Thursday, January 15, 2015

Bujilli: Episode 115

Down through the Mushroom Caves beneath the Secondary Kitchens, Ulricht left behind to guard the barred door behind them, Bujilli and Leeja lead the stretcher-bearer constructs and drones along the route illuminated by Ulricht's sorcerous orb. They come to some sort of ancient bridge or aqueduct-type structure that spans a dimly lit gorge. The Orb leads them along until at the very middle of the bridge the Orb fades, leaving them in the echoing darkness with a Sewer Militia patrol rapidly approaching from the other side...

"Who Goes There!" barked a Corporal's voice as four galvanic lantern-lances clicked on, flooding the section of the bridge they were on with a harsh actinic radiance.

"Scheiss!" grumbled Leeja; "It's the fucking Sewer Militia."

"Silas Grompf's people?" Bujilli glanced at Shael. She was not in any shape to do much right now. He wasn't sure if she was still on good terms with the old man in charge of the Sewer Militia.

The harsh lights approached on the double. Even on the gritty, mucky surface of the old bridge they did not make much noise. No creaking of harness, no clatter of armor, no scuffing of boots on the concrete or metal grating underfoot--these were not green troops.

Bujilli's hand stopped half-way to his hand-axe as a cool, blue breeze buffeted his skin, raising his hackles and sending an electric chill down his spine. He could see every glyph, rune and symbol impressed upon Leeja's mind, brain and aura as they orbited the major nexii and plexii of her nervous system. Leeja flinched as though stung. Her new-found sword was out and viciously snickering to itself. He knew without doubt that if not for his Uncle's lessons in sorcerous self-defense, his own repertoire would stand revealed just as crisp and cleanly as Leeja's...he would have to spend some time with her soon, teach her how to cloud her aura, veil her thoughts and obscure the details of her inner-workings from those who pried into other people's skulls with such spells as they were now experiencing.

"We're friendly!" yelled Bujilli, suppressing a sly smirk as he examined the spell surrounding them. A light tug here, a twist there and he rendered it a very pretty, but ultimately uninformative display. He wasn't sure what secrets Shael might be holding on to, so it seemed best to err on the side of caution. Besides he had a reputation to consider...a sorcerer can't let just anyone poke around in their business. Not even the sewer Militia. Probably especially them.

"Sergeant! He's neutralized my spell--"

"Of course I did. You did not ask permission before your intrusion." Bujilli watched as three figures approached through the actinic glare.

"Stand down Kallas. They've got wounded in tow and seem to be headed somewhere other than the Academy. A very sensible decision...what with all the fuss and bother going on lately." The Sergeant looked them over with a sardonic gaze that missed nothing.

"We've just come from there. hurt. Badly. We're taking her to someone we hope can help." Bujilli could feel another four members of the patrol watching their every move from behind the intense glare of the actinic lamp-lances. He almost missed the other three that were taking up positions at various points along the superstructure overhead. Snipers? He didn't want to find out.

"You heading up and out, or down into the dark?"

"Up. Out. Our friend--"

"Good enough for me. I don't intend to waste my time wrangling over jurisdiction or any of that crap. If you're headed out then I'll send along an escort to get you to the nearest exit-point. We've got bigger fish to fry--"


"Got one!" Called out one of the lancers.

"Jovin. You help these students find their way then catch up to us at the next junction. The rest of you get moving. There's a lot more of these rat-bastards scurrying around down here and we need to clear them out while we've got the chance."

"Thank you." Leeja did her best to look as demure as possible, despite the all too sinister sword.

"I hope your friend can help Shael out. We'll have the lower-levels surrounding the Academy-grounds cleared and secured as best we can. Then the fighting will really begin." The Sergeant raised his fist overhead and the sniper and sappers smoothly rappelled down from their positions and rejoined the rest of their unit.

"You. Knew." Bujilli felt a momentary shock. He had blunted their spell before it could reach Shael. He was almost certain of it.

"Thank your friend Putney. He told me you lot might be coming this way, before he went hunting with his little friends." The Sergeant grinned broadly. It was anything but a comforting gesture. He turned back and began bawling out fresh orders. The lamps clicked off. The patrol was gone.

"Ahem." A thin-limbed woman in splotchy-gray leather scowled at them in obvious distaste.

"You're Jovin then?" Bujilli extended his hand. She snorted in disdain, turned and started trotting along the bridge with nary a sound to betray her passage.

"Not terribly talkative." Leeja shook her head; "but at least she can lead us to where we need to go."

"Only if we get moving." Bujilli motioned to the constructs and they got moving again. Every step crunching in grit, scraping against the old, pitted metal...they sounded like a noisy procession of drunken clowns compared to Jovin's silent movement.

The bridge ended in a fortified abutment. Sewer Militia sappers and combat engineers were busily repairing and upgrading the emplacement. Bujilli was curious, but didn't dawdle. Jovin didn't seem like the sort who would take kindly to any delays in her rejoining her unit.

Shael moaned. Even with the stretcher-bearer drones she had been jostled and bounded around quite a bit. He hoped she wouldn't suffer too much more before they finally reached Idvard's Keep.

Jovin led them along a well-trod military road set with harshly-faceted concrete pylons and other defensive structures, most of which he couldn't get a clear look at even when he slowed down. He almost stopped, but Jovin was getting too far ahead of them and he did not want to run afoul of another patrol.

They turned off of the main road. Jovin led them across three smaller bridges in quick succession, each one set-up to rotate away from their moorings and thus serve as a make-shift firing-platform/fortress as needed. The second one showed signs of having been shot-up pretty badly in the past and another detachment of sappers were busily making repairs. She turned a corner and they hustled to catch up before she got too far ahead and they lost her.

She was waiting for them at the arched opening to a huge, squarish shaft. The path led around either side of the yawning gulf that faintly echoed with distant voices and machinery. The air was cool and humid.

"Watch your step. It gets slippery around here."

She headed off along the left-hand side. The path here was a series of small, rectangular platforms, each one hinged and set to drop on command in any sequence or order or all at once. A huge raft-like pallet was being lowered on stout chains by some sort of derrick or crane mounted overhead. Another group of people trotted along the opposite side of the shaft. At least half their number were Morlocks. The one in the rear carried a heavy lime-caster. Nasty stuff.

Jovin snapped-on a gleaming-orange lumostick and led them along a series of inter-connected tunnels, some of which were tiled or had brick walls. A ramp slanted upwards and they crossed over a drainage channel, part of the storm sewer system. They passed through a couple of round, juncture-chambers set with heavy valves and hatches. Then Jovin halted beneath a round spot marked-off with green paint.

"The elevator will be along in a minute. Take it to the surface station. Three floors up from here. Take the left exit. You should recognize the neighborhood, but just in case, half-way down the block on your right is the door you want. Think you can manage?"

"Yes. Thank you. We apprec--"

"Save it. Just following orders. I've got to get back right away--our other Pathfinder is wounded and I need to round-up a medic to take back with me." She slipped back down the ramp and was gone.

"I wish I could move that quietly." Leeja watched Jovin make her way down the ramp.

"Something tells me she's had a lot more practice than either of us." Bujilli could hear the dull whine of the elevator descending. He motioned for the drones to get over to one side, so there'd be room for whomever was coming down on the thing. They were close to their destination now. No sense getting bogged-down in some pointless hassle with another patrol or some more Morlocks.

The elevator crunched into place. It was empty. They got on-board the thing and Leeja pushed the button next to the little graphic depicting what she thought was a surface street. The other options looked like rail-roads, unterrail or some sort of sewer or maintenance passageway. In any case it was the topmost option, three spots over the one marked with a green circle like the paint on the floor.

Chains clanked. The cables hummed. They passed a platform where half a dozen people waited for one of the few subterranean trains still in-service; passed a very dark and cold level; passed a noisy concrete channel where a work-crew was removing obstructing debris that had caused the dark waters to back-up dangerously. The work-crews were yelling and hammering and dragging and making quite a racket as they struggled to forestall a flood. Then the elevator clanked into place. A smaller platform or station than the one they had passed below. The left exit was less than thirty feet from the elevator.

The door leading out to the street-level was rusted shut but they got it open with a little effort.

It was dark. The crescent moon overhead with only a few fluffy clouds. There were no lights along this stretch of street, though they could see the hazy yellowish-glow of sodium-lamps off to the left on the other side of a cross-street. The nearest street-lamp to the right was at least two blocks away and seemed to flicker as though it was damaged or faulty.

"Yes. This looks right." Leeja led the way. She recognized some of the boarded-over shops near them.

Bujilli led the drones out. Shael seemed to be sleeping; her breathing was deep and even, a good sign.

"It isn't far at all."

Then the sling-stones began to fall like hail.

One of the fighting drones squealed as its head cracked-open from an egg-shaped rock striking it.

One of the stretcher-bearers stepped into the jaws of a trap set near the door. It nearly sheared-off the thing's leg and it stood there until three stones hit it in rapid succession. Bujilli barely grabbed the stretcher in time to keep it from slamming to the ground. He lowered it and drew out his hand-axe.

Another stone struck Bujilli in the shoulder. Hard. He started to form a Shield spell when a stone struck him in the head.

He fell.

Leeja hissed in anger. Leaped over his body.

Something wet spattered on his back and arm. All he knew for sure was that it was not his blood. Then he was alone in the dark except for the screaming. Something hot was pressing into his chest--

What should Bujilli & Leeja do next?

You Decide!

Synchronocitor Status: Full Recharge in 1 hour.

What should they do now?

First we need to Roll for Initiative (1d6 each): 1) Bujilli [-3], 2) Leeja [-2], 3) The Feral Children [+4: It's their ambush after all]. (as per LL p. 50)

A Reaction Roll (2d6) might come in handy. (as per P. 52) Be aware that a really bad score on this will mean that the group in question may well recognize Bujilli & Leeja from before, perhaps some of them were present at the Film Repository or heard the story from one of the survivors.

Six or seven d20 rolls will get the violence addressed, for the most part. Bujilli has now taken 5 points of damage. He was slightly stunned but can still move, attack or carry the stretcher once his turn comes around. One fighting drone is ruined (natural 20!) the other one is automatically defending Bujilli's flank and will continue to act as an ambulatory shield until given new orders. One stretcher-bearer drone is down to one leg, the other one remains in pristine condition, for now. Shael is unconscious and so far oblivious to the situation.

We need to determine how many Feral Children are involved. That would be 3d6+3. There is also a 30% chance of there being a Cuckoo in their midst, most likely as their leader.

Once all that is taken care of...what should Bujilli and his companions do next?

Should Bujilli check out the hot-thing pressing into his flesh or ignore it since he has people lobbing stones at his head at the moment?

Would you like for them to go on the offensive? Unleash a few spells? Rush the nearest slingers? Or should they consider using the drones as a distraction and make a break for the entrance to Idvard's old place--keep in mind that they'll still need to make it up a few flights of stairs to reach the Weak Point. But maybe Idvard has a sentry on-duty and they can request some assistance?

Do you have a better idea or suggestion?

Feel free to ask questions or to discuss the situation. I'll do my best to respond to comments in a timely manner.

Let me know what you think they ought to do in the comments below, or via email and we'll resume things next week!

What do they do next?
You Decide!

Previous                            Next

Series Indexes
One | Two | Three | Four | Five | Six  |  Seven

About Bujilli (What is This?) | Who is Bujilli? | How to Play

Bujilli's Spells | Little Brown Journals | Loot Tally | House Rules

Episode Guides
Series One (Episodes 1-19)
Series Two (Episode 20-36)
Series Three (Episodes 37-49)
Series Four (Episodes 50-68)
Series Five (Episodes 69-99)
Series Six(Episodes 100 - 111)
Series Seven (112 - ongoing)

Labyrinth Lord   |   Advanced Edition Companion


  1. The dice roller is blocked for me, but I can suggest a course of action. Bujilli needs to get up (and at least look to see what's on his chest), then if possible try to move out of the area. Using the drones as decoys, and firing off spells as needed to cover their escape.

    1. Sorry about the dice-roller thingy--feel free to use real dice if you like. Your suggestion sounds eminently sensible. The object scalding his chest is the amulet that Hedrard gave him. She seems to be attempting to contact Bujilli...

  2. Back into the elevator! Is that Leeja’s screaming? What’s happened to her? I agree with Trey, the burning wound is the first priority, I’d make Leeja the second. Can Counsel help quickly reorient Bujilli, temporarily drive down the pain? Demote the remaining fighting drone to stretcher bearer - if it survives the next volley. Wrathful Facade could even the numbers somewhat and help in the retreat.

    I rolled about as well as I could for our side in initiative: Bujilli 6, Leeja 4, the Feral Children 1. Not that it matters much, with modifiers that still works out to the Feral Children winning initiative, followed by Bujilli, then Leeja. Though perhaps the 5 I got for a Reaction Roll does temper the danger somewhat. The Children do have safety in numbers: 15 Feral Children total. I'll leave the d20s and the Cuckoo's d100 to another latecomer.

    I’m not sure we can afford to offer up more than one drone as a decoy without leaving behind Shael? Anyway, who’ll have to pay Urmigan for the losses? Our hero or Idvard? I hope Bujili reviewed the "standard contract."

    1. Withdrawing back into the entrance to the elevator might give them some cover and be a bit more defensible than standing out in the open street...of course that won't get them to Idvard's place.

      The screaming is coming from those Feral Children who have just discovered that Leeja doesn't need claws or a shiny new sword to be terrifying in combat. She is using her hair to slash, snarl and trip-up as many of the kids who are in easy reach, trying to strike fear into them and get them to break-off fighting before everything turns into a real blood-bath. It isn't that she dislikes shedding blood, she wants to get Shael to Idvard's Keep without any more these kids have got to be driven off, or failing that, decimated ruthlessly so they get the hell out of the way and stay that way. Or at least that's her goal at the moment.

      The burning sensation is Hedrard's Amulet. She is attempting to contact Bujilli. Bad timing. Maybe. Counsel can help Bujilli rescind the pain-impulses for a time, which will enable him to deal with it before it causes too much more damage--it really ought not to be causing damage, so he might want to examine it a bit, possibly get Counsel to examine the thing and let him know why it is damaging him.

      Wrathful Facade could truly work wonders right now. Leeja has already downgraded the Feral Children's morale bonus, so dropping that spell on them might just break their morale, causing them to reconsider their situation or to start experiencing some Fear effects.

      Thanks for the Initiative rolls. The bonus that the Ferals had was entirely due to their having been lying-in-wait...but they were not looking to ambush Bujilli and his friends, but rather someone else. What was supposed to be a quick strike has turned into a debacle and the kids are definitely Not alright. Yes, the Reaction Roll does temper things quite a bit. Fifteen kids is a good-sized pack, but Leeja has disrupted three of them in quick succession and we'll see how that all plays out shortly. The Cuckoo might still complicate matters...they tend to do that sort of thing...

      As to the drone...someone has to carry Shael. Losing the drones will really slow them all down drastically...and that means leaving them exposed to more wandering monsters and encounters.

      The drones Bujilli has on-hand were part of his compensation from previous work for Idvard, so they have already been paid for, so that's one bit of good news.

  3. I agree with Trey and otiredbeacon, Bujilli's burning wound needs to be dealt with first (can Counsel neutralize it?). The drones should be stretcher-bearers / guards over Shael.

    I rolled 7d20s and got 17, 15, 12, 20, 14, 18, and 16. For the potential Cuckoo's d100 I rolled 58.

    1. Okay, three votes for tending to the burning sensation that we now know is the amulet from Hedrard.

      Counsel will help tune-down the pain impulses to let Bujilli tend to the amulet before diving into battle or casting a spell, like say Wrathful Facade.

      Good call having the drones protect Shael while Bujilli & Leeja tend to the kids.

      Thanks for the d20 rolls. The Cuckoo is present and not at all pleased to have its ingenious scheme bollixed by these interlopers. She is plenty torqued at them and may well be casting a spell or two of her own...


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