Terrycloth (terrycloth) wrote,

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The Sphinx?

Had a session of my Shadake game last night, which ended up mostly being one giant battle. I hadn't expected the battle to take all night... at least it more or less finished only slightly after the normal stopping time.

The party woke up in the morning, and followed the bus maps to what they thought was the location of the gate from the newspaper story they'd looked up. While they were pretty sure that the police station on one corner of the intersection wasn't the gate, at first they weren't so sure about the other three -- a parking garage, an old abandoned factory, and a business complex.

Randomly, Den decided to check out the parking garage, and just walking around the fence surrounding that lot quickly revealed that it was the gate after all. Rather, the 'Spokane Tele Port', still closed to the public. Robots were building a dedicated power plant in one corner of the lot, but the gate to the road running through the grounds was closed and locked, and guarded by patrolling dogs.

Den decided to try to talk to the dogs and get them to help him out. He got one's attention, but when he told it 'go get someone to come let us in, boy!' it went and got the guards from a small building nearby, who challenged the party and asked why they were skulking about.

So Den made up a story about how he was there to talk to the technicians. "Well, the technicians aren't here right now, but I guess there's someone you can talk to." He was let inside ("But your escorts have to stay out here, the place is locked down because of a possible terrorist threat.") and taken into the main tele-port, past the ticket counters, into a back room where two large dogs and a large cat were guarding a big cage. There, a feathered mouse and a sloth were talking about something that they instantly dropped as soon as Den came in.

They recognized him, you see. And he recognized the sloth, at least -- she was the one who'd put him in a coma just by touching him, back when he'd been kidnapped by the carnival. She dismissed the guard (well, actually, told him to guard the door from outside while they talked) and chatted with him for a while. Den talked about how they didn't really want to fight, they just wanted to use the gate. The sloth talked about how the people he was travelling with were vicious terrorists who'd killed several of the caravan's guards.

They tried to wheedle information out of each other, and Den did get at least that the power supply problems Spokane's Enron corporation were complaining about were at least partly artificial, since in London at least power was so cheap that no one even charged for it. But it was pretty obvious that they really didn't have any hope of coming to a peaceful settlement, and when the toilet flushed and a hedgehog came out of a side room, the sloth stopped stalling and told her to have 'Muffin' put Den in the cage.

"If I do that, it'll drop the trap," the hedgehog objected... as Den ran for it. The mouse fired at him without effect as he ran out a different door than the guard had brought him in through, a second shot melting a large hole in the door after Den locked it behind him.

So, Den continued running out of the building, angling aroudn to try to at least get in view of the party before getting taken down... and he managed that much at least. The patrolling dogs leaped on him and held him down in full view of the party by the main gate, albeit almost 300 feet away on the far side of the compound.

Zedd recognized who it was, though, and tried to teleport Den to safety. Den vanished from the pile of dogs, but didn't reappear with the party. Instead, he reappeared in the cage. Then pulled his gun, and started firing at the sloth and hedgehog, who were unarmed, their feathery guardian having ran off after him.

Zedd traced his own teleport to find out where Den had actually gotten off to, and in the process discovered the teleport-trap field... only to see it momentarily go down. He blinked the party past the locked gate during the gap, which was 'Muffin' (the giant cat) taking time off to teleport Den's gun away from him before he managed to actually hit anyone, since the dogs weren't able to suppress Den's equipment (due to a lucky mana check on his part).

Grey, Alex, and Jenna (the latter two being the surviving NPCs still travelling with the party) ran for the nearest door, about 40 feet away, while Zedd and Bella used their teleport and plant magic to fight the feathery mouse and the pack of dogs from a distance.

The mouse's gun was stolen, appearing in Den's cage, then teleported back to the mouse before Den could pick it up and fire it, just in time for the mouse to break free of the entangling plants... at which point Zedd teleported it away from him again before he could grab it, but now Muffin was distracted and it ended up with Zedd, who didn't know how to use it. Weaponless and unable to escape from the immobilizing bush, the mouse ended up sitting out the rest of the fight wrestling with the shrubbery.

The pack of dogs, meanwhile, leapt on Grey as Alex and Jenna ran inside. Grey hypnotized two of the dogs to attack other dogs, Bella had the bushes entangle them (although they had more luck than the mouse breaking free, and were only delayed for a couple rounds), and Grey eventually got away from the dogs, staggering into the building with Bella and Zedd right behind, while the last dogs fought each other.

Inside, five guards and three of the big dogs waited for the party, although not all at once. Alex and Jenna faced off against first one, then a second, then a third big dog, holding out for most of the fight, but steadily taking damage and unable to hit back, while two of the guards took pot shots at them.

The other three guards were disarmed by Zedd (one of the guns appearing in Den's cage, the other two with him, depending on whether Muffin was doing something else or not at the time -- we'll get back to that in a bit) and two of them foolishly tried to continue fighting. One discovered just how poisonous Grey's claws were, the other just how nasty Zedd's teleportation magic could be when used to rip chunks out of people.

Bella helped a bit with that, but mostly tried to assist Jenna and Alex -- she used her powers to make the bushes grow tendrils and branches all through the building so that she could then continue entangling people, but these dogs were larger and stronger, and she didn't have much luck against them.

Meanwhile, Den started wracking his mind for some way to fight back from inside the cage other than his pathetic kid's bow or sling, and realized that he knew how to psychically project his own terror and frustration into the enemies. He scared off Muffin, and the cat's handler, while not also frightened, wasn't able to regain control of the cat until she calmed down on her own. After that, the dogs started suppressing his psychic abilities, but *poof*! Muffin recovered with no one nearby to direct her, and followed her last orders, putting the teleport trap back up, so Den had another gun.

Unfortunately, the gun wasn't able to cut through the table the sloth (who Den was most terrified of, as a single touch had left him in a coma for a week) was hiding behind. Even more unfortuantely, it was able to set the table on fire, and the room started filling up with noxious smoke. Then bits of blood and gore started raining on his head, as Zedd started teleporting chunks out of a guard. It was really not Den's day.

But, outside, once Grey and Zedd and Bella were able to focus their attention (and the two hypnotized dogs) on helping Alex and Jenna, they were able to turn the tide, sleeping one of the dogs and hurting a second, while Zedd started disarming the remaining guards -- and everyone turned and fled.

Den saw the hedgehog and Muffin reappear, teleport away the sloth and one of the dogs (the other ran away normally), and leave him in the cage with the gathering smoke. Everyone else saw the conscious enemies turn and flee from battle, easily escaping as the three remaining guards had a huge head start and the dogs were just plain fast. Grey chased after them anyway, and was able to see them fleeing through the now-active gate, although the number displayed above it wasn't the destination the oracle had told them to use. Grey broke into one of the unopened shops set up in the chamber with the gate, and wrote down the number so as not to forget it -- that was where their enemies lived, apparently.

But the enemies seemed to be routed, and the gate was definately functional, and a little first aid kept the heavily wounded Alex and Jenna from bleeding to death, so it was basically a total victory. It'd be hours at best before the enemy could turn around and come back with reinforcements.

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Under the current magic system, it's despressingly easy to disarm people or entangle them or otherwise sort-of take them out of the fight in one action, which the damage balance changes were trying to prevent. On the other hand, most of the people that that happened to were (a) back in the fight eventually and (b) kind of weak to start with...
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