The party: Orichalcum the Construct, Stella the Halfling, Buckle the Platyperson
GM note: Before we started, I asked my players if they were OK with fighting cops in the game, since that’s very close to scary things that are happening in real life.
Buckle and Ugg are in a locker room in Cloorick’s Fight Club inside the hidden Goblin city of Swallet. Ori comes in and Buckle in intimidated by the energy robot that’s 50% taller than him. Ori gives Buckle a very specific compliment on his fighting style and victory over Ugg. Ori, Buckle, and Stella share introductions.
GM note: The players had not met each other IRL, nor seen each other’s characters, nor encountered their cultures, so there were a lot of introductions! Buckle and Stella’s players were impressed when I said that this was the player of the strange robot they saw fighting last session.
Ori explains that his life’s goal is to look for a master. Buckle says that sounds like slavery.
Ori: Maybe I am a slave, but I don’t like the connotation.
Buckle: Were you hatched?
Ori: No, I was built.
Buckle: That’s weird. I’m Buckle. I’m a Platyperson. I was hatched from an egg, and I accidentally hatched a dragon too.
Stella: We have to save him a lot.
Buckle: I saved myself just now against Ugg.
Rabbish rushes in. He was replacing the front door (wrecked by Fafnir) and noticed suspicious movement out from. There could be trouble!
Ori and Buckle take the ladder ot the roof and peer over the front edge. There’s movmeent of people entering the warehouse to the right. People are fleeing the fish cannery on the left (which is actually a front for money laundering) Two Goblin police in Power Suits are walking down the street right in front. They are Nub-Nub and her partner, who have already crossed paths with Stella and Buckle. The second Power Suit leaps from the street to the roof of the warehouse, spotting Ori and Buckle! Buckle tries to run and the cops go loud! Windows on the top floor of the warehouse break, and Goblins hidden inside point personal, customized ranged weapons at the Fight Club and unleash a barrage of arrows, bolts, bullets, metal rods, and other projectiles! One projectile smashes a hole in the roof, and Buckle dives through to the relative safety of “inside.” Nub-Nub is surprised. The posse wasn’t supposed to attack just yet, so she turns on her loudspeaker.
Nub-Nub: Cloorick, we have evidence that you are harboring spies seeking to steal our precious Goblin secrets. Surrender them at once!
She hasn’t heard that Cloorick is dead and the Fight Club is under new management. Ori peeks over the roof and asks for parley. Nub-Nub tells the squad of gunners to cease fire, and tells Ori to come out the front door to talk. He goes back inside and wonders who these spies are. Stella and Buckle fear that they are wanted as spies. The three of them walk outside, and Nub-Nub immediately shouts, “There are the spies!” Her partner leaps down from the roof to arrest Buckle. Buckle tries to flee, but the cop’s Power Suit fires a rocket fist to grab him and winch him back in. Ori wants to know what will happen to Stella and Buckle. Loss of technological secrets is one of the worst things that can happen to Goblin cities, so those who try to take their secrets can never be allowed to leave. Stella’s companion Rose holds up a bag of unknown powder and Stella yells that it’s a toxic chemical, and if the cops try anything, she’ll release it on all of them! The cop releases Buckle, who flees and hides in the merch shop. (Fafnir quickly became a local hero, and there’s an unauthorized merch shop next door. Buckle dives into a pile of plushies and blends in, like that scene in E.T.) The gunners back up out of toxic cloud range and open fire! Ori grabs Stella and flies around to the back of the Fight Club. The companions run back inside the front door.
Ori admits to Stella “This is as far as I’ve planned ahead.” The gunners are fanning out in the street in front, slowly encircling the building. Ori & Stella aren’t sure where to go, when Ugg opens a hidden door in the back of the building. Of course the ilegal fight club has secret getaway routes. Buckle wants to rejoin the team, but he’s trapped across an alley watched by several police gunners. Ugg spots him and beckons him over, but he cowers. Ori transforms into a Goblin in a Power Suit, steps into view, and says the fugitives are on the far side of the building. Nub-Nub and the gunners on that side start o move, then notice that the other Power Suit is right there. Who’s in the third suit? The distraction is enough for Buckle to cross the alley & join the others, but Nub-Nub leaps down the alley right on top of Ori, She’s very suspicious and tries to read his badge number. Ori grabs her and says that she’s the fake, not him! He’s got her immobilized, and she’s blocking fire from the gunners at the far end of the alley, so everyone can get away except for him. He’s safe until he tries to disengage. Gus (Stella’s cook) leans around the corner and starts throwing food at the gunners. Like real cops, these gunners are terrified of milkshakes, tomatoes, and water bottles, so they retreat and hunker down. Ori throws Nub-Nub across the alley and everyone flees down the secret escape route, which is shut and invisible by the time the cops recover and turn the corner.
The crew is in The Blackest Market, a building that sells unregulated obsidian. It’s very dark. The walls are painted black for the look. They have some time before the police figure out where they are, but they shouldn’t dawdle. They consider the exits from Swallet.
Going up the waterfall is difficult. The caldera isn’t intended to be an exit, and climbing out is also difficult. The sewer seems like the easiest way out. Clearly Stella and Buckle have to flee, but what about the others? Ori was staying at the Fight Club, and it looks like there won’t be a Fight Club anymore, so he might as well go with them. Ugg lives in Swallet, but he’s loyal to Buckle after being beaten in a duel, so he’s also coming along. they sneak away from the police and head for the garbage processing facility.
The garbage processing facility is a big dangerous industrial building with pipes, catwalks, conveyor belts, and big containers of trash. Goblins take trash, sort it, pick out valuable items, then send it to be burned, dumped, or poured into the sewer, a big pipe that matches the one that forms the waterfall in the park across town. As a load of trash is dumped into a fire, the fire flares but doesn’t subside, It grows, takes shape, and starts moving on its own. A Fire Elemental has appeared! The Goblin workers flee, calling for the shift leader and the cops! Some run to the fire extinguishers, big backpack-mounted units with nozzles that come around the side, like Ghostbuster proton packs, or the Heavy Bolter from Warhammer 40K. There’s also a gas-replacement bomb in the middle of the facility that will remove all the oxygen in the facility in case of major, uncontained fire. Obviously this would be very unhealthy for anyone still inside the facility.
GM note: We said “Halon bomb” at the table, but actual research reveals that Halon fire suppressant causes only giddiness and is safer than carbon-dioxide.
Ori: Hello, fellow energy being. Whom do you serve?
The Fire Elemental makes an effort to shape itself into something with a face,and makes talking motions, but vomits flame all over instead. Ori puts out his hands and makes his body long and thin behind them, like a diver trying to make as little disruption in water as possible. It works! He comes through the barrage unscathed, but more of the facility is now on fire. Stella grabs a fire extinguisher. The Goblin workers will take all the help they can get and point her at the Fire Elemental. Instead she clears a path through the flames to the sewer entrance. Buckle and the companions follow. Again, Ori is in trouble as the rest of the crew beckon him towards safety. Stella suggests setting of the bomb and running for the sewers. Goblins close in with fire extinguishers, and the Fire Elemental retreats from them, unintentionally cutting Ori off from his route to the sewer. Ori just powers through and zips right past the Fire Elemental, braving the heat radiating from it. he makes it, and the crew flees down the sewer, leaving the Fire Elemental and the Goblins to fight it out.
Only liquid waste is poured down the sewer, so there’s nothing to run into in the long, dark journey, but the water is pretty dirty. Buckle electro-sense can detect living creatures, but doesn’t notice anything except rats and bugs. After hours and hours, the crew reaches the end of the tunnel.
There’s a small platform at the end of the tunnel, about the size of a studio apartment. It’s level and high enough to stay dry. there’s a door at the far end of the platform. The crew floats out of the mouth of the tunnel and into the river to wash in the clean water. Most of Ori’s body is energy and can’t get dirty, but he rinses off the metal armor bits. The mouth of the tunnel and the door from the platform are both camouflaged from the outside. It’s night now. The moon is up, and there’s a bright light near the moon that is not a normal star. Ori is very curious about the light, but can’t tell much about it. It’s not moving visibly, but maybe observing it through the night will reveal very slow motion. Back on the ground, there’s a mill a little ways downstream. The crew goes up to investigate. No one is working at night, and the doors are locked, which seems a bit paranoid for such a remote location. A sign on the door reads “LE GRIND KEEP OUT!” so they assume the mill is owned by someone named “le Grind” There’s a hill behind the mill, and lights from a large estate are visible on top. They follow path up towards the estate. The estate is surrounded by a wall, and the wall is surrounded by topiary sculptures. The sculptures represent a wide range of creatures, all predators. They knock at the gate, hoping for hospitality.
After an awkward pause, a petite woman slowly walks to the gate. She’s wearing a leather jacket and has a cap with a bill specially shaped to fit around the small vertical horns on her forehead. She regards the crew with bored eyes and asks what they want. They ask for hospitality. She’s heard of it, but it’s more work for her, so she’s not a fan. She says she’ll check, and slowly walks towards the main building.
After a while a different person returns from the house. He’s a tall human man, probably about 50. He has neat slicked back hair, black but greying at the temples. He introduces himself as Jayce and apologizes for the delay. of course Lady Evelynn respects the ancient rite of hospitality and will grant travelers a night’s rest and a hot meal. He calls for Kaley, the sullen Teifling, to stable Silk, Stella’s giant spider. There are six humanoids: Ori, Stella, Buckle, Ugg, Gus, and Rose. Jayce takes them in the front door, into a spectacular foyer with big staircases leading to balconies all around. he leads them through a door into the less impressive side of the house and assigns them to three bedrooms with two beds each. He will fetch food and bed clothes for each of them. Jayce inquires after Ori’s needs, since he’s never seen someone like Ori before. Ori doesn’t eat or sleep. Jayce leaves to make preparations, urging his guests to make themselves comfortable and to stay in their rooms. Stella examines her room and finds a secret passage hidden behind a painting! Jayce returns with nightgowns and food. For Stella, Gus, and Rose: Halfling food with meat, fruit, and veggies. The food is prepared well, but the portions are too small. Buckle gets fish. The fish is fine. Can’t complain. Ugg usually eats subterranean food like mushrooms and bat meat, but he gets freshwater crab. It’s OK.
Jayce bids them goodnight and reminds them to stay in their rooms. Buckle and Stella convince themselves that the picture is part of Stella’s room, so the secret passage must also be part of the room, so it’s not technically breaking the rules to go exploring. Ori declares that a clever bit of sophistry and stays in his room, watching that mysterious light through the window. After several hours, he determines that it’s moving with the moon, which moves across the sky slightly faster than the stars. it’s a little closer to the moon than it was at the beginning of the night.
GM note: I was not prepared to explain all these celestial mechanics, even though “mysterious light near the moon” was 100% my idea. Would a waning gibbous be visible right after sunset? How much does the moon move against the background of stars?
Since Ori can’t determine what the mysterious light is from here, he decides to use his unlimited-range teleportation to TELEPORT TO THE SURFACE OF THE MOON.
GM note. Oh. Oh, OK. We’re doing this. This is happening right now. I wanted the players interested in the moon, but this is skipping quite a few steps.
Ori disappears from Evelynn’s estate and reappears on an endless field of giant hexagonal metal mirrors. Each mirror is 100 feet across, and machinery underneath allows them to be steered somewhat. There are towers every few mirrors, and cables between the towers lead away, over the horizon.
The planet is visible below. The location that Ori just left is in shadow. If Ori teleports back, his accuracy will be poor. He might land in the location next to the one he aims at. The mysterious light is there between the moon and the planet, still a bright featureless light, still not moving visibly.
Ori watches the mysterious light for a while and consumes some fuel. A cable car arrives at the nearest tower and a Kobold gets out and approaches Ori. The Kobold isn’t wearing a suit or mask, so there’s air on the moon. The Kobold is curious. How did you get here? Ori says he came from the planet to look at that light. The Kobold looks up at the light in surprise. He didn’t notice. It’s not on any of the sensors. The Kobold decides that Ori should come with him back to base. Wait! Show me your teeth! Ori doesn’t have teeth, which reassures the Kobold, and they zoom away on the cable car.
GM note: Players have a tendency to run mysteries to ground as they notice them. The GM wouldn’t mention it unless it was important right? Of course they want to see what the GM prepared. I didn’t think the players could do much about this particular mystery just yet, but I was wrong, and I am excited to see how this goes when one player jumps right into the middle.
Characters also made big strides. Ori gaines a level, and Stella and Buckle both took powerful Destiny playbooks.