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.
Degenerate quarter-ling Docteure Massese, the faceless Oblong Dusk provides healing and sensual massage... for a fee.
Transport: 2 mules, 2 carts, 1 looted one-person porcelain walker, 4 zombie porters.
Hirelings: 4 Bluelander Revolutionaries, 3 Orangelander Pirate Liberals.
Side Note: Clovis' player had missed the previous session. A few rolls and some hasty improvisation later and the half-elf rejoined the group with three fellow Pirate Liberals in tow. The new hirelings could operate the expensive para-radio set the rest of the party had stolen; a handy bonus. Clovis also picked up the chainsaws looted from the Necrocultists.
The Cat's Meow Trading Company fled into the wastes, dodging shots from porcelain walkers and furiously whipping their mules. They boldly chose to head east, back to the Porcelain Citadel along a polybody-patrolled road, because they lacked supplies to reach other destinations. They'd managed to loot just enough food for a week of travel; any delay or damage would necessitate eating their zombie porters, mules, or hirelings.
The para-radio set allowed the party to detect and evade Porcelain Prince patrols. Luckily, they didn't need to worry. Two days out of the Last Serai, a massive dust storm hit. Electrical discharge and mid-altitude radiation ghosts made long-distance communication impossible. The storm slowed the party's progress, but it gave Lapis extra time to hunt for supplies. A buried roadside crocoarmadillo provided some much-needed fresh meat.
Hoovercamel* traders on the road carried ominous news from the Porcelain Citadel. Unrest and riots had engulfed the city. The Defense Golems, normally quick to vaporize anyone committing violence in the streets, seemed to only target monobodies. They'd even heard rumours a polybody trader had died, leaving their expensive house in the hills empty and unguarded.
*a hoovercamel is a camel with a very long flexible neck and four additional small legs growing from their head. Though ungainly, they are able to devour even the smallest scrap of grass, as they can run and eat at the same time. The party decided not to buy any.
One week later, coated head to toe in dust, the party reached the Porcelain Citadel. Monobody traders and refugees were camped a safe distance outside the defense golem wall. Inside, some buildings were still burning. Walkers roamed the streets. People said the Porcelain Princes had turned on their monobody servants. A corpse dredged from the lake confirmed the story. The Princes had declared martial law and rounded up any "dissidents" and "assassins". Some Princes had been killed or damaged; it wasn't clear how or by whom. Then, with the monobodies under control, they'd turned on their servants and allies. Was it war? Madness? No one knew.
While trading for food and other supplies, rumours of a dead Prince in the hills continued to swirl. A Porcelain Prince patrol had travelled to the house just before the uprising; a few escaped servants had confirmed that Satrasco 3-body, the notoriously eccentric merchant-trader, was dead. The palatial glass house was up for grabs, though no one had attempted the two-day journey in the storm.
With empty carts and a lust for treasure, the Cat's Meow Trading Company seemed ideally positioned to exploit the tragic death of the merchant.
Side Note: The rest of this post contains spoilers for the adventure "Glass House of a Dead Prince", UVG pp. 30-31.
After two days of uneventful travel, the party arrived at the the merchant's estate. They discovered two damaged wicker autowagons in the garage (3). Lapis decided they had been deliberately sabotaged. The sorcerous defense obelisks at the gate had been disabled. All brass golems were dormant, though the party wasn't sure if they could come to life later. They were too heavy to loot easily.
The cottages (1,2) contained little of interest. Tins of "FUD - Meat Flavor" were stored in the carts. Oblong Dusk took an expensive down comforter as a cloak. The wicker furniture on the veranda attracted the attention of Clovis and Gormog; both barbarians were, as previously established, unexpectedly versed in the details of antique household decor.
As zombie porters hauled sacks of loot back to the wagons, the party spread out to explore the ground floor of the mansion. A sickly-sweet smell, like floral bread dough, seemed to be drifting through the compound. Clovis successfully identified it as the smell of summoning magic; something unnatural had been called from one of the Eight Hells.
Side Note: Apparently, in some belief systems in the UVG, there are eight hells. So far only the Hell of Boiling Oil, the Hell of Very Slow Blending, and the Hell of Customer Service have entered the anticanon.The rampant looting was interrupted by the sound of shotgun blasts. The bluelanders they'd left with Frieda to guard the wagons had run into opposition. While Clovis and Granville shrugged and continued to explore the museum and office (15 and 16), the rest of the party raced back outside. Karl, encumbered by his new lead skin, could only stomp along at a walking pace. Gormog, meanwhile, started to fly.
A few weeks previously, Gormog had acquired a Vomish infection. The slow changes under his skin had finally burst into fruition. A glowing blue disintegration ray emerged from his right arm. Magnetic coils along his spine granted temporary flight. He felt invigorated. The rest of the party felt queasy.
Two grinning hairy devils were attacking the wagons. Lapis evaporated one with her scavenged bolter and the bluelanders took down the other. The fight startled the mule; the cart lurched down the road as Frieda desperately tried to regain control.
Side Note: Frieda's player couldn't make it to this session. This seemed like a decent way to get her out of danger.More hairy devils emerged from the tall grass, attacking isolated party members. Oblong fired a full-power wave of mutilation and shredded two devils, though the down comforter became a cloud of feathers. Gormog tested out his disintegrator arm and turned a hairy devil - and a 10' cube of earth and air - into a few wisps of magic. The hairy devils fled, retreating around the lake and into the reeds.
Meanwhile, Granville had discovered the corpse of a Polybody. Evidently, one third of Satrasco 3-body had committed suicide with a laser pistol. Before pocketing the very useful little weapon, Granville noted it still had a full charge. Perhaps this "suicide" was worth investigating. He met up with Clovis and joined the rest of the group outside. Tired of hairy devils in the grass, Oblong lit the wickerwork furniture on fire and threw it around the yard.
Gormog hauled Lapis up to the second floor dining room balcony (29). Granville used his thief talents to ascend unaided. The devils seemed to have vanished... but crashing sounds from inside the house revealed that they'd merely circled around. The entire horde - at least fifteen devils - was charging down the main hall (9) and towards the PCs on the veranda (4).
Oblong Dusk took one look at the approaching wave of teeth and hair and fled at top speed. Gormog landed and drew his Black City Blade. Clovis scoffed and readied her looted chainsword, her hirelings at her side. On the roof, Lapis and Granville couldn't see anything, but readied their weapons just in case.
But Karl had a cunning plan. He put an invisible wall of force in front of the door, angled upwards like a ramp. The hairy devils would run up the ramp, fall around 12', hopefully be damaged or stunned, and then get hacked to death by the barbarians.
The plan worked well... at first. Clovis and Gormog attacked the hairy devils with wild abandon. From the roof, Granville fired his newly acquired laser pistol wildly, hitting nothing but grass. A shot from Lapis ricocheted badly and struck Clovis in the ribs. The Barbarian collapsed and was quickly swarmed by ravenous hairy devils.
Dark orange flames raced through the house. The veranda buckled upwards, then collapsed. Granville was flung high into the air but managed, by sheer luck and excellent arm-flailing, to land in the lake. Most of the party hid behind wall of force, though the flames and falling debris wreaked havoc. Two of Clovis' hirelings evaporated and Clovis, already badly wounded, was brought to the brink of death.
On the other end of the house, Oblong Dusk had found a kitchen (19). The oven contained a dead polybody. The gas was still running, but Oblong was more interested in the sandwiches in the walk-in cooler. A strange rushing noise pervaded the house. The Docteure turned just in time to see a wall of orange flame burst into the kitchen, ignite the gas, and turn the entire room into a bomb. The second explosion of the day threw the Docteure backwards into the walk-in cooler and, luckily, slammed the door closed.
Emerging from the rubble to the sound of distant screams and crackling flames, Oblong Dusk knew what had to be done. She dug the polybody from the rubble, constructed a makeshift operating table from the kitchen island, some knives, and a ladle, and started an impromptu autopsy.
The rest of the party really could have used a doctor, or even a Docteure. The soggy Granville and the deafened and blistered Karl desperately tried to save Clovis' life using the last scraps at the bottom of the party's first aid kit. Some desperate necromancy (and a voltaic prod to the head) dragged the half-elf back to the realm of the living, with a minor mark of the Rotting God to remind all not to meddle with the powers of life and death.
Granville had transgressed against his god and patron, the mighty Kon-Fabulate. Destroying structures (even artistic houses) was against the will of the god of cities and macroengineering. Sighing, Granville knew what he had to do. He took off his self-lacing boots, his most valuable and personal item, and cast them into the burning ruins of the wickerwork furniture.
While Gormog, still raging, chased down the last of the fleeing hairy devils, Lapis climbed down the rubble to join the group. Scorched and irritable, they moved around the house to search for their Docteure. The found the quarter-ling wrist-deep in a corpse.
"This was not a polybody," Oblong Dusk declared, from the roofless ruins of the utterly demolished kitchen. Wiping their hands and taking a bite of their sandwich, the Docteure continued. "Mask yes, clothes yes, implants no."
"Where were you?" Karl asked? "We needed your help!"
The quarterling gestured vaguely. "Important Docteure business."
Sighing, the party collected Gormog and returned to the front of the house to evaluate their situation. Who had summoned the hairy devils? Were they a burglar defense system, the escaped inhabitants of those golems, or something else entirely? How much of the house's valuable loot had survived the fire? Could they use the mansion as a base of operations?
Find out next time.