Note: If you haven't read Ultraviolet Grasslands, most of this writeup will seem like psychedelic heavy metal Mad Libs. Even if you have ready UVG it's going to be a mess.The members of the Cat's Meow Trading Company are:
Cogflower necromancer lawyer. A mutant human thief/necromancer and warlock of Kon-Fabulate. Equipped with starscape skin, a vibrating thumb, a telephone that talks to dead people, and basic legal training.
Bluelander engineer. A human hunter on the run. Member of the Bluelander Liberation Front.
Gormog the Builder
Safarian merchant adventurer. A half-orc barbarian/fighter and warlock of Kon-Fabulate. Gormog is neither pretty nor clever, but knows a good deal when he sees it.
Exiled pirate liberal. A half-elf barbarian chased out of the Red Lands for their radical views, Clovis has a chainsword and a tattooed map to an aerolith fortress.
Wine vampire priest. A dwarf forcebender wizard and warlock of Deel, Orbital Wargoddess. Full of a strange blend of bloodlust and diplomacy.
A dwarf demon hunter from the Red Lands secretly fighting the most perfidious demon of all: capitalism.
"Ah fridgebiscuits," the necromancer said, shrugging on his rugged outdoor legal regalia. He realized, to his horror, that he was alone in the hotel room. The other members of the Cat's Meow Trading Company had balked at the €30 per week fee, preferring to spend just €10 a week to buy food and sleep on crates of dehydrated potatoes in their warehouse lair. Cursing the parsimonious of his coworkers he prepared for a hasty jog through the Last Serai and an even hastier retreat into the desert.
Sirens began to blare outside the domes of the Last Trading House. Ancient shutters and blast doors slammed closed. Through a pitifully small porthole, Granville could see porcelain walkers rise from their creches and turn their laser blasters on any monobody walking the streets.
"The Last Serai is now under martial law," a buzzing voice repeated. "An unknown dwarven assassin has killed our leader, Angel 22-unity. All monobodies will remain in their rooms until interrogated. Do not attempt to flee. The Last Serai is now under martial law..."
Meanwhile, across the Serai, the other PCs woke up and scrambled for their weapons. Backs sore from sleeping on dehydrated tubers and dusty crates, the listened to the announcements with horror. All eyes turned to Karl and Frieda, the two dwarves.
"Well I didn't do it," said Karl, glaring at the group's newest hire.
"I didn't do it either!" Frieda said, waving her hands in the air. "I didn't have time!"
"Well some dwarf did, and now we're all in the rust," Lapis replied. "I'm going to check the corridor."
Side Note: Granville Porter is in room 1. The rest of the PCs are in room 21. Their mules and carts are in 62; the exit is 66. Also, Clovis' player couldn't make this session, so Clovis was assumed to be doing background elf things.The bluelander immediately spotted three bodies of Black Helmet 60-plurality, the Last Serai's police polybody, marching towards her. "Hands on the wall, monobody," one of the imposing identical construct-servants shouted. Lapis took one look at their menacing pistols and complied.
"How many mobodies in the room?" one asked. Lapis made up three unconvincing answers in quick succession. Two Black Helmets moved into the room. The PCs hid behind their improvised barricade-beds.
Desperate and afraid, Granville Porter reached out to his patron god Kon-Fabulate, the god of urbanity, industry, and macroengineering. He'd been a good warlock. He'd protected the city; now it needed to protect him. "Kon-Fabulate, carry this message from your servant Granville Porter to your servant Gormog the Builder. Tell him I will meet him at the carts. At the carts. Meet him at the carts." The warlock pressed his hand into some exposed urban wiring, praying that his patron would come to his aid.
Across the city, as Gormog hid behind a crate of defunct light-bulbs, a panel popped off an ancient fusebox. The wires inside rearranged themselves into a facsimile of Granville's face and whispered his message to his fellow warlock. Gormog stared in religious awe.
The rest of the party stared at the approaching Black Helmets with near-religious terror, until Frieda, screaming like a hairy devil, brained one with her Polearm of Halberding. The two remaining Polybodies turned their pistols on her, filling the dwarf with transuranic pellets. Gormog leapt into action and finished one off with his legendary Black City Blade; Lapis' concealed pistol took care of the other.
"Is this what we're doing," Karl said. "Just shooting our way out?"
"Guess so," Lapis replied, looting the bodies and reloading her guns. "Here, have a neural whip."
Back at the low-budget Hostel Fornio, Granville had finished his ritual preparations. He ducked into the lobby (4). Ignoring the hostel's owner, the greasy Don Hedley, he checked the other two guest rooms. One was unmarked, but a handlettered sign adorned the other. It read
Medicine and Sensual Massage
Reasoning that a doctor could be handy, and that any good doctor wouldn't be staying at the Hotel Fornio, Granville knocked on the door. A degenerate quarterling with a featureless face, a glowing blue forehead curse-rune, and a very risque silk robe opened the door.
"Wrong profession," Granville said. Oblong Dusk nodded, closed the door, and opened it again, this time wearing a white doctor's coat and plastic toy stethoscope.
"How can the Good Docteure help you?" the quarterling purred. "The Invisible Hand of the Market demands cash up front."
"The city is under martial law. My friends are trapped and will probably be injured. They have all the group's funds and will pay for healing," Granville said, once again cursing the confusing financial system that let Gormog carry the group's pooled resources.
"Acceptable. Let me fetch my things." Oblong closed the door, then opened it again, now carrying a small folding baton.
The pair evaluated their options, then panicked when a fully armed and operational Combat Vome burst through the door to the Hostel Fornio. Its twin blade-arms and reciprocating poison spikes terrified them. Oblong blasted it with a wave of mutilation, leaving Granville to finish it off with a few desperate stabs.
On the other side of the Last Trading House, the PCs were once again fighting for their lives. They'd decided to kick open some rooms to try and find a handcart. They didn't want to leave a valuable cryo-casket behind, but it was too large to haul by hand. Gormog had angered Kon-Fabulate by kicking in a door; his reward was a mountain of cold ash that coated him to the waist. A thorough search by Lapis had revealed a single half-full syringe of some magic liquid. Frieda had found a diused refinery, a handcart... and a large metallic ooze.
"OOOooze!" the dwarf screamed, running down the hall with her stolen handcart.
"Aha!" Lapis said, blasting the approaching mercury wall with her scavenged bolter. Though the crater was impressive, the ooze was unmoved. "Run!"
Wisely, Gormog tossed a fully charged neural whip into the ooze's path. The sparking ring seemed to push the ooze back. The group loaded the sturdy cryo-casket and its mysterious slumbering inhabitant onto the cart, then set off for the gate to the citadel.
In (18), Frieda improvised a hydrocarbon bomb using an old barrel and briefly shattered a gunfight of Bluelanders vs. Black Helmets. Lapis rallied her brethren. With shotgun and molotov, Black City Blade and thrown rocks, the group descended on the polybodies. The four surviving Bluelanders looked to Lapis for leadership.
"Did you kill Angel 22-unity," Lapis asked them. "Are you part of this uprising?"
"We did not, but we are taking over this revolution and or counterrevolution for the Blue Land! Freedom from oppresssion! Death to all polybodies!"
"Right. Splendid. Say, are those shotguns loaded?"
"Some of them are."
Back near the Hostel Fornio, Granville and Oblong decided to cut through the (much more successful) medical practice of Doctor Gontagopolis. They thoroughly looted his pharmacy (8), then crept into his waiting room.
Doctor Gontagopolis' blue-haired gum-chewing receptionist idly read a magazine, flanked by two obedient murder-golems.
"Susan," Oblong hissed, hand on her baton.
"D'ya have an appointment... bitch?" Susan drawled.
"We need to see the Doctor. Is he in?"
"Oh, he's in, and he's busy. Why don't you take a seat?" Susan said, flopping a chrome double-barreled shotgun onto her desk.
The two medical professionals stared each other down. Granville quietly took a large paper-wrapped unmarked package from his pocket, tore off a tab, and lobbed it at the receptionist. He grabbed his new ally and ducked. Susan fired.
The gel-explosive goop inside the package detonated. The waiting room filled with flame. Oblong and Granville were flung into the pharmacy, which also caught on fire. Stumbling and smouldering, they staggered into the dark arcade (5).
Susan, her flesh burnt away, her steel high heels crunching on broken glass, her red eyes burning, her immaculate steel hair undamaged, marched impassively after them.
Side Note: the instant venomous rivalry between Susan the receptionist and Docture Oblong Dusk was immediately improvised by the player. No prompt required. Also, "docteure" is pronounced to rhyme with "couture".Meanwhile, the rest of the Cat's Meow Trading Company was flummoxed by some toxic water (15). "I could make a tunnel using wall of force," Karl suggested, "but I think it's still toxic."
"Do you think this mysterious glowing syringe is an antidote?" Lapis said, offering the item to the group's wizards.
"Only one way to find out," Karl said, nonchalantly injecting it into his neck. The entire group scream-winced.
Karl began to glow. His muscles rippled. His beard went solid black, his shoulders squared, his eyes glittered with inner fire. His skin became the colour of lead. He felt fantastic.
Side Note: Karl had injected a batch of dubious batch of Save-or-Die super-solider serum. Luckily, at level 1, he'd passed his Save. The serum let him reroll all his stats and take the higher result. With Str. 14, Dex. 14, and Con. 18, he certainly felt like a super-solider. The accompanying mutation of lead skin means he can't run, jump, or swim. In a hasty escape, that's a significant downside.Protected by the wall of force and pursued by the ooze (who'd circled around, picked up several crates of now-glowing lightbulbs, and renewed its pursuit), the group stumbled through the Tru-Velour Serpentine Fleshlounge and ran into a tollbooth. Its angry operator, Quint, insisted on blasting them with a laser. Its (proudly announced) 3-second charging period gave the group plenty of time to dodge, but they worried they wouldn't have enough time to make it across the room.
Still, it was worth a shot. Everyone made it, even the Bluelanders, but Karl lumbered behind. The glowing red laser cast ominous shadows around the wizard's leaden form. "Two... one..."
"Wait!" Frieda said, sticking her head out from cover. "I am the dwarf who killed Angel 22-unity. I surrender!"
"1... 1... 1..." the laser repeated, as Quint squinted at the dwarf.
"You are?," the tollkeeper said. "And I've captured you?"
"Yes, you're a hero. I surrender."
"Walk forwards with your hands up."
"Actually," Frieda said, as Karl finally lumbered into cover, "I unsurrender. Byyeeeeee!"
"No! FIRE!" Quint shouted, but it was too late. The group had slipped past the vigilant tollmaster.
"Why are there inflatable tigers!?" Granville screamed. Oblong didn't panic, and use fleshcrafting to induce a pleasant euphoria a rubberbodied cat. The others held back, deeply confused. The Docteure rode it (well, more straddled it) for the next few rooms until Granville decided to deflate it for safety reasons. It tried to chew his throat out as it died.
Bloody, tired, and miserable, the necromancer finally met up with the rest of the group in room (49).
The rest of the escape was a moderate farce. They were attacked by cultists of Satur the Blood Good, poisoned by mimic diplo-cats, and stole an expensive para-radio set. Granville was shot in the shoulder by a a hidden bounty hunter's rifle and only saved (from 9 Fatal Wounds) by his docteure-friend and a stolen first aid kit.
"Thank Deel that's over," Oblong said. Karl lit up at the discovery that their new accomplice was a coreligionist; the rest of the group glowered.
A terrible grinding noise and a shower of sparks from above dispelled any notions of an easy escape. Three chainsaw-wielding necrocultists descended on ropes. While two fought (ineffectually) with hedge trimmers on chains, their leader wielded a two-handed circular rock saw... and rode it like a motorcycle. Combat drugs also kept him functional until his head was lopped off. The group agreed that this was awesome and looted his weapons and drugs. Luckily they sustained only a few minor cuts in the fight.
Granville, still very low on blood, repaid the group's kindness by picking the lock to the main door and, while waiting for the group to marshal their mules, finding a one-person porcelain walker in a storage vault.
The Cat's Meow Trading Company staggered into the early afternoon haze. Low on supplies, with four extra Bluelanders (plus four zombie porters) and a great deal of loot, they were still trapped in relatively hostile territory. Where would they go? Would they try to follow Clovis' map to the rumoured aerolith and die in uncharted territory? Try to bluff their way into the Porcelain Citadel? Hope to find supplies on the road to the Waystone Graveyard? Or almost certainly descend into cannibalism and madness in the Death Facing Passage?
Find out next time.