session recap, 3/13/2014

Gutboy the Cleric (6), his henchpeople Trezgar the Elf (3) and Bunny the Thief (3), and his blink dog Rufus II
Pai Mei the Wu-Jen (4)

As Gutboy and his retinue considered the cave entrance, the bag man lowered himself into it.  They then heard a commotion from behind - Pai Mei was hurriedly descending to the bottom of Southdeep, shouting "Sorry I'm late, just got back from my Pilates class!"

A "clang" was heard from beneath cave/pit as the party debated who should go first.  Finally, Pai Mei agreed, ropes were lowered, and the descent was made.

The entrance to the cave was a 20' wide hole in the ground, and descended into an 80' wide space dug out of the dirt.  A tall heap of trash and refuse from the town above came to within 10' of the entrance - Pai Mei lowered himself onto the pile and clambered down to the bottom, the rest of the party following after.

The floor of the cave was, strangely enough, made of riveted steel, and had a trapdoor in it.  Two tunnels were dug into the dirt walls of the cave as well - one leading west, and another southeast.

They first opened the trapdoor, revealing a chamber with a conveyor belt running along its floor.  It was too dark to see the walls of the chamber.  The prospect of belts and conveying was deemed too dangerous, and the duo decided to head down the dirt tunnel to the southeast, bravely sending in the robot ZN547 ahead of them.

The narrow tunnel meandered some 800' through the dirt, and ended at the entrance to a steel tunnel, heading back roughly north.  The steel tunnel was lined with girders, holding back the earth, and the "floor" of the tunnel was a series of metal buckets stretching off into the distance, their openings pointing south towards the party.  Pai Mei deduced that this was the talings-disposal section of the BAGGER 288, and once again their wariness of automated conveyances led them to abandon this entrance to the great machine.

They returned to the main cavern, and then followed the west tunnel.  This tunnel spiraled downwards, opening into another dirt cavern, the floor littered with ancient bones and skulls, and the north wall occupied by massive vertical treads.  There was another small tunnel high up on the north wall, above one of the treads.

Once again, the party bravely sent the battle bot ZN547 into the tunnel above - as it clambered up, there was a disturbance in the bones.  A massive earthworm, 6' in diameter, reared up from beneath the bones and sped at top earthworm speed towards its prey.

Arrows flew, and Trezgar expended a sleep spell to no effect - and the earthworm descended upon the grad student Sally, gulping her down whole.  More arrows were shot into the beast, the battle-bot descended to impale the worm with its drill-hand, and Gutboy unloaded a full clip from his newly-purchased machine gun into the beast.  The violence finally overcame the worm, tearing it open vertically, and the bullet-ridden corpse of Sally slid out of its ruptured gullet.

With admirable practicality, Gutboy kicked Sally's body aside and began inventorying the contents of the worm's digestive tract.  He managed to extract 76 gold coins of ancient and unknown provenance, the faces and writing stamped upon them unfamiliar.

Their mercenary instincts sated, the party climbed up the giant treads and crawled down the narrow tunnel, getting much smaller earthworms tangled in their hair.  This tunnel opened up into a third dirt cavern after a short distance, the east wall being made of steel.  A metal stairway emerged from the dirt and ran up to a door in the steel wall.  ZN547 opened the door, and instantly the sound of heavy machine gun fire was heard, and the battle bot staggered back under a hail of bullets. Pai Mei shouted "A trap! Destroy it!" at the robot, and it obediently passed through the door - loud banging and crashing - and returned with a mangled machine gun on a tripod, a metal wire running from its trigger to the door's handle.  "THREAT ELIMINATED!" announced the damaged robot, as Pai Mei considered that he may have been too hasty in ordering the destruction of the trap.

The party began pouring into the BAGGER 288 (for surely this door must lead into its interior).  Inside they faced a massive turbine, 20' high, its ends disappearing into the darkness - and then, laser-fueled violence!  Four robots were waiting in ambush, and opened up with their laser-equipped arms, catching the party in a crossfire.  ZN547 and Bob the grad student were lacerated under the burning beams of light, and Larry the grad student's nerve broke - he ran back into the dirt cavern, screaming that the extra credit just wasn't worth this kind of risk.

While the party may have been outgunned and surprised, they were not without resources - Trezgar used his sleep magic to put two of the attacking robots out of commission, and Gutboy's paralyzing incantations locked up the third's positronic circuits.  A hail of arrows finished off the remaining robot, its hydraulic lines severed and reducing it to immobility.

Professor Smithen began yanking microchips from the felled robots, and Gutboy set himself to work ripping their laser-equipped arms off at the shoulder.  They then began exploring the turbine chamber, finding a ladder and trapdoor leading upwards.  Gutboy convinced Smithen to order his assistant Michael to climb the ladder and open the trapdoor -  he did so, and then quickly backed down the ladder, shouting "Robots! Robots!"

Pai Mei borrowed Gutboy's 20' extending pole (once Mongo's), put the deceased grad student Bob's pork pie hat on top, and stuck the pole up the hatch.  The pole jerked, and Pai Mei pulled back a shorter 15' pole - it had been sheared off.  Gutboy then put on his ring of invisibility and climbed the ladder to reconnoiter - he found that three welding robots were watching over the hatch, waiting for the party.

A plan was hatched - Gutboy climbed up again, invisibly, and then Pai Mei followed up the ladder.  Just as Pai Mei reached the top, Rufus blinked into the room, and both the dog and Gutboy assailed the wayward welding machines.  Pai Mei clambered into the room so that Trezgar could get a shot off with his boy - but one of the robots shoved its welding torch into Pai Mei's face, burning off his luxurious eyebrows.  No longer would he be considered the dandy of the Secret City of the Shoguns.

With the robots already badly damaged by the sneak attack, and Pai Mei's magic missiles decimating them, the battle was over quickly.  The party moved deeper into BAGGER 288, finding a broom closet, a locked room, and a lead door with radiation warning on it.  Then, surprisingly quickly, they stumbled into the control room of the Destroyer of Worlds - clearly the back exit was the best way in.  A hairless, sore-covered gorilla stood in the middle of the room, with cables hanging from the ceiling jammed into its flesh.

The gorilla's rolled back in its head, and it shouted "You!  You have come to awaken the Beast!  All is lost!"  Gutboy ignored the screaming gorilla and headed to one of the control stations, eager to plug in the USB stick that would activate the evil machine.  The gorilla wasn't down with that, and began slapping Gutboy furiously about the neck and face.  With his bag-men compatriots somewhere above, the wired gorilla was quickly dispatched.

Gutboy plugged in the USB stick, and the banks of long-dormant monitors began to light up.  A feminine voice announced "Initializing systems.  Reboot required." as the BAGGER 288's turbines began to turn.  Gutboy quickly ordered Professor Smithen to connect his override aparatus, and then the Professor and his assistant ran out of the room, dragging the antenna cable behind them, as they had to mount it outside the door to the BAGGER 288.  Gutboy and Pai Mei then did some quick mental math, and realized that staying inside the living machine, Destroyer of Worlds, Harbinger of the End, was probably suicidal, and ran after the Professor.

As they exited the machine, they noticed clumps of dirt falling from the ceiling of the caves - the tunnels were going to collapse.  They rushed through as fast as they could, the ceiling collapsing behind them.  As they reached the top of the BAGGER 288 and the hole leading up to Southdeep, they found that five bag men were waiting for them.  "It is them!  They have awoken it!" shouted the angry gorillas.

"No time!" should Gutboy back.  "We'll all die if we fight!"  The gorillas apparently agreed, and clambered up the pile of Southdeep's garbage and up out of the hole, followed by the party.  The people of Southdeep stared out their windows as the party wound their way up and out of the quaking pit.  Only when they reached the top did Gutboy shout "You have to run!" down at the inhabitants - just in time to see the pit collapse, burying the hapless villagers.

Having escaped being buried alive, the bag men then began beating their chests and charged Gutboy.  Trezgar still had a sleep incantation available, and most fell to the ground in deep slumber.  The one left awake was slain, and the remaining sleepers had their throats slit.  As they finished their business, a 50' wide saw blade erupted from the earth next to them - apparently they weren't as safe as they thought.  They ran from the blade as the rest of the BAGGER 288 began to dig itself up from the earth.  It trundled off to the west, towards the mile-wide alien spaceship, the flamethrows attached for some reason to its might digging blades and saws setting the forest ablaze.  Clearly the manufacturers of 21st century mining equipment had some important safety questions to answer.

The party made their way back to Denethix, and Gutboy and Pai Mei headed towards Davrik Lerdingfast's mansion.  The butler escorted them to the roof deck, where Davrik stood watching the progress of the BAGGER 288 through one of the many tripod-mounted telescopes that had been brought out for the occasion.

Gutboy looked through one of them, and witnessed the undead horde's futile attempts to stop the machine.  The lasers of the skybike-riding zombies were unable to penetrate the BAGGER 288's armor, and the shells from the ground artillery merely bounced off.  The great blades of the machine scythed mercilessly through the ranks of the dead, and finally the machine reached the glowing green spaceship.  Its giant blades cut through the ship's hull as if it was cardboard, and Gutboy barely had time to glance away as the ship exploded in a massive mushroom cloud.  When the explosion subsided, nothing was left but a vast empty crater - and the BAGGER 288, continuing to crawl off to the west.

Davrik:  "Quite a show!"
Gutboy:  "Yes, and I think I can offer you a deal.  How much would you pay to control that machine?"
Davrik:  "What?  Control it?  Ha, a hundred thousand gold, I suppose."
Gutboy:  "We're very serious, and that's not nearly enough."
Davrik (scowling):  "If you can bring that thing to heel, I can offer you a million and a half.  That's all I have liquid right now."
Gutboy:  "When we disable it, it will be yours.  You'll need to take care reactivating it - we won't reprogram it."
Davrik:  "Get it done, and we'll talk."

Gains:  76 gp, four laser-equipped robot arms
Kills:  Giant earthworm, four battle bots, three welding robots, five bag men, and the bag man oracle, and (indirectly) Ki-Ris, the Duvan'Ku spaceship, and most of the undead army
Losses:  ZN547, Madame Prepin's grad students, the entire village of Southdeep


Ziltoid the Omniscient

So why didn't anybody tell me this existed?  AWESOME.

[EDIT - it is PURCHASED and in my grubby little hands! Hail Ziltoid!]

[hat tip to Wheggi @ K&KA]


Phase Wanderer

Phase Wanderer
No. Enc: 1d4 (1d4)
Alignment: Chaotic
Movement: 120’ (40’)
Armor Class: 7
Hit Dice: 6
Attacks: 1
Damage: 1d10 plus grab
Save: MU6
Morale: 8
Hoard Class: VII
XP: 820

Phase wanderers are men and women who, due to their perverse insistence on experimenting with particle colliders, have shifted themselves partially outside of the normal three dimensions. They now exist agelessly and eternally in a world of malevolent shadows, just outside our own.

Phase wanderers appear as shimmering distortions in the air, vaguely humanoid in shape. They surprise opponents on a roll of 1-4 on a d6.

Due to their extra-dimensional nature, phase wanderers are only damaged by gold and magical (including protonium) weapons.

The phase wanderer attacks by clutching at its target. Contact with a phase wanderer is incredibly damaging to creatures more firmly grounded in the three dimensions, and causes 1d10 points of damage. Furthermore, on a successful hit, it has a 50% chance of grabbing hold and dragging its victim out of phase.

While a victim is so clutched, the wanderer will become solid as his victim phases out and becomes translucent. During this temporary transition, the wanderer is back in phase with the normal three dimensional world, and may be damaged by normal weapons. The victim will correspondingly see his surroundings become dim and insubstantial.

The victim will take 2d10 hit points of damage per round while in the shadow dimension as his atomic structure breaks down. A successful “force doors” check will allow the victim to break free of the wanderer. Alternatively, the victim may attempt to slay the phase wanderer, and will have a +1 bonus to hit while clutched

Anyone killed by a phase wanderer will be permanently transposed out of three dimensional space, along with all their belongings (with the exception of protonium metal). The wanderer will go back out of phase once its clutched victim perishes.

Should the phase wanderer be killed before its victim dies, the victim will return to normal three-dimensional space. The wanderer’s corpse (and any belongings it may be carrying) will fully return to normal space as well, although it will be hideously dried and shriveled.


Liquid Loot

Just another trap in the 4th level.  It's an example of my favorite style, the kind the players willingly set off.

8. Liquid Loot
Floating in the center of this room are three rings of blue superconducting metal.  They are nested within each other, and rotate slowly in three dimensions around a 1’ wide sphere of gold. Anyone approaching will feel the heat coming off the rings and the sphere – and in fact the sphere is molten, although that will not be obvious.

Jamming a sword, 10’ pole, or other object into the rings will merely cause them to stop spinning – they will resume once the obstruction is removed. Note that they are powerful magnets, and a successful “force doors” check is required to remove any metal stuck to them.  Further, the heat from the rings will soften most metal and burn wood – each round an item is jammed into the rings, there is a 40% chance it will be ruined.

Approaching the rings with a magnet will cause them to fly apart, doing 1d6 damage to everyone in the room as they ricochet about.

In either case, once the rings stop rotating, the molten gold within will fall to the floor, splashing all within a 10’ radius for 4d6 points of damage (save vs. paralyzation for half damage).

Once outside the rings, the gold will solidify in 1 round, and be cool enough to handle in 2 turns. It will take an additional 2 turns to pry the gold from the floor, if it has splashed all over the room. The total value of the gold present is 6,000 gp.

When nested together, the rings will resist being moved, and will heat any metal in the center to 2000° F.  Apart, they are simply strong magnets. The rings are worth 10 gp apiece if sold separately, and 100 gp if sold together.


Gutboy vs. The Devourer of Worlds

So, the Bagger 288 has been on the list of "things" in the Land of One Thousand Towers for quite a while - see http://henchmanabuse.blogspot.com/2010/12/bagger-288.html

I'm using it as a potential solution for the zombie problem the players unleashed.  Well, not so much a solution, it's just that geography says the zombies are in the way when the players head to the dungeon.  This is a megadungeon campaign, so if they want more dungeon loot, they've got to deal with the mess.  They could also head off in another direction entirely, but they're pretty wary of the dinosaur-haunted wilderness - it wasn't too hard to predict that Gutboy would listen to Wurgol.

Of course, Gutboy is showing an unexpected degree of concern for the people of the world.  If Pai Mei had been able to make it, I think there'd be less planning for the long-term consequences.  Gutboy's contact w/ Professor Smithen does let me introduce the conflict between the Scientists and the Academy though - and Michael's going to force Gutboy to choose sides.

Gutboy is also intent on getting his dog elected to the city council.  There's no way that a freshly-minted citizen could get completely burned dabbling in byzantine Denethix politics, so it's going to be a total win with no downside.  I like his initiative, and Gutboy doesn't yet understand the depth of the corruption in Denethix, so hilarity is bound to ensue.

Finally, that ring of invisibility from Death Frost Doom - it's made me realize that magic items in my campaign are generally really, really obvious.  If something's got powers, it's advertising it.  In a "normal" D&D campaign, a featureless ring would be the instant subject of a detect magic on general principle - but I've managed to train my players into expecting garish and weird treasure, so they tossed it aside without a second thought.  Well, until I crowed about Gutboy tossing aside something valuable, and mocked him with rumors of the Bazaar being robbed blind.  Apparently Gutboy's got access to "locate object" - I was forced to eat my words.  On the plus side, he refused to search the pirate for treasure on two occasions, when the scurvy dog had been on an extended robbery spree - no loot for you, Mr. Gutboy.


session recap, 1/23/2014

Gutboy the Cleric (6), his henchpeople Trezgar the Elf (2) and Bunny the Thief (2), and his blink dog Rufus II

The loot from the both successful and disastrous zombie-hunting expedition had to be sold - and most of it was disposed of at various booths in the Bazaar Incomparable.  The Union of Dermatological Illustrators purchased the glowing tattoo ink for an exorbitant price, the "Down, Out and Deceased" pawn shop bought the plain copper ring for a king's ransom of 1 silver piece, and the usual gem vendors picked up the rest of the loot.  The exception were the cursed dagger and necklace - these were sold to weapons collector and sometime patron Davrik Lerdingfast for a steep discount, as he was intrigued by their "death cult" vibe.

Pai Mei (not present) retained the Purple Lotus Powder, and Gutboy held on to the build-your-own-Frankenstein manual and the Book of Unspeakable Shame (and the loupe required to read them).

A few days later, rumors were circulating in the city of invisible thieves robbing the shops and stalls of the Bazaar Incomparable.  Gutboy put two and two together, traveled to the Bazaar with his crew, and used his divine powers granted by decidedly technological deities to magically locate the ring.  The pinging noise in his head led him to a gaudily dressed seaman, with a peg leg, hook hand, eyepatch, and a parrot atop his shoulder, accompanied by a pair of thugs in striped sailor shirts.  The piratical fellow browsed dozens of stalls and shops before leaving the Bazaar and heading towards an alley.

Gutboy and crew followed quietly, and surprised the trio as the pirate pulled the copper ring out of his pocket and bragged to his men about he was going to rob the Bazaar blind.  Trezgar's somnolent sorcery put them to sleep before they had a chance to react, and Gutboy pocketed the ring.  He returned to his condo, checked that the Glyph of Warding above the door hadn't been triggered, and went inside to experiment with the ring.  Unsurprisingly, his henchmen informed him that he had become invisible upon wearing it.

With the hastily sold magical loot recovered, Gutboy decided to visit the shrine to Nisus for unspecified reasons - perhaps he was feeling a bit nostalgic.  The booth (shared by two other deities) was in bad shape, and someone had defecated upon the floor.  The eye dedicated to Nisus remained dark, but the one next to it, dedicated to Wurgol, god of cutlery and Gutboy's latest orbital patron, became active.  Colors swirled in the frame, and then an image of a fork and spoon atop a table presented itself.

Wurgol:  "Gutboy! We have seen what you did!"
Gutboy:  "Huh? What are you talking about?"
Wurgol:  "We witnessed your rendezvous with the alien craft!  We know this!"
Gutboy:  "Oh, that. That's not my fault!"
Wurgol:  "We do not care.  Access to the mountain must be maintained!  This situation cannot stand!"
Gutboy:  "What mountain?"
Wurgol:  "Mount Rendon!  There are faint signals from within the mountain!  Exploration must not be hindered!  The alien's army of the dead interferes!  It must be destroyed!"
Gutboy:  "What does that have to do with me?"
Wurgol:  "A millenia ago, a great evil was loosed upon the earth.  A hundred thousand men died to silence it, and still could not destroy it.  It sleeps still, but shall awaken.  The devourer of worlds!  The harbinger of the end of days!  The BAGGER 288!  You shall awaken the beast, and it will utterly destroy the invader!"
Gutboy:  "Devourer of worlds?  How are you going to make it go after the alien?"
Wurgol:  "You shall requisition a sacred you-ess-bee stick from the Grand Temple. We shall place instructions upon the sacred stick, and you shall bring it to the heart of the BAGGER 288.  When it awakens, it will take time for its ai eye to come online, and it will follow the instructions we give it in its confusion.  Thus it shall be directed to destroy the invader."
Gutboy:  "If I wake it up, how will we put it back to sleep?"
Wurgol:  "Another hundred thousand shall die in the attempt.  Perhaps more.  It matters not!  Access to the dungeon must be maintained!  A million lives are worth the effort!"
Gutboy:  "What will it do after fighting the alien?"
Wurgol:  "It will begin to devour the world.  It will likely target nearby population centers.  It is entirely possible that it will hunt the wizards in their towers before turning on this city."
Gutboy:  "That doesn't sound like a good plan.  Aren't you supposed to protect the earth?"
Wurgol:  "We exist to preserve the Veil between the dimensions.  The BAGGER 288 is of this earth.  It is not in our mission parameters to prevent it from waking."
Gutboy:  "Isn't there another way?"
Wurgol:  "We have spoken!  It is not for mortals to question us!  You will retrieve the sacred stick and return here so that it may be programmed!  The BAGGER 288 is buried beneath the village called Southdeep, south of Denethix.  You shall go there and awaken it!"

The screen went black, and Gutboy headed to the Grand Temple to fetch the USB stick, despite his reservations about waking up a machine capable of destroying the world.  At the temple, he was promptly handed a stick by an attendant - due to some confusion about Wurgol's instructions, a meeting with Lunexia, clad in naught but a gold lobster mask and claws, was held, and discussions about the proper use of USB sticks were had - and then Gutboy headed back to the booth.  The God's Eye lit up briefly, a green light flickered on the USB stick, and the programming was done.

Gutboy had no desire to meet the BAGGER 288 with only his henchmen and loyal dog Rufus, and headed to the Academy of Enlightened Thought to discuss the situation with Madame Prepin.

Prepin:  "Gutboy!  Look, I can't pay you yet - if anyone finds out that we caused this war, we'll be strung up.  I think I've got a plan though - you can pretend to go on an expedition to capture Goonies from the battlefields, and then come back as heroes.  Nobody will know that we got the zombies earlier."
Gutboy:  "I've got a better idea - you come with us.  You need to run this."
Prepin:  "Fine."
Gutboy:  "There's another problem.   There's a machine that will destroy the alien, and the whole world, that I've got to wake up.  Is that something you're interested in studying?"
Prepin:  "Look, I'm a professor of astrophysics, and now necrotronics.  That's not my field."
Gutboy:  "Is there anybody in the university who knows about this stuff?"
Prepin:  "Are you kidding?  They're all close-minded bigots and hypocrites!  Nobody else has even the slightest degree of competence.  I wouldn't let them study one of my bunions."
Gutboy:  "Fine.  Can I get some grad students then?"
Prepin:  "All right, but I'm running low here.  You three!  You're doing some field work with Gutboy here.  Yes, it WILL be graded.  Get to it, and no complaining!"

Gutboy equipped the three grad students with leather armor and shields, and then headed to Davrik Lerdingfast's manse to request an appointment.  His manservant informed him it would be a few hours, so Gutboy cooled his heels at a nearby inn until he could see the wealthy weapons collector.  He returned at the appointed time, and was admitted inside.

Gutboy:  "Good to see you!  That giant tank in the swamp - we got a chance to go take a look.  Unfortunately, it's immobile, and there's no way drag something that big out."
Davrik:  "Damn shame, that.  Well, thanks for taking a look."
Gutboy:  "There's something else that might interest you - I've been given a mission to awaken a giant killing machine to fight the alien ship."
Davrik:  "Big, ey?  How big?  Will I be able to see the battle from the roof terrace?"
Gutboy:  "Enormous.  The BAGGER 288 - have you heard of it?  Big enough to destroy cities!"
Davrik:  "Can't say I have.  Thanks for the tip though - I'll have my man alert me when the fight starts so I can get a good view."
Gutboy:  "Can you lend me a few men for the expedition to awaken it?"
Davrik:  "Ahh, I would, dear Gutboy, but unfortunately I've sent most of them down to the Wastes on a beetle-hunting expedition.  There's money to be had in beetle paste, what with the war and all."
Gutboy:  "Oh.  You know anyone else who might be able to help with a giant war machine?"
Davrik:  "Yes. There's a fellow I sponsor in the Academy who might be keen to help.  His name is Dr. Frank Smithen, he does work for the Fist sometimes, helping them build the Steel Leviathans."

Davrik wrote a letter of introduction, and Gutboy was off to the Academy.  He presented the letter, and was ushered into a lab,w here Professor Smithen and his assistant Michael Sauralus were working on an 8' tall battle-bot.

Smithen:  "A friend of Davrik's, ey?  Always glad to be of assistance!"
Gutboy:  "I'm on a mission to awaken a gigantic machine, the BAGGER 288.  It's buried under Southdeep.  When it awakens, this stick here has a program to make it attack the alien - but then it will destroy the world.  What I need is a way to turn it off after it's killed the alien."
Smithen:  "Hmm.  I see.  Something on a timer then.  How long will the right take, do you think?"
Gutboy:  "Maybe a remote control instead?"
Smithen:  "Excellent suggestion.  We'll need to run an antenna up onto its hull though.  Still, it can be done!  Michael, get cracking - we need a remote made up!"
Gutboy:  "Do you think the Scientists can help?"
Smithen:  "Those superstitious imbeciles?  Ha!  That pack of fools don't know the first thing about the design of robotics.  Nothing but rote memorization there.  No, they won't be any use at all."

(at this point Gutboy notices Michael glaring angrily at Smithen)

Gutboy:  "Do you have any grad students who could come along?  I have some from Madame Prepin..."
Smithen:  "Prepin?  The harridan from astrophysics?  Ridiculous!  What use could her grad students possibly be?  They're barely capable of tying their own shoes!  I suppose if you got lost in the woods you could always eat them.  Can't see any other use!   No, no, and for a project like this, it needs a personal touch.  Michael and I shall come along ourselves."
Gutboy:  "Will you need any armor or weapons?"
Smithen:  "Nonsense!  We're just going to Southdeep.  We can fire up this battle-bot here anyhow.  Michael, get a move on!"
Gutboy:  "Say, can you have Michael get us some tea?"
Smithen:  "You heard the man, Michael!  Tea!"

(after Michael leaves)  Gutboy:  "You know, I think he's with the Scientists."
Smithen:  "What? Michael?  Absurd!  He's been working me for years!"
Gutboy:  "Ok.  Well, meet us at the Grand Temple tomorrow, and we'll head to Southdeep."

After tea, Gutboy headed off to his last stop - the Palais Public.  He stopped at the city clerk's desk, to inquire about how one would go about running for office as an Exalted and Chosen Brother.

Simon Lewis (the clerk):  "Well, you don't just go and run, see.  It's incredibly rude to run against an existing Brother.  Just isn't seemly!"
Gutboy:  "...because Rufus here is really interested in public office..."
Simon:  "Well.  Connections can be made.  Introductions.  You know.  It's possible, should there be an unexpected opening.  Then there'd be a vote, and if you knew the right men, well, you know how elections are."
Gutboy:  "Right!  That's what we need!  Just send us to these men, and we'll be on our way!"
Simon:  "Well, it's not that simple.  There needs to be an opening.  And of course, my finder's fee..."
Gutboy:  "Finder's fee?"
Simon:  "A percentage"
Gutboy:  "Of what?"
Simon:  "Of whatever sums change hands.  You don't just run for office and let the people decide!  Ha, that's a funny notion!  I'm an honest clerk - it's a mere ten percent commission"
Gutboy:  "Ridiculous - five percent!"
Simon:  "Look, this isn't a negotiation.  It's ten percent."
Gutboy:  "Done."
Simon:  "So, you've undoubtedly heard of Mormod Waginski.  The hunter!  Of course you have!  Everyone has... well, I'm sure your aware of the feathers he's ruffling."
Gutboy (thinking):  "Right.  I think he invited us to a party once, but we went to a swamp instead."
Simon:  "Understandable.  Terribly dangerous, those big game hunting expeditions.  So easy to be eaten by a tyrannosaur.  Those kinds of things happen."
Gutboy:  "Uh-huh.  So those introductions..."
Simon:  "Yeah. There needs to be an opening, like I said.  Hunting is so very dangerous.  But men will have their hobbies!"

Gutboy, enlightened as to the nature of Denethix city council politics, headed back to his condo for the night.  He was surprised to be woken in the wee hours by a loud crack of thunder.  He opened his front door and discovered the smoking corpse of the pirate, his two thugs, and the parrot.  He called for the Fist to dispose of the bodies (with the exception of the parrot) - they were horrified to find that a valued Citizen of Denethix had been disturbed by the hoi polloi, and quickly dragged the bodies off to be dumped into the river before they could re-animate as zombies.

In the morning, Gutboy headed off to the taxidermist to drop off the parrot ("A Norwegian blue!  Beautiful plumage!") with instructions to stuff it and have it shoulder-mountable.  He then gathered Prepin's grad students, Dr. Smithen, Michael, and their battle-bot ZN547.  They promptly headed off to Southdeep, stopping briefly in Lugosi to hire a guide to the hidden village.

The guide led them through a twisted forest, which finally opened up at the edge of a massive pit, hundreds of feet across and hundreds of feet deep.  A path corkscrewed its way down the side of the pit, where doors were set into its walls, leading into the homes and shops of Southdeep.  They made their way to an inn near the bottom, quaintly named "The Whole Hole".  Inside, the patrons were muttering angrily and making rude gestures at a solitary robed and cowled figure, sitting at a corner table.

Barkeep:  "We don't serve their kind here!"
Gutboy (to ZN547): "Why don't you wait outside.  We don't want any trouble."
Gutboy (to barkeep):  "What's going on?"
Barkeep:  "That bag man's full of crap!  Saying we're all gonna die today!  What kind of idiocy is that?"
Gutboy:  "What's a bag man?"
Barkeep:  "The jerk in the corner with the robes!  They live under the village.  Usually they tell us good news, what the weather's going to be, how the mold crop is doing, but this jerk is saying nothin' but doom.  Probably wants to get us to leave so he can rob us.  I've got a mind to clock him."

Gutboy ambled over to the bag man's table, and peered beneath the cowl - it shadowed the face of a gorilla.

Bag Man:  "You are the ones who have been foretold.  Behold!  These are the ones who bring your death, Southdeep!"
Gutboy:  "No, no!  He's drunk!  Don't listen to him!"

Someone threw a clay beer stein at the bag man, and it shattered against his head - but the bag man didn't even flinch.

Bag Man: "Come.  It is time.  I shall lead you to your fate."

Gutboy and his crew followed the bag-man out.  Standing on the path outside the tavern, Gutboy shouted to the citizens peering down at him, "I have been sent by the great wizard of Denethix to save you!"  The bag man responded by shouting "You are all going to die!"  The citizens then responded by dumping their chamberpots out upon the party, showering them with excrement.  They hurriedly followed the bag man/gorilla to cave entrance at the bottom of the pit.

And here our session ends.

Gains:  Ring of invisibility, a retinue of academics, the nightsoil of Southdeep
Kills:  Three river pirates
Losses:  None


Fight On! #14 released!

OK, everyone else already posted this - but Fight On! #14 has been released!

My contribution was an ad.  Yes, there's a word for people like me - and that word is HERO.

Buy it on Lulu:  http://www.lulu.com/shop/ignatius-umlaut/fight-on-14-20122013/paperback/product-21411537.html