Last night was the fullest house I've ever seen at Josh's, and possibly the fullest on record. Every current member was present, and we even had a guest! You might imagine that most of the evening was lost in idle chatter with no role-playing at all, but you'd be WRONG. Even deprived of the dining-room table, seated on the far-too-comfy couches, there was role-playing, in-character banter, and even advancement of the plot. Hang on, kids, this one could get rough.
It's recappin' time! Last night, we caught up with the characters from NuNeng. How new are they? So new, they don't even have a decent name for their party or their campaign yet. How about “Swiftside Story” for the time being?
When we last left our intrepid party, they had agreed to carry a message to the Enchantress of the Burning Forest. (Or, rather, Thamon had agreed, and hired the others to come along.) The previous session ended on the cusp of an encounter, and as we pick up the trail, an encounter there was….
We had two new players join us: Liz and Sean. Welcome to the group, hope you survive the experience!
After another longish hiatus, we returned to the Borderlands. Upon their return to the city following the events at Hill College, Tamsin realized that she would have to have the werewolf damage to her employer's van repaired, preferably before her employer found out about it. After dropping Chucky, Fitz (who promptly remembered a previous engagement on the other side of the world and left without a forwarding address), and Obediah off at the theater, she consulted the rolodex at the detective agency and found the name of a body shop, the Fratoni Bros., annotated in Victoria Savage's neat handwriting “doesn't ask questions.” Deciding that this was just the ticket, she took the van there, dropped it off, and took the Fratoni's up on the offer of a cab ride back (chargable to the agency, natch). Her driver was the loquacious and colorful Vinny Fratoni [Sean], just back from a deuce up-river.
Meanwhile, art-student and reluctant seer Veronica Snooty-Mc-Snoot-Snoot (did we ever get a last name?) [Liz] was soaking up the ambience of Chinatown when she noticed two things: 1) Obediah, sweeping out in front of the Chinese Theater, whose aura told her that he was her Knight in Shining Armor. It didn't explain further, auras being tricksy that way. 2) the grungy theater itself, which was clearly being haunted…by the theater as it existed in the forties. She'd seen plenty of ghosts before, but never the ghost of a building. Bemused, she offered Obediah a twenty and a date to get something to eat. He led her inside and offered her popcorn and a swig of “butter.”
Upon their arrival outside the theater, Vinny's cab died completely and mysteriously. Tamsin led him into the theater to use the pay phone to call his cousins at the shop, and then dashed across the street to leave a note for Victoria Savage. Fortunately or unfortunately, Victoria was already back from her trip, but had a message for Tamsin: a tall, dark, handsome young man had left a letter for her, on nice heavy stationery with a big monogrammed M. Inside was a dinner invitation for that evening to Le Petite Chi-Chi, signed “Bobby.” After some brain-wracking, Tamsin managed to remember having met the mysterious Bobby M, adventurer and raconteur. She hurried back across the street to check in with Chucky and Obadiah and ask their opinion on the propriety (and perhaps safety) of meeting with him given the peculiar circumstances of their first encounter in the Borderlands.
There was some byplay in which Obediah attempted to buy Vinny's cab from him for the twenty that Veronica had given him, and was informed that would get him four lug-nuts worth of cab, which triggered in his befuddled brain the singular desire to own a cab and prompted a side-trip to a chop-shop down the street to buy a bumper.
In the theater, Veronica explored a bit, finding the ghostly regulars in the balcony watching the double-bill: Seven Deadly Venoms and Seven Brides For Seven Brothers (Two Two-Star Movies! That makes Four Stars!). Meanwhile, Vinny was explaining to his cousins that a) they fucked up his ride, and they needed to send out the tow-truck toot sweet and b) he was “parked” outside the very theater in which legend had it Little Joey Two-Shoes, the hitman's hitman, was last seen on this Earth. Veronica could have told him Little Joey was watching the women sobbin', but nobody asked. Unfortunately for Vinny, the wrecker was out on a call, and the Eurotrash Lawyer, M. Lucerne chose that moment to make his dramatic entrance.
Announcing that since they had tried the easy way and gotten nowhere, his Consortium was now going to do it the hard way, he gestured and all the doors slammed and the shades pulled themselves down. He then removed his swanky sunglasses and revealed his glowing red eyes. Combat ensued.
Fireballs were thrown, arts were martialed, .38 Saturday Night Specials were emptied unsuccessfully except to ruin a nice French suit and cause Lucerne to reveal his game-face: that of a 7' tall yellow and red, horned, leathery-winged demon. Chucky conveyed the notion to Victoria that it would be helpful for her to use her artistic talents to copy one of the plaques from underneath the counter onto a piece of paper, while he lured the creature upstairs. Tamsin ran around putting out the fires, while Obediah used his special talent with doors to open the emergency exits in the rear of the theater and let out the panicked ghosts. Vinny attempted to drag Veronica to safety, but received a short sharp shock to the family jewels for his troubles, and she went back to her calligraphy.
Chucky managed to lure Lucerne to in front of the Closet of the Vortex (don't ask) and Tamsin, exclaiming “You forgot about me, Huh?” slapped Veronica's finished work on Lucerne's back. Lucerne lunged, Chucky powered up the Paralysis Character while performing a sacrifice-throw, and Lucerne took a short trip and a long fall to nobody-knows-where.
While this was going on, Vinny recovered, and exited the building through the doors that Obediah had opened. There in the alley, he found a giant rat in a Zoot Suit, being noisily sick. Hurrying the other way, he came out into a typical evening in the Borderlands, i.e. Film Noir New York by night, circa 1940, casting by way of Midsummer Night's Fever Dream. Noting the presence of a mounted policeman (and on second take, that the mount and the policeman were one and the same: a centaur), he quickly pocketed his gat (cause John Law is John Law, no matter where you go), and made his way back to the alley and back into the theater. Once back inside, and finding himself able to exit by the front doors into normal New York, he went to the nearest liquor store and got himself some scotch, then returned to the theater to demand an explanation of the goings on. Tamsin rushed home to change for her date, while Chucky tried to explain the advantages of taking the blue pill, but Vinny was made of sterner stuff. Obediah went outside, popped the hood of Vinny's cab (another of O's skills), and discovered a gremlin chewing vigorously on the wiring. He chased it off with a broom, and the cab was once again operational.
Vinny ended up driving Tamsin to her date, now that his cab was back in service, and hanging around a bit off the meter in case she needed any help, but the date was largely uneventful. Bobby M. was just back from doing a favor to a friend, by preventing the moon from being consumed by nanites, and seemed genuinely interested in dating Tamsin for the usual boy-girl reasons, with no obvious ulterior motive. She did find out from the waitstaff that Bobby was, as claimed, a regular at Le Petite Chi-chi, and that his last name was Munchausen. She also found out, from Bobby, that Lucerne and his Consortium were famously bad news and legendarily not folks that you got the better of business deals with. Bobby drove her home, and kissed her good night.
Alert the media — two Borderlands sessions in one month! Surely the End is Nigh!
Barbecues, weddings, and illness have kept us away from the Borderlands for some time, but no gamer can stay away forever! You may want to read the entry from July 19 before clicking the link below.
In the continuing story of the 3 Palidinos (and thieHHHHcleric.. and the monk) we revisit the dungeon “Back to the Adobo!” Placido continues his plummeting ways, we discover how many kobolds can dance on the head of a spear, and why you should always search piles of rubble.
The Borderlands campaign didn't continue last night, because Wendy was off doing something. (Pennsic, was it? I don't quite recall…maybe if she'd ever mentioned it before, I'd remember.) So we played D&D. Specifically, we continued the Three Paladinos campaign from way back in May, except there was only one paladino this time: Placido (Paul), who was joined by Ogden the halfling thief…er, cleric (Doug), and Maelwyn the elvish monk (Brian, who created the character in defiance of the party's obvious need for a thief).
The party ventured back into the lower level of the dungeon the Paladinos had traversed before, and proved themselves against (in order) a zombie, an empty room, a pit trap, a goblin with a bow, a wolf, a succession of long, twisty corridors, and a dark mantle (bet you thought I wasn't listening when you told us about that last one, huh Josh?). The real danger, though, came from Brian's ineptitude at mapping, the party's ignorance regarding looms (and their uses in escaping from pits), and Doug's “Towlie” voice.
Welcome back, true believers! It's been a long, long time since we've visited the Borderlands campaign, but that's what we did last night. If you want to read the last entry before proceeding, you'll need to go all the way back to May 24.
As I wrote the recap for this week's session, I realized that several names were tossed about, and I didn't manage to remember any of them clearly. At the time, I figured that getting people's names wrong was in character for Fitz, but it does make the recapping harder. If I got anything wrong, let me know, and I'll edit accordingly.
Editor's comments in bold
Since it was Doug's turn to GM, but he couldn't make it, we played D&D.
The Three Paladinos continued to explore the dungeon, while Doug's cleric headed back to town to rest and recuperate. They found a spiral stair down and descended into the first underground level. The first thing they encountered was a chamber with a glowing pool and a book on a pedestal. From the tales back in Paladin Academy they recognized these as a healing pool and a Shrine of Memory (aka a Save Point). They triggered the shrine and the book floated up and opened in a burst of light. Glowing runic script invited them to record their names in the the Book of Valor. They did so, thus ensuring that as long as at least one of them survived to return to the book, the others could be brought back.
They proceded onward, into the stygian gloom.
After lighting a torch to make the gloom less stygian, they started poking around the suprisingly spacious network of corridors. Following the right-hand rule, they explored and defeated: a Krenshar (a hideous cat-like thing which peels the skin of its face back revealing a bloody skull and emitting a howl that casts Fear)–Wendy's Paladin stood her ground while the other two turned tail and bravely ran away (She excecuted a fighting retreat until her companions recovered and came back to help). A pair of Zombies, who for some reason had an unstrung loom in their room. A giant ant, surprisingly nimble and yet ineffective with its mighty mandibles.
At this point in the proceedings the trio had accumulated enough experience to Level Up (sfx including being bathed in light, a triumphant musical flourish, and levitating slight off the ground while the camera pans around them). Newly empowered and restored to full health and magic, they proceeded to fall into a forty-foot pit and there had to wrestle with a Giant Centipede. They defeated the centipede and we broke for the night.