Tuesday, January 5, 2021

Fear and Loathing in Lost Vegas

This writeup covers three sessions, which I've separated.

After the harrowing experience of the day before, the party once again turned to their mission at hand: finding a way inside. And, in fact, the way was just ahead - behind a crowd of nearly a thousand grey apes, who had built a village around the rocky entrance. Three stones jutted into the air, leaning together and leaving a wide entrance.

Rodney wasn't quite comfortable with fighting a thousand apes, so instead, he decided to step out and attempt to challenge them. In a booming voice, he called out various nonsense, ending with a threatening glare. The apes, meanwhile, has just been discussing the missing scouts, when a tall, terrifying creature stepped out and shouted at them, seemingly entirely unafraid. Most of the village immediately took off; the stronger guards held firm for a moment, but seeing the rush of a stampeding crowd pass them by, their will to stay and likely die quickly dried up, and they took to their heels.

The tribe would come back after only a few minutes, but by then, the party had already descended into the passage between the stones.

Down below, they noted various carvings and painting on the walls, of monsters and terrible disasters. However, many of the paintings were scratched out, and crude stick-men were added, usually attacking the monsters.

Eventually, they came to the end of the passage, which was guarded by two bandits in a jeep. Catching the bandits by surprise, the party rushed forward; in seconds, the gunner was dead (shot by Tevye), and the driver was bleeding out, his attempt at chucking grenades having failed miserably. Rodney jumped into the driver's seat and drove them out, somehow managing to keep the jeep fully intact.

Before long, they left the caverns through some kind of building, driving into the inside-out world. The descriptions of the area didn't seem to include quite so much rubble - whatever had happened here left the run down buildings outside the wall in even worse shape. Dark smoke rose from a fire to the left; the party wisely decided to avoid that area. Hoping to find a direction to travel, the crew set Ensign Soler on building a signal tracker from the jeep's radio. The result was crude, but useable; it pointed to the strongest signal, likely the direction of the city they were headed for.

Map of the caverns

On the way, they stepped into the middle of a brewing street fight - on the one side were a group of mostly humans, some in power armor, and on the other, a motley crew of droids and very strange creatures - some were short, some tall, some had three or four arms, or any number of legs. Memory of the logs told Nix that these were Symbiontoids - each creature wasn't a single being, but a collection of parts: their "skin" is a tough creature that wraps around the "digestive system", which supports the "splanch modules", little more than bones and muscle, and all controlled by the brain, the "person" behind the collection.

The party decided to carefully make their way past the Symbiontoid group. Once the crowd had thinned, Rodney approached one of the creatures wearing slightly better armor, and in the spirit of friendliness and peace, handed it a grenade. The creature freaked out, and hurled the grenade away - directly into the crowd, as it turned out - then yelled in panic for everyone to get out of the way. After much shouting and diving for cover, everyone realized the grenade was a dud. Rodney, ever helpful, was quick to point out that the creature was the one who dangerously threw the grenade... then, once the crowd turned against him, calmed them down and told them he'd take care of things. Then intimidated the already panicked creature, who was all too willing to help now that he wasn't going to be lynched. 2nd Lt. Bbbbbubbbbles, who has three spawnlings, gave them directions and a pass they could show any other members of the Symbiontoid Hivemind.

Following the directions, they made better time getting to the city; when they were drawing near, a human waved them into an alley, and offered to smuggle them into the city. He, as well as two grays (tall, gray-skinned fellows who show no emotion in voice or action), a droid, and a very large Symbiontoid carrying two large weapons, ushered them towards the city. Once they were away from prying eyes, the guides turned on their guests. During the battle, Ensign Soler chucked an EMP on the droid, and shut it down; Rodney went toe to toe with the Symbiontoid, and barely won out. The two blue apes went for the greys and the human; one of the apes was killed, but they managed to pin down the enemies long enough that Nix was able to blast them from the sky. They collected a few items from the corpses:

  • An energy spear; STR + d8, AP4; consumes the charge of one normal battery per battle
  • A vibrosword, essentially a sword-shaped chainsaw, very loud; STR+2d6, AP 1
  • An expensive-looking knife with hollow handle containing electronics and a dataport

As they finished clearing the bodies, a red ape slipped up, and palmed a map into Rodney's hand.

City Map

The map was a slight deviation from their current path; following it, they reached a locked door, which Rodney was unable to bash open, but Nix managed to pick quite handily. Inside was a fairly normal looking home - a living room/bedroom with a fold-out couch, a table with two chairs, a rug, and a wall-mounted terminal; a kitchen with a fridge and a stove, and a partially collapsed roof; and a cramped bathroom, with some basic first aid supplies.

After going over the area with a fine tooth comb, they discovered the terminal was hiding a secret - Rodney punched a hole through the front, and quickly realized that it was a fake screen, hiding a communication device inside... a communication device that was sporting an energy-spear-sized hole in it. Oops.

Irritated at their careful search not finding anything, Rodney and Nix next decided to trash the place, pulling open the couch and moving any furniture... and the rug, which hid a secret passage in the floor. Heading down, they found the space well lit. Most of the tunnel lead through earth and stone, but about halfway through, a wide area was obviously tunneled through the wall surrounding the city - it was much smoother, and obviously permacrete with steel rebar instead of natural stone. At the other end of the tunnel, they met up with the Resistance - mostly red apes carrying guns. Nix showed them the map, and the group escorted them through the city to a low, heavy-duty warehouse.

Inside, they met the Red Ape Queen, and a number of her group, including a doctor that healed up Rodney's wounds. She was overjoyed to see them, and briefly mentioned a prophecy that a group such as theirs would come and save their world. They spent the rest of the evening planning out how they would assault the Mayor's office, to rescue the mayor who was being held hostage by his second in command, known only as the Advisor - and to access the maze beneath the city, and activate the device that the Red Queen could not.

The plan was to have the Queen and her apes cause a distraction, leading some of the guards away from the office, and leaving an opening for Nix to slip inside an air duct, and hopefully find a way for everyone else to get inside the building.