So first off, this post is pretty late. I was looking into switching domains and I took some time to think about the future of Archfossil and started to reconsider if these posts are even appropriate for what I had been trying to cultivate here. Ultimately I decided that they really weren’t and that I’d be better off posting these on facebook or something like that.
And then I realized I had nothing else to put here for a few days, and I only had three days left in the story and the domain change probably won’t happen until next week at the soonest (though quite possibly later) so screw it, here’s Day 5.
It’s a double-edged sword that I have nothing interesting to say about the time spent before the game. Admittedly, it’s mostly my fault. The Day 4 game I had run was at 9 in the morning, but I was there at about 7 trying to sort out badge issues. All the days before then I was performing physical labor for True Dungeon and was pretty well sore and worn out. So the night before this game, I slept hard. So despite starting at a later time (1 PM I think?) I wasn’t actually awake very much before I had to be down there. So it was nice in a way to just wake up, roll downtown, and start playing. The “double-edged” part is pretty much only in the way that “a simple drive downtown” doesn’t make for a very interesting story.
Either way, here’s how the game went down.
This game had none of the same characters as the last one by pure chance. The three players I landed opted to take Cipher, Wolf, and Silent Jim (their character sheets can be seen here.)
For anyone who isn’t going to look, Ciphers are androids given to each Celestial Torch Bros. team as a literal walking database of Celestial Torch knowledge. Wolf is a war veteran of every war with a conveniently unknown background. Silent Jim is something like Kenny from South Park mixed with Agent Smith from The Matrix. He has the unique ability to die horribly once per session and come back later perfectly fine.
Same as last time, I gave the players the option to choose their cargo, their place of delivery, and their method of transportation. This time we ended up doing a “practice mission” helping the shipping company Amazon deliver a pair of expensive Adidas sneakers on their way to Atlanta, Georgia. When I asked them “ok how are we getting there?” they said “ROAD TRIP!” and opted for a semi-truck convoy with a blocker truck, the middle truck holding the team and the cargo, and a back truck for support.
So the adventure breaks down about the same. The truck our team is in begins to swerve and Cipher decides to check on the drivers. She slides open the viewport only to see a baseball sized hole in the windshield and a likewise sized hole in the drivers face. Wolf decides to assist by tearing through the steel separator and Cipher makes use of “Extend-o arms” to take control of the wheel through the metal folds.
Wolf and Jim made their way to the back where wolf ripped the doors off (rather than open them normally) and Jim pulled off some acrobatics to leap on top the truck and try to spot their attackers.
It was the monsters turn now, and like I said last session, I pride myself on my ability to improvise and stay interesting without much planning beforehand. But I had come to the conclusion that three trucks was one too many for our battleground and knew I’d have to eliminate one of them to narrow our field of conflict and keep things at a solid pace. It’s good then that it’s pretty easy to make a semi truck crash an epic event.
The skeletons breached the back of the truck. The players knew this when they saw the explosion effects, however none of them were in line of sight to see the specifics of the fight. Given the situation, “less is more” really applied here. They heard gunfire, screams, saw a couple skeletons and Celestial Torch grunts get thrown out the back and eventually Wolf who was more or less face-to-face with the back semi’s driver finally saw the skeletal mob claw and scratch through the metal and tear the poor guy apart before taking control of the truck themselves.
Wolf wasn’t having it.
At this point the Pirate Ship / Monster Truck had closed the gap and was right alongside the back semi. Arr was standing on the foredeck and laughing along with his skeletal road raider crew who just took over 1/3rd of the convoy. Wolf saw his opportunity and he jumped into (literally into) the hood of the back semi, popping through the hood and ripping out bits of engine and radiator. The hijacked semi started to lose control, but Wolf kept his balance and chucked the radiator and engine bits at Arr. Because Wolf is the embodiment of mega violence, the engine chunks exploded on contact and gave Arr the “radiated” condition. Wolf finished his turn by leaping from the hood onto the Pirate vessel and preparing for battle.
Back in the drivers seat of the original semi, Cipher took a look at some google maps and rerouted the convoy to head straight for some overpasses, expecting the Pirate vessel wouldn’t fit underneath them. Jim from the top of the semi was lining up shots and taking out skeletal crew left and right, but understood his ultimate target wouldn’t be a bunch of skeletons. He teleported (as he often simply does) and got close to Arr MiHardies for the type of fight that can only be described as “like Blackbeard and Agent Smith performing gunkata from the movie Equilibrium except one of them is wielding a flintlock and the other can teleport.”
Wolf saw Jim gunning for the big bad and knew his job would be to keep as much of the crew away from their fight as possible. He lifted one of the cannons off the foredeck, turned it towards the crowd, lit the fuze, took out a huge portion of them, and then like a scene straight out of Dynasty Warriors started bashing through the skeletal horde with the cannon like an oversized iron club.
Cipher was performing some of her own mass murder as she constructed a “plan” to swerve into oncoming traffic causing a massive pile of wreckage in the path of the pirate vessel, slowing them out of the pursuit. It wasn’t the honorable thing to do, and it was pretty much against every standard the Celestial Torch upheld, but it’s not like the Cipher unit was “ordered” to kill a bunch of people. Everyone agreed at this point that when the mission was over this Cipher unit should probably be decommissioned for homicidal tendencies, and if I were running a long-spanning campaign, that Cipher might even become the next villain. But this was a one-shot for GenCon and it was best to focus on the now.
The skeletal mob, while being held off by Wolf for the most part, still managed to interrupt Arr and Jim before either could land a killing blow. Arr definitely took most of the damage in the fight though. Jim attempted escape by cutting one of the ratlines on the ship and having it lift him behind the sails out of line of sight of the enemies with firearms. Not in cover mind you, just breaking line of sight so they couldn’t target him so easily. However he botched the attempt (I don’t remember if the player rolled a 1 on the demon die, but I believe that’s what happened.) He got his leg stuck in the ratline, got lifted to the top, and then dropped back down to the deck when it came unstuck at quite a large height. He was now on his back on the deck of the ship and surrounded by a skeletal horde and an injured ghost pirate.
Cipher quickly searched the celestial torch database for a weakness to exploit on Arr and found that he was very attached to his pet parrot, so much so that he had a stuffed replica stitched to the shoulder of his overcoat. Jim received this information, lined up his shot, and took out the stuffed parrot on Arr’s shoulder.
Arr had a moment of awareness. A spotlight second where nothing else existed in the world but him and the tatters of his sentimental stuffed parrot. When that second ended, the Ghost Pirate was a Ghost Pirate Filled with Rage who no longer cared about the original mission, he wanted nothing else but the blood of the parrot slayer. He ordered all cannons on the ship turned inward at the intruders. The skeletal crew jumped to it and together Jim and Wolf maneuvered into a back-to-back position.
The cannons were fired and a crescendo of explosives was hit. The air was filled with gunpowder smoke, cannon balls, bone fragments from Wolf’s cannon club and the occasional friendly-fire incident, splinters of wood from the impacts, shots from Jim, spittle from Arr’s gob as he shouted orders in a fury, and a good deal of blood from sources of Arr, Jim, Wolf, and the burning civilian car wrecks that Cipher had created and the pirate truck was slamming through flipping them overhead as everyone took a good deal of damage in their highway cataclysm.
When the smoke had cleared, Arr began to seperate the Pirate Ship portion of the road vessel away from the Truck portion. Arr was a “sky pirate” after all, it’d be silly to not have him attempt to take flight at some point during the adventure.
This was right about the moment that Cipher’s overpass reroute came into play and it became clear to everyone aboard the vessel that it wouldn’t be taking flight in time to avoid the impact.
Jim hoped into the control pit to make sure the thing would be flying into the overpass. He exists out of time and had an extra life to live after this one anyway, so he didn’t have anything to lose. While he was down there he gripped a skeleton by the neckbones and held him in place to watch. Meanwhile at the front, Wolf just kind of jumped. He landed on a solid piece of concrete mid-collision and surfed it all the way back to the semi Cipher was driving. He earned the status “Surfing on a wave of destruction” as a general buff just because it was so awesome. Jim then remembered he could teleport and escaped last second without dying violently in the process, so it was a win for everyone. He landed on the back of a very tense man riding a moped and asked “Hey are you going to Atlanta?”the question was rhetorical of course because now he was going to Atlanta either way.
They managed to deliver the pair of Adidas to the Atlanta Amazon depot they were en route to and when they got there some nerds in lab coats pried off the sole of the left shoe and pulled out the small, ancient looking disc that was what they were really after. Using the disc as the missing part of a portal they managed to summon a massive dragon right on the tarmac. Probably not the best of ideas as the thing got halfway out before it started burninating the country side.
Our band of heroes jumped straight into action. And by “Straight into action” I of course mean “their first prerogative was of course to decide “is this our problem?” to which they ultimately landed on “No, but our Cipher unit did murder a bunch of people, and we probably have some karmic backlash to worry about, so we might as well get in there and do something about this to keep any higher ups off our ass in the near future.”
Cipher started by turning the bases hidden turret system inward on the dragon. Wolf and Jim meanwhile set to dodging fire breath and taking shots at the inter dimensional beast. The dragon wasn’t really having any of it though and none of their attacks were getting through. On top of that, the turret system didn’t correctly designate friend from foe and started firing at just about everyone.
The player controlling Wolf asked me “Do I still have my cannon?” to which I asked him “Do you want it?” and you know, of course he did, so he jumped into melee range and started swinging the thing at the Dragon. I asked him if he’d like to consider loading it and maybe taking a shot first, but that wasn’t his style.
The two of them (Jim and Wolf) managed to pry some of the scales off the thing and expose the softer flesh beneath, but it wasn’t enough and the dragon was dealing more damage than it was taking. Cipher figured maybe she could cut off the portal and split the dragon in half. Unfortunately, the dice weren’t having it and the effect was not quite what she had intended…
The portal didn’t so much cut closed, as it did fragment into a couple dozen smaller pieces with various parts of dragon poking out of them. His legs were on a roof somewhere, a wing was poking out of an office building, parts of his talons were attached to a nearby plane. Overall it was a huge mess, but the worst part was the talon portal that opened up near Cipher and drove a massive dragon claw straight through her chest. Cipher was leaking fluids, the vision contrast and colors were mixing, there was a mysterious countdown in her display that she didn’t know what it was counting down to or from. But in lieu of having any actual means of moving what with her new impaled state, she set to working the portal fragments and trying to turn it into an advantage for her team.
The dragon was having a difficult time coordinating what to move in order to provide what effect. He used a wing in it’s weird position on the roof to gust air at Jim and keep him from lining up a shot. Used his exposed nostils and mouth to breath fire when Wolf got too close, and generally just kept flailing everything in order to keep dishing out damage. The fragmented portals ended up hurting a lot more than helping if you consider that the dragon was now able to inflict damage in several different locations, however it WAS keeping him from pulling himself out of the one large portal. Plus it’s not Cipher’s fault the dragon was summoned anyway, that was to be blamed on those lab coat nerds who were probably all dead by now.
The dragon took a lot of segmented damage when the team figured they could focus on one portal piece at a time and blasted holes in the wings, blew apart the dragons tongue, pried the scales off it’s exposed hands and shotgunned away the claws, and then finally focused on the biggest part of the dragon. Wolf got up close and tried to stuff the cannon into the portal to keep the dragon from struggling out, but lost it in the abyss on accident. In a fit of rage over not having a trophy of his last mission he started to just literally stuff the dragon back into the hole. Kind of like a fresh pillow being stuffed into the pillowcase, he just sort of shoved it in there. With all the injuries it had sustained and the mental trauma of being segmented across an airport, the dragon wasn’t much for fighting him, and something like a giant baby being tucked into bed the dragon just sort of folded into the portal as Cipher closed it off.
The group began to collectively wonder if the dragon was ever trying to escape or if he was trying to go back home. Unsure if they settled their karmic backlash or if they made it worse by brutalizing a poor dragon who might have only wanted to be left alone, the session ended and the players all had something to think about. Mission accomplished again, as everyone left happy and with a weird, but epic, story to tell their friends.
My favorite part of all this was when I recounted some of these details at Don who was so happy with the results he danced around in a circle for a bit. I don’t know if he’d want anyone to know that, but it was too funny not to conclude on. (Sorry Don!) :p
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