Friday, August 17, 2018

Play Report: "Look, Ma! I Joined a Cult!" (Danscape Ep. 2)

Previously in the Danscape: The Kadesh Club is ruined by a very angry aboleth, Corrin Shen vanishes in the chaos, and the criminal underworld is thrown into disarray.

Playing this episode were:
  • Waterblossom, eladrin magelander (Michael K)
  • Eric, kenku necromancer (Type 1 Ninja)
  • Ed, Sasquatch fighter (Sam P)
  • Rob, corrupted anti-mutant (Max Cantor)
Blake and Gavel were, of course, celebrating their newfound gambling wealth by flying around in the Divided Survival Power and getting high as fuck.

Waterblossom, on the other hand, took a passenger liner out to a resort cylinder for some well deserved R&R. It was here that he met Eric Ed and Rob, who were likewise visiting the resort.

(According to the players, this particular cylinder was notable for its quiet atmosphere, the odd geometry of the buildings, the great variety of people, and the general belief among them that cats do not exist.)

While drinking at a lakeside pub late into the evening, the quartet takes to watching green glowing spheres shoot up from an island in the center. they dart about a bit before dropping into the water and fizzling out - other patrons, when asked say that it's just some will o'wisp activity and not worth much thought. The island's closed off to visitors anyway, some sort of environmental hazard.

There are thoughts of renting a boat to go investigate the island when the party is accosted by a friendly looking elf with a shaved head and white-and-purple robes, who is handing out earnest but poorly made pamphlets advertising a tent revival for the Society for the Elevation of Universal Cosmic Consciousness later that night.

The boat and spheres are quickly forgotten as the group heads over to the nearby park where the revival is being held. WB bonds with some cultists over their shared dislike of organ farming. The others help themselves out to the space buffet.

After a time, the cultists call for everyone to attend and the Grand Master guru Mundap takes to the stage. He gives a stirring sermon on the values of peace and harmony and unity and self-improvement, finally crecendoing in praise of the great Glow Sphere (just as one rises above the lake).

The congregation is led in a stirring rendition of "A Mighty Fortress is Our Glow Sphere". Afterwards, the quartet head right over to the signup table and put their names down. They've instructed to arrive at a cabin on the other side of the lake the next morning.

Some time later...

The four reach the cabin with a few other candidates, and are greeted by the firbolg Ters, whom they had met the previous night. They are taken into the cabin and oput through a series of personality and aptitude tests for hours. Rob flunks out, and lingers long enough getting snacks to attempt and fail to steal a small shard of whitish-orange stone that caught his eye.

The other three are not flunked out on the first pass, and are told to come back tomorrow to see what their final situation would be. They head back to town and meet up with Rob, in time to see the island shooting up more glow spheres (and faster) than they have yet seen.

The boat idea is brought back up, and they head out onto the water. There's no animal life to be found or heard on the island, but rippling shadows at the edge of lamplight have them all on edge.

They emerge in a clearing which holds a tower of the same kind of stone as the little idol in the cabin, and next to it a sort of squat pyramid with a wide, sigil-marked circular depression on one face.

At this point the shadow attacks, lashing out with sharp tendrils and injuring Rob, crippling his leg. WB uses his spell Soothe Open to open up the hatch in the pyramid and they clamber down before the shadow-fog can close in. Rob slips on the ladder and falls flat on his back dazing him.

The group find themselves in a small, nondescript room with a door. WB uses Soothe Open again, and after a few minutes persuades the door to open, just in time for them to see a humanoid figure in a bathrobe, with an ammonite for a head, pointing a gun at them.

There is an ineffectual firefight as everyone misses and Mr. Ammonite jumps behind the couch. Peace accords are made, weapons are put down. The complex is looking more and more like a bachelor-bunker. WB burns his last spell die trying to mind-meld with the creature and learns that it is has been here a crazy long time, and is pretty crazy himself. Mr. Ammonite latches his tentacles onto WB's skull and absorbs enough language to say DON'T PANIC via telepathy. Rob is laid on the couch and treated for his fucked-up leg.

From here there's some exposition. Mr. Ammonite has indeed been here for quite some time: the glow spheres are the harmless waste product of his power reactor. He has a crystal-uplink to the Overmind, but rarely uses it due to the whole thing being taken up with arguments about stupid elf cartoons like One Punch Elf and My Elf Academia. The cult outside seems to have knowledge of the Overmind, in some bastardized, secondhand way. Mr. Ammonite's people, the Cephalopodicephs, were once at war with the aboleths, long ago.

Driven by his guests, Mr. Ammonite logs into the Overmind for the first time in over a decade. The session ends with a map of remaining Overmind hubs displayed via projection. One of them, not too far away from the site of the Kadesh Club disaster, is glowing a bright, bloody red.

Beloch's Questions

  1. No one has properly done them wrong at this point. Blake and Gavel are a different story.
  2. The cult does not know that they have trespassed on the holy island.
  3. The cult seemed pretty eager to have them involved as new members.
  4. No one died this time.
  5. They are on the cult's radar now.
  6. The aboleth-flayer war seems now to be sputtering back to life.
For a session whipped up over lunch break with no sleep the night before, I'm happy with the results.

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