Trinsic Tales:Metagame/Chapter 21
Chapter #21:Dissolve to Black
<Capn_Ascii> "As we join our heroes, GIANT FUCKIN' ROBOT YEEEEEAAAAAAH"
<Capn_Ascii> On the streets above, all is quiet. Then, suddenly...
<Capn_Ascii> The laundromat explodes in a shower of bricks and debris as a giant tarrasque-shaped robot erupts from beneath it, tearing the building to ribbons.
<Capn_Ascii> Off to one side, the other troops make a somewhat more understated entrance through a hidden hangar door that opens out of a nearby alleyway.
- Cade starts wondering which of the stations actually controls where the tarrasque *goes*.
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: That would be the two gnomes at the front, moving those levers. The pilot gives one of them a tug, and the robot lurches forward with a heavy WHUMP, shaking as a giant foot impacts the road below.
- Cade gives them directions to get to the Tower.
<Capn_Ascii> WHUMP, WHUMP, WHUMP, WHUMP...
<Capn_Ascii> The robot clanks and stomps into the main parts of the city, followed by a small army of tanks and gnomes in power armor. You can see that the chaos from downtown is already spreading out this way - there are dozens of monsters roaming the streets below who scurry to get out of your way.
<Capn_Ascii> Soon you approach the barricades. A goblin lookout spies you from his perch atop a nearby building, falls out of his beach recliner, then leaps up and begins blowing on a horn to alert the others.
- Nenni starts practising the Tail Grinder in mid air to get the "hang" of it.
- Miranor fires a missile in the goblin's direction. There is a penalty for sounding alarms at me.
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: You press the button. *FWOOSH!* A missile goes flying. *BOOM!* The only thing left of the goblin is his boots, with smoke rising up from them.
- Miranor suddenly realizes he should probably check the ammo gauge
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: Upon activating the controls, the robot's tail opens up into something resembling a helicopter blade and begins spinning. You find you can move it around by bending the tail.
- Cade also looks for an ammo gauge.
<Capn_Ascii> AMMO: LOTS
<Capn_Ascii> The front gates open, and dozens of orcs in battle armor come charging out towards you!
- Cade grins, looks for the biggest grouping of goblins/enemies, and fires the head cannon into it.
- Miranor sighs and starts picking targets to fire at. And firing.
<Sheona> "On the one hand, I have a flamethrower. On the other hand, I'm not so eager to kill. On the other other hand, flamethrower..."
<Miranor> "You and I both know you're going to end up on flamethrower, so let's not waste time!"
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: You greet the charge with a cannon round fired right into their midst. Many of the orcs are sent flying, and the gate behind them is blasted off its hinges in the process.
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: You begin picking off anyone you can see on the nearby rooftops - mostly archers and lookouts. Soon, though, you spy a new threat - small flying dragons, with goblin riders!
<Miranor> "Incoming dragons!"
<Capn_Ascii> Sheona: The remaining orcs are drawing closer! They're in flamethrower range!
<Cade> ?me continues firing at concentrations of ground enemies.
<Sheona> "Ah, screw it." Sheona unleashes the flames on all the orcs within range!
- Miranor starts picking off dragons.
<Capn_Ascii> Sheona: For the Royalty! BUUUUURN! *fwoosh*
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: As Cade and Sheona handily wipe out ground forces, you begin dealing with the dragons. It's surprisingly difficult to lock onto them - they're fast and agile.
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: Finally, you get the first one in your sights. FIRE!
<Capn_Ascii> *fwoosh* *BOOM!* It and its rider explode into chunks. More dragons follow suit, until you've blasted a half-dozen of them - the others turn tail and begin to fly away.
- Sheona laughs maniacally at the flames
<Capn_Ascii> The gnomes behind you quick dispatch most of the rest of the enemy's ground forces. As you approach the gate, the robot begins to turn around - the pilot is aiming the tail weapon towards the barricades!
<Nenni> "Do remember, guys, that for all we know the disappearance of normal citizens and the appearance of hordes of goblins and orcs after the Convention Centre event (as reported on the news) could be evidence that the defence team at this tower block used to be friendlies and have a good chance of returning to be civilians when the Archmage is vanquished, so I still urge restraint. After all, we don't want to set off the fire alarm."
<Miranor> "Just destroy the barricades, please."
<Nenni> "Is that dismissing my concern?"
- Nenni uses the Tail Grinder to flip over barricades, bollards, roadblocks, etc. being careful to avoid any casualties.
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: As usual, your tail knocks over everything in sight. You watch as a single orc, enflamed by Sheona's flamethrower, runs around screaming before collapsing into a charred heap, his skin mostly burnt off. A single tear forms in your eye.
<Miranor> "It's failure to understand how we can do anything about that at the moment. Either it is or it's not. I'm not risking mission failure, given the consequences. Sure, we won't destory things we don't need to, but that wouldn't make sense anyway."
- Nenni just hates to bite the hand that feeds him. Or might potentially feed him in the future.
- Cade focuses on shooting the cannon on only those things that stand between them and climbing the Tower.
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: Admittedly, there isn't much of those at the moment. The robot shuffles through the ruins of the barricades and soon stands before the building itself.
<Nenni> "I hope Clay is doing OK in his new exo."
<Miranor> "Let's ascend."
<Nenni> "All rise!"
<Capn_Ascii> "Okay, folks, hold onto your hats!"
<Capn_Ascii> The gnome pilots work their levers, and the beast's arms reach out and grab onto the sides of the building. It begins pulling itself up as its feet dig into the walls below.
<Cade> "All the way to the top," Cade directs.
<Capn_Ascii> "Nah, I was thinking we'd stop about halfway up, maybe walk up the rest of the way."
<Capn_Ascii> As you begin the climb, you can see goblin archers leaning out of the windows, aiming their rocket launchers at you. .....wait a tic, rocket launchers!?
- Miranor immediately starts focusing on the enemy rocketeers. "Little help here guys!" he shouts, firing away.
- Cade does the same.
- Sheona tries to bring the flamethrower to bear against them.
<Capn_Ascii> Everyone opens fire at once - missiles impact rockets, cannon shells blow open holes in the tower, flames roar and scorch and melt. It's utter chaos!
<Capn_Ascii> The robot shakes violently as something impacts it. "We're hit! We're hit!"
<Capn_Ascii> Eventually, the smoke clears. The goblins are gone, but the robot is moving more slowly than before. "We've taken damage. Gonna be a close one..."
- Nenni flails the Tail ineffectually on the far side of the mech, unable to help with the rocketeers.
<Capn_Ascii> The Tarrabot hauls itself up and over the lip of the roof, its head clearing the edge. It's there, however, that it finally slows to a stop. "We've lost motor control. Sorry, guys, we can't go any further."
<Nenni> "So is this the moment we batten open the hatches and yell abandon ship?"
- Cade climbs out, thanking the gnomes.
- Nenni makes for the door, scanning the rooftop for an ornate spellbook.
- Miranor nods. "Let's do it."
- Miranor climbs out and looks around
<Nenni> "C'mon gnome pilots! You don't want to stay in the cockpit like sitting ducks!" Nenni licks his lips at the thought of ducks.
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: You pop the hatch and peek your head out. The rooftop is surrounded by a saftey cage fence, designed to keep would-be lookseers from plumetting to their untimely deaths. Sitting in the middle of the rooftop is an ornate onyx altar that clearly doesn't belong there. Neither do the seven knights clad in matching black armor, surrounded by glowing eldritch energies and wielding flaming swords.
<Miranor> "Well we can't have this..." Miranor starts preparing to cast a spell at the enemy.
<Capn_Ascii> Something explodes from the back of the robot. Moments later, a massive explosion rocks the rooftop! When the smoke clears, the knights all lay dead and dismembered.
<Capn_Ascii> Jug cracks his knuckles from the mortar console, and grins.
<Sheona> "I suppose that works."
<Miranor> "Oh. Nice job."
- Cade looks on the altar to see if the spellbook is there.
<Nenni> "The head cannon might also have worked."
<Capn_Ascii> The altar doesn't have anything visibly on it, aside from a lid. If you had to guess, you'd assume the book is inside.
- Nenni trots toward the altar, wondering if IT'S A TRAP.
- Cade pokes the altar with the tip of a hammer to make sure it's not a mimic.
- Miranor actually *checks* the altar for traps.
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: IT'S A TARP! ...see? There's an old plastic tarp caught on the fence.
- Nenni sniffs it to see if it's a mimic too :-P
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: You politely ask the alter if it is indeed trapped. It says no, and indeed, seems insulted by your insinuation that it is anything less than totally forthright. You cad.
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: It smells like unspeakable evil. Mimics only smell like naturally-occuring evil.
- Nenni skitters away from it, spooked out!
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: You tap the alter, and are immediately blasted with a powerful surge of energy! It knocks you flat on your ass, and hurts like hell to boot.
- Nenni looks around to check that both Gnome pilots and also Cap disembarked safely from the terrasque mecha.
- Miranor recoils from the powerful surge of energy. "Anyone think they can take that?"
<Sheona> "I think it's more relevant that I'm unwilling to 'take that'."
<Cade> "Want me to try a Dispel Magic on it? I just got one of those for today."
- Nenni trots up to an oozing pile of offal that used to be a black eldritch knight with a flaming sword. He Searches the corpse for (a) any implement it may have had for safely interacting with the altar, and if that fails, (b) the flaming sword in case that is key.
<Sheona> "I think I also have a Dispel Magic."
<Cade> "Archmage's caster level is probably a lot higher than mine, though, so I don't know if it'll work."
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: There is basically nothing left of the knights aside from smoldering flesh and warped armor shards.
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: Also, you can see the pilot is still in his seat. The copilot is not; presumably he's trying to effect emergency repairs.
- Miranor grumbles something about cowards and tries to access the altar.
- Cade gives the altar a steely-eyed look, waves his arms in mysterious ways, and flings Dispel Magic at it.
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: *BRZAP!* You get flung away as well. Papapishu, that hurts!
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: The altar snaps, crackles, and pops, but the energy field doesn't quite go away. You feel like you were close, though.
<Sheona> "Let me give it a try..." Sheona waves her arms in equally mysterious ways, and shoots a Dispel Magic at the altar
<Miranor> "Unfortunately, I only have a few spells, and they're not utility spells like this."
<Capn_Ascii> The results are much the same. The altar is well protected, it seems.
- Nenni tries to figure out if the altar is 250 pounds or less.
- Cade looks through his belongings to see if he has anything that might help. Pulling out a phone number written on a scrap, he mutters, "I hope Sara's alright," and wonders if he'll ever call her.
<Cade> Pulling out a mirror next, without looking into it, Cade decides it's worth a try, and flings the Lewis Carroll Looking Glass mirror at the altar, hoping it will fritz out the spell or something.
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: As the mirror hits the field, it begins sparking violently, magical energy discharging in large arcs into the surrounding concrete of the roof. After a few moments, the mirror is launched away at high speed, embedding itself in the skin of the robot like some sort of ninja throwing star. The energy around the altar wobbles unsteadily for a few moments before it settles back down again.
- Miranor checks the roof for anything else of interest.
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: Aside from the altar and the giant robot hanging over the edge, the only other thing of note here is a small brick shed, presumably containing the stairs down.
- Miranor opens the shed to confirm this theory, without actually going down.
<Nenni> There's also seven ex-knights and an evil tarpaulin.
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: Yup, stairs.
- Miranor looks in the shed for anything other than the stairs.
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor: Nope, just stairs. They stair back at you.
- Nenni manifests Telekinetic Force power and tries first of all the move or tip over the entire altar.
<Nenni> After that, he tries to telekinetically prize off the lid.
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: The altar isn't budging - it's been bolted to the concrete of the roof. The lid feels like it can move slightly, but the barrier is trying to hold it in place.
- Cade rolls a small ball of clay between his palms until it is a smooth sphere. Hunching over into a runner's starting position, he takes a few deep breaths and then launches himself at the force field and altar.
- Nenni then casts Improvisation (for a +5 to next ability test) and concentrates on bursting the altar (a Strength check using Intelligence modifier, plus Improvisation bonus.)
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: You hear the lid groan, but it doesn't quite break open.
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: You can feel the barrier's energies coursing through your body, but you fight your way through it like a true stubborn dwarf. Soon your hands clasp onto the lid. You find you have to hold yourself there just to avoid being pushed back.
- Cade quickly touches the clay to the lid and whispers the words to Stone Shape, turning the lid into smooth sphere.
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: Your spell causes the lid to morph like...well, clay. It draws itself up and balls up into a nice little sphere shape, exposing the hollow beneath it.
- Cade , still hanging on to the edge of the altar, looks inside for a spellbook.
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: There it is - an ominous-looking spellbook, hovering just inside the lid. It's got gilded edges, and a big padlock holding it shut.
- Nenni searches the skies for a migrating Archmage at this time of the year.
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: The skies look clear at the moment...
- Cade attempts to reach one hand into his backpack while holding on to the altar with the other hand. Awkwardly, he can only reach the last thing he put back on top - the hammer. Pulling this out, he pokes it at the spellbook, hoping it doesn't have additional traps, and waiting to see if the nudge from the hammer is enough to push the hovering book out and away from the altar.
<Miranor> "Just grab the thing and fling it to us!"
<Nenni> "Don't forget to say the magic necronomicon phrase first!"
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: The book hovers slightly to the side, tilting lazily, but otherwise nothing happens.
- Cade puts the hammer back, grabs the spellbook, and lets go of the altar.
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: You go flying away from the altar and land on your back several yards away. OW.
<Capn_Ascii> Cade: On the bright side, you managed to hold onto the book.
- Cade , lying on his back, looks up with a big grin. "I got it, guys!"
<Nenni> "Let's get out of sight, whether in the mecha or in the brick hut, so we're less exposed and vulnerable on this rooftop. We also need to defend Cap while we open this book."
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: Hmm...still watching the skies, you notice a black dot against a bank of clouds that looks like it's getting closer.
<Nenni> "Is that a bird? Is it a plane?..." Nenni trails off.
<Miranor> "Okay, let's do what we need to do with this thing..." Miranor also trails off and looks at what Nenni saw. "Oh, crap."
- Miranor grabs the book and heads into the shed. "Quick, the dissolver!"
<Cade> "Don't YOU have the dissolver?" Cade says, also running into the shed.
<Capn_Ascii> From somewhere up above you can hear a tiny voice quickly getting louder: ".........aaaaaaaaaAAAAAARGH" < Capn_Ascii> You all pile into the door, slamming it behind you.
<Miranor> "Good point. So I do," Miranor grabs the dissolver and hands it to Cade. He then tries to open the book itself.
<Nenni> "I hope Cap will be alright, all on his own out there, with nobody to defend him against the archmage."
<Miranor> "He's not exactly visible. Now hush, and let me work."
- Cade dribbles a few drops on the edges while Miranor works on the lock, just in case the solvent will seep into the pages the way ink does.
- Miranor tries the library key
<Miranor> When they don't work, he goes to old fashioned lockpicking.
<Capn_Ascii> *click* The lock opens.
<Capn_Ascii> You can hear someone yelling *very* angrily outside.
<Capn_Ascii> "Fire! FIRE!"
<Capn_Ascii> It sounds like the gnomes are firing the cannons at him.
- Miranor quickly opens the book
<Miranor> "Gogogo solvent"
- Cade starts pourin solvent over any page with ink.
<Capn_Ascii> Miranor flips open the book as Cade begins to indiscriminately dribble solvent onto the pages. Before long, the book is a drippy, muddled mess, with liquified ink oozing from the binding.
<Nenni> "Hopefully that was the right book."
<Capn_Ascii> Right about then, the door you just came through gets ripped off of its hinges and thrown to the side. The Archmage is floating outside of it, and he looks *super* pisses. "THERE YOU ARE!"
<Capn_Ascii> As he raises his arms to blast you, though, he suddenly sees the book. "NO! What have you done!?
<Miranor> "Sent YOU back to where you belong. I hope."
<Capn_Ascii> Before you can answer him, you hear an odd, high-pitched whine coming from the robot. You turn to look, and the Archmage does as well.
<Capn_Ascii> The Tarrabot suddenly *explodes* in a massive burst of energy, vaporizing completely. Cap's body, glowing with energy, floats up from within it, as the cap on his head disappears. The Archmage looks horrified. "NOOO! DO NOT WANT!!!"
<Capn_Ascii> He flies towards Cap, but before he can reach him, the latter erupts into a white-hot sphere of energy which quickly begins to expand. It envelops the rooftop, the Archmage himself, and then keeps going, sweeping into the stairwell, overtaking you all. Your senses are drowned out by the intense power...!
<Capn_Ascii> "Alright, who's ready to RP!?"
<Capn_Ascii> Cap'n sits at his place of honor opposite the table, safely ensconced behind his DM screen. He sounds excited, but there's an edge to his voice like that of an Orc who's about to slaughter a bunch of defenseless villagers and enjoy every second of it.
- Miranor quickly looks over himself to see what body he's in.
- Nenni tries to speak.
<Capn_Ascii> It looks like everyone and everything is back to normal. You're all back in your original bodies (and genders).
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: "Meow."
- Miranor looks around and sighs. "Honestly... under the circumstances..." Nick reaches under the table to his bag. "Can we... not, tonight? I got Magic cards or something... but I don't really think this is a good idea."
<Cade> "You mean there's no boss fight?" Anna says, looking around with a confused look in her eyes.
<Capn_Ascii> "Huh, really? Cap looks a bit disappointed. "Well, okay, I guess we can play Magic. Actually, I got these neat cards from some weird old guy in an antique store, and--"
<Capn_Ascii> Cap is suddenly very aware that everyone is glaring angrily at him. "...did I do something wrong?"
- Nenni begins to wonder, "Why oh why didn't I take the blue pill!?" having glimpsed a life as being respected as an equal with something to contribute, can he go back to being "just" the FLGS's pet? He'd far rather stay in the fantasy if that's the alternative!
<Sheona> Evelyn glances over at the cat. "Whose cat is that, anyway?"
<Capn_Ascii> Cap shrugs. "Hell if I know. He won't shut up, though. Talks all the damned time. He doesn't even meow properly, he just says the word 'meow'. It's weird."
<Miranor> "Do you have any memory, of, oh, say, the past few days?" Nick asks Cap.
<Miranor> "Or any disturbing gaps in your memory, like something should have happened but didn't?"
<Cade> "Do we even know what day it is?"
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: Hearing Cap, you try saying something other than 'meow'. It works.
<Miranor> "Good question," Nick pulls out his phone and checks.
- Nenni hopes Clay made it... whatever that might ave looked like.
<Capn_Ascii> "What day is it? It's game day. And of course I remember the past few days, I've been working on this campaign all week."
- Cade wonders idly whether Sara was from this world and what she's doing right now.
- Nenni tries saying, "Woof" just to see what happens.
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: "Woof."
<Sheona> "Did anyone else just hear that, or do I need to up my antipsychotics?"
<Miranor> "If you heard 'woof'... you're not alone." Nick confirms.
<Sheona> "Okay. Good to know I'm not any crazier than usual."
- Cade pulls out her phone and checks recent local news to see if there are any headlines about mass hallucinations.
<Capn_Ascii> Anna: It looks like everything has been perfectly normal lately. All of the multiversal shenanigans of the past few days seem to have been undone completely.
<Nenni> Nenni tries manifesting http://www.d20srd.org/srd/psionic/powers/attraction.htm to compel Capn DM to pat him, to confirm his original superpowers are still working. The superpowers inherent to being a real cat.
<Miranor> "...I'm honestly not sure what to say that you'd even believe, Cap. Anna, Evelyn, Brian, you know what I'm talking about, though, right?"
<Capn_Ascii> Nenni: Cap gives you a weird look. "You weird-ass cat." Still, he reaches over and scratches you behind the ears.
- Cade nods emphatically.
<Nenni> Life is good. Nenni curls up in a ball and purrs himself to sleep.
<Sheona> Evelyn places a hand on her chin. "I think so, but everything's full of gaps from my perspective."
<Cade> Anna stares at Cap like she wants to dissect his brain. "Strange that WE remember, but YOU don't." She leans back. "Of course, you WERE out of it the whole time."
- Miranor pulls out a very specific Magic set. It's Archenemy: Nicol Bolas. "I think we need to try to... take out our frustrations." He hands the Bolas decks to Capn, and puts the other 3 decks on the table for people to pick at. "I think I know who'd be best with who, but I'm not going to presume," he indicates the Chandra, Nissa, and Gideon decks.
<Capn_Ascii> Cap shrugs.
- Cade shrugs. "You'll have to show me how to play this one."
<Miranor> "We'll be on a team, so this is doable. I know what I'm doing."
<Capn_Ascii> ---MEANWHILE, ELSEWHERE IN THE PLANARVERSE---
<Capn_Ascii> "Yaaaaargh!" Clay the Statue-Cyborg blasts away another Orc with his missile launcher. "Take *that*, evildoer! And you're next, pal!" He shakes his fist up at the Archmage, who hovers overhead.
<Capn_Ascii> "I think not, fool! Prepare to die!" He raises his arms and begins charging a powerful spell. The two let loose their projectiles at the same time...
<Capn_Ascii> ---THE END?---