Sunday, 29 January 2017

Carrion Crown: Session 38: Horsing Around

Carrion Crown, as told by Victoria van Helm.

Esteemed Witch Hunter Coim,

Our journey through Versex continues. We began the journey from Hyannis to Rosenport, following the Danver river through the mountains. We're being accompanied by the Bard, Jeff, who joined us  plans to write an epic about our battle with the ghost, Aggis. He's human, young, and fancies himself quite the musician. Not that I can talk. He comes from a nomadic family of Varisians, which is not usual. He was originally on his way to Thrushmoor anyway.

Along the way,  we encountered a strange metallic creature in the midst of a storm; a Gorgon. It's arrival caused the horses of Ronan and Hecathia to buck them off and  bolt. The creature's breath was sweeping, and we were turned to stone, save for Lucia -- she managed to hold her breath, and charged forth to engage the beast alone. When I came to, the beast was slain -- sorry to say, I was not of much use in this battle.

The rest of the party departed to find their missing horses; Lucia's mount, Dauntless, was not keen on the idea of carrying another. I remained to harvest the dead beast. Gorgon horn fetches a reasonable price of 250GP, and I've always fancied cooking with Gorgonflesh.

While the party was searching for the missing horses, Hecathia thought to cast a spell of healing on Dauntless. Or she tried, anyway. It keeps  splashing, and Dauntless didn't appreciate the attempt at aid. It kicked them off, and they were forced to face it in combat.

I was not privy to the exchange, but understand that there was not only an altercation between the horse and Hecathia, but between Hecathia and Lucia as well -- understandable, given her clear affection for the horse. I did not envy Paladin Ronan's task in keeping them from immediately engaging one another in mortal combat -- an event I am certain would result in the victory of Lucia alone, with Ronan's survival dependant on whether he opposed her or not.

As it was, Ronan returned, riding Dauntless, with Lucia's dead body over the back of his own horse. I guess I'm keeping the Gorgon horns now. What a horrible night for a death. The plan was to resurrect Lucia at the Church in Thrushmoor, so we apply peaceful repose to her body and move on.

We pressed on past Rozenport, and arrived in Thrushmoor without further incident. The weather was typical, a burgeoning storm. The few people that saw us arrive, demon horse and corpse in tow, stayed well out of our way. The only lodgings available at this time are poor.

The barkeep advises against going to the chapel, reckons it's haunted or some such. 60-odd years ago, the church abandoned the old chapter, citing that it was corrupt. The new one has something off, mysterious deaths. Two priests have fallen out of the belltower somehow. Word of a skull-shaped stain that can't be cleaned away.

Sleep that night was hard to come by; the wind howled, and I got to thinking the stories of a curse affecting the town might be true.

The next morning, Hecathia never showed up for breakfast; I paid her a visit, and found the room empty with a departure note. Hecathia's sudden departure comes with her arrangement of a remedy for Lucia, and it's delivered by a strange man in dark robes with undead-feeling lackeys flanking him.

He made his delivery, and left -- I'll be looking into him later. In the meantime, we were more interested in using the mystery potion on Lucia's body; it bought her back, but the cost remains to be seen. Lucia told Ronan something, and that freaked him out enough to pray for a good long time.

While Lucia was recovering, Jeff put his ears to the ground for some rumors; the town of Thrushmoor is not just a little gossipy. When Lucia was sufficiently recovered, we went to the stables to check on Dauntless. There, we learned more of people who sound like our cultists; they were headed to Illmarsh in a hurry, and needed to swap out horses. Illmarsh is due for a festival; the Lanternghast festival, so that might be interesting.

Ronan took the time to invest in Thrushmoor's property market; primarily to store excess belongings, it appears, but also putting out feelers for more information on Hecathia. I feel like his talents are slightly wasted outside of the Inquisition.

As we were helping him housewarm, he had a visitor; a slight, asian woman named Mei, who had intel on Hecathia. She knew her, long ago... she blushed when we asked why. She participated in our toast to Hecathia. She's a drifter, with ranger talents, and crossed paths with Hecathia about 4 and a half years back.

We'll be looking into the matter of the curse on the chapel before we depart this town.

Glory to Pharasma,

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Rogue Trading for Fun and Profit, Episode 9: Oh Captain, My Lord-Captain

Rogue Trader: A quest for profit in the grim darkness of the 41st millenium. But dying in mediocrity and misery is for poor people and losers, and a Rogue Trader's retinue is anything but.

Rogue Trading for Fun and Profit is bought to you by:

Lord-Captain van Hohenheim - Rogue Trader. Hero. The last of his line. That's like a unicorn!
Magos Abigail von Thannhausen - A magos who possibly takes too much pleasure in the craft of Servitors. Accompanied by her servo-skull.
Archaius Wash - A gunnery sergeant with an irritatingly low-quality accent and a poor-grade artificial voicebox.
Sebastian LaMarck - A seneschal with a silver tongue.
Winter York - Astropath Transcendant. Monstrous willpower. Your glorious narrator and remembrancer.

We get signal; it's Vex. He asks how we're doing.
A gun-cutter has been conveniently parked about 90 seconds away from our location.
There's rumors of Heretek in use; he wants it captured and turned into him if possible.
Skekris should only have accidents.
We arrive at the 233rd floor; I reload  my grenade launcher dramatically.
We step onto a mazelike floor that smells like oil, disinfectant and blood. Surgery smells.
We check out some of the rooms; definitely surgery rooms. Tannhausen correctly identifies the room as being used in Skitarri manufacturing.
We need to find our Captain.
I ping for minds. Aside from me, there's 3 on this floor -- so, nobody alive. There's one one floor up.
The Magos figures out how we get there, and we kick the door down on room 101.
We find the Captain, unconcious -- with cables in the back of his head!
The Magos checks out the machine he's hooked up to, and finds PRODUCTION QUALITY.
Someone was downloading... or uploading... the entirety of the Lord Captain's brain contents.
-Insert picture here-
The Magos would Like To Know More, and presses Y to learn more about Project Volta...
Time to wake up the Lord Captain; two and a half minutes of 
He immediately takes a swing at the Magos on reflex; he lands it, and hurts his hand.
He realizes this is his magos, and that he's being rescued.
"I need Stimpacks. My clothes. Where am I?"
We don't have any stimpacks. We have a sword for him. His clothes are in the corner, crumpled, covered in oil and blood. His fabulous hat is squashed.
Sebastian: "Everyone take out your mourning hats."
*everyone takes out hats, puts them on if they aren't already wearing one, and then takes it off out of respect.*
Wash decides to start fucking with the terminal to find out more about Project Volta.
Somehow, Wash is better at using an AdMech computer than the Magos, despite no formal training.
He gets the history of the terminal, and some basic auth info.
The Lord Captain is alive, re-equipped, and ready to go. Let's get back to the Elevator.
The... elevator is gone. Someone's taken it down.
The magos stops it on the 30-oddth floor.
I, Sebastian and Wash drop grenades down the shaft. The elevator cable snaps, and away it goes. I hope the plan to take the Guncutter off the roof is viable, or it's going to be a lot of stairs down to the bottom.
We head up the stairs to the next floor. Wash elects to use his jump pack to go up the shaft anyway.
We start sneaking up the stairs. Captain Terra (Sebastian) trips and makes a horrible sound, ruining it. We abandon stealth.
We emerge into what looks like a workshop, not far from the elevator shaft.
We have an impressive view of the vanity of the Machine Cult. and a plethora of computer monitors.
It looks like someone packed up shop in a real hurry.
I go let Wash onto the floor by opening the elevator door.
Magos Tannhausen fiddles with the terminals, and gets a bit of spare data.
The screens flicker and flare to life; the image of a tech priest is displayed. Skeksis.
Skeksis: "You're late."
Captain: "I thought we were early for your funeral! Boooom!"
We banter with Skeksis.
"I know you, Wash. And you, Lord Captain van Hohenheim. And you, Magos Tannhausen. And you, miss York. That's what you're calling yourself these days? And I assume you're Sebastian...  the Lord Captain called out for help. And a drink."
"What do you want? You didn't call just to taunt us, right?"
"Of course not. I'm delaying you."
"Not delaying us for reinforcements coming up the elevator, right?"
"No, of course not. There's some coming up the stairs as well."
The Magos puts rounds in the screen. Boring conversation anyway.
We hear metal on metal as something thumps into the stair doors that van Hohenheim conveniently closed.
Skittari crash the party.
Wash jets forward.
I advance to near cover, and take a shot; it goes wide.
Van Hohenheim, unarmed, tells me to Do Better.
The skitarii respond with balls of plasma, putting me neatly on 14/14 wounds.
I collapse behind cover and throw my pistol to Van Hohenheim; it goes wide, but the Magos snatches it out of the air and hands it to him.
Sebastian takes a hit, but his shield stops it just barely.
Seb: "Everyone shits on shields, but I... it stops bullets."
Magos: "It protected you from the stairs before."
The Magos pops up, and  massacres one of the Skittari with full-auto bolter fire.
Wash engages a Skitarri in CQC -- the skitarri can parry him back, which is rare and distressing
The Magos is slapped to 0hp
I try and pop a grenade; it jams, and is a dud.
The Lord Captain charges forth to join Wash in his fight.
I pop another grenade; it bounces and hits... the Lord Captain.
I do no damage to everyone else, but put the unarmored Lord Captain on -1 hp!!!
The Captain charges forth once more to finish off the Skitarri I was targeting.
I try to toss him a clip for the pistol. It goes wide as well.
The magos administers some first aid.
I focus my psychic powers.
I feel the Skitarri fade.
Skeksis is still on-screen. He expresses regret that he won't be able to recover our bodies intact.
The building buckles. It's time to go.
Vex pulls up in the gun cutter; there's one last round of looting.
We fly away as the tower collapses down into the Manufactorum.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Carrion Crown: Session 37: Rocks Fall, Calathas Dies

Carrion Crown, starring Inquisitor Victoria van Helm.

Esteemed Witch Hunter Coim,

I will say this much of my new travelling companions; they are certainly not lacking in character, and I anticipate that if left unchecked, the party would accomplish great deeds with reckless abandon, for all their moral or ethical shortcomings.

As per your orders, I joined the party of strangers as they prepared to depart; they took kindly to my presence, especially the supplies that accompanied me, and we departed Viche. When we arrived at Carrion Hill, we parted ways with the gunslinger, Crane. She always struck me as a bit of a lone wolf, so this isn't surprising.

We left Carrion Hill to journey through the mountains to get to Thrushmoor. In the night, Hecathia noticed a swarm of giant ticks somehow; we elected to exercise discretion and escape.

Not wishing to sleep in the open, the Paladin, Ronan, found a cave; Kalathas ignited a fire in the cave mouth. Attempts to explore the depth of the cave were stopped by a pair of doors, stuck fast.

Attempts to open the door caused rocks to fall, some of which reformed into a stone elemental. It was a formidable creature, and Kalathas eats several knuckle sandwiches and goes down. I sunk a good heal into her, but it was no good. Too late.

We beat the thing, and buried Kalathas minus her valuables.

The next morning, we decided to retry opening the door. Beyond was a large room, with two earth elementals at each side; a pile of corpses lay in the middle of the room, and there were magic items in there, one of them illuminating the pile from within.

I stole forward and liberated some items from the pile; the source of light, a magic dagger, an impressively shiny shield, a ring of Featherfall, and some gems (2x worth 500, 1x 120). I returned to the party with the items; we discuss burying the corpses. Given the silent-for-now sentinels, it doesn't seem viable. We settle for pouring some of Kalathas holy water on the corpse pile, to sanctify them.

We returned to the campsite we had abandoned the night before; the ticks left it alone, and we have a spare horse now. Minus what I presume was a friend, the party moved on, down the winding mountain road.

We reached Hyannis on the 3rd of Desnus. Nothing much has changed; it remains a mining town. Reports of the ghost of a witch haunting the mine remain strong and substantial.

Rowan offered to bless / make holy water at cost. The villagers assemble silver items to be ground down into dust. While he did that, I inquired about where the ghost / incidents happened. The party did not wish to leave the mine alone, and so we went ghost hunting.

In the mine, a ball of light appeared before Rowan, and he struggled with it. Hearing a scream behind us, I went back, and found the ghost. With the aid of Lucia, I shanked the ghost to death.

Unfortuntely, what I feared came to pass; we can't kill it permanently, and we'd need to consecrate the *entire* mine to get rid of it, which has a prohibitive cost.

Hecathia: "Don't we have a shitload of powdered silver?"
Everyone else: "Wait, you mention this *AFTER* we grind up the townspeople's silver?"

The silver is of dubious provenance, likely liberated from a necromancer's coffers, and it might not be safe to use at this time. We cannot linger in the village to keep killing the ghost, necromancers call us to battle, but we left them with the holy water we had created; the Church in Thrushmoor should have the resources to handle this, especially with the party's store of powdered silver, and we'll try sending them back here to purify the mine.

For now, we move on to Rosenport.

Glory to Pharasma,

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Rogue Trading for Fun and Profit, Episode 8: Taken in Broad Starlight

Rogue Trader: A quest for profit in the grim darkness of the 41st millenium. But dying in mediocrity and misery is for poor people and losers, and a Rogue Trader's retinue is anything but.

Rogue Trading for Fun and Profit is bought to you by:

Lord-Captain van Hohenheim - Rogue Trader. Hero. The last of his line. That's like a unicorn!
Magos Abigail von Thannhausen - A magos who possibly takes too much pleasure in the craft of Servitors. Accompanied by her servo-skull.
Archaius Wash - A gunnery sergeant with an irritatingly low-quality accent and a poor-grade artificial voicebox.
Sebastian LaMarck - A seneschal with a silver tongue.
Winter York - Astropath Transcendant. Monstrous willpower. Your glorious narrator and remembrancer.

"Emperor damnit," I shout, throwing my hat at the ground. It floats gently down.
Sebastian: "We've got a prisoner to interrogate"
Me: "Interrogate? Alright, let's have at it, then."
Wash: "Maybe we could try interrogating them without trashing their brain first?"
Me: "If the God-Emperor had intended me to pass through the rest of the buffet before getting dessert, he wouldn't have given me freakish psychic powers. Just throwing that out there."
We return to the boardroom. Vex is sitting on a chair and fixing himself.
We inquire if he's okay. "No debilitating damage."
Sebastian: "Do you know who they belong to?"
Vex doesn't recognize them, but one of them might yield answers. Vex wants first go at interrogating, if we'd be so kind. We've no problems.
More tech priests show up; Vex Technalinguas at the priests and puts them to work unfucking the station and taking the prisoner to the room.
We've got ten minutes to prepare. Sebastian gets his tools.
Magos Vex returns, different. He's now got mechandendrites and a very scary mask. He's put the business trousers on and he's gonna get down to business.
Sebastian feels emasculated.
The prisoner's strapped to a table.
Wash would like to have a word with the prisoner first. Vex gives him 2  minutes.
Wash tries to sweat some answers out of the prisoner, but he's sucking lemons.
Vex arrives, flanked by Abigail and Seb.
"Do you know who I am?" *silence
"Do you know why you're here?" *silence
"Do you know what I'm going to do to you?" *nada
Abigail gives him a medical check at Vex's behest. I presume Vex needs to know exactly how far he can go.
The prisoner's got an augmetic arm, and a high concentration of cerebral implants.
Vex reaches inside his robes and pulls out a very small robot spider. I'm personally impressed, he didn't even fumble.
It's a Dragonspider. It enters the body, and will one-by-one shred every nerve ending linked to an augmetic. 
The prisoner doesn't have anything to say about this. Seems like he can't.
Vex continues anyway, on the theory that pain will break the engram he's got.
The prisoner screams, and finally stops. That's the first nerve.
Sebastian asks some questions. He's from Lathe Het. He works a forge. Halfway through his pained answers, his brain lights up and he stops answering.
Round two. Another bundle. He was here for Van Hohenheim. Who he works for...
Lockjaw. No answer.
"Bring in the psyker."
It's my turn. I try the subtle approach.
Low power's no good. FULL POWER.
Gaius, he is Terrified and has 4 insanity point. Poor physical health, and declining.
He's confused. He's very afraid of Vex, and almost as afraid of Tannhausen. Corruption 0.
Deeper. I see flashes of his last 12 hours. He's been dragged off by tech adepts. He's been hit in the face with a swordhilt. He's been shot at and fired at by Vex. Explosion. Rushing in. Hypoing Van Hohenheim.  Shuttle ride. Polluted skies. Flashes of red. Static.
I go deeper. Flashes of a Forge, a Manufactorium. Augmetic limbs on racks. Drinking with working buddies. A familiar sense of obedience. I hear the name Van Hohenheim spoken by a vox-synth voice. I see another torture style room filled with tech adepts. A face full of tubes and lenses.
I press even harder, and there's breaking glass. Suddenly this guy's life rolls out before me - he's spent his life making parts for Skittari.  He's called to a special assignment. A tech priest Gaius had never seen before takes him to the shiny room, and we blur back to the present day.
I'm not quick enough getting out, and I  feel him die.
I catch his home forge number. 7464H-Z29.
I disucss my findings with Vex, and send him an image of the tech priest.
Vex's eyes go red and he gets mad. I assume it's someone who's fucked with Vex on occasions in the past.
It's Sekris. South pole, Lake Het. Skitarri plant. Troublemaker.  Part of the Rustwatchers.
Nobody can roll against him because it would cause an *incident*  because he controls production for the entire lathes.
It would be an awful shame if an ore shipment to the plant was boarded and contained people  not kindly disposed to Sekris.
We touch down and exit the lander with no problems.
We walk up to the front doors of the tower. Two skittari are blocking the way.
Sebastian and Tannhausen  bluff our way in.
We take the elevator up to the top, but an alarm is sounded.
We are stopped on floor 93.
There's 244 floors. No point climbing the stairs.
Seb and I take up positions at the edge of the elevator to try and secure the floor; we need some time while Tannhausen hacks the elevator.
Seb spots one armsman and engages him with words.
He name-drops Vex. We shouldn't have. He's going to call it in and therefore must now die.
I take a shot at a guy, but my grenade launcher jams.
Combat breaks out on the other side of the lift area.
I unjam my launcher and try again with middling damage.
Wash takes out the armsman, and stabs him, but not before a servitor shows up.
I try the grenade again with no damage.
The elevator is hacked; we're ready to go.
The armsman gets up close, fails to grapple.
I drop a grenade and run; it's a smoke grenade, and it fills the entire room with smoke.
Wash sprints in, tripping over us, and Abigail punches it.

We rise up to the 233rd floor, headed for our beloved Captain.

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Rogue Trading for Fun and Profit, Episode 7: "We're Good People"

Rogue Trader: A quest for profit in the grim darkness of the 41st millenium. But dying in mediocrity and misery is for poor people and losers, and a Rogue Trader's retinue is anything but.

Rogue Trading for Fun and Profit is bought to you by:

Lord-Captain van Hohenheim - Rogue Trader. Hero. The last of his line. That's like a unicorn!
Magos Abigail von Thannhausen - A magos who possibly takes too much pleasure in the craft of Servitors. Accompanied by her servo-skull.
Archaius Wash - A gunnery sergeant with an irritatingly low-quality accent and a poor-grade artificial voicebox.
Sebastian LaMarck - A seneschal with a silver tongue.
Winter York - Astropath Transcendant. Monstrous willpower. Your glorious narrator and remembrancer.

We check in on Ash.
"What do you want?"
"It's not about what what we want... it's about what our Captain wants.  And he wants you to have this leg." *shaky shaky*
"What's the catch?"
Lord-Captain: "No catch. We thought we'd give you a... 'leg up'. We're good people."
"Then I will take your leg, and my leave."
The Magos operates to attach the leg. She doesn't fuck it up.
The Captain arranges for a berth for her.
We get signal, a message from the Forge Worlds. We are awaited!
We head straight there; it takes us 10 days, and everyone else almost two months.
The Fortune's Favor is in drydock over the north pole of Lathe Het -- it's got a big-ass hole in it, but it's apparently smaller than it was the last time we saw it.
We park up, and are met by Magos Vex; he looks rather humanoid for a tech priest, and is clearly the party face.
He sits us down for refreshments, and we talk about the archaeotech we found, among other things.
The Mechanicus aren't used to playing host, but they're at our disposal for the duration of the stay.
Abigail and Wash discuss a replacement vox with Sebastian is hooked up with the Mechanicus retail, where he picks up chem-injectors and a gun cutter.
They're halfway through the negotiations when the station is rocked by a massive explosion.
We regroup at the ship, minus the Lord Captain; the station's venting gas, so we suit up and rush in to be big damn heroes.
We return to the conference rooms, where we find the hole in the station, Vex under fire, and two short assailants.
We barge in and shoot people. Wash clears the entire room in a single bound thanks to his jump pack.
We incapacitate one, and Vex smokes the other with his fancy pistol.

We chase after the enemy just in time to see the Lord Captain getting abducted. Their ship flies off towards the dark side of Lathe Het.