Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Torch of Liberty Part 2

In the previous post, the PCs were seeking the source of some Affected organized crime in New York. They managed to take down a mafia-like organization, spectacularly exploding its big boss. In doing so, they discovered a secret passage down into the unknown.

The PCs followed it down, and discovered an evil Affected patriotism cult that worshiped various items of American iconography, especially Uncle Sam. They were also housing a Lovecraftian horror made from the remains of the original American Flag.

There were some good combat encounters in here. In one room, there was an eagle statue that could shoot lasers out of its eyes, and was controlled via remote. The PCs quickly got their hands on the remote, and turned the eagle against the cultists. Another encounter involved groups of intensely patriotic Affected who would follow the orders of whoever carried their flag. The PCs eventually figured out that they could steal the flags, and built a temporary army for themselves.

The best bit for me was when they came into the room with the pit. Basically, there was a huge pit cloaked in steam with three narrow stone bridges across it, with a door at the end of each bridge. On the opposite sides of the bridges were some groups of Affected.

The group on the right immediately charged all at once. As soon as eight of them were on the bridge, the bridge collapsed, and they fell into the steam below.

Romeo Scrabs, being a hotheaded daredevil, decided to back his motorcycle onto the middle bridge to see if it would support his weight, reasoning that if it started to feel unstable, he could go back at full speed. The bridge held him, and he came to rest for the round in the middle of the bridge.

The head priest on the other end of the bridge shouted for all of his followers to pile onto the bridge and collapse it, sacrificing themselves to kill Romeo. Loyally, they did so, and Romeo fell into the pit, and came face-to-face with the aforementioned Lovecraftian horror. It was a tense moment, but he got out. Later, the players crossed the room with an unlikely combination of ropes and child-tossing.

After a few less remarkable encounters, and some exploring for loot, the players finally encountered the ancient and decrepit Affected Betsy Ross, who was speaking on a telephone when they entered her cool boss chamber. They beat her without too much trouble, but she placed curses on some players, making them unable to heal, and making one of them unable to hold objects.

Here's where things started getting a bit more unconventional: After they took out Betsy Ross, the characters realized that her telephone was still off the hook. On picking up the receiver, they heard UNCLE SAM, the BBEG of the entire campaign, on the other end! The players didn't take this matter too seriously (Patches decided to just speak Chinese into the phone), and Sam announced an intention to dispatch Yankee Doodle to take out the PCs.

The PCs decided that they had better run (after doing some looting. They tried to steal a 15 foot idol of Uncle Sam before they left, which went about as well as you would guess). They got out of the underground temple without incident, but when they surfaced, they were faced with Uncle Sam's enormous flying capitol flying just over New York's highest skyscrapers. The players ran back to St. Paul's church to have their curses healed, and while they were inside, the entire room that they were inside of was abducted by the Flying Capitol by means of an experimental "Steam Tractor Beam." Along with them, a Native American priestess named Keezekhoni and a robotic warrior-priest named Sam were abducted.

The party woke up divided into two antimagic cells located somewhere in the Flying Capitol. The inventor of the experimental tractor beam casually interviewed them about their abduction experience, explaining that "the really big tractor beam" has the effect of causing unintended unconsciousness. It was a pretty good moment, because the players had no idea what was going on at the time.

I know players hate being imprisoned, but I really loved this next bit. See, at this point, Leuco the Eagle Man, one of Uncle Sam's highest ranking and most brutal generals, came onto the scene in the first cell, and demanded that the PCs tell him "WHERE'S THE HEART??"

The PCs figured out that he meant the Anglican heart which had been stolen from St. Paul's Church. Apparently, either Helltoni or Betsy Ross's people had stolen the heart for Uncle Sam's nefarious purposes, and somebody had further stolen it from Uncle Sam. The PCs had no idea what to do with this information, and Leuco was all too happy to resort to brutal means of extracting information.

Leuco took Keezekhoni out of the cell, dragged her through a nearby door, and revealed that the cell was located right next to the edge of the flying Capitol, mere feet away from a perilous drop. Leuco then dangled Keezekhoni over the side, and demanded once again to know the location of the heart. When the PCs had no ready answer, he dropped her to her apparent demise, and stormed off.

Then he went to the other cell, and repeated the process. Only this time, he grabbed one of the PCs! Of course, the players knew what was happening, and flew into a panic, but their characters had no way of knowing what had happened with the other cell.

The PC in question was Anja, a Steam Mage who thought she was a vampire for some reason. Her player was fairly new, and her character had only just been written into the campaign. Had I not discussed this scene with her secretly before the game, she would have probably gotten a terrible impression of this campaign, but since she knew what to expect, she played her role with a fantastic cockiness, telling Leuco to "go ahead and drop me, I'm immortal!" in her character's classic Eastern European accent.

So Leuco dropped her!

To be continued!

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