I offered to run a pick-up game this Sunday; an apocryphal session. Backdating a story is dangerous, but I threatened to replace them with clones if anyone died. Guess if I was joking (I wasn’t). Tom convinced us to come out to his place, which we complied with. I will not be going out there for any regular sessions, especially in the winter, but it was nice, & he fed us a great deal of pasta & brownies & ice cream (which I declined). Here are a few lessons I learned: don’t be lazy & start your game late. I pushed the game back an hour, just because I could. I didn’t need to do that, & it clipped off the end. I’m also opposed to cooking players; Tom’s attention was divided & it made convolutions even more convoluted. Still, the game was very fun, & I am not complaining at all, just taking away the things I learned. Peter came along in the bargain, which gelled very well with the session.
To make a long story short, Bedwin wanted a new gun, & Balthazar wanted…well, brain surgery. What more convenient way of dealing with this then to send them back to the Lobescrubber? So I trundled them back into the Goblin Engine to send them over there. In transit, they met a goblin Fingerman—a tax collector & finger-chopper-offer extraordinaire. The trip on the Grand Goblin Device was pretty fun; bat-faced goblins offering them hot towels & a jerk-off, human-looking goblin nuns trying to kidnap Bedwin & then fed into a calliope of screams, that kind of thing. Some of that went on, & eventually they arrived back at the ruined crystal city. Outside they met Garglebella, who terrorized them & put them into a patchwork teepee inside the city. They accepted her offer for human slave companionship, which necessitated the first of many Humanity checks—oh look, they are covered in cigarette burns & their teeth are worn down from a bridle. Oh god oh god. Balthazar mercy-killed them; oh so noble—that’s another Humanity check. So that was pretty awful—that was pretty terrible. Not long after that Mister ‘Orrible found them (now in a “clean” suit & the blue glasses of an Imperial attaché) & took them to the Malefactor, waiting for them in a room with a clockwork orange’d goblin acting as some kind of cosmic radio antennae.
They weren’t talking to the Malefactor for long before something…went wrong. Bedwin felt something like an earthquake, & Balthazar (whose senses are attuned to things he hasn’t even begun to realize) heard shattering glass. The Malefactor took off with ‘Orrible in tow. In their absence, the B’s & the Fingerman got a chance to mess around with the scrying pool & the golden circuits imbedded in the glass walls. Some kind of Translocal Demon had been freed, & moreover, this area was going to be “cleared.” After a few minutes of talking, they realized that “cleared” in goblin-speak isn’t code for rescue or anything except “sanitization.” That is, sterilization—death! So they ran; ran right into a bunch of corridors filled with barrels of blackpowder! BOOM! Everything falling, blowing up—exciting! Bedwin kidnapped into a wall, rippling like a pond, & then spit back out—he cut his wrists! What is going on! Keep running, & then a standoff; goblin’s pointing guns, players facing them, & then—Balthazar has Catharsis & starts digging his fingers into the self-inflicted wound on Bedwin’s wrist, lapping up his blood. Freaked out, Bedwin blast him with his gun, shooting him right in the gut, & cuts him in the face, giving him half a joker-grin! Then, piles of freaking out, Balthazar hiding in garbage, the Fingerman wisely talking the goblins into following his lead..
The quadrant of the city they are in is in revolt; goblins with zip guns & road flares, rioting in a junkyard; fifteen-story high piles of metal husks, refuse on fire, thousands out in the name of a severed head. Which is when the Translocal Demon pinwheels in. It kills 1d6 investigators a turn, at least. It is shot; it doesn’t mind. Set on fire. It doesn’t mind. A yellow cloud goes up from it—Bedwin realizes they are spores. Balthazar glues bombs together & lobs it into the Demon’s mouth as it pulls over a tower of metal frames as tall as a skyscraper. The metalwork falls on Balthazar, but he dives out of the way thanks to his Astral Quantum State collapsing in a different location. It falls on the Fingerman (busy scrambling for taxes! Revenue! He rhymes when he talks) & takes off his leg; a wound he cauterizes himself. Bedwin is well clear of that. The Demon is gone—later, the spend a day holed up in an Anne Frank niche in the walls—filled with rib bones & books the size of tables—the find that the Demon is called the Brain Digester, & hope that it is desiccated in the cars & fires, hope the spores haven’t spread. Which is when we leave Tom’s; an epilogue to come.