Thursday, February 18, 2010

Episode 10: Into the Land of the Ice Savages

Santiago healed the most critically wounded, and Death tapped the ash from his pipe out on his bony heel. “BUGGER THIS,” he sighed to himself, and with a shimmer he shifted planes and was gone.

Santiago asked Takemiya to join him in his rowboat and the rest followed in Der Mobile to Santiago’s cave. Upon arrival, Santiago entered the whale via a door in the fuselage and began carving out some really fine steaks. Kobayashi cast a Detect Harmony under the cover of the bonfire and found that the cave itself was an unusual “pocket of peace” where, apart from a foul-mouthed gnome in search of some decent clothing, all was safe, harmonious and without unrest.

As the steaks simmered and the fermented eel wine flowed, Santiago told the crew of the black ships that came to and from Plank Town on the “Darks of the Moons”. They appear on each of the three consecutive nights where the night is blackest and seem to be hauling some large cargo into the town.

After some parting gifts, Santiago bid them farewell and Der Mobile headed north to visit the Ice Savages…

A few hours north, Der Mobile ran into 5 large ice guardians, statues (somewhat amateurishly) carved out of free-floating icebergs in a straightish line about a mile in length. A lion, a monkey, a squid, a hippo and a dragon loomed menacingly above the ship, and as Der Mobile passed the silent guardians they discovered that these creatures marked the beginning of an ‘iceberg minefield’, with large piercing spears of ice bobbing up out of the water at random intervals. Luckily, Der Mobile was more than capable of moving up and out of the way…

So, with Turtle Mode engaged, Der Mobile headed up and over the hazard while Iryien’s Squidly Companion Geetsie followed along below the ship. After a couple miles, the minefield ended, and land finally came into view. What the crew saw was a large expanse of ice. It appeared to be flowing down and away from a chain of snow-capped mountains that were a number of miles distant. The sheet of ice was wide, featureless, and seemed poised to swallow the last vestiges of a small walled city on the coast. As Der Mobile came down to sea level, the crew could see that the ice had already breached the tall stone walls and covered about half the town.

A landing crew was organized, with Saladin leading Takemiya, Xoe and the Guidos. The party soon found the gate to the city unlocked and unattended, and as they entered they found the place to be deserted. Wide flagstone streets led to a Coliseum. As the party headed towards the large building, a strange piping sound could be heard on the wind, and immediately four Savages could be seen fleeing the Coliseum. They ran straight at the party, and as Saladin and crew braced for a conflict, one of the Savages cried “It’s the bloody Tootlers! Cheese it, mates!”

Recognizing genuine panic when they saw it, the party followed the four to a large circular bathhouse in the center of town. In the level below, they met a group of armed soldiers and none other than Maximinus Thrax himself. After a cordial greeting, Maximinus asked if the party would mind helping eradicate these “noisesome and petulant invaders”. Explaining that they were concocted by some ‘distant intelligence’ and were made entirely of snow and ice, the party decided to venture for to squash the invaders.

When the headless betentacled pipers arrived off the glacier, Xoe and Holth lit into the first two with ease. Saladin quite accidentally slew a third piper. The Guidos had their hands (and one leg) full with the fourth, and after Athos got pipeslapped, they were in deep trouble. But it wasn’t until Takemiya saw the greenish light creep forth from the glacier that things got uncomfortable.

A misshapen icy behemoth slunk out of the ice, 40 feet high and hate in its eye… But Takemiya ‘rose’ to the challenge, growing himself to 50 feet high in order to pummel the being into so much powder.

(One dislocated shoulder, a partially crumpled building, a multiple strangulation and a deflected groin-punch later…)

Takemiya finally delivered the coup-de-grace, hurling the behemoth’s shinless torso backwards and onto Saladin, who stood his ground and shattered the creature once and for all.

As the party, shivering and panting, listened for signs of further trouble, Maximinus clapped his hands together and exclaimed “Jolly good show, lady and gents. Shall we retire to the warmth of a bath and a cuppa tea?”

I think its safe to say that everyone was in agreement.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Episode 9: Of Catapults, Kidneys and Cigars...

What a night.

The majority of DCM Enterprises had weathered a firestorm from above and were now headed home in the Mini Pearl. Holth had a new scar to show off to the girls. Xeno had a dozen butterflies who now called him 'Mommy'. And Kobayashi had a knack for casting Detect Harmony just a wee bit late.

Upon their arrival back at DCMHQ, they find Xoe sharing shome schnapps with Porthos and Aramis. She takes Xeno aside for some whispering before informing the crew that she's discovered the existence of a group of ninja assassins in Port Harbor with a penchant for striped leather outfits. Luckily it seems that Xeno's recent burst of overreaction has eliminated one of them in the form of the former Pomegranate Shen.

DCM then resolves to get a good night's sleep before heading up to deliver the traps and warmwire to Maximinus Thrax. It's a good thing, because no trip aboard Der Chelonian Mobile goes unpunished, it would seem...


All was going well the next morning - clear Septomber skies pushed Der Chelonian (in Kobayashi's maiden Spelljamming voyage) quickly out and around Lungfish Isle and past 'Cuzzin' Cooter's Clothing Optional Island Getaway'. But that's when (naturally) the trouble started...

Surrendering to the demands of good hygiene, Iryien was trimming her toenails in the crow's nest when an armada of three pirate ships approached from the southwest. By the time the hue was cried, the three viking dromonds were utilizing full sail and oar to bear down on our heroes. Putting the pedal to the bamboo, Kobayashi gave every effort to flee at top speed, but these pirates had a good head of steam and were closing fast. Action needed to be taken, and Saladin and Xeno started to mutter.

As the first spiky object flew Der Mobile's way, Dermobile's crew scrambled into action. Bows, wands and long, shiny tubes filled with explosive powders and lead projectiles were trained on the attackers. Takemiya donned the Helm of Telepathy in order to delve into the minds of the ferocious Eel Pirates, only to brain himself with the metal helm and knock himself unconscious. Iryien fired off a few quick rounds with mixed success, and Holth let loose a gout of pelleted Hell, wounding several and shearing off a mast.

At that point, the pirates got in a lucky shot (as 20s and 1s fell like ripe figs) and an Iron Hedgehog clanged violently into the stern of Der Mobile. Rusty shrapnel, probably dripping with tetanus, whizzed across the back deck and perforated much of the crew. Iryien found her +3 Plate (and a kidney) pierced. Holth gained yet another scar. And Xeno was so peppered by the Hedgehog's needley spawn that Death Himself appeared, smoking a pipe and watching with mild interest from the Crow's Nest.

But the gnome's "Never say die quietly" attitude soon kicked in, and he teamed up with Saladin to turn the tables on the pirate attackers. At first, Saladin's misdirected Gust of Wind" caused Xeno's Acid Rain to scatter ineffectually. He then attempted to blast the pirates with ice, but his backpack had run out of charges. Instead, Xeno was left cursing his pinky finger and lack of foresight.

Meanwhile, in the hold, the screams of her comrades caused Xoe to leap to the rescue, literally. She gathered up a number of healing potions and poultices and hurried out the door. Unfortunately, the Dice Gods intervened once more and caused her to trip and fall onto the pots and vials she was carrying. Pottery shattered and pierced her skin. Viscous fluids entered her bloodstream and intermingled. Strange chemistries gave her immune system an incredible burst - doubling her hit points and giving her incredible strength. Unfortunately, it also unbalanced her metabolism to the point where she overheated, stripped off all her clothes and rushed above decks to fight off the pirates with her bare... hands.

All combat froze for the three seconds it took for the angered and bloodied gnome to streak across the rear deck and take a flying leap from the ship. Jaws dropped and pirates cringed. The only one to react was Takemiya who intuitively reached out.... and grew! Three, four, five times his size and up until he could reach the naked gnome and pluck Xoe out of the sky. He gently set down the gibbering gnome (check that, the other gibbering gnome) and began to ponder his own plight of largesse.

At this point, the pirates suddenly took to oar and began to beat a hasty retreat. At first, the crew of Der Mobile thought they were perhaps greatly offended by gnomish gnudity. But further investigation revealed a solitary man in a rowboat towing the carcass of a dead fur whale approaching Der Mobile from the north. The pirates were in no mood to hang around, and fled immediately. The lone sailor approached slowly, and when he neared Der Mobile he stopped rowing, stood and hailed the crew.

Smoking a cigar, the stranger introduced himself as Santiago. He seemed to know some of the crew, and invited everyone to follow him to his residence and partake in a feast of whale. Broken and battered, the crew gratefully accepted and prepared for an interesting evening...