacob once and for all.

Amusing notes:

  • Lytek: “Well let’s have a look at his essence shard.”  *Casually extracts it from his chest, as it beats like a heart a few times before stopping and the body writhes and then lies still*  Hunter and Kami: “………….”
  • T.J.: “Take care of this precious artifact!”  Someone: “…It’s just a regular journal, isn’t it…”  T.J.: “HUSH!”
  • Olivia: “I try flirting more with this Sidereal.  Does it have any effect?”  DM: “He likes you, but his conviction is really high…”
  • “The God of Cancer? Does he look like a crab?”
  • God of Cancer: “Ughh, you think this job is easy? Always making people wither away and die painfully, it’s a tough job.”  Soon, Olivia: “I’m going to see if we can bribe the bureaucracy of heaven to have him reassigned since it seems like he hates his job.”

Session #16

The party has won the battle, can they win the war?

Olivia is quite gleeful at the thought of taking three powerful Exalted and bending them to her will.  She and Hunter collect the martial artist and sorceress and drag them into the basement of the Moon-Sheltered Manse, tie them up in separate rooms, and keep them under heavy guard by Olivia’s minions, who are instructed to keep hitting them in the head to keep them unconscious until such time as they are ready to interrogate them.  Alex explains that these are the characters who recently broke into Yu-Shan and hacked the Matrix of Reality, and she followed them while staying hidden using Sidereal Astrology.  She had been using some special power to keep the masked man from detecting her, as his mask could let him see through all illusions and see into the future.

Kami and Mithril go outside to collect the third Exalt, the jet-pack guy, but they can’t find him, probably because Kami botched his tracking roll and leads them in circles for a while until Mithril figures out they’ve gone in circles.  Eventually they find where he crash landed and footsteps leading away towards the edge of the forest, and when they get to the cliff they find none other than Mika, covered in blood and carrying a blood-drenched jetpack.  He claims he found the guy trying to make an escape, killed him, and threw his body to the sharks.  Mithril tries to retrieve the body but sees only sharks.

Mika asks to come along and see Olivia again, and apparently he had been attempting to track Olivia but had failed until recently due to some mysterious force preventing him.  The party explains that the effects concealing the manse are not working anymore and that is probably why.  Kami and Mithril return with Mika to the manse and Mika is happy to see Olivia again.  Reunion!  Mika is introduced to Hunter and to the various minions.  He wants to stick around because it looks fun here, and he wanders all around for a while.

Kami and Mithril inspect the strange magical staff that the sorceress was wielding.  It is very similar to the AK-47 from before, in that it has a demon soulforged into its core and has technological parts coming out from that core.  Kami consults his literature and discovers that the demon is probably a second circle demon named Gnirut, a creature of information and betrayal.  Alex identifies this as the device that was used to hack the Matrix of Reality.

The time has come to interrogate the sorceress.  They awaken her and ask her about their plans, but the sorceress reveals little until her willpower is spent.  Finally, with her will breaking from repeated Presence checks from Olivia and Investigation checks from Hunter, Mithril steps in and uses his Motivational Vocoder to change her motivation to “Worship Autochthon.”  As this takes effect on her, she is overwhelmed by her feelings, then slowly manages a strangled warning: one of the hidden changes they made when they hacked the Matrix of Reality was to change the energy requirement for the fusion of nitrogen atoms into silicon, which means that with enough heat, one could ignite the atmosphere, killing Gaia and Autochthon in the process.  As everyone absorbs this in blunted horror, her second warning comes out haltingly: the Infernals had in fact tortured Mika to death some months ago for information.  This is quite a butt-puckering moment for everyone, then Olivia knocks her out again with another blow, sets guards all around her, and they go running to find “Mika.”

Unfortunately, at that moment, the power starts to flicker and alarms start to sound.  Kami and Mithril run into the control room, finding that there is some other entity attempting to take control of the manse computers.  Olivia tries to encourage M.I.R.I. to not turn evil but it doesn’t seem very effective.  Hunter tries to leave, but finds the door stuck, and even a massive blow with his grand daiklave only dents it.  Kami tries unplugging things, but this only starts a countdown of one minute to releasing the neurotoxin, so Mithril does the desperate move and surges his electricity into the system to overload it and shut the manse down completely.

Now the lights are out and the doors don’t really work, and a skittering sound starts to echo through the manse.  Olivia registers this right away and screams for everyone to run to the back entrance to the underdark immediately.  A crush of minions sprints that way with Hunter running along on the ceiling, and just as Olivia gets there, the two minions guarding the door are opening the door, though they seem to believe they are closing it, and that they had been instructed to open it by Mika.  A purple spider drops from the ceiling onto Olivia’s head and so she starts to close the door, but Hunter gets there and sees she is actually opening it.  Olivia expends willpower to battle the illusion long enough to pull the spider partway off her head, and Hunter slices it neatly in half, after killing the other spider that was still on the ceiling.  The rest of the group and the soldiers arrive and close the door as quickly as possible, while Olivia chucks a pyromantic grenade through the door to keep the surging spiders back until it’s closed.

As the party runs back, expecting this was a diversion, two of the guards report that an armored, blond-curls man tried to push past them onto the teleportal but it failed since the portal was drawing power from the manse and is currently off.  The soldier had run away, so the guards are instructed to gather around key areas (Jacob, the portal, the control room, and both of the prisoners) while the party searches for him.  Finally, a ruckus comes from downstairs, right by the martial artist, and the party sprints down to find three mercenaries unconscious and iced to the wall, one on fire yelling that they went down the hallway, and no martial artist.  At this point everyone is suspicious as hell of everything so Mithril keeps an eye on this soldier and when he starts to run away, Mithril doubles back to question him.  Kami and Hunter also double back while Olivia keeps heading down the hall.

The soldier answers questions effectively but the party is still suspicious, so when Olivia opens a door and finds the martial artist and the same soldier everyone is talking to, both unconscious, she knows it’s a trap.  Mithril reaches out to shake the soldier’s hand but when he tries to electrocute the soldier, he dodges perfectly, his hand turning to sand as his disguise falls away, and then makes more perfect dodges against Olivia’s attacks.  Kami leaps onto him just as he’s about to activate his jetpack and disables the straps using Craftsman Needs Only Caffeine, causing the jetpack to spiral away into the air.  Mithril then lassoes the jetpack, and, using exceptional thrown skills and some lucky rolls, manages to arc the lassoed jetpack right onto the top of his head, crunching his skull.  He seems to recover from it very quickly, but this leaves him without his perfect dodge and in the brief moment available to him, Hunter cleanly cuts the Infernal in half, and after a moment he slides apart.

The martial artist and sorceress are collected, and the sorceress’s staff is found abandoned in a hallway.  While Mithril is in the room with the sorceress he finds a celestial prayer strip, with a hastily scrawled note that Alex left to warn Yu-Shan about the “ignite the atmosphere” change, but she would send backup.  Soon, as Mithril reports this to the party, two people seem to have come out of nowhere.  One is a tall Northern fellow with golden gauntlets, ready for a fight, while the other is a retiring, sarcastic man dressed in unremarkable black clothes.  He writes some notes in a journal as a way to send messages and says that they can all make a report to Yu-Shan, which is where the party is hoping to dump the bell.  Hunter and Kami go through the teleportal (Kami has brought the manse back online) and collect the bell, and as Hunter comes back, the quiet man greets him and says he admires his work, and he feels they have things in common.  Hunter is slightly perturbed by this.

The backup says they can summon a portal to Yu-Shan when the party is ready, but there are some things they want to take care of first (downtime!).

DM’s Notes: Holy moly that was fun.  Yakkity Sax would have been so appropriate.  Also don’t think I forgot about the demon wards, the charm that the bad guy was using specifically says it’s a shaping charm that literally fools a Pattern Spider into thinking you’re who you’re pretending to be.  Pretty sure that would fool a demon ward.  It definitely fooled Olivia’s Measure the Wind and M.I.R.I.’s internal scanners.

Some funny things:

  • Olivia: “Hunter, can you search for things?”  Hunter: “…inside of people, sometimes.”
  • Reference was made to the subtle art of not quite beating someone to death.
  • “Don’t botch!”  Taylor: “If I do, I’ll screenshot it.”
  • Louis: “Don’t worry, Olivia’s used to being covered in goo.”
  • Debbie: “I’m going to use my new combo, Craftsman Needs Only Caffeine.”  This was after the DM pointed out that disabling a jetpack would normally take 1 minute but with a charm that lets you work at 12 times normal speed it would only take 5 ticks.