Trinsic Tales:Metagame/Chapter 03
Chapter #3: Googleplex
<Capn_Ascii> As we join our heroes, we find them loafing around in their SECRET UNDERGROUND LAIR instead of doing any actual adventuring. C'mon, guys, you're makin' me look bad here.
<Miranor> "Okay, do we know anything about this place Capn is being held at?"
- Miranor looks around for a computer or other useful information-gathering device.
<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?"
<Miranor> "Well, I'm pretty sure it's not any of *our* handwriting."
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: Computer? What is this, the 90s? Use your cell phone.
<Capn_Ascii> .....oh, right, you don't have that any more, do you? Oh...uh.
<Nenni> "So, whoever wrote it has access to our secret safe base."
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: You take a few minutes to poke around the laundromat upstairs, and find a PC the owner was using for business stuff. The building still has power, so you run a drop cord and set up the machine on a table in the base.
- Miranor boots up the PC. "Alright, let's see if this thing is useable."
<Capn_Ascii> As usual, several of the neighboring businesses still in operation have completely neglected to secure their wi-fi, and it doesn't take you long to establish a connection to that greatest of mystical powers, The Internet. You commune with the digital gods in search of answers.
- Cadellin leans over Miranor's shoulder. "Start with Google Maps."
<Nenni> "Are you casting Augury or something with that thing?"
- Miranor nods. "Yes, yes, Google Maps."
- Nenni snuggles up the warm air blowing out the PSU grille.
<Miranor> Miranor glances over at Nenni. "Aren't you still, you know, you? Surely you've seen your human use a computer?"
- Cadellin points to the spot on the map where the Capn icon is. "Is there anything on Google that tells us what this building here on the outskirts of town is?"
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: You load <generic non-copyright infringing map program> and pull up the map of town. The first thing you notice is that the spot where the game store used to be has a flashing 'UPDATED' mark on it. You click, and the streetview pic shows the post-tornado rubble you just fled from. Wow, those guys are *fast*.
- Miranor winces but scrolls looking for the location indicated on the paper.
<Capn_Ascii> You then set about comparing the drawn map to the digital one. According to this, the building Cap is in is the old Blammo Co. toy factory. Blammo closed up shop years ago and moved out of town, and the building's been abandoned ever since.
<Cadellin> "Should we search recent local news reports?"
<Nenni> After watching a while and getting the gist, Nenni asks, "What does the Street View mode show of the streets surrounding the toy factory? If they've been updated recently, they might show a vehicle or something?"
<Cadellin> "Oooo, good idea."
- Miranor nods and switches over. "No promises of a recent update *here* though."
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: As expected, there's not much to go on here. It's a street view of a rather bland factory-looking building, with twin smokestacks and a lot heavily overgrown with grass. The picture hasn't been updated in over a year.
<Miranor> "This isn't useful", Miranor grumbles, opening a new tab and switching to a general web search. He tries the name of the factory, then the address, then the neighborhood.
<Capn_Ascii> You do some 24-style web searches, but come up empty. Aside from the tornado, it doesn't look like anything news-worthy has caught anyone's attention yet. Indeed, the only thing of note you see regarding anything in town is a reminder that the 17th Annual Nerdcon(tm) is going on at the convention center downtown.
<Capn_Ascii> The idea is a sound one, though. You make a note to check again later.
<Cadellin> "This is a good time to be a dwarf, then," Cade mutters.
<Miranor> "Alright, let's head out, I guess. Nothing more to be done here."
<Jug> "Can you check for crime stats in the area around the factory? If there was a sudden spike in crime, especially odd ones..."
- Miranor bookmarks the local NBC News affiliate to check back later quickly if they need to.
<Miranor> "Sure, I guess." Miranor goes over to the county website and starts looking up crimes-by-neighborhood.
- Nenni heads off to scout the entirety of the den, not expecting it to be huge, but enough to make sure if there is any trapdoor or odd thing hidden, he'll find it.
- Cadellin heads into the weapons room and looks around to see if anything might be an upgrade from a dwarven waraxe with a 1d10 damage roll.
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: All of the weapons in here seem to be random, generic stuff you'd find in any armory. Nothing fancy, and nothing that would really outpace your dwarven weapon, unless you're just bored with it.
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: Poking around in the back of the lair, you come across a short hallway that the others had overlooked. At the end of it is a small door, about half the height of a human. It's made of wood, and has a covered slot at eye level. Well, eye level if you're a gnome or a halfling.
- Nenni tells Cadellin
- Nenni rears up and tries to look through the slot, finding it covered.
- Cadellin comes over to examine the door. He glances for any sign of traps.
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: You check through the daily listings of crime and unusual reports posted by the police department. Naturally, 'inexplicable weather-related destruction' tops the list, but you also find an amusing entry for a fellow who was thrown out of NerdCon earlier in the day for public indecency. Apparantly he claims he was 'cosplaying as Naked Lad'.
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: The door looks safe to you. But then, you're not exactly an expert on doorven architecture.
<Miranor> Miranor sighs and gets up to assist Cadellin, figuring the computer is not helpful.
- Nenni tries to identify the smells on the door handle and eye slot to see if they match the note from the mysterious author.
- Cadellin waits for the expert to arrive.
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: The little door looks fairly safe. On closer inspection, you can see a thin line of light coming from beneath the crack at the bottom of the door. It's flickering dimly.
- Miranor opens the door
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: The *only* thing you can smell here is a thick, oppressive stink that's not unlike burning charcoal.
<Capn_Ascii> The door is locked. You tug it a couple of times, but just when you're considering getting out your picking tools, you hear a voice from the other side. "Yeah, yeah, I'm coming, hang on."
<Capn_Ascii> You hear the sound of a heavy bolt being pulled, then the door opens. Almost immediately, heat rolls out of the opening, accompanied by a thin tendril of smoke.
<Capn_Ascii> A gnome wearing coveralls and saftey goggles steps out, looking up at you. "Yeah? What'cha need this time?" Behind him, off somewhere in the room beyond the door, you hear the sounds of a metal shop - jigsaws cutting, punch-presses pressing, torches welding. You wonder how many more people are in there...
<Miranor> "Uh... what is this place, exactly?"
<Cadellin> "Do you make +5 dwarven waraxes?"
<Nenni> "Who are we? I mean, who are you?"
<Capn_Ascii> "If you have the cash, yes." He lifts up the goggles and peers at Miranor skeptically. "Did you hit your head again or something? You forgot who *we* are?"
<Miranor> "Let's say I did hit my head. Go over it one more time, please?"
<Capn_Ascii> An audible sigh. "This is the workshop. You make requests, pay us the necessary funds and provide any unusual materials we might need, and we make all of your fancy adventuring gadgets and other crap for you. Remember?"
- Nenni looks up at the gnome towering over him as if his question hasn't yet been answered.
<Miranor> "Vaguely. What's your name again?"
<Cadellin> "I don't suppose you'd take, ummm... 31 gp for that +5 weapon?" Cade asks despondently.
<Capn_Ascii> "Gizmo. And, hell no. Do you have any idea how big a loss we'd take on that? We do good work here, and I gotta pay my guys fair wages, y'know."
<Miranor> "Do you buy?" Miranor asked.
<Capn_Ascii> The gnome clearly seems to know you, even if you don't know him. Or, at least, he seems to know who you're supposed to be pretending to be...
<Capn_Ascii> "Sure, if it's good. Full price for finished goods, fair value for scrap."
- Cadellin nods. "Fair wages is good," he says, still despondent.
- Miranor nods. "Hey, do we still have that sword of longness? I don't think any of us were going to use it, so..."
<Cadellin> "I think we left it behind, because it was so awkward."
<Jug> "No, I have it right here."
- Jug pulls out the sword of longness in a comically ridiculous way.
<Miranor> "If you want it, keep it, but otherwise... might as well sell it, right?"
<Jug> "Sure, let's sell it."
<Capn_Ascii> "Whoa, damn, that's a big one. Charlie! Fire up the grinder!"
<Miranor> "How much do we get for that?"
<Capn_Ascii> "I can give ya 2,000g."
<Nenni> "What can you tell us of the Archmage? Please remind us of anything we've told you in the past, purchases made to help us relating to the Archmage, etc.?"
<Jug> "All right, 2000 it is. Thank you."
<Capn_Ascii> "Huh? Oh, sure, hang on a sec though. Charlie, we ready?" Someone inside the door must have given the thumbs-up, because Gizmo takes the pointy end of the sword and starts feeding it through the door one foot at a time. Moments later, there's a horrible sound like someone shoving a piece of slate through a wood chipper. *KRRRRKT*
<Cadellin> "Are we splitting this evenly between us?"
<Miranor> "Seems reasonable."
<Cadellin> "So... 400g each."
<Nenni> "Ech, I don't really want a share. I just want a share of pats and glory."
<Cadellin> "500g each, then."
- Cadellin gives Nenni a few pats.
<Capn_Ascii> "So yeah, the Archmage? Yeah, you said earlier that *KRRRRKT* and that you had to *KRRRRKT* and then you had to get the *KRRRRKT* and then you could finally stomp a mudhole in his ass. Here you go." He hands a pouch of coins to Jug.
<Sheona> "Good. I had no gold on me before."
- Nenni purrs contentedly and is satisfied.
<Capn_Ascii> The sword hilt disappears into the door as the grinding finally stops.
- Jug distributes the gold in agreed-upon fashion.
<Miranor> "Can you go over that again, when the grinder's not going?"
<Capn_Ascii> "What are you, deaf? I said that *you* said that you had to stop him from creating his army, and to do that you had to find those missing pages, and then you had to find the source of his power and take it away from him and then you could finally stomp a mudhole, etc.
<Cadellin> "Hey, thanks Gizmo."
<Miranor> "Do you know anything about a missing guy named Steve?"
<Capn_Ascii> "Nah. We got a Steve in here, but he's not missing. HEY!"
<Capn_Ascii> He yells back into the door. "You're not missing, are you Steve?"
<Capn_Ascii> "Nooo!" The voice comes from somewhere in the back of the workshop.
<Capn_Ascii> "Yeah, Steve's fine."
- Miranor sighs. "I guess that would've been too easy."
<Miranor> "Alright, let's head out and go get Capn. Pages are important, but people come first."
<Capn_Ascii> "Yeah, sorry. We're still working on that thing you ordered, but it's going to be a while."
- Nenni trots after Cade.
<Cadellin> "Wait, what? Which thing did we order?"
<Capn_Ascii> "You know, the thing. The archmage-stopping dealio?"
<Capn_Ascii> "I dunno what it is, I just had my boys follow the blueprints. Said you needed the pages to make it work."
<Miranor> "Right, okay."
<Cadellin> "Well...that's...good, then?" Cade says quizzically. "I guess we'd better go get those pages now, then."
<Miranor> "I still think rescue is more important."
<Cadellin> "Yeah, I meant that too. To Capn!"
<Sheona> "I just hope we have the time for it."
<Nenni> "Capn is a human and humans pat. Pages are paper and make crinkly things to sit on. Either way is good but let's get both!"
- Cadellin heads out to the van.
- Nenni trots after Cade.
- Sheona tags along
- Miranor follows
<Cadellin> When everyone is in, Cade starts the van up and heads for the spot on the map where Capn's icon is.
<Nenni> "You know the way, right, based on my local knowledge and what you've seen of the maps on that box?"
<Miranor> "And Google Maps, yes."
<Nenni> "Let's turn on the radio."
<Cadellin> "We still got the map. I'll just follow that."
<Capn_Ascii> You all pile into the Van of Awesome and take your seats. You turn on the radio...
<Nenni> (we locked up the basement and closed the garage door before leaving)
<Capn_Ascii> "...once again, today's top news story: a tornado has touched down in the middle of town, destroying a local hobbyist shop and adjacent storage buildings. Fortunately, only one casualty has been reported so far - the store's owner, who was upon being rescued from the wreckage was heard to say, quote: 'Worst. tornado. EVER.' Emergency services are currently working to clear the rubble and restore power to the nearby businesses."
<Capn_Ascii> "The weather service is puzzled as to how such a violent yet highly localized event could have occured so suddenly, then disappeared just as quickly."
<Capn_Ascii> You start the van and drive as the radio story finishes.
<Capn_Ascii> It doesn't take long to reach the factory, given that your...ahem, lodgings were already towards the crappy industrial part of town. You pull up outside of a chain-link fence encircling the property, topped with barbed wire and plastered with numerous 'NO TRESSPASSING' signs. The factory itself looks much like it did in the picture, with one difference - smoke is billowing from the tops of the twin smokestacks.
- Miranor looks around for a way inside.
<Nenni> "Does that look like it should look? Or is that building actually on fire?"
- Cadellin shrugs off bad associations with captured people and smokestacks, and joins Miranor in looking for a door.
<Capn_Ascii> The driveway runs up to a large gate in the fence. There's a motor and drive chain connected to the gate, indicating it may have been automated at one time, but now there's a length of chain and a padlock holding it shut. There's also an intercom on a post.
- Miranor gets to work on the padlock
- Nenni sniffs the intercom to smell who pressed the buzzer last.
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: It's been a long, long time since anyone has used this thing.
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: The lock is old and rusted, and yields with little difficulty. The gate remains closed, however.
- Miranor tries some elbow grease on the gate
<Cadellin> "Anyone got any WD-40 to make this quieter?"
<Nenni> "I can make it silent, no problem."
<Miranor> "Come on, someone help me with this thing"
- Cadellin adds his weight to Miranor's.
- Nenni makes it silent, no problem.
<Nenni> (Nenni is manifesting: http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/powers/controlSound.htm for (up to) 6 minutes.)
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni works his Magic Psionic Cat Powers while Mira and Cade attempt to open the gate. It refuses to budge at first, but one good pull eventually unsticks the rusted track and the gate begins to silently slide off to the side. The driveway leads up to a lot on the side of the building, with a half-dozen loading doors and one small personnel door.
<Nenni> Nenni suppresses any grating or squeaking the gate or its man-handlers might make in the process of opening it, using the powers of his mind!
- Miranor heads towards the building.
<Cadellin> "Want to try the loading doors or the people door?"
<Miranor> "People door. Loading doors are... obvious."
- Cadellin shrugs. "Ok."
- Miranor goes to the personnel door and tries to open it.
- Nenni listens at the door.
<Sheona> "Aw, jeez. This is making me nervous..." Sheona mutters
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: The door is, of course, locked.
- Miranor picks the lock
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: There's sounds coming from in there that are a lot like the sounds that came from the gnomish workshop. Lots of grinding, pounding, and machinery sounds.
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: The lock yields without much trouble.
<Cadellin> "Open the door just a crack and peek in," suggests Cade.
- Miranor nods and does as suggested
<Nenni> "When we looked at Street View of this factory, were its chimneys smoking a year ago or so when it was last captured?"
<Capn_Ascii> You crack the door and take a quick look. You can't see much from here, but it looks like the area near this door is clear, at least.
- Miranor opens the door a bit wider and goes inside
- Cadellin , worried about noisy armor, allows the others to creep in first.
- Nenni slinks in and looks for somewhere good to blend into the shadows.
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: You slip into the door, and are struck by the sheer cacophany of industrial noise. No worries of being heard in here - an elephant could headbut a hole through the wall and no one would hear it.
<Capn_Ascii> Dozens of conveyor belts and roller lines criss-cross the factory floor at every conceivable height and angle, forming a maze of machinery that seems to occupy almost every inch of space. Dozens of robot arms are lined up along most of them, dutifully putting things together or welding things into place. Clearly, the place is in full production at this point. Everything seems to be fully automated - there's no sign of anyone here.
<Capn_Ascii> Somewhere off in the middle of the mess is a huge furnace, the belts surrounding it like a spiderweb. The twin chimneys run up and out the roof of the building.
<Capn_Ascii> Off to one side, up near the ceiling, is what you assume must be the foreman's office - a box-like thing with a window overlooking the factory floor.
- Miranor looks around for a way up to the foreman's office
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: There's short set of stairs leading down from the door to a metal catwalk suspended over the factory floor. Your eyes follow the catwalk, and...uh. Hmm.
<Capn_Ascii> It looks like it goes...no, wait, that's not right...
<Capn_Ascii> Maybe over here? ...no, no, that doesn't work...
<Capn_Ascii> You blink, start to go cross-eyed, then blink again and shake your head. You can't seem to visually follow the path of the catwalk without it disappearing into a maze of conveyor belts and roller racks and failing to come out the other side. In fact, now that you look closer, this whole place seems to have taken on a distinctly non-Euclidean aura. No single belt or line seems to follow a path that wouldn't force it to collide with something else, and yet somehow everything is still running. Something is seriously wrong with the geometry in here!
- Miranor looks around for something small to throw. Like a small rock or something.
- Nenni goes cross-eyed at the Escher effects.
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: There's an old, rusty bolt lying near your feet.
- Miranor tosses the bolt into the midst of the belts, trying to not let it hit any for as long as he can, just to see what happens.
<Capn_Ascii> The bolt arcs up, up, over the furnace, into the back of the factory somewhere.
<Capn_Ascii> With all this noise, it's impossible to tell if it hit anything or not.
<Capn_Ascii> It did seem to fly straight, though...
<Nenni> "See if you can throw another one at the foreman's cabin, and see if it makes it there or falls short or hits some kind of barrier?"
- Miranor sighs.
- Cadellin looks around for a ground-level door.
- Miranor walks carefully around the edge of the factory, looking for an access of some sort.
<Nenni> "Because if it flies straight, we could just fly there by jumping accurately."
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: You follow the wall to your right, away from the loading doors and heading along the length of the factory. You can see from here that a number of the lines are attached to the wall...you'll have to climb over them at some point. Still, you're pretty sure--
<Capn_Ascii> *THOCK* OW! What the hell!? Something just hit you in the side of the head!
<Capn_Ascii> You glance down at the floor, and see a rusty bolt clattering to rest.
<Capn_Ascii> --END SESSION--