Saturday, 25 June 2016
DCC Campaign Update: Unnecessarily Complicated Origin Stories
So, in our last adventure, the PCs had just been kidnapped by the Time Dinosaurs, who apparently took them back thousands of years to the early years of the great disaster, where they were observers of a catastrophic battle between the heroic (but asshole-ish) Pythian Knights and hordes of tentacled monstrosities in the service of the Dark Ones.
Oh, and BOLT-0 had been destroyed, and Bill the Elf was still frozen in carbonite.
-"You guys realize that this is a universe where the religious fundamentalist is the least shitty guy it the room?"
-"Outside the time-ship there are flying fortresses, mechas and power armored elves, fighting demons and giant monsters... it looks like something out of a Palladium setting!"
-Before sending them out on their mission, the Time Dinosaurs hold a church service. Apparently they're very religious, but in a Church of England kind of way (all fancy dressed and mumbling dinosaur hymns at a half-sleeping dinosaur vicar).
-The Time Dinosaurs try to explain to the PCs their extremely complex mission in this time period, but since they can't speak Common that proves very difficult. Trying to play charades with their tiny arms is at best partially helpful.
-Eventually giving up on explaining any further, the Time Dinosaurs give the PCs a box with a big red button that the PCs figure is to teleport them back in an emergency, and dump them right in the middle of the demon-army/mecha-elf battlefield.
-"We've got to make a run for those fortresses!"
"Fishman, I want you to know, in case I don't make it.. I love you like a brother!"
"And I want you to know, Zeke... I would be so fucking happy if you died!"
-Evading missiles and arcane bolts, the PCs are heading toward what look like some kind of elven fortresses, but get intercepted by some ground troops using hover-tanks that transform into giant robots.
"of course they do... do they make the 'transformer' sound when they change?"
-"Where the hell did you come from?!"
"we have been sent by G.O.D. my friend.. well, by G.O.D. and Dinosaurs!"
-(in elven) "Don't move or we'll disintegrate you!"
"What are they saying?"
"Zeke, quick, run as fast as you can!!"
-Scriptural Archaeologist Zeke Bodean falls for the Fishman's trick and starts running. The Mecha-tanks fire at him as he flees, but he manages to zag out of the way.
"Should we hunt him down and kill him, sir?"
"No, leave him. He can't possibly survive out there anyways"
-The PCs learn they have been captured by the Badass Elves, a race of elves they've never heard of, who all look and act like cool anime elves with high-tech weapons and armor.
-"These two must be mutated humans. We'd heard of such things happening."
"Yes, we are"
-The PCs manage to convince the Badass Elves to momentarily not kill the non-humans of their party, and even have them accepting their story about being from the distant future.
"I mean look at them! They MUST come from some horrible future where there are no elves left to tell them what to do!"
-"Seriously, I think we should just kill those two; they can't possibly want to live like this"
"Yes we do!!"
-"We must take these prisoners to Sky Base 1"
"We're more guests than prisoners, really"
"No, you're prisoners."
-Sent up to the Pythian Elves' Sky Base 1, they meet Sir Constantine, the Tolkien-movie-like beardo-elf commander of the valiant but super-arrogant Pythian Knights.
"Can you give me one good reason why I should let these abominations live, human?"
"Well, it's really hard to find good help in the future!"
-"So in your future, have the elves all been wiped out?"
"No, there's still a few, but they're mostly assholes... so, much like today".
-"Sir, the Dwarven units on our left ground flank have been wiped out... by a Shoggoth!"
"We have nothing that can defeat it."
"...Have you got any drugs?"
-While the Pythian elves fight the Shoggoth, the 'abomination' Fishman and Chu are put in a holding cell.
"While we're in jail, have you got any games we can play?"
"What about Cards Against Humanity?"
"We're two mutants on trial for our lives as mutants. I don't think that playing Cards Against HUMANITY would really send the right message just now."
"No, no, you misheard, I meant Cards Against CHUmanity!"
-Meanwhile, Ack'Basha finds out that in the distant past, apparently people didn't know the logical way of ordering things, like by nose-size.
-He also finds out that the Hipster Elves don't exist yet, but there were 'Art Elves', who he suspects were their less lame ancestors.
-"You know, we're going to kill you, monsters!"
"Dude, you died long before we were even born!"
"Yeah, we win by default! Suck on that!"
-In spite of the modified weed-bomb actually driving away the Shoggoth (future Bob?) in a drug-filled haze, Sir Constantine decides that they're going to drop the "nova bomb" anyways, to wipe out as much of the Dark-One forces they can in order to buy time. The Nova Bomb will disintegrate everything in a 1000 mile radius, turning the whole area into a "Dust Sea". Sir Constantine explains that this will give them the room they need to complete construction of their great 'secret weapon': The Pythian Living Mecha, a 100ft tall artificial-intelligence war-machine robot that they hope will lay waste to the hordes of the Dark Ones.
-Sick of it all, especially the Elves, the PCs decide to press the Time Dinosaur box with a big red button, and they are instantly teleported back onto the Time Dinosaur vessel. Even Zeke Bodean, who miraculous survived the battlefront by using his skills as a Scriptural Archeologist to find what he thinks is the silver cape of the prophet Jebodachiah, though in fact it's more likely a Pythian MDC Cloak.
-The time dinosaurs start flying through time again, and the Time Dinosaur captain starts giving them incomprehensible mission instructions again.
"WAIT! Do you not get that we don't understand a word you're saying? None of us speak Dinosaur! Let me cast Comprehend Languages.... aw fuck, I failed and can't cast it again for the day.."
"You had ONE job..."
-The PCs are dropped off some two thousand years after their last stop, which is still around eight thousand years in the past for them. They find out that they're in the cold north, where there is a mighty (and likely losing) war looming between the minuscule forces of the human and mutant races, against the much larger demonic army of the Daemon Zzaszz, who threatens to conquer everything in his path. They run into a band of adventurers, which includes a sexy human wizardess named Arkaea (with a cool staff that turns into a huge snake), a very much not yet dead (and possibly not yet a Chaos Lord) Borquist, a Science Elf named Fred, and a gruff greek-accented warrior named... Nikos. Nikos insists that he's a perfectly ordinary warrior and definitely not a wizard. Nikos is also very obviously bad at lying.
-The PCs figure that whatever the time dinosaurs sent them here for might have to do with Fred, who has a cart full of old science artifacts back at the camp. In order to be allowed to join them, the PCs are required to pay Borquist a bribe. The Fishman tries to fulfill this demand with the "Ancient Artifact" he carries on his person, but Fred thwarts that by using his science knowledge to point out that it's just a common drill.
"Well, a drill could kill someone!"
"Not good enough, mate."
-Ack'basha finally covers the bribe with a bag full of Smithplium pieces.
"What the fuck are these? What am I supposed to do with them?? They're bloody GREEN!"
"Trust me, they'll be worth a lot in a few thousand years."
"...I guess they'll do then"
-"Nikos is obviously THAT Nikos, right?"
-When the PCs get to the other party's camp, they find it under attack by a gang of feral halflings in the service of Zzaszz! They've already murdered Pepito, the last member of Borquist's group, and are threatening the very cart of technological goodies the PCs think they're here to get to!
"Pepito! Nooo, not Pepito!"
-"You see? I am Nikos, totally a normal human warrior and obviously mortal!"
-"Wow, Chu is very good at pretending to be warrior! Nikos could learn thing or two from Chu!"
-The halflings being driven away, Borquist mourns Pepito's death by looting his corpse and robbing his sombrero.
-The PCs get into Fred's cart, and find that he has the brain of the Pythian Living Mecha. It turns out that the Pythian Knights did end up building the mecha, and it was instrumental in turning the war around, until it was destroyed in the final apocalyptic battle between the Knights and the Shoggoth hordes. The war ended in stalemate with both forces largely destroyed.
-It also turns out that Fred is building his own combat robot, which he's going to put the brain into, a war machine to fight Zzaszz, which he's naming Blastr-0. He really has high hopes that he'll be able to use his invention to help make the world a better place. The PCs generally agree that Fred is a hopelessly naive idiot and will probably die soon.
-That night, the PCs help the other party keep watch, while they wait for Fred to copy the schematics of the Living Mecha brain, which they assume is what the Time Dinosaurs sent them here to get.
-Chu inadvertently tells Nikos pretty much everything. Including how future Nikos set everyone up to enter the Crown of Creation and kidnap G.O.D.
"Really? Nikos did this? It sound like really good idea! Nikos would never thought of that by himself, my friend!"
-Zeke Bodean gets up in the night and really wants to talk to Chu away from Nikos.
"I have to go to the bathroom. Chu, don't y'all think you want to go to the bathroom with me?"
"Sure, because it's totally not suspicious for two men to go to the bathroom together. In the future men do that all the time."
"That's right. We do that all the time... in a totally non-sinful way mind you!"
-Once they're alone, Zeke reveals that he "strongly suspects" Nikos might be THAT Nikos.
"Seriously? You brought me here for that??"
-Zeke also thinks "G.O.D. is acting through the Time Dinosaurs" to bring them to this place and kill Nikos before he gets to kidnap G.O.D. thousands of years from now.
-"Ack'basha is a cleric."
"Clerics are holy men"
"My heart wants to say that, but at the same time all my experiences of Ack'basha are making it pretty hard."
-"Friend, I believe in G.O.D., so I don't trust my mind very often!"
-Zeke decides to ignore the others' advice, and confronts Nikos publicly, but Nikos doesn't really give a crap and the other NPCs don't believe him anyway.
-The PCs are pretty sure this whole party is doomed in their upcoming battle with Zzaszz, but they can't convince any of its members to turn back. So finally, they give up and press the button to send them back to the Time Dinosaurs. The Dinosaurs then send them forward in time again.
-This time the Comprehend Languages spell goes off, but only right at the end of the explanation of the mission, and the Dinosaurs teleport them before the Fishman wizard can demand the Dinosaur repeat himself.
-They end up on a fairly desolate small floating island; still sometime in their distant past, but further into the future than their last two trips. There's a single solitary factory-building on the island, so they head over there and ring the doorbell.
-Through the intercom: "Hello? Who's out there?"
"My name's Chu, you may know me? I'm pretty important!"
"..Yes! I DO know you!!"
Cue the entire party almost fainting with shock at the first time ever in the campaign that anyone actually did know Chu.
-It turns out to not be as impressive an accomplishment as Chu would have hoped, because the voice on the other side of the intercom is Fred the Science Elf, several hundred years older than the last time they saw him, a few minutes ago!
-Fred tells them about how in their fight with Zzaszz, Borquist betrayed them all in exchange for gaining Immortality from the Lords of Chaos, Arkaea the wizardess got fused to her snake (turning into the Snake Witch), Nikos just fucked off, and Blastr-0 was destroyed, though not before injuring Zzaszz enough that his forces' effort to conquer the whole northern continent was halted. Fred has since retired from the surface world, and has lived out a quiet existence on this floating island, still hoping to make a difference in the world but no longer optimistic about his chances.
-Fred has converted part of the abandoned elven factory into a lab, and he reveals to the PCs that he managed to rescue the artificial-brain of the Pythian Living Mecha; he has hopes to use it to construct another super-robot, but notes that it was altered by chaos energies in the epic battle with Zzaszz. It no longer functions in the same logical structure as a normal robot brain should, and he's reluctant to finish his super-robot until he can figure out a way to return the brain to its normal parameters.
-Suddenly, there's an earthquake as the whole island shudders; the PCs have to make reflex saving throws, and the fishman is nearly killed by a falling object. Ironically, it's a common drill.
-"Fortunately, Zeke Bodean manages to just barely dodge out of the way of an industrial buzzsaw!"
"Son of a bitch!!"
-The floating island is falling out of the sky! From the observatory, Fred determines that it's being pulled down by an ancient tractor beam from the surface, being manned by a group of feral halfling raiders, who appear to have been pulling this stunt for some time now.
"More fucking halflings?"
-Ack'basha uses divine aid to pull down a divine bolt of lightning to disintegrate the entire tractor beam (having rolled a critical)! However, the island has lost too much altitude at that point and is still falling. To make things worse, while the PCs were outside summoning up the divine wrath, a landslide destroys the factory complex, with Fred the Science-Elf still inside.
-The PCs try to find Fred, hoping he's still alive; the Fishman reluctantly realizes that just maybe, Zeke's skill as a 'scriptural archeologist' might come in handy.
"I can't believe I'm saying this... Zeke, I need your help."
"My friend, I've been waiting a long time to hear that! I'll be happy to help you in any way I can, because I love you like a brother."
"I despise you with every fiber of my being."
-The PCs see something similar to an escape pod abandoning the island, it seems to be moving too fast to be for a human occupant, and theorize that Fred might have been trying to save the Living Mecha's artificial brain.
-Zeke somehow manages to find Fred, but he's buried under rubble, and clearly dead. But they find a message he left on a recording device, where he explains that he did indeed jettison the brain, to save it from destruction or from falling into the wrong hands. And he explains that to protect it, he put it inside the body... of a simple bolt-tightening robot!
-"Oh for fuck's sake! I lost 1 point of Intelligence for this??!"
"You're not the only one who suffered. I had to give away 33 smithplium pieces!"
-They return to the Time Dinosaurs, who are transporting them back to their own time. But the Fishman just has to know: it's obvious the Time Dinosaurs did all this to be able to repair Bolt-0, but why do they give a fuck?
The Time Dinosaur leads them to a museum-like room on their ship, a monument to the founder or great leader of the Time Dinosaurs in the distant future: Bolt-0!
-With a half-dozen or so of the mysteries of the campaign resolved in one fell session, the Time Dinosaurs drop off the PCs in the present.. but not where they picked them up. Instead, they find themselves in front of a Minotaur Underwear Factory.
-"After all this, they didn't even drop Bolt-0 off with us! They took off with him!"
"Well, maybe they need time to fix him?"
"I KNOW! I KNOW! Just don't fucking question it!"
That's it for this section. Next time: will the PCs finally get to the bottom of what's causing the killer Minotaur attacks? Stay tuned!
Currently Smoking: Mastro de Paja Bent Billiard + Image Virginia