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Guttershine Beer Run, Part 5

This entry is part 14 of 15 in the series Adventures in Bastion

When we last left off… Heihachi, Emmeline, and the Mockeries were in a hallway in the Warehouse they’d infiltrated, with two barrels they were trying to roll out of the building; Haap Zouka and several explorers, newly returned from an icy place through a mysterious portal, guns pointed at the party and shouting for them to stop. The beer, after all, is needed to extinguish the electrical fire in the warehouse’s control room.  

Heihachi, Emmeline, and the Mockery Gang were eager to avoid more bloodshed, so after a brief hesitation and some stern words from Haap Zouka:

… about how it was absolutely necessary—how the fire had to get put out—they agreed to roll a barrel of beer over toward the door where Haap Zouka stood… the door behind which the electrical fire was already clearly burning out of control.

In the silence that followed, the strange rustling noise outside the building was, the characters noticed, complemented by the sounds of human beings crying out in shock and terror. 

Emmeline rolled her barrel most of the way, but out of nowhere, a horrifically enormous white-furred winged lizard with a deafening shriek appeared and snatched the nearby polar bear in its jaws, before yanking it backwards as it struggled and howled:


One of the hunters rushed forward to help Emmeline to roll the barrel the rest of the way, when another of the enormous monsters appeared at the end of the hallway:

It seized the hunter in its jaws, and sheared him—rather messily—in half.

Horrified, Haap Zouka leaped up the wall and into the shadows toward the monster, valiantly doing his (her? its) best, but then cried out as he seemingly tumbled wrong and fell, hard, to the floor with a disturbing thump. Meanwhile, the other explorer:

… hurriedly rolled the barrel through the side door nearby while Heihachi, Emmeline, and the Mockeries scrambled with the door to the south. Through the door, there stood a pair of familiar automata:

… silently waiting just beyond the threshold. When Heihachi and a couple of the Mockeries rolled the remaining barrel into the room, one of the machines gently took over and began to roll it past a trio of ornate foreign vases:

… toward the southern wall of the room. One problem: the only other exit from this room was to the east. Heihachi carefully approached the automaton, spotted some exposed wires on the top, did a little quick guesswork, and yanked them loose. 

The automaton sputtered and died. 

At just that moment,  the other machine shuddered to life and began to approach the barrel, just as the head of another of the enormous white-furred pteranodons appeared in the doorway. The creature was too big to get more than its head through, however. This disrupted Emmeline’s attempt to do what Heihachi had done: she pulls wires, but nothing happens. The Mockeries climb upon the machine and manage to disable it, and the group rolls their barrel out the east doorway, with the Mockeries grabbing one of the vases on the way out. 

They recognize the hallway—this is the shabbily adorned hallway that opens out of the foyer. They hurriedly rolled the barrel out into the foyer, then removed the heavy wooden bar that was set barring the front door—somehow someone had barred it after they’d come in?—and threw the door open, to discover: little mechanical scorpions. 

lot of little mechanical scorpions. Like, hundreds and hundreds of them, clumped together and tearing apart anything available—carts, machines, the fence surrounding the warehouse. The chaos was not concentrated on the warehouse: rather, it was going on as far as the eye could see. 

The Mockery Gang ran around the side of the building to get the dray cart:

… but when they returned, they were one Mockery short, and reported with miserable voices that their onetime leader, Mipple Pamp, had been torn to shreds by some scorpions. 

Meanwhile, the group was faced with the problem of how to get the barrel into the cart without a ramp, but Heihachi pulled a hail mary and grabbed the thick wooden slat used to bar the door to improvise a ramp. The bar sagged, but they were quick enough to roll the barrel up before it snapped, and then they set the cart running. 

They departed the warehouse (1) and drove the cart north along Chandler Road. They stopped at the north end of the building (2), where Mipple Pamp had been torn apart, and arrived just in time to see the last shreds of his stuffings drawn out into long skeins and then carried off by the mechanical scorpions in the area. 

(R.I.P. Mipple Pamp.)

The group continued north along Chandler Road. Where it intersected with Sun Road (3.), where they encountered Rampling Haddleshack and the cult he had joined only an hour or two earlier. They paused to talk to him, urging him to join them, and he agreed, leaping onto their cart and pledging to have his cult buddies help them along the road to campus:

But just then, one of the rear windows of the warehouse shattered, and several more of the monsters flew out. One, perhaps drawn by the fiery torch in Rampling’s hand and his elevation above the other fire-bearers, swooped down and seized him from the cart with its claws before soaring off over the city. The rest of the fire cult didn’t seem too perturbed, but they did scatter, and returned to pounding mechanical scorpions into the ground. 

At this point, Heihachi began to feel ill, his vision blurred and a terrible thirst gripping him. He decided not to say anything, but just get moving again quickly.  

The group continued north with their cart along Chandler Road, turning left on the unnamed road that ran along the front of campus. The wall along campus was in worse shape than the area they’d been before, and as they entered campus they saw (by the flickering electrical lights of Guttershine District) a building somewhere nearby, southwest, collapse in on itself. Perturbed, the group drive the cart across the half-abandoned campus grounds toward the nearby Grand Amphitheater (4.), outside which Professor Winslee’s people were supposed to meet them. 

Nobody was there—nobody was even in sight. Mechanical scorpions crawled everywhere, and… some of them were piled onto larger, more complicated structures, as if they were building… bigger scorpions? Should they flee the district, hoping that the fact it was bounded by water might contain the mechanical scorpions? Should they try get the beer inside the Grand Amphitheater and try use it to stop Dr. Tintapan? Should they do something else? 

As they discussed this, Emmeline saw thick yellow fluid seeping from Heihachi’s eyes, and realized he was ill. Could he have caught something on the other side of the portal, having spent mere moments on the other side?

… and that was where we left off. 

Here are the notes I wrote up before the session: I only did a little extra prep I did since prior to the beginning of the Guttershine Beer Run adventure. I’m going to put the points in spoilers, in case my players run across this:

  • Did Heihachi fail his STR save to resist infection? I think so, but I could be misremembering. Anyway, the condition will kick in after 1d4 hours. Here’s the details of the illness:
    • This disease is airborne, with a gestation period of 1d4 hours. It is normally encountered on iceworlds (not in the world of Bastion).
    • Symptoms: Progress from one symptom occurs rapidly. The progression halts when a character makes two successful STR checks in a row, but all symptoms that have manifested by that point will recur with any exposure to cold weather. 
      • Stage 1: Yellow discharge from the eyes and terrible thirst. (Impaired)
      • Stage 2: Violent vomiting of highly acidic bile. (Impaired) 
      • Stage 3: Tumors burst from the skin. (Disabled)
      • Stage 4: Coma (during which bowels are reconfigured) and body grows thick white fur.
      • Stage 5: Cognitive decline. (Permanently lose 1d4 CHA per hour.)
    • If untreated, the disease turns the infected into a kind of yeti-like being. It can be overcome through natural resistance, or by drowning followed by revival, but any exposure to extremely cold weather may trigger a recurrence. (STR save to avoid, but progress beyond original stages occurs at a much slower rate.)
  • If the electrical fire in the control room is not put out, the portal will remain stuck. There will be an assault of icewings sometime within 1 hour if the portal remains open that long.  
  • The Scorpionbots released on New Guttershine College Campus have been replicating at a horrifying rate. They’re now thick on the ground throughout Guttershine District, but still in self-replication mode and not attacking people (yet). In an hour, they will switch modes, and anyone who stands still or walks slowly takes 1HP per round. Anyone running may make a DEX check to avoid this damage. 
  • Rampling Haddleshack and the Fire Cult that he recently joined are leading the doomed resistance against the Scorpionbots. If the group makes it to Sun Road, he’ll lead the cultists to help them, likely sacrificing his life to do so. 
  • Guelphman Ghibbelinus may show up at some point, terrified by the events in Guttershine, but determined to “save Emmeline.” He will most likely die in any attempt to do such a thing.

I suspect I will have a little more prep to do before next time: it’s unclear what the players plan to do, so I will have to at least sketch out some possible items that could apply to various scenarios. 

We discussed the possible “season” ending for this arc, and agreed that we should do at least one more big adventure, in some other kind of locale—maybe The Underground, or maybe out in Deep Country—before trying some other sort of game out. 

(I am very much enjoying Electric Bastionland, but I’m also interested in trying out some other sort of game with this group.)

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