When we left off, the PCs (well, Tonut the cleric, Heidi the pacifist warrior, and Mu the wizard) ended up having been transported by the Time Dinosaurs to Highbay (a place well-known to the players, but not to any of their current characters). There, they met Chief Officer Swanlee.
-Bill's player, bereft of Bill due to his having been turned into a Sezrekhan Zombie on an isolated asteroid, is leveling up one of his backup characters.
"So with those stats, you can either be a wizard, or totally incompetent; it's wide open!"
"Or I could be an incompetent wizard, like the Fishman!"
"That will be determined by your random selection of spells."
-Swanlee is trying to make sense of the people who just teleported out of nowhere into his office, an event that he handles with his usual deadpan aplomb.
"So you're a cleric? But a traditional cleric, right? Not one of the Ackbashian Jihad?"
"The what now??"
-"Are you people associated with Bill the Elf?"
-"Have any of you ever done a job where you had to investigate criminal activity?"
"That depends, does introspection count?"
-Swanlee immediately decides to take advantage of the presence of these random adventurers, hiring them to investigate the latest criminal activity in Highbay: someone has been producing and distributing huge amounts of counterfeit Smithplium pieces!
"How can you not know that? It's been around for thousands of years!"
-"So it's Fools' Smithplium?"
-"You might have to do some undercover work to find the counterfeiters."
"That's ok, we've seen the Sky-Nazis do it, they're experts."
"It won't be that hard for you three, you'll blend in readily with the local criminal element."
"I should be offended by that, but it's probably true."
-"So what's the Ackbashian Jihad?"
"Before his death, Ack'basha had founded a cult here. They got progressively weirder after he died, and have recently become violently fanatical, in a religious war against the Halconlords, who are a kind of rival cult."
"Yes. They've conquered everything between Goldhalcon and Highbay."
"How did they manage that?"
"They've got a local leader; her name's Lady Halcon."
"Oh fuck, you guys... Sandy's alive!"
-"Officer Swanlee, have you had anyone in your city become a kind of brainless zombie that keeps saying 'all is Sezrekhan'?"
"Yes, there have been a couple of incidents of that."
"We call it SezrekAIDS."
"Was Bill the elf somehow responsible for that?"
"Not really. Wait, yes he was."
-"Does my jetpack have a limited supply of fuel?"
"Effectively, not really; the jetpack's fission core will work for thousands of years."
"Of course, your jetpack is probably thousands of years old.."
"Don't worry, it'll probably outlast you."
"Yeah, it should last for the next few weeks."
-Tonut the Cleric (who was formerly Tonut the blacksmith) figures out that the counterfeit smithplium pieces have a certain amount of guano content. He figures this out immediately after licking one.
-"I like how Swanlee takes everything in stride."
"I have the feeling Swanlee long since ran out of shits to give."
-Meanwhile, we are reintroduced to Kumar. He ran with Ack'basha's group the last time they were in Highbay, but stayed behind. He opened up a little curry shack, frequented mainly by the small Bharata community based here. Being a former warrior-caste Kshatriya (turned former wizard) he doesn't actually know how to cook, but instead he has hired a vaishya (a merchant-caste) girl named Priya to cook for him. And to join him in spontaneous Bollywood musical numbers.
"Oh how I love Kumar, but we can never be together for we are of different castes!"
"I secretly love Priya but our love cannot be, but we are united by curry and song!"
-Priya has disappeared in the night. Unbeknownst to anyone, she had gone out to do some industrial spying on their curry shack's biggest competition, the massively successful chain of Bharatan Spicy Tender Pork Tacos, which have been stealing away their customers and leading them to bankruptcy.
Ujay, Priya's older brother and guardian, has come angrily accusing Kumar of having taken her, but he has no idea what's going on.
-The rest of the PC party, heading to the docks, runs into a tough looking ranger-type guy that looks a bit like Aragorn.
"Well met, sirs!"
"Oh shit, this guy is probably going to have another side quest for us.."
"You look like a hale and hearty group of heroes.."
"...here it comes.."
"Would you be interested in buying some weed?"
"Oh. Right. I forgot this was Highbay."
-In this detour, the party is interrupted by Ujay and Kumar's shouting match and general action/drama/romance Bollywood scene.
-"I have an idea. Perhaps if you start a musical number about how much you love Priya but your romance is doomed, she'll start singing back, wherever she is. We might be able to hear it?"
"I will try!"
"I rolled a natural 20 on my perception check."
"Wow. I can't believe that worked. OK, Tonut, you can hear shrill Hindi singing in the distance."
-The party finds that Priya is being held inside a large shipping complex in the port. Roger, the weed salesman who mistakenly looked like a ranger, points out that the warehouse is owned by a group of Vulturemen merchants.
"Wait.. vulturemen? Like, the sort of vulturemen that produce guano?"
"The plot is coming together..."
-Seeing that Priya is being held in a top-floor accessible by a window, Heidi and Tonut fly up there with Tonut's jetpack.
"Hello! We are here to rescue you."
"Yes, but really we're here to stop the counterfeiting vulturemen. You're actually incidental, like a side-quest."
"No, you are the incidental ones sir. I am the female romantic lead!"
-While they're skulking in an alley awaiting the results of the rescue mission, Mu, Kumar, Ujay and Roger are attacked by a group of Boatswine and some guys in restaurant uniforms.
"They are employees of Bharatan Spicy Tender Pork Tacos!"
-The fight looks tricky for the PCs, but then Mu uses his greatest power, by throwing a grenade.
"Grenades are my fireballs!"
-While Heidi stays in the warehouse to investigate, Tonut flies Priya to the safety of a nearby rooftop.
"Please sir, you have to help my brother and my beloved Kumar! They are being attacked!"
"You will help them sir, or I will star to sing again!"
"Ok, ok, I'm going!"
-While the rest of the party is being surrounded on both sides by Boatswine and fast-food employees, Heidi is still in the top floor of the warehouse. He had hidden himself in a supply closet, and got a rope to climb down.
"I'll do a mighty deed to climb it all the way down in one round."
"Ok. You fail, and fall 40'."
"Well, I told you I'd get down in one round!"
-Tonut attempts Divine Aid but fails.
"Now you can't heal anyone more than once for the rest of the day."
"Ha! Like he was planning to heal anyone anyways."
"You guys, I have some bad news: G.O.D. doesn't want to strike these guys down, and Obamacare has been repealed!"
-Upon Priya's shrill high-pitched insistence after watching her brother Ujay get slaughtered by taco-vendors, Tonut flies down and scoops up Kumar to save him.
"Sir you have robbed me of my moment of glory!"
"Do you want to go back?"
"I will consider it, but for now keep flying!"
-"Kumar you must listen to me, I have seen something terrible!"
"I know, you were a prisoner, it must have been awful."
"No, it is what the Vulturemen are doing in there!"
"We know, they're making counterfeit Smithplium with their poop."
"Maybe so but that is not what is horrifying either."
-"Just tell us, damn it, or do you want me to send you back to the pigmen?"
"Do you want me to sing again sir??"
"What we have here is what they call a Bollywood stand-off"
-"Bharatan Spicy Tender Pork Tacos is people!!!"
"Yes, they are importing Bharatan children and using them for meat!"
"Oh gross. I ate one!"
-It might be a coincidence, but apparently the Bharatan derogatory word for a 'barbarian' is "Bill".
-Shops in Highbay have their own particular thematic.
"Yes, this is a drug store. We also sell a bit of medicine."
-Heidi was separated from the rest of the group.
"You just abandoned us all!"
"I want to note that as far as any of the other PCs know, Heidi is still trapped inside the warehouse and they all just left him there."
-The Vulturemen want to try to stop Priya and the PCs from revealing the terrible truth to Swanlee about what they've been doing all over the region. So a couple of vulturemen go personally to try to kill them before they can get to city hall. Tonut takes Priya and flies on ahead with his jetpack. Kumar stays behind and fights one, killing it with magic, but also leaving a side-effect of a mini-eclipse in an area of the central market that will last several days.
-"My brother he is dead, what will become of me now??"
"You could just fuck Kumar."
"No that cannot ever be, because although I am madly in love with him, we are of different castes!"
"No one cares."
"Kumar cares, because he is oh so very noble!"
"Pretty sure he's not.."
-Tonut flies down to the guards at the entrance to city hall.
"Whoa... are you Iron Man?"
-They get to Swanlee's office.
"Bharatan Spicy Tender Pork Tacos are made from captive Bharatan children!"
"Oh god, I've been eating one of those for lunch every day for nearly a year!"
-"There are very few things illegal in Highbay. But illicit transportation of children for the purposes of cannibalism happens to be one of them! Round up the guard!"
-"I do not like you priest! You have defiled your Brahmin vows!"
"You have a girlfriend! You have slept with a woman!"
"Well, I didn't say I actually slept with her.. yet."
"Ha ha! Tonut's never slept with a woman!"
-The PCs and about 50 Highbay guards head back to the warehouse, where they're confronted by a small army of Vulturemen, Boatswine, and dozens of Taco-stand employees fighting for their jobs.
"You're against free enterprise"
"Ayn Rand was right, we SHOULD eat the young!"
-Mu lets loose on the enemy with his AK-47
"So wait, if grenades are your substitute for fireballs, is the AK-47 your answer to Magic Missile?"
"...more or less."
"You really are an awful wizard."
-Seeing the Boatswine being slaughtered by the guard, the taco-stand employees lose their morale check and run.
"This isn't worth my minimum-wage salary!"
-The PCs realize that there's several Boatswine junk-barges sailing out into the port. Tonut and Heidi fly up there, and slice at their sails.
Then Tonut does a Divine Aid to crack their hulls, and they start to sink.
-Then the PCs notice that in mid-fight the warehouse is on fire! Presumably, with the children still inside.
Tonut and Heidi heroically ram the door, but it turns out to be much harder than they thought at first. They fall flat on their asses.
-They manage to break in eventually, and fine that the flames have not yet reached the cages where about 200 Bharatan children are being held.
-As for the others, Mu is too cowardly to go inside, while Kumar's spellcasting has had the mercurial effect of reducing him to a primitive state.
-Mu does decide to strategically place a grenade on one of the walls, hoping it will help dispel the fire. It ends up causing half the building to collapse. Not, luckily, the half the children were in; but now the whole building is not just on fire but on the verge of collapsing entirely!
"Wow. Good thing I made my luck roll!"
-Thanks to the +4 mace breaking open the cages, Heidi and Tonut get the kids out safely just before the whole warehouse falls.
-Kumar, recovered, gives the 200 Bharatan orphan children to Priya.
"This is my gift to you Priya, for we can never be married as we are of different castes. But now you will have these children, for you to open many franchises of your curry business!"
"I will use them for children labor, as is the traditional Bharatan way!"
"We will celebrate with a great curry feast!"
"Yes, the children will cook for us!"
-"Hey, do you realize that without Bill around, we've actually succeeded at two quests in a row?"
"I know, it's weird."
"And we've been at least semi-heroic!"
"Yeah, aside from the child labor."
-"You guys are still better than Bill the Elf."
"That's a low bar, Swanlee."
With that, the session ends. As per their agreement, Swanlee lets them keep several thousand counterfeit smithplium pieces (after Tonut uses his power armor to bring them up from the sunken Vulturemen ships). And he'll provide them with an escort to the tower of the Azure Wizards, where the party hopes the wizards can help them get back to the city of Lol.
Stay tuned next week for more DCC misadventures!
Currently Smoking: Brigham Anniversary + Image Latakia