Monday, May 29, 2017

Second Rat Quest: Mickey Rat's Magical Kingdom

TL;DR? We go to Disney Land, and decide killing Micky Mouse and The Beast is too much trouble. Edit: Or maybe our memories were edited. /Edit

We began in media res with each character having separately pursued petty villains into situations resembling logic puzzles. This was DM'd by Skrac's (the plague alchemist's) player, the same guy who gave us riddles last time.
  • Ch'Dar the Dragoon (replacement for Teddy the Bard) was dancing at a village festival when something happened with his pack being stolen and a damsel was calling for help. He ended up trapped in a cell with a cylinder bubbling with amnesiac gas (which made him forget everything whenever he got too close), a candle, an amnesiac damsel, and a straw bed. 
  • Osbald the Hairless Fighter had to fill the missing number in the series 16, 06, 68, 88, __, 98. I forget why. He might've been in a crypt with a lock.
  • Barnabosa (my sorceror) had his sword stolen, and tracked the thief to a stretch of river with three towns. I could ask the river god a number of yes/no questions to determine which town the thief was in, but one of my NPC companions had comically wasted the questions until I had only one left. 
  • Nichodemus, Wizardly Patriarch of the ratfolk, was petitioned by some lesser magic using rat for help in stopping an evil summoning. The summoning requires 5 rows of 4 posts, the evil summoner is creating the posts at a predictable rate, and the ritual can only be sabotaged as the final post is created.
Solutions (and rest of the quest) below the cut.
  • Ch'Dar ended up melting the wax to form a seal over the cylinder. Escape was easy once the amnesia gas dissipated. The damsel was suffering more permanent amnesia, and had apparently been drawn into this danger by a curse on a knife she'd received.
  • The missing "number" is L8. The DM had written the sequence on a strip of paper; I asked to see it, and from the way the DM handed it to me and the way I handed it back, Osbald's player realized that its orientation was important. Turning the sequence upside down reveals the more obvious 86, __, 88, 89, 90, 91. He solved it and was rewarded with a cursed candelabra.
  • "If we skip the first town, I enter the second, and my assistants flip a coin to enter or skip the third, would any of us be in the same town as the thief?" If the god says no, then the thief is in the first town; if yes, then the second; if neither yes nor no, then the third. I caught up to and killed the thief, recovered my sword plus a cursed glass glove, and then strangled my comically unhelpful assistant with his own intestines. 
  • You only need 10 posts to make a pentagram consisting of 5 lines where each line contains 4 posts. However, instead of agreeing to help, Nichodemus feigned indifference and then secretly followed the NPC petitioner, planning to use him as a decoy. Because the NPC thought 20 posts would be needed, instead  of 10, they arrived too late and the demon killed the NPC.
Between Nichodemus' wizardry and the damsel's extensive family library, we learned that these items draw mischief to whoever possesses them, that each cursed item was associated with an archetypal story figure, and that there is a magical kingdom where these archetypal figures have been immortalized.

I forget how, but we locate a magitech portal which had been recently assembled by a ratfolk named "Art" (Mickey had a magic paintbrush whose creations came to life, so all of his servants were named "Art") who held a cartoonishly big wrench, and who intended to dismantle the portal after we'd gone through. We persuade him to wait a few days.

The DM was going to use an actual map of Disney Land for the map, but he forgot it at home.

He was hoping we'd go poke at notable Disney characters, but we had no incentive to get caught up in the infighting here, so after getting exposition from peasants we made a beeline for the King's castle. We wanted to propose trade agreements, negotiate an end to his magical meddling with us, and so on, but all he was interested in was whether his cursed meddling had turned our lives into exciting stories--which it hadn't, at least not compared to the regicide in our previous quest.

Mickey is disappointed (which I suspect was scripted) and decides to put illusory walls over the doors and windows, create an illusory decoy of himself, and then kill us with spells. It would've been a tough fight. We plane-shift away instead.

We camp for a day in whichever plane seemed safest and then plane-shift back to our own world, arriving in random tundra somewhere. We bury the cursed items because nobody's going to just happen across them out in the middle of nowhere, right? Solved forever! Then we teleport back to our hometown to find that the damsel is now in the magic kingdom. We hemmed and hawed a bit about whether to stop Mickey's meddling for good, ultimately deciding to teleport *back* to the tundra for the cursed items, and plane shift *back* into the magical kingdom.

Apparently the characters there can neither die nor leave (unless the King kills them for getting uppity), the King periodically tires of them and fishes in our world for replacements (the damsel was to be a new Little Mermaid, I think); Mickey layers magical enchantments on the person to transform them into who he wants them to be (which, if you're Cinderella, means you're in constant danger of erupting in fire), and "The Beast" brainwashes them (and eats inconvenient memories of anyone still in the kingdom). We decide to try neutralizing "the Beast" instead of Mickey.

"The Beast" turns out to be a hugely strong, psionic alien tripod, who quickly knocks our fighter unconscious and begins the slow process of swapping souls with him. There's a submarine hatch at the bottom of a hidden cellar under the Beast's castle, which the DM describes in such a way that the players don't recognize it; we eventually get through. There's some confusion about the dimensions of the hallway we find ourselves in which leads to my sorcerer injuring us by dimension-dooring into walls, and Beauty wrecks the lightning gun we'd salvaged on our regicide quest. Our companion's body is surrounded by a complex apparatus of lenses and mirrors--they're projecting his soul to an alien world thousands of light-years away, but I don't know that, so I immediately knock as many as I can out of alignment.

The DM let the PC wake up instead of die; normally I'd say this reflects how "soft" and forgiving our play style is, but in this case I think it had more to do with how much of a hassle it is to build a replacement Pathfinder character at level 14.

The Beast shrinks us and dumps us into a pocket dimension which is comprised of a number of equally-sized cells, stacked in a single column, walled by what turns out to be pencil lead and beyond which nothing exists, and in each is one element of the game "Mouse Trap;" we can break through the floor of each cell into the one below, but we can only pass one way--down through the floor, never up through a ceiling. A sort of janitor starts in the first cell and slowly repairs the damage we do; Ch'Dar befriends him and gets periodic (only sometimes-useful) advice, like the fact that the pocket dimension is small enough to crush us to death when the shrinking spell ends, or that we could break through the final floor to loop us back to the starting room.

The walls of the final room is covered in a mosaic of seven demons, guarding seven exits; the demon over the correct exit comes to life and attacks anyone who enters the room. The floor tiles are also trapped in some way? We were supposed to either pass through the correct exit as the demon came to life (and I don't think there was a way to tell which one was correct), or break the spell by killing the demon (which, hearing its stats afterwards, would've taken too long); aligning every piece of the mouse trap correctly (our mistake was convincing the diver to align himself) would've given us the protection of a magic cage.

We fight the demon without the protection of the cage. Until our fighter gets KO'd, that is--then the wizard plane-shifts us out & back to our native plane. "Art" has dismantled the magitech portal by this point, so we decide that actually killing Mickey isn't worth the bother.

Can't remember if we killed the Beast (we might've, if he was also unconscious in the mirrored apparatus) or rescued the damsel (we might not've, if she was Ariel instead of Beauty, or if we couldn't break the magic brush's enchantments).

[Edit, May 30th: additional comment from the DM:
It seems like you heard in the village that some people had found an "enchanted kingdom" in the valley over the mountain that people sometimes found in days of old.  When you went there, the arch constructor had already made an teleportation archway for you.  The beast was about to be killed by Nicodemus, but he changed his mind and buffed at the last second before you were crushed by the castle and stuffed into the pocket dimension. At the end of the adventure the beast modified your memories so you would forget where the kingdom was and think that the lightning gun was broken.  Barnabosa was the only one not present at that time, so it is not known if he had a similar encounter.
/Edit]

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