Friday, June 13, 2014

Rifts Misadventures: Session 3

OC - Rebecka by FrothTheStargazer
We got our Rifts on last weekend. The previous session is here if you need a recap.

The Roster

Arisis Solstice, female titan Cyber-Knight, played by Felix

Max Parkinson, male human Mystic, played by me

Valerie Cain, female Praxian Headhunter, played by Kent

Session Recap

Once La Fantasma gets underway, Max asks Captain Ramos to ensure that he is not disturbed for the next several minutes. The team retires below deck and Max sets about using his gift of prophecy, using the rhythm of the waves crashing against the ship's hull to send himself into a clairvoyant trance. Arisis tries using her own psychic powers to interpret and guide his progress, as Valerie stays well back, still somewhat unnerved by the young man's willingness to open himself to the supernatural.

Max relays his semi-surreal vision to his comrades, in which the twins they seek are dragged to Havana and beyond by an entity that appears as a vaguely humanoid mass of lashing, electrified neurons. Max pursues the being, having traveled across a series of islands and into a jungle, where it disappears into a circle of small, squat buildings. When Max attempts to follow, the circle transforms into a great toothy maw and encloses him in its bite. Abruptly, the Mystic's vantage point shifts, and he is watching himself watch a television set. A dancehall music video plays on the screen, with himself, Valerie, and Arisis appearing in it. The lyrics are exclusively in Spanish (but subtitled in American). Max gets the impression that the lyrics are giving him clues to the location of Nysa's twin sisters (who also appear in the video, apparently in some faraway mountains). Max watches himself rise from his seat and dive into the television. He flies past his comrades and over the mountains, where he sees a vast shallow sea filled with islands and archipelagos. His trance state ends.

As La Fantasma escorts the cargo container ship Big Rusty through the mangrove forests that have covered what was once New Orleans, Max considers the implications of the images he's conjured up. Arisis heads back to the upper deck and takes the opportunity to engage in one of her favorite pastimes: fishing. The patient titan is able to hook a prodigious catch of red snapper -- and, once the ships reach deeper water, a giant swordfish -- all of which is taken to the ship's galley and served to an enthusiastic and grateful crew.

After a short and uneventful sea voyage, the ships reach their first stop, the port of Havana. As containers of goods are unloaded from the Big Rusty, the group, which has been granted shore leave and rooms in a local hotel, heads ashore to explore Havana proper. The city is half dilapidated ruin, half vibrant, Techno-Wizardry-powered metropolis.

When it turns out that there is a sizable Havanan goblin population, Max decides to see if he can find some information that might clarify the details of his vision. He engages some of the locals in their native tongue of Gobblely and manages to greatly impress a group of young goblin women with his easy mastery of the language. (Max grew up speaking Gobblely as well as American in his hometown, the Barony of New Bizantium, where numerous immigrants from the Palladium world reside.) After Max asks about the Grey Bones and the ogre pirates that crewed the ship, a surprisingly attractive goblin named Gia offers to introduce the group to the only ogre inhabitant of Havana if they can make it worth her while. Max offers Gia a pair of pre-cataclysmic basketball shoes (child-sized and still in the shrink wrap, naturally), which she enthusiastically accepts.

The ogre in question, a Shifter called Arim, seems to have taken up residence in a local restaurant's enormous humidor, in which he and several other giant D-Bees are lounging (and smoking). Arim extends considerable hospitality to the team, and Max again impresses the locals (I was rolling really well for Streetwise checks that night) by ordering a traditional goblin dish heavy on the grubs and black fungus. After greasing Arim's palms to the tune of 1500 credits, the ogre provides the group with a good amount of intelligence regarding ogre pirates, even though he is unfamiliar with the Grey Bones or any pirate band associating with the Coalition. He indicates that most of the pirates hail from the lawless island of Hispaniola, and also maintain ports on the southern coast of Puerto Rico. (Puerto Rico is also the home base of a dangerous mercenary company dubbed "Wild Hurricane", he says.) Arim warns Max that most of the ogres in the Caribbean are not from the Palladium world, but are born sailors from another planet entirely -- one that is almost entirely ocean. Max's familiarity with the customs of Palladium's so-called "subhumans" will not earn him any favors with these ogres, Arim says.

Arim's offer to smoke a few cigars with the group is cut short by a series of explosions outside. The trio races toward the disturbance (but Max briefly doubles back to tell Gia how much he enjoyed her company, then promptly vomits up his earlier repast of larvae and mushrooms). The city is under attack by raiders in strange flying harnesses, who are setting fire to buildings and generally terrorizing the populace. Havanan law enforcement, despite being equipped with TW bicycles that transform into fan-powered flying machines, are badly outgunned. After they commandeer a truck (which Max pilots with considerable aplomb -- my dice were on fire, people) the team heads back to their hotel to grab their gear, only to find the structure in flames. They nevertheless plunge inside and, with a helpful boost from the giant Arisis, manage to rescue their equipment from their second-story lodgings and escape largely unharmed.

The team heads for the docks area, where they see a helicopter stealing cargo containers loaded with Samson power armor from Northern Gun, which the Big Rusty had unloaded earlier in the day. Arisis, with her ability to see the invisible, spies a gargoyle mage riding on a flying boulder, apparently protecting the chopper, and opens fire with her Starfire Cannon. Before any of the trio can take further action, the gargoyle swoops down and casts a Thunderclap spell, badly disorienting them (everybody failed their saving throws). The demonic creature then vanishes, teleporting out of sight. After firing a few rounds in protest, Arisis and her friends can do little more than watch helplessly as the helicopter escapes into the sunset with its ill-begotten cargo.

A good deal of this session was taken up by the three of us getting caught up. All of us have been living fairly eventful lives recently, so I'm happy we were able to do that. I had fun even though I felt like we could probably have accomplished more (and despite realizing in retrospect that I probably hogged the spotlight during this session). Afterwards we discussed making some rules changes that I think might help us move things along more quickly, and possibly even switching systems to something a bit more modern, both of which I think are potentially exciting moves.

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