Game log of a ToEE adventure that somehow turned into an Expedition to the Barrier Peaks. You can find the original google doc here.
Rogues Gallery – “General Puggin’s Moribund of Mercenaries”*
- The Rogue – Giselle der Gauner the Soulknife due to a mutation granting her telekinetic powers (character #2, previous character was Mirka the Rogue – Deceased)
- The Monk – Augusta “Tof” Bamberger and her henchmen Elmo the Ranger and pet pug General Puggins.
- The Druid – Lilie the Elf and her henchmen Wolfram and animal companion Fuyuko, the white wolf.
- The Knight – Lintelfaden Toshcobble, squire of Rufus the Bold.
- The Fighter – Fencil the Android (brain tape swap) (Character #2, previous character was a cleric – Deceased) and his (henchmen Zof the Jarhead Wizard – Deceased).
- The Ranger – Bustov Daman and his animal companion (ex-human, reincarnated as an orc, brain-tapped and transferred to an android body), The Mou-Mou Bird (bloodthirsty ghost sparrow).
- The Cleric – Lorenz Brandt (character #2), the scribe, Mouthpiece of the Golden Goddess (human cleric of UNITY).
*Due to a transcription error by the Verbobonc mercenary company registrar, “Merry” become “Moribund.”
Session 44 Recap
Bustov flexed his new body after the brain transfer, gradually getting accustomed to being an android. To his surprise, it didn’t feel as different as he thought it would, his sense of touch, smell and taste felt identical in a human body. If anything, being an orc was stranger than this.
Lintelfaden on the other hand wasn’t even remotely the same. Kwalish had set up laser lights and a smoke machine for the big reveal. Instead of a halfling, a chrome centaur marched out, emitting steam from between the steel plates and his eyes glowed a burning red. Lines like circuitry traced the entire body and pulsed with the same red light as the entire body charged itself with energy.
“Hahaha!” Kwalish cackled. “Ladies and gentlemen, my latest creation!”
“Uh, Lintelfaden?” Gisella stuttered. “What happened?”
The chrome centaur flexed his palm, getting a good feel for the body. “This is so cooooool!” he laughed, giddy with excitement. His voice was deeper and metallic as if coming from a speaker inside.
Lorenz clapped his hands in approval. “Yes, now we’ve got three in the party who are converting their bodies into steel! Perfect for UNITY, just the way she likes it!”
Turns out, Lintelfaden combined Murphy the Unicorn with the space marine armour… and then transferred his blood, brain and heart into it, creating a chrome centaur. It had all the weapons the space marine armour had, a special compartment in the chest to hold who knows how many items, and the most important addition of all, speakers.
“Speakers that I can control the volume of… with my mind!” Lintelfaden declared and started blasting music out from the inbuilt speakers. Which was soon cut off by another ad.
“That’ll be 50 gold a week for Kwalish Premium,” the scientist chuckled, handing over a contract. “Just sign here and you can go absolutely ad free.”
“Didn’t I already pay for the premium?”
“It’s a subscription service, you pay weekly.”
Spending more time at Luna Castellum than they would’ve liked, they returned back to Verbabonc where KIT was parked and rushed over to Shen’s Emporium where Augusta was shopping. The plan was to quickly pick her up then head to the earth temple, continuing their search for Marlos the Earth Prophet.
Traveling along the outskirts of the city, they reached the shop with ease and sent Fensal to go grab Augusta, literally and figuratively if need be. She had spent the past day spending money at his shop buying who knows what from his cursed… lightly used magic items stash, without a doubt she would be excited to show off her new trinkets like a kid with a new toy.
Before Fensal even got to the door, Shen slammed it open, threw Augusta into the air, and kicked her towards the tank like a football. “You’ve been here for three days; you got your candle, now get out!”
As she was sent flying, her momentum began to slow and she descended like a feather into the tank. She pretended to land like a hero and raised her arm triumphantly. “And she sticks the landing!”
“What in the world are you wearing?” Lorenz muttered.
Her boots were fluorescent green with thick rainbow stripes, a feathery masquerade mask covered her face and made her entire body transparent save her glow-in-the-dark bones, and she wore a pink jester hat, fitted with way too many bells. Not to mention an entire bag full of random oddities she poured onto the tank floor and began sharing with the party.
“So this is a piece of paper that traps souls,” she explained. “This monkey’s paw can cast a wish spell, I think I got three ships-in-a-bottle, hmm, I also got like nine different dice that don’t do anything. I got this jester hat, teleport-boots, amazing mask-”
“And take your butler!” Shen snapped and hurled a skeleton in a suit directly into the tank.
“Oh right, I got you too! Alfred, this is the party. Party, this is Alfred.” She got super excited and started tossing around candles. “I got a bunch of magic candles too that we could use! And an astronaut helmet made of pure air!”
“Hold on, where are we going to keep this?!” Fensal interrupted.
“Huh? In KIT of course.”
“I’m a tank, not a storage unit,” KIT sighed.
Augusta took off one of the fluorescent boots and tossed it to Bustov. “Hey, put this on, we can do cool tricks with it!”
“Uh, okay then,” he agreed and the boot changed to fit his size. “What about the other one?”
“Oh, I need to wear the other one or the magic doesn’t work.” She triumphantly revealed a lit candle, raising to show everyone her new prized possession. “Look! I got another troll candle!”
Lorenz crossed his arms, ready to destroy it on the spot. “Last time we had that, you created three wax trolls in your backpack.”
“Don’t live in the past, young one, the future is now. Elmo, we’re going to gene-splice you with this candle!”
“No,” he adamantly refused. “I’m not getting splice with wax.”
“But you’ll get cool troll power!”
“Yeah, sure. Or I’ll become a wax tree; that’s also an option.”
The amount of stuff she had hauled was absurd, spending nearly her entire share of the treasure just on Shen’s Potluck grab bags. Only 20 gold a grab, the tank floor was filled with oddities that were either extremely useful or use impaired. She explained every item as if they were the greatest magic items in existence though most were just little oddities that could perform a neat trick. Then there was the wish spell that killed the caster so the scale was completely erratic.
By the time they arrived at the earth temple she still hadn’t finished explaining how everything worked, talking privately with Bustov and giggling with every word. Something about the boots and how they worked but the party dragged them both out of the tank and to the monastery.
The camp in the garden took them by surprise, occupied by about 12 other mercenaries going through their loot and dividing it amongst themselves. Since Renwick hadn’t wiped them out, it could be safely assumed they were friendly and, as the party approached, they were greeted and welcomed. In the week they were gone, this band had found the earth temple and raided it for loot, going through all of the caches and taking what they could find for themselves.
“You went through the whole temple?” Gisella asked.
“That’s right,” their leader replied. “Every single one, or as much as we could find anyway.”
“You didn’t encounter a vampire or anything?”
“Nothing of the sort. Though, there was the Long-armed Centipede that attacked out of nowhere. Scary bugger took a while to kill.” He waved his hand, not wanting to remember the fight that killed a few of his friends. “Anyways, what are you here for?”
“Hold on, you killed the Centipede?”
“Kind of. It always comes back stronger than before after some time, Marlos treats those creepy things like his pets.”
The name of the prophet piqued their interest and aroused their suspicion. “You know Marlos?” Lorenz asked.
“Yep, earth prophet and all that. We’re just here for the loot but we were wondering if we could speak to him.”
It seemed even the strongest temples weren’t totally in alliance with even themselves. These mercenaries were a part of a splinter faction which, yes, believed that the Evil Elemental Eye should return, but that the temples should merge together. Specifically the combination of earth and water; cultists of mud. What exactly they believed was unclear but they weren’t hostile like the other fanatics and were gladly willing to talk about their beliefs. Trying a little to convert the party, a lot of information about the temple was divulged.
There was no vampire, no cultists, no prophet, but the Centipede was back again. From what the mud cultists said, Marlos’ favourite pet was unkillable. The last thing the party wanted to do was fight it again and, since there wasn’t anything left for them in the temple, they discussed their next move.
“So now what?” Fensal asked as the party returned to the tank, a little lost for an idea moving forward. “According to the mud guys, there’s nothing left in the temple and Marlos is in the greater temple.”
“Aren’t all the temples connected to the greater temple?” Augusta said. “The massive wheel with the chain apparently leads all the way down, we can enter that way.”
Gisella scratched the back of his head, trying to think of a plan. “Hmm, I think we can go through the air temple instead, it should be safer since we cleared it out before.”
Not only was the way through the wind temple safer than the earth temple, the battle between the cults was growing more and more obvious as their power grew. But the water temple trumped them all, rising to be the strongest of the remaining three and forcing the fire cult on the back foot. On top of that, they had an alliance with the earth cult; the chances of them falling from their seat of power were slim.
But that’s where the party came in. They had already knocked out Aeresi with ease and the air temple with her, breaking the alliance only to slip right in and fill that hole. If they could work with the fire temple instead of against them temporarily, it would make the fight that much easier. Vanifer the Fire Prophet was already in a bad situation, even if she didn’t want to join forces it would clearly be beneficial for her.
Fully aware it would only be a temporary alliance that would surely end in betrayal, they drove towards the Sighing Canyon as night began to fall. They gave KIT the location and trusted him to do the rest while they slept, taking the brief moment to finally rest without needing to stay alert and on watch. Most rested but Bustov and Augusta sniggering in the corner made it difficult for the rest, pointing at the boots, laughing again, and then at Fensal.
“Quiet, please,” Lorenz asked. Their constant talking interrupted his prayers at the end of the day.
“My plan is flawless,” Augusta giggled, fiddling an invisible mustache. “Do not thoust agree, Bustov?”
“Oho, yes it is,” he agreed, flicking his hair. “A great plan, a thinking man’s plan, dare I say an infallible plan.”
Gisella flicked her wrist and a dagger flew out, leaning against their throats. “Sleep.”
The morning they arrived at the canyon they realised they didn’t really have a plan to see Vanifer the Flame Prophet. She was probably in the greater temple but her exact location was completely unknown. Though they did have a rough idea where to go once they saw the entrance to the wind temple; fire giants were standing guard over the cave mouth. More flames could be seen around Feathergale Spire and a few more giants stood on lookout, clearly wary of the tank that just pulled up to the canyon edge. Sneaking through the temple to the greater temple wasn’t an option anymore, if it was one in the first place, so they marched to the cave mouth and waved at the giants.
“We know who you are,” one of the giants scoffed. He wielded two shields, both halves of an iron door. “You are General Puggins’ Morbid Band of Mercenaries.”
“I forgot that’s how everyone knew us,” Augusta chuckled.
“Who here is General Puggins? I wish to fight your leader in single combat.”
“Er, no one,” Lintelfaden explained, stifling a laugh. He pointed at a fat pug in Augusta’s bag. “He’s our mascot.”
“And General Puggins would beat you anyway so don’t embarrass yourself,” the monk warned.
“We didn’t come here to fight,” Lorenz explained. “We want to see if we can… create an alliance with Vanifer and her flame cult.”
The ground shook as two more giants landed behind them; the watchmen from the tower. They flicked the cinders from their blazing wings and furled them, eyeing the party carefully for any sudden movements. The other giants discussed amongst themselves, glanced at the party, then whispered again.
“Fine, we’ll take you to her,” they said. “Treat her with respect.”
To the party’s surprise, they turned around and were led towards Feathergale Spire. As they neared the entrance, any and all weapons were taken away and taken down to what looked like a basement level as the party was taken up flights of stairs. First floor, second floor, and then to the peak of the tower surrounded by multiple giants with burning wings, open to the sky. The giant with the door shield let them up above then slammed his shields together, locking them with Vanifer and her soldiers.
The tiefling prophet flipped Tinderstrike between her fingers, restlessly sliding the razor edge against the steel floor. “Alright, make it quick,” she snapped. “What do you want?”
“We’d like to form an alliance,” Lorenz explained. “Considering you’re, to put it bluntly, losing pretty badly to the water and earth cult, it looks like you could use a partner.”
“What makes you think we’re losing?”
“If it’s a secret it’s a pretty bad one, I think every city knows you guys aren’t the strongest cult.” He waved his hand dismissively. “But enough of that, you hate water, we hate water, friend of my friend is my enemy… Wait, that’s now how that goes.”
“The friend of my enemy is my friend,” Bustov corrected.
“Long story short, we think it would benefit us both if we worked together,” Gisella interrupted before they insulted the prophet even more.
Vanifer contemplated her options, trying to figure out what is the best possible plan. “Fine, we can work together, but I want Windvane now.”
Fensal sheepishly scratched the back of his head. “Heh, well about that, hmm, yes, slight problem.”
“We may or may not have given Windvane to the Demon Prince Juiblex.”
“You what?! Then get it back!”
Bustov shrugged and fixed his hair. “With all due respect, albeit there is none, we’re strong but we aren’t stealing an artifact from a demon prince.”
Her hair ignited and tendrils of flame began to coil around her body. “Alright then, you handed yourself to me on a silver platter. Don’t let them out, dreadnought!” She charged a ball of fire in her palm. “And for the rest of you, start moving! Burn them to ash!”
Without their weapons, the party couldn’t do anything but dodge out of the way of the giants’ attacks, barely avoiding massive blades and axes. They barely escaped the fireball blast but still suffered serious burns, lacking the space to properly move out of the way. Augusta didn’t even make it out, taking the full hit from the blast.
“Augusta!” Elmo cried, shoving past the party to reach her.
As the smoke cleared, the doll-sized monk gave him a thumbs up, somehow unsigned despite the massive explosion. “Evasion!”
“How are you not hurt?”
Spirit mist began to seep out of her body as the bells on her funky jester hat jingled, summoning the doll that revived her. She dashed up to the iron door shield and punched it with all her might… hurting herself more than anything.
Then Chuckie, the creepy voodoo doll bound with her soul, followed-up with his own punch and the shield exploded in a rain of steel.
She wasn’t done yet, dashing over to another giant and grabbing his foot, flipping him onto his back and into his comrade. And, to complete her grand escape, she leapt off the side of the tower, saluting the party and plummeting down.
While the giants were stunned, staring at the broken pieces of his precious shield, the party seized the opportunity to dash past and down the stairs. Vanifer screamed to chase them but they were still giants and were too big to fit through the door while the dreadnought was there.
“Good luck chasing us!” Lorenz laughed, holding his holy symbol close to his chest. He recited a canticle under his breath and UNITY’s symbol shone brightly in the dark stairwell. “Logos Automata.”
A golden portal tore open the world between the party and the dreadnought and a hologram of a MK II marched out. Its orders were transmitted in and the hologram began to dissipate, leaving behind a complete silver MK II, weapons charged and at the ready.
“What the-?” a giant stuttered, never seeing a robot before. “Move out of the way!”
His greatsword shattered and harmlessly nicked the sky metal plating.
“Orders received,” the robot said. “Terminate all except Vanifer.”
And it slammed the fire giant into the ground.
Lintelfaden carried Lorenz on his back and sprinted down the stairs, easily overtaking the party as a cyborg centaur. Before the fire cultists and giants could rally together, they had already bypassed them and headed straight for the lowest level and their weapons. Grab their weapons then fight their way back up to Vanifer, that was the current plan. They didn’t fear the giants or the prophet but the longer they took to arm themselves the worse the situation would become.
Outside, Augusta landed lightly on the ground and ran towards the entrance, ready to rejoin the party, but was intercepted by two more fire giants.
“Why are there so many of these guys?!” she cursed. “Cultists! Guys in bathrobes! Not heavy armour 20 ft. tall flaming monsters!”
They tore the ground and hurled boulders at her with pinpoint accuracy despite her tiny stature on a big open field. One crashed beside her and the impact launched her into the air, setting up a midair shot as she was sent directly in line with the other boulder.
The guard’s jaw dropped as he saw the midget deflect the boulder and redirect its trajectory, almost right back at him.
“Ow, that hurt!” She flicked the dust off her knuckles and hid behind the rubble. “Alright, three, two, one, here we go, Bustov!”
Her boot glowed with rainbow light like a disco ball and she swapped places with the ranger.
“Oh, the boot!” he laughed, now outside of the tower. “It really worked! Heh, now I can sneak in through the main gate and-”
“Over there!” the giant yelled, hurling another boulder. “The tiny woman turned into a blonde guy!”
“Why?! Why did you teleport me out here?!”
“Why?! Why did I teleport into here?!” Augusta panicked, leaping out of the way of a fire sword.
Bustov was in combat with two angelic giants that guarded the party’s weapons. Lintelfaden and Lorenz struggled to fight them off and get around them, trying to reach their weapons and stand a fighting chance. For some reason, Bustov was directly in the centre of the battle and that’s where the monk took his place. And she was overtaken by a swarm of bug-like machines, firing small lasers from their eyes at the enemy.
“What’s happening?!” she screamed as she was drowned in a wave of machines.
“Can you get our weapons?!” Lorenz cried. “Or at least distract the giants?!”
Aki placed her hands on Lintelfaden and Lorenz and shrouded them in a cloud of mist, teleporting them into the storage room and passed the enemy. The swarm arrived at the cleric’s command and sifted through the multiple weapons and armour, easily finding his favourite weapon, Badaboom. His eyes glowed white as he charged the rocket launcher and it chain-fired missile of pure light, evaporating the giants instantly.
“Done,” he declared. “Get everyone their weapons and we’ll work our way up to Vanifer.” He relayed orders to the swarm of minute beetle-like robots and they charged up the stairs like a wave, clicking and screeching as steel grinded against steel.
“How did you teleport here?” Lintelfaden asked Augusta. “You swapped places with Bustov?”
The monk proudly pointed at her boot. “I can swap places with whoever is wearing this. So I have one and he has one.”
“So where is he now?”
“I hate this boot!” Bustov cursed, hiding behind the rubble of broken boulders. “And why do the giants have an infinite amount of boulders?!” He glanced past the debris and saw the ground beside them was immaculate and the grass was still growing. Yet another boulder was hurled his way. “How in the world do I swap?!”
In a blink, he was in the tower in between Vanifer and another fire giant, taking Augusta’s place in the fight.
“What the-?!” Vanifer stuttered. “I teleported past some kind of golem, I chased after an iron centaur, and now a doll sized monk swapped places with their ranger? Why am I dealing with these freakshows?!”
“Swap back, swap back!” he panicked as she hurled a fireball at point blank range.
Barely in time, Augusta switched with him and the fireball flew over her head, missing by inches. Quick to react, Chuckie manifested and pulled her out of the way of Tinderstrike and, in midair, she threw him back into the fray.
Alright lady, he cackled, creating a massive axe. That’s it, you’re next!
He crashed behind her and, in one clean swing, sliced off her legs straight through magic, armour, flesh and bone. She fell to the floor in shock, screaming and cursing in pain, furiously ordering her guards to slaughter the party.
“That alliance doesn’t seem so bad now, does it?” Gisella chuckled and held the angelic giant from attacking Augusta with her telekinesis.
While the MK II still held back the guards on the highest floor, the party could easily kill the restrained target before reinforcements from the front gate arrived. They charged to help their prophet but the swarm of machines restricted their movement and began to climb on them, melting holes in their armour with pinpoint lasers.
“Those two giants and the gate, Vanifer, and whatever the MK II is fighting,” Lintelfaden counted. “That will be everyone then.”
“It’s so hot!” Marvin complained… the fire resistant cloak. “Why is there so much fire?! Aaaaah, I hate it here!”
“Be quiet,” Elmo sighed. “You’re protecting me.”
“I don’t want to protect you! Your skin is all bark and the leaves get in my face!”
“Where is Bustov now?” Fensal asked Augusta.
The monk scratched the back of her head. “Hrmm… probably outside getting attacked. I’ll go teleport him in.”
She swapped places with an unconscious Bustov who was finally caught after dodging half a dozen boulders. They called Lilie over to heal, which was abruptly answered by ‘I don’t want to’ and the crash of a lightning bolt streaking down the corridor. For a support, she hated healing when she could blow something up so it was up to Lorenz to do the job.
He leapt off of Lintelfaden and his hand charged with electricity. “Come on, Bustov, get up and do something violent!”
Now in an android body, he became another prime target for overdrive and the energy flowed throughout his systems, granting newfound strength. Before anyone could explain the situation to him, he shot up to his feet and charged the Lenz, sending an explosive arrow towards the reinforcements. And it detonated most of the droids climbing on the giants’ body.
“Why?!” Lorenz snapped. “Don’t shoot big explosions at my boys! Those droids are very precious and-”
“Boom!” Lilie laughed and discharged another lightning bolt, nuking the remaining spectator robots and the guards with them, shaking the tower from the force of the explosion.
“You blew up my boys! You can see them working their hardest and you blew them up!”
“They were in the way.”
“In the way?! Don’t shoot lightning around my robots-”
Wolfram grabbed his collar and lifted him off the ground, preventing him from approaching the smug druid.
All that was left was a crippled Vanifer and the few enemies that the MK II held back. They tried to come to an agreement with the alliance again, more as a threat than an equal trade but she was so enraged and furious that talking was taking them nowhere.
“So, now what?” Gisella asked. “She is not agreeing with anything.”
“Uh, force her to agree?” Lintelfaden suggested. “Not like she can fight us now.”
“I’ve got it!” Augusta declared. “If we get her head and show it to the cultists, would that be good enough?”
Head? Chuckie giggled as his ghostly form materialised next to Augusta. Do you need her head? Easy.
Before she could stop him, he killed Vanifer then vanished in a blink, leaving the monk to deal with the party. There wasn’t even a body left, the prophet’s body was consumed in fire leaving nothing but the relic Tinderstrike.
The sounds of battle died out and the MK II marched down the stairs to Lorenz’s side, finishing its mission and waiting for its next orders. Any other remaining giants or cultists ran as soon as Vanifer died and the cult, though not completely disbanded, had lost the two most important keys to bringing back Imix, the Evil Elemental Prince of Flame. Even though their cleric still remained, Tinderstrike was not going to be easily reclaimed and the name of General Puggins’ Morbid Band of Mercenaries was well known amongst every cultist.
The abandoned air temple was the party’s way in and, with the remaining prophets and weapons hidden within the greater temple, there was no other option but to go down deeper into enemy territory.