Sunday, October 13, 2013

Arrival: Gearing Up To Slay The Snuffleupacus

© Copyright Chris Allen and licensed for reuse under
this Creative Commons Licence.
Last session Nico spent time meeting and greeting the locals before sitting down with the cowboy ‘Allan’ and his apprentice and discussing how to take down a big creature that roamed the streets snorting up all the leapers and humans that it came across. Nico made a deal to help them take it out in exchange for a chance to meet the scientists who had offered a reward for its brain.

Since Nico is all about pop culture (gleaned from videogame guides, tv guides and books), she immediately dubs the long snouted creature a ‘Snuffleupacus’. Demons are less scary when given demeaning nicknames, naturally. She found out that the last group who went after it had themselves a machine gun mounted to the back of the car but were fool enough to stop still while shooting at it rather than continuing onward so it stepped on the vehicle and crushed the gun!

She figured a high-powered sniper rifle from a nearby building while the cowboy provided a distraction should work. She just had to get her hands on such a gun. Luckily she’d heard that Styx could get people just about anything and while she didn’t have anything worth trading for the ‘Pentacle of Darella,’ she might well have enough to trade for the sniper rifle.

So she spoke to Alyssa (so many Al-characters in this area!), the owner of Warehouse 13, and requested an introduction to Styx. Seeing that Nicky was one of those ‘Big Damn Heroes’ who were convenient to keep around until they got themselves killed, Alyssa became a whole lot sweeter to her. Presence 5 + Persuasion 3 + Leadership Specialty + Inspiring Merit means Nico can be pretty damn convincing when she needs to be.

(For those who are curious, Nico is built with nearly 300 experience points. There’s a reason for this. I’ve sweated for those exp over the years but that’s another story.)

So off they trundle to a warehouse where Styx has taken up impermanent residence (you’ll see) and Nico has to approach this glowing blue sigil. At her approach, Styx coalesces above the sigil and negotiations begin. It turns out Styx really wants those body armour plates from the ‘Skinless Man’ haul so she trades all of them for the sniper rifle and a box of ammunition.

Oddly enough, Nico doesn’t mind this demon as much as the others. It’s all blue, wearing a strange robe, with horns and it floats up off the ground. Yet it’s isolation and it’s very predictable follows-through-with-its-deals reputations means that she can stand it more than the others. While naturally quite evil in her mind, it can be dealt with on a practical level without too much risk of corruption. One just had to watch what one traded with it as such things could soon find themselves in the enemy’s hands.

So anyway she takes the sniper rifle, Allan McCormick and his apprentice, and heads over to where the Snuffleupacus is currently snuffling along the sand. They take up position in a third storey window and she starts firing at it. It takes a couple shots for the creature to figure out whereabouts the pain is coming from and luckily it takes a bite out of the room next to her rather than the one she hides within. Allan McCormick leaps out one window into the next building via the window and takes pot shots with his pistol to try to distract it but Nico’s gun is too loud for that to work well.

Nico takes up a new position from a different building while the Snuffleupacus is busy tearing hunks out of her old building and resumes filling it full of lead. Finally the three-storey-tall demonic ‘thing’ hits the desk – nice and dead.

Allan McCormick takes the samples he needs to call in the various debts and says he’ll be back to take her to the scientists. Nico hides the sniper rifle in a large sack (people have been killed for less awesome loot) and heads back to stash it in Warehouse 13’s locked room. While Alyssa has already paid the other two, she decides to give Nico something in turn for her good deeds – a shield that flashes bright sunlight that it can absorb from the sun.

It sounds like a pretty neat relic but Nico can’t be bothered carrying a shield everywhere so she trades it with Styx for the pentacle of Darella. It turns out the pentacle vibrates in the presence of demons and protects against possession. Nico really wants to keep it and figures if she kills enough monsters she may be able to convince Bob to let her keep it.

When Nico returns, she notices that the amulet vibrates around the cowboy and his apprentice but it’s only while they’re trekking across to the scientists and the apprentice heads off for a moment to pee that Nico can tell which person is to blame. It’s the cowboy, Allan McCormick.

Lacking proof that the amulet works and knowing that demons can also be little whisperers that do little but encourage a person to do bad deeds, she decides to hold onto that information for now. Still it is worrying. Luckily a mixture of false bravado and boosted confidence from her recent kill means she is not afraid to be travelling with a possessed gunslinger even though she probably should be.

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