Trinsic Tales:Metagame/Chapter 15
Chapter #15: Blah blah blah words blah
<Capn_Ascii> "As we join our heroes--"
<Capn_Ascii> The fishman, having rolled up an old parchment, uses it to swat at Nenni. "Excuse me, but would you kindly not rifle through my personal belongings? I understand you adventurers are used to simply barging into peoples' homes and taking things, but this is really too much."
<Miranor> "He's probably looking for his character sheet."
<Miranor> "I'm still not totally sure why that's important, but we've been grabbing ours up."
<Capn_Ascii> "Character sheets? Oh, no, no, those are the key to everything! Do you still have them? How many do you have!?"
<Cade> "Everyone's except Nenni's."
<Miranor> Miranor glares at Cade briefly. "We got just... well, yeah, that. They're safe."
- Nenni` is unpeterbed by being swatted by a fish. It's not the first time.
<Capn_Ascii> "What's a Nenni?"
- Nenni` looks up as if it's obvious.
<Cade> "The cat."
<Capn_Ascii> "Hmm? ...oh. Oh! Really? The cat is a character?" He leans down and peers at Nenni, wearing a pair of spectacles custom-made for his unusual face.
<Cade> "You were just hitting him with an old parchment...you weren't by any chance hitting him with his own character sheet, were you?"
<Capn_Ascii> "Oh, no, this is just an old fishpaper."
<Capn_Ascii> "So, let me ask you this: how much do you know already?"
- Cade sighs at the fact that Life missed an opportunity for dramatic irony.
<Cade> "The Archmage merged the worlds; he's building an army with golems or something. Somehow our character sheets are vital to this. And our GM has a loony hat on."
<Nenni`> "Now it's your turn. How much do YOU know?" Nenni hopes this isn't another one-sided exposition like what happened with the gnomes in the BASE.
<Capn_Ascii> "Hmm. Golems...interesting..."
<Capn_Ascii> He's writing something down on another sheet of paper that looks identical to the first one he bonked Nenni with. You'd assume it's another fishpaper, except basically everything in here smells like fish anyway.
<Capn_Ascii> "I've been doing some research, and here is how I currently understand it. Your 'Gee Emm' as you call him has inadvertantly tapped into a massive source of power without realizing it."
<Capn_Ascii> "I believe you were playing some sort of storytelling game, yes? It seems that as a result of this power linkage, the stories he was attempting to weave are becoming real. Not by spontanious manifestation, but through multiversal convergence."
<Capn_Ascii> "That is, rather than creating things, his mind is accidentally *finding* those things out there in the infinite planes and pulling them into your world."
<Capn_Ascii> "Are you with me so far?"
<Cade> "HIS mind is? Our GM is bringing those things here, not the Archmage?"
<Miranor> "Sort of, but how does that crazy wizard guy fit into all this?"
<Capn_Ascii> "Simple - he's the one controlling it all."
<Miranor> "How does that work exactly? One person's finding it, another controls it?"
<Capn_Ascii> "Like everything else, he existed in his own home plane, but was brought here by your 'Gee Emm' and his power. When he realized this, he identified your master as the source of the planar shifts."
<Capn_Ascii> "I believe he has found some way to control your master, and therefore control the planar convergence."
<Cade> "How did our GM happen across this power?"
<Miranor> "Yeah, he's got that weird helmet on. We locked him up so the archmage couldn't track him."
<Capn_Ascii> "Helmet? Hmm." *more scribbles*
<Nenni`> Nenni sees the fish is being cooperative so stops rifling through papers and pays attention to the discussion.
<Capn_Ascii> "Yes, I believe the helmet is the link between him and the Archmage. As long as it's active, the Archmage controls his thoughts. He can force him to imagine anything, and therefore make it appear. The more he imagines, the worse things get. Realities are jumbling together like a tangled bike chain."
<Capn_Ascii> The fishman blinks.
<Capn_Ascii> "...bike chain? I shouldn't even know what a 'bike' is. See? This is getting worse all the time."
<Miranor> "Alright, so what do we do about this? We got all but one of the sheets, and our GM locked up with a helmet. How do we *fix* this? Why are the sheets even relevant -- I'd think just removing the helmet would be enough -- I just don't know any way to do that safely."
<Capn_Ascii> "As for the source of the power, it's the 'sheets' you've been seeking. They are actually part of a set of cursed scrolls with powerful plane-bending magics."
<Capn_Ascii> "My guess is that your master found them, used them without realizing what they were, and triggered this whole mess."
<Miranor> "And there's exactly as many as match our party? Seems like a huge coincedence."
<Nenni`> "So as long as we can block the Archmage from influencing the Gee Emm's thoughts, the Archmage can only work with his current materials; he can't bring anything new into play, right?"
<Cade> "Didn't we hear from somewhere that it was the Archmage who slipped Cap something to make this happen? Maybe he somehow got the sheets to Cap."
<Capn_Ascii> "Oh, no, no. There are actually quite a many more than that. But yours are the ones currently being used, so they're the ones we need to fix all this."
<Capn_Ascii> "Hold on, slow down, let me explain." He lays out a diagram on the nearby table and begins drawing on it.
<Capn_Ascii> "The Archmage has your master in the hold of a powerful magical artifact, via a planar linkage. As long as tha tlinkage exists, you can't remove this 'helmet' without massive collateral damage to reality. The Archmage used the sheets to construct the link, ergo, you must use them to deconstruct it."
<Capn_Ascii> "Once the link is severed, the planes should naturally pull back into their proper alignment."
<Capn_Ascii> "To do this, you need both the sheets, and the tool the Archmage used to open the link in the first place."
<Miranor> "What tool is that?"
<Capn_Ascii> "I...have no idea." He shrugs. "Whatever it is, I would presume he has it in his secret lair."
<Miranor> "Great. So we need to find that too."
<Miranor> "The last sheet is supposed to be around here somewhere. Any ideas as to where?"
<Cade> "You mean in the golem factory?"
<Capn_Ascii> "I have no idea. Wizards usually make their lairs in towers, don't they?"
<Capn_Ascii> "Yes, actually, I have it in my possession. I've been studying its properties."
<Capn_Ascii> "But..." He glowers at you.
<Cade> "Find out anything useful?"
<Capn_Ascii> "This is an incredibly powerful magical artifact. Before I can entrust you with it, I must first test your resolve and ascertain your morals."
<Capn_Ascii> "To that end...you must perform a quest."
<Miranor> Miranor glares at him. "How about we perform the 'quest' of saving reality?"
<Miranor> "Because, you know, you need us, regardless of our supposed morals."
<Capn_Ascii> The fishman stares at you. Then...he bursts out laughing. "Ahahah! I'm kidding, I'm kidding! Boy, you should see the look on your face."
<Miranor> "I imagine I look like a grouch that's unhappy with the joking when ALL OF REALITY IS THREATENED."
- Cade stifles his grin.
<Capn_Ascii> "You're trying to save all our lives. Do you really think I'd just withhold a vital part of your mission for such selfish reasons? You'd have to be a complete tool to do that."
<Miranor> "Sadly, I know some complete tools."
<Capn_Ascii> He digs through his desk, and produces a small scroll case made of a familiar-looking metal. "Here you go." And just like that, he hands you the super-important quest item. Wow. This feels...weird.
<Nenni`> "Might the Archmage's super tool be a book or a tome or a manual of some kind? What do you know about mecha Terrasques piloted by goblins?"
- Miranor bows slightly. "Thank you," he pockets the sheet, planning to put it in the box upon return to the van."
<Capn_Ascii> He blinks at Nenni. "...mecha Tarrasques...?"
<Nenni`> "Yeah... dunno where that came from... I should know as much about them as a fish knows a bicycle."
<Capn_Ascii> "That scroll case blocks the artifact's signature. It's the only reason I haven't been discovered. He's been sending the rest to various hiding places, but I stole that one."
<Nenni`> "How did we know to come here then?"
<Cade> "The map might not be operating on the same wavelength as the Archmage's tracking?"
<Capn_Ascii> "Yes, how *did* you know to come here?"
<Nenni`> "When you say /He/ has been sending the rest to hiding places, to whom do you refer?"
<Miranor> "Show him the map."
- Cade pulls out the map and shows it to Fishman.
<Capn_Ascii> "The Archmage. He scattered them, presumably to hide them from you."
<Nenni`> "So he wrote the note we found right at the start."
<Capn_Ascii> He examines the map. "Well, now. A map for tracking them? I haven't the faintest idea where this came from. I didn't know such a thing existed. Where did you get it?"
<Capn_Ascii> "What note?"
<Nenni`> "So he provided the map to us. So he provided the BASE and the goblins. So we've been retrieving the stuff to the BASE that is /his/ /lair/ and trap!"
<Miranor> "No, no, we already established the archmage's handwriting and that guy's writing are different."
<Cade> "The map was...in the mailbox, if I remember right. When the Archmage first came here in his tornado, the mailbox fell on us, right?"
<Capn_Ascii> The fishman snapes his webbed fingers. "What's this about a note? Let me see it."
- Cade looks around. "Anyone have it on them?"
<Miranor> "Not me."
<Nenni`> Nenni is intrigued by how webbed fingers can snape. "Please can you snape again?"
<Cade> "I think we left it back at the base."
- Nenni` gets easily distracted.
<Nenni`> "Let me meditate for a second to recall it with complete clarity and I can read it out to you..." Nenni takes 10 on Autohypnosis.
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni begins reciting, and the fishman copies it down.
<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..."
<Capn_Ascii> "Hmm." He studies what he's written down. "You say you found this in your base?"
- Cade nods.
<Cade> "What do you make of it?"
- Nenni points to the BASE on the map.
<Capn_Ascii> "I had *assumed* the Archmage had hidden the sheets himself. Perhaps he didn't?"
<Capn_Ascii> "Then again...perhaps this predates the current situation. It's entirely possible someone else was trying to defeat the Archmage and lost the sheets to him, thus starting our predicament."
- Nenni wonders how much of fishman's research is just assumption. This starts to smell fishy.
<Nenni> "The habitants of the BASE did believe we had a longstanding relationship with them, though we (from our reality) had never encountered them before."
<Capn_Ascii> "Hmm. I would assume they were part of the 'game' your master created."
<Capn_Ascii> "Perhaps this note is as well? A bit of fluff for the quest that never happened."
<Nenni> "They were unforthcoming regarding the origin of the note or the fate of its author."
<Nenni> "So you think 'the pages of the Manuscript' became transformed into numerous character sheets in the convergence?"
<Capn_Ascii> "I couldn't say. I'm not sure how much our mystery author knew of the Scrolls and their true purpose."
<Capn_Ascii> "I suppose it's immaterial now anyway."
<Capn_Ascii> "What concerns me is the last sentence. He implies the Archmage's power source isn't kept in his lair at all."
<Capn_Ascii> "That power source is probably the tool he's using. You need to find it."
<Cade> "And it's not on our map."
<Nenni> "When you said you stole the last one, meaning this character sheet, from where and from whom did you steal it? And was that before or during this convergence?"
<Capn_Ascii> "Ah, that was...hmm..."
<Capn_Ascii> "...wait, did I...? No, that wasn't...hmm..."
<Capn_Ascii> The fishman begins to get a confused look on his face. You've seen this before - the orc fellow you met in the library experienced similar symptoms when asked about his backstory.
<Capn_Ascii> "That's funny, I...can't quite seem to remember..."
<Nenni> "Hey, you brought it up."
<Cade> "Do you think a Locate Object spell could find this source of power?"
<Capn_Ascii> "Not unless you know what you're looking for."
<Capn_Ascii> "It could be anything. An ancient artifact, a powerful mage's staff, a spellbook..."
- Miranor opens the case and checks the sheet
<Cade> "Any ideas on how to find it? Look for the tallest tower, or...?"
<Nenni> "But the note's author believed (at that time) it would be far from his lair. I wonder, is he a lich? Might the 'source of his power' be a phylactery?"
- Nenni feels like Miranor is staring deep into the heart of his soul as long as he looks into the scroll case. "Is everything present and correct?" he asks.
<Capn_Ascii> "A literal one? I doubt it, but he might be in a similar situation. I've heard of powerful spellcasters sequestering their power source far away from themselves in order to attain a measure of invincibility."
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: You open the case and find...nothing!
<Capn_Ascii> ...other than Nenni's character sheet, which is inside. It has his name on it and everything.
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: For some reason, you're picturing the mage's source of power as an ornate spellbook. You're not entirely sure why. Visions of another reality, maybe?
<Capn_Ascii> "I wouldn't know where to begin. Theoretically it could be anywhere, though I would assume it would be somewhere within the city. He seems to be focusing his efforts hereabouts. Or, perhaps he's limited to this area somehow? The latter seems more likely, otherwise he'd have no reason not to scatter the scrolls across the entire planet to make your job that much harder."
<Nenni> "Maybe the planar convergence is currently isolated to a certain radius, such as this city's limits. Do you know what the Fanta nova at the convention centre was?"
<Capn_Ascii> ".....the what?"
<Miranor> "That huge wave that we nearly got caught in, out at the convention center."
<Capn_Ascii> "Like, a wave of water?"
<Nenni> "It was orange."
<Miranor> "More like... brilliant magical energy that we did *not* want to get caught by."
<Nenni> "Then it dissipated"
<Capn_Ascii> "That sounds like a powerful spell, though I admit not one I'm familiar with."
<Capn_Ascii> "What happened after he cast it?"
<Cade> "We didn't really stay to find out."
<Nenni> "Might the Archmage's super tool be a book or a tome or a manual of some kind?" Nenni senses deja vu. Well, a summoned cat did just walk past, and then a black cat that looks somewhat like it. Deja vu is a glitch in The Matrix. It's what happens when they change something. "It's just that I keep getting this image of a spellbook and the sense that is ornate and the source of power."
<Capn_Ascii> "Hmm, really? Where did this image come from?"
<Cade> "If the Archmage had collected all the power sheets that we *weren't* using, then that might make sense that they were all in a tome?"
<Nenni> "I am asking myself the same question, but I haven't answered yet."
<Capn_Ascii> "So, you're perceiving images in your mind, but cannot ascertain where they originate? ...yes, that makes sense."
<Cade> "It does?"
<Capn_Ascii> He nods as he continues to pour over his notes. "Yes, that's a side effect of planar convergence. As realities meld together, a psychic bleed effect occurs. Thoughts and perceptions from other times and places begin to surface."
<Nenni> "Is that why you can't remeber how you stole this sheet? Because your memories and thoughts have bled out?"
<Capn_Ascii> "I...hmm. Actually, that could be correct, in a sense. If everything is being melded together in accordnace with your master's game concept, then perhaps I never actually stole this at all. Perhaps I simply had it from the get-go, and believed I stole it because that's what was planned for the character I represent."
<Nenni> "So now that I have the growing awareness that the power source is this ornate spellbook, someone somewhere has forgotten that fact."
<Capn_Ascii> "Not necessarily. I believe it's more a matter of you remembering something you yourself forgot."
<Capn_Ascii> "Perhaps you've seen it before and don't remember fully."
<Capn_Ascii> "At any rate, if you've seen it, you could conceivably look for it with a Locate Object or similar spell. Though the spell range will be the problem there."
- Nenni scratches his head, but with his back leg, obviously.
<Nenni> "Do you have a sheet of paper here I can attempt to draw it on?"
<Cade> "You're telepathic. Just send us an image? But I don't have any Locate Object spells prepared today. I can get 4 of them in tomorrow. I'll have to be within about two football fields length of it, though."
<Capn_Ascii> He lays out a blank sheet on the table. "Go for it."
<Capn_Ascii> "Yes, see, that's the problem. It can help when you get close, but you'd need to know where to look for it first."
<Capn_Ascii> "Perhaps scrying would work..."
<Capn_Ascii> "Although if I were him, I'd have taken that into account."
- Cade gets a sulky look on his face. "I can't do scrying yet anyhow."
<Nenni> "Ah Cade, I have Telepathic Speech: communicate telepathically with any creature that has a language and is within 30 feet. I can't do visuals yet anyhow."
<Cade> "Oh. Well...keep trying to draw, then?"
<Nenni> Nenni's psicrystal collar unfurls its spindly ectoplasmic legs from around his neck and starts to draw on the paper, guided by Nenni.
<Cade> "In the meantime, can you tell us what to do with the book, once we've got it?"
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: A few minutes later, and...uh. It's...kind of like a book? Sorta? Except...not really. It looks more like a soggy cereal box. Or maybe a tree stump.
- Nenni mutters to the others, "Go on ahead guys, this will take some time." He's concentrating hard enough his tongue is moving without his control.
<Capn_Ascii> The fishman scratches his chin. "Whatever the object of power is, it'll be holding open the planar link. Figure out how to shut it down, and everything should fix itself given enough time. Presumably the Archmage had some instructions for how to perform the link, and likely has some for severing it."
<Nenni> "Is the Archmage of the Gee Emm's devising? Would finding a way to communicate with the Gee Emm allow him to exposition the details of the archmage's machinations?"
<Capn_Ascii> "Yes, I believe that would work. The trick will be getting through to him, though. His mind is delving into infinite realities at once. It's bound to leave him a bit...confused."
<Miranor> "So this isn't just 2 realities merging?"
<Cade> "He can't find all the DnD elements he wants in just one reality. He's gotta pick from many."
<Capn_Ascii> "Oh, no, not at all. In fact, every character and piece of world you see out there is likely from its own plane."
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: It takes you a while, but eventually you hash out something resembling the spellbook.
<Capn_Ascii> "So, there you have it. Find the spellbook, and find some way to help your friend focus long enough to talk to you."
<Miranor> "Any ideas on where to look?"
<Capn_Ascii> "For the book? Think like a mage, or else solve problem #2 and ask your master."
<Miranor> "How would we solve that problem, then?"
<Capn_Ascii> "I...have no idea. Magic? The right spell could help, though I don't know what that might be. Or maybe find something he responds strongly to. Something he loves, or hates, or is afraid of. Shock his system."
<Nenni> "Character sheets?"
<Nenni> "He probably loves, hates, is afraid of and shocked by them."
<Capn_Ascii> "I doubt it. If all else fails, you might try the library. I hear the archives that have replaced it are quite impressive. Perhaps there's some research there that could help."
<Capn_Ascii> ---END SESSION---