Once again, it’s been a while since we did one of these. I’ve only played intermittently over the last month, due to life getting in the way and technical challenges. However the story of Vaarn has advanced slightly.
In the last episode, our cast of scoundrels intervened in a tense standoff between Hegemony soldiers and a religious extremist, orphaned a 13-year-old boy in the process, and then decided to head for the city’s fanciest restaurant to celebrate. Once there, they were alarmed to discover that the Water Baron, their self-proclaimed nemesis, was due to dine there that night as well.
- Flim-Flam, a two-headed cacogen. Proficient cook. Fights with twin pistols. Owns a cyborg hawk named Midnight.
- Findus, a newbeast. Horse-man with mystical powers. Inhabited by a parasitic spirit entity.
- Crunk, a true-kin warrior. Taciturn, impulsive. A lover and a fighter. Has a big sword.
- Karak, a gaunt cyborg. Robed and hideous, machine supremacist.
- Nephew (NPC), a mute and enthusiastic fungus-man. Able to fuse his flesh with dead creatures and take on their abilities.
The party watched as the Water Baron’s entourage arrived at Salari’s Grill. The Baron was preceded by many bodyguards and servants in yellow and green livery, one of whom was carrying a golden box on a pillow. This box was placed at the head of the long table. The rest of the seats were filled up by finely dressed dignitaries and the Baron’s confidants, including a large menacing New-Sheep with black wool, and a true-kin woman with pink hair. The party waited for the Baron himself to arrive, but everyone seemed to be deferring to the golden box at the head of the table. They realised this box actually was the Water Baron.
They briefly debated assassinating him at the restaurant, but decided against it. Karak instead decided to approach the Baron’s table and offer his services. On his initial approach he was stopped by bodyguards, but he managed to talk them round and was granted a few minutes audience with Ancamulla, the Water Baron.
Karak was led up to the head of the table, where the golden box sat on a pile of cushions. Two servants fitted the box with a gramophone-like attachment, from which issued an erudite, confident voice. Karak realised the Baron was a compact and ancient synth of some kind. They talked briefly about the Baron’s operations. Karak offered his services as a technician. The Baron was initially uninterested, but when Karak showed him the extent of the modifications he’d made to his own body, it seemed to attract the Baron’s interest. Ancamulla said that he too had once been human, and had shed his flesh to become what Karak saw before him that day. He admired what Karak had done so far, and granted the cyborg an audience the next day at his mansion to make his case for employment.
Meanwhile, Crunk had left the restaurant to ‘smoke outside’. He and Nephew were hanging around in the street, when they saw a familiar figure approaching: Preival Prise, the jackal-headed gangster they had previously met at the Black Lotus club. Flim-Flam had name-dropped Prise in order to gain entrance to the restaurant. Preival headed inside, where Crunk overheard him arguing with the Maitre D’, who told Preival that his guests were already at his table. Confused and angry, the gangster stormed inside.
Preival’s table was on a wooden balcony that jutted out from the edge of Gnomon’s Apex, overlooking the city below. With nowhere to hide, and not fancying a confrontation with Prise, Flim-Flam elected to leap off the side of the balcony, grabbing onto his cyborg hawk Midnight to act as a glider and slow his fall. Karak grabbed hold of Findus and smashed his way through the wooden floor with his metal feet, wrapping his body around the New-Horse as they plummeted into the city below. They vanished just moments before Prieval burst out onto the balcony to confront his uninvited guests.
Meanwhile, Crunk continued smoking outside, waiting for his friends.
Flim-Flam skidded to a stop in the street far below the Apex, suffering minor injuries. Karak and Findus, meanwhile, crashed through every single floor of an apartment building like the piano-playing cats in The Aristocats, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake. They ended up falling into the apartment building’s basement, which was full of disgusting garbage. They were injured from the fall, but not seriously (I had them roll d20 damage for this escapade, but they all rolled very well).
Angry residents of the building came charging down the stairs to confront them, but Findus used his Burning Shadow mystical power to set the garbage on fire, and they escaped in the confusion. Flim-Flam sent Midnight flying back up the Apex to fetch Crunk and Nephew, and they all met up back at the base of the Apex. Lacking clear goals until the next day, they decided to head back to their boardinghouse to rest. En-route they encountered a roadside game of dice, which Findus entered, using his psychically-loaded dice that Gamblebot had given him in Episode 15. He won a silver ring and a bottle of baboon blood (a pretty weird haul that came from my mundane item generator).
They were elated by this small victory, but looked up to find that Crunk and Nephew were nowhere to be seen.
Quite a short pair of sessions here. We’ve been suffering from technical issues and scheduling issues for a few weeks; the bane of any online campaign. I’ve also been feeling a bit of a creative slump when it comes to running my games at the moment. I still enjoy it but my improv hasn’t felt sharp. It’s hard to know what makes you feel ‘on’ with performance based stuff like this.
I suppose ultimately it’s like surfing. You won’t catch big waves every time you head out. You just have to be in the water, and feel lucky when you do get a good session.