Party: Orichalcum the Construct, Fafnir the Dragon, Melvin the Rain
Ori is searching for his master along the Mighty River, and sees smoke rising above the trees. Too much smoke for a campfire. Ori flies in to investigate. Perhaps giants are literally smoking trees. Alas, reality is much less fun. A group of robed figures are tearing up a wagon, throwing the cargo into a fire. They yell about removing temptation from the youth. The wagon owner, tied to a nearby tree, urges them to “Please be chill!” but they don’t listen. Ori swoops in, grabs the robed figure who appears to be the leader, and carries him aloft for a chat. Ori demands to know what’s going on. The leader says that they have an annual ritual of removing contraband from the area. The wagon was carrying an intoxicant that is unacceptable according to the laws of this group. The leader agrees to let the wagon owner away safely, but when Ori returns him to the ground, the robed figures takes a swing at the Construct! Ori crosses his arms and blocks the blow.
Melvin has noticed this commotion and approaches unseen, still in the form of the late Allan a Zham. He summons rain to douse the fire and unties the wagon owner during the confusion. Melvin and the owner slip away, and Ori also disengages once he sees that the owner is safe.
Ori and Melvin rendezvous and make camp. During the night, Melvin has a strange nightmare, and when he awakens, there’s a small statue of a monster holding a pearl next to his head. he examines the statue. It’s a mountain troll, Trolls are rumored to be clever, but there are no stories about trolls and pearls. Weird. Melvin chucks the statue in the river. As the statue moves away from him, he gets a bad headache. He groggily walks through the river to retrieve the statue. He wears a big trenchcoat and stores the statue in an inside pocket.
There are tracks leading away from the camp. Ori floats up to see where they lead. He finds a campsite with two people sleeping. One seems like a normal traveler, curled up in a bedroll under the stars. The other is in a very fancy, very neat tent. The traveler is exhausted, but the occupant of the tent is busy with his morning routine. It’s the Brianiac who was recently exiled from Thaumatown! Ori asks if he could have a word with the Brianiac. The Brainiac says he has a vocabulary of over 45,000 words. Which one does he want? Melvin approaches, and Brainiac recognizes him from the trouble in Thaumatown! He wakes up the other traveler in a panic! The man apologizes to Melvin. He is the previous owner of the statue, and it wouldn’t let him sleep. Now that he has passed it to Melvin, he can sleep again. He’s scared that Melvin will retaliate, so Melvin takes a calming posture, keeping his hands in view and staying a distance away from the man. Melvin wants to know how the man acquired the statue. He just woke up one morning and found it. He couldn’t get rid of it, and he couldn’t sleep. The statue told the man to give it to Melvin. It wants Melvin more, somehow. The man carried it for weeks, and he can finally sleep now that it’s gone. Melvin asks what the man will do now, and he shrugs.
Brianiac always knows what to do next! He has retreated to his tent and emerges with a strange metal capsule. He fires it at past the tired man, knocking him to the ground, and capturing Melvin! Nonporous containers are the only things that Rain can’t just ooze through. Ori flips out his claws and slashes the capsule to burst it, but it’s charged with electricity! Ori’s own energy is disrupted, making it difficult for him to control his physical components. Brainiac gloats. Ori may have more physical power, but that power is subject to the laws of science, so Brianiac always has the advantage! Brain over brawn! Ori recovers during the monologue and snatches Brainiac up for a forced chat. “We’re less trouble for you if we leave,” says Ori, “so it’s better if you just release Melvin.” Brainiac is impressed by Ori’s logic. From his many belts and pouches he produces two tools. One will turn off the electricity, and the other will open the capsule. Ori lets Brainiac down and he flees.
Ori releases Melvin and they continue on their journey towards the two volcanoes on the southern horizon. Melvin warns Ori that the cursed statue may make him a bad master.
At the foot of the two volcanoes, Ori and Melvin meet Fafnir and her Kobold servant Coco as they search for a route up to the peaks. Smoke rises from the eastern peak, but the western peak is dormant, so they head for the dormant volcano, since that seems safer. They recognize each other as fellow adventurers, kindred spirits. Fafnir says, “Since we aren’t fighting, we can be friends.” Ori thinks that’s a good idea, and does not anticipate violence. “Yeah, if there was, I would win!” says Fafnir. Introductions all around. Fafnir is amazing when Melvin demonstrates his shapeshifting. Coco is the brains, and Fafnir is social muscle. Ori asks Coco to be his master. Coco objects, saying “Fafnir is my master!” Ori realizes his mistake and addresses Fafnir, “You’re not hired social muscle. She’s hired brain muscle.” Ori asks Coco about her experience serving Fafnir. Coco does a lot of damage control. Ori decides to try serving Fafnir for a while.
Melvin says “This is my first time meeting a dragon. Do you like treasure?” He shows Fafnir the cursed statue, and she immediately jams it in her mouth. Melvin gets an awful headache, so Fafnir spits the statue out. it’s not so easy to be rid of the curse.
Fafnir flies up above the two volcanoes to look around. The smoke from the eastern peak smells like wood and garbage, not molten rock. The caldera of the western peak contains staircases spiraling down. Around the caldera are signs of an old camp. It’s a war camp. Decades old. It was abandoned, not destroyed. Its defenses point in towards the caldera, not out towards a threat coming from the mountain slopes. Very strange. Fafnir points out a route to her earthbound companions, and they all join her at the top and look around. There’s a memorial: 40 spear points stuck in the ground in neat rows, and a chunk of volcanic stone engraved with the name “Crusher”.
GM note: I apologized for delaying the game by flipping through pages of notes at this point, but my players were thrilled to learn that they were seeing the aftermath of a one-shot played by a group on the other side of the country.
The group wonders about sending Ori down the caldera to investigate further. Ori asks Fafnir, “Is that an order?” Ori is never in Despair when following orders. “Yes!” says Fafnir, and Ori goes. The two spiral staircases in the calera are old and haven’t been used for a long time. one of them is broken near the top. The bottom of the caldera is a thin layer of dirt and rubble over a perfectly smooth sphere of hard rock. The sphere is so big that it extends past the edges of the caldera. Fafnir and Melvin join Ori at the bottom to look around. This rock is not natural. Melvin figures it was created by magic, in a ritual that would have taken minutes or hours. Hard to do while besieged by an enemy army.
Coco has a couple of plans. Fafnir could dive bomb the rock sphere and try to break it, or they could investigate the other volcano. Ori worries that whatever they find might be hostile. Fafnir thinks getting in a fight would be fun. Ori worries that they might be powerful, but Fafnir would welcome powerful allies. Ori tries one more time to make her understand “OK, combine the two.”
Ori looks inside the caldera of the eastern peak.
The inner wall is covered with metal chimneys, pipes, and hatches. The smoke comes from these and from a smouldering pile of trash at the bottom. This is clearly artificial! Ori brings Melvin down into the caldera and they float into one of the large pipes. It slopes upward as it goes into the mountain, and at the top is a dumbwaiter. Apparently trash is loaded into the dumbwaiter, then sent up the shaft. At the top, the dumbwaiter tips over, and the trash slides down the chute and falls into the smouldering heap at the bottom of the caldera.
Ori and Melvin take the dumbwaiter down and emerge in a bustling industrial facility. There’s a whole city hidden underground! The inhabitants are Goblins: short, green-skinned humanoids. Those who spot the intruders are surprised, but not panicked. Outsiders aren’t unheard of. Ori and Melvin go back outside and tell the others. They take a different route inside. Melvin unlocks a maintenance hatch, so they can enter the city by a route intended for people. The tunnels are winding and branching, but the crew eventually reaches that same facility. It’s a waste management facility. Loads are brought in, valuables are sorted out, then the rest is either burned, dumped, or poured into a large stone pipe.
Ori floats out into the bustling street and says “Take me to your leader!” which causes quite a commotion! There’s an official-looking Goblin directing traffic who offers to navigate Goblin bureaucracy for the right price, if you know what I mean. A shady Goblin slips a card to Ori and says, “This is the real power!” The card has an address for a place called “Cloorick’s” Ori consults with the team to see which option to choose. Coco recommends bribing the official, but no one has much money, so they go find Cloorick’s. It’s an unfriendly looking building with no windows. The main entrance is a heavy metal door with one of those sliding slots like a speakeasy. Fafnir knocks, the slit opens, and a pair of bored, dismissive eyes peers out at her. Fafnir asks for access, but the doorman couldn’t be less impressed, and tells Fafnir how she’s uninteresting, weak, and unworthy. fafnir immediately smashes the door in!
A big metal hand reaches out from under the door and tosses it aside. The doorman is a Goblin wearing robotic arms attached to his real arms and a harness on his chest. he congratulates Fafnir on figuring out the test so quickly. Kicking in the door is the way to prove that you deserve to enter Cloorick’s Fight Club! The doorman’s name is Rabbish.
Players: The doorman is rabid? No, he’s rubbish. Rabbit? Radish? Not quite rad, only rad-ish.
GM note: Say your characters’ names out loud a few times before revealing them to players.
Rabbish explains that Cloorick teaches martial arts as a means of self-improvement. The crew wants to join and learn, but they have to earn their way in. Ori suggests that the crew has styles that the fight club hasn’t seen, and letting them join would give the club access to these new techniques. Rabbish is impressed enough to let them meet Cloorick. Cloorick is a Spider, not one of the giant arachnids, but the intelligent humanoid kind. He wears a Goblin Power Suit, modified for his multi-armed physique. He hears the crew’s pitch, and says that in order to join, they have to win one-on-one fights with some of his students. All FOUR of them have to win to be admitted. Coco has to fight too! Thinking quickly, Ori asks if Coco can wear her armored suit, like Cloorick. You see, Ori IS power armor.
GM note: For time, we had one four-on-four battle instead.
The circular arena has a raised platform in the middle, with half-walls to give some cover. The crew enters from the doors on one side, while Cloorick, Rabbish, and two Goblins with rifles enter from the other side. Cloorick leaps to the center platform. Ori engages Rabbish, parrying his big metal fist with his own metal blade-arms. The impact damages Ori’s blades, and Rabbish grabs him with his other hand and throws the robot across the arena. A gunner takes advantage and shoots Ori where he lands. Fafnir flies up and smashes into Cloorick, destroying part of the platform with the fury of their battle. Melvin rushes a gunner, transforming into Cloorick on the way. The gunner is shocked, and Melvin slams him into the wall, terrifying him out of the fight. Rabbish hits Ori again, and Melvin comes to his aid, distracting the enhanced goblin. Fafnir disengages from Cloorick, giving the remaining gunner a clear shot at her. Blammo! Ori rushes Rabbish, getting too close for Rabbish’s big metal arms to swing, and pummeling him all the way out of the arena into his own locker room. Cloorick leaps in and strikes Ori. Ori’s taking a real beating in this fight. Fafnir takes off and drops onto Cloorick, striking a lethal blow! The last gunner makes a show of throwing his gun aside and forfeiting the match.
The crew has prevailed! Rabbish is very impressed! Since Fafnir defeated Cloorick, she is the new leader of Fight Club! Cloorick had many apprentices, but none ever managed to defeat him. The crew stays to train at the Fight Club for a while and get much tougher. They all gain the Iron stat at +1.