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Gillert: So we're sending the lawyer, the murderer and the straight guy.
GM: I'm sorry, I didn't realise we were playing Will and Grace - Magnimar.
Ys: When you live as long as an elf, you have to assume most of them are bi, sooner or later.
GM: Most elf parents just assume their kid is bi as soon as soon as they reach puberty.
Gillert: They get 'artistic leanings'

After getting plague masks, cloaks, and extra lamp oil, we re-enter the sewers to hunt down and exterminate the remaining were-rats. Somebody has set up an Alarm spell at the entrance we used last time. Gillert gets to work disabling the trap.

Ys: Zin might be the trapsmith, but Gillert is a useful back-up, and he's useful in other circumstances as well.
Harshal: Zin is useful in other circumstances as well. Such as if we need someone to crawl under the table and find something we dropped.
Gillert: Or for getting past traps set at human-standard neck height.
Harshal: 'The Penitent Man And Kobolds Will Pass'

We sneak up to where we fought Moonbreaker and Silversniffer before - Ys spots a faint light source ahead, since she has low-light vision and the rest of us need a candle-lamp to see where we're going. Whoever is down here with us is doing an inch-by-inch search of the chamber. And she's got five orange-and-white floofy tails. And her lightsource is a diminutive figure with mothwings and long thin ears.

Ys: I gesture back to the others to stay where they are, completely forgetting they can't see me.

The Flying Fox and her sprite turn invisible the moment Ys gets within 40 feet.

Ys: Hey, you're pretty good.

Harshal: So, who was it?
Ys: Our friendly neighborhood vigilante.
Gillert: .... Spiderman?

Gillert: What was she looking for?
Ys: No idea.
Harshal: Perhaps she and the were-rats are in cahoots.
Ys: Could be - where's Cahoots?
Harshal: Well, I was hoping I'd hear a small gasp of indignation at that point.
GM: Sorry, small thing called Unshakeable.
Ys: Well, let's find the lair - check the room for secret doors.
The Invisible Flying Fox: I didn't think of that.
Ys: Hello. It's easier to talk to somebody if everybody is visible.
Invisible Flying Fox: Easier, yes.
Gillert: Maybe I should throw some white powder around...
Invisible Flying Fox: You could - how would you like to be forcefed Shardgel?

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GM: How am *I* too innocent for the internet?? I'm the one who once pt out a personal ad in game that said 'Lonely adventurer looking for Halfling Size Queen'!

We should probably find out why a PI from Millennium City is following Elsa and her girlfriend around, and if it has anything to do with the magical survey work Hardlight hired them to do.

Hero Shrew: Flux, you should go talk to them, you're the least conspicuous of us. You're not a shrew and you don't fly and glow in the dark.
GM: Yes he does, I've seen the picture he's using - he looks like a reject from Tron.

Hardlight: Attempting to actually be competent-
Hero Shrew: Hooray!
GM: Ouch.

Hardlight goes to Elsa and Misty's hotel, and calls up to their room. He asks for both of them, which is guaranteed to get their attention since we have no reason to know about Misty unless we've been spying on them ourselves. Misty comes storming out of the elevator.

Hero Shrew: Remind me why we were following them again? Because I forget.
Flux: Don't look at me, I'm not a stalker!

GM: Great, and now I've got ANOTHER song stuck in my head.
Flux's player: The GM's brain is on shuffle.

Hardlight: Apologies for interrupting whatever you were doing - first I should tell you HOW I know what I know. I probably should have told you in advance, but it's standard practice for me to assign a covert security presence for any of my special employees.
Elsa: I've heard corporate politics can be a bit cutthroat here, but that's a bit much.
Hardlight: Quite. But there's a lot of supers in this town. Anyway - our security team reports that you're already be followed by ANOTHER security team.
GM: And Misty goes ballistic, actinic energy crawling up her arms.
Misty: WHAT? WHO? I WANT NAMES!

Hardlight politely enquiries if Elsa and Misty would like their stalker to be further investigated by us. She declines, as Elsa and Misty want to avoid any entanglement in superhero shenanigans even if they already have powers. Which is fair enough, public superpowers are a recipe for Instant Drama.

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Pathfinder : Streets of Magnimar : Loot!

One of the things we looted from the were-rats is an old journal, written in some kind of code that Harshal can't decipher - it appears to be incomplete.

Harshal: Although that might just be all the bloodstains.

On the other hand, it could also be a binary code with some of the book only readable by those with low-light vision, probably by moonlight.

Harshal: That's what I'd do.

It's apparent Ghost-ink - it's visible in the light of firebeetle glands or sunrods. Either possibility works, if all Harshal needs to do is transcribe all the contents to decode later. Useful stuff, ghost-ink - especially if you're faking your financial records and expect to be questioned in a Zone of Truth later. You just put the real numbers in ghost-ink.

GM: 'Are these your real books?' 'Yes'

Ys: I'm calling this the Silver Rodent Decimation Caper.
Gillert: I'm half-regretting missing it now.
Harshal: About that - exactly where were you last night? We did wait for you.
Gillert: I was ill
Harshal: Oh really? Hands up which of us had Ghoul Fever?
GM: He wasn't sick, he was 'tired and emotional'

The adamantium boarding axe is also impressive, but being ungrateful swine we do wonder if it will be even more effective if silvered. At least we don't have to worry about money for a while - our little enterprise re-opening the northern docks is proving so lucrative we could live comfortably on that alone. On the other hand, we could also use it as a profitable front operation for even MORE profitable illegal shenanigans. Guess which we go with.

GM: Do any of the rest of you worship a particular god?
Zin: I pay lip service to about 4.
Harshal: The afterlife isn't something I spend much time thinking about - since it's not likely that I'm going anywhere nice.

GM: aw, we missed Tax-fest. Because that's the only day of the year anybody can enter the Temple of Abadar and voice their complaints about the current situation - and the current ruler can't do a damn thing to them.
Harshal: Would have been entertaining to see what kind of complaints are made.
GM: Would have been entertaining to see how many complaints you lot have engendered.

Harshal: I wonder if I can afford to move into a nicer place now. On the other hand, these down market apartments do offer certain benefits, such as when I'm defending someone who is obviously guilty in court. We can kidnap one of the servants of the plaintiff, disguise one of you as him, have the 'servant' knock on the wrong door at my apartments, then stage a scuffle in my rooms. Having the opposing counsel stabbed won't help the plaintiff's case.
Gillert: You live such an interesting life.
Harshal: Lucrative, too.
Harshal: Just let me check my Blue Book - I'm sure we can find some kind of secret sex dungeon in Magnimar that will be your tastes.
Zin: Sex dungeons? It'll probably be all humans and elves. Not the kind of thing I need to scratch that itch, you know?
Harshal: And if they have Half-orc leather daddies?
Zin: ... ... OK then.

Before we can start getting our cut from every level of the Adventure Farm, we need to deal with the crime problem in Underbridge. And crime in Underbridge is dominated by three different groups - the Sczarni crime family, who we inadvertently joined forces with that time, the Nightscales, who we've mightily annoyed on multiple occasions, and the Creepers, who have child slaves controlled by a system of terror.

Harshal: Eliminating the Creepers WOULD be a public service...

And the Sczarni were the ones who a priest and his acolytes beaten to death after they refused to make a 'charitable donation' to the needy families of Underbridge. One family in particular... At least the Nightscales don't know that it was us who have screwing with them. One of the independents is the Three Dolphin Milk Parlour, which despite the name is actually a drug den where Midnight Milk users can spend an evening quietly stoned.

Other random facts and rumours about UYnderbridge that will probably become relevant at some point - an engineering marvel in Underbridge, dwarfed by the bridge itself, is the Shadowclock, a lethally decrepit tower now closed to the public, but too sturdy to fall down by itself. Or if you want creepy children's rhymes, there's the one about the Scarecrow, a rumoured serial killer operating in Underbridge.

GM: Underbridge IS the most impoverished section of Magnimar - to the point you really have to wonder about anybody that actually lives there by choice.
Harshal: Out of curiosity, did these rumours about the Scarecrow start AFTER Ys moved in?

We decide that the Nightscales will be the best group to deal with, especially if offer them a cut of the profits.

Ys: I'll offer 20%.
Harshal: I assume you mean you'll go UP to 20%.
Ys: Yeah, we'll start at 5% and let them bargain us up.
Gillert: Maybe throw in some free adventuring vouchers?
Harshal: I sincerely doubt they'd be interested.
Ys: Adventuring is the quickest way to make money in Golarion. It's also the quickest way to make yourself dead. Your basic life of crime is much safer.

Harshal starts looking for Mr. White and Mr. Black, the Nightscales 'legal representatives'. They're proving a little difficult to track down, which might be because they're false identities donned when needed, or because they're daemons in service to Asmodeus, the Daemon Prince of Lawyers.

Ys: You two will have to do the negotiating.
Gillert: Will you be there to loom menacingly?
Ys: No no no, I don't do intimidation.
Harshal: Ys is an assassin, Gillert - she does her best work when you don't notice she was there at all.

Gillert is in the middle of paperwork down at our importing business when Mister Black and White make a sudden appearance.

Harshal: I see we need to arrange better security down there.

Gillert explains that we have an idea of mutual benefit, but wants to have the rest of there before we open negotiations.

Harshal: At the very least you want enough of us here to form quorum.

Harshal: I was just in the middle of considering internal rules for our little association - for example, if we need to remove one of us from membership and this mortal coil, does the vote have to be simple majority, or unanimous?
Ys: No, you just tell me and I do it.
Gillert: And it all becomes much less democratic. Note to self - Ys-proof my house.

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Flux: Speaking of supervillains...
Fireflash: We're superheroes. Even if sometimes it doesn't seem like it.
Hero Shrew: Honestly we're just another gang.

GM: I'm going to - and I can't believe I'm saying this - going to assume basic level competence from Gareth Lowell (Hardlight).

Basically Hardlight is doing some solo investigation into Edge City's mystic shit, without involving Flux, because he doesn't want to endanger Flux's secret identity. One of the people he discovers is one Elsa, who overdresses for a Californian summer.

GM: No Frozen jokes please.

Hardlight hires Elsa to carry on the mystic investigation.

GM: Flux wants to stay low-profile. And LoCarb is more -
Flux: Let It Grow, Let It Grow?
GM: I thought I said no Frozen jokes.

Hardlight also notes that somebody, a red-headed young woman, seems to be keeping tabs on Elsa.

Flux: Well, we know she isn't a vampire.
Hero Shrew: Could be a daywalker.
Flux: Well in that case we're fucked.
Fireflash: Could be a Daewooker, which are vampires that can go out in daylight but only in Korean cars.

The mystery woman does dress quite like one of Elsa's associates, but it's the chrome studs and logo on her denim vest that might identify her for us. If we can get a better photo. Hardlight calls in the rest of the superteam.

Hardlight: Time for a meeting of the Knitting Club.
Hero Shrew: I've learned to purl.
Flux: Of course Scooter is the one who doesn't realise 'Knitting Club' is code.
Hardlight: You do realise that you're the only one who comes to these things and actually knits, right? And you're knitting with rebar.
Flux: Where did you get that rebar?
Hero Shrew: *shrugs* I forget.

Hero Shrew: So we're working from bad photos and your hunch.
Fireflash: We've worked from worse.
Flux: Yes, and if I recall correctly we ended up in a sewer.

Hardlight: Can we use the photo to make some kind of empathic link?
Flux: ..... ....
Hero Shrew: You're just making stuff up at this point, aren't you?
Flux: Why don't we just follow the person who's being followed so we can follow the person who's doing the following?
GM: Did you follow that?

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Hmm - more anonymous King in Yellow miscellany in the post - playbills and newspaper clippings from a 1895 performance, and a curious amulet.

There is no way this is ending well.
Zin: Kobold trapsmith, escaped slave, master of disguise, future Underlord
Gillert: A sheep among wolves. Varisian, human, eldritch scoundrel, but not by choice.
Ys Danar: Elven cutthroat, former pirate, freelance assassin, etc.
Harshal High-seeker: Shoanti investigator and extremely crooked barrister.


Tannis Oberech: Human rake and fledgling noble, who hasn't actually been at any of the sessions for a while, which is a shame because his money-making schemes are starting to pay off.

Important NPCs:

Emelliandra Oberech, Iria, and Ticaria: Scholars of various levels of shadiness. We've done favours for most of them, as part of a long ladder to positions of wealth and influence. We're currently trying to get Ticaria's proposal to open the giant spider-monster-infested ruined cyclopean bridge up to adventuring parties in front of Magnimar's Council of Ushers.
Lady of the Council of Ushers - Lady Verrine Caiteil: The Elf In Charge
Seneschal of Dates - Jacildria Quildarmo: Highly influential civil servant
Parvo Crispin: Owner and publisher of Magnimar's first broadsheet newspaper
Lalya Margare: Parvo's spitfire reporter/assistant. It was her idea to sell the paper cheaply, to a much wider audience. Her revolutionary zeal and investigative reporting will probably mean trouble for us later.


The biggest bottleneck when trying to talk to the Council of Magnimar is the Seneschal of Dates, and it doesn't matter how even-handedly the Lady of the Council runs things, if the Seneschal doesn't like you, you aren't talking to anybody.

Harshal: So we need to frame her for something.
Ys: And then blackmail her. Killing her isn't the best option, since we have no control over who replaces her.
Gillert: We should try and find out if she's already guilty of something. More efficient than framing her ourselves. Any ideas?
Harshal: Sorry, I'm just reflecting on the fact that it's YS who's saying murder isn't the best option here.
Ys: Hey, I know murder.

Gillert: So far, no luck with dirt-digging.
Harshal: Hey, if was easy everybody would have done it.

Harshal: Does the seneschal have any kids?
GM: No - the joke is 'no man can keep to her schedule'.
Harshal: So no kids, and no lover. Or if there is a lover she's discrete. And if she had a female lover the joke would be 'no-one else can multitask'

Zin: So, how do you fell about a little light kidnapping?
Harshal: Is it anything like light housekeeping?

What we DO find out is that anybody that leans too heavily on the Seneschal finds secrets about THEM getting out into the world. Apparently she has her own information network that we haven't even heard of. On the other hand we also hear a rumour that her manse has a secret second level to the basement.

Zin: Easy, she's a noble - it's a sex dungeon.

She's also well-preserved for somebody in her fifties. The paranoid might say suspiciously well-preserved.

Zin: I guess she'll be getting a tail. A very small tail.
Harshal: As the pervy gnome-fancier said.

Her manse is a little on the small side for the Alabaster District. It barely qualifies, in fact.

Gillert: That would explain the basement, too - if you can't build out, dig down.
Harshal: And you could sell the marble you excavated, too.

She never eats alone, either - she's always seen in company, whether at Magnimar's eateries or entertainments. That could just be because she enjoys her work. But she's also known to be inconsistent on bribes - sometimes, no amount of coin will move her - at other times a mere token will suffice.

Harshal: Which must be endlessly frustrating for the people trying to bribe her.

Ys suggests we get in, disguised as delivery persons, and use the fact that she has a very small staff to our advantage. Nobody would be insane enough to break in in broad daylight, too. Zin suggests we deliver him in a box.

Harshal: 'Here's your delivery from Pervy Kobold-fanciers'?

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Compared to some of the things I've been getting in the mail lately, being anonymously sent pages from The King In Yellow is actually a pleasant surprise. But I will admit to increasing confusion as I worked down through the many layers of envelopes and cover letters.

#1255-1259 - Moths From Cue (And A Lizard)

#1255 - Scopula lydia - Lydia’s Wave

One of the very few insects that turned up to the light trap I set up on the first night at Cue - evidently my light source was inadequate, or there were simply that few insects about.

Lydia’s Wave is a geometrid moth in the Sterrhinae subfamily. I don’t have any information on the diet, or for that matter what the caterpillars look like, but it’s found across most of Australia.

Cue, WA



#1256 - Prorocopis sp.

I thought it was Prorocopis melanochorda, but the Australian moth expert I sent the pic to had her doubts. Pity I didn’t see the hindwings, or the underside, which would have helped immensely. Wiki says there’s five species in the genus, but Australian Lepidoptera only has pictures of two.

The largest of the Cue moths, which makes sense, since the Calpinae subfamily of the Noctuid moths are frequently on the large side.

Cue



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#1247-1254 - More Stuff From Cue

#1247 - Litoria rubella - Desert Tree Frog
image

AKA Naked Tree Frog and Little Red Tree Frog - a Hylid frog, often found near human habitation, across most of the warmer and drier parts of the continent. The map on the Atlas of Living Australia has nice long lines of sightings along the main inland roads, for obvious reasons. It’s also found in Papua and Timor.

This one was living under the well at the Dairy Wells campsite, and two others lived in the sides of the rusting horse trough.

Cue, Western Australia



#1248 - Psephotellus varius - Mulga Parrot
image

AKA Many-coloured Parrot. Native to the arid and lightly timbered areas of inland Australia. Female on the left, and the more colourful male at right.

Quite flighty birds, that were too nervous to come to the water trough at Dairy Wells, while we were there. This was a problem for them, as you can imagine, since the trough and a small puddle behind the windmill were the only standing water for miles. Still, the flock had a solution, that morning - dew that had collected on the tin roof of a half ruined shed ‘nearby’. By nearby I mean a few hundred meters away, but the desert was so quiet I headed off to see what the scrabbling noise was, and found them here. 

Cue, WA



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