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The Edge City team - still officially Quadrant despite having five members - are meeting up with somebody that wants to be our Agent.

Hero Shrew:We can get action figures!

Rep’s deal is commission-only, without retainer. Pretty good for us - if we don’t make any money, neither does he.

Of course, Hardlight want to figure out a way that his civilian identity can sponsor himself.

Hero Shrew:Is this some way to avoid tax?
Hardlight:… no?
Flux:Even supervillains pay tax.
GM:SOME supervillains pay tax.

We can’t find any bad reviews of Rep online. On the other hand we can’t find any statistics on how many agents for superhero teams get killed or kidnapped by supervillains. We decide to meet him to seal the deal anyway - Rep suggests a local Chinese restaurant. We make sure we get there early. Rep has already arranged to have those reinforced chairs brought in.

Hardlight:… I’m just going to scan these chairs - just in case.
GM:They’re cast iron with comfortable cushions.

Rep has some good suggestions for bank accounts and taxes vs. secret identities. And points out that in these days of social media, trying to stay out of the limelight is nearly impossible, so you might as well profit from it.

Rep:Yep, 30 hits already for photos of us here at this table.

Rep:And with you Scooter, it has to be food. Every other photo of you I could find, you’re eating something - thankfully not someone.
Hero Shrew:I can eat mealworm bars all day - and I do. Do I still get an action figure?
Flux:Can you make one of those that opens and closes jaws when you squeeze it?
Rep:Oh no, those things are a hazard to children - last thing you want associated with your Moreau.

The Sonic the Hedgehog character Rouge gets mentioned, in relation to Allana.

Rep:There’s another Bat-Moreau in town?
Fireflasht:It’s a geek reference - look up ‘Rouge Sonic the Hedgehog ‘ later.
Rep:I’ll do that.
Hardlight:Safe search on!
Rep:I keep that switched off - I need to know what my clients are up against.

Hardlight:I keep thinking there’s something I’m forgetting about. Wasn’t there some evil guy running around?
Flux:Well, there was what Scooter did to that pile of dumplings, that was pretty evil.
Hero Shrew:No, it’s the aftermath of all those dumplings that’s evil.

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Pathfinder - The Mummy's Mask - Boss Fight

The Covenant of Wati have located the source of the Necromantic energy currently erupting from the Necropolis - somewhere underneath the Observatory of Truth and Wisdom.

Zenobia: Expect combat- the kind of people who set off necromantic geysers that run all week are generally not the kind of people you can reason with. I’m not saying it’s IMPOSSIBLE- it’s just not very likely

Zenobia OoC : Down down deeper and down. Bit odd for an observatory, unless they’re installing a neutrino telescope.

Chamber of zombies and desecrated altar - how to lure all the zombies close enough to get them all with a single Channel Positive Energy?

Nemat: Din-dins! Come on! Juicy adventurer meat here!

The reconsecrated temple can also provide holy water, if a suitable donation is made - large amounts of silver.

Zenobia OoC : I get the impression we are about to cure zombism with a homeopathic preparation of monatomic silver and holy water.

We’re interrupted during zombie decapitation by the arrival of a gold-masked figure and a few minions.

Meret-Hetef: You fools! The mask belongs to us! We are the true heirs of the Sky-Pharaoh’s legacy!
Zenobia OoC : I suggest she gets as far as the second ‘o’ in fools, when Nemat, who was waiting by the door for just such an entrance, blats her.

The minions have much higher initiative then their boss.

Zenobia: They probably have much better situational awareness, because they’re not wearing a mask.

Meret-Hetef turns herself invisible.

Zenobia: So she cast Disillusionment on herself. And we’re about to disillusion her about other things too.

After Onka’s application of 50,000 volts to Meret-Hetef and the minions, the former head of the Silver Chain and the surviving cultist promptly surrender.

Zenobia: I don’t think they were fully invested in the whole ‘cult’ thing.

Zenobia: We’ll be back to collect you shortly, but bare in mind that any information you can give us will ensure your cases are considered favourably by the cult of Pharasma.
Asrian: And increase the chance that we actually come back for you.
Zenobia: That too. I was more focusing on the future of their immortal souls.

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Pathfinder : Mummy's Mask : PC Parkour

Zenobia OoC: Another random wandering monster then?
GM: No.
Zenobia OoC: Ah, this is SUPPOSED to be here then.

GM: Apart from the burning corpse of the giant spider - well, AGAIN corpse -
Zenobia: Double-corpse.
GM: There’s another body. You didn’t see it before because, well -
Zenobia: The room was black with spiders. You said. And now we have a light source.

It’s a recent corpse, wearing a funerary mask. Just like those favoured by the weirdo who took over the Silver Chain, and who was seen lurking around the Necropolis before S*** Got Real. He’s covered in spider bites, but it’s the numerous claw marks and slashing injuries that killed him. He also has a notebook, giving the locations of the Elegiac Compasses, and orders to go to same from one Nebta-Khufre. It also mentions the Sanctum of the Erudite Eye, the Shining Bauble, and a couple of other places that we’ve been to ourselves. Some of them have been crossed out. But the Elegiac Compass that is SUPPOSED to here, isn’t, and nor is there any visible space for an attic.

We head downstairs, where there are some bored mummies. Who stop being bored the moment they spot us coming down the stairs. And paralyse everybody but Asrian with their auras of despair.

GM: Asrian, you slash the nearest mummy across the abdomen. It’s guts are on the floor… Or would be, if it had any.
Zenobia OoC: I was about to say - it’s guts should be in a canopic jar somewhere.

Nemat gets over the paralysis soon enough to attempt to Shackle the mummies to each other. Perhaps we’re making a remake of The Defiant Ones. But given the undead are soon just dead, perhaps not. We rifle through the empty sarcophagi, unfinished scientific and mathematical manuscripts, and a campsite somebody apparently set up in here. But by the looks of of things, they were NOT looting the burial chambers - the mummies got up by themselves later. The LIBRARY got looted. Happily, Nemat knows the Sift spell.

GM: Book, book, scroll, scroll, book, hidden switch, book -
Asrian: Switch?
Nemat: Yeah yeah, I’ll get back to it. Book book, scroll, book.

He also stuff’s Zenobia’s extradimensional backpack with as many books and scrolls as will fit.

There’s a hidden stairway leading up, revealed by the switch. Also something is chattering, but it doesn’t sound like language. It’s a pair of shadowy ghost-skeletons, trying to operate the Elegiac compass. THESE have an aura attack too. But at least we can get a bearing from the compass before heading back to the temple in Wati to get all our mental and spiritual damage healed. And now we know the epicenter of the necromantic energy, a temple and observatory dedicated to Maat and Thoth.

Hopefully Nemat won’t need to seduce a free Restoration out of Sebti the Crocodile.

GM: You know what? I’m going to make all the female NPCs lesbian, just to stop you doing that.
Zenobia OoC: But that won’t stop Asrian or me.
Onka OoC: So you’re screwed either way.
Zenobia OoC: As the actress said to the bishop.

Nemat’s eventual plan is to become a Living Monolith, the walking embodiments of Justice.

GM: Most spellcasters want to be liches. You just want to be a robot.

The Pharasmaens can’t think why somebody would want to set up the observatory as the epicentre of the necromantic ritual, but it is one of the tallest buildings in the district.

Zenobia: At least we can go find that other guy and tell him ‘guess who found the Elegiac compasses?’
Nemat: And ‘Your Nosoi would never have found it’
Zenobia: Can’t operate hidden switches for one thing.

An overnight rest and back into the Necropolis, via the tunnel and rooftops.

Zenobia OoC: PC parkour.

GM: You enter the Observatory of Truth and Wisdom!
Zenobia OoC: Which in most worlds means there’s not much to observe.

Asrian: I’m casting Honeyed Tongue on myself.
Zenobia: … no comment.

Nemat uses the spell ‘Locate Object’ to see if a certain golden mask is anywhere nearby, by contemplating one of the cheaper versions we picked up earlier, and imagining it gold. It is - somewhere underneath the observatory. We can expect to encounter the new master of the Silver Chain real soon...
Nemat: One of the advantages of being an urban adventurer is actually getting to sleep in a bed.

Onka: For a minute there I thought we were going to tart up the gnoll.
Zenobia: ...what?
Nemat: Nothing!

Even if most of the undead in the Necropolis are crowding around the gates like Black Friday shoppers, there's still plenty of random monsters to run into. For example, we're heading towards the second Elegiac Compass location, and realise we’re being followed by some exceptionally unpleasant undead - hairless, festering, so malformed that they’re quadrupedal. Happy, their actual combat prowess isn’t so sophisticated. If they’d just waited until we reached the bathhouse, we wouldn’t have smelled them coming - the place is a swamp.

Asrian: But no naked zombies.
Nemat: Thank the gods.

Nemat does find a Lens of Detection among the wreckage, though.

Nemat OoC: An Inquisitor just found a Lens of Detection - all the criminals leave town. I can go full Mad-eye Moody with this.

Asrian: Well, this was a bust. But not as beautiful as Zenobia’s.
Zenobia: *blushes under her regrown fur*

The other two locations we need to check are the Pyramid of Arithmetic Bliss, and the Tomb of Menket Maatya. Nemat, naturally, wants to go to the latter, so he can exercise his History Geek skillz. Menket was a wizard and astrologer who died about a century ago, who just before his death made arrangements for his tomb.

Nemat: Just before? This was a good astronomer.

Unfortunately it looks like somebody got here before us. The place has been looted, and the crystal from the middle of this compass is missing as well. Nemat launches into a high-speed pursuit of the culprit, and the first thing he finds is a metal skull amid the rubble, which he picks up. Apparently it’s a Gearghost, and it doesn’t like being disturbed.

Skullboy: OI! Getoff! This is my loot! Nobody else gets it!

Gearghosts were thieves killed by traps, and exist to spread the pain by making their own traps. It seems likely he was one of the people the Silver Chain used to loot the Necropolis.

Onka: It would be such a useful undead is it wasn’t bats**** crazy.

Happily, one of Nemat’s abilities synchronises very well with and scimitar-work by his friends, and Zenobia and Asrian both use scimitars. The demented metal skull is promptly dispatched, although it will probably reform soon enough. Off to the Pyramid of Arithmetic Bliss! It’s just as well there aren’t any maths geeks in the party. For one thing it’s trapezoidal.

Nemat: Ah, it’s a conceptual pyramid.

Naturally we try to get in through the topmost floor, first. This could be a problem, since the chamber is black. With spiders. Happily, Onka knows Fireball. Less happily, the surviving spiders pile up around the body of a gigantic dead spider. Which animates. And sprays web at us. Which catches fire in the burning oil we set up as a barrier ( and the toppings contains Potassium Benzoate). Happily, Nemat can easily make himself resistant to the flames, which is even better when Zenobia hits the monster with a Tangleburn Bag.

Zenobia: Doesn’t Tangleburn explode if you try to put it out with water?
Onka: I believe so. Who knows Create Water?
Nemat: *grinning evilly* I do.
Flux, our technomage, has been mind-controlled and kidnapped by Talisman and the other bad guys. He’ll probably realise that going off with them was a bad idea, but not until the spell wears off.

GM: 24 hours later you go B**** F***ing MINDCONTROL!

Not that some of us have actually realised this yet - we’re still in a smoke and crow-filled California bungalow, where we were trying to pull Black Paladin apart like a stewed chicken. He teleported out before we could.

Hero Shrew: Coward! Come back and fight like a man! *looks around* Where’s Flux?
Allana: He got teleported out. Willingly.
Hero Shrew: … what?
Flux OoC: I’m going to put it all down to mind control.
GM: You’ve seen the way Talisman dresses, right? There will be debate which brain you were thinking with.

Scooter is bit upset. Quite more upset than the rest of the team are used to.

Flux OoC: You weren’t nearly as upset when Fireflash was kidnapped.
Hero Shrew OoC: Letting her be kidnapped was the PLAN. Then it went pear-shaped.
Flux OoC: That’s true. We all panicked a bit when my thingy-detector stopped detecting.
GM: ‘Thingy-detector’ - this is the level of competency Quadrant had before Allana joined.

GM: Does ANYBODY in this team apart from Flux have any occult knowledge?
Allana: Of course not. *pointing around the team from herself, to Scooter, to Fireflash, to Hardlight* Mundane, mundane, mundane, mundane and an idiot.

And least there’s a few minions half-buried in the wreckage we can apprehend. Less happily half the magic circles were destroyed when Scooter burrowed up from underground. And the bungalow is still surrounding by guardian undead.

Fireflash Hi, my name is Fireflash, this is my ID. You’re under arrest.
Minions: Lawyer. Lawyer. Lawyer.

GM: Sonya recognises some of the symbols though ‘Those are planetary symbols! They keep showing up in Sailor M- … never mind’. Her Geek is showing.

Flux OoC: Are these headshot zombies? *BLAM* Nope, still moving - limbs it is then.
Hero Shrew OoC: Unless it’s Saturday Morning Cartoons zombies, who always seem to revert to human at the end of the episode.
GM: Even in Saturday Morning Cthulhu - I mean Inhumanoids.

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GM: Why is that even still installed?
Me: So, ‘No’ then?
GM: Yes. I mean, yes to No.
Me: that’s not very helpful - I’ve already pressed No.
GM: I’m a computer engineer!
Onka’s player: Then Yes and No should be your bread and butter.

Patching up all the holes after our encounter with remarkably carnivorous grasshoppers, we proceed over the rooftops to the glassblower’s shop we were told about. One of the Elegiac Compasses is there, and apparently intact - with one important exception. The copper-wrapped quartz crystal that should be making up the core is missing. Happily, it was removed so recently that we can track the thief - apparently a young dragon.

Zenobia: *sigh* So it saw something shiny and nicked it.

Perhaps a blue dragon? The desert locale, and electrical properties of copper and quartz, would suggest it. But maybe not.

Nemat: A juvenile blue dragon would be larger.

The tracks lead to a large sinkhole behind the glassblowers, happily in a courtyard not crawling with zombies.

Zenobia: Do we need to send up a Dancing Lights signal?
Onka: What signal? ‘Here be Dragons’?

Nemat: I’ve got rope. My parents gave me it, along with the rest of my kit. ‘It’s dangerous to go alone. Take this. And this. And this.’

Asrian carefully climbs down, and since her low-light vision is full colour, realises that the dragon isn’t a blue. It’s something much more unusual. It does explain why it wanted a 50-pound quartz crystal though.

Asrian: It’s a crystal dragon. And it’s asleep.

Nemat argues that diplomacy will be more successful than theft or killing her in her sleep.

Nemat: Ahem! Cough! AHEM!
Dragon: Five more minutes mummy…
Nemat: AHEM!
Dragon: WTF??? *jumps up and tries to look big* Who are you? Did Mum send you? How did you find me?
Nemat: We followed your tracks.
Dragon: … what tracks? *trying to look innocent*
Nemat: From the compass.
Dragon: Compass?
Nemat: The one you took the crystal from.
Dragon: What crystal?
Nemat: *sigh* that crystal right there.
Dragon: Oh, the shiny thing from the clock thing.
Nemat: We kind of need that back. Look, why not use the glassblower’s shop as your lair, there’s plenty of shiny stuff in there.
Dragon: Uh, zombies, duh?

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In Old Monterey, tracking down the Black Paladin’s powered armour army, and shortly to suffer the most grievous blow the team has yet endured. Hero Shrew points excitedly at his zombie detector. Flux, pointing with less excitement at the actual zombies.

Hero Shrew: Flux. Flux. FLUX.
Flux: Yes, I know, OK?
Hardlight: There’s zombies?
Flux: Yes, they’re RIGHT THERE.
Hardlight: Oh. Shambly.
Flux: Well, let’s HOPE they’re the shambling type and not the ‘i’m in your face eating it now’ type.
GM: No, they’re not murder-wraiths.

Hero Shrew: Wait, I’m Hero Shrew, not Hero Zombie.
Flux: Give it a few minutes.

At least Hardlight has tweaked his hardlight field to turn himself invisible now - maybe he can sneak past the zombies to see whatever is in the abandoned bungalow they’re protecting.

GM: It’s been abandoned for years - it’s been vandalised, graffitied, etc.
Hero Shrew: Maybe that’s what they made the zombies from.
GM: Then their average IQ went up.

And, indeed the inside of the building has been excavated, and the Black Paladin and his entire crew, three magic circles, a bunch of other minions doing fine engraving work, and multiple copies of the suits are in there. Incredibly, they don’t notice Hardlight creeping around. Or as he tiptoes away again, tripping over a bucket.

Minion: The basic concept is sound my lord, but we overreached - we shouldn’t have gone for such a powerful animating force.
GM: I can’t believe how badly I rolled for their awareness checks.

It will take at least an hour for anybody that could survive a fight against the Black Paladin and the others to get here. We’re on our own.

Hero Shrew: Well, at this point I’d ask if we know anybody with an Orbital Laser Weapon, but…
Fireflash: There’s one person with that tech. And he doesn’t let anybody else have it.
Allana: And it’s kind of unpopular after what happened to Detroit.

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Pathfinder : Mummy's Mask - Sidequest!

Off to find a former friend of Unwrapped Harmony, who got a little too interested in mummification, and not in a sexual sense.

Zenobia OoC: I derailed your brain, didn’t I? Sorry.

It’s safe to assume he’s not a friend anymore, since she wants proof of his death in the form of a magical stone he swallowed. We sneak up to the old villa he and his Dark Creeper acolytes are hiding in.

Zenobia OoC: Oh dear - I don’t do sneak well - it’s probably my ears sticking up above whatever cover we’re using.

Apparently the giant Devil’s Coach-horse Beetles lurking in the yard think Zenobia’s ears look tasty. Zenobia blushes a bit later, when she sees how swiftly Asrian came to her rescue, but it’s hard to tell under all the acid burns. One of the Dark Creepers in the villa sticks his head out to see what all the noise was, just as Asrian trying to pick the other door. Zenobia tries to pull the door open as he tries to slam it shut again, keeping them both nicely busy why the others keep working at the other door. Since Asrian is wrapped in white cloth from head to foot, the acolyte leaps to an understandable conclusion.

Dark Creeper: We’re being attacked by a gnoll, a human, an orc and a mummy! And the mummy is picking the lock!
Other Dark Creeper: Who’s holding the door?!
Dark Creeper: The gnoll!
Other Dark Creeper: You’re on your own.
Asrian: That’s not going to work, you know - you might as well open the door and we’ll let you run away.
Nemat: We’ve only here for Gaunt Cadaver.
Zenobia: Although Unwrapped Harmony would be pleased if you came home again.

GM: The Dark Folk look like colour-inverted versions of you, Asrian.
Asrian: I know - just shorter.

Zenobia: I swear in the name of Sarenrae that I am not here to harm the rest of you.
Asrian: Not the best idea, invoking the Dawnflower - they’re dark folk - they don’t like daylight.
Zenobia: I still gave my word.
Asrian: Fair enough. Look, you lot, just go back to the others - they’re welcome you, and you’ll be safe there.

Apparently unwilling to risk being brutally murdered before Gaunt Cadaver can ‘enlighten’ them, the acolytes hood up and slink off back to the rest of their clan. For some reason reason they’d barred the doors to the inner courtyard of the villa too. Probably because there’s a humanoid mound of rotting flesh, bone and hair trying to drink from the fountain. Nemat, naturally, recognises what it is, and recalls to our general alarm that they’re mostly immune to magic. Still, going through the courtyard is clearly a better idea than going around the long way, like whoever put the monster here intended.

Nemat: We are a party that believes in direct action.

Of course, the door opposite is barred from the inside too. But using a pillar as a battering ram is a good shortcut too, and we burst in on Gaunt Cadaver mid-ritual, surrounded by his ‘enlightened’ followers - sapient zombies. He welcomes us and tells his minions to seize us for ‘enlightenment’. We object, strenuously, and recover the rock we’re after from the resulting piles of dust.

Zenobia: No cascara required.

But at least we know where the Elegaic Compasses are know - and Unwrapped Harmony is also aware of a masked figure spotted inside the Necropolis just prior to the necromantic pulse, who dropped a parchment that Unwrapped Harmony passes on to us. It’s an incomplete star chart. Unfortunately, we draw the attention of giant locusts when we go to the first location, which is pretty distracting when you’re trying to investigate a possible crime scene. It’s curious how many kinds of giant arthropods infest the Necropolis - you’d think there would be more giant carrion beetles, if anything.
The Usual Gang of Idiots

Scooter ‘Hero Shrew’ Sorex - Superstrong but not completely stupid manimal
Gareth ‘Hardlight’ Lowell - Geek CEO with hardlight holograms
Allana ‘Superhero Name To Be Announced’ - Literal Batwoman
Chris 'Flux' Jones - Paranoid computer wizard
'Fireflash' Helstrom - And you thought YOUR teenage years were a problem

Black Paladin - Actual Arthurian villain
Talisman - Gritty 90's Reboot of Bewitched
Morningstar - Big Demonic A-hole With a Big Spiky Club
Shadow Dragon: Master of Black Chi

A picture of the week’s villain is posted up. He’s exceptionally bad news, and has allies almost as dangerous.

Hardlight: He looks cool - I like him.
Hardlight: I hate him - let’s kill him.
Flux: Sorry, let’s what???
Hero Shrew: Can we do what they did in that movie?
Hardlight: Sure, what movie?
Hero Shrew: Where they cut his arms and legs off and he says it’s only a flesh wound.
GM: You’re joking, but this guy knew and HATES King Arthur.
Hero Shrew: Who said I was joking?

Allana intercepts the Paladin and his flying Destrier, scoops them up with her wings, and slaps them hard into the ground. Right next to Fireflash.

GM: Let’s hope the steed’s barding works.
Black Paladin: My thanks! *drawing his sword, Eater of Shadows, and slashing at Fireflash, who gets her forcefield up only just in time* Interesting!

Evidently Black Paladin was looking forward to a mildly challenging fight.

Hero Shrew: This is going to be expensive for the city. But if we can take him down it’ll be worth it.
GM: Or just driving him away. Thwarting counts too.
Fireflash: And we’re pretty good at thwarting people.
Hero Shrew: Frustrating is not the same as Thwarting.

Hardlight: Old-fashioned are you? Very well - PHOTON BLADE!
GM: With your DEX of 15? This will be hilarious.
Hero Shrew: Are you going to do the WHUMM WHUMM noises too?

He actually manages to hit the bastard too - perhaps the Black Paladin wasn’t expecting lightsabres.

GM: You actually cut him - guess who’s his bitch next round? He’s not Stunned.
Hero Shrew: Surprised, maybe, that Gareth of all people managed to injure him.
Black Paladin: You cut me. YOU CUT ME!
Hero Shrew: It’s only a flesh wound!

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Nemat: When I called you a slippery little pig yesterday it was not intended as a racial slight.
Onka the Half-orc: It’s OK.

Nemat: You CAN airburst Fireballs, you know.
Zenobia: Thereby getting the target, and anybody tall who’s standing nearby?

Nahkt Shepses has set up a small arena for our test. A small crowd has gathered to spectate - which could be a problem since all of us have magic of one form or another, and many spells are Area of Effect. Nahkt is also doing his best to undermine Sebti in his speech to the crowd.

Nakht Shepses: As you may have heard, the Mausoleum has had a slight disagreement yesterday. I and the Voices of the Spire plan to send our greatest Psychopomps throughout the city to root out this undead menace, and uncover the source of the corruption plaguing our city. Sebti and the Pharasmean priests wish to send these adventurers into the necropolis on a wild goose chase for old compasses!
Crowd: *scattered laughter*
Nahkt: So we shall put these ideas to the sword to see whose is strongest! I do not wish to see more death in this city, so the first to render the other unconscious shall be the victor!

Nahkt is siccing his personal psychopomp and two other servants of his particular sect on us.

GM: Welcome to the miniboss.

He magnanimously gives us a chance to prepare. Zenobia, of course, Blesses the party, and Asrian surrounds herself with illusions of herself and Zenobia silently curses where her imagination takes her. The first Esobok pounces Nemat and gets poked in the eyes. Asrian blinds the Vanth with Glitterdust. Nemat insults all the psychopomps with Blistering Invective.

Zenobia: Does Blistering Invective only affect enemies we know about, and how far away is Nahkt?

Onka casts his first Fireball, and Zenobia protects her lover with Shield Other. More battle magic follows. These psychopomps might be tough - and the Vanth especially - but being Stunned, Blinded, Shaken, and on fire isn’t healthy. And since there’s no information otherwise, they probably return to their native plane still on fire.

Nemat: Summoners are pricks.

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