So, the party had a vague map of the route to the Seat of Power, where Balthazaar planned to make himself into a god and rule the world. Fortunately, the route was mostly a series of magical tunnels, and as a blind juruki Perrel was able to see them from a ways off.
It would have been nice to have the liesure to prepare for the chase, but they were in a hurry -- so they piled into their solar-powered skiff and zipped off towards the entrance to the first tunnel, about 200 miles away. They could have taken a shortcut via the Enochis portal, but it would have taken longer overall since the skiff wouldn't fit through the portal.
On the way, they built the platinum chains Wayne had convinced the Vlindar to give him into a device to let them move VERY FAST. As in, 500 mph. Unfortunately, the tunnel was not straight, and had obstructions -- they smashed past one before running into the wall of the tunnel at the first corner.
It would take a few minutes to tune the device into something that could follow the walls of a twisting tunnel... but before they got too far on that, they saw Balthazaar, Chochang and Jeff zip past them... pausing only long enough to toss a bottle at them. A bottle that started spattering the area with red speckles of liquid.
Realizing that that had to be Grovarg blood, Wayne bottled the bottle, but it was too late -- dozens of specks were already growing into full-sized Grovarg. Their device wasn't tuned yet, but they were still able to zip a few hundred yards away from the regenerating beasts... before running into a rockslide.
Since they had to spend time tuning the speed device anyway, Jardin started shifting the rocks from the slide behind them. With the alchemist and Ka'sa (who'd come with them) using bottles to move rocks that weren't *too* big, they made 20 feet of progress in the 10 minutes it took to retune the speed device... but there was no end to the rocks in sight.
So Wayne borrowed Jardin's magic 8-ball. "Are there more than 20 feet of rocks left?" "No." "Are there more than 10 feet left?" "No." "One foot?" "No." "... are there really any rocks there at all?" "No." It was a damned illusion!
Unfortunately, running at it full speed didn't break through it -- it kept pace with them, blocking their vision. They could tell they'd left the tunnel when sunlight started peeking through the cracks, and decided to split up to see if they could stretch it too far or something... it turned out that it was cast on Jardin, so if they just stayed 10 feet away from him they'd be fine, and their speed device would accomodate that.
Of course, Chochang was guarding the next tunnel, waiting for them. "I suppose you're here to slow us down." "I suppose so."
And she did, a bit -- she animated an endless sea of golems out of dirt and sticks, that tried to grapple the party and overwhelm them! Fortunately, all of them could fly, so they ran too fast for the golems to grab them, launched off a hill, and took to the air, where they made themselves invisible (using the same things they still had, from the centaur island) and returned to the tunnel, to find Chochang gone and three spinning bola barriers blocking their path.
Wayne examined the bolas, looking for a way to deactivate them, and discovered that merely reaching out and grabbing them would do it. Unfortunately, 'deactivate' meant 'explode', and it was a really, really, really nasty explosion. No one was killed, but it took up all of Perrel's stocked healing potions to get them back in fighting shape. Worse, the golems had randomly found them, even while they were invisible...
The shakey-thing disabled the golems long enough for Wayne to throw together a couple ranged single-use grabby-hands to detonate the bolas safely. Only took him a few seconds... and then they were running down the tunnel again... after pausing to ask the 8-ball if it was safe. "No," it replied... but they had no choice. Wayne went in front, planning to use his magic eye to spot the hazard before they ran into it.
Unfortunately, at 500mph, with 100feet of visibility, he only had about an eigth of a second to respond, and he just wasn't that fast. So they ran right through the toe-popper minefield, which wounded everyone's feet making it painful to keep walking. Fortunately, as mentioned before, they could all fly (or be carried by someone who could fly).
The next couple tunnels were hidden or blocked, in one fashion or another, but not well enough to slow them down much. They even had time to finally dispel the illusion around Jardin, now that they realized just how easy it was to make really weak items now.
And then they got to the one that was full of vacuum. They were going awfully fast... but they didn't know how long the vacuum went on for... so they asked the magic 8-ball if they'd die if they ran through it. "Ask again later."
They took that as 'yes, unless you prepare', so they had Perrel whip up a batch of 'I don't need to breathe for a few hours' by concentrating the oxygenation from the air into a potion. Then they ran through the tunnel... right into a sticky web of weaver silk, which Jardin was able so slash his way through fairly quickly, although not quickly enough that they would have lived without the potions.
That was the last trap they ran into... but they hadn't caught up to Balthazaar, and apparently, he'd woven a time-manipulation pattern when he'd arrived just before them, giving him a BIG head start. They arrived into the undersea bubble where the bright blue plastic caste was hidden, to find Chochang lying to the side, vivisected, and Jeff passed out by the open castle door, hands smoking. Jeff seemed to be unhurt aside from the unconsciousness, so the first priority was finding Balthazaar.
The interior of the castle was a maze... and warded against scrying, so they couldn't ask the magic 8-ball which way to go like they had at previous intersections during the tunnel-chase. As they eventually tracked down Balthazaar from his frustrated screams, they realized that the interior of the castle was nothing *but* a maze -- there were a few enchantments here and there, but they were useless to anyone but a mage, and not all THAT impressive anyway. Apparently, the mage that had ruled the world from this castle had done it under his own power.
"But... the prophecies..."
"Where we asked what would happen if Balthazaar found the power he was after. We never asked if that was what was actually inside the castle."
"Actually, we did, but it was always blacked out, since this place is protected from scrying."
"Um... is he okay?"
No, he wasn't. Having alienated or killed everyone he'd ever known to find this place, only to find it useless to him, Balthazaar was a wreck, and didn't resist as they paralyzed him, stripped him of all his stuff, and tied him up. They also decided to heal Chochang, who was still, technically, alive...
Perrel: "She probably *wants* to die."
Wayne: "Magic 8-ball, does she want to die?"
Wayne: "Would she still want to die if we healed her?"
Wayne: "Then we should heal her. Balthazaar was the one doing the vivisection, right? So it's not like she's done anything THAT bad. ... Magic 8-ball, has she done anything THAT bad?"
Apparently, the vivisection was a magitech thing -- the tears harvested from someone tortured in such a fashion were a valuable ingredient in her style of magitech. And she'd taught the process to Balthazaar (against her will -- Balthazaar basically stole it from her like he'd stolen the innovations his students had made) in time for him to use it on her, in turn.
But they healed her, body and mind, and took her back to stand trial too.
And then they lived happily ever after. More or less. For a few years, at least.
last session | next session, different game
Plan for the next game is for people to start in a small quasi-medieval village, where people basically depend on the gods for nearly everything. Murdock is going to play the 'god-child' that mysteriously appeared on someone's doorstep, Lazar the omnitelepath with only the one skill, and Perrel the god-hacker, possibly with amnesia.
And I have no fricking idea what I'm going to do with them. }:P Eh, I'll think of something.