So we resumed our session yesterday, and ended up having another game that was broken up with a lot of PCs in a lot of different locations.
Gandrake and Snow were apprehended by the Militia, while Jun Xi and Sed waited for them to finish interrogating the captives to discuss the details on rewards and such. Captain Trenton tried to flip Snow and get her to stand as a witness against her family’s assassinations, but she proved uncooperative. In fact she seemed outright offended that they assumed that a blood relation meant she must be involved in their business as well. Nearby, Gandrake was let off with a simple warning; the Captain was just worried that the trouble he’s been stirring up may hurt more than just him if it blows up in his face.
Meanwhile, that was exactly what was happening. Eli had gone back to the inn to change into his new clothes, but after boarding one of the earthcarriages for transport back he was ambushed by Petran Dula, the man they’d fought with that morning. Dula, once again, tried to spar hand to hand before calling his thugs in, but Eli changed the game by pulling free his spear. Dula responded in kind by drawing a rapier, and handily beat Eli into submission in a skill challenge before knocking him unconscious.
Jun Xi is the one who got the message; Petran paid a pair of orhpans to hurl Eli’s spear at the Militia’s headquarters, which put it right inside the lobby where Jun Xi and Sed were waiting. The attached note told them to bring no more than three people, and “someone to trade”, to the Old Town earthcarriage platform at dusk. They brought the matter to Captain Trenton’s attention, and he agreed to help. He’d station his men around the station while the meeting was taking place, and since Gandrake wanted to get back at Petran, he agreed to be their bargaining chip. That still only filled 3 of their 4 available slots, however, so they requested the Captain to send one of his men as well. Lieutenant Llewyn was only too happy to oblige.
As the others got ready, Eli was brutally tortured by Petran Dula for information on Gandrake that he just didn’t have. Not that Eli was willing to talk anyway, and ended up causing himself more harm by keeping up a resistant attitude through the process. Using a whip, a hot iron poker and good old fashioned beating, Petran left him with scars that will be with him for life . . . but got no information out of him.
Just before the appointed meeting time, Joseph stopped by to check on Snow again. Since she was unable to talk her way out of her cell, he provided a key for her, and disguised as a guard, helped her escape her confinement. She thanked him, even if she still doesn’t trust him, and left to sneak into the meeting with the others.
Everyone but Snow, who hid on the caboose without anyone’s knowledge, boarded the appointed earthcarriage at dusk. The carriage left the station and Petran seemed to be holding up his end of the bargain, but part way through the trade Gandrake stopped all pretenses by breaking his false bonds. This started off a frantic combat that nearly killed Gandrake right off the bat. Petran had four men in the cabin with him firing crossbows into Gandrake’s midsection, and two more with spears on the roof who were thrusting through the ceiling at the party. While the melee went on below, with people flipping over seats for cover and to block movement, Sed climbed up onto the roof after noticing that someone up there. It turned out to be Snow, who was trying to knock their spear-wielding assailants off the train, but he only had a second to take that in before failing several rolls and nearly falling to his death.
The group killed four of Petran’s six men before trouble hit. All the light runes, weapon runes and other magical items started malfunctioning. . . and the earthcarriage did right along with it. The boy Petran had at its helm ran into the cabin, shouting that the carriage was out of control and about to crash into the station. It was also continuing to pick up speed, and the fight was quickly postponed as everyone realized they had to work together to manually activate the brakes and get what runes were still functioning into position on essential controls. Unfortunately for the last spear wielder, he lost his balance and fell off the carriage right when everyone decided to be friends, but the group did fairly well in either case. Petran and Sed reconfigured the runes in the control cabin without difficulty, while Snow bonded with the remaining thug as they activated the brakes for the second cabin. The others failed to force the other mechanisms into place quickly enough, but on the last round of the time limit, they ended up succeeding on detaching the control cabin, which was still accelerating, and getting the passenger cars to a complete stop. . . although even as that was happening, Lieutenant Llewyn and Eli betrayed Petran, kicking him under the carriage’s wheels and nearly doing the same to the crossbowmen before Snow convinced them to take him prisoner.
All was not well, however. The control cabin went flying off its tracks at the last turn into the station, tearing through seats, structures and finally splintering into hundreds of pieces in a deafening impact with another earthcarriage. As clouds of dust billowed out over the area, all the runes across the city ceased to function as all across Danton the lights went out. Apparently, whatever was started days ago with Eli killing Hector in the Ironcrag Mountains wasn’t over yet, as now not only is magic not working, but the pre-existing magic items have failed. The entire world’s culture just came to a grinding, inescapable halt, and things will only get worse from here. . .
I decided to make the skill challenge to stop the earthcarriage the game’s finale, and it worked pretty well. Petran is dead though, even though I hoped to keep him alive for next time. Ah well. He wasn’t crucial, I just wanted to milk the whole anger of Eli’s torture thing a bit longer. My players are continuing to develop their characters as well; Eli is slowly changing from the simple idiot he was to start with, and Jun Xi is gaining some pretty entertaining quirks. He refused to try to convince Captain Trenton to let him bring Snow with them to the meeting, and when asked why, he simply said, “Because she’s a woman” as if that explained everything. XD
Gandrake’s player, on the other hand, may be trouble. . . he’s trying to model himself after Mugen from Samurai Champloo, but mainly he spends a lot of time trolling the world. When he decided to swap weapons, he decided to do it by robbing an aging smith of his final masterpiece and leaving 100 gold behind for the old man, for instance. I don’t mind him doing that overly much, because at this point he’s still got to deal with the law as well, but I’m afraid it may become disruptive later in the game. We’ll see how I end up dealing with that.
Next time: riots, angry citizens displeased with their government, and bad news from the scouts sent to investigate the Leylines. Go go magical apocalypse, phase 2!