14 May Session
There was a fight with the handbag unicorn demon. It was pretty awful, with people getting arms broken and faces chewed up, a vigla’s head getting ripped off.
The Eclipse Demon of Variable Name slowed time down during a lightning flash and offered people bargains. Vitus agreed to lose 1 MP forever, in exchange for mana and healing. The other PCs refused, but Magistrate Karen Ivanovich appeared to make a deal, as she also started healing. The Eclipse Demon specifically refused to treat with Talia, as she is still bound to the Raven Queen. Karen eventually called the Demon to heel, and some conversations followed during which you learned:
- Karen got sent to activate a weapon to deal with the two sleeping powers (NB Karen does not know that the party is responsible for releasing them)
- Karen’s other choice of suicide mission was leading the forlorn hope against Fort Zurgan
- Vitus used Witchsight to discern a death rune marked on Karen
- Karen revealed the presence of a Moon Gate in the Warden’s complex on the Island of Monsters.
The party then healed up and proceeded to the mine and its sealed vault. Karen revealed that what was inside the vault was Prince Umal, son and grandson of Mal. The mine entrance was the scene of a massacre, and Secundus could tell that the bladework was in a longsword style he was familiar with. The elevator was damaged, so the party made two trips for safety (and in the background I began keeping track of a countdown clock).
Outside the vault, the party encounters Maranth, first Sword of the father. She warns the party to back off, they refuse, so Vordar assassins materialise and attack (and Maranth exits stage right). In this fight a key role is played by the unicorn handbag demon, as its gibbets a couple of the Vordar. Pyrias is badly wounded by an early critical hit to the leg, and if I recall correctly both Talia and Pyrias are incapacitated by mid-fight. Vitus gets disarmed, loses the lantern, and Secundus manages to fumble and set himself on fire from the lantern oil. Vitus casts wrack and starts burning the Vordar, and the accumulated losses see the last two Vordar teleporting out (although one of them took enough damage to die on rematerialising I think).
The party enters the sealed vault – which requires using the horn of the unicorn demon as the key to bypass. The outer room was a library, the inner room contained a laboratory and the imprisoned husk of Prince Umal. There is bargaining, Umal desires revenge on the Maxlace family, who experimented on him, as well as the life blood of a willing sacrifice. There is some bargaining, and Umal eventually agrees to spare one member of the Maxlace family – but the party must choose who is live. In exchange Prince Umal will deal with the two sleeping powers that have awoken.
On the way out, there is an earthquake while people are in the damaged elevator. There are some narrow scrapes and bruises, but the party escapes alive, and walks back to the Maxlace mansion. Where they are welcomed by Karia Angel Eyes, who is only too delighted to inform that Prince Umal has revenged himself on her father, and dragged her useless sister Daria away to find the Spear of the Black Emperor in town.
In the far distance, the rumbling cannonades of the assault on Fort Zurgan can still be heard as the party tries to get some sleep. Its unlikely to be pleasant dreams with not one, not two, but three ancient powers of great evil converging on the poor town of Aldarsh…
28 May Session
This session started with passion changes and arete checks to reflect decisions made in the previous session, with Crozane dropping his passion for protecting the innocent and increasing loyalty to empire.
Plans were debated – the problem with warning people in Aldarsh was the issue of “What happens when they ask us how exactly it us that we know that the sleeping powers have awoken?” not even the plight of those near to their hearts could swap the party from leaving the Maxlace mansion and its temptations. Vitus did project his sight into the town, and found Alfandi skirmishing with the Garrison, and civilians being murdered in the streets. Vitus searched for Florenzia, finding that the hospital had been overrun, but Florenzia had made it to the town citadel, where she was extracting mana crystals.
The party decides to sleep. Arete checks are made, Crozane fumbles, and experiences a nightmare where he is in a warehouse in Aldarsh, being sacrificed by Vordar, over and over again. At sunrise there is a round of failed Willpower checks, so little magic regeneration happens.
An Imperial Frigate passes overhead, travelling to the west. Its on fire. Its a dark day, with feeble sunlight, constant rain, thunder and lightning.
Lady Karia Angel Eyes offers the party a champagne breakfast. By late morning Talia is the only one both sober and clothed. People regain Luck Points from carousing and start on a liquid lunch, when Anander Rotrant turns up to guilt trip the party into actually doing something about the crisis they have caused. The party realises that their chances of escaping overland on foot, or defending the mansion against a horde of swamp elves are pretty slim, and getting behind the town walls might be the sensible thing to do.
On the way into town, Talia crits Perception, and spots a swamp elf ambush. While the Alfandi outnumber the party 10:7, they are mooks (50% skills, 2 Actions, knocked out if reduced to 0 HP in any location). Because of the wet weather, I make the check for firing pistols harder, and only Talia and Secundus score hits. Vitus is the only player badly injured in the fight, taking nine points to his right leg, but with a couple of critical hits from Karia and Anander the fight turns towards the party quite quickly. Talia captures a couple of the Alfandi alive, and then proceeds to try a ritual to regenerate the mana storage gem acquired earlier. Talia does not get the first sacrifice right, but Karia assists with the second and +13 MP are placed in the gem (and Talia loses a few arete points).
The party reaches town without further incident, but can see that the garrison is unsettled. They go to their old hotel, but the first floor is burnt out, and the second floor hallways is strewn with bodies. So they park the NPCs at the Maxlace townhouse and go to the citadel. Its crowded with petitioners, and the party balks at paying a 500 silver bribe to see the commander. So they go off to the new imperial temple, find its packed, think about going to the old imperial temple, but realise its probably flooded. So they go back to the citadel, pay the bribe, see the commander, and get a commission to find a Vordar death cult inside the town walls and deal with it.
Using a mix of sense blood and project sight they find where the cult is probably set up – the warehouse owned by von Schenke, where they went to a party earlier in the week. They case the joint, detecting wards and a few ways in. They sneak up an alleyway, and Talia neutralises the wards. Vitus scouts with his projected sight, but something inside can see him, and he takes wounds to the head and leg fleeing the scene. The party then gets Secundus to use brute force and ignorance to batter their way in. Now the party can see Marantar, first sword of the Father, who challenges Pyrias to a duel, which he accepts.
Pyrias has four actions per combat round, but Maranth is a mystic with six actions, three of which must be used for parrying or evading. Both duellists have high combat styles (>90% for Pyrias and 110% for Marantar). Its a very long fight – four combat rounds, almost twenty seconds, but while Pyrias is outclassed, the whip Maranth wields just doesn’t do enough damage to seriously threaten Pyrias. Maranth eventually casts some damage boosting folk magic, but Pyrias manages to get a critical hit to disarm her, followed by a second critical hit which she fails to evade to kill her. Her blood, however, is the trigger to activate the runes covering all the surfaces of the warehouse interior. Vitus starts setting the warehouse on fire, Pyrias and Secundus argue over who should get the whip, Crozane picks up the body and hears a “run away little boy” voice in his head, Talia just runs for it, but stumbles and falls over (eventually being the last one out of the building). While Vitus manages to endure the fire damage, he fails to resist against magic and is overwhelmed.
Outside the burning building, the party realises that Vitus is now a beacon, calling the father towards him. Two attempts are made to steal boats to flee downriver, but everyone in the party fails two boat handling checks in a row (its not a common skill in flying cities). So the party heads west, with an improvised sled to carry Vitus. They run into stragglers from the Imperial army, the assault on Fort Zurgan has failed. As they near the now abandoned Camp Fortitude they see the Mother and the father in the distance. Shrieking and hammering the earth, the ancient powers turn towards camp Fortitude and begin moving towards it like Godzilla coming up on Tokyo. Pyrias lost an arete point for suggesting it was his musketeer’s duty to shag the Mother Monster.
At this point the standard RQ rules went out the window as being unable to handle a mythic encounter and I improvised wildly. What the party was able to do was turn the fort powder magazine into a giant land mine, with the magazines copper sheath roof being ripped up for shrapnel. The party then hid in a barracks building, and used a cheap folk magic spell to light the magazine off when the ancient powers began battling over the fort.
Vordar assassins attack the party, but three are killed in the first round, so it does not take much effort to eliminate the remaining two. Belnath, the vordar cult leader, attempts a mythic level attack on the Mother, but rolls a 00 fumble, so I rule him as devoured on the spot.
I gave the ancient powers 100 mythic hit points, and allowed the powder magazine explosion to do 1d100 damage to them. Whichever monster gained the advantage in a combat round did 1d10 mythic damage, and we had a round where they tied and both inflicted damage on each other. Magic warps the neighbourhood, and makes it both difficult and dangerous for the PCs to intervene, they leave the barracks building before it is destroyed, and shelter against the interior wall of the fortress. Crozane and Pyrias are splashed by “mother’s milk” and the acid forces them to abandon most of their armour and equipment. Talia is taken out by a surge of plant rune energy, collapsing into an orgasmic heap.
The Empress Alexandra, the largest battleship in the Imperial Fleet appears in the distance. Unlike the small frigates it can travel safely in the poor weather.
Prince Umal intervenes with the spear of the Black Emperor, and does 1d10 mythic damage on the monsters. The Alexandra unleashes a 100 gun broadside. Both of the great monsters are down. The Eclipse Demon then turns up, attacks Umal, and gets its wings broken. Karen Ivanovich, who was presumed dead, also turns up (its a safe bet that the Eclipse Demon resurrected her, and her being alive allows her to rollback some of Umal’s power). The Alexandra starts to turn, and the party quickly relocates so as to not be between its guns and Prince Umal. Karen manages to grab the black spear, and runs. Umal smashes the Eclipse Demon into a cloud of feathers and eyeballs, then chases after Karen. Talia casts a spell to entangle Umal, which allows Karen to escape, and then the Alexandra hammers Prince Umal with a second 100 gun broadside.
So, a victory of sorts for the Silent Legion, with three ancient powers defeated. But it might have been better if the party had managed to not unseal the ancient evils in the first place…