Elementary & The Rusting Giants

We had only two players this week, so we played a pair of short mini-games on the  StorySynth engine. First, we played Elementary by Martin Dubuque, in which we are given a list of clues and must come up with the crime they describe. Our clues are Dolphin Statue, Ex-lover, Third Party, Medieval Dagger, Wife, Red Herring, Lizard, and Small Jacket. The crime is the murder of a wealthy man at his home in the tropics on the day of a big party on his estate. We have three primary suspects, the ex-lover, the wife, and the third party, his accountant, who all attended the event. Secretly the millionaire was running into money troubles and fought with his accountant about it. Later, he and his wife were arguing while the red herring was being served. She was angry about the ex-lover being at the party and grew increasingly heated while they talked. In a moment of anger, she grabbed the medieval dagger from the wall and plunged it into her husband. She went into the bathroom to wash off the blood that had splattered, but she couldn’t remove one spot, so put on a small jacket to cover it. When she started to return to the party, she was startled by a large lizard, so she killed it with the pointed dolphin statue. Once back at the party, she told anyone who asked that she had gone inside to grab her jacket because she had caught a chill.

Screenshot of the play invitation to The Rusting Giants in the StorySynth gallery. The picture is of three adventurers standing in front of a metal construct covered in green from overgrown plants and vines.
Image from StorySynth Gallery

The Merchant begins by entering a fallen limb of the Giant. He finds his way blocked by a wide chasm that he must cross to retrieve a cache of books and data disks and continue inside. He uses the vines growing along with walls to create enough support to shimmy across the narrow bit of armor that spans the chasm. Next, he makes his way into the command center of the Giant where he is threatened by another delver carrying a sword. The Merchant, in turn, draws his laser pistol and holds the man at bay while removing the Command Badge from the skeleton of the long-dead commander of the Giant and backs out of the bridge to safety. Afterward, he finds himself in a safe glade where the Giant’s torso opens to the sky and takes a moment to catch his breath and have a light meal. While eating he discovers a vein of nanite powder and collects it for later barter. As he enters the chamber with the Giant’s mechanical heart, he finds five wolf-cat beasts wrestling over a carcass. Rather than risk death trying to subdue them, he backs away the way he came to find another way through, abandoning the valuable pieces of the Giant’s armor here. The end of his dive is through another of the Giant’s limbs, where a mechanical warrior activates and rises to attack him. Instead, the Merchant uses the command badge taken from the bridge to override the default systems and deactivate these defense mechanisms. He then gathers the guns and a unique sword and returns to the village.

Meanwhile, the Pilgrim begins her dive by encountering a pair of feral children in the barrel of the Giant’s cannon. She lures the children to the surface with food and sends them on the path back to the local village. Next, she finds a working portable radio tuned to receive strange musical sounds, which she retrieves by avoiding a dangerous looking iridescent sludge dripping and pooling on the floor. Down the next passage, she finds herself in the living quarters of the Giant’s crew and finds a complete battery pack filled with batteries, each capable of powering an entire village for a year. A valuable find indeed. Blowing a pinch of nanite powder in the mechanisms, she unlocks a heavy metal door blocking entry into the cargo hold, opens it, and steps through. She determines that the cargo hold is safe, so takes a moment to pray and refresh herself. After her meal, she finds an unused and intact medical kit, a few smaller batteries, and materials that could be useful for construction. She’ll need to lead a team of villagers back to this place to extract the building materials and carry them to the village. Finally, she enters a chamber filled by a beautiful tree bearing fruit out of season, perhaps due to the unnatural warmth here. She asks the gods to bless the fruit and tastes it. It’s juicy and refreshing, so she takes a bagful to share with the villagers; perhaps they can harvest it when their winter supplies run low.

Back at the village, the Pilgrim and the Merchant meet up. The Merchant agrees to give the nanite powder and books to the Pilgrim in exchange for the med kit and a battery from the pack. The Pilgrim gifts the rest of her haul to the village.

Beast & Burrows

This week, we played a hacked together fantasy game combining elements of 1420 Beasts & Barrows by brine, 1400 Quest by James Lennox-Gordon, and 2400 Legends by Jason Tocci. We are a group of adventurers hired to rescue Favric, an acolyte of a local cult, from a bandit leader. We are Kaede the cat-folk Scout, Undyne the human Tinker, Raya the human Mage, and Logan the human-plant hybrid Mage.

We begin our search on the outskirts of town, but Undyne casts doubt on our mission. She believes it more likely that Favric was fleeing the cult and speculates that the bandit leader may have been his rescuer, or even his lover. Logan thinks we should fulfill our contract, no matter what. Kaede and Raya seek a middle ground, saying we should find Favric and ask him what he wants. But we can’t do anything until we find him. Kaede finds tracks in the woods that are likely the bandits’ trail. Raya decides to Scrye through the water and sees visions of a man she believes to be Favric, before a partially collapsed stone wall with a strange symbol on it. Logan believes the symbol may be magical, but Undyne says it’s related to the local mines,. She suggests we visit a friend of hers who owns one of these mines to ask him.

So, we go to the town of Abingdon to meet Undyne’s friend, Alan, who immediately suspects Undyne’s intentions, assuming she wants to borrow money. Raya draws the symbol she saw for Alan and asks if he knows anything about it. Alan says sure, its the sigil of the old Wizards Guild. They disbanded long ago after their tower exploded one night, bursting into flames. When pressed, he reveals the ruins of the tower are a days journey from Abingdon. Take the north road and head easterly into the hills. We thank him, buy him a drink, and leave for the north road.

We leave Logan in Abingdon to conduct his research and head north into the hills. We decide we need the answer to three questions: are the bandits at the collapsed Wizard’s Guild tower? Is Favric with them willingly or not? How do we rescue him, if necessary, or do next if it’s not. Kaede successfully sneaks into the camp setup at the tower but doesn’t return. After a few hours, Undyne and Raya decide they must investigate. Undyne is able to get close enough to determine that Kaede is still free but unable to get out without being seen. They decide they must mount a rescue.

Raya casts a spell to turn herself into an elephant, but can’t manage anything that large and settles for becoming a boar instead. The boar tears into the camp, causing havoc and mayhem that draws the attention of all those in the camp. Undyne is able to sneak in and meet up with Kaede, but they are spotted when they try to leave. Undyne attempts to convince one of the bandits that she’s friends with his sister. Although confused and delayed a bit, the bandit doesn’t believe her in the end, and a chase ensues. We each career through the woods until we’re able to find one another, and Raya casts a spell to mask us from the bandits perception. She can’t hold it for long, but long enough for us to find somewhere safer to hide.

We take this opportunity to compare notes. During his time in the camp, Kaede learned that these are definitely bandits, and probably the same bandits because one among them stands out as unlike the others, probably Favric, and Favric is definitely not their prisoner. He’s unfamiliar with their ways, but they’re all making an effort to include him. We decide we have to know for sure, so Undyne creates some colored powders and writes a note. Raya turns herself into a bird and delivers the note and two packets of powder to Favric. The note asks him to toss the blue one into the fire if he needs us to rescue him, and the red if he wants us to stop and leave him alone. Shortly thereafter, we see the red smoke and decide to leave this contract unfulfilled. We should probably avoid the town where they hired us to rescue Favric, but we can return to Abingdon to see how Logan has been getting on.