Session #15

The party is stationed at the Moon-Sheltered Manse which has now been fully warded by the Guild agents and is guarded by Olivia’s army of doomjustice. M.I.R.I. has just sounded the alarm that an unidentified Haslanti airboat is approaching at high speed. Kami stashes Jacob in a safe room in the manse guarded by Olivia’s low-power minions while the stronger ones stand guard at the entrance, which is a door built into the cliff side with stairs jutting out of the rock leading up to the top of the cliff and also down to the beach. Hunter and Kami are right at the door, and Blade positions herself higher up on the stairs. Olivia and Mithril stand at the top of the cliff. Soon Mithril spots the airship approaching from over the forest and uses his telescopic vision to determine that the ship is in fact the same one they encountered earlier, crewed by demons and demon-blooded cultists, and accompanied by demon wasps.

Olivia flies up to meet the ship and keeps a close eye on it as it approaches. She can see the crew is mostly demons such as blood apes but with some humans as well. She can also see on the main deck are three people who are not crewing the ship but are deliberating amongst themselves. There is a tall dark-skinned and bare-chested man with a black mask, a blong curly-haired man wearing heavy armor and with a large bulky device on his back, and a woman carrying a metal rod with an elliptical ring on one end with some kind of mesh inside. The ship is approaching quickly but seems to be slowing down to pull up over the manse.

As they reach shouting range, Olivia pulls wyld energy through her bracer, mutating her to increase her ability to project herself, and called on the ship to halt in the name of the guild, and that they should state their business, so that all could profit. Her social attack is so powerful that it compels the ship captain to bother with diplomacy. His idea of diplomacy is to demand the bell and he would spare them. Olivia claims (truthfully) that they do not have the bell anywhere in the manse and invites them to come verify this claim. The captain accepts this invitation, so the tall man and the woman then fly down on wasps and approach. Once they are in range Olivia uses Measure the Wind and discovers they are both essence 5 exalts, which is a bit of a butt-puckering moment. Mithril stays to watch as Olivia leads them down the steps past Blade. The man’s mask eyeholes pulse with red light and he exchanges a glance with the sorceresss, and before they reach the manse door she slams the staff end of her device into the ground, and as he activates some kind of charm a sphere of blue essence completely engulfs them both. Battle is joined!

Mithril covers his approach to the ship with a smoke cloud and sticks to the underside of the airship with magnetism, but a moment later the third member of the enemy group jumps off the side of the ship and activates the jet pack on his back, flying past Mithril and blasting him with ice, which Mithril blocks with his beamklave. Kami inspects the sphere, finding it to be some kind of essence field. Hunter uses his grand daiklave to collapse some rocks onto the sphere, with minimal results.

Olivia now deploys her entire bank of Principle of Motion actions. She activates the Crown of Thunders and demands that the two on the stairs surrender and join them (though the essence field simply ripples and no other effect occurs) and then flies over to the airship and makes the same demand, this time with much better effect. The mortals have no ability to resist and immediately turn on the demons. She then flies over to the flyer, grapples him, and squeezes the life out of him (finally overflowing his damage with a huge 7-bashing squeeze) and then returns to the manse. On his next action Mithril flies back to the ship and uses his beamklave to carve a large hole in the armor of the underside of the ship.

From inside the sphere, shining silver fists reach out and attempt to punch Hunter, Blade and Kami in the face, with success only on Blade (all three can see Old Realm script written on the hand in glowing green letters, though only Hunter identifies it as the Sutra of the One-Handed Maiden). Blade is aiming her cannon and fires, but the sphere absorbs the blast. Hunter is still standing on the wall and tries leaning his sword into the sphere, with no effect, so he makes a mighty slash and cuts the rock that forms the stair that they are standing on. With this single blow the rock is shattered, and the sphere suddenly disappears. In that same moment, the tall dark man grabs the sorceress, throws her up into the air, then grabs onto the adjacent stair as he falls, heaves himself up into the air, and activates a combo to punch everyone savagely in the groin which also propels him up into the air, where he catches the sorceress and pulls them both onto the top of the cliff. His blows to Hunter and Blade are vicious, but his blow to Kami is worse because he deals 7 damage (3 of which were soaked by his anima and the other 4 of which took out his Anointment of Miraculous Health levels) and knocks him 25 yards out to sea, where he immediately starts to sink since he weighs 1400 lbs.

Kami calls for help, so Olivia abandons her plan of re-activating Principle of Motion and instead flies out to grab him. With a burst of channeling conviction, Olivia is able to drag Kami out of the water and flies him into the air. Meanwhile, Blade takes a potshot at the martial artist then activates her healing charm, regenerating all the damage she’s taken rather quickly. Hunter sprints up the cliff face to attack the martial artist and manages to land a hit and successfully parries the counterattack. Hunter’s attack only drains a few motes, meaning his opponent is now dry, and so on his next action all he can do is try to punch Hunter at range with his long-range silver fist. Hunter takes the hit, though Olivia’s flyby allowed Kami to give Hunter more health levels.

Meanwhile, Mithril has activated Judgment’s Punishing Railgun and blasted a hole through the airship that the sky can be seen through. Around then, the ship captain, apparently failing to quell the mutiny on his ship, is forced to activate his trump card while he still can: a monstrous demon materializes at the prow of the ship and falls to the ground. It is huge, red-carapaced and radially symmetrical. After it recovers from the shock of the fall, it turns itself inside out so it is a spinning cone of sharp teeth and starts drilling through the rock directly above the manse.

Olivia can see the sorceress is seconds from completing her spell so she drops Kami above the sorceress, then dives, clinches the sorceress, and holds her in place so they both take damage from Kami falling on them. Olivia takes some bashing damage, but the sorceress takes some as well and her red-glowing hands are pinned apart, unable to complete the spell. Kami then leaps up and channels his conviction to try to stab her.  He connects but fails to do damage due to her anima power.  Worried about Jacob’s safety if they are overtaken, Kami changes tactics and channels his compassion to charge the martial artist, with the goal of knocking him off the cliff.  He manages to connect for 1 lethal damage (thanks to the stunt die remembered at the end!) and the martial artist double-botches his athletics roll to keep his balance, falls off the cliff onto Hunter’s sword for more damage, then finally hits the rocky beach for KO damage. Kami then tries running back and stabbing the sorceress again, but botches and almost hits Olivia, though the quick-thinking Olivia blocks using the sorceress as a human shield. A moment later, Blade’s aimed shot blasts the sorceress in the face, knocking her unconscious.

Meanwhile, Mithril channels his conviction and activates his armor’s air manipulation to create a cone of dense, fast-moving air and activates his electricity power through his armor to turn it to plasma, and neatly slices the front of the airship off using his massive plasma cutter. The prow of the ship (with the captain still on it) falls onto the drilling demon, squashing it like a bug, then catches fire. The aft portion of the ship drifts away with the cultists and the demons still battling. A moment later, the captain staggers out of the wreckage, triumphant that he survived. A moment after that, an origami paper blade spears him through the chest. He regards this briefly before dying. Behind him is a heavily shrouded figure who dramatically approaches Mithril, asking about the other enemies. Mithril and Olivia report that they are taken care of. The figure nods and approaches the group gathered around the unconscious sorceress. Olivia uses Measure the Wind again and notes this individual is an essence 4 exalt. He (or maybe she) says: “Pleased to meet you. My name is Alex, and we have much to discuss.”

TO BE CONTINUED!

Some funny things:

  • DM: “The man’s right hand seems wrong somehow. It’s black and angular and covered in runes.” Eli: “Ah, he’s the god of handshakes…”
  • Kami didn’t have any way of rerolling his botch against Olivia because he had already used his point of lucky to reroll a double botch on a perception+linguistics roll to recognize the old realm script on the martial artist’s hand, which would probably also have turned out bad for the party…
  • DM: “Hm, actually he’s going to try to punch you all in the groin so he can use his excellency.” Everyone else: “…..”
  • DM, on inspecting Blade’s regeneration charm: “Oh no wonder it’s so good, it’s as expensive as Mithril’s mindrape charm!”
  • Eli: “But she’s made of squish and Kami is made of clang.”
  • DM: “Taylor, the only reason I’m letting you get away with this is that you’ve been building up to this for three hours. I’m not letting you plasma-cutter everything from now on.” Taylor: “Oh I know, my goal is to kill everything with a different attack this campaign.”
  • Debbie: “Oh! Now I remember what I was going to do.  I was going to Defend Other on Olivia!”  Everyone else: “…”  DM: “IRONY.”
  • The bad guys were The Bro, the black mask beast; Navrali Tova; and Clarky Bobbe, the Flyer…

Session #14

Hunter and Olivia have concluded their business in the West.  Olivia attempts to persuade Vae to accompany them but Vae has pressing matters to attend to still.  Olivia and her entire squad of minions now pile back into the Moral Ambiguity, which can barely hold this many people, so most of the minions are sent back to the Moon-Sheltered Manse.  The trip to the embassy is estimated to be another week along the river, so Blade stands guard, Mithril keeps watch, Olivia flies overhead and wards off all attention by claiming the ship is guild property, and Kami takes the Void Essence Extractor back to the Moon-Sheltered Manse for some experimentin’.  Thanks to the Craftsman Needs No Tools charm, Kami is able to completely disassemble and reassemble it and believes that while the tool itself is unsafe to use on people, he can copy the core idea to make a Void Essence Suppressor Field that can prevent Jacob’s cells from producing death essence.  Kami’s plan to heal Jacob is now looking like using this field to prevent Jacob’s cells from producing death essence while they die and/or are cleansed, but he still needs some way of removing the viral sequence.  This will require further research.

On the sixth day of the upriver journey, after sailing past Nexus and Great Forks and heading into the more forested areas upriver, a small town catches Mithril’s eye as having a tall, perfectly cylindrical spire jutting from a building.  He identifies it as a long-range scanning municipal charm, meaning they have found the Yugash embassy.  Mithril flies away immediately, and Veria runs back through the portal to warn Kami while Coznesster Smiff runs below decks to alert Hunter that Mithril has left.  Olivia notices it as well and flies around to scout while Smiff docks the boat and Blade, Kami and Hunter disembark.  Mithril meets several guards outside the embassy who are suspicious but send a runner to carry Mithril’s request for a meeting.  Olivia rapidly finds Guild contacts who claim that the Autochthonians are open for business, tending to buy unusual things from all over Creation and refusing to sell things of military value but parting with unusual trinkets and wonders such as Talkie Toasters.

Olivia joins with the rest of the party as they arrive, and they are admitted to meet their diplomat.  In the large, hastily constructed warehouse there are only two things: a massive, forty-foot-tall blue head with a massive soulgem in its forehead jutting out of the ground, and a black and silver twenty foot tall spiderlike warstrider-colossus which is apparently the Alchemical in charge.  This Alchemical greets Mithril and Blade in a flat emotionless tone, and after some pleasantries and explanations are exchanged including verification that Mithril and Blade are from Kamak, Mithril’s request to send a message to Kamak is granted, using Vision Transmitting Protocol routed through the Patropolis who is the bridge between Creation and Autochthon.  Mithril’s message, which is lightly encrypted, makes mention of the recovered artifacts and is addressed to Move Point and/or Last Order.  The Yugash Alchemicals transmit the message and estimate if a response is sent it will be received in an hour.

The party randomly meanders and checks out the marketplace, with Kami bringing Jacob around to look at stuff and Blade at one point tries all the free samples of everything.  Olivia also sends a message through Guild Mail (gmail) updating her superiors of the deal reached with the Lunars.  The party reassembles in an hour, to find that happily, the message has been received.  Move Point (whose real name is apparently a mathematical equation involving the derivative of position) has received the message and has suggested that if Mithril can gain access to a large amount of power and resources, the Warp Manifold from the expo could be used to create a stable two-way gate between Autochthonia and Creation.  If Mithril agrees, Move Point will send frequencies and activation codes for the Warp Manifolds.  Mithril sends a return message acknowledging the plan, and so another hour wait is in order.  The colossus scans the party and suggests they rest in the available officer quarters of the barracks, so one of the guards leads them up and assigns five rooms, one to each party member, with the Alchemicals first and Hunter dead last.  Several people seem to be troubled by the tone of the assignments, so Hunter wanders around instead of entering his quarters, while Kami heals Jacob, and Blade goes to have another message sent to Kamak, this one to her superior informing them of her status.

Around this time, Hunter and anyone else outside notices that the moon is blood-red tonight, similar to a Lunar eclipse.  Kami and Hunter don’t know much about this but somehow Mithril has, during the course of his time in Creation, picked up that the moon is intimately tied to the maintenance of the cycles of Creation and that something may be changing.  This is disturbing to the party but they have no other way of immediately finding out what’s going on.  At one point, an elderly man who is only moderately crazy raves about not having seen one since he was very young.

Once the hour is up, Mithril receives the message from Move Point with the encrypted frequencies and command codes, and they’re all good to go.  As they’re leaving, the colossus notes that Kami’s essence is unusual and requests permission to scan him, which Kami agrees to.  The scans are inconclusive, however, though the Alchemical does say he has met Solars before, so Kami’s not sure what it could be.

The party gets back in the Moral Ambiguity and sails through the blood-moon night and through the next few days.  As they approach Nexus, Olivia suggests they put to port there since this is her power base.  As they take a docking port reserved for Guild Factors, two Guild agents are present, one of whom expresses surprise that Olivia is alive.  Olivia brushes him off, since her messages have clearly been getting through.  Her mercenary force has been credentialed and her alliance with the Lunars is in effect.  She requests and receives access to the Guild files containing top-secret information, and finds that a Blood Moon occurs on the night after any alterations are made to the Matrix of Reality, which is in the bowels of Yu-Shan and contains all programming for the physical laws of reality.  Since it was created by the Primordials, who did not believe in making mistakes, there is no undo function and no find last change or revert changes functionality, so whatever happened is likely to stay that way.

Kami goes back to the Moon-Sheltered Manse and asks MIRI about the Blood Moon.  MIRI knows about the Matrix of Reality but is not sure what has been changed.  MIRI has, however, detected a number of minor changes to reality, including the 30th digit of π is now different, which suggests the changes may have been made by someone hoping to cover their tracks.  Another change has invalidated the Moon-Sheltered Manse’s geomantic warding that makes it impossible to find through standard navigation and astrological detection, meaning the manse is now exposed.  This is a serious problem, and MIRI is not certain whether this can be compensated for.  This alerts the party that the changes may have been made at least in part to target them, so everyone piles back into the Moon-Sheltered Manse to stage its defense.

Olivia also reports in with her Hierarch, who is pleased with her work and grants Olivia’s requests for warding at the manse.  She is also pressed into a meeting with Quellison Thornshadow, the Hierarch who she met at the very beginning of the campaign.  Quellison is distraught that Olivia failed in stealing the convoy and preventing the auction, but Olivia soon relates that though the auction took place, she has spent the last few months undoing the damage done by Creation’s enemies and has also forged an alliance with the Lunars of the West.  Quellison is genuinely impressed and expects a full report from her soon, and also commits two of his Dragon-blooded warders to help protect the Moon-Sheltered Manse.

Around this time, Kami notices that he has a lot of experience points, and somehow his charm list and combos seem different.  He can’t really put his finger on it, but he’s not sure how he survived falls of great heights and taking direct unguarded blows in the past.  A chill runs down everyones’ spine as they realize “Iron Skin Concentration” is not a charm and never was one, though no one else’s charm trees seem to have been affected.  The party has been preparing for three days when MIRI’s alarm warns everyone that a Haslanti airship is approaching at high speed.

TO BE CONTINUED…

Some funny stuff:

  • Someone: “What’s Yugash’s relationship to Kamak?” Alejo: “You’re at the bottom of their shit list.”
  • Alejo: “Craftsman Needs No Tools, He Needs Only Caffeine”
  • DM: “So quite frequently in this part of the river you pass another ship with a ton of slack-jawed sailors staring at your warship.” Debbie: “I have Jacob stand on the deck and wave.” Alejo (whilst laughing): “The Make-A-Wish Foundation’s budget has really grown lately!”
  • Louis: “Guild-Mail, or Gmail I guess…”
  • Guard: “Here are your quarters.” Jacob wants to find a gumball machine to spend the quarters at.
  • Olivia: “Most of the artifacts have no commercial purpose.”  Debbie: “Yeah like turning gold into Orichalcum, who would want that?”
  • Debbie: “You broke my character!” Eli: “Your character was broken to begin with.” Jason: “The break that sets the bone.”

Session #13

The party has now split up.  Hunter and Olivia take the Alchemical Sorcerer north to try and locate Vaelynith and secure the Void Essence Extractor, after which they will return to Hunter’s manse and use the teleportal to catch up with the rest of the party, which is headed east in the Moral Ambiguity.

Kami has the most information about the North and East.  Kami, Mithril and Blade ultimately decide to skirt the Realm entirely by sailing through the White Sea, down Malice Bay, and upstream through the River of Tears, which should bring them to the Northeast where the boomerang-wielding fighter was probably located, then continuing upriver to the Yellow river which should lead to the general area of the Yugash Embassy.  The sailing to the White Sea is fairly easy even at maximum cruising speed (which is increased by Mithril creating a slipstream using his armor’s new air manipulation), so Kami takes some time to train a few of Olivia’s minions to also sail the ship.

Once they’re in the White Sea they slow down to avoid the icebergs, but still soon enter Haslanti League territory.  On the second day of their passage through the White Sea, Mithril spots an air boat overhead, suspended from some large cylindrical gas bag and with an unknown crew.  He runs around the ship as quickly as possible and forms a fog bank that obscures the ship, but after a bit when Blade cloaks and climbs up the flag mast to poke her head out above the fog bank, the airship is circling overhead.  Apparently he didn’t pull it off in time, so they allow it to dispel and the air boat slowly lowers itself down to be next to the ship.  As the airboat settles into the water and its captain calls over for the party to state their identities, Blade, still cloaked, takes aim at said captain.  Kami and Mithril try diplomacy, to which the captain Arcturus is somewhat receptive, and though his ship, the Heavy Crane, is on a transport mission, he agrees to arrange for a patrolling warboat to escort them through Haslanti territory and keep Mithril on board as a goodwill hostage.  The airboat takes off and moves into a slow spiral pattern.  The escort’s patrol route is supposed to bring it within range within a half hour, but much more time than that passes, before the Heavy Crane sends off flares with colored smoke.  Still nothing happens.  Mithril flies up, asking Arcturus where the ship is, which they don’t know.  This also provokes a comment from Arcturus that this explains why Mithril was so willing to be on an airship (since he’s now flying alongside the ship).

A storm cloud is rolling in, and Mithril fails a valor check when asked to check it out.  The cloud approaches ever closer, and suddenly a large, heavily armed and armored airboat bursts from the clouds with a massive ram on its prow, trying to ram the Heavy Crane.  Mithril, thinking quickly, uses his air manipulation to compress the gas in the Heavy Crane’s gas bags, causing its buoyancy to decrease and the ship falls, nearly dodging the enemy warship.  One of the gas bags is still punctured, so when Mithril releases the pressure the Heavy Crane coasts down into the water with a resounding thud, while the warship circles around for another pass.  The warship appears to be crewed with demons, and has several large demon wasps flying alongside it.  Mithril launches lightning at its left gas bags to get it to alter course, while Blade uses the Moral Ambiguity’s laser ballista to puncture one of the gas bags and cause it to sink.  This assault causes the ship to crash into the water, though it doesn’t seem to sink.  Kami has gunned the Moral Ambiguity’s engines but he makes a pass by the Heavy Crane and Mithril uses his spider webbing to tow the Heavy Crane, while Blade shoots down the demon wasps.  The party makes its escape with the Heavy Crane in tow.

Once they’re all well underway, Kami heads over to the Heavy Crane to treat injuries, using his combo that allows him to multi-heal people that also makes everything glow golden (“It’s definitely the head trauma”).  Mithril also heads over, and they get directions to a secret air boat base with a dry dock and make sail for it, since it’s less than a day’s sailing even with the Heavy Crane in tow.

During the night while keeping watch, Mithril’s use of essence sight reveals some strange demon-dolphin trailing the Heavy Crane.  He attempts to subtly capture it in a web net, and when that fails he awakens Blade and Kami to discuss what to do next.  Since it’s probably dematerialized, Kami suggests pure essence, such as from Blade’s essence cannon, should still affect it.  Since Mithril hasn’t upgraded iBot enough to share vision enhancements and Blade’s goggles don’t show dematerialized things, Mithril flies above the demon and uses his air manipulation to create bubbles that Blade can target.  This works, knocking the demon into unconsciousness and rematerializing it because these mechanics already don’t make any sense.

They drag the demon (which is like some weird dolphin-monster with colorful feathers on its tail) aboard the Moral Ambiguity and Mithril activates his interrogation powers, since it speaks Old Realm.  They question the demon, and apparently it works for that same warship, under the command of Captain Gyrfalcon, performing locust deliveries and generally causing mayhem.  When they ask about Quetzalcoatl it is confused, and asks who that is, prompting Blade to terminate the interrogation and the demon.  Kami immediately goes back to bed.

The next morning, they have arrived at the secret facility.  The party is invited to a meeting with the Haslanti sky fleet commanders, who are interested to learn that Gyrfalcon is the captain of the ship that attacked the Heavy Crane.  Apparently he is a former Haslanti sky sailor and commando known for his recklessness, and he has intimate knowledge of the patrol routes that the warships use.  The Haslanti are now going to account for this and are determined to bring this menace down.  There is also the question of what the demon meant by locust, but the connection is soon made to the locust oatmeal that the Cold Winds Cabal was feeding its soldiers, and reports that other Yozi-worshipping cabals in the North have similar access to this strangely addictive food.  This mystery seems to be in the process of being solved then!  The Haslanti are grateful and send a warship to escort the Moral Ambiguity to Malice Bay and promise to keep them up to date.  They also provide a map of their territory and provide the latest info on how to find Solars in the Northeast who work for the Bull of the North.

The Moral Ambiguity makes it through Malice Bay and up the River of Tears without incident, though definitely attracting attention.  Once somewhat upriver and at a good location for finding the Solars, they hide the ship with Olivia’s Minions and set off on foot.  By late afternoon, Kami has the impression they’re being followed, and Mithril flies up to find two scouts on their trail while Blade casually starts chopping trees down.  They can’t speak Skytongue or Old Realm but have a very heavily accented version of Riverspeak, and deny any and all knowledge of any Solars in the area.  The party starts making their lives miserable, so a voice calls out to leave them alone, they’re just doing their jobs.  Behind them is the very same man they’re looking for, a young Solar with twin orichalcum boomerangs and a cocky smirk.  He is highly evasive on basically everything including his name (eventually identifying himself as Richard) but acquiesces to the party’s knowledge of his presence at the auction and takes their request for the device seriously.  He claims it’s in use but can be returned once their project is complete, and they can come to the base camp, since his friend is giving rides.  His friend soon shows up in a huge warstrider named Scrap Iron, and Zeke, the pilot, has an amusing conversation with Mithril, involving its construction and the AI it contains.

At the base camp, the party meets other soldiers who work for the Bull of the North, though only Zeke and Richard seem to be Solars.  Richard allows Kami to use their technology to find the nanites in his body, and a metal detector reveals they have embedded themselves in the connective tissues of his left arm.  Kami removes them with ease and keeps them for further study.  Richard claims they need the device for a couple more weeks, but it will be returned to them after that with no extra charge.  Richard also tries to recruit Kami, sensing that he has always been alone and that with them, he would be among trusted peers at last.  Kami is noncommittal but intrigued.

The party heads back to the Moral Ambiguity, preparing for their next stop: the Yugash Embassy!

A few quotes:

  • Jason: “Darn, I’m with the ethical party members…”
  • Captain: “Is this your ship?”  Kami: “It is now…”
  • Blade is aiming at the captain when Mithril says to him: “I don’t know about that, I’ll have to ask this ship’s captain.”  Jason’s face lights up, then Debbie starts to answer and Jason is disappointed it wasn’t a signal to shoot the guy.
  • Blade, shooting Wasps: “One down, x-1 to go!”
  • Richard, to Blade: “I like you, I think we have things in common.”
  • Zeke, to Mithril: “I like you, I think we have things in common.”

Session #12

The party has just captured Quetzalcoatl in Mithril’s net and set about looting him.  Removing his gear, the belt and the feather cape seem to be of particular interest, while his bow seems to be made of some unusual magical material.  After a bit, Mithril remembers that someone in a diving suit shot a trident at him, and dives underwater, finding no diving suit but finding a handle on the underside of the ship.  Olivia stays behind with Blade while Mithril, Hunter and Kami then head down into the hold of the Moral Ambiguity.  There they find the guy in the soulsteel diving suit trying to pry the bulkhead open that has the power source (infected coma guy) inside.  Hunter deliberately sticks his daiklave through the helmet, and it comes out with blood and brains on it as the guy falls over limp.  This seems a bit suspicious, so Kami examines the body and finds the body has actually been dead for some time but was prepared in some way to appear to be alive.  Hunter recognizes this as a fairly common tool used by Skullstone ghosts, so he starts saving up essence.

Olivia asks Blade to wear her goggles while looking at the equipment, and finds that the vest has some kind of illusion over it.  She removes it and sets it aside.  She has Mithril and Kami examine the belt, which is some kind of illusion-projector, and determines that the bow and the cape are not useful and are probably suspect due to their demonic nature.

Once Hunter’s essence is saved up he casts Trolling the Dark Waters, revealing that one of the bodies of Kami’s sailors in fact had a Skullstone ghost hiding inside it (who is now visible and tangible).  Olivia plays good cop, Mithril (using his Intimidation powers) plays bad cop, and Hunter plays worse cop as they extract information from the ghost, who is some kind of elite commando with the Skullstone military.  His assignment was to be a failsafe for Hunger of a Hundred Years, the Abyssal, and the Nephwrack who he evidently doesn’t like and refers to only by patronizing nicknames.  The soulsteel diving suit has a special device in the boot that can take a blood sample, sequence the DNA and broadcast it over a long distance back to the Silver Prince.  It was supposed to be for sequencing the coma guy’s disease so that the Silver Prince could finally get his hands on a contagious version of the disease he needs to power his fleet, as without that disease he is losing the war and may lose within three months.  The combination of Wavecrest, Coral, and the Lunars is far too much for Skullstone to deal with, and this was apparently his final gambit, which is why he was willing to trade away the bell that has a third circle demon soulforged into it.  The bell is somehow important to the Yozi invasion of Creation, which the Silver Prince definitely wants to avoid, but he had no choice as he is now utterly desperate.  Hunter decides this is now an excellent time to taunt the Silver Prince by having the boot’s needle sample his own blood and send its message.  He then executes the ghost.

Olivia wants to go collect her mercenaries from Langri-Sha and have them help pilot the ships, while they plan their next move.  However, when she, Blade and Kami go through, they find elite Langri-Sha soldiers preparing to deactivate the portal.  Olivia manages to persuade them to wait while she talks with their boss, and then has them bring her to the head of the Technomage Council, Carnot.  When the party is brought into his office and reveal they have captured Quetzalcoatl, Carnot immediately demands that they return him to the NSA for interrogation.  The party replies that they are prepared to conduct their own interrogation, which Carnot cannot allow since Quetzalcoatl is in possession of sensitive information, as he has been on the Technomage Council for a long time.  Olivia delivers a massive social attack to change Carnot’s mind, but the best he can do is a compromise where the NSA can perform the interrogation on the party’s ship.  This is agreed upon.

The party reconvenes in a small side room in the hold of the Moral Ambiguity, where Quetzalcoatl is tied to a chair, and a nerdy NSA technician brings a large suitcase and sets it down behind him.  Mithril demands that Quetzalcoatl be asked about his time infiltrating GROUP, which is added to the list of questions that will be subconsciously asked.  Once everything is ready, the technician opens the suitcase, and a purple tentacle-spider with electrodes attached all over it climbs up and wraps itself around Quetzalcoatl’s head.  The technician programs the questions through his suitcase, and Quetzalcoatl begins revealing everything:

“My name is Quetzalcoatl.  I was born in Langri-Sha.  I became a member of the Technomage council.  I was sent on assignment to capture Heinz, a dangerous criminal who discovered the secret of our existence.  I pursued him to the east.  I exalted as a Solar, then I became a Green Sun Prince in service to the Yozis.  I captured Heinz and sent him North to found the Cold Winds Cabal and become its Warden.  I stayed in the East to prepare the invasion of the Yozis, but the other Green Sun Princes were all killed by a group of Solars, though we were successful in bringing through a Third Circle Demon who was dematerialized.  I escaped into Autochthonia through the Yugash embassy.  I met the soul of my Green Sun Prince commander, Scars, who was in a soulgem attached to a gremlin.  I infiltrated GROUP and plotted the theft of the materials from a technology expo.  I reentered Creation along with Scars and met up with the Pool of Death, who already knew Scars and also gave me the plans for the teleportals.  I conducted the auction…”

Quetzalcoatl seizes up when being asked why he conducted the auction, using the shining gems in his headband to keep that information concealed, using its power to force the purple spider to stop and trying to wake up.  Olivia resorts to physically attacking him until the headband’s power is depleted, then the spider forces him to reveal: “I conducted the auction so I could use Langri-Sha magitech to spy on all the auction’s participants!”  In the next moment his voice changes: “I have tired of this servant,” and his neck snaps.

Carnot has the body taken back to Langri-Sha for examination, and Mithril goes with him as they search Quetzalcoatl’s office.  The man who had been spying on the council was already interrogated and had revealed all of Quetzalcoatl’s servants in Langri-Sha, so they expect no surprises.  When Mithril and Carnot find a key code to a classified laboratory, they go in to find nanite tracking technology with four screens still active.  One is tracking Golden Gaze, one is tracking one of Olivia’s minions back at the Moon-Sheltered Manse, one is tracking a Lunar traveling through the West, and one is tracking a participant in military maneuvers in the East working with Solars.  Mithril realizes the data is being recorded and scrolls back to the very beginning, showing the auction.  The Lunar is an arctic-fox totem who purchases a Void Essence Extractor, and the Solar is a cocky young man with two orichalcum boomerangs purchasing a Gold to Orichalcum converter.  These are the last two items from the Expo that Mithril is trying to recover.

Once the party has reconvened and Olivia has retrieved her mercenaries from  their hiding place outside Langri-Sha, everyone figures out what to do next.  Olivia first flies a large quantity of the magical materials to her hidden Factory-Cathedral in the far north, making a number of artifacts and upgrades for herself (including using Yasal Crystals to give herself Spirit Charms) and upgrades for Mithril’s armor and Hunter’s sword.  Since the Technomage council wants the teleportal out anyway, Mithril flies it over to the Moon-sheltered Manse and installs it, so when Olivia returns to Langri-Sha, she realizes it’s not there anymore and heads back to the Moon-Sheltered Manse.  Now the party has three portals: Hunter’s Manse, the Moon-Sheltered Manse, and on the Moral Ambiguity.

The final plan is that Hunter and Olivia will take the Alchemical Sorcerer to try and find Vaelynith and retrieve the Void Essence Extractor while Kami, Blade and Mithril take the Moral Ambiguity to the East to find the Solars and also to investigate the Yugash embassy.

A few quotes:

  • Eli: “Not like Doctor Dre, he’s an actual doctor.”
  • Taylor, in response to suggestions of how bad things can get: “Don’t say that, Alejo can hear you!!”
  • Olivia: “Yes Mithril I guess I can be good cop and you can be bad cop.”  Hunter: “Can I be worse cop?”
  • After it is established that Olivia regularly drinks the tea that lets you see ghosts, including when people die, Eli: “Wait, so you see this every time we kill someone, which is often?”
  • Taylor, on hearing Olivia is making the Crown of Thunders: “Wait, I know what that is, why are you letting him do that?  Don’t let him do that!!”
  • Someone, in response to Louis’s epic powergaming moves: “…What just happened?”

Session #11

The party is now in possession of not one but two artifact warships, a massive stack of magical materials, and a bell that might end the world (might).  One of the first things that happens is a blue glowing paper airplane appears from thin air and hits Kami in the head.  It is a note from Hunter via Cathamoray to open the teleportal, which he does carefully.  Hunter soon comes through and reports that Quetzalcoatl compromised the island earlier already, and that the teleportal to Langri-Sha is open and has a lot of guards around it.

Some discussion ensues about where to take the ships, and the ultimate decision is made to take both ships back to Hunter’s manse first, since they only have one teleportal between the two ships and splitting up would lead to Cthulhu rules.  The new ship can sail under its own power so it’s less than a week’s sailing to Cathamoray’s island.  In the meantime, the bell is moved back through the teleportal to Hunter’s manse, volunteer sailors are brought through by Kami, and Jacob and Veria are ultimately stashed on the island also, with Veria trained to turn off the teleportal at all times except when Jacob is hungry or needs healing.

The plan is now to track down Quetzalcoatl.  The party takes Jonas and Isabelle, having impressed on them that Quetzalcoatl is the enemy, and they go through the portal, Kami first.  Mithril has finally upgraded iBot to allow telepathic communication, so he is invisible as they go through.  On the other side are a large number of Langri-Sha guards, all at the ready and slightly terrified.  Olivia goes to work, persuading them to let them search for Quetzalcoatl, who is the real threat and is on the Technomage council.  They also see Olivia’s two trussed-up mercenaries in purple, and ask about what had happened.  The guards report how earlier in the day Quetzalcoatl took one away, then came back and walked through the portal.  They report that he had made the third mercenary a doppleganger of Quetzalcoatl and had somehow forced him to walk through.

The captain of the guards informs the party that there is a meeting of the Technomage council at sundown, which is soon, and offers to bring the party there.  They agree, so a number of guards accompany the party up the many flights of stairs out of the basement and up to the top floor of city hall.  The guards insist that each person must go through the door one by one to gain admission.  Kami goes through first, wearing iBot.  On the other side of the door is another door with an ornate, jeweled doorknob.  As Kami grabs the doorknob, he feels a tingle run throughout his body, and spend extra time on his head.  Then he is through, and greeted by a very elite-looking guard who greets him by name.

The rest of the party goes through one by one.  Olivia is next and is greeted as “Olivia of the Wyld.”  Hunter goes through next and is greeted as “Madis, Hunter of the Gloaming Truths”, but he rapidly seizes the throat of the guard before he can finish and insists that the guard not speak that name.  Blade goes through and is greeted as Dutifully Striking Blade, and Mithril goes through last (he uncloaks at some point), and is greeted as Mithril the Electromaster Accelerator.

There are twelve seat, through four are vacant, and there are all sorts of different people on this council.  At least two are obviously Dragon-Blooded and some others are likely god-blooded and/or Wyld-touched.  Quetzalcoatl is not in attendance.  The council members are reviewing papers in front of them that Mithril’s telescopic vision reveals as dossiers on each of the party.  Greeeeat.

The leader of the council, Carnot, is clearly Wyld-touched and speaks in an accent that is reminiscent of some Fair Folk.  He asks their business, and Olivia takes the lead in arguing that Quetzalcoatl is a dangerous man and poses a danger to Langri-Sha.  Carnot and other council members scoff, insisting that everyone on the council is dedicated first and foremost to the safety of Langri-Sha.  Carnot then informs the party that the NSA (Neural Security Administration) keeps track of all members of Langri-Sha and keep them apprised of all threats from within.  Olivia asks if Quetzalcoatl receives the same scans, and Carnot concedes that council members enjoy certain priviliges but that Langri-Sha’s safety is paramount.

Blade, meanwhile, has been looking through the goggles that were taken from the guard earlier, and one of the larger council members is not what he seems.  Through the goggles, he is actually a wire frame illusion, with a smaller person within.  Blade informs Mithril via iBot, who then informs the rest of the party.  There are a number of highly elite guards around, who also are much more than they seem when viewed through the same lenses, and the Pattern Spiders have to intervene to prevent Eli from getting the party killed.  Blade opts for the less violent route of handing the goggles to Carnot to see for himself that his council is compromised.

The party was expecting to see Quetzalcoatl under the illusion, but once Carnot has guards grab the councilman, it’s revealed to be a man they’ve never seen before, wearing black with gold trim.  The prisoner smugly screeches at the party that it’s past sundown and Quetzalcoatl has already emerged from the shadow of the mercenary.  This kicks everyone in the ass as they realize they’ve been had, and they sprint out the door, with a final smug remark from one of the councilors thanking Olivia for the tip about Swar.  Olivia tells the captain of the guards on the way out that Jonas and Isabelle are heroes and should be treated as such, and then the entire party literally goes out the window.  Hunter runs down the wall, Blade spidermans down, Olivia takes wing and flies, Mithril leaps out and reextends his armor mid-fall, and Kami just jumps and Iron-Skin-Concentrates the falling damage.

The party sprints back to the basement and through the teleportal to a gruesome sight.  The sailors Kami brought through are all dead, and as they come up the stairs of the Moral Ambiguity they can see Quetzalcoatl rummaging through the stacks of soulsteel.  Kami is up first and gets ready, then Blade is next and grabs him and spidermans them both over.  Hunter then leaps over and gets ready as well, and Olivia and Mithril fly high into the air overhead.

This is when Quetzalcoatl makes his move.  He was holding a bar of soulsteel and he drops it on the ground as he activates his short feather cape into a pair of wings and flies into the air, while his headband sprouts three brightly glowing spots on the front.  One of them flames out, and Olivia’s AK-47 she has been carrying around suddenly becomes much heavier.  She manages to drop it in time, as it splashes into the ocean and becomes a monstrous metal demon which starts shooting at Olivia, so Hunter has to go take it out.  Quetzalcoatl catches up with Olivia and tries grappling her, but she manages to win the clinch and takes control of him.  When Mithril shoots a lightning lasso at Quetzalcoatl, he expends another charge on his green headband to block it.  Hunter runs up the lasso and tries to stab Quetzalcoatl who is helpless in Olivia’s arms, but Hunter’s attack ends up hitting Olivia instead as Quetzalcoatl uses some kind of escape charm.  Fortunately, as Olivia expends a virtue channel to improve her block she takes no damage from his blow.  Blade also shoots at Quetzalcoatl, who expends another green shield to harmlessly dissipate the attack.

The soulsteel bar that Quetzalcoatl had dropped was apparently full of hungry ghosts, which are now unleashed and swarm around Blade and Kami, and at least one bite gets through on each.  Blade leaps into the cabin of the ship to reactivate its weapon systems.  Kami follows quickly after and covers her as Olivia drops a pyromantic grenade on the hungry ghosts, wiping them out.  Quetzalcoatl starts pulling colorful feathers off his wings and converting them to arrows.  He hits Hunter with a purple arrow and Hunter is now in a euphoric state and takes no action, and a blue arrow ices Mithril and reduces his mobility and dexterity.  Olivia flies over to pull the arrow out of Hunter while Blade climbs up to the main weapon of the ship and Kami follows to cover her.  Kami is hit with a yellow arrow but successfully does not panic and flee.  Olivia blocks a red arrow with a force field, which explodes in a gout of fire.  Mithril has deployed a smoke screen at one point, and a trident shoots past him from someone wearing a soulsteel diving suit by the side of the ship.  Also around this time one of Quetzalcoatl’s charges on his headband lights back up, eliciting groans from everyone.  Blade charges up and fires the main weapon, removing another green shield before the main attack.

It’s time to finally go on offense.  Mithril and Hunter coordinate an elaborate attack, where Hunter rides Mithril up as he shoots lightning at Quetzalcoatl, then Hunter leaps off and makes a massive combo flurry while Mithril flies past, turns, and shoots his rocket punch which is charged with Axiomatic electricity and then deploys a net.  Quetzalcoatl uses the last of his tricks, including all his shields and deploying a series of Raksha illusion duplicates, but Mithril aims with his essence sight and punches the correct Quetzalcoatl.  In a strange twist, Autochthon knows nothing of what Quetzalcoatl is and so the axiomatic electricity is not especially harmful to him, filling out his boxes with bashing damage only which can’t overflow.  The net then opens around the unconscious Quetzalcoatl and the battle is won!

 

DM’s take: Holy crap this party’s teamwork is pretty epic.  And the rush back to the basement is probably among my favorite things that has ever happened.

 

Some funny things that were said/done:

  • Debbie: Kami asks Jonas and Isabelle, “How many dots in sail do you have?”
  • What if you had everyone doing ‘Defend other’ in a circle?  Kami defends Hunter, who defends Olivia, who defends…
  • Jason: “I’m going in visibly.”  Someone: “You mean you’re going in where you’re visible or where you’re invisible?”
  • Eli: “I assume the illusion will fall off once the head does.”
  • Alejo: “Wow this party is really mobile, especially when going downwards.”
  • Louis: “Blade has cover, right?”  Debbie: “Yes, if you count Kami.”
  • Debbie: “Does the fire have Essence 7 or higher?”
  • Louis: “What kind of action is it to yank an arrow out of Hunter?” Debbie: “A dangerous one, since he likes having it in.”

Session #10

Today’s theme: Trollface

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.”