Trinsic Tales:Metagame/Chapter 02
Chapter #2: Basement Dwellers
<Capn_Ascii> As we join our heroes, they have just experienced a bizzare body swap scenario, witnesses a tornado level their favorite gaming store, and encountered a powerful evil wizard with aspirations of world conquest. In short...sh*t be whack, yo.
- Miranor examines the parchment mentioned last time
- Nenni is relieved to find that, given the circumstances, a talking cat is probably no longer the most extraordinary thing after all.
- Nenni also goes and looks at the map that had been pinned under the whopper mailbox.
- Cadellin looks around the ruins for anything that might be useful, like gold pieces or dollar bills.
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: You unfurl the parchment and--oof!
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: You barge in front of Miranor's face and examine the parchment. It's a map, definitely, and clearly magical in nature - the lines and symbols are shifting as you gaze at it, coalescing into something familiar.
<Capn_Ascii> It's...a map of town! Drawn like you'd expect a classic D&D map to be drawn, complete with Ye Olde English spellings, sea monsters out in the bay area, and so forth. You can immediately recognize many of the town's landmarks, but they all seem to have rather colorful labels. The run-down motel down the block is labeled "INN" for example.
<Capn_Ascii> Cadellin: There is very little left here that hasn't either been shredded by the tornado or buried under the resultant rubble. The floor is piled with chunks of cinderblock wall and ceiling rubble.
<Capn_Ascii> Anything small is long gone, swept away by the intense winds. The front of the store is visible through a broken doorway; it looks like it might have survived slightly more intact.
- Cadellin joins the others in looking at the map, wondering if there's any indication of where the Evil Wizard might have wanted to go.
- Miranor contemplates attempting to loot the supplies of MTG cards, but eventually decides that would be wrong and not useful to the present situation.
- Miranor goes ahead and attempts to open the mailbox, however, because that *does* potentially have relevance
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: The cards would have been up front anyway. You make a note to check on the way out.
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: The mailbox is badly dented, but still locked shut. Honestly, though, in its current state it wouldn't take much to force it open regardless.
- Miranor forces the mailbox open
<Nenni> Nenni looks around to see if there's a stack of splatbooks, DMGs, PHBs, etc. strewn around and trapped under debris. He's particularly interested in spotting the cover of The Adventure that Capn GM had been about to run for the team.
- Cadellin looks on the map to see if there is a cemetery nearby that the Archmage, if he is a necromancer, might be trying to raise undead from.
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: Again, the tornado has removed and scattered anything weighing less than a cat. Everything Cap had on the table is gone, and the table itself is smashed beneath the mailbox.
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: You pry open the door with your weapon and...my god, it's full of *mail*!
<Capn_Ascii> Piles and piles of undelivered mail! Uncancelled stamps, ripe for the picking!
- Miranor checks the mail for anything suspicious
- Nenni resists the urge to crawl inside the mailbox.
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: You shove your hand into the hole, hoping there aren't any monsters in there, and dig around for a bit. Soon you find something long and hard.
<Capn_Ascii> You pull it out. It's a sword hilt! A sword with a really...really, really, really long blade. You keep pulling, and things soon begin to look like a comedy stage magic act as well over six feet of sword blade emerge from the comparatively tiny mailbox.
- Miranor keeps pulling to see how much he can get
<Cadellin> "Did you turn into Mary Poppins when I wasn't looking?"
- Nenni commits the map to memory by Taking 10 on Autohypnosis. He doesn't want it disappearing unexpectedly in some craziness!
<Capn_Ascii> Finally it's all out. It looks for all the world like a normal longsword, it's just got a ridiculously lengthy blade to the point of unwieldiness. It must be a +1 Longsword of Intense Longness. You assume this, because as you hold the sword in your hands the words "+1 Longsword of Intense Longness" appear floating above it.
<Jug> "It's almost like playing that World of Wowcraft."
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: You've spent enough game sessions watching over everyone's shoulders to realize that this is exactly the sort of ridiculousness Cap'n tends to pull as Dungeon Master. You're almost certain the sword is his - probably something he intended to use in the campaign.
<Cadellin> "That's...helpful of it to label itself?"
<Nenni> "That looks like the Capn's handiwork! I remember there was something like it back in that campaign where one of you spilt Mountain Dew on my tail."
<Miranor> "Anyone want this? It's too large for me to use, and I don't have a bag of holding."
<Jug> "Oh, yes. That was a weird one."
<Miranor> "They're all weird."
<Jug> "Well, I can take it, use it as a backup to my chain, here."
<Cadellin> "I don't have a bag of holding, either. What good is a two-person sword?"
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: Perhaps the more obvious question is how it wound up in a sealed mailbox, especially one too small to contain it. There's weirdness afoot, here.
<Jug> "It's a mailbox of holding! Quick, get a screwdriver and take it off!"
<Nenni> "I saw a two-person bicycle once. Maybe a two-person sword gets 4 times the strength bonus? Just speculation, of course."
<Miranor> "Hmmm. Yeah, this mailbox is strange," Miranor reaches in again, looking/feeling for anything else.
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: Nothing but random mail this time. No more random loot for you, it seems.
- Cadellin looks around. "Do we have a wizard? Who wants to do Detect Magic on the mailbox?"
- Miranor checks the mail itself for anything suspicious.
<Cadellin> "Oh wait, I have Detect Magic."
<Capn_Ascii> Off in the distance, you can hear sirens approaching. Multiple types - police, fire department, EMTs. Presumably, they're responding to reports of a tornado that just leveled a building out of nowhere.
<Capn_Ascii> You all suddenly get the feeling that it would be very, very bad to be caught here in the middle of this by the authorities.
- Cadellin looks back and forth between the mailbox and the sirens for a moment, indecisively. "Well, I guess the mailbox's not a priority."
<Miranor> "Yeah, let's get out of here."
<Capn_Ascii> Suddenly, Sheona appears from thin-air with a 'pop' sound. Wait, was she missing? She *was* missing! How come nobody noticed?
- Cadellin lifts the mailbox off the map.
<Sheona> "What have you all gotten yourselves into now?" Sheona says and stares disapprovingly
<Nenni> Nenni touches the mailbox and sends it forward in Time 6 rounds. "Pick up the map - it's running away time!"
- Cadellin grabs the map. "Let's go!" He heads off vaguely in a direction away from the sirens.
- Miranor follows Cadellin. "Got a plan for where to go?"
- Jug prepares the Hoofing It dance.
- Sheona tags along quickly
<Cadellin> "Nope, just far enough away that we won't be here when the sirens get here. Then we can take some time to look at the map."
<Miranor> "Anyone still got their keys on them?"
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: The mailbox disappears. You feel like this was probably a frivolous and ultimately needless display of your power, but then again, you *are* a cat. Most things you do are like that.
<Capn_Ascii> A quick pocket check reveals that anything you might have had before The Incident is gone. Well, almost anything. Cadellin has a single car key in his possession, but it's not the one he usually has...
<Cadellin> "Uh... I have a key? But not really mine."
<Miranor> "Huh. I wonder what it goes to."\
<Jug> "Does it have a car alarm remote on it?"
<Cadellin> "Sadly, no." Cade looks around for a vehicle that might belong to the key.
<Nenni> "There Can Be Only One", Nenni remarks dryly, Highlander style.
<Jug> "Does it have a manufacturer's mark on it? That might give us a clue."
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: You lead The Party out through the front of the shop, noting many scattered comic books, baseball cards, action figures, and assorted other overpriced geek collectibles on the way out. Stepping outside, the first thing you notice is the sirens getting louder. The second thing you notice...is The Van.
<Capn_Ascii> It's...beautiful. It looks like something straight out of the 1970s, in both model and paintjob. The van body is a shimmering irredescent purple, and both sides have incredibly detailed murals painted on them. One side depicts a barbarian wielding a chainsaw poleaxe, riding a unicorn and attacking a red dragon, while the other side showcases a valkyrie and an elven archer having an epic battle with a beholder.
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: You look at the key, then the van. Somehow, you *know*. This is the vehicle you were meant to drive.
- Cadellin drools at the van. "This...please let this key work on this van." Cade inserts the key into the driver's side lock and turns the key.
- Cadellin sighs in pleasure when the door opens. He climbs into the driver's seat. "All aboard the magic monster van, folks."
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: There's a pair of fuzzy dice hanging from the rear-view mirror, and the back of the van is carpeted, with a couple of beanbag chairs.
- Miranor coughs. "Pretty sure the other doors are locked still, dude."
- Cadellin finds the unlock-all button on the driver's side door and hits it.
- Nenni checks to see if the pair of Fuzzy Dice are d20s. He expects they are.
- Cadellin waits for everyone to climb in, then starts the engine and takes off, quickly driving away from the shattered building and the emergency vehicles coming to see it.
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: They totally are.
- Miranor sits in the far back
- Nenni digs his claws into whatever might happen to be beneath him to maintain traction as the van lurches around.
<Capn_Ascii> You crank the engine (which complains a bit), hit the gas, and take off, trying not to draw any more attention to yourselves than a bitchin' van like this normally would. A glance in the rear-view mirror shows flashing lights near the wreckage of the store as you round a corner.
- Jug cranes his neck looking back. "They're going to... have an interesting time sorting through that mess."
<Capn_Ascii> You all sit back and relax as the sounds of sirens fade into the background. It seems you're in the clear...for now. Now you just have to figure out what four people and a talking animal are supposed to do while cruising around in a hippie van. Besides solving mysteries, of course.
<Miranor> "We need a plan."
- Cadellin finds a convenient spot to pull over and park the van. He pulls out the map and lays it out so everyone can see it.
<Cadellin> "Where do you go to make a monster army?"
<Nenni> "A toyshop?"
<Nenni> "Or a school?"
<Capn_Ascii> You pull the map out and give it a closer look. As you do so, images begin to fade into being across the surface.
<Capn_Ascii> They look like...little sheets of parchment. Like little icons, each one appears next to one of the buildings on the map. There are five of them in all. A sixth icon, looking suspiciously like a chibi version of Cap, appears on a particularly large building towards the edge of town.
- Miranor looks to see what the other five icons look like
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: The other five icons all look identical, like little pieces of paper with writing on them. You can't distinguish any of them from each other.
<Cadellin> "Think those are our character sheets?"
<Miranor> "Maybe, but why do we care about that?"
<Capn_Ascii> Looking closely, you find something else - a small word, with an arrow pointing to a building. It simply says "BASE".
<Miranor> "...this stinks."
<Miranor> "Or, I suppose, a more classical response, 'I got a bad feeling about this.'"
<Cadellin> "I'm guessing we need to go gather up all those sheets, since they seem to have something to do with the Archmage's spell. Maybe we should start by trying to rescue Capn?"
<Miranor> "No, first we should head to this BASE location. Figure out how and why we're being led around by the nose."
<Cadellin> "I dunno. This has a freaky feeling like one of Capn's campaigns. And if it was, wouldn't BASE be the boss fight? Like, maybe we want a little more intel before we go there?"
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: You've been around town far more than the rest of these guys, so you recognize many of the landmarks:
<Capn_Ascii> There's one page at a building marked TAVERN which you know to be a local dive bar.
<Capn_Ascii> A second is over the GUILD, which you know more accurately as the convention center.
<Capn_Ascii> The GRAND ARCHIVES has a third, though you're fairly certain that's actually the public library.
<Capn_Ascii> A fourth page can be found at the BAZZAR (the mall).
<Miranor> "Yeah, but this is real life. We don't have time to troll around like a campaign."
- Cadellin nods. "Good point."
<Capn_Ascii> The fifth one is a bit unclear, however. It's sitting next to a rather nondescript building that looks not unlike a storage shed, with brick walls and a single door. You can't really tell what it's supposed to be. There's no marking, either.
<Sheona> "In real life, we could also die if we walk into a situation unprepared."
<Capn_Ascii> The Cap icon is sitting on top of one of the factories in the industrial district.
<Nenni> Nenni describes to the team the environs of each icon's locale.
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: A closer look at the 'BASE' reveals what looks like a trapdoor, with a cutaway of an underground room that looks not unlike a Hobbit house from Lord of the Rings. There's little bits of furniture in there and everything. You get the feeling this is supposed to be 'your' base.
<Nenni> "The GUILD, the ARCHIVES, the BAZZAR and the industrial factories don't look much like rent-an-army recruitment sites. Maybe we should check out the mysterious shed?"
<Nenni> "And this BASE looks pretty well furnished. It might have some intel we're missing currently, if we're prepared to investigate it. The garish decor of the van might be a bit of a "come get us" beacon though... I don't see a garage to conceal it."
<Cadellin> "Ok, so, base or shed first...what do y'all vote?"
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: You glance out the side window, and see a couple of random guys walking down the street. "Daaamn, that van is *sweet*." "Yeah, totally killer, bra." They bro-fist each other and keep walking.
<Miranor> "Base. Information is likely to be there, or possibly a necessary confrontation."
- Cadellin hands the map to Sheona so she can be the navigator and starts up the engine again, pulling out onto the road and heading for the base.
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: You begin the drive across town, trying your best not to look terribly out of place. Well, moreso than you already are, that is.
<Capn_Ascii> Following the map, you soon arrive at the given destination. It's...not exactly impressive. The marked building is apparantly an old, abandoned laundromat. The front door is closed and the windows are boarded over...clearly, no one has been here for a long time.
<Jug> "This is... inauspicious."
- Cadellin parks the van and gets out to examine the building. He tests the front door to see if it's unlocked.
<Nenni> "See if we can find a shed to stash the van. There's a trapdoor in the laundromat that leads down to our underground lair."
<Sheona> "I'd probably describe it with more profanity, but I also like 'inauspicious'."
- Miranor just shakes his head
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: There's a driveway leading around behind the building, presumably for trucks to load and offload. You pull around back and park. There's a couple of shipping bay doors back here, both shuttered.
<Cadellin> "Ain't nothing wrong with the van," Cade says. "Someone might be tempted to steal it, but we don't need to hide such a pretty thing." He pats the side of the van as if it were a horse.
<Miranor> "Theft would be the concern, yes."
<Nenni> "Well it says that some extroverts are hanging around an apparently abandoned building which we might want to keep inconspicuous."
<Cadellin> "Fine, fine. We're parked in back, it's as sheltered as we're going to get, unless you want to start attacking those shipping bay doors."
<Miranor> "It's a calculated risk. This is probably best. Let's just go in."
- Nenni goes sniffing around the doors of the building to check if there's anything suspicious smelling there... anything smelling like Arch Mage for example.
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: The only thing you can smell around here is the odor of stale laundry soap and the occasional whiff of urine.
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: The front door is locked. Well, actually the door itself is unlocked, but there's a chain on the far side of the door that's holding it closed.
<Nenni> "Dogs have such disgusting habits." Nenni comments before following the party to the front door.
<Cadellin> "Shall we break it open, then?" Cade asks doubtfully.
- Cadellin looks around the street to see if it's empty before he pulls out his waraxe.
<Sheona> "I'm not so eager to just start breaking stuff."
<Nenni> "Well, if it's to look like it's been abandoned for a while, it would be best to gain access in a way that maintains that facade."
<Sheona> "Yeah, I agree with the weird talking cat."
<Jug> "We could probably open that door wide enough with the chain to let the cat inside."
<Cadellin> "We could... oh, let's try that."
<Miranor> "Yeah, go in there, kitty, and open the door for us."
- Nenni tries to squirm through the crack in the door .
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: Approaching the door, you take note that your whiskers just barely fail to reach the doors on either side of you, so of course you can fit through the opening easily. You shove your head in and wriggle past.
- Nenni looks up at the chain. What's keeping it in place? Hooks? A slide slot?
<Capn_Ascii> The inside of the store is small, old, and musty. A half-dozen washer and dryer combos line one side, while a counter and an old pinball machine occupy the other.
<Capn_Ascii> There's a cash register on the countertop. The chain is held in place by an old, rusty padlock.
<Nenni> "The chain is padlocked.", Nenni tells the others. Nenni reasons that such a lair must have an owner's secret access system other than the blatant front door. Now within the premises, he scoots around to see if he can locate it more easily from the inside than was apparent from the outside.
<Cadellin> "Can you use your psychic kitty powers to unlock it?"
<Miranor> "Can you get the lock to be in the visible frame to us outside, so I can pick it?"
<Nenni> "I can try." Nenni runs up the surface of the door (move action) and tries to relocate the padlock to somewhere his companions can reach in and grab it (standard action) before dropping back to the floor.
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: You scamper up the wall and end up hanging from the chain, but quickly realize you can't do much without proper leverage. You decide that, while you *could* hang onto the lock and stick your tail out the door for them to pull on, you're not really that inclined to help the others at the cost of your own dignity and opt to drop back down instead. <more>
<Capn_Ascii> As you do so, your tail brushes against a keyhook hanging next to the door. It's empty, but presumably it means there's a key around here somewhere.
<Nenni> "I can't move it. There's a keyhook. I'm going to look for a key." Nenni wonders if the humans are flexible enough to grope around the edge of the door and pick the lock that way. He heads off to search for a key.
<Nenni> He starts off by heading to the location the map indicated there was a trapdoor, but really has no idea where a key would be in this ramshackle place. Normally it would be behind the couch cushions. He keeps his eyes out for a couch.
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: You wander into the back of the store, into the storage room/loading dock area. It's fairly empty, with just a couple of old wooden pallets sitting around. There's the insides of the loading doors, each with a big red button next to it at light switch height. There's also a trapdoor in the corner that looks like your stereotypical storm basement door. Wow, that could have come in handy earlier!
- Nenni presses the Big Red Button.
<Capn_Ascii> There's two buttons. You decide to go with the one on the right, because it's shinier. You scamper up the wall and slap it with a paw in a feat that would certainly get you many YouTube hits if someone had recorded it.
<Capn_Ascii> One of the loading doors shudders, then grinds open. Hey, wow, there's a sweet-ass van out here just like yours!
<Capn_Ascii> ...oh, wait. That is yours.
- Cadellin hears the noise and heads around back.
- Miranor heads back to the back, having heard the grinding.
<Miranor> "Nice going," Miranor comments, heading into the establishment.
- Sheona tags along, bringing her cats with her
<Cadellin> "So, secret basement, right? That would be this trapdoor over here." Cade looks at the door, just to make sure it doesn't have any obvious traps on it.
- Miranor checks for traps as well
<Capn_Ascii> Cadellin: The trapdoor looks totally safe.
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: The rusted old trapdoor looks like a breeding ground for tetanus, but otherwise looks safe.
- Cadellin pulls the trapdoor open.
- Nenni takes a sniff.
<Capn_Ascii> Beyond the door is a ladder down into the darkness.
- Nenni stares into it with Darkvision, daring the Darkness to stare back
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: It smells earthy in there, with some oddly nice background scents. You smell the lingering aroma of a fireplace and camp food.
<Capn_Ascii> Nekki: The ladder descends about 10 feet before reaching a level dirt floor.
- Nenni hops down to the dirt floor. "It smells nice in here."
- Cadellin looks at the ladder and sighs. "It's going to take me forever to get down there with all this gear on. You guys should all go first."
- Sheona carefully climbs down the ladder
- Jug waits til its clear then jumps down in the hole.
- Miranor follows
- Cadellin awkwardly makes his way down the ladder.
<Capn_Ascii> You all clamber down the ladder and into...well, it's actually a lot nicer than you were expecting. It looks like someone has dug out an underground room in relatively soft dirt and gone to a lot of effort to make the place feel like home. The ceiling is high enough to allow you to walk without stooping, while multiple timbers support the ceiling safely. There's a large central room with a large cooking fireplace in the wall (with a chimney that leads...somewhere), several pieces of furniture around it for relaxation, and off to one side is a large dinner table and kitchen area. There are a couple of doorways leading into smaller adjacent rooms.
- Miranor checks the adjacent rooms
<Capn_Ascii> One room looks like a planning room, with a large table and a bunch of little miniatures sitting on it. The other is some sort of armory - it's full of wooden cabinets, weapon racks, and armor dummies, all of which are brimming with gear.
<Capn_Ascii> One final check reveals a third door off to one side - a green metal door with a toilet symbol on it. Inside is a small bathroom that looks like something you'd see in a normal above-ground building, not this D&D-inspired hidey hole. What is *with* the geography around here lately?
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: You take another peek into the planning room, and notice a letter sitting on the table.
- Miranor reads the letter
<Capn_Ascii> "I've done all I can to keep the pages of the Manuscript out of the hands of the Archmage, but I fear it's only a matter of time before he tracks them down and uses their power for his evil ends. My only hope to foil his plans for good is to find the source of his power and destroy it. But, I have no idea what that is, or where it might be. All I know is that he has hidden it far away from his person and his lair..."
- Miranor checks for a signature or perhaps some recognition of handwriting.
- Nenni is intrigued. The Evil Archmage has *plans for good* ?
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: You compare the handwriting of the letter to your memory of some of the (many) IOUs that Cap has written you before. It's not a match; this is more of a flowing script like something you'd see on an actual old-timey missive.
<Miranor> "So we have no clue who this writer is either... this is getting complex..." Miranor passes the letter around.
<Cadellin> "The plot thickens," Cade says, wondering who this new player...the mysterious author...could be.
- Nenni sniffs the letter with Scent to ensure he can identify this person's smell if ever he encounters it again.
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: It smells...thiefy.
<Miranor> "Well, I guess we have a goal here. We should probably go ahead and go after those pages there. Though getting Capn back first might be a higher priority."
<Cadellin> "Yeah, let's go for Capn next."
<Nenni> "So if this letter is here, is this BASE the property of its author? If the map suggested this is *our* base, is one of us the (unwitting) author?"
<Capn_Ascii> ---END SESSION---