Situational Ethics

Session Summary for 12/7/08: Elves & Espers

When a typical Rambling Bumblers session starts up, there’s often quite a bit of dithering, and we try to find our feet in the scenario, and try to recapture exactly what it was that we were going to do next, which, after a break, doesn’t seem like such a good idea anymore. I used to think that was only natural, since often months or even years can pass between sessions of a particular campaign. As it turns out, even if we only have a week in between sessions, there’s still dithering.

Case in point: In the November 30 session, our heroes saved a shop from an infestation of zombot pigsies, and caused a minimal (for them) amount of property damage in the process. To open the December 7 session, they had to argue about what to do next. They believed that somebody in the shop was trafficking in pigsie dust, and someone else (possibly the same someone) was responsible for the zombot powder. Part of the group was in favor of getting to Grismerelda as quickly as possible, before she could hear about the damage to the shop from other sources, getting their fee without revealing what really happened, and getting the heck out of there, quick. Other members of the party believed that if they did that, Grismerelda would likely have them killed on the spot, since they believed her to be the mastermind of an international zombot-smuggling cartel. They couldn’t even agree whether they were having this discussion in the street, where anyone could overhear, or inside the shop, in front of Traumiel, who was both a PC and an employee of Grismerelda’s, and therefore suspect.

Our GM, however, knows what to do when the party can’t get their act in gear: drop a grenade on them. So the party (including Stan McStan, of the Clan McStan [Mike], who had suddenly been there all along) found themselves inside the shop when a small device crashed through the window and went tick…tick…BOOM! Most of the characters recovered from being stunned in time to act before things got any worse. Josepi immediately opened fire on the doorway. Traumiel, still without a weapon, decided he’d really had enough now, tendered his resignation, and leaped through the window. Outside, he found four armored men standing outside the door, all well-armed, and several of them now pointing weapons at him. He decided to stay very still for the remainder of the encounter. Stan used his robomancer abilities to create a flying remote drone armed with a pistol, and sent it out to harass the armored guys, to little effect. Tank McSplatter activated his powered armor to burst through the window, but headed upwards, away from the armored guys.

Fortunately, Josepi overheard the leader of the armored guys saying, “Leave the employees, all we want is the shop.” This caused him to change tactics and start talking, rather than shooting. He proclaimed that the party was all innocent bystanders (if well-armed innocent bystanders), and they’d be happy to leave the shop, if that was OK with the armored guys. During the course of the conversation, however, Stan learned that there might be another employee still in the shop, and refused to leave until he found her. (A possible third employee, referred to only as “nerd-girl” was mentioned in the previous session, but never seen.) As the rest of the party piled out of the shop, and the head armored guy counted to ten, Stan dashed boldly down to the storeroom looking for the wayward employee.

He didn’t find her, but he did find what appeared to be a small blue man asleep inside a sealed plastic cube of some kind. Having satisfied himself that the third employee wasn’t in fact there, Stan hauled the cube up the stairs and out the door, just before the armored guys launched a number of incendiary grenades that quickly burned the shop to the ground.

Their work done, the armored guys shouldered their weapons and strode off.  Idariel gave chase, demanding explanations, but didn’t get any, and the armored guys pointedly dissuaded her from following with their weapons. [Retcon: At which point the armored guys hopped in an Aircar and flew off.] Truamiel, horrified at the destruction of his job, ran off to find his co-workers and make sure they were safe. The rest of the party suddenly became very concerned with getting paid. They dashed off to Grismerelda’s office, and announced that the shop no longer had a pigsie problem, completely failing to mention that the shop no longer had anything else, either, including standing walls.

With the important part of the mission accomplished, they turned their attention to the blue guy in the plastic cube. The cube unsealed itself pretty easily, reviving the small blue man, who turned out to be equipped with a loincloth and a laser sword, and not much else. He gave his name as Pic’X [Russell], and announced that he was a member of the ancient and venerable order of Star Knights, dedicated to protecting the poor and downtrodden of the world from the forces of evil. Several of the party members had enough arcane background to recognize Pic’X as a COBOLd, a race of artificial beings who predate the current, more common droids. Most of them looked blank at the reference to Star Knights, except for Josepi, who vaguely recalled them as the subject of an old holo-vid show. In between attempting to stifle bursts of laughter (not always successfully), Josepi tried to convince Pic’X that he had been in hibernation for years, perhaps decades (which Pic’X took in stride), and that the Star Knights were completely fictional (which Pic’X disbelieved). The party decided to take him along, since he had nowhere else to go, and bought him some clothes to make him more presentable.

The party then headed back to Barbis Boltbiter, to give him his cut of their payment, and hopefully to snag another job. Along the way, they found Traumiel, sitting despondently outside a coffee shop, having completely failed to locate either of his co-workers, mostly because he didn’t know them well enough to determine where they might be. Idariel struck up a conversation with him, and quizzed him about his skills. When Traumiel revealed that he was a former medical student, they declared that they needed a healer, and invited him along, although they were less than thrilled about his stated preference for homeopathic medicine. Against his better judgment, Traumiel went along, because he needed some way to pay off his student loans.

Back at Boltbiter’s, they announced that their mission had been complete successfully (proving that “bald-faced lying” is part of their skill set), and asked for another task. After rummaging through his desk a bit, Boltbiter came up with a new assignment for them, one that was several weeks old, because no one would take it, to investigate some strange happenings in Poisonville.