2020-01-25 - Temp Arc Chapter 2
Some odd things have been happening in Purity's guild house. The ratfolk and HR staffers are tearing up the walls, leaving things in a chilly state of perpetual construction. Some of them report the basements being off limits thanks to some strange yelping and mechanical noises. They suspect it's part of an "internal heating" plan the temporary Quartermaster's been going on about…
That morning, Kano finds Dr. Taigon (said temp) training in the fight pits. The two spar, with Dr. Taigon getting a little too into it. While trying to grapple her, Kano noticed that her torso was somewhat squishy, and that she could get out of grapples quite easily. He disengaged and ended the fight, earning some jeers from Dr. Taigon and Tauzak, who happened to be watching from the corner. Meanwhile, Bjarg heard some gossip and Gregor meditated in a park.
The party was called together for a mission in the Quartermaster's office. Dr. Taigon seemed irritated as always, and her octo-bot assistant ushered the party over. They noticed the bot was marked 25 and had a face lift, but didn't seem to recognize them. Irritated they were treating her construct like a person, Dr. Taigon briefed the group: they were to go to the domed city of Syrinx to get her a battery for her experiments. She gave them a list of components and 300 gold, telling them to spend the rest on lunch at one of the stalls. Pay was 250gp standard.
The party arrived in Syrinx, a city of small, brightly colored houses with well-maintained cobblestone streets. Smaller folk-halflings, gnomes, and goblins- went about their business, many of them accompanied by companion dogs. Warforged maintained the city and served as information kiosks. Gregor went up to one of the kiosks and found directions to some parts shops. Guided by the scent of fresh pasta (and a nat 20), he led the party to a busy street.
They first attempted to purchase a connector cable from a halfling-run shop. It was then the party realized they had no idea what parts they needed, what the battery was for, how the battery worked, and a max Charisma of 9-10 between the 4 of them. (Hoo boy…) Nonetheless, they purchased the connector and went on to commission a shell from a goblin shop down the road. While the mostly over-5-foot-tall party dodged the smaller folks beneath their feet, they ran into a githzerai cook named Tai. At his stand, they bought lunch, talked monk shop, and got some intel on where to get a power crystal on the cheap. An individual named Casten often lurked around the power plant, and might be willing to help for a price.
The party approached the power plant, which was guarded by patrolling warforged. They found three gnomes stealing scrap from the back of the plant who provided more info: Casten has been missing for a few weeks, which is causing concern among the shadier parts of the city. As the party planned their next move, a warforged guard cornered them and escorted them away from the scrap chute.
Creating a new plan, Bjarg discussed Casten's whereabouts with one of the kiosk-warforged (who lacked a control box on the back of its head). Kano bribed a power plant worker with a blanket in exchange for a uniform that would fit Bjarg. Bjarg snuck in mostly unnoticed, while Kano distracted the secretary with inane questions. Tauzak and Gregor, however, had other plans: start a fight as a distraction. Bjarg made it one floor up the stairs only to be stopped by a goblin orderly who realized something was wrong. Kano tried to distract the orderly, but wasn't having much success.
The jig was up, and the fight was on, convincingly so. A few warforged guards burst onto the scene to stop Tauzak and Gregor's "fight," only for Tauzak to start fighting the guards. Meanwhile, Bjarg kicked the goblin orderly down the stairs as Kano rushed up to look for power crystals. He found two charging on the second floor and removed them, getting somewhat electrocuted in the process. He threw both in Bjarg's bag as a more official-looking goblin foreman and more guards showed up on the stairs. Meanwhile, Tauzak continued to demolish the guards, and Gregor healed the orderly's leg.
The monks made a run for the door, only for Bjarg to be stopped by one of the guards. Tauzak then demolished that guard and minorly electrocuted himself and Bjarg by breaking the guard's battery. With the power plant on lockdown, the party split as follows: Gregor stood down and agreed to negotiate with the foreman, Tauzak and Kano ran off in the direction of the bucket gnomes, and Bjarg high-tailed it into the city proper, using his workman's uniform as a cover.
Gregor snuck out of the power plant using his firbolg abilities, disguised as a particularly tall dwarf. He gave some troops in riot gear false information and returned to the row of shops where the party first began their search.
Kano and Tauzak followed the bucket gnomes to a seedy bar. The doorman asked the password, which Kano guessed. Inside the bar, a crab-like warforged named Kevin (K3-V1) touched base about Casten's disappearance. They were a power smuggler who charged crystals for free/a reduced price. They were part of an underground organization, and were expected to meet with the boss relatively soon. Kevin agrees to give Kano and Tauzak directions in exchange for finding Casten.
Bjarg, however, had much worse luck. After failing to obtain directions back to the shop, he stumbled into a police station. He fooled one of the officers long enough to get directions, but was recognized and impounded shortly after. Thrown in his cell and separated from the stolen power crystals, he was offered a plea bargain: retrieve the rest of his friends and do some compensational labor for the foreman, or be sent to Tank.
The rest of the party gathered in the shopping area and took a short rest. Having recovered their commission, they realized Bjarg was arrested and hid under Tai's stall to figure out their next move. After much planning (and anxiety on Tai's part), they agreed that Gregor would sneak in, break Bjarg out, and steal the power crystals back while Tauzak created a distraction (involving a Benny Hill chase with some halfling cops). Kano kept watch.
Gregor, disguised as a human guard from earlier, began his infiltration, only to be recognized by the gobin foreman, Cermet Kroll (who rolled a nat 20). Foreman Kroll led Gregor outside and offered him a plea deal: Kroll would drop the charges and provide the group with a power crystal if they took care of a bird that nested on top of the power plant. The group would then be banned from Syrinx for three months. Gregor accepted the deal and rounded up the party for some free labor.
The party was then escorted to the power plant and further scolded by Foreman Kroll until they reached the top of the tower, where lighting rods stuck up past the dome's surface to collect reserve power on cloudy days. They quickly found a large nest made of scraps and junk from around the city. Kano found an arm and pulled it out of the nest, revealing a warforged with an antique-radio-esque head. They introduced themselves as Casten, a power thief working against the city.
A lightning bird then attacked the party, and was quickly dispatched in front of its two sleeping babies. Despite Tauzak's insistence that the babies should die, the group decided to spare the babies and persuade Foreman Kroll to take them in.
During a quick healing session, Casten revealed they were captured by the bird as nesting material a few weeks back. They steal power from the city as part of an underground ring of warforged and other individuals who don't agree with city politics. They also have some familiarity with Dr. Taigon: she agreed to build a new body for a warforged resistance leader named Isax who was killed a few months ago. However, she fled from the city with plans from Casten's group and hasn't returned since. The group's been hunting her down, but Casten can't provide too much more info. They invite the party to Hobard to learn more, charge themselves on the lightning rod, and jump off the side of the building.
The party hands the chicks off to a frustrated Foreman Kroll, who provides them with a power crystal and promptly kicks them out. Kano and Bjarg then decide not to teleport back to Purity and instead opt to take a train to Hobard in search of answers from Casten. Tauzak and Gregor return to Purity, where Dr. Taigon questions their activities and (firmly) tells them to kill any interfering warforged they come across in the future.
But is the good(?) doctor being completely honest? Just who are these warforged, and why are they breaking away from the city? Are either of these factions actually lying? The answers may yet be revealed in the depths of Hobard dome…
The entire party received inspiration for stellar roleplaying and problem-solving A lot of critical failures and successes were rolled this session to hilarious results Kano's alignment shifted from Lawful Good to Neutral Good due to some theft