Thursday, 6 January 2011

Post War Group 29/12/2010 (Part 1)

Firstly, an apology. I have not been motivated to do anything other than work, play Xbox 360 and write stuff for the next games, and so, this is taking forever to get written. As a result, I have got the first part of the last session written up, and will get the rest done later (though I am probably not going to give a blow by blow account of the battle outside the renegade's supposed stronghold).

Secondly, my old mate Chris, who was a player every game back in the late 80's and a good chunk of the early 90's (back when we played AD&D and 2nd Ed AD&D), took Scott's place at the helm of Emmiven as he was visiting and Scott couldn't make it. It was awesome to have him back at the table, and it lead to some very amusing roleplaying during the planning stage, and during the skill challenge at the gate to get past the guards safely.

Finally, because there was no way of knowing what the group would do, this game (and indeed, the next one) was / will be done entirely "off the cuff". I pre-calculated appropriate damages, D.C.s and foes for the session, and detailed the environments etc, but didn't create my usual "proper" writeup. The result was a game where I could account for whatever insane plan the group came up with (Chris has a history of crashing skyships into things), with my usual calm facade, whilst internally whooping and bellowing like a monkey.

That's how, for me, D&D should be XD.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy this, for tonight, the party enter Clanktown (AKA, New Forge).

*   *   *

07:00 – 13:00 - By this time Dent has been arrested by the Order, and taken to await trial and almost certainly, execution. The group however are trying to work out how to extract a powerful mage from a fortified position, in the middle of an enemy stronghold, without getting themselves or him killed, or triggering a war between the clanks and the city of Irin.

They discuss a multitude of plans, and by early afternoon have decided on a plan that involves simultaneously detonating a large quantity of black powder by the main gates of the town (as a distraction and cover) and through the western wall (as an escape route). They do however realise that this is not necessarily going to work, so they refine it; explosives for the front gate, and a magical escape for them and hopefully, Balskus. The final revision sees the western wall explosion being put back in – just for added “effect”.

The latter part of this new plan is in Grigori's hands, for he has recently scribed a ritual that will enable him to enchant a chest – even one large enough to get the whole party in – so that he can, with a word, send it to a predestined location (in this case, the strong room within their guild's hideout). The former part will need some input from the Order, which unfortunately means the party will need to contact Saul.

15:00 – 15:20 – Saul arrives at the Staff of Wands after being contacted and asked to attend. The party are more than a little amazed when he agrees to provide them with twenty 36 gallon barrels of black powder, as well as a team of horses and a wagon to move them. Indeed, he seems almost gleeful that so much explosives will be smuggled into the warforged's town – a fact that makes Varracuda cringe inside when he is told about it later (he refuses to attend the meeting - something that is immediately noticed by Saul, and which seems to amuse him no end).

15:20 – 23:30 - With the black powder available when needed, the group set to work refining their plan, eventually deciding that Emmiven, shifted into the form of a warforged, will pose as a merchant delivering the black powder to the city, while the party hide within the chest Grigori will obtain. Once within the city, they will launch an attack against Balskus' forge, and once they have him, use the chest to escape, whilst the barrels are sent – fuse lit – towards the front gate; a deadly distraction. With this simple plan in place, they decide to relax a little and enjoy the rest of the day (except Grigori who sets about finding an artisan able to make a chest of the quality he needs for his spell, and Varracuda who seems somewhat reluctant to remain with the group).

11/5/1472 – 15/5/1472 (increasingly bright weather; breezy, sunny days and misty, mellow nights)

The chest takes four days to be made, and then enchanted by the priest, and whilst this is being done, the group get some extra reconnaissance in of New Forge through their guild, as well as some research as to whether any ancient structures or tunnels may lie beneath the fledgling town.

Then...

05:30 – 06:00 – A thick mist covers the long grasses with silvery vapour, softening the lines of the distant forests and the sharp, metallic walls of New Forge where they rise, carapace like to the northeast. Almost as soon as the group's caravan of wagons leaves ancient Irin, they can see the hulking form of one of the town's titan's looming – stoop shouldered and menacing – in the middle of its southern gate; or at least, Emmiven can, for the rest of the party are hidden within the chest, under a tarpaulin, stowed on a second cart behind the one loaded with black powder. The chest (or shed as the group call it) is wreathed in an enchanted silence, courtesy of another of Grigori's rituals, as a precaution against stray sounds giving the game away.

It takes them very little time to move from the city, through the sleeping tent town and then to the gates of New Forge, and soon Emmiven is talking to the guards there in their machine code stutter. There are four normal warforged – one dressed in metallic robes decorated with the crown of Merriel'Shaava, the others clad in integrated plate armour – and the titan, which stands in the middle of the gateway. It is a hulking warden against any kind of unauthorised entry, formidable with its flamebelcher on one arm, and 8' long serrated blade on the other. It bears standards on its bulging chest detailing its kill tallies, and its name, etched in glowing runes across its gleaming, spiked and armoured carapace is the Ferrum Flamma.

As the carts approach, the mage holds up a halting hand, and approaches Emmiven.

“Identify yourself brother, your cargo and your destination.”

“I am Mallot Steelbiter, a merchant. I bear black powder for delivery to the saviour Balskus.”

The unblinking gaze of the warforged before him gives no clue whatsoever about how effective his ruse has been.

“Greetings Mallot. I need to see your papers of delivery.” chimes the mage, adding, when he sees that Emmiven has not made an immediate move to provide the requested documents, “They are a requirement in all merchant prince domains. You must have a set.”

Emmiven stutters a moment, wrong-footed by this unexpected request, and tries to bluff his way past it. However, his fumbling attempts only increase the suspicion of the mage, and the warforged suddenly barks a command to the soldiers, his gaze never leaving the shapeshifter's face, “Search the wagons.” and to Emmiven directly, “You! Stand there where I can see you.”

It seems to take a small eternity for the warforged to take each barrel off the first wagon, and for them to briefly examine the exterior of the hulking box on the second (“it's a storage bin for the explosives” mutters Emmiven when questioned about it, “empty, but for air and darkness.”) The mage for some reason seems little interested in the second wagon after this, distracted by the vast quantities of explosives kept on the first, and Emmiven is more relieved than he can say when he declares the wagon “safe” and allows it through, having been only too aware of the low hum of the titan's engines and systems powering up as it sensed the possible coming of battle.

“In future, make sure that you get the correct paperwork Mallot. I know the humans don't take us seriously, but we like to do things properly. Who knows what chaos would ensue otherwise?”

Emmiven nods his warforged head, glad that it has no expression.

What chaos indeed...

As their research suggested, New Forge is an orderly and simple place, its design logical and freed from the need to comply to a sewage system or similar. It is built as a great wheel; segmented “spokes” of habitations, flanked by wide roads. However, because of its lack of drains, and the fact that most of the structures are made from scrap metal, the roads are thick with sticky, gluey mud and everything stinks of rust. Orange and red muck dribbles from the sagging, blistering structures like blood, colouring the slime with its vivid hue, and the air with its tangy taste and stink. It's hard going for the wagon to push its way on through the muck, and several times residents help get its wheels unstuck from the morass.

Eventually the wagons are coming to the centre of the small town. It is a wide, perfectly circular plaza, which has at its centre a truly bizarre and to the flesh and blood creature that it Emmiven, disturbing monument to the fallen of the aelwyn wars; a huge pile of “dead” warforged, set with their faces pointing outwards, pressurized flames of magnesium white and zinc blue spurting dramatically from their empty eyes and mouth slots. The stench of chemicals and magic is strong here, and the air seethes with radiant heat and the stench of cooked rust. 

To the east of this bizarre monument is a small, solid structure that is different from the rest as it is made from stone. It is squat, and bears a broad chimney typical of a forge, a reinforced wooden door, and a slate roof. Outside its front door stand two warforged and a curious canine construct the warlord knows is called an Iron Defender. One of the warforged bears a heavy looking battle axe and a shield of riveted metal, and Emmiven realises at once that this is one of the town's armed guards. The other has had its plating enamelled red and orange, bears a heavy maul in a tight two-handed grip, and has a curious symbol – some kind of artifice core, wreathed in red fire – etched onto its breastplate. All three of the living constructs are moving towards the wagons, their weapons brought to a “ready” position.

Emmiven holds his three-fingered hand up, as if to speak with them, but instead he chops it down hard and screams “NOW!”

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