Find the previous chapter here!
Skitters the tiefling thief.
Ixcuina the tiefling radiomancer.
Werd the human soldier.
Itzapal the ashanti veteran.
Ton, the NPC ashanti soldier.
Tot, the NPC berkins soldier.
Huehue, the NPC ashanti soldier.
The setting: A train bound for the urban battleground of Palenque, a Mayan city. The train consists of 7 cars (from front to back): The conductor/engine, 3 troop transports, 1 officer's quarters, and 2 cargo cars at the end. Conductor's car is #1, the first troop transport #2, etc.
After performing a crude pseudoautopsy on a tridog that might not have been completely dead, the gang decided to split up. Skitters, Werd, and Itzapal went to investigate the top of the engine. After climbing atop the cars, Skitters noted that the wind had picked up considerably. The gang pried open the emergency hatch, noting some resistance from some unidentified goop caking the hatch.
Meanwhile, Ix suggested that the strange tridogs should probably be moved out of a potential engagement. A captain agreed and ordered several soldiers to carry the tridogs to the cargo cars, and out the tridogs went. Ix then located the small wizard who soaked him earlier, and asked for assistance. The child came along willingly, and revealed that they had splashed him with a defoliant earlier because Ix looked green. Ix remained noncommittal.
The gang, with Ix and the child watching from the second car, opened the hatch. As they did so, they rapped on the surface of the train...and something tapped back, matching the intensity of the impacts. When they opened the hatch, they discovered the conductor's hand still affixed to the controls. Unfortunately, those hands trailed off into glistening streaks of slime that wound their way towards the back of the train, where a large, amorphous mass pulsed. Iz and Werd tapped their rifles on the side of the train to distract various grubs meandering about inside. Skitters reached down with his rifle and knocked the controls to half speed.
Ix asks the child what they can do. The kid says they can alter their shape and make potions obey them, adding an ominous comment about an "accident". Ix sighs and asks what happened, and the child narrates how they accidentally turned their brother into a fish monster while playing with a ball.
A moment of silence.
Ix hears some gunshots towards the back of the train.
Iztapal, Skitters, and Werd pull out all their available lantern fuel and, with the help of some twine and rope, lash the flasks into a large bundle, planning to swing the lit bundle through the opened hatch and smash it against the ceiling. Skitters dangles the makeshift molotov off the side of the train, gently swinging it back and forth to build up momentum, and then lobs the smoking bundle neatly into the hatch, where it smashes against the ceiling with a tinkling noise. A blaze of light erupts from the hatch and the party hears a greasy crackling noise that smells like dog bacon.
Itzapal descends and rallies the loud, uncoordinated soldiers in the car, making a stirring speech and outlining a plan of action.
Except nobody volunteers to help her.
The captain then mentions that hazard pay is awarded for especially dangerous combat activities, and people start talking. Some lots are drawn, and three soldiers present themselves to Itzapal: Tot, a timid berkins, Ton, a bulky ashanti, and Huehue, a voluble ashanti, Ton's sister. Iz sends off a couple soldiers (with approval of the captain) to investigate the gunshots. The soldiers return and report that the captain's quarters are locked and unresponsive.
Itzapal files the information away for later and organizes her volunteers into a firing line. She gives a signal, and the transport's door is flung open. Directly ahead, a thing pulses behind a milky, obscured window.
The window shatters -
"Soldier down! Soldier down!"
- and Itzapal collapses to the ground, stone dead courtesy of massive internal hemorrhaging from her old wounds. Everyone gasps, and her body is quickly moved to the side. Her nonexistent pulse is taken, and almost everyone hushes as her death is announced.
While his comrade drops dead, Ixcuina takes advantage of the shattered window and peers into the engine. A thing like knotted, fleshy ropes with moist orifices adorns the front of the entire engine, with purple grubs crawling in and out of the orifices. It leaks a runny, pink goop from multiple perforations, and Ix takes advantage of its wounded state, draining electrons from a nearby lantern and firing a concentrated blast at the tangled mass, critically dazing it.
Skitters takes advantage of the stun, wrapping a bedroll over the pulsating thing and tearing it off the engine with some meaty snaps. He hoists it up through the emergency hatch, and before it recovers, tosses it off the train. The quivering bundle hits the ground with a thud and unceremoniously rolls to a stop, quickly disappearing in the distance.
Skitters hears a familiar skriii-kreeeeee noise and scampers away from the grubs moving towards him, back to safety. The excitement ended with the party discussing the shocking loss of a comrade.
Tune in soon for Session 4! (Which has already happened. I just need to write it up.)
Well, so much for testing the Veteran class. Apparently any chance of instant death the first time Wound Dice are invoked is enough for the (now fired) dice bot to murder a PC. I would say it worked well, but maybe I need to account for the 1.53% chance that any Veteran player will die instantly when invoking their most important class ability. Sigh. Maybe someone else will die and try their hand at the class responsible for 100% of PC deaths so far.
Ixcuina got lucky with his spell because the fleshy thing, despite having no visible light-sensing organs, nonetheless critically failed its save. His luck probably won't hold forever.