2020-01-18 - Temp Arc Chapter 1
It's a new year in Sigil, the City of Doors. Across the city, people plan to do their best and worst in the new year. The Purity guild is no different: with the holidays ended, life goes on as normal. The ratpeople scurry about on their maintenance errands, and the Department of Humanoid Resources continues its diligent efforts to employ a bunch of crazed murder hobos throughout the planes. In this case, that means building repairs.
It's about this time of year that Guild Quartermaster Luther Hahn takes his forced annual vacation. The infamous kobold monk left for his home plane last week, taking Archival Master and ratfolk matriarch Ginger. As such, HR has slowed down to address some infrastructure issues, like building repairs and outreach with extraplanar partner organizations. There's been rumors of a temp Quartermaster milling about. The only thing people know about her is that she came from a city the Guild tried to partner with a few months ago.
Gamble, Jotunn Bjarg, Kano, and Gregor (firbolg cleric) all received a message stating one Dr. Oxana Taigon had work for them in HR. After some preparations, they were directed back to the Quartermaster's office, where a human(?) woman in a lab coat and goggles was sitting at the main desk. A creature best described as an octopus head on a quadrupedal robot body assisted her in her work. The woman introduced herself as Dr. Taigon, renowned scientist and new temp. Though displeased with the party's lack of scientific knowledge, she sent them off to her home, Ianoth, to retrieve chunks of a meteor that had fallen a few miles away from the city. She gave them a set of collection equipment and a contact (Dr. Cyprian Damask), but no other information than "Don't land in the prison."
The party portals into a fairly busy street and narrowly avoids getting hit by a trolley. Their medieval fantasy attire (and repeated shouting of "CYPRIAN!") attracts some attention in the stark, concrete-laden architecture full of pastel-clad individuals. A goliath guard thought they were LARPing without a permit, which Gamble used as an opportunity to mention their research expedition. Lacking proper paperwork, the guard escorted them through the Tank, which turned out to be a prison district featuring a massive, glass-walled jail complex.
At the Tank's central offices, the party received a stack of paperwork, watched a dwarven thief being taken (very unwillingly) into the prison, and observed the general goings-on of the office. Kano and Jotunn meditated (monk bros), while Gregor and Gamble kept and eye on things and filled out forms. Eventually, they met with Cyprian, a wheelchair-bound silver dragonborn with a fabulous moustache. A former student of Dr. Taigon, he's surprised to hear she's with Purity, and offers to get the party some resources for their journey in exchange for some of that sweet, sweet space rock. Normally, they'd send some warforged to collect samples, but the city's requisitioned them all for an update.
The party's outfitted with warmer winter gear and a solar-powered golf cart. Being a tortle, Kano opted to buy some warmer clothes. After some struggle and advice from a local rental salesman, everyone figured out how to work the cart and began their expedition into the tundra surrounding Ianoth. They don't make it far before a penguin (?) slides up to their cart and starts going after Gregor's colander hat. When he refuses to give it up, the penguin pulls a knife and begins mimicking people's speech. Roll initiative.
The penguin-kenku (pen-ku, if you will) attacks the party as a bunch of its friends follow suit, hopping on the cart and stabbing people as Gamble guns it. Kano tries to grapple a pen-ku and teaches it some new Aquan swears. A few pen-kus get thrown off the cart Mad Max-style. As it seems the avian criminals are almost dealt with, Gamble notices some bumps on the horizon. Bumps that are moving towards the cart. Bumps that look like horned lizards. Two white drakes bolt towards the cart, one of them knocking it over mid-drive and crushing Kano's hand.
Jotunn goes unconscious as one of the drakes begins its assault, but is revived by Gamble. After being hit with sticks multiple times and blasted by a frag cannon, the first drake retreats underground, popping up in the distance to steal a dead pen-ku for dinner. The other is swiftly dispatched by Gregor with a critical Guiding Bolt. With the cart slightly beat up and righted, the party takes a short rest as they continue their journey.
The meteor itself is embedded into a 20ft-deep crater, the sunlight creating bismuth-like shimmers where it hits. The closer the party approached to the meteor, the warmer they felt. They also noticed the meteor had some pretty strange effects on their well-being. Nonetheless, they began chipping off pieces, with Jotunn finding particular glee at attacking a giant rock with a pickaxe. Having collected plenty of samples, the party retreated to their cart only to be greeted by the sound of crunching snow. Two lanky, starving polar bears covered in chunks of ice approached them, shooting beams of frost from their mouths.
Having completed their mission, the party NOPE'd out of the tundra and back to HR, Jotunn getting a few hits in for pride's sake. The group thawed out and inspected their bounty, which continued to cause some unusual side effects. They returned to Dr. Taigon's office to find only the strange octopus-bot sitting on her desk. Gamble tried to flatter it, but it seemed unimpressed. Kano tried to grapple the creature (with a nat 20), but it nimbly dodged out of the way (nat 20). Another attempt, and another escape (BOTH nat 20s). Finally, he caught the thing and spoke to it in Aquan, which it didn't seem to understand. He noticed the creature had the number 24 inscribed on one of its sides and began calling it as such. Meanwhile, Jotunn and Gregor found some plans on Dr. Taigon's desk depicting cephalopod anatomy and plans to build a warforged.
With enough scritches, 24 became more friendly to the party and led them to Dr. Taigon after a brief attempt to catch some fish. The party found their employer in the training pits, where the surprisingly jacked doctor was engaging in her daily exercises. She seemed truly intrigued by the rocks and amused that Cyprian still hadn't shaved the moustache she gave him back in college. She also scoffed at the paperwork and procedural obsessiveness of her hometown. Kano suggested they work out sometimes. She will consider.
The party then went back to the Tank, where Cyprian was waiting for them at the prison office. Behind closed doors for fear of getting fined, the party delivered the goods and recounted their experience on the tundra. Cyprian inquired about Dr. Taigon's possession of warforged schematics, which are highly guarded and illegal to obtain without government credentials. He expressed further interest about the ice bears that attacked the party, and asked they keep him notified of any changes. As a thank-you, he rewarded them with some extra gold.
Their work ended, the party returned to Sigil to collect payment. But just who is their new employer, and what are her intentions with this allegedly illegally obtained information? [The answers may yet be revealed in the next mission…]
This session happened on the day of a small blizzard. Perfect timing!
Gamble received inspiration for using Thaumaturgy to make his eyes look like sunglasses.
Gregor received inspiration for the nat 20 Guiding Bolt.