The party: Buckle the Beast/Heart of Earth, Stella the Halfling/Hunter
Last time, the Sea Viper (ruler of Vieport) assumed Stella would turn in Buckle for a bounty, but the team violently demonstrated that they value friendship over money.
No enemies remain on the burning rooftop terrace. Theona is barely standing, and is no longer a Companion. Stella and Buckle have a damaged Siege Tank, but the rest of their Companions…
…are still climbing the pillars outside the palace, trying to reach their leaders on the roof. A group of Eel Naga guards are below them, threatening them. The group of Eel Naga guards that Buckle left inside the palace are about to come out and join their comrades.
Neither Stella nor Buckle can swim. The Sea King escaped, and surely the entire city will soon be after them for attempted regicide. They need an escape route right now. Buckle considers driving the Siege Tank off the roof, but the drop will damage its only remaining stat. Stella considers getting help from the beluga whales that carry cargo at the docks, but the Siege Tank is as big as a beluga whale. Just one whale won’t be able to carry the tank.
Stella Queen of the Wild: every beast she meets is a Compantion
Stella Speak Softly “whales, carry our tank away!” 7-9
GM note: Stella doesn’t have to convince the whales to help. The roll determines how much trouble the whales have getting in position to help.
A team of Beluga whales is pulling a raft nearby, and when they hear Stella’s call, they turn towards the palace. Their Merfolk drivers try to steer them back on coruse, but the whales buck to throw them off. The raft can hold the Siege Tank, but the whales need a little time to get to the palace. On the other side of the palace, Naga Eel guards wrap themselves around the pillars and spiral upwards to attack the companions stnading on top. Buckle can’t use his Dragonfire at long range, so he takes a running leap from the roof of the palace…
Buckle Get Away 7-9 avoid harm
…and lands in the shallow water at the base of the pilars, right among the Naga Eel guards. His superheated body causes a burst of steam, which he empowered with Dragonfire..
Buckle Dragonfire: vaporize Group of Naga Eels
When a Group is destroyed, replace it with two members
…into a burning mushroom cloud! When the cloud clears, only two Naga Eels guards are left, who ignore the pillars and turn to attack Buckle. Stella watches from the roof. She can’t bring the tank to bear, but her Companions are right there.
Stella: Gus, release the garlic powder!
Gus uses Special Ingredients to create advantage against Naga Eel.
Gus retrieves a satchel of garlic powder and shakes it out over one of the Naga Eel guards. Garlic irritates snakes, so the guard starts spitting and coughing. Buckle attacks the distracted guard with his venomous spurs.
Buckle Finish Them (advantage: distraction from Gus) 10+
The guard only feels a pinprink, but that’s enough to deliver the venom, and he’s Taken Out. The other guard bites Buckle with his horrible needle-sharp teeth.
Naga Eel Needlepoint Teeth: necrotic damage to Buckle’s Courage
Buckle was feeling invincible up to now, having killed over twenty people in the last few minutes. He realizes that he can still be hurt!
On the other side fo the palace, the team of Belugas have thrown their drivers in the water and lined up so Stella can drive the tank off the edge and onto the raft. Theona sees an opportunity to escape and pushes herself towards the edge! Stella throws both throttles forward and races Theona.
Stella Get Away 6-
Don’t forget, Theona is a 16-foot-tall Ogre. As she and the tank reach the burning guardrail at the edge of the terrace, she shoves the tank asides and leaps through the flames! It looks like she’ll land on the raft with an action roll to break her fall, but instead she crumples and faceplants. The exertion and the flames were too much for her. Stella finds herself in the water in a very metallic, very heavy vehicle designed for land! She’ll soon sink! She quickly looks around the tank’s control panel and hits a tiny yellow button on the left side that she had not noticed before.
Siege Tank Secret Weapon: amphibious mode.
The bottom of the tank forms into a waterproof hull, and it’s able to slowly motor through the water. Stella is away!
Buckle panics and runs parallel to shore through shallow water, leaving a trail of steam. Stella yells for everyone to go to the Adventurers’ Club. The crowd of Companions drop down from the pillars and everyone flees towards the Adventurer’s Club, with only one Naga Eel guard trying to stop them.
GM note: Fleeing the scene with enemies nearby gave me a great excuse to start the next scene with a problem. I asked the players to pick which of their Companions were missing at the beginning of the next scene.
Stella drives the Siege Tank onto shore next to the Adventurers’ Club. Buckle is hiding under the porch, but the smoke rising from him reveals his position. A headcount of their numerous companions reveals that Hamfast is missing! Two figures appear on the roof of the buidling opposite the Adventurers’ Club. Hamfast as been captured by The Exterminator!
- The Exterminator
- Deadly Poison
The Exterminator beckons to Stella and Buckle, then drags Hamfast back out of sight. They will have to breach the building and face The Exterminator’s traps to extract their new companion.
GM note: We brainstormed what building The Exterminator used as their lair. Often adventurers gather in shady taverns, narrow alleys, or warehouses, but the Adventurers’ Club is a legitimate, reputable organization, so it’s in a nice part of town. It’s next to a the club house of a golf course. Specificity helps creativity!
Buckle is still in shock from the previous battle. Stella considers a multi-pronged attack agains The Exterminator, but needs to scout the area to know how to proceed. She walks around the building looking for entrances. There’s a service entrance on the side, and an employee is leaning against the wall taking a smoke break.
- Talk for Days
- Loose Lips
Stella: Buckle, are you back with us? Are you ready to do something? Go in the front and see what’s there.
Buckle shuffles off and Stella approaches the Chatty Caddie. Her plan is to set a pit trap at the rear entrance to catch The Exterminator if they flee that way, but she doesn’t want actual golfers to be caught and injured. She asks the Caddie if she can slip in through the service entrance.
Stella Talk Sense (+sense) 7-9 owe a favor
Caddie: OK, but tell me a secret.
Stella: Any secret?
Caddie: A juicy secret! If you sleep with a teddy bear, I don’t care.
Stella: I can’t swim!
Caddie stifles a laugh as he lets her in the service entrance. He’s totally going to leak that secret.
Buckle walks in the front door and enters a nice lounge with high ceilings, big windows, and tables and chairs spread around. In the corner, there’s a woman in chrome armor with long, curly, bubblegum pink hair. She’s deep into her third bottle, and slowly turns to look at Buckle with a look of exhaustion and despair.
Lady Elizabeth Eleanor Eadwynn: I can’t deal with this right now.
She turns away and leans her head on her hand, blocking Buckle from her view. Buckle ignores her and walks up to the counter, which is staffed by a bored-looking teenage girl who clearly thinks that golf and people who like golf are exceedingly boring and uncool.
- Surly Worker
- Biting Sarcasm
- Conveniently Off-Duty
Buckle asks if she’s seen The Exterminator today. She can’t be bothered to remember the losers who come in here, so she pushes the sign-in book across the counter to him. He picks it up and it bursts into flames! Before the pages blacken compeltely he does see “The Exterminator” but the other columns, no doubt filled with useful information, are illegible. He drops the book and stomps on it to put out the flames, but his super-heated feet only burn the book faster! Surly Worker’s eyes, emphasized by enthusiasticly but unexpertedly applied eyeliner, go wide. She reaches over the counter and dumps her drink on the remains of the book. She goes into the back room to get another book.
Unsupervised, Buckle slips past the counter and explores the back of the clubhouse. There are locker rooms, showers, and a sauna. He surprises a few golfers. Stella is also inside the building. She finds an “out of order” sign and posts it on the back door, then places a pit trap outside of it.
They’re explored the ground storey, so they move on to the upper storey. Buckle brings Ugg (a Goblin with robotic arms) to the elevator. It’s a fully enclosed box, and just has a lever to select ground storey or upper storey. Buckle flips the lever up, and poison gas floods the elevator! The Exterminator anticipated this move and set a trap! Buckle pulls the lever back down, but the gas doesn’t stop. They need to get out of the elevator.
Buckle Get Away 10+ avoid harm, bring Ugg along
Ugg boosts Buckle up and Buckle opens the service hatch that’s in the roof of all elevator cars. He climbs on top of the elevator, then reaches down to pull Ugg up after him. At the top of the shaft, the doors to the upper storey are slightly open and The Exterminator is looking down. They grunt and pulls back, closing the doors. Impressed but not surprised.
Meanwhile, Stella has ridden Silk (her Riding Spider) up to the roof. There are three skylights, one open. She opens the other two (to maximize the dispersion of any poison gas that may be released soon) and quietly drops down into the storage room.
Stella Get Away 10+ avoid notice, avoid harm
The Exterminator is on one end of the room, looking at the elevator doors. On the other side of the room, sitting on a big bin of galf balls, Hamfast is concentrating on a strange device that he’s holding in both hands. Buckle and Ugg climb the emergency ladder inside the elevator shaft, and Buckle starts heating the elevator door to break through. Exterminator prepares their poison gas dispenser. Big tanks of poison gas on their back are connected through a hose to nozzle shaped like old-timey bug spray dispensers: a cone-tipped cylinder with a short cylinder mounted perpendicular under the main cylinder. They will ambush Buckle as soon as he emerges.
Stella Queen of the Wild: Command Lore about the wild beast in a location
The storage room is an attic, so there are bats nesting in the rafters. Buckle tells Ugg to go back down the ladder, then he bursts through the elevator door
Stella Queen of the Wild: all Beast are her companions
Bats harry and distract The Exterminator
Stella sends her bat minions to swarm The Exterminator, preventing them from executing their ambush. Stella and Buckle rush at The Exterminator from both sides!
Buckle Finish Them (+sense, knock out) advantage: bat distraction (+hope, assistance from Stella) 10+
Buckle jumps up on The Exterminator and jams his flippers into the gap between their helmet and armor. He levers the helmet off, revealing The Exterminator’s face! Stella disconnects the hose from the back of the nozzle and jams the loose end, which is spewing poison gas, into The Exterminator’s face. They quickly succumb to the noxious gases and collapse. Buckle reaches out to the end of the hose and ignites the gas as it sprays out. The gas burns as soon as it exits the hose, so the room isn’t filled with poison gas. Disposing of the gas this way is safer than igniting backpacks full of pressurized gas, which would probably blow up the whole room.
Hamfast: Help! It’s going to go off! I can’t keep holding it!
They rush to their captured friend. The device he is holding is actually two pieces that must be held in precise alignment, or it will go off, flooding the room with poison gas. (The Exterminator has a THEME, and they stick to it.) They consider throwing it out of the open skylights, but throwing will set it off. They decide to use the elevator shaft. Buckle does remember to bring Ugg out first. He carries the device to the hole in the door, drops it in, then Stella and Buckle shove a golf cart to block the hole and keep the gas out fo the room.
Buckle Overcome (+hope assistance from Stella) 10+
It works! They shove the golf cart forward, then sink to the floor in relief. Tiny harmless wisps of gas leak through gaps around the golf cart. Buckle looks over and sees The Exterminator’s gas-proof helmet lying on the floor and realizes he could have stuck the device under that. It would have been a lot simpler.
GM note: We wrapped up the session here and the players asked if they could just say that they left the city after this. I denied their request. They almost killed the king, and all the exits from the city are dangerous. Water on one side, electric barriers and angry ghosts on the other. Getting out will be an adventure!
GM note: The party went to the Adventurer’s Club to be safe because they are members & can get food and shelter here. But the Adventurers’ Club is full of powerful mercenaries doing whatever jobs are posted. Of course there’s a bounty out on them now that they attacked the Sea Viper and burned his palace! They were already attacked by an Adventurer on their first visit. Yet they didn’t expect The Exterminator (the other Adventurer in town) to attack them this time.