Recap by Great Dinn
Javolt has spent the vast majority of the night before setting up his laboratory, tinkering, preparing, and altering his own particular body parts. Following that, he begins experimenting and examining in order to determine the particulars of the Gunsmith’s Curse, and has discovered that the vast majority of the problems between the guns aren’t similar. For some, the triggers are failing to line up properly with the hammer, for others, the barrels have warped and twisted, preventing the bullet from firing, and yet others have simply rusted or fallen apart unnaturally.
As a result, Doctor Javolt has come to the conclusion that he should look into energy weapons, and asks both Sarge and Thunderspear if they’ve ever seen any energy weapons in use in the Maw. Sarge answers that he’s only ever fired one of them, and everything past that is classified. Thunderspear responds that he’s seen energy weapons used, but they wear out just as quickly. Javolt decides that the town should build a Tesla coil, and asks if Thunderspear would mind. He states that it would be a bad idea, and asks if Javolt would also consider taking down the blueprints he’s placed around town, seeing as he’s dealing with the raiders today, and it might send the wrong impression.
Meanwhile, the rest of the party sits in their newfound home, and plans their next move. Arguing ensues concerning whether they should pursue the dragon’s treasure to the northeast, or head for the Black Lotus Travelling Company in the southwest. It’s interrupted by Thunderspear and Doctor Javolt arriving. Thunderspear asks the group to follow him, while Doctor Javolt picks up Flotsam and carries her to the general store for the closest approximation to ice cream.
The group looks around Blue Moon’s cabin, finding a cache of 120 caps to split between the six of them, which is used for purchasing basic supplies. Thunderspear, as the purchases are being finalized, tells the group some more information about the area around them, remembering details that he’d forgotten. Back in his prospecting days, he had a partner with a Pipbuck and subsequently has a map of the nearby area, as well as a map of the Maw.
Of the area around Gold Rush: http://i.imgur.com/Kg7SadB.png
Basic map of the Maw: http://i.imgur.com/l5xmEg3.png
With their newfound maps, the party lays out a travel plan, pointing out particular locations between Gold Rush and Glaurung’s Spire that could prove interesting in one way or another. With the heavy key in tow, and the knowledge that, at some point they do need to try and locate the Black Lotus Travelling Company, they decide that they’ll only stop at the Dragonstone between Glaurung’s Spire and Gold Rush, despite the temptations of the Abandoned Parking Lot, and the Boneyard Cave. Before they leave, the group asks Thunderspear about the curses, which he has written down, as well as the Dragonstones, and the Cult of Tiamat that worships the stones.
The Curses are:
The Gunsmith’s Curse – “Always bring a knife to the Maw, because your guns will fail.”
The Fool’s Gold Curse – “Always double-check your loot, because it will be fake.”
The Backstab Curse – “Always keep an eye on your so-called friends, because they will betray you.”
The Voodoo Curse – “Always be careful with your magic, because it will behave unpredictably.”
The Blood Curse – “Always strike first, because you won’t get another chance.”
The Zombie Curse – “Always assume it’s not down for good, because it’s not.”
The Machine Curse – “Always be wary of technology, because it will turn against you.”
The party gather their supplies, and Xencarn sneaks four books into his bags to take with them, one about the Ministry Mare of Morale, one about the Ministry Mare of Arcane Sciences, and two with a focus on magic.
An hour of travel later, the six arrive at a giant silver stone emerging from the wasteland, appearing to any passersby as the scale of a great dragon, fallen to the earth. Strange etchings and writings cover the glittering object, Draconic language, and Xencarn uses some of the knowledge he’s accrued from his studies to translate. The translation is a dark description, the final words of the dragons as they lay their curses on the whole of the Maw. It quickly becomes apparent from the magic emanating from the stone that it is connected to all of the others, though not a source of any curse.
Curiosity not nearly satisfied by Xencarn’s translation, Tempered Steel taps the stone, first with his finger, then with his hammer, making harder and harder attacks against the monolithic object. It rings, louder, and louder, resonating far longer than any of the hits should. And then it begins to glow. Thinking logically, the rest of the party takes cover as best they can, be it by air, by rock, or by meat-shield, and Firelight yells at Tempered Steel to stop messing with the giant scary magical artifact. The glowing and ringing reaches a peak, and Tempered Steel decides to touch the stone again, with his bare hand. The writing on the stone shift underneath his palm, and when it seems that the stone won’t be exploding, Xencarn emerges from cover and translates. The new translation states specifically that they will meet their end by gold and greed.
Powder Keg speaks up, and suggests touching the stone and the key together, since they seem to be connected to Glaurung’s hoard, and as the heavy key reaches the Dragonstone, it too begins to glow, brighter and brighter until a burst of light shoots out from the key, a blinding green beam that heads directly to the Spire, holding until the key is removed from the stone.
Recalling that the map shows a Raider Encampment near the Spire, the party quickly decides that they should reach the tower before the enormous signal they just launched at the spire attracts too much attention. Their journey through the sandy wastes buffets them with wind and debris as they pass near the Boneyard Cave, and can just see in the opposite direction the billboards of the Abandoned Parking Lot. Doctor Javolt is tempted to explore the cave as they are so close, but when he sees the cave and a distinct lack of bones, he realizes that it clearly must have been named after somepony named Boneyard.
When they arrive at the tower, however, they find they’re a bit late as a group of Four Horses Raiders have already started exploring the strange tower, 2 in the green paint of Pestilence, and 3 in the red paint of War. Powder Keg huddles the group together, and lays out a quick battle plan. He’s gonna make another Distractogon. A few moments later a rocket powered flying disco ball emitting a laser light show and playing a grainy version of Sunshine, Lollipops, and Rainbows zooms past the Raiders, and setting up a surprise attack for our “heroes.”
Powder Keg starts the attack with a series of firebombs, searing flame and shrapnel peppering the raiders, while Firelight uses a combination of magic and blessings to empower the party with Celestia’s Light. Flotsam meanwhile launches her own explosive at the nearest War Raider, lacerating the pony with nails and debris. Our favorite Necromancer Zebra goes for a more hooves on approach than his comrades, and rushes the nearest Pestilence pony, bashing skulls, and placing a small curse in preparation for future attacks. Tempered Steel decides that, now that the raiders are beginning to realize what’s happening, he should make a nice distraction to prevent the rest of the group from being attacked. He yells at the top of his lungs, then picks up the Pestilence pony with what he assumes is the freshest paint, and tosses him down the cliffside. Our good Doctor begins to scheme again, attempting to come up with another ingenious and deadly plan, but unfortunately, nothing comes to mind.
The Distractogon long gone, and the Raiders now at full attention, the fight begins in earnest. Powder Keg pulls out his favorite weapon, and straps the brick of C4 to the most injured War pony. The explosion rocks the cliffside, damaging three ponies, two of which are near crippled by the blast. Powder smiles, “I love the smell of raider blood.” Firelight pulls out his sword and charges Powder’s last target, a blazing wound opening along his chest. Xencarn’s previous target uses his magic to heal what damage he can in the near dead War-rior, the fire puttering out as that unicorn unleashes a bolt of lightning that strikes Firelight, but fails to penetrate his magical blessing. Flotsam pulls out a small group of grenades, and spins as fast as she can in mid-air, launching the explosives in a wide arc that strikes all four of the remaining raiders, and ending the life of the burned War pony. One of his allies charges up their magic, and unleashes a burst of lightning that strikes Tempered Steel, charring the minotaur, then changing course and damaging Powder Keg, before finally being halted by Doctor Javolt, who’s cape and claw manage to ground the electricity with no damage to the Donkey Scientist. Xencarn headbutts the Pestilence healer once more, then unleashes the full force of his curse. A billowing wave of darkness envelops the unicorn healer, before growing even larger and consuming the Unicorn that just damaged Xencarn’s allies. When the magical cloud dissappears, the Pestilence unicorn is dead, a horrified look on the husk that was once its body, and the War unicorn is barely standing. Spent of his magic for the moment, Xencarn draws his scythe, and prepares for the next attack.
What he doesn’t expect is for the final War pony to unleash a less direct magic on the party. A red glow wraps around Powder Keg’s head, and warps his vision, turning his allies into viscera covered raiders surrounding him. He strikes at the group, lashing out with another explosive that strikes Xencarn, Tempered Steel, and Firelight. Before he can really do anything, Tempered Steel notices that the pony he threw off the cliff earlier has finally returned, and the minotaur decides to prevent another death. He holds his hammer tightly, and stares down the green-painted pony, growling “Do you still wanna fight this fight? The only thing left for you here is death.” The pony immediately turns around and runs off, away from the group…straight to the Raider Base. Understanding the severity of the situation, Doctor Javolt leaves the remaining War ponies to the others and chases down the runner. It takes a few moments of adjustment, and then launches his claw at the pony’s leg. It just barely misses at first, but then lashes out one final stretch, and clamps around a hind hoof, tripping the raider, and then locking him in place.
The magic having faded, Powder Keg decides to show just how pissed off he is by that kind of manipulation. He uses his magic to pull a series of parts from his packs, and assembles a small weapon in front of him. He places the launching weapon into his hooves, and then pulls a balefire egg from his saddle bag. He places it into the launcher, and fires it at the Raiders. A blinding flash of energy, light, and radiation strikes them, and Firelight follows it up with a brilliant blast of magic fire that passes through Xencarn, Powder Keg, Tempered Steel, and both Raiders. Firelight’s allies feel their wounds sealing, while his enemies burst into flame, one dropping to his knees and charring to a deep black. Flotsam and Xencarn strike at the remaining Raider, tossing a grenade and a blast of shredding magic wind to fell the final foe. With the multitude of wounds taken over the course of the battle, the last raider collapses in a heap, leaving the party victorious.
The fight finished, Powder Keg immediately rushes for the Javolt and the pony that escaped, trusting neither party to keep things sane and civilized, which results in the explosive unicorn tackling the already captured Raider pony while Javolt is collecting various samples. The good doctor attempts to shove Powder Keg off of his new test subject, but despite his efforts, neither party’s agenda is satisfied. As the rest of the group nears, an argument breaks out over what to do with the Raider, both belittling the unicorn’s life choices, as well as attempting to get him to, in some way reform. Xencarn begins the ritual for summoning a zombie, hoping to scare information from the raider, while the fighting grows worse and worse until Guts, the captured raider, attempts to escape via magic, only to have his horn cut into by Powder Keg using one of Javolt’s bone saws. The zombie done, Xencarn makes a few dark statements about what might happen to Guts that is far worse than death, while Flotsam warns Craggy, who has emerged from his hidey-hole in her saddlebags, that he shouldn’t attempt to eat the undead.
Just as it seems that Guts is about to crack, the question is raised about why he’s even with the raiders, and he responds with a question as to why he should tell anything to a group that just killed the ponies he was in a group with, ponies who were something like brothers, and this sets Powder Keg off. In a flash, he has the bone saw to Guts’ throat, but a quick hoof from Javolt pulls the improvised weapon away for “improper usage,” and Tempered Steel and Firelight pull the unicorn away from their prisoner. Xencarn sees that Guts has been damaged by the sudden scare for him to get the absolute truth, and he sits down in front of the unicorn prisoner to ask three questions, with Firelight making a deal that if Guts answers, they’ll let him go. If he doesn’t, they’ll kill him right then and there. Guts decides to answer the three questions.
1st question: Are any other raiders coming? Not now, but they’ll see the damage caused by the fight, and they’ll certainly be interested in why their scouting party didn’t come back.
2nd question: Why are they interested in the tower? Dragon’s treasure.There really doesn’t need to be another reason.
3rd question: Where can we find your leaders? They have meetings where they convene at Apocalypse, but for the vast majority of the time, they travel the Maw advising all of their subgroups, and organizing raids and agreements.
Once the questions are finished, the group enjoys a few moments of silence as Javolt pulls out a scroll containing a list of potential experiments. The ponies in favor of preventing long-term damage state that the deal didn’t specify when they’d let him go, but the decision is overpowered by the others, who agree to let Guts be on his way. Tempered Steel takes a moment to suggest that Guts go to Gold Rush, attempt to start a new life, a clean one. Javolt even offers Feldspar as a new name, and with those words said, Guts heads off into the waste, headed towards the town.
Their experience with the raiders complete, Tempered Steel pulls out the key, and aims it towards the tower, adjusting both his position and the keys position, waving it around like a lunatic until he finds a point of light emitting from both the key and the spire. The party approaches slowly, wary of tricks and traps. The others once again find cover as Tempered Steel approaches the light, finally touching the key and a flat slab of stone along the spire. The edifice drops into the ground, revealing a dark staircase, the only source of light coming from small windows that line the tower. Xencarn sends his zombie in first, and the rest of the group follows, with Tempered Steel holding the key up high as an additional source of light.
As they climb the stairwell, they see pictograms, and paintings lining the walls. Images of great dragons feasting on small ponies, two alicorns, one white and one blue defending those ponies, forcing the dragons back with beams of magic and a powerful presence. Powder recognizes the alicorns as Princess Celestia and Princess Luna, and at the mention of her name, Xencarn speaks of Nightmare Moon. Doctor Javolt fails to care, Firelight doesn’t speak up, and Tempered Steel has no idea what they’re talking about, so Flotsam explains, asking Xencarn if he really believes Luna was Nightmare Moon when the war happened. Before a metaphysical debate can begin about deities that no longer exist, Powder Keg forces the group to continue, following the staircase as more pictures appear of dragons and ponies interacting, and a group of dragons sitting across from the princesses. Then the murals stop for quite some time. near the top of the stairs, next to a door, the final mural appears.
It’s a crudely, hastily drawn explosion.
The door opens into a large landing, approximately 6 yards in diameter, and lying in the center is a giant keyhole. The group hesitates, trying to figure out an appropriate course of action until Tempered Steel slams the key in, and the platform drops. It’s an elevator of some kind. The group makes various judgments on Tempered Steel’s somewhat rash action, but Flotsam thankfully points out to the minotaur that “I’m gonna withhold judgement until we’re dead.”
However, as the elevator descends, a trickle of gold coins begins to pour from the walls. Then a stream. Then a river. Then a flood. It pelts the prospectors, and fills the floor, and seeing the potential danger, Flotsam flies back up the elevator shaft while Firelight quickly raises a magical shield to protect the group, holding the gold in place around them, but leaving them somewhat trapped in the meantime.
The elevator continues to descend, and Tempered Steel becomes blinded by the sheer amount of gold, unable to see anything beyond the riches that are slowly beginning to crush the group to death. Xencarn offers some knowledge to Firelight, taking advantage of his experience with magic, hoping to improve any flaws in the shield, but Powder Keg catches a mistake, which Xencarn quickly corrects, preventing massive damage to the magical structure. Powder Keg too throws his magic behind the shield, hoping to keep it sturdy and safe until the group can find an escape. Then, miraculously, the golden hail slows, and ceases, as the group spies a section of the spire not made of stone, but of glass. They quickly smash through it, dropping the shield and letting the gold coins pour into the cavern system beyond the glass. Further down the tunnels, they can see a golden city, filled with statues of dragons in regal poses, a hoard fit for a mighty dragon.
Now safe, Tempered Steel tests the key again, turning it in the other direction and raising the platform, ever so slightly. Satisfied that the stone column they rode down can take them back up, he returns to the cave level, and attempts to remove the key, only to find it stuck. Satisfied that, at least they can come out the way they came, the group delves into the cave system. Powder Keg lags behind, picking up a paltry ten gold coins.
And as he holds them, he finds that he very much doesn’t want any of the others to have his gold.
Dear Princess Newbiespud,
Today I learned that Powder Keg is seriously messed up. No really. He scared the bejeebus out of me. It makes me so excited for backstory time, and also, very, very, very terrified. You picked some excellent players.
Your Faithful Student,