Friday, April 22, 2016

Rifts Misadventures: Session 28

You probably won't be able to tell from the recap, but at the table, this was a rather zany session of Rifts. Our last couple of sessions were cut short by technical difficulties and other constraints, so it was nice to have one where there was plenty of time for riffing off of one another and generally goofing around. It doesn't hurt that we seem to be heading for a big battle after several fairly cerebral sessions, either.

The Solutions @ Gun Pointe Roster (with ICONS "high concept" qualities, followed by traditional Rifts O.C.C.s)

Arisis Solstice, Radiant Daughter of Atlas (female titan Cyber-Knight), played by Felix
Kat, Mutant Psi-Stalker Sheriff (female mutoid Psi-Stalker), played by Chris
Maximilian Park, Runaway Teenage Mystic (male human Mystic), played by me
Valerie Cain, Amazon Cyborg Wildchild (female Praxian Headhunter), played by Kent

And "The B-Team" (with ICONS "high concept" qualities, followed by traditional Rifts O.C.C.s)
Black Puma, Nekoboy Ninjalante (male Mutant Superhero), played by Kent
Fay, Demigod Super-Genius Smuggler (female demigod City Rat/Runner), played by Chris
Mian Feng, Dedicated Alien Martial Artist (female Manarr Dedicated Martial Artist), played by me
Reez, Space Catgirl Bounty Hunter (female Kirn Bounty Hunter), played by Felix

With their awareness of the world beyond Blessed Valley beginning to return, Arisis and Valerie meet with Max at his saloon. Max, who the locals have taken to calling "Crazy Mr. P" due to his frequent bouts of mental disturbance, is relieved to see his friends ready to act. The trio put their heads together, and soon decide to arm themselves and head to Atticus Stone's mine near the edge of town.

Along the way, our heroes notice a mysterious-looking, mist-shrouded island in the lake that acts as the town's water supply, making a mental note to further investigate it later. They continue on their stated mission and make their way into Stone's Scar, a ravine that leads to the mine. Though her companions' psychic perception is negated by whatever strange force is at work in Blessed Valley, with her replacement implants, Valerie detects the presence of an individual ahead. She and her friends ready their weapons, but soon find that it is none other than Kat, who had earlier been reluctant to investigate the mine, but has apparently had a similar revelation to that experienced by her friends.

As the group continues toward the mine, Valerie's ocular enhancements, though primitive compared to those she lost when entering the valley, prove to be sophisticated enough to pick up nine more people somewhere in the ravine, as well as to spy Kat's TENGU drone hovering thousands of feet overhead. Kat is surprised, speculating that the drone is simply following its default programming to keep her in sight. Max wonders whether whatever force cancels out magic, psionics, and even high technology in Blessed Valley might be dome- or bubble-shaped, and wishes they had some way to test this theory. Kat recalls that her friends insisted that she had only been gone a matter of weeks while a decade passed for her in the valley, and suggests that if the drone is still operating, it's likely that whatever has accelerated the passage of time in the area is similarly limited in scope and range.

Before S@GP can give these hypotheses further consideration, a group of armed toughs led by a squat, unattractive individual appears. The man, who Kat identifies as Atticus Stone, demands to know what business the Sheriff has on his property. A brief standoff ensues, but Arisis forcefully (but politely) insists that she and her companions be allowed to investigate the mine. Stone backs down, saying that he has nothing to hide, and invites Arisis and her associates to join him for supper, to be followed by a guided tour. "Remember what happened the last time we agreed to have dinner with a stranger," Max hisses, recalling Intaglio the Procurer's similar invitation and attempted ambush. Nevertheless, S@GP agree to dine with Stone.

Stone and his men lead the group to a tiny company town located deeper in the Scar, which seems better-appointed and provisioned than the rather ramshackle environs of Blessed Valley proper. The mine itself proves to be a near-vertical shaft leading straight down into the earth, but Stone directs the group to an area with a simple table and benches, with his henchmen seating themselves nearby. Max inquires about the possibility of purchasing some silverware for his saloon, and Stone replies that he might be able to procure some for the young man. Max pointedly asks whether there is really any silver at all in the mine, noting that he's never seen anything made of silver in Blessed Valley. Stone indignantly begins to sputter a response, but an infuriated Max cuts him off, calling him a liar and abruptly storming off, leaving his shotgun behind in process. Arisis insists that she and her friends be shown the mines immediately, but the fuming Stone is not inclined to do so. Before telling S@GP to leave, he turns to Kat, saying "and Sheriff... say hello to my son," which clearly upsets the normally unflappable psi-stalker.

Max's friends catch up with him, and Max mutters an apology before asking Kat what her connection to Atticus Stone is. Kat reluctantly begins to explain, but is cut short by the arrival of a frantic young boy on burro-back. Chunchullo -- one of the children Arisis watches out for, and a relative of Max's employee, Concepción -- cries out that the Sheriff's son has been shot by Jesse Stone.

S@GP and Chunchullo rush to Kat's home, where her son, Kipling, is being tended to by Dr. Vines. Max takes his leave, hurrying back to his saloon to gather some of his herbal medicines. Arisis inspects Kip, finding that Jesse Stone's bullet exited cleanly, but also finding a series of injection marks on his arms. When asked about them, Kat reveals that she has similar marks, and explains that when she arrived in the anti-magic zone of Blessed Valley, she began wasting away, literally starving to death in the absence of eldritch energy. Only injections of a substance of unknown origin, delivered by Atticus Stone, kept her alive. When Kat had her son, Kip, with the town's previous Sheriff -- Rudy Flowers, brother to Jennie -- she found that he was likewise afflicted. In a cold fury, Kat vows to hunt down and kill Jesse Stone.

Chunchullo informs Sheriff Kat that Jesse has taken refuge in the town jail. Kat assembles her posse, consisting of herself, her S@GP comrades, the rhino-man Orson and his partner, Wellesley the ankylosaur, as well as Margot Briess, the so-called "Crow Girl", a teenage mutant sniper corvid and one of Arisis' projects. Chunchullo, who is only twelve years old, offers to help but is turned down. "Just a couple more years and you'll be ready," Max assures him, having himself become a professional mercenary at the age of fifteen. He briefly laments leaving his shotgun behind, but Valerie silently hands him his weapon with a smile, having picked it up before she left Stone's mine. Max and his friends choose mounts from among the local riding animals, with Max selecting a horse, Arisis an immense lizard, and Valerie a bizarre, floating tentacled creature. Then, they ride out to the jail and quietly take their positions for what promises to be a deadly shootout, with Max taking cover, hoping to find a way in without being noticed.

Meanwhile, Fay, Reez, Mian, and Black Puma have arrived at the desert ruins to which the coordinates Intaglio coughed up originally led them. The young demigod lands her spacecraft here, some distance away from Blessed Valley, saying that she won't risk the Horizont being destroyed the way Valerie's bionics and Max's techno-wizardry armor were upon entering the region. Instead, she says, her squad will proceed on land, and reveals gifts from her mentor, the god Anhur: a giant lion-mount for herself, and magnificent desert stallions for her comrades. "We ride for justice," Mian announces in her melodramatic way, and the group mounts up and departs for Blessed Valley.

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