Chaotic Crew:Campaign/Chapter 11
"As we join our heroes, we find them gathered anxiously around the portal key detector, their collective breath held in anticipation, as they watch the device blink to life, the arrow spinning, coming to rest, pointing in the direction of...OF..."
*PSSH!* ...the factory complex! Specifically, it seems to be pointing towards the upper floors of the largest building, which is several stories high, and the source of most of the thick smog that hovers overhead.
Wolfgang: "Hmmmm...." He glances up at the building, then over at the pile of whatsit in the landfill. "Thank goodness." He begins walking toward the building.
Reginar follows Wolfgang, commenting, "Just as well, I lost my waders back in the Malodorous Marsh."
Wolfgang: "Oh? I've been avoiding the Malodorous Marsh like the Bog of Eternal Stench."
Reginar: "As well you should, laddie, as well you should."
Eleihoff follows after the group, his eyes fixed on the factory.
Wolfgang: "Looks like... think it's a sewage processing plant?"
Eleihoff: "I hope it's an air freshener factory."
As you move closer, you begin to make out the complex in more detail. It appears to be a massive central building, several stories high and sporting huge smokestacks, with three smaller two-story buildings surrounding it, one in front and on each side. Suspended catwalks connect all three satellite buildings to the main building. A tall stone wall surrounds the complex, with a wide gate open in the front; a sign above the g.
Ate proclaims that this is the "FIELDSBORO IRONWERKZ". Just inside the gate, large double doors open into the interior of the frontmost satellite building.
Wolfgang: "Maybe that's how they process the sewage... implant it with those little pine-scented thingies. Oh, wait, it's an ironworks... or werkz."
Eleihoff: "Iron air fresheners?"
Reginar: "Could be iron sewage. I'd think that walking constructs would be big on iron vitamin supplements."
Wolfgang: "Iron filing supplements? Interesting."
Wolfgang heads toward the building.
Reginar follows Wolfgang towards da building.
Eleihoff follows Reginar following Wolfgang to the building.
Credance saunters along in the same general direction.
Ascii follows with a desc: The room beyond the doorway seems to be a lobby. The floor is made of white-and-black checkered tiles, while the walls are a neutral gray color; a number of waiting-room style chairs line the walls. A large reception desk sits opposite the door, with a smaller access door behind it. A pentadrone sits (well, stands crouched) behind the desk, staring at you with its five unflinching faces.
Wolfgang approaches the receptionist's desk. "Hello, we're looking for an unusual item on the premises. Mind if we look around?"
Eleihoff wanders idly over to one of the chairs and sits down experimentally, his raven landing in a seat next to him.
Credance plays hopscotch on the tiles.
Reginar goes over and also sits on one of the chairs patiently.
Wolfgang: The pentadrone blink at you with all five eyes. Then, it responds; strangely, its voice is not the usual mechanical monotone you've come to expect from modrons, but rather, that of an overly cheerful female secretary. "Do you have an appointment?"
Wolfgang: "Um... we're with the Citizen's Zombie Research Council, and our detection equipment has shown that there is a zombie-like substance onsite." He flips out his CZRC ID card and shows it to the receptionist.
Credance switches from hopscotch to a DDR routine.
Reginar pulls out his Bag and introduces his Modron figure to Grandpa since he forgot to earlier.
Reginar then starts going into a grumbling tirade to Grandpa about Mom throwing away his old action figures as a kid.
Eleihoff scoops up his raven and places him on his shoulder.
Credance: "That sucks, Reg. What'd you have?
The pentadrone blinks again. "Sir, aside from the fact that we have no records of such an organization existing, all of our pest control functions are handled by designated on-site drones teams."
Wolfgang: He then follows up by showing the key detector, with it's arrow pointing this direction.
Credance: "I've still got my first run Paladin Paul figs.
Credance: "Oh, don't lie to the lady, Wolfy.
Reginar: "Aye, I had one as well. Back when they had die-cast armor and everything. Ah, those were the days, lass."
Credance walks up to the desk. "Credance Morwind. I'm here to save the world."
Eleihoff: "I had action figures, once. I think most of them aren't melted right now."
It stares at the compass. "Your device is obviously malfunctioning. Would you care to check it in for repairs?"
Wolfgang: "You try it, Credance." Wolfgang steps aside.
Credance: "Hee, I've always wanted to say that.
Wolfgang starts to walk past the receptionist's desk to look around past there.
Wolfgang: ...and approach the smaller access door.
The drone shifts one of its tentacle-faces around to follow Wolfgang's movements. "Sir, please do not attempt to enter the factory. Safety regulations prohibit access by all non-employees."
Reginar stands up and approaches the counter. "Are you currently hiring?"
Wolfgang: "Really? What do you manufacture here?"
Eleihoff: "Air fresheners?"
Wolfgang: "Pine scented ones?"
Four of the drone's faces rotate to face each party member individually.
Credance: "My colleague's device points to an item I need to complete my mission.
Reginar. "No, but feel free to fill out an application anyway, and we'll keep it on file."
Credance: I'm sorry, but no one is permitted on the factory floor without express permission from the foreman."
Wolfgang: "May we see the foreman?"
Eleihoff: "Have you considered producing air fresheners? In today's society, it can be quite profitable."
Wolfgang: "The foreman is a busy man, sir. What is the nature of your business with him?"
Credance: "Saving The WORLD."
Wolfgang points at Credance. "Saving the world. A greatly chaotic force has, in fact, destabilized the world. We're trying to restore order."
Eleihoff: "Our resources are currently prioritized in other areas."
The drone stares at Wolfgang and Credance: "Could you be more specific?"
Reginar: "The Great Divine Switchboard is malfunctioning. As such, all higher orders are not being properly passed down from the gods."
Credance: "Or up, for that matter.
The drone blinks. "I mean...what specifically do you want the foreman to do?"
Credance: "We want permission to find what we need.
Wolfgang: "We'd like an escort to the location and/or item that we are looking for. A tour guide would be sufficient. And then we'd like to take it with us. In summary."
Reginar pulls out a pen. "Do ya need that in triplicate?"
"Ah." The tentacle-head nods. "Certainly. First, however, I shall need to see your security clearance."
Credance: "We were sent by the gods.
Eleihoff inhales a bit as if to speak, but remains silent.
Credance: "They don't often give paperwork.
"Gods?" The pentadrone looks puzzled. "There is but one Primus, and if you were sent here through his will, Mechanus would have provided you with clearance."
Wolfgang: "Heavens save us from bureaucracy..." Wolfgang mumbles quietly.
Reginar sets his Modron action figure on the counter. "Now, ya wouldn't want to disappoint the Cube Hero here, would ya?"
Credance grumbles then goes to sit in the middle of the room.
Credance closes her eyes and begins to chant rather mechanically.
The Pentadrone's five faces lock in on the modron action figure. "You..." Its five eyes go wide with horror. "...you have captured and miniaturized a quaddrone!" The pentadrone hauls itself to its feet, towering above you as its legs scramble in a near-panic. "I must inform command at once!" It stares meaningfully at Reginar. "Please do not leave the area...stay here and await the security forces that shall be dispatched here from Mechanus shortly."
Reginar looks startled for a moment, then composes himself and says, "Oh, of course, I won't go anywhere."
With that, it half-shuffles, half-stumbles out the front door, looking rather comical as it gallops off down the street as though suffering from a hot foot.
Wolfgang: "Quick!" Wolfgang tries to open the door.
Credance: "... Thanks dude.
Reginar: "Not what I expected, but, it worked. Let's see if we can get this done before we have yet another army after us."
Eleihoff: "Miniaturized quaddrone? Interesting..."
Wolfgang steps forward and quickly tries the door...it's unlocked. As he opens it to reveal a stairwell leading up, Credance (murmuring beneath her breath), standing behind the others, suddenly vanishes from sight.
Eleihoff gets up and walks over to the door, peering up the stairwell.
Reginar heads over to the door. "Well, let's beat feet, lads. And lassie. Uh, lassie?"
Credance stands and looks at herself, "Sweeeet"
Wolfgang examines the stairwell and checks the locater device.
Wolfgang: The device is pointing a few floors up, and to the north...presumably, somewhere on the upper levels of the central building.
Wolfgang dashes up the stairs, watching the arrow and his feet.
Reginar follows Wolfgang up the stairs.
Eleihoff hustles after them, humming to himself.
The Party storms up the rickety metal stairs, making a considerable amount of noise in the process. At the top, a doorway opens into a hallway...along the south wall are several office doors, while to the north a heavy steel safety hatch (presumably) opens onto the catwalk you saw from outside.
Eleihoff: "I don't see any air fresheners..."
Wolfgang stops and checks the arrow again, then looks up. "What happened to Credance?"
Credance responds by pinching Wolfgang's bum.
Wolfgang jumps a bit and blushes. "I hope that was you, Credance..."
Reginar: "Well, I heard her giggle, so she must be around... somewhere. C'mon, laddie, we haven't got all day, now."
Wolfgang: "Well, I'm just waiting for the arrow..." Wolfgang looks down again.
Wolfgang: The arrow points towards the metal door.
Wolfgang: "Out the door." He points at the door and tries to open it.
The door, while heavy, isn't locked. Wolfgang turns the wheel to open the latch, and pushes the door open...beyond, the narrow, rail-lined catwalk stretches across 50 feet of open space to the opposite building.
Wolfgang starts out onto the catwalk, checking his steps carefully and holding onto the rail.
Eleihoff frowns a bit. "No locked doors? I'm a bit surprised at their security...and disappointed that I haven't gotten to use my battering ram..."
Wolfgang: He follows the arrow.
Wolfgang: "Shut up, Eleihoff! Let's hope they keep this up... we need to be gone before the guards get here."
Wolfgang: Though narrow, the catwalk seems stable. You make your way to the other end, where another safety door closes off the opposite end of the catwalk.
Reginar follows Wolfgang across the catwalk a bit warily.
Wolfgang checks the arrow again and tries to open this door.
Credance takes in the view as she meanders across.
Eleihoff wanders across, ignoring the inherent danger of a catwalk.
Wolfgang: You try the handle. This one seems to be locked...the latch wheel refuses to turn.
Reginar: "Let me see what I can do, laddie."
Wolfgang: "Locked! See what you did, Eleihoff? You HAD to say something... battering ram?"
Eleihoff grins as he reaches for one of the pouches of his pack.
Wolfgang: "Oh... go for it, Reginar."
Reginar steps up and assesses if the lock is pickable.
Eleihoff stops reaching for his pack halfway there and watches Reginar.
Reginar: Using your keen Dwarven senses, you discover a keyhole cleverly hidden within a large opening in the center of the latch handle. You whip out your lockpicks, and within moments, the door clicks softly.
Reginar gives his lockpicks a theatrical kiss, then sets his hands on his hips with a proud look.
Wolfgang: "Good work!" Wolfgang follows the arrow.
Eleihoff sighs disappointedly and lets his arm hang at his side.
Reginar: "Sorry, lad, I promise we'll find a use for your battering ram. Probably when the entire Modron army is after us," Reginar says wryly, before following Wolfgang.
Wolfgang: "Keep that ram handy, though."
Wolfgang turns the handle and opens the door...as he does, a blast of hot air hits the Party square in their faces. Stepping inside, you find yourselves on a wide catwalk attached to the inside wall.
The entire inside of the building is tinged a hellish red. The source is obvious: Far below on the factory floor, a massive series of forge ovens runs the entire length of the building, all the way to the far wall. For more disturbing is the sight of dozens of humans, dressed in tattered rags, who appear to me working the forges - hefting unidentifiable metal shapes between the forge fires, and sets of anvils and water-filled cooling tubs behind them.
Intermixed with the humans, you can see a dozen or so quaddrones, armed with large crossbows, standing guard, gazing at their captives without emotion. The crackling of burning-hot flames mixes with the rhythmic sounds of hammered iron, echoing throughout the huge building.
Eleihoff whispers quietly. "I don't think they have any air fresheners..."
The catwalk you are currently standing on runs around the inside circumference of the right-hand wall, disappearing into the reddish darkness towards the far end of the building.
Reginar whispers, "This isn't good at all. Look at those poor slaves!"
Credance: "It's not like they're being whipped or anything.
Wolfgang tries to quietly follow the arrow. "We'll have to come back here with a real enforcement group and get them back. Later."
Credance: "For all we know they're bond servants.
Credance: "And besides, what's wrong with slavery?
Reginar: "Plenty, lass, plenty. But the laddie is right, we don't have the resources ta handle this now." Reginar sighs.
Wolfgang: "I'll be sure to enslave you later."
Wolfgang: "...um... in the servant context, that is."
Credance: "Can I have that in writing?
Wolfgang: "We'll discuss that later, Credance..." Wolfgang blushes madly, but returns his attention to the task at hand.
Credance waves her hands and casts Silence.
The Party attempts to sneak overhead, but after a couple of steps, it soon becomes clear that between the metal footing below and their general ineptitude at stealth, such a task is impossible. Thinking quickly, Credance fires off a spell...a bubble of anti-sound envelopes the Party, rendering them as silent as a wallflower nerd at a raging frat kegger.
Wolfgang glances around, then looks back, mouthing "Thanks" in his best guess as to where Credance is, then continues on.
*sneak sneak sneak*
Actually, it's more of a *CLANK CLATTER CRASH!* but thanks to the spell, neither the slaves nor the quaddrone guards notice. The Party crosses the catwalk, and soon reaches another safety door, this one in the east wall.
Wolfgang: Onward! Wolfgang tries to open the door.
Wolfgang corrects himself to Wolfgang follows the arrow.
The tracker-detector-compass thingy leads farther towards the back of the building. In the far corner, where the catwalk turns left, a red fire door is mounted in the wall, marked "STAIRS". The arrow points up and to the southwest; looks like the item is upstairs.
Wolfgang: *follow follow follow*
Reginar: *follow, follow, follow*
Eleihoff follows the people following the arrow.
up, up, up
The stairs lead up to an office complex, situated on a self-contained floor directly above the forge below. You know this, because the huge chimneys that funnel the smoke out of the room below run directly up through this floor, their wide cylindrical forms acting like support columns running down the length of the flood. The rest of the area is a huge maze of cubicles; tridrones and quaddrones wander the isles, appearing to be quite busy.
The sounds of papers shuffling, pens scratching, and modrons chattering in their unique language can be heard throughout the area.
Wolfgang: Quickly, Wolfgang starts moving quickly, trying to take advantage to the silence and find their target before it wears off.
Reginar follows, trying not to bump into any of the odd office workers.
Wolfgang: Following the arrow, you begin to weave your way through the cubicle maze. The modrons seem to be ignoring you and the rest of the Party, though you can't quite tell if it's because they can't hear you, or if they're too wrapped up in their duties to pay attention. Most of them are milling around almost like corporate zombies, carrying paperwork to other modrons who are sitting at desks, writing on pieces of paper.
Wolfgang: As you turn a corner, you suddenly find yourself stopped by a dead-end. You attempt to find another route, but soon find yourself staring at yet another cubicle wall in the way. You know where you want to be, but with so many mazelike walls between here and there, figuring out how to reach it is proving to be tricky.
Wolfgang: "Who moved my cheese?" Wolfgang tries to climb OVER the cubicle wall.
As you ponder this, Credance spontaneously materializes from the aether at the rear of the party.
Wolfgang: Leaving the others behind the wall for now, you climb up and over the partition and down the other side - squarely into the lap of a quaddrone attempting to fill out a tax form. Your foot comes down hard on its spindly leg, pinning it to the chair...it looks up at you blankly.
Wolfgang: "Excuse me. I'm missing my paperclips." He looks at the arrow to determine what it is pointing at. "And my... uh..."
Wolfgang: "Oh, sorry, didn't mean to pin you like that." He takes his foot off the modron's leg.
The modron stares blankly at you, and resumes writing. You check the compass...it seems to be pointing to the modron's desk drawer.
Wolfgang: "May I snag some of your paperclips? Excuse me." He tries to open the desk drawer.
Wolfgang: You jiggle the handle...the drawer is locked. The modron continues to write on his legal pad, seemingly ignoring you completely.
Wolfgang taps the modron and points at the desk, then at the lock thereon.
Wolfgang: It stares at you, then resumes writing.
Wolfgang steps onto the desk, and tries to communicate the need for Reginar's lockpicking skills via pantomime. He ends with pulling out his hammer and pantomiming smashing something, seemingly as a last resort.
Reginar gets the odd feeling that Wolfgang wants to perform Sarien battle marching music while doing yoga on a shuffleboard alley, and wonders where these very odd thoughts are coming from.
Wolfgang appears from behind the cubicle partition, and starts making a series of odd hand signals and pantomime gestures. While Reginar goes off on a mental tangent, Credance and Eleihoff correctly interpret his bad charades as his apparent desire to loudly, blatantly smash something to pieces without any subtlety whatsoever.
Eleihoff immediately digs into his pack and pulls out a ram, somewhat large for someone his size, but, with a maniacal grin, he firmly holds onto it and slams it into the cubicle in front of him.
Wolfgang waves his hands in a motion intending to indicate a negative!
Credance nods and casts Shatter on whatever it seems he is indicating to be in need of smashing.
Wolfgang dives off the desk, and tries to pry open the drawer with the hammer, smash it if necessary.
Reginar sits on the ground, gives everyone else a perplexed look, and attempts to bend his legs into the lotus position.
Eleihoff rears back with the ram...the Silence spell (naturally) chooses exactly this moment to wear off. The business end of the ram crashes into the cubicle with a thunderous SLAM!, shaking the material but failing to crack it. Meanwhile...
...as Wolfgang starts to leap off the desk, Credance casts a spell. An ear-splitting shriek echoes outward, causing the hammer to vibrate in Wolfgang's hand...just for a moment, it seems about to shatter, but then calms down and stops.
Eleihoff mumbles angrily, and takes the next few moments to back up and warm up his muscles, then charges at the stubborn cubicle wall!
Wolfgang: As the Silence spell wears off, Wolfgang can be heard swearing, and then, "Not demolish the place! I need a lock picked!"
Reginar pauses half-twisted up into a pretzel and puts his hands over his ears. "Ack!"
The din dies down just in time for Eleihoff's second battering attempt to punch a large hold through the cubicle partition. Cracks rapidly spread through the material, until it crumbles into powder. Drywall dust settles on the modron on the other side as he topples out of his chair.
Eleihoff: "Renovations." Eleihoff says off-handedly.
Reginar: "What was that, laddie? My ears are ringin'!" Reginar attempts to unpretzel his legs.
Wolfgang: "Reginar! Pick the lock!"
Reginar manages to get himself re-situated and goes over to try to pick the lock.
Reginar stumbles forward, stepping squarely on the modron's back to reach the desk lock. He produces his lockpick and gingerly inserts it into the drawer lock. Soon, there is a soft click...and the entire desk comes apart at the seams, collapsing into a pile of boards.
Reginar: Digging through the wreckage, you fish out what was presumably inside the drawer...a slide rule.
Wolfgang checks if this is the item.
Reginar: "Did ya really need to calculate some logarithms that badly, laddie?"
Wolfgang: The arrow points squarely at the ruler. Score!
Wolfgang: "Yes, didn't you know that I have a fascination for advanced math? It's the key! Let's run!"
Reginar hands Wolfgang the key.
Eleihoff: "But...the renovations!"
Reginar: "We'll come back and... ah, finish them later, lad. We don't get paid for overtime."
Wolfgang: "Union break, Eleihoff."
Eleihoff: "If you insist..." Eleihoff quickly stuffs the ram into his sack and follows them.
Eleihoff: You shove the ram into your pack. Ouch.
Wolfgang: "Excuse me... what's the fastest way to exit the building that doesn't involve jumping off the building to a horrible death?"
Eleihoff: "Jumping off the building to a long stay in the hospital?"
The quaddrones whimpers pitifully beneath Reginar's stout legs...at least, you think it's a whimper. It might just be its servos whining as it tries to right itself.
Reginar: "Oh, sorry." Reginar gets off the poor Modron.
Wolfgang: "Our apologies, fine modron. I'm afraid our work order was in error."
Freed of its burden, the modron clambers awkwardly to its feet...it shuffles over to the remains of the desk and starts to paw through them, looking for the notepad it was writing on moments ago.
Wolfgang: "Let's go. Maybe we can make up for this with speed." He heads back the way they came.
Reginar follows Wolfgang.
As the Party starts to make their way back, loud chattering comes from somewhere on the other side of the cubicle maze.
Wolfgang: "I hope that's not the security drones come to arrest us." He picks up the pace, moving to a jog and unholstering his weapon, just in case.
Eleihoff runs after Wolfgang. "Well, I don't think they're coming to ask us to continue the renovations."
Reginar: "At least the fighting will be as interesting as the lockpicking." Reginar pulls out his own crossbow as he chases after Wolfgang.