Trinsic Tales:Metagame/Chapter 20
Chapter #20: Chicks Dig Giant Robots
<Capn_Ascii> "As we join our heroes we find them preparing...for WAR. Huh! What is it good for? ...a lot of things, as it turns out."
- Miranor looks at Gizmo with anticipation.
- Cade looks at Gizmo with trepidation.
<Capn_Ascii> Gizmo looks at the party with elation. "Follow me." He leads the party back to the entrance to the gnome labs.
- Miranor follows
- Cade hums the Following the Party tune, but only inside his head.
<Capn_Ascii> Gizmo opens the small door and walks through it, then motions for you to follow.
- Cade ducks and follows.
- Miranor also follows, making sure not to bang his head.
- Nenni purrs through, having no trouble with height.
<Capn_Ascii> The inside of the workshop is a nightmarish maze of of copper pipes, grinding gears, bursts of steam, and cacophanous noise. Dozens of workbenches are set up at various points along the walls, with dozens of gnomes tinkering away at various projects as you pass them. Gizmo leads you on a winding path through the chaos, occasionally pausing to tap one gnome or another on the shoulder and say something to them. They nod and scurry away.
<Capn_Ascii> Eventually you come to a large door, twice the size of a human (and therefore four times the size of a gnome). He pops the latch and pushes it open, and as you all pass through, he flips a light switch on the inside of the wall. The lights come on.
- Nenni thought gnomes might be able to see just as well in the dark as with the lights on.
<Capn_Ascii> The sight before you is awe-inspiring. It's a massive underground hangar, filled with of works of gnomish steampunk technology. On one side, you note several dozen suits of armor made from a brass-like metal, each the size of a particularly beefy human, each missing its helmet. On the other side are about fifteen tanks (!) made from the same material, fitted with caterpillar treads and short, large-bore cannons.
<Capn_Ascii> There are two hangar doors, one in the far wall and another smaller one off in the wall behind the tanks. The former is clearly marked "SURFACE EXIT".
<Miranor> "...Tanks. Nice."
- Cade merely gazes in awe.
<Capn_Ascii> Gizmo elbows Cade. "I know, right?"
<Capn_Ascii> He then sniffs. "It's beautiful."
- Cade nods in agreement.
<Miranor> "So, how many are needed to drive one of these?"
<Capn_Ascii> "A crew of four. Although, you won't be driving those."
<Capn_Ascii> He points at a pair of gnomes loitering near the second door, who proceeds to turn a large hand-crank. The door slowly opens.
<Capn_Ascii> You look through the door, and...oh, no! It's a Tarrasque, larger than life! Who could have ever forseen this happening in an Ascii game!?
<Capn_Ascii> ...no, wait...something's off here. It's not a real Tarrasque - merely an incredible simulation! The towering clockwork robot is shaped like the real thing, and just as big, but built from an assemblage of armor plating, pipes, gears, and assorted other parts. There's a pair of cannons sticking out of the head instead of horns, and where the mouth should be is a cockpit walled off by a glass-like material.
<Capn_Ascii> It looks...familiar somehow.
<Capn_Ascii> Gizmo would be tugging on his suspenders if he wore any. "You'll be driving that one."
<Miranor> "Well, then..."
<Nenni> "Just how far underground are we? Did you excavate this cavernous warehouse while we've been touring around outside?"
- Cade gazes in even more awe and finally comments, "Almost as awesome as The Van."
<Nenni> "Is it positioned on a rising platform which flips over a tennis court and splits a swimming pool in half as the secret door to the surface opens? I've seen that happen on TV."
<Capn_Ascii> "You'd be amazed what a well-coordinated army of gnomes can accomplish."
<Capn_Ascii> "Er, no." He glances at Nenni. "We kind of had to, uh, improvise an exit."
<Capn_Ascii> "We can't open it until you're ready to go, because the base will be compromised in the process. If there's anything you need to do, get it done now."
<Miranor> "Alright. So let's make sure the plan is clear."
<Nenni> "So what happens to Cap in the containment chamber when the BASE is compromised?"
<Capn_Ascii> "Yeah, that's the other thing. We'll have to take him with us when we leave - there won't be anyone left here to keep an eye on him. Which means we have to take him out of the box--er, chamber.
<Capn_Ascii> "Which means your magic-using buddy is going to come looking for him before long. We're going to need to get this assault moving if we're going to get anything done before he gets wise."
<Miranor> "So we need to do a direct assault."
<Capn_Ascii> "Basically. I mean, you're not going to be doing any stealth commando missions with this stuff, after all."
<Capn_Ascii> "So." Gizmo claps his hands together and rubs them gleefully. "Who wants to blow sh*t up?"
- Cade raises his hand. "Me."
<Miranor> "I'm not a big fan, but needs must I suppose."
<Nenni> "Is this thing licensed to drive on public roads? I mean, it may cause some collateral damage along the way, and I'm wary of how the martial law police lockdown might view crime."
<Nenni> "Does it contain a cargo bay in its abdomen we can load Cap's containment chamber into?"
<Cade> "Will you gnomes be driving the tanks and armor units and joining the fight with us?"
<Capn_Ascii> "No, but I think the police have other things to worry about right now. No, it's too small for that. Yes."
- Cade grins.
<Miranor> "So, before we go, we should make sure everyone is at complete health, with all spells at full, and ready for action. We should also determine our plan of attack."
<Capn_Ascii> "I think the plan is 'stomp and smash and shoot things', but if you have something more specific in mind, feel free."
- Cade nods. "It might be hard to get this thing up the stairs of a building," he says dryly.
<Miranor> "I am mostly interesting in things like... that, yes. Also if it makes more sense to attempt to surround them or come at them from a single point."
<Capn_Ascii> "Stairs? Where we're going, we don't need...stairs." A beat. "We can just climb up the side of the building, after all."
<Capn_Ascii> "We don't have enough hardware to surround them, so we'll have to settle for a blitz. We can assault with the tanks, get our troops inside and keep their ground forces occupied while you pilot the robot."
<Nenni> "We are still talking about methods for trying to access a book, aren't we? And we're thinking of using a mecha several storeys tall to go about it?"
<Cade> "I don't suppose it can...fly...can it?" Cade asks hopefully.
<Cade> "It's a very well guarded book."
<Capn_Ascii> "Fly? ...well, no, but now I wish I'd thought of that earlier. Well, I know what we're doing for the Mk2!" He pulls out a notepad and begins scribbling on it furiously.
<Capn_Ascii> He appears to be doodling pictures of a tarrasque robots that transforms into a fighter jet.
<Capn_Ascii> "Anyway, I figure it'll be the fastest way to get things done. With any luck, you can be up that tower before the Archmage can catch up to you."
<Cade> "I have two Locate Object spells prepared today. If we climb the side of the tower in the terrabot, I can try casting that part way up to see if it can help narrow down which floor the book is on."
<Miranor> "So, to confirm, this thing *can* climb, correct?"
<Capn_Ascii> "Oh, sure. It's got nice big claws on the hands and feet."
<Capn_Ascii> "And, I would assume it would be all the way at the top. That's how these things usually work, right?"
- Cade blinks. "Oh, right."
<Miranor> "This is a valid point."
<Nenni> "Whether or not it can climb, we know the book (and its owner) will be flying out of the tower to a /more/ secret location the moment a minion sounds the intruder alert, so if none of these constructs can fly, do you have a large net we can surround the city block with and a trebuchet to deploy it? Because otherwise assaulting the tower block will backfire."
<Miranor> "Or we have to take them out fast enough they don't sound a damn thing... but that might be unrealistic."
<Miranor> "Especially without our own noise constituting an equal alarm."
<Capn_Ascii> "Well, that's what I meant. We need to hit fast and hard, and we can reach the top before the Archmage can. He's been rampaging through downtown looking for Cap here ever since the debacle at the convention center."
<Cade> "I think we're counting on the mage being at his workshop instead of in the tower when we first attack. He'll show up, but hopefully he won't immediately grab the book and leave."
<Miranor> "Okay, sounds like a plan then. Hit hard and fast."
<Nenni> "Even a trebuchet to launch us to the top of the tower would be a good start. Then we can base-jump down in wingsuits. The robot could be a good distraction while we do that though."
<Cade> "Um. Climbing the tower in a robot sounds a lot more comfortable than hitting the tower at trebuchet speeds."
<Nenni> "I was going for the 'hard and fast' bit."
<Miranor> "Yeah, I'd prefer not to die. Although... if we could get high enough, and sneaky... we'd have line of sight for a teleport."
<Capn_Ascii> "High enough? Isn't that the tallest building in town?"
<Nenni> "You don't have anything smaller that can fly?"
<Cade> "Do any of us HAVE a teleport?"
- Nenni nods.
<Miranor> "...That would be a flaw, yes. Never mind."
<Miranor> "Okay. Are there any reasons we should not immediately commence with assault?"
<Capn_Ascii> "I don't have anything that can fly, no."
<Cade> "I haven't used any spells yet, so I think I'm ready to go."
- Nenni addresses the Talking Head, "You're being awfully quiet there Clay. Any input?"
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: Clay doesn't seem to be here right now. "Oh, yeah, I nearly forgot. We hooked him up with one of the armor suits here. It took a bit to figure out how to make it work, but he should be good to--"
<Capn_Ascii> "WOOOOO!" A loud yell echoes from the far side of the room.
<Capn_Ascii> One of the robot armor suits comes stomping up to you, with Clay's head perches atop it. "Lookit me, guys! I'm a robot now! This is AWESOME!"
<Nenni> "Are you still going to make it to your performance in the square today?"
- Cade offers Clay a fistbump, hoping that Clay has adequate control not to crush his hand.
<Capn_Ascii> Clay brofists. "Screw that! I'm giving up performance art to become a professional asskicker!" He grins. "Check it out! I've got missiles!" He lifts his left arm, and a panel opens, dispensing a small missile on a rack. "Isn't it co--" *FWOOSH!*
<Capn_Ascii> The missile goes off, rocketing across the room and exploding against the far wall, leaving a scorch mark. The gnomes glare angrily at him. ".....oops."
<Nenni> "So once Cap comes out of the chamber, the archmage will be able to once more get access to his dimension-warping powers of imagination, right? Because the chamber currently blocks the archmage from importing any *more* power. So if we take Cap out of the chamber, things will rapidly escalate and deteriorate. Do you perhaps have a helmet made of the same material as the box and Fish Fingers' scroll case that Cap can wear to mitigate this?"
- Cade looks around, decides no more missiles are about to be launched, and walks over to the robotarrasque. He knocks gently on the side. "So where's the door to get in this?"
<Capn_Ascii> "No. We used it all up, and we don't have time to re-forge it. Which is why this needs to get done quickly."
<Capn_Ascii> "Well, before you can get in, you first have to suit up. We have color-coded uniforms for you all and everything."
<Nenni> "Thundercats are go?" Nenni inquires.
<Miranor> "...Color-coded? How exactly do you even make sense of that? Normally color coding is to indicate function, but there's no commonly recognized coloration for generic D&D classes that I'm aware of... so that would just be meaningless here..."
- Cade looks down. "Do the uniforms have +8 AC bonus? Cause otherwise I might want to keep my plate armor."
<Capn_Ascii> Gizmo pauses, then laughs. "I'm kidding! There's no uniforms. That would be ridiculously dorky."
<Miranor> "...Okay. Good."
<Capn_Ascii> "Now let's get in the giant robot and go fight some orcs and goblins."
<Miranor> "Giant robot time!"
- Cade looks for the door again.
<Nenni> "Well, alright - but as long as we don't hurt anybody."
- Nenni follows Cade to the bot and waits for a door to open magically, just like all human doors open for him when he waits long enough.
<Capn_Ascii> "Alright, boys, hit it!"
<Capn_Ascii> There's a loud series of grinding noises as the robot begins to move, steam spewing from openings in its back. The beast lowers one large hand to the floor, palm-upward.
<Miranor> "We're supposed to get on the hand?"
- Cade calmly steps on the hand.
- Miranor gets on the hand
<Capn_Ascii> Everyone piles onto the robot hand, which then begins to lift you upwards. You step off onto the Tarrabot's head, where a submarine-style valve hatch opens for you.
- Nenni talks to the hand.
- Miranor looks inside
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: The inside of the cockpit is fairly cramped, but there's enough room for everyone to pile in. There are several seats arranged at various consoles, including a pair of pilots' chairs right up front. A pair of goggle-wearing gnomes are seated in them, grasping a series of levers and working footpedals. "Come on in."
- Cade hops in and grabs a random seat. "What does this station do?"
- Miranor walks in but doesn't immediately take a station. "Yeah, which station is which, and how do we know who's best at what?"
<Capn_Ascii> "That station fires the head-mounted cannons."
<Capn_Ascii> The gnome pilot points. "That one works the tail grinder, that one launches the mortars, that one targets the guided missiles, and that one works the crotch-mounted flamethrower."
- Miranor quickly heads to the guided missile station.
- Cade examines the controls to see if he can figure out how to use them.
- Miranor checks for his ability to use it as well.
- Nenni curls up at the tail grinder console.
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: The console appears quite simple - there's only one button, marked 'FIRE MISSILES', and what looks like a camera feed from somewhere on the robot's forehead. There's a crosshair, and a joystick to turn the camera.
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: This one is a bit more complicated, with multiple knobs and a wireframe representation of the terrain in front of the robot. It looks like the screen shows you a projected firing arc which you're supposed to fine-tune before firing.
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: Yours has one big red button, a joystick, and a camera viewing the ground behind the robot. It looks like the tail is designed to be used to repel attackers coming from behind.
<Capn_Ascii> Jug and Sheona take their places at the mortar and flamethrower stations, respectively.
<Nenni> "Is there a grappling hook launcher anywhere? Something we can fire at a book to hook it up into a cargo bay?" Nenni asks the pilots. "Or is the only way to salvage stuff outside the robot to physically go outside the skull, ride down on the hand, pick it up, get back on the hand, rise up, and pop back into the skull?"
<Capn_Ascii> "This thing isn't designed for that sort of fine motor control. If you want to pick up something smaller than a person, you're gonna have to get out and do it yourself."
<Cade> "You can dimension-door yourself out."
<Nenni> "Indeed. But not if the archmage is anywhere nearby."
<Nenni> "Last time we tried that, he had a dimensional anchor active."
<Capn_Ascii> "We're loading your friend in as we speak. Are you guys ready to RAWK!?"
<Miranor> "Let's do it."
<Cade> "N ROLL!"
<Capn_Ascii> The gnome reaches over and hits a big red button marked 'LAUNCH'...
<Capn_Ascii> ---END SESSION---