Session 24 – Have Your Cake & Fuck It Too

Dramatis Personae

+Frotz Self as Varouj
+Gus L as Lucky the Smiler
+Adventures of the Mind as Don Harper of Mars
+Ronnie Whelan as Ronnina
Loot
20,000 Credits
114 unidentified potions
2 Tinctures of Resanguination. Heals 1d8 + 2
A non-functioning Uzi.
A heavy stone throne, every inch of which is covered in engraved writing that no one present understands.
A book, “The Incalculable Machinations of Neve Canri”
The mostly comatose body of a young woman.NOTE: As per our discussion at the end of the session, none of this loot is officially yours yet. We’ve hand-waved the process of getting it back to your room at the Inn, but in order to get any experience for it, you’ll need to get it back home. That process will require some carts, and a metric fuckton of encounter checks.

If you want to spend any of the 20,000 credits, you can get XP equal to the amount you spend immediately.

NPC Interactions
Shelaquizza – One of the many Tellers at Vault XIX. The party was very pleasant with her during a tough day, and she appreciated that a lot.

Bah’t Kabsza – A parasitic brain worm which Ronnina has accepted into her mind. More on this below.

The Incalculable Machinations of Neve Canri
“What follows are lies; and between the lies are the truths believed by fools. The sentence before this one is false.”

That is the first passage in this tome. It only gets more confusing from there.

Vault XIX
Vault XIX is a bank in the Comet Caller territory, where any magic user may open an account. Doing so requires either 15,000 credits, or a unique spell which will then be permanently scoured from your mind, and you will forever after be unable to re-learn it.

Accounts come with a lockbox containing a door, which opens up into a blank pocket dimension, which is a roughly 1 mile sphere. (It’s actually more of a mishapen blob, but there is a guaranteed 1 mile of usable space in every direction from the entry point. After that you may hit invisible walls, or you may find pockets that extend quite a bit further.

Once attuned to their space, the wizard functions as a kind of god. They may shape the landscape however they wish, create objects, etc. The spell is not sufficiently complex to create servitors of any kind, and any object created within this space will turn to smoke if removed from the pocket dimension.

Vault XIX prides itself on security, but wishes to remind all patrons that it is a bank. It exists to store and protect valuables, not to function as an old timey holodeck, or to provide private domains for bush magicians too inexperienced to create their own pocket dimensions. As such, accessing your pocket dimension for longer than an hour at a time incurs a fee of 100 credits per hour.

Bah’t Kabsza
This information will mostly be relevant to +Ronnie Whelan, but it will have a big impact on how the game will develop in the future, so I want to have it on record in a recap.

Bah’t Kabsza is an NPC, like any other. Given that she lives inside one of your heads, I opted to allow for a “3d6 drop the lowest” reaction roll with Ronnina. I rolled two sixes and a two, and Ronnina has a -1 Charisma penalty, so Bah’t Kabzsza currently reacts at an 11 with Ronnina. I have to note that Bah’t is not a hireling. If anything, she considers herself the senior partner in this relationship.

Fortunately for Ronnina, Bah’t is mostly content to watch and to think. She will not usually exert too much influence over events. However, there are some things to consider:

* If Ronnina ever hits 0 hp, or appears to be in a truly hopeless situation, Bah’t is going to want to have a chat. It happens at the speed of thought, and so is considered to be a time-stopped situation. This will be handled like any other conversation with an NPC, and so if Ronnina wants to maintain control over her own body in these situations, she’s going to have to convince Bah’t that she’s not about to get them both killed. Bah’t does not want to die.

* Each haven turn, there is a 2 in 6 chance that Bah’t will want the body for herself. These periods do not interrupt training, but Ronnina will not be able to pursue anything new, or make progress on currently existing training, during that Haven Turn.

In exchange, Bah’t offers Ronnina several benefits:
* +2 to Ronnina’s base Intellect and Wisdom scores for as long as Bah’t is in her head. (Note that this functions as a +1 to all saves!)
* Knowledge of the Wizarding Encroachment Against Aging, which has been added to Ronnina’s Spellbook.
* Ronnina’s mind has expanded to allow for 1 additional spell slot, so long as Bah’t is with her.
* When crafting new spells using magic words, Bah’t takes a great deal of the burden off of Ronnina’s mind. Thus, Ronnina is able to train during the same Haven turn that she is researching the spell.

At any time, Bah’t Kabsza is willing to leave Ronnina’s head, so long as another magic user is ready to willingly accept her into their own head.

Highlights Recap
After making arrangements for Umquat, Goldilocks, and Chiriyo to remain at the inn, the party headed out to Vault XIX, housed in a surprisingly purpose-made building. Unlike most other locations on the Red World, this place seems to be of actual recent construction, and fully intended to serve as a wizard bank. This may or may not be due to powerful illusory magics.

Inside, things are packed, and the party decides to wait patiently in line. A line which takes forever as it seems that everyone ahead of them has some bullshit special request that takes forever to resolve. When they do finally reach the teller–a minor sorceress named Shelaquizza–they made a conscious effort to be pleasant, and to keep their business brief. They identified themselves as working for the owner, (who the bank had listed as a Mister “Fuck you I’m not giving you my name.”) and gave the passphrase written in Vox’s journal. Because the party had been pleasant customers, Shelaquizza leaned forward and let the party know that they weren’t supposed to give her the WHOLE thing. Just the first part. She then had the party step aside and wait for someone to lead them to the lockbox, which someone soon arrived to do.

The party were then taken to a chamber, several stories down, where the walls were covered in heavy steel doors, each of which was about 5″ tall, and 4′ wide. The clerk placed a key into the correct door, from which a telescoping cylinder emerged. He then stepped aside, as though waiting for the players to do something. Ronnina stepped forward and repeated the password, which then echoed back into her mind, bouncing and echoing around in there until she fell to the ground in a brief seizure, taking 1d6 damage. With a roll of his eyes, Don Harper stepped forward to speak only the second part of the 3 part passphrase they had been given, and the door opened.

From within, the clerk removed a door, which he then carried to the end of the room where he set it up in a slot. The party opened the door, and it opened up into a field of twisting smoke. After properly testing this void for dangers, they stepped through, and discovered that they were in the most metal fuckin’ place they’d ever seen. Jagged shards of metal erupted from the ground. Small plants were topped with skulls that screamed when plucked, blood rained down from the sky, and up ahead of where they appeared was a cavern shaped like a skull with a wide open mouth.

Within, the party encountered a Sorbeyak. Ronnina was pretty worried about that shit, but the party stumbled on the bright idea of just using the third part of the pass phrase. Once they did that, the Sorbeyak stepped aside, and they were free to continue down into the many caverns.

The party then began exploring the many passages of the cavern. They came first upon a locked steel door. On attempting to pick the lock, they activated a scything blade which nearly killed Lucky the Smiler. Fortunately he was lucky enough that the damage die dealt exactly the amount of damage that he had as hit points, and so he was able to keep going without suffering a critical hit.

Moving on, in the next chamber the party found an Uzi which Vox had apparently been unable to repair. The strange collection of tools–from a lockpicking set, to a few kitchen items like can openers and corckscrews–made it pretty clear that Vox had no idea what he had. Ronnina claimed the Uzi, which will be easy enough to repair with Internet contacts.

In the following chamber, the party discovered a large stone throne covered in detailed writing. The writing is consistent in nature, but none of the party understand the language. They placed a crossbow quarrel on the chair, followed by a skull flower they had picked outside. Neither of those things had any effect. They took photos of the writing with their phones, and the party moved on.

In the next chamber the party discovered a young woman chained to a wall multiple times, and held within a steel cage. The young woman claimed to be a sex-prisoner of Zessler Vox, but was just…the absolute worst liar in the whole fucking world. She literally mentioned that she was “absolutely not a brain parasite.” Lul.

Once some trust was established, the young woman revealed that she was Bah’t Kabsza, a brain parasite and something approaching what a human might call a “wizard,” though the way she and humans interact with the forces of magic are decidedly different. She claimed to have a long history of enjoying symbiotic relationships with Wizards, wherein she received a place to live, while the Wizard benefited from her vast stores of knowledge. Notably the secrets of stopping the aging process. Unfortunately, Vox had forced her into this non-wizard brain, and attempted to torture the secrets of longevity out of her, rather than make a proper bargain. (To “have his cake and fuck it too,” as she thought the expression might be.)(The referee wasn’t THAT deep in his cups at this point…but he was a little bit in his cups.)

Anyway, Ronnina and Bah’t Kabsza had a bit of a negotiation, worked some shit out, and then they busted the woman out with a crowbar, and Ronnina put her ear against the young woman’s, thus allowing Bah’t Kabsza into her mind. However, Bah’t Kabsza must adapt herself to this knew place, and so a Haven turn will pass before her influence will come into effect.

Despite the fact that the now-vacated young woman is probably brain dead according to Bah’t, the party decides to take her along and attempt to restore her.

In the next chamber, the party finds 116 alchemical concoctions of various shapes and colors. Lucky the Smiler takes 11 for himself. And in the chamber after that, the party encounters a chest which they quickly determine is trapped. They turn it over and pop out the bottom with a dagger. 20,000 credits fall out!

They briefly consider attempting a tinkering check to safely remove the pressurized glass bulb filled with poison death gas, but given that none of them are the best tinkerers, they decide to just let it pass.

The party then return to the steel door. Two party members hold their shields against the spot in the wall where the scythe comes out, while a third stands ready to slide a spear in behind it so it can’t retract. The trap thus disabled, the party take some time to get the door pried open, revealing an empty room.

Lucky throws a handful of flour into the room, which is great, because it reveals a huge 20′ pit filled with poison spikes at the bottom. Albert then throws his shield, to try and create a rope bridge to the other side, and rolls high enough to discover that the back wall of the cave is also an illusion. Once they’ve made it through that, the party discovers a book. Lucky Smiler threw a dagger at it to make sure it was cool. Nothing happened, and they approached to discover that it was a book that totally blew Ronnie’s mind: “The Incalculable Machinations of Neve Canri.”

The vault now completely looted, the session ended In Media Res.

Thoughts and theories on tabletop games.