Protectors of Emerald City

That looks familiar
Pics or it didn't happen

In this flash-back episode, our heroes explored the TAISAR weather station they found out about from Helga Jackson in Sixty Feet Under.

The outpost was north of Emerald City, about an hour’s flight away from where Doctor Tau found K12 in We Allauroned Alot Today. Our heroes took the car as far as they could so as not to attract attention, then ventured by flight and platform-jumping to the outpost. As far as they could tell, it was just a normal weather station, equipped with meteorological instrumentation and radar. Doctor Tau noted, however, that the radar was equipped with targeting technology that could be used to monitor and identify aircraft. Fishy.

On the way back to Emerald City, Hoenheim noticed a rolled cigarette butt next to a smoldering fire which caught his eye. It was rolled in the same way as his father used to do. On closer inspection, the fire was also stacked in the way his father used to, and there were footprints around the campsite that matched his father’s foot size, more or less. Hoenheim showed the rest of our heroes a photo of his father smoking one of his rolled cigarettes for comparison. Upon seeing this photo, K12 realized that he had seen this man before, on an Allauron ship! Gasp! This man is really becoming important enough that we should have a name for him.

Witch tried to use her postcognition to determine whether Hoenheim’s father was here, but to no avail. Our heroes tracked the footprints to an open meadow, where they vanished. Nearby, Doctor Tau found three circular imprints where grass and small plants had been crushed – likely by a spaceship! What was going on between Hoenheim’s dad and the Allaurons? We took a few moments to reflect on Hoenheim’s history, which is unfortunately still not in the wiki.

This prompted our heroes to reinvestigate the area where K12 was found by Doctor Tau, an hour’s flight away. Inside the tunnel, our heroes found the location where Doctor Tau remembered finding the door, but it was no longer there – portals into the wall found only rock. On further reflection, Tau noticed that the tunnel had changed in subtle ways. After circling the tunnel to see if they had the wrong location, Witch used her postcognition and confirmed that the area had indeed been altered by some sort of power. Fishier and fishier.

Why was Hoenheim’s dad seen by K12 with the Allaurons? And why was he back near Emerald City? What happened to the location where K12 was found? Is Hoenheim’s dad an Allauron? What is an Allauron anyways? Find out in a future epsiode of Protectors of Emerald City!

View
Taking out the Trash
Are two Placards really better than one?

Disclaimer: Some things might have happened in different orders. This was written two weeks after the session.

Our heroes continued to discuss possibilities for investigating police collusion with the Lorenzos and figuring out who took the coke from the Butcher’s. Alexis followed up on the suspicions of our heroes that someone from waste management might be involved, and called up its director, Francine Placard, to ask about the employee schedule. Francine wasn’t sure about who worked where when, but invited our heroes to come down to the Downtown waste management offices and figure it out themselves.

Our heroes entered the plain, dreary waste management building, and found Francine’s door with a gold-plated nameplate. They ventured into her office and found it was quite lavish in comparison to the rest of the office building, with mahogany walls and intricate paperweights. Francine explained that the employee work records are kept in an office “down the hall”, and told our heroes they should be able to find it. When asked, she offered our heroes guest badges from an envelope by her door, of which there was only one. Apparently she had forgotten to refill the envelope that morning.

At some point our heroes noticed that the garbage collector uniform is the same shade of blue as the police uniforms (though the GM neglected to inform them of this until later).

When our heroes found the records office, it was locked, and Doctor Tau had to go back to get the key from Francine. Once inside the office, Witch tackled the paper records while Doctor Tau handled the electronic system. Doctor Tau identified about seven names that could have handled the route to La Flamenco Vive on days with salt deliveries, and Witch found each of their personnel files, with their home addresses.

At this point, Shadow got in touch with our heroes. It turns out that the Lorenzos had been transferring money to only two police officers, Sam Adams and Maxwell Wiggins, who are partners in the force. Shadow and our heroes suspected that these two officers were informing the Lorenzos about police activity, which meant that it would be hard to find them acting suspiciously.

Shadow also found money being transferred to a man named Weston Dogoode. Witch and Doctor Tau realized that Weston was one of the names on the list of garbage collectors! When informed of this, Shadow offered to track Weston down using the GPS on his garbage truck, and our heroes were informed of his location. “Let’s go take out the trash!” K12 proclaimed. Witch sighed.

While Witch stayed in the car, the rest of our heroes stalked the garbage truck from rooftops while it went down a downtown back alley (you know, that space in behind buildings, not a normal road). As it made one of its stops, our heroes accosted the garbage truck. After binding Weston to the ground, Hoenheim brought up walls to prevent escape and onlookers, and similarly bound the driver of the truck. Hoenheim then intimidated Weston into submission, Terminator-style, while K12 handled the driver. Hoenheim learned that Weston had recovered the coke from the butcher’s, and stored it in his locker at the waste management center in the Docks. He convinced Weston to testify against the Lorenzos, provided they would protect him. And so Weston was brought back to Doctor Tau’s installation for holding.

Our heroes decided to tuck their knowledge about Sam Adams and Maxwell Wiggins in their back pocket and go in search of their next adventure. With the Lorenzos under wraps, they would be underground anyways. For details about their flashback adventure, read That looks familiar, and remember to join us next time on Protectors of Emerald City!

View
Hot Headed
Someone needs to cool off

Though Mr. Nice wanted to go directly to the police station to turn himself in, our heroes insisted he come with them to see Alexis, so that he could tell her his side of the story.

In a fairly drawn out scene in Alexis’ office, our heroes argued with Chad Marston, the Police Chief about jurisdiction. Chad expressed offense that the heroes had been meddling with normal crime (the allegations that the Lorenzos were trafficking drugs), while not bringing a super-powered murderer to justice (or even confining him). He asked our heroes to leave the rest of the investigation into the Lorenzos up to the police. Hoenheim argued back that they needed to investigate the Lorenzos in order to investigate Mr. Nice, but Alexis closed the case (at least, as far as the Chad Marston knew), by agreeing that the Protectors would leave the Lorenzo investigation alone.

As Chad made his way out of the building, he passed by Mr. Nice and K12 in the hallway. Mr. Nice asked the police chief whether he was arresting the Lorenzos, and Chad gave a noncommittal answer about getting a warrant and starting an investigation. This angered Mr. Nice, who proclaimed this was not what he signed up for, and stormed out of the building. What a hot-head.

Our heroes discussed where Mr. Nice might have went and what they should do next (Hoenheim voted for letting the police deal with it). As they were talking, Chad received a phone call. Mr. Nice was attacking the police station! “Guess that’s your problem”, Hoenheim declared, developing what will likely be a campaign-long feud between himself and Chad. The rest of the team felt differently, however, and rushed off to save the police force. Hoenheim followed, taunting Chad with a moonwalk as he did so.

When they arrived at the police station, our heroes found everything was quiet. The door to the station as ajar, and the blizzard was bringing snow and ice into the building. Just as our heroes were about to venture up the steps and inside the building, Mr. Nice emerged. “It’s you!” he exclaimed, blaming our heroes for turning against him. “You will pay!” he declared, before attacking the group and initiating the first round of combat in three sessions.

Mr. Nice slowed down our heroes a couple of times, but failed to cause any important effects to take hold. Our heroes easily hit Mr. Nice, but their effects seemed to do almost nothing. Even trapping him in a sphere had no effect, as Mr. Nice moved his center of ice-control outside of the sphere. This was until Hoenheim began using his transmutation to weaken the very essence of Mr. Nice’s Fortitude, reducing his ability to resist their attacks.

Having taken considerable damage, Mr. Nice solidified and dropped to the ground, absorbing water and ice from the air around him to heal. Dr. Tau and Hoenheim saw this as an opportunity to set up a combo attack. Hoenheim created nasty balls of spiky earth, which Dr. Tau heated up with a portal to his plasma source, and flung at the now-solid Mr. Nice. Only one of their two balls hit, but it hit with such force that it destroyed Mr. Nice, who broke into a few solid chunks and began melting next to the heat of Hoenheim’s giant balls.

Our heroes went inside to thaw the police they predicted they would find. The officers were thankful for being saved. Doctor Tau asked one of the officers whether they knew of any money being transferred between the Lorenzos and the police force. The officer told Tau that she had heard of police making shady deals on the side in general, but she hadn’t heard of anything with the Lorenzos, and certainly not on a large scale. It appeared to Doctor Tau that the officer was telling the truth.

Our heroes returned to Alexis to report on what had taken place. She cautioned that if the Protectors were to delve further in investigating police corruption, they should do so discretely, without attracting attention from the police.

The Protectors gathered for a slumber party at Doctor Tau’s installation. As the rest of our heroes slept, Hoenheim looked over the security footage that had been recovered from La Flamenco Vive. When everyone woke up, they reviewed the parts Hoenheim had deemed suspicious or noteworthy. The footage did not cover the front of the building, and the only vehicle that appeared on a regular basis was the morning garbage truck. Perhaps that would be worth checking out? The cameras in the building occasionally showed salt being brought in. There were also some periods where footage was missing.

The Protectors went to R to ask Shadow whether they could find a money trail between the police and the Lorenzos. Shadow proposed that they would help, provided the Protectors help Shadow capture something for them later, alive. Shadow explained it was something “not good” that lived within electrical wires and the net, and that physical intervention would be needed to capture it. Shadow stressed that they should make every effort not to destroy the thing. Our heroes agreed (though Witch remained reluctant), and went off to explore other routes of investigation into the police.

What will our heroes find? Are the police involved in an elaborate cover-up? Are those trucks hauling more than just garbage? Will the municipal waste management offices be more helpful to our heroes than Jean Placard? Is owing Shadow a favor really a good idea? Find out next time on Protectors of Emerald City!

View
A Nice Guy
Why not help him out?

As our heroes sat awkwardly with the chef, the light above their table burst into many glass pieces, startling everyone (Witch let out a shriek). Soon after, the front windows of the restaurant burst inwards, and pieces of ice and snow were seen going into the kitchen. Tau proclaimed to K12, “It’s time to turn up the heat”. By some series of events, our heroes discovered an ice man, holding a black-suited man up by his neck. When the ice man was asked to put the man down, he killed him.

The nice man explained that he was Stefan, and that the Lorenzos had killed his father and attempted to kill him. The ice man asked our heroes to assist him in bringing the Lorenzo family to justice for their crimes against him and his late father. To Witch’s dismay, the party agreed, and went back to the butcher’s in search of more clues. The ice man remembered seeing bags of salt while captive in some sort of pit.

At the butcher’s, our heroes found traces of cocaine near some salt bags. It appeared some bags had been removed. “It’s cocaine!” exclaimed K12, recalling his viewing of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. K12 decided to partake, reveling in the new experience. This gave him a bout of inspiration, realizing that Mr. Nice was probably held at the flamenco studio, El Flamenco Vive. Our heroes went to check it out, Witch nervously tailing along despite her better judgement.

K12, Doctor Tau, and Witch went into the studio for some flamenco lessons while Hoenheim scouted the outside of the building with Mr. Nice. Carefully destroying the security cameras around the building, Hoenheim discovered an elevator shaft near the back of the building. Using his burrowing, he tunneled into the shaft, when he was discovered by two security guards. Hoenheim nonchalantly played off his part in the destruction of the side of the building, and returned to his comrades with Mr. Nice, who had hidden out of sight.

Once together, Hoenheim, K12, Mr. Nice, and Doctor Tau teleported into the basement of the building through the elevator shaft. They happened upon a security guard, who was quickly neutralized. Mr. Nice confirmed that this was where he had been kept. Our heroes in the basement destroyed the camera which had been recording them, and removed what removable media they could find in the surveillance office nearby. Cages of roosters were found in an adjoining room, as was a shelf of salt bags filled with cocaine. Doctor Tau (I think) picked one up to bring as evidence, and took a photo of the shelving unit.

Witch was outside on the phone with Alexis, filling her in on what they had been up to in this session. Alexis was, understandably, alarmed that our heroes were assisting someone that had committed murder right in front of them. Through a telepathic link, Witch let Doctor Tau know that they had to get out of there immediately, and report to Alexis. Once out, Mr. Nice agreed to turn himself in to the police, provided the Lorenzos would be brought to justice and our heroes would weed out any corruption in the police force.

What will happen now? Will Mr. Nice make good on his word? Will we find out what happened to the relocated cocaine? And why is it so damn cold? Find out next time, on Protectors of Emerald City!

View
That's not cool
Bring your winter clothes

It was late fall, and a chill was in the air. It had been snowing lightly in Emerald City for several days, shutting down most vehicular transport. Though most councilors were working from home, City Hall took note that Stefan Martinez, a city councilor, was missing. He had been missing for about a week, starting a few days before the snow came in. With the Police mostly unable to transport throughout the city and growing worry about Stefan’s safety, the Protectors were tasked with finding him.

Alexis noted that Stefan was very morally driven. He had shut down the opening of a brothel in the past, and was recently fighting against a casino proposal by Sierra Holdings, a group for which she had no contact information. She suggested the Protectors might ask R if he had any way of getting more information on Sierra.

R told the Protectors that a hacker by the name of Shadow, who owed R a favor, might be able to help them out. Shadow agreed to help, and said that they should have more information within a day. They would contact the Protectors through R if they learned anything earlier.

With that the Protectors went to search Stefan’s residence.

The hallway of Stefan’s apartment building was chilly. As he approached Stefan’s door, K12 noticed scratches on the door’s lock – it seemed someone had broken into the apartment. Inside the apartment was even colder than the hallway, though not quite as cold as outside. Ash was found on the ground near a coffee table, where other city-related documents were found. The wine bottles in a wine stand seemed to have burst, as had the water-based heater of the apartment. A photo of Stefan with an older man, probably his father, was found. There were two bedrooms with single beds, one that seemed to belong to Stefan and another that belonged to someone who used dentures.

Looking into the past, Witch saw a number of visions. One was of a man burning some papers, on which she caught a glimpse of the word “Sierra”. Another was of a mass of ice, shaped like a man, searching the apartment. In another vision she caught a glimpse from behind of a man picking the apartment’s lock.

Since they were in Belleville, the Protectors thought they might go in search of Mukla’s Voice to ask Mukla for assistance or advice. On stepping outside, however, it was apparent that it had gotten much colder and that they would have to take fortitude checks every 10 minutes to stay in the cold, so they went back inside. R called the group with news from Shadow – apparently Sierra holdings was owned by the Lorenzo family, known in the underground for smuggling and distributing cocaine in Emerald City. Also, the police had responded to a call at the Butcher owned by Sierra holdings.

Our heroes went to the Butcher, their way warmed by K12’s presence. The area around the Butcher was sectioned off by the police, who let the Protectors through. Inside the bodies of two men, frozen in blocks of ice, were found outside of the freezer. K12 began melting the ice and snow in the Butcher, which brought complaints from the police officers and from Witch. They found the two men were dead. Inside the freezer, Doctor Tau found another body, its face in a pile of snow. Turning the body over, Doctor Tau discovered this was none other than Stefan’s father!

Witch again glimpsed into the past. She saw the two dead men open the freezer, and then get frozen by droplets of water coalescing all around them, encasing them in blocks of ice. She saw those two men dragging two bound men, one older and one younger, into the freezer. She saw the front window of the Butcher’s bursting outwards with no apparent impact. She saw a face of a man, made of ice, shattering into a fine dust.

Perhaps the man of ice that Witch saw earlier was actually Stefan, and he had done this to the two frozen men at the butcher as revenge for trying to kill him and his father. It did fit what the Protectors had seen so far. If so, he would surely be out to cause more damage to the Lorenzos.

First K12 went to ask around the apartment building about when the building got cold, to figure out whether Stefan had recently visited. He ended up having a nice conversation with an old lady who gave him cookies, and then returned to the group.

The Protectors decided to check out some of the other Sierra Holdings locations. First would be La Pierra, a restaurant chosen because the Protectors were hungry anyways. While having their meal, Doctor Tau and K12 thought they should investigate further, so they called the manager of the restaurant over. Once the manager arrived, Doctor Tau asked if they could go into the back to thank the chef for their meal. The manager told them they couldn’t come into the back for food safety reasons, but said he would get the chef to come out to them, and went off into the back. Doctor Tau didn’t really know what to do when the chef came out to receive their praise, so he lied and said it was just like the food he had eaten in Spain. The chef seemed to see through his lie, but was simply confused as to why Doctor Tau would have lied in the first place about this. Everyone sat there awkwardly.

What would save our Protectors from this awkwardness? Find out next time, on Protectors of Emerald City!

View
Sixty Feet Under
Breathing is so last season

While the rest of the Protectors were turned back by Helga Jackson over the radio, Witch pressed on to investigate Helga’s hunting hideout. It seems she was found out, however, and quickly rendered unconscious.

Meanwhile, K12 and Doctor τ returned to meet with Hoenheim at the car. They got into a long discussion of what should be their next move, when they realized that Witch had not responded for quite some time. The group ventured back into the forest along the path, and happened upon Witch lying unconscious. Two needle pricks were found on her body. Witch was eventually woken.

The Protectors had a conversation with Helga over a radio again. Helga revealed that TAISAR has some non-negligible amount of Adamantite. She tried to get the Protectors to help her steal her research equipment back from The Arkman Institute for Scientific Advancement and Research (TAISAR), and split their stash of Adamantite. The Protectors decided they should leave Helga for now, and instead send Mukla after her.

They went over to where they knew they could find the Voice of Mukla, and were soon in direct mental communication with Mukla himself, an ability Mukla didn’t seem to have before. After some discussion, they convinced Mukla to follow them to where Helga was hiding, and that they would help Mukla bring her down.

When they actually arrived at Helga’s hideout, Mukla was quickly controlled by Helga, using what Doctor Tau would guess was an ultrasonic-emitting necklace. Helga seemed to dematerialize into thin air, implying she had some sort of cloaking ability. A short fight ensued, where Hoenheim was entranced by Mukla’s majestic roar, and K12 took a giant gorilla fist directly to the face. The group decided to retreat, and come up with a better plan and a way to detect Helga despite her cloaking. Witch left a cell phone for Helga to talk to R.

The Protectors heard through R that Helga had threatened to steal back her equipment from TAISAR in three nights, unless they dropped it off at an undisclosed location. The Protectors were assigned by the city to protect the equipment on that night, as TAISAR would not give in to Helga’s demands. In the days leading up to this, Doctor Tau prepared an ultrasound jammer device that would render abilities using ultrasound useless. He also prepared some eyepiece devices that would show the location of heart beats detected nearby, as a way of tracking the invisible Helga Jackson. Witch prepared a ritual that would enable her to accurately detect minds in her vicinity as a way of tracking Helga.

The night of the big fight, Hoenheim used the metal in the structure of TAISAR to make a grid of bars that would shield TAISAR from entry, and waited inside Helga’s office. K12 hid behind the cars of the parking lot, Doctor Tau stood in the open and Witch flew above the building to be able to see the surrounding area.

Witch eventually saw trees shaking off to the north, and came down to the parking lot. Mukla emerged from the treeline, with a heartbeat hovering above his shoulder. Combat ensued. Doctor Tau activated the ultrasound jammer, and Mukla began attacking Helga. K12 at one point saw what we later found was an illusory Helga Jackson aiming at him. Hoenheim lept into the action. Eventually Hoenheim trapped himself and Helga inside a giant bubble of packed earth, and dug sixty feet down into the ground, packing everything in with no air so Helga could not breathe. On the surface, Witch took control of Mukla.

Once Helga passed out, Hoenheim brought her back up to the surface. Witch allowed Mukla to go into TAISAR to rescue his family while they inspected Helga. Mukla was allowed to escape with his family. If they needed to get in touch with him, the Protectors could talk with his Voice, who would maintain a psychic link with Mukla.

Doctor Tau took the mind-control necklace Helga had been wearing. Witch used her mind control power on Helga to interrogate her back at Doctor Tau’s base. They found that Helga was behind the original rat attack, and that she had developed poison darts to cause hallucinations and weaken targets. The rat experiment had been rogue, and she had stolen equipment from TAISAR. They also found her cloaking was not from any device, but rather an innate ability. Helga was turned over to the police.

And so, with the villain behind bars, what comes next for our Protectors? Find out next time on Protectors of Emerald City!

View
Everyone loves Ramen
Who needs food when you have Hot Pockets?

K12 returned to the rest of the party, having encountered Mukla and been intimidated into leaving to find his comrades. The party decided Mukla was probably long gone, and that they should instead send Hoenheim to bring “R” to Emerald City Hospital while the rest of the group went to City Hall to ask what they should do next.

But first, the group went to question some scientists who were waiting around outside TAISAR, having been evacuated from the partially burning building. Doctor τ seemed to be making progress in impersonating a superior officer of TAISAR when the scientist he was talking to called security over, and the group was sent away.

On their way to City Hall, Jean Placard called the heroes asking them to rush to see him.

Once outside the Mayor’s office, the Protectors heard a brusque voice inside the room. They were able to hear Thomas Arkman demand that the Mayor “recover his assets” before leaving the office. Following this, Placard instructed the heroes that they must bring back the giant gorilla dead or alive, and also locate and bring back Helga Jackson, a researcher from TAISAR who had gone missing. He would not give any details as to why they had to do this.

The group went to Alexis Goldberg to ask for more information on this mission. Alexis was not certain about why the mission was given, but alluded to Thomas Arkman having a hold over the Mayor’s office. On the subject of Helga Jackson, she told our heroes that they should talk to R, who knows Helga and had gone to TAISAR to see her.

Our heroes went over to Emerald City Hospital to speak to R. They had some difficulty in identifying him to the receptionist, but after revealing that they were Protectors they were led to see him. R recounted his experience at TAISAR. He arrived to speak to Helga, as he has from time to time. The receptionist hadn’t seen her that day, but let R check her office. Once he got to the office, he encountered a giant gorilla that looked a lot like the gorilla Helga kept in her lab. That gorilla grabbed him and went scouring the building, eventually climbing it when the Protectors saw them.

R was concerned about Helga, and thought that a giant gorilla bursting out of her lab couldn’t be a good thing. He asked the heroes to check out her apartment building and make sure that nothing bad had happened to her, and gave them the address.

Our heroes went to her apartment, located above a Blue C Sushi restaurant. Inside they found a very messy apartment, cluttered with used ramen bowls and its dining table transformed into a kind of work bench. In the bedroom, Doctor τ found a long, rectangular, empty, locked box. On the dining table/workbench, he found textbooks on mammalian physiology. K12 was heating one of the pizza pockets he found in the kitchen using the microwave when there was a knock at the door.

The two men at the door claimed to be painters, but our heroes (other than Witch, who stayed invisible) did not want to stay to meet them. K12 and Doctor Tau escaped through a portal as the men opened the unlocked door (left unlocked by our heroes) and entered the room. When they realized they were not alone, they left in a hurry in a painting company van.

In what was a very long and drawn out segment of our adventure, our heroes tailed the two men to a warehouse where they changed into civilian clothes, then separated and went to different restaurants. Between the two men, our heroes learned that they worked for a private investigation company contracted by TAISAR to look through the apartment, and that what they were doing was (in a shady way) legal. The men returned to the apartment (followed by an invisible Witch), took some photos of the apartment, and left.

By now, it was getting quite late, so our heroes returned to bed and got some sleep.

In the morning, our heroes talked to Chief Marston who had no news other than that there was some crazy person wandering around where K12 had encountered the giant gorilla claiming to be the gorilla’s Voice. At some point around this time they also got a call from R, who was updated about the events from last night. R told our heroes that the only other place he could think of was a hunting cabin north of the city.

Our heroes went to talk with the Voice, who claimed to be a speaker for " The Great Mukla " (the gorilla they had encountered yesterday, who apparently didn’t like the name of Jo-Jo granted to him by Helga). The Great Mukla asked for our heroes’ help in getting revenge on Helga for keeping and experimenting on him, as well as in rescuing the rest of his family from TAISAR. He and his family were captured from a tropical forest in the south-east region of the continent, and brought to TAISAR for experimentation. Mukla said he could feel the rest of his family inside TAISAR.

Our heroes said they’d get back to Mukla on that (they were told they could find him by the Voice, who would be at a forested area nearby) and went in search of Helga at her hunting cabin. They drove near the cabin, until they had to get out of the car for more forested path. On their way they heard a crying baby, and went to investigate. When they got close to the source of the sound, a pit opened that only K12 “fell” for and a voice came on over a hidden radio receiver. “Leave this place” it demanded.

The female voice on the radio refused to identify herself. It continued to demand that they leave. They told the speaker that they needed to make sure that Helga was alright, and she told them that she was fine, and to leave. K12 and Doctor Tau returned to the car, while Witch cloaked herself and continued on to the cabin.

What will Witch find at the cabin? Will Mukla get even more powerful? What is Helga doing anyways? Do our heroes care, or will they leave her to her own devices? Find out next time on Protectors of Emerald City!

View
We Allauroned Alot Today
Always trust anonymous phone tips

In this episode of Protectors of Emerald City, we took a step back three months into the past to revisit the discovery of K12.

Doctor τ was in his lab when he received a strange call about sightings of Adamantite in a cavern northeast of Emerald City. He was suspicious of the caller, but intrigued enough to explore the report.

He arrived at the cave entrance, and equipped with his trusty portal blast headlamp flashlight to light the way, he headed into the depths of the cave. After some time he reached a fork, when a green glimmer along the left path caught his eye. He approached its location to investigate, but found nothing. Just then he spotted another glimmer further down the cave. More suspicious this time, he immediately explored that area through a peep-hole with his flashlight, and again found nothing. Nonetheless, he went over to its source and investigated the area more thoroughly.

In this spot, he found an unnatural crack in the rock wall, which seemed to be a secret doorway. Doctor Tau grabbed a rock nearby and made a feeble attempt to pry the door open.

Meanwhile, K12 stood in a cell made of steel bars with a strange force-field that prevented his powers from penetrating them. He had lived like this for as long as he could remember, always in a cell. This cell sat in a larger room with a number of controls on one of its walls. Hearing a strange sound of rocks grinding through the door of the room, K12 asked who was there?

Doctor Tau heard this strange sound from through the wall, and discerning that it was probably language, made a peep hole to see inside. Shining his flashlight through and “yelling stuff” like “hey”, “who’s in there?” and whatnot, K12 responded asking Doctor Tau to let him out.

After some time the two decided they could trust each other, to some degree, though Doctor Tau thought it might not be a coincidence that the call this morning led him to this captive, and K12 was still mistrustful of Tau’s powers (though convinced he could take Doctor Tau on if he had to). K12 discerned that Tau was human, and Tau found out that K12 is an Allauron (whatever that means). K12 does not know much of anything about the Allaurons, who never answered his questions. Doctor Tau experimented with the force field of K12’s cell – when he moved a pebble towards it, his gravity glove lost grip of the pebble which fell to the ground inside the cell. Eventually Doctor Tau pulled down a conspicuous red lever, which shut off the force field.

Of course, K12 was still inside a steel cage. As the two of them pondered what to do, the lights went out. Doctor Tau turned on his flashlight once more. K12 did not want to go through Tau’s portal, instead choosing to break a hole in his steel cage using his newly-freed ability to clash rock against the edge of his cell. Having broken this hole, the room began to shake, and pieces of rock began falling from the ceiling. Not wanting to spend time trying to bust open the door that Doctor Tau had feebly tried to open earlier, K12 began tunneling through one of the side walls as Doctor Tau followed, with the tunnel collapsing in behind them.

After a short distance, the shaking stopped. Not having any idea where he was, K12 waited for Doctor Tau to give him some direction. Eventually the two tunneled up and out of the mountain they were underneath, coming out to a majestic view of the surrounding valley. Exhausted after all the tunneling, K12 sat down for a minute to catch his breath. But K12 was also exhilarated, free to use his powers for the first time ever! He wasn’t even sure he had used all of his powers in the past. He began flying, breathing fire, whirling air, pulling water out of clouds. K12 was very curious about Doctor Tau’s adamantite-powered devices, and Tau showed him the devices in detail. K12 explained that he had seen this crystal often in the past, and wanted to know more about it.

The two decided to return to Tau’s base as K12 was getting tired. They flew to the outskirts of town, and then landed so as to avoid attracting attention to themselves. The idea of being seen by the hundreds of thousands of people in Emerald City intimidated K12, who had seen fewer than a hundred beings in all of his memory. They called Monsieur Placard to arrange a car to pick them up, but Placard was too busy having a nap so they called Alexis instead who arranged for them to be brought to Doctor Tau’s lab.

While waiting for the car, the two heroes visited a smoothie shop and bought a banana smoothie for K12. Having only eaten nourishing paste before, K12 was overwhelmed and pleased by the flavor.

Once at the lab, Tau and K12 discussed their plans for the future. K12 was interested in learning more about adamantite and staying with Doctor Tau, and was willing to work with the Protectors as compensation. Wanting to know more about K12 and his origins, Doctor Tau was happy to accept this arrangement. K12 might make a good lab assistant. Alexis agreed that this seemed like a good arrangement, though she was somewhat surprised at how quickly things were moving between K12 and Doctor Tau. After all, they had only met a few hours ago and they were already living together. But the Doctor knows best!

Remember to join us next time on Protectors of Emerald City!

View
This is bananas!
Where did this gorilla even come from?

Having devised a ritual to locate the radio frequencies being emitted from the rat-embedded devices, Witch led our heroes back to the Downtown area in search of vermin. Joining the group was K12, while Doctor τ stayed behind in his lab to do more research on the recovered rat samples.

The group caught on to one signal, which seemed to be located below ground at Emerald Books. Upon entering the bookstore, Witch gleefully ran off in search of occult tomes. K12 was too shy to ask anyone anything, but Hoenheim got out of Witch that the signal was coming from “three or four floors down”. He got into a conversation with Charles Lavalle who works at the store about rats, finding that Charles is not too fond of rodents. Charles led Hoenheim to the section of the store on animals, and handed him a text on rats. Learning that Hoenheim was one of the Protectors of Emerald City, he gave Hoenheim the text free of charge. Hoenheim also learned that Emerald Books does not have a basement, due to the extensive sewer network found below its floors.

Meanwhile, Witch located a dusty old tome titled “A History of Pagan Rituals”. This prompted a half hour discussion between Witch and Charles about the book and the occult, from which there was no prying Witch away. In the meanwhile K12 went and bought and consumed a very pleasant and scentful banana smoothie. Having satisfied her obsession, Witch rejoined Hoenheim and K12, and the group went off in search of a way into the sewers below.

Before entering the sewers, Witch received a phone call from “R”, who put off talking about Friday plans until later. “R” updated the group that he was planning to visit a contact of his at TAISAR, and that City Hall was considering formally asking TAISAR about the devices found in the rats. Witch also updated “R” about their discovery of a signal below Emerald Books. “R” would contact our heroes again once he had more information.

Carefully avoiding traffic, the trio entered the sewers by a nearby manhole. K12 had refused to take infrared goggles from the lab-coat clad “R”, but was able to pull off a light source using his control of fire. Using this, the group headed in the direction of the radio signal’s source.

Eventually the Protectors heard scrambling and sniffing around a nearby corner, which stopped as they approached. “WHO GOES THERE??” prompted the Rat Man, who revealed he detests the name and prefers to be called “Randy”. Rounding the corner, Hoenheim discovered Randy was perched upon the corpse of a very giant rat (large enough that Randy could clamber across its body). “Stay back!” Randy demanded. Hoenheim was very diplomatic and did not approach Randy, who continued with cries of “This is MY kill!”. Randy also seemed somewhat disgusted by K12’s banana scent, and claimed he could smell K12 and Witch from around the corner when Hoenheim revealed their presence.

The group decided to leave the giant rat’s body to Randy, but asked that he determine whether there was a transmitter inside the dead rat’s corpse. Randy reluctantly agreed, on the condition that it would mean our heroes went away and left him alone. As Randy cut through the flesh of the dead rat, the radio signal cut out. Randy claimed there was some kind of metal box inside the head of the rat, and asked if that was sufficient. Satisfied, our heroes bid Randy farewell and exited the sewers the way they came.

After exiting the sewers, the group decided Witch should fly around the city in search of more signals, while K12 and Hoenheim went off to a smoothie shop so K12 could get some more tasty banana flavor.

During this time, K12 received a call from the Mayor, and promptly handed the phone off to Hoenheim who answered the call. Monsieur Placard demanded the heroes come to City Hall immediately to discuss an urgent situation, and refused to talk about it on the phone. Asking why they should do it, Hoenheim got out of Placard that they would have his undying gratitude and continued stipends from City Hall. He and K12 went off towards City Hall.

While on their way, they received a call from Witch who was finishing off her radio search, not having found any other signals. They updated her on the situation and all met in front of City Hall. Frank was not outside.

After entering the Mayor’s office, Placard exasperatedly revealed that there was a giant gorilla that had climbed TAISAR and had taken “R” hostage! Hoenheim scolded Placard for not just telling them that on the phone, leading Placard to mumble something about phone security and “maybe we should get a secure line”. The trio ran out of City Hall to go to R’s rescue, when they realized they had no idea where TAISAR is. They called Placard, who gave them the very helpful information that it’s at TAISAR. They then called Alexis Goldberg who gave them the address and directions.

Hopping into a vehicle and driving at the dare devil speed of 10 km/h above the speed limit, the group made their way towards the TAISAR tower. From a fair distance away they could see a black, majestic, 15-foot-tall gorilla atop the tower with a trail of broken windows below it and a humanoid figure in one of its large hands. Stopping at the foot of the building, K12 and Witch flew up to the creature while Hoenheim raised himself up on a pillar of rock from the ground. The gorilla roared, demanding our heroes bow down before it and accept it as their master, but they refused to be taken over by him. “R” appeared to be under the gorilla’s spell, commenting to Witch about how soft the gorilla’s hand was.

After a series of combat rounds, with roaring and freezing and trapping and escaping, the gorilla leaped off the tower and ran away, tossing “R” into a nearby lake. Witch plummeted into the lake to recover “R” and made a valiant (but failed) attempt to swim. Hoenheim made a bridge of ice out to where “R” and Witch were submersed, while K12 produced currents in the water that rose them to the surface. Once back at the shore, K12 went off in pursuit of the gorilla leaving Hoenheim and Witch to check on “R”. They realized that “R” wasn’t breathing.

Hoenheim tried to evaporate the water in R’s lungs, nearly evaporating R’s blood instead. Taking his time, Hoenheim was eventually successful in removing the water from R’s lungs and airway.

Meanwhile, K12 found it very difficult to damage the gorilla, searing its fur only a few times in eight rounds of combat. The gorilla equally found it difficult to intimidate or subdue K12 with his iron will (and it helped that K12 stayed out of reach with his flight). The two eventually reached a residential area, where the gorilla brought some citizens to his side, who began throwing small rocks feebly in K12’s direction and yelling obscenities at him. K12 coated the ground with ice to slow the gorilla’s escape, leading many citizens to fall over. Aided by citizens’ tiny cries, the gorilla finally intimidated K12 badly enough and with the right sense of purpose to send him back to get Hoenheim and Witch as reinforcements.

What will happen now? Will K12 get Hoenheim and Witch in time to catch onto the gorilla’s trail? Will the gorilla get revenge on his banana-scented foe? Does “R” have anything to say about the situation? And as one player put it, “Where did this gorilla even come from”? Find out next time on Protectors of Emerald City!

View
Aw, rats!
Here, have some debuff

Reports had been made of strange rat attacks around Emerald City, with the last known sighting being an alleyway in Downtown Emerald City. Our heroes, equipped with infrared goggles and a sewer map provided by “R”, ventured to this location to investigate.

At the scene they found traces of blood, with animal hair trailing between the blood and a nearby sewer drain. This prompted our heroes to explore the sewers. After entering a nearby manhole and finding the location of the drain, Hoenheim used the tracking abilities he gained in the wilderness to follow the trail of whatever had left this hair (probably rats, of course). He was aided by a light source prepared on the spot by Witch.

After losing the trail and hearing some unusual splattering sounds from down the sewer tunnel, the heroes paused to gather their bearings, when they were pounced upon from above by a swarm of mutant rats! Little claws and teeth were everywhere, dazing the Protectors. Two large mutant rats came to the aid of the swarm, biting and clawing at our heroes (Hoenheim barely noticed). One of them got a really good gnaw in at Doctor Tau, sending him into a stunned trance that Hoenheim couldn’t snap him out of! But Witch and Hoenheim came to his rescue, staggering and paralyzing the swarm, and completely shattering the legs of one of the large rats. Doctor tau shook off his confusion, and with a radiation blast portal completely charred the rat swarm.

The one remaining large rat ran away down the sewer tunnel, but our heroes were merciless in the quest they had been set upon, to eliminate this threat to Emerald City. But this rat was cunning. Witch sought to enslave it with her arcane magic, but it dodged, and lept, and avoided every attack she threw at it. Hoenheim tried to thwomp it into the ground with large pillars of stone, but again it dashed and avoided his traps. Doctor Tau, having shaken off his confused state, opened portals to the power source in his lab, finally injuring the beast and slowing it to a crawl! This allowed Hoenheim to trap it within bars of stone. The heroes caged this rat as well, gathered tiny charred rat corpses, and reported back to “R”.

“R” began investigating the corpses and living large rats while Doctor Tau and Hoenheim went to Doctor Tau’s secret base to perform their own investigation. Witch left to tend to her shop, but stayed in contact through cellular communication. While at her shop, Frank came by looking for rat tails. Doctor Tau’s dissection of the charred rat remains showed a transmission device embedded in the rat’s body, while Hoenheim noted the muscular structure of the rat was far too developed for the rat’s skeleton. The sophistication of the transmission device being embedded in this rat’s body suggested a highly skilled biomechanic had been at work. The most likely location in the area to find such a scientist would be TAISAR. When Witch asked Frank about this organization, Frank went on a long rant about how everyone at TAISAR is crazy. “R” also confirmed from his own analysis that the transmission technology itself was very similar to devices used by TAISAR, though he had never seen them embedded in a living creature in such a way.

Doctor Tau and Hoenheim called in Witch for assistance, and she prepared and performed a ritual to identify that the transmission device was working on radio frequency. She has the ability to use this ritual to locate nearby radio transmission devices, for a short time. What will the Protectors do now? Find out next time on Protectors of Emerald City!

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.