Aeon S1E3: Into the Pits (of Despair?)

Last episode we had successfully fought to a conclusion Vortex, a low-life water super of no small power (Alpha Epsilon class, and if you want to know what that is, ask Christopher).

As the battle wound down, we found ourselves surrounded by some sort of black ops force in powered armor, led by a senior officer with a hefty grudge against Commander Samurai, and backed up by a cloaked-invisible (but stunningly good looking when decloaked) super with healing powers with “Legend” on her nametag.

We pulled some high-level and fast-talkin’ legal shenanigans to avoid getting arrested, shot, folded, spindled, or mutilated, and got some help bringing Vortex first back to the city precinct, and then eventually back to Rikers island. The Commander made his presence highly visible at all times (to make him harder to disappear), and Eamon kept up a steady stream of legal and PR consequences for the former Joint Chief of Staff member (Cortez) to keep in mind before he had us all killed.

Reaching Rikers, Commander called in to San Diego, his SEAL base where he and his Regulators were officially based. He told the entire story – washing up on the beach, making his way to New York, and getting “side tracked” into helping out with Vortex. When the Commander brought up Cortez, Project ARES, and something called Basilisk, things got very, very quiet. Then they asked if the Commander had access to a secure fax. Which the general in charge couldn’t operate. After they got it working, messages were sent and received.

And the senior officer’s name on the other end of the fax?


At that point, the Warden of Riker’s asked for our help. There was a deep region of the prison known as “the pits” from which no communication was being accepted or sent, and anyone sent to explore the area did not return. 

Naturally, we took the job.

We head towards a ridiculously rickety elevator – an express elevator to hell, goin’ down! – and we scan it intensively to apply maximum paranoia to the problem. We hear someone singing in an English Accent “I’m Henry the 8th I am, Henry the 8th I am I am . . .”

We decide it’s Patrick Swayze and flee in terror.

The voice seems to be about 20 yds from the bottom of the elevator. 

“Let’s go down,” says the Commander, but no, the military guy wants to charge in and the PCs want to make a lot of plans. The Commander gets into the elevator.

Elevator’s not worthy!

We do have a brief and productive discussion about Arc Light and his rocket thrusters, so we don’t cook us all to death.

We make plans to send a rat down to do recon . . . and The Commander pulls a Leeeroy Jenkins and just steps into the trap door opening, dropping 30′ to the floor neatly and quietly. Yukio the Dog of NIMH jumps down as well.

Everyone else is like “so much for stealth” and comes to the bottom of the shaft by leaping or floating under gravity control. We note that this leaves the elevator up at the top, cutting off our only escape route.

We open the door and see a giant somewhat glowing guy in the middle of the floor – he’s not the one singing – who we guess weighs about 1,200 lbs. There’s also a guy sitting there drooling, and another sitting there with green mold on him.

Those of us without supersuits with sealed environments are asked to make HT rolls. We all make it – “OK, you’re OK for this round.”

Oh, that bodes well.

The next instant, several of us start coughing and sneezing; one is coughing, sneezing and itching. Those of us breathing PerriAir are fine.

A few of the characters know that there’s literally magic in the air. And a good lore roll by Eamon said there was an old guy named Cactus Jack a while back (yeah, yeah) who could control cactuses (cacti?) and would use that to rob people. He was eventually caught, set on fire, and his ashes scattered.

Murui offers to rub his hands together really fast to create fire.

Someone tells us to stay clear. Then he starts cursing us roundly, inventively, and thoroughly. The source of the pollen is the greenish guy behind the 1,200-lb guy.

“Here comes the show – some more people go die, I guess…” says a bystander.

The Rat Queen

The Rat Queen scouts around. Someone locked guards and prisoners inside the cells, and also piled furniture and whatnot against the door from the inside.

The Commander throws up a force field barrier across the narrow part of the corridor, to keep additional pollen from coming in. Naturally, this triggers the giant guy to charge at us. The Commander has had quite enough of that – he supercharges a kinetic blast and hits him with 185 points of knockback.

“AND STAY DOWN!” he says.
“BarkBarkBarkBarkBarkBarkBarkBarkBarkBarkBarkBark……Bark.” That’s Yukio, who always has to get in the last word.

Murui evaluates, looking to see who’s hostile, and who’s not.

And a bolt of lightning hits above The Commander’s head – he dives forward, rolling, and aims at the guy, (but we’re using On Target, so I use Extra Attack to Aim and shoot). Three bullets hit, and three bullets are melted as he Power Blocks them away. Color me not surprised.

Yukio the Wonder Dog charges after lightning guy (“Chopper, sick balls!”), and the big guy gets up. Again, color me not surprised.

The prison guards, looking none-too-healthy with elongated faces, distended bellies, random viscera and organs jiggling from teeth, and generally looking zombie-like. Plants vs. Zombies decide to gang up on the poor superhero humans.

Murui, in a leap of deduction, decides he will punch the green dude in the face. Arc Light tries to clear out the room using static charge – he attempts to charge one of the doors as a charge plate and draw the pollen to the door.

Green guy explodes, and dandruff flies out of his body, re-populating the room. Woo hoo. One of the prisoners is trying to escape, while the guards barricading themselves in the cells try and get free.

Eamon hits the big guy with a density reduction affliction, losing DR 40 and 20 ST. “Commander, hit the big guy again!”

Suddenly, the air around Arc Light heats up to the point of exploding; rolling vs his suit’s HT (made by 4) and vs. Perception minus lots, he takes 4d6 large-area injury. Nothing gets past his DR, but his suit is really hot.

Zephyr drops a FP or two, charges across the arena to Green Guy, and does punch, punch, punch, punch with -3 deceptive attacks, and generally makes like a punchy ferret on speed. He hits once due to itching and coughing and general ick, for 2 crushing. For his second maneuver, he steps around and clocks him in the back of the head – telegraphic with a run-around. His sneeze . . . is his kiyap. 10 damage to the back of his head, puts his fist through his head. Ewwww.

“Is he . . . discomfited in any way?”

Well, he falls to the ground, and Murui has to make a HT roll for being in contact with Spore Boy. (The Commander tells him not to be a spore loser). He critically succeeds. Twice. So he’s now completely immune to Ragweed’s powers (we finally know his name).

There doesn’t appear to be any brain matter in there. His holed body just looks like a plant.

Yukio the Wonder Dog gets nailed – hard – for 38 points of electricity damage to his front leg. Burnt hair and an angry dog later, he’s still up and fighting, but really pissed.

The Commander tries something new – he sucks the thermal energy – kinetic energy from the vibrating atoms of Arc Light’s armor – away in order to charge his next blast.

Yukio tried to bite his foe’s hand – yanks hard – and the hand, arm, shoulder, and a bit of spine comes with. One does not mess around with Yukio the Wonder Dog. This is not Scooby Doo here.

One of the not-ghouls tries to attack The Commander; he kicks him in the torso as a parry, doing 7 points of damage and knocking him prone. He makes a Will roll to maintain the energy drain from Arc Light.

Rat Queen takes a Step-and-Ogre maneuver; she stunts to make it reflexive. Basically Fast-Draw (Herself into Ogre). She runs and slams a foe; HP 24 and Move 5 hits for 1d+1 slam damage. She rolls 7, he rolls 1, and auto-knockdown. This is key, because this guy last pointed at Arc Light and he exploded.

Arc Light moves into the fray proper, punching two zomboids one time each. One goes down with 28 HP to the torso, the other dodged.

Ragweed continues to emit pollen. Dudes break out of their cells and run straight for the shaft.

Eamon buffs The Commander for +30 DR and +10 Striking ST, making him DR 50 and ST 38. He also pushes the “Call Elevator” button.

The Laser Pointer explodes again, doing 18 points of raw damage to The Rat Queen, who soaks 10 with DR and takes 8 damage.

Murui hits the big guy, who’s grappled by a guard and also less a lot of DR and strength due to Eamon’s affliction, with a solar-plexus strike to inflict fatigue points. He winds up at half-move and half-dodge . . . and he’s still being choked out.

Yukio is going to attack Laser Pointer, going for the throat.

The Commander tries to knock the nearby ghouls away with the gathered energy, but auto-fails the roll, and the attack fizzles, the energy wasted. Ah, well, it was a nice try.

Kill stealer!

A ghoul leaps at me, trying to bite me and knock me down. With a failed parry, but DR 50, and a successful DX roll later, and I’ve got ghoul all over me, but no other ill effect.

A coupla ghouls attack Arc Light, but he parries one and the other misses.

Yukio bites and starts to choke out Laser Pointer with scary precision. He chokes him out, and gives The Rat Queen a Doggy grin, as if to say “Yeah, I’m a kill-stealer. What of it?”

Rat Queen runs across the room and slams a ghoul into a wall, landing him unconscious near Arc Light. He, in turn, lights up a non-lethal 5d6 FP damage to the ones attacking him, and they’re right out.

Ragweed spore-gasms again, re-filling the room with his noxious pollen.

Zephyr bolts over to Laser Pointer, and uses an All-Out Binding attack at -10 to instantly slap on some handcuffs. He dashes over and does a flying kick on the Commander’s foe. We figure the Commander has DR 50; he can take it. Thanks to another player saying “don’t fail the roll” he does, in fact, roll a 17 and fails. He misses the ghoul, misses The Commander, and doesn’t fail his DX roll, so he lands neatly. We all imagine Murui washing himself casually like an embarrassed cat.

We mop up the last ghoul, the elevator finally arrives, and we render medical attention to those who need it. Like the guy with the missing arm. A few of us dogpile him in a medical way, rolling success by 3. We get the bleeding stopped, and he doesn’t die.

Yukio brings over the arm as if returning a broken piece of a Ken doll, now without Kung Fu grip. Yukio licks the Rat Queen’s face as if to say “I”m sorry,” and rolls over on his belly, awaiting forgiveness. Remember, the dog’s full name, translated, means lightning and gets what he wants. Spoiled, willful, cute little killer.

We come up with a brief plan

  1. Put ghouls in a cell
  2. Put Ragweed in a cell
  3. Get samples in full NBC gear
  4. Fix up the HVAC to apply positive pressure to outside the room, so spores can’t escape.
  5. Clean out the spores by any means necessary (electric charge, static, flamethrower, whatever)

It takes a couple hours, but with good rolls and some improvisation, we science the crap out of it.

We get the entire wing working again, and head back upstairs.

The guards look appreciative. Some people, when the break occurred, couldn’t escape, so they went into the pit and hid. The spores have hallucinogenic effects, but no one is sure why the guards turned into flesh-eating zombies.

Zephyr tries to use his Chi sense, which is magical, to sense something . . . and no one picks up anything, even though we sensed magic in the area before. We wonder if there was someone invisible. Zephyr sensed a magical presence or force.

We play back the full HD video from Arc Light’s video feed, and look to see if there were some sort of disturbance in the pollen on the floor. The video analysis reveals nothing, but we’re still skeptical.

We go back down and check the pit out with Criminology, Perception, gravity control, plus interrogate the guards and prisoners. The Commander interrogates the prisoners, Eamon chats up and charms the guards. Zephyr uses his criminal past to guess where an escaping prisoner might go. The guards note they brought down 12 prisoners, but we have brought back 13 bodies.

Someone’s playing dead. Guard #7 isn’t around anymore – the British guy . . . the one with the accent . . . got away. We totally got snookered by the most common trope in cinema. The Brit is always evil

We are shamed.

We bring Warden Sykes up to speed, but we’re told we thought he died. In fact, the body disappears into a murder of crows.

We end there.

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