Tom also revealed that the reason Michelle had left was that Eric and I kept arguing about the rules, although from what he said it seemed like the ordinary discussions disgusted her as much as the actual shouting matches (since he brought it up during an ordinary discussion about jumping height and not while we were all growly).
Personally, I've always been disgusted by her complete disregard for the rules -- not 'I want to break them' but 'I'm not going to bother to learn them, I'll just ask what I can do each and every round of combat and have someone explain it every single fucking time'.
So to hell with her.
So after securing the amulet from the museum, the party returned to Dr. Arcane's house to discover that in the (seriously) fifteen minutes or so that they were gone, the enemies had broken in again and stolen the giant mammoth block of stone warded against evil stored in the warded room in the basement, and also kidnapped Arthur. "Bring the amulet to this cryt in the graveyard at midnight, or Arthur becomes a zombie! Signed, Mistress of the Dead."
So of course the party immediately ran off to the graveyard, even though it was about sixteen hours until midnight. The plan was to have Nanoman scout out the graveyard looking for any other warded crypts that the enemies might be hiding in, while the rest of the party followed along in radio contact to support him in case he found them.
Suddenly, his connection cut off. This caused the first argument of the night.
Josh: "Well, okay, let's go to where we lost contact with him and find out what happened."
Eric: "Well, where are you going to go? He was underground, so you couldn't see him."
Me: "The whole reason we were here was to support him in case something like this happened. He was supposed to be giving a running commentary."
Eric: "I didn't hear him saying anything."
Josh and I pointed out that Eric hadn't actually told him anything to then relay to us in a telegraph game, if that was what he'd really wanted to do, or given us a map of the graveyard, or ANY details about ANYTHING -- if he was glossing over the search, then he was also glossing over the preparations we'd TOLD him we were making in general terms. We hadn't given specifics because he hadn't given us any specific information to go on.
He was unrelenting, though, and didn't even give Nanoman a hero point for the GM taking control of his character because 'he failed a will save' (one of the five he'd suddenly told him to make while he was searching). It also didn't count as a 'setback', supposedly, because it wasn't plot-related.
So the party was forced to have Morgan use ritual magic to locate Nanoman, which took most of the day. Apparently, the graveyard was full of random, non-plot-related ghosts and one of them had possesed the invisible robot. So, Nanoman was forced to attack the party, and took out the Tick before Shadown knocked him out and dragged him into the sun, which convinced the ghost to flee back to its grave.
The rest of the day was spent patrolling the city, interrogating random Hellions -- an obvious Hellion had left a note on the grave saying 'We said midnight!' before riding off on his motorcycle. Hours of stopping random street crime and beating up malcontents later, though, the party had found nothing useful, and was forced to go back to the grave to see if the meeting was still on.
They did have time to make a paper mache amulet that probably wouldn't fool anyone for long, and have Nanoman 'eat' the amulet (embedding it in his body) so that the enemies wouldn't be able to steal it easily.
There they found another note, 'go to blah clearing in the nearby park -- you have ten minutes or we kill Arthur!' Morgan knew a spot to teleport to in the park, and they flew and/or superjumped the rest of the way.
There they found Arthur tied to a post surrounded by zombies... next to a force-fielded circle of pillars (which seemed to be making the force field) around a circle of chanting cultists, with the crown and scepter on an altar in the middle. The Mistress of the Dead and her Death Knight were standing in front of the circle, surrounded by more zombies and three creepy looking ghouls.
"They have brought the amulet in range, begin the last state of the ritual!" she cried as they approached. The party reacted to this in different ways:
Shadow tried to teleport into the dome, but couldn't, so he teleported to the top of a pillar and started tried to destroy one of the gems that seemed to be generating the force field. This attracted the attention of the assassin who'd stolen the crown.
Eric: "Well, you made your notice check, so you aren't surprised."
Me: "I have uncanny dodge, so I wouldn't be surprised anyway."
Eric: "He was sneaking, and has hide in plain sight. He's effectively invisible!"
Me: "Uncanny dodge is specifically targetted against invisible things! That's the whole point! Did he have 'total concealment against sound', which is the only exception?"
Eric: "He was moving silently as part of stealth, so yes, I'm going to rule that that counts against uncanny dodge."
Anyway, Shadow was hit but luckily [by spending a hero point] managed to avoid being hurt seriously. He hid, and the enemy *couldn't* spot him, so since turnabout was fair play, he decided to sneak attack the assassin in return.
Eric: "It doesn't work, he has uncanny dodge."
Me: "But I have hide in plain sight, and he *didn't* spot me."
Eric: "His is uncanny dodge 'mystic', and stealth only works against sight and hearing."
Me: "... so, you can just make up senses for uncanny dodge to work using, and it's completely proof against stealth without costing extra? What the fuck?"
Eric: "Yeah, I love mystic senses, that's why I always use them."
Next time I'm going to fucking use uncanny dodge using fucking 'radio', if he's going to play it that way. The only 'mystic sense' you can take is 'sense the general location of one specific type of thing'. For four more points, you can make it acute and accurate. Then it'd be suitable for using as an uncanny dodge trigger, but everything that it didn't sense would be effectively concealed against it. I guess you could pick 'life', and then it'd work against all living things, and do about what Eric wanted. He skipped all that and just made up a sense to make his NPC's uncanny dodge undefeatable, though.
Not to mention that (a) nowhere in the book does it say stealth is limited to sight and sound, and (b) nowhere in the book does it say stealth defeats uncanny dodge in the first place.
Anyway, the assassin somehow magically sensed Shadow's attack, and dodged it handily. But shadow (legitimately) endured his next strike, and got lucky hitting back, staggering the assassin and scaring him away, because he was just hired help.
Meanwhile, the Tick was trying to rescue Arthur. He leaped into the middle of the group of zombies guarding Arthur, smashing one into the ground, but then one of the ghouls ran over and slowed him, and the death knight ran over and stunned him. Oh, and the mistress of the dead used a selective AoE entangle [just like the selective effects Eric had forced Josh to remove from his character sheet because they were 'abusive'] to entangle just him and not the swarm of enemies around him, too.
They couldn't really *hurt* him, but he kept having to spend hero points to avoid being paralyzed by the ghoul, and kept getting bruised and stunned by the death knight. It took a long, long time before he'd finally taken down the minions and freed arthur.
Morgan mostly squared off against the Mistress of the Dead. She drained him, and did various horrible things to him that he barely managed to survive, while he fireballed the group of zombies (killing 3 out of ten and bruising Shadow with splash) and then missed the Mistress, over and over and over. She was power level 15, and almost impervious to anything the party could throw at her. With the death knight and the assassin as PL10 cohorts, and Nanoman run off (see below), this left the party both outnumbered and outclassed...
Eric: "Well, yeah, there were five people in the party originally, and I designed the fight for that."
Nanoman, hearing that just bringing the amulet into the vicinity of the ritual was enough, ran off to try to disrupt it. Morgan knew immediately that this was useless, but had no commlink and thus no way of informing Nanoman of that. So Nanoman ran and ran and ran until he got to Charlie's van, where he dropped off the amulet and headed back towards the clearing, with Yashi in tow as reinforcements. Eight rounds later, they got back to the fight.
Inu Yasha wind-scarred away the remaining zombies, and Nanoman went to help Shadow who'd given up on the gems and attacked the mistress, but couldn't hit. And then gone back to the gems, which he couldn't damage. Nanoman had no problem destroying the gems, and quickly took out enough of them to drop the force field, at which point Yashi wind-scarred the cultists and disrupted the ritual.
The massive explosion that resulted knocked the party on its butt, and took out the mistress of the dead, which was good because with a 25 defense and +15 toughness, there was no one in the party who could both hit and damage her.
But the fight wasn't over yet! Even though the disaster that would have resulted from the successful completion of the ritual was averted, the backlash had summoned a massive Behemoth! It was larger and stronger and tougher than the Tick, with a fire shield making melee attacks dangerous!
But... Nanoman got off a 'suffocation' power on it, then flew off at half speed (still ludicrously fast) while maintaining it. It would take about ten rounds before it had a decent chance of making the thing fall unconscious, though...
So Shadow used 'fearsome stare' over and over and over until the behemoth rolled a 2 and had to run away from him in a panic that would last about a minute before he'd get another save. And thus the battle was won, and the Tick frustrated mightily, since he hadn't gotten to be the hero.
last session | next session, different campaign
Writing this up, I sound really bitter. I wasn't that angry during (most of) the game, don't worry... it's just going over it to record it makes me remember how much Eric's rulings as GM bother me.
He likes to railroad the party. He hates 'using player knowledge' so much that he goes out of his way to make sure no one knows anything about what's going on, even if they would reasonably know in character, unless you can *prove* that they'd know in character (which is often impossible because you don't know the specifics out of character). He cheats with his NPCs and given any excuse will happily rule one way for them and another for the party, on the same issue, in the same combat round.