(The audio file for this session was lost. Thankfully, it’s the only lost session so far.)
Recap by Great Dinn
The party opens following Powder Keg’s date with Blinkie, the whole party staying up and generally chatting with one another while they wait for the raider killer with an explosive temper to get back from his night of romance(?). Despite harassment from the remainder of the party, and innocent sounding questions from Flotsam, the party gets no information on how the date went, other than “it was good.” The party acquiesces to Powder’s wish to not go into further detail, and goes to sleep, except for Flotsam who stays up an hour later than usual, finishing up the note she was working on for the Steel Rangers, and Firelight, who looks over the note and tucks it under the filly when she finally falls asleep.
The party wakes up and continues on their path to Slayer Base, each preparing in their own way for the oncoming encounter with the Steel Rangers, and everyone joining in on the general harassment of Powder Keg for the date, and his reaction to it. Our heroes also encounter Silver Wrench, an engineer travelling from Skyfall to Gold Rush. The party asks him about his reason for travelling, and he responds vaguely, stating that there was some “thing” found in Skyfall that he wanted to discuss with Nail. He was, regrettably, tight-lipped about anything specific, but he did recognize the reputation the group had begun to garner. Silver Wrench bids them farewell, and the party continues on. Before things get too relaxed, however, the party runs into a raider encampment. Powder Keg, naturally, decides to start a fight.
Well, fighting gives a little more credit to the Raiders than deserved. It was more ambushing and slaughtering them through the use of “bombies,” landmines (making use of Flotsam’s special Sparkle Cola Explosives), and a blinding by Firelight with fireworks. All the raiders who managed to survive those particular encounters were quickly torn apart by the rest of the party’s typical attacks, and as always, more explosives.Those few raiders fight back more readily than usual, the members of the Four Horses gang making use of various abilities and techniques that seem more advanced than previous encounters, but no less capable of being dealt with. By the end of the “fight”, one Raider per leader is left alive, and Tempered Steel sends them running, each with a message for their boss.
The group explores the Raider encampment, scouring the tents and buildings for supplies, stopping only when they encounter a colt locked up in a cell. They attempt to talk with him, but find that he’s had his tongue cut out, presumably by the Raiders. Tempered Steel and Firelight destroy the cell door and let the pony out, while Powder Keg preps some “Hydra” for the colt in an effort to heal his tongue. The attempt is, fortunately, successful, and the colt thanks them for their help. He then asks if they know where his mother might be, and it’s revealed that the nameless colt is the son of a Raider. While it’s uncertain, it seems likely that the Famine pony who ran off with the message was his mother, but he’s willing to travel with the party for a little while, and “join their gang” so to speak. He reveals some of his history, how he lost his tongue (calling Famine something horribly creative), and Tempered Steel suggests “Smack Talk” as a name for the colt, which he readily accepts. Powder Keg locates the largest of the tents, spreads it out in front of one of the buildings, writes “This is the fate of all Raiders” in blood, and blows the building sky high as a message to send a message, then the group begins their journey back to Slayer Base, with one more new pony in tow.
Because no session is complete without an argument of some kind, the party quickly tries to teach the son of a Raider ethics and morality as they walk, which proves to be an arduous task as the group is distinctly lacking in proper role models, and Smack Talk, while admiring some aspects of his new “gang” is still a teenager, and does not so readily accept the perceived “Lessons” from the somewhat hypocritical adults around him. Javolt proves to be both good with, and horrible with children at the exact same time, and Powder Keg, in an effort to keep the kid occupied and also potentially to relate to the colt on some level so he’ll shut up and listen when the inevitable alignment talk returns, attempts to teach Smack Talk about explosives. Smack Talk accepts, mostly because he wants to get away from Javolt.
Before too much more can occur, the party spies a small group of Tiamat Cultists heading down the same path they’re on, travelling in the opposite direction. There’s a small moment of panic, with Firelight attempting to help Aurelia come up with some advice to give the cultists should they go through the whole “begging, pleading, asking for guidance” shtick, but it fortunately does not come up. The two groups pass each other without much fanfare, only a sordid glare coming from a few of the cultists as the groups get further away. Powder Keg calls back to them to inform them that they’re idiots, which results in a scolding from the rest of the party sans Smack Talk, who heartily approves of calling anyone out, but the cultists don’t do much in response.
Flotsam brings up Smack Talk’s lack of cutie mark in the ensuing continuation of the aforementioned alignment argument, which results in Smack Talk asking how the party members who have them got theirs. Smack Talk, as he states, is fairly certain that he’ll get his cutie mark for killing so he’s curious as to who they murdered. Flotsam goes on a long tangent of potential cutie marks that Smack Talk could end up with that don’t come from killing, as if to dissuade him from a Raiding lifestyle, but Firelight points out that indeed, both Flotsam and Powder Keg got their cutie marks from events that involved killing, and that it’s a bit hypocritical of them to say otherwise, though quickly adding in that it totally doesn’t have to be that way for Smack Talk. However, they in turn prod Firelight until he informs them that he got his after killing some ponies as well. They attempt to press him for more information, especially given his reticence to talk about his past, but the efforts bear no fruit. Even Xencarn’s calming talk with him away from the party fails to dredge up more than that he’s sorry, he didn’t know who they were, and he regrets having done it. He does say they’ll talk about it later, when fewer ponies are around, though.
Before anything else can be pulled from the well of characterization, a pony in a black hood is spotted walking towards the group, away from the perceived location of Slayer Base. The pony happens to match the description given by Smack Talk of the gang leader Death. The groups have various internal freak outs of appropriate levels, Flotsam with a fear of what’s become of Slayer base, Powder and his general Raider Hatred, Smack Talk with his admiration, etc. Before the group can really make a well thought out decision about what to do, however, Xencarn approaches the hooded pony and asks if he’s Death.
What follows is a very calm, and well-mannered discussion of what Death is doing there, how Xencarn can improve his necromancy, how much the Four Horses Gang knows of the Dragon Mawlers, how the two groups can work together or against each other in relation to Mr. E, and the revelation that the body they’re talking to is nothing more than an illusion of sorts. He assures Flotsam that he’s directly done nothing to Slayer base, and that he was just checking up on things, before leaving the party to their own devices, easily ignoring Powder Keg’s numerous threats against family and loved ones.
Once Death has made his way out of sight, the party quickens their pace towards Slayer base, stopping only when they encounter the secret Steel Ranger base marked on the map given to the party by Sarge as classified. The group decides to approach it, and attempt to enter it. The only visible entrance is a door with a small box, marked with the letters M.A.S. Flotsam pushes the button, and makes an attempt to open the door using the codes given to her by Trip and Sarge, but they prove ineffective. Unhampered, the party discusses potential options for a code, trying multiple things before realizing that the key to the code was within the last Ministry of Arcane Sciences building they were in. Tempered Steel brings out the 300-word manifesto that he totally didn’t leave back in Gold Rush (Xencarn used some magic to draw from the magic space like unto a Minecraft Ender Chest), and the group make use of it, and the numbered code with it, to determine the password.
The numbers: 106, 141, 9, 185, 195, 140, 102, 86, 97, 148, 134, 18, 13, 54, 69, 61, 83, 1
The code: Recall the most important lesson. Know you’re not alone. Realize you have friends. Remember that Friendship is Magic.
Flotsam says the code into the box.
A few seconds later, an iron clanking and rumbling can be heard and felt, and the door to the base opens. The group enters and explores, finding a trove of advanced Steel Ranger technology, and all sorts of loot that the party could most certainly take advantage of, even if not at the moment.
Unfortunately, before they can even properly explore the entirety of the secret base, a voice from behind them tells them to freeze, and drop their weapons. A platoon of Steel Rangers stands at the ready, poised to strike the group however necessary. “Keep your hooves, wings, and horns where we can see them!”