Well, game met again finally, though we had to do an abridged session. Much fun was had.
- Malthus swooped in and stole a Starshard from them. They give chase. I was planning on just running it as a skill challenge, but instead we have combat on the run. The elven rogue twice managed to leap into the air and grapple with Malthus. Since Malthus is a devil and not bound by physical laws alone, he manages to keep flying, leading to this hilarious image of Varian running on his tip toes to keep up with Malthus, who's almost dragging him through the air.
- they panic as they hear Malthus invoking a summoning ritual during all this.
- they whittle him down to 1 hit point before he reaches their mech, which Kadrak, the kobold-cogling coglayer, had trapped back during our last game in January. His player had forgotten, but I didn't. BOOM! Enormous hole blown in the mech, and Malthus is banished to Hell once again. They're really doing a number on the mech, as Varnok (the warlock who invokes draft-dodging spirits from the Godswar) had previously blown a porthole cover off by shooting through it.
- slow motion image of the Starshard falling before being grabbed by a hellborg inside their mech.
- battle with hellborg. Thoron from Shardsfall Quest had joined them in chase, since they saved him from the skinstealer, and thieves offend his sense of honor. Diabolical thieves are all the worse. The party needed an NPC meatshield, and they had been begging me to let Thoron join. This was mostly because they thought he was awesome, being more a swashbuckler/monk hybrid with a greataxe than the barbarian they were expecting. Also, it takes some serious kahones to punch a lunar elemental in the face. During the fight with the hellborg, Thoron had his arm ripped off. (Parodying the Transformers movie, Thoron had asked "You want a piece of me?" to which the hellborg responded by playing back an audio clip of the question, shaking its head, and holding up two fingers before tearing it off). Thoron got back up and again asked, "You want a piece of me? Well here it is!" before beating the hellborg with own severed arm. It was the killing blow.
- to go with the story the players want to develop, Thoron will become a steamborg to replace the arm. They tried holding him over with a healing potion, but accidentally used an elixer of dragonbreath instead. He'll become a dragonborn soon. Being from the Legion, he won't take this change very well, but as Kadrak's player says, he owes him a Wookie life debt. Some of the story will be Thoron adjusting to the change and escaping Legion racism.
- the Irontooth will attack them, believing the mech to still be possessed by a hellborg. I hope to encourage a surrender because Thoron is not doing well. Also, a skill challenge to realize a peaceful solution is possible.
- the Magwagon must be destroyed, but as compensation and in recognition of their service in destroying the hellborg, they'll receive a (kind of junky) Steamblade.
- they'll get to enter a tournament among the Irontooth to try out their new mech
- Round 1: versus an Irontooth warrior. This mech has a chatter tonfa and a drill-tonfa. I hope they find mech fu impressive
- Round 2: versus another foreign challenger. I forget which book it was from, but there was a mention of a slathem with a water elemental mech. It might have been Almanac of Endless Traders. Anyway, I've given it stats. A trident, the Vortex of Teeth spell (hurricane of piranhas!), an electric eel slam, and the ability to summon a tidal wave! Again, this ought to be memorable.
- Round 3: against the champion. I don't plan on the "champion" actually being the best of the Irontooth around. They're only in a series of battles, not a formal tournament with one grand winner. They may do something like that later, but currently it's just the toughest guy in their league. Again, an Irontooth monk/mech jockey. This warrior takes the principles of kendo and applies it to a giant staff with flame nozzles built into both ends. Also, there's a magnet built into it too. It ought to bring back memories of the lodestone marauder they faced and may give them ideas.
- after the tournament (which I may abridge if it doesn't hold great interest), they'll meet with Zack Rodenbaugh, artist of steel. Varnok's player expressed interest in the Legion having a greater villainous role in the game; he needs Nazis to his Indiana Jones, and he likes the idea of Shar Thizdic dabbling in the occult to gain power. I wonder how I could tie this into the Tenth of Nine's own agenda.... Anyway, to accommodate this, Zack doesn't have Sylph, a disloyal girlfriend, trying to hide the skinstealer. Instead, two agents from the Legion have been trying to win Zack to their side - an artist of his caliber would be an excellent asset for propaganda. When he wouldn't be turned, they decided to test a new Legion experiment: a skinstealer they believe they have tamed. It's pursuing its own agenda, but it keeps allaying their concerns, saying it's making Zack's transition to Legion goals gradual, to avoid suspicion. Maybe I'll still make Sylph part of it after all - as a Legion agent.
- after freeing Zack, they must chase down lunar cultists in a mech loaded with skinstealer eggs heading for Edge.
- there will then be problems at Edge, as Varnok was chased out of Edge for several reasons:
1) accused of being a lunar cultist.
2) accidentally blew up townspeople when he first got his warlock powers. (He asked for a way to save himself and was expecting something more benign than eldritch blast/clarion call).
3) refuses to help the Sworn Brotherhood of Silent Wings with their lunar cult flight machines. They had placed him in one such machine and threw it off the cliff, forcing him to learn how to operate it.
4) he then crashed the machine into the Stairkeepers Guild's building. They now feel threatened by him and have started a smear campaign and may be out to kill him too.
- Varnok is planning a chase scene where they flee from three separate mobs and he leads them into a building with the self-same flying machine inside. (The key to operation is a special ritual to Erefiviviasta).
That'll take them for a while. I suppose the question is why should they continue heading to Edge though? Maybe rumor about the next piece of the Starshard? Yeah, it keeps pushing for Varnok to find more pieces, and Varnok thinks one of his old books at Edge has the info. Since I'd like to head out to the Wet Desert and the yuan-ti, I think I'll place the next piece there.