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Guttershine Beer Run, Part 1

This entry is part 10 of 15 in the series Adventures in Bastion

When we last left off… our protagonists had just escaped from the Grand Amphitheater on New Guttershine College campus, where they faced multiple Tintapans/Purple Sludges, and had somewhat hesitantly agreed to team up with Prof Winslee to stop Tintapan—er, the Tintapans—in exchange for a night’s sleep in the dormitories and some vaguely-hinted-at sinecure or post on campus that would wipe out their debt. 

The session began after the departure of Winslee. The adventurers, being somewhat worse for wear, decided to go to the Campus Hospitaling Center to receive some medical treatment. There, they discovered that with medical treatment in Bastion, you get two choose two things from the following list: 

Happily, the Campus Hospitaling Center had integrated debt-tracking and was willing to allow adventurers to add to their debt, as long as they had an account with the university. The characters chose as follows:

Thus “recovered,” the group returned to their dormitory room, repaired the Mockeries with needle and thread, and went to sleep. 

They woke late, just before their 11:00AM meeting with Prof. Winslee, who appeared at their door with a retinue of armed students, and brought them up to speed on the plan. As it turned out, the Campus Festivities Committee had requisitioned a sizeable delivery of beer for the campus festival. Pickup was scheduled for between 1–2:00PM at the Hallingstone Importers’ Warehouse. For security reasons, a pickup code had been issued for the beer shipment: “The sixth sick sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick.” After some discussion, Winslee even provided the group with a £100 promissory note, to be used to hire a cart and driver to bring the beer to campus.  

Then group set out, following the path below (using a map I’ve repurposed for our Bastion neighborhood):

At the locales marked with numbers, they had encounters, however brief: 

  1. A press gang made up of members of the City Guard (and gathered outside the local City Guard’s Barracks) attempted to impress the group into city watch service, explaining that a “war on poverty” had been declared. They [correctly] took this to mean a war against the poor, and immediately began to try bargain their way out of it. Fortunately, they were speaking to a young recruit who let them off easy, taking only the pornographic book that Nujanai had found in the Buttonsnemp Researchery, a dose of Emmeline‘s Urb, and £30. (This quickly became £40, because the only cash he had to offer as change for Winslee’s £100 promissory note. They were, however, permitted to go.
  2. Knee Breakers (a.k.a. debt collectors) known to the group stood outside the local Banking Center, but happened to be occupied shaking down some other poor debtor and didn’t notice the group hurry past.
  3. Emmeline’s Urb Dealer was found in his usual place, perched on a stool behind a vendor’s stall, out of view, in the depths of the Street Market Complex. Amused by her new rhino-snout and horn, he cajoled Emmeline to buy some Urb, could not be convinced to give her any on credit, and the group gave up and hurried on their way.  
  4. Hallingstone and his wife met the group at the front gate of their warehouse around 12:30PM, and the group soon discovered that the beer had already been snatched out from under them: someone had shown up thirty minutes earlier, given the correct code, loaded the beer into a cart, and taken off from the East gate of the warehouse complex, heading east along Thuru Park.
  5. A very old gentleman surrounded by a massive flock of pigeons eyed the Mockeries and the adventurers in disgust, grumbling to himself, but declining to confront them. The adventurers kept their cool, ignoring the old man and heading east. In the background, contented elderly citizens of Bastion practiced calisthenics and group dances.
  6. Winthrop Thallabort, a senior member of the Masterphager’s Guild, sat upon the steps of the Masterphagers’ Guildhouse mocking the group for having managed to increase their debt by an order of magnitude after only two days of adventuring. He seemed intent on mocking them, but the group managed to scare him with their weapons and bad attitude, and then got a little useful information out of him: a dray cart with what looked like barrels of beer had driven north along the canal, toward that hive of poverty and villainy, the Floating Tenements.
  7. The Mockeries working in the Sweat-shop quarter—a sort of combination fitness center and “adult entertainment” district for rich weirdoes—were enticed by the declaration of the Mockhuman Manifesto, as recited by Mipple Pamp and the other group’s Mockery henchmen as they passed through this area. The group soon left, though: it was clear from some of the humans’ reactions that such meddling in the social order would not be tolerated long. As they went east along Big Street, they realized that there was another warehouse nearby, just a little ways north, and deduced that the beer they sought was probably being taken there for storage and resale. 
  8. A scene of automaton-powered carnage was unfolding in Griffarn Park as the group passed by: people screaming, and large animal automata (dinosaur skeletons, giraffes, giganotosloths) seemed to have been on display, and to have been accidentally triggered into running amok. Murderhobos through and through, the group ignored the screams and cries of the innocent: after all, they had a mission to fulfill! 
  9. A group of street-ruffian children had been tailing the group, but Emmeline noticed them, shouted a threat, and sent them scurrying back into the Floating Tenementsor did she?  
  10. The Dray Cart Driver and the Warehouse Gateman were talking outside the Witherhall Warehouse when the group approached. Seeing the beer barrels in the cart, they assumed the beer was the same as what had been stolen from the Hallingstone Importers’ Warehouse, and demanded that the “thieves” surrender it to them. The cart driver challenged the accusation until Heihachi spoke the pickup code: “The sixth sick sheik’s sixth sheep’s sick.” Then the cart driver turned, drawing his pistol, and snarling at the group; the group, of course responded in kind…

… and that’s where we left off, with a nice cliffhanger and a setup for likely (but not completely inevitable) combat next session.   

This session was low-key, in part because of some lucky rolls on the players’ part, but also because the healing stuff ate up some time at the start of the session, which otherwise would have been the big combat. I need to do up a couple of 1d20 table for generating weird “free-but-experimental” medical treatments—one for healing, and one for experimental prosthetics. (I used a random “chaos magic table” that google turned up on a quick search and simply riffed on the results, but something a little more specific to the setting would be nice.) 

It’s worth noting that only encounters 3 and 6 were highly unlikely to lead to some kind of combat. That’s not to say I planned for eight combats, mind: but I wanted Guttershine to be crawling with potential trouble, and it definitely was. They made their way to both warehouses pretty easily, but after the brutalities of the previous session, I think that’s okay: especially since it ended with the characters locked in a standoff with a potential enemy who, after all, could shoot one of them point blank at the start of the next session. 

Will it happen? We’ll see!  

Series Navigation<< A Visit to the New Guttershine Academy, Part 6Guttershine Beer Run, Part 2 >>
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